Author Topic: Wasteland Index & General Discussion  (Read 1751 times)

Offline Stratovarius

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Wasteland Index & General Discussion
« on: December 05, 2015, 06:58:31 AM »
Wasteland magic is an outgrowth of my fascination with Dark Sun and the Sandstorm book, and is a collection of material that generally uses preserving and defiling spellcasting, dustform & blighted creatures, and is somewhat loosely tied together by a wasteland aesthetic. For those curious, it is not applicable Arhosa material, just being worked on in my usual forum.

Rules
Preserving & Defiling

Base Classes
Blightlord
Defiler
Preserver
Walker in the Wastes

Prestige Classes
Dustborn
Master of Dust
Parasite

Spells
Spells

Feats
Feats

Races
None

Magic Items & Artefacts
Items

Monsters & Templates
Desiccated One

Other
None
« Last Edit: July 23, 2016, 11:59:29 AM by Stratovarius »

Offline Stratovarius

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Re: Wasteland Index & General Discussion
« Reply #1 on: December 05, 2015, 10:31:56 AM »
Added in some more feats, the dust domain, and another magic item. Still trying to figure out exactly how to do a dustform wildshape class, whether it's a druid got dusty, or for classes outside the Walker/Druid pair to take an interest in dust.

Offline Stratovarius

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Re: Wasteland Index & General Discussion
« Reply #2 on: December 11, 2015, 02:23:41 PM »
Added a new feat or two.

Offline Stratovarius

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Re: Wasteland Index & General Discussion
« Reply #3 on: February 17, 2016, 03:08:01 PM »
Added another prestige class. It's a fairly staid class, but it's mechanically decent enough.

Offline Stratovarius

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Re: Wasteland Index & General Discussion
« Reply #4 on: June 05, 2016, 11:56:59 AM »
Class idea - Class very much focused on creating the wasteland by defiling and using class abilities. I'll also have to poke around the Dark Sun PrC books for their defiling classes - can modify them for use with Wasteland magic.

Offline Stratovarius

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Re: Wasteland Index & General Discussion
« Reply #5 on: June 07, 2016, 04:30:00 PM »
Added in the first half of the Defiler base class.

Offline Stratovarius

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Re: Wasteland Index & General Discussion
« Reply #6 on: June 07, 2016, 06:47:56 PM »
Stack of new stuff:

Ashen Raze [Raze]
When you defile, you raise a cloud of ash.
Benefits: When defiling, the area you raze becomes affected as if by an obscuring mist spell for one round.

Draining Raze [Raze]
When you defile, you pull strongly on the lifeforce of those inside the circle of ash.
Benefits: A creature that would take a penalty from your defiling also takes 1 point of constitution damage.

Fields of Waste [Raze]
The terrain you defile becomes even more ruined and lumpen.
Benefits: The area you defile becomes difficult terrain.

Offline Garryl

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Re: Wasteland Index & General Discussion
« Reply #7 on: June 12, 2016, 10:19:37 AM »
For the Walker in the Wastes's spell list, you've got Summon Nature's Ally 1-9 listed, but they're all suffixed with (Sand). Did you mean Summon Desert Ally from Sandstorm instead?

There's very few PHB spells on the WitW spell list. There are several, even straight from the Druid list, that seem like they'd fit the theme, such as Endure Elements, Flame Blade, Summon Swarm, Diminish Plants, Spike Growth/Stones, Antiplant Shell, Blight, Insect Plague, Unhallow, and Antilife Shell.

Offline Stratovarius

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Re: Wasteland Index & General Discussion
« Reply #8 on: June 12, 2016, 11:19:02 AM »
I think you may have missed the note that all the spells are added to the Blighter list from Complete Divine.

Offline Garryl

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Re: Wasteland Index & General Discussion
« Reply #9 on: June 12, 2016, 11:36:27 AM »
That I did. Although I will reiterate the bit about Summon Nature's Ally. Is it incorrectly listed as being from Sandstorm instead of the PHB, or did you mean to have Summon Desert Ally instead (or both)?

Offline Stratovarius

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Re: Wasteland Index & General Discussion
« Reply #10 on: June 12, 2016, 03:04:54 PM »
That you're right on - it was supposed to be SDA.

Offline Stratovarius

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Re: Wasteland Index & General Discussion
« Reply #11 on: June 29, 2016, 07:52:48 AM »
Sticking this here because I'm planning on using it soon.

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Offline Stratovarius

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Re: Wasteland Index & General Discussion
« Reply #12 on: June 29, 2016, 07:55:05 AM »
That I did. Although I will reiterate the bit about Summon Nature's Ally. Is it incorrectly listed as being from Sandstorm instead of the PHB, or did you mean to have Summon Desert Ally instead (or both)?

