A couple of questions on 4E Immortal design

Ltheb Silverfrond said:

Howdy Ltheb mate! :)

So, in H6, throne of bloodstone, one could run the old 1d1000 Balors thing. :)

Yes. Although a few things of note. 4E Balors (in fact Balors from 2E onwards) are notably more powerful than their 1E incarnations. So you might want to scale that back a tad, although looking at my Unit rules, 1000 4E Balors would be roughly on a par with a greater god version of Orcus.

While I do miss those good old days of 3E/3.5E GMing, I certainly do NOT miss the work! :)

Neither do I. ;)

After looking at your Thrin conversion, I have a couple of questions about 4E Epic+ design:

Fire away mate.

(I am not exactly sure if you answered any of these before, so bare with me here...)

Don't worry about that.

1. Are you planning on altering the mechanical progression of dice-damage tables, 1/2 level bonuses, feats, and the like significantly from the Core design?

No. I was (a few months back) going to alter the ability score bonus expression, but I had that explained to me why its a bad idea.

The only thing I am planning on changing (and even that might change) is having Divine Abilities replace feats. So that instead of gaining a new feat at Level 31, you would replace a feat with a divine ability. Divine Abilities would be about twice as powerful as a single feat in 4E.

The reason for this is to keep 4E book-keeping to a minimum and cap the number of feats you can have at 18 (IIRC).

- I think it might be needed to keep the numbers from going askew, but there are so many factors a 30th level character can utilize that it is somewhat like the high-end 3E characters. (Although not as insane as playing a 30 level+ wizard in 3E :))

The only real problem is the +1 tier difference in monster defense progression over PC attack progression, which is why Expertise was introduced. However, even that isn't really necessary since you'd expect a party of capable epic+ gamers to have some decent synergy bonuses in play during combat.

2. Do you plan on utilizing an 'absolutes' type system for your immortal design? (Based on the Thrin stats)

I think with 4E the trick is to give absolutes but sparingly. So that, for instance a PC Thrin might have an Encounter based power that means all his attacks hit that round (or something like that). But it won't destabilize the game because its only temporary.

- While certainly 'epic', absolutes are a bit clunky when they conflict. (Such as in the 3E IH: Perfect Attack vs Perfect defense: The PC takes perfect attack, and pretty much discards attack bonus, but then fights an enemy with perfect defense, where all that suddenly matters again!)

Another reason why 4E is better. You can have absolutes but they won't break the game.

3. What do you plan on doing with epic destinies and the magic item glut that are 30th level characters?
- Unless you are making a 30th level character 'from scratch', the character would easily have dozens of magical items at their disposal by 30th level, with the included dozens of modifiers to go with them.

I'll be looking into that more when I get deeper into thats books production, although at a glance I think you can only have 10-11 items functioning at one time, also the main difference between 3E and 4E items is that the latter are less multifaceted and far more focused.

So a weapon for an epic 3E character might have ten different properties (or more if its intelligent). While in 4E it will have one property with maybe one activated special ability - that makes a big difference.

- Epic destinies are also a bit of a design headache: At 30th levels, the designers gave each one a 'win the game' power. Seriously, if the player cannot break the game over their knee with their 30th level power, they must be trying hard not to! Example: The Lorekeeper epic destiny easily can provide infinite healing-surge-less healing and the Swordmage epic destiny can do monstrous things with heavy-blade opportunity and Dimensional Charge.

Thats true, and without revising every epic destiny (something I have no intention of doing) I think what you have to do is make the monsters a lot more nasty. By nasty I don't simply mean bigger levels and more damage, I mean different damage types (Void, Atomic, Divine etc.) that will mess up players, inflicting different conditions, etc.

4. Ability-score scaled abilities: What to do with them.
- The wizard's Orb of Imposition, as an example. Powers that have a non-damage effect based on an ability score (sliding X squares, -X to saves/defenses, +X to attack rolls; things that Players Handbook classes can do, let alone additional source books)

- These abilities get out of hand if ability scores keep improving. While the 'Orb can only get, at best, -10 to the targets saves from demigod, what happens when the max level is 60? Oh, I am sorry mr. Nexus Dragon, but you are minus forty to saving throws. I cast "ultra-epic stunlock 9!" (Or whatever obscene synergy a player might employ)

I'm not sure yet, its definately a problem with an ability score based mechanic affecting saving throws. Probably the biggest problem facing epic+ games.

