August 14, 2015

Bone Knight

Martial Archetype
Comments from the Thumb: As a joint effort between the Finger and Thumb, we present to you our take on the Osteomancer PrC of 3.5e. Originally a straightforward and uninspired archetype that didn't add much backbone to the class, the Finger has reworked the skeleton of our build using a new mechanic: hit dice as pseudo-spell slots. Now you have to keep track of how many times you use your abilities, because if you run out of hit dice in combat, you're boned in terms of self-healing. Something something something, bone puns.
Comment from the Finger: Yes Thumb, that was very humerus. You have quite the funnybone.

Bone Knight

The legendary Bone Knights are warrior-mages of an ancient and secretive cult of transmuters. Called by some the Osteomancers, it is said that these soldiers have the hideous and disfiguring ability to control their bones in entirety, using them for weapons and armor, and even change their size or shape.

Exoskeleton
Starting when you select this archetype at 3rd level, you gain the ability to sprout or retract plates of bone from your skin, granting you an Armor Class of 14 + your Dexterity modifier. You cannot wear armor while you have an exoskeleton. The sudden restructuring of your skeleton takes 1 minute to occur, during which you cannot move or take any actions.

Hearty Constitution
At 3rd level, you regain your total number of hit dice when you finish a long rest.

Bone Spurs
At 7th level, your exoskeleton has spiny protrusions of bone which can pierce your enemies. As a reaction when you take damage from a melee attack, you can expend a Hit Die to fire these spurs at your enemy. The creature that damaged you must make a Dexterity saving throw (DC equal to 8 + your Constitution modifier + your proficiency bonus) or take piercing damage equal to the number rolled on the Hit Die + your Constitution modifier.
     At 15th level, the damage increases to twice the number rolled.

Bone Blade
Starting at 7th level, you can sprout an agonizing blade of jagged bone from both of your wrists as a normal creature would draw a weapon. Retracting them is a bonus action. Your bone blades are light, finesse weapons that can't be disarmed and deal 1d8 piercing or slashing damage on a hit (your choice when you create the blades.) You are proficient with these weapons. Your bone blades count as magical for the purpose of overcoming resistance and immunity to nonmagical attacks and damage.
     When you deal damage to a creature with your bone blades, the wound bleeds profusely, dealing an additional 1d4 slashing damage for each hit at the beginning of the creature's next turn.

Skeletal Shift
At 10th level, you learn a more fine control over your bone structure. You may expend a Hit Die to cast enlarge/reduce or alter self (to use only the Change Appearance option), targeting only yourself and requiring no spell slots, spell components, or concentration.

Sap Life
Starting at 15th level, your blades can cause a malaise to settle into the core of a creature's bones. You can expend a Hit Die to deal additional necrotic damage equal to the number rolled on the Hit Die + your Constitution modifier on your next attack made with a bone blade.

Adamantine Bones
At 18th level, your bones have become as hard and durable as metal. Bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage that you take from nonmagical weapons is reduced by 3.
     In addition, as a reaction when you take damage, you may expend a number of Hit Dice to reduce the damage taken by an amount equal to the Hit Dice + your Constitution modifier for each die rolled



Changelog: 8/14/15: Exoskeleton: Inconsistency clarified - sprouting or retracting plates takes 1 minute. Also, you cannot wear armor with an Exoekeleton.
Bone Blade: Bleeding damage clarified to 1d4 per each hit at the beginning of the target's next turn.
8/15/15: Skeletal Shift uses alter self rather than disguise self.
Adamantine Bones: Additional effect added: Expend and number of HD to reduce damage by HD + Con (Thank you, Kyle Dawson!)
8/25/15: Bone Blades: Producing Bone Blades takes as much time as drawing a weapon, and retracting them takes a bonus action.
9/9/15: Sap Life: Changed the duration from "rest of your turn" to "on the next attack".
8/18/16: Bone Blades: 1d8 damage, count as magical

42 comments:

  1. I like this class a lot. One comment I had was on bone blade. The wound damage it causes, as written, appears as if it will continuously do 1d4 damage on the enemy's turn... and just never stop bleeding? I couldn't tell if it was a one time thing or if it was supposed to just keep going. If it's the latter, that seems a bit unbalanced - hit an enemy, run away, wait until they bleed out, since there's no way to stop it.

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    1. It's the former - a one-time 1d4 damage per hit. I'll edit it a little to make that clearer.

