Red Adder Magus (Magus)


Round 2: Design an archetype

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32 aka Danish Trumpter

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Red Adder Magus (Magus)
Red Adder was one the infamous "adjunct professors" of both the Assassins' and Poisoners' Guilds. An accomplished magus assassin, he was responsible for the creation and eventual use by the guilds of the Red Adder Poison, a magical poison imbibed by new magus recruits, altering their inherent magical ability to affect their weapons.
Class Skills: A red adder magus gains Bluff and Stealth as class skills and does not gain Ride or Knowledge (planes) as class skills.
Venom Pool (Su): At 1st level, the red adder magus gains a reservoir of magical energy that he can use to enhance their weapons. This reservoir has a number of points equal to half his magus level (minimum 1) + their intelligence modifier. This pool refreshes once per day when spells are prepared.

At 1st level a red adder magus may spend 1 point from his pool as a move action to add a poison effect to his weapon. This effect lasts for a number of attacks equal to half the magus' level (maximum 5 attacks) before wearing off. These poisons are equivalent to certain naturally occurring poisons but are magical in nature and are considered injury type poisons (even if normally otherwise). The poisons have a Fort save DC of 10 + the magus' intelligence modifier + half the magus' level (minimum 1). There is no chance of the magus poisoning themselves with their own poisons. This does not grant an advanced ability to use or craft any other poisons.

At 1st level the red adder magus can create the following poisons on his weapon: baneberry*, bloodroot, giant wasp poison
At 5th level they add: dragon bile, drow poison, insanity mist
At 10th level they add: aconite root*, nightmare vapor
At 15th level they add: hemlock, wyvern poison
*Guide to the River Kingdoms

At 7th, 14th, and 20th level the magus adds +2 to his poison Fort save DCs (total +6). At 11th level the magus can add two different poisons to his weapon, each affecting the target of an attack independently.

This ability replaces arcane pool and the 11th level bonus feat. A red adder magus cannot gain magus arcana that add special abilities to his weapon.

Sneak Attack: At 7th level and again at 13th level the red adder magus gains 1d6 sneak attack as per the rogue's sneak attack ability. This ability replaces medium armor and heavy armor.

Rogue Training (Ex): Starting at 10th level, a red adder magus can gain rogue talents in place of magus arcana as if their rogue level were equal to half their magus level. If he has levels in rogue, these levels stack. This ability replaces fighter training.

Designer, RPG Superstar Judge

Smart. The power level is going to be out of whack because poisons are weird, but you presented a cool idea within the limitations of the word count (in a full writeup in a book, we'd probably want this to have its own set of magical poison effects rather than using existing poisons).

Good job!

I DO recommend this archetype for advancement.

Founder, Legendary Games & Publisher, Necromancer Games, RPG Superstar Judge

Initial impression: I sure would have liked a better River Kingdoms tie in, but while it isn't explicit it fits in the setting. Adding some rogue to your magus isn't quite like chocolate and peanut butter, but it's not bad.

I'll admit to me this is just kind of meh. True, it's competently executed meh, but meh never the less.

I'm on the fence.

The Exchange Contributor; Publisher, Kobold Press; RPG Superstar Judge

Rorik, congrats on making the Top 32! As the only person who submitted a magus archetype, you're already getting my recommendation as the best magus, but I also like that you are visiting a design space that isn't heavily overdone with poisons. I think you've got something cool going on with a rogue-poison-magus, and this is definitely an archetype that some players will love.

Recommended to advance for both flavor and mechanical originality.

Founder, Legendary Games & Publisher, Necromancer Games, RPG Superstar Judge

Rorik, after reading all the other submissions I don't think there are 16 clearly great ones. This submission, in my view, is in the top 16. Thus:

I DO Recommend this archetype for advancement, having considered all of the submissions.

Silver Crusade Dedicated Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7

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cool, well written, but I have one objection.

Quit making the Magus do more damage!

My poor barbarians, Cavaliers and fighters have enough trouble keeping up with you and your Rogue/Ninja ilk without you giving your magus poison and sneak attack!

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!

That said, well done and I begrudgingly will vote for you ;)


I am not exactly certain that allowing the ability to use poisons at 1st level is way to go, but on the other hand poisons are terribly overpriced.

I think that instead of list of poisons I would just make a table for poison effects available at certain levels.

Still, marked with a plus on voting list.

Star Voter Season 6

After doing some homework, I think you choose your poisons astutely and with care. I appreciate multiclass archetypes, and this also nails that qualification. Nice job.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32 , Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 8 aka nate lange

good template use- pretty good writing (though putting terms in quotes like "adjunct professor" can be confusing/off-putting- was he actually some kind of professor or not, what are you trying to say? are there professors in those guilds?)

taken as a whole, this looks like its reasonably well balanced against a base magus but i'm worried about potential abuse, especially at lower levels. poisons are potent, that's why they're so expensive, and they're normally tempered by low save DCs. at first level a magus could easily have 15 DC on bloodrot, which is normally a 12... nevermind that he doesn't have to pay for it so he can stack applications for higher DC. this could become a must take dip for many classes if they want to use poison- 1 level gets several free poisons/day with same or better DC, and no chance of poisoning themselves.

Shadow Lodge Marathon Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7

I love it. Love love love it.

The one thing it's missing? Nowhere but the description is "Red Adder Poison" actually mentioned. No stats are given to it. Makes me sad.

Not enough to stop loving it though.

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Locke1520

A poisoner magus. Interesting choice, I myself had prepped a poisoner wizard so I'm glad were not up against one another.

Like Orthos I would have liked to see the red adder poison but I suspect you were up against word count. I'll take Jaerc at his word that your selections of poisons were chosen well (they did look okay without doing a full search).

I'm not sold on the intro text but I do like the execution. This is near the top of my short list for a vote.

Congrats on making top 32 and good luck withe the round two voting.

Scarab Sages Dedicated Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7

I am really happy to see that I need to chose and re-chose this year to bring my list of 'ooohhh - looking good' entries down to those eight I can actually vote for, so I want to say: thanks to all competitors for providing a good chunk of fun looking archetypes.

Since I am a bit short on time this month, I will only comment on the Items I voted for.

Interesting theme, interesting class and a pretty creative use of poison. While the background doesn't really tie in with existing RK content, it fits the setting and reads quite well.

This wasn't my first choice, since the poison rules make the balyncing of this class a bit wonky, but overall I like the flavor and execution.

Good luck with the rest of the contest.

Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 8

really good.

Marathon Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Clouds Without Water

I will give general impressions, but with 3 areas of particular focus that suit my personal interests. Archetype and ability names: do they show flair? How closely tied to the River Kingdom is the archetype? And last but certainly not least, do I want to play this archetype?

Archetype and ability names: Primarily descriptive, lacking flair.

River Kingdom tie: Low. Superficial attempt to tie it in.

Desire to play: Below average, but that's mostly due to my own lack of interest in the magus class and in posions. I suspect if I liked either of them that I'd like this.

Sczarni

N. Edward Lange wrote:

good template use- pretty good writing (though putting terms in quotes like "adjunct professor" can be confusing/off-putting- was he actually some kind of professor or not, what are you trying to say? are there professors in those guilds?)

taken as a whole, this looks like its reasonably well balanced against a base magus but i'm worried about potential abuse, especially at lower levels. poisons are potent, that's why they're so expensive, and they're normally tempered by low save DCs. at first level a magus could easily have 15 DC on bloodrot, which is normally a 12... nevermind that he doesn't have to pay for it so he can stack applications for higher DC. this could become a must take dip for many classes if they want to use poison- 1 level gets several free poisons/day with same or better DC, and no chance of poisoning themselves.

