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    Default Wavekeeper base class [3.5 PEACH]

    WAVEKEEPER

    "Nothing in the world is more flexible and yielding than water. Yet when it attacks the firm and the strong, none can withstand it, because they have no way to change it. So the flexible overcome the adamant, the yielding overcome the forceful. Everyone knows this, but no one can do it."

    -- Lao Tzu




    This is a 20-level class based on the Wavekeeper prestige class originally presented in Stormwrack (pp.65-67). The wavekeeper is skilled with manipulating water and ice, enhancing or impeding mobility, and (to a lesser degree) healing and supporting allies.

    Designer Notes:
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    • This is not intended to compete with the wizard class, but rather to provide a more limited, themed alternative for DMs and players who want to use casters that feel more like popular fantasy archetypes and don't achieve the limitless godlike power of the wizard. Compare to the bard, beguiler or dread necromancer (or the warmage if it didn't suck).
    • Unlike the other elemental casters I've made, the wavekeeper has a slightly flexible spell list, through the Domain Wizard feature. I did this because there are A LOT of spells that are appropriate to the class, and I had to cut a lot of good ones to get the spell list down to size. Domain Wizard gives you a means of getting your favorite water-themed spells on your list if you don't already see them there.
    • I specifically am scaling back on the max number of spells per day at each level in order to force the player of a wavekeeper to manage his spells more carefully than would a sorcerer or a focused specialist wizard.
    • My target game balance level is Tier 3, somewhere between the beguiler and the dread necromancer.


    Change Log:
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    1.0 Original version.
    1.1 Cloak of the sea improved to grant concealment in addition to its other benefits.
    1.2 Removed Elemental Lore and Wave Friend. Replaced Crashing Wave feature with a spell of the same name. Combined Blindsense, Low-Light Vision and Resist Cold into a single feature, Deepwater Adept. Granted Water Elemental Wild Shape sooner, and made it scale more slowly. Moved Fog Sight from 11th level to 9th. Added proficiency with nets.


    GAME RULE INFORMATION
    Wavekeepers have the following game statistics.
    Abilities: Intelligence is the most important ability for a wavekeeper, as it determines how powerful a spell she can cast, how many spells she can cast per day, and how hard those spells are to resist. Strength determines the effectiveness of some of the wavekeeper’s secondary abilities, and a wavekeeper benefits from high Dexterity and Constitution scores much as a sorcerer or wizard would.
    Alignment: Any
    Hit Die: d6

    {table=head]Level|Base Attack|Fort|Ref|Will|Special|-0-|-1-|-2-|-3-|-4-|-5-|-6-|-7-|-8-|-9-

    1st|
    +0
    |
    +2
    |
    +0
    |
    +2
    |Domain wizard, expert swimmer, armored mage|5|3|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

    2nd|
    +1
    |
    +3
    |
    +0
    |
    +3
    |Wave companion|5|4|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

    3rd|
    +1
    |
    +3
    |
    +1
    |
    +3
    |Deepwater adept (2x/5)|5|5|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

    4th|
    +2
    |
    +4
    |
    +1
    |
    +4
    |Masterful swimmer, mastery of breath|5|5|3|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

    5th|
    +2
    |
    +4
    |
    +1
    |
    +4
    |Cloak of the sea|5|5|4|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

    6th|
    +3
    |
    +5
    |
    +2
    |
    +5
    ||5|5|5|3|-|-|-|-|-|-

    7th|
    +3
    |
    +5
    |
    +2
    |
    +5
    |Deepwater adept (3x/10)|5|5|5|4|-|-|-|-|-|-

    8th|
    +4
    |
    +6
    |
    +2
    |
    +6
    |Essence of the waves|5|5|5|5|3|-|-|-|-|-

    9th|
    +4
    |
    +6
    |
    +3
    |
    +6
    |Fog sight|5|5|5|5|4|-|-|-|-|-

    10th|
    +5
    |
    +7
    |
    +3
    |
    +7
    ||5|5|5|5|5|3|-|-|-|-

    11th|
    +5
    |
    +7
    |
    +3
    |
    +7
    |Deepwater adept (4x/30/20)|5|5|5|5|5|4|-|-|-|-

    12th|
    +6/+1
    |
    +8
    |
    +4
    |
    +8
    |Current mastery|5|5|5|5|5|5|3|-|-|-

    13th|
    +6/+1
    |
    +8
    |
    +4
    |
    +8
    ||5|5|5|5|5|5|4|-|-|-

    14th|
    +7/+2
    |
    +9
    |
    +4
    |
    +9
    |Water elemental wild shape 1/day (large)|5|5|5|5|5|5|5|3|-|-

    15th|
    +7/+2
    |
    +9
    |
    +5
    |
    +9
    |Deepwater adept (5x/60/30)|5|5|5|5|5|5|5|4|-|-

