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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    EvilClericGuy

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    Default The Cardinal V.3 (Tier 1 Cha-based Divine Caster)

    Cardinal


    Alicia Sinclair, Lesser Aasimar Cardinal

    The armored priest, charging forth into battle is an iconic image, burned into the heads of adventurers and peasants everywhere who have been audience to a Cleric's deeds. However, a just as common sight is that of the learned, charismatic robed priest, the political representative who advocates for her faith in the courts and inspires the masses with her moving sermons. While Clerics act as the fighting arm of churches and Archivists their scholars, Cardinals are their leadership and political representatives. One part politician, one part scholar, one part priest, Cardinals are masters of divine magic and dynamic leaders who's passionate faith and fiery zeal allows them to channel divine energies with the same skill, or perhaps some would say more skill, than the wisest of clerics. Through their privileged positions in their churches, Cardinals are afforded access to magical secrets and training that allows them to become true masters of divine magic, taking on more domains and divine powers than the more militant clerics at the cost of martial training.

    Adventures: While many Cardinals are content to stay among the courts and major power centers of their faith, there are some who are tasked with going out into the world to act as a face, political representative and bureaucratic agent of the church. With their political training and naturally high charisma, Cardinals are often the best-suited of their church's clergy to spread their faith to the peasants and act as evangelists. Thus, many Cardinals take it upon themselves to adventure for exactly that reason, seeking any opportunity they can to convert people to their faith and spread the teachings of their deity.

    However, by the same token, the leadership position Cardinals have in their churches also come with extra responsibilities. While Clerics often have the freedom to adventure and evangelize unfettered by church bureaucracy, Cardinals are intimately plugged into it. As a result, Cardinals are often forced to undertake political, diplomatic and bureaucratic tasks for their church, and while some may wish for the freedom to adventure solely as an evangelist, many are instead forced by their church to go out into the world for more wordy and political reasons. For every Cardinal who wanders freely as an evangelist, there are at least two who adventure to do things like provide oversight over small, backwater temples for the church's leadership or act as an Inquisitor, investigating, hearing and judging crimes against church law.

    Characteristics: Due to the fact they draw their divine magic from their own strength of conviction and zeal as oppose to an innate connection to their deity, Cardinals favor Charisma above all other ability scores. Charisma is what powers their divine magic and allows them to better sway others in the political engagements they are often called to participate in by their church. Wisdsom strengthens their connection to their deity and increases the power of their magical abilities. Intelligence also tends to be a high ability score among Cardinals, as they need a keen mind to fill their traditional role as a scholar of both the spiritual and secular laws of their churches. Adventuring Cardinals are also usually hardier and quicker on their feat than those that stay cloistered in their church's center of power, having enough Dexterity and Constitution to survive the rigors of life on the road.

    Alignment: A Cardinal's alignment depends entirely on the nature of her church and her deity. Cardinal's alignments are thus as varied as the deities they can serve. However, while Chaotic Cardinals exist, the close link between a Cardinal's training and their position in a church's hierarchy makes them rare; Chaotic faiths usually lack the hierarchical structure and political dealings that creates the need for Cardinals. As a result, the majority of Cardinals come from lawful faiths, though neutral faiths may also produce Cardinals if they feel the need to engage the political landscape more aggressively.

    Religion: Religion is at the core of who a Cardinal is. While she may be a bureaucrat, political agent or inquisitor for her church, she will always be first and foremost a priestess and servant of her deity. Her strong convictions and passionate faith in her deity is what gives her magic, and as a result she lives to do the will of her deity above all. A Cardinal's faith will fundamentally shape her personality and outlook, and unlike Cleric's who can serve no god, Cardinal's position as the authorities in churches assures that all Cardinals at least pay lip service to a deity, even if their magic instead comes from their adherence to a philosophy or personal code.

    Background: Unlike Clerics who can come from any walk of life, Cardinals usually come from a position of privilege that qualified them for training as a Cardinal. The typical origin of Cardinals is to either be born into their church, being raised and trained in the magical arts from a young age by other Cardinals in their church's main power center, or as often the case for churches that require celibacy from their clergy taken at a very young age from the nobility to be trained. Indeed, it is an exceptionally common practice among noble families to send their daughters and non-firstborn sons into the leadership of whatever church(es) have influence in their societies, using the position of Cardinal as a means to make those among their children unable to inherent a title still useful to the family.

    However, while these represent the most common origins for Cardinals, exceptions to them do exsist, and it is not unheard of for a commoner or outsider to the church to show enough faith and talent to be brought into the fold of a church's leadership and trained as a Cardinal.

    Races: While Cardinals of many races exist, Cardinals from tribal societies don't. Due to the fact Cardinals are a product of organized, hierarchical religion (and in the case of chaotic faiths the desire to subvert or break them down through the very politics they use to prop themselves up), races that favor more shamanic spiritual traditions and/or who don't organize themselves into permanent settlements and create large organized religions tend not to produce Cardinals. However, while Cardinals of races such as Orc, Gnolls, Lizardfolk, Goblin etc.. are rare, if a member of such a "tribal" race was raised in a civilized settlement with organized religion instead of among their own kind, they could still become a Cardinal if the right stars aligned.

    Humans in particular produce more Cardinals than any other race, since they have a penchant for creating particularly large, far-reaching and politically influential religions. The scholarly bent of elves and their appreciation for the craft of magic also makes them view the Cardinal's arts favorably, and many elves prefer the path of the Cardinal to the path of the Cleric as a result. Aasimar, while a rare sight in the world, are held in such high esteem by good-aligned churches that many Aasimar are drafted into the Cardinal's life, sometimes even against their own wishes. With their closeness to the Gods, such faiths will go out of their way to try and funnel Aasimar into church leadership and the role of Cardinal, seeing their blessed birth as a reason enough that they should hold a rank of authority in their church.

