View Full Version : Pathfinder The Unmage - kill casters and take their stuff

Ethereal Gears
2015-10-27, 07:52 AM
Hey everyone. I'm posting this here, as well as a corresponding thread on the Paizo boards. I figured people might, potentially get a kick out of this idea. :)

So I cobbled this class together a few months ago. The idea was basically to create a mage/witch-hunter type class that gains access to just enough magical tricks to mess with spellcasters on their own terms. In that sense, it's not a "mage killer" class in the oft-popular sense I've seen in other homebrew where you create this completely non-magical (usually d10 HD/full BAB) class that's just really good at killing casters. These guys were more envisioned as anti-magic agents, tracking and hunting down casters and dispelling their spells, et cetera. Kind of a high-magic concept from a flavor standpoint, I suppose.

Anyway, here's a link to the Google Drive Folder containing the class:

Unmage Files (https://drive.google.com/folderview?id=0B8e09cD4OAF3cFVJblVQcURZV0U&usp=sharing)

There's only two documents in there, one for the main class, and then one containing a list of its "selectable talents" class features, which I've dubbed "abarcanas".

So, I hope people enjoy. The class hasn't gone through playtesting yet, so I'm sure there are potentially plenty of kinks both big and small that need ironing out. Any and all comments welcome!

- Gears

2015-10-27, 01:29 PM
<Briefly> looking at the class, I think this is aiming to combat mid-op mages rather than hunt Tippy-style Wizards, yes? I'll keep that in mind in my suggestions.

Also, most classes designed to just be good at killing mages are generally worse at it than other mages tbh. I had a longer discussion on that, but this class isn't really doing that so I'll stay on topic with a few initial comments:

1) This is a base class, so it really needs to be able to meaningfully contribute if there isn't a spellcaster to hunt at all times. Outside of taking very specific abarcana choices I don't really get the impression this class has much to do when their niche isn't needed.

2) Unmage's Leap is nice, although it could really use a way to not get screwed over the moment you appear next to the mage. Also, it should note if it works across planes (it should eventually, IMO).

3)Disenchant is far stronger against non-mages than mages, due to the need to actually touch them, and would be the bane of PCs everywhere. It also requires you to know which of an opponent's items does what... perhaps instead a power that disrupts the link between a struck target's items, causing them to lose the benefits of wearing / wielding them for 1 round whenever they cast a spell? (The effect initially lasts 1 round, lasts longer at higher levels).

4) Does this class have anyway to track down a mage upon encountering their lingering spells? What stops wizard X from playing eternal-keep away so long as they don't trigger unamage's leap?

Ethereal Gears
2015-10-27, 02:09 PM
@Magikeeper: Your baseline assumption is quite correct. I find the Tippyverse concept aesthetically revolting and never homebrew anything based on or related to it. Think of this class as being geared towards being good against casters in, say, your average Pathfinder Adventure Path, or possibly something slightly sharper challenge-wise. I totally forgot to tag this thread "Pathfinder", which is 100% my bad. Apologies. It's been fixed now.

1. The class is supposed to be roughly Tier 4/3. I agree that they need to pick certain abarcanas in order to be competitive against non-casters, however, this is rather part of the design intent. I'm not sure what you mean by "very specific abarcana choices", though. There are quite a few abarcanas that give an edge against non-casters. But I do agree that without abarcanas the class is only truly useful against spellcasters. Would it perhaps be preferable to simply increase the amount of abarcanas gained (say giving one at every even-numbered class level), so unmages can branch out a bit more without sacrificing their focus on casters? Or should something like the eldritch slayer abarcana and possibly also versatile counterspell simply be baked into the main class as class features? I certainly wouldn't be averse to either of these options.

2. I have no idea what you mean by "getting screwed over the moment you appear next to the mage". Could you please elaborate? I'm definitely all for the ability working across planes at later levels.

3. It's not problematic to me that disenchant is stronger against non-mages. While the class overall is "anti-caster", it does also have a broader "anti-magic" theme (as evidenced by hunting down "magical monsters" and being able to dispel supernatural abilities at later levels, etc.). That being said, I think your suggestion is probably a rather good one. I know people are allergic to abilities that "wreck the loot", anyway, so I'll change it to function more along the lines you've suggested.

4. I find this point a bit difficult to respond to, as it seems to rely on a lot of assumptions I may or may not share. I wouldn't be averse to creating an abarcana or similar to track down casters "upon encountering their lingering spells", but you'd have to specify more clearly what you mean by that. I'm also not sure what the "eternal keep-away" line refers to. I'll say a few words on the design philosophy behind this class, however, which may or may not help elucidate this issue a bit:

The unmage is not primarily meant to be the bane of optimized creatures with levels in the wizard or sorcerer base class, as these tend to very rarely figure as enemies in encounters in my experience. It should certainly be able to contend with capable class level arcanists, but this is not, as it were, the major focus of its design goals. The class is aimed at having a rather broad toolkit for dealing with casters (i.e. any creature that casts spells), including the plethora of monsters that have SLAs. To exemplify, here's an incomplete list of spells I'd certainly be happy to work to make the class a bit more adept at dealing with, but which it isn't a major concern of mine if the unmage is unable to overcome the obstacles presented by: astral projection, clone, create demiplane, gate, simulacrum, wish.

At any rate, thanks a bunch for commenting. Your input was very helpful. I'm making the recommended changes to disenchant and unmage's leap straight away, and the more complex issues of expanding the class' niche I'm going to get started on.

- Gears

2015-10-27, 11:59 PM
On getting screwed upon teleporting in:

> Generally, the leap is a blind one - the unmage doesn't know where they are going unless the mage happens to be right in front of them. All the mage has to do is be launching their attack from a location that's deadly for the unprepared (casting in lava, high in the air, in the middle of a heavily trapped room, room filled with their allies, etc). Getting a faint image of the mage's location (that benefits from their enhanced vision) would help a lot.
> Specifically, Anticipate Teleportation (SpC, level 3 abjuration spell), or the greater version make the leap a pretty bad idea. It's not obscure, nor is it high level, the duration is 24hrs, and mages have a good reason to cast it (messes with other mages and monsters).


On keep-away:

Less "finding hidden planes" more "I am supposed to be able to track down casters, like some kind of supernatural investigator. I found some created undead at a farm, and Bob the Rancher was dominated. The mage didn't leave their calling card, no one saw them... do I have a way to continue this investigation?" It doesn't take a tippy wizard to not leave a mundane trail. Or even a highly optimized one, really. They just have to be cautious and/or paranoid. It would help if unmages had the ability to differentiate one mage's auras from another, at least (so they could tell if case X was the work of the same mage as case Y, for example).


On being useful when there are no mages to hunt:

Baking it into the class means someone can't render themselves useless through poor planning. Versatile Counterspell still doesn't help against any monster that doesn't act like a caster/gish. I think.. tainted by magic might be the best one to add to the core chasis. It greatly increases the chance of there being enemies that qualify for the unmage's abilities and technically combos with any allied caster's debuffs, if the enemy is completely magic-less. Also, you could just staple it onto the slay mages ability. Maybe 6 skill points per level as well?


Does Nemesis Spell let you cast that spell whenever, provided you have uses to burn? Or rather, that appears to be what it allows, is that the intent?

Ethereal Gears
2015-10-28, 03:10 AM
Thanks for clarifying and responding. This is all very helpful! :)

Regarding anticipate teleportation: As noted, this class is for Pathfinder, so I would actually count a non-PF, 3.5 spell as pretty obscure in this context. Basically, I just don't think I can balance this class around people using 3.5 material; it would simply be too much work. In a similar vein, I'm not especially taking 3pp into account in any particular sense. The main idea for Unmage's Leap wasn't that you would often blindly teleport into somewhere. The idea was more "that wizard 100 feet away just cast a fireball at me. Let's teleport up real close and kick her ass." I do realize, however, that since the ability lacks a range it could technically function as you've inferred. I wouldn't mind changing it at later levels to work like you're suggesting (granting a brief image of the caster's location), but I think initially I'm just going to have it require line of sight to the caster.

Well, now that you've explained what you meant by "lingering spells" (sorry for being a bit dense on not getting that), that makes total sense. That's an excellent idea for an abarcana. Thanks. I'll write something like that up!

Regarding baking in class features: I will admit to being slightly biased towards highly modular classes with few static class features. Obviously, these make it far easier for newbie players to screw up and create something unplayable, but for more experienced players it grants a lot more options, which I think is fun. That being said, though, I am still mulling over exactly which class features to bake in. I've gotten some suggestions on the Paizo boards, I have some ideas of my own, and I do think your suggestions make a lot of sense. I'll have to figure out exactly how to do it. Part of me is still tempted to just grant more abarcanas; I may end up doing both. As for 6 + Int skill ranks per level; I mean, the class is already heavily Int-focused. At this rate they'll be getting roughly as many skill ranks per level as an alchemist (i.e. a lot of them), more than a magus but less than an investigator. Your suggestion would bring them up to investigator levels, a.k.a. the class in the game that on average gets the most skill ranks (tied with wizards?). I suppose I wouldn't really mind increasing the skill ranks; they just seem rather generous to me as things stand.

I'll post an update in this thread when I've implemented all the suggested changes to the class. This may take a smallish while as I'm currently working on a few other homebrew classes. All the same, any other comments still very much welcome!

- Gears

2015-10-30, 04:17 AM
I really like this class. The flavor and abilities are really cool. There have been many, many times I wished I could take Favored Enemy (Spellcaster) and now here it is. At first I was wary of the 3/4ths BAB but Unmages get so many wonderful toys that it definitely balances out.

While not quite beating the 'Linear Fighters, Exponential Wizards' paradigm, I do feel like an Unmage would hold its own very nicely at higher levels when just about everything will have some kind of ongoing magical effect or spell-like ability.

Seeing some archetypes might be cool. The Abarcana seem to provide some distinct abilities but having an archetype for things like a dedicated spell eater or maybe a version that has an aura that forces hostile casters to make concentration check or lose the spells they are trying to cast. You could even do something where the Unmage causes the magical energy inside of a caster to 'short-circuit' and cause damage or a debilitating effects along with consuming a prepared spell or spell slot. That would give the Unmage some more interesting offensive options

Ethereal Gears
2015-10-30, 05:06 AM
@grumblyarcher: I'm glad you like the class. It was definitely built with the idea in mind that magic is really rather prevalent in most campaigns, even if it's just in terms of a monster havin' a single SLA or similar, since the latter is all it takes to be a viable target for Slay Mages.

I like your ideas. I do wonder, though, if maybe some of them wouldn't be better suited to just creating more abarcanas out of, rather than archetypes. I'm currently working on implementing changes already suggested in this thread and the one on the Paizo boards, but I do agree some more offensive abarcanas would be nice, and I think your suggestions all sound interesting. I'll have to see what I can come up with!

- Gears

2015-10-30, 06:09 AM
I always view Archetypes as an excellent way to specialize a class further. A situation where they give up some of their general flexibility in favor of making certain abilities far more potent. There are certainly a lot that almost completely alter how their classes work but think of it this way:
-You can build a two weapon Fighter or you can have a Two-Weapon Fighter
-There is the Monk who has decent access to combat maneuvers but there is also the Maneuver Master and the Tetori
-All Paladins can Lay on Hands and Channel Energy but the Hospitaler takes the healing up a notch.
-Any Ranger can have Favored Terrain (Urban) but the Urban Ranger is the king of the streets.

Ultimately, this is currently a moot point until you iron out the details of the class and if you feel there isn't enough material for an archetype then there just isn't. I'd like to see more abarcanas along these lines in the least. I'm just trying to poke your brain meats until more ideas shake loose.

Ethereal Gears
2015-10-30, 09:33 AM
@grumbly: Said poking is much appreciated. I'm working on a few different homebrew classes all at once right now, and so the unmage is a bit on the backburner. But I'm taking all these notes into account, and once Halloween and such is over I'll try to get this class straightened out, and I'll post here with the updates.