Powerplayers

Reffy

First Post
Hello everyone, I'm new to this forum and I would like to have your thoughts on this issue I'm having.

I'm playing a D&D game, containing the following people:


Reffy (me): I'm the DM

Player A: The 'fun' player. This guy likes to enjoy the game for what it is. He doesn't spend a lot of time creating a character. Furthermore, he's known for his randomness in the game; like trying to jump over threes, which has nothing to do with the story/quest.

Player B: He makes very good characters (good as in, strong). He basically likes every aspect of D&D. He doesn't like it when other players come with characters that change the game to a different level.
I.e:
*Chaotic evil chars that attack his character random.
*Good-alignment leader-role characters that only heal themselves (even when the leader is barely injured and B is very bloodied).
*Overpowered characters that make his character role useless.

And then there's player C (Let's call him 'Scrubb'): Scrubb likes to roleplay, he comes with 4 pages of background information about his character. Likes to talk to NPC's about anything and likes to show of his build.

Here's the problem. Scrubb is a powerplayer like I've never seen before. He has a nack of finding things in 4e that are unbalanced/overpowered. I'm not talking about good characters, I'm talking about broken characters.

I'm going to post one of his builds, and then I'm going to tell about the situation that I'm in.

Class
Lv14 human hybrid wizard/psion.
Telepathy Focus Hybrid (Encounter)
Hybrid power option

Race
Human
Bonus at-will power
Elven language

Additional details
Background: Born under a bad sign; Choose your highest modifier, instead of your CON modifier, to determine your hp.
Paragon path: Dreamwalker (psion)

Final ability scores and defenses
HP97, AC29, FOR25, REF31, Will28

Trained skills
Arcana, diplomacy, insight, perception

Powers
Winged horde, phantasmal assault, slimy transmutation, shield, cinderfall, telekinetic maul, telekinetic screen, cranial disturbance, face of death, blur, thunder ether. (Almost all psion powers...weird.)

Feats
Superior implement training (Guardian Staff)
Armor proficiency: Leather Armor
Staff Expertise (This feat is the one I really want to talk about)
Implement Focus Staff
Dual Implement Caster
Mark of Scribing (also this one)
Improved defenses
Resilient focus (and this one)
Toughness
Durable
(He gains aditional languages from the Mark of scribing: Draconic, Giant, Abyssal and Goblin.)

Equipment (only that matters):
Feytouched Inix leather armor lv12(+3 enchantment, +1 reflex. Invisible 1 turn encounter power)
Deep pocket cloack lv12 (+3 enchantment)
Guardian Staff of Ruin lv13
Orb of Heightened Imposition lv13
Diamond cincture (+1 FOR)
Foe Stone (at-will power, minor action, you know the targets lowest defense and any vulnerabilities it has.)
Dwarven helm (or something: gives night vision)
A dragon shard that gives +3 to damage for all his powers.
Ioun's revelation lv3 (+2 on all skill checks.)


There it is. Take your time, I'm crying to.

Here;s the problem:

Staff Expertise gives +1 attack bonus, +2 on lv11 and +3 on lv21. AND, 'you don't provoke opportunity attacks when using ranged or area attacks.' Are you kidding me?
Winged horde, when hit, causes the targets to lose the ability to use opportunity attacks. So when he's surrounded, he can use winged horde and then simply move away. And that's just 1 example for how unbalanced 4e is.

Mark of scribing gives you the ability to cast rituals and as if you were two levels higher, it also gives you 4 new languages, +2 diplomacy and you can scribe scrolls/rituals two times faster.
That's like 4 feats in one.

Resilient focus gives you +2 on all saving throws...do I need to say more?

He always plays as a human hybrid and laughs at mediocre/fun characters.

I don't mind the cheesy invisible powers he has, but some of these things are insane. So I banned like...50% of those feats/items etc. that are, in my opinion (and the opinion of player A and B), overpowered.

And here's the thing, Scrubb really doesn't like it. He wants to play with an overpowered character, or not at all. He even believes his character isn't that good at all. Quote: "Some feats are just better then others, it's normal. And defenders have higher defences than I have."


I like to play as DM, creating adventures and stuff. The players like me as a DM and they want me to continue as DM, which I don't mind.
But Scrubb does not want to play with 'mediocre' characters.

What should I do as DM?
I think that he is just nagging. We politely asked him many times to nerf his character, as the DM suggested, but he keeps nagging like a young boy.

I can't make the encounters balanced if the group consist of two 'normal' characters and one that is overpowered.

I would like your thoughts and advice on this one. We don't hate Scrubb, but he has forced us in a stalemate.
 

