ZEITGEIST: The Gears of Revolution Please offer balance and overall feedback for this ZEITGEIST paragon paths





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    Please offer balance and overall feedback for this ZEITGEIST paragon paths

    These nine paragon paths will make it into the Expanded Player's Guide, and I wanted some second and third opinions about the balance, because 4e combat math can be complicated. I'd greatly appreciate any feedback folks can offer.

    Paragon Paths for review.docx
    Ryan "RangerWickett" Nock
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    The most cinematic adventure path for 4th Edition and Pathfinder.

    Now available - Admiral o' the High Seas, and ZEITGEIST adventure eight, Diaspora! For Pathfinder and D&D 4e.

 

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    First impression stream-of-reading notes:

    Applied Astronomist's Straddling Realities: The Avilona effects need some 4e rules hung on them. Perhaps fog (obscuring terrain), wind (difficult terrain) or calm air (dispels zones in those spaces).

    Logos's Make It So: this power seems like it will be used for one thing only: crit-spamming. Giving out natural 20s will encourage crit-focused character builds that could get pretty ugly. Especially considering the relatively light number of hit points on most Zeitgeist enemies so far, this is a recipe for really one-sided fights. The first round of *every* fight includes a crit by some striker's encounter or daily, plus whatever striker damage-booster, plus whatever crit-focused weapon they've acquired? This could get ugly fast. I would either make it a daily or change the text to "you choose whether its first attack roll hits or misses."

    Mad Shootists's Beam Shot: Freeze Ray says "vulnerable 10 untyped," which is not standard. Is this intended to be vulnerable 10 all, or vulnerable only to damage that does not have a keyword? That might need to be clarified.

    Ibid, Shrink Ray: 4e creature sizes go Tiny-Small-Medium-Large-Huge-Gargantuan. There is nothing smaller in the rules than Tiny, so the reference to Diminutive makes no sense. Could be reworded to "if this would make the creature smaller than Tiny, then..."

    Ibid, Rocket Launcher: Rockets sound awesome. Do they have rules?

    Notorious Celebrity, One-Upmanship: Should be an Immediate Reaction, else it might kill the attacker between his hitting and his damage, which would be weird. Interrupts are usually saved for powers that change the outcome of the hit. Though, I guess "Interrupt" is thematically appropriate. "I'mma let you finish..."

    Steamsuit Pilot: The negative effects of the 11th and 12th level powers can be streamlined to "you are weakened (save ends)" and "you are immobilized (save ends)" It has almost the same effect, since the powers whould almost always be used during the character's turn, thus giving them a save at the end of the turn, while adding some chaos to the procedure if things go pear-shaped, and all with less text (which also avoids the 4e-awkward "make a saving throw" text).

    Urban Empath, Every Eye a Window: blindsense does not exist. Tremorsense and blindsight both do, however. It sounds like the ability is mostly re-explaining tremorsense, with and added restriction (man-made structures) and benefit (can target with Urban Empath powers).

    I'll add comments if they occur...

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    Splendid! Thank you.
    Ryan "RangerWickett" Nock
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    The most cinematic adventure path for 4th Edition and Pathfinder.

    Now available - Admiral o' the High Seas, and ZEITGEIST adventure eight, Diaspora! For Pathfinder and D&D 4e.

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    I've just started skimming, but the applied astronomer has an 11th level attack that is an area burst 1 and can do damage plus dominate each target for a round. That seems too good to me; most dominate powers are one target only.
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  • #5
    Quote Originally Posted by roadtoad View Post
    Logos's Make It So: this power seems like it will be used for one thing only: crit-spamming. Giving out natural 20s will encourage crit-focused character builds that could get pretty ugly. Especially considering the relatively light number of hit points on most Zeitgeist enemies so far, this is a recipe for really one-sided fights. The first round of *every* fight includes a crit by some striker's encounter or daily, plus whatever striker damage-booster, plus whatever crit-focused weapon they've acquired? This could get ugly fast. I would either make it a daily or change the text to "you choose whether its first attack roll hits or misses."
    FWIW, Prophecy of Doom from the Divine Oracle PP does something similar (allows for an auto-crit), so I don't think this is too far fetched of a power.