Also, fixed this.

Offline Stratovarius

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Re: Wasteland Index & General Discussion
« Reply #13 on: June 30, 2016, 07:59:17 AM »
Preserver is done. Nothing special, but more fun than a base wizard. And stronger too, mostly.

Offline Garryl

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Re: Wasteland Index & General Discussion
« Reply #14 on: July 05, 2016, 02:52:41 PM »
CR 10 (Dustform adds +2 CR). You're a level 5 character with a pet whose CR is twice your level. Wow. Something seems a little bit off about that.

Edit: If you're interested in rebalancing it, maybe changing the Animate Dustform spell to working off the CR of the dustform creature you're creating? Animate Dead is okay working on straight HD because so much of the base creature is lost turning it into a skeleton or a zombie that total HD is usually a good judge of how powerful the undead will be (in theory, anyways, as practice shows more variance). Dustforms keep a lot of the base creature, though, so HD total becomes a lot less meaningful.

If you change Animate Dustform to work on a Dustform creature with a CR of up to your caster level, that means you're animating base creatures with a CR equal to your level after accounting for both Dustform's +2 CR and defiling's usual +2 CL when not in Dark Sun.

CR before adding in the +2 from Dustform?

I was thinking CR after, otherwise you're getting pets that are normally supposed to be as powerful as you, then adding boosts on top. If you're a defiler in your optimal conditions (verdant land, +2 CL), then yeah, sure, maybe you can get that, but normally you should be animating creatures 2 CR below your own to turn them into a dustform creature with CR equal to your own (Ex: CL 6 spellcaster, animating a CR 4 Griffon, turning it into a CR 6 Dustform Griffon).

You might even make it so your dustform minions have to be of lower CR than your level, rather than equal, especially if you're letting a spellcaster control more than one. Leadership cohorts are limited to your level -2 and still get called OP (although they are a hell of a lot more versatile). Skeletons and zombies can, at certain breakpoints (or when using Desecrate and a DM who gives you corpses of creatures much more powerful than your party, which admittedly should happen about once every level or two) be of your CR or a point higher, although I'm not a huge fan of that either. At least they're locked into brutes with minimal flight and well-defined defenses (zombies can get some AC, but skeletons don't even have that).

Speaking of defiling, you might wish to consider adjusting the defiling spellcasting bonuses when not in Dark Sun. DS's setting has a lot of different assumptions that lead to something pretty close to free power in less post-apocalyptic settings. In Dark Sun, you're probably working with roughly a bell curve distribution, casting at +0 most of the time, with +/-1 being frequent but uncommon occurrences, and +/-2 being rather rare. In a setting like Faerun, you're almost never going to be facing a penalty, and only heavily city-based campaigns will ever keep you from being at +1 or +2 90% of the time.

Offline Stratovarius

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Re: Wasteland Index & General Discussion
« Reply #15 on: July 05, 2016, 03:07:43 PM »
I was thinking CR after, otherwise you're getting pets that are normally supposed to be as powerful as you, then adding boosts on top. If you're a defiler in your optimal conditions (verdant land, +2 CL), then yeah, sure, maybe you can get that, but normally you should be animating creatures 2 CR below your own to turn them into a dustform creature with CR equal to your own (Ex: CL 6 spellcaster, animating a CR 4 Griffon, turning it into a CR 6 Dustform Griffon).

You might even make it so your dustform minions have to be of lower CR than your level, rather than equal, especially if you're letting a spellcaster control more than one. Leadership cohorts are limited to your level -2 and still get called OP (although they are a hell of a lot more versatile). Skeletons and zombies can, at certain breakpoints (or when using Desecrate and a DM who gives you corpses of creatures much more powerful than your party, which admittedly should happen about once every level or two) be of your CR or a point higher, although I'm not a huge fan of that either. At least they're locked into brutes with minimal flight and well-defined defenses (zombies can get some AC, but skeletons don't even have that).

So, traditionally when I have a minion ability, it's limited to PC ECL -2, same as Leadership, in order to keep it from being too notable, and allow other players to shine. Commander, Overlord, etc. are all examples of this. Given that, it's probably a good idea to apply to same rule to Dustforms, although it gets a little tricky, because monsters can lose their big hitting attacks via the template (pounce, spellcasting, rage are just a few examples), leaving them over CRed. But that's not too much of a problem if the person creating the monster has a clue.

So the spell would look like this now:
(click to show/hide)

Quote
Speaking of defiling, you might wish to consider adjusting the defiling spellcasting bonuses when not in Dark Sun. DS's setting has a lot of different assumptions that lead to something pretty close to free power in less post-apocalyptic settings. In Dark Sun, you're probably working with roughly a bell curve distribution, casting at +0 most of the time, with +/-1 being frequent but uncommon occurrences, and +/-2 being rather rare. In a setting like Faerun, you're almost never going to be facing a penalty, and only heavily city-based campaigns will ever keep you from being at +1 or +2 90% of the time.

This is mostly true, but what you're also forgetting is a defiler can't cast standing in the same spot - once he's cast a single spell, he has to move or his next spell fails. Unless he expends resources mitigating this. However, a permanent +2 is a bit much, so the easiest solution is to nudge everything down 1 bonus when not in a desert environment/Dark Sun.
« Last Edit: July 05, 2016, 03:10:07 PM by Stratovarius »

Offline Garryl

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Re: Wasteland Index & General Discussion
« Reply #16 on: July 05, 2016, 04:51:07 PM »
Animate Dustform

Looks good to me. I'd consider changing the animation and control limits to CR-based instead of HD-based, since that's a better judge of the template's power and it means there's only one major variable you have to look at when deciding if the spell itself can animate something, but it's not a sticking point.

Quote
Quote
Speaking of defiling, you might wish to consider adjusting the defiling spellcasting bonuses when not in Dark Sun. DS's setting has a lot of different assumptions that lead to something pretty close to free power in less post-apocalyptic settings. In Dark Sun, you're probably working with roughly a bell curve distribution, casting at +0 most of the time, with +/-1 being frequent but uncommon occurrences, and +/-2 being rather rare. In a setting like Faerun, you're almost never going to be facing a penalty, and only heavily city-based campaigns will ever keep you from being at +1 or +2 90% of the time.

This is mostly true, but what you're also forgetting is a defiler can't cast standing in the same spot - once he's cast a single spell, he has to move or his next spell fails. Unless he expends resources mitigating this. However, a permanent +2 is a bit much, so the easiest solution is to nudge everything down 1 bonus when not in a desert environment/Dark Sun.

Might want to leave cities at +0, instead of dropping them to -1. Both from a mechanical standpoint of making the common adventure environment not be punishing, and because I imagine most urban landscapes are noticeably more hospitable to plant life than Dark Sun cities are (industrialized cities excepted).

Also for your consideration, preservers always seem to have a -2 CL penalty, no matter what they do. Unless I'm missing something, that means that they can't ever cast their highest-level spells, and they can't cast any at all until 3rd-level. Maybe change it so they still always have a -2 environmental DC penalty (if you want them to be an inherently weaker form of spellcasting), but have their CL affected by the local environment just like defilers, or something like that?

Offline Stratovarius

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Re: Wasteland Index & General Discussion
« Reply #17 on: July 05, 2016, 05:24:13 PM »
How would you do CR based control limits? Monsters whose total in CR is equal to your ECL? That's certainly lower than skeletons and zombies, especially once you get a commander class like Dread Necro. But anything else gives you a lot of monster, provided you're willing to blow WBL on it. So it's probably the best solution.

For the preserver, I had it in my head as "can cast the spells anyway, just with a lower CL than normal". After all, a Horrid Wilting cast at CL 13 instead of 15 just does 13d8 damage if you ignore the bit about needing a high enough caster level. And that caster level was min 1. I'll have to make notes of that under the preserving section. The penalty itself exists because defilers are always stronger than preservers in DS (it's the point of being a defiler), and that's the mechanical reflection of it.

Environments are always going to be up to the DM's call, to a greater or lesser extent. It's possible to create scenarioes that make almost anywhere verdant, if you think hard enough. And spellcasters being bad in cities is kind of a DS hallmark, so I'm not too bothered by that - there's also ways around it, fairly cheaply too, with magical items. The WitW class also has ways around it, and there's the Parasite PrC, which is perfect for an urban defiler. We're talking about classes that are Tier 1+ - they're wizards with class features, and with ways of boosting their CL normal wizards don't get. So if there's a few places where they get poked in the nose a little, I suspect they can handle it.

Offline Stratovarius

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Re: Wasteland Index & General Discussion
« Reply #18 on: July 06, 2016, 12:33:54 PM »
Updated the spell slightly again to add in the CR restrictions. Need to go update the Master of Dust class as a result.

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Offline Garryl

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Re: Wasteland Index & General Discussion
« Reply #19 on: July 06, 2016, 01:30:39 PM »
It's missing the bit about how many CRs worth of dustform creatures you can create in a single casting. Without it, you can just create a bazillion creatures at once and control them all because they're from the same spell.