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Ok, I got the description up but somehow the history ate itself (I thought I was being good and saving after each paragraph, but apparently, I was previewing, and ... well, I'm feeling a mite depressed about that.)
I've put in the high-points in point form for now -- I can flesh it out later, but that's the general backstory -- and feel free to look at other aliases -- I'm usually pretty good at turning plot points into story, really. :)
Due to a few unexpected things last night, I wasn't able to build a character -- and, further, looking at the party's needs, I think (increasingly) that the original idea for the Varisian (as much fun as it would be) wouldn't quite be the best fit -- as the party seems to want for a secondary melee sort of character [I got so far afield trying to make the concept work that I had a Half-Elven Cav 2 (Emissary)/Cleric (Varisian Pilgrim) 4 concept roughed out... which I liked, to be fair, but still...]
So, the new concept is somewhat less flashy -- a straight up battle-cleric of Cayden Cailean [Travel (Exploration) and Strength (Ferocity)] -- but I won't have the character ready likely for 4-6 hours at best -- and since I know there was an intent to select today, I totally understand if you'd rather not wait.
Wanderer, I think it was intended to be a matter of the diluted blood -- as the offspring of a half-orc and a human neither of us is quite a half-orc or a human... And so, it would be one of those contrast points between the twins -- one being more strongly touched by orcish traits (though still human-like) and the other more human (but still somewhat orc-like) -- especially to allow for the different relationship with our father's family.
So in the end, I think it was meant to be a role-playing decision rather than a mechanical one.... though I should probably not speak for Tirion.
Aarakess Halcorn wrote:
As mentioned, full divine or arcane would be good. Or, most anything else. With only 4 of us, unless we go cleric/fighter/wizard/rogue, we are going to have some role not completely filled. However, I am sure that we will be able to figure out how to work around it. My guess is that between the 4 of us, we will have over 100 years of gaming, so if we are clueless with a sub-optimal group, we will only have ourselves to blame.
I'm willing to bet it may not take 4 of us to get there. ;)
Well, conceptually (which, to be fair, was less messy when the base class was fighter), the intent was to try to semi-duplicate the paladin [and, thus, ranger] spellcasting ability via HV - due to relgious fervor. And since you can't get into HV without being able to channel, there's a need to dip cleric (or Life Oracle, I suppose) to get there.
And while the Ranger list does have some super-useful spells (especially Lead Blades and Instant Enemy), for the most part, rangers don't get the "level break" that Paladins do (where combat spells come down in level).
So, basically, the question is:
Ranger progression: CL 10 with the ranger list [i.e.- 13-3] (and 3/2/1/0) and CL 1 with the cleric list (with 4 orisons and 1+1 level 1 spell) -- and that means I'll need +5 Wis to get a level 4 spell from high wisdom, otherwise, there's nothing there.
Also, that includes the ability to cast Divine Power, which doesn't suck.
Despite the lower caster level, the cleric progression offers more spells, and thus, more versatility -- although to some extent, that will depend on what subdomains the Osiran pantheon grants -- because the domain spells of some of those is rather less than good.
The one drawback, though, is that APs generally don't get much past 15 (let alone 17), so the idea of picking up 3 more cleric levels to finish at CL 11 and have level 6 spells (assuming I gain 3 Wis) while still having a +19 BAB really works for me -- at that point, the spell selection is almost Inquisitor-like.
Oops. Forgot that the alias I copy-pasted for a character sheet doesn't include attributes and that I need to put them directly into the alias, which I've done.
Also, good job on the imputation.
I'll build the character tonight when I can get to a laptop with PCGen on it -- but it's an NG Male Half-Orc Druid (Mooncaller).
