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I like it when weapons have different trade offs. The crossbow's only strength over the bow is its simple weapon categorization, but it has crippling downsides compared to the difference between a longsword and a heavy mace.
With that in mind, I want the revolver's strength to be the ideal dual-wielding firearm, but after you nova'd all your shots, you have reloading issues to deal with. A standard will not do at all as it would keep you out of the fight for two rounds, which is way too punishing.
GRIT AND KILLING BLOWS
MY PERSONAL REASON FOR THESE FIREARM/GUNSLINGER CHANGES
The gunslinger in my campaign is more of the roleplayer type. He likes making and roleplaying characters for story and flavor. He made a Pathfinder character out of a character he wrote in a story. He wanted to be a tough pirate gunslinger that carries a small arsenal on him. Not an unreasonable character concept.
Unfortunately, the downsides to firearms made to offset the touch attacks ended up making the gunslinger class very unfun to play. To make matters worse, he had horrible luck with misfires. Even houseruling quick clear as a swift action did nothing as he still misfired like three or four times every fight. In addition, he couldn't really use any of the deeds that would enable to do anything but shoot things. The gunslinger's class description and the way WBL works in PF also compromised his vision of carrying more than one type of firearm. He felt completely gimped in every fight compared to the other party members. Since his character relied on being a tough fighter as part of his concept, it also hurt the roleplaying as well.
Frustrated, my player approached me defeatedly, wondering if he could retrain his character sometime. Since he felt he couldn't make the character concept he envisioned with PF rules, my player resided to just make a min-maxed musket master instead. I really don't like hearing my players severely compromise their character concept because of arbitrary rules restrictions, especially when I'm in a seat of power to change that. So, I resolved to change that, and offered to house rule changes to make firearms less unfun to use.
So far, he's liking the lack of misfires and considers it a fair trade for loss of touch attacks. He hasn't tried the new deeds yet. He's really hoping I make or revamp new guns and types of ammo.
USES OF SUBTLE MAGIC
Also, using subtle magic for imbue isn't much of a hindrance because it lasts for an hour. Most critical parts of an adventuring day only last an hour. I can see that a hedge mage will only maybe imbuing two items of his party anyway. Part of what makes greater magic weapon and heroism such great spells is that they pretty much last an entire adventuring day.
On a personal note, I have thematic issues with the imbue class feature. While I love the magus's arcane pool, enchanting magic armor and weapons doesn't strike me as a hedge mage thing. When I think of a hedge mage, I don't think of someone saying "here, let me make that sword magical for you," enchanting magic items like an artificer. I think more someone that hands an ally an enchanted pebble or a rabbit's foot and says "It's dangerous to go alone. Take this for good luck."
PRESTIDIGITATION ON STEROIDS
Yes, you're sharp to see they're between the power of a cantrip and 1st level spell. I did debate the power level as I didn't want to merely mimic spells. I did so because this version of subtle magic has many versatile possibilities. In addition, I noticed this type of class ability usually start less powerful than a 1st level spell and then gradually become more powerful as the class levels up. Witch hexes work like this. However, I agree the power level should be tweaked, especially with respect to the other class features.
Regardless, one goal with this subtle magic version was to allow the class to specialize or empower the class feature through hedge talents and feats. A talent could either greatly enhance one of the uses of subtle magic or add more.
A cantrip-centered approach has its merits, but buffing cantrips in any significant way would essentially require rewriting them anyway. Most of the cantrips have one line descriptions anyway.
HARRY POTTER REFERENCE
So it's basically a rogueish cleric.
1) Can you use some better grammar? I have a hard time reading your post.
2) A cleric with this archetype will likely pick up the Trickery domain, so giving Stealth as a class skill isn't really totally necessary.
3) It's never cool to force options on a player, especially not good to make them have to take feats to select your archetype.
4) It's usually not a good idea to cherry pick class feature progressions to replace. In other words, don't replace random levels of channel energy. Even Sean K Reynolds and the ACG guide advised against this.
5) Honestly, I think this archetype better serves as a subdomain of the Darkness or Trickery domains
Ciaran Barnes wrote:
Core bonuses: I began this with 3/4 BAB and later lowed to 1/2. You feel I was wrong to do so?
I feel the class needs 6-level casting or 3/4 BAB so they don't run out of things to do. I suggest 3/4 BAB simply because they don't really benefit from imbue, but 6-level casting might be a better idea since this is supposed to be primarily a spellcaster.
Ciaran Barnes wrote:
Subtle Magic: yes, it is powerful, though it doesn't give a player a higher chnace of rolling a higher number, or a monster of rolling a higher one - just a second chance. A hedge mage who uses the re-rolls all day long is not using it to improve equipment or to use hedge talents. They all come from the same pool. Its a bit ambiguous. Should the pool and the re-roll be separated?
It actually does give you a better chance of rolling higher, assuming an ally rolls low or an enemy rolls high. I mean that an amount of uses equal to Wisdom bonus plus twice your level is a lot of uses.
On a random note, with a feature like subtle magic that serves as a resource pool while also having an innate use, I usually like it when the ability's uses serve as the pool rather than making up an abstract point system. In other words, give subtle magic uses per day and have other abilities expend uses of it. This way, the abilities read "expend a use of subtle magic" rather than "spend 1 point from his subtle magic pool." The former flows more naturally and avoids meta abstractions that can hinder immersion.
Ciaran Barnes wrote:
On being prestidigitaion on steroids: this is very close to a suggestion i received early on, long before i posted it. Could you provide a more specific example of how I might do this?
I'm thinking something like this:
Subtle Magic (Su):When I think of your concept of a hedge mage, I think of a wizard in the Harry Potter universe that hasn't gone to Hogwarts, but still has spent their life perfecting their craft. Before Harry learned spells, he could cause subtle supernatural effects to happy around him when frightened or scared. I think of a hedge mage as someone who learned to perfect that kind of magic rather than study more advanced forms of the arcane. This analogy also fits because in the HP world, wizards have innate sensitivity to the supernatural (like the hedge mage). I personally think Charisma fits better as a secondary stat, but that's my preference -- Wisdom is perfectly justifiable too.