    Other Classes: As men and woman of the cloth, Cardinals get along well with other religious classes that follow their own religion or an allied faith, such as Clerics and Paladins. However, by the same token, religious classes of enemy churches and religions are their greatest foes, and a Cardinal will never adventure with such individuals unless trying to undermine their activities from within. Their views on other classes depend entirely on their church. Cardinals tend to respect and appreciate most people they adventure with due to their diplomatic nature, and will travel with just about anybody that can hold their own, though depending on their church's teachings there may be some classes they view unfavorably.

    Cardials of good-aligned faiths typically find classes that use blatantly evil magic and powers, such as Blackguards, Warlocks, Hexblades, necromancy specialist Wizards and Dread Necromancers, to be abhorrent. Cardinals of lawful churches may be quick to mistrust and chastise more unscrupulous classes like Rogues, Beguilers and Bards if their religion is particularly stringent when it comes to thievery and honesty (though this will not prevent them from adventuring with such people to show them the higher road). Cardinals of evil faiths will typically detest Paladins and other classes rooted in goodness, while enjoying the company of Blackguards, Dread Necromancers, necromancy specialist wizards, Warlocks and other evil divine spellcasters.

    Role: Being a divine spellcaster who has focused themselves on mastering magic an the expense of martial training, a Cardinal tends to fill a similar role to a wizard or Mystic theurge in the party, staying in the back lines and supporting her party with her spells. However, due to the fact she uses the cleric spell list and can cast the Cleric's many personal and self range buffs on her allies, she is typically a buffer and healer as oppose to a debuffer and crowd control specialist, though if she focuses on the latter she can fill the role with surprising competency. She is also one of the few classes that can make healing in-combat a viable tactic due to her ability to tack healing onto her non-healing spells. An evil Cardinal, meanwhile, can make a frighteningly potent necromancer, being able to take the Deathbound domain regardless of her faith and lace negative energy into her spells, becomming a peerless undead healer as a result. Outside of combat Cardinals class skills and high charisma make them natural diplomats and "party faces", though a rare few may instead choose to invest in the many linguistic and knowledge skills they can access and take on the role of a scholar instead.

    Adaptation: Cardinals can fit into any setting with hierarchical, organized religion and divine magic. While they are made the the imagery of a western pope, cardinal or other religious "higher up" in mind, the Cardinal fits seamlessly into eastern settings with a simple change of imagery. In fact, the Cardinal is particularly suited to eastern settings, as Shinto Priests in Japan and Chinese spiritual mystics are often portrayed as robed figures rather than warriors in armor. As a result, such settings may prefer to entirely replace the Cleric with the Cardinal, as the more scholarly and social bent and less-martial nature of the class tends to more accurately reflect the common fantasy ideal of priests, shrine maidens and mystics in those settings.

    GAME RULE INFORMATION

    Cardinals have the following game statistics:

    Abilities: Charisma powers a Cardinal's divine magic and governs her ability to advocate and evangelize on behalf of their church. Wisdom strengthens the Cardinal's connection to their deity and bolsters some of their magical powers. Dexterity and Constitution are also helpful for bolstering the Cardinal's poor hit points and defenses.
    Alignment: A Cardinal's alignment must be within one step of her deity's.
    Hit Die: d6
    Starting Age: As a Cleric or Sorcerer (your choice). The rigors of Cardinal training, while different from those of Cleric training, are no less strenuous. However, unlike Clerics, it is common for Cardinals to recieve their training at a much younger age since it is common practice for the nobility to send their second or third-born children into the priesthood's upper echelons while they are still very young.
    Starting Gold: As an Aristocrat. As representatives of their faith that often come from nobility, Cardinals tend to be well-cared for by their church hierarchy.

    Class Skills: The Cardinal's class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Bluff (Cha), Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Decipher Script (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Heal (Wis), Intimidate (Cha), Knowledge (Arcana) (Int), Knowledge (History) (Int), Knowledge (Nobility and Royalty) (Int), Knowledge (Religion) (Int), Knowledge (The Planes) (Int), Perform (Oratory) (Cha), Profession (Wis), Sense Motive (Wis), Speak Language (Int), Spellcraft (Int), Read/Write Language (Int)

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

    Table 1: The Cardinal
    Saves Spells Per Day
    Level BAB Fort Ref Will Special 0th 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th
    1st +0 +0 +0 +2 AC Bonus, Cardinal’s Hand (Touch), Infused Casting (1 hp/level), Turn/Rebuke Undead 3 2
    2nd +1 +0 +0 +3 Church Authority 4 3
    3rd +1 +1 +1 +3 Cardinal’s Hand (Close) 4 4
    4th +2 +1 +1 +4 Prayer 1/day (1 minute) 5 4 2
    5th +2 +1 +1 +4 Infused Casting (2 hp/level) 5 4 3
    6th +3 +2 +2 +5 5 4 4 2
    7th +3 +2 +2 +5 Bonus Domain (Deity's) 6 4 4 3
    8th +4 +2 +2 +6 Prayer 2/day (1 round) 6 4 4 4 2
    9th +4 +3 +3 +6 Infused Casting (3 hp/level) 6 4 4 4 3
    10th +5 +3 +3 +7 6 4 4 4 4 2
    11th +5 +3 +3 +7 Bonus Domain (Personal) 6 4 4 4 4 3
    12th +6/+1 +4 +4 +8 Prayer 3/day (move action) 6 4 4 4 4 4 2
    13th +6/+1 +4 +4 +8 Infused Casting (4 hp/level) 6 4 4 4 4 4 3
    14th +7/+2 +4 +4 +9 6 4 4 4 4 4 4 2
    15th +7/+2 +5 +5 +9 Bonus Domain (Deity's) 6 4 4 4 4 4 4 3
    16th +8/+3 +5 +5 +10 Prayer 4/day (swift action) 6 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 2
    17th +8/+3 +5 +5 +10 Infused Casting (5 hp/level) 6 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 3
    18th +9/+4 +6 +6 +11 6 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 2
    19th +9/+4 +6 +6 +11 Prayer 5/day (free action) 6 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 3
    20th +10/+5 +6 +6 +12 Divine Intervention 6 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4

    Class Features

    Weapon and Armor Proficiencies: Cardinals are proficient with the club, dagger, light crossbow, heavy crossbow and quarterstaff. They are not proficient with any kind of armor or shields.

    Aura (Ex): A Cardinal of a chaotic, evil, good, or lawful deity has a particularly powerful aura corresponding to the deity's alignment (see the detect evil spell for details).

    Spells: A Cardinal casts divine spells drawn from the cleric spell list. A Cardinal must prepare her spells ahead of time, but unlike a cleric, her spells are not expended when they’re cast. Instead, she can cast any spell that she has prepared consuming a spell slot of the appropriate level, assuming she hasn’t yet used up her spell slots per-day for that level. To prepare or cast a spell, the Cardinal must have a Charisma score equal to at least 10 + the spell’s level. The saving throw DC against an Cardinal’s spell is 10 + the spell’s level + the Cardinal’s Charisma modifier. A Cardinal can only cast a certain number of spells of each spell level per day. Her base daily spell allotment is given on Table 1: The Cardinal under “Spells per Day.” In addition, she receives bonus spells per day if she has a high Charisma score.

    A Cardinal automatically knows all spells on the cleric/oracle list, but the number she can prepare each day is limited. At 1st level, she can prepare four 0-level spells and two 1st-level spells each day. At each new Cardinal level, the number of spells she can prepare each day increases, adding new spell levels as indicated on Table 2: Cardinal Spells Prepared. Unlike the number of spells she can cast per day, the number of spells a Cardinal can prepare each day is not affected by her Charisma score. Feats and other effects that modify the number of spells known by a spellcaster instead affect the number of spells a prophet can prepare.

    In addition to the spells she can prepare normally, a Cardinal always has all “Cure” or “Inflict” spells of each level she can cast prepared for her. If an Cardinal worships a good deity, she has “cure” spells automatically prepared for her. If she worships a evil deity she has “inflict” spells automatically prepared for her instead. If she worships a neutral deity she can choose whether she has “cure” or “inflict” spells automatically prepared for her at 1st level (Once the choice is made it cannot be changed.). Regardless of whether she has “cure” or “inflict” spells automatically prepared for her, they do not count against her total spells prepared (as-per table 2).

    Like a Favored Soul a Cardinal can choose to apply any metamagic feats she knows to a prepared spell as she casts it, with the same increase in casting time (see Spontaneous Casting and Metamagic Feats). However, she may also prepare a spell with any metamagic feats she knows and cast it without increasing casting time like a Cleric. She cannot combine these options—a spell prepared with metamagic feats cannot be further modified with another metamagic feat at the time of casting.

    Table 2: Cardinal Spells Prepared


    Domains: At 1st level a Cardinal gains access to two domains of her choice. Whenever she gains access to a domain, a Cardinal gains both its spells and granted power, but does not have domain spell slots for her domain spells. Instead, the spells of any domain a Cardinal knows are treated as being on the Cleric spell list for the purpose of determining what spells she can prepare and cast. They are cast and use the same rules as any spells she could prepare and cast normally.

    Additionally, unlike Cleric a Cardinal does not need to select both of her domains from those offered by her deity. Instead, only one of those domains must be one offered by her deity. Her other 1st level domain, referred to as a "Personal" domain, can be any domain of her choice, even one that is not normally offered by her deity. However, a Cardinal's selection of personal domain cannot conflict with the ethos and morality of her deity and faith. (So for example, a Cardinal of Falazure, the NE dragon god of undeath, could chose the Deathbound or Spell domain as her personal domain, but not the Good or Repose domain.)

    AC Bonus (Ex): Instead of training with armor, Cardinals put their faith in their deity, drawing strength from their wholehearted belief that their god or goddess will protect them. A Cardinal gains a bonus to her AC equal to her Charisma modifier while unarmored and not carrying a shield. At her 4th character level (regardless of what class she takes a level in), this bonus increases by +1, and it also increases by an additional +1 for every four character levels (regardless of what classes they are in) thereafter (to a maximum of her Cha mod+5 at 20th level).

    Cardinal's Hand (Ex): The time Clerics would spend training with armor and weapons a Cardinal instead spends learning how to better channel and control the magical energies they receive. As a result, Cardinals learn how to extend the range of their divine magics, doing from a distance what a cleric could normally only do by touch. While wearing no armor and carrying no shield, the Cardinal treats divine spells with a range of Personal or Self as having a range of Touch. (Meaning the Cardinal can cast such spells on creatures other than themselves and those creatures would gain their benefits as-if they where the Cardinal.)

    Additionally, starting at 3rd level the Cardinal may cast any divine spell with a range of Touch as-if it had a range of Close instead (making a ranged touch attack in place of a melee touch attack they would normally, if applicable) while she is wearing no armor and carrying no shield. Against a spell cast this way, an unwilling target gains a +4 bonus to their effective AC against any ranged touch attack made as apart of it, and to any saving throws they would make against it.

    Infused Casting (Su): While Cleric learn only to heal through spells made to do so, Cardinals also learn how to infuse there non-healing spells with healing energies. Living creatures affected by a Cardinal's spells regain hp equal to her character level plus her Wisdom modifier, in additional to the spell's normal effects. If a Cardinal spontaneously turns undead, any undead creature affected by her spells takes positive energy damage equal to half this amount a living creature would heal. If a Cardinal rebukes undead, undead are instead affected in the same way living creatures are by her infused casting, healing the same amount that a living creature would.

