View Full Version : Pathfinder The Harrower: Fair & Tactical Mundane Mageslayer

Realms of Chaos
2016-07-30, 06:32 PM

Lessons Learned: On the Topic of Mageslayers

As far as bold homebrewing claims go, “I created a mundane mageslayer” goes right up there with “I fixed the fighter” or “I balanced magic”. To those with even the faintest knowledge of optimization, the concept of “mundane mageslayer” sounds nearly oxymoronic. Beyond the difficulty in creating such a class, which some may take as a challenge, I have picked up on a little nugget of insight that most “mageslayers” never pick up on.

Creating a “True Mageslayer” is a terrible idea.

Once upon a time, I obsessed over the idea of adding “balance” to the game by creating a “rock-paper-scissors” scenario where mageslayers kill mages, mages kill warriors, and warriors kill mageslayers. I tried making a slab of antimagic (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?117233-Magic-is-an-Abomination-(3-5-Base-Class)) that simply turns off casters. I tried making a strategic “anti-caster” (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?291744-An-Effective-Mageslayer-(3-5-Base-Class)) to shut down anything casters might plan. From these attempts, I learned something about the “balance” that I was trying to create.

The game does not work that way

First of all, the tremendous creative space occupied by magic cannot be countered by a single central mechanic. Even if you carry around an anti-magic field, a wizard can still telekinetically fling boulders at you, grant themselves immunity to poison or acid before flooding their lair with the stuff, open up a gate to a legion of dominated archers ready to shoot at you… the list goes on.

If you push harder and get “close” to shutting down spellcasters, you might even make things worse. As most players can attest, the great majority of wizards and clerics out there aren’t hyper-optimized monstrosities that invalidate the rest of their team. When you start pushing mageslayers, however, you are forcing players with casters to choose between using overpowered tactics or stepping down and doing nothing. Considering that many players gravitate toward wizards specifically to have a solution for any problem… Yeah…

Even if you go to the limit and miraculously succeed at shutting down magic, that magic “balance” you were shooting for is still a pipe dream. Outside of your little “rock-paper-scissors” scenario, mageslayers have the least to actually do. Martial characters can try facing anything, spellcasters can do just about anything, and mageslayers… kill mages. They have no real purpose outside of facing one highly specific sort of opponent and do nothing to stop spellcasters from going off the rails.

So… yeah. Trying to “shut down” magic is a pretty terribly goal for class design.

By now, the question is pretty obvious. If “mundane mageslayers” don’t work and “true mageslayers” should be avoided, why did I create a nonmagical anti-caster class? Why do I think this class works?

Reason 1: This class does not make the normal mistakes. I did not shove mettle and spell resistance onto a martial chassis with “smite arcane” and say that is good enough. As we all know, that is not good enough. Conversely, I did not produce a static slab of immunities that always plays the same way. While that approach is more “effective”, it is not fun.

Reason 2: On that note, I recognize the importance of stressing player agency. Through smart choices and careful resource management, this class allows a player to engage in the same sort of decision-making that most spellcasters do. While very few choices are set in stone, making this class useful for newcomers, veterans should get the most use out of it.

Reason 3: I recognize that the use of a single centralized mechanic to defeat magic is terrible and will always leave large gaps. Taking a cue from spellcasting, this class spontaneously “casts” a limited number of anti-spells that each guard against some area of spellcasting. Just as new spells might circumvent any static defense I create, the creation of “anti-spells” allows for more to be created as holes in the defense are exposed.

Reason 4: I recognize and respect the fact that mage vs. mageslayer is a false dichotomy. This class is not prevented from using magic items or buffs and can even pull a bit more use out of their equipment to fight spellcasters on their terms. Ignoring my previous “rock-paper-scissors” paradigm, this class can actually give martial classes a good fight by loading up on buffs and cancelling theirs.

Reason 5: This class has a fully-realized role in the party outside of battles against spellcasters. The harrower was designed to act as a hunter of foul monsters (kind of like a more eclectic ranger) and the general defenses of its “anti-spells” allows it to disregard the dominating gaze of vampires, the acid of a gelatinous cube, or the disguises of doppelgangers (among other effects).

Reason 6: Most of the basic “mage exploits” have been accounted for.

Fly two thousand feet above the ground and rain down enlarged long-range spells? Make a gate and have your charmed army fire two thousand ballistae? Grant yourself immunity to acid/poison and flooding the room with the stuff? Hiding on your personal demiplane and only going out through astral projections? Fly around invisibly while a wind wall and cloud of solid fog rests between you and the target? Dominate giant beasts to do the dirty work for you? Polymorph into a huge beast and stack a few dozen buffs on yourself?

At least to some extent, the harrower can answer any of that. Of course, none of that is a challenge for spellcasters to pull out more degenerate tricks. Indeed, such tricks aren’t needed because…

Reason 7: Okay, let me take a step back for a moment. As I’ve said earlier, a mageslayer can’t push spellcasters too hard without inviting optimizers to “pull off the kid gloves”. Indeed, many spellcaster fans (or jaded optimizers) see “mageslayer” classes as a personal challenge to see what sort of tricks are needed for spellcasters to overcome their supposed handicap.

This class is my attempt to break the cycle of rule abuse. While this class has a definite edge against unoptimized and hyper-specialized casters, the harrower was designed for even and balanced combat… in fair fights with reasonable casters.

Instead of trying to steamroll all spellcasters and failing horribly, this class respectfully enters the arena with spellcasters with the understanding that they do not need their less fair tricks. For all of the tricks that this class can stop, after all, it relies on highly limited resources and has the lowest base damage output of any nonmagical class. With these two weaknesses in mind, a fight between a mage and anti-mage can actually involve strategy and planning and play out as a contest of gameplay instead of a (clearly biased) contest of character build.

Class Flaws
While I am generally proud of this class, I do acknowledge that it has a number of shortcomings and isn't for every game.

