View Full Version : [3.5] Sorcerer/Cleric Re-Writes

2008-12-11, 11:51 AM

First, a word of explanation. I'm currently in the process of developing a low-wealth campaign setting. The class re-writes I'm posting here are for use with this campaign setting, as well as (I hope) being interesting takes on the original base classes. Please evaluate in this context.

It is widely acknowledged that non-caster classes suffer more in low-wealth settings than casters do. Non-casters rely completely on items or allied casters to achieve things like flight, invisibility, healing, and other abilities that are considered necessary for power parity, especially at higher levels. With this in mind, it is clear that a low-wealth setting would need some sort of class modifications in order to ensure that non-caster classes aren't made completely obsolete (at least, more obsolete than they already are, depending on who you talk to).

Similarly, the setting I'm working on is built around the idea of resource scarcity as an impetus for adventuring. In this situation, high level magic can be incredibly disruptive to normal economic forces and present solutions to economic problems that make more conventional means (ships for transportation, improving agricultural techniques, etc.) unnecessary. Essentially, magic can remove the need for any non-magical actors in the economy, at least where transportation, communication, and production of raw materials and most finished goods are concerned. This definitely doesn't fit with the tone of the world I'm striving to create.

With these two things in mind, I'm proposing nerfing primary casters in a couple of ways. First, I've eliminated prepared casting (mostly just a personal preference decision), using the spontaneous divine casters (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/variant/classes/spontaneousDivineCasters.htm) variant from Unearthed Arcana and eliminating wizard-style prepared casting (I'm keeping the wizard name and flavor, just using modified sorcerer crunch). Second, I've eliminated 9th and 8th level spells completely and slowed down progressions for spells higher than 3rd level (widely acknowledged as the level where casters really start to pull ahead). I realize this removes some iconic spells, but it also solves a lot of power problems and makes things seem more desperate. Third, I've created a few new class abilites to partially make up for the other changes.

I'm not even close to sure whether these changes address my concerns, so I thought I'd turn to the community here. I want to bring primary casters closer in line with other classes, meaning that these new variants should be less powerful. What do you think? I appreciate any comments, questions, suggestions, or criticisms.


2008-12-11, 11:52 AM
Sorcerer Re-Write

Except as noted here, the sorcerer class is identical to the sorcerer presented in the Players Handbook.

The Sorcerer:
{table=head]Level|BAB|Fort|Ref|Will|Special|0|1st|2nd|3rd|4th| 5th|6th|7th

1|+0|+0|+0|+2|Summon Familiar|5|3
2|+1|+0|+0|+3|Scribe Scroll|6|4
7|+3|+2|+2|+5|Arcane Improvisation|6|6|6|4
13|+6/+1|+4|+4|+8|Arcane Improvisation|6|6|6|6|6|4
19|+9/+4|+6|+6|+11|Arcane Improvisation|6|6|6|6|6|6|6|4

Sorcerer Spells Known

Class Skills: The sorcerer's class skills are Bluff, Concentration, Craft, Decipher Script, Knowledge (all skills, taken individually), Profession, Spellcraft.

Class Features

Weapon and Armor Proficiencies: Sorcerers are proficient with all simple weapons. They are not proficient with any type of armor or shield. Armor of any type interferes with a sorcerer's gestures, which can cause his spells with somatic components to fail.

Spells: A sorcerer casts arcane spells which are drawn primarily from the sorcerer/wizard spell list. He can cast any spell he knows without preparing it ahead of time. To learn or cast a spell, a sorcerer must have an Intelligence score equal to at least 10 + the spell level. The Difficulty Class for a saving throw against a sorcerer spell is 10 + the spell level + the sorcerer s Charisma modifier.

Like other spellcasters, a sorcerer can cast only a certain number of spells of each spell level per day. His base daily spell allotment is given on Table: The Sorcerer. In addition, he receives bonus spells per day if he has a high Charisma score. A sorcerer's selection of spells is extremely limited. A sorcerer begins play knowing four 0-level spells and two 1st-level spells of your choice. At each new sorcerer level, he gains one or more new spells, as indicated on Table: Sorcerer Spells Known. (Unlike spells per day, the number of spells a sorcerer knows is not affected by his Charisma score; the numbers on Table: Sorcerer Spells Known are fixed.) These new spells can be common spells chosen from the sorcerer/wizard spell list, or they can be unusual spells that the sorcerer has gained some understanding of by study. The sorcerer can’t use this method of spell acquisition to learn spells at a faster rate, however.

Upon reaching 4th level, and at every even-numbered sorcerer level after that (6th, 8th, and so on), a sorcerer can choose to learn a new spell in place of one he already knows. In effect, the sorcerer “loses” the old spell in exchange for the new one. The new spell’s level must be the same as that of the spell being exchanged, and it must be at least two levels lower than the highest-level sorcerer spell the wizard can cast. A sorcerer may swap only a single spell at any given level, and must choose whether or not to swap the spell at the same time that he gains new spells known for the level.

A sorcerer need not prepare his spells in advance. He can cast any spell he knows at any time, assuming he has not yet used up his spells per day for that spell level. He does not have to decide ahead of time which spells he’ll cast.

Summon Familiar: A sorcerer can obtain a familiar. Doing so takes 24 hours and uses up magical materials that cost 100 gp. A familiar is a magical beast that resembles a small animal and is unusually tough and intelligent. The creature serves as a companion and servant. The sorcerer chooses the kind of familiar he gets. As the sorcerer advances in level, his familiar also increases in power.

If the familiar dies or is dismissed by the sorcerer, the sorcerer must attempt a DC 15 Fortitude saving throw. Failure means he loses 200 experience points per sorcerer level; success reduces the loss to one-half that amount. However, a sorcerer's experience point total can never go below 0 as the result of a familiar’s demise or dismissal. A slain or dismissed familiar cannot be replaced for a year and day. A slain familiar can be raised from the dead just as a character can be, and it does not lose a level or a Constitution point when this happy event occurs. A character with more than one class that grants a familiar may have only one familiar at a time.

Scribe Scroll: At 2nd level, a sorcerer learns the most common method of recording instructions for spellcasting. He gains Scribe Scroll as a bonus feat.

Arcane Improvisation: Beginning at 7th level, a sorcerer learns to alter certain characteristics of his spells, selecting one ability from the list below for which he fulfills the prerequisites (if any). The sorcerer learns an additional Arcane Improvisation ability at 13th and 19th level, and he can use his Arcane Improvisation abilities a total number of times per day equal to his Charisma modifier. Unless otherwise noted, a sorcerer cannot learn an Arcane Improvisation ability more than once.

Using an Arcane Improvisation ability requires that the sorcerer succeed on a Spellcraft check. The DC for this check is equal to 15 plus the level of the spell the sorcerer is attempting to modify. Making this Spellcraft check (and thus, using this ability) is part of casting the spell and does not require a separate action. A sorcerer can only use one Arcane Improvisation ability per spell.

Whenever he learns a new Arcane Improvisation ability, a sorcerer may select from the following list:
Range: The range of the spell increases by 10 feet. For every 5 by which the sorcerer's skill check exceeds the Spellcraft DC required to use this ability, the range of the spell increases an additional 10 feet. This ability only affects spells with ranges greater than touch.
Area: The area covered by the spell increases, depending on the type of spell. Spells with the burst shape have a radius 5 feet larger. Spells with the cone shape are 5 feet longer. Spells with the line shape are 5 feet wider. For every 10 by which the sorcerer's skill check exceeds the Spellcraft DC required to use this ability, the area of the spell increases by an additional 5 feet.
Energy: The sorcerer changes the energy descriptor and the damage the spell deals to a different type. If the sorcerer beats the Spellcraft DC required to use this ability, he can select between fire, cold, and electricity. If he beats the DC by 10 or more, he can also choose between acid and sonic. If he beats the DC by 20 or more, he can choose to have the spell deal force damage. Prerequisite: Caster Level 13+
Duration: The duration of the spell increases by a number of rounds equal to the sorcerer's Charisma modifier. If the sorcerer's skill check exceeds the Spellcraft DC required to use this ability by 10 or more, the duration increases by a number of minutes equal to the sorcerer's Charismamodifier.
Experience: The sorcerer's caster level for the spell increases by one. For every 10 by which the sorcerer's skill check exceeds the Spellcraft DC required to use the ability, the bonus to the sorcerer's caster level for the spell increases by one. Prerequisite: Caster Level 13+
Component: If his skill check beats the Spellcraft DC required to use this ability, the sorcerer can cast the spell without one of the components (verbal, somatic, material, etc.) normally required. The sorcerer cannot use this ability to eliminate XP components or costly material components.
Tenacity: The save DC to avoid the effects of the spell increases by one. For every 10 by which the sorcerer's skill check exceeds the Spellcraft DC required to use this ability, the bonus to the spell’s save DC increases by one.
Research: The sorcerer can select one additional spell known, even if this would bring his total number of spells known for that level beyond the maximum listed on Table: Sorcerer Spells Known. The sorcerer can select any spell that appears on the sorcerer/wizard spell list, but the spell must be at least one level lower than the highest level spell the sorcerer can cast. A sorcerer can learn this ability more than once, gaining a new spell known each time.

2008-12-11, 11:53 AM
Cleric Re-Write

Except as noted here, the cleric class is identical to the cleric class as presented in the Players' Handbook.

Hit Dice: A cleric uses a d6 for his Hit Die (and has hit points at 1st level equal to 6 + Con modifier).
Class Skills: A cleric's class skill list includes Decipher Script, Speak Language, and all Knowledge skills (from the Knowledge domain, see below). A cleric gains skill points per level equal to 6 + Int modifier (and has this number x4 at 1st level).

The Cleric
{table=head]Level|BAB|Fort|Ref|Will|Special|0|1st|2nd|3rd|4th| 5th|6th|7th
1|+0|+2|+0|+2|Turn/Rebuke Undead, Lore|4|2
7|+3|+5|+2|+5|Divine Blessing|7|5|4|3
13|+6/+1|+8|+4|+8|Divine Blessing|7|6|6|6|5|4
19|+9/+4|+11|+6|+11|Divine Blessing|7|6|6|6|6|6|5|4

Cleric Spells Known

Class Features

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Clerics are proficient with simple weapons and with light armor.

Lore (Ex): At 1st level, a cleric gains the Lore class feature. Thanks to long hours of study and frequent discourse with studied individuals, a cleric has a wide range of stray knowledge. This ability is identical to the bard’s bardic knowledge class feature, using the cleric’s class level in place of the bard level.

Spellcasting: Add the following spells to the cleric's class spell list: 0—message; 1st—erase, identify, unseen servant; 2nd—fox's cunning; 3rd—illusory script, secret page, tongues (reduced from 4th level); 4th—detect scrying; 6th—analyze dweomer; 7th—sequester; 9th—vision.

Divine Blessing: Beginning at 7th level, the fervency of a cleric’s faith empowers him in certain ways, depending on the nature of his service to his deity or cause. The cleric may select one ability from the list below. The cleric learns an additional Divine Blessing ability at 13th and 19th level, and he can use his Divine Blessing abilities thrice per day. Unless otherwise noted, a cleric cannot learn a Divine Blessing ability more than once.

Using a Divine Blessing ability requires that the cleric succeed on a DC 20 Knowledge (religion) check. Unless otherwise stated, making this check is a free action and the bonuses granted last for 1 round per level. A cleric can only use one Divine Blessing ability per round. When the ability’s duration expires, the cleric must make a Fortitude save (DC 10+half the cleric’s caster level) or be fatigued for the duration of the encounter.

Whenever he learns a new Divine Blessing ability, a cleric may select from the following list:
Warrior of the Faith: The cleric is imbued with the martial power of his faith and becomes a formidable warrior for a short period of time. He gains a +2 bonus to attack and damage rolls and temporary hit points equal to your caster level. The bonuses to attack and damage increase by an additional +1 for every 10 by which his Knowledge check exceeds the required DC.
Combat Medic: The healing spells the cleric casts are empowered by his devotion, healing an extra 1 point of hit point damage per caster level (even if this would exceed the normal limits for the spell) or 1 extra point of ability damage. For every 10 by which his Knowledge check exceeds the required DC, the bonus healing granted by this ability increases by 1 point.
Divine Bastion: The cleric stands tall and firm in his convictions, unmovable and potent. He gains a +1 deflection bonus to his AC and a +1 morale bonus to saving throws. These bonuses increase by an additional +1 for every 10 by which his Knowledge check exceeds the required DC.
Wielder of the Holy Fire: The cleric’s caster level for all damage-dealing divine spells increases by one for the duration of the effect. This caster level bonus increases by an additional +1 for every 10 by which his Knowledge check exceeds the required DC.
Help of the Faithful: The cleric’s caster level for all divine spells with a saving throw designated as harmless increases by one for the duration of the effect. This caster level bonus increases by an additional +1 for every 10 by which his Knowledge check exceeds the required DC. This bonus does not apply to spells of the Conjuration (healing) subschool.
Scourge of Infidels: The cleric is blessed with the ability to hunt and destroy enemies of his faith. When the cleric targets a creature or character of the opposing alignment with a spell or spell-like ability, all save DC’s associated with that spell or spell-like ability increase by one for the duration of the effect. This save bonus increases by an additional +1 for every 10 by which his Knowledge check exceeds the required DC.

2008-12-17, 01:30 PM
I think I've waited long enough for a *BUMP*

Apparently most people don't find this isn't an interesting idea. Is there some other way that you would suggest I go about nerfing (there, I've said it) full casters that would make them more interesting? Are the new special abilities I've cooked up to bland? Not powerful enough? Simply uninteresting?

I'd really like some feedback, especially as to how you think these would stack up with the more mundane base classes like barbarians and rogues.