On E6 (pathfinder)

•January 28, 2014 • Leave a Comment

I think I’ve mentioned E6 before, though I’m too lazy to look it up. The thing is a large number of my posts from here on out on pathfinder will be at least somewhat influenced by the ruleset variation.

While I’ll summarize, here is a link to one of the enworld forums in which E6 was developed.

Summarized: stop leveling at 6th level. No increases in BAB, no increases in numbers of spells cast or levels of spells achieved, no additional hit points, etc. There is some continued growth in that every 5000 XP you get another feat. Depending on minor variation that may be a ‘feat or skill point’. On the other hand it’s something of a violation of concept as intended to wind up with double-digit skill ranks.

Now the big thing this does for crunch work is it forces a major revisit of ‘what is good or bad’ for various classes. If you are rating a wizard build based on the strength of things you’ll get as you reach levels 8+, your rating fails. And if you find a guide that says “great for lower levels worthless for mid to upper” it becomes “great.”

Much of my crunching is going to be from this point of view. As an example, I just did a crunch of weapons for best ‘base’ DPR. Something sort of important happens if you have static bonuses in the double digits – if you’re getting +11 to hit and damage due to BAB and such. Crits start being more important. But in E6 you’re pretty much never going to get those levels of static bonuses. So base weapon DPR matters more.

I’ll try to remind folk that this is my bias when I do more evals, but I’d like to get it out front for the regular readers or those who read the archives.

Two handed v dual wielding (pathfinder)

•January 24, 2014 • Leave a Comment

One perennial argument in every fantasy game system I’ve played (online and pen and paper) is in regard to dual wielding. Does it do more or less damage than the Big Honking Sword? As always It Depends. It depends on system and mods from feats and skills and so on and so forth.

(Bottom line up front: in pathfinder the big honking sword beats all the dual wield combinations, assuming only TWF for mods.) But it’s worse than that – see the post for why.

And again, your humble fool is going to try to answer despite ‘it depends’. I’ll do so again by staying in one system (Pathfinder), and answering just at the core with minimum mods.

Minimum. One, to be precise. TWF without which smashing things with your face is almost as effective.

I’m going to only show some weapons – basically ‘best’ (bastard, long, and short swords) plus a shield combo for the people who recommend TWF with sword and shield. I’m doing to show greatsword and singles of the weapons for comparison.

Let’s get the table out of the way first.

Weapon DPR at 14 DPR at 20
Greatsword 2.695 0.385
Bastard only 2.1175 0.3025
Bastd+Short 1.99375 0.380625
Long only 1.7325 0.2475
Long+Short 1.71875 0.328125
Long + Spiked Lt Shld 1.565625 0.301875
Twin Bstd 1.36125 0.433125
Short only 1.3475 0.1925
Twin Long 1.11375 0.354375

Yes, those numbers are right. They’re the DPRs at 14 and when you need a natural 20 to hit. Now to defend it.

First, keep in mind that using two weapons (with TWF) is -2 for both if the off-hand weapon is light, -4 if not.

Now here’s the math so you can double-check. We start with the original formula and make a couple of changes.
DPR = ((dmin + dmax)/2 * ((21 – tgtnum)/20 – ((21 – pot_crit)/20 * (21 – tgtnum)/20)) + ((dmin + dmax)/2 * X *(21 – pot_crit)/20 * (21 – tgtnum)/20))
DPR = ((dmin + dmax + dmod)/2 * ((21+ hitmod – tgtnum)/20 – ((21- hitmod – pot_crit)/20 * (21+ hitmod – tgtnum)/20)) + ((dmin + dmax + dmod)/2 * X *(21+ hitmod – pot_crit)/20 * (21+ hitmod – tgtnum)/20))
Changes are in italics, and there are really only two (done several times).
+ dmod. Add any damage modifiers to the average damage. This isn’t going to come into play in this post but will be happening soon when I look at some other feats.
+ hitmod. This lets us add the ‘to hit’ modification. It’s intentionally inverting the apparent effect because of where I’m applying it.

Also in the spreadsheet you need an IF statement. IF the mod makes 21-tgtnum+hitmod less than 1 then you need to ignore the hitmod. That’s because a 20 always hits. You also need to make the pot_crit a 20 as well – you can’t crit on 18 or 19 if you can’t hit on 18 or 19.

That’s it. I’m open to people saying the formula is wrong, and if so I’ll be happy to adjust (tell me in the comments). But as it is, the rule is that barring possible special modifications TWF is the worst option between two-handed, single weapon, and TWF. The exceptions are where everyone needs natural 20s to hit.

