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View Full Version : Pathfinder Coven Agent - a T3 Witch archetype-ish PrC with ranged maneuvers



upho
2015-02-18, 03:01 AM
http://res.cloudinary.com/upho/image/upload/c_scale,w_700/v1424145339/coven_agent_wtqsa0.png
- Pathfinder Prestige Class -

http://res.cloudinary.com/upho/image/upload/v1424161486/coven_agent_nrl2j3.jpg

The coven agent is intended for characters starting in the witch class, and mixes the witch class' features with ranged martial maneuvers, hand crossbow prowess and a few primarily social and "spy-like" advantages. The PrC came into being as part of an attempt to bring certain full caster classes closer to Tier 3, making them acceptable in a mostly T3 game where spells above 6th level are banned. The coven agent was first created under another name for a specific PC in a specific setting, but this more generic version is intended to be usable in any fantasy game which allows PCs of the witch class, or would do so if it wasn't a full caster. I hope the name and the class features make the intended flavor obvious.

In short, the coven agent's ten levels remove five levels of full caster spells/day progression, two hexes and the favored class bonus from the witch class, while retaining its caster level, save progression, the power of its hexes, and the familiar's progression. The lost elements are replaced with a limited maneuver progression (same as the mage hunter (http://www.d20pfsrd.com/path-of-war/prestige-classes/mage-hunter) PrC) in three disciplines, 4 + Int skill ranks/level, hand crossbow and light armor proficiency, a limited full-round "strike + hex" signature combo, and three crossbow-related bonus combat feats and a few minor related bonuses. The PrC also grants a special lasting hex that can be applied to a very limited number of target creatures/day, providing social/rogue-ish skill bonuses when interacting with the targets, and later also an 1/day scrying spell-like ability.

In many ways, the coven agent is intended to function like an archetype rather than a PrC, with the most important differences being that it may replace anywhere from one to ten witch levels between approximately 4th and 18th character level, and that it's fully compatible with any witch archetype that gains hexes and arcane casting. This means that a DM (and player) can more easily adjust how many levels of full casting progression a PC gets, and also which levels that grant full casting progression. And unlike any existing published PrC (to my knowledge), the coven agent retains both full CL and the witch's hex effectiveness (and familiar) progression in order to keep these vital class features viable rather than wasted in higher levels, despite losing the witch's access to higher level spells.


http://res.cloudinary.com/upho/image/upload/v1424145348/coven_agent_class_details_wdqil6.png

No requirements except perhaps for the purpose of regulating earliest entry level are strictly needed, as the coven agent's class features are rather useless for a PC starting in a class other than the witch, and the PrC is intended to be a less powerful alternative to taking all levels in the witch class. However, it has been designed with an approximate entry between 4th and 8th level in mind, and may benefit from having specific more flavor-related requirements depending on the setting, story and PC concerned. Below are the requirements used in my campaign where the PrC was first introduced:


Feat: Point-Blank Shot.*
Skills: Knowledge (Martial) 2 ranks, Spellcraft 2 ranks, and Use Magic Device 2 ranks.
Spells: Ability to cast 3rd level arcane spells.
Special: Hex class feature.
Special: The character must have the coven hex and be a member of a coven.*

*In my game, all characters gain Point-Blank Shot as a bonus feat at 1st level (along with a few other basic combat feats). I recommend keeping the coven hex requirement for PCs only if the feat is useful on its own in the game (such as in case the party contains more than one witch) and the rules for a coven are changed to not having to include at least one hag and to not provide overly powerful spells, and/or the feat is given as a free bonus feat when the witch character joins an organisation with a suitably witch "coven-ish" flavor (which was the case in my campaign). In other cases, this requirement can be safely ignored without having to change anything except the name of the PrC and the name of one of its class features.

The coven agent has the same class skills as the witch, plus: Bluff (Cha), Diplomacy (Cha), Knowledge (Martial) (Int), Perception (Wis), Sense Motive (Wis), and Stealth (Dex).

Skill Ranks per Level: 4 + Int modifier.




