Strip 086 - "This party has no face"

18th Oct 2014, 12:00 AM in Forest of Doom
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Raxon 18th Oct 2014, 6:02 AM edit delete reply
Ladies and gentlemen, this is why I always have at least one rank in each of the following: Diplomacy, intimidation, bluff.
Porphyrogenitus 18th Oct 2014, 7:52 PM edit delete reply

Always bring some kind of interaction skill. Then, try to finagle every single encounter so that you can use that specific skill, no matter what it is. It's far more efficient than being well-rounded and lets you put more points where they really matter (in combat related stats).

In the comic above, for instance, if anyone runs Bluff, or Intimidation, or Perform, etc., talk fast enough and the GM might well let you get away with substituting it for Diplomacy.
Malroth 18th Oct 2014, 7:59 PM edit delete reply

Even Ransu?
Raxon 18th Oct 2014, 8:16 PM edit delete reply
Are you kidding? Ransu has a crazy high intimidation skill! Her has low diplomacy and bluff, but high intimidation.

He uses intimidation for most business transactions, because he bases his rates on how high his bounty is. Higher bounty on his head means he can charge more for his services.

In order to drive up his rates, he pretends to commit heinous crimes. I say pretends, because he's still neutral good.
Malroth 19th Oct 2014, 3:06 AM edit delete reply

I bet "Bob" the monk has diplomacy, too bad he's a monk and not a useful class.
Raxon 19th Oct 2014, 8:45 AM edit delete reply
Monks can be useful, but you have to minmax them.
DtDoom 19th Oct 2014, 9:18 AM edit delete reply

My monk focused on grappling and tripping.

He didn't have the best stats all over the place, but he had feats that let him grapple pretty much anything, and the Psion in the party could enlarge him so he could grapple everything else.

We also had a Wizard who would dispel magic anyone who happened to have a Freedom of Movement spell on them.

So yea... Every fight I picked the biggest baddest dude, and took him mostly out of the fight on round 1.
Raxon 19th Oct 2014, 11:58 AM edit delete reply
Half-halfling jungle giant with gigantism. Huge size. With a psionic to enlarge me, I would be gigantic, and with the oversized weapons feat, I could wield things of Colossal size. Mostly, this meant chucking boulders at my enemies, but I could also grind almost anything short of a dragon into paste with my fists.
Malroth agian 19th Oct 2014, 4:23 PM edit delete reply

Yes its possible to pile enough cheese onto enough to where it can become a useful party member, but with the same amount of optimization needed to make punching things good, the commoner can be using neutron stars as shotputs, the fighter can be casting 9th lv spells from every list and the wizard is living in a mansion where every brick is an overdiety.
Raxon 19th Oct 2014, 8:58 PM edit delete reply
To be fair, my monk was a glorified pack mule. He could drag around 1600 tons on a sled. We could literally disassemble the dungeon and sell it in town piece by piece.
DtDoom 20th Oct 2014, 3:20 PM edit delete reply

High unarmed damage, massive number of unarmed attacks only matched by taking a lot of feats in dual wielding (which is also less damage)

Bonus AC for a good Wis score, good attack bonuses, bonus feats relating to being really good at a specific specialty.

Why do you think this is hard to build a useful character out of again?

A monk in 3rd and 3.5 was far more useful than a fighter in the same editions, and was on par with just about anybody else.

Malroth 20th Oct 2014, 10:44 PM edit delete reply

1) the default monk does not have "high" unarmed damage, at lv 1 its the same as a wizard with a club. Even at lv 20 its only averaging 10.5 damage per hit assuming all 5 flurry strikes hit. By comparison a fighter using leap attack shock trooper and a magic gauntlet (also punching things) could be averaging 80 damage per Punch.

2)Bonus AC for wisdom scales very poorly on a class that needs STR, Dex, and INT more than it does WIS, Its much cheaper to wear armor than it is to magicaly enhance your WIS score.

3) Monks have horrible attack bonuses, they are Medium BAB with STR as a Tertirary stat, they have no class bonuses to hit and their default class ability actually gives them a penalty on top of this.

4) Monk Bonus feats are almost universaly garbage. Snatch Arrows/Stunning Fist, Toughness/Endurance, Weapon Finesse/Improved initative, Combat reflexes/Lightning Reflexes. All horrible feat choices except on certian specalist builds, and all accompanied by a partner that doesn't fit on the same type of character.

DtDoom 23rd Oct 2014, 12:18 AM edit delete reply

Focus Dex with weapon finesse, helps AC, and chance to hit.

Or, Focus Strength and don't worry so much about Dex

Bonus feats are Improved grapple/stunning fist Combat Reflexes/Deflect arrows, improved disarm/improved trip.

Improved grapple + improved trip. Trip them, use your attack of opportunity to grapple to a pin.

The only benefit to having a high Int is skill points, which are important, but not necessary. Wisdom is a higher priority for a monk.

2d10+str X5 per round, even with no strength bonus, Hit with all, that's 10-50 damage per round. With a strength bonus, it goes up more.

In order to do that much damage using Shock Trooper and leap attack, the fighter would have to sacrifice his entire base attack bonus, and could only do it once a round because he could not make a full attack action. In addition, he would only get the X2 for leap attack, not the X3 he would have gotten with a 2 handed weapon, as there is no such thing as a 2 handed gauntlet. So let's do a little match. Ignoring the strength bonus to give the same base line as we used for the monk, if this fighter hit, the most he could do is 44 damage. 6 points less than the monk, who would be much more likely to hit given that things at the level we are discussing often have greater than 20 armor classes, and without a strength bonus, or his base attack bonus, the fighter would only have a 5% chance to hit. He could instead sacrifice some AC in favor of keeping some attack bonus, but he cannot take the max from both.

Now, let's see what happens if you give the two examples a little strength.

Strength 12: Monk damage range, 15-55. Fighter damage range 42-45.

In both cases, the fighter's minimum damage is significantly higher, but his max is lower.

Strength 14: Monk 20-60. Fighter 43-46.

Strength 16: Monk 25-65. Fighter 44-47.

As we keep adding strength, the gap between the minimums gets smaller, and the maximums gets wider.

And since we took improved Grapple, the monk could be holding his opponent down while pummeling him, and thus be taking little if any damage, while your fighter has to keep leaping from enemy to enemy to get the most effect out of your build, leaving him subject to attacks of opportunity as well.

In short, if you want a build to punch people in the face with, stick with the monk, they're better at it.
Inbetweenaction 19th Oct 2014, 9:06 AM edit delete reply

"NPC story"
Tell a story about a minor NPC that was suposed to be a minor char end up being way more badass and important than intended
Raxon 19th Oct 2014, 9:21 AM edit delete reply
Jon. Jon was a blacksmith. He was a background character.

Right up until someone started a bar fight. Turns out blacksmiths are crazy strong, and are particularly skilled with a hammer.

The campaign took a detour, with us making this newly discovered badass the town sheriff. How did he earn his status as a badass to such a degree that we broke from our campaign, you ask?

He parried barstools, swords, and arrows with a ten pound hammer. He was untouchable.
Inbetweenaction 19th Oct 2014, 9:28 AM edit delete reply

"NPC: the birth of a mary sue"
In one of our early campains had a 12 year old noble damsel in distress char, that we kept having to rescue, to no fault of her own.

Anyway, after having been taken hostage by demons, liches, bandits and having her home town being destroyed by dragon attaks, all before her 13th birthday, my character came to the realication that she obviusly was in the attention of destiny and the gods.

Seeing how HIS own power had started to improve the moment he started his quests to save her, he figured that the gods simply wanted her to have powerfull enough techers, and convinced the rest of the partry to help train her.

The campain ended with her about 14 years old, with masterwork enchanted gear (in a setting where magic objects where super rare) and ,according to the game rules about training, atleast a masterclass swordsman, martial artist, master level knowlage about magic, medicin and stealth. And 4 years to go untill she could be a playable char according to the tungest playable age rules...

For some reason we didn't get to play her in the follow up campain, even though we all had writen her background story...
Razor 19th Oct 2014, 5:36 PM edit delete reply

pls tell me she became a very powerful noble with an army at her beck and call
Inbetweenaction 20th Oct 2014, 4:00 AM edit delete reply

Don't know, she DID have my character, the countries best mad swordsman/doctor/blacksmith at her beck and call, and my char was essentually a one dwarf army. (seeing how he thought the gods had given him power for the sole purpose of aiding her), and i think i also set her up with conections to the theifs guild.

Even spent a small forutne inventing a set of armor and jewlery with inbuilt lockpicks for her. And also set her up with a few dussins of weaponstaches around the world (ingame reason was a need to prepare an eventuall prison escape (not doing it unarmed again), out of char, he was the guy hiding weapons for new adventurers to find at a successful search checks. Bloody things are everywhere, including but not limited to the underdark and the dungheaps in the beggars quarters. you are welcome)

She was the second daughter of a powerfull noble, but as i said, their holdings burnt down in a dragonlich attack, and her house lost most of it's fortune bringing the refruges to a new town.
Ilmaros 20th Oct 2014, 2:34 AM edit delete reply

In a campaign we played was a guy named Vargoth. He was a guard assigned to escort duty for one of our characters who, by that time, was king of a satellite state controlled by the new emperor of a neighboring country (who was another of our characters, the best warrior on the continent, my magic apprentice and the guy we all wanted to kill since he betrayed us to become the emperor WHEN WE WERE ABOUT TO MAKE HIM EMPEROR). Anyway, Vargoth was this guard that we failed to ditch, followed us through the desert, charged with us against a group of monsters in a pyramid and survived with two other NPCs (out of 12). By that moment he had no name yet, and we discovered the pyramid (in wich we were chasing the emperor, though our escorts were unaware of that fact) had an ancient scripture we could not read. He managed to do so. After that, he survived may traps (his fellow guards did not) and we entered a chamber filled with water and tritons that wanted us dead. Vargot lost an ear, but killed two and their leader. Then he took the leader's magic helmet for himself. He continued reading the glyphs on the wall for us until we came across a survivor of the emperor's guard. Vargoth, interrogated him successfully (we failed) and got pissed at the emperor. Then we reached the place were the emperor was trying to unseal a door. Since he deemed me as dangerous, he used all his powers to paralyze me on sight, then remembered his king vassal that he was honor-bound to protect him (wich made him stand aside and parry our attacs against the emperor) and, after using an artifact to turn himself into a sword-wielding werewolf, beat the crap out of our fighter. All that in one turn of combat and a brief conversation. Then Vargoth snapped and decided to kill him, so he started stabbing him with his normal sword (wich needed a critical strike to do any damage), dissarmed both sovereigns after finding it annoying to have a third of his attacks parried, and then resumed with his sttabing until the emperor decided to do a proper offer for the guard to stop beating the crap out of him. The result was that our fighter was healed and restituted to his former post as a general, i was freed from the paralysis spell and returned to my position as imperial sage, the policies on the satellite kingdom were promised to be revised, Vargoth became colonel of the imperial guard and master-at-arms of the kingdom and we all banded together again to fight the eldritch evil that was trying to free itself from behind the sealed doors and wich, apparently, the emperor had came to destroy in order to avoid the apocalypse.
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