Dragon 398 - Heroes of Shadow: Ki Focuses

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DnDi_Large.pngDragon 398
Heroes of Shadow: Ki Focuses

By Rodney Thompson

Grab a new ki focus for your Heroes of Shadow vampire or assassin.

Talk about this article here.

I have one question: why was this content cut from Heroes of Shadow in the first place?
Harrying your Prey, the Easy Way: A Hunter's Handbook - the first of what will hopefully be many CharOp efforts on my part. The Blinker - teleport everywhere. An Eladrin Knight/Eldritch Knight. CB != rules source.
Good flavor as always from Mr. Thompson. The best part about these items is the big damage boost they'll give monks and pre-E assassins.

The damage bonus from shadow master really should scale with tier. At level 3 a bonus 5 damage is very nice, but at level 22 a bonus 5 damage is nothing special.

Quick question: would the damage re-rolls from the devastating Ki-Focus apply to shrouds? That would significantly increase the minimum damage of the shadow assassin.
These should not be behind the pay wall, nor should they have been cut from HoS, given how necessary they are for the executioner which was published in that book.  A new player who bought essentials and then picked up heroes of shadow would not be able to play that class out of the book.

Style: what damage re-rolls?  Devastating turns 1s and 2s into 3s, it doesn't re-roll them.  Otherwise, yes, it should work with shroud damage, since that is additional damage added to the attack rather then a separate damage roll.
These should not be behind the pay wall, nor should they have been cut from HoS, given how necessary they are for the executioner which was published in that book.  A new player who bought essentials and then picked up heroes of shadow would not be able to play that class out of the book.

Style: what damage re-rolls?  Devastating turns 1s and 2s into 3s, it doesn't re-roll them.  Otherwise, yes, it should work with shroud damage, since that is additional damage added to the attack rather then a separate damage roll.



The answer is easy they want you to drop money on the book, and then they want you to sub for a month of DDi.
"Unite the [fan] base? Hardly. As of right now, I doubt their ability to unite a slightly unruly teabag with a cup of water."--anjelika
1-4E play style
The 4E play style is a high action cinematic style of play where characters worry less about being killed in one hit and more about strategy and what their next move is and the one after it. The players talk back and forth about planning a battle and who can do what to influence the outcome. 4E play is filled with cinematic over the top action. An Eladrin teleports out of the grip of the Ogre. The Fighter slams the dragons foot with his hammer causing it to rear up and stagger back in pain. The Cleric creates a holy zone where their allies weapons are guided to their targets and whenever an enemy dies the Clerics allies are healed. 4E is about knowing when to lauch your nova attack, whether its a huge arcane spell that causes enemies to whirl around in a chaotic storm, or if its a trained adrenaline surge that causes you to attack many many times with two weapons on a single target, or a surge of adrenaline that keeps you going though you should already be dead. Its about tactics and the inability to carry around a bag of potions or a few wands and never have to worry about healing. Its about the guy that can barely role play having the same chance to convince the king to aid the group as the guy that takes improv acting classes and regularly stars as an extra on movies.
Stormwind Fallacy
The Stormwind Fallacy, aka the Roleplayer vs Rollplayer Fallacy Just because one optimizes his characters mechanically does not mean that they cannot also roleplay, and vice versa. Corollary: Doing one in a game does not preclude, nor infringe upon, the ability to do the other in the same game. Generalization 1: One is not automatically a worse role player if he optimizes, and vice versa. Generalization 2: A non-optimized character is not automatically role played better than an optimized one, and vice versa. ...[aside]... Proof: These two elements rely on different aspects of a player's game play. Optimization factors in to how well one understands the rules and handles synergies to produce a very effective end result. Role playing deals with how well a player can act in character and behave as if he was someone else. A person can act while understanding the rules, and can build something powerful while still handling an effective character. There is nothing in the game -- mechanical or otherwise -- restricting one if you participate in the other. Claiming that an optimizer cannot role play (or is participating in a play style that isn't supportive of role playing) because he is an optimizer, or vice versa, is committing the Stormwind Fallacy.
The spells we should getLook here to Check out my adventures and ideas. I've started a blog, about video games, table top role playing games, programming, and many other things its called Kel and Lok Games. My 4E Fantasy Grounds game is currently full.
I have one question: why was this content cut from Heroes of Shadow in the first place?


