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[Kit mod] Dwarven Defender Rebalancing

ArctodusArctodus Member Posts: 996
edited February 2018 in General Modding
Since I'm a bit foolish, I decided to follow @Raduziel's example and start a kit mod that nobody wants to play ! Yeah !

So, it is a rebalancing kit mod for the Dwarven Defender. I personally think that Defensive Stance, an ability that gives better DR than the Hardiness HLA with a sugary saving throws bonus on top AT LEVEL 1, miiight be a tad powergamey for my taste. But, you know, DWARVEN DEFENDER, the name is so cool that I'd like to use it. So, I decided to throw around a few ideas to rebalance the kit. First, I changed the kit's main theme : instead of big damage reduction, Dwarven Defenders get an increase to their AC and his/her allies. So, here's the kit rough design :

-----
DWARVEN DEFENDER: The Dwarven Defender is a formidable warrior that is reputed to be worth two soldiers of any other race. Trained extensively in the art of dwarven warfare, a handful of these stout fighters can render a defensive line all but unbreakable.

Advantages:
– May use Defensive Stance at will.

DEFENSIVE STANCE: Under Defensive Stance, the Dwarven Defender gains +2 to AC and 10% of damage reduction. However, since Defensive Stance requires full concentration on defense, the character receives a -1/2 attack per round penalty and a 50% movement rate penalty. At level 10, the bonus to AC becomes +3; the bonus goes up to +4 at level 17.

At level 8, an experienced Dwarven Defender learns to organize their allies to maximize their defensive position. Any ally standing within 3 feet of the Dwarven Defender will gain some of the AC bonus given by Defensive Stance. At level 8, allies will receive +1 bonus. The bonus to allies increases to +2 at level 10 and to +3 at level 17. Allies will not receive the bonus to damage reduction, but will not be affected by the attack per round penalty and the movement rate penalty.

– Hit Die: d12

Disadvantages:
– Race restricted to dwarf.
– May get to Grand Mastery (five slots) only in axes and war hammers.
- May not use range weapon.
– May not exceed Proficiency (one slot) in any other weapon.
-----

IMPORTANT NOTE

Since the Infinity Engine has a cap of -20 AC, the only way to bypass this limit is to have AC bonuses against types of damage (piercing, slashing, ...). So, when you activate Defensive Stance, the bonus to AC will only be shown under ARMOR CLASS MODIFIERS. Otherwise, if you have -18 AC and activate Defensive Stance at level 10, you will only get to -20 to AC, thus losing -1 AC into thin air.

Initial thoughts about the kit mod :

So, here's a few thoughts.

1. First, the aura effect is borrowed from the Shield of the Falling Star +2 from IR. I thank @semiticgod for the idea ! The RP justification is that an experience DD not only can protect him/herself, but also can protect those around him/her by maximizing their defensive positions. The aura effect is strong at higher levels, but you have to be really close to the DD for it to be active. And, since being all grouped up can be a disadvantage - aka it makes you more vulnerable to AoE attacks - I think it's fairly balanced.

2. Also, the new Defensive Stance is a revised copy of the ability of the same name from Kit Revisions. The penalty to movement is increased from -2 to -4, but that's because I also kept the bonus to saving throws (so that the ability stays useful against mages). Since the skill is not as strong as it was before, I believe that, instead of setting the movement rate at 50%, giving an incremental penalty to movement rate makes the ability more useful. An hasted DD will move faster. Add in boots of speed and a DD movement rate under Defensive Stance won't be that bad.

3. I also decided to give the DD Grand Mastery in axes and war hammers. It's just that, to me, having a fighter kit specific to dwarves without giving them GM in their iconic weapons is borderline blasphemy. However, I believe that restricting them to proficiency in other weapons is an actual drawback compared to the original kit. If you consider the penalty to APR given by my modified Defensive Stance, using something else than axes or hammers will be less than optimal. It means that a DD have to give up on some flexibility.

4. Should I prevent the aura to stack with itself ? Should two level 19 DDs give -8 to AC to their nearby allies ? It's a bit much if you ask me. My gut feeling tells me to prevent that. Also, should I prevent the DD aura to stack with the Shield of the Falling Star aura in IR ? I'm not so sure about that one. It's such a niche combination that I'm more inclined to let it in. Up to -6 AC to allies at level 19 is definitively good, but then the DD gives up on better shield to do so. What do you guys and gals think ?

