Ravenloft: Prisoners of the Mist

Suggestions, Feedback & Bug Reports (OOC) => Module Feedback and Suggestions => Topic started by: Insignia on July 08, 2018, 12:35:15 PM

Title: ECL 2 on Aasimar and Tiefling
Post by: Insignia on July 08, 2018, 12:35:15 PM
Probably been discussed many times before, but I'm having a little trouble understanding the reasoning behind it. ECL 2 makes them significantly less powerful than a human except for VERY specific situations, likely involving heavy min/maxing. I've been playing an Aasimar since around February now and I guess it is perhaps my fault for truly not delving into it before character creation. I've heard similar situations involving Tieflings, but never played one myself, so can't vouch for it.

Aren't Aasimars supposed to be better off than humans? Is that not the reason why an application is required? Now that I am reaching mid-high levels (About to turn level 13 paladin) it's becoming very apparent that the trade off is very slated in the favor of human. While +2 wisdom and charisma seems like a worthy trade off, upon closer inspection and comparison to the human equivalent, it's pretty obvious that human is the stronger race of the two, especially at break points involving spell slots and extra attacks.

Paladins gain one 4th circle spell at level 15, and then an extra slot at 19 and 20, both of which are not accessible to Aasimar. So I'd be doomed to only ever having one fourth circle spell slot unless I took 18 Wisdom (16 base before Aasimar) which would certainly gimp a paladins other stats given how thinly stretched their stats already are. Maybe it's isn't the ECL that is the true problem, but that certain classes are a bit end game heavy. Personally I'm having trouble finding a reason why they would be ECL 2 over ECL 1 like in PnP and most other servers. ECL 1 would certainly not make them overpowered, as they would still lose the stat point at level 20, and also typically another highest level spell slot, base attack bonus, and saves for essentially every class in the game, but perhaps someone else can shed some light on it? I'm certainly not angry about it, just confused and wanting to better understand and maybe open the discussion for others who are perhaps feeling the same.

Thanks!
Title: Re: ECL 2 on Aasimar and Tiefling
Post by: aprogressivist on July 08, 2018, 01:51:50 PM
I think one of the issues is that Aasimar still get the extra skill per level and feat as Humans do. Thus they are technically stronger than PnP Aasimar.

With EE it might be possible to remake them without the extra Skills and Feat, thus making them true to their PnP stats and lowering the ECL to 1.
Title: Re: ECL 2 on Aasimar and Tiefling
Post by: Iridni Ren on July 08, 2018, 02:52:16 PM
I've argued for flattening ECL in general, rather than it being this huge 2 level chunk to deal with, and won't repeat all the details of that argument here.

But basically I think ECL should be replaced with XP penalty, such as earning XP at some percentage of normal--for example, ECL 1 = 90 percent, ECL 2 = 80 percent. Whatever number seems balanced for the given race.

That way ECL races could still have some hope of reaching the top level, but more importantly, they wouldn't have such hell at the beginning when to get XP they have to deal with foes basically twice their current level.

At 2nd level, for example, anything that will give 4th level XP, can one-shot you. This is less of a problem later on when you can get some HP under your belt, but in a generally mob-based dungeoning system, you won't keep avoiding that single hit forever.

Title: Re: ECL 2 on Aasimar and Tiefling
Post by: Mellybelly on July 08, 2018, 05:36:15 PM
There's already an xp penalty while leveling, on top of a reduced maximum level.
Title: Re: ECL 2 on Aasimar and Tiefling
Post by: FlyingLotus on July 08, 2018, 06:12:40 PM
Well... sort of. I believe Iridni's point is if it were as simple as a x% of xp penalty then you could still gain xp in lvl 2 dungeons as a lvl 2 ECL 2 subrace, you'd just gain less. As it is, you are technically lvl 4 when you are level 2, meaning most of the monsters that you would start out against at lvl 2 aren't actually going to give you xp at all. It's not really an xp penalty in that sense.
Title: Re: ECL 2 on Aasimar and Tiefling
Post by: Insignia on July 08, 2018, 08:43:39 PM
I like Iridni's suggestion, though it sounds like it's one that has been argued before. Is one extra feat and a skill point per level really enough to be work a whole character level though? That doesn't make much sense to me. Personally I'd be all for losing that feat and skill points if it meant that I could achieve level 19. Level 19 and 20 are typically where you are going to learn your most powerful spells under any casting class, I'm just wondering now if removing the feat/skill points and reducing to ECL 1 is an option since we have transitioned to EE.

I guess the bottom line to summarize is that ECL 2 is way too harsh a penalty in my eyes. 2 Levels is huge when you consider that you are expected to be on par with another race of your class 2 levels higher. For spell casters that means you are 1 spell circle lower than they are, for front liners it means you are 2 levels of AB and HP lower, which certainly hinders your ability to hold the line.
Title: Re: ECL 2 on Aasimar and Tiefling
Post by: Mellybelly on July 08, 2018, 09:47:54 PM
Not to mention the HP difference. Trated as 2 levels higher, needing to go to higher level areas, and being sneezed on is enough to bleed you out.
Title: Re: ECL 2 on Aasimar and Tiefling
Post by: aprogressivist on July 09, 2018, 08:14:56 AM
I think it's important to distinguish between tweaking and fixing a singular case, which may be possible with just a small amount of work (hopefully) in EE; versus an all-encompassing change that would require completely reworking, re-balancing, and re-testing the system.
Title: Re: ECL 2 on Aasimar and Tiefling
Post by: Iridni Ren on July 09, 2018, 08:39:40 AM
Actually, the XP change could be implemented in a way so that it is very minor indeed because we know what two levels of XP are worth. The difference between 2nd and 4th level is 5,000 XP. The difference between 18th level and 20th level is 37,000 XP.

That means at 2nd level, the current penalty is about 500 percent (1,000 versus 6,000), whereas at 18th level the penalty is a much smaller fraction. This is why I say it needs flattening/smoothing.

If an ECL2 received XP at 80 percent of normal, then by 18th level the XP received would be an approximate wash; i.e., she would have 152,000 XP (1,000 less than what is needed for 18th) just as the non-ECL had earned 190,000 XP and hit 20th. One thousand XP isn't anything that breaks much, plus the ECL2 actually earns 1,0000 less  over the same time than under the current system:

190,000 x .8 = 152,000

The first few levels would be much less hellish, however :)

Secondly, because of the application process, ECL races are pretty regulated. In other words, a change to them is inherently more minor and less likely to throw everything drastically out of whack than changes to more fundamental and universal parts of the game.
Title: Re: ECL 2 on Aasimar and Tiefling
Post by: Iridni Ren on July 09, 2018, 08:58:47 AM
One other point in terms of end-game balance: because enchanted gear is bought with XP, an ECL 2 would in effect pay 125 percent for all enchanted gear compared to a non-ECL because of earning XP at only an 80 percent rate.



