PHB3, Hybrid Rules, and Mystaran Elves

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PHB3, Hybrid Rules, and Mystaran Elves

Postby JohnBiles » Thu Mar 11, 2010 10:36 pm

The Hybrid rules make it fairly easy to build something close to the Elf character class of Classic D&D.

If you Hybridize Fighter and Wizard, and use your starting feat for Hybrid Talent: Fighter Armor Proficiency, you end up with someone who is like this:

Armor Proficiencies: Cloth, Leather Armor, Hide Armor, Chainmail, Scale Armor, Light and Heavy Shields
Weapon Proficiencies: Simple and Military Melee and Ranged
Implements: Orbs, Staffs, Wands
Bonuses to Defense: +1 Fortitude, +1 Will

Hit Points at First Level: 12 + Constitution
Hit Points Per Level: 5
Healing Surges Per Day: 7

Class Skills (Choose 3 for Training): Arcana, Athletics, Diplomacy, Dungeoneering, Endurance, Heal, History, Insight, Intimidate, Nature, Religion, Streetwise

Class Feature: Cantrips (as Wizard), Combat Challenge (as fighter but you only mark when using Fighter powers)

At-Wills: 1 from Fighter, one from Wizard
Encounters, Utilities, and Dailies can be taken from either class, but you have to keep them in rough balance once you have 2 or more of each category.

Here's an example character built with a 16/16/12/11/10/8 array

Aradil Arathos
Eladrin Hybrid Fighter/Wizard 1
S: 16
I: 18
W: 10
D: 13
C: 12
Ch: 8

AC: 19
Fortitude: 14
Reflex: 14
Will: 13

HP: 24
Healing Surge Value: 6
Healing Surges: 7
Speed: 5 (Armor)

Feat: Hybrid Talent (Fighter Weapon Proficiencies)
Trained Skills: Arcana +11, Athletics +8, History +11,

At-Wills: Reaping Strike, Scorching Burst
Encounters: Fey Step (Racial), Force Orb
Daily: Villain's Menace

Gear: Scalemail, Longsword, Heavy Shield, Wand, Adventurer's Kit, 8 GP.
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Re: PHB3, Hybrid Rules, and Mystaran Elves

Postby agathokles » Sat Mar 13, 2010 1:10 pm

The hybrid rules are great for this purpose, but given that 4e Fighters and Wizards are not really the same as the corresponding OD&D classes, and that you're going to lose the Wizard's spellbook anyway, it would be probably better to choose more viable combinations, e.g. Fighter|Spellsword or Paladin|Sorcerer.
Arcane Initiate and Ritual Caster would complete this type of character.

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Re: PHB3, Hybrid Rules, and Mystaran Elves

Postby agathokles » Sun Apr 25, 2010 10:27 pm

Even better, Fighter|Spellsword with Hybrid Talent (Fighter Armor Proficiency), Ritual Caster and the Spellsword spellbook feat (choosing most dailies from the Spellsword repertoire) would make a passable clone of the Elf. That gives spellcasting in armor, including attack spells (Spellsword have mostly melee or close blast spells, but some ranged as well, with some focus on elemental damage), no need of wands or other 4e implements, and even spell memorization mechanics, which would be absent in the Fighter|Wizard. Finally, this hybrid is a clearly cut defender (defender/controller hybrids are not that easy to use). Arcane Initiate can be used to get a trademark spell such as Magic Missile (though it is not that useful) or a more effective close blast attack.

Warlord|Spellsword and Paladin|Sorcerer may be mechanically stronger (due to greater focus on just two ability scores), but are less precise matches.

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Re: PHB3, Hybrid Rules, and Mystaran Elves

Postby Dwk3 » Sun Aug 01, 2010 5:42 am

Another point to keep in mind is that high intelligence characters can get very high ACs in 4E even without proficiency with heavy armor. A hybrid swordmage/wizard can do most of the things that the old Elf class could do despite a relative lack of armor. Or, given that eladrin have a racial proficiency with longswords, you could go with a straight wizard and pick up feats such as Leather Armor Proficiency, Toughness, Durable, and Eladrin Sword Wizardry or Arcane Implement Proficiency to make them more fighter-like.

One general pattern I have observed is that you really can't make a generalization that old class X converts to new class Y. Instead, it is often better to pick the most important abilities of the character in question and use that as a guide to picking a 4E class equivalent. This generalization is especially important for converting Mystaran elves, as some emphasize their spellcasting ability while others emphasize their weapon skills and still others (Treekeepers, for exampe) go off in other directions completely. In a game where intelligence boosts AC and a wizard can cast Magic Missile at will as a ranged basic attack, the ability to wield swords and wear heavy armor is less important than it used to be.
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Re: PHB3, Hybrid Rules, and Mystaran Elves

Postby agathokles » Sun Aug 01, 2010 8:41 pm

Dwk3 wrote:Another point to keep in mind is that high intelligence characters can get very high ACs in 4E even without proficiency with heavy armor. A hybrid swordmage/wizard can do most of the things that the old Elf class could do despite a relative lack of armor. Or, given that eladrin have a racial proficiency with longswords, you could go with a straight wizard and pick up feats such as Leather Armor Proficiency, Toughness, Durable, and Eladrin Sword Wizardry or Arcane Implement Proficiency to make them more fighter-like.


I suppose that's matter of perspective. IMO, the defining characteristic of the OD&D Elf is casting in heavy armor, not high intelligence. If having high intelligence is a hindrance in 4e to the armored caster, then I'd drop the Int score (which by the way had a lower limit that is not so constraining in 4e).
Also, mechanically the OD&D Elf is really a Fighter|Wizard -- average HP, mixed saves, abilities from both classes.
Note that the OD&D Elf class is available to humans as well, under the name of Forester. Since humans don't have Eladrin racial proficiency, the problem of the Fighter/Magic-User hybrid class is still open.
Sure, many NPCs would be better portrayed as a different class or combination, but what really matter in 4e are PCs -- Elf NPCs will still be just NPCs, with abilities and powers not necessarily corresponding to a 4e class.
And most Elf PCs are actually casters in heavy armor, in my experience.

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Re: PHB3, Hybrid Rules, and Mystaran Elves

Postby Dwk3 » Wed Aug 11, 2010 2:23 am

agathokles wrote:
Dwk3 wrote:Another point to keep in mind is that high intelligence characters can get very high ACs in 4E even without proficiency with heavy armor. A hybrid swordmage/wizard can do most of the things that the old Elf class could do despite a relative lack of armor. Or, given that eladrin have a racial proficiency with longswords, you could go with a straight wizard and pick up feats such as Leather Armor Proficiency, Toughness, Durable, and Eladrin Sword Wizardry or Arcane Implement Proficiency to make them more fighter-like.


I suppose that's matter of perspective. IMO, the defining characteristic of the OD&D Elf is casting in heavy armor, not high intelligence. If having high intelligence is a hindrance in 4e to the armored caster, then I'd drop the Int score (which by the way had a lower limit that is not so constraining in 4e).
Also, mechanically the OD&D Elf is really a Fighter|Wizard -- average HP, mixed saves, abilities from both classes.
Note that the OD&D Elf class is available to humans as well, under the name of Forester. Since humans don't have Eladrin racial proficiency, the problem of the Fighter/Magic-User hybrid class is still open.
Sure, many NPCs would be better portrayed as a different class or combination, but what really matter in 4e are PCs -- Elf NPCs will still be just NPCs, with abilities and powers not necessarily corresponding to a 4e class.
And most Elf PCs are actually casters in heavy armor, in my experience.

GP


The main problem with high intelligence and heavy armor is that wearing heavy armor can actually reduce your AC -- something that never happened prior to 4E. I guess it is no coincidence that drowmesh in 4E is actually a type of masterwork leather armor, even though its name would suggest elven chainmail.

Certainly, a moderately intelligent eladrin or elf who merely dabbles in magic and mostly focuses on swordplay is quite possible -- I was just suggesting how you could go the other way.

In any case, it should be interesting to see what new options become available this fall -- the existing PHB3 hybrid rules, for example, would certainly need some tweaking for compatibility with the Essentials classes -- and after that tweak, there may be ways that a fighter|wizard might actually be mechanically sound.
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Re: PHB3, Hybrid Rules, and Mystaran Elves

Postby agathokles » Wed Aug 11, 2010 5:01 pm

What I'm saying is that you don't need high intelligence for arcane magic in 4e -- Sorcerers and Bards, for example, use Charisma. So, choosing different classes than Fighter and Wizard can lead to better results in terms of "playability" of the build -- e.g., a Warlord|Sorcerer (Strength-based) seems easier to build than a Fighter|Wizard, doesn't need too much Intelligence (it's likely the third score after Strength and Charisma)... unfortunately, it doesn't mix well with the current Elf or Eladrin races.

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Re: PHB3, Hybrid Rules, and Mystaran Elves

Postby Dwk3 » Thu Aug 12, 2010 12:41 am

agathokles wrote:What I'm saying is that you don't need high intelligence for arcane magic in 4e -- Sorcerers and Bards, for example, use Charisma. So, choosing different classes than Fighter and Wizard can lead to better results in terms of "playability" of the build -- e.g., a Warlord|Sorcerer (Strength-based) seems easier to build than a Fighter|Wizard, doesn't need too much Intelligence (it's likely the third score after Strength and Charisma)... unfortunately, it doesn't mix well with the current Elf or Eladrin races.

GP


The warlord half is a good fit -- the sorcerer half, far less so. And even this build would function best in light armor with strength used as the AC boosting stat (several of the PHB2 classes are weird that way).

Now a bard would be a natural for a heavy armored arcane spellcaster, assuming he doesn't take Virtue of Cunning (which would encourage having an intelligence high enough to discourage wearing of chainmail armor). Of course, at this point we have no idea whether eladrin can potentially have a racial charisma bonus. (We know that elves cannot -- their bonuses have already been spoiled as a combination of Dex with choice of Int or Wis.)

Another point to keep in mind is that the Essentials previews we have seen so far have had many features that seem to be throwbacks to the original red box game (first associated with guess which game world?). Will they come up with something to support the heavy armored elf/wizard archetype? No clue so far.
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Re: PHB3, Hybrid Rules, and Mystaran Elves

Postby agathokles » Thu Aug 12, 2010 9:01 pm

Indeed. However, with the Elves being back to favor the wizard class, the Eladrin are a less likely choice as Elf replacement.
You're also right that there might be something in future Essential products to this end. On the other end, up to now no non-defender class has been given scale armor proficiency, and chain mail, as you noted, is often not as good as hide + high stat bonus (at least at lower levels, maybe powerful armor types change the balance a bit?)

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