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Shimeran
2016-12-01, 09:40 PM
Hi folks. I've been musing over what a caster that's a bit closer to the Dying Earth source material might look like. This started by trimming them down to the much narrow number of spells prepped at a time and expanded into looser limits elsewhere, with less of a strictly daily focus. Below is a first pass for a wizard stand in which should show the rough mechanics I have in mind. Suggestions on this are welcome, including the name. Despite being wizard like, I'd actually be please to have this settle closer to tier 3 than tier 1.

Daphalan Scholar

Daphalan Scholar are students and collectors of arcane texts. Through a cultivated understanding of those texts they can draw on otherworldly forces and entities linked to those texts. Through a strong and flexible mind, they bind those agents to their psyche for service at a time of their choosing.

Role: The grimorist role is largely determined by the spells they've prepared. Beyond their spells, they often act as scholars and sages.

Alignment: Any

Hit Die: d6

Starting Wealth: 2d6 ◊ 10 gp (average 70 gp.) In addition, each character begins play with an outfit worth 10 gp or less.

Class Skills: The scholar's class skills are Appraise (Int), Craft (Int), Fly (Dex), Knowledge (all) (Int), Linguistics (Int), Profession (Wis), and Spellcraft (Int).

Skill Ranks per Level: 2 + Int modifier.



Level
Base Attack Bonus
Fort Save
Ref Save
Will Save
Extra Capacity
Special


1st
+0
+0
+0
+2
0
Spells (4 slots), Cantrips, Tome Finder


2nd
+1
+0
+0
+3
0
Arcane Discovery, Extra Slot


3rd
+1
+1
+1
+3
0
Spell Affinity


4th
+2
+1
+1
+4
0
Arcane Discovery


5th
+2
+1
+1
+4
0
Spell Affinity


6th
+3
+2
+2
+5
1
Arcane Discovery


7th
+3
+2
+2
+5
1
Spell Affinity


8th
+4
+2
+2
+6
2
Arcane Discovery


9th
+4
+3
+3
+6
2
Spell Affinity


10th
+5
+3
+3
+7
3
Extra Slot, Arcane Discovery


11th
+5
+3
+3
+7
3
Spell Affinity


12th
+6/+1
+4
+4
+8
4
Arcane Discovery


13th
+6/+1
+4
+4
+8
4
Spell Affinity


14th
+7/+2
+4
+4
+9
5
Arcane Discovery


15th
+7/+2
+5
+5
+9
5
Spell Affinity


16th
+8/+3
+5
+5
+10
6
Arcane Discovery


17th
+8/+3
+5
+5
+10
6
Spell Affinity


18th
+9/+4
+6
+6
+11
7
Arcane Discovery


19th
+9/+4
+6
+6
+11
7
Spell Affinity


20th
+10/+5
+6
+6
+12
8
Arcane Discovery



Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Scholars are proficient with all simple weapons, but not with any type of armor or shield.

Spells: You gain 4 elastic spell slots at 1st level. Unlike other spell slots, the level of each slot is based on the level of spell prepared in them, with empty slots being level 0. Any effects that change the level of slot used by a spell adjust this level accordingly. For purposes of determining the highest level spells you can prepare, count these slots as having a level equal to half your caster level. Each level taken in this class adds 1 to your caster level.

Despite their flexibility, here is a limit to how much you can safely store in these slots. For each point the total level of all such slots exceeds your caster level plus the lower of your caster level or intelligence modifier, you take a point of mental strain. Treat this strain as wisdom damage for purposes of determining penalties. You are confused while your mental strain + wisdom damage exceeds your wisdom score. Creatures immune to wisdom damage or confusion can not prepare spells that would put them over this limit. You recover from strain as if were wisdom damage, but can not heal strain while over your slot level limit.

You can prepare wizard spells into these slots by studying those spells from arcane magical writings you have deciphered. For every 20 minutes spent doing so, you can prepare up to your caster level in slot levels, with few levels taking proportionally less time. Cantrips count as Ĺ level for this purpose. At the DMís discretion, additional time may be required in distracting circumstances. You can only hold a single copy of a given spell among all such spell slots.

