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A.J.Gibson
2010-01-19, 02:26 PM
I'm trying to design a prestige class that I can take in the campaign I'm currently playing in. I'm playing a sorcerer-fighter, but I'm finding there is no one prestige class that really goes where I want to go. The best I can do is dip a few levels into Spellsword (a class I'm told is weak and useless beyond level 3) and then take some levels of Eldritch Knight (which is really too close to the sorcerer end of things for me). So I'm creating my own fighter-mage prestige class, and would like to hear opinions on whether it is too strong/too weak. I haven't written the flavor text yet, but the basic idea is a fighter-sorcerer who can charge into battle but still has good spellcasting abilities.

Prestige Class: Eldritch Sword
Total Levels: 10
Requirements: Proficiency with Light and Medium Armour, all Simple and All martial weapons, Base Attack +4, ability to cast level 2 arcane spells, Arcane Strike, Knowledge (Arcana) 8
Attack: Full
Saves: Fort Good, Ref Poor, Will Good
Hit Die: d8
Skill Points per Level: 2
Skills: Bluff (Cha), Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Decipher Script (Int), Intimidate (Cha), Jump (Str), Knowledge (arcana) (Int), Sense Motive (Wis), Spellcraft (Int)

Spells: the Eldritch Sword advances in their spell casting class at all levels except levels 1 and 6.

Special Abilities:
1 - Reduced Spell Failure 10%
2 - Spell Arsenal
3 - Reduced Spell Failure 20%
4 - Bonus Combat Feat
5 - Reduced Spell Failure 30%
6 - Improved Spell Arsenal
7 - Reduced Spell Failure 40%
8 - Arcane Grace
9 - Reduced Spell Failure 50%
10 - Full Casting

Reduced Spell Failure (Extraordinary Ability)
The character learns to wear armor such that it no longer interferes with their spell casting.

Bonus Feat (Extraordinary Ability)
At level 4, the character gains a bonus feat. This can be any feat a fighter could take as a bonus feat.

Spell Arsenal (Spell-Like Ability)
The character may cast a spells an suspend their activation until a later time. The arsenal can hold spells 2nd level or lower with a maximum number of spell levels equal to the level of the Eldritch Sword plus their spellcasting attribute bonus. The arsenal can only hold spells that either target the Eldrtich Sword, or targets objects on their person (such as their weapon or armor), or targets their familiar (if any), or target an area centered on the caster and move with them as they move. In addition, the spell must have a duration, and not be an instantaneous effect (like a heal spell). Spells that can affect one or more targets can be placed in the arsenal, but only if they target Eldritch Sword and/or their familiar; others can not benefit from the arsenal. The arsenal can hold a total number of spell levels equal to the level of the Eldritch Sword plus their spell casting attribute modifier. Level 0 spells do not count towards this limit.

If the spell can affect others in addition to the Eldritch Sword (and their familiar), it fails to do so, and any decisions about how the spell will function must be made when the arsenal is prepared.

The Eldritch Sword can activate their arsenal as a standard action. Once activated, all spells in the arsenal begin to take effect as if they were just cast. Placing a spell into the arsenal is as easy as casting it. Activating the arsenal activates all spells in the arsenal, though spells can be dropped in order to make room for new spells. Dropped spells are simply lost. Spells in the arsenal are susceptible to being dispelled as if they were individual spells already in place, and are visible to detect magic and similar effects as if they were spells in place.

Activating the arsenal is similar to a spell, but does not provoke attacks of opportunity and is not subject to arcane spell failure (but spells being placed into the arsenal are subject at the time they are placed). It has verbal and somatic components.

If an Eldritch Sword recovers spells while their arsenal has spells in it, they do not recover the spell slots associated with those spells.

Improved Spell Arsenal (Spell-Like Ability)
The character's spell arsenal may be used as a swift action. In addition, the character can now use their arsenal to store spells up to 4th level.

Arcane Grace (Supernatural Ability)
The spellcaster gets a bonus to all saving throws equal to their spellcasting attribute bonus.

Full Casting (Extraordinary Ability)
The character can use their character level as their caster level for their arcane spells as if they had the Practiced Spellcaster feat, but with out the 4 level limitation. If the character already possesses the Practiced Spellcaster feat, they receive a new feat to replace it. This bonus stacks with bonuses to caster level that give the character a flat bonus.

Opinions? Too Strong? Too Weak? Insufficiently niche? Any obvious rules abuses I should try to preempt?

jiriku
2010-01-19, 03:51 PM
My first thought is that it is a bit OP, yes. But it's actually pretty close to the mark and easily fixed. You shouldn't have much trouble making this into a workable class.

Entry Requirements:
Eliminate the requirements for base attack, spellcasting, and proficiency with simple weapons and light armor. These requirements are subsumed by the requirements Arcane Strike and proficiency with all martial weapons and medium armor.

Reduced Spell Failure: A big benefit. By ES5, the character can wear mithril full plate and a mithril heavy shield with no penalty. By ES10 he can do the same in adamantine. Expect this character to have an AC perhaps 10 points higher than a straight wizard.

Spell Arsenal: Really huge, this is the ability to drop a cartload of buff spells with a single standard action. Even the restriction to low-level spells merely makes it awesome instead of broken. Players would be tempted to dip two levels in this class just for Spell Arsenal.