Presumably because there's no way they could fit it into a single page for the book.  From my understanding, printing costs on the publisher's end have various brackets, and going above 160 pages would have shot them up to the next bracket, at which point they might as well do like ... 180 or 200 pages or something.  And if they didn't have enough material to fill out those pages, then they'd be forced to do like 162 or 163 pages at the 180+ page price, which is wasted money for them, and they'd be forced to charge that higher price at retail, which is wasted money for us.

I know people will say things like "More Vampire options!," but that would have required more development time they didn't have, and would have messed up their already messed up schedule.

These should not be behind the pay wall, nor should they have been cut from HoS, given how necessary they are for the executioner which was published in that book.  A new player who bought essentials and then picked up heroes of shadow would not be able to play that class out of the book.


Agreed.  About the paywall that is.
Maybe instead of including 2 sets of descriptive text for every single power in the book, they could have fit one page of Ki-Focus items, some more Vampire options or maybe even some Shade feats.  

I was disappointed with the book, but am overall content [have come to terms with] with the content.  Ki-Focuses should have absolutely been in the book, no question.  The fact that they are so few and behind the pay wall in Dragon actually just prevented me from subscribing.  

I was literally about to have to subscribe again to run a campaign, but this is too insulting.  There was once a company that would give out web enhancements for books that had extra material that did not make it to print.  There were many poor decisions made in formatting and choosing what to include, or what not to include, in Heroes of Shadow.

Edit:  The word "content" just had to go. 
So this is a single page that they couldn't find space for how about the full page revenant picture on 118 it is awesome but not really needed while these are.

or the shade not like those 5 page were really needed.
Forum signature? Quick think of something witty ... ... ...
I'm just excited to have something to add to my common item database for the first time in five months-- the last ones published were the weird elf potions from DRA393.
So this is a single page that they couldn't find space for how about the full page revenant picture on 118 it is awesome but not really needed while these are.

or the shade not like those 5 page were really needed.


Can't help but agree.  Whilst I like the art in the game books, and I think it's very valuable to have lots of high quality artwork made for the game... quite a lot of the artwork is reprints.  I'd far, FAR prefer to have a page of rules (especially ones which were dropped then stuck behind the DDI paywall) than a page of picture(s).
Harrying your Prey, the Easy Way: A Hunter's Handbook - the first of what will hopefully be many CharOp efforts on my part. The Blinker - teleport everywhere. An Eladrin Knight/Eldritch Knight. CB != rules source.

Oh hey ki-foci that I actually like.

That said, I am surprised these didn't make it into HoS. Double-fluff and reprinted content was higher priority?


Oh hey ki-foci that I actually like.

That said, I am surprised these didn't make it into HoS. Double-fluff and reprinted content was higher priority?



Maybe this content just wasn't ready in time for the deadline for publishing.  They have to playtest all their stuff pretty thoroughly, not to mention polishing it up in various ways (flavour, grammer, typos, physical placement of text on page, etc.).  This seems likely to me given that during the same period HoS was being finalized  we had layoffs, canceled products, and long delays on DDI content.  Having to leave out something like this is probably not something the good folks at Wizards are proud of, so let's just cut 'em some slack and be happy that we have it now.
Doubt it.  It was coded for the CB on time for release, and released with the HoS CB update.  It was previewed.  It would have been in the book if it had been released in the digest format.

This feels like pure-and-simple moneygrabbing.
Harrying your Prey, the Easy Way: A Hunter's Handbook - the first of what will hopefully be many CharOp efforts on my part. The Blinker - teleport everywhere. An Eladrin Knight/Eldritch Knight. CB != rules source.
Who cares?

Oh, honestly.

This isn't the first time I've said this and it won't be the last time: I don't envy Wizard's of the Coast in the slightest. It's clear that there's only enough resources for so much stuff. All given, would you rather have more stuff in the books or more (read: ANY) stuff in the mags? At this point it sounds like you guys want to have your cake and eat it too.


