Expertise justification?

red dragon:
HP 750; Bloodied 375; see also bloodied breath
AC 33; Fortitude 33, Reflex 30, Will 29

Avrage 11th PC party... each has a +3 weap/imp

Rogue (18 att stat to start) useing a dagger +17 Vs reflex/AC (needs 13/16)
Fighter (18 att stat to start) useing Longsword +17 Vs AC (needs 16)
Wizard (20 att stat to start) useing Orb +14 Vs Will (Needs 15)
Cleric (16 att stat to start) Useing Mace +14 Vs AC/HS +11 Vs Ref (need 19/19)
Ranger (18 att stat to start) using Longbow +16 Vs AC (needs 17 2+ rolls)

looks like a hard fight...if they work togather and get CA most rounds the rogue is almost at 50/50, but he is the most accurate in the group. If the Cleric has a good buff like Blass now would be a good time to use it, sevral memebers could have autodamage attacks. And if they get real lucky they will miss with there daily not there encounters (sounds backwards, but dailys have miss and effect, encounters missed are often lost actions). If the wizard has zones and such it getts even better for the PCs


the group I ran through this didn't have a cleric...it had a tac lord that gave +2 to hit on suprise and 1st round... and then when we spent APs we got +3 att +6 or 7 damage. Heck these are pretty generic characters with no real magic items, and againt he fight seams very likely to be HARD, but not unwinable...
 

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I am still waiting for the WotC article Mearls apparently spoke about for DDI that explains some of what WotC was thinking with the Expertise feats. I'm hoping that will make me feel more comfortable with this line of feats. B-)

yea, me too. I bet thought it will have optional rules for 'adjested math' if you feel it is needed instead. However it wont force the extra power upgrade on people who do not need it...
 

Nope. It's banned for now, at Heroic Tier, because:
  • It seems unnecessary at the current time: with good teamwork the party is having very little problem hitting even Soldiers of Level+2 with average die rolls ;) With the new Solo guidelines discussed in the latest Podcast and what I've seen in MM2 so far (not really through much of it yet) I don't expect problems going forward with Solos and newer monsters either
  • Overpowered compared to other feats: I don't like how these feats trump most other attack boosting feats at Paragon & Epic tiers of play; this is not a big consideration at Heroic but there are still some feats that are clearly overshadowed by it
  • Poor implementation: I don't like how this feat affects all or most attacks for some PCs and by its nature is not as helpful to some classes or attacks (like a Dragonborn's breath weapon) if it is in fact a "math fix" necessary for all PC attacks
  • I haven't yet found an easy way to tweak it or house rule it that makes me comfortable: I've considered making it a power bonus to reign in its power but I think that makes some teamwork actually less likely & helpful. I've also thought of making it a Paragon level feat that adds a flat +1 bonus or maybe scales to +2 at Epic.
  • I'm not a fan of granting a boon and then asking for it back down the road as I expect it will lead to some bad feelings if players still don't agree there's a problem. This gaming group is only about 6 months old, while a few of us have known each other for years we're not all old friends. I'm more likely to just try and compensate by increasing the mobs and I don't want to even start down that road if I don't have to.
  • I always have the option of "unbanning" it later if I'm convinced otherwise and letting my players retrain if they want to take down the road

Excellent summary! I completely agree!

I am still waiting for the WotC article Mearls apparently spoke about for DDI that explains some of what WotC was thinking with the Expertise feats. I'm hoping that will make me feel more comfortable with this line of feats. B-)

However, the fact that this promised article has not yet come tells me that some people in WotC are not very proud of that feat, for whatever reason...
 

blargney the second

blargney the minute's son
Nope. It's banned for now, at Heroic Tier, because:
<list>
Fair enough! :)

It occurs to me that some of the difficulty you're having threatening PCs may be a direct result of having a big party. Taclords in particular tend to magnify force, and the more allies the better. Two extra PCs means an extra action point every fight, each of which has a significant attack (and possibly damage) bonus. More PCs kicking around means at any given time there's a better chance of someone with a good basic melee attack being in the right spot for him to commander's strike efficiently.

