View Full Version : The Papermaster Core Class

2006-05-07, 11:08 PM


"Now surrender peacefully, stop trying to destroy the world, and please give me my book back!"

A papermaster is a person who has the supernatural ability to control paper, from playing cards, to parchment, to dollar bills. This ability can be used to manipulate paper to take any form, be it a razor-sharp sword, a powerful wall, or even a golem made of paper. A papermaster always carries around with them a box or other container containing large amounts of paper that the papermaster has crafted themselves, this box and the paper is free at first level, and the papermaster is assumed to craft more paper as they gain levels so as to always have enough paper for their abilities. However, if the container is stolen, they must obtain paper by other means. It is up to the DM to decide what can be made from a certain amount of paper. (paper used as a ranged weapon can be reused as if it had the returning property)

Making a Papermaster
Abilities: The papermaster benefits from high dexterity, intelligence, strength, and constitution scores. Dexterity is beneficial for raising the characters armor class and raising accuracy for a paper archer or finesse fighter, intelligence raises the papermasters armor class (a must since the papermaster cannot wear armor) and effects some of their abilities, while strength is beneficial for a strength based fighter and an archer wishing to do extra damage. Consitution is always helpful for a papermaster who wished to survive blows in combat.
Races: A papermaster is born with the supernatural ability to control paper, which is usually realized at the time they become literate, although this ability seems to appear most often in humans, it has been known to show up in just about any race, however, the less intelligent races (such as orcs) tend to be rare, it is not known wether the ability appears less often in less intelligent races or the ones born with these abilities never reach the mental capacity to awaken their powers.
Alignment: Papermasters tend to lean slightly towards lawful alignments, which stems from the obsession with reading, thus they may favor written codes and laws. Both good and evil papermasters exist. Although rarely, sometimes a papermaster does not actually enjoy reading, these papermasters are usually not lawfully aligned.
Starting Gold: 8d4 A papermaster must spend large amounts of money accquiring the paper they must have to use their abilities, thus they have little money to spend on other things. (papermasters start with paper for free)
Starting Age: Whatever

Class Skills
Craft (Int), Decipher Script (Int), Knowledge (all skills, taken individually) (Int), Profession (Wis), and Spellcraft (Int).
Skills Per Day at 1st Level : (2 + int)x4
Skills Per Day at Each Additional Level : 2 + int
*note: A papermaster who is obsessive about reading gains 2 aditional skill points per level (8 at first) which they may only put in knowledge skills.
Hit Dice: d8

BAB Fort Ref Will Flurry AB Special
1. +0 +0 +2 +0 -2/-2 -Paper Weapons, Paper Armor, Paper Shield
2. +1 +0 +3 +0 -1/-1 -
3. +2 +1 +3 +1 +0/+0 -Deflect Arrows
4. +3 +1 +4 +1 +1/+1 -Paper Weapons, Paper Shield
5. +3 +1 +4 +1 +2/+2 -
6. +4 +2 +5 +2 +3/+3 -
7. +5 +2 +5 +2 +4/+4 -
8. +6/1 +2 +6 +2 +5/+5/+0 -Paper Weapons, Paper Shield
9. +6/1 +3 +6 +3 +6/+6/+1 -
10.+7/2 +3 +7 +3 +7/+7/+2 -Wall of Paper (ice)
11.+8/3 +3 +7 +3 +8/+8/+8/+3 -
12.+9/4 +4 +8 +4 +9/+9/+9/+4 -Paper Weapons, Paper Shield
13.+9/4 +4 +8 +4 +9/+9/+9/+4 -Wall of Paper (stone)
14.+10/5 +4 +9 +4 +10/+10/+10/+5 -
15.+11/6/1 +5 +9 +5 +11/+11/+11/+6/+1 -
16.+12/7/2 +5 +10 +5 +12/+12/+12/+7/+2 -Paper Airplane
17.+12/7/2 +5 +10 +5 +12/+12/+12/+7/+2 -Wall of Paper (iron)
18.+13/8/3 +6 +11 +6 +13/+13/+13/+8/+3 -
19.+14/9/4 +6 +11 +6 +14/+14/+14/+9/+4 -
20.+15/10/5 +6 +12 +6 +15/+15/+15/+10/+5 -Paper Bird, Wall of Paper (force)

Weapon Proficiencies: All simple weapons. A papermaster is proficient with their paper weapons no matter what form they take.

