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Circle of Life
2011-08-03, 11:39 PM
The Dualists

http://img714.imageshack.us/img714/3556/dualists.jpg


Hit Dice: d8
Starting Age: Simple
Starting Gold: 6d4x10

Class Skills
The Dualist's class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Balance (Dex), Climb (Str), Craft (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Intimidate (Cha), Jump (Str), Knowledge (history) (Int), Knowledge (geography) (Int), Knowledge (local) (Int), Listen (Wis), Profession (Wis), Ride (Dex), Sense Motive (Wis), Spot (Wis), and Swim (Str)
Skills Points at Each Level: 4 + int

{table=head]Level|Base Attack Bonus|Fort Save|Ref Save|Will Save|Special

1st|
+0|
+2|
+0|
+0|Dualists, Tandem Tactics (Opening Strike), Bond of Blood

2nd|
+1|
+3|
+0|
+0|Camaraderie

3rd|
+2|
+3|
+1|
+1|Tandem Tactics (Decisive Finish)

4th|
+3|
+4|
+1|
+1|Competetive Spirit, Wall of Blades

5th|
+3|
+4|
+1|
+1|Tandem Tactics (Pincer Assault)

6th|
+4|
+5|
+2|
+2|Bonus Fighter Feat

7th|
+5|
+5|
+2|
+2|Tandem Tactics (Unbalancing Blow)

8th|
+6/+1|
+6|
+2|
+2|Tactical Awareness

9th|
+6/+1|
+6|
+3|
+3|Tandem Tactics (Staggering Strike)

10th|
+7/+2|
+7|
+3|
+3|Against Any Odds

11th|
+8/+3|
+7|
+3|
+3|Tandem Tactics (Arresting Impale)

12th|
+9/+4|
+8|
+4|
+4|Covering Strike

13th|
+9/+4|
+8|
+4|
+4|Tandem Tactics (Critical Finish)

14th|
+10/+5|
+9|
+4|
+4|Two-man Phalanx

15th|
+11/+6/+1|
+9|
+5|
+5|Tandem Tactics (Twin Spire)

16th|
+12/+7/+2|
+10|
+5|
+5|Twinned Vigilance

17th|
+12/+7/+2|
+10|
+5|
+5|Tandem Tactics (Disgorge)

18th|
+13/+8/+3|
+11|
+6|
+6|Bonus Fighter Feat

19th|
+14/+9/+4|
+11|
+6|
+6|Tandem Tactics (Heartseeker)

20th|
+15/+10/+5|
+12|
+6|
+6|Till the Last Drop Flows Free
[/table]

Class Features The following are all class features of the Dualists

Weapon and Armor Proficiencies: Dualists are proficient with all simple and martial melee weapons, and with all forms of armor and shields, except tower shields.

Dualists: All Dualists begin play with a second Dualist partner. This partner is of the same race and possesses the same base ability scores of the character taking a level in this class (though your DM may allow different races to be partners at his discretion, it is advised to keep the base ECL of the two the same). The Dualist's partner advances through the Dualist class at the same rate, though they never gain levels in other classes. The Dualist's partner is an integral part of their class, not a second character, and as such should not impose a penalty to experience or wealth gained. The partner should not be awarded wealth of its own without subtracting an equal amount from the Dualist's estimated wealth; in effect, the Dualist is expected to use their own wealth to outfit both themselves and their partner.

The Dualist's partner possesses the same feats as the Dualist; if this would result in the partner possessing more feats than a character of their level would have, the Dualist chooses which feats their partner possesses (this choice is permanent once made, and does not allow the partner to benefit from feats for which they do not meet the prerequisites.)

The Dualist and their partner always act on the same initiative count, determined using the Dualist's initiative roll. The Dualist and their partner may move and attack at the same time, as opposed to acting on two separate sections of the same initiative count. In effect, this allows the Dualists to maneuver around the battlefield to set up flanking attacks or similar. Additionally, the Dualists may attack in whichever sequence they desire, even during full attacks.

Bond of Blood: Due to their extensive time spent together, Dualists possess as near identical souls as is possible between different people. While one Dualist lives, the material cost of resurrection spells cast on the other is halved so long as the living Dualist is present during the entire process of casting the spell.

Tandem Tactics (Ex): As they gain levels in this class, the Dualist and their partner learn to synchronize their attacks to great effect. Unless otherwise noted, the effects of individual tactics that create augmented attacks cannot be used together; for example, an attack could not be both a decisive finish and an unbalancing blow at the same time, but could benefit from the increased flanking bonus from pincer assault and still be a decisive finish.

Opening Strike: At 1st level, the Dualists know the opening strike tactic. Whenever one of the Dualists succeeds on an attack against an opponent, the other gains a +1 bonus on their next attack roll made against that foe before the end of their next turn. An attack that gains the benefit of the opening strike tactic cannot also be an opening strike. At 5th, 10th, 15th, and 20th level, the bonus to attack rolls increases by an additional point.

Decisive Finish: At 3rd level, the Dualists learn the decisive finish tactic. After one of the Dualists succeeds on making an opening strike, unbalancing blow, staggering strike, arresting impale, twin spire, disgorge, or heartseeker attack, the other may declare their next successful attack made before the end of the next round to be a decisive finish. A decisive finish deals an additional 1d6 points of damage for every two Dualist levels, rounded up.

Pincer Assault: At 5th level, the Dualists learn the pincer assault tactic. If a flanking line exists between both Dualists and an opponent, they may ignore abilities that grant immunity to flanking. If one of the Dualists strikes an opponent while flanking, the other doubles the bonus granted by flanking for the remainder of the round. Only one of the Dualists can benefit from this increased flanking bonus at one time.

