Tuesday, March 24, 2015
IMPORTANT NOTE: This reskin deals with ideas of spirituality and religion that may not be comfortable for some players. Feel free to ignore any and all parts of this build that you find uncomfortable or offensive.
“To let go of the individual, to release the boundaries between ourselves and the other, to become one with the Tech…that is Machindo. And it lets you do…this!”
There are stories in New North America that go back to the first sundering of the world. Stories of individuals who used machines to work miracles, who could make cars and copiers do things they were never meant to do. It was generally assumed that these stories were inspired by early Faustian Mechanics, or early manifestations of magic or psychic powers, or were just legends that grew in the telling.
It wasn’t until the Necromantic wars that these unique magic users started to appear in numbers. Stories are sketchy, but almost every Tech Shaman who survived the war had a story of a miraculous awakening and the knowledge that a great evil was moving across the world. That the ranks of these magic users has not shrunk since makes some people very nervous.
Current tech shamans come from all walks of life, though most are human. Some come from small communities who have never seen anything more complicated than a plow, some come from cities filled with tech, some were even training to be a “regular” Faustian Mechanics. What they all have in common is their own Satori and a certain inner confidence and humility. While the Shamans have no church and no doctrine, they all share a common core belief, which they call Machindo.
Each Tech Shaman has their own individual awakening, or Satori. Each awakening is unique: some are literally brought to the teaching, some experience the knowledge while working with a piece of tech, some have awakened in the midst of meditation, prayer, or a threat against their life. The flavours of Machindo are varied, but the core is similar from Shaman to Shaman.
Technology represents the living spirit of the world. Machines come from the world, built with its most sacred and irrefutable laws. Anything created is a “machine”, from a utility belt to a nuclear reactor. The more advanced a machine, the more of the world’s spirit flows through it. The idea of a separate self is an illusion; we are all part of this living spirit. The extent to which a Shaman can let go of the idea of the individual self is the degree to which they can borrow and use the spirit. This is Machindo.
Alignments: Any, though an evil Tech Shaman is rare. There are rumors of a split between Lawful and Chaotic Shamans that sometimes come to blows, though almost no one has seen two Shamans battle.
Who Are you?
Tech Shamans run a wide range of personality, from pranksters to pious. The only two kinds of Shaman you never see are ones who are arrogant or insecure; something about tapping the energy of the world seems to make a person both confident and humble.
Why Build it?
Tech Shamans have all of the weirdness and flexibility of the Faustian Mechanic, but with a unique role playing twist. This build focuses specifically on the common TS ability to use their magic through a focus melee weapon, making them similar to Sentinels. However, you could add the TS flavour to almost any Faustian build with the reskin notes below.
So, what makes a Tech Shaman different from a Faustian Mechanic? If an FM is a mad scientist, who adds magic to existing tech, a TS is a living magnet who attracts and draws magic through existing tech. The obvious difference is that a TS wouldn’t need to spend money to create faustian items or be limited in the way a FM is to the spells in the device.
I try to recreate this flexibility through several talents (see tactics below) and I also give several options for balancing the GB costs of a Faustian Mechanic creating their own devices. If any of those options don’t work, feel free to have Tech Shamans create Faustian items just like a regular FM.
A TS can use a regular FM item, just as anyone else could, but they cannot use any of their talents with that device. And a regular FM could not use a TS item for anything other than its regular function.
Feel free to roll or choose one of the options below. Some or all of these can exist in the same campaign, since Tech Shamanism can manifest in different ways:
1. Vow of Poverty: Tech Shamans only get 25% of their usual treasure/payment. The rest is “donated” and recorded separately. This separate money is what the TS uses to buy their Faustian Mechanic items.
2. Purification: A machine must be purified with special salts, herbs, rituals, etc before it can be used by a TS. The cost to do so is, coincidently, the exact same as an FM creating a Faustian item.
3. Same but different: TS items and FM items look different but function the exact same way and are built the same way. GM’s choice if each can use the other’s devices in this case.
