New Barbarian Spirit Animals

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New Barbarian Spirit Animals

Postby Atoch » Sat Jun 25, 2022 11:29 pm

For those of you, who didn’t check out the help entries for the new Barbarian Spirit Animals yet:

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Atoch
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New Barbarian Spirit Animals

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Re: New Barbarian Spirit Animals

Postby Atoch » Sun Jun 26, 2022 12:33 am

A few comments:

- Great ideas! Helpful and fun to play - but, all in all, not overpowered.
- many activations, so players will actually use them and not save them for the “big” fight

But I would still like to see some restrictions:

- the simultaneous use of spirit animals should be restricted to maximal two at a time. (At lower levels perhaps only one at a time).
- access to a few specific spirit animals ("porpoise", "rhinoceros" (and perhaps "bull")) should only possible at a higher level – especially the Spirit animal Porpoise, which gives access to a “True Seeing”-ability (“True Seeing” is a level five spell!)
- the concealment effect of the “Spider” shouldn't stack with concealment effects of forest tiles, etc. (even if it would make sense...)
Atoch
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Re: New Barbarian Spirit Animals

Postby Sangarunya » Mon Jun 27, 2022 2:15 pm

I've been reading over a little the new barbarian spirit animal traits, and they seem very powerful - not at all levels but at the beginning of the game a few of them can break havoc. Some effects are akin to medium level spells and the barbarian can choose them at level 1. Without trying them in game, I can't be sure completely but the smoke signals speak about a massacre looming over.

OK, here we go!

First danger sign: every single ability (but the Elephant one) is a Free Action, so it raises the question: can the barbarian activate several different spirit animal abilities in the same turn? At level 20 six are available, so six powers could be activated in the first round and let the carnage begins! This could be very very unbalanced.

Second problem: every ability is a single bonus acquired at the level the power is chosen. This kind of design should be avoided: the power is the same if you get at level 1 or 20. The most powerful abilities will be selected at character creation and will carry tremendous clout all the way to the endgame. I think it would be better to divide each ability in several tiers (three, for example) with a basic ability at the lowest entry and increase the mastery when a certain level is achieved. This way the spirit animal strength can be awesome at high levels without unbalancing the beginning of the game. For example: the basic ability when you choose the spirit animal, increase it at level 8 and the maximum bonuses at 16 - the level number can vary between spirit powers to improve the build decisions, of course. Most glaring unbalance problems will be solved this way.

Now about the spirit abilities specifically in reverse alphabetic order:

Spider: freedom of movement is a 4 level spell, so is available at level 7 for spellcasters (three level for the Druid -> at level five) and here the barbarian can get it at level 1. And gets more freebies with another +10 speed and 20% concealment (another 2-level spell like invisibility or blur, for example). This additional speed bonus looks telegraphed to the half-giants and the dwarfs. +20 speed at level 1 to those slow moving races? Too much of a benefit. Not fun.

Scorpion: imagine a two-handed weaponized half-giant barbarian, landing two full BAB attacks at level 1. With the normal progression, at level 5 the character gets a second attack with a minus five to the BAB, so our raging friend got a huge leap of martial competence. Its use is limited, but a blackforge dwarf gets easily 20s in Strength and Constitution, so at least ten uses before rest. And half-giants are only one use below. Now give the character a reach weapon, and the feats cleave and/or great cleave and can clean a room full of enemies without many problems at low levels. Sounds very overpowered at the beginning of the game and not so much of a problem at the end.

Satyr: again a fixed value. This time to one saving throw. The traditionally weak spot of the barbies. That bonus is the equivalent of sixteen levels with a high saving throw progression. Is a triumph card to the barbarian character to avoid will-based spells without requiring help of the rest team. Usually, this kind of perks has been associated with rage powers and with a less powerful bonus. Conceivably the solution is tiering the bonus. I prefer the vulnerable spots will be covered with the help of team companions and/or items instead of eliminating the weak points of the classes with self-sustained powers.

