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    Default Wielder of the Astras - Where D&D and epic poetry meet [3.5 PrC]

    Wielder of the Astras





    Matchless in his magic weapons, then he hurled his Naga-dart,
    Serpent noose upon his foemen draining lifeblood from their heart!

    Vainly then the royal brothers fought the cloud-enshrouded foe,
    Vainly sought the unseen warrior dealing unresisted blow,

    Fastened by a noose of Naga forced by hidden foe to yield,
    Rama and the powerless Lakshman fell and fainted on the field!

    From The Ramayana as translated by R.C. Dutt


    Legends and epic poems tell of great warriors able to face entire armies single-handed and defeat powerful demons. Often, these fabled warriors exemplify everything that their society deems admirable. They are disciplined, strong, selfless, fearless, and devoted to doing what is right, no matter the cost.

    Such warriors frequently accomplish impossible feats. In so doing, they call upon the powers and weapons of the devas and suras to aid them in combat. Only the most skilled and disciplined warriors, sometimes with training from the gods themselves, are able to access these powerful weapons, becoming Wielders of the Astras.

    An astra is a divine weapon, crafted by an individual sura or deva and containing a measure of his or her power. Those who wield these potent weapons invoke their powers, imbuing their attacks with deific strength.

    Becoming a Wielder of the Astras
    Only the finest warriors are able to wield these weapons, so it stands to reason that members of the martial classes would most readily take this path. Fighters, paladins, and rangers make excellent Wielders of the Astras. Other full base attack bonus classes might also benefit from entering this class, though the classí focus on ranged combat might prove limiting to some.

    Hit Dice: d10

    Requirements:
    Alignment: Any non-chaotic
    Feats: Point Blank Shot, Weapon Focus (any ranged weapon)
    Special: An aspiring Wielder of the Astras must have received training from another Wielder of the Astras OR from one or more of the gods.

    And one of the following:

    BAB: +10
    Skills: Knowledge (religion) 5 ranks OR Concentration 5 ranks

    OR

    BAB: +7
    Skills:Concentration 13 ranks, Knowledge (religion) 5 ranks
    Class Skills:
    The Wielder of the Astrasí class skills are Climb (Str), Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Handle Animal (Cha), Intimidate (Cha), Knowledge (local), Knowledge (nobility and royalty), Knowledge (religion), Listen (Wis), Perform (Cha), Profession (Wis), Ride (Dex), Spot (Wis), and Swim (Str)
    Skill Points at Each Level: 4 + Int modifier

    Table 1: Wielder of the Astras
    {table=head]Level|BAB|Fort|Ref|Will|Special|Astras Known
    1|+1|+2|+0|+2|Invoke astra, martial training|2
    2|+2|+3|+0|+3|Ditya prowess +1|3
    3|+3|+3|+1|+3|Astra pratikar|3
    4|+4|+4|+1|+4|Ditya prowess +2|4
    5|+5|+4|+1|+4|Rapid invoking|4
    6|+6|+5|+2|+5|Ditya prowess +3|5
    7|+7|+5|+2|+5|Greater astra pratikar|5
    8|+8|+6|+2|+6|Ditya prowess +4|6
    9|+9|+6|+3|+6|Withdraw astra|6
    10|+10|+7|+3|+7|Ditya prowess +5, invoke infallible astra|7[/table]


    Class Features

    Invoke Astra (Su): An astra is a divine weapon. Each astra was created by a powerful sura or deva to aid in maintaining order in the universe. Astras are among the most powerful weapons in existence. They can destroy entire armies, reshape the fabric of the earth, and pierce the strongest defenses.

    Only the mightiest and most disciplined of mortal warriors are granted the ability to invoke the astras. Doing so requires the recitation of a secret incantation, different for each astra, which is passed orally from one Wielder of the Astras to another. In some cases, only the sura or deva who created the astra can grant its power to a mortal wielder.

    Reciting an astra's incantation is a full-round action that does not provoke an attack of opportunity. The incantation must be recited out loud and is subject to a failure chance if the Wielder of the Astras is deafened. When the incantation is recited, the power of the astra transforms the Wielder of the Astrasí weapon into an implement of unparalleled destruction.

