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VoxRationis
2014-04-06, 09:59 PM
What do you guys think of it? I'm open to criticism, but please keep in mind that this is not meant to be balanced against high-magic, everything-in-the-book play. This is supposed to be a wizard for a campaign where magic is rare.

Low-Magic Wizard
This variant is inspired by figures such as certain takes on Merlin, Gandalf from The Lord of the Rings, Melisandre from A Song of Ice and Fire, and others from fiction and legend. It has less direct magical power than the standard wizard and is meant for low-magic campaigns.




LevelBABFort SaveRef SaveWill SaveSpecial


1st

+0

+0

+0

+2

Arcana, greater arcana, firestarting, sense magic


2nd

+1

+0

+0

+3

Knowledge Devotion


3rd

+1

+1

+1

+3




4th

+2

+1

+1

+4

Quickened brewing


5th

+2

+1

+1

+4

Fearsome aspect


6th

+3

+2

+2

+5

Brew Potion


7th

+3

+2

+2

+5




8th

+4

+2

+2

+6




9th

+4

+3

+3

+6

Scrying, brew elixirs of health


10th

+5

+3

+3

+7




11th

+5

+3

+3

+7




12th

+6/+1

+4

+4

+8

Rebuke monster, brew elixirs of transformation


13th

+6/+1

+4

+4

+8




14th

+7/+2

+4

+4

+9




15th

+7/+2

+5

+5

+9




16th

+8/+3

+5

+5

+10




17th

+8/+3

+5

+5

+10




18th

+9/+4

+6

+6

+11




19th

+9/+4

+6

+6

+11




20th

+10/+5

+6

+6

+12

Bind monster





Hit Die: d6.
Skill Points: 4+ Int modifier (x4 at 1st level).
Class Skills: Appraise (Int), Craft (Int), Decipher Script (Int), Gather Information (Cha), Heal (Wis), Knowledge (Int), Listen (Wis) Profession (Wis), Search (Int), Sense Motive (Wis), Sleight of Hand (Dex), Spellcraft (Int), Spot (Wis), and Use Magic Device (Cha).
Proficiencies: The wizard is proficient with the club, dagger, light and heavy crossbow, and quarterstaff. Wizards are proficient with no armor, and are similarly untrained with shields.
BAB: Poor
Good Saves: Will
Poor Saves: Fortitude & Reflex

Class Features of The Wizard:
Arcana (Ex): A wizard automatically has maximum ranks in Knowledge (arcana), (dungeoneering), (history), and (the planes) for his class level. If the character's first level was in another class, then the first wizard level only grants 1 rank in these skills, rather than four.

Greater Arcana (Ex): (In Spoiler) Much of a wizard's power lies in things which we would not consider magical per se. It is obscure and advanced knowledge of things unknown to the world at large. This knowledge is jealously guarded and compiled into grimoires which provide the precise details of his secret formulae and recipes. Often, a wizard's book(s) are written in an obscure or near-forgotten language, or even in code, but for the most part, the very nature of the subject protects its secrets from the uninitiated.
A wizard counts as being a “spellcaster” for all intents and purposes, whether or not they have any explicit “spells.”
Using greater arcana requires both a fair amount of preparation and expensive apparatuses and materials. Application of this knowledge can be difficult. First, the wizard must learn the knowledge for a particular feat of greater arcana. This requires either a Knowledge (arcana) check to figure it out on their own or an easier check of the same skill to comprehend notes or formulae found in their adventures. Failing the check means one cannot learn it until one gains another level in wizard. Then the wizard can apply it via a Craft (alchemy) check, or a check of a different appropriate skill. This has a cost and Difficulty Class appropriate to the particular application involved and dependent on the level of success one wishes to attain for that application. Crafting anything as part of applying greater arcana takes a minimum of 8 hours' labor, and requires either an alchemist's lab or a similarly appropriate forging, glassblowing, or craftsman's station. Attempting a check and failing ruins the attempt, even if the check would succeed for a lower-difficulty version of the same feat of greater arcana.
There are no particular grades of greater arcana, but the more difficult and often more potent applications of it have such high requisite Difficulty Classes that lower-level wizards would practically find it difficult or impossible to accomplish them. A 1st-level wizard begins with a single feat of greater arcana known, of a copying Knowledge (arcana) DC low enough that the wizard could meet it on a rolled 10.
Most greater arcana techniques are chemical in nature and require Craft (alchemy) checks to realize, but others are based on other principles and fields and use other checks.

Sense Magic (Su): A wizard automatically becomes aware of the presence of magic within 60 feet unless it is specifically guarded or warded against detection in some way. By concentrating on the feeling for a round, the wizard can determine the “kind” of magic it is, i.e., the general source and nature of it. In a second round of concentration, the wizard can determine the direction in which the magic lies. With a minute of close study, the wizard can determine the basic function of the magic or enchantment, but not specific conditions of activation, caster level, etc.

Firestarting (Su): A wizard can, at will as a standard action, create a small spark capable of reliably and instantly lighting tinder or similar burnable materials into a nonmagical fire which burns as a normally started fire would. The ability functions more effectively in adverse conditions than mundane methods of lighting fires, but doesn't function in places where it is impossible to light a fire normally.

Knowledge Devotion (Ex): A 2nd-level wizard gets the Knowledge Devotion feat for free, ignoring all prerequisites. Furthermore, the wizard can share the bonus granted by this feat by briefing his allies for a minute outside of combat, or share half of it by informing them during combat as a full-round action.

Quickened Brewing (Ex): A wizard of 4th level takes 1/2 the normal time to make alchemical items, with no increase to the crafting DC.

Fearsome Aspect (Ex): At 5th level, a wizard becomes adept in cultivating an intimidating aura of mystery and using it against his foes. The wizard can use Gather Information, Spot, or Listen in the place of Intimidate by gathering and reciting obscure facts about a target; normal restrictions on the ability to use these skills still apply. Furthermore, as long as the wizard acts with the gravitas typical of a wizard and bears the accoutrements appropriate to a wizard (which depend somewhat from culture to culture; long beards and robes are often appropriate), the wizard automatically adds his Charisma bonus to Armor Class against creatures without magical power of their own (including other wizards).

Brew Potion (Su): At 6th level, the wizard becomes able to make potions of cure spells, bull's strength, bear's endurance, cat's grace, owl's wisdom, and eagle's splendor as though they they were clerics of level equal to their class level. This costs no XP, but requires rare components worth 150% the normal crafting cost of these items.
At 9th level, the wizard becomes able to make elixirs of health, which purge disease and poison from the drinker, for the cost of a potion of neutralize poison.
At 12th level, the wizard becomes able to make elixirs of transformation, which change the appearance of the drinker to a humanoid form determined by the wizard upon crafting the potion (Will save of 14+Intelligence modifier negates) until a preset condition, such as "the realm is restored to prosperity" or "the drinker learns humility" is met. Easily-met conditions have a 45% chance of not releasing the spell when met. The potion costs 1400 gp to create. The drinker appears to all mundane senses to be the false form, but sense magic can determine the spell the drinker is under, and possibly how to cure it with an accompanying Spellcraft check of 30 or higher.

Scrying (Sp): A wizard of 9th level or higher can use scrying, as the spell, provided they have a still, reflective focus, such as a pool of absolutely still water or a high-quality mirror. This ability takes an hour to use but is usable at will.

Rebuke Monster (Su): A wizard of 12th level or higher can attempt to stave off a magical creature with their power. To do this they must stand and concentrate on the creature as a full-round action, speak ancient words of power, and make their presence known through strong self-presentation. The ability functions as a cleric's turn undead ability, but against aberrations, elementals, magical beasts, outsiders, and undead. Any creature that would be destroyed by the attempt is instead banished back to whence it came, unless doing so would require physical travel. Thus, a monster from the depths of an underground abyss would not be banished, but a malevolent spirit from a parallel dimension would be. This ability is usable a number of times per day equal to 3+ the wizard's Charisma modifier.

Bind Monster (Su): Using a two-hour-long ritual, a wizard of 20th level may summon and bind a single magical creature, as of the types affected by rebuke monster, of Hit Dice no greater than 15. The ritual requires rare magical components, determined by the DM and appropriate to the campaign setting, worth 2000 gold pieces, as well as a blood sacrifice worth 20 hit points from a living sapient creature. During the ritual, the wizard constructs a diagram which prevents the creature from leaving by any form of dimensional travel and stuns the creature, with no save, for a single round, upon its summoning at the final moment of the ritual. During this moment of stunning, the wizard has a single opportunity to pit their will against the summoned creature in order to assume control over it. This requires a full-round action, during which the wizard and the summoned creature make opposed Will saves. If the wizard's Will save exceeds that of the summoned creature, the wizard asserts dominance over the creature and binds it for a single, non-ongoing task, which it performs to the best of its ability (though it will attempt to pervert instructions). If the wizard's Will save fails to exceed that of the monster, the wizard is stunned for a single round and the monster is free to attack the wizard or attempt to escape via either physical travel or any dimensional travel abilities it may have. The wizard cannot summon and bind any creature that could only travel to the wizard's location via physical means. Keep in mind that this class is for use in lower-magic campaigns and the list of available monsters to choose from will almost assuredly be much narrower than the full Monster Manual(s), as per the DM's discretion.

Feats of Greater Arcana
Animal Speech
Independent Study DC: Knowledge (nature) 28
Copying DC: Knowledge (nature) 18
Effect: You can communicate on a basic level with common animals of your local environment. The animals are not automatically any more friendly with you than they would be normally, and the concepts they can grasp may be limited, particularly in the area of abstract thought.

Chilling Flask
Independent Study DC: Knowledge (arcana) 37
Copying DC: Knowledge (arcana) 27
Application: Craft (alchemy) DC 30
Effect: You create a small glass vial filled with a liquid which rapidly boils under normal pressure, causing damaging amounts of cold. A target affected by the liquid (either due to being hit by a ranged touch attack or somehow spilling the liquid on itself) takes 20 points of cold damage equally divided over a number of rounds determined by the current wind speed:
No wind-light wind: 10 rounds
Light wind: 5 rounds
Moderate wind: 4 rounds
Strong wind or higher: 1 round
You can make the damage higher by increasing the Craft DC by 10 for each 20 point increase in damage.

Controlled Poison
Independent Study DC: Knowledge (arcana) 31
Copying DC: Knowledge (arcana) 25
Application DC: Craft (poisonmaking) 20, materials worth 300 gp
Effect: You create a poison whose effects are far more potent against a particular kind of creature, such as red dragons, humans, or wolves. This poison does initial and secondary damage of 1d4 of a chosen ability score to most creatures and 2d6 against the specific kind of creature it was meant to harm (a Fortitude save of 18 negates it).
You can, by attempting a more difficult Craft (poisonmaking) check, make a more potent poison. Each 4-point increase in the Craft DC increases either the save DC by 1 or the damage to the intended target by 1d3.

Deaden Pain
Independent Study DC: Knowledge (arcana) 27
Copying DC: Knowledge (arcana) 22
Application DC: Craft (alchemy) 21, materials worth 200 gp
Effect: You create a potion that, when imbibed, prevents pain sensation, with no loss of mental acuity or reflexes, for an hour. The subject gains the ferocity ability, such that it acts without penalty from 0 to -9 hit points, and half of all incoming damage while under the effects is delayed until the end of the potion's duration. The subject is also immune to all pain effects and nonlethal damage for this time. A side effect of the potion is a lack of caution and a general feeling of invincibility; the subject cannot fight defensively, use the Combat Expertise feat, or take total defense, and has a -2 penalty to AC for the duration of the potion.

Flaming Metal
Independent Study DC: Knowledge (arcana) 27
Copying DC: Knowledge (arcana) 17
Application: Craft (weaponsmithing) (DC varies), +25% crafting cost, a forge as well as an alchemical lab
Effect: You can forge weapons of a soft metal that bursts into white flame, thrice as bright as a torch, when either exposed to fire or water. The weapons have a -2 penalty to attack and damage against foes with any sort of armor or natural armor, but do 1d6 fire damage against any creature with water-based tissues or blood. The weapons burn away in 10 rounds after first exposure to water (in significant quantities) or fire.
Arrows or crossbow bolts made of this material burn and explode when they strike their targets successfully and do 2d6 fire damage instead of 1d6. Leaving a sword or other weapon in a target after successfully attacking also will do this, but doing so will render them useless.
Using a Craft DC of 5 higher than the normal crafting DC, you make the weapons of alternating stripes of the flaming metal and the normal metal that the weapon is composed of. These have no attack or damage penalty.

