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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Firbolg in the Playground
     
    Person_Man's Avatar

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    Default [3.5] Shadowcaster Fix

    I had a player who wanted to play one once, years ago. So I wrote up a homebrew fix. I don't even think I bothered posting it, since it was only play tested for one game. But it came up on another thread, so I might as well post it here.


    The basic concept of the Shadowcasters is that they draw their power from the Plane of Shadow. So I gave them the first level ability to move into and out of the Plane of Shadow with a class ability, and time spent on the Plane of Shadow using this ability (and only this ability) recharges their Mysteries.

    This recharge mechanic fixes the main problem with the class, which is very limited uses per day of their Mysteries. I also removed the confusing crud few people care about - there are no Pathways (which are a very poorly planned and annoying restriction), Mysteries start as Supernatural Abilities (rather then starting as spells, changing to spell-like, and then changing to supernatural). And their BAB and Skills are better.

    The Shadowcaster

    {table=head]Level | BAB | Fort | Ref | Will | Special
    1st | + 0 | + 2 | + 0 | + 2 | Walk into Shadows, Mysteries
    2nd | + 1 | + 3 | + 0 | + 3 | Bonus Feat
    3rd | + 2 | + 3 | + 1 | + 3 | Umbral Sight
    4th | + 3 | + 4 | + 1 | + 4 |
    5th | + 3 | + 4 | + 1 | + 4 | Sustaining Shadow (eat, drink, sickened, nausea)
    6th | + 4 | + 5 | + 2 | + 5 |
    7th | + 5 | + 5 | + 2 | + 5 | Bonus Feat
    8th | + 6 | + 6 | + 2 | + 6 |
    9th | + 6 | + 6 | + 3 | + 6 |
    10th | + 7 | + 7 | + 3 | + 7 | Sustaining Shadow (sleep, fatigue, exhaustion)
    11th | + 8 | + 7 | + 3 | + 7 |
    12th | + 9 | + 8 | + 4 | + 8 | Bonus Feat
    13th | + 9 | + 8 | + 4 | + 8 |
    14th | + 10 | + 9 | + 4 | + 9 |
    15th | + 11 | + 9 | + 5 | + 9 | Sustaining Shadow (breath, poison, disease)
    16th | + 12 | + 10 | + 5 | + 10 |
    17th | + 12 | + 10 | + 5 | + 10 | Bonus Feat
    18th | + 13 | + 11 | + 6 | + 11 |
    19th | + 14 | + 11 | + 6 | + 11 |
    20th | + 15 | + 12 | + 6 | + 12 | Sustaining Shadow (incorporeal)
    [/table]

    Hit Die: d6

    Skills Per Day at 1st Level : (4 + Int) x 4

    Skills Per Day at Each Additional Level : 4 + Int

    Class Skills: The Shadowcaster's class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Bluff (Cha), Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Craft (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Disguise (Cha), Gather Information (Cha), Hide (Dex), Intimidate (Cha), Knowledge (arcana) (Int), Knowledge (planes) (Int), Listen (Wis), Move Silently (Dex), Profession (Wis), Sense Motive (Wis), Sleight of Hand (Dex), and Spot (Wis).

    Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Shadowcasters are proficient with all simple weapons, and light armor, but not with shields.

    Walk into Shadow (Su): At 1st level, the Shadowcaster gains the ability to Walk into Shadow. As a Swift Action, they may move into or out of the Plane of Shadow. They may stay on the Plane of Shadow for a number of rounds each day equal to their Charisma bonus plus twice their Shadowcaster level.

    When they transport into the Plane of Shadow using this ability, the Shadowcaster's body transforms into that of a creature of Shadow. This allows them to absorb the essence of Shadow and recharge their Mystery abilities (see below), and denizens of the Plane of Shadow ignore their presence unless directly attacked, allowing the Shadowcaster to move about unmolested. The Shadowcaster otherwise maintains all of their normal abilities, type, subtype, and attributes.

