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    GreenSorcererElf

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    Default [Ascension Games] Path of Shadows - Bringing Shadow Magic to 5th Edition!

    Ascension Games is branching out to 5th edition, starting with a conversion of Path of Shadows!

    Path of Shadows - For D&D 5e adds the wonders shadow magic to 5th Edition. It has a new class - the nightblade - which focuses on using shadow magic to its fullest, and will have spells, feats, and magic items for just about everyone.

    To make sure the balance is on-point, I've made a playtest document featuring the new nightblade class and several spells. Many of the spells are from the original Path of Shadows, such as banish light and deathwings, but classic spells like shadow conjuration and darkbolt are also included. The second half of the playtest has recently been released as well, featuring new options for most of the classes in the Player's Handbook.

    Any feedback is appreciated! I don't have as much experience playing 5th edition as I do Pathfinder, so I want to make sure the balance is kept while still keeping the ideas of shadow magic intact. Suggestions for improving the quality, as well as spells and abilities you'd like to see added, are always welcome.

    You can download the two parts of the playtest here:
    Part I
    Part II

    Thanks!

    Chris Moore
    Ascension Games, LLC
    Last edited by Seginus; 2016-05-19 at 02:47 PM.
    Designer, Author of Ascension Games, LLC

    Author of Path of Shadows and Path of Iron, found on the Open Gaming Store, Paizo.com, and DriveThruRPG.

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    Default Re: [Ascension Games] Path of Shadows - Bringing Shadow Magic to 5th Edition!

    Since no one else has chimed in, I guess I will.

    I love the flavor and the concept. Unfortunately I have many problems with the material.
    Some thoughts:
    -- Nightblade is too weak in some aspects, and arguably too powerful in others. For instance, the half casters (and with the exception of rogue, who has a different mechanic for at will damage, the one third casters as well) all have Extra Attack. You have created an half caster without Extra Attack. Where damage or resource management is concerned, he won't be able to keep up with literally anyone else come middle/late game.
    -- Too many of his abilities use either an action or a bonus action, which allows too much action economy flexibility that no one else has.
    -- The mechanic for regaining surges seems wonky to me. No other class uses anything even remotely similar.
    -- Many of his Arts are either too weak and situational, or too powerful.
    -- The same can be said for many of the subclass abilities.
    -- The same can be said for many of the spells. And many of those use material that doesn't exist in 5e (for example, all of the ones that allow darkvision to see in color.... that's not how darkvision works in 5e).
    -- There doesn't seem to be much rhyme or reason as to which classes got access to which shadow spells... none that I could readily determine, at any rate. Much of it seems very arbitrary.
    -- The Shadow [magic school] spells are both the shining light and the biggest disappointment. Its AWESOME that they're in there! It's RIDICULOUS that they make one spell equal to every single spell on your list from that school save for a Cha Save and one level slot higher.

    I love where you were going with the concept. I hate where you ended up for much of it.
    Forgive me for saying, but I really think you need more 5e experience before trying again.
    Last edited by DivisibleByZero; 2016-04-19 at 02:43 PM.
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    Default Re: [Ascension Games] Path of Shadows - Bringing Shadow Magic to 5th Edition!

    Quote Originally Posted by DivisibleByZero View Post
    -- Nightblade is too weak in some aspects, and arguably too powerful in others. For instance, the half casters (and with the exception of rogue, who has a different mechanic for at will damage, the one third casters as well) all have Extra Attack. You have created an half caster without Extra Attack. Where damage or resource management is concerned, he won't be able to keep up with literally anyone else come middle/late game.
    Darkened Fortress gets extra attack. Bloodied chain gets up to 2d8 extra psychic damage per attack on the targets of its Chain of Despair, and Eternal Night has the corruption ability which can deal 1d8 + CHA damage to up to three targets each round. Ravaging Void gets damaging cantrips and can add Charisma to damage with those cantrips. The only one that doesn't get a damage boost is Twilight Veil, and even then it gets damaging cantrips via vicious mockery and is focused on crowd control, not damage.
    Quote Originally Posted by DivisibleByZero View Post
    -- Too many of his abilities use either an action or a bonus action, which allows too much action economy flexibility that no one else has.
    The only ability were you can choose which action to use is shadow shift. If you're talking about just plain quantity of abilities in the class that are bonus actions, I'm keeping an eye on it to see if it needs reduction.
    Quote Originally Posted by DivisibleByZero View Post
    -- The mechanic for regaining surges seems wonky to me. No other class uses anything even remotely similar.
    Different is not bad.
    Quote Originally Posted by DivisibleByZero View Post
    -- Many of his Arts are either too weak and situational, or too powerful.
    -- The same can be said for many of the subclass abilities.
    Examples? Just a general "some things are bad" is not helpful.
    Quote Originally Posted by DivisibleByZero View Post
    -- The same can be said for many of the spells. And many of those use material that doesn't exist in 5e (for example, all of the ones that allow darkvision to see in color.... that's not how darkvision works in 5e).
    The only spell that lets you see in darkness with color is hidden illumination, and the entire point of the spell is it lets darkvision see in color instead of shades of gray.
    Quote Originally Posted by DivisibleByZero View Post
    -- There doesn't seem to be much rhyme or reason as to which classes got access to which shadow spells... none that I could readily determine, at any rate. Much of it seems very arbitrary.
    Spell list in general are arbitrary, but anyway...

    Nightblade and sorcerer were decided to be the classes that get all shadow spells. Nightblade for obvious reasons, and sorcerer because of limited spells known compared to wizard (as I'm sure you know, the shadow spells were originally sorcerer/wizard list, so with the split given in 5e it had to be split as well).

    Bard, Warlock, and Wizard all have access to some of the spells. Bard and Wizard both had shadow spells in 3.5e, and Warlock felt thematically appropriate. Bard is probably the weakest association, if only because their spell list is light on the conjuration side; I might remove shadow conjuration from their list, as it doesn't help them that much.
    Quote Originally Posted by DivisibleByZero View Post
    -- The Shadow [magic school] spells are both the shining light and the biggest disappointment. Its AWESOME that they're in there! It's RIDICULOUS that they make one spell equal to every single spell on your list from that school save for a Cha Save and one level slot higher.
    That's...literally how they worked in 3e. In fact they were better, because instead of negating the entire effect they were just reduced to 20/60/80 percent real, depending on the level of spell. Granting an extra saving throw to negate the effect, especially with 5e bounded accuracy, gives it a pretty significant chance of failing.

    I have considered making it two levels lower, rather than one, but I feel most people would pass up the spells for having a weak trade off.
    Designer, Author of Ascension Games, LLC

    Author of Path of Shadows and Path of Iron, found on the Open Gaming Store, Paizo.com, and DriveThruRPG.

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    Default Re: [Ascension Games] Path of Shadows - Bringing Shadow Magic to 5th Edition!

    Quote Originally Posted by Seginus View Post
    The only spell that lets you see in darkness with color is hidden illumination, and the entire point of the spell is it lets darkvision see in color instead of shades of gray.
    That's also how the Nightblade's third level feature works, adding color to darkvision.
    Unfortunately, you don't seem to understand how darkvision works in 5e. Because it isn't in black and white. So those spells and features which cite b/w vision are extraneous. So the entire point of those spells and abilities are redundant. The fact that you included them speaks volumes.
    You are designing content for a game that you admittedly don't have much experience with, and you obviously don't understand the mechanics for. You're designing content for 5e derived from your knowledge base of PF, and it shows, because there are some things that don't work the way that you think they do, and there are other things that aren't balanced the way that they should be.

    You wanted feedback. That was feedback.
    I'll repeat my last:
    Forgive me for saying, but I really think you need more 5e experience before trying again.
    Last edited by DivisibleByZero; 2016-04-19 at 04:18 PM.
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    Default Re: [Ascension Games] Path of Shadows - Bringing Shadow Magic to 5th Edition!

    Quote Originally Posted by DivisibleByZero View Post
    That's also how the Nightblade's first level feature works, adding color to darkvision.
    Unfortunately, you don't seem to understand how darkvision works in 5e. Because it isn't in black and white. So those spells and features which cite b/w vision are extraneous. So the entire point of those spells and abilities are redundant. The fact that you included them speaks volumes.
    ...

    Quote Originally Posted by Player's Handbook, pp. 183-184
    Darkvision
    Many creatures in the worlds of D&D, especially those that dwell underground, have darkvision. Within a specified range, a creature with darkvision can see in darkness as if the darkness were dim light, so areas of darkness are only lightly obscured as far as that creature is concerned. However, the creature can't discern color in darkness, only shades of gray.
    Pretty sure I understand the rules quite well.

    Quote Originally Posted by DivisibleByZero View Post
    You wanted feedback. That was feedback.
    I'll repeat my last:
    Forgive me for saying, but I really think you need more 5e experience before trying again.
    Thanks for the feedback.
    Designer, Author of Ascension Games, LLC

    Author of Path of Shadows and Path of Iron, found on the Open Gaming Store, Paizo.com, and DriveThruRPG.

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    Default Re: [Ascension Games] Path of Shadows - Bringing Shadow Magic to 5th Edition!

    Holy crap. I never noticed that line in there... I could have sworn that was removed.
    My bad.

    But still, the fact that you have a heavier PF background shows. There are things that are more powerful than they should be in some cases, and others that are weaker than they should be.
    There are too many for me to even delve into it.
    The Extra Attack bit was just one example. Yes I know that one of them gets it, but the others do not, and what they get (or don't get in one case) doesn't cover the difference. Nightblades are very cool at low levels, and very weak at high levels.

    The surge mechanic: different isn't bad.
    Well, no. But this is. At low levels they basically have a random cooldown. At high levels they basically never run out and almost become at-will usage for as long as combat tends to last. The implementation is just wonky.
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    Default Re: [Ascension Games] Path of Shadows - Bringing Shadow Magic to 5th Edition!

    Haven't investigated fully yet, but what I can see is interesting and looks like it could be fun.

    I would point out though that in Illusory strike you have language indicating you have disadvantage on spell attacks against creatures who know of the illusion. I think your RAI is that it applies to the illusory strike, but right now it would RAW effect any spell attack, even if unrelated to the illusion, is that intended?

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    Default Re: [Ascension Games] Path of Shadows - Bringing Shadow Magic to 5th Edition!

    Additionally, there are no reflex saves in 5e, you'll have to make those (most likely choice) dex saves, in the case of illusory strike energy burst and area attack at least anyway.

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    Default Re: [Ascension Games] Path of Shadows - Bringing Shadow Magic to 5th Edition!

    Let me put it this way on the power level of the Nightblade. Barring some of the abilities which are a little too powerful in and of themselves, the class as a whole is weak.
    Compare to Warlock. That's the closest comparison.
    He has Arts instead of Invocations. He has half casting instead of Pact Magic. But he doesn't have the high level casting equivalent, nor does he have the Extra Attack feature (or other abilities, such as improved divine smite or hoard breaker/volley) that other half casters have. If you took some of the features from the differing subclasses and added them together, then he'd be on par. But individually they amount to bubkus.
    It's like a Warlock who's a half caster instead of using pact magic, but he's not equal in power to the warlock, nor to any other half caster in the game.

    It's weird, because the class as a whole is too weak, but some of the abilities it has are too strong.
    Unfortunately, those two don't balance things out in my mind, and just makes it a very cool/thematic class.... but one that isn't near balanced with other classes.
    Last edited by DivisibleByZero; 2016-04-19 at 04:41 PM.
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    Default Re: [Ascension Games] Path of Shadows - Bringing Shadow Magic to 5th Edition!

    General thing: The writing seems to assume a grid, while 5e on a whole assumes no grid.
    Overall: It seems like the Nightblade is some sort of half caster skill monkey in design(has half casting, and double proficiency features while lacking significant damage sources). I feel like it doesn't quite keep up in that department, but little touches can help fix that.
    I am unsure if shape shadows takes up your concentration slot. Needs a double check of wording either way, cause it is just an odd way of expressing it.
    I will echo the dislike of the surge mechanic. My issue is dice upkeep in a game that tries to limit it. The RNGness of it is fine, and can creature of really cool moments, but it adds another step to the turn in a game that wants turns to be super fast. I would really like to see each path have its own triggers for regaining surges(Path of the Bloodied Chain gaining surges from frightening things for example). Small technical thing, should have the surges recharge on a short or long rest. I know it seems silly to mention it, but you still should. The capstone feels like a capstone, which is nice.
    Paths:
    Bloodied Chain feels super weak. For example, its first features is an incredibly weak version of a Feylock's first feature. Chains allow the rest of the path to work, but seems to mostly be there as dip material, as other classes will take advantage of the damage given by the chains. It is also unclear when you can create all the chains, since it says you create one as a bonus action, then in the section about scaling says you can create them all at once.
    Darkened Fortress on the other hand, is pretty good. A once per short rest AoE damage resistance is going to help a huge amount early levels, and once getting nuked is less of a problem, it becomes a way to avoid crowd control. They get their own tankiness to offset their lower hit die as well. Their last features needs some clarification, and I see being super powerful with Sentinel.
    Eternal Night is mostly its level 15 feature. Corruption is pretty mediocre as a damage feature, Grim Harvest is cool but limited, Death Attunement is flavorful and kind neat but mostly not useful. That level 15 feature however, lets you wade into hordes and have the tankiness of a level 20 moon druid for a minute.
    I like Ravaging Void ability to get around resistance by changing elements. Seems strange that Void get to add their cha mod to spell damage at 6 when clerics get to add their mod to only cantrips at 8, though Warlock get to add to EB at 2, so who knows. Warding Shadow is way too strong, permanent AoE resistance is super good. Shadow Avatar seems kinda out of place, but is a functioning feature.
    Twilight Veil seems like a weak Feylock.
    Arts:
    Nothing really stands out to me as broken in either sense.
    As for spells, there are a lot, and I would need to compare them to all the classes they are available for.

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    Default Re: [Ascension Games] Path of Shadows - Bringing Shadow Magic to 5th Edition!

    Quote Originally Posted by DivisibleByZero View Post
    But still, the fact that you have a heavier PF background shows. There are things that are more powerful than they should be in some cases, and others that are weaker than they should be.
    There are too many for me to even delve into it.
    Well, if you have the time, I'm all ears. I hate imbalance as much as the next guy.

    Quote Originally Posted by DivisibleByZero View Post
    The Extra Attack bit was just one example. Yes I know that one of them gets it, but the others do not, and what they get (or don't get in one case) doesn't cover the difference. Nightblades are very cool at low levels, and very weak at high levels.
    I want to try to not put Extra Attack on the main table. I wanted to make the different Paths get offense differently. Bloodied chain with its extra 2d8 psychic, Darkened Fortress with Extra Attack, Eternal Night with corruption, and Ravaging Void with damaging cantrips + CHA damage. If I can, I want to keep this idea but make them on-par to other classes.

    If it comes down to it, I'll put Extra Attack on the main table and put extra offense effects in each path, as opposed to as it is now. Bloodied chains would get bonus psychic per hit, Corruption might get turned into a necrotic "splash damage" on hit, etc.

    I'd rather not, but function comes first when it comes to balance.

    Quote Originally Posted by DivisibleByZero View Post
    The surge mechanic: different isn't bad.
    Well, no. But this is. At low levels they basically have a random cooldown. At high levels they basically never run out and almost become at-will usage for as long as combat tends to last. The implementation is just wonky.
    Originally (in Pathfinder) the shadow surge didn't have the random recharge; the only way to regain the surge once it was spent was to use an action to recharge it. I wanted to try something new and see how it was received, but from the general feedback I'm getting I might end up removing the random recharge and make the recharge Action regain your full surge pool.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ace Jackson View Post
    Haven't investigated fully yet, but what I can see is interesting and looks like it could be fun.

