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Brakk
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« on: March 28, 2011, 03:03:10 AM »

2 years ago I wrote up a prestige class called the Astral Magus for my 3.5 campaign. That campaign was a high level-one (overpowering) and so was the class. Now I want to convert the class to a Fantasy Craft Expert Class (or a Master Class?). The abilities need to be toned down (way down) in power but I would like to keep as much flavor as possible. Once you read up the class, you'll see why it's a favorite for some of my gaming friends.  Wink
I would like for it to stay that way if possible. I'm not sure how to convert the class while keeping it true to the source (I only have experience from building new Expert/Master Classes for Fantasy Craft). So, I'm asking for your help and expert feedback here.

Here's the Fantasy Craft description.

ASTRAL MAGUS

The Astral Magus is an awe-inspiring master of sorcery and cosmic secrets. Deep in the arcane tomes lays the knowledge of the mysterious Astral Magi, waiting to be discovered by the best. Most of the time, the stars seem so distant to those that inhabit the firm ground, that they rarely acknowledge their existence or even importance. But for these few, the tiny white points of light in the night sky hold their attention like no other thing. There is no other end destination, they say. There are only the stars and them.

Although wizards and scholars discard tales of the Astral Magi as simple myths, immortal liches, particularly the eldest, do not deny the possibility of their existence. A talented Mage doesn’t choose to become an Astral Magus, but is instead chosen by a mysterious cosmic entity that was impressed by the display of genuine talent or determination. Perhaps a few dozen get the chance to become one, but only a few succeed. As much as being an Astral Magus is a reward in itself, it is also a great responsibility. This chance is offered by a competent mentor of otherworldly origin. A mentor could be an angel, demon, dragon, lich, or a watcher in the dark. However, the GM is strongly encouraged to create a mentor as a unique being suitable for his world and campaign.

Effectively, this will introduce an expanded version of the Mentor/Patron subplot into the game. While those players that display more control over their characters may become alarmed, this is necessary in order to bring forward the idea that not only is the character being  taught but that perhaps he acts as a teacher to his mentor as well. This is even more probable since mentors feel that those who do not share their knowledge do not deserve it.
The fun aspect of being an Astral Magus is the element of mystery. Who is the character’s mentor and what will he teach him? Will he lose the interest in his apprentice and bring tutoring to a halt? Perhaps this mentor is an Astral Magus as well, passing on the rare knowledge of the stars. What if there are more of them out there, scheming in secrecy or even fighting among themselves to prove their might?

Depending on your campaign an Astral Magus could be…

  • A student of forbidden knowledge blurring the line between the worlds.
  • A wizard determined to unlock the secrets of the world he inhabits, for purposes known only to him…
  • A famous astrologist, inspiring respect and suspicion with his accurate predictions.
  • A sinister force working from the shadows, controlling his targets as puppets in a play.
  • A teacher that shares newfound knowledge with his pupils, helping everyone to move along with hard times.

Party Role: Wildcard/Backer. Your class abilities often provide direct or indirect support to your teammates, though your specific role largely depends on your choice of spells and how you use them.

Here's the original 3.5 prestige class.


ASTRAL MAGUS

REQUIREMENTS: Int 17, ability to cast 6th level spells, must have made contact with a cosmic entity and earned its trust

HD: d4
BAB: wizard
Fort: bad
Ref: bad
Will: good

Spells:
+1 every level

1: Prediction
2: Shadowscape
3: The Stars are Right +1
4: Beyond Time and Space
5: Shadow Brother x 1
6: Nothing is Immutable x 1
7: The Stars are Right +2
8: Shadow Brother x 2
9: Nothing is Immutable x 2
10: Rebirth

Prediction (Ex)

Defining a prediction for an individual allows the astral magus to foreshadow an event for that person. For example, an astral magus defining a prediction for an adventure could say ‘the claws of the eagle will close upon you – beware!’ That adventurer would gain +2 luck bonus on any rolls if he was ever in a situation that could be interpreted as ‘the claws of the eagle closing upon him’ for that day.

Alternatively, an astral magus can cast a negative prediction. If the events foreshadowed by a negative prediction come to pass, then the target gets -2 luck penalty on any rolls for that day. Note that as the spell can be cast through a magical link, the astral magus can curse a foe from afar without the foe being aware of the doom that is upon him.

An astral magus can only place a single prediction on an individual. If that prediction is triggered, then the astral magus may later define prediction again on that person. A character can carry multiple foreshadowings from predictions cast
by different astral magi.

Shadowscape (Su)

You can become one with the shadow.
Times per day equal to your Int modifier you can escape into any nearby shadow by touching it. While inside the shadow you are incorporeal and can see and sense as normal. You can move through shadows provided they are linked. You can remain there for 1 minute per Hit Die or until harmed.

The Stars are Right (Ex)

By waiting till the time is right to perform your magic, you are able to remove most of the random factors that might usually reduce or counteract the effects of your spell, ensuring that your own magical power is at its maximum possible level.

This allows you to Take 20 on your magic attack roll times per day equal to your Int modifier.
In addition, you can increase your caster level by making a successful Knowledge (astrology) skill check (DC 20). You cannot take 10 or 20 on this check, and retries are not permitted. A successful skill check increases your caster level by 1 (2 on 7th level) for one day.

Beyond Time and Space (Su)

When this ability is used, the astral magus instantly loses all his remaining spells. The target must make a Will save (DC equals 10 + astral magus level + Int modifier). If the saving throw is failed, then the target is thrown through time and space. It is up to the DM when and where the target arrives, and while it is generally within a few miles and a few days (forward or back) of his present location, victims have been known to be thrown hundreds of leagues and many centuries.

Shadow Brother (Su)

You can create a single exact copy of yourself from shadow matter. The copy cannot cast its own spells and it must receive daily instructions from you. Otherwise it resorts to doing nothing. You can see, hear, smell, taste, talk and cast spells through it. Once killed it makes you sickened for a week. At 8th level you can create another copy.

Nothing is Immutable (Su)

You grasp the concept that anything can become anything.
This allows you to transform any mundane object into any other mundane object of roughly the same size, once per day (twice on 9th level). A man could be transformed into a statue, or a wolf, or a cloud of mist. A dagger could become a flower, or a snake, or a jewel. A Fortitude save to negate (DC 10 + astral magus level + Int modifier) is permitted if the spell targets a living creature or magical item. Duration 1 hour per astral magus level. Ranged attack roll, within 30 ft.

Rebirth (Ex)

Once you die, you are restored to life within 10 minutes. In your place, a Shadow Brother dies immediately. If there are no Shadow Brothers, you die your final death.
« Last Edit: March 28, 2011, 03:26:39 AM by Brakk » Logged

Morgenstern
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« Reply #1 on: March 28, 2011, 05:16:58 AM »

Lots of really massively arbitrary abilites (save or di- uh, becast across time and space! yeah that's it). Its got two non-replaceable creations (shadow brothers) and a prophecy ability that's agonizingly GM-dependant and variable based on the word-crafting skills of the player. I can see how it would work in a very friendly home game where GM and player are staunch allies in having fun, but it could run way off the rails in more of a pick-up game Smiley.

Try this for class abilites.

   Cryptic Prediction: At Level 1, once per scene you may offer a special character other than yourself a cryptic prediction. At any time during the current scene the character may ‘realize’ this is the moment you foretold, and may treat your prediction as if it were a d10 action die that must be spent that round.
   If the stars are right (see below), the character may instead use your prediction to automatically succeed on a saving throw or cancel one critical hit by an opponent, reducing the damage inflicted to 0.
   A character may benefit from only a single cryptic prediction per scene, no matter how many Astral Maguses offer them to him.

   The Stars are Right I: At Level 2, at the beginning of each scene you may declare the stars are right, rolling 1d6 on the following table and gaining the indicated modifier to your caster level until the end of the current scene.

1: –2 caster level
2: –1 caster level
3: No effect
4: No effect
5: +1 caster level
6: +2 caster level

   The Stars are Right II: At Level 7, if you choose to use this ability you may roll twice, keeping the result you prefer.

   Circle of Power I: At Level 3, you may cast Level 1 and lower spells you know.
   Circle of Power II: At Level 5, you may cast Level 2 and lower spells you know.
   Circle of Power III: At Level 7, you may cast Level 3 and lower spells you know.
   Circle of Power IV: At Level 9, you may cast Level 4 and lower spells you know.

   Bonus Feat: At Levels 4 and 8, you gain an additional Chance or Spellcasting feat.

   Shadow Body I: At Level 4, once per adventure you may spend 10 minutes and 10 spell points to create a single exact copy of yourself until the end of the current scene. This copy has its own Wounds and vitality separate from your own which are set to the same values as yours at the time of the copy’s creation. The copy has non-magical duplicates of your current clothing, armor, and weapons but any of these items disolve if seperated from the copy for more than 2 rounds. You control both yourself and the copy, and they share your action dice and spell points (spells cast and action dice spent by the copy draw from your stock of spell points and action dice). If the copy is killed, you are sickened until the end of the current scene.

   Shadow Body II: At Level 8 You may use this ability twice per adventure.

   Nothing is Immutable: At Level 6, if the stars are right this scene, you may attempt to cast conversion spells you know up to two spell levels higher than is allowed by your circle of power (i.e. if you have circle of power IV, you could cast level 6 conversion spells while the stars are right).

   Cosmic Shell Game: At Level 10, if the stars are right when you are killed and you have at least 1 shadow body copy still alive, it turns out that it was a shadow body that was killed and you are actually the character that was considered a copy up to that moment. You are still sickened until the end of the scene by the death of your copy as normal.

1 - Cryptic prediction
2 - The Stars are right I
3 - Circle of power I
4 - Bonus feat, shadow body I
5 - Circle of power II
6 - Nothing is immutible
7 - Circle of power III
8 - Bonus feat, shadow body II
9 - Circle of power IV
10 - Cosmic shell game
« Last Edit: March 28, 2011, 09:57:51 AM by Morgenstern » Logged

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« Reply #2 on: March 28, 2011, 07:40:47 AM »

Hi Morg,

nice to see you were up for the challenge!  Cool
That's a great job, I'm really satisfied how you treated the abilities. The Astral Magi will surely accept you as one of their own Wink
Could you turn Shadowscape into a core ability perhaps (that one seems to have slipped by)?

Here's my take at other class features. Tell me if I did something wrong.

Requirements: Int 17+, Spellcasting 12+ ranks, must have made contact with cosmic entity and earned its trust
Favored Attributes: Intelligence, Wisdom, Charisma
Caster: Each level in this class increases your Casting Level by 1.

Class Skills: Blend, Bluff, Crafting, Haggle, Impress, Intimidate, Investigate, Notice, Resolve, Ride, Search, Sense Motive

Skill Points: 8 + Int mod
Vitality: 6 + Con mod

BAB  Low
Fort  Low
Ref  Low
Will  High
Def  Low
Init  Med
Life  Med
Leg  High
SP  High
« Last Edit: March 28, 2011, 07:42:42 AM by Brakk » Logged

Morgenstern
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« Reply #3 on: March 28, 2011, 10:01:37 AM »

Hi Morg,

Hey Smiley,

Quote
Could you turn Shadowscape into a core ability perhaps (that one seems to have slipped by)?

Sure, though it'll probably be toned down a lot as a core ability.

Quote
Here's my take at other class features. Tell me if I did something wrong.

Looks servicable. I'd swap the spellcasting rank to 4+ spell points (it'll make sure the shadow body abilities works when they get them). I would also add a specific feat. Anything you feel really fits them?
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« Reply #4 on: March 29, 2011, 01:54:19 AM »

I would also add a specific feat. Anything you feel really fits them?

Hmm, I don't have the rulebook with me at the moment  so I can't think of anything specific. I would definitively give them one of those feats that aren't picked up by players so often (or aren't the obvious 1st choice). A Spellcasting feat would be a cliche, perhaps some other feat tree. What do you think?
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paddyfool
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« Reply #5 on: March 29, 2011, 05:41:58 PM »

The Depth of Study feat from the AC might be fairly appropriate here.

As for Shadowscape... as it is, it doesn't really seem Core ability material.  How about:

"Shadowscape: You are most yourself when wreathed in illusion.  When you benefit from a spell you have cast from the Illusion or Secrets discipline, you also gain a bonus d6 action die. Unless used, this action die is lost at the end of the scene."  (Based on the Alchemist's core ability - although perhaps including two disciplines is too much.  Would either one or the other be better?)
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EloiseCartwright
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« Reply #6 on: March 30, 2011, 06:08:43 PM »

Traceless or Anonymity Basics would be fairly thematic oddities to add.
Glint of Madness could highlight the otherworldlyness or be represented as unconscious illusion around him.
Any of the chance feats could fit in with the Astral/predictive nature of the class I'd be most inclined by 'Fortune favours the bold' or 'Lady Luck's Smile'
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Brakk
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« Reply #7 on: April 01, 2011, 03:17:56 AM »

The Depth of Study feat from the AC might be fairly appropriate here.

As for Shadowscape... as it is, it doesn't really seem Core ability material.  How about:

"Shadowscape: You are most yourself when wreathed in illusion.  When you benefit from a spell you have cast from the Illusion or Secrets discipline, you also gain a bonus d6 action die. Unless used, this action die is lost at the end of the scene."  (Based on the Alchemist's core ability - although perhaps including two disciplines is too much.  Would either one or the other be better?)

The Secrets discipline would be the most appropriate. Instead of Illusion, we could have any spell with the Darkness descriptor. Is that too much?

Here's another interpretation of the Shadowscape.

Shadowscape: You become one with the shadow. Once per scene, you can enter any shadow by touching it and become hidden and incorporeal . While in the shadow, you spend 1 SP per round and may remain there for as long as you have at least 1 SP.

This version is simple and straightforward, but comes at a price which should balance it.

Quote
Traceless or Anonymity Basics would be fairly thematic oddities to add.

I couldn't find these in the core rulebook. They're from the AC I presume?

Quote
Glint of Madness could highlight the otherworldlyness or be represented as unconscious illusion around him.

Yes, that would be a good feat for them. I like it because it's a "roleplaying" feat, not a combat-oriented feat. Smiley

Quote
Any of the chance feats could fit in with the Astral/predictive nature of the class I'd be most inclined by 'Fortune favours the bold' or 'Lady Luck's Smile'

While these feats are appropriate too, it would be good to leave them as part of the class' bonus feat ability (levels 4 and 8 ).
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« Reply #8 on: April 01, 2011, 08:00:21 AM »

Quote
Glint of Madness could highlight the otherworldlyness or be represented as unconscious illusion around him.

Yes, that would be a good feat for them. I like it because it's a "roleplaying" feat, not a combat-oriented feat. Smiley

Glint of Madness is all about combat. It boosts the damage done by Threaten (which is a combat action) and adds a free Threaten action when you down an opponent. Despite being a Style feat it's purely combat focused.
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« Reply #9 on: April 01, 2011, 09:32:12 AM »

Duh, the feat's title was a bit misleading Grin
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