Author Topic: ECL 2 on Aasimar and Tiefling  (Read 1237 times)

LivingWasteland

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Re: ECL 2 on Aasimar and Tiefling
« Reply #50 on: July 11, 2018, 06:37:00 PM »
I'd pay the XP on both my ECL races, certainly, just to be able to roll with my peeps and not get left behind.


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Re: ECL 2 on Aasimar and Tiefling
« Reply #51 on: July 11, 2018, 06:52:37 PM »
Although a level 2 character with an ECL of 4 is supposed to be stronger than a level 2 character, they do not match up to a level 4 character by any stretch of the imagination. But let's pretend for a moment, that they do.

Even on the SRD, they point out the fact that level adjustments are more of a burden then they're worth, especially at higher levels.

From the SRD:  http://www.d20srd.org/srd/variant/races/reducingLevelAdjustments.htm

When a character with a level adjustment advances in experience, the level adjustment he started with becomes more and more of a burden.Eventually, the benefits of the creature type may come to be eclipsed by those of his class features, and the player may regret his choice of race. Under this variant system, the character can pay an XP cost at certain intervals to decrease the burden of his level adjustment.

Once the total of a character's class levels (not including any Hit Dice from his creature type or his level adjustment) reaches three times his level adjustment, his level adjustment is eligible to be decreased by 1.


Now I know that programming in LA Buyoff is likely difficult if not impossible. But let's see what "XP Value" is placed on these level adjustments:

The character must reach a level equal to 3x his current Level Adjustment
Starting
Level
Adjustment    Number of Class Levels Necessary
                        for Level Adjustment Reduction
                        (Not Including Racial Hit Dice)
1                    3
2                    6,9
3                    9, 15, 18
4                    12
5                    15
6                    18

After reaching the listed levels, the character can pay XP to reduce his Level adjustment. The character must pay an amount of XP equal to (his current ECL -1) × 1,000

So according to this:

LA+1 is worth 3000 xp (Because it can be bought off at level 3, ECL 4)
LA +2 is worth 16000xp (requiring buyoffs at level 6 (ECL8) and level 9 (ECL 10)
LA +3 is worth 45000xp (Requiring buyoffs at level 9 (ECL 12), Level 15 (ECL 17) and Level 18 (ECL 19)

The XP Penalty idea is a good one. It's much more severe than the normal Level Adjustment buyoff rules, but accomplishes much the same goal.
LA +1 at a 10% penalty is worth 19,000 xp By level 20
LA +2 at a 20% penalty is worth 38,000 xp By Level 20
LA +3 at a 30% penalty is worth 57,000 xp By Level 20

These are not small XP amounts. Any player who pushes through these penalties and reaches higher levels should be rewarded, because their playthrough was more difficult. Good game design should reward completing difficult tasks. Even if we increased the penalties, I'm sure players would be more than happy to pay them.



TL;DR, I support implementing an XP penalty system instead of a level adjustment system, because Level adjustment in 3e and 3.5 is hamfisted and broken (and not in the good way).

Strong argument.
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MAB77

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Re: ECL 2 on Aasimar and Tiefling
« Reply #52 on: July 11, 2018, 07:27:55 PM »
I am keenly aware of what ECL entails, I play ECL characters, I merely disagree with you on the question of balance.

Even though XP gain is slower (and there is no contesting that, even I rue it at times), I can still eventually get all the advantages of my class up to level 18. The real price I pay up to level 18 is merely time, time and nothing else. For those 18 level I will always be stronger than a normal human of the same class and level.

Over the course of those 18 levels, my tiefling race will have accrued me the equivalent of 7 feats (the humans extra feat, and the equivalent of 6 skill focus feats) that I would not have obtained in the P&P version. That right here is why there is an extra ECL level here on the module. Now whether or not you believe that is worth sacrificing an ECL level I'll leave that to your own judgment, but I know they have been hugely useful to me and that I would accept that trade again any day.

And speaking of the level 19 and 20 abilities I will not have access to. Guess what? Chances are that human druid won't ever reach them either. So really, I'll just be losing an edge over very few highly exceptional characters.

So what's the deal in ECL races really? Being more powerful for the longest of time, for sacrificing some high level abilities when it's almost time to retire the character. This strikes me as a very fair balance and I see no reasons to change it.

(Funny tidbit, an ECL 2 character reaching level 18 will do it in 5000 xp points less than a non-ecl reaching level 20.  :mrgreen:)
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bestbardna

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Re: ECL 2 on Aasimar and Tiefling
« Reply #53 on: July 11, 2018, 09:10:46 PM »
I am keenly aware of what ECL entails, I play ECL characters, I merely disagree with you on the question of balance.

I respect the fact that you disagree with me. It allows me to continue this rather interesting debate.

Even though XP gain is slower (and there is no contesting that, even I rue it at times), I can still eventually get all the advantages of my class up to level 18. The real price I pay up to level 18 is merely time, time and nothing else. For those 18 level I will always be stronger than a normal human of the same class and level.

Except that you aren't expected to compete with an ECL 18 character of your same class. You're expected to be competitive with a 20th level character of your class, which you aren't.

Over the course of those 18 levels, my tiefling race will have accrued me the equivalent of 7 feats (the humans extra feat, and the equivalent of 6 skill focus feats) that I would not have obtained in the P&P version. That right here is why there is an extra ECL level here on the module. Now whether or not you believe that is worth sacrificing an ECL level I'll leave that to your own judgment, but I know they have been hugely useful to me and that I would accept that trade again any day.