Rhinoceros: a blackforge dwarf or a half-giant can get Damage Reduction 5/- at level 1. A samurai gets the same benefit after reaching level 20. Yep, is round limited, but with seven or eight rounds the barbarian have enough protection for the entire fight at low and middle game. Excessive advantage at those levels.

Porpoise: Blindsight is a level-8 druid spell. Here we can get it at level one... I can't remember right now a single spell/ability that gives this condition in Pathfinder or D&D 3.5, only Polymorph Self for the wizards and Wildshape for the Druids. And the pseudodragon familiar. All of them for casters and conveniently changing the physical body to avoid exploits. Not much to say: giving the ability to ignore mirror images, blur, displacement and concealment to the melee class with greatest damage potential at will is beyond horrible. This power should be reworked completely.

Jaguar: pounce, the most broken and useful ability for a melee character available at character creation. A warrior and a monk can get it at level nine with the [Wade-in] feat and a psychic warrior gets it as a spell at level four but is only really useful when gets the second attack at level eight. Combined with the Scorpion spirit, the level-1 barbarian can move, full attack with a reach weapon (two attacks) and let the cleave feats do the rest. At level six gets three attacks so mowing rooms like in the first Pizarra fight or the Low Sewers should be doable. Even if the two animal spirits can't be used in the same turn, a level-1 barbarian mantis with full attacks after moving sounds formidable. This power shouldn't be available at low levels.

Elephant: at least is a standard action ability. Once more, fixed numbers for the shaken duration and the recharge time can be tiered. Maybe a bonus can be added when charging (like the real animal) or if the barbarian has been significantly damaged. Sounds like the shouting barbarian is back on the menu!

Eagle: there is no single spell or ability that gives the flying condition in the game and here we get the hybrid between Superman and Conan. To me sounds very very out of character. I can imagine a formidable caster bestowing this condition with a high level spell and some restrictions to the total speed but... Superconan to the rescue? I think this talent should be redone: perhaps a power to support ranged attacks -> give the barbarian precision, more reach, damage or critical chance with ranged weapons. One thing the game doesn't have is stacks of throwing weapons, like axes or daggers - they were in the Baldur's Gate saga and are very valuable to strength based combatants with low mobility or not wanting to choose ranged feats so they can be pretty cool with this power.

Croc: sounds nice, perhaps include a bonus to the damage when an enemy is bleeding or similar. That sounds like a shark but I'm sure the crocodiles also get frenzy with the smell of blood.

Cobra: totally out of character: this is an ability for nimble classes like the monk or the rogue. The barbarian should not care if is hit - has damage reduction and lots of life points. Maybe redo it to be used with the "Ready to approach" action like the real animal holding on for the opportune moment to strike. Or let the barbarian hit first when is about to be attacked by an attack of opportunity of an enemy and has AOOS available - greet sneaky enemies with a mighty strike and let them savor raw damage and perhaps a shaken condition or similar when realize the punishment is only about to begin. Maybe add some AOOS like the Combat Reflexes feat.

Bull: sounds very interesting - I'd love to experiment with various teams. My only worry is the duration of the power: eight rounds means eight more combat manoeuvres. At low levels this could be excessive.

Bear: percentage based damage reduction to all energy types. Sounds like the triumph card against all enemy energy spells. Overpowered at high levels. If an enemy spellcaster hits for 200 fire damage the barbarian reduces the damage to 100. And there is no cap to the damage nullified. And for all the energy types. The mightiest protections spells give around 30 or similar damage reduction and only for a single energy type. Perhaps revising it to negate one or two energy types, absorb another part past the threshold as healing and grant nice regeneration for several rounds.

Congrats if you have read all of this! As you have realized, I have mixed feelings with this update. Some powers are interesting, but others enter directly into the WTF dimension. I think we all agree the Barbarian is one of the weakest classes and needs heavy tinkering. But there is inconsistency in the new abilities. Some feel tailored to the Half-Giant and Dwarf races and others to deal with enemies very specifically at the endgame. I'm talking about "mirror image is so annoying with all those level-20 enemy spellcasters, so let's give the melee character some cool power to get rid of them" or "there are so many wizards casting energy spells and my fighters die even with hundreds of health points so let's give them some magical instant protection."

I imagine the Barbarian characters moving raucously, inflicting lots of damage around the battlefield, ignoring injuries and damage, knowing that they aren't going down so easily and each time they struck enemies or are damaged, new abilities will trigger (like increasing the damage inflicted or regenerating life). Knocking enemies out of the way, getting them prone or stunned. Raging like a primal force, shaking them to the core and reducing their combat prowess. Merely enjoying the battle when is surrounded and being hurt, preparing the mightiest attacks to devastate them with a storm of wallops.

Some of these spirit powers are cool, others inconsistent and most of them are too powerful for a level-1 character but they can be adjusted easily. However, nullifying the class weaknesses with temporary powers is more related to action rpgs like Path of Exile or Grim Dawn instead of a party RPG (a save button)-> classes shortcomings should be compensated with the help of companions, not by self-sustained abilities. Giving a melee class the ability of bypassing the most common wizard protection spells because yes, being the bread and butter of the caster defenses is not a good idea. Also, contrary to Pathfinder and D&D 3.5 rules, the spell True Seeing in this game is much more powerful because it ignores concealment besides mirror images, blur and alike. And is available to many classes in the game so this role is properly covered.

One more thing: the barbarian feats [Barbarian Vitality X] have little utility, a bit better than the venerable D&D feat [Toughness] but no so much. It would be so much better to increase the Barbarian Hit Die as gaining new levels to reflect the mighty physical force. The barbarian starts with a D12; increase it to a D14 at level 5, D16 at level 10, D18 at level 15 and D20 at level 20 and beyond. This way you relieve the player from spending feats to gain a few health points and let focus in more interesting powers to get a well-rounded combatant. The huge health pool can be used to develop new barbarian powers that wear out the life points in exchange of bonuses or abilities that trigger when the barbarian has lost a percentage of the health points.

Any comment adding to the discussion will be appreciated.

Thanks for reading!
Sangarunya
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Re: New Barbarian Spirit Animals

Postby Atoch » Tue Jun 28, 2022 7:43 am

Hi Sangarunya!

- activation as “free action”:
Melee-warriors can dish out immense damage in one full round. If you have to “sacrifice” this potential damage for the activation of a Spirit Animal, the tactical value of the Spirit Animals would be greatly diminished. So I am strongly approving using “free action” as activation time.
But I agree that the simultaneous use of Spirit animals should be restricted – so just restrict it.
Perhaps it would be best if only one Spirit animal ability could be activated at a time. Activation of a second Spirit Animal would automatically cancel the first one.

- “Eagle” and “Spider”: “Flying” gives you the advantages of “Freedom of Movement” and - in this game - additional immunities against pit traps, triping (I'm not sure on this one) and easier attacks against castle walls.
Pierre also mentioned that he wants to add two playable subraces possessing the ability to fly ( https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1848628223/knights-of-the-chalice-2-revolutionise-old-school-crpgs/posts/2877019 )

These additional advantages of “Flying” over “Freedom of Movement” are mostly under control of the mapmaker - so I don’t see a great problem mechanical-wise.

But it sure sounds out of character...

If “Eagle” is changed “Spider” can be easily changed too – to “Freedom of Movement” without additional boni.

But personally – I don’t really mind.

- “Scorpion”: As you have written, it is a rather overpowered ability in the beginning but not so much so at the end of the game. Therefore I would be rather reluctant to choose “Scorpion” for my barbarian. I consider this Spirit Animal as rather well balanced overall.

- “Satyr”: Yes, you are right. But temporary immunity against will-based spells is a rather traditional feature for barbarians, isn’t it?

- “Rhinoceros”: I agree

- “Porpoise”: “Porpoise” is the strongest Spirit Animal imho - and only high level barbarians should have access to it. But I don’t think it needs a complete rework.
“True Seeing” is one of the strongest buffs for melee warriors – and as a “free action”-buff it becomes even stronger. But “Porpoise” is only one additional source of “True Seeing” – next to the spells of all caster-classes and various equipments. [The additional blinding immunity of “Blindsight” - yeah, nice...but not important].
I would consider it as overpowered only if you could add “Pounce” – but, as mentioned above, I would rather restrict the simultaneous use of Spirit Animals.

- “Jaguar”: Would you really take it at level 1? Even if you can combine it with Scorpion – wouldn't it be rather inefficient? Two activations for just one additional attack? Or would you really take a mantis barbarian?
I don’t think you have to restrict “Jaguar” – it seems rather a trap than an asset at low levels!

- “Elephant”: A shouting ability is, as you mentioned, quite fitting for a barbarian.
But as it is, I consider it as the least useful Spirit Animal. Needing a standard action it sacrifices just to much damage potential.
But if it had the potential to induce the “cowering”-status (just for 1 round!) - it would be a lot more alluring…

- “Cobra”: Hm, I think my barbarian disagrees. He cares very much if he is hit or not! He considers himself more as a “survival specialist” rather than a “primal force” though 8-)

- “Bull”: I agree

- “Bear”: Again, I don’t think this Spirit Animal is a problem or overpowered - as long as only one Spirit Animal can be activated at the same time. Not being able to use any other Spirit Animal as you wait to be hit by some specific spells – is imho quite a high price.

_______

“Porpoise” is probably the most controversial Spirit Animal – and I wouldn’t mind if it get changed.
But I have the hunch it wouldn't matter that much in the later half of the game?


One more thing: the barbarian feats [Barbarian Vitality X] have little utility, a bit better than the venerable D&D feat [Toughness] but no so much. It would be so much better to increase the Barbarian Hit Die as gaining new levels to reflect the mighty physical force. The barbarian starts with a D12; increase it to a D14 at level 5, D16 at level 10, D18 at level 15 and D20 at level 20 and beyond. This way you relieve the player from spending feats to gain a few health points and let focus in more interesting powers to get a well-rounded combatant. The huge health pool can be used to develop new barbarian powers that wear out the life points in exchange of bonuses or abilities that trigger when the barbarian has lost a percentage of the health points.


That sounds very interesting, a very cool concept for a “primal force” barbarian, – but I fear it is rather a complete new class than a small upgrade and it would take considerable work to implement, balance, test, tweak the A.I. ….

Best regards
Atoch
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Re: New Barbarian Spirit Animals

Postby Sangarunya » Tue Jun 28, 2022 3:05 pm

Hello Atoch! Thanks for the answers. I'll follow a little with the discussion.

Yes, if the activation of the spirit animal is restricted to only one per turn or the activation of one of them cancels the previous power then is fair that they are activated as a Free Action. This way the barbarian can use the spirit animal, move and attack so can take advantage of all the possible actions in the round.

Dividing the powers in three levels of competence can help a lot balancing the powers. For example, the Rhinoceros spirit can bestow a Damage Reduction 1/- when the characters is under level 8, when reaches this level, increase the bonus at Damage Reduction 3/- and at level 16 Damage Reduction 5/-. Changing the bonuses depending on the level is perfect to avoid the overpowering skills.

Spider: grant freedom of movement at level-1 so the barbarian can ignore basic control spells like entangle, web, grease and many others is an enormous advantage for the first part of the game. Most likely this bonus needs to be awarded at a higher level. The second problem is the bonus to speed. A barbarian gains +10 speed at level 1 and this spirit adds another +10. A half-giant moves only 20 speed in exchange of his mighty strength and superior damage but with this class and animal spirit the disadvantages are completely nullified and the half-giant can move as fast as a mantis or a centaur (40 speed). Again, this is too much - now the unit with greater damage potential is on top of that the one who can move the farthest.

