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Discussion of "Trash" Feats/Spells/Etc

DerpCityDerpCity Member, Moderator Posts: 254
So I decided, after a small tangent in the Community discussion threat, to make this here. For anyone who wants to, I'd like to hear some discussion about what feats, spells, etc that you all find as particularly poor decisions to take. It doesn't necessarily need to be unusable or bad, it could just be overshadowed by other options that are simply better. If possible, I'd also like to hear how you all would see these bad options fixed. I don't want to hear "remove them," but to be honest I don't think anyone would care to see Dirty Fighting go.

TressetvoidofopinionNeverwinterWightsMrDamage
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Comments

  • DerpCityDerpCity Member, Moderator Posts: 254
    edited February 7
    Speaking of Dirty Fighting, I'll start with it: Dirty fighting is just... bad. Its a combat mode that makes you lose all your attacks per round... For an extra 1d4 damage on hit. Its a crappy power attack that reduces your DPS rather than giving you any. Given the fact it requires only two 2 BAB (Fun fact, its not a fighter bonus feat, so you still have to take it at level 3), it does have some use in the early levels, as its a free extra damage boost at the time, but why take that instead of the far more useful feats that help your survivability, AB, and hell even Weapon Specialization does its job given that its a mere .5 damage less than Dirty Fighting's average.

    In order to fix Dirty Fighting, I think it should be re-purposed a bit. I actually like the idea of losing all of your attacks per round, believe it or not, but I don't think a tiny damage boost is going to be that helpful. Instead, I think it would be okay for it to guarantee that you hit your opponent. You still have to roll in order to be able to crit the enemy, of course, but I feel it would be a decent tradeoff. However, I wouldn't want this to be exploitable early levels, so I'd probably up its AB requirement to 6 BAB, so you at least have to lose out on damage before it becomes useful.

    This may not be the most balanced solution, as it technically removes the whole point of AB, but I can't really think of anything else that would work well with the whole "removes most of your attacks per round" gimmick.

    Post edited by DerpCity on
    voidofopinionMrDamage
  • TressetTresset Member, Moderator Posts: 6,825
    Not to derail this discussion, but one thing that always bugged me was how some of the epic feats had LUDICROUS stat requirements. I almost always just temporarily cheat my stats during a level up just so I can take them.

    Anyway, any feat that improves initiative is pretty much worthless. Circle Kick is apparently another bad one, even though it looks good on paper.

    voidofopinionProont
  • voidofopinionvoidofopinion Member, Moderator Posts: 894
    edited February 7
    Automatic X spell I & II always bothered me.

    They only exist as prerequisites for Automatic X spell III and require you to know level 9 spells to begin with so you are burning two feats to gain nothing from them.

    I get wanting the rank full ability to automatically use a meta magic feat to cost 3 feats and stagger spell progression through epic levels... but give people something for it. Even if it's just a tiny +1 bonus to spell save DC.

    I don't like to open my character sheet and say to myself "Well that was utterly worthless" and the automatic metamagic feats always make me a tad resentful.

    DerpCityProont
  • TressetTresset Member, Moderator Posts: 6,825
    edited February 7
    OOH! We can talk about trash spells too? YAY!

    Lets start with Ironguts... probably one of the worst spells in the game. WAY too situational to be of any real use unless you are in a spiders-are-the-only-enemy type module. Stone Bones is another kinda dumb one, unless you are a Pale Master. Ice Dagger is pretty much outclassed by Burning Hands. Negative Energy Ray is outclassed by most other damage spells, especially Magic Missile, and is really best used to heal undead allies. Tasha's Hideous Laughter is pretty dumb because of the save bonus it almost always gives and is thoroughly outclassed by most other spells. Charm spells don't do much. Legend Lore is outclassed by Identify, ironically (unless you can't expect to pause, that is). Great Thunderclap is embarrassingly bad for a level 7 spell due to it's extremely short duration. Blackstaff is pretty dumb. Mass Blindness/Deafness is ok, until you notice that it is outclassed by Sunburst.

    voidofopinionDerpCityMrDamageProont
  • DerpCityDerpCity Member, Moderator Posts: 254
    @Tresset I never liked Epic Levels, personally. I'm fine with level progression past 20, but I never got why they had to treat it completely differently. Why tack on all these extra requirements on feats, why add all these absurdly broken ones either? It just doesn't make sense to me.

    You know how when you get an attack of opportunity, you attack someone else and then switch back to your main target? Imagine that, but without that last part. Circle kick causes you to spread out your damage across multiple targets instead of just letting you focus the guy you want dead. In situations where there's lots of enemies that are letting you get attacks of opportunity, circle kick on top of that can make it nearly impossible to use knockdown on a key target. At least, in my experience.