    The Shadowcaster must be in a space of darkness in order to use this ability, and can only emerge in an unoccupied space of darkness when he returns to the Prime Material Plane. If he is not standing in such a space when his maximum number of rounds per day for this ability runs out, he is shunted back into the closest available space that meets this criteria and is Dazed for 1 round. The Shadowcaster may not activate this ability unless he has at least 1 round of time remaining that he can spend on the Plane of Shadow. The number of rounds that the Shadowcaster can spend on the Plane of Shadow resets each night at midnight, without the need for rest or meditation.


    Fundamentals (Su): At first level the Shadowcaster learns his most basic Mysteries, which are known as Fundamentals. The Shadowcaster knows a number of Fundamentals equal to one half his Charisma bonus, rounded up. Each Fundamental Mystery may be used once. Each time the Shadowcaster travels to the Plane of Shadow using his Walk into Shadow ability for any period of time, these uses are recharged. If a Mystery requires a Saving Throw, the Save DC is 10 + 1/2 his Shadowcaster class level + his Charisma bonus.


    Mysteries (Su): At first level and each time he gains a new Shadowcaster level beyond the first he learns one new Mystery.

    At first level he is limited to Apprentice Mysteries, at 7th level he may learn Initiate Mysteries, and at 13th level he may learn Master Mysteries. The Shadowcaster may replace any Mystery (including Fundamentals) he has previously learned with any other Mystery of the same type (Fundemental, Apprentice, Initiate, or Master) by traveling to the Plane of Shadow at midnight using his Walk into Shadows ability, and staying there for 1 round for each Mystery he wishes to replace.

    Each Mystery is a supernatural ability which may be used once. You may recharge a Mystery and use it again by spending time on the Plane of Shadow using the Walk into Shadows ability. Recharging a Fundamental Mystery takes 0 rounds (every Fundamental Mystery you know is recharged every time you go to the Plane of Shadow for any period of time). Recharging one Apprentice Mystery takes 1 round + the number of times you have recharged that Mystery since midnight. Recharging an Initiate Mystery takes 2 rounds + the number of times you have recharged that Mystery since midnight. Recharging a Master Mystery takes 3 rounds + the number of times you have recharged that Mystery since midnight. Only travel to the Plane of Shadow using the Shadowcaster's Walk into Shadows class ability recharges his Mysteries. Travel to the Plane of Shadow via other means has no effect on them.

    Each round spent on the Plane of Shadow is a resource that can only be spent once for any purpose described above. You cannot recharge multiple Mysteries at the same time, or recharge a Mystery while learning a knew one at midnight. If a Mystery requires a Saving Throw, the Save DC is 10 + 1/2 the Shadowcaster's class level + his Charisma bonus.


    Bonus Feat: At 2nd level and every 5 levels thereafter, the Shadowcaster may select any one Feat that they otherwise qualify for from the following list: Blind-Fight, Defense Against the Supernatural, Empower Mystery, Enlarge Mystery, Extend Mystery, Improved Initiative, Path Focus, Greater Path Focus, Line of Shadows, Maximize Mystery, Nocturnal Caster, Quicken Mystery, Reach Mystery, Shadow Familiar, Shadow Reflection, Shadow Vision, Supernatural Crusader, or Supernatural Opportunist. (All from Tome of Magic or SRD).


    Umbral Sight (Su): At third level, the Shadowcaster gains darkvision for a number of feet equal to his Shadowcaster class level multiplied by 10. (30 feet at 3rd level, 200 feet at 20th). Within that range, this ability allows him to see within any level of darkness or shadowy illumination of any level or type (magical or non-magical) without penalty.


    Sustaining Shadow (Su): As the Shadowcaster gains experience and spends more time on the Plane of Shadow, it begins to sustain and transform him.

    At 5th level, the Shadowcaster no longer needs to eat or drink in order to survive (though he can if he chooses), and is immune to all sickened and nausea effects.

    At 10th level, the Shadowcaster no longer needs to sleep, is immune to magical sleep effects, and is immune to all fatigued and exhaustion effects.

    At 15th level, the Shadowcaster no longer needs to breath, is immune to all harmful effects based on breathing (such as suffocation, poison gas, spells such as Stinking Cloud), and is immune to all forms of poison and disease (both magical and non-magical).