At 1st level, a hedge mage's instinctive grasp on magic allows him to subtly influence the world around him through supernatural means. As a standard action, he can invoke one of the following effects. If an effect allows a save, the DC is equal to 10 + 1/2 the hedge mage's level + his Wisdom modifier. In addition, a hedge mage receives a +5 bonus to Stealth and Sense Motive checks made to avoid detection as the origin of the subtle magic effects. A hedge mage can use this a number of times per day equal to his Wisdom bonus plus his level.
Ciaran Barnes wrote:
Regarding italicized hedge talents: I beleive the method i used was the method used for the original rogue talents and rage powers. Perhaps it is outdated now.
Maybe that was a 3.5e thing? I think PF nixed it for the sake of simplicity and consistency. Nothing is italicized unless it's a spell or magic item.
Ciaran Barnes wrote:
On looking publishable: well thats what I strive for. If it gets someone to look more closely (like you) then so much the better. If it gets someone to not look and assume its fine, then we have problems.
I'm a big stickler for this sort of stuff. I personally go through great pains to make my work look as professional as possible. When anyone with a word processor can make homebrew material, I think it really stands out when someone takes the craft seriously enough to make their work look worthy enough for publishing.
Ciaran Barnes wrote:
I'm starting on a spell list - one of my least favorite things to do. Can anyone offer advice concerning altering a spell's level? I'm looking at lowering the level of a fpue spells and wondering when it is a bad idea.
I agree with Amanuensis. Lowering spell level goes against the entire point of only having 6 spell levels. Generally, you should never lower the spell level of a benchmark spell, especially if that would allow them to cast the spell earlier than a wizard or cleric. It's okay for other spells if it strongly fits the theme of the class. The bard is an excellent example of this. The summoner is a really bad example as they get wizard staples like dimension door, haste, and fly early. Haste and fly are particularly awful because the summoner, a class that has absolutely nothing to do with making people do superhuman things, can get these spells at 4th level while a wizard gets them at 5th.
You mentioned that you would like to see double-barreled weapons get reworked. What concerns specifically do you have about them?
I also want to rework the scatter property because I find it rather meh and really annoying as it would require a player to roll multiple times per attack. I'm thinking either it's just a cone that requires a save (DC = 10 + 1/2 BAB + Dex) or it deals full damage to a single target and does minimum to others in a cone, similar to the directed blast from the grenadier.
Maybe you can also look at this draft of the flintlock revolver. I'm debating whether making the minimum reload time a move action or standard action.
Price 3,250 gp; Type one-handed firearm
Dmg (M) 1d8 B and P; Dmg (S) 1d6 B and P; Critical ×4; Range 20 ft.; Capacity 6
Special —; Weight 4 lbs.
An early version of the revolver, the proto-revolver fires using a flintlock mechanism with clockwork automatically revolving the chambers after every shot. Reloading all chambers requires 2 full-round actions. Using alchemical cartridges or the Rapid Reload feat reduces this to 1 full-round action. Using both reduces the reload time to a standard action.
ElementalXX, you raise valid points, but I'm not really a fan of gun twirling because:
You do raise an important issue that grit feats could use re-evaluation. Some of the grit feats would be awesome if they didn't have perplexing feat tax, like the ones that require Mobility and Dodge. Why would a gunslinger want these? The class is a ranged fighter that scales off of Dexterity, has a good Reflex save, and gets a scaling dodge bonus as a class feature.
Also i believe some kind of pistol should be albe to count as a light weapon for TWF, the same way the handcrossbow does. Coat pistol is a good cantidadate, since it weights as much as a dagger
That's a good catch. I went ahead and made a change to the pistolero ability that it treats one-handed firearms as light weapons for TWF. But I agree that probably that should be a property that some firearms have in the first place.
Muskets quite literally just bounced off armor back then (myth busters confirmed this), so early firearms attacking Touch AC is basically just fantasy. Which is okay if it's limited by something like grit, but all the time Touch AC (with better crit and die size than bows) is just frankly OP.
Agreed. Even in colonial periods, pistols couldn't penetrate armor.
I have one gunslinger in my campaign as well as another player interestd in them.
- I'm still debating on what to do with double-barreled firearms. I do like the idea of blowing both of them as an attack action or some other special attack, though.
- Alchemical cartridges do indeed let you reload as a free action for one-handed firearms. But you can no longer get free action reloads with muskets.
- I decided not to have advanced firearms in my campaign, but I do respect their niche for the purpose of wild west campaigns. Instead, I simply want to add more types of early firearms, creating more variety and give players hopes of an "upgrade" from their normal firearm without the GM feeling uneasy about introducing advanced firearms. I want one of them to be a flintlock revolver, which takes a minimum standard action to fully reload. When I create these, I will update the document.
- I houseruled that all firearms and ammo are priced according to Gunsmithing, but I'm considering reducing it more. I do consider the expense a tradeoff, but agree the prices are way out of line.
- The new Pistolero lets you dual-wield at 3rd level, which I suspect is around when you could ever afford a second gun.
- I think the short range of firearms is a nice tradeoff for dex to damage.
I like the premise of the class. Making a non-martial 4-level spellcaster is a lofty goal. I agree that this feels like a glorified NPC class. Aside from using subtle magic as an immediate action every round, the class doesn't have very much to do during a fight. They don't get spellcasting until 4th level and don't get Hedge Talents until 2nd level. Imbue is interesting, but better done outside of combat. Part of what makes this feel like an NPC class is that the hedge mage itself does not benefit well from his own class features. While I always welcome class features that encourage teamwork, even players that like playing support want something to do other than cast buffs and heal. At the very least, give them a d8 HD and 3/4 BAB, especially when they need to get within 10 feet of an enemy to use subtle magic offensively.
Subtle magic is a very powerful ability, and it has many uses per day. I feel like most of the power of this class rests in this ability, which I don't think is a good thing. It also should allow a saving throw. Even though it's fairly powerful, it feels rather "meh" to me. If I made this class, I would make subtle magic into prestidigitation on steroids, giving a list of possible useful effects like briefly talking to an animal, performing a ranged dirty trick, or doing minor telekinesis. Hedge Talents could then expand on these options, allowing the hedge mage to specialize.
To nitpick, the class features should be ordered by level, then alphabetically. You shouldn't italicize the names of hedge talents in text, because they aren't spells, magic items, or magic weapon/armor properties. I also don't see a column for cantrips on the class's table. Other than that, it looks fairly well written and publishable.
More on the wealth system thing, I just don't see giving you bonuses in the form of similar things any form of cheating. We've never even run things by the wealth system because it just assumes your going to run into 'X' amount of cash and items, and most of the time that just doesn't, or couldn't, happen in out games. i know that just how our group plays, but it seems like trying to strickly follow "player A will have X amount of money by level B, just because he has to" seemed really weird. This experience obvious puts me in an odd spot.
This is how Pathfinder works. Your character's power is directly proportional to their wealth. It works like this, because Pathfinder is a game about getting gear and becoming more powerful.
You not really much more powerful, you have a chain shirt and a free sword, and a few tiny bonuses.
I'm sorry you don't see how giving free quality armor and a 3000 gp sword capable of cutting through anything less dense than diamond makes a character significantly more powerful than one with a starting wealth of 100 gp.
I'm really getting confused why it's such a big suggestion to make it a prestige class when that kinda ruins the whole gradual progression idea, and also ruins the ability to play the concept out the gate.
And I don't see how there's "gradual progression" when you start out strong enough to slice a tank in half. Both Sebastion and I gave many good reasons why a 10-level prestige class fits the concept, among them being that a prestige class already assumes the character is almost superhuman and has a lot of experience under their belt. (The mathematics of 3rd edition D&D assumes that 5th level is the peak of human ability in our real world).
Why can't someone want to be a cyborg character at first level?
I do not criticize the character concept. I criticize how your class implements it. In fact, I'm actually designing a cyborg class myself. When you design a class, people expect it will (at least try to) be balanced with respect to existing material. People expect a class to do much more than simply give free items and stats, which is mostly what your class does.
Additionally, you don't need a class to be a cyborg. Instead of making a class that deliberately breaks Wealth By Level, your GM could just let you start the game with an extra amount of wealth to spend on cybernetics listed in Technology Guide. Shadowrun handles cyborg characters this way. In fact, I actually strongly recommend looking at Shadowrun.
Like I said though i've updated some things with it, trying to flesh out a little more.
The class still desperately needs a rewrite, especially when you only spent one hour on it. I'm not sure what else to say. You're deliberately not following any kind of design standards. If your GM will approve it anyway, then good for you. However, I'm not sure how I or anyone else can help you here.
Normally if a GM wants to make a campaign where the PCs start out significantly more powerful than 1st level characters, he doesn't make them start out at 1st level. This is why I suggested making it a prestige class, which assumes the character is already 6th level or higher.
I could say the same for your class. That's what I mean when I say your class is just mostly passive bonuses that cheat the wealth system and a few boring broken abilities. Many existing classes have plenty of fun, interesting things they can do. The magus can full round attack while casting a spell or channel a spell through a sword. The swashbuckler can parry attacks and has a whole suite of interesting maneuvers. The brawler can change their combat style on the fly and roundhouse kick people away. The monk has flurry of blows, etc.
Getting adamantine katana at 1st level is a huge boon. That's worth more than 3000 gp. Adamantine, itself, is very powerful because it cuts through pretty much anything most characters will encounter. A character can bypass a whole dungeon just by cutting a hole through each wall. My magus always kept an adamantine dagger for this purpose. Once, I fought a big bad that hid inside a mech. Instead of fighting his mech, I merely carved a hole in the cockpit and shanked the guy.
Again, this is my main problem with most of your class's abilities. You underestimate power of the abilities you grant the class, which are wildly out of line with comparable classes. In addition, they don't really seem all that fun. Most of them are just passive benefits that cheat the wealth system.
As for your counter-argument against Sebastion's magus, one could easily refluff the magic as software programs or something. Or make a slayer or swashbuckler with cybernetics. Regardless, the general point is that a player could accomplish the same character concept with much more fun mechanics than what your class offers.
I just noticed the class has Reflex as a bad save and does not point out the iterative attacks a character gets from a high BAB. Odd.
I do have to agree with Sebastion. This mostly feels like a class that let's you cheat the wealth system rather than a class all about letting you do cool cyborg ninja stuff. What abilities it does grant are broken because you undervalue the benefit they grant. If I wanted to play a cyborg ninja/samurai dude, I'd rather play Sebastion's kensai magus with a few cybernetics from Technology Guide thrown in.
I'm still confused how it's vague, you get one, or you get the other, nothing more :/. I'm also not sure what uninterchangable, You choose which applies, either a +1 that is all you (it applies to all HF blades you might pick up), or an ability thats in the weapon itself (IE, if you pick up another HF blade it doesn't transfer, but is a more unique trait). On that note what exactly wrong with the HF blade itself? I get the charge thing is a little clunky but I want it to do 'something' without just 'being adamantine' since thata good bit of free money at first level.
Enhancement bonuses are a property normally applied to weapons or an ability score. The flavor of the ability indicates the blade is becoming more powerful. However, the ability grants a flat bonus to the cybernetic slayer's attack rolls and damage rolls when using it. To make it more confusing, the ability optionally allows this to take the form of an enhancement bonus that you can somehow exchange for psionic weapon qualities. This is not intuitive at all. It's also not fully explained and raises a lot of questions. For example, when does the player choose when between the types of bonuses? Can it be changed? What action is it to change it? If they choose the enhancement bonus, can this be changed? What about the special abilities? Specifics of the ability are ambiguous. The ability might seem obvious to you, but not to everyone reading it.
