Golden Wyvern Adept

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The new Design & Development article is up, and rather than derail [thread=958200]the thread that TheLoneCleric started[/thread] to talk about the new feats system in general with a discussion of this issue, I'm going to start a new thread here.

The new feat Golden Wyvern Adept one makes me nervous.
Golden Wyvern Adept
Tier: Paragon
Benefit: You can omit a number of squares from the effects of any of your area or close wizard powers. This number can’t exceed your Wisdom modifier.

You could read it in one of two ways:
  • Wizard traditions are so hard-wired into the system that they have their own special sets of feats, making designing new traditions involved.
  • Wizard traditions mean nothing more than having a feat and aren't hard-wired into the class at all.

After all, all we know about Golden Wyvern is the following:
The staff is best suited to the disciplines of the Hidden Flame and the Golden Wyvern. Servants of the Hidden Flame wield fierce powers of fire and radiance through their staves. Golden Wyvern initiates are battle-mages who use their staves to shape and sculpt the spells they cast.

Shaping and sculpting the spells that you cast sounds like *exactly* what this feat is doing. If that's it, then I'm all for the traditions, and I'm puzzled about what exactly ties this ability to using staffs. It's that latter concern that has me worried that wizard traditions may be deeply tying a specific and unchangeable flavor into Wizards in all campaign settings.
I'm pretty certain there were feats (and there were definitely prestige classes) in 3E and 3.5 that had references to specific deities and yet were easily enough adapted to other deities. Hopefully that's more the direction they're going.

As it is, it looks like this particular feat may be intended as a replacement for the Archmage ability, and as an incentive for Wizards not to dump Wisdom...
My bet has always been, and this article reinforces, that traditions are going to be recurring background fluff in the naming of certain spells, class abilities, feats, etc. That is, you won't have to pick a tradition, but sooner or later you are likely to pick up a feat like Golden Wyvern Adept (or something else with a name) that represents learning some of the techniques of that tradition.

Which puts my bet somewhere between your two alternatives.
and as an incentive for Wizards not to dump Wisdom...

That's actually the first thing that jumped out at me.

I'm pretty sure that early in the 4e frenzy multi-attribute dependancy was discussed. We suspected then that Wizards would move towards a model that made all (or many) attributes valuable to all classes. This seems to be confirmation of that approach.
I'm betting that the name of the feat is a reflection of some of the wizard's power names as well as fluff (well, the power names are fluff, too, but you know what I mean) otherwise they would have named the feat Arcane Spellshaper or something. Or not, who knows.

EDIT: The wisdom thing sticks out for one more reason... in that if they have wizardy feats that depend on all or at least most of the stats than a high-charisma wizard will be far different, mechanically, than a medium-wisdom-and-constitution wizard, and so forth.
Powers tied to the Golden Wyvern tradition (and perhaps staff-enhanced powers in general) may just include a high percentage of the powers that would benefit from this feat, hence the name. "Area and close" as opposed to single- or multiple-target or effect powers, which may be more to be orb or wand powers.
Ya, so apparently traditions will be somewhat cemented into the rules.

Why isn't their screaming and nashing of teeth?
This Golden Wyvern Adept feat is an ability similar to the Recaster in Eberron. Which makes me wonder if they will take Prestige class features and kind of turn them into enhancement feats provided you have the right orb, staff or whatever.
Ya, so apparently traditions will be somewhat cemented into the rules.

Why isn't their screaming and nashing of teeth?

Because the feat actually gives us the exact opposite impression of cementing the fluff into the rules.

There is no "Golden Wyvern Trainee" prereq, there is no "must be a staff user" prereq, and there is no "must have all the powers from the Golden Wyvern Talent Tree" prereq. The fact that you can gain this ability and have no special relationship to an organization tends to imply that you can get wizard abilities without using some organization fluff that you dont like in your game.
Remember we do have these feats out of context. There may be a pre-req in the class itself.
Because the feat actually gives us the exact opposite impression of being cemented the fluff into the rules.

There is no "Golden Wyvern Trainee" prereq, there is no "must be a staff user" prereq, and there is no "must have all the powers from the Golden Wyvern Talent Tree" prereq. The fact that you can gain this ability and have no special relationship to an organization tends to imply that you can get wizard abilities without using some organization fluff that you dont like in your game.

There are no prereqs at all for any of the feats they listed. This could be because they don't have any, or the editors decided not to waste space or leak the names of other feats. It could be possible that it requires "Golden Wyvern Initiate" or somesuch, or that the tradition is simply this feat. I would like the latter option very much, and I think it's the more likely of the two. So, in short, I agree with you, but there is another possibility.
Rhymes with Bruce
Remember we do have these feats out of context. There may be a pre-req in the class itself.

