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    Default Re: [CSC] [SoP] The Pale Philosopher Playtest - New Class, Death Sphere expansion

    Quote Originally Posted by Mairn View Post
    Hmmm.

    An Archetype without Corruptions could be interesting.
    There aren't really any pure-undead races in Pathfinder for player characters, so I am not particularly upset by an Undead taking the class losing some power.
    No first party undead player options.

    Necromancers of the Northwest, Dreamscarred Press, among others, have picked up that slack.

    There are also Construct options out there, again third party, and since constructs don't qualify to become liches it would be odd if they could get around that by becoming a Pale Philosopher. I mean sure, Pale Philosopher doesn't say the words "You become a lich at level 20," but that's basically whats been happening over the last 20 levels.

    Such options are certainly obscure enough it's not the end of the world if Pale Philosopher doesn't have options for those who can't become undead because they aren't alive in the first place, but I have no trouble whatsoever imagining a player wanting to play such, conceptually.

    All things being equal, I would think it would only be worth the word count if you figured out something cool enough to justify it.

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    Default Re: [CSC] [SoP] The Pale Philosopher Playtest - New Class, Death Sphere expansion

    Quote Originally Posted by Mairn View Post
    Hmmm.

    An Archetype without Corruptions could be interesting.
    There aren't really any pure-undead races in Pathfinder for player characters, so I am not particularly upset by an Undead taking the class losing some power.
    Not in Paizo material, but Spheres of Power itself has rules in play to become undead, although you won't ever hit lich if you take that option.
    If you see me talking about Shaper Psions, assume that anything not poison immune within 100 feet will be dead.
    Quote Originally Posted by kardar233 View Post
    I was going to PM you about it because I wanted to know, but then you posted it later. Elegant solution. Watch out for Necropolitans.
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    Default Re: [CSC] [SoP] The Pale Philosopher Playtest - New Class, Death Sphere expansion

    Alright, so I brainstormed the following changes for Warrior Philosopher:

    Spoiler: Warrior Philosopher (Rewrite)
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    Link to a standalone file.
    Warrior Philosopher
    (Pale Philosopher archetype)

    Of the rare few who dedicate their lives to the studies of death, some of those seekers began their studies as warriors or soldiers. Continuing their trade alongside their studies, the warrior philosopher has forsaken the magical arts normally associated with the tradition to continue their mastery of self alongside the mastery of death.

    Weapon and Armor Proficiencies: The warrior philosopher gains proficiency with simple weapons, as well as light armor and bucklers. In addition, if this is the character’s first level in any class they may select a martial tradition of their choice.

    This ability modifies the pale philosopher’s normal weapon and armor proficiencies.

    Warrior of Death: The warrior philosopher uses their level to determine their base attack bonus, and uses a d10 to determine their hit points at each level.

    This ability modifies the pale philosopher’s hit die and base attack bonus.

    Casting: A warrior philosopher may combine spheres and talents to create magical effects. A warrior philosopher is considered a Low-Caster. They may use either Intelligence, Wisdom, or Charisma as their casting ability modifier and must make this choice at 1st level. Once made, this choice cannot be changed. (Note: All casters gain 2 bonus talents and may select a casting tradition the first time they gain the casting class feature.)

    This ability modifies the pale philosopher’s casting ability.

    Blended Training: A warrior philosopher gains a combat or magic talent every time they gains a class level. Warrior philosophers use their casting ability modifier as their practitioner modifier.

    This ability modifies the pale philosopher’s magic talents ability.

    Rites of the Warrior: At 3rd level, the warrior philosopher has meld his powers over death with their martial prowess, allowing them to achieve new forms of specialization. In addition to the normal options granted by their rites of specialization class feature, the warrior philosopher can choose from one of the following two options:

    Rites of Command: The warrior philosophers training alongside the undead under their command has allowed them to further refine and master their command over them. They gain Reanimated Warriors as a bonus talent. They gain this talent an additional time at 7th level, and every 4 levels thereafter.

    In addition, at 3rd level, and every 4 levels thereafter, undead the warrior philosopher creates gain an additional Hit Die and gain a +2 bonus two of the following ability scores: Strength, Dexterity, or Charisma. These ability scores may be selected differently each time they are gained, and may be changed for each undead the warrior philosopher create. These Hit Dice are not counted when determining the total Hit Dice of the undead create for determining how many Hit Dice of undead the warrior philosopher can control, nor the total Hit Dice of the undead when reanimating it. If the warrior philosopher releases the undead willingly from their control, it immediately loses any additional Hit Dice and bonuses to their ability scores granted by this ability.

    Rites of the Specter: The warrior philosopher has learned to blend their ghost strikes seamlessly with their weapons. The warrior philosopher gains Cryptic Strike as a bonus talent. In addition, by spending a spell point as a swift action the warrior philosopher can wrap ghostly energy around their hands for a number of rounds equal to their Casting Ability Modifier (minimum 1). While this effect is active, whenever the warrior philosopher uses their Cryptic Strike as a standard action they may treat the ranged or melee attack they make with the ghost strike as if were an attack action, allowing it to be combined with their combat sphere abilities (and other abilities that affect an attack action, such as the Vital Strike feat or the counter punch ability of the Boxing sphere). If a combat sphere ability grants multiple attacks as part of a single attack action (such as the Barrage or Dual Wielding spheres) the warrior philosopher chooses which attack applies the ghost strike before the attacks are rolled. Whenever the warrior philosopher uses this ability to deliver a ghost strike, the saving throw DC is increased by 1, plus an additional 1 at 7th, 11th, 15th, and 19th level.

    Improved Rites of the Warrior: At 11th level, in addition to the normal options provided by their improved rites of specialization class feature, the warrior philosopher can choose to improve either their rites of command or rites of the specter.

    Improved Rites of Command: The warrior philosopher can grant each of their undead different combat talents, combat feats, or teamwork feats using their Reanimated Warriors talent. The choice of talents for each undead are chosen when the undead are created, or whenever the warrior philosopher rests to regain spell points. The normal rules for granting these talents and feats with the Reanimated Warriors talent still apply.

    In addition, undead the warrior philosopher creates are further improved. Their Hit Die for their racial Hit Dice increases from a d8 to a d10, and their Base Attack Bonus is equal to the number of Hit Dice they possess. Additionally, they gain an additional 2 Hit Points per Hit Die they possess. When the warrior philosopher gains this ability, any undead they created that are under they control are immediately improved as well. If the warrior philosopher releases the undead willingly from their control, they immediately lose these benefits.

    Improved Rites of the Specter: The warrior philosopher has learned to better utilize the ghostly energies that infuse their weapons. The warrior philosopher now wraps their ghostly energies around their hands as a constant effect, no longer requiring them to spend a swift action and a spell point to activate it. Activating or deactivating the ability can be done as a free action on their turn, and no longer has a duration. While the warrior philosopher uses their Cryptic Strike talent as a standard action with their ghostly energies active, any creature they hit takes an additional 3d6 points of negative energy damage, increasing by an additional d6 at 15th and 19th level. This damage is improved to 6d6 plus an additional 2d6 at 15th and 19th levels if the warrior philosopher only makes a single attack as part of their Cryptic Strike. Undead creatures are not healed by this ability.


    TL;DR:

    They are now low-casters for the all Magic Spheres (including Death), but they gain two new options for their Rites of Specialization.

