Author Topic: Shield Magister  (Read 3972 times)

Don Jentleman

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Shield Magister
« on: October 03, 2013, 06:46:08 PM »
Shield Magister
Your ability to use a shield is so profound that is has become an integral part of your fighting style, just as much as the weapon you use.

Circle 1: Stalwart Defense EX
All weapons you wield gain the [Guardian] property. You also gain a shield that is a Lesser item of your design with enchantments as normal for magic shield of its tier, but does not count against your normal limit of attuned magic items. When you gain your 4th circle in Shield Magister, redesign this shield as a Greater item, and when you gain your 6th circle, redesign it as a Relic.

Circle 2: Spiraling Counter EX
Once per [Round], if an opponent within your [Melee] range makes an attack roll against you and hits, you may deal damage to them equal your character level.

Circle 3: Weather the Storm EX
As a swift action, you may grant yourself a +3 bonus to either AC or saving throws until the beginning of your next turn.

Circle 4: Valiant Defense
You gain [Resistance] to physical damage.

Circle 5: No Quarter EX
Twice per [Encounter], as an immediate action, you may force a creature within your [Melee] range to become [Checked] in all directions for 1 [Round]. A successful Fortitude save (10 + 1/2 lv + KDM) simply reduces your opponent's movement speed for their next movement by half. If the opponent is [Immune] to [Binding] effects, then they simply take the reduced effect without a save.

Circle 6: Punishing Counter EX
You may use Spiraling Counter twice per [Round], and the range increases to [Close]. You may only trigger Spiraling Counter once per attack roll, but these attack rolls can be from the same opponent, or from 2 different opponents. Additionally, an opponent affected by Spiraling Counter becomes [Battered] for one [Round].

Circle 7: Unyielding Defense EX
You no longer start combat [Flat-Footed], you are [Immune] to [Binding] and movement reduction effects (including moving out of a square of difficult terrain), and you cannot be knocked [Prone]. Whenever you would move as the result of an offensive action an opponent takes, you may choose not to move instead.
« Last Edit: October 04, 2013, 05:57:37 PM by Don Jentleman »

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Re: Bastion
« Reply #1 on: October 03, 2013, 07:02:27 PM »
you may want to rethink the name, so as to avoid confusion with Protection: The Seven Circles of Bastion.

Don Jentleman

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Re: With my Shield
« Reply #2 on: October 03, 2013, 07:07:04 PM »
Good point. Name has been changed to With my Shield, until I either think of something better, or I get a suggestion for the track name that I like.

Zaq

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Re: With my Shield
« Reply #3 on: October 03, 2013, 09:06:47 PM »
First thoughts:

C1: Looks great to me.

C2: Hmm. Fortune's Friend C2 gives a +2 to saves AND skills AND attack rolls as a swift action, and you can use it on an ally if you need to. It's not entirely the same, since it doesn't have AC, but I still feel like it's a pretty stark contrast. (I know that not every circle of every track will be equal to every circle of every other track, but it's still useful to compare.) Perhaps have it affect allies nearby to you (adjacent when you get it, then slowly expanding, maybe to [Melee] at C4 and [Close] at C6 or C7?)? Not sure if that'd be too much, but a swift action is a pretty big deal overall. At a minimum, I'd have this eventually (C4? C5? Not sure exactly when) affect both AC and saves. I mean heck, Esoterica Radica C2 gives both (and an immediate is better than a swift), and by C4 or so, you're probably going to have more uses of it than you are chances to use it. It needs something. I just dunno what.

C3: Not bad, not bad. I kind of feel like it should trigger on any attack, though, not just a hit. The whole point of a shield is not to get hit, right? C1 and C2 both contribute to having a high AC, after all, and while it's not really possible to become unhittable in Legend, it seems just a hair perverse to me to make you harder to hit, then say one of your more iconic abilities only works when you get hit.

C4: Works for me. Unconditional/nearly unconditional [Resistance] is pretty much a classic defensive C4 (DotDragon, Battle's Tempering, Sentient Construct), so we're all good.

C5: Hmm. Decent way of keeping folks nearby. There's no DC listed; presumably it's 10 + 1/2 lv + KOM, but I wouldn't be surprised if it's KDM instead. Either way, it should be listed. I'm a little wary of a C5 ability that only works once and that can be 100% negated with a single Fort save; I'd at least give it a partial effect on a successful save. (Part of me wants to say that if the enemy succeed on the save, you should spend the action but not the use of the ability, but I'm not positive that that would be balanced.) It is also worth mentioning that [Checked] does inherently have the [Binding] tag, so some of the foes you most want to lock down are going to have ways around it. What I'm saying is that for a C5 ability, this has a pretty high chance of just plain not working, and that bothers me.