Flaw 1: Countermeasures are incredibly narrow in scope. While each one bundles together a small number of similar abilities or defenses, you can go through a campaign without ever finding a use for half of these countermeasures.
Flaw 2: Not all abilities are created equal. While I believe that each countermeasure has corner-cases where it would be useful, I realize that some are a bit more broad in scope.
Flaw 3: I am an odd duck among homebrewers in that I tend to put a lot of focus on horizontal advancement (more abilities) over vertical advancement (more powerful abilities). As such, this class grants level 2 players defenses and abilities that they probably won’t need until level 15. This makes the class unreasonably attractive for a 2-level dip.
Flaw 4: As a consequence of horizontal advancement (and reading too many mythos classes), countermeasures are far more powerful than rogue talents, alchemist discoveries, or similar options. While they are seldom useful for anything other than defense and are meant to act as a pseudo-magic system, the comparisons are still obvious.
Flaw 5: This is the BIG one. As is often the case, making nonmagical mageslayers involves the dreaded “A” word: Abstraction. While I have done my best to explain how things are operating, this class can easily kill your verisimilitude and/or immersion in certain corner cases.

Yes, you can somehow stop wish without stopping limited wish. Yes, this class interacts with magic on a level deeper than a rogue’s trapfinding without using the (Su) tag. If any of this kills the class for you, I can only offer my apologies. I personally think that this is the MOST believable attempt that I’ve seen but I understand if that’s still not enough.

With all of that established, I give you the Harrower.

Realms of Chaos
2016-07-30, 06:33 PM
The Harrower

The multiverse is filled with the eerie, the uncanny, and the downright unnatural. Masters of the arcane bend reality to their whims as gods reshape the world through their servants. The mad, gifted, and desperate engage in occult bargains for sinister secrets and dark powers. Monstrosities of terrible power slink through every shadow… when they aren’t hiding in plain sight.

In a world with so many dangers, the sane are left with three choices. Some try to live their lives in spite of the darkness, engaging in the day-to-day conflicts of mortals. Others seek to fight fire with fire, calling upon eldritch might to protect themselves and slay enemies. A rare few mortals, however, have dedicated their life to facing the unnatural. Lacking the talent or inclination to pursue unnatural arts, they dedicate themselves to rooting out unnatural threats.

A combination of dedicated research and uncanny forethought allows these hunters, known as harrowers, to resist most forms of unconventional attacks. Against foes blessed or cursed with magic, a combination of distractions, threats, challenges, rapid feints, and expert aim allows Harrowers to ignore and prevent the use of spells they have researched… at least in the short term.

Role: Harrowers act as secondary combatants, possessing exceptional defense and accuracy against creatures they have researched. While they are not the most vicious combatants, their defenses against unusual forms of attack ensure a certain level of consistency across encounters. Against users of magical abilities, however, the capacity of Harrowers to pierce defensive magic and actively halt offensive magic makes them invaluable assets.

Alignment: Any
Hit Die: d8
Starting wealth: 4d6 x 10 gp (average 140 gp). In addition, each character begins play with an outfit worth 10 gp or less.

Class Skills Bluff (Cha), Craft (Int), Disable Device (Dex), Escape Artist (Dex), Knowledge (all) (Int), Perception (Wis), Profession (Wis), Spellcraft (Int), and Use Magic Device (Cha)
Skills: 4 + Intelligence Modifier per level

1st+0+2+2+2Harrow, Spellbane Specialty
2nd+1+3+3+3Canny Harrier, Countermeasures (1)
3rd+2+3+3+3Advanced Planning
4th+3+4+4+4Countermeasures (2)
6th+4+5+5+5Countermeasures (3)
7th+5+5+5+5Reverse Engineer
8th+6/+1+6+6+6Countermeasures (4)
10th+7/+2+7+7+7Countermeasures (5)
11th+8/+3+7+7+7Sudden Disruption
12th+9/+4+8+8+8Countermeasures (6)
14th+10/+5+9+9+9Countermeasures (7)
15th+11/+6/+1+9+9+9Reverse Engineer
16th+12/+7/+2+10+10+10Countermeasures (8)
18th+13/+8/+3+11+11+11Countermeasures (9)
19th+14/+9/+4+11+11+11Harrowing Wound
20th+15/+10/+5+12+12+12Countermeasures (10), Backup Plan

Class Features

The following are the class features of the Harrower.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Harrowers are proficient with simple weaponry and one martial weapon of their choice, chosen at first level. Harrowers are proficient with light armor and shields (but not tower shields).

Harrower’s Manual: While a Harrower may not be the largest or strongest of combatants, he or she does his or her research when it comes to facing down the supernatural. The Harrower can read magical texts as if affected by Read Magic and possesses a manual filled with notes on specific spells and supernatural creatures. At 1st level, this manual may contain a number of spells and/or creatures equal to 8 + (2 x your intelligence modifier). At each subsequent level, you may add an additional 4 creatures and/or spells free of cost. No creature recorded in this way can have more than 2 HD/class level and no spell may have a spell level higher than half of your class level (rounded up).

Much like a wizard’s spellbook, you may transcribe spells from scrolls, spellbooks, and the manuals of other Harrowers into your manual through the Spellcraft skill. The descriptions of spells in these manuals are incomplete, however, and cannot be transcribed into spellbooks. Unlike spellbooks, you may transcribe divine and psychic spells into your manual. Further, you may include descriptions of creatures. Doing so follows a similar process, save that you require an appropriate Knowledge check or a Heal check (DC 15 + 1/2 Racial HD). If making a heal check, you must have access to another Harrower’s Manual or to a mostly intact corpse of the species to be included.

As long as you spend one hour reading their manual each day, wear light or no armor, and carry no more than a light load, you may add your Intelligence modifier as an insight bonus to your AC and Saving Throws against spells from your manual and against the spell-like and supernatural racial abilities of creatures in your manual.

Spellbane Specialty: While all Harrowers exceed in facing magical and supernatural foes, each harrower approaches these foes in a slightly different way. At 1st level, you may choose two specific Spellbane Specialties. Each specialty grants a class skill, a class feature at 1st level, and improved benefits with a number of countermeasures (see below). Once you have selected your spellbane specialties, you may not change them through any means.

Harrow: Fighting gifted mages and supernatural beasts, harming an opponent is often a secondary concern. A Harrower fights primarily to disrupt opponents and keep them off-center, preventing them from using their most destructive abilities.