    As part of the full-round action in which she recites the incantation, the Wielder of the Astras makes a single ranged attack that carries the astraís power. If the use of the astra requires a successful attack roll and the attack roll is unsuccessful, the use of the astra is not wasted and the astra remains invoked until it is successfully used. However, if there is an effect on a missed attack roll (indicated below under the "missed" heading), the use is spent. A Wielder of the Astras can apply any feats or abilities that modify ranged attacks to the attack made when she invokes and astra. Only one astra can be applied to any one attack.

    An astra must be invoked on a specific ranged weapon or object that could reasonably be used as a ranged weapon. The Wielder of the Astras must be currently in physical possession of the weapon indicated, but there are no other limitations on what can be used to invoke an astra. If the Wielder of the Astras is in possession of multiple possible candidates for this ability, she can choose which weapon or object to use.

    Sidebar: Improvised Weapons and the Astras

    While they are normally invoked on arrows, chakrams, and other conventional ranged weapons, stories aboud of extreme circumstances in which astras are used in conjunction with all sorts of improvised weapons. In one famous incident, a mighty warrior invoked a powerful astra on a blade of grass and used it to utterly destroy an opposing army. In cases such as this, the following guidelines apply.

    For the purpose of invoking the astra, the object is treated as a thrown weapon with which the Wielder of the Astras is proficient. It has a range increment of 10 feet, a critical range of 20/x2, and deals damage according to the astra in question. If the astra does not specify an amount of damage, the base damage for the improvised weapon is 1d6 + the wielderís Strength modifier.
    Astras are extremely powerful and not intended to be invoked lightly. A Wielder of the Astra can use her Invoke Astra ability a total number of times per day equal to her class level + her Wisdom modifier. However, she can invoke a given astra no more than twice per day and, once she has used a given astra, she cannot invoke that astra again for another 1d6 x 10 minutes.

    A Wielder of the Astras learns to invoke two astras at first level. She learns additional astras as shown on Table 1. Once the decision to learn a specific astra is made, it cannot be changed.

    Martial Training (Ex): Levels in the Wielder of the Astras class count as fighter levels for the purpose of qualifying for [Fighter] feats.

    Ditya Prowess (Su): Beginning at 2nd level, a Wielder of the Astrasí attacks are guided by divine power. Whenever she invokes an astra on a weapon with which she has the Weapon Focus feat, she gains an additional +1 insight bonus on her attack roll. This bonus increases as shown on Table 1.

    Astra Pratikar (Su): At 3rd level, a Wielder of the Astras learns special techniques to defend herself against astras that might be used against her. Once per round, when she is the target of an astra or within an astraís area of effect, a Wielder of the Astras can make an attack roll opposed by the attack roll of the creature or individual targeting her with the astra. If the targeted Wielder of the Astras is successful in this opposed roll, the effects of the astra are negated for her alone. In the event of a tie, the attacking Wielder of the Astras is considered to have won and the astra takes effect as normal.

    Rapid Invoking (Su): At 5th level, a Wielder of the Astras is more comfortable with the complicated verbal, mental, and physical requirements of invoking an astra. She can use her Invoke Astra ability as a standard action rather than a full-round action. If the Wielder of the Astras has the ability to make multiple ranged attacks with a single standard action (for example, via the Manyshot feat), only one of her attacks carries the power of the astra.

    Greater Astra Pratikar (Su): At 7th level, a Wielder of the Astras learns to more effectively counter astras and other powerful attacks. Thrice per day but no more than once per encounter, a Wielder of the Astras may invoke an astra as an immediate action to counter an attack, spell, astra, or other offensive ability being used by a creature within her line of sight.

    To successfully use this ability, the Wielder of the Astras must first succeed on an opposed character level check against the attacker she is countering. If she does this successfully, she can invoke one of her astras to completely nullify the effects of the attack or ability, with neither the astra nor the attack or ability taking effect. Using an astra in this way costs one use of the invoke astras ability but does not expend one of the Wielder's daily uses of the specific astra. If the countered ability has limited uses per day or per encounter, a use of that ability is expended.

