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Fralex
2015-10-19, 08:26 PM
ARCHIVIST

Archivists are the theological scholars and occult investigators of many Gothic horror tales. When dark forces threaten ordinary people, these keepers of lost and ancient divine lore can be their best hope to combat it.

An archivist, like a cleric, relies on divine powers to perform miracles, but their highly analytical and systematic approach of seeking out, studying, and meticulously cataloging these miracles puts them more in line with a wizard's mindset than a priest's. Some religious spellcasters take offense at their more results-oriented pursuit of sacred rites, feeling that archivists are only in it for the power, while others acknowledge that in their own way archivists are incredibly devoted and dedicated to the faith and appreciate the tireless work they put into studying and preserving it.

Regardless, the gods appear not to mind granting them access to clerical magic like their other divine agents. Some of the more accomplished archivists even manage to incorporate divine lore and power from other faiths, though this can require some tricky negotiation and a lot of careful study.

The archivist class uses the wizard class as a base. The differences between archivist and wizard are noted here:

Proficiencies
Armor: Light and medium armor
Weapons: All simple weapons

Equipment
You start with the following equipment, in addition to the equipment granted by your background:

(a) a mace or (b) a dagger
(a) a quarterstaff or (b) a light crossbow and 20 bolts
(a) leather armor or (b) a chain shirt
(a) a component pouch or (b) a holy symbol
(a) a scholarís pack or (b) a priestís pack and book of lore
A spellbook

Spellcasting
The archivist spell list is identical to the cleric spell list, but like a wizard you can copy additional spells into your spellbook (usually referred to by archivists as a prayerbook) off of spell scrolls and the like. As normal, you add two new spells to your spellbook each time you gain a new level in this class.

Like a cleric, you can make a pint of holy water through an hour-long ritual on mundane water that expends 25 gp-worth of powdered silver and a 1st-level spell slot.

Spellcasting Focus
You use a holy symbol instead of an arcane focus for spellcasting. If you choose an emblem holy symbol, you may have it emblazoned on your spellbook instead of a shield.

Theology Savant
Starting at 2nd level, you become more adept at comprehending divine magic procedures, and you can work with a willing spellcaster to learn and record additional archivist spells in your spellbook even without having them written out as on a spell scroll or prayerbook. The spell you wish to learn from the other person must, as usual, be a cleric spell of a level for which you have spell slots, and the process of recording it in written form takes the same amount of gold and time copying it off a scroll would take. The additional process of learning and familiarizing yourself with the teacherís spell so that you may put it into written form requires you to spend at least as many days of downtime as the spellís level, and the spellcaster demonstrating it to you will likely request compensation for their time.

At the DMís discretion you may be permitted to add non-clerical divine spells, such as those cast by druids, rangers, and paladins, to your spellbook with either the described procedure or copying it off a spell scroll or other written format. Keep in mind that convincing non-clerics to explain their special rites to an outsider is no easy task, and the odds of them keeping any written documentation of their magic that is detailed enough for you to just copy into your spellbook yourself are fairly low.

Dark Knowledge
You have made a study of all manner of supernatural horrors and how best to combat them, and every so often youíll be able to focus well enough to give your allies warnings and advice in the heat of battle that greatly improve their effectiveness. At 2nd level as a bonus action when fighting an unnatural or unholy enemy, you may attempt to recall vital lore and tactics regarding that specific kind of foe. Make an Intelligence check using a skill appropriate to the foe youíre fighting, with a base DC of 15 (particularly well-known or obscure monsters might have a lower or higher DC). On a success, in addition to gaining some info on the creature you can roll a d4 and add it to your attack rolls and saving throws against it and all identical creatures you can see for the next minute. When an ally you can see within 60 feet that can hear you makes an attack roll or saving throw against one of those creatures, you may use your reaction to add the d4 to their roll, too.

You can use this ability twice (failed Intelligence checks donít count towards the limit). When you take a short or long rest, you regain all expended uses. Both the number of uses and the size of your Dark Knowledge die increase when you reach 7th level (3/rest, d6) and again at 14th level (4/rest, d8).

Dark Knowledge: MonstersArchivists specialize in combating supernatural threatsó the "unnatural or unholy," as the Dark Knowledge feature puts it. Which monsters qualify is left open to DM discretion, but typically this would be a collection of creatures including fiends, undead, aberrations, certain kinds of monstrosities like lycanthropes, and wielders of dark magic like warlocks and cultists. This might also include oozes, fey, and elementals. If the adventure will not feature any of these creatures prominently, the DM is free to adjust this to more appropriate monsters. Maybe in some settings, archivists are frequently called to get rid of dragons, or constructs. An evil archivist would likely be able to use Dark Knowledge on celestials rather than fiends.

Also at DMís discretion, your proficiency in various Intelligence-based skills will apply to the Intelligence check you make to use the Dark Knowledge ability, based on the kind of enemy. As a general rule of thumb, Arcana can apply to creatures from other planes of existence and arcane spellcasters, Religion to blasphemous beings like undead and fiends as well as divine magic users, and History to any monster there would be a lot of stories and legends about or one not seen in a very long time (various monstrosities and aberrations are a good fit here). In rare cases, a monster knowledge check might draw on Nature or Investigation.


Lore Mastery
At 6th level, you acquire additional skills and knowledge. You gain proficiency in two more skills from this classís proficiency list, and learn two additional languages. Then, pick two skills you are proficient in. Your proficiency bonus is doubled for any ability check you make that uses those skills.

Finally, as an action you can make an Intelligence check on a creature to which your Dark Knowledge would apply. Whether you succeed or fail you recall some basic facts about it, but if you pass the check you also know one of the following things about it (you know ahead of time if any of them donít apply to the monster):


Its highest and lowest ability score
Its resistances and immunities, both to damage, conditions, and things like the Magic Resistance trait
Its vulnerabilities and weaknesses, both to damage and things like the Sunlight Sensitivity trait
Whether its hit point maximum is less than yours, less than twice yours, less than four times yours, or more than four times yours
The name of one particularly powerful spell it can cast or action it can take

Legend Seeker
At 10th level, you add the legend lore spell to your spellbook, and it counts as an archivist spell for you.

Additionally, when you or an ally rolls for damage on a creature you are using your Dark Knowledge ability on, you may use your reaction to direct them at a vital spot, adding your Dark Knowledge die to the damage it takes. This only works for damage rolls that weren't the result of failed saving throws.

Dread Secret
At 14th level, you are so experienced with combating dark horrors that you can disorient them simply by speaking aloud a sacred incantation that is dreadful for them to hear. When a creature you are using your Dark Knowledge on makes an attack roll or saving throw, you may use your reaction to roll your Dark Knowledge die and subtract the result from its roll. The target must be able to hear you for this to work.

You can put these words into written form as a scroll of protection against a creature type of your choice. The process takes four days of downtime, 300 gp in rare inks infused with holy water and special parchment, and expends one use of your Dark Knowledge ability, an expended use that is not regained until after the scroll is used (or until ten days go by, at which point the scroll crumbles to ash). You can also make a scroll of protection using the normal magic item creation rules instead, if you want.

Spell Mastery Caveat
At 18th level, you gain the ability to cast a 1st-level archivist spell and a 2nd-level archivist spell at will, just like a wizard. However, if you cast a spell that restores hit points without expending a spell slot, it instead grants the target an equivalent number of temporary hit points.

RazDelacroix
2015-10-19, 08:55 PM
So far, I love it! I might give a more in-depth look after I have dinner though. Unless someone else beats me to it. Anywho, a so-far faithful recreation of the Archivist!

Doof
2015-10-20, 04:52 AM
Dark Knowledge is really weird. Bonus action to activate, DC 15 base, twice per short or long rest... but failing the check doesn't expend the use? If he's going to be able to attempt it every round anyway, then the DC check feels like a pointless remnant of a system ported from 3.5.

Either make sense of the DC check by only allowing one check per enemy type per encounter (so once you fail your check against the goblin, you can't roll against the same creature again but you may still roll against the orc); or

Remove the roll altogether. It's going to be really annoying trying to hit DC 15 and just waste everybody's time. It's just too unreliable.

Also if the use per rest is going to increase from 2/rest, then make it restore only on long rest like Rage. 2/rest and restoring on short rest is fine like Wild Shape but 4/rest and restoring on short rest is too much.

Basically it's Bless the spell as a class feature. No need to make it needlessly complicated.

Fralex
2015-10-20, 08:41 AM
Dark Knowledge is really weird. Bonus action to activate, DC 15 base, twice per short or long rest... but failing the check doesn't expend the use? If he's going to be able to attempt it every round anyway, then the DC check feels like a pointless remnant of a system ported from 3.5.

Either make sense of the DC check by only allowing one check per enemy type per encounter (so once you fail your check against the goblin, you can't roll against the same creature again but you may still roll against the orc); or

Remove the roll altogether. It's going to be really annoying trying to hit DC 15 and just waste everybody's time. It's just too unreliable.

Also if the use per rest is going to increase from 2/rest, then make it restore only on long rest like Rage. 2/rest and restoring on short rest is fine like Wild Shape but 4/rest and restoring on short rest is too much.

Basically it's Bless the spell as a class feature. No need to make it needlessly complicated.

All good advice. If possible, I'd like to keep the skill check requirement, because that helps tie everything together. It makes knowledge skills an important part of the class in every pillar, makes things like books of lore about monsters very useful items if you want to get help on a check (you'll notice no matter what starting equipment package you select, you'll get a lorebook for free), and pretty much any other ability that helps with this kind of thing like a ranger's monster knowledge will become relevant here.

I am open to any suggestions on streamlining the resource management of Dark Knowledge. Modeling the effects after the monster ability Leadership was an obvious choice, but I admit when I got to limiting its daily uses I was a little uncertain how to handle it.

If it's going to have a chance of failure, I think I'll keep the "bonus action to use" part so the player still gets to do something interesting with their turn.

Reducing the DC, on the other hand, is a fine idea. It really should've been closer to DC 10; I was just following the book's advice. I don't know why it thinks the average person failing at something 50% of the time means it's "Easy." I mean, that seems like a textbook definition of "Moderate" difficulty. But I digress. How about I lower the base DC to 13? Or 12, perhaps? I don't want to go too low, or it'll be trivial at higher levels.

I guess being able to re-roll Intelligence checks does feel a little weird, but I guess I was thinking of it like an attack roll, or picturing a guy frantically flipping through a book, trying to find the page they want in the heat of battle. But I mean, without a book it's just a guy standing there, going "SEARCHING... BEEP BOOP," which is admittedly not the mental image I am looking for. So yeah. I can stand to add in something preventing rerolls on the same monster until you've rested.

Should I make it only restore on a long rest? I was basing the progression off a fighter's superiority dice, or a bard's inspiration dice with a more limited usage. Maybe a druid's Wild Shape is the best model for this, though. I don't have much (read: any) experience with higher-level play, so I don't know what is or isn't balanced by then.

PotatoGolem
2015-10-20, 09:53 AM
It seems fair to me. This is essentially a wizard ACF, and the second level wizard feature is often very strong. This needs to be strong to make up for what is, IMO, a weaker spell list. Also, the cleric spell list has more strong uses for a bonus action, so there's a real opportunity cost. Plus, the idea of the scholar frantically racking his brains in combat trying to remember what he read about liches seems appropriate and thematic.

