2011-05-20, 10:46 PM (ISO 8601)
Bugbear in the Playground
Re: [3.5] The Indigo: Tempest and Trickster (PEACH)
These are some very interesting classes, and quite well done in general. That being said, I'm got some things to mention.
First the stuff I like: It's nice to see two-weapon fighting get some use, definitely. I also like the surge point mechanic, since it simultaneously encourages you to make use of your arcane abilities and also get into combat. It lets you have at-will powers that are more powerful than a warlock's which require you to be in combat. I also like seeing illusion magic being used my a melee class, that's just cool.
Arcane Fission is an excellent idea, and something that TWF can really make use of. That's just a great idea all around.
Now the other stuff:
• For starters, the biggest thing, I don't understand why these are two separate classes. They're incredibly similar, with the same supernatural ability list (and rate of acquisition) as well as many of the class features. It's also worth mentioning that it's a very bad idea to give 3/4 BAB to a class focused on two weapon fighting. As someone that's played several TWF characters in the past, I can tell you that hitting the target is much much harder because of the off-hand penalties. It's hard enough to set up a full attack in the first place to take advantage of it. I actually see no reason not to consolidate the two classes into one single class, the indigo. As a tricky magic warrior character there's really nothing wrong with giving them 6 skill points as well as full BAB. I mean, the ranger has that chassis, and nobody complains. Both classes are also a little thin on class features otherwise, and by folding the two together you could have more cool stuff for them to do.
• Speaking of which, I assume there are more invocations coming since there aren't even 15 of them as of the time of writing. When you're writing more of them, you should think about some noncombat invocations, which would really help with the trickster feeling you're going for. I'd also move away from explicitly using wording like "at the start of every encounter...". You can accomplish the same thing by saying "surge points fade five minutes after you acquire them", and you don't have legions of people arguing what constitutes an encounter like the factotum.
• There's seriously no reason not to just let them cast detect magic at will. The nebulous balancing of such a lackluster spell is hardly enough to justify making people track how many times they've used it.
• You should think about having class features which are powered by surge points as well. This would let you have cool features earlier on, like the current capstone for the tempest. Being able to make a full attack as a standard action is amazing for this kind of character, and should be the sort of thing you can actually do in play. Nobody plays at level 20, so the ability is useless, as cool as it is. By having it lower and require, for example, three surge points to activate, you can turn it into a risk/reward question for the player where they have to gamble whether to go with a single attack for a surge point or a flurry of attacks which might make back the surge points they needed to power it or might end up costing them big.
• Uncanny Agility is another example of a class feature which would make more sense to power off of surge points. Spending a surge point to take an extra swift or immediate action is way more useful than making people only able to use it once per "encounter".
• Same with Arcane Alacrity. By dropping these abilities in level and requiring surge points to activate, you would not only integrate the class features with the way the class works mechanically, you can easily justify combining the two classes as described above since you don't have to worry about it being overpowered. After all, there's only one pool of surge points, so it's okay to have lots of cool abilities that trigger off of them.
• Impenetrable Illusion needs some clarification. The way it's written, it's absolutely impossible to ever see through your illusions. I think what you want is to stop people from magically seeing through them, which is cool. But make sure to mention that people can still see through them with Spot checks and interaction and so on. Because the wording is really bad right now.
• The rate of acquisition of surge points is weird. Please make it predictable like (+1, +0, +1, +0...), (+1, +1, +0, +1, +1, +0...) instead of (+1, +0, +1, +1, +0, +1, +1, +1, +0, +1, +1, +1, +0, +1, +1, +1, +0, +1, +1, +1). That's just counter-intuitive to change rates like that in the middle of the class. It seems like it was only written like that to fill dead levels. The correct solution is to write class features for the dead levels and stick with a predictable rate of gain for invocations.
• Indigo flames describes fire covering your weapon, but just increases the regular damage. It should probably do extra fire damage.
• There's no reason for deflection to have a cap on it. Having a +6 to AC at level 12 against a single attack is not a problem at all, nor is a +10 to AC at level 20.
• Please alphabetize your invocations and have a list at the start with a description of each for reference. In addition, you might want to think about having different levels of invocations, even using the same divisions as a warlock's invocations if you write enough of them. That lets you write more interesting and relevant ones at higher levels (least, lesser, greater, dark).
• Also, as a general rule you should aim for three possible options for every choice the character makes (that lets you have two characters of the same class with no overlapping abilities who aren't forced into any choice by default). That means you should be aiming for 45 different invocations. Again, separating them into different tiers will make it a lot easier to write them.
• I'm also kind of really disappointed that you don't get any abilities to make standard illusions. Everything is focused relentlessly on combat applications, which is kind of a shame. Illusion magic is some of the coolest in the game to use outside of combat, and there's really nothing here to let you do that. Even something as mundane as silent image is awesome because there are so many applications for it.
• You've got at least one instance of 'Blue Flame Tempest', presumably from an older version.
As I mentioned above, I love the idea and think it's got lots of possibilities. I hope my suggestions are helpful.