Questions concerning vague rules

11 posts / 0 new
Last post
Greetings.

I have been playing D&D for a bit, mostly during 3.5; however we recently got ourselves the 4.0 set with all of it's nice extra material and have been playing around in it for a bit. However some rules are hard to understand and being the power gaming munchkins as they are they want to find as many ways as possible to raise their damage numbers.

Our first mayor issue is our Assassin Razorclaw shifter. They get a natural weapon with two separate hits on them (i.e two weapons) but it is counted as a "Two hander". It's name is "Fighter Claw" or (Claw Fighter Claw) in the builder tool.
Firstly I would like to inquire how this works along with "Powers".
a) If a skill says 1[W], will it inflict 1d6 as per using only one of the claws or 2[W] seeing as the claws are "Two handers"?
Our group consensus was that it would make plain auto attacks better and not worth the effort using skills.

b) If multiclassing a rogue to get the sneak attack, will it trigger for each attack or once per round only?
c) Will the Nightshroud Guild training proc on both attacks or only one of them? [I.e Extra damage if the target isn't adjecent to it's allies]
d) With his class he has a "Minor" "At Will" power to teleport himself and if he is adjecent to an ally at the start or end of his turn he can turn invisible.
That in turn triggers an effect that let's him make a hide check everytime he becomes invisible. Does this really work as "Hide in plain sight" or what really happens?

I also have a quick question as general DM:ing, our more eratic players tend to do stuff that is a bit...stray from the groups best. This is invoking very much drama as to why the character in this case decided to sneak into someones house punch the owner in the face and leave. Any way to prevent the drama without forcefully limiting his options in a free world?


At this point in time, it's generally just taking up a lot of time we could have spent playing instead of arguing about the rules. And none of them likes to admit they might be wrong. We figured our best bet was to ask on the forum, albeit that it was "to much of a hassle" for them to post; and so they didn't.

I guess asking not to get flamed is to much, however I did look around at the forums prior to posting this. And as I still couldn't really fully confirm anything made this thread.
First of all, the "Claw Fighter Claw" weapon is only available to GNOLL PC's who have taken the "Claw Fighter" feat. So that elminates one issue entirely. The claw functions nearly identically to wielding a shortsword in each hand. So with most powers you can use your main or off hand, but not both at once, though with a power like the ranger's twin strike, you would get one attack with your primary claw and one with your off-hand claw, each for 1d6 damage per [w].

b) Multiclassing rogue via the sneak of shadows feat only lets you sneak attack oncer PER ENCOUNTER.

c) Nightstalker bonus damage applies every time you make a damage roll, so yes generally once per attack you make.

d) The assassin does have an at-will MOVE action teleport (Shadow step), but it's not an minor action and does not grant invisibility. If you could provide his full statblock then perhaps more information then perhaps more information could be given on what that *might* be.


Greetings! This is Actually the Assassin in question and I did hear about my friend posting I figured i'd elevate some overall facts making this abit easier of a puzzle to solve.

Since it's the most simple D) It was a case of using Shadow Step to move from a Enemy creature to then teleport to a Friendly PC which granted Cover, after that I used Shade form and made a appropriate Stealth Check.

B) Most likely this curiousity is caused by our DM houseruling a 1d6 sneak-attack on Assassins because he thought it to be Weird for them to not get any level of bonuses other than the standard ones from Combat advantage. Together with the fact that our builder might have bugged out at some point showing Sneak attack Assassin feats without having a Multi-class rogue. Since we've been having Issues replicating the scenario in which he first made the assumption.

A) That sucks I kinda liked the Concept of a Claw fighter Razorclaw shifter, however i'll just have to adjust accordingly.

I Deeply thank you for helping us.
In general, the partial cover provided by allies does *NOT* work for stealth.

*Forgot to type one very important word, thank you.* 
Our first mayor issue is our Assassin Razorclaw shifter. They get a natural weapon with two separate hits on them (i.e two weapons) but it is counted as a "Two hander". It's name is "Fighter Claw" or (Claw Fighter Claw) in the builder tool.
Firstly I would like to inquire how this works along with "Powers".
a) If a skill says 1[W], will it inflict 1d6 as per using only one of the claws or 2[W] seeing as the claws are "Two handers"?



Whether a weapon is one-handed or two-handed is irrelevant -- if an attack does 1[W], it does 1[W].  Many powers are designed to be used by characters wielding a weapon in each hand (e.g., Twin Strike).  Powers like that will be explicit about it, and will say things like
html_removed
 "Hit: 1[W] damage per attack."

b) If multiclassing a rogue to get the sneak attack, will it trigger for each attack or once per round only?
html_removed



You can't get an extra sneak attack by holding a weapon in each hand -- you get one per round.  Even if the character was a full rogue (instead of just multiclass), "You can deal this extra damage only once per turn."

c) Will the Nightshroud Guild training proc on both attacks or only one of them? [I.e Extra damage if the target isn't adjecent to it's allies]



Sorry, no idea what this is, but again if the power doesn't stipulate that a two weapon wielder can make two attacks, then he can't.

d) With his class he has a "Minor" "At Will" power to teleport himself and if he is adjecent to an ally at the start or end of his turn he can turn invisible.
That in turn triggers an effect that let's him make a hide check everytime he becomes invisible. Does this really work as "Hide in plain sight" or what really happens?



What power are you referring to?  If he's invisible, he doesn't become even more invisible by succeeding on a hide check.  Do you mean the reverse of this, that if he makes a hide check he becomes invisible?  I'd have to know what power you are talking about, but that sounds dubious.

I also have a quick question as general DM:ing, our more eratic players tend to do stuff that is a bit...stray from the groups best. This is invoking very much drama as to why the character in this case decided to sneak into someones house punch the owner in the face and leave. Any way to prevent the drama without forcefully limiting his options in a free world?



Don't limit his options, but there should be consequences in game for things like this.  Perhaps the person fights back... is the PC willing to kill? If so, that is murder, and should be treated by the town guard as such.  It isn't all on you, either -- are the other PCs really willing to travel and fight alongside someone like this?  This should be an opportunity for roleplaying.  If the rest of the PCs refuse to adventure with someone like this, then the player has to create a new, hopefully less chaotic-stupid, character, if he wants to play the game.  Though I haven't seen stuff like this in many years, I've found that peer pressure, rather than dm vs player pressure, tends to work well to get players to stop disruptive behaviors.

At this point in time, it's generally just taking up a lot of time we could have spent playing instead of arguing about the rules. And none of them likes to admit they might be wrong. We figured our best bet was to ask on the forum, albeit that it was "to much of a hassle" for them to post; and so they didn't.



You should try as much as possible to handle these kinds of things out of game.  Before your session starts, spend 15-20 minutes or so with each player (or really each player that you have a concern about) to go over what his character can and can't do.  If you've got hours or days before you play, then it can be about the rules, but if you've got minutes or less, make it about what you will allow.  The DM is never forced to allow something just because its in the rules.  In this sort of situation, whenever the PC gets a new ability, you can have the player run it by you first.  If you say "no, I don't think that's how the rules work" you are asking for an argument (unless you know the rules really well and can back up your claim with evidence), but if you say "it may very well be consistent with the rules, but I'm not allowing it in my game for balance reasons (or I'll allow it with the following proviso...)," the player can't really argue with you.  In situations like this, you've got to assert your authority as a DM, for the good of your game.  It is important that you don't come across as arbitrary, or out to get a particular player or to spoil his or her efforts at optimizing.  But I think it is totally reasonable for you to say "I'm not going to allow X class until I'm more familiar with how it is supposed to work."  

Another strategy is to make the game less about mechanics for a little while.  Start off with a series of primarily RP encounters, or with a mystery for the PCs to solve, something where no advantage is gained by having a super-pc.  Then, reward and reinforce good behaviors.  If you can get the player to invest in the idea or story of the game, you'll a) see an end to random nonsensical violence and the like, and b) the player will be less frustrated when you restrict some of the character creation options, because he'll see that there's a lot more to the game than mechanics.

There is one other strategy of last resort, as it takes more work and requires you to have a good sense of how to manage encounter challenge level and make sure everyone is engaged and having fun.  I haven't had to use this in any of my 4E games, but I used this in an old 3.5 game in which I had a player who decided that he would intentionally exploit classes he thought were 'broken.'  When the warlock class came out, he thought it was broken, and so decided to play it.  I could have said "you can't do that, and my reason is because it is 'broken,' and you can hardly disagree."  Instead, however, I allowed it, but I asked him to provide a backstory explaining how he became a warlock.  His explanation was that his father was a warlock who trained him in the dark arts.  So, a few sessions later, the party discovered that the big bad evil guy that has been plotting against them is actually the warlock's father, a higher level warlock. (This kind of solution made a lot more sense in 3.5 than in 4E b/c in 3.5, NPC and PC mechanics worked the same way for the most part -- you could do this in 4E, but it would be a lot more complicated and it begs the question of why you would allow it in the first place if you think it isn't balanced with the other PCs).  It was fun, and years later my group remembers that well, and the morale of the story was that there was no point in attempting to take advantage of 'broken' mechanics b/c the encounter difficulty would rise accordingly, such that the challenge was still as much as it would have been without the 'broken' character.  It worked for us, but YMMV.

But really, I think a lot of this could get handled by talking to the player outside the game about the behaviors you find problematic.  Is he attacking random NPCs because he's bored?  Is it because he doesn't realize that there is more to it than that?  Help him develop a character that he finds interesting enough to *want* to RP appropriately.  That way, you can increase his fun and stop him from decreasing everyone else's.  

The forum is a great resource if you know that the player's interpretation of the rules is outrageous but you don't know the appropriate rules to cite.  But the real solution is to cut the problem off at its root -- a) make the player realize that there is a lot more to the game than exploiting rules, that it isn't just player vs. DM, PCs vs. monsters; and b) let it be known to all that the final authority at your table is you.  Rule zero -- the DM is always right.  The rules are a tool the DM uses to run the game -- they cannot restrict the DM in any way.  That said, with much power (and again, DM power needs to be absolute when you have this sort of crap to deal with) comes much responsibility.  It is on you to be fair, and to explain why your decisions are in everyone's interest.  


html_removed
If they think that the game is just you vs them, then of course they will think it is unfair if you also get to dictate which rules get followed...  If you can make the players realize that you are more than just another player who plays the monsters, but rather a referee who is often cheering for the players to win all the while doing your best to challenge them, to make it a fun experience, then they won't rebel against your decisions, even if they disagree with them.  

In general, the partial cover provided by allies does work for stealth.


That's... the precise opposite of true.  In general, cover provided by allies ONLY works against attacks.  It requires specific exceptions (such as the Shade racial One With Shadow) for you to be able to use cover provided by allies for Stealth.
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.
Greetings! This is Actually the Assassin in question

...

Try not to give your DM a hard time.  DMing is a hard job, harder than it might look.  Put your DM at ease by explaining how some potentially complicated power or power combo works in advance of the game, and then ask if it is okay.  Your DM will generally say yes when you deal with it like this, and then it won't come across as a gimmick or a surprise move to catch the DM off guard.   In any event, if you disagree with the DM during the game, try to defer to his ruling during the game, and then talk to him about it after.  If the Dungeon Master isn't the Master of the Dungeon, it isn't really D&D, and I think you'll find that a good DM-player relationship actually gives you more freedom.  If the DM, rather than the rules, is the ultimate authority, then if you have a good idea that maybe isn't in the rules, but you have a plausible explanation, the DM is free to say yes to you without worrying about whether it is in the rules. 

...
and I did hear about my friend posting I figured i'd elevate some overall facts making this abit easier of a puzzle to solve.

Since it's the most simple D) It was a case of using Shadow Step to move from a Enemy creature to then teleport to a Friendly PC which granted Cover, after that I used Shade form and made a appropriate Stealth Check.



That sounds legitimate -- in this case, it is a move action and then a minor action (not just a minor action), and the shadow step power is an encounter power.  This is actually not all that similar to "hide in plain sight," which allows you to remain hidden regardless of what you do and whether or not there is anyone around you.  With Shade Form, your ability to stay hidden is contingent upon having cover (if a monster can't see the PC because an ally in between them is providing cover, all it has to do is walk around to the other side, or cause the ally in the way to move), and it requires a minor action every subsequent round that the character wants to remain hidden.  Keep in mind that 'hidden' doesn't mean 'the monsters have no idea that you are there.'  If I see you duck behind someone and then I can no longer see you, I still know that you are behind that person.  And if I have any sort of burst or blast attack, my ability to see you is irrelevent, and in any event it gives me all the more reason to attack the person in between you and I (who in D&D terms is probably a defender, which is generally what happens whether or not the striker is hiding, as defenders have lots of different ways to cause the monsters to focus on them).  One final point -- rogues get a lot more out of being hidden than assassin's do, for good reason [a point which will become clear I think below re the sneak attack houserule].

B) Most likely this curiousity is caused by our DM houseruling a 1d6 sneak-attack on Assassins because he thought it to be Weird for them to not get any level of bonuses other than the standard ones from Combat advantage.



Well, houseruling is somewhat ill-advised until everyone has a good handle on how the rules are supposed to work.  In this case, if the DM is giving you a sneak attack ability via a houserule, then he can obviously dictate how that sneak attack can work, regardless of how sneak attacks generally work, since, after all, its a house rule.  But, before house-ruling, it is a good idea to question your assumptions.  

Lots of classes don't get any bonuses from combat advantage other than the standard ones.  For rogues, the sneak attack isn't just some bonus they get from combat advantage... its rather tied in with what a rogue fundamentally is.  A rogue is a dirty fighter.  When you are distracted, he sucker punches you.  He isn't just okay with stabbing you below the belt or in the back -- he specializes in that kind of maneuver.  So when the rogue has combat advantage -- that is, when for whatever reason the rogue's enemy isn't totally focused on watching out for rogue shenanigans -- he practices his trade.

An assassin is a totally different kind of combatant.  An assassin does stab people in the back, but not just like whenever his opponent is distracted.  Rather, it is a very deliberate, planned action that doesn't look anything at all like the dirty fighting sneak attack rogue shenanigans.  An assassin sneaks up behind someone and strangles them with a garrote, or prepares poison so that when they do hit, the hit counts.  The assassin has something sort of like the sneak attack -- the "assassin's strike."  It does a lot more damage than a sneak attack does, but it can only be used once in an encounter.  That makes sense, no?  An assassin doesn't strangle someone over and over every time they look away -- he does it once, and it kills them (or badly injures them).  And if that fails, he's got a poisoned dagger to hopefully finish his victim off.

Together with the fact that our builder might have bugged out at some point showing Sneak attack Assassin feats without having a Multi-class rogue. Since we've been having Issues replicating the scenario in which he first made the assumption.



If the character builder seems funny, verify it.  And above all, ask yourself if it makes sense.  If you do this, then you'll have a plausible in-game kind of explanation for when your DM asks, which will help, and if you can't think of a plausible explanation, go with something else, b/c if it isn't real in your mind, how can it be real in anyone else's?

Be proactive.  Try to think about possible concerns your DM will have in advance, and if it is at all unclear, ask on the forum.  It is infinitely better to do this before the game than after (and be sure to share it with your DM before the actual situation arises).  You want your DM to be on your side, a collaborator rather than an opponent, so treat him like a partner.  Do what you can to ease any concerns about whether your character is balanced, so that your DM can be thinking about developing the story and being a referee of the action, rather than the rules.  You'll all have more fun that way.

Greetings! This is Actually the Assassin in question

...

Try not to give your DM a hard time.  DMing is a hard job, harder than it might look.  Put your DM at ease by explaining how some potentially complicated power or power combo works in advance of the game, and then ask if it is okay.  Your DM will generally say yes when you deal with it like this, and then it won't come across as a gimmick or a surprise move to catch the DM off guard.   In any event, if you disagree with the DM during the game, try to defer to his ruling during the game, and then talk to him about it after.  If the Dungeon Master isn't the Master of the Dungeon, it isn't really D&D, and I think you'll find that a good DM-player relationship actually gives you more freedom.  If the DM, rather than the rules, is the ultimate authority, then if you have a good idea that maybe isn't in the rules, but you have a plausible explanation, the DM is free to say yes to you without worrying about whether it is in the rules. 




Actually the DM himself doesn't have Any issues with this, this poster is actually another player in our group which got very confused.  All of this was Ok'd ahead of time and well explained, the DM himself was actually soo curious he went through all the asssassin data there is just because. He knows the rules in question but just figured i'd make what he planned abit more amusing. The last point is in regards to something totally irrelevant to the first points about the assassin.

I Love the comments tho :D Thank you.

I'd would like to start of by saying that I was not the DM during the adventure with his Assassin, at that session I was a player.
But it's interesting to read all of this, seeing as the character builder didn't make the claws red or anything else to tell the player that he could not use them. Same thing happens if you make a gnome barbarian and give him a two handed axe, it will not tell you that it's not legit.



Actually the DM himself doesn't have Any issues with this, this poster is actually another player in our group which got very confused.



This part is VERY missleading, seeing as it was the whole group that felt this way. I decided to post and ask seeing as no one else did.
But this statement is like saying "Well we have this one player in the group that decided to throw a hissyfit over my character".
Yes, the DM house-ruled it because none of us could fully understand exactly how the mechanics worked.

But really, I think a lot of this could get handled by talking to the player outside the game about the behaviors you find problematic.  Is he attacking random NPCs because he's bored?  Is it because he doesn't realize that there is more to it than that?



This happend during my own DMing session, same person mind you. They were quarelling a long time about a certain guard captain who had taken bribes; pondering what to do with him. They opted to report him and set the guards to raid a "closed" harbor that was suppose to be under repair, but was used darker things instead.
When they were done, our unaligned monk decided that the best thing would go and sneak into his house and kill him instead. Thusly his nightly adventures sprang forth and he ended up sneaking in. However the captain was not at home at the time. He looked around and found burglars, which he just went up and beat them up. He heard that people had woken up on the top floor but waited for them to come down.
Seeing a three people in her home in the middle of the night, the captains wife paniced.
She screamed at the player to leave and so he did. But he waited outside the door and when she came out to fetch the guards to do away with the two bodies on her floor; he punched her straight in the face.

At this point I didn't really know what to think, but peer preasure doesn't seem to work. If it seems logical to him, his opinion is like a solid block.
Which brings us neatly to the coup de grace, being a band of friends playing; and having known them for many years. As soon as one person leaves the rp, they will all abandon it; Even if that person left to make it better for them.

I'd like to state again that I am very gratefull to all of you who have replied, it's given me much to think about and cleared up our rule issues.
Since it's the most simple D) It was a case of using Shadow Step to move from a Enemy creature to then teleport to a Friendly PC which granted Cover, after that I used Shade form and made a appropriate Stealth Check.

Just FYI, that takes a standard and a move (i.e most of your turn) each time you hide (well, the standard last for 2 turns, so it's not quite that bad.)

Otherwise it's a nifty trick.

guides
List of no-action attacks.
Dynamic vs Static Bonuses
Phalanx tactics and builds
Crivens! A Pictsies Guide Good
Power
s to intentionally miss with
Mr. Cellophane: How to be unnoticed
Way's to fire around corners
Crits: what their really worth
Retroactive bonus vs Static bonus.
Runepriest handbook & discussion thread
Holy Symbols to hang around your neck
Ways to Gain or Downgrade Actions
List of bonuses to saving throws
The Ghost with the Most (revenant handbook)
my builds
F-111 Interdictor Long (200+ squares) distance ally teleporter. With some warlord stuff. Broken in a plot way, not a power way.

Thought Switch Higher level build that grants upto 14 attacks on turn 1. If your allies play along, it's broken.

Elven Critters Crit op with crit generation. 5 of these will end anything. Broken.

King Fisher Optimized net user.  Moderate.

Boominator Fun catch-22 booming blade build with either strong or completely broken damage depending on your reading.

Very Distracting Warlock Lot's of dazing and major penalties to hit. Overpowered.

Pocket Protector Pixie Stealth Knight. Maximizing the defender's aura by being in an ally's/enemy's square.

Yakuza NinjIntimiAdin: Perma-stealth Striker that offers a little protection for ally's, and can intimidate bloodied enemies. Very Strong.

Chargeburgler with cheese Ranged attacks at the end of a charge along with perma-stealth. Solid, could be overpowered if tweaked.

Void Defender Defends giving a penalty to hit anyone but him, then removing himself from play. Can get somewhat broken in epic.

Scry and Die Attacking from around corners, while staying hidden. Moderate to broken, depending on the situation.

Skimisher Fly in, attack, and fly away. Also prevents enemies from coming close. Moderate to Broken depending on the enemy, but shouldn't make the game un-fun, as the rest of your team is at risk, and you have enough weaknesses.

Indestructible Simply won't die, even if you sleep though combat.  One of THE most abusive character in 4e.

Sir Robin (Bravely Charge Away) He automatically slows and pushes an enemy (5 squares), while charging away. Hard to rate it's power level, since it's terrain dependent.

Death's Gatekeeper A fun twist on a healic, making your party "unkillable". Overpowered to Broken, but shouldn't actually make the game un-fun, just TPK proof.

Death's Gatekeeper mk2, (Stealth Edition) Make your party "unkillable", and you hidden, while doing solid damage. Stronger then the above, but also easier for a DM to shut down. Broken, until your DM get's enough of it.

Domination and Death Dominate everything then kill them quickly. Only works @ 30, but is broken multiple ways.

Battlemind Mc Prone-Daze Protecting your allies by keeping enemies away. Quite powerful.

The Retaliator Getting hit deals more damage to the enemy then you receive yourself, and you can take plenty of hits. Heavy item dependency, Broken.

Dead Kobold Transit Teleports 98 squares a turn, and can bring someone along for the ride. Not fully built, so i can't judge the power.

Psilent Guardian Protect your allies, while being invisible. Overpowered, possibly broken.

Rune of Vengance Do lot's of damage while boosting your teams. Strong to slightly overpowered.

Charedent BarrageA charging ardent. Fine in a normal team, overpowered if there are 2 together, and easily broken in teams of 5.

Super Knight A tough, sticky, high damage knight. Strong.

Super Duper Knight Basically the same as super knight with items, making it far more broken.

Mora, the unkillable avenger Solid damage, while being neigh indestuctable. Overpowered, but not broken.

Swordburst Maximus At-Will Close Burst 3 that slide and prones. Protects allies with off actions. Strong, possibly over powered with the right party.

Since it's the most simple D) It was a case of using Shadow Step to move from a Enemy creature to then teleport to a Friendly PC which granted Cover, after that I used Shade form and made a appropriate Stealth Check.

Just FYI, that takes a standard and a move (i.e most of your turn) each time you hide (well, the standard last for 2 turns, so it's not quite that bad.)

Otherwise it's a nifty trick.



For the person talking about Assassin's using Garrotes and poisoned dagger: that's the Executioner assassin.  This thread is about the D&Di Assassin, that uses Shrouds and has some ways to hide and stuff.

I guess not many people know about the D&Di Assassin.  They get an encounter power, minor action, which allows the assassin to become insubstantial, gain vulnerable 5 radiant and can make stealth rolls using any cover or concealment, including cover provided by allies.  The downside is that this effect ends at the end of your next turn or if you make an attack.  It is a sustain minor power, so as long as you don't attack, you can move around quite a bit to remain hidden.

The problem is that if you didn't use Shade Form first, you can't make the steath roll, since you have to have th effect active before taking the movement that you are using to stealth.