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    Default [PrC, Incarnum] Stealing souls for fun and profit - The Thief of Life

    Thief of Life
    A thief of life seeks to understand the secrets of life and death by ripping it from the very souls of the living. They desire to harness the soul energies of others for their own personal power, often to gruesome and horrific effect. Their ultimate prize is immortality, and there is precious little they will not do to grasp it.

    Becoming a Thief of Life
    Almost all thieves of life begin as common rogues with an uncommon thirst for knowledge and life or a fascination with death but fear of it. Many dabble in magic, though most who do tend to be meldshapers.

    Requirements
    To qualify to become a Thief of Life, a character must fulfill the following criteria.
    • Alignment: Any nongood.
    • Type: Humanoid or Monstrous Humanoid.
    • Skills: Heal 4 ranks, Knowledge (arcana) 4 ranks, Knowledge (religion) 2 ranks.
    • Sneak Attack: +2d6
    • Essentia Pool: 1.


    Base Attack
    Bonus
    Fort
    Save
    Ref
    Save
    Will
    Save
    Special Lifesense
    1st
    +0
    +2
    +2
    +0
    Immunity to fear, steal vigor
    5 ft.
    2nd
    +1
    +3
    +3
    +0
    Resilient flesh, sneak attack +1d6
    10 ft.
    3rd
    +2
    +3
    +3
    +1
    Rend essentia 1/day
    10 ft.
    4th
    +3
    +4
    +4
    +1
    Consume soul fragment, steal vitality
    15 ft.
    5th
    +3
    +4
    +4
    +1
    Sneak attack +2d6
    15 ft.
    6th
    +4
    +5
    +5
    +2
    Inured to death, rend essentia 2/day
    20 ft.
    7th
    +5
    +5
    +5
    +2
    Lifesight
    20 ft.
    8th
    +6
    +6
    +6
    +2
    Sneak attack +3d6
    25 ft.
    9th
    +6
    +6
    +6
    +3
    Rend essentia 3/day
    25 ft.
    10th
    +7
    +7
    +7
    +3
    Steal immortality
    30 ft.

    Hit Die: d6
    Class Skills (6 + Int modifier per level): Balance, Bluff, Climb, Concentration, Craft, Decipher Script, Diplomacy, Disable Device, Disguise, Escape Artist, Gather Information, Heal, Hide, Knowledge (arcana), Knowledge (religion), Listen, Move Silently, Open Lock, Profession, Search, Sense Motive, Sleight of Hand, Spot, Tumble, Use Magic Device, and Use Rope.

    Class Features
    All of the following are class features of the Thief of Life.

    Weapon and Armor Proficiency: A thief of life gains no new proficiency with any weapons, armor, or shields.

    Stolen Essentia: When killing or seriously harming another creature, a thief of life steals fragments of that creature's soul. These stolen fragments take the form of Stolen Essentia, which is held in the stolen essentia pool, separate from your normal essentia. Being torn from another creature's soul, it does not readily mix with your own personal soul energies.
    Stolen essentia acts as normal essentia and may be invested in soulmelds, class features, feats, and other essentia receptacles just as normal essentia can. If you take essentia damage from any source, you may choose whether to take the damage to either your essential pool or your stolen essentia pool, but all damage must apply to a single pool. If you take more damage than you have essentia in the chosen pool, excess damage is dealt to the other essentia pool. Damage dealt to stolen essentia cannot be healed.
    You may only have stolen essentia from one creature at a time. If you steal essentia from another creature, any stolen essentia you already possess is immediately lost. Stolen essentia from different creatures does not stack; however, if you gain stolen essentia from the same creature using different class features, the stolen essentia stacks.
    Despite it impermanent nature, stolen essentia is not temporary essentia and therefore stacks with temporary essentia gained from other sources.
    You may hold stolen essentia for a number of days equal to your class level, after which it dissipates.

    Immunity to Fear (Ex): Your repeated exposure to death fortifies you against the horrors of life. You are immune to fear.

