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Pale Master kit for Sorcerers?

shawneshawne Member Posts: 3,239
edited August 2014 in Feature Requests
I'm wondering whether we might be able to see this as an option somewhere down the line - similar to the Dragon Disciple in terms of disadvantages (one less spell cast per level per day), but with more of an emphasis on undead/necromancy. So instead of a breath weapon, you'd have a paralyzing touch attack (which, at higher levels, could be reconfigured into a "save vs. death or be instantly killed" attack), AC bonuses from "bone skin", and Animate Dead as a special ability...

meaglothelminsterGallowglassSapphireIce101ElrandirNonnahswriterTRoarronaldoLuke93MaxxximusiKrivetko

Comments

  • TRoarTRoar Member Posts: 50
    edited August 2014
    I REALLY like this idea! I've always wanted to play as a Necromancer, but playing as a specialist Mage Necromancer was never quite appealing enough to me.

    I like your ability ideas. Animate Dead as a special ability would be sweet! This helps with the 'one less spell cast per level per day' disadvantage. And as the character gains levels the ability could level up like the Totemic Druids... totems in BGEE. Could also give him Summon Ghoul/Ghast, like Tiax's ability, or Summon Zombie/Revenant...

    Great idea, shawne!

    I'd also really like one or two more DD colour variants (green and white DD's would be my preferences, in that order). Unless there's another cool idea for a Sorcerer kit.

  • TRoarTRoar Member Posts: 50
    I was thinking about this again whilst creating a new character and something crossed my mind. Since the Pale Master is a 'Necromancer' type wizard/sorcerer, would the Pale Master be restricted from casting illusion school spells? And would that be a better disadvantage for the Pale Master than the 'one less spell casting per level per day' disadvantage?

  • GallowglassGallowglass Member Posts: 3,356
    Pretty decent idea, @shawne.

    Yes, @TRoar, I reckon it makes sense for a Pale Master to be disallowed from Illusion spells, for consistency with the specialist-Mage type of Necromancer. But no, not instead of losing one cast/day and with your other suggestion about an Improved Animate Dead ability.

    A Sorcerer kit's special abilities need to be relevant from BG1 to BG2:ToB, so it makes sense that they gradually improve in power and/or gain more uses/day. However, the proposed Pale Master already has a touch attack which will level (and presumably increase in uses/day as well), and remember that Animate Dead is already a spell which levels moderately well (summoning stronger Skeleton Warriors at higher levels), so further improving the Animate Dead ability by letting it become Summon Ghast (and at high levels, probably Summon Greater Ghoul, etc.) would be really powering-up this kit. If you want Improved Animate Dead, then I reckon it's fair that the Pale Master loses Illusion and still loses one cast/day (on the basis that he's "so focused on his special abilities"). Alternatively, if you want to give him back his one cast/day as compensation for losing the Illusion school, then I reckon you ought to be satisfied with merely the ordinary Animate Dead (which is already a pretty powerful ability, if you eventually get multiple uses/day!) One or the other, please, but not both.

    I suggest an alignment restriction as well: I don't see how a Pale Master could be any sort of Good, nor any sort of Lawful.

    TRoar
  • shawneshawne Member Posts: 3,239
    TRoar said:

    I was thinking about this again whilst creating a new character and something crossed my mind. Since the Pale Master is a 'Necromancer' type wizard/sorcerer, would the Pale Master be restricted from casting illusion school spells? And would that be a better disadvantage for the Pale Master than the 'one less spell casting per level per day' disadvantage?

    Sorcerers don't have school restrictions. Neither do Dragon Disciples.

    elminster
  • TRoarTRoar Member Posts: 50
    @Gallowglass, fair call on advantages/disadvantages. If it were possible, how would Summon Vampire/Lich, as HLAs, scale into Throne of Bhaal? I've never played through Throne of Bhaal, so I don't know if it would be overpowered.
    shawne said:

    TRoar said:

    I was thinking about this again whilst creating a new character and something crossed my mind. Since the Pale Master is a 'Necromancer' type wizard/sorcerer, would the Pale Master be restricted from casting illusion school spells? And would that be a better disadvantage for the Pale Master than the 'one less spell casting per level per day' disadvantage?

    Sorcerers don't have school restrictions. Neither do Dragon Disciples.
    Sorcerers aren't specialist mages, and I guess DD's aren't either, but I get what you're saying. Liches can cast illusion spells, can't they? Anyone know what the pen and paper rules say for Pale Masters?

  • DreadKhanDreadKhan Member Posts: 3,600
    I am familiar with the 3.x prestige class, and it is possible for that to use illusions. But thsts 3rd ed!

