View Full Version : Green Star Adept Redux

2013-10-24, 11:05 AM
Many published prestige classes are useless. Any decent character has the option of taking many different cool and thematic prestige classes, but when all but a handful are anemic and useless, we lose a lot of richness and variety.

This is especially true for spell casters, for whom most of the prestige classes commit the most unforgivable sin of all: They lose caster levels, most often multiple times in their progression. To add insult to injury, after exacting this high price, the abilities they give are often basicly all but worthless.

Losing caster levels is a huge price to pay, and it seems that the designers of the books did not realize how much. There are some really good caster classes (Incantrix, IoTSV, Dwemerkeeper), but those are few and rather far between. There are a few more solid choices, like Abjurant Champion or Master specialist, but when you take into the consideration that 10-20 new prestige classes are added to the game in each splatbook, you realize that nine caster prestige classes out of ten are simply unplayable.

I intend to do a rewrite of some of these classes. The power level I'm aiming at isn't even the level of those "good" classes (If there were many more classes on the level of the Incantrix the game would likely collapse under their power), but rather at a good, solid, playable level, decent alternatives to being a Abjurant Champion or Master Specialist or whatever.

So here I present my rewrite of the Green Star adept: My goal for this class is to present a decent gish, and to fit the fluff of the class: A student of ancient lore who, in order to gain physical and magical power, has walked the path of empowering his body with the mystical metal from a mysterious meteorite.

I will not fully recap the fluff that Compete Arcane gives the class, so if you are unfamiliar with its fluff, feel free to pull out your copy of Complete Arcane.

To qualify to become a Green Star adept, a character must fulfill all the following criteria.
Base Attack Bonus: +5.
Skills: Craft (metalworking) 4 ranks, Decipher Script 2 ranks, Knowledge (arcana) 10 ranks, Knowledge (architecture and engineering) 2 ranks, Knowledge (geography) 2 ranks, Knowledge (history) 3 ranks.
Spells or Spell-Like Abilities: Arcane caster level 6th.
Special: Must acquire a piece of starmetal weighing at least 2 ounces, powder it, and consume it by drinking it in a specially prepared infusion. This infusion requires arcane reagents costing 1,000 gp and takes one week to prepare.

Hit Die: d10.

Class Skills
The Green Star adept’s class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Appraise (Int), Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Decipher Script (Int), Knowledge (arcana) (Int), Knowledge (architecture and engineering) (Int), Knowledge (geography) (Int), Knowledge (history) (Int), Profession (Wis), and Spellcraft (Int).
Skill Points at Each Level: 2 + Int modifier.

The Green Star Adept
{table=head]Level|Base Attack Bonus|Fort Save|Ref Save|Will Save|Special|Spells

+2|Damage Reduction, Starmetal Dependency, Starmetal Rigor 1|+1 level of existing arcane spellcasting class

+3|Natural Attack, Improved Caster Level +1,Unnatural Metabolism +2, Fortification 25%, Otherworldly Vision, Starmetal Rigor 2|-

+3|Starmetal Rigor 3, Empowered Magic, Spell Resistance|+1 level of existing arcane spellcasting class

+4|Fortification 50%, Unnatural Metabolism +4, Otherworldly Vision (improved), Improved Caster Level +2|+1 level of existing arcane spellcasting class

+4|Starmetal Rigor 4, Null Metabolism, Mettle of Fortitude, Mighty Blow|+1 level of existing arcane spellcasting class

+5|Fortification 75%, Unnatural Metabolism +6, Empowered Magic (improved)|+1 level of existing arcane spellcasting class

+5|Starmetal Rigor 5, Improved Caster Level +3, Rapid Repair, Emerald Perfection|+1 level of existing arcane spellcasting class[/table]

Class Features
All the following are class features of the Green Star adept prestige class.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency:
Green Star adepts gain proficiency with simple weapons. They gain no proficiency with armor or shields.