Ayberk stands a broad-shouldered 6'6", with a powerful frame that leans more toward graceful than bulky, despite clearly weighing more than 16 stone. His coarse black hair has a slightly green sheen and a natural wave that makes it look as though it might burst from the leather-wrapped braid that ends between his shoulder blades at any moment. A well-trimmed beard of the same green-black hair minimizes his orcish jawline without hiding the raised cheekbones of his human heritage. The dark blue crescent moon tattooed over his right eye and the three piercings in over his left reduce the prominence of his browline, framing his deep emerald eyes. His complexion is only slightly ashen with a slight olive undertone, however the sharp point of his ears and the small tusks poking over his upper lip make his orcish heritage clearly apparent.
I'll flesh this out into a proper tale also, but for now:
Point Form History:
- Ayberk was born tight at midnight under a full moon.
- He's actually mostly human -- His father was human while mom was a halfer who was taken in as a stray to the village)
- Dad's parents didn't really approve of the union, but they were in love -- so Ayberk has a mostly happy childhood despite that -- for the first few years
- They lived on the edge of town.
- Mom was a herbalist/witch that people generally only came to when they needed healing, dad was a hunter.
- When he was 9, dad was mauled by a bear and mom couldn't save his arm, he turned bitter and drank a lot, spending more and more time in town (at the taverns) and with other women and not his family
- Due (somewhat) to badmouthing by her husband, mom's business (mostly) dried up
- Dad eventually took up with one of those women, and his parents set him up by giving him part of the will
- Out of necessity, Ayberk spent a fair amount of time in the woods, gathering stuff for mom, and then hunting to feed them (Fortunately, Half-Orcs mature faster than humans)
- Ayberk came upon Gaelach, a large fisher (using Badger stats, they're related) hunting at dusk, and the two became friends
- With the help of his companion, hunting improved -- Ayberk's affinity with nature and the moon continued
- It's been 10 years, and mom's died (Ayberk blames his father, especially since he's got two new kids)
Ayberk is most confident on his own and is a little socially awkward -- largely because of how he was treated by his father (and his grandparents). He's largely internalized their view that he's somehow less due to his orcish blood -- and, despite a few childhood friends, worries that much of Morgan's Ford feels that way, which makes him somewhat uneasy in larger groups. His friendships with others of his age were generally a result of chance encounters and one-on-one time.
At the same time, hearing the call of the moon so clearly and befriending Gaelach have done much to boost his self-esteem and so he now, largely, feels that he just needs to prove himself to everyone -- and that he's been gifted with the ability to do so. Unfortunately, this includes his father, who's never fully escaped the bottle, and views his son as the embodiment of a mistake (that mistake being leaving the woman he loved) and so even seeing his son twists the knife, especially now that she's died.
All told, Ayberk is somewhat shy, very honest and direct -- he's the type who generally looks for simple solutions to problems (at least at first), although, like the moon itself, he can also often be subtle. As a result of this, he can often appear to be somewhat naive about the more complex aspects of human interaction (especially business dealings and politics) -- not because he can't understand them, but because they are so counter to the natural order that he is so much more at ease with.
Also, as a result of seeing his father's misery and hearing his mother blaming it on the bottle -- Ayberk does not drink alcohol.
Ok, that's what I needed to know - so, then, it'll be the Mooncaller. ;)
DM -- How bad was the fallout from the war and everything that's come from that? I keep coming back to the idea of the damaged countryside and borders and what not, and it leads me towards the idea of either a Blight Druid (of the "heal the land" variety, not of the "worshipper of blight") or an Iconoclast Inquisitor (hunting down the bad magics that, presumably, would lead to war...) -- I guess the question I'm asking is: did the war stop out of primarily fatigue, or was there a bit too much destruction along the way?
(The problem with the other character concepts I talked about earlier is that (to some extent) they're all overlapping a bit, so I'm having trouble imagining how (exactly) to make the crunch fit the fluff...)
Looking at the characters already submitted and noting the decided lack of magic, I'm leaning toward Inquisitor, Oracle or Druid. I've got a few ideas for each in my head, so we'll see which nascent story I like best.
I'm thinking with the themes of the campaign presented that if I go Inquisitor, it'll likely be of an Erastil-like community and nature sort of deity (that I'll submit, as per the instructions).
