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Ranis
2007-08-05, 07:48 PM
I'm running a D&D 3.5 game currently, and I have a very, very good group of fun friends and good people. I recently gave my PC's 20,000 gold and let them loose in a very large Paladin-Land type city. This city has a vast amount of resources, and I told them that just about anything that they could want in their price range, they could find.

My cleric then whipped out a book that was not of WotC publication or origin, basically an open-source D20 book, called Path of Faith; published as part of something called Legends and Lairs that he picked up at a gaming bookstore.

Immediately, I became queasy. I've always allowed any source material from any WotC splatbook, except for the Book of Nine Swords, for my own reasons. However, I didn't immediately say "no," because I like my players to feel like that they can feel free to be open with what they want to play, and not to regiment things too much. With that said, I'm nervous about this open D20 book for the big question: Is this balanced enough for me to give to him?

What he wants from this book is something called a "Greater Holy Symbol." Basically, when it is crafted, depending upon how much money he fits into it, it can bestow upon him certain magical benefits when he calls upon them. This functions just like adding enhancement bonuses to a weapon, in the same increments of gold described in the DMG. Some examples of some abilities that he can choose from include:

Air Shield: Immunity to dangerous air effects.
Spellbreaker: SR 20 versus all spells cast by lawful creatures.
Earth Shield: Wearer gains a +1 Natural Armor Bonus.
Flame Shield: Wearer gains Fire Resist 5.
Holy Sword: Wearer gains Paladin's Smite ability once per day, using Cleric level to determine damage.
Healing Circle: Heal spell once per day, self only.
Ring of Truth: Wearer gains a +10 to Sense Motive checks to determine whether or not the truth is being told.
The Great Tree: Wearer gains the Druidic ability Pass Without Trace.
Iron Mind: Wearer gains a +2 circumstance bonus on Will saves.
Mundane Aura: Magical items worn by the wearer do not give off a magical aura whatsoever.
Water: Wearer can breathe underwater.
Fallen Star: Holy Symbol can radiate light in a 20-foot radius; light cannot pierce magical darkness.


There are quite a few others, but I think I've touched upon the idea of the power levels of these enough. If it is a tad much, then maybe I could give him a restriction-for example, he is a cleric of Heironeous, so I could say that he could only pick up abilities that would be in the ideals of Heironeous. But before I begin rambling further, what do you all think? Is this balanced? If not, how can I set limitations on it that you think would be balanced? I would rather make accommodations for my player than to say no to him; he really, really wants this holy symbol.

Tyger
2007-08-05, 07:54 PM
Depending on the prices of course, how would this be any different really, other than RP, than a character buying / crafting wondrous items that would do all of these things?

Of course, in this instance, it would make absolute sense for you to restrict the powers that his holy symbol can be enchanted with to those enchantments that would be within his god's ideals. Its the holy symbol after all! :)

Sornjss Lichdom
2007-08-05, 07:59 PM
just look through and elimanate ones that look to powerful, but other wise it actualy sounds really cool, maybe make up a custome system mirroring this one but less powerful. that would be alot of work, so jsut try to limit what he can get. OR crank up the prices.

Ranis
2007-08-05, 08:10 PM
Oops, I apparently overlooked a vastly large portion of this whole thing. Any holy symbol only grants ONE of the above abilities, and each one of the Holy Symbol powers bestows something else.

For example, say we made a +3 one of these holy symbols-the +3 would be 3 energy for the day. Expending an "energy" would bestow the cleric with a certain amount of power-a predetermined spell-like ability of up to 5th level that is castable once per day, an extra spell slot to be filled with a spell during normal spell-preparation times in the morning, that can only be one caster level less than the maximum, and when higher energy is expelled, and some minor spell resistance. So let's say our +3 holy symbol could expel 1 "energy" would attain a spell-like ability of 1st level and an extra first level spell slot. Expending three would gain a spell-like ability of third level and an extra third level spell slot. This can be divided as well, so you could expend 2 "energy" then 1 "energy," and gain the separate abilities as determined. This maxes out at a +5.

The "energy" is replenished and must be expelled during normal praying times when preparing spells.

Okay, with that full knowledge, NOW, what do you think?

Citizen Joe
2007-08-05, 08:24 PM
No no no... dear god... no

Take any of those special abilities, translate it into an appropriate DND comparable ability. Then use the magic item creation guidelines to figure out how much they should cost. Note that, as a holy symbol, this item doesn't take up a body slot so the x2 multiplier usually applies. Likewise, some restrictions (like using up turning uses) can reduce the cost.

