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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Pixie in the Playground
     
    MonkGuy

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    Default Contramancer [Base Class] (PEACH)

    Note: I've made sure to keep all changes to the class centralized in this top post - all accepted changes have been integrated here. Comments are welcome & appreciated!

    Hey everyone - so I'm new to this, and admittedly relatively new to D&D. However, some discussions I've had with friends led to the creation of this sorcerer variant base class. Yes, it's another FF-inspired Blue Magic variant, but I hope that there are enough unique pieces to make it stand out. Only one problem... I'm fairly sure it's poorly balanced, in the sense that it feels overpowered, but I don't know whether or not I'm right.

    I'd very much like to find a way to make this into a balanced, playable class, as I think it would be fun and allow for significant creativity. Any feedback and/or advice is welcome!

    Contramancer

    The power of the contramancer is based upon the combination of careful thought and natural intuition. Where wizards create magic on the basis of intensive study, contramancers need no books to shape their raw power. However, where sorcerers may direct their power at will, contramancers do not have the creative inspiration necessary to originate their own forms of magic, and are forced instead to work from those of others.
    A contramancer has an inherent ability to see the underpinnings of magic within the universe. The resulting understanding of the natural order gives him the power to restore it where another has wreaked their will, thereby nullifying others' magic. Still more unusual, though, is his power to observe not only the actions of spellcasters, but also the true driving force behind each spell they cast. The contramancer may not have the force of personality needed to reshape the universe to his imagination, nor the intensive study needed to learn from the books of magic, but by close observation of a spell in action, he may learn enough about its underlying causes to recreate it at will.

    Game Rule Information
    Abilities: Intelligence determines how powerful a spell a contramancer can cast, how many spells he can cast per day, and how hard those spells are to resist. Like a wizard or sorcerer, a contramancer benefits from high Dexterity and Constitution scores. Constitution is particularly essential, as a contramancer must be able to bear the brunt of a spell before he can learn it.
    Alignment: Any.
    Hit Die: d6.

    Class Skills
    The contramancer's class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Knowledge (all skills, taken individually) (Int), Profession (Wis), Search (Int), Spellcraft (Int), and Use Magic Device (Cha). See Chapter 4: Skills of the Player's Handbook for skill descriptions.
    Skill Points at 1st Level: (2 + Int modifier) x 4
    Skill Points at Each Additional Level: 2 + Int modifier

    {table=head]Level|Base Attack<br>Bonus|Fort Save|Ref Save|Will Save|Special|0lvl|1st|2nd|3rd|4th|5th|6th|7th|8th|9th

    1st|
    +0
    |
    +0
    |
    +0
    |
    +2
    |Assimilation, Contramancy, Sense Magic|5|3

    2nd|
    +1
    |
    +0
    |
    +0
    |
    +3
    ||6|4|-

    3rd|
    +1
    |
    +1
    |
    +1
    |
    +3
    ||6|5|-|-

    4th|
    +2
    |
    +1
    |
    +1
    |
    +4
    |Improved Contramancy|6|6|3|-|-

    5th|
    +2
    |
    +1
    |
    +1
    |
    +4
    |Spell Dissipation|6|6|4|-|-|-

    6th|
    +3
    |
    +2
    |
    +2
    |
    +5
    |Magical Intuition 1/day|6|6|5|3|-|-|-

    7th|
    +3
    |
    +2
    |
    +2
    |
    +5
    ||6|6|6|4|-|-|-|-

    8th|
    +4
    |
    +2
    |
    +2
    |
    +6
    ||6|6|6|5|3|-|-|-|-|-

    9th|
    +4
    |
    +3
    |
    +3
    |
    +6
    ||6|6|6|6|4|-|-|-|-|-

    10th|
    +5
    |
    +3
    |
    +3
    |
    +7
    |Magical Intuition 2/day|6|6|6|6|5|3|-|-|-|-

    11th|
    +5
    |
    +3
    |
    +3
    |
    +7
    ||6|6|6|6|6|4|-|-|-|-

    12th|
    +6/+1
    |
    +4
    |
    +4
    |
    +8
    ||6|6|6|6|6|5|3|-|-|-

    13th|
    +6/+1
    |
    +4
    |
    +4
    |
    +8
    ||6|6|6|6|6|6|4|-|-|-

    14th|
    +7/+2
    |
    +4
    |
    +4
    |
    +9
    |Magical Intuition 3/day|6|6|6|6|6|6|5|3|-|-

