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Thread: Shadowhand PrC (my players out!)
Wednesday, 14th February, 2007, 05:12 PM #1
Novice (Lvl 1)
Shadowhand PrC (my players out!)
Alright, I made a PrC to be taken by members of the evil Shadowhand Society, a dark society controlled by the Church of Bane. The class is largely rogue-like, with a big basis on the shadowdancer PrC (as you can probably tell). My question is a) is it at least somewhat balanced, and b) what sort of flavor does it give in your opinion?
That second question is asking what this class would make you "feel" if you encountered it in an adventure. This is so that I can judge whether it gives off the vibe I'm looking for.
Wednesday, 14th February, 2007, 11:49 PM #2
Acolyte (Lvl 2)
This should rightfully be in house rules, IMO.
I'm not exactly an FR expert, but aren't Banites all about control, compulsion and tyranny? Perhaps the class should reflect that?
As for the class...
Requirements: so... you can get into the class at level 3? Non-chaotic, non-good, character level 2 (!!!), and Patron deity Bane. Finally, you need to be inducted into the organisation (makes sense).
How about some skill prerequites:
Knowledge (religion): You're learning how to rebuke undead, and you cast divine spells. A link could alson be made to the shadow you can summon. A low number, like 4 ranks would be suitable.
Hide and move silently: probably appropriate for a stealth class
Other?: I could see Spot being a requirement (maybe), perhaps some social skills (like bluff, intimidate and sense motive) if you were to go in the direction of a tyrannical, domineering type.
Ok, this class is rogue-esque. You get less skill points (6+int instead of 8+int) and your levels in this class don't stack for uncanny dodge. Not good, but not bad either.
In exchange, you keep your sneak attack advancement, keep the same base attack progression, get a d8 hit die, two good saves, get a spiffy ability damaging attack that stacks with sneak attack, get a shadow pet, weak rebuke undead (opens up divine feats), skill buff, darkvision, poison use, shadow jump, and limited spell casting.
Sign me up! The class gets too many goodies in exchange for very little.
Weapon and Armour proficiency: It's a duplicate of the rogue weapon/ armour list...
Necromancy: You probably want to define the spell-casting a bit more than you have. You can cast any divine or arcane spell from any spell list anywhere. From the name,you should probably restrict if to necromancy school spells.
It would be better, in my opinion to actually write up a small spell list to choose spells from. I'd have something similar to the assassin spell list. You'd have to trim other special abilities, though.
Also: Caster level = Shadowhand level? What are the shadowhand's spell DCs based off of (Wisdom, I assume).
Sneak attack: Fair enough, but the advancement is too fast IMO, due to the range of other special abilities.
Dark Gift: Good idea. Perhaps you could define how much you can split up the time you are allotted. Can you split it round by round, or is it limited to 1 minute chunks? Sounds like it should be a profane bonus, not untyped. What kind of action is it to active the dark gift?
Summon Shadow: Same as Shadow dancer. Ok, fair enough. What does Bane have to do with shadows, though?
Rebuke/Command Undead: Why do they get this? It's even weaker than a paladin or blackguard's turn/rebuke ability. It dosn't fit with the rest of the class as it stands.
Shadowstrike: what kind of damage is the shadowstrike? is it precision damage? what Con and Dex? if it's patterned after the shadow, should it not be Str damage? Can you sneak attack.
Shadow Jump: Shadowdancer ability. Fair enough.
So, to answer your questions
a) no, I don't think it's balanced. It feels like you're trying to cram too much into a single class.
b) The flavour seems to be of a shadow-worshipping stealthy type. I see nothing to do with Bane here (I could see Mask or Cyric, but not Bane) unfortunately. How would I feel if I encountered one? I'd think it was an assassin/shadowdancer or something like that (if I detected them at all). Perhaps you could write about your intentions for the class. Is it a church sponsored thief guild, church assassin, or something else? What ties do they have with the plane of shadow, or negative energy plane (if any)?
Sorry if I've been over-critical, but I really want to help you out with your interesting idea.
Thursday, 15th February, 2007, 03:26 AM #3
Novice (Lvl 1)
No, your sort of response is EXACTLY what I'm looking for. It's not overly-critical, its right what I want to hear. All your points are legitimate.
