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View Full Version : The Blue Book Preview No. 2: The Nahual



Kellus
2012-02-20, 01:32 AM
Hey peoples! As you may have heard, there is a xenoalchemy (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=205119) remake in the works called the Blue Book. I'm releasing a few samples to get people excited about it. The final product will be full of new feats, more than 80 new grafts, 2 new base classes, and at least 11 new prestige classes! Here's one of them for you to look at, the nahual! I know I mentioned there would be a second PrC released this time, but I'm still working out some kinks on it. In the meantime, if you really want to mix xenoalchemy with the ozodrin, I recommend you look at Owrtho's brilliant PrC, the sower of strangeness (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=229089#post12665992), in this month's PrC contest!

Preview No. 1: The Connoisseur (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=232699)


The Nahual
"Perhaps you think of me as a monster. That is only fair I think of you as meat."

http://th03.deviantart.net/fs71/PRE/i/2011/289/9/6/jaguar_warrior_by_gordotote-d4d2o0m.jpg
Image credit gordotote (http://gordotote.deviantart.com/) of deviantart.com.

http://th02.deviantart.net/fs70/PRE/i/2012/026/0/8/the_warrior_of_the_mountain_by_noxypia-d4nnynv.jpg
Image credit noxypia (http://noxypia.deviantart.com/) of deviantart.com.

Desperate times call for desperate measures, and nowhere is more desperate than those isolated tribes and villages trying to make it in the wild living alongside giant mutant lions. The nahual is a warrior chieftan skilled in a tribal art of medicine who does far more than simply tend to the wounded. By judicious application of their skill they can tie a beast's essence to its pelt, allowing those wearing the pelt to become much more than what they were. The wild doesn't allow time to consider the morals or ethics of dangerous practices. It's enough that the nahual and his tribe survive to face another day, even if civilized society might deem their practices bestial or savage.

Requirements: To become a nahual you must meet all of the following criteria.
Base Attack Bonus: +8
Feats: Leadership (of a small village or tribe), Power Attack
Skills: Heal 13 ranks, Knowledge (arcana or religion) 8 ranks, Knowledge (nature) 8 ranks
Special: Favored enemy (animal or magical beasts) and combat style class features
Xenoalchemy: Must be able to attach 2nd level grafts

Hit Die: d8
Skill Points at Each Additional Level: 4 + Int modifier

Class Skills: The nahual's class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Balance (Dex), Climb (Str), Concentration (Con), Craft (all) (Int), Gather Information (Cha), Handle Animal (Cha), Heal (Wis), Hide (Dex), Intimidate (Cha), Knowledge (arcana) (Int), Knowledge (dungeoneering) (Int), Knowledge (local) (Int), Knowledge (nature) (Int), Knowledge (religion) (Int), Knowledge (the Planes) (Int), Listen (Wis), Move Silently (Dex), Profession (Wis), Sense Motive (Cha), Spot (Wis), Survival (Wis), and Use Rope (Dex).

The Nahual
{table=head]Level|BAB|Fort|Ref|Will|Special |
Xenoalchemy

1st|+1|+2|+0|+0|Master hunter, skin bind|
+1 level of existing grafting class

2nd|+2|+3|+0|+0|Combat style expert|
+1 level of existing grafting class

3rd|+3|+3|+1|+1|Number two, wearer of pelts|
+1 level of existing grafting class

4th|+4|+4|+1|+1|Life after death, wild face (minor)|
+1 level of existing grafting class

5th|+5|+4|+1|+1|Combat style warlord|
+1 level of existing grafting class

6th|+6|+5|+2|+2| Skillstitcher|
+1 level of existing grafting class

7th|+7|+5|+2|+2|Number two, wild face (major)|
+1 level of existing grafting class

8th|+8|+6|+2|+2|Combat style grandmaster|
+1 level of existing grafting class

9th|+9|+6|+3|+3|Life after death|
+1 level of existing grafting class

10th|+10|+7|+3|+3|Beastheart, the most dangerous game|
+1 level of existing grafting class

[/table]

All of the following are class features of the nahual.

Weapon and Armour Proficiency: A nahual gains proficiency with any one exotic weapon of his choice.