Preparing any spell whose level is greater than a quarter your caster level inflicts a type of mental fatigue. While under that effect, you take a -2 penalty to intelligence, wisdom, and caster level checks. This form of mental fatigue can be removed with an hour of complete rest.

Each time you cast a spell from these slots, make a caster level check against a DC equal to twice the slotís level. On a success, the spell takes effect with a save DC of 10 + spell level + intelligence modifier. On a failure, the spell is lost and you suffer a mishap as if a Scroll Mishap was triggered for the spell. In either case, you take a penalty to such checks equal to the slotís level for 1 round as the last remnants of the spell interfere with further casting.

You can apply metamagic feats to spells from these slots when you cast them, taking extra time as if the spell was cast spontaneously.

Cantrips: At 1st level, select 1 cantrip from the wizard spell list for every 3 point of your intelligence score. You master that cantrip and can prepare it without a spellbook as per the Spell Mastery feat.

Extra Slot: At 2nd and 10th level, you gain an additional elastic spell slot.

Extra Capacity: At 6th level and every 2 levels after that the total spell slot levels you can safely hold increases by 1.

Arcane Discovery: At every even level, you may select an Arcane Discovery from the wizardís list. Alternately, you may gain an item creation, metamagic, or spell mastery feat. You may count your class level as wizard levels for the purpose of that selection.

Spell Affinity: At 3rd level and every 2 levels after that, choose one of the following effects and one spell you have deciphered and can prepare. The chosen spell can not have a level higher than half your caster level.

Charge Conservation: When a magic item lets you spend charges to use the chosen spell, you can use the spell without expending those charges. You can do this a number of times per day equal to your caster level divided by the spellís level. If this would give you 5 or more uses per day, you can use this ability once per round.
Ritual Casting: You can cast the chosen spell without preparing it first. However, doing so increases the casting time to a minimum of 15 minutes. When you chose the spell, the DM will set an additional component that must be used to cast the spell this way. If you require magical writings to prepare the spell, you must read from those writings during the ritual. At the rituals conclusion make a caster level check as if casting from an elastic spell slot.
Spell Retention: When you make a caster level check to cast the selected spell from a elastic spell slot, the spell is not expended if the roll is higher than 5 times the slotís level.


Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Grimoirists are proficient with all simple weapons, but not with any type of armor or shield. Note that arcane spells with somatic components risk failure if cast in armor.

Spells: Grimoirists can prepare wizard spells from any spellbook they have deciphered. They can prepare one spell for every 3 points of intelligence they have. To prepare a spell, the grimoirist must have available spell capacity equal to the spell's level. A grimoirist's maximum spell capacity is equal to their class level plus half their caster level. (Grimoirists are considered full casters, with each level in the class adding 1 to their caster level.)

Actually preparing each spell involves reading the spell's text for at least 5 minutes per spell level. (Treat cantrips as Ĺ level for this purpose.) The caster is fascinated by the text until this process is completed or interrupted. This distracting environments may require additional time or extra steps until the process can begin. Once completed, the spell is prepared, tying up spell capacity equal to it's level. You can not prepare multiple copies of the same spell through this method. Each such prepared spell has a save DC equal to 10 + it's level + the grimoirist's intelligence modifier.

Spells prepared this way are not without their risks. Each time these prepared spells are cast, make a caster level check against a DC equal to twice the spell's level. On a failure, the spell is lost and you suffer a mishap as if a ďScroll MishapĒ was triggered for the spell.

Even without mishaps, casting has it's costs. The surge of arcane power is disorienting enough to increase the DC of casting mishap checks for 1 round. It's also draining enough to temporarily exhaust spell capacity equal to the spell's level. Exhausted spell capacity becomes available again after 8 hours of complete rest.

Grimoirists use metamagic on the fly like sorcerers, complete with extended casting times. Doing so exhausts spells capacity equal to the feat's level adjustment and raises the spell's level for the purpose of mishap checks. If enough unused spell capacity is not available, the metamagic feat can not be used.

Any effects that would normally modify spell slots instead apply to the grimoirist's spell capacity. Anything that references the maximum spell level they can cast should use half their caster level, rounded up, as that's the highest level spell they can cast without risking mishaps under normal circumstances.

Cantrips: At 1st level, a grimorist masters a number of wizard cantrips equal to one more than the number of spells they can prepare. As per spell mastery, these spells can be prepared without needing a spellbook.

Tome Finder: Grimoirists have a knack for acquiring arcane texts. At 1st level, they gain a pool of points equal to 4 * (caster level + charisma score). Every level after that adds 3 * caster level * class level + charisma score to that pool. Points can be spent from this pool to reduce the cost of acquiring books and arcane magical writings or copying spells at a rate of 1 gp per point spent. This can be used by to justify lucky breaks where the player just happens to find one of those items. In those cases, the DM and player should work together on the item as the DM decides what's available but the player can skip finding the item if they're not willing to pay for it.

Bonus Feats: Grimoirists gain a bonus feat every even class level. These may be metamagic feats or item creation feats. They also qualify for spell mastery and arcane discoveries as if they were a wizard and can take either of those in place of their bonus feats.

Swift Study: At 3rd level, reduce the time to prepare spells using this class' approach to 4 minutes per spell level. This improves to 3 minutes per spell level at 5th level, 2 minutes per spell level at 7th level, and 1 minute per spell level at 11th level.

Casting Resilience: At 5th level, reduce the amount to spell capacity exhausted when casting a spell by 1. This reduction improves by 1 every 5 levels.

ImperatorV
2016-12-01, 11:18 PM
An interesting idea, but I feel this class is very weak prior to level 5.

Level 4: You get six first level spells per day. Or three second level spells. Unless you're cheesing out the best encounter-enders you can find, you are going to run out, and run out early. Five-minute adventuring day is a huge problem and will likely frustrate your party and/or DM.

Level 5: You have effectively infinite 1st level spells, or seven 2nd level spells, or three 3rd level spells, or a mix. With a decent amount of planning you can have endless first level spells, and have a few higher level spells for tough encounters. Five-minute adventuring day is no longer an issue, and in fact on particularly long days you may outperform wizards.

See the problem here? This class is a decent tier 2-3, but only once it hits level 5. Before that it kind of sucks. I mean, at level one you have one 1st level spell. One. That would be immensely frustrating to play, especially since full casters are at their weakest at early levels anyway. I'll get back to you on a potential solution, I'd need to do maths to come up with something balanced.

Also, at higher levels this class will want to re-prepare spells after every encounter, and even with swift study will end up needing a half-hour after each fight to be ready for the next. I'd recommend having swift study continue to scale a bit, at least to 30 seconds per spell level.

Shimeran
2016-12-02, 05:55 PM
Good points. In an earlier pass, I had full preparation be mentally taxing enough you'd only want to do it right before resting. I may have that replace capacity loss on casting. It's a better match to the source material anyway.

One tricky part is figuring out what to use to reflect that mental drain. Fatigue spring to mind, though I'd need to keep an eye on immunity and easy removal. Intelligence damage could also work, though I'd need to hack in removing it all in a single rest. A custom condition is possible, though doing that would mean extra rules.

From there, I'd have lower level spells ignore that cost. I'd like to have that scale at a predictable rate, but that might need to be worked out on a level by level basis. I'm reluctant to take 1st level spells of the daily schedule at 1st level as then you'd see things like spamming sleep every fight. Maybe a better option is to bump up starting spell capacity and take of the daily limits on 1st level spells after 2nd level spells come online. Using 1/3rd caster level for the maximum easy prep spell level does that, though it also lets them easy prep 6th level spells by 18th level. That might be a bit too strong, through I'd welcome a second opinion on that. For damage spells, that does weight in at 15 damage die every encounter, and they can sustain that kind of output for 4 rounds, so it's likely too strong.

As for continuing the swift study progression, that does sound like a good idea. Switching from minutes to rounds per spell level would do the trick. Casual prep is a bit boon for adventuring, though it does change the feel a bit. I may do some tinkering so the speed up affects the easy prep spell levels more.

Shimeran
2016-12-03, 09:21 AM
Alright. I think I found a good lead in the afflictions section (http://www.d20pfsrd.com/gamemastering/afflictions), specifically the mental disease track from Pathfinder Unchained.

