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Noctis Vigil
2012-09-21, 02:22 PM
Focused Master

Some people focus on mastering lots and lots of weapons. Not so with Focused Masters. They have spent time dedicating their focus on a few specific weapons, and the results show.

Prerequisites:
Proficiencies: Proficient with selected weapon.
Feats: Weapon Focus with selected weapon.
BAB: +5
Special: Must choose one weapon to specialize in, and have practiced with the selected weapon for one week straight, with no breaks except for food or sleep.

Class Skills: Balance (Dex), Climb (Str), Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Escape Artist (Dex), Hide (Dex), Jump (Str), Listen (Wis), Move Silently (Dex), Perform (Cha), Profession (Wis), Sense Motive (Wis), Spot (Wis), Swim (Str), and Tumble (Dex)
Skillpoints: 4 + Int

Hit Die: D10

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

1st|
+1|
+2|
+2|
+0|Weapon Specialization, Improved Accuracy, Fluid Dedication

2nd|
+2|
+3|
+3|
+0|Greater Weapon Focus, Great Power

3rd|
+3|
+3|
+3|
+1|Greater Weapon Specialization, Improved Critical[/table]

Proficiencies: A Focused Specialist gains no new proficiencies.

Fluid Dedication: A Focused Specialist will admit that just one kind of weapon is not enough sometimes. Thus, he can, through intense training, change his weapon of choice. To do this, he must select a new weapon with which he is proficient and train with it for two weeks, stopping only to eat and sleep. At the end of this time, pick one weapon in which the Focused Specialist is dedicated, and change all feats associated with that weapon to be associated with the new weapon instead (this feat cannot change weapon proficiencies, but will work with any other feat that makes you pick a single weapon). You do not have to change every feat dedicated to the old weapon in this manner, but if you change a prerequisite feat you must also choose every other feat that requires the prerequisite (ex: Weapon Focus and Weapon Specialization). You may only use the Fluid Dedication ability for one weapon at a time; if you wish to change his focus from or to multiple weapons, an additional two weeks of training is required for each change of one weapon to another.

Weapon Specialization: At 1st level, a Focused Specialist gains the Weapon Specialization feat for their chosen weapon, even if they do not meet the prerequisites for it.

Improved Accuracy: Starting at 1st level, the bonus granted by Weapon Focus (and the bonus granted by Greater Weapon Focus when they get it) are doubled for his chosen weapon. He also gains an additional +2 bonus to hit with his chosen weapon upon reaching 3rd level.

Greater Weapon Focus: At 2nd level, a Focused Specialist gains the Greater Weapon Focus feat for their chosen weapon, even if they do not meet the prerequisites for it.

Great Power: Starting at 2nd level, the bonus granted by Weapon Specialization (and the bonus granted by Greater Weapon Specialization when they get it) are doubled for his chosen weapon. Additionally, starting at 3rd level his chosen weapon deals twice as much damage upon hitting.

Greater Weapon Specialization: At 3rd level, a Focused Specialist gains the Greater Weapon Specialization feat for their chosen weapon, even if they do not meet the prerequisites for it.

Improved Critical: At 3rd level, a Focused Specialist is treated as having the Improved Critical feat for their chosen weapon. They do not actually gain the feat, however, just the bonus it would grant. Should they later take the feat as well, the bonus from the feat stacks with this bonus (two doublings of the critical threat range equals a tripling).

Special: Levels in this class count as levels in the Fighter base class for the purpose of qualifying for feats or prestige classes.

Special: A character may take this class more than once, mastering all three levels for multiple weapons. However, you must take all three levels for one weapon before beginning the class again for a new weapon.

Debihuman
2012-09-21, 05:36 PM
Rather than just give out the feats why not make them prerequisites? There is almost nothing gained that a standard fighter couldn't have.


Special: Must choose one weapon to specialize in, and have practiced with the selected weapon for one week straight, without breaks for food or sleep.

Not sleeping for a week would be a problem for most people. I think not sleeping and not eating are silly requirements.

Debby

Noctis Vigil
2012-09-21, 07:30 PM
If add the feats as prerequisites, that means only someone with 12 levels of Fighter can take this. Frankly, this is the closest I've come to making a "Fighter fix". This gives them access to three good feats, and increases their power. Heck, you could even take this with another class other than Fighter if you wanted (it always struck me as kind of silly that WS, GWF and GWS required several levels in Fighter as prerequisites). So yeah, this isn't meant to be a huge improvement, it's meant to make the feats worthwhile. If you still think it needs something, I'll come up with something else to give them as well.

