House Inlindl and their Combat Style

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House Inlindl and their Combat Style

Post by willpell » Sat Sep 08, 2018 12:21 am

This is both a fluff and a crunch question, and the fluff part could relate to any aspect of Greyhawk, the Forgotten Realms, or more "generic" settings (and possibly Nentir Vale, I dunno, although probably not Eberron). The rules comment is strictly 3E-related, and I'll save it for the end, although it's the entire reason I'm discussing the subject.

As the thread title suggestions, I'm looking for information on the Drow House of Inlindl, which is namechecked numerous times in the 3.5 supplement "Drow of the Underdark" (easily the most extensive discussion of the dark elves I've ever heard about), but which receives almost no actual description in that book, just a bunch of references to the fact that they exist. The only real information provided is an illustration of their "family web" as compared to the other houses, and most of those aren't described in the book either. So who knows something concrete about Inlindl in particular? Is there a novel or a Forgotten Realms product or some 1E adventure or something which details them fully?

Now the mechanical inquiry. There are several Combat Style feats in DOTU, and by far the most baffling one to me is Inlindl Combat Style, which says that the character can fight with a finesse weapon in one hand, a shield in the other, and can transfer the shield's AC bonus to the attack roll. The feat reads as though the writer of it forgot, as I did until rereading it, that the Weapon Finesse feat (which is a prerequisite to Inlindl Style) states that if you use a shield, you add the Armor Check Penalty of that shield as a penalty to your Weapon Finesse attack roll. So if you use a Light Shield that gives you +1 AC, you're taking a -1 penalty to your attack roll, and Indlindl Style allows you to gain a +1 bonus on that attack roll by giving up your shield bonus to AC - exactly what would happen if you dropped the shield, forgot the feat, and attacked normally with your finesse weapon.

It's no secret that a lot of 3E feats do almost nothing for you, but this might be the single worst one I've seen. I did eventually think that a masterwork shield might provide a +1 bonus to AC with a 0 ACP, so that would make this combat style work, technically - but it's an awful lot of extra effort to go to, just to duplicate the Weapon Finesse feat. I feel like it's no coincidence that none of the sample NPCs in the book took Inlindl Style; it seems to be almost entirely pointless. Other than the masterwork thing, which I didn't think of until after I started writing this topic (and it's marginal enough that I still feel justified in asking), am I missing something here? Or is this feat really just "you can use your masterwork shield for a +1 to your attack roll with finesse weapons instead of for an AC bonus", making it one of the tiniest combat bonuses in the entire game (compare to, say, Reckless Attack for instance)?

To unify the two questions, if there is fluff on House Inlindl, why exactly do they fight with shields and finesse weapons so often that they need their own Feat for it? And are they all really stupid, so they all trash their builds by taking that feat? Or do they just wait until level 20 when they've taken every other feat that could possibly boost their attack roll, and this is the kind of hoops the GM is making them jump through if they want to get one more +1 to hit?

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Re: House Inlindl and their Combat Style

Post by Sturm » Sat Sep 08, 2018 9:47 am

Only for the FR fluff, I do not think they are mentioned in the Forgotten Realms.
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Re: House Inlindl and their Combat Style

Post by Big Mac » Sat Sep 08, 2018 4:54 pm

Erelhei-Cinlu (from the Drow of the Underdark sourcebook) is actually a drow city in the Greyhawk campaign setting.

So there might be some more information about the House of Inlindl in some of the 2nd Edition or 1st Edition D&D products.

GDQ1-7 Queen of the Spiders is a series of seven 1e adventures that ends up with the PCs needing to deal with drow plots. There is also a novel of Descent into the Depths of the Earth which is based on part of the plot and might mention the house.

The 3e Drow of the Underdark revisits some of the places from GDQ1-7. But I'm not totally sure how close they have stuck to the original plot. I know the 3e book also has some tie-ins to the Chainmail/Sundered Empire setting.
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