Playing a Papermaster
Religion: Papermasters do not lean towards any specific religion, although they would not likely follow a religion with no written scripture.
Other Classes: Papermasters greatly enjoy the company of wizards, who often share their love for reading, and sorcerers, who also have supernatural magical abilities. Since they tend to be lawful, papermasters often do not trust rogues, and since they are of keen intelligence, they look down upon the illiterate barbarians.
Combat: In combat, a papermaster is often seen fighting with weapons made of paper, often with the aid of a golem created from paper. They also use paper to deflect enemies attacks.
Advancement: Although papermasters usually do not take levels in other classes, they are able to multiclass into the monk class without the normal monk multiclassing restrictions, monk and papermaster levels stack when determining the level of their flurry of blows ability. A Papermaster/Monk benefits from the ability to use unarmed attacks in the occasion that they are unable to use paper weapons. A papermaster/monk may not apply both int and wis bonuses to their AC.

Papermasters in the world
"What is more important to you, that book or your life?"
Daily Life: In the world of Dungeons and Dragons, written material, and paper itself, is somewhat rare, so much of a papermasters free time is spent searching for new reading material, or simply crafting paper cards to be used in combat.
Notables: Due to the rarity of papermasters in the world, there are few notable figures from this class.
Organizations: Due to the rarity of papermasters in the world, there are very few organizations exclusive to papermasters. Although a few papermasters guilds exist, it is more likely that a papermaster would join a wizards academy, although they would spend more time in the academies library, or having intellectual conversation with the wizards, then practising combat skills.

NPC Reaction
Often papermasters are precieved in a similar way that one precieves wizards or sorcerers, papermasters who walk around with paper golems are often actually mistaken for wizards, as most commoners do not even know about the existance of papermasters.

Special Abilities

Paper Weapons: A papermaster can manipulate paper to create various weapons to be used in combat. A paper weapon is identical to the normal version of the weapon in terms of damage, range, and crit range. A papermaster can create different weapons depending on their class level.

1st Paper Dagger, Paper Card
4th Paper Short Sword, Paper Airplane
8th Paper Longsword, Paper Longbow
12th Paper Katana, Paper Greatbow

A card of paper is identical to a shuriken except that it does 1d4/x2 damage and has a range incriment of 20ft.

A paper airplane is identical to a dart except it does 1d6/x2 damage.

A paper bow fires arrows made of paper. A paper bow is treated as composite with a strength rating equal to the papermsters strength score.

A papermaster may use their flurry of blows ability only when using paper weapons (or when unarmed or with special monk weapons if they take monk levels).

Forming a paper weapon (or changing a paper weapon into a different one) is equivalent to drawing a weapon, and can be done as a free action if the papermaster has the quickdraw feat. Forming paper cards, airplanes, and arrows is a free action (so a papermaster may attack more then once per round with ranged attacks).

Paper weapons have an enhancement bonus equal to the papermasters class level divided by 5.

Paper Armor: A papermaster requires the ability to move freely in order to manipulate paper in complex ways. A papermaster loses the ability to manipulate paper if they wear armor. A papermaster can create clothing out of paper, which grants them an armor bonus equal to their intelligence bonus, when a papermaster is denied their dex bonus to AC they also lose their int bonus to AC. Paper armor appears to be made of cloth, and can take the shape and color that the papermaster desires.

Paper Shields: A papermaster may manipulate paper to block an opponents attacks, although the papermaster is not actually holding the paper, they require a free hand to manipulate it. A papermasters paper shield is treated as a as an animated shield except for the fact that it requires a free hand to wield. A papermaster can create stronger shields as they gain class levels.

