Status of 4e Epic Tier

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Epic Tier is broken.

I have been DM'ing 4e nearly since its inception, and have been lucky enough to DM consistently for 2.5 years. I have been running a Dark Sun campaign and we started epic tier campaign. At that point it all just became unraveled.

To give some background, I consider my group to be highly competent character builders and tacticians, such that I don't even throw encounters at them below their level. We had 2 rangers (one PHB 1, other essentials) essentials druid, battlemind and storm sorcerer. I'm used to them using powers that increase the gap between their power and the monsters. No biggie, I just assume my players are 2 levels higher than they are.

So we played our first adventure and I threw a rampager (21 solo brute) at them. All characters save 1 went before him. Their average init modifier? about +10 higher than the rampager. Also 3 of the characters have dangersense (roll twice for init). I crunched the numbers, the only way the rampager could go first is by rolling a 20 and all other players rolling a 5.

So 4 of the players go first. The battlemind gets his free move, which triggers his item. His item prevents creatures adjacent to him from shifting; no mark needed. By the time the rampager's turn comes up, he is prone, blinded, slowed and lost 1/4 his HP. Working on the fly I add an auto-damage aura. He makes his perception check (needs about an 8 to find someone) to find and enemy to attack, does poorly, and has no close burst or area attacks. So he...stands up and goes total defense.

By his next turn he is blinded again, and has 1/4 hp left, makes a perception check (which works this time because he targets the lowest stealth PC), misses with 2 of his attacks (due to the -5 for being blind), and hits with the last one. He is unable to use reactions because he is blinded, and the perception check is a minor, thus not useable outside of his turn.

He dies and the PC's spend their surges. 2 surges between an entire party. The only damage came from his aura I added.

The next encounter is 4 level 19 elites who are basically a PC party (a tank, a striker, a healer, a caster). They provide more of a challenge. The artillery, who has a nice reaction that swaps places, is unable to use it because he has not acted yet. He gets blinded, and with being ranged, his one blast spell is all that saves him.

The fight ends in 3 round with the PC's spending 3 surges, all from the sorcerer who was hounded by the skirmisher.

Two level 21 encounters even dented a level 21 party.

In retrospect of this, I could have done several things. I could have added more monsters to the fight, added creatures with tremorsense, and plain rewritten the monsters to give them ungodly powers. Also, I should have restricted my players' item choices more. It probably would have worked, but here is my question:

Why do I have to do such heavy modification to even challenge my players?

Yes, epic tier is...epic and the players should feel that way, but I studied up on the sorcerer-kings. I doubt that even the level 27 solo's could have TPK'ed them. My ranger was hitting equal level enemies on a 4, and equal level enemies were missing on a 14 (except the soldier who barely hit on a 14). If the battlemind got within melee he could control 3 enemies to basically stay put through his various means, and thanks to his feat hammer rythm, he did at least 24 auto damage every turn and knocked his enemy prone.

I had to throw a level 27 encounter at them to challenge them. Aside from monster design, I had to spend a good 45 minutes just on encounter and environment to put them in a situation where they didn't have the upper hand. I had to account for so many variable simply to challenge them.

Aside from encounter design, it ruined the story. They could run into any city-state--no plan, just walk in--and slaughter everything, go to the Sorcerer-king, and kill him without an extended rest. Sure I could make the sorcerer-kings clever and employ an army. The problem is that the sorcerer-kings are now david instead of goliath. The group's power alone makes them formidable than the sorcerer-kings, who are the most powerful beings of Athas. What kind of Dark Sun campaign has sorcerer-kings that can be killed with relative ease?

I'm not generalizing this experience to everyone, but if you play the game as written (not modifying monster stats), you simply cannot challenge your players. Destructive and powerful entities are beaten without great effort, and no barriers separate them from what they want. I know wizards is working on epic tier next, but the current state even with monster design changes is just frustrating for the DM.

I just want to share my experience with trying to DM an epic tier campaign, and see if anyone else has encountered this gargantuan power chasm.
WotC should really come up with DMG3 with emphasis on epic tier. Many DMs have problems with the tier, so I am mystified why WotC is so silent about it.
Epic tier monsters should be fighting smarter, not harder. They'll have minions: three 20th level elites and twenty-eight 13th level minions makes a nice 20th level encounter. Ranged minions spread out are a real pain, especially if they seem to BE the encounter, and then they get backed up by the elites. Also, treasures such as magic items will get used by the monsters bfore they die.
Isn't the general consensus that solos are broken? A big ole dragon is cool in theory, then our old friend focus fire shows up and the rangers are all "STILL KING OF DPS MOTHERLOVER!"

Zammm = Batman.

It's my sig in a box
58280208 wrote:
Everything is better when you read it in Bane's voice.
192334281 wrote:
Your human antics and desire to continue living have moved me. Just kidding. You cannot move me physically or emotionally. Wall humor.
57092228 wrote:
Copy effects work like a photocopy machine: you get a copy of the 'naked' card, NOT of what's on it.
56995928 wrote:
Funny story: InQuest Magazine (I think it was InQuest) had an oversized Chaos Orb which I totally rooked someone into allowing into a (non-sanctioned) game. I had a proxy card that was a Mountain with "Chaos Orb" written on it. When I played it, my opponent cried foul: Him: "WTF? a Proxy? no-one said anything about Proxies. Do you even own an actual Chaos Orb?" Me: "Yes, but I thought it would be better to use a Proxy." Him: "No way. If you're going to put a Chaos Orb in your deck you have to use your actual Chaos Orb." Me: "*Sigh*. Okay." I pulled out this huge Chaos Orb and placed it on the table. He tried to cry foul again but everyone else said he insisted I use my actual Chaos Orb and that was my actual Chaos Orb. I used it, flipped it and wiped most of his board. Unsurprisingly, that only worked once and only because everyone present thought it was hilarious.
My DM on Battleminds:
no, see i can kill defenders, but 8 consecutive crits on a battlemind, eh walk it off.
144543765 wrote:
195392035 wrote:
Hi guys! So, I'm a sort of returning player to Magic. I say sort of because as a child I had two main TCG's I liked. Yu-Gi-Oh, and Pokemon. Some of my friends branched off in to Magic, and I bought two pre-made decks just to kind of fit in. Like I said, Yu-Gi-Oh and Pokemon were what I really knew how to play. I have a extensive knowledge of deck building in those two TCG's. However, as far as Magic is concerned, I only ever used those two pre made decks. I know how the game is played, and I know general things, but now I want to get in the game for real. I want to begin playing it as a regular. My question is, are all cards ever released from the time of the inception of this game until present day fair game in a deck? Or are there special rules? Are some cards forbidden or restricted? Thanks guys, and I will gladly accept ANY help lol.
I have the same problem with women.
117639611 wrote:
198869283 wrote:
Oh I have a standing rule. If someone plays a Planeswalker I concede the game. I refuse to play with or against people who play Planeswalkers. They really did ruin the game.
A turn two Tibalt win?! Wicked... Betcha don't see that everyday.

The Pony Co. 

