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Moon Shaman (Druid)


Round 2 - Top 32: Create an archetype

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 16

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Moon Shaman (Druid)
There are druids who exalt the moon as the greatest aspect of nature, revering its power to bring fury and madness. Some act as priests to werewolves, giving them blessings and spiritual guidance. Others act as prophets of the night, shedding the wonder of the moon before beast and man alike.

The Profanity of Silver (Ex): Tying himself to the energies of the moon comes at a cost. If a moon shaman ever carries even an ounce silver for more than a full round, he is considered to have violated his druidic vows, using the same rules for wearing prohibited armor. This includes coins; when shopping, moon shamans ask to receive their change in copper pieces. Even being bound in silver manacles counts as "carrying silver" for this purpose.

Call Forth the Furious (Su): Each creature a moon shaman conjures with any summon spell ferociously rages, as the barbarian ability, for the duration of the spell that summoned it. Starting at 2nd level, and at every 4th level thereafter, a moon shaman selects a rage power that he imparts to each summoned creature, using the moon shaman’s level in place of the barbarian level.

Wild Shape (Su): A moon shaman can only use wild shape to transform into animals. He cannot use this ability to adopt the form of elementals or plants.

Lunar Howl (Su): At 8th level, a moon shaman can howl as a standard action, compelling animals and magical beasts to participate: all such creatures within 15 ft. of him become confused. A successful Will save (DC 10 + 1/2 moon shaman’s level + moon shaman’s Wisdom modifier) means the target cannot be affected by this lunar howl. If a participant in the lunar howl rolls "babble incoherently" for its behavior, instead it howls that round, and all valid creatures within 15 ft. of it must make a Will save or become likewise confused. The entire lunar howl effect ends for all participants simultaneously: after a number of rounds equal to the moon shaman’s level, starting from his initial howl. The moon shaman can initiate a lunar howl a number of times per day equal to 3 + his Wisdom modifier. This is an audible, mind-affecting effect.
At 12th level, lunar howl can effect humanoids, monstrous humanoids, and fey (other than himself).

Ritual of Becoming (Su): At 15th level, a moon shaman can transmute afflicted lycanthropy into natural lycanthropy of the same type. The ritual requires 24 uninterrupted hours to perform. The moon shaman can only target an affliction that he carries within himself. Once successful, the effects are permanent, and the moon shaman is immune to further afflicted lycanthropy.
This ability replaces timeless body.

RPG Superstar 2009, Contributor

Wow, Erik. Way to wring every last word out of your word count. And I think you got some great mileage with it. And "moon madness" druid with a stronger affinity for animals and lycanthropes is a nice archetype niche to explore. Obviously, it's building towards a druid whose wild shape is more akin to a lycanthrope's change shape ability. Everything hangs together very thematically. I love the idea behind the lunar howl and the rage aspects of summoned animals. The wild shape limitation to animals fits. You should probably do something similar with the nature bond, too, so it restricts him to the Animal Domain or an animal companion. Regardless, this is very nice, creative, innovative stuff. And that makes it a no-brainer for me.

I RECOMMEND this archetype design to advance to the next round. And, I'm very much looking forward to what more you give us.

Paizo Employee Developer

I really like what you're trying to do with this one, Erik, but I'm not sure what to actually make of the mechanics behind your intention.

It seems like you've moved away from actually replacing class features (except in the case of ritual of becoming) in favor of providing negative class features as a balancing mechanism. That's certainly an interesting and innovative choice, but I wonder if it still fits within the definition of an archetype. I'm also unsure if the pros and cons result in a fully balanced character in the end. My inclination at the moment is to say that it overpowers the class, but let's see where the stream of analysis takes us.

The profanity of silver feature is certainly thematically fitting if the druid focuses on lycanthropy, but what of someone who worships the moon as a nighttime celestial lightbringer, or the keeper of cycles and tides? It should, I think, at the very least replace the normal armor restriction, as the restrictions really add up and this alone doesn't seem a fitting trade off for the next power. Cool idea, less than ideal application.

Granting rage to all summons is a way more powerful ability than I think you realize, as it effectively gives +2 to all attacks and damage for a creature, and keeps it around longer with a higher Con. Most summons have multiple attacks, meaning the bonuses are really going to telescope. Adding rage powers on top of that is even more overpowered. This is clearly a bonus that none of the restrictions you place on the archetype counteract.

Nerfing wild shape is a step in the right direction, but I don't know if it's enough, especially with the new howl power coming up next. Add in the hint with the final feature that this is an archetype for afflicted lycanthropes, and you've already got a pretty powerful at-will shapeshifting ability above and beyond that of wild shape.

