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Copper Elven Vampire
Senior Scribe

489 Posts

Posted - 01 Jun 2019 :  21:38:31  Show Profile Send Copper Elven Vampire a Private Message  Reply with Quote  Delete Topic
Last I checked, Storm was a CR 32 in 3.5. Do you think she could defeat a Balor demon and two Glabrezu's by herself with both her melee and spell prowess? Putting this in our running campaign. Opinions very much needed.

Thanks, CEV.

George Krashos
Master of Realmslore

Australia
5520 Posts

Posted - 01 Jun 2019 :  22:28:18  Show Profile Send George Krashos a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Umm, if it's a plot element, why would you ask this question? If it's part of the story of your campaign then it happens or it doesn't. CR ratings, game mechanics, etc. mean diddly.

-- George Krashos

"Because only we, contrary to the barbarians, never count the enemy in battle." -- Aeschylus
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Demzer
Senior Scribe

699 Posts

Posted - 01 Jun 2019 :  23:14:33  Show Profile Send Demzer a Private Message  Reply with Quote
What George said.

However, if you really need to have a game mechanics explanation for this kind of stuff I suggest the hard route of rewriting ... basically all named NPCs of FR that aren't pure spellcasters because they were made before 90% of the splatbooks, are nonsensically (for 3/3.5E) multiclassed and so have what might be called "sub-optimal builds".

Personally I wouldn't bother unless is the Big Bad of your campaign and you really need stats.
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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
32218 Posts

Posted - 02 Jun 2019 :  03:56:23  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Copper Elven Vampire

Last I checked, Storm was a CR 32 in 3.5. Do you think she could defeat a Balor demon and two Glabrezu's by herself with both her melee and spell prowess? Putting this in our running campaign. Opinions very much needed.

Thanks, CEV.



I don't see why not, though of course it comes down to the usual X vs. Y stuff -- the scenario strongly impacts the outcome. X may easily beat Y if X is prepared and at range, but if Y gets the jump on them, X is in trouble...

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Copper Elven Vampire
Senior Scribe

489 Posts

Posted - 02 Jun 2019 :  16:18:29  Show Profile Send Copper Elven Vampire a Private Message  Reply with Quote
As the DM of our campaign this week, I plan on trapping a single PC in a hall with said demons, and I was going to have Storm rescue the PC if the PC is about to die. (Storm gave the PC a ring of summoning, that summons her if she is in dire need)But I don't want Storm to die too when I actually roll play her.
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Demzer
Senior Scribe

699 Posts

Posted - 02 Jun 2019 :  17:45:49  Show Profile Send Demzer a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Copper Elven Vampire

As the DM of our campaign this week, I plan on trapping a single PC in a hall with said demons, and I was going to have Storm rescue the PC if the PC is about to die. (Storm gave the PC a ring of summoning, that summons her if she is in dire need)But I don't want Storm to die too when I actually roll play her.



If you are determined to "roll play" her then you don't need to worry about her surviving (except for the pesky vorpal blade of the Balor) as even her published stats have good enough HP, AC and saves to survive the 3 demons easily.
It's exactly how and how fast she can beat them down that's more tricky and it's probably better to handwave with a nice cinematographic description of a mix of swordfight and Silver Fire use without delving into the details (and faking dice rolls if need be, as in you throw the dices and pretend the action follow the results).
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LordofBones
Senior Scribe

907 Posts

Posted - 03 Jun 2019 :  07:32:42  Show Profile Send LordofBones a Private Message  Reply with Quote
She's CR 32. The balor is barely a speedbump to her.
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sleyvas
Great Reader

USA
8122 Posts

Posted - 06 Jun 2019 :  22:11:12  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Demzer

What George said.

However, if you really need to have a game mechanics explanation for this kind of stuff I suggest the hard route of rewriting ... basically all named NPCs of FR that aren't pure spellcasters because they were made before 90% of the splatbooks, are nonsensically (for 3/3.5E) multiclassed and so have what might be called "sub-optimal builds".

Personally I wouldn't bother unless is the Big Bad of your campaign and you really need stats.



Damn straight, the Simbul should have such a different build for instance that builds both sorcerer and wizard.