5. I let the small DR bonuses of the original kit in there. It does fit thematically that this kit would get some natural DR, like Barbarians. I'm pretty sure I'll leave this in.

6. Lastly, does this kit mod sound interesting ? Although I learned to fiddle with NI to be able to make all those changes, I know jack shit about WeiDU right now. The files are all ready, but is it worth my time to learn WeiDU to let that kit mod go public ?

I'm still in the decision process about that kit mod, so if you have any other suggestions, go ahead and tell me !


Edit : Changed the thac0 penalty to an APR penalty.

Edit 2 : First official description of the kit mod.

Post edited by Arctodus on
StummvonBordwehrSkatanJuliusBorisovGrammarsaladsubtledoctorRaduzielbooinyoureyesBlackraven

Comments

  • SkatanSkatan Member, Moderator Posts: 4,961
    Initial thought, having them get GM in axes/hammers takes away the ONE real drawback that defines the DD; they trade offensive for defense. True, you are trying to setup the same kind of trade using other parameters, but to me that is the main selling point of the vanilla DD. Any single class fighter get enough THAC0 so that the small -THAC0 debuff will hardly be noticable, but losing that half APR from GM is.

    Other than that, I like the idea of the aura. Makes the DD into a kind of defensive general, rallying their party into a shieldwall and with their experience they make everyone fight better by directing them and guiding them into becoming one cohesive defensive unit. I like that concept.

    Arctodus
  • sarevok57sarevok57 Member Posts: 4,984
    i agree that the DD is way to over powered with it's defensive stance ability and im a power gamer, i remember when it first came out and i thought to myself; lol say what? why did they make it this way?

    now i dont know how the dwarven defender was implemented in 2nd edition, but damn, the one we have now is WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY to good

    so in the IWD mod i made, i changed the dwarven defender defensive stance to me more of it's 3rd edition counterpart, where instead of giving them an outrageous 50% damage resistance, i gave them a +2 constitution, +2 AC and maybe some STR? that is way more balanced, especially in a game like IWD where at level 20 your DD would have so much damage resistance that damage would actually HEAL him ( lol ? ) with the right items

    Arctodus
  • ArctodusArctodus Member Posts: 996
    @Skatan You got me thinking. Instead of a thac0 penalty, which is hardly noticeable at higher levels, you're right about that, maybe I should add in a 1/2 APR penalty to DS instead. You attack a bit less often, because you're focusing on defense. Then, you can have full APR from GM, but not when using DS. It would then cripple them even more when using something other than axes or hammers under DS, but not thac0 wise. Mmh. I like it better now. I think I'll do that !

    Skatansarevok57
  • SkatanSkatan Member, Moderator Posts: 4,961
    @Arctodus, aah.. that's a perfect idea! Then they can fight regularly when they face off some random critters and then dive down into def-con 5 when needed, getting the def bonuses but sacrificing some offensive power. Good call!

    Arctodus
  • subtledoctorsubtledoctor Member Posts: 11,469
    edited January 2018
    I like it. I would definitely not allow DS to stack with itself.

    I also would definitely use this mod.

    Post edited by subtledoctor on
    ArctodussemiticgodGreener
  • semiticgodsemiticgod Member, Moderator Posts: 14,093
    This seems rather balanced! It's still a sight better than an unkitted dwarven fighter, but it doesn't completely outclass the other fighter types like the original Dwarven Defender did.

    It would make sense for Defensive Stance to grant immunity to wing buffet effects. It would also make sense for the Dwarven Defender to be unable to use missile weapons, since even a crossbow (with its dwarven themes) seems unfitting for a classic tank. Giving the Dwarven Defender some unique HLAs like a stronger aura would make it a bit cooler even if they didn't change the balance much. I think it would be good for a high-level defensive aura to add a little physical damage resistance to party members, since there are some ToB enemies that have near-95% hit rates even against critters with exceptionally low AC (AC isn't useless in ToB as some have claimed, but it's not as impactful in some fights).

    Arctodus
  • ArctodusArctodus Member Posts: 996
    Ok. I've updated the OP with the first official description of the kit mod. I prevented the aura to stack with itself and also made Dwarven Defenders under Defensive Stance immune to the aura effect, all in case someone wants to use more than one Dwarven Defender in their team. If you find typos in my description, please tell me.

    Since I'll have to learn how to WeiDU before releasing it, it probably will take a while, but I will launch it eventually !

  • ArctodusArctodus Member Posts: 996

    This seems rather balanced! It's still a sight better than an unkitted dwarven fighter, but it doesn't completely outclass the other fighter types like the original Dwarven Defender did.

    It would make sense for Defensive Stance to grant immunity to wing buffet effects. It would also make sense for the Dwarven Defender to be unable to use missile weapons, since even a crossbow (with its dwarven themes) seems unfitting for a classic tank. Giving the Dwarven Defender some unique HLAs like a stronger aura would make it a bit cooler even if they didn't change the balance much. I think it would be good for a high-level defensive aura to add a little physical damage resistance to party members, since there are some ToB enemies that have near-95% hit rates even against critters with exceptionally low AC (AC isn't useless in ToB as some have claimed, but it's not as impactful in some fights).

    The Wing Buffet immunity is actually another good idea ! It could be granted by high level Defensive Stance, like the last version gained at level 19. Or maybe be granted by a unique HLA.

    A unique HLA would be real nice. I'm not too sure about giving DR to an HLA aura, because there's enough DR in the game. Even a slight 10% could make a well equipped Paladin or Barbarian almost completely immune to physical attack. An AoE Wing Buffet immunity with an even higher AC bonus, like -6, would be nice though. Also, I plan to make Defensive Stance usable in conjunction with Hardiness. So, it will turn a DD into monsters in their own right at higher levels. That's also why giving DR to Defensive Stance would be too much.

    Also, I somewhat don't really agree with the ranged attack restriction. It could make sense, but they still will be stuck with base proficiency and lower APR if they use Defensive Stance. A level 7 Dwarven Defender will be stuck at 1 APR with a sling under DS. Let say they won't be world beaters with range attack. GWW would bypass that restriction though, so it could make sense. I'll have to think about it.

    semiticgod
  • subtledoctorsubtledoctor Member Posts: 11,469
    edited January 2018
    In that case, I would maybe make the AC bonus only work against melee attacks. You shouldn't be able to use Defensive Stance and go shot-for-shot with archers because your AC is so low. You should be incentivized to rush over to the archers to engage in melee, and then turn on DS.

    Bonus: applying the AC bonus that way means it will be able to push your (melee) AC past the -20 cap, thus it will be effective even in TOB.

    EDIT - I can probably provide sone resources to help make this happen. I literally just created an at-will innate toggleable aura for another mod.

    Arctodussemiticgod
  • ArctodusArctodus Member Posts: 996
    @subtledoctor Yeah ok, you just convinced me. I wanna keep their AC high even against ranged attack, but it's true that they shouldn't be able to take archers at range. That's not their role. They should draw aggro from enemy archers to let their team's ranged attackers do the job. I guess I will forbid them to use ranged weapon by giving them the Cavalier proficiency table. They still will only have proficiency for all usable weapons except axes and hammers.

    I'm totally interested to know how to apply bonus AC that goes beyond the -20 cap. Otherwise, if AC bonus from the kit is wasted, it's goes against the idea of the kit.

  • subtledoctorsubtledoctor Member Posts: 11,469
    If their AC against ranged attacks is mot boosted they might take some arrows while rushing to melee range... but then that's okay, those arrows can be absorbed by their abnormally large hit dice.

    Also you can use Sword-and-Shield Style with hammers and axes, which will give you a huge ranged AC bonus to balance a melee-only AC bonus from DS. (And neither of those will count toward the cap!)

  • ArctodusArctodus Member Posts: 996
    edited February 2018
    It's just that I see no real conceptual reason why they should be weaker to ranged attack. What we got here is a tough s.o.b. of a dwarf clad in heavy armor behind a tower shield. Why would he be weaker to ranged attack when he goes in full defensive motion ? I will go with an AC boost to every type of damage, but with no access to range weapon.

