2. You repeat the general belief that a warlock is a sort of hybrid striker and controller. What are your thoughts on placing a warlock in a party of three rather than a wizard? I have a hard time envisioning a single defender and a leader (even one optimized for melee at the cost of his primary roles) keeping a wizard's robes clean against a DM worth the cost of his boxed set.
I would actually go further. I think the warlock is actually not a striker at all--it's a single-target focused controller [...]
There should probably be a high complexity/low complexity gradient here.
Great thread, and why the Char OP board needs a party ops sub board.
My best basic party of 6:
Fighter-Sword and Board-Iron Vanguard
Cleric- Devoted-Healing, Buffing, Radiant Damage, Undead Control/Extermination
Warlock-Star'Lock (Cha-Int) Striker who does not target AC, Debuff's (Strand of Fate anyone? Action points?)
Ian again begs the admin's for a party ops sub board here_______.
Growing aggravated by an online account system whose changes make it harder to access information, while ignoring useful feedback from community members.
Share your opinions here: http://community.wizards.com/forums/102116
So what would you like to see?
That's a good point. At first blush it seems to be yet one more variable with which to contend, but I'm wondering if I can fold this in with the "back row" characters debate to create a single opportunity--complexity variable:
Thus, a party should be designed to maximize its position on the opportunity--complexity scale. A high opportunity/low complexity party likely would consist entirely of melee-capable characters with decent movement, each a "fortress unto himself," who coordinate relatively little other than by isolating foes but who can react easily to changing battle conditions. As a party reduces opportunity/increases complexity, it adds more "back row" characters who rely upon frontline support and more coordinated tactics (Guileful Switch, Instant Planning, ally slides, etc). The complexity increases the overall effectiveness (generally increasing offensive yield) of the party, but reduces the party's ability to adapt and react to changing conditions.
Complexity also increases the required player skill behind the party. Conversely, DM cunning will lower the complexity that players of a given skill can handle, because the DM is more skilled at challenging coordinated actions.
Generally, an optimized party will have as much complexity as the players can reliably manage vs a given DM.
Does that make sense?
A few comments on this party.
First, like other people I think it needs more healers. That doesn't mean it needs another leader. The fighter has warlord mc powers available to him, the wizard, and both rangers have cleric mc powers available to them. The sorceror has bard MC powers available to him though he probably won't do it. A couple feats for bastion of health, rousing words or inspiring reaction and maybe healing strike or lion's roar and the party will have sufficient healing.
Second, I think the most noticeable lack in this party is the lack of nova enabling leader abilities. Strand of fate and thorns of venom are the party's primary setup powers and both have to hit. This is a party that will have to grind it out or rely upon its own resources (action surge, etc) to enable its blade cascades or other burst damage powers. (That is the reason why I don't think much of laser clerics as solo leaders. They hand out plenty of +2 bonuses, but that's not much when a similar level warlord could be handing out +8).
Consequently, the party seems more solid than optimized. It has its bases covered and can grind out combats with at-will powers but it's not going to be reliably pulling off dramatic combos that enable the party to take on challenges that would otherwise be too much for them.
Good Analysis-although I did say basic party. I think you meant to say Warlock rather than sorcerer. A well made Starlock is not going to miss very often with Strand of Fate-especially since implement expertise has now arrived (yea!). As a guy who plays Starlock's, I probably would not have chosen Throns of Venom before implement expertise because it targets Fort defense (although I would have a wand made with it).
So would you repleace the cleric with a warlord?
BTW, thanks to all posters and the OP, whether we agree or disagree all the points are well made and intelligent. Once of the best chats I have ever had here on the WotC board-Thanks! Ian
I don't think it really has a direct relationship [...]
I have found out that if you have a healing belt healing is just that much simpler. I know, I know, that's depending on specific items, but... it's just that easy, really.
Revising Ian's party slightly, what would yall say about:
1. Travis: Genasi Fighter [1-handers] // Pit Fighter (starts sword-and-board, morphs to tempest fighter in paragon)
2. Calder: Half-Elf Chaladin // Divine Oracle
3. Kratos: Dragonborn Inspirelord // Champion of Order
4. Aramil: Elf Ranger [2-blade] // Stormwarden
5. Mialee: Elf Wizard [staff & orb] // Flame of Hope
Starting around level 12, Travis should really be considered a striker with the BlackHole feature, rather than a proper defender.