1st Light Shield
4th Heavy Shield
8th Kite Shield
12th Tower Shield

A kite shield is similar to a tower shield, it provides an AC bonus of 3, and can be used to provide cover in the same manner that a tower shield can provide total cover. (This is my own invention, I have no idea if an actual kite shield exists in one of the books)

A paper tower shield does not impose a -2 penalty to attack rolls, as it is not being physically held by the papermaster.

Paper Golem: A paper golem is identical to a druids animal companion, except that it is a construct. It retains the same abilities as the animal and advances in power as if the papermaster were a druid of the same level. Do not change the creatures BAB, HD, or other information like you would for a normal construct, execpt for the following qualities.

-Not subject to critical hits, nonlethal damage, ability damage, ability drain, fatigue, exhaustion, or energy drain. Does not need to eat.

-Immunity to any effect that requires a Fortitude save (unless the effect also works on objects, or is harmless).

-Not at risk of death from massive damage. Immediately destroyed when reduced to 0 hit points or less.

A papermaster must remain concious for their golem to exist, as it is animated conciously by the papermaster. If a papermaster falls unconcious or goes to sleep, the golem becomes a pile of paper. A paper golem destroyed in combat can be recreated after the papermaster has slept for 8 hours, as long as the paper used to create the golem is not destroyed. (fire damage dealt to the golem does not destroy the paper, but if the golem is destroyed, the paper can then be burned)

Deflect Arrows: A papermaster gains the deflect arrows feat, even if they do not meet the requirements, but they can only use the ability while they have paper to deflect the projectile with.

Wall of Paper: A papermaster can create a wall of paper a number of times per day equal to their intelligence bonus (may not exceed 1+1 time per 5 papermaster levels) A wall of paper is identical to a wall of either ice, stone, iron, or force spell cast by a wizard who's level is equal to the papermasters level. The size of the wall is limited by the amount of paper the papermaster has available, at the DM's discression. (a papermasters box of paper can always hold enough paper to form the largest wall allowed by their caster level)

Paper Airplane/Bird: A papermaster can create a large paper airplane of paper bird capable of flight. The paper airplane can hold 1 large creature, 2 medium creatures, 4 small creatures, or a combination. The paper bird is very large and can hold 4 large creatures, 8 medium creatures, or 16 small creatures inside of it. The paper airplane and bird can only be used as a means of transportation, and have no combat benefits.


I am still working on this class, and am open to suggestions, I may change just about anything. For balance purposes I compared it to the monk class, papermasters do a little less damage with paper weapons then a monks unarmed attack, but they can make paper bows, and they dont get bonus feats, fast movement, good fort and will saves, or other cool abilities. Int AC replaces Wis AC, and paper shields replaces monk AC bonus. And they gain a paper golem which is equal to an animal companion. They also don't get the cool class skills monks get, and they are pretty much restricted to having no armor or weapons. They also cant take any of those monk vows. Wall of Paper and Paper Airplane/Bird do not really effect balance that much because most parties already have a wizard capable of casting wall spells or fly.

P.S. The inspiration for this class came to me a few days ago when I watched the R.O.D. OVA and then had an 8 hour shift at work right after, I was so bored at work that I spent much of my time pondering about this class, and I ended up typing it up when I got home.

2006-05-07, 11:32 PM
Someone's been watching too much Read or Die.

...the most glaring flaw is the unlimited INT-to-AC bonus at level 1. Imagine a wizard dipping this class, or better yet, a swashbuckler/rogue. Make it 1 point of AC per papermaster level, up to a maximum of one's INT bonus.

2006-05-07, 11:41 PM
That is mad...but brilliant...but mad. Zen librarian of dooooooom. My gf will *so* want to play this class.

One thing, I would suggest looking at the paper golem in Dragon #341(?). I think their natural weapons drop damage in exchange for better crit damage multipliers, which might be a nice variation for the paper weapons class ability you introduce here. After all, nothing hurts like a paper cut!