Bonus Feat: Ok.

Improved Spell Arsenal: Wow. So with, say, a +8 attribute bonus I can now precast 14 levels of spells and drop them all as a swift action?

Arcane Grace: Broken. A strong caster, even a caster/gish, will be able to boost saves to the point where failure just doesn't occur unless the DM uses attacks that the other PCs have no hope of saving against. Basically, this is either virtual immunity to any effect that requires a saving throw, or a death sentence for everyone else in the party, depending on how your DM responds to it.

Full Casting: Yawn. By the time you reach this point, you're probably character level 17 and caster level 14. You're probably planning to take abjurant champion or more sorcerer levels after this, so this is basically the same as granting practiced spellcaster as a bonus feat. Just scrap it and replace it with something more interesting.

Recommendations:

Spell Arsenal is the centerpiece of this class and needs to be less front-loaded, while Arcane Grace (broken) and Full Casting (lame) need to be replaced.
Spell Arsenal also needs some kind of nerf, as currently it's open to abuse. I'd recommend that you notate the spell level cap limits the total number of spell levels that can be loaded into the arsenal per day, not just at any given moment.
Reduce Spell Failure should be cut in half, if only to show a little humility around those poor martial characters who can't do anything other than strap pieces of metal to various parts of their bodies.
However, Sudden Quicken as a bonus feat, without having to meet the prerequisites, would be pretty nice. Actually, the ability to use your arsenal as a swift action sooner would be even more useful. So would another fighter bonus feat.


Maybe make it something like this:

{table=head]Level | BAB| Fort | Ref | Will | Special | Spellcasting
1st | +1 | +2 | +0 | +2 | Ignore ASF 5% | +1 level
2nd | +2 | +3 | +0 | +3 | Bonus Feat | +1 level
3rd| +3 | +3 | +1 | +3 | Ignore ASF 10% | +1 level
4th | +4 | +4 | +1 | +4 | Spell Arsenal | --
5th | +5 | +4 | +1 | +4 | Ignore ASF 15% | +1 level
6th | +6 | +5 | +2 | +5 | Bonus Feat | +1 level
7th | +7 | +5 | +2 | +5 | Ignore ASF 20% | +1 level
8th | +8 | +6 | +2 | +6 | Rapid Spell Arsenal| +1 level
9th | +9 | +6 | +3 | +6 | Ignore ASF 25% | +1 level
10th | +10 | +7 | +3 | +7 | Improved Spell Arsenal | --[/table]

If your DM still feels that it's excessive, then you could either chop another caster level off (probably at either 1st or 8th) or further nerf the Spell Arsenal (perhaps by limiting it to only class level in spell levels per day).

Tinydwarfman
2010-01-19, 04:11 PM
Aww, at first I thought this would for a melee warlock (I like warlocks) but it looks pretty good anyway. I would give them the ability to burn spell slots for things other than damage, but that's just my preference. Think the Elan race (can use power points get imp saves + DR) but with more things to do it with. Jiriku summed it pretty well from a balance stand-point.

Also, Spellsword is not that bad past 3rd level, he just suffers from being a prc for a full caster. Admittedly he doesn't get anything interesting until 10th, but he's still better than your standard Eldritch Knight (at least if you more focused on being a fighter than a caster)

Glimbur
2010-01-19, 04:29 PM
There are full casting, full BAB PrC's. For example, Abjurant Champion from Complete Mage. I think this is bad design, personally. PrC's in general shouldn't be strictly better than the base class, and an easy way to do that is to do what you did and provide partial or almost-full casting progression for all PrC's aimed at casters.

Spell Arsenal is interesting, but I would reduce the number of spells that can be stored in it to half Eldritch Sword level, minimum 2.

Improved Spell Arsenal: Quickened True strike is far from the worst thing you could do with that, and that combination should be more expensive in terms of slots than this ability makes it. Dump it.

Arcane Grace is too good, thanks to the proliferation of save boosters out there, particularly for Cha-based casters. Just drop it.

The reduction in ASF is nice, but there are other ways around ASF using materials and enchantments and dips and such. It probably is too much in total though, so reduce it to maybe 30% by level 10.

You need more class features. I don't have any ideas offhand.

Dante & Vergil
2010-01-19, 04:31 PM
At least quote my post for the table so it looks nice.
{table=head]Level|Special Abilities
1|Reduced Spell Failure 10%
2|Spell Arsenal
3|Reduced Spell Failure 20%
4|Bonus Combat Feat
5|Reduced Spell Failure 30%
6|Improved Spell Arsenal
7|Reduced Spell Failure 40%
8|Arcane Grace
9|Reduced Spell Failure 50%
10|Full Casting[/table]

A.J.Gibson
2010-01-19, 04:36 PM
Eliminate the requirements for base attack, spellcasting, and proficiency with simple weapons and light armor. These requirements are subsumed by the requirements Arcane Strike and proficiency with all martial weapons and medium armor.


I'm just writing it the way I keep reading it.



Reduced Spell Failure: A big benefit. By ES5, the character can wear mithril full plate and a mithril heavy shield with no penalty. By ES10 he can do the same in adamantine. Expect this character to have an AC perhaps 10 points higher than a straight wizard.


