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Ivory Guardian (Paladin)


Round 2 - Top 32: Create an archetype

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32 aka Levis

Ivory Guardian (Paladin)

The exotic lands of Vudra are home to many evils, from fiendish rakshasas, to the cunning naga. To combat these evils, Vudrani paladins have developed their own unique tradition tied to their religious beliefs. Riding sacred elephants, and eschewing traditional heavy armor, ivory guardians spread peace wherever they go. The ivory guardian has the following class features.

Class Skills: An ivory guardian’s class skills are Acrobatics (Dex), Craft (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Handle Animal (Cha), Heal (Wis), Knowledge (History) (Int), Knowledge (Nobility) (Int), Knowledge (Religion) (Int), Profession (Wis), Ride (Dex), Sense Motive (Wis), and Spellcraft (Int). These replace the standard paladin class skills.

Skill Ranks Per Level: 4 + int modifier.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Ivory guardians are proficient with all simple and martial weapons. Ivory guardians are not proficient with any armor or shields.

AC Bonus (Ex): When unarmored and unencumbered, the ivory guardian adds her Wisdom bonus (if any) to her AC and her CMD. In addition, an ivory guardian gains a +1 bonus to AC and CMD at 4th level. This bonus increases by 1 for every four ivory guardian levels thereafter, up to a maximum bonus of +5 at 20th level. These bonuses to AC apply even against touch attacks or when the ivory guardian is flat-footed. She loses these bonuses when she is immobilized or helpless, when she wears any armor, when she carries a shield, or when she carries a medium or heavy load.

Sacred Weapon: Ivory guardians gain Exotic Weapon Proficiency (Temple Sword) as a bonus feat at 1st level (see Pathfinder RPG’s Advanced Player’s Guide, page 177).

Aura of Serenity (Su): At 5th level, an ivory guardian gains Touch of Serenity as a bonus feat, even if she does not meet the prerequisites (see Pathfinder RPG’s Advanced Player’s Guide, page 172). An ivory guardian may use a weapon when using touch of serenity. In addition, once per day, an ivory guardian can expend one use of her smite evil ability to grant the ability to use touch of serenity to all her allies within 15 feet, using her bonuses. Allies must use this touch of serenity ability by the start of the ivory guardian’s next turn and the bonuses last for 1 minute. Using this ability is a free action. Evil creatures gain no benefit from this ability. This ability replaces divine bond.

Divine Bond (Su): Upon reaching 8th level, an ivory guardian forms a divine bond with her god. This bond must be to a mount, and the mount must be an elephant (see the Pathfinder RPG Bestiary, page 128, for elephant companion statistics). This ability functions otherwise as the paladin ability. This ability replaces aura of resolve.

RPG Superstar 2009, Contributor

Well, the Vudrani flavor definitely comes through on this one, but I think you've painted yourself into a corner. This archetype is going to have very limited appeal unless you want to wield a temple sword, ride an elephant, and forego your armor and shield as a monk-like paladin. There's also nothing super-innovative here. Almost all of the abilities you've reference already appear elsewhere in the game. About the only new effect is the sharing of the Touch of Serenity ability with all your allies, which comes off as kind of underwhelming to me.

That said, you've followed the template and presented your information as clearly and professionally as possible. High marks for that. These shows workman-like ability, just not necessarily a tremendous amount of mechanical creativity. That doesn't mean the flavor isn't creative. You've got that in spades. And, combined with your amulet of the rakshasa, you apparently have a great interest in all things Vudra. I'm just not sure if there's enough continuing interest in that since last year's winner Matt Goodall intrigued everyone with his Cult of the Ebon Destroyers proposal.

At any rate, I can't say that I feel exceptionally strongly either way on this one. I don't think this is a very smart entry for setting yourself apart and making your way into the next round. If you do make it, I think you need to branch out or you'll be seen as too much of a one-trick pony with all the continuing Vudrani flavor.

I'm on the fence with regards to a recommendation. I don't feel strongly enough to recommend against advancing, because there's something to be said for workman-like quality in designs and honoring/reusing the stuff defined within the rules. But I don't feel strong about recommending it either. So, I'll leave it in the hands of the voters and see what they think. Your fate rests in their hands now. Best of luck.

CEO, Goblinworks

Total Points: 1.5 Points
Recommendation: Not recommended for advancement

Comments In Detail

Name & Theme (1 point)
Name matches theme.

Mechanics (0 point)
You did virtually nothing here design-wise. All your mechanics are just references to other things. Most of your design choices are limitations (no armor, no shields, a specific weapon, a specific mount).

Other than IP limitations, why wouldn't I just play a Paladin?

Awesomeness (0 point)
Nothing flavorful comes through here. This is just a watered down Fighter.

Template (.5 point)
The bonus in the "AC Bonus" feature (Horrible name!) is untyped.

Is my elephant a god? The text says it is. So I'm riding my god around and risking it's life in battle?

Context (0 points)
India has a rich, multi-millenial tradition of warfare, myth and legend. You didn't mine any of it for this archetype. A Cavalier archetype that rode elephants might have been cool. A hindi-themed paladin that deals with shapeshifters (instead of demons) might have been cool. But this quasi Paladin encumbered by capricious limitations is just not Superstar.

