Oathkeeper (Ranger)

Round 2: Design an archetype

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32 , Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8 aka ubiquitous

Oathkeeper (Ranger)
Oathkeepers are indomitable wanderers whose lives are sworn to uphold the Six River Freedoms. Their word is as solid as a mountain's roots, and their justice is swift and relentless.

Rough Honesty (Ex): At 1st level, an oathkeeper adds half his class level (minimum 1) to Sense Motive checks, to Perception checks to notice Sleight of Hand pickpocket attempts, and to his CMB when binding a creature with rope. This ability replaces wild empathy.

Binding Oath (Su): At 4th level, once per day, an oathkeeper can swear a binding oath against a single creature within his line of sight as a move action. Against the target of his oath he may deal nonlethal damage with all attacks with no penalty to his attack rolls.

If he swears to slay the target, he may invoke one freedom. If he swears to bring the target alive to face the justice of its local region, he may invoke two freedoms. His freedoms stay active for as long as the target of his oath is in his line of sight and engaged in combat against him. All allies within 30 feet that can hear him swear his oath gain the same benefits as he does for a number of rounds equal to his wisdom modifier (minimum 1). He and his allies may not benefit from more than two freedoms at once.

You Have What You Hold: The oathkeeper gains the ferocity ability.
Say What You Will: At 7th level, the oathkeeper is not hindered by any magical effects that would prevent him from speaking, or casting spells with verbal components.
Slavery is an Abomination: At 9th level, the oathkeeper can reroll a failed saving throw as if he had the slippery mind rogue talent.
Walk Any Road: At 16th level, the oathkeeper is treated as if under the effects of a freedom of movement spell.

An oathkeeper can have multiple binding oaths active at once. If he fails to fulfill an oath within a month, he cannot swear any new oaths for six days. At 7th level, and every 3 levels thereafter, an oathkeeper can use this ability one additional time per day. This ability replaces hunter's bond, woodland stride, evasion, and improved evasion.

Oathbreakers Die (Su): At 20th level, if a creature breaks an oath that they swore with the oathkeeper as a witness, it must make a Fortitude save or die. The DC of this save is equal to 10 + 1/2 the oathkeeper's level + the oathkeeper's Wisdom modifier. The creature must have entered into the oath willingly. The oath can be removed by a limited wish, miracle, or wish spell. This ability replaces master hunter.

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

There are seven ranger archetypes in this round, by far the most of any class (next up is rogues with 5 entries). So, the competition for "best of the rangers" is necessarily going to be intense. I'll come back to the question of "best ranger archetype."

This archetype is all about the Binding Oath, so that's the meat of my review. First up, not sure why a binding oath should be a move action. Second, holy cow, this power affects all allies within 30 feet! Since this power is replacing evasion and improved evasion, I'm thinking it's somewhere close to reasonable. I was a little disappointed that none of the powers seemed to bring a creature to justice; they are all defensive.

I'm mostly confused by the Oathbreakers Die 20th level ability. It's cool story stuff, but as it requires the affected creature to buy into the oath and then break it, I don't think it packs enough punch to be a capstone power.

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

Isaac, believe me I am as old school as it gets. But even I cringe when save or die powers rear their head. I'll admit I think there is a time and a place for them, but a capstone ability of an archetype isn't one of them. To me, that alone shows a lack of design-fu sufficient to say this submission isn't up to snuff. Plus, its way too fluffy--just how does the oath happen? Can people capture a creature and force it to take an oath? It seems like what you really want to create here is an oath rules subsystem, not an archetype (or that is what comes across as the part you think is most cool).

I liked the dust, but I can't give you the nod on this one. But I will wish you good luck!

I DO NOT Recommend this archetype to advance.

Designer, RPG Superstar Judge

Rough Honesty: Makes sense.

Binding Oath: This really needs to be broken into separate abilities, rather than one big ability that trades out multiple standard abilities (as I mentioned in the archetype advice thread).

Oathbreakers Die: This ability just comes out of nowhere—the other abilities modify what the ranger can do or grants powers that affect the ranger, this is a kill-you ability. And it requires someone to swear an oath with the character as witness... which is very specialized compared to the standard master hunter ability it replaces.

This archetype has some technical problems and I'm not really excited about any of its abilities.

I do NOT recommend this archetype for advancement.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8, Dedicated Voter Season 9 aka surfbored

This entry feels fragmented to me, almost like you started with something more complete and then started cutting to make word count. Taking it in pieces....

The name is good and the opening ties in well to the River Kingdoms.

Rough Honesty: A bonus to Sense Motive, Perception and CMB. I don't understand how these tie together in one ability, and how is any of it "Rough Honesty"?

Binding Oath: You get credit for trying to wrap rules around the 6 freedoms, but that was a losing battle before it started. You start describing invoking freedoms without first describing what a freedom is, e.g. "A freedom is an ability the oathkeeper may invoke against a sworn target". Then you only list 4 freedoms, rather than 6. And of those four a couple are tough to reconcile with the granted bonuses.

Oathbreakers Die: At 20th level, this is still pretty buff since the save DC is around 35. But how do you make the target take an oath? And who decides when it's broken? Some more mechanics are needed here, at the least.

Overall, this entry didn't come together for me, but you gave a valiant effort.

Good Luck!

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

no problems with your writing or template use.

i'm afraid this seems a bit unbalanced though. rough honesty trades a bonus to diplomacy vs. animals for a bonus to all sense motive rolls plus some perception checks plus some CMB checks... that alone may be enough to convince a disproportionate number of rangers to take this archetype. at 4th level you give up the ability to grant your allies all +1 hit/damage vs. one creature type (or subtype) in exchange for granting all of them the ability to fight down to -Con. score hp?!? that's way better. frankly, unless your heart is set on an animal companion, i'm not sure why anyone would take a regular ranger over this, and that's a problem.

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

You had me until binding oath, like was already mentioned this should be two separate powers. I can forgive this one error in round two but it's promptly followed with the weird save or die capstone. I'm sorry but this archetype isn't for me. Congrats on making it to the top 32 and good luck with the voting.

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: Names are solid, tied to River Lands extremely well and you used out the most interesting aspect for me that being the Freedoms. Solid mechanics.
Bad: Powers don't have a single offensive wow, that makes my imagination spark.
Ugly: Count them 7 rangers, you're going to get lost in teh shuffle unless yours is clearly the best one.
Overall: This would get my vote if I had 16, I have 8 and this isn't one of them.

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: Average. Thematically consistent and tied to RK, but still a little flat.

River Kingdom tie: Above average. It's an attempt at a close tie.

Desire to play: Low. Binding oath doesn't tie in well enough for me, and that's the key to the whole thing. Would rather play straight ranger. I do think the capstone is interesting- in a campaign world someone with that oathbinding capability would be politically powerful. But that's a long way down to the road to get to something interesting.

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

You had a good name for the region. There would be wardens making sure oaths are kept in a place like the RK.

Other people have broken apart Binding Oath, but there's one further bone I have with it. So, for 3 levels the Oathkeeper only gets the nonlethal with no penalty and ferocity for this ability. Then you get another choice for 2 levels. Then you don't get another choice for 7 more levels??? It would get pretty boring pretty fast. The goal is usually more choice, not less.

You got points for trying to wrap the Freedoms into abilities, but lost for execution and not doing all 6.

The rest of the comments made echo my own sentiments and I won't repeat.

In future competitions, perhaps try to go for a less obvious design space? I don't mean this to be mean, but I just knew that Ranger was going to be a favored class to archetype in this region. I will bet A LOT of other people did too. Definitely contestants did, with 7 of the 32 (excluding alternates) designing in this space.

I do NOT recommend for advancement.

Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 9

Others above have said a fair bit on it, but I have one more criticismagainst Binding Oath. The same level you get it, you gain the ability to choose two freedoms if you swear to bring the target in alive - but you don't get a second ability until three levels later.

Flavor wise, you didn't measure up to your competitors, and mechanics-wise it wasn't really fantastic.

Still, good luck this round - and future rounds if you make it!

Star Voter Season 6

Honestly, I really like the capstone. Your replacing 1 combat-based save or die effect with an RP save or die effect that is thematicly appropriate. I don't see this causing issues at my table at all. This has a lot of other problems though.

Binding Oath:
Instead of replacing a slew of abilities, I would have gone the route of making annother spelless ranger with Binding Oath. Replacing the different abilities is clunky. Give an ability at 4 and every 3 and you get a 6th freedom at level 19, perfect for what you are going for.

The activation mechanics here are a bit clunky as well as what you recieve as benefits. You bury the lead.

Giving the benefit to the allies for a long durration was a mistake. A moderate wisdom will allow you to do it for the whole fight.

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

I have to admit, this was along the same lines as what I had writen if I had made the top 32, a ranger archetype that focused on the 6 river freedoms, so on one hand, I like your thinking, on the other, I'm comparing it to what I came up with. In some ways, you had bits and pieces similar to what I did, but going in a different direction, so I liked some of that obviously.

However, I don't think I like the binding oath thematically, since an oathkeeper can make one against anyone - even someone who fully embraces and acts according to the river freedoms. If an oathkeeper is suppoed to be protecting those freedoms, why can he use his river freedom protecting powers to smack down someone who's not broken them?

Some of the ties to the river freedoms also just don't make a lot of sense - why does you have what you hold grant ferocity? Finally, where's Courts are for Kings?

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