I get the rage/lunar insanity thing, but there are, I feel, better ways to do this than the given effect. Granting access to the madness domain or incorporating some of the insanity rules from the GMG might be a way to go. I don't feel like this is it. It just seems too restrictive and focused on werewolves rather than lycanthropes in general or the other aspects of moon worship.

Finally, the ritual of becoming is mainly a plot device as far as I can tell, and not something a PC should really have access to. Lycanthropy is a curse and a disease. It's supposed to be something PCs want to avoid. Natural lycanthropes are typically NPCs who are cursed because it makes a good story. This is a GM's archetype, not one for players, and that's a big knock against you.

All things considered, I DO NOT RECOMMEND this archetype for advancement. Perhaps you were anticipating needing to use submitted archetypes in the next round and crafted one to aid in creating a cool villain, but that's getting ahead of yourself. Perhaps its enough that voters will feel differently and give you a shot at putting this to use in round three. In any case, best of luck.

CEO, Goblinworks

Total Points: 4.5
Recommendation: Recommended for Advancement

Comments In Detail

Name & Theme (1 point)
Designer went with "lunacy" rather than "periodicity". That's an excellent choice since you can't be sure that a given campaign will have a moon, much less that it will phase, or that those phases will matter.

Mechanics (1 point)
I had to look up what happens to a Druid who uses banned armor because the title of this limitation and its wording make it sound quite dire. Its basically a 24 hour timeout from spells or supernatural abilities. That's a fine penalty - bad enough to keep players from crossing the line, but not bad enough to really cripple a party/character if the line is crossed. 3.x is about choices, and the choice to use a silver item could be rationalized in interesting ways.

Abilities 2 and 3 are mostly harmless recycled mechanics so I'll ignore them.

Ability 4, Lunar Howl, is uber. I'm torn between thinking it's uber enough to be worth the whole archetype and thinking it's so uber that most DMs would adjust their campaign balance to make their NPCs and mobs resistant (meaning it becomes metagamed to uselessness). This is a very fine edge and before I published this I'd want it extensively playtested. However its Superstar thinking and I am not going to knock off credit for that kind of work.

Ability 5 is a plot device. Maybe that's good, but you're basically building in a class feature that will be used one time. You get a massive amount of benefits from being naturally lyncanthropic so this is almost like adding a prestige class rather than using a class feature. Still, in context, I'm going to let it slide.

Awesomeness (1 point)
You had me at "Some act as priests to werewolves, giving them blessings and spiritual guidance."

Template (1 point)
Great job on the template. Especially Lunar Howl where there are lots of formatting issues to navigate.

Context (.5 point)
The GM has to be running a lyncanthropic campaign to make this archetype worthwhile. Archetypes this specialized need strong agreements between GMs and players otherwise they become very bad choices that can't be easily fixed. That's a risk as a designer.

Contributor

The Profanity of Silver: This is a significant, but not surmountable drawback. Every time you find a treasure or magic item, you'll have to ask the GM if it has silver in it. Which makes more work for the GM, or is hand-waved and is no longer an issue/drawback.

Call Forth the Furious: This is a cool, powerful ability. The druid isn't swapping out any other class abilities for this.

Wild Shape: This is a minor limitation, doesn't come into play until 6th level, and is only a slight reduction in the archetype's power (you're only losing some versatility, the animal shapes remain at full strength).

Lunar Howl: I think the cascading effect of this ability (how affected creatures can make other creatures confused) is a problem, especially as you possibly could confuse creatures that made their save against the first howl (language says "cannot be affected by THIS lunar howl," which doesn't mean the secondary howls don't work). And the druid isn't swapping out any other class abilities for this, so it's an increase in power.

Ritual of Becoming: This is a neat ability, but very niche and limited. It replaces a trivial ability, so that's a wash.

So you have two power boosts at no cost, an equal trade, a minor reduction in the wild shape utility, and the minor hindrance about silver. The overall effect is a power increase for the class... there's basically no reason for a lycanthrope-friendly druid NOT to take this because it's a boost in all the ways they want. That's a problem for me... yes, it can be fixed, but the basic idea of the archetype is you're swapping abilities of equal power to maintain the overall power level of the class, and this isn't doing that. Which is sad, because I like lycanthropes (I wrote a book about 'em!) and I like what this class does, but you need to learn how to balance an archetype.

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

RPG Superstar 2009, Contributor

Sean K Reynolds wrote:
...I like lycanthropes (I wrote a book about 'em!)....

Honestly, is there an element of the game you haven't written a book about? ;-P

Spoiler:

...because, if so, you should get started on it.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 16

Thank you for your feedback and dissection of my entry!

I of course don't have anything to say in response until after voting is closed, but I want to thank each of you for giving me your analysis.

