July 22, 2016

The Parasite

Otherworldly Patron
Comments from the Finger: IT'S OUR 200TH POST! This has been on my todo list since the early days of the blog. Hope you guys like it.

The Parasite

Most warlocks make pacts with dead gods and foreign, intangible spirits, and therefore always have cause to doubt their patron's veracity. By contrast, you have assurance of your patron's power, for it dwells within you. And not in a metaphorical sense; your patron literally lives inside of you. Others would call your patron a parasite, and you merely a host, but you know the truth.
     Your patron is a rare, powerful creature, perhaps the last of its kind. It is foreign to this world or incredibly ancient, and to remain healthy, it must take up residence inside a host. In compensation, it offers immense power and eldritch secrets to the creature that carries it. You took this creature's bargain willingly, accepted the creature's power, and invited its voice into your head.

Parasite Expanded Spells
Spell LevelSpells
1stdissonant whispers, longstrider
2ndalter self, detect thoughts
3rdblink, haste
4thdeath ward, phantasmal killer
5thdominate person, telekinesis

Leeching Strike
At 1st level, your patron has taught you to feed off of others, just as it feeds off of you. Once per turn, when you deal damage with a melee weapon attack, you gain temporary hit points equal to half the damage dealt, rounded down, up to a maximum of your warlock level.

Agitate Magic
Starting at 6th level, you can use your bonus action to call upon your parasite to disrupt foreign magic around you. For up to 1 minute, you have resistance to damage you take from spells and advantage on saving throws against them. During this time, you take irreducible and unavoidable 1d8 damage at the beginning of your turn, as your patron feeds on you to fuel the effect. You can end this effect early on your turn, but you take an immediate 10 damage.

Host's Resilience 
At 10th level, your patron shares some of its vitality with you. When you roll initiative, you gain 10 temporary hit points which remain for up to 1 minute.

Transfer Host 
By 14th level, you can use your action to transfer your parasite patron to another host within your reach. For 1 minute, at the beginning of each of its turns, the target must make a Constitution saving throw. On a failed save, the target is paralyzed until the end of its turn, and takes 25 points of irreducible damage. Constructs, elementals, and undead automatically succeed this saving throw.
      While your parasite is outside your body, you are left with only remnants of your magical abilities, and cannot cast spells of 1st level or higher, nor can you use any powers or abilities offered by this patron.
     At the end of this duration, or when the new host is reduced to 0 hit points, your parasite is ejected from the hosts body, and lands in a space adjacent to the creature. While without a host, the parasite has AC 10 and 10 hit points. If it is reduced to 0 hit points, the parasite is gravely injured, and you will be unable to cast spells of 1st level or higher until you complete a long rest with it inside your body. You can reabsorb your parasite as a bonus action.
     If you transfer your parasite to a host whose challenge rating is greater than your level, there is a 50% chance, at the DM's discretion, it will choose to remain with its new host. If this is the case, it imposes no negatives on the target, and will only return if the host is reduced to 0 hit points.
     After using this ability, you must complete a long rest before using it again.



Changelog: 7/25/16: Transfer Host: Parasite will only abandon you at DM's discretion
8/4/16: Leeching Strike: Capped at your warlock level

26 comments:

  1. I like it but there seems to be a typo in Transfer Host. It says "For 1 minute, at the beginning of each of its turn" instead of "each of its turnS"

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  2. This looks really fun to play. I could think of so many interesting stories to run this with and have my players freak out about having parasites in their bodies. A full warlock game would be fun, as each player would need to carve a niche into the group and be creative with the class.

    I am a little concerned with Transfer Host. It has the chance to skip an enemies turn and deal 25 damage, but at the cost of possibly losing all your spells until the end of eight hours worth of rest. The trade off seems a little steep in my opinion, especially if a new host that's higher level than you doesn't die. You then need to deal with a baddie with warlock spells without your warlock spells.

    At Level 15, you can pick up the Chains of Carceri Eldritch Invocation, which basically does everything Transfer Host does escept 25 damage without the drawbacks, and it doesn't even require an action to do. Plus, you can do it as many times as you want, as long as it's on a different creature. It's a little more circumstantial as it only effects celestials, fiends, or elementals, but by that level, that's most of the things that'll be trying to kill you.

    This has just been my opinion and you can read it as you like, but I do believe Transfer Host is a little too risky to be utilized effectively, especially since the character using that feature becomes extremely vulnerable during the time the parasite is out of their body.

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  3. My only worry is that the parasite will leave and not come back, and then the warlock is screwed. It needs a way to keep the parasite or grow another one. Maybe if the parasite leaves, then it layed an egg in you for another parasite to take its place. What could be interesting is if you could sense the presence of other parasites through yours, assuming it is a species.

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    1. You got that idea from the Parasyte Anime didn't you X)

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    2. Well, I wouldn't compare this feature to Chains of Carceri, since they work very differently, when you look at it. This feature asks for a save every turn, and you don't have to concentrate on it. Also, the baddie doesn't get warlock spells if your parasite stays with it, you just don't have them for that time. When you take that into account, I think the balance is a little more even.

      Also, I wonder how much is too much damage on this capstone. I'm considering increasing it to 50 damage.

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    3. Actually, if you want Parasyte the anime, I suggest you check out the Warshaper. I used that for pretty much the same type of character, and I worked with the DM to determine what bonuses I could get from eating literally every creature I killed.

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  4. Do the temporary hit points from Leeching Strike have an indefinite duration or do they only last until a rest, an hour, etc?

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    1. Originally, I intended them to last until a long rest, but I think I need to rethink this duration.

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  5. Neat idea, and I quite like the idea but I can't help but feel like it might be more interesting as a Pact option with some Invocation options rather than a Patron.

    Do like the sound of tweaking this slightly into a Goa'uld warlock, though.

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    1. Wouldn't take much change for a goa'uld at all.

      I thought about doing this as a boon with invocations, but I ultimately decided that this held up better thematically.

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  6. Ok one question, suppose a player implants this parasite in a foe larger than him, then he is forced to escape. Is he no longer a warlock until the foe is defeated coz that feels like a character Ender to me. Also will the parasite bonded with the more powerful foe grant any powersor spells?

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    1. This depends on whether or not the parasite patron decided to side with the target creature as a host. If it does, the character will have to kill the creature to get the parasite back (the new host doesn't gain any spells or powers until it becomes narratively significant for the DM to decide that he does - think anywhere from a few days to a few months.) If it doesn't, the parasite hitches a ride inside some random animal and makes it back to the host character within a day or so.

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  7. The last section of Transfer Host (the part about the parasite deciding to stay with the new creature) should probably be left up to DM discretion. There are many situations where this may not be entirely appropriate.

    For example, maybe the Warlock's parasite is Lawful Good, and would rather not abandon its previous host just because of a die roll. The class presents no alignment prerequisites for patrons; in fact, the flavor text seems to support non-evil patrons.

    And then there's the chance that, aside from Challenge Rating, the outcome of the battle is clearly in favor of the Warlock and her party. What parasite would be so foolish as to betray its Warlock when it is nearly certain that its "new" host is soon going to be slain? And then there's the fact that the patron would not necessarily know what the creature's CR is- and if it is capable of determining creature CRs, why wouldn't it share that information with its Warlock, if they are on good terms?

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    1. You make some excellent points, but let me counter with: I already made this change three days ago! I just saw that it didn't update to the PDF, but I just fixed it, so it should display now.

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  8. Hey man, love this design, but I have a single worry about it.
    I feel like the level 1 ability relies on the fact that sorcerers don't use melee weapons a ton. But this is an incredible (I'd consider it high-level) ability for a Barbarian. I'd almost gladly trade my 20th level Barbarian for a 19th LVL Bar and 1st LVL Parasite Sor, since the damage Barbarians deal with a single strike plus the fact that they're already super tanky, throw in a weapon master reckless attack with frenzied rage and you'll be constantly full on health.
    Now I don't play with Barbarians a lot, so I may be mistaken, but I figured it was worth pointing out how useful and easy to obtain the first level ability is to other classes.

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    1. You're totally right that this is a pretty powerful multiclass, and I've been thinking about tweaks I can make to fix the problem, but I haven't thought of anything yet. I'd prefer to make it non-rest limited, if possible.

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    2. I'd just give it a maximum amount that grows with warlock level, that way a barbarian only get's a small pool of temporary hit points if he dips.

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    3. Yeah, that seems /obvious/ now that you mention it. Of /course/ that's the right solution. Thanks for the idea!

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  9. I really love this patron concept. I've never played a warlock before, but this seems really cool. Question, why is the leeching strike only appilcable to melee strikes?

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    1. This is a little bit of balance concerns (since warlocks aren't great in melee, and this provides a trade off) and some thematic reasons (you can't drain a foe's blood from 30 feet away.)

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    2. If multiclassed with an invisible blade rouge, would the bleed damage contibute to the temp hp as long as you stayed nearby?

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    3. Eh, I don't think so, since the invisible blade bonus damage kicks in /because/ of your melee weapon attack, but not /when/ you deal damage with one.

      Also, temp HP doesn't stack from any source; you just go with the highest one, so it's benefit would be limited anyway.

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  10. Replies
    1. Suuure. I was thinking a more sinister type of bloodsucker, but the babel fish is an alright substitute.

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