Alternative epic level system?

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SeaHen

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May 2, 2007, 1:15:00 AM5/2/07
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I've seen a lot of you, and a lot of reviewers on the Web, say the Epic
Level Handbook is unbalanced and poorly playtested. Does a viable
alternative system exist? (I don't consider that presented in the DMG
adequate either, because I feel there need to be spells of above 9th
level one way or another.) If not, let's develop one on this thread.

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Gas Spore Paladin

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May 2, 2007, 4:56:23 AM5/2/07
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This has always been an issue with any edition of D&D - the entire
system seems to get wacked-out once you get to level 15 or so. The
number of options and powers make it really difficult to write
adventures and DM games.

My view is that the Epic level book is sort of OK as it goes, but that
(I have the 3.0 version) has some really silly monsters and over
powered items.

I would be interested in seeing how we could develop
"rec.games.frp.dnd" house rules tho

Ed Chauvin IV

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May 2, 2007, 10:49:07 AM5/2/07
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Mere moments before death, SeaHen <seahen12...@gmail.com> hastily
scrawled:

>I've seen a lot of you, and a lot of reviewers on the Web, say the Epic
>Level Handbook is unbalanced and poorly playtested. Does a viable
>alternative system exist? (I don't consider that presented in the DMG
>adequate either, because I feel there need to be spells of above 9th
>level one way or another.) If not, let's develop one on this thread.

The only way to "balance" any Epic level system for D&D is to start at
Level 1 and rebalance the entire system. Design it from scratch to be
fully extensible. Even though the core system appears to be fully
extensible, there are issues that cause it to break down at higher
levels.


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modifier G @ 11.

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Justisaur

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May 2, 2007, 12:46:44 PM5/2/07
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On May 2, 7:49 am, Ed Chauvin IV <edcf...@gmail.com> wrote:
> Mere moments before death, SeaHen <seahen123+use...@gmail.com> hastily

> scrawled:
>
> >I've seen a lot of you, and a lot of reviewers on the Web, say the Epic
> >Level Handbook is unbalanced and poorly playtested. Does a viable
> >alternative system exist? (I don't consider that presented in the DMG
> >adequate either, because I feel there need to be spells of above 9th
> >level one way or another.) If not, let's develop one on this thread.
>
> The only way to "balance" any Epic level system for D&D is to start at
> Level 1 and rebalance the entire system. Design it from scratch to be
> fully extensible. Even though the core system appears to be fully
> extensible, there are issues that cause it to break down at higher
> levels.


I generally agree with this, but have to ask the question - if you
rework it enough to work with epic, is it really D&D anymore?

There are a few things that could be done without reworking the core
system. Dump spell seeds, and grant higher level spell slots for
metamagic use. Use the best order for multiclassing for all stats
(sort of quantum multiclassing) where for instance it wouldn't matter
what order a 20 fighter 20 wizard took his classes, he'd get 20d10's
in HP, 20 + epic bab, and all his spell progression as well. Epic
would still be an ugly nasty hack, but not quite as bad.

I wonder if the old 2e book might be of some use for ideas. I had far
less trouble using higher than 20th level characters back in 2e.

- Justisaur

Eric P.

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May 2, 2007, 12:53:31 PM5/2/07
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On Wed, 2 May 2007 07:49:07 -0700, Ed Chauvin IV hath written thusly
(in article <6v8h335upaarkkmq8...@4ax.com>):

> Mere moments before death, SeaHen <seahen12...@gmail.com> hastily
> scrawled:
>
>> I've seen a lot of you, and a lot of reviewers on the Web, say the Epic
>> Level Handbook is unbalanced and poorly playtested. Does a viable
>> alternative system exist? (I don't consider that presented in the DMG
>> adequate either, because I feel there need to be spells of above 9th
>> level one way or another.) If not, let's develop one on this thread.
>
> The only way to "balance" any Epic level system for D&D is to start at
> Level 1 and rebalance the entire system. Design it from scratch to be
> fully extensible. Even though the core system appears to be fully
> extensible, there are issues that cause it to break down at higher
> levels.
>

Mighty daunting to have to redo the entire level progression, unless
only a few key changes are necessary.

Much as I like the concept of epic levels, back in 2.x rules we had no
problems with infinite "normal" level progressions, though I never got
(or saw) any PCs up to level 36 or beyond.

Some playtesting has revealed to me that some of the epic monsters are
too powerful for a party at CR = APL. I had a group fight a 3-headed
sirrush. The combat took fifteen rounds (longest fight I've seen in
ages!), and the party nearly exhausted their resources defeating the
creature, largely due to DR and fast healing. So yeah, some balancing
is in order.

- E


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==============================================================

drow

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May 2, 2007, 1:18:47 PM5/2/07
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Alien mind control rays made SeaHen <seahen12...@gmail.com> write:
> I've seen a lot of you, and a lot of reviewers on the Web, say the Epic
> Level Handbook is unbalanced and poorly playtested. Does a viable
> alternative system exist? (I don't consider that presented in the DMG
> adequate either, because I feel there need to be spells of above 9th
> level one way or another.) If not, let's develop one on this thread.

i'm planning on switching to a system of point-buy with XP past level 20.
haven't worked out any details yet, since my current campaign is only 6th
level so far. i figure i've got a few months, yet.

--
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| --------- |== -----------------------------------------------------------
I"/""|"|Z7""' "That which does not kill me makes me stronger.
lJ | | That which does is fracking toast after I respawn."
|_l

Peter Knutsen

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May 2, 2007, 1:57:34 PM5/2/07
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Justisaur wrote:
[...]

> There are a few things that could be done without reworking the core
> system. Dump spell seeds, and grant higher level spell slots for
> metamagic use. Use the best order for multiclassing for all stats
[...]

Didn't Epic 3.0 grant higher level spell slots for that exact purpose?

--
Peter Knutsen
sagatafl.org

DougL

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May 2, 2007, 2:38:13 PM5/2/07
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Not directly, there is an Epic Feat that grants higher level spell
slots.

See Message-ID:
<1176937158.6...@d57g2000hsg.googlegroups.com>
for my tirade on why Epic Feats are totally broken.

This also gives my general "how to fix epic" guidelines for the
original poster. I don't think it requires a complete reworking of the
system, but it does require some fixes at levels 2-20.

DougL

Jasin Zujovic

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May 2, 2007, 3:14:59 PM5/2/07
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At Wed, 02 May 2007 01:15:00 -0400, SeaHen wrote:

> I've seen a lot of you, and a lot of reviewers on the Web, say the Epic
> Level Handbook is unbalanced and poorly playtested. Does a viable
> alternative system exist? (I don't consider that presented in the DMG
> adequate either, because I feel there need to be spells of above 9th
> level one way or another.) If not, let's develop one on this thread.

I think the question that needs to be asked is what we expect from Epic
rules.

20th-level is pretty damn epic in the common language sense, what with
the raising of the dead and changing reality by acts of will and
invoking divine intervention and stuff.

What do we want from Epic? Some sort of qualitative change in the way
the game is played? A way to play our favorite characters some more even
after we hit 20th?


--
Jasin Zujovic

Loren...@gmx.de

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May 2, 2007, 4:25:55 PM5/2/07
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I wouldn't want less playability than before.
- "save or die" shouldn't usually happen (any longer)
- OTOH combats should not take too long either
- natural 20 and 1 should be dropped or handled differently
- sensible multiclass rules
- not sure about spells (and slots) of level 9+ ?

LL

SeaHen

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May 2, 2007, 6:17:48 PM5/2/07
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Eric P. wrote:

> Some playtesting has revealed to me that some of the epic monsters are
> too powerful for a party at CR = APL. I had a group fight a 3-headed
> sirrush. The combat took fifteen rounds (longest fight I've seen in
> ages!), and the party nearly exhausted their resources defeating the
> creature, largely due to DR and fast healing. So yeah, some balancing
> is in order.

I think the four-encounters-per-day model becomes less valid. I think
epic combat encounters should be tougher and take longer, but there
should be fewer of them just because the population of appropriate-level
enemies is thinning out.

