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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    WolfInSheepsClothing

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    Default [3.5] Highborn Class

    Hi folks! I'm toying with an "aristocrat" class that uses all the favorite toys from the current popular source books. I'm not going to bother telling you to PEACH; I'm grown up enough to take heat and ignore trolls. See what you think.

    Highborn

    The aristocrats of the realm are the living, breathing heart of the kingdom. It is here at the heart of the Queen's Court that wars are made, feuds declared, duels fought, and alliance sealed. The highborne can take his family to the heights of power or the depths of ignominy with a few words, and his influence in the world around him cannot be overestimated.

    Adventures: The harsh environment of this kingdom does not lend itself to the type of blushing hothouse flower often found in other highborn courts. A voyage from one baron's estate to the next can often be an adventure in and of itself. Nobles often find themselves as the voice and mind of a party, providing intelligence on the world around them, tools for negotiation around the court, and a rapid supply of healing or offensive power in times of necessity.

    Game Information

    Alignment: Any
    Hit die: d6
    Class skills: Bluff, Decipher Script, Diplomacy, Gather Information, Hide, Intimidate, Knowledge (any), Listen, Move Silently, Perform, Ride, Search, Slight of Hand, Sense Motive, Spot, Use Magic Device.

    BaB and saving throws: As per the Bard (see SRD.)

    Skill Points at 1st level: (8+Intelligence modifier)x4.
    Skill points per additional level: 8+Intelligence modifier

    Class Features

    Weapons and Armor: Highborn are proficient with all simple weapons. In addition, they are proficient with the rapier, longbow, shortbow, longsword, and whip. They are proficient with light armor and all shields (except tower shields).

    Wealth: Beginning at 1st level, highborn receive a masterwork weapon, armor, or tool of their choice. The also receive a noble's outfit and 50 gp of jewelry. Every level after 1st, a highborn receives (50gp x their Charisma modifier) x their level in gold as income from their lands and gifts from their family. The highborn is expected to work on behalf of his family in court and maintain a good name and reputation in order to continue receiving this stipend.

    Talent: All skill ranks cost 1 skill point for you to purchase, even if the skill is cross-class for you. The maximum number of ranks you can purchase in a cross-class skill remains the same. This feat does not affect the skill point cost to learn a language. In addition, having 5 or more ranks in a skill gives you a +3 bonus on skill checks with each of its synergistic skills, as noted in the skill description, instead of the normal +2.

    Style and Grace: You can take 10 on Diplomacy and Bluff checks even if distracted or threatened. In addition, you can make a rushed Diplomacy check as a standard action and take no penalty. (Normally, a rushed Diplomacy check requires a full-round action and imposes a –10 penalty on the check.)

    Breeding: You are considered to be a member of a “guild” - in actuality, a noble house. The focus and nature of a noble house can vary considerably based on their history, reputation, and character. Upon character creation, it is the player's responsibility to create a name, short background, and history for his noble house. In exchange, the player gets to choose whether his family qualifies as an Arcane, Government, Mercantile, Mercenary, Religious, or Scholastic “guild”.

    Bonus Feat: At 2nd, 5th, 10th, 15th, and 20th level the courtier may choose one of the following bonus feats. The highborn must meet all prerequisites for the given feat before taking it: Combat Expertise, Goad, Improved Disarm, Improved Feint, Improved Trip, Intimidating Strike, Master Manipulator, Mounted Archery, Mounted Combat, Ride-by Attack, Spirited Charge, Trample, Wanderer's Diplomacy.

    Gossip: At 3rd level, you have learned enough of the gossip at court to be able to produce some information on most subjects in the kingdom. A highborn may make a special knowledge check with a bonus equal to his highborn level + his Intelligence modifier to see whether he knows some relevant information about local notable people, legendary items, or noteworthy places. (If the highborn has 5 or more ranks in Knowledge (history), he gains a +2 bonus on this check.) A successful knowledge check will not reveal the powers of a magic item but may give a hint as to its general function. A highborn may not take 10 or take 20 on this check; this sort of knowledge is essentially random. (NB: This is, in essence, the Bardic Knowledge ability reflavored.)

    Favored Son: At 6th level, you automatically gain the Favored in Guild feat.

    Lord of the Realm: At 11th level, you automatically gain the Guildmaster feat. If you do not qualify for it, you automatically gain the feat as soon as you meet the qualifications.

    Leadership: At ninth level, the highborn receives this ability for free. If he already has it, his leadership score is increased by three. The cohort obtained from this feat is always a crusader, fighter, warblade, or ranger – an armsman and personal bodyguard. Most highborn put their lesser followers to work as servants, guards, informants, or members of their entourage.

    Majesty: at 12th level, it becomes almost impossible to lie in the presence of one so regal. The highborn may take 20 on a Sense Motive check as an immediate action.

    Regal Presence: At 18th level, the idea of striking one so exalted becomes unthinkable. The highborn manifests a constant effect identical to the sanctuary spell (although this is an extraordinary ability, not a magical effect). If the highborn deliberately breaks the effect by acting in a hostile manner toward an opponent, the effect automatically reestablishes itself at the end of combat.

    Spells per day: Beginning at 4th level, a highborn gains the ability to cast a small number of divine spells, which are drawn from the Noble spell list. A highborn must choose and prepare her spells in advance, and learns her spells using the same spell progression list as the Paladin.
    To prepare or cast a spell, a highborn must have a Charisma score equal to at least 10 + the spell level. The Difficulty Class for a saving throw against a highborn’s spell is 10 + the spell level + the highborn’s Charisma modifier.
    Like other spellcasters, a highborn can cast only a certain number of spells of each spell level per day. In addition, she receives bonus spells per day if she has a high Wisdom score. When indicated that the highborn gets 0 spells per day of a given spell level, she gains only the bonus spells she would be entitled to based on her Charisma score for that spell level. The highborn does not have access to any domain spells or granted powers, as a cleric does.
    A highborn prepares and casts spells the way a cleric does, though she cannot lose a prepared spell to spontaneously cast a cure spell in its place. A highborn may prepare and cast any spell on the highborn spell list, provided that she can cast spells of that level, but she must choose which spells to prepare during her daily meditation.
    Through 3rd level, a highborn has no caster level. At 4th level and higher, her caster level is one-half her highborn level.

    Maneuvers and Stances: A highborn is nowhere near as skilled in the blade as a professional warrior, but he does know some tricks of the trade. Beginning at 1st level, the highborn knows two maneuvers and one stance from the Tome of Battle, and may prepare 1 maneuver per day. He may choose his maneuvers and stances from the Diamond Mind, Iron Heart, and White Raven disciplines. In all regards to preparing, using, and recovering maneuvers and stances, the highborn is identical to a warblade. However, highborn cannot learn the higher level maneuvers available to a true student of the Sublime Way. (NB: Once I figure out how to import a table, I will do so. Suffice to say that one additional maneuver is learned at 2nd level, a second can be readied at 3rd, another learned at 4th, et al. One new stance is learned every five levels, just like the warblade. Highborn learn 1st level manuevers and stances at levels 1-4, 2nd leve1 at 5-9, 3rd at 10-14, and 4th at 15-20.)


    Starting gold: 6d4x10 (plus Wealth ability) gold.

    Highborne spell list:

    1st) Bane, Bless, Charm Person, Cause Fear, Conviction, Command, Deathwatch, Doom, Lesser Vigor, Remove Fear, Sanctuary
    2nd) Bear's Endurance, Bull's Strength, Calm Emotions, Delay Poison, Eagle's Splendor, Enthrall, Owl's Wisdom, Rebuke, Status, Zone of Truth
    3rd) Cloak of Bravery, Conviction(Mass), Heroism, Lesser Vigor(Mass), Prayer, Rage, Suggestion, Vigor
    4th) Charm Monster, Crushing Despair, Discern Lies, Geas(Lesser), Rebuke(Greater), Recitation
    Last edited by Irving; 2011-01-08 at 03:40 PM.

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    NecromancerGuy

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    Default Re: [3.5] Highborne Class

    Do I detect a hint of Courtier (Rokugan Campaign Setting)? I'll be keeping an eye on this one.
    "To play a fighter is to play the game.
    To play a wizard is to understand the rules.
    To understand the rules, and play a fighter, is to understand the game."
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  3. - Top - End - #3
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    WolfInSheepsClothing

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    Default Re: [3.5] Highborne Class

    Yep - I always liked that class. It had some 3.0 isms in it that needed cleaning up, and some of the mechanics were simply awkward. I tried cleaning it up. This class already does a *lot*, but I wish I could sneak in some sneak attack somehow (because it's traditional for courtiers to stab you in the back). Maybe at the 4th, 8th, 12th, and 16th levels. Possibly I could even go non-traditional and tamp it down by using 1d4 instead of 1d6 in damage. Think I could get away with it?
    Last edited by Irving; 2011-01-08 at 09:07 AM.

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    NecromancerGuy

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    Default Re: [3.5] Highborne Class

    I think you could get away with sneak attack every 4 levels like you said. Also, I think marshall should be added to the list of cohort options. As for the rest, I'll look more closely at it later, as I'm already running a little late to my weekly game.
    "To play a fighter is to play the game.
    To play a wizard is to understand the rules.
    To understand the rules, and play a fighter, is to understand the game."
    -Lycar
    My Homebrew

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Troll in the Playground
     
    Ziegander's Avatar

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    Default Re: [3.5] Highborne Class

    The one thing I'd recommend is opening up that list of bonus feats some. As far as sneak attack I feel like you could probably get away with adding 1d6 at levels 4, 8, 12, 16, and 20. I'd drop the number of stances it learns to 3/5 though to better reflect his passing training in the martial arts.

    Now, is he supposed to have 1/2 initiator level and learn his maneuvers as if he had 1/2 initiator levels too? For example do you mean for the Highborne to pick up his first 2nd level maneuver at 6th level, his first 3rd level manevuer at 10th level, etc? So he'd max out at 5th level maneuvers at 18th level. If that's how you want it to work you have a small wrinkle to iron out. The base WotC assumption is that any class that learns and readies maneuvers/stances has full initiator level and that all other classes have 1/2 initiator level. For example, how would the Highborne work when multiclassed with a Crusader? What about a Fighter?

    I'd recommend that you give the Highborne a full initiator level, but explain in the maneuvers section of the class description that the Highborne does not learn and ready its maneuvers like a normal initiator and then specify at which levels it is able to learn a maneuver of a higher level. That should take care of any issues.
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  6. - Top - End - #6
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    WolfInSheepsClothing

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    Default Re: [3.5] Highborne Class

    Good catch. I was hoping to keep things clean when interfacing with warblade, fighter et al - a jack-of-all-trades class like this should hopefully be able to meld seamlessly with other classes. Yes, you are right - I wanted to keep this highborne sort of a "half warblade", with a slower rate of learning than that class. I'll edit by the end of the day.

    What other bonus feats might you recommend? I was looking specifically for Charisma based feats, all the riding feats, and some finesse feats (in particular to open up the road to Improved Feint). I should check CA and CS for some other potential ones.
    Last edited by Irving; 2011-01-08 at 01:50 PM.

  7. - Top - End - #7
    Troll in the Playground
     
    Ziegander's Avatar

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    Default Re: [3.5] Highborne Class

    Y'know what I was just thinking? Instead of giving the class spellcasting and initiating along with all of the normal rules and stuff it might be more elegant to give them a single pool of some points resource (or something similar) and allow them to cast spells or initiate maneuvers of an equal level (up to 5th) by taxing that pool. Then you'd need to write out a spells list and a maneuvers list, but rather than preparing or readying anything, they'd cast/initiate from their spells/maneuvers known spontaneously. A spell would lock out points until an 8 hour rest while a maneuver would lock the points only until a 5 minute rest or until the next encounter. It would make the table cleaner and you could fill out the lists with anything you felt was thematic and leave out all the rest.

    EDIT: I'll try and take a look at feats soon, but I'm sure we can fill in lots more feats.
    Last edited by Ziegander; 2011-01-08 at 02:10 PM.
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  8. - Top - End - #8
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    WolfInSheepsClothing

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    Default Re: [3.5] Highborne Class

    Hrm. Dunno. It'd be elegant, but at the same time it'd make cross-class interaction harder, and I'm not so much in love with my own home-brewing skills that I feel the need to reinvent the wheel. I think at this point I'd prefer simplicity to elegance, although I certainly appreciate the sentiment.

