PDA

View Full Version : [3.5, PrC] The Mage Hound (A Dedicated Anti-Caster) [PEACH}



Defiant Element
2011-11-27, 12:02 PM
I recently found myself in a six player 3.5 game that, with the sole exception of myself, consisted entirely of full casters (Sorcerer, Cleric, Wizard, Druid, Ardent). Most of the players are not especially power oriented, so balance isn't totally borked, but it got me thinking about caster versus non-caster balance in 3.5 for what is probably the umpteenth time, the difference being that this time I took a stab at building a class (initially, it was a base class, but when I realized how specialized it was starting to look, I ultimately opted for a PrC), the sole purpose of which was to combat casters without being a full caster itself. The result is largely a result of a) looking at a variety of existing anti-magic classes (Spellthief, Hellbreaker, etc.), b) considering the undeniably overwhelming advantages that casters have over non-casters, and c) ultimately trying to come up with something that was simultaneously viable and flavorful.

I think it's reasonably obvious that the end result is a class that still can't match up to a full caster, particularly in terms of its usefulness outside of combat, although it does get a fair number of skill points. And even in combat, the caster probably still has a sizable edge. With that said, it also has a lot of ways to negate traditional caster advantages and generally make a caster's life pretty miserable.

Basically, I'm just kind of curious to know what people think. So, without further ado, the Mage Hound:


The Mage Hound


http://images.wikia.com/warhammer40k/images/0/01/OrdoHereticus_Inquisitor.jpg

"Foul sorcery shall not lay low the servants of the Emperor!" - Mage Hound Markhov

Hit Die: d6

Requirements:
To qualify to become a Mage Hound, a character must fulfill all the following criteria:
Alignment: Any lawful.
Feats: Mage Slayer, Pierce Magical Defenses.
Skills: Spellcraft 10 ranks, Knowledge (Arcana) 4 ranks.

Class Skills:
The Mage Hound’s class skills are Balance (Dex), Bluff (Cha), Climb (Str), Craft (Int), Decipher Script (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Disable Device (Int), Disguise (Cha), Escape Artist (Dex), Forgery (Int), Gather Information (Cha), Hide (Dex), Intimidate (Cha), Jump (Str), Knowledge (Arcana) (Int), Listen (Wis), Move Silently (Dex), Open Lock (Dex), Search (Int), Sense Motive (Wis), Sleight of Hand (Dex), Spellcraft (Int), Spot (Wis), Survival (Wis), Swim (Str), Tumble (Dex), Use Magic Device (Cha), Use Rope (Dex).

Skill Points at Each Level: 6 + Intelligence Modifier.

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

1st|
+0|
+0|
+2|
+2|Track, Magic Scent 30’, Sneak Attack +1d6

2nd|
+1|
+0|
+3|
+3|Spellgrace, Dispelling Strike, Arcane Eyes (Arcane Sight)

3rd|
+2|
+1|
+3|
+3|Evasion, Sneak Attack +2d6, Magic Scent 60’

4th|
+3|
+1|
+4|
+4|Arcane Eyes (True Seeing), Silencing Strike, Mettle

5th|
+3|
+1|
+4|
+4|Spell Resistance, Sneak Attack +3d6, Magic Scent 90’

6th|
+4|
+2|
+5|
+5|Undetectable, Dogged Pursuer, Greater Dispelling Strike

7th|
+5|
+2|
+5|
+5|Sneak Attack +4d6, Unstoppable, Magic Scent 120’

8th|
+6|
+2|
+6|
+6|Arcane Eyes (Arcane Sight, Greater), Momentary Disjunction

9th|
+6|
+3|
+6|
+6|Single Minded, Sneak Attack +5d6, Magic Scent 150’

10th|
+7|
+3|
+7|
+7|Nightmare Hound (Spell Immunity, Reaving Strike)
[/table]


Class Features

Weapon and Armor Proficiencies: A Mage Hound gains no armor or weapon proficiencies.

Track: A Mage Hound gains Track as a bonus feat

Magic Scent (Su): As per Scent, except that it only applies to detection of spellcasters and ambient magic. At 1st level, the Mage Hound’s scent ability extends 30 feet. At every subsequent odd level, this range increases by an additional 30 feet.