If I go Oracle, I'm thinking likely Metal or Nature mystery -- and probably no Archetype.
In terms of Druid, the rapids and the river have me really pointing toward Tempest Druid -- though I've also got an idea for a Mooncaller.
Having just done all that, I'm also getting an idea for a hedge witch.. (On the plus side, I'm glad that I'm having a lot of ideas, on the down side, now I have to flesh 'em out enough to see if I like 'em).
Anyhow -- as I said, I hope to have fluff today, and crunch tomorrow, if that's ok. (I'd have crunch tonight, but plans this evening..)
I've reworked the history to be less fragmenty (though the problem with an edit, of course, is that I keep hearing it the original way), so while it's better, it may not be quite as clean as you were hoping. I also filled in a few blanks that I'd left toward the end of the story - but I didn't "finish" the backstory because I was allowing for things to come to a head during play -- but, again, if there's a specific thing you'd like more details about, let me know and I'll add them in.
I'd written the story with the pauses and pacing of an oral storytelling, though I can certainly modify that. In terms of specifics, was there something you were looking for specifically? (I assume you mean about the merchant in Helgen, as I did provide names for everybody else in the story....)
GM mechaPoet-> After losing my last entry and being just too frustrated to go back to it, I'm repurposing a character that I loved from another campaign that died -- originally, the goal was to make him a rage prophet, but with the new playtest classes, I'm shifting him over toward bloodrager.
Dotting -- was thinking of playing a Half-Elven or Suli Shaman (something I've wanted to try out since the ACG playtest came out...) who's motivated to go to the jungle to try to learn about his own nature from the natives -- still spinning the details in my mind at the moment -- if it's the half-elf, it'd be Life or Battle as the primary spirit -- if it's a Suli, then probably elemental ones.
I'm thinking he'll have boarded in Varisia if I go with the half-elf, or in the Shackles if it's the Suli.
Sorry about the gap, folks. Rough end-of-week and week-end. (Work, the possible self-destruction of my RL campaign, a birthday dinner that turned into an endurance session, etc, etc..... if not for enjoying attending a hockey game on Thursday, I might have totally snapped [of course, the subsequent loss over the weekend didn't help]).
However, catching up and will have our usual self-confident bard in place.
I agree with almost all of this -- as I said in my first post, I think that this was the class I was most excited about conceptually.... and I do think it's lacking martial abilities due to the hit die, BAB, armour and weapon profs, as we've discussed (many times).
Personally, though, I'm thinking that one way to "strike balance" between the 3/4 BAB and full BAB of the origin classes would be to have the class be 3/4 by default, but gain Full BAB while doing the War Chant (in the same way that flurrying monks are Full BAB) -- this also makes the warchant/ragesong/whatever a bigger part of the class beyond the buffing the party -- the character literally works itself into a martial frenzy.
Fair enough, Zark -- I actually put Starfox's words in your mouth, and I apologize.
However, again, maybe it's just me but I think the class needs a lot more work than just allowing the [non-badger, rage don't stack..] pets of rangers, druids and cavaliers (and, well, the new classes) to benefit from the song -- and that our energies are much better spent discussing ways to make the skald a better class rather than whether or not animals can benefit from a language-dependant effect (especially since share language solves the problem either way for 24 hours at a time)
Personally, I don't think that the success or failure hinges on whether or not animal companions with 3 int and a rank of linguistics can understand the song, because the other issues seem more important.
Zark -- Most of us disagree with you (and I'm not getting into what Int 3 means for language or skills or tricks or whatever) about 3 int = magical beast. (And that doesn't mean we're disagreeing that animals should *start* with an int of 1 or 2 -- just that an animal that gains 3 intelligence by advancement or a headband isn't automatically a magical beast... and that there is no longer a rule that says so -- build rules and advancement rules aren't the same) -- however, it's not really germane to what we're talking about here.