Is this my new ego sig? Yes it is, other Barry
57461258 wrote:
And that's why you should never, ever call RP Jesus on being a troll, because then everyone else playing along gets outed, too, and the thread goes back to being boring.
57461258 wrote:
See, this is why RPJesus should be in charge of the storyline. The novel line would never have been cancelled if he had been running the show. Specifically the Slobad and Geth's Head talkshow he just described.
57461258 wrote:
Not only was that an obligatory joke, it was an on-topic post that still managed to be off-topic due to thread derailment. RP Jesus does it again folks.
92481331 wrote:
I think I'm gonna' start praying to Jesus... That's right, RPJesus, I'm gonna' be praying to you, right now. O' Jesus Please continue to make my time here on the forums fun and cause me to chuckle. Amen.
92481331 wrote:
56957928 wrote:
It was wonderful. Us Johnnies had a field day. That Timmy with the Grizzly bears would actually have to think about swinging into your Mogg Fanatic, giving you time to set up your silly combo. Nowadays it's all DERPSWING! with thier blue jeans and their MP3 players and their EM EM OH AR PEE JEES and their "Dewmocracy" and their children's card games and their Jersey Shores and their Tattooed Tenaged Vampire Hunters from Beverly Hills
Seriously, that was amazing. I laughed my *ss off. Made my day, and I just woke up.
[quote=ArtVenn You're still one of my favorite people... just sayin'.[/quote]
56756068 wrote:
56786788 wrote:
.....would it be a bit blasphemous if I said, "PRAYSE RPJAYSUS!" like an Evangelical preacher?
Perhaps, but who doesn't like to blaspheme every now and again? Especially when Mr. RPJesus is completely right.
56756068 wrote:
I don't say this often, but ... LOL
57526128 wrote:
You... You... Evil something... I actualy made the damn char once I saw the poster... Now you made me see it again and I gained resolve to put it into my campaign. Shell be high standing oficial of Cyrix order. Uterly mad and only slightly evil. And it'll be bad. Evil even. And ill blame you and Lizard for it :P.
57042968 wrote:
111809331 wrote:
I'm trying to work out if you're being sarcastic here. ...
Am going to stop you right there... it's RPJesus... he's always sarcastic
58335208 wrote:
56957928 wrote:
112114441 wrote:
we can only hope it gets the jace treatment...it could have at least been legendary
So that even the decks that don't run it run it to deal with it? Isn't that like the definition of format warping?
I lol'd.
56287226 wrote:
98088088 wrote:
Uktabi Orangutan What the heck's going on with those monkeys?
The most common answer is that they are what RPJesus would call "[Debutantes avert your eyes]ing."
56965458 wrote:
Show
57461258 wrote:
116498949 wrote:
I’ve removed content from this thread because off-topic discussions are a violation of the Code of Conduct. You can review the Code here: www.wizards.com/Company/About.aspx?x=wz_... Please keep your posts polite, on-topic, and refrain from making personal attacks. You are welcome to disagree with one another but please do so respectfully and constructively. If you wish to report a post for Code of Conduct violation, click on the “Report Post” button above the post and this will submit your report to the moderators on duty.
...Am I the only one that thinks this is reaching the point of downright Kafkaesque insanity?
I condone the use of the word Kafkaesque. However, I'm presentely ambivalent. I mean, that can't be serious, right? We're April 1st, right? They didn't mod RPJesus for off-topic discussion when the WHOLE THREAD IS OFF-TOPIC, right? Right.
57545908 wrote:
56957928 wrote:
Save or die. If you disagree with this, you're wrong (Not because of any points or arguements that have been made, but I just rolled a d20 for you and got a 1, so you lose).
58397368 wrote:
58222628 wrote:
This just won the argument, AFAIC.
That's just awesome.
57471038 wrote:
57718868 wrote:
HOW DID I NOT KNOW ABOUT THE BEAR PRODUCING WORDS OF WILDING?! WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME?!
That's what RPJesus tends to do. That's why I don't think he's a real person, but some Magic Card Archive Server sort of machine, that is programmed to react to other posters' comments with obscure cards that do in fact exist, but somehow missed by even the most experienced Magic players. And then come up with strange combos with said cards. All of that is impossible for a normal human to do given the amount of time he does it and how often he does it. He/It got me with Light of Sanction, which prompted me to go to RQ&A to try and find if it was even possible to do combat damage to a creature I control (in light that Mark of Asylum exists).
71235715 wrote:
+10
100176878 wrote:
56957928 wrote:
57078538 wrote:
heaven or hell.
Round 1. Lets rock.
GG quotes! RPJesus just made this thread win!
56906968 wrote:
56957928 wrote:
143359585 wrote:
Blue players get all the overpowerered cards like JTMS. I think it's time that wizards gave something to people who remember what magic is really about: creatures.
Initially yes, Wizards was married to blue. However, about a decade ago they had a nasty divorce, and a few years after that they began courting the attention of Green. Then in Worldwake they had a nasty affair with their ex, but as of Innistrad, things seem to have gotten back on track, and Wizards has even proposed.
You are my favorite. Yes you. And moments like this make it so. Thank you RPJesus for just being you.
On what flavor text fits me:
57307308 wrote:
Surely RPJesus gets Niv-Mizzet, Dracogenius?
56874518 wrote:
First: I STILL can't take you seriously with that avatar. And I can take RPJesus seriously, so that's saying something.
121689989 wrote:
I'd offer you a cookie for making me laugh but it has an Upkeep Cost that has been known to cause people to quit eating.
56267956 wrote:
I <3 you loads
57400888 wrote:
56957928 wrote:
"AINT NO LAWS IN THE SKY MOTHER****." - Agrus Kos, Wojek Veteran
10/10. Amazing.
WotC should really come up with DMG3 with emphasis on epic tier. Many DMs have problems with the tier, so I am mystified why WotC is so silent about it.



  Hmmm.  Haven't done a ton of play in Epic tier, but it is my favorite (and yes, it needs waaaaay more support)...


 1) Are the players fairly good at optimizing?  If they built their characters well, then they're going to be tougher than expected.  Higher defenses, higher hit bonuses, higher damage, etc.

 2)  Also, always try to avoid battles consisting of a single monster, even a Solo.  "Solo' was probably a poor term for WOTC to use, since it's almost always suggested that they be fielded alongside numerous other enemies. When you only have one enemy, everyone can more effectively focus fire, only have to maneuver/defend against one enemy, and it ends up going down much more quickly.

3)  The game is generally designed so that players can reasonably exptec to survive nearly half a dozen equal level encounters between extended rests. 

  In essence, you can start throwing more and tougher enemies at them.



Aside from encounter design, it ruined the story. They could run into any city-state--no plan, just walk in--and slaughter everything, go to the Sorcerer-king, and kill him without an extended rest. Sure I could make the sorcerer-kings clever and employ an army. The problem is that the sorcerer-kings are now david instead of goliath. The group's power alone makes them formidable than the sorcerer-kings, who are the most powerful beings of Athas. What kind of Dark Sun campaign has sorcerer-kings that can be killed with relative ease?



  The Sorcerer Kings are meant to be tough, but never undefeatable.  A recurring theme throughout Dark Sun is that the SKs are not actually as old, wise, or powerful as the commoners think they are. They are not gods.