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    2. Just as a potential point to make, are you sure it's not supposed to be alter self instead of disguise self? It just makes more sense to me that way. Disguise being an illusion and all.

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    3. That's a good point. I've changed disguise self to alter self, limited to the change appearance ability.

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  2. Ill be honest, I thought this was gonna be some sort of death knight from the name, and I was pleasantly surprised. I love bone mages! Hes like that guy from naruto who could do pretty much exactly the same things! Also, the exoskeleton feature has an inconsistancy. Does it take 1 action, or 1 minute? Also, do you decide slashing or piercing each time with the bone blades when you draw them out, or just once when you get the feature? Also that cap(adamantine bones) seems a bit under powered, I can get the same effect and more with a feat and heavy armor. All in all, love it but it could use a small titch of clarification

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    1. You're right about that inconsistency. This one was passed back and forth between the Thumb and I, so it's a detail we missed. I'll fix it very soon; it's intended to be 1 minute.

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  3. If you hit an enemy with both bone blades does the bleed damage stack on the next turn? Example: Sprout two bone swords, hit with both, deal 2d6+dex. On their next turn is it 1d4 bleeding or 2d4 bleeding?

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    1. I believe I intended it to stack (2d4). I'll edit the class to be specific on this point.

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  4. I like this martial archetype quite a bit. It's a very interesting concept, that I am curious to know under what setting people will use this. I already plan to use this for the build for a villain in my campaign.

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  5. Love the idea, and it's pretty well done. But I have a question about Sap Life. Being that your weapons are made out of your own still-attached bones, does that mean that you can activate Sap Life through attacking with a bone weapon, being 1d6 piercing or slashing + 1d4 damage from bleeding + (if you spend hit dice) 1dHitDie + Constitution?

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    1. Yup. That might seem like a lot, but using your hit dice to exclusively attack with that feature will leave you utterly devoid of hit dice for healing.

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  6. Awesome as usual, can I ask if there is a specific background or template you guys use to make these? I've got an archtype of my own all written up and I'd love to make it look as authentic as yours

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    1. The background asset was lifted from the Basic D&D pdf, but the formatting is all us. If you'd like to collaborate, send an email to middlefingerofvecna@gmail.com and we'll make a pdf and post once things are pretty tightly balanced.

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    2. Awesome, I'll take you up on that. I'll email you what I have at the moment.

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  7. It looks and sounds terrifying. When I first read it I thought of a melee necromancer on steroids (like the doomknight from AQ Worlds and DragonFable) but this looks brutal and unique.

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  8. I feel that the upgrade at level 18 is a bit underpowered. At level 18, I would expect some sort of near-legendary upgrade, such as your crusader's multiple damage flush ability. Compared to that, receiving 3 less damage per hit doesn't seem so great, especially because it specifies nonmagical damage.

    If you don't mind a suggestion, in addition to the 3 damage reduction, I would add an effect similar to this:

    "At 18th level, your bones have become as hard and durable as metal. Bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage that you take from nonmagical weapons is reduced by 3. In addition, as a reaction on hit you may expend a number of hit dice equal to your constitution modifier, reducing the damage received by the sum of the hit dice. Add your con modifier to each die roll."

    I feel this continues to add to the "hit dice as a resource" while also expanding upon the final skill in a unique way.

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    1. Yeah, it's not bad. I'll add it in and see how it plays.

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    2. I've edited the wording a little bit, by the way. It looks good.

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    3. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    4. Glad I could help!

      Also, the .pdf document still has "disguise self" listed under the "Skeletal Shift" section.

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  9. I have a question regarding bone blades, is it per weapon, or is it per "strike"? As in, does each swing for a d6, or is it just one? Sorry if wording is a little vague. Also, As a suggestion to alter self, would it be too overpowerd to give them the weapon side of it too? Or the whole thing? Aquatic adaptation could be justified by bone plates used to create oxygen like a tank or something.

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    1. Treat the bone blade on each arm as an individual weapon that deals 1d6 damage. That means you can use two and swing twice using the two weapon fighting rules (with a 1d6 damage die on each blade), or use one and a shield.

      I wanted to stay away from the Natural Weapon part of alter self, since it encourages the use of less thematic transmutation weapons. And when I think aquatic adaptation, I think gills and fins, though a bone-crafted air tank might also work. However, I think I'll stay on the safe side of it, and keep to the merely shifting the bones in your face to change your appearance.

