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SurlySeraph
2010-06-27, 10:24 PM
The Ambition Adept

http://www.wizards.com/dnd/images/excerpts_0921.jpg
"Don't worry, I'm doing it right! The Lingering Inferno strike is supposed to turn your arms into magma!"
- Marn Ironskull, dwarven Ambition Adept of the Desert Wind, deceased.

Ambition Adepts are warriors who manage to learn maneuvers that should be well above their skill level. Though they cannot use these maneuvers as easily as those who have truly mastered them, their access to unusually powerful techniques means they should not be underestimated. Strong-willed and with a marked tendency to injure themselves through overexertion, Ambition Adepts generally have chaotic alignments.

The vast majority of Ambition Adepts are Warblades, as they tend to want to develop as much power and get as much glory as possible and pulling off a move that should be far above your abilities is certainly glorious. Swordsages are usually too wise to be so short-sighted, but some become obsessed with proving their prowess by using the most powerful maneuvers they have heard of, or believe that learning a special technique will make them unbeatable. Crusaders occasionally become ambition adepts, seeking to awe those around them with their deities' power or (for worshippers of strength-oriented gods like Kord) to win their deities' favor.

Gnomes are the most common ambitious adepts, due to their love of complexity and flashiness and relative lack of common sense. Many humans and half-orcs also become Ambition Adepts, seeing their style as a quick path to power. The longer-lived races such as dwarves and elves rarely become ambition adepts, as they generally lack the impatience that drives most Ambition Adepts.

HD: d10

Requirements:
BAB: +6
Maneuvers: Must be able to use 2nd-level maneuvers
Feats: Martial Study (any)
Skills: Martial Lore 8 ranks

Table: The Ambition Adept
{table=head]Level | Base Attack Bonus | Fort Save | Ref Save | Will Save | Special
1st | +1 | +2 | +0 | +2 | Ambitious strike
2nd | +2 | +3 | +0 | +3 | Ambitious counter
3rd | +3 | +3 | +1 | +3 | Ambitious boost
4th | +4 | +4 | +1 | +4 | Ambitious stance
5th | +5 | +4 | +1 | +4 | Ambitious strike, True mastery[/table]

Class Skills (4+Int modifier per level): Autohypnosis, Balance, Bluff, Climb, Concentration, Craft, Intimidate, Jump, Knowledge (history), Knowledge (local), Martial Lore, Perform (weapons drill), Ride, Swim, Tumble.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: The Ambition Adept gains proficiency with all simple and martial melee weapons. He gains no proficiency with armor or shields.

Maneuvers: At each level, an Ambition Adept gains a special maneuver. You add your full Ambition Adept levels to your initiator level to determine your total initiator level and your highest-level maneuvers known for maneuvers gained through means other than Ambition Adept class features.

Ambitious strike: A first-level Ambition Adept learns one strike from any discipline, of a level up to his initiator level minus 2. For example, a Warblade 6/Ambition Adept 1 could learn a 5th-level strike. He does not need to meet the strike's prerequisites, but he must know at least one maneuver of the strike's discipline. The Ambition Adept can only use this strike once per encounter; he cannot recover it or use it out of combat. He learns a second Ambitious Strike at 5th level, with the same conditions, so a Warblade 6/ Ambition Adept 5 could learn a 9th-level strike.

Fumbles: Due to the complexity and power of such advanced maneuvers, they can go catastrophically wrong. When the Ambition Adept makes his attack roll for his Ambitious Strike, if the unmodified result of the attack roll is less than the difference between twice the strike's level and the Ambition Adept's initiator level, the result is a fumble. For example, a Warblade 6/ Ambition Adept 1 initiating a 5th-level maneuver would fumble on a roll of 3 or less on the d20. A Warblade 6/ Ambition Adept 5 initiating a 9th-level maneuver would fumble on a roll of 9 or less.

If the Ambition Adept fumbles while making an Ambitious Strike, he strikes himself instead of his opponent; the maneuver affects him as normal. Even if the attack roll was high enough to hit the target, only the Ambition Adept is hit if he fumbles.
For strikes that involve multiple attack rolls, such as Time Stands Still, all attack rolls that result in a fumble hit the Ambition Adept, and all attack rolls that do not result in a fumble are resolved as normal.
Maneuvers with beneficial effects that trigger on a successful hit, such as Adamantine Bones, do not provide their beneficial effects if the Ambition Adept hits himself with a fumble.

Ambitious counter: A second-level Ambition Adept learns one counter from any discipline, of a level up to his initiator level minus 2. For example, a Warblade 6/Ambition Adept 2 could learn a 6th-level counter. He does not need to meet the counter's prerequisites, but he must know at least one maneuver of that discipline. The Ambition Adept can only use this counter once per encounter; he cannot recover it or use it out of combat.

Fumbles: Whether or not the counter normally involves a roll, roll 1d20 while making it. If the result of the roll is less than the difference between twice the counter's level and the Ambition Adept's initiator level, the result is a fumble. For example, a Warblade 6/ Ambition Adept 2 initiating a 6th-level counter would fumble on a roll of 4 or less on the d20.

If the Ambition Adept fumbles while making an Ambitious Counter, the counter automatically fails, he loses his swift action, and he is flat-footed for one round.

Ambitious boost: A third-level Ambition Adept learns one boost from any discipline, of a level up to his initiator level minus 2. For example, a Warblade 6/Ambition Adept 3 could learn a 7th-level boost. He does not need to meet the boost's prerequisites, but he must know at least one maneuver of that discipline. The Ambition Adept can only use this boost once per encounter; he cannot recover it or use it out of combat.

Fumbles: Whether or not the boost normally involves a roll, roll 1d20 while making it. If the result of the roll is less than the difference between twice the boost's level and the Ambition Adept's initiator level, the result is a fumble. For example, a Warblade 6/ Ambition Adept 3 initiating a 7th-level boost would fumble on a roll of 5 or less.

If the Ambition Adept fumbles while making an Ambitious Boost, the boost automatically fails, he loses his swift action, and he is sickened for one round.

Ambitious stance: A fourth-level Ambition Adept gains one stance from any discipline, of a level up to his initiator level minus 2. For example, a Warblade 6/Ambition Adept 4 could learn an 8th-level stance. He does not need to meet the stance's prerequisites, but he must know at least one maneuver of that discipline. He may only attempt to enter this stance once per encounter
Fumbles: Whenever an Ambition Adept enters his Ambitious Stance, roll 1d20. If the result of the roll is less than the difference between twice stance's level and the Ambition Adept's initiator level, the result is a fumble. For example, a Warblade 6/ Ambition Adept 4 entering an 8th-level stance would fumble on a roll of 6 or less. On a fumble, he gets the footing completely wrong and slips, wasting his swift action and falling prone.

True mastery: At fifth level, the Ambition Adept fully understands the advanced maneuvers that he has practiced. He can use and recover the Ambitious Maneuvers granted by this class just like any other maneuvers and enter his Ambitious Stance at will, though he still must roll for fumbles and suffers their consequences.

Any comments, critiques, or suggestions would be appreciated.

EDIT 1: Fumbles introduced for all maneuvers. True Mastery revised so that it doesn't remove fumble penalties but does allow maneuver recovery. This still has the issue of an 11th-level character potentially using repeated 9th-level strikes, but with very high chances of failure and very high consequences for it. I think I like this way better than removing the fumble chance but not letting him recover maneuvers, as this causes the Adept to gradually get more effective as his IL increases while keeping the amusing possibility of fumbles even at high level; otherwise, a high-level Ambition Adept would look pretty much like any other high-level initiator, and thus be boring.

Dead_Jester
2010-06-28, 06:39 AM
The Ambition Adept
Requirements:
BAB: +5
Maneuvers: Must be able to use 2nd-level maneuvers
Feats: Martial Study (any)
Skills: Martial Lore 8 ranks

Prerequisites seem fine.


Weapon and Armor Proficiency: The Ambition Adept gains proficiency with all simple and martial weapons. He gains no proficiency with armor or shields.

Why should martial adepts suddenly be proficient with bows?


Maneuvers: At each level, an Ambition Adept gains a special maneuver. You add your full Ambition Adept levels to your initiator level to determine your total initiator level and your highest-level maneuvers known for maneuvers gained through means other than Ambition Adept class features.

Standard, nothing special about this.


Ambitious strike: A first-level Ambition Adept learns one strike from any discipline that he knows at least one maneuver from, of a level up to his initiator level minus 2. For example, a Warblade 5/Ambition Adept 1 could learn a 4th-level strike. He does not need to meet the strike's prerequisites. The Ambition Adept can only use this strike once per encounter; he cannot recover it or use it out of combat. He learns a second Ambitious Strike at 5th level.
If the Ambition Adept roll a natural 1 while making an Ambitious Strike, he must make a second attack roll targeting himself. If he hits, he is affected by the maneuver as normal.

Ambitious counter: A second-level Ambition Adept learns one counter from any discipline that he knows at least one maneuver from, of a level up to his initiator level minus 2. He does not need to meet the counter's prerequisites. The Ambition Adept can only use this counter once per encounter; he cannot recover it or use it out of combat.
Whether or not the counter normally involves a roll, roll 1d20 while making it. On a natural 1, the counter has no effect.

Ambitious boost: A third-level Ambition Adept learns one boost from any discipline that he knows at least one maneuver from, of a level up to his initiator level minus 2. He does not need to meet the boost's prerequisites. The Ambition Adept can only use this boost once per encounter; he cannot recover it or use it out of combat.
Whether or not the boost normally involves a roll, roll 1d20 while making it. On a natural 1, the boost has no effect.

Ambitious stance: A fourth-level Ambition Adept gains one stance from any discipline that he knows at least one maneuver from, of a level up to his initiator level minus 2. He does not need to meet the stance's prerequisites. He may only attempt to enter this stance once per encounter
Whenever an Ambition Adept enters his Ambitious Stance, roll 1d20. On a natural 1, he gets the footing completely wrong and slips, wasting his swift action and falling prone.