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Riastlin

First Post
Well first off, some feats, especially from Essentials, are simply better and arguably overpowered. Staff Expertise is a common one that gets complained about because of its obvious advantages.

Off the top of my head, I don't know exactly which powers came from which class, but as I recall, he has to keep an equal balance between psion and wizard powers. Assuming that's correct, make sure that he does. The real reason he's going with psion powers I would assume is to get psychic damage powers which iirc will then boost Staff of Ruin (keep in mind I'm still on the first cup of coffee here and without my books). Additionally, if he has multiple items that give some bonuses to damage, make sure that the bonuses are of different types. If they are both item bonuses for instance, they won't stack.

Anyhoo, as for what to do, well, you are in a bit of a tricky situation. You've asked him to tone it down and he seems, at best, reluctant to do so. Obviously this is the best first step to take. If you haven't done so already, have the entire group talk to him about how he is affecting their enjoyment. If its just you that has talked to him, he may not understand he's affecting everyone, and may think you are just trying to nerf him.

If that doesn't work, you are then stuck with only a couple of options, none of which are great. One option would be to simply ask him to leave the group. This is obviously hard, but the bottom line is that not every player is compatible with every group. It doesn't mean that any one person is doing it "wrong" just that there are a lot of different styles out there. Alternatively, you could simply end the campaign and start up a new one. For the new campaign you can then limit the sources from which the group can pull. This would put everyone on a more or less equal footing and give you the option to limit those things which you deem overpowered. Personally, I don't like doing either of these options as they do tend to seem like targetting one specific person.

About the only other thing you can do (off the top of my head) is to try to plan your encounters so that at times he can show off his build and take advantage of his choices and at other times place him at a disadvantage. Maybe the monsters are resistant to his damage type, or you have artillery that can find and target him without having to worry about surrounding him, etc. The key here is to make sure that you do this for everyone, not just Scrubb. Every character should have his moment to shine just as every character should have their moments where they really have to rely on their teammates.
 


Fridayknight

First Post
You want the person who has put time and effort into not only finding a suitably adequate build for use in combat but also into the character as a whole. The character seems solid, not OP - and there is no cheese. The feats are there to be chosen (though some may not like 'feat taxes' such as expertise because almost all players will want to have them) and I will go through these now:

Staff expertise - if you are challenging your players a decent amount in combat encounters then they will all want to have this (if they don't it is because they do not know about it or they are part of a movement that thinks that neutering their characters makes them better for roleplay - I will tell you this now, it doesn't work [my first character was neither well built nor well played < getting killed in the second session] -)

Mark of scribing - you should only be using this in an Eberron campaign < check this < and if you are then any serious player would also be able to pick up one

Resilient focus - another feat tax < not much more to say than these are useful and available to your other players

___

So, to conclude: the player may indeed be nagging and annoying, this should not be encouraged, but it may just be easier to survive as a group by retraining some of the 'lax' people (if they are too chilled to do it you can) to have a similar standard and to then use a slightly harder level of monsters. Human hybrids are playable - but why does he only play these?

Welcome to ENworld,

FK
 

Nemesis Destiny

Adventurer
Here;s the problem:

Staff Expertise gives +1 attack bonus, +2 on lv11 and +3 on lv21. AND, 'you don't provoke opportunity attacks when using ranged or area attacks.' Are you kidding me?
Winged horde, when hit, causes the targets to lose the ability to use opportunity attacks. So when he's surrounded, he can use winged horde and then simply move away. And that's just 1 example for how unbalanced 4e is.
This is a very good use of that combo, but there are other ways to challenge such a character. Try using artillery or lurkers on him and then watch him cry.

Mark of scribing gives you the ability to cast rituals and as if you were two levels higher, it also gives you 4 new languages, +2 diplomacy and you can scribe scrolls/rituals two times faster.
That's like 4 feats in one.
Mark of Scribing says nothing about casting rituals as though you were two levels higher. If this player is trying to slip stuff like this past you, it might be time for a character sheet audit. I'm also not too sure his power selections are legal by the hybrid rules.

So he may be trying to slip a few "cheats" past you, and if that's the case, you should definitely call him on it (after looking it up to make sure). Other than that, you may need to hone your DM tactics a little - no character will be good at everything, so if this guy has no reason to fear melee mobs, turn him into a pin cushion with ranged artilery and sneaky lurkers.

At the end of the day, if his playstyle is at odds with the rest of your group, and is unwilling to change, you have some difficult choices to make.
 

Mentat55

First Post
Honestly, nothing jumps out at me about that character. Strong? Probably. Overpowered or broken? I do not think so. These are pretty plain feats he is taking -- I don't see any unexpected synergies or exploitation of rules vaguery, just a lot of plusses. He went for a build with decent defenses and solid damage for a controller.

