Witcher Class - Includes Paragon Paths and Feats

18 posts / 0 new
Last post
The Witcher, a Martial/Arane Striker based on The Witcher series and videogames by Andrzej Sapkowski and CD Projekt.

[Link]

The concept was to recreate most of the signature mechanics, powers, and alchemy items from the games into a unique and playable class, using Signs for encounter powers, Potions for utility powers, and bombs and poisons for dailies (in a similar manner to the executioner). As this is my first time putting something like this together, please let me know how I can improve it.
Check out my homebrew Witcher class [Link] and my homebrew Samurai [Link]
I didn't get to readng the whole thing, but what I saw I liked. There are a few typos/wording problems and this could probably be improved a bit, but the execution of the idea is splendid :D You can be proud, this is cool stuff.

IMAGE(http://www.nodiatis.com/pub/20.jpg)

Look at my Playable Illithid, my Monster Generating excel file , my Lifestealer in progresss (Heroic tier almost complete!) , our Improved Orc, our Improving Kenku and our Improving Duergar
Also, take a look at my friend's Improved Minotaur, Gadren's amazing Arcane Archer and of course the Avatar Project
More links! Qube's Block Builder, Classless D&D and the characters I've created using the classless system.
Looks really good. Question I have, why are there no riders for School of the Viper on any of the Signs?
I have never seen a super nova go off, but if it is anything like a Chevy Nova it sure will light up the sky! IMAGE(http://i994.photobucket.com/albums/af70/stranger_93/WorldofTanks.jpg)
I didn't get to readng the whole thing, but what I saw I liked. There are a few typos/wording problems and this could probably be improved a bit, but the execution of the idea is splendid :D You can be proud, this is cool stuff.



I'll proofread it again for typos, but could you elaborate on any of the wording problems so that I can fix them?

Looks really good. Question I have, why are there no riders for School of the Viper on any of the Signs?



The School of the Viper is more of a Striker feature focusing on swordplay and melee attacks, and gains a bonus to Monter Lore damage rolls. I was considering changing this to a flat Dexterity modifier bonus to damage with all melee attacks, but that seems a bit overpowered especially with any melee multi-attacks gained from multiclassing or paragon paths.

The School of the Owl forgoes this damage bonus but gains additional riders on Witcher Signs for more of a Controller oriented playstyle.
Check out my homebrew Witcher class [Link] and my homebrew Samurai [Link]
This is Awesome! Please please please expand it to include all of the Witcher signs. =D I need to play this! Flesh it out pleeeease! XD
This is Awesome! Please please please expand it to include all of the Witcher signs. =D I need to play this! Flesh it out pleeeease! XD



Haha, all the signs are already there, the Quen is the lvl 2 utility power and the Heliotrope you get from taking the sign based paragon path.

Check out my homebrew Witcher class [Link] and my homebrew Samurai [Link]
Definitely looks cool.  I do have some suggestions.

For starters you much want to reword the section deatailing the bonuses to attack when using the regular sword and the silvered sword.  Since the only difference in the wording is with/without it was easy to misread that section.  I really like how the mechanics of that works out though.

With "Monster Lore" it is my understanding this functions like the Ranger's Hunter's Quarry and the Rogue's Sneak Attack.  From what is written there you use them power on a creature and roll the knowledge check.  If you meet or beat the hard DC for the check you get +1d8 (heroic tier) against that monster type.

1) So if  say creature A and B were the exact same monster.  So if you roll the check on A successfully and then killed it you wouldn't have to roll the check again against B to get the bonsu to it?  But if you didn't successfully roll it on A but you can roll the check on B if A has been killed?  Once both A and B are dead you regain the power to use on another type of monster.

2)  The "Slayer of Men" feat seems unecessary.  The Monster Lore feature doesn't specify exactly what it can and can't be used on.  It feels like a feat tax to me.

3) Compared to Rangers and Rogues the extra damage doesn't stack up very well.  Rangers do less extra damage than rogues but they can't just mark the target.  Rogues do more but have to get CA.  The Witcher relies on a die roll that at level 1 they will have maybe a 50 percent chance to get and their damage isn't that much better than a Ranger's who just have to worry about which monster is closer.

My suggestion would be allow the Witcher to get a +1d4 damage if they meet or beat the moderate DC for the check (the hard DC getting you the +1d8).  This way there is a definitely advantage to rolling high and having good skill checks and also still a chance for failure.

