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Dragon 399 - Heroes of Tome and Temple

Mengu

First Post
Although I forsee players making stupid, pointless skill checks in order to "cut through the chaff" of the Seer's ability. But then, I guess that's sort of the point. If you know you're going to roll a 1, then you're probably going to go with a basic attack over a Daily.

Or don't mind including an ally in an AoE ;)
 

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WalterKovacs

First Post
Other themes didn't seem to have such restrictions, it just felt odd. I can be a fighter, hunter, battlemind, or bard, and be animal master, eventhough traditionally animal handling is tied to wisdom. Even for ordained priest, my enchanter gnome wizard can be the ordained priest of Oghma, my halfling rogue can be the ordained priest of Tymora, my half-elf "brought up among elves" bard can be the ordained priest of Corellon. Odd restriction that you can't be a good scholarly monk, or priest.

I don't like stats anyway, but that's another topic.

The escaped slave is dependent on having a good bluff, considering it's main power is dependent on it.

The alchemist is skill dependent (only their initial alchemy item doesn't require the appropriate skill in order to make it)

Seer likes Perception, and Insight, to the point where Wisdom is a good idea for it.

You still get the bonus to defenses, you have some knowledge skills that are wisdom dependent, etc ... you lose the damage buff (or it's weaker), but everything else for the class (save for the decoding check using Arcana, but there are other ways to boost that if necessary). Then again, playing a themed character as a scholar with Int dump stated would seem a bit odd. The monk wouldn't fit well, but a cleric, especially one that may lean towards scholarly pursuits is probably a laser cleric with rituals, and might give himself a decent Int modifier in order to have Religion as a useful skill in rituals, increase his Reflex (since he can always battlewise for init) and boost his theme, etc. The laser cleric isn't very dependent on secondary stats (sure, charisma is a bit more important since surgeless healing doesn't get wisdom anymore, they can steal some Con based stuff from the warpriest, but otherwise, int is as good as anything else to put some points into, considering their theme.
 

Destil

Explorer
The seer is pretty terrible mechanically. I don't look forward to arguments over what a 'meaningful' action are, or the inevitable rounds of "Monster Knowledge Check as a free action, minor action perception to make sure no one's hiding in those brush, Daily."
 

Aegeri

First Post
The seer is pretty terrible mechanically. I don't look forward to arguments over what a 'meaningful' action are, or the inevitable rounds of "Monster Knowledge Check as a free action, minor action perception to make sure no one's hiding in those brush, Daily."
Cue entire rounds of debating about if checking the bush is a meaningful action or not.

I am already houseruling the seer to attacks and saving throws. Now it's an interesting enough choice and can't be abused with "I jump one square" attempts (as CharOp is already starting to debate).

Edit: Even better, just use no-action monster knowledge checks to throw away bad results! Then end up arguing with your DM for the rest of the session if that is a "meaningful check" despite never making them before. This is basically a description of the argument on CharOp, which in response to some people objecting to this (obviously ridiculous) use is this:
It's all good, though, and I'm not too worried. I'm sure I would not want to play at a table with a capricious DM with low reading comprehension.
Oh the joys of having rules written in pudding.
 
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WalterKovacs

First Post
I could see them perhaps giving a better definition of what is significant. While, it's true that something like "jumping a meaningless distance as part of your move" or using a minor looking for something that probably doesn't exist are obvious attempts to "use up" bad rolls ... there are times where skill checks are as important as an attack or saving throw. If you used the power before a skill challenge or attempting to disable a trap, they might decide to go for a hard DC on a good roll, and go for a "no successs/no fail" check with a ball roll.

Still, in terms of debates and stuff, a DM basically has to allow for the addition of themes to their game (unless it's Dark Sun, and even then, some of the themes don't fit Dark Sun and should be decided on a theme by theme basis) so anyone playing a Seer should talk with their DM beforehand about what that DM considers a significant action.

Then make sure it's applied consistently. You could allow players to use up the bad rolls on skill checks ... but then, if they end up in a scenario where they need to get over a bridge (Acrobatics to avoid falling off) or jumping over a chasm, etc ... they may be forced to use up a good roll or find a way to attack from the other side, etc. Compared to knowing you'll miss an ally with a multi target burst attack, wasting an action, or doing literally nothing to use up a bad roll, actually seems worse. You are getting no benefit (and in some cases wasting an action), instead of getting an actual benefit, like saving an ally from damage.
 

Aegeri

First Post
There isn't a definition of what is significant though - it's entirely DM fiat. For example, a perception check might be useless or it could be vitally important to see the horrible spider bearing on top of you from the ceiling. So something like that can be both a trivial roll and it can be significant. Effectively you might say the jig could be up when you ask for a seer roll to be used over a regular roll! So when do you change it if the perception check to look at those bushes for pixies is significant or not? More importantly, that this is coherent to the players and they can consistently figure out how you will rule on this.

That's what I dislike about it immensely. Then there is the issue with just throwing away bad rolls on monster knowledge checks (which are no action BTW). If you've been following the CharOp thread, it's very clear you have two camps on that and neither agree with the other whatsoever. Actually both have entirely legitimate points in many ways - albeit one side is being considerably more facetious than the other and there is some major metagaming going on there too. Personally I don't like rules like that and hence why I am always so consistent on what I rule if possible. This by definition is *really* difficult to rule consistently on in a real game.
 
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Of course, every perception check is meaningful:

Oh, i use the 1 for my perception check:

DM: "You see nothing"

Player: "I use the 20 for my attack on the lvl 1 spider."

DM: "The Spider dies, but you somehow missed the second spider just behind you!"

I guess, limiting it to saving throws and attack rolls against enemies would be a good limitation. And maybe add a line: at the DM´s discretion, you may use a roll for a meaningful skill check...

Or yu could give the choice: either the next saving throws and attacks, or the next three skill checks, so that you can´t mix it.
 
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Aegeri

First Post
That is an absolutely brilliant and simple solution. Either the first 3 attack rolls and saving throws, or the first three skill checks. Perfectly solves the problem, allows it to be useful in skill challenges and is simple plus non-abusable!

Perfect!
 

SabreCat

First Post
The problem taps into a deeper flaw with the system as a whole: there are are lots of rolls you can (or even must!) make that have very little consequence for failure. Other games come with rules to the effect of "only roll if both success and failure are possible, and the outcomes of both would be interesting and move the game forward".

If there were some meaningful consequence to failing a monster knowledge check or bunny-hop, the power wouldn't be so open to abuse. But since there are so many in-game actions where the die roll does nothing but eat up play time, it becomes a headache.
 

pauljathome

First Post
There isn't a definition of what is significant though - it's entirely DM fiat. .

This is at least as true at the world level as at the game level.

One of my biggest problems with this is at the world level. Basically, the Seer is saying "The next thing you do will succeed, the thing after will succeed incredibly well, and then you will fail" (dice read 12, 20, 3).

So, there is already the problem in how the heck, at the world level, the seer describes a 10 ("The next thing you do will succeed or fail depending upon how difficult the task" kinda works but doesn't differentiate between an 8 and a 12)

But even at the world level, what the heck does that mean? Is "the next thing" typing this entire message or typing one character in it?

And how the heck does one explain, in world, an area effect attack? In world, the character throwing his fireball isn't making separate attacks, in arbitrary order, against each character. Thats purely a game artifice. How does the character usefully use the knowledge that he is about to roll a 1, 20, 10)?

And you can't handle it by saying "The next attack you make will hit your enemies, hitting the one you hate the most by far the worst and missing your ally" (1, 14, 20) since the next action might be a skill check, or there might not be multiple enemies or whatever.

l recognize that I'm an outlier in caring that the world actually makes a bare modicum of sense. But I do and this is really going to hurt that. Both from the flavour perspective and from the "why is the dumb barbarian asking about the monster now?" or "Why does the wizard not care about this monster when he cared so much about what the last 20 monsters were? perspectives

Precognition type powers have always been a bit of a pain. The powers associated with this theme are actually quite reasonable. An interrupt to add to your defence makes conceptual sense.
 

Obryn

Hero
Edit: Even better, just use no-action monster knowledge checks to throw away bad results! Then end up arguing with your DM for the rest of the session if that is a "meaningful check" despite never making them before. This is basically a description of the argument on CharOp, which in response to some people objecting to this (obviously ridiculous) use is this:
Oh the joys of having rules written in pudding.
Hey, that response was to me! And yeah, it's insane.

As I said, if I'm with a group where my discretion as DM is not enough, it gets ruled as, "Attack rolls, saving throws, and skill checks made as part of a challenge."

-O
 

mneme

Explorer
[MENTION=21807]pauljathome[/MENTION]: on the in-world explaination, I could see playing the power as providing data for the seer PC to make a prediction, rather than having players try to describe the sequence of three numbers in game-world terms generally.

"What do you see?"
"If you you direct your freezing burst at Bartholemew now, and the monsters surrounding him, it will go well for him if you cast your eyes on him first, but badly for him if the blast strikes him last" (in this case, one is coming up with an in-world reasoning for why the player rolling a burst actually gets to choose the order of rolling damage -- and why it matters at all)"

or
"If you attempt to leap the wall towards the goblin queen, you may not make it over the wall, but what you next strike will feel the true power of your blow" (weak roll, crit, leaving the third roll out of the prediction as it doesn't make sense).

I envision a seer typically suggesting a course of action and predicting it's result, rather than trying to describe things more generically.

Now, that said, the ability is still kinda broken, though it's more sane if you stick to this kind of in-world prediction.
 

pauljathome

First Post
[MENTION=21807]pauljathome[/MENTION]:
"If you attempt to leap the wall towards the goblin queen, you may not make it over the wall, but what you next strike will feel the true power of your blow" (weak roll, crit, leaving the third roll out of the prediction as it doesn't make sense).

I envision a seer typically suggesting a course of action and predicting it's result, rather than trying to describe things more generically.

Now, that said, the ability is still kinda broken, though it's more sane if you stick to this kind of in-world prediction.

But those only work if the Seer does this RIGHT before the action and so knows what the recipient is going to do. It takes a standard action to perform, that is going to be unusual. Much more common is the case where you throw it just before entering the door.

And it is NOT the seer suggesting a course of action. Its telling the other character how the fates will be acting and letting the character decide what to do.

Your suggestions really only work in hindsight or with complete authorial control. At the table, it is almost never going to be the case that the seer player would be able to turn a roll of 1, 10, 20 into that information.

And that is leaving aside the whole issue of being able to "fight" bad luck and take advantage of good luck by choosing the order in which you look at targets. While that is an ingenious try it really doesn't succeed :)
 

Eh, Piffle!

There's a perfectly good way to decide what is significant and what isn't. If the player is taking an action IN ORDER TO use up a bad roll, then it isn't significant. Pure and simple. If you want some kind of in-game fluff for this the answer is "you cannot thwart fate". This still leaves the players a good bit of room to arrange things in a more advantageous way, but they really can't game the thing.

As for 'no action' type things like monster knowledge checks... again, they're still amenable to the same rule. I know my players. I can easily tell when they're doing something meta-gamey.
 

occam

Explorer
Scholar: I was very meh on this until I read the encounter utility that can give a party a damage type. That can be really utilized well, considering it grants radiant as one of the damage types. It's a very flavor heavy theme though that is competing against some with excellent mechanics. It does let you know every language though, but unfortunately the level 10 feature steps on the toes of the level 5 quite a bit. That use vulnerability can backfire on you is pretty hilarious too. Don't really know what to think of this, it's okay?

But you don't have to use vulnerability if you don't make the hard DC. You'd only use it after missing the hard DC if +4 to all your defenses is worth more to you at the moment than half damage to that target. (At least, that's how I'd interpret the power: the second paragraph of the effect states the difference in effect if you miss the hard DC, i.e. half damage but you still get the +4 to defenses. You could read it as saying that you don't get the defense bonus if you miss the hard DC, in which case it'd be utterly pointless to use the power.)
 


mneme

Explorer
But those only work if the Seer does this RIGHT before the action and so knows what the recipient is going to do. It takes a standard action to perform, that is going to be unusual. Much more common is the case where you throw it just before entering the door./QUOTE]

And then...what? There's no reason the seer needs to actually give a prediction when they use the power -- the power lets them gain the data they need to make an interesting and semi-accurate prediction, but as you said, there's pretty much no interesting way within the narrative to give such a prediction given the data the seer has at the time they use the ability (assuming they use it outside of combat). So why give the prediction then?

Although, a nice (ish) aspect to the power is that if you use it out of combat, you only really get two predictions. The third is the initiative roll, which is hardly that interesting.
 

pauljathome

First Post
And then...what? There's no reason the seer needs to actually give a prediction when they use the power -- the power lets them gain the data they need to make an interesting and semi-accurate prediction, but as you said, there's pretty much no interesting way within the narrative to give such a prediction given the data the seer has at the time they use the ability (assuming they use it outside of combat). So why give the prediction then?

Although, a nice (ish) aspect to the power is that if you use it out of combat, you only really get two predictions. The third is the initiative roll, which is hardly that interesting.

That changes the flavour from the text in the article a fair bit but it actually works. You're not telling the person their fortune, you're suddenly yelling "Hey, SmallBrain, what kind of creature is that?" :).

Not that the current mechanics support the flavour in the article either.

I hadn't noticed that issue with the initiative roll.

I think that I'm now tending to put this whole power into the "too annoying to exist" category. If you do it out of combat you get to know 2 rolls. In some circumstances that is going to be golden (you're a controller who wins initiative and can throw some mega area spell knowing you'll crit one opponent and miss your defended), in most circumstances its going to be "meh" (you're about to hit on your very first attack. So use the At Will power you were planning anyway until you have a better use for the encounter).

And there is the whole annoying issue of listening to the GM and player argue for 5 minutes whether the use of a knowledge roll was acceptable THIS time.

As an aside, presumably one of the points of the power is to let the player partly sidestep bad fate by using it up on less important things. So the GM shouldn't disallow ALL uses of this.

In combat, I can't see a character wasting a standard action on this very often. There are times when one characters actions are so much more important than anothers that it might be worth while but they're pretty rare.
 


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