    I would point out though that in Illusory strike you have language indicating you have disadvantage on spell attacks against creatures who know of the illusion. I think your RAI is that it applies to the illusory strike, but right now it would RAW effect any spell attack, even if unrelated to the illusion, is that intended?
    RAI was definitely supposed to be just the attacks/saves of the spell, yes. I'll update the wording to reflect this.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ace Jackson View Post
    Additionally, there are no reflex saves in 5e, you'll have to make those (most likely choice) dex saves, in the case of illusory strike energy burst and area attack at least anyway.
    That was just an error on my part; they should have been Dexterity saves.

    Quote Originally Posted by DivisibleByZero View Post
    Let me put it this way on the power level of the Nightblade. Barring some of the abilities which are a little too powerful in and of themselves, the class as a whole is weak.
    Compare to Warlock. That's the closest comparison.
    He has Arts instead of Invocations. He has half casting instead of Pact Magic. But he doesn't have the high level casting equivalent, nor does he have the Extra Attack feature (or other abilities, such as improved divine smite or hoard breaker/volley) that other half casters have. If you took some of the features from the differing subclasses and added them together, then he'd be on par. But individually they amount to bubkus.
    It's like a Warlock who's a half caster instead of using pact magic, but he's not equal in power to the warlock, nor to any other half caster in the game.

    It's weird, because the class as a whole is too weak, but some of the abilities it has are too strong.
    Unfortunately, those two don't balance things out in my mind, and just makes it a very cool/thematic class.... but one that isn't near balanced with other classes.
    I think Warlock is a fair comparison, and I definitely want to improve weak abilities and tone down strong ones to meet in the middle. If you have time to mention the abilities that stand out to you as weak or strong (even just a few of them) I'd greatly appreciate it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mrglee View Post
    General thing: The writing seems to assume a grid, while 5e on a whole assumes no grid.
    I don't think I mentioned the grid anywhere, mostly just distances. In any case, I'll keep that in mind when updating it or adding more material.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mrglee View Post
    Overall: It seems like the Nightblade is some sort of half caster skill monkey in design(has half casting, and double proficiency features while lacking significant damage sources). I feel like it doesn't quite keep up in that department, but little touches can help fix that.
    It really only gets double proficiency when observing illusions or if you take Bloodied Chains for Intimidate. It can improve its skill uses mainly through nightblade arts giving you advantage on certain checks.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mrglee View Post
    I am unsure if shape shadows takes up your concentration slot. Needs a double check of wording either way, cause it is just an odd way of expressing it.
    I'll improve the wording to make sure it includes "as if concentrating on a spell", to keep consistent with similar wording in the Player Handbook.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mrglee View Post
    I will echo the dislike of the surge mechanic. My issue is dice upkeep in a game that tries to limit it. The RNGness of it is fine, and can creature of really cool moments, but it adds another step to the turn in a game that wants turns to be super fast. I would really like to see each path have its own triggers for regaining surges(Path of the Bloodied Chain gaining surges from frightening things for example). Small technical thing, should have the surges recharge on a short or long rest. I know it seems silly to mention it, but you still should. The capstone feels like a capstone, which is nice.
    The idea of making each path have a different recharge mechanic is neat but is probably unnecessary. As mentioned above, I'll probably just make the action you can take to recharge refill your entire pool, rather than only 1 point.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mrglee View Post
    Bloodied Chain feels super weak. For example, its first features is an incredibly weak version of a Feylock's first feature. Chains allow the rest of the path to work, but seems to mostly be there as dip material, as other classes will take advantage of the damage given by the chains. It is also unclear when you can create all the chains, since it says you create one as a bonus action, then in the section about scaling says you can create them all at once.
    Did you note that the Eyes of Terror is once per long rest per creature? You can essentially use it at-will, while the Feylock ability is once per short rest.

    Chain is basically required for a fear-dedicated class to function late-game as more things become immune to it. I'll look into improving the wording of the ability.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mrglee View Post
    Darkened Fortress on the other hand, is pretty good. A once per short rest AoE damage resistance is going to help a huge amount early levels, and once getting nuked is less of a problem, it becomes a way to avoid crowd control. They get their own tankiness to offset their lower hit die as well. Their last features needs some clarification, and I see being super powerful with Sentinel.
    What sort of clarification do you think it needs? Less ambiguous is always better.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mrglee View Post
    Eternal Night is mostly its level 15 feature. Corruption is pretty mediocre as a damage feature, Grim Harvest is cool but limited, Death Attunement is flavorful and kind neat but mostly not useful. That level 15 feature however, lets you wade into hordes and have the tankiness of a level 20 moon druid for a minute.
    The damage being below average is a known issue (as DivisibleByZero has mentioned). Grim Harvest is supposed to be limited as its both a) the only way a nightblade can heal itself outside of short rests and b) can give up to a +3 bonus that stacks with pretty much everything for a minute. If it's found to be too limited for a 1/short rest power I can improve it.

    Do note that Shadow of Death requires concentration.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mrglee View Post
    Warding Shadow is way too strong, permanent AoE resistance is super good.
    I don't think Warding Shadows it too strong. Oath of Ancients Paladin gives resistance to all spell damage at 7th level, which I'd say is overall stronger. I'm thinking of reducing the radius to 20 feet, though.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mrglee View Post
    Twilight Veil seems like a weak Feylock.
    Twilight Veil does feel a bit weak, but I think the expanded spell list plus charmed enemies having disadvantage against your enchantment/illusion spells should make them decent at crowd-control. I'm mostly worried about their early game being on the weak side, and their damage being below the other paths.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mrglee View Post
    Arts:
    Nothing really stands out to me as broken in either sense.
    With the likely update to the way shadow surges will be regained (no random rolling), I'll probably adjust some of the costs of abilities here. Also, to try to cut down on the sheer number of ways the class can burn its bonus action, I might move around some action types or make some non-actions.

    For arts like Disguising Veil, the one point cost out-of-combat is pretty negligible. What I'm thinking of doing is making certain arts like Disguising Veil be a sort of "upkeep" ability that reduces your maximum number of surges but can be maintained for longer periods. Things like Shadow Motion or Shadow Run would be good candidates for that, to name a few.
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    Default Re: [Ascension Games] Path of Shadows - Bringing Shadow Magic to 5th Edition!

    Quote Originally Posted by Seginus View Post
    I don't think I mentioned the grid anywhere, mostly just distances. In any case, I'll keep that in mind when updating it or adding more material.
    You mention spaces in on the bloodied chain features, though going through the PHB, that is apparently standard. Seems weird to me, but it is what the book does.


    It really only gets double proficiency when observing illusions or if you take Bloodied Chains for Intimidate. It can improve its skill uses mainly through nightblade arts giving you advantage on certain checks.
    Still decent, and more than other classes get(baring the expertise classes). You also get above average skills and some free trainings depending on what you take.

    The idea of making each path have a different recharge mechanic is neat but is probably unnecessary. As mentioned above, I'll probably just make the action you can take to recharge refill your entire pool, rather than only 1 point.
    I can't see a point where I would make that trade. Surges are good, but not worth a whole action. Unless you combo it with some of the bonus action arts, but even then, I would almost rather just have my action.

    Did you note that the Eyes of Terror is once per long rest per creature? You can essentially use it at-will, while the Feylock ability is once per short rest.
    This is true, but it is still single target with harsher limitations. I would argue it is a little worse out of combat too, as charming an important NPC seems better than fearing ones below your level.

    Chain is basically required for a fear-dedicated class to function late-game as more things become immune to it. I'll look into improving the wording of the ability.
    I like chains over all, and with little tweaks, I think it is a fine replacement for extra attack in concept. Fixes to the wording will help, though I wish it scaled a little harder, since I feel a fighter who takes 6 levels of Nightblade uses the ability better than the Nightblade does.

    What sort of clarification do you think it needs? Less ambiguous is always better.
    The way attacks of opportunity work involve having creatures walk out of reach, so how does it work if a creatures walk away from your ally? Do you get the AoO? What if you have Sentinel, does your ally get an AoO? What if you have a reach weapon, do they have to walk 10 feet away from your ally? What if you have polearm master, do I get the AoO from them entering 10 feet of my ally? What if I combined this with Sentinel?

    The damage being below average is a known issue (as DivisibleByZero has mentioned). Grim Harvest is supposed to be limited as its both a) the only way a nightblade can heal itself outside of short rests and b) can give up to a +3 bonus that stacks with pretty much everything for a minute. If it's found to be too limited for a 1/short rest power I can improve it.
    I will note, I missed the level part of grim harvest, it seemed like a way crappier false life invocation. Scales way harder then.

    Do note that Shadow of Death requires concentration.
    This is true, but for crowds it is still a good effect, especially if you have war caster and prof in con saving throws.

    I don't think Warding Shadows it too strong. Oath of Ancients Paladin gives resistance to all spell damage at 7th level, which I'd say is overall stronger. I'm thinking of reducing the radius to 20 feet, though.
    In direct comparison to the warlock it is stronger. Like, Fiendish Resilience's is only better in that it is a short rest change.

    Twilight Veil does feel a bit weak, but I think the expanded spell list plus charmed enemies having disadvantage against your enchantment/illusion spells should make them decent at crowd-control. I'm mostly worried about their early game being on the weak side, and their damage being below the other paths.
    Low damage is fine, but it will need the support features to make up for it. Right now it doesn't quite feel like it.

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    Default Re: [Ascension Games] Path of Shadows - Bringing Shadow Magic to 5th Edition!

    Quote Originally Posted by Seginus View Post
    I think Warlock is a fair comparison, and I definitely want to improve weak abilities and tone down strong ones to meet in the middle. If you have time to mention the abilities that stand out to you as weak or strong (even just a few of them) I'd greatly appreciate it.
    Here goes.

    Spoiler: general Nightblade class abilities
    Show

    -- Spellcasting & Extra Attack:
    He either needs to be a full caster, or he needs Extra Attack. I hate to say it that way, but it really is that simple to me. There's a reason that the other half casters all get it.
    As an half caster, he doesn't have anywhere near the spellcasting power that any full caster has. Extra Attack supplements this. Even the other subclasses' abilities (Cha Mod to spells, necrotic energy, chains, etc) don't cover the difference. He's still getting his slots and spells known at half the rate, and he's still never going to get the big guns. Cha mod to evo spells or whatever? It isn't enough.
    Let me put it this way: Add up all the spell slots that wizards/clerics/whoever (full caster) gets. Convert them to spell points. Do the same for Warlocks Pact Magic (and multiply by 3.5 to account for 2 or 3 short rests resetting slots), then add the Points for Mystic Arcanum. You'll see that the spellcasting power levels between Warlocks and other full casters are almost identical. Warlocks are like full casters that are forced to use the spell point system, but can only create spells of the highest level they have available.
    Literally everyone else in the entire game (with the exception of rogue, who uses a different mechanic to keep his damage on par) has Extra Attack. And even some of the full casters do via subclasses....
    The base chassis for Nightblade needs either Extra Attack, or full casting. That's really all there is to it.
    You could even keep the similarities with Warlock and progress casting as a full caster until level 10, and then give them one spell once per day of each higher level, if you wanted to.
    But they need either full casting power equivalent or EA to compete.

    -- Shape Shadows:
    This is basically kind of like a ribbon.

    -- Shadow Surge:
    I have already explained my issues with the mechanic to regain them.

    -- Nightblade Arts:
    Spoiler
    Show
    The general ones are here. Subclass specific Arts are listed with their respective subclass.

    -- Disguising Veil:
    I like it as is.

    -- Dusk Strike:
    This is very good as is. If you change the mechanic to refresh surges, (as we'd like to see) then it might become OP depending on how you change it.

    -- Fall of Night:
    I like it.

    -- Focused Cast:
    I like it, but again, it will depend on whether and if so, how you change the refresh mechanic.

    -- Hidden Stride:
    Fine as is.

    -- Penumbral Aegis:
    I like it.

    -- Shadow Motion:
    I like it.

    -- Shadow Run:
    I like it.

    -- Shfting Focus:
    I like it.

    -- Sight Unseen:
    I explain my issues with Nighteye immediately following. Making it even better rubs me very much the wrong way.

    -- Warp Strike:
    I can't decide if I like it or if it's too much. Probably the former.

    -- Nighteye:
    This is too powerful for a 3rd level granted ability. The only other way to get anything even remotely similar to this is to be a Warlock and spend one of your precious few Invocations on it.

    Meld Into Darkness:
    Perfectly fine as is.

    Umbral Spell:
    I like this one quite a lot. It takes the extremely limited spells known and offers some flexibility. Unfortunately, with Shadow Necro/Conj/Evo, this makes the Nightblade's spells known list basically redundant, because they can pretty much cast any spell they want at any time after a certain level, whether they know the spell of not.
    It's a great ability in a vacuum, but the class isn't a vacuum.

    Shadow Shift:
    I like it as is.

    Pierce the Veils:
    I like it as is.

    Master of Shadows:
    It's good as a Capstone.


    Spoiler: Subclasses
    Show

    Spoiler: Bloodied Chain
    Show

    Frightening Display:
    Fine as is.

    Eyes of Terror:
    Very weak as the main benefit of this level.

    Chains of Despair:
    Wonky. So I can do an Extra 1d8 (or 2d8 at 15th level) to a creature that I hit with a weapon attack. OK. At 11th level I can maintain 2 chains. OK. But that's useless because I don't have Extra Attack. Same goes for 3 chains at 15th level. This is kind of like one of those abilities that other half casters just get on every attack to use in conjuntion with EA, which I don't have. But those other half casters don't have to use a BA to create it.
    It's lame.

    Thrive on Fear:
    Fine as it is.

    Umbral Shackles:
    It works. I'm kind of Meh about it, but it works.

    Subclass specific Arts:
    -- Haunting Rattle:
    Meh. There's nothing wrong with it. Maybe I'm just biased because I'm not thematically a fan of fear effects.
    -- Untold Horrors:
    Pretty lame.

    It feels wonky and weak as a subclass to me.


    Spoiler: Darkened Fortress
    Show

    Guardian Shroud:
    I like it.

    Shadow Armament:
    Fine as is.

    Extra Attack:
    They should either already have this as a class feature, or have full caster power, as explained above.

    Shadow Raiment:
    I like it.

    Phantom Strike:
    This ability is cool. Like, really cool. Like, too cool, and it needs to not be at-will. There needs to be some opportunity cost to this. Maybe burn a slot, maybe burn a Surge and maintain concentration. Maybe x times per rest. Whatever. It's awesome, but it's too good as it is.

    Subclass specific Arts:
    -- Illusory Equipment:
    This is very cool.
    -- Shadow Barrier:
    This is very cool.
    -- Umbral Assault:
    This is extremely cool.

    This is by far the best subclass available. Unfortunately it's the only one that feels like it might be up to par with other classes.


    Spoiler: Eternal Night
    Show

    Descent into Darkness:
    Meh, ok, cool I guess.

    Grim Harvest:
    Meh, it's OK I guess.

    Corruption:
    It's OK I guess. 1d6+3(to 5) to a second (or third) enemy is OK and all, but it only helps against multiple enemies. And once again, it's not enough to keep his damage on par with anyone else. But why does it work at a range of 20' while using a melee spell attack?

    Death Attunement:
    Resistance to a fairly uncommon damage type, and what basically amounts to ribbons. Lame.

    Shadow of Death:
    This is pretty much the only reason to take this subclass. It's hella good.

    Subclass specific Arts:
    -- Entropic Grasp:
    Single target, single use debuff for an enemy as an action. It's just OK.
    -- Vile Corruption:
    Corruption is mediocre at best. Buffing it to grant the poisoned condition for a single round doesn't fix it.

    Thematic subclass, but unimpressive to me.


    Spoiler: Ravaging Void
    Show

    Void Initiate:
    Cool and thematic.

    Elemental Shade:
    Very cool feature.

    Empowered Elements:
    It works, but it still isn't going to be enough to keep you up to par with other casters.... which is what this subclass is supposed to be about.

    Warding Shadows:
    Very cool, and combined with Elemental Shade it becomes huge damage mitigation for the party as a whole. That almost makes it too good. Perhaps EShade should be once per long rest to compensate?

    Shadow Avatar:
    Quicken all evocation spells for free for one minute per day? Forget the rest, this is powerful.

    Subclass specific Arts:
    -- Exposing Void:
    Surge to give an enemy vulnerability. Cool and thematic.
    -- Twisted Elements:
    Cool and thematic.

    The subclass would be amazing (and possibly OP) if it were on a full caster.... but as it stands it's still weak overall.


    Spoiler: Twilight Veil
    Show

    Twilight Magic:
    Works. Cool and thematic.

    Entrancing Veil:
    It's cool as a secondary benefit for the level. Not as cool as EShade was, but it's cool.

    Illusory Arcana:
    This would be good on a full caster.... On a Half caster with few spells known and not a lot of damaging abilities (as this subclass was designed with CC in mind) it's pretty lame.

    Beguiler's Influence:
    It's pretty good.

    Distorting Shadows:
    20' sphere AoE CC effect that has a random effect and lasts for but a single round once per rest.... at level 15? It would be decent earlier. For the capstone of the subclass, it kind of sucks.

    Subclass specific Arts:
    -- Shrouded Casting:
    Hidden Casting. Cool and thematic.
    -- Veil of Darkness:
    Slotless Invisibility. Cool and thematic.

    All in all, this is (in my opinion) thematically the coolest, but mechanically the weakest. And that by a lot. Most of that stems from the half caster mechanic with no other goodies to account for it being an half caster. As a full caster it would be good.


    Honestly, most of the issues that I have with the class would be alleviated by making a few changes.

    If you wanted to keep the Warlock similarities going, then maybe somehting like this:
    Add spells to his list for levels 6-9. There don't need to be a ton of them.
    Give him spells known and spell slots like a sorcerer until level 10 (with druid's number of cantrips instead).
    At level 11, he gets his own version of Mystic Arcanum, choosing one 6th level spell that can be cast once per day. At 13th he gets one 7th level spell once/day. At 15th he gets one 8th. At 17th he gets one 9th.

    Shadow Surges I would change to equal proficiency bonus in number. They reset on a short rest. In the event of a multiclass, he only gets a number of surges equal to the proficiency bonus he'd have if he were a single classed Nightblade.
    Last edited by DivisibleByZero; 2016-04-20 at 11:21 AM.
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    Default Re: [Ascension Games] Path of Shadows - Bringing Shadow Magic to 5th Edition!

    Feedback:

    ...Is it just me, or is the Nightblade really low on damage? Path of Bloodied Chain is worthless; at the level where it's getting bonus damage, it has one attack, and is outclassed heavily in doing so by the rogue seeing as it only has one attack, no cantrips, and half casting. Eternal Night is a joke, with no damage boosts anywhere and its only at-will damage sources being straight up worse than Cantrips. Eternal Void manages to match the damage of a non-Arcane cleric out of spells for the day, so it's a step up from most. Twilight Veil can't even claim tha tmuch.

    Path of Darkened Fortress is the best of the lot, but its damage also falls by the wayside come 11th level or so; Rage bonus damage has far outclassed them by then, and the Paladins' Improved Divine Smite takes effect. Not to mention Paladin of Devotion's bonus GWM damage, Vengeance's Hunter's Mark, or Oathbreaker's straight up bonus damage. Umbral Assault partially ameliorates this, but all the bonus action attack feats show up and laugh. Hex + Extra Attack + Umbral Assault would maybe tie with Paladin's damage at level 6... and then get steadily worse as the Paladin gets steadily better.

    The thing to remember about 5e is that there are three breakpoints at which classes drastically step up their game to match the challenges they're about to face: Level 5, level 11, and level 17-18. You do not have the corresponding power boosts. This is problematic.

    Also, Shadow Conjuration/Shadow Evocation/Shadow Necromancy? Bah-roken. It's like how people use Wish, except in a 2nd/3rd/4th level spell slot. Oh, and they can also roll their worst saving throw to not be affected, I guess. Spell lists are far more restrictive in 5e than before; as such, any spell that can replicate multiple others is huge. The Shadow School spells just aren't fair effects in 5e; they were good in 3.PF, when Wizards could prepare dozens of different spells per day and the added flexibility was fairly minor. When the wizard just gets a handful over a dozen spells prepared in a single day at equivalent levels, things get really silly, really fast. Especially when in a 6th+ level spell slots; those effects are enormously powerful, balanced around burning a spell known for exactly one spell slot capable of casting it. When it's one spell slot for any effect on that 6th+ list, that tenuous balance is immediately defenestrated, as one slot preps your 6th, 5th, and 4th level capacities at the same time. Two levels below, it's balanced, but so weak as to be unattractive. Really, there's a reason they've not snuck into 5th edition despite being iconic.
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    Default Re: [Ascension Games] Path of Shadows - Bringing Shadow Magic to 5th Edition!

    That is a point that I hadn't thought of, why is Bloodied Chain setting up multiple chains? You only have one attack, two with a surge or polearm master, and the only benefit is the bonus damage and fear stuff. Your fear abilities are all single target, so it doesn't really get you anything. Possible changes to make this more relevant:
    Hitting a creatures does the bonus damage to all creatures affected by a chain.
    Getting hit does half damage to all creatures affected by the chains.
    Hitting a creature forces a "fear" check on all creatures affected by chains.
    Eye of Terror affects all creatures affected by chains.
    Or a combination of the above.
    I am a voice of dissonance that says Nightblade really doesn't need an extra attack as a core feature, but the current implementation is lacking in damage because of it. Chains and corruption need to be a better replacement feature, while the casters need something more powerful spellwise to make up for those areas. Perhaps something similar to Mystic Arcanum.

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    Default Re: [Ascension Games] Path of Shadows - Bringing Shadow Magic to 5th Edition!

    Quote Originally Posted by DivisibleByZero View Post
    Here goes.
    Thanks for the input, very valuable. I'm working on updating some stuff now. Currently it's looking like Extra Attack on the main table and a bit of ability shuffling. I briefly considered extending its spell to 9th level, but found it made the class way too similar in feel to warlock; it has enough of that already. Anyway...

    Quote Originally Posted by DivisibleByZero View Post
    Shadow Surges I would change to equal proficiency bonus in number. They reset on a short rest. In the event of a multiclass, he only gets a number of surges equal to the proficiency bonus he'd have if he were a single classed Nightblade.
    I can definitely say this isn't happening. Turning it into a short-rest recharge just makes it into a smaller Ki Point pool. The whole design of the shadow surge in Pathfinder, and something I want to keep, is an all-day resource in limited bursts. By having a very small number with a very quick recharge (just an Action), it makes the choice of what to spend those few points very important for the current situation without being bogged down by "what if I need X points ten minutes from now" that most resource mechanics bring.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fable Wright View Post
    The thing to remember about 5e is that there are three breakpoints at which classes drastically step up their game to match the challenges they're about to face: Level 5, level 11, and level 17-18. You do not have the corresponding power boosts. This is problematic.
    It's not like I didn't take this into account. The majority of paths get a damage increase at 6th and a defensive increase at 11th, with a sort of "capstone" at 15th, 5th level spells at 17th, and the third shadow surge pool at 18. In any case, it's clear that end game the class will struggle to pull its weight and is being improved upon.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fable Wright View Post
    Also, Shadow Conjuration/Shadow Evocation/Shadow Necromancy? Bah-roken.
    Well, they're going to be in the book in one form or another. There could be other ways to balance it. As in 3.5, where there was shadow conjuration, greater shadow conjuration, and shades, I could split the spells of a category in two: one spell for lower levels that goes up to a 5th level slot (covering spell levels 1-4), and a second rank of spell at 6th that can scale up to 9th-level slots (to cover 5-8). That would make it take up double spells known in most cases, unless the wizard feels like burning a 6th level slot to cast a 1st level effect.

    Similarly, the "lesser" version could copy spells two levels lower, where the greater version functions closer to the current version where it can be up to one level lower.

    You also have to consider the limitations on the effects, in that it doesn't allow healing, teleportation, creating undead, or any spell with a casting time over 1 action. That puts an additional limiter on what spells can be used, so it's not all of the spells in a school.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mrglee View Post
    That is a point that I hadn't thought of, why is Bloodied Chain setting up multiple chains? You only have one attack, two with a surge or polearm master, and the only benefit is the bonus damage and fear stuff. Your fear abilities are all single target, so it doesn't really get you anything.
    Umbral Shackles is AoE fear, as are certain spells like fear. It also removes its immunity from any source, so anyone else in the party can also cause fear. And anyway, at the very least since you can setup all of your chains with a single action it saves on action economy.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fable Wright View Post
    ...Is it just me, or is the Nightblade really low on damage?
    This has been addressed in earlier comments and is being worked on. I'm looking to bring Bloodied Chain (as a CC/damage hybrid) to meet the Ranger/Paladin base-line without spells (so not factoring in hunter's mark or burning slots for Divine Smite, but factoring in things like Improved Divine Smite or Colossus Slayer), while Darkened Fortress will be closer to the full Paladin/Ranger when factoring in resource expenditure.

    Ravaging Void and Eternal Night I'm a bit more torn on which to adjust to...Necromancy effects have a bit more CC in them than Evocations do, so I'm leaning towards having Eternal Night on a similar damage goal to Bloodied Chains while using Ravaging Void as the magically-focused equivalent to Darkened Fortress damage output.

    Twilight Veil...I'm not sure yet.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mrglee View Post
    I am a voice of dissonance that says Nightblade really doesn't need an extra attack as a core feature, but the current implementation is lacking in damage because of it. Chains and corruption need to be a better replacement feature, while the casters need something more powerful spellwise to make up for those areas. Perhaps something similar to Mystic Arcanum.
    I would rather take this approach, as well, but as I try to write out ways to improve it there's not much of a good way to handle it. Corruption, for example, even if its damage becomes comparable to other weapons at a base line, you still can't improve it with things like magic gear or the magic weapon spell, which means it falls behind Extra Attack.

    Extra Attack is probably going to end up a core feature, with damage boosters being varied by path. For example, Chain of Despair might start out as dealing 1d8 extra damage to frightened targets, but at higher levels you get 1d8 damage on all attacks against Chain targets, with an additional boost if the target is frightened.

    Darkened Fortress will be a bit more difficult to even out in its path features, as will Twilight Veil. Right now Darkened Fortress has its damage boost via Umbral Assault, but having only that path get its damage booster tied to shadow surges will make it fall behind other paths with more consistent DPR. And Twilight Veil...well, not sure what I'm doing damage-wise for that one yet. Maybe do nothing for damage aside from the Extra Attack in the core table. Boosting its CC abilities a bit more instead of damage would probably be the better approach.
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    Default Re: [Ascension Games] Path of Shadows - Bringing Shadow Magic to 5th Edition!

    Quote Originally Posted by Seginus View Post
    It's not like I didn't take this into account. The majority of paths get a damage increase at 6th and a defensive increase at 11th, with a sort of "capstone" at 15th, 5th level spells at 17th, and the third shadow surge pool at 18. In any case, it's clear that end game the class will struggle to pull its weight and is being improved upon.
    Bolded words are problematic, here. Every core class gets a major increase in capacity at level 5. The paths that grant multiattack at 6th level are always supplemented by a new spell level just before that. The problem, though, is that 5th level spells have become commonplace over the past 8 levels, the fact that the defensive increase will render them much weaker to traditional monsters even if their survivability is improved somewhat, and they'll be of much less use to the party on the whole.

    Quote Originally Posted by Seginus View Post
    Well, they're going to be in the book in one form or another. There could be other ways to balance it.
    The only way I can see is to keep it from being open-ended. Give a finite if versatile list of effects that they can create in line with the schools they're emulating, rather than giving direct casting. Leaving it open-ended, for the balance to shift and the headache for the DM to exponentially increase with each book printed, is going to break balance at tables where this spell is allowed.

    Quote Originally Posted by Seginus View Post
    Ravaging Void and Eternal Night I'm a bit more torn on which to adjust to...Necromancy effects have a bit more CC in them than Evocations do, so I'm leaning towards having Eternal Night on a similar damage goal to Bloodied Chains while using Ravaging Void as the magically-focused equivalent to Darkened Fortress damage output.

    Twilight Veil...I'm not sure yet.
    As mentioned, some kind of Mystic Arcanum-type feature here and scaling the damage back to just above normal cantrips might not be the worst here, though it's strange that it skips some spell levels to do so. Perhaps some mechanic that blocks off lower-level effects? You can use the feature to cast a spell from a set list of a level up to your class level divided by 2, rounded up, but when you do, you can't use it to cast another spell of that level or lower again that day. Maybe Twilight Veil gets features rewarding the use of lower level slots there, Ravaging Void is rewarded for breaking out the big guns early, and Eternal Night can scale up the list at their own rate as best suits the situation. I dunno. It's a thought, not sure if it's any good.

    And hey, if you move this to the 5th level feature, you won't have to add Extra Attack to the 'caster' set of classes, and you get your game-wide power boost at this point with 3rd level spells.
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    Default Re: [Ascension Games] Path of Shadows - Bringing Shadow Magic to 5th Edition!

    Quote Originally Posted by Fable Wright View Post
    Bolded words are problematic, here. Every core class gets a major increase in capacity at level 5. The paths that grant multiattack at 6th level are always supplemented by a new spell level just before that. The problem, though, is that 5th level spells have become commonplace over the past 8 levels, the fact that the defensive increase will render them much weaker to traditional monsters even if their survivability is improved somewhat, and they'll be of much less use to the party on the whole.
    Hence why Extra Attack is being put on the main table at 5th. Most paths will get some damage booster that either will be introduced at 11th or scaled up at that level.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fable Wright View Post
    The only way I can see is to keep it from being open-ended. Give a finite if versatile list of effects that they can create in line with the schools they're emulating, rather than giving direct casting. Leaving it open-ended, for the balance to shift and the headache for the DM to exponentially increase with each book printed, is going to break balance at tables where this spell is allowed.
    Hmm. On the one hand, being able to cast from your own list provides its own limit. On the OTHER hand, the original 3.5e spells always cast from the sorcerer/wizard list, as opposed to the caster's list (in the case of classes like Bard). Perhaps creating a separate Shadow spell list, that all shadow spells access? That way it can be contained separately from the ever-growing class lists and normalizes its effectiveness across classes (like Wizards getting more use out of shadow conjuration than Bards do).

    This would also address DivisbleByZero's concern that shadow spells make the Umbral Spell nightblade feature largely redundant, since the shadow spells would access a list that is separate from the nightblade spell list.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fable Wright View Post
    As mentioned, some kind of Mystic Arcanum-type feature here and scaling the damage back to just above normal cantrips might not be the worst here, though it's strange that it skips some spell levels to do so. Perhaps some mechanic that blocks off lower-level effects? You can use the feature to cast a spell from a set list of a level up to your class level divided by 2, rounded up, but when you do, you can't use it to cast another spell of that level or lower again that day. Maybe Twilight Veil gets features rewarding the use of lower level slots there, Ravaging Void is rewarded for breaking out the big guns early, and Eternal Night can scale up the list at their own rate as best suits the situation. I dunno. It's a thought, not sure if it's any good.

    And hey, if you move this to the 5th level feature, you won't have to add Extra Attack to the 'caster' set of classes, and you get your game-wide power boost at this point with 3rd level spells.
    I half wonder what the implications would be for the 1st level features of Ravaging Void/Twilight veil being to increase their spell slot progression to that of a full-caster...

    Or, considering what I'm contemplating above with the Shadow spell list, letting it grab appropriate spells above 5th level from the Shadow list. That would at least work for Ravaging Void, since the Shadow List would include evocation spells for shadow evocation. Probably wouldn't work for Twilight Veil unless I also made a shadow illusion spell to add on, but I don't think that's the best route.
    Last edited by Seginus; 2016-04-20 at 04:30 PM.
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    Default Re: [Ascension Games] Path of Shadows - Bringing Shadow Magic to 5th Edition!

    An update to the playtest document is now available, addressing many issues brought up from the previous version.

    A summary of the changes, as well as things I would like feedback on the most, are listed below:

    Changes
    Nightblade Core Features
    • The nightblade now has Extra Attack at 5th level, instead of being a feature of Darkened Fortress
    • Maximum shadow surges is increased to four by max level, but the random recharge is removed. You can use an action to refill the whole pool, rather than just 1 point.
    • The class now gets Darkvision at 3rd level, instead of the ability to see in magical darkness as it originally did.
    • Path features are now granted at levels 1/3/7/11/15 as opposed to the original 1/6/11/15. The number of abilities has not been changed (they used to get two features at level 1, now it's only one).
    • Pierce the Veils no longer grants immunity to blindness, instead giving the class the ability to see in magical darkness (as the original Nighteye ability).
    • Umbral Spell's extra uses are now earned slightly earlier
    • The class only gets 6 arts, instead of 8, to cut down on ability total. This should have minimum impact on the class's overall performance.

    Bloodied Chain
    • Eyes of Terror no longer has a penalty for use on higher-level opponents.
    • Chains of Despair now can be attached when hitting an opponent with a weapon attack
    • At 7th level, you can now use Eyes of Terror to affect all targets bound by Chains of Despair simultaneously (plus your normal target with Eyes of Terror), giving it some AoE fear options
    • The 11th level feature lets you deal 1d6 psychic damage per hit on Chain of Despair targets; coupled with Extra Attack this should boost its damage from it's original version considerably, while not having it overshadow damage-oriented paths like Darkened Fortress and Ravaging Void.
    • Umbral Shackles radius has been increased to 15 feet.

    Darkened Fortress
    • Guardian shroud is now a reaction, instead of a bonus action, to make it's use more natural
    • The 3rd level feature, Dark Armament, lets you burn spell slots to enhance the damage of weapons you wield for 1 hour. Between this ability and the Umbral Assault nightblade art, Darkened Fortress's damage should be in much better shape than before.
    • 11th level feature now upgrades previous features, letting guardian shroud be created at a distance and allowing Dark Armament to refresh shadow surges on critical hit.
    • Phantom Strike now has a maximum range of 30 feet and can't be used with reactions.

    Eternal Night
    • Grim Harvest has been replaced with Death Knell. It provided a very short buff or temporary hit points whenever you kill a foe, but is otherwise at-will.
    • Corruption is now a feature that lets you burn spell slots to create short-range necrotic AoEs when you use the Attack action.
    • 11th level gains a feature that lets you create new shapes with Corruption (30 ft. line or 15 ft. cone) and makes enemies hit take penalties to their next save against a necromancy spell you cast.
    • Shadow of Death has been reworked. It instead reduces foes' resistance to necrotic damage while also making them poisoned, and any creature that dies near you triggers Death Knell.

    Ravaging Void
    • Ravaging Void's damage has been further increased by allowing you to cast a cantrip then make a weapon attack as a bonus action; combined with adding Charisma to cantrip damage, this should let it keep up better damage-wise with other damage oriented classes.
    • The 7th level feature lets you now use Umbral Spell to cast high-level evocation spells, essentially turning Ravaging Void into a psuedo-9th-level caster.
    • Warding Shadows is replaced with Elemental Empowerment. You choose an element each day, gaining resistance to that element and dealing bonus damage with spells of that element. Warding Shadows is now a nightblade art that lets you use shadow surges to share your resistance from this feature.

    Twilight Veil
    • Beguiler's Influence no longer imparts disadvantage on saves versus illusion and enchantment spells (as illusion spells make up too much of the nightblade's spell, including shadow spells). It instead causes charmed creature to have disadvantage on attack rolls versus your allies, providing a simple-yet-effective debuff.
    • Illusory Arcana is now at 11th level and lets you grab a 6/7/8/9 level illusion or enchantment spell from other spell lists, turning it into a pseudo-9th-level caster like Ravaging Void.
    • Distorting Shadows is now Distorted Veil, letting you use Entrancing Veil on two creatures at once. At any point, you can use your action to cause charmed creatures to be randomly knocked prone, blinded, incapacitated, or stunned. Unlike the original Distorting Shadows, it's usuable at-will until the creature makes its saving throw.

    Nightblade Arts
    • More arts have been added, with each Nightblade Path now having four arts exclusive to it.
    • Several utility-oriented arts, such as Disguising Veil, now reduce your maximum shadow surges while active. This makes their resource cost actually matter when used in a non-combat scenario, preventing you from using lots of utility effects while still refilling your pool before a fight.

    Spells
    • Shadow spells like shadow conjuration and shadow evocation now cast from a shared "Shadow spell list". This normalized the spells' effects across all classes and prevents the spells from becoming increasingly-powerful as more 5e material is released.
    • Spells that erroneously mentioned Reflex saves now call for Dexterity saves. Oops.


    Things To Look At
    • Does the damage feel more up to par and balanced versus other classes of a given role? Ideally, Darkened Fortress and Ravaging Void should be the highest damage, followed by Bloodied Chains/Eternal Night, with Twilight Veil as the lowest damage.
    • Bloodied Chains has received some big improvements to its main CC ability, Eyes of Terror, with it now having no penalty on higher level targets and eventually scaling into AoE with the Thrive on Fear feature. Does the crowd control feel weak, too powerful, or in a good spot?
    • Dark Armament from the Path of the Darkened Fortress is an odd one. The damage bonus is on par with hunter's mark or hex at early game and can surpass the damage with higher slots, but requires no concentration. On the flip side, it can't be stacked with other weapon spells like magic weapon, and only lasts an hour regardless of slot used while hex and hunter's mark can be made to last all day. I want to avoid using concentration for the effect (as concentration for your damage source lends itself to playing at range, where it's easier to maintain concentration), but want it to stay balanced within that limitation. Is that goal accomplished, or do changes need to be made to keep it balanced against other classes?
    • Eternal Night now has a bit more staying power with Death Knell being at-will, but the actual effects of the ability aside from the temporary hit points are very short-lived, lasting only for a round. Would you see yourself using Death Knell for the damage/attack roll bonuses? If not, what would you do to make them more appealing while still being balanced as an at-will feature?
    • Ravaging Void is arguably the least changed of the five paths, generally just getting a bit more damage to boost it to other classes' output. Does using Umbral Spell to cast high-level evocations help it keep up with other damage-focused casting classes, or does the lack of variety in the Shadow Spell list stifle it?
    • Twilight Veil, like Ravaging Void, now has a way to access higher-level spells to make it relevant as a caster in the late game. Does it accomplish that goal? Also, does its CC ability sufficiently make up for the lack of damage that the other paths bring?
    • The Shadow spell list is an attempt to compromise between shadow magic's original effects (casting various spells of a given school) while trying to reign it back in and prevent it from growing stronger as more material is added. Does it accomplish this goal? If not, what should be done to keep the flavor of those spells while not causing them to be too weak or too powerful?
    Last edited by Seginus; 2016-04-24 at 04:17 PM.
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    Halfling in the Playground
     
    GreenSorcererElf

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    Default Re: [Ascension Games] Path of Shadows - Bringing Shadow Magic to 5th Edition!

    Part II of the Path of Shadows 5e playtest has arrived! This part of the playtest details class options for existing classes in D&D 5e. The options are:

    • Primal Path - Path of the Ghost Walker
    • Bard College - College of Secrecy
    • Divine Domain - Darkness
    • Druid Circle - Circle of the Stars
    • Martial Archetype - Hexblade
    • Sacred Oath - Oath of Radiance
    • Ranger Archetype - Unseen Warden
    • Roguish Archetype - Shadow Caller
    • Otherworldly Patron - Dream Eater

    You can download the playtest document here.
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    Default Re: [Ascension Games] Path of Shadows - Bringing Shadow Magic to 5th Edition!

    Awesome! Don't have the time to analyze it in detail right now, but here's some first impressions on the subclasses:
    • Path of the Ghost Walker is very cool. Not sure why it would be a problem to let them escape being grappled/restrained by becoming incorporeal though, seems very off thematically, and no more powerful than being able to no-sell them in the first place
    • Darkness Domain: Being able to grant darkvision more or less at will with no resources is slightly nuts, but on the other hand I feel 5e normally makes it too hard to give out, when they so freely give it via racial bonuses. Constant disadvantage on enemy attacks at 17 is slightly suspect, but I'd have to run the math to see how it compares to bear totem barbarians resistance. Might be okay in comparison
    • Hexblade: Never liked the 3.5 class, still not a fan of it as a fighter subclass. Nor do I especially see how it's very shadow-y.
    • Oath of Radiance: First things first, it's a pretty decent light themed subclass. But you're missing a great opportunity here for a paladin subclass linked to the concept of the Sacred Darkness (warning: TV Tropes link). I'd much rather see a subclass here focusing on shadow magic being used for protection, with themes of the night being a time of rest, darkness being a shield against hurt, and dreams granting strength and courage. After all, it's a book about shadow magic, why would we want a class about light magic?
    • Unseen Warden: Awesome, though genuinely not sure how many ranger spells even have saves, to benefit from the level 7 feature. At least several of the Unseen Spells are good ones with saves
    • Shadow Caller: Never would have thought to make the shadow a familiar. I like it. All the mysteries make the shadow caller a very potent and badass character, too.
    • Dream Eater: Very nice, since there's very little else like it in 5e, especially for the warlock, who unfortunately seems too narrowly focused on simply eldritch blast-ing everything with other patrons.
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    Default Re: [Ascension Games] Path of Shadows - Bringing Shadow Magic to 5th Edition!

    Hav'nt read through it all thoroughly yet, but wouldnt the Hexblade be better off with a different mechanic than casting? EK already does that, and you could easily put some shadow surge or mystery mechanics in there instead, which would also make it feel more in theme with everything else.
    Last edited by Kane0; 2016-05-20 at 02:45 AM.

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    Default Re: [Ascension Games] Path of Shadows - Bringing Shadow Magic to 5th Edition!

    Quote Originally Posted by Mcdt2 View Post
    Path of the Ghost Walker is very cool. Not sure why it would be a problem to let them escape being grappled/restrained by becoming incorporeal though, seems very off thematically, and no more powerful than being able to no-sell them in the first place
    I mean, I suppose it could just be immune to grapple/restrained while raging. I'll see if it fits fine balance-wise.
    Quote Originally Posted by Mcdt2 View Post
    Darkness Domain: Being able to grant darkvision more or less at will with no resources is slightly nuts, but on the other hand I feel 5e normally makes it too hard to give out, when they so freely give it via racial bonuses. Constant disadvantage on enemy attacks at 17 is slightly suspect, but I'd have to run the math to see how it compares to bear totem barbarians resistance. Might be okay in comparison
    I don't think it's "slightly nuts" considering that, as you say, racial bonuses grant it so easily. It also only lasts one hour (as opposed to 8 like the spell) and can only be given to one creature at a time, so it's not like everyone in the group can roll human and just ask the cleric for darkvision.

    The 17th level ability is just opportunity attacks, not all attacks, so it should be definitely worse than bear totem.
    Quote Originally Posted by Mcdt2 View Post
    Hexblade: Never liked the 3.5 class, still not a fan of it as a fighter subclass. Nor do I especially see how it's very shadow-y.
    It's the "darker-and-edgier" fighter, it fits!

    But yeah, Hexblade is definitely the odd-one-out. I toyed around with some other ideas like porting the Shadowsmith from Tome of Magic, but it felt too much like a magic-flavored Battlemaster.
    Quote Originally Posted by Mcdt2 View Post
    Oath of Radiance: First things first, it's a pretty decent light themed subclass. But you're missing a great opportunity here for a paladin subclass linked to the concept of the Sacred Darkness (warning: TV Tropes link). I'd much rather see a subclass here focusing on shadow magic being used for protection, with themes of the night being a time of rest, darkness being a shield against hurt, and dreams granting strength and courage. After all, it's a book about shadow magic, why would we want a class about light magic?
    I like this idea in principle, but at this point I'm not sure I want to scrap the Oath and do a new one.

    And besides, light and darkness are two sides of the same coin. Being specialized in fighting *against* darkness is plenty appropriate for a darkness book, in my opinion.
    Quote Originally Posted by Mcdt2 View Post
    Unseen Warden: Awesome, though genuinely not sure how many ranger spells even have saves, to benefit from the level 7 feature. At least several of the Unseen Spells are good ones with saves.
    At the least many of their AoE spells (like conjure volley) have saves, so if one wanted to build full-offense it makes those spells better.
    Quote Originally Posted by Mcdt2 View Post
    Shadow Caller: Never would have thought to make the shadow a familiar. I like it. All the mysteries make the shadow caller a very potent and badass character, too.
    I liked writing this one a lot. I am concerned about its balance-point though. It is semi-modeled after the Monk of the Four Elements (disciplines=mysteries), but of course the Four Elements is absolutely terrible, so I made this one better. However, I want to make sure it's not *too good* especially compared to Arcane Trickster since they both use magic.
    Quote Originally Posted by Mcdt2 View Post
    Dream Eater: Very nice, since there's very little else like it in 5e, especially for the warlock, who unfortunately seems too narrowly focused on simply eldritch blast-ing everything with other patrons.
    I like the Dream Eater, but I don't expect people to stop using eldritch blast a bunch; I know I'd still take it. Hopefully it might encourage a playstyle beyond "magical archer".
    Quote Originally Posted by Kane0 View Post
    Hav'nt read through it all thoroughly yet, but wouldnt the Hexblade be better off with a different mechanic than casting? EK already does that, and you could easily put some shadow surge or mystery mechanics in there instead, which would also make it feel more in theme with everything else.
    If the original idea for the Hexblade was mine I'd agree with you, but it isn't. The original Hexblade debuted in Complete Warrior back in 3e; the one I put here almost entirely encompasses what it could do (a handful of curse effects, 1-4 casting, a familiar, and resistance to spells).
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