Finally, I was wondering about the Viper's Strike at-will.  It seems incredibly powerful for an at-will.  It has the feel of a Warlord's encounter power that grants an extra attack to an ally.  For it to be more in line with an At-Will power it seems like instead of a melee basic attack the target should take damage equal to your Intelligence or Wisdom modifier damage (or it could be your strength mod damage) if it attacks your before the start of your next turn.

Overall I like it.  Keep up the good work.  This is probably the first homebrew class I really want to play. 
I like it. Enjoyed playing The Witcher. I think you've captured the essence of the witcher in this class. I'd consider playing it if I was a player in a game that allowed houserules. It's got enough features to make it interesting to play, but not so many that it makes it too complex.
I think I might have to reinstall The Witcher!
A Note about the Expert Witcher Path power...It's labled as a Legendary Slayer Power. Oops.

Also, the Suggested feat for the Slayer Witcher is The Deadliest Game, but I don't see such a feat. Is this a typo or did you forget to include the feat?

It might help to note what the rules are for determining what you have to roll to learn something from a Monster Knowledge check. Not everyone might know the rules for this.

I really agree with the points made by Bronskii113, though I have no grasp of the math behind it. It does make sense though.
@Bronski113: Thanks for the feedback! To answer your questions/reply to your comments:

1) Correct. Monster lore applies to ALL monsters of the same type, (Kobolds, Dragons, Orcs, etc.), and all the variants of that type within the encounter.

For example, if you were fighting a Red Dragon, a Black Dragon, and a bunch of Kobolds and passed a Monster Lore check on the Red Dragon, you would gain extra damage until the end of the encounter against both the Red Dragon and the Black Dragon, but not the Kobolds.

2) I included that feat in case you ran into a hardass DM who would think that "Monster Lore" only applies to monsters. I will probably just go back and re-word the Monster Lore section so that it automatically applies to every creature in the game, including humans and humanoids.

3) Both Rogues and Rangers use Striker features that limit their targeting capacity. The Witcher's monster lore applies to all creatures of the same type in the same encounter, giving them multiple targeting options. Thus they trade some damage for more targeting capacity.

Looking over the math for a 1st level character, its a DC 20 check to learn the power's of a creature, which is actually less than a 50% chance, more if you have higher INT and WIS. Since that's pretty steep, I'm probably gonna drop it to just the DC 15 requirement.

However, as you level up, pick up feats like Monster Knowledge, and/or have a good background or item bonus to certain knowledge skills, it gets easier and easier to pass that roll. This further decreases the problem, and adds even more Targeting Capacity.

As for making it a scaling bonus to damage based on the check? Maybe scaling extra flat damage from  paragon feats and paragon paths, but I would like to keep the baseline mechanic as simple as possible.

4) Viper's Strike is modeled after the Rogue's Riposte Strike at-will, so it has precedence as an official striker power. It's not as good as a guaranteed Warlord or Ranger double-tap, simply because it only triggers IF the enemy YOU hit attacks you afterword. A smart DM or a smart creature could simply ignore you rather than risk taking another attack.

@Mythril_Sage:

Thanks for finding those typos, I'll change em when I get the chance. The rules for a Monster Knowledge check are on page 180 in the first Players Handbook, and I'm assuming that every DnD group has access to that book :P
Check out my homebrew Witcher class [Link] and my homebrew Samurai [Link]
While you've chosen a novel format for abilities, the problem is is that I don't think your class is much of a striker at higher levels.

First problem: Monster Lore.  The first problem is that it is very hard to use.  Monster knowledge checks scale by level (Rules Compendium), and as you might noticed, being able to identify the monster's capabilities requires you to be able to hit a Hard DC.  Even if you shift it down to a Medium DC (just identifying the monster), the problem is one of ability.  There are four skills used to identify monsters- Arcana (Int), Religion (Int), Nature (Wis) and Dungeoneering (Wis).  Note that your character has Strength as a primary ability, and Intelligence and Dexterity as secondaries.  Hitting higher DCs usually requires that you have your skill match your ability score, which means that an Int-secondary character will have trouble with Nature and Dungeoneering monsters (natural and aberrants, respectively), while a Dex-secondary will have good odds of suffering from failure to launch on absolutely everything.  To add insult to injury, in order to reactive your dead striker feature, you have to kill something... without your striker feature.  That's right, in order to give you a chance to attempt to use your striker feature to actually do your job, you have to kill something without it, like everyone else.  Hope you targeted a minion (which is already a waste of a striker's talents).  The executioner assassin, original assassin, rogue, and the ranger have abilities that partly involve knowledge of the target's weakness, but none of them actually have to do that much to use them (original assassin excepted, and that's one of the class' many failings).  Rogues, rangers and assassins can switch between targets of opportunity as needed.