Title: Re: ECL 2 on Aasimar and Tiefling
Post by: aprogressivist on July 09, 2018, 10:10:35 AM
The point is, this is the XP engine you're suggesting we change. There's nothing minor about ripping out the current ECL system wholesale and replacing it with a custom implementation. It would require a substantial rewrite and need careful testing, since any errors might potentially impact all XP calculations.
Title: Re: ECL 2 on Aasimar and Tiefling
Post by: Mellybelly on July 09, 2018, 12:47:09 PM
And any new coding, scripting, or systems we add might break the entire server. Change is bad! Let us never add or revise a thing! Fear the change because it risks too much!
Title: Re: ECL 2 on Aasimar and Tiefling
Post by: Iridni Ren on July 09, 2018, 01:16:10 PM
And any new coding, scripting, or systems we add might break the entire server. Change is bad! Let us never add or revise a thing! Fear the change because it risks too much!

I know you're being tongue-in-cheek, but my understanding of the primary reason to move to EE was that it makes doing new and nifty things easier :D
Title: Re: ECL 2 on Aasimar and Tiefling
Post by: Arawn on July 09, 2018, 01:31:44 PM
And any new coding, scripting, or systems we add might break the entire server. Change is bad! Let us never add or revise a thing! Fear the change because it risks too much!

I know you're being tongue-in-cheek, but my understanding of the primary reason to move to EE was that it makes doing new and nifty things easier :D

None of the changes so far would make this easier, unfortunately, it's all essentially just math in scripts.
Title: Re: ECL 2 on Aasimar and Tiefling
Post by: aprogressivist on July 09, 2018, 01:38:50 PM
And any new coding, scripting, or systems we add might break the entire server. Change is bad! Let us never add or revise a thing! Fear the change because it risks too much!

Changes are more likely to be accepted and implemented if they are modular (i.e. self-contained) and don't require a radical gameplay philosophy change. Just sayin'.
Title: Re: ECL 2 on Aasimar and Tiefling
Post by: BraveSirRobin on July 09, 2018, 01:40:35 PM
I will admit, however, that... ECL characters are just a pain to play as it stands. Especially in the way that Ravenloft for a purpose, truncates the entire leveling curve of NWN/DnD.

An ECL 2 doesn't make a big difference at all, when you're at a level 40 cap.

It doesn't make a *huge* difference on a level 30 cap.

But on a level 20 cap with very limited XP gains, and a leveling system challenging for normal PC's, it makes playing any ECL 2 or god-forbid, ECL 4 PC basically impossible. Especially with how tightly-tuned our spawns are that give XP. An ECL 2 or ECL 4 character will /never/ be able to fight what they need to fight in order get XP, essentially existing as a leech onto other PC's parties that will inevitably be outleveled and left behind each time, leading to a very dissatisfying play experience. The system needs revision, somehow. I dunno if this is it. But it isn't worth even playing them and enjoying the breadth of server content at this rate. Consigned to being an RP-only character, which is a primary focus of the server? But not the only focus of the server.
Title: Re: ECL 2 on Aasimar and Tiefling
Post by: Mellybelly on July 09, 2018, 02:14:36 PM
And any new coding, scripting, or systems we add might break the entire server. Change is bad! Let us never add or revise a thing! Fear the change because it risks too much!

Changes are more likely to be accepted and implemented if they are modular (i.e. self-contained) and don't require a radical gameplay philosophy change. Just sayin'.

Admittedly I'd be less tongue in cheek if I could remember a single change discussed you weren't vehemently against. Any change, big or small, always seems to destroy balance and ruin PotM forever.
Title: Re: ECL 2 on Aasimar and Tiefling
Post by: aprogressivist on July 09, 2018, 02:51:36 PM
Admittedly I'd be less tongue in cheek if I could remember a single change discussed you weren't vehemently against. Any change, big or small, always seems to destroy balance and ruin PotM forever.

Uh. I supported the Greater Sanctuary change and the Time Stop change. You are flatly incorrect.

I also presented a possibility for a change that I thought was achievable and meets the OP's requirements -- indeed, since we're now talking about me, I would state that I frequently do more than most to explore the possibility for compromise and middle ground. But you're not the first person to prefer to focus on our differences in opinion than said ground.

What's your contribution to this thread?
Title: Re: ECL 2 on Aasimar and Tiefling
Post by: Mellybelly on July 09, 2018, 02:57:55 PM
My contribution? Well, I did give two posts stating two of the absurd difficulties that ECL characters deal with. As a player of two ECL characters, one a _2 and another a +3, I have a pretty firsthand opinion on the topic.
Title: Re: ECL 2 on Aasimar and Tiefling
Post by: aprogressivist on July 09, 2018, 03:09:52 PM
My contribution? Well, I did give two posts stating two of the absurd difficulties that ECL characters deal with. As a player of two ECL characters, one a _2 and another a +3, I have a pretty firsthand opinion on the topic.

Actually your post above says more than all the rest of your posts combined. :)
Title: Re: ECL 2 on Aasimar and Tiefling
Post by: aprogressivist on July 09, 2018, 03:14:47 PM
To actually continue the thread in a manner that is helpful to the OP and the devs, it may be possible to add extra races whole cloth in EE? Thus perhaps offering an improvement on the current system:

https://forums.beamdog.com/discussion/71173/how-to-create-a-custom-races-and-classes
Title: Re: ECL 2 on Aasimar and Tiefling
Post by: MAB77 on July 09, 2018, 04:07:49 PM
Changing current ECL races to standard races is not something I advise. It would take a lot of work to redo all those aasimar and tieflings out there for what would be in the end but a relatively small difference.

Speaking as a tiefling player myself. I'd rather keep the extra feat and skill points over gaining an additional level I'll likely never reach. Beside ECL races should be played for flair, not mechanical advantage. (Own personal opinion only here.)

We are definitively open to the idea of new races and classes, provided they would fit the setting and can be implemented properly, but we're more likely talking about new content here.

//Addendum: I do see the value in redoing some subraces into full races to make sure the stats modifiers are applied properly. But even then I'd limit myself to non-ecl races (which believe me is still a mount Everest of work to begin with anyway).
Title: Re: ECL 2 on Aasimar and Tiefling
Post by: Iridni Ren on July 09, 2018, 04:48:03 PM
Changing current ECL races to standard races is not something I advise. It would take a lot of work to redo all those aasimar and tieflings out there for what would be in the end but a relatively small difference.

I don't think there's much point in redoing old mid- to high-level ECL PCs because they've already gone through the suffering that BraveSirRobin described both eloquently and accurately:

Quote
But on a level 20 cap with very limited XP gains, and a leveling system challenging for normal PC's, it makes playing any ECL 2 or god-forbid, ECL 4 PC basically impossible. Especially with how tightly-tuned our spawns are that give XP. An ECL 2 or ECL 4 character will /never/ be able to fight what they need to fight in order get XP, essentially existing as a leech onto other PC's parties that will inevitably be outleveled and left behind each time, leading to a very dissatisfying play experience. The system needs revision, somehow. I dunno if this is it. But it isn't worth even playing them and enjoying the breadth of server content at this rate. Consigned to being an RP-only character, which is a primary focus of the server? But not the only focus of the server.

