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    PairO'Dice Lost's Avatar

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    Dec 2008
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    Default [3.5 Base Class] The Divine Champion: Giving the half-casters some love

    Design Notes
    Spoiler
    Show
    The Divine Champion class aims to do three main things:
    1. From a mechanical perspective, it aims to give the fairly underwhelming half-casters (those classes with up to 4th level spells, the paladin, the ranger, the assassin, and the hexblade) a major boost in the power and flexibility department.
    2. From a flavor perspective, it aims to tie the mentioned classes together and give them a theme beyond just being lukewarm versions of cleric/fighters, druid/fighters, sorcerer/fighters, and sorcerer/rogues, respectively.
    3. From a design perspective, it aims to get feedback on an AD&D-esque class structure I've been fiddling with for a while, that of a “main class” that determines common abilities to the class, a “subclass” that gives abilities unique to each subclass but similar between them (e.g. all subclasses get some sort of aura at 4th level), and a further distinction (fighting style, in this case) to differentiate characters of the same subclass.


    So, the feedback I'm looking for is:
    1) Does this power up the half-casters in a satisfying way? I'm trying to make them roughly 2/3 caster, 1/3 martial, but I might have missed the mark.
    2) Is this too complex? The Divine Champion has roughly the resource complexity of a paladin (spells plus turn undead analog plus lay on hands analog), but the added class features might push it over the edge.
    3) Do the different subclasses feel like their origin classes? The Divine Champion is not intended as a straight-up fix for any of the four classes—think variations on a theme, not Ranger 2.0—but I want people to be able to play a Divine Champion [Paladin] and feel sufficiently paladin-y.
    4) Does the class/subclass/style structure make sense? I think it should be intuitive, but then I did come up with it.
    5) Are there any other classes you'd like to see written up like this? The class structure is extensible by design, so if someone wanted me to write up the samurai as a Divine Champion of Honor (or whatever) I could do so.

    Without further ado, read and (hopefully) enjoy!


    THE DIVINE CHAMPION


    A divine champion is a warrior for a higher cause. Not a god, demon prince, or other personified cause, but transcendent concepts: a divine champion fights for Good or Evil, for Love or War, for Light or Darkness, for Fire or Winter or Knowledge or one of a thousand other causes.

    Adventures: Unbound by the strictures of an organized religion or the hierarchy of a church, divine champions fight to advance their causes and destroy enemies of their causes, wherever such a quest may take them.

    Characteristics: Divine champions possess both great martial skill and the ability to channel power from their strong faith in their cause, so they excel both in and out of combat in varying ways depending on the cause they champion.

    Alignment: Some causes are restricted by alignment and some are not, so divine champions may be of any alignment appropriate to their chosen cause.

    Religion: A divine champion rejects organized religion as being impure and constraining; a Divine Champion of Order likely respects deities of law and their churches but does not follow them himself.

    Background: Some divine champions are born and some are made; usually a divine champion will choose to dedicate himself to a cause he believes in, but sometimes a divine champion will feel a calling from a higher power and take up the mantle of divine champion at an early age.

    Races: Members of any race may become divine champions, and in fact one can become a Champion of Humanity or the like if such a cause appeals.

    Other Classes: Divine champions get along famously with clerics of a cause, who similarly approach the Divine without the unnecessary intermediaries of organized religion, even if their causes don't quite align, and they respect even opposed clerics for the strength of their convictions. Otherwise, class doesn't matter to a divine champion as much as their relation to the cause: a Champion of War will approve of fighters and martially-inclined wizards alike, and so forth for other causes.

    Role: The divine champion is primarily a combatant and party supporter, able to mix it up in combat and aid his allies in doing the same. His spells tend towards enhancing his own abilities and providing out-of-combat utility, making him nicely well-rounded.

    GAME RULE INFORMATION
    Divine champions have the following game statistics.
    Abilities: A divine champion's key ability score is either Wisdom or Charisma, and he will also want a good Strength or Dexterity depending on his fighting style.
    Alignment: Any (but see Subclass, below)
    Hit Die: d10
    Starting Age: As ranger
    Starting Gold: As paladin

    Class Skills
    The divine champion's class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Balance (Dex), Climb (Str), Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Jump (Str), Knowledge (Religion) (Int), Swim (Str), and Tumble (Dex), and see Subclass, below.

    Skill Points at 1st Level: (4 + Int modifier) x 4
    Skill Points at Each Additional Level: 4 + Int modifier

    {table=head]Table: The Divine Champion|
    Spells Per Day
    |
    Spells Retrieved

    {table=head] Level|BAB|Fort|Ref|Will|Special
    1|+1|+2|+0|+0|Divine Favor, Smite Anathema, Fighting Style
    2|+2|+3|+0|+0|Subclass
    3|+3|+3|+1|+1|Divine Protection
    4|+4|+4|+1|+1|Subclass, Fighting Style
    5|+5|+4|+1|+1|Bonded Companion
    6|+6|+5|+2|+2|Devoted Skill
    7|+7|+5|+2|+2|Subclass, Fighting Style
    8|+8|+6|+2|+2|Enhance Weapon
    9|+9|+6|+3|+3|Subclass
    10|+10|+7|+3|+3|Turn Anathema, Fighting Style
    11|+11|+7|+3|+3|Determined Resilience
    12|+12|+8|+4|+4|Subclass
    13|+13|+8|+4|+4|Channel Faith, Fighting Style
    14|+14|+9|+4|+4|Subclass
    15|+15|+9|+5|+5|Implacable Nemesis
    16|+16|+10|+5|+5|Empower the Masses, Fighting Style
    17|+17|+10|+5|+5|Subclass
    18|+18|+11|+6|+6|Eternal Champion
    19|+19|+11|+6|+6|Subclass, Fighting Style
    20|+20|+12|+6|+6|Intercession
    [/table]|{table=head] 1st|2nd|3rd|4th|5th|6th
    —|—|—|—|—|—
    1|—|—|—|—|—
    2|—|—|—|—|—
    2|—|—|—|—|—
    2|1|—|—|—|—
    2|2|—|—|—|—
    2|2|—|—|—|—
    3|2|1|—|—|—
    3|2|2|—|—|—
    3|2|2|—|—|—
    3|3|2|1|—|—
    3|3|2|2|—|—
    4|3|2|2|—|—
    4|3|3|2|1|—
    4|3|3|2|2|—
    4|4|3|2|2|—
    4|4|3|3|2|1
    5|4|3|3|2|2
    5|4|4|3|2|2
    5|4|4|3|3|2
    [/table]|{table=head] 1st|2nd|3rd|4th|5th|6th
    —|—|—|—|—|—
    3|—|—|—|—|—
    3|—|—|—|—|—
    3|—|—|—|—|—
    3|3|—|—|—|—
    3|3|—|—|—|—
    3|3|—|—|—|—
    3|3|3|—|—|—
    3|3|3|—|—|—
    3|3|3|—|—|—
    3|3|3|3|—|—
    4|3|3|3|—|—
    4|3|3|3|—|—
    4|3|3|3|3|—
    4|4|3|3|3|—
    4|4|3|3|3|—
    4|4|3|3|3|3
    4|4|4|3|3|3
    4|4|4|3|3|3
    4|4|4|3|3|3[/table][/table]

    Class Features
    All of the following are class features of the divine champion.

    Spoiler
    Show
    Weapon and Armor Proficiencies: Divine champions are proficient with all simple and martial weapons and with light and medium armor.

    Saving Throws: A divine champion chooses either Reflex or Will to have a good saving throw progression for his divine champion levels (in addition to Fortitude); the saving throw not chosen remains at a poor progression.

    Subclass: Each divine champion chooses a different cause and gains different abilities based on the cause chosen. Upon taking a level in divine champion, a divine champion chooses a subclass from the list given after the class description. Each subclass grants special abilities at the levels indicated on the table above, as well as determining the rest of his class skills and an additional minor benefit.

    Fighting Style: Each subclass grants access to two fighting styles. Upon taking a level in divine champion, a divine champion chooses one of the two styles offered by his subclass to follow and gains the two bonus feats associated with the chosen style. At each level indicated on the table above, he gains any bonus feat of his choice that requires one of those two feats as a prerequisite; he may ignore any other prerequisites aside from base attack bonus- or level-based prerequisites when taking the feat.

    Starting at 13th level, the divine champion may ignore base attack bonus- and level-based prerequisites, allowing him to take fighter-only feats, epic feats, and similar, though the feats chosen must still be feats with one of the two associated style feats as a prerequisite.

    Divine Favor (Su): Upon taking a level in divine champion, a divine champion chooses either his Wisdom or Charisma score to become his key ability score for the class. He gains a number of uses of the Divine Favor ability per day equal to 3+his key ability modifier, which can be spent to activate or enhance his other class features. Divine Favor counts as the ability to turn or rebuke undead for the purposes of meeting prerequisites, spending attempts to activate divine feats, and similar, but not for the purpose of gaining additional daily uses of divine favor.