    At 5th level and every 4th level thereafter, the hp restored by a Cardinal's spells increases by an amount equal to her character level (eg. a 6th-level Cardinal would restore 12hp + her Wis modifier), and the damage that would be dealt also scales accordingly. (Still being 1/2 of what the Cardinal would heal.) A Cardinal can omit any number of creatures affected by her spells that she wishes from the effects of her infused casting.

    Turn/Rebuke Undead (Su): A Cardinal turns (and destroys) or rebukes (and dominates) undead as a Cleric of her Cardinal level a number of times per-day equal to 1 + her Charisma modifier (minimum 1). Whether she turns or rebukes undead is based on her alignment. If she is good (or neutral but worships a good deity) she turns undead. If she is evil (or neutral but worships an evil deity) she instead rebukes undead. If she is a neutral Cardinal of a neutral deity, this instead determined by whether she automatically prepares "Cure" or "Inflict" spells; if she prepares "Cure" spells, she turns undead, and if she prepares "Inflict" spells she rebukes undead.

    Church Authority: At 2nd level, a Cardinal has proven herself a faithful and skilled enough servant of her faith to take on a leadership role in her church, gaining the privilege to act as one of its political representatives and authorities. She gains four new uses for the Diplomacy skill, none of which function in combat. These new uses are outlined below:

    Requisition: You can draw upon the resources of your
    church, gaining the use of them and overriding the wishes of
    their owner if necessary.

    Intrude: You can, at any time, search the home, person
    or possessions of a member of your church. You may search and impound
    any evidence of wrongdoing, if found. Your authority
    does not extend to confiscating items for personal use.

    Accuse: You may have a member of your church imprisoned indefinitely,
    awaiting the gathering of evidence against him. You may
    only imprison one suspect in such a manner at any given time.

    Judge: You may pass judgment on a member of your church. This
    includes setting fines, prison sentences, death sentences, excommunicating them or
    anything else you wish, within the laws of your church.

    The types of individuals and resources you can target with these new uses of Diplomacy depend on your rank in the skill. The table below shows what kind of individuals and resources you can target, and the Diplomacy ranks required to target them. Failure to comply with these demands is usually sanctioned with fines, imprisonment, heretic status, and possibly excommunication.

    Any of these abilities can be contested by another Cardinal, who can move to have the action reversed with an opposed Diplomacy check. If the challenger wins the opposed roll, the defending Cardinal's action is reversed (for example an imprisoned individual is set free). If the defender wins the opposed roll nothing happens. Church Authority can be contested in a particular case only once. A defending character who loses the opposed roll may not contest the result. Nor can she use Church Authority to repeat the action that was contested against the same target. A Cardinal may use Church Authority a number of times per-day equal to her Cardinal level, plus an additional use per-day for every 4 levels she has in a class other than Cardinal.

    Diplomacy Ranks Valid Targets
    4 Intrude on and Accuse Commonor
    5 Requisition Troops
    6 Intrude on non-Cardinal Clergy Member
    7 Judge Commonor
    8 Accuse Non-Cardinal Clergy Member
    9 Requisition Gear
    10 Intrude on Noble
    11 Judge Non-Cardinal Clergy Member
    12 Accuse Noble
    13 Requisition Spellcaster
    14 Intrude on Cardinal
    15 Judge Noble
    16 Accuse Cardinal
    17 Requisition Property
    18+ Judge Cardinal

    Prayer (Su): At 4th level the Cardinal learns how directly petition her deity for magic with a single, passionate prayer. The Cardinal can pray for 1 minute (provoking attacks of opportunity) to spontaneously cast any one spell from any spell without spending a spell slot. A spell the Cardinal casts this way must be of a level to which she has access. and cannot be altered by the effects of any metamagic feats she knows. A Cardinal can do this once per-day.

    As she grows in power, a Cardinal becomes more effective at convincing her deity for immediate aid. At 8th level this feature’s activation time decreases to 1 round the Cardinal can use this feature twice per-day. At 12th level it's activation time decreases to a move action and she can use it three times per-day. At 16th level, it's activation time decreases to a swift action and she can use it four times per-day. At 19th level, its activation time decreases to a free action and she can use it five times per-day. (She still provokes attacks of opportunity when she uses this feature, regardless of how long it takes to use) If the spell requires an action that takes more time than this feature's activation time, the Cardinal must also expend an action of that type. (So if a 19th level Cardinal wanted to use this feature to cast a spell with a cast time of 1 standard action, she would need to use a standard action in addition to the free action she used to activate this feature)

    Bonus Domain (Deity's/Personal): As she grows in power, the Cardinal gains access to additional domains. At 7th level and again at 15th level, she gains access to one more domain offered by her deity, while she gains access to an additional personal domain at 11th level. (This personal domain follows the normal rules for selecting a personal domain, as stated in the domains subheading of the spells feature above.)

    Divine Intervention (Su) At the height of her power the Cardinal learns to demand direct intercession by her deity...and receive it. As a standard action, the Cardinal can request her deity to intervene on her behalf. The Cardinal's player describes the assistance she seeks and the DM grants it in a way they see fit. (Including having their deity deny them aid entirely, if appropriate.) The DM chooses the nature of the intervention; the effect of any spell from any list would be appropriate. If her deity intervenes, the Cardinal can’t use this feature again for 7 days. Otherwise, she can use it after getting at least 8 hours of rest.

    Spoiler: Design Notes
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    This class was made to be Tier 1. I know, Tier 1 is not an ideal balance point by any means. However, I wanted a tier 1 charisma-class and this is a result. It is meant to make a tier 1 divine caster mental score trinity with cleric (wis) and archivist (int). However, while I am shooting for tier 1 with this class, I do not want it to be SO tier 1 that it eclipses other tier 1 options, thus making it totally unplayable in a real game. As a result, I am looking for help and advice of all of you on what, if anything, this class needs to see play in an actual game of 3.5e, but with the thought in-mind thatr this class is designed to be a tier 1 class and should remain as such. With that stated, I'd appreciate any and all comments, suggestions and thoughts on this class!
    Last edited by Giegue; 2018-06-15 at 08:50 PM.
    78% of DM's started their first campaign in a tavern. If you're one of the 22% that didn't, copy and paste this into your signature.