Flash Powder
Independent Study DC: Knowledge (arcana) 27
Copying DC: Knowledge (arcana) 21
Application DC: Craft (alchemy) 15
Effect: You throw a handful of powder into the air, which combusts in a fashion producing little heat but a great deal of light. A creature hit directly by the blast, which manifests in a square next to you, takes 1 point of fire damage, and all creatures within 20 feet are blinded for 1 round and dazzled for 2 rounds after that. A Reflex save of 15 negates all of these conditions. (You are assumed to automatically make your save by turning your head or closing your eyes, but if you are prevented from doing either, you too are subject to the effects of flash powder.)
By increasing the crafting DC by 2, you can increase the save DC for this ability by 1.

Hypnosis
Independent Study DC: Knowledge (arcana) 30
Copying DC: Knowledge (arcana) 20
Effect: You use words and gestures to implant suggestions into the mind of a single humanoid. The target must not be in combat and must be able to devote its full attention to you. When you try to implement this ability, your target must roll a Will save equal to (½ your wizard level+your Cha modifier+11). If they fail, they fall under your spell, and you can give them orders as follows:
Sleep: The target falls asleep until you or another person awaken them, or until an hour passes, whichever is less.
Tempt: The target does something they desire to but might not due to mild inhibitions, such as taking a lunch break at the wrong time of day.
Furthermore, you can attempt to give them one of the following orders, but they immediately get a second Will save at a +5 additional bonus to break the spell:
Greater Temptation: The target does something they desire but have been conditioned to not seek out in their current situation, such as a guard leaving his post to visit his family.
Release from Fear: The target becomes convinced something dangerous is of manageable difficulty, gaining a +4 bonus on saves vs. fear and proceeding to attempt to “conquer” the matter. The target may later reevaluate the danger and abort their intended action.
Paralysis: The target becomes convinced their limbs are frozen in place until you instruct them otherwise. Immediate physical danger has a 75% chance to awaken subconscious defense instincts and break the spell.
Lastly, you can attempt to give them one of the following orders, but they get a Will save at a +10 additional bonus to break the spell:
Irresistible Temptation: The target seeks out something they desire but would draw immediate, drastic negative consequences for seeking, such as a guard attempting to kiss a duke's wife in the middle of court.
Betrayal: The target becomes convinced an ally has betrayed them and takes action appropriate to their context and abilities. The ally can make a Diplomacy check equal to the DC of the Will save in order to convince them otherwise.
You are also immune to the hypnotic abilities of other wizards using this greater arcana.
A person who has successfully made a save against hypnosis is thereafter immune to hypnosis from the same wizard. However, they are not immune to the hypnosis of that wizard if the wizard appears significantly different, nor if they were saved from the hypnosis by an outside effect.

Inert Plague
Independent Study DC: Knowledge (arcana) 25
Copying DC: Knowledge (arcana) 22
Application: Diseased creature, Heal 20, Knowledge (arcana) 20
Effect: You take a sample of fluid from a diseased creature and from it distill the essence of the disease affecting it into a powder or serum which can be applied to an injury or mixed with food or water to activate, but is otherwise harmless. Each use of this feat of greater arcana creates enough disease to infect a single creature; the disease can proliferate normally after infection.

Instill Vulnerability
Independent Study DC: Knowledge (nature) or (arcana) 28
Copying DC: Knowledge (nature) or (arcana) 23
Application: Gathering of natural materials and distillation of their properties, worth anywhere from 50 to 0 gp depending on local availability; 12 sp in solvents, Craft (herbalism) DC 15.
Effect: You throw a solution at a target with a ranged attack. Any creature affected by the attack becomes vulnerable to either sunlight, heat, or cold, as follows:
Sunlight: The target, if exposed to sunlight, takes 1d2 damage each round for 5 rounds and suffers tremendous pain, dazing the target unless they succeed on a DC 15 Fortitude save.
Heat: The target takes 50% more fire damage than normal and takes 1d2 damage per round for 5 rounds if in 90 degree weather or hotter.
Cold: The target takes 50% more cold damage than normal and takes 1d2 damage per round for 5 rounds if in 0 degree weather or colder.
Though the damage takes place over a duration of 5 rounds, the target remains vulnerable to these things for a week after being hit if the conditions do not immediately apply. Thus, a target made vulnerable to sunlight while in sunlight will take damage for 5 rounds and then be unhindered, but a target made vulnerable to sunlight while in darkness will suffer the full effects if it enters the sunlight at any point in the next week.
Increasing the crafting DC by 5 increases the damage by 2d2 and the save DC by 2.

Jolting Wand
Independent Study DC: Knowledge (arcana) 21
Copying DC: Knowledge (arcana) 11
Application: Craft (jeweling) 15, 100 gp worth of amber, silver, and wood.
Effect: You create an wand you can charge with a small amount of electricity using your firestarting ability or manual action, such as by rubbing with a cloth or piece of wool (a standard action). With a touch attack at a -2 penalty, you can cause a target in melee range to suffer a small jolt from the wand, which has a 50% chance to cause them to drop a weapon or other held object of your choice. The wand's charge is expended from this attack, whether it is successful or not, and you must recharge it to use it again.
With a longer wand, crafted of 300 gp worth of material, you can deliver this jolt from 10 feet away, at a -4 penalty (does not stack with the earlier penalty) due to difficulty in holding the tip steady at a distance.

Pocket Taster
Independent Study DC: Knowledge (arcana) 21
Copying DC: Knowledge (arcana) 11
Application: Craft (alchemy) 13, 5 sp of materials, an alchemy lab with an adjunct for the incubation and care of yeast strains.
Effect: You create a mixture of compounds and harmless yeasts which, when dissolved in liquid or mixed into food containing at least as much water as fresh vegetables or meat, reveal the presence and effect of any poisons therein by turning bright, vibrant colors, easily distinguishable even from most food of the same color.
Strength damage: Red
Dexterity damage/paralysis: Yellow
Constitution damage, death, or hit point damage: Green
Intelligence/Wisdom damage: Blue
Charisma damage: Purple
Other: Orange

Pyrophoric Material
Independent Study DC: Knowledge (arcana) 25
Copying DC: Knowledge (arcana) 22
Application: Craft (alchemy) 25, exotic materials worth 200 gp.
Effect: You create a material, of either gas, liquid, or solid state (chosen upon learning), which ignites upon exposure to air or water, dealing 2d10 damage to everything in 5 feet of its space (which can potentially be large) and setting flammables alight (Reflex save of 15 for half damage). You can increase the damage by 1d10 for every 5 points you increase the Craft (alchemy) DC by.

Pyrotechnics
Independent Study DC: Knowledge (arcana) 28
Copying DC: Knowledge (arcana) 18
Application: Craft (alchemy), mineral reagents worth 10 gp
Effect: You create a number of powders that can change the color and characteristics of fires when the powders are thrown into them. For each use of this feat of greater arcana, you can produce one dose of one of the following powders:
Color: The fire turns a vibrant, unusual hue (chosen upon crafting) for five rounds.
Dampen: The fire becomes no taller than candle flames for a minute.
Enrage: The fire roars up to twenty-seven times its earlier volume, potentially catching people off-guard and setting nearby flammables alight. The fire subsides to normal size after a round.
Smoke: The fire emits a cloud of smoke, as much as a 20' cloud for a 5' foot campfire. The smoke lasts for a minute or until blown away by the wind.

Shocking Trap
Independent Study DC: Knowledge (arcana) 33
Copying DC: Knowledge (arcana) 23
Application: Craft (smithing and glassblowing) 25, 10 gp
Effect: You create a device which stores electrical charge and releases it upon being touched. The device, which is bulky (as much so as a large amphora) and delicate, takes 10 minutes of constant work (though this can be supplied by an assistant) to charge. It can be handled by its base safely and without discharging, but delivers a shock to whoever touches its tip for 2d4 electricity damage. A Medium or smaller creature with a reasonably normal metabolism and nervous system can suffer a fatal secondary effect from this shock. If such a creature fails a Fortitude save of DC 10+ your Intelligence bonus+ ½ your wizard level, they immediately begin dying, though their hit points are unaffected. The victim has a 5% chance to recover on their own; otherwise, they die in 5 rounds. A DC 24 Heal check can be made as a full-round action to prevent the creature from dying; doing so renders it fatigued but otherwise healthy. Increasing the Craft DC allows you to increase the damage by 1d3 and the save DC by 1 for each 5-point increase.
If left alone, the charged trap is 30% likely per day to discharge on its own.

Sovereign Glue
Independent Study DC: Knowledge (arcana) 27
Copying DC: Knowledge (arcana) 17
Application: Craft (alchemy) 20, 30 gp of materials
Effect: You create a quick-setting glue of sufficient quantity to cover a 5-foot square inside an airtight flask. Once applied and exposed to the air, the glue hardens in a single round and becomes extraordinarily difficult to pull away from (Strength check of DC 20+your wizard level+your Intelligence modifier). If the Strength check exceeds the break DC of the item(s) being pulled on, a Reflex save of the same difficulty must be rolled to prevent breaking the object. A creature bound by one or more parts of the body using this glue is considered entangled; strategic placement, binding all their limbs, may completely render them paralyzed.
For the same crafting DC and cost, you may create a solvent which breaks the glue's bond but leaves the previously bonded materials unharmed.
By increasing the Craft DC by 10, you can create a version of the glue that remains inert until activated by an electric shock, sunlight, or a liquid you produce as part of the crafting process (your choose the activator when you develop the feat of greater arcana). The glue, once activated, hardens in a single round, potentially trapping those touching it unless they make a Reflex save (DC 10+1/2 your wizard level+your Intelligence modifier).

Witness Paint
Independent Study DC: Knowledge (arcana) 21
Copying DC: Knowledge (arcana) 11
Application: Craft (alchemy) 15, 15 sp of materials
Effect: You create a transparent, difficult-to-detect varnish (DC 25 Spot check to notice, though only wizards with this feat of greater arcana will automatically see the information as relevant), sufficient to cover a Small object. The varnish stays on indefinitely if the object is not touched; however, it comes off on skin, staining it red indelibly and immediately. (Normal wear and flaking off of skin causes the stain to fade in approximately a month.) The stain is bright and easy to notice (Spot DC 5) unless covered.

Zombification
Independent Study DC: Knowledge (arcana) 38
Copying DC: Knowledge (arcana) 28
Application: Craft (alchemy) 30, exotic poisons/ingredients worth 400 gp (if available at all)
Effect: You create a poison which permanently cripples mental function and renders the target highly suggestible, suitable for use as a laborer or brute-force combatant. If the target fails a Fortitude save (DC 10+ your Intelligence modifier+ ½ your wizard level), they slip into a coma for a week and awaken a shell of their former selves, with all mental scores reduced to a maximum of 5 and half of all levels lost, to a minimum of 1. The victim, or zombie is initially aggressive upon waking but can, if restrained, be subjected to hypnosis, and always fails its save. The victim can be ordered about after a week of nonviolent contact with the same person and thereafter follows that person's orders unquestioningly. However, the zombie remains highly suggestible and can be hypnotized, even in combat, a fact which requires a Knowledge (arcana) check result of 33 to realize. If the zombie is suggested by two people simultaneously, it runs berserk, attempting to kill both (the first target is chosen randomly).
A zombie restrained and treated over the course of a month may be healed to its former state with a DC 40 Heal check.

Keledrath
2014-04-07, 07:30 AM
Alright, my opinions incoming.

