View Full Version : [3.5] Dark Templar PrC

2009-08-02, 12:10 AM
I DM a small group of adventurers, and after agreeing to use the Psionic rules, I looked around the WotC website and saw a picture of a Xeph Soulknife with a green mind blade, which reminded me of the Dark Templar (from Starcraft) even more than it normally reminded me of the Zealot (again, from Starcraft). That, and the Psion Uncarnate's resemblance to a (Starcraft) Archon, was enough to push me over the edge.

So, out of boredom and an eagerness to start homebrewing PrC's, I threw together one that tries to mimic the Dark Templar. I originally considered giving it a different name, but everything I came up with sounded cheesy.

Right now, I'm more concerned about balance than flavor. I have some explanations for what I chose at the bottom of the post, you'll see what I mean there.

By the way, I'm reasonably sure that this doesn't count as copyrighted content, since this is a homemade PrC loosely based off a (mention of) unit from an RTS game.

Dark Templar

Hit Die

Knowledge (Psionics) 10 ranks, Hide 8 ranks, Move Silently 10 ranks
Base Attack Bonus
Mind Blade class feature

Class Skills
Climb, Concentration, Hide, Jump, Knowledge (Psionics), Listen, MOve Silently, Spot, Tumble

{table=head]Level|Base Attack<br>Bonus|Fort Save|Ref Save|Will Save|Special

+2|Invisibility, Stealth +1

+3|Stealth +2, Sneak Attack +1d6, Greater Invisibility

+3|Stealth +3, Swift Invisibility

+4|Stealth +4, Sneak Attack +2d6,

+4|Stealth +5[/table]

Invisibility (Sp)
At 1st level, a Dark Templar can cast Invisibility on himself (and only himself, not even on a familiar or Psicrystal) at will. In all respects including duration, Invisibility has a caster level equal to how many levels of Dark Templar the character has.

Stealth (Ex)
For each level of Dark Templar the character has, he gains a +1 Insight bonus on Hide and Move Silently checks.

Sneak Attack
This works exactly like the Rogue's Sneak Attack. The Sneak Attack Dice from this and other sources stack for damage, but Dark Templar levels do not stack with Rogue levels for purposes of overcoming Improved Uncanny Dodge.

Greater Invisibility (Sp)
At 2rd level, a Dark Templar can cast Greater Invisibility on himself (and only himself, not even on a familiar or Psicrystal) at will. He can only be under the effects of Greater Invisibility for a number of minutes per day equal to his Dark Templar level + his Charisma modifier. He can split the uses of this ability into intervals as small as 1 minute.

Swift Invisibility (Sp)
At 3rd level, a Dark Templar can cast Invisibility on himself as a swift action a number of times per day equal to his levels in Dark Templar. This functions exactly as if the Invisibility spell was modified by a Quicken Spell Metamagic. In addition, the Dark Templar can use this ability without counting toward his daily limit by expending his Psionic Focus, but only once per encounter.

Choices Explained:
The d8 hit dice:
In Starcraft, a Dark Templar is more expensive than but also frailer than a normal Zealot. Since I already saw similarities between the Soulknife and the Zealot, I wanted to reflect this.

The Prerequisites:
In Starcraft, Dark Templars are said to draw upon the "powers of the Void," so I figured that knowing of the existence of such a power source would be at least a tough (DC 20) application of the Knowledge skill, which meant 7th level. I ranked Move Silently similarly, and scaled down Hide a bit.

As for the BAB and Mind Blade requirements, the Dark Templar is intended to be a prestige class for the Soulknife. The +6 BAB makes it so that a pure Soulknife will be able to enter the class at 8th level, while a character with levels of both Soulknife and Fighter would enter it at 7th level. Somehow, I find that pleasing.

The Skills:
I didn't want to change too much from the Soulknife, and all of these are already skills that the Soulknife has.

Saving throws and BAB progression:
Same as skills, I kept these the same as with the Soulknife.

Invisibility and Greater Invisibility:
I made these Spell-like because the idea of Greater Invisibility sticking around after getting dispelled is a bit scary, and I doubt too many monsters will be able to deal with it. But then, I DM a low-leveled (Currently 3rd level) party, so I'm likely wrong. Even then, it makes the Dark Templar even more of an effective assassin than it should be. In Starcraft, the Dark Templar is permanently invisible, but that's just broken.

I took Set's suggestion, and now I'm considering making one or more of them Supernatural, possibly as a 5th level ability. I also moved Greater Invisibility to 2nd level.

Sneak Attack:
A Dark Templar deals much more damage than a Zealot, so I decided to add Sneak Attack to help it take advantage of being invisible. I didn't have them stack with Rogue levels for flanking purposes because I figured the Dark Templar was good at striking vitals, but not at predicting an enemy's movements.

This was sort of for flavor and to help the Dark Templar do its job.

Balance Issues:
Sneak Attack:
Originally, Sneak Attack progressed at levels 1, 3, and 5 instead of 2 and 4, but I moved it because the even levels didn't really have anything going for them.