Finally, with two leaders in the party, that's a heck of a lot of healing to go around. Especially if the players have reasonably good tactics and can funnel incoming damage and subsequent healing to the right spots.
-blarg
 

Elric

First Post
Fair enough! :)

It occurs to me that some of the difficulty you're having threatening PCs may be a direct result of having a big party.

To add to this a bit: Not being able to hurt the Battlerager Fighter speaks more to the power of the Battlerager Fighter than to the default challenge of the game, or the encounters you're creating. Even a non-Con bonus race can take 16 Con/Improved Vigor for 4 temp HP at level 5 and the "normal damage expression" for level 5 in the DMG is only 9.5 average damage. It's not like Con-fighters would be weak if they couldn't be battleragers! You'd probably have to go out of your way to increase the number of ranged attackers compared to what you'd normally use to consistently threaten your Battlerager Fighter ("over-damaged" Brutes like guard drakes could also do the trick).

  • Overpowered compared to other feats: I don't like how these feats trump most other attack boosting feats at Paragon & Epic tiers of play; this is not a big consideration at Heroic but there are still some feats that are clearly overshadowed by it
  • Poor implementation: I don't like how this feat affects all or most attacks for some PCs and by its nature is not as helpful to some classes or attacks (like a Dragonborn's breath weapon) if it is in fact a "math fix" necessary for all PC attacks
  • I haven't yet found an easy way to tweak it or house rule it that makes me comfortable: I've considered making it a power bonus to reign in its power but I think that makes some teamwork actually less likely & helpful. I've also thought of making it a Paragon level feat that adds a flat +1 bonus or maybe scales to +2 at Epic.


If you find Expertise unnecessary to alter the math at the heroic tier, and don't like the implementation, you could ban the feat and give players a +1 to hit upon reaching Paragon levels, which improves to +2 to hit at epic levels. This keeps the math of the game only slightly behind what it would be with the Expertise feats and avoids the problems caused by the feats.
 
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DrSpunj

Explorer
It occurs to me that some of the difficulty you're having threatening PCs may be a direct result of having a big party. <snip> Finally, with two leaders in the party, that's a heck of a lot of healing to go around. Especially if the players have reasonably good tactics and can funnel incoming damage and subsequent healing to the right spots.

I think that's much of it. The current party make up is:
  • Dwarven Battle Cleric: savvy & tactical player, one of the PCs I believe counts as optimized
  • Human TacLord: the player is growing into his abilities & role, getting better with each session, and Nail nudges him (appropriately IMO) on occasion given that he plays a TacLord in another game and is familiar with many of the same powers
  • Nail's Human Battlerager Fighter: obviously the one most familiar with the rules & 4e in general at the table (including me!), very tactical but tends to roll low much of the time ;)
  • Genasi (earth) Swordmage: just retooled with AP for the ensnaring aegis, good knowledge of his PC & the rules
  • Elven Archery Ranger: Greatbow, Bracers of Archery, has a lot of fun with Twin Strike and Elven Accuracy, our most consistent Striker
  • Tiefling Hellfire Warlock: newbie player, D&D 4e I believe is her first RPG, not overly familiar with the rules or her PC's abilities, we recently discovered most all of her numbers were low because her boyfriend (Swordmage player) hadn't checked over what she'd done, usually takes the advice of whoever is helping her when her turn comes up
  • Human Staff Wizard: player is frequently gone so this PC has been played by a few "guest of the week" players, by the group as a committee, and occasionally by another player doubling up on their PC duties, last session by Nail alone for this big battle

While they certainly aren't mostly optimized they do play pretty coherently as a group now after over a dozen sessions. We have a lot of fun, which I'm very happy about because I want to hold up my end of our DM-Player bargain! :lol:
 

KarinsDad

Adventurer
red dragon:
HP 750; Bloodied 375; see also bloodied breath
AC 33; Fortitude 33, Reflex 30, Will 29

