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Pale Master summons are odd...

TressetTresset Member, Moderator Posts: 7,168
As I progress through the levels of my pale master I frequently find that as I level up my special undead summoning abilities sometimes call weaker undead at a higher level.

Take the regular Summon Undead feat:
First it summons a ghoul. The ghoul can fight reasonably well and diseases and stuns on hit. At the next stage it summons a pitiful shadow that can barely fight at all, drops like a fly, does next to 0 damage if it ever does hit something, and its only real perk is the strength drain attack. Next summon is a ghast, which is far and away the best thing this ability can summon. Next is a Wight which is far weaker than the ghast and its only real benefit over the ghast is its level draining attack. Downgrade again for the final summon of the ability with a wraith. The wraith fights about as well as the shadow and can drain constitution on hit. Its main perk is the concealment bonus it has, but I would still prefer the ghast, because that can at least hit things.

I haven't gone through the entirety of the Summon Greater Undead feat, but the early stages seem to be just as poorly balanced as the regular Summon Undead feat.

Honestly, the Pale Master seems to be a pathetically weak excuse for a wizard, aside from the fact that it can live longer with its special defenses from its feats. Its haphazard summoning progression leaves much to be desired.

I honestly would have given up on this run long ago had I not heavily modded the power level of this class in an upwards direction.

Anyway, I am curious about what people think about the Pale Master and its goofy summon skills.

pscytheDerpCity

Comments

  • pscythepscythe Member Posts: 116
    I agree with you which is why I only played Palemaster once and only once. :smile:

    It wouldn't be so bad if your Palemaster levels could be factored into your effective caster level or spell DCs though.

  • TressetTresset Member, Moderator Posts: 7,168
    edited June 2018
    pscythe said:

    It wouldn't be so bad if your Palemaster levels could be factored into your effective caster level or spell DCs though.

    I actually have modded my game so that pale master levels do exactly that. By default they still grow rather slowly in thier spell's power though.

    I did this by editing a switch from the community patch project into the modules I play. The CPP comes with a huge number of other changes to the base game as well, however, so it may not be suited to everyone's tastes. There appears to be something similar on the vault that only changes the Pale Master, though. I have not tried it myself and installing it may be tricky on NWN:EE, but it may be worth looking into if anyone is interested.

    In the mean time I decided to change the order of the normal undead summons so that they progress roughly from low CR to high CR, thus starting with the shadow and ending with the ghast. I may try to tackle the greater undead summons later too. I am not sure how to modify the spell descriptions though...

    pscytheWarChiefZeke
  • DerpCityDerpCity Member, Moderator Posts: 268
    edited June 2018
    Honestly, the summons the prestige classes get seem to range from being terrible or being somewhat imbalanced. For example, I feel the same way about the Blackguard's summons. The Summon Undead spell is useless for them even when it's first obtained, and the Summon Fiend spell is strictly 100x better. The Doom Knight's role is too similar to the Vrock's, who does the job way better, and unlike the Vrock you can't augment it for the epic levels. This is why I chose to modify the ghast so that it was a utility summon that would be beneficial to the party outside of raw damage, that scaled up to 15, using things like Knockdown and Disarm and having a scaling version of the Ghast drain aura, and made it scale if you had the Epic Fiendish Servant feat and turned it into Ghoul Lord for the epic levels with its same powers + a doom aura. Meanwhile, I made the vrock a strictly frontline fighter with some buffs for itself and its spores, with some minor alterations like weakened damage reduction (I think I did, anyway) so that it didn't overshadow the Ghoul Lord as much. If I played arcane casters more often, I'd probably do the same with the Palemaster summons; make one summon a utility creature, and another be a damage dealer or tank.

    pscythe
  • Drewbert_ahoyDrewbert_ahoy Member Posts: 65
    I wish the summons would accumulate over time, rather than replace themselves, so you could choose what want/need. For instance, I believe there is a vampire rogue that can pick locks remove traps, and is much better suited to the class than the pixie obviously.

    DerpCity
  • ShadooowShadooow Member Posts: 305
    I agree, PM summons are terribly designed...

    DerpCity
  • shadguyshadguy Member Posts: 143
    PM is a martial class. The main value it offers is Crit Immunity for tanking. Everything else is window dressing.

