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View Full Version : Bard Prestige Class - Dark Geisha (PEACH)



faeline
2006-06-20, 12:38 PM
I was talking to my boyfriend about Kenshin and stuff ^^ and suddenly I had an inspiration to do a prestige class for bards, something like bardic assassin :P

Hidden amongst the numerous Geisha in Kyoto, there exists a group of special Geisha, trained to kill with their beauty and dance. They exist as a group of mercenaries, only employed by those who know their existence.

Requirements:
* Skills – 8 ranks in Perform (Dance), 8 ranks in Diplomacy, 5 ranks in Hide, 5 ranks in Craft (Poison)
* Feats – Exotic Weapon Proficiency (Shuriken)
* Alignment – Must be non-good and non-lawful
* Special – Must be trained personally by a dark geisha; Must have the bardic music class ability; Must be female.

http://static.flickr.com/46/171713179_97ebac81c2_o.gif

Class Skills: Balance (Dex), Bluff (Cha), Concentration (Con), Craft (Poison) (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Disguise (Cha), Gather Information (Cha), Hide (Cha), Knowledge (Local) (Int), Knowledge (History) (Int), Knowledge (Nobility) (Int), Listen (Wis), Move Silently (Dex), Perform (Cha), Sense Motive (Wis), Sleight of Hand (Dex), Spellcraft (Int), Use Magic Device (Cha).

Skill Points Per Level: 6 + Int

Hit Dice: d6

Class Features:
* Weapon and Armor Proficiency: A Dark Geisha gains Exotic Weapon Proficiency (Fan) for purposes of melee attack, but gains no other weapon and armor proficiency.

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* Bardic Music (Su): A Dark Geisha levels stack with bard levels for the purpose of determining the Dark Geisha’s daily uses of her bardic music (if any) and the value of the bonus granted by inspire courage (if the Dark Geisha has that bardic music ability).

* Geisha Tales: A Dark Geisha picks up random knowledge while entertaining her customer. She can attempt to recall information regarding various topics, just as a bard with bardic knowledge can. However, as her circle of information is restricted to her customers, she only adds half her class levels in Dark Geisha and her Intelligence modifier to her lore check. If the character has a similar ability from another class, her Dark Geisha levels stack with class levels from that other class to determine the success of the Geisha Tales check.

* Stage Name: A Dark Geisha gains a stage name, and shall be known by that henceforth.

* Poison Use: A Dark Geisha is trained in the use of poisons and never risk accidentally poisoning themselves when applying or using poisons.

* Tools of the Geisha: A Dark Geisha treats her hairpins as shurikens if they are used as weapons.

http://static.flickr.com/44/171699992_cbc5530931_o.gif

* Charisma Increase: As a level 5 Dark Geisha, she gains +2 bonus on charisma.

* Silent Kill (Ex): Subjects killed by a Dark Geisha are unable to cry out in death.

* Master of Flirtation (Ex): A Dark Geisha gains a competence bonus equivalent to half her class levels to diplomacy, bluff and gather information.

* Experienced Entertainer (Ex): A Dark Geisha gains +1 competence bonus to Fortitude saves against poisons due to her numerous exposure to alcohol. This bonus is gained at level 3, 6 and 9.

* Dance of the Geisha (Su):
• Steps of the Fallen Cherry Blossoms – A level 2 Dark Geisha with 10 ranks in Perform (dance) can use a expend 1 bardic music using a standard action, or 2 bardic music using a swift action, to use her skills Perform (dance) to distract her enemy. The DC is 10 + number of ranks + charisma. Anybody within 30ft who has seen the Steps of the Fallen Sakura must roll a will save or has his/her Dex bonus to AC denied.
• Steps of the Deadly Rose – A level 4 Dark Geisha with 12 ranks in Perform (dance) can expend a number of bardic music up to half her class level to deal more damage, dealing 1d6 per bardic music expended. The Steps of the Deadly Rose must be used after the Steps of the Fallen Sakura. The damage when the enemy is denied his Dexterity bonus to Armor Class (if any), but does not work while flanking.
• Steps of the Hidden Lily – A level 6 Dark Geisha with 14 ranks in Perform (dance) dance herself out of danger. She can expend 1 bardic music as a standard action for half concealment, or a full round action for total concealment.
• Steps of the Scattered Petals – A level 8 Dark Geisha with 16 ranks in Perform (dance) can expend 1 bardic music use a full round action to deal damage to all her enemies within 30ft. She can shoot a number of enemies, up to half her levels in Dark Geisha, taking a -2 attack penalty for each attack. These attacks provoke Attacks of Opportunity as normal for ranged attacks. The Steps of the Scattered Petals can be used after Steps of the Fallen Sakura and used in conjunction with Steps of the Deadly Rose to deal sneak damage per target, provided she has daily uses of Bardic Music.
• Steps of the Black Lotus – A level 10 Dark Geisha with 18 ranks in Perform (dance) can, following a successful Steps of the Fallen Sakura, expend 1 bardic music for a death attack, with a DC of 10 + levels in Dark Geisha + Charisma. A successful save renders the target dazed for 1d4 rounds; an unsuccessful save renders the target dead.

* Master of Poisons (Su): As a Dark Geisha, she is trained in creating poisons for assassination purposes. She gains a +1 competence bonus on Craft (poison) skill checks at level 1, 3, 5, 7 and 9.

Saithis Bladewing
2006-06-20, 12:43 PM
I like it, but I can't honestly tell you whether it's balanced or not.

faeline
2006-06-20, 12:46 PM
That's the problem I'm facing... I'm emotionally attached to the first PrC I've created, I can't give a proper rating on whether it's balanced or not :( I need experienced help :(

Saithis Bladewing
2006-06-20, 12:50 PM
One thing: you don't have any hit dice or skill points/class skills listed.

Thomas
2006-06-20, 01:00 PM
It generally doesn't look overpowered to me. The "would you choose it over any other class" litmus test comes out a "no", but it's a flavorful way to create a very specific kind of character (which is the point of a PrC).

There's one problem, though: Steps of the Fallen Sakura is far, far too powerful. You need to limit its range (to, say, 30 feet), and preferrably make it only work against opponents who have been fascinated (with a spell or with the bardic music ability). Also, you need to change the wording; the subjects aren't "feinted", but rather "the affected targets are denied their Dexterity bonus to AC against the next attack the dark geisha makes" (this allows the dark geisha to use ranged attacks, which seems to have been your intent, rather than only melee attacks, as the rules for feint say).

PMDM
2006-06-20, 01:08 PM
Roleplaying wise, it needs to a bit more open to other, more masculine, characters. Oh, and the alignment could be a bit less strict. I would like a good geisha build, as well as a bad one.

Saithis Bladewing
2006-06-20, 01:09 PM
Roleplaying wise, it needs to a bit more open to other, more masculine, characters. Oh, and the alignment could be a bit less strict. I would like a good geisha build, as well as a bad one.


Why should it be open to more masculine characters? Geisha were traditionally VERY feminine.

BelkarsDagger
2006-06-20, 01:23 PM
Geisha were traditionally VERY feminine.

Yeah...

And it does need class skills and how many skills it gets every level, in addition to hit dice, I would recommend d8, maybe even a d10.

Saithis Bladewing
2006-06-20, 01:25 PM
I'd say a d6 or d8 on the hitpoints, given what I know on class construction. Too high and it will definitely be overpowered.

Truwar
2006-06-20, 02:20 PM
I don’t think there is any need to make it so you cannot enhance the hair-pin darts. If you are really worried about a dart that can double as a hair-pin you could reduce the damage it does to 1 or halve the range but it does not make sense for them to unable to be enchanted.

Gorbash Kazdar
2006-06-20, 02:27 PM
Very interesting class! I've always like the bard/assassin idea anyways, and this class has both excellent flavor and a good set of abilities to go along with it. I'm not certain of the balance overall, but I'll give some suggestions to certain things.


<Flavor/desc cut for space>

Requirements:
* Skills – 8 ranks in Perform (Dance), 8 ranks in Diplomacy, 8 ranks in Craft (Poison), 5 ranks in Hide
* Feats – Point Blank Shot, Precise Shot
* Alignment – Must be non-good and non-lawful
* Special – Must be trained personally by a dark geisha; Must have the bardic music class ability; Must be female.
The Skills and Special look great, though I'm not sold on the "non-lawful" requirement for Alignment. Since you essentially have to be a bard to get into this class, the vast majority of characters otherwise able to qualify will be non-lawful anyways, so it's unneccessary on that point. Flavor wise, I can argue for a lawful assassin, but it depends on your take on the various alignments - I just think leaving it out allows for more options in the unlikely event that a lawful character does meet the other requirements. The feats are okay - it fits with the dart throwing concept, so mechanically work. However, the other requirements are fairly restrictive, so they may not be neccessary.


<Table cropped>
BAB looks good. Saves are probably fine; was leary of having good Ref and Will, but given my other suggestions, plus the fact that the character will be coming from Bard, it works. Need to include Hit Die and Skills (d6, 4 or 6 + Int, needs to include Bluff, Craft (poison making), Diplomacy, Gather Information, Knowledge (all), Listen, Perform, Profession, Sense Motive, Sleight of Hand, and Speak Languages as class skills).


Class Features:
* Weapon and Armor Proficiency: A Dark Geisha is proficient with darts, but gains no other weapon and armor proficiency.
Okay, but I have an issue with darts... see below. I'd have them gain no profiencies at all.


* Bardic Music (Su): A Dark Geisha levels stack with bard levels for the purpose of determining the Dark Geisha’s daily uses of her bardic music (if any) and the value of the bonus granted by inspire courage (if the Dark Geisha has that bardic music ability).

