View Full Version : A More Compartmentalized Caster (PEACH)

Realms of Chaos
2013-12-22, 08:43 PM
A While Ago, I produced a Mage (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=276334) class built out of reserve feats. It was an interesting little thought experiment that proved quite difficult to break. As that class fails to produce high magic, however, I felt that this class needed something more.

What it needed was spellcasting.

In a fit of boredom, I have decided to dredge up my old class and outfit it with casting of a sort while keeping the entire thing as balanced and compartmentalized as possible. The end result is... well, you can judge for yourself.

The Mystic

Alignment: Any
Hit Die: d6

Class Skills:
Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Decipher Script (Int), Knowledge (Int), Profession (Wis),and Spellcraft (Int).
Skill Points at 1st Level: (2 + Int modifier) × 4
Skill Points at Each Additional Level: 2 + Int modifier

The Mystic
{table=head]Level|BAB|Fort|Ref|Will|Special |Highest Incantation Level

1st|+0|+0|+0|+2|Bonus Reserve Feat, Incantations|1

2nd|+1|+0|+0|+3|Bonus Reserve Feat|1

3rd|+1|+1|+1|+3|Adaptive Reserves 1/day|2

4th|+2|+1|+1|+4|Bonus Reserve Feat|2


6th|+3|+2|+2|+5|Bonus Reserve Feat|3

7th|+3|+2|+2|+5|Adaptive Reserves 2/day|4

8th|+4|+2|+2|+6|Bonus Reserve Feat|4


10th|+5|+3|+3|+7|Bonus Reserve Feat|5

11th|+5|+3|+3|+7|Adaptive Reserves 3/day|6

12th|+6/+1|+4|+4|+8|Bonus Reserve Feat|6


14th|+7/+2|+4|+4|+9|Bonus Reserve Feat|7

15th|+7/+2|+5|+5|+9|Adaptive Reserves 4/day|8

16th|+8/+3|+5|+5|+10|Bonus Reserve Feat|8


18th|+9/+4|+6|+6|+11|Bonus Reserve Feat|9

19th|+9/+4|+6|+6|+11|Adaptive Reserves 5/day|9

20th|+10/+5|+6|+6|+12|Bonus Reserve Feat|9


Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Mystics are proficient with the club, dagger, heavy crossbow, light crossbow, and quarterstaff, but not with any type of armor or shield.

Incantations: A Mystic gains the vast majority of his power not through proper spells but through ritualistic incantations that create similar effects. A Mystic possesses access to all incantations from the list below with a spell level up to what is listed on the class table, above.

Performing an incantation is similar in most ways to casting an arcane spell, requiring all of the same components, provoking attacks of opportunities, and facing a risk of failure if using armor or shields. Once the incantation has been completed, it is treated as the arcane spell of the same name for all purposes (and thus might be stopped by spell resistance, targeted by dispel magic, halted by spell immunity, etc.).

The casting time of these effects, however, is increased according to its duration. Most incantations require 10 minutes to complete, though those with a duration of "permanent" or "instantaneous" require 1 hour and those with a duration of “1 minute/level” or “1 round/level” require only 1 minute to complete. If the spell that an incantation is based off of normally has a longer casting time, use that length of time instead. Due to the long periods needed for incantations, incantations targeting creatures require willing or helpless targets unless they can target creatures at least one mile away. You may dismiss any non-instantaneous incantation you have performed as a standard action.

Unlike spells, a mystic does not possess spell slots and does not “prepare” incantations. Rather, the mystic can use any incantation that he has access to at any time. After performing an incantation, however, the same incantation may not be used again for at least one hour or until the previous spell effect has ended, whichever comes last. Incantations with a duration of permanent or instantaneous may be used again 8 hours later, instead.

Incantations may not be combined with metamagic effects and are not subject to the counterspell action (and may not be used for this action), though incantations may be identified through the spellcraft skill with a DC 5 higher than identifying a spell of the same spell level. The caster level of the mystic equals his class level and the save DC of incantations, when relevant, equals 10 + spell level + Wis modifier. Magic items can be crafted using incantations.

For the purpose of meeting prerequisites, you possess access to arcane spells of a spell level up to the highest level of incantations you can cast, though you do not possess any spell slots or spells known. Any prestige class that offers advancement for spellcasting or arcane spellcasting may be used to advance your caster level and your access to incantations.

Bonus Reserve Feats: At 1st level, you gain Acidic Splatter, Clap of Thunder, Fiery Burst, Invisible Needle, Storm Bolt, or Winter’s Blast (complete mage) as a bonus feat, ignoring all normal prerequisites. With one hour of study, you may switch which of these feats you have access to.

At 2nd level, you may select either Sunlight Eyes, Shadow Veil, Clutch of Earth, or Hurricane breath as a bonus feat, ignoring its normal prerequisites. With one hour of study, you may switch which of these feats you have access to.

At each even level thereafter, you gain a bonus Reserve feat of your choice so long as you meet all prerequisites for that feat. These feats may not be exchanged (but see adaptive reserves).

For the purpose of reserve feats gained in this way (and only these reserve feats), your skill with incantations counts as a single prepared spell of all schools, subschools, and descriptors with a spell level equal to the highest level of incantation you can use. This “prepared spell” may not be used, expended, stolen, or lost by any means. These reserve feats function regardless of the spell level of your “prepared spell” (acidic splatter will still function and deal 1d6 damage at 1st level even though you lack a 2nd level or higher spell, for example).

Adaptive Reserves: Starting at 3rd level, a Mystic can use his or her lesser magical talents to react to the surrounding world. Once per day, as a full round action, you may exchange one reserve feat you have received from Mystic class levels with another you meet all prerequisites for. If exchanging the feats gained at 1st or 2nd level, you must replace the lost feat with another that could have been selected at the same level.

You may use this ability 2/day at 7th level, 3/day at 11th level, 4/day at 15th level, and 5/day at 19th level.

Incantation List:

1st-Level Incantations:
Alarm, Arcane Mark, Charm Person, Comprehend Languages, Create Water, Deathwatch, Detect Magic, Detect Poison, Endure Elements, Erase, Floating Disk, Identify, Know Direction, Light, Magic Aura, Magic Mouth, Mending, Mount, Obscure Object, Pass Without Trace, Prestidigitation, Purify Food and Drink, Read Magic, Speak With Animal, Unseen Servant

2nd-Level Incantations:
Arcane Lock, Augury, Blindness/Deafness, Continual Flame, Darkness, Darkvision, Detect Thoughts, Fog Cloud, Levitate, Locate Object, Make Whole, Mirror Image, Misdirection, Phantom Trap, Rope Trick, See Invisibility, Shatter, Status, Touch of Idiocy, Undetectable Alignment, Whispering Wind, Wood Shape

3rd-Level Incantations:
Arcane Sight, Clairaudience/Clairvoyance, Create Food and Water, Daylight, Deeper Darkness, Diminish Plants, Dispel Magic, Gaseous Form, Gentle Repose, Helping Hand, Meld Into Stone, Nondetection, Phantom Steed, Plant Growth, Quench, Speak with Dead, Speak with Plants, Suggestion, Tiny Hut, Tongues, Water Breathing

4th-Level Incantations:
Arcane Eye, Bestow Curse, Charm Monster, Contagion, Control Water, Detect Scrying, Dimension Door, Divination, Hallucinatory Terrain, Ice Storm, Illusory Wall, Lesser Geas, Locate Creature, Minor Creation, Remove Curse, Scrying, Secure Shelter, Sending, Spell Immunity, Stone Shape

5th-Level Incantations:
Awaken, Baleful Polymorph, Break Enchantment, Dream, Fabricate, False Vision, Feeblemind, Mage’s Private Sanctum, Magic Jar, Major Creation, Mark of Justice, Mirage Arcana, Nightmare, Passwall, Persistent Image, Prying Eyes, Secret Chest, Sending, Telepathic Bond, Teleport

6th-Level Incantations:
Analyze Dweomer, Antilife Shell, Antimagic Field, Disintegrate, Find the Path, Flesh to Stone, Freezing Sphere, Geas/Quest, Greater Dispel Magic, Move Earth, Permanent Image, Programmed Image, Shadow Walk, Stone to Flesh, Stone Tell, True Seeing, Word of Recall

7th-Level Incantations:
Control Weather, Ethereal Jaunt, Instant Summons, Greater Arcane Sight, Greater Scrying, Greater Teleport, Insanity, Mage’s Magnificent Mansion, Phase Door, Plane Shift, Spell Turning, Statue, Teleport Object, Transmute Metal to Wood

8th-Level Incantations:
Antipathy, Clone, Demand, Dimensional Lock, Discern Location, Earthquake, Greater Prying Eyes, Greater Spell Immunity, Mind Blank, Screen, Sympathy, Telekinetic Sphere, Temporal Stasis, Trap the Soul

9th-Level Incantations:
Astral Projection, Etherealness, Freedom, Imprisonment, Mage’s Disjunction, Meteor Swarm, Refuge, Soul Bind, Storm of Vengeance, Teleportation Circle

What I Was Trying To Do:
As opposed to my original weak/balanced mage class, the main goal that the mystic strives for is to act as a compartmentalized spellcaster.

