View Full Version : Help Me Design A Class: The Arcane Channeler

2010-03-01, 03:14 PM
Hi there. I'd like your help in designing a new gish class: the Arcane Channeler.

Fluff: These individuals draw magic through their bodies as sorcerers do, but lack the ability to weave it into complex spells. Instead they can only release their power in the form of dangerous elemental energy.

Crunch: They have elemental blasts (fire, cold, lightning) that they could use at will similar to a warlock's eldritch blast. They would also be able to unleash massive energy damage area effects centered on themselves. Despite these supernatural abilities the arcane channeler is still be a martial class, with heavy armor proficiency and decent hit dice. Releasing magic as pure energy is simple compared to spellcasting and has no chance of failing due to heavy armor.

What I have in mind is a class with a few big strengths and weaknesses. This is all pre-first draft though, and is open to change and your suggestions. What they'd get:

*Full Bab, d10 or d8 HD, good fortitude saves.

*Simple/martial weapon proficiency, proficiency with all armors and shields.

*Fighter bonus feats they could allocate as they choose, but fewer than a fighter. I was thinking perhaps they'd receive a feat every four levels.

*Energy blasts, which would be an at-will 60ft ranged touch attack that deals 1d6 damage at level 1 and increases in damage with higher levels at a pace similar to a warlock. At level one they could pick whether this damage is fire, cold, or electric.

*Energy blast alteration. As they level they'd get to pick from a small number of abilities that would allow them to fire different kinds of blasts. Two abilities would be the energy types they didn't choose at first level, so at higher levels a Channeler could pick between fire, cold, and electric with each blast. Other options would be the ability to divide the damage between two simultaneous blasts, the ability to fire orbs that ignore AMF and SR, reducing damage to create AOE attacks (small explosion for fire, cone for cold, line for electricity, each as seperate options).

*Slowly increasing levels of energy resistance that they can choose to allocate to fire, cold, and electricity however they want. So they can be very well protected (maybe even immune) against one energy type, or divide their resistance among several types.

*AOE nukes. They'd be able to unleash a massive blast of energy from their bodies that would operate as a 20ft radius burst. They could choose to make it any energy type they can fire as an energy blast. It'd be comparable to fireball, dealing 1d6 damage/level (max 10d6). Using this ability would fatigue them and render all their energy attacks nonfunctional for a randomized period of time.

The upside of the Arcane Channeler is that you're good at melee combat and you have a potent magical attack. The downside is that some creatures will be resistant or immune to your energy attacks and in those cases you're just a fighter with fewer feats. And some creatures will be immune to your martial attacks and in those cases you're just a warlock with a weaker eldritch blast and no invocations. Also, despite being a type of magician you suffer from the lack of versatility that most non-casters suffer from. You can't fly, plane shift, turn invisible, heal, etc. Your magic and melee are also redundant in many ways since they both just deal damage and there's little synergy between them. You won't always need both, yet you'll have spent the levels getting both instead of diversifying. On the other hand, you can chop things with a sword and smite things by pointing at them. It may not be quite as optimized but it's a pretty mental image.

So...comments? Suggestions? Underpowered? Overpowered?

2010-03-01, 03:20 PM
What tier is this intended to be, and how martial do you want it? If the blasts are just unoptimized and low damage, and the melee is worse than a fighter, this class is going to be T5, or possibly T6.

2010-03-01, 03:31 PM
Ideally tier 4 or 5. I wouldn't mind if it's a little more powerful than a straight fighter, but I'm looking for something more or less in the same ballpark. The goal is to give it magical abilities that are a fair trade off for the feats it gives up. It definitely would give up some power in terms of 1 vs 1 duels in exchange for at will ranged attacks and area attacks that bypass damage reduction. A level 10 Arcane Channeler might lose to a level 10 fighter, but against a flying enemy, or dispersed archers, or against a battalion of foes it might prove much more useful.

2010-03-03, 03:14 PM
Here's a thought. What about expanding the channeler's offensive abilities to use at will force attacks as well? There would include at will magic missile (but maybe with a lower caster level than a wizard would have), and the ability to create walls of force and resilient spheres that only last a few rounds at will. This would make the channeler ideal for battlefield control.

2010-03-03, 03:33 PM
No actual Magic missiles (IE free non-AoE multitargeting, no save, and no attack roll), but a damage nerfed Force option for the existing damage dealing mechanics sounds good and the battle-field control stuff also sounds nice.

2010-03-03, 03:43 PM
What about instead of having separate force attacks, introducing it as an ability that converts half of your blast damage from energy to force?

2010-03-03, 03:51 PM
Why are you thinking Force should get mixed in with the other types when the other types don't tend to get mixed in with eachother? Just to provide the option to everyone without losing the "Fire, Cold, Lightning" theme? I am confused...
Also, your option doesn't reduce the total damage, which, since I believe this option is supposed to lag behind the warlock in that regard might be OK, but should be carefully considered.

2010-03-03, 04:28 PM
Yeah, that's to avoid losing the theme. I mean, once they learn force attacks why would they ever use energy attacks again? Unless the force attack did less damage that is.

2010-03-03, 04:33 PM
I concur (well, Fire is good against most Regeneration, but that is another matter entirely), but I am saying that when they apply that ability ALL the damage should be Force, just with a lower damage potential. The way you had it you are doing the same total, just half Fire(for instance) and half Force.