Custom Item Balance for Martials and Casters


Homebrew and House Rules


I'm working on a campaign and I had an idea for some custom items:

Spellstone
Once per day the wielder of a Spellstone may gain the benefit of one of the following effects:

  • Cast a spell the caster knows or is able to prepare, without using a spell slot.
  • When casting a spell, apply any one metamagic feat the caster has without increasing the spell's level or casting time (this uses a spell slot as normal for that spell).

    Bladestone
    Three times per day the wielder of a Bladestone may gain the benefit of one of the following effects:

  • Make a weapon attack as an immediate action. This bonus attack stacks with haste and cannot be an attack that requires a specific standard action.
  • Move up to their speed as a swift action. At the end of this movement they are free to take any remaining actions they have.

    The goal is to add a bit of power and flexibility without breaking the game too much. I could use help in balancing these items with each other specifically but also with the game as a whole. Advice on how to price these items would also be appreciated to determine when to introduce them.


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    The obvious issue with this, that i dont personally mind, but will clearly appear if you are trying to balance them equally is the following:

    1 spell, even at lvl 1, might amount to far more than 1 atk. Sure, if the guy cast some spell to hit one single enemy all is fine. If he cast an extra color spray and clear a room, doesnt seem quite the same anymore.

    This is lvl 1, when you consider tha caster can do a lvl 5 extra spell while the martial just 1 extra attack, well...

    Applying a metamagic feat. That, well, is worth more than than a swift move. Actually this is a very powerful item for this ability alone.

    What you can try to do is divide said stones into spell levels like the rods.

    Another issue is the word "wielder". Keep in mind the implications for both martials and casters regarding free hands.


    Nox Aeterna wrote:

    The obvious issue with this, that i dont personally mind, but will clearly appear if you are trying to balance them equally is the following:

    1 spell, even at lvl 1, might amount to far more than 1 atk. Sure, if the guy cast some spell to hit one single enemy all is fine. If he cast an extra color spray and clear a room, doesnt seem quite the same anymore.

    This is lvl 1, when you consider tha caster can do a lvl 5 extra spell while the martial just 1 extra attack, well...

    Applying a metamagic feat. That, well, is worth more than than a swift move. Actually this is a very powerful item for this ability alone.

    What you can try to do is divide said stones into spell levels like the rods.

    Another issue is the word "wielder". Keep in mind the implications for both martials and casters regarding free hands.

    I agree that an extra attack or move is worth less than a bonus spell or free metamagic, that is why I gave the Spellstone 1 use per day and the Bladestone 3 uses per day. I am unsure about the balance even with that.

    As for wielder, I intended it to be a slotless item similar to a Stone of Good Luck, I will reword for for the final version.


    Maybe make them super rare/hard to get and make them artifacts but make it 3/day for the caster one and once per round for the martial?


    Keep in mind that caster/martial disparity isn’t even really a thing till level 5 and even then it’s minor, till around 9 or 11


    Melkiador wrote:
    Keep in mind that caster/martial disparity isn’t even really a thing till level 5 and even then it’s minor, till around 9 or 11

    Well that all depends on the build for the caster, a well built caster can make that gap from 11th level be attained at level 5 or 6.


    doomman47 wrote:
    Melkiador wrote:
    Keep in mind that caster/martial disparity isn’t even really a thing till level 5 and even then it’s minor, till around 9 or 11
    Well that all depends on the build for the caster, a well built caster can make that gap from 11th level be attained at level 5 or 6.

    A similarly minmaxed martial will probably keep pace with whatever you cook up. But go ahead and make an example. Standard 20 point buy with 2 traits and wealth by level rules.


    Melkiador wrote:
    doomman47 wrote:
    Melkiador wrote:
    Keep in mind that caster/martial disparity isn’t even really a thing till level 5 and even then it’s minor, till around 9 or 11
    Well that all depends on the build for the caster, a well built caster can make that gap from 11th level be attained at level 5 or 6.
    A similarly minmaxed martial will probably keep pace with whatever you cook up. But go ahead and make an example. Standard 20 point buy with 2 traits and wealth by level rules.