Ed Chauvin IV

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May 2, 2007, 7:12:50 PM5/2/07
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Mere moments before death, Eric P. <ericpN...@sbcglobal.net>
hastily scrawled:

>On Wed, 2 May 2007 07:49:07 -0700, Ed Chauvin IV hath written thusly
>(in article <6v8h335upaarkkmq8...@4ax.com>):
>
>> Mere moments before death, SeaHen <seahen12...@gmail.com> hastily
>> scrawled:
>>
>>> I've seen a lot of you, and a lot of reviewers on the Web, say the Epic
>>> Level Handbook is unbalanced and poorly playtested. Does a viable
>>> alternative system exist? (I don't consider that presented in the DMG
>>> adequate either, because I feel there need to be spells of above 9th
>>> level one way or another.) If not, let's develop one on this thread.
>>
>> The only way to "balance" any Epic level system for D&D is to start at
>> Level 1 and rebalance the entire system. Design it from scratch to be
>> fully extensible. Even though the core system appears to be fully
>> extensible, there are issues that cause it to break down at higher
>> levels.
>>
>Mighty daunting to have to redo the entire level progression, unless
>only a few key changes are necessary.

I really don't think the level progression is the problem, there's
other things that just don't work well in High Level Play.

>Much as I like the concept of epic levels, back in 2.x rules we had no
>problems with infinite "normal" level progressions, though I never got
>(or saw) any PCs up to level 36 or beyond.

And there's no reason D&D can't be done with uncapped normal levels.
Personally, I despise "epic" levels.

>Some playtesting has revealed to me that some of the epic monsters are
>too powerful for a party at CR = APL. I had a group fight a 3-headed
>sirrush. The combat took fifteen rounds (longest fight I've seen in
>ages!), and the party nearly exhausted their resources defeating the
>creature, largely due to DR and fast healing. So yeah, some balancing
>is in order.

That's not (necessarily) an effect of the Epic system being broken,
that's just an unbalanced monster. You can do that in any system.

Ed Chauvin IV

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May 2, 2007, 7:12:50 PM5/2/07
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Mere moments before death, Justisaur <just...@gmail.com> hastily
scrawled:

>On May 2, 7:49 am, Ed Chauvin IV <edcf...@gmail.com> wrote:
>> Mere moments before death, SeaHen <seahen123+use...@gmail.com> hastily
>> scrawled:
>>
>> >I've seen a lot of you, and a lot of reviewers on the Web, say the Epic
>> >Level Handbook is unbalanced and poorly playtested. Does a viable
>> >alternative system exist? (I don't consider that presented in the DMG
>> >adequate either, because I feel there need to be spells of above 9th
>> >level one way or another.) If not, let's develop one on this thread.
>>
>> The only way to "balance" any Epic level system for D&D is to start at
>> Level 1 and rebalance the entire system. Design it from scratch to be
>> fully extensible. Even though the core system appears to be fully
>> extensible, there are issues that cause it to break down at higher
>> levels.
>
>
>I generally agree with this, but have to ask the question - if you
>rework it enough to work with epic, is it really D&D anymore?

I think it can be done. D&D would be quite a bit different, but
they've done that already so what's a bit more different if it makes
for a better game?

>There are a few things that could be done without reworking the core
>system. Dump spell seeds, and grant higher level spell slots for
>metamagic use.

This is one of the reasons I don't think it's worth reworking the ELH.
It's so much more effective to completely rework the core spellcasting
system to make it not stop at 9th level spells.

>Use the best order for multiclassing for all stats
>(sort of quantum multiclassing) where for instance it wouldn't matter
>what order a 20 fighter 20 wizard took his classes, he'd get 20d10's
>in HP, 20 + epic bab, and all his spell progression as well.

Once again, I think you're much better off just starting off with a
core system that doesn't have the quirks of the current multiclassing
system.

>Epic would still be an ugly nasty hack, but not quite as bad.

Why settle for an ugly nasty hack, when you can have an elegant
cohesive system that is already fully extensible to level N?

Ed Chauvin IV

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May 2, 2007, 7:12:50 PM5/2/07
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Mere moments before death, Loren...@gmx.de hastily scrawled:

>On May 2, 9:14 pm, Jasin Zujovic <jzujo...@inet.hr> wrote:
>>
>> What do we want from Epic?
>

>I wouldn't want less playability than before.
>- "save or die" shouldn't usually happen (any longer)
>- OTOH combats should not take too long either
>- natural 20 and 1 should be dropped or handled differently
>- sensible multiclass rules
>- not sure about spells (and slots) of level 9+ ?

These are all things that can and should be addressed in the core game
system. There's no good reason to have save or die effects at low
levels. Natural 1's and 20s can be handled in a way that doesn't
become inane in heavily unbalanced fights. Multiclassing should make
sense at every level. And last but certainly not least why does magic
have to suddenly stop getting more powerful at Spell Level = 9?

Ed Chauvin IV

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May 2, 2007, 7:12:50 PM5/2/07
to
Mere moments before death, SeaHen <seahen12...@gmail.com> hastily
scrawled:

>Eric P. wrote:


>
>> Some playtesting has revealed to me that some of the epic monsters are
>> too powerful for a party at CR = APL. I had a group fight a 3-headed
>> sirrush. The combat took fifteen rounds (longest fight I've seen in
>> ages!), and the party nearly exhausted their resources defeating the
>> creature, largely due to DR and fast healing. So yeah, some balancing
>> is in order.
>
>I think the four-encounters-per-day model becomes less valid. I think
>epic combat encounters should be tougher and take longer, but there
>should be fewer of them just because the population of appropriate-level
>enemies is thinning out.

I suppose that depends entirely on the setting, now doesn't it?

SeaHen

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May 2, 2007, 7:27:12 PM5/2/07
to
Loren...@gmx.de wrote:

> - OTOH combats should not take too long either

I disagree: at epic levels, one or two highly-draining 10-round fights
per day make more sense than four lightly-draining 3-round fights, just
because it's less dungeon-crawling and more boss battling, and because
evenly-matched battles that are too short always seem too much like
games of chance.

> - not sure about spells (and slots) of level 9+ ?

I think, at least, the Summon Monster and Nature's Ally progressions
should be continued at least to XV and maybe to XX (maybe adding dragons
to the list, along with the existing types?). I'd also like to see
Eclipse and Time Duplicate remain as epic (although many of the other
epic spells should become non-epic.)

tSlefh

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May 2, 2007, 7:30:10 PM5/2/07
to
i dont understand what you mean by epic level handbook being unbalanced.
i've ran two epic campaigns (one from level 1 right up to ~25, the other
starting at 15 to past thirty), and i really havent seen much of a
problem aside from any spellcaster with knowledge(religion) now being
able to heal (minor). the spell seeds and factors really strike me as a
great way to make epic spells - the spells are strong, but have penalties
or are hard to cast.

as for non-spellcasting, i really havent seen a problem except that it
can get boring for, say, fighters. feat after feat after feat can get
boring - but if you played 20 straight levels of fighter, you must like
it. other than that, multiclassing comes in. i had a level 20 rogue start
taking levels in sorcerer, and he loved it. it didnt keep him back at
all, and while his sneak attack and skills suffered slightly, the added
variety made his experience much more fun, and he was still a hugely
helpful addition - especially when he hit arcane trickster levels.

so i do need some help, as i cant really see what is so unbalanced here,
or even what needs changing. tweaking i see - but then again, i tweak the
whole system when i play (i scrap the 20 = instant hit, etc. rule, also
death by massive dmg is out the window) to make for a more fun, if
slightly less realistic, experience. i also very much encourage RP, which
changes the game slightly.

please, help me understand whats so unbalanced! thanks!

--tSlefh

Noxes

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May 2, 2007, 7:57:26 PM5/2/07
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> I think, at least, the Summon Monster and Nature's Ally progressions
> should be continued at least to XV and maybe to XX (maybe adding dragons
> to the list, along with the existing types?). I'd also like to see
> Eclipse and Time Duplicate remain as epic (although many of the other
> epic spells should become non-epic.)
>

Only add dragons to the Summon Monster list if you want Dragons to be
just like any other monster in the game. Your players won't treat a
Great Wyrm Gold Dragon with any respect if they can summon it's immediate
family members to do their bidding.

It is also completely out of character for a Dragon of ANY type to
acknowledge any non-dragon as it's superior in anything.

I much prefer the Eberon aproach, where Dragons are more than just giant
winged cheapasses.

Eric P.

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May 2, 2007, 8:59:29 PM5/2/07
to
On Wed, 2 May 2007 16:12:50 -0700, Ed Chauvin IV hath written thusly
(in article <hv4i339o5fa3imapq...@4ax.com>):

> Mere moments before death, SeaHen <seahen12...@gmail.com> hastily
> scrawled:
>
>> Eric P. wrote:
>>
>>> Some playtesting has revealed to me that some of the epic monsters are
>>> too powerful for a party at CR = APL. I had a group fight a 3-headed
>>> sirrush. The combat took fifteen rounds (longest fight I've seen in
>>> ages!), and the party nearly exhausted their resources defeating the
>>> creature, largely due to DR and fast healing. So yeah, some balancing
>>> is in order.
>>
>> I think the four-encounters-per-day model becomes less valid. I think
>> epic combat encounters should be tougher and take longer, but there
>> should be fewer of them just because the population of appropriate-level
>> enemies is thinning out.
>
> I suppose that depends entirely on the setting, now doesn't it?
>

Makes sense. The style of play goes far in dictating such things. My
limited experience with epic encounters so far is that one per day is
more than enough, all things being "equal."

