View Full Version : Contest Prestige Class Contest Voting Thread III: Switch Hitters

2018-05-09, 04:47 AM
Well, here's the voting thread for the third prestige class contest, Switch Hitters. Voting will consist of each voter giving a first, a second, and a third place vote, as well as a vote for the categories of Most Original, Most Likely to See Play, and Best Use of Theme. Anyone can vote, and in fact, entrants must vote to qualify for victory.

A first place vote is worth three points, a second place vote is worth two points, and a third place vote is worth one point. Votes for the three other categories are each worth 1 point in their category. You may not vote for your own entry.

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

The entry that ends up with the most points wins the contest, and each category goes to the entry with the most votes in it.. Voting starts now and will continue until 11:59pm (GMT) on May the 24th.

Total Points
Most Original
Most Likely to See Play
Best Use of Theme

The Moon Disciple (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showsinglepost.php?p=22985039&postcount=2)

rferries (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/member.php?153931-rferries)


The Bowstaff Striker (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showsinglepost.php?p=22987252&postcount=3)

ObliviMancer (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/member.php?54596-ObliviMancer)


The Adaptive Hunter (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showsinglepost.php?p=22999516&postcount=4)

MrNobody (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/member.php?75476-MrNobody)


The Juggler (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showsinglepost.php?p=23007346&postcount=5)

MoleMage (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/member.php?45372-MoleMage)


The Psionic Assassin (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showsinglepost.php?p=23015254&postcount=6)

sengmeng (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/member.php?58533-sengmeng)


The Brigand (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showsinglepost.php?p=23020478&postcount=7)

Jormengand (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/member.php?71090-Jormengand)


The Sky-Land Warrior (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showsinglepost.php?p=23028187&postcount=8)

Aniikinis (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/member.php?128816-Aniikinis)


The voting is CLOSED!

2018-05-09, 09:03 AM
Alright, cool

First place: The Brigand. Jorm, you have outdone yourself as usual.
Second Place:Moon Disciple. Mostly because of my biases towards Hel mains.
Third Place: Psionic Assassin. Psylocke in dnd, not much to say here.

Most Original: Juggler. Throw Anything has never been so useful.
Most Likely to See Play: Bowstaff Striker. Short, sweet, and to the point.
Best Use of Theme: Moon Disciple. Duality in a single class, although I'd like a different take along the two alignment axes with a version that flips along the good and evil and one that flips along the law and chaos instead of them both being flipped.

2018-05-09, 10:41 AM
1st: Psionic Asssassin Well done, balanced and makes good use of the mechanics.
2nd: Moon Disciple- All around interesting with good mechanics. I'm not normally in favor of things that heavily involve alignment, but this seems to make it work.
3rd: Sky-Land Warrior Interesting and seems like it would be both to play and would work well in a team.

Most Creative: Sky-Land Warrior The entire idea doesn't resemble anything I've seen before.
Most Likely to See Play: Bowstaff Striker Well-balanced, will work well in a party, and could easily fit a variety of character ideas.
Best Use of Theme: This was a really tough one, I think pretty much everyone did well on the theme in the sense that you could read the entry and probably guess the theme simply from the entry. But for the most interesting use of the theme as a theme, I think I'm going to go with the Juggler.

2018-05-10, 06:12 PM
1st place: Moon Disciple
I like Moira, and the mechanics seem fine.
2nd place: Juggler
Much better than my attempts at anything like it, and fits the theme to boot.
3rd place: Adaptive Hunter
Because Rangers deserve nice things too.

Original: Skyland Warrior
Monster prestige class, didn't see that coming, also manticores are cool.
See Play: Brigand
Because Jorm's Elite system had better hit a table some day.
Use of Theme: Juggler
Tough call between this and Adaptive Hunter, both took it very literally, but I think Juggler deserves this one.

2018-05-11, 01:39 AM
1st Place
The Juggler: Very, very clever and innovative idea. Bonus points for being useful in social situations as well as combat - a "switch hitter" in multiple ways.

2nd Place
The Brigand: This is a very well-written class (not damning with faint praise here; the flavour and mechanics are perfectly balanced which is so very rare - in many ways this class is the ideal fighter). I'd be interested in seeing elite feats replacing or improving upon other core feats, which are often mediocre.

3rd Place
Psionic Assassin: Great flavour and many possible builds according to the special ability menu. In many ways I feel the Assassin prestige class could learn to follow your example (tracking targets etc).

Most Original
The Sky-Land Warrior: Easy win for Most Original. It has very specific prerequisites but is a beautiful piece of work nonetheless.

Most Likely To See Play
Bowstaff Striker. Can be slotted in quickly and easily, and gets good value for a magic bow without being overpowered. Also: the Special prerequisite is hilarious. :D

Best Use of Theme
Adaptive Hunter: This is probably the most efficient "switch-hitter" concept possible, even incorporating the Bowstaff Striker concept as well. Stiff competition for Most Likely To See Play.

2018-05-23, 06:52 AM
1st Place: The Adaptive Hunter. I just liked the way it was set up.

2nd Place: The Bowstaff Striker. A solid mix of abilities with a clear theme. Plus, whumping someone with your longbow just sounds fun!

3rd Place: The Brigand. It wasn't flashy, but the Elite Feats system works for it.

Most Original: Sky-Land Warrior. It has being a monster race as a prerequisite. Not even one with thumbs!

Most Likely to See Play: The Bowstaff Striker. Clear power niche. Simple mechanics.

Best Use of Theme: Moon Disciple. I would have liked to see more interaction between the two halves, but the idea of someone who supernaturally changes their very nature on a whim is excellent.

2018-05-23, 05:55 PM
1st place, Most original: Juggler.

2nd place, Most likely to see game: Bowstaff Striker .

3rd place: Brigand.

Best Use of Theme: Moon Disciple.

2018-05-23, 06:52 PM
1) Sky Land Warrior

2) Bowstaff Striker

3) Brigand

Most likely to see play: Brigand

Best use of theme: Bowstaff Striker

Most Original: Sky Land Warrior

2018-05-24, 09:25 AM
My votes, and increasingly scathing reviews of your classes.

1st: The Adaptive Hunter
My biggest gripe with this class is that, even at 10th level, you can only use your signature feature for 1 minute per day for each point of wisdom bonus you have. The versatility damage is also, frankly, not enough. Compare skirmish, sneak attack and other things which deal extra damage - hells, compare the fact that the soulknife - which is literally the worst base class in the game other than commoner (no seriously, aristocrats beat up soulknives via proficiency in proper weapons and armour), is dealing more bonus damage than you.

The class is also really, really complicated. You have to keep track of which feats you have when, and are swapping between different weapons, and may or may not get a point blank shot bonus with your bow, and are you two weapon fighting or aren't you, and you can maybe technically TWF with your bow and your pseudo-quick-draw putting a weapon into and out of your offhand but that might not be worthwhile, well maybe. Also, the fact is that Adaptive Style, Versatility and Fluid Hunter encourage you to TWF with thrown weapons, not to swap between archery and TWF.

Cool idea, needs a lot of reworking. You win first because, frankly, I can make the class viable by chopping out a few words and altering a few numbers.

2nd: The Sky-Land Warrior
Bonus feats, yaaaaaaay. Sigh.

Okay, so this makes a crappy-but-begrudgingly-playable monster playable. Also the special abilities for your quills are arguably interesting. 2 points to manticoredor.

There are a lot of problems here though. In the first instance, bonus feats, pounce, and more damage are boring. In the second instance, more threat range and critical damage is probably both the most boring and the most powerful quill ability you can choose - having your spikes be 15-20 *6 is honestly a bit silly. In fact, using Improved Critical (Spike) to get a critical of 9-20 *6, then a bunch of critical feats (staggering critical, martial stance (blood in the water), and so forth) is probably one of the best things you can do with your time. Which is sad, but admittedly I kinda wanna build around it now, so that's a mark in your favour.

Most Original, but you should honestly take a moment to think about why no-one's done this before.

3rd: Bowstaff Striker
Elvencraft bows are a relatively cheap item that does most of the stuff that you do here. But, at least it's actually a well-written class, so there's that. Best Use of Theme because, well, okay, I kinda like the image (and I don't just mean the gif that you put in your entry!).

(4th: Juggler)
I want to like this. I really do. But I see it being a pain in practice: trying to work out what the hell you're juggling, what that does, and the fact that you can catch cannonballs and throw them back with the original force of the cannon shot, well maybe, and the fact that you have a special benefit against basically the worst type of spell (direct damage spells) but no defences against any other type of magic... you also rely on sneak attacks to do most of your damage, but sneak attacking and juggling at the same time is probably going to end up being prohibitively difficult because you're trying to rely on ranged attacks but also on melee attacks and you have no abilities that stop you getting hit with an attack of opportunity...

It's a mess. A fun-looking mess, maybe, but a mess.

(5th: Psychic Assassin)
This class confuses me. You can't not understand that psychic rogue is already a class, unless you really expect a class which theurges three different classes with no synergy (psion, rogue and soulknife) together. So psionic assassin is basically a class which straps two classes together and then basically does the same thing that one of those classes already did.

Except more so.

Full BAB is a bit much for someone with 6d6 SA by level 20, but is probably fine on its own - you're only doing 24d6 rather than the rogue's 30d6, though your initial attacks are more likely to hit. Oh, wait, never mind, you can use a special ability to get SA as a rogue of your level instead, which bumps you up to 9d6 sneak attack, or 36d6 per full attack. Oh, and you can jump up next to your marked target as a swift action, then full attack them. Oh, okay, that's fine. Oh, and each time you attack them, if they have fewer than 15d6 hit points, they flat out die, oh and by the way that's a nice sneak attack immunity you have there; it would be a shame if something were to happen to it. Then, just to add insult to injury, you also have a decent selection of powers.

Honestly, the kicker is that there's vanishingly little reason actually to chuck your mind blade at stuff, because echo strike does pitiful damage compared to your sneak attack. Just show up next to people, and stab them to death, assuming that 51d6 damage plus four times whatever your base mind blade damage is can kill them, which it can.

I have no idea why this class theurges two subpar classes and then goes off on its own unrelated progression of one of those classes' abilities, and unless you take exceptional (and far-from-worth-it) pains to do so, flat out doesn't advance the other class's abilities. Eat your heart out, disciple of the word.

(6th: Moon Disciple)
From the maker of the spell that allows you to spam the most broken spells in the game until you're blue in the face, comes...

Full bab, rogue skills, all high saves and 7/10 spellcasting progression. Why in the name of Pelor's glorious light am I not surprised in the least?

Ugh, fine, let's have a look at what the class features do, because gestalting outsider - which is practically a T4 class in its own right - with 7/10 casting wasn't strong enough on its own.

Ha! I was joking about the outsider part! But yes, let's just add flat-out immunity to several save-or-lose spells, darkvision, and proficiency in simple and martial weapons and any armour you are described as wearing, as well as all lighter types (so for example, if you entered as a dwarf, enjoy your light, medium and shield proficiency) to the list of stuff you can do.

Then, also, you know that class feature that sorcerers take a two-level dip in paladin just to get access to? Yeah, let's give you that. Only, it also applies to your armour class. Oh, and it buffs your allies within 30 feet as well.

Then, you attract followers as per the most broken feat in the game, except they obey your orders without question, get a somewhat neat template, and... can't go inside a very limited selection of rare effects. Yippie-ki-yay, that's not broken at all!


Okay, okay, so at this point, bear in mind that you have given up one level of spellcasting, in order to get a feature that sorcerers normally blithely give up two levels of casting to get, only it's roughly eight times as powerful. You've got 8 skills/level off a list that includes diplomacy and knowledge, two of the most broken skills in the game. You've got leadership, only better. What the hell could possibly make this more broken?

No-save negative levels with dragon-breath cooldown and at-will healing. And it's a move action, so you can cast a spell and then heal yourself for 4 hit points per hit die, and shake off ability damage, blindness, deafness, curses, fear, disease and paralysis in one round.

I would be crying "Broken" if you got this all over ten levels. This is level 1. THIS IS LEVEL ONE! I make high-power caster prestige classes for these competitions all the time, but you have better healing than an apothecary, better minionmancy than a maker, better killing power than a leveller, and you're scarier than a terror... and you've got that the level before they could even ENTER THE FREAKING PRESTIGE CLASS!

The next four levels, you assuage my rage by "Only" providing full casting, all high saves, 8 skills per level off a good list, full base attack bonus, and a hit die that some classes wade onto the front lines with, and then fifth level happens.


For Mystra's sake. (Swearing to Pelor is getting a bit old.)

Okay, so now you're recalculating all of your sha'ir levels (you're probably best off entering with something charisma-based which doesn't get its spells delayed by a level: I suggest sha'ir just because it's the most broken base class in the game so it fits the theme here) as though you had 8+int skill points - it also has a remarkably similar class skill list - and all high saves, meaning that you'll have 4+level/2+cha+con/wis/dex to all saves, which at character level 11 with CHA 20 CON/WIS/DEX 12 is +15 to all saves. Your base save bonuses are all higher than your character level while naked. Your naked AC, incidentally, is 16. And all allies within 30 feet get the benefit of Mystic Rampart, a single utterance available at level 18 with a duration of five rounds, only they get it all the time. Just to remind you what's going on with your AC and saves here.

Dear Myrkul, what next... oh yeah, right, so full attacking (with full BAB) with a touch attack that you can TWF with if you really want (why not? You can take the -4/-8 penalty, you're making touch attacks with full BAB!), and if you get all of those hits off (admittedly, you're making one at -4, one at -8 and one at -9, but the less accurate ones are still about 50/50 to hit most enemies) then the enemy takes 3d4 negative levels, which may well be all their levels gone. I don't even have the energy left to be angry about the fact that you can heal any enchantment, transmutation, curse, negative levels, permanent level loss, ability damage, ability drain, poison, blindness, disease, fear, paralysis, and loss of class features due to wilful moral failures. At will. As a move action.

I feel sick. Sweet Tiamat, hear my prayer, only one more level with class features left to face. I'm not sure I can manage it.


Why? Why did you inflict this upon us, rferries? Whence cometh this malice in your heart? Why would you inflict this upon us?