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas
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LordofBones
Senior Scribe

907 Posts

Posted - 07 Jun 2019 :  06:05:25  Show Profile Send LordofBones a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Demzer

What George said.

However, if you really need to have a game mechanics explanation for this kind of stuff I suggest the hard route of rewriting ... basically all named NPCs of FR that aren't pure spellcasters because they were made before 90% of the splatbooks, are nonsensically (for 3/3.5E) multiclassed and so have what might be called "sub-optimal builds".

Personally I wouldn't bother unless is the Big Bad of your campaign and you really need stats.



Even the spellcasters are horribly built. Look at Szass Tam, the 29th level wizard with an Int of 22, or the Simbul.
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Seravin
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Canada
935 Posts

Posted - 07 Jun 2019 :  08:50:37  Show Profile Send Seravin a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I know in 2nd edition the Chosen had like super powers outside of the normal, I don't know how that translates to 3/3.5 but silver fire use could probably make up any shortcoming.
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BrennonGoldeye
Seeker

42 Posts

Posted - 07 Jun 2019 :  21:19:17  Show Profile Send BrennonGoldeye a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Demzer

What George said.

However, if you really need to have a game mechanics explanation for this kind of stuff I suggest the hard route of rewriting ... basically all named NPCs of FR that aren't pure spellcasters because they were made before 90% of the splatbooks, are nonsensically (for 3/3.5E) multiclassed and so have what might be called "sub-optimal builds".

Personally I wouldn't bother unless is the Big Bad of your campaign and you really need stats.



What some people call "sub-optimal builds" I call realistic (N)PCs but I get your point.

As to the OP's question.. I doubt it, but part of being one of the Sisters and Chosen means your never truly alone and as George said, if she is a plot point CR goes out the window.


Sam
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BrennonGoldeye
Seeker

42 Posts

Posted - 07 Jun 2019 :  21:30:57  Show Profile Send BrennonGoldeye a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by LordofBones

quote:
Originally posted by Demzer

What George said.

However, if you really need to have a game mechanics explanation for this kind of stuff I suggest the hard route of rewriting ... basically all named NPCs of FR that aren't pure spellcasters because they were made before 90% of the splatbooks, are nonsensically (for 3/3.5E) multiclassed and so have what might be called "sub-optimal builds".

Personally I wouldn't bother unless is the Big Bad of your campaign and you really need stats.



Even the spellcasters are horribly built. Look at Szass Tam, the 29th level wizard with an Int of 22, or the Simbul.



See, your talking about 22 Int as if that's stupid. Note the 20 Wis and 20 Cha that go along with it. The guy has a mind like a steel trap. I would advise that Necromancy spells with a base DC of 31(!) is nothing to sneeze at since that's 7 higher than the Old Mage's.

Though It would have been wonderfully "Meta" to just give the Simbul 30 Sorcerer levels, I think if she is played correctly she is much deadlier with her access to every spell of 5th level and below. Add the feat they never flushed out for her, Epic Spellcasting, and its a wash for just about any mortal facing her.

Sam
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Gelcur
Learned Scribe

326 Posts

Posted - 07 Jun 2019 :  22:51:16  Show Profile  Visit Gelcur's Homepage Send Gelcur a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I've always wanted to re-stat the Realms NPCs using the 3.5 rules, not so much to make them broken but to make them more fun, 3.5 had so many fun things, and a bit more accurate. So that characters who have certain combat moves or acrobatic maneuvers or characters that should have spell mantles or similar abilities would have them listed their stat blocks so as to jog my memory to use them. Even writing up custom abilities to the NPC, I noticed 4E started doing that often giving monsters abilities some were even encounter specific, so the giant kitchen assistant had "Throw Pots and Pans" which also deafened and the cook had "Spill the Soup" which created an area hazard. Maybe one day.

As far as who can beat who in a fight pretend roll some dice and oh what's this a critical with a special item El gave her?!? Oh she doesn't talk about what she had to do to get that particular item.

The party come to a town befallen by hysteria

Rogue: So what's in the general store?
DM: What are you looking for?
Rogue: Whatevers in the store.
DM: Like what?
Rogue: Everything.
DM: There is a lot of stuff.
Rogue: Is there a cart outside?
DM: (rolls) Yes.
Rogue: We'll take it all, we may need it for the greater good.
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Ayrik
Great Reader

Canada
6824 Posts

Posted - 08 Jun 2019 :  00:23:55  Show Profile Send Ayrik a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I suppose it's useful to have stats for reference, let you see how Nearly-Godlike Epic Big Name Characters measure up to other characters.