C6: Like C5, the DC should be listed. You should specify that you can't use Spiraling Counter twice as a result of the same swing, unless that's intended. Even if you don't agree with me that the C3 version of Spiraling Counter should happen on a swing rather than a hit, this one DEFINITELY should. How appropriate is it to say that you couldn't slap [Battered] on the guy who clanged off your signature shield, but you could do so to the guy who got in a lucky shot and hit you?

C7: I am not sold. If you want to involve [Flat-footed], I'd say either give [Immunity] to [Flat-footed] outright, or just say that you suffer no penalty to AC from being [Flat-footed] if you don't feel comfortable with what [Immunity] would do to Reign of Arrows. Maybe if you just say that you cannot suffer a penalty to AC from anything you don't do to yourself? Still, I expect more from C7. For contrast, you've got tracks that make you invincible for a round (Ancestors, DotDragon, Celestial), you've got tracks that halve the damage you take from one source every single round (Fortune's Friend, Force of Will), you've got tracks that make you not die when you should (Bastion, Heroica, Combat Alchemist) . . . and of course there's all the rez abilities, though I'm not expecting a rez from this. But I am expecting more than what we've got here. What are you hoping for? A hellaton of [Immunities], like you get from Judgment? Consistent damage reduction, like you get from FF/FoW? Something unique and new? Getting the extra use of your C5 ability is fine (Knight does just the same thing), and the way of ignoring forced movement is not a bad ability (it's a big chunk of a Relic, after all), but I'm just not satisfied with the existing package.

I like the idea of the track, but I think it needs some polish.
« Last Edit: October 03, 2013, 09:16:02 PM by Zaq »
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Lockon Stratos

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Re: With my Shield
« Reply #4 on: October 03, 2013, 09:08:37 PM »
I am disappoint with the distinct lack of shield throwing. Where is my laser-guided ring of death boomerang?
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Don Jentleman

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Re: With my Shield
« Reply #5 on: October 03, 2013, 09:34:46 PM »
@ Stratos: Heh, sorry, you'll have to fluff another track or weapon for some of that kind of action. This track is meant to be more for shield bashing and defense rather than being Captain America. :P

@Zaq-
C2: Maybe I could boost the power of this ability by granting both instead of one or the other. Or, I could increase the bonus by one at 4th circle, and again at 6th. Either way, I'll think about it.
C3: I was thinking the same thing, but this is essentially a better copy of Truly Bad Poeple, since you can pick who this triggers on, and has increased damage. I will admit that the AC bonuses and this ability do clash.
C5: I was also thinking the same thing, but I have no clue as to what I should put instead. Maybe some movement reduction on a failed save, since this is meant to stop movement. I can't go with the usage save, the whole point of [Encounter] abilities is to have them be some sort of a gamble to use them. Saving the usage on a failed use works against that.
C6: Good catch on the specification. I'm half tempted to simply remove the save on the [Battered] condition to make up for the fact that it only procs on a hit.
C7: Yeah, I didn't want to give immunity to [Flat-Footed] so that this wouldn't counter tracks. I could with your idea about it not reducing AC, as well as tack on being able to use immediate actions while [Flat-Footed]. If I grant it [Immunities], then it might clash with Fortress enchantment, which can be gained at C6 with the Relic upgrade. I would have to grant more obscure [Immunities], and those tend to be less powerful... I don't want to load this circle too much, but I also want to make it more unique, which is why I want to avoid previous 7th circle abilities.

Zaq

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Re: With my Shield
« Reply #6 on: October 04, 2013, 01:36:13 AM »
Well, for another reference point with C2, Professional Soldier C3 is a move action to give all allies in [Close] a +2/3/4 to AC and Reflex, scaling at level 12 (roughly C5) and level 18 (roughly C7). Of course, they're not perfectly analogous (C2 vs. C3, move vs. swift, all saves vs. Reflex, you vs. allies), but the more points of comparison we have, the better. I'm wary of just making the numbers huge, since that's rarely a great idea in Legend. Still, Celestial and Demon have C3 swifts that give a +3 either to AC or attack rolls, for what that's worth. I would be wary of scaling it at C4 and C6 just because your C1 already scales then, but I don't know if there's necessarily a better time, if there's scaling to be done.