Once per round, you may choose to harrow creature a creature for 1 round as a free action. You must be aware of the target and have a line of effect with it. If its race is included in your manual, you add half of your class level as an insight bonus on attack rolls and combat maneuver checks against it. Either way, you gain additional benefits against the target depending on your level, as listed below.

At 1st level, you gain the benefits of the step up feat against the target. When you use this ability, choose a number of spells from your manual up to your intelligence modifier. If the target can see or hear you, it is unable to cast those spells (it is aware of the restriction) as you provide constant distraction and targeted interference.

At 5th level, you may select a descriptor of subschool when you use this ability (in addition to individual spells) to disrupt all spells within it. Spell-like abilities imitating selected spells cannot be cast. You gain the benefits of the disruptive feat against the target and ignore any magical miss chance that it may receive from selected spell effects.

At 9th level, you may select a school of magic when you use this ability (in addition to individual spells and a descriptor or subschool) to disrupt all spells within it. You gain the benefits of the spellbreaker feat against the target and ignore any bonuses to AC that it may receive from selected spell effects.

At 13th level, you may select an additional subschool or descriptor to disrupt. Supernatural abilities imitating selected spells cannot be activated. You gain the benefits of the teleport tactician feat against the target and ignore any damage reduction that it may receive from selected spell effects.

At 17th level, you may select an additional school of magic to disrupt and double the amount of individual spells you select (minimum 2). Your attacks may ignore any selected non-instantaneous spell effects (wall of force, wind wall, etc.) between you and the target.

You may use this class feature a number of times each day equal to your Intelligence modifier plus twice your Harrower class level. Temporary increases to Intelligence, such as that gained from Fox’s Cunning, do not increase the total number of times that you can use this ability each day. Daily uses of harrow are renewed after resting for 8 hours, although these hours need not be consecutive.

Canny Harrier: Starting as 2nd level, you increase the number of attacks of opportunity you can make each round by your Intelligence modifier. This ability counts as the combat reflexes feat for the purpose of meeting prerequisites. At will, you may spend a swift action to grant yourself the benefits of the standstill feat for one round.

Countermeasures: Starting at 2nd level, a Harrower learns how to deal with a broad variety of magical and supernatural obstacles. Through physical and mental conditioning, careful forethought, and careful alchemical treatments, you can temporarily prepare a number of countermeasures.

Whenever you study your Harrower’s Manual for the day, you set up a number of extraordinary countermeasures to help protect you. As an immediate action, you may reveal one of your countermeasures, having retroactively prepared for your current needs. The countermeasure remains active until you next prepare countermeasures. Each day that you study your manual, you may reveal a number of countermeasures up to half of your class level (round down).

Advance Planning: Only a fool fights mystical beings without proper research and precautions. Starting at 3rd level, you may spend up to 8 hours each day formulating plans and strategies to fight against a single individual. For each hour you spend preparing, you may choose a single descriptor or subschool. You instantly learn all spell-like abilities, spells prepared (for that day), and spells known (if the target is a spontaneous caster) that the target possesses of the chosen subschool or descriptor.

As this ability relies largely on deduction, guesswork, and profiling, it is far from perfect. For each descriptor or subschool, the chance of getting an accurate answer is 70% + 1%/class level. As with augury, this roll is made secretly. If you would gain bad information, you learn that the target has no spells of the chosen subschool or descriptor. New information on a target can only be revealed on subsequent days if the target’s prepared spells, spells known, or spell-like abilities have changed since the last time you checked.

Reverse Engineer: While a Harrower has no particular aptitude for spellcraft, there are still times when magical means are required. By exploiting the tools spellcasters create, you can emulate a few of their specific talents. Starting at 7th level, you may choose to gain the benefits of one of the following feats for 24 hours whenever you study your Harrower’s Manual for the day: Ability Mastery, Compulsion mastery, Concealment Mastery, Curse Mastery, Dispel Mastery, Energy Mastery, Flight mastery, Force Shield Mastery, Illusion Mastery, Resistance Mastery, Restoration Mastery, Telekinetic Mastery, Teleportation Mastery, Vision Mastery, or Weapon Evoker Mastery.

For the purpose of this feat, you may treat your Harrower Level as your Base Attack Bonus and ranks in Use Magic Device (unless one or both of those values are otherwise higher). Further, you may spend four daily uses of harrow to activate this feat without using one of its daily uses. Starting at 15th level, you may select two of these feats whenever you study your Harrower’s Manual for the day.

Sudden Disruption: While a Harrower lacks spellcasting, they are gifted at distracting opponents and ruining their focus. Starting at 11th level, you may perform a similar action to a counterspell. As a standard action, you may ready an action to disrupt any opponent that you can see and who can see and/or hear you.

The next time that the target attempts to activate a supernatural ability, use a spell-like ability, or cast a spell within the next round, you may make a special spellcraft check (DC = 15 + target’s HD). If you succeed, you may spend two daily uses of harrow to have the target’s action (as well as any daily uses or spell slots) harmlessly wasted as your distraction succeeds. If you successfully use this ability, you must wait 1d4 rounds before using it against as you struggle to recover from the effort.

Harrowing Wound: While a Harrower can actively fight to prevent spellcaster’s from working their craft, their greatest talent is leaving lasting injuries that render spellcasters incapable of using their skills for a short time. Starting at 19th level, you may pay three daily uses of harrow as a free action before making any attack against the target of your harrow class feature. If you hit and deal the target any damage, it becomes incapable of casting any spells, using spell-like abilities, or activating supernatural abilities for 1d4+1 rounds.

Backup Plan: Starting at 20th level, you learn how to respond to challenges as they emerge. You may spend five daily uses of harrow as a move action to switch one of your countermeasures with another for the remainder of the day.

Realms of Chaos
2016-07-30, 06:37 PM
Spellbane Specialties

Iron Mind
Class Skill: Sense Motive
Stubborn Mind: Sense Motive checks made to get a hunch about you take a -5 penalty. You consider all lies made through bluff checks as being one step less believable. Magical and Supernatural bonuses to Bluff, Diplomacy, and Intimidate checks do not apply against you.