I also welcome everyone else on the boards to do likewise. And also to consider voting for me if you'd like me to advance. :-)

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

The flavor text and concepts here are great and a lot of fun, but the abilities are super-powerful. The silver limitation is either a total screwjob (if an enemy sneaks silver onto the druid, or entangles him in a net with a few silver pieces tied to it) or a nonfactor.

The rage/summons thing is, as Mark said, super-strong, especially since it would stack with Augment Summoning, a feat any summon-specialized druid will be taking, giving all of their summons +4 to hit and to CMB/CMD, +4 (or +6) on damage, and +4 hp per die. That's pretty hardcore.

The lunar howl ability is neat... but the contagious confusion is, if I may say, a bit insane (pun intended).

The main issue here is that the archetype isn't balanced. The abilities themselves aren't enough of a balance in themselves, and there's no info on swaps (other than the trivial timeless body ability).

On conceptual grounds, this is good stuff. On mechanical grounds, not so much. The voters will decide which side carries the day, but I think you've got a shot.

Congrats on making the contest and best of luck!


Very flavorful, and I was really excited about it as I started reading it,
but as I progressed balance issues just cropped up more and more.

The Profanity of Silver (Ex): This is great, though I wonder if a vulnerability could also have been added here. Since I think Mithril counts as Silver, I would have mentioned that here also.

Call Forth the Furious (Su): OK, the base idea of Raging Summons is fine, and should have been workable. I could have seen a mechanic where the Moon Shaman themself suffers Fatigue from Rage whenever any of the Summons are killed / disappear. But the Rage Power thing is way, way too much. I can see how granting SOME Rage Powers, eventually and within limits, would be cool, but this is too much. ALL of their Summons having FULL Rage Powers of Barbarian equal to Druid Level? That`s just WAY too much, I can`t emphasize enough. WHy have a Barbarian in the party at that point? Can you imagine calling the max number of creatures, all with MAX LEVEL Strength Surge, Knockback, Come and Get Me? That`s nuts.

Wild Shape (Su): THe animal-only limitation is OK, but it`s just not really that much of a limitation, i.e. when balancing out other powerful things they get. I really think forcing a choice of ONE animal when they gain Wildshape, meaning higher level WIldshape CAN^T select the Large/Huge animal types, but just gains stronger bonuses with the original form, would have been a good starting place.

Lunar Howl (Su): I think this ability is mostly workable BEFORE it starts affecting Humanoids, Monstrous Humanoids, and Fey. The higher level aspects are quite powerful and need further limits... The least being affected targets can`t re-infect non-Animals/Magical Beasts. As mentioned, yoùre giving this out `for free`, i.e. not swapping with anything. THEMATICALLY, I would have thought AT LEAST it would be appropriate exchange for Wild Empathy, though that wouldn`t deal with the power balance issues.

Ritual of Becoming (Su): Minor ability in over-all game-play, more of a plot item, but it seems reasonable trade for Timeless Body.

...Great flavor, I want this to work alot, but balance-wise, no dice...

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 16 , Star Voter 2013

It's a shame you don't replace enough class features here, because I love the idea. I just don't think the limitations are enough. Imagine at 17th level summoning five beasts from the summon VII list, all raging, all with several powers. This is a highly abuseable thing, and with no apparent penalty.


I think that the opening description should refer to lycanthropes rather than just werewolves.

I don't think players are going to like the Profanity of Silver restriction. I get the flavor, but it will be more of a hassle than most players will want to deal with.

I love the flavor in the Lunar Howl ability, but I don't really like what it does or its implementation.

Only one of these abilities indicate that it replaces a standard druid ability. It seems like their is all give and no take in the archetype.

I do like the Call Forth the Furious ability.

I think you had a cool overall idea for a theme, but I don't think it is implemented very well.

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32 , Star Voter 2013

I'm not crazy about the name. A "Moon Shaman" could go in directions other than lycanthropy.

Like others have said, this gets too much and gives up too little. Which is a shame, because I really do like the flavor. If Call Forth the Furious swapped in for, say Trackless Step and Resist Nature's Lure; and Lunar Howl for Venom Immunity, I'd be more comfortable with this.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

The class is crippled by its weakness. Silver alloys were used in minting gold coins, for example.

Rage Powers mean that that Druid has pocketful of Barbarians with possibly very high physical scores.

The class appears to be dangerously overpowered. Until you sprinkle it with silver-alloy dust.

Verdict: dangerously unpredictable. Not recommended.

Regards,
Ruemere

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

I like it! There are some innovative abilities (raging summoned creatures), some cool flavor, and a nice, focused theme! One of the best entries for sure! I hope you'll advance to round 3!

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

Neil Spicer wrote:
Sean K Reynolds wrote:
...I like lycanthropes (I wrote a book about 'em!)....

