View Full Version : [3.5, Pathfinder Homebrew] Worthwhile Powers for a Pacifist

2009-09-30, 10:14 AM
Hi everyone. I am looking at trying to design a base class around a very specific type of pacifism: the belief that harming others is wrong, but allowing their own anger/aggression to lead them into harm is fine. This is the kind of pacifism once preached by some Mohists, a classical Chinese philosophy. The class might have a monk theme to reflect its roots.

The problem of course is that it's hard to be useful in D&D with no offensive abilities. Right now I'm just brainstorming, so below is my list of possible class abilities. Please add any ideas you have!

The class, if I have enough good ideas to make one, will be for 3.5/Pathfinder.

{table]Ability | Description
BDB | Instead of gaining BAB you gain an untyped bonus to AC. +1 at level one, scaled to +5 at level 20.
Evasion | As the Rogue ability
Take Sanctuary | Make a Bluff check against one opponent, if successful, opponent must make Will save to attack you that round (DC 10 + Cha mod + 1/2 your level) (Su, Language-dependent)
Grant Sanctuary | Designate 1 ally, use Sanctuary power to prevent attacks against that ally instead of self
Impose Sanctuary | Opponent designated by your Sanctuary ability cannot make attacks against any targets for 1 round without succeeding on Will save
Calming Gaze | Look into the eyes of 1 animal and make an opposed Cha check. If successful, animal is effectively under Calm Animals spell for 1 round/level. Works on non-intelligent magic beasts and aberrations but they get +4 to their check
Quickstep | When an enemy fails a Combat Manoeuvre* against you, they must make a Reflex save (DC 10 + your Cha + 1/2 your level) or fall prone
Cunning Step | When an enemy with a flanking bonus against you attacks you and misses, they deal damage to their flanking partner as if with a successful attack roll
Leaping Step | When an enemy charges you and misses, they pass through your square and stumble 1 square per point of your Cha mod. Their movement provokes AoOs as normal. At the end they fall prone and take 1d6 falling damage per square stumbled.
Battlefield Diplomat | You may attempt to improve a creature's attitude toward you in a single full-round action. If target has attacked or been attacked by you or your allies, DC rises by 10.
Aura of the Peaceful Heart | Whenever you and your allies wait to attack rather than attacking first, all allies within 20' of you receive a +1 morale bonus to AC and saving throws for a number of rounds equal to your Cha mod. If any of your allies, even outside the radius attacked before the enemies attacked, this benefit is denied to all allies.
Anger Traps | You may use the Craft (Trapmaking) skill to craft single-target, manual-reset traps that you wear on your person. These traps are triggered by a creature attacking you; first the creature resolves its attack, then the trap is resolved. You can wear up to 1 trap each in the belt, body, and head slots (slots are taken even if trap is non-magical). Trapmaking cost is normal. Other classes cannot wear these traps (not proficient).
Spellcasting | Cha-based, Bard spell progression, spell list consists of limited number of non-damaging battlefield control spells (sleep, grease, web, etc.)[/table]

*Combat Manoeuvre is a Pathfinder term. Refers to trip, grapple, disarm, sunder, bull rush, etc.

2009-10-05, 04:25 PM
Really, anyone?

If I wasn't clear in my original post, I would love any feedback on these abilities, as well as suggestions for other abilities.

I know it is a weird theme for an adventuring class, but any comment on the relative strength of these powers (too weak? too strong?) would mean a lot.


2009-10-05, 05:04 PM
BDB is too weak for something that can't fight back. Have it start at +2 and scale to +8 or more.

Otherwise, they seem okay.

2009-10-05, 08:18 PM
I like it.

The concept you are developing is one that is certainly crucial for the campaign world as you have all sorts of wandering ascetics who wouldn't harm a fly. However, it is a tricky archetype to fill because the entire D&D mechanic is based on killing creatures and taking their stuff. Furthermore, because everyone else in the gang is busy doing that, a player with this role would likely feel left out. I know I wouldn't be likely to play this type of character.

However, you have made an offensive beast out of this as well. Letting others hurt themselves is a mechanic that doesn't get much love. The only iteration of something like this in the core is Improved Trip, and the abilities surrounding it. Is there a reason you have left this out? As for the toughness, I suspect VoP might help. If you want to put a holy spin on it, go with some Healing abilities and Turning. It might be helpful and flavourful if you identified certain monster groups who the pacifist might attack: Undead, Aberrations, and Evil Outsiders being possible examples. Check out Tome of Battle (although I am not very familiar with it, I believe you can find some useful stances there that you can use for inspiration)

You have done a capable job putting this list together. I, for one, would love to see this developed into a full class. Good luck.

2009-10-05, 09:21 PM
There's a ton of fun stuff to be had in there. I think it would be awesome to make Quickstep, Cunning Step, and Leaping Step into a feat/feat chain for characters who don't wanna multi-class (in addition to the base class). I'd love to play a paladin with a few of these abilities :smallcool: