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đź’Ż {Staff Pick} [Let's Read] Diablo II: Diablerie

FrivYeti

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#1
Hello, RPGnet! I am in a bit of a creative funk right now. Also, I have maybe a little bit - just a tich - of incandescent rage that I feel like I want to expunge in a relatively healthy, non-hostile manner.

So I’m going to make snide comments about some poor guy’s work on RPG.net, and you get to read some of my more inventive sarcasm when it comes to other peoples’ mechanics. I'm going to try to be even-handed about this, and give some benefit of the doubt, because even when I'm getting caustic I prefer to also be educational. I welcome the comments of anyone else who has had the fortune to read this little slice of history.

Let’s read Diablerie, and maybe follow up with To Hell And Back, the two official adaptations of Diablo II for D&D 3.0! Beware - what follows is a measure of rough mechanics, questionable design choices, and enough dice rolling to make your hands cramp!

First, a bit of backstory.

Backstory: What the What?

So, back in the days of AD&D, a sourcebook was released in order to adapt D&D to the world of Diablo. I have not read this book, but I understand that it is pretty solid. When Wizards of the Coast took over, a group of authors were tasked with updating the adaptation for both Diablo II and for the brand new 3rd Edition of Dungeons and Dragons.

I cannot claim to have any behind the scenes information on how this went. I can say that Dungeons & Dragons 3.0 was released in July of 2000, with the Dungeon Master’s Guide released in September and the Monsters Manual released in October. Diablo II: Diablerie was released in December.

Yes, this is the very first supplement ever released for Dungeons & Dragons by Wizards of the Coast, outside of the core set. It was produced simultaneously with the game’s core rules, and the result is appropriately half-baked.

Looking over the other works by the author of this book (including Book of Exalted Deeds, Book of Vile Darkness, and Sandstorm, I see a lot of books with great ideas and wobbly mechanics. Unfortunately, there’s no real room to put great ideas into a rushed adaptation of a hack-and-slash video game, and I suspect there was some editorial mandate in place here making things worse, so what we get is… the wonky mechanics.

(In a side fun note - J.D. Wicker would go on to write for the Diablo-based Torchlight series, which are a light, fun approach to the Diablo style, so maybe something good came of this game after all!)

Anyway, let’s get rolling, and start off with the…

Introduction

The Introduction is short and sweet - two basic pages. It lets you know a few things:

If you want setting material, you’re in the wrong place. That’s in the other book. This actually makes a certain amount of sense; the two Diablo books have been divided in much the same way that the Player’s Handbook and Dungeon Master’s Guide have. There is a brief (half-page) summary of the plot and backstory of Diablo, but that’s it.
This is a sourcebook. You still need the core rules. This also makes sense.
This isn’t some boring exploration-based game. Diablo II is about stabbing things in the face and taking their stuff! To quote:
Diablerie said:
You may notice the equipment section has no listing for food. Is that a problem? After all, the game designers at Blizzard Entertainment wisely realized that part of the great pastime of escapism is not worrying about such commonplace trifles as eating, drinking, and paying bills.

The beauty of the Diablo II setting is that it does not focus as much on investigation and interaction as it does on good old-fashioned door-bashing, skull-cracking, hoard-looting action...

If you've purchased this book, you're probably more interested in kicking demon butt than keeping track of your rations anyway. Right?
So. Let’s take a moment to talk about this passage, because I really think it explains everything that went wrong with this book: The designers of this Diablo adaptation have mistaken choices made for video game gameplay with choices that were made for setting reasons.

There is, in fact, quite a bit of interaction and investigation in Diablo II. You simply don’t have a chance of failing it. You meet people, solve quests for them, learn about the world, dodge traps and discover the mysteries of the various realms. What the designer here has done is focused on the things that a video game does best, and announced their intention to reflect those things into a tabletop game.

We’re about to get 96-pages of why this was a mistake even before wobbly mechanics enter into things.