    At 20th level, the Shadowcaster's has learned to transform his body into shadow while on the Material Plane. He may become Incorporeal or resume his normal form at-will as a Standard Action.


    All commentary is welcome.

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Troll in the Playground
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    Default Re: [3.5] Shadowcaster Fix

    Very nice - it's always a treat to see your homebrews.

    The one thing that I'd suggest changing off the top of my head would be the bonus feats. Maybe limit them to the ones as the Original Shadowcaster, with a few more? Having that many (completely open) bonus feats doesn't seem to mesh that well for me, honestly.

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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    NecromancerGirl

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    Default Re: [3.5] Shadowcaster Fix

    Since he now has some fighting ability, shouldn't he have one martial weapon proficiency ala battle sorcerer?
    Can a shadowcaster attack another shadowcaster when they are both using walk on shadows? Is he immune to other effects of the plane? Since the plane of shadows is slightly distorted (keeping this ability from being overpowered at low levels), how does a shadowcaster know that the spot he will end up is safe?

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  4. - Top - End - #4
    Firbolg in the Playground
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    Default Re: [3.5] Shadowcaster Fix

    I like this a lot, but I really feel like the low level shadowcaster could use a little more love. Just 1-2 extra Apprentice mysteries at level 1 would go a long way. I mean at level 1 you have 5-6 rounds of time in the Shadow Plane, which gets you 2-3 uses of your single mystery, and most of the level 1 mysteries really aren't good.
    If my text is blue, I'm being sarcastic.But you already knew that, right?


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    Ogre in the Playground
     
    ElfPirate

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    Default Re: [3.5] Shadowcaster Fix

    Roughly speaking Apprentice mysteries are level 1-3, Initiate mysteries are level 4-6 and Master mysteries are level 7-9. Is there any reason anyone would take most of the 1-2, 4-5 or 7-8 level mysteries if they can cherry-pick the higher level equivalents?

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    Firbolg in the Playground
     
    Person_Man's Avatar

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    Default Re: [3.5] Shadowcaster Fix

    Quote Originally Posted by Kuulvheysoon View Post
    Very nice - it's always a treat to see your homebrews.

    The one thing that I'd suggest changing off the top of my head would be the bonus feats. Maybe limit them to the ones as the Original Shadowcaster, with a few more? Having that many (completely open) bonus feats doesn't seem to mesh that well for me, honestly.
    Agreed. I've reworded the Bonus Feats ability to make it more limited. If anyone has additions they'd like to suggest, I'm open to ideas.

    Quote Originally Posted by peacenlove View Post
    Since he now has some fighting ability, shouldn't he have one martial weapon proficiency ala battle sorcerer?
    I'm leaning towards no, because at first level they also get a very potent teleportation ability, 2-4 Fundamentals, and an Apprentice Mystery, plus a decent Skill list. But I'm open to the idea if people can think of a good thematic choice.


    Quote Originally Posted by peacenlove View Post
    Can a shadowcaster attack another shadowcaster when they are both using walk on shadows? Is he immune to other effects of the plane? Since the plane of shadows is slightly distorted (keeping this ability from being overpowered at low levels), how does a shadowcaster know that the spot he will end up is safe?
    Those are excellent questions which I don't have good answers to.

    I wanted to give them a unique recharge mechanic tightly tied to their Plane of Shadow theme that also solved the "casters are too squishy" problem (by giving them a panic button they could use to retreat or reposition themselves) and helped them with their stealth shtick. During the one game we play tested it in, I basically treated the Plane of Shadow as a black box where nothing else happened, and allowed them to see shadowy versions of the Prime Material Plane so that they knew if there were creatures around or obstacles or whatever in the space where they teleported back in.

    But you and others are correct in pointing out that there are a lot of details I need to work out to be consistent with the broader game rules. I'm open to suggested solutions from everyone.


    Quote Originally Posted by Ashtagon View Post
    However, you seem to have dropped the bit where they effectively get Still Spell for any mystery learned one 'grade' of mystery ago.
    IIRC, Supernatural Abilities don't have a somatic component, don't require defensive casting, and thus don't need a Still Spell equivalent. If I'm wrong about this, I'll go back and fix the description to put it back in.

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