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Author Topic: Personal Lieutenant and Animal Partner - Fixes for low level play.  (Read 935 times)
Agent 333
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« on: November 05, 2012, 02:13:25 PM »

Hey guys,

I find myself in a campaign where I'm a Lancer 2/Captain 1, and thus have both PL and AP feats. One thing that's bugging me is their stats: right now they're mediocre, they'll go to sucking over the next two levels, then they'll come back up after level 6. Especially Health, which scales very wonky for PC controlled NPCs. I don't have my books with me, but here's my proposed fix:

Lower the base XP for the feats to 40, but remove the -4 from the TL calculation. Change the Health formula for player controlled NPCs to 3 * Grade * TL instead of 5 * Grade * TL. Cap all roman numeral stats at 5.

Again, the idea is to make it so that Personal Lieutenants and Animal Partners scale better with lower level (under 5) characters. Any huge problems? Any holes in my logic?
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« Reply #1 on: November 05, 2012, 05:01:49 PM »

This looks like you're weakening them, which is perplexing since you said they suck at low levels. What are you looking to accomplish?
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« Reply #2 on: November 05, 2012, 05:21:41 PM »

Better scaling. Right now they're static from level 1-5, meaning they're too good at level 1 and kinda suck at level 5. I'd like them to be pretty good at all levels, without making them broken at any one level. Honestly I was worried that getting rid of the TL modifier might make them too good at all levels, hence the 10 XP hit. Again, I don't have my books with me, what's the cost of 4 ranks in Veteran?
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« Reply #3 on: November 05, 2012, 05:43:58 PM »

You're maybe missing the point that they're meant to suck
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« Reply #4 on: November 05, 2012, 09:11:07 PM »

Veteran is a 2-point quality, so 4 ranks is an 8-point benefit. I've seen GMs houserule that right quick, though, and I support the decision. At the very least, your NPCs should be 1 TL behind the PC.

I'm not finding PLs/ACs to be all that broken, even at low levels. As with PCs, you can't cover all the bases. Weaknesses are built in.
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« Reply #5 on: November 05, 2012, 09:52:24 PM »

As I kinda hinted in the first post, the biggest problem is health. It doesn't change at all for 5 levels, so they slowly go from unkillable to squishy as hell, then jump up in huge spurts after that. Hell, at Health III, a PL gets 15 health per level, more than any PC class, but start way behind. Well, technically they start a little ahead and fall way behind way quick, then catch up and pass PCs...
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« Reply #6 on: November 05, 2012, 11:36:53 PM »

I was looking at something similar awhile back and considered doing almost the exact same thing.

I did see health as a problem, but it wasn't my main concern.  My main concern was that a level 5 character could take Animal Companion and get a War Horse that fought as a TL 1 NPC.  Alternatively, he could just buy a War Horse and it would fight at TL 5.

Why should something paid for with coin be better than something bought with a feat?
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« Reply #7 on: November 06, 2012, 12:03:43 AM »

Why should something paid for with coin be better than something bought with a feat?

I think the difference would be that the one purchased with coin is gone if it dies, while the one purchased via feat gets replaced after dinging your rep.
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« Reply #8 on: November 06, 2012, 01:43:57 AM »

Hey guys,

I find myself in a campaign where I'm a Lancer 2/Captain 1, and thus have both PL and AP feats. One thing that's bugging me is their stats: right now they're mediocre, they'll go to sucking over the next two levels, then they'll come back up after level 6. Especially Health, which scales very wonky for PC controlled NPCs. I don't have my books with me, but here's my proposed fix:

Lower the base XP for the feats to 40, but remove the -4 from the TL calculation. Change the Health formula for player controlled NPCs to 3 * Grade * TL instead of 5 * Grade * TL. Cap all roman numeral stats at 5.

Again, the idea is to make it so that Personal Lieutenants and Animal Partners scale better with lower level (under 5) characters. Any huge problems? Any holes in my logic?

Never had a problem with the PL's in my group. Even though they were weaker than the other PCs... they're NPCs, they're supposed to be. The PL should cover aspects that the player and/or group is missing.

As for the health, easiest way to deal with that is just to limit it. At Health 2 or 3, it scales just like a warrior PC. And a 4, he'll quickly become the tank of the group. Which is okay if that's what the group needs. But, he won't leave the group in the dust or become so overpowering, he's the big bad.
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« Reply #9 on: November 06, 2012, 01:46:04 AM »

Better scaling. Right now they're static from level 1-5, meaning they're too good at level 1 and kinda suck at level 5. I'd like them to be pretty good at all levels, without making them broken at any one level. Honestly I was worried that getting rid of the TL modifier might make them too good at all levels, hence the 10 XP hit. Again, I don't have my books with me, what's the cost of 4 ranks in Veteran?