Okay, maybe a bit less RSF, but I'd still like a bit more than you've suggested, and a bit more at level 1 (5% is pretty useless). Perhaps topping out at 30%?



Spell Arsenal: Really huge, this is the ability to drop a cartload of buff spells with a single standard action. Even the restriction to low-level spells merely makes it awesome instead of broken. Players would be tempted to dip two levels in this class just for Spell Arsenal.

Improved Spell Arsenal: Wow. So with, say, a +8 attribute bonus I can now precast 14 levels of spells and drop them all as a swift action?


I can see how pushing back the arsenal is a good idea, but, I'd like there to be some 'unique' value to the class early on. How about it becomes available at level 2 but only for 1st level spells? Also, why not limit the total levels to half the class level (rounded down) plus the spellcasting attribute bonus? Or is that too front loaded? It's kind of useless if you can't get at least two spells into it.

On a side note, how is it for flavor factor?



Arcane Grace: Broken. A strong caster, even a caster/gish, will be able to boost saves to the point where failure just doesn't occur unless the DM uses attacks that the other PCs have no hope of saving against. Basically, this is either virtual immunity to any effect that requires a saving throw, or a death sentence for everyone else in the party, depending on how your DM responds to it.


Consider it gone.



Full Casting: Yawn. By the time you reach this point, you're probably character level 17 and caster level 14. You're probably planning to take abjurant champion or wizard after this, so this is basically the same as granting practiced spellcaster as a bonus feat. Just scrap it and replace it with something more interesting.


I wanted to have a cookie at every level, but I also wanted something that wasn't too powerful. It's basically Practised Spellcaster without the +4 limit. I'd like to keep it, but perhaps earlier on? I want this class to work also for mage's who are closer to even in their fighter/mage levels.

The Sudden Quicken idea is interesting, but is a little too specific for my taste. How about a more generic ability: the ES can take any sudden meta-magic without having the pre-req?

Maybe make it something like this:

1 Spell Arsenal (1st level)
2 Ignore ASF 10%
3 Sudden Meta-Magic
4 Spell Arsenal (2nd level)
5 Ignore ASF 20%
6 Full Casting
7 Spell Arsenal (3rd level)
8 Ignore ASF 30%
9 Bonus Feat
10 Spell Arsenal (4th level)

I'd also like to keep the 1st level as one of the two spell-less levels, to dissuade dipping. Spellswords have reduced ASF and fulls spells at 1st level, so it's constantly dipped into.

A.J.Gibson
2010-01-19, 04:39 PM
There are full casting, full BAB PrC's. For example, Abjurant Champion from Complete Mage. I think this is bad design, personally. PrC's in general shouldn't be strictly better than the base class, and an easy way to do that is to do what you did and provide partial or almost-full casting progression for all PrC's aimed at casters.

Spell Arsenal is interesting, but I would reduce the number of spells that can be stored in it to half Eldritch Sword level, minimum 2.

Improved Spell Arsenal: Quickened True strike is far from the worst thing you could do with that, and that combination should be more expensive in terms of slots than this ability makes it. Dump it.

Arcane Grace is too good, thanks to the proliferation of save boosters out there, particularly for Cha-based casters. Just drop it.

The reduction in ASF is nice, but there are other ways around ASF using materials and enchantments and dips and such. It probably is too much in total though, so reduce it to maybe 30% by level 10.

You need more class features. I don't have any ideas offhand.

Damn, you people are fast. And we think alike, too. I'm trying to avoid being like the Abjurant Champion because it's too good. I actually want to be balanced.

aethernox
2010-01-19, 05:00 PM
This seems a bit weak to me. Reduced ACF doesn't really matter, imo; I prefer saving gold, moving faster, and getting better AC out of spells. Spell Arsenal is good, Arcane Grace is derivative but effective, Full Casting isn't very impressive.

jiriku
2010-01-19, 05:57 PM
Breaking up Spell Arsenal works well - that reinforces the theme of the class and gives enough of a taste to keep them coming back for more.

Full Casting doesn't work like you think it does. Assume the following build: sorcerer 6/fighter1/eldritch sword 10/abjurant champion 3. At level 20, your caster level is 17. The issue here is that for your most common build, erasing the +4 CL cap provides no benefit until you hit epic levels. You'd do just as well with Practiced Spellcaster.

In fact, instead of all these bonus feats and minor vanilla abilities, why not provide some alternative uses for the arsenal? Maybe the character gains the ability to burn spell levels in the arsenal in order to increase his caster level or save DC for a spell, or to apply a metamagic feat without taking a full-round action, or to bypass damage reduction with a melee attack, or to bypass miss chances with a melee attack, or to power arcane strike with improved effectiveness. This would turn the arsenal into a versatile and flexible tool, something more unique than just "I cast a lot of spells at once".

A.J.Gibson
2010-01-20, 12:01 AM
Full Casting doesn't work like you think it does. Assume the following build: sorcerer 6/fighter1/eldritch sword 10/abjurant champion 3. At level 20, your caster level is 17. The issue here is that for your most common build, erasing the +4 CL cap provides no benefit until you hit epic levels. You'd do just as well with Practiced Spellcaster.


