PDA

View Full Version : D&D 3.x Other [3.x] Five Elements feat (PEACH please)



Ashtagon
2015-09-22, 02:24 AM
Please Evaluate And Criticise Honestly.

I need advice on how well-balanced this feat is. It is part of a wider project to create an oriental setting (and yes, I know about a certain book on that topic).

As part of this project, certain spells will be given metal or wood descriptors (no spell will have the void descriptor). This list is not yet formally written up, but should be reasonably obvious from the spell's name in most cases.

ELEMENTAL TRADITION

You are well-versed in your cultureís tradition of elemental spellcasting.

Prerequisite: Caster Level 1st.

Benefit: Choose any five of the following elements: Air, Earth, Fire, Water, Wood, Metal, Void. You gain the following three benefits:


You gain a +1 caster level bonus to any spell you cast that has one of the spell descriptors that correspond to your elemental traditionís elements.
If your choice of elements includes the Void element, you may apply the benefit of the Spell Penetration (+2 caster level for overcoming spell resistance) or the Spell Focus (+1 save DC) feat to any spell you cast that has one of the spell descriptors that correspond to your elemental traditionís elements.
Additionally, you are able to summon elementals that correspond to one of your chosen traditionís elements. See the summon monster spell for details.


Special: Your choice of elements may be limited by the campaign setting your GM has created. Check with your GM before choosing this feat.

Without this feat, you may not summon elementals.

Stratovarius
2015-09-22, 06:21 AM
The feat looks fine, being in a normal range for 3.5. The only thing I'd say is that the Void benefits seem a little bit better in some ways than the other ones, and certainly apply to a far larger number of spells.

Network
2015-09-22, 09:31 AM
Do you intent to make metal, wood and void elementals? Otherwise, metal and wood are a bit lackluster compared to the other elements.

Was this intended to give such an enormous boost in power to wu jen and shugenjas? The benefit of this feat will literally apply to (almost) all of their spells, after all. That's a lot of numeric bonuses for a single feat.

Ashtagon
2015-09-22, 10:23 AM
@all

bear in mind that is it not intended that the player should have a freeform choice of which five elements are available. This feat is intended to work with a GM-designed campaign, in which the GM will pre-select one (rarely, two or three) combinations of five elements that players can then choose from.

In the real world, you have the Chinese model (fire earth water metal wood) and the Indo-Japanese model (fire earth water air void). Additionally, an enterprising GM might be able to create something inspired by Aztec mythology's "five suns". In European mediaeval alchemy, sometimes metal was promoted as a fifth element, in recognition of the differing chemical properties of "metals" vs. "earths".

@Stratovarius

I agree, the void option is quite overpowered compared to the others. I' not quite sure what to put in its place. Perhaps split off the void benefits into a follow-up feat. Is there something else that could be given that won't unbalance things?

@Network

I do intend to create metal and wood elementals. There will not be any void elementals or void descriptor spells (the concept of having a creature for void contradicts the concept; it exists [or not] aside from the others).
----

Going through the SRD, I found the following spells that would gain these descriptors. I am certain that in Oriental Adventures there are plenty more thematically appropriate spells. I'm not entirely sure why these two are lacklustre compared to the others. Am I missing something really obvious here?

WOOD SPELL DESCRIPTOR

Animate plants, antiplant shell, barkskin, changestaff, command plants, commune with nature, control plants, diminish plants, horrid wilting, ironwood, liveoak, plant growth, repel wood, shillelagh, transmute metal to wood, transport via plants, tree shape, tree stride, warp wood, wood shape.

METAL SPELL DESCRIPTOR

Blade barrier, chill metal, heat metal, iron body, ironwood, keen edge, repel metal or stone, rusting grasp, shocking grasp, transmute metal to wood, wall of iron.

----

While it isn't specifically designed to boost wu jen and shugenja, I would be surprised if they don't choose it, as it is very appropriate thematically.

However, note that for shugenja, while a 20% of the feat synergises very well with their spell list, a 20% of it is utterly wasted due to their banned spell list. The shugenja in Complete Divine/Oriental Adventures is based on a four-element system, and should probably be re-worked if it is to be used in a campaign setting that involves five elements.

The wu jen uses the Chinese five-elements model, and can synergise very well with this feat. However, while the wu jen's spell list is directed towards elemental spells, their class features only provide bonuses for a single element, and they still need a fairly well rounded spell list that includes non-elemental spells.

Is this that much more powerful than, for example, a Conjurer taking Spell Focus (conjuration)? If so, what would bring it back down?

Zaydos
2015-09-22, 01:27 PM
Void is stronger than the others, but you seem to know that. I'd suggest making it just Spell Focus or Spell Penetration not the option between the two, that's one way to whittle it down. Also some Classical, i.e. Greek, models of the elements include Aether or the quintessential nature of things which is analogous to some Japanese descriptions of Void.

My question is about 3. Is this just that you can summon them at the normal levels for Summon Monster with Summon Monster? That's what I'm assuming and means 3 doesn't do anything until you add Wood/Metal Elementals.

Also OA Shugenja is built around a 4 Elements + Void system as that is what they use in Rokugo and they even have a Void PrC for Shugenja in OA.

Ashtagon
2015-09-22, 01:47 PM
Void is stronger than the others, but you seem to know that. I'd suggest making it just Spell Focus or Spell Penetration not the option between the two, that's one way to whittle it down. ...

Actually, is +1 caster level considered very powerful as a basic bonus? Re-reading the SRD, that's not something any feat grants. The only way to get that in core is through some cleric domains.



... Also some Classical, i.e. Greek, models of the elements include Aether or the quintessential nature of things which is analogous to some Japanese descriptions of Void.


This is yet another I designed the feat so that the GM can create whichever set of five elements work best for their particular campaign setting.


My question is about 3. Is this just that you can summon them at the normal levels for Summon Monster with Summon Monster? That's what I'm assuming and means 3 doesn't do anything until you add Wood/Metal Elementals.

The intention is that with this feat, you can summon elementals at their normal level of power. Without the feat, you cannot summon them at all. (That should really go under a "Normal:" header in the feat description I guess). And yes, I do need to write up stats for wood and metal elementals.


Also OA Shugenja is built around a 4 Elements + Void system as that is what they use in Rokugo and they even have a Void PrC for Shugenja in OA.

It's true that the OA/CD shugenja fluff is all about the (fire earth water air void) elemental model, but in terms of RAW, the shugenja itself has nothing to do with void as an element. As far as that shugenja is concerned, void is only supported through feats and prestige classes.

Zaydos
2015-09-22, 01:54 PM
Actually, is +1 caster level considered very powerful as a basic bonus? Re-reading the SRD, that's not something any feat grants. The only way to get that in core is through some cleric domains.

My only hesitation with Void is that it is either Spell Focus or Spell Penetration; personally I'd say +1 CL and Spell Focus in [Air/Earth/Fire/Water] descriptor spells would be appropriate as a feat. Actually is it intended as a one time choice or a new choice each time you cast a spell?




This is yet another I designed the feat so that the GM can create whichever set of five elements work best for their particular campaign setting.

The intention is that with this feat, you can summon elementals at their normal level of power. Without the feat, you cannot summon them at all. (That should really go under a "Normal:" header in the feat description I guess). And yes, I do need to write up stats for wood and metal elementals.

It really should. That's actually probably the biggest bonus to a lot of characters (elementals tend to be the best summonable beatsticks). Would this only be removing them from SM or SNA as well?


It's true that the OA/CD shugenja fluff is all about the (fire earth water air void) elemental model, but in terms of RAW, the shugenja itself has nothing to do with void as an element. As far as that shugenja is concerned, void is only supported through feats and prestige classes.

Well if you go with the Chinese system it really certainly does. I have always wanted to see Wood spells for Shugenja.

Network
2015-09-22, 07:04 PM
@Network

I do intend to create metal and wood elementals. There will not be any void elementals or void descriptor spells (the concept of having a creature for void contradicts the concept; it exists [or not] aside from the others).
Thing is, they already exist. Wizards published official Void subtype creatures in a web enhancement. The Rokugan campaign setting adds [Void] spells and a few more Void subtype creatures (though the WotC and Rokugan Void subtypes have a different set of traits).

Going through the SRD, I found the following spells that would gain these descriptors. I am certain that in Oriental Adventures there are plenty more thematically appropriate spells. I'm not entirely sure why these two are lacklustre compared to the others. Am I missing something really obvious here?
Lack of metal or wood elementals, obviously.


While it isn't specifically designed to boost wu jen and shugenja, I would be surprised if they don't choose it, as it is very appropriate thematically.

However, note that for shugenja, while a 20% of the feat synergises very well with their spell list, a 20% of it is utterly wasted due to their banned spell list. The shugenja in Complete Divine/Oriental Adventures is based on a four-element system, and should probably be re-worked if it is to be used in a campaign setting that involves five elements.
Correction: The shugenja is based on a five-elements system, but the fifth element (Void) was cut from Oriental Adventures. It was included in the Rokugan campaign books.

Rokugan also introduces a feat that lets shugenjas learn spells from their banned element, so that part is a non-issue.

Ashtagon
2015-09-23, 08:46 AM
I took time to re-read the Rokugan Campaign Setting (RCS) shugenja. The base class itself is purely a four-element caster. The fire vs. water and earth vs. air oppositional element system (something that only exists in that pattern in European philosophies) reinforces that. The base class includes no rules-based mention of void.

Support for void exists in the OA/CD prestige class void disciple, in the RCS inkyo base class, and in a number of feats found in RCS. RCS includes a small list of spells that are exclusive to the void disciple class, although with a feat expenditure, a shugenja can also access them (that feat doesn't really synergise well for such a character, who should logically want to enter the void discipline PrC later on)..

I can't find any creatures published by WotC with the void subtype, either inn or out of a web enhancement. I'd be delighted if you could point me to your source. The void ooze in Planar Handbook is a negative energy creature rather than a genuinely void element creature (void is neither entropy nor negative energy).

AD&D 2e had support for "vacuum elementals", but these were properly quasi-elementals mixing air and negative energy, rather than a full element in their own right. RCS has the void sybtype for some creatures. It doesn't appear to have void elementals though.

But the bottom line is, the RAW shugenja (in any source book) is a four-element class, although support exists to add void to them (to a varying extent) in CD and RCS. In wu jen is a five-element class in the Chinese elemental model.


Lack of metal or wood elementals, obviously.

Yes, I stated this quite clearly in my second post on this thread. Thanks for reminding me.

Network
2015-09-23, 09:16 AM
Support for void exists in the OA/CD prestige class void disciple, in the RCS inkyo base class, and in a number of feats found in RCS. RCS includes a small list of spells that are exclusive to the void disciple class, although with a feat expenditure, a shugenja can also access them (that feat doesn't really synergise well for such a character, who should logically want to enter the void discipline PrC later on)..
The Ishiken-Do feat and the Void Disciple prestige class are two ways to learn Void magic, but I don't see much incentive (mechanical or fluff-wise) to take both. If you have Ishiken-Do, you will want to take a prestige class with a full caster progression (high-level Void spells are just too awesome to miss). If you don't have Ishiken-Do (like most shugenjas), Void Disciple becomes more interesting, since access to Void spells is better than one or two lost caster levels.

I can't find any creatures published by WotC with the void subtype, either inn or out of a web enhancement. I'd be delighted if you could point me to your source. The void ooze in Planar Handbook is a negative energy creature rather than a genuinely void element creature (void is neither entropy nor negative energy).

AD&D 2e had support for "vacuum elementals", but these were properly quasi-elementals mixing air and negative energy, rather than a full element in their own right. RCS has the void sybtype for some creatures. It doesn't appear to have void elementals though.
You should find a few here (https://www.google.ca/?gws_rd=ssl#q=void+walker+D%26D), along with a couple more in Creatures of Rokugan and one in Secrets of the Phoenix.

Void elementals are hinted to exist in Rokugan (it does mentions void elemental spirits, though they are rare), but I didn't find proper stats for them.