Next: Wobbly Mechanics Enter Into Things
 
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giant.robot

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#3
I'm a sucker and I own all the Diablo II books (and StarCraft Alternity). This LR is going to be a doozy because the Diablo books are terrible. They strike me as terrible because of management interference rather than the authors setting out to write a horrible book. Two (I think) of the books were extremely late stage AD&D supplements trying to shoehorn Diablo's rules onto AD&D. The others trying to do the same with 3E's rules. I've never run games with them nor used any of their content. They've all been shelf queens.
 

VoidDrifter

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#4
Looking forward to reading this. I never held a physical copy of this, but I have read PDFs, and whilst it suffers from all the problems of 3.0 in particular and 3e in general, I still really like the honest creativity that it tried to put into things. Plus, this was an actually interesting Necromancer class, much more fun that 3e's Wizard Specialist (Necromancer).
 

Gogmagog

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I do believe in the D1 book they made effort to mix things up some so the young prince(?) could be rescued and also the 'Headbutt the evil gem' ending if the PCs don't want to.
 

Victim

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So. Let’s take a moment to talk about this passage, because I really think it explains everything that went wrong with this book: The designers of this Diablo adaptation have mistaken choices made for video game gameplay with choices that were made for setting reasons.

There is, in fact, quite a bit of interaction and investigation in Diablo II. You simply don’t have a chance of failing it. You meet people, solve quests for them, learn about the world, dodge traps and discover the mysteries of the various realms. What the designer here has done is focused on the things that a video game does best, and announced their intention to reflect those things into a tabletop game.
To be honest, I can't really fault them for that basic approach. Yeah, there are lots of potential things to do in a PnP RPG version of Diablo that aren't done in the video game, and as such an RPG is missing some opportunities by not expanding its focus and add depth. However, IMO, if you aren't providing some attempt to provide a satisfying monster bash, you aren't really making a Diablo game. Maybe you're making a game set in the Diablo setting, but there's a difference to me. There are core elements for media properties that need to be included if you actually attempting to do them justice instead of making whatever you want and plunking it into the setting. For Diablo, that should definitely include battling monsters.

The implementation of those battles should be different from the video game because tabletop games are different and slower to mechanically resolve (less actions per combat) and present information (the loot comparison game is also slower, so PCs should get less loot). But it's still possible to deliver some hack and slashing even in that context. For example, the game could use some type of minion rules to let players quickly mow down monster hordes and to consolidate enemy actions to make things easier for the DM, and then treat the elites with the various suffixes as the singleton enemies. It could abstract some of the fighting in dungeon crawl or journey through a monster infested wilderness to focus on a few special or representative fights in more detail. There are things that could be done to capture the feeling of fighting against hordes of diablo monsters on the tabletop.
 

Zeea

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I don't envy the writers who had to do this one without the final rules. That being said, ye gods, generating treasure for barrels was HORRIBLE.
 

FrivYeti

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I'm a sucker and I own all the Diablo II books (and StarCraft Alternity). This LR is going to be a doozy because the Diablo books are terrible. They strike me as terrible because of management interference rather than the authors setting out to write a horrible book. Two (I think) of the books were extremely late stage AD&D supplements trying to shoehorn Diablo's rules onto AD&D. The others trying to do the same with 3E's rules. I've never run games with them nor used any of their content. They've all been shelf queens.
To be honest, I think a lot of things combined to make this book terrible. Can't speak for the AD&D ones, of course.

Looking forward to reading this. I never held a physical copy of this, but I have read PDFs, and whilst it suffers from all the problems of 3.0 in particular and 3e in general, I still really like the honest creativity that it tried to put into things. Plus, this was an actually interesting Necromancer class, much more fun that 3e's Wizard Specialist (Necromancer).
I will grant that the author had a hard road, but as I am about to begin demonstrating, there are so many just really basic screwups that I can't help but give it the sideye.