Debihuman
2012-09-22, 08:19 AM
Point taken except that Weapon Specialization is easy enough to gain with a requirement of BAB +5 since that could be the 4th level bonus feat and makes taking this class less desirable. I'd recommend making WS a prerequisite (note I probably shouldn't have suggested that you make all the feats prerequisites).

Most Prestige Classes are 5 levels so spacing this out a bit also gives you a chance to add more features other than just handing out a bunch of feats. Also, giving out two bonus feats per level is a tad overpowered.

Debby

Answerer
2012-09-22, 09:20 AM
Most Prestige Classes are 5 levels so spacing this out a bit also gives you a chance to add more features other than just handing out a bunch of feats. Also, giving out two bonus feats per level is a tad overpowered.
I'm sorry, but every single statement in this paragraph is just flat-out wrong, with the exception of the implied suggestion of features beyond just handing out feats.

It is crucial to understand how much time a given concept deserves. This is also one of the most common mistakes made in 3.5 design, whether by Wizards or in homebrew. There are enormous numbers of 10-level PrCs that should be 5-level, plenty of 5-level PrCs that should be 3-level. There are, for that matter, plenty of 3-level PrCs; this has plenty of precedent.

As for this one? Having a PrC for it at all strikes me as weird. Spending your levels 6-8, when you could be in a much better PrC, strikes me as a bad idea. Overpowered? Hardly. It's giving out just a series of feats, feats that are generally pretty awful, and it's doing it at levels at which you could be taking a real PrC.

Overall, I really don't like it. I don't like Weapon Focus et al. to begin with; making it into an entire PrC strikes me as a not-good idea. Having a PrC that does nothing but hand out feats, even if it is at a very efficient rate, strikes me as quite boring. The Fighter is really terrible design; I recommend against using it as a base line for your designs.

There are two real problems. One, focusing on a single weapon like that is just asking a terrible DM to screw you over by preventing you from getting one. Two, and more importantly, these class features are mostly meh as anything.

Classes need unique features. This gets a series of Core feats that you could take (albeit slower) anyway. Weapon Focus, Weapon Specialization, Greater Weapon Focus, Greater Weapon Specialization, and Improved Critical are all thoroughly mediocre. The only reason anyone ever takes any of them is for the sake of prerequisites.

Improved Accuracy is just another bonus on top of Weapon Focus; a bit more efficient now, but still pretty meh. Yay, it's a +4 bonus to hit; certainly wouldn't say no, but not terribly exciting.

Great Power is interesting, since it doubles damage. A damage multiplier is pretty solid. Uberchargers are always looking for more of those, I suppose, which makes it possibly a worthwhile investment if you take this class with respect to a Lance.

Anyway, I'd like this PrC a lot better if it required BAB +4 and Weapon Specialization, say, and its levels counted double as Fighter levels for the sake of the prerequisites of feats that require Weapon Focus (or any feat that requires Weapon Focus previously in the chain). Then we'd be getting somewhere. You could take it from levels 5-7, which means you're only delaying a "real" PrC by two levels. You'd get a bunch of really terrible feats, but maybe you can use them for prerequisites. Plus, it means that you can get to something like Weapon Supremacy without quite so many Fighter levels, which is good because it means someone might actually take Weapon Supremacy.

But mostly, this class is a series of +numbers at a time when mundane classes desperately need unique abilities, and that's not good.

Fruchtfliege
2012-09-22, 10:32 AM
Well I certainly like the idea of it, but have to agree, that being this focused just invitest bad DMs to screw you over.
I'd add a class feature like

Weapon Mastery (EX): You can change all your feats that are focused on a specific weapon or weapon group to another weapon/group by meditating and training with this particular weapon/group for one weak straight.

Kind of like weapon aptitude of the warblade, but less powerful yetstill useful.
Maybe make it only a day or two instead of a whole week so that its even usable during a running campaign.

Debihuman
2012-09-22, 11:07 AM
Answerer's response though rather vehement does have a few valid points.

First, I should stated that most prestige classes are 10 levels with some at 5 and fewer at 3. While there is nothing inherently wrong with 3 levels of prestige classes, it struck me that if you had made Weapon Specialization a prerequisite (ignoring the part about evil DMs not allowing you access to your weapon1), you would still have 5 feats to disperse making it easy to convert into a 5 level class and giving you wiggle room to add more attractive features.