These are some interesting abilities, but I would have to evaluate the relative power of all high level maneuvers as 1/encounter.

I think you should make it so that the maneuver must be from a style he known, or at least have and additional -1 on the max level it can be it is from a style not mastered.

Another thing is the fact that it is actually worst to enter this PrC at level 6 than at level 7, because in the first case all your maneuvers are 1 level behind and you can't get a 9th level one with your 2nd strike.

Finally, the penalties are not harsh enough. You should definitely instantly hit yourself with fumbles on strike, and the others should also be increased. Even with that, it shoul probably be on a roll of 1 + (maneuver's level - maximum maneuver level you can initiate) so a 9th level strike at 11th fumbles on a 4 and under.


True mastery: At fifth level, the Ambition Adept fully understands the advanced maneuvers that he has practiced. He can use and recover the Ambitious Maneuvers granted by this class just like any other maneuvers, enter his Ambitious Stance at will, and no longer suffers any consequences for natural 1s on his initiation attempts for Ambitious Maneuvers for Ambitious Stance.

Now this is overpowered, as you said above, a 9th level strike and a few other fun abilities now usable like normal, at level 11, 6 before any one else.


Any comments, critiques, or suggestions would be appreciated. I'm considering making True Mastery just remove the natural 1 penalties and not allow maneuver recovery, because an 11th-level character using Strike of Perfect Clarity multiple times per encounter would be... problematic. I'm also thinking of making the natural 1 penalties apply more frequently, such as when you miss the target by 5 or more for strikes, and perhaps be harsher, like making counters automatically backfire (e.g. automatically failing your save if you used Iron Heart Focus).

All in all, this looks like an interesting idea, and with a small bit of tuning, could be really good.

Mongoose87
2010-06-28, 07:52 AM
This is really interesting, but I share the concern about early access. Maybe instead of taking maneuvers of up to your character level, you should count the class levels twice for initiator level, but only for the maneuvers you learn through its class features.

SurlySeraph
2010-06-28, 05:11 PM
Why should martial adepts suddenly be proficient with bows?

Point, I'll change it to just melee weapons.


These are some interesting abilities, but I would have to evaluate the relative power of all high level maneuvers as 1/encounter.

Agreed. I'll have to read through the maneuvers to try to find if any are completely broken, rather than just powerful novas.


I think you should make it so that the maneuver must be from a style he known, or at least have and additional -1 on the max level it can be it is from a style not mastered.

It does require that he know at least one maneuver of that discipline. I'll move that clause into the sentence saying he doesn't need to meet the prereqs to make it clearer: "He does not need to meet the strike's prerequisites, but he must know at least one maneuver of the strike's discipline" and such.


Another thing is the fact that it is actually worst to enter this PrC at level 6 than at level 7, because in the first case all your maneuvers are 1 level behind and you can't get a 9th level one with your 2nd strike.

I noticed that, and I think I'll change the BAB requirement to +6 to keep that from being a trap for players who take it.


Finally, the penalties are not harsh enough. You should definitely instantly hit yourself with fumbles on strike, and the others should also be increased. Even with that, it should probably be on a roll of 1 + (maneuver's level - maximum maneuver level you can initiate) so a 9th level strike at 11th fumbles on a 4 and under.

That's a good way of doing it. I'll think about what effects to have for fumbles on counters and boosts, and whether I want the effects to depend on the specific counter or boost. A fun way to do it might be to make it school-based; fumbling on a Desert Wind maneuver inflicts fire damage, fumbling on Iron Heart makes you fatigued or exhausted for one round, fumbling on Shadow Hand inflicts a miss chance on your own attacks, fumbling on White Raven makes you shaken, and so on. However, that would be a lot of bookkeeping and it might be simpler to just have it make you sickened or flat-footed for one round.


Now this is overpowered, as you said above, a 9th level strike and a few other fun abilities now usable like normal, at level 11, 6 before any one else.

And so I'll remove the recovery clause. Perhaps I should let them recover the maneuvers once the Adept gets to high enough level that he could take said maneuvers normally, to keep this class from being a waste for high-level characters.


All in all, this looks like an interesting idea, and with a small bit of tuning, could be really good.

Thanks! I'll get to editing.


This is really interesting, but I share the concern about early access. Maybe instead of taking maneuvers of up to your character level, you should count the class levels twice for initiator level, but only for the maneuvers you learn through its class features.

That could work too. If I did it that way and stayed with 6th-level entry, he could get a 4th-level strike, 5th-level counter, 6th-level boost, 7th-level stance, and 8th-level strike. Therefore, it would be equally effective to enter at 7th level, and better to enter at 8th level. So if I do that, I'll definitely change it to requiring +6 or +7 BAB. I think having its levels count double for IL for its class features gives the same available levels of maneuvers as making it able to select maneuvers of a level up to IL-2 like I wrote it, plus makes its special maneuvers that much more effective when they work, so I think I'll change it to them.

Alternately, I might make it so that his initiator level counts as higher for the purposes of his Ambitious Maneuvers.

SurlySeraph
2010-06-29, 07:22 PM
Any further comments, or should I assume it's balanced now?