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Hedge Wizard (Wizard)


Round 2 - Top 32: Create an archetype

Andoran RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32, 2011 Top 16 , Star Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014 aka JoelF847

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Hedge Wizard (Wizard)
A hedge wizard is trained in ancient magic passed down from master to apprentice in remote corners of the world. They study magic inherent in the natural world, and the mystical properties of plants, rather than the “book learning” that a formally educated wizard learns. Hedge wizards are often ridiculed by their more urbane peers, and considered little more than hermits who play with plants. However, they know that they wield great power that “city folk” have forgotten.
Class Skills: Craft (Int), Fly (Dex), Handle Animal (Cha), Heal (Wis), Knowledge (arcana) (Int), Knowledge (local) (Int), Knowledge (nature) (Int), Profession (Wis), Spellcraft (Int), and Survival (Wis). These replace the standard wizard class skills.
Plant Magic (Su): At 1st level, a hedge wizard adds the following spells to their spell list: goodberry (1st), tree shape (2nd), plant growth (3rd), command plants (4th), commune with nature (5th), liveoak (6th), animate plants (7th), control plants (8th), shambler (9th). These spells are considered arcane spells for the hedge wizard. This ability replaces scribe scroll.
Brew Potion (Ex): Hedge wizards gain Brew Potion as a bonus feat at 3rd level.
Herbal Magic (Su): At 5th level, a hedge wizard can add a material component to any spell, using herbs and plants. Finding and preparing the proper herbs requires a survival check (DC 15 + double the level of the spell) and takes 1 hour in a natural setting per spell enhanced. The herbs retain their magical potency for 24 hours after being prepared. A spell cast using herbal magic gains a +1 DC to saving throws, or +1 caster level if no saving throw is allowed. This ability replaces a wizard's 5th level bonus feat.
Sympathetic Magic (Su): At 10th level, a hedge wizard can exploit physical connections to a creature when targeting it with spells. This allows a hedge wizard to use the saving throw modifiers from the connection table in the scrying spell with any spell from the necromancy or transmutation school. The saving throw modifier applies to the appropriate saving throw type for the spell being cast. Once an item or body part is used in conjunction with sympathetic magic, it loses its magical efficacy and cannot be used with sympathetic magic again. A creature targeted by sympathetic magic is immune to sympathetic magic from the same caster for 24 hours. This ability replaces a wizard's 10th level bonus feat.
Greater Herbal Magic (Su): At 15th level, a hedge wizard's skill using herbal magic improves. He gains an additional +1 DC or +1 caster level to the affected spell, and requires 2 hours to prepare herbal components. This ability replaces a wizard's 15th level bonus feat.

Paizo Employee Developer

Interesting work, Joel. You certainly took on a big challenge by attempting an archetype for a class that, to date, uses another mechanic to customize the class.

I think you made the right choice by not replacing any of the existing customization abilities (in this case, arcane school), instead replacing the standard abilities all wizards gain regardless of school selection. This prevents all hedge wizards from losing the same level of uniqueness a non-archetyped wizard would have. That said, the plant theme is tight enough that it may have served better as a new arcane school instead of something to add to the already tight focus of a conjurer or transmuter.

That said, it limits you to replacing feats for the most part, which is a double-edge sword. In the case of Scribe Scroll, that's a very powerful feat for a wizard, since it gives them even more versatility at the lowest possible cost for those situations they didn't prepare for when memorizing spells for the day. The fact that a scroll can be scribed of a spell of any level trumps brew potion, in my opinion, and the addition of one more spell per level that the wizard may know doesn't seem to make up the difference. Perhaps if he automatically added the given spell to his spellbook as a bonus spell it would even out a bit more. Then again, you aren't restricting a hedge wizard from ever taking Scribe Scroll, so maybe I'm overanalyzing it.

The other substitutions seem fairly balanced against the power of a feat and thus work well in place of bonus feats.

I'm not quite sure exactly how Sympathetic Magic works. I get what you're trying to do with it, but the wording here could be much clearer.

Your theme here is clearly "plant wizard" which is an interesting niche not really covered by any existing alternate class features, but I don't know whether that fits well with the "hedge wizard" name. In general, that term refers to a self-taught wizard and denotes low power or lack of skill. Terry Pratchett's Discworld series places the emphasis of the title on the "hedge," and giving them plant abilities, but this is, at least in my opinion, a largely comedic choice and more a pun than anything else. Thus, I think the title could be improved, as what ambitious self-starter arcanist is going to want to be called a hedge wizard, when that means he's always going to be subpar?

All things considered, I DO NOT RECOMMEND this archetype for advancement but wish you the best of luck. Perhaps the voters will disagree.

