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Zherog
2004-07-30, 11:03 AM
"Yo Z, the Babes are good and all, but they can't do that. *It requires a guy!"
"That's where you come in, Zherogley."

Part administrator, part con-man, part planner, part detective - and a bunch of other parts you don't want to know about. *They're masters of disguise, smart, witty, charming. * They're Zherogleys.

A Zherogley functions as a go-between for a Z-Man and the Babes. *He handles the passing of messages from a Z-Man, arranges meetings, runs interference for the babes - and a thousand other tasks, all in the name of his job. *Often - but not always - a Zherogley is a Z-Man's cohort, faithfully serving his mentor.

A Zherogley has intimate knowledge of both Z-men and Babes. *This knowledge allows him to perform his tasks quickly and efficiently. *It's also a weak point in the entire organizational structure. *A Zherogley gone rogue is a dangerous enemy, and will be hunted down and dealt with quickly and efficiently.

Early in their careers, a Zherogley is focused entirely on assisting the Z-Man and Babes. *As he gains levels, however, he becomes a valuable field resource for the organization, gaining many useful spell like abilities and other bonuses.

Due to the focus on skills, Rogues and Bards are the most likely to take up the task of a Zherogley. *Multiclass characters (especially with either of those classes) also qualify easily for the job, and often make the best Zherogleys as they bring a wide variety of skills and talents to the job. *Paladins and Monks cannot qualify, though a fair number of ex-paladins and ex-monks end up serving Justice through the Zherogley class.

To qualify to become a Zherogley, a character must fulfill all the following requirements:

Alignment: non-lawful, non-evil
Skills: *Disguise 4 ranks; Bluff 4 ranks; Diplomacy 8 ranks; Sense Motive 4 ranks
Feats: *Alertness, Skill Focus in either Disguise, Bluff, Diplomacy or Sense Motive
Languages: Must be able to speak at least 3 languages
Special: *Must be initiated into the Z-Man organization

Hit Points: *d6 per level
BAB: *Medium (as rogue)
Saves: *Will and Reflex good; Fortitude bad

The following are class skills for a Zherogley:

Appraise (Int), Bluff (Cha), Craft (Int), Decipher Script (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Disguise (Cha), Forgery (Int), Gather Information (Cha), Intimidate (Cha), Knowledge (Local), Listen (Wis), Perform (Cha), Profession (Wis), Sense Motive (Wis), Sleight of Hand (Dex), Speak Language (N/A), Spot (Wis), Use Magic Device (Cha)

Skill Points per Level: *8 + Int mod

level 1: *Bonding Oath; Create Interface
level 2: *Master of Disguise
level 3: *Charm Person
level 4: *Lay of the Land
level 5: *Rally the Team
level 6: *Distraction
level 7: *Smooth Talker
level 8: *Break Enchantment
level 9: *Devious Negotiator
level 10: *You're goin' down


Weapon and Armor Proficiencies: *Zherogleys are proficient in all simple weapons as well as the rapier. *They are proficient with light armor. A Zherogley's Supernatural and Spell-like abilities do not function when he is wearing armor heavier than light or when he is carrying a load heavier than light.

Bonding Oath: *Upon entering the Z-Man organization, a Zherogley undergoes an initiation ceremony that culminates in his taking an oath. *The Ceremony is short and is almost always attended by the Zherogley's Z-man. *The ceremony includes the casting of a powerful Geas spell upon the Zherogley, cast by a 20th level wizard. *The effect of the geas prevents the Zherogley from revealing information about the organization or it's members to anyone not within the organization. *Unlike a typical geas, this one alerts the casting wizard whenever the commands of the spell have been violated.

Given the chaotic nature of many Zherogleys, the oath is simple and straightforward. *Assist the Babes as needed, and protect them at all costs. *A Zherogley who violates his geas or oath losses all abilities from this class until he is the subject of an atonement spell.

Create Interface (Su): *A Z-Man's appearance is always kept secret from the Babes. *To facilitate communication between the two, a Zherogley is able to channel certain aspects of his Z-Man. *The Z-Man is able to take over the speech and senses of his Zherogley; during this time, however, the Zherogley is unable to move, as though under the effects of a Hold Person spell. *Initiating the interface requires a full round action. *It can be performed any number of times per day; however, both the Z-Man and the Zherogley must be willing to undergo this effect.

Master of Disguise (Ex): *A Zherogley is often relied upon to help get the Babes into someplace secure. *Beginning at 2nd level, he receives a competence bonus to Disguise and Forgery skills equal to his class level.

Charm Person (Sp): *Sometimes, all a Zherogley needs is a friend in the right location. *A number of times per day equal to his class level, he may cast Charm Person as a spell like ability. *This ability is a standard action to activate and the save DC is 10 + class level + the Zherogley's charisma modifier.

Lay of the Land (Ex): *Zherogleys meet many people and go many places during the course of their work. *Beginning at 4th level, they gain a competence bonus on all Gather Information and Knowledge (Local) checks equal to their class level.

Rally the Team (Sp): *As he gains levels, the Zherogley becomes a master at boosting the morale of the Babes he's been charged to protect. *Once per day, he may Rally the Team. *This ability requires a full round action to activate. *It functions like the bard spell Good Hope except the duration is equal to one hour per class level.

Distraction (Sp): *A Zherogley is sometimes called on to extract the Babes from a dangerous situation. *Once per day a Zherogley can use the spell Confusion as a spell like ability. *Babes are immune to this effect. *Targets are entitled to a Will saving throw with a DC equal to 10 + class level + the Zherogley's charisma modifier.

Smooth Talker (Ex): *A Zherogley becomes a master of negotiation - whether honest or not. *Beginning at 7th level he gains a competence bonus equal to his class level on all his Bluff and Diplomacy checks.

Break Enchantment (Sp): *Sometimes, Babes get themselves in trouble. *When they do, it's the Zherogley's job to get them out of it. *Sometimes, that trouble is magical in nature. *Beginning at 8th level, the Zherogley is able to cast Break Enchantment once per day. *His caster level for this ability is equal to his character level. *Activating this ability is a standard action.

Devious Negotiator (Sp): *Sometimes when negotiating, his skill and charm aren't enough. *Once per day, a Zherogley is able to cast Mass Suggestion as a spell like ability. *Targets are entitled to a will save, with a DC equal to 10 + class level + the Zherogley's charisma modifier. *Activating the ability is a standard action.

You're Going Down (Sp): *When the Babes and a Zherogley bring a criminal to justice, it's the Zherogley's job to ensure the criminal doesn't escape. *Once per day, the Zherogley may cast the Imprisonment spell as a spell like ability. *This ability requires a standard action. *A Will save by the target can prevent the Imprisonment. *The saving throw DC is 10 + class level + the Zherogley's charisma modifier. *Note that the -4 penalty outlined in the spell description will almost always apply to targets of a Zherogley's You're Going Down ability.

***

edits:

-- added text, "A Zherogley's Supernatural and Spell-like abilities do not function when he is wearing armor heavier than light or when he is carrying a load heavier than light." to the armor/weapon proficiency line

Zherog
2004-07-30, 11:09 AM
And some comments from the writer....

I'm not sure the Create Interface ability is written well. The idea is to replicate the "Speaker Box" on Bosley's desk, in Charlie's Angels, but to do so in a much more magical and fantastical manner.

On "Rally the Team" - Good Hope was the perfect spell, but the duration (1 round/level) was way too short to be useful. For now, I've altered it to one hour per level, though I'm pondering dropping it to one hour for every two class levels. It's a damn good ability, and by the end of the class it'll end up working for just about all the time that it matters.

Overall, I think the class has some good abilities. However, a rogue coming in will have to give up progressing his Sneak Attack. A Bard will have to surrender his bardic music and his spell casting. I'm hoping what is lost is enough of a cost to offset some of the really good abilities here.

So - I'm interested in thoughts. This one'll be my "official" entry into the contest, since it's the only one of the three classes that actually uses my full screen name.

kirellagen
2004-07-30, 11:12 AM
First of all, I like the class, it works well with the Z theme. I like the skill bonuses a lot (Hmm, wonder why), but the Imprisonment feature seems a bit overpowered. Maybe you could give it some kind of penalty. For instance, there's a Prestige class in the Book of Exalted Deeds that has very good spells but all of them have a drawback, like one point of permanent HP drain or 4d6 damage. Otherwise, it looks great. Maybe in the future there can be a Z man, three Z's babes, and a Zherogley in the same party.

Kire

Zherog
2004-07-30, 11:21 AM
You're right that Imprisonment is a very good abillity. I pondered making it a once a week ability, but I personally always find those sorts of things tedious to keep track of within the game. So just how bad is it to be able to use this ability once per day?

Well, Imprisonment is a 9th level spell. So that means the minimum save DC against the spell version is going to be 23 (10 + spell level (9) + ability mod (mimimum of 19 to cast the spell, so +4). A wizard can have the spell at 17th level, and a sorcerer at 18th level. More likely at that point, we'll be looking at an ability mod of around 30, which means a +10 bonus, bringing the save DC up to 29!

A Zherogly who was a rogue or bard before the class can take the first level of this class as his 6th character level. That means he'll be 16th level when he gains this ability - one level earlier than a wizard and two earlier than a sorcerer. The DC is going to be comparable, I would guess. In the end, I decided that everything the character had to give up to get this far made up for the fact he gets this ability a little sooner than an arcane caster. I'll wait and see what others think, though.

A Z Man most likely wouldn't adventure, because the Babes can't know his identity. However, a standard 4 person party would work very well, I would think, to be comprised of 3 Babes and a Zherogley. The Z Man could be in the background, setting up the missions, etc.

All in all, these were fun classes to write.

Abelard
2004-07-30, 02:12 PM
Great class, Zherog. And a good complement to the Z Babes.

I'd add that the Zherogley's class features don't work if the character is wearing armor heavier than light armor. Albeit at a higher level, eventually characters that wear the big clanky stuff are going to qualify for the class, and a Zherogley in full plate is an image that hurts the eyes. But that's just a nitpick. ;)

I'm still debating if +10 in a bunch of skills is worth bardic music and spell progression and bardic knowledge (it certainly is worth 5d6 sneak attack damage, IMO). In a Bard 10 / Zherogley 10, the character just sees his first 4th level spell at 20th level! I think that continuing the bardic knowledge is justified; with all the contacts he's supposed to have, he can easily pick up information all over the place. Oh - do you intend the Gather Info to take the place of that?

Zherog
2004-07-30, 02:22 PM
Well, the Gather Info and the Knowledge (Local) together kind of replace it. I tend to allow bards to make a bardic knowledge check along with an Int check, so they could try both at the same time.

The other thing I meant to add to my "comments" post and forgot. For now, I'm not requiring the Zherogley to be a male. I might add that pre-req later, but right now I can envision a female in the class (though that sort of invalidates my flavor text ;) ).

I will indeed make the tweak about abilities not working in armor heavier than light or while carrying a medium or heavy load. Good catch. :)