Spells per Day/Spells Known:
At every level except the second, a Green Star adept gains new spells per day (and spells known, if applicable) as if he had also gained a level in an arcane spellcasting class to which he belonged before adding the prestige class level. He does not, however, gain any other benefit a character of that
class would have gained (such as the bonus feat sometimes gained by a wizard). If he had more than one arcane spellcasting class before becoming a Green Star adept, he must decide to which class to add each level for the purpose of determining spells per day and spells known.

Damage Reduction (Ex):
The starmetal infusion reinforces the flesh of a Green Star adept, making him resistant to physical blows. He gains damage reduction 2/adamantine. Each level thereafter, his damage reduction improves by 2, until by 7th level, he
has damage reduction 14/adamantine.

Starmetal Dependency (Ex):
A Green Star adept must consume more starmetal to continue his transformation. When he gains a level in this class beyond 1st, he does not gain any of the class features for that level until he performs a special ritual that requires 24 hours, 1 pound of starmetal, and other arcane reagents and materials costing 1,000 gp. A Green Star adept’s base attack bonus, saving throws, skills, and feats or ability score increases are not dependent on this ritual—he fails to gain the special class abilities only until he completes the ritual. See page 141 of Complete Arcane for a description of starmetal as
a new special material.

Starmetal Rigor (Ex):
At 1st level, a Green Star adept’s process of transformation has already begun. His flesh takes on a faint emerald hue, and it becomes denser and stronger as the starmetal infusion takes hold. A 1st-level adept’s Strength score increases by 1, but his Dexterity score drops by 1 (to a minimum of 3). His natural armor bonus also improves by 1. When an adept reaches 2th level, his Strength and his natural armor bonus improve by an additional 1 point.
At 3th level, an adept’s Strength increases by 2 more, for a total increase of +4, while his Dexterity is reduced by 1 (to a minimum of 3). His natural armor bonus improves by another 2 points, for a total bonus of +4.
At 5th level, once again his Strength and his natural armor bonus improve by an additional 1 point.
At 7th level, an adept’s Strength score increases by 2 more points (total increase of +7) and his Dexterity is reduced by 1 (total reduction of –3, to a minimum of 3). His natural armor bonus improves by another 2 points, for
a total bonus of +7.

Natural Attack (Ex):
Beginning at 2nd level, a Green
Star adept has flesh so dense that his unarmed strikes deal substantial damage. He gains a slam attack that deals bludgeoning damage equal to a club sized one size larger than the character (1d6 for Small adepts, 1d8 for Medium adepts, or 1d10 for Large adepts), plus 1-1/2 times his Strength modifier. This attack can overcome damage reduction as though it were a magic weapon.

Improved Caster Level (Ex):
Starmetal is a lot more conductive of mystic forces than mere flesh is. At second level, the Green Star Adept may add one to his caster level in another arcane spellcasting class to determine his effective spellcaster level. If the character had more than one arcane spellcasting class before becoming a Green Star adept, the player must decide to which class to add the bonus to.
At 5th level, this ability improves, and the bonus increases to +2. At 7th level, it improves once more, and the bonus increases to +3.

Unnatural Metabolism (Ex):
When an adept reaches 2nd level, his starmetal infusion begins to radically alter his metabolism. He gains a +2 bonus on saving throws against poison, sleep effects, paralysis, stunning, disease, death effects, and necromancy effects. At 4th level, a Green Star adept’s bonus on saving throws against the attack forms listed above increases to +4. At 6th level, the bonus increases to +6.

Fortification (Ex):
At 2nd level and higher, a Green Star adept has resistance to attacks that affect other living creatures. When a critical hit or sneak attack is scored on the character, there is a 25% chance that the critical hit or sneak attack is negated and the damage is instead rolled normally. When an adept reaches 4th level, this ability improves, increasing the chance of negating a critical hit or sneak attack to 50%. At 6th level, a Green Star adept has a 75% chance to negate a critical hit or sneak attack.

Otherworldly Vision (Ex):
At 2th level, a Green Star adept gains darkvision out to 60 feet and low-light vision. At 4th level, this ability improves. The Green Star adept gains the ability to see perfectly in darkness, including in magical darkness. The green star adept also gains the benefit of a constant see invisibility spell.

Empowered Magic
When a Green star adept reaches 3rd level, his capacity for channeling magic improves. He gains Empower spell as a bonus feat. If he already has Empower Spell, he may select another metamagic feat instead.
At 6th level, he gets Sudden Empower as a bonus feat. If he already has Sudden Empower, he gets an additional use of it per day.

Spell Resistance (Su):
Starmetal is a powerful material on its own, and its essence reinforces that of the green star adept. Starting at 3rd level, a Green Star adept gains spell resistance equal to 11 + the Green Star adept's character level.

Mighty Blow
At 5th level, the Green Star Adept's slam attack improves. Treat the Green Star Adept as one size category larger to determine the amount of damage his slam attack deals. The critical range for his slam attack becomes 18-20, and the critical modifier becomes x3.

Null Metabolism (Ex):
When a Green Star adept reaches 5th level, his transformation approaches completion. He no longer needs to breathe, eat, or sleep. He has immunity to inhaled poisons, drowning, suffocation, and sleep effects (although he still must rest 8 hours in order to regain spells). In addition, an adept of 5th level or higher is no longer subject to fatigue or exhaustion and ignores the effects of these conditions.

Mettle of Fortitude (Ex):
Beginning at 5th level, if exposed to any effect that normally allows a character to attempt a Fortitude save for a partial or half effect (such as slay living), the Green Star adept suffers no effect with a successful saving throw.

Emerald Perfection (Ex):
At 7th level, a Green Star adept completes his transformation. He resembles a perfectly sculpted statue of himself, forged from green starmetal. His type changes to construct, which brings about the following alterations to his basic nature:
—An adept loses his Constitution score and any hit point adjustment for constitution. However, he gains bonus hit points based on his size: +10 hit points for Small, +20 hit points for Medium, or +30 hit points for Large.
—Unlike other constructs, a Green Star adept has no special immunity to mind-affecting effects. He is essentially a human mind in a magically animated body.
—He gains immunity to poison, paralysis, stunning, disease, extra damage from sneak attacks, death effects, and necromancy effects.
—He no longer heals damage on his own, and receives no benefit from spells or effects that heal living creatures. However, he can repair himself by means of repair damage spells or his rapid repair ability (see below).
—He is no longer subject to critical hits, nonlethal damage, ability damage, ability drain, or energy drain.
—He gains immunity to any effect that requires a Fortitude save unless it also works on objects, or is harmless.
—He is no longer at risk of death from massive damage, but he is immediately destroyed if reduced to 0 hit points. However, unlike other constructs, a Green Star adept can be returned from the dead by any means that would have worked on him before his final transformation.
—He no longer takes ability score penalties for aging and cannot be magically aged. He cannot die of old age and might exist in this form for eons.

Rapid Repair (Ex): A 7th-level Green Star adept gains fast healing 3.

2013-10-24, 11:27 AM
It's certainly a lot better. In fact, it's a pretty attractive gish class, at the moment. Why 7 levels, if I may ask? You've got enough stuff packed in there for 10.

Under Starmetal Dependency, does that mean you don't get an advance in caster level until you eat the metal? Because that's... kind of strange.

With the improved casting advancement, I'd drop Improved Caster Level.

2013-10-24, 04:48 PM
Almost too good, i'd say. You could safely take out the improved caster level and spread it out to make 10 levels, or drop some of the DR/Nat AC and some skill requirements.
Losing one caster level makes it an easy pick, two would make it a tough choice. It's up to you how attractive you want it to be.

2013-10-24, 08:27 PM
sweet! i too loved the fluff for this class but was saddend that the half caster progression did not even close to be made up with the class abilities.

You completely swung it around the other way too far now.

losing only 1 spellcaster level but then getting your caster levle bumped up by 3 is more than a fair pay off

honestly I fel that losing (if you keep it at 7th PrC) a spellcaster levle at 2nd and 6th even without the caster level boots it would be a 'solid class' liek the Abjurant champion.

But then i am of the cmap that casters alreayd get too much with their spells, so of course im going to look at this and say " so this PrC give a net gain of +2 caster level.. yeah thats a bit much"

2013-10-25, 09:09 AM
losing only 1 spellcaster level but then getting your caster levle bumped up by 3 is more than a fair pay off
I'm not sure I see that. Sure, your 1 round/level spells will last a few extra rounds, but the difference between 12 rounds and 15 (or whatever) are unlikely to be much of a factor. It also helps with dispel magic checks, but I think I would prefer the +1 spellcaster level.

@doomlord: I think that prestige classes that lose spellcaster levels should lose one at the first level of the class. This prevents cherry picking.

2013-10-25, 04:21 PM
This is substantially better than the version in Complete Arcane, and actually might be worth playing.

It might be nice if they could sense the presence of nearby star metal, but I'm not sure how exactly that should work. Maybe at level 2 something like:

Star Sense(Su): At 2nd level, a Green Star Adept's transformation creates a resonating effect between their star metal infused body and other deposits of star metal. They are instantly aware of the presence of star metal or star metal alloys within 100 feet of them, and its approximate direction. This also allows them to detect creatures which contain large quantities of star metal, such as other Green Star Adepts. At fifth level, the distance they may detect star metal extends out to 300 feet.

Also, I don't think the lose 1 casting level, get +3 to caster level is problematic, given the massive loss a caster level is, and given the gp cost one needs to advance each level in the class. But if really necessary, reducing this to just +2 would certainly make this unambiguously fine.

2013-10-28, 04:24 AM
Losing a spellcasting level is a big deal. I understand where those of you who are saying it should lose a second level are coming from, but remember the "ten commandments of optimisation": The very first is "Thou shalt not give up caster levels." And moreover, the fifth is "Thou shalt not give up caster levels. Verily, this Commandment is like unto the first; but of such magnitude that it bore mentioning twice."

I think I can safely say that giving up a level is pretty serious. But, if you really feel it needs it, go ahead and play with it also losing level 6 or something. I'm not going to stop you... :smallsmile:

To answer a pair of other questions:

1) Why seven levels? I dislike ten level prestige classes. To take all ten levels of a ten level prestige class, you shoehorn yourself into a single role, and doing so give up a lot of spice and uniqueness your character can have. For classes with more than five levels, I prefer to make 7 level classes, unless the class really need the extra.

2) + caster levels without spellcasting progression is not that big a deal in my opinion. As Cheiromancer points out, the best it gives you is a few rounds extra duration on round per level spells, and bumping a duration from, say, 12 rounds to 14 rounds is not a big deal at all. (Remember, it's a net +2 gain, nit three, as you lose the normal progression at level two.)

3) @Cheiromancer: I understand about preventing cherry picking. But I think it gets a bit boring if every 9/10 or 4/5 or 6/7 class loses just the first level. All the tables look a bit monotonous, and I think that here level 2 actually works well. All the real good stuff comes at level 2 or later, so the lost level at level 2 "guards" those abilities, and getting the abilities at level one may or may not be worth a quest for a source of starmetal, an infusion costing 1000 gp, and a bunch of random skill points wasted on random skills.

It makes it actually an open question whether or not to dip. Dipping has benefits, but also costs. Dipping is a viable option, but not an automatic one. That's what I was aiming for, at least. To make your options be a bit more open than the dichotomy of either taking no levels in it, or taking all of them. Actually, in the prereqs I cut from the Complete Arcane version a feat tax of Combat Casting, as I felt that that was a bit much of a price tag. But if you feel that the class needs a higher cost to enter, by all means you could add the feat tax back on.

This is substantially better than the version in Complete Arcane, and actually might be worth playing.

Thanks, this is exactly what I was aiming for. "Something that actually might be worth playing" is the power level I wanted. Solid, and something that might be worth it. Not weak on the level of the original version of Green Star adept, and not Incantrix level broken, but a good even keel.