Author Topic: Dual-wielding Melee Mage  (Read 1919 times)

Legacy_MagicalMaster

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« Reply #30 on: January 28, 2014, 06:02:53 pm »


               

MrZork wrote...

Not sure what you mean by infinite healing in Sands of Fate. As I recall, there is an item strip at the beginning of SoF. Were healing pots not stripped? Anyway, I don't recall any infinite heal items dropping, but I also don't recall potions being all that hard to get.

I don't recall an item strip -- and I see comments on the Vault saying stuff like "But any fighter with Sword and Shield should have great AC after playing through Hordes. I had +6 shield, +7 armor and +9 ring of protection. Throw in amulet of Natural AC, some nice boots and perma haste and my AC was around 60. Most stuff simply couldn't even hit me. For offense you should have a +10 weapon with elemental damage/keen. You should also have items to give +12 on your strength."

Even if there was an item strip, I'm pretty sure there were stores selling an infinite number of Heal potions which are quite cheap -- I didn't literally mean an infinite heal item, just that walking around with 200+ Heal potions was quite simple to achieve.  Effectively infinite.

MrZork wrote...

For sure, there are balance issues in Sands of Fate and I certainly think there are better modules (Aielund is the one I have played that lets a player use the same character from start to mid-30s). But, I also had fun playing SoF, in no small part because the character was the one I had come to enjoy in SoU and HotU. I think that many players enjoy the story as much as how well the module balances encounters. And, I don't doubt that much of SoF's popularity derives from its position as a module where a player can come out of HotU and start playing SoF without re-rolling a character or getting used to greatly modified game mechanics.

Quite possibly -- but the reason I loathed it was mainly the cheap tricks rather than the actual balance.  Like you walk into a puddle of water that looks exactly like other puddles and your boots melt.   TIME TO RELOAD AND UNEQUIP MY BOOTS!  Just stupid stuff like that which greatly detracted from the story.

I mean, hell, I'm perfectly fine with modules that have ZERO combat or irrelevant combat -- see the Eternum series or the HeX coda series as two examples.  I'm fine with modules that have easy combat.  I'm not fine with modules that have stupid combat and cheap tricks.

MrZork wrote...

LOL, I don't remember saying 1% or 4% was what I meant, so we are edging into strawman territory again. If we are really looking to quibble over definitions, then I would stick with my complaint about your use of "MASSIVE AWESOME DAMAGE" and I think I would be on pretty solid ground. ;-)

4% is what you'd actually do versus an opponent that takes 30 seconds in melee to kill per our numbers earlier -- I didn't invent that out of thin air.

And I don't think you would be, actually, if we look at stuff like your Drow and Earth Elemental examples down below.  Versus the drow you actually DO deal "MASSIVE AWESOME DAMAGE" and you still deal a lot of damage to the Earth Elemental -- DEFINITELY within the realm of "softening it up."  But both of those examples are fatally flawed for reasons below.

MrZork wrote...

First test case: Drow Militia (nw_drowfight020). This guy has AC 20 (19+Dodge), 74 HP, and is rated "easy" in the PC's examine widget, e.g. not tough but not "effortless" either. I.e. he is a mob.

So, let's move to a standard Elder Earth Elemental (nw_eartheld), a tougher guy than the drow and rated "moderate" in the examine widget with AC 23 and HP 228, closer to the other end of the mob HP spectrum.

I went ahead and bolded/italicized the massive issue here -- the AC of those mobs.  Let's put this in perspective.  A fighter built by the recommend button will have 20 BAB, 21 str, weapon focus, and let's say Ogre Gauntlets and Fire Giant Belt for 28 str total (which isn't very high, assumes no potions, assumes no other str gear, etc).  So far we have 20 + 1 + 9 = 30 AB and let's say a +3 longsword for 33 AB.  His attack schedule is thus 33/28/23/18 (and possibly another 33 with Haste).  So let's say he enters melee with the drow.  HE CANNOT MISS ON ANY ATTACK EXCEPT A ONE.  Let me repeat that: HE CANNOT MISS ON ANY ATTACK EXCEPT A ONE.  The only way for our recommend button fighter friend to miss is to roll a one for ANY attack, even his last attack.

But hey, he's a fighter, right?  Let's look at...say...a rogue!  Well, we'd expect a similar Dex score with Weapon Finesse, we just lack 5 BAB.  So we get 28 AB for a schedule of 28/23/18.  Notice anything?

HE STILL CAN'T MISS ON ANY ATTACK UNLESS HE ROLLS A ONE.

Or, to rephrase it: you could give that Drow 0 AC and it wouldn't change anything.  That's how low its AC is for a level 20 character.

I mean, hell, a fighter wearing NOTHING but a standard full plate will have 19 AC at level ONE!  19 AC is atrocious.  Absolutely atrocious -- and 23 AC is barely better.  That's a fighter with +1 full plate, +1 deflection ring, +1 natural armor amulet, and +1 dodge boots.  If we go by our earlier statement of "Fighters hit the enemies 75% of the time on the highest attack" then even looking at the recommend button build we'd expect to fight enemies with an AC of 39.  Even if we make it so a fighter has to roll a 1 to miss on the first attack that's still 35 AC.

So 35 AC is like your MINIMUM AC for an opponent for a level 20 PC assuming we're balancing around a recommend button fighter who hits 95% of the time and who only has a +3 weapon, only +7 strength from gear, and no buffs (either from potions or players).

20 AC?  That's a disgrace.  No wonder you did MASSIVE AWESOME DAMAGE with your bow!

MrZork wrote...

So, yes, in either case, I feel pretty comfortable saying that the ranged damage softened these guys up. If you think that the term doesn't fit or that the damage isn't worth doing, that's fine.

I'd say you annihilated the drow and softened up the earth elemental.  But that's like saying you annihilated your laptop computer in a kickboxing match and softened up a man with no arms or legs in a sword fight.

MrZork wrote...

But, knowing the CR is no more unrealistic than a group of 5 HD orcs deciding to attack my epic mage as he walks down the road, glowing like a Las Vegas casino with all of his buffs. ;-)

Well, theoretically orcs might be stupid -- but you think human bandits would run the other direction if a group of five knights in magically glowing full plate and flaming swords are coming in their direction.

WoW does something interesting where being higher level than the mob means they'll aggro (notice) you from a shorter distance while being lower level means they'll notice you from farther away -- but I don't think that's really implementable in NWN.  Well, you might be able to do something like changing the underlying AI to NOT have the creature attack and just continue standing there depending on the distance between the creature and PC and based on the level difference -- but seems it might be rather buggy and a pain to do.
               
               

               


                     Modifié par MagicalMaster, 28 janvier 2014 - 06:05 .
                     
                  


            

Legacy_MrZork

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« Reply #31 on: January 28, 2014, 08:17:14 pm »


               I think we are pretty much in agreement on the other points. (BTW, the item strip in SoF might not have happened if the difficulty setting was too low. And I totally remember that boot dissolve trap. Pointless.)

Regarding the issue of ranged damage for STR melee toons: You can't turn around and say that the examples I picked are no good because the mobs' AC doesn't meet your standard. The OP is playing Bioware's modules and these are Bioware's mobs. For better or worse, they are the standard and they are what I used. I deliberately picked creatures with challenge ratings above "effortless" and below "challenging" in both cases. If you were writing the module (or if I were, for that matter), then there might not be mobs with AC at that level. But, there are in many modules, including the ones the OP will play. Bioware's mobs may not be what you'd like in a mob, but they are mobs in the context of this thread.

And, no, the standard isn't that all mobs in SP modules will have their ACs balanced around what a full-AB fighter would hit 75% of the time. These are just mobs, not bosses or lieutenants. The mobs used in many modules may not meet your standard, but the context of this thread is for someone going through Bioware's modules and possibly Sands of Fate. Bioware has plenty of mobs like that. Look at the OC's Chapter 4. There are definitely mobs in the War Zone with AC well below the standard you are picking, even noting that the PC is level 16 or 17. (Frankly, there are even boss opponents like the Half Dragon Balor with lower AC than you are talking about.) So, no, you don't get to decide that the relevant mobs will have AC that the PC will seldom hit with his ranged weapon and then claim that he won't do any ranged damage to them.
               
