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Mephibosheth
2006-04-17, 12:10 AM
So, I have become very much attached to the idea of manipulating Darkness, and have decided to create an organization for my homebrew world based around PrC's that manipulate Darkness in interesting ways. *This organization will be called the Strangers in the Dark, and will include members of the Knife in the Dark (http://www.giantitp.com/cgi-bin/yabb/YaBB.pl?board=gaming;action=display;num=1134585077 ;start=10#10) PrC and the Sword in the Dark (http://www.giantitp.com/cgi-bin/yabb/YaBB.pl?board=gaming;action=display;num=1137271087 ;start=0#0) PrC, as well as this new one I've just finished, the Voice in the Dark. *Please let me know what you think, and what improvements you would like to see.

Voice in the Dark

Hit Dice: d6
Requirements:
Skills: Perform (any) 8 ranks, Spellcraft 8 ranks, Hide 5 ranks, Move Silently 5 ranks
Spellcasting: Ability to cast Darkness as an arcane spell
Special: Bardic Music class ability
Class Skills:
The Voice in the Dark’s class skills are Appraise (Int), Balance (Dex), Bluff (Cha), Climb (Str), Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Decipher Script (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Disguise (Cha), Escape Artist (Dex), Gather Information (Cha), Hide (Dex), Jump (Str), Knowledge (all skills, taken individually) (Int), Listen (Wis), Move Silently (Dex), Perform (Cha), Profession (Wis), Sense Motive (Wis), Sleight of Hand (Dex), Speak Language (n/a), Spellcraft (Int), Swim (Str), Tumble (Dex), and Use Magic Device (Cha).
Skill Points at Each Level: 6 + int modifier

BAB: as Bard
Saves: Fort - poor Ref, Will - good

Level
1 - Bardic Music, Familiarity
2 - Extra Darkness, +1 level of existing spellcasting class
3 - Augment Darkness, +1 level of existing spellcasting class
4 - Darkness Casting, +1 level of existing spellcasting class
5 - Music of the Night, +1 level of existing spellcasting class
6 - Darkvision, +1 level of existing spellcasting class
7 - Darkness Casting, +1 level of existing spellcasting class
8 - Augment Darkness, +1 level of existing spellcasting class
9 - Music of the Night, +1 level of existing spellcasting class
10 - Darkness Casting, +1 level of existing spellcasting class

Class Features

Bardic Music – Voice in the Dark levels stack with bard levels for the purpose of determining the Voice in the Dark’s daily uses of his/her Bardic Music abilities, the value of the bonus granted by Inspire Courage (if any), and the number of allies the Voice in the Dark can affect with his/her Inspire Greatness ability (if any).
Familiarity – Beginning at 1st level, a Voice in the Dark is unaffected by his/her own Darkness spells and can attack and maneuver within its radius at no penalty.
Spellcasting – At 2nd level, A Voice in the Dark gains new spells per day as if he had also gained a level in a spellcasting class he belonged to before adding the prestige class. He does not, however, gain any other benefit a character of that class would have gained, except for an increased effective level of spellcasting. If a character had more than one spellcasting class before becoming a Voice in the Dark, he must decide to which class he adds the new level for purposes of determining spells per day. *A Voice in the Dark's caster level increases as show on the above table.
Extra Darkness – Beginning at 2nd level, a Voice in the Dark gains the ability to use Quickened Darkness as a spell-like ability a number of times per day equal to half his/her class level.
Augment Darkness - Beginning at 3rd level, the Darkness created by a Voice in the Dark's spell-like ability is considered a 3rd level spell when determining its interaction with light-producing spells. *At 8th level, the Darkness is considered a 4th level spell for this purpose.
Darkness Casting – Beginning at 4th level, a Voice in the Dark gains improved spellcasting versatility when in an area of magical Darkness. *At 4th level, a Voice in the Dark may cast any spell with the “harmless” designation in its saving throw entry as if under the influence of the Enlarge Spell metamagic feat. *A Voice in the Dark need not have Enlarge Spell in order to use this ability, nor does the use of this ability require an increase in spell-level or casting time.

