Sunday, October 7, 2012


New Minions!
LEGEND: *=minor action; •=Standard action; ••=Encounter power; i=interrupt
A little explanation is in order: the goal with these minions is to have these minions available at any level. The "PL" in parentheses is a reference to the equation "half Player Level", rounding down. For example, the Face-Eater Kruthik Nymph listed below has an AC of 15+(PL). If the players are level 4, that means 15+(4/2)=17.

Face-Eater Kruthik Nymph
Small Natural Creature
AC:   15+(PL)
Fort: 14+(PL)
Ref:  12+(PL)
Will: 13+(PL)
Speed: 4
• Grapple Attack: +4+(PL) VS Ref: Target = 1 creature
 - Hit: 5 damage and target is grappled
* Secondary Acid Attack: +7+(PL) Vs AC: Target = the same creature as the primary attack.
 - HIT: D10 acid damage.
 - Effect: If target was grappled it takes 5 additional acid damage and is pushed 1 square.

Leaping Tentacle
Tiny Aberrant Creature
AC:   14+(PL)
Fort: 15+(PL)
Ref:  13+(PL)
Will: 12+(PL)
Speed: crawl 3
• Leaping Grasp: +7+(PL) Vs AC: Target = 1 creature
The Leaper Worm shifts up to 2 squares before this attack.
 - Hit: remove leaper worm from play. Target takes 3 damage, and 3 ongoing damage (save ends).
 - On a save against the leaper worm's attack, the leaper worm is placed adjacent to its target.

Festering Pester Worm
Small Aberrant Creature
AC:   14+(PL)
Fort: 15+(PL)
Ref:  13+(PL)
Will: 12+(PL)
Speed: crawl 3
• Leaping Lamprey: +5+(PL) Vs AC: Target = 1 creature
The Leaper Worm shifts up to 2 squares before this attack.
 - Hit: target takes 3 damage, and the target gains the "Festering Worm Disease"
    Phase 1: The player feels no ill effects. At the end of a short rest it makes a save if it has the wherewithall to cut out the eggs. Otherwise the disease automatically proceeds to Phase 2.
    Phase 2: The player, having failed the save, feels unwell, and suffers -2 to all attacks and defenses until he or she saves againt the effects of the worms and cuts out the eggs.
    Phase 3: At the end of an extended rest, D6 Festering Pester Worms burst out of the player, causing a healing surge of damage, and immediately attack the other players in a surprise round.

Wandering Lightning Crystal
Small Elemental Creature
AC:   12+(PL)
Fort: 14+(PL)
Ref:  12+(PL)
Will: 15+(PL)
Speed: Fly 2 (Hover)
Special rules: Resist 10 electric.
i• Tesla Pulse: (immediate interrupt: a creature enters within 3 squares of the Wandering Lightning Crystal):
 +4+(PL) VS Ref: Target = All creatures in burst 3
 - Hit: 5+(PL) lightning damage & target is immobilized until the end of its next turn.
•• Electrical Jolt: +7+(PL) Vs AC: Range 5, Target = 1 creature
 - Hit: 10 lightning damage and target is dazed, stunned and immobilized (save ends all).

House Cat
Small Natural Creature
AC:   12+(PL)
Fort: 13+(PL)
Ref:  14+(PL)
Will: 15+(PL)
Speed: 8
If a character kills a house cat, it suffers a cumulative -1 to all attacks and defenses until it levels up or atones for this sin. 

Mad Ape
Large Natural Creature
AC:   15+(PL)
Fort: 13+(PL)
Ref:  14+(PL)
Will: 12+(PL)
Special Resistances: 5 all
Speed: 5
* Monkey Grab: +4+PL VS Fort: Target = 1 creature. Target is grappled.
• Hurl: A grabbed target is thrown D10 squares, and takes falling damage for falling a distance equal to half of the squares thrown, rounding down. 

Mad Clown
Medium Natural & Aberrant Creature
AC:   12+(PL)
Fort: 14+(PL)
Ref:  13+(PL)
Will: 15+(PL)
Speed: 6
• Hilarious Trick: +5+(PL) Vs Will: Target = blast 3
 - Hit: D6+(PL) and target is knocked prone
* Slippery Shoes: the clown may shift one square and is knocked prone.
• Hammer from Nowhere: +7+(PL) Vs AC: Target = 1 creature.
 - Hit: D12 damage and target is dazed until the end of its next turn.

Tau Invader
Medium Extraplanar Creature
AC:   15+(PL)
Fort: 13+(PL)
Ref:  14+(PL)
Will: 12+(PL)
Speed: 6
Full-turn Action: • Pulse Rifle: +3+(PL) VS AC: Target = 1 creature
 - Hit: 3D10+3+(PL) Radiant damage
* Relay Info: The Tau Invader may relay all acquired data on the target to all of its allies within 100 squares.

Dark Eldar Kabalite
Medium Fay Creature
AC:   12+(PL)
Fort: 13+(PL)
Ref:  15+(PL)
Will: 14+(PL)
Speed: 8
Special Rules: Resist 5 +(PL) damage
• Shard Carbine: +5+(PL) VS FORT: Range 18: Target = 1 creature
 - Hit: D12+(PL) Poison damage and 5 ongoing poison damage (save ends).
* Bayonet Stab: +5+(PL) VS REF: Target: 1 creature
 - Hit: D12+(PL) Damage and 5 ongoing poison damage (save ends). 

Dark Eldar Wych
Medium Fay Creature
AC:   12+(PL)
Fort: 13+(PL)
Ref:  15+(PL)
Will: 14+(PL)
Speed: 8
Special Rules: Resist 10 + (PL) damage versus melee and close attacks.
• Shard Pistol: +5+(PL) VS FORT: Range 12: Target = 1 creature
 - Hit: D8+(PL) Poison damage and 5 ongoing poison damage (save ends).
* Ripping Blade: +5+(PL) VS REF: Burst 1. Target: all enemies in burst.
 - Hit: D6+(PL) Damage and 5 ongoing poison damage (save ends).

House Rules

In the interest of improving games of Dungeons & Dragons 4th edition games, here are a few house rules that are based on the idea of improving the payer experience, founded on the concept that the game should be fun.

NEW BACKGROUND: "LIFE MAGIC" - optional player background.
 A character with this background can spend healing surges to alter the effects of powers. After rolling to hit with a power, or after initializing a power that does not require a hit, the surge is lost as a free action, and no hit points are regained. Instead, a power's effects are altered in one of the following ways:
• delayed for any number of turns.
• change the damage type to any other type, including untyped damage.
• withholding any damage, instead producing only the effects, usually as a delayed action in conjunction with a diplomacy, intimidate, or thievery check. As a "no-action" the player may inflict the damage, in case the skill-related result was not achieved.
• imbuing an item with a power that activates with a player-set trigger. The imbued power may not be used by the character again until it is expended from the object or is diffused by the player as a standard action.

Two healing surges may be lost as a free action to...
• amplify a power: the power will gain +5+half-level to hit, or +10+half-level damage, or +5 ongoing damage of the same type as the attack.
• inversion of damage: a damaging power can be turned into a healing power.

Skill: Intimidate
• The Intimidate skill may be used with a +5 bonus if none of the player characters has been killed, AND if at least one standard enemy has been killed OR if at least four minions have been killed.
• If the target of an Intimidate roll is a non-combatant or is friendly, on a successful check the target becomes compliant for one encounter, during which time it qualifies as an Ally; after the encounter ends or at the end of five minutes it becomes hostile. Then, the intimidator does not qualify as an Ally to the target until a successful Diplomacy check has been made against the target's will. The target gains a +10 circumstantial bonus to will if it was damaged by any of the intimidator's actions during the period of intimidation.
• A hostile creature that is immobilized or prone does not gain a bonus against intimidate checks for being hostile.

• For low-charisma characters, an Athletics check can be made to intimidate enemies, instead of the usual Intimidate check.