Second problem: Monster Lore.  It's up to +3d8 extra damage (possibly +Dexterity, if you're a member of the subset of the class who has the most difficulty using its own ability).  This is pretty much your entire striker feature.  Unfortunately, extra damage on attacks does not make a striker.  A ranger without Quarry is still the king of damage, owing to the fact that it can spam attacks like it got them from a clearance sale.  A rogue is highly accurate and has some potent minor actions attacks, an avenger can crit-fish with best of them, and barbarians and slayers can charge like freight trains.  In order to kill a standard monster in a reasonable period of time, you need to be able to crank out a number of points of damage per round with an at-will attack equal to twice your level +6 or more.  While this is easy enough in heroic tier, where are you going to get the damage in Epic?

Third problem: Dailies.  Given that posion immunity is sort of common, I'm not really sure how easy it is to bring the heat when you're dropping a daily.  Plus, conditional dailies are bad- give them the ability to do something good normally, and something excellent when appropriate conditions are met.  That way you don't feel like an idiot for choosing your powers.

Fourth problem: Encounter powers.  Your class may have the same weapliment problems that some other classes enjoy, and it's harder to crank up the damage with implement powers than it is with weapon powers.  There's also the tiny little problem where your epic level encounter powers offer more control than some of the best controller dailies.  There is no reason whatsoever to choose the Dexterity option when you have dominate (save ends) or close blast 5 stun (save ends) on tap on a per-encounter basis.

Fifth problem: Utilities.  Like the dailies, there are a bunch of them that suffer from specialization.  While rewarding your players for picking the right options is nice, punishing them for picking the wrong options by making them largely useless isn't fun at all.  Give them generally nice powers to begin with, with really nice abilities if they made the right call.  Remember, reloading and making adjustments to learn from your mistakes is something that only works in video games- you shouldn't require your players to be clairvoyant in order to have fun with their abilities in a tabletop game.
While you've chosen a novel format for abilities, the problem is is that I don't think your class is much of a striker at higher levels.

First problem: Monster Lore.  The first problem is that it is very hard to use.  Monster knowledge checks scale by level (Rules Compendium), and as you might noticed, being able to identify the monster's capabilities requires you to be able to hit a Hard DC.  Even if you shift it down to a Medium DC (just identifying the monster), the problem is one of ability.  There are four skills used to identify monsters- Arcana (Int), Religion (Int), Nature (Wis) and Dungeoneering (Wis).  Note that your character has Strength as a primary ability, and Intelligence and Dexterity as secondaries.  Hitting higher DCs usually requires that you have your skill match your ability score, which means that an Int-secondary character will have trouble with Nature and Dungeoneering monsters (natural and aberrants, respectively), while a Dex-secondary will have good odds of suffering from failure to launch on absolutely everything.  To add insult to injury, in order to reactive your dead striker feature, you have to kill something... without your striker feature.  That's right, in order to give you a chance to attempt to use your striker feature to actually do your job, you have to kill something without it, like everyone else.  Hope you targeted a minion (which is already a waste of a striker's talents).  The executioner assassin, original assassin, rogue, and the ranger have abilities that partly involve knowledge of the target's weakness, but none of them actually have to do that much to use them (original assassin excepted, and that's one of the class' many failings).  Rogues, rangers and assassins can switch between targets of opportunity as needed.

Second problem: Monster Lore.  It's up to +3d8 extra damage (possibly +Dexterity, if you're a member of the subset of the class who has the most difficulty using its own ability).  This is pretty much your entire striker feature.  Unfortunately, extra damage on attacks does not make a striker.  A ranger without Quarry is still the king of damage, owing to the fact that it can spam attacks like it got them from a clearance sale.  A rogue is highly accurate and has some potent minor actions attacks, an avenger can crit-fish with best of them, and barbarians and slayers can charge like freight trains.  In order to kill a standard monster in a reasonable period of time, you need to be able to crank out a number of points of damage per round with an at-will attack equal to twice your level +6 or more.  While this is easy enough in heroic tier, where are you going to get the damage in Epic?

Third problem: Dailies.  Given that posion immunity is sort of common, I'm not really sure how easy it is to bring the heat when you're dropping a daily.  Plus, conditional dailies are bad- give them the ability to do something good normally, and something excellent when appropriate conditions are met.  That way you don't feel like an idiot for choosing your powers.

Fourth problem: Encounter powers.  Your class may have the same weapliment problems that some other classes enjoy, and it's harder to crank up the damage with implement powers than it is with weapon powers.  There's also the tiny little problem where your epic level encounter powers offer more control than some of the best controller dailies.  There is no reason whatsoever to choose the Dexterity option when you have dominate (save ends) or close blast 5 stun (save ends) on tap on a per-encounter basis.

