2010-10-24, 01:13 PM (ISO 8601)
Bugbear in the Playground
Re: Student of the Weird[3.5]-PEACH
Since I was bored earlier I went through the Savage Species progressions and looked at which ones seemed like good picks under the 4-or-half restriction, by the way. I operated on the assumption that movement types granted at first level but not on the table were granted by the class, since at least one or two progressions don't actually make any sense otherwise (abilities keying off of movement types that aren't on the table). I went with the levels that a Student would get the abilities assuming he went right into that monster type and stuck with it.
Djinn: Perfect-maneuverability flight and telepathy right off the bat at 6, at-will Invisibility at 10. Good for a more sneaky type of Student.
Drider: There's a bit of wackiness with the wording of its abilities: as written, Drider casting is keyed off its hit dice and not its class level or even specifically its monster hit dice. As written that means Drider turns the Student into a full caster. This is almost certainly not intended. Other than that Drider is okay but nothing special.
Efreet: Telepathy and Fire subtype at 6, heat for extra damage on natural attacks, a couple of at-wills at 10 and flight plus a heat upgrade at 12. At-will Produce Flame and Pyrotechnics won't win any Most Amazing awards but they're nice party tricks.
Flamebrother: Mostly notable because it gives a relatively decent amount at its first level: tail slap, heat, fire subtype, and weapon familiarity. Heat is a fairly nice thing for a class as heavy on natural attacks as this one. Not really worth continuing unless you're really into Constrict.
Ghoul: Two steps of this for paralysis is good. The rest is meh.
Green Hag: The Str-damage touch attack at 12 is the main draw. There are some cute at-wills but nothing really impressive otherwise.
Griffon: One of the best options for a melee Student. Bite, claws, flight, and most importantly Pounce at 12. Scent is a nice bonus.
Imp: Stinger, an alternate form, a perfect fly speed, and at level 12 DR and at-will Invis. Probably better than Djinn if you're a little patient. Still not hugely impressive at these levels, but better than a lot of options out there.
Kyton, Medusa, Mind Flayer: Only noteworthy if you want to maximize your number of natural attacks, since they get weird attacks that nothing else really does.
Rakshasa: Alternate form is nice. Spell Immunity 1 is noteworthy but probably next to useless at the level you'll get it (seriously, at level 12 who's worried about level 1 spells?)
Succubus: Tongues, claws, and an alternate form on the first level is not bad. Not amazing either.
Troll: Regeneration 1 at level 12. Pretty good as Student picks go, kind of meh as any other class at this level goes.
With the level limit removed, a few others become useful, mainly the low-ECL creatures with odd special abilities: notably pixie becomes an excellent choice for sneakier Students, Imp can get its better abilities, Grig can get its fiddle, genies can get Plane Shift and aranea can get its Humanoid Form.
One way or another, the class's primary function is likely going to be as a natural-attacks beatstick with a few stylish tricks. Maximizing the beatstick element would probably involve either going for griffon and ghoul or dipping Barbarian 1 (lion totem) to get pounce and save your monster picks to pile on more esoteric natural attacks that you can't get through Unnatural Anatomy. The other obvious route to go is to live with not having Pounce and pick up sneaky/magical tricks from grig, pixie, imp, and/or genies.
Mechanical problems this highlights:
First, there absolutely need to be more Unnatural Anatomy options. Nearly every possible monster you can pick already has bite, claws, or both, so those two are functionally wasted picks. A lot of them have flight speeds with much better maneuverability than the Anatomy pick, so what was a nice trick at low levels becomes another wasted pick at higher levels. I would suggest giving some benefit to someone who gets the same feature from multiple sources within the class: off the top of my head, I would suggest perhaps that a character who gets a flight speed from his monster picks after taking the Unnatural Anatomy for it gets Wing Buffet for free, and that someone who gets the same natural weapon from multiple SotW abilities should get Improved Natural Attack on that weapon. Even with that, there need to be more options.
Second, as written you make it possible to get poison onto attacks that duplicate Unnatural Anatomy picks but not onto attacks that can't be taken as Unnatural Anatomy. This is kind of a weird dichotomy, and means that Medusa snakes or Imp stinger will always just have their terrible basic damage. Personally, I don't see the problem with letting the character just have the dang poison from his monster picks, but that's me.
Last edited by Benly; 2010-10-24 at 01:13 PM.