Wednesday, August 24, 2005

unholy discharge

mmm... nothing like a fresh chicken springroll before answering questions.
last night (while avoiding roleplaying) we got into a discussion about:

in the dungeons and dragons game (3rd ed or 3.5):
what happened to the anti-paladin? why do paladins have to be good if they are meant to be champions of a religion then surely there should be champions of evil religions?
also: what's up with casting touch attacks in combat. do they provoke attacks of opportunity? are they any good for an anti-paladin as he gets cause wounds in place of cure wounds.
also: which is better cure wounds or cause wounds?
signed
a rag tag bunch of jenga playing misfits


well rag tag misfits, lets deal with the first part first:
d&d is meant to be epic heroes crusading across the land in search of adventures and treasure and general goodness.
note: heroes and goodness.
while i agree that anti-paladins should exist, d&d is aimed at playing the good guys, hence the appearance of the prestige class "black guard."
the black guard are basically anti-paladins but you need to meet some requirements before you can play them. they do allow some interesting play possibilities as you get extra bonuses for being a "fallen" paladin.
if being nasty and playing the evil side takes your fancy (as opposed to playing a lawful-good character who randomly slaughters innocent dungeon denziens and steals their treasure... "look out! here come the good guys... hide the children and leave the good silverware out. maybe they'll take the treasure and go without searching too much and we'll survive this time. i really don't want to go through another ressurection...") then you should take a look at the book of vile darkness.
this is a supplement made just for the evil in you.
that being said: rules are made to be broken. if you're really into playing an antipaladin then you'll have no problem using underhanded means to convince your dm to alter the paladin character to represent an antipaladin. bribe him, threaten him, throw a tantrum, curse his dice, swear at him until his ears bleed. eventually he'll give in.

now for the second part: touch attacks and casting in combat!
normally unarmed attacks provoke an attack of opportunity. basically, if you attack a man wielding a sword, he's just going to block your punch with his blade and you'll be called "stumpy" or "lefty" for the rest of the campaign. this is what the attack of opportunity represents. monks get off light as they know martial arts (and presumably punch their fists into burning coals and whatnot during training. helpful tip: shaolin barbaques are not fun)
touch attacks (with spells) are different however. firstly you cast a spell which builds a charge in the hand. holding for as long as neccesary, the spell is "discharged" when the attack is made. obviously this discharge is deadly and the opponent is not thinking "he can't punch through my plate mail."
he's thinking "omfg! he's going to discharge all over me!" and is trying to get away from you.
no self respecting hero is going to willingly let someone discharge all over him in public.
imagine the following scene:
the dust of a hard-fought battle is dying down along with the ork and goblins that have been liberally slain. the heroes step out of the dust checking their wounds and making sure everyone is ok, when the barbarian steps out looking a little dazed and stunned.
"what's wrong grunk?" they ask him.
"t-t-the o-ork sh-sh-shaman..." grunk stutters.
"erm.. grunk," the rogue (thief) whispers from the shadows, "you have a little something on your arms... and chest."
grunk begins to sob: "i feel so violated." sob sob sob.
"what happened grunk?" the party enquires.
"the shaman discharged all over me... i need a shower... waaaaaahhhh!"
unless your alignment is "dodgy-exhibitionist" you're not going to want to be grunk. in fact if your alignment is dodgy-exhibitionist what are you doing wearing all that armour? the only armour allowed to that alignment are the following 2 items: a leather thong and a pair of nipplecaps (tassled or untassled). in spite of all the fantasy artwork you may have come across, this armour provides almost no protection at all. ie: +0 AC.
in fact most adventurers simply aren't dodgy-exhibitionist as they like to cover themselves up. those who don't cover often die quickly (full of holes). the only classes that don't mind this limitation are the wizard and the sorcerer, but who wants to see that? you hardly ever see a "fit" wizard or sorcerer, and when you do they are well covered to prevent the barbarian from drooling over them and grabbing their ass in the heat of battle *nudge nudge, wink wink*

attacking someone with a "discharge" "touch" attack works as follows: cast the spell. if an opponent is close by then cast defensively. this means that you need to make an additional concentration roll but does prevent attacks of opportunity from being made against you. (if you don't do this you may find it difficult trying to make a touch attack while bleeding to death). this uses up a standard action leaving you with a move action for the round (unless you have something funky giving you extra actions).
next round (or whenever you are in place to attack an enemy. you can hold yourself off indefinitely) you can make your touch attack and the spell discharges, taking effect. generally speaking you should get your opponent flanked so that you can come up from behind and discharge all over his back.

now if you're playing a fighter character (like an antipaladin) then you should have a good base attack bonus. touch attacks ignore armour as you're only interested in your opponent's flexibility when discharging in their direction, not what clothes they may be wearing...
with a good base attack bonus you should easily be able to overcome an opponent with your touch attack. a strong, strapping, bear of a fighter (*rowr*) should easily be able to hold someone down while he discharges all over them.

this brings us to the closing question: which is better, cause or cure.
well this completely depends on the character. antipalidins prefer to break living things and fix dead things so they like cause wounds spells.
paladins prefer flowers and bunnies and stabbing the undead through their cold, unbeating hearts (or wherever really), and so they prefer cure wounds spells.
speaking on a tactical level: if you kill it before it wounds you then you don't need the cure wounds spell. this does leed to a more aggressive play style and may cause endless calamity to befall your party as they continually end up in deadly barroom brawls and dance-offs that you drag them into.
of course you don't care about their health though: you're evil as evil can be.
hint: make sure the rest of the party is at least lawfull so that they keep party coherency and don't just stab your ass and leave you to die on the dancefloor because they couldn't be bothered to save you from another dance-off gone wrong.
hint hint: if the rest of the party is good you may not want to let them know you're evil/ an anti-paladin. they tend to frown on this. try painting your armour silver or white, wear a flower in your hair, claim that it's a "special" postion of vitamins you're drinking which just happens to look like blood, and try (try very hard) not to blurt out things like "hail my dark master" or "death to all the enemies of the dark" or "hey you.. we can only settle this with a dance-off!"

i hope this endarkens you and sheds some dark on the subject.
uncle zenstar

1 Comments:

Anonymous Waynne said...

Other thoughts on Cure / Cause wounds... Paladins cannot spontaneously convert their spells to Cure spells (cleric only ability I think - and then it still takes a Full Round Action!). And generally paladins don't actually have that many spells so the question is kinda moot - paladins should not be doing the spell healing/hurting...

1:21 PM  

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