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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Swift as the Wind: The Strider [3.5, Base, ToB, Sublime 'Ranger', PEACH]

    The Strider

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    "You'll be riddled with holes before you even think about drawing that sword."


    The path of the ranger is one that is often misunderstood. Some claim it is about seeking and eliminating certain enemies. Others believe it to be based upon taking up a certain combat style and mastering it. Still others offer that they are travelers, skilled in many trades in order to survive the harsh wilderness. The Strider, heir to the throne of being called a 'Ranger', is all of these things and more: a vagabond, thief, hunter, marksman, and swiftfoot would all describe him well.


    Adventures: Striders can be found wherever their multiple talents would come in handy. Although traditionally thought of as a forest explorer, a strider can be found in all sorts of situations: as a skilled highwayman along the road, on a grassy hill waiting for the perfect shot, in the back rows of a military legion, and more.

    Characteristics: The strider is often seen as self-contained and self-sufficient; it is perfectly possible for them to survive, even thrive, in solitude. As such, many are likely to be reserved and terse, speaking only when strictly necessary and moving as quietly as possible (a holdover of their hunting and sniping legacy). Others, however, find great pleasure in mingling with people, chatting and carousing about whenever they get the chance. Some choose a single weapon to master, while others are of the opinion that a large body of equipment can cover a wide range of possible events.

    Alignment: The life of a strider is often a life in the wilds, and so it is fairly common for characters of the class to follow a neutral, self-focused path. However, considering their great versatility, any individual strider might be of any alignment. Evil ones are likely to find work as hired killers, while the more lawful sort end up being akin to bounty hunters.

    Religion: Those striders that do take up religion often follow a deity of their focus: for the stereotypical woodlands ranger, Obad-Hai and Ehlonna are popular choices. A fairy large minority worship gods of focus and training, while others revere animalistic shaman-spirits. Still, many are simply not very pious, a natural extension of their independent natures.

    Background: Most often, a strider is self-taught, having mastered the Sublime Way through practice and innovation. Some, fortunate in their own way, manage to join a specialized school of training, most likely as part of a military order.

    Races: The poster-child for 'woodland protector', elves make natural striders. Humans, multitalented as always, find the class fitting for their ability to dabble and practice many arts. Halflings are surprisingly skilled in the class, using their natural stealthiness and luck to overcome their limitations on size. On the monstrous side of things, centaurs make excellent hit-and-run specialists, while Raptorans make very capable snipers.

    Other Classes: The strider is a direct offshoot of the ranger, although the latter still has the benefit of spellcasting and an animal companion over the sublime huntsman. Fighters who are inclined to archery, or who are simply less focused on heavy weapons and armor see them as masters of their craft. Warblades, out of all the martial initiates, are most in common with the strider, although the two classes still have enough differences, both in style and in philosophy, to be very distinct from one another.

    Role: Striders can fill a variety of roles; they can snipe or bombard from range, puncture and maim up close, and still have room to make do as a trapfinder, thief, or wilderness guide. However, it is often best for this follower of the Sublime Way to be paired with a tougher character, so as to be less likely to take the heat from battles.


    GAME RULE INFORMATION
    Abilities: Dexterity is your most important attribute, as it increases both your initiative and, most likely, whatever combat style you choose to focus on. Strength is important for those characters that choose melee over range, while Constitution is, as it is with any character, useful for survival. Wisdom boosts several of your more useful skills, as well as your flagging Will save.
    Hit Die: d8

    Starting Age: As Fighter (Moderate).
    Starting Gold: As Fighter (6d4x10 gp).


    Class Skills
    The Strider's class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Balance (Dex), Bluff (Cha), Climb (Str), Craft (Int), Disable Device (Dex), Escape Artist (Dex), Handle Animal (Cha), Heal (Wis), Hide (Dex), Jump (Str), Knowledge (Architecture and Engineering, Dungeoneering, Geography, Local, & Nature) (Int, each taken separately), Listen (Wis), Martial Lore (Int), Move Silently (Dex), Open Lock (Dex), Profession (Wis), Ride (Dex), Search (Int), Sense Motive (Wis), Sleight of Hand (Dex), Spot (Wis), Survival (Wis), Swim (Str), Tumble (Dex), and Use Rope (Dex).

