dnd 3.5e – Can the continuous effect of Power Word Pain be negated?

As this fine answer explains, a dispel magic effect may end a power word pain effect, but the earliest such an effect’s available is typically the 2nd-level Sor/Wiz spell dispelling touch (abjur) (Player’s Handbook II 110). This makes a potion of dispelling touch (300 gp; 0.1 lbs.) or an arcane scroll of dispelling touch (150 gp; 0 lbs.) (both created using a 2nd-level spell at caster level 3) a reasonable purchase for anyone in a party that—so far—has only been watching the spell power word pain be used against foes.

Any effect that renders a creature immune to mind-affecting effects likewise renders a creature immune to the effects of power word pain as all spells of the school of enchantment are mind-affecting. However, immunity to such effects is typically a high-level effect (e.g. the 8th-level spell mind blank (abjur) (Player’s Handbook 253), the face slot magic item third eye conceal (Magic Item Compendium 141) (120,000 gp; 1 lb.)).

A DM that’s struggling to challenge a group that’s decided to run away after opening every encounter with a power word pain spell—letting the spell do the killing for them—might find the game more interesting if he confronts such PCs with more creatures of the types construct, ooze, plant, undead, vermin, and so forth as such creatures are, by default, immune to mind-affecting effects.

Note that even the handful of things that should prevent the effects of a power word pain spell often, in fact, don’t. For instance,—and I’m not making this up—the nipple clamp of exquisite pain (Book of Vile Darkness 118) (8,000 gp; 0 lbs., and let’s thank heavens for that) that makes “(t)he wearer… immune to debilitating pain effects” also says that the wearer “is not immune to actual damage described as pain,” which should likely include the damage dealt by a power word pain spell’s effect. Similarly, the 2nd-level Clr spell ease pain (conj (Book of Exalted Deeds 97) says, “If the target creature is under some effect that causes continuing damage, the pain is eased only for a moment,” and so the power word pain spell’s effect would be briefly abated… then start up again! It’s almost like the power word pain spell was written to bypass such effects deliberately.

In short, the spell power word pain kills creatures… and PCs. If the PCs are using it in every fight, then enemy wizards should be just as willing to use it in return… as should clerics that pick the domain Magic and anyone with sufficient ranks in the skill Use Magic Device, an arcane scroll of power word pain costing a mere 25 gp. The spell’s big limiter at low levels is its range, so wizards—or those mistaken for wizards—should remain the obvious target in any group of foes if the spell is common in the campaign. And any foe affected by a power word pain spell should behave like a PC who knows that he’s going to die anyway: by extravagantly expending all of his resources to kill the dude who has already killed him, especially since his death will be—in terms of combat rounds—slow and, of course, painful.

Also, although the spell power word pain lacks the descriptor evil, the spell is, by any measure, cruel, and this DM has many folks treat with contempt and hatred those dishonorable casters that employ the spell against intelligent creatures. Your campaign, of course, may vary.

dnd 3.5e – Trip Mechanic Question

Making a Trip Attack: Make an unarmed melee touch attack against your target. This provokes an attack of opportunity from your target as normal for unarmed attacks.
If your attack succeeds, make a Strength check opposed by the defender’s Dexterity or Strength check (whichever ability score has the higher modifier). A combatant gets a +4 bonus for every size category he is larger than Medium or a –4 penalty for every size category he is smaller than Medium. The defender gets a +4 bonus on his check if he has more than two legs or is otherwise more stable than a normal humanoid (such as a dwarf ). If you win, you trip the defender. If you lose, the defender may immediately
react and make a Strength check opposed by your Dexterity or Strength check to try to trip you. Avoiding Attacks of Opportunity: If you have the Improved Trip

My question has to deal with weapons with the statement. I am copying directly from PHB 3.5

Chain, Spiked: A spiked chain has reach, so you can strike opponents 10 feet away with it. In addition, unlike most other weapons with reach, it can be used against an adjacent foe. Because the chain can wrap around an enemy’s leg or other limb, you can make trip attacks with it.

