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RPG Superstar 2015

Frenzied Protector (Barbarian)


Round 2 - Top 32: Create an archetype

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32 , Dedicated Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014

Frenzied Protector (Barbarian)
To the savage warrior, there is nothing more primal than the bond between those who battle together. Some barbarians channel their furious attacks into a storm of strikes that allies can take refuge in. A frenzied protector has the following class features.
Fierce Protectiveness (Ex): A frenzied protector's primal instincts are brought to the surface when his allies are in danger. Whenever an enemy successfully hits any ally adjacent to a frenzied protector with a melee or ranged attack, the frenzied protector adds 1 to the total number of rounds that he can rage that day. This ability replaces fast movement.
Swordwall (Ex): At 2nd level, a frenzied protector's attacks cause enemies to falter in their own. Whenever a frenzied protector successfully hits an enemy with a melee attack, he may provide DR/- equal to half his barbarian level to all adjacent allies. This effect lasts until the beginning of the frenzied protector's next turn and ends if the frenzied protector is unable to take actions. This ability replaces uncanny dodge and improved uncanny dodge.
Imposing Presence (Ex): At 3rd level, the very threat of a frenzied protector's presence causes foes to act with caution. Enemies treat the squares in a frenzied protector's threatened area as difficult terrain. This ability replaces trap sense.
Furious Maelstrom (Ex): At 7th level, a frenzied protector’s swings are so frenetic that attackers can barely get their own in. Whenever a frenzied protector successfully hits an enemy with a melee attack, he may provide concealment to all adjacent allies. This effect lasts until the beginning of the frenzied protector's next turn and ends if the frenzied protector is unable to take actions. This ability replaces damage reduction.
Tempest of Steel (Ex): At 14th level, whenever any enemy enters a frenzied protector's threatened area, the frenzied protector may make a special CMB check against the opponent's CMD. If the frenzied protector succeeds on this check, the opponent gains the entangled condition. This condition lasts for 1 round or until the opponent leaves the frenzied protector's threatened area. This ability replaces indomitable will.
Eye of the Steel Storm (Ex): At 17th level, whenever a frenzied protector successfully hits an enemy with a melee attack, he may grant total cover from that enemy to all adjacent allies for 1 round as an swift action. This effect ends if the frenzied protector is unable to take actions. Whenever the frenzied protector uses this ability, he subtracts 1 from the total number of rounds he can rage that day. The frenzied protector cannot use this ability if he has no remaining rounds he can rage that day. This ability replaces tireless rage.

RPG Superstar 2009, Contributor

There's a lot I don't like in this one. First off, adding 1 to the total number of rounds a barbarian can rage anytime an adjacent ally gets hit by a melee or ranged attack is not a good design choice. How is that not going to happen in virtually every encounter...or even multiple rounds in every encounter? Nope. That's just broken.

Secondly, providing DR/- at half a barbarian's level to all adjacent allies on a successful hit goes too far. It also incents an entire party to stand close to the barbarian all the time...and I don't think that enhances the game play experience.

I also don't buy that an Imposing Presence is somehow going to make for an aura of difficult terrain around the barbarian. If you wanted to introduce Intimidating Prowess as a bonus feat or something, that would work a bit more credibly.

Then, we get concealment effects for adjacent allies via a Furious Maelstrom of melee strikes (only one of which has to land to activate the ability) in addition to the DR/- granting effect of Swordwall? Yeah, this is overkill. And a sign of runaway design.

And how do you visually/mechanically explain imposing the entangled condition on an attack of opportunity combat maneuver involving a Tempest of Steel? I don't know. I get the sense that you thought of a bunch of melee combat effects you wanted to explore and then just found a way to layer them into a protector archetype. I think there are a lot better ways, mechanically-speaking, to explore that role. This falls short for me on a number of levels.

As such, I DO NOT RECOMMEND this archetype design to advance to the next round.

Contributor

Fierce Protectiveness: This is way too good. One, it makes it really easy for the barbarian to rack up plenty of rage rounds just by staying adjacent to an enemy. I know barbarians tend to run off solo, but this archetype's stick is protecting, so the smart player will stick with the group. There's also no limit to the number of rage rounds--is it still capped by the barbarian's default total? And while you're giving the character all of these extra rage rounds, you only have one ability that requires him to spend those rounds, so he can basically "heal up" his rage rounds every other fight by using this ability. And he doesn't even need to be raging to use it, so it's not like he's trying to break even with this ability, it's all bonus rounds.

Swordwall: Barbarians don't get their own DR until level 7, and this ability is giving out DR to multiple allies at level 2. That's way too good. And at 20th level, it's DR/10, which is better DR than a standard bbn gets. Way too good.

Imposing Presence: This is a significant battlefield advantage. You can't run or charge through it. Even the stalwart defender doesn't have anything like that, and it's a prestige class. And you get it at 3rd level. Eek.

Furious Maelstrom: Concealment means you can make a Stealth check, which means your adjacent rogue allies can use sneak attacks. I realize the bbn is giving up DR for this, but a minmaxer would build this to help his buddy get sneak attacks without effort.

Tempest of Steel: Avoid "special" CMB checks... if possible in any way, assign it to an existing type of combat maneuver so creatures can use their bonuses and penalties with it. Because I don't know what this ability does (are you making a "cage" of attacks around them? stabbing them in the feet to pin them in place?), I can't know if a giant centipede or a marilith is more or less vulnerable to this attack (those monsters can't be tripped)

Eye of the Steel Storm: Being able to prevent an enemy from targeting any of your adjacent allies is HUGE, even at 17th level. "Sorry, dragon, my buddies here have total cover from you, you can't attack him, even with your 15-foot reach. Or with your breath weapon. And all I have to do is keep hitting you once per round and spend a round of rage. And they can hit you just fine."

I can see the need for a defender barbarian archetype, but this archetype is more of a barbarian who hits enemies like normal and just happens to give bonuses to his allies while doing so. Each of these abilities is stronger than what it replaces. And because you can generate as many rage rounds as you want, it's a great incentive for a fighter or rogue to take 2 levels in this (to get his first rage power), pick up some nice, renewable, fighter- or rogue-friendly rage power, and keep using that rage power over and over because every time he hits, he gets more rage rounds.

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

CEO, Goblinworks

Total Points: 1.5 Points
Recommendation: Not recommended for advancement

Comments In Detail

Name & Theme (1 point)
Name matches the theme.

Mechanics (0 points)
Lots of mechanical problems here. Example: Adding 1 additional round to the Rage ability is huge, and it doesn't have to be taken in the combat where the bonus accumulates. And it apparently stacks, so after a while, the character would have virtually unlimited Rage.

At 10th level, granting DR 5/- to everyone nearby will also be huge and it just goes up from there.

Awesomeness (0 points)
See below for why this isn't awesome.

Template (0 point)
Errors in the template, incorrect sentence structure, and a few other mistakes in presentation. Some of these abilities should have been Supernatural not Extraordinary.

Context (.5 points)
This isn't a good mechanical fit for a Barbarian. On the other hand if you'd used a Druid as a base class you could have used some supernatural imagery to make the features make more sense and be more awesome. I got where you were going here (images of wildly flailing barbarians come to mind) but you missed an opportunity to take all the work you did on mechanics and make the archetype Superstar.

Paizo Employee Developer

You've hit on a missing archetype for barbarians, and for that I commend you. A defensive and defense-augmenting barbarian is certainly a unique, unexplored niche of the existing game, but as others have pointed out above, your mechanical approach to achieving that goal are very unbalanced. As Sean breaks down quite well in his analysis, each and every one of these powers is better than what the barbarian gives up and has the potential to affect far too many allies.

Were this to come across my desk for development, the first change I'd make would be to reduce the number of allies gaining any and all benefits from the barbarian's action. Second, I would decrease the barbarian's ability to dish out damage, diverting his normal offensive battlefield prowess into defensive bonuses. Third, I'd find another catalyst for his rage. As it stands, he rages pretty much as normal, but the defenses he grants seem to be very calculated. I'd look more at how his rage is triggered (perhaps only when an adjacent ally is damaged?)

I think there's a place for this archetype and the theme you've chosen was a bold one, but the execution here is dramatically lacking. I DO NOT RECOMMEND this archetype for advancement. Best of luck.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32 , Dedicated Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014

Dot for reference.

Dedicated Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

What a pity, the concept of a frenzied protector is really good - it is unfortunate that the mechanics overshoot the parameters of the contest.

I think this year's "round 2" is a very big learning experience for everybody.

