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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default The Aspirant: New Martial Base Class [PEACH]

    Just something I've been toying with for a while, finally got it to a state I'm okay with. I'm trying a couple odd things with it, though (like a martial adept who can't recover maneuvers), so I'm eager to get thoughts on it.

    One remaining specific concern: This guy is going to be readying a lot of high-level maneuvers, and is pretty much guaranteed to always meet maneuver prerequisites. In exchange, he has the Swordsage's intended maneuver recovery (as opposed to its actual maneuver recovery of Adaptive Style). Is this fair? Is this balanced? Or is it too good?

    ASPIRANT

    Hit Die: d8
    Level BAB Fort Ref Will Special Maneuvers Readied Stances Known
    1st +0 +0 +0 +2 Practiced offense, scribe martial script, studious warrior (strikes)
    4
    1
    2nd +1 +0 +0 +3 Defensive awareness (fortitude)
    5
    1
    3rd +1 +1 +1 +3 Weapon aptitude
    5
    2
    4th +2 +1 +1 +4 Studious warrior (counters)
    6
    2
    5th +2 +1 +1 +4 Counter maneuver
    6
    3
    6th +3 +2 +2 +5 Bonus feat
    7
    3
    7th +3 +2 +2 +5 Studious warrior (boosts)
    7
    4
    8th +4 +2 +2 +6 Greater weapon aptitude
    8
    4
    9th +4 +3 +3 +6 Defensive awareness (reflex)
    8
    5
    10th +5 +3 +3 +7 Bonus feat, Studious warrior (all attacks)
    9
    5
    11th +5 +3 +3 +7 Special ability
    9
    6
    12th +6/+1 +4 +4 +8 Improved counter maneuver
    10
    6
    13th +6/+1 +4 +4 +8 --
    10
    7
    14th +7/+2 +4 +4 +9 Bonus feat
    11
    7
    15th +7/+2 +5 +5 +9 Special ability
    11
    8
    16th +8/+3 +5 +5 +10 Martial epiphany
    12
    8
    17th +8/+3 +5 +5 +10 --
    12
    9
    18th +9/+4 +6 +6 +11 Bonus feat
    13
    9
    19th +9/+4 +6 +6 +11 Special ability
    13
    10
    20th +10/+5 +6 +6 +12 Martial mastery
    14
    10
    Class Skills (6 + Int Modifier per level, x4 at 1st level): Balance, Bluff, Concentration, Craft, Decipher Script, Diplomacy, Escape Artist, Heal, Hide, Intimidate, Jump, Knowledge (history), Knowledge (local), Listen, Martial Lore, Move Silently, Perform, Profession, Sense Motive, Tumble

    Weapon and Armor Proficiency: As an aspirant, you are proficient with all simple and martial weapons, with light and medium armor, and with shields (but not tower shields).

    Maneuvers and Martial Thesis: You begin play with a martial thesis, a book containing knowledge of three martial maneuvers, plus one additional maneuver for each point of Intelligence bonus. You may choose your maneuvers from any martial discipline, and all unorthodox martial schools.

    Once you know a maneuver (you know all the maneuvers within your martial thesis), you must ready it before you can use it (see Maneuvers Readied, below). A maneuver usable by aspirants is considered an extraordinary ability unless otherwise noted in its description. Your maneuvers are not affected by spell resistance, and you do not provoke attacks of opportunity when you initiate one.

    At each new aspirant level, you gain two new maneuvers of any maneuver level that you can initiate (based on your new initiator level) for your martial thesis; you must meet a maneuverís prerequisites to add it to your martial thesis. At any time, you can also add maneuvers found in other aspirantsí martial theses to your own. You may also add martial scripts to your martial thesis, as per the rules of a wizard adding spells to her spellbook.

    Maneuvers Readied: You can ready four maneuvers at 1st level, and as you advance in level and add more maneuvers to your martial thesis, you are able to ready more, but you must still choose which maneuvers to ready. You ready your maneuvers by studying your martial thesis for an hour. The maneuvers you choose remain readied until you decide to study your martial thesis again and change them. You need not sleep or rest for any long period of time to ready your maneuvers; any time you spend an hour studying, you can change your readied maneuvers.

    You begin an encounter with all your readied maneuvers unexpended, regardless of how many times you might have already used them since you chose them. When you initiate a maneuver, you expend it for the current encounter, so each of your readied maneuvers can be used once per encounter (unless you recover them, as described below).

    You can recover an expended maneuver by using a full-round action to reassess your combat situation. Doing this does not provoke attacks of opportunity. If you complete your assessment, you can choose one expended maneuver to refresh. It is now available for use in a subsequent round.

    On Adaptive Style:
    Spoiler
    Show
    This should be common sense, but just to make it very clear: allowing an Aspirant to take and utilize the Adaptive Style feat is not only contrary to the idea behind the class, but is also a very bad idea.


