Warcraft: The Roleplaying Game by Kurieg
Races and ClassesOriginal SA post
In 2003, a particular rulebook hit the shelves, much to college aged me's chagrin.
"Holy Crap! A Warcraft roleplaying game!? How can this possibly be bad?"
The answer was, unfortunately, "so many many many ways."
That's not to say it was all bad, for one it was published by White Wolf under their Arthaus and Swords&Sorceries imprint. Which admittedly was basically a "We want to publish a bunch of OGL stuff but don't want d20 fans to not buy it because it's White Wolf." Also, Blizzard desperately wanted this to succeed. The hype train for World of Warcraft was leaving the station and they wanted to get more people involved, so the RPG actually has some very accurate setting information and some various bits and pieces of info from the WoW Dev bible slipped into the book.
As for the bad, it was unfortunately timed. It came out literally one week after 3.5 released, but it's one of those lazy OGL books that basically goes "for everything else check the PHB", so while that does mean you can just use the 3.5 PHB and it's class/feat fixes... it's not really a saving grace because, almost everyone on the dev team was either a first timer or had no previous d20 experience. There are some revised class changes mentioned in here but they won't really apply for reasons that will become apparent by the end of this post. Despite the fact that White Wolf had been pumping out Scarred Lands books like clockwork for two years at this point. Their unfamiliarity with concepts shows particularly in the race and class design, and then they tried introducing new mechanics and they really lose track of what's going on. Also: despite the fact that it says "Warcraft: the Roleplaying Game" It's basically "Warcraft 3: The Roleplaying Game", it focuses exclusively on Kalimdor, almost completely ignores the eastern kingdoms, and for the most part pretends that the Undead campaign in Frozen Throne never happened.
They later released a 2nd edition of the game that fixed a lot of the issues people had with this one and started making departures from vanilla d20 to make it's own game. I'll go into that edition in more detail once we get there, but there's a couple of books to chew through before we can get to that point.
The first chapter of the core book is a history of the world of Kalimdor, there's really nothing here that wasn't in the instruction manuals for the first 3 games. And if you're interested you either already know it, or I can just direct you to the wiki .
The second chapter opens up with races. Where the next big issue I have with this book comes to light
Unfiltered Metzen artwork
There's about 3 different art styles going on up there and maybe one of them is good.
Anyways, Humans are mostly untouched. They keep their feat and skill points, gain a +2 save against fear related effects because "humanity is known for it's courage", a +2 racial bonus on Diplomacy, Gather Information, and Know(Royalty) and all of those skills are class skills for all of their classes, and a +1 racial bonus on attack rolls against orcs. So they took the best race and made them better. Dwarves, oh sorry "Ironforge Dwarves" are unchanged save for the addition of some guns to their Weapon Familiarity trait and the ability to use Stone Flesh once per day which gives them +2 natural armor for con+char level rounds. And the natural armor bonus increases as they level up too.
Elves are where we start to see the big differences. High-Elves are d20 elves with +2 int added to their stat spread. Any elf with a int of 10 or higher know 4 cantrips and can cast them as a 1st level sorcerer a total of 4 times per day. They also have a +1 bonus to their caster level in all arcane classes and a +2 bonus to concentration, Know(arcana), and spellcraft and these are all class skills. They also get sudden empower, once per day. Unfortunately they're also addicted to arcane magic and must spend an hour each day fighting off cravings or they take penalties. and they're a +1 Level Adjustment race. This is the first sign that these are some new developers, yes, technically this is an unbalanced stat spread, but the +2 dex and +2 int are unlikely to come into play on the same character. Yes the +1 caster level is powerful but it's completely negated by the +1 Level Adjustment, and completely useless to any elf that isn't a wizard or sorcerer, but of course both wizard and sorcerer are their new favored classes.
Nigh Elves are weirder. They get +2 wisdom and -2 Intelligence. Superior Low light vision, Cold and Fire resistance 1 ( ), a +10 circumstance bonus to hide at night or in shadow. +2 bonus on Knowledge Nature and Survival checks, oh, and spell resistance 5+character level . So yeah that's a +1 LA race right there. Also, uhh, there's this.
"Hey DM, I wanted to play against type and see about making a Night Elf wizard, you know, trying to recapture their lost heritage."
"You spend a week shitting out your intestines and you're a high elf now."
So yeah, two rookie dev mistakes, either handing out spell reistance at low levels or just handing out spell resistance to players at all (I know DMs that outlaw Drow for this reason, having a rather sizeable player race with a flat 25% chance to ignore spells is crazy), and taking away choice and options from the player. We'll be seeing that last bit again quite a bit.
Goblins are 3.0 goblins except they get bonuses on Appraise, craft(alchemy), craft(mechanics), diplomacy, and listen checks. and Have Tinker as a favored class. Half-Elves are completely unchanged. Half-Orcs are different. +2 con -2 wis. Low light vision. +1 saving throw against fear effects(they've either inherited something from their human half or are just dumb and stupid and want to act fearless) and a +2 bonus on intimidate ans sense motive. Orcs are very different. +2 con -2 int, they can rage once per day(or one additional time per day), are automatically proficient in the battleaxe, get a +1 bonus on attack rolls against humans, and a +2 bonus on handle animal(wolf) and intimidate checks. So yeah they lose out on a bunch of strength but basically become the god-tier barbarian race. I'll take that tradeoff.
Tauren were created from whole cloth and are a large race, which means they get +4 str and con, -2 dex, a +1 LA, and little else. Because that's what large races got back then before people realized that just being large by itself wasn't really enough of a draw. They have horns but can only use them to charge, or as a set defense against a charge. And they treat a few Tauren exotic weapons as martial.
Now we get to the classes... and if I were keeping a tally of bad design decisions this is where I'd just start making ticks and forget to stop for a few minutes.
Why yes, that is every core class except for Barbarian, fighter, rogue, wizard, sorcerer and every prestige class except for the archmage and duelist. This strikes me as lazy. I mean yes, they do have legitimate reasons for omitting the druid, paladin, and cleric. But if you're only keeping 5 classes, just reprint them in the book.
The rogue, barbarian, and fighter are almost completely unchanged. Fighter gets some new feats to choose as their bonuses, and they all get a new class skill or two.
Sorcerers and Wizards don't lose or gain any class features, but they do lose a bunch of spells from their spell list. All planar binding spells all monster summoning spells, and almost every necromancy spell, especially any spell that makes undead. "Such spells are the exclusive purview of the Warlock and Necromancer prestige classes". Also, the Necromancer isn't included in this book, so look forward to the Alliance & Horde Compendium! (please give us money)
There's also some odd prejudice against the sorcerer, since they weren't "properly trained' most people just assume they're evil, or already on the path to becoming a warlock. Since any person with a sense of self preservation and arcane talent would obviously become a Wizard.
Now we're into the new classes. First up is the Healer. The Healer is the Cleric with the
domains filed off. They lose access to medium and heavy armor and gain 2 more skill points a level(for a total of 4+int) Good healers can spontaneously cure, evil healers can spontaneously inflict, and good healers get access to the healing domain's spell's, and cast those spells at +1 caster level. Evil healers get the evil domain's spells. They do not get domain slots. They do not get the ability to turn undead, instead getting brew potions and some bonus feats every 5 levels ala a wizard. Their spell list is mostly the cleric's spell list. Except no summon monster spells. no spells that manipulate plants, nature, or the weather. And no spells that make undead.
Next up is the Scout , which is a ranger with all of it's combat abilities removed and replaced with tracking abilities, woodland stride, trap sense, venom immunity, and the ability to cast some divination spells to find the thing they're tracking. There's no real reason for anyone to want to be a scout except to fulfill the requirements for a prestige class, it's just uninteresting in every way.
Finally is the Tinker , which is just straight up terrible. d6 hit die, 8+int skill points(on an int focused class!?!), but a wizards weapon and armor proficiencies. They get a bunch of class features but almost all of them are focused around the classes core defining trait "They have access to the craft(Technological device) skill". So they're a glass cannon without the cannon, because they have to build one themselves using the technology creation rules. It will probably take 10 weeks to do so, and then they have to spend a feat to become proficient in the cannon.
Next up: Prestige Classes or "It wasn't in Warcraft 3? Then no, you can't."
Prestige ClassesOriginal SA post
One thing I neglected to mention last time is that the scout only has 3/4ths BAB progression, the same as a cleric. Meaning that there are only 2 classes that have full progression, the fighter and the barbarian. The removal of the bard, druid, paladin, and ranger also means that quite a few skill combinations are now missing. The combination of these two facts mean that most prestige classes aren't available until 7th or 8th level, at the earliest. The ones that aren't only have one entry path that restricts your build heavily. Slogging through 7 levels worth of mediocrity just to get a prestige class that's a nerfed version of a base class that they deemed "too powerful" is about as unsatisfying as you can get. But here we are.
A few general rules as far as spellcasting and prestige classes are concerned, any prestige class that requires spellcasting has full spellcasting progression. Any class that apes the paladin or ranger's spell list has 4 levels of casting spread across 10 levels like any other number of prestige classes from 3rd edition.
Hit Die: d12
Requirements: Horde or Night Elf, Handle Animal 5, Survival 8, Animal Affinity, Toughness.
The only way you can get this class at 6th level is to take 5 levels of barbarian, and take Animal Affinity and Toughness. Both of which are contenders in the 'worst feat' contest. Also we see a recurring theme of "Anyone in the horde can do this but also night elves", this will come up again in later books.
What does this all get you? A Druid's animal companion.... as a druid of your Beastmaster level. Meaning you will never advance beyond druid level 10 and are basically getting a Ranger's animal companion. Though you can 'befriend' up to your Beastmaster level in HD in additional animals, but it's got a super easy will save to make, and you can only do so once per day. So your super-weak additional animals are probably going to die and you can't replace them.
In addition to your beasts, you can also grow fangs and claws, these eventually deal 1d6/1d8 damage for a medium creature .... if you're wearing light or no armor. Yes you can't use them if you're utilizing the medium armor proficiency this class gives you.
If you're willing to give up your rage progression and medium armor, you too can get okay-ish claws and a ranger's pet wolf. Ultimately this class doesn't really strike me as worth it.
Druid of the Wild
Hit Die: d8
Requirements: Night elf or Tauren only. Non-Evil Alignment. Knowledge(nature) 5 ranks, Survival 5 ranks, Ablity to cast 3rd level divine spells.
Neither of those skills are class skills for the healer, so you're not getting into this class until level 8.
At first level you get a few things, first of all you gain medium armor proficiency and access to "Small martial weapons" whatever that means, but you also gain a druid's inability to wear metal armor, and the wording is vague enough that it also implies that you can't wield metal weapons . Fuck your scimitar and basically every night elf specific weapon in existence. You also gain the ability to spontaneously cast summon natures ally spells in addition to spontaneously casting cure spells, however "you can only spontaneously cast cure spells that your healer level would give you access to", because being able to cast mass cure serious wounds without preparing it is unbalancing somehow? And what happens when you run out of druid levels and have to start taking healer levels again? Nobody knows. Also, Wild shape finally rears it's ugly head, but in severely nerfed form. You're restricted to only 5 shapes, they're gated by level, and they're not all that good, capping out at a treant at character level 16, and the natural spell feat doesn't exist in this game.
Every other class feature the druid of the wild gets is either something like woodland stride or natures step, or something related to the fact that druids in the warcraft world can hibernate for years at a time. Their class spell list does expand substantially, adding in every spell from the 3.5 druid spell list that they didn't already have access to, as well as some new ones, so that's something at least.