Paizo Employee Developer

I appreciate the desire to make a monk/paladin hybrid, but I think, as Neil says, you've painted yourself into a corner with this particular design. I am actually playing a multiclass monk/paladin now in a Serpent's Skull campaign, so I'd love to take this archetype...except I don't want some of the specific elements you've made a part of the class.

Granting a monk's unarmored Wis bonus seems like a sure bet here, but I actually think it's the wrong move. This is a key class feature of the monk, and one that can't be replicated by any other mechanic in the game. Yet here it is for paladins. If this granted bardic performance or sneak attack or favored enemy, would it still look like as clean a design decision? Moving class abilities from one class to another is a very slippery slope, and I think there are better ways of doing this. Paladins already have a divine bonus to their defenses in the form of divine grace; perhaps looking there as a starting place for granting extra bonuses to AC would feel less off-putting. Making a new mechanic would also preclude any confusion about how this stacks with the exact same monk ability, which you currently have no clarification on for multiclass characters.

There's also not a lot of trading out of abilities going on here. A lot of new abilities get thrown on at first level, apparently offset by the inability to wear armor, but extra skill points per level, a bonus feat, and a monk class feature are way more than a proficiency reduction warrants.

Then we get into the requirement that you ride an elephant. Cool flavor-wise, but very restrictive in actual play. Opening an elephant up as a possible mount is fine, but requiring it over a more suitable mount in an urban campaign for example, or choosing to bond with her temple sword should also be options for a paladin.

I really wanted to like this one, as its concept speaks directly to a character archetype I love playing, but this isn't superstar design and it's not an archetype I'd take, even for a similarly themed PC. I DO NOT RECOMMEND this archetype for advancement, but I know Vudra has lots of fans and perhaps the voters will disagree with me. Best of luck.

Contributor

AC Bonus: Interesting choice. Pathfinder changed paladins so they don't rely on quite so many ability scores (in 3E they used Wis, now they use Cha, the same ability score they use for smite, LOH, and so on). So you've put Wis back in, which means it's harder for the paladin to have a suitable ability score array. That's not a good thing.

Aura of Serenity: "In addition, once per day, an ivory guardian can expend one use of her smite evil ability to grant the ability to use touch of serenity to all her allies within 15 feet, using her bonuses." I'm guessing the "using her bonuses" refers to her Wis bonus for the DC instead of their Wis bonus? Or does it mean they use your attack bonus?

"Allies must use this touch of serenity ability by the start of the ivory guardian’s next turn and the bonuses last for 1 minute."

I'm confused here... do these bonuses last until the paladin's next turn, or for 1 minute?

There's nothing really new in this class other than the aura of serenity ability, and all that's doing is giving an existing feat to your allies.

RECOMMENDATION: I do NOT recommend this archetype design for advancement in the competition.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32 , Star Voter 2014

I removed a post. Competitors, remember the rules about commenting on your own entry.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32 aka Levis

Ross Byers wrote:
I removed a post. Competitors, remember the rules about commenting on your own entry.

Thanks for the constructive criticism. If I am luckily enough to be voted through (and even if I'm not!), I will take it to heart.

Thank you everyone for your votes!

Shadow Lodge

I liked it up until the Divine Bond. Force feeding me an elephant makes me bleh. I dont think it needed the Vudra connection, any temple (Iori?) should work, too. I agree with Ryan's assessments on context.


I'm actually liking this one a lot. Okay the AC bonus is pretty big, and it does focus a lot -- but isn't that part of what an archetype is supposed to do?

The exotic weapon proficiency makes sense in context of where this archetype comes from and the elephant does as well. I feel that this covers one of the major aspects of the archetypes with style.

Would I use this one regularly? No -- but I would use it and not feel too powerful or too weak for doing so. As such it gets my vote on flavor grounds and presentation.

At least it's not another undead hunter/ sacred servant/ blah thing. This archetype goes places and I like that. Imagination is a key to good design as well as balanced mechanics, this shows both I feel.

Osirion RPG Superstar 2008 Top 4; Contributor; Publisher, Legendary Games

I like the Vudrani flavor text, but the rest of it could be achieved just as easily with a paladin multiclassing 1 level of monk. There's just nothing very creative going on here once you get past the admittedly neat visual.

Congrats on getting into the contest, and best of luck!

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2014 Top 4, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32 , Dedicated Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014 aka Serpent

I think I would have liked Cha to AC better than Wis, but that's just me. I like it that you chose to use Vudra flavor, but as has been pointed out, this is a really really niche archetype. Flexible = good in my book.

Qadira RPG Superstar 2008 Top 6, Contributor , Dedicated Voter 2013

The best - the name and the idea of a no-armor paladin. Also giving an archetype more skill points, something I'd like to see more of. But I'm with the flow here on wanting something more novel to go with those abilities. This is going in to my no vote pile on the initial pass.


I think there is quite a bit of unnecessary text in the opening paragraph.

This is so specific that it feels like it would be better implemented as a prestige class.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

AC Bonus (Ex) Introduces MAD so carefully scrubbed from Pathfinder Paladin. It's not a replacement for real armor, anyway. Paladins are front-liners. They cannot afford to lose AC, ever. VERY BAD.

Divine Bond (Su) Awesome mount. Not very dungeon-friendly, but awesome nevertheless. GOOD.

Verdict: NOT Recommended. The AC Bonus is simply a big no-no for melee class.