• Rituals and alchemical items cost 1/5 of their listed codex price.
• Rituals may be cast during combat, and will take a number of rounds equal to half of the ritual's level, in which the caster is focused*. For rituals that normally take more than ten minutes to cast, a healing surge may be sacrificed as a free action to reduce the time cost in one-hour increments per healing surge sacrificed. The following may sacrifice surges: The caster; the caster's willing allies, and helpless enemies.
*"Focused"= the caster passes an appropriate DC for the ritual every round of casting. Each failure delays the ritual 1 round.

3. Attack rolls that result in a natural "1" require that the attacking character immediately rolls a D4. This does not count as any action. The result determines the outcome of the botched attack:
    1: No effect
    2: The attacker loses the next use of that attack
    3: The attack hits an ally within range. If no ally is within range, proceed to Result 4.
    4: Harm self with the attack in all its effects and relevant damage.

A character that takes a multiclass feat that grants the character a use of the new class's at-will attack powers as encounter powers may alternatively use the following option: the character may replace one of his or her at-will powers with the new at-will power, and converts the traded at-will power to an encounter power. This can prevent most unnecessary "hybrid" character creation.

4E lacks a dropping attack physic: now it has one.
• In order to drop an object on a creature, use the following attack: use the character's highest ability modifier versus the target's reflex defense, including any applicable bonuses. If the attack misses, the target may shift one square away as a free action from its square as it leaps out of the way. If the target is still underneath the object (in such a case as the object occupying 3x3 squares, the target suffers half damage.
• Dropping an object is not quite precise, and making the attack suffers -1 for every increment of 10 squares past the first 10 cubes of altitude, so that, for example, at 100 cubes of altitude, the attack suffers -9 to hit.

• Action Points are handed out for every encounter, not just per milestone. At each milestone, the players gain a "Super Action Point" which may be spent at any time. These disappear after an extended rest.
• Action points may be used as a no-action to re-roll any single unsatisfactory dice roll.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Theory Machine!

It's time to run through the theory machine again! This time we base a hypothesis around the idea of maximizing damage on one singular spectacular attack. Instead of looking at focusing on individual characters, most advanced players recognize that group synergy is a beautiful thing indeed. For example, not long ago I saw a half-orc "rattling" rogue, accompanied by a tactical warlord that never actually attacked. Instead, the TacLord would imbue his fancy roguish friend with something along the lines of +5 to hit, and +5 or +7 damage on a basic melee attack (adding in those beautiful back-stab dice for real oomph). The result was that this fantastic rogue was attacking for outstanding damage every turn in a party of two, and usually forced targets to save against instant death.

Last week one of my fellow players/DMs introduced me to a half-developed class he discovered in PDF format, called a "Scribe": it looks like the grandfather of the Artificer class, and seems to not have made it through the play-tests. However, we're a liberal crew and anything that will make the game more fun is invited. One of the at-will attacks of the Scribe is as follows: you add +D12 to one ally's next attack damage.
This may not seem like much, but in a world where things like Magic Missile exist, this is quite a freaking thing. Suddenly the Wizard is auto-smashing targets with striker-level damage, possibly pushing them back with the properties of his/her Master's Wand of Missiles.

This is peanuts compared to what I have in mind. I have been experimenting with builds, focusing on party synergy, and am thinking that something along the lines of the following experiment might be in order. Without bothering to REALLY calculate this out, I'm just going to throw it all out there like a cheap idea-salad, but you should get the concept.

We'll assume these characters are around fifth or sixth level.
• 1 Rattling Half-Orc "Ruthless Ruffial" Rogue: uses a mace @ +D6 (daily powers do triple weapon damage)
 - Basic damage of +7 (dexterity) + 3 (strength)
 - Theme: "Mercenary" = Encounter power; on hit, adds modifier used in strike to damage (+7)
 - Racial power adds +D8 to an attack once per encounter
 - takes feat to amp his Back-stab to 2D8's
 - multiclass feat Assassin for +D8 per encounter, and adds standard modifier of Damage.
SUMMARY: This rogue can make, in one turn, 3D6+10+7+D8+2D8+D8 = From 24 to 67 damage in one spectacular turn, possibly forcing rolls to save against instant-death in targets with up to 134 starting hit points.

