View Full Version : [3.5 base class variant] Grammaton Cleric as Swordsage Variant

2009-01-13, 08:33 PM
This may be a ludicrous idea, but I was wondering if you could turn a swordsage into a Grammaton Cleric.

For those unfamiliar with the Grammaton Clerics

They are the elite police force of the city-state Libria in the movie Equilibium (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Equilibrium_(2002_film)) who practice a range of martial arts, but are most well known for the gun kata, a martial art built upon statistical analysis of 1000s of gun fights, allowing the cleric to more effective predict their enemies positions and lines of fire, taking them out, while avoiding return fire. It can also have elements of hand to hand combat. An example from the end of the movie. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CeHrq_Fs1vk&feature=related) They carry a katana that seems to be largely ceremonial, but the clerics are skilled in its use.

As shown somewhat in the clip above and moreso in this one (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=goO-a_FaQfo&feature=related), the clerics are well-trained in unarmed combat as well an, on very rare occasions, they will use their guns as blunt weapons.

So, that's what I'd like to achieve.

Moving on to how I'm attempting to accomplish that in the DnD 3.5 ruleset.

Beginning from the Unarmed Swordsage variant, which loses light armor proficiency in exchange for the monk's Unarmed Strike feature (Improved Unarmed Strike, counts as a natural weapon, damage progression), I propose the following changes to create a Grammaton Cleric.

Weapon Proficiencies: Lose all martial melee weapon proficiencies except katana (bastard sword); gain proficiency with the hand crossbow

Going back and forth between hand crossbow and repeating light crossbow. Repeating light has a chamber like the handguns used in the movies, but the clip is smaller and requires player action (with a free hand) to recock. Dual-wielding either is a pain, but at the point that you buy a Spare Hand from Magic Item Compendium, I believe the hand crossbow is easier to deal with.

Maneuvers: Lose access to Setting Sun and Stone Dragon disciplines, gain ability to use some maneuvers* with ranged attacks with the hand crossbow, though the target of the attack must be half a range increment away (15 ft by default; 20 with Far Shot) at most, closer if the maneuver is a charge or specifies that you must be adjacent.

* Current list of maneuvers that can be used with hand crossbow by a grammaton cleric (replacing melee attack with ranged attack when necessary)

Diamond Mind - will mainly be used with the katana, but these four seemed appropriate for the hand crossbow as well
4 - Bounding Assault
5 - Rapid Counter
7 - Avalanche of Blades
9 - Time Stands Still

Desert Wing - We are simulating a firearm here, so some additional fire damage seemed appropriate. Desert tempest is just too fun to pass up.
1 - burning blade
2 - flashing sun
4 - searing blade
6 - desert tempest
6 - fiery assault
7 - inferno blade

Shadow Hand - Those included could represent particularly well-placed shots
1 - Clinging Shadow Strike
1 - Shadow Blade Technique
2 - Drain Vitality
3 - Strength Draining Strike
4 - Obscuring Shadow Veil
5 - Bloodletting Strike
6 - Stalker in the Night
7 - Death in the Dark
9 - Five Shadow Creeping Ice Enervation Strike

Tiger Claw - These just seem to fit.
1 - Wolf Fang Strike
5 - Pouncing Charge (use unarmed strike range to determine closest point of attack)
6 - Wolf Climbs the Mountain
7 - Hamstring Attack
8 - Wolf Pack Tactics

Tiger claw obviously has others that work well with a hand crossbow without changing anything, such as Fountain of Blood, both Mongooses, and Blood in the Water

Discipline Focus
Weapon focus - rather than choosing a discipline, a Grammaton Cleric receives this benefit for the katana (bastard sword), hand crossbow and unarmed strike
Insightful strikes - each time this feature is available, instead of choosing a discipline, the grammaton cleric can choose to gain his Wisdom modifier as a bonus on ranged damage rolls with the hand crossbow. If he chooses this option one time and a discipline the other, he does not gain the bonus twice when executing a maneuver of that discipline with the hand crossbow.
defensive stance - the bonus to saving throws is reduced to +1, but ranged attacks made with a hand crossbow while in a stance of the chosen discipline do not provoke attacks of opportunity

Unarmed Strike* - a grammaton cleric deals unarmed strike damage as a monk of two size categories smaller than he is, but his hand crossbow deals damage as a monk of the size creature the crossbow was designed for would do. He can make an unarmed strike with a hand that is holding a hand crossbow, but takes a -2 penalty on attack rolls when doing so. A grammaton cleric still receives Improved Unarmed Strike as a bonus feat.

*gained by the unarmed variant in exchange for light armor proficiency

Any and all feedback appreciated

2009-01-13, 08:54 PM
Someone turned Grammaton Clerics into a class or PrC before I think... so assuming that wasn't you, I would take a look at that if I was you, if you haven't.

Too many "if"s but you get the idea.

2009-01-13, 09:28 PM
Someone turned Grammaton Clerics into a class or PrC before I think... so assuming that wasn't you, I would take a look at that if I was you, if you haven't.

Too many "if"s but you get the idea.

Seems you're right; there's the Axiomarch (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=57103) and a prestige class (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=98747), which I will look through, but, from a skim, they are either designed as an alternative to or a prestige class for the monk. Since we now have the swordsage, I thought it could be updated.

Any comments, concerns or complaints about how I went about it?

2009-01-13, 09:30 PM
I actually made the Grammaton Cleric as a prestige class, located here: http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=98747

The Demented One
2009-01-13, 10:08 PM
Black Rain (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=99529) is a discipline designed just for gunslinging; a Swordsage (or any martial adept proficient with firearms) could take it and become a Grammaton Cleric, more or less–lots of neat little tricks like ricocheting shots, shooting projectiles out of the air, and Wanted-esque bullet-curving. If you don't wanna use real firearms, you could rework it to use hand crossbows.

2009-01-13, 10:41 PM
Black Rain looks interesting and I will definitely consider it.

As much as I appreciate the alternatives, does anyone have a comment about my variant along the lines of:
maneuver X shouldn't be usable with a crossbow
it doesn't give up enough to gain benefit Y
I wouldn't allow it in my campaign because of Z

Or should I infer from the suggested alternatives that my method is less viable than those listed?

The goal of doing it as a variant, rather than as a wholly new class or new discipline was so that one could play a Grammaton-style swordsage with only the ToB and knowledge that a few things worked slightly differently. One would not need to provide the DM with a printout of a new discipline or homebrewed class, though obviously neither is particularly difficult. The only thing that might need to be printed out or copied from here is the list of what can be used with a crossbow and that can be eliminated by saying that it is whatever is agreed to between player and DM.

Maybe I should have made that clear.

Continued alternatives or, preferably, feedback on my class variant appreciated