    Imo, restrictions can add tons of uniqueness. I like the no illusions dealio.

    TRoar
  • CaloNordCaloNord Member Posts: 1,799
    As do I, in a game like this if your going to add advantages like an innate ability and AC bonuses it's a great idea to take something away as well. Keeps balance working smoothly and can add a lovely flavour to the class. Forcing you to use skills and combinations you wouldn't normally try.

    GallowglassTRoar
  • GallowglassGallowglass Member Posts: 3,356
    TRoar said:

    @Gallowglass, fair call on advantages/disadvantages.

    Actually, even though you've agreed with what I originally said, I'm now having second thoughts. (I'm in the middle of a run with a Sorcerer at the moment, so Sorcerer is the class which is most on my mind.)

    Losing one cast/day is actually a pretty big hit for a Sorcerer, and in this case (unlike the Dragon Disciple) it hasn't been proposed to give stat boosts and resistances as additional compensation on top of the special abilities. Hmm ... I'm coming around to thinking that Pale Master does need a little more than the special touch attack and an ordinary Animate Dead. Maybe indeed your Improved Animate Dead actually is justifiable, or alternatively some relevant resistance ... for example, it might make sense for the proposed Pale Master kit to gain immunity to Death magic (analogous to a DD's Fire Resistance), or to gain automatically-successful saving throws against Death/Poison/Paralysis (which is a broader range of protection, but sometimes even a successful save still lets through half-damage).
    TRoar said:

    If it were possible, how would Summon Vampire/Lich, as HLAs, scale into Throne of Bhaal? I've never played through Throne of Bhaal, so I don't know if it would be overpowered.

    Interesting thought. I'd be cautious about a Summon Lich ability because Liches normally know a lot of high-level spells - it might negate the key concept that Sorcerers work with a very limited list of spells known, if they could simply summon something which could cast whatever spells they didn't know themselves. However, Summon Vampire probably wouldn't be a disproportionate power in ToB, and of course is thematically very appropriate. So yes, I quite like the Summon Vampire idea, and (by analogy with Elemental summonings) it could be even be allowed a chance of summoning a pair of vampires (25%?) or an extra-strong vampire (5%?).
    shawne said:

    Sorcerers don't have school restrictions. Neither do Dragon Disciples.

    TRoar said:

    Sorcerers aren't specialist mages, and I guess DD's aren't either, but I get what you're saying.

    Obviously you're both correct, so that's an interesting issue. Do Sorcerers have no school restriction because their magic is based on natural talent rather than schooling (in which case the same ought to apply for all Sorcerers including kits), or do Sorcerers have no school restrictions because there hasn't previously been a variety of Sorcerer who was also a "Specialist" in a particular school? (A DD may be said to have a "Fire specialty", but Fire isn't one of the "schools of magic" in 2nd edition, so a DD isn't a "Specialist" in the same sense as a Pale Master, who is clearly a sort-of-Necromancer.) I've no idea what PnP rules say about such things (if anything ... quite possibly nothing in the case of 2nd edition rules!)

    I do think losing the Illusion school would make the kit more interesting, because it justifies making the special abilities a little livelier (or rather, deadlier) in compensation. A kit should always remain recognisable as a member of the same class as the unkitted prototype, but within that limitation it's more attractive when both the advantages and the disadvantages of the kit are pretty distinctive.

    TRoar
  • shawneshawne Member Posts: 3,239
    edited September 2014
    The whole concept of spell restrictions is related to the idea that wizards study magic, and if they choose to focus on specific schools then they're naturally going to fall behind on others.

    Sorcerers can cast any spell simply because their magic is innate rather than learned - that's why INT doesn't affect their casting ability. So school restrictions wouldn't make sense for them or for any Sorcerer kit, because they don't have to "give up" anything in order to call on their power.

    ElrandirTRoarelminster
  • GallowglassGallowglass Member Posts: 3,356
    Not necessarily, @shawne. It'd be easy enough to imagine that if a Sorcerer's innate ability leans strongly towards one style of magic, s/he might therefore have very little innate ability at some "opposite" style of magic.

    The "opposition school(s)" to a particular Specialist Mage are meant to be the ones most opposite in style to the Mage's own school - that's what determines which schools are opposition and which are allowed. Thus it's quite consistent to suppose that the same opposition school(s) could apply in the case of a Sorcerer whose innate ability leaned strongly in one direction.

    By the way, remember that INT doesn't affect the casting ability of Mages either - it affects only their learning ability. Boost INT with a potion and even a rather dim Mage can learn more (and higher-level) spells, but then even after the potion wears off they'll still be able to cast those new spells.

