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View Full Version : D&D 3.x Class The Witch Hunter (specialized martial variant)



Bobby Baratheon
2016-03-23, 01:16 AM
This class is an effort to create a frontliner with at least a shot at taking down magic users/monsters (hence the name). It is not an attempt to make a tier one or two martial; I feel that particular quixotic quest is better left to those more schooled in optimization. Instead, this class' abilities revolve around resisting magical effects, and inflicting status conditions on opponents while not limiting the character to a particular style. I'm aiming for a mid to high tier three build here; it has some useful tricks but nothing too insanely exploitable. It does get some nice abilities at the later levels, mainly as an incentive to stay in the class and a way to stay relevant at those levels without having to wholly resort to magical bling. Also, I hate dead levels (especially on martial classes), so I tried to spread out all of the key class features enough that you get something at least mildly useful at each level.

The key idea is a stealthy frontliner geared around either ganking enemies or just bashing them in the face, but with enough combat prowess to also function as a beatstick. Kind of like a sneaky Conan the barbarian. Or Val Helsing from the eponymous movie (except more competent). Also important is that I wanted a martial class with actual uses for mental abilities (in this case, Charisma and optionally Intelligence).



Level
Base Attack Bonus
Fort Save
Ref Save
Will Save
Class Features


1st
+1
+2
+0
+2
Focused Mind, Sneak Attack +1d6


2nd
+2
+3
+0
+3
Bonus Feat, Energy Resistance (least)


3rd
+3
+3
+1
+3
Incapacitate (least), Force of Conviction (least)


4th
+4
+4
+1
+4
Bonus Feat, Instill Fear (least)


5th
+5
+4
+1
+4
Sneak Attack +2d6


6th
+6
+5
+2
+5
Bonus Feat, Dismissal (least)


7th
+7
+5
+2
+5
Energy Resistance (lesser)


8th
+8
+6
+2
+6
Incapacitate (lesser), Force of Conviction (lesser)


9th
+9
+6
+3
+6
Blind-Fight, Sneak Attack +3d6


10th
+10
+7
+3
+7
Instill Fear (lesser)


11th
+11
+7
+3
+7
Bonus Feat, Implacable Pursuit (lesser)


12th
+12
+8
+4
+8
Energy Resistance (greater), Dismissal (lesser)


13th
+13
+8
+4
+8
Incapacitate (greater), Sneak Attack +4d6


14th
+14
+9
+4
+9
Force of Conviction (greater)


15th
+15
+9
+5
+9
Instill Fear (greater)


16th
+16
+10
+5
+10
Implacable Pursuit (lesser)


17th
+17
+10
+5
+10
Incapacitate (legendary), Sneak Attack +5d6


18th
+18
+11
+6
+11
Instill Fear (legendary), Dismissal (greater)


19th
+19
+11
+6
+11
Veteran Hunter


20th
+20
+12
+6
+12
Implacable Pursuit(greater)



Class Features
HD: d10

Skills: 4 + Int (x4 at first level)

Skill List: Bluff (Cha), Climb (Str), Craft (Int), Disguise (Cha), Gather Information (Cha), Heal (Wis), Hide (Dex), Jump (Str), Knowledge (arcana, religion, the planes; Int), Listen (Wis), Move Silently (Dex), Profession (Wis), Ride (Dex), Search (Int), Sense Motive (Wis), Swim (Str), Use Magic Device (Cha), Use Rope (Dex)

Proficiencies: Light Armor, Medium Armor, Shields (except tower), Simple and Martial Weapons, and one
Exotic Weapon of the player's choice. Witch Hunters are trained in a wide range of weaponry and armor, including unconventional or rare weapons that might give them an edge against their supernatural foes.

Alignment: Non-chaotic. The path of the Witch Hunter requires discipline and focus, and exacts much of those who choose to walk it.

Focused Mind: Part of the rigorous training undergone by Witch Hunters is ability to shrug off and even ignore magical effects. Witch Hunters gain the ability to resist magical effects that target them specifically by forcing a caster check; if the opposed caster manages to win, then the spell affects the Witch Hunter normally. The Witch Hunter's "caster level" is equal to their class level plus 1/2 their Charisma modifier.

Sneak Attack: As rogue. This ability stacks with any other sources of Sneak Attack.

Bonus Feat: From the list of Fighter Bonus Feats. The Witch Hunter must qualify for any feats selected.

Energy Resistance: Witch Hunters eventually gain the ability to resist energy damage as a side effect of their training. This ability has three stages:
-Energy Resistance (least): Energy Resistance 5 against two of the following (player's choice): acid, fire, sonic, cold and electricity.
-Energy Resistance (lesser): +5 Energy Resistance to all types of energy damage listed above (this stacks with the energy resistance of the two types chosen at level 2)
-Energy Resistance (greater): +5 Energy Resistance to all types of energy damage listed above
This results in a net Energy Resistance of 15 against the two chosen types, and 10 against the other three types listed.