Master Hunter (Ex): Just because you have unnatural powers to rely on doesn't mean you can slack off on your hunting training. You're one of the best, and even from 1st level you're at least nine times the hunter most men are. You stack levels in this class to determing the magnitude of your favored enemy class feature, and you treat animals and magical beasts as both being your primary favored enemy (that which has the highest bonus for you).

Skin Bind (Su): Nahuals understand the nature of the anitu, the spark of life which animates all living things and binds them to their bodies. Using this animistic knowledge, you can use your fury and anger to trap a beast's anitu at the moment of death. To bind a soul in this way you must deliver a killing blow to an animal or magical beast with your Power Attack feat, maximising your rage by taking a full penalty on the attack roll. If you kill the creature with this blow, its soul is trapped inside its body, making resurrection or reincarnation impossible unless a wish spell or similar effect is first used.

Although this ability has many uses, you haven't yet learned how to harness it. At the most basic level, this spark of life which resides in the body heightens the power of grafts made from it with its vital energies. Any graft which is made from the creature's body (by you or someone else) receives a +1 bonus to xenoalchemist level (after any other considerations have occured).

Xenoalchemy: At every level you add +1 to your xenoalchemy level from one existing class of your choice that you have levels in. This increases your effective xenoalchemist level for the benefits of grafts as well as the level of graft you can achieve. This does not provide you with any other benefit a member of your previous class would have received, such as class features, skill points, spellcasting, or hit points.

Combat Style Expert (Ex): You know many secrets of warfare which have been guarded by your people for centuries. At 2nd level you learn a special technique to make the most of your brutal power, which is only heightened when you call upon the strength of your beast totems.

Archery: If you have the archery combat style, you can make Power Attacks with ranged weapons within one range increment, treating them as two-handed weapons. You gain your Strength bonus as a bonus on damage rolls using bows of any kind. You also gain the Manyshot feat. If you already have this feat, you learn a different feat with Rapid Shot as a prerequisite.
Two-Weapon Fighting: If you instead are skilled in the art of dual-wielding, whenever you hold two weapons you can choose to treat them either as their actual weapon type or as two-handed weapons, whichever is more advantageous at the time. You also gain the Improved Two-Weapon Fighting Feat. If you already have this feat, you learn a different feat with Two-Weapon Fighting as a prerequisite.

Number Two (Ex): Behind every leader of men is another good man there to catch him if he falls. Your second-in-command is more than just another face in the crowd to you, and between the two of you nothing will harm your tribe. Starting at 3rd level, your cohort can now receive one additional graft from you. If you instead grow grafts as a connoisseur, you can teach your cohort to grow a single graft from a corpse as if you had grown it yourself for all purposes (his xenoalchemist level is always equal to his Hit Dice).

At 7th level your cohort can receive a second such graft.

Wearer of Pelts (Ex): The secret art of the nahual is to wear their enemy's skins and steal their strength. Starting at 3rd level, whenever you bind a beast's anitu into their body with your skin bind class feature, you can make a special pelt from their body. This pelt contains their primal essence, and wearing it can let one channel the power of the beast. It takes one hour to harvest the pelt of a creature you killed with a skin bind strike, and it requires a Heal check against a DC of 10 + the monster's HD. Failure indicates the pelt is destroyed, although other material can still be collected. Although class features refer to pelts, if the animal or magical beast doesn't have a pelt or otherwise wouldn't make sense in this context, another word can be used (such as carapace, chitin, etc).

Wearing a pelt occupies the Shoulders graft slot, even though it isn't technically grafted. While wearing a pelt one gains the racial ability modifiers of the animal instead of their own. They lose any racial modifiers to their physical ability scores (Str, Dex, Con). Instead they gain the racial modifiers of the creature which provided the pelt. This can be calculated by taking 10 away from each such ability score (or 11 if the score is odd). Any ability modifier like this cannot exceed twice the nahual's class level in magnitude. The wearer also gains a natural attack which the creature possessed, as if they had the appropriate first level graft but without occupying additional body slots.

