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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
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    Default "Existence is suffering..." [3.5 PrC; PEACH]

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    Unlike most of my homebrew, which is typically just stuff I pull out of thin air for no real reason, this class was actually designed for someone. A friend did a sketch for me, so I designed this class for them in exchange, in a sort of art exchange for when one of the people involved has no artistic talent. Still, I'm not 100% about the balance on this one, so constructive criticism is welcome.


    The Hollow Bodhisattva

    "Nothing is free of suffering. Therefore, one should to be Void." – Jhal Sharendar, hollow bodhisattva.

    Everything that exists suffers. The living suffer pain, hunger, disease and illness. The dead suffer afterlife that varies from life only in the intensity of its sensations. Even the world itself suffers: rock is torn away by wind and water, or cracked open from the inside by frost. Forests are torn down by loggers, or burnt to the ground by forest fires.

    The Void is empty. Nothing exists there. Thus, nothing suffers no pain. Thus, to transcend the pains of existence, one must seek to not exist. This is the guiding philosophy behind the monastic order known as the Hollow Bodhisattvas. Through careful meditation, and through careful study of the Diamond Mind discipline's vivacious raw mentality and the Shadow Hand discipline's hungering darkness, the bodhisattvas contemplate the stark divide between existence and Void, and how to channel the totality of nothingness to transcend pain without losing who they are in the process. The order's techniques are still imperfect, but they have achieved much since their foundation. One day, they may well truly achieve their goal.

    HD: d8

    Requirements
    Alignment: Any non-chaotic.
    Base Attack Bonus: +7
    Skills: Balance 13 ranks, Concentration 13 ranks, Hide 13 ranks, Knowledge (the planes) 4 ranks.
    Feats: Adaptive Style, Stunning Fist and Shadow Blade.
    Maneuvers: Knowledge of one maneuver of 4th level or higher from the Diamond Mind or Shadow Hand disciplines, plus knowledge of one stance of 3rd level or higher from the Diamond Mind or Shadow Hand disciplines.
    Special: Must possess the ki strike (magic) and quick to act +2 class features.
    Special: Must have studied under a hollow bodhisattva sifu.

    Class Skills: Balance, Climb, Concentration, Craft, Diplomacy, Escape Artist, Hide, Jump, Knowledge (the planes), Listen, Martial Lore, Move Silently, Profession, Sense Motive, Swim, Tumble
    Skill points per level: 6 + Intelligence modifier, minimum 1.

    {table=head]Level|Base Attack Bonus|Fort Save|Ref Save|Will Save|Special
    1st|
    +0
    |
    +2
    |
    +2
    |
    +2
    |Open Void Ajna, Utter Nullity Understanding
    2nd|
    +1
    |
    +3
    |
    +3
    |
    +3
    |Absolute Emptiness Imposition
    3rd|
    +2
    |
    +3
    |
    +3
    |
    +3
    |Improved Evasion
    4th|
    +3
    |
    +4
    |
    +4
    |
    +4
    |Empty Steps Well Trod
    5th|
    +3
    |
    +4
    |
    +4
    |
    +4
    |Nothing Is Everywhere Onslaught
    6th|
    +4
    |
    +5
    |
    +5
    |
    +5
    |Eternal Emptiness Internalisation
    7th|
    +5
    |
    +5
    |
    +5
    |
    +5
    |Within And Without The Borders
    8th|
    +6
    |
    +6
    |
    +6
    |
    +6
    |Assuming the Void Attitude, Sifu
    9th|
    +6
    |
    +6
    |
    +6
    |
    +6
    |Foe As Void Atemi
    10th|
    +7
    |
    +7
    |
    +7
    |
    +7
    |Absolute Oblivion Enlightenment[/table]

    {table="head"]Level|Man. Known|Man. Readied|Stances Known
    1st|0|1|0
    2nd|1|0|0
    3rd|0|0|1
    4th|1|1|0
    5th|0|0|0
    6th|1|0|1
    7th|0|1|0
    8th|1|0|0
    9th|0|0|1
    10th|1|1|0[/table]

    Class Features
    All the following are class features of the hollow bodhisattva.

    Weapon and Armour Proficiency: A hollow bodhisattva gains no new weapon or armour proficiencies.

    Maneuvers: At 2nd, 4th, 6th, 8th and 10th levels, a hollow bodhisattva gains new maneuvers known from the Diamond Mind or Shadow Hand disciplines. You must meet a maneuver's prerequisite to learn it. You add your full hollow bodhisattva levels to your initiator level to determine your total initiator level and your highest-level maneuvers known.
    At 1st, 4th, 7th and 10th levels, you gain new maneuvers readied per day.

    Stances: At 3rd, 6th and 9th levels a hollow bodhisattva learns a new martial stance from the Diamond Mind or Shadow Hand disciplines. You must meet a stance’s prerequisite to learn it.

    Open Void Ajna (Ex): A mind tutored by hollow bodhisattva sifu is opened to the reality of what is and what is not, and where each of them begins. The realisations that come of this teaching allow the fledgling bodhisattva to ignore the mental limits placed on the bodies of lesser beings.

