Looking at a few changes to the spiritualist archetype ectoplasmatist, but I need a second opinion on the balance, please.
1. ditching bonded senses as an ability since it has nothing to bond with
2. changing ectoplasmic armor from an armor bonus to a shield bonus so it becomes useful
3. changing the lashes to natural attacks
4. increasing the number of lashes
5. lashes target touch AC
6. combine lashes to increase damage dice
7. no longer losing a touch spell charge when missing with their version of spellstrike
Instead of calling upon a phantom from the Ethereal Plane, an ectoplasmacist infuses herself with the mysterious substance called ectoplasm.
Ectoplasmic Lash (Su): At 1st level, as a full-round action an ectoplasmacist can manifest two lashes of ectoplasm tethered to her by wispy, ectoplasmic tendrils. These lashes target touch AC and are treated as primary natural attacks that deal 1d6 points of slashing damage (1d4 if the ectoplasmacist is Small) with a critical threat range and multiplier of 19–20/×2. She gains an additional ectoplasmic lash at 5th level and every 4 levels thereafter. As a swift action, the ectoplasmacist can combine multiple lashes into a single stronger, more dangerous lash. Each lash joined this way increases the damage dice by one step (two lashes deals 1d8, three deals 2d6, etc.). Separating combined lashes is also a swift action, and the ectoplasmacist may suppress this ability as a free action.
At 2nd level, the ectoplasmacist’s lashes gain a +1 enhancement bonus on attack and damage rolls, and are treated as magic weapons.
At 4th level, the ectoplasmacist can use her lashes as reach weapons or use them to manipulate objects from a distance. When used as weapons, the lashes gain an additional 5 feet of reach. Unlike most other weapons with reach, the lashes can be used to attack foes anywhere within the ectoplasmacist’s reach (including adjacent foes). Attacks with the lashes’ extended reach provoke attacks of opportunity just as if the ectoplasmacist were attacking with a ranged weapon. When the lashes are used to manipulate items, they have the same manual dexterity as the ectoplasmacist’s hands, and an effective strength score of 10 (plus 2 for each additional lash, either separate or combined). Using the lashes to manipulate items always provokes attacks of opportunity, even if the action the ectoplasmacist is taking normally wouldn’t.
At 6th level, the lashes’ enhancement bonus increases to +2, and they are treated as having the ectoplasmacist’s alignment for the purpose of overcoming damage reduction.
At 8th level, the ectoplasmacist’s lashes become ghost touch weapons and their reach increases by another 5 feet (for a total increase of 10 feet). Additionally, attacks with the lashes against nonadjacent foes no longer provoke attacks of opportunity. Using the lashes to manipulate objects from a distance still provokes attacks of opportunity, but only if the action the ectoplasmacist is taking would normally provoke such attacks (instead of always provoking).
At 10th level, the lashes’ enhancement bonus increases to +3.
At 12th level, the ectoplasmacist chooses a single emotional focus (anger, dedication, despair, fear, greed, hatred, jealousy, Lust, pride, or zeal). The ectoplasmacist’s lashes gain a special weapon ability matching the emotional energy of the focus the ectoplasmacist has chosen.
Anger: the vicious special ability.
Dedication: the courageous special ability.
Despair: the ominous special ability.
Fear: the menacing special ability.
Greed: the sticky special ability.
Hatred: the cruel special ability.
Jealousy: the mimetic special ability.
Lust: the heartseeker special ability.
Pride: the distracting special ability.
Zeal: the keen special ability.
At 14th level, the lashes’ enhancement bonus increases to +4.
At 16th level, the ectoplasmacist chooses a second emotional focus, and her lashes gain the special weapon abilities as if affected by a spirit-bound blade spell with the special weapon ability of both of the ectoplasmacist’s chosen emotional foci.
At 18th level, the lashes’ enhancement bonus increases to +5.
This ability replaces etheric tether, phantom, shared consciousness, bonded senses, fused consciousness, spiritual bond, and empowered consciousness.
Spiritual Combat (Su): At 3rd level, as a full-round action, an ectoplasmacist can make all of her attacks and also cast a single spiritualist spell with a casting time of up to one standard action as a free action either before or after making her attacks. The ectoplasmacist takes a –2 penalty on her attack rolls when using spiritual combat. If she decides to cast the spell defensively, she can choose to take an additional penalty on her attack rolls up to her Wisdom bonus, and add the same amount as a circumstance bonus on her concentration check. If the concentration check fails, the spell is wasted, but the attacks still take the penalty.
Also, when the ectoplasmacist casts a spiritualist spell with a range of touch, she can deliver the spell through one of her ectoplasmic lashes. Instead of making the free melee touch attack she would normally use to deliver the spell, the ectoplasmacist can choose to make a free ectoplasmic lash attack at her highest base attack bonus. A successful lash attack deals damage normally and imparts the spell’s effects. The ectoplasmacist can hold the charge if her lash attack misses.
This ability replaces bonded manifestation, phantom recall, and dual bond.
Ectoplasmic Armor (Su): At 4th level when an ectoplasmacist manifests her spiritual lash ability, tendrils of ectoplasmic material envelop her body, granting a +4 shield bonus to AC.
At 12th level, the ectoplasmacist’s shield bonus to AC increases to +6 and is treated as ghost touch.
This ability replaces spiritual interference and greater spiritual interference.
Yup, definitely too powerful. Here's a comparison to show you how.
Take a generic Two Weapon Fighting build and add the following things:
This outclasses anything a TWF build or Magus build can do. The only martial builds that will be able to compete with it are mounted lance users with pounce, and specialized archery builds like inquisitors and arsenal chaplain warpriests. And this ectoplasmatist has better reach, battlefield control, AC, and WBL than those builds.
as an archetype it does have problems, so it could use some minor help
#7 is something that is insulting that it isn't the case already(same for base spiritualist through phantom)
the rest is really too powerful all together, but a little something more could work
honestly, I'd thought the lashes natural weapons on first read - like tentacles attached to you rather than something you held in your hand. Kind of lame in comparison to hold them. If you go the route of them being natural attacks, you'd need to specify it can benefit from it's own enhancement growth or an aomf not both. Or something like the effort of controlling them means any other nat attacks are always secondary
@plaidwandering - Good point about the AoMF, didn't think of the stacking potential there.
@Castilonium - the listed damage for the lash attacks is only the damage dice and the enhancement bonus with no ability adding to that damage. I should make it more explicit that no ability is added as the contrary might be assumed with the definition of "primary natural attack." As it targets touch AC, it is not eligible for either Piranha Strike or Power Attack.
If used with manufactured weapons, natural attacks automatically become secondary and thus strike at a -5 penalty.
The rate of the enhancement bonus, increases to reach, and lack of a 'deadzone' are all standard to the archetype.
I had not considered Vital Strike, but that would max out at 8d8 at 17th level, which seems fine for only making one attack a round.
Thank you for the feedback. Please keep it coming!