Incapacitate: A large part of Witch Hunter training is learning how to immobilize foes through devastating, targeted strikes designed to cripple enemies. This ability has four stages, reflecting the Witch Hunter's increasing ability to incapacitate foes. The type of condition inflicted on the enemy depends somewhat on the type of weapon used, but in any case Incapacitate can only be used as part of a melee attack, or a ranged attack of 30 feet or less. The attack must be successful (ie hit the opponent) in order to apply to listed condition. A targeted enemy may resist the effect through a Fortitude Save (which has no impact on the damage of the base attack). The DC to resist is 10+1/2 Witch Hunter class levels. The Witch Hunter may add either his Strength bonus (if any) or his Intelligence bonus (if any) to the DC. The choice is up to the player, but they cannot add both; this choice also determines which ability modifier affects the duration of the effect (1/2[1+Str/Int] rounds; Min. 1). A Witch Hunter of high level may elect to use a lesser effect if he so desires (ie a Witch Hunter with access to Incapacitate (greater) may elect to use an effect from Incapacitate (least) or Incapacitate (lesser)). The Witch Hunter may use this ability at will.
-Incapacitate (least): Sickened (slashing/piercing/bludgeoning)
-Incapacitate (lesser): Nauseated (slashing/piercing/bludgeoning), Crippled* (slashing/piercing), Dazed (bludgeoning)
-Incapacitate (greater): Paralyzed (slashing/piercing), Stunned (bludgeoning)
-Incapacitate (legendary): Unconscious (slashing/piercing/bludgeoning)

Force of Conviction: The Witch Hunter has attained such faith in their purpose that they become all the more relentless in their goals. This class ability comes in three tiers, each adding onto the last.
-Force of Conviction (least): The Witch Hunter may add his Charisma modifier as a bonus on all saving throws.
-Force of Conviction (lesser): The Witch Hunter may add his Charisma modifier as a bonus to Initiative.
-Force of Conviction (greater): The Witch Hunter may add his Charisma modifier as an insight bonus to AC.

Instill Fear: Another component of Witch Hunter techniques is the use of fear against enemies. Witch Hunter's are trained to manipulated the emotions of foes, driving them ever closer towards nervous collapse as the battle progresses. As a standard action, a Witch Hunter may make an attempt to Instill Fear against any foe within thirty feet that has line of sight to the Witch Hunter. The target must succeed on a Will Save with a DC of 10+1/2 Witch Hunter level+Charisma modifier, or receive the listed condition for 1/2(1+Cha) rounds (Min. 1). As with Incapacitate, this ability comes in four stages. This ability does not stack with itself, but it can be used to escalate pre-existing fear conditions and can be escalated by other fear effects. A high level Witch Hunter may elect to use any stage of Instill Fear available to him. The Witch Hunter receives a number of uses each day of Instill Fear equal to 1+Cha.
-Instill Fear (least): Shaken
-Instill Fear (lesser): Frightened
-Instill Fear (greater): Panicked (cowering if failed by 10 or more)
-Instill Fear (legendary): Cowering (unconscious if failed by 10 or more)
The Witch Hunter may affect foes with Fear Immunity normally if his character level + Cha exceeds the HD of that foe.

Dismissal: One of the more specialized parts of the Witch Hunter's repertoire is the ability to dispel magical affects as a spell-like ability. The Witch Hunter's "caster level" for the purposes of this ability is equal to his class level + 1/2 his Charisma modifier. The use of this ability is a standard action, and may be used a number of times each day equal to 1 + the Witch Hunter's charisma (min. 1).
-Dismissal (least): As dispel magic.
-Dismissal (lesser): As dispel magic (greater), gain full Charisma bonus to "caster level".
-Dismissal (greater): As Dismissal (lesser), except the Witch Hunter may activate the ability with a swift action instead of a standard action.

Blind-fight: At 9th level, the Witch Hunter gains Blind-Fight as a bonus feat. If the Witch Hunter already possesses this feat, increase their percentile chance to overcome concealment by 15% (ie against a foe with total concealment, the Witch Hunter has only a 35% miss chance instead of the normal 50%).

Veteran Hunter: At nineteenth level, the Witch Hunter has become so accustomed to facing down supernatural horrors that they become immune to all mind affecting spells and abilities (like the ability possessed by constructs or undead). They also gain a +2 insight bonus on Fortitude, Reflex and Will saves. Additionally, they receive a +4 bonus to any check to recognize an illusion.

Implacable Pursuit: The determination of Witch Hunters in bringing down their prey is legendary, and particularly powerful Witch Hunters are nearly unstoppable in pursuit of a target. This ability renders them all but immune to damage and adverse conditions for a short time each day (1+Cha rounds, Min. 1). This ability is activated as a swift action, and may be terminated early (as a free action) in order to spread out the uses per/day.
-Implacable Pursuit (least): +10 movement speed (all forms of movement), +10 Energy Resistance (to all the types listed in the Energy Resistance entry above), DR 5/-, Immunity to Daze, Fast Healing 2
-Implacable Pursuit (lesser): +15 movement speed (all forms of movement), +15 Energy Resistance (same as least), DR 10/-, Immunity to Daze and Stun, Fast Healing 4
-Implacable Pursuit (greater): +20 movement speed (all forms of movement), +20 Energy Resistance (same as least), DR 15/-, Immunity to Daze, Stun and Death Effects, Regeneration 2 (negative energy overcomes), Fast Healing 4

NOTE: Regeneration and Fast Healing together is intentional; Fast Healing helps take care of negative energy (which bypasses Regeneration and DR).
NOTE: Any time above it says "Cha" or "Str" as part of a numerical equation (ie determining duration of abilities), it is referring to the modifier of that ability.

