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D&D 3E
Yet another question you've seen before 
22nd-Mar-2005 01:42 pm
I'm running a 3.0 campaign and have encountered the first game-breaking problem: Haste. I figure I can just switch the spellcasters to using the 3.5 version of the spell if they decide to cast it on somebody; the problem is that the gnome Illusionist and the half-elf Bard/Sorceror both have (something) of Speed, which is giving them the 3.0 Haste effect. In both cases, they paid cash money to have the magic items created for them.

They're out in the wilderness and have just started in on the latest adventure, and won't be hitting a town very soon, so they can't just swap the items out for something of equal value. I'd like to make a change to the way their armor works so they don't rule the combats as badly as they have been (the Bard/Sorceror isn't too bad, because he insists on playing his character about as inefficiently as I've ever seen a spellcaster played, so he kinda needs the extra half-action in order to get his act in gear; the illusionist, however, is casting 4 phantasmal killers in the first two rounds...); however, nerfing their armor down to the point where it really doesn't help them at all just as they get to the dungeon is kinda mean.

I don't believe the 3.5 haste is worth much to spellcasters, and I doubt I'll see much use of it after this, but I've got to get rid of the 3.0 version. It's the grossest spell I've seen since Dimensional Portal from the 2E Tome of Magic.

Any suggestions?
22nd-Mar-2005 08:23 pm (UTC)
What level are your PCs? The response is generally on par with the character ability level.

Matrix Reload option: You can sit your PCs down (metephorically) and explain the problem of Haste. Give the PCs the option of trading in the items for something of equal value in 3.5 terms or keeping the item with 3.5 effects. This may take some work, but is the best fix.

Convincing Argument: You can start giving items with Haste to your NPCs (potions or one-shot items are best, so the PCs can't get them, but you can also give perm items to NPCs who aren going to be running opponents). The illusionist might be able to pump out 4 phantasmal killers in 2 rounds, but the if the opponents have a handful of fighter-casters, it only takes a few rounds of half a dozen fireballs to discourage everyone. Or partial-charge combined with a full round of attacks. or ...

22nd-Mar-2005 08:33 pm (UTC)
or you can go with the class way gary gyrax did it...

ethereal filch, rust monster, etc... lich with slow, glyphs of slow, traps, and shit that doesn't get helped by haste.
22nd-Mar-2005 08:32 pm (UTC)
As far as 3.0 vs. 3.5 goes, we use the best of both worlds formula: whatever is most beneficial to the player is what stands. Identify for example, the old version identifies the most minor trait of several magical itmes. The new version identifies every feature of one magical item. It is up to the player which they like better. Haste is the same way.

The items however which give a haste effect give it at most for I think 10 rounds. Certainly 10 rounds of old school haste can't be that much of a problem? If these items grant more than 10 rounds/day, check the gp value of the item...
22nd-Mar-2005 08:39 pm (UTC)
How many PCs are in more than 10 rounds of heavy combat a day?

at 11th level, most of our significant combats last 8-12 rounds. Of that, my character would use a haste item maybe 5 rounds. 2 major combats a day? 10 rounds of haste is more than enough.
22nd-Mar-2005 09:05 pm (UTC)
Lots of PC's. A party of 3 at level 6 is fighting 40 goblins. At most they can kill 4 a round, 6 a round with offhand attacks. That's 5 rounds if everyone hits every time, and kills every time. Maybe a fireball could change that. So they walk down the trail, find an ogre. Activate boots of speed (standard action), maybe 2-3 rounds of combat. Down the trail a little further, hill giant.. 4 rounds of combat. Get to end of trail sucessfully and enter dungeon. Encounter skeletons, 1 round, maybe two.

At this point, the user has wasted 4 standard actions to activate the boots, and used up his 10 rounds. Won't he be sorry when they continue into the dungeon to fight the mummy, the lich, the vampire, whatever.

You can EASILY go more than 10 rounds in a single day.
22nd-Mar-2005 08:32 pm (UTC)
They're 10th level. I can't post too much on what they're going to run into because one of the players is the guy that pointed me here (userakitrom). He's not playing one of the spellcasters, though.

I'm leery of dealing with it by escalating; that never ends well, in my experience.
22nd-Mar-2005 08:40 pm (UTC)
Anything that is fair for the PCs is fair for the NPCs. If the PCs have haste, there is no reason not to respond in kind with NPCs doing the same thing.

Otherwise, the NPCs will get totally stomped upon. It isn't really an escalation, unless you start pulling in things that are beyond the PCs capablities.

22nd-Mar-2005 08:43 pm (UTC)
Oh, and I make no claims to being any kind of expert on 3rd edition. I tried running one campaign when it first came out and it died at around 4th level. After playing way too much Neverwinter Nights, I started this campaign a year ago with 4th level characters, and it hasn't self-destructed yet. It would not surprise me at all if the party had more treasure than they were supposed to have, and that they shouldn't have been able to afford these magic items. Water under the bridge, as it were.

The guy playing the illusionist has figured out that four phantasmal killers is a few too many for any fight, never mind how fast they come out, and he's broadened his spellcasting choices, but given that he's a fate-spinning spellcasing prodigy gnome illusionist, he's still death on two stubby little legs.
22nd-Mar-2005 10:15 pm (UTC)
I don't know about you, but the way that I've always played it, and had it played was that the spellcaster pumping out gigantic spells that kill the NPC's is a major target for anybody that can figure out that he's casting them.

Any NPC spellcaster would look at the Illusionist doing all of these things, naturally say to him/her/itself "Oh shit, this sucks, I'd better roast the gnome." Any melee fighter would look at the gnome wiggling his fingers around and saying unintelligable things and say "Oh shit, this sucks, I'd better skewer the gnome."

Their success, of course, depends entirely on whether they live long enough to get to the gnome, and it's just as stupid to ignore the rest of the party and solely go after the illusionist, but a major target is a major target. As long as you're the one causing the most problems, you're the one that anybody is going to want to get out of the way first, intelligent or not. Only creatures of animal or vermin intelligence wouldn't immediately recognzie that the gnome is the source of all their problems, because they're just not smart enough to see such things. Any overt action would alert them, however.

If you're having problems with haste, what you're really having a problem with is power-gaming. Power gamers often fall victim to their own success, unless they're just that good. If that's the case, then kudos to the guy playing the gnome, because he's got a blockbuster character.

Just don't let him get too out of hand.
22nd-Mar-2005 10:36 pm (UTC)
He has a point. If you look amazingly powerful or display amazing power (read: any spell caster in absence of a cleric), you're target #1. Melee's there to keep the enemies away from the wizards. Have some monsters hear about the tactics and purposely plan against them. One trick ponies don't fair well in the face of change.
22nd-Mar-2005 11:24 pm (UTC)
I'm going to jump on the "good for the goose..." bandwagon here. Given that you've been using 3.0 haste and simply updating it to 3.5 would seriously scupper your PCs, try letting intelligent spellcasting NPCs make equally-effective use of it. In the 3.0 game I was running, haste was absolutely the first spell cast in a given battle (unless it was mass haste, of course). Sure, the PCs can throw 2 spells a turn, but so can the goblin sorceror, or the liche, or, gods be good, the dragon.
23rd-Mar-2005 12:48 am (UTC)
I'm the player in Colin's campaign. My suggestion was to impose an in-game penalty on haste effects, because "something cool with a penalty" is more fun than "something tamed down."

The penalty goes back to earlier editions of the game: age the hasted character a year.
23rd-Mar-2005 01:54 am (UTC)
Good idea! And nestolgic too! I often play with "something cool with a penalty". Not so much with existing stuff, but sometimes things need to be tamed down. Alternates to "age a year": They are fatigued at the end of using it. For every round they use it there is a cumulative increase in a chance of fumbling a weapon, tripping, etc. (Think of the "snowball down a hill" metaphor.) Maybe for every 1-3 rounds they are hasted, they are slowed for 1 round after. Those are just some ideas.
23rd-Mar-2005 02:18 am (UTC)
Fair enough, but those penalties don't strike me as sufficient. The "fatigued at the end" is like the Barbarian's rage, and for the most part that only applies if the party is in an unusally long encounter, or else two encounters come, one on the heels of the other. The real limitation on rage is the number of uses per day, not the (mild, as I see it) disadvantage of being fatigued after the fighting is over.

Likewise, our hasted characters have usually finished with combat in, oh, two rounds. If they're slowed for a few minutes after combat, I don't see that as adequate compensation.
23rd-Mar-2005 01:40 pm (UTC)
Well, I spoke with one of the players, and he's okay with his Boots of Speed just translating to 3.5. The gnome just got a shiny new dagger, and being able to attack twice per round for ten rounds is okay with him. Me, too. "Oh, please," say the trolls, "don't let the illusionist attack me with a dagger! Twice! I'd much rather try and make a DC27 save vs. Phantasmal Killer!"

Still have to talk to Galedir's player...

Hey, that's another question. What happens when you "kill" a Troll with a Phantasmal Killer? No effect? Dead? I said dead, other player said no effect (it's not acid or fire...). Said trolls were mauling people pretty badly, so the other player got shouted down.
23rd-Mar-2005 03:35 pm (UTC)
Here's a fix I'm going to try.

Have spellcasting be a full round action that allows a creature to move their normal movement speed either before or after casting the spell during the action.

That way, with the 3.0 option of "starting a full round action" with one partial action and "finishing a full round action" with the next, they're slightly less problematic.

Of course that leaves you with how you want to handle it... does that mean they alternate between "two spells, one move" and "one spell, two moves" every second round (i.e. full-round cast a spell + move, partial begin full-round cast a spell, finish full-round move, full round cast a spell + move)? Can they be interrupted between their partial actions (i.e. full-round cast a spell + move, begin full-round cast a spell + move, finish full-round cast a spell + move [spell goes off during the second round], full-round cast a spell + move).

This solves the problem of partial actions giving a full spell but only one extra attack.

It's a little clunky and I haven't gotten to test it out in a game, but it works. I'd run it the second way personally, but that's just my opinion.
23rd-Mar-2005 03:35 pm (UTC)
Er, replace "move their movement speed" with "make a move or move-equivalent action".

So it's functionally the same but tones haste down a bit for casters.
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