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View Full Version : The Maleficant, a Damage-Over-Time-based class [Playtesting]



AttilaTheGeek
2013-04-14, 11:01 PM
BIG EDIT: The class is in this post (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=15100767&postcount=23), and will be moved into its own thread once it is complete.

It's just a bit ways down the page, but I didn't want to copy it here to avoid having to maintain two copies. The original post follows. Both of the proposed abilities are featured, but Plague has been renamed Corruption and only detonates with the Detonating Corruption augment. Bane is now a Lesser Curse and works differently.

I've always thought the WoW affliction warlock, which gets most of its damage through damage-over-time spells, was an interesting damage model; do you think it would be adaptable to Pathfinder? In terms of tier, It's looking like T4 or so. Some abilities might look like this:

Plague: At 1st level, as a standard action, you can inflict a creature within close range with a plague, which receives a Fortitude save to negate the corruption. A plagued lasts for 1d4+1 rounds. At the beginning of your turn in combat, the plagued creature takes 1d6 damage per two levels. When the Plague expires, it deals 1d6 damage per level to each creature within 10 feet of the target. Other affected creatures can make a Reflex save for half damage, but the main target can make a Fortitude save for half.
These would be at-will, fulfilling a purpose to the 3.5 warlock's Eldritch Blast; that is, forming the main combat actions.

Bane: At 4th level, as a move action, you can curse a target, which receives a Will save to negate the curse. Only one target can be baned at a time. Whenever the cursed target is dealt damage, it takes an additional 1d6 damage per two levels.
Basically, I'd like to be able to make enough different at-will damage-over-time-related effects to form a combat style that remains interesting throughout 20 levels without too many different abilities. Is it doable?

bobthe6th
2013-04-14, 11:14 PM
It needs to stack fast, and offer an out for bosses so you don't shred them.

See my razor.

Saidoro
2013-04-14, 11:34 PM
The main problem is that battle durations are highly variable with optimization level. You could probably make a class that works fine in one game, but there's a good chance it would be either highly overpowered or highly underpowered in absolutely any other game.

eftexar
2013-04-14, 11:46 PM
If you are very careful with the math though inbalance isn't as much of a risk.

Lets say we are at level 10 and the average damage is 15d6 for the sake of my following argument:

If a normal attack would deal 15d6 damage, then a damage over time attack should deal 10d6 damage and 10d6 damage on the next round, but allow a save, possibly in addition to the primary, to half damage. This means it has the potential to deal more damage than normal, but remains balanced by the extra save and the delay.

Or we could deal 10d6 damage and then 5d6 for three rounds after, though I wouldn't go more than three rounds unless you make an ability that deals 1d6 damage until it is removed (sort of like a damage poison).

By keeping the numbers tight and making sure inflation doesn't go too far beyond it might feasible.

TuggyNE
2013-04-15, 12:16 AM
The biggest problem I see with this is the close range; the effect of that is that you can't start damaging someone until they're almost right on top of you, and there's nothing in the outline so far that really prevents them from counter-attacking at full effectiveness until the DoT finally knocks them out. That's pretty significant in just about any party composition except one heavy on BFC/melee lockdown.

Basically, this, like an archer, is slow-and-steady damage. Give them longer range like an archer too.

LordErebus12
2013-04-15, 05:31 AM
It needs to stack fast, and offer an out for bosses so you don't shred them

Make each ability deal little bits of damage, without anything on par with rogue or warlock in damage output, but instead find a way to allow for better DCs for your abilities.


For instance, something like...

Each successfully ability affecting a target causes a -2 penalty on saves against similar effects or subtypes.

Each time you cast fireball on a target and they fail the save, it gets harder for them to resist spells of the same subtype.

NichG
2013-04-15, 07:37 PM
Pathfinder has Bleed damage already, which does a little of this. IMC I have a player who made a custom Swordsage style that basically builds up over the course of the fight - it has things like 'Boost: deal +1 cold damage for every 5 cold damage the enemy received last round' and 'Strike: Deal normal damage, plus 10d6 virtual cold damage that only powers abilities based on cold damage received in previous rounds' and 'Strike: Do a full attack, enemy takes a stacking -1 to saves against [Cold] effects for the rest of the encounter for each hit that connects.'

There's also 'disease' damage, which has shown up only on gimmick monster fights and which was determined to be unsuitable for anything but extremely controlled situations. Basically, you take 50% of your current total amount of disease damage in disease damage each round, until that damage is healed (and it heals at the top of the stack). So someone who plinks any creature unable to heal itself with even 2 points of disease damage has guaranteed that it will eventually be killed by it, probably within 1-2 minutes at most. The fix would be to have something like 'every round you can make a Fort save (DC = highest of 10 + HD/2 + Con mod of contributing sources) to convert all your disease damage into normal damage'.

If you'd like I could try my hand at making a class for this kind of thing.

Starbuck_II
2013-04-15, 07:46 PM
Well, why don't we examine the current DoT's?
Acid arrow (2d4 at a certain rate), Power Word Pain (Deals 1d6/rd, no save, for 4d4 rds at 1st level, since it depends on target hp), etc.

AttilaTheGeek
2013-04-15, 09:01 PM
If you'd like I could try my hand at making a class for this kind of thing.

I plan on doing so myself; I was just tossing the idea out here first to see if it was viable and get some preliminary feedback. But if you want to collaborate, that would be great too.

TuggyNE
2013-04-15, 09:24 PM
Well, why don't we examine the current DoT's?
Acid arrow (2d4 at a certain rate), Power Word Pain (Deals 1d6/rd, no save, for 4d4 rds at 1st level, since it depends on target hp), etc.

Note that PW:P is often considered mis-leveled, because of how absurdly powerful it is, under certain circumstances for a first-level spell.

However, this class should probably be almost as powerful as that, since the core class feature needs to be at least as good as random average blasting spells.

AttilaTheGeek
2013-04-15, 10:15 PM
Note that PW:P is often considered mis-leveled, because of how absurdly powerful it is, under certain circumstances for a first-level spell.

However, this class should probably be almost as powerful as that, since the core class feature needs to be at least as good as random average blasting spells.

I also want the core class feature to be (relatively) simple to avoid giving too much at first level. How about:

Corruption: At 1st level, as a standard action, you can inflict a creature with a powerful curse. The target receives a Will save at a DC of 10 + 1/2 your level + your [casting stat, probably CHA] modifier to negate the effect. A corruption lasts for three rounds plus one round per level and inflicts 1d6 damage per two levels each round.
I'm thinking of giving a save every round, but I think it would get annoying to have to reapply it round after round. Other, more synergistic stuff (like dots that spread, or dots that care about how many dots you have on a target) can come at higher levels; for first-level games, I want it to not be too complicated. the (level+3) rounds comes from the fact that I want it to scale with level but still be worth casting as a dot at first level. What do you think?

TuggyNE
2013-04-15, 10:24 PM
I also want the core class feature to be (relatively) simple to avoid giving too much at first level. How about:

Corruption: At 1st level, as a standard action, you can inflict a creature with a powerful curse. The target receives a Will save at a DC of 10 + 1/2 your level + your [casting stat, probably CHA] modifier to negate the effect. A corruption lasts for three rounds plus one round per level and inflicts 1d6 damage per two levels each round.
I'm thinking of giving a save every round, but I think it would get annoying to have to reapply it round after round. Other, more synergistic stuff (like dots that spread, or dots that care about how many dots you have on a target) can come at higher levels; for first-level games, I want it to not be too complicated. the (level+3) rounds comes from the fact that I want it to scale with level but still be worth casting as a dot at first level. What do you think?

Well, for what it's worth, combats don't necessarily get any longer as you level, so that's likely to be somewhat wasted. (Depending on your op level, you'll likely have Corruptions that last the entire average fight anywhere between level 1 and level 10.) So you might just give it a flat five rounds and be done with it.

Personally, I think "round/level" is overdone in 3.x as it is, and would like more abilities/spells/whatever with fixed durations, especially ones that aren't just "1 round".

Kane0
2013-04-15, 10:37 PM
How about some of these kinds of abilities?

Corrosion: Much like a Warlock's Eldritch Blast, this ability has a range of short and is initiated as a standard action with a ranged touch attack. Upon first use the Target takes 1d6 + (Ability) Mod damage. In following rounds you can choose to sustain this ability by using a swift action, dealing an additional 1d6 damage for each consecutive round sustained (2d6 + Ability Mod on the second round, 3d6 + ability mod on the third, etc).
You can only have the corrosion ability active on one opponent at any given time, and the target must be within Line of Effect and range of the ability upon your turn each round you intend to sustain or the effect ends.

Decay: When a target is subject to the Corrosion ability they must succeed on a Fort save (DC 10 + half XXX level + Ability Mod) or become sickened.

Improved Decay: When a target is subject to the corrosion ability for 3 or more consecutive rounds they must succeed on a Fort save (DC 10 + half XXX level + Ability Mod) or become nauseated.

Rot: When a target is subject to the Corrosion ability for 2 or more consecutive rounds they take 1d4 points of ability damage (the XXX chooses between strength, dexterity or constitution when this ability takes effect). A successful Fort save (DC 10 + half XXX level + Ability Mod) halves this damage.

