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DragoonWraith
2010-09-18, 05:12 PM
I am Deadwood.


At the least, this is the term I have come to use for myself; for us, I suppose, since I have found more like me since I began this path. While I endeavor to record my own experiences, I would truly like for this record to be as impersonal as possible; indeed, I have spoken with other Deadwood to try to weed out as much from this account as possible that is not a shared experience amongst us. Ideally, this is less my story, and more the story of what it means to be Deadwood.

Deadwood are, well, dead, and wood. Undead, to be precise, since that is the term for the dead who will not lie. The term belies a certain rigid prejudice that assumes death must follow life, but we'll not start that here.

However, let's get one thing clear from the start: the undead are a natural part of our world. Everyone refuses to admit it, blames necromancers for blaspheming nature, creating abominations, and... well, sometimes. But everyone turns a blind eye to the natural undead, the guardians who, unbidden, watch over their sleeping comrades in graves and crypts. The spirit, mourning a lost love or burning for vengeance against some ancient foe, both simply lost in a world that doesn't know what to do with them. The restless body which simply is not yet ready to go. These things happen without any external necromancer, without arcane spells or evil gods. These things are a part of our natural world.

-- Saria a'Therra, formerly human, now Deadwood.

Becoming Deadwood

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v238/DragoonWraith/Dungeons%20and%20Dragons/Homebrew/Deadwood.png
(a rare portrait of Rooftrellan, one of the most important Deadwood in the world)

First, I should say that those who become Deadwood are a varied lot. Magical power is a must, obviously; the source of it isn't so important, though, provided you are familiar with necromantic processes. But who becomes Deadwood - and why?

The why is simultaneously the easier to answer, and the more important, so I will start there. The really, really easy way to answer that question is with another question: "Why does someone become a Lich?" - for, in a lot of ways, the reasons are the same. Deadwood are already dead, and we're not gone. We haven't gone on to whatever comes next. If we're being honest about it, the truth is we're bloody difficult to finish even if you want to.

But Lichdom is probably easier. So why become Deadwood? Well, part of it is because desiring immortality doesn't automatically make you evil, and not everyone is willing to do what it takes to make that phylactery. But more importantly, it's because Lichdom really is unnatural; in fact it is violently so. Being Deadwood is more subtle, more in tune with nature. Liches fight back against nature, refuse to take its course. Deadwood embrace nature, let it take us where we need to go. It takes skill and knowledge to make that happen, and of course nature takes most people the normal route - to death. Do it right, though, and you can stay in this world after death.

But enough of my philosophy. That's not really why you're here. You want to know how to do it yourself. OK, that's fine; after all, I've spent a fair amount of time working on this, so I want to reveal it, too. Here is, as far as I can tell, the list: the things you need to go somewhere else to master, before you can start this path. Once you have these things, then this guide can take you the rest of the way.

The list:
The ability to Animate Dead things, or to Reincarnate them. Either seems to work about as well.
Knowledge of Nature, and Survival skills. After all, you're trying to survive through death itself. 13 ranks of each will do.
Knowledge of Spellcraft, and a lot of it. The magic involved here is considerable. Again, you'll want at least 13 ranks.
Substantial spellcasting ability, no less than 10th Caster Level.
You must have Plant Devotion. It should come as no surprise that becoming Deadwood involves great familiarity with plants. Further, you also need Undead Empathy, because what you are trying to accomplish involves becoming a natural undead, and you must understand them to do that.
You must have Spell Focus in the school of Necromancy, because the spells required here are incredibly intricate, and you need to execute them perfectly.
You must be alive. If you're already dead, well - why are you here? As far as I know, this process doesn't work with constructs...
Also... after the whole Banehallow thing (see below), several Deadwood, most importantly Rooftrellan, have taken a disliking to the servants of the gods. Anyone with more than one Clerical Domain is considered possibly dangerous - for all that one of those Domains might be to Plant life, the other could be a devotion to evil or destruction, and Rooftrellan doesn't like that. There are, as far as I can tell, two ways of dealing with this: prove your devotion to nature, or acquire the skills necessary to do this even with Rooftrellan opposing you. Apparently he'll try to keep tabs on you if you successfully become a Deadwood in spite of him, but he won't actually oppose you unless he suspects something.
To appease Rooftrellan, you must have both the Plant Domain and Plant Devotion, and you must have the Domain Devotion flaw (which you may take freely but do not receive a corresponding bonus feat for).
To thwart Rooftrellan, you must gain Greater Spell Focus (Necromancy), as well as a strong Necromantic Presence. When you take your first step on the path of the Deadwood, however, you will gain the Haunted and Phantom Spark flaws, as Rooftrellan will be watching you.

The Path of the Deadwood
The following are the things you can expect to learn while becoming one of us.

Hit Die
d6.

Class Skills
While walking this path, you'll have amble opportunities to work on each of the following skills (with their key ability modifiers): Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Heal (Wis), Knowledge (Arcana) (Int), Knowledge (Nature) (Int), Knowledge (Religion) (Int), Profession (Wis), Spellcraft (Int), and Survival (Wis). You'll get 4 + Int modifier skill points every level.

The Path
{table=head]Level | BAB | Fort | Ref | Will | Special | Spellcasting
1st | +0 | +0 | +0 | +2 | Animate Dead, Rebuke Undead, Low-light Vision, Photosynthesis, Wooden Fortitude | +1 level of existing spellcasting class
2nd | +1 | +0 | +0 | +3 | Bark DR 2, Grave Growth, Plant Domain | +1 level of existing spellcasting class
3rd | +2 | +1 | +1 | +3 | Necromantic Seed, Negative Nature, Light Fortification | +1 level of existing spellcasting class
4th | +3 | +1 | +1 | +4 | Bark DR 4, Carrion Vine | +1 level of existing spellcasting class
5th | +3 | +1 | +1 | +4 | Darkvision 60 ft., Mind Flora, Tendriculous | +1 level of existing spellcasting class
6th | +4 | +2 | +2 | +5 | Bark DR 6, Corrupting Seed, Rejuvenation | +1 level of existing spellcasting class
7th | +5 | +2 | +2 | +5 | "Deadwooden" Undead, Resistances | +1 level of existing spellcasting class
8th | +6 | +2 | +2 | +6 | Bark DR 8, Enervating Seed, Medium Fortification | +1 level of existing spellcasting class
9th | +6 | +3 | +3 | +6 | Root | +1 level of existing spellcasting class
10th | +7 | +3 | +3 | +7 | Deadwood | +1 level of existing spellcasting class[/table]
Before we begin, a note on weapons and armor training, since I'm told that people expect to learn about that kind of thing here: it's not really involved. Don't expect to learn how to use a spiked chain or run in fullplate while walking this path; you have too many other things to be doing.

Animate Dead
To begin with, do make sure you know how to animate dead at this point. I know, I said Reincarnate would be sufficient - and it is. The truth is, Druids out there, you can ask Nature for Animate Dead, so long as you understand natural animation. You need to do this before you can go any further. You'll find that Nature considers Animate Dead to be little different from Reincarnate, so just give it a try. You'll add Animate Dead to your spells known in no time; if you know how to cast magic multiple different ways, you'll probably be able to figure it out for all of them. This barely even counts as a step, but it did need to be mentioned. I didn't want to put it in the original list because I didn't want to scare off any Druids or Spirit Shamans who might be sympathetic to the idea of natural undead.

Rebuke Undead (Su)
The first (real) step to becoming Deadwood is to learn to Rebuke Undead. If you are skilled at dealing with the Undead, that is, have fulfilled the requirements I outlined above, this should not be too difficult for you. For those Clerics out there used to Turning the undead, it may help to find yourself a nice, overgrown, and out of the way graveyard - remember that the revenants here are natural, have developed out of a need to be there. They are guardians and sentries, not abominations.