    Stances Known: Your martial thesis initially contains knowledge of one 1st-level stance from any discipline open to you. At 3rd level, and every two levels thereafter, you can add additional stances to your martial thesis. Unlike maneuvers, stances are not expended, and you do not have to ready them. All the stances you know are available to you at all times, and you can change the stance you currently use as a swift action. A stance is an extraordinary ability unless otherwise stated in the stance description.

    Practiced Offense (Ex): Aspirants study for very specific situations. They may flounder when they donít know how to directly apply their techniques, but when they encounter a situation theyíve trained for, theyíre flawless. Whenever making any attack as a part of a martial strike, you may use your initiator level as your base attack bonus, gaining all the benefits (such as iterative attacks) that would be applicable.

    Additionally, you may qualify for feats as though your base attack bonus equaled your initiator level.

    Scribe Martial Script: You gain Scribe Martial Script as a bonus feat.

    Studious Warrior (Ex): While aspirants are rarely the strongest or the fastest, they learn to apply technique where their physical power fails them. Whenever you make an attack as a part of a martial strike, you may add your Intelligence bonus to attack and damage instead of your Strength or Dexterity bonuses. You arenít granted your intelligence bonus to damage if you wouldnít otherwise add your Strength or Dexterity; for example, when making an attack with a crossbow.

    At 4th level, you add your Intelligence to attack and damage instead of Strength or Dexterity when making attacks as a part of a martial counter, and, at 7th level, whenever making an attack modified by a boost. At 10th level, you may always add your Intelligence instead of your Strength and Dexterity to the attack and damage roll of any attack you make.

    Defensive Awareness (Ex): An aspirantís ability to analyze and control the state of his body is second to none. At 2nd level, you may add your Intelligence bonus (if any) to Fortitude saves.

    At 9th level, your mental control over your physical body expands, as you gain a measure of control over your own reaction times. You may add your Intelligence bonus (if any) to Reflex saves, as well.

    Weapon Aptitude (Ex): Your training with a wide range of weaponry and tactics gives you great skill with particular weapons. You qualify for feats that usually require a minimum number of fighter levels (such as Weapon Specialization) as if you had a fighter level equal to your aspirant level Ė2. For example, as a 6th-level aspirant, you could take Weapon Specialization, since youíre treated as being a 4th-level fighter for this purpose. These effective fighter levels stack with any actual fighter levels you have. Thus, a fighter 2/aspirant 4 would also qualify for Weapon Specialization.

    You also have the flexibility to adjust your weapon training. Each morning, you can spend 1 hour in weapon practice to change the designated weapon for any feat you have that applies only to a single weapon (such as Weapon Focus). You must have the newly designated weapon available during your practice session to make this change. For example, if you wish to change the designated weapon for your Weapon Focus feat from greatsword to longsword, you must have a longsword available to practice with during your practice session.

    You can adjust any number of your feats in this way, and you donít have to adjust them all in the same way. However, you canít change the weapon choices in such a way that you no longer meet the prerequisite for some other feat you possess. For instance, if you have both Weapon Focus (longsword) and Weapon Specialization (longsword), you canít change the designated weapon for Weapon Focus unless you also change the weapon for Weapon Specialization in the same way.

    Counter Maneuver (Ex): At 5th level, your understanding of the Sublime Way is complete enough that you are capable of not only utilizing it, but defending against it. Whenever an opponent within your reach attempts to initiate a martial maneuver that you know, you may attempt to counter their maneuver as an immediate action. You and your opponent make opposed initiator level checks. If your check equals or exceeds your opponentís check, their maneuver is nullified, and their action wasted.

    If youíve readied the maneuver that your opponent is attempting to use, you may expend the maneuver in order to automatically counter it, with no initiator level check required.

    Regardless of the outcome, the effort causes you to lose a move action on your next turn. Thus, on your next turn, you may take a standard action or a move action, but not both, and not a full-round action.

    Bonus Feat: At 6th level, you gain a bonus feat from the fighter bonus feat list. You must meet the prerequisite for the feat you select. Every four levels thereafter (at 10th, 14th, and 18th level), you choose another bonus feat from the list.

    Greater Weapon Aptitude (Ex): Youíve mastered the very concept of weaponry, to the point where you can use any weapon as easily as if they were a part of your body. You gain proficiency with all exotic weapons, and any feat you have that applies to only a single designated weapon (such as Weapon Focus) instead applies to any and every weapon you wield. You gain a bonus feat (chosen from the fighter bonus feat list) for every redundant feat you now have (such as Exotic Weapon Proficiency, or duplicates of Weapon Focus).

    Additionally, you now qualify for feats as if you had a fighter level equal to your aspirant level +2.

