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redking
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Posted - 14 Jan 2017 :  04:47:11  Show Profile Send redking a Private Message  Reply with Quote  Delete Topic
If you are like me, you may have seen WotC implement NPCs from novels that do not really fit what you see in the novels, or what WotC intended for the NPCs. What I propose is to change some of the classes that the NPCs are given to make them closer to what was intended.

1. Rivalen Tanthul of Shade Enclave: Wizard 11, Cleric 15, Shadow Adept 7

OK, where shall we start on this? Well, Rivalen was clearly intended to be a Mystic Theurge of sorts, but he doesn't have any levels in that class. In addition to being an epic wizard, he is also supposed to be Shar's higest ranking cleric on faerun. Rivalen has 33 total class levels, so we have a lot to work with.

Suggested improvement: Wizard 5, Cleric 5, Shadow Adept 10 (5 levels into wizard spell progression, 5 levels into cleric spell progression split), Mystic Theurge 10, Archmage 3


Has 9th level casting in both classes, Wizard CL 23, Cleric CL 20.

2. Danchilaer the Mad Mage of Dappelgate: Wizard 21, Sorcerer 6, Archmage 5

There isn't much information on Danchilaer, so it is hard to determine what the intention was with this NPC. Looking at the stray sorcerer levels you have a choice - leave some sorcerer levels in, or drop them completely. Since they are in there perhaps the designer had a reason. So lets improve this NPC. He has 32 total character levels.

Suggested improvement: Wizard 16, Sorcerer 1, Ultimate Theurge 10, Archmage 5 (Wizard)

Has 9th casting in Wizard, 5th level casting in Sorcerer. Wizard CL 32, Sorcerer CL 15

Improvement analysis

Rivalen Tanthul can now credibly claim to be what he is portrayed to be in the books.

Danchilaer got an unambiguous power up, going from Wizard CL 26 and Sorcerer CL 6 to Wizard CL 32, Sorcerer CL 15, and making his lonely sorcerer levels count for something in terms of character concept. Maybe Danchilaer is maligned as 'the Mad Mage' because of hidebound Wizards jealous that he is an Ultimate Theurge.

Your mission

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to identify and improve 3.5 NPCs and make them more closely cleave to their character concepts.

Edited by - redking on 14 Jan 2017 05:13:15

Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
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Posted - 14 Jan 2017 :  05:04:33  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Meh, WotC stat blocks were a joke and a waste of space. The one I'll never forget was from a web article, and it described the NPC as being a talented dancer -- and then gave him no ranks at all in the relevant skill.

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redking
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Posted - 14 Jan 2017 :  05:11:51  Show Profile Send redking a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

Meh, WotC stat blocks were a joke and a waste of space. The one I'll never forget was from a web article, and it described the NPC as being a talented dancer -- and then gave him no ranks at all in the relevant skill.


Sounds like there are NPCs to improve already!

Do you remember which NPC that was?
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Diffan
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Posted - 16 Jan 2017 :  18:49:45  Show Profile Send Diffan a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I'll take a stab...(pun intended)

Drizzt Do'Urden: Barbarian 1/ Fighter 10/ Ranger 5

Ok, there's a LOT wrong with his stat-block, mostly because of where he was when the FRCS was written and how much the rules have changed since within 3rd edition.

For starters he didn't become the "Hunter" during ANY of his training time while in Menzoberranzan so starting him off as a Barbarian to illustrate his "hunter" ala Rage is wrong. He most likely would've have many levels as a Fighter or Warblade first. Second, the Ranger part only really makes sense in the fact that the rules at the time (2e) put Rangers as THE class to dual-wield. While the narrative of "Ranger" works in some cases, take 5 levels of a class in which he doesn't really DO ranger-y things like cast spells or summon an animal companion doesn't necessarily work well. A few levels but no more than 3 (4 tops).

Suggested improvement: Fighter 8/ Barbarian 1/ Ranger 3/ Dervish 4

Feats/Alternate Class features
Ftr 1 - Hit and Run tactics ACF (DotU), Two-Weapon Fighting (Ftr bonus), Two-Weapon Defense (1st)
Ftr 2 - Weapon Focus [scimitar] (Ftr bonus)
Ftr 3 - Dodge (3rd)
Ftr 4 - Weapon Specialization [scimitar] (Ftr bonus)
Ftr 5 - —
Ftr 6 - Combat Expertise (Ftr bonus), Mobility (6th)
Ftr 7 - —
Ftr 8 - Improved Critical [scimitar] (Ftr bonus)
Bbn 1 - Whirling Rage ACF (UA), Lion Totem barbarian ACF (Complete Champion), Blind-Fight (9th)
Rgr 1 - Track (Rgr Bonus)
Rgr 2 - Two-Weapon Rend (Rgr bonus/Combat style)
Rgr 3 - Endurance (Rgr Bonus), Daylight Adaptation (12th)
Dvh 1 - —
Dvh 2 - —
Dvh 3 - Spring Attack (Dvh bonus), Improved Two-Weapon Fighting (15th)
Dvh 4 - —

