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Making the Warlock from Scratch
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FrankTrollman
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Joined: 07 Mar 2008
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 10, 2005 8:11 pm    Post subject: Making the Warlock from Scratch Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

So Warlocks have a number of problems:

  • Not that good at any level.
  • Your best tricks are the ones you've had for the least time.
  • ...therefore any Warlock grown organically isn't good at what the player wants to do.
  • None of the invocations are set up to actually matter when cast more than 3 times in a day.
  • Warlocks are severely punished for having "themes" in their invocations.

    OK, so let's have something a bit different. Instead of getting one new Invocation every few levels, let's give out Invocations in paths, and give out a path every level. Then, every couple of levels, all the paths you have can advance.

    Warlocks can get their power from any plane, and that can be because of inherent blood or power theft, or whatever. Some warlocks don't even know where their power comes from. A Warlock can be of any alignment.

    BAB: 3/4, As Cleric
    Saves: Fortitude Bad, Reflex Good, Willpower Good.
    Skills: 4 Skills/Level

    Level Benefit
    1 Eldritch Bolt, New Path.
    2 Brutal Bolt, See in Darkness, New Path.
    3 Enhance Paths, New Path.
    4 Immunities, New Path.
    5 Enhance Paths, New Path.
    6 Ability, New Path.
    7 Enhance Paths, New Path.
    8 Tear Portal, New Path.
    9 Enhance Paths, New Path.
    10 Supernatural Survival, New Path.
    11 Enhance Paths, New Path.
    12 Piercing Gaze, New Path.
    13 Enhance Paths, New Path.
    14 Ability, New Path.
    15 Enhance Paths, New Path.
    16 Immortality, New Path.
    17 Enhance Paths, New Path.
    18 Ability, New Path.
    19 Enhance Paths, New Path.
    20 Ability, New Path.

    Save DCs: If there is ever a Save DC against any of a Warlock's abilities or Invocations, the Save DC is 10 + 1/2 her hit dice + her Charisma modifier.

    Eldritch Bolt (Su): At worst, a Watrlock can always fall back on her Eldritch Bolt. The Eldritch Bolt inflicts a d8 of untyped magical energy damage. The Eldritch Bolt has a range of 100 feet plus 10 feet/level and suffers no penalties to hit for distance within that range. Using the Eldritch Bolt is an attack action, and requires a normal ranged attack roll. The Eldritch Bolt has an enhancement bonus to hit and damage equal to half the Warlock's level (rounded up, no limit).

    New Paths: Every level, the Warlock selects a new path of magic. When a path of magic is selected, the Warlock has access to only the first invocation from that path. Invocations can be used any number of times per day.

    Brutal Bolt: At 2nd level, a Warlock adds her Intelligence Bonus (if positive) to her attack rolls with Eldritch Bolt. A Warlock adds her Charisma bonus (if positive) to damage with her Eldritch Bolt.

    See in Darkness (Su): At 2nd level, the Warlock can see darkness, even magical darkness, to the limit of the horizon.

    Enhance Paths: Every odd numbered level past first, the Warlock's mastery of every path she already has increases. The Warlock gains access to the next invocation of every increased path. This increase comes before selecting a new path for that level. So at third level, the Warlock would know the first two invocations of two paths, and the first invocation of a third. At seventh level, the Warlock would have access to the first four invocations of two paths, the first three invocations of two more paths, the first two invocations of two additional paths, and just the first invocation of a seventh path.

    Immunities: At 4th level, a Warlock is immune to poison and non-magical disease. She can still be affected by magical disease such as Lycanthropy and Mummy Rot.

    Tear Portal (Sp): At 8th level, a Warlock can tear open a portal to any plane which she has encountered a creature or object from. The portal lasts for one round per level, is up to one foot in diameter per level, and is accurate within the target plane only to 500 miles. The portal is created on her own plane at a range of touch.

    Supernatural Survival (Su): At 10th level, the Warlock can survive in virtually any environment. The Warlock does not have to breathe (and is immune to inhaled toxins), the Warlock is unaffected by hot and cold weather (and is immune to nonlethal cold and fire damage), and the Warlock may ignore any planar effects of any plane she is presently on.

    Piercing Gaze (Su): At 12th level, it is very difficult to meet the gaze of the Warlock. Any creature who meets the Warlock's gaze even transiently can be subjected to an intimidate check by the Warlock as a reflexive action. The Warlock can only attempt to intimidate any creature once per round, and does not have to make the attempt if she does not want to. The Warlock does not visibly do anything, and use of piercing gaze is not normally considered a breach of diplomatic protocols.

    Immortality: At 16th level, the Warlock never ages, and never dies of old age. Mental bonuses continue to acrue, but physical penalties do not. If the Warlock already has any physical attribute penalties from age, these are eliminated.

    Abjuration Paths
    Path of Banishment
  • Greater Dispelling
  • Magic Circle
  • Remove Curse
  • Dismissal
  • Break Enchantment
  • Banishment
  • Repulsion


  • Imprisonment
    Path of Protection






  • Mind Blank



  • Path of Warding
  • Alarm




  • Guards and Wards




  • Conjuration
    Path of Abundance










  • Path of Gates
  • Knock
  • Arcane Lock

  • Dimension Door
  • Planeshift
  • Greater Teleport
  • Etherealness
  • Teleportation Circle


  • Path of Summons
  • Summon Hound
  • Summon Guardian
  • Summon Raptor
  • Summon Brute





  • Summon Dragon
    Divination
    Path of Knowing










  • Path of Seeing











  • Enchantment
    The Dreaming Path
  • Sleep (no hit die limit)
  • Sending
  • Waves of Fatigue
  • Hypnotize (no HD limit)
  • Nightmare
  • Irresistable Dance
  • Demand
  • Binding
  • Dream Eater
  • Dream Projection

