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View Full Version : [Base Class] East meets west; The Engetsu Shinobi (NOT anime or OA)



Damon_Caskey
2007-01-12, 12:37 PM
All,

After having posted the full Engetsu Series classes for a while and established them as a serious work I have decided to revert back to links; updating two boards at once with different formatting layouts is getting to be a pain in the neck.

The Engetsu is a series of ninja flavored classes and PRCs designed around the 80's movie 90's video game stereotype (the quintessential do-it-all who can hide, fight, cast spells and so on) reflavored for seriousness and balanced against the 11 core classes.

I'll leave the full introduction to the Engetsu Shinobi write-up as it is quite detailed. I hope you enjoy, and please leave your thoughts.

DC

Engetsu Series:

Shinobi (http://boards1.wizards.com/showthread.php?t=670865) - The prototypical Engetsu agent; a dangerous and highly versatile mission expert ready for almost any situation.

Sniper (prc) (http://boards1.wizards.com/showthread.php?t=675540) - A peerless long range weaponry specialist with both “one shot” and perfect support fire capability.

Strider (prc) (http://boards1.wizards.com/showthread.php?t=677123) - The ultimate mobility specialist who moves at incredible speed with or without magical aid and shrugs off the roughest of environments with ease.

Damon_Caskey
2007-01-18, 04:43 PM
See orginal post.

Damon_Caskey
2007-01-18, 04:56 PM
Ok, after 50+ views and not so much as a "Get lost Noob" for a reply I figured maybe I was being ignored for posting links to the class instead of the class itself.

With that in mind here is the whole thing sans extra feats and spells.

DC

Fako
2007-01-18, 05:29 PM
I personally like it. It's flavorful and something I would allow in my game. I really have nothing to add.

Wish I could really say more... but the only other word I can think of is "Wow"

Eighth_Seraph
2007-01-18, 05:53 PM
Honestly, I agree with Fako. This is pure beauty in class mechanics form. The only thing missing is a capstone ability to top it all off. The only problem is that this might be overpowered...I'll have to playtest it. That puts two classes on the list.

Damon_Caskey
2007-01-18, 06:38 PM
Thanks guys!


The capstone ability was at one time the Non detection ability (Lunar traces (Cognizance)), then HIPS. I changed the scaling of the first and moved it down so that it is actually useful during viable levels of play.

I’m a fan of formulas and scaling abilities over static features anyway, as they make a character playable while still balanced at all levels; you can give out a series of cool but balanced abilities early when its fun to have them, and with scaling they stay useful instead of becoming dead weight later on. The disadvantage is you can’t tack on too many abilities at later levels, thus the lack of a real capstone for the Engetsu.

I did have HIPS as the cap for a little while, but it was set down just a bit to fill a level gap and also to allow at least a couple of levels where you actually got to use it.

There is still kind of a capstone though, that being the second 5th level spell, which is fairly powerful when combined with the other class goodies.

As far as power goes so far all play testing has revealed the Engetsu to sit in the upper middle when compared to SRD core (which I have no problem with). My criteria for balance really has less to do with power and more to do with making sure no core class is rendered superfluous, and so far so good.

Your mileage will vary of course, and I would love to hear your play test results and any more thoughts out there.

Thanks again!

DC

Fax Celestis
2007-01-18, 06:42 PM
Thought about intertwining it with the maneuvering classes of the Tome of Battle?

Damon_Caskey
2007-01-18, 06:56 PM
Thought about intertwining it with the maneuvering classes of the Tome of Battle?

No, I haven't. In fact my only source material is the SRD. Well, that and a 3.0PHB. Actually, to be truthful, I haven’t been the one playtesting.

I haven’t rolled a D&D die in almost 5 years and was only a part time player even then. I just got attached to the character and like to throw together some material now and then and see what people think.

From what hear of the TOB I don't think I'd really care for the core mechanic. I might consider employing it in future variants though.

DC

Eighth_Seraph
2007-01-18, 10:45 PM
Special: Lunar Crust is normally determined by Engetsu Shinobi class level.
Special: Lunar Stride is normally determined by Engetsu Shinobi class level.
Special: Lunar Strike and Lunar Fist are normally determined by Engetsu Shinobi class level.
These should all be under 'Normal' instead of 'Special'. There's quite a few more in Appendix B with that problem.

Also, all these new feats require an entire set of specializations for Engetsu Shinobi. Heck, why stop there? You have enough material here for a campaign setting. What you have here is the ninja version of what a bard should be. Tone it down a bit, maybe, so there's room for a capstone, and then ninja variations of core classes for everyone! Seriously, that would be an awesome campaign setting. In Rokugan, maybe.

Damon_Caskey
2007-01-19, 10:58 AM
These should all be under 'Normal' instead of 'Special'. There's quite a few more in Appendix B with that problem.

Fixed. Thanks for the catch.


Also, all these new feats require an entire set of specializations for Engetsu Shinobi. Heck, why stop there? You have enough material here for a campaign setting. What you have here is the ninja version of what a bard should be. Tone it down a bit, maybe, so there's room for a capstone, and then ninja variations of core classes for everyone! Seriously, that would be an awesome campaign setting. In Rokugan, maybe. I’m not big on alternate campaign settings, the Engetsu was designed to mesh into generic D&D and nestle itself right along with the eleven core classes without replacing any of them. The extra feats are strictly optional, with the “Engetsu” specific ones following the concept of a Rogue’s special ability tree, only the Engetsu has to pay for them with his normal feats since he already has a set of goodies.

Still, it might be something to consider; I’ll think about it.

On the capstone, I’m still more about having scaling abilities that start low and then grow, but I’m thinking about maybe something lightweight. I’ve purposely taken advantage of a combination of scaling abilities and D&D rounding to keep any one level from being an attractive exit point. Look at the last five levels to see what I mean.

15:
-+1 BAB
+1 Fort. save
Step up from +20 to +30 base land speed.
Step up from 14 to 15 for Lunar Steps anti tracking DC bonus.16:
+1 BAB, with 4th iterative attack.
+1 Ref save.
+1 Will save.
Second 4th level spell
Improved Evasion
Step up from 3 to 4 insight bonus for unarmed attack damage.
Step up from 3 + Int. to 4 + Int. insight bonus to AC.
Step up from +30 to +40 base land speed.
Step up from 3 to 4 competence bonus to Balance, Climb, Disguise, Escape Artist, Jump and Tumble.
Step up from 17 + Int. to 18 + Int. for Lunar Strike DC.
Step up from 15 to 16 for Lunar Steps tracking DC.
Step up from 7 to 8 for Lunar Traces (Congnizance) Non-Detection caster level.17:
+1 BAB
Step up from 16 to 17 for Lunar Traces (Steps) anti tracking DC bonus.18:
+1 BAB
+1 Ref save.
+1 Will save.
First 5th level spell.
Step up from 4d6 to 5d6 Lunar Strike.
Hide In Plain Sight.
Step up from 18 + Int. to 19 + Int. for Lunar Strike DC.
Step up from 17 to 18 for Lunar Traces (Steps) tracking DC.
Step up from 8 to 9 for Lunar Traces (Congnizance) Non-Detection caster level.19:
+1 BAB
Step up from 18 to 19 for Lunar Traces (Steps) anti tracking DC bonus.20:
+1 BAB.
+1 Ref save.
+1 Will save.
Second 5th level spell.
Step up from 4 to 5 insight bonus for unarmed attack damage.
Step up from 4 + Int. to 5 + Int. insight bonus to AC.
Step up from +30 to +40 base land speed.
Step up from 4 to 5 competence bonus to Balance, Climb, Disguise, Escape Artist, Jump and Tumble.
Step up from 19 + Int. to 20 + Int. for Lunar Strike DC.
Step up from 19 to 20 for Lunar Traces (Steps) anti tracking DC bonus.
Step up from 9 to 10 for Lunar Traces (Congnizance) Non-Detection caster level.As you can see, there are dead levels (15, 17 and 19) but they are staggered with meaty levels immediately before and afterward, including level 20 which gives quite a bit even though there is no specific capstone. No matter when you exit, you are going to loose out on a hefty chunk of features.

I do agree a thematic capstone would be nice, and I’m looking for some ideas. Maybe something similar to Always Sneaky, but suggestions would be welcome.

Thanks again!
DC

Damon_Caskey
2007-01-22, 11:10 AM
Just added one of the prestige classes: Engetsu Strider.

Hope you like it, more to come.

DC

TimeWizard
2007-01-22, 11:12 PM
Thats quite a bit of work you did there, nice job! I don't have any helpful words yet, but I'll try some in depth mechanics tomorrow when im not so tired.

Jibar
2007-01-23, 12:49 PM
Ummm...
Wow...
That's...
That's a lot of work...
How long did it take to do all that man?

Damon_Caskey
2007-01-23, 02:11 PM
Ummm...
Wow...
That's...
That's a lot of work...
How long did it take to do all that man?


The class is actually a stating up of a character from 2nd edition days that is about 12 years old now, so you could say thatís how long it took. He was extremely powerful and highly illegal (more or less like a 3 way gestalt), but was allowed in due to being a character driven personality.


Since I had the back-story of where his skills came from, I figured I would just try and make a cohesive class out of in a form considered playable in a typical game. As far as actual write up time? Beats me since Iím not that dedicated.

I never actually sit down and work on anything. I just kind of write things here and there when Iím stuck inside with nothing to do.