    Most of the stuff BW put out "for casters" was pretty gimped by bugs and/or poor balance, largely due to the complexity and inconsistency introducing issues in the spell scripts and the engine support for said scripts. Being chained to DnD 3.0 WotC balance is another factor for many spells' balance etc.

    -Dave

  • TressetTresset Member, Moderator Posts: 7,168
    shadguy said:

    PM is a martial class. The main value it offers is Crit Immunity for tanking. Everything else is window dressing.

    That is what it turned out to be in practice, yes. Yet it is undeniable that, on paper at least, it was intended to be a slightly weaker but tougher caster class that specialized in undead. The poor implementation of this is what made it into a martial class.

    DerpCityProont
  • shadguyshadguy Member Posts: 143
    Shadooow,

    I know you've reported a lot of bugs already, but that's a really nice summary for a Redmine ticket, imho. :open_mouth:

    -Dave

    DerpCityJuliusBorisov
  • ShadooowShadooow Member Posts: 305
    shadguy said:

    Shadooow,

    I know you've reported a lot of bugs already, but that's a really nice summary for a Redmine ticket, imho. :open_mouth:

    -Dave

    well I didn't report this because I don't think it should be fixed

    if this gets fixed then existing characters turns "invalid" by server character validate script. Players wants their overpowered characters so this should be module builder responsibility.

    All we need from BeamDog is customized spellcasting like I did in nwncx_patch for 1.69.

  • FreshLemonBunFreshLemonBun Member Posts: 644
    I wouldn't say it's a bug either and is more of a design implementation problem. Much like how pale master in NWN has bone skin which increases AC, whereas the book version has a bonemail which when worn by a pale master provides the AC and when worn by a non pale master does not. Then there is also the stacking issue so that when wearing the bonemail the bonus wont stack with say barkskin. It's not that pale master is alone in this because certain spells such as shield replaces the need of a physical shield rather than enchanting an existing one. Mage armor likewise replaces the need of physical armor rather than enchant worn armor. The result is that everything is spread out more evenly but classes like pale master aren't as appealing for martial classes which have better options to gain critical resistance (fortification property) and natural armor (barkskin etc). A martial character would need to expend at least 15 levels, 8 points in knowledge (religion) and a feat in skill focus (religion) so it would only be good for a casting character that plays a certain theme.

    The 3.5 version also makes it far less ambiguous by instead of using a generic "bonemail" it gives examples of different types of undead armor and the only benefit a pale master gets is reducing the arcane spell failure of that armor type by 10% every 4 levels. The 3.5 version doesn't necessarily forbid bard or any other class from meeting the requirement but it requires the ability to cast control undead and vampiric touch as arcane spells. While it's hypothetically possible to circumvent class requirements you still need to pay up 8 points in knowledge (religion) and the feat, so the skill requirement puts to hard limit at level 5.

    If you want to change how pale master works then you should and I would too but I don't think everyone would agree with any changes even if ELC wasn't an issue.

  • TressetTresset Member, Moderator Posts: 7,168
    Shadooow said:

    This is not activated by default to activate it spawn item "70_pcwidget" using console then use the item and follow conversation - there are much more choices than that as well (this settings is persistent across all modules you will play).

    OH! So that is how you are supposed to do it! I figured there had to be an easier way than editing all my modules individually (which is what I did).

    DerpCity
  • WarChiefZekeWarChiefZeke Member Posts: 1,316
    Pale Master Summons are broken and terrible, until very high levels, when they almost-but-not-quite make up for the fact that you are an epic level wizard who can't effectively cast most spells.

    In my opinion, you're best served spending 12 levels for the Vampire Rogue, unless you are willing to invest 20 for the Skeleton Blackguard or 22 for the lich.

  • JuliusBorisovJuliusBorisov Member, Administrator, Moderator, Developer Posts: 17,039
    @Shadooow Should I add a link to your comment to this card: https://trello.com/c/WcwywbU6/22-expanded-spellbooks-fix-discrepancies-with-prestige-class-casting (another card - "Allow generic prestige caster (including Pale Master) levels to affect the effective level a spell can be cast" was previously merged with it)?

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