A little peek into some of the playtesting that went into Dead Man’s Land. One of the tools used was a Same Game Test, a concept IIRC invented by a user who I believe doesn’t wish to be credited anymore. So it’s not my idea, but it’s also no ones I guess… It’s a great concept built off the foundations of 3e’s robust challenge rating system. Each PC should have a CR value roughly equal to their ECL. That means they should win an encounter of an equal CR about half the time. More wins means more power, and less wins means less power. It also gives way to a variety of tactics you may not have thought of or intended when building classes. It’s no substitute for actually running encounters, but it’s a great start. If you are familiar with a SGT, you’ll notice a few differences from a traditional one here.
Same Game Tests for generic low thought Level 4 and 8 builds. For these tests, characters will be assumed to have 16 in their primary two stats (18 at level 8). Relying on ancestry or background grants -1 value to the final result (to a minimum of 0). Each class is scored as follows for each of the 10 events. A balanced class should score 20 in total. 30 or more indicates the class is overpowered, and 10 or less indicates under. I ran a collection of these to fine tune, along with a collection of real world encounters, but am only sharing results from the final round.
Level 4 Challenges
- A pair of Dire Wolves is hunting you through the desert.
- You’ve collapsed a chamber, revealing the location bound djinn who is furious to now be buried alive with you.
- Steal the newly hatched Queen from a Giant Ant colony.
- Owlbear Ambush
- A manticore decided you look like lunch
- Ankheg ambush – 2 ankheg surprise you in the desert.
- Awaken unseen in a basilisk den. Escape
- The Hieracosphinx needs you to solve its riddle, or it’s lunch time for you.
- 9 human commoner arcanozombies have seen you and are giving chase.
- An Arcano is tearing by. Survive in a sheltered place until it passes.
Our auger is Cingula Excavator. His burrow powers work super well with his ability to detect “Stuff”. He has 16 in Wisdom and Dex. Notable abilities include a burrow speed, +4 NA, 40ft conditional move speed, stonecunning, trap sense, gold scent, darkvision. The Auger also carries a shotty, knowing they don’t have combat prowess. This is the class I’m most worried about.
- An auger is not usually lost, and if they can get a round, can hide underground in safety (burrow). The auger has better init so this probably happens. They can augury or use tremor sense to know when safe to get out. This is a likely stalemate and boils down to the wolves getting bored and leaving. Not a glamorous win but it does bypass the encounter, using the cingula ability. Likely Win (3-1= 2)
- This is your sweet spot. The auger can divine good methods of escape, detect valuable objects that may help escape, and has tremor sense with darkvision. The Djinn would be dumb to kill the auger, who can probably get out pretty reliably. It has a burrow speed to make short work, but even that’s not needed. Sure Win (4)
- Navigating an ant colony is another win for the auger. Unfortunately, they will probably not win against every ant’s spot checks with their +3 to hide. Especially with scent. Burrowing will help, but this comes down to winning an arbitrary high # of stealth checks before getting swarmed. I think clever use of the Detection ability can probably get them to a chamber. A battle against soldier ants is tough but I give it to the auger. The augers AC is at least 17, and the ants have +3 to hit and are pretty frail, with touch ACs of 10. Likely Win (3)
- The owlbear will lose initiative, but in a surprise round run adjacent to the auger. The auger will attempt to flee, and get AoO’ed and grappled, then ripped to shreds. (0)
- The manticore plays out like the dire wolves. It can fly around and wait, but the auger can sit and dig. If the manticore is dedicated, it’s smarter than the wolves, but not by a lot. If it has an interest in camping until the auger starves, it could. Flight lets it do this from a bigger distance, and potentially lure the the auger out of the ground by being beyond the range of detection and flying to avoid tremor sense. The auger will poke out and get shot. Likely Loss (1-1=0)
- The auger has tremorsense of 15ft, and isn’t actually ambushed. Unfortunately for him, the ankheg can also burrow, and do it faster. Their touch AC is 9, but at least one will grapple him, even if he blasts the other. Once grappled, he’s done. Sure loss (0)
- For whatever reason the auger has awoken in a basilisk den. This is a stealth mission the basilisk wins on. The save DC is 13, that the auger probably does badly on. That said, they can use a wheel of fate to reasonably pass two of them. A basilisk has 45 HP and a touch of 9, and can survive a full shotty blast on average, so this is a likely loss. (1)
- Luckily for the Auger, Hieracosphinx are simple creatures, and they generally lose a battle of wits. The auger has no interest in a fight, and this plays to his strengths. This is a Sure Win (4)
- The Arcanozombies can literally sit on top of any hole the auger hides in forever, and they will do that. That said, the Auger won’t be surprised, and can ball up and run away at 40ft roll power. Any normal speed creature can also run away. Likely Win (3)
- Assuming the arcano lingers for 4 rounds, enforcing 1 saving throw. The auger presumably has one 20 on a d20 in their wheels and can simply choose to pass. The most damaging is yellow, or 80 electric damage. Halved, its 40. The auger has 16.5 assuming 10 con, but they probably have a 12 con, putting them at 20.5. The orange ray does 40, halved to 20. So this spell is a one in four chance of living, Likely Loss (1)
Our boltcaster is a Canid Soldier from an old war. He has a 45ft move speed and the run feat, darkvision, endurance and scent. Can make monk unarmed strikes, and can smite 1/encounter. His combat style is typically dual wielding 6 shooters with rapid shot, but carries a long arm as well. His stats are dex and wisdom.