               

               
            

Legacy_rogueknight333

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« Reply #32 on: January 29, 2014, 02:09:53 am »


               I did not have time to read through this thread exhaustively, so I am not sure I have anything else to contribute, but I can clarify one point: Sands of Fate employed a partial item strip at the beginning, in which players kept any items that were actually equipped (weapon, armor, rings, etc.), but lost everything else in inventory (like healing potions). If the difficulty level was set low enough, then even this partial item strip would be disabled.
               
               

               
            

Legacy_MagicalMaster

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« Reply #33 on: January 29, 2014, 02:23:28 am »


               

MrZork wrote...

I think we are pretty much in agreement on the other points. (BTW, the item strip in SoF might not have happened if the difficulty setting was too low. And I totally remember that boot dissolve trap. Pointless.)

I really don't remember but shall we agree that, regardless, healing and gold were more than plentiful? '<img'>

MrZork wrote...

Regarding the issue of ranged damage for STR melee toons: You can't turn around and say that the examples I picked are no good because the mobs' AC doesn't meet your standard. The OP is playing Bioware's modules and these are Bioware's mobs. For better or worse, they are the standard and they are what I used. I deliberately picked creatures with challenge ratings above "effortless" and below "challenging" in both cases. If you were writing the module (or if I were, for that matter), then there might not be mobs with AC at that level. But, there are in many modules, including the ones the OP will play. Bioware's mobs may not be what you'd like in a mob, but they are mobs in the context of this thread.

Let's talk about Bioware's "standards."  I went ahead and did a similar experiment -- I took a character and picked a standard creature which was above effortless and below challenging.  I used a level 40 fighter with a +7 Mighty bow with a full +12 dex from items which gave me 30 BAB +  7 Bow + 7 Dex + 1 Epic Prowess = 45 AB.  Unfortunately, against this "moderate" opponent I could NEVER hit my opponent except on a 20 for any attack because my opponent's AC was 70.  Even getting a +10 bow with Epic Weapon Focus in bow meant I still had to roll a 19 to hit on my highest attacks and 20 on everything else.

Using level 40 not fair?  We'll stick at 20, then.

I picked a Balor (also CR 15 like the Drow Militia).  AC of 30.

I picked Harat (actually CR 9!).  AC of 30.

Pit Fiend?  CR 15, AC of 30.

Adult Red Dragon?  CR 15, AC of 29.

Diamond Golem?  CR 14, AC of 30.

Emerald Golem?  CR 12, AC of 28.

Battle Devourer?  CR 11, AC 30.

How about Drow Warrior, CR 14, AC 27?

So...yeah.

MrZork wrote...

And, no, the standard isn't that all mobs in SP modules will have their ACs balanced around what a full-AB fighter would hit 75% of the time. These are just mobs, not bosses or lieutenants. The mobs used in many modules may not meet your standard, but the context of this thread is for someone going through Bioware's modules and possibly Sands of Fate. Bioware has plenty of mobs like that. Look at the OC's Chapter 4. There are definitely mobs in the War Zone with AC well below the standard you are picking, even noting that the PC is level 16 or 17. (Frankly, there are even boss opponents like the Half Dragon Balor with lower AC than you are talking about.) So, no, you don't get to decide that the relevant mobs will have AC that the PC will seldom hit with his ranged weapon and then claim that he won't do any ranged damage to them.

I entirely realize they're mobs and you might expect lt/boss AC to be a few points higher (so a fighter might only hit 50-60% of the time, maybe even much higher than that in some modules).

Sands of Fate has entirely custom mobs and from the comments I've seen on the first module when I was checking on the item strip many of them have far more reasonable AC (some complaining the AC is way too high, even).

And think about what you're saying -- you're advocating that against completely weak and meaningless opponents that will get completely trounced in seconds that a bow could hit them enough to maybe deal decent damage?  Well, sure, but what kind of statement is that?  In such an environment you're better off ignoring the boss and charging in precisely BECAUSE nothing can threaten you.

The whole point of attacking from range is, to use your phrase, to "soften up" an opponent -- but you only care about softening up a threatening opponent in the first place!  If the enemy is non-threatening and merely a speed-bump in your path then you have no NEED to try to soften them up.

You're basically advocating a certain tactic that is only effective in precisely the environment where you don't NEED a tactic and you're better off not using it!  See the paradox?

Weak mobs which will die easily and can't threaten you?  Just charge into melee.
Dangerous mobs that pose a threat?  Will barely scratch them from ranged, still better off charging into melee.

Unless you're pulling a dangerous mob away from a dangerous pack or are low level there is no good reason to try to use ranged combat as a strength character.
               
               

               
            

Legacy_MagicalMaster

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« Reply #34 on: January 29, 2014, 02:24:42 am »


               

rogueknight333 wrote...

I did not have time to read through this thread exhaustively, so I am not sure I have anything else to contribute, but I can clarify one point: Sands of Fate employed a partial item strip at the beginning, in which players kept any items that were actually equipped (weapon, armor, rings, etc.), but lost everything else in inventory (like healing potions). If the difficulty level was set low enough, then even this partial item strip would be disabled.

Ah, gotcha, thanks for the clarification.
               
               

               
            

Legacy_Westan Willows

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« Reply #35 on: January 29, 2014, 04:45:29 am »


               I have a lv 16 fighter you can use. He is in HotU ch1.
AC=29 BA 16. ABA +30/+25/+20/+15
STR 22=8=30
Aramil's Blade  =3 '<img'>
               
               

               
            

Legacy_Westan Willows

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« Reply #36 on: January 29, 2014, 04:48:25 am »


               BTW: I disable the Auto fail on 1 in my game
               
               

               
            

Legacy_MagicalMaster

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« Reply #37 on: January 29, 2014, 05:06:33 am »


               Disabling autofail doesn't disable auto-miss on one for attack rolls, just the saving throws.
               
               

               
            

Legacy_Westan Willows

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« Reply #38 on: January 29, 2014, 05:31:11 am »


               

MagicalMaster wrote...

Disabling autofail doesn't disable auto-miss on one for attack rolls, just the saving throws.


 Ouch! ':?'
               
               

               
            

Legacy_MrZork

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« Reply #39 on: January 29, 2014, 06:01:16 am »


               

MagicalMaster wrote...

MrZork wrote...

I think we are pretty much in agreement on the other points. (BTW, the item strip in SoF might not have happened if the difficulty setting was too low. And I totally remember that boot dissolve trap. Pointless.)

I really don't remember but shall we agree that, regardless, healing and gold were more than plentiful? '<img'>

From the Shadows_over_Heliopolis_readme.txt

John McA wrote...
On being transported to this new world, PCs will arrive with only their carried equipment and a small bag of gold on their person. If you are desperate to keep your six pages of inventory and millions of gold pieces, switch the game difficulty to below hardcore before starting. (You can switch it back later.) However, you will be given some nice items on starting!

(By "carried" he means "equipped".) And, yes, I agree that there is plenty of gold to be found and merchants with unlimited heals to be purchased. '<img'>

MagicalMaster wrote...

MrZork wrote...

Regarding the issue of ranged damage for STR melee toons: You can't turn around and say that the examples I picked are no good because the mobs' AC doesn't meet your standard. The OP is playing Bioware's modules and these are Bioware's mobs. For better or worse, they are the standard and they are what I used. I deliberately picked creatures with challenge ratings above "effortless" and below "challenging" in both cases. If you were writing the module (or if I were, for that matter), then there might not be mobs with AC at that level. But, there are in many modules, including the ones the OP will play. Bioware's mobs may not be what you'd like in a mob, but they are mobs in the context of this thread.

Let's talk about Bioware's "standards."  I went ahead and did a similar experiment -- I took a character and picked a standard creature which was above effortless and below challenging.  I used a level 40 fighter with a +7 Mighty bow with a full +12 dex from items which gave me 30 BAB +  7 Bow + 7 Dex + 1 Epic Prowess = 45 AB.  Unfortunately, against this "moderate" opponent I could NEVER hit my opponent except on a 20 for any attack because my opponent's AC was 70.  Even getting a +10 bow with Epic Weapon Focus in bow meant I still had to roll a 19 to hit on my highest attacks and 20 on everything else.

Using level 40 not fair?  We'll stick at 20, then.

I picked a Balor (also CR 15 like the Drow Militia).  AC of 30.

I picked Harat (actually CR 9!).  AC of 30.

Pit Fiend?  CR 15, AC of 30.

Adult Red Dragon?  CR 15, AC of 29.

Diamond Golem?  CR 14, AC of 30.

Emerald Golem?  CR 12, AC of 28.

Battle Devourer?  CR 11, AC 30.

How about Drow Warrior, CR 14, AC 27?

So...yeah.


Yeah, what? I'm not sure what your point is. You start out mentioning an opponent that you can't hit at all with a bow at level 40 and then list several that are pretty hittable at level 20. We have already agreed that a STR toon's ability to hit at range is going to get relatively worse approaching level 40 as the disparity between STR and DEX becomes extreme. Is the point that there are also mobs with higher AC? I certainly haven't been arguing that there aren't any. It seems like you have shown what I have been assuming all along: mob ACs can be all over the map because the CR isn't based only on AC. If you think I am claiming that ranged attacks are the best way for a STR toon to take down every mob, then we may have been talking past each other.

(BTW, most of those guys still have AC less than the 35 you had mentioned was the minimum AC a couple posts ago.)

Meanwhile, your level 20 is still hitting that Pit Fiend or Diamond Golem over 3 times before he gets to melee. I didn't check, but probably something similar for the others. For many of those guys, that's nothing (and many have ways of attenuating that damage), but there are a few for whom that going to sting.

MagicalMaster wrote...

MrZork wrote...

And, no, the standard isn't that all mobs in SP modules will have their ACs balanced around what a full-AB fighter would hit 75% of the time. These are just mobs, not bosses or lieutenants. The mobs used in many modules may not meet your standard, but the context of this thread is for someone going through Bioware's modules and possibly Sands of Fate. Bioware has plenty of mobs like that. Look at the OC's Chapter 4. There are definitely mobs in the War Zone with AC well below the standard you are picking, even noting that the PC is level 16 or 17. (Frankly, there are even boss opponents like the Half Dragon Balor with lower AC than you are talking about.) So, no, you don't get to decide that the relevant mobs will have AC that the PC will seldom hit with his ranged weapon and then claim that he won't do any ranged damage to them.

I entirely realize they're mobs and you might expect lt/boss AC to be a few points higher (so a fighter might only hit 50-60% of the time, maybe even much higher than that in some modules).

Sands of Fate has entirely custom mobs and from the comments I've seen on the first module when I was checking on the item strip many of them have far more reasonable AC (some complaining the AC is way too high, even).

And think about what you're saying -- you're advocating that against completely weak and meaningless opponents that will get completely trounced in seconds that a bow could hit them enough to maybe deal decent damage?  Well, sure, but what kind of statement is that?

 
Umm... an accurate and uncontroversial one, as I intended? One in response to someone concerned that he would have to rely on ranged attacks until he got Weapon Finesse at level 3? LOL. You seem disappointed that I wasn't making some provocative claim that needs to be refuted.

MagicalMaster wrote...
In such an environment you're better off ignoring the boss and charging in precisely BECAUSE nothing can threaten you.

Usually, but not necessarily. That you can hit an opponent doesn't guarantee that he is no threat. Are you assuming that an opponent with low AC must also have low AB and low damage? I don't know that that's always the case, but I would keep an eye out for glass cannons. And, even when those mobs are all-around wimps, in some encounters (the better ones, IMO), the mobs are going to be there to keep you busy while sneakers and casters do the real damage once you engage the cannon fodder.

But, I agree: If those mobs also have no chance of hitting you and they aren't near a lt/boss who can, then you may as well wade in and take them down as fast as you can. Or, if you can pull the boss, then take him down alone first and then wade into the mobs. Or, as you say, ignore the mobs altogether and clean them up after you have rushed past them to get to the boss.

If it still isn't clear, let me state that I am not proposing that a STR-based melee toon should used ranged tactics against every mob. Why would I say something so broad that it's almost bound to be wrong? Pulling is a useful tactic in many situations and there are some mobs against whom the damage done with the ranged attacks serves to soften them up. The comment came up in the context of a melee mage using his ranged attack early on in his career in SoU (until level 3) and I mentioned that it would still be useful later on and even help a strengther soften up soften up some mobs before they arrive for melee. Suddenly my innocuous comment is some outrageous claim that needs refuting. LOL. But, I didn't actually say anything very provocative (and may not have mentioned it at all if I hadn't been responding to someone new at playing a melee mage and concerned about not having weapon finesse right away).

MagicalMaster wrote...
The whole point of attacking from range is, to use your phrase, to "soften up" an opponent

No, the point is that pulling from range is often useful and those ranged attacks can soften up an opponent. They obviously won't do great damage against every opponent. (Which is why I never said they would.) But, they will hurt some mobs and that's a good thing. It seemed to me that the OP was anxious to get his melee attacks started and I was trying to assure him that the ranged attacks would serve him until he got Weapon Finesse and often be useful later on. Not a grand claim, but I didn't say it was.

MagicalMaster wrote...
-- but you only care about softening up a threatening opponent in the first place!  If the enemy is non-threatening and merely a speed-bump in your path then you have no NEED to try to soften them up.

You're basically advocating a certain tactic that is only effective in precisely the environment where you don't NEED a tactic and you're better off not using it!  See the paradox?

Weak mobs which will die easily and can't threaten you?  Just charge into melee.
Dangerous mobs that pose a threat?  Will barely scratch them from ranged, still better off charging into melee.

Unless you're pulling a dangerous mob away from a dangerous pack or are low level there is no good reason to try to use ranged combat as a strength character.


But, you are attacking from range anyway when pulling, why discount the damage being done then? Even accepting your premise that there is no middle ground (either a target is dangerous and ranged attacks will pull him but do no damage or the target is wimpy and the damage done at range is irrelevant because he would go down quickly anyway), the reality is still that you can't rush into every crowd and the ranged damage will soften up some of those mobs. It actually doesn't matter if you don't need them to be softened up, it happens anyway
               
               

               
            

Legacy_MagicalMaster

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« Reply #40 on: January 30, 2014, 02:29:47 am »


               

MrZork wrote...

From the Shadows_over_Heliopolis_readme.txt

I'm way too busy arguing to read anything, sheesh.

MrZork wrote...

Yeah, what? I'm not sure what your point is. You start out mentioning an opponent that you can't hit at all with a bow at level 40 and then list several that are pretty hittable at level 20.

(BTW, most of those guys still have AC less than the 35 you had mentioned was the minimum AC a couple posts ago.)

My point is that Bioware sometimes has wildly inconsistent "standards" with that level 40 enemy and then my second point was that something closer to 30 AC was far more typical for a CR 15 mob.

In response to the last bit I'd ALSO point out that CR 15 mobs are meant to be fought by level 15s -- which is at least 5 AB lower which means that's pretty close to what I said.

MrZork wrote...

If you think I am claiming that ranged attacks are the best way for a STR toon to take down every mob, then we may have been talking past each other.

If it still isn't clear, let me state that I am not proposing that a STR-based melee toon should used ranged tactics against every mob.

You seemed to be claiming that a strength toon should always fire at mobs from ranged rather than charging in because it was an effective way to deal a significant amount of damage to enemies and soften them up.

Which is quite often true in other games.  But not in NWN.  If that's not what you meant then we have been talking past each other.
               
               

               


                     Modifié par MagicalMaster, 30 janvier 2014 - 02:29 .