View Full Version : [3.5 Base Class] Dipping Your Toes in Life Creation (PEACH)

2013-10-08, 06:45 PM
Hello. This is a thread for the Biogenetor base class that I am homebrewing. I need a place to format it all as appropriate to the forum, and a convenient reference point. Sorry if I've ripped off anyone's name; it's not exactly original.


The Biogenetor is on a quest to discover what makes life alive. Whether it's Dr. Frankenstein, Dr. Moreau, Umbrella Corporation, or your neighborhood kid that likes to dissect cats, this archetype is well-explored in fiction. This particular take involves a combination of mystical life energy, manipulation of biomass, and a bit of magitech augmentation to help "improve" the created forms.

Fluff is very flexible here. Strip out references to magitech and replace with purely biological stuff if you want to operate in a lower tech environment. Strip out references to magic if you want to divorce the class from the mystical. Conceivably, by self-experimenting and a concept similar to the T-virus, this class could even be used in a non-magical, modern setting, with the Biogenetor simply creating cultures of fast-spawning cells from his or her own body, resulting in the "summoned" bio-forms. I'm sure you all can come up with additional applications.

HD: d6

BAB: Poor

Saves: Good Fort

Skill Points: 4+Int-mod., quadruple at first level.

Skills: Concentration, Craft, Handle Animal, Heal, Knowledge (all), Profession, Speak Language, Survival.

Of note are uses of Craft(sculptor) to shape the summoned or crafted bio-forms, Handle Animal to train those of animal intelligence, and Speak Language, used to form methods of communicating with intelligent bio-forms that might not be capable of speech.

Weapon/Armour Proficiency: Simple plus net, mancatcher, lasso, and one light bladed martial or exotic weapon that is wielded in one hand; Biogenetors often have a favorite implement with which to dissect organisms and harvest biomass. Biogenetors are proficient with light armours, but not with shields. Most prefer a utilitarian outfit that is easy to wear, and perhaps more importantly, easy to clean.

Class Features (highly preliminary):

1st: Life Pool, Bio-Form Creating, Bio Reserve, Primary Homunculus

2nd: Servant Bio-forms, Magitech Integration, Life's Mystery

3rd: Biogen Creation (1st), Harvest Biomass

4th: Graft Flesh, Craft Bio-forms (Demi), Gestalt Creation 1

5th: Secondary Homunculus (1st), Improved Homunculus Healing, Magitech Integration

6th: Biogen Creation (2nd), Bio-form Creating (Extend augment), Life's Obsession

7th: Gestalt Creation 2, Craft Bio-forms (hemi)

8th: Graft Flesh, Magitech Integration

9th: Biogen Creation (3rd)

10th: Secondary Homunculus (2nd), Gestalt Creation 3, Craft Bio-forms (semi), Life's Madness

11th: Spark Research 1, Bio-form Creating (min/level duration).

12th: Biogen Creation (4th), Graft Flesh

13th: Gestalt Creation 4

14th: Spark Research 2, Life's Devolution

15th: Secondary Homunculus (3rd), Biogen Creation (5th)

16th: Graft Flesh, Gestalt Creation 5

17th: Spark Research 3

18th: Biogen Creation (6th)

19th: Gestalt Creation 6

20th: Secondary Homunculus (4th), Magitech Integration, Graft Flesh

Life Pool (1st):
Biogenetors fuel their primary ability to create bio-forms abilities through the Life Pool. The Life Pool is full of Life Points (LP). The Life Pool is equal to your base LP gained from your class, bonus LP from a high Intelligence ability score, and any additional bonus LP from sources such as feat selections or items.

Base LP progression is as a psion's power points.

Bonus LP are calculated by: (1/2)(Int-modifier)(Biogenetor Level)

The Life Pool is refilled after four hours of sleep (for Biogenetors that must sleep) or four hours of rest (for those that don't need to sleep). Rest is defined as an immobile state in which the character is alert, but not using class features, skills, or items. Simple actions taking less than a minute to perform and that involve minimal exertion are possible (DM's discretion), but the idea is that the rest helps reconnect the Biogenetor to the source of creativity that is at the root of their work and research.

Bio-form Creating (1st):
The primary class ability of the Biogenetor is to create lifeforms out of raw biomass of any kind, shaping them to desired specifications. This is done by expending an amount of LP out of the Life Pool necessary to form the desired bio-form.

Bio-form Creation Rules:

Action: 1 round
Range: Close (25 ft. + 5 ft./2 levels)
Effect: One created bio-form
Lifespan: 1 round/level
Saving Throw: None
Power Resistance: No
Life Points: 1

It appears where you designate and acts immediately, on your turn. As a free
action, you can mentally direct it not to attack, to attack particular enemies, or to perform other actions.

The bio-form acts normally on the last round of the duration and collapses dead at the end of its turn.

Bio-forms are not summoned; they are created on the plane you inhabit (using bio-mass from anywhere). Thus, they are not subject to effects that hedge out or otherwise affect outsiders; they are constructs, not outsiders. A bio-form can not be dispelled, nor is it made inactive by fields or effects that inhibit or destroy magic. Once created, it is a living creature, for all intents and purposes.

Bio-form abilities are selected from the astral construct (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/psionic/monsters/astralConstruct.htm)menus, the Constructor PrC (http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/psm/20040625b) menus, and a select group of specialized abilities that may be added as the constructor advances in level.

Augment: For every 2 additional LP the Biogenetor spends, the level of
the bio-form created increases by one.

By spending 1 additional LP, the bio-form gains an Int-score of 2. Animal instincts now prevail in situations where the bio-form doesn't have explicit commands, and the bio-form may be trained by the Biogenetor using the Handle Animal skill (but requiring only 1 minute of training per trick, as the Biogenetor has direct access to encoding enzymes and the nervous system of the bio-form).

At 6th level and after, if the Biogenetor spends and additional 2 LP, the lifespan of the bio-form created is extended to 2 rounds/level.

At 11th level and after, if the Biogenetor spend 6 additional LP, the Biogenetor increases the lifespan of the bio-form to 1min/level.

Primary Homunculus (1st): As per the Artificer class feature in the Eberron Campaing Setting, page 32, with the following changes.

Initially crafting or improving the primary homunculus never takes xp, and it's destruction never harms the Biogenetor. The initial crafting has no gp cost, but requires biomass of some kind, an injury to self (1d4-1 hp, minimum 1), and one day to craft. Replacing the primary homunculus has the same cost and time requirements. Improving the primary homunculus has the normal gp cost, but never requires xp. Primary homunculus has its HD capped at the HD of the Biogenetor.

Every five levels, the Biogenetor can craft another homunculus. Secondary and additional homunculi have their HD capped at half the Biogenetor's class level.

Unlike normal homunculi, those created by the Biogenetor have a Constitution score, and are fairly resilient beings; they heal at twice the natural rate of normal creatures, and can count inactivity as bedrest (can't take actions, but could be moved about by other forces). Consult the following table for homunculus Constitution scores, indexed by the HD of the homunculi:
1-4 12
5-8 14
9-12 16
13-16 18
17-20 20

Unlike normal constructs, homunculi lack most construct traits, and lose the bonus hp granted to constructs, but remain immune to mind-affecting effects. They do not need to sleep, breathe, eat, or drink, but must take time to replenish their biomass on a daily basis, usually consuming about an hour worth of foraging in a biological environment (or somewhere with a stock of relatively intact biomass). This time may be broken up over a full day, as convenient to the activity of the homunculi.

Alternately, the Biogenetor can power the homunculus off of their Bio Reserve, at a daily cost of 1 unit per HD of the homunculus.

Bio Reserve (1st): Each day, the Biogenetor harvests additional life energy and biomass from the world around them. This may be through meditation amidst other lifeforms, from dissection of specimens, or other similar investigation into what makes lifeforms tick, so to speak. Such process takes one hour.

Biogenetors that need sleep must have at least four hours of sleep to properly attune their bio rhythms to channel life energy. Failure to have at least this much sleep for a Biogenetor that must sleep means that they can only have 1/5 the Bio Reserve for the next day. This deficit is removed once the Biogenetor gets four hours of sleep, but a Biogenetor can never get access to more than 100% of their daily reserve, no matter how they allot their sleep.

The Bio Reserve contains a number of bio units equal to the Biogenetor's class level x 10. There are a few basic uses of the Bio Reserve.

