Archive for December 2009

Story Rewards

In the past I used to toss some bonus XP to players who did particularly well in a session, be it good social role-playing, clever ideas, or just some form of sacrifice on the part of a PC or (better yet) a NPC. This didnt matter to most classes except non-artificers who could also make magic items. Hell, as a fighter I kept a log of "bonus XP" that I was given so that I could have the wizard scribe scrolls and make potions for me.

Though several DMs have done so in the past in games I've played in, I'm not exactly a fan of rewarding players for "role-playing" (as it is often mistakenly identified), but for role-playing of any type. I also like players who actually create a character history, especially if it gives me tender bits to chew on when writing adventures. It was mostly a problem of determining a viable reward that they would actually give a fuck about but doesnt mess with long-term balance.

See, extra XP in 4E isnt terribly useful since you no longer have to burn it in order to make magic items, and it would take quite awhile for it to accrue to the point where you are leveled temporarily higher than everyone else...assuming no one else is also hoarding bonus XP.

So, no, thats out. Some ideas that are in are as follows.
  • A bonus action point that never "decays", and can be used in the same encounter as another one.
  • Add +1d6, +1d8, or whatever to an attack roll or skill usage.
  • Recharge a spent encounter power.
  • Recharge a spent daily power.
  • Remove a spent magic item power usage.
  • Act as if you got a 20+ on a death save.
  • Typed bonus to attack rolls, damage rolls, defenses, etc.
  • Untyped bonus to attack rolls, damage rolls, defenses, etc.
  • Automatic critical hit if an attack hits at all.
I dont really have a name for these, yet, though boons seems like a fitting name (except that DMG2 added those, as well). I wouldnt create specific conditions to award these, but do so on a case-by-case basis to avoid "boon farming", or whatever. Mostly I'm doling these out when the plot would benefit most from having a mechanical representation.

For example, if a friend or loved one is being attack by a monster, I might grant a bonus on the attack and/or damage roll. If a player is on their last leg trying to defend someone or thing, I might give them a power bonus to defenses to represent their determination. A chaos sorcerer might get a variable bonus to an attack roll. Think any scene in any media where an adrenaline rush of sorts pushes the character to do something particularly badass, or just pick an anime where rage-bullshit kicks in to save the day.
December 31, 2009
Posted by David Guyll

Familiar Power

Its like Wizards realized how shitty familiars used to be, and so is making up for lost time. There's more articles on familiars than most classes.

Oi.

I've really enjoyed 4E's iteration of familiars in that they made them useful and cool. I've also enjoyed that Wizards has taken the time to further integrate them into arcane characters and make it a compelling choice beyond what they already do.

So, good job. ( ^_^)o自自o(^_^ )

Unlike past articles that toss out more familiars and feats to fuck with them, this article mixes things up a bit by providing a bunch of spells that either target your familiar, or get kickers from having your familiar touring about...in addition to giving us more familiars and feats to go with them.

For example, there's a level 1 encounter spell that creates a cold zone that damages enemies that start within it (centered on one such poor bastard), but if your familiar is in the zone then creatures taking damage are also auto-prowned. Huuur.

My favorite one is the level 22 utility spell that makes your familiar get really big and start tossing enemies around automatically. Very cool. Along the same vein is a ritual that turns your familiar into a mount.

The new feats let you add more to your familiar by allowing to swap between passive and active mode for free, or grant it teleport as a movement ability.

A pair of magic items introduces the "familiar slot", which basically translates into, "your familiar can pack one familiar magic item." Not sure if this was something in a previous article, but I dont recall it. ┐('~`;)┌

Last but not least are a pair of elemental familiars, a specter, and a gelatinous cube.

December 17, 2009
Posted by David Guyll

"Advanced" Classes are Stupid

Okay, I don't know why some people think that having to master a system in order to play something is ever a good thing. One of the many reasons I enjoy 4E is because all classes, regardless of their narrative capabilities, all follow the same mechanics for task resolution. This allows a player to learn one system and then be able to play any concept she desires from the options presented to her, instead of being forced to learn additional rules to play, I dunno, "privileged" vs. "newbie ghetto" classes I guess.