Best weapon (DPR, Pathfinder)

•January 24, 2014 • Leave a Comment

It dawns upon me that various searchers may find this post. So bottom line up front: weapons, no mods or bonuses, the greatsword and the dwarven longhammer share the top spot. For one-handed it’s the bastard sword alone. If you can’t or won’t go exotic the one-handed highest DPR is shared between longsword and battleaxe.

So the most recent number crunching I’ve done has been for pathfinder. That’s one of the Dungeons and Dragons editions for the one or two who don’t know. Now I’m not talking online gaming. I’m talking on the table-top – pen and paper (PnP) playing with a GM and a group of friends. What this means is that there are always a lot of caveats to apply. Every table has house rules, and the GM may be playing for god-slayers or E6ers, in low to epic magic levels, perhaps with dimensions, perhaps with a touch of steam, … yeah, you get the idea.

(God-slayers and E6ers are my terms so I’d better explain them. Godslayers are the players at level 20, who brag of killing various gods, who wander into hell to give Satan a wedgie. E6ers are the players using a variation that puts and mostly keeps them at the opposite end of the spectrum. I’ve got a post on E6 coming at some point, so I’ll refrain from full disclosure here.)

Despite all this making the correct answer ‘it depends’, there are continuous discussions of what weapon is best for various players. And despite knowing it depends, I’m going to take a whack at the answer.

The thing is I’m going to strip away as much flavor and variation as possible. I’m making a very specific definition of “best” for this post.

‘best’ is the weapon that does the highest DPR (damage per round) without any modifiers.

Before I get into the nuts and bolts and also-runs I’ll answer the question. There are two weapons that tie for the best DPR: the greatsword, and the dwarven long-hammer. The greatsword is a martial weapon found in the core rulebook, the dwarven longhammer is an exotic weapon found in the Advanced Race Guide.

Oh, ok. One-handed best DPR is the bastard sword wielded one-handed: core rulebook, exotic weapon. If you’re going to stick to martial weapons it’s tie between the longsword and the battleaxe.

Before I go into the crunch I can give a fast guide – a set of basic rules which I’ll be defending and expanding in the rest of this post.

Rule one: The higher the max damage the higher the DPR. If the top is 12 it beats 10. Seems obvious. What makes it not so obvious is criticals – see rule three. But first;
Rule two: If max is equal, multiple dice give a higher DPR. In other words, 2d6 beats 1d12. Again seems obvious (mean 7 beats mean 6.5). Again, criticals confuse. Fortunately it’s time for;
Rule three: The crit sequence is x2 < x3 = 19-20×2 < 18-20×2 < x4 = 19-20×3. Rephrased, the lowest is 20×2. Working upward there is a tie between 20×3 and 19×2, then 18×2 alone, then 20×4 which ties with 19×3. T

Onward for the crunchy goodness.
Continue reading ‘Best weapon (DPR, Pathfinder)’

Return again, again

•January 23, 2014 • Leave a Comment

So I started to put this in my more-or-less active blog, but remembered I’ve got a gaming blog and hey, it needs a little love as well.

I’m not doing online gaming (much) but have managed to get regular with tabletop RPGs and other games. I’ll be talking about them here over the upcoming …. however long I keep going.

Another go at the supercap solution

•November 9, 2012 • 1 Comment

So I’ve been wandering around the eve-blogs learning more about the supercapital problem. I’ve pretty much come to the conclusion that some form of superweapon or special ship isn’t the solution. Ugly as it is, the solution is probably a touch of the real world. It is an ugly word, despised in most game venues and somewhat misused in EVE. I’m speaking, of course, of logistics.

Once you put in logistics you start seeing why numbers of units get capped. You see why so many armies and navies have such large tail to tooth ratios.

Now the problem with really doing logistics is that it can ruin the fun. Make fuel a requirement and suddenly nobody travels. (On the other hand, it creates huge reasons for controlling certain locations – enter as fuel source or as critical junctions to reduce fuel burdens. Just a point.) Nobody really wants to track spare parts and wear and maintenance.

But if you don’t and you have fairly open ended production plus a bit of high end power creep you get the super blobs of Star Fleet Battles or the Supercaps of EVE.

I do not know EVE well enough to recommend a detail. But the general recommendation is fairly solid. Make larger ships – at least the supercaps – expensive to have as well as to build. More than the current relatively small fuel to move it. (yes, CCP tried. But it is basically too small.)

On the other hand logistics done without careful thought continues if not increases the alliance problem to which the maintenance-free supercaps are contributing. More pondering…

Breaking Big Revised

•November 5, 2012 • Leave a Comment

Boy, does actually looking help. EVE doesn’t need a new ship or a new weapon system. See, I’d never really looked at the bombers.

Now they’re not cheap, not like T1 frigates. But the stealth bomber carries the bomb launcher – just one, mind. Each bomb does 6400 points of damage. A stealth bomber carries only one or two bombs as they’re rather large. But, and there’s a big but here…

The EHP (Effective Hit Points) of the largest ships run into the millions. It would take more than 600 bombers to take down a fairly well done Titan, assuming all bombs hit soon enough that repair cycles didn’t get in the way. And this is why Drackar was speaking of such a radical system.

I’ll want to think further. My first reaction was to just want a specialized bomb – double the size, quadruple both the damage and the explosion radius. But that’s a bit ridiculous, first, and second it only cuts the number of bombers required in half. Bluntly, to effectively threaten megacorps I think a group of not more than 100 ships should be a viable threat — and depending on a number of factors I’ve not looked at in depth I can see the magic number being 50.

On the other hand I don’t think CCP or anyone else really wants to see Titans totally turned into white elephants. So no three-shot kill-groups or truly magic bullets.

The titan costs money and time to build. The threat should be as expensive in effort, though I’m willing to say a number of individuals acting cooperatively bringing particular toys and the skills to use them should suffice.

More thinking…

Breaking Big

•November 5, 2012 • Leave a Comment

Looking on EVE Online from the outside, one of the things I see happening is power creep. (It’s also a concern of several bloggers so I know I’m not out in left field on this.)

Specifically I’m talking of the plethora of HUGE ships, ships that are expensive and very large and at least nominally dominate the battlefield by their existence, much less presence. From my point of view, the existence of these ships is part of what’s driving the coalescence of player corps – another perceived problem in the game.

Inevitable digression time: there’s a lot of concern that the ‘exciting’ area of the game is turning into two huge alliances, and only where those two alliances edge against each other is the game interesting and ‘fun’. For PVP values of fun, of course. See, if you’re part of the alliance you really shouldn’t shoot at other alliance members, not unless you want the behemoth to crush you for being an annoyance. Anyway…

I had an idea I was mulling, and was staggered when I saw long-time player/blogger Drackarn post an article with the same basic idea. Torpedo Boats.

Now he’s been playing long enough he thought a battlecruiser was a good idea, but in my opinion that works against the basic idea. The basic idea being a specialized very cheap ship that does really nasty damage to the really big ships, but is otherwise extremely vulnerable. And as I posted in a comment, I think there’s a better way than building and balancing a specialized battlecruiser.

That’s to make a specialized launcher. See, there’s a missile that does really heavy damage to the capital ships but due to the mechanics of the game doesn’t do much to non-capitals. They’re called Capitals, and in particular Capital Torpedoes. The problem is that the normal launcher is huge and pretty much unavailable for anything smaller than a capital ship.

But a major reason for this is that it holds a lot of missiles, and can be reloaded from ship cargo, and a whole bunch of other things that… think rotary torpedo launcher on a modern warship to get the idea. Which in concert with the WWII torpedo boat idea gives a possible solution.

Make a specialized launcher. It carries one capital torpedo. Just one. It can’t be reloaded from the ship, but has to be done as a dockyard exercise. And because of these conditions it could be fit on a frigate in one of the launcher slots.

It’s still going to take developing the skill tree to Capital Torpedo. But what this means is that a small corp can go on a raiding party with cheap frigates looking for Big Game.

Now, I’m not involved enough in the game to know if one missile is enough for concern. My guess is it isn’t — that even a half-dozen might not matter. It might be that for balance they need two or three per launcher. But the rest of the difficulty and limits block most of Drackarn’s concerns. A ship with one of these has sacrificed a ‘normal’ weapon slot. It is worthless against almost anything else, and as a frigate is an eggshell waiting to be smashed. (speed and size provide avoidance defenses, but if the hammer ever catches up the ship is dead.)

The most likely “abuse” I see is throwing these on cloaking ships. I find this doesn’t bother me all that much – it’s still one shot per launcher and then go find a base or a hangar that’ll refit another launcher.

My swag is that this launcher package would probably cost more than most of the frigates that might carry it. But that’s still a crapload less than the capital ships, and goes a long way toward reducing the need to be part of the mega-alliance.


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