* Geisha Tales: A Dark Geisha picks up random knowledge while entertaining her customer. She can attempt to recall information regarding various topics, just as a bard with bardic knowledge can. However, as her circle of information is restricted to her customers, she only adds half her class levels in Dark Geisha and her Intelligence modifier to her lore check. If the character has a similar ability from another class, her Dark Geisha levels stack with class levels from that other class to determine the success of the Geisha Tales check.

* Stage Name: A Dark Geisha gains a stage name, and shall be known by that henceforth.

* Poison Use: A Dark Geisha is trained in the use of poisons and never risk accidentally poisoning themselves when applying or using poisons.
No problems here; definitely fit flavor wise and help a lot to make the class attractive and viable mechanically. Just to be sure - my reading of the Bardic Music ability indicates that the character would not gain the higher level versions of the class feature. IMHO, that's how it should be - otherwise, the class would definitely be overpowered, since the bard would essentially lose nothing and gain quite a bit.


* Tools of the Geisha: A Dark Geisha treats her hairpins as darts if they are used as weapons. The damage dealt is the same as darts, however such hairpins cannot be enhanced like a normal weapon.
I'm kind of ambivalent on this one. In fact, I'm not sold on the dart idea to begin with. For a class focus and class ability, it's kind of bleh. Plus, darts are bigger than hairpins by quite a bit - the size of arrows, and mechanically they pretty well suck.

I think, flavor and mechanics wise, a better choice would be to use shuriken instead. Shuriken make more sense as hairpin equivalents due to size (also, a number of shuriken styles look like hairpins - they're not all throwing stars ;)) and have a significant advantage: they're ammunition, so you can draw them as a free action. This makes for a much more viable build for thrown weapons. My suggestion would be to replace one or both of the current feat requirements with "Exotic Weapon Proficiency (shuriken)" and drop this class ability all together. Alternatively, you can grant the proficiency as part of the Weapons and Armor section above, but I favor the former approach.

As for the hairpins, I suggest having a "Geisha tools" sidebar, so to speak, with them. I'd stat them as follows:
{table]

Weapon
Cost
Dmg (S)
Dmg (M)
Crit
Range
Weight
Type


Geisha hairpins (5)
5 gp
1
1
x2
10ft
1/4 lb.
Piercing

[/table]
You gain a +2 bonus to Sleight of Hand checks made to conceal Geisha hairpins on your body (you may make one such check to hide up to 5 hairpins at a time).

In all other ways, Geisha hairpins are treated as shuriken. A character proficient with one is proficient with both, a monk may use either as a special monk weapon, and any of the following feats taken for one apply to both: Greater Weapon Focus, Greater Weapon Specialization, Improved Critical, Weapon Focus, and Weapon Specialization. Geisha hairpins are treated as ammunition in the same manner that shuriken are.


* Charisma Increase: As a level 5 Dark Geisha, she gains +2 inherent bonus on charisma.
Not a bad addition, but given everything else this class gets, probably too much.


* Silent Kill (Ex): Subjects killed by a Dark Geisha are unable to cry out in death.
I like the idea of it, perhaps move it to where the Charisma increase was fomerly gained? May need to be modified to require a check or spent usage of Bardic Music.


* Master of Flirtation (Ex): A Dark Geisha gains a competence bonus equivalent to her class levels to diplomacy, bluff and gather information.
Flavorful, but pretty powerful. Probably should apply to only two of those skills at most. Or, perhaps, should work like (and replace) Master of Poisons.


* Experienced Entertainer (Ex): A Dark Geisha gains +1 competence bonus to Fortitude saves against poisons due to her numerous exposure to alcohol. This bonus is gained at level 3, 6 and 9.
Not bad, not sold on it. Might be unneccessary clutter.


* Dance of the Geisha (Su):
• Steps of the Fallen Sakura – A level 2 Dark Geisha with 10 ranks in Perform (dance) can use a standard action to expend 1 bardic music to use her skills Perform (dance) as feint attempt. The DC is 10 + number of ranks + charisma. Anybody who has seen the Steps of the Fallen Sakura must roll a will save or be feinted.
This ability is probably the one that needs the most work for a couple reasons. First, the requirement of a standard action creates problems for later abilities, which are worded as if the attacks can take place in the same round. However, one cannot attack and use another standard action in the same round. Additionally, while it sets up and improves later abilities, it's too weak in and of itself. Basically, for spending a use of bardic music, you get to make a normal feint attempt where the only difference is using Perform (dance) ranks instead of Bluff (and, with this class, your Bluff skill will probably even be better than Perform (dance) in any case).

My suggestion would be to have it reduce to a standard action for one spent usage of Bardic Music, and a swift action for two spent usages. Also, allow it to work with shuriken to make a ranged feint within 30ft. It should otherwise work exactly like a normal feint attempt (ie. require an opposed check between Perform (dance) and Sense Motive + BAB).

