Wed Mar 03, 2010 3:30 am
Wed Mar 03, 2010 1:09 pm
This is the concept, but I think it needs a little help, perhaps, to get to something that is a little more balanced. Basically, I want Slayers to be killbots of the highest order, but make up for that with lacking a lot of the critical skills of the ranger/rogue/assassin (traps, poison use, opening locks, etc).
Wed Mar 03, 2010 7:36 pm
This is a case where I don't think you need to make a new class directly, but rather use the class and a half rules, that is to duplicate what is presented in this class. What is presented here is almost exactly the Ranger class plus the Assassin class combined. The only skills that are missing, are two from each class that are complimentary to each other, one additional skill from the Ranger, and a couple of skills from the assassin. I would make the class a Ranger supported by Assassin, with a few tweaks (as provided for, and samples listed in the PHB).
First is the Delay/Neutralize Poison from Ranger, and the Poison ability from the Assassin. These two abilities go directly hand in hand, and make up a core that, IMO, would fit this class perfectly. Especially since you could tweak the rules and make it pertinent only to the class of creature selected as the class of (un)beings that is their preferred enemy. Again, this is simply my opinion, you could still use the class and half rules and restrict this ability, especially if you require a good alignment; however, consider at least allowing the Delay/Neutralize of the Ranger to come through as protecting oneself against such would be paramount to the class.
Traps is the second skill both of them have, and again is something that would make sense for the Slayer in general, but I can see why you removed it.
The Survival ability of the Ranger has not been included, but will make much sense to add back, since often the Slayer will spend weeks or months stalking his prey and will have to live off the land.
Of the other missing assassin abilities, Sneak Attack must be added back in since it is a prerequisite for Death Attack. And the Disguise ability makes some of the most sense to add back in, as the Slayer will often need to penetrate into enemy strongholds, dwellings, encampments, etc. in order to carry out their mission.
Other things I would look to add as restrictions...
The Death Attack and Sneak attack may only be used against the creature class as identified under Combat Marauder (see also notes below).
HD scheme would be (as per class and a half rules) a d8/+2. After all the class has picked up much more stealth capability, and is not quite the tank it once was. (Side note, and option: I really liked the 1st Ed. Ranger that started with 2d8 to represent the much harder life they lived to that point, but kept the back from the excessively hard training that a Fighter received by continuing with a d8, ultimately ending with 11d8 for HP, placing them just short of the Max HP of a fighter with 9d10, assuming of course equal constitution bonus. I know that all classes max at 10HD at 10th level in C&C, so just allow the Ranger 11HD at 10th level, this will still leave them a bit behind the fighter, all things being equal, but fits with the more stealthy, less beat stick feel.)
If you carry forth with the fluff, that these are characters that battle evil, the alignment should be restricted to Any Good. If you wish to drop this as a requirement, then the Combat Marauder ability should be able to be opened to just about any class of creature, even including things such as Constructs. Also, when considering outsiders, you may want to restrict this to outsiders of an opposed moral outlook. That is Good Slayers can go at Evil Outsiders, and vice versa, with Neutral Slayers being able to either effect both or have to select one. Personally I would go with the former if the Slayer was true-Nuetral (N-N), otherwise, require them select one or the other.
Things that are not living pose serious questions regarding the death attack ability. Undead (and Constructs) come to mind quickly. Death Attack would not have any effect on them since they are not actually living beings. In fact, Death Attack is the ability I would be most likely to want to restrict or remove from the class in general, and instead boost the damage bonus from Combat Marauder to 2 x level in the event of a successful sneak attack. This could be a flat bonus applied evenly for all variants of this class, or could be a restriction based on the creature type selected. For example, those creature types that would most likely be exempt from a one hit kill... Undead, Constructs, Dragons (getting through even the soft underbelly to hit a critical location, based even simply on the bulk of the creature is highly unlikely), and such. You could also boost this with the Favored Enemy to 3x or 4x level, but remember Favored Enemy has to be very specific, i.e. Red Dragons, Vampires, etc.
I would reinforce the nature of Favored Enemy, which is missing specificity in your description. Also, consider returning it to beginning at 6th level as a normal Ranger. This ability is buffed with the addition of allowing more Favored Enemies to be selected, whereas the Ranger does not get to select additional. Not that I think it is a bad, thing, and I think the Ranger should have this ability expanded as well. Over time, they will naturally find more foes of a specific type to combat. Since the description states that the favored enemy should be selected, consistent with the experience of the Ranger, the ability would become useless after a few additional levels are gained, and that type of creature is a much less imminent threat. Consider though making the ability start at 6th level as normal, and allow an additional ever 6th level, that is 12th, 18th, 24th (if your campaigns ever get this high), etc.
Finally, note the restrictions listed under Special for the assassin regarding armor and their abilities. Use this rule to over ride the Ranger notes where it states that the ability can only be used in the armor types listed. Also, note that this is expanded to AC +3 armors under the class and a half rules. This though would remove the freedom of movement for those abilities for the +4 and +5 armors, instead causing a -1 and -2 penalty when in armors such as scale mail, Greek Ensemble, Chain Shirt or Hauberk, etc. Of course, feel free to make special exceptions if you so desire, I personally would not, keeping it more simple.
There you have it, more than I thought I would write on this when I started! In fact I went so long, I now have to rush to get out to work!!!
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JohnD wrote:I would use the Enhanced Classes book and see what combination of classes I needed to take to get the essence of this right.