Fifth problem: Utilities.  Like the dailies, there are a bunch of them that suffer from specialization.  While rewarding your players for picking the right options is nice, punishing them for picking the wrong options by making them largely useless isn't fun at all.  Give them generally nice powers to begin with, with really nice abilities if they made the right call.  Remember, reloading and making adjustments to learn from your mistakes is something that only works in video games- you shouldn't require your players to be clairvoyant in order to have fun with their abilities in a tabletop game.

@LightWarden:

Now this is what I'm talking about, hardcore honest criticism. Let me clarify a few things for you though:

First Problem: Under Monster Lore there is a caveat that gives you a +5 bonus to all Monster Knowledge checks with untrained skills, allowing you to picks skills more appropriate to your abilities. Plus the Monster Knowledge feat, makes those checks much easier, regardless of your ability scores.

When I wrote this class, I was going by the Monster Knowledge rules from the original Player's Handbook which didn't have scaling checks. I can see how this would be a problem, so maybe a scaling 5 + 1/2 your level bonus to Monster Knowledge checks would fix this? Note that this would only apply to Monster Knowledge checks and not to other kinds of Arcana/Nature/Dungeoneering checks. Plus it'd fit the theme of a seasoned monster hunter, always knowing what the party is facing and how to bring it down.

Second Problem: The Legendary Slayer paragon path has some nice multi-attacks to stack damage, since like you stated, multi-attacks are great for strikers. You obviously know about character optimization, and you are correct in that Multi-attacks, Minor-action attacks, Crit-fishing, and Charge spamming (not to mention Zone Exploitation, and Warlord Enabling) are the current contenders for top DPR.

But, in building the Witcher, I didn't just want to copy what other classes already do and call it a new class, so how can I create a novel way to bump up DPR without relying on old tricks? There's no reason why a Witcher couldn't multi-class into Fighter or Rogue, pick up Surprising Charge and Frost-Cheese/Gloves of Ice/Syberys Shard of Cold and lay down the pain with some charge attacks, but its not really their style. By applying poisons to their weapons, they can get an encounter-long buff to damage that should help DPR, on top of their striker feature.

Third: Dailies. Your comment about poision resistance is dead on, and I'll consider adding Poison AND Acid damage or various suitable combinations in paragon and epic tier to get around the resistance problem. The origin specific poisions, however, deal untyped damage and should be fine.

The conditional dailies, however, are pretty much exactly what a Witcher is about thematically. They take a job, research the monsters, and prepare accordingly. Like a Wizard, you get to pick more dailies than you can actually prepare during a day, so a player Witcher can take several conditional dailies and pick which ones they need for a given situation. Of course, DM's are gonna throw random curveballs at you, so i'll think of some creative ways to get more out of Witcher dailies in such situations. Again, suggestions are welcome.

Fourth Problem: Encounter Powers. I figured that giving the Witcher a Ki Focus would fix any weapliment issues, since they could use the same item (and thus the same feats) to make both melee and implement attacks, kinda like the Executioner.

Scaling encounter powers were hard to balance as well, I wanted a Sign focused Witcher to have awesome Signs to use at Paragon and Epic tier, and the riders need to reflect that. What are some good Control conditions that fit the theme of the powers without making them OP when compared to the powers of other ACTUAL controllers?

Fifth problem: Utilities. Like the dailies, you can pick more than one each time you gain a utility power (barring the Level 2 utility of course), and that should offset some of the problem. Utility potions like Swallow and White Raffard's Decoction are always useful, while the conditional resistance ones can be used when you know what you're getting in to. Give me some examples of ones that are too restrictive, and i'll see what I can do to broaden them a bit.

Again, thanks for the good feedback Smile
Check out my homebrew Witcher class [Link] and my homebrew Samurai [Link]
Well, the Executioner in particular has a bunch of flavor text about studying monsters to figure out their weak spots and yet doesn't have to make checks to use its abilities.  If you're someone who didn't boost Int or Wis, then at 30th level you're looking at a +20 vs a DC of 32 if Moderate, and 42 if Hard (or more if you're going after a level 30something solo).  Even with a feat bonus to that check, you're going to need an 8 or higher, which means you have a 35% chance to fail to get your striker damage, and if you had the gall to see what you could figure out about a solo monster (a big striker target), then you're not actually going to get to use your bonus until the solo dies, taking with it most of the encounter.  If you had it so you had a flat bonus to represent your general training in all situations (+1d8/2d8/3d8, or possibly a flat bonus using your secondary score), and then a knowledge check to put some more damage on top of it, gaining the ability to try again when the target is bloodied/dies, then maybe it'd be a bit more fair.  As written, you can have a fight where you enter a kobold lair, make a knowledge check to learn how to kill all kobolds, finish the encounter, and then get into a new encounter where you have to learn how to kill all kobolds again.