Improved Rot: When a target is subject to the corrosion ability for 4 or more consecutive rounds they take 2d4 points of ability damage (the XXX chooses between strength, dexterity or constitution when this ability takes effect). A successful Fort save (DC 10 + half XXX level + Ability Mod) halves this damage.

Give corrosion as a level 1 ability, then decay at say level 4, Rot at level 8, Improved decay at level 12 and Improved Rot at level 16.

At higher levels increase the range, damage per round (+2d6 per round instead of +1d6), etc to keep it relevant. Maybe a limited number of times per day he can instantly transfer it to a new target or affect an area, just to give him some flexibility and fun options.

End result is you spend a standard action (or more if you miss) to latch onto a target and you deal increasing amounts of damage plus conditions and ability damage at higher levels for as long as you have line of effect and swift actions to spare, meaning you can still make standard and move actions around that, but have to break it for a full round action. If you grant the class other things he can do as standard actions it would give him some more fun things to do than just single attacks in the meantime.

Alternatively make them Eldritch Blast Essences for the warlock, Corrosion and decay as Least, rot as lesser and improved rot/decay as greater.

Edit: More thoughts
Edit: Might even take this idea for a Warlock prestige class or something.

NichG
2013-04-15, 10:40 PM
I'd probably suggest not making the class' every-round fallback require a save. By higher levels it basically means that they're provoking saves to avoid taking a bit of hp damage while other people are provoking saves to not die.

I'd also suggest due to the tendency to go from one target to the next to the next in D&D fights that are in fact longer than 3 rounds, it might be nice to have an ability that basically jumps targets when they're defeated or perhaps which builds up over time. Area effects will also be important for this class to remain relevant (e.g. the purpose of this class is that while the burst damage people are taking out single hard targets, after 5 rounds this class will have wiped out everything else on the field). I'd almost say it should be something like, if a mage can blast all targets in a 30ft area instantly, this guy should (more reliably) take out targets in, say, a 120ft area since he's taking five rounds to do it.

AttilaTheGeek
2013-04-15, 11:00 PM
How about some of these kinds of abilities?

(snip)

End result is you spend a standard action (or more if you miss) to latch onto a target and you deal increasing amounts of damage plus conditions and ability damage at higher levels for as long as you have line of effect and swift actions to spare, meaning you can still make standard and move actions around that, but have to break it for a full round action. If you grant the class other things he can do as standard actions it would give him some more fun things to do than just single attacks in the meantime.

Alternatively make them Eldritch Blast Essences for the warlock, Corrosion and decay as Least, rot as lesser and improved rot/decay as greater.

Edit: More thoughts
Edit: Might even take this idea for a Warlock prestige class or something.

(emphasis mine)

I'm still not sure if it would be best as a base class, a Warlock PrC, a series of Eldritch Blast Essences, or something for *gasp* 4th Edition, because of all the mention of at-will powers, allowing bigger (encounter) powers to do things like detonate dots, spread them, or reset durations.


I'd probably suggest not making the class' every-round fallback require a save. By higher levels it basically means that they're provoking saves to avoid taking a bit of hp damage while other people are provoking saves to not die.

You make a good point.


I'd also suggest due to the tendency to go from one target to the next to the next in D&D fights that are in fact longer than 3 rounds, it might be nice to have an ability that basically jumps targets when they're defeated or perhaps which builds up over time. Area effects will also be important for this class to remain relevant (e.g. the purpose of this class is that while the burst damage people are taking out single hard targets, after 5 rounds this class will have wiped out everything else on the field). I'd almost say it should be something like, if a mage can blast all targets in a 30ft area instantly, this guy should (more reliably) take out targets in, say, a 120ft area since he's taking five rounds to do it.

I also want it to be able to affect multiple enemies by having plenty of swift action dots, albeit weaker ones.

So here is the list of potential mechanics that have been proposed:
Straight damage-over-time effects.
Area of effect dots
Ability damage dots
Dots that increase damage as they go
Dots that increase DCs for other dots
Spending a swift action to keep a stronger dot going (as a drawback)

Just glancing over this list, it's looking like T4 or low T3, which is not necessarily a bad thing.

Kane0
2013-04-15, 11:15 PM
I'm still not sure if it would be best as a base class, a Warlock PrC, a series of Eldritch Blast Essences, or something for *gasp* 4th Edition, because of all the mention of at-will powers, allowing bigger (encounter) powers to do things like detonate dots, spread them, or reset durations.

Depending on how you do it, it could be all of the above. If it's going to be a dabbling thing then a 3 or 5 level PrC is all thats needed, but a base class wont go wrong either.
The 3rd ed warlock reminds me a lot of 4th ed with the whole At Will thing. Having at will powers as class features is fine in 3rd ed, well at least I think so.



Just glancing over this list, it's looking like T4 or low T3, which is not necessarily a bad thing.


Put that on a gish-like chassis and you're gold.
Something like d8 hp, 3/4 bab, 4 skills/level and 4th or 6th level casting with your DoT abilities as the main class features sounds about right, then add in a few flavor abilities as needed.

GrimoireM
2013-04-16, 12:08 AM
Your bread and butter SLA should be something that rewards consecutive hits. Ideally a stacking debuff. Perhaps make it apply more stacks based on the range they are from you? 1 for long, 2 for medium, 3 for close, 4 for touch. How you decide to make it scale is harder, but it discourages people from getting close to you, which is when you should get scary. There are plenty of ways to make it scale, just need to find a nice balance.

An aura to maintain the DoTs would be a nice ability. Probably call it Plague, or something. Upgrade it over levels to go from a penalty to saves vs relevant class features to outright denying the save until they leave the area, as appropriate. No one will want to stay close to you once they've gotten in, especially if they don't kill you.

Another cool ability would be to infest an enemy whose been poisoned enough. A save or die that's enabled by getting X stacks on a relevant foe, then forcing it on them. Or a mind control spell, or a body snatch, or a vampiric touch, from range.

As a higher level ability you could start expunging your infections. Reach out and violently shred their body with your plague as you force them to eat the rest of the DoT in one burst. Makes you a lot of enemies quickly, but lets you clear mooks in a timely fashion.

DrunkenMists
2013-04-16, 12:44 AM
Suggestions:


Keep the actual Damage from the Dots Low but effect in different ways. Offer a Way out: Aka Saves, Resistence, etc
Lets the "dots" be a Leading point to Boosting of the dots for X turns or proc "bursts" of damage.


Wow's Deathknight is probally a good example of this.

round 1: Cast "disease" on enemy; enemy get Fort save.
round 2: Cast "confusatory" on enemy, Enemy gets Will save
Round 3: Cast "somethingreflike" on enemy, Enemy gets Ref Save

Each of these getting something like: Causes 1dmg a round, applies secondary effect (-2 vs the othr DoTs or minus 2 to further saves vs reapplication of effect)

Toss in a "aoe" based off casting on the dot'd target to spread the dots around, (suddenly your not doing 3 damage/turn till they can get it off them; it's 3*enemies your attacking)

Toss in a Dot Expander with a reasonably easier to make save (though harder the more dots you got running on target. thusly taking away some of the ease of it.) makes the dots run at 3dmg a hit for so many turns. (9dmg a turn) and then use the AOE again XD

And then the one that wipes the dots; but deals all the damage at once. maybe applies a 4th dot, so that when you get the 3 dots running again; you have 4 dots now running; one with alot of damage and 3 with smaller damage you can spread.

To be honest; these can probally be worked into invocations on the warlock class and then a prc based on easier/stronger applications.

Add in some summoning that can help you apply these dots and/or maintain them.

Higher levels, give them ways to apply multiple dots at once, or summons that can assist better. (Summon with iron guard glare type stuff; makes the enemy more likely to attack them)

NichG
2013-04-16, 01:34 AM
Some more detailed notes on design stuff.

Design Concept: Damage scaling

Effectively we are paying a price for having our damage output delayed over some number of rounds. That price has to be mitigated by some advantage over other sources of damage. The other sources of damage are basically:

- Single target attacks dealing large damage output, blocked by AC. Damage output per round is somewhere around ~8 per level for low to moderate optimization of burst-damage classes in D&D against equal-CR targets.

- Area attacks. Generally these cost a per-day resource and do half the damage of the single target people (roughly 4/level, slightly higher with appropriate metamagics/etc). On average they'll hit about 3-6 targets at once, but they usually allow a save for half damage, and in many cases its save-negates for people with certain class abilities (Evasion, etc).

Lets assume a combat is generally going to be 3 rounds long. We want the damage output to be no less than what a single target attacker would deal total over 3 rounds. Ideally for all-day-long resources we probably want to match the output of area effect blasters, since drawing it out for 3 rounds is kind of the price you pay for being able to do it all day long (targets under DoTs are still doing damage, whereas things killed by the fireball are no longer threats).

So if we have an ability that deals X per round for multiple rounds (anything >3 doesn't matter really) then over three rounds we're going to do 6X damage. So if X is 4 per level and we're hitting single targets, we're matching the single-target people in total damage after 3 rounds but we're still objectively worse since we don't get all of that damage out by then.

