D&D 4E Confirming the 4e Math, Stage 1: Iconics

WalterKovacs

First Post
The analysis is supposed to confirm whether or not it's necessary for them to make things like Weapon Expertise?

Well, for the fighter the weapon talent + demigod gives you an extra +2 to your attack. The rogue's weapon talent with the dagger is similarly putting it ahead of the curve, and his paragon path also increases damage output via high crit range. The cleric starts with 20 wisdom, has a paragon path that increases crit range, and is a demigod. The wizard just has the 20 starting stat, but that's still one +1.

So, the characters, at level 21, have either +1 or +2 over a character like an archer ranger or paladin or warlord with an 18, after racial modifiers, for their attack stat who don't take an epic destiny or paragon path with an attack pump built into it, would be able to take weapon mastery to 'catch up' to the iconic characters.

In these cases, you are more showing ways to bypass the math problem using the existing system than disproving the math problems. If the solution is: You must start with 19 or 20 in your attack stat, take one of the classes, or paragon paths, that gives additional bonuses to hit, or give an epic destiny that pumps your stats and thus boosts you attack stat to give an additional +1 to hit ...
 

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keterys

First Post
I'd probably suggest looking at level 24 or 25 (a mid-point) and using the default stat array (it is the suggested method for character creation and all that) or a more normal 16/16 type spread. 24 would actually probably be best for magic items since you'd get to take actual options for magic items and they'd all be +5 safely.

I support Spellstorm over Blood Mage, though - it's not only more iconic, but Blood Mage would taint the testing waters.

Of course, it'd also be interesting to see two test sets... one with a more gamed set with +2 from race, 17/18 starting ability, demigod, etc... and another with 16 starting, non-optimal race, etc... but honestly these tests get a bit exhausting too :)
 

KarinsDad

Adventurer
I'm mostly okay with your reasons for doing things differently, but I'm a bit dubious about using level 21. It's the first level in the epic tier. Will this allow to come to meaningful conclusions about the epic tier? I don't think so. It's also too high to represent the paragon tier. Why choose such a threshold level?

This is a good point.

The entire PC becomes significantly more powerful at level 21. Along with Epic Destiny (which for Demigod gives +1 add to 2 ability mods), this is the level where PCs gain +1 to all ability scores and evens many of them out, the potential (with retraining) for two Epic feats, a significant increase in damage dice, etc.

Level 15 for Paragon or level 25 for Epic might be a better choice. Not the worst levels, but not status quo levels like even levels or tier levels.
 

infocynic

First Post
I would have no problem with giving a level 21 character something like 5 magic items of level 16 or lower in addition to the level 22, 21, 20 and 20 in gp items that he gets. These would represent items from earlier in the career.

I would still like to see how things play out at mid-heroic and mid-paragon and mid-epic as a reasonable approximation of more interesting... there's already going to be a huge spike at 21st because of the step function... a primarily ability score that started even is going up, possibly by 2 with demigod, you gain 1 or more epic destiny features, and even your worst stats also just gained one modifier.

My group has favored the 16/14/13/12/10/8 or 16/16/x/x/x/x arrays, the former is typically better for slightly MAD classes like melee rangers or classes who want their stats spread around for feat requirements (dragon sorcerers trying to get arcane reach), while the latter is better for most 2-stat classes...
 

Nail

First Post
Great start, stalker0!

Like others here, I would suggest:
  • Use the array 16/16/12/12/10/8. It's simply more widely used.
  • A more realistic list of magic items. The DMG system low-balls it significantly.
  • Go 25th level, not 21st. The jump in power at 21st level is large...all the math threads show a jump in DPR and Attacks-Till-Bloodied at that level. This is true at the start of every tier: 1st, 11st, 21st.
  • Consider dropping Adventurer's Vault. It'd be nice to see what this system's baseline is before we add splatbooks.
 

Regicide

Banned
Banned
Great start, stalker0!

  • Consider dropping Adventurer's Vault. It'd be nice to see what this system's baseline is before we add splatbooks.

Well, like Stalker I pretty much consider it core. Not only was it done before PHB was released, but everyone has it. I'd even go so far as to include Forgotten Realms Players Guide.

Anyway, I find it odd that to test synergy you have a party that is 20% smaller than "expected" where it's party size that creates synergy.
 

Psikus

Explorer
One small suggestion to help us Character Builder addicts. Would it be possible to link to the actual Character Builder files of the PCs? Processing raw stats, particularly at such a high level, is not too intuitive, and it would be cool to either browse the sheets on CB, or print them.

Other than that, I love the idea, and I'd vote for taking out the Adventurer's Vault.
 

Stalker0

Legend
A couple of comments:

1) I understand people's concerns about demigod, but the only other core choice I have for the fighter and cleric is the eternal seeker....which introduces a lot of multiclass options that normal characters probably wouldn't have. Or perhaps I could break my rule on this one and give them some splat epic destinies that seem iconic and don't seem "broken" in any way.

2) I'm keeping the 4 man team. Basically I will check the synergy, and then from the results, we can adjust what the effect would be if we added in an extra copy of a role. Having one of each should give us a baseline on how the roles interact with each other. The main goal of this investigation is checking combat numbers and numerical percentages...not to see the final result of "winning or losing" a combat or even grind investigations.

3) I chose 21st to see the beginning of epic level but it sounds like enough people question that as a starting point. Fair enough, I'll do 24th level.

4) I will also change the array to the standard one, seems like a solid idea for "iconics".

5) I could add more items, but I don't know how much of an effect they would have, and items already are a huge wildcard factor in the analysis. If anyone sees any "iconic" low level items the characters would have let me know. I think for the first analysis I'm will see how much of an effect the items have, if it seems to be a significant factor, I may pay more attention to item selection.

Or....if someone would like to go through the trouble of determining how much gold a 24th level character would realistically have through adventuring I can include that factor in.

6) I'm going to keep Adventurer's Vault... that one is stone, so people can stopping asking about this one:)

7) Last thing about the iconics. I am planning to do analysis with them, but my hope is that we create a consistent "test set" that other people on the boards will use as well. I would love if other people used the iconics to test other factors, other levels, effect of X, Y, Z etc....and it will have some meaning because we are all using the same set.
 

Nail

First Post
Cool. Understood, Stalker0!

(I agree that magic items might be the really problematic "option list". For example: Does the PC prioritize RFW over AC, or Atk over FWR? How do you standardize that?)
 

KarinsDad

Adventurer
Cool. Understood, Stalker0!

(I agree that magic items might be the really problematic "option list". For example: Does the PC prioritize RFW over AC, or Atk over FWR? How do you standardize that?)

I think the best thing is to balance these out a little bit. Go with the strengths, but have a few feats/powers to shore up the weaknesses some.
 

Regicide

Banned
Banned
I think the best thing is to balance these out a little bit. Go with the strengths, but have a few feats/powers to shore up the weaknesses some.

Really I don't think the characters even matter, it's the synergy that matters. For instance, at level 1 if 4 characters use -2 AC until next round powers and can keep an opponent's AC effectively reduced by 8 for the encounter, how much worse is it than -8 at level 24 with higher level powers? That to me seems to be whats really being tested. The roll against AC is supposed to be fairly constant, so if that number changes from 8 then there is a change in the synergy's power.
 

infocynic

First Post
Are the iconics designed to be min-maxers or represent more typical, less power-gamer types?

The feat selections should be tied to their roles... except for things that just make sense for everyone (expertise, armor spec if you can meet the stats (armor prof: leather for classes without it), paragon/robust defenses)... the defenders should look for things to increase the potency of their marks or their OAs or their defense... the striker to increase damage, the leader their healing / buffing (minor accent on debuffing in some cases, for example psychic lock is very good for a bard with viscious mockery), the controller on debuffing / battlefield movement / options. Maybe 1 feat per tier that's not in the "obvious" choices set and that doesn't help with their primary role.
 

Plane Sailing

Astral Admin - Mwahahaha!
6) I'm going to keep Adventurer's Vault... that one is stone, so people can stopping asking about this one

OK, although I don't know why. It has been the source of so much cheese in builds that people have talked about (double weapons, craghammers, greatbows, mordenkrags etc. etc.)

If you are including AV, why wouldn't the classes take advantage of the AV superior weapon cheese?
 

KarinsDad

Adventurer
Really I don't think the characters even matter, it's the synergy that matters. For instance, at level 1 if 4 characters use -2 AC until next round powers and can keep an opponent's AC effectively reduced by 8 for the encounter, how much worse is it than -8 at level 24 with higher level powers? That to me seems to be whats really being tested. The roll against AC is supposed to be fairly constant, so if that number changes from 8 then there is a change in the synergy's power.

We've had this discussion before. The roll against AC is not constant across levels and 4 such PCs will never be successful at giving a foe -8 every single round for an entire encounter.

Even if 4 PCs all have the ability to give an opponent -2 to hit with a power that has to hit first (the vast majority of debuff powers), every PC will not be successful with it every single round.

At low levels where the chance to hit is greater (e.g. 50% to 65%), PCs could average between -4 and -5.2 to a single monster.

At high levels where the chance to hit is less (e.g. 35% to 50%), PCs could average a -2.8 and -4 to a single monster.

So as one goes up levels, the synergy is LESS effective for these types of debuff strategies. Not only that, but the PCs will have even more options at higher levels, so each of them will use their debuff powers less frequently.
 

KarinsDad

Adventurer
OK, although I don't know why. It has been the source of so much cheese in builds that people have talked about (double weapons, craghammers, greatbows, mordenkrags etc. etc.)

The Paragon level Heavy Armor sag problem is addressed in AV.

To me, a Paragon level test and even a mid-Epic level test would be incomplete without it.

I understand the concern about the AV weapons. They are pure cheese. ;)
 

Stalker0

Legend
Are the iconics designed to be min-maxers or represent more typical, less power-gamer types?

The goal is to create the iconic role for each. So an iconic defender, leader...etc. I have tried to make the fighter tough and have powers that guard and defend his buddies, the cleric has several heal/buff abilities, the wizard has area hits or powerful debuffs, the rogue has big damage.
 


NMcCoy

First Post
I second the suggestion of building at levels 4, 14, and 24 - your magic item triad has all the same pluses that way, and you get your pick of nice items within that range.

To me a halfling artful dodger rogue and eladrin wand wizard seem more iconic, but maybe that's just me...
 

Regicide

Banned
Banned
We've had this discussion before. The roll against AC is not constant across levels and 4 such PCs will never be successful at giving a foe -8 every single round for an entire encounter.

Actually, that discussion was for the PCs giving the opponent a penalty on it's attack rolls. What I was mentioning here was the PCs reducing the AC of an opponent.

Even if 4 PCs all have the ability to give an opponent -2 to hit with a power that has to hit first (the vast majority of debuff powers), every PC will not be successful with it every single round.

If 2 land the first round, next round the opponent's AC is 4 less, it's actually VERY likely that by round 2 or 3 everyone will be hitting practically every turn as the monster's AC is now 8 less (with 4 players, 10 less with 5, 12 less with 6...)

The strategy is actually to lower the monster's AC by round 2 and by round 3 to start unloading daily's on it 2 at a time. But whatever. It's a moot point because it does synergize better, and it's blatantly obvious. It's easier to lower ACs at higher levels especially with things like the rogue paragon path that gives a permanent -2 to AC on a crits and greater access to encounter powers that do it.
 

Bayuer

First Post
Good going Stalker!
I don't think you will find something new, but this is nice initative and I can't wait to see the results of your calculations. But here are some things you might consider:

1)making analise for lvl 5,15,25. This are half tier levels and you need to compare all tiers to make your analises worth something. I think you should start from lvl 5 and then make other lvls.
2)I would like to see the RAW AC/NADs analysis (without any feats) and with feats taken
3)Shield Specialization and Armor Spec don't stack. Both give feat bonuses.
 

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