- E


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Eric P.

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May 2, 2007, 9:04:01 PM5/2/07
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On Wed, 2 May 2007 12:14:59 -0700, Jasin Zujovic hath written thusly
(in article <MPG.20a301a1d...@news.iskon.hr>):

Yeah, there's no reason why PCs of level 21+ need to be more
super-heroic than they already are. Is it _Arcana Unearthed_ that
presents a core progression up to level 25 instead of 20? Perhaps it's
sufficient to keep with the level progression without a cap at level 20
(or 25)...unless some sort of super-heroic ("epic") level system really
is desired.

- E


==============================================================

SeaHen

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May 2, 2007, 9:56:33 PM5/2/07
to
Ed Chauvin IV wrote:

> And there's no reason D&D can't be done with uncapped normal levels.
> Personally, I despise "epic" levels.

Even for primary spellcasters who are ceasing to gain any more spells?

Gas Spore Paladin

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May 3, 2007, 3:09:58 AM5/3/07
to
Somebody honked:

"Much as I like the concept of epic levels, back in 2.x rules we had
no
problems with infinite "normal" level progressions, though I never
got
(or saw) any PCs up to level 36 or beyond. "


Good point - The Epic Level book, the old Basic D&D "Immortals" pack
etc, are more used for reading on the toilet thinking "It would be
Coooooool if my 2nd Level Gnome Ranger could have THAT feat"

I have been playing DnD since about 1982 - and the highest character
so far I have had was "Saladin the Paladin" who reached a game-balance
upsetting 15th level.

However (looks round) the 3.5 campaign I currently run is now 3 years
old - and the players are at 8th-9th level. I intend to see how far I
can take them!


Justin Alexander

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May 3, 2007, 3:32:42 AM5/3/07
to
tSlefh wrote:
> so i do need some help, as i cant really see what is so unbalanced here,
> or even what needs changing.

Problem #1: Epic levels break multiclassing. Compare a Fighter 20/
Wizard 20 with a Wizard 20/Fighter 20.

Problem #2: Epic feats make normal feats useless... but most epic
feats sit at the end of normal feat chains.

Problem #3: The ELH is a sloppily produced book. As has been discussed
in the past, not a SINGLE epic level spell in the book actually
follows the rules for designing epic level spells.

Problem #4: Almost the entirety of the ELH is dedicated NOT to
providing meaningful post-20th level play, but to keeping the D20
System from flying apart at the seams. By 20th level, D&D's system has
been strained to its breaking point.

Basically the ELH took a look at the dam, realized it was breaking,
and then spent a lot of time trying to stop the dam from breaking. But
everything it did in an effort to stop the dam from breaking
(encouraging you to ditch save-or-die and fail-on-natural-1 rules;
flattening the character advancement curve; etc.) just caused other
problems to emerge.

At the end of the day, it's a Frankenstein monster: It still suffers
from most of the problems the system was already exhibiting at high
level play, layers on a few more for kicks, and then adds in a
completely sub-standard and broken system for epic spells.

--
Justin Alexander
http://www.thealexandrian.net

Loren...@gmx.de

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May 3, 2007, 7:25:06 AM5/3/07
to
On May 3, 1:12 am, Ed Chauvin IV <edcf...@gmail.com> wrote:
> Mere moments before death, Lorenz.L...@gmx.de hastily scrawled:

>
> >On May 2, 9:14 pm, Jasin Zujovic <jzujo...@inet.hr> wrote:
>
> >> What do we want from Epic?
>
> >I wouldn't want less playability than before.
> >- "save or die" shouldn't usually happen (any longer)
> >- OTOH combats should not take too long either
> >- natural 20 and 1 should be dropped or handled differently
> >- sensible multiclass rules
> >- not sure about spells (and slots) of level 9+ ?
>
> These are all things that can and should be addressed in the core game
> system. There's no good reason to have save or die effects at low
> levels.

You don't like the Phantasmal Killer? :)
Low-level characters could be dying from fear. No problem.
The problem arises when high-level characters, who probably
fail their save only on a natural one, die because of bad luck.
The impact of bad luck would be too great in this case.

Power Word Kill does not even allow a save: fewer than 101 hp?
You're dead. Sorry.

For non-epic games it's okay, but I'd expect to have a chance,
even if my 56th level epic PC is low on hp...

> Natural 1's and 20s can be handled in a way that doesn't
> become inane in heavily unbalanced fights.

How do you handle them?

> Multiclassing should make sense at every level.

It's sort of working up to level 20, but at epic levels it falls
apart.

> And last but certainly not least why does magic
> have to suddenly stop getting more powerful at Spell Level = 9?

I didn't say that. Maybe there should be spells of 10th and higher
levels. How more powerful should they be?

LL

Jasin Zujovic

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May 3, 2007, 7:32:57 AM5/3/07
to
At 3 May 2007 04:25:06 -0700, Loren...@gmx.de wrote:

> Power Word Kill does not even allow a save: fewer than 101 hp?
> You're dead. Sorry.
>
> For non-epic games it's okay, but I'd expect to have a chance,
> even if my 56th level epic PC is low on hp...

If you're 56th level, when you're at fewer than 101 hp you're probably
just one shot from being wasted anyway: power word kill, 150 hp dealt by
a melee attack... it's all the same. :)


--
Jasin Zujovic

Loren...@gmx.de

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May 3, 2007, 10:26:38 AM5/3/07
to
On May 3, 1:32 pm, Jasin Zujovic <jzujo...@inet.hr> wrote:

> At 3 May 2007 04:25:06 -0700, Lorenz.L...@gmx.de wrote:
>
> > Power Word Kill does not even allow a save: fewer than 101 hp?
> > You're dead. Sorry.
>
> > For non-epic games it's okay, but I'd expect to have a chance,
> > even if my 56th level epic PC is low on hp...
>
> If you're 56th level, when you're at fewer than 101 hp you're probably
> just one shot from being wasted anyway: power word kill, 150 hp dealt by
> a melee attack... it's all the same. :)

150 hp? You're an uber-munchkin, aren't you? :)

LL


Jasin Zujovic

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May 3, 2007, 10:49:13 AM5/3/07
to
At 3 May 2007 07:26:38 -0700, Loren...@gmx.de wrote:

> > > Power Word Kill does not even allow a save: fewer than 101 hp?
> > > You're dead. Sorry.
> >
> > > For non-epic games it's okay, but I'd expect to have a chance,
> > > even if my 56th level epic PC is low on hp...
> >
> > If you're 56th level, when you're at fewer than 101 hp you're probably
> > just one shot from being wasted anyway: power word kill, 150 hp dealt by
> > a melee attack... it's all the same. :)
>
> 150 hp? You're an uber-munchkin, aren't you? :)

Hey, last session I had my 11th-level wizard single-shot a golem with a
scorching ray. It was an ice golem, and it was an Empowered scorching
ray, but other than that there wasn't any special trick involved, and it
came out 100+ damage.

I've also seen more than once what a smiting Spirited Charge can do.

By 56th, I don't think coming up with 150 should be that hard. :)


--
Jasin Zujovic

Loren...@gmx.de

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May 3, 2007, 11:24:28 AM5/3/07
to
On May 3, 4:49 pm, Jasin Zujovic <jzujo...@inet.hr> wrote:

> At 3 May 2007 07:26:38 -0700, Lorenz.L...@gmx.de wrote:
>
> > > > Power Word Kill does not even allow a save: fewer than 101 hp?
> > > > You're dead. Sorry.
>
> > > > For non-epic games it's okay, but I'd expect to have a chance,
> > > > even if my 56th level epic PC is low on hp...
>
> > > If you're 56th level, when you're at fewer than 101 hp you're probably
> > > just one shot from being wasted anyway: power word kill, 150 hp dealt by
> > > a melee attack... it's all the same. :)
>
> > 150 hp? You're an uber-munchkin, aren't you? :)
>
> Hey, last session I had my 11th-level wizard single-shot a golem with a
> scorching ray. It was an ice golem, and it was an Empowered scorching
> ray, but other than that there wasn't any special trick involved, and it
> came out 100+ damage.

3 x 4d6 x 1.5 = 63 on average and 108 max...
Do ice golems suffer double damage from fire attacks
or have you been lucky?

> I've also seen more than once what a smiting Spirited Charge can do.

Ogre kebab?

> By 56th, I don't think coming up with 150 should be that hard. :)

I was thinking on average without smite, charge, sneak, etc.

LL

drow

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May 3, 2007, 11:37:25 AM5/3/07
to
Alien mind control rays made Loren...@gmx.de write:
> Do ice golems suffer double damage from fire attacks
> or have you been lucky?

if they're immune to cold, then they take extra damage from fire.

> I was thinking on average without smite, charge, sneak, etc.

at 50th level, what 'average' doesn't include a smite, charge,
sneak, etc.? the party IMCC is only 6th level, and already each
of them has some nasty combat trick which they use regularly.

--
n_n n_n dr...@bin.sh (CARRIER LOST) <http://www.bin.sh/>
|"|n_n_n|"| ---------------------------------------------------------------
| | " " | | "You are in a maze of twisty little passages, all alike."
|_|_[T]_|_| <http://direpress.bin.sh/tools/dungeon.cgi>

Loren...@gmx.de

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May 3, 2007, 11:38:13 AM5/3/07
to
On May 3, 1:27 am, SeaHen <seahen123+use...@gmail.com> wrote:

> Lorenz.L...@gmx.de wrote:
> > - OTOH combats should not take too long either
>
> I disagree:

Combats should take too long? :)

> at epic levels, one or two highly-draining 10-round fights
> per day make more sense than four lightly-draining 3-round fights, just
> because it's less dungeon-crawling and more boss battling, and because
> evenly-matched battles that are too short always seem too much like
> games of chance.

Evenly-matched battles are games of chance by definition.
I think you misunderstood me. I meant real time not combat rounds.
At higher levels combats need not take more game time in rounds
but they take (too) much real time.

One of my groups fought 12 Bugbears and 12 Worgs for 2 hours
real time and the preparation to fight a Dread Wraith took them
over an hour real time. The fight was another hour IIRC.

The roleplayers (as opposed to the hack 'n slayers) in the group
got bored by the endless dice rolling...

LL

Loren...@gmx.de

unread,
May 3, 2007, 11:48:15 AM5/3/07
to
On May 3, 5:37 pm, drow <d...@bin.sh> wrote:

> Alien mind control rays made Lorenz.L...@gmx.de write:
>
> > Do ice golems suffer double damage from fire attacks
> > or have you been lucky?
>
> if they're immune to cold, then they take extra damage from fire.
>
> > I was thinking on average without smite, charge, sneak, etc.
>
> at 50th level, what 'average' doesn't include a smite, charge,
> sneak, etc.? the party IMCC is only 6th level, and already each
> of them has some nasty combat trick which they use regularly.

Smite is limited to times per day, so not every melee attack
could be a smite. Smite Evil requires your foe to be Evil in
addition...
Sneak depends on surprise/position, so it's not possible with every
attack. Charge is only usuable to close the distance, in toe to toe
combat no attack benefits from special charge boni to damage.
So IMO no 'average' should include them. Feats like Weapon Spec.
and Power Attack should be included in average damage calculation.

LL

Jasin Zujovic

unread,
May 3, 2007, 12:26:00 PM5/3/07
to
At 3 May 2007 08:24:28 -0700, Loren...@gmx.de wrote:

> > > > > Power Word Kill does not even allow a save: fewer than 101 hp?
> > > > > You're dead. Sorry.
> > > > >
> > > > > For non-epic games it's okay, but I'd expect to have a chance,
> > > > > even if my 56th level epic PC is low on hp...
> > > >
> > > > If you're 56th level, when you're at fewer than 101 hp you're probably
> > > > just one shot from being wasted anyway: power word kill, 150 hp dealt by
> > > > a melee attack... it's all the same. :)
> > >
> > > 150 hp? You're an uber-munchkin, aren't you? :)
> >
> > Hey, last session I had my 11th-level wizard single-shot a golem with a
> > scorching ray. It was an ice golem, and it was an Empowered scorching
> > ray, but other than that there wasn't any special trick involved, and it
> > came out 100+ damage.
>
> 3 x 4d6 x 1.5 = 63 on average and 108 max...
> Do ice golems suffer double damage from fire attacks
> or have you been lucky?

They have fire vulnerability, so 150% from fire. 94.5 average, but I
guess I rolled slightly higher, so it was just over 100.

> > I've also seen more than once what a smiting Spirited Charge can do.
>
> Ogre kebab?

Succubus kebab, shadow dragon kebab, nightwalker kebab, Fzoul Chembryl
kebab... almost anything kebab. :)

> > By 56th, I don't think coming up with 150 should be that hard. :)
>
> I was thinking on average without smite, charge, sneak, etc.

Well, we were comparing it to power word kill, that's not really average
either. Although for 56th level character, it might be near enough...

Eh. Epic. :p


--
Jasin Zujovic

Jasin Zujovic

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May 3, 2007, 12:28:03 PM5/3/07
to
At 3 May 2007 08:48:15 -0700, Loren...@gmx.de wrote:

> > > I was thinking on average without smite, charge, sneak, etc.
> >
> > at 50th level, what 'average' doesn't include a smite, charge,
> > sneak, etc.? the party IMCC is only 6th level, and already each
> > of them has some nasty combat trick which they use regularly.
>

> [...]


>
> Sneak depends on surprise/position, so it's not possible with every
> attack.

And by 56th level (or even more reasonable epic levels) who won't have
heavy forification?

Of course, I suppose the rogue could get some "can sneak attack even
opponents that can't be sneak attacked" effect...

DougL

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May 3, 2007, 12:59:57 PM5/3/07
to
Loren...@gmx.de wrote:
> On May 3, 1:12 am, Ed Chauvin IV <edcf...@gmail.com> wrote:

> > Natural 1's and 20s can be handled in a way that doesn't
> > become inane in heavily unbalanced fights.
>
> How do you handle them?

A roll of 1 is treated as a roll of -10, a roll of 20 is treated as a
roll of 30. It's an option in the DMG IIRC, and works fine for fixing
the natural 1 and 20 effects for Epic characters. Anytime 30+your
bonuses fails the task SHOULD be effectively impossible, anytime a
roll of -10+Save Bonuses succeeds you SHOULD automatically make that
save EVERY SINGLE TIME.

No problem. If anything -10 and 30 are too much variation and the
values should be more like -5 and 25.

DougL

SeaHen

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May 3, 2007, 1:09:08 PM5/3/07
to
On May 2, 4:25 pm, Lorenz.L...@gmx.de wrote:

> - natural 20 and 1 should be dropped or handled differently

What if attack rolls and saving throws were made open-ended? Natural
1s would be rerolled at -19, and natural 20s at +19.

Reginald Blue

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May 3, 2007, 1:30:29 PM5/3/07
to

You have a smiley, but I agree with this completely. If you're that low on
hit points at epic levels, you're "near death" for all it really matters.
--
Reginald Blue
"I have always wished that my computer would be as easy to use as my
telephone. My wish has come true. I no longer know how to use my
telephone."
- Bjarne Stroustrup (originator of C++) [quoted at the 2003
International Conference on Intelligent User Interfaces]


Eric P.

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May 3, 2007, 1:32:38 PM5/3/07
to
On Thu, 3 May 2007 00:09:58 -0700, Gas Spore Paladin hath written
thusly
(in article <1178176198.2...@h2g2000hsg.googlegroups.com>):

Prior to converting to 3.x, the highest characters my old group had
were 25th level. We did an introductory adventure for a few of our
favorite and highest level characters, but there was little guiding
material for converting characters above CL20, so our DM winged it.
I've since revised and updated my own characters to 3.5e.

I've noticed that 3.5e epic characters are not as impressive (and still
access epic goodies more slowly than I'd like as they advance) as they
appeared to be prior to conversion. One thing that really bothered me
was that, with _Spells & Powers_, spellcasters had access to "true
dweomers" (essentially 10th level or epic spells). This gave PCs the
opportunity to research and create unique spells of incredible power.
After conversion, my wizard's special true dweomer was rendered to
little more than an enhanced fireball spell, maybe two levels higher in
power than a normal fireball would be when cast. I've had to reinvent
the spell as an epic spell, but I find the epic spell creation process
to be somewhat awkward/tedious.

Eric P.

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May 3, 2007, 1:42:34 PM5/3/07
to
On Thu, 3 May 2007 10:09:08 -0700, SeaHen hath written thusly
(in article <1178212148.0...@e65g2000hsc.googlegroups.com>):

Is this to say that a provision for critical success/failure is not
desireable in the rules?

- E


==============================================================

DougL

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May 3, 2007, 1:45:10 PM5/3/07
to

Still way to random. I don't want a Finger of Death trap (DC 20) to
KILL my level 50 epic character with a +40 to the save 9 times in 4000
(and most level 50 characters will probably be less than +40 to the
save, BSB can easily be as low as +21 after all).

Figure the level 50 character's gear value. It's a GREAT deal to try
it if you can grab the gear if it works. Set up a few thousand command
detonated and targeted on the same hallway and collect the whole set
of PC gear for your TPK! The return on investment is GREAT! And you've
at least temporarily eliminated a level 50 party of enemies and taken
their gear.

(You need to take out any deathward or spell resistance, but that's
what the single disjunction trap thrown into the volley is for,
fortunately 95% of the items will make their saves).

Treat rolls of 1 as -10. If I succeed with a -10 It's probably
something I should NEVER fail at. That's 20 points worse than average,
20 points is the size modifier you use for "effectively impossible" in
D&D land.

DougL

Ed Chauvin IV

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May 3, 2007, 2:03:11 PM5/3/07
to
Mere moments before death, Loren...@gmx.de hastily scrawled:

>On May 3, 5:37 pm, drow <d...@bin.sh> wrote:
>> Alien mind control rays made Lorenz.L...@gmx.de write:
>>
>> > Do ice golems suffer double damage from fire attacks
>> > or have you been lucky?
>>
>> if they're immune to cold, then they take extra damage from fire.
>>
>> > I was thinking on average without smite, charge, sneak, etc.
>>
>> at 50th level, what 'average' doesn't include a smite, charge,
>> sneak, etc.? the party IMCC is only 6th level, and already each
>> of them has some nasty combat trick which they use regularly.
>
>Smite is limited to times per day,

Right, but at 56th level it "goes up to eleven".

A 56th level paladin who is only expecting one equal level combat per
day is going to smite on every attack for the first 11 rounds. After
which the combat should have been over for a couple of rounds.

Ed Chauvin IV

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May 3, 2007, 2:03:11 PM5/3/07
to
Mere moments before death, SeaHen <seahen12...@gmail.com> hastily
scrawled:

>Ed Chauvin IV wrote:


>
>> And there's no reason D&D can't be done with uncapped normal levels.
>> Personally, I despise "epic" levels.
>
>Even for primary spellcasters who are ceasing to gain any more spells?

*Especially* for primary spellcasters who are ceasing to gain any more
spells.

It's one of D&D's greatest faults, and epic levels is a horrible fix.

Ed Chauvin IV

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May 3, 2007, 2:03:11 PM5/3/07
to
Mere moments before death, Loren...@gmx.de hastily scrawled:

>On May 3, 1:12 am, Ed Chauvin IV <edcf...@gmail.com> wrote:


>> Mere moments before death, Lorenz.L...@gmx.de hastily scrawled:
>>
>> >On May 2, 9:14 pm, Jasin Zujovic <jzujo...@inet.hr> wrote:
>>
>> >> What do we want from Epic?
>>
>> >I wouldn't want less playability than before.
>> >- "save or die" shouldn't usually happen (any longer)
>> >- OTOH combats should not take too long either
>> >- natural 20 and 1 should be dropped or handled differently
>> >- sensible multiclass rules
>> >- not sure about spells (and slots) of level 9+ ?
>>
>> These are all things that can and should be addressed in the core game
>> system. There's no good reason to have save or die effects at low
>> levels.
>
>You don't like the Phantasmal Killer? :)
>Low-level characters could be dying from fear. No problem.

True, it's not a "problem" at low levels, but then again it's *easy*
to kill low level characters without resorting to "Save or Die".

>The problem arises when high-level characters, who probably
>fail their save only on a natural one, die because of bad luck.
>The impact of bad luck would be too great in this case.
>
>Power Word Kill does not even allow a save: fewer than 101 hp?
>You're dead. Sorry.

Just have it do 100 points of damage. Better yet, have it reduce your
HP total by 100. Subtle difference that, but it avoids certain damage
reducing "issues".

>For non-epic games it's okay, but I'd expect to have a chance,
>even if my 56th level epic PC is low on hp...

If your 56th level PC is below 100 HP, he's almost dead and should
have initiated his escape plan a few rounds ago.

>> Natural 1's and 20s can be handled in a way that doesn't
>> become inane in heavily unbalanced fights.
>
>How do you handle them?

I don't. But I would handle them with simple bonuses.

>> Multiclassing should make sense at every level.
>
>It's sort of working up to level 20, but at epic levels it falls
>apart.

"Sort of working" isn't good enough. There needs to be a
multiclassing system that doesn't cause people to take certain classes
in a particular order every time.

>> And last but certainly not least why does magic
>> have to suddenly stop getting more powerful at Spell Level = 9?
>
>I didn't say that. Maybe there should be spells of 10th and higher
>levels. How more powerful should they be?

Well, no of course you didn't say that. D&D did. As to your
question, the answer is obvious. They should be exactly one level
more powerful. The problem, however, isn't that the spells stop
getting more powerful it's that it's more and more difficult to define
"one level more powerful", and so spell levels should be chucked
entirely.

Ed Chauvin IV

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May 3, 2007, 2:03:11 PM5/3/07
to
Mere moments before death, Noxes <battle...@gmail.com> hastily
scrawled:

>> I think, at least, the Summon Monster and Nature's Ally progressions
>> should be continued at least to XV and maybe to XX (maybe adding dragons
>> to the list, along with the existing types?). I'd also like to see
>> Eclipse and Time Duplicate remain as epic (although many of the other
>> epic spells should become non-epic.)
>>
>
>Only add dragons to the Summon Monster list if you want Dragons to be
>just like any other monster in the game. Your players won't treat a
>Great Wyrm Gold Dragon with any respect if they can summon it's immediate
>family members to do their bidding.

If your character is treating a Great Wyrm Gold Dragon with respect,
he isn't truly Epic.

"What do you mean my level 572 Wizard can't summon a measly dragon?"

Ed Chauvin IV

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May 3, 2007, 2:03:11 PM5/3/07
to
Mere moments before death, Loren...@gmx.de hastily scrawled:

>On May 3, 4:49 pm, Jasin Zujovic <jzujo...@inet.hr> wrote:
>
>> By 56th, I don't think coming up with 150 should be that hard. :)
>
>I was thinking on average without smite, charge, sneak, etc.

A 56th level wizard should be casting maximized DC37 Destroy spells in
his sleep that do 24d6 damage. That's 144 without even trying. Give
usenet a few hours and they'll triple that, no problem.

Justin Alexander

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May 3, 2007, 2:24:29 PM5/3/07
to
Loren...@gmx.de wrote:
> On May 3, 1:12 am, Ed Chauvin IV <edcf...@gmail.com> wrote:
> > These are all things that can and should be addressed in the core game
> > system. There's no good reason to have save or die effects at low
> > levels.
>
> You don't like the Phantasmal Killer? :)
> Low-level characters could be dying from fear. No problem.
> The problem arises when high-level characters, who probably
> fail their save only on a natural one, die because of bad luck.
> The impact of bad luck would be too great in this case.

I would disagree. There are two problems with save-or-die abilities:

1. At low levels, when raising the dead is relatively difficult, they
take a player out of the game for several encounters (until the proper
spell, spell component, spellcaster, or all three can be prepared or
acquired).

2. At high levels, when save-or-die abilities become ubiquitous and
relatively cheap, the game devolves into a random game of craps: Who's
going to roll a natural 1 first?

Inbetween those extremes the two problems kind of blend together
depending on the exact circumstances in which the party finds itself.

But the core of the problem remains the same: This mechanic is about
as much fun as having an embezzlement mechanic in Monopoly where you
have to roll 2d6 and, if you roll snake eyes, you immediately go
bankrupt due to stolen funds, your properties are put up for public
auction, and you lose the game.

There's a reason why D&D gives you a mess of hit points and an
ablative damage mechanic: It makes combat fun and it makes high-level
play survivable. But save-or-die mechanics neatly sidestep the well-
balanced ablative mechanics of the game and turn the entire system
into a periodic (or constant) crap shoot.

The easiest way to fix this problem is to get the current save-or-die
mechanics integrated back into the ablative mechanics. In my games
I've replaced all the death effects with 3d6 Constitution damage. If
the death effect has a special effect (turning you into a pile of
dust; trapping your soul in a magical gem; etc.) this special effect
only takes effect if the Constitution damage kills you.

The death effect abilities remain deadly, but they aren't an auto-
kill.

(I should note here that several designers at WotC currently seem to
believe that any ability which requires a saving throw and somehow
removes you from combat -- such as paralysis or hold person -- is a
"save-or-die" effect. This is over-zealous for a variety of reasons,
although it wouldn't be a horrible idea to have paralysis effects
inflict 3d6 points of Dexterity damage and a -10 penalty to base
speed. You become totally paralyzed if your Dex hits 0 or if your base
speed hits 0.)

> > Natural 1's and 20s can be handled in a way that doesn't
> > become inane in heavily unbalanced fights.
>
> How do you handle them?
>
> > Multiclassing should make sense at every level.
>
> It's sort of working up to level 20, but at epic levels it falls
> apart.

There are three problems with normal multiclassing:

1. Maximum hit points at 1st level.

2. Quadruple skill points at 1st level.

3. Multiclassing spellcasters.

Epic level simply exacerbates these break points and then adds a few
more of its own.

The first two can be resolved in a number of ways (when you add a new
class you can decide to rebuild your character as if you had selected
that class at 1st level; redoing character creation to eliminate those
1st level oddities altogether). Fixing multiclass spellcasters is a
more arduous task, and I'm not even sure what a solution would look
like. It would almost certainly involve creating a set of multiclass
mechanics specifically for spellcasters.

> > And last but certainly not least why does magic
> > have to suddenly stop getting more powerful at Spell Level = 9?
>
> I didn't say that. Maybe there should be spells of 10th and higher
> levels. How more powerful should they be?

As powerful as they can be.

The idea that Wish is the most powerful spell in the universe because
it can do everything is pretty firmly entrenched in the D&D psyche...
but it's not true. Wish is actually fairly limited in what it can
accomplish in 3rd Edition.

And once you remove some of the other all-or-nothing abilities (of
which save-or-die spells are a subset) -- which is something you need
to do if you're going to stop the system from falling apart at
post-20th level -- then there's a lot of room that opens up beyond the
glass ceiling of the 9th level spells.

Justin Alexander

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May 3, 2007, 2:43:00 PM5/3/07
to
Loren...@gmx.de wrote:
> The roleplayers (as opposed to the hack 'n slayers) in the group
> got bored by the endless dice rolling...

People who don't think you can roleplay during combat are cheating
themselves horribly.

Loren...@gmx.de

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May 3, 2007, 3:50:50 PM5/3/07
to
On May 3, 8:43 pm, Justin Alexander <jus...@thealexandrian.net> wrote:

> Lorenz.L...@gmx.de wrote:
> > The roleplayers (as opposed to the hack 'n slayers) in the group
> > got bored by the endless dice rolling...
>
> People who don't think you can roleplay during combat are cheating
> themselves horribly.

The ones I nicked hack 'n slayers enjoy roleplaying
during combat, the roleplayers enjoy roleplaying without
combat more. :-P

LL

Message has been deleted

Reginald Blue

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May 3, 2007, 5:47:05 PM5/3/07
to
Justin Alexander wrote:
<supersnip>

> The easiest way to fix this problem is to get the current save-or-die
> mechanics integrated back into the ablative mechanics. In my games
> I've replaced all the death effects with 3d6 Constitution damage. If
> the death effect has a special effect (turning you into a pile of
> dust; trapping your soul in a magical gem; etc.) this special effect
> only takes effect if the Constitution damage kills you.
<supersnip>

I've been keeping my mouth shut for a while on this topic, but this is a
good segue.

It seems to me that you can take the ablative approach to the next level by
removing the entire save-or-? effects from the game, if you institute a set
of numbers that you are wearing away for various effects. The original
psionics system (AD&D 1st ed) basically had this system, though I don't
recommend that.

The one problem with 3d6 against Con is that it's not really good to compare
against for the various character types... you could have a 20th level
fighter that didn't have a great Con, but should have that great resistance.

If, on the other hand, you had a set of numbers you could burn away at,
slowly, and eventually overcome the person's resistance, and then get the
effect you need, that's the right system.

The only problem with this is that it becomes more numbers to track... and
this game is already replete with those.

But, pretend, for a moment, that every "Will save" spell that's now
save-or-? caused "Will damage" instead... say, 1 point per spell level,
against your will modifier (just making this up.) Then, when you reached -1
or less Will, the spells "special effect" takes over, and now you're held,
charmed, or whatever.

Of course, this isn't really D&D anymore I guess, once you start eliminating
saving throws.

DougL

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May 3, 2007, 6:40:55 PM5/3/07
to
On May 3, 4:47 pm, "Reginald Blue" <Reginald_B...@hotmail.com> wrote:

> If, on the other hand, you had a set of numbers you could burn away at,
> slowly, and eventually overcome the person's resistance, and then get the
> effect you need, that's the right system.

Shame there's not something like that in the game already which
represents the ability to slowly wear down resistance and is abstract
enough that losing it can represent anything from fatigue to actual
wounds to loss of the favor of the gods to running out of luck.

We could add such a mechanic and call it something simple like Hit
Points. :)

> The only problem with this is that it becomes more numbers to track... and
> this game is already replete with those.

Only if you insist on different numbers for every effect. Gonad the
Barbarian is so tough that he fights off the effects of the poison
with only a bit of queeziness that doesn't effect him in combat till
he drops. Same effect as a wound, and I see no reason the two
shouldn't be cumulative.

If he is staggering and weak from a five minute battle against a
hobgoblin horde is the effect all THAT different than being dizzy and
weak after fighting off a wizard's dominate person spell? Either way
he is tired, he is easier to hurt in the future, and he is still (at
this moment) fully effective because he can avoid or fight off the
full effects of the attacks. Either way the tired/dizzy/weak/magically
exhausted makes him easier to hurt with further attacks.

> But, pretend, for a moment, that every "Will save" spell that's now
> save-or-? caused "Will damage" instead... say, 1 point per spell level,
> against your will modifier (just making this up.) Then, when you reached -1
> or less Will, the spells "special effect" takes over, and now you're held,
> charmed, or whatever.

Or just assess damage to fight off the effect, if the character can't
afford the HP or would rather accept the effect then it goes off in
full. You could still have a roll to reduce effect if you want.

The 3.5 Disintigrate did a fine job of this sort of change. Assign
damage for EVERY spell, both for a made and for a failed save, and
allow that by taking the damage you avoid the effect of the spell.

Something simple like Damage = Caster Level * (Spell Level + 6) for
any spell with a failed save (or no save) that has a possible effect
other than straight damage. Area effects or multiple target spells
only give +1 rather than +6. Made Saves cut damage in half. I don't
say that's the right formula, but it isn't completely off and limits
the effect of the spell.

> Of course, this isn't really D&D anymore I guess, once you start eliminating
> saving throws.

Disintigrate has saves and has an ablative effect rather than being
save or die. No problem.

DougL

Reginald Blue

unread,
May 3, 2007, 6:49:57 PM5/3/07
to
DougL wrote:
> On May 3, 4:47 pm, "Reginald Blue" <Reginald_B...@hotmail.com> wrote:
>
>> If, on the other hand, you had a set of numbers you could burn away
>> at, slowly, and eventually overcome the person's resistance, and
>> then get the effect you need, that's the right system.
>
> Shame there's not something like that in the game already which
> represents the ability to slowly wear down resistance and is abstract
> enough that losing it can represent anything from fatigue to actual
> wounds to loss of the favor of the gods to running out of luck.
>
> We could add such a mechanic and call it something simple like Hit
> Points. :)

I know you're kidding, but my point is (since I don't think I was clear)
that D&D has the theory that some classes are more resistant to certain
effects than others. (i.e. Wizards aren't easily affected by Charm Person,
but Fighters are).

I don't know how to capture that in an ablative system without having
separate numbers to track.

DougL

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May 3, 2007, 6:58:25 PM5/3/07
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On May 3, 4:16 pm, arrom...@green.rahul.net (Ken Arromdee) wrote:
> In article <1178214310.042469.228...@e65g2000hsc.googlegroups.com>,

>
> DougL <lampert.d...@gmail.com> wrote:
> >Still way to random. I don't want a Finger of Death trap (DC 20) to
> >KILL my level 50 epic character with a +40 to the save 9 times in 4000
> >(and most level 50 characters will probably be less than +40 to the
> >save, BSB can easily be as low as +21 after all).
>
> >Figure the level 50 character's gear value. It's a GREAT deal to try
> >it if you can grab the gear if it works. Set up a few thousand command
> >detonated and targeted on the same hallway and collect the whole set
> >of PC gear for your TPK! The return on investment is GREAT!
>
> That isn't a low level trap killing a high level character, that's a high
> level trap killing one. The fact that the high level trap is made of a lot
> of low level ones is just an implementation detail. It costs as much as
> any other high level trap (consider, for instance, the experience cost
> to make a few thousand one use Finger of Death items.)

You don't like Finger of Death try 50 Harpies (CR 4, EL should be
roughly 15). BAM, no more Epic party. Over 72% chance that ALL FOUR
characters fail their save first try.

And in any case look at the abilities of an Epic character to reduce
or avoid those costs via various methods of cheaper/faster item
creation and then consider how much XP you get for KILLING such a
party. Nor does this really matter, I can BUY such traps at BtB prices
in various towns (I have dimensional travel available, there are LOTS
of places), and the cost will be less than the value of the loot, plus
I then get the XP. We're only talking a few tens of millions of GP
here.

It should be fairly trivial for a multiple dimension bestriding entity
to arrange an attack which requires only a few small bands of weak
monsters or that a modest sized country's population pay it's taxes
for the year. Yet at level 50 or so of play the BBG should BE a
multiple dimension bestriding entity with millions of servants at the
level of a single harpy and thousands at the level that can make FoD
traps.

DougL

tSlefh

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May 3, 2007, 7:24:28 PM5/3/07
to
> tSlefh wrote:
>> so i do need some help, as i cant really see what is so unbalanced
>> here, or even what needs changing.
>
> Problem #1: Epic levels break multiclassing. Compare a Fighter 20/
> Wizard 20 with a Wizard 20/Fighter 20.

Those are very different characters - shouldnt they be?
>
> Problem #2: Epic feats make normal feats useless... but most epic feats
> sit at the end of normal feat chains.

I disagree. Epic feats compound onto normal feats, thus not making them
useful, but making them more useful. For instance : Rapid Shot. useless?
i think not!
>
> Problem #3: The ELH is a sloppily produced book. As has been discussed
> in the past, not a SINGLE epic level spell in the book actually follows
> the rules for designing epic level spells.
>

I had noticed this for a few of the spells - but what does it matter?
Those spells are examples and completely shouldnt be used in play. The
spells should be developed by the player, and be unique to their
character. The Epic Spell Creatin system, imho, is an amazingly flexible
system with simply that little flaw that allows arcanists to heal and
divinists to have huge boomies, which i dont like.

> Problem #4: Almost the entirety of the ELH is dedicated NOT to providing
> meaningful post-20th level play, but to keeping the D20 System from
> flying apart at the seams. By 20th level, D&D's system has been strained
> to its breaking point.
>
I still disagree. I've got a party of level 14's in the mix, going to be
leveling shortly, and there is no strain. I've DMed at least 4 campaigns
to the 15-20 range, and 2 to epic. None of them were strained in the
least. A good DM can adapt to any situation and work out any kinks.

> Basically the ELH took a look at the dam, realized it was breaking, and
> then spent a lot of time trying to stop the dam from breaking. But
> everything it did in an effort to stop the dam from breaking
> (encouraging you to ditch save-or-die and fail-on-natural-1 rules;
> flattening the character advancement curve; etc.) just caused other
> problems to emerge.
>
I have never used the save-or-die or fail-on-natural-one rules. They dont
make sense to me. From level 1 your PC is supposed to be better than
normal humans - why should they save/die? I use fail on natural one's
variant (DMG presented, i believe) where a nat 1 is a -10, and a 20 is a
30. When the natural 1 roll fails, however (as it usually does), i make
some bad fate befall the player (bow breaks, sword flies out of hand 20
feet away, spell backfires, etc.) and when a natural 20 succeeds i have a
gret happenchance go on (natural 20 kills the enemy, sword cuts through
their torso and blood covers the fighter, the spell goes off with a
blinding flash and noone sees anyting but the huge carnage) things like
that. MUCH better imho, and my party has told me they love it.

> At the end of the day, it's a Frankenstein monster: It still suffers
> from most of the problems the system was already exhibiting at high
> level play, layers on a few more for kicks, and then adds in a
> completely sub-standard and broken system for epic spells.
>

Basically what i see is a gret game that has its flaws, getting an
expansion that has its flaws. Its not going to please anyone. I DM it
well enough that my players love every campaign we play, whether it
finishes before level 5, or it continues towards the thirties. I believe
that I can DM well because I love playing - the first thing i ever did in
the DnD universe was make 25 characters to experiment with the creation
system, see any flaws, and get a feel for different characters. The first
thing i did with the epic level handbook was make 10 epic characters (and
1 level 400 i never finsihed), test them out, see how creation and the
rules worked, everything. Then i proceeded to make a working library of
over 30 epic spells. Amazing spells which i either create on my own or
take ideas from other places, then convert them into spells of amazing
magnitude. Every single one of the spells ive made (with SCraft DCs
ranging from 30 to 450~)has been huge, amazing, and overall epic - as
they should be. The DC 450 completely obliterated one target - including
many hundreds of dice of different damages, creating and transporting
them to a demiplane created for that purpose, and making a reverse Shield
that prevented transport, healing, and magic within the radius, along
with a minor damage spell going off every once in a while to make sure.

Psychotically epic. As it should be, no?

Erol K. Bayburt

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May 3, 2007, 7:31:19 PM5/3/07
to
On 3 May 2007 11:24:29 -0700, Justin Alexander
<jus...@thealexandrian.net> wrote:

>There's a reason why D&D gives you a mess of hit points and an
>ablative damage mechanic: It makes combat fun and it makes high-level
>play survivable. But save-or-die mechanics neatly sidestep the well-
>balanced ablative mechanics of the game and turn the entire system
>into a periodic (or constant) crap shoot.

The inflated damage that 3.x gives over earlier editions, especially
at high levels, also undermines this mess of hit points/ablative
damage mechanic. It leaves the game with the problems of inflationary
hit points while removing the advantages.

>
>The easiest way to fix this problem is to get the current save-or-die
>mechanics integrated back into the ablative mechanics. In my games
>I've replaced all the death effects with 3d6 Constitution damage. If
>the death effect has a special effect (turning you into a pile of
>dust; trapping your soul in a magical gem; etc.) this special effect
>only takes effect if the Constitution damage kills you.
>
>The death effect abilities remain deadly, but they aren't an auto-
>kill.
>
>(I should note here that several designers at WotC currently seem to
>believe that any ability which requires a saving throw and somehow
>removes you from combat -- such as paralysis or hold person -- is a
>"save-or-die" effect. This is over-zealous for a variety of reasons,
>although it wouldn't be a horrible idea to have paralysis effects
>inflict 3d6 points of Dexterity damage and a -10 penalty to base
>speed. You become totally paralyzed if your Dex hits 0 or if your base
>speed hits 0.)

ISTM that the "save or else" effects are (a) save or die, (b) save or
be crippled/taken out in some way that requires magic to fix (e.g.
petrification, cause blindness), (c) save or be rendered helpless (but
in a way that the victim will recover from, without magic, if not
killed first - e.g. hold person).

I don't think that it's over-zealous to classify as equivalent to
save-or-die a "save or else" effect that both renders you unable to
act at all *and* can't be fixed except by magic - baleful polymorph,
petrification, etc. Whether it's over-zealous to classify lesser "save
or else" effects this way is something one can argue about.

--
Erol K. Bayburt
Ero...@aol.com

Erol K. Bayburt

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May 3, 2007, 7:41:21 PM5/3/07
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On Thu, 03 May 2007 17:42:34 GMT, Eric P.
<ericpN...@sbcglobal.net> wrote:

>On Thu, 3 May 2007 10:09:08 -0700, SeaHen hath written thusly
>(in article <1178212148.0...@e65g2000hsc.googlegroups.com>):
>
>> On May 2, 4:25 pm, Lorenz.L...@gmx.de wrote:
>>
>>> - natural 20 and 1 should be dropped or handled differently
>>
>> What if attack rolls and saving throws were made open-ended? Natural
>> 1s would be rerolled at -19, and natural 20s at +19.
>>
>Is this to say that a provision for critical success/failure is not
>desireable in the rules?
>

I don't find a provision for critical success or failure to be
particularly desirable. YMMV, but for me one of the better features of
the existing critical hit system in RAW 3.x is that it inhibits DMs
from devising their own critical hit systems full of nasal demon
weirdness.

But then I'm an extremist on this point. I'd be just as glad to see
*no* critical success/failure rules and *no* special treatment of 1s
and 20s - "A roll of a 1 is a 1, and a roll of a 20 is a 20. Deal with
it."

SeaHen

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May 3, 2007, 9:02:19 PM5/3/07
to
Ed Chauvin IV wrote:
> Mere moments before death, SeaHen <seahen12...@gmail.com> hastily
> scrawled:
>
>> Ed Chauvin IV wrote:
>>
>>> And there's no reason D&D can't be done with uncapped normal levels.
>>> Personally, I despise "epic" levels.
>> Even for primary spellcasters who are ceasing to gain any more spells?
>
> *Especially* for primary spellcasters who are ceasing to gain any more
> spells.

Then how would you allow spellcasters to become more powerful as
spellcasters after 20th level (other than by multiclassing)?

--
Proud member of the Online Campaign for Real English. If you believe in
capital letters, correct spelling and good sentence structure then copy
this into your signature.

Eric P.

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May 4, 2007, 12:42:11 AM5/4/07
to
On Thu, 3 May 2007 18:02:19 -0700, SeaHen hath written thusly
(in article <f1e0lk$fqb$1...@aioe.org>):

> Ed Chauvin IV wrote:
>> Mere moments before death, SeaHen <seahen12...@gmail.com> hastily
>> scrawled:
>>
>>> Ed Chauvin IV wrote:
>>>
>>>> And there's no reason D&D can't be done with uncapped normal levels.
>>>> Personally, I despise "epic" levels.
>>> Even for primary spellcasters who are ceasing to gain any more spells?
>>
>> *Especially* for primary spellcasters who are ceasing to gain any more
>> spells.
>
> Then how would you allow spellcasters to become more powerful as
> spellcasters after 20th level (other than by multiclassing)?
>

This could probably be handled by either/both of:

* Remove the spell slot cap
* Create spells of spell levels 10+

I'm guessing there are some third-party resources available that offer
other alternatives...?

- E


================================================================
Hogwasher: You don't have to sacrifice friendliness for power
http://www.asar.com/cgi-bin/product.pl?58/hogwasher.html
================================================================

Matt Frisch

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May 4, 2007, 2:21:08 AM5/4/07
to
On Thu, 03 May 2007 21:02:19 -0400, SeaHen <seahen12...@gmail.com>
scribed into the ether:

>Ed Chauvin IV wrote:
>> Mere moments before death, SeaHen <seahen12...@gmail.com> hastily
>> scrawled:
>>
>>> Ed Chauvin IV wrote:
>>>
>>>> And there's no reason D&D can't be done with uncapped normal levels.
>>>> Personally, I despise "epic" levels.
>>> Even for primary spellcasters who are ceasing to gain any more spells?
>>
>> *Especially* for primary spellcasters who are ceasing to gain any more
>> spells.
>
>Then how would you allow spellcasters to become more powerful as
>spellcasters after 20th level (other than by multiclassing)?

I think what Ed means is not getting epic spells. Uncapping normal levels
would be without changing how they work the way the epic rules do. So you
continue to get BAB post-20 (which is useful for spellcasters making touch
attacks either in melee or ranged touched/ray spells).

I think that he also means the existing spell table gets bumped up a notch
as far as the per-days go. Progress spell levels up to level 20 to account
for metamagic (level 10+ spells would be exclusively metamagic, with the
need to go up to 20 for stacking multiple such effects). Expand the spell
table upwards starting at level 21 with the aquisition of the first 10th
level spell slot. So a 25th level wizard would have the 4-per-level per
days from spell levels 0 to 9, and on top of that would also have:

10: 3
11: 2
12: 1

I'd also continue the existing trend as far as how earlier levels gain
additional castings. You get 1 of that level for 1 level, then 2 of that
level for 2 levels, then 3 of that level for 3 levels, etc. So our level 25
wizard would have a total per day spell list that looked like:

CLev Spells per Day
1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th 11th 12th
1 1 — — — — — — — — — — —
2 2 — — — — — — — — — — —
3 2 1 — — — — — — — — — —
4 3 2 — — — — — — — — — —
5 3 2 1 — — — — — — — — —
6 3 3 2 — — — — — — — — —
7 4 3 2 1 — — — — — — — —
8 4 3 3 2 — — — — — — — —
9 4 4 3 2 1 — — — — — — —
10 4 4 3 3 2 — — — — — — —
11 5 4 4 3 2 1 — — — — — —
12 5 4 4 3 3 2 — — — — — —
13 5 5 4 4 3 2 1 — — — — —
14 5 5 4 4 3 3 2 — — — — —
15 5 5 5 4 4 3 2 1 — — — —
16 6 5 5 4 4 3 3 2 — — — —
17 6 5 5 5 4 4 3 2 1 — — —
18 6 6 5 5 4 4 3 3 2 — — —
19 6 6 5 5 5 4 4 3 3 — — —
20 6 6 6 5 5 4 4 3 4 — — —
21 6 6 6 5 5 5 4 4 4 1 — —
22 7 6 6 6 5 5 4 4 4 2 — —
23 7 6 6 6 5 5 5 4 4 2 1 —
24 7 7 6 6 6 5 5 4 5 3 2 —
25 7 7 6 6 6 5 5 5 5 3 2 1


The progression for level 9 spells diverges from the normal progression,
ruins the nice symmetry of the earlier levels, but that's all good.
Potentially, since the addition of extra lower level spells starts kicking
in at level 11, level 9 spells should be put into the normal progression.
That would have the 4th casting appear at 22 instead of 20.

Now, there's a not inconsiderable possibility that this will make
spellcasters even stronger than they are now. One possibility would be to
have the more-than-4 progression start at 21, but then that gives wierdness
where spells don't come in increments, but in giant doses. At 21, all spell
levels get another casting. Then at 26, all spell levels get the 6th
casting. Would make those upgrade levels overly huge.

Rick Pikul

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May 4, 2007, 2:57:24 AM5/4/07
to
On Thu, 03 May 2007 23:24:28 +0000, tSlefh wrote:

>> tSlefh wrote:
>>> so i do need some help, as i cant really see what is so unbalanced
>>> here, or even what needs changing.
>>
>> Problem #1: Epic levels break multiclassing. Compare a Fighter 20/
>> Wizard 20 with a Wizard 20/Fighter 20.
>
> Those are very different characters - shouldnt they be?

The problem is that the first is much better, having an attack of
+30/+25/+20/+15 vs. the latter's +20/+15. The only advantage for the
Wiz20/Ftr20 is that it has it's +22 save in Will rather than Fort.

It gets worse if you replace Fighter with Monk. A Wiz20/Mnk20 has no
advantage over a Mnk20/Wiz20.


--
Phoenix

Rick Pikul

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May 4, 2007, 3:03:25 AM5/4/07
to
On Thu, 03 May 2007 17:42:34 +0000, Eric P. wrote:

> On Thu, 3 May 2007 10:09:08 -0700, SeaHen hath written thusly
> (in article <1178212148.0...@e65g2000hsc.googlegroups.com>):
>
>> On May 2, 4:25 pm, Lorenz.L...@gmx.de wrote:
>>
>>> - natural 20 and 1 should be dropped or handled differently
>>
>> What if attack rolls and saving throws were made open-ended? Natural
>> 1s would be rerolled at -19, and natural 20s at +19.
>>
> Is this to say that a provision for critical success/failure is not
> desireable in the rules?

For critical hits, the threat range can continue to apply to the initial
roll without problems. Now, if you need to go open ended to get a hit at
all, I wouldn't expect to confirm very many of them.

--
Phoenix

Justin Alexander

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May 4, 2007, 4:09:11 AM5/4/07
to
Reginald Blue wrote:
> But, pretend, for a moment, that every "Will save" spell that's now
> save-or-? caused "Will damage" instead... say, 1 point per spell level,
> against your will modifier (just making this up.) Then, when you reached -1
> or less Will, the spells "special effect" takes over, and now you're held,
> charmed, or whatever.
>
> Of course, this isn't really D&D anymore I guess, once you start eliminating
> saving throws.

I think you can have it both ways. After all, a fireball spell has a
save and then goes after your hit points.

Personally I think you can get away with two ablative pools: Hit
Points and Mental Points. (The latter need a better name -- I'm open
to suggestions.)

> The one problem with 3d6 against Con is that it's not really good to compare
> against for the various character types... you could have a 20th level
> fighter that didn't have a great Con, but should have that great resistance.

There are some things which SHOULD go after underlying attributes,
IMO. And death effects are one of them.