Avrage 11th PC party... each has a +3 weap/imp

Rogue (18 att stat to start) useing a dagger +17 Vs reflex/AC (needs 13/16)
Fighter (18 att stat to start) useing Longsword +17 Vs AC (needs 16)
Wizard (20 att stat to start) useing Orb +14 Vs Will (Needs 15)
Cleric (16 att stat to start) Useing Mace +14 Vs AC/HS +11 Vs Ref (need 19/19)
Ranger (18 att stat to start) using Longbow +16 Vs AC (needs 17 2+ rolls)

looks like a hard fight...if they work togather and get CA most rounds the rogue is almost at 50/50, but he is the most accurate in the group. If the Cleric has a good buff like Blass now would be a good time to use it, sevral memebers could have autodamage attacks. And if they get real lucky they will miss with there daily not there encounters (sounds backwards, but dailys have miss and effect, encounters missed are often lost actions). If the wizard has zones and such it getts even better for the PCs

Hard?

Assuming Bless, that's 55% Rogue damage + 40% Fighter damage (assuming CA every round too) + 35% Wizard damage + 15% Cleric damage + 25% Ranger damage per round. And, many other bonuses by powers to attack rolls are power bonuses, so they will not stack with Bless.

If each Striker PC averages 30 points of damage on a successful hit (successful round in the case of the Ranger) and each non-Striker PC averages 20 points of damage on a successful hit, that's in the ballpark of 42 points of damage per round or 18 rounds to defeat the Red Dragon. Maybe a few less due to Action Points and sustainable Dailies, but probably more due to the PCs having to fall back on At Will powers after 8 rounds or so where their damage drops considerably (it depends on whether they have daily items that are offensive and how many of those they can use).

Even averaging more damage per successful hit will only drop it a few rounds at most. And of course, most parties will not have +3 weapons for every party member at level 11 (it's possible, but unlikely unless the DM hands out magic weapons with no special attributes, or always hands out magic weapons first).

That's a pretty long encounter. And, it assumes that none of the PCs are stunned by Frightful Presence, none of the PCs go unconscious, and the Dragon just dukes it out on the ground with the PCs instead of grabbing the Cleric or Wizard, killing him in the air or dropping him or doing Flyby attacks, etc. All of these extend the encounter which gives an advantage to the Dragon.

The Dragon also has reach and hover. It can hover above the group and attack at will without being attacked back as hard by melee foes (shy of a Ready action or throwing inferior weapons maybe). For the most part, it can ignore the Fighter's mark and its breath weapon will hit most of the PCs in the area a high percentage of the time on an average of 8+ rounds (1 first round, 1 bloodied, and 1 round in 3 recharge).

All in all, if the DM runs this Dragon intelligently, agressively, and three dimensionally, it should win this battle most of the time due to attrition and forcing the melee PCs to sit around watching or using inferior ranged attacks (like thrown daggers or a crossbow without sneak attack damage or thrown javelins).

If the Rogue cannot often Sneak Attack, one of the two main damage dealers is out of the picture. Even with the tail attack, there is no reason for the Dragon to fight on the ground and give Combat Advantage to the Rogue and the Fighter. Without that, the damage per round drops to about 33 points per round and that alone ups the encounter by as much as 5 more rounds (depending on how often the Rogue and Fighter can still get CA).

If played smart, this is beyond just a hard encounter. IMO.

Btw, free Weapon Expertise increases the average damage per round from 42 to about 48, lowering it from 18+ rounds to 16+. Not a huge gain, but some.
 
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Hard?


