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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default what's an appropriate level for these abilities?

    OK, I'm making a homebrew 3.5 template based on this one type of creature in one of my stories (unpublished author). These guys are possessed by a magic-eating spirit being (magophages), which gives them a bunch of powers that are only useable against magical creatures or creatures that use magic. I'm thinking this template would have a base level adjustment, plus increasing power as the character levels up. But I'm having trouble thinking of an appropriate level-equivalence for some of these abilities, because they're so weird.

    Starting ability:
    They can use a special touch attack as a supernatural ability against magical targets. An enchanted object loses one enchantment per touch, randomly determined. This magical property is permanently gone.
    A spellcaster of a nonmagical race (such as a humanoid) loses 1d6 spell slots, randomly determined. Prepared spells are still prepared, but may no longer be castable if the spellcaster lost too many spell slots. These slots return after an extended rest. Psionic targets lose PP in a similar manner, and characters with supernatural abilities lose one supernatural ability for each touch attack.
    A magical race (I'm planning on figuring out the full list, basically any race that seems like it would probably need to use magic for basic bodily functions, like undead or constructs) takes 2d6 damage per touch attack. In addition, it also loses any spells, spell-like abilities, supernatural abilities or psionic powers in the manner described above.
    A semi-magical race (something that is inherently magical but wouldn't need its' magic for bodily functions, like the characters with this template) takes 1d6 damage from the touch attack, and the touch attack cannot lower them below half health. It also removes spells, spell-like abilities, etc in the same manner as for magical races.
    This ability is completely useless on nonmagical characters who don't use
    They must use this touch attack on a target it can affect at least once every three days, or begin to suffer starvation effects.


    At higher levels they will get upgrades (a bit like the warlock's upgrades to eldritch blast), such as having this do more damage and turn into a ranged touch attack (with range similar to a reach weapon), but this basic ability must be given as soon as they get the template, so it would require a level adjustment if it's too powerful for a first level character.

    Subtypes:
    There are two types of magophages, acquired and born magophages. Born magophages were possessed in the womb, acquired magophages in adulthood. (Magophages could possess a child, but it happens rarely and I can't be bothered to think up rules for it - suffice it to say they'd be intermediate between the two types.)
    Born magophages fuse mentally with their host, giving them +6 to Wisdom, Intelligence and Charisma, but if affected by dispel magic or in an antimagic field (or any other effect that would take away their supernatural abilities), they suffer a penalty of 2d6 to those mental stats. (The reason it's greater than the bonus is because the host's brain is used to depending on the magophage and did not develop properly as a result.) In addition, born magophages show unusual mental maturity for their age, and their minimum starting age is 2/3rds that of other races.
    Born magophages must be nongood alignment, and die within a week if the magophage is expelled or destroyed. If the host dies of anything or the magophage is expelled, the magophage dies within a week - unless the host was at least 70 years old. (The magophages that possess unborn infants are infants themselves, and need a host body to survive until they reach maturity.) Beyond this age, the magophage can survive without its host and even take a new host as an acquired magophage.
    Acquired magophages do not fuse mentally with the magophage as born magophages do, and do not gain the bonus to their mental stats. Instead, the magophage and the host have separate mental stats and can communicate telepathically. They roll two Will saves, and if one succeeds and one fails, then only one of the two is affected by the spell. Normally, the two would cooperate, but if they are in opposition to each other (such as if only one is mind-controlled) then the magophage controls all its supernatural abilities and has veto power on use of any other spells, spell-like abilities, supernatural abilities or psionic powers the host attempts to use, while the host controls their body.
    The host can be any alignment, but the magophage itself is always evil-aligned. Since becoming an acquired magophage is voluntary (the magophage needs their consent to possess them) it's unlikely that a good-aligned character would chose to do so. However, once they have been possessed by a magophage, if that magophage is expelled or destroyed, any other magophage can possess them without consent.


    Another ability, which they will get as they level up:
    If they managed to touch the head of an intelligent magical creature (one with an Int score, who would suffer 2d6 damage from their touch attack), they can scramble its' mind. This deals 3d6 damage to Intelligence, Wisdom and Charisma and 1d6 to Dexterity. The target regains 1d2 Dexterity and 1d6 Intelligence, Wisdom and Charisma when it rests or after 24 hours has passed, continuing until all the damage is healed. This effect cannot be dispelled - instead, attempts to dispel it will affect the creature as if it has been hit by the ability again. However, boosting these skills through other means (eg headband of intelligence, Owl's Wisdom) works normally.
    When they get this ability, they also get access to a bunch on specialized Knowledge skills (one for each type & subtype of intelligent magical creature), which they get ranks in by spending a week repeatedly scrambling the mind of a creature of that type. As they gain ranks in Knowledge of a particular creature, they gain the ability to do a variety of more precise alterations, mimicking various spells (still working on the list, but it will definitely include pretty much any mind-affecting spell), but with the duration changed to 24 hours. They will also eventually get the ability to make their alterations permanent. Attempts to dispel these changes will affect them as described above for the basic ability.