HD: Why is it bumped up to d6? You're useless in combat anyways, why try to hide it?
Skill points: Overkill because of Arcana (you're actually giving 10+INT, just 4 are set)
Proficiencies: Give them their normal proficiency list. Or at least sling + crossbow. Something to try to do during combat.
Saves: no arguments there

Greater Arcana: I like the idea, but I'll discuss specifics later in.

Sense Magic: Why not just give the Detect Magic as an at-will SLA?

Firestarting: Approved. Although I might just import the PF Cantrips system: You get to pick a certain number of 0 level spells to be usable at-will

Scrying: okay

Rebuke Monster: Interesting, and you finally have something to do in combat

Bind Monster: Alright, this sounds cool, but also incredibly unreliable for a capstone. Also, you've suddenly gone from a NAD-but-Int-is-nice to Int/Wis dependency.

Great Arcanas

Animal Speech: Duration?

Chilling Flask: Assuming Optimization for Craft(Alchemy), this reliably comes online (succeed when taking 10) at level 8 (+3 Skill Focus, +2 Gnome, +4 Int, +11 Ranks). Single Target 20 damage at level 8 that takes as many as 20 rounds is horrific, especially given that this is a pretty early combat option.

Controlled Poison: How specific must it be? I would say use the Ranger's Favored Enemy list, but only humanoid and outsider require subtypes.

Deaden Pain: Interesting idea, but you're basically trading 2 AC for 9 HP. Questionable at best.

Flash Powder: Needs a modifier to allow increasing the Craft DC to increase the save DC

Hypnosis: First off, the save: what is with the number? The usual save for this kind of ability is 10+1/2 class level + ability modifier. Why 11 base? Also, you suddenly introduce Cha as a stat.
As far as the actual effects, I really like them. They are interesting and open up some very different gameplay.

Inert Plague: Fun times. Approved.

Instill Vulnerability: Nice idea, but the 5 round delay and negligible damage make it pretty useless. Maybe some interaction with Energy damages (Instill Vulnerability Heat and then throw Alchemists Fire at them)

Jolting Wand: Fun idea, but now you're up in melee. Not a place you want to be.

Pyrophoric Material: Again, interesting, but the combination of low damage, low save, expense, and high craft DC make it pretty silly.

Pyrotechnics: Alright, this is a good one. Very classic wizardy

Shocking Trap: so, a small damage Save or Die that takes 10 minutes to prep and a stupid opponent. Also, it is impossible to stop them from dying. I would clarify if the recovery chance is 5% occurring each round or just once. I would also add the option of using a Heal check to save them.
The upgrading adds d3s of damage, but the trap itself deal 2d4. Is the disconnect of dice intentional?

Zombification: Again, I would allow for a Heal check (DC high) to help someone recover. That or some kind of high magic (I know this is for a low magic setting, but high magic could be location based or gods themselves and the like).

Final Summary: What ability are you trying to key off of? Zombie and Shock Trap use Int, as do Knowledge and Craft skills, but Hypnosis (probably my favorite of your abilities) is Cha, and the capstone is indirectly Wis (Will save).
It should have some ability to produce cures. Herbal remedies are another staple of low-magic mages.
It needs something to do in combat. I know you don't feel that Wizards should be useful in combat, but in most campaigns combat takes up a good amount of time. Especially since, by nerfing wizards down to this, you have removed the primary means of avoiding combat. No one wants to be sitting there like a useless lump for 2 hours. And if you say that you use your abilities to avoid the combats, then you have just removed a huge aspect of the game that most people build characters for, which is even worse.

All in all, I would run it with PF cantrips (to give at will Ray of Frost/Acid Splash) and proficiency with crossbow and sling, as well as a healing ability.

VoxRationis
2014-04-07, 10:28 AM
Alright, my opinions incoming.

HD: Why is it bumped up to d6? You're useless in combat anyways, why try to hide it?
Skill points: Overkill because of Arcana (you're actually giving 10+INT, just 4 are set)
Proficiencies: Give them their normal proficiency list. Or at least sling + crossbow. Something to try to do during combat.

I thought you just said they shouldn't try to hide being useless in combat.


Sense Magic: Why not just give the Detect Magic as an at-will SLA?

I was going for a more narrative feel, so that the wizard, in order to detect magic, would be less like Spock with a tricorder and more like, "Wait! I sense something..."


Scrying: okay

Rebuke Monster: Interesting, and you finally have something to do in combat

Bind Monster: Alright, this sounds cool, but also incredibly unreliable for a capstone. Also, you've suddenly gone from a NAD-but-Int-is-nice to Int/Wis dependency.
I was trying to avoid the shenanigans people pull with the planar binding line of spells. I was also trying to make sure that the magic had risks. As for Int dependency, all of the class features depend on Intelligence already. Do you think I should do something else to make them Int-dependent earlier on, so it's less of a jump?


Great Arcanas

Animal Speech: Duration?
Unlimited. It's like a language you know. I thought the best balance came in the realistic limitations of the animals' personalities and mentalities, rather than in a duration.



Chilling Flask: Assuming Optimization for Craft(Alchemy), this reliably comes online (succeed when taking 10) at level 8 (+3 Skill Focus, +2 Gnome, +4 Int, +11 Ranks). Single Target 20 damage at level 8 that takes as many as 20 rounds is horrific, especially given that this is a pretty early combat option.
I forgot about gnomes and their Alchemy bonus. As for the 20-round thing, isn't a hit point a round a little weak? I mean, Thunderhead is only a 0-level spell.


Controlled Poison: How specific must it be? I would say use the Ranger's Favored Enemy list, but only humanoid and outsider require subtypes.
I gave examples. It has to be a specific kind of creature, such as red dragons, trolls, or unicorns, like the AD&D Hated Enemy of rangers.


Deaden Pain: Interesting idea, but you're basically trading 2 AC for 9 HP. Questionable at best.

I agree it's not quite as good as I had been thinking of when I thought of it. Any suggestions on ways to get it to be better while still being something you use sparingly?


Flash Powder: Needs a modifier to allow increasing the Craft DC to increase the save DC

In complete agreement here. That was my failure; I had other things to do last night and was trying to power through things.


Hypnosis: First off, the save: what is with the number? The usual save for this kind of ability is 10+1/2 class level + ability modifier. Why 11 base? Also, you suddenly introduce Cha as a stat.
As far as the actual effects, I really like them. They are interesting and open up some very different gameplay.

It's supposed to be like actual hypnosis, maybe a little better, and not a magic spell. It's Charisma-based because hypnosis is all about performance and making your target believe you have power over them.



Instill Vulnerability: Nice idea, but the 5 round delay and negligible damage make it pretty useless. Maybe some interaction with Energy damages (Instill Vulnerability Heat and then throw Alchemists Fire at them)
Yeah, remember that these people are almost always going to be making lots of alchemical items to boot. And it's not a 5-round delay; it's a 5-round duration.



Jolting Wand: Fun idea, but now you're up in melee. Not a place you want to be.
Is there some way you can think of to make it better? I guess you could make a longer rod with reach or something.

Pyrophoric Material: Again, interesting, but the combination of low damage, low save, expense, and high craft DC make it pretty silly.



Shocking Trap: so, a small damage Save or Die that takes 10 minutes to prep and a stupid opponent. Also, it is impossible to stop them from dying. I would clarify if the recovery chance is 5% occurring each round or just once. I would also add the option of using a Heal check to save them.
The upgrading adds d3s of damage, but the trap itself deal 2d4. Is the disconnect of dice intentional?

Well, it is meant to be a trap, and most people in medieval societies aren't going to recognize what is essentially a really large Leyden jar. I was considering giving them some way to recover (the 5% was meant to be a one-time thing) through external aid, but CPR isn't exactly Middle-Ages medicine. Should I make it a Heal check, just for balance?


Zombification: Again, I would allow for a Heal check (DC high) to help someone recover. That or some kind of high magic (I know this is for a low magic setting, but high magic could be location based or gods themselves and the like).
That sort of recovery could just be listed as an effect of whatever magic could be used, but I agree that certain powerful effects could heal it. As for a Heal check, that's medicine well beyond today's abilities. Regenerating damaged neural tissue isn't easy.

Final Summary: What ability are you trying to key off of? Zombie and Shock Trap use Int, as do Knowledge and Craft skills, but Hypnosis (probably my favorite of your abilities) is Cha, and the capstone is indirectly Wis (Will save).
It should have some ability to produce cures. Herbal remedies are another staple of low-magic mages.
[/QUOTE] It has Heal as a class skill, and that helps them deal with poisons, disease, etc. I was considering giving them Brew Potion for certain low-level potions, but I wasn't sure what I should allow, considering they don't even have most spells per se. If I did include Brew Potion or something similar, what do you think they should be able to make?


It needs something to do in combat. I know you don't feel that Wizards should be useful in combat, but in most campaigns combat takes up a good amount of time. Especially since, by nerfing wizards down to this, you have removed the primary means of avoiding combat. No one wants to be sitting there like a useless lump for 2 hours. And if you say that you use your abilities to avoid the combats, then you have just removed a huge aspect of the game that most people build characters for, which is even worse.

All in all, I would run it with PF cantrips (to give at will Ray of Frost/Acid Splash) and proficiency with crossbow and sling, as well as a healing ability.

I see what you mean about combat, though I think plenty of their feats of greater arcana are combat-usable. I didn't want them to be using crossbows and slings because I don't think of them as very "wizardy" weapons; do you think giving them the medium BAB would work instead, possibly with some sort of AC boost (refluffed as "Intimidating Presence" or something like that)? I don't want the wizard to outshine the fighter in combat here, so I'm trying to achieve a delicate balance.
Also, the feats of greater arcana aren't meant to be a comprehensive list; I can add more as necessary. I've got a couple of ideas currently for some, and suggestions are welcome.

Keledrath
2014-04-07, 11:12 AM
I thought you just said they shouldn't try to hide being useless in combat.

Sorry, meant melee. No one should be useless in combat (as I explained later)


I was going for a more narrative feel, so that the wizard, in order to detect magic, would be less like Spock with a tricorder and more like, "Wait! I sense something..."

Understandable. It is worth noting however that Detect Magic, in the first round, just tells you "Is there magic here?". Second round of concentration (standard action) gives you how many magic auras and how strong the strongest is. Third round (this is 18 seconds of staring at an area) finally shows individual aruas.


I was trying to avoid the shenanigans people pull with the planar binding line of spells. I was also trying to make sure that the magic had risks. As for Int dependency, all of the class features depend on Intelligence already. Do you think I should do something else to make them Int-dependent earlier on, so it's less of a jump?

Actually, the dependency is indirect (skills based on Int make up most of the class). In fact, I would run this (if optimizing it) as a high Int, high Cha character and dip one level in Marshal for Motivate Int (add Cha bonus to Int based skills).

Actually, I just made Gandalf, since Marshal explains the weapon proficiency he had.


Unlimited. It's like a language you know. I thought the best balance came in the realistic limitations of the animals' personalities and mentalities, rather than in a duration.

Alright, that's fair. Can you modify your Arcana to allow for a more diverse group of animals (you say only ones local to you, but what if you move?)?


I forgot about gnomes and their Alchemy bonus. As for the 20-round thing, isn't a hit point a round a little weak? I mean, Thunderhead is only a 0-level spell.

It is very weak. That's what I was saying. It is borderline useless. Make it not-wind dependent, since you have no reliable way of controlling that. That also opens you up to having other energy types show up here (basically super alchemist's fire, super acid, and super alchemist's spark)



I gave examples. It has to be a specific kind of creature, such as red dragons, trolls, or unicorns, like the AD&D Hated Enemy of rangers.

Fair enough, I suppose. However, I would also like to note the Craft (poisonmaking) is a separate skill.


I agree it's not quite as good as I had been thinking of when I thought of it. Any suggestions on ways to get it to be better while still being something you use sparingly?

I might go for generating temp hit points, maybe with a small amount of DR mixed in. That or a delayed damage pool like the ToB crusader gets, where you don't take the damage until a later time.


In complete agreement here. That was my failure; I had other things to do last night and was trying to power through things.

We've all had those nights.


It's supposed to be like actual hypnosis, maybe a little better, and not a magic spell. It's Charisma-based because hypnosis is all about performance and making your target believe you have power over them.

