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Shape Change power and Dragons

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  • Shape Change power and Dragons

    Have a player who is playing a Cleric of the Nature Domain at Novice level. He uses Shape Change to turn into a Wyrmling Bronze Dragon. In this form he is able to use his breath weapon every round until the duration ends. The player typically uses the option to extend his duration to minutes instead of rounds. This gives him effectively the Burst power at only the cost of the Shape Change power until it's duration ends. This feels overpowered. I am I missing something?

  • #2
    How about mebbe adding on a Power "tax" in the form of an extra PP cost per special ability. Like normal speed Flight or Swimming or Water Breathing would be free, but Fast Pace (more than 10") or an Innate Power would cost an extra PP. So you could easily Shape Change to a "Normal" animal, but an "Exotic" one would cost more. Wanna Fly Fast AND have a Breath Weapon? Upfront cost is 2 more PP.

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    • #3
      Keep in mind that using a Breath Weapon takes the entire turn, so no multi-actions, and more importantly that unlike Burst, Breath Weapons can be Evaded. If the player keeps doing this and it becomes a problem, opponents with higher agility, AP weapons, or the occasional Dispel (especially if the dragon is flying at the time) could force him to use some other tactics. Just don’t overdo it and make him feel specifically targeted or like you’re trying to negate his whole character concept.

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      • #4
        I think the OP part is being able to cast the Burst power (albeit a version that can be Evaded) basically for FREE every single round. The additional PP cost (+1 PP) to extend the Duration to 5 minutes instead of just 5 turns seems kinda miniscule by comparison. Why would most players NOT want to be a flying gun platform for every combat?

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        • Deskepticon
          Deskepticon commented
          Editing a comment
          Because being the "flying gun platform" would make you the primary target nearly every single time. It's like calling in an airstrike to take out a tank or gunner's nest before charging the enemy line. The biggest threat receives priority, with an equal measure of force.

          It's got nothing to do with picking on the player or trying negating their character concept, it's just the way any enemy would logically and realistically respond.

          There's a reason shape change allows multiple forms by default. It's meant to be adaptive, not exploitive.

      • #5
        Because being the "flying gun platform" would make you the primary target nearly every single time. It's like calling in an airstrike to take out a tank or gunner's nest before charging the enemy line. The biggest threat receives priority, with an equal measure of force.

        Well it sure sounds like you agree with it being OP

        It's got nothing to do with picking on the player or trying negating their character concept, it's just the way any enemy would logically and realistically respond.

        Ya, the "respond" part might be a big part of the problem. A Wyrmling Bronze Dragon has a Flying Pace of 18. 18! That easily allows for movement out of and back into full cover whilst dispensing a great deal of damage. 2d6 Area of Effect damage from a teeny little wyrmling seems kind of ... excessive.

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        • #6
          Originally posted by redcap57 View Post
          Ya, the "respond" part might be a big part of the problem. A Wyrmling Bronze Dragon has a Flying Pace of 18. 18! That easily allows for movement out of and back into full cover whilst dispensing a great deal of damage. 2d6 Area of Effect damage from a teeny little wyrmling seems kind of ... excessive.
          "Entire turn" means (or at least used to) everything that could happen during a turn, no movement, no actions, no free actions. So no moving in and out whilst burning.

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          • Deskepticon
            Deskepticon commented
            Editing a comment
            I'm pretty sure movement and free actions are allowed. The GM may limit the types of free actions, though, if they feel its appropriate.

        • #7
          Originally posted by Matchstickman View Post

          "Entire turn" means (or at least used to) everything that could happen during a turn, no movement, no actions, no free actions. So no moving in and out whilst burning.
          I don't think that's how Shape Change works. It would make the spell kinda useless. Doesn't say that in the text.

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          • Matchstickman
            Matchstickman commented
            Editing a comment
            I'm not taking about casting the Shape Change power, just using a Breath Weapon. But as I said that was how it used to work, does it still work that way? Who knows anymore.

        • #8
          Size was never a useful metric for "how dangerous/useful is the form in combat" and wasn't ever really intended to be such. Small forms with dangerous abilities were inevitably going to show up and make the shape change power quite powerful. The only solution I can think of is either to strictly limit what you can turn into (adult versions of creatures so you can't do a wyrmling dragon? No variant creatures? Animals only?) or build some kind of point system for forms like you see in the Super Powers Companion or Cyril Rosenaux's shapeshifting book on SWAG.

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          • #9
            The language in Core and Bestiary is consistent:
            ”Unless otherwise noted, breath attacks…take the creature’s entire turn— they can’t perform Multi-Actions in the same round they make a breath attack.”
            I read that to mean that the creature can still move, take free actions, etc…just no other actions.

            Man, Dragon Disciple is looking worse and worse vs just taking Burst, Fly, and Shapechange.

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            • Ndreare
              Ndreare commented
              Editing a comment
              I this is good as it will reduce the breath attacks from stacking up and killing the PC's in one round.

              I still feel that the ability to turn into a dragon was not fully considered in balance, and should have had a modifier to tax it (perhaps a +3 modifier to turn into non-animals.)

          • #10
            Originally posted by redcap57 View Post
            Well it sure sounds like you agree with it being OP
            Not at all. I'm saying a powerful ability requires a powerful response. If the player's thing is turning into dragon every combat, the GM needs to increase the threat level of the enemies (who are more likely to target the friggin dragon burninating everything).

            Ya, the "respond" part might be a big part of the problem. A Wyrmling Bronze Dragon has a Flying Pace of 18. 18! That easily allows for movement out of and back into full cover whilst dispensing a great deal of damage. 2d6 Area of Effect damage from a teeny little wyrmling seems kind of ... excessive.
            There is no "full cover" in Savage Worlds. A target can either be attacked or not. If the dragon flies out of Cover at the beginning of it's turn, then ends it's turn behind Cover, the best it has is Near Total Cover (and at worst, no Cover at all if a foe successfully Interrupts). Even though combat plays out in turns, everyone's turn is assumed to be concurrent. They aren't sitting around waiting for the dragon to go back into Cover. They can feasible attack it at some point during that round. The game merely uses the character's "current position" out of simplicity.

            But I don't see a 2d6 Cone as "excessive." The GM just needs to play the foes smarter; taking Cover or dropping Prone; casting environmental protection against the Breath Attack type; jumping in a lake; etc. Besides, Breath Attacks always allow an Evasion roll on top of things.

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            • #11
              keep in mind that dispel is a novice power, and the enemies aren't stupid. word of that is going to get around pretty quickly. enemies are going to use ambushes, shapeshifters of their own, environmental protection, etc. if it were me, i would set up a two stage ambush, where just as the party was starting to rest from the first one, the next one would start, until the enemies ran out of gold and mercenaries. hard to shapeshift without power points.

              that said, there is no reason you couldn't rank-gate the types of forms, or even limit them to specific types of forms entirely.
              i have a druid playing in my game right now that just hit seasoned, and after looking at wildshape, i plan to limit it to beast/plant at seasoned, add elemental at heroic, and dragon at legendary.

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              • #12
                If the dragon uses it’s turn to fly 9” in, breath, and fly 9” back to where it isn’t visible, put some opponents on hold and interrupt it. The Bronze Wyrmling is only Athletics d6.

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                • #13
                  Originally posted by Dogfisc View Post
                  If the dragon uses it’s turn to fly 9” in, breath, and fly 9” back to where it isn’t visible, put some opponents on hold and interrupt it. The Bronze Wyrmling is only Athletics d6.
                  I always found it funny how many players forget to use cover and forget that they can go on hold. It seems a lot of the time people think going first is always best. But sometimes going on hold is the way to go.

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                  • #14
                    Originally posted by Ndreare View Post

                    I always found it funny how many players forget to use cover and forget that they can go on hold. It seems a lot of the time people think going first is always best. But sometimes going on hold is the way to go.
                    I’m also a big fan of the Calculating Edge, to turn a low Action Card into an advantage.

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                    • #15
                      Don't forget breath weapon can also fail. Your character needs to succeed on an athletics roll each time she uses the breath weapon.

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