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

I can see what you're trying to achieve here, and the core concept is good - a defensive barbarian. But I find it really hard to visualize the action. DR for all adjacent allies? Tempest of Steel suffers from the same problem. At any rate, I wish you good luck!


Like many entries I`m seeing, this just doesn`t pass the balance test, it`s too good for what you give up.
I think Class Archetype design is a REALLY tough topic compared to previous years, so don`t feel bad.
Even Paizo can`t get it right all the time ;-)

I`m not going to go over every aspect but I will go in Tempest of Steel in detail:
Sean mentioned using a `special` CMB maneuver. I don`t see why this effect wouldn`t have better just called a Standstill check (which is it`s own special maneuver bypassing resistances). But the main problem I see here is that it`s not even using the Aoo mechanic... Core Barbarians ALREADY have SIMILAR capabilities using Unexpected Strike (AoO on Threat Entry/works vs. 5` steps) in combo with Trip or Knockback. Finally, it says the Entangled Condition lasts 1 round or until they leave the area. OK, this is D&D so there is Magic, but for most opponents (Casters generally don`t need to approach to attack) being Entangled really does mean what Entangeled says, namely they can`t Move.

I also feel alot of these powers, besides being better balanced mechanically, could just be Rage Powers. It just feels like you`re removing certain Barbarian abilities `just because` you want to throw all these abilities in here. Barbarians already have a modular class ability mechanic (Rage Powers), so in an Archetype there really needs to be a more thorough and reasoned swapping out.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 16 , Star Voter 2013

This is insanely powerful! Consider an enlarged 20th barbarian with a reach weapon surrounded on all sides by allies, receiving the charge of an enemy force. He's getting as many as 14 rounds of rage back per round, giving DR10/- and concealment to everyone, while simultaneously causing a threatened area of 40 squares to be difficult terrain, and potentially entangling everyone who comes near. This is broken, plain and simple.


Even though I like the idea I think it is OP. I will have to come back and look at it again.

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

Ok, when I read the description, I thought of this
Long roads the Sword of Fury makes
Hard walls it builds around the soft
The fighter who Townsaver takes
Can bid farewell to home and croft

Unforutnately I was right. This archtype will make the Sword of Fury look like weak sause. Recharging rage, massive unbypassable DR, concealment and difficult terrain. It does too much too fast.

Fraid I can't vote for this.


Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber

I think this is quite good. The "all adjacent allies" is a significant limiter - it's not like "everyone ringing the dragon" gets the benefits.

My only complaint is the getting free rage rounds for use anytime. Instead, I'd let the barbarian go into a mode where they aren't paying rounds for rage any more, and they can keep that up for the current combat every round an ally gets hit - but the first round no ally gets hit, he drops out of rage. There's an element of risk-taking there (enemies whiffed this round? rage gone!) and is more thematically appropriate - I think I see where you were going, spending 0 for this round of rage is exactly like spending 1 and getting 1 back as long as you can't get more than 1 back a round, but as you see it raised the specter of stacking in everyone's minds. And even if you said limit one per round, in which case the two approaches would be nearly identical mechanically, it's one of those things that seems more understandable from a simulationist's point of view if "you're raging free while allies are getting hurt" as opposed to "you are getting free rage for later."

Star Voter 2013

My biggest issue with this isn't the poor balance, it's that I cannot see a barbarian moving fast enough to justify any of these abilities. I mean, they're supposed to hit a few times and very hard. This makes it seem like they're so fast they're everywhere, filling all the spaces around them.

Admittedly, I'm not a big barbarian player, but even the one many-attacks barbarian I played didn't have much of a wide-reaching presence. I still feel the flavor of this class is *way* off.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 4 aka Scipion del Ferro

Matthew Morris wrote:

Ok, when I read the description, I thought of this

Long roads the Sword of Fury makes
Hard walls it builds around the soft
The fighter who Townsaver takes
Can bid farewell to home and croft

Unforutnately I was right. This archtype will make the Sword of Fury look like weak sause. Recharging rage, massive unbypassable DR, concealment and difficult terrain. It does too much too fast.

Fraid I can't vote for this.

Here I thought I was the only one who read these books. A lot of really good fantasy inspiration is in there.


I like the theme and I think you did a good job of keeping it flavorful. I think it is overpowered.

The Fierce Protectiveness appears to allow the raging to go on too long.

I like the Swordwall and Furious Maelstrom abilities, but I think there should be a limit on the uses per day.

I really like the Imposing Presence ability.

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32 , Star Voter 2013

Crazed berserker protector guy could be a fun concept to play with, but not as executed here. That's a shame.

Scarab Sages RPG Superstar 2008 Top 4; Contributor; Publisher, Legendary Games

I'm sorry, but I stopped dead in my tracks at Swordwall. I think the concept of a DEFENSIVE barbarian is actually really cool and a novel idea, but this guy is Way. Too. Good. Then I went back and read some more.

Even more Way. Too. Good. DR/- to all adjacent allies. Concealment (enabling sneak attacks for allies, preventing them for enemies) to all adjacent allies.

Trading trap sense for making your threatened area difficult terrain? Ouch.

Good concept, not so good execution.

Congrats on making round 2, and best of luck.

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32 aka Hydro

Not sure if this makes you feel any better, but just 'metoo'ing the notion that a protective barbarian is a good idea. I came in here feeling fond of your concept just based on the name. Plus I think many of your mechanics could have worked well had the tradeoff been more fair; Fierce Protectiveness is actually pretty cool IMO, but it substantially increases how often he'll be raging (basically all the time by mid levels) and that's hard to balance out.


Isaac Duplechain wrote:

Frenzied Protector (Barbarian)

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): 3, A protective barbarian is kinda cool. (For Some reason I see a big guy yelling “MOTOKOOOOO” when I think of the concept, but thats cool :)
Mechanical Mojo (MM): 2, some cool imagery going in here, but basically it all is: I stand here, move my weapons really fast, and everybody is protected”
Mechanical Execution (ME): 0. OMG OVERPOWERED!!!!11one. The Outrage is loud, but it isn't wrong. Given, defensive abilities can be stronger than offensive ones, since offense is more important to the game, but this is not pushing the envelope, it is throwing it down a cliff. And after all you are replacing defensive abilities with these new ones. So they should equal out.

Final note: Cool, different concept. You tried for the big swing with your abilities, to be exciting and bigger than life and tripped on the balance.

Total Score: 3.605


Isaac Duplechain wrote:
Frenzied Protector (Barbarian)

There are a number of issues with this. I'm sure the judges have covered most of it. I'll summarize my thoughts.

1) GM's Nightmare: This character would complicate combat so much I wouldn't want to GM for it.

2) Abilties are too powerful: So many of these are based solely on a succesful hit, that they'd be constantly in play. Increasing rounds of rage can get out of hand.

3) Loss of important abilities: I wouldn't want to sacrifice the many abilities lost for these benefits.

4) Nothing makes sense: Very few of the abilities are logical. The effects aren't very well explained. It seems like you're picking effects that have the penalties you want to imply to save word space, not because they make sense.

Sorry, this isn't one I would vote for.

Ken

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

Everything the frenzied protector loses out on from regular barbarian gets paid back with a ludicrous amount of interest. Granting a ton of DR/nil and concealment to all adjacent allies? That's preposterous. I'll echo everyone else's assessment that a defensive barbarian is a good idea, but this is not the way to execute it. I will not be voting for this entry.


Most of what I'd say has already been said by others; I would like to toss in that I think, mechanically, the idea of a melee character who makes some of the area around him difficult terrain is cool.

But... I'd probably make it only adjacent squares, because otherwise you're saying "This is an archetype for polearm/reach weapon characters" and that, to me, is really not the feel of it.

And... the flavor of the ability just doesn't work for that to me.

"Wow, this frenzied protector is scary and imposing. I back away from him (five foot step)."

"You can't -- he's TOO SCARY."

I do like all the ability names, too.

Shadow Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

While everyone else is focused on the mechanics and game balance, I find myself looking with an eye for the writing. In particular I am looking for writing that is evocative but which would blend in seamlessly with the published archetypes. This one, like so many others, stands out in a bad way. The writing contrasts with the tone and style of the published works and is generally clumsy and difficult to read.

That said, I like the name plenty, and the overall idea is fun and interesting. You get a point for concept, but fall down after that.

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2008 Top 6, Contributor , Dedicated Voter 2013

It seems like many of the contestants think that what makes an awesome archetype is powerful abilities. I think that's this round's secret trap after reading most of the entries, like year 1's villains that weren't villainous.