Honestly, is there an element of the game you haven't written a book about? ;-P

** spoiler omitted **

I don't recall him on the XPH or (in)Complete Psionic, so I think that's one element that he's not put fingerprints on.

[Head Six]And he's not part of the Mind's eye crew, I never saw him at any of the Mind's eye meetings.[/Head Six]

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

Another 'good concept/bad mechanics'.

Description: To me this is a 'core book' class, since there's no 'moon god' in Goalrion. The aspects of the moon they focus on are pretty clear (aside, I happened to have 'Can I Play With Madness' queued up as I read it.)

The Profanity of Silver: Not to be confused with the Ecstacy of Gold, eh? It is a bit more problematic to track (I assume it's in addition to the metal armor restriction) and it likely should have included mithral. Maybe word count issues?

Call Forth the Furious: A good idea, but ran into unintended consequences. Rage good thematically. Rage powers? danger, especially since you get access to the entire list by my reading. Also did you forget the Augment summoning feat? While I've never done 'summon spam' I know it was an issue to some WotC designers to cripple the Astral Construct in (in)Complete Psionic.

Wild Shape: Needed to be hit more with the nerf bat. Maybe *gasp* dumped entirely.

Lunar Howl: Ran into mechanics issues. The 'viral' nature of it (and the free augmentation) make it complex. Can a creature that saved be affected by a viral howl? What's the DC for the viral howl's save? Does this affect animal companions? Familiars? Kender or other unintelligent beasts?

Ritual of Becoming: Could have shortened the word count here. I don't think it's that unbalanced at that level, but something needs to be carved out, thus my suggestion of Wild Shape above.

While I like the concept, I don't feel the execution makes it earn my vote. Sorry and good luck!


You had me at "summon spell ferociously rages"...

Qadira RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

This is the first archetype I'm commenting on.

Erik, I'd like to offer my congratulations. You had a good, flavorful idea, and you used interesting mechanics to give it life.

I'll agree that the Call Forth the Furious power is probably too powerful, but I'm not sure, because the power is vague. Many of the Barbarian rage powers are level-dependent, either for their effect (Surprise Accuracy) or for whether the Barbarian can take them (Unexpected Strike), and you don't explain how to determine the enraged animal's level. Hit dice? Level of the Moon Druid? If a 6th-Level Moon Druid uses summon nature's ally III to summon 1d4+1 stirges, can she give them all Intimidating Glare and Terrifying Howl (a power that a Barbarian couldn't take until 8th Level)? If she uses a wand to cast summon nature's ally III five times in quick succession, can she fill the battlefield with super-stirges?

It's not fair to ask you these questions now, Erik, 'cause you can't address them until voting is over, but maybe someone else would be willing to weigh in. The seemingly-limitless nature of Call Forth the Furious concerns me. If it could only be used a certain number of times per day, or only under the open sky during a moon-lit night, I would be happier.

There are several standard Druid abilities that could have been swapped out to balance this one: Wild Empathy (normal animals are skittish around lyanthropes) and Resist Nature's Lure come immediately to mind.

Grand Lodge Star Voter 2014

Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I really like the concept of this archtype. I think it was well written and flavourful, and have cast my vote.

I would like to add a caveat, the archtype may be a little overpowered and but could be corrected in development.

Erik seems to have creative talent, I would love to see more!

Marathon Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014

Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber

This is another of my top four.

It's well-described, interesting, and has me wanting to see more from Erik, since I'm not necessarily looking at the actual viability of the archetype (which I agree is overpowered, but nothing that some level adjustments wouldn't fix), but more what it reveals of his creativity.

Since this round was left wide open as merely "design an archetype," this is exactly what I'm looking for - something that shows not only imagination but an ability to put all the parts together.

I'm hoping that we see more from you.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16 aka Mark Thomas 66

While there are a few mechanical issues that would have to be clarified before final editing, given your excellent use of word count and an array of innovative and thematic abilities that give the druid an interesting place in a lycanthopy based or horror themed campaign, this is one entry that displays the Superstar spark.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

This entry got one of my votes, I really liked this flavor of this class and that is what carried it into the top 8 for me. None of the abilities really jumped out at me, maybe with some more tweaking or playing to the lycanthropic feel of the archetype they would have. I really like the flavor though and hopefully I see you in later rounds.

Good luck.

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32 , Dedicated Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014 aka Standback

Erik, kudos on this. I love the concept, and I think the execution makes it even better. There's a lot of good stuff this round, but yours is far-and-away my favorite so far.

I'll try out a new rubric. I'll be focusing mostly on concept, writing, and theme; I've got a lot less to add on the mechanics side of it.

Resonance
Is the concept a cohesive, identifiable archetype? Do I understand the concept? Is it colorful, interesting, innovative?

