Saturday, November 7, 2015

Variant Legates - Scholastics

It only makes sense that if there are legates with different doctrines, they ought to be at least a little different mechanically.  My biggest concern here is obviously the Scholastic Legates, because they are probably least intolerable to the existing PCs and so might make acceptable henchmen.  Unfortunately, it turns out that getting a decent mix of Divine, Thief, and/or Arcane values with no fighting produces some very anemic classes.  Divine 3 / Thief 1 leveled even faster than thief, but was horrifically bad at low levels, while Arcane 3 / Divine 1 didn't get 3rd-level arcane spells until ~70kXP (whereas normal wizards get them at 20kXP).  I considered Arcane 4 / Divine 2 with lowered maximum level and telling the rules where to shove it, and that might still be an option, but managing such a character sounds like a pain in the ass.

So.

The simple option is to bring it back in and get something closer to cleric.  Divine 2 / HD 1 / Fighting 1 is a workable basis for a class.  If we trade armor down to leather, we can get two custom powers.  Probably want to keep weapons at Narrow, which lets us get wizard weapons (darts, slings, staves, clubs, saps) and swords and daggers (because if you're in leather with 2-per-4 to-hit, you probably should be able to use all those magic swords that get found, and also daggers are traditional for blood sacrifice).  Plus, this gives another reason the rest of the legates think they're heretics - they use blood-spilling weapons (instead of trying to save that blood for sacrifice)!  I guess they can keep shields; two-weapon fighting doesn't make much sense either, and shields are nice.

With those two custom powers, we can get Arcane Dabbling and Loremastery, which both seem appropriate.  Those two are both weak at low levels, though, which isn't great.  Black Lore (swapping the turning bonus for a bonus to blood sacrifice rolls, maybe), Familiar, Prophecy, and Contemplation would also be defensible choices.

The rest of the customization we can do on the spell list and the class proficiencies.  They get 28 class proficiencies, which are sort of a mix of cleric, thief, and wizard: Alchemy, Ambushing, Apostasy, Battle Magic, Black Lore (replace control undead with +2 bonus to Blood Sacrifice research throws), Collegiate Wizardry, Contemplation, Disguise, Divine Blessing, Divine Health, Eavesdropping, Engineering, Familiar, Healing, Knowledge, Language, Magical Engineering, Military Strategy, Mystic Aura, Naturalism, Navigation, Prophecy, Quiet Magic, Righteous Turning, Sensing Power, Swashbuckling, Theology, Unflappable Casting.

The spell list is sort of similar; a little cleric, a little wizard (via the witch spell list), emphasis on detection, curses, and concealment.

1st:
  1. Cause Fear *
  2. Command Word
  3. Darkness *
  4. Detect Danger
  5. Detect Magic
  6. Inflict Light Wounds *
  7. Protection from...  Evil?
  8. Read Magic
  9. Resist Cold
  10. Sanctuary
2nd:
  1. Augury
  2. Bane *
  3. Cloak in Shadow (as Shimmer)
  4. Delay Poison
  5. Find Traps
  6. Hold Person
  7. Locate Object
  8. Resist Fire
  9. Silence 15' radius
  10. Sleep
3rd:
  1. Bestow Curse *
  2. Cure Blindness
  3. Cause Disease *
  4. Continual Darkness *
  5. Detect Invisible 
  6. ESP
  7. Feign Death
  8. Glyph of Warding
  9. Invisibility 
  10. Speak with Dead
4th:
  1. Clairvoyance
  2. Control Undead
  3. Dispel Magic 
  4. Divination
  5. Inflict Serious Wounds *
  6. Nondetection
  7. Poison * 
  8. Protection from...  Evil?, sustained
  9. Speak with Plants
  10. Tongues
5th:
  1. Atonement
  2. Commune
  3. Dispel...  Evil?
  4. Fear
  5. Finger of Death *
  6. Insect Plague
  7. Quest
  8. Scry
  9. Strength of Mind *
  10. True Seeing
I think this variant would work out OK.  They would be strictly better with spears/polearms instead of either of their weapon choices, but less sensible for their background I think.  At low levels they turn, do knowledge things, and heal OK.  At high levels, I'm not sure straight caster-offense is as viable as for most divine casters; most of their offensive spells are save-or-suck, a lot of it at touch range, and no Flame Strike or Spiritual Weapon.  They should be fairly viable in melee with magic gear, Shimmer, and Swashbuckling, and once they're in close they can deliver those touch spells.  Taking Apostasy for Chameleon, Silent Step, Swift Sword, and Striking or Sword of Fire combos pretty well with Ambushing and Swashbuckling.  Could also use Apostasy to pick up some decent direct-fire support capabilities or a top-tier healing (Cure Moderate, Cure Major, Spirit of Healing, Salving Rest or Cure Critical).  Man, Apostasy is just really good with the Player's Companion spells, especially in combination with other casting-support profs like Battle Magic, Contemplation, and Black Lore, and it's even better on a Divine 4 class like Priestess or Witch than it is on this guy.

Anyway, I will probably do a variant Skami legate next.

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