Unbalancing Blow: At 7th level, the Dualists learn the unbalancing blow tactic. After one of the Dualists succeeds on making an opening strike, the other may declare their next attack made before the end of the next round to be an unbalancing blow. If the Dualist succeeds on the attack, the struck foe is flatfooted against the next attack made by the other Dualist.

Staggering Strike: At 9th level, the Dualists learn the staggering strike tactic. After one of the Dualists succeeds on making an opening strike or unbalancing blow, the other may declare their next attack made before the end of the next round to be a staggering strike. If the Dualist succeeds on the attack, the struck foe may take only a single move or standard action on their next turn. In addition, the Dualist may make a strength check opposed by the target's dexterity check plus stability modifiers, if any. If the Dualist wins the opposed check, the struck foe is forced back five feet away from the Dualist, provoking attacks of opportunity for the movement from creatures other than the Dualist. If the square the target would be forced into is occupied, it does not move but still provokes attacks of opportunity.

Arresting Impale: At 11th level, the Dualists learn the arresting impale tactic. Arresting impale only functions if the Dualist using it is wielding a piercing or slashing weapon. After one of the Dualists succeeds on making a staggering strike, the other may declare their next melee attack made before the end of the next round to be an arresting impale. If the Dualist succeeds on the attack, the struck foe's movement speed is reduced to 0 for all forms of movement until they take a full-round action to free themselves from the impale, or until the Dualist chooses to release them. The Dualist automatically releases the impaled foe at the beginning of the next turn unless they choose to forgo all of their attacks for the round, in which case the foe remains impaled for an additional round. While impaled, the struck creature does not gain its dexterity bonus to AC (if any), though it is not considered flatfooted.

Critical Finish: At 13th level, the Dualists learn the critical finish tactic. Critical finish only functions against foes currently impaled by the arresting impale tactic. After one of the Dualists succeeds on making an arresting impale, the other may declare their next attack made before the end of the next round to be a critical finish. If it hits, critical finish automatically results in a critical threat. If the attack would also threaten a critical normally, the total damage dealt is doubled on a successful critical confirmation.

Twin Spire: At 15th level, the Dualists learn the twin spire tactic. Twin spire only functions against foes currently impaled by the arresting impale tactic, and may only be used with piercing or slashing melee weapons. After one of the Dualists succeeds on making an arresting impale, the other may declare their next attack made before the end of the next round to be a twin spire attack. If twin spire hits, the struck foe is impaled a second time, and is rendered helpless for as long as both Dualists maintain the tactic. Twin spire automatically ends at the start of the Dualists' next turn, unless they both give up their attacks for the round, in which case it persists for another round.

Disgorge: At 17th level, the Dualists learn the discorge tactic. Disgorge only functions against foes currently impaled by either the arresting impale or twin spire tactics. After one of the Dualists succeeds on making an arresting impale or twin spire attack, the other may spend an attack action to forcibly remove the foe from the impaling weapon (or weapons, in the case of twin spire). Each Dualist currently impaling the foe automatically confirms a critical hit with their impaling weapon and deals appropriate damage. Power Attack and similar feats cannot be applied to the damage dealt by the disgorge tactic, even if they were used earlier in the round. If the impaled foe was of a size equal to or smaller than the Dualists, it falls prone in its square. Either way, it is no longer impaled and may act normally on its turn.

Heartseeker: At 19th level, the Dualists learn the heartseeker tactic. Heartseeker only functions against foes currently impaled by either the arresting impale or twin spire tactics. After one of the Dualists succeeds on making an arresting impale or twin spire attack, the other may spend an attack action to attack a vital section of the creature's anatomy. The Dualist deals automatic weapon damage and forces their foe to make a Fortitude save, DC 10 + Dualist level + Strength modifier or be slain outright. Creatures without discernible anatomies, such as oozes, constructs, and most undead, are immune to the death effect of this ability. Power Attack and similar feats cannot be applied to the damage dealt by the heartseeker tactic, even if they were used earlier in the round. If heartseeker is used during a twin spire tactic, twin spire ends and the creature is merely held by the other Dualist as if by the arresting impale ability.

Camaraderie (Ex): The bond between Dualists is so close that seeing one injured is enough to inspire the other to acts of great heroics. Beginning at 2nd level, while a Dualist is below half health, the other Dualist gains a +2 circumstance bonus to strength and damage rolls. If both Dualists are below half health, the strength bonus increases to +4.

Competitive Spirit (Ex): Competition fosters excellence. Beginning at 4th level, whenever the Dualist or their partner has an enhancement bonus to attack rolls, damage rolls, skill checks, saving throws or AC, the other is driven to work harder to keep up. The ally gains an equivalent morale bonus to the same score. They only gain this benefit if they are not subject to the same effect, and only up to a maximum total bonus (including any enhancement bonus they already have) of their partner's enhancement bonus.

For example, if you have a +4 enhancement bonus to attack rolls with a weapon you are holding and your ally has a +1 enhancement bonus to the same, they gain a +3 morale bonus to make up the difference.

Wall of Blades (Ex): A Dualist's partner is always aware, always ready to defend them from otherwise dire blows. Beginning at 4th level, while a Dualist is within their partner's reach, the partner may sacrifice an attack of opportunity to make an opposed attack roll against a melee attack made against the Dualist. If their attack roll surpasses that of the incoming attack, it is deflected harmlessly away. Each Dualist can only parry one such attack each round, regardless of how many attacks of opportunity they are entitled to in a given round.

Bonus Feats: At 6th level and again at 18th level, Dualists receive a bonus feat, drawn from the list of bonus fighter feats. Dualists are considered fighters of their class level -3 when selecting feats normally available only to fighters.

Tactical Awareness (Ex): With enough practice, Dualists can act together with lightning speed, taking advantage of the smallest openings. Beginning at 8th level, if an opponent moves into or out of a space threatened by both Dualists, the movement provokes an attack of opportunity from both Dualists, even if it normally would not (such as by being a 5-foot step or from a creature that passed a Tumble check to avoid attacks of opportunity).

Against Any Odds (Ex): Some say that foes are most dangerous when backed into a corner. Not so for Dualists, who are at their deadliest when pressed back to back with their partner. Beginning at 10th level, while the Dualists are adjacent to each other, they gain immunity to flanking and may switch positions as a free action once per round in place of a 5-foot step.

Covering Strike (Ex): Once per round as a swift action, a Dualist of 12th level or higher may make an attack roll with a wielded melee weapon. While the Dualist's partner remains within their threatened range, the partner's AC is treated as the result of the attack roll for the next physical attack directed at them until the start of the Dualist's next turn. In addition, if the creature that attacks the Dualist's partner while protected by Covering Strike is within the Dualist's reach, he may make an attack against that creature using the same attack roll without expending an attack of opportunity.

Two-man Phalanx (Ex): While adjacent to each other, Dualists of 14th level or higher may move together at the same time, expending movement for each as normal. While moving in this fashion, the Dualists do not provoke attacks of opportunity unless they would both provoke an attack of opportunity from the same creature.

Twinned Vigilance (Ex): While a Dualist of 16th level or higher can see their partner, they may react normally against attacks and abilities used by creatures they cannot detect, provided their partner is able to detect the creatures in question. When the Dualist attacks a creature they cannot detect but their partner can, the miss chance for the attack is reduced to 20%.

Till the Last Drop Flows Free (Ex): Dualists of 20th level possess a bond that very nearly transcends physical capability. While their partner is above 0 hitpoints and can be detected by the Dualist, the Dualist does not die to hitpoint damage, regardless of how much damage they take. Death effects can still slay them, as can death by massive damage. If the Dualist's partner drops to 0hp or lower, the full force of the hitpoint damage taken instantly takes effect, almost assuredly killing the Dualist.

Circle of Life
2011-08-03, 11:41 PM
Well, here goes. For a long time now I've wanted to create a class that lets you play two characters - not Leadership, not Thrallherd, just two legitimate PC-quality characters. How to do this remained a mystery until recently, when this idea popped into my head.

Now, my dear Playgrounders, I turn to you for advice. How would you break the ability to play two characters with the restrictions placed upon them here? What feats would be most problematic if doubled? Most importantly, is the class itself interesting enough in its execution to warrant existing when paired against other classes?

Kellus
2011-08-04, 12:06 AM
You know, I find I quite like this. I also like the idea behind playing two characters at once, and while cohorts and animal companions are nice and all, I like the idea of building a class around their teamwork powers.

The main tactic seems to be chaining together long strings of attacks between the two of them with ever more powerful riders on them. I guess the main problem I have with this is that they suffer from the same BAB problem as the monk. They're meant to be front-line fighters I guess, but they're only at 3/4 BAB. That being said, they do gain more benefit from flanking than most people, which I assume is to cover the deficiency. It will certainly encourage them to work together to take on tough enemies, but it also has the problem where they have fewer iterative attacks to make use of all their special abilities.

That aside, I really like most of the ways you've handled the typical problems that come up with a class like this. You can't multiclass out after dipping to get a partner so that you end up with two wizards. You can't cheese it out by finding a way to get massive numbers of feats on one of them. You don't break WBL or screw up XP gain for the party. I do like that the two of them can spend their skill points differently, resulting in slightly different specializations between the two of them. That's nicely done.

A big concern I have, actually, is that they don't break WBL. I'm a little worried that with only the wealth for a single character they won't be able to have level-appropriate weapons and armour on both fighters in order to actually contribute effectively. Although I can't really think of a great way to balance this out. Perhaps something which lets enhancement bonuses on one dualist affect the other?

Anyway, nice work! I need to look this over in more detail to see all the little loopholes, but it's certainly the best implementation of the concept I've seen!

Circle of Life
2011-08-04, 12:18 AM
Anyway, nice work! I need to look this over in more detail to see all the little loopholes, but it's certainly the best implementation of the concept I've seen!

Ohmygoshohmygoshohymygosh. :smallredface::smallbiggrin:


That being said, they do gain more benefit from flanking than most people, which I assume is to cover the deficiency. It will certainly encourage them to work together to take on tough enemies, but it also has the problem where they have fewer iterative attacks to make use of all their special abilities.

While they have fewer iterative attacks to work with, a bit of careful positioning will cause creatures to provoke a lot of attacks of opportunity, which can be used to extend the chains beyond BAB-derived attacks. The original draft had full BAB on both Dualists, but it caused a lot of teeth-gnashing on my end trying to decide how to make them frontline meleers without outshining other classes with full BAB, and in the end I decided that this was the ideal path to take. If you have any suggestions though, I'm all ears!

Kellus
2011-08-04, 12:34 AM
Another thing I noticed is that kenku are probably by far the best dualists, since they get a +4 bonus on flanking (doubling to a +8). If they take Vexing Flanker they end up with either a +6 or a +8 bonus on flank attacks (depending on your interpretation of the rules) which doubles to a +12 or +16.

Even the most restrictive reading of 'double' using D&D math gives a kenku dualist with Vexing Flanker a +8 bonus on flank attacks just for waking up in the morning.

Circle of Life
2011-08-04, 12:36 AM
Even the most restrictive reading of 'double' using D&D math gives a kenku dualist with Vexing Flanker a +8 bonus on flank attacks just for waking up in the morning.

Hm. Vexing Flanker was intended, Kenku... not so much. Will have to ponder wording to allow one but not the other at the same time.

Shadow Lord
2011-08-04, 12:41 AM
Would a Dvati Dualist being playing 4 characters? That seems like a bit much :smalltongue:

Circle of Life
2011-08-04, 12:44 AM
Would a Dvati Dualist being playing 4 characters? That seems like a bit much :smalltongue:

Dvati are literally unplayable from the get-go, and have not been taken into account here. That's an issue to bring up with a very, very patient DM.

RaggedAngel
2011-08-04, 03:11 PM
Ha. I was reading through the MM3 last night, and I saw Kenku for the first time. My thought was "meh. Like a bird-halfling, but they like to flank. Weird."

Then you brought me to this, Circle, and it made me smile. This class seems like a heck of a lot of fun to roleplay, and while splitting the characters WBL across two characters may be a bit of a problem, it's something easily solved by a prudent DM. If the WBL-sharing becomes a problem, I feel like the DM could just increase the loot given to help out a very flavorful class.

I agree with you on the 3/4th's BAB decision; with the almost-always-flanking powers of this class I feel that the Duelists' to-hit will be very comparable to a Fighter/Barbarian of their level.

I feel that the only problems this class might have is the increased squishiness due to less armor/protective items, but Bond of Blood certainly helps with that; half-price on Resurrections is niiiiice. And the level 20 ability is sexy; Loyalty Beyond Death level sexy. I'd play this class, despite the increased bookwork.

Mulletmanalive
2011-08-04, 06:04 PM
minor, but irritating nitpick; Dualists is plural. This means that the apostrophe goes at the end, thus: "the Dualists' class skills are," as this is how group possession works.

Kellus
2011-08-04, 06:10 PM
minor, but irritating nitpick; Dualists is plural. This means that the apostrophe goes at the end, thus: "the Dualists' class skills are," as this is how group possession works.

Yes, but each individual character is a dualist (singluar).

SowZ
2011-08-04, 06:12 PM
Alternatively, in a low power, (tier 4/5 campaign,) two PCs could each play a dualist and bump the BAB to full.

Circle of Life
2011-08-04, 06:26 PM
Yes, but each individual character is a dualist (singluar).

Ayup.

So, I've had my thinking cap on for a while, and I'm trying to decide how to adjust the wealth issue present with the class. I don't think it's too severe, but since it's been brought up multiple times, how do people feel about the partner possessing WBL for an NPC of its level if starting above first level, with a recommendation to keep the wealth on a similar track throughout the Dualists' career? Too much, or not enough?


Alternatively, in a low power, (tier 4/5 campaign,) two PCs could each play a dualist and bump the BAB to full.

While possible, that's not really something I'll be aiming for with the design. DMs are, as always, free to do whatever they wish.

Realms of Chaos
2011-08-04, 07:10 PM
Two quick thoughts off the top of my head.

1. First of all, while vow of poverty may be < WBL, I think it might be possible that VoP x 2 > WBL. I can't quite tell if this is a problem or not.

2. that capstone seems like it can be very powerful if one partner purposefully holds back while the other one (being virtually immortal) holds off an opponent (try picturing one partner acting as a gladiator with the other watching from the front row, for example).

All in all, I am simply in love with this class. It does something that nobody else does and it does its job in a very good way.

Circle of Life
2011-08-04, 07:28 PM
1. First of all, while vow of poverty may be < WBL, I think it might be possible that VoP x 2 > WBL. I can't quite tell if this is a problem or not.

Even two copies of VoP are not as powerful as well-spent WBL divided between two characters.


2. that capstone seems like it can be very powerful if one partner purposefully holds back while the other one (being virtually immortal) holds off an opponent (try picturing one partner acting as a gladiator with the other watching from the front row, for example).

While probably true, I can't think of a single CR 20+ monster that doesn't have a means of bypassing or incapacitating (or killing outright, as the capstone doesn't give immunity to such) someone sitting there acting as a living shield. A single Dualist is about as effective in combat as an Expert, so... yeah.


All in all, I am simply in love with this class. It does something that nobody else does and it does its job in a very good way.

High praise indeed. Thank you. :smallsmile:

Kellus
2011-08-04, 08:59 PM
While probably true, I can't think of a single CR 20+ monster that doesn't have a means of bypassing or incapacitating (or killing outright, as the capstone doesn't give immunity to such) someone sitting there acting as a living shield. A single Dualist is about as effective in combat as an Expert, so... yeah.

I was about to say, yeah. They can't do much on their own, but more importantly it's only protection from hp damage. All the most dangerous things at high levels are outside of that.

As for the WBL, how about outfitting the partner with something like ECL -3 for personal gear? That's enough for a reasonable weapon and armour, and not much else. You can use the actual WBL for all the fun magic items to divide between them.

Realms of Chaos
2011-08-04, 10:41 PM
I just realized that the wording of twin spire prevents you from using disgorge/heartseeker while you possess an active twin spire (even though the two effects make it sound like it should be possible). If you both have to sacrifice your attacks to maintain the hold, how do you have an attack action to use those abilities with. Am I missing something here? :smallconfused:

Also, staggering strike is kind of weird. If you force the creature back and the target is still within range of your partner who can skewer them with an AoO, you aren't going to remain in range to add on a twin spire unless you're using a spiked chain. I see that the push is optional but it still seems odd to include an effect that prevents you from finishing your combo.

I'm also going to have to go with kellus and say that these guys really seem to NEED full BAB to do their jobs. Not only do these guys have to complete chains of consecutive successful hits to be successful but their two defensive abilities both require them to make attack rolls (and attack rolls that I'm pretty sure flanking doesn't help). The relatively low HD for a front-liner, individual weakness, and shared WBL should still ensure that other frontliners shine.