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  2. - Top - End - #2
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: The Cardinal V.3 (Tier 1 Cha-based Divine Caster)

    Cleric is already T1. Assuming that you're just talking about spell lists and ignoring how skills and class features can bump someone into T3, the breakdown is simple. T3 gets a pre-selected, themed list. T2 gets to cherry pick from a very broad list, but those choices are locked in. T1 gets to cherry pick from a broad list, and gets to change their loadout on a day to day basis.

    Giving a 3.x based character 5e style spellcasting (pick your daily loadout, then spontaneously apply your slots as needed) is crazy strong without 5e mechanics like concentration and removing spell auto-scaling to compensate. Strong class features on top of that are just bonkers.

    Frankly, if your goal is to grid-fill to have a Cha-based T1, just change the casting stat for a wizard of a cleric. A boost to social skills isn't quite as impressive as bonus skill points of a boost to will saves and sensory skills.
    Last edited by Anymage; 2018-06-16 at 07:14 AM.

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Firbolg in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: The Cardinal V.3 (Tier 1 Cha-based Divine Caster)

    Quote Originally Posted by Anymage View Post
    Giving a 3.x based character 5e style spellcasting (pick your daily loadout, then spontaneously apply your slots as needed) is crazy strong without 5e mechanics like concentration and removing spell auto-scaling to compensate. Strong class features on top of that are just bonkers.
    The prepare-spells-known-and-cast-spontaneously setup isn't actually a problem on its own; the 3e spirit shaman was doing that with the druid spell list long before 5e came around, and it sits nicely on the T2/T3 border.

    But where the spirit shaman had much weaker and more niche class features than the druid, the cardinal is a strict upgrade to the cleric in literally every way except for the number of low-level spells per day at high levels. Seriously, picking any domain and being able to cast multiple domain spells per day, and then getting 3 extra domains as it levels? Casting Personal-range spells on others starting at 1st level? Free [casting stat] to AC without dipping monk? Spontaneously casting any spell in the entire game of a castable level starting at 4th, and cast any five spells in the entire game in one round at 18th!? This blows the cloistered cleric and the wizard combined out of the water, and still would render the cleric redundant even if every single class feature were removed except for the spirit shaman-style casting and free domain choice.

    The issue here is that this class is trying to be "the cleric, but with more and better class features" ("cardinal" even basically means "higher-ranking cleric") instead of "the cleric, but with tradeoffs" like the archivist is.

    How to fix this? Basically, the only way is to subtract "cleric" from "cardinal" and see if what's left is salvageable. No cleric spell list, no domains, no turn/rebuke undead; the cardinal shouldn't get anything the cleric gets. Once you do that, what's left? Cha to AC, a flavor ability to judge the faithful, the ability to buff allies better, and the ability to spontaneously cast anything a limited number of times per day. I don't think that stuff by itself is enough to make a whole class; that's basically a 3- to 5-level cleric PrC right there, and a pretty darn strong one at that.

    So, back to the drawing board. Archivist is an Int-based cleric, and so gets a wizard-like spellbook and knowledge-based class features. A Cha-based cleric (which probably needs a different name like Chosen that doesn't imply "Cleric+") that explicitly gains power from its zeal and is strongly tied to its church should probably resemble a favored soul, then, in that it should be more tied to its deity's theme and power, not less. In essence, this would make the Archivist the least deity-tied of the three with the largest pool of spells known to potentially choose from at the expense of having fewer spells at his fingertips at any given time, the Chosen the most deity-tied of the three with the smallest pool of spells to potentially choose from but with more accessible at any given time, and the Cleric a balance of the two in the middle.

    Here's how I suggest that work:
    • Pull from domains primarily. The Chosen doesn't prepare spells known from the cleric list, the Chosen prepares domains to be able to cast from that day. Maybe three to start with and more later, like a Sovereign Speaker on steroids, gaining the ability at some point to swap out domains during the day.
    • Grant access to cleric spells, but not in combat time. The Chosen is all about leading the faith from major temples, so have a Prayer-like ability to pull spells from the cleric list but have it require long periods of meditation and prayer. T1 casters are all about being able to do anything given time to swap out spells, after all, and the ability to do that at multiple points during the day instead of having to wait for dawn/dusk to re-prepare spells is helpful.
    • Expand on Church Authority and Hand of the Cardinal. The flavor text mentions a heavy involvement in politics that the mechanics don't bear out, so why not expand Church Authority with later enhancements to do that? First Accuse lets you lock up heretics, later it lets you compel bystanders to restrain or attack a certain individual or mystically restrain them; first Judge lets you pass judgment in religious courts, later it lets you interfere with other casters' divine power or possibly slaying them if they're unfaithful; and so son. Same with Hand of the Cardinal: War Weaver-like abilities to cast more buffs on more people wouldn't go amiss, though be careful not to make those more powerful than the Archivist's knowledge buffs.

    Spontaneously casting from several domains makes the cleric play differently from both the archivist and the cleric in and out of combat, the ability to cast cleric spells during downtime keeps them T1 unlike a favored soul, and the social perks mirror the archivist perks to give it interesting class features while retaining its unique identity.
    Better to DM in Baator than play in Celestia
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    Spoiler: Sig of Holding
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    Quote Originally Posted by abadguy View Post
    Darn you PoDL for making me care about a bunch of NPC Commoners!
    Quote Originally Posted by Chambers View Post
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    Default Re: The Cardinal V.3 (Tier 1 Cha-based Divine Caster)

    Okay, so notice that Archivist has the Cleric spell list as his base, but has access to other spells via his prayerbook. And a Cleric has the Cleric spell list as his base, but has access to other spells via domains. So, following this pattern, the third class of the trinity should have the Cleric spell list as his base, but be able to gain access to other spells by its own unique mechanic.

