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    Default The Ritualist (yet another 3.5 wizard nerf)

    The Ritualist

    The world is full of arcane power. Tapping it is the hard part.

    It takes more than a few unintelligible words and fleeting gestures to access the world's power. Beginning ritualists may spend years learning theory before even attempting a ritual, and first rituals hardly ever succeed. A single line half a degree out of place can bring down an entire resonance. But for those with the patience, determination and skill to succeed, ritual casting opens a tremendous wealth of possibilities.

    {table=head]level|fort|ref|will|bab|special|cantrips known|max spell level
    1|0|0|2|0|cantrips, ritual casting, cantripify|3|1
    2|0|0|3|1|arcane blast 1d6|4|1
    3|1|1|3|1||4|2
    4|1|1|4|2|specialize|5|2
    5|1|1|4|2||5|3
    6|2|2|5|3|arcane blast 2d6|6|3
    7|2|2|5|3||6|4
    8|2|2|6|4|multitarget|6|4
    9|3|3|6|4||6|5
    10|3|3|7|5|arcane blast 3d6|6|5
    11|3|3|7|5||6|6
    12|4|4|8|6|imbue|6|6
    13|4|4|8|6||6|7
    14|4|4|9|7|arcane blast 4d6|6|7
    15|5|5|9|7||6|8
    16|5|5|10|8|steadymind|6|8
    17|5|5|10|8||6|9
    18|6|6|11|9|arcane blast 5d6|6|9
    19|6|6|11|9|deep understanding|6|9
    20|6|6|12|10|create arcane seed|6|9[/table]
    Hit die: d4
    Skills: 2+int
    Class Skills: Concentration, Knowledge(arcana), Knowledge(religion), Knowledge(the planes), Spellcraft (see also the specialize class feature)

    Ritualists cast from the sor/wiz list (known as the sor/rit list in places where wizards are a dim and implausible legend) and use intelligence to determine save DCs where relevant.

    cantrips(su): Cantrips are bits of arcane magic too simple to be true spells. A ritualist knows a fixed number of cantrips and can use them at will. Once chosen, the cantrips cannot be changed.

    ritual casting(su): A ritualist can cast powerful spells via elaborate rituals. To perform a ritual, she must have detailed instructions for it (most ritualists keep spellbooks for this purpose) and be well-rested (8 hours rest out of the past 24). The ritual itself generally consists of drawing an elaborate diagram on the floor (usually in chalk) then performing a series of chants and gestures. If the ritual is performed correctly, the spell will then take effect. If not, all the effort is wasted.

    Advanced ritualists can abbreviate rituals by freehanding key curves and by visualizing instead of drawing some of the components. Less advanced ritualists who attempt this generally fail and achieve nothing. It is critical for a ritualist to know the extent of her own abilities.

    Before starting, the ritualist must decide how abbreviated a form to use. At the end of the ritual, she makes a spellcraft check to see if the ritual was successful (the dc is determined by the level of the spell and the time spent casting it, see table below). If the caster is interrupted, she must make a concentration check or start over. Note that a ritual takes the entire time listed, so a 1 round casting takes effect on the beginning of the caster's next action.

    {table=head]lvl|8h|1h|10m|2m|5r|2r|1r
    1st|10|17|24|31|38|45|52
    2nd|14|21|28|35|42|49|56
    3rd|18|25|32|39|46|53|60
    4th|22|29|36|43|50|57|64
    5th|26|33|40|47|54|61|68
    6th|30|37|44|51|58|65|72
    7th|34|41|48|55|62|69|76
    8th|38|45|52|59|66|73|80
    9th|42|49|56|63|70|77|84[/table]

    No magic can be used to directly aid the performance of the ritual as that would create a destructive feedback loop. An item or effect that boosts intelligence or all skills can function, just not one that specifically boosts spellcraft.

    cantripify(su): Upon completing a ritual, instead of releasing the spell, the caster may compress it into a single-use cantrip and hold it inside her soul. She can then release the spell as if it were a cantrip she knew (action and components as listed in the spell discription) except that once cast that cantrip is gone.

    A ritualist may hold levels of cantrips equal to her caster level (so a 3rd level Ritualist could hold cantrips of a 2nd level and a 1st level spell, or three 1st level spells). At any time, she may drop a readied cantrip (presumably to make room for a different room), in which case the energy drains harmlessly into the astral plain. Readied cantrips can be destroyed by Dispel Magic and similar effects, but the ritualist holding the cantrip gains a +10 circumstance bonus to any opposed caster level check.