Rough road in the contest. Good idea, poorly balanced execution, it does illustrate why ideas aren't everything in writing. I liked the viper, I hope you get a chance to design again.

Scarab Sages RPG Superstar 2009 Top 4 , Star Voter 2013 aka raidou

Isaac, I thought the Alchemist's Viper was a cool visual but a little mechanically odd. This time you're tackling the heavy-hitter barbarian class and it looks like you'll be developing some defensive stuff for it. Let's see how well you've executed on those mechanics.

frenzied protector wrote:
Fierce Protectiveness (Ex): A frenzied protector's primal instincts are brought to the surface when his allies are in danger. Whenever an enemy successfully hits any ally adjacent to a frenzied protector with a melee or ranged attack, the frenzied protector adds 1 to the total number of rounds that he can rage that day. This ability replaces fast movement.

Missed opportunity here. There are teamwork feats and a whole feat tree for doing things to assist allies in danger. Why not expand on that? This ability is too passive and doesn't evoke either "fierce" or "protective."

frenzied protector wrote:
Swordwall (Ex): At 2nd level, a frenzied protector's attacks cause enemies to falter in their own. Whenever a frenzied protector successfully hits an enemy with a melee attack, he may provide DR/- equal to half his barbarian level to all adjacent allies... This ability replaces uncanny dodge and improved uncanny dodge.

Tactically interesting, but too powerful and easily abused with things liek Enlarge Person and reach weapons.

frenzied protector wrote:
Imposing Presence (Ex): At 3rd level, the very threat of a frenzied protector's presence causes foes to act with caution. Enemies treat the squares in a frenzied protector's threatened area as difficult terrain. This ability replaces trap sense.

This is like the 3.5 Knight class's ability and is not really something we've seen in PF yet. However this implementation is weird. It needs to key off Intimidate somehow, but instead it's always-on.

frenzied protector wrote:
Furious Maelstrom (Ex): At 7th level, a frenzied protector’s swings are so frenetic that attackers can barely get their own in. Whenever a frenzied protector successfully hits an enemy with a melee attack, he may provide concealment to all adjacent allies... This ability replaces damage reduction.

I think these similar abilities need to be done during a full-attack action. Otherwise they don't quite fit the descriptive ability name. I also think between the DR and the concealment, you've got all your party standing next to the barbarian the entire combat. The barbarian is going to hit nearly every round, so this just seems to go too far.

frenzied protector wrote:
Tempest of Steel (Ex): At 14th level, whenever any enemy enters a frenzied protector's threatened area, the frenzied protector may make a special CMB check against the opponent's CMD. If the frenzied protector succeeds on this check, the opponent gains the entangled condition.... This ability replaces indomitable will.

Doesn't build off the difficult terrain you've already established. The combatant is already going to get smacked if he enters your threatened area because he's using two squares of movement to do it. This ability should build off of that, not just impose another condition.

frenzied protector wrote:
Eye of the Steel Storm (Ex): At 17th level, whenever a frenzied protector successfully hits an enemy with a melee attack, he may grant total cover from that enemy to all adjacent allies for 1 round as an swift action... This ability replaces tireless rage.

Total Cover, concealment, and DR 8/- to all adjacent allies. You've amped this guy up too much. It's gone so far beyond balance I am not sure what can be changed to bring it back. Isaac, I think there's definite room for a more defensive-themed barbarian. The Devoted Defender prestige class is one such way of looking at that theme. You gave us some good visuals in your abilities here, but they are unbalanced with the core class.


Isaac Duplechain wrote:

Frenzied Protector (Barbarian)

To the savage warrior, there is nothing more primal than the bond between those who battle together. Some barbarians channel their furious attacks into a storm of strikes that allies can take refuge in. A frenzied protector 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?
Savage warriors tend not to mix well with formal dinner parties. The first one is utterly bewildering to them. The second one is a novelty still, but amuses them. By the third, their patience and tolerance for the occasions and bizarre customs involved is just about ready to give out. So no, not unless it's their second dinner party, or they're there as a couple of tame bodyguards flanking me (see below).

How effective a flower-picker does this person seem likely to be?
Operating on his own, a frenzied protector isn't so good. Part of his whole modus operandi is that he's at his most effective when working with another frenzied protector as part of a team. On the other hand though, don't mistake 'savage' for 'doesn't know anything'. A frenzied protector may not know the 'civilised' names and technical terms pertaining to flowers, but if it grows in his homelands, he probably has a tribal name for it he knows it as, or has a shaman he can ask for information.

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?
If you're looking for someone martial to screen your from attempts by enemy swordsmen, archers, or casters to hurt you, then yes you want at least one frenzied protector, yes. 'Savages' can be remarkably honourable too if they feel that you're dealing with them on the level, and if you pay them what they feel to be fair they will put up with an awful lot, up to and including formal thirteen course dinner parties.

Other comments?
One frenzied protector can make it very difficult to hit people adjacent to him, but is himself still vulnerable to attacks. On the other hand, stick two or more of them next to one another so that they cover each other...

Desirability:
Bodyguard. Preferably in pairs.

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.


It's unfortunate that this template is so overpowered, because it is pure amazing in concept. First off, adding infinite rage to a barbarian = bad news. Then getting up to total cover to ALL adjacent allies? Now, granted, it is a serious disadvantage to have all your buddies clumped up in "Fireball Me" formation, but the benefits are enough to warrant all melees to stand toe to toe and achieve nigh invincibility.

That said, while this entry shows you might need serious work regarding game balance, your penchant for creating mechanics that look and feel really cool shines. Slick presentation, great writing, great flavor.

Grand Lodge Dedicated Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014

Name and concept: Very well stated.
Archetype mechanics, expression of the concept: Fierce Protectiveness: This is going to stack up pretty fast. I can't really see him running out of rage in any combat - and it definitely shouldn't carry over to the next encounter. Many of the later abilities, ironically, will limit how often he benefits from this. The substitution could have been better handled.
Swordwall: That's a lot of DR - twice what the core rules give the barbarian himself. He's likely to need uncanny dodge to stop all his friends getting killed before he can protect them.
Imposing Presence seems OK in itself, but it's an odd replacement for a general defensive ability.
Furious Maelstrom: Concealment doesn't seem quite right for the description. There are other examples in the rules of effects that give specific miss chances, which seems to be what was intended.
Tempest of Steel: OK, since this just seems to expand on Imposing Presence. Again, I think he'll miss Indomitable Will when the dastardly foe takes him out of the combat with a spell and kills all his friends.
Eye of the Steel Storm: Not really acceptable, when it's not even the capstone ability.
Wider relationships: The alchemist's viper plays a risky game with damage and restorative abilities as well.

There's a nugget of a good idea, I think, but its mechanical expression was ill-considered.

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

I had to leave this and come back because I like my barbarians to be attacking, not defensive. Ok, the archetype plays against my feelings on how the class functions but as a concept it could work, it is certainly different.

The DR/- isn’t as powerful as most people think, but it is wrong to give a better ability than even a dedicated archetype (the invulnerable rager) to multiple characters (and not even the PC with the archetype.)

Imposing Presence: this ability is extremely mislabeled, I don’t mind the ability, but make the reason for having it make sense in game terms.

Unfortunately, each of your archetype’s abilities has flaws in them. I liked your Viper and if you do make it to the next round, work hard to show how your villain is balanced and suits the background you give them. Good luck.

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

The idea of a noble protector barbarian isn't unthinkable. But the execution here is uninspired and really ingores some obvious questions.

Does the frenzied protector give himself DR when he strikes an enemy? It doens't say, but then he gives up his own DR later.

You call him a frenzied protector, but he doesn't have to be raging to use any of his abilities. Sure, barbarians rage, but shouldn't a 'frenzied' character's class abilities be tied to that feature?

Everythig keys off when he hits someone, or someone hits his friends. THis shows design weakness. Anyone could key abilities to those triggers. Also, everything is about adjacent allies. Have you ever seen someone play a barbarian? They aren't exactly rank and file types. They want glory, or they want to get the big guy's attention, or they're positioning themselves for the best use of cleave or their iteratives. The whole idea of a barbarian that orients its tacics around keeping in tight formation to protect his buddies isn't frenzied at all.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32 , Dedicated Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014

While I strongly doubt that I will advance, I am glad for the opportunity to explain things.

