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View Full Version : Wild Warden (of Ehlonna) [3.5 PrC PEACH]



dspeyer
2013-02-21, 11:44 PM
This class started as I was pondering the Celestial Paragons of BoED and their role in the prestige classes of the same book. It seemed to me that the existing good gods would have made a better focus. So I set out to create a prestige class for each non-racial good god who doesn't already have one. This is the first, for Ehlonna.

Wild Warden
I believe that life, all life, is sacred. It would be most unwise to violate that sanctity in front of me.

Wild wardens are committed to both nature and goodness. They are often found healing entire ecosystems, restoring life to regions that have been blasted by war or dark magic -- or fighting to prevent such damage in the first place.

They have an uneasy relationship with mainstream druids, who expect good and evil to set aside their differences in the service of nature. Also, wild wardens care for people who live civilized lives, and want to see the earth provide its bounty to them as well. Still, when it comes to protecting the land, they manage to work together.

Prerequisites
Alignment: Neutral Good
Spells: able to cast Dominate Animal or Plant Growth
Skills: 8 ranks in knowledge(nature)
Special: either Turn Undead or Wild Shape




LevelBABFortRefWillSpecialFormsSpellcasting
10202Alternate Forms; Friend to All Living ThingsBlack Bear
21303Power Flexibility; Swift GrowthEagle+1 of existing divine class
32313Speak with AnimalsBlink Dog+1 of existing divine class
43414GraceBrown Bear+1 of existing divine class
53414Speak with PlantsGiant Eagle+1 of existing divine class
64525Massive Growth; Nature's TalentUnicorn
75525Speak with StonesDire Bear+1 of existing divine class
86626Smite the UnnaturalLammasu+1 of existing divine class
96636Speak with Wind and WaterMetallic Chimera+1 of existing divine class
107737Supreme GrowthLegendary Bear+1 of existing divine class


Hit die: d8
Skills: 2+int
Class Skills: Concentration, Diplomacy, Knowledge(nature), Knowledge(religion), Spellcraft, Survival


Alternate Forms(su)
A wild warden may shift at will into animal or partially animal forms, as if she were a natural lycanthrope (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/monsters/lycanthrope.htm). Each level she gains a new potential form. She gains both the animal and hybrid forms, according to standard lycanthrope rules (note that she gains the animals racial ability bonuses, not its ability scores as in wild shape). Shifting forms is a standard action. She gains all supernatural and spell-like abilities of the form, but not spellcasting.

At ninth level she gains metallic chimera form. This is like an ordinary chimera except that its dragon head is of a metallic species. The wild warden chooses the species when she reaches that level, and cannot change it later. She gains both of the dragon's breath weapons.

Friend to All Living Things(su)
All animals, vermin and plant creatures are naturally friendly toward a wild warden. They will not willingly attack her except under extreme provication. Nor will they flee from her. They will help her as best they easily can, given their limited understanding of her needs.

Power Flexibility
A wild warden may use wild shape and turn undead interchangeably for qualifying for and powering feats (such as Cheetah's Speed or Divine Metamagic).

Swift Growth(su)
A wild warden can induce a plant or all plants within a cubic meter to undergo a seasons worth of growth in a minute. This includes seasonal activities, such as the production of fruit. She cannot repeat the act for any given plant more than once a week.

Speak with Animals/Plants/Stones/Wind and Water(su)
A wild warden can converse with parts of the natural world. As with the Speak with Animals / Speak with Plants / Stone Tell spells, she has no difficulty communicating, but the entity may not be aware of the subject she wishes to discuss.

Grace(su)
A wild warden adds her charisma modifier, if positive, to all saves and to AC as a deflection bonus.

Massive Growth(su)
Like Swift Growth, but 10 years worth of growth. If this power is applied to a plant with less than a 10 year lifespan, the plant's children are also effected.