    If a ritualist has Silent Spell, Still Spell, Quicken Spell or similar feats, they apply to releasing the cantrip, not performing the ritual.

    arcane blast(su): While shaping arcane energy to a purpose takes time, simply hurling it at an enemy does not. Once a ritualist becomes familiar with arcane energy, she may form it into a destructive beam. The beam has a range of 60ft and requires a standard action and a ranged touch attack.

    specialize(ex): For those who take it seriously, spellcraft is not a single subject: it is nine. In addition to putting ranks in spellcraft, a ritualist may put ranks in spellcraft(abjuration), spellcraft(conjuration) and so forth. These new skills are treated as class skills for ritualists but for no other classes (not even factotums). When making a spellcraft check related to that school, a ritualist adds both ranks in general spellcraft and ranks in the school's spellcraft (as well as int modifier and any relevant bonuses).

    multitarget(su): When casting a ritual (not as a cantrip) that affects a single creature or object other than the caster, the ritualist may instead effect up to 5 creatures or objects. All the targets must be present at the end of the ritual.

    imbue(su): When casting a ritual (not as a cantrip) that affects a single creature or object, the ritualist may instead imbue the target with the spell. She must set a simple trigger for the spell to take effect (e.g. when attacked or when the person holding it shouts "for Heironius!"). When the trigger takes place, the spell takes effect immediately. Any given target may only hold one imbued spell at a time. Imbued spells can be destroyed by Dispel Magic and similar effects.

    steadymind(ex): A ritualist may take 10 on spellcraft checks to perform rituals even when threatened.

    deep understanding(su): A sufficiently advanced ritualist can recognize how even complex spells are in a sense elements of the universe. She selects 3 level 1 spells and adds them to her cantrips known.

    create arcane seed(su): A master ritualist may take a set of spells and embed it permenantly in the arcane structure of reality. This is known as an arcane seed. Once the seed is created, other casters can be taught to use it.

    Creating an arcane seed takes 8 hours and costs 5000 xp. When casting a ritual, the ritualist may choose to place the resulting magic in the seed rather than have it take place. This costs xp of (spell level)*(number of spells already in the seed)*50. A ritualist can only add spells to seeds she created.

    Once a spell is in a seed, it may be unleashed upon the world over and over again with little effort by practitioners who provide power for it. However, tapping and empowering an arcane seed is a completely different skillset from performing raw rituals, so those who create seeds rarely use them. Instead they train others to make use of the seeds. And sometimes their students train students. The Beguilers and the Warmages make use of ancient seeds, planted by forgotten ritualists.

    Author's Notes:
    Spoiler
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    The idea here is to keep the key ideas of a wizard (the flexibility and the power when a plan goes perfectly) but tone the overall power down to tier 3. Also I was trying to capture the feel of things like the High Magic from Mercedes Lackey's Obsidian Mountain trilogy or high-level thaumaturgy from Harry Dresden.

    I'm targetting a fairly reliable 1 hour casting time for new spells in a school the character has specialized in. I hope I haven't missed something about optimizing skills.

    As for Create Arcane Seed, I doubt actual PCs will find it very useful, but it's always bugged me where beguilers come from.

    And a cookie for anyone who noticed the cheap shot in the flavor text.
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    Default Re: The Ritualist (yet another 3.5 wizard nerf)

    Hmm, so Ritualists can do minor magic w cantrips, use arcane blast for fighting, and rituals for everything else... yeah, I like that flavor a lot!

    I'd like maybe a few more modifiers on that spellcraft roll, for things like improvising on the spot versus having a ritual well-prepared with everything needed, and maybe a way for other Ritualists to help out - Aid Another? Maybe a bit more on use of seeds?

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    Default Re: The Ritualist (yet another 3.5 wizard nerf)

    I must admit to liking the mechanics(can think of about 3 refrances to back it up...). but some points.

    a)arcane blast is really weak, really really weak.

    b)multi target could break some spells(high level ritualist spams a 1 round charm person, town under control...)

    c)at will spell casting would get scary.

    d)dear god man! 2+int skill points? with 12 important skill? will require some spechilazation...

    e)some specifics on the spell book would be good. a "x number of spells need x space" so a ritualist doesn't have every spell ever written on a note card...

    f)what spell list is the ritualist casting from? all?

    I had about three other points, but I am seeing reasoning(though a true strike on hold with imbue could get scary...)

    over all a beautiful nerf, worthy of applause. A wizard now has to plan... a lot... and hope they got the right cantripfied spells. The emphases on buffing others is also great(extended expidious retreate for all? can do)
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    Default Re: The Ritualist (yet another 3.5 wizard nerf)

    Quote Originally Posted by SpaceBadger View Post
    I'd like maybe a few more modifiers on that spellcraft roll, for things like improvising on the spot versus having a ritual well-prepared with everything needed, and maybe a way for other Ritualists to help out - Aid Another?
    I was mostly worried that hitting the super-high DCs would be too easy. I suppose some non-stacking circumstance modifiers might not be amiss.

    Quote Originally Posted by bobthe6th View Post
    a)arcane blast is really weak, really really weak.
    Beats a crossbow :-)

    It's about half of what warlocks get. It isn't supposed to be very good, just to make sure there's always *something* you can do to hurt someone if all your plans go awry.

    Quote Originally Posted by bobthe6th View Post
    b)multi target could break some spells(high level ritualist spams a 1 round charm person, town under control...)
    You need to gather them all around. Probably need allies to hold them there.

    Maybe multitarget should be limited to willing targets, though.

    Quote Originally Posted by bobthe6th View Post
    c)at will spell casting would get scary.
    There's only 16 spellcasting hours in a day, so there's a cap of sorts on the most powerful spells. Is there a specific abuse you have in mind?

    Quote Originally Posted by bobthe6th View Post
    d)dear god man! 2+int skill points? with 12 important skill? will require some spechilazation...
    That's why the class feature is called specialization :-)

    It is int-based, so maxing out a few spellcrafts should be totally doable.

    Outside of your specialties, stick to low-level spells or do them the 8-hour way, just like Harry Dresden.

    Quote Originally Posted by bobthe6th View Post
    e)some specifics on the spell book would be good. a "x number of spells need x space" so a ritualist doesn't have every spell ever written on a note card...
    Does it actually matter if he does? Or if Word of Stunning requires seven blank pages?

    Quote Originally Posted by bobthe6th View Post
    f)what spell list is the ritualist casting from? all?
    Sor/Wiz. (I did say that)

    Quote Originally Posted by bobthe6th View Post
    I had about three other points, but I am seeing reasoning(though a true strike on hold with imbue could get scary...)
    It's still range:personal, so unless you're multiclassed or gestalted with something more martial, it's one reliable but not very hard hit. At least you can't go spamming quickened true strike every turn, which IIRC is a goal for many gishes.
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    Default Re: The Ritualist (yet another 3.5 wizard nerf)

    Quote Originally Posted by dspeyer View Post
    Beats a crossbow :-)

    It's about half of what warlocks get. It isn't supposed to be very good, just to make sure there's always *something* you can do to hurt someone if all your plans go awry.
    fair enough, though a cross bow might start to look good...

    There's only 16 spellcasting hours in a day, so there's a cap of sorts on the most powerful spells. Is there a specific abuse you have in mind?
    well... not instantly, but at will teliport, and spell selection...


    Does it actually matter if he does? Or if Word of Stunning requires seven blank pages?
    well... its just a floating statement, so really either make it explicitly fluff(as in, ask your DM for the specifics) or make some crunch.

    Sor/Wiz. (I did say that)
    third read through shows no signs of it... ah ha, found it. might want to put that under ritualized casting(I missed it a solid 12 times...)
    Last edited by bobthe6th; 2012-03-14 at 10:00 PM.
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    Default Re: The Ritualist (yet another 3.5 wizard nerf)

    So specialization is the way to go, huh. Quick question is it necessary to limit the number of spells prepared that much. If it takes an hour to prepare one spell of your favored school. Then you're only useful when you just finished preparing spells. That would limit the types of games you would be able to play in.

    Also even with the limits you applied it is still possible to get to the infinite loops. Therefore it is still tier 1. It just takes longer.

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    Default Re: The Ritualist (yet another 3.5 wizard nerf)

    Does arcane blast have a damage type? Maybe force damage, like magic missile, but some way for caster to choose other types such as fire or cold or electric?