Humph.


EDIT: LOL, sorry for the double post. It looked like the boards ate my first post. I even refreshed the thread to be sure. Then I posted again with a longer reply and when it came up, lo! There was the prodigal post!

Sorry again!      

Doubt it.  It was coded for the CB on time for release, and released with the HoS CB update.  It was previewed.  It would have been in the book if it had been released in the digest format.

This feels like pure-and-simple moneygrabbing.



I think that plenty of what they've done of late certainly indicates strained resources at WotC and difficulty providing enough content - or the right kind of content - in the places they want it.

But what in the world do you mean by moneygrabbing? Aside from releasing the content for free - which I don't think is remotely reasonable - any way in which WotC released the content would be an attempt to encourage people to purchase that product.

I imagine that formatting reasons or other wacky behind-the-scenes elements are what resulted in the change in venue. Acting like providing this content via DDI instead of via HoS is somehow wrong, greedy, or some sort of conspiracy... nothing about that line of thinking makes any sense to me at all.
In the past when there was too much material for a book, it was called a Web Enhancement, not a Dragon article.  Web Enhancements were free to all.

[sarcasm] I can see where it makes perfect sense that this material does not fit in the book.  It was absolutely essential to squeeze in those double flavor texts for every power along with the reprinted art and game material. [/sarcasm]

There is a lot of bloat in HoS that should have been cleared to make room for these items.
[sarcasm] I can see where it makes perfect sense that this material does not fit in the book.  It was absolutely essential to squeeze in those double flavor texts for every power along with the reprinted art and game material. [/sarcasm]



I'll say it again (more clearly, maybe?): content costs resources to produce beyond the materials required to actually print the pages. If the choices were
1) shift some content from the book to DDI or
2) No more DDI content! Hope you liked paying for nothing!

I would choose the former every time.
In the past when there was too much material for a book, it was called a Web Enhancement, not a Dragon article.  Web Enhancements were free to all.

[sarcasm] I can see where it makes perfect sense that this material does not fit in the book.  It was absolutely essential to squeeze in those double flavor texts for every power along with the reprinted art and game material. [/sarcasm]

There is a lot of bloat in HoS that should have been cleared to make room for these items.




  • Flavor text - Probably central to WotC's publishing strategy.  Whether you agree and enjoy or skip over in disgust, they believe that succeeding hangs on entertaining within their products, which includes high amounts of flavor.

  • Reprinted art - Anyone will tell you that art is essential in products like this.  While there may be dimishing returns with using the same art peice more than once, I gaurantee that the return barely dimishes with a second use.  Only superfans like us even notice.

  • Reprinted game material - This must refer to the Executioner preview and whatnot.  The inclusion of this content was no accident, but a well thought-out plan.  Agree or not, it's not filler.


Regardless of the inclusion of exclusion of magic items, I thought I'd comment on those complaints because they didn't seem to hold much water.


Doubt it.  It was coded for the CB on time for release, and released with the HoS CB update.  It was previewed.  It would have been in the book if it had been released in the digest format.

This feels like pure-and-simple moneygrabbing.



I think that plenty of what they've done of late certainly indicates strained resources at WotC and difficulty providing enough content - or the right kind of content - in the places they want it.

But what in the world do you mean by moneygrabbing? Aside from releasing the content for free - which I don't think is remotely reasonable - any way in which WotC released the content would be an attempt to encourage people to purchase that product.

I imagine that formatting reasons or other wacky behind-the-scenes elements are what resulted in the change in venue. Acting like providing this content via DDI instead of via HoS is somehow wrong, greedy, or some sort of conspiracy... nothing about that line of thinking makes any sense to me at all.


There is a lot of bloat in HoS that should have been cleared to make room for these items.



Well, I think that says it all, really, but I'll go for it anyway.

Heroes of Shadow presents two classes designed for use with these items (Executioner and Vampire).  No book has been released with a magic Ki Focus in since (AFAIK) PHB3 - and no book AT ALL has been released with a Common one, for those of us who use the rarity system.  If you came to the game with Essentials, and don't have a sub, those two classes are not usable to their full effect.  The Vampire isn't usable at all, since, whaddya know, no Holy Symbols have been published since well before Essentials either (not that it's specially usable if you DO have an implement, but crappy design isn't the issue here).