- The Biogenetor may heal himself or herself as a move action, converting bio units to HP at a 1-to-1 ratio. This may be done even if the Biogenetor is at 0 hp.

- The Biogenetor may heal personal homunculi, converting bio units to HP at a 1-to-1 ratio. This is a swift action (though more time may be taken if the Biogenetor desires). The ability can only be used once per round, and may only target one homunculi at a time, with a range of 10'.

Servitor Bio-forms (2nd): By limiting the Intelligence and capabilities of the bio-form, the Biogenetor gains the ability to create a longer-lasting servitor bio-form that has no combat capability. This bio-form loses all attack capabilities and menu selections; however, it is still a bio-form of the given level, and retains its size and the like. The servitor bio-form in return has its duration increased to 1 hour per Biogenetor level. The servitor bio-form can take any form the constructor wishes, but in general will be either upright in form or multi-legged.

A servitor bio-form can run and fetch things, open unstuck doors, and hold chairs, as well as clean, mend, and forage for biomass. It can perform only one activity at a time, but it repeats the same activity over and over again if told to do so, thus allowing you to command it to clean the floor and then turn your attention elsewhere. As another example, a servitor bio-form following a Biogenetor and carrying a barrel will stop at a closed door; it must be told to place the barrel on the ground and open the door. It can open only normal doors, drawers, lids, and the like. It can trigger traps and such, but only within the limits of a creature of its size and weight. It can also perform simple functions such as opening only normal doors, drawers, lids and so on.

A servitor bio-form cannot attack in any way; it is never allowed an attack roll. It can make saves as normal. The Biogenetor needs to stay in close range (Close 25 ft. + 5 ft./2 levels) of a servitor bio-form to command it; however, it will continue to execute its last command to the best of its ability until its duration is reached or it is destroyed, regardless of distance between itself and the Biogenetor. Note, that it is not very smart; it's quite possible for the limits of its instructions to not cover situations that may emerge over the course of its activity. It has no default behavior. For example, a servitor bio-form is ordered to gather sticks in a clearing for firewood. After an hour, it has collected all of the sticks in the clearing. At this point, it ceases doing anything, as its instructions are not valid. It may wander lazily about or other random behavior, though it will not stray from the general area of its commanded behavior.

When shaped like a quadruped, the servitor bio-form can more easily have bags or crates strapped to it or be used to pull a cart. A character can ride a quadruped servitor bio-form if her weight is less than its carrying capacity.

Magitech Integration (2nd/5th/8th/20th): Using the advanced tools of the age, the Biogenetor has found ways to augment the abilities of the bio-forms created through his or her class features. Select one of the following to apply to a bio-form as part of the action needed to create it. Each bio-form can receive a given integration only once. At 5th, 8th, and 20th, each bio-form can receive an additional integration as part of its creation.

- Crystalline Clarity: By implanting psionically engineered crystals into the sensory nexus of the bio-form (usually the cranium, but not necesarily), the Biogenetor sharpens the senses and perceptions of the creature. The bio-form gains a bonus to +2 bonus to Spot, Listen, and Search checks; this bonus increases by an additional +2 every four levels (4th/8th/12th/16th/20th). At sixth level, bio-forms granted this ability gain Blindsense out to 30' and the Scent special ability.

- Burning Impulse: The energy from the Positive Energy Plane is similar to the energy of life, but not quite the same. Nevertheless, it is a potent aid in keeping embattled bio-forms active. By adding a sliver of energy condensate from the Positive Energy Plane, the Biogenetor grants the bio-form Fast Healing 1. At 10th level, it becomes Fast Healing 3. At 20th, Fast Healing 5.

- Dermal Weave: Magic has allowed the production of some simple implements of great strength. Lengths of wire, made of hardened carbon filaments, can be added to the growth of the bio-form, which then grows them as part of the structure of its dermis/exoskeleton/bark. The result is a dull-grey armour plating. The Biogenetor grants a bio-form an armour bonus to AC of +3. For every four levels, the armour bonus increases by +1 (4th/8th/12th/16th/20th).

- Utility Implants: Readiness is always of utmost importance; the data and insights that the Biogenetor quests after are often fleeting, momentary glimpses that may never be repeated. A good Biogenetor is one ready to experiment at a moment's notice. This enhancement provides the Bio-form with the following:
--> A bright, white light that shines in a 30' cone. It can be shut on or off as a free action by the bio-form, or the cone resticted to any cone of smaller size (also a free action).
--> Dissection Implements, specimen jars, and the like.
--> An additional, mechanical arm, usable only for assisting in non-combat activities (holding a torch, opening a door). The arm has a reach 5' greater than that of the bio-form.
--> Storage sacs. These sacks are integrated into the bio-form, and sealed tight as a free action. Thus, they can not be stolen from using Sleight of Hand. Sac size can vary, and there can be any number of sacs, as long as the total volume doesn't exceed the following limits:
Small= 4 cu.ft.
Medium= 8 cu.ft
Large= 16 cu.ft.
Huge= 32 cu.ft.
No matter what is in the sacs, the bio-form will be capable of carrying it. It has a perfect recollection of what is stored where, and can retrieve up to three items per round as free action (assuming it has the extra arm and at least two appendages).

A bio-form with this integration can follow simple verbal instructions in line with allowing it to render assistance to the Biogenetor, generally following the guidelines of what an unseen servant is capable of.

- Bombardier Implants: Sometimes progress requires sacrifice; none know this like the Biogenetor, whose path is littered with past failures. A bio-form with this integration has capillaries filled with alchemical mixtures lacing its body. Whenever the bio-form is injured in combat, the bio-form sprays forth volatile chemicals from the ruptured capillaries. For two rounds, the bio-form is surrounded by a 10' radius of damaging chemical mist; creatures in this radius take 1d6 points of fire or acid damage (decided by the Biogenetor when the bio-form is first created). The bio-form also takes the same amount of damage as it inflicts with the chemical spray. Every six levels (6th/12th/18th), the damage increases by 1d6 and lasts for an additional round. At 10th level, the Biogenetor may select cold damage instead of fire or acid.

- Stabilizing Saliva: Alchemy and magic are a potent combination, and although many Biogenetors aren't experts in either field, many are smart enough to integrate useful devices into their bio-forms. A bio-form with this integration has an instinctive desire to approach and salivate on wounded creatures, a full-round action for the bio-form that provokes attacks of opportunity. Their saliva grants a wounded, living creature Fast Healing 2 for three rounds; every five levels (5th/10th/15th/20th), the Fast Healing granted improves by two and lasts for one additional round. After the full action spent salivating, the bio-form is able to act normally while the healing occurs. Bio-forms don't count as living creatures for the purposes of this ability.

Life's Mystery (2nd): The Biogenetor is consumed by the quest to create life. The mysteries of the process, it's complications and confoundings, all are foremost in the mind the Biogenetor. This is most painfully obvious when the Biogenetor interacts with other sentient living creatures. Biogenetors take a -4 penalty to Diplomacy and Sense Motive checks with living, mortal creatures.

Biogen Creation (3rd): The Biogenetor combines serums, biochemical compounds, and that stuff growing on that thing over there, and creates something incredible. This ability allows the Biogenetor to replicate the effects of certain spells by creating a potion-like substance. The rules of biogens are as follows:

- Making a biogen uses 10 bio units from the Bio Reserve, takes five minutes, and requires tools and biomass.
- A biogen's potency lasts for only one day; 24 hours after its creation, it becomes a harmless liquid (as impure water).
- A biogen is only effective for the Biogenetor that made it, bio-forms that he or she creates, and his or her homunculi. Others that consume it find it to be a revolting substance, and are sickened for 1 round (no save for stupidity).
- A Biogenetor may never have more biogens in stock than his or her maximum Bio Reserve/10, regardless of the timing of when Biogens are created and when sleep to restore the Bio Reserve is taken.
- Using a biogen is a move action; it need not be consumed, and simple contact with the target to be affected is enough to allow it to take effect.

A biogen may be created to replicate any Transmutation spell that is both non-damaging and with a target of self or a range of touch of the level indicated by the class ability. At 3rd, the Biogenetor may replicate 1st level spells of the indicated type. At 6th, 2nd level spells, at 9th, 3rd level spells, at 12th, 4th level spells, at 15th, 5th level, and at 18th, 6th level.

Harvest Biomass (3rd): Biomass is a critical part of the Biogenetors research and crafting of new bio-forms. At 3rd level, every corporeal living creature slain in combat by a bio-form yields usable biomass. Depending on the campaign, a DM may or may not require the Biogenetor to keep track of specifically how much biomass is on hand.

Graft Flesh (4th/8th/12th/16th/20th): The Biogenetor also develops skill with the augmentation of life. The Biogenetor may select a bonus feat involving the application of grafts, but must meet all pre-requisites for these feats as normal. There is never a downside to any graft applied to bio-forms, but grafts applied to other creatures function as normal.

Craft Bio-form (Demi) (4th): In the Biogenetor's unending quest to create real life, the pursuit of longer lifespans is one of the primary stumbling blocks. At 4th level, the Biogenetor has his or her first success in creating bio-forms that have a modicum of lifespan. By expending a number of bio units equal to the HD of the bio-form, a bio-form made by the normal method may be given a lifespan of 1 day (24 hours), and is termed a demi bio-form. If the Biogenetor rests and recovers his or her Bio Reserve before the expiration of the demi bio-form, the bio units spent on the demi bio-form don't recover until the next period of rest has passed.

Gestalt Creation 1-6 (4th/7th/10th/13th/16th/19th):

(This ability operates like Wild Surge, except it provides a boost to Biogenetor Level and free LP when creating bio-forms; it has the same risk of Enervation. It can't be used on bio-forms that will be made into demi, hemi, semi, or perma bio-forms.)

Improved Homunculus Healing (5th): The homunculi that the Biogenetor creates are special projects, oft-experimented and doted upon. Thus, keeping them viable is of prime importance, as they represent a living source of data, some of which can hopefully be adapted to use with bio-forms. The Biogenetor gains the ability to convert bio units into healing for a homunculus at a 1-to-2 ratio. Additionally, the two hp of healing generated provided by this ability may be split among two homunculi in the same action, provided that both are within range (10').

Life's Obsession (6th): The Biogenetor has devoted every parcel of his or her being to the quest to create life. The cost is tangible. The Biogenetor becomes a chronic insomniac, unable to gain restful sleep more than four hours per night; this may manifest as either sleeplessness, or restless sleep, or other options indicated by the DM. This has several effects:
- The Biogenetor takes a -2 penalty to saves involving sleep effects and effects that cause fatigue or exhaustion.
- The Biogenetor's carrying capacity is halved. The Biogenetor may carry an amount equal to their normal carrying capacity, but becomes exhausted after doing so for 10 minutes.

Craft Bio-form (Hemi) (7th): As Craft Bio-form (Demi), but the lifespan of the created bio-form is now one week. Bio units spent on the hemi bio-form don't return to the reserve until after the hemi bio-form has expired.

Craft Bio-form (Semi) (10th): As Craft Bio-form (Demi), but the lifespan of the created bio-form is now one month. Bio units spent on the semi bio-form don't return to the reserve until after the semi bio-form has expired.

Spark Research 1/2/3 (11th/14th/17th): The Biogenetor's research into living organisms reaches a critical new stage, as the Biogenetor begins to understand what separates a truly living creature from a simply animated piece of biomass. Whether it is emotional drive, ecological integration, or the investment of some kind of spirit, this research gives the Biogenetor critical tools in further pursuit of the goal of creating life. This process manifests in several tiered stages.

1: The first stage is one of evolution and growth. While previous bio-forms have been essentially static, the Biogenetor now can create bio-forms that can learn and grow on their own (though they may rely heavily on the Biogenetor for guidance). This manifests as visual and behavioral changes that are at the discretion of the player. Any demi, hemi, or semi bio-form is created with an Intelligence score of 2 (without having to pay the normal augmentation for creating an intelligent bio-form). All bio-forms with an Intelligence score are now eligible to have feats, at the normal rate of one feat plus one feat per 3HD. Feats may be any that the bio-form qualifies for, although the DM is free to rule that a bio-form is not intelligent enough to be able to use certain feats (especially those involving complicated mechanics, tactical choices, or magical abilities).


2013-10-08, 06:47 PM
Boost Bio-form:
The Biogenetor specializes in complex bio-forms that have more specialized traits than normal.
Benefit: Bio-forms created have one additional menu selection, chosen from any menu a bio-form of that level could normally select from.

Parts to Spare:
The Biogenetor keeps extra bits around, to facilitate more crafting, more biogens, and, most importantly, more data.
Prerequisite: Biogenetor level 5th
Benefit: The maximum bio units in the Biogenetor's Bio Reserve increases by 10.
Special: This feat may be taken multiple times. Each additional time it is taken, the number of bio units added to the Bio Reserve increases by 2 (so +12 bio units the second time the feat is taken, +14 the third time, etc).

Homunculi Integrations:
The Biogenetor has tinkered with enough magitech to allow them to be integrated with the longer-lived homunculi.
Prerequisite: Secondary Homunculus (1st)
Benefit: The Biogenetor may add Magitech Integrations to the Primary Homunculus and Secondary Homunculi. Up to the full, normal amount of integrations may be added to the Primary Homunculus, while each Secondary Homunculus may receive up to one less than the full amount.
Adding Magitech Integrations to a homunculi is time-consuming and costly; each integration added takes one full day of experimentation and 1000gp.
Once an integration is added, it improves as normal as the Biogenetor increases in level. Once the integration added to a homunculus is chosen from the list, it can't be changed.

2013-10-08, 06:48 PM
(also reserved)

2013-10-09, 08:28 PM
Comments and thoughts are most welcome. This is my first attempt at formal homebrewing online, after a few ill-fated attempts with my irl gaming group, so I'm hoping that it will turn out decent.

2013-10-11, 12:39 PM
No one's commented on this, which is a shame, since there are some interesting ideas here, and the seeds of a cool character concept or two. I'll just make a couple of comments whole stack of random observations for now:

First, is this based on a particular character or type? The only place I can find a mention of "Biogenetor," apart from this thread, is in a Final Fantasy thread on YouTube. The spelling in that thread is rather suspect, so I'd guess this is a term of your own creature, but not sure if you're modeling this after something from Final Fantasy or elsewhere. It feels like you're drawing on something else, or maybe many somethings else?

The Life Pool is presented as a fundamental class feature, and it looks interesting, but I don't have a sense of what exactly this would be in-game. I have a feeling you may be leaving this vague in order to allow for free adaptation; but for those of us not familiar with how power points work, an example would be quite helpful.

Likewise, the Bio-form sounds interesting...but I don't have a clear idea of what this creature would be. Even though you specify they're not summoned per se, in terms of mechanics they still behave like summoned creatures. Are these ordinary animals, or mutants, or something else? Again, I'm having a hard time understanding what this would look like in-game. Are there size limits on a Bio-form? Limits on the number of limbs, appendages, sensory organs? Can they be subjected to fear effects? Are they vulnerable to cold the same way ordinary animals are? More details on the Bio-forms would be very helpful, including an array of examples.

Also, I'm not familiar with astral construct menus or the Constructor PrC, so some reference or brief explanation would help inform those of us who are coming at this from a position of pure, blissful ignorance. :smalltongue:

The Primary Homunculus. What is this? You discuss crafting it, and it seems to be a fusion of construct and familiar, but again it never seems to be exactly defined. The same questions which apply to Bio-forms also apply to the Homunculus, as well as whether it behaves like a familiar, whether it has some radius of effective operation around its creature, and whether it might one day run off alone to see the world.

The Bio-reserve and Servitor Bio-forms are defined in more detail; they're clearly laid out and easy to understand, although the latter relies on an understanding of the basic Bio-forms, affected by reasons mentioned above.

Magitech Integration opens up all sorts of visually dynamic possibilities; it has the potential to generate some interesting and seriously freaky creatures. One does question, though, how the Biogenetor manages to dabble in psionics, magic and advanced technology without having any apparent training to support this diversity of expertise. This will probably depend heavily on the setting and character approach, which you mention in your opening notes; but it seems more than a little odd that the Biogenetor can draw from all of these disciplines at once.

Originally Posted by Biogenetor
A bio-form with this integration has an instinctive desire to approach and salivate on wounded creatures, a full-round action for the bio-form that provokes attacks of opportunity.

Gawd, the thing up and slobbers on you. And it heals you?!?! :smalltongue:

Question is, does this creature also have an instinct to slobber on your foes?

Biogen Creation is an interesting idea, essentially a sort of biomedical alchemy, just without the need for NSF proposals or animal-use guidelines. I do worry, though, at how broadly it allows access to Transmutation spells. If you haven't already, it might be better to go through and specify exactly which spells can be mimicked by this ability.

...yoicks, and he gets the ability to use grafts as well? I don't know beans about grafts, so I don't know how much of a power boost this would be, only that a bonus grafting feat and no side effects to Bio-forms sounds like a generous combination.

Craft Bio-form is good, Improved Homunculus Healing is good, in the sense that they're both clearly explained and part of a logical progression of abilities. Gestalt Creation clearly needs some more detail in there.

Life's Obsession seems a little much. It works well in helping to create the archetype of a mad scientist, but I'm not sure if keeping him away from his work for a couple days should have that much of a damaging effect. This seems like too much of an Achilles heel to impose, especially given how uncertain and unpredictable an adventurer's life can be. If the Biogenetor is stuck in a ship's hold making a stormy passage, should he suffer a breakdown because of it? If he's kept in solitary for a few days, should that completely neutralize the character? I may be misunderstanding the purpose of the feature, but it seems to impose some potentially crippling penalties that might cause severe and unexpected problems during gameplay.

So, those are my first impressions. There's an interesting concept here, and I'd love to see this in action in a campaign--especially played next to a traditional druid, who might view all of this obsessive life-tinkering with intense skepticism or even outright anathema. There are some great character possibilities here, and an intriguing set of class mechanics to explore.

However, not all of the features are easily understood from what you've written, at least not by someone who's unfamiliar with the underlying assumptions. It feels like it's drawing from an existing concept, but I'm not sure what that could be, and this limits my understanding of the purpose and mechanics of the class.

That said, never fear! This is imaginative stuff, and there are some nicely expressive turns of phrase here, especially the homunculi being doted upon. There are some areas where the concepts need to be clarified, and some aspects which would need more explanation in a typical campaign context...but it's interesting, and there's an undeniable cool factor here. Once you add a little more flesh to the skeleton, so to speak, this could be a crazy-fun, madly offbeat class to play.

2013-10-11, 02:16 PM

The name is original. It was "Genetor," but then I wanted to get away from the genetics theme, and harken back to an earlier "natural chemistry" era. So, I ingeniously added "bio." :smallwink:

I was intentionally flavor light, in hopes that a player of mine (and anyone else) will adapt it openly to a variety of concepts. The class is best categorized as a summoner; they don't actually summon, but they make minions to fight for them. Essentially a summoner. With a side of limited crafting.

Bio-forms are mechanically drawn from the astral constructs. They come in levels 1-9, and pick menu abilities from the EPH tables, the Constructor tables (online web article for Mind's Eye), and a few additional choices yet to be developed. I've restricted myself from cut-and-paste due to OGL concerns...and time restraints. I can and will reproduce stuff, once I have a better grasp on tables and such.

They may look like whatever. Want a four legged spider with hands? Sure, but it's not going to work mechanically any differently than any other bio-form of its level and menu choices. Thus, this is total win for player-directed flavor, as stuff can really be hideous, or maybe there is an unexplored rabbit-theme, or giant space hamsters....

My preliminary ruling on the matter is that they are constructs that lack most construct traits (and thus lose out on a slew of immunities). This fits in with the kind of Dr. Frankenstein concept; the Biogenetor could have made a robot, but was looking to make a lifeform, so it has weaknesses like a lifeform.

Plus, if I nerf the immunities, I can add in a small power boost.

The primary homunculus works like a homunculus from the Eberron Campaign Setting for Artificer (which largely works like the one from MM). It's a tiny construct linked to the creator, very much in the manner of a familiar. There are feats in Eberron that make it better, and I added the enhancements to make it more of a class feature, less of an optional investment (the normal ones take xp to improve). I have a small problem here in referencing outside sources without reproducing that stuff directly...given enough time I can re-skin rules to avoid OGL conflicts (I hope).