RPG Superstar 2009, Contributor

I agree with Mark on several points here. The name made me think of something other than "plant-based wizard" as I assumed the "hedge" in the archetype's name wouldn't be a literal definition...and hopefully, it's not meant as an inside joke, because that wouldn't be Superstar at all. But this isn't your first time to the dance...and you've always had a pretty level head...so I don't think that's what you intended. Nevertheless, your choice and presentation is what brings that thought to mind. So, just be aware of that.

Also, I think it's a bold move to try something for the wizard class. The bonus feats are definitely the right place to play around with swapping them out for something different according to the archetype. Personally, I would have liked to see something different than (or maybe in addition to) the plant-based magic. There are many other things that exist in the natural world that could be viewed as magical or magic-enhancing...not just plants. After all, the fey find plenty of other natural forms of self-taught magic to practice and share. I think you would have been better served, thematically, to delve into that a bit more.

Your class skills and additional options for the wizard's class spell list...and even the Brew Potion feat...make a lot of sense for the self-taught guy living in the wild away from all the arcane libraries and schools. The herbal magic is a nice addition (and could even set up some new mechanics for an alchemist to borrow from as discoveries for a little cross-pollination). I'm not as keen on the Sympathetic Magic. That one feels a little half-baked. And I'd have rather seen you do something different than just a Greater Herbal Magic. Maybe play around with this wild, unpredictable, non-classicly-trained mage to give him some surprises against opposing wizards...particularly around counterspelling, as his unorthodox magic might prove more effective at unraveling other wizards' spells. Or maybe make his unorthodox spells more difficult to counter or dispel. I think that would have elevated things more for you.

So, I say all that to indicate that I'm not fully sold on this one. I haven't finished reviewing all the others. But right now I'm going to lean towards NOT RECOMMENDING this one advance, based on what I feel is an unrealized idea and some unrealized mechanics and opportunities. But who knows, maybe the voters will rally around a repeat competitor. You know I want to support everyone in this contest that I possibly can. And you're certainly no exception. The contest could do much worse than see a repeat competitor make it into the Top 16. So, best of luck in the voting. And thank you for your effort on this one. You were certainly on the right track.

CEO, Goblinworks

Total Points: 3.5 points
Recommendation: Recommended for advancement

Comments In Detail

Name & Theme (1 point)
I thought the use of "Hedge" to connect to plants was clever; the original concept of this term (wizards who lived in rural settings as opposed to those in urban "schools") was well communicated.

Mechanics (1 point)
I really liked your use of the Scrye mechanic. Using this within the archetype saved you a lot of words and it assumes a non-broken design of a core spell (likely to be accurate) which minimizes the risk that you'll accidentally unbalance something. Clever!

Awesomeness (0 points)
I read "they know that they wield great power that “city folk” have forgotten". I got excited that you were going to figure out a way to get that into an archetype. But the mechanics don't deliver. Small bonuses and a few extra spells on the spell list just didn't do it for me.

(Of course, you'd expect Hedge Wizards to be less powerful than their formally trained cousins so that's not a theme breaker, but it did nuke the Awesome potential.)

Template (1 point)
Followed the template well.

Context (.5 point)
You're in a strange place here - a Venn diagram between Druids, Clerics with the Plant Domain, and Wizards. You've ended up with something that isn't much better (or different) than the Druid or Cleric options. In a campaign without Druids, this might be a good fit. I know of many such campaigns in home games (but mostly because the GMs hate animal companions, not because they dislike nature magic) so there may be a market for this archetype. I'm giving you partial credit.

Contributor

We were going to put a hedge wizard archetype in Ultimate Magic, but ended up not doing it because we realized (1) a hedge wiz is often just a poorly-trained or low-level wizard, and (2) there's a strong overlap with the adept class. Let's see if you can this rabbit out of a hat!

Class Skills: Nitpick, you should say "The hedge wizard's class skills are...."

Plant Magic: This is reasonable.

Brew Potion: You're getting this for free.

Herbal Magic: This is like a "light" version of Spell Focus that you can apply to any spell. You get this in place of a bonus feat, so it's like you're using that bonus feat for Brew at 3rd and getting this for free instead.

Sympathetic Magic: I'm not sure how often you'd use this. How often do you have an item or piece of an enemy to create this sort of connection?

Still feels weird for me to see a 10th-level and 15th-level ability for this class. I understand the plant-based aspect, and there's definitely a druid thing going on here, and I could even see a Merlin-like character starting out this way, but this class isn't really exciting. You're just adding a handful of nature spells and getting a flexible +1 to DCs or caster level. There's nothing really "sexy" about any of these abilities that would draw someone to the archetype.

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

Shadow Lodge

Grr. Cheesy punny name. -1

Andoran RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32, 2011 Top 16 , Star Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014 aka JoelF847

Consider this my obligatory "Thank you for your support and please vote for my item! If you have questions, I'll be happy to answer them once voting for this round is closed" post.

Sczarni RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32 , Champion Voter 2013, Champion Voter 2014

Mark Moreland wrote:
Your theme here is clearly "plant wizard" which is an interesting niche not really covered by any existing alternate class features, but I don't know whether that fits well with the "hedge wizard" name. In general, that term refers to a self-taught wizard and denotes low power or lack of skill. Terry Pratchett's Discworld series places the emphasis...

I was working on a hedge wizard myself and actually made discworld hedge wizard as a lark. You concept was much better than mine, as I replaced the school with the Plant and Animal Domains. I also dropped the arcane bond and first level feat to add an animal companion as a druid.

1. Is it balanced?
- I think so. I like the sympathetic magic, maybe a lil weak and difficult to prepare.
2. RPability?
- Yes
3. Combatiness?
Not much change.
4. Would I play it?
Sure, I like how it is RP oriented.


Joel Flank wrote:
Hedge Wizard (Wizard)

This is the first entry that I read, so I'm not promising any votes this early in the read-through, but I gotta break with a lot of the official comments and say that I like this one. Nature-themed casters are a soft spot of mine - and I like occupying that nexus between classes that other comments have said this archetype falls into. I also like that you gave a unique touch to the wizard, which doesn't have an existing archetype structured in this manner.

The herbal magic is a nice touch - you're very much grounded in material components, which fits the theme of a caster drawing power from the earth, and you get a clear benefit from using them. I would think, though, that visiting a specialized herbalist's shop would let you buy the ingredients you need if you're short on time, which herbal magic didn't really cover.

I had to look up the scrying table to see what you did there with sympathetic magic, and while it's a bit wonky and unorthodox, that doesn't make it a bad move. I know one judge argued against the ability by essentially saying, "How many times do you have access to a creature's body part or possession?" My answer? I've pursued lots of enemies in games where I almost defeated them many times, and used the blood on my (and my allies') weapons to scry their location, as well as keeping objects taken from them in battle. I would love to have been able to use them in the way you described.

Your plentiful pouch was one of my favorites from Round One. I can't help but feel a slight earth magic theme here. It's a little corny - but again, that doesn't make it bad. (I think ninjas are kinda corny, too, but that doesn't make the new ninja class a bad addition to the game!)


Joel Flank wrote:

Hedge Wizard (Wizard)

A hedge wizard is trained in ancient magic passed down from master to apprentice in remote corners of the world. They study magic inherent in the natural world, and the mystical properties of plants, rather than the “book learning” that a formally educated wizard learns. Hedge wizards are often ridiculed by their more urbane peers, and considered little more than hermits who play with plants. However, they know that they wield great power that “city folk” have forgotten.

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?
That depends on if he's taking the occasion seriously or is just along because some patron or political bigwig told him he needs to show his face? If he's going to spend most of the time feeding scraps to his pet ferret and going on about the cost of urban living, then no, I would not want to be sitting next to him, but if he's going to comment intelligently on the seasonings of the dishes and the floral wreaths used to decorate the tables then it could be quite interesting.

How effective a flower-picker does this person seem likely to be?
Yes, when it comes to going out, finding flowers, and delivering them, I suspect that a Hedge Wizard is very efficient. He may not be very romantic about it, and may well deliver a monotone lecture with the botany, but his likely effectiveness is undeniable.

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?
Probably. A Hedge Wizard's herbal magic makes him more effective than a regular wizard when it comes to casting one or two spells a day for which he has prepared - he's right up there for those couple of spells with some of his magic-focused sorcerer counterparts.

Other comments?
If he is a dinner guest sitting next to you, keep a close (but discreet) eye on what he's up to. Apart from the possible problems of any familiar he brought with him, there's always the chance he might be after a stray hair from your sleeve so he can try to work a spell to have his wicked way with you...

Desirability:
Hireable. (However, best to watch those hands in case he's out looking for 'samples' for his spells.)

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.


I think Sympathetic Magic is a little too complicated, but I like the overall idea. I will put it into the "will look at again" pile.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Sympathetic Magic for the win.

Finger of Death at -10 to save with the requirement that players must steal body part (like hair) first?
Sleeping Beauty, anyone? Drop of blood and hundred years of sleep?

This is practically an archetype of heroic fantasy.

Verdict: RECOMMENDED.

Regards,
Ruemere


Varthanna wrote:
Grr. Cheesy punny name. -1

Huh?

"Hedge Wizard" has been the standard name for this kind of character concept for a long time. I don't get what's punny about that.


I really like this archetype, truly the wording on Sympathetic Magic needs some work, and Brew Potion without a specific trade-off seemed strange.

But this is the only other guy who took the challenge of archetyping wizard, and (this one) did so competently.