The issue is that when I spend £20 on a game book, I expect it to come with all the content it needs to freaking work.  Full stop/period (delete as appropriate).

I couldn't give much a rat's derrierre about the GRIMDARK-AS-HELL fluff.  I like the art, but I've seen much of it in other places, so it's not new to me.  It would have taken one double page spread to publish what I understand to be details of THREE sodding Ki Foci.  Less, actually.  One single page should do it.  Mechanical content > art > good flavour > LOOK HOW DARK WE ARE!!oneleven fluff

That it was cut apparently in favour of essentially filler content (presumably, in the process of cutting the book down from the digest format, during which process, I suspect it lost pages), then posted as DDI content, simply reeks of trying to get extra money out of the people who already paid extra for their book to be made into an unwieldy hardback.

It annoys me.  It's crappy customer service.  That doesn't annoy anyone else?
Harrying your Prey, the Easy Way: A Hunter's Handbook - the first of what will hopefully be many CharOp efforts on my part. The Blinker - teleport everywhere. An Eladrin Knight/Eldritch Knight. CB != rules source.


Doubt it.  It was coded for the CB on time for release, and released with the HoS CB update.  It was previewed.  It would have been in the book if it had been released in the digest format.

This feels like pure-and-simple moneygrabbing.



I think that plenty of what they've done of late certainly indicates strained resources at WotC and difficulty providing enough content - or the right kind of content - in the places they want it.

But what in the world do you mean by moneygrabbing? Aside from releasing the content for free - which I don't think is remotely reasonable - any way in which WotC released the content would be an attempt to encourage people to purchase that product.

I imagine that formatting reasons or other wacky behind-the-scenes elements are what resulted in the change in venue. Acting like providing this content via DDI instead of via HoS is somehow wrong, greedy, or some sort of conspiracy... nothing about that line of thinking makes any sense to me at all.


There is a lot of bloat in HoS that should have been cleared to make room for these items.



Well, I think that says it all, really, but I'll go for it anyway.

Heroes of Shadow presents two classes designed for use with these items (Executioner and Vampire).  No book has been released with a magic Ki Focus in since (AFAIK) PHB3 - and no book AT ALL has been released with a Common one, for those of us who use the rarity system.  If you came to the game with Essentials, and don't have a sub, those two classes are not usable to their full effect.  The Vampire isn't usable at all, since, whaddya know, no Holy Symbols have been published since well before Essentials either (not that it's specially usable if you DO have an implement, but crappy design isn't the issue here).

The issue is that when I spend £20 on a game book, I expect it to come with all the content it needs to freaking work.  Full stop/period (delete as appropriate).

I couldn't give much a rat's derrierre about the GRIMDARK-AS-HELL fluff.  I like the art, but I've seen much of it in other places, so it's not new to me.  It would have taken one double page spread to publish what I understand to be details of THREE sodding Ki Foci.  Less, actually.  One single page should do it.  Mechanical content > art > good flavour > LOOK HOW DARK WE ARE!!oneleven fluff

That it was cut apparently in favour of essentially filler content (presumably, in the process of cutting the book down from the digest format, during which process, I suspect it lost pages), then posted as DDI content, simply reeks of trying to get extra money out of the people who already paid extra for their book to be made into an unwieldy hardback.

It annoys me.  It's crappy customer service.  That doesn't annoy anyone else?



