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RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16. 1,554 posts (1,564 including aliases). No reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 2 aliases.


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RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

A bit over six years since I initially finalized this class. It's suffered a bit from ambient power creep, and had a couple of clunky bits to begin with, so I decided to give it another pass. Enjoy!

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

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Iron Mage

A fledgeling wizard picks up a sword and shield and finds that she likes the way they feel in her hands. A young warrior sees an arcane inscription and becomes fascinated by its complexity. Faced with such an experience, some might give up one art to master the other; others would make time to study both disciplines independently. A few are not content with those options. Instead they blend martial and arcane techniques together, creating a unique style which relies on both. These individuals are known as iron mages: toe-to-toe with an opponent, clad in armor and bearing arms, they wield an arsenal of arcane power.

Role: Iron mages do not fling spells from shy safety, protected by more stalwart guardians. They are the bold guardians, the front-line warriors, at home in the heart of a fray and quite capable of defending their allies.

Starting Gold: 5d6x10.
Starting Age: As wizard.

Alignment: Any.
Hit Dice / BAB: d10 / Full.
Good Saves: Fortitude, Will.

Class Skills: Climb (Str), Craft (Int), Intimidate (Cha), Knowledge (arcana) (Int), Knowledge (engineering) (Int), Linguistics (Int), Profession (Wis), Ride (Dex), Spellcraft (Int), Swim (Str).
Skill Ranks per Level: 2 + Int modifier.

-- Spell progression as Paladin/Ranger, plus cantrips as indicated below. --

1st: Bookish arcanist, cantrips (1), school focus, witching 1
2nd: Counter-threat, school power, warding 1
3rd: Curriculum
4th: Arcane conversion, cantrips (2), school spell
5th: Warding 2, witching 2
6th: Fluency
7th: Cantrips (3), curriculum
8th: School power, warding 3
9th: Fluency, improved counter-threat
10th: Witching 3
11th: Curriculum, warding 4
12th: Fluency, greater warding
13th: School power
14th: Warding 5
15th: Curriculum, fluency, witching 4
16th: Greater witching
17th: Warding 6
18th: Fluency
19th: Curriculum, school power
20th: Dire witching, warding 7, witching 5

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Iron mages are proficient with all simple and martial weapons and with light and medium armor and shields (except tower shields). An iron mage does not incur the normal arcane spell failure chance from wearing light or medium armor, or from wearing a shield. Like any other arcane spellcaster, an iron mage wearing heavy armor incurs a chance of spell failure if the spell in question has a somatic component. A multiclass iron mage still incurs the normal arcane spell failure chance for arcane spells received from other classes.

Bookish Arcanist: Though she pursues specialized techniques which slow her mastery of spellcasting, an iron mage studies magic in the same way as a wizard. She can use spell completion and spell trigger items containing sorcerer/wizard spells of any level, and qualifies for the Spell Mastery feat as if she were a wizard.

Cantrips: Iron mages can prepare a number of cantrips, or 0-level spells, each day, as noted on the class table. These spells are cast like any other spell, but they are not expended when cast and may be used again.

Focus School: Every iron mage selects one school of arcane magic as the primary focus of her studies. This choice is made at 1st level, and cannot be changed.

School Power (Sp): At 2nd, 8th, 13th and 19th levels, an iron mage gains an ability determined by her focus school. She may expend a use of the spell-like abilities gained at 13th and 19th level to recharge a staff, as if they were respectively 6th and 9th level spell slots.

Spells: An iron mage casts arcane spells drawn from the sorcerer/wizard spell list. An iron mage must choose and prepare her spells in advance.

To learn, prepare or cast a spell, the iron mage must have an Intelligence score equal to at least 10 + the spell's level. The Difficulty Class for a saving throw against an iron mage's spell is 10 + the spell level + the iron mage's Intelligence modifier.

An iron mage can cast only a certain number of spells of each spell level per day. Her base daily spell allotment is given on the class table. In addition, she receives bonus spells per day if she has a high Intelligence score. When the class table indicates that the iron mage gets 0 spells per day of a given spell level, she gains only the bonus spells she would be entitled to based on her Intelligence score for that spell level.

An iron mage may know any number of spells. She must choose and prepare her spells ahead of time by getting 8 hours of sleep and spending 1 hour studying her spellbook. While studying, the iron mage decides which spells to prepare.

An iron mage's caster level is equal to her iron mage level. However, when casting spells or using spell completion or spell trigger items from schools other than the Universal school or her focus school, she suffers a -3 penalty to her caster level (minimum 1st level).

Spellbooks: An iron mage must study her spellbook each day to prepare her spells. She cannot prepare any spell not recorded in her spellbook, except for read magic, which all iron mages can prepare from memory. A character with levels in both iron mage and wizard can use a single spellbook; though the two classes' spells are distinct when prepared, they are recorded identically and need only be learned once.

An iron mage begins play with a spellbook containing the spells arcane mark, prestidigitation and read magic, plus one 0-level spell from her focus school. At each new iron mage level, she gains one new spell of any spell level that she can cast (based on her new iron mage level) for her spellbook. At any time, an iron mage can also add spells found in other spellbooks to her own.

Witching (Su): An iron mage imbues weapons she wields with arcane power as if using the Arcane Strike feat, granting a damage bonus and causing her attacks to count as magic for the purpose of overcoming damage reduction. The damage bonus granted by this ability is equal to her witching rank, initially 1 and increasing by 1 for every 5 iron mage levels. She gains this benefit on every attack she makes, without needing to spend the swift action normally required to activate Arcane Strike. In addition, the iron mage's weapons are imbued with an effect determined by her focus school. Witching is ineffective against targets more than 30 feet from the iron mage.

Counter-Threat (Ex): Beginning at 2nd level, as part of the action used to cast a spell or activate a spell-like ability, an iron mage can designate one opponent she threatens in melee. The current action does not provoke attacks of opportunity from that opponent. This ability is not limited to spells and spell-like abilities gained from the iron mage class.

Warding (Su): A 2nd level iron mage learns to weave potent defenses into her magical aura. As long as she is conscious she gains a warding benefit determined by her focus school, initially at rank 1. Her warding rank improves by 1 at 5th level and every 3 levels thereafter.

Curriculum: At 3rd level, and every 4 levels thereafter, an iron mage masters a curriculum selected from the list below. Unless otherwise specified, an iron mage cannot select the same curriculum more than once.
- Arcane Companion: The iron mage gains Improved Familiar as a bonus feat and may obtain a familiar as with the wizard's arcane bond ability, adding her iron mage level to her effective wizard level. An iron mage cannot choose the bonded object option of arcane bond, and cannot select or benefit from this curriculum if she has a bonded object.
- Cram Session: The iron mage gains Spell Mastery as a bonus feat. She also gains fluency (see below) with one additional spell.
- Distant Witching: The iron mage's witching and greater witching effects apply to attacks at any range, rather than being limited to targets within 30 feet.
- Fundamentals: The iron mage gains two bonus feats which must be combat, item creation or metamagic feats, or Spell Mastery. She must meet any prerequisites for these feats.
- Greater Focus: The iron mage adds +2 to the DCs of all saving throws against spells and abilities from her focus school. This bonus does not stack with the Spell Focus, Greater Spell Focus or Ability Focus feats.
- Handy Trick: The iron mage can activate her dampening field, expedience, forcecube or stifle ability 2 additional times per day. She can also activate that ability as a swift action, but doing so reduces its duration by 1 round.
- Heavy Metal: The iron mage gains proficiency with heavy armor and tower shields. Her spells ignore any arcane spell failure chance from worn armor or shields. In addition, she can move at her normal speed while wearing medium armor. At 7th level, she can move at her normal speed while wearing heavy armor.
- Metafluency: The iron mage gains Heighten Spell and any one other metamagic feat as bonus feats. She must meet any prerequisites for the selected feat. When applying metamagic to a spell which she has selected for her fluency class feature, that spell is no longer automatically Hightened one level, but the final effective level of the spell is reduced by one (to a minimum of its original level). If she uses fluency to cast a spell spontaneously, she does not gain this benefit but instead can apply metamagic to that spell without increasing its casting time.
- Magewright: The iron mage gains Craft Magic Arms and Armor as a bonus feat. She may substitute a Craft or Profession skill for Spellcraft when creating magic items, and gains a +2 bonus to checks when she does so, as if using the Master Craftsman feat.
- Martial Drill: The iron mage gains any one combat feat as a bonus feat. She must meet any prerequisites for that feat. She now adds her Iron Mage level to her Fighter level to qualify for feats.
- Material Attunement: With an uninterrupted hour of meditation and practice, the iron mage can attune herself to a melee weapon with which she is proficient. When wielding that weapon she gains the benefit of the Eschew Materials feat when casting iron mage spells, and can substitute the weapon for any spell focus item costing 1gp or less. She can also use a hand holding that weapon to perform somatic components. An iron mage can only be attuned in this way with one weapon at a time.
- Remedial Wizardry: The iron mage gains Scribe Scroll as a bonus feat. She no longer suffers a -3 penalty to her caster level for spells from schools other than her focus school and the Universal school. She may prepare one additional additional 0-level spell per day, and immediately learns a number of 0-level wizard spells equal to her Intelligence modifier.
- Twin Style: When wielding a melee weapon with which she is proficient and keeping at least one hand free, the iron mage can use touch spells in tandem with physical attacks. She can cast and deliver a touch spell (or deliver the charge from a held touch spell) as part of a full attack action. This does not incur two-weapon fighting penalties. Spells with a casting time of more than 1 standard action cannot be cast in this way. Additionally, she can cast a swift action touch spell as an immediate action in place of an attack of opportunity.