I won't disparage your choice of feats since it is clear you mean this to be a narrow focus prestige class. However, both Answerer and I felt this class is just too monotonous to be attractive in comparison to some other prestige classes.

This is where Answerer was at his best:


I'd like this PrC a lot better if it required BAB +4 and Weapon Specialization, say, and its levels counted double as Fighter levels for the sake of the prerequisites of feats that require Weapon Focus (or any feat that requires Weapon Focus previously in the chain).

I think that spoke more directly to the issues with this prestige class. At least consider the idea.

Debby

1Any DM that is classified as an "evil" DM is one you should probably avoid.

Answerer
2012-09-22, 01:21 PM
The concept does not, under any circumstances, justify a 5-level class. A 5-level class is a terrible idea. And it is not overpowered to give out such crappy feats so quickly.

Debihuman
2012-09-22, 04:53 PM
The concept does not, under any circumstances, justify a 5-level class. A 5-level class is a terrible idea. And it is not overpowered to give out such crappy feats so quickly.

Breaking this class down:

At 1st level, you do +2 damage and your bonus to attack from Weapon Focus changes to +2;

At 2nd level, you gain +2 to attack and do additional +4 damage.

At 3rd level, you do an addition +4 damage, do double damage with your chosen weapon, and double the threat range of your weapon (and it would stack with Improved Critical).

I'd say that the feats are a lot less crappy since most of their bonuses are doubled. You'll do a lot of damage with your selected weapon at lower levels but none of the effects scale.

Trying to qualify for this class can be a real pain.

Going a week without eating results in your character having to deal with the starvation rules (updated most recently in the Rules Compendium pg 140).

With a week of no sleep you should look at the rules regarding fatigue and exhaustion too. Per the SRD, a character can walk or do normal exertion for 8 hours before they have to start making checks to avoid being fatigued. Hustling or more strenuous exertion can be done for 1 hour before starting to make checks to avoid being fatigued. And once fatigued, if you get fatigued again, you get exhausted. I'd say that if you continue to practice with your weapon when exhausted, you'd take nonlethal damage just as if you would be on a forced march as this:

A character can walk for more than 8 hours in a day by making a forced march. For each hour of marching beyond 8 hours, a Constitution check (DC 10, +2 per extra hour) is required. If the check fails, the character takes 1d6 points of nonlethal damage. A character who takes any nonlethal damage from a forced march becomes fatigued. Eliminating the nonlethal damage also eliminates the fatigue. Itís possible for a character to march into unconsciousness by pushing himself too hard.

If you fall unconscious when attempting to join this class you would not meet the prerequisite and would have to start over.

Debby

Veklim
2012-09-22, 05:14 PM
Right then!

Firstly, it states EXCEPT food and sleep, you may eat, drink and rest, just not do anything else except training. This seems fine to me.

Secondly, I happen to agree with the OP, WS is agreed to be sub-standard except as a requirement, and the idea of it being fighter-only is kinda ridiculous. It shouldn't be a requirement because it's designed to give non-fighters access to it. A soulknife would actually become semi-effective with this PrC, and that is good.

Thirdly, this class does need something other than feats, stretch it to 5 levels and present a unique ability at 2nd & 4th, and you may be onto something here. Consider perhaps a list of abilities, one for each weapon category, and maybe one for each damage type.

Fourthly, this works well for a fighter, better than people are giving it credit for, in 3 levels as it currently stands, a fighter can become very proficient with a single weapon, meaning you could easily have one melee and one ranged weapon being effective by level 8, and I'd say this is a bloody good thing for a fighter to do.

Although this class feels a little lack-lustre, I actually rather like the intention behind it. If fighters are so bad, and their fighter only feats are seen as limited or downright awful, then why on earth is compressing the attainment and broadening the access to these feats such a bad plan? I've had plenty of Barbarians who would have loved this.

Answerer
2012-09-23, 09:34 AM
Do not stretch it to five levels under any circumstances. Three levels is already too many levels, really, to devote to a single weapon. A 10th level character needs way more than "I am really good with this single type of weapon."

Veklim
2012-09-23, 10:14 AM
But, but.....that's what fighters do! They spend 20 levels at a time getting REALLY good with a single weapon (or mediocre at 2 or 3). I suggested 5 levels for the sake of adding utility to the class, since cramming any more into 3 levels seems kinda silly and taking away any of those feats negates the point of taking the PrC...'twas just a suggestion! :smallamused:

Answerer
2012-09-23, 12:13 PM
Yeah, the problem is that 3.5 already has way too much support for the idea in the first place. But the thing is, all those feats are pretty much crap anyway. Oh, they count, the bonuses add up, but they don't let you do anything new and they don't make it so it's like you never miss or never fail to kill anything.