My questions:

Do weapons with this description provide a free trip attempt after a
successful attack (Dealing Damage), or is one just using the weapon instead of the
unarmed attack hitting the touch AC, dealing no damage? 

If the above answer is yes, a free trip attempt after dealing damage, then;  if one 
has the Improved Trip Feat, do they still get the free attack after a successful trip?  

dnd 3.5e – Can I take Extra Followers more than once?

I can’t seem to find information on whether you can take feats more than once. A number of feats say that you can, but I can’t seem to find the general rule that says one way or another.

If I could take Extra Followers more than once, I assume that the number would go up x2 each time.

dnd 3.5e – Can a god make an epic spell permanent using alter reality?

It seems really overpowered, which is why I’m asking. But the text for alter reality:

…The deity can render a magical or supernatural effect permanent. The rest requirement varies with the effect: 10 minutes per level of the effect times the number of subjects affected, 10 minutes per total Hit Dice of creatures affected, or 10 minutes per 10-foot cube affected. Use the highest applicable value…

…says that any magical or supernatural effect could be made permanent (which an epic spell certainly is). So could a god invest in a really expensive epic spell to boost itself, then render the effect permanent?
Of course, the effect could be dispelled, but infinite duration is still insane for some spells.

dnd 3.5e – What types of bonuses can be applied with the fortify epic spell seed to boost intelligence?

The DMG lists all the bonus types, some are common improvements to abilities, like enhancement or inherent. But what other types of bonuses could be applied to intelligence?

I could see the following being applied: alchemical, circumstance, competence, enhancement, inherent, insight, luck, morale, profane, sacred.

Surely a dodge bonus to intelligence is dumb, but perhaps I’ve missed a few other ones.

dnd 3.5e – Why is a Half-Mino Dungeoncrashing War Hulk Terrifying?

Referencing my previous bad idea:
How to Build a 3.5e Gnoll Pugilist

In managing to explain why Gnolls are terrible PCs in 3.5 (yet providing a number of viable builds anyway), KRyan mentions that a Half-Minotaur Dungeoncrashing War Hulk is a terrifying thing to behold.

Before having my bad Gnoll idea, I’d toyed with a Dungeoncrashing War Hulk — but what makes the Half-Mino more terrifying than a typical (also terrifying) War Hulk?

character creation – How to Build a 3.5e Gnoll Pugilist

I’m working on a 3.5e build concept for a band of genteel creature PCs (think League of Extraordinary Gentlemen except they are all monsters), in my case a Gnoll.

A dapper, well-mannered Gnoll who prefers fisticuffs.

Fairly open to sources from WotC/Dragon/etc.

I’m thinking of starting with Pugilist/City-Brawler class variants from Dragon — then maybe unarmed Swordsage and/or maybe Overwhelming Attack Monk or Dungeoncrasher later?

Any thoughts for making this rather specific and less than optimal build viable?

dnd 3.5e – Should I show the health of enemies?

Levels of injury should be what you describe as rule. Almost all of the answers so far describe perfectly fine ways to do this.

Regarding the question of exposing exact monster stats (HP, etc.) the answer should generally be an emphatic “NO!” to showing or telling HP, AC, or stats for one very specific reason — you completely lose the ability to fudge combat numbers as a DM.

This ability is of the utmost importance to having a fun session.

Running a game, you will inevitably run into a situation where something has gone wrong and combat is too easy or too difficult. Usually, this is because:

  • Players misinterpreted or overlooked something essential to the encounter.
  • Someone makes a series of REALLY bad rolls.
  • There is a serious “Oops!” regarding the difficulty of the monsters or villain.
  • There is a serious “Oops!” regarding the combat abilities of one or more player
    characters or friendly NPCs.

You will need to correct this by fudging. You can, of course, introduce a third party, power or situation to assist the players or NPCs, but if you do that more than a few times, you players will notice and it will decrease their enjoyment of the game.

Exposing exact HP or monster stats at any time makes this preferable kind of number fudging essentially a non-option. You are stuck “playing by the rules” all the time. This creates a significant lack of control over your own game.