Could you be more specific as to what he is doing that is problematic?

EDIT: Actually, Nemesis Destiny brings up a good point. Mark of Scribing does not increase your "caster level" for rituals, and his power selection does seem a bit off, though I am a little less familiar with how power point using hybrids interact with normal classes. One other point -- Dual Implement Spellcaster only applies for arcane powers, so the damage boost he would get from that does not apply to his psionic powers.
 
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Solvarn

First Post
Challenges

First off, I would audit the character sheet to ensure that all of the feat and power selection are legal. Hybrid characters can be extremely complicated and it is well within your right as DM to disallow them if you do not wish to manage that level of complexity.

You need to add one or two players, he seems more overpowered than he is because he is controlling a smaller group of enemies. With a proper complement you can throw bigger challenges out.
 

Herschel

Adventurer
Add me to the list of it looks like it's okay if he's playing it by the rules, especially dual-Imp spellcaster and Mark of Scribing. I applaud his use of Staff Expertise and Winged Horde. He can step in, take some hits from the defender and still have escapability to get back out. Double check the power selection but otherwise it looks okay.
 

Right. Off the top of my head, Staff of Ruin doesn't stack with the Shard of the Mage. I'm pretty sure both provide item bonusses. And Mark of Scribing is very world specific - if you're not playing in Eberron just ban it cold. His maths therefore needs checking (especially how he got that many items). But seriously, that's not that strong a character - especially as he's taken Toughness, Durable, and Resilient Focus - and missed feats like Enlarge Spell (expand the size of all wizard spells by 1 at the cost of a damage penalty).

Wizard/Psion isn't a particularly strong combination (if we were talking either Wizard/Psion or Swordmage/Psion we'd have a problem.

Staff Expertise is legal - they added the Expertise feats in PHB2 then decided that they were boring so added a secondary effect to each Expertise in Essentials. I think the only people to not currently have an Expertise feat they can use that's equivalent are Tome wielders and Flailers. (Staff is a strong one, admittedly. But I get far more mileage out of the Orb equivalent for the extra slide).

But the rest? That's just a solid build with a lot of items. I'm not sure I'd blink twice. And it's not as if that hybrid build is at all strong; both wizard and psion use standard actions to do effectively the same thing.

"And defenders have higher defences than I have."

He has an AC of 29 at 14th level. Someone wearing +3 chain (effectively bottom of the barrel armour) will have an AC of 10 +7 (level) + 3 (Enhancement) + 6 (chain) +2 (masterwork) = AC28. Which makes AC29 the equivalent of chain and a light shield. His AC is by almost any standards on the low side.

Out of curiosity, could you post the other two characters?
 

Aulirophile

First Post
Right. Off the top of my head, Staff of Ruin doesn't stack with the Shard of the Mage. I'm pretty sure both provide item bonusses. And Mark of Scribing is very world specific - if you're not playing in Eberron just ban it cold. His maths therefore needs checking (especially how he got that many items). But seriously, that's not that strong a character - especially as he's taken Toughness, Durable, and Resilient Focus - and missed feats like Enlarge Spell (expand the size of all wizard spells by 1 at the cost of a damage penalty).

Wizard/Psion isn't a particularly strong combination (if we were talking either Wizard/Psion or Swordmage/Psion we'd have a problem.

Staff Expertise is legal - they added the Expertise feats in PHB2 then decided that they were boring so added a secondary effect to each Expertise in Essentials. I think the only people to not currently have an Expertise feat they can use that's equivalent are Tome wielders and Flailers. (Staff is a strong one, admittedly. But I get far more mileage out of the Orb equivalent for the extra slide).

But the rest? That's just a solid build with a lot of items. I'm not sure I'd blink twice. And it's not as if that hybrid build is at all strong; both wizard and psion use standard actions to do effectively the same thing.

"And defenders have higher defences than I have."

He has an AC of 29 at 14th level. Someone wearing +3 chain (effectively bottom of the barrel armour) will have an AC of 10 +7 (level) + 3 (Enhancement) + 6 (chain) +2 (masterwork) = AC28. Which makes AC29 the equivalent of chain and a light shield. His AC is by almost any standards on the low side.

Out of curiosity, could you post the other two characters?
SoR is item, Shard is untyped.

Build is fine, if he is making encounters easy it is because he is playing tactically. Your obvious bias "Player A is playing the game 'like you're supposed to'" is the problem. And calling him a Scrub, etc., like others in this thread I'd encourage him to find a different game, for different reasons.
 

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