    Huh. Hadn't dug into Complete Adventurer for some weird reason. Combat Intuition, Force of Personality, Jack of All Trades, Obscure Lore, Open Minded... that's a pretty good list right there.

  9. - Top - End - #9
    Troll in the Playground
     
    Ziegander's Avatar

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    Default Re: [3.5] Highborne Class

    Quote Originally Posted by Irving View Post
    Hrm. Dunno. It'd be elegant, but at the same time it'd make cross-class interaction harder, and I'm not so much in love with my own home-brewing skills that I feel the need to reinvent the wheel. I think at this point I'd prefer simplicity to elegance, although I certainly appreciate the sentiment.
    I don't see what would be harder for cross-class interaction. You'd still give the Highborne a caster level and an initiator level it just wouldn't have extra add-ons to the table for spell slots per day or maneuvers readied/known/stances.
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  10. - Top - End - #10
    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: [3.5] Highborne Class

    "Borne" means "carried by." It may not sound as olde englishe but you'll have to stick with highborn if you want it to make sense.

  11. - Top - End - #11
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    WolfInSheepsClothing

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    Default Re: [3.5] Highborn Class

    Hmm. So we'd have (very roughly) a factotum variant at that point, then? Hmm. Could work.

    I'd want to start allocating (for want of a better term) inspiration points at 4th level. That makes this class a perfectly valid 1-level or 3-level dip, but gives you a strong incentive to stick around for 20.

    Heh. Here's a mind-boggler: what if we gave the class the ability to rebuke humanoids instead of spells? Exactly like an evil cleric rebukes undead, only it applies to humanoid of any stripe. "Work harder, serf!"

    @Ozymandias: Thanks. I'll adjust.
    Last edited by Irving; 2011-01-08 at 03:30 PM.

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    Ziegander's Avatar

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    Default Re: [3.5] Highborn Class

    Quote Originally Posted by Irving View Post
    Hmm. So we'd have (very roughly) a factotum variant at that point, then? Hmm. Could work.

    I'd want to start allocating (for want of a better term) inspiration points at 4th level. That makes this class a perfectly valid 1-level or 3-level dip, but gives you a strong incentive to stick around for 20.
    Sure. So for the first few levels you're getting low hit points, lots of skill points, lots of gold (I'd raise the starting gold just a shade), style and grace, a bonus feat from a limited list, and finally some mostly fluff features. Seems okay for a three level dip. I think you might want to raise the hit dice to d8 though. And maybe add Sneak Attack +1d6 to 3rd level?

    Heh. Here's a mind-boggler: what if we gave the class the ability to rebuke humanoids instead of spells? Exactly like an evil cleric rebukes undead, only it applies to humanoid of any stripe. "Work harder, serf!"
    I actually really like this idea... it could be done to Turn or Rebuke Humanoids really, just add a clause that says you can never use this ability to Destroy Humanoids, lol. As a Factotum variant this could work nicely.
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  13. - Top - End - #13
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    WolfInSheepsClothing

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    Default Re: [3.5] Highborn Class

    Heh. Actually, since I've got this class in mind for a PbP game inspired by Catherine the Great's Russia, it might not be entirely out of line to permit Destroy Humanoid... "Work TO DEATH, serf!" (Just kidding. Mostly.)

  14. - Top - End - #14
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    NecromancerGuy

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    Default Re: [3.5] Highborn Class

    Ima have to disagree. I like keeping the spells and maneuvers separate, but that's just a personal preference.

    I like the idea of Rebuke Humanoids. Making the peasants stand at attention on command or even follow you as servants is a neat idea, though I imagine that other members of the upper class wouldnt be affected, at least not as easily. Also may not work as well when outside your sphere of influence. A Noble from Sharn isnt likely to have much influence over the peasants in Karrnath or Stormreach, for example.
    "To play a fighter is to play the game.
    To play a wizard is to understand the rules.
    To understand the rules, and play a fighter, is to understand the game."
    -Lycar
    My Homebrew

  15. - Top - End - #15
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    WolfInSheepsClothing

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    Default Re: [3.5] Highborn Class

    Depends on the campaign to some extent. The game I've got this class in mind for is centered on a fantasy Russia; it's never going to leave that country's borders. I think this is a good opportunity for the DM to pull out the ever-popular -2 circumstance penalty and leave it at that.

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