I suppose. Like I said, considering how to optimize this, Cha would probably be the secondary stat for the Marshal dip. And again, was the 11 base or the DC a fluke or intentional, and if so, why?


Yeah, remember that these people are almost always going to be making lots of alchemical items to boot. And it's not a 5-round delay; it's a 5-round duration.

Ah, misread that one. Still, the damage itself is practically irrelevant. I would just have it give them fire/cold vulnerability (50% increased damage)


Is there some way you can think of to make it better? I guess you could make a longer rod with reach or something.

Maybe as you develop it (higher DC Craft checks to improve), it starts to be able to hold more charges and do different things. Maybe a range (1 charge = 5ft) or actual damage (1 charge = 1d6). So a 5th stage rod would be able to hold 5 charges, and could melee for 5d6 and save or drop, or force save or drop at 25ft, or any combination in between.


Well, it is meant to be a trap, and most people in medieval societies aren't going to recognize what is essentially a really large Leyden jar. I was considering giving them some way to recover (the 5% was meant to be a one-time thing) through external aid, but CPR isn't exactly Middle-Ages medicine. Should I make it a Heal check, just for balance?

I would add in the Heal check because Heal can do work (finally). Remember, DnD is hardly faithful to the Middle Ages.


That sort of recovery could just be listed as an effect of whatever magic could be used, but I agree that certain powerful effects could heal it. As for a Heal check, that's medicine well beyond today's abilities. Regenerating damaged neural tissue isn't easy.

I'm not saying it should be easy, but remember that a survival eventually lets you track things through water or even air.


It has Heal as a class skill, and that helps them deal with poisons, disease, etc. I was considering giving them Brew Potion for certain low-level potions, but I wasn't sure what I should allow, considering they don't even have most spells per se. If I did include Brew Potion or something similar, what do you think they should be able to make?

Healing spells, Remove Disease/Poison, Bull's Strength and family, something to simulate a love potion, maybe Geas, Invisibility, a modified Alter Self (make the evil king experience a day as a normal peasant), and maybe a few more I can't think of.



I see what you mean about combat, though I think plenty of their feats of greater arcana are combat-usable. I didn't want them to be using crossbows and slings because I don't think of them as very "wizardy" weapons; do you think giving them the medium BAB would work instead, possibly with some sort of AC boost (refluffed as "Intimidating Presence" or something like that)? I don't want the wizard to outshine the fighter in combat here, so I'm trying to achieve a delicate balance.
Also, the feats of greater arcana aren't meant to be a comprehensive list; I can add more as necessary. I've got a couple of ideas currently for some, and suggestions are welcome.

I think that the feats of arcana are largely far from combat usable, and proficiency with sling and crossbow is less about them being wizardy weapons and more about how silly it is to not know how to use them. Crossbows are literally point and pull a trigger, and while I can see an argument for slings, I don't see one that couldn't be overcome by someone with a 16+ Int score.
You also might want to give them something to make crafting alchemical items faster. As it stands, Alchemist's Fire (a good standard) costs 200 sp and has a DC of 20. So, by getting a 30 (a major goal, based on your DCs for Greater Arcanas), you produce 600sp that WEEK. Yeah, it takes a week to make 3 of them.

VoxRationis
2014-04-07, 01:02 PM
The sling actually takes a lot of skill to learn to use, arguably as much as a bow; I think it's a "simple" weapon because it's cheap and thus available to peasants, who learn to use it to drive off wolves from their flocks and the like. I see your point about crossbows, however.
I'll give them crossbow proficiency.
As for detect magic, you still have to be actively scanning to use that first round. I want an ability that just makes the wizard automatically notice magic.
The base DCs of 11 were to imitate things like spell resistance and certain other abilities that make it so, all things equal (i.e., the save bonus is equal to the DC modifiers), the ability functions more often than it fails.
As for the wind thing about Chilling Flask, it's a measure of realism. What the wizard is doing is throwing a sealed, pressurized flask of refrigerant onto the target; wind makes the liquid evaporate more quickly. I suppose I could cut the time to 10 rounds. Also, Craft (alchemy) doesn't determine the starting level of use; Knowledge (arcana) does.
I like your "delayed damage" idea for the Deaden Pain potion. I'll also look up the Frenzied Berserker and see some of the effects of its frenzy (the passive ones, not the attack-boosting ones).
The vulnerability potion was something I cribbed off something I read on xkcd; certain chemicals in certain plants make your skin blister and burn if exposed to UV light. In any case, the direct damage means the ability does something besides set up a one-two punch, but does remarkably better in that role. I'll increase the vulnerability, though.
Good idea with the fast alchemy ability; I hadn't realized it took so long to make some. I don't want the wizards running around with gallons of alchemist's fire on their person, but it would be nice for them to be able to adjust their equipment day by day.
Heal's actually not a bad skill; it's just that no one uses it because the only people with it as a class skill also get spells that do the same thing better. I'll add the uses for it, though.

Keledrath
2014-04-07, 01:06 PM
Craft and Knowledge (Arcana) determine starting level of use. Knowledge for when you learn it, and Craft for when you can reliably make it, since this one is a consumable.

Two things it could also use: free Knowledge Devotion (better at fighting things the better you can ID them) and the Archivist's Dark Knowledge class feature (http://dndtools.eu/classes/archivist/) (help your allies by IDing enemies).

VoxRationis
2014-04-07, 01:24 PM
I changed a few of the Greater Arcana feats and gave them a potion-brewing ability, but I haven't implemented all of the things you suggested yet.

VoxRationis
2014-04-07, 07:27 PM
I've now included a variant of Knowledge Devotion. Do you think it's too powerful?

VoxRationis
2014-04-08, 04:00 PM
No more thoughts, Keledrath?

Keledrath
2014-04-08, 04:09 PM
Not particularly. You've responded to most of my concerns, and the ones you haven't changed are ones where we disagree and where I can see your point.

I like your version of Knowledge Devotion.

Little nitpicks
Skill points still too high. Remember, this is an Int focused class (assume 16 minimum in the stat), so that is 9, and you give them 4 free skills maxed, meaning that you have a class that will probably have at least 13 maxed skills. Human Rogue with an 18 Int matches that, and skills are the Rogue's thing.

Some of the craft DCs seem a bit high for the results.

VoxRationis
2014-04-08, 04:16 PM
Point. How many skills do you'll think they need?
Knowledge (arcana) is key, but they get it automatically.
Craft (alchemy) is another big one, and certain other crafting skills are necessary for the greater arcanas, possibly as many as 3 in total.
Heal is possibly useful, as would Decipher Script, possibly Spellcraft.
Would 4+Int modifier be too many still?

Keledrath
2014-04-08, 04:23 PM
I might even leave them at 2. It works for current Wizards because of the Int SAD (which they still basically are), and you're giving a 4 point per level boost that are just preassigned.

Let's see...
Craft (Alchemy)
Concentration actually, I don't even think this is useful to them now
Appraise
Heal
Decipher Script
Spellcraft
Knowledge (10 total, 4 auto-maxed, 6 remaining)
Spot/Listen (most of my groups combine them into Perception)

So that's either 12 or 13 remaining (depending on Perception). I didn't include UMD because I don't see it being very useful in a world where this is the Wizard.

Let's make Craft (Alchemy) and Spellcraft the "must haves".

I think we can assume a 16 or higher Int. So at a 2-point base, they get a minimum of 3 skills from that list. Every additional step adds 2. Your call how much of it you want them to have.

Jasryn1
2014-05-04, 10:54 PM
What do you guys think of it? I'm open to criticism, but please keep in mind that this is not meant to be balanced against high-magic, everything-in-the-book play. This is supposed to be a wizard for a campaign where magic is rare.

Low-Magic Wizard
This variant is inspired by figures such as certain takes on Merlin, Gandalf from The Lord of the Rings, Melisandre from A Song of Ice and Fire, and others from fiction and legend. It has less direct magical power than the standard wizard and is meant for low-magic campaigns.

Hit Die: d6.
Skill Points: 4+ Int modifier (x4 at 1st level).
Class Skills: Appraise (Int), Craft (Int), Decipher Script (Int), Gather Information (Cha), Heal (Wis), Knowledge (Int), Listen (Wis) Profession (Wis), Search (Int), Spellcraft (Int), Spot (Wis), and Use Magic Device (Cha).
Proficiencies: The wizard is proficient with the club, dagger, light and heavy crossbow, and quarterstaff. Wizards are proficient with no armor, and are similarly untrained with shields.
BAB: Poor
Good Saves: Will
Poor Saves: Fortitude & Reflex

Class Features of The Wizard:
Arcana (Ex): A wizard automatically has maximum ranks in Knowledge (arcana), (dungeoneering), (history), and (the planes) for his class level. If the character's first level was in another class, then the first wizard level only grants 1 rank in these skills, rather than four.

Greater Arcana (Ex): Much of a wizard's power lies in things which we would not consider magical per se. It is obscure and advanced knowledge of things unknown to the world at large. This knowledge is jealously guarded and compiled into grimoires which provide the precise details of his secret formulae and recipes. Often, a wizard's book(s) are written in an obscure or near-forgotten language, or even in code, but for the most part, the very nature of the subject protects its secrets from the uninitiated.
A wizard counts as being a “spellcaster” for all intents and purposes, whether or not they have any explicit “spells.”
Using greater arcana requires both a fair amount of preparation and expensive apparatuses and materials. Application of this knowledge can be difficult. First, the wizard must learn the knowledge for a particular feat of greater arcana. This requires either a Knowledge (arcana) check to figure it out on their own or an easier check of the same skill to comprehend notes or formulae found in their adventures. Failing the check means one cannot learn it until one gains another level in wizard. Then the wizard can apply it via a Craft (alchemy) check, or a check of a different appropriate skill. This has a cost and Difficulty Class appropriate to the particular application involved and dependent on the level of success one wishes to attain for that application. Crafting anything as part of applying greater arcana takes a minimum of 8 hours' labor, and requires either an alchemist's lab or a similarly appropriate forging, glassblowing, or craftsman's station. Attempting a check and failing ruins the attempt, even if the check would succeed for a lower-difficulty version of the same feat of greater arcana.
There are no particular grades of greater arcana, but the more difficult and often more potent applications of it have such high requisite Difficulty Classes that lower-level wizards would practically find it difficult or impossible to accomplish them. A 1st-level wizard begins with a single feat of greater arcana known, of a copying Knowledge (arcana) DC low enough that the wizard could meet it on a rolled 10.
Most greater arcana techniques are chemical in nature and require Craft (alchemy) checks to realize, but others are based on other principles and fields and use other checks.

Sense Magic (Su): A wizard automatically becomes aware of the presence of magic within 60 feet unless it is specifically guarded or warded against detection in some way. By concentrating on the feeling for a round, the wizard can determine the “kind” of magic it is, i.e., the general source and nature of it. In a second round of concentration, the wizard can determine the direction in which the magic lies. With a minute of close study, the wizard can determine the basic function of the magic or enchantment, but not specific conditions of activation, caster level, etc.

Firestarting (Su): A wizard can, as a standard action, create a small spark capable of reliably and instantly lighting tinder or similar burnable materials into a nonmagical fire which burns as a normally started fire would. The ability functions more effectively in adverse conditions than mundane methods of lighting fires, but doesn't function in places where it is impossible to light a fire normally.

Knowledge Devotion (Ex): A 2nd-level wizard gets the Knowledge Devotion feat for free, ignoring all prerequisites. Furthermore, the wizard can share the bonus granted by this feat by briefing his allies for a minute outside of combat, or share half of it by informing them during combat as a full-round action.

Quickened Brewing (Ex): A wizard of 4th level takes 1/2 the normal time to make alchemical items, with no increase to the crafting DC.

