Archive for September 2009

Dragon Age: Origins: Impressions: Blogpost

Dragon Age: Origins is a game that I'd initially only heard of because Penny Arcade was doing comics for them. Penny Arcade has a good track record of pimping shit that I like, so I checked out the Wikipedia entry, and that didnt explain much. From what I gather its a role-playing game where you can make your own character from a select few options: three races and three classes. Laaame. Since I havent actually played the game, I'll just stick to the point of this post, and thats my impressions from checking out screens and watching vids.


Judging by the screens the game has some really great graphics going on. Kind of like if World of WarCraft upgraded its graphics engine to something remotely current. Even the faces dont seem nearly as offensive as what I'm used to seeing out of RPGs where you get to generate your own character. Kind of refreshing to see models that havent quite tumbled into the uncanny valley.


However this says nothing about actual gameplay, which is of far more import. So, onto trailers!


First off, the Denerim trailer doesnt do much for me. It shows off more graphics and combat stuff, which looks impressive enough but doesnt explain much about Denerim except that I guess they are fighting against...something. I'm not sure what, though someone mentioned the blight.


I then watched the violence trailer, which showcased some very cinematic mass battles and thats not an indicator of what you're actually going to get out of the game. No, it looked par for the course of what I expect out of role-playing games, which was still pretty neat. On one hand, I wanted to get excited about it, but...I find that game trailers tend to overhype the game and in the end I dont want to get disappointed by getting my hopes up. I think I've just gotten jaded on a lot of the trite, cliche role-playing games that seem to get pushed out all the time, which offer almost nothing but still run sixty fucking dollars.


That being said, these are just first impressions based entirely off of a handful of screenshots and a couple trailers. At this point the game looks like many RPGs I've seen, just with better graphics. Ehhhh... Its a spiritual successor to Baldur's Gate, which was great back in the day...but they also did Neverwinter Nights, which I couldnt stand. So...whether I'm going to like it is anyone's guess, but we'll see come launch time.
September 30, 2009
Posted by David Guyll

New Site Layout is Pretty Nice

The D&D portion of Wizards.com has a new look and layout. It takes a bit of getting used to (thought likely not as long as the old one did), but I think its certainly a step up. At the top you get a large logo that ensures that you know where the fuck you are: the D&D website, and right next to it is a login field for D&D Insiders...I dont know yet if it actually bothers to remember you, but here's hoping.

Immediately following our corporate branding is a large, easy-to-read navigation bar-ish...thing. This is greaaaaat. Way better than having all the shit on the left, and middle, and at the top. While it could use a better indicator aside from colored text to let you know where you are, its certainly a step in the right direction.

For categories, I like that Game Products features the "core essentials", so new players can easily figure out what books they actually need. Likewise, there are sections for DMs and players that display magazine articles and books for the respective party, making it easy to stick to the content you want...or simply find the shit intended for you. Kudos.

Tools lists all the optional digital utilities that you can use with the game. I'm glad that the designers finally got around to making it easy to locate the demos for Character Builder and Adventure Tools by using big-ass buttons instead of tiny fucking links adrift somewhere within a wall of text.

Gotta say, I think I still like this one better.

EDIT: Dear Wizards, please color your hyperlinks and leave the goddamned underline alone: those are the two indicators that a hyperlink even exists. Kplzthx.
September 29, 2009
Posted by David Guyll

DMG2 Almost-Review

I'd planned on doing a review of Dungeon Master's Guide 2, but ended up getting double-whammied by illness (strep and swine flu: do not want!), which when coupled with my Japanase and Multimedia classes flaring up and an onset of work (both paid and D&D) left me with nil time. So since I have some downtime today, I'm just going to highlight the parts that I've both managed to read and enjoy.

Vignettes (pg 22)
I'm doing this in my adventure arc, At The Mines of Madness, where the players get to play some of the victims, and actually decided on this when I saw it in a DMG2 preview on Wizards.com. Having read the entire section (again?), I'm going to do some flashback sequences in Songs of Erui for when Greymalkin met Grynn for the first time, and maybe even when adventurers arrive to take down Grynn's tribe and master, allowing the group to see first hand Gribbeth's capabilities.