As with the horrors of some crafting, however, that previous generations of players went through the equivalent of grindy hazing is no reason to perpetrate the suffering on all the future ECLs.
Title: Re: ECL 2 on Aasimar and Tiefling
Post by: aprogressivist on July 09, 2018, 05:36:18 PM
Changing current ECL races to standard races is not something I advise. It would take a lot of work to redo all those aasimar and tieflings out there for what would be in the end but a relatively small difference.

It might be more feasible to start tackling the conversion of such races in a drip feed fashion, starting with a few races that are relatively rare and then moving up towards the more common ones. Doing a "big bang" implementation is definitely going to be a huge amount of work up front, while also having more risk of errors; instead, rolling out freshly re-made races one by one might make the task more manageable.

I'll try looking into it when I have some time, see how much time it takes to follow the instructions in the link above and mock something up.
Title: Re: ECL 2 on Aasimar and Tiefling
Post by: BraveSirRobin on July 09, 2018, 10:36:08 PM
Speaking as a tiefling player myself. I'd rather keep the extra feat and skill points over gaining an additional level I'll likely never reach. Beside ECL races should be played for flair, not mechanical advantage. (Own personal opinion only here.)

It's one thing to talk about preventing advantages, it's another to address inherent disadvantages that make playing a subrace a masochistic endeavor. In my opinion, arguing a mechanical disadvantage as a blood price for RP that isn't even well-received her is not enough incentive to inspire me to make a character with an ECL. We aren't talking about a total revamp here, atleast I'm not. I'd rather just have an ECL subrace be considered his or her base mechanical level for the intents and purposes of leveling so that they may progress alongside their peers, even if they max out early on. In-fact, that might make them very appealing, because as you so frequently state: Most people do not make it to the level where the level 20 cap matters.

But, fewer people with ECL's make it to where level 10, even matters, because the road to progress for them is so ridiculously treacherous. Now, that isn't even a statement of being challenging, either. As an ECL 2 Subrace, unless you have been min-max'd and have someone else helping you find the best gear around, you are not, by server design, going to be suitable for most things you are able to kill. Only very rare, veteran-player exceptions exist because they have had such extensive experience with the server, they know how to game the system for maximized mechanical progression. This being said, I want you to think about the number of Tiefling and Drow PC's you have ever seen, and tell me how many of them have been male compared to female, as they are the two most common types of characters.

The only thing that those races really have going for them, is that they are 'Exotic looking,' which gives them an advantage in the sexual arena, rather than any other arena. So very frequently, that is the variation you see. Even more interesting, is that most people who are wanting to play a Drow, do not do so. They opt for a Half-Drow, because there is no benefit to RP'ing a hardline Drow here, and a Half-Drow does not have the same ECL as a Drow. They are, for all intents and purposes, equally as Exotic, with a more fulfilling body model that's generally considered more attractive, and as I've noted before, almost all the PC's from that bloodline I have met are female. They're female, because that's the only benefit you have in RP for the most part from those races is that it gives them an 'Exotic look.' Which doesn't work so well for men, but works in female favor substantially.


If you didn't want these things around the server, just get rid of those races. But don't go to bed at night thinking anyone for a moment isn't sacrificing half of their gameplay experience to play an unfulfilling line of roleplay, compared to practically anything else they could do on the server. They are giving it all up to try to shake it up, and being brutally and unforgivably punished for it mechanically, and only a few, few select few Tiefling/Drow/Etc PC's actually make it to end-game levels, a margin even smaller than normal PC's, and even then they are being punished for it.
Title: Re: ECL 2 on Aasimar and Tiefling
Post by: Arawn on July 09, 2018, 11:53:50 PM
Quote
It's one thing to talk about preventing advantages, it's another to address inherent disadvantages that make playing a subrace a masochistic endeavor. [...] If you didn't want these things around the server, just get rid of those races. But don't go to bed at night thinking anyone for a moment isn't sacrificing half of their gameplay experience to play an unfulfilling line of roleplay, compared to practically anything else they could do on the server.

This is melodramatic, subjective, imprecise, and unhelpful. Please contribute focused and specific feedback, aiming where possible for objectivity. Plenty of players find the experience fulfilling, plenty of players (including me) have played ECL 3 or higher subraces without feeling particularly mechanically or narratively disadvantaged. Presenting your own frustrations as irrefutable facts doesn't help the discussion at all. Even if it's only a subset of ECL players who feel the curve is too steep, that alone would be reason enough for us to listen without resorting to overstatement and hyperbole.

Quote
It might be more feasible to start tackling the conversion of such races in a drip feed fashion, starting with a few races that are relatively rare and then moving up towards the more common ones. Doing a "big bang" implementation is definitely going to be a huge amount of work up front, while also having more risk of errors; instead, rolling out freshly re-made races one by one might make the task more manageable.

I'll try looking into it when I have some time, see how much time it takes to follow the instructions in the link above and mock something up.

We're definitely intrigued by the possibility and have looked into options, but there are a number of issues we'd have to work out (permissions, for example, and the sheer size/complexity of the necessary implementation).
Title: Re: ECL 2 on Aasimar and Tiefling
Post by: Insignia on July 10, 2018, 02:57:50 AM
Honestly, I think Robin pretty much nailed a lot of what I am feeling now that I have gotten to mid level on the server. Obviously a ton of time has been sunk into my character to be level 13 aasimar (Level 15) from his creation back in January. Never played a paladin before, never played an Aasimar before, but I think I'm fairly clear with everyone I speak with to NEVER choose an ECL 2 race on this server. I found the experience of having my character learn bits and pieces about his ancestry quite rewarding, don't get me wrong, I enjoyed the RP greatly, and I still love the RP -- However, once the dust settles and you are doing a dungeon with a group and you are expected to be performing with the same output of a standard race who is two levels higher, the problems and disadvantages become glaring and dissatisfying. I would never trade a feat and a skill point per level for ECL 1, that just seems silly to me.