    The Persuasive Path
  • Charming Tongue (language dependent charm that only affects creatures of the same type as the Warlock)
  • Influence (continuous power, the Warlock gains a bonus to Diplomacy, Bluff, and Intimidate equal to half her level)
  • Suggestion
  • Charm Monster (up to 1 monster/2 levels can be charmed at one time)
  • Puppetry (Dominate Monster, with a Concentration Duration)
  • Hope
  • Dominate (up to 1 monster/3 levels can be dominated at once)
  • Possession (As Magic Jar, with no Jar)
  • Mass Charm (still can only charm 3 times your level in creatures)
  • Mind Rape

    The Twisted Path
  • Fear
  • Mirth
  • Confusion
  • Indecision (as Hold Monster, but target is not helpless)
  • Feeblemind
  • Mind Fog
  • Insanity




  • Evocation
    Path of Flame
  • Burning Hands









  • Path of Force










  • Path of Frost




  • Snowstorm (reduce temperatures and/or produce storms)





  • Path of Light
  • Light (continuous glow or dazzling burst)
  • Darkness (as deeper darkness, but for 10 minutes/level)



  • Prismatic Spray




  • Path of Thunder
  • Shocking Grasp
  • Silence


  • Raincall (call or banish storms)






  • Illusion
    Path of the Eye










  • Path of the Mind










  • Path of Shadows
  • Long Shadows (As 3.5 darkness)



  • Shadow Walk





  • Necromancy
    Path of Blood
  • Heal Wounds

  • Vampiric Touch
  • Panacea (removes Diseases and Poisons)






  • Path of Bones










  • Path of Spirits
  • Turn/Rebuke Undead.
  • Enervation
  • Shadowcall (an incorporeal undead creature pops out of a nearby shadow and fights for you, only one at a time)
  • Restoration (cures ability drain, ability damage, and negative levels)
  • Spirit Call (Wraiths begin straggling in for the next six rounds. Only usable once per are per week.)


  • Trap the Soul
  • Soulbind
  • True Resurrection

    Transmutation
    Path of Beasts










  • Path of Eidos










  • Path of Growth










  • Path of the Hours











  • What this is and what this aint:
    This is a class which is intended to fit into D&D proper. That means that it does have multicaster problems. It is much more powerful than a Fighter. It is intended only to be a Warlock style character who can play alongside a character like a Druid or a Wizard without sucking my butt.

    -Frank
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    Murtak
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    PostPosted: Sun Jul 10, 2005 9:07 pm    Post subject: Re: Making the Warlock from Scratch Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List


    - Maybe it's just me, but a good reflex save just does not seem right. How about a medium save progression for both fortitude and reflex (1+ (1 every 2.5 levels))?
    - The autoscaling DC seems rather powerful, compared to the non-scaling DCs of other casters.
    - The tear portal power needs a casting time. Full-round action?
    - 99 at-will castable powers (at level 20) seems like a lot. Even compared to powerhouses like the cleric and druid.

    Overall I like the concept a lot.
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    Neeek
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    PostPosted: Mon Jul 11, 2005 2:31 am    Post subject: Re: Making the Warlock from Scratch Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List


    I like it a lot in general.



    Murtak: the auto-scaling DC should match a full caster's highest level spell, only slightly worse, since it doesn't say it rounds up.

    Here's some ideas for the empty slots:


    Abjuration Paths
    Path of Banishment
  • Doom
  • Remove Curse
  • Dispel Magic

  • Dismissal
  • Break Enchantment
  • Greater Dispel Magic
  • Banishment
  • Sequester
  • Imprisonment
    Path of Protection
  • Protection from X(Evil/Good/Elves/Frank. Whatever)
  • Protection from Arrows
  • Protection from Energy
  • Stone Skin
  • Globe of Invulnerability
  • Repulsion
  • Anti-Magic Field
  • Spell Turning
  • Mind Blank
  • Protection from Spells
    Path of Warding (Pretty much flat stolen from the Initaite of the Seven Veils PrC)
  • Alarm
  • Magic Circle
  • Yellow Ward
  • Orange Ward
  • Yellow Ward
  • Green Ward
  • Blue Ward
  • Indigo Ward
  • Violet Ward
  • Prismatic Wall
    Conjuration
    Path of Abundance
  • Grease
  • Web
  • Sleet Storm
  • Chill Tentacles
  • Creation
  • Wall(of whatever)
  • Acid Fog
  • Super Shelter(M&M classic. heh)
  • Incediary Cloud
  • Maze
    Path of Gates



  • D-Door
  • Teleport

  • Greater teleport



  • Path of Summons (someone will need to reorder these, and it should work something like only one creature summoned at a time)
  • Summon animal: CR 1(+2 CR per Enhance Path)
  • Summon Fey CR 3(+2 CR per Enhance Path)
  • Summon Swarm CR 5(+2 CR per Enhance Path)
  • Summon Aberration CR 7(+2 CR per Enhance Path)
  • Summon Undead CR 9(+2 CR per Enhance Path)
  • Summon Construct CR 11(+2 CR per Enhance Path)
  • Summon Elemental CR 13(+2 CR per Enhance Path)
  • Summon Ooze CR 15(+2 CR per Enhance Path)
  • Summon Outsider CR 17(+2 CR per Enhance Path)
  • Summon Dragon CR 19(+2 CR per Enhance Path)


    The Persuasive Path
  • Charming Tongue (language dependent charm that only affects creatures of the same type as the Warlock)
  • Beguiling Charm
  • Suggestion
  • Charm Monster (up to 1 monster/2 levels can be charmed at one time)
  • Puppetry (Dominate Monster, with a Concentration Duration)
  • Hope
  • Dominate
  • Mass Charm(moved up one)
  • Body Theft
  • Mind Rape
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    FrankTrollman
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    Joined: 07 Mar 2008
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    PostPosted: Mon Jul 11, 2005 4:20 am    Post subject: Re: Making the Warlock from Scratch Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

    Murtak wrote:
    - Maybe it's just me, but a good reflex save just does not seem right. How about a medium save progression for both fortitude and reflex (1+ (1 every 2.5 levels))?


    In Core D&D, medium save progressions don't even exist. However, even more than the Complete Arcane Warlock, there's no real way to Prestige Class these guys into anything. So they are going to be single classed, which makes their saves suck no matter what they do. Honestly, they should probably have all good saves. That will give people aneurisms, but in the long run it means that their saves are only "kinda crappy".

    Murtak wrote:
    - The autoscaling DC seems rather powerful, compared to the non-scaling DCs of other casters.


    As Neeek pointed out, the save DC at 7th level of your two new 4th level spell equivalents is only 13 + Charisma Modifier. At 8th level, it gets to 14 + Stat Modifier, just like the Wizard's spells were at 7th level. At Epic it pulls ahead, but Epic doesn't work, and I just don't care.

    Murtak wrote:
    - The tear portal power needs a casting time.


    It's a Spell-like Ability, that means that the casting time is one standard action by default. I suppose it could take longer than that, but I don't particularly see why.

    Murtak wrote:
    - 99 at-will castable powers (at level 20) seems like a lot. Even compared to powerhouses like the cleric and druid.


    Actually, it's 110 at-will powers. However, some of them are repeats. You would never ever use Puppetry once you got your grubby mitts on Dominate, and the path of compulsion mandates that you have the one before you get the other.

    However, that's still less abilities at-will than a Druid has at the same level. Remember Shapechange? Every round you can become a new creature out of any monster book and use any of their Supernatural Abilities. That means that a Druid at 20th level almost certainly has hundreds of At-will abilities, including free wishes (Zodar), hastes (Gambol), flesh to stone cloud (gorgon), and healing (Energon). This Warlock is designed to be balanced against a Druid that can do that, but has made a pact with the DM that they will scale it down to something manageable.

    So yes, it's still underpowered. But only by a little.

    Neeek wrote:
    # Path of Summons (someone will need to reorder these, and it should work something like only one creature summoned at a time)
  • Summon animal: CR 1(+2 CR per Enhance Path)
  • Summon Fey CR 3(+2 CR per Enhance Path)
  • Summon Swarm CR 5(+2 CR per Enhance Path)
  • Summon Aberration CR 7(+2 CR per Enhance Path)
  • Summon Undead CR 9(+2 CR per Enhance Path)
  • Summon Construct CR 11(+2 CR per Enhance Path)
  • Summon Elemental CR 13(+2 CR per Enhance Path)
  • Summon Ooze CR 15(+2 CR per Enhance Path)
  • Summon Outsider CR 17(+2 CR per Enhance Path)
  • Summon Dragon CR 19(+2 CR per Enhance Path)


  • The path of summoning is going to be the hardest, because the current summoning rules don't work. I think my intention is for people who take the Path of Summoning to actually have to pick a plane that they summon from, and then have the path advancements get you summons of different utility from that theme. That's unfortunately 10 different things from 14 lists scaled up for 20 levels, which is 2800 options. Ugh. Fortunately, a lot of those options are repeats, and a lot of them are simply scaled up versions of previous ones. Taking the path of summoning should make it obvious to you and everyone else where your powe comes from.

    Regardless of what your path level in Summoning is, the effect should always be that you can have one "pet" out at all times, and that the pet should be about 2 CR less than you.

    Oh, and this thread is in the wrong place altogether.

    -Frank
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    Murtak
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    PostPosted: Mon Jul 11, 2005 6:08 am    Post subject: Re: Making the Warlock from Scratch Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List


    Frank, you actually want to make a warlock class on par with a shapechange-abusing druid and a divine-metamagicing-everything cleric? And then you expect both players to scale their characters down? How exactly are you proposing to make this work? Abuse of a certain spells (or a few specific ones) is quite different from a class that is straight overpowered.

    No, I am not sure this warlock is overpowered. However, if - as you said - the end result is to be comparable to a druid who uses every available trick short of infinite loops and the druid is then to retroactively not use some of those tricks the warlock is by definition overpowered.

    Would it not be better to just construct a class that skips the back and forth and is where you want it to be, power-wise, out of the box?



    P.S.: On autoscaling - warlock should have 9th level "spells" just as wizards, clerics and druids do. But they get to use their level 9 DCs for everything, while the other casters will be slinging some spells with lower DCs too.

    It probably is not a huge problem, but it does give the warlock a lot more high-DC effects than other casters have.
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    FrankTrollman
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    PostPosted: Mon Jul 11, 2005 6:32 am    Post subject: Re: Making the Warlock from Scratch Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

    Murtak wrote:
    Frank, you actually want to make a warlock class on par with a shapechange-abusing druid and a divine-metamagicing-everything cleric?


    No. I am trying to make a character that is on par with a shapechange using Druid. Not a Shapechange abusing Druid, because that's just silly. When you can make a ring of infinite divine-quickened wishes every round, there's just nothing that anyone else can do.

    The goal isn't to make someone who can keep up with a Druid who chain wildshapes themselves into having Ice Runes of all their spells while pouncing in Fire Kraken form, and certainly not to keep up with a Druid who uses Zodar Alter Reality to bypass wealth-by-level guidelines. The goal is to make a character who by 20th level can keep up with a druid who has a series of favorite forms that include Silver Dragon, Medusa, Legendary Ape, and Myconid Sovereign.

    That's what the "toolbox spellcaster" actually looks like in current D&D. The goal is to have someone who can at least sit down at the same table. So yeah, it is about where I want it to be out of the box. Since there aren't going to be any abilities that let you dumpster dive in the monster books or spell lists, the hidden power loops should be off limits.

    Quote:
    On autoscaling - warlock should have 9th level "spells" just as wizards, clerics and druids do. But they get to use their level 9 DCs for everything, while the other casters will be slinging some spells with lower DCs too.


    Druid and Wizard save DCs already work this way at high level though. When a Druid turns into a Medusa, she uses a save DC of 10 + 1/2 her hit dice + her Charisma Modifier.

    The fact that Wizards have the option of casting lower level spells whose save DCs aren't scaled to their level is a flaw. Save DCs should never go up and down, it makes the game completely intractable.