The main use of homunculi is that
a.) They will have lots of hp, be permanent, and have better intelligence (I think...have to check on that) than most of the bio-forms.
b.) Dovetail nicely with biogens.

Biogens are quite ambitious. I considered making a full list of allowed spells, but that could potentially take days and days of reading. A player of mine may be playtesting this shortly, and I wanted to see the worst he can do with it. Non-damaging transmutations with a range of touch or target of self actually rules out a fair bit. The intention was that they not be used offensively, but to buff the bio-forms. Unfortunately [buff] is not a tag used on spells (if only). I'll see, but your comment really gets at the heart of whether this is a good class feature, or a bunch of C4 in the hands of a creative player.

Lots of good comments here. I will explore the ones not addressed, and add them. As you noted, lots of stuff just needs to be more edited/fully explained. A work in progress, to be sure.

Thanks for the attention, though.

2013-10-11, 04:22 PM
Originally Posted by Phelix-Mu
Bio-forms are mechanically drawn from the astral constructs. They come in levels 1-9, and pick menu abilities from the EPH tables, the Constructor tables (online web article for Mind's Eye), and a few additional choices yet to be developed.

Okay, this explains a lot. I know virtually nothing about psionics, so I'm not familiar with astral constructs, menu abilities, etc.

I know that at least some aspects of psionics are in the SRD, so maybe you could put in a link to those? If the sections you want aren't available online, maybe just a reference to the book and page number, e.g. EPH p. 186, etc. Same for the Artificer's little buddy in the ECS.

Originally Posted by Phelix-Mu
...your comment really gets at the heart of whether this is a good class feature, or a bunch of C4 in the hands of a creative player.

For a certain type of creative player, everything in the game world is C4.


Originally Posted by Phelix-Mu
Thanks for the attention, though.

You're very welcome. I noticed that no one was commenting on this, thought I'd get the conversation going. Hopefully folks with a better understanding of psionics (--Psyren? You out there?) can comment from a perspective I couldn't bring to bear.

Hope things go well with your player. I'll look foward to the crazy things he does with this.


2013-10-11, 04:39 PM
It's ShadowFireLance so, should he choose to actually use the concept, I'm sure my world will never be the same. He's got that kind of rep.

Thanks for reminding me that psionics is mostly in the SRD. I will see if linking that stuff is a possibilty.

To other points that I missed:

Life's Obsession: Yeah, I wasn't terribly pleased with that either. The restriction isn't that big, as it amounts to going several days without doing the main thing the class does (tinker around with bio-forms). That said, the penalty is pretty big, especially if you can't do it 6 days in a row. It's largely a penalty that will only hit the table if the DM makes it an issue though, which is not really a good way to design balancing aspects of a class.

I wanted some flavorful penalties that would be situationally bad. The first one, Life's Mystery, was pretty good.

Graft Flesh: Most RAW grafts are useful, but not terribly abusable. Especially if you are grafting onto something with a limited lifespan. Grafting onto the homunculi could be very useful (fire-breathing homunculi sounds awesome...don't know if that would be possible...that's Dragongrafter, not Graft Flesh).

The overall balance point of the class is that it is a specialist. Bio-forms are very useful, lots of utility, but the class doesn't get UMD or a spell list, so support from outside sources is very limited. Biogens are very versatile, but largely augment the bio-forms, and only so many can be produced (and the spell levels gained are retarded, falling behind normal spell availability.

I intend to add feats that will improve aspects of the class. As it kind of adds a new subsystem, support in existing feats is very sparse.

EDIT: Added a handful of feats. Also revised Life's Obsession to avoid the wonkiness, and added links to Bio-form Creating. Hopefully they clarify some stuff.

Still have to add the custom menu choices.

2013-12-06, 12:46 PM
Will be adding more material this weekend, hopefully. Comments always welcome.

2014-04-09, 12:40 PM
Self-bump as I prepare to relaunch a pbp that will be using this.

Changes: Rest requirement relaxed from not allowing any actions at all to not allowing use of class features, skills, or items while resting. Other actions taking less than a minute to perform may be possible, by DM permission. The intent is to force the Biogenetor to rest, not to screw the player if his character is woken up and forced to move or something while sleeping. I still have to meditate on a more clear-cut mechanism for this.