    @subtledoctor Can you confirm that, to bypass the -20 AC limit, you have to apply bonus vs types of damage, which would mean all other value than 0 for Opcode 0 ?

    Post edited by Arctodus on
  • subtledoctorsubtledoctor Member Posts: 11,469
    It's not being weak to ranged attacks - again, the d12 hit dice is already making you better against them than a fighter. It's DR by a different name.

    It's more that, when I think of a dwarf using Defensive Stance, a picture a single stalwart fending off hordes of attackers, preventing them from passing through a tunnel. I see melee prowess. What I don't see is how the Defensive
    Stance protects from archers, 50 feet away, maybe even outside the dwarf's field of vision. How does it help the dwarf avoid tnose attacks? I can't see it.

    Can the dwarf take more arrow hits before going down? Sure - and that's already baked in. So, tl;dr:
    Arctodus said:

    It's just that I see no real conceptual reason why they should be weaker to ranged attack.

    I'm not saying they should be weaker against ranged. They're actually stronger against ranged. I'm just saying I don't see Defensive Stance, specifically, being an ability for increasing your avoidance defense against ranged attacks. Whereas I do see it having that effect in melee.

    Also just as far as balance, if I'm designing this kit I'd look for where the weakness is. I just see a fighter+ here - or really, a fighter++. The only downside at all is no ranged weapons. Which is actually kind of meaningless because you can will get GM with throwing axes. You can get GM with the wespons you were going to use anyway, which include ranged attacks; you get save bonuses (I think?) from DS on top of already getting frankly insane save bonuses just from being a dwarf; you get more hit points than anyone else, for... reasons; your whole party gets AC bonuses as good as from the best bard song... so where's the weakness? Why would anyone in their right mind be [kit x] instead of this? Is every single dwarf warrior a Defender?

    Those are the harsh questions...I find it's useful to look through that lens sometimes.

  • ArctodusArctodus Member Posts: 996
    edited February 2018

    Also just as far as balance, if I'm designing this kit I'd look for where the weakness is. I just see a fighter+ here - or really, a fighter++. The only downside at all is no ranged weapons. Which is actually kind of meaningless because you can will get GM with throwing axes.

    Yep, it's true. But that's a weakness of the IE as a whole. Kensais and Cavaliers are not supposed to have access to ranged weapons, yet they do. Throwing Kensais are pretty much a regular class at this point. At least, axes got a shorter range than bows and slings, so a DD will have to eat (or avoid) some shots before being in range to throw axes. But, even if I did what you said, would having 2 less AC against missile weapons make suddenly such a big change ? I don't really think so. It wouldn't add much mechanically. I don't think the aim of having to rush ranged attackers would necessarily be attained.

    you get save bonuses (I think?) from DS on top of already getting frankly insane save bonuses just from being a dwarf; you get more hit points than anyone else, for... reasons;

    Those are largely leftovers from the original class. But now that you say it, I could change the save bonus to be only vs breath. It would be a better fit thematically. For the hp, I think it makes sense, because DDs are supposed to be the toughest fighters out there, like Barbarians.

    your whole party gets AC bonuses as good as from the best bard song...

    Not your whole party. I should have been more clear about it, but the range of the aura is ridiculously small. You litteraly have to stand right beside the DD to have the bonus, so you'll have to be in melee range. If you're 5 feet away, you don't get the bonus. Being so grouped up is also dangerous against mages and their AoE spells.

    But you talked about the Skald's bard song; the DD aura does step on the toes of this skill. I haven't thought about it before you said it. It doesn't grant its immunities and doesn't have its range, but those two skills used in conjunction could give a whooping -8 to AC to teammates. That's just too much. So, I will nerf the aura to give only a flat -2 at level 8 with no progression thereafter. A bigger bonus will probably be given with a unique HLA.

    so where's the weakness? Why would anyone in their right mind be [kit x] instead of this? Is every single dwarf warrior a Defender?