Battlelord of Kord is normally the pick for Inspirelords, but Champion of Order's powers are particularly good here, I have a lot of soft-nova redundancy already, I wanted the backup defender, and I couldn't gracefully fit CoO elsewhere with Calder sitting on Divine Oracle.
Aramil is doubling as my artillery, which is why Stormwarden beats Pit Fighter.
Mialee is my odd piece. She plays boring control in heroic, morphs into a potent leader sub-role in paragon, and only in epic transforms into a Stun-Locker proper.
I think this party covers all the roles with redundancy, and meets most of the "10 party considerations" originally proposed. I'm missing a Morninglord (power at the expense of versatility), and I'd like to fit a Heartwarder in somewhere.
I would rather add a taclord and drop the Starlock or just add the taclord-(just cant drop the cleric-old schooler here) and go with 7 PC's.
Not so, both nova parties have 6 and 7 members if I remember correctly from page 1 or 2.
"How Many Members?[...]
I'm a little alarmed to be quoted as if an authority here, given that this is a work in (early) progress. (Also a scootch flattered, but mostly alarmed ...)
I think the truth is somewhere in the middle. It *is* easier to round out a larger party, because the secondary functions from Tiers 2 and 3 can be distributed among more bodies, whereas a small party almost certainly will have holes (such as no Face or no Scout). Also, a larger party can field more party-optimizing paragon paths (Divine Oracle, Morninglord, etc), which of course means even more buffs per character.
OTOH, Xtian has a perfectly valid point; the DM also is scaling up the monster capabilities. And as was pointed out earlier, larger parties suffer from the fact that a PC death becomes a less and less significant "milestone" in the course of a battle. A three-person party might face six minions, who barely have any chance of killing one PC in a surprise round. A seven-person party in the same spot would face 14 minions who almost couldn't help but kill a PC in a surprise round.
I originally drafted this with a five-member party in mind. Though this and later drafts will discuss other sizes, I still consider five to be the best number for discussing optimization.
A high nova party is more efficient than a low nova party; the PCs kill the enemy too quickly to need much healing or control. Conversely, a high nova party requires far more DM complacency. They usually take advantage of rules that could be reasonably called broken; they usually depend on being able to obtain a custom kit of magic items with little difficulty; and they usually have holes in their defenses and Tier B and C functions that they expect the DM to forego exploiting.
I think there are more than a few things missing from the analysis:
D&D Home Page - What Class Are You? - Build A Character - D&D Compendium
I wrote a long rebuttal bordering on a mild rant then deleted it. You've been a very valuable contributor to this thread.
No, I don't cover the topic in detail, but my bottom line remains rock solid: No matter the technique, do not break the game any more than the DM wants it broken (unless it's a one-night stand and you can run like a craven cur afterward:rolleyes. Just don't. They will either get unhappy or even. Either result makes you as the optimizing player dead guilty of failing to see the forest for the trees.
I agree that you have to keep the good of the game in mind [...]
Using this, I think you should make lists for example 4, 5, and 7 person parties [...]
It's a game of opportunity costs, so I can't really agree that anything truly worthy of the "nova" tag doesn't have a corresponding weakness of some sort. The build had to trade *something* for whatever spectacular effect that it produces. I read that as the main point of your previous post, which is what tried to get me off and running.
I'm generally in complete agreement with your reapproach here, other than the distinction described above (which turns out to be a pretty minor thing in your overall set of points ...). I'll take another pass at the topic in the rules posts to better clarify things along the lines that you describe.
It's a bit more to my liking but I think it does miss that you can build a party without much in the way of nova capability. The alternative to high nova in an optimized party may be low nova rather than no nova, but it is still quite possible to build a party that is, practically a no nova party. [...]
EB, rules 2 (all) and 3 (last paragraph only) redrafted. Are they closer to your liking?
"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
If not in so many words, I think that point is briefly addressed in the complementary builds rule. A problem is that in a real game, this sort of thing may be more or less "off the table." Someone may be dead-set on playing the lazer cleric, someone else on the charisma paladin, etc. I wouldn't want to suggest that a party composed entirely of player-preferred characters can't nova or be optimized! But I do feel comfortable in suggesting that certain combinations of classes can be more optimized ...