Anyway, regardless of your alignment or background, for the first step on the path, you learn to Rebuke Undead. You can do this as a Cleric of your class level, and for every class level you can also consider one level in a class that does not advance your Turning Level as a level that does count. Thus, a Cleric 10/Deadwood 1 rebukes as an 11th level Cleric. A Druid 10/Deadwood 1 rebukes as a 2nd level Cleric, and in a level he'll rebuke as a 4th level Cleric. If you already knew how to Turn Undead, those levels count for Rebuking, and you further may continue to Turn Undead if you wish.

Low-light Vision (Ex)
Strangely, though rare in the plant kingdom, the optical abilities of those plants that have sight tend to be better than the average humanoid. I can't even begin to guess why this is the case, but there it is. As long as you're joining yourself with the plant world, it's a good idea to take advantage of this strange fact as soon as possible. Low-light vision is extremely useful.

Photosynthesis (Ex)
Being Deadwood is not just about understanding the undead, it's about understanding nature. The living make a big deal about their status, but they're no less destructive than the undead, and honestly, the truth is that nature does not really care. The key to becoming Deadwood is to understand that no matter how strange this world is, all of this is natural - not just what some people like call special. Destruction, contamination, famine, it is all as natural as life, birth, and health. Living as a part of the natural world means you have to accept that.

It doesn't mean you have to give up. Nature doesn't like quitters. Take advantages where you can find them. If your devotion to plants is real, you should be able to figure out how to incorporate them into your body for photosynthesis. Just let your devotion guide you. You're becoming a graveyard plant, so you'll not even need a lot of sunlight - four hours even in cloudy weather and with dirt under your feet or plants all around will provide enough nutrients for you to sustain yourself, and you won't be hungry or thirsty for the whole day.

Wooden Fortitude (Ex)
The next step, and one you should be pursuing at the same time you practice your rebuking and photosynthesizing, is to begin to harden your body, to incorporate natural flora into it. You want to become as tough as an oak, if you can. It's difficult, though; for now, you should be satisfied with +2 to Fortitude saves.

Bark (Ex)
Anyway, as you practice retaining your Plant Devotion, you will grow pieces of bark on your skin. This magically hard protection can grant you great resilience against many of the mightiest of blows. At 2nd level, you gain DR 2/slashing and magic; at 4th this increases to DR 4/slashing and magic; at 6th, DR 6/slashing and magic; and at 8th, DR 8/slashing and adamantine and magic. When you become truly Deadwood at 10th, this increases to DR 10/slashing and adamantine and epic.

Grave Growth (Sp)
Given study and effort, about the time when you first start growing your bark, you will also begin to understand how the natural processes of graveyards work. This is the basis for the spell that the Clerics call Desecrate - a hideous misnomer, in my opinion. They've conflated these effects with the true desecration effects, of course, but actual desecration has, at this point, been relegated to a secondary function of the spell, the primary function of which has nothing do with desecration! Sorry for the rant, this particular point greatly irritates me. The Tomb Orphans got it wrong too; they call them "Hauntings" or "Grave-Woods", but their obsession with the Negative Energy Plane draws it to them, causing these graveyards to gain strange effects they don't usually have, just by them being there. They're... silly.

Anyway, when you learn about graveyards, you'll find that any place where plants bury their roots in the remains of the fallen, you gain the effects of what I call a Grave Growth spell. When nature takes over a graveyard, this happens automatically, but subtly - you have to know how to tap into it. By now, you should. You should also learn to cast Grave Growth once per day as a spell like ability with a caster level equal to your own - this causes the effect to occur even in places where it normally would not. It's slower than Desecrate, but it has a number of advantages.

New Spell
Grave Growth
Necromancy
Level: Deadwood 3rd
Components: V, S, M, DF
Casting Time: 1 hour
Range: Close (25 ft. + 2 ft. / 2 levels)
Area: 20 ft. radius Spread, or one graveyard (see text)
Duration: 2 hours / level (see text)
Saving Throw: None
Spell Resistance: No
You draw upon the nurturing grave fungi and carrion vines that grow in graveyards, to bolster your undead creations.

The area in which you cast this spell, over the course of the casting time, becomes overgrown to the sorts of plants one expects to see in a graveyard - ones that find corpses fertile soil, and like damp, misty air, etc. These plants will grow so long as the space in which this is cast has access to open soil.

Charisma checks made to Turn Undead within the area take a -3 natural penalty. Undead creatures controlled by anyone capable of casting this spell gain a +1 bonus on attack rolls, damage rolls, and saving throws. An undead creature summoned or created in this area by someone who can cast this spell gains +1 HP per HD.

If this spell is cast within in a graveyard which already has a natural Grave Growth effect in it, all modifiers given above are doubled. This spell also affects the entire graveyard, and the duration increases to 2 hours per caster level after the caster leaves the graveyard.

Furthermore, anyone who can cast this spell who casts Animate Dead within the area of this effect may create double the normal amount of undead (that is, 4 HD per caster level instead of 2 HD per caster level).

Any undead created or summoned by one capable of this spell is also treated as having a good Fortitude save and 3/4 Base Attack Bonus progression (as a Cleric). These undead also gain feats as normal for a creature of their level, even if they are mindless.

Finally, any creature with an intelligence score slain within the area of a Grave Growth spell has a 40% chance of reanimating as an intelligent, free-willed undead. It retains its memories and any alignment it had in life.

Grave Growth counters and dispels both Consecrate and Desecrate. Neither spell can counter or dispel Grave Growth. Though this spell may be cast in the same area as Desecrate, their effects do not stack, despite having different bonus types - anyone who can cast this spell in the area may take advantage of the greater benefits of Grave Growth, while others may continue to use the Desecrate).

Material Component
Seeds from a graveyard plant, and 25 gp worth (5 pounds) of silver dust, all of which must be sprinkled around the area.

Plant Domain
Once you have begun to grow your bark, you can truly enter into the plant kingdom, gaining the ability to rebuke plants as you would undead, and furthering your natural magic. You gain the Plant Domain, as a Cleric. You'll find that when you do this, you may cast each of the following spells once per day, in addition to your normal spellcasting, providing that you can cast spells of that level: Entangle, Barkskin, Plant Growth, Command Plants, Wall of Thorns, Repel Wood, Animate Plants, Control Plants, and Shambler. These spells are also added to your spell list. For Clerics, this does not seem to take up your usual Domain spell slot. For Clerics, since you already have the Plant Domain, apparently what happens is that whenever you prepare a Plant Domain spell in a Domain slot, you get two castings of it. Which is also pretty nice.

A special note for any Warlocks or other invocation-users reading this: I can't speak from experience, but in my surveys of Deadwood who have these abilities, the Plant Domain works a bit differently. It seems that the Plant Domain grants your two bonus Invocations instead of the Domain Spells: Baleful Thorns and Shambling Death. I've recorded what I could learn about those below.

New Invocations
Baleful Thorns
Greater; 6th
AAAAThis invocation allows you to use Wall of Thorns, as the spell, except that the thorns do 1d6 Con damage to anyone who takes damage from them.

Shambling Death
Dark or Greatest; 8th
AAAAThis invocation allows you to summon one Shambling Mound as a full-round action. This Shambling Mound is further augmented, becoming immune to disease, death effects, fatigue, and exhaustion, and by not being subject to nonlethal damage, ability drain, ability damage, or level drain. Finally, the Shambling Mound has several maneuvers from the Chthonic Serpent (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=131567) martial discipline: it is has the Coils of Rapture and Way of Ourobouros Stances, and may be summoned starting in one of them, and can use Death's Embrace once per summoning while using Choking Python and Whirlwind Lash at will.
AAAAThe Shambling Mound lasts one round per level. If you use this invocation again while a Shambling Mound still exists, the duration resets to one round per level, but this duration must be split between any Shambling Mounds you have summoned.

