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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Mephibosheth's Avatar

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    Default A few new hexblade feats [3.5]

    I'm working on a concept for a hexblade prestige class for the current GiantITP PrC contest, as well as opportunistically continuing my work on the Hexblade Homebrew Handbook and wanted to post a few related feats. Any comments or concerns or suggestions are welcome.

    Taste of Blood and Woe [Hex]
    You feel vitality and life coursing through your veins as your baleful power siphons away your foe's power. You've never felt so alive.
    Prerequisites: Hexblade's curse class feature, Knowledge (arcana) 5 ranks
    Benefit: When you successfully use your hexblade's curse on an opponent, in addition to the curse's normal effect, some of the target's vitality flows into you. You gain a bonus to certain rolls equal to the penalty your curse imposes. When you use this ability, you select to gain this bonus to one of the following:
    • Attack and damage rolls
    • Saves and AC

    This bonus lasts for 1 minute. If you successfully curse more than one opponent before the duration of the bonus expires, you do not gain any extra benefit from additional successful curses. Nor do you gain additional benefits if you can curse multiple opponents at once (for example, via the Twin Curses feat or the abilities of the Luck Shaper prestige class).

    Cursed Strike [Hex]
    A smokey miasma flows from your blade as it bites into the flesh of your enemy.
    Prerequisite: Hexblade's curse class feature, power attack
    Benefit: You make a single attack as a standard action or as part of a charge or spring attack. If you hit, you can immediately use your hexblade's curse on the opponent you struck, channeling the curse through your attack. The penalty imposed by your curse increases by 1 when you deliver your curse in this manner. Additionally, if you used your power attack feat on this attack, the DC to resist your curse increases by an amount equal to half the power attack penalty you applied to your attack, to a maximum of +5.
    Last edited by Mephibosheth; 2013-03-11 at 06:59 AM.
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    Default Re: A few new hexblade feats [3.5]

    I like hexblades - they never got enough love in my opinion. Let's just see what you have here...

    Taste of Blood and Woe - This should not be stacked on top of your normal curse, this should be a separate ability, which you can spend your curse on. Aside from that, the ability is interesting; could warrant the use of the feat, so long as it stayed a free-action activation, so it would serve a sort of "extra hit" role.

    Cursed Strike - This seems like an unnecessary feat to me; the Curse is a supernatural ability so it doesn't provoke attacks of opportunity, and it's a free action, so you don't need the ability to channel it through your attack. The only thing I can see about it is that it's a save increaser, and a big one; maybe you could have this give them a to the save if you hit and curse after, but that penalty should be fixed. I don't really like this feat, to be honest.
    Here are DA RULEZ!
    1) One of you is a wolf. The rest of you are sheep.
    2) If the wolf is the last one alive, he wins!
    3) If the wolf dies, the sheep win!
    4) If a sheep kills another sheep, they will be PUNISHED.

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    Default Re: A few new hexblade feats [3.5]

    Thanks for your comments!

    Quote Originally Posted by Xulin
    Taste of Blood and Woe - This should not be stacked on top of your normal curse, this should be a separate ability, which you can spend your curse on. Aside from that, the ability is interesting; could warrant the use of the feat, so long as it stayed a free-action activation, so it would serve a sort of "extra hit" role.
    Why do you say so? Is it a balance issue? Do you think that a curse is too powerful with this added in? Or is it a thematic one?

    If it's balance, I'm not too concerned about it. 2d6 non-lethal damage isn't that significant, even at 3rd level. There are many more powerful feats out there, imo.

    If it's thematic, I can see where you're coming from. I don't want to make it a separate ability mostly because I like how focused the hexblade class is on effective use of the curse ability. That, and I don't think that this is an interesting enough ability on its own.

    My original idea for the feat was just to give the temporary HP without the damage to the curse target. I'm still on the fence about it, to be honest. Would that be a better fit, in your opinion?

    Quote Originally Posted by Xulin
    Cursed Strike - This seems like an unnecessary feat to me; the Curse is a supernatural ability so it doesn't provoke attacks of opportunity, and it's a free action, so you don't need the ability to channel it through your attack. The only thing I can see about it is that it's a save increaser, and a big one; maybe you could have this give them a to the save if you hit and curse after, but that penalty should be fixed. I don't really like this feat, to be honest.
    So, I use the hexblade fix posted here, as suggested by the class' original creator, as the basis for my hexblade homebrew. In my experience, most of the rest of the board does as well, at least when they're not making hexblade fixes of their own. In this fix, cursing is a swift action rather than a free action, making Cursed Strike more valuable in terms of action economy. You're also right that it was intended mostly to increase the save DC and enhance the penalty. What if I dialed the DC bonus back to half the Power Attack penalty? That sounds more reasonable to me, on second look.

    Sorry this one didn't spark your interest. Care to elaborate? Any way I can make it more interesting? I'll admit that it's fairly vanilla, but I like the image that it conjures in my head.
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    Default Re: A few new hexblade feats [3.5]

    Quote Originally Posted by Mephibosheth View Post

    Why do you say so? Is it a balance issue? Do you think that a curse is too powerful with this added in? Or is it a thematic one?

    If it's balance, I'm not too concerned about it. 2d6 non-lethal damage isn't that significant, even at 3rd level. There are many more powerful feats out there, imo.

    If it's thematic, I can see where you're coming from. I don't want to make it a separate ability mostly because I like how focused the hexblade class is on effective use of the curse ability. That, and I don't think that this is an interesting enough ability on its own.

    My original idea for the feat was just to give the temporary HP without the damage to the curse target. I'm still on the fence about it, to be honest. Would that be a better fit, in your opinion?
    A little of both I would say. When I look at this, I'm comparing it to the similar abilities you gained from the Hex Feats article in Dragon, but also Divine feats and the like. I don't think the ability is overpowered, but more that it doesn't make sense to roll it up within your main curse ability, since they are so tangentially linked. Also, I like the notion of having separate abilities you can spend curses on, since it expands the versatility and value of that class feature. Finally does this ability still work if the opponent makes his save, or does it fail also?

    So, I use the hexblade fix posted here, as suggested by the class' original creator, as the basis for my hexblade homebrew. In my experience, most of the rest of the board does as well, at least when they're not making hexblade fixes of their own. In this fix, cursing is a swift action rather than a free action, making Cursed Strike more valuable in terms of action economy. You're also right that it was intended mostly to increase the save DC and enhance the penalty. What if I dialed the DC bonus back to half the Power Attack penalty? That sounds more reasonable to me, on second look.

    Sorry this one didn't spark your interest. Care to elaborate? Any way I can make it more interesting? I'll admit that it's fairly vanilla, but I like the image that it conjures in my head.
    Well, when I look at this feat, my first response is "Why not just take ability focus"; then when I see how large I can scale the DC I say, "There's no reason to not take this ever". When balancing feats, I try to compare them against feats that do similar things. For example, there is a feat (I forget the name) that allows you to increase a poison save DC by +2 if you give up 1d6 damage on your sneak attack; there is also another similar feat that lets you give up 1d6 damage on your sneak attack for +1 to the DC up to 5 times. Both of these feats have a hard cap on how far you can increase the DC; but yours doesn't. I would make it a fixed bonus of +2, given that your curse scales with level, unlike poisons which have fixed DCs.

    Thematically the problem I have with this feat is it doesn't really expand on your capabilities that well; even with the swift action cursing, you don't have many swift spells anyway (if any?), so there's no reason you can't do both in a turn, it's really just a numbers bonus. If you want to make it interesting have it do something. You want to channel a curse into a foe you hit in melee? Maybe you make it so melee them and curse right after (due to this feat), they still take a half-penalty - you channeled it straight into them with your sword so they can't just save it off like if you used it separately.

    The main point to take is, there should be a reason to use this feat that isn't just a numbers increase.
    Here are DA RULEZ!
    1) One of you is a wolf. The rest of you are sheep.
    2) If the wolf is the last one alive, he wins!
    3) If the wolf dies, the sheep win!
    4) If a sheep kills another sheep, they will be PUNISHED.