Nature's Talent(su)
A wild warden gains the use of animals talents. At any given time, she may use one special quality, special attack, movement mode or racial skill bonus of an animal she is familiar with (for example: a bat's echolocation, a lion's pounce, a badger's burrowing, a cat's jumping). Changing the talent is a standard action.

Smite the Unnatural(su)
When making a melee attack against an evil creature that is either inherently unnatural (such as an undead or aberration) or is actively destroying an ecosystem, a wild warden can make it a smite attack. She addes her charisma bonus (if any) to the attack role and her character level to damage. She can use this ability three times a day.

Supreme Growth(su)
A wild warden at the peak of her powers can cause a region up to a mile on a side to grow until it reaches ecological equalibrium, including the arrival of species that would normally come from the outside at that time. This may cause massive damage to any artificial strucures in the area. This take 1 hour and costs 3000 xp.

Frathe
2013-02-22, 02:27 PM
Massive Growth(su)
Like Swift Growth, but 10 years worth of growth.
I think the effects of this ability could be better pinned down mechanically. What happens if you grow an annual plant? Does it die or have children?



Nature's Talent(su)
A wild warden gains the use of animals talents. At any given time, she may use one special quality, special attack, movement mode or racial skill bonus of an animal she is familiar with (for example: a bat's echolocation, a lion's pounce, a badger's burrowing, a cat's jumping). Changing the talent is a standard action.
What qualifies as being "familiar with" an animal?

Could this apply to templated animals (that retain the animal type)?


Smite the Unnatural(su)
When making a melee attack against an evil creature that is either inherently unnatural (such as an undead or aberration) or is actively destroying an ecosystem, a wild warden can make it a smite attack. She addes her charisma bonus (if any) to the attack role and her character level to damage. She can use this ability three times a day.
Would a construct be unnatural? Probably. What about an ooze?


Supreme Growth(su)
A wild warden at the peak of her powers can cause a region up to a mile on a side to grow until it reaches ecological equalibrium, including the arrival of species that would normally come from the outside at that time. This may cause massive damage to any artificial strucures in the area. After doing so, the wild warden falls unconscious and sleeps for a week to restore her powers.
A week of forced sleep seems like too high a penalty in game terms, and too much of a disincentive to actually use this ability when the stakes are high. You might consider something more like a once per week limit, and/or have a heavy XP cost, perhaps with the option of asking for your deity's intercession (as in miracle) negating the XP cost.

tardisvalkyrie
2013-02-22, 02:56 PM
This class started as I was pondering the Celestial Paragons of BoED and their role in the prestige classes of the same book. It seemed to me that the existing good gods would have made a better focus. So I set out to create a prestige class for each non-racial good god who doesn't already have one. This is the first, for Ehlonna.

Wild Warden
I believe that life, all life, is sacred. It would be most unwise to violate that sanctity in front of me.

Wild wardens are committed to both nature and goodness. They are often found healing entire ecosystems, restoring life to regions that have been blasted by war or dark magic -- or fighting to prevent such damage in the first place.

They have an uneasy relationship with mainstream druids, who expect good and evil to set aside their differences in the service of nature. Also, wild wardens care for people who live civilized lives, and want to see the earth provide its bounty to them as well. Still, when it comes to protecting the land, they manage to work together.

Prerequisites Alignment: Neutral GoodSpells: able to cast Dominate Animal or Plant GrowthSkills: 8 ranks in knowledge(nature)Special: either Turn Undead or Wild Shape
LevelBABFortRefWillSpecialFormsSpellcasting10202Al ternate Forms; Friend to All Living ThingsBlack Bear¬*21303Power Flexibility; Swift GrowthEagle+1 of existing divine class32313Speak with AnimalsBlink Dog+1 of existing divine class43414GraceBrown Bear+1 of existing divine class53414Speak with PlantsGiant Eagle+1 of existing divine class64525Massive Growth; Nature's TalentUnicorn¬*75525Speak with StonesDire Bear+1 of existing divine class86626Smite the UnnaturalLammasu+1 of existing divine class96636Speak with Wind and WaterMetallic Chimera+1 of existing divine class107737Supreme GrowthLegendary Bear+1 of existing divine class Hit die: d8
Skills: 2+int
Class Skills: Concentration, Diplomacy, Knowledge(nature), Knowledge(religion), Spellcraft, Survival