This is exactly what I thought it does, and is exactly as intended. You're coming from the assumption that the character is going to be spell-casting level heavy, but for a Fighter 6/Sorcerer 6 this option is would be extremely useful. I can understand that the feature is not overwhelmingly amazing, but it is still the equivalent of a feat, and not every power can be a show stopper. This power is actually very close to the capstone for Abjurant Champion, though superior.

Is there any specific reason NOT to include this power?



In fact, instead of all these bonus feats and minor vanilla abilities, why not provide some alternative uses for the arsenal? Maybe the character gains the ability to burn spell levels in the arsenal in order to increase his caster level or save DC for a spell, or to apply a metamagic feat without taking a full-round action, or to bypass damage reduction with a melee attack, or to bypass miss chances with a melee attack, or to power arcane strike with improved effectiveness. This would turn the arsenal into a versatile and flexible tool, something more unique than just "I cast a lot of spells at once".

I think arsenal is already very flexible, given you can put a crap load of different spells in it. The main point of the power is to allow the character to better utilize their spells while in melee, instead of having to hang back to cast all their buffs at the beginning of combat.

A.J.Gibson
2010-01-20, 01:22 AM
I've been reading everyone's comments, and I'd like to thank all of you who contributed. I've now revised the class, and would like more feedback. The message I heard from you to dump several features and replace them with others, but different people seemed to want different things or had different ideas about what would be useful, so I decided to use a system where the Eldritch Sword gets 3 special abilities over the course of the class, and the player may choose from a list based on what they like. I tried to come up with several abilities which seemed cool, and which were roughly 50% better than a typical feat. I also tried to address some of the problems that make fighter/mages difficult to pull off. I'd like to hear about what people think about these abilities, and if any seem too powerful or completely useless.

Prestige Class: Eldritch Sword
Total Levels: 10
Requirements: Proficiency with Light and Medium Armour, all Simple and All Martial weapons, Base Attack +5, ability to cast level 3 arcane spells, Arcane Strike, Knowledge (Arcana) 8
Attack: Full
Saves: Fort Good, Ref Poor, Will Good
Hit Die: d8
Skill Points per Level: 2
Skills: Bluff (Cha), Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Decipher Script (Int), Intimidate (Cha), Jump (Str), Knowledge (arcana) (Int), Sense Motive (Wis), Spellcraft (Int)

{table=head]Level | BAB| Fort | Ref | Will | Special | Spellcasting
1st | +1 | +2 | +0 | +2 | Spell Arsenal (1st Level) | --
2nd | +2 | +3 | +0 | +3 | Arcane Talent | +1 level
3rd | +3 | +3 | +1 | +3 | Bonus Combat Feat | +1 level
4th | +4 | +4 | +1 | +4 | Spell Arsenal (2nd Level) | +1 level
5th | +5 | +4 | +1 | +4 | Arcane Talent | +1 level
6th | +6 | +5 | +2 | +5 | Bonus Combat Feat | +1 level
7th | +7 | +5 | +2 | +5 | Spell Arsenal (3rd Level) | --
8th | +8 | +6 | +2 | +6 | Arcane Talent | +1 level
9th | +9 | +6 | +3 | +6 | Bonus Combat Feat | +1 level
10th | +10 | +7 | +3 | +7 | Spell Arsenal (4th Level) | +1 level[/table]


Spells: the Eldritch Sword advances in their spell casting class at all levels except levels 1 and 7.

Bonus Feat (Extraordinary Ability)
At levels 3, 6, and 9 the character gains a bonus feat. This can be any feat a fighter could take as a bonus feat.

Spell Arsenal (Spell-Like Ability)
The character may cast a spells an suspend their activation until a later time. The arsenal can hold spells of a limited level with a maximum number of spell levels equal to half the character's level in the Eldritch Sword class (rounded down) plus their spellcasting attribute bonus. Level 0 spells do not count towards this limit. The arsenal can only hold spells that either target the Eldrtich Sword, or targets objects on their person (such as their weapon or armor), or targets their familiar (if any), or targets an area centered on the caster and moves with them as they move. In addition, the spell must have a duration, and not be an instantaneous effect (like a heal spell) or a one time effect (such as true strike). Spells that can affect one or more targets can be placed in the arsenal, but only if they target Eldritch Sword and/or their familiar; others can not benefit from the arsenal. Any decisions about how the spell will function must be made when the arsenal is prepared.

The Eldritch Sword can activate their arsenal as an action. Once activated, all spells in the arsenal begin to take effect as if they were just cast. Placing a spell into the arsenal is as easy as casting it. Activating the arsenal activates all spells in the arsenal, though spells can be dropped in order to make room for new spells. Dropped spells are simply lost. Spells in the arsenal are susceptible to being dispelled as if they were individual spells already in place, and are visible to detect magic and similar effects as if they were spells in place.

Activating the arsenal is similar to a spell, but does not provoke attacks of opportunity and is not subject to arcane spell failure (but spells being placed into the arsenal are subject to it at the time they are placed). It has verbal and somatic components.

The arsenal becomes more powerful as a character advances in this class, in addition to increasing in spells levels available. At level 1, the arsenal can only hold 1st level spells, but this increases to 4th level by the time the character reaches level 10. In addition, the activation time decreases, from being a full-round action at level 1, to being a standard action at level 4, to a swift action at level 7, and finally to an immediate action at level 10.

