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DnD3.5e: Don't stick your fork in that power socket!! (Base Class)

   
Don't stick your fork in that power socket!! (Base Class)

Capacitor

"You've heard of trapping lightning in a bottle? Well, I'm the bottle."

Class InfoAdventurers: Most capacitors come into their power early in their lifetime. An experiment with electricity gone wrong, an unfortunate run-in with a storm elemental, or just being in the wrong place at the wrong time during a lightning storm. But however they came by their powers, they all feel the same drive to just go, Go, GO! The latent magical energies in their body attracts the electricity in the air, and that constant electrical charge circulating through their bodies pushes them into activity, whether it be simple menial tasks, or the grand journey of adventure.

Characteristics: Capacitors use the swirling forces inside their own body to great effect, but such constant exertion would quail frailer men. The most important ability for capacitors is constitution, though strength and dexterity are useful to those who prefer close combat.

Alignment: Capacitors have no inherent leanings in behavior, so can be any alignment, though those especially frayed by the power coursing through their bodies may tend toward Chaotic.

Religion: Capacitors have no special religious affiliations.

Background: The latent magical energy laying inside a capacitor usually indicates a previous leaning toward sorcery, or some other type of arcanistry typically borne from the blood or innate power. However, in every case, the capacitor's energies boiled over when introduced to a massive surge of electricity. You'd be surprised how many capacitors' stories of how they came into their power start with, "So, I was outside during a lightning storm..."

Races: Any race that can harness magic can become a capacitor.

Other Classes: Capacitors get along well with most other classes, although clerics can be a little preachy with all their supposed wisdom and their insistence on "slowing down and thinking things through." Druids aren't particularly fond of a capacitor's gravitation toward metal and highly destructive force.

Role: Damage, with a touch of support. Electricity is highly destructive, but channeled properly, it can be used for more than killing and blowing things up.

Crunch: Myth-Weavers, GITP


This is my Capacitor base class. As the name suggests, the class deals in electricity, and I've taken that basic idea and run with it. This project has taken me a few months, but it's been an interesting exercise. Trying to juggle all the elements in the class has been difficult, trying to balance it between damage output, playstyle, and alternate utility, and still maintaining the flavor of the original concept. I still feel like there are a few things missing (it could definitely use a few more 4th-level spells, for example), but overall I'm happy with the concept as it's turned out.

I've left a link to my homebrew page both here on MW, and the one on GITP. The latter is a bit better formatted, but they both have the same info, so it doesn't matter which you look at.

Any comments or suggestions or just opinions would be appreciated!!

First read-through...

Please clarify:
  • Charge
    Is this an automatic ability, meaning the C. is constantly gaining CP and needs to discharge regularly (or take damage) or is this an activated ability (if so, what kind of action to (de-)activate and how long is it active ?
  • Jolt
    What is 'a large amount of metal' ? A suit of metal armor ? Any weapon made primarily of metal ? Any weapon primarily made of metal of medium size or larger ? A dagger ? A belt buckle ?
  • Static Flare
    Is this an immediate action ? Always active and unlimited ? Always active but limited to something ?
    I'd recommend adding a CP cost per backlash or making it an activated ability (immediate) with a CP cost.
  • Jump Start
    Can a C. use this ability if he's already exhausted ?
  • Empower Talent
    The increase of the CP cost (and other info) is misplaced (found under Extend Talent). Edit: Fixed the MW Wiki entry
  • Talented Discharge
    Can a single spell-like ability be enhanced by several Talents ? Can a single spell-like ability be enhanced by a single Talent more than once (Twinned, Twinned, Twinned Orb of Electricity ?)
    And how do the cost increases stack (i.e. mathematically or D&D stacking) ?

Suggestions:
  • Lightning Rod
    This seems too much at 5th level; I'd suggest splitting the ability over several levels, i.e. increasing range, offering an evasion effect first, the improved evasion later.
  • Backup Battery
    I'd suggest limiting the number of backup batteries a C. can have at a time or adding a cost to create them.
    Since generating CP out of combat is trivial and the batteries can be used as free AoE weapons in large quantity / free traps...
  • Static Surge
    Hmmm.... A once per encounter ability (barring backup batteries), dealing large amounts of damage (23d8 minimum, assuming Con 16). With a save-or-stun for the next min. 7 rounds...
    I'd recommend shortening the duration; otherwise, it's a save-or-die...
  • Piercing Talent
    Ugh. Personal opinion, but I dislike the fire-so-hot-it-ignores-fire-immunity. Same here.
  • Thundering Talent
    Same cost as Empower Talent, but clearly superior by forcing a strong save-or-suck and a mild save-or-suck. I'd suggest increasing the cost - or decreasing Empower Talent's cost.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Whisper View Post
First read-through...

Please clarify:
[list][*]Charge
Is this an automatic ability, meaning the C. is constantly gaining CP and needs to discharge regularly (or take damage) or is this an activated ability (if so, what kind of action to (de-)activate and how long is it active ?
Always On. It can't be turned off, and the character needs to regularly release electricity to avoid going over his insulation limit.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Whisper View Post
[*]Jolt
What is 'a large amount of metal' ? A suit of metal armor ? Any weapon made primarily of metal ? Any weapon primarily made of metal of medium size or larger ? A dagger ? A belt buckle ?
I patterned it after the wording for Shocking Grasp. I felt the wording was sufficient.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Whisper View Post
[*]Static Flare
Is this an immediate action ? Always active and unlimited ? Always active but limited to something ?
I'd recommend adding a CP cost per backlash or making it an activated ability (immediate) with a CP cost.
Always active and unlimited, no action required. Considering the limited amount of damage it does, and the fact that it's limited to melee attacks only, I didn't feel there was a reason to force the character to burn CP for it. Even when you get it at level 3, you'll only be doing what... 5-6 damage per hit?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Whisper View Post
[*]Jump Start
Can a C. use this ability if he's already exhausted ?
I don't know, can a barbarian use his Rage ability when he's already exhausted? Because the wording is exactly the same.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Whisper View Post
[*]Talented Discharge
Can a single spell-like ability be enhanced by several Talents ? Can a single spell-like ability be enhanced by a single Talent more than once (Twinned, Twinned, Twinned Orb of Electricity ?)
And how do the cost increases stack (i.e. mathematically or D&D stacking) ?
It works just like metamagic does, with the same limitations (I suppose I should add that to the description). As far as the cost increases go, they all say exactly how much they increase the cost by. So, if you Empower and Quicken a level 2 SLA, you increase the base cost by 150%. Or you can just add the cost separately. It all adds up to the same cost.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Whisper View Post
[*]Lightning Rod
This seems too much at 5th level; I'd suggest splitting the ability over several levels, i.e. increasing range, offering an evasion effect first, the improved evasion later.
It's only against electricity attacks. How often do enemies even use electricity attacks, much less AOE electricity attacks? Since it's only against a single element, I didn't feel any reason to make it weaker. It's situational, and in those situations it should be useful.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Whisper View Post
[*]Backup Battery
I'd suggest limiting the number of backup batteries a C. can have at a time or adding a cost to create them.
Since generating CP out of combat is trivial and the batteries can be used as free AoE weapons in large quantity / free traps...
This is something I was considering as well, and for the same reasons. But I figured I'd leave it as-is until I got more feedback about it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Whisper View Post
[*]Static Surge
Hmmm.... A once per encounter ability (barring backup batteries), dealing large amounts of damage (23d8 minimum, assuming Con 16). With a save-or-stun for the next min. 7 rounds...
I'd recommend shortening the duration; otherwise, it's a save-or-die...
Hmm... you think so? I mean, they get a save every round for the stun, so it's not an automatic save-or-die. I agree it's pretty powerful... hmmm. You think I should drop it to a flat number of rounds?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Whisper View Post
[*]Piercing Talent
Ugh. Personal opinion, but I dislike the fire-so-hot-it-ignores-fire-immunity. Same here.
Well, since the entire class revolves around doing electricity damage, it would be kinda worthless if I left that huge, glaring "YOU SUCK BECAUSE I'M IMMUNE!!!" weakness. Just my opinion.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Whisper View Post
[*]Thundering Talent
Same cost as Empower Talent, but clearly superior by forcing a strong save-or-suck and a mild save-or-suck. I'd suggest increasing the cost - or decreasing Empower Talent's cost.
It also dazes you for a round when you use it. It's a straight rip from Born of the Three Thunders, which doesn't change the level of the spell when used. I felt a 50% markup (on top of the dazed effect) was sufficient.

Isn't the point of armor to get in the way of attacks?

So technically, magnetizing a piece of armor or a shield would make it MORE effective rather then less...

Making a suit of armor repel metal would shunt the tip of a blade or spear towards an area lacking in metal. Like the armpit, face or groin. (You've created the nut-shot spell!)

There is a spell out there somewhere that has a similar ability with arrows and shields. It makes the shield draw the arrows towards it to prevent them from striking the wielder.

That said, you might consider swapping the roles of the polarity ability. (Ironic...)

A bunch of rings would be GREAT back-up batteries it seems.

You don't need to reach for them to draw in their power, and if someone pisses you off, you just punch him...

If you don't mind having to reach for them, tail rings or arrow heads would be nice too. A simple tail slap turns them into a weapon, as does firing them. And if you want to absorb the energy of the arrow. You can fire a regular one, grab the battery as a free action, then absorb its charge as part of your movement.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dirty Kobold View Post
A bunch of rings would be GREAT back-up batteries it seems.

You don't need to reach for them to draw in their power, and if someone pisses you off, you just punch him...

If you don't mind having to reach for them, tail rings or arrow heads would be nice too. A simple tail slap turns them into a weapon, as does firing them. And if you want to absorb the energy of the arrow. You can fire a regular one, grab the battery as a free action, then absorb its charge as part of your movement.
Backup batteries have to be at least diminutive in size. Rings are in the fine size category. And absorbing the energy from your battery is a move action, there's no place in the description that says you can do it as a free action as part of your movement.

Quote:
I patterned it after the wording for Shocking Grasp. I felt the wording was sufficient.
Quote:
Originally Posted by SRD
if the opponent is wearing metal armor (or made out of metal, carrying a lot of metal, or the like).
The spell gives a baseline (metal armor, the lightest being around 25 pounds), so a "a lot of metal" would probably default to a similar amount: 25 pounds or more. Jolt lacks that baseline.

Quote:
I don't know, can a barbarian use his Rage ability when he's already exhausted? Because the wording is exactly the same.
Unless your designing solely for your personal use, minimizing unclear rules should be a design goal. Whether WotC is sloppy in its wording or not - well, we know that it often is

Quote:
It's only against electricity attacks. How often do enemies even use electricity attacks, much less AOE electricity attacks?
Depends on the campaign - but it's quite ironic that this ability comes online at the same time the iconic electricity AoE spells comes online: Lightning Bolt.

Quote:
Well, since the entire class revolves around doing electricity damage, it would be kinda worthless if I left that huge, glaring "YOU SUCK BECAUSE I'M IMMUNE!!!"
The drawback of specialization. And blanket immunities.
I find it simply impossible to imagine an electricity para- (or was it quasi-) elemental suffering damage from an electricity attack. (That's why I prefer such an approach to 'immunity').
But this is a basic design flaw in D&D, not your class (I'm looking at you, searing spell et al.).

Quote:
It also dazes you for a round when you use it. It's a straight rip from Born of the Three Thunders, which doesn't change the level of the spell when used. I felt a 50% markup (on top of the dazed effect) was sufficient
Spell slots are a more limited resources than CP (which (a) regenerate rapidly enough out of combat to be effectively unlimited and (b) regenerate fast even during a combat [6 CP for a 30ft move]), though. And Born of Three Thunders uses up a feat slot for a mediocre feat.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Whisper View Post
The spell gives a baseline (metal armor, the lightest being around 25 pounds), so a "a lot of metal" would probably default to a similar amount: 25 pounds or more. Jolt lacks that baseline.
Fair enough.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Whisper View Post
Unless your designing solely for your personal use, minimizing unclear rules should be a design goal. Whether WotC is sloppy in its wording or not - well, we know that it often is
I didn't make the statement to defend my wording, it was a legitimate question. I have no idea if Rage can be used while the barbarian is exhausted. And since the general idea for the ability was based off Rage, I'd like to keep the limits within the same parameters as well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Whisper View Post
Depends on the campaign - but it's quite ironic that this ability comes online at the same time the iconic electricity AoE spells comes online: Lightning Bolt.
That was intentional. There's no reason to grant it earlier, and granting it later is a case of "too little, too late," IMO. I appreciate your personal feelings on the subject, but it would be easier to determine if I should break up the ability or not if you had a more objective reasoning for it other than "It feels overpowered to me." This isn't a jab, I just can't make sweeping changes in good conscience without something more solid to base it on. If you could supply any sort of math or examples to illustrate why the ability is too powerful as-is, I'd be more inclined to take another look at it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Whisper View Post
Spell slots are a more limited resources than CP (which (a) regenerate rapidly enough out of combat to be effectively unlimited and (b) regenerate fast even during a combat [6 CP for a 30ft move]), though. And Born of Three Thunders uses up a feat slot for a mediocre feat.
Point. I suppose I could afford to increase the cost a bit, considering the nature of the class' spellcasting. I'm trying to strike a balance between "too easy to cast spells" and "never enough resource to go nova." It's sort of delicate.

In terms of Barbarian rage being usable while fatigued or exhausted, 3.5 never specified it. The fatigued condition states that anything done while fatigued that would normally cause you to become fatigued causes you to become exhausted, but there are no similar conditions "higher" than exhausted, so I guess that would be DM discretion. In Pathfinder, they specified that a Barbarian cannot enter a rage while fatigued or exhausted, but unlike 3.5, the fatigue from rage in Pathfinder only lasts twice the number of rounds it was active, rather than the remainder of the encounter.

So, unfortunately, you'll get no help on how to word your ability from base WotC 3.5 material that I'm aware of, and will have to decide how exactly you wish it to work for your class.





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