Personally I would love to have something where even just the ECL could be changed back to 1, which is a much more manageable difference in levels between standard and application based races. Is there some kind of easier workaround that doesn't require an entire redesigning of an xp system? Like perhaps having a dummy feat that all Tieflings and Aasimars have to take a level 1? I really don't feel like the skill points make much of a different tbh, classes typically have enough to cover what they -need-, but may not always have enough for what they -want-. It seems like if having to fill out an application to play a race where you are at a clear disadvantage to playing a human, then why not do away with it and just play a human who seems to have some 'abnormal' traits?
Title: Re: ECL 2 on Aasimar and Tiefling
Post by: FlyingLotus on July 10, 2018, 03:44:39 AM
Well, when speaking in terms of the master race you all seem to have forgotten Half Vistani, but yes humans are pretty stronk  :lol:

Some pretty neat ideas floating around about how to change xp so that it's not so unforgiving on lower levels, which I like. No one wants to -have- to leech xp to level. Obviously there's rp xp too, but still. I like dungoening and I know other people do and, you know, it's dungeons and dragons. Dungeons and rp aren't mutually exclusive. It's a rp server sure, but being able to get xp off of monsters you kill should also be viable even if your'e playing a difficult subrace. I do think that overall they should probably hit mid levels and level cap out as they already are. I'm not sure that anyone has been contending that though, Iridni even did a lot of magic to show that at high levels it's almost the same anyway... I think? Just putting it out there. That's pretty neat.
Title: Re: ECL 2 on Aasimar and Tiefling
Post by: Mellybelly on July 10, 2018, 05:33:44 AM
As stated, I have two ECL races. A tiefling(+2) and a zenythri(+3). The RP generated by these characters has been amazing, I would trade that away. However, it's only my tiefling that has every gotten anywhere, and that was back when the Drain had the Sewer dweller faction, because there were plenty of freaks like her that I was able to grind through the painful XP drag. But, given she's a caster, she's never going to get Any real use of 9th level spells. If she was pure sorc, she'd get a single 9th level spell at level 18.


My zenythri, on the other hand, with it's higher ECL, hasn't even made it to level 10 yet and I've had it since 2011. I've managed to gear it to an absurd point, to where it's AC is extremely high. But, as most lower level monks complain, it can't hit much. And given it's whopping 70 HP, going to level 10 places as a front line fighter is like nails on a chalkboard. For that matter, a monk's ultimate goal is that level 20 outsider transformation.

I prefer playing the freaks and outcast PCs. I enjoy the challenging RP behind it. But the mechanical disadvantages behind it are far less enjoyable. I'd gladly trade off that extra feat and skillpoint to be able to have the chance to cap out at 20, and to be able to keep up in levels with other characters.
Title: Re: ECL 2 on Aasimar and Tiefling
Post by: aprogressivist on July 10, 2018, 07:21:18 AM
It would be great to see ECL races like Aasimar, Tieflings, and Zenythri fixed and have their ECL lowered, but asking for them to be able to make it to level 20 is turning ECL races into a powergamer's invitation. An Aasimar level 20 Paladin would have a nice edge over a Human level 20, but when you start thinking about races like Tanarukk being level 20  it gets silly.
Title: Re: ECL 2 on Aasimar and Tiefling
Post by: Iridni Ren on July 10, 2018, 07:40:24 AM
It would be great to see ECL races like Aasimar, Tieflings, and Zenythri fixed and have their ECL lowered, but asking for them to be able to make it to level 20 is turning ECL races into a powergamer's invitation. An Aasimar level 20 Paladin would have a nice edge over a Human level 20, but when you start thinking about races like Tanarukk being level 20  it gets silly.

Enchanted gear lets a PC go "farther" than level 20, and I've read that was, in fact, the premise behind it: giving players who want to a means of extending the PC's power arc. A 20th level Paladin with enchanted gear has a nice edge over a 20th level paladin without enchanted gear, but at the cost of significant XP and taking a while longer to get there.

Likewise, a Prestige Classs PC such as RDD might have more power at 20th level than a non-prestige class PC. This is considered a reward for the RP that the PRC PC presumably brought to the server and is regulated by having to apply for the PRC.

I don't think it's silly to think of those two same premises in terms of ECL races.

It appears a Tanarukk has an ECL of 3. Assuming for the sake of argument a Tanarukk would then have a 30 percent XP penalty, the player of the Tanarukk would have to spend almost 1.5 the amount of time getting to the same enchanted/XP level as her non-ECL counterpart. If a typical PC gets to 20th level after say two years, then the Tanarukk gets there after almost three years. When the non-ECL hits 20th level, the Tanarukk would still be chugging along at 16th.

That likewise means the non-ECL player can be starting another PC well before the the ECL player and getting ahead on that one too.

I'm not too worried that such dedication to a single character concept should be feared and discouraged, especially when the player will have to pass an application process.
Title: Re: ECL 2 on Aasimar and Tiefling
Post by: Mellybelly on July 10, 2018, 07:57:50 AM
It would be great to see ECL races like Aasimar, Tieflings, and Zenythri fixed and have their ECL lowered, but asking for them to be able to make it to level 20 is turning ECL races into a powergamer's invitation. An Aasimar level 20 Paladin would have a nice edge over a Human level 20, but when you start thinking about races like Tanarukk being level 20  it gets silly.

A powergamer's invitation? Sure, when they remove the application process, maybe. But as it is only people that have proven themselves to have an application approved are allowed to play these classes. I think you're worried entirely too much about the 'but there's a teeny tiny chance this could happen' instead of what is more likely to happen.
Title: Re: ECL 2 on Aasimar and Tiefling
Post by: aprogressivist on July 10, 2018, 08:04:58 AM
Enchanted fear is available to everyone willing to put in the time and effort; there are no post-creation restrictions beyond simply being high enough level. Application races are supposed to be exceptional.

Also it's not like enchanted gear is without controversy. The power of this gear invited abuse and cheating.

If you don't care that making ECL races a powergamer's choice will make them more common, more open to being abused for simple power over theme, and less niche, by all means, pursue the consequences of your beliefs. But be careful what you wish for.
Title: Re: ECL 2 on Aasimar and Tiefling
Post by: aprogressivist on July 10, 2018, 08:17:41 AM
It would be great to see ECL races like Aasimar, Tieflings, and Zenythri fixed and have their ECL lowered, but asking for them to be able to make it to level 20 is turning ECL races into a powergamer's invitation. An Aasimar level 20 Paladin would have a nice edge over a Human level 20, but when you start thinking about races like Tanarukk being level 20  it gets silly.

A powergamer's invitation? Sure, when they remove the application process, maybe. But as it is only people that have proven themselves to have an application approved are allowed to play these classes. I think you're worried entirely too much about the 'but there's a teeny tiny chance this could happen' instead of what is more likely to happen.

See, you may have experience playing ECL races, but I have experience on the CC, witnessing how people work to abuse systems. You think it's a "tiny" chance, I think it's a given that if ECL races are turned into a long term power-up, that power will motivate some people more than the races' themes and RP. More people will app for these,  adding to the CC bureaucracy, and the CC doesn't have a crystal ball to anticipate who the problem players will be.

All this, for what? So some players can app to play effectively Epic level characters?
Title: Re: ECL 2 on Aasimar and Tiefling
Post by: Arawn on July 10, 2018, 08:42:50 AM
It's not productive to debate the merits of removing ECL, as we are very unlikely to ever do that. Specific suggestions for adjusting the ECL of particular templates would be much more useful, if you see a particular issue or flaw. We have in the past and probably will in the future revised specific templates here and there.
Title: Re: ECL 2 on Aasimar and Tiefling
Post by: Mereyn on July 10, 2018, 10:27:47 AM
To be blunt, the only change that I'd care for is to, if possible, alter the ECL experience gain for roleplay experience so that they
count as the specific class level they're at and not their ECL. Given the recent changes to the roleplay experience system,
it should "reimburse" some of the experience lost from not being as effective mechanically as other people of your demanded level,
as well as encouraging what ECL characters -- any character made on this server at all -- are made for. Roleplaying.
Title: Re: ECL 2 on Aasimar and Tiefling
Post by: Iridni Ren on July 10, 2018, 10:49:33 AM
To be blunt, the only change that I'd care for is to, if possible, alter the ECL experience gain for roleplay experience so that they
count as the specific class level they're at and not their ECL. Given the recent changes to the roleplay experience system,
it should "reimburse" some of the experience lost from not being as effective mechanically as other people of your demanded level,
as well as encouraging what ECL characters -- any character made on this server at all -- are made for. Roleplaying.

Isn't RP XP the same regardless of level anyway--other than the now-worsened penalty for being a high level in a low-level zone? That is, each "Progression by RP" tick represents the same amount numerically, whether you're second or 10th?

If all you're advocating is that the ECL get to count as a low level and therefore hang out in low level areas longer and still receive RP XP, then that's a very minimal change indeed. It wouldn't improve the lot of the very lowest level ECLs at all, and that's where the ECL penalty hurts the worst.

Most players say ECLs are terrible at the beginning, not as bad in the middle, and then bad again when you can't reach the highest levels of your class. This tweak would help the part that least needs it.
Title: Re: ECL 2 on Aasimar and Tiefling
Post by: Insignia on July 10, 2018, 06:34:17 PM
I have no interest in these races being able to achieve level 20, in fact, I'd be against it, even with the extraordinary amount of time it would take to do so. It would seem ripe for abuse by people who have way too much time on their hands to sink into this game. What I am after, and what I created this topic for, are exactly what this section of the forum is for: Gameplay balance.

This is only my second main character that I have played on the server, and my first ECL race, so I can only attest to my particular character, but the 2 level decrease from my view seems entirely unbalanced -- especially for a race that requires an application. Here is the breakdown in my eyes from where my character currently stands:

Level 13 Aasimar paladin:
Has 2 points more charisma. (Extra turn undead cast, +1 to all saves, +1 damage and AC when using divine might/shield, etc.)
No need to go beyond 14 wisdom as paladins stats are already stretched thin, so both races would have the same.
Has Racial abilities: 5 damage resist for Acid, cold and electrical, Dark vision, ability to cast light, +2 spot & listen
Can list in my char description that his hair glows and his eyes are piercing

Level 15 Human paladin:
+2 AB
+26 HP
Access to strongest paladin spells (Sacred Heaven, Holy Sword, etc.)
1 extra feat
+6 skill points
+1 all saves (But from level instead of the charisma bonus)

This problem become even worse at level 14 (16 human) When the human would have access to their fourth attack, and an extra stat point, and a wider selection of better spells while the Aasimar would gain by comparison, relatively nothing.

I ask is this truly balanced at a place in the game when the character is going to be going months in between levels? Is the Aasimar truly able to keep up and contribute to a party as meaningfully as the human would be able to do?

Again, I am not arguing for Aasimar to be superior to Human, I am arguing for a better balance between ECL races and standard races. ECL 2 seems way too extreme and I really don't think making Tieflings and Aasimars ECL 1 would make them overpowered. I think it would be far more balanced than it currently is, and if dev's and community council members are truly worried about that being too OP, they have the ability to control it through a more strict application process, as is the case with the Hallowed Witch, a PRC which is -entirely- OP, but causes no issue because of how difficult an application it would require.

I just hate the feeling of having put so much work into this character and feeling less useful than he should be at this point. I can't help but think of how much more effective I would be if I would have just chose human, but I wanted something different and flavorful in RP, which is what the server is all about, however by this point it is starting to feel like a punishment for my choice as I need to spend months trudging through an underpowered character just to get to where a human would be right now.

This is just my two cents anyways, sorry if it came off like a rant, but it is understandably frustrating considering all the time we put into our characters and the attachment that grows from playing them for months on end when they end up underwhelming.
Title: Re: ECL 2 on Aasimar and Tiefling
Post by: Iridni Ren on July 10, 2018, 07:00:03 PM
I have no interest in these races being able to achieve level 20, in fact, I'd be against it, even with the extraordinary amount of time it would take to do so. It would seem ripe for abuse by people who have way too much time on their hands to sink into this game. What I am after, and what I created this topic for, are exactly what this section of the forum is for: Gameplay balance.

Well, if the ECL is reduced by 1, the races can achieve level 19, so I can't see your strong objection to the single additional level. Perhaps it's because what you're asking for is substantively more of a shift in gameplay balance than what I've proposed. From 3 to 19, the ECLs would be better off with what you want--that is, they'd achieve all those levels more quickly. In return, they never achieve 20 at all. Since few PCs achieve 20 anyway and only a small fraction of almost every PC's arc is spent at 20, you're giving away a little in return for a lot :).

I also don't understand the disparagement of those who "have way too much time on their hands to sink into this game," given your conclusion:

Quote
This is just my two cents anyways, sorry if it came off like a rant, but it is understandably frustrating considering all the time we put into our characters and the attachment that grows from playing them for months on end when they end up underwhelming.

On the one hand you say putting a lot of time into a PC opens up the chance for "abuse"; on the other, you say it's frustrating to play so much and receive underwhelming results for your devotion.

People who choose to devote a lot of time to the game are more likely to receive greater rewards from it, and rightly so IMO, whether that's piling up gold, items, or other measures of power. Why begrudge them their payoff?

Frankly, I'd be fine with reducing the ECL from 2 to 1 on both because it would certainly make them more enjoyable to play. But I think in terms of gameplay balance it's a much bigger ask than my proposal. I know it would make me happier from self-interest as well!
Title: Re: ECL 2 on Aasimar and Tiefling
Post by: aprogressivist on July 10, 2018, 07:18:40 PM
I think there's broad consensus, from what the devs in this thread have said, that an ECL 1 Aasimar without the extra Feat and Skills would be ideal (ditto Tiefling, etc); but that the main obstacles to this are technical.  Certainly I hope we can implement the ECL 1 Aasimar at some point in the future, and if anyone finds any resources that make adding custom races to NWN EE easier, that would bring it closer to reality.
Title: Re: ECL 2 on Aasimar and Tiefling
Post by: Insignia on July 10, 2018, 08:53:48 PM
I guess to summarize my point, and put it as simply as I possibly can, it would be this:

An ECL 1 Aasimar or Tiefling would be more balanced than what we currently have, even with the one extra feat and skill point. Does it tip the scales in favor of those races? Quite possibly, in my eyes ECL 2 is clearly and obviously underpowered, where as ECL 1 may end up being a slight advantage, but that's the whole point of the application process. It allows regulation of these races, where as having the scales tipped in favor of a race that anyone can play makes no sense.