2006-05-07, 11:44 PM
Okay, this class can be defeated with a bottle of alchemist's fire. Or a torch. Or a fire spell. The immense amount of paper he'd be required to carry would pile one wight. It's probably 2 pounds/ AC bonus, 1 pound/ type of damage die and one pound/ number of dice. That all starts rotting eventually. And an enemy level 1 papermaster can ruin a wizard's spellbook.

This guy is too reliant on a specific tool. He's at a huge advantage in a library, but he's useless when stripped of all posessions and stuck in prison. He can't fight well, either. He's obviously some kind of spellcaster, but he has no spells.

2006-05-07, 11:48 PM
I was also thinking of a few feats:

Paper Edge: All your paper weapons gain the benefit of the keen property.

Adamantine Paper: Your paper weapons count as adamantine for the purposes of bypassing DR.

Aligned Paper: Your paper weapons are aligned to your alignment for the purposes of bypassing DR.

I forgot to mention that while the paper is under the papermasters control, it is not susceptible to being destroyed. Paper weapons may still be sundered, and paper golems destroyed, but the paper used to create them is not destroyed unless the paper has been dealt fire damage AFTER it has been sundered or after the golem has been destroyed.

Also, parchment is common enough that a papermaster could easily find enough of it to make paper weapons should they somehow lose their paper supply.

P.S. Papermasters do not fight like mages, if you've ever seen the read or die shows, they pretty much mainly fight with paper weapons, paper walls, and paper golems.

2006-05-08, 05:41 AM
the critical flaw in this class are a few spells, like


or even


Maybe you could counteract the side effect of you know. paper getting wet, by creating a prestige class called like 'paper mache master' who can like, form hardened armor and weapons out of soggy paper and plaster. now thats hardcore.

2006-05-08, 06:29 AM
Good work, Necromas.

1. Weapons/Shield should have hardness of steel.
2. He should have ability like "Aura of paper control" - to protect his paper from fire (Fire resistance, growing with levels) and everyday troubles: water, dust, dirt etc.
ALSO: His Aura should limit his paper manipulation range.

P.S. Yooooomicoooo Reeeeaaaaadmannn!!!
(Sing to the tune of "Leeeroy Jenkins")

2006-05-08, 11:34 AM
I thought a Papermaster would be a cool class after watching Read or Die too, but I don't think it really suits as a core class. Perhaps a prestige class geared toward sorcerers?

Perhaps the Papermaster needs something similar to the Artificer's craft pool for crafting weapons and equipment from paper.

As far as concerns about the weight and durability of paper, realistically that's true, but the D&D rules don't address those issues much. Paper weighs very little by the rules, and concerns about it rotting probably would only come into play in very limited circumstances. The Papermasters in Read or Die were vulnerable to fire and water, but they also had an amazing ability to hide paper on their persons. :)

2006-05-08, 12:25 PM
Well the term that they used in Read or Die is Paper Mage. I think there needs to be a couple tune-ups to drive home the point that this character is powerful.

Enchant paper: Any paper under the possession of a paper mage has a hardness and durability relative to the paper mage's level. Early levels: wood, final levels: Adamantine, etc.

Make note that paper weapons are only effective when wielded by a paper mage and that when another tries to wield them, they instantly have the same properties as paper.

Also, as a spell they should have create paper from wood/cloth. Just a note, if a Paper mage can wield currency, he/she is no longer wielding true paper but cotton. Resume paper is generally mostly cotton as well. I think there is room for exploration within the spell. Think how awesome it would be to make paper from Darkwood or even a slain treant. Special abilities for that paper.

Paper Mage's hand: Paper mage ought to be able to manipulate a certain amount of paper within a range of her as if using the mage hand spell as a standard action and supernatural ability. The amount of paper that he/she can control and the range should be determined by the level of course. Just a note, this ability would drive wizards insane. Imagine being beaten to death by your own spell scroll.

I think that the weapons ought to be fairly unique with the concept. I think that the weapons ought to sunder themselves by percentage based on how much they were used in battle, however I think that they ought to hold a good bit of power to them. I see no reason by a paper mage wouldn't be using a paper "spiked" chain by at least level 3.