If an Eldritch Sword recovers spells while their arsenal has spells in it, they do not recover the spell slots associated with those spells. An Eldritch Sword can drop spells in their arsenal in order to power other abilities that allow them to use spell slots in other ways, such as Arcane Strike, but can not use spells in their arsenal to power reserve feats.

Arcane Talent

At levels 2, 5, and 8, the Eldritch Sword gains a special power chosen from the following list of abilities:

Reduced Spell Failure (Extraordinary Ability)
The character can reduce the chance of failure for casting while wearing armor. Each time this feat is taken, ASF is reduced by 15%. This talent may be taken multiple times.

Full Casting (Extraordinary Ability)
The character can use their character level as their caster level for their arcane spells as if they had the Practiced Spellcaster feat, but without the 4 level limitation. If the character already possesses the Practiced Spellcaster feat, they receive a new feat to replace it. This bonus stacks with bonuses to caster level that give the character a flat bonus.

Full Toughness (Extraordinary Ability)
The character gains a bonus to their hit points based on those levels that did not give them as many. For every class level achieved with a class that only has d4 for a hit die, the character gains 2 hit points. For every class level achieved with a class that only has d6 as a hit die, the character gains 1 hit point.

Arcane Dodge (Supernatural Ability)
The character can use their spellcasting attribute in place of the Dexterity to determine their dodge bonus.

Greater Arcane Strike (Supernatural Ability)
When the Eldritch Sword uses their Arcane Strike feat, they add 1d6 per spell level to their attacks, instead of 1d4 per spell level. This talent may only be taken once.

Arcane Combat Prowess (Extraordinary Ability)
The Eldritch Sword can duplicate the effects of any combat feat that would normally be available to fighters as a bonus feat, even if they lack the pre-requisites. As a free action, they can change the feat they are duplicating.

Greater Arsenal (Spell-Like Ability)
The Eldrtich Sword's arsenal can hold an extra 3 spell levels. In addition, they may include 1 spell that is 1 level above what is the normal maximum for their arsenal. This talent may only be taken once.

Potent Spells (Supernatural Ability)
The Eldritch Sword learns how to make their lower level spells more effective. For any spell with a level less than level 4, the Eldritch Sword calculates the save DC as if it were a level 5 spell; thus a level 1 spell would have a save DC that is 4 higher, and so forth.

Rigorous Concentration (Extraordinary Ability)
Once per day, the Eldritch Sword can choose to automatically succeed on a concentration check to use a spell. This decision must be made before the concentration roll is made.

Bonus Meta-Magic Feat (Extraordinary Ability)
The Eldritch Sword may learn a meta-magic feat in place of an arcane talent. When a feat is bought this way, the Eldritch Sword can ignore any pre-requisites for the feat. This feat may be taken multiple times.

jiriku
2010-01-20, 02:17 PM
That works.

Arcane Combat Prowess and Potent Spells are substantially stronger than the others. Arcane Combat Prowess worries me a little, because a 9th level character could potentially use it to take feats that require a +18 base attack bonus, while Potent Spells allows a 9th level character to set the save DC for all his spells as if they were 5th level when he can't actually even cast 5th level spells yet (since he has only caster level 7).

A.J.Gibson
2010-01-20, 03:47 PM
That works.

Arcane Combat Prowess and Potent Spells are substantially stronger than the others. Arcane Combat Prowess worries me a little, because a 9th level character could potentially use it to take feats that require a +18 base attack bonus, while Potent Spells allows a 9th level character to set the save DC for all his spells as if they were 5th level when he can't actually even cast 5th level spells yet (since he has only caster level 7).

I was worried that Arcane Combat Prowess might be useless, but I wanted something distinctly 'fighter-y' that wasn't available to any other class directly. Would a limit to the number of rounds per day fix the problem; say ES Level + Spellcaster bonus?

I totally wasn't thinking when I wrote Potent Spells; it didn't occur to me what affect it might have on lower level casters. How about this: the ES can increase the DC on any spell so that it is considered equal to at least half their spell level, rounded up? So at level 9 they could bump their level 1 through 4 to level 5, but at lower levels they could only bump even lower spells?

Eloel
2010-01-20, 04:29 PM
For the Arsenal, can I direct you to Heroes of Battle PrC, War Weaver? It has a similar mechanic, so you might grab some ideas.

jiriku
2010-01-20, 04:42 PM
I wouldn't recommend a duration limit on Arcane Combat Prowess. Duration limits don't greatly restrict use of an ability, and encourage nova-style battle tactics and 15-minute adventuring days.

A houserule I apply to the fighter is that he qualifies for feats as if his base attack bonus was his fighter level +2. You could do something similar. Another alternative would be to ignore feat tree prerequisites, but not prerequisites involving base attack bonus or minimum ability scores.

Yeah that would work well for Potent Spells.

A.J.Gibson
2010-01-20, 05:55 PM
A houserule I apply to the fighter is that he qualifies for feats as if his base attack bonus was his fighter level +2. You could do something similar. Another alternative would be to ignore feat tree prerequisites, but not prerequisites involving base attack bonus or minimum ability scores.

I'm not quite clear on how this will really change things. Very few feats seem to have a base attack pre-req, and it's usually lower than the pre-req for this prestige class. How exactly can this power be abused? Two-weapon fighting?