Necromantic Seed (Su)
With your floral growths sprouting, you'll gain the ability to create seeds, and since the carrion plants you are incorporating into your body feed off of your necromantic powers, these seeds are potent little bundles of necromantic possibility. You can have up to one third your class level in seeds at a time, and they take three minutes to create each. You can plant one as a standard action touch attack, or you can plant one with any successful natural weapon or unarmed attack. Your target is going to get a Fortitude save against it, though; the DC is calculated as if it was one of your highest-level spells or invocations. If they fail that save, though, that target will automatically be animated, as by Animate Dead, upon death. The seed can only be removed by Greater Restoration, Miracle, or Wish. If they do succeed, unfortunately, you've wasted the seed.

Negative Nature (Ex)
Having begun to immerse yourself in plant life, you must begin the necromantic processes that will eventually keep your soul bound to your body even after death. This is a long, gradual process, but at around this point a sudden reversal occurs - healing magics will begin to harm you, and harmful magics will begin to heal you, as if you were undead. You are not yet, so be careful not to get ahead of yourself here.

Light Fortification (Ex)
As your body deadens, your 'vital' organs become less and less so. When the above mentioned reversal occurs, so-called critical strikes should turn out to be nothing serious a good 25% of the time.

Carrion Vine (Ex)
Do not eschew the living plants just because you're looking to become a dead one. In particular, creating a Carrion Vine, which you should be able to do with a little more work after you master the intricacies of Grave Growth, will greatly help you. This creature can find corpses for you to use, and if you're lucky it may find undisturbed graves where the latent energies of your Grave Growth can really take hold. It's not bad in a fight, either, if it comes to that.

Carrion Vine Companion
The Carrion Vine is a plant which you gain as a companion, similar to a Druid's Animal Companion. Use the same rules as for the Animal Companion of a Druid of the Deadwood's class level, with the Carrion Vine as the creature. The Deadwood may substitute a Spellcraft check for any Handle Animal or Wild Empathy checks made to deal with the Vine.

Carrion Vine
Size/Type: Large Plant
Hit Dice: 8d8+24
Initiative: +7
Speed: Land 30 ft., Climb 30 ft., Burrow 30 ft.
Armor Class: 15 (-1 Size, +3 Dex, +3 Natural Armor), touch 12, flat-footed 12
Base Attack/Grapple: +6/+7
Attack:
Special Attacks: Poison Growth, Siphon Health
Special Qualities: Blind, Deathwatch, Gravesense 2 mi., Plant Traits, Scent, Tremorsense 60 ft.
Saves: Fort +7, Ref +5, Will +3
Abilities: Str 12, Dex 17, Con 16, Int 1, Wis 12, Cha 2
Skills: Climb +9, Hide +7, Listen +9, Move Silently +7, Seach +20
Feats: Alertness, Improved Initiative, Ability Focus (Poison Growth)
Environment: Graveyards
Organization: Solitary or crypt (6-10)
Challenge Rating: 5
Treasure: None
Alignment: Always Neutral
Advancement: 9-16 HD (Large), 17-24 HD (Huge)
Level Adjustment:

Poison Growth (Su)
As a standard action that provokes attacks of opportunity, a Carrion Vine burrowed underground but adjacent to the surface can come out of the ground briefly to germinate a poisonous briar in the area. A 10 ft. square is covered in these thorns - these squares are considered difficult terrain, and anyone attempting to move into or out of one of these squares must make a save against the briar's poison. The briar's poison deals 1d6 Con damage as its primary effect and again as its secondary effect. The save DC for this effect is 10 plus half the Vine's HD plus the Vine's Con modifier (and +2 for the Ability Focus feat); for a basic Carrion Vine the DC is 18. This is a supernatural poison, so resistance or immunity to natural poisons does not apply.

Siphon Health (Su)
For every point of Con damage that the Carrion Vine deals with its Poison Growth, it is healed 1 HP. If the Carrion Vine is at full health, it may keep a count of how much "extra" healing to which it is entitled, and it can bestow that health on an ally it touches as a standard action. It cannot give this extra health to itself, even if it later takes damage.

Blind (Ex)
The Carrion Vine cannot see, and relies on its Tremorsense ability to detect creatures.

Deathwatch (Ex)
The Carrion Vine is always considered to have the benefits of the Deathwatch spell, even in an Antimagic Field.

Gravesense (Ex)
A Carrion Vine is automatically aware of any graveyards, such that have a Grave Growth effect, that they pass within 2 miles of. They know the direction and distance to the graveyard, but not anything more than that.

Skills
Carrion Vines have a +4 bonus to Hide and Move Silently checks, and a +8 racial bonus to Climb, Listen, and Search checks. A Carrion Vine can always choose to take 10 on a Climb or Search check, even if rushed or threatened. Carrion Vines use either their Strength modifier or Dexterity modifier for Climb checks, whichever is higher, and their Wisdom modifier for Search checks. Search is a class skill for Carrion Vines.

Darkvision (Ex)
If plants have bizarrely good eyesight, the undead have utterly unsurprising darkvision. As the necromantic energies surge, darkness becomes more and more your nature, such that you gain Darkvision out to 60 ft. From my interviews with Deadwood that already had Darkvision out to 30 ft. or more, it seems they actually just got another 30 ft. of it. Either way, a good deal.

Mind Flora (Ex)
Both the undead and plants are noted for their immunity to mind-affecting features, and you'll learn why - as you begin to grow more and more vegetative parts, and your necromantic energies begin to lace your body, your very mind will change, subtly. I can assure you, you'll still be you, but your thoughts will come in a different pattern, very unlike your own. For most mages, this becomes very difficult to manage, giving you a +4 bonus to saves against Mind-Affecting effects.

Tendriculous (Ex)
At this point, you should be very obviously part plant. Deadwood have vines rather than limbs; they work amazingly well. And the great thing about them is that they are long - it's really great fun. They can hit hard, too, if you really feel the need. You effectively increase one size category, permanently, and gain the Slight Build racial feature - your long limbs mean you're tall and can reach far, but your body's no bigger than it ever was. You also gain a pair of Tentacle attacks as primary or secondary natural weapons, which deal bludgeoning damage as appropriate for your size and strength. This is great for your Necromantic Seeds or touch attack spells!

Also, in any place where a wild growth wouldn't seem out of place, you also gain a +8 racial bonus to Hide and Move Silently (Seriously, try it - you sound just like wind rustling the leaves! No one thinks anything of it!).

Corrupting Seed (Su)
Soon after you gain those vines, you'll find you can create a special Necromantic Seed that I call a Corrupting Seed. It's just brimming with Negative Energy! This seed does 1d6 Negative Energy damage a round for to whomever it's implanted in (Fortitude negates the damage for a round). This can include you, before you implant it in someone else! You can never have two Corrupting Seeds at one time, though, and it takes a full day once you've used yours to create another one. Anyway, it's a pretty devastating weapon, but also a great battery for you. Use it carefully.

Rejuvenation (Ex)
As your body begins to synthesize more and more of what it needs from plants feeding off of your latent necromantic energy, you'll stop feeling pain in quite the same way, aware of the damage but not being discomforted by it, and your body will simply work better. You'll be immune to nonlethal damage, fatigue, and exhaustion.

"Deadwooden" Undead (Ex)
Yes, I know, a terrible name for this section. But it's appropriate! Basically, by now you should be able to "deadwooden" your undead, to include some of the grave plants you've been working into your own body. It's kind of easier when they're already dead. Anyway, at this point, the vines that fortify your undead will allow them to hit harder and transfer your seeds. Every undead you create gains the Powerful Build racial feature, and while they can't create any Necromantic Seeds, they can harbor them - up to one fifth your class level each - and use them on their own natural weapon attacks. You can give any of your "deadwoodened" undead such a seed by touching them as an attack-equivalent action. Undead created within a Grave Growth spell actually start with one, for that matter!

