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Ethereal Gears
2014-10-02, 06:39 PM
Hello, esteemed playgrounders. So, for an upcoming game I've sort of homebrewed together this little hybrid-ish class that hopefully will have the flavor of a sort of Lovecrafty detective who mixes making strange substances for people to drink and turn 'em into monsters with some occult/spiritual type abilities. A lot of stuff is just basically cribbed from various 1st- and 3rd-party sources (special shout-out to Rite Publishing's 101 Simple Archetypes for the idea behind "Theory and Practice"), but I still think the end result feels rather playable and fun.

Anyway, hopefully I'll be playing one of these in an upcoming game this weekend. GM has OK'd it, but I figured it never hurts to get some second opinions from all the clever folk what haunt these here fora. Any notes on balance would be greatly appreciated. The main idea is to pass around eldritch draughts to buff the party and then leverage hexes and revelations for my own sake. I am bit unsure about the power level though. GM is fine with it since he knows I'm not going to try to build some superoptimized monstrosity to blow everyone else in the party out of the water, but it'd still be good to know whether I've veered at least somewhat close to the Tier 3 mark I was aiming for with this guy.

Cheers in advance,
- Gears


The Alienist


"All life is only a set of pictures in the brain, among which there is no difference betwixt those born of real things and those born of inward dreamings, and no cause to value the one above the other."

- H.P. Lovecraft

Alienist (https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B8e09cD4OAF3bGRxNFhaMHcwU0k/view?usp=sharing)

The alienist is a base class for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game.

Alignment: Any.

Hit Die: d8.

Starting Wealth: 4d6 ◊ 10 gp (average 140 gp.) In addition, each character begins play with an outfit worth 10 gp or less.

Class Skills

The alienist's class skills are Acrobatics (Dex), Appraise (Int), Bluff (Cha), Climb (Str), Craft (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Disable Device (Dex), Disguise (Cha), Escape Artist (Dex), Heal (Wis), Intimidate (Cha), Knowledge (all) (Int), Linguistics (Int), Perception (Wis), Knowledge (Cha), Profession (Wis), Sense Motive (Wis), Sleight of Hand (Dex), Spellcraft (Int), Stealth (Dex), and Use Magic Device (Cha).

Skill Ranks per Level: 6 + Int modifier.

Table: Alienist




Level
BAB
Fort
Ref
Will
Eldritch Pool
Special


1st
+0
+0
+0
+1
Int + 4
Curse, eldritch draughts, hex, revelation


2nd
+1
+0
+0
+3
Int + 6
Hex, reason prevails


3rd
+2
+1
+1
+3
Int + 8
Fleeting revelations, revelation


4th
+3
+1
+1
+4
Int + 10
Eldritch recall, hex


5th
+3
+1
+1
+4
Int + 12
Theory and practice


6th
+4
+2
+2
+5
Int + 14
Hex, improved draughts


7th
+5
+2
+2
+5
Int + 16
Revelation


8th
+6/+1
+2
+2
+6
Int + 18
Hex


9th
+6/+1
+3
+3
+6
Int + 20
Theory and practice


10th
+7/+2
+3
+3
+7
Int + 22
Hex


11th
+8/+3
+3
+3
+7
Int + 24
Revelation


12th
+9/+4
+4
+4
+8
Int + 26
Hex


13th
+9/+4
+4
+4
+8
Int + 28
Theory and practice


14th
+10/+5
+4
+4
+9
Int + 30
Greater draughts, hex


15th
+11/+6/+1
+5
+5
+9
Int + 32
Revelation


16th
+12/+7/+2
+5
+5
+10
Int + 34
Hex


17th
+12/+7/+2
+5
+5
+10
Int + 36
Theory and Practice


18th
+13/+8/+3
+6
+6
+11
Int + 38
Hex


19th
+14/+9/+4
+6
+6
+11
Int + 40
Revelation


20th
+15/+10/+5
+6
+6
+12
Int + 42
Enlightenment, hex



Weapon and Armor Proficiency
Alienists are proficient with simple weapons, plus the hand crossbow, rapier, sap, shortbow, short sword, and sword cane. They are proficient in light armors, but not shields.