To be honest, I can't really fault them for that basic approach. Yeah, there are lots of potential things to do in a PnP RPG version of Diablo that aren't done in the video game, and as such an RPG is missing some opportunities by not expanding its focus and add depth. However, IMO, if you aren't providing some attempt to provide a satisfying monster bash, you aren't really making a Diablo game. Maybe you're making a game set in the Diablo setting, but there's a difference to me. There are core elements for media properties that need to be included if you actually attempting to do them justice instead of making whatever you want and plunking it into the setting. For Diablo, that should definitely include battling monsters.

The implementation of those battles should be different from the video game because tabletop games are different and slower to mechanically resolve (less actions per combat) and present information (the loot comparison game is also slower, so PCs should get less loot). But it's still possible to deliver some hack and slashing even in that context. For example, the game could use some type of minion rules to let players quickly mow down monster hordes and to consolidate enemy actions to make things easier for the DM, and then treat the elites with the various suffixes as the singleton enemies. It could abstract some of the fighting in dungeon crawl or journey through a monster infested wilderness to focus on a few special or representative fights in more detail. There are things that could be done to capture the feeling of fighting against hordes of diablo monsters on the tabletop.
Oh, yeah, if they'd gone with some cool rules to streamline hack and slash, it would have done wonders. This is obviously not what they did.

But I still take exception to the basic premise of "you're not here because Diablo has a beautiful, immersive setting, you're here to punch things until they fall over, search their corpses, and then punch more things." It's just... it's everywhere. It's baked into the setting at its core. It is honestly a problem.

I don't envy the writers who had to do this one without the final rules. That being said, ye gods, generating treasure for barrels was HORRIBLE.
Oh, god, yes, I will have an essay-length rant about that later. But for now I have an essay-length rant about the beginning of Chapter 1.

Today, we begin Chapter 1: Character Classes. There is a lot to unpack here, so we’re going to be doing one update each for the five character classes we’re given the option of playing.

Before we hit our first class, the game has a note for us - Diablo II doesn’t multiclass, but if you want to, you can, especially fighters and rogues.

This is technically true, but it’s also a mess.

See, the Diablo II classes go up to Level 25, rather than up to Level 20, which is a bit of a problem, but not nearly as big a problem as the fact that Diablo II hands out feats and Ability bonuses based on class level, rather than character level. I’m not sure whether this is because something changed in the design process for 3E, or if it’s because they just assumed you would fix that yourself if you started multi-classing. Given that everyone involved only gets the 1 Feat per 3 levels and 1 Ability boost per 4, the game probably assumes that multiclassing uses character levels.

There’s also a note not to do something silly like multiclass barbarian with Diablo Barbarian, which… honestly, their powers are so different I don’t see why not.

The game also doesn’t have any notes or comments about Races or racial modifiers. I would assume that this means that you’re supposed to apply the human bonuses and call it day, but the quick-design characters don’t get the human bonus feat, so maybe not? It’s really a hot mess.

Anyway, speaking of hot messes, let’s look at the Amazon!

I’m MAD as Hell and I’m going to sit here and take it: The Amazon

Oh, lord.

Lordy lord.

So. Amazons need the following traits: Strength in order to fight in melee, wear armour, and deal damage, Dexterity in order to make ranged attacks, Constitution to survive hits, and Charisma to recover their powers and to set their save DCs. Also all but one of their skill options key off Intelligence and Wisdom.

So that’s fun.

Amazons get the Fighter’s d10 hit die, (2+Int) skills, and are only good at Fort saves. Their skill list includes Craft, Craft (Fletcher), and Craft (Bowyer), because the 3.0 Craft skills were bad and also someone didn’t edit the list well. They do not have any Charisma-based skills, because as noted above, who wants to talk in a Diablo game?

Amazons also have a lot of dead levels. This is a thing that will continue throughout the game, but essentially whenever there’s an Ability Bonus level, there’s no class-based bonus granted. You take your +1 to a single stat and you like it.