At this point, you can totally have two TWF feats if you like, and there are plenty of creatures you can be who have usually-useless natural attacks. You can easily chuck out six or more weapon attacks, with the martial weapons with which you are proficient, with those full-BAB sha'ir levels which is really not a buff that sha'ir needed, inflciting 6d4 negative levels, with no save, at character level 16. That is, against an equal-level opponent, you will drain them down to first level on average. Of course, with the fact that each of those 15 negalevels steals 5 of their hit points, and you're still hitting them for longsword*4 short sword*2 damage, you're probably just flat-out killing them. Oh, and you heal 75 hit points when you do that, not that that's a problem because you can also stand back, throw a spell at someone, and then heal yourself for 80+4d8 (77+4d8 if you didn't pick up practiced spellcaster) and cure practically every condition that could possibly be ailing you.

By this point, your saves are floating around the region of +17 before you put anything on. When you have a +6 cha item, you're providing +9 to all saves and AC to all allies within 30. With a cloak of resistance as well, your saves are +25 each - a typical 8th-level spell DC at this point is DC 27 with a +6 to primary casting stat item, meaning that you pass saves against almost everyone's highest-level spells on a 2. Sha'irs get no special ability to cast spells in armour (and they can't possibly use nothing but divine spells) but that's fine, because you get a bigger boost to AC than full plate grants anyway, and did I mention that all your allies within 30 feet get the benefit too and that's ridiculous?

For the simple fact that any power gamer with a lenient or clueless DM will want to get their hands on this immense power, I give you Most Likely to See Play. Go and reflect on this matter.

By the power invested in me as the person tallying up these votes, I hereby award:

Joint 1st/2nd place to the Brigand, by Jormengand, and the Juggler, by MoleMage, with 8 points

Joint 3rd/4th/5th place to the Adaptive Hunter, by MrNobody, Bowstaff Striker, by ObliviMancer, and the Moon Disciple, by rferries, with 7 points

6th place to the Skyland Warrior, by Aniikinis, with 6 points

7th place to the Psionic Assassin, by sengmeng, with 5 points

In the category of Most Original, I award:

1st place to the Skyland Warrior, by Aniikinis, with 6 votes

2nd place to the Juggler, by MoleMage, with 2 votes

In the category of Most Likely to See Play, I award:

1st place to the Bowstaff Striker, by ObliviMancer, with 5 votes

2nd place to the Brigand, by Jormengand, with 2 votes

3rd place to the Moon Disciple, by rferries, with 1 vote

In the category of Best use of Theme, I award:

1st place to the Moon Disciple, by rferries, with 3 votes

2nd place to the Bowstaff Striker, by ObliviMancer, with 2 votes

3rd place to the Adaptive Hunter, by MrNobody, with 1 vote

Some fun facts about the voting:

The Juggler won the most first-place votes, the Bowstaff Striker won the most second-place votes, and the Adaptive Hunter and the Brigand won the most third-place votes.

The Bowstaff Striker won the most category votes in total.

The Sky-Land Warrior has the most diverse standard votes, and the least diverse category votes: no-one knows how good it is, but it's definitely original!

Congratulations to everyone who placed or won a category, commiserations to those who didn't, and apologies to everyone for the scathing criticism. I've been Jormengand, see you next time on...


2018-05-24, 10:36 PM
My votes, and increasingly scathing reviews of your classes.

When I first read this, I smiled - I assumed you were joking. Having actually read your commentary... deep breaths, Jormengand. It's just a contest, not a conspiracy aimed at giving you an aneurysm.

Now, replying to your comments at this juncture seems the ultimate exercise in futile pedantry, but that's never stopped me before! :D And perhaps we might finally - finally - bury the hatchet. Here goes...

1) Although very detailed, your feedback is generally immaterial at this point (and this goes for all the entries, not just mine). P.E.A.C.H.ing would have been helpful while the entries were being submitted & revised, but now is the time to politely rank your votes with a brief explanation, not start expounding.

2) It must also be said, I get the impression you aren't interested in being constructive so much as you are in being critical. In my case, I had posted my entry the day you opened the contest - you had 6+ weeks to make suggestions, but instead chose to write a venomous essay right after the contest closed. Furthermore, being so abrasive when the contest is already closed just strikes me as being in poor taste. Honestly, what's your end goal here, other than to come across as a bit of a jerk? Surely you don't think I'm going to have an epiphany about how you've been 100% correct all along, and it was only because of your histrionics that I saw the light?

3) A minor point, but it's silly to say that a soulknife is worse than an aristocrat in combat. If nothing else, she has better HD & saves and need only burn one or two feats to access other armour or weapon proficiencies (assuming she even wants them). At which point, her class features obviously outstrip an aristocrat's lack thereof.

Now, for my entry specifically...

From the maker of the spell that allows you to spam the most broken spells in the game until you're blue in the face, comes...

If I had prefaced my review of the Brigand by scoffing at your mystic theurge (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?487056-The-Mystic-Theurge-%28Base-Prestige-Class-Class-in-30-minutes-PEACH%29) you would quite rightly think I was being rude, if not unhinged. The greater prestidigitation (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?538912-Greater-Prestidigitation-Potence-(versatile-spells)&p=22468561#post22468561) spells were posted over seven months ago. May I kindly suggest you get over them - for your own sanity, if not mine?