    One of these rites improves their undead a great deal by granting combat talents/feats via free Reanimated Warriors, and offers bonus hit dice to created undead that don't count for determining control/creation of them. When improved, it increases the undead's racial hit dice to d10s with full BaB, and grants an additional 2 HP at each die.

    The second rite allows the warrior philosopher to spend a spell point to allow them to combine their Cryptic Strike with an attack action (if its used as a standard action) for a few rounds (equal to CAM), and grants a bonus to the DCs when they do so. When improved, they no longer need to spend a spell point (they can combine them for free whenever they use Cryptic Strike), and when they use their cryptic strike with an attack action they deal additional dice of Negative Energy Damage (double the dice, if they only make a single weapon attack).

    I feel like this helps differentiate them a bit from the normal Pale Philosopher, without just granting them a huge increase. The Warrior Philosopher will still be a deadly force when using their Ghost Strikes or Undead, but their focus on using those abilities will be much different compared to the base class.

    How do you folks feel about these proposed changes?

  4. - Top - End - #34
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    Default Re: [CSC] [SoP] The Pale Philosopher Playtest - New Class, Death Sphere expansion

    Quote Originally Posted by Mairn View Post
    In addition, at 3rd level, and every 4 levels thereafter, undead the warrior philosopher creates gain an additional Hit Die and gain a +2 bonus two of the following ability scores: Strength, Dexterity, or Charisma.
    Was it meant to be gain a +2 bonus to two of the following?

    It's an interesting rewrite. Rites of the Specter seems pretty solid, I'm not sure it's in need of any changes, but Rites of Command piqued my interest and I got to thinking about it a little. Due to my interest in Bonded in Death, I'll compare an Amalgamate Horror from all 3 types of Pale Philosophers at level 20 (as pointless as that is, anyway)

    The Bonded in Death Amalgamate will be sitting at 50 HD. Assuming they started at a 1hd skeleton to maximize potential amalgamate points, they'd have 15 points. Because I like big things, my medium sized basic human skeleton is now colossal-sized, and I have 3 points left to spend how I see fit. It has 475hp (assuming every point went into Cha on level ups), 37 BAB, 15 + 32 + 6 (or +8 str if you don't bother giving it +6 dex courtesy of Superior Reanimation) = 53 str. The sad part is, even with Variant Necromancy, you have to drop it down to 33hd if you want to raise it as a variant undead. I won't bother going into that because that's... tough. For this, you sacrifice 5 secrets of death, so any costs others incur by picking up masterful command/greater reanimate are almost evened out, others still have to pick up manipulation/amalgamate obviously. At least your Amalgamate has 10 feats.

    Now we face down our base philosopher. For both this, and Warrior Philosopher, I'm going to assume 2 secrets are spent on Masterful Command, and 3 talents are spent on Greater Reanimate. In base Philosopher's case, this means a 140hd cap. Same deal, starting with a 1hd skeleton and working on a 40hd amalgamate. This time you have only 1 extra point. But, you can actually pick up Variant Necromancy and put it good use... controlling two of these things turned into Bloody Skeletons, Fast Zombies, or Frostfallen. Let's go with Frostfallen: These 40hd amalgamates now have 180 + 120 (cha) + 40 (toughness) = 340hp, 30 BAB, 55 strength, AND you can still scrape up another 20hd worth of undead behind them. Slap a few reanimated warriors into your build and you won't be missing the feats your amalgamate missed from not going Bonded in Death, thanks to improved action economy from having two amalgamates, as well as potentially 3 more secrets, assuming you have enough magic talents to pick up your greater reanimates.

    With Warrior Philosopher, things get a little wonky. Take a trait to increase CL+2, but not above your HD. Spend your 3 talents on Greater Reanimate which bumps you up from 24 to 60 HD cap. Then you tack on Masterful Command x2, which gives you twice your philosopher level, so your cap is now 100hd. Warrior Philosopher goes down the Rites of Command path, taking the improved version at 11. Same shtick, 1hd skelly becomes a monstrosity. 1 point remaining, pick up Variant Necromancy. Make it Frostfallen, and o god things are bad. Your 40hd Frostfallen has 45 HD, but only counts as 60, leaving you another 40HD to raise bodies as you please. Your Amalgamate now has 247 + 135 (cha) + 45 (toughness) + 90 (improved rites of command) = 517 hp. Give the +10 from basic rites of command to str and it has 65 strength. If it is in fact +2 to two stats, tack on another 10 cha for 742 hp. This... *thing* also gets 5 combat feats/talents thanks to Rites of Command, so expect some nastiness as it hits you with a brute shove for 27 damage almost guaranteed, thanks to it being a touch attack and this having MAB of +64, followed by a vital striked slam or something likely more insane available in the spheres; I hope your casters have contingencies set up, assuming the divination wizard didn't delete it from existence first round.

    I don't really know if that thing is better than having the action economy available from the pair of strong amalgamates. Interestingly, if you just raise up a bunch of fodder skellies with your left over 40hd, you're technically sitting on 300hd worth of minions thanks to the hit die increase from Rites of Command. How useful those 40 6 hd skellies with 75 hp and 31 strength with 5 talents/feats would be? Not so sure, they'd be great against your average guard, but any AOE would blast them away. You could always give them the Frostfallen treatment, though.

    Sorry for the wall of text. This is all to say I actually quite like the warrior philosopher rework; maybe there's something I overlooked, but even if I didn't, it's okay to actually have relatively useful minions at level 20. My main problem with it is just how much it outclasses Bonded in Death when it comes to the "One strong minion" sort of style, especially considering it can have the one super strong minion, and ALSO gets to enjoy 40 swole fodder skeletons. Bonded in Death can resummon their amalgam in a round, but you need to have enough corpses side by side, and their amalgam has 1/2 the HP anyway. Whether the difference in power of the minion is a Warrior Philosopher problem, or a Bonded in Death problem, I don't know.
    Last edited by Symphony1911; 2019-12-07 at 08:10 AM.

  5. - Top - End - #35
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    Default Re: [CSC] [SoP] The Pale Philosopher Playtest - New Class, Death Sphere expansion

    Symphony's analysis seems very accurate and useful, seeming to accurately reflect my own feelings that the new version is strong but not horribly so. I am somewhat worried about the effects of the +2 CL trait on it at level 4 is my only concern. Long term that is much less of an issue.
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    I was going to PM you about it because I wanted to know, but then you posted it later. Elegant solution. Watch out for Necropolitans.
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    Default Re: [CSC] [SoP] The Pale Philosopher Playtest - New Class, Death Sphere expansion

    Quote Originally Posted by Mithril Leaf View Post
    Symphony's analysis seems very accurate and useful, seeming to accurately reflect my own feelings that the new version is strong but not horribly so. I am somewhat worried about the effects of the +2 CL trait on it at level 4 is my only concern. Long term that is much less of an issue.
    A few things regarding that: The math for the Warrior Philosopher's Amalgamate seems to be wrong. Even with a +2 CL Trait, it should be capping out at 29 Hit Dice, not 40. CL 12 x 2 for the maximum Hit Dice of undead you can reanimate, and then the 5 bonus Hit Dice.
    You cannot reanimate a creature with more Hit Dice than twice your caster level. Temporary increases to caster level (such as from implements or the thaumaturge’s forbidden lore class feature) do not increase the statistics, maximums, or number of undead the caster controls.
    This means (at maximum) that a base Pale Philosopher will have a 40HD undead, a Bonded in Death will have a 50HD undead, and the Warrior Philosopher will have a 29 HD undead. The Bonded in Death can also take Greater Reanimate twice to add 2x their CL to their total Hit Dice controlled, allowing them to reanimate a 50 HD undead (giving you a pool of 80 HD, and the undead counts as 75).