    Now my own notes...

    -I would consider having all the powers from these paragon paths simply use "Your highest ability" instead of calling out Int, Dex, Cha, etc. That way any class can make use of these. That is the language most of the 4e powers use too, "Your highest ability". See powers like Wolfstone Frenzy and Sunspray Dance.

    -Heavenly Flare: I would add your stat to damage there, seems kind of weak with just the d10.

    -Applied Astronomist's Straddling Realities: I agree with Roadtoad here. Feels like a few of them need some mechanics to hang on.

    -Cataclysmic Conjunction: Like Heavenly Flare, think you should add stat to damage here.

    -Pathos of the Inanimate: How does this interact with items held by people? Can you pull people weapons away from them? Does this automatically let you bypass traps that you're aware of?

    -Ethos of the Unwilling: I would change the text to read "to its next attack roll." instead of what is there. Just takes up less space and it is more in line with 4e language.

    -Mad Shootist: The explosive gun aspect of this PP seems harsh and can leave PCs weaponless.

    -Beam Shot: Roadtoad already mentioned the problems here with this power. I would also simply add that it "ignores cover" for wave beam rather than slap the restriction o nthere.

    -Rocket Launcher: Want rules on rockets. Seems cool.

    -Instant Boot Camp: This AP feature just seems like... it won't really see a lot of use. I'd consider scrapping it for something else. Your party wizard won't start suddenly melee attacking with a sword just because he has proficiency for a round.

    -Shell Shock: Note that the entry reads Friendly Fire which is different from the power name. This and Cannon Overture seem weird to me with the flat +10, meaning it doesn't scale--maybe use ability mod? Cannon Overture needs the bit about the weapon/implement, otherwise it will be a horribly inaccurate attack.

    -Crowd Effect: How long does the +5 death saving throws last? Is it always on? End of encounter? Etc, etc. Needs a duration.

    -Shock and Awe: The bit about "bloodied" reads awkwardly. I would take it out, and just let it be a -2 attack penalty for each of the posse members that hit.

    -Combat Focus: I don't think anything stops a PC from spamming Total Defense while out of combat and saving those extra dice for their next combat. Also, almost no one would use Total Defense in actual combat, except for a very niche build.

    -Stances: Do these actually count as 'stances' since thats a term used in 4e. IE: Can a Knight use this PP and still be in their Fighter Stances?

    -Polyhistor: Seems very strong overall, basic attacks have a lot going for them already.

    -Close Stance: "Disarmed" is not a condition in 4e. 4e frowns upon being disarmed a lot.

    -Steam and Steel: You'll probably want to make that +10 AC scale. Plate Armor for example scales by the enhancement bonus associated with it. You may want to make sure the suit scales based on the enhancement bonus of your own armor. Take a look to see how Plate scales in Heroes of the Fallen Lands (or one of the other essential books that list it).

    -Steam and Steel: A larger suit is worse at climbing? Why? Seems weird to me.

    -Steam Blast: Harsh penalty (standard action to get your suit going again?)

    -Every Building a Welcoming Home: I would just say this gives you phasing and streamline the language.

    -Every Window an Eye: Roadtoad mentioned the problems with this ability.

    -Vision of the Fall: This insta-kills all minions on the board pretty much. Seems powerful.

    ...