Full bab, rogue skills, all high saves and 7/10 spellcasting progression. Why in the name of Pelor's glorious light am I not surprised in the least?

Ugh, fine, let's have a look at what the class features do, because gestalting outsider - which is practically a T4 class in its own right - with 7/10 casting wasn't strong enough on its own.

Re: the chassis; yep it's pretty great. But if you're a noncaster you're really just shoring up your saves and skillpoints, whereas a caster is sacrificing 3 full spell levels (which makes the class a nonstarter for any halfway-optimised build, as I'm sure you know). Still powerful, but as I was the first to post I didn't realise the power level for this contest would be so much lower-tier. In hindsight I might have gone for a class with even more limited (or non-existent) spellcasting.

Also, I can't help but feel that you've overlooked the prerequisites? Consuming all of a (nonhuman) PC's early feats is nothing to sniff at, it'll wreck many builds.

Ha! I was joking about the outsider part! But yes, let's just add flat-out immunity to several save-or-lose spells, darkvision, and proficiency in simple and martial weapons and any armour you are described as wearing, as well as all lighter types (so for example, if you entered as a dwarf, enjoy your light, medium and shield proficiency) to the list of stuff you can do.

Immunity to charm person, hold person, etc.* at 7th level isn't horrendously broken, IMHO, nor is darkvision (especially since you could play a core race that already has it).

Actually, what other immunities does the outsider type give you? Immunity to specific bane weapons, in exchange for vulnerability to outsider bane weapons? Immunity to the gazes of nymphs and spirit naga? There's also alter self abuse but you have access to polymorph by the time you enter the class.
The class wasn't intended to grant proficiencies (and specifically says as much under the Weapon and Armour Proficiency section). I also have to say, that's a tortuous interpretation of the class intent (proficiencies were the ONE outsider benefit I didn't mention in that paragraph, and you assumed Disciples get them even though I held back the saves, HD, etc.)...

Then, also, you know that class feature that sorcerers take a two-level dip in paladin just to get access to? Yeah, let's give you that. Only, it also applies to your armour class. Oh, and it buffs your allies within 30 feet as well.

The Guardian Angel aura applies only to your allies. If that was unclear, it's a good example of something that should have been pointed out before the contest closed...

Then, you attract followers as per the most broken feat in the game, except they obey your orders without question, get a somewhat neat template, and... can't go inside a very limited selection of rare effects. Yippie-ki-yay, that's not broken at all!

Leadership is broken because of cohorts, not followers (and if you mention that ridiculous money-making thrallherd build you might as well rule that Pazuzu is RAI haha). Note the followers you get will be one-shotted by any enemy with a CR appropriate for your own... at max Leadership your best followers will be two 6th-level fiendish warriors, whoop de doo.

No-save negative levels with dragon-breath cooldown and at-will healing. And it's a move action, so you can cast a spell and then heal yourself for 4 hit points per hit die, and shake off ability damage, blindness, deafness, curses, fear, disease and paralysis in one round.

Ooops the self-healing is actually my bad, the Light Touch should have specified it couldn't be used on yourself. The idea was to be a ranged selfless healer vs a life-stealing melee fighter, depending on the Aspect.

However... you think the starting Dark Touch is broken? I have trouble parsing this - it's the equivalent of casting enervation in melee... against weaker foes your actual weapon is more damaging, and against level-appropriate foes it's only a minor debuff. How long does combat last in your games, that your PCs could use it against the same foe more than once? Stunning Fist is deadlier.


I'm not familiar with sha'ir or mystic utterances, and as with all non-Core stuff I wouldn't have bothered balancing around them anyways - I'm sure there's a caster specialising in Twinned Empowered Whatevered enervations that can deal out even more negative levels then an optimised Moon Disciple, and at range to boot. You make fair points here (the stacking healing from the negative levels,even 7/10 casting might be too much etc) but again, it would have been helpful to hear them much earlier and without the self-aggrandisement.

For the simple fact that any power gamer with a lenient or clueless DM will want to get their hands on this immense power, I give you Most Likely to See Play. Go and reflect on this matter.

Thank you, O Enlightened One. This would be a good opportunity for you to do some soul-searching as well - do you think you've persuaded me to see things your way in future, or do you think I now view you as needlessly and hopelessly antagonistic? I realise I've been snarky in this post but please remember that I've gone to Stepford Smiler levels of politeness with you in the past to avoid conflict, and you've paid me back by starting it up all over again. You even turned the Most Likely to See Play into an insult, when you should have awarded it to someone else's class that you actually liked... I mean c'mon, what'd I ever do to you?