Here's what I'm thinking for the spells feature rewrite:

Spells: Grimoirists can prepare wizard spells from any spellbook they have deciphered. Preparing spells this way involves reading the spell's text for at least 5 minutes per spell level. (Treat cantrips as Ĺ level for this purpose.) The caster is fascinated by the text until this process is completed or interrupted. This distracting environments may require additional time or extra steps until the process can begin. You can not prepare a spell if you already have a copy of that spell prepared or if the number of spells prepared equals or exceeds one third your intelligence score.

Binding spells to your mind this way puts a strain on your psyche. Each time you prepare a spell, progress one step on the mental disease track. Progress an additional step if the spell's level exceeds half your intelligence score. You may recover by one step for every 2 hours of complete rest provided the total spell levels you have prepared does not exceed your class level plus half your caster level. Despite the track name, effects that cure disease do not remove this affliction.

Casting these spells is not without it's risks. Each time you cast one of these spells, make a caster level check against a DC equal to twice the spell's level. If your have more spells prepared than you're allowed (likely due to ability damage), raise the DC by 2 for each spell over that limit. On a success, you cast the spell with a save DC of 10 + spell level + intelligence modifier. On a failure, the spell is lost and you suffer a mishap as if a ďScroll MishapĒ was triggered for the spell. In either case, the DC of such checks raises by the spell's level for 1 round as the traces of the spell fade from your consciousness.

Grimoirists use metamagic on the fly like sorcerers, complete with extended casting times. Anything that makes a spell use a higher level slot increases it's level for the purposes of spell preparation and mishap checks. If this modification pushes their total spell levels prepared past where mental recovery is possible, they progress one step on the mental disease track.

Any effects that grant a spell slot lets the character prepare a spell of the slot's level or lower without any mental disease progression. Spells prepared in a slot also don't count toward your total for the purposed of determining if you can recovery from mental disease.

Then we'd switch casting resilience to this:


Arcane Mind: At 1st level, the grimoirist does not gain mental disease for spells whose level is one fifth your class level or lower.

That still gives us some power jumps, but the progression looks pretty solid otherwise. (1st level spells cap at 5 dice of damage, which seems about right for free use each fight.) I was thinking of adding this next feature anyway, but placing it between the arcane mind thresholds could smooth things a bit.


Preparation Tolerance: At 3rd level, you can reduce mental disease progression from preparing spells by 1 once per day. For every 5 levels after 3rd, you can use this an extra time per day.

Beyond that, I'm thinking of tying at least of some of the preparation speed increases to a chosen subset of spells as that will let characters choose a focus. I also might change the class name to "Spellbinder" or "Daphalan Scholar". Bonus points to those who get the reference in the second name.

ImperatorV
2016-12-03, 02:44 PM
...That, as written, is even worse then the original, unless I'm missing something.

So if you prepare two spells, you're shaken until your next rest, and can't use your highest level of spells. Level 1 is unaffected (you still get exactly one spell, as if you prepare more you can no longer use first level spells). At level 2 you... still get exactly one spell. You gain literally nothing from the level-up. The original at least got two extra first level spells, which isn't much but it's something.

Level three it gets more complicated, I think you can manage two 2nd level spells and one first level spell. That's slightly better then the original, but you also get stuck with decreased DCs and constant shaken effect, so I'd say it's still worse.

Also, at high levels there's no difference between preparing a ninth level spell and a sixth level spell. It gives you the same amount of mental disease progression, and as the mental disease progression sucks you'll want to get the most out of your advances - so there's no reason to ever prepare spells except your highest level available and the low level spells you get without being hit with the disease.

EDIT: You know what, I'm going to take a crack at writing my own mental strain rules in a bit. I have an idea.

EDIT2: Ok here's my suggestion:

Preparing spells causes a Grimoirist to gain an amount of mental strain equal to the spell's level. If a Grimoirist ever has more mental strain then his class level, he becomes fatigued and his intelligence, wisdom, and charisma scores are decreased by two. If a Grimoirist ever has more mental strain then twice his class level, he becomes exhausted and his intelligence, wisdom and charisma scores decrease by another two. If a Grimoirist ever has more mental strain then three times his class level, he can no longer cast spells that would cause mental strain, and casting any spell at all forces him to make a will save vs DC10+spell level or fail to cast the spell and become confused for a number of rounds equal to the spell's level.

Obviously this needs to be modified extensively, but I feel it's a better direction then making people look up not commonly known pathfinder rules. Feel free to modify numbers and effects.

Shimeran
2016-12-03, 06:17 PM
Here's how I saw it playing out. Before adventuring the character will have prepped the night before. That puts them at a first level and 5 cantrips (since Arcane Mind means they give no affliction). During the day they can do an extra prep at any time with no real penalty as the progression has a "Latent/Carrier" phase. So that brings them up to 2 1st levels that day. They would take the hit to "weakened" for prepping tommorrows spells, but if they do that immediately before rest they're in the clear unless something strikes in the first could hours.

At 2nd level, they can prep 3 1st level spells overnight (class level 2, plus half caster level 2). This drives them down to "impaired", but again they'll be all better before the night is over. The restriction on casting your highest level spells doesn't keep you from prepping them. Technically, the highest level of spells things is a lot higher since the grimorist doesn't have a hard max spell level cap, but a number of softer caps. As such, I'd likely adapt that to straight mishap DC increase. In any case, they're still at an increase over last level.

At 3rd, the class level boost lets them prep up to 4 spell levels total. Preparation tolerance comes online here to let them prep up to 4 at level spells. If they want to play it safe on the affliction track, they can do 2 2nd level spells the night before to keep above weakened. Alternately, they can push the track right before sleeping to get 4 1st level spells, which would let them go longer before pushing the track the next day.

4th level sees their recovery cap bump up to 6 spell levels with the same 4 preps doable per day. That lets them go for 3 2nd levels or an even split of 2 1st levels and 2 2nd levels.

I do see the high level issue you're talking about though. I will say the temporary boost to mishap chances after casting does come into play here. Specifically, if they cast a 9th level spell as their opener, they're looking at +9 to the mishap DC. If they try to cast another 9th level next round, that would pump the DC up to 27, which gives even a max level character a 30% mishap chance. In fact, with that pump up, 6th levels become the highest "safe" level that can follow a 9th level spells (2 * 6th level + 9 bump = DC 21). So even though the strain is the same, having more moderate level spells in the mix lets them keep chain casting without dipping into their even lower level reserves.

I'm not saying I'm opposed to the fatigue approach. I just wanted to share the points I had worked out when I was tinkering with the affliction track. In fact, on of the ideas I tinkered with earlier was just wholesale grabbing the fatigue/exhausting pairing, swapping the affected ability scores, and slapping "mental" in front of each. Main reason I was happy to find the affliction track was that I didn't need to make up new conditions. However, if you think the "mental fatigue/exhaustion" approach is cleaner than referencing the affliction rules I can certainly run with that. I do like keeping confusion as the "seriously, stop before this point" flag as I do recall seeing a mention of overload causing insanity.

ImperatorV
2016-12-03, 07:26 PM
...Ok, I can see what you were going for now. I'd say which approach you use is up to you, as it is your class and I haven't actually read the source material in question. The best thing you could do, I would say, is look at it from a player's perspective and see what's simpler/more intuitive, and of course what fits the flavor you're going for the best.

Shimeran
2016-12-14, 10:25 PM
Alright, I've done some more tinkering to trim things down and flesh out the levels. Here's what I'm looking at now:



Spells: You gain 4 elastic spell slots at 1st level. Unlike other spell slots, the level of each slot is based on the level of spell prepared in them, with empty slots being level 0. Any effects that change the level of slot used by a spell adjust this level accordingly. For purposes of determining the highest level spells you can prepare, count these slots as having a level equal to half your caster level. Each level taken in this class adds 1 to your caster level.

Despite their flexibility, here is a limit to how much you can safely store in these slots. For each point the total level of all such slots exceeds your caster level plus the lower of your caster level or intelligence modifier, you take a point of mental strain. Treat this strain as wisdom damage for purposes of determining penalties. You are confused while your mental strain + wisdom damage exceeds your wisdom score. Creatures immune to wisdom damage or confusion can not prepare spells that would put them over this limit. You recover from strain as if were wisdom damage, but can not heal strain while over your slot level limit.

You can prepare wizard spells into these slots by studying those spells from arcane magical writings you have deciphered. For every 20 minutes spent doing so, you can prepare up to your caster level in slot levels, with few levels taking proportionally less time. Cantrips count as Ĺ level for this purpose. At the DMís discretion, additional time may be required in distracting circumstances. You can only hold a single copy of a given spell among all such spell slots.

Preparing any spell whose level is greater than a quarter your caster level inflicts a type of mental fatigue. While under that effect, you take a -2 penalty to intelligence, wisdom, and caster level checks. This form of mental fatigue can be removed with an hour of complete rest.

Each time you cast a spell from these slots, make a caster level check against a DC equal to twice the slotís level. On a success, the spell takes effect with a save DC of 10 + spell level + intelligence modifier. On a failure, the spell is lost and you suffer a mishap as if a Scroll Mishap was triggered for the spell. In either case, you take a penalty to such checks equal to the slotís level for 1 round as the last remnants of the spell interfere with further casting.

You can apply metamagic feats to spells from these slots when you cast them, taking extra time as if the spell was cast spontaneously.

Cantrips: At 1st level, select 1 cantrip from the wizard spell list for every 3 point of your intelligence score. You master that cantrip and can prepare it without a spellbook as per the Spell Mastery feat.

Extra Slot: At 2nd and 10th level, you gain an additional elastic spell slot.

Extra Capacity: At 6th level and every 2 levels after that the total spell slot levels you can safely hold increases by 1.

Arcane Discovery: At every even level, you may select an Arcane Discovery from the wizardís list. Alternately, you may gain an item creation, metamagic, or spell mastery feat. You may count your class level as wizard levels for the purpose of that selection.

Spell Affinity: At 3rd level and every 2 levels after that, choose one of the following effects and one spell you have deciphered and can prepare. The chosen spell can not have a level higher than half your caster level.

Charge Conservation: When a magic item lets you spend charges to use the chosen spell, you can use the spell without expending those charges. You can do this a number of times per day equal to your caster level divided by the spellís level. If this would give you 5 or more uses per day, you can use this ability once per round.

Ritual Casting: You can cast the chosen spell without preparing it first. However, doing so increases the casting time to a minimum of 15 minutes. When you chose the spell, the DM will set an additional component that must be used to cast the spell this way. If you require magical writings to prepare the spell, you must read from those writings during the ritual. At the rituals conclusion make a caster level check as if casting from an elastic spell slot.

Spell Retention: When you make a caster level check to cast the selected spell from a elastic spell slot, the spell is not expended if the roll is higher than 5 times the slotís level.


I did tie spell level to mental strain, though I have it functioning more like a specialized type of ability damage. That makes it costly, but it should only show up if they're really desperate to overload their spell load out. The milder mental fatigue is there to act as a soft brake to repeated preparations in a day, though it still allows multiple preparations in a day with a sizable rest period.

Spell Affinity also helps on this front as it lets the character cast a select pool of spells on a more regular basis. Spell retention is good for combat and similar quick cast spells with charge conservation being a solid alternative as the appropriate items become available. Meanwhile, ritual casting is good for those downtime utility spells.

Edit: Added cantrip prep time.

Shimeran
2016-12-21, 09:53 PM
I've pushed the updated features to the OP and put the original class features in a spoiler. I also changed the name to the "Daphalan Scholar" as it sounds more like what they might call themselves in fiction. I also debated on swapping arcane spell failure chance to just applying the armor penalty to mishap checks. It would have allowed them to cast their lower level spells in armor reliably, which could be a nice additional incentive for going for lower level spells. Otherwise, I'd say this is in a fairly solid place.

On a side note, it does look like metamagic plays well with lower level spells as there's more space to boost them while keeping the mishap DC to safe levels. For example, a quickened magic missle could be slung safely at CL 9. Throw in spell affinity, an by CL 14 you could sling one each round safely, though casting other spells would push the DC past safe levels.