Maybe you could move that discussion to another thread so we can get back to talking about the Skald?
Unless you think whether or not ragesong affects animal companions is the thing that'll make or break the class?
Its not messy at all, the general rule is that animals that gain an into of 3 become megical beasts. If i am a dm and i want to make a smarter walress i make its int 3, and then change all the other characteristics for my super walruss to match those of a magic beast.
Except that there's no such rule in Pathfinder -- there was such a rule in 3, but it's gone now -- and the blog post linked confirms that.
However, all this seems tangential to the matter at hand.
In its current form? Its just another bard. It could likely be an archetype with some massaging.
Considering how divergent some (existing) archetypes are, I'm not even sure that it would require the massaging, to be honest....
Like many others, I put up a bunch of "fix it" ideas (eg - Medium armour and at least some martial weapons are an absolute must, some way to deal with the bab/hp gap, etc) -- but at the end of the day, if this class is going to come into its own (or at least be a viable "alternate" bard [a la cavalier/samurai thing])... and I really *do* think that the key here is to make Ragesong (and I'm still pushing for renaming it War/Battle Chant) into its own sort of thing -- and that this would be best handled by letting the Skald pick powers (verses, edda, whatever you want to call them) to enhance/refine the song (and that those would include the currently-legal rage powers, but not be limited to them).
Further, while I don't hate the spellcasting as much as some others do (the question, to be fair, is what is the goal of this class? -- If we're trying to make a "full" 50-50 hybrid, then yes, we need to diminish spells... But if we're trying to make a barbaric bard, then, maybe not). I think one of the big issues with the spellcasting is that the bard's list (Heroism and the like notwithstanding) doesn't seem to really fit the mental image of a Skald.
That's why, earlier, I suggested at least throwing them a bone (pardon the pun) by giving them runecasting (augury and divination) -- the notion of skalds predicting victory by casting runes fits thematically.
I'm wondering, however, as I consider the issues with the (partially) ill-fitting spell-list and the desperate need for the class to come into its own if we couldn't kill two birds here, and make the class into something new. For instance, what if we leave the normal bardic spell progression, but then give them access to the magus spell list via runecasting -- (basically, we allow them to pick one spell from the magus list per spell level by preparing runes in the morning, allowing them to supplement their less-combat-oriented spells). It would be thematically appropriate (and further explain how they can cast spells in ragesong) while also shifting them beyond what a normal bard can do by giving them access to useful combat magics.
A little late to the party here, obviously -- I will start off by saying that this concept was one of the ones I was most excited about (though the new rehash of Arcanist is looking pretty cool) -- even more than Bloodrager (especially since, thematically, I would have thought it made more sense for a barbarian partial-caster to be divine and channeling totem spirits, but that's not important right now)....
Unfortunately, as (I imagine) a lot of other people have said, the mechanics here make it look a lot more like a bard archetype than a full class on its own. It's called a hybrid, but you get bard spells and at the same progression, bard BAB and HD, bard weapons .... and then Barbarian skill points (so the one thing that's not the same is worse). Sure, it gets ragesong -- but that doesn't really feel like a new thing (especially since there are already ranger and fighter archetypes that gain full-out rage).
The final product (other than spell keening, which is nifty, and I think makes sense) is something that never quite feels barbarian-ish -- it just looks and feels like an alternate bard -- and, what's more, these guys would be *trounced* in combat by their peers, which doesn't quite fit the mental image I have of them, either.
So, having said that, let's look at a few things that I think could/should improve.
1. Weapon proficiencies: The class needs access to martial weapons -- whether it's all martial weapons, or a pick a favoured weapon mechanic - but Skalds should be going into combat with Battleaxes, not rapier.
