Don't go into the woods...

Its pretty common knowledge in an fantasy milieu. You don't want to go into the woods, because there are nasty things in there. In particular, nobody wants to go into the woods to fight Elves. That hasn't been the case in DDM, but the creature we preview this week may change all of that.

This is the Wood Elf Champion designed by Lars (Laurian on the boards), and I am going to let him take it from here.

Today I have the honor to introduce the new Wood Elf Champion. I was lucky that Tried (D.Garry) chose to develop the wood elf I proposed. I had two important reasons for designing him:
1. While we have many Elves in DDM, we still miss the "classic" Wood elf hero, who strikes hard from the shadows of the forest.
2. For many years I played a wood elf ranger in my D&D group (you can guess where my profile name came from…) .

My initial design was much more 'conventional' – a powerful ranged damage dealer with Hide and Forest Walk. The champion power was mainly a 'one time' boost to damage. Tried developed it further, trying to break new ground (I was a part of this - there was definitely some give and take on different points!) And the result?
Now we have an even more interesting piece.

It is – in my opinion – an amazing embodiment of a wood elf ranger hero. Why? Because he combines the two classic themes associated with wood elves: Ranged Damage and – surprise - Woods!
Now lets take a look in the details how these two themes got implemented:

Ranged Damage:
Even the basic attack is a ranged attack: Snapshot. It will not get used so often – because the second ranged attack offers superior firepower : The Elven Swiftbow allows to attack twice for 15 damage without any restrictions. So the Elf is one of the top ranged damage dealers. What else would have expected from a Champion? And: There are possibilities in Wild to improve his ranged damage even more…
The “ranged theme” is also supported by the second champion power which grants Elf allies a boost to their ranged damage. So playing a warband consisting of Elves with bows becomes more interesting.

The woods:
He is a Leaf Runner. This power is similar to Forest Walk but there are differences: In game terms you fly above the woods - moving with no problem through other forest-occupying creatures as long as they are not flyers themselves. Of course, Flight can be lost. And there is certainly an often-used item that forbids flying…

Forest Craft: This is very similar to Forest Camouflage, but adjacent means that he doesn't have to actually occupy forest terrain if he doesn't wish to. Then can be adjacent - hidden at the edge of the woods. . Elves that occupy or are adjacent to the edge of the forest on the edge of the forest basically gives him Hide when adjacent to forest. An indispensable power for an elf champion.

But there is one more power that marries these two themes: Keen Senses.
It combines the two main themes - because it lets you shoot through forest terrain! Of course, the target is granted conceal 11, just like any ranged attack that is redirected to an invisible target - and the target will likely have cover as well. From a thematic perspective a very suitable power for a member of the race with the long ears and sharp eyes.

This uses the wording 'Unseen' which is not an official term in DDM...yet.
Here is a definition for play going forward that you may see in beta rules in the not too distant future:

Unseen: An ally or enemy that a creature cannot draw line of sight to, due to invisibility, terrain that blocks line of sight, or the creature having the blinded condition. The ally or enemy is unseen to that creature.

It is quite obvious that the Wood Elf Champion will be a force on forest maps - and even on market square!
He can't quite match an Elf Arcane Archer on walled terrain, and his bonus to hit is not nearly as high, but on forest or smoke maps he can lay down a heavy barrage of missile fire - firing four times at +15 or so.
More than one Wood Elf Champion might be considered too much.
Therefore, in the end, we limited him to a unique, which also means an extra potential item in his possession.

(Tried jumps back in.)
All unique creatures don't require a name - certainly not - but this one was screaming for it.
And so, without his knowledge, I named it after the designer.
He is Laurian, Wood Elf Hero. This was really a prime reason to make him unique in my books.
The only other significant reason was that I didn't want him sharing his second champion power with himself.
I was less worried about the Keen Senses power.
As a developer on this piece, I'm less concerned with the rate of fire. For 36 points, you can have a Wand Expert with a potion of Blindsight firing with advantage through smoke, 4 times in two rounds, at +17 for 15.
(and with no conceal). Indeed, with the correct ally, he can easily hit +19 for 20, with four shots hitting invisible opponents. LWEH cannot quite match that, but I think he will show up on the gaming table very soon, because he can shoot through trees, and for now, its a novelty.

I have left a BETA tag on this creature - not because it is going to change in power level, but because we may continue to try to clean up the wording for the powers.

Comments

Thenameless's picture
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Love the piece, but it seems a little strong (or a lot strong).

I think Laurian is capable of doing the following:

1. Take an attack action using Elven Swiftbow to attack twice (visible enemy or enemies)
2. Take a minor action using Keen Senses to attack an Unseen enemy through forest or smoke
3. Replace a move action with a minor action and use Keen Senses again

If Laurian can attack at range four times in one round it seems too powerful. Maybe Keen Senses should have the limitation of "can only be used once per round". Or am I reading this incorrectly?

tried's picture
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He can only attack twice a round - but for example compared to the arcane archer, who has a two turn recharge cycle, he could shoot 4 times through woods to the AA's once. I will clean that up in the text above.

Keen Senses needs to be used as a minor to make this work - and it needs to be used twice if you want to attack two different creatures through woods.
In theory you could - Move - Keen Senses, then attack one unseen creature twice (rolling conceal 11),
OR
Keen Senses vs target A, Keen Senses vs target B, then make the attacks allowed by your detection of the enemies.

- wow - I hope I didn't just convert this guy from 'super great' to 'sucky' in your mind....
He is still a cool piece, IMO.

(On the other hand, an arcane archer attacks once through walls every two turns, while this foresty guy never attacks through walls....)

gontasama's picture
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7 January 2016
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43 weeks 1 day

really good. powerfull Wink

Koen's picture
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I don't think you can use keen senses twice. Or at least, I think the second use would erase the first use. Or does this somehow evade the duplicate power rule?

The main question I have right now is if this elf wil replace Lars' usual lone elf arcane archer or stand next to it Wink

Laurian's picture
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7 July 2011
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Koen you asked an important question Smile
After Dwayne surprised me with the name I have no choice: The Arcane Archer will be replaced with the new Wood Elf.
So you can start preparing an anti-Elf Warband...

tried's picture
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12 January 2010
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I thought about Koen's question.

I'm happy with either interpretation of the rules.

For me, Keen senses works on the target, instead of the attacker, making the target viable for the elf. In this case, you can use the power two times to tag opponents.

If the wording is such that it is the Elf's power and the tag resides inside him - then you would only be able to do it once, as Koen suggests.

Thenameless's picture
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"Keen Senses vs target A, Keen Senses vs target B, then make the attacks allowed by your detection of the enemies."

Tried, this is what I'm saying. Doesn't this mean that Laurian can attack 4 times in 1 round then?

1. Keen Senses vs Target A (minor or move action)
2. Keen Senses vs Target B (minor or move action)
3. Then Elven Swiftbow for 2 more attacks (attack action)

Though it doesn't have to be in this order.

Laurian's picture
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Thenamless: I think Keen Senses includes no attack - it allows Laurian only to use his attack action against an unseen enemy. Which means max. 2 attacks from one attack Action with Elven Swiftbow. If you use Keen Senses twice, you can attack with Elven Swiftbow each enemy one time with +17 for 15 damage.

Koen's picture
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7 July 2011
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I'm not happy with a power that can be interpreted in two different ways though Wink

I mean, there is still a beta sign on the card, why not clarify it to avoid some rule debates/ judge calls? I don't really care if Laurian can target two unseen enemies or just one, but I can't see a reason not to avoid possible confusion.

Current wording seems to imply that the power works on Laurian by the way, but that doesn't really matter I guess. The way it is written now I could even argue that the 'one unseen enemy' does not have to be pointed out at the moment that you activate keen senses.

Thenameless's picture
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We'll need to clear up some of the wording for the final version. We don't want another Sorcerer on Black Dragon situation.

tried's picture
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This was the reason to leave the beta on. This is the 'nth' iteration. Another clean way to do this that would allow him to detect any enemies, or to treat forest terrain as clear ( I don't like this - I want it to be a situation where he can thread an arrow through forest, but that it nonetheless provides cover to the target).

Laurian's picture
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I would also prefer to change the wording of Keen Senses to let him detect all enemies.

Thenameless's picture
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I agree. Right now, the way the power is worded, Keen Senses would also work in smoke. That's why I called it Forest Shot originally - flavour.

Justjooaivan's picture
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The way it is currently written, seems to affect the creature itself, not the target (no "choose an enemy, that enemy..." language).

Also, was it intentionally written as "unseen"? To make everyone guess whether Invisible also qualifies?

I like the concept of this piece. May turn out to be rather strong.

Ira's picture
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27 May 2013
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The specific text of the powers are still beta, since tried was eager to post it before the final proofread. For example "til" instead of "until," no italics for Minor action, etc. Regarding Keen Senses, it's not intended to give any attacks via the minor action. We'll ensure that's clear in the final language.

Regarding "unseen," tried was hinting at possible future language for the next rules revision, but that's also not final (either in the future rules or on this card). Even if we change it later, at least this was a nice preview. Smile And yes, "unseen" would certainly include invisible, so you can understand the intent of the power.

Justjooaivan's picture
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Also "target has conceal 11 as normal" is of course anything but normal for ranged attacks (which is all that the creature has). Smile Perhaps consider changing that to something else too. A simple "Target has conceal 11 if no line of sight can be drawn to it" is much clearer, IMO.

Justjooaivan's picture
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Unseen might be a real nice new term. Please also consider the "target" vs. "victim" separation in the new terminology.

Ira's picture
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I don't want to take over the preview thread with too many rules details, so could you start a separate thread explaining what you mean about target vs. victim? I suspect it's related to redirection, but I want to be sure. And I thought we already resolved that, anyway... But separate thread, please! Thanks!

tried's picture
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Unseen is defined in the article itself, and it specifically states it is a preview of future rules.

tried's picture
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Also, word like 'til are clear to an english speaker.
It is a contraction of until. The key thing is to get rules with a minimum of words that still have a clear meaning. We are not there yet, but it will not take a lot to clean this up.

I will preview something more tentacle-y in the next day or two.

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