View Full Version : [Prestige Class DnD 3.5] The Alienist

Hastur Avaddon
2011-05-24, 10:36 PM
Upon my review of the Alienist Prestige Class in the Complete Arcana book I found myself rather disappointed. It lacked the flare I thought it should have, and also the raw power alot of other prestige classes have. Thus, I went ahead and updated it. Let me know what you think.

Hit Dice: d4

To qualify to become a Alienist, a character must fulfill all the following criteria.
Skills: Knowledge (The Planes) 8 Ranks
Feats: Aberration Blood (Lords of Madness Pg 178)
Spells: Able to cast spells of 3rd level or higher.
Special: Prior contact with an alienist or Aberrant creature.

Class Skills:
The Alienist's class skills are Concentration (Con), Gather Information (Cha), Knowledge (All skills taken individually) (Int), Listen (Wis), Profession (Wis), Spell-craft (Int), and Spot (Wis).
Skill Ranks per Level: 4 + Int modifier.

Class Features: The following are class features of the Alienist.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Alienists gain no additional proficiency in any weapon or armor.

Spells Per Day: When a new alienist level is gained, the character gains new spells per day as if he had also gained a level in a spellcasting class he belong to before adding the prestige class. She does not, however, gain any other benefit a character of that class would have gained (improved chance of controlling or rebuking undead, meta-magic, or item creation feats, hit points beyond those he receives from the prestige class, and so on), except for an increased effective level of spellcasting. If a character had more than one spellcasting class before becoming an alienist, he must decide to which class he adds each level of alienist for the purposes of determining spells per day.

BAB: 10th level +5 (1,1,2,2,3,3,4,4,5,)
Good Save: Will
Spells Per Day: +1 level of existing class per level

Familiar Abilities: Levels of alienist stack with levels of any class that provide access to a familiar. Add levels from this class and the class that granted access to the familiar together and refer to the table on page 53 of the Players Handbook to determine the familiars natural armor, Intelligence and special abilities. If a character had levels in multiple classes that grant access to a familiar before becoming an alienist, he must decide to which class to add each level for the purpose of determining the abilities of her familiar. This ability does not grant an alienist a familiar if she does not already have one.

Summon Aberrant: Whenever an alienist would use summon monster spell to summon a celestial of fiendish creature, she instead summons a pseudo-natural version of that creature. An alienist gives up the ability to summon non-pseudo-natural creatures with a summon monster spell.

Mental Disorder (Ex): The character develops a specific Mental Disorder, appropriate to the character chosen by you, or your DM. Please refer to page 52 of the Call of Cthulhu d20 handbook by Monte Cook and John Tynes for further information on how this affects the character.

Aberrant Blessing (Ex): At levels 2, 4, 6, and 8 the Alienist makes a trade, sacrificing sanity for knowledge. At each of these levels the Alienist permanently loses 1 point of wisdom and gains 1 point of Intellect.

Elder Secret (Ex): An Alienist listens to the secret voices whispering from beyond time's end and profits thereby. At 3rd, 6th, and 9th level the Alienist may select any meta-magic or aberrant feat as a bonus feat. The Alienist also has access to the following three vile feats as bonus feats if he is of evil alignment: Willing Deformity (Heroes of Horror Pg 125), Deformity: Madness (Elder Evils Pg 13), and Reflexive Psychosis (Elder Evils Pg 14).

Mad Certainty (Ex): At 4th level, an alienist's mad certainty in the power of entities beyond the reach of normal space and time lend him a unnatural benefit. Once per day you may use contact other plane (Players Handbook pg 212-213) as a spell like ability. Also, by focusing in and listening to these voices once per day you may add your intelligence modifier to your AC for a number of rounds equal to your levels in this class. However constantly dwelling on such beings is mentally corrosive, and the alienist's mind begins to fracture. He now takes a -4 penalty on all Bluff, Diplomacy, and Handle Animal checks made to influence non-pseudo-natural creatures.

Pseudo-natural Familiar (Ex): At 5th level any familiar the alienist already possesses takes on aberrant qualities and gain the Pseudo-natural template as a result. From this point onward any familiars summoned by the alienist already posses this template.

Unusual Anatomy (Ex): The actual body of the Alienist becomes amorphous. He cannot be flanked, and is not subject to extra damage from critical hits.

Insane Certainty (Ex): At 8th level an alienist's mad certainty crystallizes into a truly chilling mania. The penalty of Bluff, Diplomacy, and Handle Animal checks made to influence non-pseudo-natural creatures increases to -10, however he now permanently adds his intelligence to his AC as a deflection bonus.

Timeless Body (Ex): At 9th level, an alienist learns the secret of perpetual youth. She no longer take ability penalties for gain and cannot be magically aged. Ability score bonuses from aging not longer accrue, however any penalties the alienist might have already taken remain in place. Should the alienist ever die by any means, a horrible rip in reality opens up before all to see, and the alienist's body is dragged away into another dimension by a horrible tentacled mass never to be seen again.

Far-spawn Transcendence (Su): At 10th level the alienist though long association with alien entities and intensive study of insane secrets, transcends his mortal form and becomes an alien creature altogether. He gains the Half-Far-spawn template (Lords of Madness Pg 152) with the following exceptions: This transformation has left the sanity of the participant permanently scarred. Instead of a +4 wisdom bonus as the template details, the exact opposite occurs, imposing a -4 wisdom penalty. This damage cannot be undone in anyway and stacks with previous wisdom penalty's applied by the class.

Madness (Ex): Throughout the Alienist's career a lot of wisdom is lost in exchange for dark unknown secrets. Each time this happens a little of the Alienist's sanity is lost. The penalty's described herein can in fact cause a individuals base wisdom to drop below 1. Should this ever happen the character's mind is completely unhinged, sending the individual into a permanent catatonic coma. The character cannot be removed from this coma hence forth, since his wisdom may not be restored. It is therefore important that the character's base Wisdom be of at least 9 (13 if the character takes the Deformity Madness feat) as a total of 8 points of wisdom are lost throughout progression in this class. Magic enhancements to the wisdom do no good in staving off this madness. It is the base wisdom of the character that is affected and judged. Should the character lose wisdom due to some other means, this ability does not take its toll.

2011-05-26, 11:27 AM
-8 Wisdom?!

Touch of idiocy for the win!

2011-05-26, 01:54 PM
I always use this site (http://pifro.com/) to make tables.

Summon Aberrant has the same problem that the C. Arc alienist has. A lot of the flexibility of summoning, especially at higher levels, is the ability to summon angels/devils/etc which have Su and SLA abilities which help resolve the encounter. Losing out on outsiders reduces flexibility. Consider adding Abberations to the Summon Monster lists to make up for this.

Mental Disorder is... fitting.

Aberrant Blessing: do you mean Int? Or Cha? Probably Int, but that makes this less good for sorcerers. You might make it a boost to their primary casting attribute. That would mean that clerics could enter this class and Aberrant Blessing would do nothing. Did you want Clerics to be able to enter this class, because at present they can.

Elder Secret is pretty powerful; extra metamagic is nice. Other feats are also good. If I wanted to cut power I would limit these to [aberrant] only.

What sort of action is it to use Mad Certainty to add Int to AC? Contact Other Plane is the highest level of spell a Wizard can cast at level 9, which is when the earliest normal entry would get this ability. It is a very useful spell. Consider putting a lesser divination here and moving Contact Other Plane later in the class.

Pseudo-Natural Familiar should specify the template from C Arc, there is also a pseudonatural creature template in the Epic Level Handbook which is... stronger.

Insane Certainty: Why is Int to AC typed now when it wasn't before? Insight seems like a more appropriate type for this bonus than deflection.

Timeless Body means that no-one should ever take the 9th level of this class. By level 14 death is normally an inconvenience. In most games death is a real risk. Permanently losing a character is not fun, and losing a character to your class features is even worse. I would suggest that when they would die of old age they instead are pulled into a rift between worlds and perma-die.

Half-Farspawn is pretty useless for a full caster besides the Con and Natural Armor boosts.

Overall, it is more powerful but it didn't fix the key problem with the Alienist: it purports to be a summoning class while decreasing the power and flexibility of your summoning. You could simply cut out that class feature and have... a rather strong PrC, honestly. +4 Int, 3 metamagic feats, amorphous, Int to AC... pretty strong. Not Incantatrix level, but probably better than Archmage or Mage of the Arcane Order. There are also costs. I'd want to see some playtests, but we all know how often that happens.

2011-05-26, 04:15 PM
The epic version wouldn't be too horrible

Hastur Avaddon
2011-05-26, 04:50 PM
I thank everyone for taking a look at this despite the formatting issues that exist with it. (Certain things not being bolded, lack of a table, etc).

To Glimbur:
Overall, I completely agree with everything you have said. The class is made specifically for Wizards, (your assumption on the +1 to intellect is correct), although any spell casting class can gain access. Clerics specifically would probably not want to take levels in this class however, due to the wisdom drain, but I did want to leave that possibility open for them. Sorcerers would find the entire Aberrant Blessing ability to be useless, and heck, a lot of the class useless.

I wanted to class to be more Cthulhu-ish. And in Call of Cthulhu d20, Wisdom = Sanity (in a round about way). So, no matter what I want the wisdom degeneration to stay the same. It wouldn't be too far fetched to switch this over to a charisma boost however, claiming that The Alienist trades his wisdom for a stronger force of personality. I will dwell on this.

I believe limiting the feat selections to aberrant only feats is a great idea.

I think making the Mad Certainty buff a standard action, and a insight bonus is a good idea. Removing the Contact Other Plane ability is fine as well, I actually am not to familiar with the spell. I also wouldn't be opposed to removing this effect all together. Int to AC is a big deal (especially for a wizard, and from a class which gives you +4 to your Int).

Overall, my main goal from all this was not to make a spell caster more powerful per-say, but rather, more durable, without giving him/her little things like +3 HP for -10 to all social interaction abilitys. (That to me, was just ridiculous). I'll make the mentioned changes when I have time soon, and I'll also work on putting this into a better format for you all to read.

Thanks again!