For example, I like wizards. In any given game where a spell-slinging pushover is up for grabs, I'm most certainly going to give it a shot. I did this in Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, I did it in Shadowrun (street mage), I did the Jedi shit in Star Wars (WEG version-only), and when 3E came out the first character I rolled was a sorcerer (mostly because I wanted to see how spontaneous casting actually worked out in play).

In no instance did the extraneous rules add anything to the class except for additional work on my part. Having to use other rules to do the stuff my class is purported to do did not make it "feel" more like magic, or whatever. I think this is a mental hangup for many, in that by dealing damage with a separate subset of rules makes it feel different than how the other guy does it. In the end its just damage: the description is really what sets it apart.

The fact that D&D wizards used to be wizards for about one combat encounter a day didnt help matters, either. -.-;

To make matters worse, as Wizards released more classes they also made new rules for many of those classes. Want to try out a new class? Be prepared to memorize even more rules!. I remember taking a lot of time to learn how meldshaping worked in Magic of Incarnum, and boy did no one want to give any of them a whirl even after I gave an abridged explanation of how it all worked.

Honestly, were any of these classes made more fun because of the secondary systems I had to learn?

No. Fuck no.

One of the reasons many new players don't want to try those classes is because of the extra work and mechanics you have to figure out in order to play them. Like, you learn how skills and mundane combat works (and that was annoying enough what with opportunity attacks and grappling), but woe to the player who wanted to try something with scaling damage dice. They bellied up to the table to play, damnit, not do homework.
December 13, 2009
Posted by David Guyll

Class Acts: Invoker

This invoker Class Acts article allows invokers to strengthen the connection with their respective deity by picking up Awaken God Fragment, a nifty paragon feat that gives you a few constant benefits in addition to augmenting your encounter and daily prayers.

The constant benefits are about what I'd expect for a typical heroic feat: +2 to a pair of skills, allow allies to reroll saves against specific conditions, or even a single skill bonus plus something else (like resist cold temps as if you were always under an Endure Elements ritual). I think the shittiest one is fragment of Sehanine, which gives you a +2 feat bonus to Stealth. Yawn.

On the other hand, the encounter-based benefits can be kind of nice. Fragment of Corellon lets you or an adjacent ally teleport when you use an encounter/daily prayer, while fragment of Avandra lets an ally make a free save (two against certain conditions). I think one of the sweetest ones is fragment of Ioun, which lets you reroll any damage dice once.

There's one fragment per "core" deity, but none of the evil ones.
Posted by David Guyll

Supporting Cast: Owlbear Companion

Wyatt's got a thing where he makes sample companions, which got me for some reason thinking about the baby owlbear from The Whispering Cairn. Companions were "officially" introduced in Dungeon Master's Guide 2, and are mostly used to fill out empty party slots and/or as guest stars for an encounter or two. I think they would also be awesome for players that are dead, or if the party is split up. I know I had fun playing the dog in Dragon Age.

Anywho, if you decide to run Age of Worms (again?), here's a stat block for the lil' guy.

Notes: Removed double attack, though I could see that being added back in at a later level as an encounter attack. Reduced stunning screech so that it only dazes for a turn instead of save ends (though I could see it gradually scaling back up to that point).
December 12, 2009
Posted by David Guyll

The Flame Door & Adventuring Armies

The Flame Door i--OMG two pages and its Forgotten Realms?

Moving on!

I'm not going to post the preview art for Adventuring Armies since it looks so retarded. Its like a poorly drawn KoRn album just randomly walked into a room with an abandoned game table, and decided to just start ripping on the game.

But, I digress.

Adventuring Armies gives you tips and advice on managing large groups. Some of it is the same shit we've heard before, like rolling attack and damage dice at the same time. There is however some fresher advice to be found, such as changing the battle to a cinematic format once the outcome is clear and the players are just dice-grinding minions into blood spatters or simply exchanging at-wills with the last elite or solo in the mix.

Some of it is kind of...confusing. There is a section on Brownie Points where it suggests lumping minor quest XP into a pool that can be doled out to a player that does something nifty or recalls important campaign info. While this might have been useful in 3E since XP was used to charge magic item construction, here its pretty fucking pointless. Really its kind of like putting the XP you earned aside until you...earn...it...again...? Oi. (@_@)

I think a better system is to award awesome players a special action point that they can use even if they used one before, +1d6 to a die roll, or recharge a spend daily (or encounter power if in the middle of an encounter). Its flexible, its nifty, but its not game-breaking.

At any rate, its kind of useful, largely so for new DMs or those that find themselves swamped with a shit-ton of players.
December 09, 2009
Posted by David Guyll

Ecology of the Mithral Dragon

You can finally view Ecology of the Mithral Dragon. It expands on the information in Draconomicon 2 in addition to a page of monster-theme power swaps (page 9) and a sample lair. Personally the theme powers is the best part. The rest ranges from "meh" to "somewhat interesting".


Nothing more to say... ¯\(°_0)/¯
Posted by David Guyll

Class Acts: Warlock

The Daughters of the Blackest Night focuses on powers and feats appropriate for infernal warlocks that form a pact with Glasya. The story content is short and somewhat entertaining. The sidebars are also of interest in that they mention optional restrictions that you could apply to the spells and feats to make players roleplay/work a bit harder for, in addition to a sample description reskin for Warlock's Curse and Shadow Walk.

I like the idea of warlock spells having variable descriptions depending on your pact, and even the sort of entity you hang with. Now only if anyone in my group would play a warlock... T.T

The spells themselves have a lot of strange quirks built in. For example, a lot of the daily attacks let you take damage to recall them, with a bonus on the next attack. My favorite however is hellsworn blessing, which lets you tag an ally to transform them into a devil of some sort in addition to granting them some hefty bonuses.

The feats let you do a lot of cool shit. While almost all require the infernal pact, they arent all particularly thematic to the Daughters (really, only three are). Allegiance to the Daughter causes every cursed creature you kill to erupt in a column of hellfire that damages things passing through, while Sickening Shadows inflicts automatic necrotic damage on any creature that misses you with melee attack while Shadow Walk is up.

Great article for any infernal warlock.
Posted by David Guyll

The Tainted Spiral

You know what? Fuck it. Just rename this adventure path to, "Blackdirge's Most Excellent Adventure Path," since he's responsible for the only two adventures that I'd bother to run (counting this one).

I like The Tainted Spiral because its got a simple, strong theme thats consistent and logical. Its short enough to entertain for an entire gaming night, which is a major selling point for me. The most important aspect, however, is that it uses lots and lots of aberrants (but no tentacles :-( ).

Lets talk about the bad. There...isnt a whole lot that I want to complain about with the exception of the last encounter. It weighs in at almost 800 XP, with a level 4 controller and level 3 elite soldier. Yeesh. Mister Soldier has an at will that does a variable effect which can deal ongoing damage, make targets vulnerable to basically anything it does, or even the dreaded daze condition. To make matters worse it has a recharging ability that lets it do this twice per round. Pretty extreme, but the real shitter is its minor-action pulse that slaps on a save ends daze just to put a damper on your day. It can only do this twice throughout the encounter, but thats quite a bit of action control.

All that dazing seems like a bit much considering a level 1 party and a finale at that. If the party does badly on any encounter before this it could easily end as a total-party wipe.