On the not too Bane-like-ness: I was going for a shadowy association primarily used for assassination and the like. This association is eventually going to get on the nerves of the shadow-related deities, causing inter-evil clashes So yes, it is very shadowlike, and it will work AGAINST the association later on, as the PCs may be forced to temporarily ally with evil to destroy it (they are only CN and CG characters). The Campaign is probably (assuming the PCs cooperate ) going to center around Bane's attempt to take the Shadow domain.
On the requirements you suggested: I'll definitely add those, great suggestions
On Necromancy: If I didn't write it, that's what I meant to. It's ONLY necromancy spells, not any spells. Oops. And I like your idea of a spell list, to help give its use more flavor while limiting it. And yes, based off of Wisdom, though I forgot to say it.
Sneak attack: I might move it back to every 3 lvls instead of every 2.
Dark Gift: You're right, I should make it minimum 30 second blocks of time. And adding it as a profane bonus is good. Its a free action to activate.
Summon Shadow: I was seriously debating getting rid of this, and I still might, but I was hoping this would fuel the struggle between the gods. Bane is about to make a MAJOR move to take the Shadow domain in my campaign (but I didn't tell you guys that background, so it's my fault you didn't know)
Rebuke/Command Undead: Perhaps I should change this to R/C Banedead as a cleric of your Shadowhand level. This would get what I really wanted out of it, the ability to control groups of Banedead. And make it full class lvl instead of 1/2 for the check.
Shadowstrike: It is precision damage. Perhaps it should be Str dmg, in which case I could make it 1d4-1 str dmg. And yes, you can sneak attack, that's the major use.
Shadow Jump: Yup, it is
What do you think of this for balance:
Severely limit the spell list
1: Bane, Cause Fear, Charm Person, Chill Touch, Command, Curse Water, Deathwatch, Doom, Ray of Enfeeblement
2: Blindness/Deafness, Darkness, Death Knell, Desecrate Ghoul Touch, Knock, Scare, Spider Climb, Undetectable Alignment
3: Bestow Curse, Deeper Darkness, Ray of Exhaustion, Speak with Dead, Suggestion, Vampiric Touch
Reduce the sneak attack progression to once every 3 levels
Up the requirements (the skills you suggested)
Make a d6 hit die?
Once again, THANK YOU so much for your detailed response. Tell me what you think of these possible changes.
Last edited by KrazyHades; Thursday, 15th February, 2007 at 03:47 AM.
Thursday, 15th February, 2007, 05:48 AM #4
Acolyte (Lvl 2)
No worries. It's fun to work on stuff like this.
Here's my try. There's a smidgeon of Shadowdancer, Assassin, and Divine Seeker in it.
The Shadowhands are a secret society of worshippers of Bane. The society is run by the Church of Bane and is used to influence events and gain power for Bane’s followers.
Lvl BAB FRW Special 1st +0 0/2/2 Spells, Dark Gift, Poison Use, Sign of Bane, Aura, Shadowstrike 1/day 2nd +1 0/3/3 Turn Banedead, Sneak Attack +1d6, Darkvision 3rd +2 1/3/3 Shadowstrike 2/day, Summon Shadow (2HD) 4th +3 1/4/4 Shadowjump 20 ft, Shadow Resistance 5 5th +3 1/4/4 Shadowstrike 3/day, Sneak Attack +2d6 6th +4 2/5/5 Shadowjump 40 ft, Summon Shadow (4HD) 7th +5 2/5/5 Shadowstrike 4/day, Shadow resistance 10 8th +6 2/6/6 Shadowjump 80 ft, Sneak Attack +3d6 9th +6 3/6/6 Shadowstrike 5/day, Summon Shadow (6HD) 10th +7 3/7/7 Shadowjump 160 ft, Shadow Resistance 15, Dark Apotheosis
To qualify to become a shadowhand banite, a character must fulfil the following criteria.
Alignment: any non-chaotic, non-good.
Base Reflex Save: +4
Patron Deity: Bane
Skills: Knowledge (religion) 3 ranks, Hide 8 ranks, Intimidate 5 ranks, Move Silently 8 ranks, Sense Motive 5 ranks.
Feats: Iron Will, plus either Persuasive or Stealthy.
Special: The character must have been inducted into the Shadowhand guild.
A Shadow-hand Banite’s class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are: Bluff (Cha), Diplomacy (Cha), Disable Device (Int), Disguise (Cha), Escape Artist (Dex), Forgery (Int), Gather Information (Cha), Hide (Dex), Intimidate (Cha), Knowledge (religion) (Int), Listen (Wis), Move Silently (Dex), Open Lock (Dex), Search (Int), Sense Motive (Wis), Sleight of Hand (Dex), Spellcraft (Int), and Tumble (Dex).
Skill Points at Each Level: 4 + Intelligence modifier
All of the following are class features of the Shadowhand Banite base class
Weapon and Armour Proficiency: Shadowhand banites are proficient with all simple weapons, plus the hand crossbow, rapier, sap, shortbow, and short sword. Shadowhand banites gain no proficiency with any armour or shield.
Shadowstrike (Su): Once per day, a shadowhand banite can tap into the essence of the Plane of Shadow when making a sneak attack to make a Shadowstrike. The shadowhand banite may declare it is making a shadowstrike before using an attack. If the attack hits, the sneak attack damage you deal is half divine damage and half cold damage. In addition, the attack deals 2 points of Strength damage. If you miss with the shadowstrike, that use of the shadowstrike still counts against the number per day.
At 3rd level, and at every odd level thereafter (5th, 7th, and so forth) the shadowhand banite may make a shadowstrike one additional time per day.
Dark Gift (Su): At 1st level, a shadowhand banite can call upon Bane’s power to enhance her stealth and her force of personality. As a move action, he may grant himself a +1 profane bonus per class level on Bluff, Intimidate, Hide, Move Silently, and Sense Motive checks. This benefit lasts for a number of minutes per day equal to ½ the shadowhand banite’s class level (minimum 1 minute). This duration need not be consecutive- the shadowhand banite may break it up into increments as small as
1 round if he so desires. Ending the effect is a free action.
Poison Use: Shadowhand banites are trained in the use of poison and never risk accidentally poisoning themselves when applying poison to a blade.
Aura of Evil and Law (Ex): As servants of Bane, a shadowhand banite’s aura of evil and law (see the detect evil and detect law spells) is equal to his shadowhand banite class level, just like the aura of a cleric with a lawful evil patron deity.
Sign of Bane (Su): A shadowhand banite is recognized by Banedead as an ally of Bane. The effect of the Sign means that Banedead will ignore a shadowhand banite, so long as the shadowhand banite does nothing to harm the Banedead creature. If the shadowhand banite attacks the Banedead, the Banedead will treat the shadowhand banite as they would any other living being. This applies only to the shadowhand banite. If the shadowhand banite is with beings other than other shadowhand banites, the Banedead will react to the rest of the group while ignoring the shadowhand banite.
The shadowhand banite adds his class level to Bluff, Diplomacy, Gather Information, Intimidate, and Sense Motive checks against Banedead creatures.
Spells: Beginning at 1st level, a shadowhand banite gains the ability to cast a number of divine spells. To cast a spell, a shadowhand banite must have a Wisdom score of at least 10 + the spell’s level, so a shadowhand banite with a Wisdom score of 10 or lower cannot cast these spells. Shadowhand banite spells are based on Wisdom, and saving throws against these spells have a DC of 10 + spell level + the shadowhand banite’s Wisdom bonus (if any).
A shadowhand banite casts spells just as a bard does. Shadowhand banite spells are drawn from the assassin spell list.
Class Spells per Day Spells Known Level 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 1st 2nd 3rd 4th - 1st 0 - - - 2 - - - - 2nd 1 - - - 3 - - - - 3rd 2 0 - - 3 2 - - - 4th 3 1 - - 4 3 - - - 5th 3 2 0 - 4 3 2 - - 6th 3 3 1 - 4 4 3 - - 7th 3 3 2 0 4 4 3 2 - 8th 3 3 3 1 4 4 4 3 9th 3 3 3 2 4 4 4 3 - 10th 3 3 3 3 4 4 4 4
The extra damage dealt increases by +1d6 at 5th level, and every three levels thereafter (8th, 11th, and so forth). If the shadowhand banite gets this ability from another source (such as rogue levels), the bonuses on damage stack.
A shadowhand banite loses this ability when wearing medium or heavy armour or when carrying a medium or heavy load. If she gains the skirmish ability from another class, the bonuses stack.
Rebuke/Command Banedead (Su): Starting at 2nd level a Shadowhand may Rebuke/Command undead as a cleric with her Shadowhand levels, with the restriction that it only works against Banedead. This amount is added to the effective cleric level for the sake of rebuking/commanding undead if the character already has cleric levels when rebuking Banedead.
Darkvision (Su): At 2nd level, a shadowhand banite can see in the dark as though he were permanently under the effect of a dark vision spell.
Summon Shadow (Su): At 3rd level, a shadowhand banite can summon a shadow, an undead shade. Unlike a normal shadow, this shadow’s alignment matches that of the shadowhand banite, and the creature cannot create spawn. The summoned shadow cannot be turned, rebuked, or commanded by any third party. This shadow serves as a companion to the shadowhand banite and can communicate intelligibly with the shadowhand banite. Every third level gained by the shadowhand banite adds +2 HD (and the requisite base attack and base save bonus increases) to her shadow companion.
Shadow Jump (Su): At 4th level, a shadowhand banite gains the ability to travel between shadows as if by means of a dimension door spell. The limitation is that the magical transport must begin and end in an area with at least some shadow. A Shadowhand can jump up to a total of 20 feet each day in this way; this may be a single jump of 20 feet or two jumps of 10 feet each. Every two levels higher than 4th, the distance a Shadowhand can jump each day doubles (40 feet at 6th, 80 feet at 8th, and 160 feet at 10th). This amount can be split among many jumps, but each one, no matter how small, counts as a 10-foot increment.
Shadow Resistance (Su): At 4th level, a shadowhand banite becomes inured to the energies of the Plane of Shadow. He gains resistance to cold and negative energy 5. At 7th level, this resistance increases to 10. At 10th level, it increases to 15.
Dark Apotheosis: At 10th level, a shadowhand banite transcends his mortal form and becomes an Outsider with the native subtype. Additionally, the shadowhand banite gains damage reduction 10/ silver and magic. A native outsider can still be raised, reincarnated and resurrected. Native Outsiders breathe, eat, and sleep, unlike true outsiders.
Hope you like it.
EDIT: Forgot to put Knowledge (religion) and Spellcraft on the skill list.
Last edited by Sound of Azure; Friday, 16th February, 2007 at 02:06 AM.
Thursday, 15th February, 2007, 12:28 PM #5
Novice (Lvl 1)
It's...beautiful *tears up*
It really is great, just what I'm looking for. Thanks Azure! All glory to Bane!
Thursday, 15th February, 2007, 12:40 PM #6
Acolyte (Lvl 2)
Glad it works for you. I've put it my "things to inflict on my players" folder,myself.
Thursday, 15th February, 2007, 09:07 PM #7
Novice (Lvl 1)
As a second point getting slightly off topic, how do you personally balance things? After all, I'm great at plots and creative ideas (or so my players say), but I KNOW I'm a poor balancer. Is there a strategy you use? For example, when I was making this class, I had compared it with the Shadowdancer prestige class, and I figured what you were loosing ~balanced what you gained. But that could a) be way off or b) the shadowdancer could be a broken class
Thursday, 15th February, 2007, 09:14 PM #8
Acolyte (Lvl 2)
There's actually a formula or set of guidelines floating around for evaluating the balance of a class or PrC. I don't have a link, but maybe someone else does?
Friday, 16th February, 2007, 02:05 AM #9
Acolyte (Lvl 2)
I realise I made an error in the class. Knowledge (religion) and Spellcraft have been added the Shadowhand Banite's skill list. Sorry about that. I just copy and pasted the original skill list and forgot about the requirements, and the spellcasting nature of the class.
Friday, 16th February, 2007, 05:02 AM #10
Acolyte (Lvl 2)
Oh, as for balancing classes... I just eyeball it these days. I compare it to existing classes, and (like homebrew feats I make) subject it to the "would I take this class/feat with no hesitation if I had the choice to continue with my existing class or had another option?" test.
I have a pdf with a balancing system in it, but the website I got it from no longer exists so I can't link it.
The class as it stands gets (compared to single classed rogue)
Divine spells (no spell failure)
An unturnable, but weak servant shadow
Bonus on skills against specific undead
Bonuses on skills for a few minutes per day
Ability damaging attack
Reistance to cold and negative energy
Turns into outsider at final level
Good Will save
An organisation to back you up
but it has the following disadvantages
Less favourable skill list and skill point aquisition
Slower sneak attack
No improvement to uncanny dodge
No Rogue special abilities
Have to take some unfavourable feats to get into PrCl
Your character is beholden to Bane. Unlike an assassin, Bane can take your divine spells and special abilities away.
An organisation to back you up is an evil organisation
So... it's on the stronger side of balanced, but I think it's ok.
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