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View Full Version : The Swimmer in the Water - preliminary prestige class idea. Thoughts?



Cogidubnus
2010-05-03, 08:36 AM
This idea was originally inspired by reading Races of War and the accompanying articles, and some ideas from both the Boatman of Styx and Assassin found therein were used to make this. So, kudos. I also had this idea of a bowman silently standing up in the water, shooting you with a poisoned arrow, then vanishing back into the Amazon.

Also, some background. The campaign I'm running uses very similar geography to our world. Imagine what would happen if you took Classical Europe and slapped the DnD universe on it, and you have the main part of the material plane. Also, the idea of prestige class levels maxing out at 10 frustrates me, so this goes a little beyond that. Reviews and suggestions would be welcomed.

Swimmer in the Water

The Swimmer in the Water has accepted his connection the nature and his need for water. He has refined his swimming skills, while also learning how to fight from the water. He embodies an animalís tactics of attacking unsuspecting enemies from a position of confidence, much like the mythical Amazons.

Requirements:
BAB: +5
Skills: Hide 8 ranks, Move Silently 8 ranks, Survival 8 ranks, Swim 10 ranks
Special: +2d6 sneak attack, skirmish, sudden strike or Improved Combat Style.
Special: Any living
Hit Die: d6
Class Skills: The Swimmer in the Waterís class skills (and the key ability for each skill) Balance (Dex), Climb (Str), Craft (Int), Decipher Script (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Disable Device (Int), Disguise (Cha), Escape Artist (Dex), Hide (Dex), Intimidate (Cha), Jump (Str), Knowledge (nature) (Int), Listen (Wis), Move Silently (Dex), Open Lock (Dex), Search (Int), Sense Motive (Wis), Sleight of Hand (Dex), Spot (Wis), Survival (Wis), Swim (Str), Tumble (Dex), Use Magic Device (Cha), and Use Rope (Dex).
Skill Points at Each Level: 6 + Int modifier.

Table: The Swimmer in the Water
Level BAB Fort Ref Will
1st +0 +1 +2 +0 Poison Use, Personal Immunity, Wild Empathy
2nd +1 +1 +3 +0 River-born, +1d6 Sneak Attack
3rd +2 +2 +3 +1 Evasion
4th +3 +2 +4 +1 Animal Companion, River-marked, +2d6 SA
5th +3 +2 +4 +1 Swimmer Ability, Personal Immunity
6th +4 +3 +5 +2 +3d6 Sneak Attack, Aquatic Tracker
7th +5 +3 +5 +2 Swimmer Ability, Personal Immunity
8th +6/+1 +3 +6 +2 +4d6 Sneak Attack, Natural Lore
9th +6/+1 +4 +6 +3 Swimmer Ability, Create Water
10th +7/+2 +4 +7 +3 +5d6 Sneak Attack, Uncanny Dodge
11th +8/+3 +4 +7 +3 Swimmer Ability, Marsh Affinity
12th +9/+4 +5 +8 +4 +6d6 Sneak Attack, Total Immunity
13th +9/+4 +5 +8 +4 Swimmer Ability, Natural Fighting

Poison Use: At 1st level, a Swimmer may create and apply poisons without risk of poisoning themselves.

Personal Immunity: At 1st level, a Swimmer gains immunity to four poisons. They gain immunity to one additional poison at 5th and 7th level.

Wild Empathy: A Swimmer can improve the attitude of an animal. This ability functions just like a Diplomacy check to improve the attitude of a person. The Swimmer rolls 1d20 and adds his Swimmer level (stacks with any Ranger levels) and his Charisma bonus to determine the wild empathy check result. The typical domestic animal has a starting attitude of indifferent, while wild animals are usually unfriendly.
To use wild empathy, the Swimmer and the animal must be able to study each other, which means that they must be within 30 feet of one another under normal visibility conditions. Generally, influencing an animal in this way takes 1 minute, but, as with influencing people, it might take more or less time.
The Swimmer can also use this ability to influence a magical beast with an Intelligence score of 1 or 2, but he takes a Ė4 penalty on the check.

River-born: At 2nd level, the Swimmer gains a swim speed of 60í, and he may take 10 on any Swim check. He also does not need to breathe while submersed in water.

Evasion: At 3rd level, a Swimmer can avoid even magical and unusual attacks with great agility. If he makes a successful Reflex saving throw against an attack that normally deals half damage on a successful save, he instead takes no damage. Evasion can be used only if the Swimmer is wearing light armor or no armor. A helpless Swimmer does not gain the benefit of evasion. If the Swimmer already has Evasion from another class, he gains Improved Evasion.

Animal Companion: At 4th level, the Swimmer may choose an animal companion from the following list: porpoise, small viper, tiny hornet, tiny centipede, tiny scorpion, and tiny spider. This ability functions exactly like the druid ability of the same name.