    So, my questions:

    What would a suitable level adjustment be for having the magophage template, and would that differ between born and acquired magophages?

    What level should they get access to the ability to scramble the target's mind?

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Troll in the Playground
     
    PirateGirl

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    Default Re: what's an appropriate level for these abilities?

    What you are making is a glass jawed monster. It steals magic but then what are its other capabilities? Also magic items should get a saving throw. +6 abilities are high. Too much of a one trick pony. Just don't use any spells and starve it.

    Debby
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  3. - Top - End - #3
    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: what's an appropriate level for these abilities?

    It's supposed to be a one trick pony. Anyway, I wasn't asking for advice on what abilities to give it, just what level and level adjustment.
    Last edited by Ettina; 2015-06-11 at 08:27 PM.

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    Default Re: what's an appropriate level for these abilities?

    Looks cool, my first comment is that the magic draining touch attack should allow a saving throw before taking away casting and enchantments. Second off maybe you should constrain uses of this ability something along the lines of 3+cha per day then you could let the target have a 15+cha DC Will or Fort save before losing their powers. Also I think you should pull the can't deal more than half their health line and make it non lethal damage instead.

    Ok born get +6 to all mental scores, instead of taking away 2d6 when under loss of magic you should have it be more of a flat loss. Also do they get their mental scores back as soon as the effect wears off?

    Acquired get roll twice for Will saves.

    You need to include a Save vs the mind stuff.

    Ok, to find a level adjustment for this I'm going to compare it to the vampire template that have level adjustment +8. Vampires have about 4 or 5 more useful abilities than your born magophages so i would ball park its level adjustment around +4. The acuquired ones lose the stats which is big putting it at maybe +2 or 3.

    Anyway those are my thoughts.
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  5. - Top - End - #5
    Troll in the Playground
     
    PirateGirl

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    Default Re: what's an appropriate level for these abilities?

    It's hard to assess a template without seeing the whole template written up. Without the save the adjustments should be higher.

    Debby
    P.E.A.C.H. Please Evaluate And Critique Honestly. Being nicer and kinder doesn't hurt either. Note I generally only critique 3.5 and Pathfinder material.
    Please, please, please when using non-core material, cite to the books. There are too many books to wade through to find the one with the feat, special ability or spell you use.
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    Default Re: what's an appropriate level for these abilities?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ettina View Post
    They can use a special touch attack as a supernatural ability against magical targets. An enchanted object loses one enchantment per touch, randomly determined. This magical property is permanently gone.
    Way too powerful: this decimates a PC's equipment, and doesn't allow a save.

    A spellcaster of a nonmagical race (such as a humanoid) loses 1d6 spell slots, randomly determined. Prepared spells are still prepared, but may no longer be castable if the spellcaster lost too many spell slots. These slots return after an extended rest. Psionic targets lose PP in a similar manner, and characters with supernatural abilities lose one supernatural ability for each touch attack.
    1d6 spell slots is somewhat painful if it hits your high level spells. 1d6 power points is meaningless. The problem is mainly that one supernatural ability lost per touch attack with no save allowed is insanely strong, and completely ruins some character builds -- especially since it seems to be chosen randomly.

    In addition, it also loses any spells, spell-like abilities, supernatural abilities or psionic powers in the manner described above....It also removes spells, spell-like abilities, etc in the same manner as for magical races.
    Another no. This is basically a personal anti-magic field assigned by touch at this rate, which is ludicrous.

    ********

    Born magophages fuse mentally with their host, giving them +6 to Wisdom, Intelligence and Charisma, but if affected by dispel magic or in an antimagic field (or any other effect that would take away their supernatural abilities), they suffer a penalty of 2d6 to those mental stats. (The reason it's greater than the bonus is because the host's brain is used to depending on the magophage and did not develop properly as a result.) In addition, born magophages show unusual mental maturity for their age, and their minimum starting age is 2/3rds that of other races.
    If you want to represent a poorly developed brain, make the penalty a flat -8 or something: as written your "brain development" varies by as much as 10 points on different days, since you could roll a -2 penalty one day, a -12 the next, and then a -2 again. Also, if they're THIS vulnerable to Dispel Magic than you don't want them as a spellcaster...and that's really the prime draw of those mental stats.

    [I]If they managed to touch the head of an intelligent magical creature (one with an Int score, who would suffer 2d6 damage from their touch attack), they can scramble its' mind. This deals 3d6 damage to Intelligence, Wisdom and Charisma and 1d6 to Dexterity. The target regains 1d2 Dexterity and 1d6 Intelligence, Wisdom and Charisma when it rests or after 24 hours has passed, continuing until all the damage is healed. This effect cannot be dispelled - instead, attempts to dispel it will affect the creature as if it has been hit by the ability again. However, boosting these skills through other means (eg headband of intelligence, Owl's Wisdom) works normally.
    ...3d6 damage to ALL mental stats, no save allowed, as an at-will touch attack that not only RESISTS dispelling, but actively punishes any attempt to dispel by basically outright killing the creature (since few things can survive 6d6 damage to all mental stats)?

