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 Post subject: Thematically Optimized
PostPosted: Wed Jul 01, 2009 2:00 am 
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Last Saturday we had an Arena Battles game of D&D 3.5 at the local grange hall.

The game was simple. Build whatever character you what, using any WotC book you have. Character level was 10th. Anything goes, as long as it fallows all the rules.

So i did.

I built a Druid (5) Beastmaster (5). Now this character wasn't too horribly over powered, but with a druid you get an animal companion to go with it. And that animal companion gets extra hit dice (and other things) based on your level.
Now usually the animal companions HD are going to be lower than the PC by one or two. But...The beastmaster class gives you an effective +3 druid levels when it comes to your animal companion's level based benefits. And the example given shows that this effective level can accede your actual character level.
Now add to that the Natural Bond feat and things get really broke. You see this feat is able to raise you effective druid level by three to a maximum of your character level.

The 7th level animal companions starts with 6 hit dice on average, but to balance it your effective druid level is reduced by -6 levels. So when you fist acquire it your animal companion will only have the modifications of a 1st level druid.

But the natural bond feat negates three of those negative levels and the beast master wipes out the other three. So you end up with an animal companion with modification at you full druid level.

So at 10th level, my Tiger animal companion had a base of 6d8 hd. Then it gets another +6d8 hit dice from my druid mods. Making it 12 Hit Dice.

Needless to say, a druid with a few spells on himself, shared of course, and I was unstoppable. The wizard I was pitted against was the only possible challenger. And since you where allowed to come in fully buffed I thought I might actually get scratched that round, But his dice crapped out on him during Initiative and the tiger tore him to shreds before he could even star wiggling his fingers.

I would never play this build in an actual sit down game, but this was an anything goes Arena Game so I pulled out the most "Thematically Optimized" character I could.

So how have you or your players broken the game?


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 01, 2009 2:09 am 
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I'm not sure if that's really "breaking the game", or if the game was already broken with bloat from rules that WotC added over the years...

I dunno if you like or have tried 4e, but I'd be interested to see what happens in an "Arena Game" scenario there...

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 01, 2009 5:44 am 
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EDG wrote:
I'm not sure if that's really "breaking the game", or if the game was already broken with bloat from rules that WotC added over the years...


I'm not sure if it was broken from the bloat or whatever - class "balance" is really only an obsessive concern in games like MMORPGs. Tabletop games have always had much more relaxed "balance" concerns - D&D 3.5e was never truly meant to be a head-on challenge, and while 3e and 3.5e made more of an effort to reach a kind of balance, the concern was more than each class could contribute equally to an encounter, rather than be balanced in 1 vs 1 fights.

As for Druids the class balance for them and Clerics have always been pretty extreme in 3e and 3.5e mostly because players hated playing those classes (I still do) so they buffed them to insane levels to try an entice people to play them and the two classes are easily the most "overpowered" classes as far as individual power goes. I still hate playing Clerics and Druids though - I can't stand playing a character that is so totally beholden to a deity.

By 10th level though, especially fully-buffed, I'd think a wizard would actually last longer than just a single round, though.

Similarly, if spellcasters are allowed to chose any "legal" spell to have their books, warriors and similar equipment dependent classes should have an unlimited budget for magic items, since that's where a lot of their power comes, in particular, miscellaneous magical items. To limit equipment-based classes while giving spellcasters unlimited spell selection is very badly slanting the contest in favor of spellcasters already. And what would you do about Paladins and their warhorses? Or a Wizard with a summon or gate spell? Could such characters already have their summonings there? If not, you're biasing the game in favor of the druid again.

I can't imagine if groundrules like were followed that your Druid would have gotten away so scot-free without any "serious challengers."


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 01, 2009 8:21 am 
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Yeah, not sure how one would balance the items and accomplishments bit but I'm curious to hear. Sounds like it might be a fun one off to do when some buds get together.

Off topic-ish maybe...

I had an old school AD&D Fighter (less than 10th L) ages ago that could have fried everybody's butt :) (maybe)

...well, him and the Red Dragon he* would fly in on, subdued in a campaign with his huge ego sword :lol:

* well, him and the party, but not all of them survived. Yeah, that game was broken then. Things are complicated when you've got a dragon to keep under your thumb, feeding is a full time job of terrorizing the countryside ;)

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 01, 2009 4:32 pm 
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far-trader wrote:
Off topic-ish maybe...
Actually you are the only one on topic.


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