River-marked: At 4th level, the Swimmerís continued life in the water grants him a +8 to all Swim checks, as well as a +8 to Hide and Move Silently checks while he is submerged up to at least the waist in water.

Swimmer Ability: At 5th level, and every two levels after, the Swimmer can choose one special ability from those listed below:

Swimmer in the Nile: The Swimmer gains at +6 bonus to all Wild Empathy checks involving crocodiles. Practise fighting the Nileís monsters means he counts all enemies, even those with a swim speed, as flat-footed while swimming.

Swimmer in the Danube: The Swimmer learns the secrets of the northern waterways. The Swimmer becomes immune to extreme cold weather and can use the Hide skill in any forest terrain, even if it would not normally grant cover or concealment.

Swimmer in the Amazon: The Swimmer may use all weapons, even ranged ones, underwater with no penalty. The Swimmer also gains an additional poison immunity.

Swimmer in the Ocean: The swimmer gains +6 bonus to all Wild Empathy checks involving oceanic creatures, and may use a shark as his animal companion. He is also unaffected by turbulent water, while swimming or on a boat and may track enemy vessels across the sea.

Swimmer in the Styx (requires all other Swimmer Abilities): The Swimmer has travelled many rivers, even those of the river Styx. He is immune to all effects of the river Styx, and has a constant Mindblank effect. He may also re-roll failed saves against death effects (only one re-roll per save).

Aquatic Tracker: At 6th level, the Swimmer may use the Track feat over bodies of water unhindered, and may even track a targetís movements within rivers and lakes (but not seas or over waterfalls).
Natural Lore: At 8th level, the Swimmer gains a +10 insight bonus into all Knowledge (nature) and survival checks taken on the material plane.

Create Water: At 9th level, the Swimmer may pour forth a 10í cube of water per level as a standard action that may be used up to 5 times a day, by drawing on his connection to waterways around the world. This is a supernatural effect. This water spreads out to fill the container it is in, flowing down corridors, but is assumed to be stopped by doors and not to seep through the floor unless it is especially porous (DMís prerogative). The water drains back to the surroundings after 1 min/Swimmer level, but may also be dismissed at any time.

Uncanny Dodge: Starting at 4th level, a Swimmer can react to danger before her senses would normally allow her to do so. She retains her Dexterity bonus to AC (if any) even if she is caught flat-footed or struck by an invisible attacker. However, she still loses her Dexterity bonus to AC if immobilized.
If a Swimmer already has uncanny dodge from a different class she automatically gains improved uncanny dodge instead.

Marsh Affinity: At 11th level, a Swimmer gains an affinity for marshes and other areas with a high concentration of water. When in such an area, a Swimmer may make Hide checks as though he had concealment, and moves at his normal speed. He also gains a +2 bonus to Move Silently checks in such terrain.

Total Immunity: At 12th level, a Swimmerís long exposure to many natural waterways grants Total Immunity against all poisons and poisonous effects.

Natural Fighting: At 13th level, a Swimmer has observed how the natural creatures around him fight and has learned from them. He gains an additional d4 damage die with any melee attack made, and if this die deals damage the target must make a Will Save (DC Swimmer level + STR modifier) or be dazed for one round.


That table didn't come out quite right. Any suggestions on how to format it also welcomed.

Jack of Spades
2010-05-03, 08:56 AM
Table formatting is here. (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=10313)

Not sure where the animal companion comes from, but I don't really see why not. Insects seem like a bad choice, though. Maybe a killer sea lion? Pretty please? :smallwink:

Or a crocodile, for the Nile swimmer. Silly that he gets an empathy bonus but can't make friends with one. Heck, why not give each of them a special companion?

It seems to me that (thematically) "swimmer in the X" should be one or two per swimmmer, but the mechanics fit multiple choices in my opinion, so nevermind on that count.

Because I'm bored:

Class Skills: The Swimmer in the Waterís class skills (and the key ability for each skill) Appraise (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Forgery (Int), Gather Information (Cha), Sense Motive (Wis)

These don't seem to fit the fluff, to me. Also, Knowledge (nature) appears to not have an ability associated with it :smalltongue:

Cogidubnus
2010-05-03, 09:29 AM
Oop. Will edit some of that (was being lazy and copying class skills from rogue etc.) And I might add animal companions in alongside the swimmer abilities. I didn't want to make them too much of an advantage in themselves. The reasons for them are threefold. 1) Much like a ranger, the Swimmer has a connection to nature. 2) I wanted to give them something with more utility than combat options and 3) the insects etc. are because everything there except for the porpoise could probably survive in water for a while and is poisonous, so can be used as a basic source for the Swimmer's poisons. The porpoise? Just because I love them. Ok, will think of some companions for each swimmer ability.

Cogidubnus
2010-05-04, 08:29 AM
Bump: It really is depressing how many views some ideas can get and still have so few comments (I saw one guy with over 1000 views and only 13 replies, some of which must've been his own, while scanning just now). If people could please give me some advice, that'd be great.

The Tygre
2010-05-04, 10:15 AM
I think it's a matter of formatting. If you want more advice, you first need something that people can read. As it stands, your class is kind of... jumbled.

EDIT: Also; 13 levels in a Prestige Class? Bad call. Either round up to fifteen or round down to ten. It's an unspoken rule in d20 that odd numbers not divisible by five need to be avoided like the plague.

Ashtagon
2010-05-04, 10:23 AM
EDIT: Also; 13 levels in a Prestige Class? Bad call. Either round up to fifteen or round down to ten. It's an unspoken rule in d20 that odd numbers not divisible by five need to be avoided like the plague.

Void disciple disagrees with you.

(Although normally you should have a good reason for not doing one of 3, 5, or 10).

DracoDei
2010-05-04, 10:35 AM
The 3, 5, 10 thing is completely and totally arbitrary, and I support breaking it whenever reasonably possible, just to free up the thinking.

The Tygre
2010-05-04, 10:36 AM
Void disciple disagrees with you.

Hmm. True that. Maybe I'm just superstitious.

Cogidubnus
2010-05-04, 10:41 AM
Formatting is a pain, but I've only just now got time to organise it. Will reformat the table now.

Ed: better?

Hyooz
2010-05-04, 11:43 AM
The 3, 5, 10 thing is completely and totally arbitrary, and I support breaking it whenever reasonably possible, just to free up the thinking.

That's dumb. Breaking a rule just to break it doesn't serve any purpose. As has been said, if there's a reason to break the rule (Void Disciple broke the rule and used it for a specific purpose) then go ahead. Otherwise you're just making it harder to compare to other PrCs and more than likely compacting/stretching things out unnecessarily.

erikun
2010-05-04, 02:07 PM
I don't get the connection to swimming and poison use. Yes, some aquatic creatures use poison, but so do some flying and landbound ones. Besides, and poison coated on weapons would wash away once in the water.

I would think that a pro swimmer would give better bonuses to Constitution checks, if not an actual bonus to Constitution ability scores. It would give them some advantage when they're not actually in water.

Cogidubnus
2010-05-04, 02:46 PM
Good point. The poison is largely because this was based off the idea of (originally) a "Swimmer in the Amazon" but I branched it out for a bit of flexibility. Also, because poison seriously helps skirmish/sneaky characters, who tend to be the best sort for this class. But a CON bonus would be a good idea, maybe instead of some poison immunities.
As for the 13 levels, it's purely because that fit with the features I wanted to give the class and how I wanted to spread them out.

(Btw, thanks to all for offering advice).

The Tygre
2010-05-04, 03:04 PM
Formatting is a pain, but I've only just now got time to organise it. Will reformat the table now.

Ed: better?

Muuuuch better. So what you've basically made here is a ranger/scout/druid of rivers. That's a good start for a fluff perspective. Fresh water doesn't get explored as much as the ocean. But think about rivers and lakes. Think about what they really mean, what purposes they serve in culture and life. Ancient Egypt was built on the rich silt of the Nile. The Danube was a place of prophecy and war even up into WWII. What about other rivers? What about the Mississippi, the Tigris, and the Ganges? To say nothing of the tide of numerous other planar rivers (http://www.mimir.net/pathways/waterways.shtml).

Cogidubnus
2010-05-04, 03:18 PM
Muuuuch better. So what you've basically made here is a ranger/scout/druid of rivers. That's a good start for a fluff perspective. Fresh water doesn't get explored as much as the ocean. But think about rivers and lakes. Think about what they really mean, what purposes they serve in culture and life. Ancient Egypt was built on the rich silt of the Nile. The Danube was a place of prophecy and war even up into WWII. What about other rivers? What about the Mississippi, the Tigris, and the Ganges? To say nothing of the tide of numerous other planar rivers (http://www.mimir.net/pathways/waterways.shtml).

This is looking like it might become quite a fun project, if I can find time away from exams for it XD Introducing lots of extra rivers could give a lot more flexibilty, with some (planar rivers) only becoming available at higher levels.

DracoDei
2010-05-08, 12:45 PM
That's dumb. Breaking a rule just to break it doesn't serve any purpose.
To free up the thinking... if those really do work out the best in the end for a class, then great, but starting somewhere else might be a good exercise. Even if it later turns out that the optimal number for a class is one of those, one will have learned something.

Otherwise you're just making it harder to compare to other PrCs
I would hope that we aim for higher standards than this, but then again, balancing IS very tricky.,

and more than likely compacting/stretching things out unnecessarily.
Actually, that is the problem I see with always trying to hit 3, 5 or 10.


In short, PrCs should be whatever length works best for that specific one, no more, no less.