Not sure why such characters would ever need to interact with PCs in any fashion which requires dice rolling. That's the role of lesser NPCs who have stat blocks the PCs can more realistically challenge.

By giving things combat stats you're implying that players are expected to (eventually or just theoretically) defeat these things in combat.

[/Ayrik]
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LordofBones
Senior Scribe

907 Posts

Posted - 08 Jun 2019 :  02:41:07  Show Profile Send LordofBones a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by BrennonGoldeye

quote:
Originally posted by LordofBones

quote:
Originally posted by Demzer

What George said.

However, if you really need to have a game mechanics explanation for this kind of stuff I suggest the hard route of rewriting ... basically all named NPCs of FR that aren't pure spellcasters because they were made before 90% of the splatbooks, are nonsensically (for 3/3.5E) multiclassed and so have what might be called "sub-optimal builds".

Personally I wouldn't bother unless is the Big Bad of your campaign and you really need stats.



Even the spellcasters are horribly built. Look at Szass Tam, the 29th level wizard with an Int of 22, or the Simbul.



See, your talking about 22 Int as if that's stupid. Note the 20 Wis and 20 Cha that go along with it. The guy has a mind like a steel trap. I would advise that Necromancy spells with a base DC of 31(!) is nothing to sneeze at since that's 7 higher than the Old Mage's.

Though It would have been wonderfully "Meta" to just give the Simbul 30 Sorcerer levels, I think if she is played correctly she is much deadlier with her access to every spell of 5th level and below. Add the feat they never flushed out for her, Epic Spellcasting, and its a wash for just about any mortal facing her.

Sam



At 29th level? Yes, Szass is stupid. His nevromantic DC is wrong, since the updated Red Wizard does not boost DCs.

Starting with 18 Int, Szass can hit Int 40 with ease by 29th level. Any wizard PC of his level is going to crack Szass like an egg with his current build.

18 base 2 lich 7 levels 5 inherent 3 age 6 item = 41 Int
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BrennonGoldeye
Seeker

42 Posts

Posted - 11 Jun 2019 :  17:14:38  Show Profile Send BrennonGoldeye a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:

At 29th level? Yes, Szass is stupid. His nevromantic DC is wrong, since the updated Red Wizard does not boost DCs.

Starting with 18 Int, Szass can hit Int 40 with ease by 29th level. Any wizard PC of his level is going to crack Szass like an egg with his current build.

18 base 2 lich 7 levels 5 inherent 3 age 6 item = 41 Int



OK, I'm giong to just throw out there that whatever "they" did to his Necromantic DC is a nerf I dont accept. He was statted out in 3.5 and remains that way, 4E DESTROYED anything resembling D&D, and 5 is a broken attempt to fix that. Your also looking at him like he was a PC who was Min/Maxing, he isn't. I tell you what, stay in 3.5 and make your PC, buy your Magic Items under the normal rules for Epic Characters, and we can see who comes out on top. It could be fun. :)


I would also like to note you are calling Khelban, Alustriel, The Simbul, Learel, and your average Old Silver Dragon, all of whom have IQs rolling around 200 to 220, dummies. I get that the 3.5 NPCs seem to not be stated like any PC brought up through those rules, but they had to go through the process of being dragged screaming through the Edition evolution, randomly losing levels, powers, feats and spells, just to gain them back then lose them again.Give the guy credit for not just casting Plane Shift and moving to Pathfinder
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LordofBones
Senior Scribe

907 Posts

Posted - 12 Jun 2019 :  15:03:23  Show Profile Send LordofBones a Private Message  Reply with Quote
He was statted out in 3e. When the Red Wizard was revamped in 3.5e, all those DCs became caster level bonuses. It doesn't help that he has 7 superfluous RW levels that could have gone to archmage and his base wizard class.
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BrennonGoldeye
Seeker

42 Posts

Posted - 12 Jun 2019 :  15:39:14  Show Profile Send BrennonGoldeye a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by LordofBones

He was statted out in 3e. When the Red Wizard was revamped in 3.5e, all those DCs became caster level bonuses. It doesn't help that he has 7 superfluous RW levels that could have gone to archmage and his base wizard class.



Well then, if they nerfed, I agree that's good reason to change those classes. He was built the way he was because of the rules, if the rules change so should he. Make those wizard levels if ya like, I wouldn't expand the archmage beyond what he already has. The issue here was calling him stupid, which he is not, and understanding that there is a reason he was statted the way he was, and when Editions change by the whim of a corporation, the NPCs often take a hit. So.. play him in the Edition he was statted in, in this case as LordofBones has said 3.0, and then look down your nose on him. I mean for Tyrs sake look at El in 4.0--19th level controller--He's not an NPC at this point, he's a bookend.
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The Masked Mage
Great Reader

USA
2132 Posts

Posted - 26 Jun 2019 :  12:57:50  Show Profile  Send The Masked Mage an AOL message  Click to see The Masked Mage's MSN Messenger address Send The Masked Mage a Private Message  Reply with Quote
It would depend on the writer... In some books the Chosen wade through demons like nothing, in others (often Salvatore, for example) a single balor is nigh invincible.
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The Masked Mage
Great Reader

USA
2132 Posts

Posted - 26 Jun 2019 :  13:00:36  Show Profile  Send The Masked Mage an AOL message  Click to see The Masked Mage's MSN Messenger address Send The Masked Mage a Private Message  Reply with Quote
It would depend on the writer... In some books the Chosen wade through demons like nothing, in others (often Salvatore, for example) a single balor is nigh invincible.
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LordofBones
Senior Scribe

907 Posts

Posted - 08 Jul 2019 :  04:32:58  Show Profile Send LordofBones a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Most of the Chosen should wade through demons like nothing, unless they're facing Glyphimor, Dread Champion of Orcus, due to the CR discrepancy and most chosen being arcane casters. Meanwhile, Salvatore's representation of a balor is accurate with regard to the balor's enemies, since the balor is dealing with beings way lower than its CR.
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Diffan
Great Reader

USA
3620 Posts

Posted - 13 Jul 2019 :  03:25:49  Show Profile Send Diffan a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by BrennonGoldeye

OK, I'm giong to just throw out there that whatever "they" did to his Necromantic DC is a nerf I dont accept. He was statted out in 3.5 and remains that way, 4E DESTROYED anything resembling D&D, and 5 is a broken attempt to fix that.


1) me thinks your rant is directly wrongly there, since 4th Edition never did stats for him in any capacity. Also, while that might be your opinion about 4e, it certainly isn't shared by everyone. As someone who's played AD&D 2e, 3.0, 3.5, Pathfinder, 4e, and 5e, 4th Edition has all the parts necessary to call itself Dungeons and Dragons. Quite easily too, if I do say so. HAD 4e did stats for Szass Tam, he'd most likely be a Level 34 Solo Controller with enough firepower and abilities to rival PCs of at least 30th level and win too. See, unlike other editions most monsters in 4E - especially at high levels - have a multitude of ways of harrying characters of at-level power or below to the point that if he didn't outright kill them easily he'd disable quite a few before fleeing to a safer location in which to destroy them outright.

In 4e there's no Rule-laywering their way out of this, no loop-hole through crappy wording mechanics, no easy 'Meta'-knowledge of game design to flex or mutilate to their bidding to the point of making his Challenge completely worthless. You'd better be 30th level before taking him on, and even then you'd better have thought of absolutely everything in order to destroy him and fast, otherwise you're life is over. He's a lich, his time is endless.

2) These NPCs that have stats unfortunately, were doled out in the earliest days of 3.0 (circa 1999) and thus, most likely have a tentative (at best) working knowledge of the rules and the interworkings of the system at that time. 3.0 (1999) looks a HELL of a lot different than 3.5 (2008). Take Drizzt, for example. Now here's a guy who suffered pretty greatly. Looking at his FRCS stats - Bbn 1/ Ftr 10/Rgr 5....like what? Not to mention a crap load of garbage feats and a significant penalty to his famous TWF style that's been so prominent since his creation.

Imagine if Drizzt was re-statted with late 3.5 ideals in mind. Probably gets Pounce with the Barbarian level, Distracting Attack AFC from the Ranger, Two-Weapon Rend bonus feat from the Ranger, probably a lot of level of Dervish too. He'd be actually kinda scary to face, unlike the chump CR 16 he actually is. So while I do think the NPCs are horribly statted in the FRCS and most other sources, I think a lot of that isn't the designers fault nor should be blamed.

quote:
Originally posted by BrennonGoldeye

Your also looking at him like he was a PC who was Min/Maxing, he isn't. I tell you what, stay in 3.5 and make your PC, buy your Magic Items under the normal rules for Epic Characters, and we can see who comes out on top. It could be fun. :)


Someone who is vastly informative about rules-mechanics, rules-lawyering, and overall a Optimizer would have no problems completely destroying Szass Tam in a round or two. Especially at what sort of CR he's supposed to be. Heck I saw a level 16 "build" of a boring tier 3 Dread Necromancer have the ability to drop a single creature 17 Hit Die in a single turn using only a 4th and 5th level spell slot. By the way, his guy got 8 a piece. Imagine going up against an Ancient Wurm and nearly instantly dropping it 17 Hit Die right off the bat? The brokeness that accompanies 3.5 really knows little bounds at later levels.

quote:
Originally posted by BrennonGoldeye

I would also like to note you are calling Khelban, Alustriel, The Simbul, Learel, and your average Old Silver Dragon, all of whom have IQs rolling around 200 to 220, dummies. I get that the 3.5 NPCs seem to not be stated like any PC brought up through those rules, but they had to go through the process of being dragged screaming through the Edition evolution, randomly losing levels, powers, feats and spells, just to gain them back then lose them again.Give the guy credit for not just casting Plane Shift and moving to Pathfinder



Pathfinder offers little better alterations. In fact, they'd more likely be HURT in that edition where Player Characters get more goodies and broken combos to play with than 3.5 edition. I wish they took a "less is more" approach with NPC stats post 1999. A simple race, class, level number would've sufficed. Make Drizzt a Drow Ftr 10/ Bbn 1/ Rgr 5 and let ME do the filling in. I'll make him a warrior that actually could kill a demon in a round. And by all means they should've laid off the ridiculousness of Multiclassing in 3e/3.5. Ugh...

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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Diffan
Great Reader

USA
3620 Posts

Posted - 13 Jul 2019 :  03:28:53  Show Profile Send Diffan a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Copper Elven Vampire

Last I checked, Storm was a CR 32 in 3.5. Do you think she could defeat a Balor demon and two Glabrezu's by herself with both her melee and spell prowess? Putting this in our running campaign. Opinions very much needed.

Thanks, CEV.



To answer your question, Yea I'd think a CR 32 could take on a Balor and some Glabrezu's and easily win that, theoretically speaking and with average rolls done. But I'd also mirror what others have said in saying that if it doesn't really apply to the overall campaign, just narrate her involvement and let the PCs have their day, it's their campaign. You can have it play out however you want.

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
Senior Scribe

907 Posts

Posted - 13 Jul 2019 :  04:55:46  Show Profile Send LordofBones a Private Message  Reply with Quote
It is true that a lot of NPCs suffered from the designers being new to the system. Szass is just one of them.

He'd actually do pretty well in Pathfinder, considering that the new supplement has alternate capstones for classes with and without capstones, plus giving him mythic levels. That's already a +18 to Int without inherent/age/enhancement/lichdom bonuses, not to mention being mythic gives him a whole range of goodies to screw with people.

But at least Szass is a pure wizard caster. The Simbul, on the other hand...
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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
32218 Posts

Posted - 13 Jul 2019 :  16:40:04  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Diffan

So while I do think the NPCs are horribly statted in the FRCS and most other sources, I think a lot of that isn't the designers fault nor should be blamed.


Part of the problem, I think, is that in just about every edition, when a novel NPC gets statted up, it happens early in the edition. It's "here's new rules, and look, a favorite NPC built using those rules!" But those rules are made for standard PCs, characters that are more or less "off the rack," to use a Shadowrun term. The novel NPC wasn't thought up using those rules, so it's a suboptimal fit. Later in the edition, when they've released a bunch of supplements and splatbooks with alternative classes, that's when they make the ones that seem designed with particular NPCs in mind. That's why we keep seeing discussions like "why does this book build Bahb Nounsilver this way, when this class that came out 4 years later is clearly the better fit?"

quote:
Originally posted by Diffan

I wish they took a "less is more" approach with NPC stats post 1999. A simple race, class, level number would've sufficed. Make Drizzt a Drow Ftr 10/ Bbn 1/ Rgr 5 and let ME do the filling in. I'll make him a warrior that actually could kill a demon in a round.