I agree completely. They keep treating us like 4 year olds and then they're like "Why are they getting upset?"
"Unite the [fan] base? Hardly. As of right now, I doubt their ability to unite a slightly unruly teabag with a cup of water."--anjelika
1-4E play style
The 4E play style is a high action cinematic style of play where characters worry less about being killed in one hit and more about strategy and what their next move is and the one after it. The players talk back and forth about planning a battle and who can do what to influence the outcome. 4E play is filled with cinematic over the top action. An Eladrin teleports out of the grip of the Ogre. The Fighter slams the dragons foot with his hammer causing it to rear up and stagger back in pain. The Cleric creates a holy zone where their allies weapons are guided to their targets and whenever an enemy dies the Clerics allies are healed. 4E is about knowing when to lauch your nova attack, whether its a huge arcane spell that causes enemies to whirl around in a chaotic storm, or if its a trained adrenaline surge that causes you to attack many many times with two weapons on a single target, or a surge of adrenaline that keeps you going though you should already be dead. Its about tactics and the inability to carry around a bag of potions or a few wands and never have to worry about healing. Its about the guy that can barely role play having the same chance to convince the king to aid the group as the guy that takes improv acting classes and regularly stars as an extra on movies.
Stormwind Fallacy
The Stormwind Fallacy, aka the Roleplayer vs Rollplayer Fallacy Just because one optimizes his characters mechanically does not mean that they cannot also roleplay, and vice versa. Corollary: Doing one in a game does not preclude, nor infringe upon, the ability to do the other in the same game. Generalization 1: One is not automatically a worse role player if he optimizes, and vice versa. Generalization 2: A non-optimized character is not automatically role played better than an optimized one, and vice versa. ...[aside]... Proof: These two elements rely on different aspects of a player's game play. Optimization factors in to how well one understands the rules and handles synergies to produce a very effective end result. Role playing deals with how well a player can act in character and behave as if he was someone else. A person can act while understanding the rules, and can build something powerful while still handling an effective character. There is nothing in the game -- mechanical or otherwise -- restricting one if you participate in the other. Claiming that an optimizer cannot role play (or is participating in a play style that isn't supportive of role playing) because he is an optimizer, or vice versa, is committing the Stormwind Fallacy.
The spells we should getLook here to Check out my adventures and ideas. I've started a blog, about video games, table top role playing games, programming, and many other things its called Kel and Lok Games. My 4E Fantasy Grounds game is currently full.
I agree completely. They keep treating us like 4 year olds and then they're like "Why are they getting upset?"

You are making it rather easy for a sarcastic joke at your expense here Iokiara (something about the tantrums and age on these boards) ;) Mind you, in this particular case I do agree that it is odd that these were not in the book, but that is assuming they were actually part of the original contents. The deadline for a book print is a lot earlier than for an article print.

Which would be a valid point... except for the fact that this book was, apparently, ready months ago, before its format was retooled into big hardback from digest-format softcover. And the evidence of their release with the Heroes of Shadow Compendium and CB update is pretty telling.
Harrying your Prey, the Easy Way: A Hunter's Handbook - the first of what will hopefully be many CharOp efforts on my part. The Blinker - teleport everywhere. An Eladrin Knight/Eldritch Knight. CB != rules source.
Which would be a valid point... except for the fact that this book was, apparently, ready months ago, before its format was retooled into big hardback from digest-format softcover. And the evidence of their release with the Heroes of Shadow Compendium and CB update is pretty telling.