Tech Shamans usually have one main melee weapon that they keep “upgrading” as they go along. Cost limitations, though, mean they usually won’t have these items at level 1.
Class/Path: Channeler/Faustian Mechanic
Party Role: Magic user/melee fighter.
Focus on: Int and Str, will need at least a STR 15 by level 5. Chr if you want someone who can be a back up negotiator, Wis for a survivalist/healer, Con if you want to be tough.
Feats: Armored Spellcasting, Armor Proficiency: Medium
Talents: Battery Charger, Hi-Tech Master
Tactics: Congratulations. You’re not as tough as a Brute, not as powerful as a Magister, not as versatile as a Prowler and you have no healing spells. At this point, you are a jack of all trades, master of none. Choose skills that let you fill a niche outside of combat; in combat, hit bad guys that are focused on other party members so they don’t focus on you.
One advantage you do have: with Hi-Tech Master, you have access to Tech Melee weapons, which are expensive but purchaseable at level 1. Power Hammer anybody?
Feats: Power Attack. Cleave. (Need at least 15 STR)
Talents: Draw on Others. Channel Spells Through Mechanics.
Tactics: For role playing purposes, I recommend waiting until level 5 to take CSTM, so that your shaman gets a cool power every 5th level. But you can be forgiven for taking it earlier, since it’s what gives the TS their flexibility.
Guess who gets to cast spells through their weapon now? That’s right, you. CSTM means you can spend channeling points to cast spells regularly, as long as you have a TS item (like that Power Hammer we talked about earlier). Draw on Others means you can cast other people’s spells through your items, representing the shamanistic ability to draw the raw energy of creation through machines. Power Attack and Cleave means you are more effective in hand to hand, and you should be able to afford some spiffy armor now which means Armored Spellcasting and AP: Medium start being more useful.
Feats: Combat Expertise. CE: Ritual Breaker. Critical Improved.
Talents: Multi-spelling. Better Faust Charging.
Tactics: Multi-spelling lets you put more and more power into one item, which reflects the Shaman being able to draw more and more power through machines. This is also reflected in Combat Expertise, giving you a higher AC while you cast spells that, hopefully, don’t rely on to hit rolls. CE: Ritual Breaker lets you use your knowledge of the flow of spirit and energy to interrupt other spellcasters, and Critical Improved is your ability to hit at just the right place at just the right time.
Better Faust Charging is an out of combat ability that adds to the Shaman mystique, and also leads to the abilities to come in the next few levels.
Feats: Lightening Reflexes. Iron will.
Talents: Better Faust Charging: Flexible. BFC: Overcharge. Divine Trade Off.
Tactics: At this point, your Shaman develops the ability to override the power level on their items with BFC: Overcharge, as they draw the power more through themselves with the machine as a focus. BFC: Flexible means less hassle repurifying your items and Divine Trade Off reflects your ability to manipulate reality in and out of combat.
Since Reflex is your weakest save, Lightening Reflexes gives you a boost. You also get Iron Will to reflect your ability to withstand the will of others.
Feats: Iron will- Improved. Lightening Reflexes- Improved. Greater Fortitude.
Talents: Deflect Hi-Mag Energies. Divine Insight (X2)
Tactics: Levels 15-20 is all about your becoming better at what you do and making sure you live long enough to do it. You get a once per day reroll on your Ref and Will saves, a plus to your Fort saves, and some damage resistance from Deflect Hi-Mag Energies. Divine Insight gives you more channeling points, as you open even more to the spirit of Machindo
Tuesday, March 17, 2015
So you want to build a leprechaun for the big day! In DRev you certainly can do this with a bit of character reskinning and imagination. First I need to point, there’s no race here, only a build, because Gnomes easily fill the role as these small somewhat tricky fey. So we need to ask what kinds of powers do leprechauns’ possess. Well they are clearly hard to catch, most likely are able to teleport, and of course protecting their gold. So a spell casting class is clearly in order. I like the idea that many of their powers are farcical in nature (inspired by a certain commercial icon), thus illusions should be a big part of their power set. Some tales have them as cobblers, so perhaps some tinkering or sabotage is in order. One could justify a leprechaun as a Faustian Mechanic, but I’ll make them Magisters to maximize their spell casting ability.
All features are from the DRev Book of Magic, unless designated with * (DRev Player’s Guide) or ** (DRev Book of Adventure)
Your cool title/quote: Leprechaun “Go away! I’m not giving you my gold!”
Race: Gnome (Intelligence selected as ability)
Your Role: You are a master of low level illusions and a variety of utility spells. You are tiny sized which allows to you get in and out of trouble quickly, and quite tough to catch.
Ability Array (including Gnome starting adjustment): Str 10, Dex 14, Con 10, Int 17, Wis 12, Cha 13
Ability Increases over time: At level 4 increase Int by +1 (18) and Cha +1 (14); level 8, Dex +2 (16); level 12, Dex +2 (18); level 16, Int+2 (20); level 20, Int+2 (22)
Skills: Spread out ranks among Knowledge skills. Take a few ranks in Sabotage and Tinkering to round out the trope that leprechauns are cobblers or trouble makers.
Level 1 (including racial and class/path): Talents: Fey Flesh (Fey racial talent), Dream Cantrips-Gnomish (Dream Cantrip racial talent), Fey Flesh-Lucky (Fey racial talent). Feats: Scribe Scroll, Dabbler (spell: Guidance, Prestidigitation, Minor Resistance). Spells: level-0: Change Aura, Cure Minor Wounds, Cyan Trinkets, Message; level-1: Disguise Self, Force Bind.
Level 2: Feat: Dabbling-More (spell: Image-Silent). Spells: level-0: Daze; level-1: Magic Missile.
Level 3: Talent: Twinkle Toes (Fey Racial Talent). Spells: level-0: Create Water; level-1: Shield; level-2: Cyan Line Blast, Invisibility.
Level 4: Feat: Dabbling-More (spell: Image-Minor). Spells: level-0: Detect Magic; level-1: Identify, Dispel Magic-Counterspelling; level-2: See Invisibility.
Level 5: Talent: Twinkle Toes-Improved (Fey Racial Talent). Spells: level-3: Hold Creature, Mage Hand-Greater.
Level 6: Feat: Dabbling-More (spell: Image-Major). Spells: level-1: Faerie Light; level-2: Cure Moderate Wounds, Spider Climb; level-3: Cyan Shards of Force
Level 7: Talent: Fey Port (Fey Racial Talent). Spells: level-4: See Invisibility-Mass, Invisibility-Greater.
Level 8: Feat: Dabbling-More (spell: Imbue with Arcane Power); Spells: level-2: Detect Thoughts; Spells: level-3: Gaseous Form, Arcane Sight; level-4: Resilient Sphere
Level 9: Talent: Slighter Build (Shrinking racial talent). Spells: level-5: Dispel Magic-Greater, Dominate Person
Level 10: Feat: Dabbling-More (spell: Phantasmal Slayer). Spells: level-3: Cure Serious Wounds; level-4: Dimension Port, Holo Warrior; level-5: Mislead
Level 11: Talent: Tiny Build (Shrinking racial talent). Spells: level-6: Goad, Illusionary Awesomeness
>>You will need to minimize the weight you are carrying.
>> A sling of infinite shots (TIER item) is great to supplement your ranged attack capabilities.
>>A Darkwood club could easily represent your shillelagh, though maybe a bit too large for you. You’ll have to focus on tiny or small weapons due to your size.
>>Take a small bag of holding or the new equipment below to represent where you keep your money.
>>Green cloth armor for your leprechaun suit, with a head slot item fetish for you head
>>Take the Rings of Illusion mystic charm (TIER item) to help modify the number of illusions you have.
Power Reskinning: Spells like Magic Missile, Cyan Line Blast, Cyan Shards of Force can be reskinned to look like rainbow powers. Illusions seem to form out of multi-colored light that bend into the form you dictate.
Playing your character (feat and talent break down)
A number of Fey racial talents are gained early on to improved your defenses, and to gain Fey Port as early as possible to supplement your slow ground speed. At higher levels, you become tiny sized further enhancing your ability to avoid being attacked or attracting attention. While tiny you can share a square with an ally, thus you may choose fight behind another long range attacker. You use your numerous illusions to distract enemies to support your allies in combat from afar or out of combat for protecting your encampment or home base. You have a few key low-level force spells, such as magic missile, that you use frequently to take down enemies at range. You try to avoid melee combat whenever possible and remain unseen.
Tuesday, March 10, 2015
So now it’s time to try something different and tougher to build, an Elf Ranger. The difficulty here is that rangers have numerous roles they can fill. Looking at some other systems we can find that Rangers have the following features/tropes: Animal companion, bow and arrow use, favorite enemies, good survival and tracking abilities, two weapon fighting and spell casting. The agony of choice in DRev puts quite a few limits on gaining access to all these features, particularly the spell casting ability. But let’s see how close we can get to these tropes in this build. I’ll look at more focused Ranger-like builds later on.
Again the first 10 levels will be covered.
The * will indicate talents from the DRev Book of Magic and the Elf is from this book.
Your cool title/quote: Elvan Versatile Ranger “The wild is my battlefield”
Race: Elf (Verdant version, Dexterity as their primary ability).
Your Role: You serve as versatile mid-range fighter switching between melee and ranged attacks. You have an animal companion to assist you in controlling the battlefield. You have a minor specialization in hunting wild creatures as well as serving as the party’s life line in the wilderness.
Ability Array (including Elf starting adjustment): Str 13, Dex 17, Con 12, Int 10, Wis 14, Cha 10
Ability Increases over time: At level 4 increase Dex by +1 (18) and Str +1 (14); level 8, Dex +2 (20); level 12, Dex +2 (22); level 16, Dex +2 (24); level 20, Dex +2 (26)
Skills: Focus on Handle Animal, Knowledge (Nature), Stealth and Survival. Ranks in Athletics and Acrobatic will help you move through the wild. Ranks in perception will help in spotting danger and have good synergy with your path and racial bonuses. Ride can be taken if you wish to take a mount.
Level 1 (including racial): Talents: Child of the Wild* (Fey racial talent, automatically obtained), Expedition (Scout talent), Favored Enemy-Animal and Vermin (Scout talent). Feat: Dabbling* (Guidance, Minor Resistance, Purify Food and Drink taken as spell-like powers). For proficiencies, you will be specifically proficient with Short Swords and Short Bows (using the Scout trade-in proficiency ability).
Level 2: Feat: Point Blank Shot (Shots feat tree)
Level 3: Talent: Expert Tracker (Scout talent)
Level 4: Feat: Two-Weapon Fighting
Level 5: Talents: Favored Enemy-Plant and Ooze, Favored Enemy-Improved
Level 6: Feat: Precise Shot (Shots feat tree)
Level 7: Talent: Awesome Pet (Scout talent)
Level 8: Feat: Two-Weapon Fighting-Defense
Level 9: Talent: Extraordinary Expedition, Skirmisher 1d4 (Scout talents)
Level 10: Feat: Precise Shot-Improved (Shots feat tree)
>>Level 1: Standard Adventurer's Kit, a short bow and 20 arrows, a pair of short swords, two daggers, and buckskin armor (57 GB left over for other essentials). Your lower strength may force you to remove a few items from the standard adventurer’s kit.
>>Weapon Improvement: Improving your short bow with TIER modifications, especially an enhancement bonus and the infinite shots prominence. Your preferred paired weapons is most likely going to be short swords, so having both with decent enhancement bonuses is a must. Getting a dagger or short sword of slaying for one your favorite enemies is also a good idea. You may consider taking the antipathical weapon taint for this weapon to reduce its cost.
>>Armor Improvement: You are limited to very light armor to gain your full dexterity modifier to AC. You should obtain Buckskin armor with a decent enhancement rating and making it Mithral before reaching level 20 to allow your full dexterity modifier. This can represent animal skins that have been hardened by quickly dipping them in Mithral or some new strange hide from some unknown creature.
>>Other Magical Equipment: The wondrous item efficient quiver is a perfect fit for this character and aids in keeping your carrying capacity in check. A fetish of camouflage, concealment, or unseen can enhance your ability to become the sneaky ranger that’s hard to spot and hard to hit.
>>Modern weapon considerations could include a rifle to replace your short bow; a hunting rifle or AK-Trail rifle is a good choice for this. You may also want to get a few high-tech arrows as well.
>>Your Pet: The most important thing is to make sure you get a pet using the companion rules from the DRev Monster Manual. A good choice is a Caine: Big Dog at level 2. When you reach level 5, you should take a Caine: Wolf-Like or even a second Big Dog. Build up one of your pets with the Alpha Pet template by the time you reach level 7 and continue to improve it as you gain levels.
Playing your character (feat and talent break down):
Expedition is taken at level 1 to ensure to provide you and your allies with early bonuses against the wilderness before spells or expensive equipment might be available to counter it. By level 9, you can provide special bonuses against powers that cause fatigue and exhaustion that are being used by enemies. These talents also aid you and your party to travel overland for longer periods of time.
Favored Enemy is added for the classic flavor of a ranger. Animals, Plants, Ooze, and Vermin where taken to represent “natural” creatures a hunter may often encounter, with animals and vermin being more common at lower levels. You may change these choices based on input from your GM or what you feel fits your character background. You usually focus all of your attacks on a favored enemy first while in combat or try to set up ambushes to get a surprise round of combat against them.
The Dabbler feat was taken at level 1 to help flesh out the ranger’s slightly mystical nature; otherwise you will have to rely on skill and training throughout your career and not magic.
In combat you usually open with your short bow and then move into melee using two-weapon fighting to finish off weaker foes. Feats for this combat style are taken over your career, with the intent to gain the Two-Weapon Fighting feat achievement and the Pinpoint Target feat achievement later on.
Your Big Dog or Wolf can be used to harass enemies while you hit them from afar with your bow. Their Pack Tactics feature and the Awesome Pet talent stack nicely, allowing you to gain significant bonuses as long as they stay adjacent to you while engaging in melee combat.
DRev Background Ideas
Roll or Pick one
1: You are a wanderer. You travel to see the world for its own sake or wish to participate in any great hunt you can find. You may also serve as contract trapper moving as your prey migrates.
2: You are from the Grey Alliance. You help secure borders and go on covert raids for the alliance.
3: You are from the Dominion of Strath-Can. The wilds of Canada are a vast place full of secret Elven communities. You may be spy sent out to gather information on other regions or may have had your community wiped out by an enemy you are now seeking retribution against.
4: You are from Texas. You patrol a wide area as a cowhand or sheriff, though usually for a local land lord rather than a big military complex. You are also more likely to be using a gun rather than a bow.
Tuesday, March 3, 2015
by Joe Amon
Quote: If ya SMELL...what the SNAKE...is SPITTIN’!
Why build it?: This is an example of a build that needs a particular feat (Agile Maneuvers) before it becomes viable. But the feat cost is worth it to get a character that combines combat maneuvers and dex attacks. Combine a whip and a pistol, for example, and you've got round after round of trip + shot. Or use your opponent to gain an additional bonus to your AC (along with your dex) with the Cover Behind Opponent feat. Add the Venom talent tree, and you’ve got a versatile controller.
The only real weakness of the build is versus opponents too large for the Wrestler to maneuver and/or is immune to poisons. That’s when you’ll want to have a backup pistol and/or grenades to stay in the fight.
Recommended Races: Medusa. Human mutant with the venom tree will also work.
Party Role: Controller
Focus On: Dex, Str and Con. Best Skills: Acrobatics, Stealth, Survival
Who Are You?: You learned at a young age that the only way to get along with a world full of strong meatheads was to be faster and bolder. Wherever you grew up, you learned to dodge blows and sneak away before you learned how to read. That’s left you with some valuable lessons: don’t confront someone bigger directly when you can jump them from behind; think faster, not harder; even the biggest and strongest dog in the yard can’t bite you if they’re lying on their ass. What else is there to worry about?
Equipment: Whip, pistol, light armor, anything that lets you sneak and move around, handcuffs. A Faustian weapon that causes status effects is perfect for you. Grenades for when you can’t CM.
Talents: Venom- Weak, All Around Vision, Boot Camp Training (1), Unbalance Opponent
Feats: (1) Improved Trip, Improved Grapple. Agile Maneuvers
Tactics: Grab 'em, trip 'em and/or bite 'em. Your whip will give you a boost to grapples and let you trip at a distance. You scope out the guy who's hardest to hit, and keep dropping him to his knees to let your buddies pound him to a pulp. Or run up and grapple the mage or gunner who's hiding in the back, since Unbalance Opponent makes it easier for you to dodge around your enemies.
Your venom isn't much to speak of yet, so let your buddies do the damage.
Talents: Venom: Mild, Venom: Average, Spit Poison
Feats: Weapon Finesse, CM: Trip-Greater
Tactics: Now you're ready to melt some faces. :) Weapon Finesse will bump your To Hit numbers up enough that you can start adding damaging attacks to your repertoire. With Trip-Greater, you can pull down someone in the middle of a group of your allies, and they all get opportunity attacks against them (including you). Even if you're the only one, this is a great time to take advantage of your ranged poison attack and your more powerful venom.
If you want to go high level controller, use the poisons that daze or weaken the opponent, rather than bleed.
Talents: Up Close and Personal, Combat Sense, Smart Flanking
Feats: Eloquent Strike, Boot to the Head, Combat Reflexes
Tactics: Here's where you start showing versatility. First off, ABC: Always Be Combat Maneuvering. With Up Close and Personal, you get twice the chance to pull off a combat maneuver. Smart Flanking means you and an ally get a better chance to take down a larger opponent, especially with the extra attack you get with BTTH. Combat Reflexes means you don’t have to give up an out of turn opportunity attack to get the full BTTH benefit.
Here's another nice bonus: Eloquent strike means you get your Dex bonus to damage, combat sense gives you a +1 to damage with a perception check. So that whip that used to do just 1d3 damage now does 1d3 +1 + Dex + magic bonus. Not high, but consistent, and with two attacks per trip you've got more opportunities to whittle down an opponent.
Talents: Venom: Strong, Extreme. Potent Poison. Favorite Weapon: Whip
Feats: Grapple-Greater. Cover Behind Opponent
Tactics: Time to refine your tactics and character. Potent Poison to make it harder to resist your attacks, Strong and Extreme Venom to give you some potent one shot attacks, and FW: Whip for some to hit bonuses.
Since this is when you’re going to start facing a lot of really tough boss characters, it’s time to add the grapple ability to your character. If the tripping and the whip isn’t doing it, sneak up behind your opponent, grapple them, and use your two sub-actions to pin and tie them up. Give them a bite while they’re down for good measure.
Talents: Combat Sense- Sudden Action. Poison Resistance. Armor Specialization.
Feats: Dodge. Dodge- Improved. Dodge- Take Cover
Master Path Ability: Zero Tolerance
Tactics: Levels 15-20 are the icing on the ass kicking cake. Dodge and Dodge Improved make it that much harder to hit you. Take Cover means an extra +2 to your AC when you grapple a big bad, which will go well with the bonuses from Armor Specialization. Sudden Action gives you a better chance to strike first, strike hard, no mercy. And, just in case someone else out there likes poisons, Poison Resistance gives you a little extra insurance.