So a good balance point would be to, say, do 1d6/level of damage (recurring) to ~3 targets with a use of that ability, and to be able to do that all day long. If we're hitting a single target, we can still keep it at 1d6/level and then add some extra rider effects to make it more strategically interesting. If the class gains the ability to do stuff with Swift actions, we should keep the added power of those swift actions to something comparable with Tome of Battle Boosts, perhaps taking the 1/encounter sort of character of ToB stuff.


Ability breakdown:

The class should probably have a few core things it can do combat-wise, like the Corruption ability. It may also have a few per-day things that are a bit stronger, or even things that require setup (which dovetails into the damage over time aspect if e.g. you have abilities that can only be used on targets that currently have DoTs on them).

Aside from that, I kind of like a class to have design decisions within the class, so people can make the same chassis do different things. This is especially important for a base class (if you're doing this for 20 levels, you don't want all of them to be identical). As such, it makes sense to me to have something like Warlock Invocations where you can pick this or that.

At the same time, it would be nice for the class to have some options that maybe aren't core competencies and are pretty much weaker, situational things. Because these are intentionally weaker, they should be acquired separately from the core abilities that are going to be crucial to the class being functional.

So I'd suggest something like this:
- Core at-will abilities. Start with a basic functional one, and gain a new one every 10 levels of the class at some offset (Lv5, Lv15). Perhaps these are tiered, so e.g. you have the single target basic DoT to begin with, then you can pick one of three new things for your Lv5 power (Adept abilities), then you can pick another of those, or one of a new tier of Master abilities at Lv15, and so on. These should be balanced so none of them is a bad choice or is very situational. Allow someone to use a Feat to get an extra one of these - action economy makes that not a huge deal.

- Per day/conditional/etc abilities. Maybe you get to pick one of these every 3 levels or so. Generally more powerful than the core at-wills, but with some limit to their use. All balanced to be a 'valid' use of your round, but they can be a bit more situational to the tactical environment (single target, multi-target, what save is strong in the enemy, etc).

- At-will highly situational abilities. These are the things that give the class a sort of quirky character. Something that lets you add a bit of damage immune to magical healing (so you can really do damage over time for recurring enemies). Something that lets you create slow damage zones. Something that lets you leave a curse/disease/etc on someone and track them with it. Stuff that isn't going to be mechanically potent all the time, but may let you solve a few out of combat problems in surprising ways. Maybe you get to pick one of these every 3 levels (staggered with your per day/conditionals).


Themes to draw on:

Poison:
- Condition that quickly does additional damage to the body. Perhaps there's an out in terms of things that help with poison - spells, Heal checks, etc. This is nice because it gives Heal a potential real use in a fight, so it brings that skill slightly into relevancy. Thematically this is kind of a 'mundane' thing, and it ties into things like alchemy if we wanted to give the class out of combat versatility or side-benefits. Main problem is widespread immunity will gut the class (constructs, etc).

Disease:
- Longer term DoT conceptually than poison. Connections with the ideas of parasitism, having something you control within your target's body, etc. Good for debilitation stuff, but again this gets gutted by widespread immunity.

Curses:
- My favorite of the set. A curse could be anything - debilitation, damage over time, an effect that increases other sources of damage against the target, etc. This is what I'd pick to build around for the class.

Sticky Energies:
- Things like being on fire, having cooling magma stuck to someone, etc. A very different kind of take than the others. This is probably what you want to go with if you don't want to bias the class towards evil applications.

Fate:
- A bit different than curses (some similarities, but this seems less evil). The idea is you doom the target to die, thus explaining the damage over time and also possibly creating the situation where they die even after they win. Probably has the most out of combat applicability, if it gets abilities that detect fates, manipulate probabilities, etc.


A couple other things:

- We probably want this guy to have some stuff at Medium range, and better stuff at Close range. I'd tend towards making the class focus on Touch attacks, which suggests that 3/4 BAB will make them quite competent and 1/2 BAB will probably make them 'sufficiently' competent but with a few glaring weaknesses against dodgy characters. If their AoEs target Fort saves instead of Reflex saves, then 1/2 BAB is fine (because they have an option against high touch AC dodgy characters, whereas if its Reflex then they're going to hit Evasion).

- We've only spoken about this guy's attacks. Since his schtick is 'I'll get them if they let me alone long enough' then we probably need to consider salting the class with a few defenses as well. Perhaps give them a damage aura (perhaps even one that only works against enemies) or a trick that helps them defend specifically against the target's they've already put a DoT on (maybe an Immediate action ability that lets them expend a DoT to get a +Level bonus to AC or saves against one effect produced by the thing that had the DoT on it).

- It'd be nice if the class had some synergy with existing rules, so its not just a thing thats sitting out their on its own. Making the attacks into rays means that at least all the feats that influence weapons can be used with their abilities. Making them into Breaths could have interesting possibilities too, though is probably a bit too potent.

LordErebus12
2013-04-16, 02:06 AM
We've only spoken about this guy's attacks. Since his schtick is 'I'll get them if they let me alone long enough' then we probably need to consider salting the class with a few defenses as well. Perhaps give them a damage aura (perhaps even one that only works against enemies) or a trick that helps them defend specifically against the target's they've already put a DoT on (maybe an Immediate action ability that lets them expend a DoT to get a +Level bonus to AC or saves against one effect produced by the thing that had the DoT on it).


what if we had an ability to funnel some of any damage received by targets back at a cursed target, damage mitigation.

NichG
2013-04-16, 02:15 AM
what if we had an ability to funnel some of any damage received by targets back at a cursed target, damage mitigation.

Possibly tricky to balance - this is basically universal DR and energy resistance, but even better since you can force someone else to take the damage for you, at least if its per-attack. If its just one pool then that could work (e.g. use this move and 10% of the damage you do becomes a mitigation pool that can be used to avoid damage from other sources).

LordErebus12
2013-04-16, 02:35 AM
Possibly tricky to balance - this is basically universal DR and energy resistance, but even better since you can force someone else to take the damage for you, at least if its per-attack. If its just one pool then that could work (e.g. use this move and 10% of the damage you do becomes a mitigation pool that can be used to avoid damage from other sources).

still, i could work, its something that feels parasitic in nature.

speaking of parasites, could you have an ability to absorb a percentage of a target's healing.

the cleric cures the fighter of 50 damage, but because of your curses placed on the fighter, you steal a percentage of the fighter's healed damage, say 10%, meaning you gain 5 hp from that 50 healed damage and they only receive 45 hp.

NichG
2013-04-16, 06:02 AM
Decided to take a first shot at an actual class. Lots of the details are still left to be determined though.

Edit: v1.6 - Some changes to Malefic Grasp, Blasted Heath. Some new Augments. Some curses adjusted, or have explicit examples. Damage of basic Corruptions increased. Added Double Augment.

The Maleficant
BAB: 1/2
HD: d6
Skill points: 4+Int
Saves: Bad Fort, Bad Reflexes, Good Will

The Maleficant is a master of curses, hexes, and all manner of
inflicted dooms. Maleficants are often discovered rather than trained
- someone pushes them over the edge and in their moment of cold fury,
the nascent Maleficant curses them reflexively. While the very name of
their class suggests evil, the actual power behind the Maleficant's
curses is one of cosmic balance and retribution. Righteous Maleficants
have been known to exist, punishing those who wrong others by tapping
into the very bad karma they have developed.

Maleficants use supernatural abilities that are not strictly speaking
spells. However, they are considered to have a caster level (CL) much
like other casters, and benefit from items and feats that increase
caster level. For the purpose of effects that are specific to a school
of magic (Spell Focus, Reserve Feats, etc), Maleficant abilities are
considered to be Abjurations.

Note on damage: Maleficant abilities that cause damage and do not
specify the type draw the type from the Maleficant's alignment. Good
Maleficants deal Holy damage. Evil Maleficants deal Unholy damage.
Neutral Maleficants must choose one or the other when taking the
class, and consistently deal that type of damage.

Corruption (Sp):

The core ability of the Maleficant is the ability to inflict a sort of
spiritual corruption upon a target that is then reflected in
progressive injury to their body. Inflicting Corruption is a standard
action and has a range of Close. The target of a Corruption may make a
Will save (DC 10+CL/2+Cha mod) to halve the effects. Corruption may be
removed by the spell Remove Curse or when the Maleficant dismisses it
or is killed. Otherwise, the duration is 5 rounds. Multiple instances of
Corruption may be stacked onto the same target.

Corruption causes 4 points of damage per CL each round to its targets. This
occurs at onset, and at the beginning of the Maleficant's turn on
subsequent rounds (effects that cause the Maleficant to act twice in a
round do not cause the Corruption damage to occur twice).

Every four levels the Maleficant can select an Augment which can be
applied to their Corruption attack. These Augments generally cost a
Swift action to enact, and increase the range, scope, or effectiveness
of the Corruption while leaving its basic effect the same.