So, what does the Playground think? Implacable Pursuit might be too powerful, but the bonuses are all defensive and intended to make the Witch Hunter essentially unkillable (except for negative energy damage) for a short period of time. Whether he takes advantage of that is up to the player. Overall, I think this is solidly tier three.

Eloel
2016-03-23, 12:07 PM
In all honesty, the witch hunter is better against martial enemies than casters.
Incapacitate is (VERY) powerful, but if you can hit a caster they're probably dead anyway, so making them fail that save does not do much. Say, a swordsage who can actually tank a hit or two? The only one you'll be hitting and thus forcing saves.

Instill Fear targets Will save, and is a fear effect. You know who has a good will save? Casters. You know who can Mind Blank? Casters. You know who this is better against? Martial enemies.

It's a very strong class that could go toe to toe with most martial builds. Casters still make short work of him.

Bobby Baratheon
2016-03-23, 01:24 PM
I suppose I should clarify - he's not intended to one shot casters or even to trump them, but at least have tools at his disposal to use against them. Casters>noncasters, pretty much always, but I feel like this guys at least got a (small) shot. Incapacitate is probably more useful against divine casters than it is against arcane casters, for the reasons you indicated. I wonder if I should just refluff it as some sort of monster hunter/supernatural horrors?

EDIT: Also, is it too powerful? I'm designing this class for an actual player in a decently optimized game, but I don't want to go overboard on this.

Eloel
2016-03-23, 02:59 PM
The key idea is a stealthy frontliner
Stealthy: Dexterity
Frontliner: Strength/Constitution
SR/Fear: Charisma
Incapacitate: Strength/Intelligence

This is pretty MAD unless you start ignoring class features. I'd say, overall, this is one of the strongest non-caster base classes when he can walk up to everyone and whack them in the face. He's weak otherwise.

GrayDeath
2016-03-23, 03:05 PM
Aside from the stated fact that its better against weaker (ergo noncaster^^) Enemies I think its not OP.

I would add a flavourful ability of WHAT kind of supernatural enemy he`s geared against (think rangers Fav Enemy, with maybe final +5 to hit, Damage and SR against them?), otherwise I kind of like it.

It could probably do with an ability that drains HP but allows for a short time immunity to all magical attacks/Spells/SLA if you really want a more general AntiCaster Focus.

Edit: yes, the MAD is strong in this one

Bobby Baratheon
2016-03-23, 03:42 PM
I would add a flavourful ability of WHAT kind of supernatural enemy he`s geared against (think rangers Fav Enemy, with maybe final +5 to hit, Damage and SR against them?), otherwise I kind of like it.
It could probably do with an ability that drains HP but allows for a short time immunity to all magical attacks/Spells/SLA if you really want a more general AntiCaster Focus.

Implacable Pursuit originally gave spell immunity (like golems, to everything that allows spell resistance), but I felt it was a tad more OP. I think I'm going to abandon the anti-caster thing and focus on more of warrior with magical defenses (ie more of a Van Helsing) geared towards taking down monsters. Potential class features along that theme (off the top of my head) are immunity to fear, much earlier immunity to compulsion effects, favored enemy mechanic, and perhaps some sort of smite ability usable only against favored enemies. However, I think the class has enough abilities as it; I suppose I could cut out some bonus feats in exchange for earlier immunity to fear and compulsion effects.

Working within what's here, how could I reduce MAD? Honestly, as you have noted, it's not actually all that stealthy beyond having half progression sneak attack and stealth skills; I included sneak attack as way for the Witch Hunter to multiclass into more stealthy prestige classes and to up his damage a little bit. I think it would be reasonable to allow for optional use of Strength instead of Charisma for Instill Fear in the same way that you can choose Strength or Intelligence to affect the Incapacitate ability.

The reasoning behind allowing the option that was to allow for a sneaky, more cerebral type using sneak attack and ranged Incapacitate (range of 30 feet, like sneak attack) as well as Instill Fear for some limited scope martial battlefield control. I suppose I should extend the same option to more blunt, martial Witch Hunters and let them key Instill Fear of strength.

Gnorman
2016-03-23, 05:05 PM
This class is an effort to create a frontliner with at least a shot at taking down magic users/monsters (hence the name). It is not an attempt to make a tier one or two martial; I feel that particular quixotic quest is better left to those more schooled in optimization. Instead, this class' abilities revolve around resisting magical effects, and inflicting status conditions on opponents while not limiting the character to a particular style. I'm aiming for a mid to high tier three build here; it has some useful tricks but nothing too insanely exploitable. It does get some nice abilities at the later levels, mainly as an incentive to stay in the class and a way to stay relevant at those levels without having to wholly resort to magical bling. Also, I hate dead levels (especially on martial classes), so I tried to spread out all of the key class features enough that you get something at least mildly useful at each level.

The key idea is a stealthy frontliner geared around either ganking enemies or just bashing them in the face, but with enough combat prowess to also function as a beatstick. Kind of like a sneaky Conan the barbarian. Or Val Helsing from the eponymous movie (except more competent). Also important is that I wanted a martial class with actual uses for mental abilities (in this case, Charisma and optionally Intelligence).