Arcane Conversion: As a swift action, an iron mage can sacrifice one of her prepared spells of 1st level or higher to increase her witching rank by an amount equal to the sacrificed spell's level for one round.

School Spell: At 4th level, and every 3 levels thereafter, an iron mage learns an additional spell from her focus school, which can be of any level that she can cast.

Fluency: At 6th level, and every 3 levels thereafter, the iron mage learns one spell by rote. She selects a spell which is already in her spellbook. From now on, she can prepare that spell without referring to a spellbook, and can sacrifice a prepared spell of equal or greater level to cast it spontaneously. If prepared normally, the spell uses a slot of its normal level but is treated as Heightened by one level (or one additional level if it is already Heightened). If a 0-level spell is chosen for fluency, the iron mage can cast it spontaneously without sacrificing a prepared spell. The iron mage must select a different spell each time she gains this ability.

Improved Counter-Threat: An iron mage of 9th level or higher never provokes attacks of opportunity from foes she threatens when casting spells or using spell-like abilities.

Greater Warding (Su): A 12th level iron mage gains an additional benefit from her warding, determined by her focus school. She may suppress or resume this effect as a swift action.

Greater Witching (Su): At 16th level, if an iron mage uses the attack action to make a single attack, her witching grants an additional effect depending on her focus school. This effect does not apply to targets more than 30 feet away.

Dire witching: A 20th level iron mage can apply her greater witching effect to any weapon attack. When she uses the attack action, her witching rank is doubled for that attack.

Focus Schools
Each iron mage must choose from among the following schools. The DC to save against most school abilities is equal to 10 + 1/2 the iron mage's level + the iron mage's Intelligence modifier. The DC to save against the school powers gained at 13th and 19th level is determined as if they were 6th and 9th level spells, respectively.

Abjuration
You specialize in hindering your enemies' offense, whether physical or magical.
Witching: Your weapons count as all alignments for the purpose of overcoming damage reduction. A creature damaged by your attack suffers a penalty equal to your witching rank to attack rolls, weapon damage rolls, CMB, and the DC of any saving throws against its spells and abilities. This penalty lasts for one round.
Greater Witching: A creature damaged by your attack finds itself pacified. For one round, it treats all other creatures as if they were protected by the sanctuary spell, using your school power save DC.
Warding: You gain a deflection bonus to AC equal to your warding rank.
Greater Warding: You gain spell resistance equal to your iron mage level + 10.
School powers:
- Dampening Field (Sp): At 2nd level, you can emanate an aura of protective magic which lasts for a number of rounds equal to 1 + your Intelligence bonus. Choose acid, cold, electricity, fire or sonic; all creatures and objects within 10 feet of you gain resist energy 15 against that energy type. At 11th level your dampening field extends to 20 feet, and grants resist energy 30. You can use this ability a number of times per day equal to 3 + your Intelligence modifier.
- Unfettered (Su): Twice per day at 8th level, as a swift action, you can bestow the benefits of freedom of movement to yourself or any creature within 30 feet for a number of rounds equal to your iron mage level. You gain an additional daily use of this ability at 11th, 14th, 17th and 20th levels.
- Greater Dispel Magic (Sp): You can use greater dispel magic as a spell-like ability once per day at 13th level and twice per day at 17th level.
- Prismatic Sphere (Sp): You can use prismatic sphere as a spell-like ability once per day at 19th level.

Evocation
You wield pure energies, both raw destructive elements and controlled fields of force.
Witching: Your weapons have the ghost touch enhancement, and deal 1d4 extra force damage per witching rank you possess.
Greater Witching: A phenomenal wave of force follows your weapon, buffeting any creature or object struck. The target flies up to 10 feet in a direction of your choice, is knocked prone, and is staggered for one round unless it succeeds on a Fortitude saving throw. Huge and Gargantuan targets can only be moved 5 feet by this ability, and Colossal targets are not moved (but still knocked prone and potentially staggered).
Warding: A floating disk of force grants you a shield bonus to AC equal to your warding rank.
Greater Warding: Whenever you are damaged by a physical attack, the impact triggers a burst of force which streaks back to the attacker, dealing 1d4+1 damage per warding rank you possess. Any effect which prevents or absorbs damage from magic missiles affects your greater warding.
School powers:
- Force Cube (Sp): At 2nd level, you can create a cube of force measuring up to 5 feet on each side, occupying any empty space within 30 feet. The cube is transparent, but shimmers visibly. It lasts for a number of rounds equal to 1 + your Intelligence bonus, and otherwise has the same properties as a resilient sphere. At 11th level you can increase your force cube's dimensions, up to 10 feet on each side. You can use this ability a number of times per day equal to 3 + your Intelligence modifier. If you attempt to create a force cube in an occupied space, it fails to appear but still counts against your daily uses.
- Spell Channeling (Su): Twice per day at 8th level, as a swift action, you can imbue a weapon you are wielding with an instantaneous evocation spell which you currently have prepared. Spells with costly material or focus components, or with a casting time greater than 1 standard action, cannot be used with this ability. The next successful attack made with the imbued weapon delivers the spell's effects to the creature struck. Spells delivered in this way do not allow Reflex saving throws, but other saving throws are made as normal and any spell resistance the target possesses must still be overcome. Regardless of the spell's normal targets or area of effect, only the creature or object struck is affected. If there is no meaningful way for the spell to affect the target, it is harmlessly discharged. You cannot imbue a weapon with more than one spell at a time. A weapon only remains charged as long as you wield it, and you can harmlessly discharge an imbued spell as a free action. If a successful attack is not made with the imbued weapon within a number of rounds equal to your iron mage level, the imbued spell is lost. You gain an additional daily use of this ability at 11th, 14th, 17th and 20th levels.
- Forceful Hand (Sp): You can use forceful hand as a spell-like ability once per day at 13th level and twice per day at 17th level.
- Meteor Swarm (Sp): You can use meteor swarm as a spell-like ability once per day at 19th level.

Necromancy
You weave dire magic to confound your foes, and fortify your body with negative energy.
Witching: Your weapons count as piercing, slashing and bludgeoning for the purpose of overcoming damage reduction. A creature damaged by your attack suffers a penalty equal to your witching rank to AC, CMD and saving throws. This penalty takes effect at the end of the current turn, and lasts for one round.
Greater Witching: A creature damaged by your attack suffers a severe curse of unluck for one round. Any time the creature makes an ability check, attack roll, saving throw, or skill check, it must roll twice and take the worse result.
Warding: You gain DR 1/— per warding rank you possess.
Greater Warding: You emanate an unnerving aura of necromantic energy. This aura causes creatures within 30 feet whose hit dice total no more than 1/2 your iron mage level to become shaken, with no save. As a swift action you can momentarily increase the intensity of this aura, giving yourself a frightful presence. When you do, all opponents within 30 feet must succeed on a Will saving throw or become shaken for a number of rounds equal to your warding rank. A successful save makes that creature immune to your frightful presence for 24 hours, though weak creatures are still shaken by your aura. Your frightful presence stacks with your aura, so a creature affected by both becomes frightened.
School powers:
- Stifle (Sp): At 2nd level, you can cause creatures in a 5-foot burst within 30 feet to become fatigued for a number of rounds equal to 1 + your Intelligence bonus if it fails a Fortitude saving throw. At 11th level the burst expands to 10 feet, and a creature you stifle is exhausted for the duration if it fails its save and fatigued even if it succeeds. You can use this ability a number of times per day equal to 3 + your Intelligence modifier.
- False Flesh (Su): Twice per day at 8th level, as an immediate action, you can gain temporary hit points equal to twice your iron mage level. This ability can be activated in time to absorb the damage from an incoming attack or spell. These temporary hit points vanish at the beginning of your next turn. You gain an additional daily use of this ability at 11th, 14th, 17th and 20th levels.
- Eyebite (Sp): You can use eyebite as a spell-like ability once per day at 13th level and twice per day at 17th level.
- Energy Drain (Sp): You can use energy drain as a spell-like ability once per day at 19th level.

Transmutation
You create combat advantages by manipulating time, space and substance.
Witching: Your weapons gain a bonus to attack rolls equal to your witching rank, and bypass any damage reduction which would be overcome by special materials such as cold iron, silver or adamantine. A creature damaged by your attack has all its modes of movement reduced by 5 feet + 5 feet per witching rank you possess, to a minimum of 5 feet, for one round.
Greater Witching: A creature damaged by your attack becomes slowed for one round.
Warding: You gain an enhancement bonus to natural armor equal to your warding rank.
Greater Warding: You have a 5% chance per Iron Mage level to ignore extra damage from critical hits and sneak attacks.
School powers:
- Expedience (Sp): At 2nd level, you can grant the effects expeditious retreat to yourself or another creature within 30 feet for a number of rounds equal to 1 + your Intelligence bonus. At 11th level, you instead grant the effects of haste. You can use this ability a number of times per day equal to 3 + your Intelligence modifier.
- Distortion (Su): Twice per day at 8th level, as a swift action, you can change the size of yourself or one creature within 30 feet of you, increasing or decreasing it by one size category. This effect lasts for a number of rounds equal to your iron mage level. An unwilling creature may resist this effect with a Fortitude saving throw. This ability is otherwise identical to enlarge person or reduce person. You gain an additional daily use of this ability at 11th, 14th, 17th and 20th levels.
- Disintegrate (Sp): You can use disintegrate as a spell-like ability once per day at 13th level and twice per day at 17th level.
- Etherealness (Sp): You can use etherealness as a spell-like ability once per day at 19th level.