Resistances (Ex)
At this point, you're starting to see some serious protections from the elements as a result of so much of your body being comprised of animated plant matter. You gain Energy Resistance 20 to Cold, Negative, Sonic, and Vile energy. At this point, though, you do have minor vulnerability to Fire and Electricity - dead wood burns readily. Fire and Electricity effects deal 25% more damage to you.

Enervating Seed (Su)
When you get to the Enervating Seed (and you'll know it, trust me), you know you're getting really close to full Deadwood status. This seed, of which you can only have one and creating a new one takes a whole day from the point when you use it, functions as a Necromantic Seed except that it also deals 1 Negative Level to the target every round for a number of rounds equal to your caster level. Implanting the Enervating Seed is as normal for Necromantic Seeds, and a Fortitude save negates it, but no save is allowed once it's implanted. This one is an incredibly potent weapon.

Medium Fortification (Ex)
By now, you're also more dead than alive. Hitting a weak spot is getting to be very difficult - 75% of the time, critical hits just aren't.

Root (Ex)
When you gain roots, you are a truly fearsome opponent. This, I think, is probably the most surprising thing about Deadwood; you wouldn't really think that roots mean that much. But they do. Once per day, when you have them, as a Full-Round Action, you may thrust your tendrils into the ground, and rapidly grow over an entire field. Every square within 60 ft. of your position sprouts with your vines, and these are covered in thorns. They can reach up to 30 ft. high. Make a Grapple check against every target (that you want to attack) within the area - for this check you are effectively a Colossal+ creature, so you gain a +20 size bonus on this check, and may Grapple things up to Colossal+++ in size. You can ignore any Freedom of Movement effects on your targets, as well.

If successful, you deal Constriction damage equal to your Tentacle attack's damage in piercing and bludgeoning damage to every Grappled target, and may attempt to implant a Necromantic Seed in each every round (you can use Corrupting or Enervating Seeds if you have them, but for this purpose you have unlimited Necromantic Seeds). You are immobile for as long as you maintain the Root, and doing so requires your concentration; if you break your concentration, the Root ends, but it still takes a full-round action to free yourself from the earth. Under no circumstances can you maintain the Root for more rounds than you have class levels.

Deadwood
Finally, not long after gaining your Roots, you are ready for the final transmutation from flesh and blood to wood and undeath. To do so, you must create your Heartwood - you have to become so bound to your body that the natural course for your spirit to take after death is to remain, animating your body. This is called Heartwood. To create it, you must spend at least 8 hours a day immobile in an area under the effect of Grave Growth, allowing your body to grow into the landscape, for a total of 120 days. They do not have to be consecutive days, and they do not all have to be in the same place, but you cannot become truly Deadwood until you have done so.

Doing this will kill you. The necromantic energies are so strong that there is no chance of any other recourse. Continued movement and activity can delay this, by invigorating your life, but after 120 days of allowing this to take its course, you will start to die. If you were in the prime of your life when you started, by the time you've done this for 60 days, you'll effectively be middle aged, with all the benefits and penalties that come with it, no matter how long-lived your race is. After 100 days, you'll be venerable. The necromancy will age you even if time alone could not. After 120 days, you die.

But so long as that 120th day happens in a natural graveyard with Grave Growth cast on it (yeah, make sure you do that, that's an important point; you can just not spend your 8 hours until you find the opportunity to do this, though), nature's course for you will not include the hereafter. Your body dies, but your spirit remains. You are familiar with the nature of undeath, so by now you should be comforted; you should have witnessed many a revenant rise up on its own before, and should know that you will now do so. Soon, in fact - the day after you die, you will walk again, retaining the bonuses of age but none of their penalties, and you will be undead. Deadwood.


Deadwood Template
"Deadwood" is an acquired template that can be added to any previously living creature who has reached 10th level in the Deadwood prestige class and completed the formation of their "Heartwood" by spending 120 days in an area of Grave Growth.

A Deadwood creature has all the base creature's statistics and special abilities except as noted here.

Size and Type
The creature's type changes to Undead. Do not recalculate Base Bttack Bonus, Saves, or Skill Points. Size is unchanged.

Hit Dice
Increase all current and future Hit Dice to d12s.

Armor Class
A Deadwood has a +5 Natural Armor bonus or the base creature's Natural Armor bonus, whichever is greater.

Attack
If the base creature can use weapons, the Deadwood retains this ability. A creature with natural weapons retains those natural weapons. All Deadwood have a pair of Tentacle attacks from their Deadwood class levels. All Deadwood also have the Necromantic, Corrupting, and Enervating Seeds as attack options from their class levels. These attack options may be used as a touch attack or on any successful natural weapon attack.

Full Attack
As normal for a creature armed as the Deadwood is. All Deadwood may use their Tentacle attacks as either a pair of primary natural weapons, or each as a secondary natural weapon.

Damage
The Corrupting Seed attack option deals 1d6 Negative energy damage per round to an enemy who fails their Fortitude save against the seed being implanted (though each round's damage may be individually negated with a Fortitude save). The Enervating Seed natural attack deals 1 Negative Level per round to a target who fails their Fortitude save against implantation, and does not allow further saves to prevent these, but only lasts for a number of rounds equal to the Deadwood's caster level.

Both of these attack options are from the Deadwood's class levels.

Special Attacks
A Deadwood creature retains all of the base creature's special attacks, including the Root attack gained from Deadwood class levels.

Spells
A Deadwood creature can cast any spells it could in life.

Special Qualities - A Deadwood creature retains all of the base creature's special qualities, and gains those described below.

Turn Resistance (Ex)
A Deadwood creature has a +4 turn resistance.

Damage Reduction (Ex)
As an extension of the Deadwood class's Bark feature, a Deadwood creature gains DR 10/slashing and adamantine and epic.

Immunities (Ex)
A Deadwood creature has immunity to cold, negative energy, sonic, and vile damage, as well as polymorph effects (though they may use polymorph effects on themselves) and mind-affecting attacks.

Abilities
A Deadwood creature has full aging bonuses to mental abilities (+3 to Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma), but no penalties to physical abilities. Being Undead, a Deadwood creature has no Constitution score.

Skills
A Deadwood creature has a +8 racial bonus to Hide, Knowledge (Nature), Move Silently, and Spellcraft; otherwise, it is the same as the base creature.

The Deadwood's Heartwood
Deadwood are indelibly connected to graves. When you die, the Heartwood that you have built up will sprout, for it is in fact a seed, and the area where you have Grave Growth going will retain that effect indefinitely, as with a natural graveyard, and further permanently gain the effects of Grave Growth having been cast in a graveyard. This grave for your Heartwood functions much like a Lich's phylactery - so long as the graveyard remains as it is, you will regrow in the graveyard in 2+1d6 weeks after any time your body is destroyed. While within his own Heartwood, a Deadwood gains immunity to Turn Undead, and any Undead under his command either gain Turn Resistance +4, or if they already have Turn Resistance, their Turn Resistance increases by +4.

Destroying an entire graveyard is much harder than destroying a phylactery, but it's also much more difficult to hide it. Ideally, you want the graveyard to become so overgrown that it seems to just be a forest, and if you last long enough, that forest can become sacred to someone or another - many Deadwood actually work pretty hard to make that happen. That said, it can be done - if all of the corpses within are destroyed or removed, or all of the grave plants killed, your graveyard will no longer function, and the destruction of your body will mean your permanent death. Try to choose a big one for this, because you can't move it after you die, either.

