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    Default The Death Knight (Base Class)

    Link to google docs.

    Inspired, of course, by the death knights of the World of Warcraft universe, but with a DnD spin. I've been working on this for a while (first came up with the class during the original testing), and just finished going through to update it to the release version of 5E.

    I've tried to balance things generally in line with the other classes, but I'm not experienced with 5e enough to really know for sure what is and isn't OP, so any advice on that would be very much appreciated. Ideas for new rune spells (whether they're original abilities or existing spells you think they should be able to use) would also be appreciated, since right now there's not a whole lot of choices to be made, especially at later levels. I also have one slot open at level 13 for a new ability, if anyone has good ideas for that. Preferably something more flavorful than powerful.
    Last edited by AgentPaper; 2014-10-13 at 02:03 AM.
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    Default Re: The Death Knight (Base Class)

    Here's some feedback after reading the class

    • You may want to introduce a way to replace rune powers when you learn new ones. All classes can do this, even the monk
    • Vampiric Blood may be underpowered. Compare it to the Fighter feature Survivor, which grants 5+Con mod hp every round without requiring you to hit stuff
    • Frost Strike needs a duration. Also consider making all abilities that grant bonus damage to the next attack into something similar to a Paladin's Divine Smite or the smite spells. Using Runes and then missing on Frost Strike seems like the worst. Obliterate is another one of these relics of older editions that seem super unfun to play with should you miss your attack roll.
    • There's a typo in the description Death Coil. I'm fairly certain the ability is meant to scale from 2d8 to 5d8 at lvl 17. Otherwise it'd be weaker than Eldritch Blast, a cantrip. I'd say it wouldn't be overpowered to add your Cha mod to the attack's damage
    • Chains of Ice should specify the DC of the Str check to break free (the assumption is that it's your spell save DC, but better to spell it out)
    • Unholy Frenzy is missing text after the 1st sentence of the 2nd paragraph. What did you mean to write there?
    • Dark Transformation may be underpowered. Your minion cannot attack on the same turn you transform it, so it effectively has Cha mod - 1 turns to be useful. I'd suggest making the ability a bonus action
    • Overall the class seems balanced and fun to play, albeit leaning too far into the 'evil' spectrum and won't fit in many campaigns. Still needs more rune powers IMO, because there is really no variety in higher level runes since you're stuck with a general rune power and the one from your subclass.
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    Default Re: The Death Knight (Base Class)

    Quote Originally Posted by Pramxnim View Post
    You may want to introduce a way to replace rune powers when you learn new ones. All classes can do this, even the monk
    Good catch. Added in the standard "swap out one when you learn more" clause.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pramxnim View Post
    Vampiric Blood may be underpowered. Compare it to the Fighter feature Survivor, which grants 5+Con mod hp every round without requiring you to hit stuff
    Hm, there's a few ways I could change this, but for now I've changed it to restore actual hit points instead of temporary ones, which seems like it'd be competitive since you don't need to be below half HP to start triggering it. Also made it 5+cha to bring it in line. Alternatively, I could make it so that you gain Cha mod HP every time you hit, rather than just the first, but that may be too abusable.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pramxnim View Post
    Frost Strike needs a duration. Also consider making all abilities that grant bonus damage to the next attack into something similar to a Paladin's Divine Smite or the smite spells. Using Runes and then missing on Frost Strike seems like the worst. Obliterate is another one of these relics of older editions that seem super unfun to play with should you miss your attack roll.
    Frost Strike actually worked like that initially, but I changed it to this since I thought it would be too strong if it was guaranteed. After thinking about it though, it does seem to be the norm for stuff like this to be added on after a hit rather than before (stunning fist works the same way) so I'm fine changing it to that.

    For Obliterate in particular though, I'll be keeping it as a bonus action, but make it so that it works on your next hit that turn, so you only need to hit with one of your two attacks. I was also thinking of granting advantage until you hit with it, but I'm not sure if that's overkill or not.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pramxnim View Post
    There's a typo in the description Death Coil. I'm fairly certain the ability is meant to scale from 2d8 to 5d8 at lvl 17. Otherwise it'd be weaker than Eldritch Blast, a cantrip. I'd say it wouldn't be overpowered to add your Cha mod to the attack's damage
    Whoops, yeah I was originally going to make it not cost runes, or have some way of getting back the one you spent, by decided against it and so upped the damage without updating the last bit. Added Charisma as you suggested.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pramxnim View Post
    Chains of Ice should specify the DC of the Str check to break free (the assumption is that it's your spell save DC, but better to spell it out)
    I was thinking about doing that already, added it in.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pramxnim View Post
    Unholy Frenzy is missing text after the 1st sentence of the 2nd paragraph. What did you mean to write there?
    Ah, that was left over from when you only needed one save to break free. It was replaced by the fourth paragraph.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pramxnim View Post
    Dark Transformation may be underpowered. Your minion cannot attack on the same turn you transform it, so it effectively has Cha mod - 1 turns to be useful. I'd suggest making the ability a bonus action
    Easily done.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pramxnim View Post
    Overall the class seems balanced and fun to play, albeit leaning too far into the 'evil' spectrum and won't fit in many campaigns. Still needs more rune powers IMO, because there is really no variety in higher level runes since you're stuck with a general rune power and the one from your subclass.]
    Yeah, that's definitely my next step. Glad to hear that you like the class though, my original build was ridiculously overpowered, so I may have pulled back a bit too far from that. And it's definitely on the dark side of the morality scale. It's certainly possible to have a neutral or even good character that uses the class, but even then they tend to be an anti-hero rather than the knight in shining armor. This is very much intentional, since it's a big part of the lore for Death Knights in general.