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    2. Good man, keep up the wonderful work you are doing here! Thank you for the response! I look forward to see more in the future!

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  10. How do you want bone blades to interact with the dueling fighting style? Because it doesn't require an action to sprout them (and I'm assuming the same to retract them as well), you could conceivably switch blades while engaging in two-weapon fighting and get the +2 damage bonus on all the attacks.

    You could also wear a shield that you dropped at the beginning of your turn, grow a blade, use two-weapon fighting, retract the blade, then pick the shield back up. I realize both examples require questionable rules interpretations, but there's an argument for both working. Just thought it might be something you want to consider.

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    1. That's about interesting point that I haven't considered. I'll change the mechanics here to specify that sprouting them takes as much time as drawing other weapons, and should be handled the same way.

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    2. That's what I assumed you had in mind. My character just died (T_T), so time to make a bone knight!

      Also, I like your guys' homebrew stuff here. Most other homebrew stuff for D&D that I find is either overpowered, uninteresting, or both. By contrast, everything I've seen here seems to be well thought out and fun. Thanks!

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  11. Don't you regain all your hitpoints after a long rest anyhow?

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    1. You do, but you don't regain all your Hit Dice on a long rest (you only regain half.) Hearty Constitution restores all your Hit Dice on a long rest

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  12. Can you use a Shield while in the bone armor form?

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  13. Are the bone blades considered magical? Because if not they become irrelevant

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    1. They're not magical, but that doesn't mean that the bleeding damage is irrelevant. 1d6+1d4 is still pretty respectable. (Plus, Sap Life only works on bone blade attacks.)

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  14. So just curious about how the bone blades work. Is it basically like Wolverine before he got adamantium or do you grow new blades each time?

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    1. For mechanical purposes, either interpretation works. You do, however, have the choice of slashing or piercing damage when you sprout the blades, so this would imply that you have the ability to change their general profile.

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  15. My DM is doing a heavy devil campaign and all the other characters have silvered weapons except for me. He said if it's like the Wolverine interpretation then I could magically coat my bone blades in silver or something.

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    1. Ah. The entry does state that you 'retract' your bone claws as an action, not detach or reabsorb them, so you can make the argument that the blades you produce (as long as you do not change their form to deal a different damage type) are materially the same bone, which can be coated in silver and maintained under the skin.

      Alternatively, given that this subclass allows one to control their bones almost entirely, it would not be a stretch to say that you can pull a ribbon of silver into the forearm-bones of each of your arms, manipulating them into the cutting blade or piercing edge of the blade when you form them.

      Happy gaming!

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  16. Can the bone blades break? If so, can you simply grow another?

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    1. Bone blades can be broken using the DMG sundering rules, like any other weapon, and may be regrown once broken

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  17. The Bone Blades should be considered magical for bypassing resistance and immunity to non-magic weapons. Because at mid to high level a lot of things have R or I to N-M weapons which makes they start to lose a big chunk of damage, within a few level of when you first get it, to a larger and larger amount of enemies. Just look at the monk they get Ki-Empowered Strikes at 6th level, while this fighter gets Bone Blades at 7th.

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  18. I am not sure if you're gonna edit this class anymore since it's kinda old at this point. But I am curious as to why you limited the Bone Knight to only really using two weapon fighting or sword and board? It kills half the fighting styles for fighters and some fun thematic choices for players. Also I love the self sufficient classes that basically have no reliance on any items found in the world, but the lack of magic property on the bone weapons renders them rather useless, unless we get help from outside sources like shillelagh or something similar.

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    1. We're always editing!

      Now, there's only so much I can do to cater to things like Great Weapon Fighting and archery (though that doesn't mean you can't still pick up a weapon of this type anyway), but I certainly can make these magical. (I believe my initial fears had something to do with making too powerful, but I honestly can't remember.) Also, I think they might be able to do with a damage increase from 1d6 to 1d8 to make them competitive.

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    2. I would say the archetype sits on an odd place of almost really good but still kinda bad? Giving it the magical property basically makes it playable in mid-high games though. You could change it so that you can summon different weapons but I don't know how that would work with the bleed damage. the small damage bump is probably enough though since its early levels are a kind packed with fun stuff.
      I wouldn't mind making my own edit pass over this archetype if you're alright with it.

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