Curse

All alienists are haunted by a curse, but this curse comes with a benefit as well as a hindrance. At 1st level the alienist select's one curse from the oracle class' list, and once made, this choice cannot be changed. The alienistís curse cannot be removed or dispelled without the aid of a deity. An alienistís curse is based on his alienist level plus one for every two levels or Hit Dice other than alienist.

Eldritch Draughts

At 1st level, the alienist gains a reservoir of eldritch energy siphoned from his own magical aura that he can draw upon to create transformative consumables called eldritch draughts. This pool contains a number of eldritch points equal to 4 + the alienist's Intelligence modifier at 1st level. At each level after 1st, the alienist adds 2 additional points to the pool. His eldritch pool is replenished once per day after 8 hours of rest or meditation; these hours do not need to be consecutive.

The alienist can invest any number of eldritch points (up to a maximum equal to his class level) into the creation of an eldritch draught, which he can imbibe or inject a target with. Creating an eldritch draught takes 1 minute. The alienist can imbibe an eldritch draught himself or inject an adjacent creature with it as a standard or swift action. Alternatively, he can hand the draught over to another creature, who can imbibe it or inject an adjacent creature with it as a standard action. Targeting an unwilling creature with an eldritch draught requires the creature trying to inject the target to succeed on a free melee touch attack. Once created, an eldritch draught persists until the next time the alienist replenishes his eldritch pool, at which point it goes inert. An eldritch draught grants its user a number of temporary eidolon evolutions whose total cost in evolution points must equal the number of eldritch points spent in its creation. These evolutions are selected by the alienist at the time he creates the eldritch draught. The evolutions granted via an eldritch draught persist for 1 minute per class level of the alienist who created it. The effects of an eldritch draught are considered a polymorph effect with a caster level equal to the alienist's class level, meaning they do not stack with other polymorph effects. A creature under the effects of an eldritch draught cannot possess evolutions whose total cost in evolution points would surpass the class level of the alienist who created the eldritch draught, even if it imbibes or is injected with several consecutive draughts whose durations overlap. In this case the newer evolutions replace the older ones, and the creature must choose which to switch out upon being affected by the draught that brings it above this maximum limit.

The alienist can create eldritch draughts which grant evolutions that allow for the expenditure of additional evolution points to upgrade them, and his draughts can also grant upgrades to such evolutions or any others that the target already possesses. Creatures affected by an eldritch draught must meet any prerequisites of the selected evolutions. The alienist and his allies may count themselves as bipedal eidolons with a summoner of a level equal to his alienist class level for this purpose. They are also considered to possess one instance each of the limbs (arms) and limbs (legs) evolutions for this same purpose. Imbibing or being injected with an eldritch draught does not allow the target to exceed the maximum number of natural attacks that an eidolon with a summoner of equivalent level would be allowed to possess.

Hex

Alienists learn a number of occult tricks, called hexes, that grant them powers or weaken foes. At 1st level, an alienist gains one hex of his choice, selected from the witch class' list of hexes. The alienist uses his class level as his effective witch level to determine the effects of his hexes and which he is eligible to select. He gains an additional hex at 2nd level and for every 2 levels attained after 2nd level. An alienist cannot select an individual hex more than once, nor can he select major or grand hexes in place of regular hexes.

Revelation

At 1st level, the alienist gains a revelation, selected from an oracle mystery of his choice. At 3rd level and every four levels thereafter he gains an additional revelation, and also gains access to a new mystery to choose his revelations from. If he gains further revelations via other means (such as the Extra Revelation feat), these revelations do not grant the alienist access to additional mysteries. The alienist uses his class level as his effective oracle level to determine the effects of his revelations and which he is eligible to select, and likewise uses his Intelligence modifier in place of his Charisma modifier for such purposes.

Reason Prevails (Ex)

At 2nd level, the alienist learns how drape himself in the mantle of pure reason to negate assaults upon his mind. If he has successfully identified a creature via a Knowledge check, he gets to add his Intelligence modifier on all saving throws to resist its mind-affecting abilities.

Fleeting Revelations (Su)

Beginning at 3rd level, once per day when his eldritch pool is replenished, the alienist can choose to gain a new revelation in place of the most recent revelation he has already learned. In effect, the alienist loses the revelation in exchange for the new one. He can only change the most recent revelation gained, and his new revelation must be from the same mystery as the one he is exchanging it for. Whenever he gains a new revelation, the previous revelation becomes set and cannot be changed again.

Eldritch Recall (Su)

At 4th level, the alienist gains the ability to use his eldritch pool to recall expended uses of his occult abilities. As a swift action he can spend 1 eldritch point to regain an expended daily use of one of his hexes or revelations. For abilities initially only usable once per day, this cost increases to 2 eldritch points (this holds true even if the ability subsequently gains additional daily uses). For abilities with daily durations rather than daily uses, the alienist can instead expend 1 eldritch point as a swift action to regain a single increment of such a duration (e.g. one round, minute or hour).

Theory and Practice (Ex)

At 5th level, the alienist can choose one type of Knowledge skill. He can use his bonus in that skill in place of his bonus in one associated skill. When substituting in this way, the alienist uses his total Knowledge skill bonus, including class skill bonus, in place of the associated skill's bonus, whether or not he has ranks in that skill or if it is a class skill. At 9th level, and every 4 levels thereafter, the alienist can select an additional type of Knowledge skill to substitute.

The types of Knowledge and their associated skills are: Arcana (Spellcraft), Dungeoneering (Escape Artist), Engineering (Disable Device), Geography (Linguistics), History (Appraise), Local (Disguise), Nature (Survival), Nobility (Sense Motive), Planes (Fly) and Religion (Heal).

Improved Draughts (Su)

At 6th level, the alienist can create eldritch draughts whose evolutions persist for 10 minutes per class level rather than 1 minute per class level. Creating such an eldritch draught takes 10 minutes rather than 1 minute.

Greater Draughts (Su)

At 14th level, the alienist can create eldritch draughts whose evolutions persist for 1 hour per class level. Creating such an eldritch draught takes an hour.

Enlightenment

At 20th level, the alienist finally comes to a full understanding of his occult quest. He loses all negative effects of his curse, but retains all the positive ones. Any evolutions he grants via one of his eldritch draughts remain until the next time he replenishes his eldritch pool, and when granting evolutions to himself he only expends half the amount of eldritch points he ordinarily would. Furthermore, he can use his fleeting revelations ability at will, and can use it to gain access to the final revelation of the last mystery he selected a revelation from.

New Feat

The following new feat is available to all alienists:

Extra Eldritch Pool

You can use your eldritch pool more times per day than most.

Prerequisite: Eldritch pool class feature.

Benefit: You increase your eldritch pool's maximum amount by 3.

Special: You can gain Extra Eldritch Pool multiple times. Its effects stack.

Ethereal Gears
2014-10-03, 04:04 AM
One idea about these guys I've had kicking around my head was to give them some ability to, like, exude one of their eldritch draughts like an aura, so that all allies with 30 feet or something get to benefit from the evolutions granted by that specific draught. I like the idea of handing out specially prepared evolutionary buffs to allies beforehand, but it might put too big a drain on one's eldritch pool. Does that sound like a reasonable ability? As I stated in the OP I'm still a little hazy on the power level of this class. Sometimes I look at it and it seems fine, other times I begin suspecting some parts are too good or wonkily balanced. I don't tend to play in very high-OP games though.

EDIT I: Added a link to a Google Docs version in the OP, for those who want to take a peek at the snazzy iconic I nicked off the web somewhere.

EDIT II (The Editening): So something like this is what I'd have in mind for the ability mentioned above, possibly to replace the Eldritch Recall ability with:

Eldritch Vapors (Su)

Starting at 4th level, the alienist can use a standard action to cause one of his eldritch draughts to spill out in the form of a cloud of eldritch vapors. All allies within 30 feet of the alienist become affected as if though they had each imbibed or been injected with an individual copy of that eldritch draught, but the duration of its effect is reduced to 1 round per class level of the alienist.

Xuldarinar
2014-10-03, 09:49 AM
Alright. Lets have a look at what you have here.