Its almost like it was a fully Essentials book, that at the outcry they tried to change up the Vampire was either cribbed from Ravenloft or made whole cloth in a week or two, they threw together powers for other classes and then realized they didn't have ki-foci (ha ha) and had to put it out as an article... either that or its a simple money grab. "buy the book then have to buy a month of DDi to use some of the classes in the book"
"Unite the [fan] base? Hardly. As of right now, I doubt their ability to unite a slightly unruly teabag with a cup of water."--anjelika
1-4E play style
The 4E play style is a high action cinematic style of play where characters worry less about being killed in one hit and more about strategy and what their next move is and the one after it. The players talk back and forth about planning a battle and who can do what to influence the outcome. 4E play is filled with cinematic over the top action. An Eladrin teleports out of the grip of the Ogre. The Fighter slams the dragons foot with his hammer causing it to rear up and stagger back in pain. The Cleric creates a holy zone where their allies weapons are guided to their targets and whenever an enemy dies the Clerics allies are healed. 4E is about knowing when to lauch your nova attack, whether its a huge arcane spell that causes enemies to whirl around in a chaotic storm, or if its a trained adrenaline surge that causes you to attack many many times with two weapons on a single target, or a surge of adrenaline that keeps you going though you should already be dead. Its about tactics and the inability to carry around a bag of potions or a few wands and never have to worry about healing. Its about the guy that can barely role play having the same chance to convince the king to aid the group as the guy that takes improv acting classes and regularly stars as an extra on movies.
Stormwind Fallacy
The Stormwind Fallacy, aka the Roleplayer vs Rollplayer Fallacy Just because one optimizes his characters mechanically does not mean that they cannot also roleplay, and vice versa. Corollary: Doing one in a game does not preclude, nor infringe upon, the ability to do the other in the same game. Generalization 1: One is not automatically a worse role player if he optimizes, and vice versa. Generalization 2: A non-optimized character is not automatically role played better than an optimized one, and vice versa. ...[aside]... Proof: These two elements rely on different aspects of a player's game play. Optimization factors in to how well one understands the rules and handles synergies to produce a very effective end result. Role playing deals with how well a player can act in character and behave as if he was someone else. A person can act while understanding the rules, and can build something powerful while still handling an effective character. There is nothing in the game -- mechanical or otherwise -- restricting one if you participate in the other. Claiming that an optimizer cannot role play (or is participating in a play style that isn't supportive of role playing) because he is an optimizer, or vice versa, is committing the Stormwind Fallacy.
The spells we should getLook here to Check out my adventures and ideas. I've started a blog, about video games, table top role playing games, programming, and many other things its called Kel and Lok Games. My 4E Fantasy Grounds game is currently full.
While I think some of the criticism in this thread is a little over the top, if I were a new player who had just started with the Essentials books, who bought HoS and then discovered that the claim that "this book contains all the information you need to create and play" the executioner and vampire was at best a fudge and at worst an outright lie, and that I actually needed to subscribe to an online service to be able to play my character above level 3 or so and still be able to hit things, I'd be bloody furious. Like "you just lost your newest customer" furious. It's not smart to make your newest customers feel like you're trying to sucker them into paying you even more money in order to fully use the product they've just bought. DDi should be for extra options, not for basic stuff that's required to make the print products usable.

"My flying carpet is full of elves."

That it was cut apparently in favour of essentially filler content (presumably, in the process of cutting the book down from the digest format, during which process, I suspect it lost pages), then posted as DDI content, simply reeks of trying to get extra money out of the people who already paid extra for their book to be made into an unwieldy hardback.

It annoys me.  It's crappy customer service.  That doesn't annoy anyone else?



If you look at the original mock-ups, It actually gained pages.  Neither the Executioner nor the Vampire were originally scheduled to be in the book, those were taken from the Dragon article which they retconned as a playtest and the Ravenloft Campaign Guide which was canceled.  The soft cover digest format did not include these classes, so the book would have had no need for the magic items to support them.
That so?

If so, that makes this even more egregious.  An active decision to include the two classes that need the magic items, then either cut them or leave them out on purpose.

Failhard.
Harrying your Prey, the Easy Way: A Hunter's Handbook - the first of what will hopefully be many CharOp efforts on my part. The Blinker - teleport everywhere. An Eladrin Knight/Eldritch Knight. CB != rules source.
Well, there's the issue of the timescale involved as well; they only gave themselves an additional month to add the two classes.  The executioner was finished obviously, since it had already been published, but we have no idea how far along the vampire had been, seeing as Ravenloft was supposed to come out... what, this fall?  I thought it was slated for October, but I don't remember.  At any rate, they had very little time to add this stuff to the book, they probably didn't even realize there weren't any 4eE legal ki foci/holy symbols out there because they've internally abandoned the rarity system.
Well, there's the issue of the timescale involved as well; they only gave themselves an additional month to add the two classes.  The executioner was finished obviously, since it had already been published, but we have no idea how far along the vampire had been, seeing as Ravenloft was supposed to come out... what, this fall?  I thought it was slated for October, but I don't remember.  At any rate, they had very little time to add this stuff to the book, they probably didn't even realize there weren't any 4eE legal ki foci/holy symbols out there because they've internally abandoned the rarity system.