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    Default Re: A few new hexblade feats [3.5]

    Quote Originally Posted by Xulin View Post
    A little of both I would say. When I look at this, I'm comparing it to the similar abilities you gained from the Hex Feats article in Dragon, but also Divine feats and the like. I don't think the ability is overpowered, but more that it doesn't make sense to roll it up within your main curse ability, since they are so tangentially linked. Also, I like the notion of having separate abilities you can spend curses on, since it expands the versatility and value of that class feature. Finally does this ability still work if the opponent makes his save, or does it fail also?
    OK, I see where you're coming from on this now. I guess I'm reluctant to make it a separate ability fueled by the curse for a two main reasons.

    First, I'm trying to reframe the hexblade's curse ability a little bit. The hexblade is siphoning off and absorbing the target's prowess, rather than just weakening her limbs. Sort of like the Profane Lifeleech feat.

    Second, I've already done something like what I think you're describing. Namely, Enhanced Hexblade's Curse and Curse of the Zindoki in my Hexblade Homebrew Handbook, found here.

    Quote Originally Posted by Xulin View Post
    Well, when I look at this feat, my first response is "Why not just take ability focus"; then when I see how large I can scale the DC I say, "There's no reason to not take this ever". When balancing feats, I try to compare them against feats that do similar things. For example, there is a feat (I forget the name) that allows you to increase a poison save DC by +2 if you give up 1d6 damage on your sneak attack; there is also another similar feat that lets you give up 1d6 damage on your sneak attack for +1 to the DC up to 5 times. Both of these feats have a hard cap on how far you can increase the DC; but yours doesn't. I would make it a fixed bonus of +2, given that your curse scales with level, unlike poisons which have fixed DCs.

    Thematically the problem I have with this feat is it doesn't really expand on your capabilities that well; even with the swift action cursing, you don't have many swift spells anyway (if any?), so there's no reason you can't do both in a turn, it's really just a numbers bonus. If you want to make it interesting have it do something. You want to channel a curse into a foe you hit in melee? Maybe you make it so melee them and curse right after (due to this feat), they still take a half-penalty - you channeled it straight into them with your sword so they can't just save it off like if you used it separately.

    The main point to take is, there should be a reason to use this feat that isn't just a numbers increase.
    Your point is well-taken. I guess I see more of a use for swift actions than you, especially given the "cast as a swift action" ability the writer suggests. That said, you're right that, on the one hand there's no reason not to take the feat (as in, no real trade-off between using it and not) and on the other hand, the mechanics aren't that interesting. I'm convinced. Back to the drawing board!

    That said, I definitely don't think that comparing to Ability Focus or other similar static bonus feats is the best way to measure balance. Ability Focus is better than a lot of others, but it can still become largely irrelevant at higher levels. IMO, feats should usually scale in some way. Though, not without limit as you point out.
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    Default Re: A few new hexblade feats [3.5]

    Quote Originally Posted by Mephibosheth View Post
    OK, I see where you're coming from on this now. I guess I'm reluctant to make it a separate ability fueled by the curse for a two main reasons.

    First, I'm trying to reframe the hexblade's curse ability a little bit. The hexblade is siphoning off and absorbing the target's prowess, rather than just weakening her limbs. Sort of like the Profane Lifeleech feat.
    The Profane Lifeleech feat example supports my point - you're not rebuking while you're using that feat, you're using a completely different ability.

    I understand your desire to spice up the curse a bit, but remember, that is a swift action ability, so you should take that into account when measuring the power of add-ons. Any feats you make that, well, add onto the curse can be combined with other similar feats, so even if any individual effect is small, when all combined together, you can have an ability of rediculousness.

    Lets just say for example, divine feats worked that way - instead of triggering the abilities with turning attempts, you get the benefits whenever you turn undead. Now mr paladin/divine crusader(of war lets say) has divine shield, divine vigor and divine metamagic(quicken spell) - he now, with one single turning attempt (in a crowded hall full of orcs, for hilarity's sake) throw's on a bunch of self-buffs in one round. Now this is an extreme example, but the point should stand about ability add-ons; this goes extra for the curse, due to it swiftitude.

    Incidentally, if you're shopping for hexblade feats, how's about this:

    CURSED SPELLS [Hex]
    You spells cause foes you've cursed to recoil in agony.
    Prerequisite: Greater Hexblade's curse class feature, the ability to cast 1st level arcane spells
    Benefit: When you successfully cast a spell that targets an opponent who is under the affect of your hexblade's curse, that enemy must make a Fortitude save (DC = 10 + 1/2 Class level + Cha) or be dazed for 1 round.

    Hexblade's have some nice abilities, but many of them are just sort of there, and disjointed; this feat creates synergy between your curse and your spellcasting, the idea being that your curse is (resonating) with your spells to cause pain in your opponent.
    Here are DA RULEZ!
    1) One of you is a wolf. The rest of you are sheep.
    2) If the wolf is the last one alive, he wins!
    3) If the wolf dies, the sheep win!
    4) If a sheep kills another sheep, they will be PUNISHED.

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    Default Re: A few new hexblade feats [3.5]

    OK, so now I'm confused as to your objection. First you say that you don't think the ability is overpowered, with which I agree. Then you say that it is overpowered because the low action cost of cursing means hexblades could pile a bunch of abilities like this on their curse and gain a bunch of bonuses all on the same swift action. If that were the case, I could understand your objection but it's not. There aren't a lot of feats like this. And even if there were, the fact that you're spending a feat on it is an investment in-and-of-itself. So not every hexblade is going to have a ton of these hypothetical feats, especially since hexblades are desperately feat-starved already. So yes, our hypothetical hexblade could pile on the small self-buffs. But that would be his only real schtick, since he wouldn't likely have a ton of feats to be good at other stuff like intimidating or buffing his familiar or being good at a certain combat style or casting effectively.

    And while I understand your use of divine feats as a balance yardstick, they're not the same thing. There's a whole bunch of divine feats that do varied things, but [hex] feats are limited to one short (and, imo, fairly subpar) list from one Dragon Magazine article and a bunch of homebrew. The options just aren't there to make overpowering via linked self buffs a significant problem. That's not even getting into comparisons to the abilities that clerics and wizards and druids are throwing around, which make this sort of stuff pale in comparison. Not that this should be my balance yardstick either, but just something to keep in mind.

    In bringing up Profane Lifeleech, my goal was not to draw a mechanical comparison between this [hex] feat and divine feats. That's not what I'm trying to do with this. Rather, I wanted to make a feat that would be attractive to a feat-strapped hexblade and would re-imagine the curse ability to mirror somewhat the flavor of Profane Lifeleech; of stealing life force or energy from your enemies and using it to heal yourself.

    I have watered it down, though, making it only a minor self-healing enhancement rather than dealing damage.

    I like Cursed Spells, though I wouldn't select it if I were a hexblade. Barring flaws and other methods of getting bonus feats, I have a grand total of 12 feats, 4 of which are from a very small list. From those feats I have to support my martial abilities, my curse, my spellcasting, and any other tactics I choose to adopt. With my limited slots, I'm probably not going to take Cursed Spells over the other options I have available.

    Admittedly there's been a lot of power creep in feats. Still, even some of the core feats are more attractive than this. Maybe if you cranked it up a bit, making them stunned instead of dazed or increasing the duration. I love the idea though, especially since it gives incentives for casting, which I find that hexblades need.

    It seems like we just have different ideas of what feats should do and how powerful they should be. I really appreciate your comments and hope I'm not being dismissive or impolite. You've been very helpful! So...agree to disagree on this issue?
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    Default Re: A few new hexblade feats [3.5]

    Cursed Spell seems. Meh. First off, I'd have it apply a Hexblade's Curse with the spell, boosting the Save DC equal to the spell level. Secondly, the save for the stun save should occur after the Hexblade's curse. And finaly, the stun should last a number of rounds equal to the Hexblade's Charisma Modifier.

    And a feat from me:

    Cursed Miasma [Hex]
    As you build up your curse you release it not as a single burst, but as a dark cloud of misery
    Prerequisite: Hexblade's curse 2/day
    Benefit: By expending two uses of your Hexblade's curse you create a dark cloud that encompases a number of 5ft squares, arranged as you like but there must be an unbroken connection, equal to your Charisma Modifier. The cloud lasts for a number of rounds equal to your charisma modifier. Any creature that enters the cloud is affected by your curse. If the creature makes it's save it must make a new save every round it remains in the cloud.
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