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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Halfling in the Playground
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    Default Mesmerist Class; Critique Welcome

    One of the players in an upcoming game I'm running desperately wants to play a character similar to the mesmerist they had in their last Pathfinder campaign.

    Instead of telling them to just play an enchanter wizard or something similar, and because I love my players and want them to have fun, I whipped up a 5e version of the class. Before I hand it to them, I wanted a second opinion; any glaring errors? Is it okay balance-wise? Should anything be changed? How's it look overall? Do you think it would be fun to play this version?

    Thank you for taking the time to look it over.

    Mod Note: Edited per poster's request for tagging issues.
    Last edited by Mark Hall; 2015-10-06 at 11:49 AM.

  2. - Top - End - #2
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    Default Re: [Homebrew] Mesmerist Class; Critique Welcome

    Firstly, this belongs in the homebrew subforum. That's the best place to get advice on homebrew.

    Secondly, I don't like this class. It's complicated and confusing - I lost the will to live about halfway through its class abilities. I can't even see how it's supposed to deal damage, which is the primary metric for judging balance...

    Honestly, I think your player would be better off with a bard / GOOlock multiclass.
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  3. - Top - End - #3
    Halfling in the Playground
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    Default Re: [Homebrew] Mesmerist Class; Critique Welcome

    Is there a way for me to move it there, or should I try to flag a mod?

    Also, what part specifically is confusing? All the combat-based abilities are either spellcasting (which is similar to other classes, and shouldn't be too confusing) or is based off of the Implant Suggestion and Hypnotic Trick class features, giving you in essence until around 10th level two options in combat; use a reaction to activate a hypnotic suggestion, or cast a spell (or cantrip).

    EDIT: The primary way to deal damage is with a crossbow at first level, and after that using cantrips. At 10th level you gain the ability to proc offensive cantrips off of activating hypnotic tricks for a bit more bang for your buck. Do you think I should move the cantrip progression (not the spells) up one level so they can use them from first level?

    EDIT 2: Pinged a mod, hopefully it'll be moved shortly.
    Last edited by GhostwheelZ; 2015-10-06 at 02:50 AM.

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Kobold

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    Default Re: [Homebrew] Mesmerist Class; Critique Welcome

    I think you really need to use more consistent terminology. "Implant Suggestion", and "Hypnotic Trick" both refer to the same thing. Pick one name.

    Instead of referring to "uses of Implant Suggestion", give them some point resource that they spend on this feature.

    At 10th level, your hypnotic suggestions become virtually live things, ticking time bombs living within the subconscious of your target. A number of times equal to your Charisma modifier, when using Implant Suggestion, you may choose a single cantrip you know. If you activate the implant in response to a hostile creature's action, the chosen cantrip immediately targets that creature, after which the cantrip is expended and must be re-implanted to affect another creature. Regain all uses of Symbiotic Implant upon completing a long rest.
    Take this for example. This is really confusing. The cantrip is "targeting" a creature, even though it was never "cast". The cantrip is "expended" even though cantrips can't be expended. Even more confusingly, you can trigger an implant that you placed on Enemy A, in response to Enemy B's action, which targets Enemy B.

    Even more confusingly, this creates tons of bookkeeping. Not only do you have to keep track of which Hypnotic Tricks are tied to which Hypnotic Implanted Suggestions, but you also have to keep in mind which cantrips are Symbiotically Implanted to each Hypnotic Trick, and who is currently being affected by each Implanted Suggestion. Moreover, each Implanted Suggestion might contain two Hypnotic Tricks, either one of which you can trigger!

    I can't even understand what I just wrote in that paragraph because there's too many things tied to too many other things! Rule of thumb: If the player has to build a spreadsheet to keep track of it, it's too complicated.

    As an example of what this could look like, if it were written more concisely, here's your big long paragraph up there, condensed. Strive for simplicity.

    A number of times equal to your Charisma modifier, when using Implant Suggestion, you may choose a single cantrip you know. When you activate that suggestion, you may choose to cast the cantrip as part of your reaction. You regain all uses of Symbiotic Implant after completing a long rest.
    Last edited by Strill; 2015-10-06 at 02:56 AM.

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Halfling in the Playground
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    Default Re: [Homebrew] Mesmerist Class; Critique Welcome

    Thanks for the suggestion, as well as the example--I've always had a problem with clarity. I'll try to clean it up a little.

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    Default Re: [Homebrew] Mesmerist Class; Critique Welcome

    Quote Originally Posted by GhostwheelZ View Post
    Is there a way for me to move it there, or should I try to flag a mod?
    You could start a new thread, or report yourself and request a move.

    Quote Originally Posted by GhostwheelZ View Post
    EDIT: The primary way to deal damage is with a crossbow at first level, and after that using cantrips. At 10th level you gain the ability to proc offensive cantrips off of activating hypnotic tricks for a bit more bang for your buck.
    If I were a player, I would find that very unsatisfactory.

    You start off as a wizard without any spells, then you become a bard without any weapons or armour or half of your spell slots. You don't even get a second cantrip until 4th level, so you basically have to pick Vicious Mockery at level 2 - and then that's your frontline attack for the next 9 levels?! You don't get 9th-level spells, you don't get Extra Attack, you don't get Sneak Attack, you don't get Divine Smite, you don't get Hex or Hunter's Mark... you don't even get Potent Cantrip!

    ...I just don't get it.
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  7. - Top - End - #7
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Kobold

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    Default Re: [Homebrew] Mesmerist Class; Critique Welcome

    Quote Originally Posted by Ninja_Prawn View Post
    ...I just don't get it.
    There's a few other powerful features. You can give enemies disadvantage on their saves by talking to them for a minute, for example. But really, half of the class is contained in the Implant Suggestion feature. Most of the class features stack on more and more things onto Implant Suggestion. For example, by level 11 you can trigger one of two suggestions, deal 5 AOE damage, and cast an attack cantrip all in the same reaction. You also regain uses of Implant Suggestion at the end of a fight as well.

    Personally I don't like it. There ends up being so many dangling little riders attached to Implant Suggestion, especially ones you have to keep recorded, that it becomes way too convoluted to tell if you should activate a suggestion or not.
    Last edited by Strill; 2015-10-06 at 03:15 AM.

  8. - Top - End - #8
    Halfling in the Playground
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    Default Re: [Homebrew] Mesmerist Class; Critique Welcome

    I've made an attempt to make the class features more concise; do they make sense now?

    I've also bumped up cantrips to 2 at first level, and more following the bard progression, which should help with the feeling of few options at first level.

    Does that look better overall now?

    And yes, most of the abilities ride off of Implant Suggestion. Apart from spells, that's the only real source of book-keeping in the class, hopefully keeping the player engaged despite the few spells available to them.

  9. - Top - End - #9
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Kobold

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    Default Re: [Homebrew] Mesmerist Class; Critique Welcome

    Quote Originally Posted by GhostwheelZ View Post
    Does that look better overall now?
    My problem with the paragraph I quoted was principally that it didn't conform to the PHB's writing style, not that it had a fluff sentence.

    When I said to be concise, I didn't mean to completely strip the fluff out of all the descriptions. If you look at the PHB, it usually spends one short sentence summarizing the ability, and then tells you the rules. At the very least it puts into context how the ability does what it does, and why it's named the way it is. For example, the Monk's Stunning Strike "interferes with the ki of the opponent's body". Purity of Body grants you immunity to disease and poison because of "your mastery of ki". Generally the more complex the ability, or the more obscure its name, the more explanation it gets.

    Now I'll grant that a lot of your fluff sentences did actually make things more confusing. Psychic feedback doesn't actually disrupt anyone's mental capability, it damages them. The fluff sentence for Psychic Feedback also tosses around the keyword "Implant Suggestion", making you think it's a rules sentence when it's not. Effortless Imperative and Layered Implant's fluff text doesn't really tell you anything that the name and rules description doesn't already. Maser Manipulator was super confusing because the fluff sentence used the term "Implant Suggestion", even though it had nothing to do with the Implant Suggestion ability, but rather was referring to the "Suggestion" spell.

    There are some abilities where the loss of fluff text makes them more confusing though. Symbiotic Implant, Soothing Tone, Entrapment, and Reality Revision, without their fluff sentences, have very strange names. and seem to work inexplicably. They need fluff text.

    In general, you need to make sure that the fluff text matches the actual effect, and that you don't use keywords in sentences that are devoid of rules content.

    Furthermore, if you end a short rest with no uses of Symbiotic Implant available, you immediately regain one use of that ability.
    This should be listed under Symbiotic Implant, not Master Manipulator.
    Last edited by Strill; 2015-10-06 at 04:00 AM.

  10. - Top - End - #10
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    ClericGuy

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    Default Re: [Homebrew] Mesmerist Class; Critique Welcome

    This looks very well thought out and reminds me of the Mesmer class from Guild Wars 2. The only differences are the fact that their illusions are literal bombs and they can shoot lasers from their greatswords...


    Anyway, from a mechanical perspective a wizard (illusion or divination) would be better. This class is incredibly indirect in how it performs, especially in combat, and that's not always a good thing. Even super-charisma rogues can sneak attack and even divination wizards can cast fireball.

    The biggest issue by far though is the fact that the Mesmerist spell list covers the vast majority of their class abilities. This class needs a reliable way to deal damage in combat. Now, if this class was all about dealing psychic damage, that would be cool. Implanting Feeblemind or Wrathful Smite would be less surreptitious and a clearer measurement of this class's power.

  11. - Top - End - #11
    Halfling in the Playground
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    Default Re: [Homebrew] Mesmerist Class; Critique Welcome

    Quote Originally Posted by McNinja View Post
    The biggest issue by far though is the fact that the Mesmerist spell list covers the vast majority of their class abilities. This class needs a reliable way to deal damage in combat. Now, if this class was all about dealing psychic damage, that would be cool. Implanting Feeblemind or Wrathful Smite would be less surreptitious and a clearer measurement of this class's power.
    Hrmmm... what do you think about allowing implanted suggestions to be used offensively with a Wisdom save to resist? They could do things like explode within a character's psyche (psychic damage), force them to attack a friend, and do other debuffy-type things.

    Quote Originally Posted by Strill View Post
    My problem with the paragraph I quoted was principally that it didn't conform to the PHB's writing style, not that it had a fluff sentence.

    When I said to be concise, I didn't mean to completely strip the fluff out of all the descriptions. If you look at the PHB, it usually spends one short sentence summarizing the ability, and then tells you the rules. At the very least it puts into context how the ability does what it does, and why it's named the way it is. For example, the Monk's Stunning Strike "interferes with the ki of the opponent's body". Purity of Body grants you immunity to disease and poison because of "your mastery of ki". Generally the more complex the ability, or the more obscure its name, the more explanation it gets.

    Now I'll grant that a lot of your fluff sentences did actually make things more confusing. Psychic feedback doesn't actually disrupt anyone's mental capability, it damages them. The fluff sentence for Psychic Feedback also tosses around the keyword "Implant Suggestion", making you think it's a rules sentence when it's not. Effortless Imperative and Layered Implant's fluff text doesn't really tell you anything that the name and rules description doesn't already. Maser Manipulator was super confusing because the fluff sentence used the term "Implant Suggestion", even though it had nothing to do with the Implant Suggestion ability, but rather was referring to the "Suggestion" spell.

    There are some abilities where the loss of fluff text makes them more confusing though. Symbiotic Implant, Soothing Tone, Entrapment, and Reality Revision, without their fluff sentences, have very strange names. and seem to work inexplicably. They need fluff text.

    In general, you need to make sure that the fluff text matches the actual effect, and that you don't use keywords in sentences that are devoid of rules content.

    This should be listed under Symbiotic Implant, not Master Manipulator.
    Fixed those things. Do you also think that it should have more offensive abilities?
    Last edited by GhostwheelZ; 2015-10-06 at 06:19 AM.

  12. - Top - End - #12
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    Default Re: [Homebrew] Mesmerist Class; Critique Welcome

    Quote Originally Posted by GhostwheelZ View Post
    Fixed those things. Do you also think that it should have more offensive abilities?
    What this class needs is a Mesmerist-specific cantrip in the mold of the warlock's Eldritch Blast, from which the other class abilities can be keyed. It should be made into a central focus, such that everything else is simplified.

    I'm thinking it could be called Implant Suggestion and then some of the class abilities just become bolt-ons to it, like Agonising Blast and Repelling Blast.

    Then you probably re-build the class as a full caster with an illusion/enchantment-based spell list.
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  13. - Top - End - #13
    Halfling in the Playground
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    Default Re: [Homebrew] Mesmerist Class; Critique Welcome

    While I'd be open to having a mesmer-specific cantrip, it would need to have 2 uses, one when targeting allies, and one on enemies. I'm not sure what the specific effects would be though.

    With that said, I don't particularly want it to be a full caster, since I'd like the majority of its power to be in the add-ons to the cantrip (what Implant Suggestion is now).

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