    Lifesense (Ex): A thief of life can sense the ebb and flow of life energy around her. You can sense the location of living creatures within 5 feet as tthough you had blindsense, though you can sense only living creatures with this ability. You also instantly know the condition of creatures near death within this range as though you were using the deathwatch spell.
    The range of this ability increases by 5 feet at 2nd-level and by another 4 feet at every even level after that.

    Steal Vigor (Su): Anytime you reduce a living creature to -1 or fewer hit points with a sneak attack, you gain temporary hit points equal to that creature's Hit Dice. These hit points last for a number of hours equal to the creature's Hit Dice.
    You also gain 1 stolen essentia point, which you can immediately invest in any essentia receptacle (even incarnum feats) as a free action.

    Resilient Flesh (Ex): Flush with stolen life energy, a thief of life's flesh becomes resistant to extreme damage. As long as you possess at least 1 stolen essentia, you gain a 25% chance to negate critical hits and sneak attacks and Damage Reduction 5/-.

    Sneak Attack (Ex): This is exactly like the rogue ability of the same name. The extra damage dealt increases by +1d6 at 2nd-, 5th-, and.8th-level.

    Rend Essentia (Su): When delivering a sneak attack to a living creature, a thief of life can bypass the flesh to rend the target's very soul. When you use this ability, you may sacrifice sneak attack damage to deal Charisma damage to the target creature. For each die of sneak attack you choose to forfeit, you deal 1 Charisma damage. If a creature has an essentia pool, you may choose to deal essentia damage instead of Charisma damage. If you deal more damage than the creature has essentia, the excess damage is dealt as Charisma damage.
    You gain 1 point of stolen essentia for every point of Charisma or essentia damage that you deal to the target.
    At 3rd level, you may use this ability once per day. The daily uses of this ability increase by 1 at 6th and 9th level.

    Consume Soul Fragement (Su): As a full-round action, you may completely consume a fragment of stolen soul energy to gain a temporary boost to yourself. To use this ability, you willingly take at least 1 damage to your stolen essentia pool, which cannot be reduced or prevented. For each point of stolen essentia lost, you immediately heal 5 hit points per class level and heal 1 point of ability or essentia damage to your personal essentia pool. Additionally, you gain a profane bonus on attack rolls, saves, and skill checks equal to the number of stolen essentia consumed that lasts for 1 round per class level.

    Steal Vitality (Su): When using her steal vigor ability, a thief of life also becomes immune to fatigue, exhaustion, and sleep effects. If already fatigued or exhausted, you are cured of those conditions. You also gain a profane bonus equal to one half the creature's Hit Dice on saves against disease, poison, paralysis, and stunning.
    Additionally, the essentia capacity of one of your essentia receptacles is increased by 1, superseding the normal essentia capacity.
    These effects last for a number of hours equal to the creature's Hit Dice, and any essentia invested over the normal maximum at the end of the duration automatically becomes uninvested.

    Inured to Death (Ex): You become immune to energy drain and ability damage and drain.
    At 9th-level, you become immune to death effects.

    Lifesight (Su): As a move action, you may focus your lifesense to pinpoint accuracy. For a number of rounds equal to your Constitution modifier, you can see living creatures within your lifesense area as though you hand blindsight.

    Steal Immortality (Su): You can take advantage of a dying creature to temporarily cheat death. Whenever you reduce a creature to -10 or fewer hit points with a sneak attack, in addition to stealing its life energy, you consume a portion of its soul. If the slain creature's Hit Dice equal or exceed your own, you become effectively immortal for the next year. Your body does not age (delaying the onset of ability score penalties but not mental ability score improvements) and cannot be magically aged. You also need not eat, drink, or sleep, and even the need to breathe is greatly reduced such that you can go without breathing for ten times the normal duration before suffering the effects of suffocation. You also become immune to poison, disease, paralysis, and stunning effects.
    You also gain temporary stolen points equal to one-half the slain creature's Hit Dice, which you can immediately invest in any essentia receptacle (even incarnum feats) as a free action.
    Any creature slain by this attack cannot be brought back to life except by means of a miracle, true resurrection, wish, or similar magic. Furthermore, you become instantly aware of any creature you have slain in this way being brought back to life, though you don't necessarily know where the resurrection occurs.
    Last edited by Rizban; 2016-02-08 at 02:47 AM.