   Gaining power, marching into a SK's lair, cutting through their gaurds, slaying the SK and freeing a city is exactly the kind of thing you expect an epic level PC to do.  That was the plot for one of the first Dark Sun novels (Kalak was slain) and the reason why Tyr starts off as a free city in 4E.

  To that end, don't be afraid that a single SK can't wipe the floor with a level 22-ish level party.  Let the SK be aided by an honor gaurd of half-giants, psionists, and its more loyal/powerful templars.  Don't be afraid to let the SK use sneaky tricks, magic items, or hidden trapdoors to escape.  Don't be afraid to let the SK use rituals or plot mcguffins to even the odds.  They haven't survived this long through pure physical power- they also had to be very cunning and manipulative.

..........................................................................................................................................................

   Epic gameplay in general requires a change in scope.  In Heroic and Paragon tiers, you're generally fighting against local and regional forces. Occasonally the enviroment.  The king is supposed to be scary.  In Epic, you are on par with gods and godlings.  You aren't just fighting for local or regional influence.  You're fighting on a near global scale.

  Let the PCs topple an SK.  Now what?  Who's going to lead the city?  Are they assuming it's going to be exactly the same as what happened in Tyr?  What about when it doesn't go exactly like that and instead of a Sorcer King we have the remaining Templars enforcing brutal measures.  What if the military takes over?  What about the merchant houses?  They could be even worse than the SK.

   What about the other SKs and their cities?  This would make the 2nd SK to die in less than a decade.  Clearly, holding up in your temple fortress and waiting for adventurers to wander in and kill you is a bad plan for a ruler.  Time to take the fight to these uppity heroes and end them once and for all.  This may mean SKs actually combining forces against the new city and the PCs.

   Forgetting about the SKs and cities for a moment, there's the matter of the Dragon, that Kraken-like primordial lurking in the Sea of Silt, and the relatively unsable nature of the world.  Are the PCs going to do anything about any of that?

  Sure, they're physically the most powerful force in the world, but can they actually do anything with it other than kill people and take their stuff? Can they  save/fix the world?  How? Doing that requires more than the ability to deal 20d6 damage.

  Until D&D comes out with a guide to epic level encounters, I would turn to other games like White Wolf's Exalted and Scion games for inspiration.  In those games, you start as a demi-god compared to everyone else, but that doesn't mean the story is over...
WotC should really come up with DMG3 with emphasis on epic tier. Many DMs have problems with the tier, so I am mystified why WotC is so silent about it.



They aren't silent. Though they're being kind of vague about it, they've mentioned multiple times they are looking into rolling out heavy epic tier support. In Rule-of-Three 4/25/2011 (www.wizards.com/DND/Article.aspx?x=dnd/4...) they mention bringing out an adventure arc, and I've seen other mentions here and there I can't really recall at the moment.
I DM epic now.  My party reached it recently.  Our battles have been the same as always.  If you rely on the  monsters as written, the players will pwn your face and defile your mouth.  I tweak my monsters up so that they are hitting at least 50% of the time (the monsters in the manual as is seem to have at best a 40% to hit my lowest defense scoring player) and I make sure I'm using the current damage expressions.

I also add several encounter type powers that they can recharge that do more than standard damage and outfit my normal monsters with a daily type of power that will do a lot of damage and my elites and solos have access to several such daily powered abilities.

The end result is that my players are still pressed in combat, they still use surges, they still end up winning more often than not, but they don't do what is described above.

..........................................................................................................................................................

   Epic gameplay in general requires a change in scope.  In Heroic and Paragon tiers, you're generally fighting against local and regional forces. Occasonally the enviroment.  The king is supposed to be scary.  In Epic, you are on par with gods and godlings.  You aren't just fighting for local or regional influence.  You're fighting on a near global scale.

  Let the PCs topple an SK.  Now what?  Who's going to lead the city?  Are they assuming it's going to be exactly the same as what happened in Tyr?  What about when it doesn't go exactly like that and instead of a Sorcer King we have the remaining Templars enforcing brutal measures.  What if the military takes over?  What about the merchant houses?  They could be even worse than the SK.

   What about the other cities?  This would make the 2nd SK to die in less than a decade.  Clearly, holding up in your temple fortress and waiting for adventurers to wander in and kill you is a bad plan.  Tim to take the fight to these uppity heroes and end them once and for all.  This may mean SKs actually combining forces against the new city and the PCs.

   Forgetting about the SKs and cities for a moment, there's the matter of the Dragon, that Kraken-like primordial lurking in the Sea of Silt, and the relatively unsable nature of the world.  Are the PCs going to do anything about any of that?

  Sure, they're physically the most powerful force in the world, but can they actually do anything with it other than kill people and take their stuff? Can they  save/fix the world?  How? Doing that requires more than the ability to deal 20d6 damage.



I lurk here on a regular basis.  This little gem of advice inspired me to post.  Thanks for the excellent advice!  It will certainly help in my campaign.

Yeah, solo's by themselves are horrible. Most mobs needs tweaking at higher levels to compete properly.


I just had my group fight Stonefang today from HS2. This is a level 5 adventure.


A defender took 18 damage the whole fight, and that was it.

There's one really easy way to have harder encounters - don't fight ones that are equal to the characters' level.  Go level +2, 3, 4, or 5 and I doubt they'll be having the same cakewalk.
There's one really easy way to have harder encounters - don't fight ones that are equal to the characters' level.  Go level +2, 3, 4, or 5 and I doubt they'll be having the same cakewalk.



That only works to some degree.  The problem is that the new monsters have encouraged stiker-heavy/nova dependant builds which have made combat swingier.  Err just a little bit in how far above level you are willing to do and an EPIC encounter can go bad quickly.  Demi-Gods/Chosen get a ressurect at low epic levels but not all EDs offer this.  In addition, if you keep on doing this, you wind up handing out more XP than you might otherwise plan causing PCs to rise in levels faster than planned....which in effect postpones rather than solves the problem(s).


-Polaris
Yeah, I have to agree that on-level encounters are generally easy, and below-level encounters aren't even worth running most of the time.  I'd keep monsters at 2-4 levels above the party and make any further increase in difficulty by adding more monsters.  Yes, you level faster.  That just means you go through epic tier faster than usual.

By epic, things should be happening in encounters.  Add traps and hazards.  Stack the terrain in the monsters' favor.  A single solo brute is just begging for your characters to focus fire to devastating effect.  Also, I suggest not ever doing total defense as a DM.  It's a total waste of an action, slows down the action (if it works at all), and characterizes your big bad monster as a little girl with her arms over her head as five guys beat on her.  Also, I'm not sure what monster you used, but an epic solo should have multiple attacks.  Going on two initiatives and having an immediate reaction attack when hit would give it much more damage potential.

When characters invest a lot in certain things, it's important not to try to confound that as a DM.  If three of your players took Danger Sense, and perhaps a few other initiative-boosting feats, then it's okay that they're going first - they earned it.  Likewise, if your Ranger has great accuracy, it's probably because he put a lot of resources into accuracy.  Increase difficulty for them through different means.

Maybe your brute is protected by a magical field that heals him to full every round.  They can blind/prone/daze him all they want, but they need to disable the protecting device before they can kill him.

What I think is needed is a DM3 that focuses on epic tier, because you really have to branch out as a DM and use all the tools D&D gives you.  You have to know your PCs and design accordingly.  If you approach it with the same mentality as a heroic fight, your monsters will get pasted.  I agree that things certainly start to slip in favor of the PCs in epic, but I think that there are still ways to create challenging encounters in the framework we have.
Recently ran two large epic adventures (taking a PC from level 21 to 23) in LFR. These can be found on www.livingforgottenrealms.com, the EPIC3-1 and EPIC3-2 adventures. I cannot say that both adventures were particularly easy on the PCs. They needed to stay alert all the time, and there have been a couple of very close calls. I certainly did not get the impression it was somehow easier than earlier levels... (e.g. initiative is actually already a problem at paragon level. I should not that my players absolutely hate powers that more or less automatically put all PCs first. It can be great, but to them it is much more fun if initiative is spread out a bit. Besides, they have seen it seriously backfire when a group of monsters survived the initial onslaught due to a few crappy rolls, and suddenly focus fired on one PC.)

Having said that, do not assume that the basic monster set-up works for a non-standard group ;) Three strong strikers make rincemeat of a standard solo. 4E encounter designs might be less dependend on the group build than 3E, but the higher level you get, the more pronounced the difference becomes. You will need to adjust your encounters based on the characters in the group, and you probably need to experiment a bit with it. It is a bit hard to give good advice in that department. I don't have all that much experience with epic, and it is also a huge list. For example, single target striker strong, don't hestitate to give solos a bit more hit points. Is the group daze/stun strong, pick opponents slightly better able to deal with it (although obviously, don't overdo it).

Of course, the type of story you pick is also important. Alex_'s comments are right on target in that regards. A single sorcerer king should be the end point of a paragon adventure, or the start of the epic campaign. It should not be the focus of the epic campaign as a whole ;)
To be honest though, Dave's working really hard to make it work.  If you just throw Epic monsters together in an encounter with the same lack-of-consideration of synergy you would in Heroic, Team PC will barely notice.

I'll also note that Dave's putting eight encounters in one or one-and-a-half "days", instead of the "2-3 encounters per day" rate that Heroic and Paragon use.  So yeah.  It's a lot harder to compensate for PC power in Epic right now.  Dave's just been doing a good job anyway.

"Nice assumptions. Completely wrong assumptions, but by jove if being incorrect stopped people from making idiotic statements, we wouldn't have modern internet subculture." Kerrus
Practical gameplay runs by neither RAW or RAI, but rather "A Compromise Between The Gist Of The Rule As I Recall Getting The Impression Of It That One Time I Read It And What Jerry Says He Remembers, Whatever, We'll Look It Up Later If Any Of Us Still Give A Damn." Erachima

Yeah, I have to agree that on-level encounters are generally easy, and below-level encounters aren't even worth running most of the time. 


Ther is something to be said for occasionally letting the party curbstomp an encounter.

Zammm = Batman.

It's my sig in a box
58280208 wrote:
Everything is better when you read it in Bane's voice.
192334281 wrote:
Your human antics and desire to continue living have moved me. Just kidding. You cannot move me physically or emotionally. Wall humor.
57092228 wrote:
Copy effects work like a photocopy machine: you get a copy of the 'naked' card, NOT of what's on it.
56995928 wrote:
Funny story: InQuest Magazine (I think it was InQuest) had an oversized Chaos Orb which I totally rooked someone into allowing into a (non-sanctioned) game. I had a proxy card that was a Mountain with "Chaos Orb" written on it. When I played it, my opponent cried foul: Him: "WTF? a Proxy? no-one said anything about Proxies. Do you even own an actual Chaos Orb?" Me: "Yes, but I thought it would be better to use a Proxy." Him: "No way. If you're going to put a Chaos Orb in your deck you have to use your actual Chaos Orb." Me: "*Sigh*. Okay." I pulled out this huge Chaos Orb and placed it on the table. He tried to cry foul again but everyone else said he insisted I use my actual Chaos Orb and that was my actual Chaos Orb. I used it, flipped it and wiped most of his board. Unsurprisingly, that only worked once and only because everyone present thought it was hilarious.
My DM on Battleminds:
no, see i can kill defenders, but 8 consecutive crits on a battlemind, eh walk it off.
144543765 wrote:
195392035 wrote:
Hi guys! So, I'm a sort of returning player to Magic. I say sort of because as a child I had two main TCG's I liked. Yu-Gi-Oh, and Pokemon. Some of my friends branched off in to Magic, and I bought two pre-made decks just to kind of fit in. Like I said, Yu-Gi-Oh and Pokemon were what I really knew how to play. I have a extensive knowledge of deck building in those two TCG's. However, as far as Magic is concerned, I only ever used those two pre made decks. I know how the game is played, and I know general things, but now I want to get in the game for real. I want to begin playing it as a regular. My question is, are all cards ever released from the time of the inception of this game until present day fair game in a deck? Or are there special rules? Are some cards forbidden or restricted? Thanks guys, and I will gladly accept ANY help lol.
I have the same problem with women.
117639611 wrote:
198869283 wrote:
Oh I have a standing rule. If someone plays a Planeswalker I concede the game. I refuse to play with or against people who play Planeswalkers. They really did ruin the game.
A turn two Tibalt win?! Wicked... Betcha don't see that everyday.

The Pony Co. 

Is this my new ego sig? Yes it is, other Barry
57461258 wrote:
And that's why you should never, ever call RP Jesus on being a troll, because then everyone else playing along gets outed, too, and the thread goes back to being boring.
57461258 wrote:
See, this is why RPJesus should be in charge of the storyline. The novel line would never have been cancelled if he had been running the show. Specifically the Slobad and Geth's Head talkshow he just described.
57461258 wrote:
Not only was that an obligatory joke, it was an on-topic post that still managed to be off-topic due to thread derailment. RP Jesus does it again folks.
92481331 wrote:
I think I'm gonna' start praying to Jesus... That's right, RPJesus, I'm gonna' be praying to you, right now. O' Jesus Please continue to make my time here on the forums fun and cause me to chuckle. Amen.
92481331 wrote:
56957928 wrote:
It was wonderful. Us Johnnies had a field day. That Timmy with the Grizzly bears would actually have to think about swinging into your Mogg Fanatic, giving you time to set up your silly combo. Nowadays it's all DERPSWING! with thier blue jeans and their MP3 players and their EM EM OH AR PEE JEES and their "Dewmocracy" and their children's card games and their Jersey Shores and their Tattooed Tenaged Vampire Hunters from Beverly Hills
Seriously, that was amazing. I laughed my *ss off. Made my day, and I just woke up.
[quote=ArtVenn You're still one of my favorite people... just sayin'.[/quote]
56756068 wrote:
56786788 wrote:
.....would it be a bit blasphemous if I said, "PRAYSE RPJAYSUS!" like an Evangelical preacher?
Perhaps, but who doesn't like to blaspheme every now and again? Especially when Mr. RPJesus is completely right.
56756068 wrote:
I don't say this often, but ... LOL
57526128 wrote:
You... You... Evil something... I actualy made the damn char once I saw the poster... Now you made me see it again and I gained resolve to put it into my campaign. Shell be high standing oficial of Cyrix order. Uterly mad and only slightly evil. And it'll be bad. Evil even. And ill blame you and Lizard for it :P.
57042968 wrote:
111809331 wrote:
I'm trying to work out if you're being sarcastic here. ...
Am going to stop you right there... it's RPJesus... he's always sarcastic
58335208 wrote:
56957928 wrote:
112114441 wrote:
we can only hope it gets the jace treatment...it could have at least been legendary
So that even the decks that don't run it run it to deal with it? Isn't that like the definition of format warping?
I lol'd.
56287226 wrote:
98088088 wrote:
Uktabi Orangutan What the heck's going on with those monkeys?
The most common answer is that they are what RPJesus would call "[Debutantes avert your eyes]ing."
56965458 wrote:
Show
57461258 wrote:
116498949 wrote:
I’ve removed content from this thread because off-topic discussions are a violation of the Code of Conduct. You can review the Code here: www.wizards.com/Company/About.aspx?x=wz_... Please keep your posts polite, on-topic, and refrain from making personal attacks. You are welcome to disagree with one another but please do so respectfully and constructively. If you wish to report a post for Code of Conduct violation, click on the “Report Post” button above the post and this will submit your report to the moderators on duty.
...Am I the only one that thinks this is reaching the point of downright Kafkaesque insanity?
I condone the use of the word Kafkaesque. However, I'm presentely ambivalent. I mean, that can't be serious, right? We're April 1st, right? They didn't mod RPJesus for off-topic discussion when the WHOLE THREAD IS OFF-TOPIC, right? Right.
57545908 wrote:
56957928 wrote:
Save or die. If you disagree with this, you're wrong (Not because of any points or arguements that have been made, but I just rolled a d20 for you and got a 1, so you lose).
58397368 wrote:
58222628 wrote:
This just won the argument, AFAIC.
That's just awesome.
57471038 wrote:
57718868 wrote:
HOW DID I NOT KNOW ABOUT THE BEAR PRODUCING WORDS OF WILDING?! WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME?!
That's what RPJesus tends to do. That's why I don't think he's a real person, but some Magic Card Archive Server sort of machine, that is programmed to react to other posters' comments with obscure cards that do in fact exist, but somehow missed by even the most experienced Magic players. And then come up with strange combos with said cards. All of that is impossible for a normal human to do given the amount of time he does it and how often he does it. He/It got me with Light of Sanction, which prompted me to go to RQ&A to try and find if it was even possible to do combat damage to a creature I control (in light that Mark of Asylum exists).
71235715 wrote:
+10
100176878 wrote:
56957928 wrote:
57078538 wrote:
heaven or hell.
Round 1. Lets rock.
GG quotes! RPJesus just made this thread win!
56906968 wrote:
56957928 wrote:
143359585 wrote:
Blue players get all the overpowerered cards like JTMS. I think it's time that wizards gave something to people who remember what magic is really about: creatures.
Initially yes, Wizards was married to blue. However, about a decade ago they had a nasty divorce, and a few years after that they began courting the attention of Green. Then in Worldwake they had a nasty affair with their ex, but as of Innistrad, things seem to have gotten back on track, and Wizards has even proposed.
You are my favorite. Yes you. And moments like this make it so. Thank you RPJesus for just being you.
On what flavor text fits me:
57307308 wrote:
Surely RPJesus gets Niv-Mizzet, Dracogenius?
56874518 wrote:
First: I STILL can't take you seriously with that avatar. And I can take RPJesus seriously, so that's saying something.
121689989 wrote:
I'd offer you a cookie for making me laugh but it has an Upkeep Cost that has been known to cause people to quit eating.
56267956 wrote:
I <3 you loads
57400888 wrote:
56957928 wrote:
"AINT NO LAWS IN THE SKY MOTHER****." - Agrus Kos, Wojek Veteran
10/10. Amazing.
To be honest though, Dave's working really hard to make it work.  If you just throw Epic monsters together in an encounter with the same lack-of-consideration of synergy you would in Heroic, Team PC will barely notice.

I'll also note that Dave's putting eight encounters in one or one-and-a-half "days", instead of the "2-3 encounters per day" rate that Heroic and Paragon use.  So yeah.  It's a lot harder to compensate for PC power in Epic right now.  Dave's just been doing a good job anyway.



Yeah, but I think thats a problem with LFRs set-up more than Epic Tier. By Late Paragon a one round mod is the same as 3e's 15 minute workday. Heck, by early paragon its showing. PCS just have too many resources for 2-3 encounters to make a significant dent in their capabilities allowing them to bring too much to bear in each fight. 
Dave's figured it out, Epic needs to be a marathon to bring a challenge. Doing that in LFR takes 'multiple mods' without a rest or a single 12hr slot....Eeek.

As far as the OPs problem...when has 4 19's been an on level challenge for 5 21's? 
I'm hoping that the advent of the DMG3 will also bring Planescape as the year's (whatever that year may be) Campaign Setting...
As far as the OPs problem...when has 4 19's been an on level challenge for 5 21's? 

IIRC, they were all elites.  So 8 19s vs. 5 21s.

"Nice assumptions. Completely wrong assumptions, but by jove if being incorrect stopped people from making idiotic statements, we wouldn't have modern internet subculture." Kerrus
Practical gameplay runs by neither RAW or RAI, but rather "A Compromise Between The Gist Of The Rule As I Recall Getting The Impression Of It That One Time I Read It And What Jerry Says He Remembers, Whatever, We'll Look It Up Later If Any Of Us Still Give A Damn." Erachima

Supposedly the ER is designed around 5 encounters. 2-3 is far too easy. 5-6 tweaked for your party ought to be a challenge and may even require some consumables. Plus solos perhaps should never be solo. They are mislabeled imo.
Interestingly, the design direction questions that Mearls is asking in today's Legends & Lore ties in well with the themes of this thread.

4e should have room for both long-drawn out combats and quick combats, but these shouldn't be divided along lines of "difficult combats vs easy combats."  A quick combat should have just as much potential for being difficult.  And yet, with the 4e design, it's difficult to do so.  Essentials classes with less options-paralysis can mitigate this somewhat by streamlining combat. 

As they try to figure out how to deal with Epic Tier better in the coming months, these are going to be core questions and concepts (hey, that should be a column series: Questions & Concepts!), in my opinion.

Before posting, why not ask yourself, What Would Wrecan Say?

IMAGE(http://images.onesite.com/community.wizards.com/user/marandahir/thumb/9ac5d970f3a59330212c73baffe4c556.png?v=90000)

A great man once said "If WotC put out boxes full of free money there'd still be people complaining about how it's folded." – Boraxe

As far as the OPs problem...when has 4 19's been an on level challenge for 5 21's? 

IIRC, they were all elites.  So 8 19s vs. 5 21s.

In my experience lower level monsters loose too much in to-hit, damage output and defenses, and whether there are 4 or 8 hardly matters (and that is ignoring the fact that an elite is not necesarily the same as two monsters since they are more susceptible to control). This is even more true when you are dealing with somewhat optimized characters around a tier break.

As for Dave working hard to make the encounters work, true (and highly appreciated), but that is true the moment you reach paragon. LFR by definition also takes more work since you write it for the generic unknown group unlike when you write for your own home group whose weaknesses and strengths you are supposed to know. Furthermore, the fact that the epic adventures are marathon sessions (although EPIC3-1 has a sort of rest moment in there), that is the basis of D&D. It is suposed to be a 5-6 encounters per day type of game. The fact that the LFR players are a bit spoiled in that regards shows itself when they actually do run in longer adventures. PCs that focus too much on damage and too little on defenses tend to feel it when the adventure day lasts longer then 3 encounters.

To be honest though, Dave's working really hard to make it work.  If you just throw Epic monsters together in an encounter with the same lack-of-consideration of synergy you would in Heroic, Team PC will barely notice.

I'll also note that Dave's putting eight encounters in one or one-and-a-half "days", instead of the "2-3 encounters per day" rate that Heroic and Paragon use.  So yeah.  It's a lot harder to compensate for PC power in Epic right now.  Dave's just been doing a good job anyway.



Yeah, but I think thats a problem with LFRs set-up more than Epic Tier. By Late Paragon a one round mod is the same as 3e's 15 minute workday. Heck, by early paragon its showing. PCS just have too many resources for 2-3 encounters to make a significant dent in their capabilities allowing them to bring too much to bear in each fight. 
Dave's figured it out, Epic needs to be a marathon to bring a challenge. Doing that in LFR takes 'multiple mods' without a rest or a single 12hr slot....Eeek.

As far as the OPs problem...when has 4 19's been an on level challenge for 5 21's? 



What does "LFR" mean?

And are Heroic days supposed to have 3 encounters? For some reason I thought it was 5. Is that kind of thing in one of the DMGs?
Living Forgotten Realms.

I also advise against having the same number of encounters per "days" or else the party knows when to nova blast all of their dailies.
Epic is a little squirrely right at the beginning.  The PCs get a massive uptick in power in the first few levels while still fighting monsters that quite honestly have to have been meant as challenges for the end of Paragon (especially barely-epic level 21 solos) .  It gets a little better as you level from there.

And as said above, the monsters alone aren't going to provide the challenge.  Upping the level on enemies does little to increase the difficulty, but add a few extra monsters and you will add intensity to the challenge.  The encounters need a little thought as to how the monsters work together too, more than the other tiers.  Monsters that apply conditions that other monsters can exploit are a DMs best friend, especially if you can do it with minions.  Epic encounters need epic terrain, seems like we had at least a couple fights every level where the room we were in - if you can call the gullet of a titanic beast floating around the Abyss a "room" for example - was more dangerous than the monsters inhabiting it.

Solos are a bit vulnerable, but terrain is a good way to shore them up.  I assume Dark Sun has a more updated solo in it, but from the OP description examples it sounds like he wasn't using current math monsters.  Soldiers are no better to hit than anything else, solos are much better now at shedding conditions, and I'm a little lost as to why a creature couldn't use its immediate action because it didn't have a turn yet.  Solos also now more consistently come equipped with the free action attacks, immediates, and/or auras to handle parties better.

INSIDE SCOOP, GAMERS: In the new version of D&D, it will no longer be "Edition Wars." It will be "Edition Lair Assault." - dungeonbastard

After playing these sort of games for almost 30 years I have come to the conclusion that built in or mandated balance is completely impossible to achieve for the following reasons:


  1. Player skill and DM skill vary widely. Complete noob at tactics vs people who study the char op boards on the player scale and DM's who just put down a couple monsters where some put together monsters that have synergy and that work in advantageous terrain or scenarios.

  2. Items that characters can have add a lot of variabilty to player power.

  3. Synergy between classes can add a lot of variability.

  4. Luck is a huge factor in 3-7 round combats.


The solution and it may seem cheesy is to do behind the scenes, real time encounter balancing and then using that information to tweak future encounters. The goal is not to defeat the characters but to make it a realistic option based on the skill of the characters to be defeated. Also have a chat with the players that 2-4 encounters per day just won't cut it 90% of the time. Either put in time pressure or just come to an understanding that the game works best if characters have a bit of power attrition and cannot go nova, ER, rinse and repeat.


 
Forgive me if someone jumped on this already, but blinded enemies "still" know where PCs are unless they move and make a stealth check (if there's another monster to shout the location even that doesn't work).  The -5 penalty to attacks still applies but a solo doing total defense is just wrong.
nova blast all of their dailies.


I was never a fan of that personally. I hardly tend to use mah dailies ever, mostly because I look for "Oh ****!" buttons rather than "Take that!" buttons.

Zammm = Batman.

It's my sig in a box
58280208 wrote:
Everything is better when you read it in Bane's voice.
192334281 wrote:
Your human antics and desire to continue living have moved me. Just kidding. You cannot move me physically or emotionally. Wall humor.
57092228 wrote:
Copy effects work like a photocopy machine: you get a copy of the 'naked' card, NOT of what's on it.
56995928 wrote:
Funny story: InQuest Magazine (I think it was InQuest) had an oversized Chaos Orb which I totally rooked someone into allowing into a (non-sanctioned) game. I had a proxy card that was a Mountain with "Chaos Orb" written on it. When I played it, my opponent cried foul: Him: "WTF? a Proxy? no-one said anything about Proxies. Do you even own an actual Chaos Orb?" Me: "Yes, but I thought it would be better to use a Proxy." Him: "No way. If you're going to put a Chaos Orb in your deck you have to use your actual Chaos Orb." Me: "*Sigh*. Okay." I pulled out this huge Chaos Orb and placed it on the table. He tried to cry foul again but everyone else said he insisted I use my actual Chaos Orb and that was my actual Chaos Orb. I used it, flipped it and wiped most of his board. Unsurprisingly, that only worked once and only because everyone present thought it was hilarious.
My DM on Battleminds:
no, see i can kill defenders, but 8 consecutive crits on a battlemind, eh walk it off.
144543765 wrote:
195392035 wrote:
Hi guys! So, I'm a sort of returning player to Magic. I say sort of because as a child I had two main TCG's I liked. Yu-Gi-Oh, and Pokemon. Some of my friends branched off in to Magic, and I bought two pre-made decks just to kind of fit in. Like I said, Yu-Gi-Oh and Pokemon were what I really knew how to play. I have a extensive knowledge of deck building in those two TCG's. However, as far as Magic is concerned, I only ever used those two pre made decks. I know how the game is played, and I know general things, but now I want to get in the game for real. I want to begin playing it as a regular. My question is, are all cards ever released from the time of the inception of this game until present day fair game in a deck? Or are there special rules? Are some cards forbidden or restricted? Thanks guys, and I will gladly accept ANY help lol.
I have the same problem with women.
117639611 wrote:
198869283 wrote:
Oh I have a standing rule. If someone plays a Planeswalker I concede the game. I refuse to play with or against people who play Planeswalkers. They really did ruin the game.
A turn two Tibalt win?! Wicked... Betcha don't see that everyday.

The Pony Co. 

Is this my new ego sig? Yes it is, other Barry
57461258 wrote:
And that's why you should never, ever call RP Jesus on being a troll, because then everyone else playing along gets outed, too, and the thread goes back to being boring.
57461258 wrote:
See, this is why RPJesus should be in charge of the storyline. The novel line would never have been cancelled if he had been running the show. Specifically the Slobad and Geth's Head talkshow he just described.
57461258 wrote:
Not only was that an obligatory joke, it was an on-topic post that still managed to be off-topic due to thread derailment. RP Jesus does it again folks.
92481331 wrote:
I think I'm gonna' start praying to Jesus... That's right, RPJesus, I'm gonna' be praying to you, right now. O' Jesus Please continue to make my time here on the forums fun and cause me to chuckle. Amen.
92481331 wrote:
56957928 wrote:
It was wonderful. Us Johnnies had a field day. That Timmy with the Grizzly bears would actually have to think about swinging into your Mogg Fanatic, giving you time to set up your silly combo. Nowadays it's all DERPSWING! with thier blue jeans and their MP3 players and their EM EM OH AR PEE JEES and their "Dewmocracy" and their children's card games and their Jersey Shores and their Tattooed Tenaged Vampire Hunters from Beverly Hills
Seriously, that was amazing. I laughed my *ss off. Made my day, and I just woke up.
[quote=ArtVenn You're still one of my favorite people... just sayin'.[/quote]
56756068 wrote:
56786788 wrote:
.....would it be a bit blasphemous if I said, "PRAYSE RPJAYSUS!" like an Evangelical preacher?
Perhaps, but who doesn't like to blaspheme every now and again? Especially when Mr. RPJesus is completely right.
56756068 wrote:
I don't say this often, but ... LOL
57526128 wrote:
You... You... Evil something... I actualy made the damn char once I saw the poster... Now you made me see it again and I gained resolve to put it into my campaign. Shell be high standing oficial of Cyrix order. Uterly mad and only slightly evil. And it'll be bad. Evil even. And ill blame you and Lizard for it :P.
57042968 wrote:
111809331 wrote:
I'm trying to work out if you're being sarcastic here. ...
Am going to stop you right there... it's RPJesus... he's always sarcastic
58335208 wrote:
56957928 wrote:
112114441 wrote:
we can only hope it gets the jace treatment...it could have at least been legendary
So that even the decks that don't run it run it to deal with it? Isn't that like the definition of format warping?
I lol'd.
56287226 wrote:
98088088 wrote:
Uktabi Orangutan What the heck's going on with those monkeys?
The most common answer is that they are what RPJesus would call "[Debutantes avert your eyes]ing."
56965458 wrote:
Show
57461258 wrote:
116498949 wrote:
I’ve removed content from this thread because off-topic discussions are a violation of the Code of Conduct. You can review the Code here: www.wizards.com/Company/About.aspx?x=wz_... Please keep your posts polite, on-topic, and refrain from making personal attacks. You are welcome to disagree with one another but please do so respectfully and constructively. If you wish to report a post for Code of Conduct violation, click on the “Report Post” button above the post and this will submit your report to the moderators on duty.
...Am I the only one that thinks this is reaching the point of downright Kafkaesque insanity?
I condone the use of the word Kafkaesque. However, I'm presentely ambivalent. I mean, that can't be serious, right? We're April 1st, right? They didn't mod RPJesus for off-topic discussion when the WHOLE THREAD IS OFF-TOPIC, right? Right.
57545908 wrote:
56957928 wrote:
Save or die. If you disagree with this, you're wrong (Not because of any points or arguements that have been made, but I just rolled a d20 for you and got a 1, so you lose).
58397368 wrote:
58222628 wrote:
This just won the argument, AFAIC.
That's just awesome.
57471038 wrote:
57718868 wrote:
HOW DID I NOT KNOW ABOUT THE BEAR PRODUCING WORDS OF WILDING?! WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME?!
That's what RPJesus tends to do. That's why I don't think he's a real person, but some Magic Card Archive Server sort of machine, that is programmed to react to other posters' comments with obscure cards that do in fact exist, but somehow missed by even the most experienced Magic players. And then come up with strange combos with said cards. All of that is impossible for a normal human to do given the amount of time he does it and how often he does it. He/It got me with Light of Sanction, which prompted me to go to RQ&A to try and find if it was even possible to do combat damage to a creature I control (in light that Mark of Asylum exists).
71235715 wrote:
+10
100176878 wrote:
56957928 wrote:
57078538 wrote:
heaven or hell.
Round 1. Lets rock.
GG quotes! RPJesus just made this thread win!
56906968 wrote:
56957928 wrote:
143359585 wrote:
Blue players get all the overpowerered cards like JTMS. I think it's time that wizards gave something to people who remember what magic is really about: creatures.
Initially yes, Wizards was married to blue. However, about a decade ago they had a nasty divorce, and a few years after that they began courting the attention of Green. Then in Worldwake they had a nasty affair with their ex, but as of Innistrad, things seem to have gotten back on track, and Wizards has even proposed.
You are my favorite. Yes you. And moments like this make it so. Thank you RPJesus for just being you.
On what flavor text fits me:
57307308 wrote:
Surely RPJesus gets Niv-Mizzet, Dracogenius?
56874518 wrote:
First: I STILL can't take you seriously with that avatar. And I can take RPJesus seriously, so that's saying something.
121689989 wrote:
I'd offer you a cookie for making me laugh but it has an Upkeep Cost that has been known to cause people to quit eating.
56267956 wrote:
I <3 you loads
57400888 wrote:
56957928 wrote:
"AINT NO LAWS IN THE SKY MOTHER****." - Agrus Kos, Wojek Veteran
10/10. Amazing.
to the op if you have a party of optimized pcs you will never challenge them with an encounter of their level. ever. at epic, its just a joke

2nd i assume youre using a dark sun monster but even so if its a solo and doesnt have a way to go twice a round then add it

3rd metagame the hell out of it and target your teams weaknesses

4th bring extra monsters in at the top or bottom of intiative

face it, epic tier is way the hell harder to balance. you have to hit your players in the teeth

i learned this the hard way but now i know
also i will never run a monster of lower than the pcs level. you cannot him them. i rarely use a monster of their level, let alone lower than their level. at any tier
also if you have one of those players that spams stealth check and invisibiltiy, termorsense and blindsight usually shuts them up. you touched on that but some builds are so broken you have to have practically all of the monsters have this for you to be able to challenge them
Epic tier monsters should be fighting smarter, not harder. They'll have minions: three 20th level elites and twenty-eight 13th level minions makes a nice 20th level encounter. Ranged minions spread out are a real pain, especially if they seem to BE the encounter, and then they get backed up by the elites. Also, treasures such as magic items will get used by the monsters bfore they die.



13th level minions could roll a 19 and miss on his party. he already said level 20s needed a 14 to hit

your encounter idea needs a lot of work. those minions pose no threat at all to an epic party. i repeat, 13th level minions have never and will never pose a threat at all to an epic party.
heh we have a brawling fighter that min/maxed his fortitude to 47 at 21st level so that he can grapple you and you have to roll against his fortitude to escape (or be shut down basically)

Most monsters I've seen at 21st - 24th level seem to have athletics around +25 or so.  This basically means that if you use the monsters as-is against this character, he can lock down anything he wants for as long as he wants.

You really do have to tailor your encounters a bit.  Because he has made it so the math is so overwhelmingly stacked against any monsters' ability (and the concept of a half orc putting a giant red dragon in a headlock and preventing it from doing anything is completely absurd to me) I pump up some athletics on some monsters so that they can get out 50% or so percent of the time.

It sucks to ahve to do but yeah... to challenge your party you have to go outside the box.  The epic tier monsters given are not up to par.
(and the concept of a half orc putting a giant red dragon in a headlock and preventing it from doing anything is completely absurd to me)


 
  Me too, you might want to ban Goliath's Belt and have the restriction on size for the basic grab attack apply to all grab actions.  It really does seem like a stupid oversight.

@mikemearls don't quite understand the difference

I don't make the rules, I just think them up and write them down. - Eric Cartman

Enough chitchat!  Time is candy! - Pinky Pie

For something like a dragon or equally mammoth monster, I add an action that if you try to grapple it it gets to try to escape like normal (using a more reasonable strength score and bonus for being bigger) and if it succeeds it throws you X squares and does damage to you as you basically fall.  (standard damage expression for the monster's level in damage)

I don't want to shut down the character totally against all monsters, not in the least, but neither do I want it headlocking all the bosses and elites and basically nullifying them. 

face it, epic tier is way the hell harder to balance. you have to hit your players in the teeth




This. When you DM epic you've got to be willing to mess with the monsters on the fly and go after the PC's without mercy. Only then will the monsters have a chance of being threatening.
For something like a dragon or equally mammoth monster, I add an action that if you try to grapple it it gets to try to escape like normal (using a more reasonable strength score and bonus for being bigger) and if it succeeds it throws you X squares and does damage to you as you basically fall.  (standard damage expression for the monster's level in damage)

I don't want to shut down the character totally against all monsters, not in the least, but neither do I want it headlocking all the bosses and elites and basically nullifying them. 


Unless I'm missing something, monsters won't be "shut down" by this. It's not 3.x, there's no pinnning action, all grapple does is apply the immobilized condition.

I think the better way of doing this is by using monsters with more teleports or who can teleport a friendly target.
Epic Tier is broken.
 My ranger was hitting equal level enemies on a 4, and equal level enemies were missing on a 14 (except the soldier who barely hit on a 14).

Maybe your group doesn't need the Expertise 'feat taxes?'

So we played our first adventure and I threw a rampager (21 solo brute) at them. All characters save 1 went before him. Their average init modifier? about +10 higher than the rampager. Also 3 of the characters have dangersense (roll twice for init). I crunched the numbers, the only way the rampager could go first is by rolling a 20 and all other players rolling a 5.

Brutes aren't typically initiative fiends.  If the party is heavily invested in inititiative (feats, items, dex primary/secondary) then, OK - if not, then yeah, maybe there's a problem with the tier or the monster.


I had to throw a level 27 encounter at them to challenge them. Aside from monster design, I had to spend a good 45 minutes just on encounter and environment to put them in a situation where they didn't have the upper hand. I had to account for so many variable simply to challenge them.

Heh.  Sounds like 3.5!  ;)  Seriously, though, as PCs get more options, yes, prepping to challenge them is going to become more complex.  With very high level PCs, in order to get the 'Epic' feel across, it can sometimes be worthwhile to have fewer encounters, or, at least, fewer non-trivial encounters, and longer 'days' between extended rests.

I don't know what all CharOp tricks your players plaid, but it's clear they power-gamed some, and while they might be very powerful, they might also turn out to be kind of 'swingy,' I'd be careful about just upping power until you 'challenge' them, because ratchetting challenges up against such a part  can very often go:  cake-walk, cake-walk, cake-walk, TPK.

Aside from encounter design, it ruined the story. They could run into any city-state--no plan, just walk in--and slaughter everything, go to the Sorcerer-king, and kill him without an extended rest.

It's not that hard to upgrade something, even on the fly, or just to put it beyond the realm of a the usual rules.  You rush the sorcerer king, you find yourselves teleported to the 665th layer of the Abyss.  Whatever.  Not everything needs stats, and if, thematically/storywise, something is beyond the power of the PCs, there's no limit to what the DM can have it do to establish that.

 

 

Oops, looks like this request tried to create an infinite loop. We do not allow such things here. We are a professional website!

By being grappled the monster is immobilized, so cannot move, cannot utilize terrain, etc... grants combat advantage, and also has the awesome imagery of a 7 foot humanoid headlocking and pinning down a 50-60 foot monster capable of destroying cities.   He has some other feats as well that make it -2 to its attack rolls (and the PCs already have their defenses to where average non buffed monsters are hitting on about 13-14 so a -2 puts them at needing 15s and 16s to hit, and unable to break the hold as even a natural 20 doesn't meet the required fortitude score (though a 20 is an auto success so you need a natural 20 to break free))

Teleporting is another good way to deal with it.  For elites and solos I'd consider that as well (for non monstrous enemies)

So no they are not shut down, that is correct.  They are however severely gimped if you are using the monsters by-the-book to the point where a monster that is supposed to represent a serious threat can be nullified with little effort.  In this case, unless you boost athletics or acrobatics up to about a 35-38 (+10 - +13 higher than average) you have a monster that can be immobilized for the entire encounter barring a natural 20. 
By being grappled the monster is immobilized, so cannot move, cannot utilize terrain, etc...

Well this is only a problem if that's relevant to the monster. A monster might be quite happy to just beat on something in melee reach. Usually a defender can handle this, but it might cause a drag on the party for the defender to become low on surges, especially if you don't run 1 encounter adventuring days.
grants combat advantage

Not without some other rules element.
and also has the awesome imagery of a 7 foot humanoid headlocking and pinning down a 50-60 foot monster capable of destroying cities.

Yes, Martial characters get to be awesome in this edition.
He has some other feats as well that make it -2 to its attack rolls (and the PCs already have their defenses to where average non buffed monsters are hitting on about 13-14 so a -2 puts them at needing 15s and 16s to hit, and unable to break the hold as even a natural 20 doesn't meet the required fortitude score (though a 20 is an auto success so you need a natural 20 to break free))

I'd look at the feats/items that boosted his fortitude. Usually these might be generous to allow someone to bring up their worst stat, but allowing someone to boost their best stat into unhittability isn't intended. Instead of such feats, WOTC should have just fixed the math (but you don't seem to think the math fixes are needed so *shrug*).

I don't usually have players with unhittability stats.  We added a new player yesterday who brought forth that (gleaned from char-ops).

I will fix it with monsters that can compensate.

Note:  I dont' mind awesome.  I mind unhittable / can hit on anything but a 1.  That's extreme.  The rules as they are also seem a bit TOO absurd for my tastes at times.

yeah i have a hunter/seeker build that hits on a 2. kind of stupid
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