Life After Death (Su): Your prey might have died, but they work now for your purposes. As you learn to harness the power of the animal's soul, you can channel their might more effectively through their skins. Starting at 4th level, whenever you fashion a pelt you can now instill a graft from the creature into it, of a level that you can access. Anyone who wears the pelt gains access to the graft, although no additional body slot is occupied. This graft benefits from your skin bind class feature. This graft does not count against the wearer's graft limit, but it does count against the 5th level graft limit (1). If the wearer would ever have access to two 5th level grafts at once they must choose which one is active when they don the pelt.

At 9th level you can place a second such graft into the pelt.

Wild Face (Su): With the application of war paint to an ally, they assume more than just your prey's powers. Starting at 4th level, by treating an ally with 1 sp worth of war paint prior to them donning a pelt they gain something similar to a disguise self effect to resemble the creature as long as they wear the pelt, even if it is a different type. If you have the Telepathic Station graft you can communicate telepathically with any such ally.

Beginning at 7th level they can control this image while painted, essentially being able to create a programmed image of the creature at will, centered around them. If they're a smaller size than the creature they're projecting an image of, they gain partial concealment (20%) against attack rolls from people who can't see through illusions, representing the ambiguity of where exactly in the image they are at any given time. Your ally must be touching the image at all times. The caster level for this effect is equal to your xenoalchemist level, and the save DC against disbelief is appropriate for the graft.

Combat Style Warlord (Ex): Your tribe's faith in you inspires you to excellence. At 5th level you learn another ancient technique which is especially useful for leading your tribe's warriors into battle.

Archery: If you have the archery combat style, you can paint a target as part of a ranged attack using a bow, giving up the bonus damage from Strength in exchange for marking them with a distinctive arrow. If you deal at least one point of damage, allies gain a bonus on attack and damage rolls to the creature equal to your Wisdom modifier until they receive magical healing, regenerate, fast heal, or spend a move action to remove the arrow. A creature can only be marked with one arrow at a time, although you can launch more than one such arrow in the same round if you sacrifice your bonus damage on multiple attacks. You also gain the Improved Precise Shot feat. If you already have this feat, you learn a different feat with Rapid Shot as a prerequisite.
Two-Weapon Fighting: Whenever you make a charge, you can split up your full complement of attacks you could make on a full attack action against targets you pass adjacent to. If you succeed on any such attack, you don't provoke an attack of opportunity for moving through their threatened squares. You can only attack any one creature once on your charges, although all of your attacks gain the normal bonuses from charging. Any target you deal damage to is treated as flanked for your allies until the start of your next turn. You also gain the Greater Two-Weapon Fighting feat. If you already have this feat, you learn a different feat with Two-Weapon Fighting as a prerequisite.

Skillstitcher (Su): Starting at 6th level you or your ally can gain additional insight from the natural instincts which reside in a pelt. In addition to the normal benefits a wearer of a pelt gains the creature's racial skill modifiers, if any.

Combat Style Grandmaster (Su): You have become one with your weapons. In lesser men they are tools of war. In your hands they become tools of domination through which you reshape the world as you see fit. At 8th level you learn the ultimate combat secret of your people.

Archery: Your arrows, when loosed, glow with otherworldly energy, gaining the ghost touch property and becoming mortal to the living and dead alike. Whenever you deal damage with an attack with a bow, you can call upon the wisdom of your ancestors to open a path through the underworld in its wake. Any ally adjacent to you who you have attached a graft to can follow the arrow's guiding light through this strange realm to exit adjacent to the target as if by the dimension door spell and can immediately make an attack of opportunity against the target. If the target is incorporeal, your ally can choose to exit on the target's current Plane instead (usually the Ethereal). You gain Swarm of Arrows as a bonus feat.
Two-Weapon Fighting: Your blows rain down like fire from the heavens, burning away all they touch. Whenever you are wielding two weapons you can channel your ancestors' knowledge through them, setting them aflame with any colour fire you like. They gain the flaming burst property, and whenever you deal a critical hit any creature you strike must make a Fortitude save (DC 10 + your class level + your Wis modifier) or be subject to one of the following conditions, at your option: blinded, blown away, deafened, or nauseated. You can alternatively choose to amputate one of their body parts (nonlethally); if they fail the saving throw you can remove one effect which they could normally grant in a graft, or you can choose to remove a graft that they actually have attached. This lasts until they receive any kind of regeneration effect to regrow the body part. All allies around you (30ft.) gain a good hope effect for the following 5 rounds whenever you deal a critical hit. You gain Two-Weapon Rend as a bonus feat.

Beastheart (Su): Starting at 10th level, those who wear the pelts of your enemies can embrace the true nature of their power. If you permanently attach a pelt to someone (using normal xenoalchemy rules, or by magic if you don't have the xenoalchemy ability) they become a lycanthrope (afflicted) of the creature that provided the pelt. This works even if the creature wasn't of a type to normally be applicable to lycanthropy (such as a magical beast). A pelt like this is treated as a graft of a level equal to the highest level graft stored inside of it + 1 (to a maximum of level 5).

The Most Dangerous Game (Su): Having conquered your domain, you've expanded your sights to the world beyond. Whether you wish good or ill for the kingdoms beyond the horizon, they tremble at your coming. At 10th level you can skin bind and make pelts out of humanoids and monstrous humanoids. You treat these types as being primary favoured enemies as well.

Playing a Nahual
"If I said I wanted to wear your skin like a shirt, would you hold it against me?"

Being a nahual is a pretty big commitment! You're essentially going to be the leader of a small tribe or village, vastly expanding your responsibilities as an adventurer. Although Leadership is often derided as being a cheesy route to power, for you it's something much more personal and important. Your tribe is your lifeblood, and you live or die with them. They rely on your powers and secret knowledge to survive life in a typical campaign setting: no easy task!

From a mechanical perspective, you have a lot of firepower. You're one of the most martially powerful grafters out there, which means that you have a lot of opportunities to combine raw strength with your grafts and monstrous powers. Be smart with your pelts, and try to skin bind many creatures. It's always useful to have a variety of wearable skins for different situations you might run into, and your pelts can always be useful arming your friends and followers. As you advance, the simple numerical bonuses alone that your pelts provide can be crazy useful to turn a low-level follower into a threat in their own right. Speaking of which, you're very much a team player. You have a lot of useful powers, but they work even better when you're fighting in a group or at the head of an army. Think strategically about how you can provide the best advantage to your allies or how you can all use your powers to the group's advantage. Overall, this a hard class to get into, but also very rewarding if you're willing to stick with it!

Grinner
2012-02-20, 01:45 AM
A skinwalker. Love it.

A couple of initial observations:
-Some of the knowledge skills seem misplaced. Knowledge(Architecture and Engineering)?
-Seems a little overpowered for a PC class.

Edit: Your summary section "Playing a Nahual" pretty much sums up my second comment. It seems like he can stand alone quite well, and, by augmenting allies, do even better.

Kellus
2012-02-20, 01:54 AM
A skinwalker. Love it.

A couple of initial observations:
-Some of the knowledge skills seem misplaced. Knowledge(Architecture and Engineering)?
-Seems a little overpowered for a PC class.

Oo, fast comment! I love it, good points! Here's my thoughts on them:

Knowledge (architecture and engineering) is one of the key skills for a xenoalchemist, since it governs two different types of monster. Although from a thematic perspective it doesn't really have anything to do with the nahual, unless taking it away vastly improves the class I don't really like to gimp the player for no reason when they're trying to graft stuff. This fellow needs to spread out his skill points more anyway, and xenoalchemy takes a looot of skill. :P

It is a strong class. Certainly one of the strongest martial classes I've ever written, although I don't think unreasonably so. If it was anything lower than 11th level entry I'd be inclined to agree with you, but considering (a) the level of the opposition at this point (the wizard just got 6th level spells coming online) and (b) the fact that this fellow had to spread out at least into ranger 2/grafter 8 to get in, I don't feel too bad giving him some kick-ass features to make up for it!

Thanks for the interest!

EDIT: Ahahaha I'm so silly, A&E isn't any monster type! For some reason I was thinking constructs were under its purview, but obviously they're arcana. Thanks for the heads-up, that skill's going away!