For C5, the problem with the partial effect on a save (and why I couldn't think of anything offhand to suggest) is that it's hard to figure out just what that should be. Halving their movement speed wouldn't necessarily work, because there are a lot of ways to move without involving your movement speed, not the least of which is the simple 5 ft step. Perhaps a failed save would stop their movement (this helps mitigate, but not totally ignore, [Immunity] to [Binding) and impose [Checked] in all directions, and a successful save would mean that they could move but couldn't leave your [Melee] range? That way they could still reposition themselves and perhaps get out of range of one of your allies, but they wouldn't be able to disengage from you. Seems more fitting for a Knight than for this track, but it's not like the two are entirely dissimilar.

I'm not sure how I feel about your statement about there being an element of risk in [Encounter] powers. It's not entirely false, but there's also plenty of counterexamples. Besides, there's still risk, even if you go with my idea of getting back the ability but not the action if the enemy doesn't cooperate; losing your immediate action is not a trivial cost (especially since that means that you'd need another source of swift actions to use C2), and you still didn't get to affect an enemy you presumably wanted to keep in place. It's like Reliable powers in 4e; it doesn't mean that you never miss, or that you're not worse off missing than you are hitting. It just means that there's more than a single die roll between "hey, check out my cool and big-ticket ability!" and "oh, darn, guess I don't get to gain any benefit from my toy today." (Obviously, you probably don't want to both give it a partial effect and a way to reuse it, but you knew that already.)

Regarding C3/C6, if you're really convinced that you should keep C3 as only working on a hit, then make C6 a similar but distinct ability that works on any swing. I still say that a shield user should be rewarded for being missed rather than for being hit, but that would be a compromise. If it stays as a hit only, it's not actually a huge benefit over TBP to be able to choose when you use it instead of it happening on the first hit each [Round]; sure, you can save it if your focus-fire target isn't in range yet but is expected to be soon, but you have to weigh the chances of you simply not being hit between when your target is in range and when the ability would refresh anyway. You are, after all, presumably trying to mitigate being hit. If you're doing a good enough job drawing aggro, you will presumably be attacked again (else there's no benefit in waiting), but it's risky to simply assume that you'll be hit again. It's definitely better that you do get to choose (and I believe that it should stay that way--and hell, that it should be that way for TBP), but I wouldn't call it a huge selling point.

C7 . . . tricky. Honestly, if you're worried that you're going to clash with the Fortress enchantment (which, after all, folks can choose not to take--it's a damn good enchantment, but it's not necessarily the One True Path), maybe [Immunities] aren't the way to go. After all, those [Immunities] are considered worthy of a 3-point enchantment precisely because they're really useful to have. If you're looking for a new direction, what about something that redirects a hit you would take? That's nice and thematic for a shield-user, to have an attack sort of bounce back and hit the attacker (or their friend). This would probably need tweaking, but basically I'm thinking that you could force an enemy to take damage equal to the damage you take from a single attack (or else damage as if the attack had hit them, if you don't want your own [Resistance] interfering). I'm not sure whether it should trigger on a hit or on a miss, whether or not it should take an immediate, whether it would be full damage or half damage, or whether it should be more than once per [Encounter], even if it's not at-will. Half damage, once per [Round] with no action? Full damage, twice per [Encounter] as an immediate? Not sure. I'm not envisioning it as reducing the damage you're taking, but just as sharing the love.

Other brainstorms for C7 . . . some of these would be better if you gave a few, and some might be good enough in their own right. Dunno. I'm just throwing out ideas.
  • Increasing your [Resistance] to physical damage to [Greater resistance].
  • Once per [Round], ignoring part or all of the nondamaging effects of an offensive action (while still taking damage as normal). For example, if you get hit with an attack that would normally leave you [Battered], you still are hit and still take damage, but you're not [Battered].
  • A certain number of times per [Encounter] (one or two, most likely), forcing an attack that would hit a nearby ally to miss instead.
  • Forcing enemies who attack you to roll twice and take the lower result.
  • Giving you [Immunity] to any penalties from AC from anything not done to yourself (so no using Reckless Strike with abandon), or possibly even ignoring any penalties to your defenses (so, for instance, [Sickened] would still give you a -2 on attack rolls, but not on saving throws).
  • Making a single retaliatory attack against foes who attack you, possibly limited to only when they miss.

Obviously, those ideas are pretty rough, but you've gotta start somewhere.

