For this playtest, we used 5 small scenarios lvl 3, 5, 7, 9 and 12 (same ones used in our previous playtest).
characters used for this playtest :
1 Animal companion, animal focus, nature training, orisons, wild empathy, point blank shot, precise shot
2 Precise companion, track
3 Hunter tactics, teamwork feat : precise strike, quick draw
5 Woodland stride, rime spell
6 Teamwork feat : enfilading strike
7 intensified spell
8 Swift tracker, second animal focus
9 Teamwork feat : coordinated shot, extend spell
11 broken wing gambit
12 Teamwork feat : wounded paw gambit
1 Favored target, track, exotic weapon proficiency (elven curved blade), weapon finesse
2 Slayer talent : ranger combat training : archery - rapid shot
3 Sneak attack +2d6, quick draw
4 Slayer talent : trapfinding
5 2nd favored target, power attack
6 Sneak attack +3d6, Slayer talent : ranger combat training : archery - manyshot
7 Stalker, deadly aim
8 Slayer talent : fast stealth
9 Sneak attack +1d6, improved critical (elven curved blade)
10 3rd favored target, advanced talents, Slayer talent : ranger combat training : archery - improved precise shot
11 Swift tracker, critical focus
12 Sneak attack +4d6, Slayer talent : opportunist
1 Aura, blessings (fire - fire strike, healing - selfish healer), focus weapon (elven curved blade), orisons, sacred weapon, weapon finesse
2 Fervor 1d6
3 Bonus feat : power attack
4 Channel energy, sacred weapon +1
5 Fervor 2d6, blind-fight
6 Bonus feat : combat expertise
7 Sacred armor +1, moonlight stalker
8 Fervor 3d6, sacred weapon +2
9 Bonus feat : deadly aim , toughness
10 Blessings (fire - armor of flame, healing - fast healing), sacred armor +2
11 Fervor 4d6, improved critical (elven curved blade)
12 sacred weapon +3, Bonus feat : critical focus
1 Bloodline (destined), bloodline power : destined strike, bloodrage, fast movement, steel soul
2 Uncanny dodge
3 Blood sanctuary, power attack
4 Blood casting, bloodline power : fated bloodrager, eschew materials
5 Improved uncanny dodge, iron will
6 Bloodline feat : lightning reflexes
7 Bloodline spell (shield), damage reduction 1/—, lunge
8 Bloodline power : certain strike
9 Bloodline feat : weapon focus (warhammer), weapon focus (dwarven waraxe)
10 Bloodline spell (blur), damage reduction 2/—
11 Greater bloodrage, dazing assault
12 bloodline power : fate's intervention, Bloodline feat : improved initiative
Results of our playtest :
The hunter is a good 5th or 6th character, someone you won't pick in your team unless you have all other jobs already filled.
This class have two main problems : he uses weapons but have 3/4 BAB, he casts spells but his DC is too low and he get spells too late for their levels.
With 3/4 BAB, using weapons is not a good idea, except if you can buff yourself. Cleric and bard spell lists are full of buffs to increase to hit chances of the caster, druid spell lists doesn't. The hunter have no way to increase his to hit chances. He's ok against low AC opponents but as soon as you meet opponents with high AC, the hunter becomes less useful in fight, and he can't rely on his spells to do damage.
druid spell list contains lot of utility spells, some defensive buffs and damage. It doesn't contain a lot of offensive buff to increase to hit chances (only cat's grace and aspect of the wolf and both overwrite animal focus limiting this class feature).
Damage spells need a high DC to not be resisted, but with 6/9 spellcasting, this class doesn't really work as spell blaster.
Utility spells are nice in combat and outside combat, best part of the spellcasting of this class.
animal companion :
main feature of the hunter is the pet, but this one is the same as druid one, or the one of a ranger using boon companion. If the hunter's pet dies, hunter lose more than half of his class features for 24h. And actually, the pet of the hunter can't survive 2 rounds of fighting is opponent is hitting the pet, the pet survability should be increased to be more on par with an eidolon.
precise companion :
we found this class feature useless, if other member(s) of the group go to melee, you have to take precise shot, if noone else goes to melee, the animal companion will not survive and you won't need precise companion.
animal focus :
duration is too low, if you use this feature to increase your skills, it doesn't last long enough to help : want to climb a wall or a mountain ? want to swim in the sea ? want to scout the dungeon cloaked by stealth ? forget animal focus, it doesn't last long enough.
This ability really need another type of bonus to not see this ability ruined by the few buff druid spell list contains, or by magical items.