This isn't correct. The extra skill points you receive are not the equivalent of 6 skill focus feats. They're the equivalent of part of a single feat: Nymph's Kiss (Book of Exalted Deeds, p. 44), It also grants +1 skill point/level and even that feat gives you an extra +2 bonus to charisma-based checks and a +1 bonus to saving throws vs. spells. Alternatively, it's equivalent to part of a +2 bonus to intelligence (In that it gives +1 skill point/level, but doesn't grant any of the other bonuses).

Having 6 free skill focus feats is infinitely better than an extra skill point per level, as it's the difference between having one additional skill at max ranks, or having six skills with an extra +3 bonus on top of them. DnD rewards specialization, not generalization. (Skill focus is normally considered a bad feat in 3e/3.5, but if you're getting 6 of them for free? Hell yes I'll take that over an extra skill point/level)

And speaking of the level 19 and 20 abilities I will not have access to. Guess what? Chances are that human druid won't ever reach them either. So really, I'll just be losing an edge over very few highly exceptional characters.

Using the fact that it only applies tp a small percentage of players is not a strong argument. In fact, it smacks true of "It doesn't matter if I can't see it."

So what's the deal in ECL races really? Being more powerful for the longest of time, for sacrificing some high level abilities when it's almost time to retire the character. This strikes me as a very fair balance and I see no reasons to change it.

The deal with ECL is that, again, no one is indicating that you're weaker than a character who possesses the same number of class levels than you. They're saying that you are weaker than a character who is the same ECL. If I were leading a party (Fun fact, I am, check us out in game), and I had to choose between a Level 6 Aasimar Cleric or a Level 8 Human Cleric to bring along, I'm going to bring the Level 8 Human Cleric 100% of the time. Why? Because he's better at his job. The level 6 Aasimar Cleric soaks up the same amount of XP that the Level 8 Cleric does, but the level 8 cleric has more spells per day, more HP, better saves, better BAB, more feats, and more skills. What can the Aasimar do that the Human can't? Have a +1 bonus to the saving throws of his spells? An extra turn attempt and an extra round of whatever divine feat he's using? Sorry, that just isn't worth it.


You will always be stronger than a character of the same class and same class level than you. No one is going to argue that. But I feel that power is -earned- because you have to work harder to get it. But don't misunderstand, you aren't the equivalent of a character 2 levels higher than you, and you never will be. I'd be more than happy to break down the math, if you're interested. DnD is math, by the way.

MAB77

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Re: ECL 2 on Aasimar and Tiefling
« Reply #54 on: July 11, 2018, 11:24:19 PM »
Except that you aren't expected to compete with an ECL 18 character of your same class. You're expected to be competitive with a 20th level character of your class, which you aren't.

You assume there is a competition to begin with. It's not a competition at all. The game is about building a fulfilling narrative for your characters. The only one I am in competition with is myself, by challenging myself to the limits of my possibilities and trying to survive against all odds. Between characters, on a roleplay server where people band together to overcome their respective shortcomings, the difference is moot. I am quite happy not having the strongest min/maxed character around. Whatever someone else does, so long as it fosters good roleplay, is relatively of no consequence to me. Roleplay is its own reward.

This isn't correct. The extra skill points you receive are not the equivalent of 6 skill focus feats. They're the equivalent of part of a single feat: Nymph's Kiss (Book of Exalted Deeds, p. 44), It also grants +1 skill point/level and even that feat gives you an extra +2 bonus to charisma-based checks and a +1 bonus to saving throws vs. spells. Alternatively, it's equivalent to part of a +2 bonus to intelligence (In that it gives +1 skill point/level, but doesn't grant any of the other bonuses).

Having 6 free skill focus feats is infinitely better than an extra skill point per level, as it's the difference between having one additional skill at max ranks, or having six skills with an extra +3 bonus on top of them. DnD rewards specialization, not generalization. (Skill focus is normally considered a bad feat in 3e/3.5, but if you're getting 6 of them for free? Hell yes I'll take that over an extra skill point/level)

Fair enough, you do make a most valid point here. But those 18 free skill points are still not something to sneeze on.

Using the fact that it only applies tp a small percentage of players is not a strong argument. In fact, it smacks true of "It doesn't matter if I can't see it."

Ah! I alluded to it already above, but it is widely known already that I value roleplay over any form of mechanical advantage. It's not that I don't see it, I do, I just don't find that am impediment to my enjoyment of the game. I own my choices in character buildings, I know from the get go it's probably not the most effective of built, just as I knew what I was getting into when selecting an ECL race. "Caveat emptor" said the romans. The buyer assumes the risk that a product may fail to meet expectations or have defects. I mean here that whoever plays an ECL race knows what he's getting into. Warnings are plentiful about it. It is a challenge, not for everyone, but some of us do like it just like that. It is the balance we want. And its for the best too! What a boring game would D&D be if everything was perfectly balanced. Inbalances forces people to adapt and work together. It is desirable on a RP server. (*lets nuance here, I  am not saying lets screw the current balance, a measure of balance is certainly required, it does not have to all be perfectly balanced)

The deal with ECL is that, again, no one is indicating that you're weaker than a character who possesses the same number of class levels than you. They're saying that you are weaker than a character who is the same ECL. If I were leading a party (Fun fact, I am, check us out in game), and I had to choose between a Level 6 Aasimar Cleric or a Level 8 Human Cleric to bring along, I'm going to bring the Level 8 Human Cleric 100% of the time. Why? Because he's better at his job. The level 6 Aasimar Cleric soaks up the same amount of XP that the Level 8 Cleric does, but the level 8 cleric has more spells per day, more HP, better saves, better BAB, more feats, and more skills. What can the Aasimar do that the Human can't? Have a +1 bonus to the saving throws of his spells? An extra turn attempt and an extra round of whatever divine feat he's using? Sorry, that just isn't worth it.