Two last things. First, you still haven't specified the save DC for this track's abilities. Second, it bothers me a little bit that the name of the track is so similar to the name of Heroica's C7; perhaps something even as generic as "Shieldmaster" would be better. If you want a slightly less mundane name, maybe "Warding Steel" or "Certain Protection"?
« Last Edit: October 04, 2013, 01:42:32 AM by Zaq »
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jared71

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Re: With my Shield
« Reply #7 on: October 04, 2013, 02:04:08 AM »
I would consider a shield track as mostly defensive about prevent damage rather than dealing it.

Things I would consider adding similar but not the same abilities.

2nd Circle – Shield Block: Twice per [Encounter], as an immediate action or part of another immediate
action, you may prevent up to three times your character level in damage that would be dealt to
any ally within your melee range. This can only be done as the damage is being dealt, but may be activated
after you know exactly how much damage a given effect will deal.

X Circle - Shield Bash - Twice per [Encounter] As an immediate action you can make a bull rush combat maneuver.   (basically) push them away from you in the middle of a combat action with your shield).

Consider some of the text from cigarette case as part of an ability too. 
Lucky Cigarette Case [iconic]

Mystify

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Re: With my Shield
« Reply #8 on: October 04, 2013, 11:52:27 AM »
I'd actually compare c2 to demon/celestial c3. That is a good benchmark for swift action-> AC. Maybe bump your c2 up a level and increase the AC gain to match, and then provide a save boost option rather than the attack boost option.

spiraling counter: the standard for retaliatory damage in Legend is level damage once per [Round]. elemental shield, truly bad people, retributive armor, all follow that same baseline. This is passive damage with no action cost, it can stack up very quickly, so any instance of it needs to be low-magnitude. I disagree with zaq on it triggering on an attack, that would make it much better than other retaliatory abilities, esp.for a high AC character, and this is a lower circle.

I agree with zaq about c5. Its a nice ability, but its very easy to shut down and turn it into a wasted use of a high circle ability. Maybe make it twice per [Encounter] and half their speed unconditionally. Now the [Binding] guys are still hampered, but still benefit from their immunity, its going to do something helpful, and you have a couple of chances to get it to stick. I like the idea of the save being KDM based

not starting combat flat footed is a nice start.  This isn't initiative based in any regard, so being able to go later without having your defenses lower is good. The non-movement is also good. It just needs a bit extra to make it really shiny.

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Don Jentleman

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Re: With my Shield
« Reply #9 on: October 04, 2013, 01:05:37 PM »
Responses to C2/C3/C6: It seems like I can swap Weather the Storm with Spiraling Counter and increase the bonuses by 1 to balance it. That would be an interesting change... I'm still going to keep the on hit condition for Spiraling Counter, for the reasons Mystify said. This does give a nasty amount of space in between Spiraling Counter and Punishing counter, though, so I'll probably want to buff Punishing counter a bit. Having no save on the [Battered] condition may be a start, but it might need more. Dunno where to take that circle now

Responses to C5: I like the idea of having it twice per encounter and halving the speed halved unconditionally. The [melee] range restriction is another idea, but that also qualifies as a [Binding] effect, and we're trying to make this ability useful when people can negate such effects. I could probably also write that as the successful save option. I'm a little surprised that everyone likes the idea of a KDM based save. I think I'll go for that.

Responses to C7: Yes, does need a bit more, I'm noticing, especially once I move the extra use of C5 out of it. I still like the idea of being hard to catch off guard and impossible to move, so the base abilities are staying for sure. Maybe prevent movement reduction and [Binding] effects as well? Hmmm, still doesn't feel like it's enough...

I do want this track to be primarily defensive, but I do want a few surprise options to it, which is why there is a bit of offense and utility to it. There are so many defensive tracks that are just pure defense, and I don't want this to be just another pure defensive track. Needless to say, I have more thinking to do. I'll update with a few changes today, however.

Zaq

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Re: With my Shield
« Reply #10 on: October 04, 2013, 01:26:25 PM »
Hmm. I still feel like C3/C6 shouldn't be limited to a hit. TBP is a feat (with no prereq, even), and it's pretty much expected for circle abilities to be better than similar feats (ESL vs. Esoterica Radica C3, Optimistic Viscera vs. Judgment C3, Spirited Strength vs. Rage/Dervish, My Shadow Grows Long vs. Earth Elemental C4, Master Scout vs. Water Elemental C1, Damage Specialization vs. every other source of precision, etc.). Elemental Shield affects your whole team, and it's way more likely that at least one of your teammates will be hit in a given round than that you specifically will be hit. Retributive Armor includes no-questions-asked [Shaken], and more importantly, it works once per round per enemy, not just once per round. Having this ability work on a hit or on a miss could be totally appropriate for letting it stand out, not to mention that it still doesn't make sense to put this on a track that doesn't want to get hit.

