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D&D 5E How on earth is this balanced?! Twilight cleric, more in-play evidence

Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
A while ago, I had a reasonably successful thread here about the value of damage prevention vs damage infliction for the psi warrior (briefly, the psi warrior can spend a psi point as a reaction to block 1d8+int (at level 6, the dice scales a bit) points of damage inflicted to you or an ally within 30 feet of you.

I recently was playing in a session where this came into play big time. 3 PCs (martials) on a side quest (we were missing some players), we get ambushed, vicious fight follows. My character was very effective because this damage prevention, notably stopping both the paladin and the ranger from going down. I had to spend every psi point I had available to me, but we made it. I thought to myself "well done, the PC is fun to play and impactful!". It didn't feel super OP, just good.

But later I was thinking - temp hit points are essentially damage prevention "pre-loaded". It's "fake" HP that will take the hit for you, and you can have them in advance, ready to be used when needed. No reaction needed! And who gives out tons of temp HP? The twilight cleric!

The Twilight cleric can use an action to channel divinity to raise the aura of twilight. Everyone you want, at the end of their turns, gets 1d6+level temp HP, which is almost equivalent to the 1d8+int mod at tier 2. So yes, an action is a bigger "cost" than a reaction... but you only need to do it once! Then every turn, everyone gets the temp HP. You didn't get hit last round? Well here are temp HP again, maybe the roll will be better this time!

So let us make up an "ordinary" fight - party size is 4, the battle is going to last 4 rounds, and each PCs will get hit three times during the battle.

The Psi warrior will spend 4 reaction to "block" 4 times, using 4 of his 6 psi hitpoints (he can regain 1 per short rest, so that's not a lot). He cannot block more than one hit a round. This means that most of his psi points are devoted to defense. Total damage blocked 4d8+ intX4, which can be quite impactful if they prevent people from going down. However, 8 attacks will "go through" with no mitigation whatsoever.

The twilight cleric, on the other hand, uses one action to activate her power (action channel divinity, probably using a bonus action to activate spiritual weapon on the same round). Unless someone gets hit more than once in a round (this could happen to the psi warrior too so it's not a bit concern IMO), the twilight cleric will block (up to) 12d6+72 hp points of damage.

The difference is stark. (oh and the aura can also remove fear/charm)

Oh, and the twilight aura continues for a minute, ie probably after the fight is ended - and as mentioned, you'll probably get a few rolls so a decent chance that next fight, everyone starts with 10-12 temp HP already there - so the power will impact 2 battles, not one. Basically, this "leftover effect" will be as good, if not better, than the psi warrior's protection. (40-48 hp leftover). Now the cleric only gets 2 channel divinity at level 6, but they are regained on a short rest.

Now you might say "surely, a cleric should be expected to be more "defensive/protective" than a fighter?" Yeah, that's fair. But this good?!? And it scales with party size! So if you have a large party, or god forbid some kind of summoner in your party, that 12d6+72 could become much greater.

I can only conclude that the twilight cleric is soo good to be effectively OP. I will not allow one in my games again...
 

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pogre

Legend
I have a player running a twilight character in my game right now. I'm edging towards the conclusions you have already reached. We are only at level four currently. Part of the inherent problem with my group is I run a pretty big table -typically 6-7 players - so part of it is 'my fault'. I'm going to play it out for this campaign and then reflect.

One of the things I have done is really work on creating even more dynamic and spread apart battles. This campaign works well for that because the PCs are monster hunters and typically encounters are outdoors. It does help lessen the impact and gives the cleric some other things to think about - that is, how to most effectively position themselves to maximize the aura.

We're having fun, so it's no big deal, but I agree with you so far.
 

Mort

Legend
Supporter
Easy way to tell that this is completely overpowered :

Heroism is a 1st level spell which grants temp HP every round equal the casters ability modifier (so 3-5 realistically), to one target and it's concentration. To cover the whole party you need to upcast a 5-6th level spell. You do also get immunity to fear. It's not a top tier spell, but it's decent and usually worth a look.

This ability covers the whole party starting at 2nd level, and is NOT concentration. It will equal the HP of heroism at low level and blow it out of the water by mid - high level. Plus, while it doesn't grant immunity to fear it does negate it AND also charm effects.

I thought inspiring leader was a good feat; this ability doesn't last as long and requires an action, likely during combat. But the number of temp HP is mind bogglingly better.

The fact that you can provide SO MANY temp HP to as many targets as needed at no action economy cost other than the initial investment, I haven't seen it in action but it just seems like too much. And on top of that it negates the charmed and frightened condition.
 

Aaron L

Hero
"Balance" is an illusion, especially if you expect the rules to provide it. Balance is created by the Dungeon Master, and it means giving each PC and player a chance to shine in the spotlight to do something cool.
 


Undrave

Hero
Oh, and the twilight aura continues for a minute, ie probably after the fight is ended - and as mentioned, you'll probably get a few rolls so a decent chance that next fight, everyone starts with 10-12 temp HP already there - so the power will impact 2 battles, not one. Basically, this "leftover effect" will be as good, if not better, than the psi warrior's protection. (40-48 hp leftover). Now the cleric only gets 2 channel divinity at level 6, but they are regained on a short rest.

Now you might say "surely, a cleric should be expected to be more "defensive/protective" than a fighter?" Yeah, that's fair. But this good?!? And it scales with party size! So if you have a large party, or god forbid some kind of summoner in your party, that 12d6+72 could become much greater.
The Shepherd Druid can provide 5+Lv Temp HP to a whole party as a bonus action wit the Bear totem... but they don't regenerate...The Twilight Cleric is a straight upgrade to that.

Also an upgrade to the Inspiring Leader feat...