Brew Potion (Su): At 6th level, the wizard becomes able to make potions of cure spells, bull's strength, bear's endurance, cat's grace, owl's wisdom, and eagle's splendor as though they they were clerics of level equal to their class level. This costs no XP, but requires rare components worth 150% the normal crafting cost of these items.
At 9th level, the wizard becomes able to make elixirs of health, which purge disease and poison from the drinker, for the cost of a potion of neutralize poison.
At 12th level, the wizard becomes able to make elixirs of transformation, which change the appearance of the drinker to a humanoid form determined by the wizard upon crafting the potion (Will save of 14+Intelligence modifier negates) until a preset condition, such as "the realm is restored to prosperity" or "the drinker learns humility" is met. Easily-met conditions have a 45% chance of not releasing the spell when met. The potion costs 1400 gp to create. The drinker appears to all mundane senses to be the false form, but sense magic can determine the spell the drinker is under, and possibly how to cure it with an accompanying Spellcraft check of 30 or higher.

Scrying (Sp): A wizard of 9th level or higher can use scrying, as the spell, provided they have a still, reflective focus, such as a pool of absolutely still water or a high-quality mirror.

Rebuke Monster (Su): A wizard of 12th level or higher can attempt to stave off a magical creature with their power. To do this they must stand and concentrate on the creature as a full-round action, speak ancient words of power, and make their presence known through strong self-presentation. The ability functions as a cleric's turn undead ability, but against aberrations, elementals, magical beasts, outsiders, and undead. Any creature that would be destroyed by the attempt is instead banished back to whence it came, unless doing so would require physical travel. Thus, a monster from the depths of an underground abyss would not be banished, but a malevolent spirit from a parallel dimension would be.

Bind Monster (Su): Using a two-hour-long ritual, a wizard of 20th level may summon and bind a single magical creature, as of the types affected by rebuke monster, of Hit Dice no greater than 15. The ritual requires rare magical components, determined by the DM and appropriate to the campaign setting, worth 2000 gold pieces, as well as a blood sacrifice worth 20 hit points from a living sapient creature. During the ritual, the wizard constructs a diagram which prevents the creature from leaving by any form of dimensional travel and stuns the creature, with no save, for a single round, upon its summoning at the final moment of the ritual. During this moment of stunning, the wizard has a single opportunity to pit their will against the summoned creature in order to assume control over it. This requires a full-round action, during which the wizard and the summoned creature make opposed Will saves. If the wizard's Will save exceeds that of the summoned creature, the wizard asserts dominance over the creature and binds it for a single, non-ongoing task, which it performs to the best of its ability (though it will attempt to pervert instructions). If the wizard's Will save fails to exceed that of the monster, the wizard is stunned for a single round and the monster is free to attack the wizard or attempt to escape via either physical travel or any dimensional travel abilities it may have. The wizard cannot summon and bind any creature that could only travel to the wizard's location via physical means. Keep in mind that this class is for use in lower-magic campaigns and the list of available monsters to choose from will almost assuredly be much narrower than the full Monster Manual(s), as per the DM's discretion.

Feats of Greater Arcana
Animal Speech
Independent Study DC: Knowledge (nature) 28
Copying DC: Knowledge (nature) 18
Effect: You can communicate on a basic level with common animals of your local environment. The animals are not automatically any more friendly with you than they would be normally, and the concepts they can grasp may be limited, particularly in the area of abstract thought.

Chilling Flask
Independent Study DC: Knowledge (arcana) 37
Copying DC: Knowledge (arcana) 27
Application: Craft (alchemy) DC 30
Effect: You create a small glass vial filled with a liquid which rapidly boils under normal pressure, causing damaging amounts of cold. A target affected by the liquid (either due to being hit by a ranged touch attack or somehow spilling the liquid on itself) takes 20 points of cold damage equally divided over a number of rounds determined by the current wind speed:
No wind-light wind: 10 rounds
Light wind: 5 rounds
Moderate wind: 4 rounds
Strong wind or higher: 1 round
You can make the damage higher by increasing the Craft DC by 10 for each 20 point increase in damage.

Controlled Poison
Independent Study DC: Knowledge (arcana) 31
Copying DC: Knowledge (arcana) 25
Application DC: Craft (poisonmaking) 20, materials worth 300 gp
Effect: You create a poison whose effects are far more potent against a particular kind of creature, such as red dragons, humans, or wolves. This poison does initial and secondary damage of 1d4 of a chosen ability score to most creatures and 2d6 against the specific kind of creature it was meant to harm (a Fortitude save of 18 negates it).
You can, by attempting a more difficult Craft (poisonmaking) check, make a more potent poison. Each 4-point increase in the Craft DC increases either the save DC by 1 or the damage to the intended target by 1d3.

Deaden Pain
Independent Study DC: Knowledge (arcana) 27
Copying DC: Knowledge (arcana) 22
Application DC: Craft (alchemy) 21, materials worth 200 gp
Effect: You create a potion that, when imbibed, prevents pain sensation, with no loss of mental acuity or reflexes, for an hour. The subject gains the ferocity ability, such that it acts without penalty from 0 to -9 hit points, and half of all incoming damage while under the effects is delayed until the end of the potion's duration. The subject is also immune to all pain effects and nonlethal damage for this time. A side effect of the potion is a lack of caution and a general feeling of invincibility; the subject cannot fight defensively, use the Combat Expertise feat, or take total defense, and has a -2 penalty to AC for the duration of the potion.

Flash Powder
Independent Study DC: Knowledge (arcana) 27
Copying DC: Knowledge (arcana) 21
Application DC: Craft (alchemy) 15
Effect: You throw a handful of powder into the air, which combusts in a fashion producing little heat but a great deal of light. A creature hit directly by the blast, which manifests in a square next to you, takes 1 point of fire damage, and all creatures within 20 feet are blinded for 1 round and dazzled for 2 rounds after that. A Reflex save of 15 negates all of these conditions. (You are assumed to automatically make your save by turning your head or closing your eyes, but if you are prevented from doing either, you too are subject to the effects of flash powder.)
By increasing the crafting DC by 2, you can increase the save DC for this ability by 1.

Hypnosis
Independent Study DC: Knowledge (arcana) 30
Copying DC: Knowledge (arcana) 20
Effect: You use words and gestures to implant suggestions into the mind of a single humanoid. The target must not be in combat and must be able to devote its full attention to you. When you try to implement this ability, your target must roll a Will save equal to (½ your wizard level+your Cha modifier+11). If they fail, they fall under your spell, and you can give them orders as follows:
Sleep: The target falls asleep until you or another person awaken them, or until an hour passes, whichever is less.
Tempt: The target does something they desire to but might not due to mild inhibitions, such as taking a lunch break at the wrong time of day.
Furthermore, you can attempt to give them one of the following orders, but they immediately get a second Will save at a +5 additional bonus to break the spell:
Greater Temptation: The target does something they desire but have been conditioned to not seek out in their current situation, such as a guard leaving his post to visit his family.
Release from Fear: The target becomes convinced something dangerous is of manageable difficulty, gaining a +4 bonus on saves vs. fear and proceeding to attempt to “conquer” the matter. The target may later reevaluate the danger and abort their intended action.
Paralysis: The target becomes convinced their limbs are frozen in place until you instruct them otherwise. Immediate physical danger has a 75% chance to awaken subconscious defense instincts and break the spell.
Lastly, you can attempt to give them one of the following orders, but they get a Will save at a +10 additional bonus to break the spell:
Irresistible Temptation: The target seeks out something they desire but would draw immediate, drastic negative consequences for seeking, such as a guard attempting to kiss a duke's wife in the middle of court.
Betrayal: The target becomes convinced an ally has betrayed them and takes action appropriate to their context and abilities. The ally can make a Diplomacy check equal to the DC of the Will save in order to convince them otherwise.
You are also immune to the hypnotic abilities of other wizards using this greater arcana.
A person who has successfully made a save against hypnosis is thereafter immune to hypnosis from the same wizard. However, they are not immune to the hypnosis of that wizard if the wizard appears significantly different, nor if they were saved from the hypnosis by an outside effect.

Inert Plague
Independent Study DC: Knowledge (arcana) 25
Copying DC: Knowledge (arcana) 22
Application: Diseased creature, Heal 20, Knowledge (arcana) 20
Effect: You take a sample of fluid from a diseased creature and from it distill the essence of the disease affecting it into a powder or serum which can be applied to an injury or mixed with food or water to activate, but is otherwise harmless. Each use of this feat of greater arcana creates enough disease to infect a single creature; the disease can proliferate normally after infection.

Instill Vulnerability
Independent Study DC: Knowledge (nature) or (arcana) 28
Copying DC: Knowledge (nature) or (arcana) 23
Application: Gathering of natural materials and distillation of their properties, worth anywhere from 50 to 0 gp depending on local availability; 12 sp in solvents, Craft (herbalism) DC 15.
Effect: You throw a solution at a target with a ranged attack. Any creature affected by the attack becomes vulnerable to either sunlight, heat, or cold, as follows:
Sunlight: The target, if exposed to sunlight, takes 1d2 damage each round for 5 rounds and suffers tremendous pain, dazing the target unless they succeed on a DC 15 Fortitude save.
Heat: The target takes 50% more fire damage than normal and takes 1d2 damage per round for 5 rounds if in 90 degree weather or hotter.
Cold: The target takes 50% more cold damage than normal and takes 1d2 damage per round for 5 rounds if in 0 degree weather or colder.
Though the damage takes place over a duration of 5 rounds, the target remains vulnerable to these things for a week after being hit if the conditions do not immediately apply. Thus, a target made vulnerable to sunlight while in sunlight will take damage for 5 rounds and then be unhindered, but a target made vulnerable to sunlight while in darkness will suffer the full effects if it enters the sunlight at any point in the next week.
Increasing the crafting DC by 5 increases the damage by 2d2 and the save DC by 2.
Jolting Wand
Independent Study DC: Knowledge (arcana) 21
Copying DC: Knowledge (arcana) 11
Application: Craft (jeweling) 15, 100 gp worth of amber, silver, and wood.
Effect: You create an wand you can charge with a small amount of electricity using your firestarting ability or manual action, such as by rubbing with a cloth or piece of wool (a standard action). With a touch attack at a -2 penalty, you can cause a target in melee range to suffer a small jolt from the wand, which has a 50% chance to cause them to drop a weapon or other held object of your choice. The wand's charge is expended from this attack, whether it is successful or not, and you must recharge it to use it again.

Pyrophoric Material
Independent Study DC: Knowledge (arcana) 25
Copying DC: Knowledge (arcana) 22
Application: Craft (alchemy) 25, exotic materials worth 200 gp.
Effect: You create a material, of either gas, liquid, or solid state (chosen upon learning), which ignites upon exposure to air or water, dealing 2d10 damage to everything in 5 feet of its space (which can potentially be large) and setting flammables alight (Reflex save of 15 for half damage). You can increase the damage by 1d10 for every 5 points you increase the Craft (alchemy) DC by.

Pyrotechnics
Independent Study DC: Knowledge (arcana) 28
Copying DC: Knowledge (arcana) 18
Application: Craft (alchemy), mineral reagents worth 10 gp
Effect: You create a number of powders that can change the color and characteristics of fires when the powders are thrown into them. For each use of this feat of greater arcana, you can produce one dose of one of the following powders:
Color: The fire turns a vibrant, unusual hue (chosen upon crafting) for five rounds.
Dampen: The fire becomes no taller than candle flames for a minute.
Enrage: The fire roars up to twenty-seven times its earlier volume, potentially catching people off-guard and setting nearby flammables alight. The fire subsides to normal size after a round.

Shocking Trap
Independent Study DC: Knowledge (arcana) 33
Copying DC: Knowledge (arcana) 23
Application: Craft (smithing and glassblowing) 25, 10 gp
Effect: You create a device which stores electrical charge and releases it upon being touched. The device, which is bulky (as much so as a large amphora) and delicate, takes 10 minutes of constant work (though this can be supplied by an assistant) to charge. It can be handled by its base safely and without discharging, but delivers a shock to whoever touches its tip for 2d4 electricity damage. A Medium or smaller creature with a reasonably normal metabolism and nervous system can suffer a fatal secondary effect from this shock. If such a creature fails a Fortitude save of DC 10+ your Intelligence bonus+ ½ your wizard level, they immediately begin dying, though their hit points are unaffected. The victim has a 5% chance to recover on their own; otherwise, they die in 5 rounds. A DC 24 Heal check can be made as a full-round action to prevent the creature from dying; doing so renders it fatigued but otherwise healthy. Increasing the Craft DC allows you to increase the damage by 1d3 and the save DC by 1 for each 5-point increase.
If left alone, the charged trap is 30% likely per day to discharge on its own.