    I'm still mulling over how to refit the lore. In the Warcraft universe, all death knights were created by a single (very evil) person, and the only friendly ones are those who broke free of his control. I think I want both willing and unwilling transformation into a death knight to be possible, probably including some way for an evil character to resurrect a dead character (PC or NPC) as a death knight, converting all of their class levels into death knight levels, and imposing some form of mind control on them. For the voluntary side, some kind of sacrifice ritual would probably be involved, probably requiring the sacrifice of a humanoid and/or sentient creature. So you could have a good(ish) death knight who sacrificed an evil goblin or orc for their powers or something, but it'd still be pretty gray on the morality scale, and depending on the campaign may still be full-blown evil.

    More rune powers is also a big priority for me, but I'm taking a bit of a break from my creation spree to try and get a better feel for the class overall and what it really needs, rather than just throwing in more powers for the sake of it. I definitely want there to be at least 3-4 neutral powers and 2 aspect-specific powers for each level to give a good amount of choice, though I don't want to make the lower level powers obsolete, either.
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    Default Re: The Death Knight (Base Class)

    I'm liking the class so far, but Death Knights kind of rely on diseases in WoW. I would say that as the 13th level ability, they should be able to expend 2 runes to cast one of the options from the Contagion spell, Slimy Doom for blood, Flesh Rot for Unholy, and possibly seizure for Frost?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zaristus View Post
    I'm liking the class so far, but Death Knights kind of rely on diseases in WoW. I would say that as the 13th level ability, they should be able to expend 2 runes to cast one of the options from the Contagion spell, Slimy Doom for blood, Flesh Rot for Unholy, and possibly seizure for Frost?
    Hm, Contagion as one of the rune powers seems like a good idea. I originally had a more complex disease system, where a bunch of your powers caused diseases, and others (like obliterate) keyed off of a target having it, but it all seemed overly complicated in the end, and not really worth the trouble it would be to keep track of.
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    Default Re: The Death Knight (Base Class)

    Overall I like the class, it seems fun and suprisingly well balanced for most homebrew items lol.

    The only thing that really stood out to me was Icebound Fortitude. 2 runes seems like a large cost considering Uncanny dodge can be cast as a reaction every round to take half damage, spending 2 runes for 6-11 Temp HP at level 6 when you get this feature seems very steep.

    I would suggest letting it be cast as a reaction so you can use it when you're about to get hit, and lower the cost to 1 rune.
    Last edited by Ramshack; 2014-10-14 at 10:58 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ramshack View Post
    Overall I like the class, it seems fun and suprisingly well balanced for most homebrew items lol.

    The only thing that really stood out to me was Icebound Fortitude. 2 runes seems like a large cost considering Uncanny dodge can be cast as a reaction every round to take half damage, spending 2 runes for 6-11 Temp HP at level 6 when you get this feature seems very steep.

    I would suggest letting it be cast as a reaction so you can use it when you're about to get hit, and lower the cost to 1 rune.
    Changed it to 1 rune and resist all for a turn.
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    Default Re: The Death Knight (Base Class)

    Quote Originally Posted by AgentPaper View Post
    Changed it to 1 rune and resist all for a turn.
    Looks good

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    Default Re: The Death Knight (Base Class)

    Ok, I've made a number of changes, and I think the class is mostly balanced now, though I'll continue to be tweaking at it. I think it's ready for someone to use it in a real campaign, and if you do please let me know, along with any feedback you have after trying it out.
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    Default Re: The Death Knight (Base Class)

    More tweaks and changes. Too many to list, but I'll start keeping a changelog from now on to help anyone who uses this in a campaign stay up to date. I also added in a first pass a the description section, hopefully I didn't ham it up too much, writing isn't exactly my strong suit.
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    Default Re: The Death Knight (Base Class)

    I really like this class!! Keep up the good work!! Also I am letting two of my players play this in my campaign. They are starting at a higher level so I wont know about the lower levels but I will let you know how the higher level work for balance in the party. Once again this is an amazing work!! Keep it up!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Johnngrimm View Post
    I really like this class!! Keep up the good work!! Also I am letting two of my players play this in my campaign. They are starting at a higher level so I wont know about the lower levels but I will let you know how the higher level work for balance in the party. Once again this is an amazing work!! Keep it up!
    Awesome! I'd really appreciate any and all feedback on the class, not just about whether it's balanced or not but the general feel of playing them, why you made the decisions you did, what you might wish was changed, etc.
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    Quote Originally Posted by AgentPaper View Post
    Awesome! I'd really appreciate any and all feedback on the class, not just about whether it's balanced or not but the general feel of playing them, why you made the decisions you did, what you might wish was changed, etc.
    Reading through some of the changes and it seems like the blood line has some synergy problems. For instance the Vampyric Blood feature now creates temporary HP which will conflict with the dread plate feature.

    Also blood tap seems to come way too long in the game. I believe a previous version gave all 3 arche types a way to fulfill some runes. Frost gets this ability relatively quickly and blood now gets this at 18.

    Also with blood they gain advantage on death saving throws, but your level 20 ability kind of renders that pointless.

    Just a few thoughts. I really do enjoy this class.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ramshack View Post
    Reading through some of the changes and it seems like the blood line has some synergy problems. For instance the Vampyric Blood feature now creates temporary HP which will conflict with the dread plate feature.
    I added Dread Plate in later and forgot I'd changed VP to give temp HP. I've changed it back to normal HP, except then it's probably too strong at such a low level. I'll probably end up replacing it with something else and then move Vampiric Blood into a blood-only rune power, which is where it was originally anyways.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ramshack View Post
    Also blood tap seems to come way too long in the game. I believe a previous version gave all 3 arche types a way to fulfill some runes. Frost gets this ability relatively quickly and blood now gets this at 18.
    Hm, true. I've swapped around Blood's level 14 and 18 abilities, which should give a bit more time of being able to restore runes.

    And yeah, I decided that it was probably too much to give them all free runes that early on. I'm actually planning to move Frost's ability to level 14 as well, once I figure out what to replace it with.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ramshack View Post
    Also with blood they gain advantage on death saving throws, but your level 20 ability kind of renders that pointless.
    I wouldn't really say that. It's not the end if you die, but it's still a big deal. Either you need someone to use Raise Dead on you, or you need to trick some poor sap into picking up your sword so you can dominate them...and hope they have good physical stats. And that you don't need to do anything for however long it takes you to get through the whole process.
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    I haven't been on the homebrew forums in a while, but I had a feeling I'd find something awesome today. And then I saw this on the front page. Oh my. I main(ed) a blood death knight through some of cata and most of mists, and the death knight is very close to my heart. I'm excited to see a 5E DK!

    Here are my reactions as I read through the class, spoilered for length.
    Spoiler
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    1d10 hit die is pretty standard, and the skill list looks fine.

    So runes are an encounter-based resource? Cool. That's a good way of making the runes a simple resource that is still flavorful. It seems weird to learn two rune powers at a time at irregular levels; why not say "you learn an additional power every three levels" for simplicity? (I'm guessing it's to avoid dead levels at 10 and 17, but it feels like a clumsy way to do that.)

    The fighting styles seem okay, if not particularly flavorful. +1 AC seems boring, but it is nice that fighting style and spec are selected separately. Mathematically, it's worth noting that the great weapon specialization actually gets worse with larger weapons. With a weapon with a small die, i.e, a 1d4 dagger, the benefit is huge. Making it impossible to roll a 1 or 2 on a d4 raises the average from 2.5 to 3.5. With a big die like a greataxe's d12, though, 1s and 2s are less likely to come up, and the average is only raised from 6.5 to 6.75.

    Why not give rune powers with the fighting styles? That could make them more interesting and give more powers. There should still be a simple option for people who don't want a complicated character- the +1 AC is getting better and better as a design choice the more I look at it- but active powers could make the fighting styles more flavorful and engaging. For example, with the great weapon style, you could say "whenever you hit, you can spend [appropriate number] of runes to treat your damage roll as if you had rolled the maximum number on the weapon's damage dice". That would make the fighting style something that the player actually interacts with over the course of the game instead of just being a forgotten passive, and it would scale better with weapon size. For two-weapon fighting, you might say "whenever you hit with both weapons, you can spend X runes to do something extra", or something like that.

    Death Aspects, woo! 3rd, 6th, 11th, 14th, and 18th seems like very strangely selected levels. As is, sixth level is spectacular for death knights.

    Extra Attack: I'm not too familiar with the 5E numbers, but that seems pretty strong. How powerful is that feature?

    Dread Plate seems pretty strong, but it's also extremely flavorful. I hope that the frost specialization interacts with it! You should clarify that "your dread plate heals CHA HP" means "you restore CHA temporary hit points", if I'm reading it correctly. You might also want to copy the text of the spell to save people some time looking it up.

    Runic Empowerment seems awesome. It's a big, high level, daily cooldown, and it looks great. If you wanted to make it even more of a "last stand" ability, you could make it so that the energy required to restore all your runes is so immense that you lose them all at the end of the encounter.

    Death Master is tremendously cool. It seems really powerful, but hey, it is a capstone. That's awesome.

    In Blood Spec, Vampiric Blood seems very strong. A third level blood DK might have, say, 29 hit points (20 from HD plus 16 CON) and regain 10% of their health every round if they also have 16 CHA. I'm not sure if that's too much, because I'm not familiar with 5E numbers, but it seems like that could be a lot. Will of the Necropolis, on the other hand, is so situational that it might never come up, and it's likely to be forgotten if it does. Scent of Blood is cool, but Abomination's Blood seems better suited to one of the DPS specs. In fact, doesn't Unholy have a passive strength boost in game? It seems like Blood, if it is intended as the "tank"y spec, could use some more survivability. Death Strike could be at-will (or on hit), because if a Blood death knight is really focusing on survivability over damage, they're wouldn't be very likely to get the killing blow.

    In frost, Killing Machine seems like a fantastically fun power. I want that in my game! However, all the other abilities are boring numerical bonuses. I'm not saying they're not powerful- they seem like good numbers- but they could be more interesting and engaging. Unless you want frost to be the easy spec? If you're trying to mimic WoW, that's certainly accurate

    For Unholy, the ghoul seems pretty cool. I was wondering whether you were going to go with the ghoul as the unholy focus or with damage-over-time and status effects. Since you picked the ghoul, you have to be very careful about its power. Does commanding the minion to attack take an action? If so, there's no reason to ever use it because your own attacks will ostensibly be better; if not, it nearly doubles the death knight's damage. You also have to think about whether or not you really want players to be looking through the DM's guide for undead monsters to summon, especially when they get to 11th level. Lichborne and Reaping are okay, I guess, but they don't seem like they'd see much use. Reaping is cool, yeah, but it seems more like a class feature that every death knight should have (perhaps to fill in a dead level) than something associated with Unholy spec. Actually, Reaping is almost entirely useless, since you get your runes back every short rest anyway. Virulence is strong, but I think it's something that Unholy could stand to gain earlier.

    And, finally, onto the rune powers.

    Runic Strike seems strong, like a standard ability that every death knight wants to take. Keeping in mind that they will usually have enough runes to spend one every time they get hit, that adds up to a lot of damage. Especially with Charisma as a bonus.

    Frost Strike and Death Coil seem approximately equal in damage, which is good. Death Grip and Dark Command are good, but I'd make sure to clarify that runic powers that mimic spells don't require Concentration checks to cast in melee.

    Obliterate scales strangely. Everything else scales from 100% power (e.g, 1d6) to 200% (e.g, 2d6), 300%, and then 400% at 6th, 11th, and 17th. By that logic, it should be 8d6 at 11 and 12d6 at 17. However, I don't have any experience with high level 5E, so maybe this way is better. By the way, why do things scale at 6, 11, and 17? That seems arbitrary.

    Blood Boil seems extremely strong, like Obliterate but at an area and save half instead of an attack roll. I would decrease the damage on that.

    Death Strike is... different. The "when you kill someone" part is flavorful, but it's also an opportunity to give Blood a chance to heal themselves when they need it most. You could say "heal some fraction of the hit points you're missing", that is, take the difference between your current and maximum hit points and heal some constant fraction of that, which would make it heal more when you're at low health. You could have it give (temporary) hit points equal to a function of level and/or cha mod, or you could even have it give damage reduction. I wouldn't call it bad as written by any means, but it seems like you could do so much more with it.

    Icebound Fortitude, okay, numbers. It's not interesting, but it does its job of being a Frost-spec defensive cooldown.

    Chains of Ice and Bone Shield both seem like really cool abilities whose power could use another look. Can someone be sneak attacked while under Chains of Ice? Does it really have to be minutes per CHA mod instead of rounds? For Bone Shield, how much damage is that actually going to be? I'm not sure- are you?

    Strangulate should summarize or copy the rules for strangulation instead of making people hunt through the book. Still, it's cool that strangulate actually strangulates a target. The save every round is a nice touch.

    Wow, Heart Strike is strong. It's even stronger than Rune Strike, and "crits at will" reads like a big red flag to any DM looking this over to see if they want to allow it in a game.

    Blood Parasite is super cool! I'd increase the numbers or maybe apply a status effect, as it's currently two runes and an action for only (on average) around 2d8 damage.

    Mind Freeze is one of the many powers you've written that makes me think "wow, I really like how this was executed". Be aware that the Con save is devastatingly hard for casters, and you might even want to increase it to three runes to compensate.

    Unholy Frenzy is another cool ability. I think maybe it could have some bonus, like not costing an action, if you cast it on yourself. Grammar nitpick: "it's" should say "its" both times.

    The high-level powers all really feel epic, with a visible difference both numerically and in terms of scale that sets them apart from the lower-level powers. I think the numbers could use some tuning to make them more even between the specs (Frost feels the most powerful but looks like the weakest numerically) but they all look super cool.


    Overall, the class looks great. I wish I'd found it before I started my 5E campaign. You did a great job of translating the WoW mechanics to 5E and of differentiating the specs without making an overly complicated rune system. I'd take a look at some of the numbers, and a few of the abilities could be more engaging to the player, but overall, it looks good. I'm impressed!
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    Attilla, In 5e, Extra Attack is the only way for a character to gain iterative attacks for their characters, with most melee characters getting 2 attacks with the some getting more through some special use of their bonus action. The only variation of this is the Fighter Currently and thus has been deemed "its unique feature" and thus if you decided to make a homebrew base class, don't have 3 Extra Attack Features. Do this or you will get attacked viciously. Also these do not stack, so multiclassing for the extra attack does not get you another attack unless its from the Fighter's 11th Extra Attack and its Extra Attack at 4th.
    As for the obliterate Scaling, in 5e, the numbers are kept pretty low for everyone. So much so that a Rogue can only sneak attack once per turn. The fighting styles are a standard feature for a few classes and are the same when they have the same names. So while a Fighter has a full selection of Styles, other classes usually get some subset of this.
    Last edited by BRKNdevil; 2014-10-17 at 02:07 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by AttilaTheGeek View Post
    So runes are an encounter-based resource? Cool. That's a good way of making the runes a simple resource that is still flavorful. It seems weird to learn two rune powers at a time at irregular levels; why not say "you learn an additional power every three levels" for simplicity? (I'm guessing it's to avoid dead levels at 10 and 17, but it feels like a clumsy way to do that.)
    It's partly to avoid dead levels, but it's also because I've split up the powers into four "tiers", each associated with one of the levels you gain powers at.

    Quote Originally Posted by AttilaTheGeek View Post
    The fighting styles seem okay, if not particularly flavorful. +1 AC seems boring, but it is nice that fighting style and spec are selected separately. Mathematically, it's worth noting that the great weapon specialization actually gets worse with larger weapons. With a weapon with a small die, i.e, a 1d4 dagger, the benefit is huge. Making it impossible to roll a 1 or 2 on a d4 raises the average from 2.5 to 3.5. With a big die like a greataxe's d12, though, 1s and 2s are less likely to come up, and the average is only raised from 6.5 to 6.75.
    These area actually standard between a lot of the "fighting" classes, such as the fighter and paladin. Great Weapon Specialization doesn't do well with 1d10 or 1d12 attacks, but it's amazing with the Greatsword and Maul, which deal 2d6.

    Quote Originally Posted by AttilaTheGeek View Post
    Death Aspects, woo! 3rd, 6th, 11th, 14th, and 18th seems like very strangely selected levels. As is, sixth level is spectacular for death knights.
    They may look arbitrary, but they're all there for specific reasons, whether to keep the DK in line with the damage of other classes (notably level 11), or to fill slots that would otherwise be dead levels.

    Quote Originally Posted by AttilaTheGeek View Post
    Extra Attack: I'm not too familiar with the 5E numbers, but that seems pretty strong. How powerful is that feature?
    Level 5 is essentially the point at which you become "seasoned" adventurers, and represents a major increase in power for every class, and for most of the martial characters an extra attack is how they get it.

    Quote Originally Posted by AttilaTheGeek View Post
    Dread Plate seems pretty strong, but it's also extremely flavorful. I hope that the frost specialization interacts with it! You should clarify that "your dread plate heals CHA HP" means "you restore CHA temporary hit points", if I'm reading it correctly. You might also want to copy the text of the spell to save people some time looking it up.
    This is actually the last feature I added in, level 13 was a dead level for a while. I definitely agree that frost should get something special from it, but more on that later.

    Quote Originally Posted by AttilaTheGeek View Post
    Runic Empowerment seems awesome. It's a big, high level, daily cooldown, and it looks great. If you wanted to make it even more of a "last stand" ability, you could make it so that the energy required to restore all your runes is so immense that you lose them all at the end of the encounter.
    Yep! It's basically there to allow the Death Knight to go "nova", throwing around a lot of powerful rune powers all at once, whereas normally they need to be more conservative to make sure they don't run out until they get a chance to rest.

    Quote Originally Posted by AttilaTheGeek View Post
    Death Master is tremendously cool. It seems really powerful, but hey, it is a capstone. That's awesome.
    Not sure if you saw the old version or the new one. Old version basically made you immortal, with the new one you're a lot more vulnerable. All someone needs to do is break your sword after you die, and you're dead for good (well, until someone raises you). Of course, most people can't be expected to know that you can do this, so they might leave your sword alone or even better pick it up and try to use it.

    Quote Originally Posted by AttilaTheGeek View Post
    In Blood Spec, Vampiric Blood seems very strong. A third level blood DK might have, say, 29 hit points (20 from HD plus 16 CON) and regain 10% of their health every round if they also have 16 CHA. I'm not sure if that's too much, because I'm not familiar with 5E numbers, but it seems like that could be a lot. Will of the Necropolis, on the other hand, is so situational that it might never come up, and it's likely to be forgotten if it does. Scent of Blood is cool, but Abomination's Blood seems better suited to one of the DPS specs. In fact, doesn't Unholy have a passive strength boost in game? It seems like Blood, if it is intended as the "tank"y spec, could use some more survivability. Death Strike could be at-will (or on hit), because if a Blood death knight is really focusing on survivability over damage, they're wouldn't be very likely to get the killing blow.
    Vampiric Blood is probably too strong. It used to be at level 14, but then I moved all the rune-regenerating powers to 14, and now I need to find a new ability to replace it, and probably move Vampiric Blood into a rune power.

    Will of the Necropolis and the other level 7 abilities are all meant to be mostly flavorful things that can be good in some situations. You get a lot of cool stuff around those levels, so I think it's OK for there to be a bit of a "cool down" period before you start getting really cool stuff again.

    Blood is probably the "tankiest" of the specs, but none of them is really a tank, mostly because there really isn't such thing as a tank in 5e. They're the tankiest only in that they're the aspect meant to take hits on the chin and keep going, whereas a frost DK might try to control the battlefield and not get hit in the first place, and an unholy DK might use tricky spells, their minions, and maybe even ranged attacks to keep the heat off of them.

    Quote Originally Posted by AttilaTheGeek View Post
    In frost, Killing Machine seems like a fantastically fun power. I want that in my game! However, all the other abilities are boring numerical bonuses. I'm not saying they're not powerful- they seem like good numbers- but they could be more interesting and engaging. Unless you want frost to be the easy spec? If you're trying to mimic WoW, that's certainly accurate
    Heh, unfortunately right after you said this I moved Killing Machine up to 14 with the other "regain runes" abilities. Fortunately I replaced it with what should be a fairly fun ability, Chilblains. Encourages you to use frost damage, but without making that your only DPS option. Interacts nicely with Dread Plate, as well.

    Quote Originally Posted by AttilaTheGeek View Post
    For Unholy, the ghoul seems pretty cool. I was wondering whether you were going to go with the ghoul as the unholy focus or with damage-over-time and status effects. Since you picked the ghoul, you have to be very careful about its power. Does commanding the minion to attack take an action? If so, there's no reason to ever use it because your own attacks will ostensibly be better; if not, it nearly doubles the death knight's damage. You also have to think about whether or not you really want players to be looking through the DM's guide for undead monsters to summon, especially when they get to 11th level. Lichborne and Reaping are okay, I guess, but they don't seem like they'd see much use. Reaping is cool, yeah, but it seems more like a class feature that every death knight should have (perhaps to fill in a dead level) than something associated with Unholy spec. Actually, Reaping is almost entirely useless, since you get your runes back every short rest anyway. Virulence is strong, but I think it's something that Unholy could stand to gain earlier.
    The ghoul basically works like a ranger animal companion: it moves on it's own, but can only attack when you spend your action commanding it to. I've heard mixed reports as to whether this works out well or not for the ranger, but if it's not useful enough I might make ordering your ghoul to attack into a bonus action instead.

    I would provide the stat blocks for the skeleton and zombie (they're in the monster manual, not the DM's guide), but I'm afraid it would probably violate the terms of use for the books to copy stuff directly in. Same thing for the spells that you can cast.

    I think you're thinking about 4E when you talk about a short rest, because a short rest in 5e requires at least 30 minutes, uninterrupted. It's not assumed that you get to rest between every fight at all, so being able to spend 30 seconds or so finishing off enemies and refilling a few runs can be very useful. If anything, I'm afraid that reaping may be too strong, and I might need to limit the times you can use it per day.

    Quote Originally Posted by AttilaTheGeek View Post
    Runic Strike seems strong, like a standard ability that every death knight wants to take. Keeping in mind that they will usually have enough runes to spend one every time they get hit, that adds up to a lot of damage. Especially with Charisma as a bonus.
    I wouldn't be surprised if a lot of DKs take it, but remember you only have one reaction per round, and if you use it on this, you can't use it on an opportunity attack. Depending on your build and party makeup, this may be more or less useful for you, and I could certainly think of DKs who would want to take some or all of the other abilities over this, as they all offer unique and difficult to compare abilities.

    Quote Originally Posted by AttilaTheGeek View Post
    Frost Strike and Death Coil seem approximately equal in damage, which is good. Death Grip and Dark Command are good, but I'd make sure to clarify that runic powers that mimic spells don't require Concentration checks to cast in melee.
    No spell needs a concentration check to cast in melee. Concentration checks are for when you're hit by damage and are currently concentrating on a spell you've already cast that requires concentration to maintain, such as Fly of Invisibility or Stoneskin. The only way you can get smacked for casting a spell in melee is if your enemy has the Mage Slayer feat, but even that is just an attack, not an interrupt.

    Quote Originally Posted by AttilaTheGeek View Post
    Obliterate scales strangely. Everything else scales from 100% power (e.g, 1d6) to 200% (e.g, 2d6), 300%, and then 400% at 6th, 11th, and 17th. By that logic, it should be 8d6 at 11 and 12d6 at 17. However, I don't have any experience with high level 5E, so maybe this way is better. By the way, why do things scale at 6, 11, and 17? That seems arbitrary.
    All the damage is a bit tentative until I get around to running the numbers more seriously, and/or until I get feedback from actual use of the class.

    Quote Originally Posted by AttilaTheGeek View Post
    Blood Boil seems extremely strong, like Obliterate but at an area and save half instead of an attack roll. I would decrease the damage on that.
    Note that Obliterate adds it's damage on to the attack roll, and uses a bonus action to cast, while Blood Boil uses an action, so no normal attack on the same turn. Attacks against AC are also usually more likely to hit than saving throws, so against a single target, you're much better off using Obliterate. Against groups of 3+ though, you're probably better using the AoE, obviously.

    Quote Originally Posted by AttilaTheGeek View Post
    Death Strike is... different. The "when you kill someone" part is flavorful, but it's also an opportunity to give Blood a chance to heal themselves when they need it most. You could say "heal some fraction of the hit points you're missing", that is, take the difference between your current and maximum hit points and heal some constant fraction of that, which would make it heal more when you're at low health. You could have it give (temporary) hit points equal to a function of level and/or cha mod, or you could even have it give damage reduction. I wouldn't call it bad as written by any means, but it seems like you could do so much more with it.
    That seems overly complicated, and wouldn't really add much to the ability. It might need to heal for more than it does, but I don't think it's a good idea to add a bunch of random extra abilities onto it.

    Quote Originally Posted by AttilaTheGeek View Post
    Icebound Fortitude, okay, numbers. It's not interesting, but it does its job of being a Frost-spec defensive cooldown.
    Sometimes, effective is all you need for something to be fun. Depends on the person.

    Quote Originally Posted by AttilaTheGeek View Post
    Chains of Ice and Bone Shield both seem like really cool abilities whose power could use another look. Can someone be sneak attacked while under Chains of Ice? Does it really have to be minutes per CHA mod instead of rounds? For Bone Shield, how much damage is that actually going to be? I'm not sure- are you?
    Restrained gives you advantage, so yes, you could sneak attack it. Minutes per CHA isn't necessary, I mostly made it that way so it could be used for something other than just grabbing someone for a few rounds in combat. It's not likely to matter most of the time anyways, so I figured why not?

    Quote Originally Posted by AttilaTheGeek View Post
    Strangulate should summarize or copy the rules for strangulation instead of making people hunt through the book. Still, it's cool that strangulate actually strangulates a target. The save every round is a nice touch.
    Again, probably not kosher to copy stuff directly out of the PHB. And yeah, it's mostly flavor, since you could probably kill them much faster than them choking to death would anyways if you can hold onto them for that long.

    Quote Originally Posted by AttilaTheGeek View Post
    Wow, Heart Strike is strong. It's even stronger than Rune Strike, and "crits at will" reads like a big red flag to any DM looking this over to see if they want to allow it in a game.
    I think you're overestimating critical hits. In 5e, all a crit means is that you roll your weapon dice again. You don't double your static damage, and the damage done by attacks doesn't scale hugely, anyways. Ignoring resistance is more likely to be the useful part most of the time.

    Quote Originally Posted by AttilaTheGeek View Post
    Blood Parasite is super cool! I'd increase the numbers or maybe apply a status effect, as it's currently two runes and an action for only (on average) around 2d8 damage.
    This used to incapacitate, with the damage being a secondary benefit. Incapacitate was too strong, though, and I probably didn't buff the damage up enough to compensate. Buffed it up again to 3d8, increasing to 4d8 later. Might still not be enough, but I don't want to make it too strong.

    Quote Originally Posted by AttilaTheGeek View Post
    Mind Freeze is one of the many powers you've written that makes me think "wow, I really like how this was executed". Be aware that the Con save is devastatingly hard for casters, and you might even want to increase it to three runes to compensate.
    I wouldn't say "devastatingly hard", it's absolutely possible for them to pass it, especially if they get advantage from casting a level 6+ spell. That said, if you didn't have a good chance of negating a spell, this wouldn't really be worth using. As is, it's probably weaker overall than Counterspell.

    Quote Originally Posted by AttilaTheGeek View Post
    Unholy Frenzy is another cool ability. I think maybe it could have some bonus, like not costing an action, if you cast it on yourself. Grammar nitpick: "it's" should say "its" both times.
    Damn it's! I make that mistake way too often. Went through and cleared them out again, there were actually 3 instances in Unholy Frenzy, and 5 more in other places. I'm sure I'll keep adding more as I add to the class.

    Quote Originally Posted by AttilaTheGeek View Post
    The high-level powers all really feel epic, with a visible difference both numerically and in terms of scale that sets them apart from the lower-level powers. I think the numbers could use some tuning to make them more even between the specs (Frost feels the most powerful but looks like the weakest numerically) but they all look super cool.
    Thanks! Being cool and feeling epic was exactly what I was trying to do with these abilities, with them being balanced and useful being mostly a secondary concern. I wanted the kind of abilities that you'd look over at first level and say, "Damn, I want to get to high levels so bad!" Of course, I also want you to feel like a badass once you do start casting them, so I'll be making sure that they live up to the hype once you do get them.

    Quote Originally Posted by AttilaTheGeek View Post
    Overall, the class looks great. I wish I'd found it before I started my 5E campaign. You did a great job of translating the WoW mechanics to 5E and of differentiating the specs without making an overly complicated rune system. I'd take a look at some of the numbers, and a few of the abilities could be more engaging to the player, but overall, it looks good. I'm impressed!
    Yeah, I spent a lot of time trying to make sure the class felt like a death knight, even if it's mechanics weren't exactly the same. I hope you get the chance to try it out some time, and if you do, make sure to let me know how it goes!
    Excellent avatar by Elder Tsofu.

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    Default Re: The Death Knight (Base Class)

    Wow, I really didn't comment before.

    I love your class, and I'm going to use it in my games. Of course I don't like new classes so I'll have to rebalance it to use as a subclass (for fighter), something like the hunter / totem barbarian with the option to choose one ability among three of them for frost/blood/unholy.

    All in all pretty solid, and somewhat faithful. I would make it based on the warlock (all powers cost the same, scale with level, powers have minimum level to choose) instead of based on the elemental monk (stronger powers cost more points, powers have miminum level to choose) and make them cost one rune each, but it's pretty cool as is.
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    Default Re: The Death Knight (Base Class)

    Quote Originally Posted by DiBastet View Post
    I love your class, and I'm going to use it in my games. Of course I don't like new classes so I'll have to rebalance it to use as a subclass (for fighter), something like the hunter / totem barbarian with the option to choose one ability among three of them for frost/blood/unholy.
    You really should consider using the class as a whole. Using a fighter with a few rune powers tacked on (adding pretty much any of the class features would be too strong) just doesn't do justice to what death knights are.

    Quote Originally Posted by DiBastet View Post
    All in all pretty solid, and somewhat faithful. I would make it based on the warlock (all powers cost the same, scale with level, powers have minimum level to choose) instead of based on the elemental monk (stronger powers cost more points, powers have miminum level to choose) and make them cost one rune each, but it's pretty cool as is.
    Rune powers borrow some ideas from other classes, but it isn't really based on any of them. It's a unique resource with it's own rules and balancing, so trying to compare it directly to warlock invocations or ki powers isn't really useful.
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    Default Re: The Death Knight (Base Class)

    a fighter with a few rune powers tacked on
    I came back here originally to compliment, but after your reply I must say that I just don't like your tone here. You might want to be careful how you reply to people, specially those giving thumbs up. In any case I won't be complimenting or commenting on your material anymore, thank you.
    Last edited by DiBastet; 2014-10-18 at 06:48 PM.
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    Default Re: The Death Knight (Base Class)

    Quote Originally Posted by DiBastet View Post
    I came back here originally to compliment, but after your reply I must say that I just don't like your tone here. You might want to be careful how you reply to people, specially those giving thumbs up. In any case I won't be complimenting or commenting on your material anymore, thank you.
    Er, no offense, but you basically came in and said, "Oh hey this is cool, I'm going to gut it and then use a few bits of it to make my own thing." I have no problem if that's really what you want to do, but then you're not really playing a death knight anymore. It'd be like giving the Fighter a few Ki powers and saying that now he's a monk.

    At any rate, if you're the kind of guy that takes a suggestion as an insult, then to be frank I don't really care what you think about my work. I didn't make this so that people could pat me on the back, I made it so that people could use it and have fun, and because it was fun to make in the first place.
    Excellent avatar by Elder Tsofu.

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