DC

Damon_Caskey
2007-01-24, 01:08 PM
And the latest addition, the Engetsu Sniper (Found just below the Strider). Enjoy, and please give thoughts!

DC

Damon_Caskey
2007-02-05, 10:41 AM
Any chance of this joining the playground, or am I mis-understanding how that works?

Eighth_Seraph
2007-02-05, 05:40 PM
Er, the compendium, you mean? That's been out of whack for a while now. Still trying to get the several thousand entry links to their proper URLs. IF that ever gets fixed this will be classified under classes.

Also, if you're interested, Fleet and I have just begun a two-way playtest duel between an Engetsu Shinobi and my own creation, the Vagrant; both level 20. I've realized just the extreme capacity for broken-ness the Engetsu has, but even more so for the Vagrant. If you want to fix it, then I suggest you put a few major restrictions on spells on your Shinobi. Since the Shinobi is so dependent on Intelligence (even getting it to AC, despite the fact that it can wear light armor), spells per day are not a problem, and since it is completely wizard-style spellcasting, then infinite amounts of spells known to boot.

I would suggest a cut-down spell list or simply removing fifth level spells. Also, Lunar Crust + Headband of Intellect + Mithral breastplate = more AC than a scout/caster/skillmonkey should be allowed to have.

Damon_Caskey
2007-02-06, 04:27 PM
Er, the compendium, you mean? That's been out of whack for a while now. Still trying to get the several thousand entry links to their proper URLs. IF that ever gets fixed this will be classified under classes.

Also, if you're interested, Fleet and I have just begun a two-way playtest duel between an Engetsu Shinobi and my own creation, the Vagrant; both level 20. I've realized just the extreme capacity for broken-ness the Engetsu has, but even more so for the Vagrant. If you want to fix it, then I suggest you put a few major restrictions on spells on your Shinobi. Since the Shinobi is so dependent on Intelligence (even getting it to AC, despite the fact that it can wear light armor), spells per day are not a problem, and since it is completely wizard-style spellcasting, then infinite amounts of spells known to boot.

I would suggest a cut-down spell list or simply removing fifth level spells. Also, Lunar Crust + Headband of Intellect + Mithral breastplate = more AC than a scout/caster/skillmonkey should be allowed to have.

Thanks.

On balance, I’d be curious to note how the Engetsu is really broken. I’m not trying to be arrogant or anything, it’s an honest question.

Before posting here, I had the class tore apart by the Character Optomising boards on WOTC. I’m sure everyone here knows how fast those guys can break anything. Aside from minor nitpicks (which I corrected) they couldn’t find any holes.

Since that time, I’ve actually added more restrictions (AC went from Competence to insight for example). The general consensus is that yes, the Engetsu IS powerful, but not unfairly so.

The headband of intellect mithral breast plate combo for example is not the best of ideas. At low levels you’ve either spent out a disproportionate amount of your wealth on AC leaving you with no much else to work with. At high levels who cares? AC doesn’t matter enough anymore to waste resources trying to pump it up.

In any case, Lunar Crust is limited by class level so don’t expect to go crazy with Int. boosting items and expect a full return on your investment. Past level 5 it will probably never come up (It’s an anti dip restriction) but it’s still something to consider if your thinking of pouring it all into Int. for an AC boost.

Compounding the issue as that in both cases you’ve still saddled yourself with a 15% chance of spell failure. Just low enough to never affect you until the worst possible time. I’d never even consider adding AC at the cost of spell failure chance, especially at higher levels when the Engetsu will rely more and more on his spell casting ability to keep up.

As for changing spells spells? I’m sorry but no can do. In general, I’m open to suggestions except for three caveats
Attack Bonus. Full AB is there for functionality and flavor. It tells the player in no uncertain terms the class does not cower from physical engagement when pressed. All the “capable warrior” flavor in the world doesn’t overcome the stigma of ĺ AB.
Yes the Engetsu relies on subterfuge and panache, and yes he studies, but if an orc is in his face, he’s not going to waste valuable time acting like a craven; he can and he will simply punch its lights out and get on with the mission.

Skill Points. Same reason. You can call it skilled, but even the best role players just won’t get the message if there are less then 6sp per level.
It’s supposed to tell the player: Engetsu don’t trust or even particularly like magic, but they know it’s the best and most powerful tool to have so they study it anyway. They just try to do things the mundane way and avoid using it until absolutely necessary.


Spell casting. Partially because spell levels are exponential. Level 10 casting s not half as strong as level 20, it’s more like ľ, if that. Never will the Engetsu approach the party Wizard or Cleric in power. Plus I’m just sick of constantly changing spell casting. It’s gone from having 6th level spells, back to 4th and between, and someone always whines about too much or too little, so I’m sticking to doing it my way.These are the class foundations and the things I’m not willing to change. The chassis is essentially an arcane Ranger. Knock down hit dice one notch, add all the Lunar X features in place of combat styles, favored enemy, tracking, etc. and you have the Engetsu.

