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    Default [3.5, Base Class, Z-R] The Shadow [PEACH!]

    Ok, so, in the main mechanical thread, the first of the custom classes was posted just yesterday. I wanted more opinions though, so here it is. Gimme your best shot. Remember, this is a melee class shooting for Tier 3 or thereabouts in a game-world that has no ToB, so keep that in mind as you read and give me feedback.

    Also, this is for my campaign setting, so it has specific fluff. You can ignore that, if you wish.

    The Shadow
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    By Hideyoshi on deviantArt

    The Wheel never stops turning. My time will come again
    -Julian, Shadow, to his captors shortly before his violent escape from a Xanteld prison.

    Allow me to tell you a tale, initiate, of the first of our kind. He was a prisoner of the Intolians during the Shadowstar Wars, and when Xanteld was taken, he broke free and slipped deeper into the catacombs of the prison to avoid the invaders. Deep in the undercity, he discovered an imprisoned creature, and there he made a pact for power with it, power enough to fend off any attacker and to escape from any bonds. It is this pact we honor to this day, initiate. Never forget this promise.
    -A master of the Brotherhood of Shadows to a new initiate, relating the origin of their abilities.

    As the story tells, the Shadow class arose from a semi-mythical pact made between a mysterious creature in the deep undercity prisons of the Intolian city of Xanteld and a mortal who stumbled across the creature's cell during the Shadowstar Wars, when the qualnargan named Impulse sacked the city. The mortal escaped the carnage, and taught others to tap into the power he gained by making the same deal he did: a lifetime of power in exchange for a second lifetime, reborn into the creature's service.

    The powers granted by the creature are subtle, including the ability to focus with inhuman intensity on a task at hand and the power to bring the will to bear in every day life. The Brotherhood of Shadows trains new shadows in a unique martial art called the Wheel that focuses on defense and turning the aggressor's movements back on them. Shadows are patient, using time and caution as weapons against the impetuous.

    Abilities: Wisdom is the most vital ability for shadows, as it fuels their key class abilities. Dexterity and Constitution are both very useful as well, but less vital than Wisdom is.

    Role: The shadow is a secondary combatant and a skill user. Shadows can't deal massive amounts of damage, but they can turn almost anything back on its user. They have some infiltration and social abilities as well, letting them supplement the rogue in stealth and the bard in charming.

    Background: Shadows must make a pact to gain the extraordinary focus required to perform their martial arts. No one is born a shadow, all shadows are trained. To become a shadow, one must seek out another shadow for the teachings. In rare cases, a shadow can learn the art from one of the few texts written on the subject.

    Organization: The Brotherhood of Shadows, founded by the first shadow, trains the vast majority of all new shadows and keeps tabs on them all, permitting the shadows to use one another as a network of information and support. At the center of the Brotherhood sits an enigmatic figure, rumored to be the First Shadow, though he surely must have died of old age.

    Alignment: Shadows are overwhelmingly lawful, and cannot be chaotic. The extreme focus required for the path of the shadow precludes such modes of thought.

    Races: Any race can be a shadow, and in fact, the shadows count members of all the races in their ranks. The majority though come from Intolar, the home of the First Shadow and of the creature that powers them all.

    Religion: Shadows are drawn to gods of knowledge, focus, inward thought, and darkness. The Dark Five, Arioch, and Arthindol are all common deities for shadows.

    Other Classes: Other classes treat shadows like rogues and monks, for shadows can stick to the darkness like a rogue, but in combat appear far more like the fluid and supple monk. Spellcasters tend to overlook shadows as non-threats and front-line warriors file shadows under secondary targets. Rogues, monks, bards, and rangers all respect shadows for various reasons (rogues respect brothers of the dark; monks see equal, if different, martial skill; bards like that shadows have many interesting tales to tell; rangers respect the shadow's dedication to internal perfection).

    Hit Die: d10. Shadows are reactive, but still need to be able to take some hits.