- The Dire wolves are one of the bigger challenges for him. They are fast, and a pair. He wins init and opens with a smite/full attack for – 3d4+3+3d6+4 (smite)+2 (enhancement) damage. The attacks are at +6/5/9 against touch AC of 11. Even if they all hit its, 27 damage, and then the other one attacks. The wolves are hitting, and then tripping and holding down. He can switch to soldier punching, but this is a loss. (0)
- The djinn wins init and turns into a whirlwind. The caster is saving against that on a 50/50 chance, but if he gets in, he can get back out at those same odds (and can stand a few rounds inside it). At 27 and then 23 damage each round after means I put this at likely win for the caster. (3)
- The caster can oneshot any of the workers ants (1d4+1+1d6+2), and can use the long arm to snipe soldiers in one hit. He can also just spend 2 attacks per soldier (he gets 3 a round). The ants are fast, but not a lot faster (5ft). Even the queen goes down in a round. Thanks to Track, he’s probably not getting lost. Sure Win (4)
- He beats the owlbear in init, and gets a round, even during a surprise. Since he’s faster, he can just continually outpace and shoot it. Sure Win (4).
- The manticore is a ranged fight, and it sounds like the caster didn’t know about it, so couldn’t change his longarm to the attuned weapon. He outranges the manticore, but for low damage (1d10+1+1d6) 10 a round. He can’t stand up to many rounds of spike volleys. Depending on how far the distance is, he might be able to go super long range and at least convince it to attack someone else. Likely Loss (1)
- The ankheg ambush is rough, because of the ambush nature. They surprise him, he gets a chance for distance, and might even be able to drop one in a round. But they are just going to pop up under him and chase forever. Likely Loss (1)
- Basilisk den is a stealth escape encounter, but he won’t get his stealth abilities until next level. So for now, has to try to kill it. Its touch AC is 9, and has 45 HP, and we know the caster goes first. So if he can manage a single fort DC 13 he wins. Likely Win (3)
- The Hieracosphinx shreds him if he fights it. 90ft fly speed, +13 to hit, claws, rakes, good spot check and 11 touch AC. Its int is 6, and so he probably wins a battle of wits, but if its a fight he is done for. Toss Up (2)
- He can at minimum outpace the arcanozombies, but he can shred them too. 9 touch AC and 16 HP, means he is dropping one a round at distance for some time. Sure Win (4)
- The Arcano is a tough one. Hes got a 75% chance of failing the save, and maybe 30 HP. Of the list, Red he is fine. Orange he needs to save for half. Yellow he dies even if he saves. Green/Blue/Indigo/Violet are all save or die. It’s a likely loss barring luck. (1)
Our diabolist is a Yuan Tower Born. He has a bonus to init and saves vs poison, and can use charm person. +2 to a bunch of “magic” skills, mage hand, prestidigitation, at will acid splash, and a fiendish owl familiar. Familiar is on scout duty circling, and keeping watch. He also has generally got a pair of hellhounds summoned, 2d6 diabolist blast, and a hex power. Prime stats are cha and dex, and they have 26 or so HP.
- The dire wolves can make short use of the hellhounds, but they can probably keep them from tripping and ganging up on the diabolist. Depending on positioning, they may be able to blast fire at both in the same cone. Throw the diabolist throwing 2d6 touch attacks each round, and I think this is a toss up. (2)
- I’m not sure there’s a lot the diabolist can do about the djinn, ironically. Sure Loss (0)
- The hounds can mow down the workers and soldiers before they can do much thanks to the +1d6 fire damage on attacks. The diabolist can blast anyone who isn’t done for. The familiar can scout and ensure safe passage back out, and there will be some wandering about. Sure Win (4)
- The owlbear can’t actually ambush the diabolist, because the owl will see and alert him. This can ensure the diabolist has the hounds in front. The bear can drop a hound every couple rounds, but it gives the diabolist and other hound time to demolish it. The Diabolist can even spend a full round re-summoning more to keep a consistent wall in the way. Sure Win (4)
- The Manticore eats the owl right away, and while alerted, the diabolist can’t do much about it. He goes down to a barrage of spikes. Sure Loss (0)
- Unlike the owlbear, the ankheg’s can ambush the diabolist being underground. If they want to, and I’m not sure why they wouldn’t. They can ambush grab him and do some serious damage. If it’s him and the hellhounds, odds are good he will get grabbed by one of them, and a hellhound is also grabbed. He can call the one hound to come help, but I think this is a likely loss (1)
- Waking up in the basilisk den is interesting, because he’s got a whole team. The easy escape is to summon whatever is the hardiest, and send it to wrestle with the basilisk while he runs the other way eyes closed (using the familiar to guide). If the basilisk does deal with any of the summons, he can summon more for a distraction. Sure Win (4)
- The sphinx and his bad riddle. This plays out like the boltcaster. If the int checks for riddles fail, the sphinx can probably annihilate the diabolist. But that probably shouldn’t happen. It’s a toss up due to luck of the die. (2)
- The arcanozombies are just a waste in this scenario. He can outrun them, or send sacrificial lambs in, or even just have the hounds roast them with breath weapons. Sure Win (4)
- The arcanoe is brutal for anyone this level. Same as the boltcaster. Hes got a 75% chance of failing the save, and maybe 30 HP. Of the list, Red he is fine. Orange he needs to save for half. Yellow he dies even if he saves. Green/Blue/Indeo go/Violet are al save or die. Its a likely loss barring luck. (1)
Our doc is another worrying one. It’s a Zard Healer. It has limited disguise self, venomous, regeneration, and some healing. Int and con as its prime stats. About 41 hp. More healing, knowledge check bonuses, extra saves, immune to disease, and a pile of elixirs (calm emotions, +10ft move speed, DR, water breathing, resist energy).