I’ve been told and see it as being comfortably in between the Melee and casting classes, nestled in with the Rogue and Bard. While its more powerful then a Bard or Rogue on paper, it can’t replace either class and more importantly can’t take away their fun in a party.

Again, please don’t take this as a “Nah nah it’s mine and I’m not gonna!”, or a hostile rebuttal of any kind. I’m very happy to hear its being tested, its just that I think you may be looking more at sheer numbers then game play (Maybe for yours too perhaps?).

Thanks for the response!
DC

Eighth_Seraph
2007-02-06, 05:39 PM
Alright, fair enough. Really, it is the spellcasting that I find to be potentially game-breaking, because it's just powerful enough to allow access to some of the potentially game-breaking spells. Polymorph, Greater Invisibility, Overland Flight, Baleful Polymorph are the main ones that gives the class a cheesy aftertaste. Anyway, I do agree that this class may be one of the funnest looking classes to play and use, especially with its capacity for roleplaying, and awesome in a party to boot.

Fax Celestis
2007-02-06, 05:54 PM
Alright, fair enough. Really, it is the spellcasting that I find to be potentially game-breaking, because it's just powerful enough to allow access to some of the potentially game-breaking spells. Polymorph, Greater Invisibility, Overland Flight, Baleful Polymorph are the main ones that gives the class a cheesy aftertaste. Anyway, I do agree that this class may be one of the funnest looking classes to play and use, especially with its capacity for roleplaying, and awesome in a party to boot.

Yeah, but he gets two. Not a big deal.

Eighth_Seraph
2007-02-06, 08:45 PM
Two per day, you mean? That's true enough, except that a +15 intelligence modifier is what I was up against in the duel. In a campaign situation, I doubt anyone would spend that much on a single stat boost, so that's balanced and I don't worry about it. What I do worry about is that, like the wizard, the Engetsu can feasibly learn every spell in existence, given the time. That's up to the DM to keep it balanced. Sorry if I'm coming out a bit hard, but when a class is this close to perfection, It's hard for me to resist working out that one mechanical quirk to even the scales. The Engetsu Shinobi is an awesome class overall and in almost every aspect of it, Damon.

What I would like to see to make this transition smoothly to almost any campaign setting is an official organization for it; but I've no idea how to build those properly.

Damon_Caskey
2007-02-07, 11:24 AM
+15 int. modifier?!

I haven’t played in a few years, but wow, how in the world did he get his Int. to 40? Talk a bout a skewed contest!

In any case, thank you very much for the comments, and I’m happy you enjoy the class. As for organization, I’ve got you covered. You can probably tell from the class itself that I have an extensive background on the Engetsu Organization. I’ll put it to paper and post it up.

What do you think of the PRCs and variants (Emitter, Riaru, Strider, Sniper)?

Thanks,
DC

Eighth_Seraph
2007-02-07, 05:49 PM
Level 20 starting gold. Apparently he blew most of his gold on Tomes to increase intelligence, meaning I needed to roll a 15 to hit him, even after I bumped my Dexterity up to 40 as well by the same method. I somehow managed to win the duel despite him using Greater Invisibility AND Overland Flight the entire time, but that's because my opponent has a capacity for character optimization which can be described as negative infinity plus one.

Fax Celestis
2007-02-07, 07:07 PM
Level 20 starting gold. Apparently he blew most of his gold on Tomes to increase intelligence, meaning I needed to roll a 15 to hit him, even after I bumped my Dexterity up to 40 as well by the same method. I somehow managed to win the duel despite him using Greater Invisibility AND Overland Flight the entire time, but that's because my opponent has a capacity for character optimization which can be described as negative infinity plus one.

Um, the max bonus you can receive from Tomes is +5. Total. Since each tome provides a +5 inherent bonus, multiple tomes provide multiple, nonstacking +5 bonii.


Grant a creature a +1 inherent bonus to an ability score. Two to five reality revisions manifested in immediate succession can grant a creature a +2 to +5 inherent bonus to an ability score. Inherent bonuses are instantaneous, so they cannot be negated or dispelled. An inherent bonus cannot exceed +5 for a single ability score. Inherent bonuses to a particular ability score do not stack; only the best one applies.

Your playtester was wrong.

Damon_Caskey
2007-02-07, 07:37 PM
I'd also like to know what the character level was. Lunar Crust AC is limited to class level, so even if the int boosting was legal, he still would have been limited to a max AC boost of whatever level you dueling at.

Had it been me, I would have just used a feint, reminded him of the fine print of Lunar Crust (you know, the one that people won't notice that says no Lunar Crust when flatfooted or denied Dex because they assume its just like a Monk), then hacked him down.

The Engetsu could have been a mean customer, but your friend did an atrocious job of bringing out its potential.

Had I been playing the Engetsu, just as a brainstorming strategy, rather then wasting the effort on AC (Your friend really missed the point. Lunar Crust is there precisely to keep you from wasting effort on it), I'd go for pumping up my stealth, whip up some shadows if there were not some already (there are a million and one ways to get a shadow), Hide In Plain Sight and waste you with a Full Attack Lunar Strike.

If your a Fgihter type, you probably have no chance of beating the stealth and spell saves, and even though you can probably withstand the full attack, it will have you down to your last breath and easy to finish off.

A caster is much tougher to deal with, but just one Lunar Strike and its all over. Even if the damage doesn't kill you, the Fortitude targeting silence pretty much takes out your ability to retaliate, and then your a level 20 commoner at low hit points with a hardcore ninja a few feet away. Not good for you.

DC

fleet
2007-02-08, 10:22 AM
What you fail to realise is the sheer power of improved invisibility. If I had been less intrested in trying every power we each had and more interested in just wining, the fight would taken about 3 rounds. NO CLASS with sneak attack should ever have the ability to cast greater invisibility. It was a level 20 duel so the stat's were not overly strange but an invisible opponent that does 5d6 sneak attack with every hit and can recast invisibility goes a bit beyond the pale. Also have you seen what spells fall under the category of level 5? Too many save or die spells there for a character that can also do many things that a fighter, monk, or rouge could do.

Damon_Caskey
2007-02-08, 11:34 AM
What you fail to realise is the sheer power of improved invisibility. If I had been less intrested in trying every power we each had and more interested in just wining, the fight would taken about 3 rounds. NO CLASS with sneak attack should ever have the ability to cast greater invisibility. It was a level 20 duel so the stat's were not overly strange but an invisible opponent that does 5d6 sneak attack with every hit and can recast invisibility goes a bit beyond the pale. Also have you seen what spells fall under the category of level 5? Too many save or die spells there for a character that can also do many things that a fighter, monk, or rouge could do.

I'm sorry, but you pretty much lost me by citing an unwritten rule of "No this and that". Anything can be put together if the effort is made to do it right. You've more or less stated you have a bias against the concept, and that alone makes you unqualified to be an objective judge.

Aside from that, there are so many ways to counter Improved Invisibility its not even funny, and by your account, the Craptastic Complete Adventeruer Ninja should be rated as one of the most overpowered classes in the game (Good luck finding ANYBODY who will agree with you on that one) by sheer virtue of having what amounts to be Improved Invisibility combined with Ethereal Jaunt AND twice the dice damage the Engetsu has.

Besides that, its one thing to use "all the tricks", its another to skew the setup to force a point. Basically, you've pulled the D&D equivalent of statistical banker's math. You take a class, put it in a house ruled player vs. player contest (Which in itself proves nothing) with illegal stats and tactics not applicable in a real game, and use that as a basis to call it overpowered.

And save or die? Are you kidding me? What, your going to spam all two of your 5th level spells and their base 15 DCs at appropriate encounters for level 20? Right off the top of my head a Balor (Cr20) has Fort 22, Will 19, Ref 19. You feel free to try that out and tell me how it works for you.

No offense (seriously, I'm not trying to be a smart a**, I'm just being honest), but your's is a critique I'm not going to take seriously.

DC

elliott20
2007-02-08, 11:47 AM
this class would be the ultimate mage killer. It's got the abilities sneak up to the ubermage, stick his knife into his back, and cause said mage to not be able to cast any spell with a verbal component. That's pretty sweet.

This class has got Batman written all over it. (Except the organization of course) It didn't help that the composition in the very first illustration was taken straight out of "Dark Knight Returns"...

Damon_Caskey
2007-02-08, 12:27 PM
It didn't help that the composition in the very first illustration was taken straight out of "Dark Knight Returns"...

??

Uhm huh? Sorry, I don't read comics, and if that's a movie, I haven't seen it (But I'd like to if it is).

DC

elliott20
2007-02-08, 12:46 PM
oh it's a comic book reference. "Dark Knight Returns" is a comic Frank Miller drew that returned the Batman mythos to it's darker and much more adult oriented roots.

There was one picture in the book where batman carried a 230 lb thug up over 100 flights of stairs, just so he can blindfold him, dangle him over the edge, and wait to see his expression when the guy finally wakes up.

the composition was identifical to the first picture.

Just go to your local comic book shop, look for "Dark Knight Returns" by Frank Miller, and you'll find that panel in one of the earlier pages.

Damon_Caskey
2007-02-08, 12:54 PM
oh it's a comic book reference. "Dark Knight Returns" is a comic Frank Miller drew that returned the Batman mythos to it's darker and much more adult oriented roots.