    But anyway, we're arguing details here. I think everyone who has commented at all is basically in favour of your proposal. There's room for more Sorcerer kits, and I reckon Pale Master ought to be a serious contender.

    elminster
  • TRoarTRoar Member Posts: 50
    edited September 2014

    Losing one cast/day is actually a pretty big hit for a Sorcerer, and in this case (unlike the Dragon Disciple) it hasn't been proposed to give stat boosts and resistances as additional compensation on top of the special abilities. Hmm ... I'm coming around to thinking that Pale Master does need a little more than the special touch attack and an ordinary Animate Dead. Maybe indeed your Improved Animate Dead actually is justifiable, or alternatively some relevant resistance ... for example, it might make sense for the proposed Pale Master kit to gain immunity to Death magic (analogous to a DD's Fire Resistance), or to gain automatically-successful saving throws against Death/Poison/Paralysis (which is a broader range of protection, but sometimes even a successful save still lets through half-damage).

    I think a bonus to the saves you mention is a very good idea. Some of the others classes have outright immunities and resistances. I wouldn't be against the Pale Master also having a little resistance against cold and poison, say 20%, and also being susceptible to fire and maybe electricity, -20%. Thoughts? I'm not sure about the electricity myself, but the thought came to me from a documentary I watched about Giovanni Aldini ( www.youtube.com/watch?v=O4hogXoL6HA ), who experimented on the dead with electrical equipment, and who was related to Luigi Galvani, who did similar experiments but on frog's legs... Anyway, the dead are kind of susceptible to electricity, but then again so are the living...
    Interesting thought. I'd be cautious about a Summon Lich ability because Liches normally know a lot of high-level spells - it might negate the key concept that Sorcerers work with a very limited list of spells known, if they could simply summon something which could cast whatever spells they didn't know themselves. However, Summon Vampire probably wouldn't be a disproportionate power in ToB, and of course is thematically very appropriate. So yes, I quite like the Summon Vampire idea, and (by analogy with Elemental summonings) it could be even be allowed a chance of summoning a pair of vampires (25%?) or an extra-strong vampire (5%?).
    I'm liking the 25% chance for two vamps, and the 5% chance for a stronger vamp idea. I hadn't thought about Liches compensating for the Pale Master's spell list. You're right, good point! I was kinda just thinking how cool it would be. :D lol
    Obviously you're both correct, so that's an interesting issue. Do Sorcerers have no school restriction because their magic is based on natural talent rather than schooling (in which case the same ought to apply for all Sorcerers including kits), or do Sorcerers have no school restrictions because there hasn't previously been a variety of Sorcerer who was also a "Specialist" in a particular school? (A DD may be said to have a "Fire specialty", but Fire isn't one of the "schools of magic" in 2nd edition, so a DD isn't a "Specialist" in the same sense as a Pale Master, who is clearly a sort-of-Necromancer.)

    I do think losing the Illusion school would make the kit more interesting, because it justifies making the special abilities a little livelier (or rather, deadlier) in compensation. A kit should always remain recognisable as a member of the same class as the unkitted prototype, but within that limitation it's more attractive when both the advantages and the disadvantages of the kit are pretty distinctive.
    Part of the idea of restricting illusion spells was initially definitely about flavor. I've always wanted to play a proper necromancer in these games (and, as a side note, I've always wanted an IE game where you play as a goblin/orc/gnoll/kobold/xvart/zombie/skeleton, and whatever else you can think of, monstrous party with proper evil intentions.)
    shawne said:

    The whole concept of spell restrictions is related to the idea that wizards study magic, and if they choose to focus on specific schools then they're naturally going to fall behind on others.

    Sorcerers can cast any spell simply because their magic is innate rather than learned - that's why INT doesn't affect their casting ability. So school restrictions wouldn't make sense for them or for any Sorcerer kit, because they don't have to "give up" anything in order to call on their power.

    That's exactly what I thought you meant, @shawne. It's a fair point. I was more less thinking what Gallowglass wrote, a necromantic sorcerer.

    I hope you don't mind us throwing these ideas out in the open, because, as Gallowglass wrote...:

    I think everyone who has commented at all is basically in favour of your proposal. There's room for more Sorcerer kits, and I reckon Pale Master ought to be a serious contender.

    ... I really like your idea, and am keen to nut out the concept, and tap Beamdog on the shoulder. Have you given any more thought to how you would like the Pale Master to shape up, both in terms of flavor and the details?

  • shawneshawne Member Posts: 3,239
    edited September 2014
    @TRoar: I wouldn't expect Beamdog to respond to this, let alone implement it; it's pretty much mod or bust IMO.

    And like all mod kits, the thing you absolutely have to avoid is anything that could unbalance or break the game. Summoning level-draining vampires or liches would be out of the question.

    I'd suggest looking to how Beamdog implemented the Dragon Disciple as a useful, if not perfect, example of translating 3E prestige classes to 2E kits. When you look at Pale Masters in "Neverwinter Nights 2", it's pretty straightforward: standard wizard/sorcerer progression (in that particular game, you only get new spells every other level, but given the obvious disparity between a Wizard PM and a Sorcerer PM I'd just convert that to BG's "one less spell cast per level per day"), plus bonuses to saves and AC, Animate Dead once per day, and the Undead Graft (paralyzing touch attack, upgraded to save-or-die at level 20) being the equivalent of the Dragon Disciple's breath weapon.

    TRoar
  • TRoarTRoar Member Posts: 50
    @shawne:

    Fair enough on all accounts. I guess my mind kind of got a bit carried away, haha.

  • AionZAionZ Member Posts: 2,709
    edited September 2014
    Agreed, this seems more fitting for the modding section. But I am interested... how does the following sound?

    PALE MASTER: Necromancy is usually a poor choice for arcane spellcasters -- those who really want to master the deathless arts almost always pursue divine means. However, an alternative exists for those who desire power over undead but refuse to give up their arcane craft completely. Enter the pale master, who draws on a font of special lore that provides a macabre power all its own.

    Advantages:
    - 1st level: +2 bonus to AC.
    - 5th level: May use Animate Dead once per day.

    ANIMATE DEAD: As per the mage and cleric spell, summons an allied skeleton warrior to serve the caster.

    - 6th level: May use Undead Graft twice per day.

    UNDEAD GRAFT: The pale master touches a target with a ghoulish hand. Target must save vs. death or be held for 5 rounds.

    - 8th level: Gains +2 to saves vs. death.
    - 10th level: Undead Graft forces a save at -1.
    - 12th level: Immunity to hold, stun and poison.
    - 14th level: Undead Graft forces a save at -2.
    - 15th level: May use Create Boneguard once per day.

    CREATE BONEGUARD: Summons a powerful boneguard to serve the caster for 2 hours.

    - 16th level: May use Deathless Touch twice per day.

    DEATHLESS TOUCH: The pale master touches a target with a life-snuffing hand. Target must save vs. death or die instantly.

    - 18th level: Undead Graft forces a save at -3.
    - 20th level: Immunity to death magic, cold, level drain and ability drain.
    - Hit Die: d6

    Disadvantages:
    - May cast one fewer spell per level per day.
    - Alignment restricted to non-good.
    - Incurs a -2 penalty to Charisma.
    - Race restricted to human.

    shawneTRoarelminster
  • shawneshawne Member Posts: 3,239
    edited September 2014
    @Artemius_I: That sounds... perfect, actually. :) I'm not sure what the difference is between Animate Dead and Boneguard - doesn't the former produce a Skeleton Warrior past level 15 anyway? - but other than that, this sounds exactly like something I'd want to see in a mod kit.

    Now the question becomes: can it be done (ie: is it technically feasible)? @elminster? @Tresset?

  • AionZAionZ Member Posts: 2,709
    I'm honestly not even sure where the boneguard comes from. Now that I'm looking for source materials, it doesn't seem to exist. BG2 Refinements, I think? It's a more powerful Skeleton Warrior with the Bone Golem model from what I remember.

    The kit should be quite simple to make. I could probably make the abilities and get them to work, but I often fail hard at making WeiDU do what I need it to, and I haven't claimed a prefix either, which is kind of a necessity to avoid mod clashes. If anyone's kind enough to help me compile the kit, I could get to work on the necessary files.

    shawneTRoar
  • shawneshawne Member Posts: 3,239
    I do have one suggestion/request, though: given the alignment restriction and the penalties to Charisma and spellcasting, the racial restriction might not be necessary - especially since Dragon Disciples don't have that requirement...

  • AionZAionZ Member Posts: 2,709
    I added that because elves in FR abhor undead and necromancy. I think it goes into a psychological level similar to a phobia - sure, you as the PC can be an exception, but it felt more fitting that way, just like how elves can't be necromancers. Not sure if half-elves are the same.

    shawneTRoar
  • shawneshawne Member Posts: 3,239
    Good point - human-only it is. :)

  • AionZAionZ Member Posts: 2,709
    Well, I've gotten the spells and effects working, but as I said I can't for the life of me get WeiDU to work properly, hence I can't test the 2das or make sure that the kit itself actually works.