    15th|
    +7/+2
    |
    +5
    |
    +5
    |
    +9
    ||6|6|6|6|6|6|6|4|-|-

    16th|
    +8/+3
    |
    +5
    |
    +5
    |
    +10
    |Recognize Magic 1/day|6|6|6|6|6|6|6|5|3|-

    17th|
    +8/+3
    |
    +5
    |
    +5
    |
    +10
    ||6|6|6|6|6|6|6|6|4|-

    18th|
    +9/+4
    |
    +6
    |
    +6
    |
    +11
    |Magical Intuition 4/day|6|6|6|6|6|6|6|6|5|3

    19th|
    +9/+4
    |
    +6
    |
    +6
    |
    +11
    ||6|6|6|6|6|6|6|6|6|4

    20th|
    +10/+5
    |
    +6
    |
    +6
    |
    +12
    |Recognize Magic 2/day|6|6|6|6|6|6|6|6|6|6[/table]

    Contramancer Spells Known
    {table=head]Level|0lvl|1st|2nd|3rd|4th|5th|6th|7th|8th|9th

    1st|4|2|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

    2nd|5|2|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

    3rd|5|3|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

    4th|6|3|1|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

    5th|6|4|2|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

    6th|7|4|2|1|-|-|-|-|-|-

    7th|7|5|3|2|-|-|-|-|-|-

    8th|8|5|3|2|1|-|-|-|-|-

    9th|8|5|4|3|2|-|-|-|-|-

    10th|9|5|4|3|2|1|-|-|-|-

    11th|9|5|5|4|3|2|-|-|-|-

    12th|9|5|5|4|3|2|1|-|-|-

    13th|9|5|5|4|4|3|2|-|-|-

    14th|9|5|5|4|4|3|2|1|-|-

    15th|9|5|5|4|4|4|3|2|-|-

    16th|9|5|5|4|4|4|3|2|1|-

    17th|9|5|5|4|4|4|3|3|2|-

    18th|9|5|5|4|4|4|3|3|2|1

    19th|9|5|5|4|4|4|3|3|3|2

    20th|9|5|5|4|4|4|3|3|3|3[/table]

    Class Features
    Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Contramancers are proficient with all simple weapons and all light martial weapons. They are proficient with light armor and with all shields but the tower shields. In addition, contramancers have an intuitive understanding of the gestures necessary to invoke a spell, allowing them to modify these arcane motions with minimal effect. These changes allow the contramancer to improve his chance of successful casting when encumbered by armor. Their arcane spell failure chance is therefore reduced by 15%.

    Spells: A contramancer casts arcane spells (the same type of spells available to bards, wizards, and sorcerers). Like a sorcerer, he can cast any spell he knows without preparing it ahead of time, assuming he has not yet used up his spells per day for that spell level.

    To learn or cast a spell, a contramancer must have an Intelligence score equal to at least 10 + the spell level (Int 10 for 0-level spells, Int 11 for 1st-level spells, and so forth). The Difficulty Class for a saving throw against a contramancer's spell is 10 + the spell level + the contramancer's Intelligence modifier.

    Like other spellcasters, a contramancer can cast only a certain number of spells of each spell level per day. His spells per day limit is identical to that of a sorcerer of equal level. In addition, he receives bonus spells per day if he has a high Intelligence score (see Table 1-1, Ability Modifiers and Bonus Spells, page 8 of the Player's Handbook).

    A contramancer acquires spells in a unique way. In some ways, a contramancer's selection of spells is still more limited than a sorcerer's, but in others, he is significantly more flexible. He begins play knowing two 0-level spells of your choice, and at each level, may know as many spells as the sorcerer, as specified on Table 3-17: Sorcerer Spells Known of the Player's Handbook (p. 54). However, unlike any other spellcaster, a contramancer may not acquire spells upon leveling or by study of scrolls. Further spells are gained instead by means of the Assimilation class feature.

    As part of his training, the contramancer learns to be able to cast from any arcane spell scroll, as if every arcane spell were on his class list. This training also includes an element of flexibility beyond that of an ordinary spellcaster: a contramancer may target himself with any targeted spell cast from a scroll, even if the spell normally forbids such use. These teachings are meant to aid in the continued learning process, providing greater exposure to a wider variety of spells via scrolls.

    Assimilation: Where wizards learn spells by study, and sorcerers know them by intuition, the contramancer acquires his spells by intense observation of their casting and direct experience of their effects. Whenever he witnesses the casting or the effects of a spell or spell-like ability, he may attempt to assimilate the knowledge of the spell, as long as he does not attempt to counter it. If he can identify the spell and remains fully aware (not disabled) after it resolves, he may attempt to assimilate the spell as a free action. To do this, the contramancer makes a contramancer level check against a DC of 15 + twice the spell level. If the spell is divine, it is treated as one level higher, and the Contramancer also incurs an additional -2 penalty to his Assimilation check. In addition, the contramancer takes cumulative -2 penalties to this Assimilation check for each of the following conditions: unable to see the spell's somatic components, unable to hear its verbal components, and attempting a save against its effects. In addition, he takes a -5 penalty to the check for each 5 feet of distance between himself and the nearest affected area, object, or person. At every 4th level of contramancer (beginning at level 4), the contramancer may ignore an additional 5 feet of distance for the purpose of determining this penalty.

    If the Assimilation check is successful, the contramancer may learn the spell, placing it on his spell list, as long as he does not thus exceed his maximum number of spells known for the spell's level as a contramancer. Note that any divine spell thus learned is, as noted above, learned at one level higher than the original spell. He may choose to learn the spell in place of one he already knows, in which case he "loses" the old spell in exchange for the new one, as if he were a sorcerer who had gained the new spell upon leveling.

    It should be noted that any spell acquired by Assimilation must be placed on the character's Contramancer spell list; in other words, a Sorcerer 19/Contramancer 1 would be able to assimilate a total of 4 cantrips and two 1st-level spells, despite his sorcerer's slots for spells known.

    Contramancy: (Equivalent to Improved Counterspelling) A contramancer has a natural grasp of the laws of the universe and can prevent their unnatural alteration by the exertion of raw arcane energy, thereby disrupting another caster's spell. When counterspelling, he may invoke a spell use one or more levels higher than the target spell, where others would have to cast the specific spell that they wish to counter.

    Sense Magic: A contramancer can Detect Magic, as per the spell, at will.

    Improved Contramancy: A better understanding of the world allows the contramancer to be more efficient with his energies when countering others' magic. Beginning at 4th level, when counterspelling, a contramancer may invoke a spell use of equal or higher level than the target spell.

    Spell Dissipation: Beginning at 5th level, the contramancer's increased power allows him to dissipate the energy of pre-established spells without seeing them cast. He may do this any number of times per day, but uses up a 2nd-level or higher Contramancer spell use each time. If the spell use is between 2nd and 4th level, this ability functions like the arcane spell Dispel Magic. If the spell use consumed is of 5th-level or higher, the ability instead functions like Greater Dispel Magic.

    Magical Intuition: By 6th level, the contramancer's experiences of magic have accumulated and been unconsciously assembled into the rudiments of a full understanding of the energies he can see. More and more often, he begins to experience flashes of insight into the relatively static magics that are bound upon a nonliving object. This spell-like ability functions as per the spell Identify, but requires no material components and takes only 1d10 minutes. The 6th-level Contramancer may use this ability once per day, and gains an additional daily use for every 4 Contramancer levels thereafter.

    Recognize Magic: By 16th level, the contramancer has experienced so much of the world's magic that he can determine the nature of the magical energies woven about an object, or even a living creature, with little more than a glance. This ability functions like the spell Analyze Dweomer, but requires no arcane focus. The 16th-level Contramancer may use this ability once per day, and gains an additional daily use for every 4 Contramancer levels thereafter.
    Last edited by EPAstor; 2008-01-27 at 03:40 AM. Reason: Re-labeled the thread (PEACH), in prep for an attempted revival

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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Tormsskull's Avatar

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    Default Re: [Base Class] Contramancer

    You have to give him an ability that is invoked by the uttering the words "Up, down, up, down left, right, A, B, Select, Start" only then can it be a true Contramaster (oh wait, this is a Contramancer, n/m).

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    Default Re: [Base Class] Contramancer

    Yeah, I thought: "So, we're gonna shoot enemies in a jungle-like setting in 2D and in a base in 3D with Contramancer spells?"

    That being said, there was a PrC around here somewhere that was like this class.

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    Default Re: [Base Class] Contramancer

    thoughts: i like the concept, especially in a world where most people arent litterate, or are forbidden to be by the powers that be. it allows for the smart, mentally quick and perceptive individual to be more than a fighter, thief or cleric. i like the d6 hd, rather than d4.
    <removed comment due to inaccuracy>
    under assimilation rules (as i read them), a contramancer can never learn hold person, confusion, or anything that incapacitiates the caster, since he cant ever save vs the spell and learn it. he is going to die a lot at low levels. plus he cant learn fireball or any AoE spell until 8th level, or any protective spell until 8th level. im not sure about dispel invis or the like. just makes them basically only a blaster caster until 8th level.
    they have proficiency in light armor, but still incur the caster penalty from wearing it? you may want to reduce armor checks like you did with shields.
    other than that, the whole class seems kinda weak. no real purpose except for the dispelling and counterspelling (which mages can do anyway, its just easier with the contramancer). spell progression is low, cant learn spells very easy/often. over all its good, but its mostly just lackluster and doesnt seem to really stand out to me. maybe just needs a rework from someone better than i am at this stuff.

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    Pixie in the Playground
     
    MonkGuy

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    Default Re: [Base Class] Contramancer

    Quote Originally Posted by Mauril Everleaf View Post
    under assimilation rules (as i read them), a contramancer can never learn hold person, confusion, or anything that incapacitiates the caster, since he cant ever save vs the spell and learn it.
    This isn't quite true - he can save versus the spell, he just receives a significant penalty to his chance to learn it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mauril Everleaf View Post
    plus he cant learn fireball or any AoE spell until 8th level, or any protective spell until 8th level. im not sure about dispel invis or the like. just makes them basically only a blaster caster until 8th level.
    Note that the wording is that the contramancer may attempt to assimilate whenever he is targeted or would be affected by the spell. Therefore, he can assimilate anything whose area of effect he's in. As for protective spells, he can very much learn them - from an ally.

    If he can't encounter the spell in the wild, he can buy scrolls. Note that the Contramancer is permitted to cast any spell from any scroll, and to give it a target of himself. This allows him to deliberately seek out new spells to attempt to learn, though going this route is expensive. This is particularly good for protective spells, since he can simply buy and use scrolls normally until he makes the Assimilation roll and successfully learns the spell. It's a bit questionable for attack spells - but the point is, given significant money and a few days, any Contramancer can learn from a scroll. It's just much harder, as they don't work that way!

    Quote Originally Posted by Mauril Everleaf View Post
    they have proficiency in light armor, but still incur the caster penalty from wearing it? you may want to reduce armor checks like you did with shields.
    My original idea here was to give them an option of a tradeoff - a caster penalty for additional protection.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mauril Everleaf View Post
    other than that, the whole class seems kinda weak. no real purpose except for the dispelling and counterspelling (which mages can do anyway, its just easier with the contramancer). spell progression is low, cant learn spells very easy/often. over all its good, but its mostly just lackluster and doesnt seem to really stand out to me. maybe just needs a rework from someone better than i am at this stuff.
    I agree - this may be too weak to be balanced. If so, I'll give them back the extra spell per day, bringing them back to being on par with the sorcerer for sheer raw power, and counting on the unique spell acquisition mechanism to offset the benefits of being able to cast anything you can see or buy scrolls for - eventually. Maybe I'll toss in the additional reduction of arcane failure chance with light armor, as well, if others think it's necessary for balance.

    Thanks for the feedback!

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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: [Base Class] Contramancer

    It's overpowered in terms of the way it allows complete arcane/divine parity; there's a reason why only a bare few arcane casters get what are usually divine spells, and they're received at higher levels too. Especially given that such a character could learn Hold Person as either a third or a second level spell, which can make for confusion. Any divine spell assimilated by the contramancer should be treated as an arcane spell of 1 level higher than the original divine version; that'd even things back out in that respect. At that point, the assimilation might still be a bit weak. So perhaps allow the contramancer percentile rolls based on int (or a d20) when they level, to see if they successfully "recognised" an effect they'd already experienced and can remember it clearly enough to reproduce as an alternate learning mechanism?
    Last edited by fangthane; 2006-12-11 at 03:53 PM.
    Don't bother trying to appeal to my better nature; I don't have one.

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    Mauril Everleaf's Avatar

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    Default Re: [Base Class] Contramancer

    i had a similar thought. then i read this:
    Spells: A contramancer casts arcane spells (the same type of spells available to bards, wizards, and sorcerers). Like a sorcerer, he can cast any spell he knows without preparing it ahead of time, assuming he has not yet used up his spells per day for that spell level.
    i would assume that this means that the contramancer can only learn/cast arcane spells. since arcane spells are usually flavored as being drawn from some sort of magial aura in or around all things (refered to as "the Weave" in my campaign) while divine magic is given my the gods. so unless the contramancer can rip the power from the grasp of the gods, he would be limited to accessing the weave.

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    Pixie in the Playground
     
    MonkGuy

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    Default Re: [Base Class] Contramancer

    The idea was not so much ripping the power from the gods, but rather to recognize the effect of the god on the "weave", as you put it, and intuit a way to duplicate the effect via arcane energies. Given that flavor, admittedly, that gives a solid justification for divine spells coming across as one level higher, at least.

    Assuming that - what if, rather than the alternate learning mechanism you propose, I simply remove the penalty for taking a save against the effects of a spell? The chances of learning a spell at the first level possible are stable at 35% for each time you're targeted - so giving back the chance to make a save would change things significantly.

    So, then - to summarize a set of changes that might improve the idea:

    Give the contramancer full parity with the sorcerer in terms of spells-per-day.
    Improve the arcane spell failure situation to ignore 15%, and make it apply to the cumulative figure from shields and armor.
    Force any divine-derived spells to be assimilated as one level higher.

    With all of those in, what would you think? If you still think it's underpowered, as it might be too hard to learn spells - possibly I drop the idea of giving full parity with the sorcerer, and instead give a bonus to the Assimilation check if casting from a scroll on oneself.

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    Default Re: [Base Class] Contramancer

    Personally, I'm not keen on letting them have access to both arcane and divine spells; I'm a strong believer in keeping them separate. Perhaps you could create a divine variant of this idea; some kind of ur-priest, perhaps?
    "I think I just had an evilgasm."

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    Mauril Everleaf's Avatar

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    Default Re: [Base Class] Contramancer

    agreed with grey knight. arcane and divine are supposed to be different, otherwise clerics could learn mage spells and vice versa. i like the idea of a divine version of the contramancer, although im not exactly sure how it would work (are they now ripping the power from the gods? ) someone ought to write that up. i would but i dont play with 3.5 rules. i understand them enough to know when stuff is broken, but not enough to create something that isnt.

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    Pixie in the Playground
     
    MonkGuy

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    Default Re: [Base Class] Contramancer

    Fair point... okay, I'll revise it out. I'm going to edit the original post with some of these changes, to keep the idea centralized.

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    Default Re: [Base Class] Contramancer

    Quote Originally Posted by Mauril Everleaf View Post
    i like the idea of a divine version of the contramancer, although im not exactly sure how it would work (are they now ripping the power from the gods? )
    That's a good description of what ur-priests do. They "hijack" the power being channeled down into the Material Plane for regular clerics and take it for their own ends. They're written up in the Book of Vile Darkness, if I recall correctly.
    "I think I just had an evilgasm."

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    Default Re: [Base Class] Contramancer

    That's why the is there for. I think.
    Last edited by Khantalas; 2006-12-12 at 05:43 PM.

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    Default Re: [Base Class] Contramancer

    actually not so much. the was there because of my reference to the contramancer wresting power from the gods earlier. i had no idea what an ur-priest was before this thread, and still havent looked it up to check it out. i like the concept, kinda makes for a rogue priest (not rogue as in thief like, but as in rebel like), which is why i like the contramancer. any non-traditional way of circumventing the laws of the universe are my cup of tea.

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    Default Re: [Base Class] Contramancer

    Hmm, swinging things to a flat 35% would seem to take offensive spells a little more than I'd prefer into "easy" territory, given that the Contramancer can switch things up on the fly if need be (and can obviously treat as a 'gimme' any ability gained from a colleague since that can always be re-assimilated). I'd say let's apply a -2 to the check if the Contramancer is trying to save, and an additional -2 each if he can't hear/see the original caster (-6 potentially, circumstantial)

    That, and treating Divine spells as a level higher would even out my concerns, at any rate; others might have some concern with specific divine spells though (since some may be more overpowered than my cursory assessment of +1 level might indicate) For the number of spells per day, I'd allow the same number as the sorcerer gets, but for number known at a given level, I'd give one fewer (min 1) due to their flexibility in switching out spells, much like the Blood Mage posted earlier.

    I also generally allow bards a similar leeway with spell selection, though obviously the spells they get are even more hedged (since lesser restoration is on the list, that allows a sanity-check for power levels in order to avoid munchkinism)
    Don't bother trying to appeal to my better nature; I don't have one.

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    Default Re: [Base Class] Contramancer

    Me rikey. Me Rikey vely much!

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    Default Re: [Base Class] Contramancer

    Quote Originally Posted by fangthane View Post
    Hmm, swinging things to a flat 35% would seem to take offensive spells a little more than I'd prefer into "easy" territory, given that the Contramancer can switch things up on the fly if need be (and can obviously treat as a 'gimme' any ability gained from a colleague since that can always be re-assimilated). I'd say let's apply a -2 to the check if the Contramancer is trying to save, and an additional -2 each if he can't hear/see the original caster (-6 potentially, circumstantial)
    I like this spin - fits the idea best of everything I've seen, texture-wise. I'll edit it in. As for the 35% equal-level spell Assimilation chance - remember that the Contramancer can't learn spells any other way, so I'm worried it'd be too weak otherwise. I'll boost the DC up by 1 to be 15 + twice the spell level, anyway... rounder numbers, and 30% still seems reasonable to me.

    Quote Originally Posted by fangthane View Post
    That, and treating Divine spells as a level higher would even out my concerns, at any rate; others might have some concern with specific divine spells though (since some may be more overpowered than my cursory assessment of +1 level might indicate)
    I'd like to have the Contramancer capable of learning Divine spells, though a couple of people are arguing over this... I'll put it back in for now, with the +1 level treatment. Actually, I'll also give an automatic -2 penalty to the Assimilation check; after all, you can't witness the god granting the power, which is where the energy is truly shaped.

    Quote Originally Posted by fangthane View Post
    For the number of spells per day, I'd allow the same number as the sorcerer gets, but for number known at a given level, I'd give one fewer (min 1) due to their flexibility in switching out spells, much like the Blood Mage posted earlier.
    Actually, I was considering this exact mechanic, at first - but they aren't as flexible in switching out spells as it seems. It's significantly more expensive for a Contramancer to learn a spell, in terms of time and money. For an even-level spell (i.e. 2nd level for a 4th level Contramancer), probability shows that you're expected to take two attempts to learn a spell - and that's assuming you're guaranteed to make the Spellcraft check to identify the spell.

    However, if people really think that this would help to keep the class from being too overpowered, I can add this restriction back in.

    NOTE: All changes agreed to in this post have been edited into the top post of the thread.
    Last edited by EPAstor; 2006-12-13 at 03:15 AM.

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    Default Re: [Base Class] Contramancer

    Looks pretty good to me at this stage; the penalties for divine assimilation go a long way to reducing the potential for such a contramancer to break things, and the flavour of being unable to see the god's work, the somatics, the verbals etc is very nice. I can still see the potential for argument over the number of spells known at a given level, since effectively such a character receives a dispel for free and can switch their spells out on the fly, but you're right in that at higher levels at least, attempts to learn or switch out spells could be exceedingly dangerous, expensive or both. At lower levels, it's just a matter of not being seen while the rogue dodges enemy fireballs - and taking massive penalties on the assimilation check of course.

    I might actually design an evil contramancer to throw at my party... How surprised will they be when he follows up a Blade Barrier with a Fireball or Cloudkill? :)

    One final wrinkle though, in terms of the difficulty of assimilation. Rather than using the spell's level, another option would be to make the DC 15+casterlevel of the original caster. That way, there's more of a potential roleplay aspect for learning from a friendly caster as opposed to enemies, for offensive spells (have someone demonstrate a magic missile at caster level 1 rather than their max of 9 and it's easier to assimilate) Not that there's anything wrong with the way it's laid out now, just a thought. :)
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    Default Re: [Base Class] Contramancer

    *laughs* I know what you mean - I'm debating whether or not to give the full draft of this class to the DM of my current campaign. Knowing him, he'd take full advantage of the flexibility... it'd be fun, but might be a bit much.

    As for your note on the numbers of spells known - yes, it might be a problem. At this point, I'd leave that for playtesting, as it's definitely debatable. If I were to make any change, though, it'd probably just be a penalty to the number of 0th- & 1st-level spells that could be known... I think it balances out pretty well as it is, and an across-the-board penalty would be overcompensation.

