Poll: Remove or Keep Devastating Critical? (closed)

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Post by The Amethyst Dragon on Sat Sep 06, 2008 10:36 pm

I am considering removing the Devastating Critical feat entirely from Aenea, both for PCs and for NPCs.

For PCs, because if you have this feat, you have a very good chance of prematurely ending fights that are supposed to be a challenge with a save that practically nothing can make. It's also rather unfair in the tiny chance that someone might want to do PvP fighting.

For NPCs, because NPCs that get the feat are generally set up (just like PCs) to inflict the most damage as quickly as possible...which means things like improved critical and keen weapons (*cough* Gron *cough*). Dev. Crit. basically means epic fights are often missed by the people that should be participating but missed a deadly serious save in the 1st round or two of what was supposed to be a drawn-out battle.

This will be a short poll, since I'm (hopefully) going to wrap up with the new custom content for the hak files soon, and I'd need to modify some 2da files to make this change.


Last edited by The Amethyst Dragon on Wed Sep 10, 2008 11:20 pm; edited 2 times in total (Reason for editing : ended poll, locking thread)

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Post by Svair on Sun Sep 07, 2008 12:24 am

These are just a few of my thoughts on the subject. I've read the initial thread that discussed this topic here, thought long about this feat before I started Aenea, and my vote would be to keep it.

The Amethyst Dragon wrote:

For PCs, because if you have this Feat, you have a very good chance of prematurely ending fights that are supposed to be a challenge with a save that practically nothing can make. It's also rather unfair in the tiny chance that someone might want to do PvP fighting.

I respectively disagree with the description of "prematurely ending fights". The Feat potentially ends fights quickly as it is meant to do per game design. I also disagree with the description as "unfair" in PvP circumstances, as this Feat, along with many options (classes/skills/spells) are available to all players. I fear a prepared high level Wizard as much or more as I do a melee class character that has this Feat.

For NPCs, because NPCs that get the feat are generally set up (just like PCs) to inflict the most damage as quickly as possible...which means things like improved critical and keen weapons (*cough* Gron *cough*).

NPCs should have the class/equipment options available to PCs available to them provided they meet the same class/ability/etc (and conversely as well, though that is a different conversation). I recognize, understand, and emphatically sympathize that this will create situations that might infrequently lead to player frustration in a world where a player cannot simply reload from a previously saved point (and lose XP to boot).


Dev. Crit. basically means epic fights are often missed by the people that should be participating but missed a deadly serious save in the 1st round or two of what was supposed to be a drawn-out battle.

As an unrelated aside, being a DM is sometimes a thankless and disheartening experience. Mad I can't tell you how many hours I've spent planning encounters for my PCs, and then not only see them breeze through the encounter but also miss the potential and just as important experience of it.

Having said that, Devastating Critical and the sacrifices it requires, was meant to be a viable option for players to strive for.

In Aenea, this option, at it's earliest by my math, can be achieved by Fighter starting at 18 Str at 24th level. This character will be rather lopsided in what it can do in many regards, and I've found Aenea to demand a degree of player choice balances (damn Phyllick's low Search skill!). Still, I feel this is a legitimate career route for a player to take, and I say this as a person who plays melee characters that would be most likely "victimized" by this Feat (and whose characters will likely not be taking Dev. Crit).

This will be a short poll, since I'm (hopefully) going to wrap up with the new custom content for the hak files soon, and I'd need to modify some 2da files to make this change.

I wanted to say more on the subject, but I want to get playing tonight. Personally, I don't see the Feat as more dangerous than even a moderately planned Arcane caster, an Assassin, a 2-weap Kukri wielding Elf, a 10th lvl Palemaster+, etc...especially on a server where PvP action is so regulated by player choice and risk acceptance.

I could be persuaded otherwise though, and would like to hear others thoughts on the matter.

As for my personal experience, my Ftr6/Rog4/WpMaster30 (w/ Dev Crit) character was the most boring character I ever played. Still, in a game where combat prowess is the ultimate gatekeeper to finishing the primary Aenea experience, I wouldn't mind recreating her at some point. "Blood makes the grass grow!"

I'm going to tip back another one and go play until my wife says "Don't you think it's getting late/early?".
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Post by The Amethyst Dragon on Sun Sep 07, 2008 1:41 am

This is why I love having an active community of players. Feedback and differing experiences. Smile

Looks like after only a couple of hours, the votes are leaning heavily towards keeping it. I'll give it a couple more days, during which time I'll have hopefully finished up the rest of the hak file changes.

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Post by Mithril Raven on Sun Sep 07, 2008 2:23 am

I'm not as eloquent as others on these boards but hopefully folks can bear with me.

From a PC View to PVE, It's well worth keeping. Even if AD only wants Monsters/NPCs to be equipped with items that have the same properties as PC's can get. Undead, Constructs, Elementals will all be immune to the crits. Failing that, Fort saves can be increased in the toolset or they could just be wearing alot of magic items to increase the save.
Never forget that a High AC also helps, you can't crit what you can't hit.

In case some folks still believe the myth, even if your dual wielding Keen Kukri wielding Weapon Master does have a critical threat range of 10-20, you wont automatically hit any enemy on an attack roll of 10 +. I can't believe some folks still believe this.

That said, I've played said type of weapon master before, and with 6 attacks a-round, even against something with a fort save in the 90's, it's a quick battle if all the attacks hit since in 3 rounds odds are the monster will roll a 1 against one of those 18 attacks, even better if you're hasted

PVP however is a little more equipment divided and strongly based upon the initiator.
A good HiPS rogue can potentially run rings even around the best dev critters if they haven't got an item to cast True Seeing or similar. (Potential debate on Hide cool-down timer ahead perhaps since HiPS can break off combat, spells or anything within a round since it's instantaneous and not queued into round time)
Mages potentially have the ever great Bigby's grasping hand, Even with Freedom of movement and/or immune to mind affecting spells this Bigby will still hold a PC in place. I think the only thing that works against it is SR, which isn't likely for Dev Criters Vs an equally high level mage since item bonuses only go up to SR 32. Or actual downright immunity to the spell. Failing that, if your immune to the stun/paralyse (I forget which it is) aspect of the spell, you may be able to dispell the hand while it's holding you. At the moment with Dev Crit enabled i think the bigby makes a nice counter atleast to the melee criters. However if Dev Crit was removed I'd have to request Bigby be changed to allow a strength check to resist it, apparently quite a common change if the vault and a few PWs are anything to go by.
Finally of course a PaleMaster related build is just going to be downright immune to Dev Crit anyway.
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Post by daveyeisley on Sun Sep 07, 2008 7:09 am

Well, I was going to post an exposition on why the feat doesnt unbalance anything in the hands of PCs in Aenea, but... it looks like S'Vair and Mithril Raven already nailed it. Oh, heck... I still would like to add my thoughts.

Its tough to qualify for the feat and requires the PC to forsake other roads to combat effectiveness. It only works against enemies that can be critted, and even with 6 attks per round and 55% chance of a threat per hit you are going to miss on some of those attacks (probably the later ones) and/or fail to confirm even some of your threats.

Then we can take into account that many bosses in Aenea have incredible save bonuses to go along with their gobs of hit points and ultra-high ACs. They wont fall to dev crit unless a PC gets lucky.

Dev crit, from my experience in the OC, is really only uber for killing off large numbers of weaker foes. And the feat prerequisites mean that the PC who has it will be good at that one thing.

And yes, there are ways around it in PVP too... but Aenea is only PVP if players *want* to fight. If I decide to make myself willing to PVP against a dev crit warrior and get myself one-shotted.... do I have any real right or justification to complain? It would be a totally different story if PVP was not a toggled flag.

If anything, the only real touchy area is dev crit in the hands of an enemy NPC with an astronomical strength score. Yes, Gron is over the top. If you cant hold him in place and stay out of melee range, your are dead. And even so, he might still nail you and anybody nearby with implosion.

I dont mind him being this challenging for a spellcasting PC, or even a ranged build, provided they have *some* method available of keeping him out of melee.... but its unfair to melee builds that will *have* to close with him, and are not allowed to have crit immunity. My suggestions is to allow crit immunity via a script of some sort, for that fight, and that fight only... and only to a PC who has completed a long and difficult quest to slay Gron... the weapon of prophecy would be a good choice to gain crit immunity upon entering the room with gron. If you havent done the quest.... then gron being able to smoke you in two seconds seems fair to me.

As for the Bigby's hand spells.... they all allow a strength check to resist that takes into account BAB and Str Bonus of the victim... but this is balanced against the caster's caster level, casting stat bonus, and the strength bonus of the hand spell in question (higher level bigby's have higher str bonus, as they should). So even a strength focused enemy will be at some disadvantage to resist the spell, but will indeed resist it if they roll well.
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Post by Eric of Atrophy on Sun Sep 07, 2008 1:38 pm

I don't have any really intelligent thought contributions to this discussion about the dev crit issue, having never played PnP in the 3.0
ruleset, and not ever having a serious character that would qualify for the feat.

Let me say that I can see the logic behind what The Amethyst Dragon wants to do, as far as eliminating a potential game unbalancer. He wants to protect the
integrity of the game world he's developed, and he sees the dev crit as a walk-around for most of the challenges he's constructed.

I also see the logic behind what Svair, Mithril Raven and daveyeisley have posted. There's no question that Aenea is a tough world, and some of the baddies can certainly split you open without blinking. But if you've built your PC for brute strengh and power, then it doesn't seem like it would be fair to remove that final jewel in the power-driven PC's crown. If you've been resourceful enough to engineer your
character so that you qualify for the feat, you should be able to take the feat, even if it does seem a little overkillish.

Like I said before, I don't have any real experience with the 3.0 ruleset, but I must agree with the majority of the voters - keep the feat!

The Amethyst Dragon wrote:This is why I love having an active community of players. Feedback and differing experiences. Smile

Absolutely! I think we've got a tremendously interesting and dynamic community going here. I don't have much PW experience, as I've only ever been on one other server, but I think that Aenea is as top-notch as they come! Great administration, great players, great participation! Exclamation

Keep it coming, Aeneans! bounce


Last edited by Eric of Atrophy on Sun Sep 07, 2008 1:40 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : aesthetic improvements!)
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Post by The Amethyst Dragon on Wed Sep 10, 2008 11:15 pm

Looks like I'm keeping this one in. Smile

Final tally:
Keep it: 8
Remove it: 1

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