Grinner
2012-02-20, 02:03 AM
It is a strong class. Certainly one of the strongest martial classes I've ever written, although I don't think unreasonably so. If it was anything lower than 11th level entry I'd be inclined to agree with you, but considering (a) the level of the opposition at this point (the wizard just got 6th level spells coming online) and (b) the fact that this fellow had to spread out at least into ranger 2/grafter 8 to get in, I don't feel too bad giving him some kick-ass features to make up for it!

Yeah, I thought of that as soon as I posted my comment. As an aside, it got me thinking about the tiers of gameplay proposed by the E6 rules, and how pretty much every martial character should multiclass into a "mystic warrior/ritualist" PrC by level 10.

But I digress. My previous comments aside, I had been going to say that it was a little scattered in its focus, but I refrained from doing so. I did this because a second examination revealed that it is actually quite focused on its concept. It's just that the concept is so....unusual.

Merchant
2012-02-20, 02:10 AM
Sweet!

Well this takes the racial bonuses I was talking about for the Connoissuer. So I guess I'll forgive you for that. :P

Anyways I like the flavor of it. Are you looking for critiques for these classes? I'll have another look, but it is sad that I can't see all your work now. I don't know what ideas have already been done. :(

Kellus
2012-02-20, 02:18 AM
Yes, I'm very much hoping for critique on these classes! Like I mentioned in the first preview thread, nothing is set in stone, and I love getting suggestions or feedback on these sorts of things! You'll notice I mentioned at least 11 new prestige classes; that's since I'm almost certain I'll have more ideas before the release date (still secret for now so as not to raise hopes)!

So yeah, tell me what you think. Some of the feel of this class was even inspired from your comments in the last thread. :D

In essence though, each of these is supposed to function in a vacuum with the base xenoalchemy rules, so you should be able to evaluate it based on that if you're familiar with the source (linked at the top of the thread). The Blue Book will have a few small changes to the existing grafts and grafting rules based on problems I noticed since I wrote it, but not nearly drastically enough that it's not reverse compatible!


Yeah, I thought of that as soon as I posted my comment. As an aside, it got me thinking about the tiers of gameplay proposed by the E6 rules, and how pretty much every martial character should multiclass into a "mystic warrior/ritualist" PrC by level 10.

Yeah, at one point I toyed around with the idea of tiers of play, with level 11+ characters essentially playing a game wider in scope. Royal Tier vs Heroic Tier. Although that's shelved for now, that idea of different 'feels' in gameplay at high levels definitely affected this class, since he really is wider in scope than most martial characters of that level.

EdroGrimshell
2012-02-20, 01:55 PM
You know, I think that having a xenoalchemy/incarnum hybrid would be interesting, the name for Skin Bind gave me the idea for it.

Kellus
2012-02-20, 04:54 PM
You know, I think that having a xenoalchemy/incarnum hybrid would be interesting, the name for Skin Bind gave me the idea for it.

That is a pretty sweet idea, but unfortunately I don't know the rules for incarnum very deeply. But if enough people are interested in this sort of thing I certainly wouldn't mind refreshing myself on it! :)

Amechra
2012-02-20, 05:07 PM
Please, by all that is holy, spoiler those pictures.

I was too distracted by the fact that this thread is twice the width of my screen to actually read your (undoubtedly awesome) class.

Kellus
2012-02-20, 06:43 PM
Sorry, I'm used to having my browser zoomed out ridiculously far all the time. That better?

Mulletmanalive
2012-02-20, 07:21 PM
Is there a size limit on Weaer of Pelts? It seems like there should either be a size limit or the effects of the pelt be scaled with the size changes between the original size and that of the wearer...

Mostly because a small enough hunk of an elephant's skin to actually wear seems like it would have a bit less ju-ju than a full one...

Edit: also, is teh blue book something you'll be publishing here or are you going to successfully bleed my hard earned pocket money?

Kellus
2012-02-20, 08:21 PM
Is there a size limit on Weaer of Pelts? It seems like there should either be a size limit or the effects of the pelt be scaled with the size changes between the original size and that of the wearer...

Mostly because a small enough hunk of an elephant's skin to actually wear seems like it would have a bit less ju-ju than a full one...