    Right now, the Cardinal does have an ability to access spells not on the cleric spell list, but it's the same one the cleric uses. That's not really a trinity. That's more of a diad, where one of the classes has multiple, closely-related variants.

    When you design a class trinity, all three classes should be equally different from each other. You don't want two classes that are very similar, and one that's quite different. That makes for a very lopsided triangle.

    Also, conceptually, it feel like Archivist is "the bookish one," Cleric is " the (un)holy warrior," and Cardinal, currently, is "the other bookish one." Again, why not have a trinity consisting of three things, instead of two things? You could go with "sneaky scoundrel" or "raging savage," for example.

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    Default Re: The Cardinal V.3 (Tier 1 Cha-based Divine Caster)

    I'm glad I got to see this class before the 45 day thread necromancy limit. I'm a big fan of this archetype, leaning closer to the idea of a Priest than the Cleric is. I think the range increase is a pretty clever way to push players towards buffing the party instead of DMM Persisting *divine power* and *righteous might* on themselves. I'm also absolutely in love with Church Authority.

    Based on all that, I strongly disagree with the posters above about this class being overpowered or unusable. I think you have a class that is fundamentally sound and very clever, and you should totally build off it.

    One of the best ways to solidify this class's archetype is by reigning in the number of spells prepared each day by a significant amount. I don't see the Table for spells prepared each day, but if the 4 level 2 / 2 level 1 is any indication, this class will probably have too many. I would actually cut those numbers in half, and I wouldn't give them more than 2 choices per spell level. This means there's a much higher opportunity cost that comes with 2 things:
    • DMM Persisting your strongest spells is much weaker.
    • Your ability to pull out "silver bullet" spells on a daily basis and stay useful for the rest of the day is also much worse.


    My two other pieces of feedback:
    • I think the Domain flexibility might be a tad much in the early levels. You should consider having only 1 domain available at level 1, and then adding the 1st Personal domain a little later.
    • Prayer seems a little boring, especially with 5 total domains available to essentially cherrypick interesting spells already. I recommend looking for something else to fill these levels.


    To throw my personal homebrew into the mix: I like to play my vanilla clerics with charisma as the default casting stat and no Cloistered Cleric allowed. If you do choose to put this class aside, you may want to try that as your Cha-based Cleric.
    Last edited by Just to Browse; 2018-07-15 at 07:22 PM.
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    Default Re: The Cardinal V.3 (Tier 1 Cha-based Divine Caster)

    Quote Originally Posted by Just to Browse View Post
    Based on all that, I strongly disagree with the posters above about this class being overpowered or unusable. I think you have a class that is fundamentally sound and very clever, and you should totally build off it.

    [...]

    One of the best ways to solidify this class's archetype is by reigning in the number of spells prepared each day by a significant amount. I don't see the Table for spells prepared each day, but if the 4 level 2 / 2 level 1 is any indication, this class will probably have too many.
    [...]
    • I think the Domain flexibility might be a tad much in the early levels. You should consider having only 1 domain available at level 1, and then adding the 1st Personal domain a little later.
    Your post is a bit self-contradictory, since the things you mention in the second section are precisely some of the reasons why the class is overpowered and not fundamentally sound.

    I completely agree with you that Cardinal's Hand helps push the class toward party-buffing instead of self-buffing and that Church Authority makes for a strong class identity--as per my earlier suggestions on revising the class--but you'd need to put those together with something weaker than a baseline cleric to end up with a balanced class (even if you're explicitly aiming for Tier 1) while the cardinal's chassis is better than the cleric in every way.
    Last edited by PairO'Dice Lost; 2018-07-16 at 12:22 AM.
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    Default Re: The Cardinal V.3 (Tier 1 Cha-based Divine Caster)

    My last comment was rambly, so I'll try to write my position a little more succinctly.

    You and Anymage both seem to be of the mind that this class is fundamentally bad because SS-style casting just doesn't work on the Cleric at all. I disagree with that -- I think SS-style casting works on the Cleric if the number of spells you have available is low.

    There is a big difference between "this class needs to be rewritten" versus "this class needs nerfs", and I don't want to accidentally communicate the former. A low number of spells prepared is a gigantic nerf to the Cleric, regardless of what the rest of the chassis looks like.
    Last edited by Just to Browse; 2018-07-16 at 10:28 AM.
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    Default Re: The Cardinal V.3 (Tier 1 Cha-based Divine Caster)

    Quote Originally Posted by Just to Browse View Post
    You and Anymage both seem to be of the mind that this class is fundamentally bad because SS-style casting just doesn't work on the Cleric at all. I disagree with that -- I think SS-style casting works on the Cleric if the number of spells you have available is low.

    There is a big difference between "this class needs to be rewritten" versus "this class needs nerfs", and I don't want to accidentally communicate the former. A low number of spells prepared is a gigantic nerf to the Cleric, regardless of what the rest of the chassis looks like.
    I don't think spirit shaman casting doesn't work on the cleric; I addressed that in my initial post:

    The prepare-spells-known-and-cast-spontaneously setup isn't actually a problem on its own; the 3e spirit shaman was doing that with the druid spell list long before 5e came around, and it sits nicely on the T2/T3 border.

    But where the spirit shaman had much weaker and more niche class features than the druid, the cardinal is a strict upgrade to the cleric in literally every way except for the number of low-level spells per day at high levels
    But the problem is that the cardinal is not spirit shaman casting on the cleric, it's spirit shaman casting on the cleric-with-a-bunch-of-extra-powerful-stuff, so to sufficiently nerf the Cardinal to "normal" Tier 1 you have to basically remove all the class features.