Regards,
Ruemere

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8 , Star Voter 2013

Others have already commented on a lot of points, I have a few designer concerns though.

As I've said elsewhere, making an archtype with the same theme as the item before it makes me worry about the diversity of the writer. That this paladin seems to be overly focused amplifies this. Woudl roudn three bring us a Rakshasa with class levels?

The book/page references were unneeded, and come close to 'padding' to me.

Finally, that Ross removed a post really sours me. We lost a good, and classy competitor last year for this, and if I'd been on the fence, this would have pushed me off. Self control is a must for a freelancer ("says the fat guy" go the voices in my head) and that just killed it for me.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I'm sorry to say but this archetype is really... meh. You didn't really design anything here, which is a pretty big setback in a design competition.

Making the Paladins AC dependent on wisdom is also problematic. One of the great things about the Pathfinder Paladin was removing their dependency on wisdom. Adding it back is a real problem for me.

Thematically this archetype is good, though not branching out into other themes doesn't show much creativity. Pigeon holing it into a very specific setting is also a problem in my books. It would work better as a prestige class I think.

Best of luck in the competition, if you make it through I would hope to see a bit more diversity out of you..

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 16 , Star Voter 2013

Taking the heavy out of paladin is a risky decision. It fits really well with the flavour of the archetype, so it's not that big a deal. I do wish there were more going on here, it has so much unexplored potential. Also, the elephant is a bit of a rough go, bad for dungeons, bad for thick terrain, bad for cities. Sure, there are exceptions to all those things, but they are just that: exceptions. This makes your divine bond (which you get railroaded into) useless on a lot of situations.

Osirion RPG Superstar 2009 Top 4 , Star Voter 2013 aka raidou

Levi, this round you continue taking us on a tour through mysterious Vudra. I have been a huge fan of the tribal paladin concept for a long time, as an exotic counterpart to the tried and true medieval knight. So what can you tell us about these Ivory Guardians?

ivory guardian wrote:

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Ivory guardians are proficient with all simple and martial weapons. Ivory guardians are not proficient with any armor or shields.

AC Bonus (Ex): When unarmored and unencumbered, the ivory guardian adds her Wisdom bonus (if any) to her AC and her CMD.

Very restrictive for a front-line fighter. Unlike a monk, you can't afford to drop Charisma as a dump stat. So basically this character archetype requires every stat except intelligence to be reasonably competent. I think that's a misstep. Plus, it's not that exciting... it's just stealing another class's toys.

ivory guardian wrote:
Sacred Weapon: Ivory guardians gain Exotic Weapon Proficiency (Temple Sword) as a bonus feat at 1st level (see Pathfinder RPG’s Advanced Player’s Guide, page 177).

Monks can use temple swords in a flurry of blows. That's why it's an appealing weapon. Paladins can use greatswords and greataxes. Or, if interested in playing around with maneuvers, a whole host of other martial weapons. Why do I care about a D8 sword for monks?

ivory guardian wrote:
Aura of Serenity (Su): At 5th level, an ivory guardian gains Touch of Serenity as a bonus feat, even if she does not meet the prerequisites (see Pathfinder RPG’s Advanced Player’s Guide, page 172). An ivory guardian may use a weapon when using touch of serenity. In addition, once per day, an ivory guardian can expend one use of her smite evil ability to grant the ability to use touch of serenity to all her allies within 15 feet, using her bonuses. Allies must use this touch of serenity ability by the start of the ivory guardian’s next turn and the bonuses last for 1 minute. Using this ability is a free action. Evil creatures gain no benefit from this ability. This ability replaces divine bond.

I find it a little odd that you'd call out the ability to use a weapon when delivering Touch of Serenity (which does no damage). I'm not sure how or whether Touch of Serenity was designed to be used through a ki-focus weapon. The flavor suggests not, but perhaps it can. Unclear on this.

ivory guardian wrote:
Divine Bond (Su): Upon reaching 8th level, an ivory guardian forms a divine bond with her god. This bond must be to a mount, and the mount must be an elephant (see the Pathfinder RPG Bestiary, page 128, for elephant companion statistics). This ability functions otherwise as the paladin ability. This ability replaces aura of resolve.

Elephant Mount! I've found a happy place at last.

Levi, I actually like how you've exchanged abilities in this archetype, even though I've griped a bit about the abilities themselves. You've given up the aura of justice, but get an ability that grants something else to your allies. Give up a horse, but get an elephant. Give up armor but get some defensive monk benefits. It's not all balanced right, but it feels neatly done all the same. Plus I like tribal paladins. Again, just like the rakshasa amulet, I'm not wowed by the actual mechanics but I am digging your diligence toward the task. I'm inclined to place this in my "keep" pile because I like the core idea, and this entry feels very clean in its construction.

Dedicated Voter 2014

Although I understand many of the above criticisms, I loved this archetype. Silk clad paladins on elephants are awesome. Great flavor, and one of my favorite superstar archtypes.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

OK, this one got one of my votes. I put this in my top 3, I really like the flavor and most of the mechanics but I agree with Eric on the multi ability dependent thing. I think it is a minor issue as it simply limits when you would play this character and in a RP heavy game this drops down in importance.

I think there are a couple other minor issues, but overall I really like it and hopefully I will see you advance to the next rounds.