Or the feats could be grouped into categories that themselves have prereqs. We dont know yet, but the feats themselves dont give us the impression so far that organizational membership is required to take them.
We dont know yet, but the feats themselves dont give us the impression so far that organizational membership is required to take them.

People felt that was a serious concern at some point? I thought they just hated the names.
Yeah, we did for about a day--there was a huge discussion on it.
I see no more problem with this than with the Bigby's Hand spells being core for all settings in 2E and 3.x. It's just a name. There isn't a prerequisite listed for the feat, so it's not like it's saying "you have to be in good standing with the Golden Wyvern order to get this feat" or "you have to be a Golden Wyvern wizard."
I see no more problem with this than with the Bigby's Hand spells being core for all settings in 2E and 3.x. It's just a name. There isn't a prerequisite listed for the feat, so it's not like it's saying "you have to be in good standing with the Golden Wyvern order to get this feat" or "you have to be a Golden Wyvern wizard."

If Golden Wyvern is nothing but a feat or feat tree, then that's awesome.
If this feat has hidden pre-reqs, then we may find it hard to create our own traditions.

The problem is that we don't know how hooked the traditions are into the class still. I'm tentatively hopeful, though.
There are no prereqs at all for any of the feats they listed. This could be because they don't have any, or the editors decided not to waste space or leak the names of other feats.

Actually, there IS a prereq listed in the text. It's just kinda hidden. See that little line called "Tier"? That's the prereq.
So far, we know that the 30 levels will be split into three tiers - Heroic, Paragon, and one other that I cannot remember right now. So the Golden Wyvern Adept feat needs a character to be of Paragon Level to take.

The first two feats are listed as Heroic Tiers. This means that any character can take them as early as first level.
The First Reaction and Golden Wyvern Adept feats would require a character to be 11th or 21st level - whichever level the Paragon tier starts. (I just cannot remember what level range Paragon is...though I think it's 21-30...)
The requirement of high wisdom is interesting. The modifier would probably have to be at least be +3 for the feat to be of serious use. While that is not very difficult to achieve, it does significantly reorder ability scores for wizards in terms of importance. Wisdom could easily be a dump stat in 3rd ed. In 4th edition, at least for wizards focusing on the Golden Wyvern tradition, wisdom could be almost as important as intelligence.

If the other traditions make use of other abilities scores then I heartily approve of this move. It adds a lot of variety and flavor to wizards.
The First Reaction and Golden Wyvern Adept feats would require a character to be 11th or 21st level - whichever level the Paragon tier starts. (I just cannot remember what level range Paragon is...though I think it's 21-30...)

Heroic 1-10, Paragon 11-20, Epic 21-30.

The requirement of high wisdom is interesting. The modifier would probably have to be at least be +3 for the feat to be of serious use. While that is not very difficult to achieve, it does significantly reorder ability scores for wizards in terms of importance. Wisdom could easily be a dump stat in 3rd ed. In 4th edition, at least for wizards focusing on the Golden Wyvern tradition, wisdom could be almost as important as intelligence.

Not necessarily. There are some indications that stat bonuses are figured differently in 4e and having a +3 bonus won't require Wis 16 but instead only Wis 10 (or so.. I think).
Not necessarily. There are some indications that stat bonuses are figured differently in 4e and having a +3 bonus won't require Wis 16 but instead only Wis 10 (or so.. I think).

I suppose, but that would require an inflation in all the scores for +3 to be a low score. Then the high scores could range from +6 to +8 at first level. That's a big difference from ealier editions, but then again they have recalibrated the math behind the mechanics so it may be a possibility
It would certainly remove a lot of weirdness from the rules if penalties due to low ability scores could be removed...
Not necessarily. There are some indications that stat bonuses are figured differently in 4e and having a +3 bonus won't require Wis 16 but instead only Wis 10 (or so.. I think).

I would put zero creditability into that indication. The person who made that statement is in no way connected to WotC official, and admitted to coming up with it himself. Similar mathematic reverse engineering shows that the ability check bonuses on the stat card he was referring to are 1/2 level + bonus calculated the way it was in 3.x (which is exactly how ability checks are figured out in SWSE)
This is the greatest feat ever.
excluding one person is enough for so many wizards i know ;)

I don´t think there will be prerequesites on feats other than tier or maybe level, that was stated earlier.

