View Full Version : D&D 3.x Class Homebrew help requested on class reworks/buids

2014-05-24, 11:57 AM

I'm the author of this previous thread, and I have been working on an overhaul to the class system that introduces a corruption system for arcane casters and a transgression system for divine casters. My design goals are mentioned in the original thread but the important ones are indicated below:

Level out the power level of more classes, but especially casters, by making low level spells more available at early levels and restricting their ability to cast high level spells with impunity. Importantly I did not want to take away their high level spells but rather give them very real consequences for using them.
Add interest to spellcasting classes, both by splitting the classes into different types (such as divine classes based on intelligence and charisma, or arcane based on wisdom) and by introducing more class features.
Favor the use of penalty-based restrictions on the use of abilities, rather than hard "per day" restrictions. Some abilities might still be limited in uses per day, but if so, they should not be core functions of the character (spellcasting for example should not be limited "per day", but something like the ability to reroll under certain circumstances might be). As a guideline, Characters (not players) should never be in a situation where they think "well that's a shame, I can't do that again today because I've used up all my juice" or "well, now that my enemy has used this power, they can't use it again today, so I have the advantage". However, Players might find themself in such a situation ("Alright, I guess I'll use my luck reroll now, but that'll use up pretty much all of my character's luck for the day").

To that end, I have four arcane classes and three divine. Right now, however, only wizards are complete (see here (https://docs.google.com/document/d/1gIP2I3PuouOthhOuQysowt9dl7ut3_DSBPJ2mDiAf6Q/pub)). The general idea of the other classes have been introduced, but I need some help filling out the character options. A brief description of each classes fluff and their primary option requirements to follow.

Wizard (Arcane, Int) [Complete]
Also known as book mages, a wizard reduces corruption by preparing spells into written form, investing some of the energy into the words. Intelligence is important for wizards, as it determines the highest spell level they can learn or prepare, and the number of spells they can prepare each day.

Sorcerer (Arcane, Cha) [Needs class options]
Also known as familiar mages, a sorcerer can invest some of the corruption of spells into a magical creature known as a familiar. Familiars are resistant to the effects of corruption as they are themselves magical. Charisma is important for sorcerers, as it determines which spells they can learn or cast, as well as the save DC of their spells.

What I need:
Familiars come in different varieties (such as Stalwart, Wise, Cunning, Feral or Trickster, not different species), each of which determines the Adaptations and Mutations available for a Sorcerer to select.

Each Familiar Archetype should consist of
~15 Adaptations, one to be selected at every even level except 20th.
~7 Mutations, one to be selected at each of 5, 10, and 15
1 Perfection, to be gained at 20
1 Prime Mutation, to be gained at 20

Adaptations are beneficial changes for the sorcerer, such as a flat bonus to HP, a bonus to specific saves, or a flat bonus to skills. Adaptations with level restrictions can be more powerful, such as growing wings or permanently gaining a natural attack.

Mutations are beneficial, typically supernatural, changes for the familiar, such as the ability to change size or shape, growing permanent wings, or gaining a breath attack/gaze attack. A baseline familiar will use an animal, these should make the animal feel more like a magical beast.

A Perfection is an Adaptation on the scale of an Endcap ability. There should be only one for each archetype, rather than a number of options.

A Prime Mutation is a Mutation on the scale of an Endcap ability. There should be only one for each archetype, rather than a number of options.

Please note that the species of the familiar is not the same as its archetype. There is not any particular reason why a raven familiar can't be a stalwart (though it more typically would represent the trickster).

Warlock (Arcane, Wis) [Needs Class Options]
Warlocks are gifted their magic by powerful beings such as demons, dragons, or fae; the entity gives the warlock magic is known as that warlock's Patron. Typically, a warlock who gains this power must enter into a pact with the creature, agreeing to certain terms such as service, forfeiture of the soul, or their firstborn child. However, unlike divine magic, a warlock's magic is actually infused into them, and once gained cannot be stripped back by the patron (which is not to say that a patron cannot simply kill the warlock, and some types of pact are irreversible or enforced by other means. Wisdom is important to warlocks, as it determines their ability to learn or cast spells as well as spell saving DCs.

Warlocks now learn spells much as other spellcasters rather than having Invocations. Their Eldritch Blast depends on the pact they made, and counts as a first level spell for the purposes of corruption (they begin play with a focus for their Pact Blast, which reduces its corruption cost).

What I need:

Warlocks have access to certain universal features. These include:
Any number of Blast shapes, gained at 3rd level and every 3 levels thereafter. These change the shape of the Warlock's blast. Depending on the change to shape, either a reduction in damage dice or an increase in effective spell level (and consequently, corruption cost) might be necessary; as might the nature of defense against the blast.

Warlock Patrons give the warlock their power. Each patron consists of:

1 Pact blast, gained at 1st level. Typically, this is a ranged touch attack with a range of 60 feet. Energy type depends on the patron (a Blue Dragon Patron would have an Electricity Pact blast, while a Devil might have one that deals piercing damage or some type of evil damage). Typically does 1d6 of damage, but certain damage types should probably deal less damage.
~7 Blast Essences, gained 2nd level and every 4th level thereafter (6, 10, 14, 18). These cause the warlock's blast to gain a secondary effect, either by increasing its effective corruption cost (equivalent to a spell X levels higher) or by reducing the dice of damage (1d for every odd-numbered level is the damage of a blast).
~5 Gifts, gained at 5th, 10th, and 15th level. These are active or passive abilities that represent the fact that a warlock is becoming more like their patron: gaining a breath attack.
1 Apotheosis, gained at 20th level. This is the Warlock's endcap ability, and typically represents a hybrid transformation into the form of its patron (think Monk's Perfect Self or Dragon Disciple's Dragon Apotheosis thematically).

I will be drawing from the Warlock base DnD 3.5 class for inspiration on the Demon and Fae pacts, but please feel free to write them up if you have specific ideas for them.

Bard (Arcane, Cha) [Needs Class Option]
Other spellcasters seek ways to reduce the corruption gained by drawing magic into them. Bards seek ways to shape magic without having to draw it into them. Using elaborate dances or songs, they are able to use a small amount of magic to shape much more drastic spells in the world. Bards are sometimes known as Song Mages.

Bards now can learn up to 9 levels of spells, but their typical corruption gains are significantly higher than other arcane spellcasters. They must make a skill check each time they cast a spell, failing which causes even further increased corruption gain.

What I need:
Generally, ideas for class features. Since Bard's now draw from the newly declared "Mage" spell list, rather than one of their own, some method of reintroducing support/healing spells that they previously had would be nice.

Also, a number of "Songs" (which might also be dances or other forms of performance) should be devised, which a bard will learn periodically (the class framework for the bard is not yet in place so exact intervals undecided).

Songs come in three varieties. All songs should have an effective caster level for the effect, which improves the song in some way (duration, effectiveness, number of targets, range). All songs require a perform check to use, which should scale based on the effective caster level of the effect. A bard may learn any type of song with the same class feature (they don't get X hymns, Y melodies, and Z ballads, instead they get N songs the total of which can be any portion of hymns, melodies, or ballads).

Hymns have limited effect but cost no corruption. Repeated use of a hymn increases the difficulty of singing the hymn. Hymns are pseudo-divine in nature.
Melodies have more powerful effects by cost a small amount of corruption: typically less than it would cost for a similar spell if the bard were able to learn it. Melodies do not get more difficult to use with repeated use.
Ballads are the most powerful and cost approximately the same amount of corruption as a melody, but is offset by a long casting time (typically measured in tens of minutes). Ballads do not get more difficult to use with repeated use, but they do require multiple skill checks to complete a single ballad.

Sage (Divine, Int) [Class options framework in place, needs details]
The Sage class can be viewed here (https://docs.google.com/document/d/1odHkEuCU2iPexUB7YUXkjgmHeg0wYkbIxr93kwZ2cxo/pub) with a list of rituals (most of which need powers); this list of rituals is not necessarily comprehensive.

What rituals need:
Two skills or a comparable benefit, which they grant a bonus to while active.
1 or more 1st level powers. Active powers should have a transgression cost and power level not to exceed a 1st level spell or equivalent (implementing greater restrictions might make a more powerful effect acceptable, such as seen in Ritual of Eyes allowing the ability to see through magical darkness but only while using a Standard Action to concentrate). Passive powers should be no more powerful than a bonus feat or equivalent which would be available to a 1st level character.
1 or more 8th level powers. These are the same as a 1st level power, but use 3rd level spells and feats available to 6th level characters as the baseline.
1 or more 15th level powers. These are the same as a 1st level power, but use 7th level spells and feats avaiilable to 12th level characters as the baseline.
1 or more Greater Ritual Powers for level 10. These are the same as a normal Ritual power, but use 5th level spells and feats available to 10th level characters.
1 or more Greater Ritual powers for level 18. These are the same as a normal Ritual Power, but use 8th level spells and feats available to 16th level characters.

Priest (Divine, Wis) [Needs Class options, draw from Domains]
Priests are the typical divine magic users, gaining their power through worship of a specific god and service to that god. They lose their powers if they ever upset their god.

Priests replace Clerics and some aspects of the Druid.

What I need:
A priest begins play with two domains and their corresponding Acts of Faith. As they level, they eventually gain a total of four domains and their acts of faith, and gain more powerful domain powers. Each Domain has the following:
1 Taboo, which the priest must follow if he wishes to continue to have access to a domain's effects. An example would be "don't wear metal armor" for the Plant domain. If a priest ever breaks a taboo, he loses that domain for 24 hours. A priest who has lost all domains also loses spellcasting.
1 Act of Faith, which replaces the Turn Undead class feature as a frequently usable minor effect. The Sun Domain gains Turn Undead as its act of faith. The Undeath Domain gains Rebuke Undead as its act of faith.
4 Domain powers, listed in a specific order. Priests must gain these powers in order at certain (as yet undecided) intervals. The first domain power is gained at 2nd level, and the remaining domain powers are gained somewhat like a ranger's favored enemy (each time the priest's Domain class feature comes up, they select a new available domain to gain the first power for, and then gain the next power in the list for any domain they currently have, including the one just gained). Assume that the minimum levels between gaining domain powers will be 4 (and that the minimum level to gain the domain's last power will therefor be 14). Domain powers can be either active, passive, or even upgrade the Domain's Act of Faith.

The priest's as yet undetermined Endcap will be independent of Domains, unlike the Warlock or Sorcerer.

Shaman (Divine, Cha) [Needs Class options]
Shamans use magic by communing with spirits. They have one or more Spirit guides which grant them spells.

What I need:
Shamans begin play with one and eventually will have access to 5 spirit guides (with only one active at a time), which may be of the same type (their spellcasting method will make this sensible under certain circumstances). There should be ~10 spirit guides available. Each spirit guide needs the following:

1 Form that represents the spirit guide when it manifests or when the Shaman takes its shape (both class features universal to shamans). A bear guide might take the form of a Black Bear for example. This form can upgrade at certain Shaman levels, determined by the guide's type (so a bear guide might have the black bear base form and eventually progress to brown bear, polar bear, and dire bear, while a fire elemental guide might simply increase in size from small to medium to large to greater).
~7 Spirit powers, which the shaman periodically gains (eventually gaining four per spirit guide). These should always be active powers available to the shaman, and should have slightly lower transgression costs than an equivalent spell.
1 Primal Power, which is activated when the Shaman uses their endcap. This is an active ability, which will cost a flat amount of transgression determined by the shaman's endcap.

Paladin (Divine, Cha) [Use restricted priest options]
Paladins gain access to a single domain and eventually unlock all of that domain's power tiers. One domain (probably Nobility or Glory) should approximate the standard paladin's Special Mount class feature, as their Domain is replacing that feature.

Paladins may now worship any deity, but must exactly match that deity's alignment rather than being restricted to Lawful Good. Their Paladin's Code is replaced by a requirement to follow the tenets of their faith and by the Taboo of their Domain.

Ranger (Divine, Wis) [Use restricted shaman options]
Rangers gain access to a single spirit guide and a limited number of that Guide's powers (appr. 3). They will receive a class feature allowing them to manifest the guide temporarily much as a Shaman, which will approximate the standard ranger's Animal Companion class feature that this feature replaces.

I would appreciate it if you, my fellow Playgrounders, could help me tackle the daunting task of coming up with these class options.

I realize that I don't have complete information for some of these classes. Part of that is because I have limited time and am daunted by the scale, and part is because I am generating the parts of the system I need to run a trial game with my friends, as I need them (which is why Wizard is complete, and Sage mostly so, Priest has not been touched). Relatedly, Shaman will probably see a spike in activity soon as one of my players is playing a Ranger and is about to hit level 4 where they will gain their Spirit Guide.

Any assistance, whether general (there should be a familiar archetype with the theme of X) or specific (The exact mechanics of a thing) would be very much appreciated.

If you have questions, PM me or post here and I'll get back to you within a couple days. If you want to use the overhaul, please feel free but tell me any additions you make to it so I can put them in the original write-up. If you think the idea is bad, please keep it to yourself. If you think the idea is good but could be better represented by mechanic X, please PM me your proposed alternative!

2014-05-28, 06:17 PM
Have I asked too much for the info I have given, or is there just no interest in this particular project?

2014-06-01, 04:11 PM
Does anyone have any opinions on what I've worked out for the parts I've finished already?

2014-06-02, 10:16 AM
There's a lot to go over, which is probably slowing folks down. I'd say the idea is solid, though I find the mechanics a bit fiddly and reliant on charts. The use of percentiles is also a bit of an odd ball in a d20 system.

Were I doing this, I'd likely make it more of a d20 check with a corruption effect based on the highest save beaten by that check. So strong willed types will take longer to suffer mental defects. For an extra twist, keep severity tied to corruption levels so those strong willed types aquire minor physical ailments fairly easily, but when mental issues do arise they're more severe.

As for what's already up, you could probably borrow from Pathfinder to flesh out familiars. In particular the Summoner's Eidolon (http://www.d20pfsrd.com/classes/base-classes/summoner/eidolons) is a good source for mutations while the Animal Companion (http://www.d20pfsrd.com/classes/core-classes/druid/animal-companions) write up has a section on archetypes that might be useful. For that matter, the list of Witch Patrons (http://www.d20pfsrd.com/classes/base-classes/witch/witch-patrons) might be useful for fleshing out the warlock.