2009-08-30, 03:57 AM (ISO 8601)
Halfling in the Playground
Re: [3.5] Revising classes for fun and balance-ish (new Marshal, Swashbuckler, and mo
I've been looking into the Swashbuckler and Swordsage for a prefab character for one of my new players and your take on the Swashbuckler seems like what I had in mind for it, although I might just change the Swordsage about a bit instead. I'm still checking out all the maneuvers so I can't say much about your variant's balance in general.
However, I agree with Draz74 that having both a Reflex-bonus from Grace and a good base save make him a tad overpowered. It also feels a bit contrived, mechanics-wise. I'm not sure how the distinction between Swordsage and Swashbuckler works out now that both get Blade Magic, but it seems to me like it makes more sense for the latter to have a strong fortitude save (as per the RAW). I have no idea if this also works fluff-wise though. Good base Reflex and a Grace bonus could probably work if Fort and Will saves were bad.
I love the Dramatic abilities, especially the Dramatic Entry, the bonuses for puns in a feint and your wording of Dramatic Moment.
Now, as for your ranger, it seems like you need to be a bit more careful with the way you word some of its abilities. For instance, Blindsight lacks the "in a natural environment" clause although the description of Natural Instinct already makes this redundant (I also agree that Blindsense would be better, both balance- and fluff-wise).
I'm also confused by the abilities granted by Favored Enemy. It seems like some of these apply in general situations, while others only work against that type of enemy. I haven't studied them in great detail but that could make for a balance issue. It also seems like some of these abilities should only be used against a specific creature type but that you forgot to add that clause. Examples:
- Vermin: I'm not sure how you're going to make this work fluff-wise.
- Construct: I could see how you might do extra damage against constructs like this, but how are you going to do Bludgeoning damage with regular arrows against humanoids?
- Humanoid (Other): Autoconfirm criticals on medium creatures? That sounds wildly overpowered and has very little to do with fighting humanoids.
- Vermin: I recommend rewording to "for each size category below small." A Giant shouldn't be getting bonuses on humans, even if he might call them vermin. I'm also a bit concerned about balance here versus Tiny and Fine critters.
In general, it seems like you also blurr the line between "experience fighting this type" and magical powers. From what I understand of the core mechanic, you receive bonuses to fighting these types of creatures because of your experience with them in the past or a devotion to destroying or fighting them. It doesn't make any sense that an Aberration's tentacles are suddenly half their length when they try to hit you, just because you killed a few of them in the past. The same goes for giving out elemental immunities and other abilities that make the monster's abilities weaker instead of making you stronger against them.
Finally, I'm considering changing the progression for Favored Enemy in my games. Basically, the every fifth level advancement would only determine maximum bonuses and selection of new types, while +1 or +2's could be distributed freely up to that limit every other level or so. I think the power level would be similar, but it helps spread out its advancement and gets rid of the annoyance that comes with selecting the order you want to take your Favored Types in.
The key to wisdom is to have strong opinions, weakly held.