    The DD mod in its current form doesn't have the damage output of neither a Kensai, Barbarian or a Berserker can have. It doesn't have the straight out immunities of a Berserker and a Barbarian either. Nor the speciality niche of the Wizard Slayer. It also doesn't have the flexibility of the kitless fighter, even though I agree that DDs are plain better than kitless fighters. The real asset a DD has with my mod is really good AC. Saving throws also, but who needs saving throws when you're immune to all the nastiest disablers, like Berserkers and Barbarians are ? (I will most probably nerf the ST bonus anyway.) And AC will only take you so far. It is good, but a crit will always bypass it. And you can only take so much crits from mind flayers, for example. You also got no protection from direct spell damage.

    I value your input, because you're a longtime modder who has done an amazing job over the years. You have pushed the boundaries of IE moddability like never before. And all the thing you said are quite true, even moreso on a mod thread that aim to rebalance an arguably overpowered kit. They got me thinking and I reevaluated some things. However, there's another danger : balance creep. In an engine that let you have fighter/mages and sorcerers, where you can fight demons and planetars that can Vorpal you in one hit, where you can find a truckload of insanely good magical items, where a single failed saving throw against a disabler usually means death,... trying to balance it all is pretty much a Sisyphean enterprise.

    My first aim is to rebalance the kit so I can play it in an IR/SR install, where the DR given to armors would make the original DD completely broken. Is this mod perfect ? Nope. It doesn't aim to be, because it also tries to make it thematically coherent and fun. Balance should be a holistic view that prevents an addition to completely break the game. I humbly think that the direction in which this mod is going respect that view.

    semiticgod
  • subtledoctorsubtledoctor Member Posts: 11,469
    edited February 2018
    Hey I'm still going to install this. It's great stuff, much better than the vanilla. I'm just talking philosophy, and design. I don't think much about balance creep; I just like there to be an Achilles heel - some Achilles heel, somewhere. (Sometimes literally - weakness to Archers! :tongue: ) I like player choices to come with opportunity costs. A good kit might sweep the bandit camp, and solo Daveorn... but die to an Assassin's backstab. Or maybe it can spot thieves and overpower warriors, but succumb to charms. Etc.

    Balance between kits is meaningless to me; I worry about internal balance. A kit's bonuses and drawbacks should not be internally balanced; that's why the Archer is great, and the Jester and the Avenger. And that's why the Berserker is awful: the bonuses read like a checklist of how to make the kit weak to nothing. And then we have to wade through thread after thread of self-congratulatory verbal onanism about the latest berserker/mage solo-no-reload blah blah blah. It's utterly boring.

    Erm, sorry, that turned into a rant. Anyway yeah, down with balanced bonuses. Be good against X but not against Y. Make the player scramble sometimes! Everyone loves it when the QB gets flushed out of the pocket - the hair-raising close calls tend to be the most fun parts of the game. So thumbs-up for selective save bonuses, instead of uniform save bonuses. :)

    Limiting the group AC bonus is a good idea. 2 points may not sound like much but in a game where every kit can already take care of themselves, an extra bonus is pretty strong. Bard songs are powerful, but they take the bard out of play - opportunity cost!

    The small radius is an excellent idea, it will actually influence gameplay strategy, and makes it flavorful. Yay for flavor!
    Arctodus said:

    In an engine ... where a single failed saving throw against a disabler usually means death,...

    You should try my mod that reduces the duration of every spell! Battles have s different flavor when "save-or-suck" spells only give a 2-3 round tactical advantage.

    Post edited by subtledoctor on
    ArctodussemiticgodDjinn
  • RaduzielRaduziel Member Posts: 4,716
    Dude, your mod was posted yesterday and already have five likes and 15 (now sixteen, I guess) posts on it.

    You have to work harder if you want to fail like me.

    tbone1Arctodus
  • ArctodusArctodus Member Posts: 996
    Ok, I think I got this. I just updated the OP with the latest version of my kit, which is my most simple and elegant version yet.

    The DD doesn't have natural DR anymore : he/she gets 10%, but only while under Defensive Stance. The bonus to saving throws was then scrapped.

    The penalty to movement rate is back at a set -50%. This is THE drawback of the kit, its major weakness, so I had to keep it in.

    The AC bonus to allies now follows a much simple formula = x-1. So, the bonus to allies now is +1 at level 8, +2 at 10 and +3 at 17.

