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1  Products / Fantasy Craft / Re: Feat Expert Analysis on: July 14, 2011, 04:40:48 PM
Interesting to note Glacier Dwarves, I missed that; it makes them mildly better animal handlers, but that's it. Increased XP for a companion character is very nice, but it's a utility that varies a lot with the numerical effectiveness and role of the character. Thanks for noting I'll Cut You, a very nice ability to have Covert Expert for (but you have to wait for ten levels for it, too...). Also I missed Shield Bearer, a specialty that gives Melee Combat Expert.

Of course, I think companion abilities, spellcasting, and I'll Cut You may be the only class features affected by # of a feat category, I missed I'll Cut You on account of most other class abilities being based on class level or attribute modifier.
2  Products / Fantasy Craft / Re: Grr! Sea Brave! on: July 14, 2011, 02:52:29 PM
In my ongoing campaign I had Sea Ogres play a decent part and though most do look like "soggy ogres" the older ones start going an apotheosis on akin to their dark god over the sea, taking on more surreal forms like having a jaws grow into an enormous claw, or backs bearing a small ecosystem of sea life, or vampire octopus-style 'collars'...
3  Products / Fantasy Craft / Re: Want to be a newbie questions on: July 08, 2011, 05:53:28 PM
Also keep in mind there are a lot of subtle differences from 3.5; it's important not to make assumptions based on 3.5. Ones I've run into:

1) There is no charge maneuver, per se (though the Charging feat chains grant equivalents).

2) Int bonus and other bonuses that improve skill points are retroactive.

3) Saving Throws do not auto-fail on 1.

And so on. It's really 3e redone from the ground up, a lot of the skeleton is similar, but the innards are very different.
4  Products / Fantasy Craft / Re: Feat Expert Analysis on: July 07, 2011, 06:07:58 PM
Basic combat expert does work with Right Hand Man.  10xp on a PL is a pretty good benefit.

It's just an artifact of the genre.  There are currently a great many more melee combat feats so it's a more widely applicable ability.  Spycraft 2.0 had more Chance feats that would benefit.  I'm sure we'll see a bit more support for other Feat Expert abilities as time goes on.

The ones you want to watch out for are Spellcasting and Species because of their effect on DC checks.  Chance too as action dice are quite a benefit.  I think we priced them at 2 points unofficially, although they don't actually appear in anything published.

It is a great benefit if you happen to play a Vanguard Captain. If you play anything else... well, a lot of the Expert traits are best with some specialty, anyway. Being able to use Combat Focus over and over is nice too. If you're a poison-themed character, being able to use Venom Master over and over is good. I'm not disparaging them entirely, but with something like Covert Expert you can't just take covert feats and expect to get any benefit out of it. It's Safe House or nothin'.

It's not just that Melee Combat is the second-biggest chunk not feats (which does make sense), but how certain feats were designed. Most Basic Combat feats with limited uses are limited by AD #, not Basic Combat feat #, I imagine because they're designed to be dipped into, unlike Melee Combat which expects you go at least three feats in over the course of a career if at all.

I didn't ponder other Expert traits that aren't currently used in official material - but there aren't many other ones that are viable. Ranged Combat mastery would be fine enough for bow users, but bow users only. Style or Terrain mastery would only be good for Personal Lieutenant or Animal Companion, which is nice but you might as well just make that an explicit bonus. I don't see Species Expert as really being a viable trait, due to the minimal mechanics that could use it, yeah (might as well call it 'Awesomer Bakilis' speciality, really). Spellcasting Expert I'd be very wary on. Granted, I'm wary of Mages in general, thanks to 3.5's "spellcasters rule, everybody else drools" mechanics. But that bonus to DC would be way more valuable than any other, modifying the dozens of spells a mage gets. Certainly, if it were allowed, I'd put that more like 3 or 4 points, IMO. It's so good no mage worth their maximizing salt would want to go without it, so it'd have to have a steep price if you dared to allow it at all.
5  Products / Fantasy Craft / Feat Expert Analysis on: July 07, 2011, 01:32:33 PM
While looking at build options recently, I was struck by the various "Expert" specialty traits, but it's hard to analyze them at a glance, given their dependence on supporting feats. As such, here's a summary of the various ones available. Some are really good, some are good in a niche, and some aren't very useful at all. After writing up the list, I thought it would be interesting to share my findings. Most traits in Fantasy Craft are easy to parse and understand, but I thought these traits could use a bit of explanation as to what they do, precisely.