4 ranks of Veteran make it just as good as the PC, in which case he should be asking himself why he serves this dude who's actually worse than him at something. Plus, you also have the Captain ability that boosts the PL up to Level -1 , I don't have my book on me and can't remember the name/level, but if you allow 4 levels of veteran.. that'll make him way more powerful than the PC.
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« Reply #10 on: November 06, 2012, 02:08:57 AM »

Why should something paid for with coin be better than something bought with a feat?

I think the difference would be that the one purchased with coin is gone if it dies, while the one purchased via feat gets replaced after dinging your rep.

Generally, the value of reputation is greater than that of silver.  That the feat requires reputation to replace while the purchased one just needs coin hardly offsets the fact that a bought mount acts 4 TL higher than the feat.  If anything, needing reputation to replace the mount instead of coin only makes the feat worse.

4 ranks of Veteran make it just as good as the PC, in which case he should be asking himself why he serves this dude who's actually worse than him at something. Plus, you also have the Captain ability that boosts the PL up to Level -1 , I don't have my book on me and can't remember the name/level, but if you allow 4 levels of veteran.. that'll make him way more powerful than the PC.

It'd be easy enough to convert the Captain's ability to increase the XP of his NPCs instead of just bumping the TL.  PCs have a breadth of ability that NPCs just can't readily emulate.  While an NPC may be just as capable as a PC within his niche, outside that niche they are pretty helpless.

Overall, I just have a tough time accepting that a Lord would keep a personal guard of followers that are 4 Threat Levels lower than those in the town garrison or that a ranger's animal companion ends up inferior to one bought off-the-shelf.
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« Reply #11 on: November 06, 2012, 02:18:20 AM »

Why should something paid for with coin be better than something bought with a feat?

I think the difference would be that the one purchased with coin is gone if it dies, while the one purchased via feat gets replaced after dinging your rep.

Generally, the value of reputation is greater than that of silver.  That the feat requires reputation to replace while the purchased one just needs coin hardly offsets the fact that a bought mount acts 4 TL higher than the feat.  If anything, needing reputation to replace the mount instead of coin only makes the feat worse.

This may be true, but also consider that if you are merely buying a simple horse with Animal Companion, you're probably not making the most of the Feat in the first place. The total XP value of the AC can be increased, and the basic horse could be upgraded as necessary. If all you want is a basic mount, buying one with cash is definitely the better option. If you want something more grand (and/or customized), then the Feat would be appropriate. The same could also be said for the Personal Lieutenant. At least that's how I see it.
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« Reply #12 on: November 06, 2012, 02:32:43 AM »

Also, after re-reading things, mounts count as Standard NPCs, while PLs and ACs count as Specials.
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« Reply #13 on: November 06, 2012, 04:16:18 AM »

Also, after re-reading things, mounts count as Standard NPCs, while PLs and ACs count as Specials.

There's an upgrade to make purchased mounts count as Special NPCs.  While not cheap, the cost is still coin instead of reputation.

This may be true, but also consider that if you are merely buying a simple horse with Animal Companion, you're probably not making the most of the Feat in the first place. The total XP value of the AC can be increased, and the basic horse could be upgraded as necessary. If all you want is a basic mount, buying one with cash is definitely the better option. If you want something more grand (and/or customized), then the Feat would be appropriate. The same could also be said for the Personal Lieutenant. At least that's how I see it.

I have considered it and it is certainly true that you can get more XP than a typical war horse uses.  GM permitting, you could even spend extra XP towards improving your existing mount, though you would need 8 XP from 2 additional feats to actually match a coin purchase.  You could even go so far as to get something that isn't normally on the mount list.

However, no matter what you pick, any conceivable NPC you could build would be outclassed by a similar one found in the wild by 4 Threat Levels; be it guards, men-at-arms, wizards, griffons, war horses, elephants, blacksmiths, courtiers, imps or dragons.

I am in a game currently with several characters who have Followers and Personal Lieutenants.  They were pretty good at first level (pretty good, but not really overpowered) and even second level.  Now, at level 8, they have pretty much faded into irrelevance.  Attack checks, skill checks, defense, initiative; these have all fallen quite a ways behind the curve.  About the only thing that has kept up has been vitality.  The only one that sees any regular use any more is the Wizard as it can cast unlimited Cure Light Wounds so it makes sure everyone is healed at all times.  The other ones are kept hidden away when anything dangerous happens or are just left home altogether as the risk is too high they will get killed and end up costing reputation.
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« Reply #14 on: November 06, 2012, 08:56:24 AM »

I've always thought of the PL as more of a story driven thing.  Hercules had Iolas, Xena had Gabrielle, Batman has Robin, etc.

But I see the inconsistency with the TL as well.
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