    Only certain astras can be used to counter certain effects. The types of effects an astra can counter are listed in the astra's description below. Only another infallible astra can counter another infallible astra.

    Withdraw Astra (Su): At 9th level, a Wielder of the Astras' control over the heavenly weapons allows her to withdraw some of the power that she unleashes. When she invokes an astra that has an area of effect, she can exclude a number of 5-foot squares equal to her Wisdom modifier from its effects.

    Invoke Infallible Astra (Su): At 10th level, a Wielder of the Astrasí prowess and discipline has earned the respect of the gods. She may select one infallible astra to learn. Once made, this choice cannot be changed. The sura or deva who created the astra appears before the Wielder and imparts to her the incantation necessary to invoke the astra.

    An infallible astra can only be invoked once per day. It otherwise follows all the rules for invoking astras, as outlined in the Invoke Astra ability. Invoking an infallible astra does not spend a use of the Wielder of the Astrasí Invoke Astra ability.


    Astras

    All astras are supernatural abilities that are added onto ranged attacks. All variable numeric components of an astraís effects are based on the Wielder of the Astrasí class level. The DC for all saves associated with these effects is 10 + the Wielder of the Astrasí class level + the Wielder of the Astrasí Wisdom modifier.

    Bhargavāstra
    Created by the warrior king of the gods, this astra creates a shower of arrows which rain down from the sky, devastating all within its reach.

    Effect: In addition to dealing damage to the target as a normal ranged attack, this astra creates a shower of arrows in a 20 foot radius around the target. All creatures within this radius take 2d6+2 points of piercing damage per class level. They can make a Reflex save to halve this damage. If the attack that carries this astra is a critical hit, the damage from the ranged attack is multiplied as normal and the extra area of effect damage is empowered, as the Empower Spell feat.

    Miss: If the attack that carries this astra misses, as long as the Wielderís attack roll hits AC 5, the area of effect damage is still applied.

    Counters: Effects and attacks that deal bludgeoning, piercing, or slashing damage.

    Agniyāstra
    This astra carries power of the god of fire. It bursts into a raging, unquenchable conflagration upon striking its target.

    Effect: Upon successfully striking its target, this astra deals damage as a normal ranged attack. In addition, it explodes in a ball of flame, dealing 1d8 points of fire damage per class level to all creatures in a 20 foot radius. They can make a Reflex save to halve this damage. This fire persists for five rounds, dealing half of its original damage each round to all creatures within the area. Even after they leave the original area, the fire clings to their bodies, dealing this damage each round. In either case, each creature can make a Reflex save each round to halve this damage. These flames cannot be extinguished in any way before their duration expires, except through the use of the varunāstra.

    Miss: If the attack that carries this astra misses, as long as the Wielderís attack roll hits AC 5, the area of effect damage and all associated effects are still applied.

    Counters: Varunāstra, effects that deal cold damage, water- or cold-based effects.

    Varunāstra
    This astra is wielded by those beloved of the god of the oceans. It burst into a raging torrent of water that washes away all before it.

    Effect: Upon successfully striking its target, this astra deals damage as a normal ranged attack. In addition, it explodes outward in a 20 foot radius of rushing water. Everyone within the area takes 1d8 points of bludgeoning damage per class level, is washed to the edge of the radius, and is knocked prone. A successful Reflex save halves the bludgeoning damage. Finally, any flames in the area, including those created by the agniyāstra, are extinguished.

    Miss: If the attack that carries this astra misses, as long as the Wielderís attack roll hits AC 5, the area of effect damage and all associated effects are still applied.

    Counters: Agniyāstra, effects that deal fire damage, fire-based effects.

    Manavāstra
    This astra is the weapon of the ancestor and progenitor of all sentient humanoid races and the ultimate arbiter of good and evil. It has the power to pierce defenses and carry the target great distances.