Edit: also, is teh blue book something you'll be publishing here or are you going to successfully bleed my hard earned pocket money?

Good point. I've tried something similar to trying to incorporate size restrictions on this kind of thing before, in my skinwalker (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?p=9618882) class, and generally what I decided was that it was too much bookkeeping for too little benefit. Trying to guess what size opposition the party is going to encounter is usually an exercise in futility, and arbitrary restrictions like that add to the complexity of the class without really adding to the fun at all. Instead, I followed the general design philosophy of xenoalchemy, which is to make it as easy and fun for the player as possible to do cool stuff. In this case the flavour behind it can be rationalised as being able to contain the anitu of the beast into the pelt you fashion, no matter the relative size of the creature compared to your pelt. So you can make an elephant leather shoulder mantle no problem, or a cape from the tarrasque's hide or something. Thanks for the comment, I hope that helps!

And no, the Blue Book isn't for profit at all! It's just the next stage of xenoalchemy, the accumulation of everything that's been rolling around my head this semester. It'll be put up here, although I'm hoping that I'll be able to get it made into a PDF for people to download and print out for use in their home campaigns. :D

Mulletmanalive
2012-02-21, 12:31 PM
Part of it was just mild concern at how silly the stats could get with elephants or something [difficult things to slay aren't an issue, paralysed elephants might be...]

+++checks MM+++ know what? never mind. Barring the Dire Bear, nothing it particularly exploitable on this count [that thing is large? are you kidding me?!]

Hold Animal...slays...woohoo strength 30!

Merchant
2012-02-27, 11:42 AM
Kellus! Hey Kellus! Over here!

I hate you for making such a great class that can not be peached. Well Done!

Anywho. Not sure about other PrCs but have you considered an undead maker. Special Frankenstein Prc that is able to animate life into his ... fleshwork monstrousity?


Anyway's can't wait till the next preview. Hopefully I'll be able to peach on the next one. Stinks when any good idea I get, you got it first.

Edit: Just saw your Nosomatic Prc. Kind of has the feel I was thinking of. Think about it tho. If anyone can come up with a way. I know You can! :P

Merchant
2012-02-27, 11:46 AM
comp problem. double post*

Apologies

Retrokinesis
2012-04-24, 02:17 PM
Amazing class, and I can't wait for the full Blue Book! Some questions though:

1. Can you perform a Skin Binding attack with a ranged weapon if you have the first combat style bonus?

2. With Wearer of Pelts, do you get any ability PENALTIES as well? I says both "racial modifiers" and "ability BONUS" so I'm not sure.

3. At 7th level, does Wild Face provide concealment of any kind? It mentions "obscuring them from sight".

4. Is there any particular reason why you'd WANT to make pelts out of humanoids or monstrous humanoids? They typically have much worse ability modifiers.

Kellus
2012-04-24, 06:01 PM
Amazing class, and I can't wait for the full Blue Book! Some questions though:

1. Can you perform a Skin Binding attack with a ranged weapon if you have the first combat style bonus?

2. With Wearer of Pelts, do you get any ability PENALTIES as well? I says both "racial modifiers" and "ability BONUS" so I'm not sure.

3. At 7th level, does Wild Face provide concealment of any kind? It mentions "obscuring them from sight".

4. Is there any particular reason why you'd WANT to make pelts out of humanoids or monstrous humanoids? They typically have much worse ability modifiers.

I'm glad you like it! Good questions:

1. Skin binding requires a Power Attack. The first ranged ability lets you Power Attack with projectiles. So, yes, absolutely!

2. Good catch! The first instance should read modifiers instead of bonuses. Thanks for bringing it to my attention!

3. That depends liberally on your interpretation of some illusion rules. I would say no, but I could see an argument for it. Essentially, you're wearing an illusion suit that looks like the creature. I'll clarify the wording.

4. The main benefit I see is being able to make perfect disguises of the humanoid for your friends to wear around. Plus having them as favoured enemies is kind of handy. Ability scores, not so much, but that's why the real capstone is being able to create lycanthropes!

Anyay, glad you like it! More material might probably should be maybe coming out in the vicinity of soon-ish, so stay tuned! :)