Circle of Life
2011-08-05, 02:42 AM
I just realized that the wording of twin spire prevents you from using disgorge/heartseeker while you possess an active twin spire (even though the two effects make it sound like it should be possible). If you both have to sacrifice your attacks to maintain the hold, how do you have an attack action to use those abilities with. Am I missing something here? :smallconfused:

You're missing that you only have to give up your next turn's attack actions to maintain the tactic. You're free to use twin spire and then immediately disgorge for a double crit. It's meant to be a finish to a rapidly built chain, as opposed to letting your ally hold an enemy in place while you do whatever, then come back and finish him off. Decisive Finish allows you to make a guaranteed finishing blow if you were too slow with the combo.


Also, staggering strike is kind of weird. If you force the creature back and the target is still within range of your partner who can skewer them with an AoO, you aren't going to remain in range to add on a twin spire unless you're using a spiked chain. I see that the push is optional but it still seems odd to include an effect that prevents you from finishing your combo.

Well that's embarrassing. I forgot an entire line of text on that tactic. It's added now, which should make the intended usage much clearer.


I'm also going to have to go with kellus and say that these guys really seem to NEED full BAB to do their jobs. Not only do these guys have to complete chains of consecutive successful hits to be successful but their two defensive abilities both require them to make attack rolls (and attack rolls that I'm pretty sure flanking doesn't help). The relatively low HD for a front-liner, individual weakness, and shared WBL should still ensure that other frontliners shine.

I'm going to go ahead and disagree with this one on the grounds that 28 point buy theorycrafting and ten encounters from different monster manuals didn't find a point where either the Dualists or a Warblade performed significantly better or worse at given combat tasks. I'd like to point out that while, yes, they are individually lackluster as primary melee combatants, the entire point is that they are supposed to work together to great effect.

Of course, if you have compelling arguments as to why they need X because of Y, I'm all ears. :smallsmile:


As for the WBL, how about outfitting the partner with something like ECL -3 for personal gear? That's enough for a reasonable weapon and armour, and not much else. You can use the actual WBL for all the fun magic items to divide between them.

ECL -3 PC or NPC wealth? There's... a rather significant difference.

Tacitus
2011-08-05, 03:33 AM
Given that the two are connected, and it only seems to grow over the course of the class, why not implement an along the way that lets them sit down in a ritual and share some of the benefits of worn items between them, so long as the items being shared don't occupy the same body slots? Be soulmeld-esque about it.

Circle of Life
2011-08-05, 03:51 AM
I had considered making a feat for it, but I explicitly wanted to keep the class "badass normal", precluding any built-in supernatural abilities. I don't have anything against martial classes with a supernatural bent, but one of the design goals was to see what could be done within the limits of extraordinary class features.

Kellus
2011-08-05, 11:24 PM
An idea I had to get rid of the WBL problem without devolving into double wealth or minmax exploits:

Competitive Spirit (Ex): Competition fosters excellence. Beginning at level X, whenever you or your partner has an enhancement bonus to attack rolls, damage rolls, skill checks, saving throws or AC, the other is driven to work harder to keep up. The ally gains an equivalent morale bonus to the same score. They only gain this benefit if they are not subject to the same effect, and only up to a maximum total bonus (including any enhancement bonus they already have) of their partner's enhancement bonus.

For example, if you have a +4 enhancement bonus to attack rolls with a weapon you are holding and your ally has a +1 enhancement bonus to the same, they gain a +3 morale bonus to make up the difference.

Circle of Life
2011-08-05, 11:32 PM
That's a damn good idea, though I'm tempted to make it an equivalent bonus -1, so you don't essentially double up on wealth again.

Kellus
2011-08-05, 11:43 PM
That's a damn good idea, though I'm tempted to make it an equivalent bonus -1, so you don't essentially double up on wealth again.

That seems like a good idea, but it's really not. You can't sell the morale bonus, which means that it's not actually giving them any extra money to play around with. And it's limited by what you actually spend on the other ally, which means you still need to spend just as much for level-appropriate gear as anyone else. You just get to stay on the numbers treadmill for the other person and can still have a little extra dough for the miscellaneous magic items everybody loves.

There are a few fun things you can do like getting a straight +5 magic weapon to one person and a +1 (insert great enchantments) weapon on the other person in order to get the best of both worlds on person B. But at best that replicates a GMW, and it also consumes massive amounts of wealth for two high-end weapons to invest in. Basically, if the whole point of the ability is to keep both people relevant, then let them both stay relevant. You're paying for the enhancement, you can just have both allies benefit from it.

Bear in mind there are some disadvantages here. You can't benefit from this morale bonus and a bard's music at the same time, for example. But by the same token, there are some spells that you'll be able to get double mileage out of. These things are actually not just okay but really good for the class, because it encourages tactical thinking about how to overcome these limitations and creative thinking about how to optimize it. And there's a hard ceiling of never being able to outshine the other person which means things can't get too out of control.

Talya
2011-08-06, 12:09 AM
This may be one of the most unique class ideas I've ever seen. I love it!

Realms of Chaos
2011-08-06, 09:35 AM
Actually, I just did the math and it's surprisingly easy to split the WBL without things hurting too bad. With the 760k of level 20 you can get each partner:

A +5 weapon (or +2 speed weapon)
+5 bracers of Armor
+5 Ring of Protection
+5 Amulet of Natural Armor
+5 Cloak of Resistance
+6 Gloves of Dexterity
+6 Belt of Giant Strength
Luckstone
Manual of Quickness in Action +2
Winged Boots
Ring of Mind Shielding
Dusty Rose Ioun Stone (+1 Insight to AC)

Not a whole lot of frills or cool-looking items but still enough for both to function properly.