Alternate Forms(su)
A wild warden may shift at will into animal or partially animal forms, as if she were a natural lycanthrope. Each level she gains a new potential form. She gains both the animal and hybrid forms, according to standard lycanthrope rules (note that she gains the animals racial ability bonuses, not its ability scores as in wild shape). Shifting forms is a standard action. She gains all supernatural and spell-like abilities of the form, but not spellcasting.

At ninth level she gains metallic chimera form. This is like an ordinary chimera except that its dragon head is of a metallic species. The wild warden chooses the species when she reaches that level, and cannot change it later. She gains both of the dragon's breath weapons.

Friend to All Living Things(su)
All animals, vermin and plant creatures are naturally friendly toward a wild warden. They will not willingly attack her except under extreme provication. Nor will they flee from her. They will help her as best they easily can, given their limited understanding of her needs.

Power Flexibility
A wild warden may use wild shape and turn undead interchangeably for qualifying for and powering feats (such as Cheetah's Speed or Divine Metamagic).

Swift Growth(su)
A wild warden can induce a plant or all plants within a cubic meter to undergo a seasons worth of growth in a minute. This includes seasonal activities, such as the production of fruit. She cannot repeat the act for any given plant more than once a week.

Speak with Animals/Plants/Stones/Wind and Water(su)
A wild warden can converse with parts of the natural world. As with the Speak with Animals / Speak with Plants / Stone Tell spells, she has no difficulty communicating, but the entity may not be aware of the subject she wishes to discuss.

Grace(su)
A wild warden adds her charisma modifier, if positive, to all saves and to AC as a deflection bonus.

Massive Growth(su)
Like Swift Growth, but 10 years worth of growth.

Nature's Talent(su)
A wild warden gains the use of animals talents. At any given time, she may use one special quality, special attack, movement mode or racial skill bonus of an animal she is familiar with (for example: a bat's echolocation, a lion's pounce, a badger's burrowing, a cat's jumping). Changing the talent is a standard action.

Smite the Unnatural(su)
When making a melee attack against an evil creature that is either inherently unnatural (such as an undead or aberration) or is actively destroying an ecosystem, a wild warden can make it a smite attack. She addes her charisma bonus (if any) to the attack role and her character level to damage. She can use this ability three times a day.

Supreme Growth(su)
A wild warden at the peak of her powers can cause a region up to a mile on a side to grow until it reaches ecological equalibrium, including the arrival of species that would normally come from the outside at that time. This may cause massive damage to any artificial strucures in the area. After doing so, the wild warden falls unconscious and sleeps for a week to restore her powers.




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dspeyer
2013-02-23, 03:50 AM
I think the effects of this ability could be better pinned down mechanically. What happens if you grow an annual plant? Does it die or have children?


Good point. Um...

If the plant has a normal life span less than five years, the plant's children are also affected by this power.

That way you can create a grove of strawberries, but you can't go insane with maple trees.



What qualifies as being "familiar with" an animal?

Could this apply to templated animals (that retain the animal type)?


It's the same language as for druidic wildshape. So, in practice, the bar is very low :-)

What templates leave the creature as an animal?



Would a construct be unnatural? Probably. What about an ooze?


Constructs are nonnatural, but not really unnatural. I probably need to define this better. I'll have to think about it.



A week of forced sleep seems like too high a penalty in game terms, and too much of a disincentive to actually use this ability when the stakes are high. You might consider something more like a once per week limit, and/or have a heavy XP cost, perhaps with the option of asking for your deity's intercession (as in miracle) negating the XP cost.