EDIT: Alternatively I really like how well integrated the Warblade works for things like this. Drizzt has an amazing Intelligence score for just a Warrior and a Warblade would capitalize on that fairly well. You could instead swap out the Fighter for Warblade and get better maneuvers, stances, and even illustrate things that he does in the narrative better with this system.

4E Realms = Great Taste, Less Filling.

"If WotC were to put out a box of free money, people would still complain how it was folded."

Edited by - Diffan on 16 Jan 2017 18:55:35
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Markustay
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Posted - 16 Jan 2017 :  20:09:46  Show Profile Send Markustay a Private Message  Reply with Quote
What else are you getting from the dervish class? it almost seems like a waste.

"I have never in my life learned anything from any man who agreed with me" --- Dudley Field Malone

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Diffan
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3935 Posts

Posted - 16 Jan 2017 :  20:59:43  Show Profile Send Diffan a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Markustay

What else are you getting from the dervish class? it almost seems like a waste.



• Dervish Dance 2/day
• Dance of Death 1/day
• Treat scimitars as light weapons to reduce the penalty for wielding two one-handed weapons
• Bonus to AC
• Take 10 on Jump, Tumble, and Perform (Dance) checks even under adverse conditions
• Fast Movement increments and a free Spring Attack feat.

Not sure what's wasteful here that going more levels in either Fighter or Ranger would do?

4E Realms = Great Taste, Less Filling.

"If WotC were to put out a box of free money, people would still complain how it was folded."
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Markustay
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Posted - 17 Jan 2017 :  02:23:12  Show Profile Send Markustay a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Now that I've seen what else you were getting, it makes more sense. I was only going by the Feats you listed.

"I have never in my life learned anything from any man who agreed with me" --- Dudley Field Malone

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Diffan
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3935 Posts

Posted - 17 Jan 2017 :  08:58:35  Show Profile Send Diffan a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Markustay

Now that I've seen what else you were getting, it makes more sense. I was only going by the Feats you listed.



Ah, ok. Yeah the dervish is a pretty great class for Drizzt. Still, I think I'm gonna do a writeup with Warblade levels to see what sort of fun things be can do with stances and maneuvers

4E Realms = Great Taste, Less Filling.

"If WotC were to put out a box of free money, people would still complain how it was folded."
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LordofBones
Master of Realmslore

1194 Posts

Posted - 17 Jan 2017 :  11:44:38  Show Profile Send LordofBones a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Szass Tam's bonus red wizard levels are wasted - Nec 14, Red 10, Acm 5.

Larloch the uber-lich - Wiz 12, Incantantar 10, Archmage 5, Netherese Arcanist 5, Arcane Lord 14, or dump his arcanist levels and give them to him as an inherent attribute; split the 5 between incantantar and arcane lord.

The Simbul - ultimate magus of some sort, or pure sorc/acm. Pathfinder, crossblooded arcane/destined sorcerer.

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TBeholder
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2025 Posts

Posted - 17 Jan 2017 :  14:47:46  Show Profile Send TBeholder a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Diffan

I'll take a stab...(pun intended)

Drizzt Do'Urden: Barbarian 1/ Fighter 10/ Ranger 5

Ok, there's a LOT wrong with his stat-block, mostly because of where he was when the FRCS was written and how much the rules have changed since within 3rd edition.

For starters he didn't become the "Hunter" during ANY of his training time while in Menzoberranzan so starting him off as a Barbarian to illustrate his "hunter" ala Rage is wrong. He most likely would've have many levels as a Fighter or Warblade first.
True. But that's a magical concept called "alphabetic order".

I agree with your main point, however - stat block is not adequate. They made a mountain of redundant, loonie and schizophrenically specialized classes, but there's still no class to properly reflect something as relatively common as a drow weaponmaster... whom their favourite cash cow describes with excessive amount of details. Derp.
quote:
Second, the Ranger part only really makes sense in the fact that the rules at the time (2e) put Rangers as THE class to dual-wield. While the narrative of "Ranger" works in some cases, take 5 levels of a class in which he doesn't really DO ranger-y things like cast spells or summon an animal companion doesn't necessarily work well. A few levels but no more than 3 (4 tops).

You got it backwards.
Drizzt is a ranger because he was an apprentice to one when he mucked around on surface early on, as simple as this.
He's a ranger back in AD&D1 materials. They gave Ranger dual-wielding only in AD&D 2. That is, after Drizzt - and obviously because of Drizzt, seeing how this concept does not make sense on its own.
quote:
Suggested improvement: Fighter 8/ Barbarian 1/ Ranger 3/ Dervish 4

Dervish is close, but still no martial trance. Ditto for "Tempest" from Complete Adventurer.
quote:
EDIT: Alternatively I really like how well integrated the Warblade works for things like this.

Not bad, if you customize Maneuvers. The question is - do you really want to open a can of worms the size of The Book of Weeaboo Fightan Magic?

People never wonder How the world goes round -Helloween
And even I make no pretense Of having more than common sense -R.W.Wood
It's not good, Eric. It's a gazebo. -Ed Whitchurch
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Diffan
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3935 Posts

Posted - 18 Jan 2017 :  01:24:25  Show Profile Send Diffan a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by TBeholder

True. But that's a magical concept called "alphabetic order".

I agree with your main point, however - stat block is not adequate. They made a mountain of redundant, loonie and schizophrenically specialized classes, but there's still no class to properly reflect something as relatively common as a drow weaponmaster... whom their favourite cash cow describes with excessive amount of details. Derp.


Yeah the "Exotic" Weapon Master was pretty crappy prestige class that didn't really do the narrative that we read about in all those Drow novels. There was a better one, I believe, in a 3.0 supplement but I forget which one.

quote:
Originally posted by TBeholder

You got it backwards.
Drizzt is a ranger because he was an apprentice to one when he mucked around on surface early on, as simple as this.
He's a ranger back in AD&D1 materials. They gave Ranger dual-wielding only in AD&D 2. That is, after Drizzt - and obviously because of Drizzt, seeing how this concept does not make sense on its own.


Hm, considering that I came into the game with AD&D 2e I can see why I got it backwards. Still I'll stick to my believe of his limited Ranger levels. Sure his training with Montolio (sp?) was extensive and he learned a lot but how many levels does that translate to? Looking at what he actually does, not much of it is really "Ranger-y". He doesn't cast spells, summon animals, and most of the stuff he does do can be approximated with Skills (Handle Animal, Knowledge [nature], Survival). He trains that one Seal to find Guen's figurine and that's possibly a combination of Handle Animal and Wild Empathy checks. Three levels of 3.5 Ranger tops.

quote:
Originally posted by TBeholder

quote:
Suggested improvement: Fighter 8/ Barbarian 1/ Ranger 3/ Dervish 4

Dervish is close, but still no martial trance. Ditto for "Tempest" from Complete Adventurer.


I'm not sure you're going to find a mechanical equivalent to Martial Trance in any 3.5 supplement aide from the Tome of Battle.

quote:
Originally posted by TBeholder

quote:
EDIT: Alternatively I really like how well integrated the Warblade works for things like this.

Not bad, if you customize Maneuvers. The question is - do you really want to open a can of worms the size of The Book of Weeaboo Fightan Magic?



While I don't disagree that many of the maneuvers and stances within the Book of 9 Swords is above the normal, only certain disciplines are overly magical in nature. Desert Wind, Shadow Hand, Devoted Spirit, White Raven, and some odd maneuvers throughout do note that this is a Supernatural ability. Luckily the Warblade has access the Tiger Claw, Stone Dragon, and Iron Heart disciplines of which 95% of them are Extraordinary at best. He gets fun leaping maneuvers, counters that are like a wall of swords, and boost to his physical prowess like bonus to Jump checks.

4E Realms = Great Taste, Less Filling.

"If WotC were to put out a box of free money, people would still complain how it was folded."

Edited by - Diffan on 18 Jan 2017 01:25:27
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redking
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Posted - 18 Jan 2017 :  09:31:24  Show Profile Send redking a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Larloch of ancient Netheril: Wizard 32

OK, so... Where to start with this fellow. Firstly, Larloch got ripped off in total character levels, at a total of 32, all in wizard. Clearly Larloch, one of the most if not the most, powerful wizard on Toril should have more levels. Contemporary wizard Ioulaum has 41 character levels. Furthermore, there is nothing to indicate that Larloch was ever a Netherese Aracanist.

Ed also suggests unofficially that Larloch has 46 total levels. I quite like this build of Larloch, but I don't like that it uses the 3e Arcane Lord PrC. http://www.enworld.org/forum/showthread.php?128345-Larloch-Shadowking-the-Last-True-Arcanist

Lets improve this NPC.

Suggested improvement: Wizard 21, Netherese Arcanist (variator) 5, Archmage 5, Mage of the Arcane Order 10

Has 9th+ casting in Wizard, CL 41.

Improvement analysis

With 41 total character levels, Larloch is now on par with Ioulaum. His class levels in 'Mage of the Arcane Order' emulate the spellpool that he himself created, and presumably shares with his servitor liches. He has levels in Netherese Arcanist and Archmage. Also, give Larloch all the abilities allowed by the Nether Scrolls, as he has studied them extensively.

Edited by - redking on 18 Jan 2017 10:03:06
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redking
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Posted - 18 Jan 2017 :  10:00:08  Show Profile Send redking a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Improving the Nether Scrolls (and how it relates to Larloch)

Canon Nether Scrolls

Nether Scrolls

Two sets of nether scrolls exist, each consisting of fifty individual scrolls. One complete set lies in the depths of Windsong Tower in the ruins of Myth Drannor, where it takes the form of a golden beech tree known as the Quess Ar Teranthvar (Golden Grove of Hidden Knowledge). The other set has been broken up and mostly lost. At least until the Year of the Moonfall (1344 DR), three scrolls from this latter set lay in the Hall of Mists beneath the Grandfather Tree of the High Forest. Two others are in the Crypt of Hssthak, which now lies beneath the sands of western Anauroch. A few of the remaining scrolls have been destroyed, and the location and current state of those that remain are unknown.

Each scroll is an 8-inch-by-10-inch sheet of thin, rolled gold as flexible as paper. Silvery magical writing crawls across its surface, appearing almost alive. The scroll's small size belies the staggering amount of information it holds. As soon as one 'page' of text has been read, the writing swims and moves about the sheet, reforming into the next page of text. All in all, it takes approximately one month of dedicated study to review a single nether scroll.

The nether scrolls form the foundation of modern magical theory on Faerűn. Virtually every mage who has mastered any portion of the Art since the rise of Netheril received her knowledge, albeit indirectly, from the nether scrolls. Consequently, much of the information contained in these scrolls is now considered common knowledge in Faerűn's magical community. Nevertheless, the nether scrolls still contain a wealth of information that is useful to any student of the Art.

Reading even one nether scroll offers considerable insight into the Art. Any character studying one immediately gains one level in an arcane spellcasting class of her choice. (That is, her experience point total is set to the midpoint for her new level.)

The nether scrolls are divided into five chapters, each covering a different aspect of the Art. A character who manages to read all ten scrolls that make up a chapter gains an additional benefit whose nature depends on the topic studied. The chapters of the nether scrolls and the benefits they provide are detailed below.

Arcanus Fundare (Foundations of Magic): +30 inherent bonus on Spellcraft checks; +1 to save DCs for all arcane spells.

Magicus Creare (Spells of Creation): Three bonus item creation feats; XP cost of any magic item created drops to 75% of normal.

Maior Creare (Major Creations): Craft Construct as a bonus feat; any golem or other construct created has maximum hit points.

Planus Mechanus (Studies of the Planes): Use plane shift as the spell once per day; ignore any hostile or debilitating planar environmental effects.

Ars Factum (Of the Creation of Artifacts): Unknown. Reputedly, this chapter of the nether scrolls taught the reader how to create artifacts. However, an additional key of some kind is needed to unlock this set of scrolls, and the spellcasters of Windsong Tower never discovered it.

The benefit gained by studying a particular chapter applies only to the character's arcane spellcasting class. For example, if a 15th-level cleric/5th-level wizard studied the Maior Creare scrolls and attempted to create a golem with divine magic, the golem would not have maximum hit points.

Overwhelming transmutation; CL 40th; Weight 1 lb. (per scroll)
--------------------------------------------------------------

This official version of the Nether Scrolls is way too powerful, and yet oddly underpowered in certain ways. There are 50 scrolls in total, 10 scrolls in each subject. The official version of the scrolls offers a 1 level increase for each scroll read. This is over the top. Also, the scrolls don't really seem to offer much once you have read all the scrolls, yet it is supposed to be a font of knowledge that keeps giving as your understanding of the magical arts increases.

Suggested improvement

For each 5 scrolls in a single set, grant 1 level increase, for a total of up to 10 levels for reading all of the Nether Scrolls.

Grant all the canon abilities for reading the Nether Scrolls that relate to special abilities or feats.

Grant additional metamagic or item creation feats for continuous study of the Nether Scrolls. For every 5 additional years of studying the Nether Scrolls, grant an appropriate feat based on which particular scrolls are being studied, up to one feat per 3 levels in an arcane spellcasting class, NOT INCLUDING the levels that were granted by reading the Nether Scrolls.

Improvement analysis

So based on this, Larloch, who had access to all the Nether Scrolls at one point, gained 10 levels as a direct result of reading the entirety of the Nether Scrolls (as did a great many Netherese in that era, leading to the rise of that empire).

Larloch gets the canon abilities for reading the Nether Scrolls, the cheaper golem creation, the plane shift ability, and so on. In addition, Larloch has 31 levels that he gained on his own apart from the Nether Scrolls, and because of his extensive study of the Nether Scrolls, and current possession of part of them, he has gained some relevant metamagic feats. As he is allowed 1 feat for every 3 arcane character levels (but not including those gained from studying the Nether Scrolls - no double dipping!), he gets 10 metamagic or item creation feats in addition to whatever he gets normally.

Now Larloch has received a very significant power up, and is quite possibly the most powerful wizard in Faerun.

Edited by - redking on 20 Jan 2017 11:14:35
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Brimstone
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Posted - 18 Jan 2017 :  14:37:24  Show Profile Send Brimstone a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Dont forget Larloch is a Chosen of Mystryl...

"These things also I have observed: that knowledge of our world is
to be nurtured like a precious flower, for it is the most precious
thing we have. Wherefore guard the word written and heed
words unwritten and set them down ere they fade . . . Learn
then, well, the arts of reading, writing, and listening true, and they
will lead you to the greatest art of all: understanding."
Alaundo of Candlekeep
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redking
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61 Posts

Posted - 18 Jan 2017 :  15:00:16  Show Profile Send redking a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Brimstone

Dont forget Larloch is a Chosen of Mystryl...


Haaaaah? Since when?
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Brimstone
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3147 Posts

Posted - 18 Jan 2017 :  15:19:36  Show Profile Send Brimstone a Private Message  Reply with Quote
The Herald.

Here is a link of Ed discussing the aftermath of The Herald.

quote:
So Telamont Tanthul, an undeniably arrogant and overconfident ruler used to having his will backed by many arcanists of skill and power, came up against a Chosen of Mystryl, Larloch, who had decided to set aside his usual diffidence and caution and make his own bid for the Weave. After all, in his opinion, the Mystras who came after Mystryl were inferior guardians of the Art (arcane magic); who better than he to take up Mystryl’s mantle and govern all magic? And this certainly seemed to be his best chance.

"These things also I have observed: that knowledge of our world is
to be nurtured like a precious flower, for it is the most precious
thing we have. Wherefore guard the word written and heed
words unwritten and set them down ere they fade . . . Learn
then, well, the arts of reading, writing, and listening true, and they
will lead you to the greatest art of all: understanding."
Alaundo of Candlekeep

Edited by - Brimstone on 18 Jan 2017 15:28:59
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TBeholder
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2025 Posts

Posted - 19 Jan 2017 :  02:41:38  Show Profile Send TBeholder a Private Message  Reply with Quote
And not quite news here, either: * *

People never wonder How the world goes round -Helloween
And even I make no pretense Of having more than common sense -R.W.Wood
It's not good, Eric. It's a gazebo. -Ed Whitchurch
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redking
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61 Posts

Posted - 19 Jan 2017 :  08:19:52  Show Profile Send redking a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by TBeholder

And not quite news here, either: * *


That makes sense. I've been boycotting Greenwood books until he gets a firm editor. Last one I read is "Elminster in Hell".

Edited by - redking on 19 Jan 2017 08:22:16
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LordofBones
Master of Realmslore

1194 Posts

Posted - 20 Jan 2017 :  16:24:07  Show Profile Send LordofBones a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I liked Larloch better when he was just an uber-lich so devoted to magic that Mystra let him practice Netherese magic in peace, instead of this "let's stick a Chosen label on anything and everything" tendency lately. This is made worse by the fact that the superhumanly intelligent, charismatic and wise lich of close to 2000 years of age decided to give a villainous monologue.

Anyway, it'd replace Mage of the Arcane Order with Arcane Lord (Dragon 297) levels. Thematically, it fits him being basically a super-archmage; with 10 levels, he gains 2 metamagic feats of his choice, can recall 3 spells/day, exceed spell damage and variable caps 2/day, arcane mastery 1/day, can recognize spells on sight, and can know the enemy's save bonuses 1/day.
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