That being said, I'm still going to run this and see how it turns about because despite this concern the rest of the adventure looks bad-ass. For starters, I like the hooks.
  • One isnt really a hook so much as a kind of skill check that reveals some info about the nature of the meteor. The downer isnt that it isnt worth shit. I would grant a very small XP award for a successful Dungeoneering/Arcana check for Hook 1 as a kind of "exploration bonus". Nothing major, mebbe like 50 XP or something. Kind of like how you get bonus XP in World of WarCraft when you find new areas. Just a minor nitpick.
  • The second hook is worth a variable amount of XP in addition to a permanent discount on items purchased from the quest-herald. I like this because its a reward that isnt flat money, but definitely worth it.
  • The last one is a fetch-quest. Go in, bring something back to the NPC. The best part is that you can keep fetching more shit for a smaller return, but its kinda cool. Like treasure parcels of a different color.
After that its a string of four-five encounters (including a skill challenge) in a series of tunnels. To make things clear, you start with encounter T2 and go from there. After that you kick off a navigational skill challenge to determine if the party advances to the next encounter. If you fail the DM can opt to run another combat challenge, and then have them start it all over again. Lucky for the party they only have to deal with T1 once no matter how many times they fuck up.

This is a similar approach to how I'm running the start of the third Songs of Erui adventure path, where the party has to navigate a jungle. If they fail the challenge, they advance anyway but start combat encounters with a penalty such as ongoing poison damage, or near a lot of dangerous terrain like bloodthorns or whatnot. You could do a similar thing here, where monsters start in more advantageous positions or get a surprise round against the gang. That way you can avoid having them grind skills until they eventually succeed in the unlikely situation that they suck so bad that the adventure enables Easy mode for them.

I dont want to reveal too much, but I'm going to talk a bit about two things that I enjoyed the most the encounters.
First, I like the warp crystals. They fuck with the players and boost the baddies, but they arent just another magic circle. Its a simple-yet-effective reskin of what I've found to be an overused terrain feature.
I was also morbidly pleased with the corpses in T4: you can use them to gain cover as well as a bonus to Athletics checks to stay afloat in the water. Thats just awesome on a disturbing level.

Honestly if you are considering running Chaos Scar I recommend this and Stick in the Mud. Thats really it. Use those two back to back and hopefully by then Aeryn will roll out something for level 2 characters (hint hint).
December 08, 2009
Posted by David Guyll

Pathfinder: Summoner Playtest

I'm going to open up that Wayne Reynolds rocks, and needs to compile a D&D art book.

Its been awhile since I've looked at anything 3rd Edition, but I was curious to see how Paizo would attempt a summoner class, for better or for worse. At a glance, the paragraphs upon paragraphs that only explain individual functions is a harsh reminder of but one reason I got out of 3E.

For example, Spells alone goes through five paragraphs to explain how many spells a summoner gets and how she trades them out at specific levels. The fucked up thing is that this doesnt actually tell you what spells you can choose from, or how magic even works in 3E. Even worse? Cantrips gets its own section, but at least wraps itself up in a single paragraph.

The main schtick of a summoner is its pet, referred to as an Eidolon. The eidolon class feature ate up four paragraphs, but to sum it up they can be summoned once per day and if they die you lose them for the entire day...which is fucking redundant since you can only use it once per day anyway... >_>

Moving on!

They can look like whatever you want, has stats based on your level like a druid/ranger's pet, and can be modified via "evolution points"...

So far, pretty ho-hum. Cribbing the pet mechanics from the druid is about what I'd expected, and this doesnt disappoint insofar as I was expecting to be disappointed in this way.

Life Link
allows summoners to toss hps at their pet in order to stop it from going back to wherever the hell it lives, which is handy assuming the summoner isnt within reach of something particularly nasty to beat it to death. What I really hate about this class feature is the massive paragraph devoted to telling you how much weaker the pet gets depending on how far away from you it is. You get distances of 100+ feet, 1000+ feet, and 10,000+ feet. Oi.