Sneak Attack: If a Mage Hound can catch an opponent when he is unable to defend himself effectively from his attack, she can strike a vital spot for extra damage. The Mage Hound’s attack deals extra damage any time his target would be denied a Dexterity bonus to AC (whether the target actually has a Dexterity bonus or not), or when the Mage Hound flanks his target. This extra damage is 1d6 at 1st level, and it increases by 1d6 every two Mage Hound levels thereafter. Should the Mage Hound score a critical hit with a sneak attack, this extra damage is not multiplied. Ranged attacks can count as sneak attacks only if the target is within 30 feet. With a sap (blackjack) or an unarmed strike, a Mage Hound can make a sneak attack that deals nonlethal damage instead of lethal damage. She cannot use a weapon that deals lethal damage to deal nonlethal damage in a sneak attack, not even with the usual -4 penalty. A Mage Hound can sneak attack only living creatures with discernible anatomies—undead, constructs, oozes, plants, and incorporeal creatures lack vital areas to attack. Any creature that is immune to critical hits is not vulnerable to sneak attacks. The Mage Hound must be able to see the target well enough to pick out a vital spot and must be able to reach such a spot. A Mage Hound cannot sneak attack while striking a creature with concealment or striking the limbs of a creature whose vitals are beyond reach.

Spellgrace (Su): A Mage Hound of 2nd level or higher gains a competence bonus on his saves against magical effects (spells, spell-like abilities, and supernatural abilities) equal to his Intelligence modifier. This bonus cannot exceed his Mage Hound level.

Dispelling Strike (Su): Whenever a Mage Hound of 2nd level or higher successfully sneak attacks his target, he may attempt to dispel or, in the case of magical items, suppress ongoing magical effects (as per Dispel Magic). For each effect, the Mage Hound must forego 1d6 sneak attack damage.
In addition, if the Mage Hound hits a spellcaster while the caster is casting a spell, the Mage Hound may attempt to counter the spell as though he had cast Dispel Magic.
At 6th level, dispel attempts made by the Mage Hound are treated as Greater Dispel Magic.
At 10th level, Reaving Dispel.

Arcane Eyes (Su): A Mage Hound of 2nd level or higher is treated as constantly under the effect of Arcane Sight. May be suppressed as a free action.
At 4th level, the Mage Hound is also treated as under the effect of True Seeing.
At 8th level, Greater Arcane Sight.

Evasion (Ex): A Mage Hound of 3rd level or higher can avoid even magical and unusual attacks with great agility. If the Mage Hound makes a successful Reflex saving throw against an attack that normally deals half damage on a successful save, he instead takes no damage. Evasion can be used only if the Mage Hound is wearing light armor or no armor. A helpless Mage Hound does not gain the benefit of evasion.

Silencing Strike (Su): A Mage Hound of 4th level or higher can attempt to silence their foes with a successful sneak attack. He must declare the use of this ability before you make your attack roll. If he successfully deal sneak attack damage, a field of supernatural silence also surrounds the target. The effect of this field of silence is identical to that of the spell of the same name, except that there is no saving throw to resist this effect. The silence lasts for a number of rounds equal to ˝ your Mage Hound level, minimum 1. Using this ability reduces your sneak attack damage by 3d6.

Mettle (Ex): A Mage Hound of 4th level or higher can resist magical and unusual attacks with great willpower or fortitude. If he makes a successful Will or Fortitude save against an attack that normally would have a lesser effect on a successful save (such as any spell with a saving throw entry of Will half or Fortitude partial), he instead completely negates the effect. An unconscious or sleeping Mage Hound does not gain the benefit of mettle.

Spell Resistance (Su): Starting at 5th level, the Mage Hound gains SR equal to his current Mage Hound level + 10.

Undetectable (Su): A Mage Hound of 6th level or higher is treated as constantly being under the effects of a Nondetection spell. In addition, the Mage Hound can pass through magical wards (Glyph of Warding, Alarm) without setting them off.

Dogged Pursuer (Su): you can hitch a ride on any ability, spell, or effect with the teleportation description as long as you have line of sight. If the target is unwilling, you must succeed on a level check with a DC of 10 + the caster level of the effect as an immediate action. If the target is willing, this ability functions automatically. When the spell is cast, you appear wherever the caster appears, in the same position you were at the time of the spell’s casting. If this would force you to appear in a solid object, you appear in the nearest open available space. If the conjuration spell has variable results, such as teleport, you suffer the same effect as the caster.

Unstoppable (Su): Starting at 7th level, the Mage Hound can pass through magical barriers (Wall of Force, Prismatic Wall, etc.). In addition, the Mage Hound cannot be impeded by magical effects that limit its mobility as though under the effects of a Freedom of Movement spell.

Momentary Disjunction (Su): At 8th level, you can temporarily disable the spellcasting, spell-like, and supernatural abilities of a single creature within 50 feet as a swift action. If the target fails a Will saving throw (DC 20 + your Int modifier), it cannot use spells, spell-like abilities, or supernatural abilities of any kind as if affected by an Antimagic Field for 1 round. Once you have used this ability, you cannot do so again for five rounds.

Single Minded (Su): A Mage Hound of 9th level or higher is treated as constantly being under the effects of Mind Blank. This can be suppressed as a free action.

Nightmare Hound (Su): At 10th level, a Mage Hound becomes immune to spells as per the Golem trait.

NeoSeraphi
2011-11-27, 12:47 PM
Er...what is your planned base class for this, exactly? Other than spellthief and bard, I don't think any other classes get Spellcraft as a class skill (unless they're casters, and no caster is going to want to take the Mage Slayer and Pierce Magical Defenses feats, as they incur a -8 CL penalty)

Yitzi
2011-11-27, 01:34 PM
A few more ideas:
1. Lower the Spellcraft DC so that it's available as a CC skill.
2. Within a certain radius of him, or whenever casting a spell on him, bonuses to CL simply fail to work. (Otherwise, his dispel and SR will simply fail in the face of a high CL)
3. His dispel should be treated as cast with a CL equal to his character level, possibly with a flat bonus to the roll as well, not class level.
4. Give him a way to substantially boost his touch AC.

NeoSeraphi
2011-11-27, 01:47 PM
3. His dispel should be treated as cast with a CL equal to his character level, possibly with a flat bonus to the roll as well, not class level.
.

This is irrelevant. Dispelling Strike should be a spell-like ability, not a supernatural ability. And his prerequisite feats lower his caster level for all spell-like abilities by a total of -8. So he will never succeed his dispel checks.

jiriku
2011-11-27, 02:09 PM
This is...really complicated. Sooo many class features for a 10-level class. Honestly, most of them duplicate spell effects - it would be more intuitive for you to write this as a prc with its own limited spell progression and simply use the spells. I know you don't want that for style reasons, but the current result is harder to use than it needs to be. Maybe if you stripped out groups of lesser class features and replaced them with single abilities as powerful as all the abiities being replaced? For example, Evasion and Mettle could be replaced with a single feature granting the ability to ignore all partial effects of spells with a successful save. Undetectable, Spell Resistance, Single Minded, and Nightmare Hound could be combined into a single Spell Resistance feature that grants very high resistance.

NeoSeraphi
2011-11-27, 02:17 PM
The problem with Nightmare Hound is that it makes you immune to magical healing (which leaves you with natural healing, which is just...awful), as well as to any buff spells that the party might want to help you with.

Immunity to magic also makes you immune to raise dead, resurrection and true resurrection. It's...very problematic.

On the other hand, simply giving spell resistance would be alright, but the spell resistance you give is just so abysmally low. Spell resistance usually scales with HD, not class level (unless the class is a base class).

Since this class is a dedicated magic hunter, I would give it improved spell resistance. 15+HD, that way when you face a caster whose caster level is equal to your HD, that caster only has a 25% chance to affect you with spells, meanwhile you can lower your spell resistance for your party members.

Mulletmanalive
2011-11-27, 02:30 PM
Dispelling Strike misses the point that you've already got abilities that dispell spell effects without a check [Pierce Magical Defences]. Just expand that to increasing numbers of different types of spell and possibly have a higher level ability deals extra damage based on what spells are destroyed by the blow.

Maybe reduce the action needed to use it too. Probably going to want Pierce Magical Concealment too.

Nightmare Hound isn't actually a problem once you're dead, as it states that you get the ability "as a Golem." Dead constructs lose the construct type, becoming objects, so the same applies to you. Thus the resurrection thing is fine.

The Arcane Sight thing bothers me somehow; it would make more sense for them to have some kind of Extraordinary field that suppressed magical effects, possibly as a Concentration effect, so that they could just pierce all concealment in the area and not have to worry about it.

