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    Titan in the Playground
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    Default The Shadow Rider: A new sort of mounted PrC

    The challenge of mounted combat is that mounts are usually much more fragile than PCs, and so a character's fighting style can be nullified by killing the mount. Usually, mounted combat builds address this by using an animal companion or other creature that gains power with the character's level for a mount. This is an exploration of a different solution: Instead of making the mount more durable, make it easy to replace.

    The Shadow Rider

    Requirements:
    BAB: +4
    Skills: Ride 7 ranks
    Feats: Mounted Combat
    Special:

    Game Rule Information:
    HD: d8
    {table=head]Level|BAB|Fort|Ref|Will|Special
    1|1|2|2|0|Shadow Steed, Size Accommodation
    2|2|3|3|0|Improved Evasion, Low-Light Vision
    3|3|3|3|1|Ghostly Form
    4|4|4|4|1|Quick cast (standard)
    5|5|4|4|1|Bonus feat
    6|6|5|5|2|Shadow Attack
    7|7|5|5|2|Quick cast (immediate), darkvision
    8|8|6|6|2|Shadow Walk
    9|9|6|6|3|Shadow Herd
    10|10|7|7|3|Shared Ghostly Form[/table]
    Class Skills:
    Bluff (Cha), Climb (Str), Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Handle Animal (Cha), Hide (Dex), Intimidate (Cha), Jump (Str), Knowledge (geography) (Int), Knowledge (the planes) (Int), Listen (Wis), Move Silently (Dex), Ride (Dex), Spot (Wis), Survival (Wis), and Swim (Str)
    4+Int skill points per level


    Shadow Steed (Sp): A shadow rider can conjure up a shadowy steed at will. Treat this as a Phantom Steed spell with a caster level equal to twice the shadow rider's class level. In addition to the stats given in in that spell, the steed can make saving throws using the shadow rider's base save bonuses (the steed's Reflex saves gain an additional +5 from its dexterity). The steed gains additional abilities as the rider gains levels; see below. A shadow rider can only have one shadow steed at a time; if he summons a new one, the previous one disappears.

    As with the spell, a shadow rider can create the steed either for his own use or for another individual. In these rules, references to "the rider" refer to the individual for whom the steed is created, who may or may not be the shadow rider himself.

    Size Accommodation (Ex): At the rider's option, a shadow steed can either occupy the rider's own space (thus fitting into smaller places than a normal mount) or the normal space for a creature of one size category larger than the rider. The shadow steed's actual size remains unchanged.

    Improved Evasion (Ex): Starting at level 2, a shadow steed gains the Improved Evasion ability. See the rogue special ability for details.

    Low-Light Vision (Ex): At level 2, the shadow rider gains the Low-Light Vision special ability, and can thus see twice as far as a normal human in dim light. If he already had low-light vision, he can now see four times as far as normal in dim light.

    Ghostly Form (Su): Starting at level 3, the shadow steed can use a standard action to become even more insubstantial. When in this state, it becomes incorporeal, and gains the benefit of a Blur spell (the steed's rider remains mounted despite this incorporeality). Ghostly Form lasts for a number of rounds equal to the shadow rider's Wis modifier (minimum 1), and the steed can use it at will, and can dismiss it early with a swift action.

    Quick Cast: Starting at level 4, the shadow rider can use the Shadow Steed ability as a standard action, instead of the usual ten-minute casting time. At level 7, it becomes an immediate action. A seventh-level shadow rider whose steed is destroyed can thus create a new one underneath himself before he would fall.

    Bonus feat (Ex): At level 5 the shadow rider gains a bonus feat. This feat can be any feat which has Mounted Combat as a prerequisite. If the feat has any other prerequisites, you may ignore them.

    Shadow Attack (Ex): Starting at level 6, the shadow steed can attack as though it were a heavy warhorse (2 hooves +6 melee (1d6+4) and bite +1 melee (1d4+2)).

    Darkvision (Ex): At level 7, the shadow rider gains darkvision to a range of 60'. If he already had darkvision, its range increases by 60'.

    Shadow Walk (Sp): Starting at level 8, a shadow steed can use Shadow Walk at will, as the spell, except that it affects only the steed, its rider, and any equipment they are carrying.

    Shadow Herd: Starting at level 9, a shadow rider with a high Wisdom score may have multiple shadow steeds at once. You may summon an additional number of shadow steeds equal to your Wis modifier. If you summon more than this, the oldest one disappears.

    Shared Ghostly Form (Su): At level 10, whenever a shadow steed uses its Ghostly Form ability, the effects extend to its rider as well.
    Last edited by Chronos; 2013-12-06 at 08:28 AM.
    Time travels in divers paces with divers persons.
    As You Like It, III:ii:328

    Chronos's Unalliterative Skillmonkey Guide
    Current Homebrew: Blood Warrior Shadow Rider

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Titan in the Playground
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    Default Re: The Shadow Rider: A new sort of mounted PrC

    I'm still not quite sure about the prerequisites: I've got the riding part pretty well covered, but I'd like to include some sort of prerequisite to encompass the "shadow" part. At the same time, though, I also want to keep the class easily accessible to fighters, barbarians, and rangers, which means I don't want a spellcasting requirement. Thoughts?
    Time travels in divers paces with divers persons.
    As You Like It, III:ii:328

    Chronos's Unalliterative Skillmonkey Guide
    Current Homebrew: Blood Warrior Shadow Rider

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Firbolg in the Playground
     
    Temotei's Avatar

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    Default Re: The Shadow Rider: A new sort of mounted PrC

    Only a d8 Hit Die, huh? Ranger entry expected? Still, a d10 wouldn't be bad.

    Quote Originally Posted by Chronos View Post
    Quick Cast: Starting at level 4, the shadow rider can use the Shadow Steed ability as a standard action, instead of the usual ten-round casting time. At level 7, it becomes an immediate action. A seventh-level shadow rider whose steed is destroyed can thus create a new one underneath himself before he would fall.
    Firstly, you might want to bold all of the class feature names in the text. It makes it prettier and easier to read, though you've done a fine job of formatting and all that otherwise.

    All I've got to say about this is that it's not a 10-round casting time normally; it's a ten-minute casting time.

    Bonus feat (Ex): At level 5 the shadow rider gains a bonus feat. This feat can be any feat which has Mounted Combat as a prerequisite. If the feat has any other prerequisites, you may ignore them.
    What happens if you already have all Mounted Combat derivative feats? Do you just not get a bonus feat?

    Shadow Herd: Starting at level 9, a shadow rider with a high Wisdom score may have multiple shadow steeds at once. You may summon an additional number of shadow steeds equal to your Wis modifier. If you summon more than this, the oldest one disappears.
    Does it take an immediate action to summon each steed or are they summoned all at once? I'd make it the second one for the cool factor. Also, why is it based on your Wisdom modifier? You want to make it available to fighters, right? It would probably be best to base it on your class level (or 1/2 class level, though in bigger groups someone might get the shaft if you wanted to mount everyone up) or a set number.

    Let's fix up the table before I say more. Just copy-paste the below:

    {table=head][B]Level[/B]|[B]Base Attack Bonus[/B]|[B]Fort Save[/B]|[B]Ref Save[/B]|[B]Will Save[/B]|[B]Special[/B]
    1st|+1|+2|+2|+0|Shadow steed, size accommodation
    2nd|+2|+3|+3|+0|Improved evasion, low-light vision
    3rd|+3|+3|+3|+1|Ghostly form
    4th|+4|+4|+4|+1|Quick cast (standard)
    5th|+5|+4|+4|+1|Bonus feat
    6th|+6|+5|+5|+2|Shadow attack
    7th|+7|+5|+5|+2|Darkvision, quick cast (immediate)
    8th|+8|+6|+6|+2|Shadow walk
    9th|+9|+6|+6|+3|Shadow herd
    10th|+10|+7|+7|+3|Shared ghostly form[/table]

    Feel free to capitalize features in the table, though Wizards of the Coast never did. It's cool, though. If you want to capitalize, here's the table (in the spoiler):

    Spoiler: Capitalized Features Table
    Show
    {table=head][B]Level[/B]|[B]Base Attack Bonus[/B]|[B]Fort Save[/B]|[B]Ref Save[/B]|[B]Will Save[/B]|[B]Special[/B]
    1st|+1|+2|+2|+0|Shadow Steed, Size Accommodation
    2nd|+2|+3|+3|+0|Improved Evasion, Low-Light Vision
    3rd|+3|+3|+3|+1|Ghostly Form
    4th|+4|+4|+4|+1|Quick Cast (standard)
    5th|+5|+4|+4|+1|Bonus Feat
    6th|+6|+5|+5|+2|Shadow Attack
    7th|+7|+5|+5|+2|Darkvision, Quick Cast (immediate)
    8th|+8|+6|+6|+2|Shadow Walk
    9th|+9|+6|+6|+3|Shadow Herd
    10th|+10|+7|+7|+3|Shared Ghostly Form[/table]


    Anyway, overall thoughts: Improved evasion, low-light vision, the bonus feat, and darkvision seem out of place. You've got all of these abilities to boost your mount and then...better vision and reflexes? The bonus feat is okay, but there's only one, so it seems like you just tacked it on because it was a dead level otherwise. Not that having a bonus feat is a bad idea--it just looks odd in a class full of features to have one bonus feat right in the middle.

    A lot of these abilities are also very passive in nature. Have you considered adding more active features, like, for example:

    Tandem Assault: At Xth level, the shadow rider is able to strike at the same time as his mount, setting enemies off-balance. Whenever the shadow rider and his mount attack the same target in a round, they each deal an additional 1d6 damage/3 class levels. In addition, the target is treated as flat-footed until the end of its next turn.

    Shadow Herd's Onslaught: At 10th level, when the shadow rider has multiple phantom steeds active, he can order them all to charge. All of the mounts immediately move up to their speed in the same direction in a straight line. All enemies within 10 feet of any of the steed's paths are subject to being overrun and bull rushed by a single check made by the shadow rider's steed at a bonus equal to his class levels (+10 at 10th). This movement does not provoke attacks of opportunity, nor do the bull rush or overrun attempts. Bull rushed creatures are pushed as normal, but the steeds need not move with the targets.

    Just ideas. Feel free to use them.

    Oh, and as for prerequisites, how about riding a phantom steed at one point? It's simple enough and works out fairly well fluff-wise.
    Last edited by Temotei; 2013-12-06 at 01:21 AM.
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  4. - Top - End - #4
    Titan in the Playground
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    Default Re: The Shadow Rider: A new sort of mounted PrC

    Thanks for the feedback, Temotei!
    Firstly, you might want to bold all of the class feature names in the text. It makes it prettier and easier to read, though you've done a fine job of formatting and all that otherwise.

    All I've got to say about this is that it's not a 10-round casting time normally; it's a ten-minute casting time.
    Fixed and fixed. I thought I had already bolded them all; that's the drawback of composing in TextEdit.

    What happens if you already have all Mounted Combat derivative feats? Do you just not get a bonus feat?
    Presumably, but that's a lot of feats, so it's pretty unlikely anyone would already have all of them. Incidentally, are there any non-core mounted feats?

    Does it take an immediate action to summon each steed or are they summoned all at once? I'd make it the second one for the cool factor. Also, why is it based on your Wisdom modifier? You want to make it available to fighters, right? It would probably be best to base it on your class level (or 1/2 class level, though in bigger groups someone might get the shaft if you wanted to mount everyone up) or a set number.
    I was thinking one at a time, though it doesn't matter much since you're mostly going to be using it out of combat. And it just felt like a class with magical abilities ought to have some dependence on a mental ability score somewhere, and Wis felt better than Int or Cha. The ghostly form ability also depends on Wis. Also, I wanted it to scale somehow, and making an ability gained at 9th level of a 10-level class scale with class level doesn't really make much sense.

    Let's fix up the table before I say more. Just copy-paste the below:
    Wait, what's wrong with the table? It looks fine to me (Firefox, OSX).
    Anyway, overall thoughts: Improved evasion, low-light vision, the bonus feat, and darkvision seem out of place. You've got all of these abilities to boost your mount and then...better vision and reflexes? The bonus feat is okay, but there's only one, so it seems like you just tacked it on because it was a dead level otherwise. Not that having a bonus feat is a bad idea--it just looks odd in a class full of features to have one bonus feat right in the middle.
    Well, the improved evasion is for the mount, not the rider, because even if it's easily replaced, I didn't want it to die every time it eats a Fireball. The others I specifically put in just because I didn't want the mount to have all the abilities: The PC ought to have some abilities in his own right.

    And the bonus feat isn't quite because there's a dead level there-- It's because there isn't a dead level anywhere else. I was originally thinking multiple bonus feats, but first, I didn't want to put too much on any one level, and second, I looked through the mounted feats and realized that most of them are kind of underwhelming anyway. I considered just making it Spirited Charge (since that's probably what most folks would choose anyway), but I wasn't sure if there were any other good mounted feats in other books, and wanted to leave it flexible in case there were.

    A lot of these abilities are also very passive in nature. Have you considered adding more active features, like, for example:
    I sort of figured the character would use their actions for plain old charging attacks, or for whatever their base class gave them.

    Oh, and as for prerequisites, how about riding a phantom steed at one point? It's simple enough and works out fairly well fluff-wise.
    Hm... It's dependent on another character to cast the spell for them, then, but I suppose it might work.
    Time travels in divers paces with divers persons.
    As You Like It, III:ii:328

    Chronos's Unalliterative Skillmonkey Guide
    Current Homebrew: Blood Warrior Shadow Rider

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