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Cheesy74
2012-07-08, 09:11 AM
So a friend of mine has been playing a brain in a jar in our 3.5 campaign using a monster class, but doesn't want to abandon the race now that I'm starting a 4e campaign. Thus, I threw this together for him and want to make sure it's balanced. I'll make a few feats for his class of choice once this passes muster. What do you think?

Brain in a Jar

Ability Scores: +2 Intelligence, +2 Wisdom or +2 Charisma
Size: Small
Speed: 3 squares, fly 5 squares (altitude limit 1)
Vision: Darkvision

Languages: Common, choice of one other, telepathy 5
Skill Bonuses: +2 Arcana, +2 Insight

Psychic Dagger: Brains in a jar cannot wield weapons, but they can attack nearby creatures with their minds. Psychic daggers function as a melee weapon with the following attributes, and are treated as if they were an unenchanted version of one implement the brain in the jar's class is capable of using. In addition, the daggers may be treated as a superior implement of the same type if the brain possesses the Superior Implement Proficiency feat.
They may also be enchanted as if they were any weapon with which the wielder has proficiency or the previously chosen implement. This enchantment manifests as runes carved into the glass of the brain's jar.
Psychic Dagger
Prof: +3
Damage: 1d6
Range: 5/10
Group: Light blade
Properties: All damage dealt by a psychic dagger is psychic damage.
The damage of the psychic dagger increases to 1d8 if the brain has proficiency with martial melee weapons (in addition to allowing it to be treated as a heavy blade at the wielder's option) and to 1d10 if the brain has proficiency with at least one superior weapon. Proficiency with a superior weapon also gives the dagger the High Crit property.

Strength of the Mind: Brains in a jar may make strength ability and skill checks and melee/ranged basic attacks with their psychic daggers using their highest mental ability score. This racial feature does not change the attribute used by attack powers.

Undead Origin: Brains in a jar are considered undead creatures for the purpose of effects that relate to creature origin.

Intellect Fortress: Brains in a jar have psychic and necrotic resistance equal to 5 + half of their character level. Because of their construction, they cannot wear armor, and instead gain a +1 armor bonus to AC, plus a +1 for every level of armor proficiency they possess up to hide armor. Their body may be enchanted as if it were any armor in which the brain is proficient. This enchantment manifests as runes inscribed on the metal base of its jar. The brain may use its Charisma or Wisdom modifier instead of its Intelligence or Dexterity modifier to determine its AC score.

Telekinetic Slide: Brains in a jar can use the Telekinetic Slide power as an encounter power.

Telekinetic Slide [BiaJ Racial Power]
A pulse of energy sends your target through the air, landing them a
few feet away from where they stood.
Encounter * Psychic
Move Action Close Burst 5
Target: One creature in the burst
Attack: Intelligence, Wisdom, or Charisma +3/+6/+9 vs. Fortitude (no roll needed against a willing ally)
Effect: Slide the target three squares.

FEATS

Heroic Feats
Aerial Stasis [Brain]
Your mind's focus doubles, allowing you to maintain your altitude even in place.
Prerequisites: Brain in a Jar, Int 13
Your flight gains the Hover property, allowing you to shift and make opportunity attacks while flying and continue flying without moving.

Mental Propulsion [Brain]
Your jar shuns the bindings of the earth, allowing you to fly through the air at much higher speeds.
Prerequisites: Brain in a Jar, Int 13, Aerial Stasis
Your fly speed increases to 6.

Black Dagger [Brain]
Your psychic daggers grow mental barbs and are infused with your dark essence.
Prerequisites: Brain in a Jar
Your psychic daggers deal +2/3/4 damage and deal both psychic and necrotic damage.

Psychic Reinforcement [Brain]
A thin sheet of force surrounds your form, buttressing your defenses.
Prerequisites: Brain in a Jar, Con 13
You gain a +1 bonus to your AC from Intellect Fortress.

Telekinetic Push [Brain]
Your Telekinetic Slide power explodes with even more energy, sending targets flying even further.
Prerequisites: Brain in a Jar, Int 13
Telekinetic Slide moves its targets two squares further. In addition, it slides them one square even on a miss.

