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View Full Version : New PrC: The Mage Police



kailin
2006-04-19, 02:29 AM
A little while ago I was working on a campaign set in a country where magic is tightly controlled by a shadowy aristocracy. The campaign concept fell by the wayside, but I've got this prestige class left over that I like enough to try adapting it for more general use.

I wanted to have a hidden force of anti-spellcaster soldiers planted among normal ranks or commoners, so that one might always be watching. I also wanted them to be organized, strictly loyal to their Order, and very secretive. It all sounds pretty paranoid, but that's what I like about them. There are plenty of mage-slaying builds, and I wanted this one to be different in flavor as well as function.

It's only a 5-level PrC, accessible early, because higher-level characters will need something more to be effective. If anyone has suggestions or thoughts about it, that'd be awesome.

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The Antol

The Antol are a secretive order of warriors trained specially to engage dangerous spellcasters in close battle. They are justly feared, both for their combat ability and their fanaticism in seeking out and persecuting magic users. They serve as defenders of their country, and have a reputation for unquestioning loyalty to the realm, but in truth their ranks include all kinds of men, bound only by their zeal for slaying mages and by their fierce discipline. As far as some Antol care, the rest of the country can go straight to the Nine Hells, as long as the Order remains intact. The Antol usually operate in strict secrecy, posing as ordinary rank-and-file and then striking from nowhere.

Fighters and rangers most often become Antol, though rogues may choose to as well and "rehabilitated" clerics are not unheard of in the order. Paladins, though well suited to the Antol's task, almost never wish to join the order as its strict doctrine invariably conflicts with their faith.

Hit Die: d8

Requirements

Alignment: Any lawful. Antol come in all moral stripes but must be able to accept the rigid indoctrination and follow orders without hesitation or selfishness.

Base Attack Bonus: +6

Skills: Spellcraft 4 ranks, Knowledge (arcana or religion) 4 ranks.

Feat: Combat Expertise

Weapon Proficiency: Any martial weapon.

Special: An Antol who gains spellcasting ability has abandoned his place in the order and can never take Antol levels again. Furthermore, a paladin who joins the Antol compromises his faith by dividing loyalties between his church and the Order. Therefore, he becomes an ex-paladin and loses all paladin spells and abilites (including the service of a special mount, but not weapon/armor/shield proficiencies). He may not regain these abilities as long as he has Antol levels!

Edit: Fixed it so rangers can actually take levels of Antol (Thanks High Apostle).

Class Features

Class Skills

The Antol's class skills are Disguise (Cha), Gather Information (Cha), Intimidate (Cha), Jump (Str), Knowledge (arcana) (Int), Knowledge (religion) (Int), Move Silently (Dex), Sense Motive (Wis), Spellcraft (Int), Swim (Str).

Skill Points Each Level: 4 + Int modifier.

BAB: Fighter progression

Saves
Fort: Good
Ref: *Good
Will: *Poor

Special Abilities
Lvl 1: Disrupt Spellcasting +2, Magic Sense
Lvl 2: Mage Slayer, Spell Toughness +1
Lvl 3: Disrupt Spellcasting +4
Lvl 4: Spell Toughness +2
Lvl 5: Disrupt Spellcasting +6, Special Ability

Disrupt Spellcasting (Ex): Through careful study, Antol learn to spot the precise moments that an opponent casting a spell is most vulnerable, and to strike at these times for greatest effect. Any time an Antol hits an opponent who is casting a spell, the opponent adds +2 to the DC of his Concentration check to keep the spell. This bonus increases to +4 at level 3, and +6 at level 5. This ability applies only to melee attacks or ranged attacks made from withn 30 ft.

Magic Sense (Sp): As an immediate action, an Antol can detect the presence of magical auras in his immediate vicinity. This functions as per detect magic with a duration of 3 rounds, except that it effects a 30 ft radius centered on the player, and it immediately reveals the location of the aura (the object still has full concealment if the Antol cannot see it). At 5th level, the radius increases to 60 ft. This ability is usable a number of times per day equal to Antol class level.

Mage Slayer: Antol receive Mage Slayer as a bonus feat at level 2. (from Complete Warrior: Opponents threatened by you in melee cannot cast defensively).

Special Abilitiy (Ex): At 5th level an Antol chooses either Evasion or Mettle as a class feature. If the Antol already has Evasion as a class feature he gains Improved Evasion instead.

Mettle (Su): An Antol's dedicated focus has given his mind and body a supernatural resistance to magical effects. If an Antol makes a successful Will or Fortitude save against a spell that would normally reduce the spell's effect, he suffers no effect at all. Clarification: This applies only to the first saving throw made for any given spell. For instance, it applies to the fortitude save in a baleful polymorph, but should that save fail Mettle does not apply to the will save. Similarly, a spell such as energy drain would be completely negated if the first fortitude save to remove negative levels succeeds, but should it fail subsequent fortitude saves must be made normally.