Again, you only provide the 1 option where the human is the highest level. It might very well be the reverse, or they may be of the same level. And why would you really have to make a choice in this case where the obvious answer is of course bringing both and see the roleplay that would ensue. Characters are (usually) not in competition with each others, it only matters if said character can survive the destination. At the very least we can agree that both tieflings and aasimars can be great survivalists.

You will always be stronger than a character of the same class and same class level than you. No one is going to argue that. But I feel that power is -earned- because you have to work harder to get it. But don't misunderstand, you aren't the equivalent of a character 2 levels higher than you, and you never will be. I'd be more than happy to break down the math, if you're interested. DnD is math, by the way.

Thank you for confirming what I've been saying all along. I never said an ECL +2 char was as strong as a character 2 level higher. It is impossible with 3.5e rules. The "effective" of ECL never meant "as effective as a char 2 level higher", it would be a gross mistake to think so. And that it is precisely why I was telling that the comparison had to be made at the same character level. A level 2 ECL, is not a level 4, he's still a level 2 BUT with more abilities. What I said was that the abilities I got at level 2 are worth the 2 levels I am sacrificing for them. HUGE difference. NO... I am not telling they are stronger than the abilities I'd lose at level 19 or 20, but they are worth it because they will serve me longer and more often during the characters existence. Balance is served.

Right there though is the domain of perception, what seems acceptable and balanced to me need not be the same to you. There is no universal truth, the truths are multiple. One thing is certain, I side on the side believing the balance is proper as is.
« Last Edit: July 11, 2018, 11:28:08 PM by MAB77 »
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bestbardna

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Re: ECL 2 on Aasimar and Tiefling
« Reply #55 on: July 12, 2018, 12:57:09 AM »
You assume there is a competition to begin with. It's not a competition at all. The game is about building a fulfilling narrative for your characters. The only one I am in competition with is myself, by challenging myself to the limits of my possibilities and trying to survive against all odds. Between characters, on a roleplay server where people band together to overcome their respective shortcomings, the difference is moot. I am quite happy not having the strongest min/maxed character around. Whatever someone else does, so long as it fosters good roleplay, is relatively of no consequence to me. Roleplay is its own reward.

Like it or not, there is a competition. Players compete with one another (or factions compete with one another) for wealth (gp), personal power (xp), and influence. If a character is not in conflict/competition with any person/faction/entity, then the narrative is a boring one. Being in competition with only one's self is counterproductive to telling a story. Imagine if a character spent all of their time on self improvement. Training, studying, whathaveyou. Sure, they're in "competition" with the person they used to be (IE their weaker self), but without an external source of conflict, then the story becomes monotonous, dull, tiresome, uninteresting, and any other word meaning boring.

For Example: Would you watch a show like Dragon Ball Z if Goku spent every episode doing pushups instead of fighting the villain? I think not. (Not that you'd watch Dragon Ball Z in the first place, but I think it's a reference that most people would understand).

Trying to survive against all odds is all well and good, but when your character falls behind the curve in What he is supposed to be able to handle, then that isn't fun. Not for you, nor the party that has to literally carry you through every engagement because you're too underpowered to contribute. You can certainly claim to be having fun, but I don't believe it for a second. I'm here to play a game. If my "playtime" consists of me sitting in the back plinking away with a crossbow (and failing) without contributing anything to the party success, then I'm a dead weight at best and an xp leech at worst.

As for Roleplay being it's own reward, sure. Roleplay is important. If you want to take your LA +2 aasimar into the outskirts and RP all day, then more power to you. This discussion however, is about the sort of players who want to play the game beyond typing in a chatbox, and are having great difficulty doing so due to the difficulty of levelling up a level adjusted character (And their relative inability to contribute anything to a level appropriate encounter/dungeon/whathaveyou).

Ah! I alluded to it already above, but it is widely known already that I value roleplay over any form of mechanical advantage. It's not that I don't see it, I do, I just don't find that am impediment to my enjoyment of the game. I own my choices in character buildings, I know from the get go it's probably not the most effective of built, just as I knew what I was getting into when selecting an ECL race. "Caveat emptor" said the romans. The buyer assumes the risk that a product may fail to meet expectations or have defects. I mean here that whoever plays an ECL race knows what he's getting into. Warnings are plentiful about it. It is a challenge, not for everyone, but some of us do like it just like that. It is the balance we want. And its for the best too! What a boring game would D&D be if everything was perfectly balanced. Inbalances forces people to adapt and work together. It is desirable on a RP server. (*lets nuance here, I  am not saying lets screw the current balance, a measure of balance is certainly required, it does not have to all be perfectly balanced)

I'm going to have to vehemently disagree with you. This is a multiplayer RPG. Balance should be a factor in all design decisions. Perfect balance may not be attainable, but using that as an excuse to not fix a frankly glaring problem with the current ECL system is quite apathetic, to be polite. If you prefer RP over mechanical advantage, again, all the more power to you. Playing the chat simulator is fun for a lot of folk, and I quite enjoy it myself. But I'm also here to explore dragons, slay dungeons, and rescue the evil king from the princess in distress.

The major point here is that if you can't -contribute- mechanically to an encounter, then you're dead weight, an xp sponge, and likely not having as much fun as you could be.

Again, you only provide the 1 option where the human is the highest level. It might very well be the reverse, or they may be of the same level.

They very well could be, but the point I'm trying to make is that one is patently better than the other in every way. Choosing the most effective people to join your party is a must in order to survive some of the content on this server. Unless of course the "most effective" people are quite a bit higher level than you (meaning that you won't be getting much, if any xp, or you'll be taken somewhere where you're completely outclassed and cannot contribute). I don't know about you, but I don't have fun if I'm running a dungeon, and not being able to contribute to anything going on in there. At that point, why am I even there? I can't help. All I'm doing is being an XP/loot sponge.