Flavor: Im just putting this out there: I love D&D's far realm, pathfinder's dark tapestry, and of course the flavor presented by the works of lovecraft. Any class fitted with that flavor is worth considering playing in my book, even if it functions about as well as the truenamer in 3.5. Thankfully, that is not the case here.

BaB and Saves: Average progression and emphasis on will would be valuable here certainly. They seem alright as they stand.

Curse: Borrowing from another class out the gate. This isn't a complaint mind you, It can certainly fit the flavor. Im already getting a vibe of one who has been afflicted by their abilities, rather than someone who pursued them, or at least someone who didn't mind paying a price for their power.

Eldritch Draughts: Its not a bad idea, and mechanically seems sound on the surface. I personally would create a list of available evolutions, as some would lie outside the realm of the theme. Of course I cannot speak for balance on this point just yet, Im far from an expert on the subject, but it appears good on the surface. Very much a transformative class as opposed to the summoning aspects reflected in both the Alienist PrC and the Archetype of the same name.

Hex: We borrow again. Very much keeping to the affliction aspect betrayed here, and it can fit with the flavor quite well. Again, I am going to say a list should be made of ones appropriate, or at least ones that shouldn't be made available to the alienist. Not for balance's sake but ensuring flavor is maintained.

Revelation: I feel like a broken record. I don't see a balance problem on this one, but a list of ones an alienist can pick from may be appropriate here.

Reason Prevails: A boost to saves if you've identified something. It certainly encourages throwing some of those extra skill points into knowledge, all of the knowledge in fact.

Fleeting Revelation: This one poses an interesting problem. You can only swap out your latest one. If you gain a level where you get a new one, you are stuck with that revelation. Personally, I think this should either be dropped, made so they can swap out any given one they know so long as it remains the appropriate level, or make it so they have one revelation they 'prepare' and others are set in stone upon acquisition. Or even make it so they 'prepare' revelations from a set list.

Eldritch Recall: I love this class feature. It gives another use for their resource.

Theory and Practice: In theory, this is a fantastic class feature that adds an additional use to knowledge skills. In practice, we shall see.

Improved Draughts and Greater Draughts: Both are valuable class features. I like them and would certainly put them to use.

Enlightenment: Its certainly a solid capstone ability. Beyond that, Im not sure what to say on it.


All in all, I think it looks good. It could use some fine tuning, and it has a different vibe from its processors, taking a route of modification and exploration more than calling eldritch horrors to do one's bidding.

Ethereal Gears
2014-10-03, 10:20 AM
Thank you very much for reading and critiquing, Xuldarinar. I've been getting some feedback on the Paizo forums as well, and am currently rehauling the class a little bit. First of all, the improved and greater draughts have gone as I realized that they, while useful, would grant a bit too much of an "always-on" feel to the class' evolutions at later levels, which really wasn't ideal. If people scream and clamor about this removal though I might reverse it. Secondly, hexes and revelations have been merged; you gain one of each at 1st level, and then you have to choose to gain one or the other at levels 2, 4, 6. etc.. I've also granted the class one more Theory and Practice, gained at 3rd level, so they gain as many of those as Bards do Versatile Performance.

Lastly, I am definitely taking your comment regarding fleeting revelation on board. To compensate for their fewer revelations/hexes overall, I am now going to be granting the alienists a "fleeting epiphany slot" at 6th level, which they can fill with any hex or revelation whose prerequisites they meet once per day at 6th level, and can then change out one additional time per day at 10, 14 and 18.

What might be coming up as a means to curb the eldritch draughts further is to give them a number of "recipes known", so that they have to prepare each draught from a recipe (i.e. a collection of evolutions that's preset). This is still up in the air though. Should they get this? How many recipes known? 1/level? Should they be allowed to upgrade their recipes when they level up and can thus infuse more evolutions into their draughts? A single draught can grant a number of evo points equal to the alienist's level, after all. These are all questions I need to solve before I can move on.

But thank you again so much for your insight. Hopefully these changes will further make it feel like the class just borrows stuff straight off a lot less, as every ability has now been somewhat tweaked.

Ethereal Gears
2014-10-03, 11:15 AM
Alright, so here is the latest iteration of the class:

The Alienist (https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B8e09cD4OAF3c2RzVWpsdmxVbVE/view?usp=sharing)

I hope people are fine with perusing the Google Doc, as I think I've changed so many things around at this point it's hardly even worth it to go through the forum version and make annotations. We have recipes for eldritch draughts now. We have hexes and revelations combined into epiphanies. We have a fleeting epiphany slot that can be changed out daily from level 3, plus once more at 7, 11, 15 and 19. We have theory and practice from level 1 and onward. Them's the major changes I think. Hope to hear what people think. It feels more balanced now in my view, and more like a "real" class.

Xuldarinar
2014-10-03, 11:56 AM
Alright, so here is the latest iteration of the class:

The Alienist (https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B8e09cD4OAF3c2RzVWpsdmxVbVE/view?usp=sharing)

I hope people are fine with perusing the Google Doc, as I think I've changed so many things around at this point it's hardly even worth it to go through the forum version and make annotations. We have recipes for eldritch draughts now. We have hexes and revelations combined into epiphanies. We have a fleeting epiphany slot that can be changed out daily from level 3, plus once more at 7, 11, 15 and 19. We have theory and practice from level 1 and onward. Them's the major changes I think. Hope to hear what people think. It feels more balanced now in my view, and more like a "real" class.


It looks good now. Theres just one detail: Constellations of recipes need to be defined, or language changed so recipes refer to individual evolutions.

Ethereal Gears
2014-10-03, 12:36 PM
Yeah I was struggling a bit on the wording of the ability. Obviously a recipe is just a preset list of evolutions. Does "preset list of evolutions" work?

Xuldarinar
2014-10-03, 01:25 PM
Yeah I was struggling a bit on the wording of the ability. Obviously a recipe is just a preset list of evolutions. Does "preset list of evolutions" work?

Well that aspect of wording isn't the issue so much as she the preset list of evolutions are. Are these lists going to be set in stone or are these to be mutable?

Ethereal Gears
2014-10-03, 01:35 PM
Aha. I guess the wording is even more unclear than I first feared. The idea is that you learn a new recipe every level. You can construct that recipe from all the evolution options available to eidolons (though they must be evolutions you could yourself qualify for; counting as you do as a biped eidolon with a summoner of a level equal to your alienist class level). Each recipe can contain a maximum number of evolution points equal to your class level; when creating a draught from a recipe, you don't have to include all of its evolutions, as you must spend an eldritch point for each evolution point your draught would cost. Whenever you gain a level, you can upgrade all your existing recipes so they include your new evolution point maximum, but you cannot alter or remove evolutions from them, only add up to this maximum. Is that clearer at all?

Xuldarinar
2014-10-03, 01:48 PM
Aha. I guess the wording is even more unclear than I first feared. The idea is that you learn a new recipe every level. You can construct that recipe from all the evolution options available to eidolons (though they must be evolutions you could yourself qualify for; counting as you do as a biped eidolon with a summoner of a level equal to your alienist class level). Each recipe can contain a maximum number of evolution points equal to your class level; when creating a draught from a recipe, you don't have to include all of its evolutions, as you must spend an eldritch point for each evolution point your draught would cost. Whenever you gain a level, you can upgrade all your existing recipes so they include your new evolution point maximum, but you cannot alter or remove evolutions from them, only add up to this maximum. Is that clearer at all?

Much clearer. Thank you.

infinitetech
2014-10-04, 01:59 AM
would you like any info from my call of Cthulhu book? there are some items/spells/rulings you may enjoy using

Ethereal Gears
2014-10-04, 02:38 AM
Oh! I would love something like that. I'll actually be sort of playing one of these guys as a fish-out-of-water character; he's your average mildly deranged and haunted Lovecraft protagonist who's gotten stuck in a more traditional D&D-style adventuring party. Might sound odd, but it's the sort of stuff me 'n' my group enjoy. :)

infinitetech
2014-10-04, 04:17 AM
k, what info would you like first, btw if i fall asleep ill send when i get up lol
chapters are: character creation, skills, feats, sanity, combat, equipment, magic, creatures, the cthulhu mythos, the gamemaster, stories, settings
say one then ill say sub sections and so on, if you want a synopsis/description of one just ask