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

1. WAUGH. (No further comment.)

2. Caliga: the base progression is exactly like the paladin, gaining 1st-level spells at level 4. However, as a special class ability they get cantrips starting at first level. So they start with a spellbook containing four spells, and gain spells at 2nd and 3rd level, but those are all 0-level spells. Later on each specialization gets spell-like abilities which imitate one 6th and one 9th level spell, but these are handled separately from the basic class progression which caps out at 4th level spells.

The one place where the basic class rules are different from a paladin or ranger is that you start with a caster level, and it's equal to your full class level rather than your class level minus three. For spells which aren't part of your specialization or Universal you get a -3 CL penalty, which makes it mostly the same in practice, but there are a few situations (e.g. item creation and associated feats) where it's important to remember that your base CL is technically higher.

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

Quick update so nobody thinks I've vanished again: currently working with my ISP to figure out why I can't access my hosting space via FTP. Thought it would be resolved this week but apparently not. :P

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

Sphynx wrote:
Nice catch, and nice Curric, and how the heck did I not see that??? o.O It should however, probably be made more clear that they do still need a hand free to do somatic spells, because people reading this will likely be people who don't know the rules by heart and are seeing the cast/combat combo going on.

That's actually a formatting issue: if this were web-only I'd have that text in there, but the print version of this fills four pages and it's a balancing act to prevent it from pushing onto five. Reminder text is always the first thing to cut. You could be right that I should prioritize this one, though. Will review before making the PDF public. (Official: settworks.com, nothing up yet but the domain and host are confirmed.)

Quote:
But it does remain that they can ignore the Tower Shield's -50% easily. I think that's bad. That particular penalty should never be negated, in my opinion.

I'm curious: why not? Tower shields are considered to be among the worst options in the game by optimization folk, because of the -2 penalty to hit. Personally I think they have good uses, and if this were a six-level casting class or had a custom spell list with some early access, I could see the concern; but with only late and restricted access to the wizard list, it just doesn't seem worth worrying about.

Quote:
I think it's the fact that you can pretty much guarantee speed redux with unstoppable hits by sacrificing a level 4 spell with your already lowered attack roll target number.

You can do that four rounds a day, five if you really push Intelligence. Absolutely agreed that it's powerful and unique, but remember that at the same level as the iron mage (potentially) gains his first 4th-level spell, a pure wizard can cast prismatic spray.

To be honest, if you're going to worry about any of the school penalties, I'd keep an eye on what necromancy can do for the whole party.

Quote:
I also don't think I'd allow him to MC into any arcane classes either... too much bookwork to track which spells he gets some bonuses with, and how it expands into Prestige Classes like Arcane Archer.

Nothing different here from any other casting class. It's not common for people to go bard/sorcerer, but it probably happens. There was even a specific prestige class for wizard/sorcerer in one of the later 3.5 books!

Marc Radle wrote:
It's certainly quite different from the fighter/arcane caster hybrid I came up with!

Hey that reminds me, I should pick that up right now. :)

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

Sphynx wrote:
Ok, had some time to think it over clearly. The problem is that you don't actually allow these casters to use spells with somatic components if they're holding a weapon and shield (they MUST have 1 hand free as per the definition of Somatic).

There's a curriculum for that: Weapon Component, last one in the list. Not every iron mage will want it, and that's not just because of the Twin Style alternative...

Quote:
I assume that the intent is allowing them to wield a weapon/shield and cast spells, even if they have somantic components...

Actually, no! The iron mage is not inherently a combat-casting gish. It can be built in that direction, but can be perfectly viable without the ability to sling spells between physical attacks. Spell-likes require no free hand, and even if all your slots are filled with non-combat utility like comprehend languages and knock (which can be just as beneficial to the party as scorching ray), you've always got the option of Arcane Conversion.

Quote:
allowing an up to 85% chance of failure to be completely written off (since your current wording allows Tower Shields as well)

...but does not give proficiency with them, and non-proficiency means an extra -10 on attacks which is far more important to this class. That wording was deliberate; making use of it will cost a feat, or a curriculum (Heavy Metal), or a Fighter dip. Fine with me.

Quote:
Also, haven't completely analyzed it yet, but something about the Transmutation witching effect is setting off alarms in my head. I know there's something broken with it, just can't think of what it is...

Is it any of these?

  • Hit bonuses are very good in general. I've run a lot of numbers; the transmuter iron mage doesn't do broken damage compared to similarly-built fighters, rangers or paladins.
  • An archer transmuter can do very mean things to a melee-only opponent. This is extremely terrain- and opponent-dependent. Yes, it can be pretty broken in certain situations, but the GM has to create/allow those situations; the issue is essentially the same as a ranger or paladin's enormous bonuses against certain creatures.
  • Under 3.5e rules, I believe the speed reduction would have knocked some flying creatures out of the air. Not an issue with Pathfinder, the only threshold is "half speed" which is reduced in proportion to the base speed.
  • When stacked with the slow effect from greater witching, it can reduce a target's movement to zero (5, then half, then rounded down to the nearest multiple of 5). This is deliberate (dude, 16th level!), and remember that even a creature with a speed of zero can move five feet as a full-round action.
If it's something else, get back to me. :)

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

VM mercenario wrote:
If I have a magic weapon, do I gain the witchin bonus to damage and the magic bonus from the weapon?

Yes. Witching is a modification of the Arcane Strike feat, which provides an untyped damage bonus. It doesn't stack with Arcane Strike or with itself, but it does stack with pretty much everything else. This applies to both the base damage from the ability and the extra effect from your school, so a Transumation iron mage effectively adds his witching rank to any weapon enhancement.

Note that an iron mage can take the Magewright curriculum at level 3, and make actual magic weapons earlier than anyone else!

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

freduncio wrote:

About the Twin Style curricula, since you can wield a bow with only one hand (you just need two to fire the arrow) it's a valid choice for this curricula?

If yes, then I will go bow route, wearing a spiked gaunglet for counter-threat purposes, get Distant Witching and probably Martial Drill for Improved Point-Blank Shoot, or Weapon Spec., don't really know (maybe 2 level dip in fighter to get both plus Greater Weapon Spec). Can't wait... >:]

The spiked gauntlet qualifies for Twin Style, because it's a melee weapon with which you are proficient. However, the bow does not qualify (it isn't melee); and if you're using the spiked gauntlet to threaten, that hand is not available for casting. (This isn't specified under Twin Style because it's necessary for casting in general.) (Edit: Not to mention, a gauntleted hand isn't empty for the purpose of touch spells.) There are a few options to make this work, but nearly all of them depend on DM rulings.

1. Can you change what your hands are being used for more than once per round? That is, if you're firing arrows, are both hands on the bow all round? My ruling, based on the idea that things are happening simultaneously and a full-round attack actually fills all six seconds rather than the specific moment of your turn, is that NO, you cannot do this. Similarly, if you're wielding a two-handed weapon, you have to choose whether you've got both hands on it (and can attack/threaten), or are just holding it in one hand (and can cast spells): this decision lasts until the beginning of your next turn. However, I know that MANY people assume you can change hand configuration as much as you want, and your DM might allow it.

2. Does Catch Off-Guard technically make you proficient with improvised weapons, or is there no such thing as "improvised proficiency" and it only allow you to use them without penalty? Personally I allow you to treat this as actual proficiency (to compensate I'm pretty stingy about the damage of improvised weapons), but some DMs will want to lock things down a bit more.

3. Does the Improved Unarmed Strike feat allow only punches, or does it allow kicks too? I'm wishy-washy about this. Makes sense either way; punching is more common and seems implied by a lot of the rules text, but it's never explicitly stated so maybe kicks and head-butts are allowed. On the other hand, it makes monks a little more special if they're the only ones who get to be armed with their hands tied.

So with those questions in mind, here are the options I see for using Twin Style with ranged attacks:

  • Daggers, shortspears, or some other one-handed weapon which is good for both melee and throwing. This one is unambiguously legal: you threaten with that weapon, and your other hand is completely free. (Javelins are up to the DM, related to ruling #2.)
  • Catch Off-Guard, allowing you to use the bow as a crappy club and threaten with it. Depends on ruling #2 making you "proficient," and on ruling #1 allowing you to cast with your arrow hand, and also on the GM allowing the bow as an improvised club. (If it's anything but a shortbow, staff is probably more appropriate, requiring two hands to wield.)
  • One level of monk. You threaten without using your hands. Depends on ruling #1 as above.
  • Improved Unarmed Strike, as monk. Depends on rulings #1 and #3.
  • Light crossbow, already loaded, combined with a level of monk. Unambiguously legal.
  • Light crossbow and Catch Off-Guard (with ruling #2) or Improved Unarmed Strike (with ruling #3).

P.S. hooray Brazil! I need to visit there after I get a little better at capoeira. :)

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

You may have missed that each curriculum can only be taken once, just like rogue talents. He can only get two bonus fighter feats, one from Martial Drill and one from Bonus Feat. That's nine feats less than a fighter, or eleven less if you prefer other curricula. No competition.

He memorizes spells better than a wizard, but they're always much weaker spells. The wizard more than makes up for it in superior power. Even the high-end spell-likes are two levels behind the wizard, and you can't just pick another one when they're useless that day. Counter-threat is destroyed by sunder, disarm, or a reach weapon; it's solid but not airtight. Armored casting is sort of this class's thing, the whole point is to have an arcane counterpart to the paladin, someone who can replace the party fighter.

Witching is the class's iconic ability, and yeah, it's good. But at first level rage is nearly twice as good, and later on having a magic weapon isn't really something special. I tried imposing resource management on witching but it was always clunky and ultimately seemed unnecessary.

There were nine public drafts posted here before this version; piles of feedback, extensive number-crunching and a fair bit of actual playtesting. Many concerns have been raised and investigated. Fighters are just as tough and better at consistent raw damage, rangers and paladins are slightly weaker on baseline but far better against their favored foes, wizards and sorcerers are patently superior spellcasters by any measure. I'm quite happy with the overall design and balance, which is why it says "final" in the topic line. :)

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

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Iron Mage

A fledgeling wizard picks up a sword and shield and finds that she likes the way they feel in her hands. A young warrior sees an arcane inscription and becomes fascinated by its complexity. Faced with such an experience, some might give up one art to master the other; others would make time to study both disciplines independently. A few are not content with those options. Instead they blend martial and arcane techniques together, creating a unique style which relies on both. These individuals are known as iron mages: toe-to-toe with an opponent, clad in armor and bearing arms, they wield an arsenal of arcane power.

Role: Iron mages do not fling spells from shy safety, protected by more stalwart guardians. They are the bold guardians, the front-line warriors, at home in the heart of a fray and quite capable of defending their allies.

Starting Gold: 5d6x10.
Starting Age: As wizard.

Alignment: Any.
Hit Dice / BAB: d10 / Full.
Good Saves: Fortitude, Will.

Class Skills: Climb (Str), Craft (Int), Intimidate (Cha), Knowledge (arcana) (Int), Knowledge (engineering) (Int), Linguistics (Int), Profession (Wis), Ride (Dex), Spellcraft (Int), Swim (Str).
Skill Ranks per Level: 2 + Int modifier.

-- Spell progression as Paladin/Ranger, plus cantrips as indicated below. --

1st: Bookish arcanist, cantrips (1), school focus, witching 1
2nd: Counter-threat, school power, warding 1
3rd: Curriculum
4th: Arcane conversion, cantrips (2), school spell
5th: Warding 2, witching 2
6th: Fluency
7th: Cantrips (3), curriculum
8th: School power, warding 3
9th: Fluency, improved counter-threat
10th: Witching 3
11th: Curriculum, warding 4
12th: Fluency, greater warding
13th: School power
14th: Warding 5
15th: Curriculum, fluency, witching 4
16th: Greater witching
17th: Warding 6
18th: Fluency
19th: Curriculum, school power
20th: Dire witching, warding 7, witching 5

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Iron mages are proficient with all simple and martial weapons and with light and medium armor and shields (except tower shields). An iron mage does not incur the normal arcane spell failure chance from wearing light or medium armor, or from wearing a shield. Like any other arcane spellcaster, an iron mage wearing heavy armor incurs a chance of spell failure if the spell in question has a somatic component. A multiclass iron mage still incurs the normal arcane spell failure chance for arcane spells received from other classes.

Bookish Arcanist: An iron mage gains Scribe Scroll as a bonus feat at 1st level. Though she pursues specialized techniques which slow her mastery of spellcasting, an iron mage studies magic in the same way as a wizard. She can use spell completion and spell trigger items containing sorcerer/wizard spells of any level, and qualifies for the Spell Mastery feat as if she were a wizard.

Cantrips: Iron mages can prepare a number of cantrips, or 0-level spells, each day, as noted on the class table. These spells are cast like any other spell, but they are not expended when cast and may be used again.

Focus School: Every iron mage selects one school of arcane magic as the primary focus of her studies. This choice is made at 1st level, and cannot be changed.

School Power (Sp): At 2nd, 8th, 13th and 19th levels, an iron mage gains an ability determined by her focus school.

Spells: An iron mage casts arcane spells drawn from the sorcerer/wizard spell list. An iron mage must choose and prepare her spells in advance.

To learn, prepare or cast a spell, the iron mage must have an Intelligence score equal to at least 10 + the spell level. The Difficulty Class for a saving throw against an iron mage's spell is 10 + the spell level + the iron mage's Intelligence modifier.

An iron mage can cast only a certain number of spells of each spell level per day. Her base daily spell allotment is given on the class table. In addition, she receives bonus spells per day if she has a high Intelligence score. When the class table indicates that the iron mage gets 0 spells per day of a given spell level, she gains only the bonus spells she would be entitled to based on her Intelligence score for that spell level.

An iron mage may know any number of spells. She must choose and prepare her spells ahead of time by getting 8 hours of sleep and spending 1 hour studying her spellbook. While studying, the iron mage decides which spells to prepare.

An iron mage's caster level is equal to her iron mage level. However, when casting spells or using spell completion items from schools other than the Universal school or her focus school, she suffers a -3 penalty to her caster level (minimum 1st level).

Spellbooks: An iron mage must study her spellbook each day to prepare her spells. She cannot prepare any spell not recorded in her spellbook, except for read magic, which all iron mages can prepare from memory. A character with levels in both iron mage and wizard can use a single spellbook; though the two classes' spells are distinct when prepared, they are recorded identically and need only be learned once.

An iron mage begins play with a spellbook containing the spells arcane mark, prestidigitation and read magic, plus one 0-level spell from her focus school. At each new iron mage level, she gains one new spell of any spell level that she can cast (based on her new iron mage level) for her spellbook. At any time, an iron mage can also add spells found in other spellbooks to her own.

Witching (Su): An iron mage imbues her weapons with arcane power as if using the Arcane Strike feat, granting a damage bonus and causing her attacks to count as magic for the purpose of overcoming damage reduction. The damage bonus granted by this ability is equal to her witching rank, initially 1 and increasing by 1 for every 5 iron mage levels. She gains this benefit on every attack she makes, without needing to spend the swift action normally required to activate Arcane Strike. In addition, the iron mage's weapons are imbued with an effect determined by her focus school. Witching is ineffective against targets more than 30 feet from the iron mage.

Counter-Threat (Ex): Beginning at 2nd level, as part of the action used to cast a spell or activate a spell-like ability, an iron mage can designate one opponent she threatens in melee. The current action does not provoke attacks of opportunity from that opponent. This ability is not limited to spells and spell-like abilities gained from the iron mage class.

Warding (Su): A 2nd level iron mage learns to weave potent defenses into her magical aura. As long as she is conscious she gains a warding benefit determined by her focus school, initially at rank 1. Her warding rank improves by 1 at 5th level and every 3 levels thereafter.

Curricula: At 3rd level, and every 4 levels thereafter, an iron mage masters a curriculum selected from the list below. An iron mage cannot select the same curriculum more than once.
- Bonus Feat: The iron mage gains a bonus feat, for which she must meet any prerequisites. This feat must be a combat, item creation or metamagic feat, or Spell Mastery.
- Cram Session: The iron mage gains Spell Mastery as a bonus feat. She also gains fluency (see below) with one additional spell.
- Distant Witching: The iron mage's witching and greater witching effects apply to attacks at any range, rather than being limited to targets within 30 feet.
- Familiar: The iron mage obtains a familiar. This ability functions like the wizard arcane bond ability, using the iron mage's class level as her effective wizard level. If the iron mage already has a familiar, her class level stacks with levels from any other class which grants a familiar to determine her effective wizard level. An iron mage may not select the bonded item benefit of the arcane bond ability, and cannot select this curriculum if she already possesses a bonded item.
- Greater Focus: Spells and abilities from the iron mage's focus school gain a +2 bonus to the DCs of any saving throws they generate. This ability does not stack with bonuses granted by the Spell Focus, Greater Spell Focus or Ability Focus feats.
- Handy Trick: The iron mage can activate her dampening field, expedience, forcecube or stifle ability 2 additional times per day. She can also activate that ability as a swift action, but doing so reduces its duration by 1 round.
- Heavy Metal: The iron mage gains proficiency with heavy armor and tower shields. Her spells ignore any arcane spell failure chance from worn armor or shields.
- Metafluency: The iron mage gains any one metamagic feat as a bonus feat. She must meet any prerequisites for that feat. When applying metamagic to a spell which she has selected for her fluency class feature, that spell is no longer automatically Hightened one level, but the final effective level of the spell is reduced by one (to a minimum of its original level). If she uses fluency to cast a spell spontaneously, she does not gain this benefit but instead can apply metamagic to that spell without increasing its casting time.
- Magewright: The iron mage gains Craft Magic Arms and Armor as a bonus feat. She also chooses one of Craft (armor), Craft (bows) or Craft (weapons) and gains Skill Focus for that skill as a bonus feat.
- Martial Drill: The iron mage gains any one combat feat as a bonus feat. She must meet any prerequisites for that feat. For the purpose of meeting feat prerequisites she is considered to have a number of Fighter levels equal to her iron mage level, in addition to any actual fighter levels she may possess.
- Remedial Wizardry: The iron mage no longer suffers a -3 penalty to her caster level for spells from schools other than her focus school and the Universal school. She may prepare one additional additional 0-level spell per day, and immediately learns a number of 0-level wizard spells equal to her Intelligence modifier.
- Twin Style: When wielding a melee weapon with which she is proficient and keeping at least one hand empty and unrestrained, the iron mage can use touch spells in tandem with physical attacks. She can cast and deliver a touch spell (or deliver the charge from a held touch spell) as part of a full attack action, or in place of her melee attack when making an attack of opportunity. This does not incur two-weapon fighting penalties, but the touch attack and any concentration checks required to cast the spell suffer a -5 penalty. Spells with a casting time of more than 1 standard action cannot be cast in this way. When casting in place of an attack of opportunity, the iron mage must designate the target of that attack as her counter-threat opponent.
- Weapon Component: With an uninterrupted hour of meditation and practice, the iron mage can attune herself to a melee weapon with which she is proficient. When wielding that weapon she gains the benefit of the Eschew Materials feat when casting iron mage spells, and can substitute the weapon for any spell focus item costing 1gp or less. She can also use a hand holding that weapon to perform somatic components. An iron mage can only be attuned in this way with one weapon at a time.

