Dragon 416 is out...

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This month's dragon has been released.

 wizards.com/DnD/Article.aspx?x=dnd/drago...

I saw two articles with Crunch.  One was a couple more themes from Cazzeo, the other some magic items primarily for Vampires.

Analysis and thoughts? 

"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

Misshapen, although lacking in focus, is very strong for a number of builds (and that U6 is silly good). If the power is something you'd actually use (say on a defender or fighter, combo with a Sustaining Cloak for a free attack every encounter.

Haunted Blade is junk except for niche builds that value either the 5F or the 10F, and those that value the 5F will still probably prefer Yakuza.

Crimson Wick Ki Focus is hilariously good on a multi-attacker.
Misshapen, although lacking in focus, is very strong for a number of builds (and that U6 is silly good). If the power is something you'd actually use (say on a defender or fighter, combo with a Sustaining Cloak for a free attack every encounter.

Haunted Blade is junk except for niche builds that value either the 5F or the 10F, and those that value the 5F will still probably prefer Yakuza.

Crimson Wick Ki Focus is hilariously good on a multi-attacker.



For those of us without DDI, could you elaborate on what the standouts are?  Particularly the U6, and the details of that Ki Focus.
Crimson Wick Ki Focus is hilariously good on a multi-attacker.

Not that many multi-attackers are Con secondary.  There's a monk (who could MC Rogue for a good encounter option)... but without large multiplication factors, I still don't see 2-12 bonus damage for "two rounds" wrecking that much, and those who CAN do really large numbers of attacks can't spare the surges.

But ... say, take a Sorcerer in a party where the main healer is an Arti, and it should be some fun times.

"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

Misshapen: You have a really big arm.  e1 is a grab that can be used during an OA.  the f10 increases forced movement distance (from melee attacks) by one.  The u6 he's refering two is an end-of-encounter daily that gives +2 AC&Fort, but far more importantly: "In addition, when any enemy ends its turn adjacent to you, it must use a free action to move up to its speed away from you"

Haunted Blade: You've done evil things that must be done, and have an epic 1000-yard stare.  e1 is a no-action tackon to an OA that also immobilizes (so fighters need not apply, but off tanks are very interested).  f5 gives double rolls on intimidate checks.  f10 lets you use Cha for Init instead of Dexterity.

If you want too much more details, you should subscribe.  

"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

Misshapen:

Entry Power: 2d8+stat damage grab vs a NAD with poor accuracy scaling (no weapon, implement keywords), but ts usable as an OA and can be sustain standard. Sees some gimmicky use at earlier levels.
5F: +2 Athletics and Acrobatics. This is about as good as it gets for a skill boost from a theme
10F: +1 to all forced movement distance with melee attacks. Yeah, you heard me.
U2: I forget. Probably unimpressive
U6: Daily Stance: Enemies that end next to you must take a free action to move away from you (provoking an OA). This one is basically hilarious on a Fighter or Knight. Or anyone can use this to multi-tap using readied actions/that one Stealth Skill Power U10.
U10: I forget.

Haunted Blade:

Entry Power:
 free immobilize on an OA. Umm, ok, that's it?
5F: Roll twice on intimidate
10F: Use Cha for Initiative over Dex. Lots of builds will enjoy this. 

I forget the rest, but this theme also let you swap your E3 for an attack power that was largely unimpressive, basically a vanilla close burst 1 weapon attack with not significant effects.


kilpatds: I'm probably a little spoiled on Comrade's Succor or Ring of Tenacious Will (or a warforged cheesing out with a bloodfury weapon), so that's where my evaluation comes from.
Brutal Barrage Blending Battlemind of Bloody Busted Bones.

Edit: Only works for damage rolls and lets not have this argument again. 
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Crimson Wick Ki Focus is hilariously good on a multi-attacker.

Not that many multi-attackers are Con secondary.

Let's see:

Mul Ardent/Sorcerer/X
Elemental Initiate Theme
Staff of the Traveler +1
Cloak of Transposition at level
Eladrin Armor at level
Crimson Wick Ki Focus at level

That should be good for five attacks (four with Forward-Thinking Cut at augment 1 each and a fifth with Disciplined Counter), for a tradeoff of (10*enhancement bonus) damage for one surge. At level 13 that's 30 extra hits (assuming everything lands) at the cost of one of 15 27-pt surges (assuming Dwarven Durability).

Probably not worth the cost of going off-stat, especially given that a Stormborn Genasi can do roughly the same thing without giving up the surge or the weapliment slot.

U10 on mishappen is a minor action to extend reach for a round each encounter.  Not bad.  The theme would be pretty good if the attack scaled right.

Haunted blade is mainly good for the level 10 feature, though some non fighter defenders might like the starting power.  The level 3 power is close burst 1 vs enemies that lowers their will defense.  Not terrible, but there are a lot better multitarget level 3 powers. Level 6 is a stance that lets your melee weapon attacks push 1 and grant CA.  Level 10 utilty is stance that grants phasing, gives you necrotic resistance, and changes untyped weapon damage to necrotic. 

I could see a paladin liking this path a lot.  Maybe a charisma secondary battlemind too, but I don't know much about them.
Does booming blade work with Misshappen U6?
crimson wick ki focus is awesome on multi-attack monks or even executioners if you are throwing out shurikens. i have a hybrid monk/vamp that i was using cascading strikes for but now im not so sure, especially mid paragon on, i have so many multi-attacks
Misshapen is an interesting (and rare) theme that works for monks who have a free hand. Most monks have their hands full, but this theme might just be enough to actually build and enjoy playing a monk with a free hand.

Haunted Blade might be interesting for some non-tiefling Paladins and Battleminds.

These are not total wastes of space... There are even powers that were written well, as though someone was paying attention and cared, like the timing of the immobilize on Haunted Blade's Blade of Nightmares.

Vampire items are rather pedestrian. Not sure I see anything worthwhile there.
If something has to move "up to it's speed," doesn't that imply it can move less than it's speed?  Like 0 squares?
Misshapen seems best on defenders. Is it good for Brawler Fighters? It's been a while since I played mine. It's the only encounter power for them that offers a grab that lasts more than one round. Altered Extremity (+1 reach for a round) is hilarious with grab attacks. 

The theme also nice for non-teleporting Swordmages who want some more control and an awesome OA. Although grabbing with your free hand does reduce your AC by 2.

Not impressed with the Vampire ki foci. Rain of Hammers is still loads better.
If something has to move "up to its speed," doesn't that imply it can move less than its speed?  Like 0 squares?



Heh, you've made an excellent point. That's worth posting errata about.

Misshapen: You have a really big arm.  e1 is a grab that can be used during an OA.  the f10 increases forced movement distance (from melee attacks) by one.  The u6 he's refering two is an end-of-encounter daily that gives +2 AC&Fort, but far more importantly: "In addition, when any enemy ends its turn adjacent to you, it must use a free action to move up to its speed away from you"



nice....
Does Misshapen U6 activate the Pursuit Avenger's damage bonus? If so, does that make it worth being a Pursuit Avenger at all?
"If your oath of enmity target moves away from you willingly", so probably not.  Ask your DM.

"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

It must move, which is defined by going from one square into another. Moving 0 squares isn't moving, so it can go a minimum of 1.


Source? I ask because this would directly affect the viability of a number of Thief tactics, among what I suspect would be many other examples.
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It must move, which is defined by going from one square into another. Moving 0 squares isn't moving, so it can go a minimum of 1.


Source? I ask because this would directly affect the viability of a number of Thief tactics, among what I suspect would be many other examples.

If a power allows me to move myself or another creature a certain distance, must whatever’s being moved go the full distance?
No, these numbers are maximums; whomever controls the power can choose a lesser distance if desired.

Closest thing there is. "Moves" really is defined as "leave one square to enter another" though, so if you don't do that at least once, you haven't "moved." You've chosen not to move (which is a legitimate option for most PC powers).
Just now noticed this issue had come out.  Without going into details, both starting features are significantly weaker than my original design (and the Misshapen U6 is significantly stronger).
Misshapen entry power is pretty good for a brawler.  Poking it for detail on if you can get any accuracy bonuses from brawler things...doubtful, but checking.
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I did think Misshapen sounded pretty nifty for a Brawler.  Heck, even the forced-movement boosting isn't a bad thing on them, they do have a few enemy-yanking powers, and being able to make them work a bit better/against forced-movement resistant creatures couldn't hurt.
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it is serously depressing the lack of crunch (what 90% of people who play D&D care about..) there is in the issue
Insulting someones grammar on a forum is like losing to someone in a drag race and saying they were cheating by having racing stripes. Not only do the two things not relate to each other (the logic behind the person's position, and their grammar) but you sound like an idiot for saying it (and you should, because its really stupid )
it is serously depressing the lack of crunch (what 90% of people who play D&D care about..) there is in the issue


Simply, their marketing department and think tanks disagree with your percentage. Statistically, we are simply a very vocal minority of their consumer base, a roughly equal minority is people who freaking hate bloat in Subscriber only content, with the majority is people who really don't give a damn one way or the other; it's also actually a smart, if annoying, business move to not invest too many resources in mechanics that are only usable in an edition that won't exist in 2 years.
"Invokers are probably better round after round but Wizard dailies are devastating. Actually, devastating is too light a word. Wizard daily powers are soul crushing, encounter ending, havoc causing pieces of awesome." -AirPower25 Sear the Flesh, Purify the Soul; Harden the Heart, and Improve the Mind; Born of Blood, but Forged by Fire; The MECH warrior reaches perfection.
All the gamers I know that would pay for a magazine devoid of crunch pretty much hate 4e and play earlier editions or White Wolf type games.  Wizards would rather start a new version to try to win back this demographic than cultivate and grow a base who plays and pays primarily for the (more expensive) crunch.  Too bad for us.
it is serously depressing the lack of crunch (what 90% of people who play D&D care about..) there is in the issue


Simply, their marketing department and think tanks disagree with your percentage. Statistically, we are simply a very vocal minority of their consumer base, a roughly equal minority is people who freaking hate bloat in Subscriber only content, with the majority is people who really don't give a damn one way or the other; it's also actually a smart, if annoying, business move to not invest too many resources in mechanics that are only usable in an edition that won't exist in 2 years.



it may just be me but I dont know anyone that would pay for fluff, I could see doing so as a DM if it was good but I can may up my own fluff easily.

I think it has more to do with how easy it is to make fluff. it may be that 70% of people want crunch but if it cost 2x as much to make it then they rather make fluff for that 30%.

that or they have no idea what their customer base wants (would not surprise me with how badly they are handling 5e)
Insulting someones grammar on a forum is like losing to someone in a drag race and saying they were cheating by having racing stripes. Not only do the two things not relate to each other (the logic behind the person's position, and their grammar) but you sound like an idiot for saying it (and you should, because its really stupid )