I have two big problems with HF Blade. The first is that the ability has way too much flavor text. If you want to go into more detail about the workings of the weapon, you can do this outside of the class description. Paizo products usually have side-bars for this purpose. For example, the bladebound magus's black blade got a side-bar explaining the flavor details of the class feature. My second problem is that getting adamantine at 1st level strikes me as way too powerful.
This is how I'd probably rewrite the basic abilities of this class.
So I might rewrite HF Blade and enhanced blade to something like this:
At 1st level, a cybernetic slayer gains a technological sword capable of slicing through the densest materials that he gradually enhances over the course of his career. This high-frequency blade functions as a masterwork katana. By spending 1 point of energy as a swift action, a cybernetic slayer can energize the blade for 1 round, causing attacks with the weapon to deal electricity damage instead of slashing damage and bypass an amount of hardness equal to the cybernetic slayer's level. On each subsequent round, a cybernetic slayer can spend 1 point of energy as a free action to extend the effect for 1 additional round.
At 3rd level, a cybernetic slayer's high-frequency blade gains a +1 enhancement bonus. This bonus increases by +1 at 5th level and every 2 levels after to a total +5 bonus at 17th level.
Also, I'm really not a fan of Blade Mode. Automatically confirming critical hits is something a fighter doesn't do until 20th level. Granted, the energy cost and having to announce it before a full attack does limit it, but it also makes the ability less reliable. Overall, it's not a very fun ability to use. Gaining the effects of haste mixed with adding the keen property to HF blade sounds more thematic, in my opinion.
1) You didn't describe the flavor very elegantly either. There's ways to ensure the flavor flows well into the mechanics, which I'm sure a second draft can clear up.
2) Enhanced blade did not reference HF blade (that ability has its own host of problems). This ability probably should have been combined with it, in my opinion.
3+4) The enhanced blade ability does not explain this. There's a big mechanical difference between getting a +1 bonus on attack and damage rolls and getting a +1 enhancement bonus to a weapon, even if the net benefit appears the same.
5) Dreamscarred Press's material is on the d20PFSRD, not the official SRD. It's still 3pp. If you mention rules outside of official material, you should reference where it comes from.
You can't assume people will innately understand your vague rules descriptions, especially when they let the player interchange non-interchangeable mechanics and when the language is sloppy. People aren't mind readers.
It also did not help that most of the group really disliked the rogue's player and his character because of his disruptive behavior in and out of the game. So everyone dying because a god tried to save his life struck some members of the group as a massive insult. The GM honestly did not expect this to happen. He thought we were going to nuke the succubus, but we had no idea how many hitpoints the succubus had left. Divine intervention was just a shortsighted decision that cost the game.
I personally believe that a GM should make any act of god as subtle as possible. At the very least, don't explicitly describe it as a divine act. It helps keep the gods mysterious while ensuring they won't disrupt the game in a way that you did not anticipate. I even recommend this for mythic games.
Consider Clash of the Titans. Even though the entire plot revolved around divine politics, the gods very rarely directly interacted with the main characters. The only time a god directly spoke to mortals was when Thetis interrupted Andromeda's wedding. From the perspective of the main characters, all of the acts of the gods just kind of happen without any deity explaining their actions. Perseus "conveniently" finds magical weapons and armor and a robotic owl. He "conveniently" feels refreshed just in time for the big battle against the Kraken.
I'm not even running a mythic campaign and now my players believe the gods are guiding them. A lot of their adventures involved taking down villains pretending or trying to achieve "godhood." Now the PCs believe the gods are slowly guiding them down a path of putting down false gods. They now have a long term goal of taking on Razmir himself.
It doesn't follow standard writing style. I normally don't give that criticism for homebrew material, but I find the class a chore to read. Good rules text is concise, unambiguous, and easy to read. However, much of the text in your class has too much bloat and fails to adequately explain the class features. Let's take this ability for example:
Enhanced Blade +1(Ex):
Enhanced Blade +1(Ex): A cybernetic slayers greatest weapon is their blade, and they spend long hours tinkering and honing it as they try to adapt it better to their needs. At 2nd level and every 4 levels afterword you gain a stacking +1 to attack and damage rolls with it. Alternatively you can apply these bonuses toward Psionic weapon enhancements.
1) The first sentence is completely unnecessary and could be combined with the second.
2) The text does not actually say what kind of weapon the blade is. The ability should explicitly say that, at 2nd level, a cybernetic slayer gains a special slashing or piercing designated as the slayer's blade.
3) The second sentence says the class receives bonuses to attack and damage rolls using the weapon. However, the third sentence implies these are enhancement bonuses. Enhancement bonuses have an entire suite of rules and exist as a trait belonging to a weapon. For example, +1 longsword is a longsword with a +1 enhancement bonus.
4) I have absolutely no idea what the ability means when it says "Alternatively you can apply these bonuses toward Psionic weapon enhancements." I assume it means
5) Finally, the last sentence mentions "psionic weapon enhancements." What's a psionic weapon enhancement? If your class utilizes content not found in Pathfinder's core rules, then you should explicitly reference where to find that content. This is especially true if you use rules from a 3rd party source.
This ability has only three sentences, and yet I don't have a clear idea how it works. It would take me hours to go through the entire class and point out what's wrong. The class is a mess and needs a complete rewrite.
Designing classes is a difficult task. I highly recommend making this a fighter archetype or a prestige class.
The only way to interrupt a turn is either a readied action, immediate action, or an attack of opportunity. You cannot delay your initiative and take your turn in the middle of another unit's turn.
You can, however, delay your turn and then ready one of your actions. For example, the ranger could pull out an arrow while moving to the wizard, wield the arrow as an improvised weapon, and then ready his standard action to fire at the sorcerer when he casts a spell. If the wizard casts a spell while the ranger threatens him with the arrow, the ranger can stab him as an attack of opportunity while still giving him the option of shooting the sorcerer afterward.
First, you need to figure out if the character and/or the player is the problem. If it's just the character, the group can come to an agreement and fix that. While not orthodox, Player vs Player is fine if everyone's on board with it.