The rest of the shit can be abridged fairly easily:
  • Bond Senses lets you share senses for a limited number of rounds.
  • Shield Ally gives you a defense bonus when the pet is close by. Greater Shield Ally lets the pet grant all allies a defense bonus, and the summoner a better defense bonus.
  • Maker's Call lets you use dimension door to recall the pet if its within range. Presumably, you check the range from yourself to your pet, and if you could normally teleport to it, then it appears next to you.
  • Transposition lets you swap places with the pet.
  • Aspect lets you spend Evo Points on yourself. Greater Aspect lets you spend more Evo Points.
  • Life Bond lets you transfer excess damage from yourself to your pet when you would normally be dropped. The paragraph points out that shit like flesh to stone still kills you (a-duuuuh).
  • Merge Forms lets you use fusion with your pet, which I guess keeps you safe and still lets you cast spells and stuff. Its three paragraphs long...fuck it.
  • Twin Eidolon lets you transform into your eidolon. You get all the shit it does.
So far we've got five pages and no stats for the pet, that finally rears its ugly head on page six, and boy its a doozy. See, at this point we've seen a lot of stuff for your character. Granted you still dont know what spells you can select yet, but you've got your own collection of stats, feats, skills, etc, right?

Eidolons have their own class table and stats for you to track! Yaaaaay...

Eidolons come in three flavors: four legs, two legs, or snakes. Each type gives you a collection of base stats, and from there you get to blow Evo Points to change shit up. Evolutions cost from 1-4 points, and there's a little over four pages worth. I'm sure many vary considerably in usefulness and power, and frankly I dont give a fuck enough to run through the list.

Have fun with this super-complex character that wont do much except make routine melee attacks over and over again. -.-

Finally, actual spells. The summoner doesnt get a lot, they cap out at six, and can cast summon monster whatever a shitload of times per day. The real kicker is that the duration is measured in minutes instead of rounds, so I suspect that this will grind the game to a halt as the summoner basically gets to play his own goddamned party.

This class is a mechanical nightmare. You need at least two character sheets, and you will want to carefully plan out what summons you will use so that you can have abridged stats on hand (even though they only really exist to make melee attacks and serve as meat shields). I have no idea if Pathfinder has feats that modify summoned monsters, which is only going to make things worse.

I would pity the group that lets a player roll one of these on the fly, but thats 3E for ya: phenomenal, cosmic book-keeping...itty bitty payoff.
December 05, 2009
Posted by David Guyll

Winning Races: Dusk Elf

So...yeah. I hope that this isnt going to be a trend. I didnt care for the 30+ elf subraces in 3rd Edition, and I somehow dont think that 4E will make it any better.

Dusk elves are elves that have the Dusk Elf Stealth feat. Apparently this makes you pale, emo, and wear clothing that you pillaged from a Ye Olde Hot Topic. You also grant allies (and only allies) a bonus on Stealth, but its mostly a gateway feat for the rest of the Dusk Elf feats and paragon path that makeup the article.

I dont much care for this article as it stands because I think its stupid that a bunch of elves that run away from a big battle undergo radical physical changes and gain chronic depression. Its like vulcans gone sad, except that when alone or with a "trusted few" they give in and I dunno, smile.

It doesnt make much sense from a narrative stance, and honestly I would prefer to think of it as a more clan- or family-oriented feat tree. Some elves are just really good at hiding, I guess. Perhaps its a result of a connection or exposure to the Shadowfell? Shit, they worship Sehanine: just say its a boon that she provided them with. Sounds better than, "they ran away and got super-emo powers."

Anyway, there are six feats that do stuff like give proficiency and damage bonus with all light blades, make you invisible when you have concealment and use total defense, and add your Wis mod as extra hit points when you burn a healing surge while hidden. Interesting, and works well with an assassin or rogue concept.
December 04, 2009
Posted by David Guyll

Tenmei: Part 1

[[Random thoughts ahead.]]

Though I enjoy Eberron quite a bit, I also like the idea of gradually biulding my own campaign setting, one point at a time. The first such area was Erui, a land infused with spirits and severed from the rest of the world by the World Serpent after the Dawn War as a kind of safe haven for said spirits and fey creatures.

Watching a lot of anime, Kung Fu Panda, and wuxia films like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon has gotten me really stoked about running an asian-themed campaign, and so I've begun working on the second area in my homebrew setting, Tenmei.