Eagle: the problem is the exclusivity of the benefit and the lack of countermeasures and disadvantages. First, there is no other source that can give this ability. If Pierre has considered to add new races with the ability of flying then it changes the situation. But right now, if a barbarian gets flying at will at level 1 it provides them a free pass to avoid most of the crowd control spells like entangle, web, grease, quicksand or manoeuvres like Trip with no real handicap. I can't remember how many spells or abilities target flying creatures or get bonuses when are used against them but there are few in the game, so this ability represents an incredible advantage with no real counters. The character can also avoid any square with difficult movement, pits, water zones, etc. It's too good.

I think is worthwhile to consider the bonuses to ranged attack, even in a different spirit animal: the barbarian is a class that needs to run after enemies to hit them and in some battlefields or depending of the enemy configuration it would help a lot to be able to strike the baddies with throwing axes, a war bow or a sling with some bonuses and kill them from afar.

Scorpion: not all the modules will be for levels 1 to 20, so a power that offers an incredible advantage at entry levels must be revised or slightly tamed. Changing the benefits in three different levels will solve the problem.

Satyr: the bonus represents a win button for will saves at level one; +10 is an impressive boon, lowering the initial bonus and increasing it as get levels will be more fair.

Porpoise: I'm still against giving a melee class that impressive power. Those level-20 spellcasters with lots of magical protections and throwing spells like a machine gun are very annoying but give a power that strips most of the seminal safeguards of the casters as a free action to one of the most damaging classes doesn't suit me right. Even if the barbarian can only land one melee attack after moving there is possibility of a ranged attack barbarian with a war bow or a sling attacking from afar, ignoring mirror images and concealment. This way can execute all the attacks. The barbarian will transform into a mage killer.
The inability of casting spell pre-combat has rendered spells like [Stoneskin] or [Greater Stoneskin] much less useful - the wizards needs a better defensive collection and the game needs more protective spells for the spellcasters and others for dispelling and stripping defenses. We're not at Baldur's Gate 2 level yet.

Jaguar: I agree that [pounce] is more valuable at high levels and if it can't be combined with the Scorpion its utility drops a lot. But a painted mantis barbarian with STR-16 and this power activated can move at 40 speed and attack four times at level one; if all the attacks land then there is a maximum of twelve damage without counting the weapons and if activates rage, the damage goes up to 20 plus weapons. It represents a great deal of harm for a beginner character and, again, not all modules will be zero to hero adventures. I think that [pounce] at low levels must be carefully considered. Of course, if Pierre implements it then we can try it out in the initial fights in the Augury of Chaos module.

Elephant: yep, an additional condition will be of immense help.

Cobra: yes, it's matter of taste. I'd prefer the "It's about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward" motto for the barbarian. :)

Bear: you are right, if the barbarian can only have one spirit active then the advantage is considerably reduced. Even it would have the inconvenient of activating it to avoid a volley of enemy energy spells and live another round but the AI detects that the character is protected against elemental spells, alters the tactic and uses another type of sorceries against the barb. With only one spirit animal active, the character doesn't have any offensive bonus active from the spirits, so can't go all out on the offensive and the enemy spellcasters avoid attacking him with energy spells, rendering the protection useless. And if the barbarian changes the spirit, then is time to start the bombarding and eat elemental damage. That's material for careful thought.

I still like increasing the Hit Die for the barbarian: a huge health pool can be an excellent playground for new and interesting abilities, being the primary barbarian class or a subclass.

Thanks for reading!
Sangarunya
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Re: New Barbarian Spirit Animals

Postby Atoch » Wed Jun 29, 2022 9:48 am

Hello Sangarunya!

There was quite a lot to think about.

But first I would like to point out something which shouldn't be forgotten.

Pierre has invited us all to discuss the feature of the new Spirit Animals, ‘cause he probably wants to implement this feature in the next days and weeks. He probably has a fixed and quite tight time-budget for this.
So ideally, every suggestion we make should be of similar or less complexity as the original proposal made by Pierre – ideally.
Also:
Suggestions which would require new U.I.-elements → bad
Suggestions which could re-use code already implemented → good


I can’t really argue against your analysis of the balancing issues, especially if I re-consider low-level modules, but I’m not sure if your suggestions can weather the complexity test…

Let’s take a look at some:

- your “Rhinoceros”: one fixed bonus will be divided in three increasing bonuses depending on the level. I’m not a software engineer and I can only guess, but this seems still of similar complexity as the original so I give a cautious: complexity test… o.k.

- your “Spider”: less additional speed, less additional complexity: complexity test… o.k.

- your “Eagle”: your suggestion remains very vague... a range weapon bonus. But what? Stackable boni for attack, damage or critical range are quite dangerous and should be avoided if possible. Negating cover bonus? There’s already a feat. I fear I lack the necessary imagination. complexity test… ?

- your “Scorpion”: “Changing the benefits in three different levels will solve the problem.“ I have to apologize for my lack of imagination, but I can’t see … anything. complexity test… ?

- your “Satyr”: a cautious: complexity test… o.k.

- “my” “Porpoise”: just make it unavailable at lower levels. complexity test… o.k.
I would welcome a tuned down version of the “Porpoise” (or something completely new), but again I lack the right imagination for it.


Best regards
Atoch
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Re: New Barbarian Spirit Animals

Postby Atoch » Wed Jun 29, 2022 6:11 pm

So, I’ve been kissed by a muse (or a hag?) and got some ideas:

- tamed “Scorpion”: Between level 1 and level 5 it grants extra attacks only for light and one-handed weapons.

- modified “Bull”: At low levels: As a “Free Action” you get a temporary “Enlarge” effect. You also get the feat “Improved Bullrush” for free.
At higher levels: You get the feat “Greater Bullrush” for free.


New or alternative Spirit Animals:

- “Lion”: mostly an anti-debuff shouting ability
At low level: allows a “Mass Remove Fear” effect, but not with a guaranteed success – only about 65% -70% probability of success.
At higher level: additional “Mass Remove Paralysis” effect (again no guaranteed effect).
The utility of an anti-debuff ability is to narrow, so I would like to add some buffing ability. Something like a temporary will-save bonus against fear-effects, or W8 temporary (non-stackable) hit-points, …
Activation time: move action

-”Ibex”: “Stomp”-effect at low level, “Greater Stomp” effect at higher level.
Activation time: standard action

I would like to hear your thoughts about it!

Best regards
Atoch
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Re: New Barbarian Spirit Animals

Postby Sangarunya » Sat Jul 02, 2022 1:35 pm

Hello again, Atoch!

The Ibex spirit sounds very valuable - the low effect is akin to the level-1 spell and the advanced to a level-5 one. For the most powerful bonus, perhaps we can add more damage in a barbarian style: besides the usual damage and the prone salvation throw, if the enemy fails the roll and falls prone, then damage equivalent to one attack of the barbarian is added. Or the creature prone provokes one attack of opportunity, but this option suffers the problem that only the adjacent enemies suffer the damage even if they were in the cone of influence of the ability (if the barb uses non-reach weapons or is medium-sized). Also we can consider to reduce the movement cost of going through between tiles with different height to to reflect this animal disregard for gravity.

About he Lion: giving the barbarian one "aura" ability could be very fun to show the battle spirit of these combatants. It will gain more utility if you include some offensive bonuses to the allies affected by the spirit or temporary bonuses to the saving throws for a few turns.

Now about the original spirit animals:

Bull: I think the best is waiting for Pierre implements his initial vision this and we can try out in game before adding more feats - it sounds lovely being able to use more combat actions for a tactical combat. It could be a very dominant power of perhaps pretty normal. We'll see.

Eagle: the bonus could be completely straightforward:
- lower level: +1 to attack and damage with ranged weapons and the range is increased 5 feet.
- middle level: +3 to attack and damage with ranged weapons and the range is increased another 5 feet.
- upper level: +5 to attack and damage with ranged weapons and the range is increased another 5 feet (for a total of 15 feet).

And more nice bonuses can be added, like an additional attack in the upper level or Precise Shot since the lower level. Determining what bonuses fit this ability will take some time to consider and avoid creating an underwhelming power or something impressive but the focus should be in give the barbarian an alternative instead of running around the battlefield hitting things. And the theme: hit things from afar and do a lot of damage. All of this is a suggestion to think about; including it into the game will require more debate.

Scorpion: I don't think restricting it to light or one-hand weapons solve the problem entirely: any weapon with a property that adds damage like flaming or acidic will double the damage with this spirit. For example, a flaming light hammer without more bonuses, wielded by a blackforge dwarf with 20-STR will do: 1d4 + 5 (STR) + 1d6 (fire) aggregating 7-15 damage. Doubling the damage with the Scorpion we get 14-30 damage at level one if both attacks hit. And it is a very tame example with one simple weapon. Think also you can craft your own weapons and confer several of these properties (flaming, icy, acidic, ...) obtaining an incredible amount of damage.

Perhaps the most appropriate option is to apply the damage excluding the weapon wielded: the extra attack causes the STR bonus plus 1d4 or 1d6; no weapon considered at the low tier. At the middle tier, is treated like a normal secondary attack with the usual damage modifiers and counting the weapon damage but adding a minus five to avoid using full BAB and in the highest tier is simply one more attack with full BAB, like Pierre's original power.

As one would expect, there is some exception to the rule, so half-salamanders' elemental damage will be added in each attack because is not weapon based and they will benefit a lot with this spirit animal but maybe is more satisfactory to consider it as a boost to this race.

Porpoise: this spirit is tailored to killing spellcasters but the problem is granting an ability with so much power at a low level. I think the solution is to divide the bonuses along several levels of proficiency. At the low level, allow the attacks ignore invisibility and reduce the enemy concealment a precise quantity (20%, for example). In the middle level, increase this value to 30% and in the upper level to 40%. With this distribution the barbarian can still hit spellcasters with efficiency but without rendering all the concealment-based defenses useless. About the Mirror Images, instead of neglecting them completely let the barb attacks wipe one additional image per attack failed. At middle level, dissipates two more images and in the superior level, three of them. A level-19 spellcaster has 8-12 mirror images active, so a high-level barbarian can eliminate them in two or three attacks and then deal some damage. Caster defenses still are useful but the mage will likely need some additional protection, like stoneskin or similar to reduce the incoming damage and survive in the late levels.


Augury of Chaos is a good module to test new abilities and spells and improve the ruleset until The Dark Arena is out, so with some deliberation and suggestions we can enrich the game little by little while Pierre is working in the new module. If he considers that the change is not suitable or it takes too much time, then we discard the idea. If he implements it, then we can play the game and experiment with new parties and synergies and come to the conclusion if it's appropriate.

Thanks for reading!
Sangarunya
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Re: New Barbarian Spirit Animals

Postby Atoch » Mon Jul 04, 2022 7:18 pm

Greetings Sangarunya and everyone else!

Generally I don’t think the “old” barbarian was weak – every strength-based melee fighter with the right feats and weapon is useful and a serious damage dealer. But he was rather boring to play and I hope, and think, the new active abilities will change this – in whatever way they will be implemented.

But what exactly will the “new” barbarian set apart for from the fighter-class (or from other melee-classes)? What could be his function in the party and what could he do better than other melee-classes?

Here some statistics about Pierres new Spirit Animals:

- Mobility: 3
Cobra, Eagle, Spider

- Combination of Lethality and Mobility: 2 (I’m inclined to add them more under Mobility than Lethality)
Crocodile, Jaguar

- Lethality: 1
Scorpion

- Survivability: 3
Bear, Rhinoceros, Satyr

- (limited) Crowd Control: 2
Bull, Elephant

- Mage-killing Competence: 1 (could be summarized under Lethality, but I think, it is better described as a special competence)
Porpoise


I’m so curious how in what direction the other recently mentioned classes will be updated!
Atoch
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Re: New Barbarian Spirit Animals

Postby Sangarunya » Sat Jul 09, 2022 2:51 pm

The barbarian's role in a party is very offensive with lots of damage thanks to the rage ability, more mobility and less AC/defense. The fighter has many more feats to choose, can use/wear heavier armor and shields and make a greater use of the combat maneuvers available. The usual barbarian is more direct in this term: raging means more strength and constitution and, as levels up, the bonus is increased. So, a higher damage ceiling.

About the class survivability: is not very good, the few feats that are available don't mean a lot in the higher levels. Barb can kill several enemies in a row, but when is targeted by several enemies, the huge amount of damage is too much to keep the barbie alive; needs help of the spellcasters with protection and healing spells. The feats that offer a few more life points are not so useful: those ten life points are not going to keep the barbarian breathing when is fighting lots of enemies in the late game. The "a few more life points" feats are somehow useful in low magic settings and low-levels modules. That's why I mentioned in a previous post that it would be more useful to get rid of those feats and increase the Hit-point Dice for the barbarian as he increases levels to rise the survivability and avoid wasting feats that offers the class no real advantages.

Things that could be considered to implement in the future: the barbarian is going to get hurt and lose lots of life points in the battlefield (low AC), so leverage the traditional advantages of the class to offer some bonuses and improve his abilities. If his life points are under a certain threshold when the barbarian is raging, increase his damage reduction and/or his damage dealt and/or speed. A significant regeneration triggering in that moment will help to keep him alive until is once more above the cutoff point and lose the bonuses. That transforms the barbarian in a hard to kill mince machine when is critically hurt or near death and far more dangerous if not finished off immediately. Lives on the edge and dances between the bonuses granted by the rage power and the damage taken, keeping him on the brink of life and death while dealing lots of damage.

A barbarian should thrive on the battle no matter if is outnumbered and surrounded. Provide a bonus to damage or defense as a dodge bonus if is flanked or surrounded by three or more enemies. If the barbarian defeats an enemy, this could mean: more damage in the next turn, a bonus to all the allies in the range of his shout or a negative condition (Shaken, Cowered or a new one: Terrified), bestowed to the nearby enemies if they fail a saving throw to reflect the savagery of this combatant.

A third possibility: perhaps we could grant the barb an equivalent of the feat whirlwind attack when is severely injured and/or if kills an enemy and is raging. This ability should be medium-high level. If the damage dealt with a reach weapon is too much, the ability could be restricted to one-handed or two-handed weapons. And only once per turn.

The barbarian is a class that can slay enemies easily; the problem is keeping him alive. Adding several aura bonuses as shouts could be interesting for melee-oriented parties and change slightly the barb job to give some bonuses at a precise time, some as at-will power and others triggered by slaying enemies. Making the character very difficult to kill when is severely injured is synergistic with the features of the class and transforming in a incredibly serious menace if is not put to rest as soon as possible. More offensive/defensive bonuses when fights several enemies at the same time is on top of that a very fitting theme, given the superior mobility of the character.

The path to transform the barbarian from a "more strength" powers to a "more variety of skills" class is long and winding but it should be doable with several changes.

Thanks for reading!
Sangarunya
Hezrou (CR 11)
Knights of the Chalice 2
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