Assuming Bless, that's 55% Rogue damage + 40% Fighter damage (assuming CA every round too) + 35% Wizard damage + 15% Cleric damage + 25% Ranger damage per round. And, many other bonuses by powers to attack rolls are power bonuses, so they will not stack with Bless.
yep hard fight close to twice the average round of combat (average is 10 this should take about 15-20) by the way most of those power bonuses that wont stack with Bless give more then +1 so it is +1 whole fight (equal to expertise) and +X-1 to the attacks that the other benefits come up. Funny how you dismiss out of hand a bonus equal to this feat…



If each Striker PC averages 30 points of damage on a successful hit (successful round in the case of the Ranger) and each non-Striker PC averages 20 points of damage on a successful hit, that's in the ballpark of 42 points of damage per round or 18 rounds to defeat the Red Dragon. Maybe a few less due to Action Points and sustainable Dailies, but probably more due to the PCs having to fall back on At Will powers after 8 rounds or so where their damage drops considerably (it depends on whether they have daily items that are offensive and how many of those they can use).
Ok what about auto damage powers and minor action stuff, or heck how about non damage powers...by the way i think your avrg is low for a 11th level party (I know the op board says fighter at wills average 50+ damage in paragon I assume strikers can at least come close to that) but even so ok...



Even averaging more damage per successful hit will only drop it a few rounds at most. And of course, most parties will not have +3 weapons for every party member at level 11 (it's possible, but unlikely unless the DM hands out magic weapons with no special attributes, or always hands out magic weapons first).
well I figured if you made an 11th level part and got level+1 level and level -1...if you have PCs grown organically there is no way to guess...so I went expected… the treasure packets give level +X items though where (I believe) +4 is doable, so you start getting +3 weapon/implements at level 7…



That's a pretty long encounter. And, it assumes that none of the PCs are stunned by Frightful Presence, none of the PCs go unconscious, and the Dragon just dukes it out on the ground with the PCs instead of grabbing the Cleric or Wizard, killing him in the air or dropping him or doing Flyby attacks, etc. All of these extend the encounter which gives an advantage to the Dragon.
wait so the hardest fight you can fight at your level is hard enough that it is TPK possible, and at the same time still possible to win...seams like as intended to me...Again what do you expect the HARDEST fair encounter should be??



The Dragon also has reach and hover. It can hover above the group and attack at will without being attacked back as hard by melee foes (shy of a Ready action or throwing inferior weapons maybe). For the most part, it can ignore the Fighter's mark and its breath weapon will hit most of the PCs in the area a high percentage of the time on an average of 8+ rounds (1 first round, 1 bloodied, and 1 round in 3 recharge).
Inless the rogue or wizard uses a power that knock it prone, or daze it...every time I have tried such a tactic as hover/invulnerable the PCs have found a way to bring the fight back tot eh ground... Walking wounded is the one I get hit with the most, although an eladrin rouge once used topel over (melee only) by fey steping up to use it…



All in all, if the DM runs this Dragon intelligently, agressively, and three dimensionally, it should win this battle most of the time due to attrition and forcing the melee PCs to sit around watching or using inferior ranged attacks (like thrown daggers or a crossbow without sneak attack damage or thrown javelins).
see there is the problem you assume the DM/Dragon be played to the hilt, but the PCs are on bot mode...How many powers knock prone...I went to the compendium

Wizard: 9 (I bet all of these are range)

Rouge: 4 (I know at least 1 is ranged

Ranger 2 (I assume at least 1 is ranged)

Cleric 2 (I know at least command is ranged)

Fighter 7 (I assume most are melee only if not all)

so it is not unrealistic to assume atleast 1 PC can... and remember once you get it down the fighter can mark it, and it is stuck…opp attacks hit MORE often, and stop move

next lets do stun shall we…



If the Rogue cannot often Sneak Attack, one of the two main damage dealers is out of the picture.
why can't he again?



Even with the tail attack, there is no reason for the Dragon to fight on the ground and give Combat Advantage to the Rogue and the Fighter. Without that, the damage per round drops to about 33 points per round and that alone ups the encounter by as much as 5 more rounds (depending on how often the Rogue and Fighter can still get CA).
There are ways other then flanking if that is your only metric...



If played smart, this is beyond just a hard encounter. IMO.
If the players play smart it is an average encounter...especially if they knew it was coming and held an action point...
Infact I think the one thing we can both agree on is in ANY fair fight if one side is played as dumb, and the other is played tactically then the smart side has a way easier time of it… Dumb dragon = easier fight…Smart Dragon= Harder fight…Dumb player=TPK… smart player= more of a chance…



Btw, free Weapon Expertise increases the average damage per round from 42 to about 48, lowering it from 18+ rounds to 16+. Not a huge gain, but some.
so why give it for free when PCs can choose to take it...