    Another problem is that the Dragon Disciple's -1 spell per level seems to be hardcoded - I've scoured the entire list of 2das and failed to find the relevant table. As a result, that disadvantage isn't implemented, which means this class is probably overpowered. It may still be possible to create the disadvantage, but that's unfortunately beyond my skill. If anyone wants to look over the files and fix my noob coding, they're welcome to, and in fact I'd be highly grateful.

    Also I suggest a mod move this thread to the modding section.

    shawneTRoar
  • DeeDee Member Posts: 10,438
    As an alternative to giving once/day innate abilities, what about just adding them as Known Spells? That way the sorcerer gets actual added versatility in exchange for a loss of spells per day, and it can use its special abilities more often than once per day.

    Say, Animate Dead as a level 3 spell, Create Boneguard as a level 4 or 5, up to maybe a level 8 spell that creates a small army of Skeleton Warriors?

  • DeeDee Member Posts: 10,438
    @‌Artemius_I I believe the spell table you're looking for is MXSPLDD.2da.

  • AionZAionZ Member Posts: 2,709
    edited September 2014
    Dee said:

    As an alternative to giving once/day innate abilities, what about just adding them as Known Spells? That way the sorcerer gets actual added versatility in exchange for a loss of spells per day, and it can use its special abilities more often than once per day.

    Say, Animate Dead as a level 3 spell, Create Boneguard as a level 4 or 5, up to maybe a level 8 spell that creates a small army of Skeleton Warriors?

    That's... actually not a bad idea, though in that case I'd have to nerf the Boneguard (which I renamed to Skeleton Abomination) quite a bit since I balanced it around 1. a spell level 7-8 summon and 2. that you can only have one at a time. I've just finished with a bout of rage against my own code, though, so it's probably something I won't get back to for a while.
    Dee said:

    @‌Artemius_I I believe the spell table you're looking for is MXSPLDD.2da.

    I found it. The problem is I have no idea how to implement it into a custom kit. There seems to be no string variable for it, at least not that I've found.

    shawne
  • shawneshawne Member Posts: 3,239
    Dee said:

    As an alternative to giving once/day innate abilities, what about just adding them as Known Spells? That way the sorcerer gets actual added versatility in exchange for a loss of spells per day, and it can use its special abilities more often than once per day.

    Say, Animate Dead as a level 3 spell, Create Boneguard as a level 4 or 5, up to maybe a level 8 spell that creates a small army of Skeleton Warriors?

    For the same reason the Dragon Disciple's breath weapon doesn't count as a Known Spell - innate abilities stand out as advantages unique to the kit, as opposed to being standard elements of a Sorcerer's repertoire.

    TRoar
  • TRoarTRoar Member Posts: 50
    Holy crap, nice work! I'm grinning from ear to ear!

    shawne
  • shawneshawne Member Posts: 3,239
    Just gave it a trial run - it looks good! :)

    There are a few minor issues with placement: Animate Dead initially turns up as a Known Spell rather than an Innate Ability, but if you choose Animate Dead as an actual spell on level-up, the extra casting gets shunted to Innate. Also, Undead Graft turns up in the Innates, but Deathless Touch appears after the 10th-level Known Spells.

    Still, this is off to a phenomenal start. Well done, @Artemius_I! :) Do you mind if I cross-post this to the Modding forum, maybe get some more eyes and hands on it?

  • AionZAionZ Member Posts: 2,709
    shawne said:

    There are a few minor issues with placement: Animate Dead initially turns up as a Known Spell rather than an Innate Ability, but if you choose Animate Dead as an actual spell on level-up, the extra casting gets shunted to Innate. Also, Undead Graft turns up in the Innates, but Deathless Touch appears after the 10th-level Known Spells.

    GAHHHHHHHHH I KNEW I HAD MISSED SOMETHING

    I remembered noting that the spells showed up in the wrong section but because they were functional I decided to leave them till later. I forgot completely about that part. I'll get to fixing it right now.
    shawne said:

    Still, this is off to a phenomenal start. Well done, @Artemius_I! :) Do you mind if I cross-post this to the Modding forum, maybe get some more eyes and hands on it?

    Go ahead. I'm skeptical about the mod's current state, and I can't guarantee it won't do weird things, so I'd indicate that it's not a stable release yet.

  • AionZAionZ Member Posts: 2,709
    Alright, give this version a try. The spells should appear in the right place.

    shawne
  • shawneshawne Member Posts: 3,239
    Just tried the new one: Deathless Touch is in the right place, but now Create Boneguard turns up after Improved Alacrity. :)

    Also, the kit description says you get two uses of the Graft and Deathless Touch abilities; I cheated my PM to level 28, but only got one use of each.

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