There was one picture in the book where batman carried a 230 lb thug up over 100 flights of stairs, just so he can blindfold him, dangle him over the edge, and wait to see his expression when the guy finally wakes up.

the composition was identifical to the first picture.

Just go to your local comic book shop, look for "Dark Knight Returns" by Frank Miller, and you'll find that panel in one of the earlier pages.

Ok, now thats freaky. The picture is from a novelization I wrote where the Engetsu (A half-elf named Valis Yuan) has pretty much done the exact same thing (The orc was part of a cult who's only weakness was acrophobia). He even mused about how the pissy screaming made it all worth while.

Maybe I saw this as a little kid and just inserted it without remembering. Of course, I doubt it ended the same. Valis cut the rope after he got the information he wanted. *Splat* Here is a quick snipit.


Moving his hand away from Ogathís face, Valis couldnít help the trace of a smile passing over his features. It had not been easy to carry three hundred plus pounds of smelly cultist garbage all the way back to the top of Serpent Mountain. It was probably a waste of good rope to hang him over the summit cliff by his ankles with a perfect view of the ground miles below. But it was well known the Nezuran didnít like mountains or high places of any kind. The pathetic scream had been worth it all.

A few days later Valis had finally come to the designated spot given to him by Ogath. Despite spilling the proverbial beans to Valis and begging for mercy, the orcís fear of heights had been substantiated when Valis released the holding rope and left Ogath to flail and scream pitifully in a fall that would last well over a minute. If Valis had felt any guilt at all over his actions, said guilt died long before Ogath broke against the glacier miles below. Maybe Dara would not have approved, but lose strings always meant trouble later, and Dara wasnít here.

Probably not something Batman would have done.

DC

elliott20
2007-02-08, 01:04 PM
well, they never did talk about what happened to the thug in the end. but it is assumed that batman handed him over to the authorities.

still, I like the feel of the class. Though, I must say, the organization itself sometimes borders on a cultish feel. To which I'm sure within certain underground circles where the knowledge of this organization is common place, it has been criticized for.

I also see the organization recruitment methods a little too extreme. Ask an individual if they'd like to join, if they don't, they die. I don't know, I think such a method would be too messy for an organization that has a greater interest in efficiency than in brutal ruling with an iron fist.

It would make far more sense, in my opinion, for the character to approach a character without explicitly naming his organization, or to identify that such an organization exists, but to merely speak of this induction as a loose affiliation of ideals and elitist structures. And the ones he ask should not be individuals he works with, but with individuals who he is able to observe with them being able to discern any details from him.

Damon_Caskey
2007-02-08, 01:25 PM
well, they never did talk about what happened to the thug in the end. but it is assumed that batman handed him over to the authorities.

still, I like the feel of the class. Though, I must say, the organization itself sometimes borders on a cultish feel. To which I'm sure within certain underground circles where the knowledge of this organization is common place, it has been criticized for.

I also see the organization recruitment methods a little too extreme. Ask an individual if they'd like to join, if they don't, they die. I don't know, I think such a method would be too messy for an organization that has a greater interest in efficiency than in brutal ruling with an iron fist.

It would make far more sense, in my opinion, for the character to approach a character without explicitly naming his organization, or to identify that such an organization exists, but to merely speak of this induction as a loose affiliation of ideals and elitist structures. And the ones he ask should not be individuals he works with, but with individuals who he is able to observe with them being able to discern any details from him.

The cult feel is fully intentional. The Engetsu are probably best compared formains (Or however you spell that). When I post the organization write up, it will be clear as to why.

As for recruitment, your method is pretty much one of many they would try. The iron fist is really just for those that have managed to sift through all the aliases, layers of bull s***, etc, and/or uncovered one of the Engetsu's bases of operation (Which would typically be a secluded mountaintop village or vista with reasonable proximity to a target city or province).

Those guys would be the ones given the iron fist treatment, partially because they are now privy to what the clan considers its most valuable asset (its anonymity) and partialy because they were good enough to breech said security and must have great potential.

Another example would be a character in a party somehow identifying an Engetsu with his clan affiliate.

Party Cleric: *rolls a 20 spot check* "Hey, who was that guy and whats that he gave you? Your not really from the local militia at all are you? You're too good to be a common theif, and there are no guilds nearby. *gasp* Wait! Your one of those "Shadowblades" aren't you. I've heard rumors about some miscreants who think they can take over everything, and somehow I think you just might be one of them! Well not this party mister!

Engetsu: Not quite, but close enough. It is true we are diverse, and it is also true we have few of strong enough faith to provide healing services in this area... Look out! *Bluff/Feint*

Cleric: Wha?.. HURK *Lunar Strike*

Engetsu: Fear not, you are far too valuable to perish. Your breath will return momentary, and then we may discuss your new path.

*Later that morning, all that can be found are bits of cloth, armor and scales. While upset, there is little the party can do about the lizard man raid with their cleric being one of the victims.*

Cleric player: Sweet! I've been waiting to try out that Engetsu Strider prestige class!

Of course, the party isn't likely to just give up completely, and there in lies potential for more adventure...

DC

elliott20
2007-02-08, 01:30 PM
so what happens with Engetsu shinobis who want to retire? Do they have to basically receive the equivalent of a mind wipe before they're allowed to be let go?

Damon_Caskey
2007-02-08, 01:38 PM
so what happens with Engetsu shinobis who want to retire? Do they have to basically receive the equivalent of a mind wipe before they're allowed to be let go?

Honestly, there has to be made some abdication between the flavor and mechanics (kind of like paladin code).

Most Engetsu are free roaming once their basic training is complete anyway, which obviously gives a lot of opportunities for abandonment, they just don't do it because they have come to a mindset of loyalty.

In the strictest sense, retirement wouldn't be allowed, but at the same time, there is no point in sending an operative out who no longer has the drive or ability. Such individuals would be relegated to infrastructure and logistics. There is a lot more to an organization then just running around dong "ninja stuff". Someone has to grow food in the villages, govern held provinces, keep up with resources distribution, etc.

DC

elliott20
2007-02-08, 01:48 PM
well, I don't mean that. I mean retirement as in, "I'm tired of all the underground stuff, of all the clandestine operations, of all the secret keeping. I want out."

I'm sure that at some point, some Engetsus will find that this lifestyle is simply not for them, despite their initial convictions.

But yeah, I see your point. an individual who no longer desires to be part of the world and just wants to live out the remainder of his days as a nobody is no longer a threat, and therefore, in some ways, probably doesn't warrant the usage of an operative.

Damon_Caskey
2007-02-09, 10:26 AM
well, I don't mean that. I mean retirement as in, "I'm tired of all the underground stuff, of all the clandestine operations, of all the secret keeping. I want out."

I'm sure that at some point, some Engetsus will find that this lifestyle is simply not for them, despite their initial convictions.

But yeah, I see your point. an individual who no longer desires to be part of the world and just wants to live out the remainder of his days as a nobody is no longer a threat, and therefore, in some ways, probably doesn't warrant the usage of an operative.

The retiree would probably be watched, and so long as he doesn't start randomly training people or divulge any part of his identity, he would be left be. Someone who suddenly defects or leaves the keys on the doorstep as it were is another matter.

An Engetsu who for example, suddenly feels the call and joins a Paladin order, runs off to marry, stops responding to orders, disappears, etc. is going to be considered a severe threat and dealt with accordingly.

Assassination of defectors (Even peaceful ones) certainly isn't unique to the Engetsu. Plenty of fictional and even a few real world organizations are known to adhere to just such a policy.

BTW, the mage killing aspect is not fully accidental. The Engetsu have slight weakness in their otherwise supreme practicality; they harbor a bit of animosity toward Magi organizations (Not to mention considering them a serious threat, and for good reason) and will tend to go after them first as opposed to an equally valuable and perhaps easier target. They also will tend to attack evil organizations over good ones (more of a strategic decision then a moral based one; the Engetsu are not evil for evils sake, but they are ruthless).

In other words, put them in Forgotten Realms and they would probably set their sights on the Red Wizards of Thay (Those overrated bozos could stand to be knocked down a peg or two anyway) before anything else.

The reasoning will again be explained in the clan write up.

DC

fleet
2007-02-10, 12:59 AM
Does the shinobi recive a mage's inteligence bonus to spells?

Damon_Caskey
2007-02-10, 08:07 AM
Does the shinobi recive a mage's inteligence bonus to spells?

*Sigh* This question is answered twice. Once by implicit rules in the class description and again specifically in the FAQ:




Q - How do I determine bonus spells?

A - Exactly as a Wizard does. Bonus spells are intelligence based.

DC

Enlong
2007-02-10, 11:35 PM
I really enjoy the idea of this class, and will be using it.

Damon_Caskey
2007-02-11, 08:22 AM
I really enjoy the idea of this class, and will be using it.

Thank you!

Please let me know how it turns out, and stay tuned for updates/supplements.

DC

Enlong
2007-02-11, 01:03 PM
Thank you!

Please let me know how it turns out, and stay tuned for updates/supplements.

DCSure thing. I've already got a sample character sheet almost done, but I still need DM approval for this one game I'm hoping to do.

Damon_Caskey
2007-02-12, 12:13 PM
Iím really happy with the response! But so far no comment on the PrCs or variants. Any thoughts?

Thanks as always,
DC

elliott20
2007-02-12, 12:33 PM
I read through the PrCs but to be honest, until I've managed to play test it or see somebody's report on how it play tests, it's kind of hard for to figure how the PrCs interact with the class itself.

Damon_Caskey
2007-02-12, 12:45 PM
I read through the PrCs but to be honest, until I've managed to play test it or see somebody's report on how it play tests, it's kind of hard for to figure how the PrCs interact with the class itself.

Not sure what you mean. On a mechanical scaling level or as a matter of flavor?

DC

elliott20
2007-02-12, 03:24 PM
flavor mostly. the mechanics of it seem okay. I don't see anything game breaking but then again I'm hardly the guru of game breaking myself. I really just wanted to see how a character like this can be played successfully, as this character has a pretty strict code of conduct to follow that would make the character a challenge to play properly, I think.

Damon_Caskey
2007-02-12, 03:48 PM
flavor mostly. the mechanics of it seem okay. I don't see anything game breaking but then again I'm hardly the guru of game breaking myself. I really just wanted to see how a character like this can be played successfully, as this character has a pretty strict code of conduct to follow that would make the character a challenge to play properly, I think.


Unless I wrote them wrong, none of the PrCs have anything stricter to deal with then the standard Engetsu does. It’s only the class name that differs. To Engetsu, the only distinction between the main class and PrCs is the training and assignments.

The way I see it, you play the Engetsu or its PRCs the same way you would someone who is supposedly a militia man, member of the clergy, guild tradesman, etc. You are basically adventuring on “downtime”. The Engetsu flavor of being few in number, widely dispersed and only called upon on rare occasions is designed to give the player just that kind of freedom. In fact the Engetsu almost require their agents to be active outside the clan; what better way to keep your skills sharp? All they have to do is never say the word Engetsu. Same concept as a Rogue who doesn’t want her guild revealed.

Now if the player wants to be more “active” with his organization or the DM actually makes the Engetsu a real presence in the world, all the ingredients are there. Otherwise don’t sweat it. Think of yourself as a secret agent on long term vacation hiring out his skills, or do what most players do and just toss the flavor for something you like better.

DC

elliott20
2007-02-12, 05:10 PM
well, I wasn't worried about the PrCs, I was worried about the Engetsu concept in general. Don't get me wrong, as it's a really cool class and it's got style oozing all over it.

But now that you clarified it, yeah, it seems pretty good for me.

My initial reaction was that such a prestigious and powerful clan could only be that influential if the clan is constantly involving their agents in covert assignments, the purpose of which perhaps not even the Engetsu himself is aware of. And with that kind of involvement with the world around you, adventuring with a party requires more and more justification. Also, it means that the engetsu is almost required to encourage, if not outright manipulate the party to his own quests.

At least, that's how I saw it.

But then again, I keep forgetting that the engetsu doesn't actually have an agenda in mind, at least not one that you've shown so far. and as a mercenary for hire, it probably would still make more sense for the modus operandi to be, "do your own thing while there's down time. but at some point, the agency will contact you."

Damon_Caskey
2007-02-12, 05:37 PM
But then again, I keep forgetting that the engetsu doesn't actually have an agenda in mind, at least not one that you've shown so far.

I really need to get that write up on the clan itself done. Heres the super abridged version:

Ultimately, their goal is to bring the entire world into a kind of martial law where everything runs like organized clockwork. That's a tall order when your entire organization may have two-three hundred active agents tops, thus the ultra methodical generation spanning slow movement approach.

DC

Damon_Caskey
2007-02-21, 09:34 AM
The Engetsu Shinobi fails his MS check and goes *bump* in the night. But at least it helps him evade the prune gods.

DC

elliott20
2007-02-21, 12:36 PM
still waiting on the org write-up *taps foot impatiently*

Damon_Caskey
2007-04-28, 08:22 PM
still waiting on the org write-up *taps foot impatiently*

Sorry for the wait. I've just been involved in a lot of projects latly; ironically one involving this class. I haven't forgotten about the clan write up. It's been in my head for years; just need to get it on paper.

DC

Damon_Caskey
2007-06-27, 09:05 AM
The class has been given some updates, especially the PRCs and new Feats. To help keep things together though, I have removed the full post and replaced it with links to the material.

I still have not had a chance to do the clan write up, but it is coming.

DC

Damon_Caskey
2007-12-23, 04:46 PM
It's been a while since I updated, but I finally gave the class a capstone. Being damage based, it's pretty weak for a lvl 20 capstone, but that is intentional since the class has quite a few "hidden" capstones already.

Just thought I would get some thoughts from anyone who cared to give them. Merry Christmas!

DC

Xorial
2009-09-19, 10:03 AM
A shameless bumb for a thread whose links are broken in the hopes that the original poster will re post them here.

Roland St. Jude
2009-09-19, 12:00 PM
Sheriff: Thread necromancy.