Just to give you an idea of what happens when this is all said and done, remember that the HARDEST soldier (Highest def) you could throw at the party is still beatable (all be it with luck and skill) how ever all that proves is how awesome the design of 4e is…

By the way notice none of them have paragon paths…if the rouge is criting on 18+, And the fighter gets another +1 to hit, just those two classes get dpr (man I feel dirty using that metric) increases…





However, the fact that this promised article has not yet come tells me that some people in WotC are not very proud of that feat, for whatever reason...
or that it is being worked on...again look at my post about multi groups of players...WotC has to balance these things.
 

Nail

First Post
  • Dwarven Battle Cleric: savvy & tactical player, one of the PCs I believe counts as optimized
He rocks. Seriously, this PC saves our bacon almost every combat.
  • Human TacLord: the player is growing into his abilities & role, getting better with each session, and Nail nudges him (appropriately IMO) on occasion given that he plays a TacLord in another game and is familiar with many of the same powers
His growth as a taclord has been cool to see. Now if only we could keep him from getting dropped in these big battles.....
  • Nail's Human Battlerager Fighter: obviously the one most familiar with the rules & 4e in general at the table (including me!), very tactical but tends to roll low much of the time. ;)
Arrrrrrgggggg!!!! <shakes fist at stars, ruefully chuckles> Ah well.

Perhaps now my motivations for wanting Weapon Expertise are clearer: I need all th' help I can get!:erm: :lol:
 
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Nail, how high is your strength and which weapon and armor do you use?

if you build a battlerager with hammer and chain shirt and high constitution, i bet you will profit a lot from expertise, and your contribution will result in shortening the combat...

high damage, low hit chance is the perfect "expertise audience"

@ dragon: reducing 18 rounds to 16 rounds... I am very impressed...

the question is always, what price do you have to pay for this "tax"... if it is HP pr defenses, or healing surges, your PCs might have a better chance to survive 18 round than those 16...

@GM for powergames: I am glad your experience more or less supports my theorie...

@ giving it out for free... seems unreasonable... in the first 15 levels it is a real choice if its worth to take it... maybe give the extra +1 and +2 bonus at 15th and 25th level to everyone... or noone... doesn´t matter
 

His growth as a taclord has been cool to see. Now if only we could keep him from getting dropped in these big battles.....Arrrrrrgggggg!!!! <shakes fist at stars, ruefully chuckles> Ah well.

I had a simalar problem early in my days as a warlord...then my mom of all people helped me out (Non gamer, and barely pays attention to this kinda thing)
she herd me talking about what a hard choice of who to heal first was and she remeinded me of airplanes and air masks...the first thing they tell parents of small children is that you should put your own mask on first...becuse it does no one any good i f you pass out.
taking that to a D&D mind frame I found Second wind was a good option for the warlord...I may loss my attack (inless I am a dwarf) but by keeping myself in the game I help the team more then a few extra points of damage will....

I hope that helps...
 

Lauberfen

First Post
For goodness sake.

In my post I expressly accepted that my position is just opinion, and that the test would be when a significant number of characters reach 15+, to see how many have expertise.

The only points I was genuinely contending are that 'relative improvement for less optimised players' is false, and has been demonstrated in these pages, and that expertise cannot meaningfully be compared to feats which can only benefit a few specific builds.

I fully accept that the rest is opinion. I hold that a feat tax is one that so many of all players take at a given level that it becomes a meaningless choice. I don't have the data for this, but I imagine this becomes the case shortly after 15th level.

Out of interest, who here has a PC at 16th level who could take expertise and hasn't, and who has a pc who has taken it?
 

KarinsDad

Adventurer
yep hard fight close to twice the average round of combat (average is 10 this should take about 15-20) by the way most of those power bonuses that wont stack with Bless give more then +1 so it is +1 whole fight (equal to expertise) and +X-1 to the attacks that the other benefits come up. Funny how you dismiss out of hand a bonus equal to this feat…

I only dismiss it for three reasons:

1) Most such powers require a successful hit to work.
2) Most such powers last for a turn instead of the entire encounter like Bless.
3) Most such powers affect one ally instead of all 5 PCs like Bless.

So, most such powers are white noise. Yup, they help. Nope, they aren't typically worth discussing with regard to whether the encounter should be a success or not, or how long the encounter lasts.

And what happens if the Cleric does not have Bless or if the Cleric cast it already this day?

My analysis gave the benefit of the doubt to the PCs.

Ok what about auto damage powers and minor action stuff, or heck how about non damage powers...by the way i think your avrg is low for a 11th level party (I know the op board says fighter at wills average 50+ damage in paragon I assume strikers can at least come close to that) but even so ok...

Average successful hit.

Over an extended period of time, not just one power.

Feel free to point out exact examples where these PCs can average more than what I wrote.

I was not assuming super optimized PCs from the optimization boards, just normally optimized PCs that would be found in most games.

I'll gladly bow to any legitimate numbers that you can back up with details.

well I figured if you made an 11th level part and got level+1 level and level -1...if you have PCs grown organically there is no way to guess...so I went expected… the treasure packets give level +X items though where (I believe) +4 is doable, so you start getting +3 weapon/implements at level 7…

Yup. At level 7, a PC could acquire a +3 weapon with no special powers. Or, +3 armor, or +3 Cloak, or a +2 item with special abilities.

The point is that is it unlikely that all 5 PCs in a normal campaign would have +3 weapons at level 11. Possible, yes. Likely, no.

And that affects the analysis. We assumed so for simplicity, but that is not typical so I pointed it out.

wait so the hardest fight you can fight at your level is hard enough that it is TPK possible, and at the same time still possible to win...seams like as intended to me...Again what do you expect the HARDEST fair encounter should be??

You missed my point. I did not think a TPK was just possible.

I thought a TPK was likely if the Dragon does not fight on the ground.

see there is the problem you assume the DM/Dragon be played to the hilt, but the PCs are on bot mode...

Nope. I didn't assume the PCs are on bot mode. I just don't see where they have a big enough gun.

I assumed the Dragon to be played intelligently and the PCs to be played intelligently (even though some PCs might have Int 8, an Int 13 Dragon should be as tactically capable as they are).

Doing Hover and Attack is not playing the Dragon to the hilt either. It's Dragon 101. Attacking a single foe until it is dead, especially a Cleric once he heals or a Wizard if he drops conditions on the Dragon, is Dragon 101.

An Adult Red Dragon is 400 to 900 years old (give or take). It should have learned some lessons in that timeframe. The game is Dungeons and Dragons. A Dragon should never be played like a putz.

The Dragon could drop rocks from 300 feet up outdoors and never get counterattacked. The Dragon could have traps. The Dragon could have allies. That would be playing the Dragon to the hilt (and yes, that would up the XP, but the point is that the Dragon should be prepared to do that if necessary).

As DMs, we often think in two dimensional terms instead of three dimensional terms.

Use all of the abilities of the Dragon, not just some of them. And, focus fire.

But, the Dragon should not fight to the death. If it is about 75% wounded and there are still 3 or more PCs standing, it should flee.

This is a 400 to 900 year old Dragon. It should not be stupid enough to stick around. Dragon 101. Go buy a small army of monsters with a little treasure and come back and attack the PCs when they are vulnerable. Then, replenish the treasure from both the PC's dead bodies and from the bodies of the army that the Dragon turns on when the PCs are dead. Dragon 101.

How many powers knock prone...I went to the compendium

Wizard: 9 (I bet all of these are range)

Rouge: 4 (I know at least 1 is ranged

Ranger 2 (I assume at least 1 is ranged)

Cleric 2 (I know at least command is ranged)

Fighter 7 (I assume most are melee only if not all)

so it is not unrealistic to assume atleast 1 PC can... and remember once you get it down the fighter can mark it, and it is stuck…opp attacks hit MORE often, and stop move

next lets do stun shall we…

Yup. These things can happen.

CAN.

And they can bring the Dragon to the ground for a few rounds out of the 18.

With a Wizard that hits on 1 round in 3 if Bless is up. With a Cleric whose Command prayer hits 15% of the time. With a Fighter and a Ranger and a Rogue, none of whose knock prone attacks are ranged with the exception of Walking Wounded (unless there is one in Dragon, I did not look there).

I'm not seeing the love for the PCs. The Wizard is the only serious threat with this tactic and if he starts using it, he also becomes a serious target.


Maybe you could tell us where all of these Stunning ranged powers of level 11 or lower are located. I could not find any, even for the Wizard except for Sleep (which is not really stunned, but works about the same). Unless he's an Orb Wizard (and that's an entire other can of worms), the Dragon will probably save within a few rounds at +5 to save.

And, a Dragon can still hover when Stunned. So yes, stun will delay the Dragon, but it will not lower the number of rounds of combat by too much (the CA helps though).

Again, I'm not seeing a way to turn around the encounter here anywhere, especially since the PCs probably won't be stunning the Dragon.


There are many conditions. How does Slow bother the hovering Dragon at all?

Weakened helps, but typically for only 1 or 2 rounds until the Dragon makes the save (or the power expires).

Daze doesn't stop a Breath Weapon or two Claw attacks.

Pull or Slide might be helpful.

But, nothing here is that overwhelmingly helpful for the PCs.

There are ways other then flanking if that is your only metric...

Yup. Which is why I said "up to 5 rounds". It could be 1, 3, or 5, depending on whether the Rogue and Fighter can find other ways to get Combat Advantage. With the Dragon not fighting on the ground, it is unlikely though that most rounds will have these PCs with Combat Advantage. Some rounds due to a different power or feat or something, sure.

But note that I assumed that both the Rogue and Fighter would be getting CA every single round with the original numbers. I suspect that most people would find that generous.

If the players play smart it is an average encounter...especially if they knew it was coming and held an action point...

Average? An n+4 encounter is average? I want to be smoking what you are smoking. :lol:

By the way notice none of them have paragon paths…if the rouge is criting on 18+, And the fighter gets another +1 to hit, just those two classes get dpr (man I feel dirty using that metric) increases…

Yup. It all adds up. And Paragon Path features might shave off 2 rounds. Maybe.

But, that still puts the fight in the 16+ or longer range ASSUMING that nobody goes unconscious or dies. The fight turns in the Dragon's favor real quick if the Dragon can kill a PC, especially the Cleric. With the damage the Dragon does, it could do this in 6 rounds or so, probably after the Cleric does his first heal of the wounded Wizard, so maybe the Dragon might focus on the Cleric starting in round 4 or 5.

Infact I think the one thing we can both agree on is in ANY fair fight if one side is played as dumb, and the other is played tactically then the smart side has a way easier time of it… Dumb dragon = easier fight…Smart Dragon= Harder fight…Dumb player=TPK… smart player= more of a chance…

Yup.

And, just bad dice rolls can turn an encounter like this south for the players real quick.


Bottom line, n+4 encounters appear to be considerably easier at lower levels than higher levels. Even at level 11, a major power boost level for PCs, this is a tough "fight for our lives" fight. At level 10, an n+4 encounter is even more deadly because the PCs do not have the Paragon Path features (and Strikers do less damage, etc.).

A DM has to be real careful just following the suggestions from the DMG when it comes to several levels higher than the PCs encounters.
 
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Bayuer

First Post
Firstly I didn't insult you. Just state that you ignore many facts.
Secondly you can win almost all the fights on higher level. My team won a n+6 fight one day. So what? It was the most not enjoying fight I ever played.

You see. Many DMs think that making such a fight makes game better and more challanging. And by this I mean giving higher level monsters and creat n+3> fights all the time. This makes thing called grind. Maybe for many people sitting at the table for 6 hours and having 2-3 fights is ok, but I don't. 2 hours for one fight is way too much for me.