At 7th level, a Voice in the Dark may cast any spell with the “harmless” designation and a range of touch at a greater range. *This functions exactly like the Reach Spell metamagic feat, except that the Voice in the Dark may target any creature within the same area of magical Darkness as the Voice in the Dark. *A Voice in the Dark need not have Reach Spell in order to use this ability, nor does the use of this ability require an increase in spell-level or casting time.

At 10th level, a Voice in the Dark become so in tune with magical Darkness that he/she can cast any spell with the “harmless” designation on any creature within an area of magical Darkness, even if the Voice in the Dark and the target are in different areas of Darkness. *This ability allows the Voice in the Dark to affect a number of creatures equal to half his/her class level, even with spells that only target a single creature. *If the spell itself affects more people, this number supercedes the limits placed on this class ability. *This ability functions only if the Voice in the Dark and the target are both within the radius of Darkness.
Music of the Night – Beginning at 5th level, a Voice in the Dark can influence the very nature of magical Darkness and can imbue the Darkness with the power of his/her musical abilities, causing the darkness to resonate with his/her music. *At 5th level, while located in an area of magical Darkness, the effects of a Voice in the Dark's music last longer than normal, as if under the influence of the Lingering Song feat. *This increase in duration occurs only within areas of magical Darkness. *If the Voice in the Dark already has the Lingering Song feat, the duration increases a further 2 rounds inside areas of Darkness. *Additionally, at 9th level, the bonuses granted by a Voice in the Dark's music increase by one while the Voice in the Dark initiates their use in an area of magical Darkness. *Note that nothing prevents the music from having effects outside of areas of Darkness, but rather that their effects are magnified by the Darkness.
Darkvision – Beginning at 6th level, a Voice in the Dark becomes acclimatized to darkness and gains darkvision out to a range of 60 ft. *If the Voice in the Dark already has darkvision, this ability has no effect.

So, that's it. *Please let me know what you guys think. *I hope you find it interesting/fun.

Mephibosheth

Freiheit
2006-04-17, 04:57 AM
"Darkvision – Beginning at 6th level, a Voice in the Dark becomes acclimatized to darkness and gains darkvision out to a range of 60 ft. If the Voice in the Dark already has darkvision, this ability has no effect."

I think this might need a downside too. Extra sensitive to light spells or maybe some subdual damage if out in daylight for too long. Nothing a good set of goggles and a nice cloak wouldn't fix, but still something to burn a wee bit.

Gildes
2006-04-17, 05:47 AM
What about BAB and saves? Same as Bard?

It seems a bit weak to me. You could give it qickened darkness instead of regular as a spell like ability, and/or two more levels of spell casting progression.

Blade-Bearer_Ian
2006-04-17, 06:27 AM
Have you checked out Tome of Magic? They have an entire section devoted to Shadow Magic. Good alternate abilities for your class.

Mephibosheth
2006-04-17, 09:39 AM
Thanks a lot for the replies guys! I really appreciate it.

Freiheit:

Why do you think Darkvision needs a drawback? I agree it could be flavorful, but the rest of the PrC doesn't seem that overpowered, and light sensitivity can be a pretty serious drawback. Then again...

What do you suggest as far as light-related penalties? I kinda like the idea of subdual damage while out in sunlight (perhaps mirroring the rules for taking damage from hot/cold environments). That'll be something I'll have to think over a bit. Thanks for the suggestion.

Glides:

Yep. Bard BAB and saves. Sorry I forgot to put them in the original post. I've edited it to make the changes.

Why do you think it's underpowered? Some of the Darkness-related abilities are pretty sweet as far as buffing allies, and my intention was to make this a super-buffer PrC to work in consort with the other two (both of which are much more combat-focused). I do however like the idea of quickened Darkness as a spell-like ability. Good suggestion.

Blade-Bearer_Ian:

Alas, I do not have access to Tome of Magic, nor does my limited budget permit me to purchase it *grumbles about rent and tuition bills*. Are there any specific abilities you suggest that you can summarize and I can make up my own rules for? Anything you really would like to see as a part of this class?

Again, thanks for your comments. Keep 'em coming!