They also have a lot of powers that are magic. When an Amazon uses a magic power, they have to make a Charisma check at DC 15+Power Level, or they lose the power. So most of the time, these are 1/day powers, but very occasionally, you will get lucky.

The way that Amazons (and later, Barbarians and Paladins) gain powers is that you pick one power off your available list when you level up. You essentially get three powers per tier for six tiers by Level 24, at which point you call it a day.

And the Amazon’s powers are… man, they are all over the map.

The first tier includes the following:
The Improved Critical feat, which in 3.0 was much better for meleeists than for archers.
A permanent +2 to your Spot and attack rolls in the darkness, creating a weird situation where you’re better at shooting concealed enemies than openly attacking ones. Neat power t
Magic fire arrows you can use for +1d6 damage on any attack that hits this turn, but.
Actual magic arrows that just hit automatically and do +1 damage and it covers all of your arrows this turn and did I mention every one hits automatically?
The worst multi-attack power ever designed.
Wait, maybe I should break that last one down.

Jab is a full-round action, so it eats all your attacks and you can’t move while using it. It lets you attack at -2, -4, and -6 instead of your usual attack options. You don’t get your Strength bonus to any of the attacks, you don’t get it to any of your damage rolls, and you take a -1 penalty to each damage roll on top of that.

I think the idea here was probably to allow Amazons to do some melee fighting without having to buy Strength. Jab isn’t magical, so you can use it all you want. Except that without Strength, your chances of actually hitting with any of these three attacks are low, and your damage per hit is negligible. And since Jab doesn’t scale as you level, it starts off not very good and just gets worse and worse. Going from +2 to hit to +0 / -2 / -4 with a -1 damage penalty is not great, but at least you have multiple chances to hit. Going from +11/+6/+1 to +9/+7/+5 and still taking a damage penalty means trading chance to hit with your main attack for chance to hit with your minor attack. Going from +16/+11/+6/+1 to +14/+12/+10 means actually losing attacks in exchange for also losing damage.

And all of those numbers assume that you don’t have a Strength bonus, as noted. If you have, say, +2 Strength, you’re going from +13/+8/+3 to +9/+7/+5 and also losing three points of damage per hit.

Now, there is a useful edge case for Jab - Weapon Finesse. Under a strict reading, you could take Weapon Finesse for your weapon and still get Dexterity to hit. Your damage will remain absolute garbage (woo, 1d6-1 damage per hit), but at least you can hit.

Anyway, you’re buying Magic Arrow because it is so much better than the other options and it scales radically well. Staggeringly well. At Level 1 it is a good power. At Level 20 it is a stunningly good power (good enough that it might legitimately be worth trying to max out Charisma to use it more often instead of other stats). But you can get other things at Level 2 and 3.

Whew! And that was just Group 1. Let’s look at the other ranks, hopefully faster.

Whoops, no, not faster.

Spoiler: Show
Right off the bat, there’s the Cold arrows. They work the same as Fire Arrows, but instead of setting things on fire they force an enemy to make a Fortitude save or be Slowed for 1d3 rounds. There is no save DC. So… I guess just make one up? I’m going to say the Save DC is 1 Billion. (Seriously, though, most of the Amazon Save DCs seem to be some variation on 10 + Group Level + ⅓ Amazon Level + Charisma, which is a mouthful but can be calculated.)

If you bought Magic Arrow, and of course you did, you can also take Multiple Shot, which is the horde-killer. It turns each of your attacks into three attacks, with the same cumulative -2 to hit. It’s not really clear on whether the penalty is cumulative within each attack, or over the full spread, which is a pretty big difference for whether this is a good power or not. I will give it the benefit of the doubt and assume that it turns +6/+1 into +4/+2/+0/-1/-3/-5 rather than turning it into +4/+2/+0/-9/-11/-13, because one of those is a good power and one is not. You can’t shoot the same enemy twice; again, not clear on if that’s within each three-arrow set, or for the whole cascade of attacks.

In theory, this means that a Level 21 Amazon who fires off a chain of Multiple Shot arrows is going to be attacking at +19/+17/+15/+14/+12/+10/+9/+7/+5/+4/+2/+0/-1/-3/-5. That gives you fifteen attacks. That is a ludicrous number of attacks to roll. Sadly, it’s a full-round action as well, so you can’t stack it with Magic Arrow to make everything hit automatically.

There are three other powers, but they’re all useless - Dodge Attacks lets you give up all of your attacks and movement in exchange for +4 AC and Evasion. Poison Javelin lets you take a full-round action to make one ranged attack that deals half damage and has a chance of doing 1-3 Constitution damage, which is basically a meaningless amount. And Power Strike lets you take a full-round action to make a single attack and boost your damage by 1d8 per five levels, i.e. less than one other successful hit, and also it’s magical so it can’t easily recover.


I’m just going to go ahead and sblock each group because there is just a lot to unpack here.

Spoiler: Show
Group 3 is also know as the “Hey, you’re Level 9 now, let’s give you some garbage” level.

You can grab the Deflect Arrows feat, which is nice.

You could also take a melee attack that deals +2d6 damage but has a chance of shattering your melee weapon (and requires Jab), the ability to sacrifice all your attacks to make a single lightning bolt attack for 2d10 damage that people can Reflex to halve, and a full-round action that gives you and people close to you a whopping +4 AC against ranged attacks, while also totally destroying magical bolts. That would be cool, except that you can’t move or attack while using it so once again you’re just standing there slowing the fight down. Lighting Javelin is notable for being much weaker than the Magic Arrow power you got back at Level 1.

Oh, and also you can get an arrow that’s a Fireball, but only if it hits. Well… a scaled-down Fireball. It deals 1d6 damage per two levels instead of one, to a maximum of 10d6. It only reaches 15 feet radius instead of 20. It’s a full-round action to use. It is magic, so probably once per day. If the initial attack roll misses it doesn’t hurt anyone, but if it does hit everyone still gets a Reflex save to protect themselves. The Reflex save is DC 13 + one-third Level + Charisma, so a bit higher. But generally speaking - you can, as your only power-up for the level, at Level 9-11, get “one Fireball, but not as strong, because let’s not get carried away here.”

Martials suck. Maybe Group 4 will be better.


Spoiler: Show
Group 4 is not better.

All Group 4 abilities are magic, so DC 20 Charisma check to get them back. This will almost never happen, since Charisma is not your priority.

Charged Bolt lets you take a full-round action to do an extra 2d8 damage and unleashes a spell the sorceress gets at Level 1. At this point, you’re sacrificing two attacks to get this wildly strong ability that, again sorceresses got 12 levels ago. Poor Amazon.

Guided Arrow lets you fire a single arrow that always hits the nearest foe, even if it has to go around corners. So… do you need to know that a foe is there? Or does it just kind of figure it out. It’s another full-round action, so aside from the cornering trick it’s just a much less powerful Magic Arrow from Level 1 that you can’t aim.

Ice Arrow is one of those times that the designers gave someone a powerful ability, and then got worried that it was too powerful and kept adding in restrictions. It’s yet another full round action for a single attack, which if it hits does extra damage and requires a low-DC Fortitude save, which if it is failed leaves the target totally helpless for 1d3 rounds. So either someone is entirely doomed, or this attack does nothing.

Still your best option.

Penetrate is just a mess. It’s got a star, so it’s magic, but it doesn’t have a duration, so it’s unclear if it covers one attack roll, one set of attacks, or the rest of a combat. Since the theoretical effect (ignore one point of AC per five levels) is really just giving you between +2 and +5 to hit, it’s either almost useless or very strong. Shields and natural armor count as AC for this purpose, which sort of implies that Dexterity and basic AC don’t. But it doesn’t ignore armor bonuses, it ignores AC. So… who the hell knows. At least it’s not another full-round action I guess.

