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 Post subject: Heroes of the Elemental Chaos
PostPosted: Fri Mar 02, 2012 9:00 am 
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Joined: Fri Sep 05, 2008 11:41 am
Posts: 1334
It's a review! Maybe I'll do more of these, working backwards through the canon...

I've looked through it, and I'm pleased with it. Getting my complaint out of the way first, I don't care for the Sha'ir Wizards. They feel very generic, and their ability to pick any new Daily/Utility after an Extended Rest is not something I would want to deal with as a Player or as a DM - I suppose Tome of Readiness didn't bother me when it came out because Wizard Spells were not yet spread across six books (plus Dragon). Their familiars are improvements over the standard familiars, but not by much, and they aren't a big enough part of what the Sha'ir does during an Encounter.

Elementalist Sorcerors, on the other hand, are a welcome option. If you have or are a Player who wants a magic superpower like Iceman or the Human Torch, these guys go through their first eight levels with two thematically related At-Wills and a beefed up Encounter version, and nothing else (other than Utilities). For many, that would be horrible, but it looks like a lot of fun for folks who just don't enjoy deciding which power to use this turn.

The rest of it is fine, with elemental-themed options for Monks, Druids (similar to the Dark Sun Shaman) and Warlocks - Druids and Warlocks have both Player's Handbook version and Essential version options included, and it's nice to see (too little, too late) an ackowledgment of how those books are meant to work together.

There are also Themes, Feats, Paragon Paths, and Epic Destinies, mainly centered around strengthening the sense of the character as a elemental, demon, or primordial servant. Mostly inappropriate for most characters, but it's a good option to have - I would certainly be willing to let one player be a Genasi, Githzerai, or Dragonborn and play up those elemental connections.

Nothing here that looks like Power Creep to me, and by the same token nothing that every player is going to demand. Well done and thoroughly optional.

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 Post subject: Re: Heroes of the Elemental Chaos
PostPosted: Fri Mar 02, 2012 10:30 am 
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Joined: Tue Jun 03, 2008 9:01 am
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Good to know and thanks for the review!

This helps because both my players and I (unfortunately) really just use Character Builder to deliver any updates or changes. It helps to know themed content being introduced, as we often just see a bunch of "random" stuff added (we don't really read the release notes, either).


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 Post subject: Re: Heroes of the Elemental Chaos
PostPosted: Fri Mar 02, 2012 10:41 am 
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Joined: Fri Sep 05, 2008 11:41 am
Posts: 1334
I'm sure most of it is pretty self-explanatory from the Builder. One thing you might miss is that a lot of the new themes give you "elemental origin", which qualifies you for new Feats, Paragon Paths, and Epic Destinies (and particularly for the "Born of the Elements" Feat, which qualifies you for even more). It's a pretty crunchy book, so you shouldn't be missing much.

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 Post subject: Re: Heroes of the Elemental Chaos
PostPosted: Fri Mar 02, 2012 5:54 pm 
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Joined: Mon Mar 09, 2009 10:29 am
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Location: NY
Overall agree, except for the Elementalist Sorcerer. I was very dissapointed there. While the concept is great, and using Con + Cha is a welcome change for them, there's just too much that hurts them. The fact that they have no daily powers, or utilities, literally makes them... Well it just hurts. The only way I'd be ok with it is if we were allowed to take normal Daily powers as opposed to new at-wills. I could deal without having the normal forray of Sorcerer encounters, but the lack of daily options makes them such a cookie cutter class to me, it's painful. It'll just be really difficult for them to be as competitive in combat. They'll also be hard pressed in combat because despite being elemental, they have no way on their own to cut past enemy resistance.

I'm getting my info from the Compendium, so please feel free to correct me if I'm mistaken with anything


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 Post subject: Re: Heroes of the Elemental Chaos
PostPosted: Fri Mar 02, 2012 10:06 pm 
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PbFarmer - Elementalists do have normal Utility powers (I'm pretty sure every class so far has Utilities). I think they are competitive in combat, and having resist 10 of their damage type at level 5 goes some way towards making a Fire Elementalist slightly useful against a Red Dragon - as a target, if nothing else... Also, the other three Elementalists do not have to have both of their At-Wills use the same damage type.

The cookie cutter complaint is absolutely valid, and plenty of players will have no interest at all in these guys.

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 Post subject: Re: Heroes of the Elemental Chaos
PostPosted: Wed May 16, 2012 9:28 am 
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Joined: Wed Apr 04, 2012 10:41 pm
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Lots of slang here... What do you mean by "Power Creep" and (the book is) "crunchy" anyway?

My idea of a crunchy book is if you spill kool-aid on it and let it dry... :(

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 Post subject: Re: Heroes of the Elemental Chaos
PostPosted: Wed May 16, 2012 9:45 pm 
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Sorry about the jargon - I'm better responding to questions than coming up with my own material, I think.

Crunch refers to the amount of specific rules and descriptions with numerical values. It is contrasted with Fluff, descriptive prose without mechanical relevance. "Quick, wary archers who freely roam the forests and wilds" is Fluff, while "+2 Wisdom, +2 Dexterity" is Crunch.

Power Creep is the tendency in Role Playing Games (and Collectible Card Games, and other expandable games) for characters/decks/armies made with the latest new material to be more powerful than those made using just the Base Set.

One thing I didn't realize when I did my review - Witches (Heroes of the Feywild) also have infinite Spellbooks (pick any Wizard Power you qualify for whenever you take an Extended Rest), so it's not just the Sha'ir. That doesn't change my opinion of it - I would not allow either in any campaign of mine.

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 Post subject: Re: Heroes of the Elemental Chaos
PostPosted: Fri May 18, 2012 3:12 pm 
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Wow... I now know what it means when a DnD book is crunchy! I'm certainly glad to know that nobody is eating them...

Power Creep is a concept I had thought of before, but never had a name for it. Now I do! I hate power creep. Generally speaking, if you're going to add something more powerful to a game, you have to do it in a way that benefits every character since the creation of the game. Small power boosts in narrow fields, or boosts that work only in certain, rare applications might have a pass on that rule... even then, there should be some decreases to balance things out. I learned a new favorite phrase today!

POWER CREEP! :twisted:

Also sounds like a good name for a band. :mrgreen:

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