I suppose I should explain what I mean by that. While there are many, many, many problems with spellcasting in D&D, one of the biggest problems IMHO is that spellcasters kind of do everyone's job. They fight better than the barbarian, ignore all skill checks the Rogue would need to make, and perform a thousand different additional functions that nobody else could do.

This was my attempt to carve all of that out of spellcasting. First, turning spells into time-intensive rituals makes might or wit more efficient most of the time, which I consider to be a good thing. On top of that, however, I removed a lot from the spell list:

Next to no combat control spells
Very few damaging spells of any sort
No direct forms of buffs
No real ability to gain mind control (other than magic jar).
No real ability to make/call/summon/reanimate creatures
No action economy abuse (no contingency/celerity/time stop)
No ability to give alternate modes of movement (except by going ethereal)
No healing beyond the removal of magical effects.
No abilities that mimic hundreds of other abilities (Polymorph effects/Summoning and Calling Effects/Wish/Shadow Conjuration)
No Knock/Invisibility/Silence/Jump/Glibness/Commune/Contact Other Plane/Commune with Nature/Find Traps/Detect Snares and Pits/Discern Lies/Zone of Truth/Spider Climb to negate skills.

Further, as a consequence of the long caster times, charm effects are unable to effectively replace diplomacy and all forms of debuffs and SoDs are effectively transformed into alternatives to killing a creature after you have already beaten and captured them instead of acting as a giant anti-climax (and the limit on using a new one while a previous spell is in effect prevents the creation of armies).

On top of that, the structure of Incantations prevents the use of metamagic (meaning that stacking reducers are no longer a factor) and doesn't allow for outside spells and effects (such as Extra spell or Rainbow Servant) to add more effects to your list.

Of course, despite all of the "balancing" that has occurred here, what I have described above doesn't necessarily sound like fun. It sounds like a hallowed out spellcaster that can't actually do ANYTHING in encounters.

This is where the old Mage class I made comes into the picture. Adding incantations to the structure of the old class I made, you end up with a class that does most of its work outside of combat but that has a few weaker tricks that can be used at will within encounters.

On the topic of at will, I have tried to combat the slashed nature of the remaining spell list by including both arcane and divine spell effects and doing away with spell slots altogether. While a recharge exists to stop spamming, this class frees you from the 15-minute workday that plagues casters everywhere. The result is an odd, warlock-esque class that specialized on functioning outside of combat instead of within it.

I'm not saying that this class is "balanced" because it can still be used to utterly obliterate or abandon whatever plot-line the DM has in mind at the drop of a hat. Even so, I would expect this class to do pretty well at doing its own thing while allowing rogues and fighters to function and feel as though they possess distinct roles.

2013-12-22, 09:23 PM
I like this. A lot.

Checking out your mage class (I like that too), this is a very clever way to handle casters. The reserve feats make up the bulk of your combat-ness, and you get a bunch of nice utility spells, excellent.

So, you can cast any incantation on the list, assuming you've got the time correct?

I do worry a little about lower levels. The long casting times for incantations means they'll only be used in the longest of battles (probably rarely even then). The reserve feat helps, but if I'm reading correctly, all you can really do in combat at lower levels is use your one or two reserve feats or flail around with the weapon you're not good with.

Personally, I'd opt to give them cantrips as normal, at-will even. Shouldn't mess with the balance at all, but gives the mystic more things to do. Even a Guidance or a Resistance spell for that +1 is preferable to nothing at all. But again, overall, this is very well done :smallcool:

2013-12-22, 10:33 PM
So it takes the Mystic 1 hour to cast a Fireball? That seems incredibly extreme. I would suggest at least that the Mystic be able to "prepare" incantations ahead of time, getting all of the casting time out of the way ahead of time, and executing it sometime later with a standard action. At least offer that as a feat.

2013-12-22, 10:38 PM
This looks really, really good.

Something it might be missing, however, is an ability to swap out reserve feats on the fly. Like as a full-round action or something along those lines at higher levels.

Realms of Chaos
2013-12-23, 12:31 AM
Well, I instated a limited way to cast incantations without huge wait times and to exchange reserve feats.

With that said, I would like to point out that with the 1 hour/10 minute casting time on some of these spells, the entire purpose of these spells is greatly changed.

Fireball isn't on the list to serve as a combat-based area effect for mobs but is there as a means of causing chaos, hysteria, and lots of damage in general. It does involve lots of random chanting on the sidewalk but that's precisely why identifying incantations in process is harder than identifying spells. :smallwink:

2013-12-23, 11:35 AM
My problem with this is that it's not gonna be fun. Reserve feats are, at best, very "meh" in their usefulness. They scale alright, but they are like highly unoptimized blasting, the wizard equivalent of a sword-n-board fighter. Some of them are kind of interesting (The borne aloft one comes to mind), but they're very, very, low-level abilities.

Here's the thing: the vast majority of DnD is combat. If all their spellcasting is a minute long, they will never be useful in combat. It's a bit harsh, but combat is far too fast for even a 3-round spell to be of much use most of the time. Spending that long in one place, without much else to do, and you're not contributing to the party, unless you've got an auto-win coming out your sleeve.

Now, if this class is *supposed* to be all useful outside of combat, then there are still some small changes I'd make. It's great for that, but you can probably give it at-will for most of the spells (with maybe a few like Baleful Polymorph kept on a separate list), with a restriction of, say, a few minutes between casting. That last bit may even be unnecessary, what with the list they have. Most of that won't be useful if it's cast multiple times, and if it is useful (say, detect thoughts...? Dunno. Couldn't find any on the list that would be cast really abusively out of combat), it won't break the game.

All in all, my recommendations! Remember first that I think this class has a ton of potential, and I like the mechanics you've set up. They just need more flesh and options.

1. Give the out of combat options a boost.
2. Give the class some decent in-combat options (maybe related to buffing others, or detecting what the enemies' strengths are?)
3. Make new reserve feats. That spell list has a lot of areas where you could do more, and if you made new reserve feats, there'd be more options.
4. Lower casting times at least a little. If it took me an hour to cast a fireball, I'm 90% sure my party would buy a scroll and tell me to read it. OR the entire game would be, "hide and wait so the caster can sorta be useful in the surprise round." I think full-round casting for most spells, two round casting at MAX should be sufficient to really force the player to think strategically.
4.1. Alternately, make lists of which spells take longer, relegating more game-breaking spells to longer charge times.

Realms of Chaos
2013-12-23, 02:40 PM
At this point, I feel that I should be a bit more outright about what I wanted to do with this class, as the idea doesn't seem to be obvious to most people.

The point of the mystic is to make a spellcaster that never, ever casts spells in combat or other tight encounters.

It's not about making the spellcasting more strategic (which is a secondary goal at best). It's about making the caster literally incapable of taking the job of the party frontliner or skillmonkey. As the tin says, a caster that fits into the neat compartment of "caster"

While you may see familiar spells on the spell list, they were not included for the functions that most people currently use them.

Fireball and Earthquake are on the list to cause mass destruction, Freezing sphere is there to freeze over water, Disintegrate is there for excavation purposes, and Save-or-Dies are put there to act as an alternative to simply killing foes (requiring your party to knock out or tie up your target while you turn them to stone/steal their soul/charm them/etc).

Readied incantations were taken down and fireball was removed from the spell list, two alterations that should help the intention of this class become more apparent.

Outside of combat, the mystic can take care of more essential magical tasks that skillmonkeys are incapable of, such as talking to animals, removing harmful spells, or teleporting. Inside battle, they are third-string blasters that can help through reserve feats without hogging the spotlight.

2013-12-23, 04:35 PM
Ok, i really love the class. I understand the feel you are trying to achieve, and I completely agree with it. I have been trying to do something similar myself, but i was going the Warlock route. However, this is perfect.

Only one thing I'm curious about: What do you thing about giving this class 0th level spells at will? Not even a recommendation, I was just wandering about your opinion. For example, I REALLY love the Cantrips and Orisons you have in your signature, do you think that would kill the flavor and the intended purpose?

Realms of Chaos
2013-12-24, 01:12 AM
For cantrips, I really don't know. I don't know about any cantrips already in existence but spells being spells means that there are countless cantrips that I don't know about. Further, as this isn't a pathfinder creation, having cantrips at will would probably make this thing too dipp-able (especially if you got the full list at 1st level as I've been doing).