    Effect: The attack carrying the manavastra ignores all miss chances from magical sources and all bonuses to the targetís armor class other than Dexterity and Dodge bonuses. Upon successfully striking its target, this astra deals damage as a normal ranged attack. It also initiates a bull rush as a Huge creature using the Wielder of the Astrasí Strength modifier plus the enhancement bonus of the weapon. It always tries to push the target as far as possible. However, it pushes the target three feet for every foot it would normally push the target.

    Miss: None

    Counters: Positive and negative energy damage, conjuration, evocation, necromancy, and transmutation effects.

    Bhumāstra
    This astra was created by the goddess of the earth. It carves deep fissures out of the earth, burying those it strikes under mounds of soil and rock.

    Effect: In using this astra, the Wielder targets an intersection or 5-foot square rather than a creature. Unlike with thrown splash weapons, you can use the bhumāstra to target a square or intersection that is occupied by a creature. A square that is occupied or has a creature within 5 feet is considered to have cover and has an AC of 9. It creates a pit with 10-foot radius and a depth of 20 feet per class level. All creatures within this radius must make a Reflex save or fall to the bottom of the pit, taking falling damage as appropriate. If they succeed on their Reflex save, they move to the nearest square on the edge of the pitís radius.

    Miss: If the Wielder of the Astrasí attack misses, the center of the pit moves 5 feet in a random direction for every point her attack roll was less than the AC of the square or intersection she targeted.

    Counters: Vaivyāstra, vajrāstra, air- and electricity-based effects, effects that move the target involuntarily.

    Nagāstra
    The nagas, powerful semi-divine beings who take the form of giant snakes, commonly wield this astra in battle. The weapon envelops the target in the steely coils of poisonous serpents.

    Effect: Upon successfully striking its target, this astra deals damage as a normal ranged attack. In addition, the weapon transforms into one giant constrictor snake for every two class levels which immediately initiate grapples against the target as if through their improved grab ability. The snakes disappear after five rounds. They grapple (or attack and grapple, if they are successfully dislodged) the target to the best of their ability for the duration of this effect and disappear if the target is killed or knocked unconscious. Finally, immediately upon being struck, the target must make a Fortitude save or be poisoned as if by a viperís bite.

    Miss: None

    Counters: Effects that cause poison, disease, ability damage or ability drain, effects that immobilize their targets.

    Vaivyāstra
    This astra is wielded by the god of the wind. It surrounds the weapon with gale-force winds capable of lifting creatures high into the air.

    Effect: In using this astra, the Wielder targets an intersection or 5-foot square rather than a creature. Unlike with thrown splash weapons, you can use the vaivyāstra to target a square or intersection that is occupied by a creature. A square that is occupied or has a creature within 5 feet is considered to have cover and has an AC of 9. All creatures within a 10 foot radius of the target square or intersection are picked up by a powerful wind and flung 20 feet per class level in a direction of the Wielder of the Astras choosing, including straight up or down. A successful Reflex save negates this effect. Creatures moved by this effect land prone at the end of the movement.

    Miss: If the Wielder of the Astrasí attack misses, the center of the gust moves 5 feet in a random direction for every point her attack roll was less than the AC of the square or intersection she targeted.

    Counters: Bhumāstra, earth-based effects, effects that deal bludgeoning damage.

    Suryāstra
    Created by the god of the sun, this astra gives the user the power of piercing, blinding light.

    Effect: Upon successfully striking its target, this astra deals damage as a normal ranged attack. In addition, the target and all creatures within 20 feet must make a Fortitude save or be blinded for five rounds. Any areas of darkness or shadowy illumination within this radius, regardless of their source, are suppressed for five rounds. Finally, all creatures within this area take 1d6 points of dessication damage (Sandstorm, p. 15), which is halved by a successful Fortitude save. Water elementals, plant creatures, and other water-based creatures take double damage from this effect. The effect also dries up all water within the radius.

    Miss: If the attack that carries this astra misses, as long as the Wielderís attack roll hits AC 5, the area of effect damage and all associated effects are still applied.

    Counters: Effects that create darkness or blind the target, water- and cold-based effects.

    Vajrāstra
    This astra is the iconic weapon of the king of the gods; his mighty thunderbolt. Wielders of the Astras use it to smite their foes with the power of lightning.

    Effect: Upon successfully striking its target, this astra deals damage as a normal ranged attack. In addition, the target takes 1d6 points of electricity damage and 1d6 points of sonic damage per class level. This extra damage arcs to a number of additional enemies equal to the Wielderís class level, all of whom must be within 20 feet of the initial target. The Wielder can choose which creatures are affected by this extra damage.

    Miss: None

    Counters: Bhumāstra, earth-based effects, effects that deal bludgeoning, piercing, or slashing damage.

    Mohināstra
    The wielder of this astra, a tricky and seductive goddess, uses its power to pierce through concealment, illusion, and sorcery.

    Effect: Upon successfully striking its target, this astra deals damage as a normal ranged attack. In addition, all magical effects currently affecting the target are subject to a dispel attempt, as the Greater Dispel Magic spell. The Wielderís caster level for this dispel attempt is equal to her character level + 4. Each of the targetís magical items are also subject to a dispel check. If the Wielder is successful, the effects of the item in question are suppressed for five rounds.

    Miss: None

    Counters: Arcane spells and spell-like abilities

    Twashtarāstra
    This astra carries the power of confusion. It can cause old friends to mistake each other for enemies and turn on each other.

    Effect: In using this astra, the Wielder targets an intersection or 5-foot square rather than a creature. Unlike with thrown splash weapons, you can use the Twashtarāstra to target a square or intersection that is occupied by a creature. A square that is occupied or has a creature within 5 feet is considered to have cover and has an AC of 9. All creatures within a 20 foot radius of the target square or intersection must succeed on a Will save or be forced to fight each other (and only each other) for the next 5 rounds. Creatures that fail must attack to the best of their ability (using any and all feats, class abilities, racial abilities, spells, and items at their disposal) another creature who was within the radius of this effect at the time of its use. Moving out of the radius does not end the effect.

    Miss: If the Wielder of the Astrasí attack misses, the center of the effect moves 5 feet in a random direction for every point her attack roll was less than the AC of the square or intersection she targeted.

    Counters: Enchantment and Illusion spells, mind-affecting effects.

    Pramohanāstra
    Wielded by a moon god with power over sleep and intoxication, this astra has the power to put foes into a deep, drunken slumber.

    Effect: In using this astra, the Wielder targets an intersection or 5-foot square rather than a creature. Unlike with thrown splash weapons, you can use the Pramohanāstra to target a square or intersection that is occupied by a creature. A square that is occupied or has a creature within 5 feet is considered to have cover and has an AC of 9. All creatures within a 20 foot radius of the target square or intersection must succeed on a Will save or become unconscious and helpless for five rounds. Even creatures normally immune to sleep are subject to this effect.

    Miss: If the Wielder of the Astrasí attack misses, the center of the effect moves 5 feet in a random direction for every point her attack roll was less than the AC of the square or intersection she targeted.

    Counters: Effects that cause sleep, stunning, or dazing, effects that deal damage to mental ability scores

    Infallible Astras

    Infallible astras are exactly what their name implies; supremely powerful weapons capable of destroying entire armies. All infallible astras are supernatural abilities that are added onto ranged attacks. All variable numeric components of an infallible astraís effects are based on the Wielder of the Astrasí class level. The DC for all saves associated with these effects is 20 + the Wielder of the Astrasí class level + the Wielder of the Astrasí Wisdom modifier. Infallible astras are not subject to damage reduction or energy resistance of any kind. All infallible astras can be used to counter any type of attack or ability.

    Brahmāstra
    This astra, bestowed by the creator of the universe, is said to be the most powerful weapon in existence. It never fails to strike and completely destroy its intended target.

    Effect: The attack that carries this astra strikes unerringly, even if the target is in melee combat or has total cover or concealment. The target and all of the targetís possessions are instantly destroyed, leaving behind only a trace of fine dust. The target can attempt a Fortitude save against this effect. On a successful save, the target is not destroyed but still takes 40d6 points of damage.

    Using this astra is difficult and taxing for the Wielder. She must succeed on a DC 30 Concentration check to invoke it successfully. If she fails this check, the astra is not invoked. Additionally, she is fatigued for one hour after invoking this astra.

    Narāyanāstra
    This astra, bestowed by the defender of the universe, calls down a rain of arrows and chakrams even more powerful than the mighty bhargavāstra.

    Effect: In addition to dealing damage to the target as a normal ranged attack, this astra creates a shower of arrows and chakrams in a 40 foot radius around the target. This shower deals 40d6 points of piercing and slashing damage to all creatures within the radius. A successful Reflex save halves this damage, though the original target of the astra is not allowed a save against this damage. This damage is not subject to any damage reduction, even DR/--.

    Miss: If the attack that carries this astra misses, as long as the Wielderís attack roll hits AC 5, the area of effect damage is still applied. The target is allowed a Reflex save in this case.

    Maheshwarāstra
    This astra, bestowed by the destroyer of the universe, transforms the Wielderís attack into a fiery beam that obliterates all in its path.

    Effect: This astra creates a line of fire that reaches to the limit of the Wielderís weaponís first range increment. All creatures within this line take 40d6 points of divine fire damage. A successful Reflex save halves this damage. If a creature is destroyed by this astra, its body and possessions are reduced to fine ashes.

    Pashupatāstra
    This astra, also bestowed by the destroyer of the universe, contains the spirits of powerful monsters which are summoned to the battlefield when the astra strikes a target.

    Effect: In addition to dealing damage to the target as a normal ranged attack, this astra immediately summons two creatures from the Summon Monster IX list, which appear adjacent to the target in squares chosen by the Wielder of the Astras. They immediately attack the target and continue doing so for five rounds or until the target is destroyed, whichever comes first. The Wielder of the Astras can choose which creatures are summoned and can choose to summon two different creatures or two of the same creature.

    Miss: If the attack that carries this astra misses, as long as the Wielderís attack roll hits AC 5, the creatures are still summoned.
    Last edited by Mephibosheth; 2013-03-21 at 08:54 AM.
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    Default Re: Wielder of the Astras - Where D&D and epic poetry meet [3.5 PrC]

    A couple of notes.

    First, this is based on the combat techniques presented in Indian epic poetry, particularly The Ramayana and The Mahabharata. These poems, in addition to their historical and literary significance, are also very closely linked to real-world religious traditions. It is not my intention to disparage or trivialize any traditions in any way. Let's keep discussion focused as much as possible on the in-game mechanics and not on the source material.

    Second, I definitely welcome any comments. I'm especially interested in ideas for abilities to fill the two dead levels at levels 7 and 9. I'm also concerned about the relative balance of the astras. Within each set of astras, they should be more-or-less equal in terms of power.

    I look forward to hearing what everyone thinks!
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    Default Re: Wielder of the Astras - Where D&D and epic poetry meet [3.5 PrC]

    ...well then.
    I'm rather surprised someone beat me to this, even if I am really slow at realizing my ideas.
    In any case!

    I'm not entirely sure on the effects of some of the Astras. My impression of the Brahmastra was that it was something of an area effect (since it tended to do lots of environmental damage), and that the Pashupatāstra was more of the 'complete annhilation' effect. I'm not sure where the summoning thing came from. I actually had a game in which Pashupatāstra was used, and we had it as a disintegration type effect (admittedly this was in Mutants and Masterminds, but that system runs on many of the same mechanics).

    A suggestion I'd like to make and would love to see implemented is the ability counter Astras with other Astras, which I did believe happened once or twice in the epics. Particularly, using the Varunāstra and Agniyāstra against one another. Astra Pratikar is kind of like this, but not quite the same awesome style as sending Astras against one another, you know?

    I also feel like I've seen mention of Astras possibly being used as non-ranged effects? But I can't remember anything on that (since everyone and their mother uses a bow in those stories). Might be an option to consider though.

    Balance wise I think the astras are okay, though there might be a bit of disparity. I'd have to take a long think on them to really come to a decent conclusion though. I think they'll be okay even if you leave them as is.
    Last edited by AmberVael; 2013-03-15 at 10:28 AM.

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    Default Re: Wielder of the Astras - Where D&D and epic poetry meet [3.5 PrC]

    Sorry to steal your idea, Vael. I'm happy to collaborate and work on something together or create multiple versions of the concept and see which is better in true Hegelian fashion. Don't let me stop you from writing something up.

    I should preface the rest of this by saying that I'm not particularly well-read in ancient Indian literature. My background is more in South Asian (19th and 20th century) history, politics, and language. So I'm sure that others with a better grounding in these texts could do a better job of adapting them to d20.

    That said, I struggled a lot with the mechanics of the astras, particularly the infallible astras. Their descriptions so often encompass effects beyond what is reasonable for a d20 character, even at high levels. Things like the environmental degradation caused by use of several of the astras including the Brahmastra are difficult to model in D&D. And really, they're beyond the scope of what I wanted this PrC to be able to do. So I tried to keep to fairly small areas and limited, but still powerful, effects. I also struggled with the fact that a lot of the astras are intended to be used once in a lifetime. In that context, their overwhelming power makes sense. But that's not really all that fun in a D&D context; you want to be able to use them fairly regularly. So I scaled things back a lot.

    The other thing I struggled with was differentiating between astras. There are multiple astras, for example, that create a shower of projectiles to destroy armies. There are multiple astras that are described as utterly destroying their target. I wanted the effects of my d20 versions to be different enough to keep things interesting, so I may have compromised accuracy for the sake of variety.

    All this is a wordy way of saying that you're probably right. I probably didn't do a particularly great job of accurately depicting what some of the astras are capable of accomplishing. Especially the ones like the Brahmastra that are supposed to be the most powerful weapons in the universe. With the Brahmastra, I focused more on its perfect accuracy than its environmental effects because the fact that it never misses and can't be stopped seemed to be the core ability. I could very well be wrong and would definitely be open to alternative interpretations. That's just the rationale behind my version.

    With the Pashupatāstra, I haven't actually had the opportunity to read in depth the text in which it appears. Descriptions of it that I've found tend to differ. Mostly, I liked the idea of the weapon summoning monsters to defeat its target and rolled with that. It was different from a lot of the other extremely powerful astras, most of which are described as destroying their target(s) completely.

    I'm jealous, by the way, that you have a group that can bring up the Pashupatāstra. I've never gamed with anyone who had any background in this part of the world.

    I like the idea of ramped up astra countering as a higher level ability. I'll have to think about how to implement that. Invoking one astra as a counter to another is pretty awesome, you're right.

    I also considered allowing them to be invoked through any weapon. But you're right, everyone and his mother uses a bow. And all of the effects I saw described seemed more appropriate for ranged combat. I guess my jury's still out on that.

    Thanks so much for your comments! I really appreciate the thoughtful feedback!
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    Default Re: Wielder of the Astras - Where D&D and epic poetry meet [3.5 PrC]

    Bump!

    Also, I've added a more powerful astra countering ability at 7th level. I'm not sure how I feel about it, so input is definitely welcome. I'm also not sure what type of attacks Nagāstra, Twashtarāstra, and Pramohanāstra should counter, so any input on that would be great, too.
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    Default Re: Wielder of the Astras - Where D&D and epic poetry meet [3.5 PrC]

    Bump +1!

    I've added an ability for 9th level to incorporate in a limited way the importance of control in invoking the astras. The source material indicates, as far as I can tell, that the ability to withdraw the astra is as important as the ability to invoke it in the first place. Some sources say that warriors who can withdraw astras are able to use them more frequently than warriors who can't. I know the ability that I crafted doesn't capture this particularly well, but it's the best I could come up with in this context. Especially since astra uses isn't as limited here as in the source text.

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    Default Re: Wielder of the Astras - Where D&D and epic poetry meet [3.5 PrC]

    Well. This is very interesting.

    It's unfortunate that with astras being limited to 2/day apiece, having a Wisdom modifier above +4 won't actually give you extra daily uses. Maybe add some way to use astras more frequently or give an alternate usage for Invoke Astra uses so those extra daily uses aren't wasted? On a related note, the wait time means that each astra is pretty close to 1/day during a 15-minute work day. While I expect that's entirely intended, it does further highlight the glut of excess Invoke Astra uses granted.

    Greater Astra Pratikar is just cool. I like the imagery that it invokes.

    In the class abilities, you refer to Ultimate Astras, but they are called Infallible Astras in their descriptions. Might want to fix that discrepancy.

    The only real objection I have is to Brahmāstra. It's a no save, just die ability. That's bad, even at level 20.

    You might want to tweak the Astra save DCs, too. The usual save DC for a PrC-granted ability is 10 + level + stat, not +1/2 level like base classes. See the Assassin's Death Attack for an example.
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    Default Re: Wielder of the Astras - Where D&D and epic poetry meet [3.5 PrC]

    Thanks for your comments, Garryl! You caught some things that I'm embarrassed that I missed.

    Quote Originally Posted by Garryl View Post
    It's unfortunate that with astras being limited to 2/day apiece, having a Wisdom modifier above +4 won't actually give you extra daily uses. Maybe add some way to use astras more frequently or give an alternate usage for Invoke Astra uses so those extra daily uses aren't wasted? On a related note, the wait time means that each astra is pretty close to 1/day during a 15-minute work day. While I expect that's entirely intended, it does further highlight the glut of excess Invoke Astra uses granted.
    So, as I mentioned in replying to Vael's comments, I struggled a lot with adapting the astras to D&D. In this case, these weapons are supposed to be used infrequently. Some of them only once in a lifetime. Obviously, that's not very much fun in a D&D game; you want to be able to use them fairly regularly. So, with this in mind, I'm reluctant to make them usable more times per day. I thought about doing the opposite and limiting the class to daily uses = class level, but I wanted there to be some flexibility in the early levels. So that's my reasoning. I definitely understand your concerns, but am reluctant to alter the flavor of the astras that much.

    I'm open to the idea of creating other uses for Invoke Astras. What if astra uses in Greater Astra Pratikar didn't count as one of your 2/day/astra uses? Any other ideas?

    Quote Originally Posted by Garryl View Post
    In the class abilities, you refer to Ultimate Astras, but they are called Infallible Astras in their descriptions. Might want to fix that discrepancy.
    I don't know what you're talking about... *shifty eyes*

    Quote Originally Posted by Garryl View Post
    The only real objection I have is to Brahmāstra. It's a no save, just die ability. That's bad, even at level 20.
    I definitely agree with you in normal circumstances. I struggled and struggled with the Brahmāstra and am still not particularly happy with it. What if the target could, with a successful save, be reduced to 0 HP? Still too powerful?

    Quote Originally Posted by Garryl View Post
    You might want to tweak the Astra save DCs, too. The usual save DC for a PrC-granted ability is 10 + level + stat, not +1/2 level like base classes. See the Assassin's Death Attack for an example.
    Good catch. Fixed!

    Thanks again for your comments! I really appreciate your input!
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    Default Re: Wielder of the Astras - Where D&D and epic poetry meet [3.5 PrC]

    How about the ability to, instead of invoking the astra directly, invoke the ideal of the astra, temporarily granting your weapon lesser benefits relating to the astra's normal powers, but toned down and over a longer duration (say, 3+Wis mod rounds)? This would cost Invoke Astra uses, but wouldn't count against uses of the individual astras. For example, Vajrāstra could make the weapon Shocking and Thundering and give DR/-, and Bhumāstra could make anyone damaged by the weapon fall prone on a failed Reflex save and give electricity and sonic resistance. This would probably be as a swift or move action.

    No save, just drop to 0 hp isn't too different from no save, just die. For Brahmāstra, I'd suggest making a successful save similar to a successful save against one of the other infallible astras: 20d6 (or maybe 40d6, since it's single target) damage, right to the face.
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