There are Holy Symbols in Essentials.  So really, Vampires are fine.  These items are not "required".  As for the Executioner, most of the powers are weapon powers.  There are poison powers that seem to use implements, so that might be a weakness.  So even for the Executioner, Ki Foci being "required" seems extreme.

I do need to lodge a complaint.  The content of this article is in both the Compendium and the Character Builder, which is wonderful.  But the source is said to be Heroes of Shadow, which is not correct.  That should be fixed so folks don't waste all of their time leafing through in futility. 


There are Holy Symbols in Essentials.

Name one Holy Symbol released in an Essentials book.
Harrying your Prey, the Easy Way: A Hunter's Handbook - the first of what will hopefully be many CharOp efforts on my part. The Blinker - teleport everywhere. An Eladrin Knight/Eldritch Knight. CB != rules source.

There are Holy Symbols in Essentials.


Name one Holy Symbol released in an Essentials book.


I'm not an expert, but the Dungeon Master's Kit appears to have a few options: Symbol of Battle, Symbol of Hope, and Symbol of Life.  I also seem to recall a list of items that made things like the Magic Holy Symbol into Common items.  Was that list just in DDI?  I can't remember.
Hrm, should have specified player material, shouldn't I.

I fail.

However, the list of essentials updates is online-only, and not actually linked to from the errata section, still.
Harrying your Prey, the Easy Way: A Hunter's Handbook - the first of what will hopefully be many CharOp efforts on my part. The Blinker - teleport everywhere. An Eladrin Knight/Eldritch Knight. CB != rules source.
As for the Executioner, most of the powers are weapon powers.  There are poison powers that seem to use implements, so that might be a weakness.  So even for the Executioner, Ki Foci being "required" seems extreme.


Yes, executioners use weapon powers. But they require multiple different weapons to actually use them. To actually have an enhancement bonus to all their attacks, they need a magic ki focus. Otherwise, they need at least 4-5 different magic weapons, each with a level-appropriate enhancement bonus. Can you really see a DM willing to give out that many magic items to a single character?

"My flying carpet is full of elves."

As for the Executioner, most of the powers are weapon powers.  There are poison powers that seem to use implements, so that might be a weakness.  So even for the Executioner, Ki Foci being "required" seems extreme.


Yes, executioners use weapon powers. But they require multiple different weapons to actually use them. To actually have an enhancement bonus to all their attacks, they need a magic ki focus. Otherwise, they need at least 4-5 different magic weapons, each with a level-appropriate enhancement bonus. Can you really see a DM willing to give out that many magic items to a single character?


That's actually a very good point.  Except for the math.  1 Dagger + 1 Garrote = 4 to 5 weapons apparently.  Still, I'll concede that it would be annoying to play an Executioner without a Ki Focus.
Printers charge by page count, but they come in 'sets'.  HoS was 160 pages; the next available book size might have been 180, or 200, and they didn't have that much material.  If they had added the 5 pages of Ki Foci, they would have been charged the full 20 or 40 pages worth.  It was a money saving action, not money-grabbing.

However, I'm not going to deny that they could have easily saved those 5 pages by not wasting text on excessive fluff.
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.
Printers charge by page count, but they come in 'sets'.  HoS was 160 pages; the next available book size might have been 180, or 200, and they didn't have that much material.  If they had added the 5 pages of Ki Foci, they would have been charged the full 20 or 40 pages worth.  It was a money saving action, not money-grabbing.

However, I'm not going to deny that they could have easily saved those 5 pages by not wasting text on excessive fluff.


Bearing in mind I've not read the article, I'm just going by the Compendium...

The Compendium lists a total of 6 Ki Foci which are attributed either to Heroes of Shadow (and that seems a bit of a slap in the face to those of us who bought the book in itself, cos they damn sure ain't in there) or to multiple sources.

That's a single page in a book of this format, but to be generous, it could have been two pages.  Drop the full-page reprinted Revenant image on page 118 and the full-page Eladrin a couple of pages later.  There's plenty of space.  Not to mention the fact that each chapter beings with a full-page splash image, and I'm pretty sure each of those is reprinted.

Alternatively, there's absolutely masses of flavour material, most of it incredibly generic, repetitive and/or cliché.  That could have gone, and I, for one, wouldn't have missed it at all.

I'm well aware that making the book longer woudl have made it more expensive.  There was absolutely no need for it to be longer to get the cut content in.
Harrying your Prey, the Easy Way: A Hunter's Handbook - the first of what will hopefully be many CharOp efforts on my part. The Blinker - teleport everywhere. An Eladrin Knight/Eldritch Knight. CB != rules source.
1 Dagger + 1 Garrote = 4 to 5 weapons apparently.


Have you actually played (or even read) the executioner?

To actually make full use of his powers, a Red Scales executioner needs a dagger, a garotte, a one-handed military weapon with a decent [W] such as a rapier, and a ranged weapon such as a shortbow or hand crossbow. A League of Whispers executioner needs a bola, a blowgun, a hand crossbow, a one-handed light blade of some sort, and probably a shortbow for when the hand crossbow's [W] and range are insufficient. So, 4-5 weapons, unless you want to either be unable to use all your Guild attack powers, or incapable of fighting at both melee and range. Without a ki focus, an executioner is extremely restricted, to the point of being a really sucky striker.

"My flying carpet is full of elves."

1 Dagger + 1 Garrote = 4 to 5 weapons apparently.


Have you actually played (or even read) the executioner?

To actually make full use of his powers, a Red Scales executioner needs a dagger, a garotte, a one-handed military weapon with a decent [W] such as a rapier, and a ranged weapon such as a shortbow or hand crossbow. A League of Whispers executioner needs a bola, a blowgun, a hand crossbow, a one-handed light blade of some sort, and probably a shortbow for when the hand crossbow's [W] and range are insufficient. So, 4-5 weapons, unless you want to either be unable to use all your Guild attack powers, or incapable of fighting at both melee and range. Without a ki focus, an executioner is extremely restricted, to the point of being a really sucky striker.


Wow, that is a lot.  I had only looked at the Heroic tier, so maybe things get crazier as the class advances.
Wow, that is a lot.  I had only looked at the Heroic tier, so maybe things get crazier as the class advances.


Actually, all those things are needed by level 7 at the latest (when even a League of Whispers executioner wants a decent melee light blade for Hidden Stab). Well "needed" if you actually want to use all your powers, anyway. It would theoretically be possible to play an executioner with just a single weapon through your entire career. You'd just be rubbish.

"My flying carpet is full of elves."

I think the main thing to note is that we're not objecting to the concept of content being cut for page space and published online (although the point that such content used to be free promo material, and now isn't mostly due to a painful lack of dragon content, is worth repeating).  We're objecting to the choice of what was cut.

There were many pages of fluff, and while I did like most of it, some of it at least could have been turned into a dungeon article of some kind.  And then there's the utterly unnecessary padding of double fluff for each power.  And then there's the updated revenant - largely reprint material in the first place - which could have stayed dragon content without negatively impacting any of the rest of the content in the book.  And that's before we even consider content that is just terrible and nobody would have missed anyway - like the binder or the shade (the vampire's kind of terrible, but some people would have missed it).  Any of that content would have been a better choice to shift online than the ki focuses.

The ki focuses are necessary for executioners, and vamps and death priests are really hampered by the painfully limited selection of implements for players who came to this book from essentials.  Not only should the ki focuses have been in this book, there should have been some holy symbols as well. 



In a lot of ways, this was a very dissapointing book.  There's mechanical fail (vampire, binder, shade), content selection fail (ki focuses), and tons of padding, even if you don't count the general shadow fluff (and I don't, like I said, I kind of liked it).  And then there's the general lack of art, and significantly greater rate of re-used art among it.  Overall, I don't exactly regret picking this book up, but I can't exactly recoment it to anybody else, either.  I really hope the next player offering is of a higher quality, this book was far below what I expect from WotC.
Hey, here's an idea.  They could have put in these ki focuses into the book, and then put one of the races in the magazine.  Pick one at random, let's say... oh I dunno... the Revenant.

Oh.

Right.