High level characters

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High level characters

Post by Rob on Sat Dec 10, 2011 4:40 am

Characters start at 12th level. Single class only please but, if anyone wants to go multi-class then you star at 9/9 and progress in only one class. I will run a 12th level cleric as NPC. Ideally we need a fighter, magic user and thief. Rod has already expressed preference for a magic user but that doesn't stop someone else picking it up as a secondary class.

Because you are all familiar with the 3.5 rules that is what we will run with.

Magic items: 6 each. Anything you want. I will allocate any other items as I see necessary. No relics. No rings or cloaks of protection - you're saving throws are high enough already.

more later... Twisted Evil


Last edited by Rob on Sat Dec 10, 2011 7:49 am; edited 1 time in total
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Re: High level characters

Post by Admin on Sat Dec 10, 2011 5:54 am

For mages, a ring of protection is pretty standard fare, given they can't wear armour of any sort. If that's still a no, fair enough, but just though I'd point that out. Might opt for a cloak of displacement or some such.

How are we choosing stats? 4d6 discard lowest? Point spend? Will HP be random? Max? Partial max (for x levels) then random up to level 12?

Are there any race/alignment restrictions? If we're allowed, I'm thinking of a Dark Elf Mage.
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Re: High level characters

Post by Rob on Sat Dec 10, 2011 10:12 am

Stats: 5d6. Discard scores below 12. 2 for 1 trade up. So if you have a string of 14s then you can drop 2 points in one ability and gain a point in another. Can't go below 9. Can't go above 18 (or maybe 19 depending on what the rules allow)

No race restrictions whatsoever. I am a lover of diversity and the more obscure the more I like it. Note though that certain races carry level limits within particular classes.

HP: as per rules but the first 5 levels will all be minimum 50% on die. So if you're a thief rolling d6 then no die can be less than 3 for the first 5 levels. I am not sure about the 3.5 rules on HP after name level but we can negotiate that.

AC: I am not a fan of ridiculous AC's having dealt with one 1st edition campaign where characters sported AC's in the vicinity of -12. So, sorry, no protection rings or cloaks until I see what you've chosen as items.

The flavour of the campaign: you can expect break neck speed and intense combat. I emphasize 3 dimensional combat. There will be role play because I love eccentricity in character and encourage it at every opportunity. But the focus will be combat. And it will not be nice. High level DnD is life on the edge. I have extensive experience in high level character combat scenarios and I don't pull punches. The stakes are high: you won't be saving a princess from a dragon; more likely an entire plane from a dragon invasion. Get the idea?

NPC's: you can recruit people to assist you but you must be prepared to run them yourselves.

Special skills: As adventurers of long experience you have certain unique talents developed over years of perilous exploration. Be creative, read the rule books, any reasonable request will be considered but it may, depending on it's relative power, be balanced against a drawback similar to that found in the Firefly rules.

Wishes: think of at least three wishes that your characters might have cast on themselves. Whether you get three, or indeed any, is based on a random role.
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Re: High level characters

Post by Admin on Sat Dec 10, 2011 1:03 pm

Rob - if we're gonna use 3.5 rules, you should know that there is a TON of things that don't work at all like they used to in older versions of AD&D. I'll outline them here so you can get an idea: (you might want to borrow my 3.5 books and have a read through before ultimately committing to the 3.5 rules)

Rob wrote:Stats ... can't go below 9. Can't go above 18 (or maybe 19 depending on what the rules allow)
I assume you mean before racial bonuses/penalties apply? So my elf who has 18 dex, actually starts with 20, since elves get a +2dex/-2con modifier.
Also - a level 12 character will have had three +1 stat boosts by the time they reach level 12, so this example character could start the game with a dex of 23. In the 3.5 rules, there are no real requirements to keep stats at 18 or below - in fact some of the combat feats for example, are only accessible if you have a relevant stat of as high as 25 for some feats, so basically stats above 18 are mandatory.

Rob wrote:No race restrictions whatsoever. I am a lover of diversity and the more obscure the more I like it. Note though that certain races carry level limits within particular classes.
Again, using the vanilly 3.5 rules, the only playable races are human, elf, half elf, halfling, dwarf, half orc, gnome. If you're happy to allow additional races, we might need to apply a few house rules with regard to racial stat modifiers. Also, in 3.5, the racial level limitations for some classes were done away with, since they cut back on the number of playable races. In fact, this change was made in the 3.0 rules.

Rob wrote:HP: as per rules but the first 5 levels will all be minimum 50% on die. So if you're a thief rolling d6 then no die can be less than 3 for the first 5 levels. I am not sure about the 3.5 rules on HP after name level but we can negotiate that.
In 3.5, 'name levels' no longer exist. If you're a level 40 rogue, you have 40d6 hp.

Rob wrote:AC: I am not a fan of ridiculous AC's having dealt with one 1st edition campaign where characters sported AC's in the vicinity of -12. So, sorry, no protection rings or cloaks until I see what you've chosen as items.
The old negative armour class system is gone in 3.0/3.5. Bascially now, the bigger the number the better. A typical AC for a Level 1 warrior might be in the 12-16 range. By the time he gets to level 12, with some magic armour, a few dex boosts (at level 4, 8, and 12) as well as some of the combat feats that help AC, a typical AC might be something like 30-35. In fact, he would NEED an AC at this level, when facing off against appropriate level monsters, otherwise he'd just die. AC continuously scales with level, for both players and monsters, so AC 30 is common among decently equipped characters. Level 12 monsters have similar ACs (30ish). The system is designed to take into account things like rings of protection and so on .. big ACs are not just nice, but mandatory at higher levels otherwise you just don't survive.

Rob wrote:The flavour of the campaign: you can expect break neck speed and intense combat. I emphasize 3 dimensional combat. There will be role play because I love eccentricity in character and encourage it at every opportunity. But the focus will be combat. And it will not be nice. High level DnD is life on the edge. I have extensive experience in high level character combat scenarios and I don't pull punches. The stakes are high: you won't be saving a princess from a dragon; more likely an entire plane from a dragon invasion. Get the idea?
Also - when you mentioned high level - I got the impression you meant we'd kick off around 15-18th level. An 18th level mage (for example) gets access to 9th level spells, whereas a 12th level mage has access to only a single level 6 spell. As we're starting at level 12, will the game run sufficiently long for us to progress to 'high' levels -- 18+? It's also worth noting that the encounter difficulties in 3.5 are such that a level 12 party of 3 or 4 adventurers would not stand a chance against even a single adult dragon.

Rob wrote:NPC's: you can recruit people to assist you but you must be prepared to run them yourselves.
Cool - the henchment and hirelings system works sort of like it used to, and the higher your level, the more underlings you're able to attract.

Rob wrote:Wishes: think of at least three wishes that your characters might have cast on themselves. Whether you get three, or indeed any, is based on a random role.
Hmm ok this is very interesting .. should make for some unusual characters. Are these wishes meant to be game mechanic style advantages, or more character/story based wishes that will provide role playing hooks?

Anyway, as you can see, there are a lot of sweeping changes to the game mechanics in 3.0/3.5. One of the things to come out of that was that it's much harder to 'break' the game than it used to be. Even the toughest warrior can be hit sometimes, whereas in advanced d&d once you got your ac down to -10 or better, you were pretty much untouchable in melee. This is only one example, but there are many others - bascially all those 'house rules' that people used to have in place to stop the game becoming too easy are no longer necessary as the challenge level of monsters, traps, etc scales with the adventurers.

I'm happy to lend you my 3.5 books if you want to familiarise yourself with the new ruleset. Alternately, I have (and am familiar with) the rulesets going all the way back to the original printing of DND and the subsequent splitting of the rules into Players Handbook and DM's guide. If you'd prefer to play old-school first ed. dnd, I have all the books for that as I assume you do too.

Cheers,
Rod.
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Re: High level characters

Post by Rob on Sun Dec 11, 2011 1:44 am

I think by focusing on the rules with such intensity your missing the inherent point which is all things in proportion. This is not about defining the specifics of the rules but about making sure that the game is well balanced. Having had long experience in several campaigns of over powered players and watching other DM's throw their hands up in despair I made a point of keeping the power of players in proportionate balance with the relative threat of dungeons, monsters and opposing forces. The level of players is really immaterial as any given level is only relevant with respect to the level of the threat faced. I know how the AC system works in 3.5. What you seem to have missed was the point about -12 ac's in 1st ed. rules which, as I'm sure you're aware, tends to make people un-hittable. It is most certainly not about the need for high AC's because that is a player-driven need which is not in accord with notions of game balance. Similarly so saving throws. Hit points, as I noted, would be in accord with the rules - either 1st ed or 3.5.

That being said I am highly skeptical of some aspects of the 3.5 rules. The ability to raise stats to demi-god level seems unnecessarily easy. It parallels the trend in MMORPGs. This to me, is something which is more about appealing to young video gamers and bridging the perceived gap between DnD and online games.

What this leads me towards is a favouritism for the 1st ed rules which, since this is what I am familiar with, may actually prove to be a better choice overall . That being said I will look through the 3.5 rules (I have digital copies here but thanks for the offer of the books) and look specifically at skills AC HP and ability scores.

Bottom line is there are many months before this will happen.
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Re: High level characters

Post by Admin on Sun Dec 11, 2011 3:45 am

Hey Rob, I just want to open by saying that I hadn't intended to sound argumentative. Sorry if that's how you percieved it. That said, your reply felt a little caustic. No one likes being told (serveral times) they have 'missed the point'. It's code for telling someone they are slow on the uptake. I'll cheerfully assume that your reply wasn't intended this way, as written communication lacks the ability to convey body language, tone of voice etc. With that out of the way, if I can add to the debate:

Rob wrote:I think by focusing on the rules with such intensity your missing the inherent point which is all things in proportion. This is not about defining the specifics of the rules but about making sure that the game is well balanced. Having had long experience in several campaigns of over powered players and watching other DM's throw their hands up in despair I made a point of keeping the power of players in proportionate balance with the relative threat of dungeons, monsters and opposing forces. The level of players is really immaterial as any given level is only relevant with respect to the level of the threat faced.
Please don't mistake my enthusiasm for "rules lawyership". While I'm well versed in the rules, I consider my roleplaying skills my strongest asset, and perhaps immodestly, I have the evidence from 30 years of roleplaying and 15 years worth of roleplaying conventions to back that claim, so you've no need to worry that my goal here is to gain advantage by attempting to unbalance the game. I'm aware of the point you're trying to make (ie all things in proportion), however, the reason for the detail in my post (in addition to the aforementioned enthusiasm) was that given your comments about character setup etc it suggested that you were not as familiar with the 3.0/3.5 rules than previous versions of the rules. Concepts like race/level limitations and 'name levels' (for example) no longer exist in the 3.x environment, so to suggest they'd come into play during character creation might have caused confusion. I was merely trying to be helpful and point out that (in case you weren't aware) things had changed.

Rob wrote:I know how the AC system works in 3.5. What you seem to have missed was the point about -12 ac's in 1st ed. rules which, as I'm sure you're aware, tends to make people un-hittable. It is most certainly not about the need for high AC's because that is a player-driven need which is not in accord with notions of game balance. Similarly so saving throws. Hit points, as I noted, would be in accord with the rules - either 1st ed or 3.5.

Again, I understand the point you were making and hopefully you see mine. I'm quite familiar with the broken way the rules deal (or rather don't deal) with unhittable ACs, but it's worth acknowledging that the 3.x rules scale with the level of the player characters, so situations where the characters are unhittable don't really arise. You mention how 'high ACs' are a player driven need which is at odds with game balance, but I'd argue that a 'high AC' seems quite in line with game balance given you've already mentioned, several times, that you focus heavily on combat.

In the context of the 3.x game mechanics, AC 30 (for example) isn't that high. It's simply the kind of numbers now used to describe an average AC for higher level characters. If everyone (including monsters) is running around with such an AC then I'd say it's simply average. The upward progression in the numbers the on character sheets (for AC, saves etc) is simply a function of the way the new game mechanics maintain balance, rather than degrade it.

Rob wrote:That being said I am highly skeptical of some aspects of the 3.5 rules. The ability to raise stats to demi-god level seems unnecessarily easy. It parallels the trend in MMORPGs. This to me, is something which is more about appealing to young video gamers and bridging the perceived gap between DnD and online games.
You seem to be applying 2.x standards and prejudices to the 3.x rule set. I agree that 20-something for a stat in 2nd ed is most certainly demi-god level, however, that's simply not the case in 3.x. A stat in the 20's range in the current rule set is considered normal for a high level character/monster. Some of the feats available once you reach level 10-15 require stats in this range as a pre-requisite to learning that feat. It's part of the way the game allows for increased complexity (as happens when the character increases in level and has access to more skills, abilities, spells etc) while maintaining game balance. The old pre-conceptions about what's overpowered don't apply here as the underlying mechanics are vastly different.

Rob wrote:What this leads me towards is a favouritism for the 1st ed rules which, since this is what I am familiar with, may actually prove to be a better choice overall . That being said I will look through the 3.5 rules (I have digital copies here but thanks for the offer of the books) and look specifically at skills AC HP and ability scores.
I'm happy to use which ever rule set you want to. As I mentioned, I only commented on the rules as you mentioned thus far, in an attempt to be helpful and point out that some things in the 3.x ruleset were different to how you described they might be used when considering our characters. If you're more comfortable using a different ruleset for a high level campaign I have no objection to that - it's your game, and I'll happily go along with whatever you decide.

Maybe once you've had a read of the 3.x document we can all chat about it in person and decide what to do.
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Re: High level characters

Post by Rob on Sun Dec 11, 2011 4:40 am

Sorry if I offended you, Rod. But I did take offence to the extensive quoting of my words back at me.

I know your intent is to be helpful but it still seems to emphasize my lack of rules knowledge. I suppose what I need to make really clear is that I don't work from rules books but from principle. And the first principle of DnD is that it's an open ended game. The DM and players always have power over the books to remake the game as they see fit. That's why I didn't see a need to restrict race.

Ultimately we are in agreement on AC though our expression of the concepts differ.

I appreciate your experience and knowledge of the rules and that experience makes a 3.5-based campaign more possible. I need to be more conversant with 3.5. that will happen. Till then, can we agree that, while rules have changed and the numbers stack differently, there is still an underlying need for balance and proportion?

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Re: High level characters

Post by Admin on Sun Dec 11, 2011 6:16 am

Rob, ok - sorry - didn't realise quoting was a problem. I did it that way so as to keep my comments specific and as in context to each of your comments. I find a reply formatted that way is easier to follow, rather than a wall of text with all the various points thrown in. No schooling/lecturing was intended.

As an aside, when writing in a setting involving communications with friends (as opposed to random people on the internet I've never met), it's a very rare day that I intentionally set out to be rude or confrontational. These are my friends I'm dealing with, so intentional provocation is the last thing on my mind. So, if I say or do something that offends you (like quoting text) it's guaranteed to be unintentional, and I won't be upset if you just tell me what's up, rather than letting something I've done colour your reply and leaving me wondering what it was I said (or did) wrong.

Regarding the rules knowledge thing - I was just concerned that you might have agreed to use the 3.5 rules because we know them, and not realised what you were agreeing to. I just assumed that since it's your game, you'd opt for the version of the rules you most enjoy using. I figured that once alerted to these differences you'd have information that might be helpful in deciding which flavour of DND we're going to use.

As for the need for balance and proportion, I agree totally. Playing a game where you a) die every session; or b) get 1,000,000 xp every session both make for a poor experience.

I'd go so far as to say that I feel Steve, Andrew and I have roleplayed long enough that you can trust us not to try and twist the spirit of the game you envisaged. Hopefully this trust allows us to reasonably do whatever we like with regards to character setup and if there's something that doesn't fit, you'll address it as the game evolves? This will save us (and you) a lot of time asking (and answering) a string of questions about the apropriateness of one thing or another in the context of your campaign.

Anyway .. at this stage I'm leading towards Drow Mage. Are we allowed evil alignments? If not, I might need to reconsider that or come up with a good reason why I'm no longer evil. Perhaps something to do with those wish(es) you mentioned. If evil is OK, I'm planning on going Lawful Evil, as (imo) it's the most stable and socially interactive of the evils - sometimes you just need to put up with inferior races (humans, dwarves and such) in order to advance your own agenda Smile

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Re: High level characters

Post by stephen.lumley on Mon Jan 23, 2012 12:44 am

I might be a halfling thief.. Although the fundamental flaw in my plan is halflings rarely live long enough to be 'high level'.. Question
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Re: High level characters

Post by Admin on Mon Jan 23, 2012 1:12 am

stephen.lumley wrote:I might be a halfling thief.. Although the fundamental flaw in my plan is halflings rarely live long enough to be 'high level'.. Question

Really? I'd have thought a halfling thief that was any good would have a very good chance of survival.
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Re: High level characters

Post by stephen.lumley on Mon Jan 23, 2012 1:50 am

Nah... everyone knows halflings are stupid and good for nothin... essentially they are the greens/ democrats of the fantasy realm Smile
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