As mentioned, having an actual use for mental abilities means more MAD.


Class Features
HD: d10

Skills: 4 + Int (x4 at first level)

Skill List: Bluff (Cha), Climb (Str), Craft (Int), Disguise (Cha), Gather Information (Cha), Heal (Wis), Hide (Dex), Jump (Str), Knowledge (arcana, religion, the planes; Int), Listen (Wis), Move Silently (Dex), Profession (Wis), Ride (Dex), Search (Int), Sense Motive (Wis), Swim (Str), Use Magic Device (Cha), Use Rope (Dex)

Proficiencies: Light Armor, Medium Armor, Shields (except tower), Simple and Martial Weapons, and one
Exotic Weapon of the player's choice. Witch Hunters are trained in a wide range of weaponry and armor, including unconventional or rare weapons that might give them an edge against their supernatural foes.

This is all fine.


Alignment: Non-chaotic. The path of the Witch Hunter requires discipline and focus, and exacts much of those who choose to walk it.

This is a little bizarre to me. Nothing the Witch Hunter does seems to require discipline and focus, and chaotic characters are perfectly capable of being disciplined.


Spell Resistance: Part of the rigorous training undergone by Witch Hunters is ability to shrug off and even ignore magical effects. Witch Hunters gain Spell Resistance equal to 10 + 1/2 their witch hunter level (rounding up) + their Charisma modifier (ie a first level Witch Hunter with Charisma 16 has Spell resistance 14).

NOTE: I'm aware spell resistance is not entirely beneficial. That's why I'm okay with them having a somewhat high spell resistance; they pay a price for it.

It's not even that high. A first level Witch Hunter with a Charisma of 16 has spell resistance of 14. A first level drow anything has spell resistance of 12. And unless the witch hunter is focusing on Charisma, he's going to be outpaced by the drow in short order.



Sneak Attack: As rogue. This ability stacks with any other sources of Sneak Attack.

Bonus Feat: From the list of Fighter Bonus Feats. The Witch Hunter must qualify for any feats selected.

Energy Resistance: Witch Hunters eventually gain the ability to resist energy damage as a side effect of their training. This ability has three stages:
-Energy Resistance (least): Energy Resistance 6 against two of the following (player's choice): acid, fire, sonic, cold and electricity.
-Energy Resistance (lesser): +3 Energy Resistance to all types of energy damage listed above (this stacks with the energy resistance of the two types chosen at level 2)
-Energy Resistance (greater): +3 Energy Resistance to all types of energy damage listed above
This results in a net Energy Resistance of 12 against the two chosen types, and 6 against the other three types listed.

Looks fine, albeit odd integer choices.


Incapacitate: A large part of Witch Hunter training is learning how to immobilize foes through devastating, targeted strikes designed to cripple enemies. This ability has four stages, reflecting the Witch Hunter's increasing ability to incapacitate foes. The type of condition inflicted on the enemy depends somewhat on the type of weapon used, but in any case Incapacitate can only be used as part of a melee attack, or a ranged attack of 30 feet or less. The attack must be successful in order to apply to listed condition. A targeted enemy may resist the effect through a Fortitude Save (which has no impact on the damage of the base attack). The DC to resist is 10+1/2 Witch Hunter class levels. The Witch Hunter may add either his Strength bonus (if any) or his Intelligence bonus (if any) to the DC. The choice is up to the player, but they cannot add both; this choice also determines which ability modifier affects the duration of the effect (1/2[1+Str/Int] rounds; Min. 1). A Witch Hunter of high level may elect to use a lesser effect if he so desires (ie a Witch Hunter with access to Incapacitate (greater) may elect to use an effect from Incapacitate (least) or Incapacitate (lesser)). The Witch Hunter may use this ability a number of times per day equal to 1+Str/Int (ability chosen for duration and DC is the one that applies here).
-Incapacitate (least): Sickened (slashing/piercing/bludgeoning)
-Incapacitate (lesser): Nauseated (slashing/piercing/bludgeoning), Crippled* (slashing/piercing), Dazed (bludgeoning)
-Incapacitate (greater): Paralyzed (slashing/piercing), Stunned (bludgeoning)
-Incapacitate (legendary): Unconscious (slashing/piercing/bludgeoning)

What does "successful" mean? Hits? Causes damage? Really needs more uses per day than just 1 + the relevant stat. This is the main schtick of the class, and it's not going to be able to do it very well or very often in a lot of cases.

Also I think you need to clarify that you're talking about the ability BONUS, rather than the ability SCORE, for parameters like uses per day or


Instill Fear: Another component of Witch Hunter techniques is the use of fear against enemies. Witch Hunter's are trained to manipulated the emotions of foes, driving them ever closer towards nervous collapse as the battle progresses. As a standard action, a Witch Hunter may make an attempt to Instill Fear against any foe within thirty feet that has line of sight to the Witch Hunter. The target must succeed on a Will Save with a DC of 10+1/2 Witch Hunter level+Charisma modifier, or receive the listed condition for 1/2(1+Cha) rounds (Min. 1). As with Incapacitate, this ability comes in four stages. This ability does not stack with itself, but it can be used to escalate pre-existing fear conditions and can be escalated by other fear effects. A high level Witch Hunter may elect to use any stage of Instill Fear available to him. The Witch Hunter receives a number of uses each day of Instill Fear equal to 1+Cha.
-Instill Fear (least): Shaken
-Instill Fear (lesser): Frightened
-Instill Fear (greater): Panicked (cowering if failed by 10 or more)
-Instill Fear (legendary): Cowering (unconscious if failed by 10 or more)

Needs a mechanic to bypass fear immunity. Your main class abilities should not be defeated by a level 1 spell.