Being Deadwood
Being Deadwood means being immortal, and doing so in a way that flows from nature, rather than violently wresting your soul away from natural death as a Lich might. It's a longer process and has some serious limitations, but ultimately it's rather nice that it's not "unspeakably evil". It's important to realize that necromancy, itself, is not evil either - and while there are some pretty evil Deadwood out there, most of us aren't. In fact, you really begin to realize, if I may editorialize a bit here, that many necromancers and liches really are hideous - when you sympathize with the undead, as I do, it gets a bit hard to stomach those slavedrivers. Quite a few of us are rather anti-necromancy, at least as the living practice it. You may find yourself feeling that way too.

Combat: Well, we're spellcasters, so that should be obvious. Probably you'll mostly stick with that - but remember, once you've established your Heartwood, you are not your average fragile mage. Even before then, with our seeds and our tendrils, it's often not a bad idea to stay close enough in fights.

Advancement: Most of us just keep looking for more magic power. I mean, we're spellcasters, and now we have a lot of time to pursue it.

Resources: Your Heartwood provides a nice safe haven, if you feel comfortable sticking around there - some of us feel that draws too much attention to our only vulnerability. Maybe so, maybe no. Undead are often aimless, so giving them purpose can be a charity - and you'll be pretty good at it. However I feel about using the undead, if they're willing... thralls are rather nice to have, after all.


Deadwood in the World
"No matter what you say, the undead are abominations and you are no better than a Lich. If I could, I would destroy you now."

-- Ophelia, Queen of the Beast Legion

Frustratingly, that's about the best quote I could come up with about us. We're not too well known, honestly. Which is how we like it, but still. She barely even listened to me; I thought it was important to include an outside perspective, but I couldn't really get one...

Daily Life: Well, 'life' is a bit of stretch now, isn't it? Still, I figure that if I'm writing this, I'm responsible for preparing you. Basically, you start to think really long term. It's as much from being a tree as it from being undead - patience is a virtue we have in spades. Daily life? I haven't actually thought about what I do in a single day in... centuries. I spend a lot of time in graveyards, fostering new undead. I spent a lot of time researching this pamphlet. I really don't know.

Notables: Well, I'm not. I've been Deadwood for about three hundred years, and this is the first even remotely notable thing I've really done with it. Let's see, other than me...

There is Rooftrellan, one of the most ancient druids in existence. His Heartwood is literally the source of an entire continent-spanning jungle. But that's not really his claim to fame. Largely, he effectively is the circle of life. He shepherds the living and the dead, undead too, through their courses, and through subtle manipulations and applications of his massive power, he makes sure that nothing interferes with life and death on a large scale. It's unbelievable what he's done. Any claim that he's not a god really must be arguing semantics, because he might as well be, and he's that important. Luckily, fearsome as he is, he appears to be exceptionally benevolent.

I suppose I should also mention Banehallow, though I'd rather not. He was... not a pleasant creature. Not one who avoided Lichdom out of any desire to avoid unspeakable evil, certainly. Cleric to an evil, dead god, he very seriously attempted to turn the entire world into his Heartwood - just an enormous tangle of dead, but animated plant life, all connected to him and fueling his power. An attempt at godhood, apparently; a way to resurrect his god within himself. It was an absolute brute force attempt - he just sought to gain so much power as to be as like a god as makes no difference. We really don't know if it would have worked, if taking over the world like that would translate directly into power - but based on what happened, it very well might have.

We didn't know about Rooftrellan then, no one did - he's just that good, that subtle. Of course, this was all long before I was even conceived, much less dead. But the story goes that as Banehallow tried to expand his domain, he continued to be rebuffed - new, vibrant, living plants continued to intrude, slowing his growth. Carrion vines started devouring his corpses, started to remove his power source. And then a plague struck - unthinkable, even now, but an actual epidemic spread among Banehallow's undead foliage. That's when we learned about Rooftrellan - he came in the wake of the plague and finished Banehallow, clearing out his Heartwood and then destroying him handily in single combat. The stories of their combat are epic, of course, but here's not the place. Point is... where Banehallow failed to become a god that way, Rooftrellan revealed that he very well might have already succeeded in doing so a long time ago.

Organizations: Well, there are the Tomb Orphans. The "Children of the Mausoleum". Sometimes we get along. Sometimes. I guess they're kind of like druids and we're kind of like treants - though we're massively more intelligent and powerful than treants, and sometimes don't like being "tended" so much. But anyway, they recognize that natural undead exist, which means we're closer to them than just about anyone else. We certainly don't band together ourselves.

But there's a divide. See, to us, the Children are weird - they care for the natural undead, and gain power from the connection, but they aren't, themselves, undead. Usually, anyway. So they're kind of outsiders, and a lot of Deadwood think they are meddling with things they don't understand. And then there are some of them who think we're as unnatural as the creations of mortal necromancers, or liches. That's almost laughable... the natural undead come from somewhere, afterall. Nature has patterns. You can learn the patterns and insert yourself into them; it's not even that hard, every living thing in the world has done so. But they mistake natural intelligent choice as artifice, and then we fight.

It's sad, really. They do good work, most of the time. For all of their... silliness, I suppose, they're far more enlightened than most mortals. And I definitely like the idea of going after mortal necromancers. Not because it's unnatural, so much - yes, and no; spells are natural too, it takes considerable magic to really break nature - but because those bastards are slave-drivers! I work with the Orphans sometimes, the ones who accept me as one of the natural undead. I'd love to work with another Deadwood on it, though. If you're interested, you should definitely look me up after you've completed the path.


Reactions
We're... kind of scary looking, often. Yeah, I don't really count on too many good reactions from the living. Bunch of bigots, is what they are.


Deadwood in the Game
You know, just because you're ageless and almost impossible to permanently destroy does not mean you should treat life as a game. First, you're Deadwood because you have some respect for nature; not very respectful to laugh it off like that. Second, 'play' enough and you're bound to find someone willing to put that effort in to end you, and you've got a lot more to lose than most. You're not actually indestructable, you know.

Adaptation: Wait, what? What would we be if we weren't what we are? How does that even make sense? I really need to talk to the guy who wrote up the rules for these pamphlet things. Uh, I dunno. I guess we could actually be the evil that people think we are?

Encounters: Well, we usually spend most of are time in the oldest, most overrun graveyard we can find, and we usually spend our time accumulating magical skill and fostering the natural processes of undeath. So look for us there, I suppose.


About the Author
Saria a'Therra was a human necromancer for fifty years before becoming Deadwood. Daughter of a humble hunter and trapper, she had a natural talent for necromancy. Even from an early age and without training, she was quite adept at animating the dead. As she began to deal more and more with the undead, it struck her how misguided attempts to purge them were - and as she explored, she discovered undead that had nothing to do with necromancy as a practice. As she studied this, she found herself exploring more of her father's work - learning more about the woods and nature - and she found what she terms natural necromancy. She's been enchanted with the idea ever since. Now that she is one herself, she makes a point of ending living necromancers who, in her opinion, abuse the undead.

EL 20: Saria a'Therra spends much of her time fighting those who would abuse the undead - from exorcists to necromancers.