Careful use of autohypnosis has granted you deeper insights into your own mind, allowing you to create a new identity or control your own thoughts.
Benefits: You create a temporary alternate personality for yourself. This imitates the Dual Identity class feature of the Vigilante, save that a new identity is created each time this ability is chosen. Magical and supernatural effects can only access your thoughts, desires, and/or anxieties if the user succeeds on a caster level check (DC 15 + your class level). Your memories cannot be altered by any magical or supernatural means.
Specialty: Any creature attempting to read your surface thoughts, desires, or anxieties through magical or supernatural means receives false input of your choice, which you may change as a swift action. Your alignment cannot be changed against your will by any magical or supernatural means.

Cunning Paranoia:
A career spent in the pursuit of the unnatural allows you to spot discrepancies (internal and external) that others would miss… assuming that your focus isn’t split between too many other countermeasures.
Benefits: You can instinctively sense when you are being actively watched (whether by magical or mundane means) and gain a bonus to saves against emotion effects equal to half of your class level. You are automatically entitled to sense motive check when you see a creature under mental influence, to a perception check whenever you see a disguised creature, and to a Will save against any figment or glamer effect you sense that can be disbelieved.
Specialty: You gain immunity to the confused and fascinated conditions. The bonus to saves against emotion applies to saves against phantasms. Whenever you make a successful Will save against an effect that would normally have a partial effect with a successful save, you suffer from no effects instead (other creatures are still affected normally).

Hardened Mind:
Meditation has hardened your mind against the influence of others. Whether through fear or magical compulsion, other have difficulty guiding your actions.
Benefits: You gain immunity to fear effects. Opposed charisma checks made against you while you are charmed take a -5 penalty. As a free action, you can deal yourself 1d4 damage and stun yourself for one round. You may use this last ability even while under charm or compulsion effects.
Specialty: You gain immunity to charm effects. Whenever you fail a saving throw against a mind-effecting effect with a duration other than instantaneous, you may make another save against the same DC one round later to end it prematurely.

Sensory Control:
Attaining true sensory control has taken a lifetime to master and near constant-focus to maintain. When exposed to dangerous sights and sounds, however, this talent is worth the effort.
Benefits: You may blind and/or deafen yourself for up to 5 rounds as a swift action. You gain the benefits of the blind-fight feat and take no penalty to Perception checks while sleeping. Whenever reading or looking at a spell effect would trigger it (such as Explosive Runes or Symbol of Death), there is a 50% chance that you look away before it can be triggered (unless you wish for it to be triggered).
Specialty: You may spend an immediate action to blind and/or deafen yourself instead of spending a swift action. You never risk accidentally triggering spell effects that would trigger due to visual examination. You gain a +5 bonus to saves against effects that operate off of pain or bad odors.

Class Skills: Climb
Armored Harrower: You gain additional hit points equal to your class level. You gain proficiency in medium armor and add your normal insight bonus to AC and Saving Throws against creatures and spells in your manual while wearing medium armor.


Uncanny Reflexes:
A specialized course of drills and stretches, too advanced for most creatures to benefit, heightens your reflexes to catlike levels.
Benefits: You gain a +1 bonus to Initiative Rolls and to Reflex saves against area effects, +1 for every four class levels you possess. You may always act in surprise rounds. Finally, you can use your harrow class feature at the start of any surprise round, gaining its benefits instantly.
Specialty: You gain a +1 dodge bonus to AC against attacks made using spells or other magical or supernatural abilities, +1 for every four class levels you possess. Whenever you make a successful Reflex save against an effect that would normally deal half damage with a successful save, you take no damage instead (other creatures are still affected normally).

Tough Resilience:
Grueling and painful conditioning (possibly aided with alchemical supplements) hardens your body against the body and promotes natural healing.
Benefits: When you reveal this countermeasure, you gain acid, cold, electricity, fire, or sonic resistance equal to your class level (your choice). You heal naturally at four times the normal rate and add half of your class level as a bonus to all rolls that would benefit from the endurance feat.
Specialty: The energy resistance is doubled and applies against an additional form of energy of your choice. Whenever you make a Fortitude save against an effect that normally possesses a partial effect with a successful save, you suffer no effect instead (other creatures are still affected normally).

Necrotic Resistance:
While not formally trained in the use of ki, you can strengthen the flow of positive energy through your body through restful meditation and herbal supplements.
Benefits:You gain a bonus on saves against disease and curse effects equal to half of your class level. All ability damage you would suffer to any ability score is reduced by 2 points (to a minimum of 0 points). Whenever you fail a saving throw against a death effect, you may choose to halve your current hit points instead of suffering its effects.
Specialty: You are immune to magical and supernatural sources of fatigue and exhaustion. The reduction to ability score damage increases by +1/four class levels and applies to ability drain and magical or supernatural penalties to ability scores. You ignore all penalties from negative levels (you still perish if your negative levels exceed your hit dice).

By disregarding more complicated countermeasures, you can maintain greater bodily awareness and maintain a firm and unflinching stance.
Benefits:You may roll 2d20 and take the higher result when making a saving throw against polymorph and teleportation effects. You gain a +8 bonus to your CMD against trip, bull rush, drag, overrun, and reposition maneuvers. You are immune to the nauseated, dazed, and staggered conditions.
Specialty: Whenever a spell or effect without the teleportation or compulsion subschool forces you to move (such as telekinesis, strong winds, or a bull rush maneuver), you may reduce the movement by up to 10 feet (minimum 0 ft.). You cannot be knocked prone. If you are paralyzed or stunned, the effect ends after 1 round if it would otherwise last longer.

Boons Forsaken
Class Skills: Intimidate
Undermine Efforts: Creatures cannot take 10 or 20 on skill checks made against you and may not reroll attack rolls or skill checks made against you. All magical and supernatural bonuses added to opposed skill checks made against you are reduced by 2 (minimum +0).


Break Morale:
When you work yourself into the proper state of mind, you become a terrifying and disheartening foe, capable of shaking even the most stalwart of hearts.
Benefits: Enemies possessing a line of sight with you lose all morale bonuses. Creatures you demoralize with the intimidate skill lose all temporary hit points and do not benefit from any additional attacks or extra actions that magical or supernatural items or abilities would grant them. You may demoralize non-mindless creatures with immunity to fear effects if their race (if naturally immune to fear) or the spell used to gain immunity is in your manual.
Specialty: Morale bonuses become penalties of equal size instead of being negated. Creatures suffering these penalties cannot provide flanking, use the aid another option, or benefit from teamwork feats. Creatures you demoralize with the intimidate skill benefit from no magical or supernatural bonuses to attack rolls, combat maneuver checks, saving throws, or skill checks.