    16th|
    +8/+3
    |
    +10
    |
    +5
    |
    +10
    ||5|5|5|5|5|5|5|5|3|-

    17th|
    +8/+3
    |
    +10
    |
    +5
    |
    +10
    |Water elemental wild shape 2/day|5|5|5|5|5|5|5|5|4|-

    18th|
    +9/+4
    |
    +11
    |
    +6
    |
    +11
    ||5|5|5|5|5|5|5|5|5|3

    19th|
    +9/+4
    |
    +11
    |
    +6
    |
    +11
    |Deepwater adept (6x/90/immune)|5|5|5|5|5|5|5|5|5|4

    20th|
    +10/+5
    |
    +12
    |
    +6
    |
    +12
    |Water elemental wild shape 3/day (huge)|5|5|5|5|5|5|5|5|5|5[/table]


    CLASS SKILLS (2 + Int mod per level, x4 at 1st level)
    A wavekeeper's class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Balance (Dex), Climb (Str), Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Escape Artist (Dex), Heal (Wis), Jump (Str), Knowledge (arcana) (Int), Knowledge (geography) (Int), Knowledge (nature) (Int), Listen (Wis), Profession (Wis), Search (Int), Spellcraft (Int), Spot (Wis), Survival (Wis), Swim (Str), Use Rope (Dex).



    "Most of us, I suppose, are a little nervous of the sea. No matter what its smiles may be, we doubt its friendship."

