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  1. #1
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    Game Balance in BRCS

    After posting in another thread, wherein I state I don't care about game balance, I was wondering what people have noticed about game balance in this setting since BRCS playtest version came out.

    Here was an interesting one: due to the magic rare setting, one feat stood out as being very powerful in my last campaign.

    Improved Trip. Due to the lack of as many aberrations running around, other than dwarves and cavalry fights, most of your opponents end up being 2 legged. The vos fighter was kicking ass because of this. I ended up having to nerf the +4 bonus to trip attempts down to a +2.

    Another one:

    Shadow Magic feat. Using this in conjunction with Phantasmal Killer, as well as Spell Focus feats makes for a mage assasin of unspeakable power. That extra +2 DC for a 4th level spell that can kill instantly is highly disruptive. Assume the wizard/sorcerer has a +3 from ability score, +1 for lesser spell focus, +4 from spell level, and now +2 from Shadowmagic, and a seventh level character can cast a DC 20 instant death spell. Nice.

    There's a few others, will post. Anybody else notice a few?

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by epicsoul
    After posting in another thread, wherein I state I don't care about game balance, I was wondering what people have noticed about game balance in this setting since BRCS playtest version came out.

    Here was an interesting one: due to the magic rare setting, one feat stood out as being very powerful in my last campaign.

    Improved Trip. Due to the lack of as many aberrations running around, other than dwarves and cavalry fights, most of your opponents end up being 2 legged. The vos fighter was kicking ass because of this. I ended up having to nerf the +4 bonus to trip attempts down to a +2.

    Another one:

    Shadow Magic feat. Using this in conjunction with Phantasmal Killer, as well as Spell Focus feats makes for a mage assasin of unspeakable power. That extra +2 DC for a 4th level spell that can kill instantly is highly disruptive. Assume the wizard/sorcerer has a +3 from ability score, +1 for lesser spell focus, +4 from spell level, and now +2 from Shadowmagic, and a seventh level character can cast a DC 20 instant death spell. Nice.

    There's a few others, will post. Anybody else notice a few?
    There are pleanty of monsters outside of aberrations that have more than two feet. Animals, magical beasts, and oozes are all pretty tough to trip. And some two-legged monsters can be difficult to trip, too.. such as giants (due to their size) and fey (high dexterity). Even if you choose to make humans the primary enemy in battles, you can have them mounted on war horses, opening up a whole new vista of feats for practical use.

    As for the Shadow Magic and Spell Focus feats, I suggest bringing them in line with 3.5th edition rules. I'd probably have Shadow Magic grant +1 caster level instead of a bonus to the spell's DC and Spell Focus grants +1 to DC rather than +2. Greater Spell Focus grants +1 as well, which stacks with Spell Focus for a total of +2 DC.

    Remember, Phantasmal Killer grants 2 saving throws. The first is a will saving throw, which, granted isn't all that great for fighter-types. But it also grants a Fortitude saving throw which Fighter types do well with. And remember, Phantasmal Killer has the Mind Affecting and Fear descriptors.. Paladins with Auras of Courage are immune and their allies benefit from a +4 morale bonus to their saving throws vs fear effects. Defenses against mind affecting spells apply to Phantasmal Killer, too.

  3. #3
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    Re: Improved trip - Giants are a good one, but are also not really an appropriate CR for low level parties. As for animals, I guess I just don't have the party fight that many animals, due to the fact of having a ranger in the party - it sort of limits how many angry animals attack the party. I mentioned cavalry, of course. Hell, the paladin of Cuiracaen charged with a lance on an elf that they were fighting, and did incredible damage with a single hit.

    As for oozes, they just don't seem to be a very BR specific critter. I use them very sparingly. Magical creatures, those have only started to be used.

    As for Shadowmagic - your point about the 2 saves is valid. Still doesn't help rogues or even wizards much. Fighters, paladins, and clerics are quite safe, as their attributes focus towards these saves. But then, paladins are safe all around for saves...

    One interesting thing about the dwarven resistance to bludgeoning damage... dwarves can't get into fist fights with each other. Not that I can see dwarves doing that, even drunkenly anyways... but no other race EVER better pick a bar brawl with a dwarf.

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    Birthright Developer irdeggman's Avatar
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    Re: Improved trip.

    Dwarves get a bonus against trip attacks; elves get a bonus to Dex (hence a bonus against trip attacks); mounted combat (which should be a whole lot more frequent in Birthright than in a standard setting – especially in Anuire, Khinasi and Vos lands pretty much negate most trip attacks (size and 4 leg bonus for horses)
    Duane Eggert

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    Birthright Developer irdeggman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by epicsoul

    As for oozes, they just don't seem to be a very BR specific critter. I use them very sparingly. Magical creatures, those have only started to be used.
    True - not specific to the setting but allowed. In the 2nd ed material oozes were listed as a "common" monster in BR. Pretty much reproduced in Ch 9 of the BRCS.

    Undead are much more common, albeit time and place specific e.g., when the Shadow World and "normal" world are closer.

    One interesting thing about the dwarven resistance to bludgeoning damage... dwarves can't get into fist fights with each other. Not that I can see dwarves doing that, even drunkenly anyways... but no other race EVER better pick a bar brawl with a dwarf.
    This was something that was specifically brought up in the discussion on including DR for a dwarven ability. Dwarven barfights would seem logical to last a very long time. In the 2nd ed material dwarves suffered only 1/2 damage from bludgeoning weapons so pretty much the same thing would have happened.

    But grapple a dwarf (no special resistance to gappling only bull rushing and tripping) and throw them into the river to find out if they "sink" (-4 to swim and tumble checks).
    Duane Eggert

  6. #6
    Birthright Developer irdeggman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by epicsoul
    As for animals, I guess I just don't have the party fight that many animals, due to the fact of having a ranger in the party - it sort of limits how many angry animals attack the party.
    Why?

    A ranger doesn't automatically calm all animals. So an animal that is predisposed to atacking,(i.e., has been stalking the prey like a wild and hungrey wolfpack) will not be affected by the ranger's wild empathy since there generally won't be sufficient time to work that ranger mojo.

    Wild Empathy (Ex): A ranger can improve the attitude of an animal. This ability functions just like a Diplomacy check to improve the attitude of a person. The ranger rolls 1d20 and adds his ranger level and his Charisma bonus to determine the wild empathy check result. The typical domestic animal has a starting attitude of indifferent, while wild animals are usually unfriendly
    .
    To use wild empathy, the ranger and the animal must be able to study each other, which means that they must be within 30 feet of one another under normal visibility conditions. Generally, influencing an animal in this way takes 1 minute, but, as with influencing people, it might take more or less time.

    The ranger can also use this ability to influence a magical beast with an Intelligence score of 1 or 2, but he takes a –4 penalty on the check.
    Duane Eggert

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    Quote Originally Posted by irdeggman
    Re: Improved trip.

    Dwarves get a bonus against trip attacks; elves get a bonus to Dex (hence a bonus against trip attacks); mounted combat (which should be a whole lot more frequent in Birthright than in a standard setting – especially in Anuire, Khinasi and Vos lands pretty much negate most trip attacks (size and 4 leg bonus for horses)
    Yeah... I listed all those in my initial post. Dwarves and cavalry. However, I didn't want these to become the most common opponents in the game either. Just wanted to point out that in magic-rare settings, as 2 legged creatures are more the norm for threats, improved trip is more powerful... as are other feats that focus on fighting those adversaries. Elven dex bonus notwithstanding, perhaps I am just looking at it all the wrong way. We had a fighter with a 16 str, so +3, with a +4 from improved trip, with a heavy flail. The extra +4 means that even against an elf with a high dex, the odds were in favour of the fighter... and then, even if the elf won in the first shot, would probably not win the reversed trip.

    Anyways, I just found that it was VERY useful in the campaign, due to the lack of the more traditional D&D beasties abounding.

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    Quote Originally Posted by irdeggman
    Why?

    A ranger doesn't automatically calm all animals. So an animal that is predisposed to atacking,(i.e., has been stalking the prey like a wild and hungrey wolfpack) will not be affected by the ranger's wild empathy since there generally won't be sufficient time to work that ranger mojo.

    [/FONT][/COLOR]

    Sure, but again, the problem is, how many times do you realistically stalk the party with hungry animals that go after people? ... let alone having someone else in the party with Animal Affinity - Major, Reynir - so wolves were right out. That left the traditional lions, tigers and bears...

  9. #9
    Birthright Developer irdeggman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by epicsoul
    Sure, but again, the problem is, how many times do you realistically stalk the party with hungry animals that go after people? ... let alone having someone else in the party with Animal Affinity - Major, Reynir - so wolves were right out. That left the traditional lions, tigers and bears...
    Or the encounter can be mutually unaware.

    Other than the Reynir blood ability (which depends on how many PCs you have with it) time is the real factor in handling the ranger ability. It is not automatic.

    Seems to me that you have a pretty specialized set of encounters that are mostly human on human and on foot type.

    In those types of encounters certain feats become real useful, but they drop in usefulness in other encounter types.

    Flying creatures (stirges are real nasty) or swarms (swarms can ruin even a high level party's day).

    In a mostly domain level based campaign the "normal" combat oriented feats are relatively useless and people will focus on the domain level ones and those like skill focus that can have an effect on that level of play.

    It really depends highly on the type of game you are running as to whether certain feats are notably more useful than other. Well not all feats are created equal anyway, but the type of game has a large effect.

    Oh yeah and trip is useless against a ranged attack.
    Last edited by irdeggman; 07-30-2006 at 03:49 AM.
    Duane Eggert

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    Quote Originally Posted by irdeggman
    Or the encounter can be mutually unaware.

    Other than the Reynir blood ability (which depends on how many PCs you have with it) time is the real factor in handling the ranger ability. It is not automatic.

    Seems to me that you have a pretty specialized set of encounters that are mostly human on human and on foot type.

    In those types of encounters certain feats become real useful, but they drop in usefulness in other encounter types.

    Flying creatures (stirges are real nasty) or swarms (swarms can ruin even a high level party's day).

    In a mostly domain level based campaign the "normal" combat oriented feats are relatively useless and people will focus on the domain level ones and those like skill focus that can have an effect on that level of play.

    It really depends highly on the type of game you are running as to whether certain feats are notably more useful than other. Well not all feats are created equal anyway, but the type of game has a large effect.

    Oh yeah and trip is useless against a ranged attack.
    True. I don't actually usually play domain level anymore, finding BR a rich enough setting to play at the adventuring level only. Or if I do, it is domain level-light. How so? Well, 2 of the characters now have a charter to be allowed to open holdings in Roesone and have sworn fealty to Baroness Roesone, and are allowed to have a county sworn to her... with the paladin building a temple. So far, a law 1 holding, and a temple 0, plus the province of Ghoried (given by the Baroness with their oath). The party mage has no intention of trying to take source holdings from Aelies or Aglondier. The paladin intends to launch a crusade against Osoerde (he's of Cuiracaen), long term. All the money that has gone towards their holdings is from adventuring, and a loan from El-hadid.

    I guess a lot of the higher level critters haven't been used in my arsenal yet... the party is only 5th level now. Stirges are a good one, though. Will remember that. A lot of the creatures they have been fighting have been fairly mundane... or undead. So, it has been a choice, by me, so far, as it has fit the theme of the campaign. Changing up their adversaries every once in awhile could be nice, I suppose.

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