Showing posts with label hybrid. Show all posts
Showing posts with label hybrid. Show all posts

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Player's Handbook 3

I wasn't originally going to pick up the 4th Edition Player's Handbook 3.   My DM is not using the new Hybrid rules and we both felt that the Skill Powers were neat as an idea, but not something either of us would use.  Plus I was not thrilled with any of the new races (we now have animal, vegetable and mineral) and two of the psionic classes.

But I am glad I picked it up.

The book is cool for a few things.  First off the Monk is just way cool.  The type of game that D&D 4 is now the monk just fits right in.  More so even that it did in any previous version of the game (especially 2nd Ed).  It has a different flavor than the 3.x monk.  Adding the Githzeri is just the icing on the cake there.  Can't wait to try out a Githzeri cenobite.  I will need to rework my whole "Monks are from Blackmoor" ideas.

I also like the inclusion of the Far Realm stuff as a reason for Psionics.  Right up my alley.  If the Far Realm is supposed to be the Cthulhoid alien/gods from Beyond then that is pretty awesome stuff.  Of course I do the same thing in my WitchCraft RPG games.  Plus the cool thing with this and the Githzeri is you can imagine the Githzeri on their lonely outposts fighting off the minions of the Far Realm/Mad Gods.  

The Hybrid stuff is still nice. Been doing that for a bit though. There are some nice ideas on good hybird choices.  Most is no brainer stuff, but still nice to see.  I am working on a Dragonborn Monk/Sorcerer hybrid now just to see how it works.

The Skill Powers are neater than I gave them credit for at first.  A nice way to customize each character.

There is still a lot here I am not going to use.  The Psionics stuff is neat, but I never liked to mix psionics and magic all that much.  The Minotaur are ok and since I just added Ansalon to my world I know where they come from now.  But in a world with Goliaths and Half-Orcs and Dragonborn the niche they fill is kind of taken.

I now count 25 classes (which includes the Assassin) and over 30 races (more if you get creative with the Monster Manuals).  That's a lot.  Maybe even too much.  I'll have to set some limits in my own 4e games.

The art is still fantastic and I only saw a couple of reused pieces.  More as I read more.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Bodhmall, the Druidess, er.. Nature Priestess

Regular readers know of my search in 4e for the best Druid class. I have been largely disappointed with the class we got in Player’s Handbook 2 and instead have expressed my fondness for the Nature Priest in Ari Marmell’s Advanced Player’s Guide from Expeditious Retreat Press.
Well now I have the Wokan from Dave Arneson’s Blackmoor 4e.

A bit of background on the Wokan, the Wokani made their appearance in Mystara many years back. They were basically the witches or even witch-doctors of the world. In fact many publications set in Mystara (the Glantri books are a good example) have “witch” in older versions and “wokani” in newer versions of the same copy-pasted text. So I figured they were a good place to look too.

Now for Bodhmall nic Tadg.
Bodhmall (“Bode-vull”) is a character of mine, she is described in Irish myth as the sister of Muirne the White Neck (or sometimes Cumhail) and the foster mother of Fionn mac Cumhail. She is a wise woman and a druidess. In my games I deal with a younger Bodhmall. She is a druidess still, with a penchant for fire and weather based magic. Not quite an elementalist, but close. She also, along with Liath Luchara, form one of the enduring covens of witches in my games, the Daughters of the Flame. The Daughters appear time and time again in all my games, and I usually have Bodhmall and Liath, or their reincarnations, in my games somewhere.

For this experiment I built many different versions of Bodhmall to 12th level. This gave a wide choice in powers and a Paragon Path. Lets go to the data.

First up is the Druid from D&D Player’s Handbook 2
Short: Hate it. I am sure there are plenty of people that like it, but I never used the druid wild shape ability and this is all the stuff I didn’t like in 1st Ed Druids turned all the way up. There are some nice powers sure, but not enough to merit taking the class.

Secondly, using the Hybrid rules for Dragon/DDiThis build is a hybrid Druid/Shaman. Aw now there are more choices, but not enough fire based powers. Sure I could add Warlock into that mix, and given my success with warlock hybrids that is not a bad idea, but it isn’t what I want. Still though a hybrid fey-lock/druid might have some potential and take the Alchemy feat from Arcane Power. Druids can be ritual casters, but druids did not read, that was the deal with being a druid all this knowledge committed to memory.

Though the Keeper of the Hidden Flame is so close in concept to a Guardian from the Daughters of the Flame that I almost can’t pass it up.

Third, The Nature Priest from Advanced Player’s GuideGenerally speaking this class is weaker than the druid. The powers are about the same in terms of effects and damage done. But concept wise it is such a better fit that it is unreal. Lots of Fire-based powers, lots weather based ones. Going through and build Bodhmall to 12th level was so easy that I figured I had time to do this Blog post about it.
The cons here though are there is not a wide variety of powers to choose from, but the powers they do have a re very nice.

For a Paragon path I choose the Hierophant. Not as close as the Keeper of the Hidden Flame, but good enough and it is more “druidy” feeling.

Fourth, the Wokan from Dave Arneson’s Blackmoor 4eThe Wokan is not a perfect either. To pull out something from the half remembered Miller’s Analogies Test, Druids are to Nature Priests as Shamans are Wokans. I think that is what they are supposed to be too. The powers are nice, a little more powerful than the Druid in some ways. Quite a few powers that would make good Fey-lock powers. A Hybrid Wokan/Warlock (“Worlockan”?) might be interesting to see one day.

I did not pick a Paragon path for this one since I could tell right away it was not going to give me what I wanted.

The Winner?
There is a clear winner here. The Nature Priest is exactly what I want in a druid with all the extras that everyone seems to like. Not sure if the Nature Priest could be considered another build of Druid or not. They are so similar in some ways and so different in others; like comparing Warlocks to Sorcerers.

Though I am ready to chuck the druid from 4e and use the Nature Priest instead.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

A Few Updates

Here are bunch of updates all at once as I am getting ready for Gen Con.

Hybrid Class Playtest and Character Concept IVb

Tried out Bodhmall as a straight Druid out of PHBII. HATED it. Didn't fit her at all. I also tried the shaman by itself, hated that one too. So in this case the hybrid Shaman/Druid is greater than the sum of it's (half) parts. I still will try this with Expeditious Retreat's "Nature Priest", which I think will make a much better fit in terms of her concept. Oddly enough I find myself once a again moving towards a Bard/Warlock or Bard/Sorcerer hybrid to do this. Hmm. Lots of choices really.

The Old School Renaissance Will Eat Itself, Part 2

I was not expecting the amount of discussion this one would bring me. In particular very useful insights from posters D7 and Thasmodious. I am still certain that the biggest hurdle that the OSR faces is not new editions of the game (those are hurdles we should not even try to go over) but rather the in-fighting and exclusionist nature. I am still very interested in what people have to say on this subject, I just don't always expect to agree with what they say.

Quest for the Dragon Part 4

This one is totally new and an update only in the broadest sense. Today my son and I did Part 4 of his great quest in D&D 3.0. His characters (I am letting him run a couple) and his hirelings (a bard to record their deeds and three goblins hired to carry their stuff) were in the deserts today searching for the fourth item they need to be able to summon Tiamat so they may defeat her. Today it was the scale of a green dragon located in a desert. We decided that there are five relics of Tiamat's greatest consorts, but they betrayed her so she killed them all and disperse their bodies amongst her cultists. Each relic was found in a place where that dragon type is never found. So a white dragon claw was found in a volcano range, the blue dragon skull on a tropical island, the green dragon scale in the dessert and a black dragon wing in a dungeon full of undead. He needs a red dragon tooth, found deep in the arctic, to complete the ritual, summon Tiamat and defeat her once and for all. After this he is retiring all of those characters and we will begin a new game where his heroes are the stuff of legends. I give the little guy credit, yeah I normally would not let a player detail the game so much, but this has been a lot of fun.

After this who knows? A retro clone or D&D RC? Maybe 4th Ed? I am sure whatever it will be it will be fun.