I was disappointed to read the judges' comments, but immediately understood where they were coming from. It seemed perfectly obvious in retrospect. I started my archetype as a cavalier that had a sworn defense instead of challenge. I couldn't get the feeling of it right, though, and changed it to barbarian late in the design process. The overall goal was to create an unusual defensive archetype that was different than the usual tank-style. I set a few goals before starting.
a) No gimmicky taunt-type actions.
b) No pumping up his own defenses.
c) Explore mundane sources of unusual status effects.

The idea behind making its protection to allies so powerful was that it loses 100% of his own defensive abilities while simultaneously encouraging opponents to target him instead of the others, sort of like a funnel. I wanted to make the choice to attack the ally belong to the opponent, though. I was worried that making the abilities too weak would do nothing to discourage the opponent, but I did go too far in the opposite direction. The general notion behind the power level was that the abilities would largely not come into play, while the barbarian's allies would have to stay close and give up things like flanking with him while raising vulnerability to AOE.

Frenzied Protectiveness: This was the last ability added. The original intent was to make it a free round of rage in the next round, but I couldn't find a good way to phrase that in the short time I had left. I changed it to the simpler wording but didn't consider the implications well enough. I justified it in my head by saying, "Well, the idea is that the enemies will attack him far more often and won't attack his allies often at all, so it's not prone to abuse."
Swordwall: This was based largely off the invulnerable rager archetype (which, in my opinion, is now the standard barbarian). Again, the rationale was the same as above. It was intended as a disincentive to attack the barbarian's allies, so it skewed too strong.
Imposing Presence: I was always only a moment from deleting this, but I really wanted to keep the entangle effect of tempest of steel. In my mind, I wanted to give the archetype an additional effect in case the enemy was attacking him.
Furious Maelstrom: See the explanation with swordwall.
Tempest of Steel: Like with swordwall, I wanted to impose some sort of status effect for times in which the barbarian was getting pounded on. I modeled it after a few monster abilities, hence the inelegant "special CMB check". It wasn't intended to be a trip/grapple, just the effect of the enemy trying to wade through the crazy guy's sword swings.
Eye of the Steel Storm: Being 17th level, I wanted a way for the archetype to stay relevant in a world with people casting 9th level spells. Again, I felt that this one was balanced out by basically standing alone as the only target and the imminent doom that would follow.

I feel the main flaw was the inclusion of Imposing Presence and Tempest of Steel. Both took up a lot of word space and added too much for too little. They are not closely tied enough to the theme and don't make a ton of intuitive sense. The numbers for the other abilities ought to be toned down and made less crazy. Below is what I should have submitted: a toned-down version (though it still needs playtesting to determine if it is too powerful) with fewer and more focused abilities.

Revised Archetype, 445 words:

Frenzied Protector (Barbarian)
To the savage warrior, there is nothing more primal than the bond between those who battle together. Some barbarians channel their furious attacks into a storm of strikes that allies can take refuge in, funneling attacks into the center of the tempest. A frenzied protector has the following class features.
Rage (Ex): This functions as the barbarian ability, but a frenzied protector's morale bonus to Strength while raging is reduced by 2 and morale bonus to Constitution while raging is increased by 2.
Fierce Protectiveness (Ex): A frenzied protector's primal instincts are brought to the surface when her allies are in danger. Whenever an enemy successfully hits any ally adjacent to a frenzied protector with a melee attack, the frenzied protector can rage the next round without expending one of her rounds that she can rage that day. This ability replaces fast movement and trap sense.
Furious Maelstrom (Ex): At 2nd level, a frenzied protector’s swings are so frenetic that attackers can barely get their own in. Whenever a frenzied protector makes a full attack and successfully hits an enemy with a melee attack, she may cause the enemy to treat her adjacent allies as if they had concealment when attacking as a swift action. This effect lasts until the beginning of the frenzied protector's next turn and ends if she is unable to take actions. This ability replaces uncanny dodge and improved uncanny dodge.
Swordwall (Ex): At 7th level, a frenzied protector's attacks cause enemies to falter in their own. Whenever a frenzied protector makes a full attack and successfully hits an enemy with two or more melee attacks, she may cause that enemy to treat her adjacent allies as if they had DR 1/- when attacking as a swift action. This effect lasts until the beginning of the frenzied protector's next turn and ends if she is unable to take actions. At 10th level, and every three levels after, this DR/- increases by 1. This ability replaces damage reduction and indomitable will.
Eye of the Steel Storm (Ex): At 17th level, whenever a frenzied protector makes a full attack and successfully hits an enemy with three or more melee attacks, she may grant total cover from that enemy to all adjacent allies as an swift action. This effect lasts until the beginning of the frenzied protector's next turn and ends if she is unable to take actions. Whenever the frenzied protector uses this ability, she subtracts 2 from the total number of rounds she can rage that day. The frenzied protector cannot use this ability if she has less than 2 remaining rounds she can rage that day. This ability replaces tireless rage.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32 , Dedicated Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014

Okay, with the general response posted, I have a few particularized responses.

Neil Spicer: You pretty much hit things right where they needed to be hit. I think putting it as 'runaway design' was perfectly accurate.

Sean K Reynolds: As I said in the general post, I consider the invulnerable rager to be the standard barbarian now, which is what I modeled Swordwall off of. You raise a good point in Furious Maelstrom, which I didn't consider at the time.

Ryan Dancey: I disagree with the assessment that the abilities should have been (Su) rather than (Ex), as each of the abilities are entirely physical in nature. Perhaps it was a failure in presentation if that was unclear. I can certainly understand your comments, though. I, unfortunately, hate druids and try to avoid them as best I can.

Mark Moreland: I don't disagree with any point you make, although I think the suggestion about the catalyst for rage would take it in a very different direction from the standard barbarian.

LoreKeeper: Yes, yes, it is quite the learning experience. It's also quite the humbling experience.

Serpent: If I didn't make it clear enough, that's my failure in presentation.

Quandary: The entangling effect was intended to be the weaker (standard) version, so enemies would be capable of leaving the area (at half speed). As for the swapping out, I felt that the relative strength warranted pretty much everything else being gutted out.

Nick Bolhuis: Everything's broken at 20th level. But, by bringing it to the extreme of its possibilities, you do demonstrate that it is far too strong.

wraithstrike: Okay. I hope you did.

Matthew Morris: Like most comments, you are correct.

Ernest Mueller: Hooray, someone who likes it! Your points about the rage are right on the money.

RonarsCorruption: The idea isn't that he is fast or precise, but rather that he is simply goin' nuts and putting his sword between the enemy and his allies like a crazy person.

Swamp Druid: You're in the minority about Imposing Presence, but I appreciate the softer words than most.

Joe Wells: Fair enough.

Jason Nelson: Like I said above, I didn't consider that it enables sneak attack, though I did like that it prevented it. The trades were frequently very off, as I was considering them as a group and not independently.

Nicholas Quinby: Indeed, I felt the same way about the theme. I'm glad that you almost liked it.

Azmahel: Your overall assessment about swinging big and getting unbalanced was really spot-on.

Kenneth T Cole: I do find it kind of strange that you say it is too powerful and that you wouldn't want to give up the abilities for the trade. If the abilities don't make sense logically, it was again a failure in presentation.

Demiurge1138: Okay.

Dire Mongoose: I'm glad you liked the names. It wasn't intended to be a reach archetype, but I fell prey to trying to divide the theme too much.

kwixson: Okay.

Russ Taylor: They're pretty difficult to make, especially on a short schedule. The temptation to add a little more in order to stand out is pretty strong, which is part of the difficulty.

Eric Bailey: You're definitely right about it needing to be full-round actions, as well as the other commentary.

Ask A RPGSupersuccubus: I hadn't considered the silliness of two of them together. That would be nutso crazy.

caith: Thanks for the kind words. You know how to let someone down easy, which is a big plus in my book.

Starglim: I think your comments are the most perceptive to my original intent. By giving these benefits to his allies, he gives up his own defenses *and* encourages the enemy to attack him instead.

Matt Goodall: Numerically, the DR/- is the same as the invulnerable rager gets. (It's functionally not quite as good, as it isn't doubled against nonlethal damage.)

Steven T Helt: One version was actually keyed off rage, but it interacted strangely with the regular rage powers. None of the regular abilities require raging, hence why I didn't feel comfortable making abilities work only during rage. (Although it would make a good fit.)


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

Issac, Thank you for the insights into your design. I think it is possible to be too powerful, and not wanting to lose abilities. The Archtype is too focused and if something can bypass the focus, there's nothing to fall back on. I believe that was the poster's concerns.

As to addressing my comments

Spoiler:
I'm always right

Except for marriage, and mapmaking ;-)

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