    -- H. M. Tomlinson

    CLASS FEATURES
    Your spells and class features make you well-suited to a variety of roles, but you are best suited to tasks involving battlefield control, enhancing your allies, and combat support. At higher levels, you can use your magic to allow your entire party to adventure safely underwater or bury an entire group of landbound foes beneath a wall of rushing water. Depending on your spell choices, you may also be able to support an expedition into a forbidding frostfell, function as a backup healer, guide your party through the deeps of oceanic trenches, or blast your foes with acid and cold spells.
    Weapon and Armor Proficiency: The wavekeeper gains proficiency with all simple weapons, and with rapiers, short swords, spiked armor, nets and tridents. She is proficient with light armor, but not with shields.
    Spells: A wavekeeper casts arcane spells, which are drawn from the wavekeeper spell list (below). When you gain access to a new level of spells, you automatically gain access to all the spells for that level on the wavekeeper’s spell list. You can cast any spell you know without preparing it ahead of time. Essentially, your spell list is the same as your spells known list.
    To cast a wavekeeper spell, you must have an Intelligence score of 10 + the spell's level. The Difficulty Class for a saving throw against a wavekeeper’s spell is 10 + the spell's level + the wavekeeper’s Int mod. Like other spellcasters, a wavekeeper can cast only a certain number of spells of each spell level per day. The base daily spell allotment is given in the table above. In addition, you receive bonus spells for a high Intelligence score.
    A wavekeeper need not prepare spells in advance. You can cast any spell you know at any time, assuming you have not yet used up your spells per day for that level.
    Domain Wizard: Water is ever-changing and cannot be bound into a single form. Wavekeepers, too, learn that their discipline is flexible, and their deep study of the element of water can yield surprising secrets. A wavekeeper gains access to a single domain, gaining its granted power and adding its spells to her list of spells known. Spells gained from a domain are arcane spells for her, and she casts them just as she would her other spells. A wavekeeper's available domains are Blackwater (SW 109), Cold (SC 271), Healing (PHB 187), Knowledge (PHB 187), Seafolk (SW 110), Water (PHB 189), and Winter (FB 85).
    Instead of choosing a domain, the wavekeeper may choose an Alternate Path. A practitioner of an Alternate Path does not acquire a granted power, but may add a bonus spell to her list of wavekeeper spells known every time she gains access to a new level of spells. The wavekeeper may choose any spell from any list, provided the spell does not have the Air, Earth, or Fire descriptor and meets one of the following conditions:
    • Any [water] spell.
    • Any [cold] spell that conjures or manipulates ice or snow (but not [cold] spells that create coldfire or "cold energy").
    • Any Divination or [teleportation] spell of 4th level or lower.
    • Any Conjuration (healing) spell of 3rd level or lower.
    • Any other spell that the DM agrees is thematically appropriate (e.g. spells that increase or decrease movement speed, create fog or mist, deal acid damage, or inflict or remove fatigue or exhaustion).
    Alternate Path spells are learned and cast at their original level if they are taken from a list that grants full casting (such as cleric, druid, or sorcerer/wizard), or at one level higher than their original level if they are taken from an abbreviated list (such as bard, paladin, or ranger).
    Expert Swimmer: Your constant journeys beneath the waves have made you an excellent swimmer. You gain Expert Swimmer (SW 92) as a bonus feat, and may ignore the Endurance prerequisite for it.
    Armored Mage (Ex): Normally, armor of any type interferes with an arcane spellcaster's gestures, causing an arcane spell failure chance. However, a wavekeeper’s limited focus and specialized training allow you to ignore the arcane spell failure chance for light armor. This training does not extend to shields, other forms of armor, or spells gained from other spellcasting classes.
    Wave Companion: Upon reaching 2nd level, the wavekeeper may perform a special incantation to call a small water elemental as a familiar. The ritual requires rare dusts and pigments costing 100gp, and requires 24 hours of uninterrupted meditation. The elemental progresses as a familiar, as described in the Player's Handbook (pp. 52-53), except that the wavekeeper does not lose experience if her companion is killed, and she may replace a slain or dismissed familiar after waiting seven days.
    Deepwater Adept (Ex): At 3rd level, a wavekeeper learns rituals for hardening her flesh against the frigid cold of the pelagic abysses and trains her eyes to peer through its stygian blackness. You gain low-light vision and resist cold 5.
    Upon reaching 7th level, you can now see three times as far as a human in conditions of poor illumination, and your cold resistance increases to 10. At 11th level, you acquire a delicate sensitivity to subtle changes in the pressure of the surrounding water or air, and gains blindsense with a range of 30 ft. Additionally, you can see four times as far and your cold resistance increases to 20. At 15th level, the range of your blindsense improves to 60 feet, you can see five times as far and your cold resistance increases to 30. At 19th level, the range of your blindsense improves to 90 feet, you can see six times as far and you become immune to cold.
    Masterful Swimmer (Ex): At 4th level, a wavekeeper augments her swimming using the minutest of currents and swimming patterns, granting her a swim speed of 20 feet or increasing her existing swim speed by 10 feet if she has a natural swim speed. If she is not of an aquatic race, she no longer takes the -10 penalty to Listen checks that land creatures suffer underwater (see SW p.87).
    Additionally, any spell she casts that increases a creature's base land speed also increases its base swim speed (if it has one) by the same amount, even if the spell normally would not do so.
    Mastery of Breath (Ex): Beginning at 4th level, a wavekeeper adapts to her watery environment, becoming amphibious and able to breath water or air interchangeably.
    Cloak of the Sea (Su): As a free action, a wavekeeper of 5th level of higher can command the spirits of water to surround her in an aura of sea foam and salt spray a number of times per day equal to 3 + her Strength modifier. This cloak of the sea lasts for five minutes. While cloaked in this watery aura, the wavekeeper channels the essence of water to become swift, forceful and elusive. She gains a +2 bonus on Fortitude saving throws and all Strength-based checks and does not provoke attacks of opportunity for movement or spellcasting. She also gains concealment, although this concealment cannot be used to hide because the spray and foam give away her general position. At 14th level, the bonus increases to +4.
    Essence of the Waves (Ex): At 8th level, a wavekeeper masters the mystery of binding the spirits of water within her own flesh. Imbued with the essence of water, her movements acquire the speed and certainty of the crashing wave. Her skin appears to be coated with a fine layer of dew, and wisps of vapor seem to float from her flesh at times. She gains +10 to her speed in each of her movement modes, which increases to +20 while she is cloaked in her cloak of the sea ability.
    Fog Sight (Su): A wavekeeper of 9th level can assert her authority over airborne particles of water, enabling her to peer through clouds, fog, murky water or almost any other sort of haze or suspended particles, as easily as if the impediment weren't there. The wavekeeper can still see the clouds or fog as a ghostly outline, so she can avoid walking into acid fogs and the like. This ability is not effective against smoke or blown dust or sand.
    Using this ability is a standard action. Each use lasts for a number of rounds equal to 3 + the wavekeeper’s Str modifier.
    Current Mastery (Su): A 12th level wavekeeper gains the ability to create currents that move the water in her vicinity. The current flows in a direction she specifies and affects water within 30 feet of her position. Creatures, including the wavekeeper, are moved in the direction the water flows. The current moves at 10 feet per round. At 15th level, the speed of the current increases to 20 feet per round.
    The wavekeeper can use her current mastery to increase or impede the speed of a ship, though if she attempts to impede a ship with sails that ship's speed is only reduced by 5 feet (or by 10 feet for a 15th-level wavekeeper).
    Water Elemental Wild Shape (Su): At 14th level, a wavekeeper gains the ability to assume the form of a Small, Medium, or Large water elemental once per day. She gains the elemental's racial bonuses to Strength, Dexterity, Constitution and natural armor, and gains Water Mastery, Drench, and Vortex as per the water elemental description. She also gains the elemental's feats. She retains her own type and racial attributes, but gains the water subtype. The effect lasts one hour per wavekeeper level, or until the wavekeeper changes back. Changing form is a standard action and doesn't provoke an attack of opportunity.
    Upon changing to water elemental form, the wavekeeper regains hit points (but nothing else) as if she had rested for the night. If slain in water elemental form, she reverts to her normal shape (but remains dead).
    The wavekeeper gains an additional use per day of this ability at 17th and 20th level. At 20th level, she may use this wild shape ability to assume the form of a huge water elemental.




