View Full Version : Contest Base Class Challenge XXX Voting Thread

2015-11-04, 08:56 PM
Welcome to the voting thread for Base Class Challenge XXX, A Study in Beige (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?441142-Base-Class-Contest-XXX-A-Study-in-Beige)! Voting will consist of each voter giving a first, second, and third place vote for three separate base classes. Anyone can vote, and in fact, entrants must vote to qualify for victory.

A first place vote is worth three points, a second place vote is worth two points, and a third place vote is worth one point. You may not vote for your own class.

You are encouraged to include reason with your votes, though this is not absolutely required.

The class that ends up with the most points wins the challenge contest. Voting starts now and will continue until 23:59 (Central Standard Time USA/Canada; GMT-6) on November 18th.

Base Class
Total Points

Invention Classes (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showsinglepost.php?p=19805940&postcount=3) (Augmentation (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showsinglepost.php?p=19805944&postcount=4), Demolition and Dynamics (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showsinglepost.php?p=19805947&postcount=5), Mesmerism and Repulsion (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showsinglepost.php?p=19805950&postcount=6), Robotics and Hybrid Inventions (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showsinglepost.php?p=19805952&postcount=7), Feats (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showsinglepost.php?p=19805954&postcount=8))

Soul of Sight (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showsinglepost.php?p=19822734&postcount=9)

Wandering Mind (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showsinglepost.php?p=19860862&postcount=11)

Bailitheoir (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showsinglepost.php?p=20012179&postcount=14)
Lanth Sor

Coalescant (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showsinglepost.php?p=20024288&postcount=15)

Unfortunately, the tattler (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showsinglepost.php?p=19855208&postcount=10) and delver (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showsinglepost.php?p=19916483&postcount=12) (Similitudes and Greater Secret Proficiencies (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showsinglepost.php?p=19918236&postcount=13)) are ineligible for voting.

2015-11-05, 04:00 AM
1st- The Inventions *round of applause*. This is HUGE. But it is also extremely interesting and relatively easy to manage. Not quite finished but all that remains are just a few non essential details and it is so HUGE I can't blame you for not being 100% done.

2nd- Coalescent. It's a good idea both story and mechanics wise. However, it requires a large amount of simple bookkeeping and is complex enough that, without playing one 1st level up, I don't think I'd be able to fully manage one or gauge it's relative power.

3rd- Bailitheoir. Once more great concept. But, it is very vague and leaves alot of debate over what is or isn't doable. and just saying the DM decides won't fix that because DMs tend to fix those when they come up and if the player was expecting something that the DM nixed it's not so much fun. Would like to see this with good definitions of the rules.

And because it's the only one left I can talk about.

Runner-up- Soul of Sight. I will admit to not knowing exactly how maneuvers work but...it would seem as though you are making a gish...with the worst BAB and poor Fort and Ref and (little confused by that you get to pick bit) arcane? casting meaning spell failure but prof. with medium armor. Then it also looks like you need to cast spells in combat to use the most out of your maneuvers...but those are only divinations which notoriously DON'T give combat bonuses (except true strike but the spells in question need to target an enemy to be useful for the precision damage). And to top it off it looks like you are trying to get your poorly suited gish into the thick of it to provoke attacks and to take damage for your allies...and have a D8 HD to do so.
If this were to be cleaned up(logically and grammatically) then based more like a cleric than a wizard(BAB, saves, divine casting, heavy armor) I might be able to get a better understanding of where you were going with this.

2015-11-05, 10:31 AM
I'm going off of which I would be most likely to use in a game.
Firat is the coalecent this looks simply fantastic.
Second is the monstrous pile of amazing information Jormengand wrote.
Thirdly is the wandering mind, kinda makes me want to play someone sneaky, a little oit of character for me.

2015-11-05, 01:17 PM
1st: Inventions. There's just so much stuff here, it could easily be 2-4 entries on it's own. Great subsystem, modular mix-and-match mechanics that aren't hard to wrap your head around, couple of cool prestige options, and a lot of potential for different characters. A hard-earned and deserved first place.

2nd: The Coalescant. A solid class, not a lot to say about it. Has a variety of abilities and interesting fluff.