Telepathic Blast [Brain]
Your Telekinetic Slide gains a mental component, rattling the minds of its victims.
Prerequisites: Brain in a Jar, Int 13, Telekinetic Push
If Telekinetic Slide hits an enemy, it dazes them until the end of your next turn in addition to its regular effects.

Telekinetic Ram [Brain]
Your Telekinetic Slide expands to cover more of the field, allowing you to manipulate more targets.
Prerequisites: Brain in a Jar, Int 13, Telekinetic Push
Telekinetic Slide's range increases by 1 to close burst 6, and its target changes to up to two adjacent creatures within the burst.

Paragon Feats
Disrupting Dagger [Brain]
Your psychic daggers leave mental wounds that further strikes can exploit.
Prerequisites: Brain in a Jar, Black Dagger
Your psychic daggers give vulnerability 3 to psychic and necrotic damage until the end of your next turn. This effect stacks with itself.

Surrealistik
2012-07-08, 09:49 AM
Changes I'd make:

Ability Scores: +2 Intelligence, +2 Wisdom or +2 Charisma

It's present 4e convention to have one static ability bonus, and two optional ones.

Speed: 2 squares, fly 5 squares (altitude limit 1) You cannot use this fly speed if you are carrying more than a normal load.

Telekinetic flight makes sense. Racial feats could improve speed, the altitude limit and/or add the hover trait to this flight.

Languages: Common, Telepathy 5

Telepathy 5 for a Brain in a Jar just makes sense. You can allow the player to improve the range of this with feats.

Psychic Dagger:

Psychic Dagger
Prof: +3
Damage: 1d4
Range: 5
Group: Light blade
Properties: All damage dealt by the psychic dagger is necrotic and psychic

As is, it's too powerful, so I've changed it as above. This is an interesting idea and I love it, but you should have him take additional feats to improve its damage and add additional properties like high crit and reach. I added a damage type for flavour (see it as a soul withering telepathic burst of energy; if more telekinetic substitute necrotic with force). I also added a short range, allowing the Brain to make ranged basic attacks with the weapon as I feel that makes sense. This range can be expanded with feats.


Mind Over Matter: You may make ranged and melee basic attacks with your Psychic Dagger and Strength skill and ability checks using your Intelligence, Wisdom or Charisma modifier.

Essentially just updating this feature to reflect the updated stats of the Psychic Dagger.

Intellect Fortress: You have necrotic and psychic resistance equal to 5 + one-half your level. Because of your construction, you cannot wear armor, and instead gain a +2 armor bonus to AC from each level of armor proficiency you have. Your body may be enchanted as if it were any armor you have proficiency with. This enchantment manifests as runes inscribed on the metal base of its jar. You can use your Charisma or Wisdom modifier instead of Intelligence or Reflex modifier to determine your AC score.


Changed the resists to reflect standard racial scaling.
Changed the armor bonus to scale with armor proficiencies for the sake of balance.
Allowed the brain to enchant their body as any armor they have prof with.
Allowed the brain to use Cha or Wis instead of Int to reflect its telekinetics being empowered by the highest stat.
You can improve the base AC as a feat.


Telekinetic Slide: You have the Telekinetic Slide powers.

Telekinetic Slide [Racial Power]
A pulse of energy sends your target through the air, landing them a
few feet away from where they stood.
Encounter * Psionic
Move Action Close burst 5
Target: One creature in the burst
Attack: Intelligence, Wisdom or Charisma +3/6/9 vs. Fortitude (no attack roll is needed to use this on a willing ally)
Effect: Slide the target 3 squares.


Changed from Ranged to a Close burst so the Brain can use this while engaged to help itself or allies.
Reduced the range to improve the balance. Added standard racial scaling (+3 per tier).
Changed the action cost from a Standard to a Move, as the power only involves movement.
Reduced the slide to 3 in order to counter balance its strong versatility.
You might consider devising feats that improve the slide, or have this power do other things, like prone, slow or daze, etc.

Cheesy74
2012-07-08, 11:51 AM
Thanks for the feedback, man.

Ability scores: Didn't realize the convention; I like that better. Done.

Speed: The 5-square speed is meant to be similar to the way psicrystals walk in 3.5, but I suppose flight makes sense as long as it doesn't imbalance things.

Languages: No-brainer.

Psychic Dagger: I like your adjustment but I really think it should be a little more powerful than that since they're stuck with it. How do you feel about keeping high crit and having it do psychic damage?

Strength of Mind: Your updates fit the race a bit better.

Intellect Fortress: The scaling makes a lot more sense.

Telekinetic slide: I agree with the adjustment of the action type and range/range type, but I'm not sure I understand the +3/+6/+9 logic. I understand it corresponding to the tier of the character, but why is the bonus necessary and why is it so high relative to, say, the enchantment of an implement at that level?

The adjustments are reflected in the first post along with a few feats.

Surrealistik
2012-07-08, 12:46 PM
Psychic Dagger:

Actually to be honest, I'm not sure if this is really necessary. After all, you could just fluff the Brain in the Jar as using telekinetics to wield weapons, shields and the like.

But if you want to stick with the psychic dagger, I'd do things like this:

If you have proficiency with 2 or more simple weapons, the Psychic Dagger deals 1d6 damage. If you have proficiency with 2 or more martial weapons, the Psychic Dagger deals 1d8 damage. If you have proficiency with a superior weapon, the Psychic Dagger deals 1d10 damage.

Intellect Fortress:

Rework: If you have proficiency with leather armor, you gain a +2 AC armor bonus. If you have proficiency with hide armor, you gain a +3 AC armor bonus.


Scaling with heavy armour when you aren't subject to the penalties/downsides of heavy armour is too good.


Telekinetic Slide: The 3/6/9 tiered scaling compensates for three things:

The lack of a feat bonus from expertise feats.
The lack of an enhancement bonus.
The lack of miscellaneous bonuses that apply to weapon and implement attacks.

Also, you don't need to specify that allies don't provoke. Forced movement _never_ provokes unless otherwise stated.


Feats:

Moving isn't required to remain in flight in 4e. Hover essentially allows you to remain aloft while you're stunned.

_Don't_ remove the altitude limit; too powerful. Increasing the altitude limit by even 1 should be a paragon feat at earliest (since you can just hover beyond the reach of most heroic tier enemies). _Maybe_ an altitude removal feat at epic tier would be alright but even then I'm pretty leery about that.

Psychic Reinforcement is too powerful. It should be +1 untyped, or +1 feat period. No scaling here. Perhaps not even necessary due to bonus scaling for having Hide proficiency.

Telekinetic Push: Weak. I would either have it scale at +1 per tier, or just give it a +2 bonus to the slide. Also, you can just say it slides targets +2 squares.

Telekinetic Ram: Changing it to two adjacent creatures should be optional, otherwise this downgrades the power. I like the idea of adding a target in general though. I would add a feat that allows you to add a target to the Telekinetic Slide that can be taken any number of times.

Surrealistik
2012-07-08, 03:46 PM
Looking better.

Strength of the Mind: You _really_ should limit this to MBAs/RBAs made with your Psychic Dagger lest you allow for crazy loopholes. This is a 'just in case' sort of stipulation.

Intellect Fortress: +4 armour bonus for AC is too much, especially when they have a feat to further increase their AC. +2 if prof in Leather, +3 if prof in Hide is best.

Psychic Dagger: I'd also add: You can use this as an implement of a type with which you are proficient. You can upgrade your Psychic Dagger to act as a single superior implement of an implement type with which you are proficient.

vasharanpaladin
2012-07-08, 05:55 PM
...Shardmind. No need to reinvent the wheel, people!

Surrealistik
2012-07-08, 05:59 PM
...Shardmind. No need to reinvent the wheel, people!

It's completely different.

And Shardmind is boring by contrast.

Dark Elf Bard
2012-07-08, 07:48 PM
Can I make a BIAJ barbarian?

Deepbluediver
2012-07-08, 07:58 PM
I can't decide if this concept is more hilarious or ridiculous.

How in the seven hells did this player of yours every come to be playing a Brain-in-a-jar in the first place?
I'm having trouble figuring out the logical process some one follows when they see this in the monster manual and go "That! That is totally how I imagine my character!"

Just when I think I know the limits of player weirdness...

Grimsage Matt
2012-07-08, 08:02 PM
You think a Brain in Jar as a player is bad? I had to stat up a awakened PUG for one of mine.

This is logical. If this was 3.5, It'd say it's favoured class should be Xeno Thurge....

Cheesy74
2012-07-08, 09:46 PM
I can't decide if this concept is more hilarious or ridiculous.

How in the seven hells did this player of yours every come to be playing a Brain-in-a-jar in the first place?
I'm having trouble figuring out the logical process some one follows when they see this in the monster manual and go "That! That is totally how I imagine my character!"

Just when I think I know the limits of player weirdness...
My player liked the idea of his character being comic relief, so he went with a megalomaniacal brain-in-a-jar psion with a serious napoleon complex. It was a lot of fun, especially when he was worn as a hat by one of his party members for a few sessions.


Can I make a BIAJ barbarian?
Haha, sure. It'd be suboptimal since strength is designed to be a dump stat for the brain in a jar, but it'd be doable for sure. I like the image of a brain sending out furious telepathic grunts and growls as he flings psionic daggers at things.

Surrealistik
2012-07-09, 07:55 PM
There appear to be lingering misconceptions about how flight works in 4e. I'll copy/pasta from the Compendium:

Flying
Flight
Some creatures have the innate ability to fly, whereas others gain the ability through powers, magic items, and the like. The rules for flight in the DUNGEONS & DRAGONS game stress abstraction and simplicity over simulation. In real life, a flying creatureís ability to turn, the speed it must maintain to stay aloft, and other factors put a strict limit on flight. In the game, flying creatures face far fewer limitations.

FLIGHT
Flight follows the basic movement rules, with the following clarifications.
Fly Speed: To fly, a creature takes the walk, run, or charge action but uses its fly speed in place of its walking speed. A creature that has a fly speed can also shift and take other move actions, as appropriate, while flying.
Moving Up and Down: While flying, a creature can move straight up, straight down, or diagonally up or down. There is no additional cost for moving up or down.
Falling Prone: If a creature falls prone while it is flying, it falls. This means a flying creature falls when it becomes unconscious or suffers any other effect that knocks it prone. The creature isnít actually prone until it lands and takes falling damage.
Remaining in the Air: A flying creature does not need to take any particular action to remain aloft; the creature is assumed to be flying as it fights, moves, and takes other actions. However, a flying creature falls the instant it is stunned, unless it can hover.
Landing: If a creature flies to a surface it can hold onto or rest on, the creature can land safely.
Terrain: Terrain on the ground does not affect a flying creature if the terrain isnít tall enough to reach it. Because of this rule, flying creatures can easily bypass typical difficult terrain, such as a patch of ice on the ground. Aerial terrain can affect flying creatures.

Hover
If a creature can hover, it can remain in the air if it is stunned. See also fly speed.


Personally I would combine Mental Propulsion and Aerial Stasis into one feat that grants their flight the hover property, and gives them a +1 racial bonus to their fly speed.

Black Dagger:

I'd have the damage scale to +2/3/4 per tier, which is standard for racial proficiency feats with weapons.

I'd also allow the Brain in the Jar to change the damage dealt with its Psychic Dagger to any combination of Psychic and Necrotic damage as a free action (all Psychic, all Necrotic or both).

In case there's confusion as to how multiple damage types work, damage is only subject to the lowest resistance (including immunities) relevant to the damage types it deals, and it exploits the highest relevant vulnerabilities.

For example, if you attacked a creature with a Psychic Dagger that dealt psychic and necrotic damage that had resist 40 psychic and resist 5 necrotic, your damage would only be reduced by 5 (the lowest of the two).

If the same creature had immune necrotic and resist 0 psychic, your damage wouldn't be reduced at all.

If said creature had vulnerable 40 psychic and vulnerable 5 necrotic, it would deal 40 extra damage (vulnerabilities overlap and highest applies).

Cheesy74
2012-07-10, 09:22 AM
I'm quoting from the DMG's rules on flight, where it says you must move at least two squares per turn to remain in flight and cannot shift or take attacks of opportunity while flying. The Hover property removes those limitations. Does the Rules Compendium override those?

Surrealistik
2012-07-10, 02:40 PM
I'm quoting from the DMG's rules on flight, where it says you must move at least two squares per turn to remain in flight and cannot shift or take attacks of opportunity while flying. The Hover property removes those limitations. Does the Rules Compendium override those?

Most recent source always takes priority and the RC is the most recent.