    Special Ability: On attaining 11th level, and at every four levels thereafter (15th and 19th), you gain a special ability of your choice from among the following options.

    Superior Counter Maneuver (Ex): An aspirant with this ability is even better able to frustrate enemy adeptsí martial maneuvers. You gain a +4 bonus to any opposed initiator level checks, and an additional +2 if you know (and properly identify) the maneuver being used.

    Mastery of Offense (Ex): Your understanding of combat is more adaptable than that of most aspirants. Whenever making any attack that is modified by a martial boost, you may use your initiator level as your base attack bonus, gaining all the benefits (such as iterative attacks) that would be applicable.

    Additionally, as a standard action, you may make a single attack that adds your initiator level to hit instead of your base attack bonus.

    Mind Over Body (Ex): Your mental control over your body improves vastly. If you succeed on a Fortitude or Reflex save against an attack that would normally produce a lesser effect on a successful save (such as a spell with a saving throw entry of Reflex half or Fortitude partial), you instead negate the effect. You do not gain the benefit of Mind Over Body when you are unconscious or sleeping.

    Perfect Counter (Ex): Your mastery of martial counters is beyond anything else. Three times per day, you may use a martial counter without expending an immediate action.

    Quick Study (Ex): Frequent study of your martial thesis has left its concepts firmly engrained in your mind. You may ready your maneuvers by studying your martial thesis for five minutes, rather than an hour.

    Feat: You may gain a bonus feat in place of a special ability. You must meet any prerequisites the feat has.

    Improved Counter Maneuver (Ex): Your ability to hinder opposing martial adepts improves. When using your Counter Maneuver ability, you do not lose a move action on your next turn.

    Martial Epiphany (Ex): By 16th level, your understanding of the Sublime Way is such that you can adapt to any situation, without first needing to consult your thesis. Once per encounter, you may initiate any one maneuver that you know, regardless of whether or not you have it readied.

    When you use this ability, you lose the use of one martial maneuver you have readied for the current encounter, just as if you had initiated the maneuver (except you do not also gain the maneuverís normal effect). You can recover the maneuver you expended as normal.

    Martial Mastery (Ex): You are the perfect martial adept, and your mastery of the Sublime Way is unparalleled. Before anyone can harm you with a martial strike, they must make an initiator level check (DC 10 + your initiator level) or else completely fail to affect you.

    Additionally, when using your Martial Epiphany ability, you may choose to initiate any maneuver, regardless of whether or not you know it.
    Last edited by DaTedinator; 2019-03-08 at 01:01 PM. Reason: Fixing table
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  2. - Top - End - #2
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: The Aspirant [PEACH]

    I don't think fighter feats are lazy at all. They allow for a huge list of relatively focused options because of all the support. It is actually the most elegant option available when you need generic additions to a class that don't change power level much.

    I really can't say if this is balanced or not without seeing it at play. I worry it enters Wizard territory, but maneuvers aren't as easy to break the game with and not having a recovery mechanism hurts.

    I think you need to drop one of the saves to low though. No class, not even the mess that is the Monk, should have perfect saves across the board. I would rather see something like divine grace in play here.
    Last edited by eftexar; 2013-04-06 at 03:15 PM.

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: The Aspirant [PEACH]

    I agree with the statement that it should not have all good saves.

    I want to say too that I am intrigued with the idea of a purely wizard aesthetic martial class.

    For the aesthetic given to this class, you do not mention whether or not maneuvers can be readied multiple times. There have been other martial classes made on boards that have been allowed to do this, but I am not saying that this class should. It probably should not.

    And despite what you go for, it maybe could do with having some form of a refresh mechanic.

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: The Aspirant [PEACH]

    Note: I don't know much about maneuvers at all

    That said, I think you should change it to 3/4 BAB and good Will. As for the feats, I don't think it's lazy to just use the fighter list, but you might want to add a clause that these count as fighter levels for feats
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  5. - Top - End - #5
    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: The Aspirant [PEACH]

    Alright, thanks for the help so far. Accepted fighter feats as a good way to be, and dropped good saves.

    Quote Originally Posted by eftexar View Post
    I really can't say if this is balanced or not without seeing it at play. I worry it enters Wizard territory, but maneuvers aren't as easy to break the game with and not having a recovery mechanism hurts.
    How about now that it does have a maneuver recovery? I dropped two saves in exchange, but I don't know if that's a fair trade.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sho View Post
    I want to say too that I am intrigued with the idea of a purely wizard aesthetic martial class.

    For the aesthetic given to this class, you do not mention whether or not maneuvers can be readied multiple times. There have been other martial classes made on boards that have been allowed to do this, but I am not saying that this class should. It probably should not.

    And despite what you go for, it maybe could do with having some form of a refresh mechanic.
    Yeah, martial Wizard is what I was going for, glad that's noticeable. And no, he can't ready multiple copies of maneuvers; I don't think that needs to be stated, but if others disagree, I can note it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Razanir View Post
    That said, I think you should change it to 3/4 BAB and good Will. As for the feats, I don't think it's lazy to just use the fighter list, but you might want to add a clause that these count as fighter levels for feats
    Left the BAB down, but dropped the saves. BAB doesn't need to be higher with Practiced Offense and maneuver recovery. And Weapon Aptitude includes just such a clause.
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  6. - Top - End - #6
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: The Aspirant [PEACH]

    The recovery mechanic has definitely been handled right, but I'm still on the fence of OK and not OK.

    I think the maneuvers learned outside the class should have some sort of limitation. Actually, in a Wizard rewrite I'm working on, the Wizard has to take a round to find the spell, in the spellbook, and has a 1d10 x 10% chance it can't be found, forcing another look. That doesn't really makes sense for an initiator, but shows my point.

    Maybe explain him as not be as adept at using them and having to take longer to initiate them (standard > full round > 1 round; but leave swift/immediate alone).
    Last edited by eftexar; 2013-04-07 at 06:43 PM. Reason: grammar

  7. - Top - End - #7
    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: The Aspirant: New Martial Base Class [PEACH]

    I hear you, but I don't think that's quite the right way to handle it. There has to be a better way than forcing the player to keep track of which maneuvers were learned by levelling up, and which were scribed into the thesis. Hm...

    Well, one step I could take is cutting maneuvers readied; that wouldn't be as crippling now that he's got any maneuver recovery. What if I dropped it down to 14 maneuvers readied at 20?
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  8. - Top - End - #8
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: The Aspirant: New Martial Base Class [PEACH]

    Maneuvers readied doesn't really affect the power of the class though. It's a matter of sheer availability.
    Even if I give the Wizard half the number of spells per day, he still has access to the same set of spells. He just burns out of them quicker. Utility in this case is more powerful than the actual strength of individual abilities.

    I don't think keeping track of learned maneuvers would be too difficult; just a little star beside it on the character sheet. But as I've said maneuvers don't break the game like spells do, so I might be over-concerned here.

  9. - Top - End - #9
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: The Aspirant: New Martial Base Class [PEACH]

    Now that the saves have been largely altered, I still feel a slight concern.

    Why not a level two ability that adds to its Fortitude save similar in function to the Crusader's Indomitable Will?

    Intelligence to Fortitude seems somewhat silly to me, but it could be a static +2 bonus to both Fortitude and/or Reflex as long as the Aspirant is not encumbered or you could add your Strength modifier as a bonus to its Fortitude save too.

    You could also simply give it Good Fortitude and let it add Intelligence to the Will save from the get go.
    Last edited by Sho; 2013-04-10 at 01:42 AM.

  10. - Top - End - #10
    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: The Aspirant: New Martial Base Class [PEACH]

    Quote Originally Posted by eftexar View Post
    Maneuvers readied doesn't really affect the power of the class though. It's a matter of sheer availability.
    Even if I give the Wizard half the number of spells per day, he still has access to the same set of spells. He just burns out of them quicker. Utility in this case is more powerful than the actual strength of individual abilities.
    But maneuvers are kind of the opposite of spells in that sense, given that you can only ready a given maneuver once, but use it an unlimited number of times - thus, reducing the number of maneuvers readied reduces versatility, without reducing sheer strength.

    I'm also not sure it needs a reduction in versatility, but it's worth noting that it is an option. I'm still thinking.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sho View Post
    Now that the saves have been largely altered, I still feel a slight concern.

    Why not a level two ability that adds to its Fortitude save similar in function to the Crusader's Indomitable Will?

    Intelligence to Fortitude seems somewhat silly to me, but it could be a static +2 bonus to both Fortitude and/or Reflex as long as the Aspirant is not encumbered or you could add your Strength modifier as a bonus to its Fortitude save too.

    You could also simply give it Good Fortitude and let it add Intelligence to the Will save from the get go.
    That is exactly what I needed to hear. I'd been iffy about fully low saves, and wanted to add to them, but couldn't figure out how. But I can cut the bonus feat at level two without much trauma, and then this takes care of one of my semi-dead levels, too. I can explain Intelligence to Fortitude, too. So thank you!
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  11. - Top - End - #11
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: The Aspirant: New Martial Base Class [PEACH]

    Ah, I wasn't saying it needed a reduction in maneuvers readied, or utility during any particular combat, but in the overall versatility. That's why I suggested drawbacks.

    But looking at the ToB again the class seems like it's probably fine balance wise now. My only concern would be it making the other adepts irrelevant, unless of course your intention is to replace them.
    Last edited by eftexar; 2013-04-11 at 09:33 PM.

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