    Spellcasting: A divine champion casts spells from a spell list determined by his subclass (see the individual subclass descriptions). To retrieve or cast a spell, a divine champion must have a key ability score of at least 10 + spell level, and the DC for a saving throw against a divine champion's spell is 10 + spell level + key ability modifier. A divine champion gains bonus spells for a high key ability modifier as normal, and his caster level for his spells is equal to his class level.

    Like a sorcerer, a divine champion knows only a small number of spells. However, each day a divine champion may change the spells he knows, meditating quietly at a certain time of day of the divine champion's choosing. Each time a divine champion meditates to regain his daily allotment of spells, he focuses on a different aspect of the cause he champions to retrieve knowledge of the specific spells he wishes to be able to use that day. He can cast any spell he has retrieved at any time in any combination, assuming he has not yet used up his spells per day for that spell level.

    In addition to the spell lists associated with the subclasses, each subclass has five domains associated with it. When retrieving spells, the divine champion chooses one associated domain and adds its spells to his spell list for the purposes of retrieving spells that day as well as gaining its granted power for the day. If a divine champion gains access to additional domains somehow (such as through a prestige class) they are added to the list of domains he may choose from in this manner.

    If a divine champion knows any metamagic feats he may either retrieve a spell with metamagic applied, in which case the spell is cast without increasing the casting time, or he may apply metamagic when casting a spell and increase the spell's casting time as normal for spontaneous casters.

    Smite Anathema (Su): Each subclass defines a set of creatures considered to be anathema to the divine champion's cause (such as evil outsiders and undead for paladins; see the subclass descriptions for details). Whenever a divine champion makes a successful attack against such a creature with a weapon or a spell or spell-like ability requiring an attack roll, he deals additional damage equal to his class level; the extra damage dealt is of the same type of damage as that dealt by the attack delivering the smite.

    When attacking such a creature, a divine champion may spend one use of divine favor as a free action to enhance this ability: he adds his key ability modifier to the attack roll and the damage dealt ignores any damage reduction, hardness, and energy resistance the target may have (except for DR/epic, which he may only penetrate if he has at least one epic feat).

    Divine Protection (Su): At 3rd level, a divine champion adds his key ability modifier to all saving throws. As an immediate action, the divine champion may spend one use of divine favor to extend this protection to all allies within 60 feet for 1 minute.

    Bonded Companion (Sp): At 5th level, the divine champion chooses one creature considered to be allied with the divine champion's cause (such as good outsiders for paladins; see the subclass descriptions for details) with a challenge rating no higher than half his character level. Once per day as a full-round action, he may summon that creature to serve him. The creature appears adjacent to him and remains for up to 12 hours, and may be dismissed as a free action. The companion is the same individual each time and is friendly to the divine champion as long as he is loyal to his cause and treats the companion well. Summoning the companion is a Conjuration (Summoning) effect, and the companion cannot use any (Summoning) abilities it may have while summoned.

    The divine champion may spend one use of divine favor to instead physically call his companion for 1 hour. As the companion is physically present, the divine champion may give it equipment to carry with it when summoned, the companion can enter areas that hedge out summoned creatures, it can use its own summoning abilities, and so forth, but it is in actual danger of dying. If the companion is slain, the divine champion may not summon a new companion for one month, until the companion is resurrected, or until the divine champion gains a level, whichever comes first, and the divine champion suffers from one negative level during this period which may not be removed until he can once again summon his companion.

    Each time the divine champion gains a level in the divine champion class, he may change his companion by either choosing a different companion creature of an appropriate challenge rating or by advancing his existing companion by hit dice until it reaches the maximum allowed challenge rating using the normal monster advancement rules.

    Devoted Skill (Ex): At 6th level, a divine champion adds half his level as a sacred or profane bonus (as appropriate to his alignment, his choice if morally neutral) to all checks involving the key skills of his subclass (see the subclass descriptions for details). As a free action, a divine champion may spend one use of divine favor to be able to take 10 on all checks involving his subclass's key skills for 1 minute.

    Enhance Weapon (Sp): Beginning at 8th level, any weapon the divine champion wields is treated as having the bane weapon quality against any creatures anathema to his cause and as being under the effects of a greater magic weapon spell with a caster level equal to his own for as long as he wields it.

    As a standard action, a divine champion may spend one use of divine favor to add an additional weapon quality to one weapon he wields for 1 minute. This weapon ability must have an effective bonus of no more than +2 and be thematically related in some way to the divine champion's cause or his fighting style (such as merciful for a paladin, seeking for a ranger with the Archery style, and so forth); whether a weapon quality is thematically appropriate is left to the DM's discretion.

    Turn Anathema (Su): At 10th level, the divine champion gains the ability to turn or destroy creatures anathema to his cause as a good cleric of his class level turns or destroys undead, spending divine favor uses in place of turn undead attempts and using his key ability score in place of Charisma.

    Determined Resilience (Ex): At 11th level, if the divine champion chose to have a good Reflex save progression for his divine champion levels, he gains the Improved Evasion ability (as a ranger); if he chose a good Will save progression, he gains the Mettle ability (as a hexblade) instead.

    As an immediate action, if the divine champion fails any saving throw he may spend one use of divine favor to re-roll it and take the better result.

    Channel Faith (Sp): Beginning at 13th level, when retrieving spells for the day a divine champion chooses two domains instead of one to gain their granted power and be able to retrieve their spells.

    As a full-round action, the divine champion may cast a 7th level spell from one of his two chosen domains by spending one use of divine favor and expending a number of spell levels' worth of unused spell slots equal to the level of the spell to be cast. He may do the same to cast an 8th level domain spell starting at 16th level, and may do the same to cast a 9th level domain spell starting at 19th level.

    Implacable Nemesis (Su): Starting at 15th level, the divine champion can sense the presence of all creatures anathema to his cause within 1 mile and pinpoint their exact location (distance and direction) relative to himself. Physical barriers and obstructions do not block this sense, but it does not allow the divine champion to see an invisible or hidden creature, although he can still discern its location.

    Additionally, if a divine champion successfully deals damage to a creature anathema to his cause, he may spend one use of divine favor as a swift action to “mark” the creature. The divine champion always knows the direction in which a marked target lies and the approximate distance (within 10% of the total distance) between him and the target. If the target is on a different plane of existence, the divine champion instead knows the plane the target is on and the distance and direction to the closest portal, astral pool, or other passageway from his current plane to that plane.

    A divine champion may maintain as many simultaneous marks as he can spare divine favor uses, and each mark on the target creature lasts indefinitely; however, as long as a mark lasts the divine champion does not regain the use of divine favor he spent to mark the target. After 24 hours have passed since he marked a target, he may dismiss the mark as a free action and regain the spent use of divine favor.

    Empower the Masses (Su): As a standard action, a 16th level divine champion may spend one use of divine favor to share the benefits of his Smite Anathema, Divine Protection, and Enhance Weapon class features with all allies within 60 feet for 1 hour. Affected allies do not gain any benefit if the divine champion spends additional uses of divine power to enhance one of these abilities.

    Eternal Champion (Ex): Upon attaining 18th level, a divine champion no longer takes penalties to his ability scores for aging and cannot be magically aged, though penalties already taken remain and bonuses continue to accrue. The divine champion may permanently sacrifice one use of divine favor at any time after gaining this ability to cease aging at that point; otherwise, he continues aging and dies of old age when his time is up.

    As an immediate action, if the divine champion would be killed by hit point damage, ability damage or drain, or a failed Fortitude saving throw, he may spend one use of divine favor to be left at alive and conscious with at least 1 hit point and 1 point in each ability score remaining.

    Intercession (Sp): Once per day a divine champion may spend two uses of divine favor to cast any miracle that is in line with or advances his cause. If the divine champion requests a more powerful miracle, the XP cost of doing so is halved.


    SUBCLASSES

    THE PALADIN, CHAMPION OF GOOD
    Spoiler
    Show


    Paladins are agents of goodness in the world, protecting the innocent from the cruelty of evildoers and representing the ideals of compassion and charity. Much more than mere warrior-priests, paladins are accomplished healers and leaders, able to remove any affliction from the injured and ensure that their followers's hearts and minds remain pure.

    Characteristics
    Alignment: A divine champion who chooses the paladin subclass may be of any good alignment.

    Skills and Perk: A paladin adds Gather Information, Sense Motive, Diplomacy, Heal, Knowledge (Planes), and Knowledge (Nobility) to his list of class skills and gains proficiency with heavy armor and light and heavy shields thanks to his training to guard innocents.

    Enemies: The creatures anathema to a paladin are all evil creatures: Outsiders and Undead with the (Evil) subtype, and any creatures currently working towards evil ends—not merely petty thugs robbing travelers, but those actively pursuing evil acts such as murderers and those actively in service to an evil master or organization.