Level
BAB

Special
Known
Readied
Stances



1

+0
Agent witchcraft, Coven crossbow disciplines, Hexbolt

3

2

1



2

+1
Crossbow slinger feat

4

3

1



3

+2
Hex

4

3

1



4

+3
Infiltration hex 1/day

5

3

1



5

+3
Crossbow slinger feat

5

4

2



6

+4
Hex, Infiltration hex 2/day

6

4

2



7

+5
Scrying

6

4

2



8

+6
Crossbow slinger feat, Infiltration hex 3/day

7

5

2



9

+6
Hex

7

5

3



10

+7
Hexbolt mastery, Infiltration hex 4/day

8

5

3



Hit Die: d6

Weapon and Armor Proficiency
A coven agent is proficient with the hand crossbow and light armor. She can cast witch spells while wearing light armor without incurring the normal arcane spell failure chance. She gains no other weapon or armor proficiencies.

Agent Witchcraft
At every even-numbered level, a coven agent gains new spells per day and patron spells as if she had also gained a level in the witch class, and at 3rd, 6th and 9th level, she also learns a new hex. She treats a level gained in the coven agent prestige class as a level gained in the witch class when determining class bonuses to saving throws, caster level, when she may retrain spells, the effects of her hexes, the abilities of her witch's familiar, and the level at which she can select major or grand hexes.

Coven Crossbow Disciplines
At 1st level, a coven agent learns three maneuvers from the Solar Wind, Steel Serpent, or Veiled Moon disciplines, and at every even-numbered level thereafter, she learns an additional maneuver from one of these disciplines. She treats the hand crossbow as a discipline weapon for her coven agent disciplines, and can use it for ranged strikes which normally requires a thrown weapon, but must meet any other prerequisites of a maneuver to learn and use it. A coven agent adds her coven agent levels to her initiator level to determine her total initiator level and her highest-level maneuvers known. At 4th, 6th, 8th and 10th levels, she may also exchange a known maneuver for a different maneuver that she qualifies for, and the new maneuver may be of a higher level than the one it replaces. At 1st, 5th and 9th level, a coven agent also learns a martial stance from one of the coven crossbow disciplines. She must meet the stance's prerequisites to learn it. A coven agent uses her witch spellcasting ability modifier as her initiation modifier, determining the saving throw DC of her maneuvers, and she gains a bonus equal to half that modifier to attack rolls when making a ranged strike.

A coven agent readies her maneuvers by spending 10 minutes with her eyes closed, imagining her foes hit by her strikes while cackling softly and caressing her crossbow in gleeful anticipation. At 1st level, the coven agent may ready two of her known maneuvers, and at 2nd, 5th and 8th, she may ready an additional maneuver. Whenever a creature within 60 feet of the coven agent is reduced to 0 Hit Points or less while affected by one of her hexes, or a hex of another member of her coven, she recovers a number of expended maneuvers equal to her initiation modifier (minimum 2). She may also recover one expended maneuver by taking a standard action.

Hexbolt (Su)
A coven agent is able to enhance her hexes and strikes by combining them. She uses the pain and distraction her crossbow bolts causes to make her foes less resistant to her hexes, simultaneously focusing the magic of her hexes to help her bolts pierce her foesí defenses. At 1st level, as a full-round action, she can initiate a standard action ranged strike with a hand crossbow and also use a hex against the same target. The hex must normally require a standard action or less to use, and have a range of at least 30 feet. Her hex gains the range of the strike she uses, and forces saving throws and takes effect as normal if her strike hits (before or after the damage and other effects of the strike are resolved, her choice). Hexbolt only applies to one attack and one target of the strike, chosen by the coven agent before she initiates the strike.

When the coven agent uses hexbolt, she treats her caster level for witch spells as her base attack bonus. If the target is within the range her hex otherwise would have, her hexbolt attack also ignores 2 points of the targetís armor bonus to AC (if any) and any saving throws triggered by the strike and hex gains a +1 bonus to its DC.

At 5th level, the hex the coven agent uses with hexbolt may affect the normal number of creatures within its normal range, regardless of whether her hexbolt strike hits or misses. The hex does not gain the hexboltís bonus to DC if she misses the target, and the hex has no effect on a missed target outside of the normal range of the hex.

At 9th level, whenever the coven agent uses hexbolt with a strike which includes multiple attacks against one target, she gains the benefits of hexbolt on every attack and can apply the hex to any single hit. She also gains the benefits against all creatures that would normally be affected by both the hex and the strike she uses. In addition, her hexbolt attacks ignore 4 points of the targetís armor bonus to AC when it is within the normal range of her hex (instead of 2), and any saving throws triggered gains a +2 bonus to DC (instead of +1).

Crossbow Slinger
A coven agent is remarkably quick and deadly with a hand crossbow, able to take advantage of the small weaponís unique features in ways few others are. At 2nd level, she gains the Rapid Reload (hand crossbow) feat as a bonus feat. If she already has Rapid Reload, she can instead choose one of the alternative bonus feats listed below. If she has the Witch Knife feat, she can use a magic hand crossbow with the feat in place of a dagger.

At 5th level, the coven agent gains Deadly Aim as a bonus feat. When she uses the feat with her hexbolt ability and a ranged strike while her target is within the normal range of her hex, she can ignore the penalty to attack rolls the feat imposes. If she already has Deadly Aim, she can instead choose one of the alternative bonus feats listed below.

At 8th level, she gains the Quick Draw feat as a bonus feat. If she already has Quick Draw, she can instead choose one of the alternative bonus feats listed below. In addition, for the purposes of hiding and drawing a single magic hand crossbow on her body, she is treated as having the Sleight of Hand skill as a class skill and as having a number of ranks in the skill equal to her witch caster level. She can choose to suppress the magic aura of such a hidden hand crossbow, and may draw it as part of a full-round action taken to use the crossbow with her hexbolt ability.

Alternative bonus feats: Clustered Shots, Precise Shot, Rapid Shot, Reckless Aim, Weapon Focus (hand crossbow).

A coven agent does not have to meet the prerequisites of a bonus feat granted by her crossbow slinger class feature, but she does not gain the benefits of a chosen feat unless or until she meets all of its prerequisites, as normal.


http://res.cloudinary.com/upho/image/upload/v1424243911/balestrino_carved_framed_fedeao.jpg
The compact but very powerful balestrino (http://www.todsstuff.co.uk/crossbows/balestrino-crossbows.htm) often serves as a coven agent's primary weapon.

Infiltration Hex (Su)
By merely observing a creature, a coven agent can apply a special hex which gives her a small measure of control of the creatureís senses, which for example allows her to more easily keep her presence hidden from the creature, and to appear more charming and trustworthy in her dealings with it. The coven agent treats this ability as a witch hex and may augment it as such, except the number of creatures simultaneously affected by her infiltration hex may never exceed the number of daily uses listed here, and each attempt to apply the hex on a single creature always expends a daily use.

At 4th level, once per day as a full-round action, the coven agent can use infiltration hex against a creature she can see within 30 feet of her, provided she is either hidden from it or it does not have a hostile attitude towards her. If the subject fails a Will saving throw, the coven agent gains a bonus equal to her initiation modifier on skill checks opposed by the subject, and on Charisma ability checks and Diplomacy and Intimidate skill checks to affect the subject. Each time the coven agent fails an affected check, the subject is allowed a new save against the infiltration hex. The hex otherwise remains until the coven agent uses infiltration hex against another creature, or until she chooses to end it as a free action.

A subject that succeeds on its saving throw is instead only affected for 1 round, and it gains a cumulative +2 bonus on any later saving throws against the coven agentís infiltration hex for the next 24 hours. If she is hidden from the subject, she must also immediately make a successful Stealth skill check opposed by the subject to remain hidden. If she is visible she must instead immediately make a successful opposed Bluff skill check, or the subject will notice she is attempting to manipulate it with magic (but not how), resulting in its attitude towards her worsening by two categories.

Infiltration hex creates tiny subtle glamers very close to the subject, making it difficult to detect, especially as the subject is normally not aware of being affected by the hex. Only a creature which uses a detect magic spell or ability to specifically look for a hex or a curse on the subject at the moment the coven agent makes an affected skill check will register a very faint and undefinable magic aura, and only if there is no other magic aura present on the subject. To find out the effects of infiltration hex (but not who applied it), a creature detecting the aura also needs to succeed on a Knowledge (arcana) skill check (DC equal to the DC to resist the coven agentís infiltration hex + her coven agent level). The hex provides no benefits if the subject is aware of being affected, knows about its effects and suspects or knows that it originates from the coven agent, and the coven agent will immediately know if the hex provides no bonuses when making an affected skill check. In addition, if she makes a skill check affected by her infiltration hex and the subject is also affected by a true seeing spell or ability, the associated skill check DC increases by +4, or the subjectís opposed check result gains a +4 bonus (the infiltration hex does not provide the coven agent with any knowledge of whether the subject is gaining these bonuses). In all other respects, infiltration hex functions as any other supernatural (Su) ability and does not generally interact with spells.

The coven agent gains one additional use per day of infiltration hex at 6th, 8th and 10th level. These additional uses means she can choose to keep a previously applied infiltration hex in effect while she uses the ability again against a second subject, for up to four simultaneously affected subjects at 10th level.

Scrying (Sp)
A coven agent of 7th level may attempt to magically spy on each creature affected by her infiltration hex once per day. This is a spell-like ability with a caster level equal to the coven agent's caster level for her witch spells, and functions as the scrying spell with the exceptions detailed here. For the purpose of determining a subjectís saving throw modifiers, the coven agent is treated as having a part of the subjectís body. The coven agent may see and hear a subject that fails its saving throw by closing her eyes, or by transmitting the sound and image to a crystal ball or a clear reflecting surface she touches, enabling all creatures within 10 feet to observe the subject.

This ability immediately ends if the subject successfully saves against the coven agent's infiltration hex, or if the subject or any creature which can be seen or heard via the spell detects the infiltration hex. The infiltration hex is affected by the coven agentís scrying being detected, and she gains a bonus equal to her initiation modifier on any opposed caster level checks to avoid revealing any information, regardless of whether the creature opposing the roll is affected by the hex or not.

Hexbolt Mastery
At 10th level, a coven agent can use her hexbolt ability with ranged full attacks or full-round action ranged strikes, and she gains a bonus equal to half her initiation modifier to all attack and damage rolls with a hand crossbow. This replaces the attack bonus granted by the coven crossbow disciple feature. (NB: Hexbolt mastery enables the coven agent to ignore the attack penalties of Deadly Aim when using hexbolt with full-round ranged strikes, but not with any other attacks as it does not alter the limitations of the 5th level benefit of the crossbow sniper feature in any way.)


My main concern is that the coven agent perhaps gains a bit too much martial prowess in comparison to what it looses in arcane casting power, at least during early/mid levels, and would appreciate any input you may have on this.

I'm certain the coven agent can be much improved with your help, and your learned input, thoughts and opinions are most welcome!

stack
2015-02-18, 08:00 AM
I think a hexcrafter magus could enter, but calling out witch casting for progression screws that up.

Cool concept.

upho
2015-02-22, 03:55 PM
I think a hexcrafter magus could enter, but calling out witch casting for progression screws that up.Yep. But maybe they should be able to enter and sacrifice less/nothing of their casting progression, if the PrC could otherwise be tweaked enough to make it worthwhile for a hexcrafter. I haven't really considered it, since originally, the perhaps most important objective of the PrC was to offer a flavorful and interesting way to tone down the power of the witch's full casting. Do you think it could be a good/interesting concept and reasonably easily implemented, mechanically?


Cool concept.Thanks! In the party I currently GM for, the covent agent has so far been very good at putting the features of the PrC to good use and her player seems to be enjoying the flavor immensely, but I guess that's also because the related witch coven also has a shadowy "secret society" kind of flavor and role in the story and setting which complements the PrC well.

Thanks for your feedback!