Arcane Conversion: As a swift action, an iron mage can sacrifice one of her prepared spells of 1st level or higher to increase her witching rank by an amount equal to the sacrificed spell's level for one round.

School Spell: At 4th level, and every 3 levels thereafter, an iron mage learns an additional spell from her focus school, which can be of any level that she can cast.

Fluency: At 6th level, and every 3 levels thereafter, the iron mage learns one spell by rote. She selects a spell which is already in her spellbook. From now on, she can prepare that spell without referring to a spellbook, and can sacrifice a prepared spell of equal or greater level to cast it spontaneously. If prepared normally, the spell uses a slot of its normal level but is treated as Heightened by one level (or one additional level if it is already Heightened). If a 0-level spell is chosen for fluency, the iron mage can cast it spontaneously without needing to sacrifice a prepared spell. The iron mage must select a different spell each time she gains this ability.

Improved Counter-Threat: An iron mage of 9th level or higher never provokes attacks of opportunity from foes she threatens when casting spells or using spell-like abilities.

Greater Warding (Su): A 12th level iron mage gains an additional benefit from her warding, determined by her focus school. She may suppress or resume this effect as a swift action.

Greater Witching (Su): At 16th level, if an iron mage uses the attack action, her attack causes an additional effect depending on her focus school. This effect does not apply to targets more than 30 feet away.

Dire witching: A 20th level iron mage can apply her greater witching effect to any weapon attack. When she uses the attack action, her witching rank is doubled for that attack.

Focus Schools
Each iron mage must choose from among the following schools. The DC to save against most school abilities is equal to 10 + 1/2 the iron mage's level + the iron mage's Intelligence modifier. The DC to save against the school powers gained at 13th and 19th level is determined as if they were 6th and 9th level spells, respectively.

Abjuration
You specialize in hindering your enemies' offense, whether physical or magical.
Witching: Your weapons count as all alignments for the purpose of overcoming damage reduction. A creature damaged by your attack suffers a penalty equal to your witching rank to attack rolls, weapon damage rolls, CMB, and the DC of any saving throws caused by its spells or abilities. This penalty lasts for one round.
Greater Witching: A creature damaged by your attack finds itself pacified. For one round, it treats all other creatures as if they were protected by the sanctuary spell.
Warding: You gain a deflection bonus to AC equal to your warding rank.
Greater Warding: You gain spell resistance equal to your iron mage level + 10.
School powers:
- Dampening Field (Sp): At 2nd level, you can emanate an aura of protective magic which lasts for a number of rounds equal to 1 + your Intelligence bonus. Choose acid, cold, electricity, fire or sonic; all creatures and objects within 10 feet of you gain resist energy 10 against that energy type. At 11th level your dampening field grants resist energy 20. You can use this ability a number of times per day equal to 3 + your Intelligence modifier.
- Unfettered (Su): Once per day at 8th level, as a swift action, you can bestow the benefits of the freedom of movement spell to yourself or any creature within 30 feet for a number of rounds equal to 1/2 your iron mage level. You can use this ability twice per day at 14th level, and 3 times per day at 20th level.
- Greater Dispel Magic (Sp): You can use greater dispel magic as a spell-like ability once per day at 13th level and twice per day at 17th level.
- Prismatic Sphere (Sp): You can use prismatic sphere as a spell-like ability once per day at 19th level.

Evocation
You wield pure energies, both raw destructive elements and controlled fields of force.
Witching: Your weapons are considered to have the ghost touch enhancement, and additionally deal 1d4 extra force damage per witching rank you possess.
Greater Witching: A wave of force follows your weapon, buffeting any creature or object struck. The target flies 10 feet in a direction of your choice and is knocked prone. Huge and Gargantuan targets are only moved 5 feet by this ability, and Colossal targets are not moved (but still knocked prone). You can only push the target in a straight line, and it can't move closer to you than the square it started in. If an obstacle prevents the target's motion, it and the obstacle each take 1d6 points of damage, and the target stops in the space adjacent to the obstacle.
Warding: A floating disk of force grants you a shield bonus to AC equal to your warding rank.
Greater Warding: Whenever you are damaged by a physical attack, the impact triggers a burst of force which streaks back to the attacker, dealing damage equal to your warding rank. Ranged attackers take this damage only if they are within 30 feet of you. Any effect which prevents or absorbs damage from magic missiles also affects your greater warding.
School powers:
- Force Cube (Sp): At 2nd level, you can create a cube of force measuring up to 5 feet on each side, occupying any empty space within 30 feet. The cube is transparent, but shimmers visibly. It lasts for a number of rounds equal to 1 + your Intelligence bonus, and otherwise has the same properties as a resilient sphere. At 11th level you can increase your force cube's dimensions, up to 10 feet on each side. You can use this ability a number of times per day equal to 3 + your Intelligence modifier. If you attempt to create a force cube in an occupied space, it fails to appear but still counts against your daily uses.
- Spell Channeling (Su): Once per day at 8th level, as a swift action, you can imbue a weapon you are wielding with an instantaneous evocation spell which you currently have prepared. Spells with costly material or focus components, or with a casting time greater than 1 standard action, cannot be used with this ability. The next successful attack made with the imbued weapon delivers the spell's effects to the creature struck. Spells delivered in this way do not allow Reflex saving throws, but other saving throws are made as normal and any spell resistance the target possesses must still be overcome. Regardless of the spell's normal targets or area of effect, only the creature or object struck is affected. If there is no meaningful way for the spell to affect the target, it is harmlessly discharged. If a successful attack is not made with the imbued weapon within a number of rounds equal to 1/2 your iron mage level, the imbued spell is lost. You can use this ability twice per day at 14th level, and 3 times per day at 20th level.
- Forceful Hand (Sp): You can use forceful hand as a spell-like ability once per day at 13th level and twice per day at 17th level.
- Meteor Swarm (Sp): You can use meteor swarm as a spell-like ability once per day at 19th level.

Necromancy
You weave dire magic to confound your foes, and fortify your body with negative energy.
Witching: Your weapons count as piercing, slashing and bludgeoning for the purpose of overcoming damage reduction. A creature damaged by your attack suffers a penalty equal to your witching rank to AC, CMD and saving throws. This penalty takes effect at the end of the current turn, and lasts for one round.
Greater Witching: A creature damaged by your attack suffers a severe curse of unluck for one round. Any time the creature makes an ability check, attack roll, saving throw, or skill check, it must roll twice and take the worse result.
Warding: You gain DR 1/— per warding rank you possess.
Greater Warding: You emanate an unnerving aura of necromantic energy. This aura causes creatures within 30 feet whose hit dice total no more than 1/2 your iron mage level to become shaken, with no save. As a swift action you can momentarily increase the intensity of this aura, giving yourself a frightful presence. When you do, all opponents within 30 feet must succeed on a Will saving throw with DC equal to 10 + 1/2 your iron mage level + your Intelligence modifier or become shaken for a number of rounds equal to your warding rank. A successful save makes that creature immune to your frightful presence for 24 hours, though weak creatures are still shaken by your aura. Your frightful presence stacks with your aura, so a creature affected by both becomes frightened.
School powers:
- Stifle (Sp): At 2nd level, you can cause a creature within 30 feet to become fatigued for a number of rounds equal to 1 + your Intelligence bonus if it fails a Fortitude saving throw. At 11th level a creature you stifle is exhausted for the duration if it fails its save, and fatigued even if it succeeds. You can use this ability a number of times per day equal to 3 + your Intelligence modifier.
- False Flesh (Su): Once per day at 8th level, as an immediate action, you can gain temporary hit points equal to twice your iron mage level. This ability can be activated in time to absorb the damage from an incoming attack or spell. These temporary hit points vanish at the beginning of your next turn. You can use this ability twice per day at 14th level, and 3 times per day at 20th level.
- Eyebite (Sp): You can use eyebite as a spell-like ability once per day at 13th level and twice per day at 17th level.
- Energy Drain (Sp): You can use energy drain as a spell-like ability once per day at 19th level.

Transmutation
You create combat advantages by manipulating time, space and substance.
Witching: You gain a bonus to attack rolls equal to your witching rank, and your weapons bypass any damage reduction which would be overcome by special materials such as cold iron, silver or adamantine. A creature damaged by your attack suffers a penalty to all of its movement speeds equal to 10 feet × your witching rank. This penalty lasts for one round, and cannot reduce a creature's movement to less than 5 feet.
Greater Witching: A creature damaged by your attack becomes slowed for one round (as the slow spell).
Warding: You gain an enhancement bonus to natural armor equal to your warding rank.
Greater Warding: Your natural reach increases by 5 feet and opponents flanking you do not receive the usual +2 bonus to attack.
School powers:
- Expedience (Sp): At 2nd level, you can grant the effects of the expeditious retreat spell to yourself or another creature within 30 feet for a number of rounds equal to 1 + your Intelligence bonus. At 11th level, you instead grant the effects of haste. You can use this ability a number of times per day equal to 3 + your Intelligence modifier.
- Distortion (Su): Once per day at 8th level, as a swift action, you can change the size of yourself or one creature within 30 feet of you, increasing or decreasing it by one size category. This effect lasts for a number of rounds equal to 1/2 your iron mage level. An unwilling creature is entitled to a Fortitude saving throw. Except as noted above, this ability is equivalent to enlarge person or reduce person and does not stack with similar effects. You can use this ability twice per day at 14th level, and 3 times per day at 20th level.
- Disintegrate (Sp): You can use disintegrate as a spell-like ability once per day at 13th level and twice per day at 17th level.
- Etherealness (Sp): You can use etherealness as a spell-like ability once per day at 19th level.

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

Man, that edit window catches me every time... here's the final thread.

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

Final version will be up as soon as I reformat it for BBcode. It'll be a fresh thread, I'll add a link here when it's ready.

PDF is ready except for license/copyright information. I've decided to heed my GF's constant urging and set up a website/blog for this and my other gaming-related ventures. Should be able to secure proper hosting and get something basic up within the next week; that's where I'll release the PDF.

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

Okay... I've left this hanging for entirely too long, and at this point I'm becoming increasingly embarrassed to even show up here because of how long I've left it hanging, so I need to kill that vicious circle before it gets any worse. :P

Short explanation is, artist troubles; but the artist is not to blame for me letting it sit during said troubles. When I left off I was talking to Louis Porter about starting an imprint, but we've been out of contact for about as long as I've been silent here, and I'm not sure the offer's still on the table; I wouldn't be remotely offended at this point if he just told me, "you blew it."

I'm going to properly wrap this up one way or another, because the last version publicly posted isn't quite the production version and at the very least the community should have access to the final revisions. I've yet to even review the most recent Paizo class drafts, I don't know whether the Iron Mage is still sufficiently different from the Magus to justify release as a serious product, and on top of that I'm questioning whether I've got the drive and focus to really do this professionally, at least right now. (Flat-out missing Superstar 2011 was a bad thing. Having no gaming group for the past six months hasn't helped.) So unless there arises a great clamor pleading for my talent, I'm leaning toward a free PDF release; nothing special but at least polished and print-ready.

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

Okay, there's one thing I'm a little confused about in this completely off-topic discussion: Mistah Green, is your group's judgement that PF made casters even stronger based on playing with the Spell Compendium? Because hell yeah, they sure would be. Have you tried pure, one-book PF at all?

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

Alexander Kilcoyne wrote:
45HP at level 2 while raging is pretty much the absolute maximum currently.

I assume that includes a potion of bull's strength? I'm not seeing more than 41 using core races and at-level abilities. Mind you, I'm not encyclopedic with the APG yet... really need to get that in hard-copy. 100 at 6th is perfectly reasonable, though. Also, this is veering off-topic. :)

james maissen wrote:
Honestly if someone wants to 'dip' into a character class for goodies, let them.. most of the time they will have bought themselves a bill of goods. The other times its almost always decently planned out, which imho makes it valid.

This is pretty much where I'm coming from. If spell combat could be used with another class's spells, it would be a better class than fighter for a wizard going toward Eldritch Knight, and I wanted to avoid that; any other situation with a full caster is just one lost level of your primary progression, definitely not worth the trade-off if you're trying to optimize.

Meanwhile, what does a melee class get out of it? Chances are your Int isn't 20, but 12 is reasonable so we'll assume you get two 1st-level spells plus cantrips. All day long, you can add one cantrip to your full attack... DC 11 saves aren't particularly reliable at any level, and ranged touch attacks still provoke even though the spell doesn't, so there's really nothing good here. Possibly a 1d3 0-level touch spell will be introduced, but 1d3 damage doesn't even make up for the lost base attack.

Twice a day you can add a 1st-level spell... this could be magic missile, for a free 1d4+1. Twice a day. Woo? There's a trait which gives +2 CL, which would allow a whopping 3d6 from shocking grasp and that's about the only thing I can think of that's actually worth the level dip on offense... assuming you can find a way to cast it while wielding a two-hander. Defensively, shield is an admittedly interesting option, though see above re: somatic component. You could color spray, but frankly if you're going to do that just dip universalist wizard instead and get the ability to throw your weapon, plus either an extra set of actions each round (familiar) or an extra 1st-level spell (bonded item).

Bottom line, I'd rather dip barbarian... and that's with my penalty-free upgrade of spell combat, never mind the original. Move it to 1st level.

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

Marc Radle wrote:
I like the idea of playing up the arcane weapon ... sounds like another similar class in fact ... ;)

Hehe... the mechanics are different enough, I think. ;)

Quote:
I also don't think the limited spell list fits. The class doesn't get all that many spells - why artificially limit which spells he can learn?

The thing that a class-unique list is really good for, is allowing early access to certain spells, or access to spells that normally belong to other classes. I don't see nearly enough of this in the magus list, but since it was just a rough draft, I have faith there will be some exploitation of these possibilities.

But again, this makes more sense flavor-wise for a spontaneous caster than a prepared one (arcane, anyway). He can do things partly on instinct that can't be easily (or at all) reduced to formulae; if he studies spellbooks, the question will always loom: why can't he study all the same spells?

So basically, I see two options -- prepared with the Wizard list, or spontaneous with a class-specific list. I favor the latter based on reasons outlined above, but if Jason decides to stick with preparation, he should definitely go all the way with it.

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

Musing over it some more, I think Arcane Weapon should be played up... and Fighter Training should go away completely. Give him the option to take Disruptive and Spellbreaker as arcana or bonus feats, explicitly replacing the fighter level requirement with the same magus level. (Now Counterstrike really makes sense, as part of that option chain.)

Meanwhile, give greater magic weapon-equivalent enhancement to the bonded weapon automatically. (Leave it on the spell list, but it's for backup weapons or buffing others.) Keep the current mechanic for adding extra properties to the weapon, but no additional enhancement bonus. Yes, if you look at the resulting weapon in a vacuum, it's slightly overpowered compared to what a fighter can normally acquire... but the magus is decidedly not as good at using it. He needs the buff.

Now the magus doesn't get access to the Specialization chain at all: his swordplay is passable, but not exemplary. However, he makes up for this with arcane prowess. Mechanically, he's picked up an extra 3rd-level spell which would otherwise have been dedicated to GMW (or saved a bit of cash), which is nice but not huge... however, if the player is not optimization-minded, there's one less trap to gimp him.

I think that may cover all the bases. There might still be call for an arcanum which buffs attack and/or damage, I haven't run extensive numbers to be certain; but at the very least, I see good solutions for most tactical necessities.

Of course, the more reserved magus can be a reverse-skirmisher: just stand back and toss spells. Buff the party, cripple the enemy, all out of reach. If the enemy does come to him, he gets the first full-round and they'll likely regret the decision. Mind you, this is already the case. It was the aggressive player (who is more likely to choose this class over a pure mage!) that I thought might be getting shafted before. So...

A forthright magus can deliver a solid initial salvo: load a touch spell into his supercharged arcane weapon long before combat, deliver it with a charge (and at higher levels, drop a quickened spell on top of it). Enough to make most enemies pause to think about what he can do with a full-round, and perhaps decide to pull back rather than risk him surviving their attacks: scaring them off is just as good as armor. With the change to arcana described above, he's got two to four quickens depending on how he prioritizes Intelligence and whether he uses other arcana, so this tactic can be used a few times each day. Better still, it works with Spring Attack.

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

Quijenoth wrote:
I don’t agree with the dropping penalties solution presented by the OP as it promotes multiclass min-maxing. I dont think moving spell combat to 1st is a good idea either as this too can cause 1 level dip min-max.

I should point out that my version explicitly works with Magus spells and nothing else; multiclass cheese is not an issue.

IMO, Spellstrike works great with Spell Combat. Cast the touch spell first, using Spell Combat. Missed? No problem! Deliver it a subsequent weapon attack. It's a second chance, in the same round.

You missed something re: Fighter Training -- Disruptive and Spell Breaker. (Which go great with Counterstrike, by the way, though I'm still not sure why that's base and not an arcanum.)

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

I missed the general window to comment on the playtest. This was partly due to being busy with other things, and also partly due to deliberately holding back: I'm the author of a sort-of competing product, and didn't want to let that bias my comments and suggestions (or conversely, since mine's not yet published and technically can still be revised, risk the temptation of stealing ideas). So, it took me a while to sort everything out. Oh well! Here goes. :)

1. Role

What does the magus do, in or out of a fight? How does he aid the party? There's a whole big thread dedicated to this topic, and nobody can completely agree. That's because, in a nutshell, he tries to do too many things at once. This is a problem whether or not he's actually good at them: if he's not good at anything, he's just not good; but if he's really good at one thing and kind of good at others, he might wind up putting other classes out of business, which is also undesirable.

Narrow it down. Focus on a core behavioral concept. First and foremost, what does this guy want to achieve? As I see it, the intended flavor is that he is a reasonably competent spellcaster who happens to enjoy the visceral experience of combat, and spends meaningful time practicing that too. Now, the problem is that this is still not specific enough for the core concept. Before optional features are considered, is the default magus more likely to be a skirmisher, who hits hard but tries to avoid return attacks? Or is he a bruiser, who wades in and takes as much as he dishes?

To me, the magus looks like he wants to be a skirmisher. This is one of the places where I may be displaying some bias, because my Iron Mage is the bruiser by default and I'd rather see a wide-open niche than Paizo killing my class with an official replacement. ;) But there are mechanical facts which clearly support this idea: he has a d8 hit die, starts with light armor and cannot use a shield. Quite simply, he's not set up to take hits. This should be embraced, and in compensation he should be able to end fights with an opportune strike, or at least cripple opponents so they can't properly return the attack -- and indeed, the intent of Spell Combat and Spellstrike appears to be exactly that.

2. Chassis

Sticking with the d8 HD + 3/4 BAB is fine, as is the 6-level progression, but I'm going to take the position that this class wants to be spontaneous. Again, there may be bias shown here: the Iron Mage is wizard-styled, with similar flavor about deliberately studying and merging the two styles. However, consider a few things.

1: The Magus will pretty obviously have a few favorite combat spells, with a handful of conditional second picks; spontaneous generally works better for this, giving you more versatility at any given moment even though you have fewer total spells in your repertoire.

2: The 6-level progression is built for spontaneous casters in the first place; the alchemist is the only precedent here, but he's an odd duck in several ways already, not least of which is the fact that he isn't actually casting spells. As a side-effect, the magus gets more spells per day than a generalist wizard despite supposedly learning them the same way, which isn't mechanically a problem since they're lower-level, but causes some cognitive dissonance regarding the flavor.

3: Also flavor-related: if the magus is learning spells like a wizard, why does he have a unique and limited spell list? That question might not be so urgent, except for the fact that said spell list includes spells from every school with the odd exception of Necromancy. Illusions, enchantments, divinations, he's got 'em. Yet he has no option for specialization... even though, to cast as many spells per day, a wizard must specialize. Make him spontaneous, and all these questions go away (except, perhaps, "where's chill touch").

A quick aside, to counterpoint my above self-caution about bias, the same thinking was done for the Iron Mage. That's why he's a full-BAB four-level spellbook-using prepared caster who just uses the wizard spell list but is required to specialize. The magus is currently the opposite in every way except for preparation, and to me that feels logically inconsistent.

Now, it could be argued that the traditional elf flavor is an argument for an Intelligence-based magus; I'd like to present the opposite argument: that elves contribute to the continued relevance of the Eldritch Knight (not to mention Arcane Archer, which was once elf-only). And on the flip side, sorcerers are generally considered a poor choice for EK since they get their spells a level later... so a pre-built fighter/sorcerer fills more gaps than a pre-built fighter/mage.

3. Spell Combat

This is the real meat of the class, and it needs work as intended, and it should be gained at 1st level. Here's my proposal, and the wording is exact:

"As a full-round action, a magus may both perform the full attack action and cast a magus spell with a casting time of no more than 1 standard action. These actions may occur in either order, and the magus can take a 5-foot step between them. A spell cast in this way does not provoke attacks of opportunity from opponents the magus threatens. Spells with material and/or somatic components still require a free hand to cast."

No penalties to attack, because he's already taking them in the form of having a 3/4 BAB. No required concentration check (but only partial immunity to AOOs) because, dude, this is his thing. 1H+freehand is still the obvious style, but not explicitly mandated, allowing more creative builds. The synergy with Spellstrike is now fairly obvious at 1st level: it's not a weapon enhancement, it's extra chances to hit with a flubbed touch spell.

4. Other Class Features

These are less important things, so I'll spend less time on them.

Fighter Training can safely be moved to 1st level. It doesn't actually do anything until 2nd, so that's fine too. It doesn't actually do anything until 8th, but future material could conceivably change that. But 10th is one level too late to pick up Weapon Specialization at 9th! (A possibility would be to also allow the magus to qualify for feats as if his BAB = his level, though then this really should be at 1st.)

Make the Concentrate arcanum a base ability at 2nd level (maybe 1st, but it's less necessary now and 1st is getting crowded), usable 3+Cha(/Int) times per day. Any arcanum which currently burns a spell, instead burns a Concentrate use. I can't remember who I stole this idea from, and Search isn't helping, so sorry for giving no credit. :)

As a result, arcana are no longer tied to spell level; I'd suggest changing that to level / 2 in all cases. (Shield needs the buff; it doesn't seem overpowered for the rest. Dispel would probably be fine with no level cap at all.) I'd also recommend adding the ability to get extra uses out of the metamagic arcana by burning Concentrates. Keep the base 1/day; extra uses cost as many Concentrates as they'd normally cost spell levels.

In the same spirit as removing the explicit one-hand-free stipulation on Spell Combat, Arcane Weapon shouldn't be limited to melee only. If arcana are merged with bonus feats and switched to every other level as some have suggested, move Arcane Weapon down to 3rd. (Level/3 is the requirement for weapon enhancements, so it doesn't really break anything.)

Medium armor proficiency should be optional, picked up through an arcanum. BTW, the singular is "arcanum." ;) This arcanum should negate all spell failure chance. Training with heavy armor and shields is never provided as a class feature -- but if the character picks them up with feats or a Fighter dip, they're usable.

The idea of an Arcane Armor to match Arcane Weapon is interesting and seems class-appropriate. Might actually be too good, but worth considering. It would fit in at a higher level, to fill the gaps left by removed or obsolete abilities (e.g. armor proficiencies, improved/greater spell combat).

Counterstrike seems entirely random. Maybe make it an arcanum, unless you're going to add some additional anti-mage flavor to the core.

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

I've got a favor to ask, could you contact me: tanuki@gmail.com

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...quietly hides his "Disciple of Thor" 4e homebrew...

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Freesword wrote:
Now if you will excuse me I need to make an addition to my house rules stating that transferring a weapon from one hand to another is a move action that can be performed as part of your movement if you have a BAB of +1 or higher to avoid confusion.

Ouch! I'm far more forgiving... it's basically like power attack. You can change how you're holding things once per round as a free action, and must do so before doing anything to which the decision is relevant.

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Chris Parker wrote:
Just thought I'd point out, Holmes isn't just smart and agile, he's also far stronger than he looks (having once casually straightened an iron poker that someone had bent to try and intimidate him) and is a highly skilled martial artist (at least Aikido, Singlestick and Bartitsu; maybe more styles I can't recall).

Not to derail, but Sherlock Holmes predates the existence of Aikido by several decades...

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One-week bump for good measure...

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Lachlan_Macquarie wrote:
Do you mind if I use your witching class ability (Renamed, of course), because I think we both looked at Arcane Strike and said "This could be better if we put it into class mechanics".

Go for it! It's all open content anyway, the published version mostly sells presentation and value-added content. :)

If you're keeping anything like the school-based bonuses, be careful about the overall damage output... if you want to add other damage increase or combat utility mechanics to the class (sneak attack, favored enemy, more feats, etc.) then you should probably give it a rounds-per-day mechanic or some other limitation.

Conversely, if you're just going to use the base "always-on Arcane Strike" ability, you're probably safe with pretty much anything else -- that's only a tiny step above the feat, saving a swift action.

Marc Radle wrote:
LOL ... Yeah, the vanguard was only released a few weeks ago but it's been in playtest / development for a pretty long time. The class has recieved very positive feedback and reviews which is very rewarding;)

Beat me to the punch! I'm still working with artists, not to mention feeling out the whole publication process in the first place. You're on a recognized label whereas I'm going to be starting a new brand, so the competition is formidable! I'll need that goog luck. :D

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*...a bit of research...*

Hey, how'd I miss the Vanguard anyway? Knew about the Archon, but it looked more along the same lines as the Magus (more focus on offense, less on defense). If it's less than a year old, that would explain it... been stuck in The Real World and not paying much attention here for the last six months or so.

Now that I've locked down my design and don't have to worry about accidental plagiarism, I should probably buy a few of those Genius Guides, hehe.

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Asgetrion wrote:
+1! Full BAB, D10 HD and 6th level spells on top of the usual PF RPG class features is just too much.

Very much agreed. There's still room for a full-BAB arcane caster, but it needs to be a different class with a different focus. Like, say, this one. ;)

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You left out one enormous thing at 1st level: Elle has Scribe Scroll. This allows her, for a nominal fee, to have a full deck of backup and utility magic without impacting her spells per day. I wonder how frequently this wizard perk is overlooked?

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...phew! The magus is just a more selfish, less flamboyant bard. I'm still pretty much alone in this archetype. :)

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Right, because all fights happen at level 20 and involve two guys standing there pummeling each other. (Speaking of which, the monk usually loses that fight. Dealing damage is great, but you also have to be able to take or evade it.)

At any level, fighters can be at least as good at combat maneuvers as monks. Fighters have more hit points and higher AC. The monk's got one notable benefit in that he can cover more ground in a single round; but he doesn't get a full attack after doing so, and without that full attack, his damage blows chunks. Because of low BAB, he doesn't have competitive options to improve it (e.g. his vital strike will always be behind the curve).

These are the arguments in favor of raising monk BAB. You have outlined the ones against. Now that we've rehashed a topic that's been covered ten bajillion times, can we cease to do so? My question is whether anyone has playtested this change, and what their opinion was of the results. The theoretical underpinnings of either position are irrelevant.

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Threeshades wrote:
Bumblebees disagree with gravity on a daily basis.

But theirs is a well-reasoned disagreement.

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Does anyone know if there's a listing of organized Pathfinder Society events, like there was for Living Grayhawk? I haven't gotten into that just yet, but it strikes me as a great way to get started; you can basically just show up with a character, and play a session without becoming married to a group.

Of course in all likelihood that'll just whet your appetite. ;) I really think that in-person play is better, especially if you're just starting out. Depending on your comfort level around relative strangers, a group of familiar faces is probably better to start with, even if they're only passing acquaintances. I've had games with coworkers on numerous occasions.

For that matter, nearly all my local gamer friends just vanished off to college (I'm the geezer in the group), so I went down to the supermarket and started asking the employees there (who I don't really know, but see almost daily) if they're interested in roleplaying games. I got a couple of bites, and they turned out to have a few friends also interested, so I'll be GMing for a table of 6 starting next week -- 4 of whom are completely new to the game, and 1 new to anything past 1st Edition!

If that technique comes up bust, or if you just don't mind making a new set of friends for this purpose, any game shop should have a bulletin board to help you find a group. More importantly, the good ones will have table space, and people right there playing! Don't be shy about quietly observing other groups' sessions, or (afterwards) asking a GM if there's room for another character. When you're searching for game stores, also check under "hobby."

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I once had an enclave of troglodytes who kept corralled rust monsters, and had set up "traps" which were just one tunnel gate dropping while another opened; close off the party's escape, and release the hounds! Trogs mostly use pointy rocks, which are immune; so if there's a fair traffic of adventurers, why not level the playing field? (And of course there was big mama rusty, advanced to double-digit HD!)

Mimics are tons of fun. Screw treasure chests: find a nice archway and play door. Or a wide open room, and sit in the middle looking like a statue with an obvious lever-arm.

Review the various molds and slimes, apply liberally.

Don't forget oozes! (When evaluating the ochre jelly, remember: morningstars do piercing damage too.)

If you want to primarily do an aberration theme, an underground lake housing an aboleth mastermind is a good way to bind it all together.

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TriOmegaZero wrote:
Why yes I have! :)

Oh, come on. The request for additional commentary was implied by the fact that I opened a freakin' thread. ;)

Good? Bad? Ugly?

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Damn lack of a PM system... you around hereabouts?

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Hum. Well... after some research, it turns out that there are more forms of gangrene than I realized, and they can't all be modeled the same way in-game.

Furthermore, when it comes down to it, Filth Fever is appropriate for the one I'm actually interested in. So, that's that. :)

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Frostbite isn't an affliction and "boot soup" sounds like trenchfoot to me, which is an entirely different thing.

Plus I meant PFRPG rules set, not Pathfinder universe. :) Looks like I'll need to write it up myself, which is not a problem... just wanted to make sure there wasn't a canonical source first.

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Has anyone actually tried playing with a monk at d10 HD and full BAB?

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Bumping this (and FAQ-flagging it) because I don't think it got the attention it deserves.

The crunch exists to make the fluff concrete. When a description clearly doesn't match the associated mechanics, I'm going to question them both, not just toss the description.

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Has gangrene been presented anywhere as a PF-style affliction?

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A gnome bard named Emjay. Starts out with earthy brown skin, but it turns out he's a bleachling... nothing stops him from slowly turning pale. Ultimately he achieves a strangely-blissful primal state, more attuned with animals and children than with the civilized world.

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Just get a d60, you'll never need another die again. The Babylonians knew this, and as every fantasy wonk should be aware: ancient civilizations always knew best!

(No, seriously, they recorded numbers in base 60; we still measure time and angles in their units.)

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Dementrius wrote:
Don't worry - I'll always use Improved Sunder on your codpiece-halberd.

Good thing my codpiece is a katana, which as we all know is immune to sunder and disarm.

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Hey, I just did this math in another thread. :)

The standard roll on 4d6-drop is roughly 12.25. Six of these is the basis of the original 25-point buy in 3.5; with the Pathfinder point buy it's closer to 13 points, but 15 is a cleaner number and creates the same standard array (15, 14, 13, 12, 10, 8).

However, six times the average single roll is not the best representation of the average set of six rolls, because 4d6-drop is weighted high: you have a 1-in-1296 chance of rolling a 3, but a 1-in-62 chance of an 18. With this taken into account, the equivalent point buy is about 19. Since "unusable" stats are generally re-rolled, it's best to round up on point buy, so 20 is fine.

For my part: I once ran a whole campaign where players had to use the standard array. Oh, the grumbling! But after we started, it played out just fine. I prefer lower base attributes for two reasons: first, it makes you really feel you've earned your victories; and second, a +1 bonus doesn't feel weak.

My current favorite scheme is the 3.5 Organic roll with a mulligan: 4d6-drop, assigned in order. Then optionally re-roll one attribute of your choice (keep best result). Then optionally switch the places of one pair of attributes. If you don't like the outcome, you can take the standard array assigned as you please.

Regarding IQ vs. Int -- my favorite way of looking at it is a compared-frequency chart: the probability that a person has a given IQ matches up to the probability of rolling the equivalent Intelligence on 3d6. (Not 4d6; non-elites are the majority of the populace.) This gave a rather low cap pre-Pathfinder, but now that you can reasonably say "one in six humans puts their +2 into Intelligence" and model it up to 20, the chart comes out pretty nice.

Unfortunately I have no idea where I put that chart, or which thread it was in. ;) I remember that 20 Int was roughly 150 IQ, though.

Charisma is all about self-confidence, IMO.

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Alatariel wrote:
The trying to reform the fudging- well, I'm going to try, but his dice are dark/uncontrasted and he picks them up to let you know what he rolled. Otherwise you have to hold them really close to see.

I had a player like this. I finally just came out and told him after the third 20 in a row, that kind of luck is ridiculous and I need to see proof. Get dice that can be seen without picking them up (here, use mine if you want!) and roll them toward me. And to be fair, I enforced the policy for everyone from that point forward, along with a second one: rolls made before I call for them, don't count.

Turned out he actually did have pretty good luck in general, but not quite AS good. :)

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Kevin Andrew Murphy wrote:
Now, let's say we've got a Hand of the Mage.

...THANK YOU. I've been thinking that since I read the OP. :P

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Ederin Elswyr wrote:
Sounds like a x3 critical to me rather than an increased threat range. Add in the bonus to sundering, just to model the weapon's fearsome reputation for taking armor apart, and you've got a good martial weapon.

And nobody ever wields a battleaxe again.

If you're going to make it martial, I'd probably do it as a 1d10/x2 with the sunder bonus.

Edit: Actually, I really like that. It's unwieldy and likely to cause a glancing blow, but equally likely to crush your head through your helmet. It becomes a fantastic weapon for poorly-trained militia (large base die), and though it doesn't scale as well for a truly exemplary combatant (no extra crit dots to multiply your static bonuses), it does still have a good tactical function (+2 sunder). That seems to match up to comments about its actual historical properties.

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I just allow an attack of opportunity on 5-foot steps.

It's still worth taking that step, because an AoO for movement doesn't disrupt a spell. Step Up is still good for the same reason.

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Ooh, this is really cool! Feels like wild magic, except not as flat-out crazy.

Easy conversion for partially-depleted wands in modules, etc. --
Charges left:
1-4 = d4
5-10 = d6
11-18 = d8
19-28 = d10
29+ = d12

A surge should always be a positive effect (and relevant to the spell)... what's relevant varies enough that no single chart will work, but I do think it should be something the player can't know until it happens (even if they created it), maybe even different with each surge. Also, it should be pretty damn cool. ;) So my basic list would be:

PICK ANY TWO
+2 caster level (can be picked twice)
Heightened +1 (can be picked twice)
Enlarged
Extended
Widened
Empowered (counts as two picks)

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AdAstraGames wrote:
4d6, drop the low, comes out to about a 19.5 point buy in PF.

...okay, rather than continue to take other peoples' words for it, I did the damn math. ;)

First: you need to decide how the chart continues for values from 3 to 6. Given that 7 is -4 points on the official chart, it looks like an equivalent progression to the positive side (increase the step each time you hit a modifier change), so 6 = -6, 5 = -9, 4 = -12, 3 = -16. This is Method 1 below.

However, I know that there are folks who don't like the way this further encourages dumping; so I'll also do the math for a straight 1-for-1 negative stepping: 7 = -3, 6 = -4, ... 3 = -7. This is Method 2.

For fun, I'll also do sets using the 3.5 point buy. Method 3 and Method 4 are the WotC equivalents to Method 1 and Method 2 above; a 3 is worth -9 and -5, respectively.

To my great relief, someone else did the hard part: a 4d6-drop frequency chart. From there, the method is to multiply the frequency of each value by its point-buy value, add those numbers up and divide the final value by 216. (1296 possible outcomes per roll, 6 attributes rolled: 6/1296 = 216.)

Average point buy of 4d6-drop results:
Method 1 = 18.83
Method 2 = 19.48 (this looks like AdAstra's value)
Method 3 = 28.37 (Living Greyhawk standardized on 28 point buy)
Method 4 = 28.53 (yeah, close enough)

Now, a simple frequency analysis shows that the average single die roll is 12.24. Six of these comes to roughly a 25.5-point buy on the WotC chart, which is probably how 25 points became "standard." It's only 13.5 with the Pathfinder point buy! I'm definitely coming around to the idea that this isn't the best set of numbers. Unfortunately it's the basis of the Standard Elite Array, which give me concerns about shifting away from it for my personal games; but I definitely see why you might want to bump up to 20.

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