If the player is disrupting the game and doesn't want to stop, then he needs to leave. If he won't leave, the GM needs to kick him out. If the GM won't kick him out, then gather the other players and leave the game.
You play Pathfinder to have fun with friends. If someone is ruining everyone else's fun, they don't belong at the table. If a GM is content to let a person do so, then that GM doesn't deserve to have players at his table. It's that simple.
Deaths Adorable Apprentice wrote:
In the story arc of a two-year campaign, a powerful succubus kidnapped our rogue. Previously in the campaign, the rogue had absorbed a part of her power that, when extracted, takes the form of a demonseed, a highly explosive gem filled with demonic energy. The succubus wanted to extract the demonseed and absorb its power, which would transform her into a demigoddess powerful enough to take over the frontier. After taking out her minions and traps designed to stall for time, we arrived at the ritual chamber. After a chaotic battle, I pulled off a successful Xanatos Gambit in order to force the succubus to release the rogue. Though the succubus went missing, we had the situation completely in our control.
While we were still in the ritual chamber with the succubus at large, the goddess Sarenrae bestowed a blessing on our rogue, extracting the demonseed supposedly to save his life. The succubus then appeared and made a desperate grab for the demonseed. Our druid tried to snatch it, but died instantly from Constitution damage when she touched it. The only one in position to do anything, our pactbinder had two choices: risk the succubus gaining demigodhood or destroy the demonseed. She choose the latter, causing a massive explosion that obliterated everyone and everything in a mile radius. Because of a clone, I was the only survivor.
Through divine intervention, the DM accidentally created a situation where the Big Bad wins or we all die. There was yelling and hurt feelings. The two-year campaign ended.
I have to be honest. I can really tell it's a first draft. The class is a mess. If a player presented this to me, I'd flat out tell them "No." For starters, the class basically gets weapon training, a 5th level ability, at 2nd level.
I did have a laugh when I read:
Weapon and Armor Proficiency: A Cybernetic Slayer is proficient with all simple and martial weapons, and with shields (but not tower shields). They are not proficient with any armor besides their body.
Upon reading this, I started presenting myself to my friends, proudly shouting "I AM PROFICIENT WITH MY BODY."
You could honestly do what I do and just reflavor science fiction as magic or magitech. Who's the say that graviton reactor isn't something like the eye of magnus from Skyrim? Most of the Numeria stuff treats the technology like magic anyway. Even cybernetic implants are basically just belts of strength or headbands of intelligence attached to your body.
I feel this does not utilize the design space well. An entire class around transforming yourself into a monster has so much potential, why steal abilities from other classes? He shouldn't need weapon training, bravery, and all those perks from the fighter. Those are the fighter's perks. This class's perk should be turning into a monster.
I usually don't criticize style for homebrew content, but I notice you're trying to make your class look professional. However, there's many style flaws. For example, spells shouldn't be capitalized and class features shouldn't be italicized. Look at this style guide I compiled for an RPG Superstar competition. For the context of class descriptions, I have the following guidelines to add:
2) Always begin each class feature description with "At Xth level" so the reader instantly knows when they get this feature.
3) Always list things alphabetically. This is mainly for listings like skills and such.
4) Use 3rd person voice. Refer to the class as a single individual of a sex matching the iconic (not applicable for homebrew unless you have an illustration of the class).
5) Always postfix the feature names with the ability type if it's an extraordinary, supernatural, or spell-like ability. You did this, so good job!
6) If the class has a complicated class feature that requires a lot of space, then it's okay to isolate the details of that feature in its own section. A lot of times, these separate sections break the "third person voice" rule. See how Paizo does sorcerer bloodlines and mysteries.
The standard affair with races with the potential for flight is that they can get a feat that lets them temporarily fly at 5th level (like Tengu Wings) and/or permanently gain wings at 9th level (like Wings of Air and Angel Wings).
As a GM, you could make up your trade offs just by the inherent nature of wings. For example, I "nerfed" summoners in my campaign by inventing folklore about summoners where most NPCs will distrust anyone that has a eidolon mark on their forehead. A winged character could get tired after using them for awhile or have a permanent reduction in AC because the wing span makes them larger and easier to hit.
The race creation guide says a poor 40 foot flight equates to 6 RP as an advanced ability.
Kelsey MacAilbert wrote:
I'm not fully convinced that flight is totally overpowered (it's not like wizards can't pull it off at the levels I typically play at, anyway), provided the GM takes the presence of a flying PC into account during encounter design, but it is still significant. I just need to know how significant.
By your logic, it's not overpowered that a 1st level PC can use an ability at-will, because a 5th level wizard can use the same ability if they cast a 3rd level spell that lasts minutes per level? Especially when an at-will version of that ability makes two skills almost completely obsolete? When it's otherwise not possible for a PC to obtain this ability prior to level 5?
If you're the GM, then sure. But understand it's a powerful ability. You're essentially giving a 9th level spell (overland flight) to a PC and make it pointless for any member of the party to specialize in Acrobatics, Climb, and maneuverability.
You're way downplaying the other features of the sorcerers and wizards, Cyrad. The arcanist can not get the higher school or bloodlines powers. Those can go a long way in making a build powerful. The creep part is on Schrondinger-ability of wizard style preparation.
The school savant arcanist gets a full school for the cost of 3 exploits. The blood arcanist gets all bloodline powers at the cost of 4 exploits and their capstone ability. The exploiter wizard can get arcane reservoir, an exploit at 1st level, and an exploit every 4 levels after. Sorcerer doesn't get an arcanist MCA.
A 20th level exploiter wizard has:
A 20th level school savant arcanist has:
I think the arcanist balances out with the wizard, but my point still remains. Your choice between the wizard, sorcerer, and arcanist is largely based on how you want to cast/prepare spells, not their other abilities. If a player values the other class features, then the arcanist always wins because they can get everything the wizard has and more.