Great Power is kind of a big deal because the damage increase is actually quite large, but it's hardly unique and Fighters were hardly hurting for damage.

In reality, there should be more and more unique features, but I don't really see any problem with giving them in addition to all those crap feats that this thing gets. OK, so it gets all those weapon speciality feats that no one really wanted anyway. That's fitting and appropriate, but no one really cares.

So looking at the PrC overall, there are two questions: first, how many levels are appropriate to the concept? Well, it's really a very specialized thing: you get really good with your weapon. That doesn't deserve many levels; you should not need to be a 10th level character to finish doing that. For example, the Exotic Weapon Master (not precisely a stellar piece of design, and certainly not overpowered) is only three levels. Great precedent there, and I think it's right.

Actually, that brings me to the second question: what sort of things should a PrC with this concept get? Weapon tricks a la the Exotic Weapon Master would be a pretty good answer. A sort "Focused Master//Exotic Weapon Master" gestalt thing would be close to perfect in my mind for what this PrC should be going for.

Does it give out a lot of things? Yes. Does it have a rather cramped Special section of the table? Yeah, it does. Is it, considering all that, actually overpowered? Not in the slightest.

Mind you, I don't particularly consider the goal (mastering a single weapon) to be very good design; I consider a Warblade 1 dip (at the very least) to be crucial to this PrC because of Weapon Aptitude. And I don't think it's a good thing for a character to have that kind of weakness (dependency on a single weapon type), because it puts the DM in an awkward situation (either it never comes up and is therefore a hypothetical weakness, or it does and the character is crippled; neither is good). But if you're going to do it, at least make it interesting by giving the character things it can do that no one else can do with those weapons.

Debihuman
2012-09-23, 01:32 PM
EXCEPT food and sleep, you may eat, drink and rest, just not do
anything else except training. This seems fine to me.
The original post has been edited to correct the initial requirement forgoing food and sleep for a week. A good thing too. It would be helpful if the edits were noted as they were being made (hint, hint).

Overall, I think Focused Master has improved but its major problem is that it is a one trick pony. No one would ever really want to play this. The benefits gained are easily lost if you ever have to fight with a weapon that isn't your selected one. There is no way to confer these abilities on a new weapon without starting over.

While I can appreciate the thought behind the class, in reality it just isn't practical. The fighter with this class just loses too much versatility for what is gained in return. Most damaging is there is a very exploitable weakness to this class. What happens if the selected item is removed from play? You effectively lose all those benefits for as long as your selected weapon is gone. Plus if your selected weapon is your trusty +1 longsword and you find a +3 flaming keen bane greatsword of giant slaying, you are S.O.L.

I would be hesitant about the Improved Critical capstone ability. I'm just a bit leery about allowing threat ranges to stack.

Debby

Noctis Vigil
2012-09-24, 01:30 AM
Added Fluid Dedication at 1st level.

Debihuman: I'm going to leave this at three levels. It was intended to be a "blow through it quickly, gain lots of prepeqs" type of class, and I feel any more than three levels negates that.

Answerer: I'm aware that focus on one weapon is a bit of a problem in D&D, however it's not something I'm about to try and fix, simply because it's one of the few pieces of believable realism the game manages to maintain. Very few people actually MASTER ALL THE WEAPONS!!! Most people only get really good with a few. However, since this can change over time, Fluid Dedication has been added.

As for worries about multiple increases to threat range...maybe you guys see crits more often, but at my table we usually see one or two a session, if we're lucky. Making crits for combat more common is in no ways hugely game breaking. I've seen whole sessions of "melee/ranged combat misses, arcane spell kills the boss, divine spell fries all the undead", so I really don't see the problem.

Veklim
2012-09-24, 06:00 AM
Overall, I think Focused Master has improved but its major problem is that it is a one trick pony. No one would ever really want to play this. The benefits gained are easily lost if you ever have to fight with a weapon that isn't your selected one. There is no way to confer these abilities on a new weapon without starting over.

This stands true with almost every semi-effective fighter build in 3.5 anyhow. This PrC simply offers combat builds a way of focusing on a weapon for 3 levels (and one WF feat for requirements) to gain the same advantage as would be had with 6-8 levels of fighter. It's not trying to fix anything, it's simply offering an easier/quicker way to effectiveness with a chosen weapon.