The Moon Shaman is a wonderful creation - it's not a familiar trope, yet it's a clear, evocative, and intriguing character concept. It makes an interesting, unusual connection, that really clicks together.

Implementation
Does the implementation of the archetype do justice to the concept? Can the archetype character do the type of things we'd expect him to?

There are issues others have raised with your mechanics, which are very much to the point. But you've brought in a wide range of abilities which I think are extremely clever and unusual, which work beautifully with your theme, and which are quite clear and well-defined. There are points here that definitely need development work, but that work will be starting out on an superb foundation.

I particularly like that you don't make the shaman himself more savage or feral. That would be a natural way to go, but a much less interesting one - this guy gets along well with lycanthropes, guides them, but being one, or even being similar to one, isn't necessarily part of the description. That's a very well-considered distinction, IMHO.

Playability
Would players want to play this archetype? Would this character archetype have a place in a game? Will the archetype's unique flavor be evident in actual gameplay?

This is the kind of concepts that I think players would love to play. It's very flavorful; it fits into the game with no difficulty at all; it would be appropriate for basically any campaign where lycanthropes are accepted to exist.

In this area, I really liked the Lunar Howl ability - it might need a little toning down, but it's a really great idea for an ability; it's easy to see how it would be pretty useful most of the time, and very rarely, on some special occasions, it would be amazingly awesome.

All in all, excellent work. You've definitely got my vote. I also liked your corsage of the captured voice; I hope to see you going far in this contest. Wishing you all the best :D


Erik Freund wrote:

Moon Shaman (Druid)

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): 4, Moon, Fury, Madness, Lycantrophes. It just jives well and is reflected by the powers.
Mechanical Mojo (MM): 3, Everything is fitting the theme and most things are actually new and interesting. But you could have done even more with the concept.
Mechanical Execution (ME): 2. As cool and interesting your abilities are, they are all pretty powerful, and I don't think that the additional restrictions balance it back. It also doesn't conform to the way normal archetypes work, because instead of switching powers it restricts some powers and gives new ones for free.

Final note: Great idea, but mechanical and balance problems are a setback, as well as the fact that it is different form about all other archetypes ( and with that combinable with about all of them, which could open another can of worms).

Total Score: 5.385

Dedicated Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Tales Subscriber

While your ideas are well presented and the concept is interesting I have major problems with how you carried them out.

First "Profanity of Silver" is not something I would like to have in my campaigns. It is either no drawback at all as the need of handling silver is almost non existing or it is a plot element that invariably has a "GM screws player" feel.

Your other abilities, while certainly interesting, are over the top. Really, there is no real drawback here. Druids are already a strong class and this archetype screams powergaming as a Moon Shamans

- gives up the ability to change into elementals & Plants

and receives

+ an awesome buff to his summoned creatures
+ a broken ability that has the power to shut down hordes of opponents for the cost of shutting down your own summons and your animal companion and (at 12th level) becomes unplayable as it pretty much affects anyone (even group mates)!
+ gain all the substantial advantages of a natural lycantrope without the drawbacks normally attached!

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

Another example of a very good concept that struggles with design choices and balance issues. How many abilities for archetypes in the APG don't replace at least one ability? Also, raging is just super sweet. It's a little unimaginative to have all your animals rage all the time, and then get barbarian class features. Maybe if you got us a 'director's cut' version, like some have done in the past, you could give the luny druid one or two rage powers, making her succeptible to the moon's call as well. Then, you could impart one of the druid's abilities to sumoned creatures. Maybe if you want to summon them as raging or magic fanged, you could expend the spell slot when summoing them. You'd have to add some insanity or rage spells to the druid list, which I think is another appropriate feature, which you can use to replace the 'meh' abilities. You don't need the ritual of becoming and the howl doesn't work for me, so those abilities are still on the table.

In the beginning, the concept is one of the very best offered in the round. By the time you finish making rules for it, it is very midle of the road. You might get through to round three on potential, but really think your design and balance issues through as you prepare.


Erik Freund wrote:
Moon Shaman (Druid)

Hey Erik,

I give you big kudos for style. I have played with variations on lunar druids in my own campaign world, though I never got into Lycanthropy.

I think it's a good concept but there are parts that aren't executed well.

1) The profanity of Silver: This SCREAMS werewolves, but doesn't explain why. Of course, neither do werewolves in the game, so that's probably campaign specific. My moon god has no problem with silver, so this wouldn't work in my campaign world.

2) Call forth the Furious: Cool. I like that. It gives some extra power to the summoned monsters. The only thing I would have done was limit the types of monsters, maybe to just wolf type creatures, and werewolves at higher levels.

3) Wild Shape Limitation: Good idea, but not limiting enough, especially for the other benefits gained. Probably should have just switched Wild Shape entirely for natural lycanthropy.