One possibility is that you would revise the saving throw so that it was based on the Wizards Bonus, minus the targets bonus, does that seem a tad clunky?

Another method is to allow it as written, but give the target ways to break the effect.

But if you could ban/revise any type of power from 4E, this would probably be it.

I imagine I'll come up with something. In the meantime, mega and larger size monsters are already immune to status effects from smaller opponents, so the stun-lock thing won't work on Godzilla. :)

These kinds of things stick out to me like a sore thumb; I don't know, but I have been writing adventures for my 4E home games and designing almost all the (hundreds of) monsters for them from scratch for two years now, and those things jump out at me as the big hurdles to epic+ level games.

The 'stun-locking' threat (especially vs. Solo Monsters) is the real problem facing epic+ games in 4E. I wouldn't worry about the rest.
 

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U_K!

Upper_Krust said:
Howdy Ltheb mate! :)
...
...
One possibility is that you would revise the saving throw so that it was based on the Wizards Bonus, minus the targets bonus, does that seem a tad clunky?

Another method is to allow it as written, but give the target ways to break the effect.

But if you could ban/revise any type of power from 4E, this would probably be it.
...
I imagine I'll come up with something. In the meantime, mega and larger size monsters are already immune to status effects from smaller opponents, so the stun-lock thing won't work on Godzilla. :)

...

Stun locking isnt the only concern: Take the Tactical Warlord. He has a 1st level daily that, if it hits, adds his Int modifier to the whole party's attack rolls to the target until the end of the encounter. At first level, this is ok, it means they miss on 5's. Really good daily, right? But at 30th level, it adds +9/10! So, they can't miss, at all. And there are other powers that do such things.

Also, making mega-+ monsters immune to conditions and such is a good idea. But here's my question with that: If mega creatures are immune to conditions, how do Defenders use their class features against them? Being Marked is a condition. Paladins and Swordmages have special marks with special rules, but Fighters and Wardens just have powers that affect marked targets. Are mega creatures immune? (On one hand, that seems fair, since an optimized fighter is a nightmare; but on the other, denying a class feature sort of goes against the 4E grain. I mean, they allow sneak attack against undead now!)

On items: While the items are less complicated in 4E, the 'best' items are the ones with always-active properties (such as adding addition bonuses to damage or special rules to follow, like the Shadow Band ring always grants concealment) or ones with Encounter powers built in. (Typically, those don't require major actions to use, so they also come into play often; At least, as often as the player remembers!) A PC might only have 10 items, but if they have 10 effects that change how they function, its a real pain. 10x Five PCs = Alot of 'Oh yea!' moments where I, as the DM, remember that my monster's tactics just are going to fall flat because the Mage has a Cloak of Distortion, and so ranged and area attacks are worthless against them, and melee and close power are not possible due to their escape and shield powers.
 

Pssthpok

First Post
Hey hey, UK.

The only thing I am planning on changing (and even that might change) is having Divine Abilities replace feats. So that instead of gaining a new feat at Level 31, you would replace a feat with a divine ability. Divine Abilities would be about twice as powerful as a single feat in 4E.

The reason for this is to keep 4E book-keeping to a minimum and cap the number of feats you can have at 18 (IIRC).

I'd like to see this. The plethora of feats for 3E characters (not even taking Multifaceted into account) provided no end of book keeping and power balance trouble.

On top of that, it would be fairly easy to use heroic->paragon->epic precedent to describe good boundaries for divine feats.

So a weapon for an epic 3E character might have ten different properties (or more if its intelligent). While in 4E it will have one property with maybe one activated special ability - that makes a big difference.

So, I take it you have some thoughts on extending magic items beyond the current scope. I think the same structure (i.e. +5 levels, x5 price) would eventually catapult prices into the realm of the ridiculous.
An adamantine weapon (Adventurer's Vault), for instance, would extend for the next thirty levels as follows:
Code:
Lvl 33: +7:      10,625,000 gp
Lvl 38: +8:      53,125,000 gp
Lvl 43: +9:     265,625,000 gp
Lvl 48: +10:  1,328,125,000 gp
Lvl 53: +11:  6,640,625,000 gp
Lvl 58: +12: 33,203,125,000 gp

...so yeah. I think at that point you either have to start using a different sort of currency or something wholly different, like the way you had wealth wired into ECL in 3E.
I'm curious for your thoughts on that because, even though magic items are simpler and sleeker in 4E, they are all designed to scale within 30 levels.

