Talk:Staffmage (3.5e Prestige Class)

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Posted on the Boards:[edit]

This PrC was taken from the Wizards Boards by permission, the thread related to this PrC is: [1]


Balance - 5/10[edit]

I feel this class is generally "OK", but problematic. This class gets cool abilities with the staff, but no real ability to stay near melee. The wizards weak HP, low AC, and low BAB work against this PrC. So we have a class where a wizard or sorcerer becomes a poor melee performer and a poorer spellcaster. --Dmilewski 13:58, 8 December 2006 (MST)

Balance 8/10[edit]

I liked this class. It did not make me jump out of my seat and proclaim "Wow!", but it was a well built, well balanced class with some nice skills. I ran it through a practice battle, and it seemed to work out okay, without any glaring holes or obvious overpowers. It seems this one has been much improved over the previous incarnation. --Cypresslyshra 02:25, 5 January 2007 (MST)

Balance 5/10[edit]

  • Why would a wizard become a staffmage?
  • Why doesn't a staffmage get any special abilities with a magic staff?
  • The class gets abilities (like Truestrike) that he would not actually want to use. He has touch attacks that work so much better!
  • Channeling a spell is confusing and poorly defined.
  • Two-weapon fighting for a low BAB class is still crazy. Having a class that avoids using its primary abilities is counterproductive.
  • Why doesn't using a staff make spells stronger or provide some sort of bonus to the spells themselves?
  • Why doesn't the staff allow some sort of metamagic effects?
  • The class gives a first level benefit (mage armor for one hour) at 11th character level, when the caster can already cast it for 7 hours.

Key points for improvement:

  • Improve the focus of the class. What is the core concept behind this class? Is it to make a wizard into a deadly staff-fighter in close quarters or a wizard who uses his staff to deliver spells?
  • The wording on most abilities can be greatly simplified.
  • Defensive abilities need to come earlier in the class.

Here's what I see for the class:

  1. While holding a staff, the staffmage gains the benefit of the mage armor and shield spells. The staff substitutes for the somatic component of any arcane spell. [A worthy dip, but not overpowered as these abilities quickly become all-day effects anyway.]
  2. Spell Bump
  3. Mage mage use the staff to deliver touch attack spells. May use a touch attack spell for multiple rounds, rather than once.
  4. Spell Bump
  5. The mage may "precast" touch spells onto the staff. Activating them in combat does not trigger an Attack of Opportunity.
  6. Spell Bump
  7. Offensive Surge: Whirlwind Attack.
  8. Spell Bump
  9. Something cool.
  10. Spell Bump

--Dmilewski 07:14, 5 January 2007 (MST)

I will work on these improvements, however I would like to state why I made it how it is now. I was trying to keep the authors original idea in mind, with the problems you stated in your last rating of this to be fixed. The authors original idea was just to make a spellcaster be good with a staff and able to fight with one as well. However, I now see that this idea, in essence, is flawed. Even though this author wanted a spellcaster to be able to fight; they cannot. So, I will work on fixing this with your ideas in mind, and bring this away from the authors original idea. Also, FYI, Channeling was taken directly from a WotC PrC with only minimal wording changed, so it should not be confusing... --Green Dragon 14:55, 5 January 2007 (MST)
Dmilewski is right. For this class to have a unified core concept, the entry requirements would have to be reworked to be more in line with a class such as the arcane archer, where some level in a combat class is necessary. For example, the base attack bonus could be increased to +6 and an additional feat (something like Greater Weapon Focus (Quarterstaff) or Weapon Specialization (Quarterstaff) ).This would allow the staffmage to actually have a chance to act as a fighting character. Nonetheless, the risk (and continual drawback) is that the staffmage will never be as good at fighting as a straight fighter or as good at casting as a straight spellcaster. To be effective, the class needs:
  1. A spell bump at each odd level.
  2. Various abilities at even levels that add to it's fighting prowess (not just something like permanent mage armor, since any realistic fighting character will have a better armor bonus than that. Perhaps instead of channeling an ability could be added which allows a staffmage to act as though he/she had 10%-20% less spell failure chance (increasing as levels gain, as channeling does) when wielding both a staff and armor or a shield. This might allow for combination fighter/wizard types to become effective staffmages and remain vaguely equal in power level to the rest of the party. --EldritchNumen 01:46, 9 January 2007 (MST)
Thanks for the input, I will use both your ideas combined when I re-make this. Thanks. --Green Dragon 17:02, 9 January 2007 (MST)
Good luck. I'm thinking that stealing from the Monk may be a good idea, as the monk already goes to many of the places that the staff mage needs to go. Many of the advantages/limitations/problems of the monk class will be the exact same problems that a staff mage has. --Dmilewski 17:46, 9 January 2007 (MST)
Thanks for the idea, I will incorporate that as well, if I can... Thanks. --Green Dragon 19:02, 9 January 2007 (MST)

New Version[edit]

So, I made the "new version" taking into consideration many of your guy's ideas. I think this new version may be a little overpowered, but what do you guys feel about it? --Green Dragon 23:40, 10 January 2007 (MST)

Balance - 8/10[edit]

This class is coming along nicely. I love most of the changes, they are quite well implemented. The progression of defensive things builds nicely (first defensive staff, then-- at higher levels-- the spell failure reduction). I like that. I think two changes are important, one major, one minor.

