Bevan's page

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On the subject of it making sense or not, I think it's fair to say that certain kinds of magic are out of the province of particular kinds of spell-casters, simply because their magic doesn't manifest in that particular way for them. I think it's better if different spell-casters have particular kinds of things that they cannot do: druids can't animate the dead, bards cannot fire lightning bolts, and arcane spell-casters can't heal.

Actually, I think it should go the opposite way. Instead of sorcerers and wizards getting healing spells, I think they should be removed from bards, restricted only to divine spell-casters. I feel certain kinds of magic should be confined to certain kinds of spell-casters, in order to keep them distinctive, and healing should be solely the province of clerics, druids, etc.

Energy Drain has always been my least favorite D&D rule (well, actually originally it was third after racial level limits and poison, but those two were corrected with 3rd edition). Not only is it unreasonably nasty for a character to lose a couple of class levels with each attack, but it doesn't make sense thematically. What exactly is being sucked out of the person that causes him to become less trained? When does anything approaching this happen in fantasy fiction?

At the very least, all energy drain attacks should be replaced with ability drains (a spectre removing a person's Strength is much easier to visualize then one removing his levels), though permanent ability drains might still be a little too powerful.

The rogue should be proficient in shuriken and possibly bolas as they help to define her subtle and cunning approach to combat.

The druid should be proficient in the short bow (as it is a major hunting weapon) and scythe (for its strong connection to the harvest and similarity to a sickle).

I'm pleased to see that in Pathfinder, clerics are automatically proficient in their deity's favored weapon, but clerics whose deity favores a simple weapon should get somethint to make-up for the loss of a free weapon proficiency. A fair trade-off, I think, is for these clerics to instead get a free Skill Focus in a cleric class skill of their choice.

Also, shouldn't the sap be a simple weapon instead of a martial one? After all, it's such a basic weapon to use, and numerous people practice that form of thuggery without any special weapon training.

In folklore, necromancy has always been most closely tied with speaking with the dead (though in modern fantasy that element of the necromancy does take second place to raising armies of skeletons and zombies), and because of that, I've always felt it should feature much more prominently with necromancers in D&D than it does.

Personally, I think that it should be a wizard spell as well as a cleric one, and be included on the list of necromancer specialist powers as on the Death domain for clerics.

If it comes to that, I think that as it stands the distinction between the Repose and Death domains are a little arbitrary (good death vs. evil death). I think instead the two domains should be titled Death and Undeath, with one domain focusing on death itself and the other domain focusing on zombies, wraiths, and the rest of the undead crew.

I've always disliked Raise Dead, Resurrection, and similar spells as well. Death becomes much less dramatic if people can be returned from the dead. Spells that detect alignment are problematic too, but I've never been big on alignments in general.

I may be inclined to agree. If universal "specialists" are already getting benefits for their choice, then I'm not sure if it's needed to give specialists particular restrictions.

On the further subject of magic school specialization, Speak with Dead needs to be on the list of granted powers for a Necromancer, since it is certainly the most archetypal necromancer ability in folklore (though creating hoards of zombies and skeletons has eclipsed it in modern fantasy). Actually, I've always felt it should be on the wizard spell list in general, though on the Necromancer list doubly so.

Also, I found that the idea of conjurer getting an armor class bonus to be very bizarre. Protection from damage is a power I'd more identify with abjuration than conjuration.

Oh, and the names of the school specialists should be mentioned in the wizard's entry (necromancer, transmuter, conjurer, etc.), as it adds a lot more colour to the school specialization choices.

A few comments about general class skills

-I find the idea of the barbarian possessing a Knowledge class skill to be a little strange, and I think Survival covers the sort of familiarity with the natural he would possess. Stealth would be a more appropriate skill, I think

-As druids are priests of a sort, they should have Knowledge (religion) as a class skill

-since fighters are involved in armies and often serve as guards, and, for that, matter, secular knights are generally fighters, they should possess Knowledge (nobility) as a class skill. It’s a more pivotal Knowledge skill for them than Knowledge (engineering) or Knowledge (geography).

-Knowledge (religion) should be kept for monks. If nothing else, there’s such a strong link between the class’ name and religious knowledge.

Though I can see the justification for folding Diplomacy into Perform (oratory), I think it's an important enough skill that it should stay on its own.

Also, I think that Climb should be a Dex skill. Otherwise you end up having giants, red dragons, etc. who are far greater climbers than they should be, and monkeys, cats, etc. who have to have the Climb rules bent for them because otherwise their climb skills could be horribly low. Frankly, I don't think any skill works as a Strength skill.

One problem I had with 3rd Edition was that every character ended up with a ridiculous amount of languages. Making Speak Language part of the Linguistics skill helps this somewhat, but I still think characters pick up languages too quickly. I'd change it so that you gain a new language with every rank of Linguistics (so someone with three levels in the skill would know three additional languages).

Oh, and Knowledge (nature) should be used to identify dragons and magical beasts instead of Knowledge (arcana) since in a normal fantasy setting, they are part of the natural world. If that makes Knowledge (nature) a little too top-heavy with creature types, then Knowledge (local) works pretty well for identifying monstrous humanoids as well as normal humanoids.