Good luck.

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32 aka Hydro

Neil's comments sum up my feelings pretty well here.

I don't know if this is something you came up with or if was already part of Golarion cannon, but is a one-handed sword really the best weapon for an elephant rider? Can he even reach his enemies with it from up there?


Fantastic vision. but in my opinion a flawed execution.

You start the game as a weird monk-eqse fighter. then at 8th level shift to Paladin riding an elephant. I felt like the Elephant riding was where this template really focused its wow factor. but there is very little that supports you once your mounted...

BTW, do you get to keep your dex bonus to AC when mounted? I am not personally sure.

I would have expected to have some spears and what not. In the end, I think this would have been better as a Cavalier.

but again it was a fantastic idea and vision!

Grand Lodge Dedicated Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014

Name and concept: I want to examine this one closely: is it interesting, exciting to play and Vudrani - or put forward because it's Vudrani and that worked for last year's winner? Does it refer to some particular symbolism of ivory? So far, sacred elephant riders sound like a pretty good hook, one I wouldn't have expected and am very interested to see. Reading on, the concept and abilities don't seem to fit precisely as a "Guardian".
Archetype mechanics, expression of the concept: Class Skills: Adding Acrobatics is very smart. More skill points are a good idea, since he needs Handle Animal more than the standard paladin.
Weapon and Armour Proficiency: No armour? That's a bold move and a departure from the historical source - mahouts weren't typically the heroic fighters of an elephant's complement. I'll see where this goes. Removing shields makes sense, since their weapons should all be ranged or reach.
AC Bonus: OK, but it needs description. I have an immediate idea what this could represent, but that's not my job here and I'm not sure the author has quite made the necessary connection.
Sacred Weapon: Hm. A big sword seems more appropriate to a grim muscle-bound elephant-killer (which would also be an interesting archetype) than a bringer of peace riding way up on the back of a Huge creature. I could see it as more of a ritual implement, but not much else here supports that interpretation.
Aura of Serenity: I agree with citing the APG for the source of this ability, but the page reference is more than required. Touch of Serenity lasts 1 round on 1 target. I don't think that's enough for this concept.
Divine Bond: I see what the author did here, but to review from the top: the concept demands a serene spiritual individual who appears on the back of an elephant, bringing calm and preventing violent beings from pursuing battle. Up to 8th level, the ivory guardian is instead a pseudo-monk with a sword. Perhaps the divine bond had to be deferred, in a mechanical sense, but it seems unfortunate.
Wider relationships: It might be apparent that I've been influenced by wargaming from a long way back and picked up the classic fascination with elephant-riding warriors. This is not exactly in that tradition, but instead calls on the image of a sacred leader riding an elephant - a very powerful symbol in the context that gave us Vudra.
The contestant's item was also Indian-influenced and frankly I thought it could have followed its source ideas better. That could be positive, though, if he has enhanced his ideas from an earlier round.

This shows potentially a very strong concept and a bold departure from many of the assumptions of the paladin class - while expressing the paladin's core ideals in a fascinating new way. Despite problems I see with its execution, sheer imagination could be enough to carry it for me.

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 8 , Marathon Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014 aka Demiurge 1138

Unlike the judges, I'm alright with the idea of sacrificing some versatility to get to ride an elephant. Elephants are awesome, although it does make some more difficulties for mounted characters, who already have some trouble fitting into dungeons. I'm even okay with giving them a monk's AC bonus. What I'm not okay with is the dedicated Touch of Serenity and temple sword. "Let's all be peaceful" doesn't exactly jibe with "ride a ten-foot tall death machine". The mechanics are also somewhat weird; there's definitely room for clarification. And the temple sword can't even reach most enemies when you're up on top of your elephant!

On the basis of an alright idea muddled up by weird specifics, I'm afraid I will not be voting for this entry.


Levi Miles wrote:

Ivory Guardian (Paladin)

The exotic lands of Vudra are home to many evils, from fiendish rakshasas, to the cunning naga. To combat these evils, Vudrani paladins have developed their own unique tradition tied to their religious beliefs. Riding sacred elephants, and eschewing traditional heavy armor, ivory guardians spread peace wherever they go. The ivory guardian has the following class features.

Disclaimer:

You should know the drill by now, but in case you missed it the first time round, Ask A RPGSupersuccubus is posting from the point of view of a CE aligned succubus:
Spoiler:
Fairness is an adjective applicable to hair coloration, balance is what a couple of mortals rapidly losing it on opposite ends of a plank pivoted on a rocky spire a couple of hundred feet above a slowly rising pool of molten basalt try to do, and logic is one of those things which you could swear is there when you rattle the piggybank but if anyone other than a demon opens it the contents turn out to be a couple of dead moths and a three week old shopping list.
;)

Would you want this person sitting next to you as a guest at a formal evening dress dinner party?
He's a paladin with a broader skills base than paladins are usually trained to and with no immunity to charm effects acquired as a result of long term devotion to his cause. Yes Please.

How effective a flower-picker does this person seem likely to be?
Perfect! He even has an elephant to ride on his way through the jungle...

Could you hire one person like this to do a better job than one other trained mercenary and/or to do the jobs of two (or more) other trained mercenaries?
Apologies, my mind was elsewhere for a moment there. He has an elephant. Regular paladins only have horses. So everything a regular paladin can do (except resist magical charms and possibly explore some ruins sized for a warhorse but not an elephant) he can do better...

Other comments?
There is soooo much more I could say about a handsome hunk of a paladin who has an elephant (!) instead of a traditional white charger, and who has a certain endearing vulnerability to a succubus' magical charms if more conventional means fail. I'm surprised if there *isn't* a shortage of (at least male) Ivory Guardians on Golarion, given their intense attractiveness to succubi. The things I'd like to say further on the subject of Ivory Guardians at this point would be very personal and be censored in no time at all, but rest assured, a succubus' instincts are to take very good care of any man like this (or woman in the case of a few eccentric succubi).

Desirability:
Oh yes!

Further Disclaimer:
Ask A RPGSupersuccubus (with half an eye on Lord Orcus) would like to clarify that mortal voters should probably rely on more than just her own (impeccable) assessments in making up their minds on how to vote. Thank You.


Levi Miles wrote:

Ivory Guardian (Paladin)

Disclaimer: My ranking scheme for this round consists of given marks form 0 to 4 in the following three categories:

1.Is the Archetype conceptually interesting?
2.Are the mechanics of the Archetype interesting?
3.Are the mechanics of the Archetype balanced and well executed?
But rather than simply adding up the marks for a final score I'm gonna interpret them as a point in 3-dimensional space and the final mark of your submission will be the length of the vector between the origin and this point.
Note that my ranking doesn't need to directly correspond with my votes, as other factors like: Strength of your item submission, mood, my horrorscope and other random stuff still factor in. Also note that this scheme is highly subjective and only mirrors my perception and opinion about your archetype submission.

Conceptual Mojo (CM): 2, Except from the drops of Vudra, Elephants and no armor I'm not sure what I have to expect from this archetype. So neither a turn on, nor a turn off.

Mechanical Mojo (MM): 1, All it does is make the keywords form above viable for the paladin, plus an aura that gives a monk themed feat. I don't get any real flair or vibe from this, just feels like a weird monk-paladin hybrid. Maybe this is better suited as a PrC.

Mechanical Execution (ME): 2, Basically just steals from the monk or bonus feats. Not exciting enough to either love or hate. But pretty balanced.

Final note: I think this should be a Paladin/Monk PrC. As an Archetype it is lacking a real feel or flavor and is just a mushing of paladin and monk abilities. I can't see why elephants or no armor are particularly helpful against rakshasa and nagas.

Total Score: 3

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 , Dedicated Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014

I find it a little hard to objectively judge this one, as I like Vudran stuff a lot. India has SO much more to offer fantasy gaming than most people realize. The style of your entry might pull you through this round. I’d like to see what you can do. Good luck. My advice: in the next round, do not do another Vudra based concept.

Osirion RPG Superstar 2013 , Dedicated Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014 aka Steven T. Helt

I know there's no way for me to know for sure, but this entry looks to me like you opened a Golarion guide, plucked a region to make an archetype, and then exercised not one bit of creativity the rest of the way. You didn't invent a single new class feature, saddled the class with limitations without giving them stuff in return, and managed to completely avoid any abilities with real Indian/Vudran flavor. Why not replace smite with an extra arm, which mimics one of the paladin's weapons and gives them an extra attack. The paladin gets extra attacks at various levels until he's a 6-armed justice machine. Or how about giving them the reposition combat maneuver tree? A bit of Indian mythology has to do with herding: relocating evil, or moving elephant herds to water supplies so they don't cause the people to thirst. The point is, investigate the culture for a few hours and conceive which class features fit well. That's how you maintinan exciting flavor.

In addition to unclever, some choices make them unplayable. Taking heavy armor and shield away frm the paladin, in exchange for an up-to +5 bonus to AC will get them killed by bad guys. Taking the magic weapon choice away from their divine bond means they are losing class features when going anywhere the elephant can't go (why not let the elephants shapeshift into tigers or Medium-sized panthers?).

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32 , Star Voter 2013

Great flavor, but little new mechanically. Recycling mechanics from elsewhere is bland, but it keeps you from introducing something that might be too powerful.

I really don't care for the unarmored Paladin schtick at all.

If there were more entries that knocked my socks off, this wouldn't stand a chance. As it is, it'll go on the meh pile for me to sort through later.

Star Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014

Levi, nice. I think the flavor you have given this will draw a lot of people in. It is one of the attempts I have seen of a delayed swap, which is interesting. I assume the difference is the size of the mount, but since this limits which mount I can choose, I feel I am missing something here. \That said, I know it limits the adventures I could participate in but being an elephant rider rocks! Good luck.


Levi Miles wrote:
Ivory Guardian (Paladin)

Unfortunately it's campaign specific and because of that I really can't give it a fair critique.

Ken


My prejudice against Paladins remain even after this arch-type. I could not get past the classess bond with the elephant.

Would I want to play this class...No

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32 , Star Voter 2013

FWIW, anyone hung up on the bond with an elephant should probably check the elephant companion stats in the Bestiary. It's not that big a deal, I don't think.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32 aka Levis

Well, the time has come for me to clear things up! :) Although really, everything here is pretty self-explanatory.

First, I would like to mention that I did not break the rules on commenting on my archetype. I stated that I understood the judge's criticism, and knew how to fix my errors. I would (and still will) post a rebalanced and corrected version on my gaming blog. I also mentioned that I misunderstood the rules, and therefore wasted quite a few words by retyping the whole "AC" Bonus entry. I believe this is what made my post get removed. By saying that, I didn't explain, elaborate, embellish, or expand upon my design. But in hindsight, I do realize I was toeing the line. I sincerely apologize for doing this. Let's chalk it up to youthful naivety, and move on, shall we?

Onward to the actual comments! Let's see here...

Spoiler:

JUDGES COMMENTS

Neil Spicer wrote:
Well, the Vudrani flavor definitely comes through on this one, but I think you've painted yourself into a corner.

This I did. My original archetype was rather bland, so I tried to spice things up by doing an archetype of a class that didn't have very many, and needed some variety. But I did mess up by making it so specific.

Ryan Dancey wrote:


...
Awesomeness (0 point)
Nothing flavorful comes through here. This is just a watered down Fighter.

Template (.5 point)
The bonus in the "AC Bonus" feature (Horrible name!) is untyped.

Is my elephant a god? The text says it is. So I'm riding my god around and risking it's life in battle?

Context (0 points)
India has a rich, multi-millenial tradition of warfare, myth and legend. You didn't mine any of it for this archetype. A Cavalier archetype that rode elephants might have been cool. A hindi-themed paladin that deals with shapeshifters (instead of demons) might have been cool. But this quasi Paladin encumbered by capricious limitations is just not Superstar.

I tried to make an Indian flavored Paladin, I thought there was plenty of flavor, and Neil seemed to think so. This inconsistency is not surprising, but still shocked me a bit more than I thought it would. The AC Bonus is directly quoted from the Core Rulebook, mind you with the gender changes. Therefore, it would be incorrect to change the name, and everything is as it should be. Your comment there makes me concerned ... With the "elephant is a god" thing, that language is quote from the Core Rulebook again. Again, this lack of understanding concerns me. I didn't use any specific tradition of holy warrior or any particular Indian legends to inspire me, although I was inspired by Hindu imagery. As someone mentioned below, I seemed to not "research" my archetype. Actually, I did. And I have quite a bit of experience and knowledge with Indian mythology. I just didn't mimic any single historical or religious source. I do understand that you had to review 36 archetypes, and you spent a good deal of time looking over these entries, so therefore they probably all blended together.

Sean K Reynolds wrote:

...So you've put Wis back in, which means it's harder for the paladin to have a suitable ability score array. That's not a good thing...

Aura of Serenity: "In addition, once per day, an ivory guardian can expend one use of her smite evil ability to grant the ability to use touch of serenity to all her allies within 15 feet, using her bonuses." I'm guessing the "using her bonuses" refers to her Wis bonus for the DC instead of their Wis bonus? Or does it mean they use your attack bonus?

"Allies must use this touch of serenity ability by the start of the ivory guardian’s next turn and the bonuses last for 1 minute."

I'm confused here... do these bonuses last until the paladin's next turn, or for 1 minute?

Yep, I made a doozey of a mistake in doing that! I sometimes get the 3.5 rules and PF rules mixed up, and in my excitement, forgot to double check everything. In my updated version I based this bonus on Cha as it should be, therefore balancing things a bit better. I do understand your concern here.

This is phrased exactly as the Aura of Justice ability, and should work identically, except that it allows your allies to use Touch of Serenity. I hope this answers your question! :)

Thank you Judges for all your hard work! I really appreciate your criticism and will work to improve!

Spoiler:

VOTER COMMENTS - Part 1

Abraham spalding wrote:


I'm actually liking this one a lot. Okay the AC bonus is pretty big, and it does focus a lot -- but isn't that part of what an archetype is supposed to do?

The exotic weapon proficiency makes sense in context of where this archetype comes from and the elephant does as well. I feel that this covers one of the major aspects of the archetypes with style.

Would I use this one regularly? No -- but I would use it and not feel too powerful or too weak for doing so. As such it gets my vote on flavor grounds and presentation.

At least it's not another undead hunter/ sacred servant/ blah thing. This archetype goes places and I like that. Imagination is a key to good design as well as balanced mechanics, this shows both I feel.

Thanks so much! This was the first obviously positive comment on my archetype, and it made my day. I definitely understand the AC Bonus problem, and have come up with a good way to fix it. When I built this archetype I was thinking along the lines of a specific type of player, and a more RP heavy game.

Matthew Morris wrote:


Others have already commented on a lot of points, I have a few designer concerns though.

As I've said elsewhere, making an archtype with the same theme as the item before it makes me worry about the diversity of the writer. That this paladin seems to be overly focused amplifies this. Woudl roudn three bring us a Rakshasa with class levels?

The book/page references were unneeded, and come close to 'padding' to me.

Finally, that Ross removed a post really sours me. We lost a good, and classy competitor last year for this, and if I'd been on the fence, this would have pushed me off. Self control is a must for a freelancer ("says the fat guy" go the voices in my head) and that just killed it for me.

I realize I should have shown more diversity. I regret not displaying some in this round. As for the page references, I wasn't padding my entry, I was making my entry easier to read and more accessible on the fly. The majority of the features I added/created rely on sources other than the Core Rulebook, and as this is not printed in the APG (and therefore cannot have the "*" next to the entry that denotes that it comes from that rulebook) I included them to simply make understanding my archetype easier.

As for the removed post, please see my above comment.

DP Smith wrote:


I'm sorry to say but this archetype is really... meh...

...It would work better as a prestige class I think.

Actually, I like that idea a lot. Although Paladin prestige classes are hard to work with, because they get their mounts so early in the game.

Eric Bailey wrote:

Levi, I actually like how you've exchanged abilities in this archetype, even though I've griped a bit about the abilities themselves. You've given up the aura of justice, but get an ability that grants something else to your allies. Give up a horse, but get an elephant. Give up armor but get some defensive monk benefits. It's not all balanced right, but it feels neatly done all the same. Plus I like tribal paladins. Again, just like the rakshasa amulet, I'm not wowed by the actual mechanics but I am digging your diligence toward the task. I'm inclined to place this in my "keep" pile because I like the core idea, and this entry feels very clean in its construction.

Eric, thank you so much for your kind words! As for your questions:

1. I would say the Wis Bonus to AC would stack (up to +5), but in hindsight, and my new design I will give the paladin an AC Bonus from Cha. This would not stack.

2. Temple swords were more for imagery than anything else. The class is still proficient with everything else, so that leaves you to pick and choose as you like. This version of the paladin (as it is posted above) would almost have to be ranged to stay useful. Therefore, the sword is just for visual appeal. Of course, at the time I thought it was a good idea. In hindsight, it was a waste of words.

3. I said that the Ivory Guardian can use weapons in their Touch of Serenity Attack so that they don't have to worry about sheathing/dropping the weapon to use the ability. Shall we say "a peaceful smack with the flat of the blade"? Haha!

4. As we all know, Elephants are COOL! :D

Spoiler:

VOTER COMMENTS - Part 2

moon glum wrote:
Although I understand many of the above criticisms, I loved this archetype. Silk clad paladins on elephants are awesome. Great flavor, and one of my favorite superstar archtypes.
Tikael wrote:

OK, this one got one of my votes. I put this in my top 3, I really like the flavor and most of the mechanics but I agree with Eric on the multi ability dependent thing. I think it is a minor issue as it simply limits when you would play this character and in a RP heavy game this drops down in importance.

I think there are a couple other minor issues, but overall I really like it and hopefully I will see you advance to the next rounds.

Thanks a million guys!! :)

Nicolas Quimby wrote:
I don't know if this is something you came up with or if was already part of Golarion cannon, but is a one-handed sword really the best weapon for an elephant rider? Can he even reach his enemies with it from up there?

As stated above the sword is just for looks. You don't get any bonuses for using, and may choose to use a different weapon. With the build as is, probably a ranged weapon.

Khelek wrote:


Fantastic vision. but in my opinion a flawed execution.

You start the game as a weird monk-eqse fighter. then at 8th level shift to Paladin riding an elephant. I felt like the Elephant riding was where this template really focused its wow factor. but there is very little that supports you once your mounted...

BTW, do you get to keep your dex bonus to AC when mounted? I am not personally sure.

I would have expected to have some spears and what not. In the end, I think this would have been better as a Cavalier.

but again it was a fantastic idea and vision!

Yes, in the end it wasn't exactly as I wanted. The word limit was really the huge challenge here.

The mounted AC bonus is a mystery to me. I looked in the Core Rulebook multiple times, and to my knowledge, it is not covered. Maybe there is some errata I missed or something.

The Elephant came at 8th level, because until 7th they are only Medium. Therefore, they are no ridable.

I couldn't make this a Cavalier without some heavy changes to that class (changes that would be more than 450 words), because of when the elephant companion advances to the appropriate size.

Thanks for complimenting my vision! :)

Starglim wrote:
This shows potentially a very strong concept and a bold departure from many of the assumptions of the paladin class - while expressing the paladin's core ideals in a fascinating new way. Despite problems I see with its execution, sheer imagination could be enough to carry it for me.

Thanks! I have covered your comments/questions above.

AskaRPGSupersuccubus wrote:


Desirability:
Oh yes!

Haha! This post made me laugh out loud in the middle of class! Thanks so much for coming up from the Abyss to lighten up this competition! :)

Spoiler:

VOTER COMMENTS - Part 3

Matt Goodall wrote:


I find it a little hard to objectively judge this one, as I like Vudran stuff a lot. India has SO much more to offer fantasy gaming than most people realize. The style of your entry might pull you through this round. I’d like to see what you can do. Good luck. My advice: in the next round, do not do another Vudra based concept.

I promise if I advance, I will show more diversity! Hopefully some day I'll have an opportunity to show you what I can do!

Steven T. Helt wrote:


I know there's no way for me to know for sure, but this entry looks to me like you opened a Golarion guide, plucked a region to make an archetype, and then exercised not one bit of creativity the rest of the way. You didn't invent a single new class feature, saddled the class with limitations without giving them stuff in return, and managed to completely avoid any abilities with real Indian/Vudran flavor. Why not replace smite with an extra arm, which mimics one of the paladin's weapons and gives them an extra attack. The paladin gets extra attacks at various levels until he's a 6-armed justice machine. Or how about giving them the reposition combat maneuver tree? A bit of Indian mythology has to do with herding: relocating evil, or moving elephant herds to water supplies so they don't cause the people to thirst. The point is, investigate the culture for a few hours and conceive which class features fit well. That's how you maintinan exciting flavor.