Blind-fight: At 9th level, the Witch Hunter gains Blind-Fight as a bonus feat. If the Witch Hunter already possesses that feat, they receive no benefit.

Don't punish players for choosing the wrong feat at the wrong time. If they already have Blind-Fight, let them pick another bonus feat.


Veteran Hunter: At nineteenth level, the Witch Hunter has become so accustomed to facing down supernatural horrors that they become immune to all mind affecting spells and abilities (like the ability possessed by constructs or undead). They additionally get a +2 insight bonus on Fortitude, Reflex and Will saves. Additionally, they receive a +4 bonus to any check to recognize an illusion.

Suitably powerful.


Implacable Pursuit: The determination of Witch Hunters in bringing down their prey is legendary, and particularly powerful Witch Hunters are nearly unstoppable in pursuit of a target. This ability renders them all but immune to damage and adverse conditions for a short time each day (1+Cha, Min. 1).
-Implacable Pursuit (least): +10 movement speed (all forms of movement), +10 Energy Resistance (to all the types listed in the Energy Resistance entry above), DR 5/-, Immunity to Daze, Fast Healing 2
-Implacable Pursuit (lesser): +15 movement speed (all forms of movement), +15 Energy Resistance (same as least), DR 10/-, Immunity to Daze and Stun, Fast Healing 4
-Implacable Pursuit (greater): +20 movement speed (all forms of movement), +20 Energy Resistance (same as least), DR 15/-, Immunity to Daze, Stun and Death Effects, Regeneration 2 (negative energy overcomes), Fast Healing 4

NOTE: Regeneration and Fast Healing together is intentional; Fast Healing helps take care of negative energy (which bypasses Regeneration and DR).

How long does this ability last and what kind of action is required to activate it?


So, what does the Playground think? Implacable Pursuit might be too powerful, but the bonuses are all defensive and intended to make the Witch Hunter essentially unkillable (except for negative energy damage) for a short period of time. Whether he takes advantage of that is up to the player. Overall, I think this is solidly tier three.

Solid, if a little uninteresting as a class. I'd like to see more active abilities, rather than just passive defensive ones.

I doubt it's solidly tier 3, though - it doesn't really have a whole lot of options to it outside of "I hit it really hard." I've said it before, and I'll say it again: classes without spellcasting, maneuvers, wild shape, etc., just aren't going to reliably hit tier 3. What does the witch hunter do when "hitting something" is inappropriate? They have skills, sure, but they're not particularly blessed with skill points. I'd say this is solidly, perhaps even high tier 4, though.

Bobby Baratheon
2016-03-23, 06:16 PM
It's not even that high.

Hence the use of the word "somewhat".


As mentioned, having an actual use for mental abilities means more MAD.

The class functions perfectly fine with emphasis on Str/Con/Cha (probably in that order), and Constitution is important for everyone. Is it really all that MAD to have two important attributes beyond the one that every single character in the game needs? Dexterity is useful for ranged sneak attack and Incapacitate, but really at that close range you might as well be in Melee. Medium armor should be enough to get the job done, especially with the existence of mithral.


This is a little bizarre to me. Nothing the Witch Hunter does seems to require discipline and focus, and chaotic characters are perfectly capable of being disciplined.

I haven't really gotten into the fluff here (to save space), but it's a rather monastic order kind of like the Stendarr guys from Skyrim. I probably could have left that bit out, as it doesn't really have the necessary context to explain why that is. As for the chaotic characters bit, I agree with you, but it's really more of a fluff thing rather than a mechanical thing. That said, as a DM, I consider fluff requirements to be essentially optional (provided the player can come up with a reason why), so take that with a grain of salt.


I'd like to see more active abilities, rather than just passive defensive ones. I doubt it's solidly tier 3, though - it doesn't really have a whole lot of options to it outside of "I hit it really hard." I've said it before, and I'll say it again: classes without spellcasting, maneuvers, wild shape, etc., just aren't going to reliably hit tier 3. What does the witch hunter do when "hitting something" is inappropriate? They have skills, sure, but they're not particularly blessed with skill points. I'd say this is solidly, perhaps even high tier 4, though.

Well, what specifically would you suggest? I think a favored enemy/smite mechanic might be interesting, but those options tend to be overly situational. I'm not really inclined to add maneuvers to this class, and I don't think spellcasting is the answer here. Invocations could work, I guess, but I'm not sure how I would work them in. I suppose maneuvers would be the way to go. I also think you're underrating Incapacitate and Instill Fear, especially now that I've updated them as per your suggestions. Instill Fear is most definitely not just "hitting something", and Incapacitate at least adds some variability to hitting things.