First off, Melee Combat Expert. This is only gained through the Fighter specialty, and treats you as if you have 2 more feats for purposes of any ability. Which abilities? Well, Melee Combat Expert is the best-supported Expert trait in the game, with benefits for a wide variety of builds, increasing trick usage and trick DCs. of course, there are a variety of chains that gain no benefit - axe, club, knife, whip, and any Melee feat chain from Adventure Companion.

- Feats that benefit: Fencing Mastery, Flail Supremacy, Greatsword Mastery, Hammer Mastery, Polearm Basics, Shield Supremacy, Spear Mastery, Spear Supremacy, Staff Mastery, Staff Supremacy, Sword Supremacy

- Tricks that benefit: Arrow Cutting, Breaking Twist*, Decisive Swing*, Parry, Shield Block, Triumphant Swing

The second Expert trait we see is Basic Combat Expert, only gained through the Vanguard specialty. This looks strong, right? There's a good deal of basic combat feats, and many of them are very, very good. The truth is, though, if you aren't using the tricks from Adventure Companion, only a single feat benefits. It's a strong feat, but it doesn't even have the decency to show up as the Vanguard's bonus feat. This might work well with the Captain's Right-Hand Man class ability, but it's not clear.

- Feat that benefits: Combat Focus

- Tricks that benefit: Damned If You Do*, Damned If You Don't*, Pick On the Big Guy*, Pick On the Little Guy*

The third Expert trait is Chance Expert, only found in the Cultist specialty (from Adventure Companion). Though the amount of feats that benefit from it is slim, its synergy with Fortunate is very strong, giving 2 extra d4 action dice. What's more, the specialty comes with a chance feat that directly benefits, making the Cultist a strong start for any chance-based build on par with the Adventurer. While not supported much, it is strong for a specialized Chance build.

- Feats that benefit: Black Cat, Fortunate, Fortune's Fool

- Tricks that benefit: None

Another Expert trait we get is Covert Expert, granted by the Raven Noble feat and the House Agent specialty (both from Adventure Companion), and a variation of it on the Hart Noble feat. It's really too bad that it's the most common and available Expert trait, because it's hardly supported at all! Better hope you plan to use poison, since it's the only trick that benefits out of the main book, though Adventure Companion does have an additional feat.

- Feat that benefits: Safe House*

- Tricks that benefit: Venom Master

Though not Unarmed Expert per se, the Tiger Noble feat (from Adventure Companion) grants a comparable ability. Unfortunately, most of its benefits are locked up at a pair of supremacy feats, so it may be considered even harder to utilize than Covert Expert.  Adventure Companion gives a strong trick, but it's a trick shared by all combat styles (Melee Combat gets a comparable trick, listed above).

- Feats that benefit: Kicking Supremacy, Wrestling Supremacy

- Tricks that benefit: Decisive Blow*

* Trait found in Adventure Companion.

If I've missed something, let me know - it's quite possible my eyes glazed over when skimming through the feat lists. Hopefully the underutilized traits will see some additions at some point - it's clear why it's only a 1 point trait in the origin creation rules now that I look at it, but it feels like Melee Combat Expert should cost a good deal more than its counterparts.
6  Products / Fantasy Craft / Assassins and Investigate on: June 11, 2011, 06:12:00 AM
One things that's puzzled my group about the Assassin skill list is the lack of Investigate. It seems odd that the Fantasy Craft version of the Assassin class - given they have to have some knowledge of their target to take on a proper disguise, don't have any great means to research or even find their targets. Yes, there are other ways to get the skill other than base class, but it always has felt odd to me.

And so I was wondering, how is this supposed to work in play? How is an career assassin - that is, a literal interpretation of the class that kills people for money - supposed to get around this obstacle? Do they have to go around pumping information with Bluff and Intimidate from individuals? Or is that solely available through the Canvass application of Investigation?
7  Products / Fantasy Craft / Re: Heat and Cold damage? on: June 06, 2011, 01:57:41 PM
Give your Fire Giant achilles' heel (cold) - he will then suffer lethal damage equal to the cold damage he suffers (though he'd still ignore the subdual inflicted by it if he's an elemental). Fire Giants generally are NOT elementals, as I recall, so the Achilles's Heel is really harsh (suffer subdual AND lethal in equal measure).

I was talking about a PC Giant with Elemental Heritage + Legacy, but I had somehow overlooked the update to Achilles Heel... well, then, that changes things, it does!
8  Products / Fantasy Craft / Re: The Gift and Menacing Threat on: June 06, 2011, 01:12:21 PM
Let me add that menacing threat is powerful at level 1. Forcing three standard NPCs to make damage saves which they have close to a 50% chance of failing, is quite a powerful option. (I haven't played this at higher levels to see how the power curve diminishes.)

Having a PC in my TT game with Menacing Threat + Glint of Madness, plus the ability to drop Intimidate as a free action now and then, it's icing on the cake but not devastating. It generally weakens enemies but rarely takes them out with their higher saves at high levels. But then, my group had a Captain who can give everybody Contempt since an early level and now drops extra attacks like candy, so my perception of the utility of a standard-busting mechanism may be a little skewed.
9  Products / Fantasy Craft / Re: Heat and Cold damage? on: June 06, 2011, 12:36:34 PM
Well, you get a weird element in my Fantasy Craft damage where the Fire Giant is, essentially, immune to cold damage, which feels pretty odd, but is generally fine.

Occasionally I'll increase convert cold damage to lethal in regards to him, but when only generally in regards to magical / elemental cold.
10  Products / Fantasy Craft / Re: Command (spell) Clarifications? on: June 06, 2011, 11:47:19 AM
Thanks a lot, that really clears things up.  Grin
11  Products / Fantasy Craft / Re: NPC Builder Update on: May 29, 2011, 09:53:08 PM
I just wanted to thank you; the NPC builder has been a fantastic boon; I was just prepping some NPCs up with it. It's been a great thing to have, and better than some commercial ones I've used in the past. Certainly better than the scribbly index cards I was using at the start of my game...
12  Products / Fantasy Craft / Re: When character concepts and common sense clash on: May 29, 2011, 09:49:35 PM
It seems fine, yeah. I don't expect a drake would necessarily be a house burglar unless your world contains drake-accommodating homes (or the drake is extraordinarily limber). After all, not all dragons can get their treasure by ransoming princesses!

In any case, I imagine flight is a great double-edged sword for sneaky sorts.

But yeah, a drake could be a sneaky scout type, or a trickster sort, or an agile, dashing lizard. Whatever works for the concept and fits within the setting.
13  Products / Fantasy Craft / Re: Command (spell) Clarifications? on: May 29, 2011, 09:41:15 PM
Whups, meant Command II with that. Fixed OP.

Anyway, it doesn't work exactly like Command I, as it has multiple targets and a multi-turn duration.
14  Products / Fantasy Craft / Re: XP for mounted adversaries on: May 29, 2011, 09:39:37 PM
You could consider it "equipment" if the mount isn't exceptional and can't fight on its own, perhaps.
15  Products / Fantasy Craft / Re: Scared to "death" on: May 29, 2011, 09:34:22 PM
Having recently run ghostly standards with Scare, it was... rather nasty. Thankfully, the ghosts couldn't seal the deal with their cold damage, but definitely felt unfair to nail PCs with the auto-shaken repeatedly. Seems like a fine thing to patch.
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