    In terms of the difficulty of assimilation... nah, I like it as it is. Flavor-wise, I don't think you could actually "slow down" when casting, to make it easier to follow. Besides, the Contramancer is supposed to be observing the direct effects on the "weave", or "energy", not the caster's exertion... the penalties for not witnessing the casting process are supposed to be for missing the full evolution of the spell structure.

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    Default Re: [Base Class] Contramancer

    Makes sense - like I say, I like it... This guy definitely wants to learn stuff like PWK and Banshee from a distance tho ;)

    Hmmm, one other thought occurs (they're like that, popping up at the least convenient times) - what about scrying potential? For example, a contramancer sets up a scrying sensor near someone who's subsequently the target of a spell; Detect Magic works through a scry (5% per caster level) so I'd anticipate that IF a contramancer had the scrying set, and IF he also had Detect working through it, THEN he'd receive at least some kind of assimilation chance if he so desired (potentially at a crushing penalty)... What's your thought on that? :) Not that it's a common scenario, but it's certainly possible to contemplate, especially for (just as a for instance, you understand) an evil contramancer who's studying the party in order to be able to replace one of their casters. >)

    Another thought... Improved Assimilation (feat) gain +2 on all assimilation checks? :)
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    Default Re: [Base Class] Contramancer

    I don't think it should work through scrying - remember, no one else can see how the power of magic truly functions, or at least very few. Contramancy is a rare blend of natural ability and training... So my explanation is that scrying spells can't carry that secondary, trained sense that forms the basis of a Contramancer's Assimiltion. However - it might not be a bad idea to introduce a customized scrying spell, that does carry this power, for such a hypothetical evil contramancer... ;-) For flavor, you could just say that he'd made an alliance with a wizard in the past, who worked closely with him and was eventually able to construct such a spell. Naturally, the contramancer probably backstabbed the mage within seconds of assimilating the knowledge, but he is evil, after all...

    The Improved Assimilation Feat's not a bad idea. Not sure if +2 is the right amount, but it feels close - it's equivalent to treating the contramancer being two levels higher for the purposes of Assimilation.

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    Default Re: [Base Class] Contramancer

    Heheh to be honest, my justification for the number was based on feats like Penetration and so forth... +2 to a singular check from a feat is generally fairly balanced unless it's directly combat-related :) I can understand the scrying thing though; makes sense to restrict it, which is part of why I was ambivalent enough to have brought it up. :)
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    Default Re: [Base Class] Contramancer

    Do Contramancers have any specialness regarding the identify and/or analyze dweomer spells?
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    Fair question... I hadn't thought about it, to tell the truth. I'm thinking probably no. Flavor-wise, I say that it's very hard, and probably impossible, to identify all the characteristics of a spell already in place - you need the aid of arcane energies for that. I'm thinking, though, that Detect Magic ought to be a "natural" spell for contramancers, in the same sense as Detect Evil is for paladins - so contramancers can use Detect Magic at will.

    Hm, actually, on those lines... I think level 6 contramancers should get Identify as a spell-like ability usable twice per day, for which they don't need material components. Anyone think this'd be too unbalancing?

    And possibly a similar one for Analyze Dweomer, somewhere between levels 16 and 18, usable once per day. I'm less sure about this one, though.

    Anyway, I'm going to edit the Detect Magic ability in, now. Identify & Analyze Dweomer, I'll leave for later thought.
    Last edited by EPAstor; 2006-12-14 at 01:26 AM.

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    Default Re: [Base Class] Contramancer

    I like the idea that identify would be innate to a contramancer. honestly i like the "Read Magic" from first ed. It wasnt such that you were able to read arcane scripts, but that you read the magic aura of the item, like a psychic reads palms. (But that was back when Identify would identify a % of the item, so results would get kinda vague.) Maybe toss identify in as a per day per level ability. like 1/6 lvls/day. 1 @ 6, 2 @ 12, 3 @ 18, etc. this would go with the idea that the more you do something the better you get at it (which seems to be a theme in dnd, which i dont explicitly agree with, but thats not important).

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    Default Re: [Base Class] Contramancer

    Well - I'm finally back to thinking about this...

    I do like the idea that Identify is a natural ability of the Contramancer - as discussed before, I'm adding it in at 6th level as a 1/day (no components), and allowing the per-day uses to increase by 1 every 3 levels.

    Analyze Dweomer is actually perfect as a capstone for the class, but it's too low-level a spell to be used for that. I'll allow it to kick in at 1/day at 16th level, increasing by 1 per 2 levels thereafter.

    Thoughts?

    Edit: Correction - on second thought, I've scaled both of these back a bit. The Identify SLA now begins at 1/day at 6th level, increasing by 1/day every 4 levels - but takes only 1d10 minutes where a standard Identify takes 1 hour. The Analyze Dweomer SLA still begins at 1/day at 16th level, but increases by 1/day every 4 levels.

    Post-edit: Yeesh - I just realized I made the Assimilate range issue way too strong for what I had intended. After revising, at every 4th level, an additional 5 feet of distance is ignored - so a 20th level contramancer receives no penalty up to 30 ft. away, -5 up to 35 ft. away, etc.
    Last edited by EPAstor; 2007-01-23 at 03:50 AM.

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    Default Re: [Base Class] Contramancer

    Why is this voice inside my head screaming;
    "Blue mage! Blue mage! Blue mage!

    Otherwise, I like it. Why should the wizard be able to say a word and wave his arms without some rogue copying him? What makes the wizard so special?
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    Default Re: [Base Class] Contramancer

    From what I've read, this is supposed to be a sort of acane caster copying some divine spells. Why don't you let the player choose for it to be the other way around, and take penalties on copying arcane spell?

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    Default Re: [Base Class] Contramancer

    Quote Originally Posted by Magi_Ring_O View Post
    From what I've read, this is supposed to be a sort of acane caster copying some divine spells. Why don't you let the player choose for it to be the other way around, and take penalties on copying arcane spell?
    Because of the nature of divine casting - I think it's generally considered that divine casters draw their power from a force outside themselves, while arcane casters use their own, internal power/energy or an impersonal power embodied in the knowledge that comprises a spell. Also, this Contramancer class I've built is built on the Sorcerer's model - very different from a divine caster.

    Although, I've heard mentions of the ur-priest as being capable of "ripping the power from the gods" - maybe someone who actually knows that class might like to build a variant that follows this Assimilation model of spell learning?

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    Default Re: [Base Class] Contramancer

    Interesting.

    The new aspects of the class are fairly innovative, though there's a little spellthief shine on the box.

    That aside, I find something very odd.

    Your class premise blurb says nothing about any martial leanings, whatsoever, instead painting a picture of a devoted academic focused on learning the underpinnings of magic of any form.

    Why, then, does it have a better hit die than other similar classes? A greater hit die ostensibly reflects an increased physical aspect to one's profession. That seems absent here.

    Further, why does a class supposedly predicated on magical study, with an appropriately poor BAB progression (inferring a low level of combat prowess/study), somehow know how to use all martial weapons properly, know how to use all armor properly, and know how to use all shields properly? There's absolutely no justification or support for this concept beyond your statement that they can modify gestures. That's fine, but it goes no distance toward explaining how or why Contramancer's learn what is the equivalent of several martial feats.

    If the class is ostensibly a caster, then its proficiencies should reflect that. Not those of a pure fighter, the only core base class that has that much armor and weapon knowledge out of the box.

    Bear in mind that there's a built-in concept with regard to proficiencies such that it isn't just an issue related to ACP or encumbrance, but the knowledge and expertise in making full, proper use of such items. Hence, there are feats for that purpose which come at a cost, but emulate the idea that the character has spent time learning how to make use of whatever it is they've chosen to make use of. They are self justifying, in that regard even if, in real play, the "time spent" is assumed, rather than RP'd.

    You could grant the class the necessary raft of proficiency feats as gimmies, but that seems both cheesy and arbitrary.

    You've basically created something along the lines of a Duskblade without the background (or BAB) justification for the martial side. They don't know how to use tower shields, either.

    My advice would be to scrap the weapon/armor proficiency aspect as written and, instead, allow a limited subset of martial weapons (though I think they should be limited to simple weapons which are reasonable, and they don't smack of lots of time spent on martial training), limit them to the use of light armor only as well as the use of bucklers and light shields.

    To support this, grant them a modified form of the Beguiler's Armored Caster ability, such that it includes exemption for bucklers and light shields along with light armor. Justify this with your existing concept of the Contramancer being able to modify gestures on the fly.

    Otherwise, you might as well just rewrite the background definition of the class and add in the the martial aspects to support what you have now. You'd still have the conceptual dilemma surrounding the low BAB, though, and jacking up the BAB may then incur balance issues.

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