Unlike Oriental Adventures, I didnt want it to feel like Japan-in-Dungeons & Dragons. Rather, I wanted to stick to D&D's guns and incorporate some flavor since I like players being able to play whatever the hell they want. In that regard I'm not going to inherently disallow any races or classes, so paladins, druids, dwarves, etc are all in. They might end up having appearances and/or themes changed, but you can still play, say, a dwarf paladin with no trouble at all.

For equipment, I'm going to just do reskins. I hate the idea of oriental weapons being inherently exotic for no real reason, especially when so many sucked ass in 3rd Edition. I figure that characters native to Tenmei will likely use weapons from there, while characters that arent wont use them anyway. If they do, oh well, I dont require characters to be proficient with dwarven-crafted waraxes, or elven-crafted longswords. Some might be superior, but obviously by virtue of having something awesome that it can do.

To me this evokes a similar feel to Planescape, where adventurers might have varied equipment: some asian, some western, and even a few pieces made by differing races. Like Planescape, I want Tenmei to feel like it has a history and have a "lived-in" feel. Its not isolated from the rest of the world. This also helps justify having all the races and classes possible. Even if the entire party is made up of characters from other parts of the world, oh well: they're adventurers. They stand out.

In Scales of War our party looks like (as Josh puts it), "a goddamn random encounter table." Thats fiiine by me. ^_^

That being said, I'll need to dust off Oriental Adventures and find that chart in the back that has all the weapon comparisons. That way if players want a katana, tanto, no-dachi, or tetsumo, they'll know the best fit for it (and in some cases they might be superior, but at least the feat will be worth it).

So at this point I'm going to have to write up some character creation guidelines to make sure everyone is on the same page: what fits best, what needs work and some examples, etc. This way they can make the character that they want with minimal book-reading/referencing/fuss.

Of course, this also means that I'll need to get around to writing a few thematic races like nezumi, spirits, maybe some other random shit I come across, and of course actual adventures. Thankfully the term is almost over. @_@

I dont like to plan shit that I'm not going to use. I dont world-built for fun, but for practical purposes. I write stuff that has a purpose in the campaign world, and if there isnt a need for it I'm not going to bother with it as I have a busy life and stuff to write that needs to be in the game for it to run properly. What I'm getting at is that Tenmei only exists insofar as I want to write another adventure path and want it to have an asian flair. What is this adventure path about? Well...

My general method for planning an adventure path is to just work with some concepts and then build the setting around that. I feel that by having a map in the first place limits your imagination (which is why I get torn in running Eberron, though in its defense its veeery open and vague), though sometimes a map also inspires ideas or locations that I didnt think about before. In the end I prefer to plan as much as I can without a map, draw the map to cater to my plans, and then let it influence me after the fact. Eliminster loves to map, and so drew one up before I had any concrete plans in mind. Here's the first draft.

So...now its onto working on adventure ideas, a campaign outline (at least for the Heroic tier), a home-base, and some original content. Yay. :-3
December 03, 2009
Posted by David Guyll

Guilds & Groups: Moon Catchers

First of all, this is one of the few Dragon articles with art that I like. Its also the only article about an organization that I bothered to read instead of just skimming it for magic items, feats, or whatever could be most easily pilfered. I think its because the history and function of the organization is brief and open-ended. No roster of NPCs, no massive exposition of this guy or that dude.

Basically, a long time ago a moon showed up in the sky and it had a big-ass message written on its backside that portended bad...portents. Then it exploded and this group is trying to assemble it so that it can safeguard the world against an atomic dragon.

The lion's share of magic items are consumables that are formed from pieces of the moon that have been collected. While this is logically counter conducive to the organization's goal, the article states that they are, "an insignificant amount of Iltani, so they dont worry about them." Err...every little bit helps? I guess they dont need all of the moon to get it working again, but that doesnt make much sense. Myeh, easily changed.

