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Author Topic: Mid-to-high level D&D 3.5? (Basically Full)  (Read 17676 times)

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Offline TheGlyphstoneTopic starter

Re: Mid-to-high level D&D 3.5? (Hunting GM)
« Reply #75 on: August 05, 2010, 05:30:55 PM »
The same reason we like higher-level play in general - options. The nature of D&D's class-based system enforces specialization in order to remain effective; with gestalt, you can specialize in two things, or specialize in one and use the gestalt track to shore up weaknesses and become more well-rounded.

10th level is more fun than 2nd level, but (IMO), 10th level Gestalt is more fun than, say, 15th level normal - you have less raw power, but you can apply your raw power to a much broader range.
« Last Edit: August 05, 2010, 05:32:08 PM by TheGlyphstone »

Offline PhantomPistoleer

Re: Mid-to-high level D&D 3.5? (Hunting GM)
« Reply #76 on: August 05, 2010, 05:32:32 PM »
Customization?  I prefer to play a LVL 1 gestalt as opposed to a LVL 20 regular.

Offline ulthakptah

Re: Mid-to-high level D&D 3.5? (Hunting GM)
« Reply #77 on: August 05, 2010, 05:33:41 PM »
I think it's because some people have trouble picking between classes and want to play both, but multiclassing is hard, and sometimes you just end up with the worst part of two classes, while gestalt takes the best part of two classes and puts them together. On a side note I have no problem with multiclassing and I love to do it.

Offline Katina Tarask

Re: Mid-to-high level D&D 3.5? (Hunting GM)
« Reply #78 on: August 05, 2010, 05:55:34 PM »
Leveling up tends to build power up.  Gestalt tends to build power out.  A level 2 character has a 2 pound hammer.  A level 1 gestalt character has a 1 pound hammer and a roll of duct tape.  The latter is more interesting, but trying to make something like that without gestalt is pretty much doomed.  Gestalt adds huge amounts of flexibility and customization in what you can make without dramatically increasing power.
So would this be like Nobunaga's Ambition where all of the players own a fiefdom and control it but work with others for a like goal, or would it be like Civilization in which all of the players work against one another?  I'm for the former, against the latter. :i
It will be cooperative.  I'm thinking conjoined city-states, where everyone has their own holdings as part of a larger central power, and y'all collectively work to conquer your neighbors.  The amount of intra-party conflict that occurs is up to y'all.  Personally, I like it.  Less work for me. :P

Offline Aether

Re: Mid-to-high level D&D 3.5? (Hunting GM)
« Reply #79 on: August 05, 2010, 06:02:46 PM »
Do we need to read up on these separate books to have a hold of the two feats you are talking about, Katina, to effectively establish a character like we are talking about within your game?

Offline WyzardWhately

Re: Mid-to-high level D&D 3.5? (Hunting GM)
« Reply #80 on: August 05, 2010, 06:04:45 PM »
So: L10 Gestalt.  Landholder + Leadership.  Some third-party sources allowed?  Starting Money & Attribute generation?

I am digging on this idea of being kind of local powers with territory and so forth.  I'm thinking of playing a high-Int spellcaster type, who runs the University.

Offline ff

Re: Mid-to-high level D&D 3.5? (Hunting GM)
« Reply #81 on: August 05, 2010, 06:07:12 PM »
What about a game where everyone agrees to be multiclass (for some nontrivial definition of multicass, like not full BAB or full spellcasting level). Both my own prior preferences were multiclass anyway (fighter/thief categories: rogue-swashbuckler or ranger-scout).

Just feel like the class balance is surely even worse in gestalt, because for example, a fighter-rogue now has exactly equal BAB to a fighter-ranger, whereas normally it's 1 to 7/8ths. A paladin-sorcerer (or swashbuckler-wizard if you hate sorcerers) gets stronger spellcasting than a paladin-cleric, but their BABs and HP are exactly the same. And so on.

The difference between gestalt X and regular-X regular-X is the former is max of each thing, the latter is sum, so that the 'weaker thing' of each pair is not completely sealed over.

Or let me ask it this way - have people tried eldritch knight, arcane tricker, mystic theurge, etc. and simply found them too weak? 

Offline TheGlyphstoneTopic starter

Re: Mid-to-high level D&D 3.5? (Hunting GM)
« Reply #82 on: August 05, 2010, 06:19:49 PM »
The class balance in gestalt isn't much worse than it already is - in many ways, it's better. Spellcasting will always outclass mundanes, gestalt or non-gestalt; all most classes can do for a primary spellcaster is shore up weaknesses, while effectively having two classes in one for a non-caster vastly improves their options, and helps narrow the gap between them and spellcasters. The power differential between full melee classes (ranger, rogue, whatever) is quite minor anyways, so it shouldn't be a huge concern.

Enforced multiclassing, though, is just a bad idea entirely - it's effectively "don't be a spellcaster' because of the quadratic nature of spell power. It's one reason Mystic Theurge is a horrible class - it forces you to be 1-2 entire grades of spell level below a pure-classed caster. Arcane Trickster and Eldritch Theurge are the same on a lesser scale, because you're only crippling your spellcasting in one class instead of two.

Offline ulthakptah

Re: Mid-to-high level D&D 3.5? (Hunting GM)
« Reply #83 on: August 05, 2010, 06:31:55 PM »
The class balance in gestalt isn't much worse than it already is - in many ways, it's better. Spellcasting will always outclass mundanes, gestalt or non-gestalt; all most classes can do for a primary spellcaster is shore up weaknesses, while effectively having two classes in one for a non-caster vastly improves their options, and helps narrow the gap between them and spellcasters. The power differential between full melee classes (ranger, rogue, whatever) is quite minor anyways, so it shouldn't be a huge concern.

Enforced multiclassing, though, is just a bad idea entirely - it's effectively "don't be a spellcaster' because of the quadratic nature of spell power. It's one reason Mystic Theurge is a horrible class - it forces you to be 1-2 entire grades of spell level below a pure-classed caster. Arcane Trickster and Eldritch Theurge are the same on a lesser scale, because you're only crippling your spellcasting in one class instead of two.

Mystic Theurge is a great class if you use it right. I like to have my divine class for it be an ur-priest

Offline TheGlyphstoneTopic starter

Re: Mid-to-high level D&D 3.5? (Hunting GM)
« Reply #84 on: August 05, 2010, 06:33:47 PM »
Mystic Theurge is a great class if you use it right. I like to have my divine class for it be an ur-priest

It can be, yes. But by default, with its Wizard 3/Cleric 3 or Sorcerer 3/Cleric 3 entry, is a painful deficiency.

Offline WyzardWhately

Re: Mid-to-high level D&D 3.5? (Hunting GM)
« Reply #85 on: August 05, 2010, 06:37:46 PM »
To me, Gestalt play isn't about balance.

It's about tearing off your straitjacket, kicking the steel security doors loose from their hinges, and fleeing madly off into the night.  And then doing stuff.

Seriously, it's an excuse to go hog-wild and play a character who would range from mildly to severely broken in a normal campaign.  I find it's better to just admit that and roll with it. 

Offline ff

Re: Mid-to-high level D&D 3.5? (Hunting GM)
« Reply #86 on: August 05, 2010, 06:46:13 PM »
The class balance in gestalt isn't much worse than it already is - in many ways, it's better. Spellcasting will always outclass mundanes, gestalt or non-gestalt; all most classes can do for a primary spellcaster is shore up weaknesses, while effectively having two classes in one for a non-caster vastly improves their options, and helps narrow the gap between them and spellcasters. The power differential between full melee classes (ranger, rogue, whatever) is quite minor anyways, so it shouldn't be a huge concern.

Enforced multiclassing, though, is just a bad idea entirely - it's effectively "don't be a spellcaster' because of the quadratic nature of spell power. It's one reason Mystic Theurge is a horrible class - it forces you to be 1-2 entire grades of spell level below a pure-classed caster. Arcane Trickster and Eldritch Theurge are the same on a lesser scale, because you're only crippling your spellcasting in one class instead of two.

What if we did something like:

Practiced Spellcaster - existing feat that catches up one class's level by up to 4 (but capped by char level) no brainer for multiclass spellcasters, good for paladins and rangers even.

Plus some custom feat that also raised your caster level by 1 for its other purposes (spell slots and new spell levels).

If anything, too good: a Fighter-1 Wizard-5-or-6 Eldritch Knight is going to get 2 fighter bonus feats, making up his 2 spell levels right there. (Sure, that feat is likely not a fighter bonus feat, but if two of his other general feats were, it's a wash). So now he's just a wizard with better HP and BAB.

Arcane Tricker's nice - the trick is that ray spells can add sneak attack damage! 

It just seems so much simpler to add a few options for any specific build that someone might want to do but feels is 'too weak' rather than overhaul the rules.

But it sounds like people sort of want brokenness, for the fun if it, it's just that they'd rather the brokenness favor weirder / more multiclassish types of builds. Which I suppose has a certain appeal.

Part of my incentive is that I'd rather to get more use and experience with a ruleset that will be more broaadly applicable to other gaming groups (although admittedly 3.5 is now retired officially).

Dont' mean to spoil anyone's fun. I guess if I do do gestalt it'll be a rogue-swash, basically with wizard and/or arcane trickster on one side.

Offline ff

Re: Mid-to-high level D&D 3.5? (Hunting GM)
« Reply #87 on: August 05, 2010, 06:50:05 PM »
P.S. I realize everyone else is a gestalt-phile, and people should have fun. I'm not really hoping to change the tides here, I just sometimes get on a roll rambling about DnD crunch.

Offline TheGlyphstoneTopic starter

Re: Mid-to-high level D&D 3.5? (Hunting GM)
« Reply #88 on: August 05, 2010, 06:50:51 PM »
Personal preference...you don't have to play if you don't like gestalt. We do.

Offline PhantomPistoleer

Re: Mid-to-high level D&D 3.5? (Hunting GM)
« Reply #89 on: August 05, 2010, 07:05:06 PM »
I for one hope that FF gives gestalt a try, Glyph.  She's awesome, according to her previous posts.

I love gestalt, but I'm hemming and hawing at how tedious it is to build a monster character.  So I'm just going to Knight/Paladin or Knight/Fighter it.  I know, I know.  I suck compared to everyone else.  :D

Offline WyzardWhately

Re: Mid-to-high level D&D 3.5? (Hunting GM)
« Reply #90 on: August 05, 2010, 07:08:28 PM »
I'm basically with the Pistoleer, above.  I don't think FF was arguing against having a Gestalt game, just kind of going on about her thoughts on the matter. 

I, too, am fairly incompetent at powergaming in chargen, so I doubt I'll choose any combination which involves more than, say, two splatbooks and an hour's worth of thought.  I think I can manage to be a great deal of fun in play, though.

Offline TheGlyphstoneTopic starter

Re: Mid-to-high level D&D 3.5? (Hunting GM)
« Reply #91 on: August 05, 2010, 07:17:29 PM »
Eh, building the characters are as much fun for me as actually playing. It'll be different than usual though, at least, since I don't need to worry about stacking synergies and maximizing power the way I'd have to in an arena. All I need for L33t Powah is being a caster (well, a manifester - Thrallherd ftw).

Offline Katina Tarask

Re: Mid-to-high level D&D 3.5? (Hunting GM)
« Reply #92 on: August 05, 2010, 09:01:42 PM »
From the DM's perspective, here's how gestalt pans out.

The "normal" approach to creating a situation or encounter is to say, "Will this kill the PCs?" or "Will everyone get a chance to shine?"

That is boring and irritating.

My approach is closer to an amalgam of, "That's cool," and, "They'll think of something."

Gestalt helps with the, "They'll think of something," part tremendously by giving the PCs a much broader breadth of abilities to be clever with without making them much more powerful than they were before; it's generally building power out rather than up.  The dragon that was a threat to the standard party before is still quite dangerous to the gestalt party, but the gestalt party has a breadth of abilities to draw on that makes things far more interesting.  You do not get the same breadth of ability out of non-gestalt multiclassing.

Also, it's a lot easier to work with gestalt.  An elf Ranger8/Arcane Archer2//Wizard10 is far simpler for the iconic elf archer/mage and truer to concept than an elf Ranger1/Wizard5/Eldritch Knight3/Arcane Archer2 (which doesn't really come together until level 11, where you can be the warrior/mage and get the Arcane Archer's signature ability, and shall always be a mess).
Do we need to read up on these separate books to have a hold of the two feats you are talking about, Katina, to effectively establish a character like we are talking about within your game?
Leadership is core, and the followers you get from it won't be adventuring with you, so they're no big deal.  Landlord basically means you have a large supply of money that can only be spent on a stronghold of some sort.  You don't need to know anything about it to make your character, just know they've got a swanky pad.
So: L10 Gestalt.  Landholder + Leadership.  Some third-party sources allowed?  Starting Money & Attribute generation?
Standard wealth by level for level 10, 36-point buy.  Max HP at all levels.  I'm happy to allow a lot of third-party sources by default, but it may need some review.  (I like the Secrets of Pact Magic material, but there's a no-save daze ray in there that's in dire need of revision.  Though it is rather appropriate, here; it's a laser that renders the subject so aroused that it can't properly defend itself.)

Level adjustments and hit die only apply to one side of the gestalt, and I'd be happy to work with you on a simple LA0 version of some creatures that are just too prohibitively costly with regards to HD/LA (like, say, nymph or succubus).  Even just stripping down a drow to LA0 would be no big deal.

Some third-party stuff that I have and am willing to allow:
Book of Erotic Fantasy
Book of Unlawful Carnal Knowledge (link here; it's a free homebrew compilation.  We'll be using the sex rules from there, if and when there's any need or desire to use them.)
Nymphology (though the previous two are of much higher taste, which is saying something considering BoUCK is a poorly edited hodgepodge of mediocre homebrew)
Secrets of Pact Magic and related web supplements (I don't have Villains of Pact Magic beyond the web previews, so unless you can get me a pdf, that's likely out)
Complete Guide to * (Though those are more of a DM resource.  Vampires and fey and such come with a prohibitive amount of baggage for a PC.)
Slayer's Guide to * (Again, more of a DM resource, but there it is.)
Advanced Player's Guide (Paizo's released some solid material.  *Huggles Tentacle Rapist Summoner.*)
The old Swords & Sorcery Ravenloft Campaign Setting (The Hypnosis skill is fun~  Oh, by the way, anything you can use can be used against you.)

Also, ignore class skills.  I despise them with a passion.  Everything's a class skill for every class.  (And as a consolation, Factotum goes up to 8+ skill points.)

As a houserule, death is pretty much entirely off the table unless you want to off the character or as a result of some ridiculously reckless actions (which I will warn you about first; if you charge an elder dragon solo while at 1 HP, I'll ask if you're sure and establish this as something that can get you killed off for real).  Instead, you're more likely to be captured or some such, which is more genre appropriate anyways.  Don't expect to win every single time, but a TPK isn't the end for anyone unless you want it to be.
I love gestalt, but I'm hemming and hawing at how tedious it is to build a monster character.  So I'm just going to Knight/Paladin or Knight/Fighter it.  I know, I know.  I suck compared to everyone else.  :D
Please, at least pick classes that provide some variety of abilities, or at least work well.  Maybe Knight/Bard?  I'm more than happy to shove alignment restrictions out an airlock.

But do keep in mind, Tome of Battle is going to be very much the standard for melee.  Conventional melee sans magic is pretty much doomed.


Now, then.  Setting.  I have my own loosely defined setting, and if there are no objections, I'd like to use it here.  The only real compilation is in one of my old game ads.  Only the Setting tab is relevant, but the "Who am I?" tab says a lot about how I DM; ignore the houserules, they don't apply to this game.  Yes, I stole a ton of them from TGT.

Short version?  There is one continent.  It's basically a big ring of land around a large central sea.  Beyond that is the ocean, which is one giant, godlike, murderous elemental that kills anyone who tries to cross, so this one continent is the extent of the known world.  (Since this isn't E6 and more powerful magics are available, I'm adding the detail that the giant water elemental outright ate the rest of the world, and only one continent is left.)

There are six nations, which you really don't need to know much about, with huge expanses of no-man's-land between them, riddled with monsters and arcane disasters and all that rot making the land less-than-desirable and nigh incapable of supporting more than small villages and sometimes city-states.  You're starting in that wasteland, where you can be attacked by evil monsters and may have to clear lands of portals to Hell in order to make it usable.

Y'all don't need to know a whole lot about the setting (y'all're starting out in the heart of Nowhere), so don't feel to obligated to look far beyond the primer and some skimming, but the cosmology is probably not what you're used to in a D&D setting, so that's worth a look.
« Last Edit: August 05, 2010, 09:05:32 PM by Katina Tarask »

Offline TheGlyphstoneTopic starter

Re: Mid-to-high level D&D 3.5? (Hunting GM)
« Reply #93 on: August 05, 2010, 09:09:36 PM »
Sounds awesome, time to go chargen.

Since you're allowing Leadership, I assume you're okay with me taking Thrallherd?

Offline Katina Tarask

Re: Mid-to-high level D&D 3.5? (Hunting GM)
« Reply #94 on: August 05, 2010, 09:21:26 PM »
Quite fine, but again, the minions will be a form of bureaucratic currency for running and protecting your land, rather than a more active resource like a hundred a hundred crossbows to pepper baddies.  (Though if you have a artificer/caster cohort, they can help you out.)

Oh, and no XP costs; instead, replace every point of XP cost with 5 gp, simplifying crafting.

Offline TheGlyphstoneTopic starter

Re: Mid-to-high level D&D 3.5? (Hunting GM)
« Reply #95 on: August 05, 2010, 09:32:52 PM »
Aww, I was going to haul a half-dozen or so around, they're so useful! Scouts, pack mules, trap detectors, trail rations.... ;D

Going to build my cohortthrall as a bodyguard though, if that's okay. I'd sort of feel obligated to take an artificer if the cohort also has to stay behind, because it's a class feature for me instead of a free bonus feat.


EDIT: In another game I'm playing, the DM gave us extra skill points to spend on Sexual Prowess from GUCK, any chance you'll do the same?
« Last Edit: August 05, 2010, 09:35:23 PM by TheGlyphstone »

Offline Katina Tarask

Re: Mid-to-high level D&D 3.5? (Hunting GM)
« Reply #96 on: August 05, 2010, 09:44:07 PM »
I'll allow it for a Thrallherd, but... there's a catch.  Looking at Thrallherd, the Thrallherd special ability replaces Leadership rather than stacking, so being able to tote your cohort about is the benefit.

Also, I'm still musing over simple administrative rules, but it'll be keyed off of CR, making one level 9 minion the equivalent of twenty-four 1st-level mooks, making it significant loss to haul him/her around.

Offline TheGlyphstoneTopic starter

Re: Mid-to-high level D&D 3.5? (Hunting GM)
« Reply #97 on: August 05, 2010, 10:14:28 PM »
I'll allow it for a Thrallherd, but... there's a catch.  Looking at Thrallherd, the Thrallherd special ability replaces Leadership rather than stacking, so being able to tote your cohort about is the benefit.

Also, I'm still musing over simple administrative rules, but it'll be keyed off of CR, making one level 9 minion the equivalent of twenty-four 1st-level mooks, making it significant loss to haul him/her around.

Yeah, I'm aware of that - Thralls are better than followers, they don't get upset if you abuse them or demand wages or anything, they just obey you. And I wouldn't waste the high-level mooks as pit trap fodder anyways. :)

Offline PhantomPistoleer

Re: Mid-to-high level D&D 3.5? (Hunting GM)
« Reply #98 on: August 05, 2010, 10:16:26 PM »
So, uh, I made a factotum/truenamer.  :o

I will be posting him shortly.  And...  that's not a very big consolation for the factotum, but I'll take it!

Offline TheGlyphstoneTopic starter

Re: Mid-to-high level D&D 3.5? (Hunting GM)
« Reply #99 on: August 05, 2010, 10:19:10 PM »
So, you made a factotum with a good Will save progression. Well, factotums are nice. :)

(Unless your cohort's an artificer...then manufacture all sorts of esoteric stacking bonuses to Truespeech and actually be able to use your class abilities. ;D)