- The wolves are turning out to be brutal. Sure Loss (0)
- Not a lot they can do against an angry djinn either. Sure Loss (0)
- The ants can be led away with some Zard limb bait (tails), and with a big pile of HP/DR/healing, this could be a long brutal slog that the doc Is a likely to win (even without the tail bait). (3)
- The owlbear shreds the doc pretty quick. Sure Loss (0)
- The manticore can probably be bought off with the tail trick again. Its hungry, so take a tail. Likely Win (3-1=2)
- The ankheg are proving the doc can’t stand up in any real fight. The doc might have some elixirs for DR and move speed that allows him to run away, but thats terrain dependent. Likely Loss (1).
- The basilisk den is one the doc will thrive in. He has HP, and the knowledge to know what they do. He can distract with a dropped tail if needed, but I think all of his saves buffing probably means he can just run out. Sure Win (4)
- The sphinx and a riddle, is a sure thing. This is an int based class, and it has an int penalty. He has a bunch of knowledge check bonuses to help out. Sure Win (4)
- 9 arcanozombies are interesting. The move speed elixir lets him outpace easily enough, and hes can be basically unkillable to them between DR and his healing. He could probably use a club to beat them to death before they kill him. Sure Win (4)
- The Arcano again. The doc has a flexible resist and will take electric. Between that and high HP I think he’s got a good shot. Fire he soaks. Acid he can soak, just barely. Electric is a save or die thanks to resist energy. Green/blue/indigo/violet are still save or dies. Ill move the doc to toss up (2) for how the saves go.
For the gambler, we will assume he starts any given encounter with 3 random cards, drawing an extra at the start of a fight, and then plays as normal. Because we can’t really determine an average when things like straights are in play, and I can’t do the stats, I’m assuming a base value of high card 7 on spend if needed.
Our Gambler is a Yacaaw Cardonian Refugee. This gives him flight, and ghost sound, along with constant pass without trace, disguise self at will, and SR 14. His prime stats are dex and cha, and he has 21.5 HP. From his class, he gets +3 init, giving +6 total, and a benefit to sense motive, charm monster, evasion, and a random saving throw reroll.
- Between pass without trace and flight, he is hard to track and pursue. If its a fight, he goes down, but he can easily evade. Sure Win (4-1=3)
- The gambler can hope a charm monster effect makes this a lot friendlier. Likely Win (3)
- The gambler can one shot the worker ants. With his card draw, he can keep that up all day long. The soldier ants may take 2 shots, or one if he uses a long arm, so he will. The saving grace here is the soldiers usually travel solo, or in gangs of 2-4. The queen could be a problem, but distance damage negates her. This is a long, tedious fight the gambler can pretty easily win. Sure Win (4)
- The owlbear can close, and grab ending the fight. If the gambler gets distance he can fly away, and he wins init, but I think this is a likely loss (1-1=0)
- The manticore can shred him. Sure loss (0)
- The ankheg probably open with an acid spray, but the gambler has evasion, good reflex, and high dex. He can then fly away, or potentially keep some distance and shoot for a win. Obviously, if they can catch and grab, he’s done for. Toss up (2)
- The gambler is stealth friendly, being dex based. The yacaaw is small for more boosts and can use ghost sound for redirection. Realistically though, if the yacaaw bolts, he has some saving throw reroll power and can probably just book it past the basilisk, who he beats in initiative. Toss Up (2)
- The gambler has good cha and should excel at social encounters. He can trick his way past this sphinx with ease, or charm it if needed. Sure Win (4)
- The zombies can lumber forward, but the gambler can outpace and shoot them down. Through flight. Sure Win (4-1=3)
- He has evasion and phenomenal reflex saves. Even still, +7 and a DC 20 means he is suffering through all effects. Any of which are save or die except maybe the red fire one. His only chance is to use Wild Card (30.x% he is able) and to roll Very High. Likely Loss (1)
The Knight is a Barbal from Kei. Hes large, swims, +2 natural armor, bite attack for 1d8 and can swallow small or smaller, +2 vs poisons, and 1d6 sneak attack. From the knight class, he has DR 5/-, +2 shield, SR 9, immunity to fear, foil, and his rotating codes. His stats are str and con, so he has 43.5 hp on average. He probably lumbers around in plate with an AC of 21 and a greatsword that does 3d6. He also has power attack.