You may be right. What would be a reasonable xp cost? Miracle is 5000. I'm not sure if you could duplicate this effect with a very powerful miracle. It's certainly a lot less flexible, though.

Usually I've found players very reluctant to sacrifice xp, but it might be the best fitting game mechanic.

Frathe
2013-02-23, 05:54 PM
What templates leave the creature as an animal?The Paragon template, for example. Grants several special qualities without changing type. It's probably fine if the language is from an existing ability, though.


Usually I've found players very reluctant to sacrifice xp, but it might be the best fitting game mechanic.I think maybe so, just because this does seem a lot like miracle, though more limited. Maybe you could lower the XP cost (from 5000 to more like 4000 or 3000) because its more limited use (although it can do something I'm not sure a miracle could, it can only do one thing).

dspeyer
2013-02-25, 05:15 PM
I went with 3000 xp and edited that in.

T.G. Oskar
2013-02-26, 02:17 AM
Well, to be a bit technical, Ehlonna does have a PrC of her own; however, that depends on whether you consider Dragon Compendium a viable source or not. The Fleet Runner of Ehlonna has some odd abilities, but works mostly as a skirmisher class than anything else, granting Spring Attack and a bunch of other feats, and eventually you get to Pounce. Grants no spellcasting, though.

That said, the class is...pretty bizarre, by all means. It has promise (and LOTS of promise), but it's torn between quirks and near-broken stuff. Here's the deal:

The quirky:
The Plant Growth-based abilities. You start up with the equivalent of a pretty much permanent Plant Growth spell, and later you end up with the ability to create a forest in an hour and spending 3000 xp. While it's somewhat fitting, I'd collapse Swift Growth, Massive Growth and Supreme Growth into modifications to Plant Growth, probably also expanding the options (spend one casting of Plant Growth to make plants resistant to effects such as Blight and Horrid Wilting).
Wild shape is perfectly acceptable, so granting them alternate forms seems a bit odd. Wild shape already acts pretty much as an alternate form, so might as well keep with it. If the idea is to provide a modification, you could do it as a latter ability, a modification to existing Wild Shape.
Friend to All Natural Things. Remind me why do I have Wild Empathy once again?

The broken:
Nature's Talent. It's at level 6, and you sacrifice a spell slot for it, which is a fair trade; on the other hand, the effects are pretty strong (you can get blindsense, any kind of movement, pounce, improved grab, etc.) almost permanently, with no more effort than a standard action, and without distinction of "you have to be in this form to do so". Thus, you can mix and match powers, such as having a class with multiple attacks suddenly doing a pounce. This might not seem like a lot, but wait until you get Shapechange. A decent-sized dragon pulling off a pounce every turn is NOT the kind of friendly I'd expect, and worse when you keep your spellcasting abilities (since dragons can speak AND can pull off somatic components).
Cha-based abilities. While Druids and Clerics focus on Wisdom, most don't need to focus on anything else, so Charisma might not seem like a bad thing to boost. Clerics, in particular, may find boosting Charisma better, because they can get more uses of TU. But that's not the real problem. Take 1 level of Cleric, the rest on Spirit Shaman. Do the calc. For a loss of 3 spell level (a definite loss, but not so much), you get a suitable boost to all saves, AC (even if it's a deflection bonus), and a decent smite effect. However, it's the Grace ability that's pretty offending, because you're giving the best classes in the game a reason why to be even more powerful.
Legendary bear hybrids. Pre-epic. And you can still cast your own spells (you just don't get the spells from the forms you assume; there's nothing that says you lose your ability to cast spells, and since you can turn into a hybrid which may allow for spellcasting abilities while keeping the size and traits of the form you assume, it's the best of two worlds). That said, Alternate Form is not just quirky, but broken. Mix Nature's Talent with it, and you can pretty much figure it out.