Oh, and you can throw a plague javelin instead of taking your action this turn, which creates a cloud with a 15 foot radius that makes people take Fortitude saves or take 2-5 Constitution damage over the next minute. This is bad on about five levels. First, it sacrifices all your extra attacks and does half damage again, so much less damage than just wailing on someone. Secondly, if a fight against bad guys in a hack and slash is still happening after ten rounds, something has gone terribly wrong, so it’s really just 1 pt of Con damage. Third, it once again doesn’t do anything if the initial roll misses, but still allows bad guys to save against it to take no damage, making it unlikely to function. Fourth, it can affect party members. Fifth, you need to be carrying a javelin to use it, and the javelin is destroyed by using it.

So, that’s Group 4. Yikes. Three powers that are unimpressive, one that’s just a complete mess, and one that’s a normal bonus feat. Pick three.

Spoiler: Show
By Group 5, you are Level 17-19. These are the powers that are your capstones in standard D&D. I wonder what amazing things the Amazon has access to!

Well, there’s the Decoy. You can take a full-round action to create a duplicate that lasts one round per three levels. Enemies will attack it instead of you if they fail a Will save with a minimum DC at this point of 21. It doesn’t have HP, so this is actually staggeringly powerful. You do need to waste a level on the Slow Arrow power, but it’s only mostly useless, and this is a magic power that needs a DC 21 Charisma check to recover, so it’s only happening once, but still.

It’s a lot better than Evade, which upgrades that bad defense power to trigger if you don’t attack, rather than if you don’t attack or move. Unclear on whether Evade stacks with Avoid, which is a prerequisite. If so, it would give you +8 AC total when standing still, which is still bad. Powers that provide partial defense as a full action are very bad. Evade, at least, activates if you’re running away, or busy taking a full-round action to disarm traps or charge your powers or whatever. Only somewhat bad.

The Immolation Arrow is a better fireball - it does all the weak fireball effects and drops the radius to 10 feet, but also does more damage to the creature that you hit and keeps the fire burning for 1d4+1 rounds. The damage is pretty piddling at this level (flat 2d6), but it clears out goblins. You do need to have bought the fireball arrow to take it, but of course you did. There was nothing else worthwhile at that tier.

You can make a really garbage series of attacks - one hit against everyone at close range, but at -2 on the first attack and another -2 per attack after that, and you only get to attack each person once, and you can’t use crossbows because fuck crossbows amazons use real bows you peon. Hilariously, they forgot to make Strafe any kind of action, so a strict reading of the rules lets you do it totally freely while taking your normal actions, but it’s probably supposed to be either a normal attack (so you can move while doing it, but not take the five attacks you’ve earned by this point) or more likely, because they hate Amazons, a full-round action.

Oh, and you can grab the Great Cleave feat if for some very dumb reason you’re a meleeist Amazon but you never got around to picking that feat up in the last fifteen levels. Wooo.

Spoiler: Show
Oh, and there’s the Epic Powers. Because there were so many amazing powers we’ve covered that they just couldn’t fit them all into twenty levels by, say, removing all those dead levels. No, Levels 21-23 need their own powers.

And what powers they are.

The Freezing Arrow is pretty absurd. It’s the Ice Arrow from Group 4, but now it hits everyone within 15 feet and makes them helpless, totally locking down the entire bad guy squad until your party has finished murdering them and doing damage to them every turn.

Less good is Lightning Fury, which lets you turn a javelin into a half-strength Chain Lightning, once again a spell that your magical party members got literally fifteen levels ago and can cast multiple times per day. Don’t want to spoil the martials by giving them that at full power, after all!