But maybe it's the other abilities that were over-tuned??
 

Undrave

Hero
"Balance" is an illusion, especially if you expect the rules to provide it. Balance is created by the Dungeon Master, and it means giving each PC and player a chance to shine in the spotlight to do something cool.
Great way to excuse the designers doing whatever they want then.
The biggest mistake 3e+ made is to think that balance is achievable or desired.
Thank you for your contribution.

Perfection is, by its very nature, impossible to achieve, but it doesn't mean you stop striving for it.
 

So let us make up an "ordinary" fight - party size is 4, the battle is going to last 4 rounds, and each PCs will get hit three times during the battle.
Here's where you've made a few subtle mistakes that really work to make the twilight cleric look more impressive than it is. First and on the minor side I'd suggest cutting it down to three rounds. More importantly if each PC takes the same number of attacks during the battle then the monsters are being complete fools. You focus fire down one opponent wherever possible.

Let's pull a more common scenario - and pair a level 6 Twilight Cleric against their most obvious rival. A level 6 Cleric of Life. I'm not saying the Life cleric is as good as the Twilight one - but it's a lot closer than your analysis would suggest. Also the Twilight Cleric is far more front-loaded.

First, round 1 the life cleric contributes to damage. The Twilight Cleric doesn't. And the best way to prevent damage isn't put together an HP buffer - it's to prevent the enemy doing damage to you by putting them down. OK, being a cleric their damage output is probably half one of the other PCs - but damage matters and damage up front is far more important than damage in arrears. (Your Psychic Warrior of course is doing significant damage).

How much damage does the Twilight Cleric prevent on the focus fire target with their channel divinity? Simple - average 9.5 per round. In a three round fight that averages 28.5. Meanwhile the Life Cleric gets to heal 30 through their channel. So at this point the twilight cleric is mostly ahead thanks to protecting secondary targets. But the life cleric has done more damage. And that 9.5 damage per round? It's about the amount a life cleric can restore with Healing Word (1d4 + Wis (3 or 4) + 2 + level) plus three for themselves. And they can do this as a minor action. Meanwhile if the twilight cleric needs to healing word they do less healing of course. And reactive healing is more efficient thanks to hp below 0 not being counted.

The twilight cleric's channel is better but mostly against AoE spells and life is not what I'd call the strongest domain.
The Psi warrior will spend 4 reaction to "block" 4 times, using 4 of his 6 psi hitpoints (he can regain 1 per short rest, so that's not a lot). He cannot block more than one hit a round. This means that most of his psi points are devoted to defense. Total damage blocked 4d8+ intX4, which can be quite impactful if they prevent people from going down. However, 8 attacks will "go through" with no mitigation whatsoever.
Meanwhile the Psi Warrior should be able to eviscerate enemies. Two attacks per round, a fighting style, a better primary stat thanks to the extra ASI. By the end of round two the psychic warrior should have made at least four attacks, probably with a higher primary stat than the cleric.

I'm not saying Twilight isn't OP - but it's not as OP as it looks unless the enemy is using AoE attacks
 

Mistwell

Crusty Old Meatwad (he/him)
I am playing a twilight cleric in a game right now. We're light on healing so I figured the ability you mentioned would help balance things out. And, I am slowly coming to the conclusion you are - it might be over powered. The only saving grace is it's an undead heavy campaign and I've had to use the power for turn undead fairly regularly instead of for temporary hit points.
 

Mort

Legend
Supporter
"Balance" is an illusion, especially if you expect the rules to provide it. Balance is created by the Dungeon Master, and it means giving each PC and player a chance to shine in the spotlight to do something cool.

This is incomplete.

If one class can completely overshadow another class and be better than it in nearly every way, then that's a system problem. Especially if this disparity is not called out.

Further, if one option (say a specific cleric domain) is just simply better, it's not illusion of balance that's the problem, it suddenly becomes illusion of choice. Because of it really is that much better, the optimal choice is obvious and therefore not a choice. That's bad design.

Also, the DM being able to solve an issue, does not eliminate that issue. The DM shouldn't have to FULLY understand every ability to design a proper adventure. And further, if the DM is designing adventures /encounters to be a challenge in spite of one specific ability - yeah that's a problem.
 


The Shepherd Druid can provide 5+Lv Temp HP to a whole party as a bonus action wit the Bear totem... but they don't regenerate...The Twilight Cleric is a straight upgrade to that.
A standard action is never a straight upgrade to a bonus action. Especially when the bonus action isn't a spell.

Not saying that it's not better - but an action is a high cost.

The problem with the Twilight Cleric isn't the channel divinity. That would be fine as a central reason for taking the class. It's that it has the channel divinity and the darkvision and the martial weapons + heavy armour and the initiative and the flight and a superb spell list.
 

Sacrosanct

Legend
Publisher
Last Saturday we finished up a campaign with a twilight cleric. The party got to level 10. Yeah, it's pretty OP. I had to alter many encounters so they wouldn't be cake walks. Every time I managed to hit them, they just got more temp HP the next round. It was crazy.
 




Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
The Shepherd Druid can provide 5+Lv Temp HP to a whole party as a bonus action wit the Bear totem... but they don't regenerate...The Twilight Cleric is a straight upgrade to that.

Also an upgrade to the Inspiring Leader feat...

But maybe it's the other abilities that were over-tuned??
So the game I ran with a twilight cleric? There was also a shepherd druid in the party, who played as a "summoner". The "meatwall" was insane.
 



So it's "fun" when the guy next to you has a character that can do everything you can do, but better?

I haven't actually seen this in 5e but I have in 3.5 and in other game systems (Palladium is a big offender)
Apparently I use a different means of measuring fun than effectiveness in combat compared to the other players.
 

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