In addition to unclever, some choices make them unplayable. Taking heavy armor and shield away frm the paladin, in exchange for an up-to +5 bonus to AC will get them killed by bad guys. Taking the magic weapon choice away from their divine bond means they are losing class features when going anywhere the elephant can't go (why not let the elephants shapeshift into tigers or Medium-sized panthers?).

I can promise you I did not "pluck" this idea from the World Guide at random. I have actually DM'd a Vudra/Qudira themed campaign. More than anything else, you need to understand that the word-count was killed, and my mistake of retyping the whole AC Bonus entry cost me quite a bit of space. As stated above, I have quite a bit of experience with Indian history and mythology. I did not make this archetype with any certain tradition in mind. Really, it's more of a "Buddhist Paladin" than anything else. It wasn't meant to be a powerhouse. It was meant to be an RP archetype. I would have to challenge your statement that it is unplayable. It certainly is. Yes, it is a challenge as it is built now, but it still works. It just requires a different style of play.

Your ideas you listed inspire me, although I feel most of them would be better as spells. A transforming mount? That has nothing to do with my archetype, but I thank you for your thoughts. I am offended that you said it was completely uncreative, because I can assure you it was not. I believe no one in this competition is completely uncreative. I would never say that to something you designed. Golden Rule. Constructive Criticism > Harsh, unproductive commentary.

Curaigh wrote:
Levi, nice. I think the flavor you have given this will draw a lot of people in. It is one of the attempts I have seen of a delayed swap, which is interesting. I assume the difference is the size of the mount, but since this limits which mount I can choose, I feel I am missing something here. \That said, I know it limits the adventures I could participate in but being an elephant rider rocks! Good luck.

Thanks for your kind words! :) The delayed swap was a must-happen and I'm glad you understood.

Thanks to everyone who voted for me this round. Thanks for all the negative comments, the positive comments, the "meh" comments! I appreciate all of them! If you have any other questions, any responses to my answers, or anything please post and I'll be more than happy to discuss this archetype with you! I'm excited for tomorrow, no matter what happens, and it has been a massive honor to participate in this competition! :)

-Levi


Disclaimer:
Ask A RPGSupersuccubus is posting from the point of view of a CE aligned succubus; and in the language of the Abyss ‘sorry’ is what you make others after you’ve had a bad day, ‘commiserations’ is the concept whereby if you’ve had a miserable day you go out and make others at least as unhappy as you are, and ‘sympathy’ is military jargon for a popular model of half a mile high siege-tower with spiked wheels, ballistae and fireball hurling catapults. (By way of explanation for the latter it’s a demonic joke: ‘See, we have sympathy for your situation’.)

Obligatory End of Round 2 Results Post:

Spoiler:
In the ever-shifting chaos of Abyssal hierarchies and social-networks, Good Manners are naturally essential. One never knows when a powerful demon whom one once jostled at a dinner party and whom one never actually made sufficient reparations to for the inconvenience is going to be the new landlady of your own part of the Abyss and looking for some demons to make Very Sorry having just had a bad day herself.
Consequently a multitude of books of etiquette are in circulation with examples of ‘appropriate’ phrases to use in various situations. I shall take the liberty of quoting a few:
“Abyssal etiquette, Demon Lords” wrote:
…Greetings, your most puissant highness…
“Abyssal etiquette, Apparent Mortal Who Is Prospective Dinner” wrote:
…Why sirrah, it is a pleasure to meet you. May one inquire, is that an enchanted cold-iron dagger of demon-slaying in your pocket, or are you just pleased to see me?...
“Abyssal etiquette, Guests Whom There Is No Longer Any Room To Accommodate And Who Are About To Depart Through A Trapdoor Into A (Possibly) Snake Filled Pit” wrote:
…Goodbye Mr. Bond…

(The author of the work from which I derive the latter quote is incidentally a fiend with a curious affectation for monocles and white cats who happens to be a servant of Andirifkhu.)

See you around another year, perhaps. Or maybe sooner if you feel like sticking around to post for the duration of this year’s contest... ;)

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8 , Star Voter 2013

Thanks for the elaboration, Levi.

I want to make clear I wasn't attacking you personally, just explaining the influences of my (non)vote. By all means don't stop trying, just broaden your horizons out of Vurda. :-)

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32 aka Levis

Matthew Morris wrote:

Thanks for the elaboration, Levi.

I want to make clear I wasn't attacking you personally, just explaining the influences of my (non)vote. By all means don't stop trying, just broaden your horizons out of Vurda. :-)

Thanks Mr. Morris! :) And don't worry I certainly will keep trying and will expand my horizons!

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32, 2011 Top 4 , Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014 aka DankeSean

REALLY sad this didn't advance you, Levi. It was one of the three entries that got my vote right away on a first reading. (And yes, as my avatar would indicate, I love elephants, but no! Really! There was so much more to this guy that I loved! The elephant was just the cherry on the sundae!)
Ability wise, this wasn't perfect, but I thought it was still viable. And image and flavor wise? You just kicked it. Purely from a fluff text point of view, this might have been one of the best entries this round. Of course, this round wasn't all or even mostly about fluff, but like I said: I thought your crunch was decent enough. Oh well. Do hope you'll be back again next year. :-)

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