3rd: The Wandering Mind. I have a soft spot for "Big brother is watching" type of characters, and this one is pretty nice. The only reason it's not second is it doesn't have a whole lot of options in combat.

2015-11-05, 02:49 PM
(little confused by that you get to pick bit) arcane.

You choose at first level between arcane, divine and psionic(in the third case you have spells who are psionic which is an extremely odd combination of characteristics) and then you casting is of the corresponding type.

Then it also looks like you need to cast spells in combat to use the most out of your maneuvers
There is only one stance(which is some kind of precision damage bonus) that have an effect when you cast a spell.
All the rest is independent of spells.
This stance was intended for a scry and kill attack you cast object localization to find your opponent and use some kind of teleportation(probably thanks to an ally or a magic item) and you get a good extra damage bonus on the first full round attacks you make at your opponent just after the teleportation.
Also he is extremely supportive(Nobody can escape being seen by him at high level(You know the WOTC spell "zone of visibility") and you also can scry people using defenses for protecting themselves from scrying.
Also it is not intended for walking inside a dungeon crawl.(It is rather made for knowing where is the treasure and discovering everything inside the treasure room(like the traps) and managing for using a teleportation item for making the rogue of the group get at the treasure directly and an infinite number of things of this kind)(Also you know there is homebrews of various divination spells around and so if you pick up the divination spell who made your opponents see their own death(over multiple targets) you can use it at the beginning of a fight to attack opponents and trigger your stance bonus)

2015-11-05, 03:05 PM
Votes tallied.

2015-11-05, 03:20 PM
3:Wandering Mind.

Lanth Sor
2015-11-05, 06:31 PM
1. Inventor(invention system is both balanced and very usable, not my view point but great job its a hard balance for tech)
2. Coalescant(Delicious, Might I suggest a Myhos Class version)
3. Mind that found things because it couldn't sit still.(because i cant vote for myself, drat i gave the other guy a point.)

Soul Sight is a great idea it just seems to be missing something, otherwise it would have been 3rd.

2015-11-06, 02:13 AM
1. Inventor. The mechanics (no pun intended) are really well done and the fluff strikes a particular cord with me.
2. Coalescent. The class is well done and the fluff is interesting.
3. Wandering Mind. There been more than one time in my life where i felt like there was a whole new world around me because my brain went haywire.

2015-11-06, 03:19 AM
Votes tallied.

2015-11-07, 03:19 AM
1. Bailitheoir.

Fluff: Oh boy, memory magic. I love the stuff. I've built freeform systems based around it. I've written short stories about it. Memory magic is cool, it's smart, it's sexy. Descartes's reality manipulation.

In this case, memory magic comes in the form of a fixed spellthief. Why steal a spell when you can steal spellcasting?

Mechanics: The Balrog powers up spellthief by throwing in a dose of illithid savant. A rather heavy dose. This is what Urpriest once called TO-Complete: It has access to enough abilities to grant itself access to every other ability. So balance-wise, it belongs in a party of full casters.

I like exacting language in mechanical descriptions and this doesn't hit all the beats I'd like. For instance, when you touch an enemy, do you get a list of all of their abilities for every memory level you can access? Do you just try to steal something and then the game goes "404 ability not found?" or worse - "Ability either not found or was gained 4+ levels ago and we won't tell you which"? What about class features that depend on other ones? Can I steal just rage? Just mighty rage? If I steal spells, can I cast them at the owner's caster level? Is he missing the slots when the memories return? Can you voluntarily not steal all spells? Why can you steal flaws, especially when passive abilities are explicitly off limits? Can I prepare spells next day? Even divine ones? Doesn't one god or another find this in poor taste? If I'm Wiz 1, are my class features minor (last level), common (last 3 levels), or major (understanding of arcane)?

These are hard issues, since the class attempts to sum up, in a few paragraphs, how it interacts with every single subsystem in the game. We got lots! Spells (2+ kinds), skills, feats, psionics, truenaming, sublime way, shadow magic, binding, invoking, whole hosts of racial traits... It's a hard issue to tackle even before you get to inventions (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showsinglepost.php?p=19805940&postcount=3), contracts (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?362608), or even other memory mages.

And at the same time, the class ability isn't actually very good in a fight. Why spend multiple actions disabling an enemy when you can spend one to kill them? It gets to the point where it begins to feel like the main purpose of the class is cheese - Steal 20th level casting from one guy, borrow a racial trait from a party member to qualify for a prestige class, go to town - rather than the intended combat-oriented, trick-slinging bad guy-confusing scoundrel.

I also think the class should get trapfinding, just for ease of party slotting, unless I'm seriously misreading what role it was intended to play. I've given trapfinding to really unstealthy classes (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=302593) before because of this. I tend to only think of it at the end as my group basically never uses traps. Perhaps yours is similar.

Overall: Great flavor, but really uneven mechanical execution. I give The Balrog the third-highest honor I can give: I hope to remake it myself at some point. :smalltongue:

2. The Wandering Mind

Boy, am I glad to see I'm not the only one to forget classes should present combat options! I like how this works, and I don't think it's too pushed to staple it to a limited-power psywar manifesting track. Basically it feels like a feat track for a telepath, minus most of the telepath. Still: It's a very cool feat track. And to its credit, unlike the Coalescant, the Wandering Mind does give actions at all.

What else is there to say? The wandering mind looks to me like a solid tier 4 class. My largest objection is, and here's a common theme for me, lack of meaningful build decisions. The balrog can basically design its own class based on what memories it keeps. The Wandering Mind gains every buff at a set point. I think the class could be improved with very little effort by making these into buffets: "At third level and every two levels thereafter, a wandering mind can add one upgrade to its eyes..." At least that way I know it's my fault when see invisibility comes on several levels after it would have been useful. Maybe some could have level limits/prerequisites (true seeing requires see invis and minimum level 13 or whatever). This allows you to add more abilities than there are slots, if you choose (revealer gaining anticipate teleportation, for instance).

3. The Inventor

(Jorm was the shoo-in victor from 24 hours into the contest, of course - mentioning the inventor at all seems somewhat of a necessity, although the position is perhaps less relevant.)

The inventor does a lot of things right. It does a lot of things wrong. It just plain does more things than the other contestants... combined. The inventor is over 23,000 words. That's over 4 times longer than the next longest, and far more of it is necessary to understanding the mechanics of the class, as opposed to mine, which is about half fluff and game notes. It's approaching the length of the Tome of the Holy Grai (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?362608)l, my pet project for going on 4 years - longer than I've been registered on these forums. And most of it appears to have been built in two weeks, all of it in 4.

So what is the inventor? It's a caster, mostly. It builds things. it can build Psychometabolism (Transmutation), Psychokinesis (Evocation), Psychoportation (Teleportation/Transmutation), Telepathy (Illusion), Metacreativity (Conjuration), and of course made the same flavor concession as spells did to make one school Abjuration, with a dash of healing. So, the reason the invention subsystem is so huge? All the spells Inventions take up the vast majority of the space. The bare minimum of understanding required to build a first-level character consists of a few hundred words of class description, a short inventions primer, and the inventions within one discipline.

Despite that low floor, the class remains complicated. First is formatting: Why format the class table in an extremely confusing jumble of third-first to first-third to second-second when you can use columns like so?

And why does the rocker get riffs from 2-10 that are labeled on the chart from 1-9? Those nitpicks aside, an inventor does need a lot of system mastery because the discipline chosen at level 1 irrevocably determines the build: By choosing a discipline at level 1, an inventor shuts himself off from 5 levels in 5/6 schools - 42% of the content. (At level 4, he has determined all of the 33% of content he can take.) Now, I like classes with meaningful build decisions. The Coalescant is on the lower end of build complexity I aim for. But the idea that my options are 10/5/5/0/0/0 or 7/4/3/3/3/3 is kinda intimidating when I don't even get the ability to shuffle them after I've started the class. Personally I'd just grant a new level each level-up and let max levels scale from 1-10, while the tinkerer gains more level ups at a slower progression, but like I said: I like build decisions, so of course I'd suggest increasing the number up to 20 from 3.

Some constructions run into rules issues I associate with being the kind Jorm recognizes on sight, like just from the first section, unclear scaling on X Equipment (do I spend half on the base enhancement, all but 1, or only 1?) or interactions with Bow of Legends (I already can use power attack with a bow, the only issue being that it does nothing), or various typos and small mistakes that of course I'm guilty of as well. This is pretty nitpicky.

Did Jorm fall into the trap like most other entries, creating a class with no actions in combat? Sort of. The inventor mostly spends out-of-combat time to buff rolls or create buddies, creating a dynamic similar to the Coalescant, whose abilities I described as "As normal beings, but better." The inventor is mostly buffs, minionmancy, and a few consumable items, largely from the evocation discipline. The largest problem might be that the buffs can be applied to any creature equally, except that the inventor balances its strength and versatility with a moderate chassis (Medium BAB, 2 bad saves, D8 HD, key mental stats) so you're almost always better off buffing your BSF and your robot and, hell, even your rogue or divine caster, leaving you again spending rounds rolling for your robot and maybe detonating some charges. Obviously I have no play experience, but I feel like every encounter you face will entail 10 minutes of "wait up guys" for every round you actually have anything in combat to do, and even that applies only to certain disciplines, it being exceptionally easy to build an inventor whose best use of time is a longbow. I guess the idea is that you can buff your allies so much that giving them more stuff would interfere with the previous buffs, so you use the leftovers yourself?

I suspect more and more this is a common trap for homebrew: The coolest concepts are people who are things, so that's what we made. But the best classes to play are people that do things. (This is another reason the Balrog got my #1.)

The intersection between the two lies in classes that can create a mechanical world in which to immerse the class. A wizard is something, but the thing he is gives him access to things he can do. The issue is that if you want to tread off the beaten mechanical path (avoiding rehashes of existing classes) this means you have to spend a lot of work creating a new subsystem in which the class can live. And any potential players and DMs have to spend a lot of opportunity cost to understand it. Perhaps that's why I'm disappointed in the Inventor. It spends a lot of work building a class that doesn't shine after initiative is rolled - the bulk of mechanical representation in D&D games.

Inventor is obviously the most impressive class/system in the contest. I just don't think it's the most impressive per unit of complication, or the most impressive per word.

Disclaimer: Large portions of this system were skimmed in the making of this barely-coherent, overly critical review.

2015-11-07, 06:23 AM

I didn't see any mention of the soul of sight. I'd appreciate it if you'd take these kinds of posts to the chat thread, too. Makes it easier on me to sort through this thread in general.

Anyway, votes tallied, and nice commentary.

2015-11-08, 04:15 PM
1st: Wandering Mind.

This class gets 1st for the simple reason of it is the only class in the contest I am fairly certain I'd allow into a game as a DM. I'd eyeball it at somewhere close to a ninja in power.

Now that's not to say everything is good. The class needs a major editing overhaul for clarity. The use of initiative count in Visions is problematic. I don't mean the requirement of pumping initiative, I mean that it means actually keeping track of the exact count instead of merely turn order. With delay, readying, etc usually it's enough to know which monsters go between party member actions. Ultimately mechanically Visions means "Move action to activate + Standard action to ready a standard action to act in response to whoever has the highest initiative" unless you have higher initiative than the monsters in which case you just attack this round. It's fluffy, but mechanically it's simple enough to change the lowest initiative into the highest (delay into the start of the next round) that as a restriction it is mostly meaningless and requires a significant increase in bookkeeping. It also has the interesting potential problem of quadratically increasing meaning the class starts out pretty weak, and ends up passing rogue. However it works for some balance level other than God Wizard (I don't like playing at God Wizard level) at all levels and most games don't run the full 8 or so levels it takes to become that significant. I will note that once combat begins the +Initiative option is near useless (see Ready and Delay for initiative manipulation), and +1 Init is not equal to +to the other things even before that.

Revealer I think is a pool split between all the abilities, but if I'm wrong it probably needs to be clearer, and Mind's Eye is a fun ability, letting you send a little scout ahead and giving you a unique ability. I do wonder if the eyes can be seen (if so how hard), and if the eyes can be attacked and destroyed that way.

Over all I'd say the class plays poorly at 5th level or lower being a bad ninja. It isn't until around 10th level where it gets +3 to hit, AC, and +3d6 precision damage that it gets things that let it maybe keep up with a rogue, at which point it needs to start gaining something like a rogue's special abilities. Also for visions I'd say don't make it precision damage at all. If it gets around concealment just let it get around crit immunity, and work with two handed weapons. If it is about getting around defenses with prescient foreknowledge a warrior can do that with a maul as easily as a dagger, the purpose of a dagger is to do it without prescient foreknowledge, and if a rogue can get a maul into place to strike a creature that isn't looking for a moment in the weak spot, having a prescient heads up shouldn't require that either.

Personally I'd make visions have an indefinite duration (as long as you devote a focus) and make it a move action to activate/change it. I'd throw in some Rogue Special Abilities/Rogue Talent (PF) style abilities as well especially at higher levels.

2nd: Coalescent

I love the concept here. The fluff is wonderful. It is definitely my favorite class here on that front. The mechanics are problematic however. I might allow it with a player I knew and in a proper party, but it requires a precise circumstances and I would ill trust it.

What I mean by the mechanics are problematic is... Well to start with +Class level to hit and damage on a perfect chassis (ok d10 hp instead of d12) even for only 2 rounds per combat runs into issues quickly. If combat last 4+ rounds they end up being pretty much equal to a warblade in combat capability, but unlike a warblade they can just nova their abilities round 1 to take out a balor with relative ease (+20 to hit and damage equals out to roughly +160 damage). They won't quite kill it, assuming they don't have a pounce enhanced charge for more PA (at which point ubercharger can do the same), but where a combination of high level maneuvers to have the same chance and needs to have started adjacent to the balor. Now this is a Lv 20 example and therefore pretty extreme, but in general the class has pretty powerful turn 1-2 nova ability compared to a ToB melee. The save trusts double Warblade's big utility powers as well. Couple that with various +Level to skills 2/encounter and better skills than a factotum makes them a better skill monkey than a factotum. This means they don't play well with tier 3s, being quantitatively more powerful (in that they can do the same basic things but just enough better to make it unfun to party with them), but they can't keep up with Tier 1/2s played to a point where they are at the same level because they lack the general abilities to circumvent numbers, though it is similar to cleric CoDzilla but compared there it depends upon if Nightstick stacking is allowed if it is not they may have more endurance but a lot less versatility.

I'd actually suggest a more complicated Strength cap than just Level. 1/2 level + 1 is the simple one that comes to mind, though 3/4ths level rounded up might work. It would need playtesting and more math than I care to do. As it is, it makes tier 3s sad, without being able to strike back against tier 2s, which is a really awkward place to be mechanically, and it lacks the options to play up or down too much without simply avoiding "I function in combat" of course with full BAB and its chassis it could avoid those and still play nice with low tier 3s and tier 4s by complimenting its 2nd tier combat ability with out of combat utility.

3rd Inventor

Fluffwise this is another inventor class. Mechanically it is... better than most I've seen.

Balance wise it ranges from useless, neat niche out of combat abilities, big number buffs, too big number buffs. The inventions feel like they should be Supernatural, or really function as magic items. Overall, though, it seems like the inventions need a fair bit of work, the numbers need to be actually compared to long duration spells (as it is they seem to be compared to short ones because DMM Persist is a thing, but that makes it not play nice with games where DMM Persist is not a thing (which is most) or without tier 1/2. It runs into a lot of the same problems as the Coalescent, and actually might be the mechanically better designed class, but fluffwise it's just another inventor class and they've never done the most for me.

Honorable Mention: Bailitheoir

It's a really nice concept. It has the second highest coolness factor (Coalescent interests me more). The problem is things like the fact that Spellcasting is a class feature and that means as written at 12th level you can just start collecting people's spellcasting and being a quintuple full caster. I assume this is not the intent, but it needs to be better written out and described what counts as a memory and what doesn't. Still it's a nice concept and if you do work on it further I'd like to look it over again, but it needs a lot more work.

2015-11-11, 06:35 AM
Votes tallied.

2015-11-16, 05:55 PM
Wandering Mind, Bailitheor, Coalescent, not that my votes will make the slightest difference.

2015-11-17, 01:03 AM
Votes tallied.

2015-11-17, 03:03 AM
1. Coalescent. Love the flavor behind this class. Really interesting and original.
2. Wandering Mind. A little light on the fluff, but I really like the mechanics behind this class and it's an interesting idea.
3. Inventions. I'm not a huge fan of the inventor idea in general but this is a really ambitious and impressive project.

2015-11-17, 05:56 PM
Votes tallied. A day and a half left on voting, everyone.