    "Ocean: A body of water occupying two-thirds of a world made for man - who has no gills. "

    -- Ambrose Bierce


    WAVEKEEPER SPELL LIST
    The wavekeeper spell list appears below. All spells are notated with the name and page number of the sourcebook in which they appear.
    0 Level: create water (PHB 215), detect magic (PHB 219), know direction (PHB 246), prestidigitation (PHB 264), purify food and drink (PHB 267), read magic (PHB 269).
    1st Level: animate water (SC 13), benign transposition (SC 27), conjure ice beast I (FB 91), endure elements (PHB 226), expeditious retreat (PHB 228), expeditious retreat, swift (SC 85), glaze lock (FB 97), hydrate (SS 117), ice dagger (SC 118), ice slick (FB 100), identify (PHB 243), living prints (SC 134), locate water (SS 117), longstrider (PHB 249), moment of clarity (SC 142), obscuring mist (PHB 258), ray of enfeeblement (PHB 269), second wind (SC 182), slide (SC 191), snowshoes (SC 194), snowsight (FB 104), wave blessing (SW 125), winter chill (SC 241).
    2nd Level: baleful transposition (SC 23), calm emotions (PHB 207), conjure ice beast II (FB 91), conjure ice object (FB 91), escalating enfeeblement (CM 103), fog cloud (PHB 232), ice darts (FB 99), inky cloud (SC 123), locate object (PHB 249), quick march (SC 164), quick potion (SC 164), see invisibility (PHB 275), slide, greater (SC 192), snake's swiftness (SC 193), stormrunner's ward (SW 122), swim (SC 217), tern's persistence (SW 123), tojanida sight (SW 123), torrent of tears (CM 119), turbidity (SW 123), winter's embrace (SC 241).
    3rd Level: amorphous form (SC 9), arcane sight (PHB 201), arctic haze (FB 88), column of ice (FB 93), conjure ice beast III (FB 91), crashing waves, detect ship (SW 118), dispel magic (PHB 223), haste (PHB 239), healing touch (SC 111), heart of water (CM 107), ice axe (SC 118), ice shape (FB 99), icelance (SC 119), primal form (water only) (SC 161), ray of exhaustion (PHB 269), scales of the sealord (SW 121), sink (SC 190), sleet storm (PHB 280), snake's swiftness, mass (SC 193), standing wave (SC 204), tormenting thirst (SS 124), water breathing (PHB 300), water walk (PHB 300), weather eye (SC 238).
    4th Level: aspect of the icy hunter (PH2 96), conjure ice beast IV (FB 91), control currents (SW 114), control water (PHB 214), ice shield (FB 99), ice storm (PHB 243), locate creature (PHB 249), rushing waters (SC 178), scrying (druid focus) (PHB 274), siren's call (SW 121), solid fog (PHB 281), summon elementite swarm (water only) (SC 214), swim, mass (SC 217), thalassemia (SW 123), wake trailing (SW 124), wall of ice (PHB 299), wall of water (SC 235), wind at back (SC 239).
    5th Level: call avalanche (FB 90), cloak of the sea (SC 48), conjure ice beast V (FB 91), dance of the unicorn (SC 58), dispel fire (FB 93), flesh to ice (FB 94), flowsight (SW 117), ice to flesh (FB 100), longstrider, mass (PH2 117), neutralize poison (PHB 257), pass through ice (FB 103), sheltered vitality (SC 188), sirine's grace (SC 191), swamp stride (SC 217), waves of fatigue (PHB 301).
    6th Level: animate snow (SC 12), conjure ice beast VI (FB 91), contingency (PHB 213), drown (SC 74), entomb (FB 93), extract water elemental (SC 86), freezing fog (SC 99), mephit mob (water subtype only) (SS 118), move snow and ice (FB 102), snow wave (FB 104), stormwalk (SW 122), summon greater elemental (water only) (SC 214), true seeing (PHB 296).
    7th Level: arcane sight, greater (PHB 201), as the frost (PH2 101), blood to water (SC 33), conjure ice beast VII (FB 91), elemental body (water only) (SC 78), ice claw (SC 118), nixie's grace (SC 148), spell turning (PHB 282), submerge ship (SC 207), tidal surge (SC 220), waterspout (SC 236), waves of exhaustion (PHB 301).
    8th Level: conjure ice beast VIII (FB 91), field of icy razors (SC 90), flashflood (SS 114), maelstrom (SC 135), megalodon empowerment (SW 118), mysterious redirection (CM 107), red tide (SC 170), regenerate (PHB 270), simulacrum (PHB 279).
    9th Level: conjure ice beast IX (FB 91), drown, mass (SC 74), elemental swarm (water elementals only) (PHB 226), genius loci (water only) (PH2 105), iceberg (FB 101), planar navigation (SW 119), summon elemental monolith (water only) (SC 214), tsunami (SC 224).


    NEW SPELLS

    Crashing Waves
    Conjuration (Creation) [Water]
    Level: wavekeeper 3
    Components: S, special
    Casting Time: 1 immediate action
    Range: 30 ft.
    Effect: 30-ft radius emanation, centered on the caster.
    Saving Throw: None
    Spell Resistance: Yes

    With merely a forceful gesture, you conjure the spirits of water in a great wave to conceal your allies and buffet your foes.

    Spoiler
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    Whenever you use any version of crashing waves, nonmagical fires are snuffed out within the area of effect, and everything is drenched by the sudden flood of water.

    In its most basic version, the rushing wave, you throw out your arms and conjure a swell of cold water that races out to the edges of the effect. Affected allies find the water to be soothing and restorative; healing damage equal to your Strength bonus (minimum 1) and receiving a +4 bonus to saves against [fire] effects until the beginning of your next turn. Enemies are pushed back by the water. Treat the effect as a bull rush towards the nearest edge of the effect at a bonus of 7 + your Strength modifier, but creatures are not pushed further once they have been pushed outside the effect. At 13th level, the save bonus increases to +6, and the bull rush attempts are at an additional +4.

    A caster of at least 9th level can conjure a crashing wave: you throw out your arms and send a wall of foaming white water out to the edges of the effect. Allies gain concealment amidst the foamy waves for 1 round, while enemies are battered about, sustaining 3d6 points of bludgeoning damage, and may be knocked prone. Treat the effect as a trip attempt with a bonus of 7 + your Strength modifier. At 17th level, allies gain total concealment instead, and the trip attempts are at an additional +4.

    A caster of at least 13th level can conjure dark water: you throw out your arms and send forth an icy wave of black water from the deep ocean trenches, leaving the area awash until the beginning of your next turn. Within the area of the effect, magical [fire] effects are dispelled and [fire] spells being cast are countered as if with a greater dispel magic.

    A caster of at least 17th level can conjure a maelstrom: you throw out your arms and call a mighty vortex of whirling, spinning water to fill the area for 1 round, trapping enemies but leaving allies afloat. On its turn, each enemy may attempt a Swim or Profession (sailor) check as a move action (DC = 13 + your Strength modifier) to escape the maelstrom, moving to the nearest square outside the area of effect. Failing that, the creature is unable to move of its own accord, and revolves helplessly in the whirlpool. At the end of its turn, move the creature 30 feet clockwise around the rim of the whirlpool.

    Taking actions while trapped within the whirlpool is possible, but extremely difficult. Weapon attacks are made as if the creature was underwater, attacking with ranged weapons of any kind is impossible, and performing any action requiring concentration or focus requires a concentration check (DC = 13 + Strength modifier).

    Special: To cast this spell, you must have your Cloak of the Sea feature active (see above), or must be within 30 feet of a large mass of water or ice (such as a pond, snowfield, or an area of driving rain or heavy snow).
    Last edited by jiriku; 2012-02-26 at 11:37 PM.
    3.5 Homebrew: Remixes to rebalance nearly every base class, all in the authentic flavor of the originals.
    Tier 1 casters breaking your game? Remix your magic with Philosopher's Stone, or try these flavorful mid-tier classes instead: Machinist, Shapeshifter, Avatar, Magus of Blades, Ritualist, Magician, Dawnblade, Summoner, plus 5 elemental casters!


  2. - Top - End - #2
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    Default Re: Wavekeeper base class [3.5 PEACH]

    Skill point taxes for abilities are pointless; remove it.

    This seems like it might be better as a PrC; a spellcaster based purely on a specific element is not a good idea, especially when you don't have enough useful features to justify not just being a wizard who can be more flexible (and this really doesn't).

    Why do your class features rely on your strength mod? You're a caster.

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    Default Re: Wavekeeper base class [3.5 PEACH]

    Quote Originally Posted by Milskidasith View Post
    Skill point taxes for abilities are pointless; remove it.
    I personally agree with you, but the feedback I'd gotten on my other elemental casters was that the class didn't feel like an Int-based caster. Thus, I added Elemental Lore and the Knowledge (arcana) to create mechanical support for the class as a knowledgeable, studious archetype. If I strip this out (which I don't mind doing), can you suggest anything I could do to ensure that the Int focus comes across during play?

    This seems like it might be better as a PrC; a spellcaster based purely on a specific element is not a good idea, especially when you don't have enough useful features to justify not just being a wizard who can be more flexible (and this really doesn't).
    Well, it originally was a prestige class.

    My goal is to make the class less flexible than the wizard, wizards being able to be absolutely amazing at everything y'know. It's intended to occupy a smaller conceptual space with a specific theme, like the beguiler or dread necromancer. How would you say it stacks up against those two classes?

    Why do your class features rely on your strength mod? You're a caster.
    It's an homage to Go Rin No Sho, Miyamoto Musashi's Book of the Five Rings, and to the character-building system of the Legend of the Five Rings RPG. Each element is present in humans, and is expressed in a physical and mental component. The Water in you is expressed in strength and perception. In L5R, the Water Ring also governs your speed, and Water magic typically revolves around tactical movement in battle, healing and support, and clarity and perception. It may seem odd to Westerners, but this conception of the elements is very traditional in Eastern philosophy. You'll see a lot of it if you look at the shugenja class, which is based on the L5R shugenja.

    Edit: Also, I'm looking ahead to the possibility that someone might want to gish with one of my elemental mages, so I'm attempting to include some powers in each class that are a little more combat-focused than the base class can really take advantage of. Think of it as some latent multiclassing synergy hidden away in the class features and spell list, much like the Charisma-, Wisdom-, and Intelligence-based features present in the crusader, swordsage, and warblade. Later I'll be building a gish-type prestige class that's specifically intended to support a ToB/elemental mage entry path.
    Last edited by jiriku; 2010-07-07 at 11:46 PM.
    3.5 Homebrew: Remixes to rebalance nearly every base class, all in the authentic flavor of the originals.
    Tier 1 casters breaking your game? Remix your magic with Philosopher's Stone, or try these flavorful mid-tier classes instead: Machinist, Shapeshifter, Avatar, Magus of Blades, Ritualist, Magician, Dawnblade, Summoner, plus 5 elemental casters!


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    Default Re: Wavekeeper base class [3.5 PEACH]

    Quote Originally Posted by jiriku View Post
    I personally agree with you, but the feedback I'd gotten on my other elemental casters was that the class didn't feel like an Int-based caster. Thus, I added Elemental Lore and the Knowledge (arcana) to create mechanical support for the class as a knowledgeable, studious archetype. If I strip this out (which I don't mind doing), can you suggest anything I could do to ensure that the Int focus comes across during play?
    The fact it's spell DCs are based on int? That makes int a smart investment, and it's already there.

    My goal is to make the class less flexible than the wizard, wizards being able to be absolutely amazing at everything y'know. It's intended to occupy a smaller conceptual space with a specific theme, like the beguiler or dread necromancer. How would you say it stacks up against those two classes?
    There's not a good comparison; this is a thematic class based around one element, while the others are broadly defined archetypes based on an entire spell school.

    It's an homage to Go Rin No Sho, Miyamoto Musashi's Book of the Five Rings, and to the character-building system of the Legend of the Five Rings RPG. Each element is present in humans, and is expressed in a physical and mental component. The Water in you is expressed in strength and perception. In L5R, the Water Ring also governs your speed, and Water magic typically revolves around tactical movement in battle, healing and support, and clarity and perception. It may seem odd to Westerners, but this conception of the elements is very traditional in Eastern philosophy. You'll see a lot of it if you look at the shugenja class, which is based on the L5R shugenja.
    While this is entirely reasonable thematically, it goes against D&D design philosophy, especially for a stat that is absolutely useless to your class in any other situation.

    Edit: Also, I'm looking ahead to the possibility that someone might want to gish with one of my elemental mages, so I'm attempting to include some powers in each class that are a little more combat-focused than the base class can really take advantage of. Think of it as some latent multiclassing synergy hidden away in the class features and spell list, much like the Charisma-, Wisdom-, and Intelligence-based features present in the crusader, swordsage, and warblade. Later I'll be building a gish-type prestige class that's specifically intended to support a ToB/elemental mage entry path.
    [/QUOTE]

    The class doesn't have the necessary buff spells required to support a gish. It would just be a Melee class X with minor spellcasting tacked on.

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    Default Re: Wavekeeper base class [3.5 PEACH]

    You make good points, although I still maintain that the wavekeeper is considerably more versatile than a dread necromancer, at least roughly competitive with ToB classes, and has more raw power than skill monkey classes like bard and factotum. And it could beat the crap out of noncasting classes.

    So, given that the focus is narrow, what's needed to broaden it? At present, the wavekeeper can:

    At low levels
    1. enhance tactical and overland movement
    2. grant additional attacks
    3. locate and/or scry upon objects and people
    4. debuff foes with a small selection of status effects
    5. deal direct damage at range
    6. control the battlefield with fogs, walls, and adverse terrain
    7. summon monsters to scout, tank or flank


    At high levels
    1. travel via teleportation and planar travel, albeit at later levels than tier 1 classes acquire those abilities
    2. kill foes with save-or-die effects
    3. deal substantial area damage and reshape the battlefield with dual-threat BC/DD spells
    4. crush structures
    5. summon bigger, meaner monsters to tank n flank


    Additonally, with proper domain selection, the wavekeeper could do one of the following:
    1. offheal
    2. improve battlefield control
    3. improve direct damage


    What else would it need to do to be sufficiently versatile? Which of the above capabilities would need to be expanded or improved?

    Edit: I'm seeing your point about the limited defenses and self-buffs. I'll see if I can't swap out a couple of spells for thematically appopriate buffs and put more defensive muscle in the class features.
    Last edited by jiriku; 2010-07-08 at 01:03 AM.
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    Default Re: Wavekeeper base class [3.5 PEACH]

    Quote Originally Posted by jiriku View Post
    You make good points, although I still maintain that the wavekeeper is considerably more versatile than a dread necromancer, at least roughly competitive with ToB classes, and has more raw power than skill monkey classes like bard and factotum. And it could beat the crap out of noncasting classes.

    So, given that the focus is narrow, what's needed to broaden it? At present, the wavekeeper can:

    At low levels
    1. enhance tactical and overland movement
    2. grant additional attacks
    3. locate and/or scry upon objects and people
    4. debuff foes with a small selection of status effects
    5. deal direct damage at range
    6. control the battlefield with fogs, walls, and adverse terrain
    7. summon monsters to scout, tank or flank


    At high levels
    1. travel via teleportation and planar travel, albeit at later levels than tier 1 classes acquire those abilities
    2. kill foes with save-or-die effects
    3. deal substantial area damage and reshape the battlefield with dual-threat BC/DD spells
    4. crush structures
    5. summon bigger, meaner monsters to tank n flank


    Additonally, with proper domain selection, the wavekeeper could do one of the following:
    1. offheal
    2. improve battlefield control
    3. improve direct damage


    What else would it need to do to be sufficiently versatile? Which of the above capabilities would need to be expanded or improved?

    Edit: I'm seeing your point about the limited defenses and self-buffs. I'll see if I can't swap out a couple of spells for thematically appopriate buffs and put more defensive muscle in the class features.
    You've missed my point. Thematically, there's no reason an entirely water based caster shouldn't be a PrC. It's just odd. Also, I see no point where you get any teleportation spells or get plane shift, unless they are on a domain.

    As a base class, it's certainly on the right level of balance, it just doesn't really feel right to expand it into a base class, especially when the few non spellcasting abilities it gets really aren't anything unique.
    Last edited by Milskidasith; 2010-07-08 at 01:17 AM.

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    Default Re: Wavekeeper base class [3.5 PEACH]

    I did get your point. I was kind of plowihng through it though. Tell you what, if you'll hold your nose over the elemental focus and give me advice anyway, I'll skip the part where I list all the fantasy novels I've read with element-focused spellcasters in them and we spend twenty posts debating it to death without ever changing each other's minds.

    In-list teleportation/planar travel spells include:
    benign transposition (1) (swap with nearby ally; tactical)
    baleful transposition (1) (swap with nearby foe; tactical)
    swamp stride (5) (tree stride for puddles; utility)
    stormwalk (6) (teleport with a special effects budget; utility)
    planar navigation (9) (greater plane shift but you shift a boat and everything in it; utility)

    Via the domain wizard feature, one could pick up dimension door, translocation trick, or frostfell slide in a 4th level slot if one were motivated to do so. DD you know, TT is like benign transposition plus it disguises each of you as the other, while frostfell slide is tree stride for ice cubes.

    I am definitely concerned, however, about what you said related to gishing. I want the list to be viable for gishing. You don't have to be able to turn into a colossal 12-headed cryohydra of doom, but the list should at least support the attempt. If I were to list the buff spells in here, I'd say we've got:

    see invisibility (2)
    tojanida sight (2)
    haste (3) (hello swiftblade)
    heart of water (3)
    ice axe (3)
    primal form (3)
    scales of the sealord (3) (boosts NA)
    aspect of the icy hunter (3)
    ice shield (4) (stoneskin+)
    sheltered vitality (5)
    sirine's grace (5) (stat buffs)
    true seeing (5)
    contingency (6)
    as the frost (7) (cold immunity, aura damage, other minor benefits)
    greater arcane sight (7)
    elemental body (7)
    nixie's grace (7) (stat buffs)
    spell turning (7)
    megalodon empowerment (8) (natural attacks, NA, and stat buffs, plus some other stuff)
    mysterious redirection (8)

    Although 13-19% of the spell list is combat buffs (varying depending on domain choice), the list is a bit small towards the lower levels (where most play occurs). Given Water's focus on strength and perception, I could see adding bull's strength and true strike. Water also conveys versatility and adaptability, so I could see including alter fortune. Water's resilience and soothing nature could justify some minor healing spells, like close wounds or any of the vigor line. As I add these spells in, though, I'd like to take others out to keep the spell list at about the same size, since the "know your entire list" feature becomes clumsy if your list grows too large to keep tabs on. Which ones would you say are worth the swap?
    Last edited by jiriku; 2010-07-08 at 10:26 AM.
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    Default Re: Wavekeeper base class [3.5 PEACH]

    Well, I like it.

    I'd say that the flavour of the class is more important than you're getting. This is a base class because it's cool as one and because jiriku wants to make a base class.

    And making it feel like an int based caster is a flavour component, not a mechanical one. If I made a passionate spontaneous arcanist who used sheer willpower to change the world, never thought things through, required a chaotic alignment and had class features based on discord, spontaneity and chaos-and based it on Int, it'd be an int based caster, but it wouldn't feel like one.

    Although there's a part of me that wants to try it.
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    Default Re: Wavekeeper base class [3.5 PEACH]

    I'm missing "horrid wilting".
    It has an "Evil" sound, but if you think of it, it's no more evil than any other spell that kills your opponents.

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    Default Re: Wavekeeper base class [3.5 PEACH]

    Quote Originally Posted by nonsi View Post
    I'm missing "horrid wilting".
    It has an "Evil" sound, but if you think of it, it's no more evil than any other spell that kills your opponents.
    Mechanically, it's no different. I wouldn't expect a really good character to use horrid wilting on a regular basis, though. Something about drying a creature up just screams, "Mean!"

    Eh. Either way.
    Last edited by Temotei; 2010-07-13 at 03:35 AM.
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    Default Re: Wavekeeper base class [3.5 PEACH]

    There's that spell in Spell Compendium which yanks all the water out of a target even faster than horrid wilting, and turns it into a water elemental.
    Last edited by hamishspence; 2010-07-13 at 03:18 AM.
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    Default Re: Wavekeeper base class [3.5 PEACH]

    Quote Originally Posted by Milskidasith View Post
    Skill point taxes for abilities are pointless; remove it.
    An ability that scales with ranks in a skill can be improved even if you multiclass, but still costs something. If abilities like that can be dipped for, it's a nice way to open up abilities to other classes without having them be completely 'no-cost'.

    Aside from that, the fluff kind-of implies that this is basically a variant druid with a little less melee potential. If that's the case, I can understand the use of strength-based abilities.

    As far as the PrC thing goes, while you're right, it's not unreasonable to implement some concepts as a variant class, a series of substitution levels, or an alternate class feature, all of which allow you to tinker a lot more with the underlying class.

    It also makes balancing somewhat easier, since you can always take with one hand what you give with the other. With a PrC, there are far fewer ways to 'pay' for the class.
    Last edited by lesser_minion; 2010-07-13 at 07:24 AM.

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    Default Re: Wavekeeper base class [3.5 PEACH]

    Horrid wilting and extract water elemental are pretty similar. While extract is a pretty, ahem, cut and dried case for the wavekeeper, wilting was a tough call. I eventually put it on the emberhaunt list because Sandstorm describes it as a spell that functions through dessication. You'll find a variety of other desiccation spells along with wilting on the emberhaunt spell list.
    Last edited by jiriku; 2010-07-13 at 09:48 AM.
    3.5 Homebrew: Remixes to rebalance nearly every base class, all in the authentic flavor of the originals.
    Tier 1 casters breaking your game? Remix your magic with Philosopher's Stone, or try these flavorful mid-tier classes instead: Machinist, Shapeshifter, Avatar, Magus of Blades, Ritualist, Magician, Dawnblade, Summoner, plus 5 elemental casters!


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    Default Re: Wavekeeper base class [3.5 PEACH]

    I've been working on some dual casters (beguiler, dreadnecro, etc) to replace wizards outright with the goal to make the game centers more heavily around tier 3. This seems pretty on par for power. I think I'll gank this for the game since it so solidly covers the role of elementalist. Gracias.

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    Default Re: Wavekeeper base class [3.5 PEACH]

    You're welcome! Please post any feedback you may have on the classes working well/poorly/with exploits. I don't ever intend to abandon these classes, but rather I want to continue to improve them and make them useful for others.

    Edit 11/27/2011: Removed Elemental Lore and Wave Friend. Replaced Crashing Wave feature with a spell of the same name. Combined Blindsense, Low-Light Vision and Resist Cold into a single feature, Deepwater Adept. Granted Water Elemental Wild Shape sooner, and made it scale more slowly. Moved Fog Sight from 11th level to 9th. Added proficiency with nets.
    Last edited by jiriku; 2011-11-27 at 12:49 PM.
    3.5 Homebrew: Remixes to rebalance nearly every base class, all in the authentic flavor of the originals.
    Tier 1 casters breaking your game? Remix your magic with Philosopher's Stone, or try these flavorful mid-tier classes instead: Machinist, Shapeshifter, Avatar, Magus of Blades, Ritualist, Magician, Dawnblade, Summoner, plus 5 elemental casters!


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