    If a 1st level spell can't affect your enemies, you might as well not even have it. If it can, then Wail of the Banshee is going to rip their nuts off. That means that when the DM sets up monsters, he has only options for their save bonuses that are in some way unfair. Save DCs should not vary at all, varince by 9 is almost always pushing things completely off the RNG in a d20 system. The Supernatural Ability Save DC (10 +1/2 hit dice + Ability mod) is the closest thing to a standard that D&D has. And that means that it's the only DC that has any chance at all of being even vaguely game balanced against anything.

    -Frank
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    Murtak
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    PostPosted: Mon Jul 11, 2005 6:45 am    Post subject: Re: Making the Warlock from Scratch Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List


    Ok, if you are balancing towards that kind of power - yep, your warlock does not look all that bad. a hundred different abilities is a little hard to manage, but I guess it is not worse than the list of things you can shapechange into.

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    Crissa
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    PostPosted: Mon Jul 11, 2005 7:03 am    Post subject: Re: Making the Warlock from Scratch Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

    I dunno, Frank, I was pretty happy and overwhelmed getting a 'domain' once every couple levels; but then I'd get the whole pile at the same time.

    Twenty paths just seems too big to wrap your head around; that's twenty different tactics with each of their flavors. But then again, with the path go from Fire Bolt to I Got A Rock; or will each be a little spectrum?

    The nonscaling DC could be a flaw in a class - how would you build a Warlock that you might or might not choose over a Wizard?

    -Crissa

    PS: I still wanna see a Sorceror that has a Familiar that's worth giving up Scribe Scrolls for... More advancement? Paths/Domains instead of spells?
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    Neeek
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    PostPosted: Mon Jul 11, 2005 7:41 am    Post subject: Re: Making the Warlock from Scratch Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

    FrankTrollman wrote:


    Regardless of what your path level in Summoning is, the effect should always be that you can have one "pet" out at all times, and that the pet should be about 2 CR less than you.


    Maybe some sort of thing where you pick a plane and get a pet of your CR-2, with paladin mount-like bonuses for the awkward levels?
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    Neeek
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    PostPosted: Wed Jul 13, 2005 8:32 am    Post subject: Re: Making the Warlock from Scratch Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

    Took me a while to figure out you'd updated the class, Frank.

    I noticed that the class takes care of most of the problems I was running into when designing my character for the campaign. Specifically "how can I both do my theme of a inflitrator-type *and* not suck at the same time". I don't think I ever quite solved that one.
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    Judging__Eagle
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    PostPosted: Thu Jan 25, 2007 11:25 pm    Post subject: Re: Making the Warlock from Scratch Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

    Oh, you know, you could run a campaign with several Warlocks, and each would be very different from each other.

    Sort of the same way the Pactbinder class works; each binder's style would have them bind different vestiges.

    In any case, this seems to be yet an other ball that you have flying in the air.

    How do you manage all of these ideas at the same time?
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    MrWaeseL
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    PostPosted: Thu Jan 25, 2007 11:53 pm    Post subject: Re: Making the Warlock from Scratch Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

    Judging__Eagle wrote:
    How do you manage all of these ideas at the same time?


    He sits on the toilet a lot.
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    PostPosted: Sat Jan 27, 2007 9:43 pm    Post subject: Re: Making the Warlock from Scratch Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

    MrWaeseL wrote:
    Judging__Eagle wrote:
    How do you manage all of these ideas at the same time?


    He sits on the toilet a lot.


    Are you spying on Frank's washroom?

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    OrionAnderson
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    PostPosted: Sat Feb 10, 2007 3:25 am    Post subject: Re: Making the Warlock from Scratch Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

    Not sure if I should make a new thread for this, but:

    I'm thinking of starting a campaign absed on your ruleset soon. I don't care to use this warlock unfinished (plus, i'm not really super fond of it).

    I'd like to just use the warlock out of Complete Arcane, but as written it's woefully underpowered compare to the new fighter, monk, etc. I'm wondering if you could suggest a quick fix?

    My thought was to give Warlock good Reflex and full BAB, which would be worth something under your rules (exploit combat feats!), but I suspect they need a little extra kick.

    Thoughts?
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    cthulhu
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    PostPosted: Sat Feb 10, 2007 2:03 pm    Post subject: Re: Making the Warlock from Scratch Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

    Why not just use a conduit of the lower planes instead? Retool the flavour a bit, and it has much the same mechanical feel as the warlock, with less of the sucking.
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    FrankTrollman
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    PostPosted: Sat Feb 10, 2007 9:58 pm    Post subject: Re: Making the Warlock from Scratch Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

    OrionAnderson wrote:

    I'd like to just use the warlock out of Complete Arcane, but as written it's woefully underpowered compare to the new fighter, monk, etc. I'm wondering if you could suggest a quick fix?


    OK. The Warlock as printed in the Complete Arcane is woefully underpowered compared to other classes in the PHB. Like Rogues and even PHB Barbarians. Seriously, they suck.

    The Warlock gets unlimited uses of abiltiies that don't matter if they are used an unlimited times because they either provide a single continuous non-stacking self-only bonus, or they are a combat action that isn't worth a combat action.

    Quote:
    My thought was to give Warlock good Reflex and full BAB, which would be worth something under your rules (exploit combat feats!), but I suspect they need a little extra kick.

    Thoughts?


    The problem is that a Warlock's core power is that they can shoot little blasts of bullshit that are almost as good as a Rogue throwing Alchemist Fire. And it costs a Standard Action.

    It doesn't matter what their class chasis looks like, Eldritch Blast isn't worth anything. You hit people with it and noone cares.

    Here's the deal: a 6th level Rogue can probably figure out how to do two sneak attacks a turn. That's like 30 points of damage (or more) A 6th level PHB Fighter is going to either be charging with a Lance (~31 points of damage) or getting three attacks with a Glaive (~37 points of damage) or attacking twice with a greatsword (~28 points of damage). The abilty to shoot a 3 die attack doesn't mean shit even if it automatically hits!