    I pretty much agree with most of your trash spell choices, though I honestly never take Burning Hands over Magic Missile. I always have a Summon Creature and my Familiar summoned (Unless I have a henchman, in which case I forego the summon), so crowd control isn't usually an issue. Though Negative Energy Ray isn't bad for necromancers, as you said, and since IIRC its a wizard's only real option for healing his undead effectively I think it definitely has a purpose beyond being a trash spell. Besides, when enemies fail their will save it does the best damage of any 1st level spell... I think. Too lazy to double check.

    @voidofopinion I don't really see an issue with having the earlier versions of the Automatic line of spells. Its the same with Improved Combat Casting, Epic Damage Reduction, Epic Energy Resistance, and Superior Initiative. Considering Automatic Quicken Spell III is incredibly powerful, I would certainly hope you had to build up to it. Besides, the feats are only "useless" if you're starting off at the level you get their final versions, considering they still function. If I have 20 fireballs lined up (exaggerated amount, but still), I'd definitely rather have Automatic Quicken Spell I than no Automatic Quicken Spell at all.

    voidofopinionProont
  • TressetTresset Member, Moderator Posts: 6,825
    DerpCity said:

    I pretty much agree with most of your trash spell choices, though I honestly never take Burning Hands over Magic Missile. I always have a Summon Creature and my Familiar summoned (Unless I have a henchman, in which case I forego the summon), so crowd control isn't usually an issue. Though Negative Energy Ray isn't bad for necromancers, as you said, and since IIRC its a wizard's only real option for healing his undead effectively I think it definitely has a purpose beyond being a trash spell. Besides, when enemies fail their will save it does the best damage of any 1st level spell... I think. Too lazy to double check.

    I only take Burning Hands over Magic Missile for the first few levels of my sorcerer. It is the only direct damage crowd control (albeit a rather pathetic one) you get until level 3 spells. As soon as I get Fireball/Scintillating Sphere, Burning Hands gets replaced. Also, if you read again, I was comparing Burning Hands to Ice Dagger, not Magic Missile. Burning Hands and Ice Dagger do the same damage and have the same reflex save for half, but one is a cone AoE and the other is single target.

    Negative Energy Ray is basically the same as Magic Missile only it has a save for half. They both progress in damage output at the same levels but Negative Energy Ray does 1d6 per two levels after level 1 while Magic Missile does 1d4+1 per two levels after level 1. Effectively the same.

    As far as summons go, I usually prefer blasting things myself to calling help to kill stuff for me, but that is just my preference.

    If you are curious about which spells I do tend to pick you should check out this thread.

    voidofopinionDerpCityProont
  • DerpCityDerpCity Member, Moderator Posts: 254
    I'm aware you were comparing it to Burning Hands to Ice Dagger, I didn't mean to imply you were. I was just saying that I'd rather have Magic Missile over Burning Hands in general. I apologize for any confusion.

    Didn't realize the average damage was the same, my bad. However, keep in mind, of course, that in a module where you can get Magic Damage Resistance, even merely 5 resistance completely nullifies Magic Missile, while would only be reduced by 5 damage if you had -5 to Negative Energy. Few modules actually have an item with -5/magic, though, so in most cases Magic Missile is strictly better.

    I don't really call them so they can kill for me, though that is a benefit. Rather, I just call things to tank for me while still being fully buffed myself, and I always keep my familiar/animal companion out for personal roleplay reasons, even in single player, so to each their own.

    TressetvoidofopinionProont
  • NeverwinterWightsNeverwinterWights Member Posts: 181
    I typically completely ignore feats that help with something that I could otherwise cure, fix or negate in game with a potion, spell or gear. Most feats that add to skills for example are usually unnecessary in a lot of PWs due to the equipment you can find or craft. However I will say that it also really depends on the PW or module. There have been times where I've taken a skill bonus feat due to low item property gear in PWs. And then of course there is parry. I always skipped that one due to it's stigma and my preferred build choice.

    DerpCityvoidofopinionProont
  • NeverwinterWightsNeverwinterWights Member Posts: 181
    edited February 8
    Tresset said:

    Circle Kick is apparently another bad one, even though it looks good on paper.