I think the ACG as a whole is power creep. That you're taking two classes and putting them together with years of refinement on top of providing archetypes, feats, and spells to support them, the end result is basically gestalt without needing gestalt rules. I was *just* talking to a friend how the investigator is more skilly than the bard investigator and they were the previous kings of skills. The empiricist archetype makes that just more pronounced. Then, they take the rogue sneak attack, reflavor it, and let you do it at will with just a move action. It's all power creep. I would put the ACG to the player who is unhappy with the floor of power the CRB represents while maintaining the ceiling of the wizard. I can see what you mean by the arcanist being Schrodinger's wizard, though, so I'm tempted to even say they creeped on the wizard, too.
I think some power creep is okay and necessary if controlled well. Pathfinder isn't like an online video game where the developer can simply patch or completely redo a character class to keep it in line. The sorcerer and all martial classes in the CRB were underpowered. I believe most would consider the slayer as good power creep. It "fixes" the rogue, but still leaves room for Paizo to let the rogue have its own niche in Pathfinder Unchained. I feel the same way for ACG's content as a whole -- power creep occurs where it's appropriate.
The arcanist hurts the niche of the sorcerer and wizard while possessing unique abilities that neither of them can do. While the investigator has great skill usage, the bard still has their own niche. Even if you took options that let each class steal from the other, the bard and investigator will still play differently and have their own strengths. Not so much with the sorcerer and wizard. The big difference between choosing to play a sorcerer, wizard, or arcanist is whether you want spontaneous casting, prepared casting, or a mixture of the two. And the one that gets a mixture gets the best of both worlds and can steal goodies from the other two while still retaining their own unique powers.
I don't get the claims that arcanists are broken. Is it because they can counterspell and dispel better than a sorcerer or wizard? That they can potentially infinitely basically dimension door? All those seem minor except maybe the counterspell as frequent counterspells can be annoying. But, if that's all it does other than blast then it actually reads quite boring to me.
Mainly an issue of stepping on the sorcerer's toes.
1) The ability to spend a point to increase a spell's CL or DC is a huge boon that neither the wizard nor the sorcerer have.
2) It's easy for an arcanist to get the class features of the sorcerer and wizard. They can get a school or bloodline either by using one exploit and a pool point, or sacrifice 4 exploits using an archetype. They can also get familiars and an arcane bonded item, too.
3) The exploits are consistently more powerful than most bloodline/school powers. You raise a good point with the counterspell as an immediate action. The wizard with the counterspell subschool can't do that until 6th level and can only do that once per day.
4) Arcanists have all of the strengths of the sorcerer, but not really any of their weaknesses. Even the limit on prepared slots can be overcome using an exploit. With quick study, the arcanist is basically a schrodinger wizard.
Personally, I don't think the arcanist is broken, but the class muddies the waters. The book does not adequately illustrate the trade-offs between playing each of the three classes and the niche they each fill. I do agree the arcanist is more powerful than the sorcerer, but I also believe the sorcerer was underpowered to begin with. At least the sorcerer still has the most spell slots in the game.
On an unrelated note, I'm not sure why people consider the arcanist a good "beginners" spellcaster when they have to keep track of four resources: spell slots, spells prepared, spells known in spellbook, and arcane points.
Truth is Jason already said that he wanted the swashbuckler to be like a full class version of the duelist prestige class, which I'm guessing is where that design philosophy came from.
That makes me wish they created a deed that let's you Deflect Arrows with a sword or parry a ranged attack. That would have been really awesome! Okay, that sounds like a certain type of knight from a galaxy far far away, but let's face it -- those guys were basically monk swashbucklers. Hm...*Rubs beard in contemplation*
That's not the case. Eldritch Scion is simply poor quality content. It's badly designed, and people paid money for it. Eldritch scion is poorly designed because:
1) The archetype does not make straight trades, which is a basic guideline of archetype design that's even mentioned in this very same book.
2) The archetype replaces spell recall, one of the magus's most powerful class features, for an ability that does nothing by itself.
3) The designer forgot to replace improved recall, which means the magus still gets spell recall. I doubt this was intentional, because the ability requires the magus to prepare a spell before they can recall it.
4) The archetype adds a new resource pool for no good reason that raises a lot of mechanical questions.
5) Spending eldritch pool points creates action economy problems that the designer obviously didn't think about.
6) The archetype forces the magus to spend points and swift actions just to use their primary class feature. This does nothing but make the class unfun to play.
7) The archetype adds needlessly complicated mechanics designed to make the class more restricting to play rather than more fun to play.
Yeah, every archetype has its flaws, but well designed archetype will shine through. Bolt Ace is a good example. The designer forgot to replace battered gun, but people still love the archetype. It gave what they wanted and provided some very fun abilities. An errata can fix Bolt Ace's flaws, but Eldritch Scion would require an entire rewrite.
All in all, it's a really bad archetype because whoever designed it decided to make it unnecessarily complex. The whole ACG could have benefited from devs remembering to "KISS" ("Keep It Simple, Stupid").
I'd like to add that keeping things simple has many upsides. For example, if they kept Eldritch Scion simple, there would be enough space on the page to add another archetype or more arcana. They could have split the archetype into two: one for Cha-casting and another to gain the benefits of a bloodrager bloodline by spending arcane pool points. Look at that page! The eldritch pool feature uses up 20% of the page.
Before I attack the class, I want to point out that I absolutely love the concept of the summoner. The eidolon strikes me as a class feature that encourages players to invent a story around the mechanics of their character. That's absolutely wonderful and wish more classes executed that well. I came up with like 20 or 30 fun character concepts around the relationship between a summoner and the eidolon, my favorite being your eidolon being yourself from the future.
I feel the biggest issue with the summoner is that the class and eidolon have no meaningful weaknesses. Animal companions are balanced because you have to make sure they survive, they have to accompany you everywhere, and they aren't intelligent. Familiars are balanced because they're mostly not combat capable. Eidolons have none of these weaknesses. Even if they die, it's only a minor inconvenience for a summoner. They get the eidolon back the next day. Until then, the summoner can spam summon monster, cast spells, or fight by themselves. By contrast, a class with a familiar or animal companion is out of luck for a week.