2018-05-25, 09:07 AM
See, I started off more amicable, with "This needs to be toned down" and "Are you sure that you're cool with a spell that gives you the power of two hundred and ninety-seven psions?", and then became a little less amicable as you kept churning out broken things without any heed for the multiple people - not just me - who keep telling you that your stuff is OP as all hell. Sorcerers happily dump two levels of casting to get a +CHA to saves; you're suggesting that dumping one level of casting to grant all your allies (you are your own ally, incidentally) +CHA to saves and AC is okay? And paladin levels don't give you all high saves, 8 skills per level and an army. Bear in mind that at ECL 8, you get, if you have +6 charisma mod (from a +2 charisma item, 18 base charisma and 2 from levels), 15 first-level and 1 2nd-level warriors following you around, which is about an encounter level 8 encounter - that is, you're tracking around an encounter of your own level with you, and they all have resistance to cold 5 and fire 5. At ECL 16, when you finish the class, you can easily have a +9 charisma modifier, meaning you're taking 135 1st-level, 13 2nd-level, 7 3rd-level, 4 4th-level, 2 5th-level and 2 6th-level characters around you, which is around EL... 16 or 17. And as many of them as you can ram into a 30-foot area will also get +9 AC and +9 to all saves. So yeah, maybe they will be one-shotted by any level appropriate enemy that can actually land a hit on any of them, but don't worry because there are literally over a hundred and fifty of them! And even if they, conversely, only hit the enemy on a 20, they're still doing eight times standard longbow damage each time.

If you're seriously comparing your dark touch (which has a dragonbreath cooldown) to enervation (which takes up one of a wizard's highest-level spell slots and a sorcerer can't cast yet) to try to prove that it's balanced, well, I'm not sure I can help you. Similarly, infinite self-healing is broken, but infinitely healing others is arguably more broken, because there are three of them - see also your aura: if it doesn't affect yourself, it's not eight times as powerful as divine grace, only six! That's assuming that you don't have a party of 6, where it suddenly becomes ten times as powerful...

Sha'Ir and Mystic Rampart are not the point. Let's compare a sorcerer 7/maker 10/leveller 3 to a sorcerer 10/moon disciple 10, ignoring for one moment the fact that you can totally take another prestige class with your last 4 levels. The maker gets ninth-level elite spells, allowing them to summon a nice CR 14 encounter. You have a CR 17 encounter walking around with you which takes up none of your spell slots and has a long enough duration (read: forever) that you don't have to spend a round casting it. They can probably actually ping it to death with arrows before it can kill all of them. Hells, unless the sorcerer is well-protected, they can potentially ping him to death too.

Then, the sorcerer decides it wants to drain some levels off you. It has to use its highest-level slot to drain 2d4 levels off you. You have to full attack it to drain 4d4 or more negative levels. Oh boo hoo, you're missing out on ninth level spells... but your full attack has the effect of a ninth-level spell, and your healing touch has, pretty much, a ninth-level effect (regenerate, a seventh- or ninth-level spell, is one of its effects; greater restoration, a seventh-level spell, is one of its effects, break enchantment, a fifth-level spell, is one of its effects... and it cures about twice as many hit points as cure serious wounds, a fourth-level spell, as one of its effects... that's a ninth-level spell when you put that all together) and it's a move action to use, so you can cast a real spell as well. Given that getting it as a move action is arguably better, arguably worse than getting it as a swift (you can cast a quickened spell, a standard spell, and your healing touch in the same round!) that's the equivalent of a thirteenth-level spell.

Anything that the other sorcerer wants to do to you is going to be blocked by the fact that you have a base +14 to all saves and/or d8 hit die even if we take the RAI that your aura doesn't shield yourself, so you're going to beat the sorcerer in one-vs-one combat, which is the thing you're worst at because your aura makes you excellent in team fights!

I'll admit that I'm a bit (read: very) harsh about this, but here's the part where I start complimenting you:

I love your creativity. I want to love the moon disciple. I want to love omnipotence; that's why I wrote convoke. I want to love all of your flying fortress spells, because let's be honest, they are awesome. And it's unbelievably frustrating to see what could have been a really, really wonderful class be a font of brokenness. Omnipotence, in fact, was a lot less offensive for the simple fact that if you used it to do what it's meant to do, it's pretty decent but only a little overpowered; the moon disciple you really can't not be overpowered with it (I would actually say that if you entered as a fighter, you'd probably still be better off being a moon disciple than continuing as a fighter, and they don't even have spellcasting to 7/10 advance! Of course, it's also an easy-bake gish; move over abjurant champion and eldritch knight). The features are, out of the box, exceptionally powerful: even if you don't have any charisma bonus at all and so can't use your aura, your infinite healing and condition removal on allies and the fact that you still can get a bunch of followers running around doing stuff for you (as an aside, they don't necessarily even need to be used for combat; this is especially the case when you get so few of them for having no CHA mod - send them to keep tabs on a situation and sending them for daily reports or something?).

