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Techpriest88

182 Edits since joining this wiki
March 20, 2010

Hello Community! I'm a bit of an eccentric. As a long-time fan of both D&D, Warhammer40k, and all variety of other gaming influences... you'll probably see a bit of mixing of the genres from this humble tech-priest. I'm particularly drawn to the more artificial aspects of the default Dungeons & Dragons universe: undead, constructs, soul-powered doomsday devices. I can be a bit of a perfectionist and get a little wordy, but hopefully we'll still get along. Let's become good friends! Please post any notes you have for me on my talk page rather than here. Thanks in advance for your interest!

Disclaimer: I intend no criticisms to be in any way condescending or offensive. I will try my best to state opinion as opinion and provide hard facts and evidence where approprite, but please forgive me if I slip now and again. I'll do my best to offer the same courtesy and grant the benefit of the doubt to all who oppose me. O.o

Obsession I: Necromancer

I'm gonna check if anyone else has drafted a sensible Necromancer class here on Dungeons. If not, I'm thinking of pursuing that myself. The Beastmaster Ranger is a good base to start from, I think, with the Shaman as an additional point of reference. Another idea I might pursue is an new Warlock pact for servants of Orcus. The pact boon might create a wraith-like hazard at the unfortunate victims position that lasts a round, reminiscent of the effects of Orcus' scepter.

Necromancer (4e Class)

Necromancer

Prospective Necromancer Powers

Symbol of Pain * Implement, Shadow Standard Level ? Daily Attack Range 10; Con vs. Fortitude; whenever the target is struck for untyped damage, it takes an additional 5 damage (save ends). This damage is dealt only once per turn (ie. once on the Ranger's turn, even if he hits twice, once on the Fighter's, once on the target's turn, if it takes an opportunity attack). Special: Damage increases to 10 at 11th level and 15 at 21st level.

Animate Undead Companion (4e Ritual)

The remains stand and stare at you with unnatural cunning, prepared to serve and fight at your direction.

Level: 1 Component Cost: 50gp
Category: Restoration Market Price: None
Time: 4 hours Key Skill: Arcana (no check)
Durration: Instantaneous

This ritual allows you to animate a suitable humanoid corpse as an undead companion. It may only be used by a Necromancer with the Undead Mastry class feature and only if his/her previous companion has been destroyed or dismissed.
   The undead companion may be of any of the allowed categories, at the casters option (and as the corpse allows), and counts as a new creature. The following circumstances may apply:

  • You must use a medium-sized humanoid corpse as an additional component cost. The remains must be sufficiently intact to produce the desired companion (ie. mostly whole for a zombie, at least skeletal for a skeleton, of negotiable quality for a wraith).
  • Your new undead companion suffers the equivalent of a death penalty (see the Raise Dead ritual, PH 311) until you have reached 3 milestones. It takes some time for the animating energies to solidify.
  • The component cost increases to 500gp at paragon tier and 5,000gp at epic tier. You learn new techniques to strengthen your undead companion as your grow in power (it still uses the same statistics).

Obsession II: Zerg

Complete:
Hydralisk (4e Monster)
Zergling (4e Monster)

In Progress:
Baneling
Infestor
Infested (4e Template)

Obsession III: 4e Balance Analysis

The following table shows the current standards for monster defenses and player attack rolls, taking the influence of magic items and optimized ability scores into account. I'm assuming 16 + 2 racial bonus for ability scores, because 18 + 2 racial is rarely practical. For magic items, I'm going by the item level rather than when players might start to find them, because at that level the whole party is likely equipped thanks to purchases or the Enchant Magic Item ritual. It culminates in the theoretical attack roll needed to hit the average monster at that level.

Level Standard Defense Typical Attack Bonus From Ability From Level From Magic Roll to Hit
1st 13 +5 +4 +0 +1 8 or more
2st 14 +6 "" +1 "" 8
3rd 15 "" "" "" "" 9
4th 16 +7 "" +2 "" 9
5th 17 "" "" "" "" 10
6th 18 +9 "" +3 +2 9
7th 19 "" "" "" "" 10
8th 20 +11 +5 +4 "" 9
9th 21 "" "" "" "" 10
10th 22 +12 "" +5 "" 10
11th 23 +13 "" "" +3 10
12th 24 +14 "" +6 "" 10
13th 25 "" "" "" "" 11
14th 26 +16 +6 +7 "" 10
15th 27 "" "" "" "" 11
16th 28 +18 "" +8 +4 10
17th 29 "" "" "" "" 11
18th 30 +19 "" +9 "" 11
19th 31 "" "" "" "" 12
20th 32 +20 "" +10 "" 12
21th 33 +22 +7 "" +5 11
22th 34 +23 "" +11 "" 11
23th 35 "" "" "" "" 12
24th 36 +24 "" +12 "" 12
25th 37 "" "" "" "" 13
26th 38 +26 "" +13 +6 12
27th 39 "" "" "" "" 13
28th 40 +28 +8 +14 "" 12
29th 41 "" "" "" "" 13
30th 42 +29 "" +15 "" 13

Note: the Standard Defense indicates the level apropriate AC minus weapon proficiency bonus (typical +2) and non-AC defenses as suggested in the DMG. I'll look into actual monster statistics as well, to make sure this is practical.

I have included neither class features, nor sundry items' and powers' effects above. I'll try to get to them later on in the article. Feel free to submit anything I've missed as the point of the analysis is definitely accuracy.

As you can see, the necessary roll to hit (given the factors included in this analysis) gradually increases from 1st to 30th levels. This hike in difficulty might be simply expected, otherwise, it might need to be forstalled. This gives us two approaches to game balance: gradual curve and linear progression.

Source Bonus per Level Bonus per Tier Overall per Tier
Ability Complex +1 1/2 8 1/2
Level 1 per 2 +5
Magic 1 per 5 +2

One factor that I didn't include above was the Expertise feats, which are Heroic tier. In my personal opinion, no one should go without them. At the same time, if they're taken right away, it makes hitting your target absurdly easy in the early levels, then things start getting harder from there, which is consistent with the gradual curve approach. If the linear progression is preferred, I suggest that Implement/Weapon Expertise be made a Paragon Feat instead and be rewritten as follows:

Implement/Weapon Expertise You gain a +1 bonus to attacks with the chosen implement or weapon for each 10 levels above 1st. Special: This feat may be taken multiple times, each time applying to a different implement or weapon.

Even with these changes the equation is still slightly non-linear. The irregularity comes from the ability score increases. They make the mistake, if I may be so bold, of clinging half-way to tradition while introducing the new tier system. They should have thrown out the old way and evened it out, if linear progression was their goal (which is an open quesiton).

The solution: grant ability increases every 3rd level into the tier (3rd, 6th, 9th, then 13th, 16th, 19th, etc.) as well as the usual welcoming bonus at 11th and 21st. This way, the (possible) increase to any one ability score will be 4 points per 10 levels (in agregate), for a +2 bonus increase to dependent rolls. The ultimate results are as follows.

Source Bonus per Level Bonus per Tier Overall per Tier
Ability Complex +2 10
Level 1 per 2 +5
Magic 1 per 5 +2
Expertise 1 per 10 +1

This coincides prefectly with the recommended defenses per level progression in the DMG, thus ensuring that the game can proceed at a predictable challenge level with minimal need for further modification. The climactic and wondrous benefit of this is, theoretically, that gameplay will not become unbalanced, no matter how long you play, so long as these key elements remain in their proper progression. Look forward to contributions reaching into the next several tiers, sometime in the future: the Catastrophic, Apocalyptic and the Cosmic Tiers (names are not set in stone). :P

Other Considerations

There are, of course, other influences on attack rolls. Below I'll compile a list of class features, powers, feats and items that affect attacks and analyze their impact, making suggestions as appropriate.

Class Features & Powers

Avenger:

  • Oath of Emnity allows the avenger to roll 2d20 when attacking and use the better die. It's effectiveness depends on how easy or difficult the defense would be to overcome initially. Drawbacks are that you gain no bonus when swarmed and can only pursue one foe at a time until it's dead.
  • Channel Divinity: Divine Guidance allows an ally to gain the benefit of your Oath on an attack once per encounter as an immdediate interrupt.

Barbarian:

  • Taneborne Triumph grants a bonus to the next attack the barbarian or an ally makes targeting a creature (s)he just bloodied equal to the babarian's Charisma modifier (secondary).
This is an unlimited, triggered effect that technically does not require any action. In reality, you have to attack and bloody an enemy to grant the bonus. It is limited enough in usage that it shouldn't present problems.

Bard:

  • Guiding Strike is an at-will attack power that allows the bard to reduce one of the target's defenses by 2 on a hit.
This effectively aids as many allies as can hit the target's chosen defense, the bard included, on his/her next turn. With a good mix of characters though, not all of them may be able to attack that defense. Seems reasonable to me.

Cleric:

  • Channel Divinity: Divine Fortune can, as a free action, grant a +1 bonus to the cleric's next attack. This is an encounter power.
Stacks with power bonuses, but small and limited usage.
  • Lance of Faith is an at-will attack power that, if successful, grants an ally in sight a +2 power bonus to its next attack roll against the target.
Conservative.
  • Righteous Brand is an infamous, at-will attack power that, if successful, grants an ally within 10 squares a power bonus to its next melee attack roll against the target equal to your primary ability modifier.
If attacks and defenses follow a linear progression, advancing bonuses are a no-no. Even with the gradual curve model, this power is a bit excessive, being at-will. I'll come back to it.

Druid:

  • Pounce is an at-will beastform attack power that causes the target to grant combat advantage to the next attacker.
Conservative.

Fighter:

  • Combat Superiority grants fighters a bonus to opportunity attacks equal to their Wisdom modifier, likely a tertiary ability.
This only applies to opportunity attack, which puts it largely under DM control. A clever DM will make it fun and useful, but never threaten balance.
  • Fighter Weapon Talent grants fighters a static +1 bonus to attacks with either one-handed or two-handed weapons. We can assume this will always be in effect, since a figher ought to always have his/her best tool in hand.
This is pretty typical with similar abilities popping up in other classes.
  • Sure Strike: is an at-will Weapon attack vs. AC that is effectively always rolled with a +2 bonus.
Lower damage balances this well enough, despite at-will usage.

Invoker:

  • Channel Divinity: Preserver's Rebuke you add your Intelligence modifier (secondary) to your next attack roll against an opponent within 10 squares who damaged an ally. Usable once per encounter.
This lies somewhere between Divine Favor and Taneborn Triumph.

Paladin:

  • Valiant Strike is an at-will attack power that gains a bonus of one or more to it's attack roll, depending on how many enemies are adjacent to the paladin.
Variable bonus is somewhat under DM control. The paladin might position himself well and get a good bonus, but a wary DM will protect "important" enemies.

Ranger:

  • Prime Shot works much like the fighter's Weapon Talent, but is more limited. The ranger must be the closest among his/her allies to the target and be using a ranged attack.
  • Careful Attack is almost exactly like Sure Strike, but also ranged.
Conservative.

Rogue:

  • Weapon Talent resembles the fightter's Weapon Talent but is limited to daggers (as far as the attack bonus is concerned).
Vavious weapons count as daggers for this class feature, but generally their damage is low. It mainly serves to encourage the "rogues use daggers" theme and low weapon damage is offset somewhat by Sneak Attack. Still high Template:W powers will suffer a little. Works for me.
  • Piercing Strike is an at-will Weapon attack power against a non-AC defense. This is equivalent to a +2 bonus, in many cases.
Not too scary.

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