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I've seen a lot of interesting takes on the strengths, weaknesses, and abilities of the Thaumaturge and wanted to offer my own view of the Playtest class. I will be trying to touch on some subjects I haven't seen mentioned yet. Things that have been talked on at length I will not mention or will only mention briefly. I am going to put a greater emphasis on things I like or would like tweaked than on the things I dislike or would like removed as well as try to pay attention to both mechanics and flavor.
Summary: The class seems like it can be built a wide variety of different ways but also runs the risk of being ineffective due to being MAD and not the absolute best at the things it can do. In the right hands though I could see it fitting well into many parties.
KAS: I wanted to briefly mention than I love the fact that it is CHA and would not want that changed. Having the Choice between CHA and WIS would be nice as there are few WIS classes and WIS also closely fits the theme of connections and understandings. I actually really enjoy the fact INT isn't a KAS for this particular class. Keeps it more distinct from the Investigator.
Skills: It is tricky to understand where Esoteric Lore class feat becomes more useful when you start trained in the 4 main recall knowledge lore skills. Some advise or additional guidelines on recall knowledge have already been requested by many so I wont expand. Was it intentional that Additional Lore becomes a really attractive option on this class due to the specificity and automatic scaling? If so a tip from the designers could be useful! It may even be useful enough that Additional Lore may be a better starting pickup than Dubious Knowledge.
Find Flaws: I will not mention the DC but I will say that it does not make a lot of sense to me to have to do this for multiple creatures of the same type unlike Hunt Prey (unless the Monster is unique). What makes the most sense to me is if the recall knowledge is successful it should apply to all creatures of the same type or if the monster is unique enough (GM discretion) Thaumaturge get some additional knowledge on what makes it unique (to balance out the Find Flaws only applying to one creature.) Having this optionally Key off Wis could open a lot of new builds up.
Esoteric Antithesis: Since we are not the big brain INT smarty pants, we are the professional who sees connections, trusts his gut and knows the tools of his trade...so the name doesn't seem to fit the theme. Adverse/Occult Curio or something else may fit the flavor better. I enjoy the gigantic opportunity for players to add their own flavor to this and it really should bring a lot of fun and creativity to playing.
Implements: I love each and every option available thematically even if some are harder than others to fit into my playstyle. I would like some clarification though on the steps (if any) to replace or repair a destroyed or lost Implement. The implements are portrayed as almost having a will of their own. It may be cool to run with that concept for a familiar that is unique flavorwise (if not mechanics wise). Maybe a "Posessed Curio" or "Posessed Esoterica" familiar option similar to the leshy familiar or the alchemical familiar.
- Amulet: No changes to recommend. Seems like a solid choice.
- Chalice: Great flavor although seems mechanically weak. Marshall seems way better at distributing temp hp. Amulet better at protecting your team while your fighting. Good for you to keep temp hp topped off but the flavor text seems to imply that this is for caring for others and not focused on your self and your own health. In addition since you will already be building CHA and something for your strikes you do not have a ton of resources to use on WIS or Medicine to make yourself a good healer. No Doctor's Visitation equivalent where you can both move and use it. Adept benefit is very situational. You will most likely have to move yourself out of good flanking positions to get close enough to support allies. You don't have control of when it is sipped on or drained even though you are the one "administering" it. Having the WIS KAS option could help with this issue some by making them good at Treat Wounds and other conventional healing options.
- Lantern: Very cool especially but most builds will have precious little room for WIS. I can see many people in the playtest taking it later as the DCs scale, rather than early when they are more manageable. Having that kind of insight from level 1 is a tall order for casual players.
- Wand: I like the concept but what makes this different from the actual magic wands any caster can use? What makes this unique to the Thaumaturge? May want to consider something about it being an inert/damaged/flawed relic from a great caster or a remnant of a powerful magical phenomenon. Something that once had magic but shouldn't anymore and that only a trained thaumaturge can bridge those connections and activate once again. I think rather than looking at raw power/dmg I think there are a lot of ways to play off the wand theme and make it a useful implement. Maybe bonuses to finding flaws in magical creatures or other informational bonuses. Perhaps more options for different damage types, non damaging effects, or a greater ability to switch between types.
-Weapon: The crowd favorite. I don't think many changes are needed. The ability to use two handed weapons for your weapon implement and still empower them could be a nice class feat (maybe with a negative built in like an AC penalty).
Feats: I will only talk about a few, and not all of them will be in detail
-Binding Oath: Awesome flavor
-Divine Disharmony: ^
-Root to life: Awesome two action effect but I wish it was usable if my ally were not dying. Would make an awesome support option.
-Draw Warding Circle: I wish there was more of an adverse effect on enemies if they fail or crit fail to cross.
-Know-It-All: Further info on how this affects your recall knowledge checks.
-Twin Weakness: Does this work if your just holding your weapon implement?
-Thaumaturge's Demesne: A portal or quick way back to the Demesne would be cool and make it more useful in campaigns with a lot of globetrotting. Love the choice although the late level you get to take it with you and the requirement to legitimately claim a large swath of land can be very restrictive.
Additional Notes: This class seems to gain a ton of power from the Free Archetype variant rule. Giving you easy access to things like Marshall, Loremaster, Talisman Dabbler, ScrollMaster, Champion and Fighter archetypes all of which help fill holes in the kit (like tankiness, combat maneuvers, etc) or open up class feat slots for other thematic options (since several early class feats mimic dedication benefits). I would be careful of the power jump being abnormally big between free archetype play and normal play for this class.
I would like to close by saying I am super excited by what I have seen thus far and that this is already a contender for one of my top favorite classes. Anyone who has taken the time to read this additional thoughts or comments are very welcome :-) I plan to follow up on this after spending more time on the class.