Making it pretty much a Cleric- or Druid-based class seems a wee bit offensive, particularly since Spirit Shamans and Rangers are left behind, while two Tier 1 classes get an ever bigger boost. Mind dealing with the pre-reqs so that they might also gain a benefit? Rangers need a 1-level dip and 11 levels in Ranger to get only 8 levels in the class, and Spirit Shamans lose their 9th level spells because they need to dip Cleric for TU (unless they find access, somehow, to Dismiss or Dispel Evil for a dip in Sacred Exorcist). Might want to tone down the power somewhat, or let more classes get in, because a class meant for Clerics and Druids that already boosts their powers despite being in a great chassis (the way the abilities are set up? Kudos on that; nicely placed) is thematically appropriate, but potentially game-shattering. It's not to the same degree as Planar Shepherd, but pretty darn close to it.

dspeyer
2013-02-28, 02:49 AM
Making entry for rangers easier would be appropriate. I just don't want to let archivists waltz in. Making the spell requirements Hold Animal or Barkskin works easily enough, but handling Power Flexibility gets ugly. Then again, letting you spend favored enemy like tu/ws could make a nice boost for ranger entry. Something like "Spending a use" of favored enemy decreases the bonus against one enemy by one point for the rest of the day. A bonus cannot be decreased below zero.

I don't know Spirit Shaman. What book is it in?

As for brokenness, I don't really see it. Pounce isn't that hard to get, the paladin features aren't all that useful, and legendary bears are about balanced with Woolly Mammoths, which are available to ordinary druids at that level. Granted, being balanced against straight druid means being at the high end of tier 1.

T.G. Oskar
2013-02-28, 04:39 AM
Making entry for rangers easier would be appropriate. I just don't want to let archivists waltz in. Making the spell requirements Hold Animal or Barkskin works easily enough, but handling Power Flexibility gets ugly. Then again, letting you spend favored enemy like tu/ws could make a nice boost for ranger entry. Something like "Spending a use" of favored enemy decreases the bonus against one enemy by one point for the rest of the day. A bonus cannot be decreased below zero.

An Archivist dipping into Sacred Exorcist gets in without many troubles. Note that they get all Knowledges, so meeting those ranks won't really matter. On the other hand, Rangers have it almost impossible, because they need a 3rd level spell (for them) to enter, and only if they dipped in Cleric or dunked in Druid (or took 1 level of Shapeshifter from Oriental Adventures, which should grant Wild Shape), OR are a Wildshape Ranger, and even then they're pretty much screwed.

On the favored enemy idea...doesn't really sell. The ability is already too weak so that you feel forced to nerf it even more just to qualify for a class, even if it's to "power up" a use of Turn Undead (or Wild Shape). You could make Rangers progress their Favored Enemy while on the class, however, instead of gaining a pseudo-form of Wild Shape or Turn Undead to qualify for feats. As an alternative, they could sacrifice 1st level spells, which are pretty limited enough.


I don't know Spirit Shaman. What book is it in?

Complete Divine. It's one of the three classes they introduce, though to be fair, only the Spirit Shaman is reintroduced. The Spirit Shaman is a spontaneous caster that has access to the Druid spell list, with the small caveat that they "prepare" the spells they'll use during the day by means of pleading to their spirit guide, but once prepared, they have access to them at all times (using the Druid spell list is one of the reasons why they're not Tier 2, in any case). They also have a lot of spirit-related features, such as Censure Spirits which is Turn Undead in all but name and target (spirits, which involve fey, incorporeal undead or creatures with the [spirit] subtype from Oriental Adventures), which could be their entry requirement and the effect that fuels Power Flexibility.

Spirit Shaman wasn't really supported that much, which is the reason why you rarely see it.


As for brokenness, I don't really see it. Pounce isn't that hard to get, the paladin features aren't all that useful, and legendary bears are about balanced with Woolly Mammoths, which are available to ordinary druids at that level. Granted, being balanced against straight druid means being at the high end of tier 1.