Hit Die: d8
Requirements: High or Night elf only, alliance only, +5 BAB, Know(nature) 6, Survival 6, point blank shot, track.
So yeah, the only ways you gain access to this class are fighter-barb 9, scout 7, or scout 3/fighter-barb 3.
For jumping through those hoops you gain the ranger spell list.. and favored enemy... and the archery combat style feats.. Yes that means that you get 3 bonus feats that any archer worth their salt would probably have already picked up by the time the game deigns to grant them to you. Rapid shot is a great bonus feat at level 1, less so at level 8. The only unique features the elven ranger gets that a dnd ranger does not are the ability to use a bow as a quarterstaff in combat without damaging it, keen arrows, an ability that lets them ignore one monster's threatened area, and "arrow cleave" Which allows an arrow that kills an enemy to continue traveling and hit an enemy behind it. Which is so situationally useful I'm hesitant to call it a class feature and more an 'occasional bonus' They also get +10 feet per level to their range with bows.
I can sort of understand the druid being restricted to Night elves and Tauren only, from a lore perspective they were the only ones who trained under Cenarius. But I refuse to believe that the Elves are the only ones who figured out how to shoot things good with bows and hold racial grudges. So withholding a near carbon-copy of the Ranger class from most of the player races just because "only elves used bows in Warcraft 3" is stupid.
Hit Die: d10
Requirements: BAB +5, Bluff 2, Intimidate 5, Cleave, Power Attack.
Wait what? Actual reasonable requirements? Amazing. The class isn't that bad either. At first level you gain the ability to take your 5 foot step between cleave attacks, but that's your movement for the round. At second level you get the ability to inspire your allies as a move action... but it only lasts a number of rounds equal to your charisma modifier, takes your move action, and is only useable once per day. So unless you prioritize charisma as a fighter/barbarian it's not going to be that worthwhile. 3rd level gets you double your strength to damage with 2 handed weapons. 4th level gets you the ability to be invisible for a number of rounds per day equal to your gladiator level. 5/7/9th levels get you a use of "critical strike" that allows you to declare a 'critical strike' when you threaten a critical strike. if that crit confirms then you deal 1d4 strength damage in addition to the damage.... okay sure?
6/8/10th levels get you a use of Maximum damage, where you declare max damage before rolling to hit. 7th level gets you the ability to have mirror-image up for a number of rounds equal to your gladiator level.
So yeah it's the Horde Blademaster and it's honestly not terrible, and they didn't needlessly restrict it to be Horde only.
Oh god damn it!
The "differences" in question are a lack of any class skills that would potentially involve not killing people, like gather information, decipher script, or diplomacy.
This is one of the most egregious prestige classes for needlessly restricting things. Yup, only the horde has assassins, no independent assassins, and most DEFINITELY no assassins in the Alliance.
Hit Die: d8
Requirements: Horde only, BAB+5, Survival 8, Track, Weapon Focus(Any Melee or Thrown)
Yup, the horde only counterpart of the Elvish Ranger, except the Hunter is a more melee focused character. It's also easier to get into, requiring only 5 levels of Barbarian and it rewards you quite well for those levels.
The Hunter gets access to the Ranger's spell list plus a few extras, including Bloodlust. Instead of favored enemies, the Hunter gets favored terrains, which aren't the Horizon Walker's thing, bonuses to Hide, Know nature, survival, listen, move silently, and listen checks while in those terrain, with additional stacking bonuses ala a hunter's favored enemies. Note there is no attack or damage bonus sadly. And rather than the Ranger's ranged combat style they get "weapon Combat Style" at 1st, 6th, and 10th level. which is Weapon Specialization, Greater Weapon Focus, and Greater Weapon Specialization in your chosen weapon as long as you stay in light armor. they also get +5 feet to the range increments of their thrown weapons for every level of Hunter. So they can either be a thrown weapon specialist or a melee specialist that can also throw good. If you took the barbarian entry to this class it's probably the latter. You get a couple more stealthy bonuses like +2 to hide and move silently just because, and the ability to use the hide skill in any natural terrain. And then, just because, they also get keen with their chosen weapon at 4th level, and an increase to their critical multiplier at 10th level.
So compared to the Ranger, they're a 10 level fighter replacement with pre-chosen feats, access to spells, and some unique features. Making them super stealthy barbarians who want to get into close combat as soon as possible so they can kill you with their 19-20/x4 Greataxes. And they've got some pretty nice character art.
Hit Die: d6
Requirements: Alliance only, Bluff 8, Disguise 8
Ugh. Say hello to the Alliance equivalent of the Assassin. Except it is terrible in every way the Assassin isn't. Because they're Infiltrators , not killers. They get the Duelist's canny defense ability. a bunch of non-combat social abilities that amount to "Create even better disguises than disguise" and "Gather even more information than gather information". At higher levels they can cast suggestion and dominate monster, but the saves are based on charisma, meaning that this class relies on str, dex, cha, and int.
Fuck this class.
Hit Die: d10
Requirements: BAB +5, Ride 8, Mounted Combat
First off, they get a paladin's special mount, sort of. It's got it's own abilities but the thing you can take away from this is "it's stronger than the Beastmaster's pet".
They get Expertise but they can only use it while mounted, bonus feats at 3rd, 6th, and 9th from an abbreviated list, the ability to negate attacks on their mount with ride attacks up to 3 times a round, natural stride while mounted, the ability to make very powerful charges +2 to hit and double your threat range) and... mounted leadership.
You can use a ride check to take control of any mount of the same species as your mount up to 1+cha times per day.
Let's just ignore that and bask in the glow of everything else that's good about this class. Because there's a lot that's good about this class. Moving on.
Hit Die: d10
Requirements: Human or Ironforge Dwarf Only, Good only, Alliance only, BAB+5, Diplomacy 5, Know(Religion) 3, Weapon Focus(Warhammer), must be selected by an existing paladin and undergo special training.
And that good feeling is gone.
Remember how 3rd edition paladins were Multiple Attribute Dependent messes that were just less versatile fighters in any situation where they weren't fighting evil creatures? Well for some reason they decided to change all the paladin's class features from "Evil" to "Undead and evil outsiders only" They also lost their good Will save, and their special mount. The only thing they gained was the ability to turn outsiders, and do a greater turning once per day, and a power turning, which flat out destroys any undead/demons that are affected by the turning attempt, once per day. They don't even get any new spells.
They managed to make the paladin worse .
Hit Die: d8
Requirements: Non-evil, Alliance only, Know(religion)6, 3rd level divine spells.
Behold the diet cleric, all the spells with half the viability. So the Priest gains.... no armor or weapon proficiencies, not even with shields. They do gain domain spell slots, and the granted abilities of the healing and protection domains. Except they already *had* the healing domain because the healer is the only divine caster in the game. They also get a scaling bonus on saving throws against necromancy spells, turn undead, and the ability to cast suggestion a few times per day. They get a few extra spells but they're mostly "Things to use against undead and evil things".
This would probably be the de-facto prestige class for Alliance healers if the next one didn't exist.
Hit Die: d8
Requirements: BAB+4, able to cast 1st level divine spells
Notice that this isn't horde only? Healers can get this at 7th level, one level after priest and one before druid. They gain access to Medium armor and shields. The spell list is much more useful than the Priest's as well, including a couple of useful healing spells, some damage spells, and the ever wonderful Bloodlust , which is haste with a +4 enhancement bonus to strength.
In addition to this they get weather sense... which is a bonus to survival checks to predict weather, and an elemental companion Which is a small elemental of the shaman's choosing, that eventually gains an extra 4 HD. Unfortunately if the Elemental dies the shaman has to make a dc 15 fort save or lose 200 xp per hit die of the elemental, and has to wait a year and a day before summoning a new one. At level 10 they can rebuke and control elementals.
You know, even with the liability of an elemental familiar, I'm going to have to say the Shaman is better than the Priest, increasing your AC by 4-6 points for free is fantastic, and the spells they get more than make up for the priests'... uhh.. class features that will probably never come up.
Hit Die: d4
Requirements: Any evil, 3rd level arcane spells, must not have conjuration as a forbidden school.
At level 1 the warlock gets a school specialty in Conjuration, whether they want it or not, meaning they need to give up 2 spell schools even if they're already specialized in conjuration or specialized in another school, even if they're a sorcerer. In return they get all the summon monster spells, the planar binding spells, and Flame Strike, because Kael'Thas had flame strike.
They can also summon an imp familiar, which is exactly like the familiar they could already summon, except they get demonic mutations if their familiar dies!
Their main ability is "Improved Ally" which allows them to negotiate a service while using the planar ally spell for cheaper than normal. Except for the glaring problem of Warlocks don't get Planar Ally as a spell, it's a healer spell. Whereas Planar ally is negotiating a service in exchange for pay, Planar binding is holding a creature hostage until they agree to do a service for you. So this class feature does nothing.
They get augment summoning as a bonus feat, a free extend spell (which stacks with regular extend spell) on all conjuration spells.
So yeah, even if the main class feature worked properly a 50% discount on planar ally spells still means that you're expending a large amount of resources for a temporary service. The fact that you get a giant pile of summon monster spells and they last forever are pretty great, but that's all you get.
Those are all the prestige classes that are included in this book, and only a few of them are good. The Warlock doesn't even function, the Infiltrator focuses on a part of the game that most people ignore because roleplaying, the Paladin and Elvish Ranger are somewhat insulting in that they're nerfed versions of vanilla classes that take more jumping through hoops to achieve, and the classes that are good seem to be skewed towards the horde for some reason.
Next up: Feats, or 'Everyone takes Leadership, right? That's a good feat, right?'
Skills and FeatsOriginal SA post
There's a quick skills section before the feats but it's not really necessary since it mostly repeats information explained in the races section, The only really big changes that stand out are the Pick Lock, Language, and Use Technological Device changes.
Pick Lock: "Doors in Warcraft resemble bank vaults, and lock picks provide no assistance in opening them"
Uhh... what? We have that capability in the real world and that's not the case. Did a rogue with masterwork thieves tools ruin your game one time, mister designer?
Speak Language: "Gnomes are little known among the residents of Kalimdor, and many assume they are nothing more than myth. As such, anyone claiming to speak the language of gnomes is dismissed as a drunken lout."
Yes, apparently in the 20 some years since the 2nd war people have just decided that Gnomes don't exist anymore.
Use Technological Device: Is basically use magic device by a different name and a different key ability(int). The rules are set by the device but it's just an roll allow the objects to function... with MALFUNCTIONS IF YOU FAIL! YAY!
Feats for real!
Bash: (Str 13, BAB+4, Power Attack) When doing a full attack action with a bludgeoning weapon you can sacrifice one of your attacks to Bash. you roll damage but don't actually deal any. Instead they have to make a fort save against dc 10+damage or they're stunned for one round. You could basically stunlock someone like this but you can only do it once per round, once per character level per day, and it only works on things vulnerable to critical hits.
Storm Bolt: (Str 13, Bash, Power attack, BAB+4)
You can use Bash at Range with a "ranged bludgeoning weapon" which I guess means you could use this with boxing glove arrows.
I now choose to believe this feat requires the use of boxing glove arrows.
Battle Cry: (Cha 13, Ability to Rage) While raging you can spend a move action to inflict a -2 penalty to attack rolls, will saves, and ac for one round to all enemies that can hear you if they fail a cha-based Will save. The downsides, of course, are that Cha isn't really a priority stat for barbarians, you're giving up your full attack progression to pull this off, and you have to spend an extra round of rage to use the feat.
Unless you're an orc, then you can just use it whenever. This leads to our first Leadership feat
Collective Fury: (Battle Cry, Leadership)
When a character with collective fury rages, all other characters in 30 feet that have the ability to rage gain the benefits of Battle Cry. Special: When an orc with collective fury rages, all orcs within 30 feet gain a +3 enhancement bonus to strength as well.
Just a hint: If you're trying to show how the Orcs aren't bad guys anymore, maybe don't use the old WC1 artwork and give them feats that only properly work for them because they're so bugfuck crazy. This is also the only Leadership feat that can actually affect your party member and non-followers in general.
Battle Language: (Bluff 3)
In combat you can use "aid another" at a range of up to 100 feet with anyone else who has this feat by making a dc 15 bluff check. This seems... not... useful? At least not worth a feat.
Brilliant Leadership: (Leadership, cast 3rd level spells)
Your followers who are spellcasters get 1 extra spell slot of every level up to 2 levels below the highest level spell you can cast. Before you start salivating it's only your followers, not your cohort. So unless you've got your entire entourage following you around everywhere you aren't getting much out of this feat, and the highest level followers you can get are 6th level so... I mean,yes, once we break out the mass combat rules from the Alliance and Horde compendium you just gave your army of wizards 18 more fireballs and 60 more Scorching Rays. But for the average adventuring party this isn't that great a feat.
Firearms, Siege Weapons, Small Devices, Vehicles. These give you a +2 bonus on your craft checks when building these various objects and increase your technological limit for those items by 2. Each also gives another benefit. Firearms lets you declare one attack an automatic confirmed critical hit once per week with a firearm that you have built. Siege Weapons lets you sabotage any technological device larger than medium by beating it's craft DC. Small Devices let you build items that are disguised as other items... and it doesn't give an upper limit to size. And Vehicle lets you double the speed of a vehicle for 1d6 minutes once per day.
Build Teamwork: (Leadership, 2 other technology feats)
When you are assisted in a craft check by at least 3 other people who have at least 1 rank in a Craft Skill, the result of a successful craft check is doubled. So yeah I guess if you're a tinker and have nothing else to spend feats on cutting the time spent crafting things in more than half isn't bad.
Close Shot: (Dex 13, Dodge, Point Blank Shot, Precise Shot, BAB+4)
You can fire a ranged weapon without provoking attacks of opportunity. So for those few times when you can't make a 5 foot step go ahead and spend 2 feats on being able to fire into melee because what archer worth their shit is taking dodge?
Defend: (Shield proficiency, BAB+2)
When using a shield any ally within 5 feet without a shield gets your shield's bonus to AC. Any ally with a shield gains a +2 circumstance bonus to AC. This is another total minion fodder feat, a pile of level 2 fighters with plate armor and heavy steel shields are basically impervious with this feat.
When a device malfunctions you can make a dc15 craft(tech) check to delay it for 1d3 rounds. If you roll a nat 20 (or 19-20 if you're a goblin) You fix the problem completely. You can only use this once per malfunction. This leads to
Emergency Repair: (Wis 13, Delay malfunction)
As a full round action you can make a dc20 craft.... mechanical object? .... are you sure you didn't mean Technological Device game? anyways, if you succeed you stop the malfunction and it continues working for 1 hour at which point it needs to stop and get normal repairs. again, you can crit this for a full fix.
Devoted Leadership: (Cha 13, Wis 13, Leadership)
You followers receive a +2 morale bonus to AC, as well as a +1 Morale bonus to all saves... as long as they're within 5 X Cha mod feet and only for a number of rounds per day equal to your character level that don't have to be consecutive. Again, only to followers.
Drums of Courage: (Perform percussion 5)
Make a dc 20 perform check, if successful all warriors of your tribe who hear your war drums get a +1 morale boost to attack and damage rolls and to will saves for as long as you perform and 5 rounds afterwards. But playing is a standard action, every round. This feat doesn't say "Orc Only" but only orcs use war drums and only orcs have tribes. Behold what the bard has become.
Enduring Leadership: (Endurance, Leadership)
Once per day before combat you can give your followers a +4 morale bonus to their initiative and a +10 bonus to speed, also if any of your followers rage they're not fatigued when it ends.
Exotic weapon proficiency: Thorium: (Proficiency with the non-thorium version of the weapon)
If you're proficient in a Thorium weapon, in addition to not taking a -4 penalty on attack rolls with it, you can add 1.5X your strength to damage with it(2x if it's 2 handed)
Expert Rider: (Dex 13, ride skill)
The DC for the pile of pointless ride tricks from the skill section that I omitted is reduced by 2, and you can take a 10 on ride checks to perform them.
Mounted Sharpshooter: (Dex 13, Ride Skill, Expert Rider)
You do not suffer any penalty while making firearms attacks while mounted, but you still need to make a ride check to avoid your mount freaking the fuck out from shooting a gun while riding it.
No there's no rules to gun-train your mount.
Follower of the Totem: (wis 13, Orc or Tauren)
Once per day as a free action you can gain a +2 sacred bonus to an ability score for 1d6+1 rounds. Also tauren with this feet are proficient in Tauren Totems.
Pulverize: (Tauren, Wis 13, Follower of the Totem)
Once per round as an attack in a full attack action you can strike the ground and do no damage, instead creatures within 20 feet of you must make a reflex save of 10+damage rolled or fall prone. You can only use this once per round and no more than 1+wis mod times per day There's one more feat in this tree but it's about the worst feat they've made so far so it'll get shown at the end. Look forward to it.
Lightning Reload: (Dex 13, proficiency in firearms)
If your firearm takes a standard action to reload it now takes a move, if it takes more than one round to reload it's cut in half.
Magic Energy Control: (Iron Will)
Hoo boy, here we go, the longest feat chain in the book, and it's a caster chain. Also all of these feats are classified as "Metamagic" even though none of them actually modify a spell in the usual way.
anyways, MEC lets you prepare spells in half the normal time. and High Elves can instead ignore their magical addiction.
But trust me if you're an arcane caster you want to take this feat
Mirror Spell: (Iron Will, MEC, CL 3rd)
When you cast an arcane spell, you an expend a spell slot of equal or greater level to instead cast the spell twice.
In the same action.
No it doesn't say how wizards or healers use this since it says 'spell slot', in fact all of these feats use spell slot when they should say 'spell slot or prepared spell' unless this is the sorcerer's only club. But even if that's the case who fucking cares? Goodbye action economy, hello magical Christmas caster land. You'll probably want to ignore the rest of this feat tree though, unless you're a masochist.
Block Spell: (Iron Will, MEC, CL5)
When you are the target of a spell, you may disrupt the casting and counter it's effects, Spellcraft dc 15+spell level to identify then you just spend a spell slot at least 1 level higher to disrupt it. But it doesn't say you have to be the only target, or what happens if you wander into a fireball.
Reflect Spell: (Block Spell, Iron Will, Magic Energy Control, Mirror Spell, CL7)
When you are the target of a spell and successfully counter it, then you can reflect the spell back on the caster. Again, what happens to a fireball, or the spells other targets?
You can use a firearm as an improvised weapon without it breaking. small firearms are light hammers, medium firearms are clubs, and large firearms are warhammers. without this feat using a gun as a club even once renders it inoperable.
Precision Leadership: (Leadership, point blank shot)
When making a ranged attack, each of your followers gains a +1 bonus to the attack roll for every 5 followers attacking at the same time. As long as all of them are in a radius of 10 X Cha bonus feet and are attacking with the same kind of weapon at the same target within 100 feet of you. Also you and everyone else add up all the damage into one total before any DR is applied.
So if you have 18 charisma and just surround yourself with level 1 rangers that's 144 squares that aren't you. meaning each of them would get +29 to hit with their 1d8 longbows. Meaning you're dealing (let's be generous and assume they all have 16 dex) 144d8+432 damage if they all hit.
They really did not think this through.
Ride Bareback: (Possession of the ride skill)
You don't need a saddle to ride a mount. This feat exists solely because apparently Night elves always ride bareback.
Somewhere in 2003 there is a 18 year playtester giggling in his mother's basement.
Scavenge Materials: (Craft 8)
You can build an item using raw materials equal to only 1/10th it's market value if you increase the craft dc by 10. I assume they meant for this to only apply to technological devices but RAW you can craft an adamantium warhammer by scavenging scraps off the streets. That's fantastic.
Sunder Armor (Str 13, Power attack)
Using a slashing or bludgeoning weapon you can sunder your opponents armor. Unfortunately it's confusingly worded. If you score a critical hit while targeting your opponents armor roll damage normally and make a strength check dc 15+the targeted armor's armor bonus, if your damage surpasses the hardness and your strength check succeeds....reduce it's bonus by 1.
This will rarely come up but when it does I guess hooray?
Trickshot: (Dex 13)
You can bounce a shot or thrown weapon off a wall or other convenient surface to bypass cover or other forms of directional protection. Even if the laws of physics and geometry say otherwise, as long as you only bounce it once. Moonglaves can bounce twice. But you suffer a 50% miss chance against a target you can't see.
Choose land, air, or sea. You can pilot vehicles of that type. Without this feat you take a -4 penalty.
And finally the feat that I can't reasonably see anyone take.
War Stomp: (Cha 13, Wis 13, Tauren, Follower of the totem, Pulverize, BAB+8)
As an attack in a full attack action with a tauren totem that provokes attacks of opportunity you can stomp the ground with your totem. Choose a number of targets equal to 1+your wisdom bonus and roll 1d6+ your strength. They each take that much damage and must make a fort save (DC10+the damage you just rolled) or be dazed for 1 round, which means they can take no actions but don't take a penalty to AC. You may use war stomp only once per round and no more than 1+cha mod times per day
So yes, to use this feat you need a very high strength score(which I guess you have, you're a tauren) a good wisdom score, and a good charisma score. And even then you need to not actually be in melee with anyone because it provokes an attack of opportunity.
I'd like to point out again that there are 5 feats that require you to be a member of the horde to function properly.
Next up: Weapons and Mechanical Item Creation
Factions, Equipment, Crafting, Magic, and Campaign TipsOriginal SA post
Everything Else worth writing about
The next chapter opens up with descriptions of Affiliations, whether you're alliance, horde, or independant. And introduces a concept known as "Affiliation Rating". A member of the alliance interacting with a member of the horde has an affiliation rating of 3, meaning that you take a -3 penalty on 'positive' social interaction rolls (Everything that isn't intimidate) and a +3 bonus on 'negative' social interaction rolls (literally just intimidate).
"But Kurieg" I hear you shout, "What if I want to play against type and have the noble tauren join up with the alliance?" Well, for each action you take that dispels some of your stigma, you reduce the affiliation rating by 1. This really seems like something they should have left to roleplay rather than mechanics because according to this a Demon just has to help a human farmer plow his fields 6 times and they'll trust him just as much as anyone else in the Alliance.
There's also the "Independent" faction which is basically just Goblins and people you shouldn't trust as far as you can throw... which also includes goblins.
Each race has a special affinity to one of the special crafting materials. And gets a +1 bonus on any craft roll associated with it. Which is flavorful and all, but the racial distribution isn't very good. Dwarves, for instance, get a bonus to crafting items out of gunpowder. I'm not sure how that's supposed to work. Humans get Mithril, and the elves get Darkwood and Dragonhide. On the other side of the racial divide, Goblins get Adamantine, and Orcs get both Thorium and Arcanite.
Arcanite is basically distilled fighter heroin. An arcanite weapon gets a +1 bonus to attack and damage rolls that stacks with magical enhancements. and a +1 bonus to it's critical threat range. If fashioned into armor it has a 50% chance to negate critical hits.
Dragonhide is leather mithril. It can only be used in leather armor and reduces the arcane spell failure chance of that armor to 0%.
Thorium was described before, sort of, but it allows wielders proficient in thorium weapons to multiply their strength bonus to damage. You can also make Thorium into metal armor but it counts as one size category heavier (To a maximum of heavy), you double the check penalty and spell failure chance, and reduce it's max dex bonus by 2. But you get dr 5/..+1? They must've missed this one when transitioning to 3.5
Next are the actual weapons you could build out of these fine materials.
None of them really stand out, other than the fact that they didn't scale any of the weapons up to large size, even the weapons used exclusively by tauren. Guns are here, which all take a standard action to reload. The Long rifle is a 2h weapon that deals 3d6 damage and a ragne increment of 300 feet. the Flintlock Pistol is a 1h that deals 3d6 damage with a range increment of 5 feet. And the Blunderbuss is an... approximation of a shotgun. It's got a range increment of 10, and you deal 2d6 damage in the first range increment, and 1d6 damage to everything else in a 5 foot wide line to the weapons maximum range. So kudos for them not having it just cease working at 15 feet. But 1d6 damage seems a little low as a spray.
Creating Technological Devices
Now the main event, how to create your own technological devices. This is a multi-step process that is as much working within the rules of the system as it is buttering up your Dm and convincing him to let you have your way with whatever terrible devices you've constructed. With all the finesse of the 3rd edition grappling rules.
Step 1: Determine the Technology Score
The Technology Score of a device is it's relative complexity. And it has to be below your Technological Limit which is 1+Tinker Level + Feat Bonuses. Technology Score determines the capability limits of your device but there's absolutely nothing preventing you from putting all of them at their maximum level. Other than the DM's Patience.
The craft DC to build the device is 15+Tech Score
Step 2: Define the Task
Go explain to your DM what you want the device to do. This determines the Task DC on a scale of 10-200. Note that no one is ever going to be rolling this, so using the term "DC" is confusing, and they even *acknowledge* that it's confusing to use the term DC, but they continue to use it anyway.
a DC10 task is described as "Washing dishes, irrigating plants, a simple repetitive chore" DC50 is "Devices that forge simple weapons, make tools, build walls, simple creative systems", DC 200 is "Move Mountains, Destroy Species, Control Weather, A World-Changing Development"
Note that there's absolutely no correlation between Tech Score and Task DC. You could build a TS26 device that washes dishes very well . And a TS1 dagger on a pair of legs that will eventually attempt to slit the throat of every single Orc on Azeroth.
One way you can persuade the GM to set a low DC is to provide a detailed description of how the item is expected to accomplish its task. If you can show that the task is easy, the GM has a good reason to assign a low DC. A Rube Goldberg style drawing is a wonderful way to prove that a task is not as difficult as it might seem.
Step 3: Decide how Quickly the Item Operates
Now, the DM Determines the basic time unit for the task. combat rounds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, or months, depending on whatever unit seems most appropriate given the scale of the task and design of the item. The designer then chooses a number between 1 and 10, determining how fast or slow they want this object to work. Slower items are cheaper, faster items are more expensive. Items that work once and then self destruct are automatically Time Factor 10
Step 4: Determine the Malfunction Rating
MRs range from 0(Will never fail) to 5 (Will fail 25% of the time) Whenever the die roll to activate or attack with a weapon falls within it's malfunction rating, it malfunctions. Usually this means it just doesn't work but anything that involves gunpowder explodes in your face.
Step 5: Figure the market Value
And here everything falls apart. The formula they give for market value is
Tech Score X Task DC Value / (Time Factor + Malfunction Rating)
Using this formula a long rifle would only cost 25 gold, when in actuality they sell for 300.
Later on during the 'example build' they use the formula
Tech Score X 10 X Task DC Value / (Time Factor + Malfunction rating)
Which still only gives us 250 gold. but "The GM is encouraged to round up to reflect special circumstances" The crafting rules for mechanical devices are the same as anything else.
The example item is a little dry so let's try something else shall we? And let's break the brittle little system right over our knees.
The Railgun, Not Arnold.
So let's say I've got a bored level 20 tinker, with the Build Firearms feat, and a feat from a later book that increases his technology limit by an additional 2. So he's got a Tech Limit of 25.
This means I can do 25d6 points of damage per round. Firearms are a "Simple Responsive System" so our Complexity DC is 20. And since it's a railgun let's make it fire only every 10 rounds.
But the Technology Score says it deals 25d6 points of damage per round. And that's literally all it says because they didn't think this through. So once every 10 rounds My new railgun deals 250d6 points of damage with a first range increment of 1250 feet and a maximum range of 2 miles. It also has a market price of 475 GP. And because it's a TS25 device it has 25 hardness and 125 hit points.
Alternately for the low low price of 5000gp I could build a suit of power armor that gives me an effective strength, Dexterity, Constitution, Intelligence, Wisdom, and fuck it, Charisma of 160, it can also move at a staggering 500 miles per hour and gives me an additional 25 AC for a total ac bonus of 110. Because they really did not think this through.
Magic and Spells
This book came out shortly after Chris Metzen found out that his new favorite word was CORRUPTION so there’s a few pages here talking about how corrupting and evil arcane magic is,and that all arcane casters feel the call of the demons lurking behind their awesome power. And that Arcane Magic is a drug, and that all high elves are addicted, and how Orcs suffer still from their demonic corruption.
Evil is 90% horns by volume, proven fact.
And then there’s immediately a sidebar stating “Yup, Arcane magic is super dark and sinister. But actually forcing corruption on your players against their will just for being a wizard is a giant dick move. So don’t do it.”
Divine magic on the other hand is great and good and glorious because literally every god (so far) is a good person who only wants good things so why isn’t everyone a divine caster yay holy light for everyone. Even the Trees and the Elements are good people who only want the best for you. Everything is good forever.
You know, unless you worship the undead, or the demons, or Deathwing, but Why would you do that?
Now we get into the spell lists. first of spells changed from 3.5, Including, interestingly enough, the planar ally spells. Which they are showing on the Sorc/Wizard spell list. And I’d say that that salvages the Warlock class, but it also says “Planar Ally spells can only summon elementals”. Meaning that you can’t summon and enslave a demon to do your bidding.
As far as new spells go there’s a spell for almost every spell that showed up in WC3 and TFT.
Bladestorm is here, even though that’s already replicated by a Gladiator’s whirlwind attack. More hilariously is that the spell is terrible. It’s a sorc/wis 3 spell. and you summon two magical longswords. Then you can take a full attack action to make one attack against each enemy within 5 feet. As a wizard, the class with the lowest AC that honestly has no business being in melee, give up your spell casting for 7 some rounds to maybe hit someone for 1d8+3 damage. Moving on.
Bloodlust is a level 3Sha 4Sorc/Wiz spell that gives the target an extra attack and +4 str for cl/rounds, it is a good spell.
There’s a lesser/normal/greater Death Coil chain that’s available to healers and necromancers which is basically inflict light/moderate/serious wound spells at 1 level higher and at close range.
Shockwave exists as a spell that replicates the actual tauren chieftain spell better than the feat from earlier. In that it shoots out a wave of force that deals damage and knocks people down, in a 10 foot wide path all the way out to the limits of close range. Get owned fighters, wizard supremacy.
Second Soul is a level 9 healer spell that’s essentially a raise dead spell contingent on the target dying. it raises them 2d4 rounds later but they lose a level.
Touch of Life is a temporary res spell, also a level 9 healer. You bring someone back to life for 1 round per caster level before they keel over dead again. So it's useful if not entirely functional.
Campaigns in Azeroth
The game gives some tips on how to run a "Warcraft" Campaign, an Alliance campaign should focus on diplomacy, on forging new bonds between the Night Elves and the rest of the alliance, and the exploration of the brave new continent that they find themselves on, so basically a default D&D Campaign. A Horde campaign should focus on the rediscovery of their lost shamanism and embrace of their new lifestyle and the heroes of their new society. This is a completely healthy idea that won't backfire when all of that repressed anger and lionized hero worship manifest as one man who nukes a neutral town off of the map just to prove that his balls are as big as his fathers.
There's more information about villain factions and what they're up to but most of it is either hilariously inaccurate or made up entirely out of whole cloth. So I'll go over that stuff once we get to the much better Dark Factions book, which was designed to tell you how to play as those assholes.
But that's all for the Warcraft d20 Core book. Next in publication order would be the "Manual of Monsters" but I don't know how to make a bunch of stat blocks and creature descriptions entertaining. I'll give you a teaser.
Yes, he has Teleport without Error as an at will ability. Yes, that means that there's no way for the party to actually kill him. Yes they thought this was fair. Also he has several mind flayer abilities for some reason.
Anyways, Next up is the Alliance and Horde compendium. Which is about 40 pages of new races and classes followed by 50 pages of material ripped straight from Cry Havoc with absolutely no apology.
Alliance & Horde Compendium: RacesOriginal SA post
Now we're into the Alliance and Horde compendium: AKA "All the shit from the Frozen Throne Blizzard didn't tell us about until the last minute." In here we have the new races introduces in frozen throne, the new classes introduced in frozen throne, and the mass combat rules so you can pretend you're playing a Real Time Strategy game in your Turn Based d20 game between two characters with the leadership feat.
Or you could just play Warcraft 3.
This isn't... terrible.. Metzen artwork.
First up we have Wildhammer Dwarves which are like Ironforge Dwarves, sort of. Ironforge Dwarves are classic Tolkien Dwarves but they're a bit friendlier to outsiders and enjoy their drink more. Wildhammer dwarves instead live above ground, so without their whole "kings under the mountain" thing they have devolved into full blown Scottish stereotypes. They love their drink even more, wear kilts and plaid, tattoo themselves, paint their faces with woad, they even live in highlands and earthen barrows. The one thing they do have that's unique is that they've got a somewhat symbiotic relationship with the Gryphons that live around their homes, and are where the alliance get most of their aerial cavalry.
As far as their racial traits, they're Ironforge Dwarves except they have low light vision instead of darkvision. Don't have stonecuning, Don't have a bonus on appraise checks, Don't get stoneflesh, and don't get martial proficiency with guns. Instead they get a +1 bonus on attack rolls with hammers. a +4 bonus on saves against fear, and a +2 bonus on ride/handle animal checks involving gryphons. Also their favored class is Barbarian instead of Fighter, because Scottish.
Definitely a downgrade.
There it is, let the edgy goth elf flow through you.
Next we have Blood Elves who are High Elves who have gone whole hog into their magical addiction after the undead blew up the Sunwell partway through Warcraft 3. Appearance wise they're identical to high elves except they give themselves demonic looking tattoos, dress in reds and blacks, and give themselves hairstyles that "no high elf would ever wear". So yes, they're super edgy teenage elves who don't trust the Alliance anymore because of a series of unlikely circumstances involving the most stereotypically racist bastard Blizzard has ever written.
Statwise they're completely identical to High Elves except instead of the sudden empower ability, they automatically gain access to the warlock spell list for any arcane caster class they have. If they take levels in warlock then they gain sudden empower but only for warlock specific spells, one of which actually deals damage. So they're better than a high elf if neither of them take levels in a warlock class, but weaker than a high elf if both do.
Up next are Furbolgs which were honestly an odd inclusion at the time, considering the entirety of their racial development was 'those annoying mobs you kill with your hero unit to level them up until you reach level 5 and have to actually interact with the other player'. They're a peaceful shamanistic race as long as they don't get corrupted by demon energy, at which point they go fucking insane and try and murder everyone. They're not aligned to the alliance or the horde, but maintain friendly relationships with both the Night Elves and the Tauren.
Statwise they're large(tall) with +2 str and +2 con, land speed 30, with both a bite and claw attack and +2 natural armor. They also have a +2 bonus on Knowledge Nature and Survival checks and a +1 Level Adjustment.
Thankfully someone at Blizzard reminded White Wolf that Gnomes exist. And we get the explanation as to why they were absent from Warcraft 3, Troggs had invaded their city from underground and they sealed themselves in to prevent them from reaching Ironforge. Unfortunately one of their civic leaders went fucking mental and decided the best way to save his people was to detonate a nuke in their hermetically sealed city . Fortunately much of the race was able to escape to either the upper reaches or outside into Khaz Modan before the detonation hit but a large number of their race are now insane irradiated husks. Oh and the ones that aren't are with the alliance
Statwise they're pretty great. +2 int +2 cha -2 Str. Small. land speed 20, low light vision, and gnomish weapon familiarity. That's all well and good. They also have a +2 bonus on all craft checks and listen checks. A +2 bonus on all saving throws, and a free technological feat. Their favored class is Tinker, because of course it is, but as the only race with a charisma bonus they're actually the best sorcerers the game has. Particularly because they don't have a level adjustment.
Unlike the Naga . I guess I'll give a rough timeline of the descent of the elves. Night elves were the first, and they ruled the world back when everything was one continent with the well of eternity in the middle. They gathered around their Queen Aszhara who was a mage of incredible power. Unfortunately ARCANE POWER CORRUPTS so she ended up summoning the demons through the well of eternity because of promises of power and blah blah blah. Some of the night elves rebelled and allied with the dragons and the ancients and drove back the demons into the well and detonated it, Sundering it into the malestrom and separating the continents into Kalimdor and the Eastern Kingdoms. Those Night Elves that allied with the others but still used arcane magic were eventually banished and became the High Elves, those that were allied with Azshara were cast down to the ocean floor when the well detonated. Awash with arcane energy they mutated into the Naga. They also have sexual dimorphism in which the women are lithe intelligent spellcasters and the men are large dumb brutish warriors. Years on the ocean floor mutating into more and more horrific forms hasn't really improved their disposition much so they're independant for the time being.
Statwise they're almost two different races at once. They're (mostly) all medium. Males get +2 str +2 dex and +2 natural armor. Women get +2 dex +2 int and +1 natural armor, and a +4 racial bonus on spot checks and uncanny dodge since women all have snakes for hair. Both sexes have base land speed 30, swim speed 50, heal at twice the normal rate underwater, and can breathe underwater. They also all have a mutation of some kind, this can range from a Bite attack, Claws, Extended Darkvision, an Ink Jet, an additional +2 natural armor, or tentacles which give them a constriction attack. Or they can choose a GREATER MUTATION which includes extra arms, a +4 natural armor bonus with attendant +2 bonus on fort saves, fast healing 1(2 underwater), even stronger tentacles which give them the improved grab feat and deal 1d10 damage, grow to size large, or men can choose to get both bite AND claw attacks, and women can choose to grow two extra arms.
Or they can give up their low light vision and get blindsense.
If the Naga was content with a lesser mutation theyr'e LA+1, with a greater mutation they're LA+2
I really don't think they thought this level adjustment thing through very well. A natural attack is powerful yes, but having one more natural attack isn't by itself enough to bump you up a level adjustment. Nor is having an extra pair of arms. And Blindsense DEFINITELY isn't worth it. Also they value a strength bump highly enough that it can apparently offset having racial uncanny dodge.
Pandaren are, well, a joke race. Mostly. The lead artist, Samwise, really loves pandas. Metzen also loves pandas, so a anthropomorphic panda drunken master made it into Frozen Throne as an independent hero. At this point in Warcraft's lore development this is basically all that's known about the pandaren and they've had to back-fill a lot of lore into what the fuck this race is. And they're independant because they're peaceful and at harmony with all things.
Statwise they're +2 dex +2 con +2 Natural Armor and medium. Their base land speed is 20 and they have a climb speed of 15. They've got low light vision and can drop to all fours to increase their speed by 10 but they can't hold anything in their hands while doing this. They've got weapon familiarity with some race specific things but they also have a bite and two claw attacks.
And they forgot to give them a level adjustment. The Manual of Monsters would correct this oversight but as I've mentioned before actually getting your hands on a Manual of Monsters to find this out was difficult before the advent of pdfs and file sharing.
Jungle Trolls are the last race here. Unlike other trolls who are barbaric voodoo practitioners who sacrifice intelligent beings to please their dark and savage gods. These trolls are barbaric voodoo practitioners who try to avoid sacrificing intelligent beings when other people are looking, at least the ones that decided to ally with Thrall. They're also exclusively matriarchal and women only exist to pop out more trolls. Because that is clearly the correct way to balance out the fact that Night Elves are amazons.
Statwise they're vanilla PHB Half-orcs cranked up to 11. +4 Str +2 Con -2 Int -2 Cha. Medium, Darkvision, Fast Healing 1. a +4 bonus on hide checks in jungle environments, and a +1 level adjustment. So if all you want out of your character is to rage for 2 extra rounds and bash someone's skull in REALLY HARD while occasionally hiding better in jungle trees then this is your race.
Up next: Prestige classes, including the long awaited Necromancer And you're probably going to want to keep waiting for one more book where they release an even better necromancer
Alliance & Horde Compendium: Prestige ClassesOriginal SA post
We've got about three and a half good ones this time around, which also means we have four and a half bad ones. But on the whole this is actually a marked improvement over the "not paladin" and "Not ranger" from last time.
Hit Die: D10
Requirements: Alignment: Evil, BAB +6, Endurance, must vow to become a death knight before Ner'zhul or one of his lieutennants and be granted a vampiric runeblade crafted specifically for the character. AKA "Ask your DM very nicely if you can be a necromancer blackguard", Also yet another prestige class that you can't enter until level 7.
The first class feature a Death Knight gets is True Evil which makes them immune to magical alignment changes but also means anything that deals bonus damage to evil creatures deals 1.5 times as much damage because you're from the darkbad. They also get a Runeblade which is actually a magic item from the core book. It's a +1 longsword that deals 2d6 damage extra to living targets which the wielder receives as stacking bonus health that can go up to his current hit point total +10 before disappearing an hour later. So yeah, if Sir Fellevil slaughters an entire town of innocent civilians have fun chewing through his 110 hit point shield. It's also an intelligent magic item but as long as the death knight isn't being not-evil it won't really rail against him. At 4th level it becomes a +2 weapon that can cast darkness at will. At 7th level it's a +3 weapon. And as their level 10 capstone it becomes a +4 weapon that automatically blinds anyone it hits. So if you manage to become a level 10 death knight congratulations you've officially trivialized any combat with a blindable target.
They eventually gain the ability to cast Death Pact once per day (Kill one of your undead minions to heal yourself for as much health as they had) and Death Coil (ranged inflict wounds). At 3rd level they can cast animate dead a number of times per day equal to his level/3 as a sorcerer of his death knight level. At level 5 they get one of the more flavorful class features, Crumbling Vessel , subsumed by the lich king's will, their life force no longer goes towards actually prolonging their life and instead is directed towards keeping their body intact. They no longer gain any bonus hit points from their con score (They keep any they previously had) and instead gain a profane bonus to AC equal to their con score. At 6th level they get Life Stealing which heals them for an amount of hit points equal to the maximum hit die of a creature they slay (so 8 for a humanoid). at 7th level they become immune to death spells. And finally at 8th level they get Unholy Aura , 3 times per day they can project an aura in a 10 foot radius that either heals undead or damages living creatures for 3d8.... divided as the death knight chooses.
So yeah other than the fact that there's probably no way a player character is getting this class it's not terribly bad, the requirements are basically 'be a fighter or barbarian and take endurance', you get your small army of undead and can murder anything that doesn't have tremorsense.
Hit Die: d8
Requirements: Any good, Blind-Fight, Blood-elf, Night-elf, or Human. The ability to cast arcane spells, and a base Fortitude Save of +5 ...yes you read that correctly. So you could conceivably enter this class at level 5 as a Fighter2/Barb1/Wiz1. You must also seek out an existing demon hunter (of which at this point in the series there was canonically one, and he was an asshole, they've since added several others but only 3 of them aren't evil and only one of them is still alive) and have them teach you a series of rituals in which you bind a demon inside yourself and then burn out your own eyes to bind the demon within you. Binding your face with a bandanna to keep the wounds from healing. Note the perfectly fine not-gouged blood elf showing off her side boob in the above artwork.
So first of all this is a half-caster class, you get +1 spellcasting level every even level. It's also 3/4ths BAB and you're expected to be in melee all the time with arcane spell failure chance preventing you from wearing armor. And depending on what path you took to enter this class this also means that you either A: have little to no spell slots or B: have a shit BAB to begin with. It does boost your familiar's abilities though so yay for that(?).
The first class feature is Enlightenment At level 1 you begin to sense the world around you through your demonic energy. You gain blindsight 15 X your Demon Hunter levels. at level 3 you can cast detect evil at will, at level 8 you can detect outsiders at will, and at level 10 you can detect magic at will, this class feature also conveniently forces your melee wizard to stay in melee. You also bind a portion of the demon's essence into your Warblade , which starts out as a +1 flaming not-longsword that you don't explicitly have proficiency in if you didn't get it through your fighter levels. At 4th and 8th level it gets a +1 enhancement bonus and you can give it an ability from a list which includes keen and ghost touch. So full stop right there.
Transformation causes your skin to slowly pale and then tinge blue. You always detect as chaotic regardless of your actual alignment, and at 5th level your skin turns leathery, giving you a +1 NA bonus. At 7th level your skin turns dark purple and you gain resist 10 to one energy type. At 10th level you transform into an outsider as you merge with the demon within you and gain a +3 profane bonus on all ranged touch attacks okay then. at 2nd level you can cast Mana Burn once per day, twice at 6th level and 3 times at 9th level as a sorcerer equal to your demon hunter level. Which will hilariously probably be higher than your actual caster level. At 3rd level you gain Evasion . And at 5th level once per day you can deal 2d6+your wisdom modifier( ) fire/fel damage to everything within 10 feet. With a reflex save dc of 10+half your demon hunter level+ your charisma modifier( ). So yes, once per day you can use an ability that utilizes two ability scores that you probably dump statted. Hooray.
This class is terrible for several reasons. It's a melee wizard with no bonus to AC and a 3/4ths BAB that actively prevents you from casting spells at range due to your blindsense until you reach a high enough level to actually see shit. And one of it's capstone abilities deals a middling amount of damage and isn't party friendly.
Hit Die: d10
Requirements: Ironforge Dwarf, Alliance only, Iron Will, Toughness, Knowledge(History:Titans)8 or Knowledge(religion:Titans)8 ranks You must also make a pilgrammage to a titan shrine and meditate there for 3 days without food or drink. Knowledge skills don't work that way game. Also the only two classes that have Knowledge History and Religion are the Wizard/Sorc and Healer. I'm reasonably certain they didn't want you to progress into this class as either of those two classes so you're apparently supposed to feat into that skill proficiency?
At first level you gain two class features, the ability to cast Stone Tell level/2 times per day. And a frankly bizarre bonus to your Unarmed Attack that increases both your attack bonus and damage die as you level up in this class. But doesn't actually make it deal lethal damage or allow you to make those attacks without provoking attacks of opportunity. At 2nd level your improved connection to the spirits of the earth increase your Stonecunning bonus to +4. At 3rd level you gain Earthstance which should just be called "Improved Stability" because all it does is give you another +4 to your stability bonuses. At level 4 you finally get a reason to want to take this class. Strength of the Titans gives you a +2 inherent bonus to strength which increases by another +2 at 7th level and 10th level. at 5th level you can cast the Stoneskin spell 1-3 times per day with a duration of 10 minutes per class level. At 6th level you gain the Bash feat from the previous book but you can only use it with your unarmed strikes. At 9th level you can cast Stone Shape once per day and at 10th level you can cast Iron Body once per day.
I honestly have no idea what's going on here. It's like someone just told the class designer "It does earth things" and left it at that. In warcraft 3 the dwarven avatar was all about screaming "FOR KHAZ MODAN" and beating people up with giant maces and axes. Hell look at that artwork up there. Now he's a shitty monk, a doubledwarf, and also sort of an earthbender?
Hit Die: d6
Requirements: Point blank shot, Weapon focus(Firearm), Craft(Tech)8 So this is doable for almost anyone, though I should point out that the technological item creation rules make it impossible for anyone who isn't explicitly a tinker to actually use the craft technological device skill. And in fact any level you take that isn't in tinker actively hinders your ability to make any better items.
At every odd level you gain a Bonus Feat from a list of generic ranged combat fighter feats but also including Build Firearms, which would technically increase your tech capacity enough to make TS level 2 guns I suppose. and let you auto-crit on one shot a week. At 2nd/5th/8th level you can make a True Shot one additional time per day which is basically a shot with a true strike spell attached. Sharpshooter gives you a +1 bonus to attack rolls at 3rd/6th/9th level. At 4th level you gain Ranged Disarm at 6th level you gain Ranged Sunder and at 8th level you gain Ranged Cleave which are feats that show up later because this game commits the all too common sin of putting feats after the prestige classes that grant/require them. The capstone ability is Penetrating Shot which allows a Marksman to make one shot per day that ignores damage reduction. That's it. This either translates to "Hooray you deal an extra 5 damage" or "Hooray you are able to deal damage at all now go back to plinking away at him"
Other than the capstone ability this is actually a solid class. It's super accurate and you gain a bunch of trick shots through both your bonus feats and the granted feats.
Hit Die: d6
Requirements: Any Evil, 3rd level arcane spellcasting, Knowledge(Arcana)8, Knowledge(undead)8. Uhh.. Knowledge(undead) doesn't actually exist so I'll assume you mean Knowledge Religion which also conveniently makes this a wizard only club.
The main class feature is "access to the necromancy spell list". In addition to that you can make a Death Touch attack once per day (2 times at 4th level 3 times at 7th level) where you touch a living creature, and roll 1d6 x your necromancer level. if that exceeds their hit point total, they die. If it doesn't, absolutely nothing happens. I hate class features like this just because of the amount of metagamey knowledge it takes to not make it a waste of a turn. You can cast Animate Dead level/2 times per day and Death Pact level/3 times per day. At 5th level you gain Death resistance which is immunity to death spells and death effects. At 6th level you can cast Create Undead once per day, and again at 9th level. at 8th level you gain Undying which means you just become undead, no con score anymore charisma to concentration checks, immune to fortitude saves, all that. And at 10th level you can cast Create Greater Undead once per day.
The only thing this class does is grant you early access to spells, except it doesn't really do that because you gain the Create Undead and Create Greater Undead abilities at the same level they would become available to a wizard of your level. So it's really only granting you extra spell slots that must be used for those spells. The most damning thing of all for the Necromancer is that they actually made a better necromancer(lowercase n) in the next book.
Primal Oh god that artwork why do you do this to me Samwise I thought we were friends
Hit Die: d12
Requirements: Any Chaotic, Cleave, BAB+6, Fortitude save +5. I have no idea what is up with those fortitude saves. Was BAB not enough? Do you need to keep Rogues and Wizards out of your terrible otherkin club until 15th level? Fighter and Barbarian will hit that at level 6 just by being a fighter and/or barbarian.
So uhm, yeah. The first level ability is Pounce which is basically "done congratulations, you've made a 1 level prestige class, good for you." Except they don't really seem to understand how charges work in the first place since it says "you may make a full attack after a charge even if you've already taken a move action" and charging is a full round action. They also can cast speak with animals once per day. Fantastic. At 2nd level they gain Primal Claws which are 1d6+Primal Level/2 +strength damage claws. Because math? They also gain Burning Rage which is exactly identical to rage and just gives you barbarian rages per day if you already have them so why didn't they just call it Rage . Bestial Strength gives the primal +1 strength at 3/6/9th level. Toughend Hide gives you a +1 natural armor bonus at 4/7/10th level. Feral arrives at 5th level, and lets you ignore half of all nonlethal damage dealt, and at 10th level you ignore all nonlethal damage, turn into a magical beast(???) and gain darkvision 60 and low light vision. At 5th level you grow Fangs which inflict 2d6 points of damage and grant the Improved Grab and Rake special abilities.. because that's what fangs do i guess? It doesn't actually give a damage value for the rake so I don't know what it wants to have there. And at 8th level they gain Stand at Death's Door as a bonus feat, which is described later of course.
I really don't want to read into the fact that so far the only two classes that have female artwork and use feminine pronouns are the "crazy beast woman" and the "literal demon woman" but again this book had Metzen's direct involvement in it so . The class actually isn't half bad, if anything I'd say it's kind of too powerful, because Pounce is that good. I mean if you can take the multiattack feat you're dishing out a giant pile of damage on a charge with your 3 natural attacks, improved grab, and rake. And turning into a Magical Beast (for whatever reason I guess) makes you immune to tons of shit that the rules don't really have a proper way of handling. The only thing this doesn't have over a vanilla barbarian is an improvement of your rage steps.
Hit Die: d6
Requirements: BAB+3, Maximize Spell, Spellcraft8, Ability to cast 5 different evocation spells that cause damage at least one of which must be 3rd level. So, 6th level wizard or sorcerer, ironically favoring sorcerer for once since they both gain access at the same level. Also: check out that d6 hit dice.
So, one thing to note is that this is a full progression caster that also has a good reflex and will save for some inexplicable reason. At 1st, 5th, and 9th level you gain Awareness which is a +1 dodge bonus to your AC. At every even level you gain a Battlemagic which is supposed to be an "Awe inspiring tide-turning display of magic in a battle", but they're all only usable once per day and only selectable once. They work like Archmage class features in that you have to have a level+int score total equal or greater to it's required level to get it. Which I guess is the only way in which wizard has a leg up on the sorcerer here. But the highest level battlemagic only requires a level+int total of 10. Which is the level you get the last battlemagic. And the level 10 battlemagic is "control weather", you know, a spell that you can't actively control. And you're probably going to want to take "Quagmire" instead which halves the movement speed of all enemies within 100 feet of you for an hour. or "Electrical Strike" which is a maximized lightning bolt. At 3rd and 7th level you gain a bonus weapon proficiency, which is nice I guess. and at 5th level you gain Improved Maximize Spell which lowers the spell slot requirement of a maximized spell by 1.
There is literally no reason a Sorcerer who isn't trying to be a warlock or necromancer shouldn't do everything in their power to get into this class. Wizards lose out on bonus feats but if you're a blastvocation sorcerer this class is basically tailor made for you and does a decent job of keeping you alive.
Hit die: d8
Requirements: BAB+5, Mounted Combat, Handle Animal 8, Ride 8, Must select a flying creature that will be your mount. If this mount dies you must find a new one and your class features return at a rate of 1 level per week as you readjust to the mount. So simple enough requirements to meet, just extremely painful penalties if the thing dies. Also: decent female artwork attached to a class without unfortunate implications, it's a Winter's Veil miracle.
Trained Mount just makes your mount trained for combat so you don't have to make ride checks to force it into battle. Bond with mount gives you a wizards familiar abilities with your mount. Empathic connection at 1st level, shared language at 5th level, and telepathic at 9th level. You also get a Skill bonus on handle animal and ride checks equal to half your level in this class. Defensive Flying gives you a competence bonus to AC equal to half your level in this class. At 2nd, 5th, and 8th level you gain a Bonus Feat from a list including ranged combat and mounted combat feats, but not including Ride By attack which you get at 3rd level. Weather Sense gives you a +5 competence bonus on survival checks to predict the weather, okay. 4th level gives you proficiency with shields, which.... I'm honestly not sure how you could get into this class without shield proficiency. And at 6th level you gain the Spirited Charge feat.
I'm not a fan of classes that give you a special animal, but don't actually increase that animals abilities as you level up. A +5 bonus to AC is fine, but not if you're still dealing with level 5 hit points at level 15. You'll get hit less often but one hit will fuck you up utterly. Combined with the fact that the combination of aerial combat and mounted combat will give your GM fits. This class just isn't worth it.
Next Time: Those Feats I mentioned
Alliance & Horde Compendium: Skills and FeatsOriginal SA post
I would have had this up earlier this week but then the Star Wars Humble Bundle happened and I've been spending the past week palling around with Darth Bindo. Let's continue.
Skills and Feats
So, the Profession(Military Commander) Skill allows you to issue orders in mass combat. But it's of limited usefulness, because apparently soldiers are stone dumb and don't even know how to move if you can't succeed on a DC20 check, and you can use your BAB+Cha Modifier or your Diplomacy or Intimidate skill with a -5 penalty.
A new type of feat introduced in here is the Commander Feat which give bonuses to people who view you as your commander. Meaning that they A: Have to follow your orders at all times, if you ever give them an order and they do not follow it you stop being their commander. and B: can only have one commander at a time. So only one person in a party can take these feats and they don't do them any good. They also have incredibly small ranges. Meaning that they only benefit the mass combat group you're standing in.
Balanced Command (Reflex +3), Determined Command (Will +3), and Steadfast Command (Fort +3) give your allies within 10 feet a +1 morale bonus on reflex, will, and fortitude saves.
Beloved Commander gives your allies within 30 feet a +1 morale bonus on attack rolls a +1 bonus on damage rolls and a +2 bonus on will saves for 1+cha rounds whenever they see you incapacitated.
Courageous Command gives your allies within 20 feet a +4 morale bonus on saving throws against fear effects.
Ruthless Command (Cha 13) gives your allies with 5 feet a +1 morale bonus on damage rolls with melee weapons. Note: according to the mass combat rules the 5 foot radius is actually too small to affect anyone.
Bull's-Eye: (BAB +4) Bull's-Eye gives you a single die of ranged sneak attack with one ranged weapon in which you are proficient. Meaning it has to be within 30 feet and denied it's dexterity bonus. That's not really worth a feat.
Control Magic: (Ability to cast Dispel Magic) When you counter a spell that summons creatures with Dispel or Greater Dispel Magic you may instead gain control over the creature. Devour Magic gives you 1d4 temp hit points when you dispel an active spell. Thankfully they had the foresight to make this spells not work with wands and scrolls.
Drop Cut: (Tumble 8 ranks, BAB+3) lets you do 'falling charges' by landing on top of a creature you deal double damage and an additional 1d6 damage for every square fallen over 10. However, you must take full damage from the fall, you can't tumble to lower it, and you can't use this feet with falls of over 100 feet because 'it takes too long to reach the ground'. No I have no idea how that works.
Evasive Maneuvers: (Ride 8, Mounted Combat) Lets you gain a dodge bonus to AC if you do nothing but move(but not run) in a round on a flying mount. This is apparently instead of fighting defensively.
Exotic Weapons Proficiency: Siege Weapons (BAB +2) is self explanatory. Without it you take a -4 penalty on attack rolls.
Expert Flyer: (Ride 10, Mounted Combat) lets you spend a standard action to improve your mount's maneuverability by one class to a maximum of "good".
Fan of Knives: (Dex 17, Point Blank Shot, Quick Draw, Rapid Shot, BAB+6) as a full-round action that provokes Attacks of Opportunity you can throw one throwing weapon at each enemy within one range increment. All weapons thrown must be of the same type (javelins are given as an example) and all attacks take a -2 penalty, you know, just in case you thought that this feat was even marginally worthwhile.
Find Weak Point: Lets siege weapons you operate ignore 10 points of hardness.
Improved Mounted Archery: (Mounted Archery, Mounted Combat) reduces the penalty from using ranged weapons while your mount is double moving/running to 0/-2.
Howl of Terror: (BAB+4) As a move action you can howl, forcing opponents within 30 feet to make a Will Save(DC 15+Cha) or be shaken for 1+cha rounds. You can use this once a day per four character levels.
Initiate Self Destruct Sequence: (Craft Tech 6, Disable Device 6) If you have full, uninterrupted access to a vehicle's engine for 1d6 minutes you can make a DC 30 minus Malfunction Rating Disable Device Check, if you succeed the device explodes 'horrendously' after a length of time determined by your degree of success. 0-5 is "right now", 6-10 is 1d6 rounds. 11-15 is 1d6 minutes. 16-20 is 1d6X10 minutes. and 20+ is 'your choice'. So, yeah, this feat is fucking terrible for various reasons. primarily amongst them that you need to succeed at a dc45 check at minimum to be able to choose when it explodes. If you roll too well but not well enough you could be waiting an hour for your magnificent plan to occur, and if you succeed but just barely congratulations you are now eating an explosion. The damage for the explosions is really anemic too. 5d6 damage + 2d6 for each size category above large. Meaning that if by some wonder of wonders you do succeed you get to be out damaged by a fireball.
Plummet Attack: (Ride 10, Mounted Combat, Ride-by Attack, Spirited Charge) if you charge against a target 45 degrees below you while on a flying mount you deal 3x damage, 4x with a lance.
Ranged Cleave: (Rapid Shot) Unlike Arrow cleave, this one is probably actually useful. If you down someone with a ranged attack you can make another ranged attack against someone in the same range increment with the same weapon, at the same BAB that downed the previous creature.
Ranged Disarm: (Dex 13, Point Blank Shot, Precise Shot) You can (maybe) disarm from a distance. Except probably not, because the feat is worded badly. See, you don't attack their arm, or the hand holding the weapon, you attempt to knock the weapon out of their hands by shooting it with your gun or arrow . Arrows are size Tiny, bullets are Diminutive or Fine (probably), and they get a +4 bonus for each different in size category between their weapon and yours, and an additional +4 bonus if they're wielding it in 2 hands.
Ranged Sunder: (Str 13, far shot) You can deal full damage to objects with ranged weapons, though they still get their hardness bonus.
Ricochet Shot: (Dex 13, Trick Shot, BAB +4) If you hit a target with a thrown bludgeoning or slashing weapon. you can make a second attack against a target within 5 feet of the original target by making another attack at a -4 penalty, and it deals half damage. With a moonglave you can ricochet again to a 3rd target with another -4 penalty and deal 1/4th damage. Not really worthwhile except for Ricochet Whirlwind: (Ricochet Shot BAB+8) You can now make a bounce equal to 1+Dex Mod targets, and each attack takes at maximum a -4 penalty on attacks and deals a flat half damage of a regular attack. You can also just bounce it back and forth between two creatures. Moonglave just gives you 1 extra bounce.
Siege Cleave: (EWP:Siege Weapons, BAB+3) When using a siege weapon against creatures(Not buildings) you can send it careening through the enemy ranks. After killing a creature the missile continues onward to hit the creature behind it. Great Siege Cleave ( SC, BAB+5) lets you use it an unlimited number of times per round. Giving me this hilarious mental image of a giant boulder smashing through one peasant like wet paper, but then being completely stopped by the second until the person working the catapult figures out how physics work.
Spellbreaker (BAB+8, cannot be able to cast spells of any kind) You can spellbreak. As a full round action, attack a spellcaster with a melee weapon and deal damage as normal. If you deal more than 10 damage you can destroy one of their spell slots of their choice. 10-19 destroys a level 1 slot, 20-29 destroys a level 2 and so on. though I have no idea how you'd even touch anything higher than a level 3 slot unless you're super lucky on a crit(Or have Stand at Death's Door). Feedback (Spellbreaker, BAB+8) deals an extra 1d4 damage per spell level destroyed.
Stand at Death's Door: (Con +15, Cleave, Toughness, BAB+7, 20 or more HP) you deal extra damage with melee attacks equal to 20-current hit points.
Steal Magic: (Able to cast Dispel or Greater Dispel, any 2 metamagic feats)When you dispel a spell you can apply it to yourself instead of dispelling it if you succeed on a DC 15+spell level caster level check. If you fail the check then the spell is somehow retroactively not dispelled and remains on the initial target. Transfer Magic lets you transfer a spell to a target within 5XCL feet.
Taunt: Lets you spend a full round action taunting a target within 30 feet with an intelligence of at least 6. You must also not have more than half concealment and cover. You and the target make opposed charisma checks, and if you succeed the target spends his next turn doing everything in his power to kill you. If you fail he becomes immune to your taunts entirely for one day. Why the fuck would you ever take this feat.
Vehicle Weapons Expert: (Vehicle Proficiency) You get a +1 bonus on attack rolls and a +2 bonus on damage rolls with any vehicle mounted weapons on vehicles you are proficient in.
Weaken Structure: When using a siege weapon, every 10 damage you deal over an objects hardness lower its hardness permanently by 1
And that's everything that's worth talking about in the book. The next chapter is just a 'where are they now' describing what the various factions were doing during The Frozen Throne, and the chapter after that is all about mass Combat.
There are eighteen pages worth of tables.
I'm not going to subject either of us to that.
Magic & Mayhem: Corruption, Asshole Gods, and RunesOriginal SA post
It's been a while hasn't it. Whoops.
Corruption, Asshole Gods, and Runes
First of all they talk a bit about Arcane Magic, and how it's Corrupting, Addictive, Attracts Demons, and is absolutely 100% necessary because arcane magic is powerful and useful. Did we mention it's corrupting? Because they created a whole system on Arcane Corruption.
The concept of arcane corruption is interesting, but it's also really dumb in it's implementation. The idea being that arcane casters have "Hit Points Of The Soul"(Yes, they call it this) which is your Caster Level + Wisdom Score. Every time you perform a corrupting act, you need to make a will save. Sorcerers take a -2 penalty on these checks because they're dirty Sorcerers. Runecasters(We'll get to them later) get a +1 bonus because they're wonderful and pure.
If your corruption allowance ever runs out, you become "Tainted" and gain a minor corruption effect, these are usually just flavorful physical blemishes or minor psychological roleplaying things. If a tainted character runs out again they become "Marked" and gain a moderate effect which can cause some issues. A Marked Character becomes "Defiled" and gains a severe effect which may well make you unplayable. If a Defiled character runs out of points they become an NPC because they're an evil demon worshiper.
When a character receives a minor Corruption Effect, his personality becomes noticeably colder and more callous. By the time he receives a major Corruption Effect his desire to doo good has been thoroughly eroded; even when he's in control of his actions, he's arrogant and self-centered, and often willful and malicious.
The major problem with the corruption system as it stands is that while there are certain things that are "Acts of Hubris", most of the shit on the corruption table is completely out of a players control.
You can avoid pushing(increasing it's DC) or enhancing(Applying a metamagic feat without an increase in level) a spell, or casting a spell that contacts the twisting nether. But you can't really avoid "Learning a spell", or "casting a spell near a demon". God help you if your campaign takes place near a major source of arcane power because at that point you're basically straight fucked.
The corruption effects themselves are interesting in theory but in practice anything past minor will usually cause issues. Like "Bob failed his will save so he doesn't get to play with us today" issues.
or "Someone else got injured, let's muzzle the sorcerer so we don't have to kill him when we heal up."
There are ways of healing corruption, Going an entire week without casting a spell will restore 1 point of your "soul points". If you spend that week in natural surroundings meditating on nature (and how much easier your life would be if you were a druid) you can instead restore 2d3 "soul points". The Atonement spell will restore 1d6 points of corruption+1/2 caster levels if you also undertake a quest. And Wish or Miracle will restore your allowance to it's maximum value. Which honestly seems kind of like it's missing the point. You're constantly at risk of losing your soul until you can cast 9th level spells and then you're basically golden. Removing corruption effects themselves require a restoration/greater restoration/touch of life spell and just knock the character down to the next lowest level of corruption.
Divine Magic gets it's own little set of rules for divine ordeals and tests of faith. A sample ordeal is to have the Priest go to his home town, have him bound in stocks, and have the entire community mock and torture him for a week, this is so that the priest can "Better bear the worst of humanity's transgressions". The benefit you get out of an ordeal is that you can substitute a will save for any other saving throw.
Also undergoing more than one Ordeal a year is considered Gauche and the gods will probably punish you for it.
Tests of Faith are basically Ordeals except you didn't know they were going to happen. Any situation where a character has to choose between her safety or that of the party over the tenets of their faith. things like "Heal a villain or let him die" or "drive off refugees that are trying to harvest the forest to build a new home" or "be compelled to offer hospitality to the first visitor who asks and that visitor is a demon cultist". These tests might be illusory, but the book somewhat tounge-in-cheek says that they shouldn't be illusory all the time, and that the DM should sometimes choose whichever option dicks over the character the most unless that option would result in their death.
If the divine spellcaster fails the test, she receives a -1 penalty to her caster level for the next month and will be forced to acknowledge publicly her failure and make penance before others of the faith. The GM may add additional consequences (such as a stigma scar to mark the test's failure, the need to perform an atonement quest, or exclusion from the faith's most sacred rituals and benefits) A test of faith is a major event in a character's life and the player should understand this and roleplay the consequences of the character's failure. Anyone who takes such a failure in stride invites more severe penalties (such as a greater penalty to caster level and a -2 luck penalty on all skill checks and saving throws) from whatever empowers her faith
"I'm sorry bob, but you haven't wailed and gnashed your teeth enough this gaming session, so now you can't cast spells."
It then goes on to say that tests should only occur when a character's faith seems to be flagging. "When they fail to stand up for their beliefs; when their response to the desecration of a sacred ground is half-hearted" make sense "When they associate with friends too much" doesn't.
Next they go over Rune Magic, which means it's time to talk about the Runemaster.
The Runemaster is a completely new base class. Whereas the Healer was the cleric with the numbers filed off, the Scout was a less good ranger, and the Tinker...exists... the Runemaster is a strange hybrid of the unarmed attack power of the monk, the buffing ability of a druid, and the arcane flavor of the wizard.
Runes are recreations of natural patterns in the world that magic would otherwise naturally flow through. The pattern of hoofmarks around a watering hole might yield a mark of healing. The flow of a river as it cuts through a mountain might yield a mark of strength. By mimicking these patterns and empowering them with arcane energy a runemaster can recreate their effects with less risk to himself or the recipient. Rather than invoking a fireball, a runemaster would instead enchant his fists with flame and take the fight to his foes directly.
If you think that this sounds amazing, you'd be right. If you think that they're going to fuck it up, you have good pattern recognition.
First of all, they're a melee range arcane caster. They're subject to arcane spell failure, and while they get a monk's flurry of blows ability they don't get a monk's wisdom bonus to AC, or the other native bonus to AC. (which wouldn't matter because they're an Int based caster, but eh). So they're just as Multiple-Attribute-Dependant as a Monk, except maybe even more because dealing damage is reliant on them actually hitting with their attacks.
The second problem is with the Runes themselves. Casting a rune is a full-round action, and all Runes are touch spells. So if the fighter is in need of healing, and you're 10 feet away, you need to spend your turn running over to him, wait, hope he doesn't move, then begin casting your spell, hope he doesn't move again, and then finish casting your spell. To play an effective runemaster you need to know where you need to be 2 rounds from now, and then actually still be needed there. This can be somewhat alleviated at 9th level when the Runemaster gets the Extended Mark ability. Which allows a rune to last 1 minute per level before activation. But outside of combat that's a very small amount of time. At 15th level you can make runes that last indefinitely until activated. But a character can only have one Extended or Lasting mark on them at a time. At 18th level you can Tattoo a mark onto someone, but that can only be activated once per day, and a character can only have one tatoo per 5 hit dice. Also tattoos take standard actions to activate but Lasting Marks only take move actions. I don't know why there's a difference either.
The third problem is that the runemaster doesn't get an increased unarmed strike damage progression. They need to be casting runes on themselves to hit harder, which means they're removing spells from their pool to be used in other things. To get up to the base level of a monk at maximum level, a runemaster would need to cast a 4th, 7th, 8th, and 9th level spell on himself. And since durations are fixed at weird intervals. they will only stay at that level for an hour. They also don't get any spells to actually increase their armor class.
The end result is a class that needs a full minute pre combat to get ready, and then just really really has to hope that no one wants to hit them, because they probably will.
I will say that they drastically improve this class in the next edition. To the point where it's not only playable but it's also fun. But that's a while from now.
Next up: Feats and Prestige Classes
Magic & Mayhem: Feats and Prestige ClassesOriginal SA post
Feats and Prestige Classes
There's maybe one feat and one prestige class in this whole bunch that are good. The rest range from salvageable to hot garbage.
Additional Familiar (Sorc/Wiz level 6th)
Hey! You know that thing that's more of a liability than an asset?
Do you want another one that's even weaker?
Hey! Where are you going?
Avoid Technological Mishap (Skill Focus (Use Technological Device))
So to use this you need to have skill focus in Use technological device, which is not the skill you use to make them, and is a skill that has a hard upper limit on the number you need to hit, in order to reduce the malfunction rating of devices, but anyone worth their salt is going to try and keep the MR at 1 or 0 anyway because a 25% "Your device is now a pile of slag and you're missing an arm" rate is kind of ridiculous and shitty.
Capture Spell (Arcane Energy Control, Block Spell)
This feat allows you to capture spells that you counter as long as they would normally appear on your spell list, however it's somewhat more difficult than it would originally appear. First you need to counter the spell, then expend an additional spell slot equal to or greater than the spell that you countered. Then make a caster level check DC 11+The Spells Caster Level. So you're only going to succeed roughly 50% of the time. Though once you've captured it you can either A:) Cast it, or B:) Scribe it in your spellbook. On the one hand it's a neat way to get extra spells as a wizard, on the other hand it's 3 feats deep into an only okay feat tree.
Consummate Machinist (build Firearms, Build Siege Weapons, Build Small Devices, AND Build Vehicles)
Your TL for devices is increased by 2. This is an alright feat I guess, if you're going to be a level 20 tinker you're going to get all the prereqs eventually, might as well make a slightly more powerful railgun.
By increasing the level of a spell by 1 you can add Dismissible to it's duration!
I cannot for the life of me think of a spell with a duration that isn't dismissible that you would want to at any point prematurely dismiss, or couldn't wait out the duration of.
Fel Infusion (Any other metamagic feat, ability to cast 3 spells with the Fel descriptor)
A Spell modified by this gains the Fel descriptor, which increases the saving throws by 3 and gives it a +10 bonus on caster level checks to overcome spell resistance. And any damage inflicted by the spell is Fel damage instead of it's normal type. This does have some odd caveats though, it doesn't change the existing descriptors of the spell. So a creature that's specifically immune to fire spells would still be immune to a fel fireball, but a creature immune to fire damage would not be. It increases the level of the spell by +3
When you cast a forked spell, two copies are cast at once but each is at half effectiveness. Damage is cut in half, if it doesn't deal damage it's duration is cut in half, if it doesn't have either of those it's area is cut in half, if it lacks all of those features then it can't be forked. +1 level.
You can make a spell that normally takes a standard action take a move action instead for a +2 spell level adjustment. It still provokes AAOs.
When preparing spells you can link two spells together. They must be cast at the same time, when you cast one the other is also automatically cast, the casting time is equal to the longest casting time, each linked spell takes up a spell slot one level higher than normal.
Greater Link Spell (Link Spell)
Exactly the Same as Link Spell except you can now link any number of spells together. So go ahead mister wizard, fill up your entire spell book with metamagiced fireballs of various permutations and levels. Kill the final boss in one round by hurling your entire spell allotment at them. Good for you.
Spell Specialization (Spell Focus, caster level 4th)
Choose one spell that's a part of your spell focus school. Your caster level is 2 levels higher when casting that spell, and any metamagic feats increase it's level by 1 less.
Greater Spell Specialization (Greater Spell Focus, Spell Focus, Spell Specialization, caster level 12th)
Increases the bonus of it's child feat to +4 and -2.
Technological Weaponry (Use Technological Device 6 ranks)
You can use any technological device as a weapon, even if it wasn't designed as a weapon, as long as it's one size category larger than you or smaller. However each time you attack with it you need to make a Use Tech check at a DC equal to 2 higher than normal, and the Malfunction Rating of the device applies to both that check and the attack roll. Just bring along a staff, or a gun.
For the low low cost of increasing the spell slot of a spell by seven levels you can remove the upper limit on variable effects based on caster level. Let me just be frank, this feat is very, very bad. A Transcendent Scorching Ray is not as good as meteor swarm. A Transcendent magic missile is a hilarious waste of an 8th level spell slot (9d4+9 damage? Scandal!) Just learn some new spells and let this feat be.
Undead Supremacy (Spell Focus(Necromancy))
All undead under your control gain +4 dex and bonus HP based on their size like constructs do. Note that this says under your control not just ones you create. So if you're being a necrolord this isn't a bad thing to grab.
Hit Die: d6
Requirements Craft(Alchemy) 5, Craft(Technological Device)5, Knowledge (Architecture and Engineering)5 Build Small Devices, Scavenge Materials, Must have
First of all, this class doesn't actually increase your Tech Score capacity for making bombs, as only the tinker class can do that, even though this is basically a tinker exclusive class. Second of all they buried a class feature in the weapon/armor proficiencies in that you can take weapon focus with explosive and splash weapons. Okay. Goblin Sapping reduces the hardness of wooden structures by the Bombardier's intelligence bonus when you're blowing them up Bomb Bouncing Lets you skip grenades along the ground to double their range increment. Excelent Timing Lets you set a delay on an explosive without increasing the use Device penalty on it. Trick Toss Lets you throw curveballs with grenades, like "90 degree corner" curveballs. Sure.
Boom lets you double the explosive yield of existing grenades by upgrading them... which is a thing you could do anyway using rules that they include later in the book. Dwarven Sapping is like Goblin Sapping except it applies to stone and metal buildings. Big Boom lets you upgrade explosive devices to always deal maximum damage. Improved Excellent Timing lets you precisely time grenades and other timed explosives to go off at specific ticks in the initiative count. Master Sapper lets you apply your ranks in Knowledge (Architecture and Engineering) as a bonus damage on a placed explosive as long as you spend a full round action targeting a large or larger structure.
Ground Zero is... interesting. The sapper can apply double his hit point total to the damage an explosion does by standing next to a bomb and manually executing a precise detonation. A DC 25 reflex save avoids all damage for the Bombardier, failure means you take normal (unmodified by your hit points) Damage. The game says that this 'normally kills the bombardier' but, not really? I mean, run up to your opponent, pull a grenade pin and smile as it deals 1d6 damage to you but 1d6+120 damage to them.
All in all this is an interesting class, but only because the game's technological device creation rules lets you do some absurd shit if you've got a tinker feeding you pocket nukes.
Hit Die: d6
Requirements Leadership, Craft (Tech Device) 10, Must have completed a device with a TS of 10 without assistance.
Master Tinker's Touch Makes your Engineer levels count as Tinker levels for the purposes of determining your TS, in addition you can add your ranks in Craft(Tech)/5 to your TS capacity as fake tinker levels. Specialization at 1st, 5th, and 8th level an Engineer picks an Area of specilization from the types of Technological Devices that are avaliable to craft. the Engineer gets a competence bonus to craft checks within his areas of specialization +1 at 1st level, and an additional +1 at every odd level after that. But they take a -3 penalty in any area they are not specialized in. Lead Collaboration allows an Engineer to use his feats and Tinker's Touch to determine the Tech Level of any device a collaboration builds, and lowers the virtual GP that needs to be met to build the device from Market Value X 10 to Market Value X 7. Though if he takes a week without working on it it reverts back to it's lower TS and market value X10.
Draft Schematic lets him draw up plans for any device he has personally constructed. If he makes one additional craft check after the device is finished he makes plans that anyone but him can use to gain an Engineer Level/2 bonus on all checks to construct a copy of the device. And finally Hold Together lowers the MR of any technological device he is operating by 1.
It's a great class for an NPC I guess, or someone who really really wants to break the tech crafting system over their knee.
Hit Die: d4
Requirements: Non-Good, Independent Affiliation, Knowlege(Arcana)8, Knowlege (Religion)8, Spell Focus(Necromancy), Must be able to cast 3rd level arcane spells. Must have spent one night buried in a graveyard during a new moon.
This is a full casting level class like the Necromancer was, and it is everything that the Necromancer wishes it could be, the spell lists are mostly the same though the Graven One doesn't get any level drain spells. It does get the new Summon Undead spells but the Necromancer gets those too. There are a few new Necromancer Only spells (ANd one that's really good) but otherwise they're mostly the same.
At 1st level a Graven One crafts their own Bone Scythe as a manifestation of their bond with death. It starts as a +1 Scythe, at 3rd level it becomes a +2 Keen scythe, at 6th level its a +3 keen ghost touch scythe, and at 9th level it's a +4 keen death touch unholy scythe. They can summon the scythe to their hand from anywhere as a standard action, and only they or their Awakened Minion can wield it.
Awaken Minion The Graven One can make a Skeletal Warrior or Skeletal Mage from the bones of a Fighter/wizard/socerer. Both of those templates are from the Manual of Monsters and are fairly decent upgrades to the basic skeleton so this isn't a bad thing. They start out as a level 2 F/W/S and gain 2 more levels at 4th, 6th, and 8th level. The only downside is that if it's destroyed it takes 1 month per effective character level to rebuild. So at 10th level if your warrior dies it takes 8 months of downtime to rebuild it. Bolstered Bones makes any skeletal undead the Graven One summons have +4 turn resistance and +2 hp per HD, and her awakened minion gains +4 turn resistance. