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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
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    Default [3.5 PrC] Arbalist

    THE ARBALIST



    Arbalists are masters in the use of the crossbow, who employ this weapon with an accuracy and efficiency that surpasses the abilities of ordinary crossbowmen by far. They are experts in the defense of strategic points and covered advancing. Most arbalists are fighters, since they have the fastest means of meeting the requirements and gain the most out of this class, although a few fighter/rogues and fighter/clerics of martial deities chose this path as well. Paladins seldom become arbalists since they prefer to engage their foes in close combat.
    NPC Arbalists are often found in mercenary companies, where they may form small strike forces to attack heavily defended positions, or lead squads of other mercenaries during assaults or sieges.
    Hit Dice: d10

    Requirements
    To qualify to become an arbalist, a character must fulfill all the following criteria.
    Base Attack Bonus: +5
    Feats: Point Blank Shot, Precise Shot, Rapid Reload.
    Special: Must be proficient with crossbows, light armor and heavy shields.

    {table=head]Level | Base Attack Bonus | Fort Save | Ref Save | Will Save | Special
    1st | +1 | +2 | +0 | +0 | Greater cover +1, marksman, superior armor proficiency, swift reload
    2nd | +2 | +3 | +0 | +0 | Increased critical, penetrating shot
    3rd | +3 | +3 | +1 | +1 | Close quarter shooting, greater cover +2, maiming shot
    4th | +4 | +4 | +1 | +1 | Eagle eye, crippling shot
    5th | +5 | +4 | +1 | +1 | Greater cover +3, hit the bull's eye
    [/table]

    Class Skills
    The arbalistís class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Bluff (Cha), Climb (Str), Craft (Int), Handle Animal (Cha), Hide (Dex), Intimidate (Cha), Jump (Str), Listen (Wis), Move Silently (Dex), Ride (Dex), Spot (Wis), Survival (Wis), Swim (Str).
    Skill Points at Each Level: 4 + Int modifier.

    Class Features
    Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Arbalists gain no proficiency with any weapon or armor.
    Greater Cover (Ex): Any cover bonus to AC the arbalist receives (such as from using a deployed pavise [see below]) increases by +1 at 1st level, +2 at 3rd level, and +3 at 5th level. In addition, at 5th level an arbalist may add the cover bonus on his touch AC versus ranged touch attacks.
    In addition, an arbalist may position and pick up a pavise as a Move Action at the 3rd level, rather than a Standard Action. At 5th level he can do so as a Swift Action.
    Marksman (Ex): An arbalist may add his Dexterity bonus on any damage dealt with a crossbow.
    Superior Armor Proficiency (Ex): Extensive training in the use of crossbows while being armored allows the arbalist to use light and medium armor with greater efficiency. The maximum Dex bonus of any light or medium armor the arbalist wears increases by +1 at 1st level, +2 at 3rd level and +3 at 5th level.
    Swift Reload (Ex): As a Full Round Attack, an arbalist may perform a second attack with a light or heavy crossbow as a Swift Action. This attack uses the normal attack bonus.
    Increased Critical (Ex): An arbalist of 2nd level or higher can deal extra damage with a critical hit. The damage multiplier of any crossbow wielded by the arbalist is increased to ◊3.
    Penetrating Shot (Ex): Starting at 2nd level, an arbalist may declare any one attack with a crossbow to be a penetrating shot once every 3 rounds as a Standard Action. A penetrating shot is so accurate, it easily hits the gaps in any armor or natural protection so it is treated as a ranged touch attack.
    Close Quarter Shooting (Ex): At 3rd level an arbalist no longer provokes attacks of opportunity when using a crossbow in a threatened square.
    Maiming Shot (Ex): At 3rd level an arbalist may perform a maiming shot with a crossbow against a foe as a Standard Action. If the target of this attack fails to succeed on a Fortitude save (DC = 10 + 1/2 arbalistís character level + Dex Modifier) on a successful hit, it is slowed until it is treated with a successful heal check (DC 10 + 1/2 damage dealt).
    Eagle Eye (Ex): Every time an arbalist misses a ranged attack because of concealment, he can reroll his miss chance percentile roll one time to see if he actually hits.
    Crippling Shot (Ex): Starting at 4th level an opponent damaged by an arbalist's penetrating shot also takes 1 points of Constitution damage. Ability points lost to damage return on their own at the rate of 1 point per day for each damaged ability. Creatures immune to critical hits (such as plants and constructs) are immune to this Constitution damage.
    Hit the Bull's Eye (Ex): At 5th level, the arbalist's penetrating shot is automatically treated as a critical threat on a successful hit.

    New Item
    Pavise: The pavise is a large convex shield used to protect the entire body. While being carried, a pavise functions similar to a heavy shield. However, a pavise can be deployed in the ground with a spike attached to its bottom, granting its shield bonus as cover bonus to AC (for cover, see PHB 150). Any enhancement bonus of a pavise is added to the cover bonus it provides. Positioning and picking up a pavise is a standard action that provokes attacks of opportunity. A pavise is positioned on the side of the square you are standing.
    You can crouch behind a pavise to use it as total cover against ranged attacks, though you must give up your attacks to do so. Crossbowmen typically use a pavise that way while reloading their weapons.
    Pavises are considered Heavy Shields for the purposes of proficiency.

    {table=head] Armor | Cost | Armor/Shield Bonus | Maximum Dex Bonus | Armor Check Penalty | Arcane Spell Failure Chance | (30-ft.) | (20-ft.) | Weight
    Pavise | 25-gp | ___+2 | ___ó | ___Ė3 | 20% | ó | ó | 15 lb. [/table]


    First drafts
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    Version one.

    {table=head]Level | Base Attack Bonus | Fort Save | Ref Save | Will Save | Special
    1st | +1 | +2 | +0 | +0 | Marksman, swift reload
    2nd | +2 | +3 | +0 | +0 | Increased critical, superior armor proficiency
    3rd | +3 | +3 | +1 | +1 | Greater cover +1, maiming shot
    4th | +4 | +4 | +1 | +1 | Improved Critical
    5th | +5 | +4 | +1 | +1 | Close quarter shooting
    6th | +6 | +5 | +2 | +2 | Greater cover +2, penetrating shot, swift reload
    7th | +7 | +5 | +2 | +2 | Eagle eye
    8th | +8 | +6 | +2 | +2 | Bleeding shot
    9th | +9 | +6 | +3 | +3 | Greater cover +3
    10th | +10 | +7 | +3 | +3 | Hit the bull's eye
    [/table]

    Class Skills
    The arbalistís class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Bluff (Cha), Climb (Str), Craft (Int), Handle Animal (Cha), Hide (Dex), Intimidate (Cha), Jump (Str), Listen (Wis), Move Silently (Dex), Ride (Dex), Spot (Wis), Survival (Wis), Swim (Str).
    Skill Points at Each Level: 4 + Int modifier.

    Class Features
    Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Arbalists gain no proficiency with any weapon or armor.
    Marksman (Ex): An arbalist may add his Dexterity bonus on any damage dealt with a crossbow.
    Swift Reload (Ex): As a Full Round Attack, an arbalist may perform a second attack with a light or heavy crossbow at a Ė5 penalty. At 6th level the arbalist gains a third attack with a Ė10 penalty.
    Increased Critical (Ex): An arbalist of 2nd level or higher can deal extra damage with a critical hit. The damage multiplier of any crossbow wielded by the arbalist is increased to ◊3.
    Superior Armor Proficiency (Ex): Extensive training in the use of crossbows while being armored allows the arbalist to use light and medium armor with greater efficiency. The maximum Dex bonus of any light or medium armor the arbalist wears increases by +1 at 1st level, +2 at 6th level and +3 at 10th level.
    Greater Cover (Ex): Any cover bonus to AC the arbalist receives (such as from using a deployed pavise [see below]) increases by +1 at 3rd level, +2 at 6th level, and +3 at 9th level. In addition, starting at 6th level an arbalist may add the cover bonus to his touch AC versus ranged touch attacks.
    In addition, an arbalist may position and pick up a pavise as a Move Action at the 3rd level, rather than a Standard Action. At 6th level he can do so as a Swift Action.
    Maiming Shot (Ex): At 3rd level an arbalist may perform a maiming shot against a foe as a Standard Action. If the target of this attack fails to succeed on a Fortitude save (DC = 10 + arbalistís class level + Dex Modifier) on a successful hit, it is slowed until it is treated with a successful heal check (DC 10 + 1/2 damage dealt).
    Improved Critical: An arbalist gains Improved Critical (any crossbow) as a bonus feat.
    Close Quarter Shooting (Ex): At 5th level an arbalist no longer provokes attacks of opportunity when using a ranged weapon in a threatened square.
    Penetrating Shot (Ex): Starting at 6th level, an arbalist may declare any one attack with a crossbow to be a penetrating shot once every 3 rounds as a Standard Action. A penetrating shot is so accurate, it easily hits the gaps in any armor or natural protection so it is treated as a ranged touch attack.
    Eagle Eye (Ex): Every time an arbalist misses because of concealment, he can reroll his miss chance percentile roll one time to see if he actually hits.
    Bleeding Shot (Ex): Starting at 6th level an opponent damaged by an arbalist's penetrating shot also takes 1 points of Constitution damage. Ability points lost to damage return on their own at the rate of 1 point per day for each damaged ability. Creatures immune to critical hits (such as plants and constructs) are immune to this Constitution damage.
    Hit the Bull's Eye (Ex): At 10th level, the arbalist's penetrating shot is automatically treated as a critical threat.
    Last edited by Calmar; 2010-06-24 at 07:36 PM.

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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: [3.5 PrC] Arbalist

    No opinions?

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    Default Re: [3.5 PrC] Arbalist

    Prerequisites - Holy crap, four feats, two of them awful. Why on earth is Iron Will required? Weapon Focus at least makes sense, though honestly, considering that Rapid Reload is for crossbows anyway, I'd drop that one too.

    HD, Skills, BAB, and Saves - Needs faaar more class skills, and 4 + Int skill points. There is no reason to pigeonhole this class into being useless outside of combat by not giving it a decent number of skill points. HD, BAB, and saves are fine.

    Marksman - Nice. Should be the default, but glad to see it, at any rate.

    Swift Reload - This seems to imply that these are in addition to attacks from a high BAB or Haste or whatever. Assuming the character somehow got the ability to reload quicker, they'd be able to make more attacks than you seem to intend. I'd say that they can instead reload their Crossbow as a free action once per round, and then twice per round at 6th level. Actually, I'd just let them reload as a free action always just because the reloading thing basically makes crossbows worthless. Still, free reloading would defeat the purpose of making a crossbow PrC, so we'll see.

    Increased Critical - Again, the limitations on this are unnecessary. Otherwise, this nice-ish.

    Superior Armor Proficiency - That's pretty nice, since you're a high-Dex character.

    Greater Cover - Why does the Pavise give a "Cover bonus to AC" instead of just giving Cover? Cover is better than AC, and harder to get. This should be just an improvement to that.

    Maiming Shot - The Slow effect is quite good, but why do you halve the character's Dex modifier to the DC? That will create lower-than-they-should-be DCs, which isn't good. You're spending a Full-Round Action on this (honestly, I think Standard would be better), it better at least work.

    Penetrating Shot - OK, this is decent, but taking a Full-Round Action for a single attack is bad, even if it is a Touch attack. You should let them attack as many times as they're entitled during the Full-Attack, and each is treated as a touch attack. The cooldown makes sure they don't do this all time.

    As for the 10th level ability, it has the opposite problem: I don't think you need the cooldown on it, though; just making it a Full-Round Action is penalizing enough, IMO. But it probably should be a Full-Round Action. I'd make it a separate feature that does just that.

    Eagle Eye - That's pretty solid.


    Conclusion
    Too limited, too many pre-reqs, neat features that have too many restrictions. And two dead levels are bad. You can afford to give this PrC a lot more.

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    Default Re: [3.5 PrC] Arbalist

    I always understood that what the rules call a tower shield is in reality a pavise.

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    Default Re: [3.5 PrC] Arbalist

    First of all, this prc is seriously underpowered, and as DragoonWraith said, the prerecs are way to costly for what this class offers.

    The dead levels need filling, maybe give them some bonus damage when behind cover, to emphasize the tactical aspect?

    Swift Reload should probably make reloading a crossbow a free action (like a bow), and maybe at lvl 8 the benefits of the manyshot feat but for crossbows.

    Increased Critical should be permanent, and instead of improving, should maybe also increase the threat range by 1 at 9th.

    I second DragoonWraith's comment on both Maiming and Penetrating Shot, and I think that Maiming shot could afford to not have the -4 to hit (I mean, by this level, casters are throwing around 4th level spells, this guy can at least be allowed to hit with his ability), and should maybe improve to stopping all movement in the first round, or even until a strength check is made.

    Also, pavises need to have an armor classification (to you get proficiency in them with heavy shield prof or tower shield prof), and if it is a special proficiency, arbalist need to be proficient with them.

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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: [3.5 PrC] Arbalist

    Thanks for the replies.

    Quote Originally Posted by DragoonWraith View Post
    Prerequisites - Holy crap, four feats, two of them awful. Why on earth is Iron Will required? Weapon Focus at least makes sense, though honestly, considering that Rapid Reload is for crossbows anyway, I'd drop that one too.
    Actually I thought the prereqs were quite low, since Iron Will is the only feat a character using heavy crossbows wouldn't have at that level anyways...

    Quote Originally Posted by DragoonWraith View Post
    HD, Skills, BAB, and Saves - Needs faaar more class skills, and 4 + Int skill points. There is no reason to pigeonhole this class into being useless outside of combat by not giving it a decent number of skill points. HD, BAB, and saves are fine.
    I simply chose 2 + Int because it's the standard skill number for fighter-PrCs, but I don't insist on it.

    Quote Originally Posted by DragoonWraith View Post
    Swift Reload - This seems to imply that these are in addition to attacks from a high BAB or Haste or whatever. Assuming the character somehow got the ability to reload quicker, they'd be able to make more attacks than you seem to intend. I'd say that they can instead reload their Crossbow as a free action once per round, and then twice per round at 6th level. Actually, I'd just let them reload as a free action always just because the reloading thing basically makes crossbows worthless. Still, free reloading would defeat the purpose of making a crossbow PrC, so we'll see.
    Maybe I got the wording wrong. My intent is: "When you make a full attack you get up to three attacks with a heavy crossbow."

    Would this be clearer: "As a Full Round Attack, an arbalist..."?

    Quote Originally Posted by DragoonWraith View Post
    Increased Critical - Again, the limitations on this are unnecessary. Otherwise, this nice-ish.
    How about once per day per two class levels (once at lvl 2, twice at lvl 4, thrice at lvl 6 etc.), or once per day per class level?

    Quote Originally Posted by DragoonWraith View Post
    Greater Cover - Why does the Pavise give a "Cover bonus to AC" instead of just giving Cover? Cover is better than AC, and harder to get. This should be just an improvement to that.
    As far as I understand the rules on cover, soft cover grants a +4 (well, unnamed) bonus to AC, while total cover makes you completely unassailable. The pavise can just as well grant a +4 bonus to AC.
    The intent of this ability is that the bonus to AC an arbalist gains from cover is increased, no matter the source.

    Quote Originally Posted by DragoonWraith View Post
    Maiming Shot - The Slow effect is quite good, but why do you halve the character's Dex modifier to the DC? That will create lower-than-they-should-be DCs, which isn't good. You're spending a Full-Round Action on this (honestly, I think Standard would be better), it better at least work.
    That's actually a typo. It is supposed to be "DC = 10 + 1/2 arbalistís class level + Dex Modifier".

    Quote Originally Posted by DragoonWraith View Post
    Penetrating Shot - OK, this is decent, but taking a Full-Round Action for a single attack is bad, even if it is a Touch attack. You should let them attack as many times as they're entitled during the Full-Attack, and each is treated as a touch attack. The cooldown makes sure they don't do this all time.
    Sounds good to me. I was afraid this ability might prove too strong combined with increased critical (or sneak attack).

    Quote Originally Posted by DragoonWraith View Post
    As for the 10th level ability, it has the opposite problem: I don't think you need the cooldown on it, though; just making it a Full-Round Action is penalizing enough, IMO. But it probably should be a Full-Round Action. I'd make it a separate feature that does just that.
    Sounds good.
    Any ideas for a name?


    Quote Originally Posted by Obamarama View Post
    Swift Reload should probably make reloading a crossbow a free action (like a bow), and maybe at lvl 8 the benefits of the manyshot feat but for crossbows.
    I don't think a crossbow should be working just like a bow, because then, again, no character would bother to use one instead of a bow.

    Quote Originally Posted by Obamarama View Post
    Increased Critical should be permanent, and instead of improving, should maybe also increase the threat range by 1 at 9th.

    I second DragoonWraith's comment on both Maiming and Penetrating Shot, and I think that Maiming shot could afford to not have the -4 to hit (I mean, by this level, casters are throwing around 4th level spells, this guy can at least be allowed to hit with his ability), and should maybe improve to stopping all movement in the first round, or even until a strength check is made.
    I'll consider that.

    Quote Originally Posted by Obamarama View Post
    Also, pavises need to have an armor classification (to you get proficiency in them with heavy shield prof or tower shield prof), and if it is a special proficiency, arbalist need to be proficient with them.
    I'm adding that.


    So far I still have these abilities in stock:

    Crossbow Specialist (Ex): An arbalist deals damage with any crossbow as if it were one size category larger. In addition, he gains a +1 competence bonus on attacks made with a heavy crossbow. This bonus stacks with the bonus from the Weapon Focus and Greater Weapon Focus feats.
    Manyshot: An arbalist gains Manyshot as a bonus feat. He may use the feat with a light or heavy crossbow. He need not meet the prerequisites.

    If you don't dislike them, I'll fill the dead levels with them.

    * * *

    I'll make the changes to the first post when there are no other suggestions.
    Last edited by Calmar; 2010-06-22 at 08:51 AM.

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    Default Re: [3.5 PrC] Arbalist

    Quote Originally Posted by Calmar View Post
    Thanks for the replies.
    No problem.

    Quote Originally Posted by Calmar View Post
    Actually I thought the prereqs were quite low, since Iron Will is the only feat a character using heavy crossbows wouldn't have at that level anyways...
    No, he will not have Weapon Focus. Weapon Focus is a terrible feat, and should be avoided unless it's a requirement for something. If this character doesn't need to take it, he shouldn't. Three feats is a lot for a level-6-entry PrC. Four is insane. Not without precedent, of course, but that's because WotC likes to screw over martial characters on a regular basis - I assume you don't want to do the same?

    Quote Originally Posted by Calmar View Post
    I simply chose 2 + Int because it's the standard skill number for fighter-PrCs, but I don't insist on it.
    It is, but this is more of Wizards' screwing over martial characters. IMO, the only classes that deserve 2+Int skill points are Wizards, basically.

    Quote Originally Posted by Calmar View Post
    Maybe I got the wording wrong. My intent is: "When you make a full attack you get up to three attacks with a heavy crossbow."

    Would this be clearer: "As a Full Round Attack, an arbalist..."?
    That could work, but it seems strange to divorce it from the standard iterative attack sequence due to BAB. You're basically saying "instead of the usual attacks from BAB, you instead get this flat number of attacks" - it works, and maybe allows Rogues to take this class since they can afford to lose some BAB if this is not keying off of it, though the +5 BAB requirement nixes that. You're certainly welcome to do this, it just seems a little strange to me.

    Quote Originally Posted by Calmar View Post
    How about once per day per two class levels (once at lvl 2, twice at lvl 4, thrice at lvl 6 etc.), or once per day per class level?
    I don't see why this needs any restriction. Crossbows are not good weapons. They're in the Simple Weapons category for a reason. They're meant to be Wizard-pea-shooters. This isn't exactly historically accurate, of course, but that's how they're designed in the game. So you can afford to just straight-up improve them quite a bit - having them be 19-20/x3 all the time would not overpower them. There's already an Exotic Weapon (Minotaur Greathammer) that's 19-20/x4, why not this? You're already spending more feats than that Exotic Weapon Proficiency, and that feat wouldn't be a very good choice most of the time.

    Quote Originally Posted by Calmar View Post
    As far as I understand the rules on cover, soft cover grants a +4 (well, unnamed) bonus to AC, while total cover makes you completely unassailable. The pavise can just as well grant a +4 bonus to AC.
    The intent of this ability is that the bonus to AC an arbalist gains from cover is increased, no matter the source.
    Ah, you're right, I was mistaken about the way Cover works. OK, that makes sense at least... it's pretty disappointing, though. Maybe give them a 20% or 25% Miss chance while behind Cover? That seems fitting and would be a much more useful class feature.

    Quote Originally Posted by Calmar View Post
    That's actually a typo. It is supposed to be "DC = 10 + 1/2 arbalistís class level + Dex Modifier".
    That's still low, though - it should be 10 + class level + modifier, or 10 + half character level + modifier. DCs are supposed to max out at 20 + modifier, so halving the class level there (restricting you to 15 + modifier) will create artifiically low DCs, which you don't want. It's up to you if you want to base the DC on class level (forces them to finish the PrC, but maxes their DC early), or on character level (allows changing classes more freely, but maxing the DC waits until 20th level).

    Quote Originally Posted by Calmar View Post
    Sounds good to me. I was afraid this ability might prove too strong combined with increased critical (or sneak attack).
    I'm... not really sure how this combines with Increased Critical or Sneak Attack? I mean, touch attacks are very useful, but faaar more so to those who are in melee than at range. You have to hit full AC most of the time, you can't afford to dump your attack, and there's no Power Attack equivalent for archers, so you don't get that option.

    Touch attacks are powerful with things that trade attack for damage or other effects. This character... doesn't have any of those things, as far as I can tell. That means it's good, but not great.

    Quote Originally Posted by Calmar View Post
    Sounds good.
    Any ideas for a name?
    The Diablo II player in me wants to call it Piercing Shot to go with the Critical Strike and Penetrating Shot (the Amazon class in that game had a skill branch that was Critical Strike [chance for double damage], Penetrate [attack bonus], and Pierce [chance for arrow to pass through target and hit those behind]), but that probably doesn't make a lot of sense. Sniper Shot? Headshot?

    Quote Originally Posted by Calmar View Post
    I don't think a crossbow should be working just like a bow, because then, again, no character would bother to use one instead of a bow.
    I agree with this, but it's going to be hard to do. Extra attacks are huge, and it's pretty much how archery works in 3.5... and archery doesn't really work all that well. Without the ability to make a ton of attacks, you need to do something else.

    Quote Originally Posted by Calmar View Post
    I'll consider that.
    Ah, I'd forgotten about the -4 penalty - yeah, I don't think that's necessary.

    Quote Originally Posted by Calmar View Post
    I'm adding that.
    You should just state "Pavises are considered Heavy Shields for the purposes of proficiency", I think - the "standard penalties" thing is kind of confusing. Also, I'm not aware of anything in the game that makes a proficiency distinction between Light and Heavy shields - they're both covered under Shield Proficiency. There's only Shield Proficiency, and Exotic Shield Proficiency (such as Tower Shield, or the "Extreme Shield" from one of the splatbooks, or whatever). The Pavise seems kind of like a Tower Shield so Tower Shield proficiency would not seem entirely out of line, but it's not worth burning a feat on and not many classes get that proficiency as part of the class...

    Quote Originally Posted by Calmar View Post
    Crossbow Specialist (Ex): An arbalist deals damage with any crossbow as if it were one size category larger. In addition, he gains a +1 competence bonus on attacks made with a heavy crossbow. This bonus stacks with the bonus from the Weapon Focus and Greater Weapon Focus feats.
    That's, on average, about +1 damage, and +1 attack. Very, very minor.

    Quote Originally Posted by Calmar View Post
    Manyshot: An arbalist gains Manyshot as a bonus feat. He may use the feat with a light or heavy crossbow. He need not meet the prerequisites.
    Works, but again makes the Crossbow function like a Bow. Ways of making this work without that seem worthwhile... but you certainly could afford to give them this.

    Quote Originally Posted by Calmar View Post
    If you don't dislike them, I'll fill the dead levels with them.
    It's certainly an idea, though the first is pretty minor and the second seems a bit off, flavor-wise.

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    Default Re: [3.5 PrC] Arbalist

    The Far Shot and Precise Shot feats would seem quite characterful ones to give this class, if not very useful. Maybe fill the dead levels with "You may take one bonus feat from the following list. You do not have to meet the prerequisites: Far Shot, Precise Shot, Crossbow Sniper (PHB II), Able Sniper (RotW), Plunging Shot (RotW)..."

    Alternatively, some kind of bonus to relevant skill checks might be useful. One example would be reducing the penalty for hiding after firing a shot to -10 (rather than -20); another would be a general bonus to spot checks, possibly doubled versus other characters hiding after a shot (since you could guess pretty well where any shots would have to have come from).

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    Default Re: [3.5 PrC] Arbalist

    I always thought it was spelled arbalest.

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    Default Re: [3.5 PrC] Arbalist

    An arbalest is a type of crossbow, an arbalist is one who uses a crossbow (of any kind).

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    Default Re: [3.5 PrC] Arbalist

    Ah. Thanks for the clarification.

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    Default Re: [3.5 PrC] Arbalist

    Quote Originally Posted by DragoonWraith View Post
    That could work, but it seems strange to divorce it from the standard iterative attack sequence due to BAB. You're basically saying "instead of the usual attacks from BAB, you instead get this flat number of attacks" - it works, and maybe allows Rogues to take this class since they can afford to lose some BAB if this is not keying off of it, though the +5 BAB requirement nixes that. You're certainly welcome to do this, it just seems a little strange to me.
    The problem is that even with the Rapid Reload feat you may perform only one attack with a heavy crossbow, because the reloading takes a Move Action. The swift reload is supposed to allow a straight fighter to advance his attack progression similar to his base attack bonuses, to up to three attacks at class level 6 (and as soon as character level 11).
    Arbalists using light crossbows don't get anything from this ability.
    Last edited by Calmar; 2010-06-22 at 01:38 PM.

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    Default Re: [3.5 PrC] Arbalist

    You could easily just allow them to reload as a Free Action, which means they would be able to fire as many times as their normal attacks allow (i.e. works with BAB-iteratives, Haste, etc). But then your Arbalist is functioning pretty much exactly like a bowman, without a lot to differentiate them.

    What about something like this?

    "As a full-round action, an arbalist may make an attack that deals double damage on a hit. This doubles all damage, even precision damage, and on a critical hit this damage is itself multiplied, unlike the usual multiplier stacking rules. If the Arbalist has at least +11 BAB, this increases to triple damage, and if the Arbalist has at least +16 BAB, this increases to quadruple damage.

    Finally, you may reload a Heavy Crossbow as a Swift action."

    You effectively take all of your attacks as one attack roll, but you can't benefit from, e.g., Haste. I feel like this just matches the imagery of an Arbalist better, because you aren't reloading at a ridiculous rate.

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    Default Re: [3.5 PrC] Arbalist

    If you make the reload action into an "attack action" (ie. it uses one iterative attack), that gives a rate of fire exactly half that of a regular bow.

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    Default Re: [3.5 PrC] Arbalist

    You need a larger class skill list.

    Your Will save progression is funky. The first five levels are using the Good progression and the last five levels are using the Poor progression.

    You may wish to reflavor Maiming shot away from a leg hit. In D&D, there are a lot of monsters that don't have legs, or that fly and can take a leg shot without slowing down so long as they remain airborne.

    Big Deal: In general, the focus of this class is too narrow for a 10-level prestige class. Classes focused on mastering a specific weapon or a specific style of fighting are usually 3-5 levels long. A 10-level PrC needs to do more than just get better with its weapon and improve its AC. For example, how will an arbalist fair in the following situations?

    • Enemy is invisible or very stealthy.
    • Enemy is a swarm.
    • Enemy is hiding behind a wind wall and hurling spells.
    • Enemy relies on touch attacks.
    • Enemy relies on area damage.
    • Enemy relies on illusions, charms, or trickery.
    • Enemy can create barriers like wall of force or wall of stone.
    • Enemy does three or four of the above at once.
    • Enemy must be negotiated with or persuaded.
    • Enemy must be deceived or bypassed in a stealthy way.
    • Enemy must be outmaneuvered in a social setting.

    My suspicion is that your arbalist will struggle to contribute in all of these situations.

    I think a challenge you're facing is that you're conceiving of this class as a prestige class for the fighter, and so you're attempting to model it on the design elements of the fighter. Fighter is really just a godawful wreck of a class, and a better model to work from would be barbarian, ranger or bard, or any ToB class if you own that book. You want to reconceive this class with a broader concept, perhaps playing up the arbalist's mercenary or military connections, his ability to live life on the road, his sharp eyes and nimble hands, etc.

    Edit: Because your concept is really a mundane soldier who's quite good with his weapon, you might also do well to consider an unusually low entry for the class, sufficient to allow entry after level 3. A 3- or 5-level class intended to be taken in the range of levels 4-8 is a much more comfortable power range for the types of class features (i.e. bonus feats and small numerical improvements) you've given the arbalist.
    Last edited by jiriku; 2010-06-22 at 04:08 PM.
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    Default Re: [3.5 PrC] Arbalist

    Updated first post.

    Quote Originally Posted by DragoonWraith View Post
    What about something like this?

    "As a full-round action, an arbalist may make an attack that deals double damage on a hit. This doubles all damage, even precision damage, and on a critical hit this damage is itself multiplied, unlike the usual multiplier stacking rules. If the Arbalist has at least +11 BAB, this increases to triple damage, and if the Arbalist has at least +16 BAB, this increases to quadruple damage.

    Finally, you may reload a Heavy Crossbow as a Swift action."

    You effectively take all of your attacks as one attack roll, but you can't benefit from, e.g., Haste. I feel like this just matches the imagery of an Arbalist better, because you aren't reloading at a ridiculous rate.
    I'm not sure about this one. To benefit from haste isn't necessarily bad, I think.

    Quote Originally Posted by jiriku View Post
    Your Will save progression is funky. The first five levels are using the Good progression and the last five levels are using the Poor progression.
    Thanks for pointing that out.

    Quote Originally Posted by jiriku View Post
    You may wish to reflavor Maiming shot away from a leg hit. In D&D, there are a lot of monsters that don't have legs, or that fly and can take a leg shot without slowing down so long as they remain airborne.
    Sounds good.

    Quote Originally Posted by jiriku View Post
    You need a larger class skill list.
    Quote Originally Posted by jiriku View Post
    Big Deal: In general, the focus of this class is too narrow for a 10-level prestige class. Classes focused on mastering a specific weapon or a specific style of fighting are usually 3-5 levels long. A 10-level PrC needs to do more than just get better with its weapon and improve its AC. For example, how will an arbalist fair in the following situations?

    • Enemy is invisible or very stealthy.
    • Enemy is a swarm.
    • Enemy is hiding behind a wind wall and hurling spells.
    • Enemy relies on touch attacks.
    • Enemy relies on area damage.
    • Enemy relies on illusions, charms, or trickery.
    • Enemy can create barriers like wall of force or wall of stone.
    • Enemy does three or four of the above at once.
    • Enemy must be negotiated with or persuaded.
    • Enemy must be deceived or bypassed in a stealthy way.
    • Enemy must be outmaneuvered in a social setting.

    My suspicion is that your arbalist will struggle to contribute in all of these situations.

    I think a challenge you're facing is that you're conceiving of this class as a prestige class for the fighter, and so you're attempting to model it on the design elements of the fighter. Fighter is really just a godawful wreck of a class, and a better model to work from would be barbarian, ranger or bard, or any ToB class if you own that book. You want to reconceive this class with a broader concept, perhaps playing up the arbalist's mercenary or military connections, his ability to live life on the road, his sharp eyes and nimble hands, etc.
    Actually, the first version was designed to be a mercenary inspired by the medieval Genoese crossbowmen. Then I've stepped away from that concept to make it more commonly available.

    What about Bluff, Hide, Listen, Move Silently, Spot, Survival, and perhaps Sleight of Hands to make it more rogue-ish?
    Last edited by Calmar; 2010-06-23 at 06:20 AM.

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    Default Re: [3.5 PrC] Arbalist

    Sure! Maybe you could borrow thematically appropriate elements from similar classes too. There are several in Complete Warrior (although be warned, most of the PrCs in CW are quite limited and weak, so don't use them as a baseline).

    Mostly, you want to have something to contribute in as many situations as possible. Even if you're not particular effective at plans B, C, and D, you want to have something to do other than sit around and wait for the wizard's player to solve every problem that doesn't involve shooting crossbow bolts at people.
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    Default Re: [3.5 PrC] Arbalist

    I've updated some of the class abilities, as well as the pavise. Please give me some additional feedback on the changes and the new features.
    Last edited by Calmar; 2010-06-24 at 11:30 AM.
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    Default Re: [3.5 PrC] Arbalist

    The higher level abilities are looking much better, but it still doesn't seem like a 10 level class. I feel like you could this as a 5 level class better.

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    Default Re: [3.5 PrC] Arbalist

    Like this?

    {table=head]Level | Base Attack Bonus | Fort Save | Ref Save | Will Save | Special
    1st | +1 | +2 | +0 | +0 | Greater cover +1, marksman, superior armor proficiency, swift reload
    2nd | +2 | +3 | +0 | +0 | Increased critical, penetrating shot
    3rd | +3 | +3 | +1 | +1 | Close quarter shooting, greater cover +2, maiming shot
    4th | +4 | +4 | +1 | +1 | Eagle eye, crippling shot
    5th | +5 | +4 | +1 | +1 | Greater cover +3, hit the bull's eye
    [/table]

    Class Skills
    The arbalistís class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Bluff (Cha), Climb (Str), Craft (Int), Handle Animal (Cha), Hide (Dex), Intimidate (Cha), Jump (Str), Listen (Wis), Move Silently (Dex), Ride (Dex), Spot (Wis), Survival (Wis), Swim (Str).
    Skill Points at Each Level: 4 + Int modifier.

    Class Features
    Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Arbalists gain no proficiency with any weapon or armor.
    Greater Cover (Ex): Any cover bonus to AC the arbalist receives (such as from using a deployed pavise [see below]) increases by +1 at 1st level, +2 at 3rd level, and +3 at 5th level. In addition, at 5th level an arbalist may add the cover bonus on his touch AC versus ranged touch attacks.
    In addition, an arbalist may position and pick up a pavise as a Move Action at the 3rd level, rather than a Standard Action. At 5th level he can do so as a Swift Action.
    Marksman (Ex): An arbalist may add his Dexterity bonus on any damage dealt with a crossbow.
    Superior Armor Proficiency (Ex): Extensive training in the use of crossbows while being armored allows the arbalist to use light and medium armor with greater efficiency. The maximum Dex bonus of any light or medium armor the arbalist wears increases by +1 at 1st level, +2 at 3rd level and +3 at 5th level.
    Swift Reload (Ex): As a Full Round Attack, an arbalist may perform a second attack with a light or heavy crossbow as a Swift Action. This attack uses the normal attack bonus.
    Increased Critical (Ex): An arbalist of 2nd level or higher can deal extra damage with a critical hit. The damage multiplier of any crossbow wielded by the arbalist is increased to ◊3.
    Penetrating Shot (Ex): Starting at 2nd level, an arbalist may declare any one attack with a crossbow to be a penetrating shot once every 3 rounds as a Standard Action. A penetrating shot is so accurate, it easily hits the gaps in any armor or natural protection so it is treated as a ranged touch attack.
    Close Quarter Shooting (Ex): At 3rd level an arbalist no longer provokes attacks of opportunity when using a crossbow in a threatened square.
    Maiming Shot (Ex): At 3rd level an arbalist may perform a maiming shot with a crossbow against a foe as a Standard Action. If the target of this attack fails to succeed on a Fortitude save (DC = 10 + 1/2 arbalistís character level + Dex Modifier) on a successful hit, it is slowed until it is treated with a successful heal check (DC 10 + 1/2 damage dealt).
    Eagle Eye (Ex): Every time an arbalist misses a ranged attack because of concealment, he can reroll his miss chance percentile roll one time to see if he actually hits.
    Crippling Shot (Ex): Starting at 4th level an opponent damaged by an arbalist's penetrating shot also takes 1 points of Constitution damage. Ability points lost to damage return on their own at the rate of 1 point per day for each damaged ability. Creatures immune to critical hits (such as plants and constructs) are immune to this Constitution damage.
    Hit the Bull's Eye (Ex): At 5th level, the arbalist's penetrating shot is automatically treated as a critical threat on a successful hit.
    Last edited by Calmar; 2010-06-24 at 05:12 PM.
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    Default Re: [3.5 PrC] Arbalist

    Yeah, I think that looks better. The table looks a bit crowded, but ultimately I don't think the class features are too much for 5 levels.

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    Default Re: [3.5 PrC] Arbalist

    Quote Originally Posted by DragoonWraith View Post
    Yeah, I think that looks better. The table looks a bit crowded, but ultimately I don't think the class features are too much for 5 levels.
    Greater cover and superior armor proficiency look bigger than they are.

    Alternatively I could condense Greater Cover to +2/+4 and drop Close Quarter Shooting.
    Last edited by Calmar; 2010-06-24 at 12:32 PM.
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    Default Re: [3.5 PrC] Arbalist

    Nah, I don't think either's necessary. Close Quarters Shooting is actually rather useful, and you'd end up with level five having only one feature (a good one, certainly) and level four having three, which would just be worse. No, I think it's fine.

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    Default Re: [3.5 PrC] Arbalist

    Oh! That's actually quite nice. You do have a typo under Greater Cover (6th level). Also, a great many of your abilities need to specify that they only work when attack with a crossbow; as written they apply to any attack.
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    Default Re: [3.5 PrC] Arbalist

    Quote Originally Posted by DragoonWraith View Post
    Nah, I don't think either's necessary. Close Quarters Shooting is actually rather useful, and you'd end up with level five having only one feature (a good one, certainly) and level four having three, which would just be worse. No, I think it's fine.
    Thanks!

    Quote Originally Posted by jiriku View Post
    Oh! That's actually quite nice. You do have a typo under Greater Cover (6th level). Also, a great many of your abilities need to specify that they only work when attack with a crossbow; as written they apply to any attack.
    Thank you!

    Fixed the typo. Do you think the descriptions of Crippling Shot and Hit the Bull's Eye should explicitly say you need a crossbow (since they already require Penetrating Shot which in turn works only with crossbows)?
    Last edited by Calmar; 2010-06-24 at 05:17 PM.
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    Default Re: [3.5 PrC] Arbalist

    I like this. A lot. Its really solid, and gives crossbow users arbalists far more combative power.

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