While I understand your (valid) concern about the poison (high DC and being free), I'd like to counter with the fact that a normal magus can enhance his weapon for free (essentially a 2,000gp+ purchase) from level 1. I feel it's rather balanced out and may introduce people to the concept of using poisons (as in my own group this is rather rare). I'm not trying to single you out, just offering a counter argument to anyone of the same school of thought. :)

I feel this is a great archetype and could use some fine tuning but I will be voting for this to advance!

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16, 2012 Top 32 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Marathon Voter Season 9 aka Epic Meepo

The concept of a poisoner magus is brilliant, and I really wanted to like this archetype, but...

The mechanics of this archetype contain a fatal error:

The red adder magus replaces arcane pool, but doesn't replace any of the other magus class features that depend on arcane pool to function. Spell recall, knowledge pool, and improved spell recall all reference the arcane pool class feature which the red adder magus doesn't get. So do the arcane accuracy, dispelling strike, hasted assault, pool strike, reflection, and spell shield magus arcana.

Even if the red adder magus were precluded from selecting magus arcana that mention arcane pool, he's still stuck with three class features which depend upon an arcane pool. Since he doesn't have an arcane pool, those three class features have been turned into useless dead weight.

With regret, I can't vote for an archetype which makes so large an oversight.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9

Yep, Eric is right.

Other than that, I think it's a pretty cool archetype even if the RK tie-in isn't very strong. The major mechanical problem Eric mentioned will probably mean I won't vote for this unless I'm not able to find 8 archetypes I want to vote for.

Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 9

Eric, I think there's a simple fix - remove the rename of arcane pool, and you're back to normal.

I see this as a real big swing for the fences, and I think you hit it. Maybe not out of the park, but a good solid hit anyways. Poison compared to weapon enhancements is a good, interesting choice. Your flavor is excellent and supports it.

You did overreach a little, and I can tell you were out of words when you used asterixes in the poison lists instead of properly including the book after each notation.

Still, it works as a whole piece, and I think it's brilliant overall.

Good luck in this and future rounds!

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16, 2012 Top 32 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Marathon Voter Season 9 aka Epic Meepo

RonarsCorruption wrote:
Eric, I think there's a simple fix - remove the rename of arcane pool, and you're back to normal.

Very true. The archetype can be fixed.

But I'm not voting based on what these archetypes could be if they were fixed; I'm voting for what's actually been posted. And this archetype, as posted, makes one of the biggest mistakes one can make when designing an archetype.

Could SKR fix this archetype in development? Sure. But SKR is a seasoned developer who could fix just about any archetype in development (by rebuilding it from scratch, if nothing else). If I were going to vote based on the end results SKR could produce from these archetypes, I would have to ignore all game mechanics and vote solely based on flavor text, since developers can rewrite game mechanics as needed.

RPG Superstar 2014 Top 32 , Dedicated Voter Season 6 aka Evil Paul

Eric Morton wrote:
RonarsCorruption wrote:
Eric, I think there's a simple fix - remove the rename of arcane pool, and you're back to normal.

Very true. The archetype can be fixed.

But I'm not voting based on what these archetypes could be if they were fixed; I'm voting for what's actually been posted. And this archetype, as posted, makes one of the biggest mistakes one can make when designing an archetype.

But the competition isn't, to some extent, SKR: "produce me an archetype that is publishable". It is SKR: "produce me an archetype that convinces me that you could submit something into the first stage of a process that ends up with something publishable."

Yes, it's an error. And in a field where every other archetype was A++, that might be enough to sink it. But it's good enough, and the rest of the design concepts are strong enough, that, when all is weighed and measured, what we have is a submission strong enough to get my vote at least.

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Marathon Voter Season 9 aka theheadkase

This is a swing and a hit. Not a grandslam but a solid triple.

That's all the sports I got.

This is a great, fun, and creative idea. Mystical assassin with magical poison abilities. Sweet.

The mechanical issue Eric points out is soo true. If you progress you REALLY need to watch issues like that.

That said, this is about finding the best DESIGNER, not the best ARCHETYPE (similar to Round 1). You've got my vote that I now have to shuffle around and kick out another of the weak keeps.

Overall, creative and juicy. Just watch those mechanical issues.

I DO recommend.

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Champion Voter Season 8, Marathon Voter Season 9 aka GM_Solspiral

Good: awesome name, love the rive snake vibe, venoms are cool, magus is my jam.
Bad: Lose the fun of arcane pool which is a slight bummer...
Ugly: makes an attractive dip that poison ability is front loaded with spellstrike and some other goodies.
Overall: Easy to vote on this one of 4 absolute yeses for me.

Marathon Voter Season 6

I'm a bit torn on this one. If I'm voting for the archetype, I'd vote for this one as anything that can make poisons actually be used is great. (See the Ross Byer's Poisoner's Jacket(s) in UE.) If I were voting for the designer, unfortunately I would not be voting for this one due to the huge gap produced by the lack of arcane pool as pointed out by Eric Morton. This seems to show a lack of basic research into the design space, and I'm not so sure if that's super star.

So I'm leaning on the fence, but teetering towards not voting for it.

The Exchange Marathon Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Marathon Voter Season 9

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I like the name and venom ability
I dislike the rogue additions, they are a step back from what a magus who wants to poison people would do. They are boring and replace features a combatant would want. You could have given them bonus spells like contagion, accelerate poison, bestow curse and poison (assuming one of the venom pool poisons isn't similar).

If I thought there was an archatype you expected to blend this with I could over look the venom pool/ arcane pool problem. Its a huge mistake but so easily fixed if noticed.

Edit: the rogue talents could be cool and in theme, but lvl 10 is to late.
Edit2: I really like this archatype which makes its flaws hurt more. Make a monster I love and all will be forgiven :) good luck!

Silver Crusade Star Voter Season 6

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N. Edward Lange wrote:

good template use- pretty good writing (though putting terms in quotes like "adjunct professor" can be confusing/off-putting- was he actually some kind of professor or not, what are you trying to say? are there professors in those guilds?)

taken as a whole, this looks like its reasonably well balanced against a base magus but i'm worried about potential abuse, especially at lower levels. poisons are potent, that's why they're so expensive, and they're normally tempered by low save DCs. at first level a magus could easily have 15 DC on bloodrot, which is normally a 12... nevermind that he doesn't have to pay for it so he can stack applications for higher DC. this could become a must take dip for many classes if they want to use poison- 1 level gets several free poisons/day with same or better DC, and no chance of poisoning themselves.

Another consideration is that poisons, once applied to a weapon, are consumed after the first success hit. This archetype creates "durable" poisons that persist after several hits, which makes the poison use even more powerful and unbalancing, in my opinion.

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32, 2011 Top 16 , Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka JoelF847

While I think the idea of a poisoner magus is cool, and the abilities you have are pretty well writen and do a good job hitting your theme, as Eric pointed out, you broke the class by removing the arcane pool without also replacing the abilities that relie on it. Instead of replacing medium and heavy armor, you could have replaced them, or several other ways to fix that, but it's a big mechanic problem with the archetype.

Also, I was unimpressed by creating Red Adder to force the link to the Daggermark assassins and poisoners. It would have been much better to drop red adder (and the red adder poison), and just have the archetype be the Daggermark magus or something.

Sczarni

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I think it's brilliant. You finally get poisons with scaling DCs, so they don't suck by high levels. And the idea of a "poison-casting" magus is excellent.

I agree that the oversight of arcane pool-dependent class features is a problem -- but since none of the judges seemed to either notice it or care, that tells me that it isn't a fatal error.

This is getting one of my votes, I think.

Grand Lodge Dedicated Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8

This fits very well for me thematically with the magus and with Daggermark. I have multiple problems with its writing.

Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 9

Eric, the ability to strike someone with the same poison multiple times was actually an alchemist ability first. They get it, IIRC, Int modifier rounds per application, and more poison tricks too.

In fact, an alchemist/Red Adder might be a dangerous combination.

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