Broken feats or Divine Metamagic vs Arcane Thesis

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DMluigi
Broken feats or Divine Metamagic vs Arcane Thesis

Hello fellow roleplayers,

Lurked on this very useful forum for some time. Thanks for all the fishes. This is my first post.

Tl;Dr: DMM vs AT? Initiate of Mystra vs Item Familiar?

So I'm about to start my Eberron version of the SCAP from Paizo. My players agreed to try hard mode, that is : play it as written with 28 point-buy. Exception they're only 2 players and never played first tier classes, so to make them learn I made them gestalt cleric and gestalt wizard. I explained to them it is made for 6 PCs so at the beggining they should hire mercenaries and thieves and the sooner they should take Leadership.

To give them a chance (they're not min-maxers or power players), I will also suggest them some cheese, DMM and AT. Do you think they're equivalent?

Since they're going Sovereign Host, should I also suggest them the Initiate of Mystra (Aureon) for the cleric and Item Familiar with Alakast for the wizard (also to make them learn about the wonders of item creation by using the XP to boost their WBL and equip their followers)?

Talanall
Talanall's picture

We'll need significantly more information to be able to help you.

Is this a Dungeons and Dragons game, or Pathfinder? And if it's D&D, what edition?

And what do DMM and AT mean?

What books are these feats in?

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Darker

First off, Welcome! Congrats on your first post!

Some of my favorite adventures were using gestalt characters but I've found that even with the extra class abilities (because that's all you are really picking up), it's pretty hard to do 2 characters, even with hirelings, on an adventure made for 6. A hit that kills a level 3 fighter also pretty much kills a level 3 gestalt fighter/wizard. With just two PC's, a TPK is much more likely.

Of course, a gestalt cleric does kinda make Divine Metamagic powerful, but I'm assuming you are playing them as written, so they can't use both Divine Metamagic and Arcane Thesis together for the same spells. But anytime you start messing with metamagic and feats like this you run the risk of getting out of hand. Especially if you are allowing feats from pretty much anywhere. I once made a pretty broken mystic theurge metamagic monkey that could pretty much one shot anything with a low-level spell and it ruined the fun for the DM and other players.

For Initiate of Mystra (Aureon) and Item Familiar, I'm going to go with... meh. Seems too complicated. Both feats are more of a way for characters to play certain archetypes or intimate tropes. Though useful, if not initiated by the players, they may not really work out well.

Talanall
Talanall's picture

Initiate of Mystra is broken, if it's the feat from Player's Guide to Faerun. It's pointless to have until you reach relatively high levels of play, and once you are capable of casting antimagic field, it instantly and decisively breaks the game because you now have a character who can cast spells while being immune to magic.

This problem is badly exacerbated when you're playing with gestalt characters, especially a gestalt cleric/wizard or cleric/sorcerer. If you allow that cheese into your game, you deserve what you get. And since you're taking a couple of newbies on this ride, you're train new players to think that it's normal to allow that nonsense.

Item Familiar (if we are talking about the 3.5e variant rule) is potentially very abuseable, depending on how you read the feat in conjunction with the warforged race's ability to have parts of their bodies enhanced as magical items. The feat is already so good that it's basically something worth that every character who can take it, should. The only balancing factor is the possibility that your item familiar might be stolen or destroyed. I would allow the Item Familiar feat in a campaign that is otherwise tightly restricted in terms of what sourcebooks the players can draw from. But I most certainly wouldn't allow it in an Eberron campaign.

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DMluigi

Its D&D 3.5 and now we're keeping it pretty much core. If I use Item Familiar, it would only be with a specific staff that is important to the campaign.

Talanall
Talanall's picture

If you are using a specific item, then you probably should consider the "legendary weapons" variant here: http://www.d20srd.org/srd/variant/magic/legendaryWeapons.htm. It probably will do what you want it to do much more cleanly than an item familiar.

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DMluigi

I thought about it but it seems more complicated and fails in keeping it with the core classes.

Talanall
Talanall's picture

The point of relying primarily on core rules is to make the game easier to predict from the perspective of planning vs. the PCs' capabilities, and to make sure that you will be able to rely on CR as a relatively accurate gauge of encounter difficulty.

