Balance LevelEdit

Just curious, what balance level were you aiming for with this class? - TarkisFlux 05:18, September 28, 2009 (UTC)

Looks around Monk-Fighter. Unfortunately, even with its great defense, is there any way for it to get enemies to target it apart from, "I stand next to you"? --Ghostwheel 05:20, September 28, 2009 (UTC)
I agree, but before I offer suggestions I wanted to know what the author was aiming for. - TarkisFlux 05:47, September 28, 2009 (UTC)
I was aiming for a 'Rogue-level' of balance. I have an issue with that though, as I've never known rogues to be of a balance level much higher than fighters. I've played in and run at least 6 campaigns with rogues, and in each one the rogue was the least effective member of the party overall. Jokey665 15:21, September 28, 2009 (UTC)
How rogues can be good. (The Swashbuckler is just there to get full BAB along with the sneak attack.) --Ghostwheel 15:34, September 28, 2009 (UTC)
You just linked me a 20 level build that includes 4 levels of rogue. I don't see how that proves that rogues are good. Jokey665 15:55, September 28, 2009 (UTC)
I think rogue balance refers to that while rogues and fighters can both dole out some damage (via focusing on a feat chain or sneak attack), a rogue also has skills to handle situation, and UMD for magical support, while the fighter... well, all he can do is hit, so he gets shut down in a situation which doesn't call for "hit it again". So I do agree rogue is superior, just not in the more obvious "deals more damage" sense. -- Eiji Hyrule 18:18, September 28, 2009 (UTC)
That build gets full UMD and sneak attack progression, which is the important part of how rogues pull off combat. The items on that page are probably a better place to look than the levels though. They leverage their UMD skill to get sneak attack against almost every foe (wand or scrolls of greater invis or blink if in core) and can also pull out TWF to get twice as many sneak attacks in a round. Their skill set allows them to cover lots and lots of game situations, and they're the only class that can find and deal with traps without special preparation. They have versatility and can happily steal the tricks from other classes (to help them keep theirs up )very reliably at mid levels. If you depend on others for flank for your SA and don't pull out UMD tricks, they're just a skill monkey.
And what Eiji said. Actual class thoughts later today :-) - TarkisFlux 18:27, September 28, 2009 (UTC)
As the others said. The swashbuckler is just there for full BAB and free Weapon Finesse. The meat of the build (SA) comes from the rogue, and without the rogue the build would be basically nothing. --Ghostwheel 22:09, September 28, 2009 (UTC)

Class AbilitiesEdit

Well, as is it looks fighter-ish. There's some potential here, the built in save bonuses that stack with resistance items are nice, as is the move-action (though strictly limited) healing, but it suffers from fairly standard defender problems. To gain it's big boosts, it has to shut itself down for the round. This makes it a completely ignorable target on the field, and does not assist it in attracting blows (quite the opposite). Even when it isn't defending, it isn't a sufficient threat to divert attacks away from casters or rogues or others. A couple of times a day it might deal some pretty decent damage to you, but once that's out of the way you have a big tough tin can that isn't a threat and will take way too long for smart monsters to deal with when there are higher priority targets out there.

So, first thing I think you should do is make Holy Blade a standard action usable at will and granted at level 2. It's a bit more damage than the warlock can do with his blasts, before he starts shaping anyway, but it also requires a real attack roll so that's mostly a wash. That's not particularly defenderish, it just makes you annoying, and that's where the next bit comes in:

New ability: Charge Up (Su) By level 3 you've learned how to focus your holy blade ability, dealing tremendous damage with it. As a swift action, you may charge up your holy blade ability. Once charged, your holy blade ability deals twice as much damage on each strike. It continues to deal this extra damage until you move more than 5' or suffer damage from a non-continuous source. Thus, taking two 5' steps or one regular move action would break your charge, as would suffering damage from a sword blow or fireball. Suffering on-going damage from an Acid Arrow after the round in which it hit you would not. Multiple Charge Ups stack, but all are eliminated as soon as one of the above conditions occurs.

What does that do for you? Well, it means that if you want to spend your rounds full-defending, you also spend them charging up your holy blade to murder people afterwards. Anyone who knows how the class works is going to be very hesitant to let that happen, since two rounds of charging means you add twice your level worth of d8s to your next attack (and 3 rounds means 4 times, etc.). It makes you a credible threat, even when you're just standing there trying not to take damage.

It doesn't solve the boredom issue of not having anything to do while you're turtleing and hoping to get a good charge up, but I think it works with what you had in mind for the class.

Other things... Cover should probably add save bonuses as well as AC bonuses. I wouldn't cluster my party around a guy for AC bonuses when AoE spells that ignore AC are a dime a dozen. Meltdown should probably deal holy blade dice as well (auto threaten at level 16 isn't particularly impressive or useful). Aura works nicely, though you could drop it to a lower level if you wanted. - TarkisFlux 01:05, September 29, 2009 (UTC)

These... are good ideas. If Holy Blade at-will isn't too strong then I'll definitely go for it. I also like the charge up idea, though I'll be going with a different name (the homebrew stuff I'm working on right now is based on FFTA2, so I'm trying to take ability names from there as often as possible). I wasn't sure about Cover granting saves as well, it just felt "off" to me... Doesn't mean I won't change it though. ;) I was actually planning on Meltdown doing Holy Blade damage, I guess it just totally slipped my mind as I was writing it.
The only problem I see is that at-will Holy Blade will leave dead levels. :X
I kind of want to leave Holy Blade at 3 and add the charge ability at 6, as that would be the first dead level with at-will Holy Blade. Jokey665 01:17, September 29, 2009 (UTC)
As a standard action it's not too strong, it probably isn't even too strong as a 'bonus on every attack I make all the time forever and ever'. It's not much stronger than SA at that point, but it gives him a much more offensive feel than I thought you were going for and you can't shut it down like you can SA. If you wanted to do it on all attacks all the time and make him a bigger threat, it should probably require a charge up to activate and then die off after any of the regular conditions (which still means he only gets shut down on simuls or readied actions, but it's something and he's probably burning a swift each turn). You can delay their progression if you like, but I wouldn't go any further back than that because the game has gotten past the lucky shot phase and into the phase where you can use a defender. Lastly, if you want to make the levels look not dead just specify the holy blade progression (Yay, every other level has something in it now!). I swear WotC has been pulling that trick for ages... cough Rogue cough - TarkisFlux 01:38, September 29, 2009 (UTC)
I like standard action a lot more than on every attack, and with charging I think it will be enough damage for what it needs to do. I'm also adding a couple more abilities to fill in the newly-dead levels. Let me know what you think. Jokey665 01:49, September 29, 2009 (UTC)
  • Focus will need to be edited, since it still says charge in places.
  • Saint's Cross will need to be reworked slightly, since you don't have uses per day anymore. It would probably be good to have it deal damage to all adjacent (now that I think about it though a 10' or 20' burst would probably be better since you're supposed to have allies adjacent and your enemies have reach) at your current level of focus, but doing so ends your focus.
  • Meltdown should probably utilize your current focus level as well, and since you take damage from it it would also end it.
  • War cry is fine.
  • Sanctify is handy.
  • I have no idea how I feel about Unscarred. It's not a bad thing, I just don't know that it's a particularly useful thing (and the bonus hp from con are definitely not, since they're not even temp hp and vanish as soon as you get hit). And only being present when at max feels odd too... yeah, I dunno.
I think it's coming along nicely and you're probably rogue level already. Just got some tightening up to do. - TarkisFlux 02:10, September 29, 2009 (UTC)
Heh. Yeah I wasn't editing the description for Focus as closely as I should have, and I completely missed how it would affect Saint Cross. I added a reflex save because at-will area damage with no mitigation feels a bit OP to me, whether it actually is or not. Fixed Meltdown, and tweaked Unscarred to be more effective. Jokey665 02:25, September 29, 2009 (UTC)

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