DM (sighing) : “Nope, Phil, your dead. I rolled a 20, you can see the dragon’s combat bonus, and you only had 10 HP left. Sorry.”

If you choose to hide stats so you can fudge numbers, however, you have a number of benefits, including:

  • Relieving unintended tedious combat via quick monster kills (Lowering HP or mild AC fudging.)

  • Protecting weak or unlucky characters/ non-party NPCs/needed villains (Lower monster combat bonus/HP fudging/mild AC adjustment)

DM : “It looks like a small, magic ring…very easily missed…”

  • Increasing action — It’s much less boring AND far more rewarding to describe a character’s last ditch effort to run up the back of a dragon to stab it in the eye, instantly killing it than it is to listen to a player bemoan the fact his or her character can only do 1d8 + 5 damage, and the dragons HP is still a 100 points to the good. (No fudging HP or AC! We all know the stats!)

  • Increasing tension — Don’t keep players hovering on the brink of death for every encounter but do push them a little once in a while. If your players have been smacking up on a monster, and the monster has been giving it right back to them, let them sweat a little bit. Adjust the monsters HP slightly so they have a small run of bad luck (a quick scare – can we kill it after all?) before letting them settle things with a mighty final blow.

  • It doesn’t mess with XP — Adjusting monster quantities on the fly can lead to experience imbalance (for or against players) as well as combat issues (merciless slog or legendary calkwalk). Adjusting HP, AC, and other monster stats during combat gives you the option to run your encounter with the exact creatures and XP amounts you intend WITHOUT radically altering difficulty or having to recalculate or fudge XP — MUCH more important topics to players than subtly juggling a few monster stats.

  • It creates interest — As a DM, don’t be opaque. If players encounter a werewolf and have no silver, a simple acknowledgement they need silver weapons (“Yeah, Phil, you need a silver weapon”) can save a lot of frustration. But throw them a curve ball by making a werewolf with higher than normal HP or have an almost full immunity to anything other than a particular kind of silver. If you expose the increased HP or better saves,however, you destroy some of the aura the players are likely feeling fighting a “new” old creature.

The only caveat to this is that frequent, almost non-stop fudging is usually a sign of poor encounter construction (you’re new to running a game, you’re terrible at math e.g. figuring out how much damage characters and NPC monsters can do to each other, or you’re deliberately building encounters heavy — 4e has this issue built in if you follow strict WotC printed rules).

Remember that fudging is not a substitute for well balanced game numbers and abilities! (player stats, monster stats and ALL in-game AC/DCs). Monsters with abilities to alter AC, regenerate HP, etc. also deserve special consideration since they do a sort of in-game fudging of initial stats already.

With all that said, you may get a majority of players that want open HP or monster stats… in which case you should give it to them. Good DMs listen to players.

But you should be absolutely clear (in your own mind, anyway) that this is a bad habit that brings down game play in general unless you or your players genuinely care more about rolling than most other things. Genuinely stat-focused players care mostly about their ability to be very successful, and monsters can have 10 HP or a 1000 HP… so long as stat-focused players can bring down a 1001 HP meteor to crush their enemies, they won’t care. Open monster stats, especially HP and AC, only make players worry more about stats and less about the world they are creating with you as DM.

You should be aware that often the people who root for open stats aren’t familiar with the advantages of hidden stats (such as the DM favoring them when they make a bad roll), are people who don’t trust the DM generally (players vs. DM style games, not the DMs well-though out world) or those who are rule lawyers who simply want an tweak/exploit advantage over the DM (“No, my character DOESN’T get hit because I have a +1 racial bonus for being a giant dick!”). This leaves you with a choice – play with hardcore math nerds (no judgements, many of these players are really nice people and like this play style) or show your players,though hermit-like with monster stats, you can be fair, honest, trusted to empower their characters, make the game fun and make combat descriptions as fun as stat juggling in the game. More importantly, remember open stats hinder everyone, not just the DM. So if a player expresses a wish to do open stats, you may consider exploring why a player feels this way. There are DM screens for a reasons.

Unfortunately, player perceptions of you as a DM, your game, or their characters will suffer more in all cases if you can’t fudge numbers OR if players are certain you are fudging (e.g. they can verify it with open HP, AC, bonuses or stats.) Worst case scenarios will yield copious complaints by the players, with vows against their character sheets, swearing at monsters stats, condemning random dice rolls, questions about your “skills” as a DM as well as final, solemn resolution NEVER to play again…

On the other hand, with hidden stats (and some DM rolls), minimal judicious fudging, and well planned encounters, you generally get happy players who want to actually play in another game you are hosting, assuming you aren’t crafting monster stats specifically to hammer them.

The bottom line is you can empower players MORE (without them knowing) if you hide stats. It also allows you to craft better stories or encounters on the fly. Some players may hem and haw, but if you are a good DM and can convince them to take a hidden stat approach that makes them feel a bit little more powerful than your creatures, in the end, you will find few players complain.

So you decide… which is better?

As for your second question, descriptiveness is a great tack here. But rolls and fudging work too.

DM : “You pierce the creatures skin, but watch in horror as its wounds close almost instantaneously… like magic.” (Your first hint.)

After a few turns, and a goodly number of hints later, if the players still haven’t gotten the idea to use magical weapons, either tell them fairly directly (“None of you are certain, but you suspect that perhaps, maybe, an enchanted weapon might harm the creature.”) or allow Wisdom checks of some kind (Intelligence can work as well).

Note this assumes no one is actively using magical weapons. Make sure to give them any enchanted weapons you want them to have. If they are using the proper magical weapons, you should make every attempt to exaggerate and highlight a successful hit. A great part about hidden monster stats here is that, again, if you wish, you can fudge a successful hit with a magic weapon to demonstrate it is the only one that does damage by ignoring AC for a minute. This is literally impossible to do if the players know the monsters AC upfront. Smart players will figure its general AC out through a few successful rolls, but this is not the same thing as knowing definitively.

dnd 3.5e – Is the damage from Snap Kick fixed like, for example Insightful Strike or can you add any more bonuses to it?

Snap Kick states the following (emphasis mine):

When you make a melee attack with one or more melee weapons (including
a standard attack, full attack, or even a strike maneuver), you can
make an additional attack at your highest attack bonus. This attack is
an unarmed attack that deals damage equal to your base unarmed attack
damage + 1/2 your Str bonus
. You take a -2 penalty on all attack rolls
you make this round.

My character has Shadow Blade and therefore can add its DEX to the damage, and also has the possibility of making Sneak Attack with Assassin’s Stance and adding even more damage with Craven and some other maneuvers. Do these bonuses affect Snap Kick’s attack too? My theory is that it does since it does not specify that it doesn’t like with Insightful Strike (emphasis mine):

As part of this maneuver, make a melee attack. If this attack hits,
you do not deal normal damage. Instead, you make a Concentration check
and deal damage equal to the check result. Your Strength modifier,
your weapon’s magical properties (if any), and any other extra damage
you normally deal do not modify this check (including extra damage
from class abilities, feats, or spells).

Since both writings are from the same book, I can assume that they are consistent in that if it would not be possible to add the bonuses, it would have an addendum equal to the one in Insightful Strike, but I’m not sure and that’s why I’m asking.

dnd 3.5e – If you’re undead and you use turn undead do you turn yourself?

‘A turned creature must spend its turns trying to move as far away from you as it can, and can’t willingly move to a space within 30 feet of you.’

From the intended consequences, it seems clear that failing the saving throw would lead to the physical impossibility of not being within 30 feet of yourself (not to mention removing player agency). As failing the saving throw leads to such problems, it seems clear that the casting character would not need to make the saving throw. If there are other undead party members though…

One thing to consider is whether it makes sense for an undead character to have/use turn undead. ‘As an action you present a holy symbol and speak a prayer censuring the undead.’ Censure is typically a formal expression of severe disapproval’ Would an undead character really disapprove of the undead?