That's not ENOUGH!

Let us add to this mélange an assortment of boosting characters. Friends with benefits, if you will.
• Tactical warlord focuses everything into his Intelligence stat. Boosts the Rogue's to-hit by about 6. Daily power adds this amount to damage, too.

• Scribe adds +D12 to the Rogue's attacks every round at first level as an at-will.

• A Warlock takes the Theme: Oracle of the Evil Eye, and adds +D6 psychic damage to the Rogue until the end of the encounter. Uses 5th-level daily spell, "Hellsworn Blessing": now the rogue does +2D6 fire damage per round, until the end of the encounter.

Now your rogue has added +6 + D12 + 3D6 to his damage, for a total range of 34 - 97 damage, not including a possible additional 2D6 (for making a critical hit with a +2 weapon, which would max this range at 109), and is hitting with an attack bonus of around +20 total, at level 5.

This is four characters maximizing their potential by forcing instant-death on some of the toughest creatures the game has to offer in level-appropriate combat. Sure, my math is sloppy, but it's not half as sloppy as the corpses you are about to make if you try this party build.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Mutant Hero Zombie Robot Slave Apocalypse

Intro for this new campaign:
After the venerable Spiral Tower University capitulated from within as a consequence of a sudden uprising by Warforged patriots, the Warforged Leader Cinder 8 was murdered, almost as if by accident, by roaming mercenaries who chanced upon him; the entire Forged Revolution fell apart without his guidance. By now entire countrysides had been cleansed of all humanoid life, and grand Forges built on the crumbling ruins of civilization. They existed for the purpose of building ever-more Warforged soldiers... The Forges ran day and night until they sputtered out, and for some reason yet unknown, now they were all left vacant; the wandering infantile products of the Forges roamed across the land, examining all they saw in their new eyes, looking for purpose in life. Without the clear direction of a strong leader, most of the Warforged eagerly took orders form any passerby, and swiftly became a happy slave caste beneath the stinking toes of all men, even peasants.

Then the plague hit.
Some said it was a weapon released by the Warforged to finish the job of murdering all men, while others said it was a pox from the gods. What was certain, however, is that anyone affected by the sickness became a ravenous zombie, pathetic and insatiable. The plague was very effective in galvanizing people into groups based on various ideologies. Today these groups are all highly influential in politics and everyday life.
• The Humanists are composed of several religious groups with one goal: to exterminate the Warforged slaves and abolish the creation of such abominations. Few in number, their righteous valor and hatred are powered by the gods themselves, in spite of widespread corruption and well-documented abuse.
• The ForgeMasters: a collection of Warforged that seek to reactivate the Forges and annihilate all mankind and gods alike. They are quite organized but lack the means of operating the Forges, for now.
• The People: a conglomerate of disparate folk and ideologies that only share one common ideal, which is that everyone can get along if they choose to. They abhor the use of Warforged as slaves, and are bitterly loathed by the Humanists. They are generally progressive, disorganized, and freedom-loving.
• The governments of Latebrosa and Fallcrest: two states which have been at seemingly-endless war, yet rumor has it that both are being led by the same sinister forces, and that the war is a ploy to control the populace.

Other than the stale war that has been waged between Fallcrest and Latebrosa for the past century, the various kingdoms and duchies that dot the map are respected in name only. Fierce ideological battles erupt in mob violence regardless of borders, and secret meetings are a fact of life in taverns and chapels everywhere. The real question in this cloak-and-dagger puppet show is, who is pulling the strings?

Here's where you come in.
About forty years ago, well before the Forged Revolution was even a dream, the governments of Fallcrest and Latebrosa engaged in an unfriendly competition. Each, controlling several surrounding kingdoms, exercised crippling taxes on their peoples; each with a specific secret objective: the funding of secret experiments that would produce superior soldiers out of regular men. The rhetoric told the public differently: it was made clear in public announcements that the opposing nation was composed of liars, fornicators, and generally unwelcome blights that should be eradicated for the greater good, and it was they who were stealing the kids. Paranoia ran high on the national level, with each nation's name becoming a curse in the mouths of the opposition's citizens, all eager for bloodshed.
   Meanwhile the experiments ran unabated. First, animals started disappearing; then children from all kingdoms disappeared from their beds at night. Families appealed to the authorities, but the half-hearted investigations always ran dry, and no wonder: the children from all kingdoms were being held captive in the same arcane laboratories, experimented upon in some of the most outlandish, ignorant, and sometimes surprisingly effective ways that either side could imagine.
   The first thousand children's souls were sold briskly to devils in exchange for arcane knowledge. Those children were skewered and thrown into pits they had been forced to dig with their own hands, then buried by others, who were then flensed, tortured, injected with alchemical reagents, and rendered down for the needed chemicals that their bodies could provide. Palpable evil permeated the place.
   More kidnappings followed. These children were injected with a "miracle serum", composed of the arcane reagents rendered from the previous batch of children and forced through re-education programs. A handfull of this batch were sleep-deprived until the very entities between the stars could no longer ignore their madness and turned their baleful gazes at the accumulated madness that gathered around the little ones, and those star-sized beings found gateways to the natural world via those young twisted minds. The particular wing of the compound in which those little ones were held suddenly exploded one moon-lit night in a singularity of star-fire, and the children and their heinous overseers were never seen again, and that particular method of torture was discontinued.
   More kidnappings. Hourly exercise was mandatory for all subjects. It was rigorous and excessive: broken limbs and blisters were the least a child would suffer, and violations of the crassest nature pierced the night with howls and begs for mercy that seemed to never come.
   In spite of these horrors, some of the children survived their practices, and fewer still excelled. It appeared that the miracle serum was working, but in unpredictable ways. Some children gained super-human strength, and had to be killed while several overseers held them fast. Others gained mastery of telekinesis and had to be kept blindfolded to prevent them from destroying their cells. The overseers underestimated the intelligence and resourcefulness of these desperate children. Some of those first ones, the older ones, whose souls had been sold for knowledge, had slept in their unmarked dirt graves for months and years. Their fatal wounds were knitted together with patches of diseased flesh, and they clawed their way through the dirt into the smoldering night. Soon it would all be over.
   The overseers had neglected part of their early infernal contracts. In their haste, they didn't bother to read the eighty-eighth section, on page 88 of Document 8, Volume 8 of the contract, which had a comma that was positioned in the most awkward way, which negated the previous seven volumes of contract on behalf of the infernal beings and placed the onus of expense squarely on the shoulders of the overseers. As they were by this time quite delinquent on the remainder of their payments, the time of reckoning had come.
   The compound was assaulted by the blazing fists of the recently un-deceased; and the resurrected, infernal youths cascaded like wildfire through the chambers, freeing some and murdering others. Shackles were shattered, straightjackets were shredded, and blindfolds obliterated. The magically-sealed bars and arcane marks that held the young captives were cast aside, no longer potent after the demise of their casters. However, several more innocent children would die in the flames that consumed much of the place, the flames licking out to claim their adequate price.

   The remainder of the children broke down the barriers of the compound and realized they had no idea where "home" was. The landscape was indeed foreign. They huddled together for warmth in the autumn winds. With none else to turn to, the children banded together. Small grouped and branched off to become robbers, while some older ones took the initiative to guide the rest: they looked down, felt the soil, and took straight to plowing their own fields. They agreed that they had been hurt by the world outside, and would never trust outsiders again. With their new-found powers, they could light their own fires, purify their own water, dig wells, and build crude houses with ease. At first they decided that they would never let anyone hurt them again. The wisest of them, Ideravad, declared that they should go one step further: to make sure that the innocent would never suffer again. The pact was unanimous, and children with too-old eyes swore together to make the world a better place. Today they willingly train themselves and each other, ever striving for excellence in austerity, and venture into foreign lands to punish oppressors everywhere. After some debate, they settled on a name for their group. They call themselves "The Revengers."

In the cities of Fallcrest and Latebrosa, every few years, a strange person will come through, asking questions about missing children, old parents and families; and the government spies that infest the cities will do their best to make that person disappear. Lips stay sealed in these paranoid cities, but whispers in the dark mention other facilities like the one you were tortured in, which have produced diseases and monsters that ravage the land. Now the plague has taken its toll on municipal resources, and crime of every stripe goes unpunished and the innocent are made to suffer. The tyranny and the lies have to come to an end.
   It is up to you, the Revengers, to set the record straight, to reunite with your families, and to save these people from their oppressive governments and the monsters they created.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Bad men.

Moral ambiguity did it.

Problems started with the regular crew becoming a revolving door of players, then irregular players, and finally all but one of the original players was gone, and the original premise was generally unknown (while gameplay remained awesome), and consequences, therefore, seemed disconnected or irrelevant. These are all workable.

We had a circumstance in which an encroaching army pressed forward with untenable force, and the team was forced into a position of teamwork or die. One player, taking an opportunity to throw an infinity of monkey-wrenches into the works, threw an infinity of monkey-wrenches into the works.
 - Having obtained what he needed to activate the device (which, ostensibly, would have saved the entire gang), positioned his teleporting amulet squarely into the control panel and disappeared along with the device, leaving his half-dead mates to a brisk and merciless doom.

There was a palpable air of sadness when these new players found their carefully-crafted characters obliterated, and a need for vengeance became immediate. Bad feelings permeated the room, barely held back with the delicious white chocolate cookies the shop owner's dad had made. Two players looked across the table and wondered at the actions of their alleged friend, because the fact is that it is very difficult to distinguish between one's character in a game and one's character in life. Yes, there was some acting involved, but I can assure you that neither of the betrayed gentlemen will be lending the fine traitorous actor any money in the foreseeable future.

I have an arrangement with one of my friends, where, when we play a good game of RISK, we have a gentleman's agreement to never attack the other in their native lands, which utterly infuriates all other players; but why? We have tapped into a principle of strength which is this: integrity. All comers quickly learn that they must overwhelm us and form their own alliances to hope to defeat us, even as we wage cold war across the continents. United we stand. That relationship has traversed the game table and proceeded to form a trust between us that is peculiarly firm.

My message is this: please consider that you are not merely playing in a game. You are also playing with the man across from you, and repercussions will attend your actions. You will be known.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Dungeons and Dragons: Advanced tactics, Strategy and Operations

This is Bob.
I'm about to start a new group, and with it come the regular issues that begin a new campaign, especially with new players. Most will try to optimize self-sufficient, front-line assaulters that rely on eliminating the enemy through sheer force. There will be very little cooperation, and probably one guy will be issuing all the orders, which the others will ignore. There will be much blundering into rooms in search of ill-gotten treasures, and I thoroughly anticipate belligerence towards obviously-superior enemies. Most players don't believe I could ever throw anything at them they can't take. I do.

Let's discuss the next step in tactics, which will enable players to take on far superior forces. The next step is cooperation, or planning around your team mates. I'd like to start with an example, followed by more examples.

1. The Half-Orc Rogue and his Never-Hitting Warlord friend: The Half-Orc has a mace, and is optimized for doing damage. The Warlord uses only abilities that allow his allies to strike better and  harder. The result is very often a target that must roll to save against death.

2. The Infernal Warlock and the Sorcerer/Wizard: The Wizard or Sorcerer uses an attack that creates a minimally-damaging zone, such as Storm Pillar (wizard) or Blazing Starfall (sorcerer) within movement range of the warlock. The warlock then attacks a target, using Hellish Rebuke. If it hits, the warlock runs through the prepared, damaging area, forcing Hellish Rebuke's secondary attack to activate.