Curse (Sp):

Maleficants can focus their will upon truly
devastating curses, but doing so is personally taxing and exhausting.
Maleficants obtain their first Curse at Lv3 and gain a new Curse every
3 levels. A Maleficant can initially issue one Curse per encounter
(two per encounter at Lv10, three per encounter at Lv20).

Refresh Mechanism: Maleficants may refresh one use of a Curse by
pulling the life energy from one of their Corrupted. By spending a
Swift action, the Maleficant may end the Corruption upon a single
target and regain one Curse use in the process.

Curses are divided up into tiers: Least (initially
available), Lesser (available at Lv6), Moderate (available at Lv12),
Greater (available at Lv18).

Compared with Corruption, Curses are not necessarily more damaging,
but they influence how the target interacts with damage (and so can
lead to greater damage in the long run). Curses can also inflict
status conditions and other indirect ways of harming or shutting down
enemies. Most Curses last for 1 minute unless otherwise specified -
some are permanent! The range of Curses is Medium. Similar to
Corruption, they can be removed with Remove Curse, dismissed by the
Maleficant, and end upon the Maleficant's death.

Curses vary in how they are inflicted - some
curses require the Maleficant to successfully perform a gesture
targetting the person to be cursed (Touch attack), while others play
on the will of the target directly (Will partial).

Curses take a standard action to perform, but issuing them can draw
Attacks of Opportunity in the same way that spellcasting does. A
Maleficant may 'Curse Defensively' using the same rules for casting
defensively.

The feat Extra Curse allows the Maleficant to learn an extra Curse
that they qualify to learn.


Invective (Sp):

Sometimes it is not just a person that a
Maleficant has a problem with, but rather is the world around them,
the bad events that harm them, and other such broad things. This is
where Invectives come in. Invectives are curses uttered to the world
itself, allowing the Maleficant some justice against impersonal
forces such as chance and fate.

Maleficants receive their first Invective at Lv2, and learn a new one
every three levels. They follow the same tier scheme as Curses, but
offset by one level (Lesser at Lv5, Moderate at Lv11, Greater at Lv17).

Invectives are At-Will abilities.

The feat Extra Invective allows the Maleficant to learn a new
Invective of a tier they have access to.


Evil Eye: The Maleficant is known for their swift vengeance to
the point where enemies may be afraid to target them. The Maleficant
may choose one enemy to direct their gaze at (they can change this for
free each round on their turn, or off-turn by spending an Immediate
action). This enemy's attacks suffer a 20% miss chance against the
Maleficant unless the enemy is immune to fear.

Double Augment: The Maleficant may apply two Augments to a single Corruption at the same time, only spending a single Swift action (sources of extra Swift actions only add one extra Augment per extra Swift action however).

Furious Glare: The Maleficant's Evil Eye breaks Fear Immunity,
and causes its target to suffer a 20% miss chance against any ally, not
just the Maleficant.

Aura of Misfortune: Things just tend to go poorly for enemies
within the Maleficant's presence. The Maleficant gains a 60ft aura of
misfortune. Any enemy within the Maleficant's aura can be forced by
the Maleficant to reroll one d20 roll that they make, at most once per round.
This is done after the result of the initial roll is known. The
second roll is used regardless of whether it is higher or lower.

Class breakdown by level:


Lv1: Corruption
Lv2: Least Invective
Lv3: Least Curse; Curse 1/enc
Lv4: Augment
Lv5: Lesser Invective
Lv6: Lesser Curse
Lv7: Evil Eye
Lv8: Lesser Invective; Augment
Lv9: Lesser Curse
Lv10: Double Augment, Curse 2/enc
Lv11: Moderate Invective
Lv12: Moderate Curse; Augment
Lv13: Furious Glare
Lv14: Moderate Invective
Lv15: Moderate Curse
Lv16: Augment
Lv17: Greater Invective
Lv18: Greater Curse
Lv19: Aura of Misfortune
Lv20: Augment; Greater Invective; Curse 3/enc


Corruption Augments (all require a Swift action unless otherwise specified):

Corrupted Shadows: This causes the Corruption of the Maleficant
to extend through their shadow as a Swift action. When this is used,
the Maleficant can inflict their Corruption against a target within melee
reach with a melee touch attack instead of a saving throw.

Doom Counter: This Augment increases the duration of the
Maleficant's Corruption to 10 rounds.

Burden of the Soul: This Augment causes the Maleficant's
corruption to wear upon a person's mind and emotions, not just their
body. The Maleficant may trade 4 points of their Corruption damage to instead
inflict a (non-stacking) -1 penalty to saves for the duration of the
Corruption. They may trade as many increments of 4 damage as they wish, but
only the largest such Corruption applies.

Family Curse: This Augment causes the Maleficant's Corruption
to jump to a nearby enemy target when the current cursed individual is
knocked out our killed. The Corruption can move a distance up to its
original Close range from its previous host.

Infectious Corruption: Requires Family Curse. This Augment
causes the Maleficant's Corruption to spread to new enemy targets.
Each round after the first when it takes effect on a target, the
Corruption attempts to spread to an un-Corrupted enemy within Close
range. This grows progressively - e.g. the first round one enemy is
Corrupted; the second round a new enemy is Corrupted; the third round
two new enemies are Corrupted. If an enemy saves against this spread
they are completely unaffected, rather than suffering the Corruption
at half intensity.

Detonating Corruption: This Augment reduces the duration of the
Corruption to 1d3+1 rounds, but when the corruption ends it instead
explodes out of the target, dealing 4 damage/CL to everyone within a
30ft radius (Reflex halves except for the original host).

Seed of Corruption: Req: Detonating Corruption. Same as Detonating
Corruption, except that when your Corruption explodes it infects other targets
with a new Corruption (that does not benefit from any of the Augments of the
original) instead of doing fixed damage. A successful Reflex save avoids this
infection.

Blasted Heath: The Maleficant can, with a Swift action, extend
this Corruption to everyone within 5ft of them (enemies and allies
alike). Those caught in this effect do not receive a save against it.

Path of Destruction: The Maleficant's Corruption extends in a 60ft
line, but now allows a Reflex save to reduce its effects instead of a Will save.

Debilitating Corruption: This Augment allows the Maleficant to
add one point of Strength damage per 4CL to the effect of their Corruption.

Stupefying Corruption: This Augment allows the Maleficant to
add one point of Wisdom damage per 4CL to the effect of their
Corruption.

Maddening Corruption: Requires Stupefying Corruption. Each round, a character suffering under this Corruption must make a Will save or act randomly (as per the Confusion spell).

Harrowing Corruption: Whenever the target of this Corruption
suffers its effects, there is an automatic dispel effect against one
spell effecting them made at the Maleficant's caster level.

Persistent Corruption: Targets attempting to reduce the effects of this Corruption must successfully save twice.

Relentless Corruption: Requires Persistent Corruption. In addition to the effects of Persistent Corruption, the save DC of the effect is increased by 3.


Least Curses:

May Harm Befall: This Curse causes the target to suffer harm
from their environment - the ground trips them up, things fall upon
them, their weapon grip chafes their hands, their wounds fester. This
Curse requires the Maleficant to make a pinpoint gesture (ranged touch
attack), after which the cursed entity will bear a mark upon their
body indicating the curse.

Effect: Whenever the target takes damage from some source, they take
an additional 1 point per 2CL (minimum 1) of the same type. This
applies separately to all damage types in an attack.

This Curse is permanent.

Malefic Grasp: This Curses accelerates the work of other
curses and per-round effects laid upon the targets. This Curse affects
a single target, who receives a Will save to reduce the
effects.

Effect: On a failed save, the target is cursed and suffers the effects
of all standing negative per-round effects (Corruption, other Curses,
etc) an additional time each round. On a successful save, they merely
suffer all such standing effects once again but are not thereafter
cursed.

This curse lasts 1 minute.

Call to Rot: This Curse causes all the Corruption effects on a target
to strike again immediately. The target may make a Will save to halve this
effect.

Soul Swap: You recall the Corruptions of a target to hand, allowing you
to send them out either immediately for free, or within one minute as a Swift
action. These Corruptions apply as if new --- their durations are reset, and the
new target receives new saves against each Corruption.



Lesser Curses:

Coward's Call: This Curse harms those who attempt to harm
others. The effects of this Curse apply whenever the target makes an
attack roll for any reason. When doing so, the target suffers 1 damage
per CL. This damage takes the form of the attacker's weapon or spell damage
if applicable; otherwise, for non-damaging attacks it is the base type of the
Maleficant. This curse may be applied as a Swift action to any
creature that harms the Maleficant. There is no saving throw to resist
it.

Plague of Ills: This Curse causes the target's misfortunes to
be spread to those around him. When this Curse is applied, the target's
Corruptions and per-round negative effects hit everyone within 20 feet of
them. This happens once and then the Curse ends (though the Corruptions persist).
There is no saving throw against this effect.

Bane: This devastating Curse focuses
the Maleficant's fury on a single target, who receives a Will save to
reduce its effects. Half of all Corruption damage dealt to other
targets within line of effect is transferred to the Maleficant's Bane,
and damage dealt directly to the Bane is increased by half. On a
successful Will save, the target suffers this for only one round.

