A Monster for Every Season: Summer 2
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  1. - Top - End - #61
    Troll in the Playground
     
    AssassinGuy

    Join Date
    Apr 2007

    Default Re: Descent of Shadows: Project Shadow Returns

    Developing Epic Mysteries
    An epic mystery, much like an epic spell, is developed from smaller pieces called seeds and augmentations called factors. Every epic seed has a base Spellcraft DC, and every factor has a Spell-craft DC adjustment. When a desired mystery is developed, the mystery-user spends resources and time to subtly shift the plane of shadows in a way that will allow for the desired epic mystery. The base Spellcraft DCs of each seed are added together; then the DC adjustments of the factors are added to that total. The sum equals the final Spellcraft DC for the epic mystery.
    The final Spellcraft DC is the most significant gauge of the epic mystery’s power. A mystery-user attempts to cast an epic mystery by making a Spellcraft check against the epic mystery’s Spellcraft DC. Thus, the mystery-user knows immediately, based on his or her own Spellcraft bonus, what epic mysteries are within his or her capability to cast, which are perilous, and which are simply suicidal to attempt to learn. Epic mystery-users don’t commit time and money to develop epic mysteries until they are powerful enough to cast them.
    An epic mystery, being an extraordinary ability, is neither arcane nor divine. All the epic mysteries described above can be developed independently by a character who spends the necessary time and money and who is willing to take the risk. Alternatively, a character can use those epic mysteries as a starting point when creating customized versions of the mysteries.
    Resource Cost
    The development of an epic mystery uses up raw materials costing a number of gold pieces equal to 100 x the final Spellcraft DC of the epic mystery being developed.
    Development Time
    Developing an epic mystery takes a number of weeks equal to its final Spellcraft DC divided by 5 (rounded up).
    Adding Seed DCs
    When two or more epic seeds are combined in an epic mystery, their base Spellcraft DCs are added together. Both contribute toward the spell’s final Spellcraft DC.
    Determining School
    When combining two or more seeds to develop an epic mystery, the school of the finished spell is decided by the caster from among the seeds that make up the epic spell.
    Combining Descriptors
    When two or more epic seeds are combined in an epic mystery, all the descriptors from each seed apply to the finished mystery.
    Casting Times
    All epic mysteries take a full-round action to (attempt to) cast.
    Combining Range, Targets, Area, and Effect
    One seed might have a range of 12,000 feet, another seed might have a range of 400 feet, and a third seed might not have a range at all. Likewise, some seeds have targets, while others have an effect or an area. To determine which seed takes precedence in the finished epic mystery, the character must decide which seed is the base seed. The seed most important to the mystery’s overall purpose is the base seed, and it determines the casting time, range, target, and so on. The other seeds apply only their specific effects to the finished spell. It is occasionally difficult to determine a base seed by examining the mystery’s effects. If no one seed is most important, simply pick one seed for the purposes of making this determination.
    Combining Durations
    When combining two or more seeds to develop an epic mystery, the seed with the shortest duration determines the duration of the finished epic mystery. If any seed of an epic mystery is dismissible by the caster, the epic mystery is dismissible.
    Saving Throws
    An epic mystery inherits whatever saving throws its component seeds allows, but it gains no more than one saving throw of each type (fortitude, reflex, and will).
    Factors
    Factors are not part of epic seeds, but they are the tools used to modify specific parameters of any given seed. Applying factors to the seeds of an epic mystery increases the final Spellcraft DC but it can increase the duration, change the area of a spell, and affect many other aspects of the spell.
    There are two kinds of factors:
    1. Those that can affect a number of seeds.
    2. Those that can only be used with specific seeds.
    Ad hoc modifiers
    Many new epic mysteries have additions or components not covered in the seeds and factors given here. In these situations, assess an “ad hoc” Spellcraft DC adjustment for such components of the mystery—the example mysteries use ad hoc factors frequently. In all cases, the DM determines the actual Spellcraft DC of the new mystery

    Code:
    Factor                                                     Spellcraft DC Modifier
    Casting Time
    Cast as standard action                                              +6
    Cast as swift action                                                 +10
    Contingent on specific trigger                                       +15
    Duration
    Increase Duration by 100%                                            +1
    Permanent Duration (apply after all other factors)                   x2
    Dismissible by caster (if not already)                               +1
    Range
    Increase range by 100%                                               +1
    Target
    Add extra target within 300 feet                                     +6
    Change from target to area (pick area option below)                  +6
    Change from personal to area (pick area option below)                +12
    Change from target to touch or ray (300 feet range)                  +2
    Change from touch or ranged touch attack to target                   +2
    Area
    Change area to line (5 ft. x300 ft. or 10 ft.x150ft.)                +1
    Change area to cylinder (10-ft. radius, 30 ft. high)                 +1
    Change area to 40-ft. cone                                           +1
    Change area to four 10-ft. cubes                                     +1
    Change area to 20-ft. radius                                         +1
    Change area to target                                                +2
    Change area to touch or ray (close range)                            +2
    Increase area by 100%                                                +2
    Saving throws
    Add +1 to the mystery’s save DC                                      +1
    Exchange one saving throw with another                               +6
    Deny any saving throw                                                x2
    Other
    Increase damage die by one step (d20 maximum)                        +6

  2. - Top - End - #62
    Troll in the Playground
     
    AssassinGuy

    Join Date
    Apr 2007

    Default Re: Descent of Shadows: Project Shadow Returns

    Epic Mystery Seeds

    Seed: Bended Time
    Transmutation
    Spellcraft DC: 13
    Range: Touch
    Target: Creature Touched
    Duration: 10 minutes; permanent for age adjustment
    Saving Throw: None

    The target of this seed gains an extra move action on each of their turns. If you increase the spellcraft DC by +5, the target gains an extra standard action on each of their turns. If you increase the spellcraft DC by +15, the target gains an extra full-round action on each of their turns. By increasing the spellcraft DC by +50, you speed up the target so much that the world appears to freeze, following all normal limitations of the timestop spell.
    As a special use of this seed, you may add or subtract one year to the target’s age category. You may grant or deny them additional years by increasing the spellcraft DC by +1 per year. Incremental adjustments to a creature’s age category overlap. These added or subtracted years also apply to each later age category.

    Seed: Cursed Shade
    Necromancy
    Spellcraft DC: 12
    Range: 400 ft.
    Target: 1 living creature
    Duration: Permanent
    Saving Throw: Will negates

    An epic mystery made using the Cursed Shade seed imposes a –2 penalty on all attack rolls, skill checks, and saving throws made by the target. For each additional –1 penalty applied to these areas, increase the spellcraft DC by +1. For each –1 penalty applied to an ability score, increase the spellcraft DC by +1, or by +2 for each –1 penalty applied to their constitution score. No ability score can be lowered to 0 in this way. For each –1 penalty applied to their AC, increase the spellcraft DC by +2.
    This seed can also be used to infect the target with a mundane disease. To use a supernatural dc, increase the spellcraft DC by +4. To infect the target with multiple diseases, increase the spellcraft DC by +2 per mundane disease and +4 per supernatural disease beyond the first. To render the target able to infect others through physical contact, increase the spellcraft DC by +1 per day they are able to infect others. If using this option, you may increase the spellcraft DC by an additional +4 to render the target immune to their diseases as long as they are infectious. In addition, while so carrying the disease, they cannot be cured of it.

    Seed: Dark Empowerment
    Transmutation
    Spellcraft DC: 12
    Range: Touch
    Target: Creature touched
    Duration: 20 hours

    Mysteries using the Dark Empowerment seed grant the target the dark template. By increasing the spellcraft dc by +10, the target instead inherits the shadow template. In addition, you can provide a +1 enhancement bonus to any skill check, any saving throw, attack and damage rolls, natural armor, or any ability score by increasing the spellcraft DC by +2 per point of enhancement bonus (multiple enhancement bonuses from this source stack with each other).