3. The Warlock and the Wizard, Level 5: Indelible pull! The Wizard uses Visions of Avarice, pulling all enemies towards a central point, doing no damage in and of itself... but his warlock friend has unleashed Hunger of Hadar at the center of the Visions of Avarice, forcing the enemies to return again and again to a painful, dark death.

4. The Avenger and his Defender: The Avenger has maximized himself for resisting opportunity attacks at high speed. After the Fighter is in position at the front, the Avenger runs through his enemies' threatened zones, provoking opportunity attacks. The Fighter ally at the front is equipped with a mordenkrad and the Headman's Chop feat, along with whichever feat lets him knock enemies prone, to maximize on this inverting circumstance.

5. The Shaman Ambush: A party may consist entirely of Shamans and will not only be none the worse for the wear, but will be much more powerful than a normally-balanced group. The fact that shamans can summon their animal allies within 20 squares (cubes, really, meaning vertical positioning is useful as well), in conjunction with the backgrounds that Wizards of The Coast offers, allows your shamans to add to their class skills: most importantly in this circumstance, STEALTH. Equip your shamans with whatever materials and equipment are needed to be stealthy. Add to their stealth first and foremost. Give them the feat that adds +2 to all the defenses of their Spirit Companions. You will always get surprise rounds, and you will minimize damage to your shamans by keeping them hidden. The Spirit Companions do all the work. Consequently, it makes the most sense to use only Panther shamans for such an attack.

5.1. The Shaman Ambush, Amplified: With at least one Panther Shaman and a Shaper Psion, use the psion's Static Mote power to pin enemies while spectral panthers annihilate the enemies. Make sure that your psion takes the Discipline Adept feat, to ensure distancing from himself and the enemy, while focusing on utility powers that grant him a stealthy approach. Take the "Arcane Agent" background for STEALTH as a class skill. This is an incredibly brutal combination that utilizes the doctrine of battle by proxy at its finest.

6. Psions: Such Great Heights: Psions (especially of the Shaper and Telekinetic sorts) are perniciously adept at moving things. The at-will Dimensional Scramble is among the most underutilized powers in the entire game. Simply put, it teleports enemies into the air, and they fall for extra damage. If they manage to save against the teleportation (on a roll of 10 or better) they still fall prone in their space. This is cruel, combined with various feats that frontline men can take to crush prone enemies...
Let's assume an ordinary yet optimum circumstance, in which 3 psions have elected a target to die. The first psion scrambles an enemy (assuming a failed save versus the teleportation) outside of a burst 3 (being a cube of dimensions 3x3x3, has been sagely placed in the air one cube above the target) the target may be teleported up, vertically at an altitude of 4 (the ground being altitude 1, as it must be measured cubically), whereupon he who has held initiative for such a circumstance also engages his Dimensional Scramble, and places the target at altitude 7 (assuming a second failed save), whereupon the third follows suit, placing the target at altitude 10. If a fourth psion is present, and in this scenario we assume that the Discipline of Shaped Consciousness has not been manifested in any way ABOVE the users, limiting the vertical range to a nominal 10 for the powers, the scrambling still may eject the target at an altitude of 12, with 10 being the focus of the burst. Altitude 12 - Altitude 1 (ground) = 11. For every 10 feet (2 cubes) a medium-sized creature falls, it takes +1D10 damage. In a single turn, our decisive attack has netted the psions a staggering 4D6 + cumulative Int modifiers (probably +5 each, so 20?) + 10D10 damage. Minimum damage will be 4+20+10=34 damage, enough to kill many first-level creatures or characters; and a maximum damage of 24+20+100=144 damage, enough to displace brutes of upper-heroic tier proportions...
In one turn.

7. The Cadre of Spell-Slinging Wizards: Magic Missile is a daft thing. It auto-hits. It auto-hits ANYTHING, regardless of level or armor class. Damage resistance is the only way to obviate Magic Missile, and not much ignores force damage. It takes about 50 level-1 wizards, all equipped with Magic Missile and Wizard's Spellfury (or something like that) as a daily power and two rounds to kill Orcus himself, while getting none of themselves killed... under optimal circumstances.

I hope these examples help you consider building your characters as a team. Before you pick that piddly +1 to fire damage feat, think to yourself, "What can I do to let my allies double or triple the overall damage of this round?"
I think you may be surprised. Some feats that sounded like utter crap are actually overpowered in the correct circumstances. Of course, for all the advanced tactics explored here, there are countermeasures. Rarely will you get just the right scenario... but when you do, exploit it.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Game-Breaking Experiment:

I've broken Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition with the following build. I call it the "Psionic Bomber".

BUILD: Shaper Psion
Required Level: 2.

+ Static Mote
+ Dimensional Scramble

+ Daily 1: Living Missile
+ Daily Utility: 2: Telekinetic Lift

+ Hedge Wizard's Gloves
+ Bag: in which to place dirt

+ 1: Discipline Adept
+ 2: Vicious Advantage

+ 1: Mordenkainen's Disk.

The basic concept of the bomber is to create a class that maximizes, in a most obscene fashion, the generally unused third dimension of the game. The idea is to drop objects on enemies to devastate them quickly and efficiently. The attack used is not a traditional power, but one house-ruled to accomodate this ballistic approach.
 Dropping items from a height is a simple attack, used by defenders in their towers for centuries. A creative use of arcane and psionic powers makes for a much more mobile, aggressive approach.

Bombing attacks utilize the following power.
"Bombs Away!"

Attack: Intelligence VS Reflex
Target: Any creatures under the boulder, be the boulder medium or large, depending on materials.
Hit: The Target(s) take(s) 1 D10 per 2 squares dropped. (A maximum-altitude boulder will render 15D10 falling damage to a target!)

Miss: the target must move 1 square to get out of the way (not shifting, possibly provoking attacks of opportunity) or takes half damage.

Simple bombing attack:
Using Mage Hand to grasp an unattended rock or other blunt object (a minor action) and lift it up and over to 5 squares (a movement action) then drop said item (a free action) the "Bombs Away!" attack ought to be able to be made, with 2D10 damage possible on flat ground.

Simple group attack:
Prepare by using Static Mote's auto-slowing of adjacent creatures, and utilize the feat Vicious Advantage's benefit of Combat Advantage; cripple your enemies and then hurl them into the air with Dimensional Scramble, causing an additional D10 of falling damage to anyone who fails their save against the teleportation, or will knock them prone if they manage to resist the forced teleportation.

Massive attack:
Use Telekinetic Lift to carry boulders up to 400lbs into the sky; using SHAPED CONSCIOUSNESS up to twice to extend the range of the Telekinetic Lift when needed. Proceed as follows: manifest your Shaped Consciousness, then use that manifestation to manifest Shaped Consciousness again, up into the air both times, for a maximum vertical altitude of 20 squares. Given that Telekinetic Lift's massive altitude is 10, the combined range grants you 30 squares of altitude on this if you are standing flat on the ground. Bombs away!

Multi Massive attack:
As above, and add the Minor Creation's ability to conjure out of thin air two treasure chests that plummet downwards at a rate of 100 squares per turn, which last for 5 minutes each, though I surmise they are destroyed upon impact. That means that when you release your Telekinetic Lift's target, you can add two extra minor-action attacks to the mix.

Ultimate attack:
Place the bag of dirt under the disk, stand on the disk, levitate the dirt using Mage hand, keeping it under your Mordenkainen's Disk to ensure smooth aerial travels. Use Telekinetic Lift to carry boulders up to 400lbs into the sky; using SHAPED CONSCIOUSNESS up to twice to extend the range of the Telekinetic Lift when needed. When you have arrived at the desired altitude, destroy anything. Combine with Minor Creation treasure chest bombs and you can kill anything you hit.

I hope you have found this to be insightful.