Minor: Change the text of Offensive Surge. Add: "If Touching Strike is used, it only effects the first opponent the staffmage damages" after "The staffmage can use Touching Strike during this attack." Thus, it would read:

"The staffmage can use Touching Strike during this attack. If Touching Strike is used, it only effects the first opponent the staffmage damages."

Major: Subversive casting should not increase the save DC so drastically. It is a very bad idea to change the save DC by greater than +2. Currently the ability increases the save by +5. If the bonus is +5, this ability is extraordinarily overpowered. If it is lower (and more reasonable), then the ability is great. I understand that the rationale behind this is "if I distract the opponent, they will have a harder time dodging the fireball." However, reflex is not based around being conscious of an attack-- otherwise it would be called dodge. Instead, it is an instinctual response. Further, it is entirely unrational to have a fortitude save increased at all (to be honest), since there is no way that distraction should cause this change. I think it is best to rule that the save DC increases because a peculiar quality of the magic that makes it intrinsically more difficult to combat (hence "subversive"). This should be done with a +2.

Overall, the class has come a long way and I am quite proud of it and the collaborative work that has been done (especially the effort by Green Dragon). If those changes are made, I change the balance to an 8/10. --EldritchNumen 00:45, 11 January 2007 (MST)

Update: I just realized another minor error. Subversive strike should provide a bonus to all touch attacks, not just ranged touch attacks. --EldritchNumen 00:45, 11 January 2007 (MST)
All done. What do you think of it now? --Green Dragon 01:23, 12 January 2007 (MST)
It looks great to me. I think the class has come a long way and is suitably balanced as compared to other SRD prestige classes. I even think the class strikes out well in new directions, though perhaps not enough to warrant a 9. Close, though. In all, however, an 8 is a very good score (after all, this is the rating for all of the prestige classes in the DMG!). Well done! --EldritchNumen 01:54, 12 January 2007 (MST)
Agreed, I was not striving for above an 8. I also think this class only warrants a 8, and is not good enough for a 9. --Green Dragon 10:07, 12 January 2007 (MST)

combat casting[edit]

hey since this class evolves around arcane spellcasters in combat maybe combat casting would be a logical extra prerequisite. -ymir, 02:07, 11 January 2007 (MST)

Added it in, thanks for bringing that up. --Green Dragon 01:23, 12 January 2007 (MST)

two weapon fighting[edit]

I'm not so sure 2 weapon fighting would be such a bad idea, oke a wizard or sorcerer has a realy bad BAB but..., since these characters always have a higher risk of "not hitting" due to there eternally low BAB it might be better to get 2 chances (even if you receive a -2 on the attack rolls) because more the more dice the more chance to get that high die roll wizards and sorcerers need to hit (with or without the -2).

And secondly it seems to me that fighting with 2 weapons is kind of natural when someone specializes in the quarterstaff, maybe to improve the fighting the class could lose 1 or 2 minor abilities to gain a better BAB or 2 weapon fighting feats.

anyway just giving my vision on the class (that by the way is awesome to play!) and I am planning to introduce it as a standard prestige class in my The Test of Time (DnD Campaign Setting) (as long as the creators think that's ok)

-- Ymir 04:05, 16 January 2007 (MST)

It's okay to use anything of D&D Wiki in your campaign, and since this was perfected by the community it is very okay. About the Two Weapon Fighting... To include that would require that something be removed. And, as Dmilewski said so well "What is the core concept behind this class? Is it to make a wizard into a deadly staff-fighter in close quarters or a wizard who uses his staff to deliver spells?" and I think it is to make a wizard who uses his staff to deliver spells... I think TWFing may ruin the concept behind this class, or at least break it. --Green Dragon 17:27, 16 January 2007 (MST)
True, casting spells through his staff works out very good for this prestige class.
maybe I'll start working on a prestige class more focused of wizards using a staff two-handed, as an other path for a simalar type of organisation.
--Ymir 11:04, 17 January 2007 (MST)
That would be a good idea as changing this to model your idea would ruin the concept. Sorry --Green Dragon 15:24, 17 January 2007 (MST)

Balance - 8/10[edit]

The reasons for this rating are essentially the same as above. The class has only been slightly changed since that time (Entry BA -1, -1 Entry Feat, +1 Ability: Truestriking). Overall, the class is fairly balanced. There is not much more to be said than already has been! 8/10 –EldritchNumen 05:13, 15 December 2007 (MST)

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