Lay on Hands OP'd?

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OK, I got a bit annoyed with LoH last night in a session with a dracolich vs. a level 18 party.  I'm the DM and I couldn't do squat to down the paladin.  She must have spent 5-6 LoHs in the fight.  I think it makes LoH stronger than any Leader's healing.  I think it should have a per encounter cap as well as the per day cap it currently is designed with.
The Paladin probably spent all the LoH uses in one fight.  For the rest of the day, she's pretty stuffed.  And even then, she's probably wasted a bunch of better-spent build points on WIS, since you can only use it a number of times equal to your WIS mod.

It's a strong power, but it's a limited daily resource; it should be.
Harrying your Prey, the Easy Way: A Hunter's Handbook - the first of what will hopefully be many CharOp efforts on my part. The Blinker - teleport everywhere. An Eladrin Knight/Eldritch Knight. CB != rules source.
Well, that's my fault then, since I grant them 3 attributes to bump at 4th, 8th, 14th...  Maybe I'll need to house rule 3 LoH per encounter (or whatever leaders would normally get per encounter) to remedy it.  I didn't like how restrictive a few classes get if they don't get the 3rd attribute bump, but obviously my meddling has mucked up the system.
Yes, it has.  Uninformed meddling has this tendency.
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.
LOH is a fine ower that helps paladin do their job defending in a unique fashion, its like any other finite resource very useful when used wisely and can get out of hand if stats are played around with. Whichever way you look at it it all comes down to healing surges, use encounters, skill challenges and travel to eat away at them and the encounter where it you want to be the main event will go roughly as planned. Ultimately dont punish players for wise use of a finite resource that goes against your "story".
Unless you're dealing with a Baladin, the typical paladin will be selecting Wisdom as one of their two stat increases anyway.

In any case, I doubt that it's a problem. With a level 18 group, everyone has lots of resources. A leader-type who wants to have a high healing output at that level will easily outclass what that paladin can do.
Not knowing more of the set up, I would be inclined to agree with N_Dragon, as well... the stat bumps are probably not your real issue.

What is more likely the scenario here is a case of the "five minute work day" being felt to the extreme. I assume the draco-lich was the center piece battle of the game day, but did you have enough "on-level" fights leading up to it? If you had no encounters, or only maybe 1 other, or allowed the party the benefit of an extended rest before tackling the lich, then you got both barrels, with the "table knowledge" that this was the last fight, so they had no need to hold anything in reserve.

Next time, time permitting, load up on a bunch of Level-1 or Level+0 Encounters with no extended rest, to drain some of those resources. Also, have the same set up (maybe not with a dracolich, but you get the idea) and then about 3-4 rounds in, have another wave of monsters (alot of minions and skirmishers, maybe) come in from all sides of the map and start really mucking up your party's static (ie, predictable and safe) battle formation. Once your paladin is not the focus of all the healing in the group while the rest sit at a comfortably spread out vantage to deal damage, those LoHs won't hold up to some serious sustained firepower.

Also... feel free to ignore the Defender's mark at times. So, the paladin gets to burn the radiant vulnerable Draco-lich for 25 radiant damage, or something. Ouch, that hurts... man, that stung, but oh, boy is that squishier Cleric about to REALLY be surprised when he catches the full attack + action point action, going for the kill.

As a Defender player, I have realized that you don't often get the chance to USE your super cool Defender powers, as most DMs just honor the defender mark. SO, about once an encounter (more if the monsters are animalistic or really, really stupid...) I do something specifically to ALLOW the Defender to do their thing; whether it's taking a hyper-buff Paladin Challenge to my Undead mega-ugly, or shifting in the Fighter's line of sight. Defender players LOVE to 'catch' the DM slipping like this, and it can make a very memorable fight for them to get to do their schtick.

 
So many PCs, so little time...
My DM don't leave us to rest every time that we want to (or we need to T_T). If you leave your players a "one day fight" is a problem (i think for a player prespective).
I agree its possible that they had not been through enough encounters that day.   I personally don't think PCs should be allowed the mechanical benefits of an extended rest until they have hit two milestones, with the possible exception of if they have leveled up between encounters.

And in paragon the paladin could have taken Untiring Virtue as well, which might let them save up even more uses if they had been through a few encounters already.  The other issue is that a chaladin is likely not stacking up the punishment or control that many other defenders have so that is a trade off for the endurance they have.  For this solo encounter it sounds like it was an ideal choice since they are good at forcing an enemy to attack them and taking a lot of hits well, but for a lot of other fights a fighter would have been even more annoying.

And if they are boosting wisdom, then they are not boosting strength or con, assuming you don't give them three stats bumps at a time instead of two.  And I don't think its necessarily a bad idea to give out three stat bumps, but you should be aware for a lot of classes they make a trade off when picking a secondary stat so there are consequences when you do this.
Thanks for the feedback guys.

Yeah, I don't think it was a stat issue primarily.  I think it was probably too short of a "work day".  The fight was dangerous, for sure, it just didn't go they way I had hoped.  It was also my fault for giving into the whining of the party.   Some of the dracolich's abilities seemed overpowered to the players and that triggered some serious whining from the party, which I caved into and backed off a bit.

I dictate when they can rest and I'm too generous with them.  I think toughening up on extended rests might be my solution.

As a DM, I try to fight battles with two perspectives, one is strategic but I also try to grant some perspective of the opponents and who they might try to target based on their knowledge, awareness and experience with the party.  I love the defending mechanics of 4E tremendously.  The party is excellent at using these mechanics and other protections & baiting moves to take the heat off of an ally.  I find my players to be incredibly heroic in this edition, not that previous editions aren't heroic but 4E has some gorgeous mechanics to portray it.
I dictate when they can rest and I'm too generous with them.  I think toughening up on extended rests might be my solution.



Given you claim they are prone to whining, extend the day gradually. Otherwise they'll start whining about how hard everything is. When/if they do so, point out that at the point they're out, things should be hard for them. They're facing very tough challenges, and don't be afraid to admit that you'd been giving them too easy of a time previously, and would like to slowly bring things back to a more average difficulty level.

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Dilige, et quod vis fac

I dictate when they can rest and I'm too generous with them.  I think toughening up on extended rests might be my solution.



Given you claim they are prone to whining, extend the day gradually. Otherwise they'll start whining about how hard everything is. When/if they do so, point out that at the point they're out, things should be hard for them. They're facing very tough challenges, and don't be afraid to admit that you'd been giving them too easy of a time previously, and would like to slowly bring things back to a more average difficulty level.



Excellent suggestion.
Well, that's my fault then, since I grant them 3 attributes to bump at 4th, 8th, 14th...  Maybe I'll need to house rule 3 LoH per encounter (or whatever leaders would normally get per encounter) to remedy it.

Most leaders, at level 18, will have three uses of their class-default healing power per encounter.

Warlords, if they spend a feat on it, will have four.

Most leader classes can pick up additional healing powers quite early. Some of these are bigger heals than their class-feature healing powers. Some hand out significant amounts of HP *without* anyone spending a surge. Some heal multiple characters simultaneously. The dailies, particularly late-Heroic and above, often do combinations of these.

An example of the above that I happen to be quite familiar with at the moment: Bard level 6 encounter utility "Revitalizing Incantation" lets the target (you or one ally within 5) spend a surge, regain the HP, and gain the same number of THP.

Also, leaders can take feats and/or items to further augment their healing.

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What the Paladin did with LoH could have been achieved with a couple of healing potions. So what.

I think you're asking the wrong question. Not: "How can I kill the Paladin" but "Was the fight awesome?" If the players thought that it was an epic fight against that Dracolich (and I hope it was!) then your game is perfectly fine. Move on, nothing to see here.
What the Paladin did with LoH could have been achieved with a couple of healing potions. So what.

I think you're asking the wrong question. Not: "How can I kill the Paladin" but "Was the fight awesome?" If the players thought that it was an epic fight against that Dracolich (and I hope it was!) then your game is perfectly fine. Move on, nothing to see here.



If someone is OP'd (not saying she is yet, just asking the question), it can cause a couple issues.  One is that the other players feels minimized.  On more than one occasion a player has commented "why don't we all just play paladins" with a grumble.  I don't want the same issues from previous editions regarding high level magic-users.  The other issue is the need to keep a sense of tension at the table.  Last night, by triggering a chain of attacks with action points, I was finally able to knock the paladin unconscious.  THAT creates exciting moments, not stompfests on the monsters because I can't put a dent in the party.  So, she's obviously not invulnerable, but it took a lot of concentrated effort and luck to even knock her out.
It should take a concentrated effort to knock out a level 18 defender. They are called tanks for a reason. I must admit I have never seen anyone complaining about the limelight being taken from them by a healer or defender. The "I stun/knock out the encounter at -8 to saves" controller or the "I take out 4 standards this turn" striker tend to be much more OP'd and much more likely to cause grumbles.

If you getting someone  saying "we don't we all play paladins?" again, just let them. Run a 1-shot game for 6 paladins, see how bored everyone gets with no damage and no control being inflicted on the monsters. Team paladin would probably eventually win, but it would take serious time. We have different roles for different purposes.
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It's sounding like it's a combination of issues.  A LoH-centric paladin may be able to toss heals like no other, but they'll burn through surges rapidly doing so and it requires a lot of feat support.  If the situation calls for it it's perfectly fine to ignore a mark, especially if your creature has some sort of method of negating the flat damage or punishment stacking.

Draw out your days a bit more, as described above.  If your characters are able to burn their daily powers (and make no mistake LoH is a daily power) willy-nilly they're going to be a lot more powerful each encounter than players who have 8-10 encounters in a day.  When you reach encounter #7 with no sign of letting up, that paladin with 1-2 surges is going to wish he/she hadn't spent quite so many surges on Lay on Hands for temporary hit points on a character that never gets hit.

If the paladin is extra-resilient this turn, if he's burned all his powers and you can't hit him on a 14-16, consider having your monsters ignore him until those powers fade.  They're aware when he receives increases to his defenses and when he becomes harder to hit.  They may, depending on how intelligent they are, decide to go for a much squishier target and eat a little damage or other punishment rather than fruitlessly swinging at air.  That'll force him to either spend feat support for more punishment stacking, burn surges for healing, or just let someone go down.

Also; is the party fully decked out in the best magic items they can get?  Does the party get to determine what they receive?  Consider toning that down a bit; they may not always be able to obtain the items they want when they want them.

tl;dr it sounds like your campaign is undertuned for these players, so crank up the difficulty a bit.
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To join the chorus, draw the day out. Hell as a player in my current campaign I've been trying to draw things out. Everyone's like "but we used our dailies, we shoudl rest at an in", or I "feel tired" and I'm just like "what is the astral rift opens and mind flayers pour into the city?!?!" I know in the Dark Sun book they suggest pushing for this kind of thing and possibly rewarding players mechanically to offset the loss of powers. (maybe a +2 to hit becuase they are "in the zone" from fighting all day to balance out the lack of resources like surges and dailies).