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.
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:
(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.