A quick reply, as I don’t have a ton of time.
I will say… to each their own opinion. Your entire post basically summed up is “I don’t like. The concept sucks. The attempted mechanics suck, and because Alex already wrote some feats you shouldn’t even have bothered to try.”
I’m sorry, but if you weren’t going to really add constructive comments, you could have said nothing.
With that said, I personally feel that there is room for an expert class that expands on the existing Spell Theft feat tree and you have done nothing to change my view of that. You could offer constructive criticism to help truly dissuade me from the concept or aid in balance, but to simply bash and trash… eh, I’ll take it all with a grain of salt. Also, considering that this is the “Licensed to Improvise” forum, throwing out comments that basically say “If Alex (Crafty) didn’t write it, it’s crap and not necessary”
or “It was a D&D concept and sucked so it shouldn’t be converted”
are not what I consider constructive comments.
The entire point of this exercise was to create an Expert Class that embraced and mimicked the core shtick of the Spellthief. IMHO, the 3 feats in the chain do not suffice to cover that and have room for expansion through an Expert Class.
Funny, I always felt the point of the Spellthief in 3.5 was to take some of the perceived suck out of the Rouge/Magic-User and fill pages in the Complete Adventurer. It was a weak concept that barely filled 10 levels then. The tool best suited here is the Specialty, not the Expert class. Partly because the concept is so thin, but also because it's far easier to balance and keep flavorful and interesting.
IMHO, nothing took the suck out of any caster/multi-class as the system for multi-classed casting was broken in 3X. Period. The core concept of the spellthief class however, IMHO, is a good and interesting concept, if done right. If you don’t like the concept at all, don’t bother replying to it.
I feel that it basically sums up a core concept of neutralizing a caster without the core D&D concept of ‘bash it till it bleeds’. However, I agree that the 3X mechanics for making it a “base class” didn’t work well. It should have been a PrC from the start. I also don’t think the concept is as thin as you’d like to make it out and I’d have to say Crafty also didn’t wholly agree either or they wouldn’t have made a feat tree if as you say, a simple Specialty would have sufficed.
“Which, frankly, is no different then almost any other stance.” and “A lot of stances limit movement. I haven't counted, but I'd bet most of them do.”
As to this, technically speaking, I’d have to say you’re wrong here. Of the 31 published stances (Core, Companion and Mist Dancer): 19 (61.3%) have zero movement penalties, while only 10 (32.2%) have the ‘no movement’ penalty, and 2 (6.5%) only limit actions like run and jump. So I would say that the ‘no movement clause’ is definitely in the minority, not the majority.
“Also, frankly, your GM shouldn't constantly be using NPC casters with high Resolve grades.” and “Only if your GM is lazy and uses Natural Spell to build a casting NPC instead of to replicate spell like abilities. Normally it's not a huge deal, but if you have a PC with the Spell Theft chain, it's a dick move because you're specifically choosing to render his feats worthless to make your job easier.”
I also feel that isn’t the job of the GM to customize every encounter to be specifically geared to whatever specialties the party have or don’t have. The point of the bestiary is to be able to use them as-is and of the roughly 20 spellcasting bestiary entries I looked at, the average resolve is around 5, and a lot of them are natural casters. As a DM I’m not going to customize every bestiary entry so that the PC with Spell Theft gets to use their tricks every time. If you want to go with the hard core line of “the fests are good enough – deal with it” then you better own up to the fact that a character that takes them is going to get screwed a lot of the time because not all bestiary creatures use spell points. It’s not the DM’s job to make up for one part of the system (the feat design) by being forced to change another (not using Natural Spell), especially when under the construction system, using Natural Spell is recommended a lot more than giving an NPC Spellcasting since it covers both concepts – innate magic and divine magic, both of which are more prevalent that NPCs trained as mages.
On “Stealthy Mage”:
This was from the older version that was more based on the Ghost feat tree. However, it can be used outside of combat. There are times when spellcasting and sneak checks can be made in non-combat scenes. Did you ask the question about what happens when a rune knight wants to use their core ability out of combat? And what about the time limit? It’s 1 full action. The rune knight ability works the same way. However, do you have any suggestions? Or are you just saying again that you think the whole concept is just crap?
On “Improved Spell Catcher”:
Eh. This mostly feels like over compensating for what you perceive as weakness in the Spell Theft chain. Other then that, it seems downright boring and overpowered. Alex could have written the stance to scale more with level, or to effect Natural Spell or Divine magic. He didn't though, so maybe there's a reason for that.
Just because a version was put in writing, doesn’t make it the ‘end all be all’ of options. I personally feel that the existing feat tree is ok for what it is, but there is still room for some expanded options via a true specialist in the core concept. I actually Embraced the feat tree by trying to make an expert class that focuses on that feat tree and excels in it.
For example, just because you have say, a Soldier that has Axe Supremacy (3 out of his 18 or so feats) does not by definition make him a class built around being an ultimate axe master. It takes other abilities that help focus around that concept. In the same vein, having the 3 Spell Theft feats doesn’t necessarily make you a true specialist in Spell Thieving, if there are other options that can be developed to aid the concept.
Another example… Crafty wrote in the rules that skills have a rank cap of Career Level +4. Is this a weakness? No, it’s the base starting point. Yet specific sub-rules can alter that core rule. So by the same concepts, as is seen in other Crafty material, the idea of taking an existing feat and altering it with class abilities to make them function uniquely for that specialist is not out of line. Just because Alex didn’t write the base Spell Theft feats to scale, or to effect Divine/Natural spells, doesn’t mean that it Could never or Should never be done IMHO.
Practiced Spellthief I & 2
Again, this seems more about what you see as weakness in the Spell Theft chain then actually making an interesting class.
So I assume by this argument, that you feel that the core “Mettle” and “Master and Commander” class abilities don’t make for an interesting class and that they were written to cover perceived weaknesses?
It’s not about perceived weakness so much as about embracing Alex’s feats, but at the same time making this single expert class
heroically good at the use of those feats versus just any joe-shmoe on the street with the same feats. That’s kind of the point of an expert class isn’t it?
Why make it so complicated? I get that you want to make an over powered class because you're used to the shovel loads of overpowered and under themed hybrid caster prestige classes that WotC put out to make playing a multi-classed magic user appealing to min-maxers, but the mage's power was cut back in a number of ways in FC, and broadened in others.
To be honest, this was simply rude and unproductive. Please don’t presume to tell me what I “want”. Based on this comment, it leaves me to make the assume that you felt the Warlock experiment was crap as well, and that basically ANY deviance from something written in a Crafty book, especially if it comes from a D&D source, is simply crap. Got it.
The truth of the matter is that a truly strongly themed hybrid caster might make a master class with some expansion and creativity (Morg's take on the Bladesinger for example), but most of them are Specialties at best. The Mist Dancer combines elements of the SC2.0 Ninja and the 3.5 Shadow Dancer and Arcane Trickster to achieve enough cool for 10 levels.
Yet, I seem to remember that Morgenstern agreed with me when I said there was a specific niche available for more hybrid caster classes, and he never said they all had to be master classes. Also, I think it was Alex, said that at least one of the Spellcasters in Spellbound will be more akin to a hybrid. I’m sorry, but just because you seem to have a serious beef with the Spellthief concept, presumably because it was a D&D concept, it doesn’t mean there is no place for it. I happen to know that a few people would be interested in an expert class of this ilk, which is why I am trying to create a balanced concept.
Improved Arcane Lobotomy:
More overpowering of the feat chain.
Want to actually give an example or reasoning of why it’s overpowered?
Ultimate Spell Thief:
You know, the primary thing I look for in a game breaker? That it makes me go Wow and get all giddy thinking how awesome it is. This? Not getting that at all. In fact just the opposite. It's weak and makes for more book keeping, and is so situational that after the first few times you use it, it won't get used again because you already know the spells in question.
Well at least semi-constructive. But again pretty much "Its weak. I don't like it."
Ideas for something better maybe?
More bookkeeping? Really? If you already deal with a list of known spells, adding a spell is more bookkeeping? Does that apply to the Mist Dancer too?
As for the game-breaker... What about classes that don’t even really have a ‘gamebreaker’ like the beastmaster that simply gets a second use of an ability they’ve had since 4th level?
No other feat has a class as a requirement. Your Warlock can't take Spell Theft since it requires Spellcasting.
Constructive Catch. Putting Spellthief as a Prerequisite was a holder that I forgot to change. It should be “Spell Theft Basics”.
As for the Warlock, re-read “Invoking”. It specifically states that it counts as Spellcasting for such purposes.
Overall, after all this reading and replying, I’ve gotten basically nothing useful out of it other than that you hate the concept and don’t think it should have been done, which could have been summed up in so many words.