Personal preference would be fully translate the name to "Steps of the Fallen Cherry Blossom" ;)


• Steps of the Deadly Rose – A level 4 Dark Geisha with 12 ranks in Perform (dance) can expend a number of bardic music up to half her class level to deal more damage, dealing 1d6 per bardic music expended. The Steps of the Deadly Rose must be used after the Steps of the Fallen Sakura. The damage works like a sneak attack damage, and hence those who are immune to sneak attack are immune to this damage.
This is a tough one; personally, I'd have it work a little differently. Rather than the extra die getting applied on any attack, have it so the Geisha gains the Sudden Strike ability (same as Sneak Attack except the target has to be denied Dex for it to apply; flanking isn't enough) for one round, with bonus die equal to the number of Bardic Music uses expended (up to 1/2 Geisha level). I think this would make it function more consistently and intuitively, plus it now naturally matches with Fallen Sakura. Lastly, add "the Geisha may use this ability as part of an attack action."

Also, the attack now naturally should occur within 30ft for the ability to work.


• Steps of the Hidden Lily – A level 6 Dark Geisha with 14 ranks in Perform (dance) dance herself out of danger. She can expend 1 bardic music as a standard action for half concealment, or a full round action for total concealment.
I like this ability a lot.


• Steps of the Scattered Petals – A level 8 Dark Geisha with 16 ranks in Perform (dance) can expend 1 bardic music use a full round action to deal damage to all her enemies. She can shoot a number of enemies, up to half her levels in Dark Geisha, taking a -2 attack penalty for each attack. The Steps of the Scattered Petals can be used after Steps of the Fallen Sakura and used in conjunction with Steps of the Deadly Rose to deal sneak damage per target, if the targets are successfully feinted.
This has some issues. It needs a defined range, for one. I'd rewrite it as follows:

Steps of the Scattered Petals - An 8th level or higher Dark Geisha with at least 16 ranks in Perform (dance) can expend 1 daily bardic music use as full round action to make one ranged attack using a shuriken against each opponent within a 30ft of her at her full base attack bonus. She may attack as many targets within this range as she has available shuriken. These attacks provoke Attacks of Opportunity as normal for ranged attacks. A Dark Geisha may use Steps of the Fallen Sakura and/or Steps of the Deadly Rose in conjunction with this ability, provided she has enough daily uses of Bardic Music.

As written, Fallen Sakura would only apply to one target in this group, but any others also caught flat footed may be subject to Sudden Strike damage. The damage on the shuriken or hairpins is very low, and even with Sudden Strike I don't think this ability is overpowered, given the level one gets it at.


• Steps of the Black Lotus – A level 10 Dark Geisha with 18 ranks in Perform (dance) can, following a successful Steps of the Fallen Sakura, expend 1 bardic music for a death attack, with a DC of 10 + levels in Dark Geisha + Charisma. This can only be used with a dart or hairpin with death poison applied.
I'd just make this a "save or die" death attack at the given DC, and drop the requirement of the death poison. I'd also allow the Geisha to paralyze the target like an assassin can. Might be a good idea to allow the Geisha to use a dagger with this ability as well (I'd drop darts for shuriken either way), and have it work only if the target is within 30ft. Since a save completely negates the attack (no automatic Sneak Attack damage here, though Sudden Strike may apply if one uses Steps of the Deadly Rose), and it has both an opposed check and a save, I think it's otherwise fine. The one problem I see is that it comes so late, while assassins get Death Attack right away. I'd personally move it down to where Steps of the Deadly Rose is and bump everything else up one step.


* Master of Poisons (Su): As a Dark Geisha, she is trained in creating poisons for assassination purposes. She gains a +2 competence bonus on Craft (poison) skill checks at level 1, 3, 5, 7 and 9. At level 9, she will also gain the ability to create a death poison salve, which can be applied only to darts (includes hairpins). She is only allowed to have 1 death poison salve at any instance (applied or not).
I'd just drop this.

[hr]
Overall, I like the idea, but I think it's a little weak. Even with all the abilities, you lose bardic casting, which hurts, and simply spend time replacing other bard abilities. Don't forget that the Assassin gets casting on top of its other abilities! I'd either give them their own casting progression, or, preferably, 1/2 spellcasting increase (ie. "+1 level of existing arcane spellcasting class" in the Spells per Day column at every other level - probably even levels). It may even stand more casting than that (all but one or two levels, perhaps).

I'll look at it some more and see if I have any other suggestions.

All in all, a very cool idea and a fantastic start (especially for a first PrC)! It really looks like you have all the abilities there that you need, it just requires a little clarification and refining here and there, and a little help to bring it on par with a straight bard or an assassin. The flavor is dead on, but at the same time flexible enough to fit into a non-Oriental campaign with only a little modification (primarily renaming abilities, IMHO). I'd love to use it in one of my own campaigns ;)

waspsmakejam
2006-06-20, 02:53 PM
Roleplaying wise, it needs to a bit more open to other, more masculine, characters. Oh, and the alignment could be a bit less strict. I would like a good geisha build, as well as a bad one.

There is no reason why male characters cannot be geishas - there's a male geisha in the movie Zatoichi. But masculine, nope, femininity is the whole point of a geisha.

I would change the alignment restriction. There's nothing inherently evil about spying, subterfuge and assassination, depends on why and who to/for not what you do.

I'd add wepon proficiency in wire garotte.

Maryring
2006-06-20, 03:02 PM
I already made what I think you are after. Maybe I did, maybe I didn't, but nonetheless, here is the link to my take on your "dark geisha". Hopefully, it is what you are after. :)

Kunoichu (http://www.giantitp.com/cgi-bin/yabb/YaBB.pl?board=gaming;action=display;num=1143741184 ;start=32#32)


I hope I can be of help. Oh, and unless I am mistaken, the Hair Pins you are refering too are called Fukimi-Bari and appear in the Rogukan setting.

molonel
2006-06-20, 03:20 PM
It's not overpowered. It's just a little rough.

Right now, shooting from the hip:

1. I would change the charisma bump to an unnamed bonus instead of inherent.

2. You need to add a skill list, and skill points per level.

3. Get rid of the feats. It's tight enough getting into this prestige class, as is, and there is no particular emphasis in class abilities for thrown or missile weapons.

4. It seems like there should be some more significance to acquiring a new name, either in flavor, mechanics or the class write-up.

5. I would also change the skill bonus type for Master of Flirtation to something else, and perhaps make it untyped.

More later.

Gorbash Kazdar
2006-06-20, 03:39 PM
I hope I can be of help. Oh, and unless I am mistaken, the Hair Pins you are refering too are called Fukimi-Bari and appear in the Rogukan setting.
Aren't Fukimi-Bari "mouth darts"? I'm also not sure they're real... anyways, I think shuriken (specifically bo shuriken) are closer to what's intended here.


4. It seems like there should be some more significance to acquiring a new name, either in flavor, mechanics or the class write-up.
I agree; unfortunately, I don't have any specific suggestions here :-/

Maryring
2006-06-20, 03:45 PM
Yeah, the Fukimi-Bari are "mouth darts". But their design reminded me more of hair pins, and they have very similar (if not identical, I can't remember) stats as your Geisha Darts.

TimeWizard
2006-06-20, 03:46 PM
Where's Exotic Weapon Proficiancy: Fan?

I'd throw in (flavorwise here people, work with me) Tools of the Geisha EWP: Shuriken, EWP: Fan.
While two proficancies is big on paper, a fan is the quintessential weapon that's only exotic because it's Asain and not European. I would allow this in my game for another reason though, I like the hidden shuriken idea, but geisha were strictly forbidden from carrying weapons in public or at private meetings. So unless you take Improved Unarmed Strike, you're going to find yourself weaponless.

But that's just personal bias, if anyone can see balance issues, please say so.

[EDIT]: The last person to open up a serious can of whup-ass with fans was Anji Mito from Guilty Gear

faeline
2006-06-20, 10:59 PM
Did some changes to the original post :)
- Added the hit-dice, skills points and class skills. Didn't give her full knowledge as she's more or less concerned with killing people as opposed to adventuring.
- Changed the feat requirements. I guess Point Blank isn't really that important (though it's good to have)
- Allowed her to use fans as melee, with tables :)
- Changed darts to shurikens. Thanks! I was actually trying to remember shurikens :P
- Changed Sakura to Cherry Blossoms; changed feinting to removing dex bonus to AC.
- Changed Deadly Rose from sneak attack to sudden strike :)
- Changed Scattered Petals such that there's a range limit :) and added in the AoO
- Changed Black Lotus such that there's a result for failure and success, and removed the need for the deadly poison.
- Added 1/2 spellcasting progression.
- Removed inherent for charisma bonus.

I kept the competence bonus descriptor for the skills because I felt that those bonus are due to her practice and frequent usage of those skills. But reduced the bonus for Master of Flirtation.

I kept the Master of Poisons because I felt that a sneaky sort of assassin would be trained very well in poison uses.

This PrC is more of a secret order within Geishas that concentrate on killing people, as opposed to entertaining/earning money.

Thanks to all who helped!

Brickwall
2006-06-20, 11:07 PM
I protest against the gender limitation. Say "OR 8 ranks in Disguise". Seriously, that'd make the class a ton more flavorful. Crossdressing whores did and do exist, yaknow.

faeline
2006-06-20, 11:23 PM
I protest against the gender limitation. Say "OR 8 ranks in Disguise". Seriously, that'd make the class a ton more flavorful. Crossdressing whores did and do exist, yaknow.