    Skill Points at First Level: (6 + Int modifier) x 4

    Skill Points at Each Additional Level: 6 + Int modifier

    {table="head"]Level|BAB|Fort|Ref|Will|Special|Maneuvers Known|Maneuvers Readied|Stances Known

    1st|+1|+2|+2|+0|1st Favored Enemy, Trapfinding|
    3
    |
    3
    |
    1

    2nd|+2|+3|+3|+0|Styled Unity I|
    4
    |
    3
    |
    1

    3rd|+3|+3|+3|+1|Trackless Step|
    5
    |
    4
    |
    1

    4th|+4|+4|+4|+1|2nd Favored Enemy, Swiftness +10|
    6
    |
    4
    |
    1

    5th|+5|+4|+4|+1|Styled Unity II|
    6
    |
    4
    |
    2

    6th|+6/+1|+5|+5|+2||
    7
    |
    5
    |
    2

    7th|+7/+2|+5|+5|+2|Evasion|
    7
    |
    5
    |
    2

    8th|+8/+3|+6|+6|+2|3rd Favored Enemy, Styled Unity III|
    8
    |
    5
    |
    2

    9th|+9/+4|+6|+6|+3||
    8
    |
    6
    |
    3

    10th|+10/+5|+7|+7|+3|Swiftness +10|
    9
    |
    6
    |
    3

    11th|+11/+6/+1|+7|+7|+3|Styled Unity IV|
    9
    |
    6
    |
    3

    12th|+12/+7/+2|+8|+8|+4|4th Favored Enemy|
    10
    |
    7
    |
    3

    13th|+13/+8/+3|+8|+8|+4|Improved Evasion|
    10
    |
    7
    |
    4

    14th|+14/+9/+4|+9|+9|+4|Styled Unity V|
    11
    |
    7
    |
    4

    15th|+15/+10/+5|+9|+9|+5|Hide in Plain Sight|
    11
    |
    8
    |
    4

    16th|+16/+11/+6/+1|+10|+10|+5|5th Favored Enemy, Swiftness +10|
    12
    |
    8
    |
    4

    17th|+17/+12/+7/+2|+10|+10|+5|Styled Unity VI|
    12
    |
    8
    |
    5

    18th|+18/+13/+8/+3|+11|+11|+6||
    13
    |
    9
    |
    5

    19th|+19/+14/+9/+4|+11|+11|+6|Movement of the Free Wind|
    13
    |
    9
    |
    5

    20th|+20/+15/+10/+5|+12|+12|+6|6th Favored Enemy|
    14
    |
    10
    |
    6
    [/table]

    Proficiencies: The strider is proficient is all simple weapons and all martial & exotic bows & crossbows, as well as the longsword, rapier, shortsword, and throwing axe. They are proficient with light armor, but not shields.

    Maneuvers Known: You begin your career with knowledge of three martial maneuvers. The disciplines available to you are Broken Wave, Dancing Leaf, Diamond Arrow, Striking Eagle, Swarming Hornet, and Thrashing Dragon. Once you know a maneuver, you must ready it before you can use it (see Maneuvers Readied, below). A maneuver usable by a strider 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. You must meet a maneuver’s prerequisite to learn it.
    Upon reaching 4th level, and at every even-numbered strider level after that (6th, 8th, 10th, and so on), you can choose to learn a new maneuver in place of one you already know. In effect, you lose the old maneuver in exchange for the new one. You can choose a new maneuver of any level you like, as long as you observe your restriction on the highest-level maneuvers you know; you need not replace the old maneuver with a maneuver of the same level. For example, upon reaching 10th level, you could trade in a single 1st-, 2nd-, 3rd- or 4th-level maneuver for a maneuver of 5th level or lower, as long as you meet the prerequisite of the new maneuver. You can swap only a single maneuver at any given level.

    Maneuvers Readied: You can ready all three of the maneuvers you know at 1st level, but as you advance in level and learn more maneuvers, you must choose which maneuvers to ready. You ready your maneuvers by exercising for 5 minutes. The maneuvers you choose remain readied until you decide to exercise again and change them. You need not sleep or rest for any long period of time to ready your maneuvers; any time you spend 5 minutes in practice, 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 (until you recover them, as described below).
    A strider can recover his maneuvers in two ways. The first is to make a successful basic attack roll against any favored enemy (see below), which recovers a single expended maneuver (multiple successful attacks against a foe, such as from a full-attack, recover multiple maneuvers; successfully striking a foe with a maneuver does not). The second way is to focus one's mind on their training, spending a full-round action in order to recover all of their expended maneuvers.
    You cannot initiate a maneuver or change your stance while you are recovering your expended maneuvers, but you can remain in a stance in which you began your turn.

    Stances Known: You begin play with knowledge of one 1st level stance from any discipline open to striders. At 5th, 9th, 13th, 17th, and 20th level, you can choose additional stances. 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 are currently using as a swift action. A stance is an extraordinary ability unless otherwise stated in the stance description. Whenever you would gain an odd-numbered stance (at 9th and 17th levels), you may trade out a stance you know for a new one, much like with maneuvers.