    Beamdog actually fixed this one so that you no longer just stand there doing nothing after you perform a circle kick. So it really is a free extra attack. However it can still be a bit annoying because it switches your target. So when you are about to kill one of those three trolls attacking you, you will circle kick a different one (becomes your new target) and will still have to fight three trolls for awhile, increasing your chance of getting hit, unless you re-click your original target, which then interrupts the round causing you to lose your extra attack. This is also a pain in the butt when you are trying to kill the mage or cleric of the group first as soon as possible. It's a vicious circle....kick. ;)

    Post edited by NeverwinterWights on
    voidofopinionDerpCityProont
  • FreshLemonBunFreshLemonBun Member Posts: 541
    Dirty fighting and circle kick were also considered a broken mess even in pen and paper. I think there was errata for both trying to fix them, but dirty fighting remained bad and there was nothing anyone could do to fix it.

    voidofopinionProont
  • raz651raz651 Member Posts: 175
    But does't that lend itself to the way an actual fight works. If you do a circle kick and it makes contact with a person coming up behind you, the circle kick is stopped and you are facing another opponent.

    voidofopinionProont
  • TressetTresset Member, Moderator Posts: 6,825
    edited February 8
    DerpCity said:

    I'm aware you were comparing it to Burning Hands to Ice Dagger, I didn't mean to imply you were. I was just saying that I'd rather have Magic Missile over Burning Hands in general. I apologize for any confusion.

    Oh, sorry. I shouldn't have assumed you misread my earlier comment. No harm done.
    DerpCity said:

    I don't really call them so they can kill for me, though that is a benefit. Rather, I just call things to tank for me while still being fully buffed myself, and I always keep my familiar/animal companion out for personal roleplay reasons, even in single player, so to each their own.

    Understandable. I would like to do that sort of thing more often, but the XP penalty always makes me shy away from summoning things. I really wish there were no XP penalty for summons/associates.

    voidofopinionDerpCityProontGrymlorde
  • DerpCityDerpCity Member, Moderator Posts: 254
    edited February 8
    @raz651 That's true, but (at least to me) mechanically it would be much more enjoyable if it functioned like a free Attack of Opportunity rather than how it would realistically, seeing how you become literally incapable of targeting down one person, it's less useful and more irritating. It was changed in NWN2 to switch back to your main target, and its much more usable there if the game decides to work at all.

    @Tresset No harm done. I'm on the fence about the XP penalty for familiars/companions, given how my own modifications to them bring them somewhat up to par with player characters, treating them as player characters with benefits as they level. Summons are severely understatted for what they are though (17 strength 11 constitution dire boar when they're supposed to have 27 strength and 17 con, and IIRC they're supposed to be the 3rd level summon instead of the dire wolf...), so I feel they probably shouldn't count toward EXP.

    Post edited by DerpCity on
  • voidofopinionvoidofopinion Member, Moderator Posts: 894
    edited February 8
    DerpCity said:


    @voidofopinion I don't really see an issue with having the earlier versions of the Automatic line of spells. Its the same with Improved Combat Casting, Epic Damage Reduction, Epic Energy Resistance, and Superior Initiative. Considering Automatic Quicken Spell III is incredibly powerful, I would certainly hope you had to build up to it.

    Absolutely.

    However, that does not stop it from being poor design and even worse balance.

    Automatic Still Spell and Automatic Extend Spell take 3 feats and are under powered for it.

    Auto Still Spell is 3 feats for something clerics get for free at level 1 (because 3e Clerics are OP) and the available armor in base NWN/SoU/HotU is not exactly 3 feats worthy.

    And by epic levels spell duration is a non issue. Everything either lasts an insane amount of time or you have enough spell slots for it to not matter besides 1 or 2 fringe cases.

    Automatic Maximize is ok.

    Automatic Empower and Quicken could be called OP.

    The power difference between Automatic Still Spell and Automatic Quicken is huge... And both waste 2 feats to get that 3rd ability.

    It's a pet peeve I have about 3/3.5e that is exacerbated by the limited Armor/Spells available on NWN.

    When you have a near unlimited number of Spells/Armor then all the metamagic feats make sense. But within the limits of NWN there is a very obvious difference in power.

    Post edited by voidofopinion on
    DerpCity
  • DerpCityDerpCity Member, Moderator Posts: 254
    Its always felt weird to me that cantrips don't scale at all, or that they don't get more uses as you get more Int/Wis/Cha. As the weakest spells, I feel they should be your most numerous.

    MrDamageProontGrymlorde
  • PstemariePstemarie Member Posts: 57
    Dirty Fighting is easy to fix - change it to the same thing I did for my PnP campaign: it only applies to unarmed combat and weapons that can be used with weapon finesse. While not a perfect solution, at least the "benefit" it provides seems a little more logical when limited to those two situations.