The thing is that you're adding pounce at all times, even when transformed. Or worse: if you already find a way to gain pounce (Lion's Charge, a dip into Spirit Lion Totem Barbarian, the Pouncing Charge maneuver), that means you can simply provide another feature, as the ability is way too ambiguous. How about hearing someone say "I'll add the fleshraker's venom to my attacks", and then pounces with them as a chimera or legendary bear? It's not really the pounce, but rather the open-ended nature of the feat; note that dinosaurs are considered animals, which opens them to consideration, and also potential animal companions, which might provide the idea if you look for "good Druid animal companions".

There's a reason why Paladins are considered a 2-level dip, and that's because Divine Grace is just THAT good. Grace is twice as good, because you provide a deflection bonus to AC on top of an unnamed bonus to saves, based on the character's Charisma. It may seem odd that you give Charisma-based abilities to already powerful classes, but there are several ways to boost Charisma to something worthwhile (cloaks of Charisma, with Wilding Clasps if you're a Druid; spells such as Greater Visage of the Deity, and if you're not stingy with magic items, even tomes or a Miracle for inherent bonuses to that ability score). Druids only get a fringe benefit (their Wild Empathy is better), but Clerics get more uses of Turn Undead, and Charisma fuels some of the better divine feats (Divine Might, Divine Shield). Spirit Shamans are based off Charisma, so they get some serious benefit out of it, alongside Favored Souls (if they get a method of getting Turn Undead; once again, a dip in Sacred Exorcist does just that) if they decide to enter. What's worse, it's a 4th level ability. Perhaps it's not broken in the same regard as what CoDzilla does normally or what Planar Shepherd can provide, but it provides a pretty strong benefit nonetheless.

As for the legendary bear...I can concede, but it's the forms it acquires that bother me a bit. You get normal animals, such as the eagle and the giant eagle plus the black, brown and dire bears, but then you get lammasu, unicorns, blink dogs and chimeras. They're...sorta mismatched. However, it's the hybrid form that scares me more than anything: if they were only their base forms, perhaps it wouldn't be much of a problem, but you might see the problem on having a human/monster hybrid with a goat's head, a dragon head and a lion head, able to do two bite attacks and one gore in addition to its normal set of attacks, plus the benefits of growing Large (which means your weapons get a boost in their damage). The main hassle of Legendary Bear is applying that huge bonus to Str (certainly not 34, but a +23 to Strength is a scary matter if you have a Str score higher than 11, particularly if you have a two-handed weapon in your hands) and the size to a mostly humanoid form, which gains access to most of its spells. Druids already have a trait of this kind, but then you're making Clerics pull something even worse. Think: a Cleric, in Legendary Bear hybrid form, pulling off Persistent Divine Power (full BAB) and Righteous Might (Large -> Huge, plus the size bonus to Strength), and proficient with a decent two-hander (say, a longspear, which is a single two-handed weapon with reach). Because of the form, the Cleric has claws AND a bite, so it can attack adjacent enemies, but also enemies in reach, and because it's Huge, it can attack creatures within 15 ft. of distance. It has a +10 natural armor bonus to AC, which alongside its decent deflection bonus means it's quite untouchable. It has better Fort saves to complement its already high Will saves, which are further boosted by the addition of Charisma to saves. And it STILL has spells to boot, in case it has to further buff itself or lay the smackdown from the heavens with an Earthquake, a Firestorm or even an Implosion, because it can use its hands normally (ergo, somatic and material components) and speak (ergo, verbal components). If a Persistent Divine Power made Fighters cry, this one makes them want to kill themselves out of shame. I guess you're getting my point; now, compare that to, say, the metallic chimera form, which ALSO gets a breath weapon rechargeable every 1d4 rounds AND flight, or a blink dog hybrid which is smaller but has permanent Blink status.

Perhaps I was too vague on that, but my hassle was on the hybrid form. In essence, you made a super-lycanthrope with a variety of forms, and gave it to the best casters in the world, which are renowned by buffing themselves into martial supremacy. I think the math should be enough to mention why I think it's broken.