Gen Con

Getting ready. Blight is done and ready to go. Obsession has a few more props I need to print out, but looking good! I am running more games this year than ever before and playing in less. I want to stop by and see the guys at Starkweather Studios and check out their Shadow Girls project. I want to stop by and say hi to Jamie Chambers and Malcolm Harris, and hopefully get a game in with all of them. And yes of course, stop by and see the guys at Eden Studios!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Hybrid Class Playtest and Character Concept IV

Player's Handbook 2 gave us all a bunch of new classes, some cool (like the Bard), some interesting (like the Shaman and Avenger) and the Druid.

I didn't like the Druid really. It focused on one subset of powers (the wild shape ability) and none of the things I associate with Druids. I am not even talking Celtic Druids, but even just AD&D 1st Ed ones. I wanted someone that was more of an elemental manipulating nature dude. Sure turning into a rampaging animal is fun, but not in my Druids.

I liked about half of what the Druid had to offer and about half of the Shaman. In a perfect world I'd cut these classes up and rebuild them for to my suit. Shamans have all the animal spirits and wild shape and druids get all the elemental fun. But I know that is just me.

But that doesn't solve my issues with the Druid and more to the point not my issues with my Druid Character Bodhmall. What I wanted was more of an Earthy Druid like priestess with some power over fire, a gift she believes is from Brigit. So I attempted to try her as a hybrid Druid/Shaman. The results are…interesting. Since it was just a test, I can't judge yet whether or not this will be Bodhmall or not. I want to see if I can do this with just a Druid first. But the character is playable and she has access to the Keeper of the Hidden Flame paragon path, which is what I wanted. I have also always seen Bodhmall as having an animal companion or spirit animal companion of a small wolf. This would work in either regular druid or even hybrid versions.

For her companion Liath, I might multi-class her into Druid, but keep her core Barbarian or Ranger.
One thing I did like was Expeditious Retreat Press' Nature Priest Druid variant. That is more of what I was looking for than WotC's Druid.

All in all, Hybrid Druid/Shaman is a working class and not a bad one. It improves my thoughts on the druid certainly, but I feel I am still not quite there yet.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Hybrid Class Playtest and Character Concept III

My DM hates gnomes.

This is not a big deal normally, I have never played a gnome in my 30 years of playing xD&D in all it's forms. But during the 3.0 days I made a gnome character to take advantage of the new multi-classing rules. This was a gnome that started out in life as a bard, but eventually became a witch using my d20 book of Witches and Warlocks. He was a hopeless romantic and dashing rake that had a story for every adventure, usually featuring himself as the star, and a lover in town. His name was Jassic Winterhaven. Part Don Juan, part Cyrano de Bergerac, a little bit of Captain Jack Harkness and some of that rabbit in School House Rock "Lucky Seven". But Jassic had another side to him. He was a "Benandanti" or a Gnome Witch (yes I know it means "Good Walker"), he traveled the lands, walking stick in hand, and believed this was his way of serving his Goddess, Cardea (opener or ways, Goddess of the Portals). Jassic was very much a snapshot of what I was doing at the time in my writing.

I never got to play Jassic though.

Now enter the 4th Edition rules and Jassic has returned, and this is even better fit for him. In 4E Jassic is a hybrid Bard/Warlock. Unlike my experiment with Heather, Jassic's concept in my mind fit SO well with the hybrid rules that I have to consider his 3.0 counterpart as nothing more than a rough draft. In this case my character concept and the rules merged so well together that I would be hard pressed to think of him any other way. My multi classed Bard/Witch became a Hybrid Bard/Warlock. Which does bring up a point I want to deal with latter; are 4th Ed Warlocks supposed to be Witches? I suppose I should try him out in say AD&D 2nd Ed as well, but that would be some work and won't really tell me much. What is cool here is that Bards in later versions of D&D became less and less like Bards, and more like some sort of fantasy pastiche of rogues, scoundrels with magic added in. Terrible, if I want to make a classic Bard (like Amergin), but perfect for a "D&D Bard" like Jassic and Heather.

Here are my 4th Ed version using the Hybrid rules and using the DDI character builder. I am sure there are some good Paragon paths for him to take, either Gnome, Bard or Warlock. Fey Beguiler, Entrancing Mystic or Cunning Prevaricator would all be good choices (based on concept alone), but like Jassic himself, I am not going to make up my mind till I am there to see the forks in the road.
BTW I want to add. The DDI character builder is awesome.

====== Created Using Wizards of the Coast D&D Character Builder ======
"Come now, we have miles to go and the sun is only our friend for a few more hours. Have I ever told you about the time I charmed a dragon into giving me a magical wand? It is a wonderful tale for the road mostly because it features me…" - Jassic Winterhaven
Jassic Winterhaven, level 4
Gnome, Bard|Warlock
Hybrid Bard: Hybrid Bard Reflex
Eldritch Pact (Hybrid): Fey Pact (Hybrid)
Eldritch Blast: Eldritch Blast Charisma
Hybrid Warlock: Hybrid Warlock Will
Hybrid Talent: Words of Friendship
Background: Occupation - Entertainer (+2 to Bluff)
Str 12, Con 12, Dex 12, Int 15, Wis 13, Cha 19.
Str 12, Con 12, Dex 12, Int 12, Wis 13, Cha 16.
AC: 16 Fort: 13 Reflex: 15 Will: 17
HP: 39 Surges: 7 Surge Value: 9
Arcana +11, Bluff +13, Diplomacy +11, Nature +8
Acrobatics +4, Dungeoneering +4, Endurance +4, Heal +4, History +5, Insight +4, Intimidate +7, Perception +4, Religion +5, Stealth +6, Streetwise +7, Thievery +4, Athletics +4
Level 1: Fey Trickster
Level 2: Magic of the Mists
Level 4: Hybrid Talent
Hybrid Bard at-will 1: Vicious Mockery
Hybrid Warlock at-will 1: Eldritch Blast
Hybrid encounter 1: Witchfire
Hybrid daily 1: Slayer's Song
Hybrid utility 2: Beguiling Tongue
Hybrid encounter 3: Recitation of Foreknowledge

Adventurer's Kit, Leather Armor, Short sword (2), Implement, Rod, Meal, Common, Rope, hempen (50 ft.) (2), Torch (2), Traveling papers, Woodwind, Bedroll
====== Copy to Clipboard and Press the Import Button on the Summary Tab ======

I am not going to get to play him, cause, you know, my DM and gnomes, plus he is also not allowing Hybrids in his game. I still have Family D&D Night however, so there is a chance.
In the end, Jassic here looks fun. Chalk up a win for 4e.


Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Hybrid Class Playtest and Character Concept II

Yesterday I posted my brief idea on a using the new hybrid rules in order to get a particular character concept. The idea I think was sound, but as it turns out I didn't need to go through that much effort.

The character in question is "Heather" a character from 1st Edition that was a multiclassed Bard/Wizard with some Ranger thrown in for good measure. Her magic I imagined was always due to her voice, she sang her spells in other words. Not such a new idea now, but back in the 1st Ed days that was new stuff! So today I took break and worked her up as a 4th level, 4th Edition Bard. I used "Arcane Power" and gave her the Virtue of Prescience. This fits since I always viewed her as mildly psionic as well. Fourth Edition Bards have spells, even their basic attacks are called spells. The Arcane Power book provides a lot of new ranged attacks, so that sort of covers the Ranger-like abilities I wanted get. The Bard skills allow me to give her some of the skills like her 1st counter-part had. The Ritual Caster feat from the Bard is really nice and helps fill in some holes in concept and the Half-elf dilettante power allowed to take Eldritch Blast from the Warlock as an Encounter Power. Comparing her two sheets, the 4th Ed one from today and the 1st Ed one from 1986 I can draw parallels between the two. To me they do look like the same character, just different ways of expressing her.


I think I am going to save my hybrid Bard/Warlock for my gnome, Jassic Winterhaven. This might be better since I wanted to do up a gnome bard and a gnome warlock and my regular DM won't allow hybrids yet and he hates gnomes. Heather on the other hand is ready to go!

So in the end a Bard, with the Euphonic Bow Paragon Path, was all I needed. It will be interesting to see how she plays compared to her orginal version.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Hybrid Class Playtest and Character Concept

One of the things I have been doing in 4e is re-stating up older, 1st Ed, characters of mine to see how well they translate into the new system.
Among the first was one of my first ever characters, a human paladin. There are differences between the 1st Ed version and the 4th Ed version, but all in all I can see far more similarities than differences. Plus since my concept of him was more cleric than paladin it is possible that the 4e version is a much better fit. My witch on the other hand was a different story. I still don't quite have her right. I have generated half-a-dozen characters of her for 4E in the last year or so and none are really close.

Normally I would create a witch class like I did for 2nd Edition and 3rd Edition, but I really didn't want to do that this time. I have mostly settled on a Fey Pact Warlock with some add-ons from Arcane Power. She is not perfect yet, but really, really close. Again, to me it has been more about character concept than anything else. The Warlock seems to work the best, so far. Now before you think "well 4e just can't do it" I will point out that at this point in 3.0 Ed the same character had been a Sorcerer and that was not a good fit at all. At least with 4E I have sorta found an out-of-the-box solution.

But I still have one other character that I have wanted to re-build. Heather.

Heather owns the distinction of being the last 1st Ed character I ever made. Well, the last while I was playing 1st Ed and the last before 2nd Ed came out. She is a half-elf Bard/Wizard/Ranger house ruled to all hell. He character concept is that of a wandering bard that uses magic and song to defeat evil. The 2nd Ed Bard, while easier to use, lost all of what made the Bard cool. The 3rd Ed Bard came close again and with 3rd Ed's multitasking it was really easy to make her IF I figured that she had all the powers I wanted her to start with at 11th level or something. Now 4th Ed originally disappointed me here with the multiclassing rules. Great for most of my multiclassing needs, completely horrible with regards to how I wanted to do Heather. That is till I got the new Hybrid Class Playtest rules from my DM.

The Hybrid rules allow me to do something I used to do all the time in my D&D games, have a character start out as one thing but then later become something else. The Hybrid rules do allow that. So I know Heather is going to be a Bard/Something, but what? Well in 1st ed she was mixed with a Ranger and Wizard. In D&D4 I can get the things I liked about the 1st Ed Ranger in feats and skills (tracking, preferred enemy) so I think my Hybrid here will be Bard and something Arcane. Going to concept Heather originally learned her magic from her mother and the rest on her own. So Wizard, Warlock or Sorcerer. Sorcerer and Warlock complement the Bard's spells much nicer than the Wizard does, though Sorcerer still takes a hit. I am not enamored with the Sorcerer. It has some neat tricks, but nothing in the way of concept I like. The Cosmic and Dragon ones are cool, but if I build those it will be as something/someone else.

Hybrid classes in a sense split the classes in two and then allow you to combine them. Simple enough. Most often you get something that is not quite equal to a dedicated role character, but for a concept I am totally willing to take a performance hit. A Hybrid Bard/Warlock is a combination Arcane Leader/Striker. Since Heather in concept always had a high Charisma (and will here too) this makes her good for being the party face. Both classes have the same key and secondary abilities: CHA, CON and INT. She takes a hit on armor for her warlock half and weapons. Both classes use wands as an implement and both have similar saves. HP at 1st are the same, per level is the same and there are similar skills. The full Bard has more healing surges than that of the Warlock, so they are rounded down. I now need to take a feat to get a class-specific Hybrid talents options. So, in the end, I have a Warlock basically, with Skill Versatility and a per Encounter Majestic Word. On balance not a bad trade. Now for the Hybrid Talent feat, I make take it to gain the Warlock's Fey Pact Boon, it fits the concept well enough, but that seems so little for a feat. Plus I like to think of her as a Bard with some warlock training. So Words of Friendship or Majestic Word are worth the price of the feat. So put all her points into CHA followed by INT, and then either DEX or STR, if I am staying true to the concept then DEX for her bow. Make her Half-Elf and take an At-Will Wizard power as her Dilettante power, most likely Magic Missile, though there is not much to set it apart, fluff wise, from Eldritch Blast. Thunderwave might be better.

Now hybrid characters are verboten in my regular 4E game, so I am going to have to run her in one of my Family Game night games. I'll have to see how she fares. The great thing is that a lot of what I took Ranger for in earlier rules I can get with Warlock now. But only time and gaming will tell me if this is a better way than to do a Bard Multiclassed Warlock. But concept-wise it fits.