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    Default nagahydra monster class progression (3.5)

    Nagahydra

    Aberration

    Even dragons are cautious around nagahydras, and for good reason. These serpentine creatures have thick, viper-like bodies that branch off into seven humanoid heads capable of terrible venom and a firestorm of spells.

    Racial Traits

    Size: Small

    Ability Score Adjustments: +2 Con, +2 Cha

    Speed: 20 feet, swim 30 feet

    Darkvision (60 feet)

    Scent

    Skills: +2 racial bonus to Listen and Spot checks, thanks to its multiple heads.

    A nagahydra has a +8 racial bonus on any Swim check to perform some special action or avoid a hasard, and can always choose to take 10 on a Swim check, even if distracted or endangered. It can use the run action while swimming, provided it swims in a straight line.

    Favored Class: Nagahydra and Sorcerer; Sorcerer and Nagahydra levels do not count for the purpose of determining penalties for multiclassing.

    Class Skills: Bluff (Cha), Concentrate (Con), Diplomacy (Cha), Disguise (Cha), Intimidate (Cha), Listen (Wis), Sense Motive (Wis), Spellcraft (Int), Spot (Wis), Swim (Str)


    {table="head"]Level|HD|BAB|Fort|Ref|Will|Skill-points|CR|Special
    1st|1d8|+0|+0|+0|+2|2+Int modifier|1|Feat, Sorcerer 1st, Bite 1d4, Actions per round: one
    2nd|2d8|+1|+0|+0|+3|2+Int Modifier|2|Sorcerer 2nd, Poison (1d4 Con), (B) Combat Reflexes, +2 Str, +1 Cha
    3rd|3d8|+2|+1|+1|+3|2+Int modifier|3|Feat, Fast Healing 1, +2 Str, +1 Str, +1 Con, +1 Wis
    4th|3d8|+2|+1|+1|+3|-|4|Sorcerer 3rd, natural armor +2, +1 Str, +1 Int, +1 Cha
    5th|4d8|+3|+1|+1|+4|2+Int modifier|4|(B) Eschew Materials, Actions per round: two heads, +1 Str
    6th|5d8|+3|+1|+1|+4|2+Int modifier|5|Sorcerer 4th, Fast Healing 2, +1 Dex, +1 Con
    7th|6d8|+4|+2|+2|+5|2+Int modifier|6|Feat, Sorcerer 5th, Medium, Bite 1d6, +1 Str, +1 Wis, +1 Cha
    8th|6d8|+4|+2|+2|+5|-|7|Poison (1d6 Con), +1 Str, +1 Int
    9th|7d8|+5|+2|+2|+5|2+Int modifier|8|Sorcerer 6th, Fast Healing 3, +1 Str, +1 Con, +1 Cha
    10th|8d8|+6|+2|+2|+6|2+Int modifier|8|Actions per round: three heads, +1 Str
    11th|9d8|+6|+3|+3|+6|2+Int modifier|9|Feat, Sorcerer 7th, natural armor +5, +1 Str, +1 Wis
    12th|9d8|+6|+3|+3|+6|-|10|Sorcerer 8th, Fast Healing 5, +1 Dex, +1 Con, +1 Int, +1 Cha
    13th|10d8|+7|+3|+3|+7|2+Int modifier|11|Actions per round: five heads, Large, Bite 1d8, +1 Str
    14th|11d8|+8|+3|+3|+7|2+Int modifier|12|Sorcerer 9th, Poison (1d8 Con), +1 Str, +1 Cha
    15th|12d8|+9|+4|+4|+8|2+Int modifier|12|Feat, Fast Healing 6, +1 Str, +1 Con, +1 Wis
    16th|12d8|+9|+4|+4|+8|-|13|Sorcerer 10th, natural armor +7, Actions per round: all heads, +1 Str, +1 Int
    17th|13d8|+9|+4|+4|+8|2+Int modifier|14|Sorcerer 11th, +1 Str, +1 Cha
    18th|14d8|+10|+4|+4|+9|2+Int modifier|14|Fast Healing 9, +1 Dex, +1 Con
    19th|15d8|+11|+5|+5|+9|2+Int modifier|15|Feat, Sorcerer 12th, Huge, Bite 2d6, +1 Str, +1 Wis, +1 Cha
    20th|15d8|+11|+5|+5|+9|-|16|Poison (1d12 Con), +1 Str, +1 Int
    21st|16d8|+12|+5|+5|+10|2+Int modifier|16|Sorcerer 13th, Fast Healing 12, natural armor +10, +1 Str, +1 Con
    22nd|17d8|+12|+5|+5|+10|2+Int modifier|17|Sorcerer 14th, +1 Str, +1 Cha
    23rd|18d8|+13|+6|+6|+11|2+Int modifier|17|Feat, +1 Str +1 Wis
    24th|18d8|+13|+6|+6|+11|-|18|Sorcerer 15th, Fast Healing 15, +1 Dex, +1 Con, +1 Int, +1 Cha
    [/table]