    All AC bonuses were added by types of damage, to make sure that these bonuses goes beyond the -20 hardcap.

    All the files are ready, we're good to go. I'm gonna start to learn WeiDU with this framework.

    I want to add one last thing : a unique HLA. My initial idea is a beefed up version of the Defensive Stance. It would give +5 to AC to the DD (+4 to allies), and render the DD and everyone under his aura immune to Wing Buffet and backstab. I think that HLA would be fun and tactical, particularly in ToB, where you can fight plenty dragons.

    subtledoctorRaduziel
  • semiticgodsemiticgod Member, Moderator Posts: 14,093

    And that's why the Berserker is awful: the bonuses read like a checklist of how to make the kit weak to nothing. And then we have to wade through thread after thread of self-congratulatory verbal onanism about the latest berserker/mage solo-no-reload blah blah blah. It's utterly boring.

    The worst part was when my no-reload Berserker/Mage, Mae, used the mod-introduced Boots of Boredom to become completely invisible to a dragon and immune to level 0-9 effects, and then equipped a bow to negate the boots' 0 APR penalty. And then, when that didn't work, we cast Righteous Wrath of the Faithful (which was bugged to impose no fatigue penalty) and chain-cast a bunch of erroneously stacking Emotion: Hope spells from the IWDification mod to boost her THAC0 and switched to the mod-introduced Sorcerer's Staff to kill the dragon using the staff's 25% chance of instantly petrifying the target with no save while bypassing magic resistance.

    And then I bitched about how little XP I got for the fight.

    Arctodustbone1
  • subtledoctorsubtledoctor Member Posts: 11,469
    :lol:

    Btw just from a purely aesthetic standpoint, setting aside "balance," if the AC bonus works against all attack types then as a player I'd rather it use the normal AC bonus. The incidence of actually going below -20 AC is so late, and so rare (generally it only happens for one of the party with a certain kit, and ic you concentrate AC items), that not being able to hit -22 or whatever is overshadowed by the game-long inconvenience of not being able to see my real AC at a glance in the inventiry screen.

    (But that's totally subjective.)

    Arctodus
  • ArctodusArctodus Member Posts: 996
    edited February 2018
    Yeah, that's definitively something to think about, because, for about 3/4 of the game, it won't neither be really possible to go beyond -20, nor would be all that useful if you manage to do it. I still want the AC bonus to go beyond the hardcap though, because that's gonna be helpful in the late game. Having the AC bonus go to waste when it's needed the most would go against the very idea of the kit. I could change the types of bonus only for the higher levels of Defensive Stance, but right now, I'm inclined to let things as-is for the sake of consistency. I'll think about a way of implementing that idea, though.

  • subtledoctorsubtledoctor Member Posts: 11,469
    Arctodus said:

    I could change the types of bonus only for the higher levels of Defensive Stance, but right now, I'm inclined to let things as-is for the sake of consistency. I'll think about a way of implementing that idea, though.

    Ah, losing sleep considering how much of the gameplay/UI you're willing to compromise or change in order to implement a cool idea... welcome to my world :naughty:

    Arctodus
  • ArctodusArctodus Member Posts: 996
    edited February 2018
    Welp, here's the first version of the mod. I've updated the OP with it. Everything works fine on my end. If someone wants to look at it to see if I did something stupid, please do tell me. Defensive Stance is now fully toggeable now.

    After having tested the kit on a one-on-one against Sarevok, I decided to keep the bonus to AC by types of damage. Since I achieved a healthy -24 AC against him, it convinced me that it's the way to go. Otherwise, it will really be easy to have some AC thrown to garbage.

    Also, don't forget that Defensive Stance is now fully compatible with Hardiness.

    I still have an hla to implement, but I'm still unsure how. The skill itself is already designed though; it's a powered up version of Defensive Stance. Here it is :

    - 15% DR
    - +5 to AC (+4 to allies)
    - immunity to backstab
    - immunity to wing buffet
    - 50% movement rate penalty
    - -1/2 attack per round

    I'm just not sure if I simply should give those bonuses directly to Defensive Stance at level 20 or something or make it a selectable hla. I'm leaning toward giving the bonuses straigth at level 20 now, because it's not a new skill, it's just a better version of a skill you already possess. If someone has an idea to improve this version of Defensive Stance, I'm more than open to suggestions !

  • subtledoctorsubtledoctor Member Posts: 11,469
    IMHO:

    1) Given that this is donething that can be used infinitely, unlike every other HLA, but doesn't make the caster a useless statue, like bard song, I might leave the effect on alloes at its pre-HLA level and have the HLA boost be focused on the dwarf. Otherwise you can get into situations where a whole 6-man party can get like -30 AC and just sleepwalk through the whole game. Where's the fun in that?

    2) As for implementation: I would definitely say the player has to burn an HLA for something that powerful. Shouldn't be difficult: set up a new, different toggleable ability; have the HLA AP_ a spell that cancels the base version (just like the regular 'cancel stance' ability), and has a 172 effect to remove the base toggle, and another 172 effect to remove the base cancel toggle, and finally a 171 effect to add the HLA version.

  • ArctodusArctodus Member Posts: 996
    edited February 2018
    1) The hla version only gives +1 AC to the DD and allies compared to the regular level 17 version. Allies don't receive the damage reduction bonus, but neither the APR penalty and the movement rate penalty. And, in ToB, where you'll get the skill, you'll have a hard time to keep -20 AC and lower on a lot of teammates. Even then, enemy's thac0 will be so good that I'm not sure a +4 bonus is THAT significant (going from -12 to -16 in ToB won't make you avoid that much damage). It's hard to stack high AC on a whole group of allies. And it's still only AC; there are more than enough things flying around that ignore it. Anyway, I'll think about it.

    I also want to add the immunities to backstab and wing buffet to allies when they're in range, because I think that these bonuses are very situationnal. Also, since the range of the aura is so small (it's melee range, really), everyone around you will not be pushed away by the dragon's breath, but they'll all have to take the damage that comes with it. You can't spread your team (which is usually an efficient way to deal with dragons) AND have the immunities. It adds a tactical choice. Also, I'm not too sure how backstab plays a big role when you're in hla territory. It's more like a freebie, but not that significant in my opinion.

    For IWD, it's all a moot point because there are no hla there.

    2) Yeah, you're right. A DD should have to burn an hla on that skill, I agree. Will do.

  • subtledoctorsubtledoctor Member Posts: 11,469
    edited February 2018
    I'm mostly thinking of stuff like Stance + Skald Song + [insert cleric buff] = something like -10 AC for everyone, which is an overall 60-point AC bonus... in a 2E game that's crazy. (My fighter mod gives them an AC-boost aura which would also stack, but I cap it at -2.)

    Not trying to be a Debbie Downer, just spitballing. My current game is at 3rd level so I won't be seeing TOB anytime soon, so I'm not the late-game balance expert. But what about a conceptual shift: if the aura is designed to help allies - if the point is to "defend" :wink: then maybe reverse the bonuses: start at 0 for the dwarf and -1 for allies, and go up to -3 for the dwarf and -4 for allies. The idea being, you sort of invite attacks from enemies by making yourself more vulnerable. And then you can withstand them because you have super CON and extra-large hit dice.

    Eh, it's interesting to think about. This is useful for me because I'm designing a version of the Dwarven Chanter demibard kit as basically a fighter with bard songs (auras)... and so now I'm thinking about how a Chanter would play with a Defender; they both buff others, so which kinds of buffs fall into the orovince of each kit?

    (At the moment I'm thinking of a rhythm-based aura, giving bonuses to weapon speed, casting speed, and thac0. And then a secondary song that is a basic Resist Fear Aura. I'm trying to figure out of those are enough, or if I have to spice it up a little.)

    Arctodus
  • ArctodusArctodus Member Posts: 996
    edited February 2018

    I'm mostly thinking of stuff like Stance + Skald Song + [insert cleric buff] = something like -10 AC for everyone, which is an overall 60-point AC bonus... in a 2E game that's crazy. (My fighter mod gives them an AC-boost aura which would also stack, but I cap it at -2.)

    Mmh. I just call that good strategic thinking. You have to "work" to have that good of a setup. It's fair in my opinion, because you decided to setup your team like that. You can go crazy on damage boost in a team too. Or arcane defense, where you simply won't take damage at all. Also, doesn't most of these bonuses are for regular AC ? Which means, even if you stack another -20 AC on top of another -20 AC, won't that just go to waste ?

    Not trying to be a Debbie Downer, just spitballing. My current game is at 3rd level so I won't be seeing TOB anytime soon, so I'm not the late-game balance expert. But what about a conceptual shift: if the aura is designed to help allies - if the point is to "defend" :wink: then maybe reverse the bonuses: start at 0 for the dwarf and -1 for allies, and go up to -3 for the dwarf and -4 for allies. The idea being, you sort of invite attacks from enemies by making yourself more vulnerable. And then you can withstand them because you have super CON and extra-large hit dice.

    Not really what I want to do with this kit, though. It's all interesting ideas, but not really what I have in mind. If anything, I'd lower the bonus to allies. A DD is a defensive kit for himself, and help allies somewhat.

    Also, the general thinking is that in ToB, AC becomes irrelevant. The point of this kit is to make AC relevant. But it has to be crazy good to have any impact. For instance, Yaga Shura has -5 thac0 in the unmodded game. And Abazigal -8 thac0, all of that without buffs. And there are plenty of critters like that. Do the math : you NEED crazy bonuses to AC to keep the stat relevant. This is also why a +4 bonus to allies... is not all that much in this context. Even more so when these guys hits like a truck when a crit will go through anyway. And Abazigal use things like Whirlwind, while Yaga use Enrage (lowering the thac0 even more). And AC doesn't help you when a mage cast Time Stop. Etc... You also have to be all grouped up to have the bonus and it's not always the best strat to stay like that - or even possible in some case. In the ToB context, I think that this hla is ok, but not op.

    Eh, it's interesting to think about. This is useful for me because I'm designing a version of the Dwarven Chanter demibard kit as basically a fighter with bard songs (auras)... and so now I'm thinking about how a Chanter would play with a Defender; they both buff others, so which kinds of buffs fall into the orovince of each kit?

    One thing you just said here, about the different sources of AC bonuses, made me think. Maybe I could give the bonus to allies as a regular bonus (aka not by types of damage) ? Which means that if someone is already stacked at -20 AC, he won't gain more from the aura. Could be a decent way to balance the thing a bit.

    (At the moment I'm thinking of a rhythm-based aura, givine bonuses to weapon speed, casting speed, and thac0. And then a secondary song that is a basic Resist Fear Aura. I'm tryong to fogure out of those are enough, or if I have to spice it up a little.)

    As far as I can tell, this is a very good aura. Casting speed and thac0 are very good bonuses in themselves.

    Post edited by Arctodus on
    subtledoctorsemiticgod
  • GreenerGreener Member Posts: 385

    ...I literally just created an at-will innate toggleable aura for another mod.

    Would you be willing to share this, as I'd like to refine the fear ability in my Kensai Rebalancing to an at-will innate toggleable aura
    Cheers mate,

    a.

  • subtledoctorsubtledoctor Member Posts: 11,469
    edited February 2018
    Greener said:

    Would you be willing to share this, as I'd like to refine the fear ability in my Kensai Rebalancing to an at-will innate toggleable aura

    Rough instructions here.

    Note, this kind of thing should be carefully balanced. 2E AD&D really doesn't deal in infinite-use magic, except at very low power levels (cantrips*) or with major trade-offs (modal abilities like Turn Undead, Hide in Shadows, Bard Song etc. cannot be used while attacking or spellcasting).

    I like this Dwarven Defender aura because it's impractical to keep on all the time (1/2 movement rate) and it trades offensive power for a defensive boost (reduced APR). It's really a tactical choice, not a dumb power-up. Reflecting on it, this is why I don't like the vanilla Berserk ability: it's just dumb power-up, in contrast to the PnP which is more about situational utility.

    * (and note that 2E cantrips are far less powerful than modern ones, being limited to 1 hp damage I believe)

    Post edited by subtledoctor on
    ArctodusGreener
  • Eltharion1979Eltharion1979 Member Posts: 72
    Hello Arctodus, great idea, it looks fantastic mod! One question though, this mod is only for Mac users? Any pc version in the near future? Take care.

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