Mephibosheth

Gildes
2006-04-17, 10:33 AM
Underpowered because the power gamer in me is not tempted to take it at all :D I do consider about 1/4 of the official prestige classes seriously underpowered and your class in the first version would fit in with them, even if it's not as bad as most of them. With quickened darkness I would consider it slighly below average, if you also add the 2 spellcasting levels considerably above average but still balanced and not on a power gamers wish list. I suppose it would be stronger in a party specialised in using darkness to it's advantage.
Reasoning: To qualify for the prestige class you must already be able to cast darkness, so darkness as a spell-like ability is not much of an avantage. Darkvision is almost useless because by that level items or spells can easily grant it anyway. Music of the night is a much more limited version of a feat. It cuts the usefulness of subsonics down cosiderably because within magical darkness anyone can tell that something strange is going on anyway. Say 1/3 of a feat usually, because this class is using darkness all the time anyway 2/3 of a feat including the upgrade at lvl9. Casting healings and such at greater range is nice, but with the lower caster level they are going to have less effect. And limited to darkness again.
Familiarity looks godd at first glace, but blindsight or such would have the same effect, no need to sacrifice a caster level for that. And lastly all your abilities are tied to a second level spell that is automatically dispelled by a number of light spells and your caster level against normal dipels is seriously lacking.
Hmm, looking over that I seriously overestimated the power of this class at the beginning ot this post, you would have to make the darkness not automatically dispelled by light and give it a bonus to caster levels, maybe also a few other upgrades.

Mephibosheth
2006-04-17, 02:12 PM
Gildes:

I've made a few changes, hoping to bring the class up into the realm of "balanced."

First, I've created a new ability called "Augment Darkness" that bumps up the spell level of the Darkness created by the Voice in the Dark's spell-like ability. *This should make it more resiliant to the effects of light-producing spells.

Second, I gave the Voice in the Dark the two new caster levels you suggested, one at 4th level and one at 7th level. *Hopefully that bumps its power up a little bit.

Third, I altered the culminating ability of Darkness Casting, making it a bit more clear. *My intent was to somewhat replicate the "Eldritch Tapestry" ability of the War Weaver PrC from Heroes of Battle and allow the Voice in the Dark to affect multiple allies with buffing spells, even though the spell itself might not allow it. *In some ways, it's more powerful than the War Weaver ability because its range is potentially greater. *On the other hand, it's potentially weaker because it only takes affect when the caster and the targets are all within areas of magical Darkness. *Finally, I made it so that any area of magical Darkness works, not just those created by the Voice in the Dark.

Finally, I reworked the Music of the Night ability. *Hopefully this makes it more powerful and more interesting. *I was kinda grasping at straws last night while making the PrC and hadn't fully finalized my ideas for how Darkness and Bardic Music would interact, so hopefully this makes it work better.

Let me know what you think!

Also, any other comments?

Mephibosheth

Abd al-Azrad
2006-04-17, 02:26 PM
I like it, simply because of the Music of the Night special ability. Oh, ALW, why must you appeal to me so? Everyone mocks me for enjoying overwhelming musical extravaganzas.

With the Quickened Darkness, the ability to see and navigate magical darkness, little effective sacrifice from regular bard levels, and the ability to be a better bard inside Darkness effects (Music of the Night, Darkness Casting) I think the class is very good as a support role in combat. Round 1, set up a defensive perimiter with Darkness effects, to hide the party, and start singing. Round 2, affect the whole party with some ridiculous single-target buff (or a Cure Critical Wounds, assuming you were ambushed), drop a quickened Darkness on the enemies, and have your party launch their attacks in earnest.

I think it could work.

Mephibosheth
2006-04-17, 02:41 PM
Thanks for the feedback, Abd al-Azrad. I too will admit to being a Phantom of the Opera fan (and in fact, I was listening to the movie soundtrack last night while I was writing the PrC ;)).

I'm pretty sure that's about how the tactics would go, especially since I see the Voice in the Dark working in consort with some Swords or Knives in the Dark, and ridiculous amounts of Darkness of all shades and varieties (check out the Trick of the Dark class feature for Swords and Knives) being thrown up in the first rounds of combat. I foresee the Voice in the Dark as the ultimate buffer/supporter/healer for this group of characters. I really like these PrC’s because (as I’ve said before) they grant abilities that make for interesting tactical/strategic situations that shine in some circumstances but are circumvented easily enough to require some creativity on the part of the party.

Glad you like it.

Mephibosheth