View Full Version : Dying for a laugh [PEACH]

2010-08-24, 11:14 PM
Ever have nightmares about killer clowns? Ever want to be a killer clown? One of my players does! Help me proof this homebrew gray jester monster class for him!


Gray jester is from Heroes of Horror, page 151.
Yes, I've seen Oslecamo's gray jester monster class.
Yes, I reduced the level adjustment on the gray jester from 2 to 1gave it a negative level adjustment. WotC generally overstates level adjustments and places too much emphasis on hit dice over class features.



A gaunt figure clad in gray-hued jester's motley comes capering around the corner. Its feet move silently on the stones, and it grips a scepter with a doll's head atop it in one hand.

The gray jester is an otherworldly fey drawn to the presence of humanoids. It feeds on laughter and joy, strengthing itself while permanently draining these emotions from its prey.

Gray jesters look like jesters, clowns, or mimes clad in gray, white, or black. They tend to be thin, even emaciated. Their eyes are cold and empty, their smiles wide and filled with broken but perfectly white teeth. All gray jesters carry scepters of some sort, much like those wielded by real court jesters.

Gray jesters average 6 feet in height and weigh roughly 110 pounds. They speak Common, Elven, and Sylvan.


Skill Points|

+2|(6 + Int) x 4|Feat, +6 Dex, +2 Con, +2 Int, clever deflection, low-light vision, empathic feeding (touch), DR 2/cold iron

+3|(6 + Int) x 2|Feat, +2 Cha, empathic feeding (30 ft range), fast movement +10 ft, SR 5 + HD

+4|(6 + Int) x 2|+2 Dex, hideous laughter (at will), fast movement +20 ft

+5|6 + Int|Feat, +2 Dex, +2 Cha, DR 5/cold iron, SR 10 + HD, open-minded

+5|6 + Int|+2 Dex, +2 Con, empathic feeding (multiple targets), open-minded

+6|6 + Int|+2 Int, +2 Cha, command bleak ones, DR 10/cold iron[/table]

Racial Traits

Creature type: Fey. Grey jesters eat, sleep, and breathe.
Starting Ability Score Adjustments: +6 Dex, +2 Con, +2 Int. Gray jesters are extraordinarily limber and dextrous, possessed of otherworldly fortitude and stamina, and extremely quick of wit compared to most humanoid races.
Speed: Gray jester land speed is 30 feet.
Low-light vision: Gray jesters can see twice as far as a human in conditions of dim light.
Automatic languages: Common, Sylvan.
Bonus language: Elven.
Favored Class: bard and beguiler

The gray jester's class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Bluff (Cha), Diplomacy (Cha), Hide (Dex), Listen (Wis), Perform (comedy) (Cha), Move Silently (Dex), Sense Motive (Wis), Spot (Wis), Tumble (Dex), Use Magic Device (Cha).

All of the following are class features of the gray jester monster class.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: The gray jester gains proficiency with simple weapons and with the scepter (treat as a nunchaku). He gains no proficiency with any armor or shields.

Clever Deflection (Su): The gray jester is cunning and elusive, and partakes of the elusive nature of the feywild. Add your Intelligence bonus as a deflection bonus to your Armor Class.

Damage Reduction (Ex): A gray jester's connection to the feywild weaves fey magic into his body, granting him DR 2/cold iron.

At 4th level this increases to DR 5/cold iron, and at 6th level it increases to DR 10/cold iron.

Empathic Feeding (Su): A gray jester can drain joyous emotions from humanoid beings. The jester must be within 30 feet of a living humanoid who is experiencing laughter, joy, or similar emotions (this includes emotions evoked by magic, such as Tasha's hideous laughter).

As a standard action, the gray jester can make a melee touch attack, either by hand or with its scepter, to drain 1d4 Charisma from a target (Will negates, DC 10 + ˝ HD + Cha bonus). A gray jester of 2nd level can feed from a range of up to 30 feet, while a jester of 5th level can feed on a number of people within range equal to its Charisma bonus with a single standard action.

Gray jesters feed on emotions but are at their weakest just after feeding. For a number of rounds equal to the total points of Charisma drained, a gray jester's DR/cold iron is reduced by 5 and its spell resistance is reduced by 6.

Fast Movement (Ex): A gray jester of 2nd level becomes fleeter of foot, gaining a +10 ft improvement in its base land speed.

This benefit increases to +20 ft at 3rd level.

Spell Resistance (Ex): Upon reaching 2nd level, a gray jester's connection to the feywild weaves fey magic into his spirit, and he gains spell resistance of 5 + his Hit Dice.

At 4th level, this connection deepens, and his spell resistance improves to 10 + his HD. At 8th level this increases to 10 + his Hit Dice.
Hideous Laughter (Su): As a standard action, a gray jester of 3rd level or higher can make a melee touch attack with his hand or his scepter to cause a target to begin laughing uncontrollably, as the spell Tasha's hideous laughter (Will negates, DC 10 + ˝ HD + Cha bonus). The gray jester's effective caster level for this ability is equal to his hit dice. The gray jester can use this ability at will.

