Saturday, July 18, 2009

Ever Wonder Why...

That newer Fantasy in Games is becoming a laughing stock? I don't...

From a WotC Board Post:

"Level 30 Elf Paladin / Astral Weapon / Demigod
Elven Accuracy
Pray for More
Divine Miracle
Vorpal Weapon
[!] Given this build, there are no additional feats, optional class powers, or ability scores that are required to accomplish the trick.

How it works:
Setup: Before attacking you must expend every encounter power you have except Elven Accuracy.
Step (1) Approach your enemy.
Step (2) Perform a basic melee attack.
∟(2a) Regardless of the roll (even a natural 20), use Elven Accuracy to reroll.
Step (3) Reroll your attack. After rerolling, Elven Accuracy has been expended and you can use Divine Miracle.
∟(3a) If you roll a natural 20, you hit. Use Divine Miracle to recover Pray for More.
∟(3b) If you do not roll a natural 20, you might not hit. Use Divine Miracle to recover Elven Accuracy . Repeat Step (3).
Step (4) Roll for damage.
∟(4a) If you roll max damage, roll an additional die as provided by Vorpal Weapon. Repeat Step (4).
∟(4b) If you do not roll max damage, use Pray for More to reroll your damage. Upon expending Pray for More, use Divine Miracle to recover it. Repeat Step (4).
Step (5) Repeat Step (4) until your damage is greater than your target's hit points and other miscellaneous modifiers such as temporary hit points or resistances.
Step (6) To end the cycle after completing Step (5), Use Divine Miracle to recover Elven Accuracy instead of Pray for More. Thus, you will be able to repeat this trick upon your next attack.

This build is capable of instantly killing anything with a basic melee attack at-will. Furthermore, the trick can be accomplished with any At-Will or Daily power also. However, It can not be used with an Encounter power! Astral Whirlwind would be great if you ever ran into a pack of Elder Red Dragons. You could even perform this trick multiple times in a single turn from things such as Opportunity Attacks or other bonus attacks.

Furthermore, the build is completely independent of feats, other powers, and ability scores. In terms of optimizing any of those, I would suggest optimizing your survivability as you no longer need to worry about your offensive capabilities.

Also, the base class of Paladin is not required. Only Astral Weapon and Demigod are required. Therefore, in the pursuit of defeating Orcus with each class, Level 30 Elf x / Astral Weapon / Demigod with Soldier of the Faith can serve as a template for any class.


How enjoyable...


Lord of the Green Dragons said...

Now this might fly in the face of my previous statement that a game is a game is a game, but this very example left me so in shock that I prayed to EGG and Arneson for divine intervention... ;)

Hammer said...


That's the kind of game breaking that just ruins the game for everyone.

If someone tried that trick when I was GM'ing, I suspect they would anger the gods so much that rocks would fall.

Dan of Earth said...

Surreal...that read exactly like a cheat code for a video game. Press left, then right, then down two times, then left, and hit the a button for infinite lives.

Yesmar said...

Every time I think I've seen the most ridiculous thing from WotC... well, they somehow manage to one-up themselves.

Will Mistretta said...

"If someone tried that trick when I was GM'ing, I suspect they would anger the gods so much that rocks would fall."

I'm pretty sure the GM (not worthy of the DM title) in that game isn't "allowed" to do that.

Timeshadows said...

Someone needs to tell them that THE MATRIX has them.

Horrifying. :<
Word Verification-
* Adhorbo: 8th century Catalan, A horror that clings to the very soul of those audience to the event.

Zachary The First said...

I know some people really enjoy the Character Optimization board, but to me, it just represents the people I probably would not get on with in a RPG. Assuming they play like they post.

Rae7910819 said...

Holy crap. oO

Geoffrey said...

Is that for real?

In all seriousness, I'd rather stare at the wall than play in a game like that.

The Rusty Battle Axe said...

"can serve as a template for any class"

Well, of course. No one should be left out.

VERIFICATION WORD: "Instodes" Instant nematodes?

E.G.Palmer said...

Wow, what game was that for? I myself, like to play Dungeons & Dragons.

Lord of the Green Dragons said...

It certainly makes one appreciate more what they have, doesn't it? :)

bubbagump said...

And people wonder how we Old Schoolers can say, "It just isn't D&D anymore." Sheesh.

ATOM said...

Scary & Crappy, at the same time.
Thank the stars for Old-school goodness, and game mechanics that actually make sense.

Lord of the Green Dragons said...

Well, I was merely wanting to point out what to me was a vanishing point.

I know that folks min-max in all games, can't be helped as most rules allow for this. Just as Timeshadows stated, people get stuck in a matrix; and this kinda reminds me of one of my old players who was a mathematical wiz and was always figuring out everything down to a tee and then some; and it just so happens he was the ultimate "don't break out of the box" rules lawyer of our group as well.

My favorite line so far in reaction to this is, "Holy Crap," by Rae7910819. Exactly what I thought upon seeing it.

Bard said...

It's scary and funny at the same time, like a good B horror movie :-)

Joseph said...

I just... wow.

Glad they spent all those megabucks to make sure the game was perfectly balanced.

Grendelwulf said...

This build is capable of instantly killing anything with a basic melee attack at-will."

I would allow it, if only to watch the all of the other players kill the @#%*! using this 'template' and wasting all of their own play time watching all of the rolls/rerolls.

They eat their own kind you know...


Lord of the Green Dragons said...

Actually, Grendelwulf, as the formula is endless, one must conclude that the creature attacked is killed no matter if one rolls all the way through or if the DM says, "OK, you win." So...

Lord of the Green Dragons said...

In (my) Conclusion,

What is present here is to be learned from?

1) This type of mechanic creates unbalance in a game.
2) It breeds a separatist POV, meaning: the game becomes oriented to a one-track thinking mode.
3) That DM, influenced under the implications of the rules as written, is forced to concur with the players through that conduit and no other.
4) In consequence, the game is deepened not according to play, but according to what is available as a resource to be used, emphasizing less the RP and potential theory of loss during it (which cannot exist due a design which inherently limits this in favor of that instant me "good feeling" generated by always clicking and winning).

I may have more to add later, but criticism, IMO, is only useful if there is something to be derived from it.

Jacob X said...

This wouldn't work according to the rules anyways. This person is trying to create a loophole where it doesn't exist. Pray for more states "You must use the result of the second roll" so you couldn't keep rolling till you got enough damage.

Beside, trying to break the rules isn't new to 4e. People have been doing it since the first rule for any game, let alone an rpg was written. Champions/Hero System has a whole meta game where people try to come up with broken rules loopholes like this.

Lord of the Green Dragons said...

Yes, I understand and have stated my agreement that loopholes--and min-maxxers--exist, above.

Not being conversant with the 4e rules, I take your word for it, though I did not see this, your explanation, at all brought to light in the page of discussion which followed the OP post at the WotC board. I will check my browser's history and dig up the link as I did not bookmark it.



Lord of the Green Dragons said...

This is the original post:

Lord of the Green Dragons said...

Upon reading the majority of these posts in seems that the OP answers all objections and defends the trick as posted. If a DM allows its use is another question entirely.

My point was not so much about this specific post, but using it as an example for those whose territory within a game is defined via the rules options, what some call "loopholes." Any GOOD designer with balance in mind will create a well rounded game, so I myself refer to these design concepts as _flaws_ if they do otherwise, especially where cases such as this one allow for a runaway scenario.

satyre said...

I say this having played a 30th level character in classic D&D of course.

Level 30?

Is it the point when a DM says:

"You know what? Let's start over."

Elmer said...

Really? Man, I bet you got a kick out of the 3rd edition kobold, Pun-Pun, who could acquire infinite everything. Instead of at level 30 he can do it at lv. 12. If your players are trying to shoot for that to break your game, that's one thing -- but power gamers who work to create super-characters are typically the kind of players that don't get in to groups. You can only create a super-character by ignoring the social contract.

As an aside -- isn't lv. 30 ready to ascend to godhood? I mean, that's the highest level in the game, and the Demigod epic destiny basically says "You are a minor god." You might be uncomfortable with a character ascending to godhood, and that's fine, but that's what lv. 30 means -- after this point, normal, mortal threats cease to exist.

bubbagump said...

As former part-owner of an LGS, I could tell you stories. No doubt anyone who's spent time in a booth at any Con could, too.

There are LOTS of 30+ level PCs out there, and not a few with triple-digit levels. The surprise for me, after questioning a number of DMs who allow such characters, was that virtually all of them justify such play because it "makes more sense" to them and because it's the mark of being a "good player". Not one of them considered such play over-the-top or unreasonable.

Such thinking, I believe, justifies much of the old school criticism of the modern gaming scene. There is a philosophical disconnect between the old school and new school that goes beyond mere game design - in essence it is the difference between a mature grasp of reality and an immature self-indulgence in fantasy with tenuous (at best) grounds in reality.

And I could go on, but this isn't the proper venue.

Suffice it to say one of my recent gaming groups provided ample proof that some Old School criticisms have much to say on the subject of "fun". After becoming somewhat disillusioned with 3.5e, I implemented several elements of what I call Old School philosophy in my campaign. The result (and I do not say this for my own aggrandizement): Each of the players told me at one time or another that I was "the best DM I've ever had" and thanked me for running the campaign. When I had to end the campaign, they even pooled their money and presented me with a plaque that said as much. Why were they so impressed? Not because I'm such a wonderful DM, I assure you. It was because the understanding of "fun" intrinsic to the Old School philosophy still functions - and it functions far better than what now passes for "good design".

Elmer said...

I certainly agree that certain "old school" views of fun are valid. I just don't understand why, at the absolute pinnacle of power for players in a rules system, why this is even an issue? If I wanted to play a pig-farmer searching for copper pieces for 30 levels, I'm sure I'd find another game to play. If I want to play a heroic divine knight, ascendant to demi-god status, I could play this character. Right before ascending to demi-god, the Paladin character should be able to call upon his God and smite a foe. Prior to 4th edition, the game was filled with "Save or Die" mechanics, and a character who can kill with an attack is not a big deal. Wizards have been doing this exact thing, since lv. 9.

My main point is, if you are going to say 4th ed is bunk because there are ways to one-shot an enemy, you've clearly not been playing the prior editions of Dungeons and Dragons either.

Lord of the Green Dragons said...

The main point here is that that is not a one-shot deal or trick, it is a killing machine, usable time and time again.

DMs would of course decide if that would be allowable.

Now let us stay nice and on topic here, as this is a discussion of game design differences. As I said, a game is a game is a game, but this example really takes any and all play value out of a game. IMO.

Elmer said...

This takes any and all play value out of a game? If that is your opinion, than certainly you are right to be upset. I however, would prefer not to negate the 29 levels and thousands of other builds because this is broken. A difference of game design? Not hardly. Wish breaks a game much worst than this exploit ever could, and that's what it was designed to do. If you condemnation of the entire edition is built on this, than there isn't anything else to discuss. Newer fantasy in games is not becoming a laughing stock. Min-maxing has been around since before codified roleplaying games even existed. The strategic warfare games that preceded early roleplaying were all about crunching numbers. I'm certainly not going to tell you how to play, but please realize that while you might be laughing at the newer style of games, there are, and will remain to be, people who enjoy them, and play them. There is a definite difference in old school gaming, and new school gaming, but people have fun playing both, and while the new style obviously doesn't fit your needs, it does fit the needs of kids growing up today. 30 years ago, Tolkien was the inspiration, and everyone wanted to be the hobbit that changed the world. Now, World of Warcraft is the inspiration, and you and your friends fighting through a dungeon, and becoming heroes of the realm are the inspiration.

Thank you for your article, and for the friendly discussion. I hope that when DnD 5e comes out, it will have something for everyone.

Lord of the Green Dragons said...

Thanks for your incisive commentary, Elmer.

Yes, I stand by my comment as to games that are designed in this manner--rather than players finding the rare loophole--that these tend to value a one-aspected POV and thus by recourse devalue the other play aspects of a game. This is seen in on-line variations where the inherent and persistent value is already assumed and built-in, where min-max is the accepted play style from the onset.

We do not have to wait for 5E to experience other than this type of formulaic expression to experience fun in games, of course. People are obviously having fun in whatever they choose, that has been my tenant for as long as I have been a designer of games.

If this expression is the end result of what transpired beforehand to arrive at this end point during the plat process, then I myself would not engage in such course, as a game designed exclusively around the mechanic of min-maxing is not my cup of tea.

Wargames do require number crunching, but luck is involved as well as strategy and tactics, as poor decisions made in a board game or on miniatures table could still lose you the field no matter your numerical advantage.

It appears to me that the above example does not fit into that category of comparison, as no matter what ill luck or invoked counter-strategy, you always win.


Melf said...

How disheartening to read. And worse to hear that there is a whole website full of this kind of garbage. This sort of gaming appeals to Super Hero game-types. The guys that want to play Superman and be the most powerful being in existence! I think it is more fun to play a resourceful character, a wise character- to think (as the player- not roll a die to solve something in game). Mid-level D&D was always fun because you were tough and had some items- but you still had to be careful, husband your resources, avoid battle where it was too costly, etc.

This type of play is very dull IMO and will be short-lived.

Although I do agree with a previous comment- that at 30th level this guy is a god already and should simply retire- and start a new character.

Lord of the Green Dragons said...

Welcome Melf! For those who do not know the famous Melf from "Olden" times, he is none other than EGG's son, Luke Gygax.

Thanks for accepting my invite, Luke, as your presence honors this blog. :)