One possibility is that you would revise the saving throw so that it was based on the Wizards Bonus, minus the targets bonus, does that seem a tad clunky?

No clunkier than adding an arbitrary +5 to saves at Exalted and another +5 at Immortal. Well, slightly more clunky. :heh:
 

Ltheb Silverfrond said:

Hiya mate! :)

Stun locking isnt the only concern: Take the Tactical Warlord. He has a 1st level daily that, if it hits, adds his Int modifier to the whole party's attack rolls to the target until the end of the encounter. At first level, this is ok, it means they miss on 5's. Really good daily, right? But at 30th level, it adds +9/10! So, they can't miss, at all. And there are other powers that do such things.

By 'stun-locking' I was trying to use an umbrella term for all Ability Score related bonuses.

Another idea may be to impose a limit on this of +1 per tier.

Also, making mega-+ monsters immune to conditions and such is a good idea. But here's my question with that: If mega creatures are immune to conditions, how do Defenders use their class features against them? Being Marked is a condition. Paladins and Swordmages have special marks with special rules, but Fighters and Wardens just have powers that affect marked targets. Are mega creatures immune? (On one hand, that seems fair, since an optimized fighter is a nightmare; but on the other, denying a class feature sort of goes against the 4E grain. I mean, they allow sneak attack against undead now!)

I'll list the conditions they are immune to. I hadn't planned on marked being one of them.

On items: While the items are less complicated in 4E, the 'best' items are the ones with always-active properties (such as adding addition bonuses to damage or special rules to follow, like the Shadow Band ring always grants concealment) or ones with Encounter powers built in. (Typically, those don't require major actions to use, so they also come into play often; At least, as often as the player remembers!) A PC might only have 10 items, but if they have 10 effects that change how they function, its a real pain. 10x Five PCs = Alot of 'Oh yea!' moments where I, as the DM, remember that my monster's tactics just are going to fall flat because the Mage has a Cloak of Distortion, and so ranged and area attacks are worthless against them, and melee and close power are not possible due to their escape and shield powers.

I can't imagine PCs having more than a few such items. I mean are there Always-Active Properties for items of every body slot?
 

Pssthpok said:
Hey hey, UK.

Hey there amigo! :)

I'd like to see this. The plethora of feats for 3E characters (not even taking Multifaceted into account) provided no end of book keeping and power balance trouble.

I know.

On top of that, it would be fairly easy to use heroic->paragon->epic precedent to describe good boundaries for divine feats.

Should be simple enough to upgrade.

So, I take it you have some thoughts on extending magic items beyond the current scope. I think the same structure (i.e. +5 levels, x5 price) would eventually catapult prices into the realm of the ridiculous.

To be honest I don't have a problem with it. The game already supports different currencies.

An adamantine weapon (Adventurer's Vault), for instance, would extend for the next thirty levels as follows:
Code:
Lvl 33: +7:      10,625,000 gp
Lvl 38: +8:      53,125,000 gp
Lvl 43: +9:     265,625,000 gp
Lvl 48: +10:  1,328,125,000 gp
Lvl 53: +11:  6,640,625,000 gp
Lvl 58: +12: 33,203,125,000 gp

At Lvl 58 (ie. Overgods) thats only 3 million Astral Diamonds...and yes I will be introducing a new currency above Astral Diamonds...probably souls, or something soul related.

...so yeah. I think at that point you either have to start using a different sort of currency or something wholly different, like the way you had wealth wired into ECL in 3E.

I'm curious for your thoughts on that because, even though magic items are simpler and sleeker in 4E, they are all designed to scale within 30 levels.

Its something I'll look into closer to the Immortals Handbook release. I don't want to cap items at +6 but it may be worth a study.

No clunkier than adding an arbitrary +5 to saves at Exalted and another +5 at Immortal. Well, slightly more clunky. :heh:

Its one problem that will have to be dealt with, although I am not sure what the best option is at the moment.
 

I have seen Avatar, I did like its critters.



Sounds like an ideal place for adventuring. Maybe a magic based invasion of an Avatar-like world rather than a sci-fi based invasion.

The Midworld critters are somewhat similar, but weirder (Alan Dean Foster makes a big thing out of camouflage and mimicry -- there are all sorts of dangerous creatures that mimic harmless ones, and weirder mimics, like the clouder that mimics a patch of sky) and bigger and nastier (the 'sky devils' are pretty much the equivalent of the Avatar fliers, being giant pterodactyl-dragon things, and the silverslith EATS them.)

There is a critter seen even bigger & nastier than the silverslith, though it's not named - it seems to be of a size that would consider Godzilla a snack. (Its individual claws are 'the size of small trees'!) Probably a Macro-Tiny creature...

The one false note in the book is that the ecological moral presented seems a bit out-of-place, as it is hard to see how technological society could do any real harm to an ecosystem so well able to defend itself; but it's still an awesome book.


I was recently doing some research into medieval monsters and its amazing how many really cool ideas there are out there that D&D hasn't even used yet.

Yeah, there are some awesome ideas.

Some are probably TOO weird for D&D though - like the Bonnacon (ox-like thing which had deadly flaming flatulence - seriously). The original legendary one-"r" Tarasque was the offspring of a Bonnacon and Leviathan. (It was also a lot smaller than the D&D version, ox-size or somewhat bigger, and dramatically more vulnerable.)
 

Khisanth the Ancient said:
The one false note in the book is that the ecological moral presented seems a bit out-of-place, as it is hard to see how technological society could do any real harm to an ecosystem so well able to defend itself; but it's still an awesome book.

Not sure I agree. As we see with Avatar, the technology was easily able to mine large swathes of the land and where it faced any real difficulties, bomb the heck out of it.

Yeah, there are some awesome ideas.

Some are probably TOO weird for D&D though - like the Bonnacon (ox-like thing which had deadly flaming flatulence - seriously).

Yes I noticed the Bonnacon only recently and was amazed there was actually a medieval monster out there (several in fact) that I had never heard of.

While the Bonnacon seems more Heroic Tier, there are a few monsters out there that suit the Epic Tier which I will surely be pinching for some book. ;)

The original legendary one-"r" Tarasque was the offspring of a Bonnacon and Leviathan. (It was also a lot smaller than the D&D version, ox-size or somewhat bigger, and dramatically more vulnerable.)

The original tarasque to me (from the statues in France) seems like an ankylosaurus (Macetail Behemoth to those unfamiliar with dinosaurs*). I always wondered if that monster was inspired by some ankylosaurus bones or something?

Edit: Actually thinking about it, it was probably some crocodile they found. :p

*Before I was into fantasy, when I was very young, maybe aged between 6-9. I was into dinosaurs...and yes this was WAY before the first Jurassic Park movie.
 


Rhuarc

Explorer
Hiya mate! :)
I can't imagine PCs having more than a few such items. I mean are there Always-Active Properties for items of every body slot?

Indeed there are. Though if you have a somewhat competent DM, he won't let one or even more players get such an item for every slot.
At epic levels the item management becomes pretty hard to handle, for both sides.

The players already have a bunch of powers from their Class, Paragon Path, Epic Destiny and Feats, and it will take more than just a little time to get used to this and a really good knowledge of your character to remember all your powers well enough, so that you don't have to sort through them again and again for each combat round. If you add another five or six activation-powers from items, it becomes even more confusing and/or time-consuming. So naturally many players would want items with static properties, though even if they have to remember them as well, it is most of the time easier than a complete new power.

The DM on the other hand knows that, of course, and has to make difficult choices about which item to hand out for which player. Naturally, you want to make the life for your players easier, though it is not the best idea to just give them items for each slot with always active properties (as Ltheb pointed out). They also have to deal with item whislists if you play with this suggestion from the DMG, and I guess most of these lists will include exactly the aforementioned items.
Then there is the issue with Daily Item Usage. Characters have 3+ any milestones of uses per day to use such powers at epic levels. Now with 11-12 item slots which all could offer another Daily power (which are pretty common throughout the magic item list), you have to be careful not to hand out too many of them, or your players won't be able to use all of them, even if they wanted to.


So you see, it's not really easy to decide what is the golden path between these issues, and immortal PCs will probably have even more powers or active effects to deal with. One (in this case UK ;)) has to be careful with the complexity of high and higher levels of 4E. Though it is nothing compared to 3.5, of course :)
 


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