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    Default I try again at a 6/5 spellcasting PrC (+ melee)

    I got a lot of flack for a poorly designed PrC last time I tried to make a PrC that actually Gains a spell casting level instead of loses one. In part because CL, caster level, is so important to spell casters. I'd tried 7/5, doing a 1/2/1/2/1 progression, and I'm ready to try a 6/5 through a 0/1/1/2/2 progression now. What that means is that you have to take four whole levels to BREAK EVEN, and the fifth to gain anything worthwhile at all.
    I also intended this class specifically for early entry shenanigans, while still remaining relatively balanced. IT IS NOT A JOKE CLASS.

    Field Wizard
    Wars are fought with men. Men and women must fight wars, or else there is no war. But the ways in which they fight can vary. Some fight with sword and shield, some rely on axes, and some fight from afar with bow and arrow, and others with magic. There are also those who command the fighting men and women. Captains and Generals, those with authority.
    For every authority, there must be those who serve this authority. Field Wizards serve an authority with their whole life, their whole being, in hopes of gaining strength and power. They serve as soldiers, mercenaries, Cohorts, servants. Some of them even have authority and charges of their own.
    The first moments of their lives as Field Wizards are spent in grueling physical training, their magical studies neglected, as they are just common soldiers to their authorities. Several don't make it, and die quickly, and so only a select few, accustomed to combat already, manage to make it as Field wizards. But as they grow stronger, and study magic under they watchful eyes of their authorities, they grow stronger than they otherwise could ever be.

    Prerequisites:
    Skills: Knowledge (Arcana) 8 ranks, Spellcraft 8 Ranks
    Feats: Combat Casting, Quicken Spell
    Spells: Ability to cast 3rd level arcane spells
    Base attack Bonus: +4

    d12 hit dice
    {table]Level|Base Attack Bonus|Fort save|Ref save|will save|Special|Spell casting
    1|+0|+0|+2|+2|Enchanting Combat, Crushing Loss|---------------
    2|+1|+0|+3|+3|--|+1 level of existing arcane spell casting class
    3|+2|+1|+3|+3|--|+1 level of existing arcane spell casting class
    4|+3|+1|+4|+4|Mage Claws, Complete Loss|+2 levels of existing arcane spell casting class
    5|+3|+1|+4|+4|Field Wizard Lord|+2 levels of existing arcane spell casting class[/table]

    Class skills (2+int modifier points/level): Concentration (Con), Diplomacy (Cha), Intimidate (cha), Knowledge (all skills taken individually) (int), Search (int), ride (dex), Spellcraft (int), spot (wis), survival (wis)

    Spells per day/spells known: When a level in Field Wizard is taken, with exception of first level, the character gains spells per day (And spells known, if applicable) as if they had also gained a level in a class in which they could already cast 3rd level arcane spells. On the fourth and fifth levels, they gain spells per day (And spells known, if applicable) as if they had also gained two levels in the afore mentioned class, instead of one. If the character had more than one class in which they could cast third level arcane spells or higher before he became a Field Wizard, he must decide to which class he adds his levels of Field wizard for purposes of spells per day.

    Enchanting Combat: Whenever a field wizard casts a spell, he may cast at half caster level to gain a cumulative +1 bonus to hit with a melee weapon. This bonus expires in 1d6 rounds, and can only be used with one attack.

    Crushing Loss: A field wizard loses a lot when signing on. They lose any familiar, animal companion, special mount, cohort, or similar companions they may have had, and whenever they cast a spell with metamagic, they must take a caster level penalty on that spell equal to the change in spell level applied through metamagic.

    Mage Claws: By taking a move action and accepting a -2 penalty to caster level for the duration, a field wizard may produce a long set of claws sprouting out of his fingers. These claws deal 2d8 slashing damage, are considered natural weapons, and last 2d6 rounds. The field wizard may end this effect early, to recover his caster level, but ending the effect early requires a move action. If the effect expires naturally, it takes no action.
    As well, the claws are considered Magic for the purposes of bypassing Damage Reduction, and the field wizard is treated as if he had weapon focus for these claws, even if he did not.

    Complete Loss: A Field wizard almost always gains access to a new spell level upon reaching fourth level, due to effectively gaining two levels in their chosen spell casting class. However, while they do gain spell slots and qualify as being able to cast spells in their new spell level, they do not gain access to the spells of that level. From this point on, whenever they gain spells per day/spells known in their chosen casting class, they cannot cast spells of their highest available level, although they can use metamagic feats to cast spells from the available slots, and still qualify as being able to cast spells of that level for purposes of prerequisites.

    Field Wizard Lord: By fifth level, the Field Wizard is the supreme commander for troops of wizards. For every character or creature within 50 feet, capable of casting at least second level arcane spells, but unable to cast spells of a higher level than the Field Wizard Lord, the field wizard gains a cumulative +1 bonus to hit with a melee weapon. By taking a -4 penalty to caster level, he may grant an equal bonus to hit to each character or creature within 50 feet, or grant them an effective +1 bonus to caster level.
    The field wizard may activate or deactivate this ability as a free action.



    Changelog
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    Feburary 10, 1:00 PM
    Devised Class
    Feburary 10, 4:03-4:34 PM
    removed two class features
    remembered HD
    Added Crushing Loss
    Added some fluff
    Feburary 11, 8:50-8:59 AM
    Moddified Crushing Loss
    Added Complete Loss


    Peach, and a better name (For both the class and cap-stone) would be nice.
    Last edited by flabort; 2011-02-11 at 10:58 AM.
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    Default Re: I try again at a 6/5 spellcasting PrC (+ melee)

    I think you're better off using the spell power ability similar to Archmage or Spellguard of Silverymoon.

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    Default Re: I try again at a 6/5 spellcasting PrC (+ melee)

    This is incredibly powerful. Overly so.

    6/5 casting and a class feature at every level? I'm sorry, but no. Even without any class features this is a strong pick for a Wizard or Sorcerer, and the class features are just icing on the cake. I can't possibly think of a reason (short of a class full of negative class features) to give more spellcasting than class levels.
    Last edited by Djinn_in_Tonic; 2011-02-10 at 05:54 PM.

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    Default Re: I try again at a 6/5 spellcasting PrC (+ melee)

    That's what everyone said on my last attempt.
    Well, I can outright remove Inspire Courage and Frothing Anger, and I'll need an outright negative ability...

    I'd give it d1 HD, and a negative BAB, which is what I tried on my last attempt, but casters don't really need BAB anyways, and I want it to be a good step on the way to Gish, as well.
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    Default Re: I try again at a 6/5 spellcasting PrC (+ melee)

    Quote Originally Posted by flabort View Post
    I'd give it d1 HD, and a negative BAB, which is what I tried on my last attempt, but casters don't really need BAB anyways, and I want it to be a good step on the way to Gish, as well.
    The problem with giving negative abilities is that it encourages min-maxing, which isn't good game design. Someone, somewhere, doesn't need whatever you penalize, and then this class becomes, once more, overpowered.

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    Default Re: I try again at a 6/5 spellcasting PrC (+ melee)

    Quote Originally Posted by Djinn_In_Tonic View Post
    The problem with giving negative abilities is that it encourages min-maxing, which isn't good game design. Someone, somewhere, doesn't need whatever you penalize, and then this class becomes, once more, overpowered.
    Why would a mage CARE about even d0 HD and negative BAB? I mean, what relevance is it? Small price to pay for Ultimate Arcane Power(tm).

    This concept is inviable in 3.5, just because casting is so much BETTER than anything else. It's not that the class is actually broken, it's just that casting is too damn good.

    All that I say applies only to myself. You author your own actions and choices. I cannot and will not be responsible for you, nor are you for me, regardless of situation or circumstance.

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    Default Re: I try again at a 6/5 spellcasting PrC (+ melee)

    Quote Originally Posted by arguskos View Post
    Why would a mage CARE about even d0 HD and negative BAB? I mean, what relevance is it? Small price to pay for Ultimate Arcane Power(tm).

    This concept is inviable in 3.5, just because casting is so much BETTER than anything else. It's not that the class is actually broken, it's just that casting is too damn good.
    Which is basically what I've been saying, yes.

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    Default Re: I try again at a 6/5 spellcasting PrC (+ melee)

    Alrighty, I've cut out two class abilities, and gave them a HUGE penalty, that I'm sure even a min-maxer would baulk at. Eh?
    The inability to choose your own equipment, and the loss of all your magic if you try?
    eh, not as crippling as it could be, but given that unless the player makes another player their authority, through, say, the other player having Leadership, it's the DM that decides what the character wears and carries.
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    Default Re: I try again at a 6/5 spellcasting PrC (+ melee)

    Quote Originally Posted by flabort View Post
    Alrighty, I've cut out two class abilities, and gave them a HUGE penalty, that I'm sure even a min-maxer would baulk at. Eh?
    The inability to choose your own equipment, and the loss of all your magic if you try?
    See, that's not a fun ability, as suddenly you have very little control over your character. Nor does it really make the class that much weaker, as a high level caster is still that good. You can conjure equipment, mind-control your liege into letting you drag around what you want, or get around (or do without) the restrictions on items in a multitude of ways.

    In short, giving the DM control over a big part of your character is never fun, and crippling penalties as a means to balance out huge bonuses isn't good design.

    All of this begs a simple question: Why, may I ask, do you really feel the need to have more caster levels than class levels?

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    Default Re: I try again at a 6/5 spellcasting PrC (+ melee)

    Why do I want 6/5 specifically? Early entry shenanigans. Yes, I made this class with the specific intent to use it to get into, say, archmage, a level ahead of schedule, or simply on time if you also take a 4/5 prestige class.
    Basically, I'm catering to min-maxers, while still trying to keep it actually playable without being DM-banned, overly powerful without specifically min-maxing, or so wholly underwhelming that it's no fun for anyone.

    If giving DM control to such a large part of the character, and still leaving so many ways to get around that (by the way, mind controlling your authority counts as acting against them) is such a bad thing, what do you suggest instead?
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    Default Re: I try again at a 6/5 spellcasting PrC (+ melee)

    Quote Originally Posted by Djinn_In_Tonic View Post
    See, that's not a fun ability, as suddenly you have very little control over your character. Nor does it really make the class that much weaker, as a high level caster is still that good. You can conjure equipment, mind-control your liege into letting you drag around what you want, or get around (or do without) the restrictions on items in a multitude of ways.

    In short, giving the DM control over a big part of your character is never fun, and crippling penalties as a means to balance out huge bonuses isn't good design.
    What he said.

    All of this begs a simple question: Why, may I ask, do you really feel the need to have more caster levels than class levels?
    I believe it's to show it can be done, but I'm having issues agreeing. I mean, I'm the guy who's currently crafting an entire SYSTEM of non-magic users that don't completely suck in a standard 3.5 dynamic, and I'm sitting here saying that 6/5 casting is probably inviable!

    I can't figure out a way to do it without utterly annihilating the system. I guess if you want it, play in the Iron Kingdoms or somewhere with a similarly gimped magic system.

    All that I say applies only to myself. You author your own actions and choices. I cannot and will not be responsible for you, nor are you for me, regardless of situation or circumstance.

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    Default Re: I try again at a 6/5 spellcasting PrC (+ melee)

    I would find it more balanced to give 1 level of bonus spellcasting at every level (including first) and BAB and something like d8 to d10 HD and class features at almost every (if not every) level. Otherwise, this is just boring as hell. Whoop-do-doo, I got spellcasting levels; I just got more of them! How bland is this!?
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    Default Re: I try again at a 6/5 spellcasting PrC (+ melee)

    So exactly what I'm trying to avoid?
    I'm trying to avoid +1 at every level and then a whole lot of class features. What I'm trying to do is a overall +6 throughout +5 levels, give some penalties, and only a couple class features.

    "How bland is that?"
    How bland is drainer fluid?
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    Default Re: I try again at a 6/5 spellcasting PrC (+ melee)

    Quote Originally Posted by flabort View Post
    So exactly what I'm trying to avoid?
    I'm trying to avoid +1 at every level and then a whole lot of class features. What I'm trying to do is a overall +6 throughout +5 levels, give some penalties, and only a couple class features.
    The problem is that the extra caster level is worth so much in terms of overall power that the only things that suitably balance it will be things that so severely cripple a player that only the greatest of min-maxers will take the class...and they will do so because they've found ways to invalidate the penalties. See the issue?

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    Default Re: I try again at a 6/5 spellcasting PrC (+ melee)

    As I've said, this is my second attempt. So, the idea has occurred to me. The Idea has also occurred to me that there are classes that lose a caster level or more, and although they have real nice benefits, the loss of a caster level is not so crippling that only the same super min-maxers can take those classes. And it's not like I'm allowing them to progress two classes at once. I have the very same clause out of archemage to prevent that.

    Not to invalidate your point entirely, but that does take some merit out of your argument, no? A caster level is indeed the best thing since sliced bread. However, it's not so powerfully nice that people avoid losing them at every opportunity. So, the gain of one extra should have penalties on about the same power level as the bonuses gained, from, say, a 4/5 casting class, right?
    Ok, wrong, but twice that penalty, in different areas, should be about right.

    Since you do have such a problem with killing the player's equipment choice, though, at the moment do you have any ideas that are still roughly equally as crippling to the character's power level, but less noticeable and that doesn't cripple the funlevel so much?
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    Default Re: I try again at a 6/5 spellcasting PrC (+ melee)

    Quote Originally Posted by flabort View Post
    Not to invalidate your point entirely, but that does take some merit out of your argument, no?
    Not really. The thing about the X/Y classes (where X < Y) is that they get by on interesting abilities or just plain fun class features. There are things other that raw power granted by those classes that make them interesting.

    A class that inflicts penalties in exchange for the most boring form of power increase (+numbers and +spells are, quite frankly, fairly mundane) has none of the draw that the X/Y classes do. Further, from a raw optimization standpoint, the loss of the caster level is enough to discourage all but a few of those X/Y classes from being good choices, and those few have incredibly powerful abilities to make up the difference.

    Finally, those classes offer a delay of potential power (more spells and better spells) for an up-front bonus of a fun and unique sort (class features). You're offering an up-front penalty of a crippling sort in exchange for the promise of a huge power boost in the future, which goes contrary to what I'd call fun design (it's basically saying "be weak now, so you can be overpowered in the future").

    As for crippling abilities, I can't say I have any ideas, as, in my experience, applying penalties for class selection is a universally bad move. If you can run counter to that experience then more power to you, but I can't think of anything that would be both balanced and fun.

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    Default Re: I try again at a 6/5 spellcasting PrC (+ melee)

    Allrighty, so that's part of my problem there. I'm giving the penalty all at once, and not enough benefit at once for the penalty at a time. So, I should give a thematic, but not too strong, very fun ability at the start that scales, and give a weak penalty that also scales, or several penalties over the course, that by the time the character receives that actually strong stuff, the penalty is stronger than the rest of the benefits, but balances out with the extra caster level.

    This would mean I give an up-front, fun bonus, like an X/Y class, and a gradual penalty, for the promise of a mundane but powerful increase later, and I'm still giving them a few nice features on top of that. "Start min-maxing early for prospective of being more min-maxed later, even if you don't know how" becomes the term then.

    That still leaves me with the problem of what bonus at the beginning to give (what would be fun to get, without being bland?), and what penalties to give.
    I'm thinking some sort of thematic Achilles heal, that comes up often, but leaves no penalty otherwise to begin with, and near the end some constant penalties.

    But what?
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    Default Re: I try again at a 6/5 spellcasting PrC (+ melee)

    2 quick points:

    First of all, everyone here keeps saying that extra caster levels are overpowered. What you should be saying is that extra levels of spellcasting is overpowered. To be even more accurate, extra levels of spellcasting within a single spellcasting class is overpowered (seeing as the mystic theurge typically gives 20 caster levels over 10 levels). There's an important distinction, there.

    Secondly, if the only goal of this class is to acquire access to PrCs early, there's actually a very simple way to balance this thing. Simply give the PrC an ability that prevents them from casting spells of the highest spell-level available to them or something of the like. That way, you still gain the benefit of an added caster level, gain a couple spell slots, and meet prereqs early on but can never actually access 9th level spells, making it a terrible option for powergamers.
    You'd have to mess with a language a bit so that you could still qualify for classes that require the ability "to cast" spells of a certain level but it still seems somewhat doable. Am I missing something here?
    Last edited by Realms of Chaos; 2011-02-10 at 08:03 PM.
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    Default Re: I try again at a 6/5 spellcasting PrC (+ melee)

    Well, if I tried that, cutting them off from their highest available level... Hold on . Did you say 'cast spells of their highest available level', or 'cast from spell slots of their highest available level'?
    They'd still be completely unable to cast 9th level spells, but they could use meta magic to cast from 9th level spell slots. That. Is. It.
    I still have work to do after that, but that is so much better than taking away the player's equipment.
    It still keeps it viable for powergamers, and for ordinary play, too, because they still get 9th level slots... but without 9th level spells to put in them, I almost force them to take metamagic feats...

    And then if I put some sort of penalty on the use of metamagic...
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    Default Re: I try again at a 6/5 spellcasting PrC (+ melee)

    I finally derived the language necessary to ban the highest level spells while still permitting metamagic/prerequisites.

    "Ability Name: A ___ is unable to cast spells with an unmodified spell level equal to the highest spell level that they are able to cast."

    That should more or less be the ticket.
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    Default Re: I try again at a 6/5 spellcasting PrC (+ melee)

    That is a very roundabout, albeit short, way of saying it, and is frankly very confusing. It does say the same thing as I was trying to get across in what I've just put up, and is very much shorter, but it may get mis-understood.

    Thanks, though! If someone complains about the length as written, I'll definitely reword mine to read more like yours.
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    Default Re: I try again at a 6/5 spellcasting PrC (+ melee)

    Quote Originally Posted by flabort View Post
    Why do I want 6/5 specifically? Early entry shenanigans. Yes, I made this class with the specific intent to use it to get into, say, archmage, a level ahead of schedule, or simply on time if you also take a 4/5 prestige class.
    Basically, I'm catering to min-maxers, while still trying to keep it actually playable without being DM-banned, overly powerful without specifically min-maxing, or so wholly underwhelming that it's no fun for anyone.
    And that's why this will never see play at an actually table, other than yours. I don't think any competent DM would let this fly, & "catering to min-maxers" is possibly the worst justification for OP abilities that I can think of. Early-entry shenanigans are contrary to a designer's intent, & therefore inherently unbalanced.

  23. - Top - End - #23
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    Default Re: I try again at a 6/5 spellcasting PrC (+ melee)

    Inherently, yes. But which way, and how much? And who's to say it can't overcome it's Inheritance? There have been, like a few thousand character's whose whole point was overcoming their inheritance (Not counting Dritz clones), so if a character can, why can't a class ?

    I already knew it was a flawed concept, and that I would spend a while off balance in one direction or the other. The real work is slowly adjusting the scales until they finally level off, leaving a fun class with an awesome bonus, and makes overcoming the challenges presented by the rest of the class a fun problem to overcome. It's already a ton more balanced than it was, but that's why I've brought it to the playground. So that they could PEACH, and help me balance it in ways I cannot alone.
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