    Overall, these are very cool, and I'm very glad I kickstarted Zeitgeist. Looking forward to the future adventures!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Raak View Post
    FWIW, Prophecy of Doom from the Divine Oracle PP does something similar (allows for an auto-crit), so I don't think this is too far fetched of a power.!
    The difference being that Prophecy of Doom converts a hit into a crit, making it slightly less abusive. You might really want your Assassin with a Vicious Weapon to be the one delivering the crit, but if he drops a 4 on the attack roll, it's not going to happen, and then when the Paladin hits he has to decide whether to use up the crit or leave it there for the much-higher damage potential of the rogue, but the rogue might miss and then the whole thing's wasted. Make it So just says "take the highest potential damage my party can deliver."

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    I agree with a lot. I'll only point out where I disagree.

    Quote Originally Posted by Raak View Post
    -I would consider having all the powers from these paragon paths simply use "Your highest ability" instead of calling out Int, Dex, Cha, etc. That way any class can make use of these. That is the language most of the 4e powers use too, "Your highest ability". See powers like Wolfstone Frenzy and Sunspray Dance.
    Agreed. A little odd to use your Dexterity to argue philosophy but hey, that's 4e for you.

    -Heavenly Flare: I would add your stat to damage there, seems kind of weak with just the d10.
    I felt that the ongoing 10 damage possible from the plane of fire was sufficient, especially since there's a lot of control options here. Most area burst powers I saw for PPs were 2d10+primary ability, which is about the same as 1d10+10. I could be convinced, though.

    -Pathos of the Inanimate: How does this interact with items held by people? Can you pull people weapons away from them? Does this automatically let you bypass traps that you're aware of?
    Clarified 'unattended object.' And yes, mechanical traps you're aware of are no longer a threat. But since I'm writing the campaign I know that we don't really have any mechanical traps in paragon tier.

    -Mad Shootist: The explosive gun aspect of this PP seems harsh and can leave PCs weaponless.
    The idea is to keep the PC from handing his super-gun to an ally. And to give a nifty option if the party really needs to blow something up.

    -Instant Boot Camp: This AP feature just seems like... it won't really see a lot of use. I'd consider scrapping it for something else. Your party wizard won't start suddenly melee attacking with a sword just because he has proficiency for a round.
    Mostly it's useful for "everyone move 2 squares," and just has a few other possible perks.

    -Crowd Effect: How long does the +5 death saving throws last? Is it always on? End of encounter? Etc, etc. Needs a duration.
    "While you have an audience, you gain a +5 bonus on death saving throws, and whenever you bloody or drop an enemy you gain 5 temporary hit points." Clearer.

    -Shock and Awe: The bit about "bloodied" reads awkwardly. I would take it out, and just let it be a -2 attack penalty for each of the posse members that hit.
    I originally let you make an Intimidate check against bloodied enemies, but the whole "Intimidate them into surrendering" mechanic is kinda B.S.

    -Combat Focus: I don't think anything stops a PC from spamming Total Defense while out of combat and saving those extra dice for their next combat. Also, almost no one would use Total Defense in actual combat, except for a very niche build.
    Tweak: "If you spend a standard action to take a Total Defense, you also gain three additional martial dice as long as there is an enemy actively engaged in combat within 10 squares. You can have a maximum of ten dice in your martial pool at any time, and whenever you start a new encounter your total resets to three."

    Mostly it's a nod to realism, since folks have complained about per-encounter fighter abilities. And to let you mimic assassination attacks by observing for a few rounds.

    -Stances: Do these actually count as 'stances' since thats a term used in 4e. IE: Can a Knight use this PP and still be in their Fighter Stances?
    I've called them Elementary Stances, and said you can have one elementary and one other stance active at a time.

    -Polyhistor: Seems very strong overall, basic attacks have a lot going for them already.
    I tried to make it weaker but slightly more flexible than the Essentials martial character Paragon Paths.

    -Close Stance: "Disarmed" is not a condition in 4e. 4e frowns upon being disarmed a lot.
    Too bad. It's dumb that the game doesn't have it.

    --Steam and Steel: A larger suit is worse at climbing? Why? Seems weird to me.
    Because you're too heavy and stuff breaks when you try to pull yourself up? The center of balance isn't good so you dangle too far out from the wall? Basically I wanted a trade off between Iron Man and Iron Monger.

    -Steam Blast: Harsh penalty (standard action to get your suit going again?)
    Look at how much damage it does. It's a "fire everything and hope it kills the bad guy" power.

    -Every Building a Welcoming Home: I would just say this gives you phasing and streamline the language.
    I think I'll keep the more convoluted requirement for the sake of flavor.

    -Vision of the Fall: This insta-kills all minions on the board pretty much. Seems powerful.
    I am considering tweaking minions in the compilation so they're the "two-hit" kind. Anything that does X damage (10 + level?) kills them. Otherwise the damage bloodies them, and any extra damage kills them.


    Overall, these are very cool, and I'm very glad I kickstarted Zeitgeist. Looking forward to the future adventures!
    Glad you like them! I'll be uploading the whole Expanded Player Guide text to the Gold Supporter's Forum soon, for folks to pick over and offer more suggestions. I really appreciate the feedback.
    Ryan "RangerWickett" Nock
    Director of the ZEITGEIST campaign saga.


    The most cinematic adventure path for 4th Edition and Pathfinder.

    Now available - Admiral o' the High Seas, and ZEITGEIST adventure eight, Diaspora! For Pathfinder and D&D 4e.

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    Totally off-the cuff thoughts:

    General note: These are complicated, but flavourful. I have a strong preference for clean, since 4E characters have a lot of fiddly bits as it is, but for campaign-specific paragon paths that are very flavourful, I guess I'm OK with it.

    General note: the word her only appears in the document as either his or her (once) or in reference to Srasama. Every time a sentence refers to a character or an enemy, that creature or person is described as male. I noticed this about halfway through reading the document, which pompted me to do a few finds. How about mixing it up, or using the neutral they/their?

    Astronomist
    Touching the Wheel of Heaven: the description says to roll twice a day, but the table says to roll three times. Id stick to two choosing between two riders each time the power is used is already fiddly to remember.

    Straddling Realities: I agree that adding obscuring to the Avilona rider and other 4E rules would be helpful here. Also, on the Nem decay effect, it might be helpful to specify a number of years maybe something simple, like 10 years per round, just as a point of reference.

    Logos
    Intro: It is said that the learned to yield such power I assume this should be wield.

    Pathos of the Inanimate: Id make the manipulation of objects require a standard action (e.g. forcing a gun to fire).

    Make it So: I like the theme, but as a player in a party with a vicious weapon archer ranger, one free crit per encounter might be broken I think the player using this power will choose the natural 20 probably 90% of the time, since its almost always going to be better than having an enemy automatically miss.

    Revoke Agency: Super domination on a hit, and domination on a miss? Hmmmm. This one might be OK.

    Mad Shootist
    What do the rockets do? Is that covered in the Players Guide or something?

    Monument of War
    Friendly Fire: Dont bursts and blasts ignore cover?

    Notorious Celebrity
    Crowd Effect: Do the +5 bonuses to death saves stack? How long do they last?

    Polyhistor
    Five stances is a lot, considering that most characters who take this paragon path will be martial characters who may already have one or more stances. Still, it's interesting enough that I don't think it needs changing.

    Urban Empath
    My Spirit Medium player is going to adore this.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ajar View Post
    Monument of War
    Friendly Fire: Dont bursts and blasts ignore cover?
    bursts and blasts ignore concealment, not cover. When a grenade comes into the room, hiding in shadows will not help you, but being behind that desk will.

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    I Defended The Walls! ZEITGEIST

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    Oh yeah, that's right. I often forget about cover because one of my main 4E characters can auto-stealth (combining Cunning Sneak with Shadow Walk), and the DM sometimes has intelligent enemies use burst or blast powers to get around the fact that I'm usually hidden. I was lumping cover in with concealment.
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