This one gets me vote

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

Interesting flavour, if skirting close to the 'hedge' pun. The sympathetic magic is nice (and apparently underestimated). but it's just not oomph enough to get a vote.

I don't worry about the name as much as others though... Remember the 'why's it called a Magus' controversy?


I like the theme and it is well represented by the abilities.

I don't really like the Herbal Magic or Greater Herbal Magic abilities. I think that replacing these abilities would make this a really good archetype.

Andoran

Voted. Going wizard was bold, and you didn't fall down. It seems like people are forgetting, you're still going to be playing a freaking wizard. If it's toned down a little, so what?

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 16 , Star Voter 2013

Kudo's for taking on the daunting wizard archetype, and for finding a niche that's not already covered by existing options. That said it does come in a little under-powered which I guess might be the point, however I think that might turn many potential player off of it.

"Herbal Magic" is (in my part of Canada at least) some kind of natural weight loss aid or something, and when I see the name I can't help but think that. Beyond that it's a little unclear as to whether you need to prepare something for a specific spell, or if the herbs will work for every spell. I assume every spell but I think this should be a little more clear.

I really like the sympathetic magic here, it took me a second read through to see what you were going for but it works nicely, especially if you can pull of a disarm or steal to get a lock of hair or something. Really cool.

After that though there doesn't see to be much. A lot of wizards are going to take brew potion anyways, and a handful of spell borrowed from druid that I still need to spend my hard earned time and energy to select is not really a super cool package. I also worry that you're taking away so many of my bonus feats, I know that it's really the only place you can make changes to the wizard, but it's quite a big deal too.

Star Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014

"Hedge Wizard" is a pun? WTF?

No, it's really not. This follows suit with the idea that a wizard who is folk trained in older, more common, less formalized magic does things like brew potions and find ways to augment spells with lesser known methods.

And hey, Joel-- don't let the fact that the judges don't seem to understand the concept of arcane connections or the fact that whole adventures can be focused around their acquisition. I see what you're doing there and it's solid. You found a mechanic within the system that emulated what you wanted to do-- that people are bound to the things they use and touch, and what is a part of them, and that those connections can be exploited to increase the potency of magic that targets the owner. But then haruspicy threw them last year, too.

Magic can be a lot more than the vancian system and you were pushing in that direction. I can appreciate it. Incantations go a long way towards that, and I'll bet you probably use them to simulate Theurgy.

Ave, sodale. Ave. ;)

-Ben.

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

I think the name fits fine and, while it could be read as a pun, it more likely isn't.

Mechanically, sympathetic magic has the potential to be super-powerful, but it is an iconic trope of magical fantasy, especially in fairy tales and mythology, and I think a neat concept to try.

The herbal magic route is the same - a neat, iconic fantasy concept that you've translated here. Is it good? Yes. Does it require a good bit of trouble to use? Also yes. Theoretically, you could whack somebody with a majorly hard saving throw. Realistically, it'll be hard to pull off, but not impossible if you are creative and do your homework first.

Getting Brew Potion as a freebie with no trade-off isn't a good idea, but I actually read it this way:

Trading in: Scribe Scroll at 1st
Getting: goodberry added to your spellbook at 1st level

*AND*

other spells at later levels, plus Brew Potion at 3rd.

Scribe Scroll is better than Brew Potion, and getting something at 1st level is better than getting something at 3rd, so trading in SS really SHOULD get you something better than a lesser feat 2 levels later, which is why you get a free spell in your book at each level.

I think it's a reasonably fair trade (with the caveat that I have a problem with a Sor/Wiz getting druid spells at a LOWER level than a druid does); I think where you fell down was in explaining that it was kind of a 1-for-2 trade (1 good for 2 so-so abilities). If you had combined the plant spells and Brew Potion under a single ability "Magical Herbalist" or something, I think the split equivalency would have been more apparent.

This is probably the first one I've read that I would put farther over on the "like" side than the "dislike" side. It isn't knocking my socks off with awesomeness, and there are some clarity issues, but it's fairly well laid out and addresses some iconic fantasy tropes. Maybe it's a B-minus, but it's the first B that I'd have given out if I were assigning letter grades here.

Congrats on getting to round 2, and best of luck!

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

The class name frustrates my expectation of what a hedge wizard is - a low-powered dabbler that commonly doesn't realize he's lame compared to other magical practiioners. So, we go with arcano-botanist instead. Hmmm.

Some of these archetypes waste word count on the description of the class, when a new ability could be provided, or obscure ability fleshed out a little better. The APG commonly gives you one or two sentences and that's all. I'd save words in your description and then change weapon proficiencies to the druid list or rewrite sympathetic magic.

You take away Scribe Scroll (which should be capitalized as a feat) to give free spell slections, then you make up a new class feature slot to award another feat, which is also used to hedge (ha!) bets when memorizing spells. Then, dude could just take Scribe Scroll at 1st or 3rd level anyway and have really given up nothing for those free spells. Maybe wizards gain new spells in their books all the time anyway, but divine spells? It just seems like you're not giving up anything in exchange.

Herbal magic requires a Survival check and one hour every time you want to use it? In exchange for a feat? For zero time and no ranks in Survival as a wizard, I can spend a feat to make every spell from one school +1 to the DC. I wouldn't waste words or complicate mechanics by tying the caster level bonus to whether the save is allowed. Greater herbal magic can be replaced by a feat adding another +1 without sucking up the extra hour. Can't adventure today, guys. Have to spend today preparing reagents so five crucial spells can be at +2 DC. You'll sure be happy then! I tease a little, but you know the first thing that will hapen is this will all be done between adventures and the time limit will almost never mean anything. "Can't we just assume I spent all last summer preping rare herbs, so I never run out?"

Utilize word economy if you advance to the next round. In Sympathetic magic, you say "the hedge wizard" and "this allows a hedge wizard to" in consecutaive sentences. Saying "This allows him to" in the second sentence is less clunky, and saves you two words. Find a similar opportunity five times and you have a decent sentence. Those ten words plus a one-sentence intro means you can maybe make your own chart for the ability, add a page number, or whatever else to make the presentation of an ability relying on a chart somewhere easier to comprehend.

All that said, presentation stick to the template pretty well, which I can't believe is an issue this round, and your idea fills a niche and is better balanced (if a little boring) than most I have read. You're a lock for my vote more than halfway through the process.

Star Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014

Congrats Joel. Ratagast the Brown for the win! OK plants and no animals. :) I give you points for choosing wizard, and the spell focus mechanics. The sympathetic is hard to get my head around, so dropped a little point for mechanics, balanced out by the concept with its classical feel.

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

Wanted: more interesting adept. Got: plant wizard. Does keep some elements of being the rural wizard. It's ok, but I don't like the puniness much even if it's explained. The use of personal effects to make spells more effective is good, but troublesome. What if I make the guy bleed in a fight, take some of that blood, and raise the DC of a finger of death through the roof? I think this needs a longer casting time to control abuse, or maybe binding the element into a usable fetish with some sort of out-of-combat ritual. This is a nice enough archetype, it's joining some others in my maybe pile.

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

Joel, I thought your plentiful pouch was a useful lower-level device that made a utility spell more interesting. I suspect your Hedge Wizard here would be one of the primary makers of such a thing. Let's see what else he can do.

hedge wizard wrote:
Plant Magic (Su): At 1st level, a hedge wizard adds the following spells to their spell list: goodberry (1st), tree shape (2nd), plant growth (3rd), command plants (4th), commune with nature (5th), liveoak (6th), animate plants (7th), control plants (8th), shambler (9th). These spells are considered arcane spells for the hedge wizard. This ability replaces scribe scroll.

If we still had "named" spells, this would offer you up a neat option for trade... lose the ability to cast spells crafted by those big-name wizards in their big-city mage compounds, and gain some plant magic instead. See my brew potion comment below.

hedge wizard wrote:
Brew Potion (Ex): Hedge wizards gain Brew Potion as a bonus feat at 3rd level.

I think this should have been given at 1st and been part of the Scribe Scroll swap.

hedge wizard wrote:

Herbal Magic (Su): At 5th level, a hedge wizard can add a material component to any spell, using herbs and plants.

Greater Herbal Magic (Su): At 15th level, a hedge wizard's skill using herbal magic improves.

Not a bad idea, using gathered components to boost a spell. Also thoughtfully limited so that you don't have endless bookkeeping of how many rare roots you have for this spell versus how many pine cones you have for that one. My only concern is one of another route to DC stacking... spell focus, elemental focus, focused spell, and now herbal magic. But it's minor in the grand scheme of things.

hedge wizard wrote:
Sympathetic Magic (Su): At 10th level, a hedge wizard can exploit physical connections to a creature when targeting it with spells. This allows a hedge wizard to use the saving throw modifiers from the connection table in the scrying spell with any spell from the necromancy or transmutation school. The saving throw modifier applies to the appropriate saving throw type for the spell being cast. Once an item or body part is used in conjunction with sympathetic magic, it loses its magical efficacy and cannot be used with sympathetic magic again. A creature targeted by sympathetic magic is immune to sympathetic magic from the same caster for 24 hours. This ability replaces a wizard's 10th level bonus feat.

I understand how this works, but only after reading it many times. However, once there, I realized that this is the heart of this class and I really like where you're going with it. You've identified an existing spot in the game where objects related to your target in some way grant you a bit more power over that target. And you used it to great effect here. I worry that this is a little open to abuse, through stacking the herb gathering, sympathetic bonuses, spell focus, and the fact that necromancy and transmutation both have some potent save-or-suck effects. But without playtesting those are just surface concerns and don't yet impact my assessment.