    Starting Gold: 5d4x10 gp.

    Class Features

    Class Skills: The Shadow's class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Acrobatics (Dex), Bluff (Cha), Disable Device (Int), Disguise (Cha), Intimidate (Cha), Knowledge (all, Int), Perception (Wis), Sense Motive (Wis), Stealth (Dex), Battle Meditation (Wis), and Use Magic Device (Cha).

    Skill Points at First Level: (4+Int Mod)x4
    Skill Points at Each Additional Level: 4+Int Mod
    The Shadow
    Level Base Attack Bonus Fort Save Ref Save Will Save Special
    1st +0 +0 +2 +1 The Wheel, Focus +1d6
    2nd +1 +0 +3 +2 Block +1/+0
    3rd +2 +1 +3 +2 Focus +2d6, Negate
    4th +3 +1 +4 +2 Candle's Flicker
    5th +3 +1 +4 +3 Focus +3d6, Block +1/+1
    6th +4 +2 +5 +3 Deflection
    7th +5 +2 +5 +4 Focus +4d6
    8th +6/+1 +2 +6 +4 Block +2/+1
    9th +6/+1 +3 +6 +4 Focus +5d6
    10th +7/+2 +3 +7 +5 Rapid Focus
    11th +8/+3 +3 +7 +5 Redirect, Focus +6d6, Block +2/+2
    12th +9/+4 +4 +8 +6 Multi-Negate
    13th +9/+4 +4 +8 +6 Focus +7d6
    14th +10/+5 +4 +9 +6 Block +3/+2
    15th +11/+6/+1 +5 +9 +7 Focus +8d6
    16th +12/+7/+2 +5 +10 +7 Reflect
    17th +12/+7/+2 +5 +10 +8 Focus +9d6, Block +3/+3
    18th +13/+8/+3 +6 +11 +8 -
    19th +14/+9/+4 +6 +11 +8 Focus +10d6
    20th +15/+10/+5 +6 +12 +9 The Wheel's End, Block +4/+3

    Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Shadows gain proficiency with the gauntlet, spiked gauntlet, dagger, quarterstaff, sling, kukri, scythe, claw bracer, ward cestus, chakram, hand razor, switchblade, armblade, double dagger, and the hook and dagger. Shadows are proficient with light armor, but no shields.

    Note: The claw bracer, ward cestus, and chakram are from Arms and Equipment Guide. The hand razor, switchblade, armblade, double dagger, and the hook and dagger are from here.

    The Wheel (Ex): The core foundation of the art of the shadow, The Wheel is a unique martial art style that emphasizes patience and conservation of motion. Without The Wheel, shadows would be nothing more than supernaturally empowered rogues. The Wheel is both the pact and the results of the pact that empower the shadows.

    At 1st level, a shadow gains both the Improved Unarmed Strike and Superior Unarmed Strike feats, and gains proficiency with his own unarmed strikes. Additionally, he may designate up to three kinds of weapons he is proficient with as weapons of The Wheel. These weapons may be used with all Shadow class features. The shadow also gains a morale bonus to damage rolls made with unarmed strikes and weapons of The Wheel equal to his shadow class level.

    Additionally, whenever anyone attacks the shadow in melee, he may, as a free action, make an attack back at his highest attack bonus. The shadow's attack resolves after the provoking attack. This action may only be taken once per round.

    Should the shadow become chaotic in alignment through his own actions (so, involuntary alignment shifts do not trigger this, such as putting on an unidentified helm of opposite alignment, though pulling the Balance card of a deck of many things would count, since the shadow does so voluntarily), he loses all benefits of this class feature, and of all other shadow class features, until he properly atones for his misdeeds and regains a lawful alignment.

    Focus (Su): The first of the techniques taught by The Wheel, the shadow learns to hone his senses and reaction time to such a degree that when striking in a reactive manner, they are actually more precise and damaging than a simply normal strike. To achieve Focus requires a standard action, and Focus lasts for one round. Any attack (melee or ranged) made while in Focus deals the listed bonus damage and gains a morale bonus to the attack equal to their Wisdom modifier. This damage is not considered precision damage, and so affects everything (undead and constructs too).

    Block (Su): The first true defensive technique learned by the shadow, block lets shadows use The Wheel to their advantage if they desire it. As a swift action, the shadow may declare a block against one opponent, causing two effects.

    First, if that opponent either attacks the shadow in melee or forces a saving throw from the shadow in the next round, the shadow gains the listed number as a morale bonus to AC and to saves for one round (+1/+0 means +1 AC/+0 saves, etc). If that opponent doesn't attack the shadow or force a saving throw, that block has no effect.

    Second, the opponent must make a Will save (DC 10+1/2 the shadow's class level+the shadow's Wisdom modifier). If they fail the save, they suffer a morale penalty to attacks, damage, saves, and armor class equal to -2/3 shadow class levels if they do not attack the shadow in their next action. If they do attack the shadow, they don't suffer the penalties. If they succeed on the save, nothing happens. This is not a mind-affecting effect. Block cannot be used when the shadow is denied their Dex bonus to AC.

    Block is not a physical motion, instead serving as a supernatural protection against the shadow's foes.

    Negate (Su): Considered by some to be the most symbolic of the shadow's abilities, Negate lets the shadow simply stop attacks. Once/encounter, as an immediate action, the shadow may designate any attack, spell, spell-like ability, or supernatural ability that includes him in its area of effect, and simply negate it, stopping its effect entirely. If a spell, SLA, or supernatural ability, the entire effect ends for all targets. If an attack, it deals no damage. Negate must be used in conjunction with the effect to be stopped. For example, Julian the Shadow is hit with a fireball and would rather not be on fire, so he uses Negate to cancel the spell. In a later encounter, Julian walks into an already extant web spell. He can't use Negate here, since the spell already existed. If an enemy had cast web on him, he could have Negated it, since it would be contiguous with the spell's casting.

    Negate cannot be used when the shadow is denied their Dex bonus to AC or when the shadow is held or immobilized.

    Candle's Flicker (Su): The art of the shadow is an ever-flowing one, constantly circling and moving, much like the movement of a shadow from a flame upon a wall. To this end, the power that fuels a shadow can be shaped and moved, much like that flame. At the beginning of an encounter, the shadow gains a bonus feat selected from the following list. He gains a number of bonus feats equal to 1/4th his class level rounded down, and they last for the duration of the encouter. When the encounter ends, the feats go away. These feats cannot be used as prerequisites. The feat list for this ability is the following:
    • Improved Trip
    • Improved Disarm
    • Improved Feint
    • Spring Attack
    • Improved Grapple
    • Stunning Fist
    • Lightning Reflexes/Iron Will/Great Fortitude (if selected, the shadow gains the benefits of all three of these as one feat)
    • Manyshot
    • Shot on the Run
    • Rapid Shot
    • Cloak Dance (this feat cannot be selected until level 8)
    • Deadly Precision (this applies to Focus damage)
    • Stand Still


    Deflection (Ex): Shadows are primarily melee warriors, and always have been. At some point, it was realized that this leaves the shadow vulnerable to ranged attacks. To counteract this weakness, the Brotherhood of Shadows convened and developed a new addition to The Wheel, the stance of deflection. Deflection requires a move action to enter, and lasts for a number of rounds equal to the shadow's class level. While in the stance the shadow gains two benefits. First, Block applies to ranged attacks as well as melee ones. Second, the shadow gains the benefits of the Deflect Arrows and Snatch Arrows feats, but may use these feats with spells and spell-like abilities, as well as normal projectiles, meaning the shadow can Snatch Arrows and throw back ray spells and other spells that produce projectiles.

    Rapid Focus (Ex): At 10th level, the shadow's senses sharpen further. He may now use Focus as a move action.

    Redirect (Su): Another technique taught by The Wheel, Redirect allows a shadow to alter the targets of attacks. As an immediate action, a shadow may change the target of a melee or ranged attack taking place within 60 ft to another target, also within 60 ft. This is most often used to redirect attacks from allies to himself, and then responded to using The Wheel or Deflection.

    Multi-Negate (Su): The shadow may now use Negate a number of times per encounter equal to his class level divided by four, rounded up.

    Reflect (Su): One of the greatest abilities at the shadow's disposal, Reflect lets a shadow return attacks to whence they came. Once/encounter, when the shadow uses Negate to stop an effect, he may instead stop the effect and subject the user of that effect to its full effects instead. This uses both a use of Reflect and of Negate. For example, Julian the Shadow decides he'd rather not be targeted with a finger of death, and instead that he doesn't like the guy who cast it, so he Reflects it back on the caster. The caster fails his save, and dies to his own spell. Another example, Julian is attacked by someone casting a horrid wilting spell. Julian uses Reflect to both cancel the spell's normal effects and to subject the caster to the spell alone (the spell does not center on the caster, the caster is just treated as having been in the area of the spell, and so makes all appropriate rolls and whatnot).

    Reflect cannot be used when the shadow is denied their Dex bonus to AC or when the shadow is held or immobilized.

    The Wheel's End (Su): Common wisdom says that a wheel, like a circle, has no end. The shadows know better. At the pinnacle of their careers, the shadows are finally tasked to pay what they owe to that which granted them their power. The Wheel's End is the payment of that debt. The soul of the shadow is stripped away, called to serve its dark master. However, the shadow's body and mind endure.

    The shadow gains the Monstrous Humanoid type and the Shadow subtype. Additionally, the shadow gains a few new, incredible, powers. The shadow may use The Wheel up to once/round/four class levels, rounded up. The shadow may also use Reflect twice/encounter. The shadow may use Focus as a free action once per round as well.

    Finally, the shadow may call upon The Wheel's power once per day as an immediate action in an encounter. When the shadow uses The Wheel's End in this manner, he immediately ends the turn order (depriving everything after him of their actions for the turn) and makes one attack at his highest attack bonus and one block (gaining all relevant bonuses) against every enemy in the encounter, regardless of range from the shadow in the case of melee attacks. The turn order resumes at the top of the order (and if that's the shadow, he gets to immediately act again). However, invoking The Wheel's End in this fashion is draining, and the shadow gains one negative level for 24 hours thereafter. This negative level disappears without penalty after the 24 hour period is up.
    Last edited by arguskos; 2014-04-05 at 08:55 PM.

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    Default Re: [3.5, Zaaman-Rul] The Shadow [PEACH!]

    Looking through it, I'd say it's fairly powerful, but within the range you were shooting for-it's got good defenses and a fairly good offense.

    Also, with The Wheel's End, if I'm reading it correctly you should add a clause that states that the Shadow cannot lose a level because of it, as it lasts long enough to do so, IIRC, and there's no save listed to keep from losing a level.

    I was going to mention Focus requiring a standard action, but as I read I saw that it's slowly reduced, which seems nice and flavorful.
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    Default Re: [3.5, Zaaman-Rul] The Shadow [PEACH!]

    Quote Originally Posted by PersonMan View Post
    Looking through it, I'd say it's fairly powerful, but within the range you were shooting for-it's got good defenses and a fairly good offense.

    Also, with The Wheel's End, if I'm reading it correctly you should add a clause that states that the Shadow cannot lose a level because of it, as it lasts long enough to do so, IIRC, and there's no save listed to keep from losing a level.
    I'll add a clause saying it goes away at the end of that 24-hour period. The intent was to have a long-period penalty for using something so powerful.

    I was going to mention Focus requiring a standard action, but as I read I saw that it's slowly reduced, which seems nice and flavorful.
    Yeah, Rapid Focus and The Wheel's End reduce it over time, which was the idea.

    Glad you liked it. Thanks for the feedback!

    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: [3.5, Zaaman-Rul] The Shadow [PEACH!]

    First reactions:
    - Hmmm this class would be pretty sick with a Robilar's Gambit type build as Focus lasts for one round.

    - But I still dislike the MAD the class presents. Any way to reduce it?

    - Negate is a little too all emcompassing. The way it is written it would stop epic level spells as well. Suggest perhaps a "negation" roll vs I dunno Caster Level or Attack Bonus with modifiers based on Shadow class levels and Wisdom?
    I'm thinking of like a SR/Wall of Blades amalgam, since you're shooting for Tier 3 and ToB chars would set the bar.

    - Wondering about Heavy Armor and musing on how a heavy armor wearing Shadow would not have his abilities reduced at all :D
    Quote Originally Posted by mootoall View Post
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    Default Re: [3.5, Zaaman-Rul] The Shadow [PEACH!]

    Quote Originally Posted by abadguy View Post
    First reactions:
    - Hmmm this class would be pretty sick with a Robilar's Gambit type build as Focus lasts for one round.
    Indeed it would be.

    - But I still dislike the MAD the class presents. Any way to reduce it?
    It's not that MAD, IMO. I wanted Wisdom to matter on a martial character, so I made it important without making it overpoweringly so.

    - Negate is a little too all emcompassing. The way it is written it would stop epic level spells as well. Suggest perhaps a "negation" roll vs I dunno Caster Level or Attack Bonus with modifiers based on Shadow class levels and Wisdom?
    I'm thinking of like a SR/Wall of Blades amalgam, since you're shooting for Tier 3 and ToB chars would set the bar.
    Hmm. I kinda was looking to avoid a check with Negate, but this is now the second time I've heard that (a buddy of mine off line suggested it as well).

    I'm hesitant though. Perhaps if I made it so it can only stop effects of the shadows level+Wis mod and lower (so, CL=<shadow level+wis mod; AB=<shadow level+wis mod, etc)?

    - Wondering about Heavy Armor and musing on how a heavy armor wearing Shadow would not have his abilities reduced at all :D
    That's the idea. Just have to get access to that armor. Remember, if you dip at all into anything, you lose access to The Wheel's End until epic.

    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: [3.5, Zaaman-Rul] The Shadow [PEACH!]

    2nd reactions:

    I realise this, keeping with your "shadow" themed homebrew, the Extinguisher is more rogue-like while this is more monk-like.

    Quote Originally Posted by arguskos View Post
    It's not that MAD, IMO. I wanted Wisdom to matter on a martial character, so I made it important without making it overpoweringly so.
    Mmmm well a Shadow character would feel the need to put at least a 12 or 14. Dex would have to be at least a 14 for AC due to light armor. Str is still needed to hit things or damage normally. Con is always needed. So still a little mad, unlike say a Warblade or Crusader. Or Factotum.

    Quote Originally Posted by arguskos View Post
    Hmm. I kinda was looking to avoid a check with Negate, but this is now the second time I've heard that (a buddy of mine off line suggested it as well).

    I'm hesitant though. Perhaps if I made it so it can only stop effects of the shadows level+Wis mod and lower (so, CL=<shadow level+wis mod; AB=<shadow level+wis mod, etc)?
    Yeah I understand what you're trying to do with this class ability but if played as written, I would see the Shadow as a dip class, like a monk. 4 level dip for a you-don't-win button and swappable combat feat!

    Also IMHO the Wheel's End is not so much of a tasty capstone like how, say, the Factotum's Level 16? 17? Capstone or a Warblade's capstone and Level 9 manuever is.

    May I also suggest pumping in some more "basic" class abilities for the player to look forward to? e.g uncanny dodge, evasion, mettle?, SR? Immunities?

    One more thing: is the shadow able to use his Block/Negate/Reflect abilities while flat footed, held, bound etc. Would be good to clarify that.
    Quote Originally Posted by mootoall View Post
    You. You and your natural 20s. Why do you hog them? Why?

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    Default Re: [3.5, Zaaman-Rul] The Shadow [PEACH!]

    Quote Originally Posted by abadguy View Post
    2nd reactions:

    I realise this, keeping with your "shadow" themed homebrew, the Extinguisher is more rogue-like while this is more monk-like.
    Indeed it is.

    Mmmm well a Shadow character would feel the need to put at least a 12 or 14. Dex would have to be at least a 14 for AC due to light armor. Str is still needed to hit things or damage normally. Con is always needed. So still a little mad, unlike say a Warblade or Crusader. Or Factotum.
    And I'm kinda ok with that. You can get away with Dex, Wis, everything else secondary if you're tricky (using The Wheel and Focus for Wis SAD), or you can ignore Wisdom as a prime stat and use it for ancillary benefits only if you'd rather.

    I think part of this is that I'm moderately generous with my stat generation and having one or no stats under 10 is normal in my games, so it doesn't cross my mind much. Any ideas on cutting it down a little?

    Yeah I understand what you're trying to do with this class ability but if played as written, I would see the Shadow as a dip class, like a monk. 4 level dip for a you-don't-win button and swappable combat feat!
    4 levels isn't a dip to me, it's a dedication, and I'm cool with that.

    Also IMHO the Wheel's End is not so much of a tasty capstone like how, say, the Factotum's Level 16? 17? Capstone or a Warblade's capstone and Level 9 manuever is.
    Hmm. I'll think about fiddling with it some. It feels ok to me, but I can see how it might be viewed as a bit light.

    May I also suggest pumping in some more "basic" class abilities for the player to look forward to? e.g uncanny dodge, evasion, mettle?, SR? Immunities?
    Eh. I could add Evasion and Uncanny Dodge somewhere. Seems like stuff the class would have.

    One more thing: is the shadow able to use his Block/Negate/Reflect abilities while flat footed, held, bound etc. Would be good to clarify that.
    Huh. Nah, I don't think such will be available when denied Dex bonus to AC. or when immobilized in some way. Great catch, thanks for that!

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    Default Re: [3.5, Zaaman-Rul] The Shadow [PEACH!]

    As I see it, wisdom, though you intended to make it important to this class, it really isn't that useful. The only thing it affects is the save DC for Block. I would give the class WIS to AC against a target of Block, or maybe whenever you haven't yet used the Wheel in that round.

    The other potential issue is that this class is a better de-trapper than the rogue- simply walk down the corridor announcing that you are readied to use Negate on any trap that targets you.
    @V: So it does. Also, if you want to work in AC bonus, consider replacing the by-level block bonus with WIS+ a reduced flat bonus.
    Last edited by Drynwyn; 2011-05-07 at 08:19 PM.

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    Default Re: [3.5, Zaaman-Rul] The Shadow [PEACH!]

    Quote Originally Posted by Drynwyn View Post
    As I see it, wisdom, though you intended to make it important to this class, it really isn't that useful. The only thing it affects is the save DC for Block. I would give the class WIS to AC against a target of Block, or maybe whenever you haven't yet used the Wheel in that round.
    It also impacts your attack bonus with Focus. It's pretty useful. I wanted to work in Wis to AC somewhere, but couldn't really justify it anywhere.

    The other potential issue is that this class is a better de-trapper than the rogue- simply walk down the corridor announcing that you are readied to use Negate on any trap that targets you.
    That depends on how your DM interprets "encounter". Personally, I use the following definition:
    "Any once/encounter ability may be used once per combat situation or once between combat situations."

    This is just how I'd do it. Ask your DM.

    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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