Saria a'Therra
Chaotic Good Female Human Dread Necromancer 10/Deadwood 10
Large Undead
Init: +1, Senses: Listen +3, Spot +3
Languages: Common, Elven, Orcish[hr]AC: 21 (5 Armor, 5 Natural Armor, 1 Dex), touch 11, flat-footed 20
hp 129 (20 HD)
Fort: +11, Ref: +12, Will: +21[hr]Speed: 30 ft. (6 squares)
Space/Reach: 10 ft./10 ft.
BAB/Grapple: +13/+20
Melee: +13 vine (2d6)
Full Attack: +13 vine (2d6), +13 vine (2d6)
Attack Options: Charnel Touch, Scabrous Touch, Necromantic Seed, Corrupting Seed, Enervating Seed
Spells per Day: 9x 1st, 2nd. 8x 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th. 7x 7th, and 8th. 6x 9th. from the Dread Necromancer spell list, plus one casting per day of each spell from the Plant Domain.
Supernatural Abilities: Charnel Touch, Rebuke Undead (13/day, Cleric level 20th), Negative Energy Burst (2/day), Fear Aura, Scabrous Touch (1/day), Necromantic Seed, Corrupting Seed, Enervating Seed
Spell-like Abilities: Grave Growth (1/day)
Extraordinary Abilities: Advanced Learning (x2), Mental Bastion, Familiar, Undead Mastery, Photosynthesis, Wooden Fortitude, Negative Nature, Carrion Vine, Mind Flora, "Deadwooden" Undead, Root[hr]Abilities Str 11, Dex 12, Con -, Int 17, Wis 16, Cha 30
Special Qualities: Lich Body (DR 6/bludgeoning and magic), Bark (DR 10/slashing and adamantine and epic), Negative Energy Resistance +4, Heavy Fortification, Low-light Vision, Darkvision 60 ft., Slight Build, Rejuvenation, Turn Resistance +4, Immunity to Cold, Immunity to Negative Energy, Immunity to Sonic Energy, Immunity to Vile Damage, Immunity to Polymorph effects, Immunity to Mind-Affecting effects, Undead traits, Spell Resistance 18, +2 to Caster Level checks to overcome Spell Resistance
Feats: Apprentice (Woodsman), Spell Focus (Necromancy), Corpsecrafter, Undead Empathy, Plant Devotion, Fell Animate, Greater Spell Focus (Necromancy), Chain Spell, Lord of the Uttercold
Skills: Concentration +33, Hide +9, Knowledge (Arcana) +26, Knowledge (Nature) +26, Knowledge (Religion) +26, Move Silently +9, Spellcraft +26, Survival +26
Possessions: Cloak of Charisma +6, Robe of the Archmagi, Ring of Spellbattle, Ring of Freedom of Movement


Image Credits
The Deadwood portrait is adapted from the concept art for the "Deadwood" character in Heroes of Newerth.

peterpaulrubens
2010-09-18, 11:40 PM
Very nice.

I can't imagine actually playing one, but I certainly hope I never face one.

I love the ode to D2 also.

firemagehao
2010-09-19, 07:12 AM
This is good. I can see one of the players in a game I am currently DMing using this.

For clarification: Can you be a Deadwood and a Lich? And, Does the DR stack with other DR?

Lix Lorn
2010-09-19, 08:50 AM
JFTR: I love this class.

Fable Wright
2010-09-19, 08:59 AM
It seems that you've lumped the prerequisites for the class in with the class abilities. For example, you need animate dead and/or rebuke dead to even join the class. Those should be prerequisites. You should gain low-light vision at first level if you don't already have it.

Debby

No, you don't. You could have the reincarnate spell, and the other exceptions are for Druids who want to take the class. And you don't need rebuke undead to join the class, last time I checked. And you DO gain low-light vision at first level. He didn't lump them together.

Dencero
2010-09-19, 09:08 AM
This is good. I can see one of the players in a game I am currently DMing using this.

For clarification: Can you be a Deadwood and a Lich? And, Does the DR stack with other DR?

I thought I would try to explain this from what I've read. Basically, a Deadwood is a Lich at the core principle. A Lich's Phylactery is to the Deadwood's Heartwood. Except, that a Deadwood's Heartwood is harder to destroy, but is easier to find. Also, as per part of the class requirements:


You must be alive. If you're already dead, well - why are you here? As far as I know, this process doesn't work with constructs...

While you couldn't become a Lich and then take a level in Deadwood, you could, and I am just speculating, take 9 levels in Deadwood and then create a Lich's phylactery. I do not know if you could continue Deadwood and get the tenth level and create both a Heartwood AND a Phylactery, but I think if you become undead before you reach 10th level, then you broke the class requirements and can't take anymore levels.

As for DR, it doesn't say anywhere that it doesn't stack, so I think DR stacks.

But it really isn't my call to say what is what about another person's creation. It's just my 2 cents.

As for the class itself, I really do like it. Natural Necromancy is an idea that I think could make a paladin or druid re-think their beliefs.

Fable Wright
2010-09-19, 09:18 AM
Not particularly; you gain the ability to turn undead as a 2nd level cleric, +2 on foritude saves, you add one spell to your spell list if you don't already have it, you get low-light vision if you don't already have it- you just gain some basic abilities that fit with the fluff of the class. None of them have much mechanical impact on the game- mostly just fluff-related things that you should have.

Fable Wright
2010-09-19, 09:27 AM
But enough of my philosophy. That's not really why you're here. You want to know how to do it yourself. OK, that's fine; after all, I've spent a fair amount of time working on this, so I want to reveal it, too. Here is, as far as I can tell, the list: the things you need to go somewhere else to master, before you can start this path. Once you have these things, then this guide can take you the rest of the way.

The list:
The ability to Animate Dead things, or to Reincarnate them. Either seems to work about as well.
You must have Plant Devotion. It should come as no surprise that becoming Deadwood involves great familiarity with plants. Further, you also need Undead Empathy, because what you are trying to accomplish involves becoming a natural undead, and you must understand them to do that.


Where does it say that you need turn/rebuke undead? That is not a prerequisite for plant devotion, in case that is why you thought it was required.

Fable Wright
2010-09-19, 09:42 AM
No, it isn't. As I've already explained, druids don't normally get animate dead on their spell lists. It's for the druids that want to take this class, and have a necromancy feel.

Fable Wright
2010-09-19, 09:59 AM
In a nutshell? To prevent things like warmages and duskblades from getting the class. It's only for classes that have some ties to necromancy or nature. You need that for a prerequisite so that non-nature related, non-undead related characters cannot get in.

DracoDei
2010-09-19, 10:21 AM
I have only gotten through the pre-requisites so far...
They look good mechanically, and I LOVE how you mixed them into the fluff in a more smooth way. I might Bold the names of things, simply because sometimes an alternative/additional requirement comes in the second sentence, which, combined with the (again, very much worth it) non-standard formatting could make it easy to miss.

Lix Lorn
2010-09-19, 01:16 PM
Cause you have to have ONE of them.

Morph Bark
2010-09-19, 01:28 PM
It makes no sense to have a prerequisite that you then get at first level. A druid gets animate dead at first level so why make either reincarnate or animate dead as a prerequisite. That's what I'm saying. It's a requirement that really serves no purpose and is pointless.

Debby

Animate Dead (http://www.systemreferencedocuments.org/resources/systems/pennpaper/dnd35/soveliorsage/spellsAtoB.html#animate-dead).

There is no "Druid 1" there. Animate Dead isn't a Druid spell at all.

Fable Wright
2010-09-19, 03:44 PM
The. Reason. Is. That. A. Druid. Cannot. Cast. Animate. Dead. This is a nature themed class. Druids want to take class. Druids do not have animate dead. Reincarnate is a prerequisite, because it's a druid spell that fits the fluff. Animate dead is a spell for necromancers who take the class. Your argument is unfounded; either fully explain to us your argument, or stop contradicting us without point.

Milskidasith
2010-09-19, 03:58 PM
While fluff is nice, mixing mechanical explanations with fluff is not. Please trim away that so it is easy to look up the mechanics of this class, especially in the entry requirements.

Fable Wright
2010-09-19, 04:04 PM
That's personal opinion; I like the way that the fluff mixes with the mechanics, and would not want it changed.

Morph Bark
2010-09-19, 04:05 PM
Because EVERY DEADWOOD immediately gets animate dead as a special ability. If you are giving animate dead away as the first level special ability why bother making reincarnate or animate dead a prerequisite? See the Chart.