    Seed: Dark Inhibition
    Transmutation
    Spellcraft DC: 19
    Range: 100 ft.
    Area or Target: 40 foot-radius emanation or object or creature
    Duration: 40 minutes
    Saving Throw: Reflex partial

    If an epic spell using this seed is used to make an emanation, everyone within its area must make a reflex save each round or become immobilized. You can slow down the speed of anyone within the area by increasing the spellcraft DC by +2 for every 5 feet by which you want to slow down your targets (you can lower the speed of others down to a minimum of 5 feet). In addition, no spells of up to 1st level can be cast within the emanation. For each additional level of spells to be excluded, increase the spellcraft DC by +15.
    If cast onto an object, its shadow roots it in place, taking a DC 25 strength check to move. For every +1 bonus to this strength check DC, increase the spellcraft DC by +1. In addition, the objects weight is multiplied by ten. Lastly, all armored creatures within a 40-foot radius of the object have their armor check penalties increased by an additional –4. For each –1 increment that this penalty is increased, increase the spellcraft DC by +2.
    If cast onto a creature, its shadow moves sluggishly, anchoring down its body as well. All of the creature’s movement speeds are halved, and any fly speed they may have has its maneuverability lessened by 1 degree. By increasing the spellcraft DC by +4, the target cannot run or charge. In addition, the target has a 5% chance each round of not acting, as if paralyzed. For every +2 increase to the spellcraft DC, up to a maximum of a 70% chance.

    Seed: Deceptive Shadows
    Illusion (figment)
    Spellcraft DC: 11
    Range: 6,000 ft.
    Effect: Visual figment that can extend for up to twenty 30-ft. cubes.
    Duration: 20 hours
    Saving Throw: Will disbelief (if interacted with)

    This seed creates a visual illusion of an object, creature, or force. The caster can move the image within the limits of the size of the effect by concentrating (the image is otherwise stationary). The image disappears when struck by an opponent unless the caster causes the illusion to react appropriately. For an illusion that includes audible, olfactory, tactile, taste, and thermal aspects, increase the spellcraft DC by +2 per extra aspect (they cannot deal damage, however). If all of these aspects are added, the target does not gain a will save to disbelieve the illusion. For each image to be created beyond the first, increase the Spellcraft DC by +1. For an illusion that follows a script determined by the mystery-user, increase the spellcraft DC by +7. The illusion follows the script without any needed concentration. For an illusion that makes an area appear to be something other than it is, increase the spellcraft DC by +4. To allow yourself to cast mysteries from an illusion, increase the spellcraft DC by +10.

    Seed: Ebon Command
    Enchantment (Compulsion) [Mind-Affecting]
    Spellcraft DC: 15
    Range: 50 feet
    Target: One living creature or one or more objects
    Duration: 10 minutes
    Saving Throw: Will negates

    One living target is compelled to follow a course of activity, which must be worded to sound reasonable. Asking the creatures to do an obviously harmful or unreasonable act negates the effect unless you increase the spellcraft DC by +10. This compelled course of activity can continue for the entire duration. If they finish the compelled activity in a shorter amount of time, the mystery ends when the subject finishes what they were asked to do.
    Alternately, one small inanimate object within range can be animated (as animate objects). For each size category larger than small of the animated object, the spellcraft DC is increased by +2. For each object beyond the first to be animated, the spellcraft DC is increased by +4, +2 for each size category it is larger than small. If used in this way, the seed has the transmutation school and no subschools or descriptors.

    Seed: Fear of Shadows
    Enchantment (compulsion) [Fear, Mind-Affecting]
    Spellcraft DC: 10
    Range: 300 ft.
    Target: 1 living creature
    Duration: 20 minutes
    Saving Throw: Will negates

    An epic mystery created using the Fear of Shadows seed causes the target to become shaken. To make the target become Frightened, increase the spellcraft DC by +4. To make the target become Panicked, increase the spellcraft DC by +6. To make the target cower where they stand, increase the spellcraft DC by +8, To make the target die of fright on a failure and become shaken on a success, increase the spellcraft DC by +10. To allow this to affect foes normally immune to Fear or Mind-Affecting effects, increase the spellcraft DC by +10. To allow this to affect nonliving creatures, increase the spellcraft DC by an additional +5.

    Seed: Hidden in Shadows
    Illusion (glamer)
    Spellcraft DC: 10
    Range: Touch
    Target: Creature Touched
    Duration: 24 hours

    The target of a mystery using this seed gains a +10 bonus on hide checks. Bluff checks, Disguise checks, Escape Artist checks, Move Silently checks, Sleight of Hand checks may also be made to receive this bonus by increasing the spellcraft Dc by +2 per skill check. For each point by which the bonus is to be increased, increase the spellcraft DC by +1.
    By increasing the spellcraft DC by +10, the target becomes invisible. They lose this invisibility the first time that they take an offensive action unless the spellcraft DC is increased by an additional +5.
    By increasing the spellcraft DC by +10, the target becomes immune to all divination effects.

    Seed: Pulled from Darkness
    Illusion (Shadow)
    Spellcraft DC: 20
    Range: 50 ft.
    Effect: one fabricated item or creature
    Duration: 40 rounds
    Saving Throw: None

    Epic mysteries formed from this seed allow its mystery-user to pull a small creature or item out of nowhere. If used to create matter, it creates up to 1,000 cubic feet of matter. For every additional 500 cubic feet to be created, increase the spellcraft DC by +4. This matter may seem valuable but receives none of the special (or magical) qualities of what it imitates and has half the normal hardness and hit points. By increasing the spellcraft DC by +4, the special (but not magical) qualities of imitated items are carried over. In addition, the matter gains a +1 bonus to its hardness and 5 extra hit points for every +1 bonus that you apply to the seed’s spellcraft DC.
    When used to create creatures, it creates any creature with a CR of 5 or less, and grants them the dark template. In addition, they have only 50% of the normal hit points for that creature and deal only 50% of the normal damage for that creature. You can increase both of these statistics (up to 100%) by increasing the spellcraft DC by +5 per +10% bonus. For every +1 bonus to the creature’s CR, increase the spellcraft DC by +1. For each creature of the same CR to be summoned beyond the first, multiply the spellcraft DC by x2.

    Seed: Rot of Shadows
    Evocation
    Spellcraft DC: 15
    Range: 25 ft.
    Target: 1 object or 1 creature
    Duration: Instantaneous or permanent
    Saving Throw: Fortitude negates

    You destroy one object small or smaller object. To use this seed on medium or larger objects, increase the spellcraft DC by +6 per size category larger than small. To completely destroy an object and leave no trace, increase the spellcraft DC by +8.
    The base spellcraft DC of this seed is 19 if used to stop a creature from receiving healing (both natural and magical) from any nonmagical source. For every +4 by which you increase the seed’s spellcraft DC, you inflict one permanent negative level onto your opponent, which never results in actual level loss. This use is treated as a necromancy effect.

    Seed: Seething Darkness
    Evocation [Darkness]
    Spellcraft DC: 14
    Range: 0 feet
    Area: 20-foot radius
    Duration: 30 minutes

    You bring a 20-foot area of darkness into existence and dispel all light effects within that radius. Darkvision sees through this darkness normally. You can render this Darkvision useless in this darkness by increasing the spellcraft DC by +4 and you can render all sight through the darkness useless by increasing the spellcraft DC by +8. You can allow individuals to see through it as if it were not there by increasing the spellcraft DC by +2 per individual. You can exclusively effect targets of certain alignments or races by increasing the spellcraft DC by +6 per such distinguishment.
    The base spellcraft DC of this seed is 12 if it is used to create an area of shadowy illumination. You can give one or more individuals (per casting) concealment in this area by increasing the spellcraft DC by +2 per individual. In addition, you can grant a +1 bonus to caster level on Illusion spells, spells with the shadow subschool, spells with the darkness descriptor, or all mysteries by increasing the spellcraft DC by +2 for each to receive the bonus. In addition, you can negate the effects of any non-epic effect with the light or darkness descriptor within the area by increasing the spellcraft DC by +4.

