I'm not sure about this, but I'm of the mindset that CON-based casting is so powerful in concept that it is truly worthy of being a capstone rather than a base ability. Imagine the ramifications of CON-based casting: since casting stats and HP are the only stats that matter for most casters, combining the two makes the single SADdest class ever. Any point buy system will pump CON as high as the DM allows (typically 18), put every point into CON through level progression, and every attribute bonus from equipment goes straight into CON. As a result, you have a caster whose HP progression overpowers everything except the Barbarian, Knight and Warblade (even with the bad Hit Dice, the CON modifier will be the highest in the party), plus even higher save DCs and bonus spells than normal because there is no secondary stat--everything is tertiary to CON.Honestly, why not start the class out as a CON based caster? I don't know that its been done before in any source material, and that's part of what makes it cool. Its literally your life force fueling your spellcasting.
It seems like that's a popular opinion though, so I'll test it.
Hit dice is D4 (D6 for Pathfinder). It seems weak, but then, that's the point--it becomes a powerful ability (allowing you to supercede material and XP components, and even metamagic adjustments) with a high cost, and if you build for CON to become a primary stat, you're going to have a huge resource pool regardless. Remember that the Blood Pact mitigates this at level 10, so you suffer in the beginning (as a caster should) and come through fighting at the end.
Bloodletting as a somatic component was something I *thought* I had included - I had certainly intended for it to replace somatic components. I'll revise that.Now, I think it's not quite powerful enough. The Death Master from Dragon Compendium had the option of using blood as a material component, and when he did, it took the place of the somatic component of his spells. Your spell list is small enough that I think you could get away with doing the same. This would allow the blood mage to wear armor and provide a good reason for doing so (rather than "the somatic components for this guy's spells, when most of them come from the wizard spell list, are relatively simple, so he can cast in light armor" Yes, that makes sense)
I think CON-based casting with a D8 hit dice is pretty seedy, since it allows you to just pump Hit Points out the wazoo (I suppose you wouldn't be pumping them out of anywhere else, though). I mean, a full caster with CON-based casting can get 20 CON at level 1 easy just by being a Gnome, gets D8+5 out of the gate and just blows up from there. To be honest, I'm scared to pump it above D4 at all, because any smart player is going to have at least +5 from the start; 6-9HP/lvl isn't bad, and that can be considered the baseline. I also have to consider that giving D8 HD with Con-based casting at ANY level, medium BAB progression, and an at-will ability that can do 15D6 damage and heal it all back makes this a much better melee character than a Rogue in a great many situations, which isn’t what I want out of a caster character. (Let Dread Necromancers do the melee thing with Charnel Touch abuse.)The Blood Telepathy and Scent abilities are both very flavorful to the point of being delicious. In fact, this is probably the most flavorful class I've reviewed in a while, so I really want to see it turn out well. Okay, let's see...
I agree with Wayfare, that replacing the Bloodletting with Con-based casting would make for an interesting (and very, very SAD) caster. Give him a d8 hit dice, light armor proficiency, and 3/4 BAB and he can even do tertiary melee too. Maybe give him some kind of benefit for drawing blood from someone (like using it to auto-Maximize a Summon spell. That actually sounds so much more awesome than it did in my head.)
Light armor proficiency is fine; I imagined bloodletting as being the somatic component, and thus being relatively less strenuous, so being able to cast in light armor isn’t a problem.
Solid tier 3 is what I’m going for. Frankly, since the spell list has some respectable results (Summon Monster and Fog lines from Conjuration, Dispel Magic and Greater Dispel Magic, and some other staples) and the class has a built-in feature that lets it bypass metamagic restrictions (Metamagic Bloodletting at level 11), I can see there being huge potential for abuses already.Originally Posted by wayfare
Should I make a Blood Summoning SLA? I included the Summon Monster line so that I could work the summoning element a bit, but avoided calling (and all its brokenness and contradiction with flavor) and Summon Undead (I don’t imagine many undead would need blood to summon) and Eidolons (which I believe are a class feature of the PF Summoner that should stay unique). If I should write up a new Summon list (or even just include Summon Monster or Summon Undead as a SLA so it can be used with Empower Spell-Like Ability), what should I include?
Blood Mage gets a way to bypass metamagic costs that’s a built-in part of the feature, and some Cleric spells (though I specifically avoided the Cure Wounds and Heal lines, because they trivialize the Bloodletting ability) as well as some Druid, Sorcerer and Wizard spells. Clerics get broader abuses (because I specifically avoided abusive content), but to abuse even Persist Spell, the Cleric needs three feats (Extend, Persist, DMM [Persist]), while ability damage is easily mitigated and can even be controlled by the Cleric.I dunno, I mean the cleric gets heavy armor proficiency and auto-ignore somatic casting, with a much wider spell list. I don't think this class could become Tier 1 without branching out more.
Even then, I want something that competes with Beguiler and Dread Necromancer for usefulness and utility; I don’t want to make a God.
I still think that D8 HD with CON-based casting out of the gate is quite a bit much. Considering that a CON casting stat will create a huge CON modifier (whether you get it at 1 or at 20) for hit point bonii, even a D4 HD produces a large hit point pool to start with. You’ll also have absurdly high Save DCs and bonus spells; since you don’t have to worry about any other stat (having all the necessary caster statistics handed to you on your CON alone), you can pump your “primary casting stat” and your Hit Points at the same time, allowing for the highest save DCs of any full caster for the same WBL.Originally Posted by Quellian-dyrae
Consider also that there’s a certain benefit to being MAD in this regard; with Bloodletting (metamagic) causing CON damage, your save DCs and bonus spells would be out the window if you only relied on CON for casting. When CON and CHA are interchangeable upon casting, you can burn CON for metamagic when you feel like it, and then afterward fall back on a respectable CHA modifier for your baseline while you continue to abuse metamagics.
Kinda like the Delayed Damage pool for Crusaders?I think somewhere in there should be an ability that lets the blood mage use damage it has taken previously in the round to fuel and/or strengthen spells. And maybe a higher-level ability to let them sacrifice the blood of others to fuel their spells.
All in all looks cool though. Good job!
Yeah, I could see about adding that in. I think I might have to have some restriction on it, though (like it can only be used when the character is “bloodied”, or at less than half health).
Keep in mind that forming a “Blood Pact” divides the damage taken evenly between you and the creature you form the Blood Pact with. This includes the damage you willingly take for your own spellcasting, so by level 10 you’re already able to mitigate roughly half of the damage Bloodletting causes (or at least channel it away from you).
I did that for two reasons: First, some users might want to use Vampire Touch and False Life more than their daily SLA allotment allows. The spells are already quite flavorful for the class, so it’s not like it loses anything for having them on both lists.Originally Posted by Yora
Second, I am able to make special exceptions for the ones you cast as SLAs; for example, at every 6th level, you learn to cast False Life quicker (Move at 6th, Swift at 12th, and Immediate at 18th), which makes it significantly stronger than casting it as a spell. Gaining Empower Spell-Like Ability at level 12 also allows them to be stronger than their spell equivalents out of the gate; HOWEVER, if you decide that this isn’t enough, you can metamagic the bajeezus out of either spell by that level with Bloodletting (metamagic).
They’re meant to be features of the class that you are allowed to use regardless of your spell usage, but having them on the spell list doesn’t really hurt, either.