And at late paragon my barbarian was hitted on 3 on his REF, when my DM throw a artillery monster. The next decission at my table was to take all +2 REF/FOR/WILL feats, to survive. So don't be funny about hitting thing (but I must admit your comment about it was fun; +1 for you).

The system isn't bloody Hegel theory. You can see easilly after almost year of playing what it's all about, so don't tell me that I'm still newbie and must still learn much before I can say anything about it.

And again, what I need to prove? That the fight with you dragon will be horribly boring to me? That nail is playing on 4lvl and he enjoy the game. We are talking here about late paragon and epic not beginning of heroic tier. +1 to hit from expertise at heroic is the same as many feats (well, all feats that gave situational +1 feat bonus are screwed). But at 15 lvl Expertise is superb. Defenses feats will be taken too offten. All depends on DM encounter creations, but even if he's doing fights with the same lvl monsters, defenses are far behind average.

One more thing. I didn't say the game is unplayable. It's very bad, boring and too long. Your solo fight could be nice fight if this will be the last fight at the end of campaign or so. If this was just one example from other fights it was very bad for two reasons:
- all fights are too long etc.
- all fights are the same, and thus your players make powergaming choices, and you kill options to take skill training feats etc. becouse of that.

And one thing about "party tactic". Everything is ok, but this is in some way true only for melee fighters. Ranged and laser have hard times, becouse they can't get even +2 from flanking. I've run fights with high level monsters where my sorcerrer wasn't very happy, when he was trying to hit sucha monster.

At to end this discussion. If your players are happy becose 2h fights, they hit rate etc. Play the same way you are playing. But don't say other people that they are wrong, when they don't like such a game. Clearly the feats exists, they change math very much and many other feats compared to Expertise sucks.
 

The only points I was genuinely contending are that 'relative improvement for less optimised players' is false, and has been demonstrated in these pages, and that expertise cannot meaningfully be compared to feats which can only benefit a few specific builds.

ok, lets settle this. ;)

I hope we agree that if a dwarf with 16 strength and a Waraxe with dwarven weapon training (average damage 11.5) will benefit more from expertise than the 18 strength dragonborn with a longsword. (average damage 8.5) which is a realistic example. ;)

And i hope we agree, that expertise is superior to some other feats which appeared before...
but I believe, if nimble blade and expertise would swap places in PHB 1 and 2, noone had complained, most uf us would accept, that nimble blade is for those people who want to be even more specialised (and need combat advantage for powers and features)
 
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GenghisDon

First Post
I don't have much love for the PH2 at all, I won't be using expertese feat in my games. If the math is off & my players can't hit anything at mid paragon+, I'll just give them the bonus with any attack. We'll see how it goes. What little I plan to use of the PH2, I'll just use off PDF, I don't see it as worth buying.
 

@ Bayuer: your post was insulting.

Your arguments are valid however. +4 defense feats and +2 defenses are more or less must have feats as are +2 or +3 to attack.

but I will say following: if you take none of them, your fights become easier! Your DM should strongly be advised to take Karin´s Dad´s advice to heart:

use level x-2 monsters if you would usually take level x. They do nearly the same damage (since you read everywhere that damage doesn´t go up fast enough ;) ) have less hp and -2 attack and -2 defense...

There just has to be one update to the rules in DMG:
"As you level the game gets harder as your players level up, but the chances to encounter equally high monsters is lower"
 

GenghisDon

First Post
How many groups have you leveled up UngeheuerLich? I am still on my first "test" batch, but so far things are fine(& fast compared to what I hear from others), sticking more or less to the suggested encounter difficulty. Most folks say increasing the difficulty is the way to go, are you joking about n-2?

I mix things up, but I don't think I ever used these. The game seems pretty easy compared to other rpg's & to earlier editions( we have played 1e on up). Some of the ease is likely that we roll scores & are generally better off than the pt method, though they aren't nessecarily where you might want them. I am curious if anybody ever gets dropped or killed by the n-2 ecounters? I kinda thought they would be a waste of time.
 

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