A.J.Gibson
2010-01-21, 12:54 AM
So I'm rethinking Arcane Combat Prowess a bit:

Arcane Combat Prowess (Extraordinary Ability)
The Eldritch Sword can duplicate the effects of any combat feat that would normally be available to fighters as a bonus feat. They can may do this a number of times per day equal to their base attack, and each usage lasts one round. Multiple feats can be active at the same time (even multiple copies of the same feat), and activating any number of feats is a swift action. The Eldritch Sword may choose any feat they meet the base attack pre-requisite for, but they may ignore attribute pre-requisites. If they choose a feat with pre-requisite feats they must duplicate those feats as well.

It's kind of complicated, but solves a number of problems:
-it allows duplication of harder to get feats by increasing the cost, but still allows the Eldritch Sword to pull out a surprised Whirlwind attack now and then
-it allows characters with a more fighter-y background to use the power more often
-it solves the dilemma with characters constantly duplicating Improved Initiative and then switching upon their first turn
-it makes it easier to determine what happens if you duplicate a feat with pre-requisite feats

Overall, the idea with this talent was to give the player a bag of tricks they can play around with, and also to experiment with some of the feats that aren't bought as often. It's a fun little power.

A.J.Gibson
2010-01-21, 10:40 PM
Eldritch Sword

http://Picture URL

"Bring power to the enemy; a victory delayed is a victory denied."

The Eldrich Sword is a warrior who's principle weapon is magic. While other spell casters may be content to study their art until they can eventually fight, the Eldritch Sword understands the need to enter combat immediately. It might not be the smartest or more effective means of defeating enemies, but the Eldrtich Sword would rather risk their own life than stand back and let their allies get killed while they cast some complicated ritual to twist reality into a knot, so they dive into combat and attempt to destroy their enemies with sheer brutal strength; boosted by arcana prowess.

The typical Eldritch Sword doesn't understand how a 'pure' spellcaster can believe they are more powerful than others, when most of them must rely on others for protection while they use their skills. The Eldritch Sword believes that power begins with independence. A truly powerful person has others rely on them, not vice versa.

BECOMING AN ELDRITCH SWORD
There is no formal organization or method of becoming an Eldritch Sword; the process begins when a warrior turns to magic to make their selves more effective in combat, or (more frequently) when a spellcaster picks up a sword and charges into their first real battle.

ENTRY REQUIREMENTS
Skills: Knowledge (Arcana) 8
Feat: Arcane Strike
Special: Proficiency with Light and Medium Armour
Special: All Simple and All Martial weapons
Special: Base Attack +4
Special: Ability to cast level 3 arcane spells

Class Skills
The Class Name's class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Bluff (Cha), Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Decipher Script (Int), Intimidate (Cha), Jump (Str), Knowledge (arcana) (Int), Sense Motive (Wis), Spellcraft (Int)
Skills Points at Each Level: 2 + int

Hit Dice: d8

{table=head]Level|Base Attack Bonus|Fort Save|Ref Save|Will Save|Special|Spellcasting

1st|
+1|
+2|
+0|
+2|Spell Arsenal (1st Level)| -

2nd|
+2|
+3|
+0|
+3|Arcane Talent|+1 Level of Existing Arcane Spellcasting Class

3rd|
+3|
+3|
+1|
+3|Bonus Combat Feat|+1 Level of Existing Arcane Spellcasting Class

4th|
+4|
+4|
+1|
+4|Spell Arsenal (2nd Level)|+1 Level of Existing Arcane Spellcasting Class

5th|
+5|
+4|
+1|
+4|Arcane Talent|+1 Level of Existing Arcane Spellcasting Class

6th|
+6|
+5|
+2|
+5|Bonus Combat Feat|+1 Level of Existing Arcane Spellcasting Class

7th|
+7|
+5|
+2|
+5|Spell Arsenal (3rd Level)| -

8th|
+8|
+6|
+2|
+6|Arcane Talent|+1 Level of Existing Arcane Spellcasting Class

9th|
+9|
+6|
+3|
+6|Bonus Combat Feat|+1 Level of Existing Arcane Spellcasting Class

10th|
+10|
+7|
+3|
+7|Spell Arsenal (4th Level)|+1 Level of Existing Arcane Spellcasting Class[/table]

Spells: the Eldritch Sword advances in their spell casting class at all levels except levels 1 and 7.

Bonus Feat (Extraordinary Ability)
At levels 3, 6, and 9 the character gains a bonus feat. This can be any feat a fighter could take as a bonus feat.

Spell Arsenal (Spell-Like Ability)
The character may cast a spells an suspend their activation until a later time. The arsenal can hold spells of a limited level with a maximum number of spell levels equal to half the character's level in the Eldritch Sword class (rounded down) plus their spellcasting attribute bonus. Level 0 spells do not count towards this limit. The arsenal can only hold spells that either target the Eldrtich Sword, or targets objects on their person (such as their weapon or armor), or targets their familiar (if any), or targets an area centered on the caster and moves with them as they move. In addition, the spell must have a duration, and not be an instantaneous effect (like a heal spell) or a one time effect (such as true strike). Spells that can affect one or more targets can be placed in the arsenal, but only if they target Eldritch Sword and/or their familiar; others can not benefit from the arsenal. Any decisions about how the spell will function must be made when the arsenal is prepared.

The Eldritch Sword can activate their arsenal as an action. Once activated, all spells in the arsenal begin to take effect as if they were just cast. Placing a spell into the arsenal is as easy as casting it. Activating the arsenal activates all spells in the arsenal, though spells can be dropped in order to make room for new spells. Dropped spells are simply lost. Spells in the arsenal are susceptible to being dispelled as if they were individual spells already in place, and are visible to detect magic and similar effects as if they were spells in place.

Activating the arsenal is similar to a spell, but does not provoke attacks of opportunity and is not subject to arcane spell failure (but spells being placed into the arsenal are subject to it at the time they are placed). It has verbal and somatic components.

The arsenal becomes more powerful as a character advances in this class, in addition to increasing in spells levels available. At level 1, the arsenal can only hold 1st level spells, but this increases to 4th level by the time the character reaches level 10. In addition, the activation time decreases, from being a standard action at level 1, to being a move-equivalent action at level 4, to a swift action at level 7, and finally to an immediate action at level 10.

If an Eldritch Sword recovers spells while their arsenal has spells in it, they do not recover the spell slots associated with those spells. An Eldritch Sword can drop spells in their arsenal in order to power other abilities that allow them to use spell slots in other ways, such as Arcane Strike, but can not use spells in their arsenal to power reserve feats.

Arcane Talent

At levels 2, 5, and 8, the Eldritch Sword gains a special power chosen from the following list of abilities:

Reduced Spell Failure (Extraordinary Ability)
The character can reduce the chance of failure for casting while wearing armor. Each time this feat is taken, Arcane Spell Failure is reduced by 15%. This talent may be taken multiple times, and it's effects stack with each other and with other percentile reductions to Arcane Spell Failure.

Full Casting (Extraordinary Ability)
The character can use their character level as their caster level for their arcane spells as if they had the Practiced Spellcaster feat, but without the 4 level limitation. If the character already possesses the Practiced Spellcaster feat, they receive a new feat to replace it. This bonus stacks with bonuses to caster level that give the character a flat bonus.

Full Toughness (Extraordinary Ability)
The character gains a bonus to their hit points based on those levels that did not give them as many. For every class level achieved with a class that only has d4 for a hit die, the character gains 2 hit points. For every class level achieved with a class that only has d6 as a hit die, the character gains 1 hit point. This talent may only be taken once.

Arcane Reaction (Supernatural Ability)
The character can use their spellcasting attribute in place of their Dexterity to determine their dodge bonus, and reflex saving throw bonus. This talent may only be taken once.

Arcane Fighting Technique (Supernatural Ability)
The character cay use their spellcasting attribute in place of Strength to determine their attack and damage bonus. This does not affect their damage bonus. In addition, they are considered armed even when unarmed, and do not provoke attacks of opportunity when making unarmed attacks. They still do not get to make attacks of opportunity while unarmed.

Greater Arcane Strike (Supernatural Ability)
When the Eldritch Sword uses their Arcane Strike feat, they add 1d6 per spell level to their attacks, instead of 1d4 per spell level. This talent may only be taken once.

Arcane Combat Prowess (Extraordinary Ability)
The Eldritch Sword can duplicate the effects of any combat feat that would normally be available to fighters as a bonus feat. They can may do this a number of times per day equal to their base attack, and each usage lasts one round. Multiple feats can be active at the same time (even multiple copies of the same feat), and activating any number of feats is a swift action. The Eldritch Sword may choose any feat they meet the base attack prerequisite for, but they may ignore attribute prerequisites. If they choose a feat with prerequisite feats they must duplicate those feats as well. This talent may only be taken once.

Greater Arsenal (Spell-Like Ability)
The Eldrtich Sword's arsenal can hold an extra 3 spell levels. In addition, they may include 1 spell that is 1 level above what is the normal maximum for their arsenal. This talent may only be taken once.

Potent Spells (Supernatural Ability)
The Eldritch Sword learns how to make their lower level spells more effective. For any spell with a level less than level 4, the Eldritch Sword calculates the save DC as if it were a level 5 spell; thus a level 1 spell would have a save DC that is 4 higher, and so forth. This talent may only be taken once.

Rigorous Concentration (Extraordinary Ability)
Once per day, the Eldritch Sword can choose to automatically succeed on a concentration check to use a spell that they just failed the roll for.

Bonus Meta-Magic Feat (Extraordinary Ability)
The Eldritch Sword may learn a meta-magic feat in place of an arcane talent. When a feat is bought this way, the Eldritch Sword can ignore any pre-requisites for the feat. This feat may be taken multiple times.

Weapon Proficiencies:
The Eldritch Sword gains no new proficiencies by entering this prestige class.

PLAYING AN ELDRITCH SWORD
The Eldritch Sword is a highly adaptable class, with the potential to be a front line combatant, a highly mobile damage dealer, or heavy hitter, depending on the combination of spells and arcane talents gained.
Combat: An Eldritch Sword's priority in any battle is to activate their arsenal. As a highly versatile class, a great deal of options are open to them. They have much greater opportunity to use touch ranged and burst spells than regular casters, and can deliver touch ranged buffs to their allies during battle far more easily.
Advancement: The Eldritch Sword benefits most from feats that enhance their magic, but a few combat feats are also a good investment if they are going to be used frequently. The Eldritch Sword should pick up Arcane Talents that will cover those areas where they are weak and where they have no spells to help.
Resources: The Eldritch Sword is very independent; their spells provide a lot of utility and they can fight almost anything. There only real lacking is their inability to heal their selves.