We like the idea of this ability, but actually we found it not as effective as it could be : bonus too low, wrong bonus type, duration too low for the skills bonus. It can help but it's really situational. The hunter doesn't have a lot of class abilities, each one should count and not became obsolete once you get a magic item or when you cast a spell. Yes you can switch to another bonus but the higher level you become, the more magic items become powerful and overwrite this ability, same for spells.
woodland stride :
we always wonder why a ranger, a druid and now a hunter who spent all their life in desert, who never put a feet in a forest, have this ability. We would have prefered something like :
"choose one terrain from the ranger favored terrain list, when you are in this terrain, ignore difficult terrain".
dead levels :
hunter was the only class in this playtest that got 2 levels with nothing new or upgraded (level 4 and lvl 10).
We liked the idea of this class, the feeling, but there is something missing : a better pet (able to survive more than 2 rounds), an ability to increase his to hit chances or the DC of his spells. Actually, we see no reason to take a hunter over an archer druid (who got the same pet, better spellcasting, same to hit chances, better versatility with more spells, higher lvl spells and wildshape) or a ranger with boon companion (better to hit chances, spells with utility and buffs offensive and defensive, better hps, less spellcasting but more versatility).
We found no real problem with this class (maybe open all rogue and ninja talents to slayer), the player had so much fun playtesting this class that he wants to switch his character in our adventure path for a slayer.
We found only two problems with the warpriest : sacred weapon damage and blessings.
Sacred weapon damage is nice if you use a light or one handed weapon. If you use a two-hand weapon, it's useless : for example, the greatsword got nothing from this ability up to level 20 while a dagger will see its damage upgraded from level 1.
In our playtest, we stopped at lvl 12 and player took elven curved blade. With a weapon using 1d10 damage, he never had an upgrade and he would have to wait for lvl 15.
If you have a class ability, you should be able to use it when you get it, not 20 levels later.
Actually, this ability says : do not use two-handed weapons if you play a warpriest.
why do they exist ? Why do not just give warpriest access to domains and subdomains instead ?
Some blessings offer something new compare to domains, but mostly they are fas way below in utility, versatility and power.
small problem : healing with fervor.
In all the playtest, the player never used fervor to heal, the amount healed is too low to be useful : for example at 11, warpriest got 4d6 (average 14), not even half the damage done in one hit by monsters and npcs at this level. Maybe if fervor adds warpriest level, or be like lay of hands : 1d6 per two levels.
The player had lot of fun playing this class, and it proved far more useful than first version.
Nice class except blessings.
The player wanted to make a bloodrager resilient to spells so he took dwarf, steel soul, the bloodline destined and feats to resist spells and this worked well (against spells he add +10 to REF and WILL saving throws, and +8 to FOR saving throws).
Blood Sanctuary :
"due to the power of his blood, a bloodrager can stand confidently amid the effects of spells cast by himself or his allies."
A flat +2 bonus doesn't work to help the bloodrager to stand confidently amid the effects of spells. In our test, this ability never helped, either the DC is too high to succeed, or the bloodrager had high enough saves to ignore the +2 bonus.
Area effect spells target mostly either will or reflex. For the few which target fortitude, bloodrager already have Fort as good save + high Con. For the ones which target Will, bloodrage/greater bloodrage/mighty bloodrage give a bonus to help to resist. But for the one which target Ref, the bloodrager have nothing and a flat +2 is not enough.
This ability could be change for good Ref save and evasion or get a bonus scaling with level.
As previous version, bloodlines are not balanced, some are strong or versatile, while other are weak (yes fey bloodline, we re talking about you).
Spell list :
This spell list is full of damage spells but this class is not designed for damage spells, really low DC, no way to bypass SR and got access to spells too late.
One way to help could be to have more spells without save and with touch or range touch attack roll.
Lot of nice utility spells mostly useful in combat mainly and not a lot of them useful outside combat (and bloodrager got them late).
With low DC, this class needs more utility/buffs spells.
This class is nice, fun but looks like too much like the barbarian. Uncanny dodge, improved uncanny dodge, DR could be removed and replace for something else (maybe evasion, improved evasion).
The main problem of this class in our test was the spell list. The spell list should be changed for more utility/buff spells and less damage spells.
We would have prefered to not have a specific spell list and instead have to choose our spells in 2 or 3 schools from wizard/sorcerer. This would have open more flexibility when creating bloodragers and two bloodragers would be totally differents (different bloodline, different spell list).
|Sean K Reynolds Designer, RPG Superstar Judge|
|Alexander Augunas Contributor|