    That's not really something that the Complete Arcane Warlock can answer. His Eldritch Blast would be too small even if it did a d6 of damage for every level in the class. His Invocations are too weak by far.

    I'm not sure what balance point you want to set for the Warlock, but the one out of Complete Fiasco is just a joke.

    -Frank
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    OrionAnderson
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    PostPosted: Sun Feb 11, 2007 4:09 am    Post subject: Re: Making the Warlock from Scratch Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

    Okay, here's the deal: I think that magic in D&D is too powerful. Not just that magic *users* are too powerful, but magic itself.

    So while your revised barbarian and fighter may be balanced against a PHB cleric or wizard-- I still think that cleric and wizard just have too much magic for many settings and adventures.

    Before I discovered your supplements, I was working on a low-magic settings where Warlocks, Bards, and the like were the best spellcasters around.

    And Warlock as printed *does* have good abilities. Evards Tentacles + cold damage? Sign me up! Eldritch Chain is nice too, allowing you to throw down debuffs to multiple enemies per turn. None of this is close to being as good as a wizard, obviously, since a wizard busts out save-or-die, not save-or-be-incovenienced. But it *is* good enough to play alongside the official fighting classes. Especially with UMD support.

    Now, of course, I come across your supplements, and fall in love with your monk, fighter, and so on. They're cool. But full casters still bother me. Oh, they're fun to play with sometimes, but they're so very powerful, and so much work to play. They're also too complex for new players to pick up quickly.

    So I want a magical class that is less game-breaking (in terms of effects like teleport, fabricate, and wish) while still being good at fighting monsters. And one that a new player can quickly learn.



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    OrionAnderson
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    PostPosted: Sun Feb 11, 2007 4:45 am    Post subject: Re: Making the Warlock from Scratch Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

    Remember also that giving the class full BAB, especially under your ruleset, changes not only its chassis but potentially its role.

    The warlock is a LONG way away from beign as effective as a wizard at casting spells to affect the battlefield. But that's the whole point, as far as I'm concerned. I don't want him to be.

    But with Full BAB and passive invocations, you end up wiht something similar to the monk you designed-- a fighter with a supernatural bag of tricks. Playing a guy with a sword who can fly around, see in the dark, and turn invisible sure beats playing a regular old guy with a sword.

    Full BAB also makes the Eldritch Blast itself marginally more useful and meshes well with Hideous Blow.

    Theoretically, having a couple crowd-control powers, some passive defensive and movement abilities, plus melee, ought to be all it takes to make an effective character. I'm worried that BAB alone isn't enouhg to let hitting things with swords be an effective option, but I'm not sure what else to add to the character. That's why I'm asking for advice.
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    FrankTrollman
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    PostPosted: Sun Feb 11, 2007 8:11 pm    Post subject: Re: Making the Warlock from Scratch Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

    OA wrote:
    Okay, here's the deal: I think that magic in D&D is too powerful. Not just that magic *users* are too powerful, but magic itself.


    That's understandable. Magic in D&D is about as powerful as in any game. Characters in Shadowrun, or World of Darkness, or even Champions pale in comparison to what even a mid-level Magician can do in D&D.

    But that's because a character in D&D is supposed to be very powerful. The standard Orc Warrior is supposed to pose no meaningful threat to an 8th level character. Seriously, a character is supposed to be able to chop their way through essentially limitless armies of armed low-morale humanoids before they hit 10th level. And the game is supposed to go to 20th - where characters are supposed to be able to wade through essentially limitless armies of the guys who could wade through essentially limitless armies of normals.

    ---

    Really, if you want to play D&D and you don't want a crazy power curve, you'r essentially stuck playing at levels 1-6. After that, things are supposed to go over-he-top bat shit crazy.

    Quote:
    So I want a magical class that is less game-breaking (in terms of effects like teleport, fabricate, and wish) while still being good at fighting monsters. And one that a new player can quickly learn.


    That's a really tall order. The spell list in the Player's handbook is 107 pages long, and more space is devoted to spells in new supplements than any other aspect of the game. Just being a "spellcaster" essentially is an intractable problem for any new player.

    As I see it, you're really looking at the following list of real design criteria:
    • Character must "feel like" a Wizard in the sense that if you saw him doing his stuff in a movie you'd describe him as a Wizard.
    • Character must be able to take on opponents of his level drawn from Team Monster in a reasonable manner.
    • Character must be able to be explained to a new player in a reasonable amount of time even starting at a high level.
    • Character should have a defined battlefield role.
    • Character should be able to exist at high level simultaneously with the 6th-level Knight centered feudalism that a lot of people think exists in D&D.
    • Character should be forced to play with the wealth-by-level system.[/list]

      The last two demands I don't think are practical. However, just off the top of my head, let's make a character that can sort of do that at least for a while:

      Fire Mage
      "Yes, fire is cool."

      A Fire Mage is someone who burns their own soul out to burn the bodies of others. Tactically, they shine against groups of enemies, because fires spread across the battlefield like a plague.

      Alignment: Fire is a destructive force, and a lot of Fire Mages are Chaotic. But they don't have to be.

      Races: Fire Mages appear in all races, though significant portions of many races live in areas where being a Fire Mage is illegal.

      Starting Gold: 6d6x10 gp (210 gold)

      Starting Age: As Rogue.

      Hit Die: d8
      Class Skills: The Fire Mage's class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Bluff (Cha), Climb (Str), Craft (Int), Concentration (Con), Disguise (Cha), Escape Artist (Dex), Handle Animal (Cha), Intimidate (Cha), Jump (Str), Listen (Wis), Move Silently (Dex), Profession (-), Ride (Dex), Search (Int), Spellcraft (Int), Spot (Wis), Survival (Wis), and Use Rope (Dex).

      Skills/Level: 4 + Intelligence Bonus
      BAB: Medium (as Cleric), Saves: Fort: Good; Reflex: Good; Will: Good

      Level, Benefit
      1 Fire Resistance, Fire Burst, Fire Bolts, Impress Flames, Fire Magic
      2 Ignite
      3 Piercing Flames, Hand of Fire
      4 Fire Immunity, Smokeless Flame
      5 Fireballs
      6 Mindfire
      7 Visions of Flame
      8 Soul of Cinders
      9 Sculpt Flames
      10 Conflagration
      11 Beacon, Firewalk
      12 Bonds of Fire
      13 Fire Clouds
      14 Searing Light, Ray of Light
      15 Sending, Rain of Fire

      All of the following are Class Features of the Fire Mage class:
      Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Fire Mages are proficient with all simple weapons, as well as the whip, all martial axes, and all sizes and varieties of scimitar (including falchions). Fire Mages are proficient with light armor but not with shields of any kind.

      Fire Resistance (Ex): A Fire Mage has a Resistance to Fire equal to twice his level.

      Fire Burst (Sp): As a standard action, a Fire Mage can emit a burst of flame from his body, striking all creatures and objects within 10' of his position except himself. This burst of flames inflicts 1d6 of fire damage, with an allowed Reflex Save for half (DC 10 + ˝ Level + Charisma Modifier).

      Fire Bolts (Sp): A Fire Mage can throw bolts of fire as an attack action. A Fire Bolt tavels out to short range, and inflicts 1d6 of Fire damage per level. A Fire Bolt strikes its target with a ranged touch attack.

      Impress Flames (Ex): Every time a Fire Mage inflicts Fire damage on any target, whether with his class abilities or another source of fire, he inflicts an amount of extra Fire Damage equal to his class level or his Charisma modifier, whichever is less.

      Fire Magic (Ex): A Fire Mage is considered to have every spell with the Fire Descriptor on his spell list for the purpose of activating magic items.

      Ignite (Sp): As a standard action, a 2nd level Fire Mage can cause any creature or object to burst into flame. A creature on fire suffers 1d6 of Fire damage per round (the Mage's Impress Flames ability applies to each round of course), and the creature can attempt to put itself out with a DC 15 Reflex save (see the DMG, p. 303). This ability can be used out to Medium range, and it always hits.

      Piercing Flames (Ex): From 3rd level on, a Fire Mage's Fire cuts through Fire Resistance, hardness, and Immunity. No more than ˝ of the damage inflicted by his fire damage can be negated by hardness or immunity or resistance to Fire. In addition, the Fire Mage ignores the first 5 points of Fire Resistance that a target has.

      Hand of Fire (Su): A 3rd level Fire Mage can set fire to their own body, causing them to count as armed at all times, even with unarmed attacks. The Fire Mage also causes an extra 1d6 of Fire damage with all melee attacks.

      Fire Immunity (Ex): A 4th level Fire Mage is immune to Fire.

      Smokeless Flame (Sp): A 4th level Fire Mage can create fires that produce no heat and do not burn. These fires can be anything from the size of a torch to a bonfire, and produce light accordingly. Each lasts until the next time the sun rises. Smokeless Flame can be created anywhere within Medium range.

      Fireballs (Sp): A 5th level Fire Mage can hurl explosive fire anywhere within Long Range as a Full Round Action. This Fire explodes into a 20' radius burst and inflicts 1d6 of Fire Damage per level. All creatures within the area are entitled to a Reflex save to halve damage (DC 10 + ˝ Level + Charisma Modifier).

      Mindfire (Sp): A 6th level Fire Mage can start a Fire in a creature's mind, duplicating the effects of rage or confusion for a number of minutes equal to his Level. The victim must be within Medium Range, and is entitled to a Will Save to negate this effect (DC 10 + ˝ Level + Charisma Modifier). This is a Mind influencing Compulsion effect.

      Visions of Flame (Sp): A 7th level Fire Mage can contact other plane to communicate with the denizens of the Elemental Plane of Fire. A Fire Mage is in no danger of becoming insane or damaged by this experience.

      Soul of Cinders (Sp): An 8th level Fire Mage has burnt his soul to ash, and is no longer susceptible to Energy Drain or Fear.

      Sculpt Flames (Sp): A 9th level Fire Mage can create delicate shapes and walls made of fire. The Fire is fully shapeable, but cannot pass through more than 2 squares per level. Any creature passing through a square with fire in it suffers 1d6 of fire damage per level. A creature which is in a square that is being filled with fire is entitled to a Reflex Save (DC 10 + ˝ Level + Charisma Modifier) to move to the nearest non-flaming square as an immediate action. These fires persist for 1 round per level. Alternately, the Fire Mage can replicate a wall of fire which persists for 1 minute per level.

      Conflagration (Sp): At 10th level, a Fire Mage can surround himself with a nimbus of flames that extends for 10' in all directions from his person. All other targets in this area suffer a d10 of Fire Damage per level, but are entitled to a Reflex Save (DC 10 + ˝ Level + Charisma Modifier). In addition, a Fire Mage can cast fireshield at will (Hot Shield only).

      Beacon (Sp): An 11th level Fire Mage can create a magically permanent bonfire as a standard action. He always knows exactly where each Beacon he has created is and will know if it is put out by any means.

      Firewalk (Sp): At 11th level a Fire Mae can walk into any fire large enough to fit his person and appear in any other fire that is likewise of sufficient size anywhere on any plane of existence. The Fire Mage must know where the target fire is. The Fire Mage can take any number of willing creatures or carried objects that are also able to fit in both flames.

      Bonds of Fire (Sp): A 12th level Fire Mage can craft solid fire and entrap a victim in it. The bonds will immobilize a creature which fails a Reflex Save (DC 10 + ˝ Level + Charisma Modifier), and will entangle the creature unless it succeeds in its save by more than 5. A creature can attempt to escape by taking a Full round action to make a Strength or Escape Artist test with a DC equal to the Use Rope Skill Result of the Fire Mage. The victim suffers 20 points of Fire Damage per round, and the bonds of fire last until the victim escapes or the Fire Mage dismisses them.

      Fire Clouds (Sp): As a Full Round Action, a 13th level Fire Mage can create huge billowing clouds of Fire. The Fire Clouds must be created within Long range, and persist for 3 rounds whether they are still in range or not. The cloud is shapeable, and covers at most 3 10' cubes per Level. Each round, everyone and everything inside the cloud suffers 1d6 of Fire damage per level, but is entitled to a Reflex save for half damage (DC 10 + ˝ Level + Charisma Modifier).

      Searing Light (Sp): A 14th level Fire Mage can call levels of illumination that are painful and destructive as the unmitigated baleful glare of the sun itself. All darkness within 5 miles is dispelled, and everything is illuminated. All undead suffer a 10 points of damage per round. All creatures specifically vulnerable to light suffer 10 damage per round (thus, vampires suffer 20 damage per round). All creatures are dazzled. Creatures must pass a Fortitude save (DC 10 + ˝ Level + Charisma Modifier) every minute or become blind for the remainder of the effect. Creatures that are blinded when the effect ends are entitled to another Fort save to get their vision back, but if they fail this save the blinding is permanent. This effect lasts until the Fire Mage dismisses it or he is incapacitated.

      Ray of Light (Sp): As an attack action, a 14th level Fire Mage can fire a ray of Light at any target within Short Range. It inflicts 1d6 of Light Damage per level if it hits with a Ranged Tuuch Attack. Undead take 10 extra damage. Creatures specifically vulnerable to Light suffer an additional 10 damage.

      Sending (Sp): A 15th level Fire Mage can send a message, as the sending spell to any creature on any plane of existence with a standard action and receive a reply even if they are on different planes of existence.

      Rain of Fire (Sp): At 15th level, the Fire Mage can open the skies and dump raw inferno upon all who would oppose him. The fires inflict 1d6 of Fire Damage per level, and victims are permitted a Reflex save (DC 10 + ˝ level + Charisma Modifier). The Fire Mage chooses which squares are struck with fire, and the only limits to how many squares can burn is how many squares the Fire Mage can see. There are no range limits to this power save line of sight.

      ---

      That's a basic artillery piece character that should be fairly easy to explain tactically. And it has a couple of neat schticks, and a reason to exist at high level if you intend to fight the occassional army.

      -Frank
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    Crissa
    King


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    PostPosted: Mon Feb 12, 2007 1:47 am    Post subject: Re: Making the Warlock from Scratch Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

    Judging__Eagle wrote:
    MrWaeseL wrote:
    Judging__Eagle wrote:
    How do you manage all of these ideas at the same time?

    He sits on the toilet a lot.

    Are you spying on Frank's washroom?


    He doesn't close the door.
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    OrionAnderson
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    PostPosted: Mon Feb 12, 2007 2:17 am    Post subject: Re: Making the Warlock from Scratch Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

    Yes, the Fire Mage there is very much the kind of thing I had in mind.

    As for your assertion that D&D is meant to be high-powered: Yes, that's true, but only to a certain point. The CR system holds that low-level opponenet sbecome irrelevant, and that's fine. Fantasy literature is full of guys who are so hardcore they can singlehandedly stab armies in the force and/or call down extreme burning on them.

    I really have no problem with mid to high level magicians being invulnerable to normal attack, able to sweep away hoards of mooks, etc.

    What bothers me is not so much the immunity to mundane observation as the immunity to the world itself.

    Spells like Teleport, Fabricate, and Magic Jar and so on give magicians ridiculous world-altering powers that have absolutely no bearing on the CR system. Sometime's I'm cool with that-- for every powerful spell, it destorys many stories and make others possible. Each spell comes from the literature, so there's no particular one I want to ban.

    But occasionally I wish for a magic class without access to an inifinite number of powers, without the ability to make limitless wealth, to gate in solars, to polymorph/shapechange cheese, to create hurricanes and earthquakes, and generally reshape the world as they see fit.

    I see D&D characters as superheroes-- incredibly hardcore with a couple of over-the-top powers, but preferably still forced to interact with the world around them.
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    Cielingcat
    Duke


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    PostPosted: Wed Feb 21, 2007 2:38 pm    Post subject: Re: Making the Warlock from Scratch Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

    To preserve the flavor of the Warlock as some crazy guy who bargains away his soul for power (or gets power from his blood), I've made a composite of the True Fiend and Fire Mage.

    Warlock
    “I have all the powers of Hell at my disposal. Who are you to question me?”


    Some people want power, and are crazy enough to offer their soul to various not nice people to get it. Others are simply (un)lucky enough to be descendants of those same people. However they managed to get their abilities, Warlocks wield the powers of the lower planes, which include powerful magic spells and the ability to shoot hellfire out of their hands.

    Alignment: Warlocks who bargain away their souls for power tend to be Evil, though nothing requires them to be. In fact, demons and devils will jump on the chance to corrupt someone Good to Team Evil, but such instances are rare. People whose power comes from their blood can be any alignment.

    Races: Warlocks can be any non-Outsider. Actual Outsiders don’t bargain away their souls because they already have the ability to use the powers they would get, and that is represented by them having access to classes like True Fiend or Conduit of the Lower Planes. However, a Warlock who later becomes an Outsider can still be a Warlock.

    Starting Gold:
    4d4*10 gp (100 gold)

    Starting Age: As Rogue.

    Hit Die: d6
    Class Skills: Bluff (Cha), Concentration (Con), Disguise (Cha), Hide (Dex), Intimidate (Cha), Knowledge (all, taken individually) (Int), Listen (Wis), Move Silently (Dex), Sense Motive (Wis), Sleight of Hand (Dex), Spellcraft (Int), Spot (Wis), Use Magic Device (Cha).
    Skills/Level: 4+ Int modifier, x4 at first level.
    BAB: Medium, as Rogue.
    Saves: Fort: Poor, Reflex: Good, Will: Good.

    Level, Benefit
    1: Sphere, Eldritch Blast
    2: Fiendish Similarities
    3: Sphere
    4: Call Fiends
    5: Hellfire Blast
    6: Sphere
    7: Damage Reduction
    8: Bonus feat
    9: Sphere
    10: Dark Blast
    11: Fiendish Servant
    12: Sphere
    13: Energy resistance
    14: Fear Aura
    15: Sphere, Fiendish Apotheosis

    Weapon and Armor Proficiencies: Warlocks are proficient in light armor, shields (but not tower shield), and simple weapons.

    Sphere:
    A Warlock gains basic access to a sphere at every third level. If the Warlock selects a sphere that he already has basic access to, he upgrades it to advanced access. If he already had advanced access, he gains expert access.

    Eldritch Blast (Su): As an attack action, a Warlock may fire a blast of fire at his foes. This has a range of Close (25 feet +5 ft./2 levels), does 1d6 damage per level of Warlock, and requires a ranged touch attack to hit.

    Fiendish Similarities: A 2nd level Warlock may qualify for and take feats with the [Fiend] or [Necromantic] tag, as long as he meets the other requirements. For [Necromantic] feats, he may use his character level as his caster level.

    Call Fiends (Sp): At 4th level, a Warlock can Summon an Outsider with the [Evil] subtype once per day, as long as the Outsider’s Challenge Rating is 3 less than his character level or lower. He can also choose to double the number of creatures summoned by reducing the max CR of the creatures by 2 per doubling (a 9th level Warlock could summon one CR 6 fiend, two CR 4 fiends, 4 CR 2 fiends, or 8 CR 1 fiends). This is treated as a spell of one half the Warlock’s level, rounded down, with a caster level equal to his levels in Warlock.

    Hellfire Blast (Su): At 5th level, a Warlock may choose to fire a blast of hellfire instead of normal fire, at the cost of 2d6 points of damage (i.e. a 5th level Warlock could use a 5d6 fire blast or a 3d6 hellfire blast). This blast bypasses fire resistance and deals half damage to creatures with fire immunity.

    Damage Reduction (Ex): At 7th level, a Warlock gains damage reduction equal to one half his class level, rounded up. This damage reduction is bypasses by whatever material is baneful to the Warlock’s fiendish patron or ancestor (silver for Baatezu, wood for Yugoloths, stone for Demodands, and iron for Tanar’ri) or Good aligned weapons. At 13th level, it is bypassed only by one of those, which the Warlock chooses upon taking the level. If a Warlock later takes levels in True Fiend, the damage reduction stacks and, at the third level of True Fiend, is bypassed only by weapons that are both Good and made of a baneful substance.

    Bonus Feat: At 8th level, a Warlock gains one bonus feat, which can be any [Fiend] feat he qualifies for.

    Dark Blast (Su): At 10th level, a Warlock may choose to change the damage of his Eldritch Blast to Unholy damage by reducing the damage it deals by 4d6 (a 10th level Warlock could opt to fire a 10d6 fire blast, 8d6 hellfire blast, or 6d6 unholy blast).

    Fiendish Servant: An 11th level Warlock is followed by a cohort whose CR is 2 less than his level, but the cohort can only have levels in True Fiend, Fiendish Brute, or Conduit of the Lower Planes (they can also have racial hit dice).

    Energy Resistance: At 13th level, a Warlock gains resistance 10 to two energy types of his choice, and resistance 5 to a third.

    Fear Aura (Su): At 14th level, a Warlock can radiate a 20 foot aura of Fear as per the spell at will with a caster level equal to his character level. Save DC is 10+1/2 HD+Cha modifier.

    Fiendish Apotheosis: A 15th level Warlock becomes an Outsider with the [Evil] subtype, even if his own alignment is not evil. He is immortal and does not age. This allows him to qualify for the Fiend classes, which can be used to fill out his last 5 levels.

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    Bigode
    Duke


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    PostPosted: Wed Aug 08, 2007 8:56 pm    Post subject: Re: Making the Warlock from Scratch Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

    Shouldn't this be at "It's My Own Invention"?

    FrankTrollman wrote:
    However, that's still less abilities at-will than a Druid has at the same level. Remember Shapechange? Every round you can become a new creature out of any monster book and use any of their Supernatural Abilities. That means that a Druid at 20th level almost certainly has hundreds of At-will abilities, including free wishes (Zodar), hastes (Gambol), flesh to stone cloud (gorgon), and healing (Energon).
    Just to clarify, is that because limited-use abilities are reset with each form? If that's the case, is there a basis for saying that it actually is (not that I think it's un-break shapechange, of course, as it'd just be a matter of finding multiple wishing monsters to get multiple wishes out of a single spell that is supposed to be as powerful as one wish)?

    Also, I was curious on the "orthodox" warlock fix: what'd people say about a warlock that got 1 invocation/level, where all scale continuously in a fashion related to the base effect, and hideous blow was a class feature that applied to ranged attacks and was an attack action allowable as many times per round as the now-full BAB allowed?
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    fbmf
    The Great Fence Builder


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    PostPosted: Thu Aug 09, 2007 3:19 am    Post subject: Re: Making the Warlock from Scratch Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

    [The Great Fence Builder Speaks]
    Yes, Bigode, it should.
    [/TGFBS]
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    Neeek
    Knight-Baron


    Joined: 07 Mar 2008
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    PostPosted: Thu Aug 09, 2007 7:21 am    Post subject: Re: Making the Warlock from Scratch Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

    Bigode wrote:

    Also, I was curious on the "orthodox" warlock fix: what'd people say about a warlock that got 1 invocation/level, where all scale continuously in a fashion related to the base effect, and hideous blow was a class feature that applied to ranged attacks and was an attack action allowable as many times per round as the now-full BAB allowed?


    Well, the main problem with the Warlock as I see it is their Invocations are generally gained too late. I'd do everything you did, but move the categories forward a level each (lesser at 5th, whatever the third level whose name I can't remember at 9th, dark at 13th, and another level that doesn't exist yet at 17th.)

    I assume you are including a rewrite of hideous blow that removes that AoO from using it.
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