Fralex
2015-10-20, 10:16 AM
It seems fair to me. This is essentially a wizard ACF, and the second level wizard feature is often very strong. This needs to be strong to make up for what is, IMO, a weaker spell list. Also, the cleric spell list has more strong uses for a bonus action, so there's a real opportunity cost. Plus, the idea of the scholar frantically racking his brains in combat trying to remember what he read about liches seems appropriate and thematic.

Also valid ways to look at this. Looks like some playtesting is in order here.

L Space
2015-10-20, 02:42 PM
I really like this class. I've always wished more systems had the occult investigator archetype (ŗ la Constantine, the Winchester's etc.) and this definitely fits the bill. The Dark Knowledge is nice, but I'm in the same boat where I'm not sure of the actual mechanics of it. I wonder if advantage would be cleaner/better or is that too powerful?

Since they use the wizard as a base, do they get the ability to cast spells as rituals? I'm assuming they do, but just seeking clarification as I feel that rituals are a necessary ability for the occult scholars type.

One thing that I'm hesitant about is the Spell Mastery Caveat in regards to healing spells. Even if it's just temporary hit points, I'd be worried that someone would take a couple minutes before a big fight just spamming that out to give a big boost.

Fralex
2015-10-20, 07:20 PM
I really like this class. I've always wished more systems had the occult investigator archetype (ŗ la Constantine, the Winchester's etc.) and this definitely fits the bill. The Dark Knowledge is nice, but I'm in the same boat where I'm not sure of the actual mechanics of it. I wonder if advantage would be cleaner/better or is that too powerful?

Since they use the wizard as a base, do they get the ability to cast spells as rituals? I'm assuming they do, but just seeking clarification as I feel that rituals are a necessary ability for the occult scholars type.

One thing that I'm hesitant about is the Spell Mastery Caveat in regards to healing spells. Even if it's just temporary hit points, I'd be worried that someone would take a couple minutes before a big fight just spamming that out to give a big boost.

I really like this!
<3 Yay!


Dark Knowledge is nice, but...
I do think that there might be a cleaner way to set up Dark Knowledge, but the Dark Knowledge Die mechanic is one of the aspects I'm fairly satisfied with. It's just a little bonus die you can give to people, like a bard or a Knight NPC. It's more the limitations of how often it can be used that I'm a little skeptical of.


Rituals?
They certainly can!


Spamming temp healing to give a big boost...
Well, the thing about THP is that you can't spam it. Whenever you receive them, you have to replace any you already have if you want the new ones. So at most, this allows the archivist to preemptively heal each party member once. If that still seems too good, I guess I could make it require concentration or only allow you to give the THP to one person at a time, but this seems OK to me...

L Space
2015-10-20, 08:09 PM
Well, the thing about THP is that you can't spam it. Whenever you receive them, you have to replace any you already have if you want the new ones. So at most, this allows the archivist to preemptively heal each party member once. If that still seems too good, I guess I could make it require concentration or only allow you to give the THP to one person at a time, but this seems OK to me...

Ah ok, I was AFB and forgot temporary hit-points didn't stack. I rescind my previous statement :smallsmile:.

Amnoriath
2015-10-21, 01:23 PM
What is this suppose to be exactly? Is it a class only partially done, a variant, or a subclass? Either way it has some issues that it needs before it can be any one.

Fralex
2015-10-21, 08:09 PM
What is this suppose to be exactly? Is it a class only partially done, a variant, or a subclass? Either way it has some issues that it needs before it can be any one.

It's explained in the description; this is a complete class that was created by modifying the wizard class. It's almost an arcane tradition like the other wizard subclasses, but there were a couple important aspects of the archivist class that required me to change parts of the wizard class beyond what a 2nd-level class archetype could do (ie, the spell list).

So I guess it's both a variant wizard and a wizard subclass, and any seemingly-missing information can be found in the wizard class description. At some point I might just put all that other stuff on here for the sake of convenience, but that's not essential for play.