Open-Minded: At 4th level, the gray jester gains the Open-Minded feat as a bonus feat, immediately acquiring 5 additional skill points. He gain Open-Minded again at 5th level.

Command Bleak Ones (Ex): At 6th level, a gray jester acquires the ability to control bleak ones he has created. He can control up to four times his HD of bleak ones. Acquiring control of a newly created bleak one is automatic if the jester wishes it, and does not require an action. If acquiring control of a newly-created bleak one would take the jester over his control limit, he gains control of the new bleak one and loses control of previously created bleak ones (jester's choice). If a jester releases control of a bleak one he has formerly controlled, he may resume control of it as a standard action.

A gray jester must take a move action to command a bleak one, and if the gray jester and the bleak one do not share a common language then he is restricted to giving only very simple commands that can be conveyed without language.

The results of a gray jester's feeding vary depending on the target. Anyone with more Hit Dice than the gray jester loses the ability to laugh or feel joy if reduced to 0 Charisma. Those of equal or fewer hit dice, however, become what the gray jesters call “bleak ones”. They lose all self-will as well as the capacity to feel positive emotions. Although not mindless, they undertake no actions unless the gray jester that drained them is able to command them and give them orders. Commanded bleak ones commonly become followers and soldiers for the jester, while those left to their own devices simply sit in a state of catatonia and usually die of dehydration within a few days if not tended to. Bleak ones cannot use any abilities that rely on Charisma, but otherwise retain all of their capabilities.

2010-08-24, 11:27 PM
Do I even need to say it?
I guess I will, in case it isn't obvious...
He should consider playing a Sword-sage specializing in Falling Anvil, multiclassed with this racial class... actually, come to that, IMHO a human (or gnome) swordsage focused on Falling Anvil does "killer clown" better than this race does. This race creates danger from laughter, but that laughter is usually sourceless once they hit 3rd level (IE not even any bad jokes usually involved... unless you flavor the touch attack as tickling), and takes a non-visible form (Charisma Drain) rather than having treasure chests fall out of the sky and splatter people's brains across the room. If you mix in a little Stone Dragon and/or Tiger Claw you can even do machetes and giant axes too...

2010-08-24, 11:30 PM
For reference (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=7988336&postcount=92)...

Anyway, yeah, I agree with DracoDei. :smallamused:

Sir Sanguine
2010-08-25, 09:25 AM
1) I think it needs even more class skills, since it gets 6 + Int and is likely to have a really high Int. Not to mention Open-Minded. Disable Device, Intimidate, Sleight of Hand, Escape Artist?

2) What does it do in combat until 3rd level? With the Dex bonus, it would probably spend a lot of time plinking at things with crossbows, but that doesn't seem very killer-clown like. [diverging from the actual monster] Maybe give it some offensive-type bardic music abilities using perform (comedy) like fascinate, so he can sneak up and stab people in the ribs/steal their joy while they're laughing at him. [/diverging from the actual monster]

3) Give him some bonus for eating people's joy! I like what the Oslecamo's class did by giving you a bonus to your Charisma according to the amount drained. The clown is performing, and you're pretty sure that something bad is happening because people are keeling over and you want to run but he's just getting funnier and funnier...

Maybe give him a bonus to his Cha score for 24 hours equal to the amount drained with a cap equal to twice his level.


2010-08-28, 10:53 AM
The consensus seems to be that it needs more. I'm hesitant to add more abilities that go beyond the stock monster, and I'd been wavering on the edge of whether this was worth even a +1 LA, so I've reduced the LA to +0, compressing the abilities into an 8-level class.


2010-08-28, 11:15 AM
Here's the issue: the Gray Jester may have 8 racial hit dice, but it's really only CR 4. A 4th level PC is also CR 4. Really, the important thing is to moderate approximate monster ability utility with the CR of the monster, not with the Hit Dice.

This might be something a player would pick if it were a 4-6 level class, but nobody is going to spend 8 levels to end up CR 4.

2010-08-28, 12:20 PM
So, looking back at its LA, it might be more accurate to say it's CR 4, +2 LA for a level 6 class, as opposed to being HD 8 with +2 LA?

Intriguing. Let me doodle with that for a bit.

2010-08-28, 01:24 PM
OK, third try at this. It looks like a beast now. Between the ability bonus and the hit dice, it has the hit points of a barbarian, the skills of a rogue, a better finesse/ranged attack bonus than a fighter or ranger, minionomancy like a necromancer cleric, plus spell resistance, damage reduction, and enough AC bonuses to simulate plate mail.

...you were right. As a player, this is definitely something I'd be interested in now.

2010-08-29, 02:24 AM
You lose a Hit Die when you get the last level?

2010-08-29, 05:04 AM
The hit die progression is a joke only the Gray Jester understands.

2010-08-29, 08:54 AM
Typo! I'll fix that. :smallredface:

2010-08-29, 10:53 AM
Hm. Much better now, although I'd say to hell with the normal stat block, and just give the final monster 6 Hit Dice. Having more hit dice than levels is going to cause someone problems somewhere down the line, and I think sticking with the rules is more important than matching the monster perfectly.