I firmly believe in giving some meaningful weaknesses to classes that encourage players to play around them and encourage teammates to cover for them.
That's true, but my point is that multiple disconnected people contributed to the book's content. It's less that the design team has "double standards" and more that the multiple authors have different standards and not on the same page about certain things.
Arcanist: The player in me likes the arcanist. The game designer hates it. I'd definitely play it, because it's the closest thing you can get to being a ray specialist or warlock-like blast specialist. I always wanted to play a mobile mage that fancied himself a spell sharpshooter, teleporting short distances and firing powerful blasts (using the blasting exploits). However, the pool and exploit class feature feel more powerful than bloodlines or schools. The ability to up your CL or DCs whenever you want is a huge boon. The prepared versus spell slots also really confuses me.
Bloodrager: A solid, thematic class. This feels like one of the first 4-level spellcaster martials where the spells actually fit the class.
Brawler: At first, the brawler didn't excite me, but then it grew on me. Martial Vertasility is like Paragon Surge. At first, it seems ho hum. But when you start thinking about the possibilities, you realize it's quite a powerful ability that's limited only by your creativity with it. Quite a brilliant class with such a low word count.
Hunter: Okay, so I'm basically a druid that loses wildshape and spell levels 7-9 so I can have a slightly better spell list and give teamwork feats to my animal companion? I appreciate the use of teamwork feats, but I'm not seeing the appeal here. In addition, this was a missed opprotunity to have a dedicated shapeshifter class that specializes in hunting down creatures like an animal.
Investigator: A skill monkey class that's very flavorful, has some combat utility and concept potential, and looks really fun play? Count me in!
Shaman: Pretty cool, though the feature bloat was a little dizzying. Also, the spirit abilities are all over the place. Some of them are as awful as those rays from sorcerer bloodlines, and then there's one that gives you channel energy as good as a cleric. I do feel like it steps on the toes of the witch a tad bit much.
Skald: While not bad, it did not appeal to me whatsoever. It feels a tad too similar in theme to the bloodrager for my tastes. I'd rather have a monk/magus than this.
Slayer: Simple, sweet, and solid. A martial that gets really exciting class features at level 10 and higher.
Swashbuckler: I honestly don't think it's as bad as everyone else says. I'd still play it, but I can't deny the issues surrounding it. Even something as simple as giving Mobility feat for free, or letting you use Charmed Life after you rolled would have really helped this class.
Warpriest: Somewhat disappointing. I'm really glad it no longer scales off of Charisma and that you can use Fervor more often. However, the class has so much unnecessary feature bloat. No body cared about sacred armor or getting the bonus abilities from sacred weapon that are basically just a bad version of magus's arcane pool. I cared about the pseudo-BAB because it was the only way to make a full BAB ranged priest character without becoming a paladin.
Blade Adept (Arcanist Archetype): I really liked this. As a bonus, the archetype offers a way for players to make an Eldritch Knight with a blackblade without having to get 7 levels in magus.
Bolt Ace (Gunslinger Archetype: It has problems, but I totally welcome this.
Eldritch Scion (Magus Archetype): I got really excited for this archetype at first, but then I started reading. Did the designer not understand that swapping prepared Intelligence casting for spontaneous Charisma casting is actually a bad trade that's only desireable for character concept purposes? Yet they felt the class needed to be punished for this "incredible" boon by removing spell recall, adding a pointless secondary resource pool, and forcing you to waste arcane pool points just to use your primary class feature. To add insult to injury, this terrible archetype and two arcana are the only material my favorite class got out of this book.
Unlettered Arcanist (Arcanist Archetype): I don't understand the point of this. Why would you trade a spellbook for a witch familiar, which was deliberately designed to hinder the witch? Why would you trade the best spell list in the game for the worst 9-level spell list in the game?
I don't think that's necessarily the issue. I believe most of the issue originates from the freelance authors. Most of the typos and errors came from archetypes, feats, and spells, which I assume the freelancers largely contributed to. You can see this in other books. The Myrmidarch (which still hasn't been errata'd) was obviously written by someone who had no idea how the magus's action economy worked. You can also see the gross lack of communication.
The musket master struck me as a sign of lack of communication between designers. The designer of the firearm rules went through an incredible amount of trouble to categorize firearms between one- and two-handed. He established each type as having their own niche and trade-offs: you can full-attack with pistols, but muskets have double the range and do significantly more damage. The designer understood that muskets weren't viable as written, but probably relied on the gunslinger and musket master's designers to help remedy that while keeping the niche. Then another designer created the musket master that completely threw all of that out the window. I believe this, because otherwise it wouldn't make sense for a designer to go through all that work creating trade-offs between pistols and muskets only to create an archetype not only eliminates the differences between them, but also is simply better than the vanilla gunslinger in every way.
I recommend just removing 5th level spells and higher. Handpicking all the spells above that would be an absolute chore, and not really worth it when the best blasts are 4th level or lower. 4th level is also the level clerics get cure critical wounds, which remains the best healing spell until Heal at 6th level. I'm not sure if you want Heal in your game because that cures basically everything in the game and heals a ton of hitpoints, too. 4th level debuff spells like enervation and black tentacles remain useful at all levels.
If status effects become an issue, you could introduce a 4th level cleric spell called Esuna that removes one condition listed under Heal, and can remove more than one condition based on the caster level.
But those metamagics and whatnot often require higher level spell slots, which wouldn't be available if limited to spell levels 4 or lower. Or are you suggesting that they still get more slots, but none of the spells selectable are of a level higher than 4th?
Yes, they still get those spell slots, but all 5th level and higher spells are basically gone from their spell lists. This way, they can still get more spell slots and augment their spells, but you won't be seeing any wishes, long range teleportation, and dimensional travel.
You could do that. Blasts really shine when you use Metamagic and effects that increase the spell caster level
To implement phoenix downs would actually be much simpler than changing when the party gets access to raise dead.
Random Note FF7 spoiler:
Come to think of it, the inability to raise Aeris would actually make sense in D&D context. Aeris would be considered an outsider because of Cetra heritage, so raise dead spells would not work well on her.
You can accomplish pretty much all of this with existing rules. There's even listings for airships and giant robots in the CRB.
- Reskin some of the existing races. There's several 3pp that provide animal races. I personally made an anthropomorphic race for my players. Come to think of it, most JRPGs back then did not have many playable races. If they did, the race had little mechanical impact. It's what made games like Breath of Fire and Chrono Trigger unique. Whereas every other game had all humans, BoF and CT had cat girls, nagas, frog men, and robots. It wasn't until FF7 where a party could have some really weird members. It's ironic that race played a much larger role Western games when JRPGs of the 2000s had some really weird party members.
- Reskin existing monsters and use monsters from Japanese culture. There's already listings for classic Japanese monsters like kappa and oni. A lot of original monsters from JRPGs tend to be really goofy, like giant grasshoppers that attack you with violins.
- Special effects? I'm not sure about this one, because most old school JRPGs did not really give many special attacks to martials. Either they got magic spells or a single unique ability, both of which can be modeled by class features. It wasn't until after FF7 where everybody got their own pool of special attacks, though the Final Fantasy series took it to the extreme by essentially making every character the same except for their weapon and limit breaks.
- There's already exotic mounts, like giant riding lizards and birds. Just change the price according to how common they are in your campaign.
- Even the CRB has listings for airships and giant mechs. You could give nautical ships a fly speed. Thunderscape: World of Aden has many steampunk vehicles. In fact, that's actually a pretty good book since it feels very JRPG-ish with exotic races and airships and magitech.
- Reskinning psionics is a good start since it uses points. A book called Spheres of Power will release in a month or so, which basically allows the GM to create their own magic system while letting players pick thematic powers for themselves.
What do they find engaging? Do they have any connections to the world? What are their motivations? Do their characters have long-term goals?
I typically require my players to establish a connection to the world in some way, such as having NPC family members. In my campaign, the monk's surrogate mother is a quest giver and high priestess of the local church. Another PC fell in love with an NPC. The alchemist began the campaign as a criminal who blew up the town library to spite the librarian that works there.
Give them something to care about in character.
So the players can use hero points, but they never know how many they have or when they get them? I really like that. It also reflects the nature of the gods, too. Even clerics with divination spells rarely if ever direct communication from their gods. It encourages PCs to just do their best to serve the god and hope it's enough.
The only hero point system I really liked came from Shadowrun 5th Ed. Every character had "edge" they could spend to buff skills or prevent botches. Edge replenishes. However, a player can choose to burn edge to gain an absurd skill bonus or survive a potentially fatal circumstance at the cost of permanently reducing their maximum amount of edge.
(Also, thank you, Da'ath! I'm glad you liked my race!)
I'm not really sure if this accomplishes your goal. The caster gains an extra move action, but that's it. They still have to wait a turn to use their summons. In the meantime, the enemy gains a turn to disengage or attack the vulnerable summons. This would make summons greater at blocking off enemies, but they don't threaten the area. Summons with auras become more powerful.
I think overall, this just sacrifices the summons' mobility, durability, and battlefield control in exchange for slightly more mobility for the caster. I'd consider this a nerf to summoning, but that might not be a bad thing. It would likely encourage casters to position themselves closer to the battle to place their summons in a position where the enemy can't simply run from them. If that's what you're looking for, then this isn't too bad of a change.
There's already options for this in Inner Sea Gods. A character of any class can pick up the Deific Obedience feat, which gives a skill bonus if the worshiper performs a 1 hour religious ritual at the start of each day. Usually this is a +2 sacred/profane bonus to a valuable skill or a +4 bonus to a less valuable skill or a saving throw to a situational effect. At high levels, the feat grants special abilities unique to that god. The book also has three prestige classes that basically allow a character to gain the benefits of a divine class without actually being a cleric or paladin. The evangelist is notable for letting your other class's abilities level up as your evangelist level increases.
So if you want a god to gain benefits to non-clerics, just write up a list of deific obedience boons. Create a resistance or skill bonus the character gets when they perform the obedience ritual, then write up three boons the character gets at character level 12, 16, and 20. If you want to go further, then write 3 boons for the three prestige classes.
To get you started, here's some notes I made about Inner Sea Gods. I analyzed the book's obedience boons when designing the boons for my homebrew goddess.
Obedience Designer Notes:
The obedience boon is usually a +4 sacred/profane bonus to a skill. If the skill has a high value (like Perception), it gives a +2 bonus instead. With some boons, the bonus applies to a second, low value skill like Appraise or Knowledge (nobility). Some boons will grant you a +4 bonus to saves against certain effects. Others will grant you a +1 caster level on certain effects
The prestige class boons vary in theme. The exalted boons usually benefit a spellcaster, particularly a cleric. Sentinel boons usually benefit a fighting character. Evangelist boons seem designed to benefit a general character that might not be a wizard or cleric. Some evangelist boons will directly benefit a class feature from one of the listed required aligned classes listed in the evangelist description. For example, Lamashtu’s second boon affects a summoner eidolon. These boons offer alternate effects for those without the required class feature.
The first boon grants to cast either a 1st-level spell three times per day, a 2nd-level spell twice per day, or a third-level spell once per day as spell-like abilities.
The second boon is a special ability that’s roughly on par with a 5th level spell cast once per day. Some are buffs or allow you to change how a spell or class feature work. Buffs usually last a number of rounds equal to 1 + 1 per 4 HD.
The third boon is roughly on par with an 8th level spell cast once per day. In fact, many of them are spells with mechanical differences thematic for the god. Some will summon a particular creature native to the god’s realm, which last 1 minute per HD, allow telepathic communication at 100 feet, and can be commanded. However, they won’t follow any command that violates its alignment and service to the god. In fact, they may even attack you. See Sarenrae’s angelic ally.