Bobby Baratheon
2016-03-23, 06:38 PM
Added in a new ability, Force of Conviction. It doesn't really address the raised question of active abilities, but it helps make it better at what it's already good at, and makes Charisma more useful to the class. If you haven't picked up on it, a big theme of the class is singlemindedly (yes I know, not a word) hunting down and destroying targets. Hence the focus on Charisma. I probably overdid it with Force of Conviction, which is fine. I prefer to start with too much and whittle it down to appropriate levels.

Eloel
2016-03-23, 07:55 PM
This is starting to feel more and more like The Empowered (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?478917-The-Empowered-(Class-in-10-minutes-PEACH)) from a couple weeks ago. That was a solid tier 3, and only so due to epic usages of skills. "Plus infinity numbers" doesn't help balance a character, unfortunately.

Gnorman
2016-03-23, 11:50 PM
Hence the use of the word "somewhat".

My point is that it's not even somewhat high - it's a bit above the curve at low levels, and quickly falls behind it unless you focus on Charisma. A 10th-level Witch Hunter with 16 charisma has 18 spell resistance, while the drow has 21. Caster levels scale more quickly than your spell resistance here, which means that you have an ability that effectively gets worse the higher level your witch hunter is. That's not a particularly good design incentive.


The class functions perfectly fine with emphasis on Str/Con/Cha (probably in that order), and Constitution is important for everyone. Is it really all that MAD to have two important attributes beyond the one that every single character in the game needs? Dexterity is useful for ranged sneak attack and Incapacitate, but really at that close range you might as well be in Melee. Medium armor should be enough to get the job done, especially with the existence of mithral.

This is a fair point, but I'm just trying to point out that the class needs, at minimum, to invest in three stats, and would really like to invest in five.

Also, if "at that close range you might as well be in Melee," why even give the class the option to use a ranged sneak attack at all?


I haven't really gotten into the fluff here (to save space), but it's a rather monastic order kind of like the Stendarr guys from Skyrim. I probably could have left that bit out, as it doesn't really have the necessary context to explain why that is. As for the chaotic characters bit, I agree with you, but it's really more of a fluff thing rather than a mechanical thing. That said, as a DM, I consider fluff requirements to be essentially optional (provided the player can come up with a reason why), so take that with a grain of salt.

Certainly agreed with you on that latter point. It just seemed unnecessarily restrictive to me.


Well, what specifically would you suggest? I think a favored enemy/smite mechanic might be interesting, but those options tend to be overly situational. I'm not really inclined to add maneuvers to this class, and I don't think spellcasting is the answer here. Invocations could work, I guess, but I'm not sure how I would work them in. I suppose maneuvers would be the way to go. I also think you're underrating Incapacitate and Instill Fear, especially now that I've updated them as per your suggestions. Instill Fear is most definitely not just "hitting something", and Incapacitate at least adds some variability to hitting things.

I don't think a favored enemy or smite would be good choices here. Favored enemy is another situational passive bonus, smite is another situational damage boost. This class doesn't need that; it has both of those things in spades. What it needs is versatility. Invocations actually seem like a good idea for this class - perhaps the witch hunter has spent so long hunting witches that he has learned how to use some of their tricks against them. It would certainly help to deal with the problem, already stated by others, that this is supposed to be an anti-casting class but actually isn't very good at that particular niche.

Incapacitate and Instill Fear aren't bad abilities, but they're a bit clunky (part of this is how they work mechanically, part of this is the descriptions, which still need some cleaning up) and limited in scope. I'm going to have to echo Eloel's sentiments - it feels like you're trying to solve a vertical problem, when I'm trying to point out a horizontal one. How does the witch hunter deal with a heavily-buffed spellcaster? Hack away and hope for the best?

Also, it is not blindingly obvious when you say something like "1 + Cha" that you mean "1 + Charisma bonus." For all I know, perhaps you meant to have the class be able to use this ability 15 times per day. That's why you need to specify.

Bobby Baratheon
2016-03-24, 12:24 AM
Also, it is not blindingly obvious when you say something like "1 + Cha" that you mean "1 + Charisma bonus." For all I know, perhaps you meant to have the class be able to use this ability 15 times per day. That's why you need to specify.

Sorry for the snark :smallredface: Long day. It's just I've never once seen an instance in D&D of something like what your'e describing, where a reference to a stat in regards to a mechanical ability is 1+Str and referring to the actual number, and not the modifier. I guess I just assumed that would always be the case.

I haven't yet posited anything in regards to the caster problem as I haven't quite come up with something good enough yet. I don't really want to make it a pseudocaster, but I'm not really seeing a way out. And I think I'm going to reflavor the class as more of a demon hunter. It seems they would be better suited to that, with caster-ganking being incidental to that main goal.

Couple of ideas:
I think a counter caster level would be a good way to replace the spell resistance and make it viable, as you are absolutely right about the scaling issue. Instead of passive spell resistance, give the Witch Hunter a pseudo caster level (maybe class level + Cha?) that they get to roll whenever anyone directly targets them with a spell/spell-like ability. So Fireball would affect them normally, but a Hold Person casting would give the Witch Hunter a chance to overcome it by either just making an opposed caster level check, or rolling against the other caster level + 10. Giving the DM the option to take ten on that would save a little time, I suppose. And since I'm the DM . . .