This curse lasts 1 minute.

Damn Your Eyes: The Maleficant curses all those who would dare
to look upon them. Anyone not averting their eyes must make a
Fortitude save or be afflicted with Permanent blindness. On a
successful save they are merely Dazzled for 1 minute.


Moderate Curses:

Ire of the Gods: This Curse targets divine casters, calling
them to the attention of the enemies of their god. Whenever the
afflicted casts a Divine spell they suffer 4 damage/CL that can
interrupt their spell-casting. A Will save reduces the effects of this
Curse to 1 damage/CL (though it can still interrupt their casting).

This curse is Permanent.

Cascade Curse: This Curse amplifies the effects of things that
cause a build-up of injury. Every round that a Corruption or other
damage-over-time effect (including things like being on fire) applies to
someone under this Curse, its damage goes up by 1/CL. Successful Will
save prevents this from being permanent, but it still lasts for 10
rounds on a successful save.

This curse is permanent on a failed save.

Example: A Lv10 Maleficant applies a Corruption successfully to a target
and then another one with a failed save. At this point the target is suffering
a 40 point Corruption and a 20 point Corruption. Then the Maleficant applies
Cascade Curse --- the character takes 50 and 30 damage this round, then 60 and 40,
then 70 and 50, and so on.

Soldier's Bane: This Curse applies to a wide area (120ft
radius) and only affects enemies of the Maleficant. Those who fail
their saves against this curse suffer 1 damage per 2 CL whenever
anyone else under the same instance of this curse suffers damage from a
source other than this curse or other damage redirection abilities
such as Shield Other - to put it explicitly, no loops.

This curse lasts 1 minute.

Example: A Lv10 Maleficant Corrupts a target and then applies Soldier's Bane to the
field, including the Corrupted individual. This round when the Corrupted target takes Corruption damage
then everyone in the field who failed their save takes an extra 5 damage (including that target). If
next round the Maleficant applies Corruption to a second sufferer of Soldier's Bane, everyone will take
10 damage that round.

Borrowed Time: This nasty Curse is a death sentence to many
whom it afflicts. The target of this Curse suffers 1 point of damage
that cannot be healed while the Curse remains upon them each hour.
Will negates.

This curse is permanent.


Greater Curses:

Doom:You take hold of a target's life force
and end it abruptly. The target receives no initial save to negate
this Curse's effects. The target takes 2d6 damage and another 2d6 per
round the curse has been active each round. In other words, the target
takes 2d6 the first round, 4d6 the second round, 6d6 the third round,
and so on until the target dies. The target of Doom may make a save
against the Curse only when its damage would reduce them below 0hp -
if they succeed in their save they break the curse and prevent the
lethal damage. The damage dealt by Doom cannot be healed until the curse ends.

This curse lasts for one minute.

Vampiric Curse: Targets of this Curse suffer increased damage
from all sources equal to +1/2 CL; this extra damage is applied as healing
to the Maleficant. There is no save against this effect.

This Curse lasts for one minute.

Killing Curse [Death]: The Maleficant calls upon the gods and the
universe to remove their enemies from it. Those afflicted with this
Curse merely stop living - there are no external signs, no injuries or decay.
This is a Death effect and thus Raise Dead is insufficient to restore
those killed by this Curse. This curse requires a ranged touch attack
and takes the form of a lancing green beam. If it successfully hits then
the target is caught in the throes of the Curse for one minute.

Each round under this Curse, the target must make a Fort save or die.


Least Invectives:

Foul Weather: The Maleficant curses the weather and the
unpleasant conditions it creates. This protects the Maleficant from
the effects of heat and cold for one minute per CL. Furthermore, rain
does not soak them or even accumulate upon them, and snow evaporates
on contact (at least up to the conditions of heavy snowfall - no good
against avalanches/etc).

Cursed Foreigners: This Invective is drawn out of the Maleficant
due to being stuck in a place dealing with people who don't speak the
same language. The result of this Invective is that the Maleficant may
make themselves understood perfectly to those who do not speak their
language so long as they speak with hostility.

Tasteless Pap: This Invective is brought on by insufficient or
bad quality food, and has the effect of Purify Food and Water. It also
tends to upgrade the food quality of whatever it is used on,
correcting seasoning and the like.


Lesser Invectives:

I Hate Bugs: This Invective expresses the Maleficant's hatred
of insects and swarms of various types. Swarms must make a Will save
(DC 10+CL/2+Cha) in order to approach within 30ft of the Maleficant
for one minute per CL.

Where's a Guard When You Need One?: This Invective has the
strange effect of imparting an intuitive feeling in nearby guards (or
whatever the equivalent is in the area) that something is going on at
the Maleficant's location. Said guards need not be friendly to the
Maleficant, so this can be used for diversions as well as to summon
real aid. This Invective allows responding guards to arrive within 3
rounds, even if they would otherwise have taken much longer to do so.
The maximum range of this effect is 200ft per CL.

Note on the intended use of this Invective: Its not just for summoning aid
in cities; this can be used to e.g. summon a large portion of the
inhabitants of a hostile dungeon to one room for the purpose of
ambushes or distraction.

Another Dead End?!: This Invective allows for a reroll of
failed Gather Information checks, either for the Maleficant or their
allies (but the Maleficant must be present). A given check can be
rerolled at most once.


Moderate Invectives:

Begone ye Bonds of Gravity: This Invective allows the
Maleficant to briefly slip gravity's bonds. From any solid surface the
Maleficant may move up to their normal movement rate disregarding the
effects of gravity (by pushing off, etc). At the end of their movement
they are once again under the effects of gravity and will fall if
unsupported. Using this Invective while falling allows the
Maleficant to minimize falling damage (e.g. they take 1 on each 1d6 of
falling damage they would suffer), but does not allow them to hover or
fly.

Iron Bars do Not A Prison Make: This Invective attempts to destroy
any objects restraining the Maleficant - ropes, prison bars, etc. Note
that the target objects must be preventing the Maleficant from
leaving, not from entering (so you couldn't blow up the gate of a
castle that you want to enter, but you could blow up the gate of a
castle that you are trapped in). This Invective can affect an object
with Hardness up to the Maleficant's CL and mass up to 25lbs/CL.
Against magical constructs such as a Wall of Force, this Invective
allows the Maleficant to make a Caster Level check to attempt to
dispel the effect. Living restraints (e.g. someone grappling the
Maleficant) are immune.

Cross my Heart and Hope to Die: This Invective punishes those
who break their promises to the Maleficant. It may be uttered right
before some promise or oath is sworn. By doing so, the oath becomes
binding to both parties. Either side that violates their oath suffers
a permanent and un-healable reduction of maximum hitpoints equal to the
caster level of the Maleficant.


Greater Invectives:

You Have Not Heard the Last of Me!: This Invective may be used
as an Immediate action. It causes the Maleficant to escape their
current situation, though they lack control of where they end up.
Specifically, this Invective causes the Maleficant to teleport to a
save location somewhere within a 10 mile radius at random.

Curse the Gods: This Curse may be used as an immediate
action. It allows the Maleficant to redirect a harmful divine spell from an
ally to themselves. This works even if the Maleficant would normally
be outside the range of the spell.

This Cannot Be!: This Invective allows the Maleficant to ignore
a physical barrier or other part of the environment for one round.
They may not use this Invective more than once on a single object or
environmental condition. For example, a Maleficant might use this to
walk through the wall of a building, but could not then pass back the same
way.

AttilaTheGeek
2013-04-16, 09:10 AM
With the various "themes" you mentioned before, I also really like the "curse" theme. I think it has the most going for it- it has the widest applications, and there weren't going to be any good people focused on infecting or corrupting others anyway.

I think that with Jinxes, Curses, and Invectives, there's a little too much customization; it feels like there's nothing in common between any two Malificants. I feel like there should be at least one, probably more, core SLA that is to the Malificant as the Eldritch Blast is to the Warlock, and is just a basic dot that increases damage every level. Taking into account what you said under the "damage scaling" spoiler...

Coruption, 2nd Draft: At 1st level, as a standard action, you can inflict an enemy within close range with a powerful curse. The target of the curse receives no save to diminish its effects. The target takes 1d6 damage per two levels when first Corrupted, and that same amount again at the beginning of your turn each round. A corruption lasts for one minute.
I don't want it to be permanent, because then a level one Malificant (still not sure how I feel about the name) can go up to any NPC who can't dispel curses, curse them, and then run away as the NPC dies. Being able to dot and run is a core staple of dot classes, but not from level one.

NichG
2013-04-16, 04:30 PM
Maybe we can replace the Jinxes with Corruption, and then have all of the upgrades to Jinxes be Meta-Corruptions, moving the current more exotic ones into Curses? Sort of like how Warlocks get the ability to change the form factor of their Eldritch Blast?

How about Will Save halves to begin with, and then if they choose to replace their Corruption with an enhancement that changes its form factor into a physical attack it becomes a ranged touch or melee touch attack with no save?