Well I know, but I was thinking in a very Oriental/Japanese sense of what Geishas are... This class is about deadly females... I apologise to all males regarding this :P I think it's possible to make crossdressing whores outside of an Oriental setting though :)

Saithis Bladewing
2006-06-20, 11:38 PM
I protest against the gender limitation. Say "OR 8 ranks in Disguise". Seriously, that'd make the class a ton more flavorful. Crossdressing whores did and do exist, yaknow.


Y'know, I wouldn't be surprised if a male with access to the money, power and experience necessary to become a Dark Geisha, and who wanted to dress up and disguise themselves as a woman, in a D&D world wouldn't be able to hire a wizard to fix that little problem with their biology. ::)

Anyway, as a traditionalist, I protest males being allowed to have this class, and if I use it in my campaign, they won't be allowed to have it. It's for the same reason the vast majority of adventurers and important people in my campaigns are male and not female; it's just historically more accurate.

Winter_Wolf
2006-06-20, 11:49 PM
I really don't see why there should be any issue with gender restrictions. I mean, there is precedent for it already. My 3.0 Oriental Adventures book has a prestige class called "Utaku Battle Maiden" that has female as a requisite. Same book, "Eunuch Warlock" required one to be technically male. I say technically, because they're eunuchs. ;)

And we've got racial limits on prestige classes to boot. Dwarven Defender, there ya go. Besides, it's not a base class, giving it those little restrictions makes it more of prestigious anyway. Or exclusionist, or elitist, or however you want to call it. Anyway if you are really dead set on using it in your own campaign you could just house rule it, yah?

SlyJohnny
2006-06-21, 12:49 AM
This is actually really good. The only thing Im not sure entirely sure on is the poisoning skill bonuses- it makes a Dark Geisha a far, far better Poisoner then an Assassin, and makes a Dark Geisha your ultimate go-to guy (or girl) for all manner of poisons, which doesn't seem like it fits the feel of the class. Im not sure what that could be replaced with, however.

I don't think it's at all overpowered. What we have here is a bard that sacrifices half her lore and spellcasting abilities and halts progression in her own Music abilities in order to gain some extra combat abilities and social skills, and have a new Bardic Music progession. It's also flavorful, and cool, and I love the idea of a courtesan-type socialite: it's a good expansion on what the bard is anyway.

Possibly the requirements are a little strict- I don't think you should have to be a poisoner BEFORE you start training as a geisha? Oh yeah, and Craft should be on the skill list.

This rocks. Kudos :)

faeline
2006-06-21, 01:53 AM
This is actually really good. The only thing Im not sure entirely sure on is the poisoning skill bonuses- it makes a Dark Geisha a far, far better Poisoner then an Assassin, and makes a Dark Geisha your ultimate go-to guy (or girl) for all manner of poisons, which doesn't seem like it fits the feel of the class. Im not sure what that could be replaced with, however.

I don't think it's at all overpowered. What we have here is a bard that sacrifices half her lore and spellcasting abilities and halts progression in her own Music abilities in order to gain some extra combat abilities and social skills, and have a new Bardic Music progession. It's also flavorful, and cool, and I love the idea of a courtesan-type socialite: it's a good expansion on what the bard is anyway.

Possibly the requirements are a little strict- I don't think you should have to be a poisoner BEFORE you start training as a geisha? Oh yeah, and Craft should be on the skill list.

This rocks. Kudos :)

Thanks for reminding me... haha I actually forgot to put craft poison as one of her class skills.

Maybe a +1 bonus instead of a +2 bonus?

On the requirements part, maybe she doesn't really need to be a poisoner before she joins... *takes away that requirement*

SilveryCord
2006-06-21, 09:52 AM
A note on the shuriken/hairpin/dart thing:
There are such things as weaponized needles, y'know. The fact that they're *really sharp* and *really light* is what makes them good. I hate to reference Naruto, being I'm currently at odds with it, but if you've seen the first big story arc with Haku, then you might think it's kind of unrealistic, but needles are usable in that fashion, just with a little bit of practise.

Shiny, Bearer of the Pokystick
2006-06-21, 10:24 AM
This is very interesting, and given the refinements already posted, the balance is acceptable.

As to the 'new name' thing, it could work like a slightly less powerful version of the 'cover identity' of a spymaster et. al.; for instance, anyone looking for the geisha who knows her by her non-stage identity would be up against a +2 to disguise and bluff whilst the Geisha is in her stage persona.

SlyJohnny
2006-06-21, 11:17 AM
Ooooh, I like that idea. Except shouldn't it be the other way around? The people who know her by her birthname are more likely to look through the makeup and glam and see her for what she is? That way, the Stage Name is important in that it becomes her new identity and she only gets the bonus when she's known as it.

Mr Croup
2006-06-21, 11:33 AM
I protest against the gender limitation. Say "OR 8 ranks in Disguise". Seriously, that'd make the class a ton more flavorful. Crossdressing whores did and do exist, yaknow.

One, by virtue of the fact that the term "geisha" is being used, then it should only be open to female characters. The male counterpart to the geisha is called a hokan or taikomochi, and is altogether a different thing. Secondly, geisha were not "whores," despite the popular misconception in Western society.

The_Shaman
2006-06-21, 02:36 PM
Interesting class, arguably far more balanced than my first attempt at a PrC (which I should get to editing soon). A few things that get me thinking are:

- I'd avoid a general bonus to an attribute (charisma); instead, you can give her a bonus only for the purposes of, say, charisma checks and/or to some charisma-based skills.

- As it is, the dark geisha gets a bonus in a class that she need not have - craft (poisonmaking). Craft skills are not usable untrained, so what happens if a geisha character did not have any ranks in that skill? Now, it's one of my favourite underestimated skills, but since the dark geisha is not just good with poisoning but an expert with it, perhaps you could just incorporate it in the requirements.

- Silent kill is quite useful, roleplay-wise, but I'm not sure if it fits the concept so well... How is the geisha better at it than your average thief? In the spirit of the bardic music use, you could have her expend a bardic music attempt to create a zone of silence.

- Bardic music to get sneak/death attack... I think the class deserves a sneak attack progression as it is, and death attack or the death touch feature (from the cleric domain) isn't out of the question either. If you are worried about it being too powerful, give her a weak will save (I never understood how exactly bards ended up with a strong will save - maybe they were considered too weak by the game designers). Probably the most confusing thing is the charisma bonus to death attack. I can understand intelligence or wisdom, but charisma?

- EWP: war fan seems more true to the concept than EWP: shuriken, although I have no idea if the historical geisha wore weapons (probably nothing more than concealed daggers, I would guess). Alternatively, treat the hairpins as darts (one category smaller for damage purposes and with smaller range) and drop the requirement altogether.

- How long does the effect from the dance of the fallen cherry blossoms last? Until the DG stops dancing? (great idea by the way - a bonus to feint or a feinting ability fits the idea perfectly.)

Don't get the impression that I don't like it - I simply get capricious when I see a prestige class ;) .

Pester
2006-06-21, 03:30 PM
I agree that this should be kept restricted to females. For one thing, the whole flavor is "Femme Fatale", for another thing, one of the other requirements is that they must be inducted into the Dark Geisha secret society and/or trained by a dark geisha. While a male may be able to trick others into thinking he's a female for the period it takes to assassinate them, I doubt one could fool a geisha herself while being trained for a period of months or years. Furthermore, I doubt that any Dark Geishas would train promising males in their art, since it would just be another way for male assassins to muscle into another portion of the male-dominated assassination business.

faeline
2006-06-21, 10:01 PM
Interesting class, arguably far more balanced than my first attempt at a PrC (which I should get to editing soon). A few things that get me thinking are:

- I'd avoid a general bonus to an attribute (charisma); instead, you can give her a bonus only for the purposes of, say, charisma checks and/or to some charisma-based skills.

The charisma is how she gets more beautiful after all the training in Geisha arts, like dancing ^^


- As it is, the dark geisha gets a bonus in a class that she need not have - craft (poisonmaking). Craft skills are not usable untrained, so what happens if a geisha character did not have any ranks in that skill? Now, it's one of my favourite underestimated skills, but since the dark geisha is not just good with poisoning but an expert with it, perhaps you could just incorporate it in the requirements.

Ah it was part of the requirements initially, but I dropped it. I might fit in the 5 ranks requirements again.


- Silent kill is quite useful, roleplay-wise, but I'm not sure if it fits the concept so well... How is the geisha better at it than your average thief? In the spirit of the bardic music use, you could have her expend a bardic music attempt to create a zone of silence.

It's how they are able to kill undetected... The problem with Geishas are because they are too -visible- if someone dies screaming while they are in the room (usually alone, thinking circumstances), it's obvious she's the murderess, hence silent kill, being the specific training she gets to kill without causing the target to scream.


- Bardic music to get sneak/death attack... I think the class deserves a sneak attack progression as it is, and death attack or the death touch feature (from the cleric domain) isn't out of the question either. If you are worried about it being too powerful, give her a weak will save (I never understood how exactly bards ended up with a strong will save - maybe they were considered too weak by the game designers). Probably the most confusing thing is the charisma bonus to death attack. I can understand intelligence or wisdom, but charisma?

The charisma is due to her dance... no matter what that attack does, it is actually part of a performance, hence their name.


- EWP: war fan seems more true to the concept than EWP: shuriken, although I have no idea if the historical geisha wore weapons (probably nothing more than concealed daggers, I would guess). Alternatively, treat the hairpins as darts (one category smaller for damage purposes and with smaller range) and drop the requirement altogether.

My initial idea was to use darts, but shurikens had the correct damage range I wanted. And looking at the class, almost immediately she'll need to use shurikens, so I'd put it as a requirement.


- How long does the effect from the dance of the fallen cherry blossoms last? Until the DG stops dancing? (great idea by the way - a bonus to feint or a feinting ability fits the idea perfectly.)

It lasts as long as the Dark Geisha dances, simply because the only way to make Steps of the Fallen Cherry Blossoms effective is to do another step following.


Don't get the impression that I don't like it - I simply get capricious when I see a prestige class ;) .

Nah, I think it's good to have people helping my sharpen up my PrC.

faeline
2006-06-21, 10:05 PM
This is very interesting, and given the refinements already posted, the balance is acceptable.

As to the 'new name' thing, it could work like a slightly less powerful version of the 'cover identity' of a spymaster et. al.; for instance, anyone looking for the geisha who knows her by her non-stage identity would be up against a +2 to disguise and bluff whilst the Geisha is in her stage persona.

Actually *cough reading memoirs of the geisha*, usually they forget their old name, and only get introduced as their stage name, it's not similar to cover identity at all. And the stage name is not at all secretive. I placed it in mainly for flavour.

SlyJohnny
2006-06-22, 02:55 AM
One, by virtue of the fact that the term "geisha" is being used, then it should only be open to female characters. The male counterpart to the geisha is called a hokan or taikomochi, and is altogether a different thing. Secondly, geisha were not "whores," despite the popular misconception in Western society.


Besides, you'd have to have a REALLY good disguise skill to sleep with someone while STILL convincing them you're a woman O_o

Anyway, yeah. From what little Ive read about them, they seem to be awesome, the eastern equivalent of medievil or roman courtesans. Who were in a lot of ways the first feminists, really, or at least the kind of people feminists would approve of... sure, their status kind of depended on men, but they generally ran their own households, were educated, talented, intelligent and opinionated.

And thus were usually the first to be burnt as witches when social change happened, but still...

Man, now I want to make a Courtesan prestige class...

Saithis Bladewing
2006-06-22, 03:02 AM
Besides, you'd have to have a REALLY good disguise skill to sleep with someone while STILL convincing them you're a woman O_o

I'd be willing to bet there are QUITE a few high-level bards who would be more than capable of that. Bluff and Disguise FTW! ;D

The_Shaman
2006-06-22, 08:27 AM
All hail glibness and disguise self :D . Seriously, with alter self being only a 2nd level spell, in D&D the whole crossdressing business gets a bit too easy. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if it is actually a serious problem with adventurers.

Now, to clarify my comments. The problem with the Geisha getting a bonus to charisma is that the attribute has several other consequences aside from the ones intended. If the DG has bard levels, it will boost her magic; several skills such as use magic device, and even her Steps of the Black Lotus attack. As for that attack, the reason (afaik) death attack is dependent on intelligence is that it requires great precision and knowledge of the human anatomy, as well as quick reasoning where would it be most convenient - and effective - to strike given the circumstances. It's not a matter of fooling the target; it's a matter of the character knowing how and applying that knowledge in the best way. Someone already mentioned that it could be possible for such attack to paralyze, not kill - this has potential, for an evil DG with a propensity for interrogation (insert evil female laughter here).

On a side note, has anyone seen an all-male PrC? I got curious when I saw the whole gender debate.

Pester
2006-06-22, 03:58 PM
On a side note, has anyone seen an all-male PrC? I got curious when I saw the whole gender debate.

Well, someone mentioned the "Eunuch Warlock" earlier in the thread, and I believe that there's a "Harem Guardian" prc, too, that by definition requires the character to be male due to "Entrance requirements".

Although this leaves the "all-male" part of the question hinging on your definition of "all".

The_Shaman
2006-06-22, 04:11 PM
Although this leaves the "all-male" part of the question hinging on your definition of "all".

Er, I suppose a class with a proportion of female entrants (at least openly female) similar to that of male swanmays?

I don't have OA so I can't say anything about the eunuch warlock. The harem guardian... that was from BoEF, right? I had forgotten about it. It's just that in the official Wizards material there are very few ones, if any.

SpiderBrigade
2006-06-22, 04:18 PM
Besides, you'd have to have a REALLY good disguise skill to sleep with someone while STILL convincing them you're a woman O_o

M. Butterfly, anyone?

Wolf53226
2006-06-22, 04:28 PM
Men, if you really want to enter into this class, there is a specific magical item that will fix this problem. * Come one, come all, and try on the girdle of Mas./Fem. and switch your sex in an instant! * Finally, a TRUE use for that stupid thing.

Edit: By the way faeline...great class...tons of fluff...must use at some point

Matthew
2006-06-22, 09:05 PM
I enjoyed reading this Prestige Class; seems like a lot of fun.

Here's something to think about, though; I came across it late in the last 'Geisha discussion', so didn't bother posting a link to it. Puts an interesting spin on the Male / Female discussion...

http://www.thekeep.org/~kunoichi/kunoichi/themestream/taikomochi.html