Talya
2011-08-06, 10:13 AM
Questions:
1) If a dualist's partner is slain, does he lose a level when resurrected? They are supposed to be the same level, one set of experience for both of them. Do both of them lose half as much experience as usual? How does this work?
2) Both partners get the same feats, but they both get to benefit from those feats, individually, yes? So what happens when they take Leadership? Is this two cohorts, now?
3) Do I understand correctly that if they multiclass, only one of them levels up? The other remains permanently behind? I'm not sure this is a good idea. At the same time, I can understand not wanting them to both level up in the new class. So, some suggestions (rather than questions):

If the Dualists multiclass, they both get 1/2 the hit points and skill points (before ability modifiers) in the new class. Any level dependant abilities of the multiclassed are divided by two... so each would gain 1/2 of any caster level the new class would possess. Any DCs dependant on level would have the level component of the DCs halved. The first level of any multiclass will always be at 0 BAB, even if it is a full BAB class. Die-based abilities also have their die-size halved - so if dualists take the first level of rogue, each dualist will get 1d3 sneak attack, rather than 1d6.

This concept might take some work, but it would make multiclassing with them more feasible, without being overpowering.


Edit:

Perhaps more simple - Taking a level in another class causes the dualist partner to take a level in a similar archetype NPC class. For instance: A level of fighter for one partner causes the other to take a level in warrior. A level in a spellcasting class causes the other to take a level of adept. A level of rogue causes the other to take a level of expert. These NPC classes do not count against your multiclassing experience penalties. Before you can take a second level of the same class, you must "even out" the partners. So before one partner could be dualist 5, fighter 2, the other partner would need to be dualist 5, fighter 1 as well. Therefore, both of them would be dualist 5, fighter 1, warrior 1 before either could be fighter 2.

Suggestions for Feats:
Ascetic Dualists: If you multiclass as a monk, both partners gain monk levels at the same rate. (Optional - your dualist and monk class levels stack for the purpose of...)
Daring Dualists: If you multiclass as swashbuckler, both partners gain swashbuckler levels at the same rate.
Savage Dualists: If you multiclass as barbarian...


(I don't think I'd create any such feats for classes above tier 4, though.)

More edit: On Feats-
Leadership. Since both Dualists in the class gain the benefit of the feat, you'd think by default they'd get two cohorts. This is wrong. A single cohort does give both dualists the benefit of the feat. I'd explicitly waive the penalty for having an animal companion/familiar/etc. I'd also make their charisma bonus (or penalty, if any) from each dualist stack toward the leadership score, but other than that, one cohort for them both.
Martial Study. Hot-damn, this is the jackpot for this class. (1) Each dualist in a pair must take the same feat, but it doesn't say each dualist must take the same options within that feat. Martial Study lets them pick a maneuver...but they could pick different maneuvers. (2) They each get to use a maneuver once per encounter this way, for the single feat.
Martial Stance. Assassin's Stance, anyone? Which Dualists wouldn't want 2d6 sneak attack when they've got a permanent flanking partner?

Morph Bark
2011-08-06, 11:54 AM
A dualist dvati would be hilariously awesome.

Though I have to admit at first I was disappointed that it does not incorporate any kind of philosophical dualism and it seemed like a giant missspelling of duelist at first...

Talya
2011-08-06, 12:42 PM
The way these tandem tactics would work, it seems to me two weapon fighting wouldn't be a terrible idea with these. You set up a massive chain of back and forth special attacks, but with medium BAB, they're limited in the number of attacks, and the latter ones will have a hard time striking. TWF (not necessarily improved or greater) would allow for longer combos, or allow a second try if an attack misses in the chain. It also gains you double the benefit compared to another class taking it -- you get TWO extra attacks at full BAB, but suffer a -2 penalty on all attacks...yeah, it's better than usual.

Circle of Life
2011-08-06, 01:46 PM
Questions:
1) If a dualist's partner is slain, does he lose a level when resurrected? They are supposed to be the same level, one set of experience for both of them. Do both of them lose half as much experience as usual? How does this work?

The things you forget to think about when you don't play with level loss from raise dead for four years+. Will have to think about this.


2) Both partners get the same feats, but they both get to benefit from those feats, individually, yes? So what happens when they take Leadership? Is this two cohorts, now?

Friends don't let friends use Leadership. If you must though, I'd use your suggestion about the combined scores, yes.


3) Do I understand correctly that if they multiclass, only one of them levels up? The other remains permanently behind? I'm not sure this is a good idea. At the same time, I can understand not wanting them to both level up in the new class. So, some suggestions (rather than questions):

If the Dualists multiclass, they both get 1/2 the hit points and skill points (before ability modifiers) in the new class. Any level dependant abilities of the multiclassed are divided by two... so each would gain 1/2 of any caster level the new class would possess. Any DCs dependant on level would have the level component of the DCs halved. The first level of any multiclass will always be at 0 BAB, even if it is a full BAB class. Die-based abilities also have their die-size halved - so if dualists take the first level of rogue, each dualist will get 1d3 sneak attack, rather than 1d6.

This concept might take some work, but it would make multiclassing with them more feasible, without being overpowering.

I don't really like this idea, but it bears looking into.


Martial Study. Hot-damn, this is the jackpot for this class. (1) Each dualist in a pair must take the same feat, but it doesn't say each dualist must take the same options within that feat. Martial Study lets them pick a maneuver...but they could pick different maneuvers. (2) They each get to use a maneuver once per encounter this way, for the single feat.
Martial Stance. Assassin's Stance, anyone? Which Dualists wouldn't want 2d6 sneak attack when they've got a permanent flanking partner?