    I got one of those, sorcerer human, point buy doesn't matter but assume a min of 18 in cha, magical lineage and wang spell hunter both into fireball, feats empower, spell focus, spell specialization, expanded arcana. Take cross blooded and go orc bloodline and either draconic or goblin bloodline and get blood havoc you now deal +3 damage per die rolled and your fireball now does 8d6+24 x 1.5 damage which at level 6 will pretty much instantly vaporize any encounter you could face even fighting a cr+3 encounter of an elephant average damage would bring it down to 0 hp on a failed save and you should have bare minimum of 2 of them per day at that level. The difference is them increased as the party levels past 6. This isn't even touching the caster builds that can just shut down a fight like a color spray oracle build or a caster that eventually throws out dazing spells. Sure martials have the potential to go all day assuming they have the hp for it but they don't have nearly as many I declare this situation to be solved abilities at their disposal.


    You can’t mix crossblooded and havoc. They both modify the 1st level bloodline power.


    Melkiador wrote:
    You can’t mix crossblooded and havoc. They both modify the 1st level bloodline power.

    Cross blooded neither alters nor replaces bloodline powers so its fair game. What cross blooded does do is give you two bloodlines and let you pick things from either.


    https://paizo.com/paizo/faq/v5748nruor1fz#v5748eaic9rai

    Quote:


    Sorcerer, Crossblooded and Wildblooded: Can I take both of these archetypes for the same character?
    No, because the archetype rules say none of the alternate class features can replace or alter the same class feature from the class as another alternate class feature. Because the crossblooded and wildblooded sorcerer archetypes both alter the bloodline arcana and bloodline powers, they aren't compatible archetypes.

    Note that it is certainly within the GM's purview to allow this combination. However, the character should not be able to use the crossblooded archetype's ability to select a lower-level bloodline power that was replaced by the wildblooded archetype. For example, a wildblooded brutal (abyssal) sorcerer replaces "strength of the abyss" with "wings of the abyss" at 9th level; the character has "paid" for the wildblooded archetype by giving up "strength of the abyss," and can't use the crossblooded bloodline to select "strength of the abyss" as her 15th-level or 20th-level bloodline power.

    So, you could ask your DM to ok it, but by default they don’t stack.


    Melkiador wrote:

    https://paizo.com/paizo/faq/v5748nruor1fz#v5748eaic9rai

    Quote:


    Sorcerer, Crossblooded and Wildblooded: Can I take both of these archetypes for the same character?
    No, because the archetype rules say none of the alternate class features can replace or alter the same class feature from the class as another alternate class feature. Because the crossblooded and wildblooded sorcerer archetypes both alter the bloodline arcana and bloodline powers, they aren't compatible archetypes.

    Note that it is certainly within the GM's purview to allow this combination. However, the character should not be able to use the crossblooded archetype's ability to select a lower-level bloodline power that was replaced by the wildblooded archetype. For example, a wildblooded brutal (abyssal) sorcerer replaces "strength of the abyss" with "wings of the abyss" at 9th level; the character has "paid" for the wildblooded archetype by giving up "strength of the abyss," and can't use the crossblooded bloodline to select "strength of the abyss" as her 15th-level or 20th-level bloodline power.

    So, you could ask your DM to ok it, but by default they don’t stack.

    The crossblooded archetype does not state that it alters the bloodline powers, bloodline arcana nor does it state that it replaces them the faq is trying to impose a ruling were there are no grounds to impose one.


    An ability doesn’t have to state that it alters powers to alter powers. The FAQ is proof of that, hence the bolded part. Both alter bloodline powers, meaning that crossblooded alters bloodline powers. Archetypes just state the “alters” text as a convenience, so you know that the ability wasn’t replaced. That text is not listed as a requirement anywhere.

    The FAQs are as official as any other rules. Especially for something like PFS. If it’s for a home game then you can try talking your DM into it. But by default, they don’t stack.


    Do bloodline mutations follow archetype stacking rules?


    Java Man wrote:
    Do bloodline mutations follow archetype stacking rules?

    They aren’t just the archetype stacking rules. They are the alternate class feature rules. Archetypes are just the most common alternate class feature.


    Java Man wrote:
    Do bloodline mutations follow archetype stacking rules?

    No but if they are replaced like with tattooed sorc it replaces their 1st level bloodline power for a tattoo familiar and thus won't work with blood havoc. Cross blooded does not replace or alter the 1st level bloodline power so you can use it freely with the mutations.


    Lady-J wrote:
    Java Man wrote:
    Do bloodline mutations follow archetype stacking rules?
    No but if they are replaced like with tattooed sorc it replaces their 1st level bloodline power for a tattoo familiar and thus won't work with blood havoc. Cross blooded does not replace or alter the 1st level bloodline power so you can use it freely with the mutations.

    I've already proved that it does alter bloodline powers. You're only argument otherwise basically boiled down to "Can't trust FAQs".


    Melkiador wrote:
    Lady-J wrote:
    Java Man wrote:
    Do bloodline mutations follow archetype stacking rules?
    No but if they are replaced like with tattooed sorc it replaces their 1st level bloodline power for a tattoo familiar and thus won't work with blood havoc. Cross blooded does not replace or alter the 1st level bloodline power so you can use it freely with the mutations.
    I've already proved that it does alter bloodline powers. You're only argument otherwise basically boiled down to "Can't trust FAQs".

    Well given the lack luster research on some of them like magic projectile weapons don't get any benefit for their shot projectiles faq ya some faq's just don't know what they are talking about. The mechanics of the thing in an faq need to resemble that of that of what are actually represented on the page of the book other wise its like an faq saying oh wizards can't cast enlarge person because druids are divine casters which is just nonsense. The mechanics of altering or replacing class abilities for cross blooded are not there there for the faq saying that it should work this way due to X mechanic does not apply because X mechanic was never there in the 1st place and unless they do a reprint and insert X mechanic into the archetype it will not function that way.


    No, you're making an assumption that an alternate class feature has to specify that it alters a class feature to count as doing so. But that limitation is never specified anywhere in the rules. It's merely a convenience that got left out of crossblooded.


    Melkiador wrote:
    No, you're making an assumption that an alternate class feature has to specify that it alters a class feature to count as doing so. But that limitation is never specified anywhere in the rules. It's merely a convenience that got left out of crossblooded.

    No, because every thing that gets altered says that it does, Every and I mean every 1st party archetype says so all except 2 you wana know what they are cross blooded and crossblooded rager. Every archetype has that mechanic but these two and you want to know why, its because they are not altering the bloodline powers, they are not replacing the bloodline powers they are giving you two lists to pull from. The bloodline powers are not the things being altered with these archetypes it is the fundamental core of a sorcerer/bloodrager. Its more like an alternate class than an archetype.


    Lady-J wrote:
    Java Man wrote:
    Do bloodline mutations follow archetype stacking rules?
    No but if they are replaced like with tattooed sorc it replaces their 1st level bloodline power for a tattoo familiar and thus won't work with blood havoc. Cross blooded does not replace or alter the 1st level bloodline power so you can use it freely with the mutations.

    "At 1st, 3rd, 9th, 15th, and 20th levels, a crossblooded sorcerer gains one of the two new bloodline powers available to her at that level."

    Your argument is that this doesn't alter the 1st level bloodline power? Getting to choose between two options vs. getting a single option is obviously an alteration.


    Lady-J wrote:
    Melkiador wrote:
    No, you're making an assumption that an alternate class feature has to specify that it alters a class feature to count as doing so. But that limitation is never specified anywhere in the rules. It's merely a convenience that got left out of crossblooded.
    No, because every thing that gets altered says that it does, Every and I mean every 1st party archetype says so all except 2 you wana know what they are cross blooded and crossblooded rager. Every archetype has that mechanic but these two and you want to know why, its because they are not altering the bloodline powers, they are not replacing the bloodline powers they are giving you two lists to pull from. The bloodline powers are not the things being altered with these archetypes it is the fundamental core of a sorcerer/bloodrager. Its more like an alternate class than an archetype.

    If it were an alternate class it wouldn't work either. Because it still falls under "alternate class features". And I'm pretty sure there are other examples of the missing text, but even if there weren't, it wouldn't matter. That text is never specified as being necessary to define a class feature as being altered.

    Edit: Actually alternate classes are a good example of class features getting altered and replaced without specifying that they are.


    Melkiador wrote:
    Lady-J wrote:
    Melkiador wrote:
    No, you're making an assumption that an alternate class feature has to specify that it alters a class feature to count as doing so. But that limitation is never specified anywhere in the rules. It's merely a convenience that got left out of crossblooded.
    No, because every thing that gets altered says that it does, Every and I mean every 1st party archetype says so all except 2 you wana know what they are cross blooded and crossblooded rager. Every archetype has that mechanic but these two and you want to know why, its because they are not altering the bloodline powers, they are not replacing the bloodline powers they are giving you two lists to pull from. The bloodline powers are not the things being altered with these archetypes it is the fundamental core of a sorcerer/bloodrager. Its more like an alternate class than an archetype.

    If it were an alternate class it wouldn't work either. Because it still falls under "alternate class features". And I'm pretty sure there are other examples of the missing text, but even if there weren't, it wouldn't matter. That text is never specified as being necessary to define a class feature as being altered.

    Edit: Actually alternate classes are a good example of class features getting altered and replaced without specifying that they are.

    And alternate classes can still use all the normal things the original class could that require a class feature as an alternate class feature does not necessarily mean an altered class feature.


    Lady-J wrote:
    And alternate classes can still use all the normal things the original class could that require a class feature as an alternate class feature does not necessarily mean an altered class feature.

    Source?


    Not sure I've ever seen this heated of a rules debate in the homebrew forum.


    Melkiador wrote:
    Lady-J wrote:
    And alternate classes can still use all the normal things the original class could that require a class feature as an alternate class feature does not necessarily mean an altered class feature.
    Source?

    The alternate classes themselves, a vast majority of their abilities allow them to use feats and items for the main none alternate version. Like how an anti paladin can use bracers of the merciful knight to be counted as 4 levels higher for touch of corruption or how they can take extra lay on hands for 2 more uses of touch of corruption or how the samurai can use some of the cavalier items that work off the banner class feature just to name a few.


    Java Man wrote:
    Not sure I've ever seen this heated of a rules debate in the homebrew forum.

    If anyone wants to steer back to my proposed item I would be interested.


    Gallant Armor wrote:
    Java Man wrote:
    Not sure I've ever seen this heated of a rules debate in the homebrew forum.
    If anyone wants to steer back to my proposed item I would be interested.

    Already said what there is so say; make them super rare/hard to get and make them artifacts but make it 3/day for the caster one and once per round for the martial. Its the only way they can be balanced compared to one and other anything else would need a redesign for both items.


    I feel that the items don’t really serve a purpose of helping martial vs caster issues. You may as well just hand out more potions and raise their level cap.

    For the martial/caster issue, I have an alternate rule, where spells “known” is limited by a formula to slow the entrance of problem spells. For 9 spell level classes you can only learn spells of level 1+(character level)/3. For 6 spell level classes you are limited to 1+(character level)/4. Slots for spells known and per day are still gained at the usual levels, but must be filled with metamagic or lower level spells. Other class abilities that mimic spellcasting also need to be similarly effected, like the summoner’s summon monster ability.

    This rule doesn’t begin to effect casters until the levels where martial vs caster issues begin to become a thing. And it basically removes level 8 and 9 spells from the game. It also makes multiclassing a caster more attractive, as you aren’t missing out on higher level spells as much.


    Melkiador wrote:

    I feel that the items don’t really serve a purpose of helping martial vs caster issues. You may as well just hand out more potions and raise their level cap.

    For the martial/caster issue, I have an alternate rule, where spells “known” is limited by a formula to slow the entrance of problem spells. For 9 spell level classes you can only learn spells of level 1+(character level)/3. For 6 spell level classes you are limited to 1+(character level)/4. Slots for spells known and per day are still gained at the usual levels, but must be filled with metamagic or lower level spells. Other class abilities that mimic spellcasting also need to be similarly effected, like the summoner’s summon monster ability.

    This rule doesn’t begin to effect casters until the levels where martial vs caster issues begin to become a thing. And it basically removes level 8 and 9 spells from the game. It also makes multiclassing a caster more attractive, as you aren’t missing out on higher level spells as much.

    My goal wasn't to address caster/marital disparity as that isn't much of an issue at my table. What I was interested in was to balance the items with each other.


    Ok, that’s a horse of a different color then. The first item is worth about 3 to 4 feats. The second item is harder to rate, but it’s probably around 3 to 4 feats of power as well.


    1:They are item slotless, so, I would accept all restrictions accepted by the OP.

    2: Yes, this is Homebrew, so, PFS can suck on a necklace of fireballs. For all their restrictions, they offer some other advantages.

    3: While I think you can only get them through adventuring, or as the one item for character backstory, again, OP or GM must ok. I generally think almost all additional perks can be available to the foes.

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