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    Default Re: The Thief of Life

    This is a heavy reworking of the Thief of Life class originally found in Faiths of Eberron. I was never happy with the original class and felt that it ended up being far too niche to really be useful.

    I've moved the class from being tied to the Blood of Vol (though it definitely should still be so tied in an Eberron campaign) into being a more generic Incarnum based class. I reworked the abilities some to actually be relevant at the levels you'll gain them and added a few new things to just generally improve the class. My ultimate goal to was strengthen the class, give it some interesting and meaningful abilities, and ultimately maintain the same feel and flavor as the original. Please let me know how I did.
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    Default Re: The Thief of Life

    While I enjoy the canon fluff very much I understand the impetus to make a genericized version for use in non Eberron campaigns.

    mechanically when I hear "thief of life fix" my first thought is that you fix the ridiculous entry requirements so it's easier to enter. I confess I don't understand why you left those as is.

    A cursory glance tells me chassis is the same which is fine. As far as additions go free maiming strike is amazing but I have a suggestion

    Sacrificing sneak attack dice to temporarily damage essentia so the enemy has to take a swift to reinvest it is a horrible trade. It in effect makes meldshaping foes immune to your vastly superior charisma damage. Consider making rend essentia optional vs meldshaping foes rather than mandatory.

    Boost to life sense is nice. As is light fortification. I don't understand the point of dr nonlethal. It's never going to come up. Consider dr /- this is already a weak class. One more defensive passive ability isn't going to break out

    Overall it's a few nice boosts to thief of life one of my favorite classes but it's not really enough to make it good enough for someone to enter over straight rogue which is the problem with it as it stands. You're definitely heading in the right direction. Consider some essentia support such as a pool granted by the class and modular features you can invest essentia in. B perhaps rather than scaling with level you could beef up life sense by putting essentia in it or deal more sneak attack damage or similar
    Last edited by Venger; 2016-02-03 at 11:11 AM.

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    Default Re: The Thief of Life

    Thanks for the look. I do want to point out one thing though.
    Quote Originally Posted by Venger View Post
    Sacrificing sneak attack dice to temporarily damage essentia so the enemy has to take a swift to reinvest it is a horrible trade. It in effect makes meldshaping foes immune to your vastly superior charisma damage. Consider making rend essentia optional vs meldshaping foes rather than mandatory.
    Quote Originally Posted by Magic of Incarnum p50
    Healing Essentia Damage
    Essentia damage (such as from rend essentia) is temporary, and returns at the same rate as ability damage (1 point for a night of rest or 2 points for a full day of rest). Essentia damage can also be healed by spells or other effects as if it were ability damage. For example, the lesser restoration spell can cure 1d4 points of essentia damage, while the restoration spell cures all essentia damage.
    I based the rend essentia ability off of the rend essentia spell in that book. As a meldshaper, I'd generally prefer to take Charisma damage to essentia damage, as losing essentia seriously hampers my ability to use my class features much more than Charisma damage might. To a meldshaper, Charisma damage is essentially meaningless, since it doesn't even affect save DCs on the rare soulmelds that even offer saves.


    Quote Originally Posted by Venger View Post
    Overall it's a few nice boosts to thief of life one of my favorite classes but it's not really enough to make it good enough for someone to enter over straight rogue which is the problem with it as it stands. You're definitely heading in the right direction. Consider some essentia support such as a pool granted by the class and modular features you can invest essentia in. B perhaps rather than scaling with level you could beef up life sense by putting essentia in it or deal more sneak attack damage or similar
    I'd agree it's probably on par with or just behind a standard rogue. I briefly considered granting soulmelds and a chakra bind, but that felt like it divorced too much from the original idea. I also considered a class feature to cause yourself essentia damage (targeting temporary essentia first, of course) to grant healing or buffs.




    Something you didn't mention but that I do want to address is the stacking temporary essentia. Each bit of essentia you steal is part of a creature's soul/life force. I wanted to try to model that you were stealing increasingly greater amounts of the soul as you progressed in the class, hence the stacking essentia from the different class abilities but not from multiple uses of a single ability. You're stealing a "more complete" soul, thus you get more essentia.
    Last edited by Rizban; 2016-02-03 at 11:33 AM.
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    Default Re: The Thief of Life

    Quote Originally Posted by Rizban View Post
    Thanks for the look. I do want to point out one thing though.

    I based the rend essentia ability off of the rend essentia spell in that book. As a meldshaper, I'd generally prefer to take Charisma damage to essentia damage, as losing essentia seriously hampers my ability to use my class features much more than Charisma damage might. To a meldshaper, Charisma damage is essentially meaningless, since it doesn't even affect save DCs on the rare soulmelds that even offer saves.
    I know how essentia damage works and that you based it off of rend essentia. That doesn't change the problem.

    Say you hit me with this and damage my essentia. I lose a point from my girallon arms. When it's my initiative I just use a swift to reinvest it there from one of my other melds and attack you normally. You have expended some of your resources in your cha damage or sa and cost me nothing.

    As a meldshaper (or literally any other class for that matter) I would take essentia damage over charisma damage any day.

    If I cast off charisma then damage to it is ruinous. If I don't cast off it then I dumped it entirely meaning it's probably at best a ten.

    When you hit charisma 0 you fall unconscious. In dnd this is a death sentence. From there all I need is a cdg (which I apply steal immortality to) and you're done

    Dealing cha damage is better. I understand thematically why you might throw rend essentia in there but I strongly advise making it optional and not mandatory.

    i'd agree it's probably on par with or just behind a standard rogue. I briefly considered granting soulmelds and a chakra bind, but that felt like it divorced too much from the original idea. I also considered a class feature to cause yourself essentia damage (targeting temporary essentia first, of course) to grant healing or buffs.
    Using your essentia pool for buffs is interesting. That's definitely the right direction


    Something you didn't mention but that I do want to address is the stacking temporary essentia. Each bit of essentia you steal is part of a creature's soul/life force. I wanted to try to model that you were stealing increasingly greater amounts of the soul as you progressed in the class, hence the stacking essentia from the different class abilities but not from multiple uses of a single ability. You're stealing a "more complete" soul, thus you get more essentia.
    Honestly you could let it all stack. These conditions are so hard to fulfill and their duration is so short that it won't break anything
    Last edited by Venger; 2016-02-03 at 11:55 AM.

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    Default Re: The Thief of Life

    Quote Originally Posted by Venger View Post
    I know how essentia damage works and that you based it off of rend essentia. That doesn't change the problem.

    Say you hit me with this and damage my essentia. I lose a point from my girallon arms. When it's my initiative I just use a swift to reinvest it there from one of my other melds and attack you normally. You have expended some of your resources in your cha damage or sa and cost me nothing.

    As a meldshaper (or literally any other class for that matter) I would take essentia damage over charisma damage any day.

    If I cast off charisma then damage to it is ruinous. If I don't cast off it then I dumped it entirely meaning it's probably at best a ten.

    When you hit charisma 0 you fall unconscious. In dnd this is a death sentence. From there all I need is a cdg (which I apply steal immortality to) and you're done

    Dealing cha damage is better. I understand thematically why you might throw rend essentia in there but I strongly advise making it optional and not mandatory.
    That makes sense. I suppose I'm just used to playing meldshapers who never have enough essentia and decent Charisma scores. I'll likely make the change to optional, but I'd like to reevaluate it in light of any other changes I make before committing to it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Venger View Post
    Using your essentia pool for buffs is interesting. That's definitely the right direction
    I'll definitely explore that again, though I'm not sure which direction to go with that concept at the moment.

    Quote Originally Posted by Venger View Post
    Honestly you could let it all stack. These conditions are so hard to fulfill and their duration is so short that it won't break anything
    That's probably the better idea.
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    Default Re: The Thief of Life

    What about increasing the essentia damage rather than changing the ability? Make it more like the spell. It does 1d4+1 per sacrificed SA die.
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    Default Re: The Thief of Life

    Quote Originally Posted by Rizban View Post
    That makes sense. I suppose I'm just used to playing meldshapers who never have enough essentia and decent Charisma scores. I'll likely make the change to optional, but I'd like to reevaluate it in light of any other changes I make before committing to it.
    Without necrocarnate no one has enough essentia.

    Ok.

    I'll definitely explore that again, though I'm not sure which direction to go with that concept at the moment.
    Check out bovds soul eater. It's got sTuff in this vein. You get ability boosts and can do stuff like morph into the people you kill. That might be a good source of inspiration even if you don't do those exact things[/QUOTE]

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeriah View Post
    What about increasing the essentia damage rather than changing the ability? Make it more like the spell. It does 1d4+1 per sacrificed SA die.
    The problem isn't that the essentia damage isn't high enough. It's that essentia damage is not a meaningful debuff for npcs.

    It's a lot like say disease. If a pc gets mummy rot then it's a handicap for that day and likely several after.

    If you slam some random encounter with it who cares? They're only there for that fight anyway and it doesn't make them meaningfully easier to kill.

    Alone rend essentia is something that won't get much use. Sacrificing free maiming strike for it any time you run into someone with essentia whether you want to or not is tragic.

    Compare it with similar abilities. assassin can use death attack to paralyze but every time you use it against someone susceptible to paralysis it doesn't prevent you from using death attack. It lets you make that choice yourself. That's how most class features work. It'salways a good idea to give your players choices
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    Default Re: The Thief of Life

    Quote Originally Posted by Venger View Post
    The problem isn't that the essentia damage isn't high enough. It's that essentia damage is not a meaningful debuff for npcs.

    It's a lot like say disease. If a pc gets mummy rot then it's a handicap for that day and likely several after.

    If you slam some random encounter with it who cares? They're only there for that fight anyway and it doesn't make them meaningfully easier to kill.

    Alone rend essentia is something that won't get much use. Sacrificing free maiming strike for it any time you run into someone with essentia whether you want to or not is tragic.

    Compare it with similar abilities. assassin can use death attack to paralyze but every time you use it against someone susceptible to paralysis it doesn't prevent you from using death attack. It lets you make that choice yourself. That's how most class features work. It'salways a good idea to give your players choices
    That makes sense...
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    Default Re: The Thief of Life

    Honestly thought the homestucks got in here again. I would love to comment but I never really got to study the magic of incarnum.

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    Default Re: The Thief of Life

    I don't know what a homestucks is, and I'm not sure I want to know...
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    Default Re: The Thief of Life

    Posted a revision. Changed the core essentia mechanic significantly and updated the other abilities to reflect that. Also added Consume Soul Fragment.
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    Default Re: The Thief of Life

    Quote Originally Posted by Rizban View Post
    Posted a revision. Changed the core essentia mechanic significantly and updated the other abilities to reflect that. Also added Consume Soul Fragment.
    Very imaginative!

    I love the stolen essentia pool mechanic. Initially I was confused about having it be a separate pool, but consume soul fragment answered that for me. It also addressed why you can only have essentia from one creature. Initially, I thought that was limiting it too much but when I saw the effects, that seemed like an appropriate balancing factor.

    The amended rend essentia looks great. I think an ability like that would see a lot of use. I'd definitely play this class in a game. I can't think of a single thing that needs changing. Well done.
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    Default Re: The Thief of Life

    Hmm... I definitely like the changes. I can't think of anything else to add or change at the moment either.
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