Esoteric Antithesis or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Story


Thaumaturge Class


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So I previously threw out the idea of dropping Esoteric Antithesis because I didn't see how it could work with Charisma. After thinking about Mark's clarifications and how other's view the class, I think I understand it better now. It plays in the same themes as the bard. But where as the bard takes mundane performance and turns it into magic, the thaumaturge takes mundane items and makes them magical. That's how implements and Esoteric Antithesis fit together. Both are about taking something mundane and, through some form of narrative, giving it power. I could be wrong (again), but this is my attempt to help make that more the central theme.

Everything is still Cha based and we keep implements as that initial class choice. The first change is Find Flaws. If we are making stories, fact is irrelevant. There is no need to actually know anything about what we are fighting. We are making a story, which is only limited by player imagination. Find Flaws, which should be renamed to something more fitting, is just an action that requires no check, just like Hunt Prey and Devise a Stratagem. It should also be balanced similarly and not interfere with a creature's natural weaknesses. We are adding a new weakness that has nothing to do with the natural. They should stack just like they do for the HP and DaS examples.

The main function of our class is still Esoteric Antithesis. The only change I would make is to make the effect dependent on which implement you want to use and that the effect is based on Cha. This ties the implement much more close to the class. So a weapon implement would use something similar to the current version, with bonus to hit and damage based on Cha. But the lantern might give a debuff to the target of Find Flaws, with a save DC based on Cha. The Amulet could provide defensive bonuses against them. I think it would make sense to pick up new implements as you go, so you can switch which affect of Esoteric Antithesis you want at higher levels.

So going with this theme of mundane into magic, I think I would drop some of the class feats the deal more directly with using magic. I would switch the scroll feats into something where you pick a number of small knickknacks each day and grant a spell to them, based off their stories of course. Similar mechanic, but tied directly to the rest of the class. I don't see how the pact feats are of any more relation to this as any other class. I think they would be better off as dedication feats for archetypes that allow a character to become more indebted the more power they get. And I'm sure more changes could be made to other feats

Okay, that's my new take on the class. My previous one, of a guy who pretends to be magical by relying on Trick Magic Item is still worth a class, but it's not what I think people are looking for here (I think this class would be a natural fit for pacts). This also better separates the class from the Inquisitor, which I think deserves it's own class with a more divine bent.

I'm curious to see how people feel on this take. Hopefully better than the last one!


I could see leaning out of the pure knowledge aspect and more into the occult "this works because I think it works" of the custom weakness.

I'd still give some level of damage increase for all cases because of combat math, but you'd probably reduce it? And it would always be a weakness trigger still.

I like the idea of implements having a passive bonus against your target when presented, but we kind of have that already on Amulet and Weapon, while others are active tools (Wand might get a benefit on your chosen victim, but I can't think how to do it for Chalice...)


Dubious Scholar wrote:

I could see leaning out of the pure knowledge aspect and more into the occult "this works because I think it works" of the custom weakness.

I'd still give some level of damage increase for all cases because of combat math, but you'd probably reduce it? And it would always be a weakness trigger still.

I like the idea of implements having a passive bonus against your target when presented, but we kind of have that already on Amulet and Weapon, while others are active tools (Wand might get a benefit on your chosen victim, but I can't think how to do it for Chalice...)

Yeah, Chalice is tricky. But I'm sure someone smarter than me could figure something out.

But getting rid of the knowledge aspects I think is the goal here. I think this immediately solves the problems people have with using Charisma and having to invest every skill increase into the 4 knowledge skills.


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The class isnt *just* spinning stories though, it's knowing stuff and then spinning plausible stories. While I know recall knowledge is a painpoint of the class, especially because Find Flaws reveals the result in a metagame sense to the player of the RK check; I'd still favor learning things to be a key feature of the class, mechanically and flavor wise.

If we want to avoid the issues of RK, I feel we could roll Find Flaws and Esoteric Antithesis into one ability, makes it work similar to Combat Analysis (where it's a recall knowledge like ability, but provides a limited scope of information and doesn't prevent future uses on a failure) using the best of your four tradition skills based on cha. Crit success gives you two pieces of info and an appropriate Antithesis, success gives you one piece of info and an appropriate Antithesis, failure yields no info, but your still able to BS your way into an Antithesis, and a crit fail gives you false info and an inappropriate Antithesis that you THINK will work, but won't (and it is obvious it doesn't work the first time you whiff trying to exploit the weakness)

This type of approproch avoids the MAD issue of the thaumaturge, allows you a decent shot of success on most creatures without having to multiclass rogue and taking a few skill masteries to shore up you RK skills, still keep the feel, and avoids the metagaming issue of the present Find Flaw.


Alchemic_Genius wrote:
The class isnt *just* spinning stories though, it's knowing stuff and then spinning plausible stories. While I know recall knowledge is a painpoint of the class, especially because Find Flaws reveals the result in a metagame sense to the player of the RK check; I'd still favor learning things to be a key feature of the class, mechanically and flavor wise...

While I agree with you mechanically, I think the flavor is a little convoluted. If we are learning things, that should be Int or Wis. My goal was to make this truly Cha based. If we always have the option of making things up as a fall back, I don't see why that's not the default. I think there is still room for knowledge builds, but as class feats to build into. Still based off Int just like the bard.

EDIT: Maybe some feats that allow for bonuses on Esoteric Antithesis based on successful RK rolls. This means you can specialize in a knowledge type, but still be useful outside that. Or lean completely away from it if you so desire.


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Bard is also cha based, and yet we don't contest the fact that 2 of 4 muses are based on knowledge (enigma for recalling information and rituals, polymath for spell focused learning), nor do we assume magi aren't well learned because they are str/dex based.

Cha based doesn't mean knowledge isn't important, it means that your ability to influence is most important


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Alchemic_Genius wrote:

Bard is also cha based, and yet we don't contest the fact that 2 of 4 muses are based on knowledge (enigma for recalling information and rituals, polymath for spell focused learning), nor do we assume magi aren't well learned because they are str/dex based.

Cha based doesn't mean knowledge isn't important, it means that your ability to influence is most important

But those do show my point. When they are recalling knowledge, it's still Int or Wis based, depending on the skill. Bards don't substitute Cha for Int. That feels incredibly weird to me. If I can have 8 Int, but function perfectly fine as a thaumaturge, I want to play the class dumb as rocks and still make sense. I don't know anything, but I'm gonna con the universe with my baubles.

The knowledge aspect of bard isn't a primary feature, you can build into if you want. That's what I'd like here. Make RK an optional choice, not the primary ability.


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Reveal Machinations let's you RK with deception, it's not the first time you can get information with cha that doesn't involve gathering it


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Alchemic_Genius wrote:
Reveal Machinations let's you RK with deception, it's not the first time you can get information with cha that doesn't involve gathering it

That's a legendary skill feat with very specific flavor to match the mechanics. It involves actually communicating with the individual. I don't think that really applies here, unless we want to make Find Flaws language dependent.

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