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    Default Re: The Ritualist (yet another 3.5 wizard nerf)

    I think I would change the nomenclature in "cantripify", since cantrip already has a specific meaning as a low level spell that can be cast repeatedly without being lost. Since the cantipified rituals are lost when cast and can be of higher levels, that is kinda confusing.

    Maybe call it "hold spell" or "hold ritual" or something like that? As described, it is really just holding onto the effect of a ritual to release later.

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    Default Re: The Ritualist (yet another 3.5 wizard nerf)

    A question how does metamagic apply? There might be an argument with the current wording that you could persist everything without the DC going up.

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    Default Re: The Ritualist (yet another 3.5 wizard nerf)

    Metamagic effects spell levels normally (DCs, ability to cast, etc.).

    The only special rule is that feats like still spell which effect how the spell is cast now effect only the releasing of the cantrip.

    (Sorry for not answering promptly -- I somehow missed your post)
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    Default Re: The Ritualist (yet another 3.5 wizard nerf)

    what are the max skill points for the spellcraft specialties? since that ability only comes in at level 4; but doesn't say it changes the max skill points you can have.

    I'm not sure this really nerfs the wizard; though it certainly can with some tweaking. It really comes down to how hard it is to achieve the DCs.
    Long casting times are bad; and the ritualist can't keep as many spells ready for combat at once; but a wizard only recharges spells once a day; whereas the Ritualist can recharge/cast at any time; which is very helpful for spells you only need occasionally and out of combat, as he can just cast them when needed without using up a slot.
    Also, for lower level spells, a ritualist may be able to effectively recharge between combats by spending a few minutes. If he can take 5 minutes to refill his slots; then multiple encounters aren't so hard as long you have breaks between them; unlike the wizard who needs a full sleep.

    Also, i'd like the wording limiting other magic from helping the spellcraft check be a little clearer. Will spells iike Heroism help or not? I imagine large one shot boosters have to be forbidden or else it'd be too easy.

    Multitarget is too strong imo; spells like Mass fox cunning are normally four levels higher; being able to mass buffs for no extra cost; plus the fact that they don't use up slots if you cast them during the ritual, means maintaining large numbers of lower level buffs is very easy once you get some levels.

    Imbue needs a limiter on how many different things you can imbue at once; it's not clear there's a limit from the wording except for one per target; but imbuing hundreds of people with one spell would turn a peasant army into a massive artillery barrage; or imbuing arrows with fireball when they hit something.

    I think the DC scaling for higher level spells needs to be harsher. I'd like to see what estimates you used for them.
    cuz mine look dangerous:

    At level 20:
    Spell craft, 23 ranks; spell craft specialize something 23 ranks.
    30 Int; very easy to get by level 20; so +10 modifier
    skill focus for both spellcraft and the specialize +3 each
    that gives us a +62;
    so with taking ten we get a 72.
    casting a 9th level spell every 5 rounds, even if it's only out of combat; is going to be very very cheesy.

    Also, once people hit epic levels, epic skill focus's +10s are going to make the numbers get alot more problematic.

    Still, a very intriguing class.
    Zlefin :)

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    Default Re: The Ritualist (yet another 3.5 wizard nerf)

    This would benefit nicely from a small set of feats that improve and diversify the arcane blast.
    D&D Remix for 3.x: balanced base classes and feats, all in the authentic flavor of the originals. Newest: shadowcaster. Most popular: monk and fighter.

    Innovative new mid-tier classes compatible with 3.x and 3.x Remix: Machinist, Shapeshifter, Avatar, Magus of Blades, Ritualist, Magician, Dawnblade, Summoner, plus 5 elemental casters!


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    Default Re: The Ritualist (yet another 3.5 wizard nerf)

    Quote Originally Posted by zlefin View Post
    what are the max skill points for the spellcraft specialties? since that ability only comes in at level 4; but doesn't say it changes the max skill points you can have.
    My intention was like any other skill, but I'm starting to think I should change that. It makes the DC table awkward.

    Quote Originally Posted by zlefin View Post
    Also, i'd like the wording limiting other magic from helping the spellcraft check be a little clearer. Will spells iike Heroism help or not? I imagine large one shot boosters have to be forbidden or else it'd be too easy.
    Heroism boosts all skill checks, doesn't it? So it's ok.

    Quote Originally Posted by zlefin View Post
    Multitarget is too strong imo; spells like Mass fox cunning are normally four levels higher; being able to mass buffs for no extra cost; plus the fact that they don't use up slots if you cast them during the ritual, means maintaining large numbers of lower level buffs is very easy once you get some levels.
    How about if it gave +10 to the spellcraft dc? That's a time category and a half.

    I figure you need multitarget because of all those short-duration buffs. It should be possible to let your entire party fly, and if you do it one at a time the first will have worn off before you cast the last.

    Quote Originally Posted by zlefin View Post
    Imbue needs a limiter on how many different things you can imbue at once; it's not clear there's a limit from the wording except for one per target; but imbuing hundreds of people with one spell would turn a peasant army into a massive artillery barrage; or imbuing arrows with fireball when they hit something.
    You can only imbue one object or creature at a time. Why would you think otherwise?

    Or did you just mean that by spending weeks you could give a peasant army Bite of the Werebear? (Not fireball, that targets an area, and can't be imbued)

    Quote Originally Posted by zlefin View Post
    I think the DC scaling for higher level spells needs to be harsher. I'd like to see what estimates you used for them.
    cuz mine look dangerous:

    At level 20:
    Spell craft, 23 ranks; spell craft specialize something 23 ranks.
    30 Int; very easy to get by level 20; so +10 modifier
    skill focus for both spellcraft and the specialize +3 each
    that gives us a +62;
    so with taking ten we get a 72.
    casting a 9th level spell every 5 rounds, even if it's only out of combat; is going to be very very cheesy.
    I fear I've lost my notes. Going back to reconstruct them, I may have botched the high end. I think you're overstating a little, though. 30 int isn't that easy (18 base + 5 leveling + 6 enhancement = 29, and that's pretty focused and a lucky roll), and two skill focus feats isn't a balancing target.

    I'll take a shot at rewriting the table, but not tonight.

    Quote Originally Posted by jiriku View Post
    This would benefit nicely from a small set of feats that improve and diversify the arcane blast.
    Feat:
    Improved Arcane Blast
    Prerequisites: Arcane Blast 2d6
    Select a single Blast Shape or Blast Essence Invocation available to Warlocks. You may apply it to your Arcane Blast at a penalty of 1d6 damage.
    You may take this feat multiple times, selecting a different invocation each time. If they are compatible, you may apply multiple invocations, but the damage penalties stack. The first time you take this feat, you must select a Least Invocation. The second time, a Least or Lessor. Any further time, a Least Lessor or Greater (you may never select a Dark Invocation).
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    Default Re: The Ritualist (yet another 3.5 wizard nerf)

    if you really want multitarget without needing a higher level spell slot like you normally would; i'd rather make it the full +16 DC that it would be normally; though +10 might suffice; i'd need to run some numbers to see at what level you can spend one minute out of every ten multiritualling several buffs to keep them on the party all day.


    Any given target may only hold one imbued spell at a time. Imbued spells can be destroyed by Dispel Magic and similar effects.

    Imbue is limited by target; not by caster only having one imbue at a time; i guess the wording just needs to be fixed then.


    I don't think 30 int is that generous; sure it might only be 29; but there's also +2 racial bonuses; spells other than heroism that could boost your skills temporarily; various effects from say, marshal, or bardic inspire confidence and a variety of other classes might, depending on rulings. those tomes of stat boosting; or using one minute casting time wishes to pump your int as much as wishes can pump it. I didn't look through the boards optimization techniques that much; so i'd say 30 int or the score equivalent is something you'd get with mid optimization; let alone what people could pull with high optimization.

    and as long as you base it off a skill; the skill focus feats will get taken alot, so you have to factor that into the balancing; or just give them automatically.

    Good luck on the table revisions.

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    Default Re: The Ritualist (yet another 3.5 wizard nerf)

    I redid the table. Leaving specialized spellcraft normally-bounded causes trouble, so I'm changing it to max hd-3. That means you can put one rank in it when you start. The result is a fairly neat concave-up table. As long as I was de-linearizing, I made 1r extra hard.

    {table=head]lvl|8h|1h|10m|2m|5r|2r|1r
    1|10|17|24|31|38|45|55
    2|13|20|27|34|41|48|58
    3|17|24|31|38|45|52|62
    4|22|29|36|43|50|57|67
    5|27|34|41|48|55|62|72
    6|32|39|46|53|60|67|77
    7|38|45|52|59|66|73|83
    8|44|51|58|65|72|79|89
    9|50|57|64|71|78|85|95[/table]
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