- His AC is high enough the wolves don’t auto hit (+11 vs AC 21 needs a 10, or an 8 if they flank), and because of code of the beasts, they probably don’t trip. (they have +7, vs his +11 to resist). On the other side, he hits more often (+6 vs AC 14). Their average damage is 9.5 after DR X2 a round, vs his 14.5 once a round. He might fare the best, he drops one in 3.1 rounds assuming all hits, and then the other in 6.2 total. They drop him in 3 rounds. Likely Loss (1)
- The knight is too big to actually be sucked into the base of the whirlwind, but none of their codes particularly help, so the code of honor comes into play, for +3 init and AC. The Djinn will still win init, and go invisible, before resorting to slam attacks. The slams are wildly ineffective, attacking vs 24 flat footed AC at +10 for 1d8+4-5 damage (average 3.5) Needing a 14 or higher. The Knight, will counter with +6 vs AC 16 for 14.5 damage needing a 10 or higher, with a bite attack thrown in for fun. The knight wins the fight, but is probably still trapped in the cave in. I’ll call it a toss up that relies on large size (2-1=1)
- The ant queen. He can one shot any ants except the queen, and his mage fighting stance gives him immunity to the ants stings. The common ants need a nat 20 to hit, and the soldiers need an 18, and if the soldiers hit its for 3 damage. If he wants, the knight can almost just walk in and get the larva. If surrounded, he can switch to the horde stance and great cleave through them all. Sure Win (4)
- Owlbears are tough, but so is our knight. He can take the stance of honor or beasts and do really well. Honor sets his AC to 24 vs the owlbears +9 to hit, and beasts gets makes the owlbears grapple +5 on improved grab, vs the knights +11. Either way, the claws are doing 3.5 average damage, and the owlbear has 15 AC. the knight can just tank it. Sure Win (4)
- He can’t do a ton to a manticore in the sky, but he can straight ignore its spikes (1d8+2). Unless it chooses to fight in melee range. In that scenario, he takes the stance of honor for +3 more Ac, and sits at 24. The manticore has +10/10/8 to hit for on average 5/5/0 damage. The knight can win that encounter pretty easy too, since the manticore’s AC is 17, and he has +6 to hit with a +1 bite. Sure Win (4)
- The Ankheg has +7 to hit for average 9 damage. If it hits, it could be a problem but that will be unlikely. That said, they can actually win the grapple here. Either the knight spends a full round switching codes, to drop the ankhegs grapple bonus down to +8, which is still good odds, or it can ignore the 1d4 acid damage from every hit. But not both. I think I mark this as a toss up. (2)
- In the basilisk den, he is going to have to fight it. He certainly gets detected quickly enough. Its fort save is DC 13, and our knight has +7. He’s probably passing, and it has AC 16 and 45 HP. Likely win (3)
- The sphinx with his bad riddles. The knight doesn’t get any benefits aside from having probably +1 or +2 to int bonus compared. But, the knight stands out, in that his DR lets him ignore most attacks (either 1d10+5 or 1d6+2). While it has decent AC, the knight can battle it to a stand still, and win anytime it comes near him. So it asks a riddle, he tells it one it can potentially solve, and then when it is angry about it, he tells it to get over it. Sure Win (4)
- The commoner arcano zombies are almost a joke against the knight. They need a 19 to hit, and can’t get through DR. He drops one every round (sword and bite average damage) and great cleaves into another. Sure Win (4)
- The Arcano is tough, but the knight has some SR to help. 9 isn’t a lot, but it adds a 5% chance of success. Code of magic gives elemental resist 5, electric, but it’s another “not much but helps i guess”. He can eat the red and orange rays. Yellow, he will fail the save and die from. The fort saves he has a decent chance of passing and the will saves he will fail. It’s about 50/50. Toss Up (2)
The outlaw is a Zard Professional. He can use disguise self limited, regrow limbs, and is venomous. He also is a ready source of DC 12ish dex/paralysis poison. He has lots of knowledge skills, cheap items, and a bonus against illusions. From the outlaw class, 2d6 sudden strike, poison use, animated ropes and rope trick, along with fishhook (spell failure), gouge (blinding) and below the belt (nauseated) all on DC 15. His high stats are dex and int, and his HP are 21.5 or so. Low. The outlaw probably carries dual 6 shooters and a long arm, and probably took rapid shot.
- The dreaded dire wolves rip him to shreds in combat. The only chance is if he poisons 3 batches of ammunition, and hopes he has distance before the wolves engage to fire enough that they both fail roll a 4 or less on the fort save vs paralysis, and it kicks in before they close the distance. Likely Loss (1)
- The Angry Djinn is another he’s basically at a loss for. He can break out his animated ropes, and hope they can climb out, and could potentially convince the djinn that they aren’t trapped, depending on the cave in. Toss up (2)
- Queen Ant. The workers are found in crews, but suck, so he can win in combat. The soldiers can be found solo. If that’s the case, he wins init, and can sudden strike/drop them. His problem comes in if the ants alert one another and swarm him. Ill mark as a likely win, unless this hive has max soldiers (20), and they travel in packs. Even then, he could probably pull his detachable tail trick to put some distance. Likely Win (3)
- He can outpace the owlbear but it’s an ambush. So it can probably do a claw/grab routine and prevent running away. Likely Loss (1)
- If he has distance, he can poison and paralyze the mancitore before it gets near. It needs to roll a 3, but the long arm has range and if he gets enough shots it will fail one of them. If the manticore gets within 180ft, it peppers him with barbs, and kills him while he blasts for 1d10+1. Toss Up (2)
- The ankheg open with an acid spray, and there’s a 50% chance he just drops then. If he isn’t hit by both, they win a grapple fight and he’s done for. Sure Loss (0)
- The basilisk is interesting, and he’s going to open with a salvo of eye gouges. Each has a 25% chance of blinding the basilisk, and it has a good chance of hitting and needs a 6 or less to be impacted. If this works, he would get full sudden strikes every round, only the basilisk randomly has blind-fight to negate that. The outlaw can use the blinded time to flee. So long as he isn’t turned to stone when aiming at its eyes. Likely win (3)
- As a professional, he has tons of knowledge skills and an int based character can probably win the int checks. If he fails, the sphinx shreds him, but this is a likely win. (3)
- Arcanozombies are immune to sudden strikes. He can hide in a rope trick though, and just shoot down at them until they die. Sure Win (4)
- Arcano, he can use rope trick to just avoid it. Sure Win (4)
The auger and outlaw are our lowest with sub 20 scores, but the rest of the classes lined up about where we want them. The knight surprisingly enough was the clear favorite at this level, and the boltcaster wasn’t as OP as feared.