Debby

Then I misunderstood you. My apologies. :smallfrown:


This PrC would work real well for a particular NPC I've used before, who was a necromancer-druid of sorts, but the requirements are sadly too steep to work with as he's never been that high-level.

Ashtagon
2010-09-19, 04:07 PM
Because EVERY DEADWOOD immediately gets animate dead as a special ability. If you are giving animate dead away as the first level special ability why bother making reincarnate or animate dead a prerequisite? See the Chart.


If only reincarnate was the prereq, then only druids could get the class. If only animate dead was the prereq, they druids could never enter the class. If you remove this "either/or" prereq entirely, then beguilers and warmages could enter the class.

Basically, it is a class feature that only benefits characters who entered via the druid class.

Milskidasith
2010-09-19, 04:09 PM
That's personal opinion; I like the way that the fluff mixes with the mechanics, and would not want it changed.

Lack of clarity in mechanics is not a good thing, ever.

unosarta
2010-09-19, 04:13 PM
Maybe if they already have Animate Dead, they gain Reincarnation?

That way, those necromancers who enter this class have an even stronger connection to nature, and everyone is happy.

Also, is there such thing as a Reincarnation that turns you into an undead instead of a humanoid? Because that needs to happen.

Morph Bark
2010-09-19, 04:16 PM
Also, is there such thing as a Reincarnation that turns you into an undead instead of a humanoid? Because that needs to happen.

A custom spell that combined Reincarnation with Animate Dead would certainly be great. Could work for a spell of... level 7?

Temotei
2010-09-19, 04:17 PM
The very first Special Ability is Animate Dead. If you give it out as a special ability, it makes no sense to require either either reincarnation or the animate dead spell as a prerequisite. That's what I have been trying to say. Even though Druids normally don't have animate dead as a spell, they gain it upon entering the class. Ergo, making a prerequisite of either reincarnation or animate dead is pointless.

Why bother requiring something that you are giving away?

Debby

Druids be gettin' it in this manner.

Fable Wright
2010-09-19, 04:17 PM
The very first Special Ability is Animate Dead. If you give it out as a special ability, it makes no sense to require either either reincarnation or the animate dead spell as a prerequisite. That's what I have been trying to say. Even though Druids normally don't have animate dead as a spell, they gain it upon entering the class. Ergo, making a prerequisite of either reincarnation or animate dead is pointless.

Why bother requiring something that you are giving away?

Debby

It's a requirement so that warmages and duskblades, who have no connection to necromancy, cannot get in, whereas druids and necromancers can. What would you suggest as an ability that allows all of the deadwood to animate dead when the druids cannot normally create any undead? They need a spell. As he says, it shouldn't even count as a class feature. It's just to get everyone on the same page, so that everyone can create undead. It's not there just to give druids a boost, but it's to allow the druid to use the most important features of the class.

unosarta
2010-09-19, 04:20 PM
A custom spell that combined Reincarnation with Animate Dead would certainly be great. Could work for a spell of... level 7?

That would be pretty awesome. Suddenly, even if the party didn't chose it, the Tomb-Tainted Soul Dread Necromancer can have tons of undead friends! :smallbiggrin:

Lix Lorn
2010-09-19, 04:24 PM
The very first Special Ability is Animate Dead. If you give it out as a special ability, it makes no sense to require either either reincarnation or the animate dead spell as a prerequisite. That's what I have been trying to say. Even though Druids normally don't have animate dead as a spell, they gain it upon entering the class. Ergo, making a prerequisite of either reincarnation or animate dead is pointless.

Why bother requiring something that you are giving away?

Debby
Because they need to have *A* way of manipulating death before entering. They then get the simplest way, if they used a different one.

JoshuaZ
2010-09-19, 07:11 PM
May I inquire why you didn't go with my suggestion of having the clerics have to have Skill Focus Knowledge (Nature) instead of Greater Spell Focus Necromancy? Still think this makes more thematic sense.

peterpaulrubens
2010-09-19, 07:15 PM
Lack of clarity in mechanics is not a good thing, ever. Except when it's awesomely interwoven with the fluff.

(Ok, I will admit that maybe a spoiler'd reference section at the end might make actual character generation easier. But I really like the presentation at first glance.)


The very first Special Ability is Animate Dead. If you give it out as a special ability, it makes no sense to require either either reincarnation or the animate dead spell as a prerequisite. That's what I have been trying to say. Even though Druids normally don't have animate dead as a spell, they gain it upon entering the class. Ergo, making a prerequisite of either reincarnation or animate dead is pointless.

Why bother requiring something that you are giving away?

Debby

So... your critique boils down to "it should probably read, If you already have Animate Dead, you gain no advantage from this ability."


Moving on!

DragoonWraith
2010-09-19, 07:23 PM
Debihuman: I disagree with you, period. It's not changing. Please stop mucking up the thread continuing to go on about it. Both the pre-req and the 1st level class feature are staying. You're welcome to comment or critique any other aspect of the class, but I'm very seriously considering asking a Moderator to clean up this thread to remove some of that discussion, because it's ridiculous. You've made your point, now I've disagreed. It's over.


While fluff is nice, mixing mechanical explanations with fluff is not. Please trim away that so it is easy to look up the mechanics of this class, especially in the entry requirements.
This was me "doing something different" for fun because this class was for the GitP PrC XXI Contest, and I didn't much care for the theme. I don't plan on making it a habit; probably won't ever do it again. But, for this particular class, it's staying that way. I fully understand and appreciate your position, and tend to agree with you, but the response to the format has, surprisingly, been quite positive. You're only the third person so far to complain - but I know I would if someone else had posted the class.

I fully understand if you have no desire to critique the class in this format, since it is, without a doubt, harder to do with the fluff mixed in. I am sorry to lose your always-incredible analysis of the class, but I'm not going to change it.

unosarta
2010-09-19, 07:28 PM
Did everyone just ignore my suggestion? :smallfrown:


Maybe if they already have Animate Dead, they gain Reincarnation?

That way, those necromancers who enter this class have an even stronger connection to nature, and everyone is happy.

Seems to solve all of the complaints, giving those who already have Animate Dead something that actually ties them more to nature. Meh, I don't even care. :smallsigh:

DragoonWraith
2010-09-19, 07:30 PM
Did everyone just ignore my suggestion? :smallfrown:

Seems to solve all of the complaints, giving those who already have Animate Dead something that actually ties them more to nature. Meh, I don't even care. :smallsigh:
I'll consider that, though I don't really think that Reincarnation is heavily involved in what the class does. My apologies for missing it - I have had a pretty miserable day (last night was worth today, but man, what a price to pay), so honestly after the thread devolved into Debihuman arguing with everyone about the Animate Dead thing I just skimmed over the rest. I'll try to go through the thread more thoroughly tomorrow, when I (hopefully) feel better.

unosarta
2010-09-19, 07:36 PM
I'll consider that, though I don't really think that Reincarnation is heavily involved in what the class does. My apologies for missing it - I have had a pretty miserable day (last night was worth today, but man, what a price to pay), so honestly after the thread devolved into Debihuman arguing with everyone about the Animate Dead thing I just skimmed over the rest. I'll try to go through the thread more thoroughly tomorrow, when I (hopefully) feel better.

Oh, it was no problem. My real gripe was with those who continued arguing with Debi without contributing anything to the conversation. Yeah, something like Tree Stride could work as well, I suppose.

But really though, this is an awesome class.

Temotei
2010-09-19, 07:38 PM
Did everyone just ignore my suggestion? :smallfrown:



Seems to solve all of the complaints, giving those who already have Animate Dead something that actually ties them more to nature. Meh, I don't even care. :smallsigh:


I'll consider that, though I don't really think that Reincarnation is heavily involved in what the class does. My apologies for missing it - I have had a pretty miserable day (last night was worth today, but man, what a price to pay), so honestly after the thread devolved into Debihuman arguing with everyone about the Animate Dead thing I just skimmed over the rest. I'll try to go through the thread more thoroughly tomorrow, when I (hopefully) feel better.


Oh, it was no problem. My real gripe was with those who continued arguing with Debi without contributing anything to the conversation. Yeah, something like Tree Stride could work as well, I suppose.

But really though, this is an awesome class.

I be thinkin' it be fine without extra benefitin' fer th' ones that've got some animatin' goin' on previously.

unosarta
2010-09-19, 07:43 PM
I be thinkin' it be fine without extra benefitin' fer th' ones that've got some animatin' goin' on previously.

Ye, but cap'n, they might feel a bit, watsamacallit, left out?
I know my scurvy laden arse would feel so, cap'n, sorry for speakin' outta turn, cap'n, sir.

DracoDei
2010-09-19, 08:19 PM
Except when it's awesomely interwoven with the fluff.

(Ok, I will admit that maybe a spoiler'd reference section at the end might make actual character generation easier. But I really like the presentation at first glance.)
I concur on both these points. I had basically already stated the first, and was about to state the second (perhaps subliminally cued by flipping through the thread).

I will point out my Devotion Bowers... I ended up splitting it into two versions in a single post, because the back-story behind their existence was a wall of text and they had some mechanical abilities that would basically never happen to any PC. So I created an "abridged" version. For similar reasons I would say that, if nothing else, when this is finished (IE all changes due to review made), someone (probably, but not necessarily, the original poster) might create a more standard version, and then the original poster would edit it in in a spoiler at the top with an appropriate note.

Debihuman
2010-09-19, 08:26 PM
Debihuman: I disagree with you, period. It's not changing. Please stop mucking up the thread continuing to go on about it. Both the pre-req and the 1st level class feature are staying. You're welcome to comment or critique any other aspect of the class, but I'm very seriously considering asking a Moderator to clean up this thread to remove some of that discussion, because it's ridiculous. You've made your point, now I've disagreed. It's over.

I've removed all of my posts as per your request.

As for further critiquing of your text, I'll refrain. Carry on folks, nothing to see here. :-)

Debby

DragoonWraith
2010-09-19, 08:35 PM
Wasn't exactly what I requested, but just the same I do appreciate that. I apology if my response was terse - I have a pretty miserable headache right now, and that argument wasn't helping.

Whether or not you continue to critique is, of course, your prerogative.

Milskidasith
2010-09-19, 08:40 PM
BTW, looking at the entry requirements... I don't get it. It tries to be viable to enter it by dread necro, or cleric, but... you can't actually enter with either due to the requirement of knowledge (nature) and survival. It can pretty much only be entered by a straight classed druid.

Fable Wright
2010-09-19, 08:41 PM
There's a thing called DM ruling... where you politely ask your DM to trade out a useful class skill for survival, which you won't likely be using anyways...

It usually works.

Milskidasith
2010-09-19, 08:43 PM
There's a thing called DM ruling... where you politely ask your DM to trade out a useful class skill for survival, which you won't likely be using anyways...

It usually works.

People usually use RAW to balance classes. People (myself included) don't assume houserules when examining classes because the only common base players have is the RAW (and some blatently obvious stuff, like that being dead prevents you from taking actions), and assuming houserules means it may or may not be balanced for people running other houserules.

It works out pretty well.

Fable Wright
2010-09-19, 08:48 PM
Alright, fair enough. Nevertheless, if you want to play the class, you need to have a DM willing to allow homebrew sources. Most of them, in my experience, are somewhat flexible. If you're not fine with that, ask them for a homebrew feat that makes it always a class skill, like the Truename Training feat, except that it applies to survival. If they're willing to allow a homebrew class like this, then they'll probably allow that as a feat, and possibly lump in other benefits.

JoshuaZ
2010-09-19, 08:49 PM
BTW, looking at the entry requirements... I don't get it. It tries to be viable to enter it by dread necro, or cleric, but... you can't actually enter with either due to the requirement of knowledge (nature) and survival. It can pretty much only be entered by a straight classed druid.

Hmm, that's a good point. A dread nec/druid could do it but they'd have drastically reduced spellcasting.

It might make sense to keep the spellcraft at 13 so you can't take it before level 10 and then reduce the requirements on knowledge(nature) and survival.

DragoonWraith
2010-09-19, 09:03 PM
Apprentice (Woodsman) gets you Survival and Knowledge (Nature) as a class skill no matter what class you take, so if you're looking for strict-RAW, that's your answer. Personally, I despise the cross-class skill rules, and also how difficult it is to get new ones, so yes, I'd endorse sensible house-ruling, but if you look at the example character, she's got Apprentice (Woodsman).

If you allow ACFs to work in reverse (which I'm reasonably sure you're supposed to, by RAW), then the "Skilled Citydweller" ACF from here (http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/we/20070228a) applied backwards would allow you to swap Knowledge (Local) and Sense Motive for Knowledge (Nature) and Survival, which would allow a Cloistered Cleric to get in without spending a feat, too.

All that said... yeah, this is a problem. On the one hand, to not require max ranks in Knowledge (Nature), at least, seems just completely wonky for the fluff. On the other hand, with the way skills work... meh.

JoshuaZ
2010-09-19, 09:08 PM
Apprentice (Woodsman) gets you Survival and Knowledge (Nature) as a class skill no matter what class you take, so if you're looking for strict-RAW, that's your answer. Personally, I despise the cross-class skill rules, and also how difficult it is to get new ones, so yes, I'd endorse sensible house-ruling, but if you look at the example character, she's got Apprentice (Woodsman).



Ah yes, that solves it nicely.

Kallisti
2010-09-19, 11:32 PM
Perhaps offer a bonus feat to redeem the feat tax that is Apprentice (Woodsman)? Like, say Corpsecrafter, or Corpsecrafting feat of choice if the character already has Corpsecrafter?

DracoDei
2010-09-20, 08:23 AM
Knowledge(Nature) isn't an issue for a cleric. Plant domain adds it to the skill list. Reduce the required ranks in Survival and you are good to go there.

Don't know enough about Dread Necromancer to comment on that one.

DragoonWraith
2010-09-20, 08:57 AM
Dread Necromancer gets neither, perhaps unsurprisingly. On some level, I don't really want to make it any more easy for Clerics...

DracoDei
2010-09-20, 10:38 PM
So... don't reduce it TOO much?

As for Dread Necromancer... I think that they just flat out don't have the ability to match the nature side of this very well, and at a certain level that is just the way the fluff is, and as such trying to bend the mechanics in any other direction might tend to damage the fluff... let them dip druid or ranger or wizard for a few levels before going into this if they gotta... plus whatever work-around feats that add Knowledge(Nature) to your class skills.

Fable Wright
2010-10-03, 04:55 AM
One question: When you say the clerics get the Haunted and Phantom Spark flaws, do they gain the corresponding bonus feats? Also, where can those flaws be found?

DragoonWraith
2010-10-03, 11:21 AM
Both are in Dragon #327, and no you don't. They give -4 to Spot and Listen, respectively.

Honestly, I'm not a huge fan of the "using-flaws-as-punishment" mechanic there. I should change it. The recommended "Skill Focus (Knowledge (Nature))" sounds pretty good.

Lix Lorn
2010-10-03, 12:16 PM
But... there's a flaw giving -4 to spot AND listen...

DragoonWraith
2010-10-03, 12:37 PM
Ha, you're right. I suppose Haunted and Phantom Spark are also supposed to have role-playing implications (they involve ghostly sounds/images floating around you).