I kind of agree with Jiriku that all the immunities would probably work out just as well if you gave them some kind of "unimpeachable" Spell Resistance. SR that applies to spells with SR: No entries...

Anyway, the major point i have to make is the first one. Automatic dispels as a special action because you already have that and just need to expand it.

Elfstone
2011-11-27, 02:40 PM
Allow the nightmare hound capstone and SR to be lowered and raised as a free action (so you can be healed).

I'd give him a mindblank effect somewhere in there.. Otherwise casters will mess with his mind.

I think that to counter casters, you need spells. However you need high level spells, and its no use to give him slots for powerful spells, as that just makes him a caster...

NeoSeraphi
2011-11-27, 02:45 PM
I'd give him a mindblank effect somewhere in there.. Otherwise casters will mess with his mind.

You must have missed the Single-Minded class feature.

jiriku
2011-11-27, 06:01 PM
I'd actually argue that a mind blank effect is not needed. If your spell resistance is exceedingly high, say around the 75% mark that Seraphi is suggesting, and you're building a Good Will save progression to which you add both your Wis bonus and your Int bonus, onto which you add all the tactical hoops you can force a caster to jump through just to successfully cast at all, it's already going to be an exceedingly rare occurance that you should ever fail a Will save against a [mind-affecting] spell. Contrariwise, immunity to morale effects is going to prevent you from receiving some useful party buffs. Mind blank could hurt more than it helps. A more targeted immunity, like immunity to [fear] effects (many of which can be delivered without a saving throw), would be more useful.

NeoSeraphi
2011-11-27, 06:03 PM
I'd actually argue that a mind blank effect is not needed. If your spell resistance is exceedingly high, say around the 75% mark that Seraphi is suggesting, and you're building a Good Will save progression to which you add both your Wis bonus and your Int bonus, onto which you add all the tactical hoops you can force a caster to jump through just to successfully cast at all, it's already going to be an exceedingly rare occurance that you should ever fail a Will save against a [mind-affecting] spell. Contrariwise, immunity to morale effects is going to prevent you from receiving some useful of party buffs. Mind blank could hurt more than it helps.

Simple solution here: Lowering and raising your spell resistance and mind blank effect is a free action. After all, you are the master of anti-magic, and you're already walking into a fight you're probably not going to win, so shouldn't you be allowed some gracious abuse of the rules in your favor?

jiriku
2011-11-27, 06:13 PM
Simple solution here: Lowering and raising your spell resistance and mind blank effect is a free action. After all, you are the master of anti-magic, and you're already walking into a fight you're probably not going to win, so shouldn't you be allowed some gracious abuse of the rules in your favor?

Ha! Cheeky little git, aren't ya? I LOL'd. :smallbiggrin: On the whole, however, I'm not particularly fond of abilities that state "I'm immune, unless I decide that it's inconvenient". It's kind of like the guy who goes to Vegas and won't gamble unless he's using other people's money, but expects to keep his winnings even though he rolled the dice on the other guy's dime. Or the corporation that convinces the government to write a tax loophole so that it keeps its money while everyone else in the market pays their fair share. Seems unsportsmanlike.

Elfstone
2011-11-27, 07:30 PM
You must have missed the Single-Minded class feature.

Hehehehhehe funny you say that....

It actualyl can be lowered as a Free, or at least the version I just checked can. All we need now is the SR to be lowerable with a free...

I recommend that at first level, all damage you deal is considered ongoing damage for the purpose of concentration checks..

The later on, ignoring deflection bonuses to AC..

NeoSeraphi
2011-11-27, 07:36 PM
Hehehehhehe funny you say that....

It actualyl can be lowered as a Free, or at least the version I just checked can. All we need now is the SR to be lowerable with a free...


I know it can be suppressed as a free action, but it can't be resumed as a free action (defaults to standard action, as spell resistance does). Who's going to lower their mind blank on someone else's turn just so they can get the bard's inspire courage bonus?

Elfstone
2011-11-27, 07:49 PM
:smalleek:

Didn't realize that. Wording fail.

Well he knows to fix it now :smallsmile:

Yitzi
2011-11-27, 09:28 PM
This is irrelevant. Dispelling Strike should be a spell-like ability, not a supernatural ability. And his prerequisite feats lower his caster level for all spell-like abilities by a total of -8. So he will never succeed his dispel checks.

That's easy to fix: Say that that particular SLA is unaffected by penalties to caster level caused by taking feats.