Spell Toughness (Ex): Antol dedicate themselves intensely to learning a variety of techniques to resist almost any magical attack. They receive a +1 bonus to all saving throws against spells and spell-like effects. This bonus increases to +2 at level 4.They lose this bonus when confused, stunned, unconscious, or similarly unable to take conscious action.

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So there it is. Originally the bonuses of Disrupt Spellcasting were halved and it applied only to melee attacks and AoO's, but that seems pretty weak to me now. I'm also thinking about including Slippery Mind as a special ability option. How's it sound?

squishycube
2006-04-19, 06:37 AM
Does Mettle apply to spells that have NO effect when you make a fort or will save?

Maryring
2006-04-19, 06:47 AM
Mettle basically works like Evasion does with Reflex saves.

soylentplaid
2006-04-19, 07:54 AM
I've been trying to come up with a variety of classes for a magic-hating nation for a while. Your contribution is greatly appreciated.

squishycube
2006-04-19, 08:21 AM
Man, you should talk to my previous DM. You had to be registered as a spellcaster, otherwise you'd be prosecuted...

CatCameBack
2006-04-19, 09:26 AM
Many years ago, I was involved in a well run and developed campaign (it was 1st edition, if that tells you the age). The DM had a nation called Karristan, loosely based on Persian Iran or Afghanistan.

Karristanis were ruled by an aristocracy of Clerics, who dictated that arcane spellcastes were 'unclean', and frivolous casting of clerical spells (read: unlicensed casting) was forbidden.

One of the most effective controls on spellcasting was that most people wer illiterate and secular writings were forbidden. No spellbooks, no spells (although I don't know how they would have dealt with sorcerers).

In my current world, the average peasant is very wary of the spellcaster. The only widely held prohibition is that any wizard thinking of setting up a keep or tower is just asking for a visit from the local adventuring groups - permamnent Gates were a major problem in my world's past.

I guess the main question is: what is the power base that backs this order? Is it anti-arcane or anti-all spellcasters? If it's anti-everybody, I don't see how it would have much support after the first kindly cleric rolled through the village and cured some diseases and blessed some crops.

EDIT: Dang SEND button. As far as the class goes, good work. The only thing I would point out is that the Mage Slayer ability doesn't prevent someone from taking a 5 foot step to cast.

TimeWizard
2006-04-19, 10:29 AM
I think there's a PrC from complete warrior dedicated to mage-hatery. I'f I recall correctly he could even reflect beam spells, worth a look.

Nice job, But why no ability that grants spell resistance? no SR 10+Antol level?

highapostle
2006-04-19, 11:02 AM
Interesting concept. It would work well in a campaign world that's been percolating in my brain, where arcane magic ability (sorcery, primarily) is mostly inherited, so the main realm is ruled by a couple of ancient houses that have strong magic lines. Magic ability does occassionally pop up in people with no family history of it, in which case the ruling houses would attempt to co-opt or neutralize them. A squad of Antols would be a great addition to the campaign to track down these non-family magic users to capture or kill.

You may want to consider adding some type of Detect Magic or Detect Spellcaster special ability, maybe along the lines of "Whenever you are within 60 feet of a spellcaster you have an x% chance of sensing magic somewhere nearby."


Special: An Antol who takes ranks in a class that grants spellcasting abilities has abandoned his place in the order and can never take Antol levels again.

Wouldn't this prevent rangers from joining, since they can cast spells at higher levels?

Orion-the-G
2006-04-19, 11:11 AM
One suggestion:

You might give him a 'magic sense' ability. At first level he might be able to make a Wisdom check (something like DC 10-Spell Level+1 per 10 feet) to sense that a spell had been cast nearby.

At third maybe he can determine what direction the spellcasting came from on a sucessful check and the ability to make a magic sense roll to determine if an item is magical or an area is enchanted by a continuing spell effect.

At 5th level the +1 per 10 feet goes away and is replaced by +1 per 50 feet and it allows him to roughly pinpoint the location of the casting. Perhaps allow him a sense roll to determine if someone has cast a spell in the last X hours.

soylentplaid
2006-04-19, 11:22 AM
A non-spellcasting Ranger variant class (Unearthed Arcana, many misc sources) plus Antol would make a chillingly-effective mage hunter. You may even have your DM grant you Spellcasters as a favored enemy, if you're lucky.

kailin
2006-04-19, 01:37 PM
Detect Magic: I like it. It's inconspicuous enough that it won't disrupt the Antol's completely non-magical appearance, and it enhances their image of preternatural readiness for fighting magic. I think I'd make it basically a detect magic spell-like ability, though. I gave one of my players a constant "Sense Magic" power when she turned into a 'Wereworg,' and it's been a wierd, uneven ability.