If someone wants to get to 10th level and burn two feats for it, I don't see why +2d6 sneak attack is a big deal. *shrug*


Though I have to admit at first I was disappointed that it does not incorporate any kind of philosophical dualism and it seemed like a giant missspelling of duelist at first...

Sorry. :smallwink:


Actually, I just did the math and it's surprisingly easy to split the WBL without things hurting too bad. With the 760k of level 20 you can get each partner:

[math]

Math to the rescue. That helped me make up my mind on Competitive Spirit, thanks.


The way these tandem tactics would work, it seems to me two weapon fighting wouldn't be a terrible idea with these. You set up a massive chain of back and forth special attacks, but with medium BAB, they're limited in the number of attacks, and the latter ones will have a hard time striking. TWF (not necessarily improved or greater) would allow for longer combos, or allow a second try if an attack misses in the chain.

We-ell, yes and no. Only Decisive Finish has the "next successful attack" clause. The others all have "next attack made before the end of the next round". If you miss, it's a wasted attempt and you'll have to restart the chain, though you can take as many swings at someone with Decisive Finish as you like until you hit.

Talya
2011-08-06, 02:05 PM
Oooh, another idea for multiclassing.

Create a "Secondary Dualist PrC."

Prerequisite: This character's Dualist partner must have multiclassed out of Dualist.
BAB: 3/4, d8 hit die, Saving throws: Reflex high (for variety!), others low.
Skills: 4+int/level
Class Features: None.


Special: A dualist must take this PrC any level when his partner takes a class other than dualist. Both dualists in a pair must be within one level of each other in Secondary Dualist at all times. Therefore, if one partner in the pair has a level in secondary Dualist, he cannot gain a second until his partner also gains a single level in secondary dualist. If this prevents a dualist from taking a level in secondary dualist, his partner cannot take any class other than Dualist or Secondary Dualist (which would require the other partner to multiclass.)

Okay, that's worded awkwardly, but i think you get the idea...

Oh, also, Legacy Champion would advance your partner as a Dualist at each level other than 1 and 7, since it advances all class features.

Morph Bark
2011-08-06, 02:11 PM
Okay, that's worded awkwardly, but i think you get the idea...

You mean that when you enter the class, the partner gains the ability to take levels in other classes and immediately also must take a level in another class?

Talya
2011-08-06, 02:20 PM
You mean that when you enter the class, the partner gains the ability to take levels in other classes and immediately also must take a level in another class?

An example progression would be like this:
Level) ClassA / ClassB
1) Dualist 1 / Dualist 1
2) Dualist 2 / Dualist 2
3) Dualist 3 / Dualist 3
4) Dualist 4 / Dualist 4

5) Warblade 1 / Secondary Dualist 1 (The first dualist took a level of warblade, so the second had to take the really plain Secondary Dualist PrC)
6) Dualist 5 / Dualist 5 (They wanted another dualist level, I guess)
7) Secondary Dualist 1 / Warblade 1 (The first dualist could NOT take another level of warblade now, or any other class ever gain UNTIL his secondary dualist level equalled his partner's. So his partner also multiclassed into Warblade.)
8) Warblade 2 / Secondary Dualist 2
9) Secondary Dualist 2 / Warblade 2
10) Dualist 6 / Dualist 6

so by level 10, in this example, both partners have Dualist 6, Warblade 2, and secondary dualist 2. The "Secondary Dualist" is a mostly useless prc specifically designed to limit the multiclassing of the dualist.

It's much simpler in my head than I can easily explain, for some reason.

My main issue with multiclassing this as it currently stands, is if you take more than 2 levels in another class other than Dualist, another player can have a better Cohort than you'll have a Dualist partner. Your partner always needs to advance in some way, even if you multiclass.

Kellus
2011-08-06, 11:19 PM
A +5 weapon (or +2 speed weapon)
+5 bracers of Armor
+5 Ring of Protection
+5 Amulet of Natural Armor
+5 Cloak of Resistance
+6 Gloves of Dexterity
+6 Belt of Giant Strength
Luckstone
Manual of Quickness in Action +2
Winged Boots
Ring of Mind Shielding
Dusty Rose Ioun Stone (+1 Insight to AC)

I just want to point out that wealth scales exponentially with level. Of course you have enough wealth at level 20 to buy two sets of mediocre gear. But the game isn't actually played at level 20.

At 10th level you have 49,000 gp, which is enough for (buying everything separately and using the same list as Realms of Chaos):

Two +2 weapons (16,000 gp)
He doesn't actually get bracers of armour because it provides an armour bonus to AC, which is only useful if he has it in really high numbers (which are really expensive). Otherwise it's more cost-effective to just buy normal armor.
Instead, he buys two +2 suits of armour (8,000 gp)
Two Rings of Protection +1 (4,000 gp)
Two Amulets of Natural Armour +1 (4,000 gp)
Two Cloaks of Resistance +2 (8,000 gp)
Two Gloves of Dexterity +2 (8,000 gp)
Oops, out of money. 1,000 gp left for s&g

The point is that at mid-levels, where the game actually takes place, not only do you have significantly lower enchantments on most of your number treadmill items (I mean, how many actual melee fighters use a +2 weapon at 10th level) than most people, but you also have less equipment period because you need to buy everything for two people.

Your equipment is significantly worse than other people, and there is also significantly less OF it. Add this to a weak BAB, and they won't be hitting the broad side of a barn. You can talk about how they get double the attack rolls, but go ask the monk how much a lot of attack rolls are worth when their to-hit is in the toilet.

They will not be able to keep up, and god help any dualists that want to get into two-weapon fighting (you mean I need to buy four magic weapons?).

