Making a custom 3.5 class for a player. Help?

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Edit: Decreased length, removed class sheet. Should be much more pleasant to read quick now. Thanks for the advice Krusk.
Edit: Moved Ability list here from other post, updated it. Again, thanks Krusk.
Edit: Now mainly in the Previous Editions General forum, as per multiple suggestions. Sorry if it seems like spamming.



I DM a group of 3 players in 3.5e. Their characters are evil and the campaign features them gradually taking over the world. We plan to eventually play through 20th level. They are starting at 4th level.

One of the players is a Warlock, another is a homebrewed Psionic heavy armored wrestler, and the last is a problem.

She wants some pretty awesome but difficult things, and I want the class to work at about tier 3 power (I.E., about on par with the warlock in overall strength).

Here are her dreams for this class:

Called: Blood Elf

Theme: Sacrifice health for power actively in battle. Fast, mobile, lots of damage. Exploit enemy weakness/bypass special defenses.

Player requirements

1) Martial Melee character.

2) Lightly armored, but tough through both passive class features and use of powers

3) Spills her own blood (inflicting damage on herself) to use each of her active-use abilities.

4) Has several active-use abilities, more at higher levels.

5) Active-use abilities are not literal spells. They work through her weapons or some other medium, and using them doesn't take extra time (weakening her BAB). Can be soft-limited, but no hard /day limit.

6) Uses a flail in one hand. No shields, two-weapon fighting, or two-handed weapons. Uses off hand to self-inflict damage. 

7)  Mobile, through both skills and special powers. Doesn't need much, just some cool jumping abilities or something. More mobile than a fighter, minimum.



Ok, so that's what she wants. My ideas so far go something like this:
My response so far

1) No problem. I'll reference Warblade (tome of battle) as inspiration/balance guide.

2) I have very little clue how to actually pull this off. Damage reduction? Passive AC boosts? Maybe shield bonus if off-hand is free?

3)  How do I use this, without decreasing her longevity in battle, to create semi-limited powers? Idea: Energy points earned for dealing damage, spent by spilling her own blood to activate powers.

4) Maybe attacks that amplify the damage of a single strike, or check-for-bonus abilities (like a jump attack)?

5)   No idea what these should be, without just copying maneuvers or spells... Particularly, I have no idea how to limit them so that she won't be better off burning through her hit points in a few rounds, then chugging cure potions.

6) Not that hard. I scaled up her flail to an "exotic Dark Flail" (which is DM speak for, I gave her a heavy flail she could use in one hand). The problem is, where does her armor class come from?

7) Not having that much trouble with this. 4 skill points/level, plus all mobility related skills as class skills, seems reasonable. But how to offset the light armor without overpowering the character?


My ability ideas so far are called sacrifices, and they are as follows:

Show

(assume all sacrifices take a swift action to activate, unless it specifies "attack" (in which case it is an attack action), or some other action.)

All sacrifices cost hp and also an equal amount of Chaos energy points. Without chaos energy, none of these can be used. The blood elf starts with very little chaos energy each day(one half level?), cannot store very much between encounters (up to her level?), but gains it in battle as follows: One point for each hit that deals at least 8 damage, one more for every twelve damage dealt beyond 8 in a single hit.


1st Level Sacrifices


 


Blood Power: For every two hp sacrificed, gain +1d10 damage with a single attack, up to ¼ levels, +1. (I.E, max 12 hp spent for +6d10 damage at 20th level)


Burning Drive: Move faster and jump higher for 1 round. (10ft speed increase plus additional +4 to jump, doubles at 5th level, triples at 9th) Cost: 1hp


Leech: As a touch attack, mark target with dagger to steal some physical ability, sap healing, hinder and share some damage with target. Cost: 2hp
(Touch attack, All effects are temporary (1 round per level), target must remain close (25ft +5ft/2 levels) or effects end. Allows fortitude save to negate everything. If touch succeeds and save fails, targets speed reduces by 10ft, targets str OR dex, OR con reduced by 2 (blood elf's choice); Blood elf gains +1 to hit OR +1 to armor OR +1hp/level (they go away later) (depending on target's stat damaged). Blood Elf takes 1 point less damage per attack (dealt to target instead) for duration; target heals 1 point less per healing effect (added to Blood Elf instead) for duration. Healing and damage remains after duration, but all else returns to normal at the end, or if the target is ever further than close range.)