    Seed: Shade Unraveled
    Abjuration
    Spellcraft DC: 15
    Area: 20 foot-radius emanation, centered on you
    Duration: Instantaneous
    Saving Throw: None or Will negates

    This seed allows you to make a dispel check each round against all magic objects, and ongoing spells within the area of this emanation each round. For each magic aura to be ignored, increase the spellcraft DC by +2. Otherwise, make a dispel check (1d20+11 against a DC of 11 + target spell’s caster level) against every magic item and ongoing spell effect within the emanation’s area. For each additional +1 on the dispel checks, increase the Spellcraft DC by +1. Spell effects end and magic items cease to function for 1d4 rounds. This seed can end spells not normally subject to shadow’s fade. Any interdimensional interface is closed for 1d4 rounds. Even artifacts are subject to this seed. As another use of this seed, you can banish extraplanar creatures within the emanation back from whence they came, requiring them to make will saves or else return back to their home plane. For every +2 bonus to the spellcraft DC, they cannot return to the plane of existence from which they were banished for 1 day.

    Seed: Shadow’s Escape
    Conjuration (Teleportation)
    Spellcraft DC: 20
    Range: 100 ft.
    Target: 1 creature and up to 500 lbs. of nonliving matter touched by that creature
    Duration: Instantaneous
    Saving Throw: None or Will Negates

    This seed allows for the formation of epic mysteries that transport targets through conduits of shadow. You can transport the creature to any destination regardless of distance. For travel to the plane of shadows, increase the spellcraft DC by +2. For travel to other planes, increase the spellcraft DC by +4. For each 20 pounds in objects beyond the base 500 pounds, increase the spellcraft DC by +1. To effect objects exclusively, increase the spellcraft DC by +2. The mystery-user need not have actually seen the place to send the target. They instead transport the target to a precise location, as long as it is unoccupied. By increasing the spellcraft DC by +4, the mystery-user may instead indicate a more vague locale (such as pub, plane of shadow, or castle) and have the target teleported to the nearest such location, so long as they appear in an unoccupied space.

    Seed: Terrible Frost
    Evocation [Cold]
    Spellcraft DC: 15
    Range: 250 ft.
    Area: 60 foot-radius emanation or 1 mile/level-radius
    Duration: Instantaneous
    Saving Throw: Reflex Half

    This seed creates an area of incredible cold, dealing 10d6 cold damage, or half that with a successful reflex save. For each additional 1d6 cold damage dealt, increase the spellcraft DC by +2. For each, identically-sized (and identically-damaging) emanation beyond the first to be created, increase the spellcraft DC by +10. To change the cold damage into another energy type (changing the descriptor of the seed appropriately), increase the spellcraft DC by +5.
    The base spellcraft DC of this seed is 20 if it is used to lower the temperature within a 1 mile/level-radius by 1 band. For each additional temperature band to be lowered, increase the spellcraft dc by +4.

    Umbral Perceptions
    Divination
    Spellcraft DC: 17
    Range: Personal or touch
    Target: You or creature touched
    Duration: 24 hours

    Epic Mysteries using this seed grant you darkvision out to 60 feet and gain low-light vision. For every 10 feet by which the range of your darkvision is extended, increase the spellcraft DC by +1. Increase the spellcraft DC by +2 to gain superior low-light vision. You can see invisible creatures if you increase the spellcraft DC by +5 and ethereal creatures by increasing the spellcraft DC by an additional +5.
    Alternately, you can use this seed to take away the senses (sight, smell, hearing, taste, or touch) of a creature touched. For each sense beyond the first to be taken away, increase the spellcraft DC by +2. This use of the seed is a necromancy effect

    Seed: Unasked Questions
    Divination
    Spellcraft DC: 18
    Range: Personal
    Duration: Instantaneous

    Mysteries using this seed allow you to learn an answer to a question about the future with 90% accuracy. This seed gazes 30 minutes into the future. For every further 30 minutes it is made to see into the future, increase the spellcraft DC by x2. Only one word answers are given to the questions. For each question beyond the first to be answered, increase the spellcraft DC by +10. Only one epic mystery using this function can only be used each day.
    Alternately, you can learn what plane of existence one object or person is on. By increasing the spellcraft DC by +20, you can pinpoint the location of that person or object. You can locate multiple people and/or objects by increasing the spellcraft DC by +4 for each target beyond the first.

    Unnatural Resilience
    Abjuration
    Spellcraft DC: 15
    Range: Touch
    Target: Creature touched
    Duration: 10 hours

    Mysteries utilizing the resilience seed grant the target of this seed 20 temporary hit points. For every 5 extra temporary hit points that you wish to grant the target, increase the spellcraft DC by +2.
    The Resilience seed can also be used to grant damage reduction 1/magic. For each additional point of damage reduction, increase the spellcraft DC by +2. To increase the damage reduction value to epic, increase the spellcraft DC by +12.
    The Resilience seed can also be used to grant spell resistance 10. For each additional point of spell resistance, increase the spellcraft DC by +2.
    The base spellcraft dc of this seed is 18 if it is used to grant fast healing 2. For every additional point of fast healing to be granted, increase the spellcraft DC by +2. To change this fast healing to an equal amount of regeneration (passed by two types of energy of your choice as you cast the mystery), increase the spellcraft DC by +6. This use is a conjuration (healing) effect.

    Warped Form
    Transmutation
    Spellcraft DC: 15
    Range: 200 ft.
    Target: 1 creature
    Duration: Permanent

    An epic mystery using this seed grants the target a new movement speed. If the movement chosen is flight, it has average maneuverability. For each movement speed granted beyond the first, increase the spellcraft DC by +4. In addition, they are granted a 50% chance to negate any extra damage from a sneak attack or critical hit scored against them. For every additional 5% chance, increase the spellcraft DC by +1. Lastly, the target takes a –1 penalty to charisma while in sunlight. For each additional –1 penalty, increase the spellcraft DC by +2.
    Alternately, this seed can be used to disguise or change the type of a creature. If used to provide a disguise, the target gets a +20 bonus on disguise checks. If used to change creature types, the target retains any racial benefits, but replaces the traits of their old type with the traits of their new type.

  3. - Top - End - #63
    Troll in the Playground
     
    AssassinGuy

    Join Date
    Apr 2007

    Default Re: Descent of Shadows: Project Shadow Returns

    Reserved for variant rules.

  4. - Top - End - #64
    Troll in the Playground
     
    AssassinGuy

    Join Date
    Apr 2007

    Default Re: Descent of Shadows: Project Shadow Returns

    Reserved for variant rules.
    This is not an accidental double post.

  5. - Top - End - #65
    Troll in the Playground
     
    AssassinGuy

    Join Date
    Apr 2007

    Default Re: Descent of Shadows: Project Shadow Returns

    Reserved for variant rules.
    This is not an accidental triple post.

  6. - Top - End - #66
    Troll in the Playground
     
    AssassinGuy

    Join Date
    Apr 2007

    Default Re: Descent of Shadows: Project Shadow Returns

    Reserved for variant rules.
    This is not an accidental quadruple post.

  7. - Top - End - #67
    Troll in the Playground
     
    AssassinGuy

    Join Date
    Apr 2007

    Default Re: Descent of Shadows: Project Shadow Returns

    Shadow Magic for the Players
    I have, after much reflection, come up with a couple of suggestions and warnings for players playing shadowcasters (as my other classes have not been fully play-tested, I assume that players will run into similar problems).

    Beware Undead: Your greatest enemy, ironically enough, is one of the most common for low-level parties to face. Against Skeletons and Zombies, shadowcasters are at a great disadvantage. Undead are immune to mind-affecting effects and nonlethal damage. Furthermore skeletons have immunity to cold while zombies have extra hit points to make up for this lack of immunity. Lastly, they both have enough damage reduction to make fighting with a traditional “mage-ish weapon” (quarterstaff, dagger, etc.) pointless. If you have to pick one or the other, however, you definitely want to pick zombies, because as long as you can keep moving away from them, they will have to use their only action catching up. To prepare for undead encounters, try to carry around a heavy mace and heavy crossbow. With these weapons in tow, you should be able to overcome the damage reduction of your undead foes at least once in a while, although you will still probably need the help of your comrades.

    Remember your comrades: As shadowcasters are often seen as masters of combat control, try to live up to the part. Even though putting difficult terrain between the barbarian and the troll keeps the troll from charging the barbarian, it stops the barbarian from charging as well. In the same way, placing a wall of fire between the troll and a spellcaster won’t deter it from charging through the wall to kill said frail spellcaster (although placing a line of the aforementioned difficult terrain connecting the two could help).