    Favored Enemy (Ex): At 1st level, a strider may select a type of creature from among those given on the Ranger Favored Enemies table. Due to his extensive study on his chosen type of foe and training in the proper techniques for combating such creatures, the strider gains a +2 bonus on Bluff, Listen, Sense Motive, Spot, and Survival checks when using these skills against creatures of this type. Likewise, he gets a +2 bonus on attack rolls and weapon damage rolls against such creatures.
    At 4th level and every five levels thereafter (8th, 12th, 16th, and 20th level), the strider may select an additional favored enemy from those given on the table. In addition, at each such interval, the bonus against any one favored enemy (including the one just selected, if so desired) increases by 2. For example, a 4th-level strider has two favored enemies; against one he gains a +4 bonus on Bluff, Listen, Sense Motive, Spot, and Survival checks and weapon damage rolls, and against the other he has a +2 bonus. At 8th level, he has three favored enemies, and he gains an additional +2 bonus, which he can allocate to the bonus against any one of his three favored enemies. Thus, his bonuses could be either +4, +4, +2 or +6, +2, +2.

    Trapfinding (Ex): Striders can use the Search skill to locate traps when the DC is higher than 20, and can use the Disable Device skill to disarm magical traps. A strider who beats a trap's disarm DC by 10 with a Disable Device check can study the device to such a degree that he (and his party, so long as they move past within 1 round) can bypass the trap without disarming it, allowing him to leave it a danger to foes.

    Styled Unity: A strider is a master of the twin traditions that have become iconic to his type, that of archery and two-weapon fighting. Beginning at 2nd level, he gains bonus feats that idealize these two very different combat doctrines. All bonus feats gained this way are granted regardless of whether the strider meets the prerequisites for them.
    At 2nd level, the strider gains Point Blank Shot and Two-Weapon Fighting. At 5th level, he gains Precise Shot and Two-Weapon Defense. At 8th level the strider gains Rapid Shot and Two-Weapon Pounce (PHII). At 11th level he gains Manyshot and Improved Two-Weapon Fighting. At 14th level the strider gains Greater Manyshot (XPH) and Greater Two-Weapon Fighting. Finally, at 17 level, the strider masters his his twin arts and gains Combat Archery (CW) and Perfect Two-Weapon Fighting (CW).

    Trackless Step (Ex): Starting at 3rd level, a strider leaves no trail in natural surroundings and cannot be tracked. He may choose to leave a trail if so desired.

    Swiftness(Ex): Beginning at 4th level, a strider becomes faster than someone of his race would normally be thanks to his training. He gains a +10 bonus to speed. At 10th level, he gains another +10 bonus (for a total +20 bonus to speed), and at 16th level he gains a final +10 bonus (for a total of a +30 bonus to speed). He only benefits fully from this class feature as long as he wears light or no armor, and carries, at most, a light load. If the strider gains proficiency with medium armor, he may utilize this class feature at half-potency (meaning that each improvement is only worth +5 speed) so long as he sticks with medium armor or carries a medium load. A strider who tries wearing medium armor without proficency, or who wears heavy armor or carries a heavy load regardless of their proficiencies, gains no benefit from Swiftness.

    Evasion (Ex): At 7nd level and higher, a strider can avoid even magical and unusual attacks with great agility. If he makes a successful Reflex saving throw against an attack that normally deals half damage on a successful save, he instead takes no damage. Evasion can be used only if the strider is wearing light armor or no armor. A helpless strider does not gain the benefit of evasion.

    Improved Evasion (Ex): At 13th level a strider gains the benefits of Improved Evasion. This ability works like evasion, except that while the strider still takes no damage on a successful Reflex saving throw against attacks such as a dragon's breath weapon or a fireball, henceforth he takes only half damage on a failed save.

    Hide in Plain Sight (Ex): Beginning at 15th level, a strider may use the Hide skill even while being observed, so long as he makes a DC 25 Reflex save in order to move behind or into anything that would provide cover or concealment within his speed, including (but not limited to) trees, bushes, underwater, in dim shadows, within a crowd, and so forth.

    Movement of the Free Wind (Ex): At 19th level and higher, a strider can slip free from nearly any sort of binding or difficult terrain with surprising ease, duplicating the effects of the Freedom of Movement spell as if it were always active upon him, so long as he wears armor no heavier than light, and carries no more than a light load.



    So, here's my second take on the Sublime Way, this time creating a Ranger remake. I decided to focus on their weapon styles rather than their animal companion or divine magic. I've taken what I've learned from my Dreadnought, and hopefully improved it with this class. In addition, I decided to use homebrew disciplines over the classic ones, as I believe that the ones chosen fit the chosen theme better. Critique and give advice, I'm quite willing to take it. Thank you in advance!
    Last edited by Adam1949; 2014-02-05 at 02:57 PM.

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Alabenson's Avatar

    Join Date
    Mar 2011
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    Default Re: Swift as the Wind: The Strider [3.5, Base, ToB, Sublime 'Ranger', PEACH]

    Abilities: The fact that the Strider puts high value on four abilities is a major red flag for me right off the bat due to MAD issues, especially since the class will also need decent Intelligence to function as a skill monkey. I would look for some way to remove the need for a high score in one or two abilities to compensate.

    Table: Currently, the Strider has dead levels at 6, 9 and 18.

    Proficiencies: You should specifically state which bows and crossbows the Strider is proficient in as opposed to stating “all martial & exotic bows & crossbows” to eliminate any possibility of confusion.

    Maneuvers Readied: I would recommend adding language specifying that a Strider cannot switch stances or initiate maneuvers in the same turn they recover them.

    Styled Unity: The main issue I have with this ability is that it actually reduces the customization potential of the class while adding relatively little over the alternative Ranger feature since the two combat styles have very little in the way of synergy. Functionally, giving both sets of feats at the same time accomplishes little more that to make the class a very attractive 2-level dip.

    Evasion: This has largely the same problem as the Ranger’s evasion, which is that it is really given too late in the class.

    Overall, while I like the idea of a ToB-style Ranger remake, I tend to feel that this class is still very much in need of polish. It feels less like a completely new class and more like the Ranger class with an initiator system glued on. My recommendation would be to take a step back and rethink what your vision for the class is and adjust the abilities accordingly.
    If brute force isn't working, that just means you're not using enough of it.

    When in doubt, set something on fire. If not in doubt, set something on fire anyway.

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  3. - Top - End - #3
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Zaydos's Avatar

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    Aug 2009
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    Erutnevda

    Default Re: Swift as the Wind: The Strider [3.5, Base, ToB, Sublime 'Ranger', PEACH]

    First question: What's the intended power balance of this thing? I'm assuming it's intended to be balanced against the ToB classes, and my comments will be based on that, but it's something to always ask. I am mainly going to compare it to warblade in fact.

    Chassis: Technically better than any ToB class but negligibly.

    Class Features:
    Maneuvers Known: I don't know about the quality of the homebrew disciplines, but I will note that as a Two-Weapon Fighter with nature themes they should probably get Tiger Claw which is a very ranger-y discipline. Also you shouldn't give them a maneuver known at 4th level. The major reason is that it actually delays them getting 3rd+ level maneuvers by a level each.

    Maneuvers Readied: Even with their worse recovery method I'd say you probably don't want to give them 10 maneuvers readied at 20th level. I'd suggest somewhere closer to warblade (8 or 9) over the swordsage end. You've already got a better chassis, better skills, and less MAD (as you only actually need Strength or Dexterity and Constitution and at minimum a smattering of Dexterity while Warblade needs Strength and Constitution and a smattering of Dexterity and in theory Intelligence) as well as better class features (we'll get into that).

    Now Class Features:

    Let us look first at what Warblades get:
    4 bonus feats from a horrible list.
    (Improved) Uncanny Dodge
    Dual Stance
    Int to a few things (Crit confirmation, opposed checks, damage in sneak attack situations, Reflex saves, attacks of opportunity); but with enough MAD to make it hard to have this Int or else this would be blue.

    This class gets:
    Trapfinding.
    Improved Evasion.
    6 Favored Enemies (potentially one at +12, more likely something like +6 to 1 type +4 to 2 and +2 to 3)
    12 bonus feats from a fixed list.
    Movement of the Free Wind
    Hide in Plain Sight
    Trackless Step
    +30-ft fast movement non-enhancement.

    Comparing the two not only does this have a better chassis, it has more an on the whole better abilities (Improved Evasion edges out Improved Uncanny Dodge in my experience, Movement of the Free Wind is effectively an extra good stance, the 12 bonus feats are two sets which each one gives more power than the 4 and more versatility when put together, fast movement is better than people give it credit for ESPECIALLY on an archer who doesn't rely on precision damage).

    I'd say drop Hide in Plain Sight (leave it to the rogue's), reduce the number of bonus feats to probably 4 (enough for competency but require some build investment for mastery), and replace Trapfinding with Track (it better fits the fluff). It still comes out better than warblade, but it's much closer.

    This is all working on the assumption that the homebrewed disciplines are actually balanced against the official ones, most I've seen (or made ) are not either being noticeably weaker or with maneuvers often much stronger than the official ones.
    Peanut Half-Dragon Necromancer by Kurien.

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