View Full Version : [3.x] Making Less Crummy Base Classes by Combining Them

2009-12-19, 07:23 PM
So, I basically did this in a campaign by being lazy and just allowing certain classes to Gestalt with certain other classes while the higher tier classes ran around single classed. But, I'd like to make an attempt at making it more... elegant I suppose. The end result is hopefully a class that is more playable than either, but still not OPed and one that thematically makes sense.

Feedback, suggestions, flames, linkage, whatever.

#1 The Soulja, or Soulninja, Ninjaknife, or Soulknife Redux.
Skills, Skill Points, Saves:
Go Gestalt on Skills, Skill Points, Saves.
-The two have practically the same skill lists, the only non-psionic skill the Soulknife brings to the party is *gasp* Profession. Easily one of the more useless skills.
-Skill Points: Based on his skill list, the Soulknife reads as a Skill Monkey... and yet, despite his great aptitude, can only hope to be competent at a scant few. The Ninja's 6+Int is still less than the Rogue, but at least it allows the Soulknife to make use of his skill list.
-Saves: The Ninja's Saves are Abyssmal, I understand that its just a copy/paste of the Rogue's saves, but the Rogue isn't painted as this class that can pull off crazy stuff (turning invisible) just by focusing really hard. Heck, the Rogue can even get Slippery Mind. To me, along with all the things that require a decent Wis, it seems that Ninja's should be better than Street Rats at making Will Saves, and not just because of an Ability Modifier.

Average it out to D8
-Same as the Ranger. The Soulknife's HP reflects that WotC didn't really know what role this guy was supposed to fill when they made him. He's got HP commonly reserved for a front line melee character, a wide skill list, and fluff that makes him seem almost skirmishy (namely throwing mind daggers). The Ninja again has Copy/Paste Rogue stuff, but since the Ninja is a 'lesser-rogue' I don't see why we can't buff him up to Ranger level.

Stays at 3/4.
-Just for the sake of consistency as both classes have it, not because its so awesome.

Toss all of the Soulknife's armor and shield profs, use the Ninja's monk-like Armor progression. This makes sense from a design perspective in terms of the feel and flavor of the class we're making. Something like the Swordsage but keying off Wis instead of Int might work too.
-This is more for flavor than anything else as we're building a Psionic (or Ki)-Skirmisher (and it lets the Soulknife actually use those DEX/STR skills without armor gimping his checks)

Weapon Proficiences:
Use the Soulknife's list.
-I really hate how the Ninja's is Simple, Short Sword, Short Bow, AZN!!!!! Especially since the only worthwhile weapons are in those first 3 categories and all the AZN stuff is just for looks and is pretty mechanically pointless. Why aren't those things simple weapons for crying out loud?! This is actually the alternative solution, make those lame AZN weapons into simple weapons. Seriously, how is a Kama so different from a Sickle?

Class Features:
Take all of the Ninja's stuff and leave it alone. Except for Poison Use as thematically that doesn't work. "Ima poisoning my mind blade!" Also, poison rules are pretty asinine in 3.x so it isn't a huge loss. Replace all instances of 'Ki' with 'Psionic' or 'Psi'. Alternatively we can make this a Ki class (what's the difference anyway?) and replace all of the Psi mentioning from the Soulknife and kill Autohypnosis and Knowledge Psionics as Skills. Oh, and drop Evasion down to Level 4 and put Improved Evasion up there at Level 12.

For the Soulknife throw it all in and then some. By 'and then some' add in that no matter the current shape of the Soulknife's blade it is considered a light weapon for the purposes of weapon finesse. Also, at level 3 start working the Soulbow features in too, but ditch the Bonus Feats. Line up the Mind Arrow enhancement gains with those of the Soulknife's Mind Blade, consider them the same weapon for feats (so the bonus Weapon Focus works with them). Continue the enhancement progression as per the Soulknife (So you can eventually have +5 mind arrows).
Sudden Strike and Psychic Strike are both kept, Psychic Strike now only requires a Swift Action.
-The Ninja has decent features, but they get them waaay too late. Giving them better saves, damage, and versatility might help make up for this a little as well as lowering the oh-so-needed Evasion.
-The Soulknife has NO features, they have WBL. Awesome. Adding in Ninja stuff makes them a class.
-Making all of the Mindblade forms work with Weapon Finesse helps reduce MAD and, to me at least, makes sense since these aren't 10lb metal objects, these are semi-real mental constructs. They probably don't need as much muscle behind them.
-The Soulbow: Really no reason for it to be separate from the Soulknife. Dropping the Bonus Feats helps neaten up the already very busy list of features, it doesn't crowd in on the Ranger/Scout shtick too much, and it leaves it to player choice. "Do I want to whip Mind Arrows at people or Mind Stab them or Both?" Also, the two options (Mind Blade vs Mind Arrow) lets the Soulknife have a back up enchantment, though this may be an area for abuse as the Soulknife has two free magic weapons now (doesn't have armor anymore though, so its probably conceivable by WBL)

Reasoning for the Combo:
The Soulknife has no clue what its doing, its painted as a skirmishy guy and as a front line guy and it sucks at both. The Ninja on the other hand, really does know what it should be used for, but its done better by the Rogue for the most part. The Ninja's semi-magical shtick with the ill-defined Ki also bugs me, at least the Soulknife knows that all his special self-actualized strangeness is from being psionic. But! The Mind Blade is the ONLY psionic-shtick he has! That's pretty weak for a psionic class, IMO. Especially since it just emulates WBL. By combining the features into one class we in effect produced a better, more magical, Soulknife. We also made one that knows its role as psionic skirmisher that doesn't actually use Psionic Powers or PPs. Also, why does 'Ninja' need its own class? Is it really so thematically different from a Rogue or Rogue/Assassin?

Compare to:
Rogue, Ranger, Base Soulknife, Base Ninja.

Next I'll be working on Dragon Shaman/Dragon Fire Adept or "Do we really need more than one Dragon Worshipping Breath Attack Class?" (which requires a bit more tweaking thanks to Dual Breath Weapons) and CW Samurai/Shujenja "A weeaboo class that sucks less and at least you can play it." Any other suggestions?

2009-12-19, 07:41 PM
Oh, and acknowledged 'waiting for abuse' part of this class. Be a Soul-Ninja with VOP as your weapons and armor are class features (but better than the Monk).

mabriss lethe
2009-12-19, 08:09 PM
I've also been "monk-eying" around with a similar idea. sort of gestalting monk and soulknife into a single monk class. replace Ki Strike with a Mindblade (mindfist?) progression. personally, I'd like to replace a lot of the chaff in monk with something akin to a factotum's ability to mimic spells. Give them a small number of spell like abilities usable 1/day that they can change out daily. Key it off wisdom of course.... while removing stuff like slow fall, abundant step, and tongue of sun and moon, since this class feature easily replaces them with the ability to cast featherfall, dimension door, and tongues, while allowing the character to prepare a few other nasty little tricks.