Happy New Year! ..with a new year "bitch", and a concept prestige class..

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Happy New Year! ..with a new year "bitch", and a concept prestige class..

Post  ScottG on Sun Jan 01, 2012 8:49 pm

I've been putzing about with various builds in the campaigns and other modules for a while now and am constantly dismayed by the "erosion" of the purist Wizard/Sorcerer's supremacy. It's just a few items that seem to kill game-balancing, mostly to do with rampant immunities that can't be counteracted. So with that in mind I out-lined the concept prestige class below.


Last edited by ScottG on Sun Jan 01, 2012 9:18 pm; edited 2 times in total

ScottG

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Re: Happy New Year! ..with a new year "bitch", and a concept prestige class..

Post  ScottG on Sun Jan 01, 2012 8:53 pm

Mentalist:
Description: A Mentalist is usually an adept Sorcerer or Wizard who realizes that the battle begins and ends with the mind – both their own and that of their opponents. What is Good, Evil, Lawful, and Chaotic, are just limitations imposed by the mind. Even the concept of mental immunity is a limitation – a barrier to be removed. The mind itself is the battleground and the caster who has both mental flexibility and resolve has the greater opportunity to survive and even thrive. The first level of a Mentalist is a level of personal reflection and preparation for continuing as a Mentalist. The next nine levels are only available to Sorcerers and Wizards with the Feeblemind spell. Throughout their progression the Mentalist constantly strives to obtain Unity – an enhanced state of being and awareness.

Requirements:
Alignment: Any Neutral.
Feats: Iron Will, Spell Focus (Divination), Greater Spell Focus (Divination).
Skills: Spellcraft 12.
Spell Specific: Must have spell book access to the spell Mind Fog at 1st level, and to progress further in the class must have (and maintain) spell book access to the spell Feeblemind.

Class Features:
Hit die: d4.
Proficiencies: none.
Skill Points: 6 + Intelligence Modifier.
Class Skills: Appraise, Concentration, Craft Alchemy, Craft Armor, Craft Trap, Craft Weapon, Disable Device, Lore, Search, Spellcraft, Spot.
Base attack bonus progression: Low.
Saving throws high: Will
low: Fortitude, Reflex

1st level: Mind Fugue, Intellectual Resolve, Indomitable Soul, Toughness.
2nd level: Feeble Resistance. Spellcasting progression in either Sorcerer or Wizard with the Feeblemind spell.
3rd level:
4th level: Limitations of Good and Evil.
5th level:
6th level: Feeble Dominance.
7th level:
8th level: Limitations of Law and Chaos.
9th level:
10th level: Feeble Conclusion, Madness, Unity.

Mind Fugue is different “take” on the spell Mind Fog, though it is a different spell and not part of the spell book system and can also work in conjunction with Mind Fog. (..see spell particulars below.) This spell may be cast 2 times per rest period at 1st level. At every odd level of Mentalist you receive another 2 castings of this spell per day.

Intellectual Resolve adds +2 to Will saves at every odd level of Mentalist.

Feeble Resistance: The spell Feeblemind when cast by the Mentalist is no longer considered a “Mind-Affecting” spell for the purpose of an opponent’s mental immunities. It now lowers Charisma, Intelligence, and Wisdom (similarly to “Touch of Idiocy”). Finally, it adds a mental immunity “block” for 3 rounds.

Limitations of Good and Evil provides a bonus to Will of +5 against opponents of either good or evil alignment.

Feeble Dominance: The spell Feeblemind now lowers the opponent’s attributes by 1d4 for every 3 levels and the duration is doubled to 1 round a level.

Limitations of Law and Chaos provides a bonus to Will of +5 against opponents of either Lawful or Chaotic alignment.

Feeble Conclusion: The spell Feeblemind is now automatically “quickened” (requiring only 3 seconds to cast).

Madness: Unlimited uses of a Confusion-like spell.

Unity is an enhanced state of being and awareness providing Epic Resilience and a persistent effect of True Seeing.

New Spell: Mind Fugue
Description: This spell creates a tremendous warded circle on the floor centered on the caster. The warded circle is neither an enchantment nor a conjuration, and has no real physical substance – it is purely a mental construct by the Mentalist for all to foresee mental weaknesses of those in that specific area. All who are in the warded circle (including the Mentalist), or enter into the circle take a -5 to Will and have all their mental immunities suspended if they succumb to its effects. Upon leaving the circle all effects are removed including any mental spell they were subjected to but would not other-wise have if they had not been within the Mind Fugue.
Spell Level: 6
School: Divination
Components: Verbal
Range: Personal
Target/Area: Tremendous (40 foot radius)
Duration: 5 rounds + 1 round/level (Mentalist class)
Save: Will negates
Spell Resistance: No
Spell Notes:
Casting-time: ½ round - 3 seconds, or “quickened”.
Range – while cast at the caster’s position, the warded circle is fixed to the position where it was cast for its duration.
DC Check: 10 + Spell Level (6) + Mentalist Level + Spell Casting Prodigy + Divination Focus feats + Epic bonuses to DC. This check is performed at the beginning of each round the subject is within the circle’s effect. Note that the substitution of Attribute Modifier for Mentalist Level serves 2 purposes: 1. It removes potential problems with defining which attribute modifier to use, and 2. It helps to make the “power” of this class-specific spell relevant to the level of this class – increasing the reason to continue selecting levels of this class.
This spell is immune to Dispel effects and “Gusts of Wind” (..having no real substance to be removed).
This spell affects all mental immunities such as Sleep, Charm, Fear, Domination, Phantasms, etc.. It does not affect other immunities like Paralysis.
This spell is functionally a limited duration “null” area for mental immunities + a Will reduction element. It does not act like an “attack”, though it still is a spell that’s cast that would “out” invisibility.


New Spell: Madness
Description: All within the colossal area effect of this spell that are affected by it either wander randomly, attack a random target, or simply stand still.
Spell Level: 5
School: Enchantment
Descriptors: Mind-Affecting
Components: Verbal and Somatic
Range: Long
Target/Area: Colossal (30 foot radius)
Duration: 1 round/Mentalist level (10 rounds)
Save: Will negates
Spell Resistance: Yes
Spell Notes:
Casting Time: 2 rounds – 12 seconds.
DC check and Spell Resistance check is the same as it would be for any spell book spell.

ScottG

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Re: Happy New Year! ..with a new year "bitch", and a concept prestige class..

Post  ScottG on Sun Jan 01, 2012 9:00 pm

Notes:

Purpose: There were several objectives with this class: counter rampant mental immunities, more specifically counter mental immunities that can’t be “dispelled”, “bring-back” the relevance of Will saves, “bring back” about a 15% of the spells in the Arcane list, “bring back” the relevance of Enchanters and Illusionists, and ultimately – “bring back” the supremacy of a purist Sorcerer/Wizard.
Class exclusions: Only a mid-level (or higher) Sorcerer or Wizard can progress in this class, but a Bard could conceivably use this as a one level “pick-up” class.

Limitations on Mental Immunity Nulling:

Mind Fugue: The large area effect of Mind Fugue affects you, your companions, and your summons – sort of a “double-edged sword”, so while it can make opponents susceptible to mental spells, it can do the same to your party.

Feeblemind: The spell Feeblemind still has a Spell Resistance check.

Mind Fugue and Feeblemind - Both of these spell’s mental nulls are further limited by:

1. Will saves are still a component of each spell AND the continuation mental spell – if the opponent makes either then it’s useless.
2. Spell Resistance often is a component of the mental continuation spell – again, if the opponent makes it then it’s useless.
3. Duration is a rather large factor for both spells. Feeblemind lasts only 3 rounds – requiring the caster to quickly make their continuation mental spell. Mind Fugue requires the opponent to stay in the “null” area – if it leaves then so does the continuation mental effect. Additionally, most mental continuation spells also have a limited duration.
4. Spell-type immunities of the continuation mental spell (i.e. a Monster isn’t subject to Charm Person.)
5. Spell-level immunities of both spells and the continuation mental spell. (..Ghostly Visage, Ethereal Visage, Lesser Globe of Invulnerability and Globe of Invulnerability would all affect certain lower-level mental continuation spells.)
6. Spell-School immunities of the continuation mental spell.
7. Immunities to Paralysis – which would render all the “Hold” spells useless.
8. Immunities to Hit die – which could, depending on the level of the opponent, make the opponent immune to the continuation mental spell. (..Sleep, Deep Slumber, etc.)
9. Immunities to Death effects – which would render spells like Phantasmal Killer and Weird useless.
10. Immunities to Poison – which would render spells like Cloud of Bewilderment and Stinking Cloud useless.

EX. Undead – as a class would be:
Immune (Sorcerer/Wizard): Cloud of Bewilderment, Stinking Cloud, Hold Person, Dominate Person, Hold Monster, Hold person (Mass), Prismatic Spray (Paralysis), Hold Monster (Mass).
Non-Immune (Sorcerer/Wizard): Sleep, Color Spray, Cause Fear, Tasha’s Hideous Laughter, Touch of Idiocy, Bladeweave (effect), Scare, Deep Slumber, Charm Monster, Confusion, Crushing Despair, Phantasmal Killer, Fear, Feeblemind (unenhanced), Mind Fog, Hiss of Sleep, Prismatic Spray (Confused state), Solipsism, Power Word Stun, Charm Monster (Mass), Greater Shout (Stun effect), Dominate Monster, Weird.
This non-immune list still opens-up a “world” of possibilities even for this incredibly immune racial class, and that’s just from the Sorcerer and Wizard spell list.

There are also a few practical limitations like casting duration and positioning, as well as managing your continuation mental spells.

Mind Fugue is “quickened” from the start – so while it takes some time to cast it, it’s not going to take a full round. Still, it is an addition to time for casting.
Feeblemind on the other hand isn’t even quickened until level 10. This better reflects the added power the spell has – i.e. it’s not just about making a mental continuation spell work, it also can be very powerful all on its own by making an opponent lose their spells (if they are spell-casters).
Managing your mental continuation spells also poses its own limitations. i.e. “which spells do I have left and what will work?”. There are also occasions where it doesn’t make much sense to use Mentalist class bonuses – like dominating Undead. Control Undead does this and only at spell level 7. The Mentalist method would require 2 spells, and one of them would be a 9th level Dominate Monster spell.


Conceptually the class was derived from several classes and attempts to balance strengths and weaknesses.

The only “quirky” feature of the class is the Skill points per level and the Class Skills. This was done to emphasize the “intelligent” nature of the Mentalist. All of the skills except Concentration and Spot are based on Intelligence. The additional skill points are something a “smart” character should have access to, and it helps-out with potentially a dire-low quantity of skill-points that a class like Sorcerer might have.

This class has similarities to the Palemaster (modified), the Frost Mage, and the Swiftblade.

While the Swiftblade is very different as a high BAB class with half-spell casting progression – it does modify the results of the spell book spell Haste. This was the inspiration for modifying Feeblemind for the Mentalist – providing something unusual, progressive, and potentially offensive.

Both the Palemaster and the Frost Mage have offensive and defensive additions within the same low BAB.
Offensively:

Palemaster: multiple summons (not part of their spell book), paralysis touch attack (3 per day), and death touch attack (3 per day). These external sources of spells/effects (..or spells unrelated to the base class spell book), have a similarity to the Mentalist’s Mind Fugue and Madness.
Frost Mage: Piercing Cold – voids its immunity (Cold) in a more direct fashion – which is probably reasonable given the very low selection of “cold” spells. The Mentalist of course generally requires a less direct 2 spell approach to void immunity.

Defensively:
Palemaster: +6 to armor, Darkvision, +4 to Fortitude saves, immunity to Hold, immunity to Paralysis, Immunity to Stun, Immunity to Critical Hits, Immunity to Sneak Attack. It’s also a d6 class. On the other hand it’s also missing a spell-casting level.
Frost Mage: +4 to armor, Immunity to Cold. The Frost Mage isn’t missing any spell casting levels, but it’s not nearly as good defensively as the Palemaster, and is only a d4 class.
The Mentalist provides no AC improvements, but it does provide numerous enhancements to Will saves both in number and quality: a +10 to Will, potentially another +10 (depending on the alignment of the opponent), a double “roll” on those Will saves (via Indomitable Soul), and finally the one feat that will deny the “roll” on a Will save of an auto-fail 1 (via Epic Resilience). On the other hand Will saves will often be lowered by -5 due to the Mentalist’s use of Mind Fugue.
The Mentalist also “throws-in” Toughness (which off-sets the d4) and a persistent True Seeing. (..and unless True Seeing has been correctly modified, it’s only providing what Blindsight does – so it’s not nearly so powerful as it should be.)
While the Mentalist’s added defenses are good, they aren’t nearly as good as a Palemaster in practice – and there still is the missing spell-casting level.
On top of all this the Mentalist requires many more prerequisites than either the Palemaster or the Frost Mage. (..with the thought of: “you make it tougher to be a class – the stronger the class should be”.)

ScottG

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Re: Happy New Year! ..with a new year "bitch", and a concept prestige class..

Post  ScottG on Sun Jan 01, 2012 9:02 pm

..just a "think piece" that might be of interest. Smile

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Re: Happy New Year! ..with a new year "bitch", and a concept prestige class..

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