DracoDei
2013-04-16, 05:47 PM
You want to be sure that a long range doesn't turn into making it easy to kite an enemy, especially using hiding rather than speed as the factor to make sure the kiting works. Simply having the DOT end with no damage if you don't have Line of Effect to the target each time the damage goes off could be one way of handling that, although that might have implications I haven't considered.

With all this mention of "Plague" and such, I wonder if "1 or 2 <non-Con ability score*> damage" might be appropriate as a low level version with better versions on the following axis at higher levels:

Change 1 to 1d2, or 2, or whatever. I strongly recommend against large dice since it probably gets too swingy.
Con. Damage
Drain or even Burn.

*Might want to leave Intelligence off of there, or maybe say it can't drop a stat lower than 1, otherwise it makes animals too vulnerable. Might want to check the rules for Undead/Deathless too, since I think they are only immune to damage to PHYSICAL ability scores, and a lot of the mindless ones are Charisma 1.
Wikipedia-like Cross-Indexing/Prior Art:
Detect Chaos and Turn It to Ice Sculpture
Detect Evil and Turn It to Sizzling Bacon
Detect Good and Turn It to Roast Chicken
Detect Law and Turn It to Goo: Based on a motivator. Auto-targeting, Area of Effect, Damage Over Time. Three different spell-levels and all four alignments for a total of twelve spells!

Detect Magic and Turn It to Rumble (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=278301): Arcane counterpart to the above.

NichG
2013-04-16, 07:45 PM
I added something like that in as Corruption Augments, and updated the class with more Curses and a few Invectives.

DracoDei
2013-04-16, 08:16 PM
Corrupted Shadows probably needs to specify that subsequent saving throws apply as normal.... if you are still planning on having anything with once-per-round saves. I can't tell from your sketch of the class.

NichG
2013-04-16, 08:57 PM
Corrupted Shadows probably needs to specify that subsequent saving throws apply as normal.... if you are still planning on having anything with once-per-round saves. I can't tell from your sketch of the class.

Its probably best not to do once-per-round saves just for speed of play. The other thing is, since you can't really combine Augments (I guess you can with Ruby Knight Vindicator maybe?) each Augment kind of stands on its own anyhow.

Just to Browse
2013-04-16, 09:42 PM
YES! YES!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vWizDna1XO4

The one thing that I think would be the most troublesome is rolling dice all the time, because with plague and bane up you'll be rolling d6's for damage maybe 4-5 times per turn (once for your attack, once for plague, once for bane off of plague and/or once for bane off of your attack, and one or two more times for attacks throughout the round). I recommend making Proc's and DoT's deal fixed damage, or have the player roll damage beforehand (during initiative or at the beginning of their turn) and let all the abilities follow that pattern.

DracoDei
2013-04-16, 09:59 PM
YES! YES!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vWizDna1XO4

The one thing that I think would be the most troublesome is rolling dice all the time, because with plague and bane up you'll be rolling d6's for damage maybe 4-5 times per turn (once for your attack, once for plague, once for bane off of plague and/or once for bane off of your attack, and one or two more times for attacks throughout the round). I recommend making Proc's and DoT's deal fixed damage, or have the player roll damage beforehand (during initiative or at the beginning of their turn) and let all the abilities follow that pattern.

That could possibly be abused in situations where they are deciding who to target, or if to run from something slow rather than single-moving and casting.

Maybe roll once, but make it the first time they cast something, or the end of their turn if they don't cast anything. You could even make the pre-existing part retroactive to the start of their turn if the very first thing they do during their turn is cast something (thus killing something before it gets an AoO on them)... I dunno... this is getting complicated. I think you see the issues.

Just to Browse
2013-04-16, 10:36 PM
I like rolling once for your first cast and keeping it all around, and I think the small amount of complication that adds is worth the table time saved.

AttilaTheGeek
2013-04-16, 10:44 PM
I like rolling once for your first cast and keeping it all around, and I think the small amount of complication that adds is worth the table time saved.

Glad to know you're excited! I was thinking that too.

Edit to add: Looking back at Curses and Invectives, it seems that Invectives are just AoE curses. I think that they occupy a similar enough design space (debuffs/dots and area debuffs/dots) that Invectives can just be rolled into Curses. What do you think?

NichG
2013-04-17, 12:40 AM
I agree with replacing damage with either a single roll or preferably just 1d6 = 4 damage. It goes a little against standard D&D design but it plays much faster so I think its worth it.

As far as Invectives vs Curses, Invectives are sort of the quirky not-exactly-combat powers that we don't want to interfere with the 'powerful 1/encounter combat powers' that are what Curses are supposed to be. Invectives also affect the Maleficant themselves, whereas Curses affect (and are in fact permanent upon) an enemy target.

Basically Invectives are the utility part of the class, equivalent to Warlock Invocations. You could remove the Invectives entirely for a lower-Tier class, or beef them up for a higher-Tier version.

AttilaTheGeek
2013-04-17, 09:48 AM
I agree with replacing damage with either a single roll or preferably just 1d6 = 4 damage. It goes a little against standard D&D design but it plays much faster so I think its worth it.

That also lets us change "1d6 per two levels" to "2 damage per level"; making it scale every level makes every level up more anticipated.


As far as Invectives vs Curses, Invectives are sort of the quirky not-exactly-combat powers that we don't want to interfere with the 'powerful 1/encounter combat powers' that are what Curses are supposed to be. Invectives also affect the Maleficant themselves, whereas Curses affect (and are in fact permanent upon) an enemy target.

Basically Invectives are the utility part of the class, equivalent to Warlock Invocations. You could remove the Invectives entirely for a lower-Tier class, or beef them up for a higher-Tier version.

Oh, okay. Got it. Maybe you could, just for ease of writing, say "A Maleficant has access to all warlock Invocations as Invectives, as well as the following list...", because the Invectives so far seem very situational.

Edit 1: Upon further thinking, I think we should change Curses from "A Maleficant can issue one Curse per encounter (two per encounter at Lv10, three per encounter at Lv20)" to "A Maleficant can issue each Curse once per encounter (twice per encounter at Lv10, three times per encounter at Lv20), to make room for curses that interact with other curses and let those be used before level 10. If we only let a low-level Maleficant cast one curse per encounter, then they're spending the vast majority of their time casting Corruption after Corruption after Corruption, because that's all they have left to do.

I'll start writing up some more curses and corruption augments, and edit them in here throughout the day. They are in the following spoiler:
Bane: (Lesser Curse) This devastating Curse focuses the Maleficant's fury on a single target, who receives a Will save to negate its effects. Half of all damage dealt to other targets is transferred to the Maleficant's Bane, and damage dealt directly to the Bane is increased by half.

I call it Lesser, not Least, because it allows potent damage focusing, especially with multidotting, but I had to leave it as "half of the damage is transferred" so that the Maleficant didn't just Bane the boss and then Corrupt teammates. I chose not to make it Moderate because it needs other dots to function- it doesn't do anything by itself.

Malefic Grasp: (Class feature?) By spending a full-round action focusing on a single target, you can amplify your negative effects on that target. During each turn you concentrate, all your damage-over-time effects on a target deal damage again.

This one is copied almost verbatim from WoW, but with a class called the Maleficant I couldn't not suggest it. I think it really needs to be concentration and replace the the "Culmination of Fury" curse, otherwise the damage could get really silly, really fast. There will definitely need to be lots of playtesting to see how this damage compares to other classes.

Doom: (Moderate Curse) You take hold of a target's life force and end it abruptly. The target receives no initial save to negate this Curse's effects. The target takes 1d6 damage and another 1d6 per round the curse has been active each round. In other words, the target takes 1d6 the first round, 2d6 the second round, 3d6 the third round, and so on until the target dies.

Having a no-save-just-suck is something I think the class could use, and I had it accelerate to emphasize the fact that it was still a dot but that it could get to be a real threat. I'm not sure if it's powerful enough to be Greater, but it's definitely not Lesser.

NichG
2013-04-17, 05:57 PM
That also lets us change "1d6 per two levels" to "2 damage per level"; making it scale every level makes every level up more anticipated.


Yeah. I've done this in the post with the class.



Oh, okay. Got it. Maybe you could, just for ease of writing, say "A Maleficant has access to all warlock Invocations as Invectives, as well as the following list...", because the Invectives so far seem very situational.


This is certainly a workable option. I figured, hey we have this design space, lets use it, but you're right that its kind of tangent to the main point of this thread.



Edit 1: Upon further thinking, I think we should change Curses from "A Maleficant can issue one Curse per encounter (two per encounter at Lv10, three per encounter at Lv20)" to "A Maleficant can issue each Curse once per encounter (twice per encounter at Lv10, three times per encounter at Lv20), to make room for curses that interact with other curses and let those be used before level 10. If we only let a low-level Maleficant cast one curse per encounter, then they're spending the vast majority of their time casting Corruption after Corruption after Corruption, because that's all they have left to do.


That sort of makes Curses not a limited resource in reality, since by the time you have three Curses you have enough to basically do one Curse per round for the entire encounter. The problem is basically that encounters tend to actually get shorter at high levels, not longer, so the natural progression of 'you can do stuff for longer and longer in a fight' is conflicting with the natural tendency of packing more decisive actions into a few moments. Thats why I put in the feat for the full round action refresh, in case someone really really wanted to just be pumping out Curses at low levels and was willing to sacrifice actions to get it.