I think its a good way to not only roll through a given character's background, but to ensure that the DM and players are all on the same page. Its kind of a pain when I as a DM drop some info on something and it confuses the player its intended for, giving you one of those, "No, my father was supposed to be dead, remember?" moments that stops the game as the DM and player fiddle through the details again.

Companion Characters (pg 27)
I had a player who wanted to play D&D via chat, but only him and his girlfriend were available. Since a pair makes for a poor party and neither wanted to play a fighter or paladin, they ended up getting a big-ass dog that would work as a defender. It was mostly like a monster stat block, but was on par with their own defenses and attack bonuses and the like (plus it could also get more powers and feats).

I think companion characters are cool and can be a fun roleplaying tool. The baby owlbear in the The Whispering Cairn made for an awesome bit of social roleplaying as the party argued over taking care of it, selling it, or training it as a guard animal (even though one of the players kept telling him that you cant train them like that). They ended up selling it to Allustan, since they were having a hard time taking care of it while adventuring, but I could see parties having semi-regular companions making appearances, such as Mouse in The Dresden Files.

Terrain (pg 58)
Provided quite a few ideas for me, and I ended up using a blood midge cloud in the next adventure I ran. Not much to say about the normal terrain: you get some new terrain and mechanic information on how it works, so hopefully this guides DMs on how to do their own stuff.

Now, the section on terrain powers was too cool and too short. There's only seven, and that makes for a sad Antioch... I'm happy to say that at least I did the wall-pushing bit mostly right. I'd used something like that in The Hounds of Ulster, where the players could crush phase spider swarms under rocks (counted as a blast attack, so it deal bonus damage) while breaking phase spider webs that were blocking line of effect for teleporting. It required a skill check but affected a smaller area of effect. T.T

The Entire Fucking Chapter On Customizing Monsters (pg 102)
I'm a sucker for making thematic adventures, and when I was in a kid I'd done the elemental dungeon with lots of fire things here, water things there, etc. Nowadays I like to keep things...consistent, lets say. If I use goblins, then likely most of its going to be goblins unless I've got a good reason to swap them out. Not in the Keep on the Shadowfell sense where they "upgrade" to hobgoblins, oh no: I'll just use higher level goblins.

Monster themes really grab me since my current campaign uses a lot of primal elements. With the Feywild Denizen themes, I can reflect the subtle influence of Erui and the Feywild on their inhabitants much, much better now. I'm also going to rework several monsters in At The Mines of Madness to include elements from the Those Who Hear theme...

Divine Boons (pg 139)
Me likey. Granting characters special gifts that are not just material treasure is awesome. I'm going to use this when characters start getting rewards from spirits or the fey courts.

Item Components (pg 146)
I like this because I was already doing it since 2nd Edition, I just didnt have an exact set of mechanics for it. ^_^

I like this second interation a looot more than the first one, mostly because much of the information out of DMG had been drilled into my brain from years of playing games, reading about running games, and listening to my group bitch about the shitty games they'd been in. This one does go through some of the old motions that I'm used to (mostly with player personalities and motivations), but it seems to focus on more veteran aspects of the game.
September 24, 2009
Posted by David Guyll
Tag : ,

At the Mines of Madness: The Road to Shardpit

With the prologue out of the way, its time to get things started. I'm not a novelist, so am doing this on my own limited understanding on how to freak the fuck out of my players. I know its hard, but challenging stuff can also be fun. Even if they dont get spooked, I imagine they'll still get a kick out of killing nameless horrors from eventually beyond the stars. I want to avoid the players running into the actual threat, especially at the start, just to keep them wondering what the hell "it" is. You know, let their imaginations ferment and cook up their own speculations.

So, the first encounter on the agenda is a goblin ambush. Standard fare, which is intentional since A) goblins make sense in the Shadow Marches, and B) they are level 1. Hopefully it'll give them a surprise twist since they are likely expecting to run into some sort of gibbering monster from their own mental machinations.

Encounter 1: Goblin Raiders
  • 1 goblin hexer (level 3 controller)
  • 1 fire beetle (level 1 brute)
  • 6 goblin cutters (level 1 minion)
  • 1 goblin warrior (level 1 skirmisher)
Treasure: I'm considering throwing a magic item into the mix. I want to kind of avoid doling out cash treasure since it wont be useful until everything here is done (and that assumes we keep playing using these characters). Likely some kind of weapon to help out against the soldiers in the third encounter. If I can think of anything interesting, I'll add it to the mix.

I rounded out the roles really well, and if the party had a sixth member I'd toss in a blackblade for some backstabbing fun. To make the encounter more interesting, it takes place near a really swampy part that has some deep water for the goblins to hide in, while the hexer uses a charm to control the fire beetle, and waits on the other side.

The idea is that for the first round, the goblins take an attack penalty from fire attacks due to them being submerged in the water. This allows me to better use the fire beetle's breath attack with less worry about vaporizing my minions. Otherwise it includes most of the terrain features I mentioned in the past, so hopefully makes for a dynamic encounter with large trees being set on fire.

Encounter 2: Centipedes
This encounter is something I want to throw at them as dusk sets in, but before they settle for the night (or perhaps after they pitch camp). Whatever happens, I want them to get in an extended rest before pressing on. In the night, I expect that they wont be able to fully ascertain the attackers, so they can play up their imagination briefly.
  • 2 centipede scuttlers (level 4 skirmisher)
  • 1 centipede swarm (level 2 brute)
Treasure: Nadda.

Encounter 3: Shallow Grave
Their journey almost done, the party notices a dead body in the deep water. It has the treasure parcel of the character that lived the longest during the prologue, and is "guarded" by two visejaw crocs. After the encounter if they examine the body a Heal check reveals that he/she was dead before the crocs got to him/her (dun dun duuuuun). Oh, and there is also lootage.
  • 2 visejaw crocodiles
Treasure: Whatever the fuck the treasure parcel happens to be.

Next Time: Shardpit
Aaand thats it for the trip there. Mostly want to build up some suspense and try to fake them out until they get to the village where all the shit went down. Most of the encounters are appropriate for their level, or lower. I want to give them a chance to get one level under their belt before they face off against the final encounter, so we'll just call this "XP padding with another agenda."
September 19, 2009
Posted by David Guyll

Assassin

I write this as I gradually recover from the rigors of swine flu. I had intended to do separate reviews for each tier, but at this point might as well mash them together. First, the heroic article has powers up to level 10 utilities, a bunch of heroic feats, and a pair of paragon-tier feats. The paragon tier article goes from level 13 to 19 and includes four paragon paths. There are no additional feats or magic items to be found /le sigh.

Like rogues, assassins are Dex-based strikers, but use the shadow power source which means that they trade/binda-bit-of their soul to the Shadowfell and gain, well, "shadow power". This lets them do stuff like manipulate shadows, teleport through them, or just kill you with your own shadow. By the time I'm done here I suspect I'll have said shadow so many times that the word will have lost all meaning. Anywho, depending on your guild training you get additional benefits from either Constitution or Charisma: bleak disciples get temp hp when striking unbloodied baddies, while night stalkers get bonus damage when attacking isolated targets.

Normally when I think of assassin, I think of something a tad more mundane. Like, you know, a rogue or anyone that can hide from people and kill them hellaciously fast. What this means is that I'm very glad that the assassin differs from martial characters in a lot of ways (otherwise whats the fucking point?). Starting out, the only thing about them that screams martial is that they use weapons and wear armor.

Their powers are called hexes, which draw from your own "shadowed soul" as a fuel source. Their striker mechanic is handled with shrouds, which are invisible...things, that reveal weak spots to you. Kind of like when you use heat-seeking weapons in games with a nifty HUD.
You invoke them before you make an attack to deal bonus damage (Mearls has confirmed this) depending on the number you've placed on them thus far (cap of four).
At higher levels they get static damage bonuses, and from the wording seems to deal some damage even if you miss with an attack. Their other class features include a sustained insubstantial encounter hex, and invisible teleporting at-will that only works if you start and stop next to a creature (which I endorse completely).

There are four at-wills, with one being a ranged 5 attack that deals force damage, slows, and pulls. Another one that I really like increases your melee range by 2, but doesnt deal ability modifier damage (boo). The other two deal standard damage, with a bonus that depends on either the number of shrouds you have piled on top, or how many creatures are next to it.
Some interesting variety, but I suspect inescapable blade will be pretty damned popular since having a base reach of 3 can be pretty handy for a class that can deal a lot of bonus damage regardless as to where the rest of the party is.

Assassins are also one-part controller, so many of their attacks impose various conditions. Nightmare shades causes a creature to grant combat advantage, while smothering shadow slows them. Many of the powers fuck with yours-or-a-target's shadow in some way.

One thing I will gripe about is the lack of ki focus magic items, and assassin-themed magic items in general. This is one of the reasons I dont like playing monks or psions: there isnt enough thematic loot out there without me having to invent it on my own, which is fine if your DM is up for that sort of thing. Hopefully the epic-tier assassin article will add some more specifics, since as of this writing I know that the paragon-tier one did not.

Otherwise its shaping up to be a class that, like rangers and rogues, fulfills an indentical role but maintains its own theme and style.
September 10, 2009
Posted by David Guyll

At the Mines of Madness: Prologue

At the Mines of Madness is the heart-warming tale of a band of paid vagabonds escorting a dragonshard caravan (takes place in Eberron, by-the-by) from one village to another, getting paid ten times what your common wage-slave would be raking in for a day of actual work. Of course, narrative shit hits the proverbial 0fan and they only get paid based on what they manage to pry off of dead things before hopefully managing to leg it back to civilization with their skin and psyche intact. To be fair, they'll end up getting "paid" a lot more this way for a lot less work, so...fuck 'em.

This is a kind-of one-shot adventure that I want to run around Halloween, just to shake things up a bit and try my hands at a focused genre that I dont see often. Or at all. As an opener, I want to take a que from one of those DMG2 chapter thingies where it talks about foreshadowing stuff in adventures and campaigns by making the players actually deal with it via other characters (and I hope to god thats what it was talking about). Like, give them a taste of what they might be up against, or at least to speculate wildly and try to guess if its out of a Monster Manual or if the DM "cheated" and whipped it up with Monster Builder.

As part of the prologue, I'm going to setup the battle-mat as if they are going to start out the adventure with combat. Since I do this quite a bit, its a fair cop. However, I'm going to have them each describe a commoner of whatever profession and background they can come up with on the fly. The catch is that this will be the character they play...

...for this part anyway. I mean, I'm not so mean as to have them all play minions. Thats more of a Rifts or Call of Cthulhu thing, and I'm not really into any of those things.

These commoners will be booking it through a forested swamp, in the dead of night. Their goal is to try and die last, though in all fairness they'll probably think that they just shouldnt die at all. Shit in one hand, I guess... Anywho, I will gradually pick them off in cliche horror fashion without revealing what is actually doing it. There will be signs, to be sure, and the winner will be rewarded in the third real encounter with an item that they wanted. I wont unbalance them, they'll just get something nifty first.

Mostly, I just hope to freak them right the fuck out with descriptive text and mysterious things in the woods. They'll bump into their former dead bodies later.
September 08, 2009
Posted by David Guyll

Terrain Features: Swamp

Working on a horror-themed adventure for October that takes place in a swamp. Here are some common terrain features that I crapped out while working on the opening string of encounters.
  • Mud: Acts as difficult terrain and gets your boots dirty. Like, mega dirty.
  • Shallow Water: Also acts as difficult terrain, but if you hit it with a cold keyword power you can get make a secondary attack. Secondary Attack: +3 vs. Fortitude; 2 cold damage and the target is immobilized (save ends).
  • Deep Water: Deep water is deep. Requires swim checks to tread. Can also be affected by cold keyword powers. Can be handy for avoiding some area-effect attacks if you are submerged (like gases). Secondary Attack: +5 vs. Fortitude; 4 cold damage, and the target is immobilized (save ends). The attack bonus is higher since generally you're going to be up to your neck in water, instead of just your waist.
  • Dead Trees: Dead trees provide cover, but can also be pushed over with a DC 15 Strength check. If they are pushed onto a creature, you get to make an attack as well. Attack: Strength + 2 vs. Reflex; 1d6 damage, and the target is knocked prone and immobilized until the end of their next turn.
  • Trees: They can be used for cover, and may be lit on fire if targeted with a fire keyword power. They can be knocked over as well, but the Strength check is DC 21 to do so and the damage is 1d8.
Posted by David Guyll

Monster Builder Update

You can now export your monsters as xml files and send them to other peeps, in addition to adding custom gear. The import/export options are on the upper-right hand part of the first column (where it sorts monsters by name).
Posted by David Guyll

Huxtropy Review

Its been awhile, but Silent7Seven has conscripted me into another review by dangling free pdf-produce with promises of card-slinging, gambling-goodness by the name of Huxtropy. Huxtropy runs 19 pages that contains a card game, variant ranger-build, new warlock pact, some magical goodies, and a new-if-unrefined skill. It runs about $5, but until the end of September its a buck off so thats almost 5-pages per dollar.

As per usual, the art isnt anything to write home about. It looks like a changling decked out (har har) in a purple outfit and throwing some playing cards. Kind of like an emo version of Gambit, just badly drawn.

Though art may not be S7S's strong suits (har har groan) everything I've gotten from them has done, if nothing else, stirred my own creative juices. Andrew does some things that I would consider unorthodox, inventing new rules and mechanics with mostly a focus on the concept and not necessarily on balance, and thats fine by me. Even if I dont use it as written, it provides a conceptual foundation for me to build on.

The Game
First things first, huxtropy is the name of a game of chance that also refers to a special card deck that can also-so be used in fortune telling or as a weapon of varying efficacy. In fact, roughly half of this pdf is devoted to explaining the history of the cards, the rules of the card game, and how to use it as a fortune telling device as opposed to a new class like I'd initially thought. In a (very tiny) nutshell, the original card deck was created by a gypsy that stole power from a group of epic-tier gamblers after he bound them to play for eternity, souping up his own deck with Ultimate Power. Really, is there anything those gypsies cant do?

Now, I'm personally all for introducing immersive elements into a game, but my players arent the type to hunker down and play cards as fictional characters for fictional goodies: they prefer the more direct approach of prying valuables from the cold dead hands/tentacles of the previous (and likely rightful) owners, but I digress. In another nutshell, this half of the file just aint for me.

Luckily, we get crunch.

The Weapon
The huxtropy deck as a weapon occupies about a page and a half, coming in one of two flavors: a standard deck or razor deck. Both are superior ranged two-handed weapons (one hand to hold the deck, the other to throw a card) with the draw free property (which obviously means that you can draw cards and throw as a free action).

The standard deck does dick-for-damage, described as being about as dangerous as a "kamikaze dragonfly". It can deal ability modifier damage if used with a power that deals [W] damage, but thats about it. Even magical versions bring nothing to the table aside from the damage modifier. Aside from doling out paper-cuts, they can be used to trigger delicate switches and buttons by making an attack roll (typical AC 20+).

The razor deck, on the other hand, deals 1d6 damage and has a better proficiency bonus. Its also a light blade, so a rogue player can pick it up and sling cards like its no-one's business. Optimizers need not worry/nerd rage/proclaim brokenosity/generate 1000 threads, as the card proficiency feat applies to ALL card weapons.

Finally, there is a deck holster that costs 1 gp and lets you use decks with one hand instead of two. Definitely something I expect everyone to be carrying.

The Magic
This is where we get a new damage resolution mechanic for D&D. Huxtropy decks dont use damage dice, but cards. Whenever you land an attack, you draw one card per damage die you would normally roll. If its a number card, thats your damage result.

Face cards do various thinks like increase your crit range, attack bonus, or damage. You have to draw other cards until you hit a number card. The real shitter is if you draw a joker and roll a nat 1: you are CURSED WITH BAD LUCK! Its like a disease, but you get better by making social skill checks instead of Endurance.

You shuffle your deck at the start of each encounter. Thrown cards are expended, but your deck regenerates cards every short/extended rest you take, so you basically get 38 shots per encounter when you consider that face cards require that you draw more cards (assuming I did the math right).

A sidebar talks about upgrading the deck without having to fret about finding a better one or falling back on Enchant/Disenchant Item rituals, so DMs dont have to sacrifice logic and reason to placate the player. There's also four magical aces that you can insert into your deck, giving you extra properties when you draw that specific ace.

The Deckslinger
The kinda-sorta new class is the deckslinger. The idea of any character running around chucking magical playing cards strikes me as more than a bit strange, despite some exposure in mainstream media. Not because it sounds bat-shit crazy, but just because I would be very curious as to how you'd pull it off while making it more than a one-power pony that differs greatly from the ranger and/or rogue.

The answer? You dont.

To be fair, Andrew only mostly takes this route, opting to partially reskin the ranger instead since there is already a ranger build that focuses exclusively on ranged attacks. Having helped a friend work on a ranged martial controller class, its hard to make exploits that dont step on the ranger and rogue's toes, so this might be an ultimately simpler-yet-functional approach given the fact that since razor decks are also light blades that any rogue player can just use them as written with absolutely no problems.

The Pact
The gambler pact is for the warlock class, mechanically allowing you to use the card-damage mechanic for double dealing (new pact at-will) and your encounter spells. You get to use card decks as implements, but still have to roll damage normally for eldritch blast and your daily spells. As a plus, the pact boon lets you scope out cards ahead of time whenever you drop an enemy.

My only complaint here is that daily spells specific to the gambler pact would have been useful. Unless I'm missing something this pact is below par without spells that get extra oomph from the gambler pact.

The Path
There's a paragon path to boot, which expectantly makes you really badass with cards: you get skill bonuses to many Charisma skills, a free Expertise feat, can modify energy damage, treat kings as wild cards (or whatever damage card you want), and even reroll missed attacks as long as you have jokers in the discard pile to burn. Its basically the paragon path you're going to take if you decide to go all out with the deckslinger or a gamblock/warbler.

The Feats
There's eleven Heroic feats, almost half require classes other than deckslinger to select, and one of them is a multiclass feat. With all the generic feats out there, I'm sure that there's more than enough to go around.

The Skill
Last we get a new skill, Gambling, and the gambler background (which is linked to only the Gambling skill, though I would also add either Streetwise or Thievery to the list). Gambling has no real mechanical benefit at all except for I guess making opposed checks to determine who wins in a game of chance. The author recommends that you just allow players to substitute Bluff, Insight, and Thievery when playing games of chance, and I agree. There's not enough oomph to make it work, but if a player really wants to play it up then its there.

If possible, I'd like to see Gambling skill powers (perhaps in a skill power-themed product, hint hint Andrew). Those would make the skill more appealing and balanced in terms of what it can do in-and-out of combat. Simulationists will likely cope just fine, since they tend to also pick up "role-playing" skills like Craft and Profession.

The Conclusion
Whether you will like this depends on if you like social immersion devices. My group doesnt, and we arent necessarily clamoring for new classes, either. I know a lot of groups like engaging in social activities within the game, and the addition of a card game and fortune telling rules will probably have some appeal. It relies on a standard deck of cards, so you dont need to buy a Three Dragon Ante or Harrow Deck in order to pull it off.

Otherwise, its got a very narrow niche appeal in terms of style. You get a new damage resolution mechanic which a select few players might dig, but its not going to appeal much to players who are heavily into crunchy content. If zipping around slicing things apart with cards is your thing, then there's something here for you, just maybe not as much as you were hoping for. That being said, it does make it very easy to introduce these things into your games (and remove them just as easily).
September 02, 2009
Posted by David Guyll

PH3 Debut: Skill Powers In-Depth

Shazbot (aka Josh) pointed out that skill powers are in the latest Character Builder update...neat! Skill powers are a suite of utility powers that you can choose from as long as you're high enough level and are trained in the skill. There are no other requirements demanded, meaning its similar to skill tricks from 3rd Edition except open to all characters and actually useful.

The idea behind skill powers is to allow characters to get more out of skills without just ramping up the the bonus or just granting some kind of auto-success ability, which is a good thing to me because it allows me to keep skill challenges challenging without making it impossible for other characters to contribute. This was an issue I've had numerous times in games like WEG Star Wars or Shadowrun, where players might crank up a couple skills to the point where if I make it challenging for them, I basically make it impossible for anyone else.

Peter Schaefer adds in some commentary that they wanted to make them useful without stepping on the toes of utility powers belonging to a class thats supposed to be good at what the skill does. In other words, good for some classes but underpowered for others. The example cited is physician's care. Its nifty at healing but not as good as a healing power that you would find in a leader's selection of powers. I dont mind this, as the offering is abso-fucking-lutely free. You can pick it up for a bit of flexibility, or just ignore it.

I will note that the skill powers presenting in the article/update amount to about half what will be in Player's Handbook 3, so if you're like Wyatt and you dont find many (if any) useful, then there might be hope for you yet! Of course, I expect many people (including Wyatt) to invent their own anyway: the idea has merit even if none of the powers do.

Speaking of usefulness, lets have some examples.
  • Arcana: Arcane mutterings (level 2) lets you make an Arcana check instead of a Bluff, Diplomacy, or Intimidate check.
  • Dungeoneering: Eyes of the deep delver (level 6) grants you blindsight 10 for a turn.
  • Heal: Time out (level 10) lets an ally within 1 square regain her use of second wind. I'm going to also give props to swift recovery, which lets an ally within 1 square use second wind wihtout spending an action to do it. Kind of like an automatic Heal check to trigger it. Me likey.
  • Streetwise: Navigate crowds (level 10) lets you shift your speed and move through enemies' spaces while doing so.
So...good? Bad? Well, I have an idea for a fighter with the Mark of Sentinel that also serves as a bodyguard. Navigate crowds would be good for getting into the fray even if enemies are interposed in my path. Its thematic, but is it on par with the other fighter utilities?
Into the fray lets you move 3 squares as a minor action, provided you end your move adjacent to an enemy. Good, and not hindered by heavy armor and the like.
Strength from pain is a daily stance that gives you +4 to damage, Athletics, and Endurance checks for the entire encounter, but it is a daily (navigate crowds is an encounter power).
Stalwart guard is another good bodyguard themed power, but its also a daily and grants a +1 power bonus to AC and Reflex defenses to one ally that is adjacent to you (2 if you have a shield).

Hmm...

I dunno. All seem like good options, except if I wanted more mobility I'd definitely consider taking up navigate crowds since its a shift and lets me move through enemies. I dont think its better than into the fray since thats a minor action to trigger and not a move: both have their perks. I guess in the end, some of them could be useful and good for giving characters incentive to pick up certain skills (or just a better chance to get some use out of them).
September 01, 2009
Posted by David Guyll

Skimming PH3 Debut: Skill Powers

The article is up about a week early, but thats alright, I'm sure I'll find a way to cope (such as by reading it).

As a brief overview, its an interesting concept where you can swap out Utility powers for other Utility powers so long as you are A) trained in the requisite skill, and B) of a sufficient level. So, kind of like multiclassing, but without necessitating the burning of a precious feat. Even better? The article only features roughly half of what PH3 will contain.

I have to head off to Powells to pick up Word of Traitors and then go to work to read it/play Dissidia, but I'll give a more in-depth review when I'm done.
Posted by David Guyll

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