    Allies: Creatures allied with a paladin that he may choose for his companion are any Outsiders with the (Good) subtype and all Animals with the Celestial Creature template applied to them.

    Spells: The paladin retrieves spells from the paladin spell list and may choose his retrieved domains from among Good, Protection, Community, Glory, and Purification.

    Fighting Style: For his fighting style and bonus feats, the paladin may choose between Knight (Combat Reflexes and Stand Still) or Guardian (Shield Specialization and Improved Shield Bash).

    Subclass Features:
    2: Lay On Hands (Sp): The paladin possesses a reservoir of powerful healing energy, represented by a pool of points with a capacity of 1/2 * key ability modifier * class level, which fills each day when the paladin retrieves spells. The paladin may touch one or more creatures as a standard or full-round action as if delivering a touch spell to heal living creatures' hit points on a 1-fot-1 basis; this is a positive energy effect, so he may touch undead creatures to damage them at the same rate. The paladin may refill his pool to full capacity (losing any unspent points) by meditating for 1 minute and spending one use of divine favor.

    4: Aura of Purity (Su): A paladin is immune to fear and disease, and all of his allies within 60 feet of him gain a +4 morale bonus on saves against the same. Additionally, the paladin and all affected allies gain a +4 morale bonus to Heal checks and any checks or saves related to avoiding distractions (Sense Motive checks to resist a feint, Will saves against fascinate, etc.).

    7: Mercy (Sp): A paladin may touch a single creature and spend a spell slot as a full-round action to duplicate the effects of any spell used to undo misfortune (break enchantment, remove curse, or similar) with a spell level equal to or lower than the spell slot sacrificed.

    9: Improved Lay On Hands (Sp): Starting at 9th level, a paladin can use his Lay On Hands ability on himself as an immediate action.

    12: Exemplary Mediator (Ex): Whenever an ally within 60 feet of the paladin is required to make a Gather Information, Sense Motive, or Perform check, the paladin may allow the ally to use the paladin's modifier in that skill in place of the ally's own if it is higher.

    14: Aura of Incorruptibility (Su): The paladin and all allies within 60 feet are immune to harmful mind-affecting effects, and the area within 60 feet of the paladin is under a constant consecrate effect, which the paladin may activate or deactivate as a free action.

    17: The Forces of Good (Sp): Once per day, the paladin may concentrate as if casting a spell for 1 minute to summon 2 astral devas, 4 bralani eladrin, and 16 lantern archons to serve him for 30 minutes. The paladin ignores the harmful effects of any abilities his summoned allies may use that affect him, intentionally or otherwise (such as the astral devas' blade barrier spell-like ability), but his allies are affected normally.

    19: Incarnation of Good (Ex and Sp): The paladin's type becomes Outsider (Good); do not recalculate base attack bonus or saves. At will, the paladin may use greater plane shiftSpC (to or from non-evil-aligned planes only) and holy word as spell-like abilities; after using either spell-like ability, he must wait one minute before he can use one of them again. In addition, he may spend one use of divine favor at any time to cast channel greater celestialBoED.


    THE RANGER, CHAMPION OF NATURE
    Spoiler
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    Rangers are agents of nature in the world, protecting the wilds from the predations of the unnatural and representing the ideals of self-sufficiency and persistence. Much more than mere wilderness scouts, rangers are accomplished hunters and guides, able to slay the wiliest beast and ensure that their followers always remain on the right path.

    Characteristics
    Alignment: A divine champion who chooses the ranger subclass may be of any alignment with at least one neutral component (NG, LN, NE, CN, or N).

    Skills and Perk: A ranger adds Spot, Listen, Intimidate, Survival, Knowledge (Nature), and Knowledge (Geography) to his list of class skills and gains an addition 2 skill points per level (multiplied by 4 at 1st level as normal) thanks to his experience with surviving in the wilderness.

    Enemies: The creatures anathema to a rangers are all unnatural creatures: Undead, Constructs, and Aberrations, and any creatures currently working against nature—not merely lumberjacks cutting down trees, but those actively pursuing harm against nature such as arsonists burning down forests en masse and those actively in service to a master or organization opposed to nature in some way.

    Allies: Creatures allied with a ranger that he may choose for his companion are any Animals, Plants, and Magical Beasts.

    Spells: The ranger retrieves spells from the ranger spell list and may choose his retrieved domains from among Animal, Plant, Ocean, Scalykind, and Windstorm.

    Fighting Style: For his fighting style and bonus feats, the ranger may choose between Florentine (Two-Weapon Fighting and Two-Weapon Defense) or Archery (Point Blank Shot and Precise Shot).

    Subclass Features:
    2: Studied Quarry (Ex): The ranger possesses the ability to quickly assess foes' weaknesses, represented by a pool of points with a capacity equal to his key ability modifier, which fills each day when the ranger retrieves spells. When making an opposed check of any sort, the ranger may spend a point from his pool to add half his class level as an insight bonus to his check. The ranger may refill his pool to full capacity (losing any unspent points) by meditating for 1 minute and spending one use of divine favor.

    4: Aura of Agility (Su): A ranger is immune to fatigue, exhaustion, entangling, and immobilization, and all of his allies within 60 feet of him gain a +4 morale bonus on saves against the same. Additionally, the ranger and all affected allies gain a +4 morale bonus to Escape Artist checks and any checks or saves related to overland travel (Constitution checks for a forced march, Swim checks to ford a river, etc.).

    7: Camouflage (Sp): A ranger may spend a spell slot as a full-round action to gain the ability to use the Hide skill in natural environments without any cover or concealment and without any penalties related to movement for a number of minutes equal to the level of the spell slot sacrificed.

    9: Improved Studied Quarry (Ex): Starting at 9th level, a ranger can also use his Studied Quarry ability to add an insight bonus to his AC against a single attack as an immediate action.

    12: Exemplary Scout (Ex): Whenever an ally within 60 feet of the ranger is required to make a Spot, Listen, or Survival check, the ranger may allow the ally to use the ranger's modifier in that skill in place of the ally's own if it is higher.

    14: Aura of Perseverance (Su): The ranger and all allies within 60 feet are immune to stunning and any effects that freedom of movement would protect against, and the area within 60 feet of the ranger is under a constant favorable windStorm effect (facing in the direction of the ranger's choice), which the ranger may activate or deactivate as a free action.

    17: The Forces of Nature (Sp): Once per day, the ranger may concentrate as if casting a spell for 1 minute to summon 2 cloud raysMM2, 4 shambling mounds, and 16 Small earth elementals to serve him for 30 minutes. The ranger ignores the harmful effects of any abilities his summoned allies may use that affect him, intentionally or otherwise (such as the cloud rays' Swallow Whole ability), but his allies are affected normally.

    19: Avatar of Nature (Ex and Sp): The ranger's type becomes Plant; do not recalculate base attack bonus or saves. At will, the ranger may use master earthMoF and cometfallCDiv as spell-like abilities; after using either spell-like ability, he must wait one minute before he can use one of them again. In addition, he may spend one use of divine favor at any time to cast stormrageCDiv.


    THE ASSASSIN, CHAMPION OF DEATH
    Spoiler
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    Assassins are agents of death in the world, pursuing those whose time has come and representing the ideals of trickery and stealth. Much more than mere hired thugs, assassins are accomplished infiltrators and killers, able to slip past the most vigilant guards and ensure that death comes to those who seek to avoid its sting.

    Characteristics
    Alignment: A divine champion who chooses the assassin subclass may be of any non-good alignment.

    Skills and Perk: An assassin adds Hide, Move Silently, Bluff, Disguise, Knowledge (Religion), and Knowledge (Local) to his list of class skills and gains proficiency with improvised weapons and all exotic weapons thanks to his expertise with unusual methods of killing.

    Enemies: The creatures anathema to an assassin are all the most numerous living races: Humanoids, Monstrous Humanoids, and Giants, and any creatures who he has been assigned to kill—not merely innocents who get in his way, but those he has actively been paid to kill and those actively in service to his assigned targets.

    Allies: Creatures allied with an assassin that he may choose for his companion are any Vermin and Undead, and any creatures with a natural poison or disease attack.

    Spells: The assassin retrieves spells from the assassin spell list and may choose his retrieved domains from among Trickery, Death, Pestilence, Decay, and Spider

    Fighting Style: For his fighting style and bonus feats, the assassin may choose between Strangler (Improved Unarmed Strike and Stunning Fist) or Sniper (Crossbow Sniper and Rapid Reload).

    Subclass Features:
    2: Called Shot (Ex): The assassin possesses a comprehensive knowledge of living anatomy, represented by a pool of points with a capacity of 1/2 * key ability modifier * class level, which fills each day when the assassin retrieves spells. When making an attack with a melee weapon, or an attack with a ranged weapon against an opponent within 60 feet, the assassin may spend a number of points from his pool to add the number of points spent to his damage roll as extra precision damage. The assassin may refill his pool to full capacity (losing any unspent points) by meditating for 1 minute and spending one use of divine favor.

    4: Aura of Deception (Su): An assassin is immune to effects that would detect his thoughts or emotions or discern the truth of his words, and all of his allies within 60 feet of him gain a +4 morale bonus on saves against the same. Additionally, the assassin and all affected allies gain a +4 morale bonus to Move Silently checks and any checks or saves related to fooling people (Bluff checks to lie to someone, Perform [Acting] checks, etc.).

    7: Lethal Ambush (Sp): An assassin may spend a spell slot as a full-round action to study a single living creature within 60 feet who is unaware of his presence and/or identity; if he makes a successful melee or ranged attack against them on his next turn, the target must make a Fortitude save (DC 10 + 1/2 level + key ability modifier + level of spell slot sacrificed) or be paralyzed for 2d4 rounds or killed (assassin's choice).

    9: Improved Called Shot (Ex): Starting at 9th level, an assassin has no range limit when using his Called Shot ability with a ranged weapon.

    12: Exemplary Stalker (Ex): Whenever an ally within 60 feet of the assassin is required to make a Hide, Move Silently, or Disguise check, the assassin may allow the ally to use the assassin's modifier in that skill in place of the ally's own if it is higher.

    14: Aura of Undetectability (Su): The assassin and all allies within 60 feet are immune to divinations that directly target them or include them in their areas, and the area within 60 feet of the assassin is under a constant zone of silence effect, which the assassin may activate or deactivate as a free action.

    17: The Forces of Death (Sp): Once per day, the assassin may concentrate as if casting a spell for 1 minute to summon 2 nightwings, 4 bodaks, and 16 bugbear zombies to serve him for 30 minutes. The assassin ignores the harmful effects of any abilities his summoned allies may use that affect him, intentionally or otherwise (such as the bodaks' Death Gaze ability), but his allies are affected normally.

    19: Personification of Death (Ex and Sp): The assassin's type becomes Undead; do not recalculate base attack bonus or saves, but recalculate hit points using your key ability modifier in place of your Constitution modifier. At will, the assassin may use ghostformCArc and imperious glareDrac as spell-like abilities; after using either spell-like ability, he must wait one minute before he can use one of them again. In addition, he may spend one use of divine favor at any time to cast necrotic empowermentHoH.


    THE HEXBLADE, CHAMPION OF FATE
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    Hexblades are agents of fate in the world, pursuing those who disturb the natural order of things and representing the ideals of inevitability and misfortune. Much more than mere mage-slayers, hexblades are accomplished enforcers and troubleshooters, able to resist the most vile magic and ensure that order is returned to the multiverse.

    Characteristics
    Alignment: A divine champion who chooses the hexblade subclass may be of any non-chaotic alignment.

    Skills and Perk: A divine champion who chooses the Hexblade subclass adds Disable Device, Use Magic Device, Diplomacy, Forgery, Knowledge (Arcana), and Knowledge (History) to his list of class skills and increases his hit die to a d12 thanks to Fate watching over him.

    Enemies: The creatures anathema to a hexblade are all those who would seek to alter or disobey the laws of the universe without dispensation: Aberrations and (Shapechangers), and any creatures with the ability to use arcane spells or psionics—not merely those who use the occasional wand, but those who actively and repeatedly change themselves and the universe around them.

    Allies: Creatures allied with a hexblade that he may choose for his companion are any Constructs, Fey, and Elementals.

    Spells: The hexblade retrieves spells from the hexblade spell list and may choose his retrieved domains from among Luck, Knowledge, Fate, Time, and Planning.

    Fighting Style: For his fighting style and bonus feats, the hexblade may choose between Swift (Power Attack and Improved Bull Rush) or Inevitable (Weapon Finesse and Combat Expertise).

    Subclass Features:
    2: Seal Fate (Sp): The hexblade possesses a special connection to entropy and luck, represented by a pool of points with a capacity equal to his key ability modifier, which fills each day when the hexblade retrieves spells. As a swift action, the hexblade may choose one creature within 60 feet and spend a point from his pool to impose a penalty on all d20 rolls the target makes for 1 minute equal to half his class level; the target is entitled to a Will save (DC 10 + 1/2 level + key ability modifier) to halve the penalty. The hexblade may refill his pool to full capacity (losing any unspent points) by meditating for 1 minute and spending one use of divine favor.

    4: Aura of Stability (Su): A hexblade is immune to petrification and polymorphing, and all of his allies within 60 feet of him gain a +4 morale bonus on saves against the same. Additionally, the hexblade and all affected allies gain a +4 morale bonus to Balance checks and any checks or saves related to resisting involuntary movement (Strength checks to resist bull rushes, Will saves to resist teleport, etc.).

    7: Arcane Impedance (Sp): A hexblade may spend a spell slot as a full round action to force a single target within 60 feet to be unable to cast spells normally: for 1 minute, whenever the target wishes to cast a spell he must make a caster level check (DC 15 + level of the target's spell + level of the spell slot sacrificed) or the spell fizzles with no effect.

    9: Improved Seal Fate (Sp): Starting at 9th level, any targets of a hexblade's Seal Fate ability must reroll any d20 roll they make and take the worse of the two results.

    12: Exemplary Saboteur (Ex): Whenever an ally within 60 feet of the hexblade is required to make a Disable Device, Use Magic Device, or Forgery check, the hexblade may allow the ally to use the hexblade's modifier in that skill in place of the ally's own if it is higher.

    14: Aura of Stasis (Su): The hexblade and all allies within 60 feet are immune to harmful Transmutation effects, and the area within 60 feet of the hexblade is under a constant anticipate teleportationCArc effect, which the hexblade may activate or deactivate as a free action.

    17: The Forces of Fate (Sp): Once per day, the hexblade may concentrate as if casting a spell for 1 minute to summon 2 maruts, 4 nimblewrightsMM2, and 16 electrum clockwork horrorsMM2 to serve him for 30 minutes. The hexblade ignores the harmful effects of any abilities his summoned allies may use that affect him, intentionally or otherwise (such as the maruts' greater dispel magic spell-like ability), but his allies are affected normally.

    19: Harbinger of Fate (Ex and Sp): The hexblade's type becomes Construct; do not recalculate base attack bonus or saves, but recalculate hit points using your key ability modifier in place of your Constitution modifier. At will, the hexblade may use greater teleport and greater bestow curseCDiv as spell-like abilities; after using either spell-like ability, he must wait one minute before he can use one of them again. In addition, he may spend one use of divine favor at any time to cast choose destinyRoD.
    Last edited by PairO'Dice Lost; 2013-01-28 at 01:52 PM.
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    Default Re: [3.5 Base Class] The Divine Champion: Giving the half-casters some love

    I have yet to read through the subclasses much, but I like it so far, especially the distinction between them due to Perks and skills and such. I had kind of expected more of a pattern with the alignments though, like Paladins being non-evil rather than specifically good, and Rangers being non-lawful, just like Hexblades being non-chaotic and Assassins being non-good.
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    Default Re: [3.5 Base Class] The Divine Champion: Giving the half-casters some love

    Quote Originally Posted by Morph Bark View Post
    I have yet to read through the subclasses much, but I like it so far, especially the distinction between them due to Perks and skills and such.
    Good to hear. Looking forward to your feedback on the subclasses.

    I had kind of expected more of a pattern with the alignments though, like Paladins being non-evil rather than specifically good, and Rangers being non-lawful, just like Hexblades being non-chaotic and Assassins being non-good.
    That was originally the plan, yes--or rather, it was good paladins, evil assassins, chaotic rangers, and lawful hexblades--but I figured that a non-good champion of Good seemed a bit off and Nature has traditionally done the one-neutral-component thing. If you think better symmetry would make more sense, that's an easy change.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chambers View Post
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    Default Re: [3.5 Base Class] The Divine Champion: Giving the half-casters some love

    No one else has any comments?
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    Quote Originally Posted by abadguy View Post
    Darn you PoDL for making me care about a bunch of NPC Commoners!
    Quote Originally Posted by Chambers View Post
    I'm pretty sure turning Waterdeep into a sheet of glass wasn't the best win condition for that fight. We lived though!
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    Default Re: [3.5 Base Class] The Divine Champion: Giving the half-casters some love

    Ah, a class that has multiple branches. Interesting, and often hard to balance.

    For instance, the Paladin path has the ability to planeswalk at will, and you gave that no charge limit, which basically ensures that the paladin will never die unless an enemy of his somehow places a dimensional anchor. Similarly, the Ranger's ability to rain comets infinitely at will is also a tad bit powerful, and the Hexblade's teleport could be used in a similar manner to the Paladin's planeswalk.

    Just a question, but can you dip from multiple pools as you level up? If so, how do you determine what this class's anathema is?

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    Default Re: [3.5 Base Class] The Divine Champion: Giving the half-casters some love

    Quote Originally Posted by Gnomes2169 View Post
    Ah, a class that has multiple branches. Interesting, and often hard to balance.

    For instance, the Paladin path has the ability to planeswalk at will, and you gave that no charge limit, which basically ensures that the paladin will never die unless an enemy of his somehow places a dimensional anchor. Similarly, the Ranger's ability to rain comets infinitely at will is also a tad bit powerful, and the Hexblade's teleport could be used in a similar manner to the Paladin's planeswalk.
    That's intentional. Each subclass gets one level 7-8 travel/"panic button" SLA (greater plane shift, master earth, ghostform, greater teleport), one level 6-7 offensive/debuff SLA (holy word, cometfall, imperious glare, and greater bestow curse), and one level 8-9 utility/buff SLA (channel greater celestial, stormrage, necrotic empowerment, choose destiny). The class isn't built to be a "mage slayer" exactly, but going up against powerful outsiders and other high-level creatures requires powerful tools.

    Just a question, but can you dip from multiple pools as you level up? If so, how do you determine what this class's anathema is?
    Nope. You pick the one subclass and you're locked into those options, no mix-and-match.
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    Quote Originally Posted by abadguy View Post
    Darn you PoDL for making me care about a bunch of NPC Commoners!
    Quote Originally Posted by Chambers View Post
    I'm pretty sure turning Waterdeep into a sheet of glass wasn't the best win condition for that fight. We lived though!
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    Default Re: [3.5 Base Class] The Divine Champion: Giving the half-casters some love

    Quote Originally Posted by PairO'Dice Lost View Post
    That's intentional. Each subclass gets one level 7-8 travel/"panic button" SLA (greater plane shift, master earth, ghostform, greater teleport), one level 6-7 offensive/debuff SLA (holy word, cometfall, imperious glare, and greater bestow curse), and one level 8-9 utility/buff SLA (channel greater celestial, stormrage, necrotic empowerment, choose destiny). The class isn't built to be a "mage slayer" exactly, but going up against powerful outsiders and other high-level creatures requires powerful tools.
    It's really jut the fact that uses are infinite that's bothering me... It just seems a little bit like overkill. Maybe the lvl 7-8 abilities could be 5 charges/ day, and the level 6-7 have 7 charges/ day? That would basically be enough for any winnable situation without making you absolutely invulnerable.

    Quote Originally Posted by PairO'Dice Lost View Post
    Nope. You pick the one subclass and you're locked into those options, no mix-and-match.
    This is good, otherwise you could mix Paladin and Assassin and get yourself one very confused character.

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    Default Re: [3.5 Base Class] The Divine Champion: Giving the half-casters some love

    Quote Originally Posted by Gnomes2169 View Post
    It's really jut the fact that uses are infinite that's bothering me... It just seems a little bit like overkill. Maybe the lvl 7-8 abilities could be 5 charges/ day, and the level 6-7 have 7 charges/ day? That would basically be enough for any winnable situation without making you absolutely invulnerable.
    I think I'll add a cooldown, so you can still use them fairly often but you can't spam teleports.


    Thoughts on any other aspects of the class?
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    Quote Originally Posted by abadguy View Post
    Darn you PoDL for making me care about a bunch of NPC Commoners!
    Quote Originally Posted by Chambers View Post
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    Default Re: [3.5 Base Class] The Divine Champion: Giving the half-casters some love

    Implacable Nemesis: can he have multiple targets marked at the same time?

    The Forces of X: And? Not or?

    Aura of Agility: it's a ranger ability, but mentions the paladin.

    Personification of Death: it says to not recalculate base attack bonus or saves, but what about HD? Some undead templates don't mention whether or not they upgrade all class HD after all (even though not doing it is weird).

    Harbinger of Fate: same regarding the HD.

    I like how Divine Favor has multiple kinds of use.
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    Default Re: [3.5 Base Class] The Divine Champion: Giving the half-casters some love

    Quote Originally Posted by Morph Bark View Post
    Implacable Nemesis: can he have multiple targets marked at the same time?
    Yep, as long as he has enough divine favor uses to mark them all. I'll clarify that.

    The Forces of X: And? Not or?
    Correct. If you look at the 9th-level "summon a bunch of allies" spells, you have elemental swarm on the weaker end (up to 1 greater, 4 Huge, and 8 Large elementals, ECL ~14) up to armageddon on the stronger end (up to 8 avorals, 1 ghaele, and 1 astral deva, ECL ~16). This ability summons roughly 2 CR 14, 4 CR 6, and 16 CR 2 allies, ECL ~17 but heavily weighted toward the low end so closer to ECL 16. I'd say that effectively getting 1 9th-level slot for a fixed spell isn't too powerful for that level.

    Aura of Agility: it's a ranger ability, but mentions the paladin.
    I have no idea what you mean. Clearly you're hallucinating. Copy-paste error. Fixed.

    Personification of Death: it says to not recalculate base attack bonus or saves, but what about HD? Some undead templates don't mention whether or not they upgrade all class HD after all (even though not doing it is weird).
    You shouldn't recalculate anything, the intent is that you gain the type and traits but nothing else; it's the same phrasing used in templates like the half-dragon that change your type but not your HD.

    I like how Divine Favor has multiple kinds of use.
    Thanks. I never liked how narrow Turn Undead was and I was hoping to give it a more interesting resource.
    Last edited by PairO'Dice Lost; 2013-01-24 at 02:04 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by abadguy View Post
    Darn you PoDL for making me care about a bunch of NPC Commoners!
    Quote Originally Posted by Chambers View Post
    I'm pretty sure turning Waterdeep into a sheet of glass wasn't the best win condition for that fight. We lived though!
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    Default Re: [3.5 Base Class] The Divine Champion: Giving the half-casters some love

    Quote Originally Posted by PairO'Dice Lost View Post
    I have no idea what you mean. Clearly you're hallucinating. Copy-paste error. Fixed.
    Must be my many years of hydroholism.

    You shouldn't recalculate anything, the intent is that you gain the type and traits but nothing else; it's the same phrasing used in templates like the half-dragon that change your type but not your HD.
    Well, you do lose your Constitution score, so maybe getting something to add to hit points instead of their Con mod might be a good idea?

    Thanks. I never liked how narrow Turn Undead was and I was hoping to give it a more interesting resource.
    Yeah. For a bit I did think that getting two different pools of points for abilities (one from the main, one from the sub class) might be a bit of a hassle and could result in mixing up the two, but it shouldn't be too big of an issue.
    Last edited by Morph Bark; 2013-01-24 at 02:37 PM.
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    Default Re: [3.5 Base Class] The Divine Champion: Giving the half-casters some love

    Haven't read over it enough for a full rundown, but my only complaint is that you didn't post this a couple weeks earlier, so that I could have made a character using. Seriously, work on your timing.
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    Default Re: [3.5 Base Class] The Divine Champion: Giving the half-casters some love

    Quote Originally Posted by Morph Bark View Post
    Well, you do lose your Constitution score, so maybe getting something to add to hit points instead of their Con mod might be a good idea?
    Not a bad idea. Changed.

    Yeah. For a bit I did think that getting two different pools of points for abilities (one from the main, one from the sub class) might be a bit of a hassle and could result in mixing up the two, but it shouldn't be too big of an issue.
    Like I mentioned in the intro, it's the same resource management scheme as the paladin (slots + charges + points) but with more things to do with each, so hopefully it's not that bad. I suppose only playtesting will tell.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tavar View Post
    Haven't read over it enough for a full rundown, but my only complaint is that you didn't post this a couple weeks earlier, so that I could have made a character using. Seriously, work on your timing.
    In my defense, I couldn't post it a few weeks before I created it because my TARDIS is in the shop. I'll try to do better next time.

    More seriously, if you made a similarly-themed character and it would be possible for you to convert it over to a divine champion mechanically, I would love to see this playtested.
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    Quote Originally Posted by abadguy View Post
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chambers View Post
    I'm pretty sure turning Waterdeep into a sheet of glass wasn't the best win condition for that fight. We lived though!
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    Default Re: [3.5 Base Class] The Divine Champion: Giving the half-casters some love

    Ok, finally getting around to returning your PEACH from the exchange. Been super busy this week or I would have gotten back to it sooner.

    I've read through the entire thing, and frankly, I think I will have less to say than for some of my peaches, because I really REALLY like what you've done here already. Still, I'll try to go point by point and offer what criticisms I can.

    Spoilered for length.

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    The Divine Champion class aims to do three main things:
    I like the format of having a base class and several subclasses. It raises some questions about interpretation with other 3.5 rules, but overall it makes it easier to address broad swathes of class-designs all in one shot.

    Does this power up the half-casters in a satisfying way?
    IMO, yes it powers them up nicely, but not because they are 2/3 caster. Even with a few more spell-levels, the vast majority of their class-features are melee related, and they have a relatively small daily-spell selection. I think they feel more like 2/3 melee, but that is not a bad thing IMO.
    Even with the at-will capstone spells, the cooldown and the rate of magic advancement for full casters will mean those classes are much MUCH more heavily spell-focused.

    If you WANT them to be more caster-y, let me know and I'll try to come up with a few ideas.

    Is this too complex?
    IMO, no, but that question largely depends on who you are asking. Some players want nothing more complicated in a game than picking a few feats and running around bashing stuff with an axe, but I don't think most of those people where looking to play half-caster classes anyway.

    Do the different subclasses feel like their origin classes?
    Pretty much, since they all had similar bases to start with.

    Does the class/subclass/style structure make sense?
    Yes, I think so, though if anyone was confused you might lay out a few other potential base-class/subclass set-ups as well, just for examples.

    Are there any other classes you'd like to see written up like this?
    I always thought the Duskblade and the Hexblade where fairly similar concepts. Maybe also the Spirit Shaman, though that's a 3/4 BAB full caster, so obviously it might end up having a greater difference.

    It sort of depends on how far you want to stretch the definition of what "cause" a player can devote themselves to. For example, Dragon Shaman, Divine Champion of Dragons.

    As a side-note, I think that the Samurai/Knight would be a better fit for a warrior-fighter base class, since it does not have spells at all.

    Saving Throws:
    Fast/sneaky classes usually fit better with good Reflex, and solid meatshield classes with good Will, but I can see that the goal is to give players more options as to how they build the class, so this isn't a dealbreaker.

    Fighting Style:
    Getting two feats at first level is VERY attractive for a dip, so I might split these up and let players pick one at 1st level, and get the other at 4th (or 3rd).
    If you are playing a game that doesn't allow multiclassing, then it's not an issue, but I know lots of 3.5/PF players wouldn't like that.

    Or, just have caveat that anyone taking levels in Divine Champion can't take levels in anything else, like the monk.

    Spellcasting:
    I think that Charisma is more fluffy for Paladins and Hexblades, and Wisdom for Rangers and Assassins, but this is the same comment I made about the saves, and for the same reasons.

    All these classes have spell lists that top out at 4th level, so I guess the higher level slots are only for domain and metamagick'ed spells, right?
    Also, only being able to prepare 1 or 2 different spells a day is pretty restrictive, especially with having the whole class spell list available.

    I would increase the number of spells retrieved slightly and let in increase faster, something like this:
    {table=head]Level|1st|2nd|3rd|4th|5th|6th

    1st|—|—|—|—|—|—

    2nd|1|—|—|—|—|—

    3rd|1|—|—|—|—|—

    4th|2|—|—|—|—|—

    5th|2|1|—|—|—|—

    6th|2|1|—|—|—|—

    7th|3|2|—|—|—|—

    8th|3|2|1|—|—|—

    9th|3|2|1|—|—|—

    10th|3|3|2|—|—|—

    11th|3|3|2|1|—|—

    12th|3|3|2|1|—|—

    13th|3|3|3|2|—|—

    14th|3|3|3|2|1|—

    15th|3|3|3|2|1|—

    16th|3|3|3|3|2|—

    17th|3|3|3|3|2|1

    18th|3|3|3|3|2|1

    19th|3|3|3|3|3|2

    20th|3|3|3|3|3|2[/table]

    This give the player more options for covering a wider range of potential scenarios each day, particularly at higher levels.

    If you don't make a change like this, then DEFINITELY scrap the need to prepare both metamagic and un-metamagic versions of spells. And one more thing; the class gets plenty of combat feats but no bonus metamagic, which means any metamagic feats are going to have to come out of the feats from leveling up.

    Divine Protection (Su):
    I've never been a fan of these kinds of benefits, because I find it difficult to picture how it works, i.e. how your force of personality (charisma) can make you react quicker (reflex) or how your attunement to the world (wisdom) can improve your physical durability (fortitude). Plus the class get's two good saves already; it's not exactly like they have a ton of weaknesses.

    Turning, Smite, Enhance Weapon, Bonded Companion
    All of these are fine, except maybe for the negative level penalty for the companion. You might want to add in a caveat that you can also get rid of the penalty and summon a new companion if you gain a level before the month is out, since resurecting many of these creatures would require a Wish or Miracle spell.

    Also, for Enchance weapon, other than Merciful, what kind of enhancement WOULDN'T be fitting for an assassin?

    Determined Resilience (Ex):
    More improvements to saves, so my point earlier about Divine Protection still stands, I think.

    Implacable Nemesis (Su):
    IMO, the range on this is too great. I would limit the version for every anathema creature to 100 ft.+10 ft./level (the same as a medium spell). And for marked creatures, have the Champion just know if they are aren't on the same plane as him, or maybe at most which plane they ARE on.

    Eternal Champion (Ex):
    You might want to consider putting some kind of cooldown on the "left at alive and conscious" function, though if whatever attacks you is still alive after your turn, you're probably in trouble anyway, so maybe it wouldn't make a difference.

    Intercession (Sp):
    This fits the class, though personally I don't like Wish and Miracle as spells. At least with this the DM has some say in stopping the shenanigans that get tried.

    The Forces of X
    Having a small army or strike force at your beck and call is pretty nice. Having an army that is fanatically loyal, never needs transporation, and appears at a moments notice ready and able to fight no matter how many got killed last time might be a little OP.

    I would suggest either limiting it to 2, 4, OR 6 of the described creatures, or decreasing the frequency to once per week. (normally I dislike abilities that can't be used very often, but in this case I think it's justified)

    If you wanted to compensate for depowering it somewhat, maybe let the player also spend a use of divine favour to summon one large creature, like a Solar (or something).

    Ranger- Enemies
    My understanding of Aberrations is that they are perfectly natural in whatever plane they call home, they are just really REALLY weird when compared to stuff in the material plane.

    Hexblade- Enemies
    "Arcane spellcasters" manages to be both oddly specific and vague as to why the Hexblade doesn't like this particular group. I might consider changing it to chaotic outsiders, as well as any particularly chaotic/destructive individual.

    For the Aura, why are they more resistant to petrification than any other number of conditions? Something made of stone seems like it should be pretty stable to me.

    Also, you have several instances in this section where you say "paladin", I think they are copy-pasta errors.



    Overall, very very good, IMO; I would happily run with these in a campaign.
    If I come up with any more sub-class specific comments later, I'll add them in another post.
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    Default Re: [3.5 Base Class] The Divine Champion: Giving the half-casters some love

    Quote Originally Posted by Deepbluediver View Post
    Ok, finally getting around to returning your PEACH from the exchange. Been super busy this week or I would have gotten back to it sooner.

    I've read through the entire thing, and frankly, I think I will have less to say than for some of my peaches, because I really REALLY like what you've done here already. Still, I'll try to go point by point and offer what criticisms I can.
    Thanks for the PEACH, and if the length is short because you really like it, I can't really complain.

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    IMO, yes it powers them up nicely, but not because they are 2/3 caster. Even with a few more spell-levels, the vast majority of their class-features are melee related, and they have a relatively small daily-spell selection. I think they feel more like 2/3 melee, but that is not a bad thing IMO.
    Even with the at-will capstone spells, the cooldown and the rate of magic advancement for full casters will mean those classes are much MUCH more heavily spell-focused.

    If you WANT them to be more caster-y, let me know and I'll try to come up with a few ideas.
    No, 2/3 melee is good--actually better than being 2/3 caster, since the classes it's based on are more melee heavy--I just wasn't sure I could pull off 2/3 melee, 1/3 caster while powering them up. That's good to know.

    I always thought the Duskblade and the Hexblade where fairly similar concepts. Maybe also the Spirit Shaman, though that's a 3/4 BAB full caster, so obviously it might end up having a greater difference.

    It sort of depends on how far you want to stretch the definition of what "cause" a player can devote themselves to. For example, Dragon Shaman, Divine Champion of Dragons.

    As a side-note, I think that the Samurai/Knight would be a better fit for a warrior-fighter base class, since it does not have spells at all.
    "Dragons" and "Spirits" would make great causes, I'll think about writing those up. A divine champion samurai would have been a champion of spirits/ancestors, sort of like a cross between a kensai and an OA samurai, but spirit shaman might work better for that.

    Fast/sneaky classes usually fit better with good Reflex, and solid meatshield classes with good Will, but I can see that the goal is to give players more options as to how they build the class, so this isn't a dealbreaker.
    [...]
    I think that Charisma is more fluffy for Paladins and Hexblades, and Wisdom for Rangers and Assassins, but this is the same comment I made about the saves, and for the same reasons.
    Yeah, the idea was to allow the player to both make the original classes if they wanted (Ranger has good Ref and a Wis focus, hexblade has good Will and a Cha focus, and so forth), and to also allow more skirmisher-y paladins and more knightly rangers.

    Getting two feats at first level is VERY attractive for a dip, so I might split these up and let players pick one at 1st level, and get the other at 4th (or 3rd).
    If you are playing a game that doesn't allow multiclassing, then it's not an issue, but I know lots of 3.5/PF players wouldn't like that.
    Getting two feats at 1st level isn't really much more than other classes can get (monks get Improved Unarmed Strike and one other on top of their other perks, clerics can get two devotion feats plus their spells, wizards effectively get two feats with Scribe Scroll and a version of Obtain Familiar, etc.), particularly since the divine champion's casting is delayed until 2nd level. I think it's kind of important to grant two feats since several of the styles really require both to get off the ground (Combat Reflexes+Stand Still and Improved Unarmed Strike+Stunning Fist being the major ones) but if it's a real dealbreaker I can change that.

    All these classes have spell lists that top out at 4th level, so I guess the higher level slots are only for domain and metamagick'ed spells, right?
    Correct.

    Also, only being able to prepare 1 or 2 different spells a day is pretty restrictive, especially with having the whole class spell list available.
    Remember that the divine champion also retrieves one to two domains, so he actually ends up with 3-4 spells retrieved per spell level, not just 1-2. I could increase the spells retrievable on the chart and just make the domain spells an option, though, instead of making it 1-2 class spells from chart + 1-2 spells from domains, if you think that would work better.

    If you don't make a change like this, then DEFINITELY scrap the need to prepare both metamagic and un-metamagic versions of spells. And one more thing; the class gets plenty of combat feats but no bonus metamagic, which means any metamagic feats are going to have to come out of the feats from leveling up.
    That's boilerplate copied over from the spirit shaman's Retrieving Spells block; the divine champion isn't really meant to be metamagic-focused. I can take out that text, though, since it isn't really there for balance reasons.

    I've never been a fan of these kinds of benefits, because I find it difficult to picture how it works, i.e. how your force of personality (charisma) can make you react quicker (reflex) or how your attunement to the world (wisdom) can improve your physical durability (fortitude). Plus the class get's two good saves already; it's not exactly like they have a ton of weaknesses.
    Once again the model for the class is the paladin, with its two good saves and +[key stat mod] to saves. Personally, I think of +Cha to saves or AC as a divine aura/force field effect and +Wis to saves or AC as the sort of "extreme control of one's body gained by a deep understanding of it" that fantasy martial artists have, and it seems to work well enough.

    All of these are fine, except maybe for the negative level penalty for the companion. You might want to add in a caveat that you can also get rid of the penalty and summon a new companion if you gain a level before the month is out, since resurecting many of these creatures would require a Wish or Miracle spell.
    Done.

    Also, for Enchance weapon, other than Merciful, what kind of enhancement WOULDN'T be fitting for an assassin?
    Just like a paladin isn't just about killing evil things but also redemption, mercy, etc., the assassin isn't just about killing his targets but also doing so quickly and quietly, hence the stealth and ambush focus in other features. A bright, obvious flaming, shocking, dancing, etc. weapon would likely be too blatant for an assassin, a defending or merciful weapon would be too wishy-washy or hesitant, and so on.

    IMO, the range on this is too great. I would limit the version for every anathema creature to 100 ft.+10 ft./level (the same as a medium spell). And for marked creatures, have the Champion just know if they are aren't on the same plane as him, or maybe at most which plane they ARE on.
    Regarding the range, spells like locate city and locate temple are 1st-level spells with a 10 mile/level range, and locate creature and locate object are 4th-level Long-range spells. To put it in context, a mile range for this ability is basically a double-Enlarged Long-range spell at the level a full caster would get 8th-level spells, which I think fits in well with the various locate X spells. Maybe if the divine champion can determine exact location out to Long range and just general direction out to a mile after that?

    Regarding marks on different planes, knowing the direction to the nearest portal is more of a fluffy ability than anything else; the divine champion could always hire someone (or ask a party member) to plane shift him after a mark if necessary at this level, though again I'm not very attached to it if you think it's too much.

    You might want to consider putting some kind of cooldown on the "left at alive and conscious" function, though if whatever attacks you is still alive after your turn, you're probably in trouble anyway, so maybe it wouldn't make a difference.
    You're definitely still in trouble, and since it's an immediate action it can only save you against one attack in a full attack, save you against one of several summoned creatures, etc.; at this level, sitting around at 1 HP is practically dead already.

    Having a small army or strike force at your beck and call is pretty nice. Having an army that is fanatically loyal, never needs transporation, and appears at a moments notice ready and able to fight no matter how many got killed last time might be a little OP.

    I would suggest either limiting it to 2, 4, OR 6 of the described creatures, or decreasing the frequency to once per week. (normally I dislike abilities that can't be used very often, but in this case I think it's justified)

    If you wanted to compensate for depowering it somewhat, maybe let the player also spend a use of divine favour to summon one large creature, like a Solar (or something).
    Take a look at my response to Morph Bark about this ability: it's roughly equivalent to the 9th level summon spells like elemental swarm, armageddon, and one or two others. It's a bit more useful thanks to the larger number of creatures, but heavily skewed to lower-CR monsters, and that plus the long casting time makes it not as combat-handy as it would first appear. If you think of the ability as a 1/day extended elemental swarm it's really not that bad.

    My understanding of Aberrations is that they are perfectly natural in whatever plane they call home, they are just really REALLY weird when compared to stuff in the material plane.
    This is true, though many of them have Far Realm or Deep Underdark associations. The ranger's "nature" is less "Material Plane vs. everything else" and more "surface world animals and plants vs. abnormal stuff," so both hexblades and rangers get to go after "weird" aberrations.

    "Arcane spellcasters" manages to be both oddly specific and vague as to why the Hexblade doesn't like this particular group. I might consider changing it to chaotic outsiders, as well as any particularly chaotic/destructive individual.
    From a flavor perspective, the hexblade is acting like the Quarut from Fiend Folio: arcane spellcasters muck around with space and time, and the hexblade doesn't tolerate such deviations from The Plan. Mechanically, I wanted to allow one of the subclasses to be a good mage-slayer similar to the ranger's Arcane Hunter ACF, and since the standard hexblade already tends to be a favorite for that with his Arcane Resistance, Hexblade's Curse, and Mettle, I gave that to my hexblade.

    For the Aura, why are they more resistant to petrification than any other number of conditions? Something made of stone seems like it should be pretty stable to me.
    Because they're supposed to be immune to things that would change them without their permission, and polymorph immunity doesn't cover phase changes like that.

    Also, you have several instances in this section where you say "paladin", I think they are copy-pasta errors.
    Nooo idea what you're talking about. *whistles innocently* Yep, copy-paste errors. Fixed.

    Overall, very very good, IMO; I would happily run with these in a campaign.
    If I come up with any more sub-class specific comments later, I'll add them in another post.
    Glad to hear that. I'm always looking for playtesters for my stuff, so feel free to use this if you'd like, and more comments on subclasses and subclass suggestions are always appreciated.
    Last edited by PairO'Dice Lost; 2013-01-25 at 04:40 PM.
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    Default Re: [3.5 Base Class] The Divine Champion: Giving the half-casters some love

    Quote Originally Posted by PairO'Dice Lost View Post
    Yeah, the idea was to allow the player to both make the original classes if they wanted (Ranger has good Ref and a Wis focus, hexblade has good Will and a Cha focus, and so forth), and to also allow more skirmisher-y paladins and more knightly rangers.
    I can't really complain about that then. Personally, I'd love to see "Paladin" as a prestige class that could apply to more types of characters than just "heavily-armored warrior".


    Getting two feats at 1st level isn't really much more than other classes can get.
    But it's 2 feats, PLUS class features. I know that with a lot of classes the tendency is to want to front-load things so you can set the tone and have all your favorite toys right away (I faced the same issue with my monk-fix). And there's nothing WRONG with that, exactly, just keep in mind that this is the sort of thing that leads to builds like Cleric 1/Paladin 1/Monk 1/Fighter 2, etc.

    Remember that the divine champion also retrieves one to two domains, so he actually ends up with 3-4 spells retrieved per spell level, not just 1-2. I could increase the spells retrievable on the chart and just make the domain spells an option, though, instead of making it 1-2 class spells from chart + 1-2 spells from domains, if you think that would work better.
    Ah, ok. I had misunderstood exactly how the domain spells work then.
    On the one hand, I like the idea that domains have more of an influence than they did for clerics in the core RAW, but on the other hand these classes aren't clerics, and each already has a fairly flavorful spells list.
    I guess it would work either way, but I would prefer your second option (the one listed here) since it seems simpler. As it is now, I've got 1 or 2 spells to pick from my class list, then 1 or 2 spells from the domain list.

    Again, I'm sure it would work either way, there's just more bookkeeping in the original version.

    That's boilerplate copied over from the spirit shaman's Retrieving Spells block; the divine champion isn't really meant to be metamagic-focused. I can take out that text, though, since it isn't really there for balance reasons.
    I would; they already have fewer high level spell slots and no bonus metamagic feats; I doubt this will make them OP.

    Once again the model for the class is the paladin, with its two good saves and +[key stat mod] to saves. Personally, I think of +Cha to saves or AC as a divine aura/force field effect and +Wis to saves or AC as the sort of "extreme control of one's body gained by a deep understanding of it" that fantasy martial artists have, and it seems to work well enough.
    That makes sense, but I still don't really like it, for both fluff and mechanical reasons. These classes already have good HD, plenty of armor, and spells, and now their save-bonuses are likely to be much better than the monk's. Again, not really a deal-breaker, just something that I think is a little over the top.
    IMHO*

    Regarding the range, spells like locate city and locate temple are 1st-level spells with a 10 mile/level range, and locate creature and locate object are 4th-level Long-range spells. To put it in context, a mile range for this ability is basically a double-Enlarged Long-range spell at the level a full caster would get 8th-level spells, which I think fits in well with the various locate X spells. Maybe if the divine champion can determine exact location out to Long range and just general direction out to a mile after that?
    Sorry, I forget sometimes that with all the homebrewing and houseruling I've done the RAW can be a little ridiculous some times.
    I think that MANY of the ranges and durations in the RAW can be a little ridiculous, but I don't fault you for designing your stuff to be in line with that.

    Regarding marks on different planes, knowing the direction to the nearest portal is more of a fluffy ability than anything else; the divine champion could always hire someone (or ask a party member) to plane shift him after a mark if necessary at this level, though again I'm not very attached to it if you think it's too much.
    Like I said, I have no problem with knowing that they aren't on the same plane as the Champion, or even knowing what plane they are one, but there is no guarantee there will even be an open portal between the two at any time, or that the location won't change as portals open and close.
    I would say let the Champion know where the creature is, and then figure out his own way to get there.

    Take a look at my response to Morph Bark about this ability: it's roughly equivalent to the 9th level summon spells like elemental swarm, armageddon, and one or two others. It's a bit more useful thanks to the larger number of creatures, but heavily skewed to lower-CR monsters, and that plus the long casting time makes it not as combat-handy as it would first appear. If you think of the ability as a 1/day extended elemental swarm it's really not that bad.
    My first knee-jerk response would be "9th level spells are broken even without being meta-magicked and you shouldn't balance around them", but I have no idea what sort of relative power level the other classes in your games are pushing, so that line or debate may be more or less valid, depending on what tier your are aiming to compete with.

    So again, yes you've got precedent with published material, but that may not really be a good thing.

    This is true, though many of them have Far Realm or Deep Underdark associations. The ranger's "nature" is less "Material Plane vs. everything else" and more "surface world animals and plants vs. abnormal stuff," so both hexblades and rangers get to go after "weird" aberrations.
    So are you precluding the possibility of a drow ranger then?

    But seriously, I would think that a ranger might favor ALL plants and animals, but that doesn't mean they wouldn't fight or try to capture something that was outside of it's normal habitat. I'm just not certain why aberrations are significantly worse than elementals, or outsiders, or even something like a dragon burning down a large section of forest.

    From a flavor perspective, the hexblade is acting like the Quarut from Fiend Folio: arcane spellcasters muck around with space and time, and the hexblade doesn't tolerate such deviations from The Plan.
    I guess I can understand that, but there are plenty of divine entities that are in conflict with each other, both directly and via their clerics, so how does the hexblade decide what exactly "the plan" is supposed to be?

    I admit there is nothing wrong mechancially with this, but it seems strange that it boils down to "the hexblade is getting divine energy from some god who hates arcane casters".
    ....
    Actually, now that I say it out loud, I can sort of see how various deities might feel threatened by wizards and their ilk.

    Nooo idea what you're talking about. *whistles innocently* Yep, copy-paste errors. Fixed.
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    Default Re: [3.5 Base Class] The Divine Champion: Giving the half-casters some love

    Quote Originally Posted by Deepbluediver View Post
    But it's 2 feats, PLUS class features. I know that with a lot of classes the tendency is to want to front-load things so you can set the tone and have all your favorite toys right away (I faced the same issue with my monk-fix). And there's nothing WRONG with that, exactly, just keep in mind that this is the sort of thing that leads to builds like Cleric 1/Paladin 1/Monk 1/Fighter 2, etc.
    I think I'll leave it as is; the benefit of having the fighting style from level 1 without needing to spend character feats on it outweighs the dipping problem, I think.

    Ah, ok. I had misunderstood exactly how the domain spells work then.
    On the one hand, I like the idea that domains have more of an influence than they did for clerics in the core RAW, but on the other hand these classes aren't clerics, and each already has a fairly flavorful spells list.
    I guess it would work either way, but I would prefer your second option (the one listed here) since it seems simpler. As it is now, I've got 1 or 2 spells to pick from my class list, then 1 or 2 spells from the domain list.

    Again, I'm sure it would work either way, there's just more bookkeeping in the original version.
    Well, the main reason I did it that way is that the spell lists only go up to 4th level spells and the 5th- and 6th-level slots were basically for domain spells and metamagicked lower-level spells, so automatically giving them domain spells ensures that they have spells of 5th and 6th level equivalent available. Given that I've changed metamagic to work on the fly, though, it would actually be more useful to let them leave those "open" if they want and use that for metamagic if they have it.

    I've changed the chart to increase the spells retrieved and make the domain(s) optional, and now you can either retrieve a spell with metamagic applied (to fill the slot and avoid increasing the casting time) or apply it on the fly like a sorcerer. How's that?

    That makes sense, but I still don't really like it, for both fluff and mechanical reasons. These classes already have good HD, plenty of armor, and spells, and now their save-bonuses are likely to be much better than the monk's. Again, not really a deal-breaker, just something that I think is a little over the top.
    IMHO*
    What would you suggest in its place? [Stat] to saves is one of the signature features of the paladin and hexblade, and being able to spend divine favor to add [stat] to his allies saves is very helpful even through high levels.

    Like I said, I have no problem with knowing that they aren't on the same plane as the Champion, or even knowing what plane they are one, but there is no guarantee there will even be an open portal between the two at any time, or that the location won't change as portals open and close.
    Good point; sending the divine champion zig-zagging between temporary portals wouldn't be very productive. Changed.

    My first knee-jerk response would be "9th level spells are broken even without being meta-magicked and you shouldn't balance around them", but I have no idea what sort of relative power level the other classes in your games are pushing, so that line or debate may be more or less valid, depending on what tier your are aiming to compete with.

    So again, yes you've got precedent with published material, but that may not really be a good thing.
    The power level of my personal games are quite a bit higher than this, but I'm trying to design for the general Playground. My philosophy for this class is essentially that martial types generally get 1 okay feature per level (if that) while casters get 2+ good features at each level, so to give the martial types a boost they should be getting options closer to the full casters in power.

    A fixed 9th-level slot containing the equivalent of one of the weaker 9th-level spells isn't competitive with a God or Batman wizard or other high-op concept, it's on par with a wizard or cleric who thinks summoning lots of minions are cool--actually, it's on 1/3 par with said wizard or cleric, since they get 2-3 or more other spells known and spells per day at that level.

    So are you precluding the possibility of a drow ranger then?
    Shouldn't everyone who makes a ranger fix?

    But seriously, I would think that a ranger might favor ALL plants and animals, but that doesn't mean they wouldn't fight or try to capture something that was outside of it's normal habitat. I'm just not certain why aberrations are significantly worse than elementals, or outsiders, or even something like a dragon burning down a large section of forest.
    Mostly because aberrations tend to come from outer space, from the future, from the Far Realm, from different planes, from a mad wizard's experiments, and so forth--like undead and constucts, nowhere on the Material Plane is their "normal habitat," and they tend to move in and stick around as opposed to being temporarily summoned like elementals and outsiders.

    I admit there is nothing wrong mechancially with this, but it seems strange that it boils down to "the hexblade is getting divine energy from some god who hates arcane casters".
    Remember, a hexblade isn't serving a god, he's serving an abstract cause the same way standard paladins and deity-less clerics do, and his cause is Fate. Fate has A Plan and doesn't like it when anyone tries to mess with The Plan, whether said messing takes the form of tanking an economy with created materials, toppling powerful beings, or something else.

    (Honestly, Fate probably hates anything that mucks around with the laws of physics of a setting, but hexblades who hated divine casters would just kill themselves and Fate picking on truenamers and binders would just be adding insult to injury. )
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