HidaTsuzua
2007-08-05, 08:34 PM
Get a rough ballpark of the cost for the ability and see if it's too cheap/expensive. None of the abilities are overpowered per se (especially if they have charges like I think you said they do). They might be undercosted though.

Golthur
2007-08-05, 08:49 PM
I'd concur with the group - price them out as standard, non-slotted magic items, check the value, and see which ones are over/underpowered.

Otherwise, fluffwise, it sounds very cool.

Ranis
2007-08-05, 08:51 PM
None of the abilities are overpowered per se (especially if they have charges like I think you said they do). They might be undercosted though.

The powers in the original list are static-ergo they don't change; they are just in effect as long as he is wearing his holy symbol. The addition of spell-like abilities and extra spell slots are from the charges.

Neon Knight
2007-08-05, 08:53 PM
The sole weakness of Clerics and Wizards are limited spell slots. Giving him more seems like a bad idea in my book.

ClericofPhwarrr
2007-08-05, 08:58 PM
The extra spell slot is almost like a Pearl of Power (DMG), only a lot better since you can use it to prepare an entirely different spell.

TheLogman
2007-08-05, 09:06 PM
There are already True Holy Symbols, that give a +2 Sacred Bonus to Turning Checks, and as for those powers that were included, I don't see why they couldn't have those powers, I figure include the Cost of the ability as if it was a Ring+the cost for a True Holy Symbol (500 gp), plus an additional fee for taking up no slot, (Usually twice as much I believe? ), and you get the cost!

Examples:

13,000 for the Fire Resist
40,000 or so? for the Spellbreaker (Probably should be more, it would cost 160,000 for just SR 20, and then Maybe 1/4th since it only applies to Lawful-cast spells?)


Or course, these are EXTREMELY rough estimates, since most these abilities are a little less powerful than standard abilities, or are not usually attuned to magical items.

I figure it is balanced, as long as it is treated as a Magical item, and is extremely expensive, since it doesn't take any equipment space, yet provides the equivalent of a ring, and gives a +2 sacred Bonus to Turning undead.

TranquilRage
2007-08-06, 04:37 AM
Sorry to be nit picky, but Open Source refers to code used to compile programs, no source here.

OGL : Yes
OS : No

And as a general rule, most of it is horribly broken. So it should fit nicely with 3.5.

Greyen
2007-08-06, 05:01 AM
There are rules for craeting magic items that do not fit into a normal slot in the Magic Item Compendium if I remember correctly. That is where I think this Greater Holy Symbol is going to be work best.

Non standard slot item, IE a tool/Misc. Wondrous Item. Basically a tool that does x magic effect and also allows you to turn undead as a side bonus.

Zherog
2007-08-06, 10:39 AM
I've never had too much trouble with anything from Fantasy Flight Games' Legends and Lairs series of books. I'm a big proponent of 3rd party material; I think - overall - it's at least as well balanced as WotC's material.

Tweekinator
2007-08-06, 11:13 AM
And as a general rule, most of it is horribly broken. So it should fit nicely with 3.5.

Sick burn!

And as to the OP, I would guess it depends on how expensive the thing is.

Telonius
2007-08-06, 11:22 AM
Oops, I apparently overlooked a vastly large portion of this whole thing. Any holy symbol only grants ONE of the above abilities, and each one of the Holy Symbol powers bestows something else.

For example, say we made a +3 one of these holy symbols-the +3 would be 3 energy for the day. Expending an "energy" would bestow the cleric with a certain amount of power-a predetermined spell-like ability of up to 5th level that is castable once per day, an extra spell slot to be filled with a spell during normal spell-preparation times in the morning, that can only be one caster level less than the maximum, and when higher energy is expelled, and some minor spell resistance. So let's say our +3 holy symbol could expel 1 "energy" would attain a spell-like ability of 1st level and an extra first level spell slot. Expending three would gain a spell-like ability of third level and an extra third level spell slot. This can be divided as well, so you could expend 2 "energy" then 1 "energy," and gain the separate abilities as determined. This maxes out at a +5.

The "energy" is replenished and must be expelled during normal praying times when preparing spells.

Okay, with that full knowledge, NOW, what do you think?

Doesn't sound too bad. The "Belt of Battle" has a similar setup - powers that are on all the time, plus three charges per day. So that alone shouldn't be a showstopper. The determining factor would have to be the price. If the cost is reasonable, I'd allow it.

tainsouvra
2007-08-06, 12:50 PM
I concur with some earlier posters--price it out as a misc magic item, and if he can afford it at that price, then it should be just fine.

Yakk
2007-08-06, 03:10 PM
Good idea, bad balance.

I'd implement them, crunch-wise, as wands that can be recharged via sacrifice.

The wand price equation is:
750 level of spell level of caster
or
15 x level of spell x level of caster
per charge.

The level of caster should be the cleric's level. The charges would be user specific.

A Charged Holy Symbol would cost 500 x level of spell x level of spell to start with, and start with 0 charges. To use the Charged Holy Symbol, one prays over it and makes a sacrifice.

Additional charges can be inserted into the holy symbol at a cost of
25 x level of spell x level of cleric
per charge. The holy symbol can hold at most 20 charges.

No more than one Charged Holy Symbol can be bound to a character at a time -- if you bind another Holy Symbol, the charges on your other holy symbols dissipate. Spells above 6th level cannot be placed in a Charged Holy Symbol.

Note that you cannot cast spells that are too high level or not on your spell list via Charged Holy Symbols.

Flexible Charged Holy Symbols can be created. They contain more than 1 spell. They cost:
500 x level of highest spell x (sum of levels of spell)
to create, and
15 x (sum of levels of spells) x level of cleric
to charge.

Each charge casts only one of the spells from the holy symbol. You gain flexibility, and lose efficiency.

Examples:
Holy Symbol of Heal for a L 15 Cleric
Cost: 6*6*500 = 18,000 gp.
Charge cost: 15 * 6 * 15 = 1350 per charge.
Full charge cost: 27,000 gp

Holy Symbol of Cure Light Wounds and Silence
for a 5th level Cleric
Cost: 2 * (2+1) * 500 = 3,000 gp
Charge cost: 25 * (2+1) * 5 = 225 per charge
Full charge cost: 4,500 gp.

Holy Symbol of Cure Light Wounds
for a 1th level Cleric
Cost: 1*1*500 = 500 gp
Charge cost: 25 * 1 * 1 = 15 gp
Full charge cost: 300 gp

This generates the same feel, and uses already balanced mechanics (wands) to calculate prices.

The ability to recharge using sacrifice makes these better than wands. This is balanced against the (only one per character), (only 20 charges per symbol) and (additional base cost for an uncharged symbol) factors.

Bonding a Holy Symbol, and Recharging same:
The ritual of sacrifice takes 1 hour. The flavor details are up to the DM/Player -- but the goods sacrificed must lose all value somehow.

To Bond a Holy Symbol, you simply make a sacrifice sufficient to fully charge the symbol. This costs a total of 300 gp * your level * sum of levels of spells from the symbol, and leaves you with a 20 charge holy symbol.

Recharging the symbol costs 15 gp * your level * sum of levels of spells in the symbol, and takes an hour regardless of how many goods you are sacrificing.

You can only have a single symbol bonded at one time. Bonding a second symbol breaks the bond with the first one.

The spells cast from the Holy Symbol always use your current cleric level, even if you charged it at a previous level.

Citizen Joe
2007-08-06, 06:46 PM
The wand price equation is:
750 level of spell level of caster
or
25 x level of spell x level of caster
per charge.

Actually it would be 15 gp X spell level x caster level

Yakk
2007-08-06, 07:12 PM
Ya, I can't do math.

Note that Wands are a 40% discount off of scrolls. The charged holy symbol:
A> Allows higher level spells than wands, and
B> Allows partial recharging, including on-the-fly recharging with sacrifice and prayer.

Editing it.

Added details on how to bond the symbol (fully charge it), which will discourage flip-flopping between symbols. The idea is to have a cool holy symbol that has uses, not to have a backpack full of holy-symbol-of-the-moment.

1 hour to recharge a symbol makes it cheap enough to redo it every day, and expensive enough that you won't do it in the middle of a battle. ;) The ease of recharging is why you pay more for this than you would a wand.

Matthew
2007-08-07, 12:00 PM
Paths of Power is actually available as a free download. I looked it over and I didn't think it seemed too troublesome. Overall, I would tend to agree with what Golthur and company are saying, though.