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View Full Version : You Are Already Polymorphed: a Metamagic Feat for Fist of the North Star



Toptomcat
2010-10-15, 01:55 PM
So I've been pondering lately how to make a character that emulates Kenshiro, the main character of the pioneering 80s martial-arts anime Hokuto no Ken/Fist of the North Star. His signature ability is his facility with a form of pressure-point based martial arts that's almost preposterously varied in its effects: it can paralyze his opponents, make them gorily explode, weaken them, give them amnesia, make their fingers explode, control their bodies, blind them, and more. I've been kind of at a loss as to how to emulate this: a monk focusing on all the variants on Stunning Fist would be horribly feat-starved, insufficiently versitile and underpowered besides, and though PsyWar and Duskblade also seem fairly logical fits, they too lack the sheer number and variety of touch-attack spells that's neccesary to do the concept justice.
So I've decided that a cleric or arcane gish will fit best, but they'll need a custom metamagic feat to really do the job. I would appreciate your thoughts on this one. Should it be +0 or +1?

PRESSURE-POINT SPELL [Metamagic]
Benefit: The spell's save DC increases by +2. If the spell had a range other than Touch, it becomes touch, and its caster level increases by 1. If the spell targeted an area, it loses that quality, and its caster level increases by 1.
Only non-harmless spells permitting a save can be made a Pressure-Point spell.
Creatures immune to sneak attack or critical hits are immune to a Pressure-Point spell.
A Pressure-Point Spell uses up a spell slot one level higher than the spellís actual level.

(Kenshiro's other signature schtick-attacking someone to seemingly little effect and then dramatically announcing "You are already dead", at which point they explode- is in my opinion already covered with the Mosquito's Bite skill trick and any one of several metamagic feats, so I won't be dealing with it here.)

jiriku
2010-10-15, 02:30 PM
There's actually already a feat that does this pretty well, the Smiting Spell feat from PH2.

But if you're intent on this feat, it needs restrictions. For example, some spells have a range of Personal, and this feat should not be permitted to turn them into Touch spells. Also, there are issues with turning an area spell into a targeted spell: the victim can no longer escape the spell's effect by exiting the area. This is particularly nasty with spells like cloudkill or freezing fog. Some area spells produce illogical effects when you try to apply them to a single target. I'd recommend that only targeted spells should be compatible with this feat. Increasing the save DC of the spell is a potent effect -- to balance, that, you'll need add an increased spell slot cost. I'd recommend that the spell should require a spell slot one level higher than its actual level.

Toptomcat
2010-10-15, 03:55 PM
There's actually already a feat that does this pretty well, the Smiting Spell feat from PH2.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't that for channeling spells that are already touch spells into a weapon? Not exactly what I'm looking for.


But if you're intent on this feat, it needs restrictions. For example, some spells have a range of Personal, and this feat should not be permitted to turn them into Touch spells.
Hence the 'non-harmless' clause, which I agree is an inelegant kludge. Do you have any suggestions to improve the wording?


Also, there are issues with turning an area spell into a targeted spell: the victim can no longer escape the spell's effect by exiting the area. This is particularly nasty with spells like cloudkill or freezing fog.
Excellent point. Do you think reducing the duration of any spell this is applied to with a duration to one round would fix that?


Some area spells produce illogical effects when you try to apply them to a single target. I'd recommend that only targeted spells should be compatible with this feat.
Probably sensible, yes.


Increasing the save DC of the spell is a potent effect -- to balance, that, you'll need add an increased spell slot cost. I'd recommend that the spell should require a spell slot one level higher than its actual level.
Are you sure that making it vulnerable to crit/precision damage immunity isn't enough of a drawback? As any rogue dependent on sneak attack damage knows, that's not nuthin'.

Zaydos
2010-10-15, 04:04 PM
I've got to second that for +2 DC it does need to be a level higher; being precision damage just means you don't prepare all your spells this way so you have things for when enemies are immune. That's the difference between casters and rogues, rogues (in combat) have one tool if they can't use it they can't fight, casters have a multi-tool if they can't use one function they simply change to another.

jiriku
2010-10-15, 04:06 PM
"The spell's range is reduced to Touch, if it was greater. Personal-range spells cannot be made into Pressure-Point spells."

I wouldn't trim the duration, as without looking over hundreds of spells, you really don't know what kind of effect that has. Just say "Spells that affect an area cannot be made into Pressure-Point spells."

Turning the spell into a precision-damage-type attack does nothing. The rogue is only nerfed by precision damage immunity because sneak attack is his only schtick. Casters have many many many spell slots at their disposal, and because creatures that are immune to precision damage are often immune to mind-affecting and necromancy spells as well, smart casters already pack several spells each day that are specifically designed to handle these creatures. If a caster runs into something he can't harm with a Pressure-Point spell, he'll simply cast a different spell instead and save the Pressure-Point spell for use against another opponent.

Toptomcat
2010-10-15, 04:07 PM
I've got to second that for +2 DC it does need to be a level higher; being precision damage just means you don't prepare all your spells this way so you have things for when enemies are immune. That's the difference between casters and rogues, rogues (in combat) have one tool if they can't use it they can't fight, casters have a multi-tool if they can't use one function they simply change to another.

That does make sense. I've been envisioning this in the context of a caster that uses this as their signature trick, so that wouldn't be as much of a concern, but if I'm going to make a general metamagic feat I have to consider how many options full casters have. +1 it is.

Hyooz
2010-10-16, 12:09 AM
I just can't imagine taking this over heighten spell unless I'm absolutely dead-set on the Kenshiro shtick. Heighten spell is just... better.

DracoDei
2010-10-16, 11:12 AM
I just can't imagine taking this over heighten spell unless I'm absolutely dead-set on the Kenshiro shtick. Heighten spell is just... better.

Eh... making your ranged AoE's +2 DC and +2 caster level for +1 slot level isn't SO bad... sure the Range: Touch things nerf it, but...

Actually, that brings up another point... can you apply this to a spell first, then add Reach spell? Actually that would sorta work to me as a sort of "Shadow Fist" vibe (The actual fictional strike, not the entire CCG... although the CCG did have a card for that specific strike).

DracoDei
2010-10-20, 11:54 AM
Of course, for a REALLY FotNS feel, you would make it so it doesn't increase the level, but you HAVE to apply it to ALL spells you cast that it CAN apply to.

Mordaenor
2010-10-20, 12:12 PM
I like this concept. I'm almost wondering if, rather than creating a "Feat" what if you created a Prestige Class and made this a special feature. Then you could limit the spell list of the class to just the ones that seemed appropriate and not have to worry about the wording of the ability. You could put in a simple restriction of "All spells cast by this class have their range changed to "Touch" Just a thought.

Toptomcat
2010-10-20, 01:43 PM
jiriku, are you certain that making area spells into single-target spells is something to be avoided? Spellwarp Sniper already does something similar.