Oh ye dancing gods, YES! I hated that about everything that came after 2E. "Let's waste an entire page on a statblock that may or may not even be correct, rather than squeeze in more lore." The 2E statblocks -- Bahb Nounsilver (NG hm F10; DEX 16, CHA 18) -- were perfect. Alignment, race, gender, class, level, and notable (i.e., 16 or higher) stats. That's all a DM needs. If they don't use Bahb at all, then pagecount hasn't been wasted. If they need Bahb to be a skilled dancer who has a surprising amount of knowledge on gnomish hosiery, they can do that.

Even if a DM does intend to use a published NPC, the way they use them likely won't need a full statblock. If a DM wants to use Bahb in a purely social encounter, maybe a Charisma check is all that would be needed. Maybe the PCs need to know about gnomish lingerie -- then a single skill is what's needed. But if they have to fight him for some reason, Bahb being a good dancer is already reflected by his DEX bonus, and gnomish hosiery is more than likely not going to be a factor at all.

I remember one particular instance where an NPC was described as being a good dancer, but given his stats, he wouldn't have been able to do much of anything on the dancefloor.

As I've said many times before, give me the concept, and let me do what I need to with it. Anyone can stat up an NPC, but it's the character concept that makes the NPC interesting. WotC's favorite character Lord Ginsu is popular because of his concept - a renegade drow. If he was an equally skilled human, without anything noteworthy in his character history, no one would pay attention to him -- it's the concept that sells the character, not the stats. (Note: not bashing the character; he's truly one of the best examples of how who the character is far outweighs what they can do. Even most of my favorite published characters, D&D or otherwise, lack a backstory that grabs you as readily as his)

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Diffan
Great Reader

USA
3620 Posts

Posted - 15 Jul 2019 :  06:04:09  Show Profile Send Diffan a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

quote:
Originally posted by Diffan

So while I do think the NPCs are horribly statted in the FRCS and most other sources, I think a lot of that isn't the designers fault nor should be blamed.


Part of the problem, I think, is that in just about every edition, when a novel NPC gets statted up, it happens early in the edition. It's "here's new rules, and look, a favorite NPC built using those rules!" But those rules are made for standard PCs, characters that are more or less "off the rack," to use a Shadowrun term. The novel NPC wasn't thought up using those rules, so it's a suboptimal fit. Later in the edition, when they've released a bunch of supplements and splatbooks with alternative classes, that's when they make the ones that seem designed with particular NPCs in mind. That's why we keep seeing discussions like "why does this book build Bahb Nounsilver this way, when this class that came out 4 years later is clearly the better fit?"


This reason right here is a classic example of why I still prefer 4th Edition to others, because NPCs and monsters don't have to fit into a box made specifically for Player Characters, mainly because they just don't function the same in the game. If I want my Orc wielding two Falchions because he's a big burly guy, I shouldn't have to require 14 Hit Die of class levels, 5 different feats, and magical items just to make it so, I can just DO it and no one bats an eye. 5e is a bit more in-line with this as well, because they're not all build the same as PCs but I like 4e's more free-range form in this matter.

Also, say I do give some blaster-mage a spell that they use on Player Characters and one of them wants to learn it, I have absolutely zero qualms about them studying magic to get the effect or maybe they find the mage's book with that spell in it they can add to their list. Same goes for non-casters too, If a Fighter wants to use some ability a monster used or saw an NPC use, then they need to work with or study that style to learn that feature as a Boon.

quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

quote:
Originally posted by Diffan

I wish they took a "less is more" approach with NPC stats post 1999. A simple race, class, level number would've sufficed. Make Drizzt a Drow Ftr 10/ Bbn 1/ Rgr 5 and let ME do the filling in. I'll make him a warrior that actually could kill a demon in a round.


Oh ye dancing gods, YES! I hated that about everything that came after 2E. "Let's waste an entire page on a statblock that may or may not even be correct, rather than squeeze in more lore." The 2E statblocks -- Bahb Nounsilver (NG hm F10; DEX 16, CHA 18) -- were perfect. Alignment, race, gender, class, level, and notable (i.e., 16 or higher) stats. That's all a DM needs. If they don't use Bahb at all, then pagecount hasn't been wasted. If they need Bahb to be a skilled dancer who has a surprising amount of knowledge on gnomish hosiery, they can do that.


Exactly! I know better what sort of group I have, which I can more easily tailor a BBEG or NPC or some other monster to combat them than what a designer can cobble together, which I've often found, can be quite wrong. Take, for example, the adventure Cormyr: Tearing of the Weave and the unofficial Errata that was put out for it. One guy took it upon himself to make all the corrections to the monster stat-blocks and adjust their Challenge Rating accordingly that better reflects their up-dated stats and terrain. I wish I knew that was there before I ran the adventure because at times there did seem to be things that were off. So even with things printed close to the edition change, stats weren't always accurate.

quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

Even if a DM does intend to use a published NPC, the way they use them likely won't need a full statblock. If a DM wants to use Bahb in a purely social encounter, maybe a Charisma check is all that would be needed. Maybe the PCs need to know about gnomish lingerie -- then a single skill is what's needed. But if they have to fight him for some reason, Bahb being a good dancer is already reflected by his DEX bonus, and gnomish hosiery is more than likely not going to be a factor at all.

I remember one particular instance where an NPC was described as being a good dancer, but given his stats, he wouldn't have been able to do much of anything on the dancefloor.


See, that's why I was never a fan of hyper-focused Skill Lists. Why does being a good Dancer need to be reflected in some quantifiable-statistic hammered out through a meta-concept like "Skill Ranks" when all you wanna do is say "hey, this guy is a good dancer." and the PCs just accept that? OR hell, if a PC wants to be known as a Good Dancer, just be like Picard and "Make it so." Maybe.....maybe a positive Dexterity score is helpful, and you absolutely need a check to impress some lord (this is where I enjoy 5e's simple DC check system) so a Dexterity check of 10 or 12 would suffice. I dunno, I've gotten away from everyone rolling everything and adding stats to it simply to say "you do something kinda-cool." Unless it's life and death situation or combat, I'm probably just going to let you role-play how you want the interaction to go and *boom* it just goes.

quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

As I've said many times before, give me the concept, and let me do what I need to with it. Anyone can stat up an NPC, but it's the character concept that makes the NPC interesting. WotC's favorite character Lord Ginsu is popular because of his concept - a renegade drow. If he was an equally skilled human, without anything noteworthy in his character history, no one would pay attention to him -- it's the concept that sells the character, not the stats. (Note: not bashing the character; he's truly one of the best examples of how who the character is far outweighs what they can do. Even most of my favorite published characters, D&D or otherwise, lack a backstory that grabs you as readily as his)



Agreed. His journey, as it pertains to both the story and the game, are quite extraordinary. He's a classic monster-to-hero Background that really opened the doors for players decades back. Which is why I find it kind of funny when people really bemoan the increasingly common 'Hodge-podge' adventuring group of Human, Dragonborn, Vampire, and half-fey - as if such a union somehow doesn't make sense or is bad. Yes the Tolkien-eque group of Dwarf, Elf, Human(s), Halfling(s) is still pretty common (or also common, multiple humans with the odd-ball / yet common race) But that's been done SOO much over the game's history. Still, after 5+ editions, the most common Character is Human Fighter. A game where there's a dozen different flavors of wizard, where gods grant multiple classes powers, where you can shape-change into animals, where you can get REALLY angry and get boosts from that primal rage, where you can call down heavenly fire upon your foes.....and still it's a common dude with a weapon wearing some medieval armor that is the go-to...

**Sorry that sort of went off the rails there, but I find it vexing all the same**

Otherwise, yes Keep my stat-blocks short and sweet. Maybe give a 3 line description of the NPC with a notable aspect about them (They wield a Flame Tongue, or often uses wands of Insert spell here or maybe they have a knack for slipping through shadows. I'd take that over a page and a half of stat-minutia.

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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