4) Lunar Howl: This is a neat trick, but could be hugely powerful against a really big crowd. Say you were facing an army, you could howl in front of them and the cascading effect could hit thousands.

Finally, you described the character as being able to "shed the wonder of the moon before beast and man alike." I don't see any abilities like that here.

All-in-all a good concept but I think it needs more work.

Ken

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

This archetype is ridiculously overpowered. They give up very little to be able to summon better-than-barbarians and affect entire villages with moon madness. The lunar howl is a neat idea, but it's confusing, would be difficult to implement in play and is, again, very powerful for no drawback.

I will not be voting for this entry.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 16

I want to thank all of the people who have posted analysis and comments in this thread. Your feedback is great, keep it coming.

For those of you that have indicated that you have voted for me: thank you! I am honored to have your vote. Feel free to post that you have done so in the exit-polling thread.

And for those I was unable to impress, I'm sorry, and I hope to knock your socks off next round if I'm given the chance.

And to person still thinking about posting: I'd love to hear what you think about my archetype too!

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

I really like this archetype. It has lots of flavor, makes for a new and interesting type of druid, and is pretty well written. However, with that said, it isn't properly done as an archetype. I could overlook the lack of ability swapping, but not when what you get is too good for the added limitations. As a consequence, I have to give this a no-vote. However, I'd really love to see this one redone in light of the received feedback, and I'm kind of hoping you make the cut to see what you come up with next. You've got interesting designs.

Edit: in particular, I really like the concept of lunar howl, and think with some tweaking it'd be a great ability. Mainly needs a short, short, duration, or some way to snap out of it.


Erik Freund wrote:

Moon Shaman (Druid)

There are druids who exalt the moon as the greatest aspect of nature, revering its power to bring fury and madness. Some act as priests to werewolves, giving them blessings and spiritual guidance. Others act as prophets of the night, shedding the wonder of the moon before beast and man alike.

The Profanity of Silver (Ex): Tying himself to the energies of the moon comes at a cost. If a moon shaman ever carries even an ounce silver for more than a full round, he is considered to have violated his druidic vows, using the same rules for wearing prohibited armor. This includes coins; when shopping, moon shamans ask to receive their change in copper pieces. Even being bound in silver manacles counts as "carrying silver" for this purpose.

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?
Moon shamans, with their emphasis on fury and madness, are druids who apparently favour ideals at the Abyssal end of the druidical spectrum; whilst that doesn't make them ideal dinner companions (some of them may have the unfortunate taste to have allied themselves with Lamashtu for example) it does indicate that they may be more likely to be kindred spirits. If they don't make idiots of themselves because the hostess has silver cutlery or tableware, that is...

How effective a flower-picker does this person seem likely to be?
Charming though their company may be, moon shamans do not have much time for flower picking. Well not unless the flowers in question have a habit of turning into slavering creatures every full moon and rampaging around killing things.

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?
Now this is where it gets tricky. Whilst it is good fun to hire someone capable of conjuring a savage horde of slavering beasts to literally rip an enemy limb from limb, the extreme fussiness of a moon shaman over payment means it's sometimes necessary to settle for the lesser pleasure of retaining a man with a printing press to carry out the literary equivalent instead.

Other comments?
As a random aside, all succubi should do their best (where credible) to encourage bands of mercenaries and trouble-shooters-for-hire to take on moon shamans instead of the much detested arcane specialists in conjuration and summoning. A moon shaman is unlikely to inconvenience a succubus by demanding her services just as she's about to step into a hot bath for a much-needed soak...

Desirability:
Hireable, but terms and conditions mean often unattainable.

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.

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32 aka Hydro

Erik Freund wrote:


Lunar Howl (Su)

That made me grin. What a hilarious ability.

That said, I dig the flavor here, but there are balance issues. They aren't as sever as with some of the other archetypes, but I feel less forgiving of them because it looks less like the designer made mistakes and more like the designer just didn't try to make it balanced.

Call Forth the Furious isn't game breaking, but it's good. It's comparable to Augmented Summoning (better at high-levels), which is a good combat feat with a very subpar prerequisite feat. Did the designer here really think that a silver prohibition would balance that out, or was it just a token penalty?

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

Erik, last round you showed us how to mute your enemies with finesse and a tastefully ruffled accessory. This round you drop the finesse and just rip out your enemy's jugular with some lycanthropic-themed druids. I'm very interested to see what you can do here.

moon shaman wrote:
The Profanity of Silver (Ex): Tying himself to the energies of the moon comes at a cost. If a moon shaman ever carries even an ounce silver for more than a full round, he is considered to have violated his druidic vows

Very thematically appropriate restriction, subject to a pretty high amount of GM control, too. Much more so than the weapon.armor restriction.

moon shaman wrote:
Call Forth the Furious (Su): Each creature a moon shaman conjures with any summon spell ferociously rages, as the barbarian ability, for the duration of the spell that summoned it. Starting at 2nd level, and at every 4th level thereafter, a moon shaman selects a rage power that he imparts to each summoned creature, using the moon shaman’s level in place of the barbarian level.

That's crazy good. You're going to pile this on with Augment Summoning anyway, so your summoned monsters are all going to wind up with +6 to STR and CON, with some AC penalties. Plus the mixing and matching of rage powers makes your summons probably the best in the game.

moon shaman wrote:
Wild Shape (Su): A moon shaman can only use wild shape to transform into animals. He cannot use this ability to adopt the form of elementals or plants.

You do give up some versatility, but I don't think it's enough to properly balance what you are getting from this class.

moon shaman wrote:
Lunar Howl (Su): At 8th level, a moon shaman can howl as a standard action, compelling animals and magical beasts to participate: all such creatures within 15 ft. of him become confused. A successful Will save (DC 10 + 1/2 moon shaman’s level + moon shaman’s Wisdom modifier) means the target cannot be affected by this lunar howl. If a participant in the lunar howl rolls "babble incoherently" for its behavior, instead it howls that round, and all valid creatures within 15 ft. of it must make a Will save or become likewise confused.

Really fun imagery, but has the potential to be too time-consuming to run. The druid class by its very nature monopolizes table time. This seems to add more of that, with "exploding confusion" effects.

moon shaman wrote:
Ritual of Becoming (Su): At 15th level, a moon shaman can transmute afflicted lycanthropy into natural lycanthropy of the same type. The ritual requires 24 uninterrupted hours to perform. The moon shaman can only target an affliction that he carries within himself. Once successful, the effects are permanent, and the moon shaman is immune to further afflicted lycanthropy. This ability replaces timeless body.

Timeless body prevents you from aging. But its use is dictated by the campaign and the GM. Is the campaign going to go on for so many years that aging effects actually happen? If so, great, you have a class ability that does something. With your exchange, you gain some good ability bonuses for being a lycanthrope (including to your primary casting stat) and take few of the drawbacks. What you get is much stronger than what you give up, for most campaigns.

Erik, this is a really great theme but I suspect it's overpowered by quite a bit. Your summons alone are worth the small prices you pay. I'd love to see what this archetype could be once toned down, though.

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

Maybe you could have called this Lycanthrope Shaman, not as evocative I know, but more accurate.

The no silver penalty is only going to apply at low levels and is only really a thematic penalty.

The Call forth the Furious ability could have used the rage spell (+2 Str, +2 con, -2 AC) rather than barbarian rage, and giving rage powers is nuts, because even clerics with the Rage Subdomain don’t get rage powers at this rate.

I actually like the Lunar Howl ability (provided you can’t be affected by viral howls), especially the bit where you replace babbling with howling. At 12th level this is too good because it is a scalable confusion 8ish times a day.

I wish the Ritual of Becoming could be used on others as well as yourself, mostly from a ‘base a campaign around this’ point of view.

This is an interesting and flavorful archetype. I hope that people consider the stylish concept that hints at your creativity, and your previous work, in addition to game balance when voting. Good luck!

Grand Lodge Dedicated Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014

Name and concept: Paizo has used "shaman" in a fairly distinct sense for druid archetypes and I'd probably like to see it even more specific. It's not a generic replacement for "druid".
Archetype mechanics, expression of the concept: There are too many typos scattered through this piece, considering the proficiency that the author shows in other ways.
Profanity of Silver: This is the metal of the moon, which might either make nonsense of this ability or justify it, as shamanic ideas seem to go. On the whole it's a reasonable stricture for a made-up lycanthropic belief. Do alchemical compounds or mithril count? "Shopping" kills the mood pretty fast - is this the sort of expression a professional should use in a published rulebook?
Call Forth the Furious doesn't seem to have a cost. This is at least the equivalent of a feat, even before he gives them rage powers.
Wild Shape restriction seems reasonable. I might even like to see this for some other druid concepts.
Lunar Howl: 15 foot distance seems odd. Loose writing in this section: does "cannot be affected" mean the creature is immune to the moon shaman's howl for some time, or forever? What does "can affect humanoids" mean - does the moon shaman decide which types, or which specific creatures, it affects? The viral spread of the howl could affect a very large number of targets in specific cases. This doesn't have a cost either.
Ritual of Becoming: It took a while to convey the idea that the moon shaman, who is already an afflicted lycanthrope, transforms himself into a natural lycanthrope. Not every moon shaman might benefit from this ability, but then, timeless body might not have much effect on many campaigns either.
Wider relationships: A shaman of lycanthropic forces might .. either go without saying or raise extreme antagonism, depending which animistic culture you ask.

Certainly not the worst presentation in this round. I find it conceptually shaky (others, by all means, might not share my perspective) and see fairly serious mechanical problems, as well as some worrying lapses in writing.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 16

There are less than 24 hours to go before voting closes! It's a tight race for RPG Superstar. If you were thinking "do I want to be the voter that pushes Moon Shaman over the top?" then I think you know what you need to do!

I'll respond to your questions and analysis tomorrow. See you on the other side!

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 16

A hearty THANK YOU to everyone who voted for me, critiqued me, or otherwise offered input and comments. It was great being a competitor here on the Paizo forums. I am honored to take up so much of your time and thought.

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I see the biggest criticism leveled against my archetype was the power. And I think you're right: it did come in a little hot. But it wasn't just wanton: I would like to "share my math" and hopefully build your confidence that I put some care and thought into my designs.

Profanity of Silver - Mostly fluff, I admit. This is mostly to help show you what kind of contestant I'll be and what kind of scenarios I would create as a module author. This is only a minor power-down for the Druid class.

Call Forth the Furious - The chief point of comparison here is Augmented Summoning. The Call Furious ability is strictly worse than that feat (until the rage powers kick in). You get a drop to AC, and you can't get the summons to do certain things. (Granted, the Aug Summ does have a speed-bump prereq to it.)

Now, at low-level, I'd say this is a pretty sweet deal. You get nice hit-and-damage output from it. (The summons probably don't last long enough for health-boost to be relevant.)

However, the "real power" of summons in Pathfinder, as you get to higher level, is the flexibility offered by summons: they can use skills checks, magic spells, etc, etc, that you don't otherwise have. By forcing rage to be auto-on, the moon shaman is denied the ability to ever make use of these abilities. I realize that most of the creatures on the Summon Nature's Ally list don't have too many spells (generally only 1 per tier), but that loss of flexibility is still really felt at high (12+) levels.

Again, all this does is grant the feat Augment Summoning, with -2 AC, and can't do fun tricks with the summons. It's a powerup, but a fairly mild one IMO. However, this is still coming in too strong, because they can stack. I should have included language that makes it so that they cannot stack.

Wild Shape - This is where I made the huge sacrifice. For the moon shaman, the strength of his wild shape stops increasing at level 8. Normally, a druid can expect to have his power keep growing until 12th level. It's no coincidence that those are the two levels where I put in the Howl.

For refernce:
8th level Druid: PlantShapeI and ElementalBodyII are 5th level spells.
10th level Druid: PlantShapeII and ElementalBodyIII are 6th level spells
12th level Druid: PlantShapeIII and ElementalBodyIV are 7th level spells.
That's a lot of power to give up in the mid-ranges.

Lunar Howl - It's a crazy ability. I wanted to really swing for the fences with something nuts, and this is what I came up with. I'll respond in a different post about its mechanics and such, right now I'm just focusing on the balance.

Let's compare to confusion, the spell it's based on. It's a 4th level spell that can be cast over a radius at range. However, Lunar Howl can only be sourced from your location. Given that the Moon Shaman is reliant on summons (not to mention possible animal companion or fellow party members) that makes this a very tricky ability to pull off. He basically has to personally wade into the thick of it himself: not a fun propisition. (And can't turn into an air/earth elemental to make this trivial for him.) And so long as the targets are restricted to animals/beasts, this ability stays niche enough to not be that powerful.

Now, at 12th level, the shackles come off, and it can effect the majority of targets the moon shaman will come up against. At 12th level, we should be expecting 6th level spells (though wild shape implicitly gives us access to 7th level spells). For simplicity's sake, let's consider Lunar Howl to simply be a confusion spell with a very large radius. I think that's pretty balanced for a 6th/7th level spell. (Cross-reference the Widen Spell metamagic feat.)

Rite of Transformation - Basically, it's +2 STR and +2 WIS. That's pretty big. The idea was to "make up for" the fact that Lunar Howl wasn't good enough to cover for the Wild Shape nerf. But on further consideration, the ability closes the gap, and then reaches too far. I should have given up a little bit more.

Some people suggested this ability is only available by GM-fiat, but by the time a party is 15th level, I would expect that if they decided that they wanted to go get infected with lycanthropy, then if it exists at all in the world (which it likely will if the GM okayed this class), then the PCs will be able to succeed in this. But I admit, it's a little weird you have to go on a quest to unlock a class feature.

---

All-in-all, I agree I came in a little bit high on the power. But I hope my reasoning makes a little bit of sense. Please, if you disagree, let me know. I'd love to have my math challenged head-on. It's the only way to grow as a contestant.

Thank you again!

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

Thank you for the insights Erik.

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