Joel, I think this is a neat archetype. You went for a class that didn't have existing archetypes to work with, and you chose well in removing feat aquisition rather than trying to mess around with arcane powers. There's some gnarly wording in your best ability that hurts you a bit. Still, you are likely to be the vote that knocks someone else out of my top 8. I'm over halfway through analyzing all of them, so we'll see.


Joel Flank wrote:
Hedge Wizard (Wizard)

Joel, I thought you did a very good job with this archetype.

The name "Hedge Wizard" is a funny choice, but more clever than some other names already in the game (Drunken Brute, Drunken Brawler).

For the most part you stuck to your theme. I think the ony place you varied was in the use of Sympathetic Magic. That is honestly best suited for a whole new system of magic, rather than a single ability. I thought you could have used that space for more nature connected wizardly abilities.

I also thought you could have differentiated this Archetype from the druid by implying that the wizard exploits the powers of nature rather than tries to harmonize with them. Not in an anti-naturalist way, but rather just a more practical approach. IE: There's a significant difference between an Environmentalist and an Environmenal Scientist.

All in all, though, I thought your idea was unique, well-portrayed, not too powerful, interesting enough to draw the attention of players, but not so specific as to deter them.

Good job. I will probably be voting for this one.

Ken

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

It's a wizard archetype that still feels like a wizard and doesn't strip out the arcane schools. So that's a plus in my book. Giving them the plant-themed powers isn't necessarily the best idea for a hedge wizard, but it does give them some flavorful difference. I really like the power component idea and the changed class skills, but the heart and soul of the class is the sympathetic magic. Personally, I'd make it so that they have to do some sort of arcane ritual to "fix" a component, to avoid the aforementioned "get some blood during combat, then waste the guy the next round" problem.

I think I'll be voting for this entry.

Star Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

It's strange- I didn't see the pun in the name until people started to point it out, and I still think it is just an unfortunate coincidence and not intentional. The idea of a Hedge Wizard using, essentially, home/herbal additions to his spellcasting seems pretty endemic to the concept to me. I think the mechanics could use some work (they don't need to be quite so plant oriented as they are), but otherwise I like the concept, and this gets one of my votes.

Qadira RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16, Contributor

Personally the Hedge Wizard name and ties to more natural magic makes sense to me. I highly doubt the author was deliberately using a pun here. The idea that hedge wizards are merely incompetent wizards also strikes me as odd, I suspect my impression of the name "Hedge Wizard" is a little more in line with the author.

My concerns here are largely with Herbal Magic ans Sympathetic Magic. In my experience abilities that are limited based on time limitations can create issues. A simple uses per day would have been more appropriate.

Sympathetic Magic is a really nice idea but I think the DC bonuses are potentially too high.

Brew Potion is a nice thematic addition to this class.

Overall it's fair and solidly in my for consideration pile.


Joel Flank wrote:

Hedge Wizard (Wizard)

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, I like the idea of a hedge wizard archetype, and I mulled one for a short time too, but eventually I discarded it, because it is both too boring and much better suited for a witch than a wizard. (male witches are pretty much hedge wizards without archetypes)

Mechanical Mojo (MM): 3, Interesting, and flavorful stuff, especially sympathetic magic.
Mechanical Execution (ME): 2. Herbal magic and Sympathetic magic are both pretty strong, but also very limited. It is hard to say whether they are balanced or not, but I don't like the way they work, because their usability is mainly limited by time constraints.

Final note: I could easily see his or something very similar being published, but it would certainly not be the archetype of the book that excites me the most. It would fall in the “nice to have and easily forgotten afterwards” category for me.

Total Score: 4.123

Grand Lodge Dedicated Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014

Name and concept: This is a concept I might have predicted to see, maybe slanted more towards herbalism than I had in mind on reading the name. Hedge, get it? Yes I do.
Archetype mechanics, expression of the concept: Class Skills seem about right. Maybe it loses more of the Knowledge skills than I'd consider justified, for example, dungeoneering.
Plant Magic: Very interesting. I think I agree with deferring Brew Potion as well, partly to differentiate this from the witch. edit: I mentioned these together, because it seems to me, between them, they reach a balance with the loss of Scribe Scroll in an interesting way.
Herbal Magic: A small power-up to a few vital spells, with a sharp limitation. Many feats that a wizard could choose would be better than this.
Sympathetic Magic: I think this would be the principle of contagion. I'm not sure of the logic for these particular schools - enchantment seems an obvious one to add, though that might tread on the territory of fey enchanters. If used cleverly, this is probably worth a feat.
Greater Herbal Magic: I'm not sure I like the increase in preparation time. 1 hour per spell already looks like quite a restriction.
Wider relationships: Most obviously, this places the character a shade closer to a druid, which is an attractive flavour option to have. It has something of an Ars Magica feel.
There's not much conceptual distance from this to the plentiful pouch. I hope the author has something in mind for the later rounds and for his adventure to give us different setting elements and a few more high-level fireworks.

Technically, this seems to stack up pretty well, maybe a bit more mundane in concept than I'd prefer.

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

I know, bringing wikipedia into an argument, but:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hedge_wizard

Quote:


In fantasy literature, a hedge wizard or hedge magician is a wizard of low ability, generally self-taught or with a low education background as opposed to the common examples of being apprenticed to a mentor or studying though a structured educational system. Some fictional backgrounds identify them more with rural than urban backgrounds. In novels, many uses of the term are derogatory, describing a character as incompetent, uneducated, of lower social standing or of lesser power. It is similar to calling someone a hack or slob but specific to practitioners of magic.

It really does have unskilled wizard as the most common meaning.

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32 , Star Voter 2013

I was just getting ready to post that link, Russ. Yes. A hedge wizard should probably be an arcane adept of some sort.

Setting aside the name, however, this does spin the wizard a bit. I like the measured approach taken to give a more nature-themed arcanist. The abilities themselves aren't blowing me away, though. I'm on the fence with this one. I want to like it.

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32 aka Hydro

Initially, I'm not really behind your concept... I support combining one class' schtick with another's if the result is a cool idea, but in this case it feels like you're tossing a wizard, a handfull of witch, and a pinch of druid and sticking them in a blender. The result isn't "colorful", it's just sort of brown. I might like this a lot more had this been submitted before Paizo's witch class.

Putting aside these reservations, though, I have to admit that some of the things you do haven't really (to my knowledge) been done at present. Sympathetic magic is an awesome thing that the witch only dabbles in, but your approach seems like an obviously good idea and I have to wonder why I don't see it more often (also, referring to scry was a crafty move).

Herbal Magic suggests a different relationship with nature, compared to the druid (less "how do I connect with nature" and more "what can I GET out of nature"), and I think that helps you, because it refrains from straying from what makes a wizard a wizard. Fundamentally, this class is still about knowledge and the power one can gain from it.

Balance-wise there's a lot of give here and take there; a slightly bumpy road, but my overall impression is that he doesn't really come out ahead or behind. Keep in mind that this wizard can (and will!) ALSO take Spell Focus, and that his miscellaneous bonuses to save DC are going to stack with that. That's a big deal, but he has to jump through hoops to get them, in addition to what he gives up.

Edit: Wow, I just looked up scry and found that the modifier for having a lock of hair or such is actually -10. That's a huge deal. Feeling a little slow on the upkeep now; I'll need to think that one over, but in some cases those materials are relatively easy to get and amount to an "I win" class feature.

This does deserve consideration.

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

I was intrigued by your title and your flavor text. I like most of the abilities, but do wish that this class wasn’t so based on plants and was more ‘hermit wizard out in the wilderness’. Brew Potion has a minimum CL of 3, so that is why you have it at 3rd level, and swapping it for Scribe Scroll does make sense. Filling the gap with extra spells is fine, I just wish there was a little more variety in them. Herbal Magic seems ok, although it is a time based penalty which isn’t a great thing.

Sympathetic magic is too good, the bonuses go up to -10 on the saving throw! Scrying on people is very different mechanically to casting baleful polymorph on them. I wish you had made a table with more appropriate modifiers because it is a classic and thematic idea. Also limiting it to necromancy and transmutation spells makes me feel that this archetype is only for necromancers or transmuters.

Greater herbal magic needs to be something else, perhaps something to do with Associative magic?

Your archetype is nice, it’s ok, but the mechanics need fixing. I hope you get a shot at the next round, because you avoided the main pitfalls of doing a wizard archetype and I enjoyed this and your previous work. Good luck.

Osirion

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Tales Subscriber
ruemere wrote:

Sympathetic Magic for the win.

Finger of Death at -10 to save with the requirement that players must steal body part (like hair) first?
Sleeping Beauty, anyone? Drop of blood and hundred years of sleep?

This is practically an archetype of heroic fantasy.

Agreed.

Star Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014

Sympathetic magic opens up all kinds of options regarding arcane connections. That's where the serious wizarding starts to become really interesting.

Adventures to destroy arcane connections.
Adventures to gather arcane connections.
Adventures to learn true names to use as arcane connections.

Things like false names and careful watches and monitoring what happens to you and your gear or bodies (or previous bodies!) become a big deal.

This archetype alone introduces a fantastic mechanic that spins off a half dozen cool adventure arcs right there.

That's superstar, no two ways about it.

Andoran RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32, 2011 Top 16 , Star Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014 aka JoelF847

Now that the voting is over, I'm looking forward to responding to some of the questions and concerns about my archetype. Unfortunately, I'm busy working on my villain for round 3, so won't have a chance to dive into this thread more until the weekend. (I'm posting on lunch from work now, so I'm not wasting any valuable design time.)

I will say thanks to Steven Helt though for making the "hedge your bets" pun that I had to work really hard to not make during the voting period, since I didn't want to run afoul of the "don't comment on your entry in any way" rule.

I'm hoping that my entry planted enough seeds of interest that I got enough votes to make it to the next round. I'm looking forward to reaping the rewards of hard work. (There, that's better!)

Andoran RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32, 2011 Top 16 , Star Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014 aka JoelF847

Okay, taking a break from figuring out how to trim word count, so I thought I'd start answering questions and providing some designer's notes.

The most discussed aspect of the archetype seems to be the name and what it means. Yes, hedge wizards are commonly described as less powerful than formally trained wizards, but history is written by the victors, as it were. Of course the city wizards who write lots of books look down upon hedge wizards, but that's really because they don't understand that hedge wizards actually know what they're talking about when they're gathering rare plants to power their spells. So while many view hedge as a derogatory term, it was based on the fact they they do have a strong connection to plant magic. I tried to inject some of that difference in perception in the descriptive text at the beginning of the entry, but it seems that editing to make word count caused some of that to be lost. (I think I'll have to take a level of ranger so I can take favored enemy: word count.)

Spoiler:
As an aside, while I have read Terry Pratchett, I didn't specifically recall hedge wizards in discworld. I was inspired by A Bad Spell in Yurt, and its sequel, The Wood Nymph and the Cranky Saint by C. Dale Brittain for some of the concept, though. (There's actually 3 or 4 more in the series, but they're long out of print, so I'm keeping my eye out at used book stores for them.)...And you thought this would be explosive runes, didn't you?

As for other issues with the archetype, I did view brew potion as a replacement for scribe scroll, and delayed it until 3rd level, when a character could normally select the feat. I also added plant magic to compensate for the fact that a) at 1st level, there was no replacement for scribe scroll, which is a very useful and powerful standard wizard ability, and b) that potions aren't as versatile, due to max spell level 3 and only limited spells that can be made into potions or scrolls. I debated making the plant magic spells bonus spells known versus just adding them to the spell list like I did, but erred on the side of not wanting to overpower the archetype and using less word count by adding to spell list.

One of my biggest concerns with the archetype was not making it overpowered. It's always tempting to overload something new with as much cool stuff as possible, but that too often leads to creating something overpowered. I was very tempted to make herbal magic and greater herbal magic specifically not stack with spell focus, but decided that a) the elemental focus feats from APG didn't have the restriction, and b) by taking away the bonus feats from the hedge wizard (except 20th level), that they become a more rare resource for the character, and not as likely to be spent on stacking bonuses for spell DC. Sure, someone can do this, but at the opportunity cost of not having many other feats.

As for greater herbal magic, I would have really liked to have added a power in that allowed the hedge wizard to create animated life, in the form of a Craft Construct type feat, but limited to items made of organic matter (flesh and wood golems, animated wooden objects, etc.) but wasn't sure that was good enough without using more word count than I had to provide some additional benefit such as providing the construct an intelligence of 3, or letting the hedge wizard magic jar into it once per day in exchange for the limited nature of the ability.

The other issue I had, which no one on the board mentioned, was that I didn't replace the 20th level bonus feat for the wizard. I felt that by replacing all of the other bonus feats, it would add some symmetry to also replace the 20th level one. Between word count issues, and the fact that I couldn't think of something that was worthy of 20th level (i.e. a "capstone" ability) but was also balanced against a bonus feat, I simply scrapped that idea.

I'm glad that lots of people really liked the sympathetic magic ability. I've always wanted to put some of these basic 'laws' of magic into the game, and was excited when I realized that the scrying spell already had that subsystem built into it. That really saved word count by re-using that. I did also have the debate about if it was overpowered on spells other than divination, since a -10 to saving throws is a big deal. But, by limiting it to once per day per target, and the requirement of a body part, I felt it was a good reward for the clever characters who were able to take advantage of it. I limited it to transmutation and necromancy for a few reasons. First, by limiting it to only some spells, it counterbalanced the power of the -10. Second, I felt that these schools were the ones tied to life - either transforming a creature and adjusting the natural aspects of it's living body, or playing with the lifeforce itself. They also provided a good/evil balance in a way, which would make the archetype more appropriate to any alignment.

I think my break has been long enough - but if there's any questions I missed, or new ones, please ask, I'll make sure to answer.

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

Thanks for providing the insight into your work Joel.

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