Draw Them In
Specialized combat training has readied you to engage with creatures at extreme ranges, dodging spells cast from afar and disrupting even magical flight through force of impact.
Benefits: You gain a 50% miss chance and +10 bonus on saves against magical and supernatural attacks used by creatures over 100 feet away (even if they later approach). The surface of water does not provide cover against ranged attacks you make. When you make a successful attack against a flying creature, that creature is treated as having had a mid-air collision (see the fly skill) if its race (if naturally capable of flight) or the spell used for flight (even if it is not flying with wings) is in your manual.
Specialty: Magical and Supernatural attacks used by creatures over 400 feet away always miss you (if they require attack rolls) and you always succeed on saving throws against such effects. Creatures you hit with successful attacks take a penalty on Fly checks equal to half of your class level for 1 round.

Pick Discrepancy
While it requires a good deal of practice and focus, you can pick out odd quirks in the ways shapechangers move and exploit their relative unfamiliarity with their new form.
Benefits: You automatically recognize creatures benefiting from polymorph effects (including those using the change shape racial feature) that you possess a line of sight with. Against you, such creatures ignore any bonuses that their new form would grant to attack rolls or combat maneuver checks. Against you, creatures whose size categories have been magically or supernaturally altered lose all benefits of their new size category (such as reach or bonuses to stealth or intimidate checks).
Specialty: Against creatures not in their native form, you ignore any bonuses that their new form would grant to AC or CMD. You automatically succeed on all saving throws against extraordinary and supernatural special attacks granted by polymorph effects.

Unpredictable Antics
True unpredictability is a delicate art, requiring constant mental vigilance to avoid acting as most other creatures would expect. Even the heuristics that most spells operate on fail to predict you.
Benefits: Insight, Competence, and Luck bonuses that creatures possess no longer apply against you or your attacks. Any standard action performed by creatures with insight, competence, and/or luck bonuses provokes an attack of opportunity from you. Actions you take never risk setting off readied actions or contingency effects.
Specialty: Your presence and actions while using this countermeasure are never predicted by magical and supernatural effects that look into the future. Creatures may not take immediate actions during your turn.

Legion Breaker
Class Skill: Stealth
Through the Crowd: You gain the benefits of the mobility feat and can move through squares occupied by other creatures without difficulty, though such movement may still provoke attacks of opportunity from creatures you push past.


Break the Bond:
Many practitioners of magical arts are mystically bound to some manner of entity. While this bond frequently allows for a flow of magic and emotions, you have practiced techniques that can use this bond to transmit pain and agony.
Benefits: Whenever you successfully attack a creature gained through class features (such as a familiar or eidolon), its master suffers half as much damage and cannot cast spells or spell-like abilities for 1 round without making a successful Concentration check (DC 15 + damage suffered). Whenever you successfully attack a creature or one or more such entities, each of those creatures suffer half as much damage, are staggered for 1 round, and lose all special abilities (but not evolutions, hit dice, ability score bonuses, or feats) gained from its master’s level for one minute.
Specialty: Whenever you slay a creature gained through class features, it’s master suffers one negative level that cannot be removed until the entity is replaced or revived. You gain a +2 dodge bonus to AC against the attacks made from such entities, +1/four class levels.

Dimensional Awareness
An extensive refresher course on planar creatures and connections grants you the insights that you require to deal with teleportation and extraplanar threats.
Benefits: You may add half of your class level as a competence bonus to your AC against all summoned and/or extraplanar creatures. If a creature was called, summoned, or teleported to the current plane of existence by a spell in your manual within the past 24 hours, you benefit as if its race was in your manual. Whenever an attack is made against you through a magical or supernatural portal, the attacker is treated as extraplanar and must roll 2d20 and take the lower result.
Specialty: All attacks made against you through magical or supernatural portals automatically miss you, as do attacks made by creatures who have teleported within the past round. Whenever you succeed on an attack against an extraplanar creature that has occupied the current plane for less than an hour, its ties to the current plane are cut as it returns to its plane of origin.

Face the Mindless:
You take time to study the heuristic patterns guiding the actions of unintelligent constructs and undead, refreshing your memory so you can exploiting small flaws.
Benefits: As long as you move at no more than half speed and take no aggressive actions, unintelligent undead and constructs will not attack you unless specifically ordered to do. If a creature is constructed or reanimated using one or more spells in your manual, you benefit as if its race were in your manual. Whenever a mindless creature misses you with an attack roll, all other creatures of the same race (or the same template, in the case of zombies and skeletons) automatically fail on all attack rolls against you for 1 round as you momentarily get a hold of predictable attack patterns.
Specialty: Intelligent undead under magical or supernatural control (such as through Command Undead or Control Undead) count as mindless for the purpose of this countermeasure. As a full-round action, you may make a Use Magic Device check opposed by the Caster level check of a Construct’s controller, taking a penalty equal to the Construct’s HD. If you succeed, the Construct regards you as its creator for 1d4 rounds.

You practice your use of logic and rhetoric, following distinct lines of discourse to help targets realize when they are being mentally influenced. Even if you fail to free them, they may lower their guard for a moment or two.
Benefits: Creatures affected by mind-effecting affects do not provide cover and you suffer no penalty to attack rolls when attacking them for nonlethal damage. As a move action, you may grant an ally who can hear and understand you a new saving throw against a charm or compulsion effect it failed a saving throw against, breaking free if successful. Whenever you make a successful attack against a creature who failed a saving throw against such an effect, it may likewise attempt such a save. Creatures freed from effects through attacks typically start with an attitude of indifferent toward you.
Specialty: You can move through squares occupied by creatures under the effect of charm and/or compulsion effects without penalty (you still provoke attacks of opportunity). Each time you grant a target a saving throw with this countermeasure, it is granted a stacking -1 penalty to attack rolls and +1 bonus to Will saves that last until it next succeeds on a Will save.

Deep Insights:
Class Skill: Diplomacy
Careful Reconnaissance: Whenever you use the diplomacy skill to learn about a creature within a community, you learn a random feat that it has access to if your result exceeds 20. You may ready at action at the start of each encounter (even if there is a surprise round).


Identify Magic:
Active research sharpens your general knowledge of unnatural phenomenon into a near encyclopedic awareness, sharp enough to point out the tell-tale signs possessed by even subtle spells.
Benefits: You automatically recognize all ongoing spell effects from your manual within a 30 foot radius of yourself if you possess a line of sight with the target, area, or resulting effect. You add half of your class level as a bonus on knowledge checks made to discover the defenses, vulnerabilities, and attacks of creatures in your manual and on spellcraft checks made to identify the effects and command words of magic items. You may make these checks untrained.
Specialty: You automatically recognize spell effects from your manual that target any creature you harrow, regardless of the distance between the two of you. You can discern the caster level and remaining duration of any spell effect you recognize through this countermeasure. You may take 10 on any skill check that receives a bonus from this countermeasure, even under stressful conditions.

See the Unseen:
Through sensory deprivation, you have strengthened your senses to pierce through magical obstruction and detect unseen creatures.
Benefits: As long as you can hear, you can pinpoint the location of invisible creatures you possess a line of effect with. Whenever you pass within 30 feet of an ethereal creature, a secret Intelligence check (DC 20) is made on your behalf to sense that something is off. You can see up to 30 feet clearly through magical fog and darkness, ignoring all concealment granted within this range.
Specialty: You gain blindsight out to 5 feet, +5 feet/5 class levels. You are treated as seeing all invisible creatures you possess a line of effect with as long as you can still hear. You gain a +5 bonus on Intelligence checks to detect the presence of ethereal creatures and you can see through magical fog and darkness out to 60 feet.

Spell Signature:
Careful study of common spell effects allows you to pick up on individual variations in spellcraft. You can exploit the shortcomings in the spell signatures of casters to better resist their magic.
Benefits: As a full-round action, you may examine a magical object or magical phenomenon (such as a Prismatic wall or Tiny Hut) to memorize the magical signature of its caster. You gain Spell Resistance 12 + class level against the caster’s spells and magic items the caster crafts. Further, you may recognize the signature when it is found on other objects and phenomena. You lose the spell resistance when you replace this countermeasure but it returns the next time that it is revealed.
Specialty: Whenever you are targeted by a spell, you may study its caster’s signature as a free action. If you have already studied its signature, you instead gain a permanent +5 bonus to your AC and to saving throws against that spell when it is used by that caster. This bonus does not apply against the original casting and does not stack with itself.

Uncanny Hunch:
After years of hunting after the supernatural, you have a knack for noting the presence of magic. While the talent comes and goes, you can sometimes escape traps or notice dweomers.
Benefits:You are automatically entitled to a perception check whenever you pass within 30 feet of a magical trap and add half of your class level as a bonus to these perception checks. As a swift action, you can learn how many magical auras exist within a 120-foot radius of yourself (but not the strength, location or school of these auras). The first time each encounter that you use your harrow class feature, you learn 1d4 random spells, spell-like abilities, and/or supernatural abilities that the target has access to and that you did not obstruct.
Specialty: You may use the disable device or use magic device skill (your choice) to disable magical traps and apply the bonus from this countermeasure to these checks. When you spend a swift action to detect auras, you detect them within 240 feet and detect the strength of the strongest aura in the area.

Inexorable Demise:
Class Skill: Heal
Dangerous Wounds: Whenever you score a successful critical hit against a creature, you leave a distinctive and debilitating wound upon that creature. The target is sickened for 1 round and takes a -5 penalty on all disguise checks until subjected to regenerate or more powerful curative magic.


Crucial Breach:
While foes reveal small gaps in their defenses with each strike against them, only careful practice allows you to widen or exploit these gaps.
Benefits: Whenever you successfully attack a creature or deal damage to a grapple creature, all immunities that creature has gained through supernatural or magical means are suppressed for one round. Your attacks ignore the armor, shield, and natural armor bonuses of targets who have been successfully attacked at least twice within the past round.
Specialty: Whenever you suppress immunities with this countermeasure, they remain suppressed for 1d4+1 rounds (instead of one round). Further, such creatures lose all forms of energy resistance and bonuses to saving throws gained through magical or supernatural means for an equal duration.

Halt Restoration:
You adopt a fighting style that incorporates a number of opportunistic jabs, gruesome finishes, and vicious blows that overwhelm the target.
Benefits: Any creature that you reduce to 0 or fewer hp with an attack automatically perishes. Any creature that you damage with a natural weapon, unarmed strike, or manufactured weapon loses the benefits of any fast healing it has for 1d4+1 rounds. You may make an attack of opportunity against any creature targeted by a healing spell or spell-like ability. If you hit, the caster of the effect must succeed on a Concentration check as if it had been injured or else the effect fails.
Specialty: If the regeneration of a creature can be suppressed, it is suppressed for 1 round after you damage it with a natural weapon, unarmed attack, or manufactured weapon. Whenever you score a critical hit, you can set the target to heal poorly. If the target heals hit points from an means other than Miracle, Wish, or Regenerate before being treated for deadly wounds (as the heal skill), its Dexterity score is reduced by 4 until it receives one of the aforementioned effects (this effect stacks).

Lingering Death:
You practice dozens of styles for mutilating and desecrating the corpses of fallen foes.
Benefits:You may mutilate an adjacent corpse as a move action, preventing it from being reanimated or revived through effects with a spell level of 6th or lower. You can visually discern whether each body you see within 30 feet is living, dead, undead, or inanimate. Whenever you slay an undead creature that normally returns from death (such as a ghost, lich, or vampire), it takes one additional week before it can return.
Specialty: Against corpses you have mutilated, healing and necromancy effects can only revive or reanimate them if the caster succeeds on a caster level check (DC 15 + your class level). Any creature reduced to 0 or fewer hit points within 10 minutes of being damaged by yourself loses any racial ability that would allow it to return from the grave or that would heal it upon being reduced to 0 or fewer hp.

Sensation of Death:
While quite a few magical effects can transmute sensory information, most are specifically devised to avoid transmitting the sensations of pain and death. Your careful study allows you to bypass these fail-safes, delivering felling blows faster than these spell can terminate.
Benefits: Whenever you damage a body or spell effect that one or more creatures are receiving sensory feedback from, each of those creatures take an equal amount of damage. You can pinpoint scrying sensors with a successful perception checks (DC 15 + caster level). You can attack scrying sensors as if they were incorporeal creatures with AC 15 + spell level and hit points equal to their caster level.
Specialty: The effects of this countermeasure extends to creatures receiving empathic feedback from destroyed bodies and spell effects. Whenever you damage a body or spell effect, other creatures receiving sensory and/or empathic feedback from it must succeed on a Concentration check (DC 15 + Damage dealt) to dismiss spell effects for 1 round.

Broken Toys:
Class Skills: Appraise
Identify Gear: You add half of your class level as a bonus to damage rolls against inanimate objects. Once per encounter, as a standard action, you may identify the effects of the most valuable item visibly worn by a creature you possess line of sight with, gaining information as though you had succeeded on a spellcraft check.


Exposed Combatant:
Against most creatures, the enhancements placed on weaponry and armor are indistinguishable from natural battle prowess. Your careful inquiry into the function of these items, however, reveals a number of idiosyncrasies you can exploit.
Benefits: Enhancement bonuses on armor and/or shields do not apply against your attacks. Enhancement bonuses on weapons do not apply on attack rolls against you. Halve all hit point damage that would be deal to you through the special properties of magical weapons, armor, an shields (such as through the flaming and vicious)
Specialty: Whenever you successfully sunder a non-artifact weapon, shield, or suit of armor, it loses all special qualities until it is fully repaired. You may add half of your class level as a bonus to saving throws against the special properties of magical weapons, armor, and shields (such as blinding).

Mystic Waste:
While magical items may carry extensive power, most require activation from fallible users. While the timing required to halt these users is punishingly precise, you have had plenty of practice.
Benefits: Activating a command word or spell trigger item provokes attacks of opportunity from you. Creatures threatened by you require full-round actions to use spell completion items (unless they would otherwise require more time). Whenever the target of your harrow class feature spends one or more charges from a magic item, you force them to drain an additional charge with no effect.
Specialty: Creatures you threaten cannot activate spell completion items and require a full-round action to activate command word or spell trigger items. The target of your harrow class feature is forced to waste an additional charge when using an effect that drains one or more charges form a magic item.

Just as harrowers learn to coax magical effects from magic items, so too can they coax alternate uses from items they come across.
You may ignore the negative effects of cursed items on your person. You may use spell completion items to perform counterspells, treating all spells in your manual as being on your spell list for the purpose of activating them in this way. As a standard action, you can overload and throw a single tiny or smaller wondrous item or ring, treating it as a grenadelike weapon with a range increment of 10 feet that deals 1d6 damage/caster level to itself and all creatures within 5 feet of where it lands.
Specialty: You gain the benefits of the improved counterspell feat. Spell completion items you use to perform counterspells have a 50% chance of not being expended. When you detonate a magic item, it never takes more damage than half of its maximum hit points.

Undermine Wards:
While rogues disable supernatural traps, you focus on undermining more overt obstacles. With the right approach, you can infiltrate even the strongest of magical fortresses.
Benefits:Weaponry you wield is treated as adamantine for the purpose of bypassing hardness. You ignore any increases to Break DCs and Hardness gained through magical or supernatural means. As a full-round action, you can create a 5 x 5 foot gap in a magical barrier with a spell level up to half of your class level, lasting for 1d4+1 rounds before fading.
Specialty: Your attacks ignore the damage reduction of constructs. As a full-round action, you may force open an adjacent portal to another plane, demiplane, or extradimensional space for 1d4+1 rounds.

Turn the Tide:
Class Skills: Acrobatics
Battlefield Dervish: Once per round, when you make a full attack, you may move up to half of your speed between any two attacks. You gain the benefits of the wind stance feat.


Choke Point:
When outnumbered on the battlefield, the only things that may keep you alive are skill at arms and strategy. You have spent time going through dozens of combat scenarios in search of optimal tactics.
Benefits: Creatures flanking you do not gain the normal bonus to attack rolls against you and you gain a +2 dodge bonus to AC while threatened by two or more opponents. Once four opponents have attacked you in the course of a single round, you cannot be attacked by other creatures until the end of your next action. As long as you are capable of movement, opponents treat the area you threaten as difficult terrain.
Specialty: The dodge bonus increases to +4 while threatened by four or more opponents. Once two opponents have made successful attacks against you in the course of a single round, you cannot be attacked by other creatures until the end of your next action. You double any benefits that you would gain from cover or concealment (but not total cover or total concealment).

Close the Distance:
You have practiced precise and efficient footwork, allowing you to travel at great speed and avoid most obstacles in your path.
Benefits: You may charge at up to three times your speed on the first round of combat. You gain a +5 foot enhancement bonus to your speed, +5 feet/4 levels. You gain a +4 bonus on Acrobatic checks made to avoid attacks of opportunity and you ignore difficult terrain created by magic.
Specialty: Double the enhancement bonus to your speed and increase the bonus to Acrobatics checks by half of your class level. You are immune to petrification and may ignore magical effects that would entangle, entrap, or slow you down (such as Web, Entangle, or Solid Fog).

One-Man Army
A delicately-balanced alchemical concoction has slowed your perception of time, allowing you respond to numerous foes with apparent ease.
Benefits: When you use your harrow class feature, you may spend two or more daily uses to harrow a number of targets up to the number of uses spent + 1 (the same choices apply against each chosen target). Your reach increases by +5 feet for the purpose of making attacks of opportunity against creatures using spells or spell-like abilities. Whenever you make a successful attack of opportunity, you may move 5 feet as a free action that provokes no attacks of opportunity.
Specialty: When using this countermeasure, you may harrow a number of targets up to the number of uses spent + 2. Whenever you make a successful attack of opportunity, you regain one of your spent attacks of opportunity for the round.

Versatile Movement:
Specialized breathing exercises allow you to claim more oxygen with each and every breath, allowing you to perform great acts of athleticism.
Benefits: You gain a +8 bonus on climb and swim checks and can take 10 on climb and swim checks even when under pressure. You can hold your breath for up to 5 rounds per point of Constitution you possess. You are always treated as having a running start when you make an Acrobatics check to jump.
Specialty: You can move at your full speed when climbing and swimming without taking any penalty. You may hold your breath for up to one minute (10 rounds) per point of Constitution you possess. When you make an Acrobatics check to jump, you may add your class level as an insight bonus.

Smite the Monstrous:
Class Skill: Survival
Trophy Hunter: As a full-round action, you may claim a grizzly trophy from any creature you helped slay. As long as you wear that trophy in an appropriate item slot (wearing no other items in that slot), that race of creature is treated as being in your manual. You may use the survival skill to track creatures who leave no trail (whether by flying overhead, burrowing below, or using magic to conceal the trail), taking a -5 penalty to your Survival check as you intuitively piece together the route of your quarry.


Element of Surprise:
The various senses possessed by some monstrous species makes normal stealth nearly impossible. To pass by opponents unseen, you have brushed up on several alternative methods.
Benefits: Whenever you act in a surprise round, you may take a full round of actions. As a full-round action, you can carefully control your heartbeat or motions to render yourself undetectable to tremorsense or lifesense (your choice) for 1 round. You gain the benefits of the dampen presence feat.
Specialty: With 10 minutes of work, you can drown out your scent for 1 hour and leave yourself undetectable to the scent ability. You cannot be tracked unless you choose to leave a trail. Any miss chance you possess from concealment or total concealment increases by +20%.

Feel the Walls:
You have honed improved awareness of your surroundings, allowing you to feel creatures around you. This awareness even allows you to find the weak points of solid barriers (jostling, compacting, or piercing them) at strike at opponents beyond.
Benefits: As long as you are capable of movement, you are never caught flat-footed. You can attack and harrow creatures with total cover (including burrowing and incorporeal creatures hiding beneath surfaces) as long as you can pinpoint their location and no more than 5 feet of matter obstructs the attack (the target of the attack benefits from both cover and total concealment). You gain tremorsense out to a range of 5 feet.
Specialty: The range of your tremorsense is extended to 15 feet. Your attacks ignore cover and creatures benefiting from total cover gain the benefits of concealment (instead of total concealment) when you attack them.

Giant Feller:
You have heightened your startle response, allowing for short bursts of frantic movement that the clumsy motions of larger creatures cannot match.
Benefits: Size penalties to attack rolls and AC are doubled against you and the reach of large and larger creatures is reduced by 5 feet for the purpose of attacking you. You may scale an adjacent creature of a larger size category as a standard action, making a climb check against its CMD. If you succeed, you move with that creature and that creature is treated as flat-footed against your attacks. The target may spend a standard action to throw you off if it succeeds on a Strength check or Escape Artist check against your CMD.
Specialty: All grapple combat maneuvers made against you by large or larger creatures gain a 20% miss chance as you evade the grasp of others. Your movement does not provoke attacks of opportunity from creatures two or more size categories larger than yourself.

Practiced Assailant:
With countless varieties of creatures in the multiverse, it is of little surprise that many require specialized tactics to damage. Your practiced knowledge of monstrous lore has revealed dozens of obscure and forgotten techniques to fight nearly any creature.
Benefits: As a standard action, you may make a single attack roll that deals full damage to any swarm it hits. If you attack with a magical weapon, you additionally ignore the normal miss chance possessed by any incorporeal target. Against your attacks, any racial damage reduction possessed by creatures in your manual is reduced by half of your class level.
Specialty: The reduction to racial damage reduction is increased to your full class level. The benefit this countermeasure applies against swarms and incorporeal creatures applies to all attacks of opportunity you make.

2016-07-30, 07:58 PM
Sensation of Death should allow a save, or should just work like Break the Bond.

In general, a bunch of the Countermeasures need to have some kind of limit on them - Choke Point and Feel The Walls render you entirely immune to sneak attackers, for example. Which, since that tends to be those people's main combat schtick, is kinda problematic.

Realms of Chaos
2016-07-30, 08:13 PM
Sensation of death now transfers damage through bodies and spell effects casters are looking through.

Also, I didn't seeing how Feel the Walls + Choke Point at level 4 was too much worse than the uncanny dodge/improved uncanny dodge of a level 5 barbarian (against level-appropriate threats, it's really the same thing). Even so, I put in text to allow flanking but remove the attack bonus it normally provides.

Are there any other countermeasures out there in particular that require immediate attention?

2016-08-05, 06:39 PM
I rather like this class. It puts one in mind of witchers.

I do note that the specialty for dimensional awareness seems a little on the overpowered side, as there's no restriction as to what you could hit with it. A lucky shot with a bow against a balor could conceivably banish it at first level.

Was this intended to function explicitly against all outsiders, against creatures created with summon monster? Could a Harrower potentially use it to banish themselves from another plane?

Realms of Chaos
2016-08-07, 03:44 PM
I'm of the opinion that the banishing capability of Dimensional Awareness ability is far more limited than it appears.

If your party runs into a random outsider, it is easy enough for a DM to assume that it has been on the current plane for over an hour. Even if a party watches the creature walk out from the aether, the DM can assume that the creature was teleporting (as many outsiders can do at will) instead of shifting planes of existence.

As far as dealing with intended threats, the ability is useful for cancelling summoning and calling effects and for shaking off cross-planar pursuits. While it is true that low-level harrowers can technically dismiss creatures stronger than themselves, the general assumption is that any summoned or called creatures are brought there by even stronger creatures.

While a Harrower 1 might dismiss the CR 18 Nemesis devil called by a pit fiend, for example, all that he really did was dismiss a single magical effect created by the actual (CR 20) threat. Unless you're using DM fiat/obscure rituals to have weak infernal cults call powerful outsiders right as the Harrower arrives, the results of the encounter shouldn't be significantly shifted one way or the other.

If anyone wants to poke out holes in this logic feel free to do so.

2016-08-07, 08:13 PM
Ah, I'd somehow missed the DM fiat potential of that one hour limitation. And the one hour limitation itself, oddly enough. Teaches me to read when tired. I do rather enjoy the potential of this class either way!