ELDRITCH SWORDS IN THE WORLD
"You're wizard...but you just cut that in half with your sword!"

A brief description of how your class is persevered in the world and how he interacts with the world.
Daily Life: Eldritch Swords often spend time preparing for battle. Eldritch Swords who come from a fighting background are eager to use their powers, and Eldritch Swords from a spellcasting background are generally eager as well: if they were more patient they would be spending all their time studying magic instead of learning proper sword technique.
Notables: Since there is no formal definition of what an Eldritch Sword is (in fact, most don't even call their selves Eldrtich Swords), it is difficult to list any of note, but the term Eldritch Sword was first coined by a human warrior who studied magic with elves and used the resulting powers to make up for her athletic short-comings.
Organizations: Eldritch Swords, being very independent, rarely form organizations with other Eldritch Swords, but rather join organizations that serve their cause and need their help.

NPC Reaction
Eldritch Swords are often mistaken for regular warriors, and when people realize they are capable of impressive magic, people often wonder why they bother carrying weapons at all instead of having some henchmen guard them.

ELDRITCH SWORDS IN THE GAME
Eldritch Swords can work effectively in a team, filling many possible roles in the party.
Adaptation: Eldritch Swords are a very vague class with variable abilities, but they fill an important niche in the game: the mage-fighter.
Encounters: Eldrtich Swords can be on any side in a battle, the only guarantee is that they determined to win.

jiriku
2010-01-22, 01:26 PM
So I'm rethinking Arcane Combat Prowess a bit:

Arcane Combat Prowess (Extraordinary Ability)
The Eldritch Sword can duplicate the effects of any combat feat that would normally be available to fighters as a bonus feat. They can may do this a number of times per day equal to their base attack, and each usage lasts one round. Multiple feats can be active at the same time (even multiple copies of the same feat), and activating any number of feats is a swift action. The Eldritch Sword may choose any feat they meet the base attack pre-requisite for, but they may ignore attribute pre-requisites. If they choose a feat with pre-requisite feats they must duplicate those feats as well.


Yeah that's alright. I'd throw out the requirement to know the prerequisite feats though - the best feats are often at the end of lengthy feat chains, and it's a drag to have to burn 3-5 uses of the ability in order to get to use one feat that you want for one round. However, if you ignore my suggestion the ability would still be pretty good and quite useful.

In regards to your earlier question, I was specifically thinking of several fighter bonus feats in the Player's Handbook II (Robilar's Gambit is a big one) that have base attack bonus requirements ranging from +12 to +18. Most of them are pretty decent, and getting into them at 9th level, even briefly, is something no straight martial character could do.

IMHO, a gish class should 1) fight a little less well than a straight martial character and 2) cast a little less well than a straight arcane character, but 3) possess synergy abilities that make it effective when it combines its two schools of study. Getting access to key feats before a straight martial character can use them breaks rule #1.

A.J.Gibson
2010-01-22, 02:16 PM
Yeah that's alright. I'd throw out the requirement to know the prerequisite feats though - the best feats are often at the end of lengthy feat chains, and it's a drag to have to burn 3-5 uses of the ability in order to get to use one feat that you want for one round. However, if you ignore my suggestion the ability would still be pretty good and quite useful.

In regards to your earlier question, I was specifically thinking of several fighter bonus feats in the Player's Handbook II (Robilar's Gambit is a big one) that have base attack bonus requirements ranging from +12 to +18. Most of them are pretty decent, and getting into them at 9th level, even briefly, is something no straight martial character could do.

IMHO, a gish class should 1) fight a little less well than a straight martial character and 2) cast a little less well than a straight arcane character, but 3) possess synergy abilities that make it effective when it combines its two schools of study. Getting access to key feats before a straight martial character can use them breaks rule #1.

I thought about what would happen if you took a feat that clearly has prerequisites that are needed. The big one is whirlwind attack. If you don't have the prerequisites, it doesn't work as a power, but if you give them automatically, then the player is going to save all their uses of prowess in order to duplicate that one power. It also dissuades players from taking the prerequisites for a feat they like; if they like Whirlwind, it now makes sense for them to take some of the earlier powers in that feat chain, if simply to reduce the cost of using that power.

Also, if the gish can use Whirlwind Attack 5 or more times a day, they would overshadow the fighters.

You'll not the long write up includes: "The Eldritch Sword may choose any feat they meet the base attack prerequisite for..." so yeah, I'm doing that.

And I totally agree with you on what a gish should be. I know fighters general suck, but they should have their niche.

jiriku
2010-01-22, 02:18 PM
Yupyup. I think that's about all I got, then. It looks pretty good. Nice work!

A.J.Gibson
2010-01-22, 02:33 PM
Yupyup. I think that's about all I got, then. It looks pretty good. Nice work!

Thanks, you've been a lot of help!

On a side note: Whirlwind Attack + Arcane Strike :smallcool: