View Full Version : The Shaper (3.5 base class, WIP)

2012-10-22, 01:16 PM
I just started playing Geneforge a few days ago, and now I want to make a class for it.

so, here's what i'm thinking so far.

D4 HD, 1/2 BAB, good will saves.

class skills: bluff, concentration, craft, decipher script, diplomacy, disable device, knowledge (any), open lock, profession, search, use magic device.

skill points 6+

weapon and armor proficiency: simple weapons + baton, light armor, shields (but not tower shields).

essence: as Psion's PP, Int based.

class features:

shape items (Su): a shaper can spend essence to shape various items to aid her in her adventures by expending essence. shaping an item is a swift action.

Living Tool: Living Tools are single use items that count as masterwork tools when making a skill check, providing a +2 circumstance bonus to the check. they cost 1 essence to create. by spending 5 additional essence, a living tool can grant the ability to use a class feature or feat related to the skill it is made for, such as trap finding, skill mastery, or the track feat. additionally, each additional point of essence spent on creating a living tool increases the circumstance bonus granted by 1, to a maximum additional bonus equal to the shaper's intelligence modifier.

Baton: costs 1 essence (see baton weapon description below). a shaped baton comes preloaded with 6 thorns, and dissolves once all the thorns have been fired. a shaped baton can be enhanced (as a magic weapon, see DMG), by spending 1 essence point per 1,000 GP of the base price of the enhancements (so, a +1 flaming baton costs 9 essence to create). a shaper can add a total enhancement equal to 1/2 her shaper level, round down.

Shield: costs 3 essence. creates a wooden shield (light or heavy) that lasts for 1 minute per shaper level. can be enhanced using the same formula and restrictions as a baton.

Chitin Armor: costs 5 essence. Chitin armor functions as leather armor. lasts 1 hour per shaper level. can be enhanced using the same formula and restrictions as the baton and shield.

Shape Creation (Su): the heart of a shaper's ability comes from their ability to shape creations; creatures that serve them and fight for them. shaping a creation takes 1 minute and provokes attacks of opportunity. essence used to shape or upgrade (see below) a creation can't be restored as long as that creation is alive and under the shaper's control. shaped creations can be reabsorbed as a full round action in order to regain 1/2 the essence used to shape/upgrade them. a shaper can have a number of creations under her control equal to her Intelligence modifier. shaping additional creations causes the shaper to lose control of her oldest existing creation. a shaper can also voluntarily release a creation as a free action. released creations have a base attitude of indifferent towards their creator, but exceptionally good or bad treatment may alter this attitude.

fyora: a small lizard that spits fire. also has a claw/claw/bite attack routine. can be upgraded to spit frost instead.

thahd: a large, man-like brute. has 2 powerful slam attacks that can stun enemies. can be upgraded to be partially incorporeal.

artila: a snakelike creature that has a poisonous spit attack. can be upgraded so that its spit is acidic, as well.

roamer: a monkey-like creature that has a high move rate, a weak acidic spit, and a bite attack. can be upgraded to explode when it dies.

vlish: a floating squid that utilizes telepathic attacks to charm or terrorize opponents. can be upgraded to be partially incorporeal.

clawbug: a bipedal scorpion that has a poisonous sting. can be upgraded to be constantly under a haste effect.

Battle Alpha: a large man like creature. the ultimate melee brute. can be upgraded to huge size. (don't actually know what the difference between battle alphas and battle betas are. any help?)

drayk: a dragon with a fire breath and a powerful bite. can be upgraded to have a frost breath.

ghlaak: i have no clue, since i haven't actually encountered any.

Ornk: it's a pig. it's good for food, and cooks itself when it dies. has a tusk attack to defend itself with.

servile: humanlike creatures that get a bonus to a specific skill, and have skill mastery with that skill.

Upgrade Creations (Su): Can spend 5 essence to add an RHD to a creation, or 2 essence to increase an ability by 1 point. can be repeated, and increases stack, but no shaped creation can have an ability modifier greater than the number of RHD it possesses. shaped creations do not gain exp or advance on their own, and can't gain class levels. upgrading an existing creation takes 1 minute and provokes attacks of opportunity, but creations can be upgraded while they are being shaped with no extra time involved.

Improved Shaping: choose one creation or item that you are able to shape. if it is a creation, it automatically has 2 extra HD and +2 to all ability scores when shaped, at no extra essence cost. if it is an item, it either gains 2 extra uses (for batons and tools), or lasts 50% longer (for shields and items).

new exotic weapon: baton. 1 handed ranged weapon. damage 1d6, critical x3, piercing damage. range increment 100 ft. cost 300 gp. add strength modifier to damage. loaded with 6 thorns at a time, full round action to reload.

thorns: ammunition for batons. cost 1 gp for 6.

2012-10-22, 02:03 PM
I absolutely love the Geneforge games, so I'm very excited to see where you're going with it. Thoughts so far:

The skill list could use Spot/Listen. Skill lists can always use Spot and Listen. 6+Int is a lot for an Int-based class.
I don't know about Shape Item as an ability, especially since everything you list is mundane. It also doesn't really fit the games-- obviously, someone makes the items, but it's implied to be slow. (I think you can find a farm where someone's growing batons in one of the games). Some sort of special crafting ability isn't a bad idea, though.
Shape Creation looks pretty true to the games, although I don't know about the balance. That'll depend a lot on the stats of the creations. I'd look at the astral construct spell, and all the associated feats and PrCs for guidance.
Perhaps some way of focusing on one school of shaping?
No magic? Shapers/Lifecrafters are secondary mages, after all. Maybe psionic-based... that way you can use both magic and creations, but not too many of both.
An ACF with less essence, but more martial skill might be cool for Guardians.

Oh, and on the subject of creations:

Battle Betas are really just bigger and tougher than battle alphas. Battle Gammas appear a few times too, although I don't think you can ever make them. If I recall correctly, they're a bit incorporeal, like charged thaads.
Ghlaaks are weird-looking two-legged scorpion things with magic resistance and a stinger attack. The upgrade, Ur-Glaaks, are I think stronger and their attacks can stun.
The newer games have even more creations-- Rotghroth (big shambling giant zombie things) and Rotdhizon (the same, but with acid); War and Shock Tralls (ugly troll things that throw rocks); Wingbolts (flying snakes that spit bolts of magical force) and Unstable Firebolts (the same, but with fire attacks and explosions on death); Kyshaak/Burning Kyshaak (armored cow things that shoot lightning); and Gazers/Eyebeats (beholders). Dunno how many of them you want to include.

I might not include ornks and serviles-- I think both are bred rather than actively shaped. Serviles also get into perhaps too much moral grey ground for some groups.

2012-10-22, 02:36 PM
I want to focus specifically on the shaper, rather than the guardian or agent here. they're really the core of the series, i think. also, i've only played 1 so far, and haven't beat it yet, so i'll leave the sequels alone for now.

@items, ornks, and serviles. they are typically bred instead of shaped, but that is just to save essence. their ancestors were shaped. you can shape ornks in the first game, which is also where you see a servile trying (unsuccessfully) to breed batons and living tools.

the class as a whole stays deep in the moral grey area, since every creation except ornks seem to be sentient.

oh, i need to add mines to the shape item class feature! i completely forgot about them.

@6+ skill points. that's just a little rule of thumb i have. count how many class skills a class has, subtract 5 (human with 18 Int gets 5 extra skill points/level), and give them that many skill points base. but yeah, on an actual Int based class, i could probably drop it to 4+.

i deliberately left out spot and listen (after a couple of ambushes and stepping on a few mines, i'm convinced shapers are not particularly observant), but i need to add in sense motive and gather information.

@serviles. a big part of the games was shaper/servile interaction. i think they definitely need to be included.

@spells. i gave them UMD as a class skill because wand and scrolls cover a good portion of this. I'll probably add in firebolt, war blessing, and heal abilities, as well.

@specialization. improved shaping is meant to emulate this. you get increased benefit when shaping one specific item or creation. i'll probably include this twice, and allow them to stack, so you can be really good with one thing, or good with 2 things. i'm leaving out the fire/battle/magic shaping groups, because i think the differences between the various creations themselves leave enough variety in abilities and tactics, even between those that ostensibly fill the same role. for example, a thahd and a battle alpha are both melee brutes, but a thahd has staying power because of its miss chance, while a battle alpha has damage potential, because of its size.

notes. i need to determine how much essence each creation should cost, as well as make base stats for the creations. i have decided that all creations are aberrations, because they fit thematically as unnatural life.

2012-10-23, 02:53 PM
Interesting, but kinda broken up. Could you use a table and organize it a bit? That would make itt a lot more presentable.

2012-10-23, 03:26 PM
it's still in the idea phase. most of what's posted are just notes, suggestions and general ideas. i'll put in tables and stuff once i've actually got something to put in a table.

also, i've got the fyora made on my computer, so i'll post that later today or tomorrow. i'm not going to make the cryoras and cryodrayks cost more than the baseline versions, since the only thing changing is the damage type of the spit or breath weapon, respectively.

2012-10-23, 03:47 PM
Okay, thats cool.

I've never heard of Geneforge before, but looking it up has shed a little light on some of the weirder aspects of this thing, like those self cooking pigs.

Sound pretty neat, definately looking forward to the completed class.

2012-10-23, 03:55 PM
the self cooking part of the pig was my idea. the ornks in the game were simply designed to be able to survive in areas where normal livestock couldn't.