    Keep the Bomb: The common conception that a shadowcaster unloads all of their force at once seems to be true at all but very high levels. Whether you are at 1st level and only have one real mystery or are at 8th level, ready to drop a Quickened Killing Shadows followed by an Empowered, Maximized Killing Shadows, you are usually only going to have one big attack. As a general rule, use it only in a matter of life or death. Even if you think you are fighting what you suspect to be the toughest dude in the dungeon, keep your bomb unless that tough dude either threatens to kill one of your compatriots or said compatriots deliver you a death threat. In this way, you can reserve your “bomb” for what turns out to be the actual big baddie, or at least reserve it for clean up duty.

    The Best Start Paradox: Ironically, one of the best ways that one can start playing as a Wizard. Even though they have no ability to sneak unseen, have less hit points, and only one good saving throw, their knack for surviving to level 2 surpasses that of the shadowcaster (if only because of bonus spells). The secret is “A Creeping Darkness” (ToM, page 115 sidebar). There are a few points to this worth pointing out, however.
    1. As most DMs let characters start with maximum hit points, if you start off with wizard (4+Con HP) and you use the creeping darkness to exchange it (+1 HP), you are effectively only getting 5+Con HP, 1 less than a shadowcaster 1 would have received.
    2. Skill points remain the same when using the creeping darkness, so use it as your opportunity to brush up in various knowledge skills. There is also no rule, to my knowledge, that would make you lose Draconic if you use your wizard level to learn it.
    3. Even if you lose your last wizard level, you keep your spellbook. I suggest selling it, because it would take an insane DM to let you put in new starting spells whenever you retake your first level of Wizard.
    4. Just because it states that you replace metamagic feats with appropriate metashadow feats does not mean you may ignore the prerequisites of said metashadow feats. You can’t trade in quicken spell for quicken mystery unless you have the required three metashadow feats.
    5. Even though it never states that you lose your familiar and there is no errata correcting that point, using that is a cheap blow, so expect all sane DMs to confiscate your familiar as “your bond has been surrendered to the shadows”. Nice DMs might have it be the same familiar that returns with the Shadow Familiar feat, however (except for, you know, the dark thing). Reeeeallly nice DMs will let you keep the familiar (as a pet if nothing else) and give it the dark template when you take the Shadow Familiar Feat. If you actually expect a second familiar from the shadow familiar feat, however, you deserve to be shot… in the head… with a hammer.
    The Creeping Darkness sidebar could’ve been more in depth of how the changes work, but most of it is intuitive. Although it was made for another reason, I still think that it is the start for a shadowcaster character with the highest survivability. Also, if only your intelligence or only your charisma is high, you can start play as a wizard or sorcerer, only to embrace the creeping darkness when the other score becomes high enough.
    Example of Use: Bergett Mayonar starts as a human wizard 1, taking several knowledge skills along with the silent and empower spell metamagic feats. During this level, Bergett, being the greedy, jealous human that he is, starts marking all of his possessions with arcane marks. Bergett then discovers shadow magic, and dives head first into it. Next level, Bergett is now a Shadowcaster 2 with still mystery, empower mystery, shadowcast (which effects normal spells equally), Life Fades (to knock out store clerks), Bend Perspective (to peer around corners), Widened Eyes (to look out for thieves), Umbral Hand (to grab what he wants), and Mystic Reflections (to look for his own arcane marks). This new magic kind of freaks berget out, however, so he retakes his first level of wizard again, taking the maximize spell feat. After his spellbook gets burnt in a failed robbery, however, he decides that wizardry isn’t worth it, converting to shadowcasting a second, and final, time, gaining maximize mystery, flesh fails (for torture), and piercing sight (for paranoia), which is enhanced by his newly found darkvision. As the new fundamental, Bergett picks liquid night (a new way to mark valuables).

    The Feat Temptation: One of the biggest problems faced at 1st and 2nd levels are deciding which feats to take. In addition to several feats that I created above, made partially for this reason, there are several others that should be looked at or covered, for better or for worse. Here are some more tempting feats for the shadowcaster.
    Path Focus/Greater Path Focus: If your first mystery runs on caster level, like life fades, the total +2 caster level and +2 DC that this feat provides is intriguing (especially to a human shadowcaster, which can get them both at 1st level). However, this technique hurts more than it helps, enforcing the stereotype that shadowcasters are done after launching only a couple of attacks.
    Favored Mystery: This feat, once again tempting to humans who can take it twice at 1st level, is a bit of a conundrum. In the short run, the extra two mysteries per day could really help. In the long run, however, these feats may end up looking like a waste.
    Still Mystery: This feat, despite its simplicity, is quite useful. This is mostly in part to that fact that with it, you can wear armor without risk of losing your mysteries. Furthermore, if functions as a metashadow feat for meeting the prerequisites of others.
    Point Blank Shot: This feat is another small gem. It helps you with your crossbow early in the game and with any ray mysteries you acquire later on.
    Martial Study: This feat is a bit of a conundrum. Taking Setting Sun or Shadow Hand is a good way to expand your abilities, getting one or two abilities per encounter to supplement your abilities per day. However, most of the maneuvers require attack rolls, making the use of this feat limited. Even so, if you use it to get the Cloak of Deception and Shadow Jaunt maneuvers, you will be in a pretty good place, although getting them would require your 6th- and 9th-level feats, not your 1st- and 2nd-level ones.
    Trickery Devotion: This feat puts a nice tool into your hands, but it is once again limited to once per day, and even someone who takes it multiple times is limited by a single duration/day. Even so, it is a nice tool that gets better as you level up, good both for activating traps (make it drag a sack of flour) and drawing attacks by entering rooms first.
    Knowledge Devotion: Knowledge devotion is a real gem, lasting entire encounters, scaling, and usable more than once per day. I suggest adding Knowledge (religion) to your list of class skills with it, to better fight against undead. Unfortunately, the earliest that you can get this feat is 3rd-level.

  8. - Top - End - #68
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    AssassinGuy

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    Default Re: Descent of Shadows: Project Shadow Returns

    Shadow Magic for the DM
    I have come up with several opinions considering shadow magic and shadowcasters through long contemplation. For the benefit of the DM, let me share them with you.
    Shadow Magic Enemy: As currently stands, the complicated mechanics and weak power level makes shadowcasters, in the eyes of many DMs and Players, better apt as a foe than as a player. In fact, as a foe, considering that Umbral Sight, Sustaining Shadow, and fundamentals are unlikely to come into play, shadowcasters are one of the simplest spellcasters to run (only paying attention to daily uses of 1 ability/level).
    To keep those enemies simple, it may be a good idea to ignore the feats that I have presented, as many of them would ruin that perfect simplicity (although they don’t add much to the bookkeeping of the shadow magic player). If you want to use the prestige classes and mysteries provided here, however, you could make multiple unique and memorable encounters.

    Shadowcaster Player: If a player wants to be a shadowcaster, you should consider, as the DM, warning them that a shadowcaster isn’t just another spellcaster and may need to be played a bit cautiously. Despite some of the “shortcomings” of the class, try running things normally. If the player is smart, they will soon realize the limits of their own abilities and try to compensate for them in other ways. If they die, they can either remake a similar character and learn from that death or choose to make a new character that requires less caution. There is no lost honor for making a character that seems more familiar to the player.
    At the same time, however, if a shadowcaster is in your group, you may either want to make long-term adjustments or warn the player of possible difficulties. Even though having a shadowcaster shouldn’t stop you from placing the characters in a skeleton-filled tomb, It may be wise to rethink having the rest of the campaign relate to fighting off the undead horde (for shadowcasters are weak against the undead). This, however, isn’t unique to the shadowcaster. Expecting shadowcasters to fight zombies and skeletons (two undead they particularly despise) for their career is like asking a wizard to adventure on the plane of fire, with their spellbook and familiar, at level 1, or like asking a fighter with full plate and a new +1 sword to delve into a rust monster layer.

    Cultist/Cleric Relations: Although it may seem appropriate considering their background, you needn’t make a shadowcaster player feel needlessly uncomfortable every time that they enter a church of pelor or whenever you mention the party cleric. Although it is fine to mention such facts, most cultists have very little to fear. There is no way in existence to specifically detect the shadow magic of cultists (unless a sharp eye catches their shadow moving). Furthermore, even if the party discovers them, even the cleric may develop a similar relation to the Knight-Rogue relationship. No religious doctrine, as of yet, prevents cultists and clerics of the same alignment from working together, so long as the cultist doesn’t do anything too extreme or purposefully mocks the cleric’s religion.

    The Grand Unveil: Unless one of your players is a shadow magic user, shadow magic should be anything but casually introduced. The leader of the wizarding guild, the heretic locked beneath the church, and the assassin that failed to kill the king are all good people to introduce shadow magic to the party. If you can introduce it while on the Plane of Shadows, all the better. By not allowing shadow magic until it is introduced at some point, you are (in some twisted, perverted sense) protecting the character against the early levels of shadow magic users, when they are generally at their weakest. Even if your party starts with a shadowcaster, if may be impressive to hold him back from the party for awhile, shadowing them (ignore pun) perhaps, until he/she enters the fray to make their dramatic entrance.

    Scarcity of Shadow: Even though shadow magic now has a total of 6 affiliations/organizations, shadow magic should still be incredibly rare. To make sense of this, just think that there are few shadow magic users to begin with, and many of those few are bunched into organizations or affiliations, or, in the case of cultists, cabals, leaving very few “freelance” shadowcasters and cultists out there.
    One of the biggest tasks regarding shadow magic is keeping it rare and “different”. It is not required that your players are fascinated or surprised by shadow magic, only that they fully recognize that it is not normal magic. When a character walks through a structure belonging to the Tenebrous Cabal, watching various students learn how to manipulation shadows, you should make some effort to make such sights seem unusual.

    Twenty Rumors/Hooks (feel free to post your own)
    1: The PC finds a town in which no shadows are cast, despite the time of day.
    2: The Church of Pelor has found a Heretic in its ranks after a mysterious eclipse of the sun.
    3: The new city mayor has acquired the services of a spellcaster to help rid the town of corruption. It is said that this spellcaster keeps a slave of shadow bound to her.
    4: Runes have started flashing all over Gengardon, but to what end?
    5: A large series of catacombs, filled with cabals of cultists, has recently been found.
    6: From the perspective of an island in the middle of a lake, it is always dusk
    7: A necromancer has recently moved into town, but she does not seem to mean anyone harm, simply wishing to research.
    8: A Master of Shadow has recently commandeered a large tribe of goblins, and is driving it closer to the closest town.
    9: Pitch black versions of the local flora and fauna have been seen near the wizarding tower.
    10: The local wizard college has found a new prodigy who has never failed at countering his opponent’s spells, but his opponents always claim that something is weird about his magic.
    11: A large section of the underdark is now under the control of the Nightshade Covenant, thanks to the work of an ambitious Drow shadowcaster.
    12: A thief runs rampant in the city during the night, but all witnesses report his features to be blurred and indistinct.
    13: In a graveyard where a great shadowcaster was buried, shadows and shadow elementals have been reported rising from out of the ground.
    14 The chief advisor of the town’s mayor has recently taken an interest in the Plane of Shadows, and has been sequestering himself there for days at a time. It has been two weeks since he was last seen.
    15: A band of Khayal genies have hoodwinked a local merchant out of a lot of money, but she is too terrified of them to confront them.
    16: For reasons unknown, shadow elementals have been patrolling through the city, floating through walls as easily as down streets.
    17: A strange, tentacled creature has taken refuge in the baker’s pantry. It has already eaten his apprentice and his wife.
    18: The various factions of the Nightshade Covenant have broken into open war against each other.
    19: Archaeologists have recently found an ancient tomb, filled with darkness so thick that no light can pierce through it.
    20 The City of Onyx (home to the Khayal) has been closed to the outside world for the past five days. Loud screams have been heard issuing from inside.

    Note to Self: attempt to get number of hooks up to 50 (if not 100).

  9. - Top - End - #69
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    Default Re: Descent of Shadows: Project Shadow Returns

    Please No Mouseferatu (A.K.A, Ari Marmell)

    I know that Ari Marmell has come up with an unofficial fix to the shadowcaster and I am also aware that some people don’t like “fixers” as I am suggesting. There are however, 2 tangible benefits to my approach.
    1. Variety. When most people bring up a discussion about the shadowcaster, whether to make new material, ask if it is worth it, or whatever, 9 out of 10 times, someone points out Ari’s’s fix and the thread sinks into the background. No one seems to feel that new material is needed as long as there is an easy “fix”, even though the continual creation of new material keeps old concepts fresh. Any attempt to make new material is greeted with a “thanks, goodbye now.” By not taking Mouseferatu’s fixes, you make the new additions to the class not only useful but vital, making every addition a new dimension for the limited class.
    If you need an example, think of the often underrated fighter and the weapon mastery feat from the PHBII. The moment that a new option for an underrated class came out, there was a sudden burst of commotion all over the boards. My source of material is supposed to do something similar, reminding others that there are other options beyond the optimized and providing a class with a brief appearance of optimization (as all classes are entitled to have at some point or another).
    2. Marketability. The simple fact of it is, Mouseferatu’s fix is, and may always be, unofficial (actually, he specifically states that it is not even unofficial). He has admitted mistakes in the original design, but there is no forum (ignore the pun) in which it can be officially fixed. The official Errata on the Wizards website is not meant to hold such things and I see nowhere else where it could be made official, as no dragon magazine has ever remade a class (although we could, I suppose, hope it is remade in 4e, although that is a bit of a longshot). On the other hand, new mysteries, new alternate abilities, etc. are marketable.

    I repeat:

    Please do not bring up the unofficially unofficial fix of Ari Marmell

    I got that off of my chest just so no one would bring up Ari (if anyone can contact him, he can look at this and judge it for himself), not to start a giant rant thread. I repeat, this is not a rant thread (or at the very least, it is a constructive rant thread that should continue to be constructive). Bring up Ari’s fix and I know that the thread will either be pulled into a rant or be forgotten as soon as the topic is dropped.

    P.S.: by a similar token, please do not bring up actual “fixes” that you or a friend has made for the shadowcaster. Although it seems to be an equally valid option to adding more material, my approach is easier to combine with other attempts. For example, if someone else were to make a similar thread, a player could reasonably take material from both that thread and this one. However, if two threads pop up, each suggesting “fixes”, the player will have to choose one or the other, keeping any real inertia from getting behind either "fix".

  10. - Top - End - #70
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    Default Re: Descent of Shadows: Project Shadow Returns

    Behind The Curtain:

    Shadow Immersion/Desires Manifest: Of all mysteries, these have been the hardest to introduce. So, allow me to explain myself. First of all, with shadow immersion, the problem that it is forcibly “prepared” each day. Since its creation, I’ve changed its cost from instant death to a large backlash.
    As far as Desires Manifest, yes, I am making it pretty hard to use. The thing is, a wish cannot come cheap to a class that is balanced by its numerical lack of “spells”. Furthermore, no mystery to date has an XP cost (a trend I am unwilling to change), making the ability to imitate mysteries, create Items, or revive the dead a bit overpowering. In response, I enacted a fatal and unavoidable penalty. A harsh price but one that many will pay nonetheless

    The Shadow Exclusivity Error: With most magic systems, the basic trend is that there is some feat or ability allowing others to emulate their abilities (to a certain extent) but the prestige classes are limited to those utilizing that system. Shadow Magic, for whatever which reason, ran completely contrary to this, allowing no outside access to mysteries outside of the Shadowsmith. On the other hand, their prestige classes are more open than others, especially to users of “traditional shadow magic” (spellcasters using shadow spells).
    This combination, while allowing for a gentle easing into shadow magic, both robs it of some exclusivity and isolates it as a class. Through a combination of racial substitution levels, alternate class abilities, and more exclusive prestige classes, I attempt to fix this problem. Don’t worry, the flavor of the class has not been harmed. If anything, a new level of flavor has been added. With alternate class abilities, there are more ways to introduce shadow magic into gameplay, some of which flow more smoothly. With racial substitution levels, the class seems to naturally fit into the world, allowing it to develop a niche. With more exclusive prestige classes, you have new ground to explore once the initial shock and novelty of shadowcasting wears off.
    Once again, I have solved a problem, not through rules tweaking, but by the addition of new material.