I'll change it around a bit, since I want it to work well against a metamagic feat I designed for the campaign that made spells invisible (http://www.giantitp.com/cgi-bin/yabb/YaBB.pl?board=gaming;action=display;num=1145467602 ;start=0#0).

SR/Ray Deflection: These both feel too magical for the Antol. Keep in mind that SR doesn't normally become available to core races PCs till moderately high levels, by which point Antol by itself won't be enough, that's why it's a 5 level PrC. As far as Ray Deflection goes, _way_ too flashy . . . I don't have Complete Warrior handy, but that had _better_ be a Supernatural ability. Otherwise, screw you WOTC, Ray Deflection (Ex)? What class is this, Tarrasque Disciple?

Still, I take your point, ray effects will eat these guys for breakfast, I'll think about how to protect them . . . maybe some kind of fast concealment ability . . .


Wouldn't this prevent rangers from joining, since they can cast spells at higher levels?

:o God dammit, you're right! That especially bugs me since I designed this class for rangers and fighters. Whoops. Okay, change it to any character that actually GAINS spellcasting has to stop taking Antol levels.


The only thing I would point out is that the Mage Slayer ability doesn't prevent someone from taking a 5 foot step to cast.

Yeah, I realized this and improved the Disrupt Spellcasting ability to compensate. That's why it works at range, and the bonuses to the Concentration DCs are twice what they were originally. I don't want a kingdom where everyone and his little brother goes around packing spiked chains. As it is, Mage Slayer's just a handy bonus feat. You get it, +2 to all saves v. spells, and a special ability, in 5 levels. I'd give up 5 levels of fighter for it.


Does Mettle apply to spells that have NO effect when you make a fort or will save?

Well, technically it applies, but it doesn't DO anything, since you've already negated the spell with your save alone. The reason Mettle needed a clarification and Evasion doesn't it that a lot of Fort/Will save spells have multiple sub-effects, each with its own save.

This way, if you fail you fort save and get baleful polymorphed into a toad, but make your will save to retain your character's memories, Mettle doesn't have the ridiculous effect of retroactively saving you from the entire spell. On the other hand, if you resist cause fear, the spell has no effect (normally you'd still be shaken). Also different: There is no Improved Mettle, and no DM should ever, ever, EVER allow one.


guess the main question is: what is the power base that backs this order? *Is it anti-arcane or anti-all spellcasters? *If it's anti-everybody, I don't see how it would have much support after the first kindly cleric rolled through the village and cured some diseases and blessed some crops?

I'd really love to see this campaign get off the ground, but I can't see that happening in the next 2-3 years. Behind closed doors, the aristocracy uses spellcasters covertly, and there are a few secret arcanists in power and one noble family experiencing persistent divine callings to Hieroneous. In public, however, any kind of spellcasting is hated and decried, which is just how the power base wants it.

What keeps them in power when some do-gooder cleric rolls in with Cures a-blazin'? Fear (the aristocracy wouldn't shy away from occasionally--secretly--sending a mage out to wreak havoc, just to keep the public scared of magic), propoganda (the kingdom was enslaved by a magical army for centuries and only recently overthrew their conquerors), and the fact that the Antol usually reach spellcasters before they get too far.

At higher levels, I expected the PCs to start being able to resist the nobles and cause some radical changes in the kingdom, which is one of the things I was looking forward to.


Man, you should talk to my previous DM. You had to be registered as a spellcaster, otherwise you'd be prosecuted...

Oh yeah. Excellent. *8)

SpiderMew
2006-04-19, 02:52 PM
What if you used the non spell casting verson of palidan from complete warror, and he worshped a god that let him be a part of the order?

kailin
2006-04-19, 03:16 PM
Well, that would be the DM's call, but I wouldn't allow it. The reasons I made this class unfriendly to paladins were that:

1. Smite Evil + Disrupt Spellcasting is a hell of a thing. (damage + paladin level +6) to evildoers' Concentration DCs several times a day? Bit too much.

2. Divine Grace + Spell Toughness pushes his saves just a little further through the roof. I made a paladin6/Antol 5 when I was testing this, and his saves were +16/+13/+11, without any magic items. That plus Mettle/Evasion equals almost spellproof. Plus, the paladin's code, while not hideously restrictive, is supposed to exclude certain roleplaying and character-build options, and this one seems to come into direct conflict with his code.

Like I said, though, depends on the DM, players, and campaign. Also I don't have Complete Warrior right here, so I don't know whether anything I've said above about the core paladin applies to the spell-less one you're talking about. Anyone?