As for your Legendary Slayer, one encounter power does not a striker make.  While on the subject of encounter powers, I'm not particularly thrilled with the fact that the signs are fixed, because it kind of makes the sword users even more lousy than their sign-favoring counterparts.  It's like deciding you want to be a two-weapon ranger and then having to pick nothing but bow powers.  Maybe they're really nice bow powers, but if you wanted bow powers you would have chosen them.  Are you sure you can't allow the character to choose alternate features, such as special weapon attacks instead of signs, or failing that, allow them to do a "quickened" sign or something as a minor action that allows them to set up a target for a bigger attack with a weapon, with either of these options having an increased effect if you favor the sword?  It would allow for weapon users to pick their favorite weapons (like frost or radiant and the like), which is something ki focuses can't really do (though letting them use weapons as implements can also work).

Your class may be thematically about preparation, but making a character useless without preparation is just bad design.  For most of your career, you can only prepare your alchemy stuff during extended rests, which means you can't really rely on intelligence gathering, since things can really change during your four hour nap.  Thus you pretty much have to be able to read the DM's mind/module or simply guess unless you want to have the exciting adventure of "now that we know what we're up against, let's turn around, exit the dungeon and go get some sleep!"  Plus there are always situations where things where encounters change, and while a player may have prepared anti-undead weapons, they might pass over several undead encounters figuring they'll save it for the final boss, only for the final encounter to be completely unexpected.  Powers that only provide a bonus in a specific situation are largely useless, while powers that provide a general bonus and then an even bigger bonus against specific targets are much more helpful.  If it only damages or affects a certain monster type/certain energy type/certain condition type, consider changing it, especially for the daily attack powers.  No daily attack should be completely worthless if you guessed wrong.
Although I personally love how the Witcher class is set up with at-wills as exploits and encounters as spells, and dailys as consumables; I believe that I ought to agree with lightwarden that perhaps there should be some encounter spells that are minor actions so that they do not take away from those who wish to use blades more than spell. But if such encounters are made, they should be few in number, I just think that having such powers available will keep the blade-savy happy.

To be honest, I am not all that worried about the whole Monster Lore being too difficult. If necessary, more feats could be made that increase checks on it (if there arent enough as it is). Or perhaps a consumable could be made that gives a bonus. Also having it be Bloodied/Dies might help also.  
I think the Aard sign is a very good candidate for a minor action attack: In the computer games, you use it to knock an enemey off balance / daze him to follow this up immediately by a melee attack, not to wait for him to stand back up.... If you change it to minor, consider decreasing damage a bit.

Dear El_Karlos,


Please update the PDF for this class!

I have a serious interest in using this Class and would recommend it highly to any of my players.

I'm currently building a campaign for myself and any group I can pull together in the future, so I want this to be part of my world.


                       Your fan,
                       Mythril Sage

Would also be interested in an update by the OP or anyone else taking an eye at it. I'm trying to do a rework with my DnD buddies for a zeitgeist campaign we are playing and would love to use this class. I'll post if there are any fixes we try to implement.
My friends and I tweaked the class features and feats. The paragon paths are unchanged and the powers / witcher alchemy items are unchanged. You can view our updates here: sdrv.ms/W8zCVJ  and I've mirrored the original file as well here: sdrv.ms/W8zOnT

The big changes is that the damage feature is no longer tied to a successful monster lore check, but instead is tied to weilding the approprioate type of sword when attacking the creature in question. thus if you are getting the +1 against natural enemies with a normal sword or the +1 to hit against enemies without the natural keyword while weilding the silvered sword then you may apply 1d6/2d6/3d6 once per turn against enemies for which you are receiving the bonus from. The monster lore checks still exist, but they are used to apply a dazed (save ends) [med difficulty met] or stunned (save ends) [hard difficulty met] once per encounter towards the creature the check was made against on your next attack against it after passing the monster lore check.

We also added 3 feats to the class feats list. An exact copy of Venom Hand Master in heroic tier, Improved Witcher's Training (upgrades the d6s from witcher training back up to the original d8s), and a paragon tier feat, Deadly Blades (add the higher of your dex or int mod to your Witcher's training damage).
Sign In to post comments