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ZenBear
2019-07-10, 03:21 PM
I'm working on more homebrew Skaven, and I'm having trouble figuring out how to balance this particular beastie. Here's the deets:

Warlock-Engineer (https://warhammerfantasy.fandom.com/wiki/Warlock-Engineer)
Small humanoid, chaotic evil
AC: 16 (breastplate) HP: 55 (10d6+20) Speed: 30 ft.
STR: 14 (+2) DEX: 14 (+2) CON: 14 (+2)
INT: 16 (+3) WIS: 12 (+1) CHA: 10 (0)
Skills: Arcana +6
Sunlight Sensitivity: While in sunlight, the Skaven has disadvantage on Attack rolls, as well as on Wisdom (Perception) checks that rely on sight.
Keen Smell: The Skaven has advantage on Wisdom (Perception) checks that rely on smell.
Pack Tactics: The Skaven has advantage on an attack roll against a creature if at least one of its allies is within 5 feet of the creature and the ally isnít incapacitated.
Spellcasting: (https://warhammerfantasy.fandom.com/wiki/Skaven_Magic) The Warlock-Engineer is a 5th level caster. Itís spellcasting ability is Intelligence (spell save DC 14, +6 to hit with spell attacks). It knows the following spells:

Cantrips (at-will): Booming Blade, Mending, Shocking Grasp
1st level (3 slots) : Warp Lightning (Witch Bolt), Warp Armor (Armor of Agathys, lightning damage)
2nd level (3 slots): Scorch (Aganazzar's Scorcher), Skitterleap (Misty Step)
3rd level (2 slot): Death Frenzy (Crusaderís Mantle), Warp Storm (Call Lightning)
Actions:
Booming Blade: +5 to hit, reach 10 ft., 12 (1d10+1d8+2) slashing damage. If the target willingly moves before the end of the Warlock-Engineer's next turn, it immediately takes 4 (1d8) thunder damage, and the spell ends.
Bite: +4, 4 (1d4+2) piercing damage.

The question I have is what CR it should be. Its DCR is 1, and its highest damage attack is Warp Storm in stormy conditions which does 22 (4d10) average damage, hitting 2 targets that's 44 with a DC 14 save landing in OCR 6. That by itself lands the critter at CR 4.

However, when you add in the possibility of casting a 3rd level Warp Armor, that's another 15 potential damage each time it's hit, and with 15 temp HP it could withstand a few attacks depending on the PCs. Should that be factored into the CR consideration? Just adding a single hit brings its effective damage into OCR 9 range. What do?

Ninja_Prawn
2019-07-10, 04:23 PM
For a spellcaster like this, I would give them three rounds and ask what the most damage they can do within those three rounds is. If that means casting armour of Agathys III in the first round, then having call lightning up for two rounds, then that's the calculation to go with.

Also, yay warlock-engineers! I was never particularly into Warhammer Fantasy, but I got the Total War version of it recently, and I've been loving playing as the skaven. You really get that feeling of winning battles by pulling off dirty trick after dirty trick, then drowning people in a sea of mangy fur!

ZenBear
2019-07-10, 05:32 PM
For a spellcaster like this, I would give them three rounds and ask what the most damage they can do within those three rounds is. If that means casting armour of Agathys III in the first round, then having call lightning up for two rounds, then that's the calculation to go with.

Thanks for the feedback Ninja_Prawn! I'm still a bit confused about how much damage to assume AoA does, so I've decided to leave it out and go for a more aggressive spell list.

Spellcasting: The Warlock-Engineer is a 5th level caster. Itís spellcasting ability is Intelligence (spell save DC 13, +5 to hit with spell attacks). It knows the following spells:
Cantrips (at-will): Booming Blade, Mending, Shocking Grasp
1st level (4 slots) : Thunderous Smite, Thunderwave
2nd level (3 slots): Scorch (Aganazzar's Scorcher), Skitterleap (Misty Step)
3rd level (2 slot): Warp Lightning (Lightning Bolt), Warp Storm (Call Lightning)

This way the Warlock-Engineer is more dangerous in melee once his higher level slots are spent. With Warp Lightning in the mix, it becomes the new high damage option, but more limited in duration/less spell slot efficient. In 3 turns, 2 Warp Lightning Bolts and 1 Scorch deals on average 138 damage if they all hit 2 targets. 1 Warp Storm can deal 132 damage over 3 turns and still leaves a bonus action available for Skitterleap on subsequent turns. I know you can't cast multiple spells per turn, but activating the Warp Storm shouldn't count as such, right?

Ideally I want a CR 3 version of the Warlock-Engineer since I also have a CR 3 version of the Plague Priest and Grey Seer, so all 3 kinds of Skaven spellcasters can be interchangeable, but those lightning spells are just too strong and would require a DCR of 0 to balance out. I'll have to reduce the Warlock-Engineer's spellcaster level to achieve that goal. For now, I'm keeping this spell list and going for CR 5. This is the full stat block:

Warlock-Engineer (https://warhammerfantasy.fandom.com/wiki/Warlock-Engineer)
Small humanoid, chaotic evil
AC: 17 (half plate) HP: 55 (10d6+20) Speed: 30 ft.
STR: 14 (+2) DEX: 14 (+2) CON: 14 (+2)
INT: 16 (+3) WIS: 12 (+1) CHA: 10 (0)
Skills: Arcana +5
Sunlight Sensitivity: While in sunlight, the Skaven has disadvantage on Attack rolls, as well as on Wisdom (Perception) checks that rely on sight.
Keen Smell: The Skaven has advantage on Wisdom (Perception) checks that rely on smell.
Pack Tactics: The Skaven has advantage on an attack roll against a creature if at least one of its allies is within 5 feet of the creature and the ally isnít incapacitated.
Spellcasting: (https://warhammerfantasy.fandom.com/wiki/Skaven_Magic) The Warlock-Engineer is a 5th level caster. Itís spellcasting ability is Intelligence (spell save DC 13, +5 to hit with spell attacks). It knows the following spells:

Cantrips (at-will): Booming Blade, Mending, Shocking Grasp
1st level (4 slots) : Thunderous Smite, Thunderwave
2nd level (3 slots): Scorch (Aganazzar's Scorcher), Skitterleap (Misty Step)
3rd level (2 slot): Warp Lightning (Lightning Bolt), Warp Storm (Call Lightning)

Actions:
Booming Blade: +4 to hit, reach 10 ft., 12 (1d10+1d8+2) slashing damage. If the target willingly moves before the end of the Warlock-Engineer's next turn, it immediately takes 9 (2d8) thunder damage, and the spell ends.
Bite: +4, 4 (1d4+2) piercing damage.


Also, yay warlock-engineers! I was never particularly into Warhammer Fantasy, but I got the Total War version of it recently, and I've been loving playing as the skaven. You really get that feeling of winning battles by pulling off dirty trick after dirty trick, then drowning people in a sea of mangy fur!

Glad to find another fan! Most of my experience with Warhammer Fantasy is also from Total War, as well as Vermintide. The Skaven make a fantastic race of monsters for 5th edition. Once I have a more complete roster I'll share it in another thread.

Ninja_Prawn
2019-07-11, 05:40 AM
Ideally I want a CR 3 version of the Warlock-Engineer since I also have a CR 3 version of the Plague Priest and Grey Seer, so all 3 kinds of Skaven spellcasters can be interchangeable, but those lightning spells are just too strong and would require a DCR of 0 to balance out. I'll have to reduce the Warlock-Engineer's spellcaster level to achieve that goal. For now, I'm keeping this spell list and going for CR 5.

I haven't seen your grey seer or plague priest, but I definitely feel like a warlock-engineer should be the squishiest of the three. What caster level did you give the grey seer? I'd think they'd be a lot strogger than the other two...

ZenBear
2019-07-11, 06:38 PM
Well I also have a CR 1 Grey Seer Apprentice. It's not terribly difficult to scale power up and down unless you're married to certain spells or features, as I am to Warp Lighting/Storm on the Warlock-Engineer. I actually scaled his AC down to 15 so now it's CR 4, which is close enough.

I'm definitely taking major liberties in order to fit the casters into 5e. My intention is to have 3 types of casters for the Skaven race dependent on the 3 casting stats.

Plague Priests are Nature Clerics/Druids with lots of debuffs, poisons, diseases and durability. In Total War they are Heroes, but there's also Lord Skrolk who is a Plaguelord with power equal to or greater than the Grey Seer Generals. They're casters first and foremost, but they can mix it up in melee quite well and their fluff makes them sound exceptionally inured to sickness and pain, so that says high CON to me.

Warlock-Engineers are at the moment Wizards with lots of blasty lightning and thunder spells as well as a decent melee game. They're armor-piercing anti-large halberdiers in TW, so I'm keeping the halberd and melee prowess to suit. They're heavily armored in the fluff, but I think keeping them in medium armor is close enough. I also added a feature to demonstrate the instability of their tech:
Warp Accumulator Instability. Any time the Warlock-Engineer casts a spell of 3rd level or higher or suffers a critical hit, roll a d20. On a natural 1, the Warlock-Engineer explodes and creatures within 15 feet must make a DC 13 Constitution saving throw or suffer 18 (4d8) thunder damage and be pushed 10 feet. On a successful save, the creature takes half as much damage and isnít pushed. The Warlock-Engineer is destroyed and if the trigger was a spell, the spell fails.
I'm considering making them Artificers ala the most recent UA (https://www.dndbeyond.com/classes/artificer#ArtificerClassDetails) but most of the features there seem to fit them even less. Still, making them half-casters makes a certain sense.

Grey Seers are the most different though, being Wild Magic Sorcerers with lots of Charm/Fear abilities. In TW they are more like Wizards that are able to specialize in either Plague or Ruin spells, so perhaps I'll switch it up, but in the fluff they're the leaders and schemers of the highest order in all Skavendom, so that seems to suit being a Charisma caster with lots of enchantment spells. The Wild Magic thing comes from the weirdness and instability of warp magic.

Ninja_Prawn
2019-07-12, 04:05 PM
At the end of the day, a grey seer probably needs high scores in all of the mental abilities. Int because they are the most cunning and duplicitous of the Skaven, a race that would almost certainly grant +2 Int if it were a PC option, Wis because they are priests who act as prophets, emissaries and conduits of the divine, and Cha because their powers are essentially sorcerous (I'd have said Divine Soul was a better fit than Wild Magic, though) and they'd never be able to keep the warlords in line if they lacked for charisma.

So is it just the spellcasters you have so far? I could throw together a few stat blocks for ordinary soldiers... CR 0 skavenslaves, CR 1/8 slingers, CR 1/4 clanrats, CR 1/2 plague monks & night runners, CR 1 stormvermin & gutter runners. Maybe a CR 2 assassin, CR 3 rat ogre?

ZenBear
2019-07-14, 01:00 PM
At the end of the day, a grey seer probably needs high scores in all of the mental abilities. Int because they are the most cunning and duplicitous of the Skaven, a race that would almost certainly grant +2 Int if it were a PC option, Wis because they are priests who act as prophets, emissaries and conduits of the divine, and Cha because their powers are essentially sorcerous (I'd have said Divine Soul was a better fit than Wild Magic, though) and they'd never be able to keep the warlords in line if they lacked for charisma.

So is it just the spellcasters you have so far? I could throw together a few stat blocks for ordinary soldiers... CR 0 skavenslaves, CR 1/8 slingers, CR 1/4 clanrats, CR 1/2 plague monks & night runners, CR 1 stormvermin & gutter runners. Maybe a CR 2 assassin, CR 3 rat ogre?

Iíve shared several of them on D&D Beyond. So far I have the Skaven Slave, Clanrat, Clawleader, Stormvermin, Fangleader, Night Runner, Plague Monk, Plague Priest and Warlock-Engineer. Rat Ogre, Packmaster and Grey Seer are in rough draft at the moment.

Skaven are certainly duplicitous, but it doesnít take intelligence to stab your allies in the back. I see them as a +2 Dex race with a racial proficiency in Deception. +1 to Wis for the common rat (keen smell), +1 Str for the black furred rats and perhaps +1 Int or Cha for the horned rats.

Iím considering making Grey Seers a sort of theurge, half arcane half divine, with access to all the spells Plague Priests and Warlock-Engineers get. Maybe a Divine Soul Sorcerer as you said.

Ninja_Prawn
2019-07-14, 04:22 PM
Skaven are certainly duplicitous, but it doesnít take intelligence to stab your allies in the back.

True, but that's not the only reason I say +2 Int. Skaven are also brilliant inventors - they've been portrayed creating rebreathers, SCUBA gear, practical poison gas grenades, biological weapons, flamethrowers, lightning guns, and literal space rockets... all out of recycled materials. Hell, warpstone reactors are basically nuclear plants. They've demonstrated proven skills in genetic engineering, including the ability to keep themselves alive way beyond their natural lifespan. Canonically, they're brilliant linguists. Their usage of espionage, information warfare and logistical co-ordination seems to be several steps ahead of any of their contemporaries. I definitely feel like everything that makes Skaven effective stems from Intelligence (among the 6 D&D ability scores at least).


Iím considering making Grey Seers a sort of theurge, half arcane half divine, with access to all the spells Plague Priests and Warlock-Engineers get.

That makes a lot of sense. I dig it.

ZenBear
2019-07-14, 04:47 PM
True, but that's not the only reason I say +2 Int. Skaven are also brilliant inventors - they've been portrayed creating rebreathers, SCUBA gear, practical poison gas grenades, biological weapons, flamethrowers, lightning guns, and literal space rockets. They've demonstrated proven skills in genetic engineering, including the ability to keep themselves alive way beyond their natural lifespan. Canonically, they're brilliant linguists. Their usage of espionage, information warfare and logistical co-ordination seems to be several steps ahead of any of their contemporaries. I definitely feel like everything that makes Skaven effective stems from Intelligence (among the 6 D&D ability scores at least).

You make a compelling point. I have seen the Skaven described as much swifter than the average human, but not quite as quick as elves which is why they hate them so much. Perhaps then +2 INT/+1 DEX, though that leaves Stormvermin in an odd spot. Maybe there are a couple variants, like how Feral Tieflings have different stats and spells the black furred Skaven have +2 STR and extra size, and horned rats that get +CHA

Here's links to my D&D Beyond contributions btw:
Clanrat (https://www.dndbeyond.com/monsters/399138-clanrat), Clawleader (https://www.dndbeyond.com/monsters/400393-clawleader), Fangleader (https://www.dndbeyond.com/monsters/399121-fangleader), Night Runner (https://www.dndbeyond.com/monsters/399132-night-runner), Plague Monk (https://www.dndbeyond.com/monsters/369996-plague-monk), Plague Priest (https://www.dndbeyond.com/monsters/399357-plague-priest), Skaven Slave (https://www.dndbeyond.com/monsters/399134-skaven-slave), Stormvermin (https://www.dndbeyond.com/monsters/399145-stormvermin), Warlock-Engineer (https://www.dndbeyond.com/monsters/399229-warlock-engineer)