But! But! I love the idea of the moon disciple! It's cool that you can swap between aggressive and defensive abilities like that; hey, I'm thinking of something similar for the Heaven or Hell round (speaking of which, I'll get the thread up in a moment). But, what really frustrates me is the fact that I'm massively disinclined to allow that to fly at my table because it is simply too good.

You wanna talk base mystic theurge? Let's talk base mystic theurge. What does the prestige MT traditionally have as its strength? Arcane and divine spellcasting. What's its general weakness? It has mostly-incompatible skill lists from the two parent classes, so skills are an issue, and it's worse in physical combat than the cleric due to lower BAB and HD. It also has two low saves, though no lower than a straight-class due to the fact that it needs three levels in each of its parent classes. It's also weaker because it gets delayed spellcasting by 3 levels in each class and ends at ECL 16 so you can only progress one class to 7th-level spells and the other barely reaches 9th, but that's a bug, not a feature. Similarly, it has no class features which aren't spells, but that should probably change because it's a little boring. So we're getting spellcasting as a strength and skills, health and physical combat as drawbacks. So let's give it ninth-level casting, d4 hit die, no skill points at all, and poor bab.

Let's also throw on some features which give it a greater reason to diversify what kinds of spells it casts, and which fill up table slots. Synthesis Spell allows it to choose spells tactically which will work together (because it has two prepared sides, it basically has to choose in advance which spells it intends to synthesise, or choose ones which give it a small number of in-the-moment options for combinations), and to pick divine spells which aren't normally worth casting in combat (say, healing spells) so you can run up to people and heal them while also blasting people with fireballs and such. White Lightning is mostly just a fluff ability, since it's never the best use of your actions until you've run out of most of your spell slots, but it does provide a little survivability to someone who has a fairly weak ability to survive because they're unable to wear armour - and also, because synthesis is the flashiest thing you can do, you're gonna run out of slots fast.

[Fittingly, most of the drawbacks of the base mystic theurge - 0+int skill points, low BAB and saves, d4 hit die, and rapidly runs out of resources - are completely obviated by taking 10 levels in moon disciple. :smalltongue: (You would need to find a way to swap both your casting stats to charisma to get the best effect out of it, of course, but it's still pretty decent). This is however completely parenthetical to any of my points, and just an amusing observation.]

So, I guess the constructive part (which, yes, okay, you've been waiting about two rants for - sorry, I'm like this sometimes) is this: you need to identify both what your class/spell/whatever is meant to be good at, and what it's not meant to be good at (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showsinglepost.php?p=22558473&postcount=66). What is omnipotence good at? Everything. What is it bad at? Nothing. What is convoke good at? Throwing down in combat. What is it bad at? Providing utility spells that allow you to ruin economies and rule worlds, as well as healing your allies up to full and divining everything about everything. What is moon disciple good at? Everything. What is it bad at? Well, it has very slightly worse spellcasting than its parent class, if you discount the at-will thirteenth-level-equivalent uncounterable componentless not!spell. What is base mystic theurge good at? Quite a lot, because spells are what spells are. What is it bad at? Well, it's awful at fighting in weapon combat; even if you cast divine power or transformation you still have no weapon proficiencies. It's simply dire at skills. It's exceptionally squishy. But that's because tanking and whacking face with a hammer are simply not the mystic theurge's jobs (though an elf mystic theurge will be proficient with a couple of weapons...).

So, you know what, let's go through. What's a moon disciple's job? As far as I'm concerned, the switching (as in the switch hitter theme) is here between aggressive and defensive, rather than melee and ranged or anything else. So a moon disciple's job is to provide offensive attacks and defensive support abilities intermittently, either turning into a firing platform or a defensive shield. On the other hand, it could easily provide an aura which changes depending on whether you're in the light or dark form, allowing you to be a support either way.

What isn't the moon disciple's job? Nothing about moon disciple screams "Skill monkey" to me. An interesting thing you can do if you have a friend handy (or a Jormengand handy - my PM box is always open to people looking to create good homebrews, and I promise I'll try to dial back the vitriol) is write out the fluff description of your class, and then show the friend the class description, and ask them to guess what they think the class's spellcasting progression, skills/level, class skills, hit die and base attack bonus are.

"The Moon is a symbol of magic, madness, renewal... and death. Just as it perpetually waxes and wanes, so too have Moon Disciples learned to shift between the dark and light aspects of their souls. A Moon Disciple's "enlightenment" comes not from mastering magic or the blessing of a deity, but from their own introspection and ability to influence others for either good or ill. Even the humblest commoner can come to understand and control himself and his peers.

In their light aspects, Moon Disciples serve their allies from afar as healers and protectors. In their dark aspects, Moon Disciples lead their Inner Demons in battle and manipulate others from the shadows."