    No. I can't think of any way this ability can be balanced in anything CLOSE to its current form: these numbers are WAY to high.

    What would a suitable level adjustment be for having the magophage template, and would that differ between born and acquired magophages?
    Hard to tell: this isn't the typical template format, and some of the abilities (how you calculate mental abilities for the separate entities in the Acquired Magophage template, for example) aren't fully explained. I'd need to see a little more detail.

    What level should they get access to the ability to scramble the target's mind?
    At that level of power? Never.

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  7. - Top - End - #7
    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: what's an appropriate level for these abilities?

    Quote Originally Posted by Djinn_in_Tonic View Post
    Another no. This is basically a personal anti-magic field assigned by touch at this rate, which is ludicrous.
    How is it more ludicrous than an actual anti-magic field?

    Quote Originally Posted by Djinn_in_Tonic View Post
    ...3d6 damage to ALL mental stats, no save allowed, as an at-will touch attack that not only RESISTS dispelling, but actively punishes any attempt to dispel by basically outright killing the creature (since few things can survive 6d6 damage to all mental stats)?

    No. I can't think of any way this ability can be balanced in anything CLOSE to its current form: these numbers are WAY to high.
    Everything can survive 6d6 damage to mental stats, because damage to mental stats cannot kill a character.

    Anyway, did you miss the part that this can only be done on a limited set of creatures?

  8. - Top - End - #8
    Firbolg in the Playground
     
    Djinn_in_Tonic's Avatar

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    Default Re: what's an appropriate level for these abilities?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ettina View Post
    How is it more ludicrous than an actual anti-magic field?
    Because it's at-will, uses no resources, and cannot be walked out of.


    Everything can survive 6d6 damage to mental stats, because damage to mental stats cannot kill a character.
    In a combat situation being comatose effectively equals death, since you have no control over what anyone does to you.

    Anyway, did you miss the part that this can only be done on a limited set of creatures?
    I did notice that part. Still, highly limited applications of gamebreaking power aren't good for balance or design: you become an instant-win when the ability is usable, and pay a high price for useless power in other circumstances.
    Last edited by Djinn_in_Tonic; 2015-06-12 at 12:01 PM.

    Ingredients

    2oz Djinn
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    1 Lime Wedge


    Instructions

    Pour Djinn and tonic water into a glass filled with ice cubes. Stir well. Garnish with lime wedge. Serve.

  9. - Top - End - #9
    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: what's an appropriate level for these abilities?

    Quote Originally Posted by Djinn_in_Tonic View Post
    I did notice that part. Still, highly limited applications of gamebreaking power aren't good for balance or design: you become an instant-win when the ability is usable, and pay a high price for useless power in other circumstances.
    I don't care. That's the kind of character I enjoy. Did you see me ask for anyone to critique my design? No. I asked what level adjustments it should get. Even if it should get a '-', I would have preferred being told that than just 'don't do it at all'.

    What is it about forums oriented around imagination, that they so often get posters determined to stifle imagination?

  10. - Top - End - #10
    Firbolg in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: what's an appropriate level for these abilities?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ettina View Post
    I don't care. That's the kind of character I enjoy. Did you see me ask for anyone to critique my design? No. I asked what level adjustments it should get. Even if it should get a '-', I would have preferred being told that than just 'don't do it at all'.

    What is it about forums oriented around imagination, that they so often get posters determined to stifle imagination?
    That's not actually my goal: I assumed "what level adjustment" to be "I want to know where this would be balanced for player use." It's not. Imagination and Balance aren't necessarily the same thing, and, since there are ways to get across the flavor you desire in a more balanced fashion, that was my original intent. I apologize for misinterpreting your end goals.

    If you'll accept "--" as an answer, than that's my answer, and I welcome you to it: I don't feel some of these options, as presented, are able to have a balanced level equivalent. I had (apparently mistakenly) assumed that you were trying to balance these abilities for use across a variety of games, for which I apologize.

    I'm still unable to give you a level estimate for your ability damage feature / mind-scrambling feature though.

    A Note for the Future: Many posters on the Homebrew Design forum assume an "average" power level for suggested features unless otherwise stated. If your campaign has a balance goal that is different from the normal game, or features a lot of glass-cannon characters or niche yet extremely powerful options (like the ones presented here), I'd recommend including that information in the original post. It will cut down on issues like our misunderstanding, and allow people to jump right into providing comments that may be more constructive to you.
    Last edited by Djinn_in_Tonic; 2015-06-16 at 12:23 PM.

    Ingredients

    2oz Djinn
    5oz Water
    1 Lime Wedge


    Instructions

    Pour Djinn and tonic water into a glass filled with ice cubes. Stir well. Garnish with lime wedge. Serve.

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