    Overlap: I feel as though there is a much smaller and (ImO) less severe error that I should point out. In the Tome of Magic, and in the later web enhancement (to cityscape, not tome of magic), I notice that no two paths seemed to share a theme. In the process of making new mysteries, however, this is almost impossible, for how would I unite old favorites like freedom of movement-overland flight-find the path, for example, without trampling upon the flavor of ebon roads. Making 50 new paths, it was incredibly hard to keep each path separate and there is some overlap. If you think I should rearrange the mysteries into different paths to isolate each path’s uniqueness, let me know and give me some ideas. Another unique step that I did was flavoring over some divine spells into mysteries. With my addition of the “divine” cultist base class, it seemed like a logical step.

    Explanation of the Eventide Magus’ Spellcasting:
    Some people may be wandering why someone who was trained as a wizard is now casting as a spontaneous caster without a spellbook, why the eventide magus is able to cast mysteries or spells without their ebon staves at all, or why their charisma score is used for Umbral Strain checks. Allow me to elaborate.
    First of all, it must be understood that all of an eventide magus’ power is emerging from the plane of shadow, including that used to power their normal spellcasting. The less chaotic energies are forced within the narrow restrictions of an arcane spell while the more chaotic energies are forced within the wider restrictions of a mystery.
    Simply put, the only thing that your taking from your experience at wizard college is the format in which a spell should be cast. You are forcing shadow energy to conform to these arcane formulae that you have already learned or that you learn as you level up (explaining why intelligence is used). Furthermore, you can spontaneously cast spells as the energy you need is always available to be forced into the “template” of a spell.
    However, the unstable energies of the plane of shadow don’t always like being forced into a more stable form (umbral strain checks). You keep the energies in line with the force of your own personality (which explains the bonus that your charisma adds to umbral strain checks). When you use The Price to cast spells outside of their normal limits, you are literally trying to hold the energy of the spell just outside of the normal template, making it harder to keep from dispersing (explaining the DC increase). The exception to this is beyond limits, in which you simply try to recycle used energy in a way that actually hinders your flow of power.
    Let’s talk about the ebon staff. As soon as you have created your first ebon staff (and many individuals create dozens learning about the path of the eventide magus, even before taking their 1st level), the shadow energy passing through it becomes ingrained in you. As such, you can still manifest your spells and mysteries when the staff is not around. However, as the staff delivers a continual stream of energy, it is far easier to use your abilities within close proximity to it.

    Abyssym: Overpowered?
    All warlock fans out there probably noticed the Abyssym. This prestige class looks amazing. Full shadowcasting and invocation progression, the ability to apply metashadow feats to your eldritch blast, and several small effects tacked onto both your mysteries and eldritch blasts. From many perspectives, this may be the best thing to happen to the warlock since the hellfire warlock (despite a bit of lack in eldritch blast progression, which can be made up for by said prestige class). The thing is, the class was made to look amazing. Every class deserves a truly awesome option. Try comparing this to the Planar Shepherd, Master of Many Forms, Abjurant Champion, Jade Pheonix Master, Initiate of the Sevenfold Veil, Dweomer Keeper, Hulking Hurler and many, many others. This is meant to be a “high-grade”, power-gamer attention grabber, granting versatility to two classes renowned for their lack of versatility. Is it powerful? probably. Is it broken? Not quite.

    Inspirations: Intentional and Otherwise.
    Many of you out there may think that the cursed walker is a bit familiar. If you choose to associate it with an even darker version of the grisgol (MM 3), that is your business, but that was not my inspiration. Those of you who have the Dread Codex PDF file, however, may recognize the CR 12 Lector, another cursed-item hunting undead. This was my inspiration, although I turned much fluff into crunch.
    Also, a few of you might think that my night stone creation was inspired by some (drow?) items used in Bolder’s Gate. Having never played the game myself, this is pure coincidence. I only just realized the parallel myself. However, I have recently stated in the description that it was once used by drow (indeed, that recent drow sourcebook talked of items that become useless in sunlight).
    As far as deities, Dolus is the Greek god of trickery and Mutart is a combination of the Egyptian moon goddess (Mut) and the Amazon moon goddess (Artemis). A bit rough, but it works.

    Complications
    The Efficient Metashadow epic feat is probably the clunkiest thing that I have ever worded, although the meaning should come through. Also, I don’t know the formula for pricing constructs, and was thus unable to price the Shadow Ore golem.
    Last edited by Realms of Chaos; 2008-03-21 at 11:18 AM.

  11. - Top - End - #71
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    Default Re: Descent of Shadows: Project Shadow Returns

    What I need from you:
    Yes. Although I have accomplished all of this, I have done far from doing it with flying colors, and there are some things that I need help on or additions to.
    1. New, less clunky word for the Efficient Metashadow epic feat.
    2. Possible construction information for the Shadow Ore Golem (can’t find a formula anywhere!!!)
    3. Further material. Despite my work, there are several places that I wanted to touch upon but didn’t, such as bloodlines, flaws, traits, traps, new features for the plane of shadow, etc. In reality, however, any work that is not obviously broken has a place, either under the contributed material post or in my list of links. Feel free to post any new material, or post links to preexisting material that you have already made. You will get credit, rest-assured.
    4. Criticism, input, and personal suggestions. Although I don’t want this to degrade into a hate thread and I may not take each suggestion given, receiving criticism is good for the creative spirit and giving it will help to keep this thread alive, so by all means, say what you think. I only ask that you try to tone down criticism towards others who may (with any luck) provide further material, for though most on these boards are far more mature than I, it cannot be taken for granted.

  12. - Top - End - #72
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    Default Re: Descent of Shadows: Project Shadow Returns

    Reserved for submitted material
    (Fingers crossed)

    Quote Originally Posted by gorfnab
    First off I would like to say that all the stuff on your Descent of Shadows is awesome.

    I was reading through the lists and I noticed no mention of the Shadow Familiar feat being combined with Improved Familiar. So here is a list of what I think may be suitable Improved Familiars for a Shadowcaster with the Shadow Familiar and Improved Familiar feats.

    Improved Familiar - Book - Arcane Spellcaster Level
    Shadow Asp - Fiend Folio - 3rd
    Shadow Elemental, Small - Tome of Magic - 5th
    Shadow Mastiff - Monster Manual I - 7th
    Quote Originally Posted by gorfnab
    SHADOW MEPHIT
    Small Outsider (Shadow, Extraplanar)
    Hit Dice: 3d8 (13 hp)
    Initiative: +7 Speed: 30 ft. (6 squares), fly 50 ft. (perfect)
    Armor Class: 17 (+1 size, +3 Dex, +3 natural), touch 14, flat-footed 14
    Base Attack/Grapple: +3/–1
    Attack: Claw +4 melee (1d3)
    Full Attack: 2 claws +4 melee (1d3)
    Space/Reach: 5 ft./5 ft.
    Special Attacks: Breath weapon, spell-like abilities, summon mephit
    Special Qualities: Damage reduction 5/magic, darkvision 60 ft., fast healing 2
    Saves: Fort +3, Ref +6, Will +3
    Abilities: Str 10, Dex 17, Con 10, Int 6, Wis 11, Cha 15
    Skills: Bluff +8, Escape Artist +9, Hide +13, Diplomacy +4, Disguise +2 (+4 acting), Intimidate +4, Listen +6, Move Silently +9, Spot +6, Use Rope +3 (+5 with bindings)
    Feats: Dodge, Improved Initiative
    Environment: Plane of Shadows
    Organization: Solitary (1), gang (2–4 mephits of mixed types), or mob (5–12 mephits of mixed types)
    Challenge Rating: 3
    Treasure: Standard
    Alignment: Usually neutral
    Advancement: 4–6 HD (Small); 7–9 HD (Medium)
    Level Adjustment: +3 (cohort)

    Shadow mephits come from the Plane of Shadows.

    An shadow mephit is about 4 feet tall and weighs about 1 pound.

    Shadow mephits speak Common and Abyssal.

    Combat

    Breath Weapon (Su): 15-foot cone of shadows, 1d4 damage +1d4 cold damage, Reflex DC 12 half. The save DC is Constitution-based and includes a +1 racial bonus.

    Spell-Like Abilities:
    1/hour - Dusk and Dawn, (Caster Level 3)
    1/day - Umbral Touch (DC 15, caster level 6th). The save DC is Charisma-based.

    Fast Healing (Ex): An shadow mephit heals only if exposed to any condition of illumination other than full daylight.

    Summon Mephit (Sp): Once per day, a shadow mephit can attempt to summon another shadow mephit, much as though casting a summon monster spell, but with only a 25% chance of success. Roll d%: On a failure, no creature answers the summons that day. A mephit that has just been summoned cannot use its own summon ability for 1 hour. This ability is the equivalent of a 2nd-level spell.
    Last edited by Realms of Chaos; 2010-02-10 at 09:20 PM.

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    Default Re: Descent of Shadows: Project Shadow Returns

    Special Thanks

    • Thank you Namo for helping to point out some fixes to mysteries that were long in coming and for remaking the cursed visage mystery.
    • Thank you to CaBaal for playtesting so much of the material, providing such great feedback, and checking what could be broken.
    • Thank you Peacenlove for helping to point out a great many fixes and for complementing this material with alot of your own homebrew.
    Last edited by Realms of Chaos; 2010-02-10 at 09:17 PM.

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    Default Re: Descent of Shadows: Project Shadow Returns

    IT IS DONE!!!!! (well, kind of...)

    I'm going to get to work right now on putting up that table of contents I promised.

    If any of you managed to brave the endless sea of text and crunch (or waded in deep enough to tell what was there), I'd be happy to hear your questions, comments, critiques, and concerns.


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    Default Re: Descent of Shadows: Project Shadow Returns

    I've expanded the table of contents a bit, although its still not quite done.

    I knew that the massive amount of text would keep some people at bay but come one.

    Isn't there anybody out there.

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    Default Re: Descent of Shadows: Project Shadow Returns

    Just to keep your hopes up, I am as we speak, reading it.

    A small note, the Ebon Quill is said to be white, ebon means black, could it not be a Pallid or Bleached Quill? Or change the description to to make it black?
    Last edited by Lairship; 2008-03-21 at 10:12 AM.

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    Default Re: Descent of Shadows: Project Shadow Returns

    Changed to pallid quill.

    Thanks for raising my spirits.

    Also, just edited ephemeral watcher's improved midnight shield ability. Now, it can completely take natural attacks out of commision for 24 hours, damaging the creature at the same time.
    Last edited by Realms of Chaos; 2008-03-21 at 11:49 AM.

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    Default Re: Descent of Shadows: Project Shadow Returns

    Table of Contents is finally finished.
    I'm try not to be too vain but this was too perfect not to sig.
    Quote Originally Posted by Primal Fury View Post
    okay RoC, that is enough! the gitp boards can only take so much awsome, you might actually hurt somebody with this one!
    At long last, I have an extended signature

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    Default Re: Descent of Shadows: Project Shadow Returns

    I'm soon going to play a Shadowcaster using some of the material from here, but I've already got comments about some mysteries.

    (I already complimented you over on the Wizards boards, so I won't repeat that part. )

    Midnight Scream
    Initiate, Voice of Night
    Level/School: 6th/Evocation
    Range: Medium (100 ft. + 10 ft./level)
    Area: 20-ft. radius burst
    Duration: Instantaneous, then 24 hours
    Saving Throw Fortitude half (object)
    Spell Resistance: Yes

    You enrage the air around your target, speeding it faster and faster, sucking all noise from around it until the air screams in pain.

    This mystery deals 2d6/level sonic damage to all creatures and objects within the area, or half as much. Unlike most effects, this mystery damages attended and unattended items alike. Furthermore, all nonmagical flames in the area are extinguished and every creature who fails their Fortitude save is deafened for 24 hours. Lastly, all potential for sound is removed from the area for 24 hours, effecting the area as if through a silence spell.
    Damaging attended items with an area effect is a Bad Idea (TM). In addition, it's a sonic effect, so you're basically going to destroy all the gear of all the affected creatures. Either take that out or cap the damage to attended objects to 4 or so (in that case mention that it bypasses hardness) : the creatures affected would become acutely aware that another casting would destroy most of their precious items.

    Revise Vista
    [b]Apprentice, Darkest Dawn[b]
    Level/School: 1st/Transmutation
    Range: Close (25 ft + 5 ft/2 levels)
    Area: 20 foot-radius emanation
    Duration: 1 minute/level
    Saving Throw: None
    Spell Resistance: No

    The ground in the selected area takes a slightly darker hue, but the landscape does not change at all, or at least, it doesn’t seem to change.

    In the affected area, your allies gain a +5 foot enhancement bonus to their speed while your enemies have their speed reduced by 5 feet.
    In addition, all allies in the area are treated as having the benefits of higher ground against enemies.
    Lastly, if your caster level is 5th or higher, all allies gain a +1 bonus and all enemies take a –1 penalty on all attack rolls, saving throws, and skill checks/5 levels.
    This one is horribly overpowered : it scales too well. A 1st level mystery to give +4 to allies and -4 to foes without save or SR ?! True, the area is limited, but in some situations (rooms) it doesn't matter.
    Make it SR: Yes and let the bonus/malus increase to 2 at CL 6 and stay there.

    Finally, we've houseruled one mystery in the following way :
    Cursed Visage
    Apprentice, False Faces
    Level/School: 2nd/Necromancy
    Range: Close (25 ft+5 ft/2 levels)
    Target: 1 creature
    Duration: Permanent ; 1 round/level (D) (see text)
    Saving Throw: Fortitude Negates then Fortitude partial
    Spell Resistance: Yes

    Shadows rush towards your opponents face, cursing them with misfortune.

    The target of this mystery takes a permanent -1/two caster levels penalty on all charisma-based skill-checks. The target loses all extraordinary or supernatural enhancements to their sight or hearing (such as low-light vision, darkvision, and blindsight). An ooze's blindsight instead degrades to blindsense.

    In addition, for 1 round/level the target's words do not carry the power to speak command words or verbal components of spells. Every round on your turn, the target gets a new save to negate this effect of the spell for that round.
    That way it doesn't hose arcane casters permanently, and it doesn't completely neutralize oozes (which often only rely on blindsight).

    edit: also, Twisted Summons needs to be based on CR rather than HD, but I haven't started the rebalancing. I'll take a look at the Summon Monster line.

    Counter-arguments welcome. :)
    Last edited by namo; 2008-04-09 at 03:11 PM.
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  20. - Top - End - #80
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    Default Re: Descent of Shadows: Project Shadow Returns

    Midnight Scream: Admittedly, I think that I typed this one up after reading a thread about how a straw hat is magically immune to fireballs the moment that it is placed on a player's head. The line saying it damages attended objects has been dropped. In the future, if I want to take out my anger on such an atrocity, I will make a fundamental that deals 1 damage if you succeed on a ranged touch attack.

    Revise Vista: Strangely, the bonus/penalty thing was something that I tacked on as an afterthought. Its no wonder that I never considered its power. I considered restricting the benefits to hide checks, listen checks, move silently checks, spot checks, and initiative checks (and perhaps attack rolls made while flanking). So that there is no question to its power, however, I'll take your suggestion.

    Cursed Visage: This one was created on a random whim the first time that I posted project shadow on these boards. Looking at it now, you are completely right. I have replaced my version with your fixed version.

    namo, you shall be listed to the thanks list.

    Does anyone else out there have any questions, comments, or concerned? I'm always ready to listen.
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  21. - Top - End - #81
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    Default Re: Descent of Shadows: Project Shadow Returns

    This is epic. Do you think this could be fit into a PDF? If I have some free time, could I actually make an attempt to try and format it into something like a sourcebook?

    If someone could engineer a page background (like with WotC sourcebooks, the fancy stuff around the edges of the page), that would look sharp. The page numbers can be put in automatically with a well-placed footer.