2006-05-08, 12:41 PM

You know, it just made me happy seeing this on the list. Yaaaaaay Read or Die!! (And Dream. And R.O.D. the TV, which is both. Yay both.)

Warning: The following will probably be full of fangirly nitpickishness and should not be taken too seriously.

This is interesting food for thought for me, because I've been working on a d20 Modern Paper Master advanced class. I've been basing them on Psionic classes. I'm not really into Psionics, but a) technically, Paper Master are telekinetics with a specific focus on paper, and b) I think many of their abilities work better as a pool of powers to choose from rather than class features for everyone. There are a handful of powers all Paper Masters have--hardening paper and using it as a blade--but then each Paper Master has his/her specialty. Only Maggie Mui uses paper golems, but she sucks at long range fine control (much to Nenene's TV's misfortune). Michelle Cheung excels at long range attacks, but she doesn't do any complex animations. But Maggie and Michelle are probably roughly the same "level." Yomiko Readman and Sonny Wong are far more powerful Paper Masters but their styles vary widely (and part of Sonny's expertise is being able to control paper without touching it, which no other Paper Master can do except maybe Yomiko, and her to a lesser degree--she can control all paper in an area if one piece is on her person somewhere).

Interesting idea to do it as a D&D class... but folks point out there are some ramifications to trying to be a Paper Master in a fantasy world. I would agree probably allowing them to use parchment is fine. Yomiko manipulates American dollar bills at one point, and those are technically made of cloth, not paper. Still, it would be interesting. The real question is--how useful is a Paper Master if they can't easily access paper? Would it be better as a Prestige class?

Overall though your writeup is interesting, but I'd say you are distinctly missing some of the weaknesses and strengths which help define the Paper Master class and give it that special Yomiko Readman-esque flavor.

First thing: Paper Masters MUST read--constantly--in order to grow in strength and maintain their abilities. They literally get their power from books. This may be less of a necessary requirement in a fantasy world but in a modern one is more important especially to help keep it balanced. Certain traumas might temporarily keep a Paper Master from reading but they can't resist too long. I would say something like if a Paper Master doesn't read anything within 24 hours they either take a penalty to wisdom (or int?) or lost certain class features. Also, if surrounded by books, Paper Masters must make a willpower save DC 10+their level (yes their level works against them--the more powerful they are the harder it is to resist) or drop everything to grab a book and purchase/and/or read it.

Paper Hardening: I don't _think_ you had this explicitly in your description--but maybe I missed it. Paper Masters harden paper and make it resistant to damage, as you know. It should be noted that the more powerful a paper master, the more damage reduction it gains. At some level, they should be able to make Paper resistant to fire--the fire will still consume the paper but at a much slower rate--followed by resistant to water.

Paper Weaknesses: Paper Masters cannot contol soggy paper. (They can control burning paper until the point it is completely consumed.) If they are controlling paper that gets wet, they can control it until it becomes completely soggy (let's say, 1 round or more depending on their level/ability to harden it). Sonic blasts will disrupt any paper creations instantly; the paper itself will not be destroyed and is reusable, but any paper master weapon/wall/golem made of more than one sheet of paper will fall apart and cannot be reassembled until the sonic effect ends.

Alignment: Papermasters tend to lean slightly towards lawful alignments, which stems from the obsession with reading, thus they may favor written codes and laws. Both good and evil papermasters exist. Although rarely, sometimes a papermaster does not actually enjoy reading, these papermasters are usually not lawfully aligned.

Totally disagree here. I don't see how obsessiveness with reading translates to being orderly, following tradition, being honest, and keeping one's word--which is what, by the book, RAW, Lawfulness means. Yomiko Readman may be "lawful"--though disorderly in her personal life, she certainly adheres strongly to a code of behavior, politeness, honesty, respect for authority, etc. *Other Paper Masters don't. Michelle Cheung has little respect for authority and has only a flirting dalliance with the truth--I'd say she's likely Chaotic. Maggie and Anita are probably Neutral with regards to ethics (and Anita, your "not reading paper master" is not Chaotic; she's if anything the key authority figure in their family and strives for order far more than her sisters do), as is Donnie Nakajima in the manga. Sunny Wong is probably Chaotic. (Edit: What am I thinking: Maggie very likely is Lawful. Very true to her word, respects authority. Struggles mightily when forced to be deceptive.)

I'd simply say Paper Masters run the gamut of alignments, and are actually more likely NOT to be lawful because many are willing to do _anything_, including lie, cheat, and steal, to get their hands on a book they want.

Starting Gold: 8d4 A papermaster must spend large amounts of money accquiring the paper they must have to use their abilities, thus they have little money to spend on other things. (papermasters start with paper for free)

I'd start Paper Masters with NO gold, enough paper for a month, 2d10 books of relatively good value, and 1 set of ordinary clothing.

Skills Per Day at 1st Level : (2 + int)x4
Skills Per Day at Each Additional Level : 2 + int
*note: A papermaster who is obsessive about reading gains 2 aditional skill points per level (8 at first) which they may only put in knowledge skills.

All paper masters should be obsessive about reading (see above). From the series, the only character who didn't like reading was due to a traumatic event and once she dealt with it she became as obsessive as everyone else.

I'd just make it a flat out 4+int at least.

Religion: Papermasters do not lean towards any specific religion, although they would not likely follow a religion with no written scripture.

All Paper Masters worship "kami" of course. ;) ("Kami" is a Japanese homophone, meaning both "Paper" and "God." Yomiko Readman often says to her enemies, "May Paper always be with you.")

And that's all I have to say. And please forgive my nitpickyness--a lot of this is stuff I've been thinking about for my own d20 Modern project, so really I'm just thinking aloud. At any rate, it's cool to see someone trying this.

2006-05-08, 12:52 PM
Its a really really good class, but it IS sort of overpowered.

What if the Papermaster has a weakness to see burning books/written things? And become sickened for 1d4 rounds? Eh thats just a suggestion.

Good class though :)

2006-05-08, 01:08 PM
While I haven't seen any of the Read or Die series, I dig the zen origami master feel to the class.

The only real problem I saw with the class is that after a while, "paper" ceases to look like a real word. =)

2006-05-08, 08:36 PM
I think it'd be really cool to add a specified amount of paper required to perform a certain ability. A paper longsword might take 20 sheets of paper, and a paper bird might take something in the thousands, for instance. A paper wall would vary in size depending on the amount of paper used, though it would obviously have a maximum size. etc. When the longsword/bird/wall/whatever is sundered or destroyed in some way, some of the sheets would become destroyed and unusable.

The number of destroyed sheets would have to vary depending on the amount used. I'd say somewhere around 1/8 of the paper used to make the paper object would be destroyed when the object is destroyed. So if a paper longsword that takes 20 sheets gets sundered, then 3 (rounded up) sheets would be destroyed, leaving you with 17 usable sheets.

While this may add an interesting aspect/realism, it may just be complicating matters.

2007-08-23, 06:54 PM
First off, Rock On!...I saw this anime once on cartoon network(like four years ago) and have yet to find it again....

I love the class, but agree that a sheet per construct (wall, golem, sword, Etc.) listing would be a good idea, the same would go for something to harden and protect paper near the Papermaster. Plus, a proviso that would allow for the creation of paper golems like those mention above from Dragon #341 would be nice. I saw those recently while organizing my Dragon stack and was tempted to do something like this class (Best I didn't, your's works better than my ideas were shaping out to be). Also, since parchment is so lightweight that (I think) it had a n/a for weight, it should be mentioned in the class descriptor what standard weights and volumes for certain amounts of paper would be (For instance, figuring out exactly how much paper is in a FULL type I bag of holding.....). One thing I've found when trying to get a new core class approved in my normal game is that it is easier if the tiny details are filled in, in full.

But great job.....

2007-08-25, 06:51 PM
read of die was a good anime, I thought once about a dnd class of this, good job

2007-08-25, 08:10 PM
Can they turn into this guy?