- A Cactaur and collection of awakened Cacti are guarding the last clean oasis for days.
- An Efreeti and fire elemental retainers believe you’ve stolen a sacred relic.
- Arena fight with huge monstrous scorpion.
- A mating pair of bulette are furious you disturbed their efforts.
- A Chimera has come to roast your town. Drive it off.
- A seven headed pyro hydra guards a magical 6 shooter.
- A flight of Wyvrn (6) are hunting you.
- The Gynosphinx needs you to solve its riddle, or its lunch time for you.
- A black pudding has bubbled out of ground while you sleep. It’s on top of you.
- That person who lured you away turns out to be an Erinyes out to cause chaos.
Our auger is Cingula Excavator. His burrow powers work super well with his ability to detect “Stuff”. He has 18 in Wisdom and Dex. Notable abilities include a burrow speed, +4 NA, 40ft conditional move speed, stonecunning, trap sense, gold scent, darkvision. The Auger also carries a shotty, knowing they don’t have combat prowess. He can detect water, earth, animals, plants, undead, outsiders, and magic. Has tremorsense 20ft. Can shape wood, stone, metal. Can find directions to specific objects, and see up to a mile with a sensor. The auger has about 34 hit points.
- For the cactaur, the auger doesn’t care about their oasis. He can find another one, and dig down to get it without much effort. He can even use lucky guess to just summon water. Sure Win (4)
- The auger can hide underground and wait them out, but they don’t eat, sleep, or age. He can also tunnel away with excavation, but this will take forever. His best bet is to offer to actually find the object, and he can ensure he rolls high on the diplomacy check for it, and then use Detect Magic, Eagle Vision or Divining Rod to find the relic. This is a Likely Win (3)
- The auger excels in avoiding fights, and there’s not a lot to do about this one. Sure Loss (0).
- Bulettes take away the burrowing advantage, and don’t care about logic. There isn’t a lot they can do here either. Sure Loss (0)
- Driving off the Chimera. The auger can rebuild after the chimera blows up the town by shaping wood, stone, and metal, and they probably have forewarning and can evacuate the town. I’ll generously give them a point. Likely Loss (1)
- The auger can find the 6 shooter no problem. Getting the hydra away is the challenge. The hydra has no burrowing defense, and the auger can tunnel through basically anything and sneak under it to steal it away. Sure Win, if tedious (4)
- The Wyvern can be avoided easily enough by hiding underground. They can sit and attack, but the auger can summon infinite food/water, and they will eventually give up. Sure Win (4).
- The much older sister to our earlier sphinx wants a riddle, and this time it’s a tough one. Luckily for the auger, this is where they excel. They can use augury to ensure a good riddle, and their Wheels to ensure a high roll. Sure Win (4)
- There’s not a lot he can do against a pudding. Sure Loss (0)
- The auger isn’t falling for that Erinyes trick. Walking around he has +10 will save vs charm monster, and can augury to find out if its a good idea. He can even detect outsiders and catch on if she’s in another form. If she wants to fight, he’s actually in more danger, but an auger worth his salt wouldn’t be anywhere near her. Likely Win (3)
Our boltcaster is a Canid Soldier from an old war. He has a 45ft move speed and the run feat, darkvision, endurance and scent. Can make monk unarmed strikes, and can smite 1/encounter. His combat style is typically dual wielding 6 shooters with rapid shot, but carries a long arm as well. He gets a +3 to hit and damage with a rotating favored arcanarm, can change his damage to whatever elemental he needs, can hide in plain sight, can build maps on demand, doesn’t eat or drink, and can attack without line of effect at +2d6. His stats are dex and wisdom, and he has 48.5 hit points.
- For the cacti, he can snipe at them from very far away, dealing 1d10+3+2d6 damage, which isn’t a lot, but they can’t ignore it. Their speed is 20ft, and if they don’t travel as a group, the cacti de-animate. The boltcaster can then use hide in plain sight, to sneak over, get some water and be on his way. Sure Win (4)
- First, the efreeti are vulnerable to cold, and so all his attacks are cold damage. A full round of TWF and rapid shot is 5 attacks at +15/15/12/10/7 against a touch ac of 12. The caster wins init, and unloads 5d4+5+9 (enhancement)+6d6 cold damage. Or 47.5. The Efreeti is vulnerable, upping that to 70.5, which is a one round kill. Sure Win (4)
- The scorpion has a touch of 8, and the caster is winning init and throwing out 47 a round. So he can drop it in 2 rounds if he can get both full attacks. The problem is, the scorpion has 2 +11 attacks vs an AC of as low as 16, and a giant grapple. I think it’s a toss up, based on starting distance and grapple rolls. (2)
- The Bulettes are another tough one for him. Their touch is 10, and they have 94 HP, so they are tough. This is a sure loss, with 2 of them. (0)
- The Chimera is solid. The boltcaster can hide somewhere in town unseen, and blast it with the long arm, dealing 1d10+1+3+2d6 (16) every other round. He can curve bullets, and do it from in some fortified, impossible to find space. Sure Win (4)
- The pyrohydra is shut down by cold, and its slow. The caster sits at a distance and rains cold bullets onto it. Sure Win (4)
- 6 wyvrn are a lot. Luckily, their spot is +16, and we have hide in plain sight. The caster has +15 at a minimum to hide from ranks, and when you add distance mods, they have to get right on top of him to even have a chance. Sure Win (4)
- The gynosphinx riddle will be a losing battle for him, but he can surprise it with an opening 6 shooter salvo that hits on a 3 at worse, and deals 47.5 damage on average vs the sphinxes 52 HP. This probably triggers the various Symbols around its lair. (presumably triggered on the sphinx guessing a riddle, or being attacked). The caster is unlikely to save vs them all making this a toss up. Does the shooter roll high or optimize a little more than normal? Likely Loss (1)
- The black pudding is another tricky one. If the caster can keep his distance, he is fine. He gets an autosuprise round, and can use it to run away. The ooze has a 50/50 chance to hit and if it does, he is done for. Toss Up (2)
- The Erinyes is designed to end the caster. It’s got a touch of 15, and can throw an entangling rope to just tie him up and rain arrows or longsword attacks. It can also teleport into the air outside of 6 shooter range, dropping damage quite a bit. Lastly, it can just win via charm monster most likely. The caster needs some good saves and rolls here. Likely Loss (1)
Our diabolist is a Yuan Tower Born. He has a bonus to init and saves vs poison, and can use charm person. +2 to a bunch of “magic” skills, mage hand, prestidigitation, at will acid splash, and an imp familiar. Familiar is on scout duty circling, and keeping watch. He also has generally got a pair of hellhounds summoned along with a rotating cast of huge elementals, 4d6 diabolist blast, resist 40 fire, a hex power. Prime stats are cha and dex, and they have 30.5 or so HP.
- A bound earth elemental hiding underground and punching the cactaur will make short work of this challenge. Sure Win (4)
- The efreeti has to deal with a huge water elemental slamming it, while the diabolist is basically immune to fire damage. Some elementals in the mix might make it hard, but ultimately they aren’t going to be much, thanks to fire resistance. The Efreeti has spells, but the diabolist can spam a decently hard to save against swollen tongue ability giving it 50% spell failure. Sure Win (4)
- The arena fight with the scorpion is a challenging one for most, but the diabolist can just have an Earth Elemental handle it. Its immune to the poison, the same size, and does good damage with high HP. Sure Win (4)
- The pair of bulettes are rough. An earth elemental can tie one up, but the other will have time to tear into our diabolist. Not a lot he can do to stop it from tearing through him. Sure Loss (0)
- Against the chimera, an air elemental is a good pairing. Between that and diabolic blasts, this is a quick encounter. Sure Win (4)
- The imp is fire resistant, flies, and can go invisible. It can just fly over, sneak in, and get the 6 shooter. Sure Win (4)
- The Wyvern are tough, because again 6. The air elemental is a good tactic, but it can’t stop all 6. If even one makes it near the diabolist, he goes down. This is a sure loss (0)
- The gynosphinx riddle is a challenge, but the diabolist has a lot of skills, and folks to confer with. In battle, the diabolist can’t withstand the rune barrage for failing the riddle challenge, so he has to win. This comes off as a Toss Up (2)
- The black pudding ambush. I think a huge elemental of any type is enough to distract the ooze while our diabolist runs off, and the odds of a one round KO are low. Likely Win (3)
- The erinyes has charm monster, and can likely charm the elemental. I think the diabolist is done for here. Sure loss (0)
Our doc is a Zard Healer. It has limited disguise self, venomous, regeneration, and some healing. Int and con as its prime stats. About 71.5 hp. More healing, knowledge check bonuses, extra saves, immune to disease, and a pile of elixirs (calm emotions, +10ft move speed, DR, water breathing, resist energy, immune to death, freedom of movement, dispel magic, haste) immune to poison.
- The doc has a boatload of healing, but nothing to offer the cactaur in trade, and nothing to really drive it off. Sure loss (0)
- Against the efreeti, he can be resistant to fire. That’s about it, but the efreeti can disappear, and let the fire elementals pummel him in melee while he throws out scorching rays, walls of fire. It’s not a lot, but it’s something. Likely Loss (1)
- I think the doc does pretty well here. With freedom of movement, DR 4, and poison immunity, the scorpion can’t do a ton. The doc can just club it to death. It will take a while, but I think he wins. Sure Win (4)
- A pair of bulettes is something he has no defense against. Sure Loss (0)
- The chimera is torching stuff, but he can keep handing out elemental resistance, and healing keeping townsfolk alive. Add in passive long arm attacks every now and again, he can probably drive it off before it does real damage. Especially if they are poisoned. Toss Up (2)
- The pyrohydra is interesting. He has nothing to negate its fast healing, but can probably get it with paralysis poison bites/poisoned bullets before it can kill him with all his healing. This is a toss up reliant on racial abilities. (2-1=1)
- Water breathing lets him dive into a pond and ignore the wyvern, but he can’t really do a ton to them. And they can wait him out if they want. Toss up (2)
- The doc is an int based character set up for riddles. He won’t lose that, and if he does, is actually able to be immune to a lot of the symbols. He loses in a fight though. Likely Win (3).
- The pudding is easy, if his first action is freedom of movement and run away to heal. Sure Win (4)
- The doctor can’t overcome DR, so a fight is out and he cant counter charms. Sure Loss (0)
For the gambler, we will assume he starts any given encounter with 4 random cards, drawing an extra at the start of a fight, and then plays as normal. Because we can’t really determine an average when things like straights are in play, and I can’t do the stats, I’m assuming a base value of high card 7 on spend if needed.
Our Gambler is a Yacaaw Cardonian Refugee. This gives him flight, and ghost sound, along with constant pass without trace, disguise self at will, and SR 18. His prime stats are dex and cha, and he has 39.5 HP. From his class, he gets +4 init, giving +8 total, and a benefit to sense motive, dominate sla, evasion, and a random saving throw reroll.
- He can cheat this with Yacaaw flight and a long arm, but can also most likely win (the cactaur needs an 18-20 to resist) with his dominate monster power and just ask them to let him have access (assuming the unlikely event he speaks sylvan or treant). He could also sit far away and snipe, like the boltcaster. He couldn’t sustain it as long, but it is probably enough to get them to leave the oasis and look for him. He can stealth in just like the boltcaster. Sure Win (4)
- Dominate monster shuts down the efreeti as well. The efreeti has +15 (reduced to +11), but the gambler has +17. He probably wins, and if so encounter over. The gambler has some reroll abilities that may edge this over. If not, he goes down hard as he has no real frontline defense. Likely Win (3)
- Fights are tough for him, but he is a master at prepared fights. He can prep for the fight and try to one shot it. He can spend the day generating cards, and come with 3 aces – +15d6 and a straight flush for a fort save vs (DC 66) or die. Sure Win (4)
- The bulettes get the drop, and can use a surprise round to just ruin the gambler. If he can get away, he can fly out of reach, but they can hide underground. Even cheating as a Yacaaw he is at best a stalemate. Likely Loss (1-1=0)
- The chimera barely speaks, but it does. Its sense motive is terrible, and it can’t stop the dominate, assuming the gambler understands draconic. Likely Win (3)
- We have evasion, so if the hydra tries with breath weapons we are probably fine. But letting it get that close is a trap. Sitting down for an actual fight is dumb as well, even if it ignores him he can’t consistently out damage its fast healing, and can’t disable it. The win path is to find out about the hydra, run away, and then cheese to ensure you start the fight with a phenomenal hand. He can spend the day generating cards, and come with 3 aces (+15d6) and a straight flush for a fort save vs (DC 66) or die. Sure Win (4)
- The flight of wyvern are tough, they speak draconic, but he can’t charm the entire group. Sure Loss (0)
- The smart sphinx. Our gambler’s SR won’t protect it from the symbols, and so bluffing through it is our only way. The sphinx has +15 (down to +11) and the gambler has +17. They have the edge, and it plays out just like the efreeti. Likely Win (3)
- The Yacaaw has nothing to ensure it gets a free surprise round action, so the ooze just eats him. The only chance is to use a random chance ability to break grapple and fly off. Likely Loss (1-1=0)
- The erinyes is playing the gamblers own game, and the gambler has no defense against charm. So he fails there, and has to fight out in some rough circumstances. Fighting is his weak point. Her charm is a single action vs his 1 min, too. She gets net +12 to his +17 bluff, and it’s a likely loss. He’s probably better at charming, but she has more options, and can do it first. In a fight, he loses. (1)
The Knight is a Barbal from Kei. Hes large, swims, +2 natural armor, bite attack for 1d8 and can swallow small or smaller, +2 vs poisons, and 1d6 sneak attack. From the knight class, he has DR 10/-, +2 shield, SR 13, immunity to fear, figments, and glamers, and his rotating codes. His stats are str and con, so he has 97.5 hp on average. A once per fight smite +8/8d6 (28), and He probably lumbers around in plate with an AC of 21 and a greatsword that does 3d6. He also has power attack, and can harass casters within 60ft.
- They can both hit one another, and both deal some damage thanks to power attack. The cactaur’s actually a little better but the knights DR eats it. If it were 1v1 he could win, but the allied cacti make this a sure loss in melee. His best bet is to fly out of reach using Code of Beasts, and pick it off with a longarm until it dies or leaves. It’s a Sure Win, but it’s a fight I was looking forward to, and disappointing. (4)
- If the djinn tries to fight via spellcasting, the knight can harry, and get attacks of opportunity anyway. And movement away isn’t an option. The Knight can open with a smite, full power attack at +12 vs AC 18 for 3d6+8d6+6+16, or 60HP right away. Then a bite to finish it. That also happens on an attack of opportunity, or just the first swing on the efreeti it can take. Sure Win (4)
- The monstrous scorpion can be fought in Code of beasts. This gives the scorpion a +14 grapple vs the Knights 16 minimum. The knight can then fly away and do the same thing as the cactaur, or he can just nova it in round one, like the djinn for 60 HP, and then fight it fairly while it can’t grapple him. Sure Win (4)
- Code of the beasts lets the Knight just fly away. He can survive multiple attacks a round, and just leave. Sure Win (4)
- Code of beasts lets the knight force the chimera into melee, and gives evasion vs breath weapons. Code of magic makes it immune to the breath weapons, but the town will still burn down. Regardless, the nova strike technique makes this a sure win. +12 vs 19 AC and 76 HP. Sure Win (4)
- Code of magic helps against the breath weapons, and while the knight can’t deal with the cold, it does have DR the Hydra basically can’t break. He can beat it up, knock it out, and then walk off. Sure Win (4)
- 6 wyrvens is tough. One would be nothing, but after his nova damage, he can’t actually deal much. To fight, he has to be code of beasts to get flight, but then they are just wear him down. DR 10 makes that take some time, but the poison is brutal and is what will do it. He needs a 7 to pass, but will suck up 3-4 attacks a round. Likely Loss (1)
- He isn’t outsmarting the gynosphinx. So we resort to the symbol barrage. The knight has SR 13, but these are CL 18. He is immune to a bunch, but unfortunately, not death effects. Sure Loss (0)
- The pudding is weird. Because it just splits apart and continually swarms him. The damage is enough to get through DR, and the acid is even better. His only hope is the code of beasts, dropping the oozes grapple to +6, and getting some early flight engaged. If he can win, with his +14 grapple, he can fly away and be fine. Toss up (2)
- Next level, hes immune to charm monster, which would be nice. But for now, she charms him and that’s the end of it. Likely Loss (1)
The outlaw is a Zard Professional. He can use disguise self limited, regrow limbs, and is venomous. He also is a ready source of low DC dex/paralysis poison. He has lots of knowledge skills, cheap items, and a bonus against illusions. From the outlaw class, 4d6 sudden strike, poison use, animated ropes and rope trick, ropes from fire or electricity, and move action rope use and binding, along with fishhook (spell failure), gouge (blinding) and below the belt (nauseated), confused, or stunned all on DC 18. He can also make death attacks. His high stats are dex and int, and his HP are 39.5. The outlaw probably carries dual 6 shooters and a long arm, and probably took rapid shot.
- Against the Cactaur, he is going to use death attacks from extreme range on the primary one forcing DC 18 fort saves vs death. Cactaur has +15, but can’t keep making them forever, and the long arm has some distance. Sure Win (4)
- The outlaw doesn’t win init, and his prime win chance is to not get surrounded and beaten. Unfortunately, that’s probably what happens. Likely Loss (1)
- Scorpion Arena. The Outlaw wins init, and can’t let the scorpion take a turn. He has prep time, so has poisoned 6 shooters, and unloads. Luckily, his nova damage is high. 8/8/8/3/3 against AC of 8 for (1d4+1+4d6)*5. Or 17.5*5= 87.5 damage. Also, they are all poisoned, and each one does dex damage, dropping AC more. Sure Win (4)
- The outlaw needs a new tactic here, but I think he can hide in a rope trick until they leave. Sure Win (4)
- He can’t hide from the chimera, or it will destroy the town. He can nova damage for 87.5 against touch AC 10, if it gets close though. Thats his best bet, hide, somewhere in its path, and blast it as it runs by. Sure Win (4)
- He can’t kill the pyrohydra for good, and has no way to damage it enough to lure it away. But it’s fort save is 10, and it can be slain with death attacks. He can set up shop a distance away, and blast it for a death attack. We can try the same as the cactaur really. Sure Win (4).
- The Wyvern are tough, and unfortunately, with 6 int, you can’t just hide in a rope trick and hope they get bored. They might be smart enough to land, look up, and see you and then coordinate an attack. If that happens, you might be able to coordinate a situation where you surprise attack one or two, but not all 6. Sure Loss (0)
- You’re going to fail the riddle, and die to the symbols. Sure Loss (0)
- Oozes are immune to sudden strike, and death attacks. If you don’t get immediately grappled, you can get into a rope trick and wait for it to leave. Toss up. (2)
- He gets charmed right away, and that’s probably the end of it. If not, her DR is not something he can bypass reliably, so he’s done. Sure Loss (0)
Everyone stays mostly in line, but a little more powerful. The gambler falls off hard in combat, and due to the nature of its abilities, it’s hard to properly evaluate. It’s going to be fishing for crits off those guns X4, with rerolls and frequent attacks. It should be a little below everyone else to account for the random factor, but he originally got 14 and thats is low. 5 of his original fights were toss up, and his random powers may edge that to success for as high as a potential 18. Looking at the fights lost, I realized he needed a big pile of evocation style d6 damage at higher levels to let him hold his own in combat a little more. This led to the swap of the 3 of a kind from a 3d20 attack roll to +Bigd6 to an attack. The gambler also gets a lot more dangerous if he can speak any languages, which led to a limited ability to do that in the form of Read the Room. With those revisions he comes in at (22) which is acceptable to me.
To follow along with this project as it goes on, entries have been tagged with the Dead Man’s Land Tag.