    For now, I am going to drop the Warrior Philosopher's stat increases down from +2s to +1s. +5 Str/Dex is still a decent bonus, especially alongside their undead being Full BaB. A 29 HD Undead will still be a strong minion in this case.

    As far as the army of 6-HD skeletons: I dont mind it. Lets a Warrior Philosopher not have give up some of the flavor of the Rites of Service, even if they don't get the sheer numbers of that ability.

    The notes about Str/Dex and only using 1 HD Skellies with Amalgamate Horror to max it out was something I hadn't thought of when writing it. Going to adjust the "Increase Str or Dex by +1" option to a 2-point trait, maybe even a 3-point. Was supposed to be a filler trait for if you didn't want or need more natural attack options, not the one you are supposed to dump everything into for maximum effect.

    Also... I didn't even notice that USoP was allowing Frostfallen using the Death sphere now... can't honestly say allowing any form of variant undead is a smart decision but apparently this is the game I am trying to balance around now >.>
    This honestly makes me debate going and re-doing the math for a lot of things, since Frostfallen are super OP compared to every other form of Undead, considering their much higher AC, Damage and HP.

    As far as the Bonded in Death goes, I am thinking about rewriting it currently. Getting the balance on it is going to be iffy. Considering the same for the Masterful Command secret as well, even if I like it a lot.

    ----------

    In addition, I added two new implements for the Death sphere to the playtest. One a property, one a unique item.

    The property lets you add the +CL bonus of the Implement to your *total* HD of Undead you Control & Maximum you can reanimate. Added after multiplying.

    The unique item lets you burn a spell point when you roll initiative to have all your undead act at your initiative order.
    Last edited by Mairn; 2019-12-09 at 01:55 AM.

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    Default Re: [CSC] [SoP] The Pale Philosopher Playtest - New Class, Death Sphere expansion

    Quote Originally Posted by Mairn View Post
    A few things regarding that: The math for the Warrior Philosopher's Amalgamate seems to be wrong. Even with a +2 CL Trait, it should be capping out at 29 Hit Dice, not 40. CL 12 x 2 for the maximum Hit Dice of undead you can reanimate, and then the 5 bonus Hit Dice.
    You're absolutely right in that my math was way off for the Warrior Philosopher. My mind properly applied reanimation rules to some parts, but not to others. Reanimation rules properly in mind, the HP of the Amalgamate is dropped down to the 390s or so, and I don't want to redo the rest of the math but it sounds much more reasonable than the monstrosity my mind had conjured up.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mairn View Post
    The Bonded in Death can also take Greater Reanimate twice to add 2x their CL to their total Hit Dice controlled, allowing them to reanimate a 50 HD undead (giving you a pool of 80 HD, and the undead counts as 75).
    I assume what you meant by this was Bonded in Death can take Greater Reanimate (and Variant Necromancy) to be able to make a variant Amalgam. This raises a question from me: without greater reanimate (or Masterful Command), can a Bonded in Death not raise their maximum potential HD undead? For some reason I was under the impression the archetype basically did away with the HD cap due to it only having one minion and additional HD in a single reanimate. Still, good to hear variant amalgams at their highest possible reanimation are possible.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mairn View Post
    Also... I didn't even notice that USoP was allowing Frostfallen using the Death sphere now.
    Their damage shouldn't technically be too much higher, 4d6 cold is kinda piddly in the grand scheme and the +2 strength is present on Fast Zombies (who admittedly are a bit squishier). The +4 natural armor is alright, and obviously the +6 charisma/free toughness is crazy, but they're still vulnerable to fire. As long as NPCs prepare for you as much as you do for them, I can think of a fair number of situations where Frostfallen wouldn't be the ideal vs Bloody Skellies or Fast Zombies.

    I personally don't think Masterful Command needs a rewrite. High HD corpses aren't incredibly common, which means they'd need to fill it with a lot of fodder anyway. Combined with Amalgamate, it can get a little out of hand, but Amalgamate is already an advanced talent, GMs need to sign off on it, and without Amalgamate, I'd hardly say Masterful Command is particularly powerful. It's nice to have, and as a fan of necromancers with armies of the dead, I definitely see the allure in it despite that.

    Bonded in Death could use a bit of love I think. There's always the option of giving it level bonuses beyond feats. Unique progression for the dearly departed perhaps? That might go a bit far with amalgamate available, though. I'm a huge fan of the one strong, almost commanderish undead with a bunch of fodder alongside it, but I think Warrior Philosopher almost fills that role at this point. Still, I wouldn't complain in the least if that route was explored. Maybe something like you may only have one amalgamate, and it's very obvious any other undead are to be used to keep your dearly departed healthy and functioning? It's hard for me to take the plunge in giving up the rest of my undead, no matter how much I may love the idea behind the archetype, but there are plenty of options on that front and I could easily understand a desire to stick to the heart of the idea.
    Last edited by Symphony1911; 2019-12-09 at 07:35 AM.

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    Default Re: [CSC] [SoP] The Pale Philosopher Playtest - New Class, Death Sphere expansion

    Quote Originally Posted by Mairn View Post
    Also... I didn't even notice that USoP was allowing Frostfallen using the Death sphere now... can't honestly say allowing any form of variant undead is a smart decision but apparently this is the game I am trying to balance around now >.>
    This honestly makes me debate going and re-doing the math for a lot of things, since Frostfallen are super OP compared to every other form of Undead, considering their much higher AC, Damage and HP.
    They do have better AC and HP sure, but their damage is mostly better at the higher levels where a solid number of monsters will ignore it anyways. The vulnerability to fire is a fairly major punishment as that is a common damage type. There are definitely situations where Bloody Skeletons are more survival focused. Also technically if the AMA can make official rulings, then they have always been legal.

    On an unrelated note, would it be possible for Unlife from the Loam skeletons to scale slightly? They are super helpful early on but even by level 6 or so the weakest enemies you'll be fighting will have higher base stats. Even something along the lines of +1 strength or dexterity every two-four levels would keep them vaguely competitive? Maybe if you are corpse forging them let them receive a stat increase every other level rather than every four? (EDIT: Unless I suppose you stack up Amalgamate Forge on them to make them beefier in various ways. Maybe ignore this.)

    You may want to make sure that Desecrated Terrain explicitly doesn't stack the base spell Desecrate as a Voidstick is only 5,000 GP.
    Last edited by Mithril Leaf; 2019-12-09 at 11:54 AM.
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    I was going to PM you about it because I wanted to know, but then you posted it later. Elegant solution. Watch out for Necropolitans.
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    Default Re: [CSC] [SoP] The Pale Philosopher Playtest - New Class, Death Sphere expansion

    Quote Originally Posted by Symphony1911 View Post
    I assume what you meant by this was Bonded in Death can take Greater Reanimate (and Variant Necromancy) to be able to make a variant Amalgam. This raises a question from me: without greater reanimate (or Masterful Command), can a Bonded in Death not raise their maximum potential HD undead? For some reason I was under the impression the archetype basically did away with the HD cap due to it only having one minion and additional HD in a single reanimate. Still, good to hear variant amalgams at their highest possible reanimation are possible.
    I went and clarified this a bit, their 'total HD controlled' is now increased by half their class level as well. I always intended for Greater Necromancy to still be required to use Max-HD Expanded Undead for the Bonded in Death.

    Quote Originally Posted by Symphony1911 View Post
    Bonded in Death could use a bit of love I think. There's always the option of giving it level bonuses beyond feats. Unique progression for the dearly departed perhaps? That might go a bit far with amalgamate available, though. I'm a huge fan of the one strong, almost commanderish undead with a bunch of fodder alongside it, but I think Warrior Philosopher almost fills that role at this point. Still, I wouldn't complain in the least if that route was explored. Maybe something like you may only have one amalgamate, and it's very obvious any other undead are to be used to keep your dearly departed healthy and functioning? It's hard for me to take the plunge in giving up the rest of my undead, no matter how much I may love the idea behind the archetype, but there are plenty of options on that front and I could easily understand a desire to stick to the heart of the idea.
    Yeah, my only worry currently is that just making the Dearly Departed even stronger and beefier will quickly break the math of the game. When you raise the maximum HD of undead when you are specialized in it, they are already damn-close to breaking the games math as is. I might just add some flavorful abilities, or maybe some additional combat niches. The Dearly Departed is already much stronger than a normal undead, since they can have a much higher Charisma score and also get feats.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mithril Leaf View Post
    They do have better AC and HP sure, but their damage is mostly better at the higher levels where a solid number of monsters will ignore it anyways. The vulnerability to fire is a fairly major punishment as that is a common damage type. There are definitely situations where Bloody Skeletons are more survival focused. Also technically if the AMA can make official rulings, then they have always been legal.
    Frostfallen can just be cheesed heavily because a lot of the creatures base statistics aren't replaced, unlike normal Skeletons or Zombies. A frostfallen retains all of the base creatures defenses and special attacks, as well as their base charisma. It then adds a large amount of Charisma and Natural armor on top of this. There is also nothing stopping you from just finding a creature with immunity to fire damage and making it a frostfallen, since they don't lose the immunity, and negating the only penalty.

    Since frostfallen don't lose their special attacks, you can also reanimate creatures with stupidly broken abilities for an adventuring party to have access to. Like a Medusa, whose Petrifying Gaze is a special attack, or a red dragon to gain the benefits of stupidly high natural armor & Charisma in addition to Fire Immunity and a breath weapon.

    Frostfallen are simply better than every other option if you are fighting any remotely powerful non-humanoids.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mithril Leaf View Post
    On an unrelated note, would it be possible for Unlife from the Loam skeletons to scale slightly? They are super helpful early on but even by level 6 or so the weakest enemies you'll be fighting will have higher base stats. Even something along the lines of +1 strength or dexterity every two-four levels would keep them vaguely competitive? Maybe if you are corpse forging them let them receive a stat increase every other level rather than every four? (EDIT: Unless I suppose you stack up Amalgamate Forge on them to make them beefier in various ways. Maybe ignore this.)
    Hmmm... yeah this might be an OK option. The base stats are low enough that giving +1 Str or Dex per 4 Hit Dice wouldn't be super OP. Even a 40HD skeleton from Unlife from the Loam would only have a Base Strength of 26, much lower than any legitimate creature you would be raising at that level.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mithril Leaf View Post
    You may want to make sure that Desecrated Terrain explicitly doesn't stack the base spell Desecrate as a Voidstick is only 5,000 GP.
    Done.
    Last edited by Mairn; 2019-12-09 at 05:18 PM.

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    Default Re: [CSC] [SoP] The Pale Philosopher Playtest - New Class, Death Sphere expansion

    Quote Originally Posted by Mairn View Post
    Frostfallen can just be cheesed heavily because a lot of the creatures base statistics aren't replaced, unlike normal Skeletons or Zombies. A frostfallen retains all of the base creatures defenses and special attacks, as well as their base charisma. It then adds a large amount of Charisma and Natural armor on top of this. There is also nothing stopping you from just finding a creature with immunity to fire damage and making it a frostfallen, since they don't lose the immunity, and negating the only penalty.

    Since frostfallen don't lose their special attacks, you can also reanimate creatures with stupidly broken abilities for an adventuring party to have access to. Like a Medusa, whose Petrifying Gaze is a special attack, or a red dragon to gain the benefits of stupidly high natural armor & Charisma in addition to Fire Immunity and a breath weapon.

    Frostfallen are simply better than every other option if you are fighting any remotely powerful non-humanoids.
    Ah yeah, had accounted for the Charisma and Natural Armor, but forgot about keeping special attacks as they lose other special qualities. Medusa kind of feels cherry picked as it has a powerful special attack that scales off of Charisma. The Red Dragon is good yeah, but the breath weapon is probably worse than what you could otherwise get in spheres. Fair in general though.
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    I was going to PM you about it because I wanted to know, but then you posted it later. Elegant solution. Watch out for Necropolitans.
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    Default Re: [CSC] [SoP] The Pale Philosopher Playtest - New Class, Death Sphere expansion

    Quote Originally Posted by Mithril Leaf View Post
    Medusa kind of feels cherry picked as it has a powerful special attack that scales off of Charisma. The Red Dragon is good yeah, but the breath weapon is probably worse than what you could otherwise get in spheres. Fair in general though.
    Any creature who becomes an Undead uses its Charisma in place of its Fortitude for all purposes, so... yeah. I didn't really cherry pick. Almost any monster is made super dangerous by making them a Frostfallen.

    No Constitution score. Undead use their Charisma score in place of their Constitution score when calculating hit points, Fortitude saves, and any special ability that relies on Constitution (such as when calculating a breath weapon’s DC).
    This normally rarely comes up because most Undead templates remove the creatures base abilities, but Frostfallen doesn't.
    Last edited by Mairn; 2019-12-09 at 08:08 PM.

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    Default Re: [CSC] [SoP] The Pale Philosopher Playtest - New Class, Death Sphere expansion

    Quote Originally Posted by Mairn View Post
    Any creature who becomes an Undead uses its Charisma in place of its Fortitude for all purposes, so... yeah. I didn't really cherry pick. Almost any monster is made super dangerous by making them a Frostfallen.
    This normally rarely comes up because most Undead templates remove the creatures base abilities, but Frostfallen doesn't.
    Oh sure, the DC gets a nice boost, but pound for pound dragon breath weapons aren't exceptionally powerful. I was moreso referring to having a powerful special attack as opposed to Spell Like Ability or Special Quality. I don't disagree that is often stronger than the other options of Animate Dead. So are Quick Zombies and Bloody Skeletons though I might add.
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    I was going to PM you about it because I wanted to know, but then you posted it later. Elegant solution. Watch out for Necropolitans.
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    Default Re: [CSC] [SoP] The Pale Philosopher Playtest - New Class, Death Sphere expansion

    I just came to another realization about the Warrior Philosopher rewrite.

    Rites of the Warrior: At 3rd level, the warrior philosopher has meld his powers over death with their martial prowess, allowing them to achieve new forms of specialization. In addition to the normal options granted by their rites of specialization class feature, the warrior philosopher can choose from one of the following two options
    Warrior Philosophers can take the Rites granted by the base class as well.

    Rites of Command: The warrior philosophers training alongside the undead under their command has allowed them to further refine and master their command over them. They gain Reanimated Warriors as a bonus talent. They gain this talent an additional time at 7th level, and every 4 levels thereafter.

    In addition, at 3rd level, and every 4 levels thereafter, undead the warrior philosopher creates gain an additional Hit Die and gain a +1 bonus to two of the following ability scores: Strength, Dexterity, or Charisma. These ability scores may be selected differently each time they are gained, and may be changed for each undead the warrior philosopher create. These Hit Dice are not counted when determining the total Hit Dice of the undead create for determining how many Hit Dice of undead the warrior philosopher can control, nor the total Hit Dice of the undead when reanimating it. If the warrior philosopher releases the undead willingly from their control, it immediately loses any additional Hit Dice and bonuses to their ability scores granted by this ability.
    Rites of Service
    The pale philosopher has learned to perform rites on lesser corpses to reanimate them in her service. She gains the ability to create and control a number of mindless skeletons or zombies that do not count against the limit of undead she can control with her reanimate Death sphere ability. Undead she can control in this way have a limit to the number of Hit Dice they may possess, and the number of undead she can animate in this way is determined by adding together her class level and her casting ability modifier, and then consulting Table: Rites of Service.

    Reanimating these undead requires corpses and costs spell points as normal, and are animated as the reanimate Death sphere ability, save that their duration is permanent (as the Permanent Undead advanced talent). Only normal Skeletons and Zombies can be animated, not variant or improved undead.
    If I'm not mistaken, these two are not incompatible, and Rites of Service is based off of class level + CAM, rather than caster level. Sure, Rites of Service is never a powerful undead, but just imagine it. Pick Rites of Command first, pick Rites of Service at level 11, and imagine you went all out on your casting stat to have around a +13 modifier at level 20. You now have 135 1hd skellies that get buffed up to 6 hd, you can have another hundred from your actual reanimation pool. You have 15 7hd skellies, 8 8hd skellies, 3 9 and 10hd skellies, and 2 11hd skellies. Each with 5 combat feats, teamwork feats, or combat talents.

    This is 1658 effective HD.

    If you do it the other way around, you get 1730 effective HD.

    It's honestly probably not worth balancing around because there's no way it's useful for most level 20 scenarios, but that sounds absolutely HILARIOUS.
    Last edited by Symphony1911; 2019-12-11 at 07:01 AM.

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    Default Re: [CSC] [SoP] The Pale Philosopher Playtest - New Class, Death Sphere expansion

    Quote Originally Posted by Symphony1911 View Post
    I just came to another realization about the Warrior Philosopher rewrite.



    Warrior Philosophers can take the Rites granted by the base class as well.





    If I'm not mistaken, these two are not incompatible, and Rites of Service is based off of class level + CAM, rather than caster level. Sure, Rites of Service is never a powerful undead, but just imagine it. Pick Rites of Command first, pick Rites of Service at level 11, and imagine you went all out on your casting stat to have around a +13 modifier at level 20. You now have 135 1hd skellies that get buffed up to 6 hd, you can have another hundred from your actual reanimation pool. You have 15 7hd skellies, 8 8hd skellies, 3 9 and 10hd skellies, and 2 11hd skellies. Each with 5 combat feats, teamwork feats, or combat talents.

    This is 1658 effective HD.

    If you do it the other way around, you get 1730 effective HD.

    It's honestly probably not worth balancing around because there's no way it's useful for most level 20 scenarios, but that sounds absolutely HILARIOUS.
    Yeah I thought it was a fun idea ;)

    Armies of the Undead are always a sort of neat idea, and aren't (generally) a thing that affect a "normal" game of Pathfinder. Having a bunch of 6 - 11 HD Skeletons around at 20th level isn't going to help that much in normal scenarios, but is really cool for a flavor or for kingdom building / war focused games.

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    Default Re: [CSC] [SoP] The Pale Philosopher Playtest - New Class, Death Sphere expansion

    This playtest has been updated to version 0.03!
    Changelog here.

    Included is the discussed changes to the Warrior Philosopher, as well as a new Improved Corpse Bomb advanced talent, and new magic items.
    Last edited by Mairn; 2019-12-12 at 12:40 AM.

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    Default Re: [CSC] [SoP] The Pale Philosopher Playtest - New Class, Death Sphere expansion

    I know that this is asking a lot but is there any way to get an advanced talent that gives the troop subtype to your undead. Troops are a lot easier to manage when there is a lot of undead around. Maybe have there stats scale with the amount of HD that the horde of undead have.

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    Default Re: [CSC] [SoP] The Pale Philosopher Playtest - New Class, Death Sphere expansion

    Quote Originally Posted by Ironsides View Post
    I know that this is asking a lot but is there any way to get an advanced talent that gives the troop subtype to your undead. Troops are a lot easier to manage when there is a lot of undead around. Maybe have there stats scale with the amount of HD that the horde of undead have.
    I am partial to the idea, will look into it. As of right now in SoP/M troops are a thing the Leadership sphere does, which includes making troops of undead.

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    Default Re: [CSC] [SoP] The Pale Philosopher Playtest - New Class, Death Sphere expansion

    There is also a Champion feat that combines Death and Leadership spheres to let your reanimated undead count as cohorts and/or to let undead cohorts count as your reanimated undead.

    Also USoP removed the text to make frostfallen undead with Expanded Necromancy (though I believe you still could with the Greater Undead advanced talent).

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    Default Re: [CSC] [SoP] The Pale Philosopher Playtest - New Class, Death Sphere expansion

    Quote Originally Posted by AlienFromBeyond View Post
    There is also a Champion feat that combines Death and Leadership spheres to let your reanimated undead count as cohorts and/or to let undead cohorts count as your reanimated undead.
    After trying to figure out some wording and rewriting it many times, I think I am going to lean on this being the option people should take if they want undead troops.
    At worst, its a 2 feat dip for a caster to grab this.
    Spend a feat on Extra Combat Talent, grab Leadership w/ the Squad Leader and Undead Servants drawback.
    Spend a second feat on the Master Necroturge feat.

    Quote Originally Posted by AlienFromBeyond View Post
    Also USoP removed the text to make frostfallen undead with Expanded Necromancy (though I believe you still could with the Greater Undead advanced talent).
    Yeah, I saw. Thankful for the change.
    Last edited by Mairn; 2019-12-14 at 08:58 PM.

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    Default Re: [CSC] [SoP] The Pale Philosopher Playtest - New Class, Death Sphere expansion

    Now that the USoP playtest has come to a close, I am going to be doing a final polish pas on this book and hopefully have the playtest done and into production starting in early January.

    Consider this the slightly-less-than three week warning to get any final comments and concerns out.

    Things I still want to take a look at:

    Bonded in Death: This archetype could probably still use some tweaks to make it a bit more interesting. I feel that *power-wise* it's in a decent place, but right now you are trading away a large amount for it. There is also the matter that it isn't super compatible with a lot of other archetypes.

    'Uncorrupted' Archetype: Still considering adding an archetype that simply drops corruptions as an aspect of the class. Would add a bit of compatibility for 3pp undead races, and would also allow for a more "traditional" necromancer that isn't making themselves into an undead. If it only replaced corruptions, it would be compatible with the Bonded in Death and Warrior Philosopher.

    Knight of the Grave: Debating the current power-level of this archetype, and if I want to intentionally break compatibility with the Doomblade archetype. It is currently compatible with the SoP Doomblade, but not the USoP Doomblade, since USoP Doomblade also replaces marked. There is also concerns that this Low-casting Full-BaB class would be getting two spheres at (mostly) full CL.

    Amalgamate Horror: I need to go through and map out the math on this. I don't want horrors to completely replace raising higher-CR creatures, but I also want the talent to be effective at increasing the HD of monsters you don't want to get rid of.

    Magic Items: I am debating whether I want to add more magic items to the book to benefit the Death sphere. With the Book of Loot currently in playtest, there are already a lot of options.

    More Variant Zombies and Skeletons: A bit more variety could be interesting for Expanded Undead, but trying to get them to a proper balance point will be tricky.

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    Default Re: [CSC] [SoP] The Pale Philosopher Playtest - New Class, Death Sphere expansion

    Merry Christmas everyone!

    Today I have a present for you all, the 0.04 update to the Pale Philosopher Playtest!

    You can check the changes here.

    This update includes minor changes to the Bonded in Death, a soft-rework of the Knight of the Grave, a new Mageknight archetype (the Legionary Necromancer), and a new selection of Variant Skeletons and Zombies available to be created by Expanded Necromancy.

    Let me know what you all think!

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    Default Re: [CSC] [SoP] The Pale Philosopher Playtest - New Class, Death Sphere expansion

    This playtest is going to be closed in about a week from now. If you want to take any final looks or leave anymore comments, now is your last chance!

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    Default Re: [CSC] [SoP] The Pale Philosopher Playtest - New Class, Death Sphere expansion

    Hedgewitch paths really shouldn't allow for high-casting with sphere abilities. With that in mind, I would suggest turning the necromancer path into a hedgewitch archetype.

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    Default Re: [CSC] [SoP] The Pale Philosopher Playtest - New Class, Death Sphere expansion

    Quote Originally Posted by Mehangel View Post
    Hedgewitch paths really shouldn't allow for high-casting with sphere abilities. With that in mind, I would suggest turning the necromancer path into a hedgewitch archetype.
    It is only with Reanimate, not with the entire sphere. Hedgewitch secrets already have some precedent for giving limited high-casting. The Exorcism tradition can grant high-casting with Protection Wards as a secret, the Tempest-tost gives limited high-casting with the Weather sphere, and the Transmuter gives limited high-casting with the Creation sphere.

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    Default Re: [CSC] [SoP] The Pale Philosopher Playtest - New Class, Death Sphere expansion

    Quote Originally Posted by Mairn View Post
    It is only with Reanimate, not with the entire sphere. Hedgewitch secrets already have some precedent for giving limited high-casting. The Exorcism tradition can grant high-casting with Protection Wards as a secret, the Tempest-tost gives limited high-casting with the Weather sphere, and the Transmuter gives limited high-casting with the Creation sphere.
    Have there been hedgewitch paths published in the past that grant limited high-casting? Yes. But such have always been received negatively by the community (this is especially true with the Transmuter). This is because due to the nature of the hedgewitch, people can dip into paths with a secret obtaining high-casting in a sphere with almost no cost whatsoever.
    Last edited by Mehangel; 2020-01-02 at 02:55 PM.

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    Default Re: [CSC] [SoP] The Pale Philosopher Playtest - New Class, Death Sphere expansion

    I regret that I'm late to the party here but a new job and the holidays take a lot of ones attention. Be aware that I like what you are doing here. Finally getting a real Necromancer SoP class is a beautiful thing and you did a great job with this one. Kudos. Keep that in mind as I will probably come off as overly critical in the rest of the post since I will be focusing on what I see as the problem areas. On to the thoughts...

    Warrior Philosopher - Your initial instincts on this were correct. A full-caster losing access to 95+% of his power options (make no mistake, low-casting in everything but Death is a major loss) more than makes up for the increase in BaB and HD. Linear Fighters and Quadratic Wizards and all that. The loss of spell power (both from the low casting and the divided nature of Blended Training) is far more valuable than upgrading the chassis to a more martial baseline (especially without any sort of supporting martial class features). Death is also in a particularly unique position of being virtually useless without full-casting (you were very right about this). Both Reanimate and Ghost Strike are almost entirely reliant on CL to be effective, Reanimate for creation and control limits and Ghost Strike for Save DCs when virtually all talents allow a save. Ghost Strike is also completely underwhelming as a standalone offense with all but a couple having a Spell Point cost and virtually nothing being spammable/stacking. This isn't really a complaint, Death as a whole provides a thematically interesting grab-bag for a dedicated specialist, but there is nothing in here that provides any particular synergy with a Warrior chassis.

    Even the Rites of the Warrior are little more than poor attempts to make the Warrior Philosopher minimally competent in a single facet of the sphere, forcing a player to choose one or the other (the Pale Philosopher's normal Rites of Specialization now become traps) or be completely incapable of necromancing. Rites of Command is mechanically interesting but I'll get to that later.

    Reducing the Warrior Philosopher to a low-caster makes them an absolutely incompetent Necromancer and that is a problem, even affecting access to talents and feats (this is a Necromancer who can't create a permanent undead till 10th level!) both current and in the future. Plz do not do this thing and restore full-casting in Death. If you feel the absolute need to add an additional limitation to appease a vocal minority then please just add the Deathful Touch drawback, saying that it cannot be removed so long as the character has levels in Warrior Philosopher. You now have an actual Necromancer whose niche is leading his horde from the front (with all of the associated risks). Not everything is a 1:1 trade-off and when creating archetypes (or creating anything really) for a given niche you need to make sure that the end result actually functions in that niche.


    Commander of Undeath - This is currently lacking (as you have mentioned yourself) and the addition of Rites of Service at 10th level is just too little too late. This is the place for Rites of Command I tell you! This is the place for a low-caster variant of a minion master. Make the Commander of Undeath a low-caster across the board, add Rites of Command at 3rd level, Rites of Service, using the full class level, at 9th level (the combo has a unique synergy that needs to be in an archetype called Commander of Undeath, adding a lot of strategic benefits yet not being of tremendous use in an actual adventuring day), and Improved Rites of Command at 12th level (late enough to highlight the unique capability yet still early enough to be of use in his adventuring career), all replacing the Anti-Paladin's Cruelties (shifting the focus away from debuffs and onto minions).

    Add Lingering Necromancy at 1st or 2nd level (to be a Commander of Undeath your minions need to be around long enough to follow your orders) and Permanent Undead at 5th level (an army that doesn't need to nap every few hours is supposed to be one of the main benefits of using undead after all), at the cost of Fiendish Boon (sometimes you need to choose which kind of minion you want to focus on).

    This would provide a unique take on a minion master and still leave the option for the Blood-Soaked Demon archetype as well.


    Animate Specter - I love the idea of opening up the spirit side of Necromancy, it's a great trope and is rarely addressed in games, but the way it is handled here is far too heavy handed. I get that the Incorporeal subtype is considered to be strong and some compensations need to be made but you have gone way overboard. You have added six major nerfs to the minion and the cumulative weight of the sextuple nerf is crippling.

    Before we get into those, lets take a moment to note the major difference in how base Pathfinder and SoP handles advanced undead templates. Pathfinder counts the HD (of, say, a Bloody Skeleton) as double at the time of casting but having no effect on the control limit. This gives weaker minions (balancing the added power of the template) but more of them (a 10th level caster can have four 10 HD Bloody Skeletons, and the restriction can be lifted completely if the undead is animated at an altar inside a Desecrated area). SoP takes the opposite approach, leaving the HD of the animated undead unrestricted by the template but hitting the control limit twice as hard (a 10th level caster, with a 40HD control limit for comparison, can have a single 20HD Bloody Skeleton). Of the two options I generally think that the Pathfinder one is more balanced since you (as a DM) generally just need to take into account some extra bodies without increases in effective power (at the risk of an inexperienced player slowing things down keeping track of their toys). The SoP path tends to cause more problems since the scale of pain capable of being inflicted by a minion with twice the HD of the caster can trivialize what would otherwise be a challenge for the party. Both options have their benefits and drawbacks but those are the baselines for controlling advanced undead.

    You have tied the creation and control limits to CL instead of minion HD, which I feel is more than a slight obfuscation (intentional or not) and is perhaps the reason this hasn't been brought up before. Doing so makes the specters 'cost' 4x HD on casting (that is two nerfs right there) compared to advanced undead created with Animate Dead, and take up 4x HD on the control limit as well (another double nerf). That same 10th level full-caster as above can only control two 5HD Specters. For that level of creation and control penalty the Specters must be absolutely mind blowing right? Yeah... about that...

    Specters are not a template so there is no way to min/max them by choosing the right base creature. You can pull the same base Specter from a commoner as you can from the Terrasque. On top of that they are immune to Amalgamate Horror and Corpse Forge (or any similar capabilities in the future) and so any kind of customization is extremely limited/absent. This would be nerf five compared to the standard Reanimate options.

    Well, Incorporeal is OP and completely worth it, isn't it? Yeah... the one thing that is really OP about the subtype, immunity to non-magical damage, has been stripped away. Your ghost minion can now be destroyed by the pitchforks of a commoner lynch-mob or an angry housecat being thrown at it's face. Behold nerf the sixth! Do they get anything else? Not much. Taking half damage from corporeal attacks is somewhat meaningless when HD/hp are forced to be so low, hiding in the ground gives Total Concealment to it's opponent on the single attack it has, and the low attack bonus (even on a Touch attack) combined with the severely restricted number you can control makes then fairly worthless as offensive (or defensive) minions. Sure they don't make a sound but that does nothing when they are in LoS (where such things are actually important). They get a Deflection/Dodge bonus to AC but that is at the cost of Natural Armor and equipable armor so that is a pretty poor trade. Deadly Touch, doing damage equal to their HD, sounds pretty good till you realize that they are limited by both their restricted HD and by the attack being a standard action.

    Is there a hidden upgrade that will make this all worth it? Well, there is Awaken Specter, which is a very specific and limited upgrade at a staggering cost. What does it do? The specter is no longer mindless, providing the mental stats, memories, and skills of the originating creature (though the skills are frozen at the time of death). Note that most skills are pretty useless on an incorporeal creature (can't disarm a trap or craft a sword if you can't touch anything). All other abilities/capabilities of the originating creature's race/class are still lost making this vastly inferior to similar 'awakening' options like the Skeleton Lord and Zombie Lord, but this is countered by the Awakened Specters remaining under your control (kind of). The cost? Control is limited. Any time the DM wants to give you a hard time you now have to make a Charisma check (not a skill check, not a CL check, no scaling with level) to make it happen. A low roll (and let's be fair, there are a very limited number of ways to boost a Charisma check so this will happen a lot) means that your minion will never attack those enemies, never defend you from that faction, never tell you the campaign critical info that was the main reason you animated him, because retries are not allowed. If one minion decides to give you some sass, well then you can just turn to another minion to get the job done can't you? No, no, no, my good sir. A single Awakened Specter counts as 3x your CL against your control limit. That is 6x its HD! The 10th level full-caster with a 40HD control limit from above can only control one 5HD and one 2HD Awaken Specter. That is it. WTH man? That is just nuts. There is absolutely nothing in those combined 7 HD of minions that can come anywhere close to the power/utility of a vancian's 4 10HD Bloody Skeletons or a standard SoP 20HD Bloody Skeleton (let alone one that has benefited from Amalgamate Horror and Corpse Forge).

    That is a lot of restrictions to pile on one minion and absolutely not worth what is provided in return. There is a lot that is interesting here though, the Specters are mechanically distinct from most animated minions and I think that is great. I like that the Specters operate almost completely independently of their base creature. While I pointed out that this is a nerf above (and strictly speaking it is) it is a nerf with interesting implications, since it opens up a lot of options that otherwise wouldn't exist in the game, like a 1HD barmaid killed in an orc raid being raised up as a full HD Specter to unlesh some justified vengence, or a prideful tyrant being brought back with 1HD to be powerless as he watches the dismantling of his cruel empire. Those are interesting options that don't really exist in the game now.

    Looking at Specters as a different kind of minion where slightly different rules apply (for SoP anyway), this would be a good place to have the primary reatriction being that you cannot raise a Spector with more HD than your CL, lowering the ceiling on their power level, while leaving their control limit untouched (every HD counts as a single HD in the control limit, to be clear). This would allow the Spectors to have some actual combat utility (enough HD to provide usable hp and BAB) without outclassing anything in the party. This means that Deadly Touch needs to be adjusted to be dice equal to half the HD (increasing on the odd HD as per Sneak attack ot the Destruction base sphere). The mundane damage vulnerability is fine at lower levels to maintain encounter balance but it really needs to be removed later on when it isn't such a factor. I would suggest 15th level, the same time that Incorporeal becomes available through Alteration's Undead Traits talent. The Deflection/Dodge bonuses (based on the Spector's HD and not CL, for clarity), along with the half damage from corporeal attacks, provides a good bit of survivability (but still inferior to the NA/Armor options and increased HD available to standard Reanimated undead), and Deadly Touch provides lowered (no multiple natural attacks, no attribute bonus to damage), though potentially consistent (touch attack) damage. The Necromancer now has a usable number of minions that are actually capable of participating in combat.

    Awaken Specter - Looks a lot better than it actually is. It adds virtually nothing to the combat potential of the base Specter (unless you are exclusively harvesting them from Sorcerers in a disturbingly high point-buy game, and even then probably not by much) and the skills are severely limited by both being frozen at the time of the originating creature's death (and thus quickly becoming obsolete) and by the limitations of being Incorporeal (like I said before, you can't disarm a trap or craft a sword if you can't touch anything). Meaning that pretty much only Perception, Stealth, Knowledge skills, and some social skills (in the few situations where talking to a ghost isn't an innate problem) have any value. Removing Mindlessness and restoring intelligence is more of a RP bonus than anything especially since the the Awakened Specter has the option to go rogue at the DM's whim, so any potential strategic value comes out about even. We need to do something about that Charisma check as well. How about using the Will save modifiers from Summon Spirit as a modifier to the Awakened Specter's Cha check? Say that the Specter's presence is not considered a 'Likeness or picture' for the purpose of this check. Adds a mechanical synergy with Summon Spirit, provides a reason why historical figures are not usually chosen, and provides options for low Charisma casters to command the spirits if the dead (by keeping a bag filled with his minion's remains or small statues made in their likeness) and a point of weakness as well should that ever be a factor. This would also reward RP as well as you would have to have meaningful interactions with the Awakened Specter in order for it to take the Familiar penalty to its resistance check. Lastly, the 'Retries are not allowed' aspect needs to be addressed. I understand the need to not just trivialize the battle of wills but this puts in some potentially game-breaking limitations as your minions may decide that they will never battle the main antagonists of the campaign or won't give up a crucial story clue. How about failure to win the opposed Charisma check resulting in the Specter not having to obey that order for 24hrs plus an additional 24hrs for every 5 points by which it exceeded your roll?

    Overall Awaken Specter offers little to no mechanical advantage but heaps of RP/flavor potential. Make no mistake, I would probably take this with Animate Specter almost every time, solely for the coolness factor and RP potential, but what benefit it does provide is more than paid for with the cost of the talent used to purchase it and the newly introduced unreliability. There is no need to apply a further multiplier to either the creation or control limits. None at all.


    Spiritual Theologian - While we're talking about Specters lets have a look here. I love the idea of a spirit focused Necromancer (perhaps it was all of those Necroscope books when I was a kid) and this archetype is ok, but seems somewhat lacking. You functionally replaced Corruptions with free talents with some associated slight QoL buffs. The ability to Animate/Awaken a Specter from a Summoned Spirit really needs to be part of the base Animate Specter talent though. This would also allow RP aspects to keep up with mechanical necessities. Since you have disallowed Corpse Forge and the like, having the ability to summon the spirit of a destroyed Specter, to be Animated/Awakened at a higher HD is a great/the only way to maintain the relevance of Specters created early in the Necromancer's career (perhaps a friend/sibling/parent?). This is a great synergy effect with an advanced talent and the potential to have an actual personality means that you need a way to bring back a minion character that you actually care about, restricting that to a single archetype is criminal.

    I think that the Spiritual Theologian does need something though. Something mechanically distinct and uniquely suitable to controlling incorporeal indead. What about them having a little place hollowed out in the center of their spiritual being called the Soul Vault? Somewhere that he can keep Awakened Specters (they contain enough of their originators souls to be at home in someone elses), say 1 per level, that do not count against his control limit when inside the Soul Vault but can be summoned/returned (counting against your control limit when summoned) one at a time with a 1 round action that provokes AoOs (like a standard Summon Monster spell, not a full-round action) or a number equal to your Casting Stat bonus with the expenditure if a Spell Point and/or a point from his Philosophy Pool, appearing adjacent to the caster or anywhere within his Master’s Presence (should he have the talent).

    What I'm thinking this can do is provide a unique option to have a character who collects individuals. An exiled king can travel with the remnants of his court councilors within him, bringing them out for sage advice but unwilling to risk them in day to day dangers, that sort of thing. This would make the Spiritual Theologian into a pseudo-summoner, having backup 'summons' (so long as he takes the time to store them away in the first place) with the risk of losing individuals from his Vault and the control being imperfect (because of Awakened Specters). This also allows a discretion that is normally not available to other minion masters (by being able to hide some/all of his Specters), permitting a number of tactical options to balance the lack of creation options in Specters (even the Awakened Specters are pretty cookie cutter). Thoughts?


    Undead Graft - Great idea but staggeringly poor implementation. This is a solution to a problem that doesn't exist (limb replacement in a game that has virtually no mechanical means of limb removal other than DM fiat) that simultaneously penalizes both the caster and the recipient. The caster is penalized by permanently losing minions so long as the graft(s) remain in existence and the recipient is penalized by now having limbs that are simultaneously vulnerable to Sunder and being cursed with staggeringly low hp on each limb. That means that anyone clueless enough to actually go into combat while possessing one of these limbs will almost immediately find themselves without said limb. And a caster should never lose HD from his control pool for something that he does not control. There are better ways to do this. Say that the necrotic animating force in the limb interferes with the hosts life force and results in them becoming vulnerable to energy channeling, taking half damage on a failed save (none on a success) when it is channeled to damage undead, and taking a penalty to Fort saves when they have three or more undead limbs. Something like that? This can work, just not in its current form.


    That's all I got for now. I really hope you take this into consideration.
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  27. - Top - End - #57
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    Default Re: [CSC] [SoP] The Pale Philosopher Playtest - New Class, Death Sphere expansion

    I think you're forgetting something pretty critical about Undead Graft, that you can use it to add extra limbs to someone. Since they are a limb of that person, they use their full statistics, magic and all, which will typically be better than what a plain undead can manage. It also used to be crazy broken and grants more limbs and attacks than even Alteration sphere dedicated specialists were capable of.

  28. - Top - End - #58
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    Default Re: [CSC] [SoP] The Pale Philosopher Playtest - New Class, Death Sphere expansion

    Quote Originally Posted by AlienFromBeyond View Post
    I think you're forgetting something pretty critical about Undead Graft, that you can use it to add extra limbs to someone. Since they are a limb of that person, they use their full statistics, magic and all, which will typically be better than what a plain undead can manage. It also used to be crazy broken and grants more limbs and attacks than even Alteration sphere dedicated specialists were capable of.
    Oh no, I get that, it is just one of the worst options for that. Grabbing a bunch of arms for extra attacks is virtually worthless if they all have -10 to hit (the default if you don't have Multiweapon fighting, which may or may not be available at the DMs discretion). Remember, these are just arms, not natural attacks, so no automatic claw or slam attacks and such. That makes a pretty huge difference. And every pair of arms takes up an amount of HD of undead equal to your level, and every arm can be sundered with trivial ease. That is a bad mix.

    Alteration is probably still the king with this. A death user could get a max of five additional pairs of arms by taking Greater Reanimate three times to expand his control pool to 5x his CL and each pair of arms takes up 1x CL worth of control pool. Alteration can get 5 traits at 20th level, +1 from Greater Transformation, +3 from Extreme Transformation x3, +1 from Favored Form = 10 traits. Each trait can be a pair of arms, none of which can be sundered, and not having to give up any core capabilities (losing your control pool to add some extra limbs is like an alteration mage losing the ability to cast Shapechange so long as it is in effect on someone already). So I don't think that Alteration is in any danger of being dethroned in this regard any time soon.
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  29. - Top - End - #59
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    Default Re: [CSC] [SoP] The Pale Philosopher Playtest - New Class, Death Sphere expansion

    There are some good points brought up there, but I probably wont be able to get into the specifics of them until Monday. Don't think I am ignoring you ;)

    I don't want to get into too many major changes this late in the playtest, but worst case I extend it by another week or two if I rework some archetypes again. Will decide for sure when I have a bit more time to sit down and work on this Monday.

  30. - Top - End - #60
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    Default Re: [CSC] [SoP] The Pale Philosopher Playtest - New Class, Death Sphere expansion

    Quote Originally Posted by Quarian Rex View Post
    So I don't think that Alteration is in any danger of being dethroned in this regard any time soon.
    Of course not, but I wasn't talking about now, but the previous version that required nerfing to what you see now. It used to give two arms and two primary claw attacks for the same cost as the current version.

    And if you're somehow in a game with a GM that doesn't allow Multiweapon Fighting with a multi-armed character I would frankly just tell them to get stuffed. There's even a whole damn talent with it as an associated feat within SoM!

    EDIT: Plus, a regular weapon is about as trivial to sunder as one of these arms. More health but no hardness, though with some minor DR. In a single sunder hit it roughly equals out, and of course the CMD to succeed is the same. All you're really doing is pointing out how busted sunder is in general when actively used against the players as a GM.
    Last edited by AlienFromBeyond; 2020-01-05 at 05:08 AM.

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