    At 1st level, a hollow bodhisattva’s class level stacks with their monk level for determining the benefits of their flurry of blows and unarmed strike class features. In addition, whilst in a Diamond Mind or Shadow Hand stance, a hollow bodhisattva may use their Wisdom modifier instead of their Strength or Dexterity modifier on attack and damage rolls made with special monk weapons or the favoured weapons of the Diamond Mind or Shadow Hand disciplines.

    Utter Nullity Understanding (Ex): Even the least of the hollow bodhisattvas understand well the nature of nothingness. Taking these understandings to heart alters them, body and soul.

    At 1st level, a hollow bodhisattva gains negative energy resistance equal to 10 plus their Wisdom modifier, and adds their Wisdom modifier to all saves against ability damage.

    Absolute Emptiness Imposition (Su): At 2nd level, the hollow bodhisattva gains access to a unique martial strike much like those granted to martial adepts. This strike must be recovered and readied to use, just like any maneuver, and is considered to belong to the Diamond Mind and Shadow Hand disciplines.

    Initiating this strike is a standard action. As part of this strike, you make a normal melee attack. If your attack hits, it deals an extra 5d6 negative energy damage and the target must make a Fortitude save (DC 16 + Wisdom modifier) or gain 1 negative level that lasts until the end of the encounter.

    Improved Evasion (Ex): At 3rd level, a hollow bodhisattva gains an improved version of the evasion ability. They still take no damage on a successful Reflex saving throw against attacks, but henceforth they take only half damage on a failed save. A helpless hollow bodhisattva does not gain the benefit of improved evasion.

    Empty Steps Well Trod (Su): At 4th level, a hollow bodhisattva is able to act upon the knowledge that everything that there is no time in the Void, and thus it can be used to travel anywhere that exists instantly. The hollow bodhisattva now adds their class level +2 to their monk level for determining the benefits of their fast movement class feature. In addition, they may now use their fast movement class feature whilst in light armour. Furthermore, any time the hollow bodhisattva moves at least half their movement speed in a single move action, they teleport to the space that is their intended destination instead of traversing the intervening squares.

    Nothing Is Everywhere Onslaught (Su): At 5th level, the hollow bodhisattva gains access to a unique martial strike much like those granted to martial adepts. This strike must be recovered and readied to use, just like any maneuver, and is considered to belong to the Diamond Mind and Shadow Hand disciplines.

    Initiating this strike is a full-round action. First, the hollow bodhisattva makes an normal melee attack that deals an extra 5d6 negative energy damage if it hits. If that attack hits, then the hollow bodhisattva may move up to their speed again towards another target, teleporting as per Empty Steps Well Trod if the distance is sufficient. If the hollow bodhisattva reaches their second target, they may make another attack identical to the one that initiated the maneuver. Every successful attack allows them to keep moving and attacking, though this maneuver cannot allow a hollow bodhisattva to attack more than once per two class levels.

    Eternal Emptiness Internalisation (Ex): At 6th level, a hollow bodhisattva’s comprehension of their sifu’s teachings deepens greatly. Their negative energy resistance increases by 10, and they now add their Wisdom modifier to all saves against ability drain. In addition, they may now always use their Wisdom modifier instead of their Strength or Dexterity modifiers on attack and damage rolls with Diamond Mind, Shadow Hand and special monk weapons, regardless of the discipline of their current stance.

    Within And Without the Borders (Ex): A hollow bodhisattva’s understanding of the barriers between existence and nonexistence give them insight into the mental barriers they have erected in regard to their martial prowess. At 7th level, whenever a hollow bodhisattva expends a maneuver from the Diamond Mind or Shadow Hand disciplines, they immediately recover one maneuver from the other discipline as a free action. Expending a maneuver and adopting a stance from one of those disciplines on the same turn instead recovers all their expended maneuvers of the other discipline as a free action.

    Assuming the Void Attitude (Su): At 8th level, a hollow bodhisattva may bring a fragment of the Void into their flesh and soul as part of a unique martial stance. They may take a swift action to lose the benefits of their current stance to gain the benefits of this one. Whilst in this stance, the hollow bodhisattva may treat themselves and their equipment as corporeal or incorporeal, whichever would be most beneficial at any given moment. There is no limit to the number of times they may switch between the two states each round.

    Sifu: At 8th level, the hollow bodhisattva's enlightenment is considered great enough to allow them to teach new followers of the philosophy. They may now instruct other characters in the philosophies of the hollow bodhisattva, allowing the student to fulfil one of the entry prerequisites for this class.

    Foe As Void Atemi (Su): Having learned to bring the Void into their own body, a hollow bodhisattva may now channel it forcefully into their foes. At 9th level, the hollow bodhisattva gains access to a unique martial strike much like those granted to martial adepts. This strike must be recovered and readied to use, just like any maneuver, and is considered to belong to the Diamond Mind and Shadow Hand disciplines.

    Initiating this strike is a standard action. As part of this strike, you make a normal melee attack. If the attack hits, your target must make a Fortitude save (DC 19 + Wisdom modifier) or be removed from existence. The target is considered dead for all mechanical purposes, save that any attempts to resurrect the target must be proceeded with two wish or miracle spells – one to recreate the target’s body, and one to recreate the target’s soul and mind.

    On a successful save, the target instead gains 1 negative level that lasts until the end of the encounter.

    Absolute Oblivion Enlightenment (Ex): At 10th level, the hollow bodhisattva reaches true enlightenment, understanding the distinction and connection between Void and World as no others can. Their transcended state grants the hollow bodhisattva a number of benefits:
    • Their type changes to Outsider (Native).
    • They gain immunity to negative energy damage and ability damage.
    • They add their Wisdom modifier to all saves against energy drain.
    • When wielding a Diamond Mind, Shadow Hand or special monk weapon, they may use the weapon’s base damage value or their unarmed strike damage value, whichever they desire.
    • Whilst in a Shadow Hand stance, they gain a 20% miss chance against all attacks made against them. Whilst in a Diamond Mind stance, they ignore 20% worth of miss chances on all attack they make. When in a stance considered to belong to both disciplines, they must choose which benefit they want at the start of each of their turns.
    • The hollow bodhisattva is not affected by dimensional anchor effects.
    • Finally, all Supernatural class features of the hollow bodhisattva class are considered Extraordinary when used by a hollow bodhisattva with Absolute Oblivion Enlightenment.

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Orc in the Playground
     
    Tingel's Avatar

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    Default Re: "Existence is suffering..." [3.5 PrC; PEACH]

    Shouldn't "Absolute Enlightenment" on the path of this hollow bodhisattva equate to non-existence? The fact that in the end he still is there is basically a proof that his whole philosophy and path are failures, isn't it?

    Maybe I just have general issues with understanding the class's philosophy. By treating the Void as a thing, it is no longer nothing at all. The class seems to treat nothing as The Nothing, which is something. For example, you write that they "channel Nothingness", gaining power through it. Well, channeling Nothingness would normally imply that they are channeling nothing, which is the same thing any random boring commoner does too. Indeed, I am channeling nothing as I type. There is no power in that. The only way how channeling Nothingness can make sense is if Nothing is not really nothing but rather something, which in turn outs this hollow philosophy as not quite hollow, but instead filled with so much goobledygook.

    Also, if the hollow bodhisattva's aim is to continue living but without suffering ("to transcend pain without losing who they are in the process"), then the original noble truth that "Everything that exists suffers" (or, as Jhal Sharendar puts it, "Nothing is free of suffering") is simply wrong, as the enlightened would exist yet not suffer.

    And in the end, how can you play a character that is obviously content with "whatever" since discontent would imply suffering? Whence stem his motivations?



    Mechanically this class seems good. I just don't get the concept.
    Last edited by Tingel; 2011-12-03 at 10:44 AM.

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Edge's Avatar

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    Default Re: "Existence is suffering..." [3.5 PrC; PEACH]

    Quote Originally Posted by Tingel View Post
    Shouldn't "Absolute Enlightenment" on the path of this hollow bodhisattva equate to non-existence? The fact that in the end he still is there is basically a proof that his whole philosophy and path are failures, isn't it?
    The class feature's name is just that, a fancy name that I liked. The introductory fluff mentions that the bodhisattvas haven't reached their goal yet.

    Maybe I just have general issues with understanding the class's philosophy. By treating the Void as a thing, it is no longer nothing at all. The class seems to treat nothing as The Nothing, which is something. For example, you write that they "channel Nothingness", gaining power through it. Well, channeling Nothingness would normally imply that they are channeling nothing, which is the same thing any random boring commoner does too. There is no power in that. The only way how channeling Nothingness can make sense is if Nothing is not really nothing but rather something, which in turn outs this hollow philosophy as not quite hollow, but instead filled with so much goobledygook.

    Also, if the hollow bodhisattva's aim is to continue living but without suffering ("to transcend pain without losing who they are in the process"), then the original noble truth that "Everything that exists suffers" (or, as Jhal Sharendar puts it, "Nothing is free of suffering") is simply wrong, as the enlightened would exist yet not suffer.

    And in the end, how can you play a character that is obviously content with "whatever" since discontent would imply suffering? Whence stem his motivations?
    You're thinking of the channelling as an addition, whilst it is intended as nullification of parts of the bodhisattva's being.

    Also, part of the point of the bodhisattvas is that have a different understanding of the Void, one that may actually be more accurate than that of most. If it doesn't make much sense to us, then it is because we're not enlightened enough.

    More seriously, it's a fantastical transcendentalist philosophy that I didn't spend very long fleshing out in its entirety. There's bound to be holes in it, and I fully accept that.

    Mechanically this class seems good. I just don't get the concept.
    Thank you for the first comment here, and I'm sorry I wasn't clearer in my explanation.

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