    The druid and spirit shaman have lots of class features, some powerful and some mostly there for flavor, so finely tuning the balance between Vancian vs. prepare-and-cast-spontaneously casting is possible. The cleric only has Turn/Rebuke Undead and domains, though, so to balance out the extra versatility for the cardinal you have to either give it no class features at all and count the loss of access to a few good spells and [Divine] feats to be sufficient (and then they're back to better-than-cleric levels with nearly-mandatory dips in Sacred Exorcist and Contemplative, so it only helps for the first few levels), or give it just domains and Turn/Rebuke but drop the daily spells low enough to make it hard for it to fill its intended role (which doesn't "balance" it so much as make it more annoying to play).

    There are no other widgets you can tweak here; the only way to add a bunch of class features while not rendering the cleric redundant is to change the part where it prepares spells from the entire cleric list, and that does qualify as more of a rewrite than a nerf because you have to figure out a spell list or spell-choosing mechanism, tweak the class features based on the narrower spell access, and so forth.
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    Default Re: The Cardinal V.3 (Tier 1 Cha-based Divine Caster)

    Gotcha, I misread your statement and latched on to "the cleric in literally every way except for the number of low-level spells per day at high levels". I thought you meant that the class would be stronger than the cleric regardless of how many spells they could ready in a given day, because the daily spells were still high. Super sorry about that.

    I'll contend 3 things:
    1. These features are a bit worse than you think they are.
    2. Reduced spells readied per day is a huge nerf, and sufficient to balance these features with the Cleric.
    3. The class has really nice tuning levers


    Features: AC bonus is solid at low levels, similar to Monk AC. Extending range and Infused Casting are good benefits at level 1, and this class is definitely over the edge compared to the cleric because of how much flexibility there is, though d6 hit die makes this closer. Knocking off a domain is a great way to bring this class in line.

    2 features fall off pretty hard in terms of usefulness -- AC Bonus (for the same reason as the Monk's AC) and Infused Casting (because pre-combat buffs are still a better life choice). In the long term, these aren't great compared to wearing magic armor and using a magic shield. The Cardinal will also still walk around with a wand of cure light wounds.

    Prayer gives them access to "silver bullets" in a way that's both a little boring and too powerful. I'm still advocating for cutting it.

    Extra range doesn't give power in the place where Clerics usually have power, so even though it looks strong, it doesn't contribute much in terms of raw output. Buffing mid-combat still isn't a great choice, so this will be mostly used for debuff-removal effects.

    As levels grow, Church Authority and bonus domains give great flexibility, but they aren't much stronger than the Contemplative class features down the line (which, as you've noted, are essentially the Cleric's class features later on).

    Spells Prepared: I've detailed some of the reasons that reduced spell flexibility is such a big nerf, but I want to reiterate that silver bullet spells & single-target buffs get significantly worse when the number of spells prepared / day are dropped to my suggested quantity. These are 2 of the strongest parts of a Cleric's arsenal, and the Cardinal struggles to capture either of the effects.

    Tuning: Moving domains around is a great way to balance the class. If the class is too strong at the start, it's easy to go to 1 domain. If it's too strong later, it's easy to have 1-2 fewer domains total. You can also shave off power by reducing their spells/day by 1, and you can buff the class by adding spells readied / day. So if the class is fundamentally sound (which I believe it is), then the end result can also be successfully tuned.
    Last edited by Just to Browse; 2018-07-16 at 08:16 PM.
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    Default Re: The Cardinal V.3 (Tier 1 Cha-based Divine Caster)

    No problem about the misunderstanding. And I do agree that none of the class features aside from Prayer and Divine Intervention are super amazing on their own, but they are still free power-ups over the cleric and not just flavor or niche abilities like the druid's Wild Empathy or Resist Nature's Lure.

    AC Bonus ends up weaker than magic armor, but it's better than any armor the cardinal can afford at low levels; Cardinal's Hand (Personal->Touch) is no DMM, but being able to put sanctuary on the squishy wizard to protect him or divine favor on the fighter before a boss fight is nothing to sneeze at; Cardinal's Hand (Touch->Close) isn't going to make the cardinal a better healer than a wand of CLW, but it's available at the low levels before wands are cheap and before in-combat healing loses its effectiveness, and the ability to heal at range makes the cardinal better at healing than the cleric; and so forth. Basically, take any one of the class features and slap it on a cleric and you end up with an obvious and noticeable power-up at the level it's gained, so adding multiple of them is going to be overpowered by definition.

    I'm still fairly convinced that any class that can cast from the entire cleric list (either cleric-style or spirit shaman-style) and also has a bunch of extra class features can't reasonably be balanced with the cleric while remaining effective--either you reduce the spells by a small amount and the benefits of spirit shaman casting plus the extra class features outweigh the reduction, or reduce the spells by enough to noticeably hurt and the class has too few spells/day to function--and that you really have to change up the spell list to make it work.

    Compare the cardinal to the archivist, which has the opposite problem: it gets a big ol' bunch of class features, but they're all just minor +X abilities that are mostly there for flavor, and none of them are at all worth giving up domains and Turn Undead. If it just cast like a cleric, or even had spirit shaman-style casting from the cleric list, it would still basically be strictly weaker than the cleric even if you gave it a few more spells per day...but more than "a few more" spells would make it too powerful, since just casting cleric spells at all is still pretty darn good. Only the archivist's ability to cherry-pick good spells from other spell lists while having many fewer spells known over all--that is, changing up its spell list and spell acquisition method--makes it comparable to the cleric in power.


    And, honestly, even if it were balanced, yet another class that's just "a cleric/druid/wizard, except..." is pretty darn boring mechanically (and might as well be a PrC or ACF) since it will likely end up having the same "comb the massive spell list for win/buff spells for combat and utility spells for downtime" style in play. The wu jen and shugenja, by contrast, are more than just "Chinese wizard" and "Japanese favored soul" in play due to their different spell lists, which don't have the same bottomless pit of spells that the wizard and favored soul can pick from yet have a handful of gems that other classes don't get. So I'd probably suggest changing up the cardinal's spell list on general principle even if it were more balanced with the cleric and archivist to start with.
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    Default Re: The Cardinal V.3 (Tier 1 Cha-based Divine Caster)

    I definitely agree with you that the class features of the Cardinal are noticeably better than the Cleric's, especially at low levels. But fewer spells readied per day and just 1 less spell per day is a strong fix for that. The fact that most of these features run counter to the normal Cleric strategies that make them so strong also helps. Unlike a real cleric, a cardinal that wants to buff their fighter friend with divine favor can't also run command and protection from evil.

    Spellcasting for readied casters are gives you a tuning mechanism that is amazingly granular. It's not black & white where your nerfs must either be meaningless or bone-crushing. The level 1 sorcerer is proof enough that medium-sized power adjustments are easily possible through tweaks to daily spell slots, and the Cardinal has twice as many places to tweak.

    As for it being boring, I actually find a readied-spell caster version of the cleric awesome because of it works with buff spells, and I wish I had thought of it first. I think it's a great class because readied casting can actually [U]prevent[U] combing through massive lists of spells.
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    Default Re: The Cardinal V.3 (Tier 1 Cha-based Divine Caster)

    It sounds like we agree on the general balance of the extra features and of the perks of spirit shaman-style casting (the party in my current campaign includes a tweaked cleric who uses a similar style of casting, and the player is enjoying it quite a bit), we just differ on how much of a balance impact small tweaks to spells known or per day provide.

    To me, a cardinal with fewer spells known or fewer spells per day is just like a cleric who has made suboptimal spell selections for the day. A 4th level cardinal with 6/3/1 spells retrieved per day is basically like a 4th-level cleric (6/4/3 spells prepared per day) who choose 0/1/2 prepared spells poorly that day and didn't get any use out of them; the class isn't significantly weakened by that any more than the cleric drops a tier if you happen to consistently make small mistakes in spell preparation. Likewise for a cardinal's 5/4/2 spells per day basically matching a cleric who preps 1/0/1 spells on a given day that turn out not to be useful.

    And, conversely, if only 1/1/1 of the spells retrieved (for the cardinal) or prepared (for the cleric) are useful on a given day, the cardinal gets multiple daily spells per level out of that selection while the cleric only gets the 1 per level that he prepared, so different days will balance out based on how well the cleric chooses his spells. It's exactly the same advantage a sorcerer has over a wizard or favored soul has over a cleric in terms of on-the-fly versatility, but without the sorcerer's or favored soul's inability to change their spells day by day.

    Only if you go down to something ridiculous like 2/1/1 spells retrieved at 4th level (like a cleric who filled every slot of each level with the same spell) do you negate the benefits of spirit shaman casting, but at that point...well, you're like a cleric who fills every slot with a single spell every day, and you're significantly less useful to the party for it.

    EDIT: I just took another look at the spell tables and saw that the cardinal has a sorcerer-style delayed spell progression, which I didn't notice before. That would rein in the cardinal's power compared to the cleric, but in a bad way, since not even sorcerers should have a sorcerer-style delayed progression; like having way too few spells per day, that makes the cardinal worse at addressing level-appropriate threats than other casters at half the levels in his career.
    Last edited by PairO'Dice Lost; 2018-07-18 at 06:38 PM.
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    Default Re: The Cardinal V.3 (Tier 1 Cha-based Divine Caster)

    Sorry for the lack of updates, but my computer has been broken for a while now, so I had to get a new one made by a friend. Anyway, I have all but given up on this class, and am making a new tier 1 charisma-based divine caster that combinds traditional cleric style casting with a more roguish base, a focus on undead, and the ability to finessing a scythe/dex-based scythe melee as opposed to the heavily armored, str-focused melee clerics prefer. Its about the same frailty as a cloistered cleric (d6 HD and two good saves, except instead of Fort and Will its Ref and Will), but only has one domain (which is deathbound, it gets no choice in this matter) along with mandatory rebuke undead. However, it has slightly better class skills, Trapfinding, medium BAB, extremely delayed sneak attack progression (comes in at 5th level, and increases every five levels thereafter, to a maximum of 4d6), the ability to finesse a scythe at 1st level as long as its unarmored, monk-style unarmored defense for Cha instead of Wis, and hide in plain sight, which comes in at 18th level. So overall, like most tier 1 classes it ends up with a fairly sparse table, which puts it roughly on par with a heavily armored cleric that has a d8 HD and multiple domains.

    Granted, the special scythe-finesse does make the class a very cheesy dip for rogues, but rogue is a tier 4 class, so I felt this was fine, and likewise the tier 3 classes that actually want that dip either don't use Cha (meaning they suffer MAD for taking it, since as soon as you slap on armor you lose the benefits and your unarmored defense is Cha-based, meaning something like a factotum could not get nearly the benefits it would want for it.) or a caster like actual Dread Necro that doesn't want to loose a precious CL anyway. It still may not be perfectly balanced, but when somebody mentioned a "stealthy" cha-based divine caster making a sort of reaper class that mixed sneaking, scythe melee and divine undead mastery instantly came to mind as a cool idea for that angle, and makes a nice trifecta of Archivist (holy scholar), Cleric (Holy/Unholy warrior) and Reaper (unholy rogue). Note that while it gets necromantic powers, the Reaper class does not require you to be evil; you can be a good reaper, and will get the deathbound domain and rebuke regardless....your divine magic is drawn not from study or from connecting to a god, but instead through bargaining with dark powers such as orcus, deities of undeath and other powerful archefiends, much like a 5e warlock. Hence why it takes on a sinister shade and you ping as evil regardless of whether or not your actually evil.

    If you all are interested, I will be posting it in a little bit.
    Last edited by Giegue; 2018-07-18 at 08:26 PM.
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