2. Armour Proficiency: Here's a place where, if we don't want to change the BAB and HD (and I get why it wasn't, for balance sake), we might look at making a few shifts. One, giving them medium armour (to match Barbarians) wouldn't be a bad call. Yes, there is the issue of casting in medium armour, which I think is a big deal for an arcane caster at level 1 -- but here's where we can play a little -- let them do armoured casting (medium) at a higher level (something that Arcane Duelists get) -- but also have it so that they can cast without penalty while under the effects of the ragesong (since the mechanics seem to suggest the Skald can cast while under its effects).
3. The Hit Die/BAB thing: Well, there are a few solutions I can think of -- one would be, to make up for the smaller hit die, throwing them Raging Vitality as a bonus feat (even if they don't qualify) [assuming it works in ragesong] -- or, even better, have them gain a number of temporary hit points equal to their level (in addition to the con bonus) when they start the song that last until the song ends (the fatigue when coming out of the song, fortunately, makes this hard to abuse). In terms of the BAB thing, what if they became full BAB while under the effects of their ragesong? (Sort of like how monks do when they flurry?) That might be a bit much --- but the problem is that (ATM), the supposed "averaging" of the Hit Die and BAB did nothing of the sort -- it took the weaker of each.
3. Ragesong: I would say that this ability is a little weak. (Also, I'd call it Battle Chant -- I mean, it seems more thematically appropriate) Yes, I understand how we can give people rage powers and they get a con bonus -- it's all good -- but at the same time, it doesn't quite scale like a normal bard's ability (inspire courage is more useful across the board [applies to ranged weapons, doesn't have a 30' limit, doesn't make you fatigued, can scale up to +4 and +6 (so, really, the equivalent of +12 str), etc, etc.).
And, worse, thematically, it doesn't even really help the Skald's most likely pals (eg - barbarians and vikings) -- and that lack of synergy means that the Skald is most useful *away* from his people. Now, my first thought was to just let others enter their own rage without paying rounds -- but then as I thought more about it, I was thinking that since the ragesong is the core and defining ability for Skalds, it might make a lot of sense to embrace it -- which includes allowing refinements (like rage powers/discovery/etc..) to the ability -- call them verses or chants or something -- which would then allow it to grow and scale a bit more -- and open them up to be more than just rage powers.
For instance, a skald who *does* have a party rife with barbs and vikings could take the "chant" that allows him to fuel *their* rage -- so while the power is in use, they get the full benefits of own rage, but don't spend rounds or spend half rounds). That way, they can go full berserk on all of their foes. One with in party of finesse-y types might learn the "focused rage" chant (a la urban) to allow them to use their skills and/or take the bonus to dex instead of str. Another chant could grant DR (so we don't have to worry about the weirdness of whether you can grant the rage power "increased DR" to people who don't have a DR to increase). If the skald gets temporary hp per my original suggestion, a chant could let him give it to everyone. (Or, heck, he might need to get a chant to give him the temp hp in the first place..) These are just suggestions, but I'm sure we could come up with a list of good powers that make sense and just further help with the flavour of things.
Part of me would also really love to see some sort of runecasting ability, I have to say (no, not Words of Power) -- but, again, it would be thematically appropriate -- letting them augury, for instance (which isn't on the bard spell list, so it would be a bit of useful flavour).
I agree that would likely be too powerful, but I'm also trying to make things make sense... I suppose I could make an item that was a block-type shield (personal), since Kenneth's rote spell isn't -- but even so, it's just duplicating things I've already got, which I'm not super fond of..
I wouldn't mind figuring out a way to have an item that would keep sustaining (and maybe enhancing) Kenneth's armour rote -- but that doesn't seem to stay well within the rules, sadly. (You'd think that it would be easier to make an item that works with spells than one that duplicates or goes outside the spell -- or to make a single-spell focus...)
Now, having said that, I can't say that I mind the idea of gaining inhuman toughness -- but (again), I think that tends to be something that's a mite better as a potion.
I suppose I could always just make that open focus slot be 4 more potion slots and go all the way on that... but that seems pretty crazy too.
I'll keep thinking about it -- something that's not imbalancing will pop up eventually -- (like the social defense spell)