What I could imagine is that a golden wyvern wizard with a staff can shape spells at will, but someone trained in another school would have to use a feat to also be able to shape his spells at the expense of a feat.
The impression that I get is that the naming convention will allow players to look at a list of feats and say, "Oh, a Golden Wyvern feat-- this will have something to do with sculpting or shaping spells."
Similar mathematic reverse engineering shows that the ability check bonuses on the stat card he was referring to are 1/2 level + bonus calculated the way it was in 3.x (which is exactly how ability checks are figured out in SWSE)

Looking at the Spined Devil stat card suggests that Valdrax may be right about the ability modifiers. The stats are as follows:
STR +7(19), CON +5(14), DEX +5(15), INT 15 +5(15), WIS +5(14), CHA 15 +5(15)
Looking at the Spined Devil stat card suggests that Valdrax may be right about the ability modifiers. The stats are as follows:
STR +7(19), CON +5(14), DEX +5(15), INT 15 +5(15), WIS +5(14), CHA 15 +5(15)

But at the same time, LordofNightmares may be right too. I said "some indications" because I didn't think that interpretation had been officially blessed. It could be that modifiers are based on a lower threshold for zero or it could be that level figures in somehow.

Even if LordofNightmares' interpretation is the correct one, we don't know that "Wisdom bonus" refers purely to the one generated from the attribute or the one generated from attribute + level adjustment.

Either way, as others have noted, just allowing for one space to be excluded from a blast is good enough to be worth a feat -- letting you nuke all enemies surrounding an isolated ally or yourself. So, while Wisdom would not be a "dump" stat anymore, it might not be bad to have an easily rolled 12 in it.

One more thing about this feat and Wisdom. I remember reading the following from the Class article:
"Yeah. I thought about going high Con and using a hammer, but I wanted to start with the chance to make a couple of attacks, so I’m using rain of blows as my good weapon attack, and I went with high Wis so that I can switch to the better oppy powers later."

Obviously some powers are tied to different attributes. I just hope that the connections of logically consistent between classes and not just randomly scattershot to provide an even spread of powers.
I haven't played SWSE, but if the ability modifiers progress with level it will significantly change the game. I'm thinking of the feat that allows you to do strength damage even if you miss on your attack. So if LordofNightmares is right, automatic damage would get to be rather high.
I haven't played SWSE, but if the ability modifiers progress with level it will significantly change the game. I'm thinking of the feat that allows you to do strength damage even if you miss on your attack. So if LordofNightmares is right, automatic damage would get to be rather high.

The thing with SWSE is that the progression is for skill checks, so on the spined devil stat card, the listing for Strength as STR +7(19) would mean that the spined devil has a +7 bonus to all Strength-based skills, and the standard +4 bonus for all other uses of Strength (not that there are too many straight uses of Strength, assuming the attack and/or damage bonus is rolled into the attack and damage listings).
The SWSE system has skill checks that go up with level not the actually ability modifier. If the numbers listed for the Abilities of the Spined Devil refer to associated skill modifiers and actual ability scores, they sync up with the SWSE system.

Based on things like damage from the stat card we can infer that ability modifiers do not go up and are calculated in the same manner as 3e. The bonuses listed may also apply to ability checks as well as skill checks, but we don't have evidence either way.

If the actually ability modifier goes up with level, the modifiers would rapidly outstrip the variance in the scores; so I doubt this is the case.

I fully expect SWSE-like ability increases. In SWSE you get to increase two different scores every 4 levels. This forces you to spread the improvement around some. For instance, a 12th-level wizard would have had three chances to improve his Wisdom score while making sure to bump his Intelligence at every opportunity.
Maybe do people from the Golden Wyvern Adept get this and other Golden Wyvern feats for free, but do others need to spend a feat to get it. Similar to how the ranger got feats for free others had to spend feats on.

If it works like this would it be easy to remove traditions, simply give your players a bonus feats each level a tradition gets a free feat OR let them choice one of the "tradition feats" for free
If it works like this would it be easy to remove traditions, simply give your players a bonus feats each level a tradition gets a free feat OR let them choice one of the "tradition feats" for free

Sounds good to me if that the way it works. (Except that I don't want to remove the traditions so much as have the freedom to make my own.)
Because the feat actually gives us the exact opposite impression of cementing the fluff into the rules.

There is no "Golden Wyvern Trainee" prereq, there is no "must be a staff user" prereq, and there is no "must have all the powers from the Golden Wyvern Talent Tree" prereq. The fact that you can gain this ability and have no special relationship to an organization tends to imply that you can get wizard abilities without using some organization fluff that you dont like in your game.