So if we wanted to do this I'd change the Curses to per day (2/day at 10th level, 3/day at 20th) and make it so the Maleficant can decide to nova, or not, as they like. That's almost a bit too rough in a 4 encounters per day campaign, but I have to admit I've never experienced a 4 encounters per day campaign in reality.

Another thought would be to make the refresh mechanism more accessible. Make it so that basically they use the Warblade refresh mechanism - your curses-per-encounter refresh whenever you use Corruption on a new target.



I'll start writing up some more curses and corruption augments, and edit them in here throughout the day. They are in the following spoiler:


I'll add these to the main post. I'd note that Doom is almost certainly a Greater curse because, even more than Borrowed Time it auto-kills many threats the party could conceivably encounter. You could take out pretty much anything without easy access to Remove Curse with a hit and run technique. To lessen this severity, I've added something where the person gets a save to end the curse whenever they would take damage from Doom that would take them below 0hp.

Also, Bane is a more potent curse than Soldier's Bane, which is a moderate (at least the way I read it, it applies to literally every target on the field rather than a specific set of focused targets). Maybe a better form for the Lesser Bane would be something like they take a fraction of all Corruption damage applied to other targets instead of all damage? Even then this is more or less a hit and run auto-kill against a target, so I think we also need to limit it to a range or line of effect.
I also think +50% damage is easily powerful enough for a Lesser Curse on its own, since that combined with the actions of other PCs is a huge effect against tank-y bosses. Will negates makes this kind of all or nothing as well... hm. Maybe Will partial: On a successful Will save, the target suffers this effect for only 1 round.

I'll replace Culmination with Malefic grasp name-wise, but I'm not sure it needs to be Concentration. I mean, in a 3 round combat you spend 1 round setting up a DoT for X damage, the second round setting up a Curse that multiplies other DoTs by 2 (so you're up to 2X), and the third round you add another X damage (so now you're at 4X compared to 3X if you hadn't used the curse). The effect grows as the combat lengthens of course, but I think a 1/3 damage boost is realistically all you'll ever get from that curse even without it being Concentration. That's also why I made it AoE, because ideally your targets are getting killed by stuff, so if they aren't then you're literally doing less damage with Culmination/Malefic Grasp than if you just spammed Corruption.

AttilaTheGeek
2013-04-17, 10:03 PM
This is certainly a workable option. I figured, hey we have this design space, lets use it, but you're right that its kind of tangent to the main point of this thread.

Do you want to just leave it as is, or discuss it via PM?


That sort of makes Curses not a limited resource in reality, since by the time you have three Curses you have enough to basically do one Curse per round for the entire encounter. The problem is basically that encounters tend to actually get shorter at high levels, not longer, so the natural progression of 'you can do stuff for longer and longer in a fight' is conflicting with the natural tendency of packing more decisive actions into a few moments. Thats why I put in the feat for the full round action refresh, in case someone really really wanted to just be pumping out Curses at low levels and was willing to sacrifice actions to get it.

So if we wanted to do this I'd change the Curses to per day (2/day at 10th level, 3/day at 20th) and make it so the Maleficant can decide to nova, or not, as they like. That's almost a bit too rough in a 4 encounters per day campaign, but I have to admit I've never experienced a 4 encounters per day campaign in reality.

Another thought would be to make the refresh mechanism more accessible. Make it so that basically they use the Warblade refresh mechanism - your curses-per-encounter refresh whenever you use Corruption on a new target.

You make a good point. I like the daily ability; having the choice to nova or not nova is one of the more interesting decisions when playing a spellcaster.


I'll add these to the main post. I'd note that Doom is almost certainly a Greater curse because, even more than Borrowed Time it auto-kills many threats the party could conceivably encounter. You could take out pretty much anything without easy access to Remove Curse with a hit and run technique. To lessen this severity, I've added something where the person gets a save to end the curse whenever they would take damage from Doom that would take them below 0hp.

Cool. That's a good idea.


Also, Bane is a more potent curse than Soldier's Bane, which is a moderate (at least the way I read it, it applies to literally every target on the field rather than a specific set of focused targets). Maybe a better form for the Lesser Bane would be something like they take a fraction of all Corruption damage applied to other targets instead of all damage? Even then this is more or less a hit and run auto-kill against a target, so I think we also need to limit it to a range or line of effect.
I also think +50% damage is easily powerful enough for a Lesser Curse on its own, since that combined with the actions of other PCs is a huge effect against tank-y bosses. Will negates makes this kind of all or nothing as well... hm. Maybe Will partial: On a successful Will save, the target suffers this effect for only 1 round.

There was a typo- I meant "damage dealt to other targets by the Maleficant." It's designed so you can dot up two or three targets to amplify damage to the Bane.


I'll replace Culmination with Malefic grasp name-wise, but I'm not sure it needs to be Concentration. I mean, in a 3 round combat you spend 1 round setting up a DoT for X damage, the second round setting up a Curse that multiplies other DoTs by 2 (so you're up to 2X), and the third round you add another X damage (so now you're at 4X compared to 3X if you hadn't used the curse). The effect grows as the combat lengthens of course, but I think a 1/3 damage boost is realistically all you'll ever get from that curse even without it being Concentration. That's also why I made it AoE, because ideally your targets are getting killed by stuff, so if they aren't then you're literally doing less damage with Culmination/Malefic Grasp than if you just spammed Corruption.

That's fair, I guess. I guess I'm just designing without the "4-round combat" in mind. I guess I'm the minority, but in my experience, combats have been closer to 6 or 7 rounds.

Just to Browse
2013-04-18, 02:24 AM
Oh god please don't make the curses per day. Vancian magic is just so bad for the game.

AttilaTheGeek
2013-04-18, 06:52 AM
Oh god please don't make the curses per day. Vancian magic is just so bad for the game.

As someone who was, and hopefully still is, really excited about the concept, I feel like an "oh god please no" carries a lot of weight. The problem is that there needs to be some limitation on curses so that corruption still gets used- either daily, or by encounter, or we could make curses not out-damage (edit to clarify) outdo or replace corruption, but then they're not exciting. How would you suggest we balance that?

NichG
2013-04-18, 05:59 PM
So actually, if you look at the Curses I've done so far, they don't out-damage Corruption. Most of the time when the Curses improve damage, they do so by amping up Corruption, so that design point is already kind of there.

The main reason I wanted to limit Curses is that they're permanent. If you curse an NPC, they are stuck with that Curse until they get it removed. If you Curse, e.g., a bear in the woods or a Roc or a Tarrasque, it is stuck with that Curse forever.

AttilaTheGeek
2013-04-19, 08:36 AM
Or we could just make curses not permanent, just long-lasting, which lets them be more powerful without worrying about small amounts of damage adding up to kill anyone.

CombatOwl
2013-04-19, 08:43 AM
I think a better option would be to have small amounts of DOT added to a normal wizard. The problem with DOT in d&d is that fights usually end pretty quick. I think it would be better to have a wizard archetype or PrC that provided cumulative bleed (or fire) effects over time. Like "<1 + 1 per five levels> points of bleed damage for 1d3 rounds whenever you hit a target with a spell with the [evil] or [fire] descriptors" or something.

AttilaTheGeek
2013-04-19, 08:47 AM
I think a better option would be to have small amounts of DOT added to a normal wizard. The problem with DOT in d&d is that fights usually end pretty quick. I think it would be better to have a wizard archetype or PrC that provided cumulative bleed (or fire) effects over time. Like "<1 + 1 per five levels> points of bleed damage for 1d3 rounds whenever you hit a target with a spell with the [evil] or [fire] descriptors" or something.

But that's a miniscule amount of damage because, as you've said, fights don't last so long. To have dots contribute a meaningful amount of damage, they need to hit hard.

NichG
2013-04-19, 09:06 AM
I think I agree with making Curses not necessarily permanent, but maybe have some of them be permanent just to give the class a little punch in a way that's otherwise rare in D&D.

I disagree with the 'add DoT spells to the Wizard' idea pretty strongly though. The Wizard already has all the scthicks in D&D, including DoT that is probably better than what this class can do (Maw of Chaos...). Many tables don't allow higher than Tier 3 because of that very problem. That's not to say we have to make this class better at DoT than a Wizard could possibly be - we're aiming for Tier 4 to low Tier 3 - but there's no real compelling reason to do homebrew that gives the Wizard even more options.

NichG
2013-04-19, 07:22 PM
I updated the main class writeup again with more Curses and Invectives. We're still hashing out exactly how the Curse/Corruption refresh mechanism should work, so expect that to change. Currently its '1/2/3 Curses at start of encounter, sacrifice a standing Corruption to refresh one use'.

Curses are also now not necessarily permanent to open up the design space to direct damage curses and the like.

I've added the following Curses and Invectives; please check for balance!

Curses:
- Damn Your Eyes (Lesser)
- Ire of the Gods (Moderate)
- Killing Curse (Greater) (we may want to make this less directly Harry Potter, but it felt like the class should have something like Implosion at high levels)

Invectives:
- Begone ye Bonds of Gravity (Moderate)
- Iron Bars do not a Prison Make (Moderate)
- Cross my Heart and Hope to Die (Moderate)
- You Have Not Heard the Last of Me! (Greater)
- Curse the Gods (Greater)
- This Cannot Be! (Greater)

DrunkenMists
2013-04-20, 06:36 AM
But that's a miniscule amount of damage because, as you've said, fights don't last so long. To have dots contribute a meaningful amount of damage, they need to hit hard.

The idea with dots that in short combats they ARE weak; if they are gonna hit like a truck in short order...they are burst....and you may as well be a sorc/wiz/warlock/etc


The idea of Damage over time is that over a longer set of time; you will/should be topping damage of almost anybody.

A Damage over time class SHOULD be using guerrilla warfare, Hit and Run, Etc Tactics.

It defeats the point of D-O-T's if your hitting like a truck.

TuggyNE
2013-04-20, 07:02 AM
The idea with dots that in short combats they ARE weak; if they are gonna hit like a truck in short order...they are burst....and you may as well be a sorc/wiz/warlock/etc


The idea of Damage over time is that over a longer set of time; you will/should be topping damage of almost anybody.

A Damage over time class SHOULD be using guerrilla warfare, Hit and Run, Etc Tactics.

It defeats the point of D-O-T's if your hitting like a truck.

That's a little excessive; a DoT-based class should have roughly average or slightly above-par damage by focusing heavily for the entirety of an average or slightly longer than average combat. They should be weaker primarily in chunks; if their enemy goes down early, if they pick a new target partway through, they'll probably do less total in the fight than other characters.

If they have let's say twenty rounds to focus on someone, though, that target should take enormous total damage.

So basically, something like this, assuming 66% of combats take 5 rounds or less:

<5 rounds: sub-par damage
~5 rounds: roughly average damage
5-10 rounds: more damage for the effort than others
>10 rounds: tons and tons of damage


I'm assuming that the goal here is to make a DoT class that's at least moderately useful for an otherwise fairly conventional party, rather than one that requires the whole party to adopt substantially different tactics and build techniques, or one that creates a "decker problem" (in which either the DoTter is whittling away their foes, kiting them avidly, or else the rest of the party is happily smashing face and ne'er the twain shall meet, because the optimal tactics are just too dissimilar).

DrunkenMists
2013-04-20, 07:16 AM
in smaller; shorter combats; they shouldn't be the "goto" damage caster.

in larger and/or longer combats; they should be standing toe to toe with the best of em.

Mostly for two reasons.

Larger combats - They should be spreading around the love. Per enemy they might not be doing alot...but add up the damage they are doing over the battle field...they might....SHOULD be topping damage potential.

Longer Combats; they should be just getting those things a rolling over and over...while doing something that bursts them once every few turns.

Both? They should have dots rolling on what they can easily and tossing out the bursts based of the dots still often, but not as often as the longer combats. (boss's)

If they end up being a burst caster. they may as well be any other caster available.


Also. I would like to suggest a "healing" archetype XD:smallbiggrin: Less damage; but you can siphon damage it's doing to your allies in the form of healing. Even useful outta combat...just take a prisoner...dot the sucker up and let his fading life heal your group up!:smallbiggrin:

Seriousally though; if this gets to the point of playtest. let me know; I'd like to try it out/take it on!

DracoDei
2013-04-20, 08:10 AM
Also. I would like to suggest a "healing" archetype XD:smallbiggrin: Less damage; but you can siphon damage it's doing to your allies in the form of healing. Even useful outta combat...just take a prisoner...dot the sucker up and let his fading life heal your group up!:smallbiggrin:
For Evil parties, yeah... well, maybe Chaotic Neutral or Chaotic Good if you don't kill the prisoners.
Neutral and some Good would settle for bringing farm animals with them.
Other Good wouldn't even do that.

AttilaTheGeek
2013-04-20, 09:07 AM
So basically, something like this, assuming 66% of combats take 5 rounds or less:

Actually, it's interesting that you say five rounds; we've been balancing its damage around combats lasting four rounds and sometimes up to six, rather than five rounds and sometimes more than ten. I guess it's just differing personal experience? I'd like to put out the open question to everyone in the thread: At your table, how long are combats? I want to get more than three data points on average combat length.


I'm assuming that the goal here is to make a DoT class that's at least moderately useful for an otherwise fairly conventional party, rather than one that requires the whole party to adopt substantially different tactics and build techniques, or one that creates a "decker problem" (in which either the DoTter is whittling away their foes, kiting them avidly, or else the rest of the party is happily smashing face and ne'er the twain shall meet, because the optimal tactics are just too dissimilar).

This is exactly it. We want the Maleficant to be damage-equivalent to a non-ubercharger melee, or a non-mailman blaster sorcerer. What we do not want is for the Maleficant to dot and run while the other party members are beating the enemy's face in.

DracoDei
2013-04-20, 09:26 AM
Can't recall a combat that I think lasted less than 3 rounds. Of course, the highest level one was 6th. Never had one hit 10 rounds though. If you need more precise than that... I would need to reread the logs to be more precise than that.

AttilaTheGeek
2013-04-20, 09:28 AM
Can't recall a combat that I think lasted less than 3 rounds. Of course, the highest level one was 6th. Never had one hit 10 rounds though. If you need more precise than that... I would need to reread the logs to be more precise than that.

Thanks for the info!

DrunkenMists
2013-04-20, 09:47 AM
I've played quite a few games where combat has lasted 20+ rounds. but then my groups tend to abhor "massive death" strategies and cheese.
any rounds under 10...tend to be scrutinized as to easy; or somebody is using cheez tactics (with exceptions made for critical or very top line strategy). Cuz combat ending after few turns...makes combat boring!. Why not just ro-sham-bo combat if it's gonna last less than 5.:smalleek:

DracoDei
2013-04-20, 11:38 AM
Cuz combat ending after few turns...makes combat boring!. Why not just ro-sham-bo combat if it's gonna last less than 5.:smalleek:
But conversely, it is possible to be very tactical in a 5 round (one round = one turn for everyone) fight I think. Of course, some of that comes BEFORE the combat even starts, with how you proceed through the "dungeon" and such.

NichG
2013-04-20, 01:54 PM
So, one thing we've discussed is making the base Corruption 4 damage/level/round (Will halves). This basically makes it equivalent to the Warlock's basic Eldritch Blast, except automatically repeating on subsequent rounds.

Now, Warlocks have a bit of optimization room due to PrCs and resources devoted specifically to them which means that they quickly can advance ahead of the 1d6/level/round thing. Add to that that the Maleficant's DoTs will sometimes get abridged due to using them to refresh Curses or simply the fact that their targets die and they have to move on to the next target, how do people feel about that damage level?

Comparing to basic melee, which is doing very roughly 8 damage/level/round to single targets, and blaster mages which do 4 damage/level/round to multiple targets (Reflex halves), we have:

Melee: 24 damage/level over 3 rounds
Blaster Mages: 12 damage/level over 3 rounds (multi-target)
Maleficant: 24 damage/level over 3 rounds (eventually multi-target)

The other balance factor is that while the melee's targets die quickly and they must move on to the next, the Maleficant's targets linger and may get additional actions that the other damage profiles can deny by virtue of killing more quickly.

I think due to that other balance factor, we actually don't want the Maleficant to be behind the curve on shorter fights (e.g. < 5 rounds). We certainly don't want them to match the burst damage of someone striking hard in the first round (melee is doing this twice as well as the Maleficant with the proposed numbers), but we don't really need to make them do less total damage than others since unlike the others, their targets aren't dropping as quickly and are having a chance to continue to do bad stuff to the party.

AttilaTheGeek
2013-04-30, 05:56 AM
We are almost ready for playtesting. We're just hashing out a little bit of wording with the Curses and then we'll be ready to go.

Since the damage-over-time model inherently has different amounts of potential at different tables, we want to do a lot of playtesting to make sure it's never too weak or too powerful. Who's interested?

DrunkenMists
2013-04-30, 06:17 AM
I Will; I'm fine playing something to test it againist or playtesting it. itself.

:smallbiggrin:

or we can pit Dot VS Dot and see who kicks the bucket first. ehehe.

Playtest wise; I'd suggest picking a "premade adventure" and shucking it down to the combat and using them as "guidelines" most of them have a Level area thier based for.

Hanuman
2013-04-30, 08:14 AM
Tracking nightmare.
I'd use the Witch's Hex ability as a base for this, then create a PrC or ACF to suit.

http://www.d20pfsrd.com/classes/base-classes/witch

AttilaTheGeek
2013-05-10, 07:59 PM
So, in lieu of any playtests going on, should NichG and I just post it into its own thread and ask for critiques?

TuggyNE
2013-05-10, 08:03 PM
So, in lieu of any playtests going on, should NichG and I just post it into its own thread and ask for critiques?

Sure! Go for it.

AttilaTheGeek
2013-05-20, 05:57 AM
The thread is up! (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?p=15266997#post15266997)