August 4, 2015

Master of Shadow

Roguish Archetype
Comments from the Finger: A long time ago, one of the first homebrew pieces I worked on for this blog was the Pathfinder Summoner class as a wizard tradition. The reason this has never seen the light of day is because it was rough around the edges in several ways, as it was both obtuse and not terribly true to the original class, but the mechanics I wrote for it were properly recycled. The 'design your own creature' bit was recycled for the Circle of the Unspeakable druid subclass, and some of the balancing mechanics for having a constant minion that wouldn't break the action economy ended up here.

Master of Shadow

You have undergone a terrifying rite of dark magic to become a member of the Secret Order of Shadowmasters, and have embraced the darkness in a way few ever will. As a result you have become pale and gaunt, and your shadow runs free. You can command it, and it will creep across the floor and ceilings for you like an extension of your very will.

Release Shadow
Beginning at 3rd level, an insidious force from beyond the mortal realm has freed your shadow from the confines of your body, and it can now move independently. Your shadow acts on your turn, though it doesn't take actions unless you command it to. It has a base speed equal to twice yours and has the same size as you, though it has 0 for each ability score. Your shadow can never move more than 100 feet from you.
     Your shadow occupies the same area of floor that a medium creature would, though it can occupy the same spot as another creature or object. It has an armor class of 10, and vanishes when it takes any damage. Your shadow reappears at your heels at the beginning of your turn the round after it takes damage. Your shadow vanishes if it enters an area of light created by a spell of 3rd level or higher, and cannot reappear while you are in such an area. If you shadow enters a heavily obscured area or one of magical darkness, it is effectively invisible.
     Your shadow can appear to be the shadow of other creatures and act convincingly using your Charisma (Performance) or Charisma (Deception) skill.
     Finally, your shadow has the ability to cast chill touch at your level using an attack modifier equal to your proficiency bonus + you Charisma modifier. You can command it to do so as a bonus action. Additionally, you shadow can move small items weighing no more than 5 pounds across the floor provided they are not being held or carried.

Devil Sight
At 3rd level, now that you are without your shadow, you can see normally in darkness, both magical and nonmagical, to a distance of 120 feet. In contrast, your shadow has no senses, and can only perceive that which you do.

Umbral Silence
By 9th level, you can command your shadow to cast darkness on itself as a bonus action. Shadows of the damned crowd the darkness and hinder movement, making every 1 foot of movement inside the darkness cost an additional 1 foot of movement. At 13th level, the area in darkness is unnaturally silent and becomes an area of magical silence. You shadow maintains concentration on this spell until it vanishes. After it uses this ability, it cannot do so again until you complete a short or long rest.

Flicker
At 13th level, as a reaction when an attack is made against you or a spell affects you, you can flicker out of existence. You teleport to your shadow, up to 30 feet. Roll a d20. On an 11 or higher, the attack or spell does not affect you. Otherwise, you take half damage from the attack or spell (and suffer all other effects of the attack or spell normally) before you teleport. After you use this ability, you must finish a short or long rest before using it again.

Shadowclone
Beginning at 17th level, once per day for 1 minute, your shadow can take on physical form composed of shadowstuff. It becomes a medium creature, can perform any action you can except for casting spells, and has the same ability scores, saving throws, and nonmagical equipment you have but only one fourth the total hit points, rounded down. While your shadow has physical form, it only vanishes if it is reduced to 0 hit points.

  
Changelog: 8/4/15: Flicker reworded. Shadowclone specifies that your shadow possesses your nonmagical equipment when it takes on physical form.
Flicker now takes half damage on a failed roll, rather than all.
Release Shadow: Your shadow is invisible in darkness, rather than considered to occupy the entire region.
9/16/15: Shadow no longer counts as an ally for the purposes of Sneak Attack (more of a trial change until we can playtest)
12/4/15: Release Shadow: Your shadow can act as the shadow of another creature with Deception or Performance.

29 comments:

  1. So fer starters, I LOVE IT!!! Now that we are past that, does your shadow clone have shadow versions of all your arms and armor, or is it formed buck naked? And does the area of silence from Umbral Silence make spells with the verbal component uncastable? and when you say "Otherwise it effects you normally" in the Flicker ability, do you mean that the rogues "Evasion" feature doesn't function, or am I just inferring too much? also, at the end of flicker, it should read "short or long rest" not just short rest.

    sorry, that was a bit dense.

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    1. On Flicker: I mean to say that the attack or spell isn't simply negated. I'll reword that to make it more clear. Also, you're right that it should have been "short or long".

      And good point about Shadowclone missing equipment. I'll edit that in too.

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    2. Although, you couldn't use Evasion because it requires a reaction, which you already would have used for Flicker.

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  2. Hey would you guys be able to make a knight sub class for the fighter?

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    1. Look at crusader, that fits the role nicely. If not that then any of the fighter subclasses can be used as a knight through armour choice.
      Unless of course you're wanting more of a cavalier-type subclass that focusses on mounted combat - something I'd advise against as there are many scenarios that would render your subclass useless and a homebrew feat would be better suited IMO.