This said, the legendary weapon rules really are just a fancy way of making up a prestige class that is keyed to a specific item, such that the entry requirements, granted powers, etc. are determined by the item. It is significantly less complicated than allowing blanket access to gestalt characters, a campaign setting, random crap from a completely unrelated campaign setting, and a couple of feats from generic splatbooks, which you were totally ready to do when you first posted about this game just a couple of hours ago. So the idea that it is too complicated is hard for me to take seriously, in this context.

Also, the Item Familiar feat is intended to let the PCs control how the item familiar develops, in terms of its personality, abilities, overall power level, etc. If you're going to take that away from the PCs, then you're putting one of them in a position of HAVING to pick a specific feat, and then not being able to choose what the feat will actually do. That's a crappy way to behave as a DM, because you're dictating what the PC has to do. Which is not your job. Your job is to run the NPCs and monsters. I don't know exactly what I would say of I were a player under a DM who tried to dictate what feat I had to pick and how I had to spend my character's wealth, XP, etc. But I can tell you that it wouldn't be polite!

If this magic staff is a major plot point for the campaign that you intend to run, then it makes sense to use the legendary weapon mechanic because it provides you with a scaffold to let the PCs grow into the powers of the item. If it's some kind of very powerful item, or even an artifact or minor artifact, then you have three basic courses of action available to you.

1) Have them spend a significant portion of the campaign looking for the item, but not in possession of it. This is fine, but then the item needs to live up to the hype when they finally do get it.

2) Give them the item quickly, but then have to compensate for it until the magic item is used for its intended plot purpose. This is a pain in the ass.

3) Give them the item quickly, and use the legendary item mechanic to (in essence) make a prestige class available to the PCs based on unlocking the powers of the item.

Wæs se grimma gæst Grendel haten,
mære mearcstapa, se þe moras heold

DMluigi

Talanall wrote:

The point of relying primarily on core rules is to make the game easier to predict from the perspective of planning vs. the PCs' capabilities, and to make sure that you will be able to rely on CR as a relatively accurate gauge of encounter difficulty.

This said, the legendary weapon rules really are just a fancy way of making up a prestige class that is keyed to a specific item, such that the entry requirements, granted powers, etc. are determined by the item. It is significantly less complicated than allowing blanket access to gestalt characters, a campaign setting, random crap from a completely unrelated campaign setting, and a couple of feats from generic splatbooks, which you were totally ready to do when you first posted about this game just a couple of hours ago. So the idea that it is too complicated is hard for me to take seriously, in this context.

Also, the Item Familiar feat is intended to let the PCs control how the item familiar develops, in terms of its personality, abilities, overall power level, etc. If you're going to take that away from the PCs, then you're putting one of them in a position of HAVING to pick a specific feat, and then not being able to choose what the feat will actually do. That's a crappy way to behave as a DM, because you're dictating what the PC has to do. Which is not your job. Your job is to run the NPCs and monsters. I don't know exactly what I would say of I were a player under a DM who tried to dictate what feat I had to pick and how I had to spend my character's wealth, XP, etc. But I can tell you that it wouldn't be polite!

If this magic staff is a major plot point for the campaign that you intend to run, then it makes sense to use the legendary weapon mechanic because it provides you with a scaffold to let the PCs grow into the powers of the item. If it's some kind of very powerful item, or even an artifact or minor artifact, then you have three basic courses of action available to you.

1) Have them spend a significant portion of the campaign looking for the item, but not in possession of it. This is fine, but then the item needs to live up to the hype when they finally do get it.

2) Give them the item quickly, but then have to compensate for it until the magic item is used for its intended plot purpose. This is a pain in the ass.

3) Give them the item quickly, and use the legendary item mechanic to (in essence) make a prestige class available to the PCs based on unlocking the powers of the item.

Complicated un the sense I have to create it, but it is fun to design those things too so maybe you're right. The staff is actually a kinda plain magic item in the adventure path (double bane +1 staff) but with a lot ot fluff, that's why I wanted to improve it, especially over time.

Talanall
Talanall's picture

So it's worth about 16,600 gp, market value. But I guess that it's probably showing up sometime later on in the adventure path, when it'd be level appropriate, and the high value of the item is somewhat offset by the fact that most characters who'd want to fight in melee will prefer something else than a magic stick. It's theoretically possible that someone will be playing a character optimized to fight with a quarterstaff, but it's unlikely.

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Talanall
Talanall's picture

I personally wouldn't bother, if it's not really important to the plot.

Wæs se grimma gæst Grendel haten,
mære mearcstapa, se þe moras heold