Zombification
Independent Study DC: Knowledge (arcana) 38
Copying DC: Knowledge (arcana) 28
Application: Craft (alchemy) 30, exotic poisons/ingredients worth 400 gp (if available at all)
Effect: You create a poison which permanently cripples mental function and renders the target highly suggestible, suitable for use as a laborer or brute-force combatant. If the target fails a Fortitude save (DC 10+ your Intelligence modifier+ ½ your wizard level), they slip into a coma for a week and awaken a shell of their former selves, with all mental scores reduced to a maximum of 5 and half of all levels lost, to a minimum of 1. The victim, or zombie is initially aggressive upon waking but can, if restrained, be subjected to hypnosis, and always fails its save. The victim can be ordered about after a week of nonviolent contact with the same person and thereafter follows that person's orders unquestioningly. However, the zombie remains highly suggestible and can be hypnotized, even in combat, a fact which requires a Knowledge (arcana) check result of 33 to realize. If the zombie is suggested by two people simultaneously, it runs berserk, attempting to kill both (the first target is chosen randomly).
A zombie restrained and treated over the course of a month may be healed to its former state with a DC 40 Heal check.


Actually, I hardly think that Gandalf was "low magic"--especially with his opposite number crafting the One Ring! Have you seen the movies? That's at LEAST 6th Level Spells he's casting in The Desolation of Smaug!

VoxRationis
2014-05-05, 12:26 PM
In the books Gandalf mostly used Hold Portal and Light, by D&D standards (the AD&D rules for the former even had a bit where extraplanar creatures of high enough HD could automatically break through the spell, just to allow you to imitate the Balrog scene). In the movie he seems to use Shatter on stone things. None of those are really high level. (The Desolation of Smaug had him, for whatever reason, using way more magic than in the books or the previous movies.) Mostly Gandalf has a keen knowledge of things to do and a knack for getting the ball rolling on what other people can do to improve the situation.

Gildedragon
2014-05-05, 12:30 PM
This seems interesting. Will give it a look when I am on a proper screen; it would be nice to see the class tabled out.
It might be worth looking at the Incantations option in UA to sketch out how this class uses actual magic.

Re:
Quickened brewing: maybe calculate the result in GP rather than SP? Makes it faster than half the time but makes it more viable. Also, possibly access to alchemical item empowerment?

Belial_the_Leveler
2014-05-05, 01:34 PM
1) Gandalf does a lot with divinations and enchantments over the books in general. He can shatter objects with obscenely high DR and hp which in DnD terms requires the equivalent of Earthquake (see Moria in the books - he tears down bridges/gates and collapses crypts), he can manipulate light and sound to high enough extents to cover large gatherings, he can start fires fast enough to make trees burn in moments, communicate with all kinds of spirits and animals to limited extent, bless objects or locations to be the best possible for years (does this to a certain inn's beer) and so on. And those are the small things he does. For the big things, see the fight on the Weathertop against the Nine where enough fire and lightning was used to scortch the place and be visible from miles away, or him fighting the Balrog for three days and three nights (humans couldn't fight for more than an hour) after surviving a many-thousand-foot-fall, and going from the lowest pit to the highest peak in that fight (that's how many miles of climb during running battle?) and finally overcoming the Balrog and smiting him upon the mountainside.
Gandalf isn't really a wizard but he is a Maia, and a powerful one at that. He is just not allowed to use that power openly in most cases.

Gildedragon
2014-05-05, 02:17 PM
Kay so read this more carefully. This seems closer to a No magic wizard than a Low magic one. Seeing how many of those feats are alchemical, why not just turn them to alchemical items that require a high roll; add an augmented alchemical item class feature that allows stronger items at a higher DC (like the epic check but not as weak or hard to get to) and you give this class a bit more versatility.

Also how does one such wizard get spells? as is there is no mechanism for spellcasting of any sort. that is to say: why give this fella "counts as a spell caster" at all?

Edit: Also, seeing the characters you have stated as inspiration: an aura of awe/radiance would be good.

Keledrath
2014-05-05, 02:32 PM
The "this guy counts as a spellcaster" line is, I'm pretty sure, to allow them to use Craft (Alchemy)

TheLonelyScribe
2014-05-05, 04:50 PM
Hey, really like the class, and just wanted to say that if you like this kind of magic you might want to check out Burning Wheel as a good system for interesting magic. I know these forums are mainly for D&D, but the whole low-magic-makes-things-cool stuff reminded me a lot of BW. The effects aren't really that similar, but the feel kinda is.

Reddish Mage
2014-05-05, 06:14 PM
This wizard has very little combat ability and a couple of very underpowered tricks compared to all the other classes compared to the wizard's level. Every other class is capable of quite amazing feats inside and outside combat.

What are you doing with all other magic classes? Are you just removing clerics and druids altogether? Even bard's mediocre magics seem OP compared to this wizard. Even the more magical fighting classes (paladin's and rangers) have more powerful abilities than the greater arcana.

As far as the closest comparable mundane, rogues would have more options both in and out of combat.

Knowledge skills certainly have their place but they are mostly passive in nature, it is possible for a skilled player and DM to make a Knowledge heavy-concept interesting, but it would be a very different way to play.

Finally, If the likes of Gandalf and Merlin are your muses, it is worth noting that both wizards had some very significant powers (Merlin could see other people's future and move an army many leagues in a day) and both wielded swords expertly (Merlin wore armor when going to war, and I think Gandalf did as well in the novels; I can't comment about a Song of Ice and Fire). Also, in the legend and fiction mentioned, the mundane characters are a good deal less powerful than their D&D counterparts.

Keledrath
2014-05-05, 06:36 PM
Based off of conversations I've had with Vox (both here and in the 3.5 forum), this is meant to be the best "caster" in it's campaigns.

And SoIaF doesn't really have mages. Pretty much everything they do can be summarized by Craft (Alchemy, Poison, and drugs), with the exception of one character (that I can recall), and we don't know wtf is going on there.

Reddish Mage
2014-05-05, 07:05 PM
Based off of conversations I've had with Vox (both here and in the 3.5 forum), this is meant to be the best "caster" in it's campaigns.

And SoIaF doesn't really have mages. Pretty much everything they do can be summarized by Craft (Alchemy, Poison, and drugs), with the exception of one character (that I can recall), and we don't know wtf is going on there.

Of course I take it you say that in the realization that what Vox said so far doesn't really explain things, as we need to know what's considered a "caster." However, regardless If your game only has these "wizards" along with rogues and fighters, then it is clear these wizards are heavily lacking in combat and that the rogues have more overall utility.

VoxRationis
2014-05-05, 07:25 PM
Wow, a flurry of activity after weeks of being unnoticed. I'm flattered, honestly.

1) I can think of at least three people in A Song of Ice and Fire off the top of my head that could be considered true spellcasters, and another is alluded to in the last parts of Dance with Dragons.

2) Yes, clerics, druids, wu jen, warlocks, spirit shamans, etc. are all assumed to be gone. You should probably be comparing it to the pure mundane classes: scout, barbarian, rogue, fighter, etc. Rangers and paladins... I hadn't really thought about them too much. That bears thinking about. For the moment, compare it to the pure mundanes.

3) I do admit that the mage as shown here lacks a little utility. I should probably add to that. Any suggestions as to how I would do that? I can think of a few things.

4) The "counts as a caster" line was a) to prevent people from claiming it can't use its class features because of the same literal reading nonsense people do with monks and their unarmed strikes; and b) to make sure that whatever limited magic items the party does find, barring magic swords and armor, is best used by the wizard.

5) When I refer to "certain takes on Merlin," I am referring to the trilogy by Mary Stewart. In that series, most of his "magical" feats are due to engineering, guile, or knowledge forgotten in post-Roman Britain, and his only truly magical abilities are firestarting and oracular visions.

Reddish Mage
2014-05-05, 09:40 PM
Wow, a flurry of activity after weeks of being unnoticed. I'm flattered, honestly.

2) Yes, clerics, druids, wu jen, warlocks, spirit shamans, etc. are all assumed to be gone. You should probably be comparing it to the pure mundane classes: scout, barbarian, rogue, fighter, etc.

3) I do admit that the mage as shown here lacks a little utility. I should probably add to that. Any suggestions as to how I would do that? I can think of a few things.

The easiest way to add utility is to increase the wizard's class skills or combat utility. There is no mechanical reason not to up the wizard to at least cleric levels in combat proficiency (for that matter if it had fighter level BAB progression and weapon and armor skills it would not be unbalanced). However, I don't know if that's where you want to go with this class.

The other thing to do is to increase the power in the greater arcana and various wizard abilities. As an aside, I dislike the method of learning greater arcana because it means the wizard's power gain has quite a dependency on some rolls when leveling.

If this class and game is truly meant to be "non-combat" oriented it is odd that so many of the arcana and abilities appear to be for use in battle. However, combat are no, the wizard's sparse abilities are additionally gimped to an extreme. You are doing this probably to make it feel like there isn't "too much magic." That is the problem is that your concept of making the class less glitzy and showy has led you bring the wizard to the point where it doesn't have the power to mount a credible threat against a warrior or a rogue, even should the wizard have advanced preparation and the warrior and rogue were assaulting the wizard's tower.

Gandalf might be a "level 5 wizard" in some people's estimations (see the old Dragon Magazine article) but the abilities of the "mundane" classes of D&D 3.5 are scaled because they are meant (however badly balanced) to keep up with the full scale wizard. When you decide to take a class and gimp it, but leave the others alone, it becomes unbalanced. To balance it, you either need to gimp all the classes you decide to keep up, or you need to keep the wizard at a power level that is at least in the same tier as a fighter (perhaps using a warlock or something as the power level your shooting for). Doing "low-magic" is something a lot of people using D&D have tried to do, I am particularly fond of e6 in that regard, but doing it by radically redesigning wizards from the ground up is a very hard project indeed.

Gildedragon
2014-05-05, 09:55 PM
Actually; I think this bears asking: What role is this wizard supposed to be filling in a party? What would they be doing in combat?

An idea would be having stuff they can do, tiering them from fairly common to quite magical, lets say they are Mysteries.

So Open Mysteries would be common tricks, mundane stuff that can seem magical because the Wizard has the personality to make it appear so.
This could be simple skill based things, getting alternate uses for say Gather Information to find out someone's name without them knowing, Sleight of Hand to produce a flame. etc...

Low Mysteries could be completely non magical things that are mysterious because they are hard to do, or require special training: Poisons, alchemical items, bonuses to craft checks (making extra masterworky items that grant +2, or +1 and keen as mundane properties)

Middle Mysteries: are things that could go either way: Morale boosting effects, an aura of awe, etc

High Mysteries: completely magical things like shadowy assassins, shapeshifting, raising the dead. These ought be difficult and require expenditures on the player's side. HP, rare reagents, complex skill checks, and time.

If in each category you allow for a varied number of abilities (status effects, miscelaneous bonuses, combat utilities) you will form a pretty good class. Maybe the Song of Ice and Fire D20 maester has something cool to offer?

VoxRationis
2014-05-06, 12:01 PM
Guigarci, I value your input highly, but I'd prefer not to completely revamp the class as of yet, so I'll keep the ranked Mysteries idea on hold for a bit.

I'm in the middle of adding a few new feats of greater arcana (Pocket Taster, Sovereign Glue, and Witness Paint are already up there, with various metallurgical feats to come), and have given the class Sleight of Hand to allow them to more unexpectedly and dramatically produce their tricks.

As for party role... I imagine a lot of support and utility, what with their high degrees of lore and useful noncombat skills like Decipher Script and Hypnosis, with the addition of a few combat support abilities like Rebuke Monster.

Reddish Mage
2014-05-06, 01:56 PM
Guigarci, I value your input highly, but I'd prefer not to completely revamp the class as of yet, so I'll keep the ranked Mysteries idea on hold for a bit.

I'm in the middle of adding a few new feats of greater arcana (Pocket Taster, Sovereign Glue, and Witness Paint are already up there, with various metallurgical feats to come), and have given the class Sleight of Hand to allow them to more unexpectedly and dramatically produce their tricks.

As for party role... I imagine a lot of support and utility, what with their high degrees of lore and useful noncombat skills like Decipher Script and Hypnosis, with the addition of a few combat support abilities like Rebuke Monster.

For what you are attempting to do, I suggest trying to take off the binds and make the Vox wizard's support and utility skills useful by making them as powerful as 3.5 equivalent level spells. The creators of D&D saw the RAW spells as balanced against the mundane feats and abilities of the same level. If you see casters as way too OP then look at something like a support role caster like the RAW 3.5 Bard as a point of reference for the arcana, abilities and skills. Perhaps make the Arcana somewhat more limited then that class in scope, perhaps make the powers a level or two less powerful if you see the RAW magic as so OP, but if you do so, your Vox Wizards should receive compensatory abilities in the mundane realm. If you use RAW bard spells as a level-equivalent comparison when composing different greater arcana you now have a broad source for inspiration and you can then use your modifications to convert a group of RAW 3.5 spells into "arcana," by increasing duration and allowing for unlimited use of particular abilities but also increasing "casting times" (that includes the introduction of craft checks) and increasing component costs.

The end class will feel quite limited with spells and resources, but still be par with a 3.5 RAW caster class, and the Vox Wizard should have mundane class skills and mundane combat abilities to compensate for any weaknesses in their magic.

Belial_the_Leveler
2014-05-06, 01:57 PM
Well, the class doesn't work for the following reasons;


1) Its main ability confers a single use of a 1st, maybe 2nd level effect. After 8 hours of work. Requiring high skill checks likely to fail. Requiring equipment not available while adventuring. Often costing lots of GP. Not going to work, sorry. Even half-assed alchemists in the ancient world could create Greek Fire in large enough quantities to burn ships or be used in catapults, the Chinese had gunpowder-launched missiles, and poisoning was a decent art with quantity production.

2) So it gets skills. The Rogue gets the same skills at 12 Int that this gets at 16 Int. The Rogue also gets much better skills useful in an adventure, like stealth, social stuff, thieving stuff and is also survivable in combat. For comparison, a Rogue could deal 50ish damage with one attack per round by lvl 20, while this guy deals what, 15?

3) Its tertiary "support" abilities don't come up enough. DnD is combat, socializing, stealth, recon, delving and puzzles. This guy's abilities will only shine in puzzles, less than 1/6 of the game, because for every other use they're too slow and costly to work in an adventure.


Suggestions;
1) Introduce common incendiaries, greek fire, reliable explosives as this guy goes up in levels for offense. He should be capable of making them fairly fast - a molotov bomb takes less than a minute for example, while an oil/fertilizer/iron pellets jar only slightly longer.

2) Introduce poison harvesting. Think a farm equipped for snake/giant spider breeding to mass-produce poisons. Also, syringes have existed since Roman times at least. Instead of an arrowhead or blade coated with poison to deliver a tiny dose, this guy could have syring-tipped crossbow bolts to deliver multiple doses per shot, for example.

3) Introduce disease harvesting. 1 cow costs a few gp. Infect it with one dose of disease, then harvest a couple hundred doses of infected blood from it. Sell the meat to market for fun and profit.

4) Introduce hazardous chemicals. Chlorine gas is fairly easy - a kid with little skill could do it with the right knowledge. It makes a very good gas bomb, or silent assasin. Chloroform for knockout. Soap-coated sodium crossbow bolts can be a bitch; explode on contact with blood inside targets as the coating rubs away on impact, corossive/poisonous byproducts if the target survives. And at high enough levels, there's always mustard gas and sarin.

5) Introduce advanced construction. Higher-quality steel, titanium alloy, tungsten carbides are all fairly easy to do with the right knowledge and lab equipment. Electrically-produced or high-temperature steel is far superior to medieval steel. Half as heavy as steel means a titanium armor can be double-thickness and have enhanced protection. Tungsten carbide won't melt or corrode until you hit 3000+ degrees Celsius, is far harder than steel and it being 2,5x denser means you can make a nigh-unbreakable sword 3 times thinner/sharper than modern steel ones and name it Excalibur without ruining its balance.

6) Introduce vaccines for prolonged disease immunity, antitoxins for protection from poisons, antibiotics, aspirin, analgesics and hallucinogenics. Addictive drugs are fun, too.

7) Introduce useful devices. Binoculars, telescopes, hand gliders, hot-air balloons, parachutes, civil-war-era submersibles, autoloading ballistae, the bicycle and its variations, modern climbing gear, scuba gear.

VoxRationis
2014-05-06, 02:09 PM
Well, the class doesn't work for the following reasons;


1) Its main ability confers a single use of a 1st, maybe 2nd level effect. After 8 hours of work. Requiring high skill checks likely to fail. Requiring equipment not available while adventuring. Often costing lots of GP. Not going to work, sorry. Even half-assed alchemists in the ancient world could create Greek Fire in large enough quantities to burn ships or be used in catapults, the Chinese had gunpowder-launched missiles, and poisoning was a decent art with quantity production.

2) So it gets skills. The Rogue gets the same skills at 12 Int that this gets at 16 Int. The Rogue also gets much better skills useful in an adventure, like stealth, social stuff, thieving stuff and is also survivable in combat. For comparison, a Rogue could deal 50ish damage with one attack per round by lvl 20, while this guy deals what, 15?

3) Its tertiary "support" abilities don't come up enough. DnD is combat, socializing, stealth, recon, delving and puzzles. This guy's abilities will only shine in puzzles, less than 1/6 of the game, because for every other use they're too slow and costly to work in an adventure.


Suggestions;
1) Introduce common incendiaries, greek fire, reliable explosives as this guy goes up in levels for offense. He should be capable of making them fairly fast - a molotov bomb takes less than a minute for example, while an oil/fertilizer/iron pellets jar only slightly longer.

2) Introduce poison harvesting. Think a farm equipped for snake/giant spider breeding to mass-produce poisons. Also, syringes have existed since Roman times at least. Instead of an arrowhead or blade coated with poison to deliver a tiny dose, this guy could have syring-tipped crossbow bolts to deliver multiple doses per shot, for example.

3) Introduce disease harvesting. 1 cow costs a few gp. Infect it with one dose of disease, then harvest a couple hundred doses of infected blood from it. Sell the meat to market for fun and profit.

4) Introduce hazardous chemicals. Chlorine gas is fairly easy - a kid with little skill could do it with the right knowledge. It makes a very good gas bomb, or silent assasin. Chloroform for knockout. Soap-coated sodium crossbow bolts can be a bitch; explode on contact with blood inside targets as the coating rubs away on impact, corossive/poisonous byproducts if the target survives. And at high enough levels, there's always mustard gas and sarin.

5) Introduce advanced construction. Higher-quality steel, titanium alloy, tungsten carbides are all fairly easy to do with the right knowledge and lab equipment. Electrically-produced or high-temperature steel is far superior to medieval steel. Half as heavy as steel means a titanium armor can be double-thickness and have enhanced protection. Tungsten carbide won't melt or corrode until you hit 3000+ degrees Celsius, is far harder than steel and it being 2,5x denser means you can make a nigh-unbreakable sword 3 times thinner/sharper than modern steel ones and name it Excalibur without ruining its balance.

6) Introduce vaccines for prolonged disease immunity, antitoxins for protection from poisons, antibiotics, aspirin, analgesics and hallucinogenics. Addictive drugs are fun, too.

7) Introduce useful devices. Binoculars, telescopes, hand gliders, hot-air balloons, parachutes, civil-war-era submersibles, autoloading ballistae, the bicycle and its variations, modern climbing gear, scuba gear.

Actually, I already added disease harvesting; it was there from the beginning (it's called Inert Plague). Poison harvesting I thought was something anyone could do, though.
Your advanced construction idea is good, and I've been trying to work out ways of implementing it that come online at multiple levels.
The wizard gets Craft (poisonmaking) already; item 4 seems somewhat redundant in that light. Perhaps I could make a feat of greater arcana that improves the effectiveness of poisons?
Item 7 creates a lot of things which don't really seem that magical.

Also, I just added a use of Jolting Wand that makes the wizard potentially very good against electrical effects.

VoxRationis
2014-05-06, 04:56 PM
Okay, so working with Belial the Leveler's idea of roles:
Combat: A heavy reliance on alchemical/chemical type effects. Its ability to grant Knowledge Devotion to the party helps out greatly. Has a couple of one-two punches, like Instill Vulnerability and the potentially potent Sovereign Glue+Jolting Wand combo. Your advanced construction idea is good, and I'll work on incorporating that soon enough.
Socializing: Should I give them some of the social skills? Maybe Gather Information or things that allow them to work behind the scenes?
Stealth: Not a strong point of the wizard, but neither is it the strong point of the fighter. I'd reckon the rogue can have this one.
Recon: All they have now is Scrying, and that doesn't come until mid-level. Any ideas on how a largely nonmagical character could achieve reconnaissance?
Delving: I'm not quite sure what you mean by this. I should give them a compass and a light-producing ability. I'm not going to give them things which are as effective as the rogue against locks and traps.
Puzzles: As you mentioned, already a strong one.

I'm also interested in feats of greater arcana that don't depend upon the Knowledge (arcana) or Craft (alchemy) skills; my hope is that you could also make a more nature-focused wizard with this class. Any ideas?

Gildedragon
2014-05-06, 05:11 PM
For socializing: diplomacy, bluff, gather information, intimidate are good options that add to versatility.

A cold reading ability could be cool. Hinges on spot/bluff and intimidate for a fear effect or even as strong as a "rebuke" effect on a single target.

For reckon: gather info can be used, an ability granting a network of informants or the capacity to see trough an animal (as the clarivoyance spell) there could be a charisma penalty associated with that (with a save to avoid): stay in the bird/wolf/croc for too long and you will have worn down your sense of self.

Zale
2014-05-06, 07:46 PM
So, let's start by strongly suggesting you make the formatting look nicer.

At the very least, bold or italicize the class feature names. You can bold, italicize, resize- take advantage of that. It makes reading the class so much easier.

You may want to insure that you make it clear that the Major Arcana are hiding in the spoiler.

As far as emulating the features of wizards such as Gandalf or Merlin, it does quite well, though it lacks some of the social power of Gandalf (As most of Tolkien's wizards were basically Angels sent to guide mortals- it shows too, since one of Gandalf's most notable accomplishments was that he took a bunch of dissenting people and forged them into a powerful fellowship that took down a dark lord of power).

I feel that they could stand to have a few more class features, since they get eight empty levels. I'd suggest some sort of cultivation of natural allies (Ala Giant Eagles?) or some sort of ally morale bonus to things (Representing the guiding wisdom of the Wizard, or similar).

VoxRationis
2014-05-07, 11:54 AM
As far as metallurgical things go, here are some ideas of mine:

1) Use of lighter materials, with the possibility of making things like finessable two-handed swords
2) Use of harder materials
3) Electroplating
4) Anodizing/coloring
5) Creating corrosion-resistant materials
6) Pattern welding

VoxRationis
2014-06-15, 08:55 PM
I was recently asked whether Rebuke Monster was meant to be usable as often as a cleric's Turn Undead or at will and I found myself unable to determine which would be a better option. I have a slight bias against the whole "I ran out of usage" thing which plagues 3.5 abilities, but at will usage might be a little abusable on the scale of a single encounter. What do you guys think?

jiriku
2014-06-16, 06:21 PM
At-will usage should probably be avoided, both because a powerful wizard can then steamroll through arbitrarily large numbers of aberrations and because having a limited-use resource lets you later create feats or other class features that also consume the resource.

I'd concur with other posters here. You have a class that struggles to find any way to contribute effectively to typical D&D encounters, whether combat or otherwise. Your chief problem is that the greater arcana abilities are very weak or are hamstrung by significant costs and restrictions. This wizard isn't really any good at anything other than knowing stuff, and he's not appreciably better at knowing things than an NPC expert with the Knowledge Devotion feat would be.

To correct this, you should decide what the wizard is supposed to be good at, and build various ways for him to contribute to a variety of situations by doing the thing he's good at. You might find it useful to borrow from some other sources. Do you have access to the Dungeonscape book? The factotum class described in Dungeonscape is a really nice execution of the archetype of a character who knows a little magic, but solves most problems by using his wits and skill. Might be worth a look.

VoxRationis
2014-06-18, 10:37 AM
I don't have Dungeonscape.

I'm wondering what you mean by "typical" D&D encounters. If you mean 400-hp dragons, I'd agree. But one of my caveats was that the class isn't meant for the baseline D&D experience.
What would you suggest to make the class more effective in combat, given that they are supposed to primarily have a support role?
In any case, what do you think of an ability that lets the wizard use minor environmental cues and Knowledge checks to determine what sort of a creature lives in a place?

TheLonelyScribe
2014-06-18, 03:37 PM
I think I commented with something like this before, but if a) you want a magic system different from the baseline D&D system, and b) you want a gaming style different from the baseline D&D playing style - it really seems like you should consider not playing D&D. Burning Wheel is recommended for Tolkien-Style games, Ars Magica if you want a medieval system that really gets into the art of magic, Dungeon World if you just want to bash heads in and have a good time - but it really looks to me as if you want a system that is not D&D.

If you do stick to D&D, I'd consider giving them a big ability they can use a lot of the time. At the moment they have a large collection of useful peripheries, but there's nothing to point to which says 'this is what makes the class strong'. It's not necessary, but it might help with the bits-and-pieces feel the class has at the moment. Maybe a feature that expands upon the Arcana that lets them use skills in extraordinary ways? Performance to fascinate, Sense Motive/Bluff to cold read, Climb to fly etc. That might expand upon the Gandalf idea to fit it more into the kinds of fictions that are appropriate for D&D (but it does sound to me as if you want to be playing Burning Wheel).

VoxRationis
2014-06-19, 12:51 AM
Okay, the next person who recommends I change to a different system is going to find a fabulous new career as a spy satellite when I boot them into low Earth orbit.
(And please, don't anyone get upset when I say that; a threat which is patently impossible is a rhetorical device to express frustration, not an actual threat.)

The thing is, I LIKE D&D. I like the basic idea of it; I like the rules-heavy simulationist tendency of the game (rules-light systems make me wretch and I've stopped playing with the group at my school largely because of their preferences for such things); I like the comparative simplicity of the d20 and d% method of determining success and failure, rather than trying to figure out fistfuls of exploding d10s or cartfuls of d6s; I like the basic structure of the skill and combat mechanics. I just think they could use improvement, and I like the more "classic" sword-and-sorcery feel.

Your Climb to fly idea is just about the opposite of what I am hoping to accomplish with this class. I'm trying to build someone with only a handful of magical abilities, who keeps largely to the rules of the real world, but who seems magical to someone with a medieval knowledge base.

jiriku
2014-06-19, 01:03 AM
I'm wondering what you mean by "typical" D&D encounters.

I'd consider this to be a relatively complete list of the types of encounters I often create in my games. I've omitted "kill monsters" from the list because, well, that's an obvious one.

investigate a mystery
sneak undetected past some guards
protect a site or a noncombatant NPC
bargain with an NPC (who may be unfriendly) to acquire favors or aid
steal something
uncover the plans or activities of a prominent opponent
assassinate a specific enemy figure
travel quickly to a location before a deadline passes
navigate a trackless wilderness
find someone who's trying to remain hidden
do two or three or four of the above things at once



What would you suggest to make the class more effective in combat, given that they are supposed to primarily have a support role?

Well, given that two of the wizards you cited as inspiration are at least halfway decent swordsmen, I think a flavor-appropriate change might be to buff the combat fundamentals. For example:

Considering their lack of physical conditioning, wizards are supernaturally capable in a fight and unusually difficult to kill.
Gains d8 hit die
Gains Charisma bonus as a deflection bonus to Armor Class.

A wizard rarely adventures without a magic staff or ancient elven blade, and can wield magical weapons with deftness and precision.
Gains proficiency with magical weapons, regardless of type.
Gains Medium base attack progression

Note that the wizard is in no danger of overshadowing the other fighting classes here. He still lacks armor, combat feats, or any direct offensive or defensive class features (such as sneak attack or uncanny dodge), and his ability score points are likely to be concentrated on Intelligence and Charisma. However, these buffs make him a little more capable of holding his own in a fight; he can probably hold off a mook or two by himself now.

Further, your typical wizard is often characterized by his leadership ability. Even kings defer to them. Perhaps you could expand the Rebuke ability into a menu of auras he can activate that represent giving advice or instruction to his allies or using intimidation tactics against his foes. Whether it be crying "fly you fools!" to give allies a bonus to move speed, or "you shall not pass!" to daze or push back his foes, the wizard exerts influence through his strong personality. If you have the Miniatures Handbook, you could look at the marshal class for some ideas about inspirational auras.



In any case, what do you think of an ability that lets the wizard use minor environmental cues and Knowledge checks to determine what sort of a creature lives in a place?

I would say that this is already a built-in function of the Knowledge and Survival skills. However, you're thinking in the right direction. Using obscure knowledge in innovative ways is a classic trick of the wizard. Also, wizards are commonly regarded with suspicion, and seen as tricky and untrustworthy. Perhaps Bluff is a good class skill; you never know when a wizard is concealing the truth from you.

VoxRationis
2014-06-19, 02:08 AM
Thanks! That list is really helpful. When I have time, I'll try to run through it and see how many I can make a wizard check off.

Gildedragon
2014-06-19, 03:33 AM
I think a good stepping point is looking at what sort of stuff you are trying to emulate as "magical" effects. Looking at the key abilites of schools might provide you an idea of the skills and stuff needed to reproduce them:

Abjuration: social stuff (intimidate for the most part), apotropaic items (vermin repellent, alchemical charms, save boosting concoctions) though perhaps mostly magical school

Conjuration: Produce items and creatures out of nothing: sleight of hand to produce items, alchemical items (shapesand, chaos flasks) and finely crafted items (unfolding tools + misdirection)

Divination: Know stuff that one isn't supposed to know: Social tricks (Sense Motive, Spot, Listen + gather info and network of spies), Lore and knowledge checks, literacy might go a long way in certain societies

Enchantment: Control people and crowds: social engineering (bluff, diplomacy), and chemical mind affecting (poisons, drugs, pheromones)

Evocation: Produce damaging effects: alchemical tricks (alch fire, flashpowder, smoke, et cetera)

Illusion: Misdirect/Make falsehood seem real: alchemical tricks (smokes, sparkles, flares, mild altering drugs or poisons), sleight of hand, bluff

Necromancy: Animate the dead/Create undead thralls/Kill the living: knowledge checks to make bodies move with electricity, poisons that put bodies into zombie-like states, or sleep, or comas, medicine.

Transmutation: Turn things into others/Bonuses: Sleight of hand, hide, disguise, or Alchemical tricks (for bonuses etc) or diplomacy (see fanatical entry)

"spells" that make water potable, or devices (such as gliders) that allow some flight, or quick-change artistry are all sorta good effects

jiriku
2014-06-19, 07:51 AM
Some good suggestions there for class skills. Maybe the wizard could also get higher than normal benefit from alchemical items, since he knows how to get the best use out of them. Perhaps he might get more damage dice, longer durations, higher saving throw DCs, or larger areas of effect. Have you read Terry Brooks' Sword of Shannara? The druid Allanon in that book is a great example of what you're trying to do. Allanon is reputedly a powerful wizard, but most of his power consists of having friends in high places, possessing great charisma and presence, and knowing old secrets, like the weaknesses of a monster, the location of a secret entrance, or the hidden path to a magical location. In combat he mostly fights with a melee weapon or throws Batman-style flash-bang pellets, although he does occasionally let loose a powerful spell when circumstances are dire.

That gives me another thought. Wizards almost universally seem to have the respect and cooperation of powerful rulers. Perhaps the wizard has a class feature that grants a bonus on Diplomacy checks (or all Charisma-based skill checks) with members of the noble and royal castes. They might even have a similar penalty for interacting with common folk, who usually mistrust wizards. PC wizards will find it easy to get a king in their pocket, but may get an unfriendly welcome from the innkeeper who doesn't want to see a wizardly duel break out in his inn if any of the wizard's enemies come to call.

If you have some of the books that include magical locations in them, perhaps the wizard can automatically learn the path to one of them at each level, or at specific levels, provided he has x ranks in an appropriate knowledge skill. The magical location supplies the power, but the wizard is the only one who knows where it is and how it's activated, and perhaps the only one who can use it when the party gets there.

VoxRationis
2014-07-19, 07:08 AM
Sorry for the delay; I've been busy. I still don't have the time necessary to implement all the fantastic suggestions made so far, but I'll put out a new Greater Arcana for critiquing.

Metallurgical Mastery
Independent Study DC: 25 (varies)
Copying DC: 15 (varies)
Application: Craft (blacksmithing) (DC varies); an alchemist's lab is required in addition to the normal forge or other workstation.
Effect: You create a metal weapon with up to two of the following effects, increasing the Craft DC by 5 (and crafting cost by 100 gp) to do so:

-An incredibly hard, sharp edge bypasses damage reduction as though it were magic.


-The weapon is light as a feather, yet still balanced. Weapon Finesse may be applied to the weapon, even if it couldn't normally. The weapon may be used as a weapon of a category lighter if desired. The weight of the weapon is reduced by half, with the unfortunate side effect of making bludgeoning weapons deal damage as though a size category smaller.


-The weapon is plated with a thin layer of another material. Silver can be used in this way to bypass certain damage reduction without a penalty to damage like normal silver weapons.


-The weapon is coated with a thin layer of oxidized metal, too thin to affect the performance of the blade. Since the surface of the weapon is already "rusted," it does not have to contend with further oxidation, natural or magical. This ability is incompatible with the above trait.


-The weapon bears a strange, if faint, attraction to metal objects. It gains a +2 bonus on disarm checks against metal weapons, but a -1 to attack against enemies with metal armor, as it is more attracted to the full metal than to the joints most people aim for. Enemies attempting to feint against the user while using metal weapons take a -2 penalty. The weapon subtly attempts to align itself along the north-south axis; if it is placed on a low-friction flat surface, this property can be used to find one's way.

You can create a metal weapon with up to two of the following effects, increasing the Craft DC by 10 (and crafting cost by 150 gp) to do so (stacks with the above):

-The weapon bears infinitesimal serrations upon its blood groove which deal an additional 1d6 damage when the blade is withdrawn from an attack. The blade is "withdrawn" automatically unless the wielder lets go of it after a successful attack. Arrows and crossbow bolts are not "withdrawn" until someone intentionally pulls them out.(Can only apply to bladed weapons and the heads of arrows or crossbow bolts.)


-The weapon pierces damage reduction as though it were adamantine.

jiriku
2014-07-19, 07:23 PM
This is an interesting and useful feature, especially the ability to create weapons that bypass damage reduction. Does it change the cost of the weapon? If it doesn't, it's really quite good. I'm not quite sure what you mean by "when the blade is withdrawn from an attack". D&D doesn't have any rules to determine whether a weapon sticks in a target when it hits. I would recommend you move the "counts as magic" feature to the second tier of benefits, and move the disarm feature down to the first tier. Counting as a magic weapon is extremely useful against a variety of foes, and costs a couple thousand gp to obtain normally. Gaining +2 to disarm and a -2 defense against feint at the cost of -1 to hit is pretty weak, and barely worth anything.

VoxRationis
2014-07-21, 11:56 PM
I forgot to set a good cost adjustment for it. The cost probably shouldn't be on the level of magic, but it should be a little more than masterwork, don't you think? Or maybe I should include the masterwork benefits by default and include that in the cost.
In any case, I'll adjust the magnetism tier.