Fundamentally, your own abilities shouldn't interfere with each other, and definitely not abilities from the same track. (Competing for action use is another matter, but not really relevant here.) Chirurgic Poet wouldn't make sense to have a strong ability that worked better with higher max HP, after all. Fire Elemental shouldn't have an ability that strictly only works against enemies who aren't [Burning]. Reign of Arrows would have to be really careful with an ability that knocks your target [Prone]. And it doesn't make much more sense for this track to have a C1 and C2 that both increase your AC and then have a C3 that expects you to get hit. Honestly, I'd be okay with it as written if it were part of, I dunno, Knight or Swashbuckler or Fire Elemental or Heroica or some other track that doesn't have the express purpose of being defensive and making you harder to hit.

What if it did KDM damage on a miss, increasing to level + KDM if they hit?
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Mystify

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Re: With my Shield
« Reply #11 on: October 04, 2013, 01:33:21 PM »
Hmm. I still feel like C3/C6 shouldn't be limited to a hit. TBP is a feat (with no prereq, even), and it's pretty much expected for circle abilities to be better than similar feats (ESL vs. Esoterica Radica C3, Optimistic Viscera vs. Judgment C3, Spirited Strength vs. Rage/Dervish, My Shadow Grows Long vs. Earth Elemental C4, Master Scout vs. Water Elemental C1, Damage Specialization vs. every other source of precision, etc.). Elemental Shield affects your whole team, and it's way more likely that at least one of your teammates will be hit in a given round than that you specifically will be hit. Retributive Armor includes no-questions-asked [Shaken], and more importantly, it works once per round per enemy, not just once per round. Having this ability work on a hit or on a miss could be totally appropriate for letting it stand out, not to mention that it still doesn't make sense to put this on a track that doesn't want to get hit.

Fundamentally, your own abilities shouldn't interfere with each other, and definitely not abilities from the same track. (Competing for action use is another matter, but not really relevant here.) Chirurgic Poet wouldn't make sense to have a strong ability that worked better with higher max HP, after all. Fire Elemental shouldn't have an ability that strictly only works against enemies who aren't [Burning]. Reign of Arrows would have to be really careful with an ability that knocks your target [Prone]. And it doesn't make much more sense for this track to have a C1 and C2 that both increase your AC and then have a C3 that expects you to get hit. Honestly, I'd be okay with it as written if it were part of, I dunno, Knight or Swashbuckler or Fire Elemental or Heroica or some other track that doesn't have the express purpose of being defensive and making you harder to hit.

What if it did KDM damage on a miss, increasing to level + KDM if they hit?
armor and shield both take an action to turn on.
The dynamic works better if its on hit. They deal damage, and take some in return, rather than failing to do anything and getting slapped for it. The ability is actually anti-tanky. Tanks want to encourage people to attack them, retributive abilities are discouraging them from it. If you are looking for a conceptual contradiction, that is the real issue.
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Don Jentleman

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Re: Shield Magister
« Reply #12 on: October 04, 2013, 02:33:19 PM »
Updates:

-This track is now called Shield Magister (credits to Zaq, because Magister means Master in Latin)
-Spiraling Counter and Weather the Storm's circles have been swapped
-The damage on Spiraling Counter has been reduced to character level to keep it in line with other shield abilities
-The bonus granted by Weather the Storm has been increased to +3
-No Quarter can now be activated twice per [Encounter], and reduces the movement speed of the next movement the opponent takes by half on a failed save. The reduced effect occurs against opponents [Immune] to [Binding] effects without a save.
- Punishing Counter now allows Spiraling Counter to be used against attacks at [Close] range
- There no longer is a save for the [Battered] condition on Punishing Counter
- Unyielding Defense now grants [Immunity] to being knocked [Prone], as well as [Binding] and movement reducing effects (including difficult terrain).

Tim4488

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Re: Shield Magister
« Reply #13 on: October 12, 2013, 11:00:36 AM »
Don, is it okay with you if I add this to my spreadsheet?
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Don Jentleman

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Re: Shield Magister
« Reply #14 on: October 12, 2013, 03:32:19 PM »
I'm honored that you think my track is good enough to be included. While I do wish for more feedback, I feel that this track is essentially complete, so yes, go ahead and add it. :)