Resilience: Trade points of Chaos energy for an equal number of hit points. Cost: variable (blood elf choice)
(double healing if 5 rounds are spent instead of swift)


 


2nd Level Sacrifices


 


Sudden Vault: Leap from standing as a swift action, and gain benefits of charge. Cost: 2 hp
 


Grief-Splitter: Anoint a throwing weapon to explode on impact, harming adjacent creatures or dealing extra damage. Cost: 4 hp. (Must be prepared in advance. Can only have one at a time.)
(Thrown weapon deals extra 1d6 damage, allows a fortitude save. On a successful save, target takes 50% more damage. On a failure, all adjecent creatures take 50% of original damage instead.)


Punishment: Use as an immediate action to gain attack of opportunity under certain circumstances. Cost: 2hp
Counts against AoO allowed that round, but allows them for actions that don't normally provoke them. For example, when both of a flanking pair hit in a round, use this ability to immediately strike either of them. Other ideas? 


Xenophobia: Summoned creatures take double damage from your attacks, may be dispelled. Cost 3hp?
Lasts one round per level. Chance to dispel is level based, works sort of like an actual dispel attempt, only once per creature. Effect only applies to creatures summoned with spells that actually say "summon," like summon monster or natures ally.


No idea where to place this one:


Drink: When you deliver a successful Coup de Grace attack, gain hp equal to failed fortitude save -10. Cost: idk.



These ability costs are highly uncertain, as are their level placement and their specific effects. They are all of my best ideas so far. She will only be able to prepare a few of them each day, but can access all of them when preparing, and can re-prepare if she wants. They are reusable indefinitely, but the Chaos energy requirment usually means she will only be able to use one of them once every 2-4 rounds-ish.


 





Thank you for reading, and I hope you reply, even if it's just a quick question or comment. I look forward to hearing from a community of DM's who are presumably much more experienced than me.

Also, any general advice, either about DMing, class balance, or even posting in these forums, would be highly appreciated. I am quite new here, you see.


Thanks again!

What power level, or tier are you shooting for with this class? Do you expect it to keep pace with a druid, a sorcerer, a fighter, or a monk?


Should we put in line with your previous two classes? Its harder because we don't have much of an idea for what power level those are. 


Also, this post suffers from serious wall of text. You will get more/better responses if you try to make it more readable.


(See if I had been able to read the whole thing without glazing over, I'd have seen your bit about wanting tier 3) *Edit

"In a way, you are worse than Krusk"                               " As usual, Krusk comments with assuredness, but lacks the clarity and awareness of what he's talking about"

"Can't say enough how much I agree with Krusk"        "Wow, thank you very much"

"Your advice is the worst"                                                  "I'd recommend no one listed to Krusk's opinions about what games to play"

Reading over the powers you list, it seems a little overly complex. Its also low end of tier 5 for the levels it has abilities... so...


How about - this. Add your own flavor bits and rename stuff.  


Level 1 - Sacrifice - A blood elf can take a point of damage at the begining of their turn. If they do, they deal an additional point of damage on all attacks made until the begining of their next turn. A blood elf can take damage in this way equal to their levels in Blood elf. This damage cannot be reduced in any way. (note this applies to all attacks made that round, which means it works better for TWF than single weapon but use the concept as a jumping point)


Level 2 - Scarred Body - You can add your Con mod to your AC


- Kaos Magickk - Your attacks overcome DR as though they were chaotically aligned. 


Level 3 - Staunch - You gain the diehard feat even if you don't meet the prereqs. If you already have it, take another feat that you do meet the prereqs for. 


- Transfusion  - You can drain HP from a willing or helpless target. They take a point of damage and you gain +1HP.


Level 4 - Improved Sacrifice - When you take 1 point of damage, you gain +2 to damage rolls.


Level 5 - Improved Scarred Body - You gain DR equal to your con mod.


Level 6 -  Lifelink - You can perform a 5 minute ritual in which you can carve your buddies name in your arm. He must be within 60ft during the initial carving. This ability lasts until you recieve any magical healing, or take a night to rest. While this is in effect, you take 1/2 of all their damage as per the shield other spell.


Level 8 - Serious Sacrifice - You can take damage equal to twice your level when using this power. EX at level 10, you can take 20 points of damage and get +40 to damage rolls.


Level 9 - Seriously Scarred - You gain a bonus to saves equal to your Con score.


Level 12 - Very Very big sacrifice - Something cool


Level 13 - VERY scarred - You gain DRX/- where X= your con score


Level 16 - Biggest Sacrifice - Something super cool


Level 17 - Giant Scars - Something even cooler. 


Level 20 - Give it all up - You can drop your HP to 0. This ability can only be used when you are at 1 or more HP. When doing so, an ally who was just slain is instantly restored to full HP. This ability can only be used as an immediate interrupt. The ally must be within line of sight.

"In a way, you are worse than Krusk"                               " As usual, Krusk comments with assuredness, but lacks the clarity and awareness of what he's talking about"

"Can't say enough how much I agree with Krusk"        "Wow, thank you very much"

"Your advice is the worst"                                                  "I'd recommend no one listed to Krusk's opinions about what games to play"

Level 6 - Probably needs a way to deal with flying foes. Maybe she shoots blood spurts at people?


Level 10 - Needs to be able to teleport or something. Cover long range distances. Maybe you climb inside of people as a blood ooze and jump back out?


Level 15 - Needs to planeshift somehow? Maybe the level 10 power can cross planes now?

"In a way, you are worse than Krusk"                               " As usual, Krusk comments with assuredness, but lacks the clarity and awareness of what he's talking about"

"Can't say enough how much I agree with Krusk"        "Wow, thank you very much"

"Your advice is the worst"                                                  "I'd recommend no one listed to Krusk's opinions about what games to play"

1st, thank you for replying. I realized after posting that I wrote WAY too much, and I wouldn't reply to it myself if I weren't me. I may repost in a bit with a more succinct body of text. The problem is, discussion with the player has led to A LOT of flavor specifics she wants included.

2nd, the above special feature list is actually just the passive abilities, as in, the bonuses she gets before she gains any special powers (the ones I'm having so much trouble figuring out), such as "Blood power: for each -1hp you take, gain +1d6 damage to a single attack, max 1/odd level attained."

I.E., -1hp for +1d6 damage at 1st level, -2 for +2d6 at 3rd, etc.

Is that too much, combined with a handful of Sacrifices (powers)?



Level 2 - Scarred Body - You can add your Con mod to your AC




I actually did not think of this... Like, at all. That's a really good idea. Natural armor, do you think, or increased armor bonus?

 

- Kaos Magickk - Your attacks overcome DR as though they were chaotically aligned.




Actually, I was thinking of a specific ability that, on a failed fortitude save, lowers all forms of the enemies damage reduction by 5 points against her attacks only.

Is my idea viable? Would it be better or worse than yours?

 

- Transfusion  - You can drain HP from a willing or helpless target. They take a point of damage and you gain +1HP.




This isn't overpowered? I worry that she could use this ability to farm HP off of commoners or something. Not that she would, just that I don't want invisible walls of "you can't do that" to be my reason for why.

 

Level 5 - Improved Scarred Body - You gain DR equal to your con mod.




Holy ****, this is balanced? I always worry about given PCs damage reduction...

 

Level 9 - Seriously Scarred - You gain a bonus to saves equal to your Con score. 




Actually, already doing this, just at a lower level. Is there a particular reason why it should be this high up? Is it too potent at lower levels?

P.S. did you mean con modifier? Because score would basically make you auto-succeed at all saves...


If you don't want to reply, thank you anyways for you help. A few of those abilities you listed introduced ideas I hadn't had before. Which is big, since I've been thinking about this on and off for over a year. I like where these ideas are going, since they make up for her light armor by helping her tank some damage at higher levels.


Again, thanks for reading, and I look forward to a reply. 

Crap, I went and wrote too much again ^ 

Level 6 - Probably needs a way to deal with flying foes. Maybe she shoots blood spurts at people?


Level 10 - Needs to be able to teleport or something. Cover long range distances. Maybe you climb inside of people as a blood ooze and jump back out?


Level 15 - Needs to planeshift somehow? Maybe the level 10 power can cross planes now?




I'm thinking of an ability that allows her to ground some flying foes - which would improve at higher levels.  Is this not enough? Too powerful? Haven't given that one much thought.

Are the second two necessary to be in tier 3? She will have an ability that allows her a limited form of dimension door (has to do with killing things, of course), but I haven't thought about long distance teleportation, or plane shifting.
Btw, I noticed that you didn't slam me for using Con as the base ability score. I figured people would be telling me it had to be charisma or wisdom or something.

Thanks, again, for clearly actually reading and posting a series of well thought out replies. 
For balance, I'd suggest going down to a d10. Why elf? Seems more of a half-orc thing to do. Is it just because it's world-specific? I'd play a human version, and call him a Blood Ritualist.

I thought of a cool power... the blood elf is always doing these runes. How about a supernatural ability...

Transfer Pain... The Blood Elf sacrifices some of his blood and produces a 60 foot radius aura of pain with the same effects as if he had blown pipes of pain or as if he is the center of a symbol of pain effect.

This would be a high level ability, of course.

I could also see the Blood Elf as a prestige class. Had you considered that?

Although quite different, it reminds me of a Hexblade, which is a class I thought was pretty cool. Good job.
A rogue with a bowl of slop can be a controller. WIZARD PC: Can I substitute Celestial Roc Guano for my fireball spells? DM: Awesome. Yes. When in doubt, take action.... that's generally the best course. Even Sun Tsu knew that, and he didn't have internets.

Level 6 - Probably needs a way to deal with flying foes. Maybe she shoots blood spurts at people?


Level 10 - Needs to be able to teleport or something. Cover long range distances. Maybe you climb inside of people as a blood ooze and jump back out?


Level 15 - Needs to planeshift somehow? Maybe the level 10 power can cross planes now?




I'm thinking of an ability that allows her to ground some flying foes - which would improve at higher levels.  Is this not enough? Too powerful? Haven't given that one much thought.

Are the second two necessary to be in tier 3? She will have an ability that allows her a limited form of dimension door (has to do with killing things, of course), but I haven't thought about long distance teleportation, or plane shifting.

Elf. +2 Dex. Free longbow proficiency, if I recall. Maybe use blood to make a magic arrow? Nah... then you get into Arcane Archer stuff. Nevermind.

The thief's ability to create a wound that causes CON damage might be appropriate, if you're killing things.
A rogue with a bowl of slop can be a controller. WIZARD PC: Can I substitute Celestial Roc Guano for my fireball spells? DM: Awesome. Yes. When in doubt, take action.... that's generally the best course. Even Sun Tsu knew that, and he didn't have internets.

Level 6 - Probably needs a way to deal with flying foes. Maybe she shoots blood spurts at people?


Level 10 - Needs to be able to teleport or something. Cover long range distances. Maybe you climb inside of people as a blood ooze and jump back out?


Level 15 - Needs to planeshift somehow? Maybe the level 10 power can cross planes now?




I'm thinking of an ability that allows her to ground some flying foes - which would improve at higher levels.  Is this not enough? Too powerful? Haven't given that one much thought.

Are the second two necessary to be in tier 3? She will have an ability that allows her a limited form of dimension door (has to do with killing things, of course), but I haven't thought about long distance teleportation, or plane shifting.

Elf. +2 Dex. Free longbow proficiency, if I recall. Maybe use blood to make a magic arrow? Nah... then you get into Arcane Archer stuff. Nevermind.

The thief's ability to create a wound that causes CON damage might be appropriate, if you're killing things.




Actually, she is only an "Elf" in name, just because she thought it sounded cool. She's a costum class, ECL +1, with a bonus to both strength and dex. I left her with some of the immunities (plus a couple of cool racial features, like unnerving stare), but stripped her of all elven proficiencies.

Her class cannot effectively use Bows, crossbows, slings, or any other projectile weapon. Melee weapons that can be thrown are still available (I include the Javelin in this, since it specifically notes that it can be used in melee in its entry).

She is meant to be a powerhouse of melee strength, and her abilities either enhance that or her mobility, as a general (flexible) rule.


Also, thank you for posting a reply! 
Complete Divine / Book of Exalted Deeds has Stigmata, you might look at that.


There are also already spells and abilities in the game which require payment of HP or taking damage as a cost. You might look at those to get a good idea or two.

Within; Without.

Might want to take it to the other editions forum.  Or even homebrew.

To be in tier 3, yeah on flight, maybe on plane shift. Read the other T3 classes. Most are casters of some sort who by default have "Can fight flying people". They can also mostly plane shift in some capacity.



I.E., -1hp for +1d6 damage at 1st level, -2 for +2d6 at 3rd, etc.

Is that too much, combined with a handful of Sacrifices (powers)?

+1d6 damage on a single attack fits more with the thematics than my +1 -1 thing in that it benefits people with 1 weapon over two. If its a single attack you might want to limit it to sneak attack progression, but also might find it a bit under powered. Its probably fine as is.


I actually did not think of this... Like, at all. That's a really good idea. Natural armor, do you think, or increased armor bonus?

That depends on if you want it to stack with stuff. Mine was untyped, and I envisioned it working like a monks. A natural armor probably fits better flavor wise. 

 

Actually, I was thinking of a specific ability that, on a failed fortitude save, lowers all forms of the enemies damage reduction by 5 points against her attacks only.

Is my idea viable? Would it be better or worse than yours?

Mine is better in that its WAY less complicated. Less complicated means people will bother to use it.



This [transfusion] isn't overpowered? I worry that she could use this ability to farm HP off of commoners or something. Not that she would, just that I don't want invisible walls of "you can't do that" to be my reason for why.


Why wouldn't you want her farming HP off of commoners or something? Go ahead and let her, but be sure to remind her that people tend not to take kindly to vampires. In fact, they generally hire bands of adventurers to track them down and kill them. Thats either an awesome evil PC plot hook, or something that won't come up.

In practical play this allows her to shift HP around fairly easily, which is sort of this classes gimmick. She spends her HP for damage, and then borrows some from the cleric. She doesn't want him healing her because of her life link ability, so she needs some way to heal. 


Also, she is going to have to convince the party to let her feed from them if she wants to sit at full HP all the time. I don't know how keen they will be on that. 


Realistically, she will be knocking people out, and feeding. Maybe subdual damage, maybe Sleep spells. You should probably limit it to something like Con mod HP per standard action. 



Level 5 - Improved Scarred Body - You gain DR equal to your con mod.

Holy ****, this is balanced? I always worry about given PCs damage reduction...


Don't. DR kind of sucks. This number? Probably a bit much for 5th level, but if you put a "limited by your levels in this class" it probably won't be. Especially as they don't wear armor and are expected to be in melee. 

 

Level 9 - Seriously Scarred - You gain a bonus to saves equal to your Con score. 

Actually, already doing this, just at a lower level. Is there a particular reason why it should be this high up? Is it too potent at lower levels?


Nope, You just note my progression of wanting something con based every 4th level. This just fit here for the pattern. Patterns make it memorable and entices people to be excited for that next level.


P.S. did you mean con modifier? Because score would basically make you auto-succeed at all saves...

Yeah, I did


"In a way, you are worse than Krusk"                               " As usual, Krusk comments with assuredness, but lacks the clarity and awareness of what he's talking about"

"Can't say enough how much I agree with Krusk"        "Wow, thank you very much"

"Your advice is the worst"                                                  "I'd recommend no one listed to Krusk's opinions about what games to play"

Moved to Previous editions forum. Here is the link, for those who can't be arsed to search for it, but would like to reply.

community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/758...