  • RifkinRifkin Member Posts: 110
    Circle Kick should be an activated fighting mode, like power attack and expertise. This would fix it immensely. In it's current state, it's a net disadvantage to have on a character, as you lose control over your attack focus/target.

    DerpCityMrDamageProont
  • TressetTresset Member, Moderator Posts: 6,825
    Ranger has a spell book with very little of worth in it...

    How about Earthquake? It is a really high level spell for how low the damage cap is...

    DerpCity
  • DerpCityDerpCity Member, Moderator Posts: 254
    edited February 10
    I never saw much use of feats like Great Fortitude, Lightning Reflexes, or Iron Will. They're not particularly bad feats, but I only take them when I'm a late-game fighter and have almost literally run out of feats to take. If I really need an improvement to my saving throws, I'll get an item that improves my saves since they're typically so much better. Granted, my recent run of Infinite Dungeons with a Ogre Barbarian makes me really hate fear, but that went away when it gave me a ring with +8 will...

    Same goes for the majority of the early game "first level only" kind of feats - you know, like Strong Soul, Artist, Snake Blood, etc. They aren't worth wasting a feat unless you're human and have an extra one.

    Post edited by DerpCity on
    StummvonBordwehrTressetProontGrymlorde
  • KingSean17KingSean17 Member Posts: 6
    DerpCity said:

    I never saw much use of feats like Great Fortitude, Lightning Reflexes, or Iron Will. They're not particularly bad feats, but I only take them when I'm a late-game fighter and have almost literally run out of feats to take. If I really need an improvement to my saving throws, I'll get an item that improves my saves since they're typically so much better. Granted, my recent run of Infinite Dungeons with a Ogre Barbarian makes me really hate fear, but that went away when it gave me a ring with +8 will...

    Same goes for the majority of the early game "first level only" kind of feats - you know, like Strong Soul, Artist, Snake Blood, etc. They aren't worth wasting a feat unless you're human and have an extra one.

    Do you like getting hit with instant death spells?

  • DerpCityDerpCity Member, Moderator Posts: 254
    edited February 13
    @KingSean17 In my experience, the only enemy with an instant death spell that can actually kill me consistently when I encounter it is the Bodak. By the time enemy wizards and clerics are high enough level to use them my saves are usually good enough to resist it the majority of the time, or the AI is too bad to use it before I knock them over or blast them to death. Besides, if I know theres a guy with an instant death spell in the crowd, I'll just kill them with a bow or throwing axes or something. If I'm a mage, I use my instant death spell on them first, or let them use it on summons. I have never played PvP seriously, so my strategies probably wouldn't work out well there, but in my PvE experience they aren't usually an issue.

    Considering my mention of throwing weapons, is there any reason to use Shurikens? They deal the least damage and require Exotic to use, while Darts and Throwing Axes (which I didn't know had standard 2x crits rather than the 3x other axes have, that's weird) require martial at most and have better base damage. Granted, all throwing weapons weigh a metric ton when used in large quantities, which turns at least me off from them compared to most weapons.

    Post edited by DerpCity on
    Proont
  • TressetTresset Member, Moderator Posts: 6,825
  • TressetTresset Member, Moderator Posts: 6,825
    So, how about Ball Lightning? It seems incredibly worthless in many ways. If it worked just like Firebrand, however, it may actually have been a viable pick. Heck, if it worked like Firebrand I may be tempted to take it as a replacement for Chain Lightning as my go-to spell for electrical damage. Hmm... I bet I could mod it to work that way...

  • DerpCityDerpCity Member, Moderator Posts: 254
    @Tresset Ball lightning as its actually described in its description and area is supposed to be a single target spell that does 15d6 to the target in one hit and has a reflex save to halve the damage, not 1d6 spread out across multiple enemies in 15 hits with (last I checked) no save. It would be horribly outshined by everything else in its tier, but it would be better than it currently is. Making it work like Firebrand would be cool though, considering since Fireball and Scintillating Sphere are basically the same spell but different element types, so it'd be cool to keep up that trend.

    TressetProont
  • Drewbert_ahoyDrewbert_ahoy Member Posts: 65
    As originally scripted, displacement... rounds per level concealment when improved invis gives the same thing at turns per level.

    DerpCity
  • voidofopinionvoidofopinion Member, Moderator Posts: 894
    Tresset said:

    Success! I have just finished modifying Ball Lightning so that it functions just like an electrical version of Firebrand. Took me all day to figure out how to do so, but I finally got it working. Maybe there is hope for me as a NWN modder after all!



    ;)

    TressetDerpCityProont
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