The article notes that some feats were included in the class abilities (I assume that you'll get at least one ability/level -- just like 3E monks did). The downside in using the names of the traditions is that if you don't want to use their fluff (i.e. prefer your own names) you *also* have to rewrite the names of some of the feats. That said, I would have preferred more "general" (less "flavoured") feats, such as "Arcane Shaping".
I would have preferred more "general" (less "flavoured") feats, such as "Arcane Shaping".

Aha! I told you guys it was the name!

Organization pre-requisites indeed.
The thing with SWSE is that the progression is for skill checks.

If the ability modifier level progression is limited to skills checks, then it doesn't really apply to the Golden Wyvern Adept feat and my original point still stands: the order of ability scores in terms of importance may change considerably for wizards in 4th edition.

I like the idea of having to spread ability increases around. It makes for more varied characters.
Ya, so apparently traditions will be somewhat cemented into the rules.

Why isn't their screaming and nashing of teeth?

There is. I, for one, hate the name. I'd much rather see feat names remain straightforward and descriptive. Aside from hating to have a flavor enforced on me, it makes the feats easier to remember - especially after a few years, when there are hundreds of them. As I've already posted in another thread on the "Concerns and Criticisms" board, I'd rather see this "Golden Wyvern Adept" called something like "Limit Spell Area" or "Restrict Area of Effect." What would be so bad about that?
  • Wizard traditions mean nothing more than having a feat and aren't hard-wired into the class at all.

I hope that is all it is, and if it is, I like it :D
Let your voice be heard! Tell WotC to Publish D&D 4e under the OGL!
I would have preferred more "general" (less "flavoured") feats, such as "Arcane Shaping".

Yes, exactly. Simple, understandable, and you don't need to look it up to remember the gist of what it does.
Either way, as others have noted, just allowing for one space to be excluded from a blast is good enough to be worth a feat -- letting you nuke all enemies surrounding an isolated ally or yourself. So, while Wisdom would not be a "dump" stat anymore, it might not be bad to have an easily rolled 12 in it.

It could also make stat-boosting spells more interesting. Need to exclude three from the blast instead of one? Read a scroll of Owl's Wisdom and be ready to cut loose on your next and subsequent turns...
Ya, so apparently traditions will be somewhat cemented into the rules.

Why isn't their screaming and nashing of teeth?

This is Dragon Tail's Cut all over again.

-1/5 stars, three thumbs way down, Gold Wyvern Adept FTL. I'll hunt everyone's at Wotc dog down to kill them, and pee in their soup. Oh and use their toilets and leave the seat up. There's my screaming and gnashing of teeth.

Power attack was a good name in 3e, boars ferocious tusk attack would have been a bad name for it though. I think the suggestion like Asgetrion said, was a much better name. Seriously... I don't know of anyone who ever had a problem with power attack, but there are significantly more people (Some people compared to virtually no one) who had problems with goofy stupid names. Please, I've never heard of anyone hating the name for power attack or names akin to that... if anyone has ever heard of a complaint for the name power attack, please speak now and prove me ignorant. Unfortunately, I don't think that'll be the case.
This is Dragon Tail's Cut all over again.

-1/5 stars, three thumbs way down, Gold Wyvern Adept FTL. I'll hunt everyone's at Wotc dog down to kill them, and pee in their soup. Oh and use their toilets and leave the seat up. There's my screaming and gnashing of teeth.

Power attack was a good name in 3e, boars ferocious tusk attack would have been a bad name for it though. I think the suggestion like Asgetrion said, was a much better name. Seriously... I don't know of anyone who ever had a problem with power attack, but there are significantly more people (Some people compared to virtually no one) who had problems with goofy stupid names. Please, I've never heard of anyone hating the name for power attack or names akin to that... if anyone has ever heard of a complaint for the name power attack, please speak now and prove me ignorant. Unfortunately, I don't think that'll be the case.

I have a problem with Power Attack compared to spells. I much prefered Dragon's Tail Cut because it had flavor like Bigby's Grasping Hand and Mortenkainten's Dysjunction.

Why shouldn't melee attacks and Feats have colorful, flavorful, realistic names like Spells do? For that matter, why can't magic Feats have flavorful and colorful names?

It's much more cohesive to me. It feels much more natural if the Fighter explains, "Well, it's kind of like how a dragon swings his tail. You knock the guy down by makin' your sword the tail. Simple."