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Maerok
2008-07-30, 06:52 PM
Alright. So, yesterday I was trying to create a level 4 character for a game and decided that a shadowcaster might be interesting. The problem came when I got around to looking over the ToM and the Descent of Shadow homebrew. I had to pick 2 lousy mysteries for 1st and 2nd casting. Shadowcaster is my favorite class that I've never played. :smallbiggrin:

Shadowcasters, as is, are unplayable. First level: you get one mystery per day, and a few fundamentals. That's it. Second, level: two mysteries per day, and maybe a feat. Woo. Now take the Sorcerer, it too is underpowered in versatility but not to quite the extent. It at least has more going for it. But Shadowcaster spells are nice, with the exception of many utility mysteries that you need to get in order to get worthwhile spells that let people take you seriously. Nothing was more agonizing that day than realizing how pathetic a Shadowcaster ends up, especially with the lack of firepower early on.

Another thing to note, before we roll up our sleeves is that I was never very fond of the Sorcerer being linked with the Wizard. Sure the off-the-top-of-my-head approach to arcane spellcasting is interesting but I always thought there should be a bigger gap between the Wizard and Sorceror in terms of spells.

So, we take slot A and insert tab B and we get the Shadowheart. And because we all like flavor (c'mon that's why the Shadowcaster peaked your interest), I'll garnish it with a little somethin' somethin'. :smallbiggrin: My reasoning is to compensate for a few spots where it becomes tough to contribute in battle; at some levels firepower seems to die down, especially when one has to start at the beginning of a path again.

The Shadowheart
~"Who knows what lies at the heart of shadow?"
-"I do."
~"You know what is there?"
-"Other than myself... not much that I can see."

Alignment: Any.

Hit Die: d6.

Class Skills:
The shadowheartís class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Bluff (Cha), Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Hide (Dex), Knowledge (arcana, the planes) (Int), Listen (Wis), Move Silently (Dex), Profession (Wis), Sense Motive (Wis), and Spellcraft (Int).

Skill Points at 1st Level:
(2 + Int modifier) ◊ 4.

Skill Points at Each Additional Level:
2 + Int modifier.

BAB: As Sorcerer
Saves: As Sorcerer
Spellcasting: As Sorcerer, treat Fundamentals as Cantrips

Class Features:
Class features replace those of the Sorcerer. The below table will replace the Special column of the Sorcerer table.

Weapon and Armor Proficiencies: A shadowheart is proficient in simple weapons and does not wear armor or use shields.

Paths: When you complete a path, you gain a bonus feat affecting that path: Path Focus, Greater Path Focus, Nocturnal Caster, Favored Mystery (no extra uses). You can take mysteries out of order with respect to their path order. Losing access to a complete path removes that feat, but it returns (the same one) if access is restored.

Shadow Cast: All shadowhearts receive Shadow Cast as a bonus feat at second level.

Fade into Shadow: When one first sets out to gain power of the darkness, they find themselves at the threshold of a great journey. Over time, they will walk this path and often find themselves crossing back and forth over previously tread darkness. The way to Dark Enlightenment is never straightforward, but for those who have the patience to wade through the bleak road to power, there is great reward.
At fourth level, choose one of the following paths into darkness. Every four levels, you gain another of the listed abilities.

Ebon Sentinel

Stomach of Shadows: Eat 1 meal/week
Tomb-Tainted Soul, as a bonus feat
Shaded Slumber: Sleep 1 hour/day (still need to rest 8 hours to regain mysteries)
Shadowforged Existence: Immune to poison, fatigue, and disease
Shaded Lord: Gain the Lich and Dark templates, no LA modification.

Shadow Mage

Minor Spell Mockery: Spellcraft penalty to affect spells is reduced to -2
Shadow Familiar, as a bonus feat
Major Spell Mockery: +2 Spellcraft bonus to affect spells, no more penalty
Cull the Shadows: May expend two daily uses of one mystery level in order to regain a daily use of a mystery one level higher (up to the highest you can cast)
Arcane Apotheosis: When you rest to regain your spells for the day, choose any three Necromancy spells from the Sorcerer/Wizard spell list up to spell level 3. You may cast these as mysteries until the next time you regain your spells, when you choose again.

Nethercreeper

Ebon Boon: Once per day per two class levels, you may use your Charisma bonus in place of a physical ability modifier in an ability or skill check.
Shadow Vision or Shadow Reflection, as a bonus feat
Discorporate: Once per day per four class levels as an immediate action, you may add your Charisma bonus as a deflection AC until the end of the turn.
One with the Darkness: Gain the Dark template
Eyes Like Midnight: Blindsight 60 feet against all creatures and terrain in shadowy illumination or full darkness

Exemplar of Secrets

Bleak Luck: Once per day per point of Charisma modifier, you may reroll a Bluff, Sense Motive, or Listen check (only once per check) and take the new result (better or worse).
Shadow Reflection, as a bonus feat
Blank Stare: Undetectable alignment, as a continuous effect (caster level equal to class level)
Fool Breaker: Once per day, you may expend a daily use of a mystery to suppress all illusion and enchantment spells and mysteries of a level less than the mystery's level from a creature or object adjacent to you for a number of rounds equal to the mystery level spent.
Ebon Secret: Once per month, you may infuse a living creature with the true nature of emptiness. Other mystery users are immune to the effect. This creature must succeed on a DC 15 + Cha Will save or succumb to the Ebon Secret. By infusing the Ebon Secret with a victim's soul, they become lost in all three forms of existence - body, mind, and soul. They become subject to one of the following: imprisonment (locked in the Plane of Shadows, mentally aware), modify memory (up to the moment of its creation), and reincarnation(roll three times and choose). Only a wish or miracle can undo this effect which lasts for one month.



Shaded Mystery: As you progress in shadow magic, your mysteries become more and more a part of you. Mysteries 3 levels or more less than your maximum spell level known are used as spell-like abilities. Mysteries 6 levels or more less than your maximum spell level known are used as supernatural abilities.



Level Special Ability
1 Low-light Vision
2 Shadow Cast
3
4 Fade into Shadow 1
5
6 Darkvision 30 feet; Shaded Mystery
7
8 Fade into Shadow 2
9
10
11 Darkvision 60 feet
12 Fade into Shadow 3
13
14
15
16 Fade into Shadow 4; Darkvision 90 feet
17
18
19
20 Fade into Shadow 5


Questions: Should mysteries under this system use metamagic or metashadow?

thevorpalbunny
2008-07-30, 07:38 PM
Comments:

Low-light vision at level 19 is completely useless. Perhaps re-arrange it to Low-light at 1st, then Darkvision 30 at 6th, 60 at 11th, 90 at 16th? Still not very useful, but at least relevant.

Change the name of the first path to "Dark Enlightenment," it's a duplicate. Also, change the capstone ability of that path or the descriptive text. I'd lean toward the capstone; Dark Enlightenment is a bad name for it.

I like metashadow; it gives an additional incentive to stay in the path if that's how you get extra uses of metamagic.

Also, the transforming of your mysteries from spells to spell-like to supernatural is one of the best parts of the flavor. I'd put in this:

"As you progress in shadow magic, your mysteries become more and more a part of you. Mysteries 3 levels or more less than your maximum spell level known are used as spell-like abilities. Mysteries 6 levels or more less than your maximum spell level known are used as supernatural abilities."

Personally, I'd make this convert your 4th-level to supernatural and your 7th-level to spell-like at 19th level, but that's your call.

Maerok
2008-07-30, 07:50 PM
Alright, how does it look now?

thevorpalbunny
2008-07-30, 08:00 PM
Pretty good. I'm not good at balancing things, but my gut is that it is still a bit sub-par but close enough that it could be played without feeling useless. Two more nitpicks, though.
Shaded Mystery doesn't take effect at level 6. The first time it takes effect is at level 8.
Also, does the Shadowheart have two casting abilities (Int for max level and Cha for DCs, like the Shadowcaster) or one (Cha for both, like the Sorcerer)?
What I would do, if I was a more creative designer, was make Cha their casting ability but have each Fade Into Shadow choice have a relevant ability based on a different ability. For example, Ebon Sentinel would grant an ability based on Con, Shadow Mage one based on Int, Nethercreeper based on Dex, and Exemplar of Secrets based on Wis. I've no idea what the abilities for Ebon Sentinel or Shadow Mage would be, though.

Maerok
2008-07-30, 08:22 PM
It's all Charisma.

Shadow Mage could have the ability to counter a spell, but turn it into a shadow spell (like shadow evocation or conjuration) and make it less real (-10% per mystery level he spends).

Ebon Sentinel could create Shadow Venom, 1d6 Wisdom damage and 1d6 Wisdom damage (DC 10 + 1/2 class level + Con).

thevorpalbunny
2008-07-30, 09:33 PM
Wait, what does the Shadow Mage thing do? And I was thinking things unrelated to their mysteries. For example, Dark Whispers: Once per day per point of Int bonus, you may make a Knowledge check as if you weren't untrained. Add half your caster level as a bonus to this check.