Most of the slivers negate conditions that might effect you (like immobilization or blind), but one grants you all the knowledge of the organization instantly, and another gives you a save bonus. The sliver of knowledge would be handy to avoid lengthy exposition, just give one to each character and have the players read it on their own damned time.

The other two items are much cooler: one gives you a bonus to Diplomacy and Insight checks (better against catastrophic dragons), and the other one is a melee weapon enchantment that prones and restrains a stricken creature (but you have to nail them with a melee basic attack, first).

Yay, an article that I might end up using for purposes other than just magic item mining!
December 02, 2009
Posted by David Guyll

Power Play: Arcane's Gloaming Path

Two backgrounds, six spells, and four familiars. The spell distribution favors the wizard and warlock with two, doling out only one for swordmages and sorcerers. I would have figured that the bard would have gotten on there somehow, but better luck next time. Anywho I dont give a shit about the backgrounds, so I'll start with new spells.

  • Moonstride is a level 2 wizard encounter that changes you into moonlight if an enemy gets too close, by which I mean you become insubstantial and shift. Good contender for shield.
  • Charm of hearts is a level 2 warlock daily that prevents a creature from making opportunity attacks against you, in addition to boosting your defenses. It can be sustained, to boot.
  • Fate's frayed threads is a level 6 warlock encounter that does quite a bit if an enemy botches an attack roll against you: they get cursed, take a -2 to attacks against you, and grant combat advantage to you.
  • Stride of the gallant is a level 6 swordmage encounter stance that gives you teleport, but only if said teleportation would drop you next to a baddie.
  • Witch's reversal is a level 10 wizard daily that lets you reroll missed attacks if you fuck up at least two rolls.
  • Maiden's waking is a level 10 sorcerer daily that lets you act normally even if you are hit with a condition that reduces your actions (such as unconscious). Obviously, it requires no action to activate.
And then we wrap things up with a quartet of familiars.
  • The muse sprite gives you a Diplomacy bonus, radiates dim-light, deliver mail, and let you make two checks for a few skills. Kinda like Tinkerbell and owls from Harry Potter rolled into one.
  • White-eyed crows prevent you from being surprised and lets you reroll a missed attack if the creature is next to the crow.
  • Gallant hawks grant a Perception bonus, increases the attack penalty from marks, and it has a very limited ability to save-ends mark all creatures next to it. Very cool.
  • Moon wisps give an Arcana and Nature bonus, radiate light (with a built in dimmer option), and has a limited ability to negate concealment against creatures that are close to it.
All in all good stuff. I think it does a good job of adding primal flavor to arcane classes, meaning that it should get some use in Songs of Erui. :-3
Posted by David Guyll

Know Your Role: Controllers

A three page article with six Heroic feats, each of which kind of remind me of Metamagic feats from 3rd Edition: five give you access to feat powers that you can pick up instead of the normal array of utilities. The article provides some advice on controllers and what the role stands for, but otherwise the crunch is pretty damned tame. Since there's so little to discuss I'll go over all of the feats.

Clever Control is the only one that just gives you a benefit without trading, and its fairly interesting in that it lets you deal bonus damage if you only nail one creature with an area attack (can be close burst or area attack).

Destructive Power is a level 6 daily that essentially gives an attack brutal 2, though it only seems to affect one damage die...meh. I expect more out of a 6th-level daily. Make all the damage dice brutal and we'll talk.

Explosive Power is also a level 6 daily that pushes all creatures out of the area of effect (up to 5 squares). Also seems like weaksauce.

Forceful Power is another level 6 daily that lets you prone every creature hit by an area attack. See, thats something that I would consider picking up. At least I feel like I'm getting something at the expense of a feat and another potentially useful utility.

Penetrating Power is a level 9 encounter that lets you ignore all resistances against every creature you hit. Again: ALL resistances, ALL targets. Now we're talking.

Seeking Power is a level 6 encounter that lets you ignore concealment/cover with a ranged attack, and if you still miss you dont burn it. Honestly, why the fuck would I want the dailies when the encounter one is better?
Posted by David Guyll

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