    Class Features
    The following are class features of the Nagahydra Monster Class

    Weapon and Armor proficiencies: Nagahydras are not proficient with any kind of weapon or armor except for their natural weapons.

    Feats: A nagahydra recieves one feat at first level and additional feats at 3rd, 7th, 11th, 15th, 19th and 23rd. After 23rd level, it gains feats normally according to class levels and HD (which requires epic level advancement rules; see Epic Level Handbook for more information).

    Sorcerer: Nagahydras are born with innate arcane ability, and at 1st level, they cast spells as if they were 1st-level Sorcerers. Their spellcasting ability improves as they gain levels, though slowly compared with other classes. At 2nd, 4th, 6th, 7th, 9th, 11th, 12th, 14th, 16th, 17th, 19th, 21st, 22nd, and 24th levels, the nagahydra's spellcasting ability improves as if it had gained another level in the Sorcerer class. The nagahydra does not gain any other abilities that a Sorcerer would have gained.

    Bite (Ex): A nagahydra has strong jaws and sharp fangs. At 1st level, each head is capable of inflicting bites as a primary natural weapon, doing 1d4 damage. At 7th level, when the nagahydra grows to Medium size, its bites do 1d6 damage; at 13th level, when it grows to Large size, the nagahydra's bites do 1d8 damage; and at 19th level, when the nagahydra grows to Huge size, its bites inflict 2d6 points of damage.

    Actions per round (Ex): A newborn nagahydra is still a threat to others, though it lacks the reflexes and coordination that combat and life experience bring. Therefore, though they still have all seven heads, juvenile nagahydras does not have the motor control necessary to attack with all of them at the same time. At 1st level, a nagahydra is capable only of acting with one of its heads at the same, whether for casting spells, attacking, or taking other actions. At 5th level, a nagahydra can coordinate two of its heads at the same time. At 10th level, a nagahydra can take separate actions with three of its heads at the same time. At 13th level, a nagahydra can act with five of its heads at the same time. At 16th level, a young nagahydra has learned to coordinate its movements and reflexes to the point where all seven of its heads can act independently at the same time.

    A nagahydra is capable of attacking with as many heads per round as indicated by its level, with no penalty, even if moving or charging. Further, a nagahydra is capable of casting one spell per round per usable head (as indicated by level), though all spells come from the same pool.

    Poison (Ex): Bite, injury, Fortitude save (DC is Con-based), initial and secondary damage 1d4 Con damage. At 14th level, the initial and secondary damage are 1d8 Con damage, and at 20th level, the initial and secondary damage are 1d12 Con damage.

    Combat Reflexes: At 2nd level, a nagahydra gains Combat Reflexes as a bonus feat.

    Fast Healing (Ex): At 3rd level, a nagahydra gains Fast Healing 1. At 6th level, this becomes Fast Healing 2; at 9th level, it becomes Fast Healing 3; at 12th level, it becomes Fast Healing 5; at 15th level, it becomes Fast Healing 6; at 18th level, it becomes Fast Healing 9; at 22nd level, it becomes Fast Healing 12; and at 24th level, it becomes Fast Healing 15.

    Eschew Materials: At 5th level, a nagahydra gains Eschew Materials as a bonus feat.

    Playing a nagahydra

    Nagahydras are strange, alien beasts, and though they understand the mortal, humanoid mindset, their own is vastly different. Thus, they cannot be trusted to empathize with mortal problems and mortal ambitions. A normal nagahydra is concerned primarily for its own well-being. Survival comes first obviously, and after that need is secures, most nagahydras will seek out magic, both magical treasure, and knowledge and training in the magical arts. After that, each nagahydra is different, and where one would use its newfound power in order to enslave mortals and set itself up as a godking, another nagahydra would begin monastic training in order to discipline its mind and heart into Nirvana.

    Strategies and tactics

    Newborn nagahydras are fairly vulnerable–clumsy and soft as they are. They do carry a talent for magic that cannot be ignored, but that talent is rough and very limited to begin with. As they age, however, nagahydras become exceedingly stronger, tougher, and more coordinated. An adult nagahydra has the reflexes of a snake–as can be imagined–and is more than capable of tearing foes limb from limb in less than a heartbeat's span. Even more devastating, an adult nagahydra can unleash a torrent of magical energy at once, each head summoning forth different arcane spells, as only a whole squad of wizards could at once.
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  2. - Top - End - #2
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    Default Re: nagahydra monster class progression (3.5)

    this has gone through a few revisions, and i could use some input if people think that something is off.

    in particular, i fiddled with the progression of usable heads. by normal monster advancement, a juvenile nagahydra would still have full use of all heads, even at just 1st or 2nd level.

    obviously that doesn't quite work for a 1st level pc using the class. so i set up this limit. however, i took some flak for it and for the fact that now a nagahydra constructed using the monster class progression would not be able to use all seven heads till 24th level...

    i finally came up with what i think is a happy medium. actions/head/round is now ranged from 1/round at 1st level, to all 7/round at 16th level. this has the benefit of giving the beast a limiting progression, which is needed for game balance, but keeps it somewhat on par with other characters, especially those with high base attack bonuses.

    the only other issue that i still have is the LA of the monster. i figured +/- ECL 24, at 18 hit dice and LA +6.

    the breakdown for LA goes something like this:

    +2–ability score adjustments
    +1–spellcasting (i know, ss says not to worry, since CL is lower than HD, but it doesn't seem reasonable without a +1)
    +1–fast healing
    +1–multiple freaking heads
    +1–ad hoc for natural armor, swim speed, two bonus feats, and poison.

    i suppose that the +2 for ability scores, and the +1 for multiple heads could be switchable, but since that would end up with the same score, it seems fine to me as is.

    by the book, it should be higher, somewhere around +9 or so probably, but again, this is an estimation, and there is no way that even a kewl nagahydra could stand with characters of 27th level and above, notwithstanding its 15th level sorcerer spells (yaaaaay...), and multiple, poisonous bites. so, +6 seems about as reasonable as the LA system gets, even though in reality, all of the monsters get completely gimped by the system. but whatever; that's another thread...
    Last edited by Stycotl; 2009-03-23 at 01:10 AM.
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  3. - Top - End - #3
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    Default Re: nagahydra monster class progression (3.5)

    Just a couple things...

    Your ability modifiers are a little odd; as far as I know, ability modifiers are always given in +2 increments, not +1. And although I may be miscounting, it looks like the total Str modifier is +22 when it should be +20, which may be because you have both +2 Str and +1 Str listed at level 3. There's nothing actually wrong with giving +1 bonuses, as long as they add up to even numbers, but it generally works better to give them in +2 increments; that way, you know exactly when the bonus is given, rather than having it vary depending on whether they started with an even or odd score. Strength and Constitution increases, in particular, work well on levels when HD are not given, to make sure HP and attack bonus increases despite that (although with the Str bonus the nagahydra has, some bonuses will land on other levels too).

    More problematically, I'm not sure +6 LA is fair. Epic LA is a crapshoot, of course, but this thing compares pretty favorably to a standard character. It's both a spellcaster and melee character, and would do well to use both those capabilities, so let's compare it to a gish. To make it a fair competition, let's assume some fairly optimized gishes, using Abjurant Champion, Knight Phantom, or Jade Phoenix Mage, with Eldritch Knight used to round out the progressions.

    -The Nagahydra has 15th level sorceror spellcasting, putting it behind most gishes by level 24. All three probably have 9th-level spells by that level. Advantage: gish.

    -The Nagahydra has a +18 BAB. The standard characters will have at least +17, and more probably about +19. No real advantage... but the Nagahydra also has a +20 Str bonus, adding a hefty +10 to attack and damage. And with seven natural attacks, that damage is going to matter.

    -Fringe benefits: The Abjurant Champion gets some nice abjuration-related abilities, like quickened abjurations and a nice bonus to AC. The Knight Phantom gets the ability to cast in light armor and a couple of other abilities, which are nice but not incredibly central. The JPM comes off best of the three, with a reasonable selection of martial maneuvers. The Nagahydra has ability bonuses, solid natural armor, Huge size, nifty fast healing, and the ability to move or charge while full attacking, which is already very respectable.

    And then you throw the ability to cast a spell with each head every round, meaning seven spells per round. Frankly, this is not an ability I would give to a playable creature, ever. It's the primary reason the Beholder Mage prestige class is considered broken, and Wizards made sure that was only available to a creature with no given LA. At high levels, actions are the most precious commodity. Time Stop is a very powerful spell, and it only gives 1d4+1 rounds worth of actions, with limits on what you can do. The Chronotyrn is considered one of the most powerful Shapechange choices, thanks to its ability to take two full actions per round. Seven spells, every round... plus a quickened spell... is far more powerful than the chronotyrn, and while Time Stop can give you more actions, assuming you cast one spell and a quickened spell each round, and roll a 3 or 4 on the d4, that consumes more resources, half the spells have to be quickened and are thus lower-level, and you still can't directly target others. Sure, the nagahydra has to throw out lower-level spells, but with a +10 racial Charisma bonus, its saving throw DCs will actually be higher.

    I'm really not sure what to do about that ability. Were it up to me, I'd get rid of it; it's just not an ability that fits into the LA system very well. Maybe include the ability to have one of your heads cast a spell while the rest make a full attack, to keep the spirit of it. It might mean that a player nagahydra can't do something a normal nagahydra can, but there are a couple monsters whose savage progressions are different from the normal monster, like the barghest.
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    Default Re: nagahydra monster class progression (3.5)

    Quote Originally Posted by The_Snark View Post
    Just a couple things...

    Your ability modifiers are a little odd; as far as I know, ability modifiers are always given in +2 increments, not +1. And although I may be miscounting, it looks like the total Str modifier is +22 when it should be +20, which may be because you have both +2 Str and +1 Str listed at level 3.
    hmm. i'll have to go back and check that. i'm slightly dyslexic as it is, and with all of those numbers, i was getting cross-eyed, tongue-tied, and clumsy-fingered.

    There's nothing actually wrong with giving +1 bonuses, as long as they add up to even numbers, but it generally works better to give them in +2 increments; that way, you know exactly when the bonus is given, rather than having it vary depending on whether they started with an even or odd score. Strength and Constitution increases, in particular, work well on levels when HD are not given, to make sure HP and attack bonus increases despite that (although with the Str bonus the nagahydra has, some bonuses will land on other levels too).
    i juggled +2 and +1 modifiers for a while, and then decided that for the most part, the +2's were easier to fit into a progression. there were a couple of abilities whose modifiers seemed better to keep in the even numbers though.

    More problematically, I'm not sure +6 LA is fair. Epic LA is a crapshoot, of course, but this thing compares pretty favorably to a standard character. It's both a spellcaster and melee character, and would do well to use both those capabilities, so let's compare it to a gish. To make it a fair competition, let's assume some fairly optimized gishes, using Abjurant Champion, Knight Phantom, or Jade Phoenix Mage, with Eldritch Knight used to round out the progressions.

    -The Nagahydra has 15th level sorceror spellcasting, putting it behind most gishes by level 24. All three probably have 9th-level spells by that level. Advantage: gish.

    -The Nagahydra has a +18 BAB. The standard characters will have at least +17, and more probably about +19.
    but that is by 20th level. at 20th level, the nagahydra actually has a bab of +11, which is one better than a wizard.

    No real advantage... but the Nagahydra also has a +20 Str bonus, adding a hefty +10 to attack and damage. And with seven natural attacks, that damage is going to matter.

    -Fringe benefits: The Abjurant Champion gets some nice abjuration-related abilities, like quickened abjurations and a nice bonus to AC. The Knight Phantom gets the ability to cast in light armor and a couple of other abilities, which are nice but not incredibly central. The JPM comes off best of the three, with a reasonable selection of martial maneuvers. The Nagahydra has ability bonuses, solid natural armor, Huge size, nifty fast healing, and the ability to move or charge while full attacking, which is already very respectable.
    true, but none of those are things that a caster can't copy, especially with higher level spells than the hydra gets.

    in the game that i am entering a nagahydra into (only 18th level), so far the only area where he reigns is in the extra actions. everywhere else, he is beat. so as to my way of thinking, none of these previously mentioned benefits are cause for concern. even the +20 strength is easily accomplished with any giant or other large creature.

    And then you throw the ability to cast a spell with each head every round, meaning seven spells per round. Frankly, this is not an ability I would give to a playable creature, ever. It's the primary reason the Beholder Mage prestige class is considered broken, and Wizards made sure that was only available to a creature with no given LA. At high levels, actions are the most precious commodity. Time Stop is a very powerful spell, and it only gives 1d4+1 rounds worth of actions, with limits on what you can do. The Chronotyrn is considered one of the most powerful Shapechange choices, thanks to its ability to take two full actions per round. Seven spells, every round... plus a quickened spell... is far more powerful than the chronotyrn, and while Time Stop can give you more actions, assuming you cast one spell and a quickened spell each round, and roll a 3 or 4 on the d4, that consumes more resources, half the spells have to be quickened and are thus lower-level, and you still can't directly target others. Sure, the nagahydra has to throw out lower-level spells, but with a +10 racial Charisma bonus, its saving throw DCs will actually be higher.

    I'm really not sure what to do about that ability. Were it up to me, I'd get rid of it; it's just not an ability that fits into the LA system very well. Maybe include the ability to have one of your heads cast a spell while the rest make a full attack, to keep the spirit of it. It might mean that a player nagahydra can't do something a normal nagahydra can, but there are a couple monsters whose savage progressions are different from the normal monster, like the barghest.
    now, the multiple actions with multiple heads is the biggest advantage that a nagahydra has, by far. no doubts, no arguments, no questions.

    that doesn't necessarily mean that it is game-breaking though, especially considering the dm-subjective and environment-subjective nature of the term. basically, it is up to the dm, as with any other aspect of the game, but monster class levels in particular.

    all i did was put already-written mechanics into a playable form. following the guidelines for LA can only get you so far, and so you have to guesstimate. guesstimation led me to believe that it would be somewhere around a +6 LA for an ECL of 24. by 24th level, an epic spell can turn a character permanently into a nagahydra (yeah, yeah, epic spells are broken too–different topic).

    the heads are powerful, and as such, rate a high LA, but they are not epic in and of themselves–or if they are, i would argue that they are barely epic.

    what this comes down to is the issue of whether or not a dm allows mechanics that give extra actions in their game or not. some dm's outlaw timestop and celerity. those dm's will probably also outlaw the nagahydra monster class progression. nothing wrong with that–it is just their game style, and what is not broken in another game might certainly be broken in theirs.

    for dm's that allow timestop without any kind of leash, this class is probably fine as it is.

    then there are those in the middle. if you've homebrewed your own version of timestop in order to reign it in, and you are dubious of mechanics that add extra actions, you'd need to modify this class as well.

    other than that, the argument just comes down to how much those extra actions are worth in terms of LA, and i am pretty sure that by the book, my LA is pretty sound. i have actually argued against a couple of people that thought the LA was too high for this guy, considering that he has 18 hit dice to begin with; they thought it should be LA +2 to make it an even 20 ECL.

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    Default Re: nagahydra monster class progression (3.5)

    does the above make sense to people, or is my judgment off? i am curious to know.

    i originally thought LA +10, but then i compared it to epic characters, of which even an epic swordsage can pull some of the tricks that a nagahydra would, at least as far as multiple actions is concerned.

    so then i thought maybe LA +4 or +7 or somewhere around there, and eventually settled on +6.
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    Watchtower––Volume III (running since 2008)

    Announcer— “Your cable television is experiencing difficulties. Please do not panic. Resist the temptation to read or talk to loved ones. Do not attempt sexual relations, as years of TV radiation have left your genitals withered and useless.”

    Wiggum, checking— “Well I'll be damned.”

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