Well, that sounds as though it probably progresses casting at half rate, because its enlightenment comes "not from mastering magic or the blessing of a deity" but it is "a symbol of magic". I'm going to guess that "Serve... from afar" and "Manipulate... from the shadows" implies a low base attack bonus, and... probably 4 skills per level, since they need enough to be persuasive and manipulative, as well as concentration, but not enough to be good at a bunch of other stuff. As for saves, everything about that description - blah blah enlightenment blah blah - screams high will, and only high will. So, we can say that this class will probably be best at low bab, high will, 4 skills. D8 hit die seems fine for someone who's supposed to be in the thick of it all but not actually on the front lines, and I can't fault the actual class skill list.

Next, let's look at the class features. The followers ability is odd, because it would be really great synergy with the aura you can't use it with! Also, as discussed, it does give you a small army who are, combined, almost as strong as you are. So that needs to go. I think that dragonbreath-cooldown enervation and at-will pseudoquickened CSW+LR+RB/D+RC+RD+RF+RP both need to be nixed - as an aside, your actions should be full of moving into position to make sure everyone's getting hit with your aura, and not poking people with enervations.

So this class is now looking a bit bare, and no-one would take more than a one-level dip in it after all those nerfs (especially since the dark form now does nothing at all!). But that aura is still way too strong, so it needs to be toned down. How about making the aura a +1, plus 1 per two levels after first (so the increases fall on your dead casting levels) to your allies' AC. Then, each even level, you can choose a new thing that the aura also applies to. What about in your dark form? Well, you could just give them a list of aggressive abilities to pick from: the dark aura starts off with a relatively mediocre +1 to attack rolls (but hey, it's applying to all your allies, which isn't bad) and then ends up at level 10 with +5 to attack rolls and five other things.

To take some out of the sting out of the weak first-level aura and also make the idea of entering as a sorcerer or favoured soul (who would otherwise get no 8ths) more palatable, we'll up that 5/10 casting to 6/10, and make you lose levels 3, 5, 7, and 9, rather than 1, 3, 5, 7, and 9, so you can actually take two levels and lose nothing except that you have to take some subpar feats, which is a fair trade-off for the relatively mediocre aura that you get at such low levels. Finally, let's progress any companion or bard song abilities because it seems silly to give up your bardic aura for another aura. We can progress marshal auras too, while we're at it, give the poor guy a decent prestige class to go into (especially since he's got no casting to progress)

Let's do the table thing:

1st+0+0+0+2Circle of Friends, Aura (+1)
+1 level of existing spellcasting class
2nd+1+0+0+3Extra Aura Bonus
+1 level of existing spellcasting class
3rd+1+1+1+3Aura (+2)
4th+2+1+1+4Extra Aura Bonus
+1 level of existing spellcasting class
5th+2+1+1+4Aura (+3)
6th+3+2+2+5Extra Aura Bonus
+1 level of existing spellcasting class
7th+3+2+2+5Aura (+4)
8th+4+2+2+6Extra Aura Bonus
+1 level of existing spellcasting class
9th+4+3+3+6Aura (+5)
10th+5+3+3+7Extra Aura Bonus
+1 level of existing spellcasting class

Circle of Friends
Moon disciple levels progress any turn or rebuke undead, familiar, animal companion, special mount, bardic music or lesser and greater aura (see the marshal) class features as though they were levels in the class that granted them.

Moon disciples can exude either an aura of light which provides a +1 bonus to armour class to allies within the area as well as increasing the illumination of the area by one step, or an aura of darkness which provides a +1 bonus to attack rolls to allies within the area, as well as decreasing the illumination of the area by one step. Both auras affect an area within 30 feet of the moon disciple and the moon disciple can change between them as a full-round action.

At second level, and every second level thereafter, the moon disciple picks an extra bonus from the light aura bonus list and an extra bonus from the dark aura bonus list. These bonuses apply to the relevant aura as well as the bonus to AC or attack rolls.

At third level, and every second level thereafter, the moon disciple's aura bonus increases by 1.

I'll leave you to work out what the other light aura bonuses and dark aura bonuses could be, but that is an example of how you can make your class more focused on doing the stuff it's meant to, and not on doing everything else. But obviously, since I'm basically rewriting your class here, it would have been kinda unfair on the other contestants if I'd given you that level of critique while the contest was ongoing.

[As a total aside, because an aristocrat at level 2 can have AC 21 with no problems, while the soulknife has literally no advantages apart from a +1 to hit with shortswords, the aristocrat can absolutely win: the soulknife is wasting their human feat and their first-level feat just to catch up on armour proficiencies, and until level 4, there's practically no reason to use their mind blade over a spear or morningstar. At high levels, the free magical bastard sword and higher hit dice finally crawl ahead of the extra feats, but really now.]

2018-05-25, 09:57 AM
Righto. I don't mind critiques, but I do mind tone, if you catch my drift, especially since I don't take gaming all that seriously. I come here as a release from everyday life and to avoid the flamewars that infest most other online communities, so it was very disheartening to read your comment before last, it really did seem (to me) like you were being hostile for the sake of it. Anyhow, thanks for the comments and hope you have a sunny weekend! :smallsmile: