Monthly Archives: January, 2007

Divine Channelling

All clerics in a RAW game can either Turn Undead or Rebuke Undead. This doesn’t seem right to me because it seems to me that not all settings or religions would put enough emphasis on undead to make it relevant. Also, I don’t really like the way turning works — it either doesn’t work at all (the undead is too powerful and the cleric can’t affect it, or you rarely find undead) or it works very well (you find undead fairly often and the targeted undead are either turned or destroyed).

Either way, I want something better.

In my campaign, all clerics and paladins lose the class ability to Turn Undead or Rebuke Undead. Instead, they get the ability to channel divine power a number of times per day equal to base Will save + Charisma modifier. This ability does little on its own, it is mostly used to power divine powers. Divine powers are gained as domain powers or by taking feats.

A character can also gain the ability to channel, as a cleric, by taking the Channel Divine Power feat. The character need not choose a specific god, but may only take a Domain Feat if he has a patron god that grants access to the relevant domain.

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Wizard Guild Classes

I’ve been writing up about the Arcane Academy of Ter Liatri.  This is a big wizard guild in my campaign — Ter Liatri used to be the capital of the Empire before it collapsed, and the guild survived it.  More or less.

I have in mind a couple of prestige classes, but haven’t ironed out all the details. I’m going to skip over the guild structure and the like (it’s not really relevant here) and get to the high points of the classes.

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Focus and Specialization

A focus and specialization feat tree is used to make a character better at two aspects of a particular ability. These improved abilities apply to a subset of items the character is proficient with, such as a particular type of armor, a particular type of weapon, or a particular school of magic.

Feat trees of this type generally follow a common pattern.

Focus feats in such a hierarchy generally provide a ‘+1 or -1′ benefit, perhaps equal to one level’s worth of ability. Weapon Focus provides a +1 bonus to attack rolls with the chosen weapon type, School Focus provides a +1 bonus to caster level when casting spells of the chosen school, and so on.

Specialization feats in such a hierarchy generally provide a ‘+2 or -2′ benefit that works against an opponent. Weapon Specialization provides a +2 bonus to damage done with the chosen weapon, School Focus increases the save DC of spells from the chosen school.

The feats are usually available in alternating order, at levels 1, 4, 8, 12, 16, and 20, as shown in the feat hierarchy. In a core rules game the feats may be limited to specific classes. Most of the Weapon Focus Feats may only be taken by Fighters, Armor Focus Feats likely would be, School Focus Feats might be limited to Wizards only, and so on. I do not have these limitations in my campaign, anyone who meets the (level-based) prerequisite — Base Attack Bonus, caster level, and so on — may take the feat.

These feats may have other prerequisites or limitations. For instance, Armor Focus Feats are limited by armor type (Improved Armor Focus works only with medium or heavy armor and Greater Armor Focus works only with heavy armor; lighter armors do not provide enough protection to take advantage of).

Mobility Feats

Mobility feats make it easier for a character to move around the battlefield.  Here are the core feats, and a few more.

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Dodge Feats

While it is nice to get +1 to your AC against a single chosen opponent, I don’t think it’s really worth an entire feat – even if it does lead to a nice feat chain.  I change how Dodge works and hopefully make it a little more worth the cost, and let you get even better at it.

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Fast Spell Feat

Quicken Spell can be a very useful feat, but it is a very expensive feat to use. Being able to cast two spells in a single round is a powerful ability.

Many spells may be cast as a standard action and the caster still has a move action available in that round. However, there is no way — short of using Quicken Spell or casting a spell with a swift action casting time — for a spell caster to combine casting a spell with another standard action. I am adding the Fast Spell feat to make this possible.

Fast Spell [Metamagic]

Benefit: A spell cast with this metamagic feat has its casting time reduced by one action type (full round to standard, standard to move). Unlike Quicken Spell this feat does not allow you to cast two spells in one round (though you can cast a quickened spell in the same round as a fast spell). A fast spell uses a spell slot two levels higher than normal.

Evasion Feats

Saving for half damage is nice, but avoiding all the damage is nicer yet.

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Sneak Attack Feats

These feats allow you to do additional damage to opponents who are unable to defend themselves effectively, by striking a vital spot. Your character does additional damage any time your opponent is denied Dexterity bonus to AC.

Only creatures susceptible to critical hits (living creatures with discernible anatomies) are subject to sneak attacks. Undead, constructs, oozes, plants, and incorporeal creatures are not vulnerable to sneak attacks. You must be able to see the target well enough to pick out a vital spot and be able to reach such a spot.

The bonus damage starts at +1d6 points of damage (for the Sneak Attack feat) and is increased by taking other feats. You can do a maximum number of dice of bonus damage equal to your base Reflex bonus. If your total potential damage is more than this, the extra dice of damage are ‘suspended’ until your base Reflex save is high enough to allow them.

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Armor Focus Feats

You can train to be better at using your weapons.  Why can’t you do the same with your armor?

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Undead Monster Type Changes

I’ve never been really happy with how undead work in D&D. I’ve got some changes below that I think will improve them in play and make them better fit my image of them.

Note that much of this article has since been folded into my article on Revising Monster Types, published Feb 2, 2007.

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