But obviously the designers disagreed with me, because the third power you have access to, Lightning Strike, is exactly the same effect but starting with a melee attack instead of a ranged one. Word for word. Well, not entirely word for word. This one deals normal melee damage if you hit the first target, and if you miss the first target the chain lightning fails to happen at all. So it’s actually worse than the half-power spell that your allies got fifteen levels ago.

Go Amazons!

But hey, do you like to roll buckets of dice? Just… buckets and buckets of dice? If you take Pierce, and you hit someone, and there’s an enemy behind them, you can roll an attack against them at half the attack bonus. If you hit them, and there’s someone behind them, you get to roll against at one-quarter the attack bonus, and so on, until your attack bonus hits 0.

At first glance, that sounds nice, but not amazing. But here’s the thing. This is a permanent effect that covers all of your ranged attacks forever. It covers your perfect accuracy magic arrows. It covers your bucket of dice multiple arrows. It covers your cool exploding frost arrows. It covers everything. Throw a chain lightning bolt and watch new chain lightning erupt from every enemy behind the first enemy while they’re getting hit by secondary bolts from the first lightning. Throw a poison cloud and watch the entire dungeon fill with poison gas. This is the sort of obnoxiously over the top power that I expect to see at Level 21+.

Oh, and there’s the Valkyrie. Once per day, you can summon a 7 HD valkyrie to throw javelins at things for mild damage. It’ll hang around for (your level rounds) or until it dies, which will happen after roughly two attacks from anything level-appropriate. And you can only give it simple commands, because let’s not get carried away here.

But who even cares. You’re taking Pierce, and then whatever.


There are technically lines for Level 24 and Level 25. At Level 24, you just get your feat and your Ability increase, and Level 25 is completely dead. No feat. No Ability. No powers. No resistance bonuses. All you get are your HP, your skill points, and one point of attack. Congratulations on reaching the top!

So, that is the Amazon. A whole mess of useless powers with a few wildly overpowered abilities slotted in more or less at random. Is it weaker than a 3.0 Fighter? Probably not. While most of the Amazon abilities are worse than feats, they’re not worse than core book feats from 3.0, and the Amazon does get more of them.

Also there’s Magic Arrow and Pierce. A Level 21 Amazon can just clear a goddamn room of every minor to moderate foe in seconds by auto-hitting everyone multiple times with magic bow damage plus magic arrow damage. So that’s fun.

But you know what there isn’t? This is probably not going to surprise you! There isn’t a single Amazon ability that does not directly apply to combat. If you squint, you can grab low-light vision and use the Valkyrie to move objects or trigger traps, but that’s it. Only pure combat applications have been used here.

This isn’t a surprise. It roots back to the “beat in heads” approach the designer explicitly designed for. But there were traps in Diablo. There were hidden compartments. You could alchemize things together into different things through your allies, and barter with merchants. You can’t do any of that as an Amazon.

But next, we’ll look at the Barbarian, and see how it stacks up in comparison...
 

Victim

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#9
That does not seem good. Although I'd note that PrCs giving martial (such that any class in d2 can be considered martial or mundane) characters spell like effects much later than casters with an action economy that usually makes them worse than attacking persisted throughout 3.x. So a lot of the missteps of the amazon were repeated over the duration.
 

Felix

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#10
]
By Group 5, you are Level 17-19. These are the powers that are your capstones in standard D&D. I wonder what amazing things the Amazon has access to!

Well, there’s the Decoy. You can take a full-round action to create a duplicate that lasts one round per three levels. Enemies will attack it instead of you if they fail a Will save with a minimum DC at this point of 21. It doesn’t have HP, so this is actually staggeringly powerful. You do need to waste a level on the Slow Arrow power, but it’s only mostly useless, and this is a magic power that needs a DC 21 Charisma check to recover, so it’s only happening once, but still.
Look, you have to admit this is arguably better than what a Wizard could have access to 14 levels ago in a standard game. Except for the casting time.

(I know that's 3.5, not 3.0, but couldn't find an easy to link version with 10 seconds of Googling.)
 
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