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Author Topic: Prestige Clas Suggestion : Alienist  (Read 362 times)

Ken14

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Prestige Clas Suggestion : Alienist
« on: October 12, 2021, 10:58:11 AM »
So, I read a recent post about there not being a summon-based class ( base or prestige), and I agree, that could be interesting to have.

Hence my following suggestion of the Alienist (Complete Arcane variant, p. 21):

It will likely require some tweaking to make it work within the confines of Ravenloft, but I'll have a go at it:

(Original) requirements:
Alignment: any nonlawful
Skills: Knowledge (the planes) 8 ranks
Feats: Augment Summoning
Spells: Able to cast at least one summoning spell of 3rd level or higher.
Special: Must have made peaceful contact with an alienist or a pseudonatural creature.

(Tweaked) Requirements:
Alignment: any nonlawful
Skills: Lore 8 ranks
Feats: Augment Summoning
Spells: Able to cast 3rd arcane or divine spells
Special (possibly a good RP hook if an application becomes needed): Must have made peaceful contact with an alienist or a pseudonatural creature.


Hit die : d4

Skill points: 2 + Int

Class Features
Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Alienists gain no proficiency with any weapon or armor.

Spells per Day/Spells Known: At each level, an alienist gains new spells per day (and spells known, if applicable) as if she had also gained a level in a spellcasting class to which she belonged before adding the prestige class level. She does not, however, gain any other benefit a character of that class would have gained (improved chance of turning or destroying undead, a bonus feat, and so on). If she had more than one spellcasting class before becoming an alienist, she must decide to which class to add each level for the purpose of determining spells per day and spells known.

(Not sure if this can be implemented) Familiar Abilities  : Levels of alienist stack with levels of any class that provide access to a familiar. Add levels from this class and the class that granted access to the familiar together and refer to the table on page 53 of the Player's Handbook to determine the familiar's natural armor, Intelligence, and special abilities. If a character had levels in multiple classes that grant access to a familiar before becoming an alienist, she must decide to which class to add each level for the purpose of determining the abilities of her familiar. This ability does not grant an alienist a familiar if she does not already have one.

(Original) Summon Alien: Whenever an alienist would use any summon monster spell to summon a celestial or fiendish creature, she instead summons a pseudonatural version of that creature. For example, by casting summon monster IV, she could summon a pseudonatural dire wolf. This adds the pseudonatural template (see page 160) to the summoned creature. An alienist gives up the ability to summon nonpseudonatural creatures with a summon monster spell. For instance, the alienist described above couldn't summon a mephit or howler with summon monster IV.

(Tweaked) Summon Alien : All summons become pseudonatural and gain the following benefits :
Acid & Electricity Resistance : 5 at lvl 1, 10 at level 5, 15 at level 10
Damage Reduction : 5/+2 at lvl 1, 10/+3 at lvl 5, 15/+4 at lvl 10
Spell Resistance : They gain spell resistance of 10 + Caster level


Alien Blessing (Ex): An alienist who attains 2nd level gains a +1 insight bonus on all saving throws, but she permanently loses 2 points of Wisdom.

Metamagic Secret: An alienist listens to the secret voices whispering from beyond time's end, and profits thereby. At 3rd and again at 7th level, she can choose any metamagic feat as a bonus feat.

(Original) Mad Certainty (Ex): At 4th level, an alienist's mad certainty in the power of entities beyond the reach of normal space and time lend her an unnatural fortitude, granting her an additional 3 hit points. However, constantly dwelling on such beings is mentally corrosive, and the alienist's mind begins to fracture. She now takes a —4 penalty on all Bluff, Diplomacy, and Handle Animal checks made to influence nonpseudonatural creatures.

(Tweaked) Mad Certainty (Ex): At 4th level, an alienist's mad certainty in the power of entities beyond the reach of normal space and time lend her an unnatural fortitude, increasing her hit die to d7. However, they take -4 penalties on Influence and Animal Empathy.

(Not sure if it can be implemented): Pseudonatural Familiar: Beginning at 5th level, an alienist's familiar, if any, gains the pseudonatural template (see page 160) in addition to the powers and abilities normal for a familiar of the appropriate level. This effect does not replace an existing familiar—the familiar has been slowly taking on pseudonatural aspects as the alienist rises in level, and those characteristics become fully functional at this point. From now on, the alienist's newly summoned familiars already possess the pseudonatural template. If an alienist has no familiar, this ability has no effect.

(Original) Extra Summoning: From 6th level on, an alienist gains one extra spell slot at her highest spell level. This slot can be used only for a summon monster spell. As an alienist becomes able to learn higher-level spells, the extra slot migrates up to the new highest level.

(Tweaked): Extra Summoning: From 6th level on, the alienist can cast Summon Creature 6 as a spell-like ability, once per rest. This improves to Summon Creature 7 at 7th level, Summon Creature 8 at 8th level and Summon creature 9 at 9th level.

(Original) Insane Certainty (Ex): At 8th level, an alienist's mad certainty crystallizes into a truly chilling mania. She gains an additional 3 hit points, but her mental faculties continue to degrade. Her penalty on Bluff, Diplomacy, and Handle Animal checks made to influence nonpseudonatural creatures increases to —10.

(Tweaked) Insane Certainty (Ex): At 8th level, an alienist's mad certainty crystallizes into a truly chilling mania. Their hit die changes to d10, and their penalties to Influence and Animal Empathy increase to -10.

(Original) Timeless Body (Ex): At 9th level, an alienist learns the secret of perpetual youth. She no longer takes ability penalties for aging and cannot be magically aged (see Table 6—5, page 109 of the Player's handbook). Ability score bonuses from aging still accrue, and any penalties the alienist might have already taken remain in place. An alienist is stolen away by horrible entities when her time is up, and she is never seen again.

(Alternative 1) Alien Knowledge : At 9th level, the alienist has learned much about the pseudonatural. Their summon spells lasts 1 turn/level, and they no longer have a chance to call up Dread Elementals

(Alternative 2) Eldritch Knowledge : At 9th level, the alienist's knowledge on the pseudonatural causes them to even warp the darkest of magical arts : If a dread elemental is called forth, it is bound to the alienist's distorted mind, much like a regular elemental summoning would be.

(Original) Alien Transcendence (Su): A 10th-level alienist, because of long association with alien entities and intense study of insane secrets, transcends her mortal form and becomes an alien creature. Her type changes to outsider. Additionally, she gains damage reduction 10/magic and resistance to acid 10 and electricity 10. Upon achieving alien transcendence, an alienist undergoes a minor physical change, usually growing a small tentacle or other strange feature, such as an extra appendage, organ, eye, or enigmatic lump. An alienist can hide this abnormality in a robe or hood, but the alien growth is not under the alienist's control and sometimes moves, twitches, opens, or otherwise animates of its own accord. This applies a —4 penalty on Disguise checks an alienist makes to conceal her true nature. Anyone who shares an alienist's predilection for study of the Far Realms immediately recognizes her transcendent nature, and she gains a +2 circumstance bonus on all Charisma- based skill checks and ability checks when interacting with such beings. She gains a +2 circumstance bonus on Intimidate checks involving any other creatures to whom she reveals her abnormal nature.

(Tweaked) Alien Transcendence (Su): A 10th-level alienist, because of long association with alien entities and intense study of insane secrets, transcends their mortal form and becomes an alien creature. Her type changes to outsider. Additionally, they gain damage reduction 15/+4 and 15 Electricity and Acid Resistance. Due to their eldritch nature, they gain a -8 on disguise checks.



Anyway, thoughts?




Maffa

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Re: Prestige Clas Suggestion : Alienist
« Reply #1 on: October 13, 2021, 03:13:12 AM »
So, I am not sure where this would lead, honestly.

I spoke positively on the dread necromancer because it is a class that would help a would be evil character with getting on for a bit with its summons without getting ganked by Team Good the exact minute they reveal themselves.

But there is also the argument to be made that on one side the server frowns upon soling characters, and last time i looked about it a 8th level druid could solo invidians with some ease, and on the other past a certain point you need the whole array of arts and craft in order to get by dungeons and summons are generally considered more of a liability than a resource in a party. 

So it is at the same time too little and too much... [scratches head] I managed to confuse myself.

Nezmith

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Re: Prestige Clas Suggestion : Alienist
« Reply #2 on: October 13, 2021, 12:34:08 PM »
So it is at the same time too little and too much... [scratches head] I managed to confuse myself.

It's not that you confused or contradicted yourself so much that the policy on summons isn't entirely consistent with other classes' performances. Druids, clerics, voodan, and wizards (and sometimes paladins and bards, maybe fighter and some others using potions) can all solo very well using their class spells and abilities. Depending on the situation and class level, some of those classes do far better than others (wizards in the vestibule vs druids fighting pit fiends or large, scaly, winged things vs clerics/voodan in the Alhoon's lair). A pure summoner, whether using summon creature or animate dead, has to fill their entire spell loadout with summon spells to be effective with them and doesn't even begin to rival what the other classes are capable of if those classes just used a loadout centered on buffing themselves. This isn't even to mention the number of buff spells that have to be used to keep a summon alive in certain combats.

The absolute biggest problem with summons would be that question of permanence, next to creature size and actual combat abilities. Since the grand majority of summons are frontline fighters, if the summoner IS ever part of a group, the summons are typically used to fill the gap of a frontline fighter. The problem there is that having a tank that could disappear at an almost utterly indeterminable and short period of time is a massive liability for everyone involved, and so summons are typically avoided completely EXCEPT for instances of soloing, where the summoner can stay invisible and avoid drawing aggro.

Personally, I never enter dungeons without atleast one other person (honestly, less than four is a rarity, exceptions are if I'm running a dead party out), even on my necromancer characters. The question of whether a person is going to use a class's abilities to solo ultimately fall down to whether that person wants to use a class's powers to solo or thinks their RP is just that exclusive. As I've said before, the options for soloing are there and people can and do use it. It doesn't hold to reason that clerics are a solo-only class, or wizards only solo after a point, even if some make that choice.

The end point I'm trying to make is that summoners are and probably always will be a sub-par class/class focus when it comes down to the question of soloing on this server, and not everyone wants to use summons for that purpose. I definitely think durations on summons could be extended without significantly hurting any sense of balance, and the idea of a summoner class in any form still holds interest to me even if they were left in the state they are in. At the end of the day, the RP holds the most interest me, it just doesn't have the chance to be explored too often.

Now, as for the actual class suggestion, I'm going to say it's interesting, but I have a serious gripe in that it's a PRC. The idea of a summoner that brings purely otherworldly creatures into existence is so.. alien.. ( :| ) that I don't imagine everyone will have access to this class just because they know a little lore. In other words, it sounds like something that'll become an application-only class with some sort of society tie-in (like pale masters & the red academy). With any luck, you'll have to go to the worst place in the core and learn about it from the academy in Port ( :^) ). As someone who's app-averse for a variety of reasons, I'd probably never get around to actually making one, or if I do, it'll be some rainy day far in the future.
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slash

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Re: Prestige Clas Suggestion : Alienist
« Reply #3 on: October 13, 2021, 12:51:58 PM »
I think it's interesting in concept, but I would like to see more Lovecraftian aspects incorporated into it. I think it'd be a cool way to have "mundane" magic in the module that is consistent with horror fiends, studying the occult and more esoteric or less-accepted forms of science.

With that said, I think it would be best to change the name to something like "Alchemist" etc.; the term "alienist" has a much different connotation in the server and generally refers to psychology and forms of therapy. Also, I don't really understand why this class would be restricted to non-lawful. If anything, I would imagine that people with a lawful or litigious disposition would flourish with these sorts of things, especially those who summons things like devils.
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SardineTheAncestor

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Re: Prestige Clas Suggestion : Alienist
« Reply #4 on: October 13, 2021, 01:35:32 PM »
But there is also the argument to be made that on one side the server frowns upon soling characters

This post is about summons and doesn't concern the class suggestion specifically:

Spoiler: show
The server doesn't "frown upon" soloing. Plenty of people spend a lot of time on the server solo, whether that is hitting dungeons alone or with undersized parties, or ninjalooting.

It's just that the dungeons themselves are designed to be experienced by a full party of 5 players at an appropriate level. Not all dungeons require exactly 5 players, but they made XP gains duplicate for up to 5 players for a reason. Over time, players learned to take advantage of it as best they could, and we got things like the two-buffer/two-melee composition with a single noncombatant that only does traps and locks, which is a strategy that is fairly safe in pretty much every dungeon. But first you have to find those 4 or 5 players and actually go to the dungeon.

If you can just summon your way to victory, why bother taking the time to find other players, form a party, find a dungeon that's at an acceptable spawn level, only to risk them getting corpsed, after you spent so much time asking them what buffs they needed? You have to drag them back and spend a good chunk of the money you'd have earned if you even finished it just to revive them.

This sounds pessimistic, but look at it from the perspective of the summoner. He can freely summon and buff his creature of choice as often as he can rest, tell it to go attack, and it will just clear the dungeon for him. No thought, no nuance, no skill, no player interaction, no risk.

Why risk ninjalooting when it affords you the tiniest sliver of stealth XP only in certain circumstances? Why enter combat by flinging clouds at enemies that might break out of your AOEs and then chase you? Why spend a bunch of money on potions if you might get surrounded and out-damaged, left with no escape?

If your summon dies, the enemies in the dungeon don't even perceive you. You can just walk out, rest, and try again.

There's really no frowning upon going on, they are just encouraging you to group up and share with others, rather than punishing you for soloing.



Not sure how I feel about the class, but that's a given since I'm biased against eldritch themes and the gameplay of summons.

Sinthepie

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Re: Prestige Clas Suggestion : Alienist
« Reply #5 on: October 13, 2021, 05:27:42 PM »
As a player who has tried MANY times to make summons useful in party comps, I find this class giving me the butterflies in my stomach... or perhaps it is the eldritch deity I peeked upon as I gazed into the depths of the world. Pretty sure it was just an expedition to find the long lost treasure of Blackbeard yet this coin I found down there, it is pretty... surely this could not be the cause of all the sounds.