And why would you really have to make a choice in this case where the obvious answer is of course bringing both and see the roleplay that would ensue. Characters are (usually) not in competition with each others, it only matters if said character can survive the destination. At the very least we can agree that both tieflings and aasimars can be great survivalists.

There are plenty of adventuring situations where you're in tight quarters without a lot of room to muck about. Keeping your party size at the right number is important to your success. Sometimes you want to keep the party size small to keep gold shares high for everyone. Sometimes you want to keep party size small so you gain the most xp you can. Ever go down into the catacombs with 16 people? Happened a couple of times during NCE. It was cramped, it was laggy, and I didn't have much fun with it at all. Sometimes you need to keep the party size manageable because of limited resources or (in many player's cases with EE) server/computer performance issues.

Thank you for confirming what I've been saying all along. I never said an ECL +2 char was as strong as a character 2 level higher. It is impossible with 3.5e rules.

Good. So you agree that an LA + 2 Character isn't a match for a LA +0 character of equal ECL. This is a problem that should be rectified

The "effective" of ECL never meant "as effective as a char 2 level higher", it would be a gross mistake to think so.

You're.... kidding right? That is literally it's intended purpose. Effective Character Level, by definition, is the EFFECTIVE power level of your character. Therefore, two characters who are ECL 8 should be similar in terms of power. Or EFFECTIVENESS, if you prefer. Here. I'll include a link to a blog post by one of the designers of 3.5, he sums up what ECL means pretty succintly: http://www.seankreynolds.com/rpgfiles/misc/ecl_vs_cr.html

I'll save you the trouble of going through the whole thing. Here's two relevant snippets:


ECL (effective character level) measures how powerful a creature is if used as a PC. ECL = creature's HD + LA.

Example: A PC human Ftr6 is ECL 6 (6 HD + 0 LA). A PC drow Ftr6 is ECL8 (6 HD + 2 LA). A PC doppelganger Ftr6 is ECL 14 (4 race HD + 6 class HD + 4 LA).


And:

An example is the drow elf. Drow have a CR adjustment of "class level +1" and a LA of +2. Thus, an NPC drow Ftr5 has a CR of 6. However, that drow Ftr5 as a PC is treated as a 7th-level character (5 class levels plus the LA adjustment of +2 = 7). This is because the drow's spell resistance and other magical abilities are more valuable if he gets to use them over and over again, which he will get to do as a PC because he's played in multiple sessions, instead of being killed after one fight if he were a "monster."

So don't confuse CR with LA (or ECL). LA tends to be higher than the CR adjustment for a creature because in the long run a PC with special abilities gets to use them more often than a monster with those same abilities.


So. Game designer says that ECL is supposed to represent how effective a particular creature is. Can't get much clearer than that.


And that it is precisely why I was telling that the comparison had to be made at the same character level. A level 2 ECL, is not a level 4, he's still a level 2 BUT with more abilities.

This is false. A Level 2 character with a +2 LA is supposed to be ECL 4, meaning they should be about as effective as another ECL 4 creature (Such as a level 4 Human PC), they are not. This is not an argument of semantics. They are SUPPOSED to be on the same level (see the above blog entry by one of the 3.5 game designers). They are not. The discussion is about how to rectify this.

What I said was that the abilities I got at level 2 are worth the 2 levels I am sacrificing for them. HUGE difference. NO... I am not telling they are stronger than the abilities I'd lose at level 19 or 20, but they are worth it because they will serve me longer and more often during the characters existence. Balance is served.

Except that balance isn't served. If you're primarily an RP'er, then mechanical balance doesn't really mean much, because you're not playing the mechanical part of dnd. You're playing chatbox simulator 2018. I'm also an avid RP'er, but I'm advocating for the players who want to play an ECL race (and likely for fluff reasons, considering their overwhelming power is simply.... underwhelming), but also want to be able to dungeon with their friends (And by dungeon, I don't mean being an XP sponge because you can't contribute in a meaningful way, I mean crushing skulls and unleashing spells).

Right there though is the domain of perception, what seems acceptable and balanced to me need not be the same to you. There is no universal truth, the truths are multiple. One thing is certain, I side on the side believing the balance is proper as is.

And I respect your choice in that regard.

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Re: ECL 2 on Aasimar and Tiefling
« Reply #56 on: July 12, 2018, 09:20:55 AM »
Man... I am so thankful for Bestbardna right now. You have a way of explaining things that is much easier to understand and more tactful than I could ever put it. Basically everything you write are the points that I have been trying to make, only I do not get them across as effectively as you. It is nice to see that not only do others understand the plight that ECL race players are going through, but agree something needs to be done to have a better balance between the races. Also, would really like to get a dev's opinion on your suggestion, as I think it is a really great one and probably the best solution put forward thus far. Cheers dude! :D

LivingWasteland

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Re: ECL 2 on Aasimar and Tiefling
« Reply #57 on: July 12, 2018, 09:42:17 AM »
MAB is a dev, and he thinks we're just fine it looks like :\


bestbardna

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Re: ECL 2 on Aasimar and Tiefling
« Reply #58 on: July 12, 2018, 10:28:07 AM »
Man... I am so thankful for Bestbardna right now. You have a way of explaining things that is much easier to understand and more tactful than I could ever put it. Basically everything you write are the points that I have been trying to make, only I do not get them across as effectively as you. It is nice to see that not only do others understand the plight that ECL race players are going through, but agree something needs to be done to have a better balance between the races. Also, would really like to get a dev's opinion on your suggestion, as I think it is a really great one and probably the best solution put forward thus far. Cheers dude! :D

Thanks bud! I appreciate the shoutout!

MAB is a dev, and he thinks we're just fine it looks like :\

He certainly is a dev, and he certainly thinks it's fine. Although the words of a Dev are certainly important, they aren't the end all be all of balance discussion. It's one voice saying things are fine versus another voice that says they aren't. The voice with the more coherent argument should win out.

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Re: ECL 2 on Aasimar and Tiefling
« Reply #59 on: July 12, 2018, 11:57:27 AM »
MAB is a dev, and he thinks we're just fine it looks like :\

He certainly is a dev, and he certainly thinks it's fine. Although the words of a Dev are certainly important, they aren't the end all be all of balance discussion. It's one voice saying things are fine versus another voice that says they aren't. The voice with the more coherent argument should win out.

Devs should carry great authority about whether it is possible to make a change and how easy it is to make a change. But in terms of determining whether something is balanced, knowing how to code does not inherently give someone that skill. If a Dev argues that an ECL should be evaluated for balance against a PC of a comparable level rather than against a PC at the assumed effective character level, the Dev is as definitionally wrong as would be any other player making the same argument.

Moreover, in terms of what is enjoyable in a PC or improves the player's experience, we are all more or less on equal footing because we have individual tastes. No player can tell another "you should want to exchange this feature for that because I would on my PC." (If such choices were objective, no one would ever trade or sell equipment.)

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Re: ECL 2 on Aasimar and Tiefling
« Reply #60 on: July 12, 2018, 01:32:40 PM »
My opinion, as ever, engages only myself as a player. I am not taking position as a dev here.

I have so far participated in this debate because:
A) I enjoy it. It is healthy to have your beliefs challenged from time to time.

B) It's been a respectful debate so far (after 3 pages that's an accomplishment :mrgreen:). I trust we are mature enough to keep it that way.

There are a lot of things I could still argue and retort to Bestbardna last reply's to my own. For instance the fact that I don't see effectiveness only as a matter of levels, hp, attack bonus an what not. I certainly bested higher levels than me in duels at some occasions due to a variety of reasons. And the most obvious fact that a RP oriented ECL character can certainly be effective as well. They are not mutually exclusive. But clearly, my position as a dev casts a certain shadow to the debate, as to not cause any further prejudice to the dev team I will respectfully bow out from this debate.
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Re: ECL 2 on Aasimar and Tiefling
« Reply #61 on: July 12, 2018, 01:33:37 PM »
When it comes to ECL, I am generally fine with how things are. Those ECL benefits definitely make you stronger than the basic races and you should be handicapped somehow. While I'm not entirely sure that Aasimar and Tiefling are worth an ECL 2 right now, I do think that there's not much that should happen until we can properly make them their own race in NWN. They get a lot of bonuses and are easily worth ECL 1. Adding in the extra human feat and the skill points, and I'm not surprised they get to ECL 2.

My only real problem is that we gain XP based on challenge levels. Generally in the paper D&D that I've participated in, an ECL gains normal, full XP but uses that higher XP table to determine when he levels. Here, with Ravenloft, we get less XP when things aren't equal to our levels which becomes a problem at those higher ECLs. Personally, ECL 2 isn't that big of a deal. I have some characters that are definitely a bit squishy compared to the norm and that's what this effectively is. I see a bigger problem with ECL 3 and ECL 4 critters. I want to do a tanarukk but that ECL 4 means you are pretty much always going to go on suicide runs to gain decent XP. It also doesn't help that outcast races are even harder to play but that's a different topic.
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bestbardna

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Re: ECL 2 on Aasimar and Tiefling
« Reply #62 on: July 12, 2018, 02:57:56 PM »
My opinion, as ever, engages only myself as a player. I am not taking position as a dev here.

I have so far participated in this debate because:
A) I enjoy it. It is healthy to have your beliefs challenged from time to time.

B) It's been a respectful debate so far (after 3 pages that's an accomplishment :mrgreen:). I trust we are mature enough to keep it that way.

There are a lot of things I could still argue and retort to Bestbardna last reply's to my own. For instance the fact that I don't see effectiveness only as a matter of levels, hp, attack bonus an what not. I certainly bested higher levels than me in duels at some occasions due to a variety of reasons. And the most obvious fact that a RP oriented ECL character can certainly be effective as well. They are not mutually exclusive. But clearly, my position as a dev casts a certain shadow to the debate, as to not cause any further prejudice to the dev team I will respectfully bow out from this debate.

I can certainly appreciate your candor in this situation. Your position as a developer might certainly cast a shadow over the spirit of honest and open debate, and I hope I wasn't giving off the impression that I was debating the entire dev team. However, the argument isn't that your character can't be effective. The argument is that they aren't as effective as a character of their ECL.

When it comes to ECL, I am generally fine with how things are. Those ECL benefits definitely make you stronger than the basic races and you should be handicapped somehow.

I agree, they should be handicapped. The argument is that the handicap they suffer from now is too severe.

While I'm not entirely sure that Aasimar and Tiefling are worth an ECL 2 right now, I do think that there's not much that should happen until we can properly make them their own race in NWN. They get a lot of bonuses and are easily worth ECL 1. Adding in the extra human feat and the skill points, and I'm not surprised they get to ECL 2.

I'm not arguing that their Level adjustment isn't somewhat deserved. The argument is that the current system we use to penalize level adjusted characters is flawed and needs a rework.

My only real problem is that we gain XP based on challenge levels. Generally in the paper D&D that I've participated in, an ECL gains normal, full XP but uses that higher XP table to determine when he levels.

Although I can't dictate what goes on in your DnD games at home, the basic ruleset indicates that a higher level character gains less xp from the same encounter when compared to a lower level. Unless of course you use the level independant XP system (which I highly prefer) found here (and in Unearthed Arcana): https://www.dandwiki.com/wiki/UA:Level-Independent_XP_Awards

Here, with Ravenloft, we get less XP when things aren't equal to our levels which becomes a problem at those higher ECLs. Personally, ECL 2 isn't that big of a deal. I have some characters that are definitely a bit squishy compared to the norm and that's what this effectively is. I see a bigger problem with ECL 3 and ECL 4 critters. I want to do a tanarukk but that ECL 4 means you are pretty much always going to go on suicide runs to gain decent XP. It also doesn't help that outcast races are even harder to play but that's a different topic.

Agreed. You should be able to play a Tanarukk and not have to either A) Go on suicide runs or B) Contribute nothing to "level appropriate" encounters and basically be an XP leech.

Would you prefer to play a Tanaruuk where instead of having to adventure with people 4 levels higher than you (and not contribute to the fights, or die instantly when trying to contribute), all you had was a 40% xp penalty?

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Re: ECL 2 on Aasimar and Tiefling
« Reply #63 on: July 12, 2018, 03:57:11 PM »
You've made a solid argument, however there is one nuance to consider that hasn't been raised. ECL races often offer something that is otherwise very rare to find on PotM: Ability increases. Default DnD tends to be balanced on the notion that stat increasing items will exist and be available to players; PotM doesn't have these (though there is an abundance of Skill increasing items, Ability increasing items are almost universally grandfathered in and are otherwise unavailable). Indeed, beyond temporary buffing (which is extremely common thanks to herbalism), for most characters, Ability increases are solely and uniquely the province of Dark Blessings on PotM. It's in this context, rather than the default DnD framework, that the balance of ECL races has to be considered.

For example: Gauntlets of Ogre Strength cost a mere 4K gp in PnP DnD, and are available at level 6. This is the context in which DnD ECL races are balanced.

On PotM, this sort of thing simply doesn't exist. So 3000XP would be scandalously cheap to pay off for an Aasimar given it's basically impossible to get +2 WIS/CHA otherwise. And while 19K XP may sound like a whole lot more, as someone who's leveled characters to 20, then had thenm enchant stuff to drop to Blind Drive at level 19, and then grinded back to level 20 -- not once, but a few times -- I feel I have a very good picture of how much effort it would take to level a character with a 10% penalty to 20; and it's not that much extra work that it would dissuade powergamers from going for that +2WIS/CHA.

Merely arguing that people who put in the hard work should be rewarded is ignoring the fact that if you raise the maximum power level on the server by making ECL races the most powerful long-term investment on the server, you are still changing the balance picture. This is especially problematic when it confronts the fact that some of the dev team have explicitly stated they don't want people to flood to ECL races for reasons of power over RP.

So there should always be some long-term penalty for choosing to play an ECL race that keeps them level, or perhaps slightly below par with, regular races.
« Last Edit: July 12, 2018, 04:02:22 PM by aprogressivist »
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Re: ECL 2 on Aasimar and Tiefling
« Reply #64 on: July 12, 2018, 06:26:59 PM »
You've made a solid argument, however there is one nuance to consider that hasn't been raised. ECL races often offer something that is otherwise very rare to find on PotM: Ability increases. Default DnD tends to be balanced on the notion that stat increasing items will exist and be available to players; PotM doesn't have these (though there is an abundance of Skill increasing items, Ability increasing items are almost universally grandfathered in and are otherwise unavailable). Indeed, beyond temporary buffing (which is extremely common thanks to herbalism), for most characters, Ability increases are solely and uniquely the province of Dark Blessings on PotM. It's in this context, rather than the default DnD framework, that the balance of ECL races has to be considered.

For example: Gauntlets of Ogre Strength cost a mere 4K gp in PnP DnD, and are available at level 6. This is the context in which DnD ECL races are balanced.

On PotM, this sort of thing simply doesn't exist. So 3000XP would be scandalously cheap to pay off for an Aasimar given it's basically impossible to get +2 WIS/CHA otherwise. And while 19K XP may sound like a whole lot more, as someone who's leveled characters to 20, then had thenm enchant stuff to drop to Blind Drive at level 19, and then grinded back to level 20 -- not once, but a few times -- I feel I have a very good picture of how much effort it would take to level a character with a 10% penalty to 20; and it's not that much extra work that it would dissuade powergamers from going for that +2WIS/CHA.

Merely arguing that people who put in the hard work should be rewarded is ignoring the fact that if you raise the maximum power level on the server by making ECL races the most powerful long-term investment on the server, you are still changing the balance picture. This is especially problematic when it confronts the fact that some of the dev team have explicitly stated they don't want people to flood to ECL races for reasons of power over RP.

So there should always be some long-term penalty for choosing to play an ECL race that keeps them level, or perhaps slightly below par with, regular races.

This is a very well thought-out response, and I commend you for bringing it up. I suppose the only rebuttle is (in the case of aasimar), that a +2 bonus to wisdom and charisma (along with their other smattering of abilities) isn't worth the abilities you get as from class levels by a long shot. We could certainly break down the math level by level to see by how large of a margin, but the fact remains the same. They just aren't able to compete. The fact that it's so difficult to level up on top of that is just salt in the wound.

A more moderate response I suppose, would be to keep LA, but not have LA factor into xp calculation (Instead, applying a penalty to XP gained). Meaning that a Level 2 Aasimar would be treated as a level 2 character, but would receive, say, a 10 or 20% penalty to their XP gains (With their Level Cap remaining at 18).

This doesn't address the fact that in comparison to non-LA characters, you're weaker, but it does address the XP gain issue that many LA players face if they don't have a party of higher level friends willing to cart them around and give them free xp.

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Re: ECL 2 on Aasimar and Tiefling
« Reply #65 on: July 12, 2018, 09:55:17 PM »
I'm going to chime in because one of my primary characters is a Tiefling, and I have to agree, that the ECL restrictions as a game mechanic is downright hindering as a trade off for playing the kind of character I have. As I understood from first applying, I had the impression that the major reason for applying for a tiefling was mainly because of the themes that Ravenloft holds, and since the developers were worried about having fantastical planar-touched breeds running around, that they'd want those who app for such a race to play them responsibly. Outside of that, the game mechanics of having a few extra base abilities, but having a higher ECL of +2, is a horrible trade off. I know some have accurately spoke on such damning gameplay (Kudos at BraveSirRobin's postings here), and besides having horns, tails, a more exotic appearance and the ability to cast darkness once per day along with Darkvision, not being able to traverse the setting Ravenloft has to offer without encountering a much higher, deadlier rate of enemies while lower level is just like running into a brick wall. I've had the good fortune of meeting several kind players on here who have aided my character through her progression, but beyond that, any chance my character has at facing other characters beyond simply roleplay is just suicide.

The setting is already set against Tieflings racially because of the monster-phobia, so those who do rely on roleplay initially have a much harder time starting out in the setting as is to their human counterparts. I also have to mention that when other players use pvp combat in the stead of roleplay, that the game mechanics come into play and gods save you if you have a low leveled character. Solely roleplaying, from what I've seen, ceases to be an option when players take conflict in towards a direct combat confrontation.

So that is my bit on it. Some have claimed that many players enjoy 'hardships' put into playing a Tiefling, but this definitely doesn't reflect how I perceive it, as nothing more than a negative handicap gameplay wise.

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Re: ECL 2 on Aasimar and Tiefling
« Reply #66 on: July 13, 2018, 01:15:12 AM »
I don't think any subrace that currently has an ECL should ever be given the opportunity to reach lvl 20. While arguments could be made regarding how one might gain xp in a less stiffling manner or that an ECL should be lowered, though not dropped to 0, the bonuses these races gain make them too powerful to be considered for lvl 20 characters imo.

I do see the merits of changing the ECL from giving you experience as your ECL in to a simple experience penalty. This would allow you to gain xp without having to worry about facing off against enemies you can't necessarily compete with, therefore forcing you in to rp xp or leeching off high level characters, and instead empower you to play the game at your own level but with a reduced gain in exchange for your powers. Again, I don't think you should ever hit max level regardless of your ECL, but I don't think you should be forced to play a leech if you want to get some xp off dungeons either.

Going a bit further, though...

This seems like the biggest issue at the lowest levels of gameplay. When your'e at your lowest levels you're going to get killed if you're breathed on the wrong way, even by a low level monster, much less something that will actually give you xp. After you hit mid levels things start to even out a bit more. I go on dungeon runs after I hit lvl 12ish with characters anywhere from my level to lvl 20. There are dungeons that will grant xp all the way up to lvl 19 but aren't so difficult that a lvl 12-14 character couldn't join in and be helpful. In fact, some of the most fun I've ever had was doing these dungeons with only other characters who were in the lvl 12-14 region, and that was long before all these new spells to boost AC and AB etc came around. The ability to gain dungeon xp and fight effectively is there at the higher levels I think.
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Re: ECL 2 on Aasimar and Tiefling
« Reply #67 on: July 13, 2018, 03:59:55 AM »
You've made a solid argument, however there is one nuance to consider that hasn't been raised. ECL races often offer something that is otherwise very rare to find on PotM: Ability increases. Default DnD tends to be balanced on the notion that stat increasing items will exist and be available to players; PotM doesn't have these (though there is an abundance of Skill increasing items, Ability increasing items are almost universally grandfathered in and are otherwise unavailable). Indeed, beyond temporary buffing (which is extremely common thanks to herbalism), for most characters, Ability increases are solely and uniquely the province of Dark Blessings on PotM. It's in this context, rather than the default DnD framework, that the balance of ECL races has to be considered.

For example: Gauntlets of Ogre Strength cost a mere 4K gp in PnP DnD, and are available at level 6. This is the context in which DnD ECL races are balanced.

On PotM, this sort of thing simply doesn't exist. So 3000XP would be scandalously cheap to pay off for an Aasimar given it's basically impossible to get +2 WIS/CHA otherwise. And while 19K XP may sound like a whole lot more, as someone who's leveled characters to 20, then had thenm enchant stuff to drop to Blind Drive at level 19, and then grinded back to level 20 -- not once, but a few times -- I feel I have a very good picture of how much effort it would take to level a character with a 10% penalty to 20; and it's not that much extra work that it would dissuade powergamers from going for that +2WIS/CHA.

Merely arguing that people who put in the hard work should be rewarded is ignoring the fact that if you raise the maximum power level on the server by making ECL races the most powerful long-term investment on the server, you are still changing the balance picture. This is especially problematic when it confronts the fact that some of the dev team have explicitly stated they don't want people to flood to ECL races for reasons of power over RP.

So there should always be some long-term penalty for choosing to play an ECL race that keeps them level, or perhaps slightly below par with, regular races.

Perpetual ability increases are rare here, true enough, and consequently prized. But this doesn't change the basic math in evaluating what those ability increases are truly worth. Nor does it change the fact that they can be accomplished (quite easily) albeit temporarily through spells.

If +2 in Cha or +2 Wis is all that, then some spells should be considered over-powered as well because they can accomplish far more. A 20th level druid, for example, can increase a PC's Wis by +10 by using a 6th level spell. Aura of Glory is only a 2nd level Paladin spell and increases Charisma by 4.


« Last Edit: July 13, 2018, 04:03:09 AM by Iridni Ren »

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Re: ECL 2 on Aasimar and Tiefling
« Reply #68 on: July 13, 2018, 04:10:56 AM »
Temp stat increases are slightly different over permanent.  While the spells 'are' good, those permanent stat increases afford bonuses that the temporary do not - higher saves, for a start.  And more spell slots that are normally not available.  Those spell slots may be afforded by stat increasing spells, but they cant be used, because of the oddity of rest cycle and spell preparation.
« Last Edit: July 13, 2018, 09:19:05 AM by Nemesis 24 »

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Re: ECL 2 on Aasimar and Tiefling
« Reply #69 on: July 13, 2018, 09:16:32 AM »
Yeah, on top of offering extra spell slots -- which is an important point to consider, since even offering a mere +2 increase is equivalent for some characters to a level 5, 6, or 7 spell slot, or possibly even higher if they already have Dark Blessings --  permanent stat increases don't require any time to activate and can't be dispelled.
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bestbardna

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Re: ECL 2 on Aasimar and Tiefling
« Reply #70 on: July 13, 2018, 09:42:40 AM »
Temp stat increases are slightly different over permanent.  While the spells 'are' good, those permanent stat increases afford bonuses that the temporary do not - higher saves, for a start.  And more spell slots that are normally not available.  Those spell slots may be afforded by stat increasing spells, but they cant be used, because of the oddity of rest cycle and spell preparation.

Yeah, on top of offering extra spell slots -- which is an important point to consider, since even offering a mere +2 increase is equivalent for some characters to a level 5, 6, or 7 spell slot, or possibly even higher if they already have Dark Blessings --  permanent stat increases don't require any time to activate and can't be dispelled.

Arguing spellslots is going to shoot you in the foot. Gaining one additional 5th, 6th, or 7th spell slot does not make up for losing (For an aasimar cleric), One 5th level spell slot, one 7th level spell slot, one 8th level spell slot, and 2 9th level spell slots. A +2 to any ability score grants you a +1 bonus to the related traits. A +2 bonus to Dexterity for instance, grants a +1 bonus to AC, Reflex, Initiative (Who cares), Ranged Attack rolls, and to dex based skill checks. So if we're being generous (And I mean incredibly generous), having a +2 bonus to an ability score is -almost- like gaining a level. But with the example of +2 Dex above, here's what you -don't- get.

More HP
Better Fortitude Save
Better Will Save
Better BAB (And possibly more attacks per round)
Increased Class based abilities (Spell slots, bonus feats, sneak attack, monk unarmed strike, wildshape, caster level, etc etc)
More skill points
A higher skill cap

I'm sure I'm missing a few things, but there you go.

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Re: ECL 2 on Aasimar and Tiefling
« Reply #71 on: July 13, 2018, 09:55:22 AM »
I get where your coming from in all this, but honestly?  If those things are the most important things to the player, then they should play the race that allows for them.  If they are 'not' the most important thing, and they care more about the roleplay of the class, then that is what they'll focus on.

This is frankly a delicate balance.  Applications cant, as EO said, be artificially declined.  But the races are supposed to be very, very rare.  The gateway, it would seem, is that they are then going to be made mechanically *inferior* because if they were made mechanically superior there would be an inappropriate glut of them.  Theres no denying that.  As it is, they are instead aimed at players who dont care about what the character looks like at max level, who are the people (I assume) that play them.

I do wince at the pain levelling them must be, I really do.  But while these races might be weaker at the top end (keep in mind there is the merest handful of pcs at that top end) they 'are' stronger at the middle range, where most development happens.  A lvl 13 aasimar cleric is just flat better than a lvl 13 human cleric.  Same as a level 15 aasimar paladin and a level 15 human paladin.  They dont stay that way at the end but honestly, thats the price you pay.  If you dont want to pay it, then you go human and aim for the 20 mark rather than the midlevel mark.  You cant have your cake and eat it too, as it were.

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Re: ECL 2 on Aasimar and Tiefling
« Reply #72 on: July 13, 2018, 10:01:06 AM »
Hold on, I've never argued for ECL2 on Aasimar. I'm very firmly in favour of an Aasimar/Tiefling rework that makes them ECL1 but strips them of the extra Feat and Skills. If you're going to do that comparison, compare a level 19 Aasimar with a level 20 Human -- which I'm sure you'll agree is a lot more level. :P
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Re: ECL 2 on Aasimar and Tiefling
« Reply #73 on: July 13, 2018, 06:07:40 PM »
In NWN the extra skills, if I recall correctly, are tied to the character's type being Human, not a feat. So if there is a script or DM function that can change a character's type to outsider then the Aasimar/Tiefling would not get the skill points on level ups. You'd have to handle the 4 extra skill points gotten at first level in some manner, if you wanted to be complete... but if you can't I can't see just 4 skill points being reason for keeping them at +2 ECL.

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Re: ECL 2 on Aasimar and Tiefling
« Reply #74 on: July 13, 2018, 07:30:37 PM »
In NWN the extra skills, if I recall correctly, are tied to the character's type being Human, not a feat. So if there is a script or DM function that can change a character's type to outsider then the Aasimar/Tiefling would not get the skill points on level ups. You'd have to handle the 4 extra skill points gotten at first level in some manner, if you wanted to be complete... but if you can't I can't see just 4 skill points being reason for keeping them at +2 ECL.

Don't forget that humans also get an extra feat at level 1. From what it sounds like, with EE we can now properly create new races that would fix this kind of thing. But it sounds like implementing it might be a little far down the line. This would be awesome since then we could have full orcs, subraces would show proper attribute modifiers at character creation, etc.
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