I'm currently edgy about having a class that can cast invisibility and sneak attack on its own. This is toned down from what it was in Starcraft, since it was more of a permanent, supernatural Greater Invisibility there. I'm even more edgy about giving him Greater Invisibility. I already decided (before posting) to only have it progress at 3 and 5 instead of 3, 4, and 5.
I have been reminded of the many ways around invisibility.
I'm slightly placated by the fact that the Dark Templar would get both types of Invisibility later than a regular caster would.
I'm also not sure about just how good of an idea it is to give a psionic class an arcane spell, unless there's a psionic equivalent of Invisibility.

This was intended to give the class a little extra boost. I'm not sure if I should keep it as an insight bonus, but I'm honestly not sure what else it should be.

No Playtesting:
I haven't playtested this at all, and I won't have a chance to anytime soon, since my PC's are low-leveled. Thus, I'm not sure just how useful Invisibility would be at those levels, or if situations there would make it more powerful than it normally would be.

Any suggestions or constructive criticism would be appreciated.

I changed the way Invisibility and Greater Invisibility (now starting at 2nd level) are granted, as with Set's suggestions, and added Swift Invisibility at 3rd level. I couldn't find what Superior Invisibility does (I'm not sure if it's a core spell or not), but I might add that in.

I'm also considering giving the Dark Templar a 5th level ability that would look something like:

Void Cloaking (Ex)
At 5th level, a Dark Templar's Invisibility, Greater Invisibility, and Swift Invisibility become Supernatural abilities instead of Spell-Like abilities.

But I'm not sure how big of an impact the lack of AoO's and Dispelling will make.

2009-08-02, 12:27 AM
In Starcraft, the Dark Templar is permanently invisible, but that's just broken.

Not really.

Even a simple DC 20 Spot check can discern that an invisible creature is near you (and a DC 40 Spot check to precisely pinpoint the location). Scent, blindsense, or blindsight, can help. Anything that ignores concealment can bypass it.

But, more important, simple things like a bag of flour, or a bucket of water can reveal you. More exotically, the 2nd level spell See Invisibility spoils your fun, and if the invisibility is magical in nature (such as a spell-like ability), Detect Magic (a 0th level spell!) will give you away, as your Invisibility projects an aura of magic.

The benefits are small. Spot and Listen to know you're there. Any AoEs can take you down. Flanking can already give you Sneak Attack, and if you're too lazy to flank, a few 1st or 2nd level spells can basically guarantee it for you.

To top it all off, if you attack, you're visible again. And if you're a melee person like a Dark Templar, that means you're about to be full-attacked to death by the monster you just mildly inconvenienced with your sneak attack damage, assuming it wasn't one of the myriad ones immune to it.

Just give them Invisibility as an at-will spell-like ability at 1st level, and Greater Invisibility as an at-will spell-like ability at 5th level.

2009-08-02, 12:37 AM
I agree that, at the levels in question, invisibility isn't exactly the end-all, be-all. I'd allow pretty much unlimited use of standard Invisibility, limited use of Swift Invisibility (at 3rd level, 1 use / class level, allowing the Dark Templar to approach under Invisibility, attack and then activate Swift Invisibility to vanish again, in the same round), and limited use of Greater Invisibility (class level + Cha mod in minutes / day, which can be broken up into increments as small as 1 minute?).

The average 3rd level Dark Templar with Cha 14 might have 5 minutes of Greater Invisibility per day, 3 uses of Swift Invisibility per day and unlimited use of the standard Invisibility effect.

2009-08-02, 12:43 AM
I suggest making Invisibility to Greater Invisibility, and making Greater Invisibility into Superior Invisibility.
5/day Greater Invis, 3/day (L3 L4 L5) Superior Invisibility should get you what you're looking for, especially if you also get some class ability giving you +Class Level resistant on your invisibilities to Dispel Magic
Maybe even add normal Invisibility at-will?

2009-08-02, 11:12 AM
I see your point (points?) about bypassing Invisibility.
I made Invisibility at-will, moved Greater Invisibility to 2nd level and made it a minutes per day thing, and added Swift Invisibility to 3rd level and allowed an extra use once per encounter by expending Psionic focus.

I also crossed out a bunch of stuff under Choice explanations and balance issues.

I'm also thinking of an ability for 5th level, which you can see at the bottom of the post, which would make Invisibility more useful, but I'm not sure what other implications it might have.

2009-08-03, 02:20 AM
You might want to give him a capstone ability at lvl 5. The way the class is set up now I don't think many people would take it after lvl 3. Maybe a big damage boost? Compare Zeratul's (what I would consider a lvl 5 dark templar) damage to a regular dark templar's damage (what I would consider a lvl 1 or 2).
Zeratul does 2.5 times as much (100vs40). Another potential ability could be to allow the dark templars at lvl 5 to have an ability (not sure what superior invisibility is either) that would prevent them from being detected from non-magical means and that magical means would require a spell check.