Secondly, I think some sort of magic piercing ability would be useful. Some way to overcome magical defenses. This is kind of nebulously floating around my brain, and I haven't much settled on anything. I'm not even sure what'd it be targeting, but something along these lines might overcome the vertical problem. Man, my brain's fried. . . any ideas? I'd for it not to just be a souped up smiting ability. Leave that to the paladins.

Eloel
2016-03-24, 12:42 AM
Sorry for the snark :smallredface: Long day. It's just I've never once seen an instance in D&D of something like what your'e describing, where a reference to a stat in regards to a mechanical ability is 1+Str and referring to the actual number, and not the modifier. I guess I just assumed that would always be the case.

Magic of Incarnum. Number of soulmelds you can shape is based on your score, not your modifier.

All casters. Max level of spells you can cast is based on your score, not your modifier.

They exist :)

Bobby Baratheon
2016-03-24, 12:50 AM
I'm aware that the concept exists as an integral part of the game, but I've never seen it presented like that. Caster stats and spell levels are referred to textually, if I'm not mistaken. As in, you need Intelligence equal to 10+spell level x in order to cast a wizard spell of x level.

Quoth the SRD:
The minimum Intelligence score needed to cast a wizard spell is 10 + the spellís level. Considering the seemingly infinite breadth of D&D 3.5, I assume that somewhere it says it differently. I've just never seen that. Uses per day of class abilities are always presented as x + modifier, so I assumed it was implied.

As for Magic of Incarnum, I can't say. I've only given it a glance over, though I'd like to learn more about it.

Also, thank you for taking the time to help make this class better. As I said, this is for an actual player in an actual game, so this is pretty useful.

Bobby Baratheon
2016-03-24, 12:55 AM
This is starting to feel more and more like The Empowered (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?478917-The-Empowered-(Class-in-10-minutes-PEACH)) from a couple weeks ago. That was a solid tier 3, and only so due to epic usages of skills. "Plus infinity numbers" doesn't help balance a character, unfortunately.

Honestly, I'm not really sure what you're getting at here. Is it the inclusion of Force of Conviction (which is easy to remove), or just the feel of the class in general? If so, what do you suggest to rectify that? I don't know about this Empowered class; this is a class I've been sort of working on for a while now and was looking to get advice to finetune it.

Bobby Baratheon
2016-03-24, 01:01 AM
Also, if "at that close range you might as well be in Melee," why even give the class the option to use a ranged sneak attack at all?

I think I mentioned upstream in the thread that I have (or had, initially) two fundamental ideas for the class. One was a sneaky, flanker type with more emphasis on Dexterity and Intelligence than Strength. I included the option for the same reason sneak attack has the same option: to give options to the player. Just because you might as well be in melee doesn't you have to, or that it's necessarily advantageous in that specific situation to do so. Specifically, I was referring to how a Strength build might not need the ranged option, because it's a strength build.
Also, to quote the SRD:
Ranged attacks can count as sneak attacks only if the target is within 30 feet.
I'm not "giving" the already existing ability to sneak attack at a thirty foot range; instead I'm adding an additional option (incapacitate) that can be used at that range. A more skulking witch hunter might make good use of that, especially if they've invested in Move Silently, Hide and magical items enhancing stealth. Or if they want to soften up the enemy before closing in.

Eloel
2016-03-24, 01:17 AM
Honestly, I'm not really sure what you're getting at here. Is it the inclusion of Force of Conviction (which is easy to remove), or just the feel of the class in general? If so, what do you suggest to rectify that? I don't know about this Empowered class; this is a class I've been sort of working on for a while now and was looking to get advice to finetune it.

Throwing more numbers at the class is not going to solve any of the inherent problems. The class I've sent gets +90 to everything at level 20. Everything. And it's still a solid T3 and not above that.

The abilities feel like pre-selected Warlock invocations, power-wise, and they have per day limits on top of that. A Warlock is more flexible at creation, has more options while playing and can probably deal more damage than Witch Hunter can. That doesn't sound too good, as the Warlock is strictly a tier 4 class.

Bobby Baratheon
2016-03-24, 01:54 AM
Thanks for the elaboration. I did remove the per day limitation on Incapacitate earlier, though I left it on Instill fear. I don't really agree with the assumption that everything here is just throwing more numbers; it's a totally valid critique but I still feel that Incapacitate and Instill Fear give the Witch Hunter something to do (ie force save or suck situations) beyond just hitting it hard for 1,000,000d6 damage. I'm aware that the class comes up short against casters, which is why I proposed a somewhat better replacement for Spell Resistance as an admittedly minor improvement on that front. I'm still thinking of an active counterpart to it that's not just a thinly veiled Smite. Invocations or maneuvers seem to be the best options, and I'm much more familiar with invocations than with maneuvers. I just don't want it to be a warlock expy; what's the point in even making the class?

Also, on a minor side note, I (personally) feel that Warlock is more low tier three than tier four. They have some interesting options at their disposal, especially once their crafting comes online.

EDIT: As compared to a Warlock, this class also has better HD, better BAB, better saves (thanks to class abilities), better selection of skills, and arguably better defensive abilities. I feel like you're accentuating the negative a little bit.

EDIT2:
Throwing more numbers at the class is not going to solve any of the inherent problems. If by inherent problems you mean it sucks compared to casters or pseudocasters, then you're absolutely right. I think it's fair to say we've shifted the focus from "ganking casters" to "frontliner with passive defensive buffs and some built in melee options". Ganking casters was always a bit of a pipe dream anyway, and this class is hardly meant to solo casters (really, anything outside of another caster is going to have trouble beating a caster with a numerical advantage, let alone solo). If anything, it would be complementing clerics.

EDIT3: Nerfed Force of Conviction.

Eloel
2016-03-24, 02:26 AM
EDIT: As compared to a Warlock, this class also has better HD, better BAB, better saves (thanks to class abilities), better selection of skills, and arguably better defensive abilities. I feel like you're accentuating the negative a little bit.

HD: Granted. Though Warlock is ranged, so it's expected.
BAB: Warlock does touch attacks. If they matched in BAB, witch hunter would be way outmatched.
Skills: Warlock matches UMD and the knowledge skills, and potentially has a higher Diplomacy thanks to Cha focus & relevant invocation.
Defensive: At-will invisibility. At-will dimension door. All-day flight. At-will Wall of Force. Sure, those are all different invocations, but any single one of them is better at defending than throwing numbers at the problem.


If by inherent problems you mean it sucks compared to casters or pseudocasters, then you're absolutely right. I think it's fair to say we've shifted the focus from "ganking casters" to "frontliner with passive defensive buffs and some built in melee options". Ganking casters was always a bit of a pipe dream anyway, and this class is hardly meant to solo casters. If anything, it would be complementing clerics.

Sucking vs Wizard and Sorcerer and kin? Absolutely expected. But you said you aim at mid-high tier 3, which means you aim at above Warlock (tier 4) and around Swordsage or Warblade (tier 3) level. If you look at tier 3 list here (http://www.brilliantgameologists.com/boards/?topic=1002.0), none of the classes there throw numbers at the problem - they all have their versatilities and can approach problems from multiple directions (Even a wildshape ranger can fly as a bird, sneak as a rat, eat face as a bear and still cast spells from a decent spell list). Contrast with tier 4, which still has a decent amount of versatility, but also has classes that just play the number game (Barbarian).


Edit: On Warlock being low tier 3: I can agree to that. Though if your aim is to go mid-high tier 3, you should still out-do Warlock in some areas :smallsmile:

Bobby Baratheon
2016-03-24, 02:46 AM
Defensive: At-will invisibility. At-will dimension door. All-day flight. At-will Wall of Force. Sure, those are all different invocations, but any single one of them is better at defending than throwing numbers at the problem.

Invisibility is countered by See Invisbility (a 2nd level spell) and easily obtainable, Flight is a few gp or the right racial selection away (or just having a 5th level wizard in the party). Wall of Force and dimension door are the main ones there, although the low number of invocations known tends to force warlocks to either be good at offense via blast essence and the BFC invocations, or be good at defense/self buffs. It's kind of hard to balance both, and I think "any single one of them" is a bit of an overstatement. Is the weak, easily countered version of invisibility really that much better than great saves, decently high ac and moderate energy resistances? Admittedly, all of those are replicated by items, but so are all of the invocations you mentioned except Wall of Force (and it probably is).

I think this is a bit of a rabbit hole, and I don't think this facet of the discussion is really going to go anywhere. Actually, there's not really even much point here; I feel like we're arguing over initial expectations that have since been adjusted (downwards) rather than ways to actually improve the subject at hand. It's not meant to compare to a Warlock, nor is it really fair to. They're very different classes. If anything, I'd use the Barbarian as the new measuring stick. Barbarians are high-ish tier 4, so superseding them seems like a fair enough way to get into low tier 3. With that as the new premise of the conversation, what are your ideas? I'm still stumped by the need for an active attack that does not rely on hitting things. Perhaps a dispel ability, using the pseudo-caster level mentioned earlier?

EDIT: To forestall a rebuttal, by supersede the barbarian I don't mean throw more numbers at it but instead be mechanically more versatile and have more to contribute than smacking it hard. A dispel ability, in addition to the save or suck abilities of the class and the defensive abilities, might help make that cut. Honestly though, the tier distinction for this class has grown increasingly meaningless as the conversation has gone on; I'm not designing this in a vacuum, and I don't particularly care whether it meets the arbitrary standards of the tier system. I fully support the tier system, and use it indirectly in my games, but in this instance whether it's low tier three or high tier four doesn't really matter so much as making the class itself better rounded.

Bobby Baratheon
2016-03-24, 12:39 PM
For the dispel ability, here's what I'm thinking.

It would be a spell like ability, usable once per day + Charisma modifier, and use the pseudo caster level mentioned above. The Witch Hunter would get the first stage (ie normal dispel) at level six (a level after wizards have access to the spell), the second stage (greater dispel) at level twelve (again, a level after wizards get it) as well as perhaps an area version of the normal dispel, and I could see a potential third stage at level eighteen with an area version of greater dispel. Area probably would be about a 30 foot radius, I imagine.

EDIT: Screw it, it's going in. Can't really think of a good name yet; I think I'll go with Vengeful Dismissal.