Circle of Life
2011-08-07, 12:29 AM
Your equipment is significantly worse than other people, and there is also significantly less OF it. Add this to a weak BAB, and they won't be hitting the broad side of a barn. You can talk about how they get double the attack rolls, but go ask the monk how much a lot of attack rolls are worth when their to-hit is in the toilet.

That's a rather large bit of hyperbole there. The class has numerous built in ways to ensure respectable chances to hit (flat bonuses to hit, double flanking, flat-footedness, etc).

That said, while my earlier comment might have been taken for nixing the Competetive Spirit idea altogether, I actually meant it more as "Kellus's idea was pretty awesome, just needs some slight number tweaks as far as I can tell".

Kellus
2011-08-07, 12:52 AM
That's a rather large bit of hyperbole there. The class has numerous built in ways to ensure respectable chances to hit (flat bonuses to hit, double flanking, flat-footedness, etc).

That said, while my earlier comment might have been taken for nixing the Competetive Spirit idea altogether, I actually meant it more as "Kellus's idea was pretty awesome, just needs some slight number tweaks as far as I can tell".

Yeah, that was a little bit of an exaggeration. But seriously, they're going to be spending so much of their money just trying to keep up to date. It kind of sucks that they won't be able to afford fun luxury items like everybody else, and have to buy second-rate stuff besides.

That said, while my earlier comment might have been taken for nixing the Competetive Spirit class idea altogether, I actually meant it more as "Kellus's idea was this class is pretty awesome, just needs some slight number tweaks as far as I can tell".

Talya
2011-08-08, 03:45 PM
The bit about "expecting the dualist to outfit his partner from their own share" is actually unnecessary. That's not for the class-description to decide. What is for the class description to decide is to state that the dualist's partner does not add to the party's wealth...which is rather obvious since neither do more characters, but that's not the point. Wealth is decided by the encounters you face. It is up to the party how they will distribute what they receive, not the class description, not even the DM.

With the wealth rules as stated in this class, the "Ancestral Relic" feat would be an almost must-have, as it ends up costing half the normal amount to enchant it. And it would be perfectly fair that they would both benefit from it by each having one.

Back on Multiclassing: How about this for a multiclassing rule?
If the dualist multiclasses, his dualist partner does not have as much flexibility in how she multiclasses. She also cannot take the dualist class for the level in which her partner multiclasses. She is, instead, limited to one of the following multiclassing options, at her choice:
Any NPC class
Racial Hit Die
Racial Paragon Class (ONLY if her partner is also taking this class at this level)
<possible other classes with DM approval?>

Afterward, perhaps add feats like "Ascetic Dualists" (monk), "Daring Dualists" (swashbuckler), "Pair of Thugs" (rogue), and "Wild Dualists" (ranger) that allow both to multiclass into another class at the same time (and perhaps stack a couple class features).

Amechra
2011-08-08, 10:17 PM
Say, take a look at Dralnu's Indigo Trickster; Arcane Fission (or some variant) would work WONDERS for this class.

Talya
2011-08-10, 12:36 AM
Say, take a look at Dralnu's Indigo Trickster; Arcane Fission (or some variant) would work WONDERS for this class.

The what, now?

Amechra
2011-08-10, 01:03 AM
Arcane Fission acts thusly:

-You pick up a magical weapon.
-A phantom copy of that weapon appears in your other hand. It is completely identical, but vanishes as soon as it leaves your hands.

Now, you make something like that that replicates equipment between Dualists...

Hazzardevil
2011-08-13, 06:15 AM
I just had an idea.

You could give an ability to work with other Dualists, so you could have 2 players playing 4 dualists and so on.
Then, supposing you had an entire party of 6 players. (thus 12 dualists)
all together, they then all gain their bonuses off each other, so they all gain a massive flanking bonus if they all flank the same person.
That would be fun.

Talya
2011-08-13, 12:40 PM
I'm really hoping Circle of Life hasn't abandoned this thread, he hasn't posted here in a while. I really, really love this class idea.

Circle of Life
2011-08-13, 03:58 PM
I haven't. I'm currently running a playtest of the Dualists to see what, if anything, should be added or removed from the class.

Soliloquy
2012-01-17, 08:32 PM
Some say that foes are most dangerous when backed into a corner. Not so for Dualists, who are at their deadliest when pressed back to back with their partner.

Is this a typo, or do you mean rather than cornered, it's when they are surrounded?

KotserB
2012-08-25, 11:17 AM
First of all, I'd like to say that i absolutely love this class as I read through the abilities; I'm imagining myself playing these dualists shouting all kinds of cool things as I use the Tandem Tactics and several other abilities.
This class makes it really easy to 'live' the dualists and I absolutely love it.

I also have a question: is it worth it to take Combat Reflexes (level 1), Vexing Flanker (level 1), Two-Weapon Fighting (level 3), Martial Study (Cloak of Deception, level 6) and Martial Stance (Island of Blades, level 6) (We're allowed one flaw)? (Yes I like to use a lot of ((()) whatever these are called in English)

I considered dipping into a Martial Adept class so that I won't have to bother with the feats. Drawbacks of this way are that only one duelist gets the martial stuff, while the other loses BAB, HP, saves etc.

Another option is: taking Adaptable Flanker at level 6, but then there's only one way your dualists can flank and use the parry stuff.

OR is there some weird-ass way to exploit reach weapons so you can both flank and parry things (From the top of my head there was something like this: with a reach weapon you threaten squares 10 ft. away from you, but not squares adjacent to you, given that you've got the reach of a human, half-orc etc.)

Uhm... if any other ideas come to mind while reading this please post them! :D

AWESOME WORK!

:EDIT:

I forgot to say, we can only use classes from here: http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=245701
high tier 3 and everything thats worse then that and we can only multiclass once...