In case of a balance issue between two races, the edge should be given to the one which is harder to access, in this case meaning the one that requires extra steps and approval to play.
Title: Re: ECL 2 on Aasimar and Tiefling
Post by: EO on July 10, 2018, 09:48:22 PM
I think there's broad consensus, from what the devs in this thread have said, that an ECL 1 Aasimar without the extra Feat and Skills would be ideal (ditto Tiefling, etc); but that the main obstacles to this are technical.  Certainly I hope we can implement the ECL 1 Aasimar at some point in the future, and if anyone finds any resources that make adding custom races to NWN EE easier, that would bring it closer to reality.

Adding races is fairly easy but there are some issues with it (mainly things like Favored Enemy and Race restrictions on items) and it'd require rewriting/updating many systems. We're not there yet but it's not impossible. I had considered adding Half Vistani as a new race this hak update but ran into a few hurdles so decided to scrap it for now.

That being said, revising some ECL is not out of question but we'd have to review them dev-side. We don't want an influx in outcast races either; they are supposed to be rare and the Council can't artificially deny well-written and well thought applications either.
Title: Re: ECL 2 on Aasimar and Tiefling
Post by: Iluvatar on July 10, 2018, 11:20:01 PM
I personally share MAB's opinion, I'd rather have extra Feat and Skill, than having the possibility to have on more level that I know for sure I will probably never reach because only a minority of people ever reach that level. I also do not mind at all that might take more time to level up as I don't tend to bother about my level. For the records, the highest level I've ever been in almost 4 years here is 13 and that's only one character, the others haven't gone past 11.

That's my own personal opinion on the matter.
Title: Re: ECL 2 on Aasimar and Tiefling
Post by: Insignia on July 11, 2018, 02:16:20 AM
I personally share MAB's opinion, I'd rather have extra Feat and Skill, than having the possibility to have on more level that I know for sure I will probably never reach because only a minority of people ever reach that level. I also do not mind at all that might take more time to level up as I don't tend to bother about my level. For the records, the highest level I've ever been in almost 4 years here is 13 and that's only one character, the others haven't gone past 11.

That's my own personal opinion on the matter.

That argument doesn't make much sense to me, especially for someone who doesn't venture into the high levels. It's not a level that you aren't going to achieve later, it's a level that you do not have /right now/. Look at this this way:

Suppose you have a level 6 wizard with ECL 2: This character has 4 feats, and 30 skill points (Plus int mod)

Now, your human counterpart would be level 8 and have: 6 feats, and 40 skill points (Plus int mod)
Not to mention a higher spell circle, more spells, more hit points, better saves, higher AB.

Both of these characters have the same amount of experience, but the non-ECL class ends up with more feats and skill points due to the higher level. So to say you would trade the levels for skill points and a feat when you'd end up with more skill points and feats as the non ECL race is a little difficult to follow. If the ECL were 1, you would receive a feat for being level 7 instead of 6, and you'd also receive 4 skill points (Now excluding the one for being human), not to mention you'd have the same spell circle available to you as your human counterpart now. Essentially in a situation like this, you are saying that you would trade 1 level for 2 skill points.

ECL 2 level 6 wizard: 4 feats, 30 skill points
ECL 1 level 7 with the skill and feat bonus removed wizard: 4 feats, 28 skill points


Unfortunately I think this thread is getting way off topic from what I originally wished to speak about, which was making the ECL races more balanced and better able to compete with the non ECL races. We are arguing about points that aren't really adding anything constructive to what I see as a problem in the balance of playable races. Clearly some people see it is a big problem, and others don't. I've been looking around on other servers to see how they deal with the tieflings and aasimars getting that extra feat and skill point, and it seems like they don't. They just leave it as ECL 1 regardless, and I truly believe it is because ECL 2 is just too stiff a penalty for the bonuses you receive.

At the end of it that is really all I want to put forth and that is the suggestion I would offer as a fix. We all obviously would love to have it done exactly as it is by the book, but when it comes down to it for Aasimars and Tieflings, what makes more sense? Having a race that is very clearly weaker than they should be? Or having a race that is marginally stronger than they should be. I think it is the latter is a closer representation. After all, these are beings who are almost entirely human, just with either angelic or demonic blood somewhere in their bloodline.

I understand there is often a lot of work involved to change these things, and partially why I think the easiest solution for both balance and workload is simply making the ECL 1 for those races.
Title: Re: ECL 2 on Aasimar and Tiefling
Post by: MAB77 on July 11, 2018, 07:45:06 AM
In your analysis you always compare yourself to a character 2 levels higher. That is an error. Compare at the same level.

My level 14 Tiefling druid IS STRONGER than a level 14 human druid. I got extra abilities from the start, beyond just the extra feat and skills of humans. I started more powerful, in exchange of slower XP gains and 2 levels I can,t reach in the end. But that is the trade-off I willingly accepted to start with a special character. I find this balance more than fair. My character is still a most positive addition to any group he is part of. Still a great buffer with little tricks of his own. I can go almost anywhere. I do not need to compare myself to another character 2 levels higher than me. I do not feel robbed of anything.

The question to answer is not even about comparing ECL races to non ECL races, but simply do these extra abilities received are worth the ECL value assigned. For tieflings and assimars, hell yeah.
Title: Re: ECL 2 on Aasimar and Tiefling
Post by: Insignia on July 11, 2018, 09:14:58 AM
How is that an error? Isn't that the point of effective character level? A level 14 tiefling druid has an effective character level of 16, not 14. Hit die plus level adjustment. Of course compared to the same class level of human they'd be stronger, but to make that comparison throws the idea of ECL out the window.
Title: Re: ECL 2 on Aasimar and Tiefling
Post by: Iridni Ren on July 11, 2018, 09:23:52 AM
Insignia has the right of it on this. Of course the comparison should be with a PC two levels higher because that's how an ECL2 is treated by the system and how one must assess whether the penalty is fair.

No one has argued that an ECL is weaker than the non-ECL of a comparable level. It's whether the current penalty is too severe or not, and to judge that one must look at the effective character level--i.e., is the ECL truly as effective as the name would indicate.
Title: Re: ECL 2 on Aasimar and Tiefling
Post by: MAB77 on July 11, 2018, 10:03:18 AM
ECL 2 never changes the fact that from level 2 to 18 you will always be more powerful than a human of the same class and level. Never. When you speak of balance you must factor that.

Given that very few chars ever reached 19 or 20. It still means you will on average be the more powerful character at equal level. The price to pay is not to have access to level 19 or 20.

At level 2 I started with
The human extra feat
An energy resistance feat
Extra skill points (more than multiple skill focus feat combined)
Even more bonus points to a stealth feat
A spell like ability.

More than worth the 2 levels sacrificed. You speak of balance, do it on the whole range not only the last 2 levels.
Title: Re: ECL 2 on Aasimar and Tiefling
Post by: bestbardna on July 11, 2018, 01:21:09 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 (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).
Title: Re: ECL 2 on Aasimar and Tiefling
Post by: Insignia on July 11, 2018, 05:57:10 PM
MAB I think you might really be missing what ECL entails. Of course an ECL race at the same class level as a non ECL race is going to be more powerful, no one is arguing that. Two new characters that start, one with ECL 2 and one as human, sure, the ECL character has the edge, but you know how long that lasts? Less than a level. We are talking about effective character level, not class level. The level 2 character with an ECL 2 race must be comparable to a level 4 human in this case.

The exp it takes for the ECL char to reach level 3 is the same as the human to reach level 5, so that extra feat, those extra skill points that you mention getting on character creation, are all less than what the level 5 human would receive. The level 5 human will have more feats, more skill points, more hit points, more AB, better access to spells, better saves because both the Human and the ECL 2 character have an effective character level of 5. For all intents and purposes, this is when they are supposed to be balanced, when the human is 2 levels higher, not when they are at the same class level.

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.
 

As for Bestbardna, I think that is a really cool suggestion that you have made, and it definitely makes me think it could be something that wouldn't require as much work as what it initially looks like. I'm not sure how the programming works on this server, but to use Tiefling as an example, one could create 3 races on the server. Tiefling (ECL 2), Tiefling (ECL 1), and Tiefling with no ECL. A DM could then effectively take your experience and change your race for the buyoff, could they not?

Of course, I think the EXP costs would have to be much higher... and I agree that even if they were, people would stay pay them... I certainly would. Great suggestion, Bestbardna!
Title: Re: ECL 2 on Aasimar and Tiefling
Post by: LivingWasteland 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.
Title: Re: ECL 2 on Aasimar and Tiefling
Post by: aprogressivist 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 (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.
Title: Re: ECL 2 on Aasimar and Tiefling
Post by: MAB77 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:)
Title: Re: ECL 2 on Aasimar and Tiefling
Post by: bestbardna 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.
Title: Re: ECL 2 on Aasimar and Tiefling
Post by: MAB77 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.
Title: Re: ECL 2 on Aasimar and Tiefling
Post by: bestbardna 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.
Title: Re: ECL 2 on Aasimar and Tiefling
Post by: Insignia 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
Title: Re: ECL 2 on Aasimar and Tiefling
Post by: LivingWasteland on July 12, 2018, 09:42:17 AM
MAB is a dev, and he thinks we're just fine it looks like :\
Title: Re: ECL 2 on Aasimar and Tiefling
Post by: bestbardna 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.
Title: Re: ECL 2 on Aasimar and Tiefling
Post by: Iridni Ren 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.)
Title: Re: ECL 2 on Aasimar and Tiefling
Post by: MAB77 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.
Title: Re: ECL 2 on Aasimar and Tiefling
Post by: ethinos 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.
Title: Re: ECL 2 on Aasimar and Tiefling
Post by: bestbardna 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?
Title: Re: ECL 2 on Aasimar and Tiefling
Post by: aprogressivist 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.
Title: Re: ECL 2 on Aasimar and Tiefling
Post by: bestbardna 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.
Title: Re: ECL 2 on Aasimar and Tiefling
Post by: TAP123 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.
Title: Re: ECL 2 on Aasimar and Tiefling
Post by: FlyingLotus 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.
Title: Re: ECL 2 on Aasimar and Tiefling
Post by: Iridni Ren 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.


Title: Re: ECL 2 on Aasimar and Tiefling
Post by: Nemesis 24 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.
Title: Re: ECL 2 on Aasimar and Tiefling
Post by: aprogressivist 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.
Title: Re: ECL 2 on Aasimar and Tiefling
Post by: bestbardna 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.
Title: Re: ECL 2 on Aasimar and Tiefling
Post by: Nemesis 24 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.
Title: Re: ECL 2 on Aasimar and Tiefling
Post by: aprogressivist 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
Title: Re: ECL 2 on Aasimar and Tiefling
Post by: StellarNope 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.
Title: Re: ECL 2 on Aasimar and Tiefling
Post by: ethinos 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.
Title: Re: ECL 2 on Aasimar and Tiefling
Post by: Insignia on July 13, 2018, 08:49:30 PM
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

Honestly, this was my intent on bringing this topic up as well. I just want to see them closer to what they are in PnP/on other servers. I know nothing about programming, but is this truly something that would be that difficult to achieve? It seems like we are at a point in the discussion where we should be evaluating options, perhaps someone can help me understand why this is not something that can be done?



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.


Maybe so, but I think that there are people out there (Myself included) who didn't look into what our characters would be like in the mid-high level range. I honestly had no intention of even bringing my character this far, but now that I have, it seems more like a punishment than anything. If I had the option to take a remake as human, would I? You're damn right I would, in a heartbeat.

The notion of a race purposely being mechanically weaker to make them more rare seems like the wrong way to go about it in my opinion. Wouldn't a more strict application process (like the Hallowed Witch) be more effective? They are indeed overpowered, but also incredibly rare because you have to take things very, very seriously in order to ever be considered for approval.

Your comparison of an equivalent class level of an ECL race vs human is one that others have made already, and is simply flawed inherently. A level 13 aasimar cleric has an effective level of 15, while the human has an effective character level of 13. The Aasimar had to gain the amount of experience required for level 15 in order to achieve level 13. Furthermore he counts as a character with a class 2 levels higher to get that experience in the first place. Of course a character 2 levels higher is going to be stronger.

From my experience (I am currently a level 13 Aasimar paladin) There has been no point in the game where my human counterpart at the same effective level (2 class levels higher) wouldn't be stronger and better able to contribute to a party than my Aasimar, this gap only seems to widen at mid-high levels as classes begin to learn their strongest abilities, because for the ECL races, those abilities are much further out of reach.
Title: Re: ECL 2 on Aasimar and Tiefling
Post by: ethinos on July 16, 2018, 12:41:38 PM
Honestly, this was my intent on bringing this topic up as well. I just want to see them closer to what they are in PnP/on other servers. I know nothing about programming, but is this truly something that would be that difficult to achieve? It seems like we are at a point in the discussion where we should be evaluating options, perhaps someone can help me understand why this is not something that can be done?

EO mentioned something about this previously on page 2 of this thread.

Adding races is fairly easy but there are some issues with it (mainly things like Favored Enemy and Race restrictions on items) and it'd require rewriting/updating many systems. We're not there yet but it's not impossible. I had considered adding Half Vistani as a new race this hak update but ran into a few hurdles so decided to scrap it for now.
Title: Re: ECL 2 on Aasimar and Tiefling
Post by: Iridni Ren on July 16, 2018, 01:05:44 PM
Adding races is fairly easy but there are some issues with it (mainly things like Favored Enemy and Race restrictions on items) and it'd require rewriting/updating many systems. We're not there yet but it's not impossible. I had considered adding Half Vistani as a new race this hak update but ran into a few hurdles so decided to scrap it for now.

Aren't Half Vistani already a race?
Title: Re: ECL 2 on Aasimar and Tiefling
Post by: aprogressivist on July 16, 2018, 03:49:12 PM
Aren't Half Vistani already a race?

Like Aasimar, they're effectively a template that gets applied on top of regular humans. They also benefit from the Extra Feat and Skills of humans, when I believe that by PnP they don't.
Title: Re: ECL 2 on Aasimar and Tiefling
Post by: Insignia on July 22, 2018, 11:53:40 PM
So, as this topic has been inactive almost a week, I'm guessing the tentative plan is to just leave Aasimars & Tieflings the way they are? It's pretty apparent that there is a divide between people who think they are fine as is, and those who feel they are too heavily punished. I don't think there is much that someone can do to convince me that 1 feat and 1 skill point per level is worth adding another whole ECL to a race, and maybe that feeling is reciprocated vice versa as well. I can only speak from personal experience, but I have been playing an Aasimar since around February and it's pretty brutal, especially for someone who doesn't min/max every little thing about his chars.

My suggestion remains that it should just be flat out ECL 1, regardless of if they get the extra feat and skill point or not, and when we figure out a way to remove them, then yes, let's do that. I'd love for things to be by the book when it comes to this race, but since it does not seem to be an option, the next best thing would be to do whatever would be closest to the race as possible. In this case I think having an extra skill point and one extra feat is a slight advantage when compared to the book, where as a whole level lost is a clear disadvantage. To me, when coupled with the fact that an application is required to play the race to begin with, says that it should be in favor of ECL 1.
Title: Re: ECL 2 on Aasimar and Tiefling
Post by: Syl on July 23, 2018, 09:15:18 AM
Those who want to play either one, go into knowingly it is going to be hard. I play a tiefling and I was warned due to other reasons that I well get the unfair life as that character.

Both subraces get more then just a feat and extra sill point. You get that by default due to having to pick human. It's your stat boost, skill increase, and resistances if you get any that give you the ecl.

Yes the ECL can be a bit hard. But that's the point of making such a character. You're making it for a story. Knowing you'll never hit 20 Sirius my tiefling has generally ruined stats save fir his cha. But his low cha fits his personality.

Those of us that pick either tiefling, Asamir, or Drow or any other ecl sub race know we're not going to have a easy time leveling. Or getting interactions with many others.
Title: Re: ECL 2 on Aasimar and Tiefling
Post by: Iridni Ren on July 23, 2018, 09:27:34 AM
Both subraces get more then just a feat and extra sill point. You get that by default due to having to pick human. It's your stat boost, skill increase, and resistances if you get any that give you the ecl.

The argument is over whether the feat and skill point justify an ECL of 2 rather than 1. As I understand it, Aasimar/Tiefling in PnP have an ECL of 1, but here they have 2 because of the way the template must be overlaid over the human. Consequently, they get the extra skill point and feat for being human that they would not get in PnP.

Insignia is saying one feat and a skill point per level are not proportional to the extra ECL penalty of 2 versus 1.

I will point out that this is another way in which the ECL hurts low levels disproportionately. That is, an 18th level Aasimar/Tiefling has achieved 18 extra skill points over her PnP peer, which some might argue is worth a level. But at second level, the Aasimar/Tiefling has only 2 extra skill points.

ETA: Correction that at first level the human gets four extra because of multiplication, rather than 1.
Title: Re: ECL 2 on Aasimar and Tiefling
Post by: MAB77 on July 23, 2018, 10:21:10 AM
This debate is definitively turning in circle.

I will simply reiterate that we are willing to make planetouched ECL 1 races provided we can implement them as per the proper D&D rules.

NWN:EE is getting us closer to that, but several important issues need to be resolved first.
Title: Re: ECL 2 on Aasimar and Tiefling
Post by: aprogressivist on July 23, 2018, 02:34:12 PM
The issue with making Aasimar and Tieflings ECL 1 while keeping the bonus Feat and Skills is that this isn't a server where they should be that common; yet making them better than the PnP rules encourages that. It's not like they're a setting staple, like Half-Vistani.
Title: Re: ECL 2 on Aasimar and Tiefling
Post by: ethinos on July 23, 2018, 02:37:19 PM
Not only that but they aren't subject to qualities that should specifically affect them, like being native outsiders, as NWN thinks they are regular old humans.
Title: Re: ECL 2 on Aasimar and Tiefling
Post by: bestbardna on July 25, 2018, 10:37:25 AM
The aasimar on the server are more akin to the Lesser Aasimar race with a bonus feat and skill points. Might make them worth LA +1, but definitely not +2.
Title: Re: ECL 2 on Aasimar and Tiefling
Post by: Tycat on July 25, 2018, 07:09:47 PM
There was so much to read and i started to feel that I have read it all before, so forgive me if I gave up on page 2 and didn't read much further.

I want to offer a suggestion to make up some difference for that 2 ECL. I play an Aasimar who is currently sitting on a shelf collecting all his level 4 dust, and I will probably play him after Lexington's closure or when I can take a break from him as my next main, just to get him off the shelf and possibly out of the rotation. Let me start by saying, Insignia, the fact that you made it to level 13 since February - (what is that, 5 months?) - is impressively fast. Maybe I do it wrong, but not a one of my characters made it that high that fast. Lex took 1 year to make it to level 10. He's a four year old character and only level 16. My fastest leveled character was Zidonne, who made it to 20 in two and a half years. My oldest character is level 14, and was made in 2011 when I first joined the server part time. My point is, you're doing good - enjoy the journey and try not to let the destination be your driving force.

As for an objective offer to this subject, I have felt that the ECL is frustrating, but it isn't as simple as reducing the ECL or adding bonus slots or feats or skills, but abillities. Teiflings get Darkness, which has combat advantages at the bare minimum of what can be achieved with it. Aasimars get...... light. A useless spell that hedge wizards and level two bards get and can use by sneezing. I see no fair advantage there and it's acutally silly. I always thought there should be something more, and perhaps the racial abilities could evolve as you level up, perhaps turning from Light, to Searing Light, to eventually Sunburst or something like that. On the other hand, teiflings too would warrant an evolution from darkness, maybe to shadow shield or shadow conjuration.

Or perhaps we can discuss a balanced evolution of the racial abilities. The point being to make that 2 ECL seem worth it. As a few people have brought up, many, many characters do not even see 20. And the ones who do are the ones focused heavily on gaining levels and power before story.