    Demo PDF: Chapter 1 - Base Classes: The Cultist and the Hollow
    This demo features a horrid scan of my Tome of Magic book from the Shadow Magic section that I chopped together, but it doesn't look too bad using OpenOffice, which fought me tooth and nail.
    Last edited by Maerok; 2008-04-14 at 01:20 AM.

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    Default Re: Descent of Shadows: Project Shadow Returns

    Yes! Yes! Yes!


    By all means, If you have the time, feel free to turn this into a PDF (I don't have the technological know-how to format it properly and stuff, so sad).

    If that sample was a bad scan, let me be the first to say that I can't wait to see what a good scan would look like.
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    Default Re: Descent of Shadows: Project Shadow Returns

    Well what I mean is that the border effect (the part that says Shadow Magic and has all the artwork like of stuff surrounding the text) is from a scan I attempted last night. If I could find a better scan or someone with PhotoShop/GIMP could conjure one up, it would look better close up. If you zoom in around the edges, the border is kind of choppy. Other than that things are coming along nicely so far. The base class section is practically done (it'll be 30 or so pages). It helps a lot that the formatting on the text carries over to OpenOffice.

    I'm doing it in sections so I will merge the separate chapters as individual documents at the end because it is tough to make page changes in the earlier pages of a section with my set-up right now.

    EDIT:
    :::Done so far:::
    Base Classes - 30 pages
    Mysteries - 43 pages

    NOTE:
    If I ever see someone use Summon Ooze to summon a Dark Black Ooze, I'm going to punch them in the head.
    Last edited by Maerok; 2008-04-14 at 10:03 PM.

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    Default Re: Descent of Shadows: Project Shadow Returns

    Quote Originally Posted by Maerok View Post
    NOTE:
    If I ever see someone use Summon Ooze to summon a Dark Black Ooze, I'm going to punch them in the head.
    As if a Dark Shadow Jelly or Dark Void Ooze are any better.

    Seriously, though, this is the kind of thing that I'd never be able to do in a hundred years, so thank you for you're help.
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    Default Re: Descent of Shadows: Project Shadow Returns

    I'm kind of slowed down right now, but I've got the Base Classes and Mysteries sections done.

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    Default Re: Descent of Shadows: Project Shadow Returns

    Another round of short comments :
    - Absolute Truth -> the killing effect should be a death effect

    - Disastrous Orbs -> cap the number of orbs aimed at a single target (otherwise it's an insta-kill)

    - Truth Beyong Truth -> negative levels are harsh (you lose high-level mysteries !) - what about Con or Wis damage instead ? Since Con is pretty harsh too, I'd go with Wis myself : you're endangering your sanity by using it, and lowering your Will save, but you can still function.
    Perhaps let the targets resist with SR when first targeted, and if the SR is not penetrated they are immune to this casting.
    Add a clause that you can't use it if you are immune to tis negative effects (neg. levels or Wis. damage).

    - Volcanic Ruin -> define the action needed to create a new pool/vent (standard ?).

    Twisted Summons: This one my character actually took, so I intend to spend some time polishing it. The problem is that HDs are a bad measure of a creature's power. Example: I'd summon myself a glabrezu at level 12 ! Even without the SLAs, its CR is around 12, so you summon a monster roughly as powerful as yourself. There's the War Troll (MM3) too, then the Marilith at CL 16, etc...

    I started from the Druid Summon Nature's Ally list, since many creatures do not have SLAs. SNA5 - CRs: Adult Arrowhawk 4, Dire Lion 5, Elemental 5, Giant Constrictor Snake 5, Griffon 4, Rhinoceros 4. SNA6 - CRs: Average Salamander 6, Average Xorn 6, Baleen Whale 6, Dire Bear 7, Elephant 7, Girallon 6, Megaraptor 6.

    But the Shadowcaster can choose any monster (possibly one for which the loss of Sp and Su abilities doesn't matter too much) spontaneously, and it receives a nice miss chance. It is cast as a standard action. OTOH the Dark template is probably not a huge boost for the average monster ; you can only summon 1 creature per casting and you miss out on the utility of the summons spells, which often comes from SLAs. You don't benefit from summon-boosting effects since it's a Conj(Creation) effect.

    First draft:
    I'd limit it at CR 6 when one first gets the mystery (CL 11), then ramp it up : CR 7 at CL 13, CR 8 at CL 15, to a maximum of CR 9 at CL 17. It ends up on par with SNA8 CR-wise. And it should be done with DM approval.

    It may still be too good, but it's a start.
    Last edited by namo; 2008-04-24 at 01:07 AM.
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    Default Re: Descent of Shadows: Project Shadow Returns

    It's always good to get insight into my work. Thank you once again, Namo.

    Absolute Truth: gave it the death descriptor

    Disastrous Orbs: to go with recent trends, you may aim no more than 1 orb/2 caster levels at a single target.

    Truth Beyond Truth: this is the only thing I did not alter. Take note that this thing allows you to force yourself and each ally or enemy nearby to reroll once per round, EACH! Also, as this is going on, you are gaining a larger and larger AC bonus, which can easily reach +4 on the first round and may well hover close to (but not at, of course) +20 by the end of the duration. You had better believe that when it wears off, there are going to be reprecussions for abusing the universe like that. By the end of the mystery, it is only fitting that you be useless in combat as a newborn baby for awhile. Alternately, this could make a great heroic death mechanic, forcing rerolls until you die with an AC bonus of 30+.

    Twisted Summons: I have included the CR limitations that you suggested, although I was very tempted to also allow CR 10 at 19th level.

    Volcanic Ruin: I originally didn't right any activation action down as I meant for the caster to automatically create a new vent or pool each round without an action. As this seems a bit unrealistic, I have specifically stated that it takes a standard action.

    Any more questions or comments?

    P.S.: In case you're still listening out there, Maerok, how goes the progress?
    Last edited by Realms of Chaos; 2008-04-24 at 11:47 PM.
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  28. - Top - End - #88
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    Default Re: Descent of Shadows: Project Shadow Returns

    Quote Originally Posted by Realms of Chaos View Post
    Truth Beyond Truth: this is the only thing I did not alter. Take note that this thing allows you to force yourself and each ally or enemy nearby to reroll once per round, EACH! Also, as this is going on, you are gaining a larger and larger AC bonus, which can easily reach +4 on the first round and may well hover close to (but not at, of course) +20 by the end of the duration. You had better believe that when it wears off, there are going to be reprecussions for abusing the universe like that. By the end of the mystery, it is only fitting that you be useless in combat as a newborn baby for awhile. Alternately, this could make a great heroic death mechanic, forcing rerolls until you die with an AC bonus of 30+.
    Re-rolls are more powerful than the AC IMO, but I agree that the ability it grants is extremely powerful. The problem is that I would never learn this mystery in an actual game, because being useless for 24h is too high a price to pay in terms of gameplay. It disrupts the plot, etc...

    A solution would then be to only use it in "boss fights", when the fate of the universe is on the line, etc... But sacrificing a precious 'mystery known' slot of 8th level for a situational power hurts.

    I definitely agree there is room for disagreement here. I just wanted to explain in more details why I think right now it's a "pretty to look at, but untouchable" mystery.

    Twisted Summons: I have included the CR limitations that you suggested, although I was very tempted to also allow CR 10 at 19th level.
    It's your homebrew, do it. I do suspect that summons are weak when you reach CL 19 and I went back and forth between stopping at CR 9 or 10. But I find it hard to balance such an open-ended mystery so in the end I went for the conservative choice.

    Volcanic Ruin: I originally didn't right any activation action down as I meant for the caster to automatically create a new vent or pool each round without an action. As this seems a bit unrealistic, I have specifically stated that it takes a standard action.
    I think it's decent : it gives the shadowcaster something useful to do without using any further resources.
    Last edited by namo; 2008-04-25 at 12:50 AM.
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    Default Re: Descent of Shadows: Project Shadow Returns

    I just found a way to tweak truth beyond truth without breaking it or losing its flavor. Now, you only gain AC (and negative levels) when you force someone else to reroll.

    As such, if you don't want to lose high-level mysteries, you can use it as a personal range 1 reroll/round mechanism.

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    Default Re: Descent of Shadows: Project Shadow Returns

    I like it.
    Last edited by namo; 2008-04-25 at 04:33 PM.
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