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    2. What the hell are you talking about.

      The knight class from 3.5. The edition they are creating all these classes from.
      The knight class is completely separate from the crusader.

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    3. The reason we haven't converted the Knight from 3.5 is because, quite simply, I've never played one. Knight's challenge is an interesting mechanic, but very little else in the class ever stood out to me. Cavalier types (those who spend much of their time on horseback) were never my favorites, as dungeon crawls can't realistically support a horse. (I know it's a sin to call a role playing game 'realistic', but I never could figure out hot to get my horse up a ladder in the dungeon...)

      That being said, Aurtose is right, in a way. The Crusader as we converted it is more Knight than paladin, and you might be hard-pressed to find something closer for a while.

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  3. I think Devil's Sight should be reduced to 60 feet; otherwise it's suped up version of Superior Darkvision with none of the downsides. Release Shadow already provides considerable utility and combat benefit, particularly allowing the Shadow to be considered an ally for the sake of sneak attack.

    What happens if someone were to force the shadow to make a saving throw? The Shadow has 0s for ability scores, so are its saving throw modifiers derived from that? Can it make saving throws at all?

    >If your shadow enters an area of magical darkness, it is considered to occupy the entire area effected by the spell.

    Is this wise? Combine it with Umbral Silence:

    >You shadow maintains concentration on this spell until it vanishes.

    If the Shadow occupies the entire size of the magical darkness, then that means an enemy can attack any portion of the darkness. Basically, it dramatically increases the surface area of the Shadow to be attacked, thus making it more vulnerable.

    >Flicker

    Considering it's once per short rest, failing to roll well should have a better effect. I recommend making it half damage on a failed throw.

    >as a reaction when an attack is made against you or a spell affects you, you can flicker out of existence.

    I think this should be reworded to: as a reaction when you are hit by an attack or take damage from a spell, you can flicker out of existence.

    Shadowclone: Why is this a good thing? Based on the wording, it still has an AC of 10. Monsters at 17th level could probably one shot this shadow. You still need to use your actions to command it. It doesn't specify a range. I suppose one could use it to test the strength of an enemy by sending it out and seeing how long it takes for it to get squashed. But a Rogue will likely not be using it in the middle of combat, unless as a HP meat shield.

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    1. Concerning your problem with Devil's Sight: This feature is identical to the warlock invocation, and there really isn't anything unbalanced about it. In its essence, it is still a somewhat conditional benefit; it is potentially very helpful, but only in dark sections of a campaign.

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    2. Also, concerning Shadowclone: If you read closely, the description says that the clone gains your ability scores, proficiencies, and nonmagical equipment, so unless you wear magical armor, it has your AC. In addition, it still cannot stray more that 100 feet from you, and it would seem that it appears in the space the shadow last occupied.

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    3. Devil Sight: 60 feet is actually probably wise. I'll definitely change that.

      Release Shadow: The shadow can make saving throws, but is exceptionally bad at it, taking a -5 to each throw.

      I really wanted the shadow to synergize well with areas of total darkness, though I realize now that it should be "If you shadow enters a heavily obscured area or one of magical darkness, it is effectively invisible."

      Also, you might be right about Flicker needing to be half damage on a bad roll, but I prefer it to be triggered before you actually take damage. That way, the mechanics align wit the idea of flickering away just before a strike. Moreover, it also makes the ability significantly more powerful otherwise. I'll think it over.

      Changes to come; I'm off to work right now.

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  4. Some have suggested shortening the range of devils sight from 120 to 60, but you should be able to see out to as far as you can control the shadow since if it gets too far away in the dark it will be a pain to find out where the heck it is. And as for the shadow filling the space within the darkness spell, if it does that then you can attack it from anywhere. Instead make it invisible when in the darkness spell and it costs the shadow no movement to change location while in the space

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  5. Holy cow, love the concept behind this class, and it seems really quite balanced considering how bad it could be. Well done!
    Unrelatedly, I've been making homebrew content myself and want to create PDF documents that look official like the ones you and the palm put together. Could you point me to where you got the "ye-olde paper" background that is used in the PDFs or how you made it look so official?
    Thanks again, and keep up the good work!

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    1. The background was actually lifted from the D&D Basic PDF. It shouldn't be hard to get yourself.

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    2. Somehow didn't even think of looking there. Thanks!

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  6. I feel that Flicker has a few things that would require rewording for clarification, or consideration due to action economy.
    When you have the part that says 'Otherwise, you take half damage from the attack or spell (and suffer all other effects of the attack or spell normally) before you teleport." what happens when you suffer an effect that causes paralysis, restrained, incapacitated, stunned etc? Do you still teleport, even though these effects occur? How about if the attack damages you enough to reduce you to 0 hit points anyway? Do you still teleport (as a limp body)? What about if you get effected by a plane-shifting spell, such as banishment, do you instantly teleport back to where your shadow was, or do you just jump to where you are now still?
    What if you get charmed, and are told not to jump, do you still jump anyway, since the effect happens before the teleport?

    If you use Flicker, and the targeted attack/spell requires a dex save for half damage, do you get the benefits of both Flicker and Evasion, halving the half? That seems incredibly strong, much as to why Uncanny Dodge was worded to not apply to spells that grant saving throws.

    For the rogue as a whole, you've already got two existing survival mechanics, Evasion and Uncanny Dodge, which I feel that when having an ability such as Flicker that it would do better when tied into these two existing mechanics, rather than trumping completely as with the Uncanny Dodge feature, or making evasion superfluous when it's a dex spell (possibly even broken on a double fail benefit)

    Perhaps just allow an unlimited jump ability to your shadow whenever you use your uncanny dodge against an attack, and allow evasion to effect all spells that deal damage to you instead of just dex saves?

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    1. The thing about Flicker is that the triggering effect and the teleportation happen almost exactly at the same time and the d20 check is to determine if the effect goes off before you have teleported. If you are reduced to zero hp or knocked unconscious, you still teleport, since you were already halfway through teleportation. Charmed? Fine, you get charmed, but you've already teleported. With a failure of evasion and a failure of flicker, you can half the damage twice.

      Why do I think this is fine? It's once per short rest. It doesn't completely trump Uncanny Dodge or Evasion (which work all day), since you can only do this once and you can only teleport to the location of your shadow (which doesn't move you at all if your shadow just took damage and is currently at your feet.)

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  7. Does it take an action to move the shadow a la Beastmaster?

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    1. Beastmaster doesn't require an action to move your companion, just to command it to take an action. Similarly, your shadow can move without an action, and you can command it to use chill touch as a bonus action.

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  8. The release shadow seems a bit OP. I used ut in my group, and it essentially gave me always sneakattack, allowing me to just devestate foes before they could land a single hit on me. Allowing the shadow to count as an ally is probably what did this. Maybe instead pull the shadow acting as an ally out of the release shadow, and instead make a new feature. make it something similer to this: "You can use your bonus action to make your shadow make an intimidate check using your skill bonuses to distract or frighten a nearby creature within 10 feet of it. The enemy must succede a wisdom save contested by the intimidation check or the next attack made against it is made with advantage. You can use this feature a number of times equal to your charisma modifier. All uses recharge on a short or long rest."

    This is just a suggestion

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    1. Well the 5e rouge is based around getting it's sneak attack every round, look at the the wizards of the coast swashbuckling archetype it gives you sneak attack all the time, or the arcane trickster can just take a unseen servant or find familiar. This is just a cool and very flavorful way of doing the same, except thing.

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    2. Right, but that's not really the intent here. Master of Shadows should be able to levy his shadow in order to get Sneak Attack every once in a while, provided his shadow doesn't die every few seconds.

      We'll probably playtest this one soon, but there's a very good chance I'll just cut the 'count as an ally for the purposes of sneak attack' rule entirely if what you saw was true in most cases. So if you plan to continue playtesting this character, I encourage you to drop that rule entirely and see how gaming changes.

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    3. I think part of the issue is that foes dont even realize that the shadow can be attacked. The dm knows, but the things I have fought so far havent even gone after my shadow, instead choosing to go after me or one of my fellow PCs. Since the way to deprive me of my shadow is to kill it before I take my turn in a round or to hit it with a strong light spell, so far no foe has gotten familier enough with us to know our weaknesses. I will drop it to see how it effects gameplay.

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  9. I was considering using this for a character. I was wondering if you intended that the shadow could pickpocket people or interact with the environment.

    Secondly, I was thinking: wouldn't using the Deception skill make more sense when using your shadow to deceive people? Performance always meant like for entertainment purposes.

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    1. Your shadow is only capable of taking the actions specified in the class. In this case:

      "Additionally, you shadow can move small items weighing no more than 5 pounds across the floor provided they are not being held or carried."

      This excludes your shadow from pickpocketing, as it can't interact with items that are being carried, but it can certianly interact with the environment in other ways, at the Dungeon Master's discretion.

      You know, Deception does make sense as well. I think I was thinking about this in terms of making shadow puppets -- putting on a performance by shaping the shadows to mimic something else. I suppose either work, so I've edited in the option.

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  10. It says that you must command your shadow, it doesn't specify if commanding your shadow is an action, bonus action, or free action. I was hoping for a bit of clarification.

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    1. This is a non-action, unless you command your shadow to use chill touch or darkness.

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  11. So I had two questions, First is the the shadow a three dimensional being with volume or a two dimensional being that can interact with the 3d world. Second, when I was reading the comments and the character sneak attacks were mentioned if standing side by side with the shadow. Did this feature get removed or would it still apply.

    Amazing creation by the way!

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    1. The shadow is intended to be 2D, but for most generalizations, it kinda doesn't matter. Secondly (as noted in the changelog), your shadow no longer counts as an ally for the purposes of sneak attack.

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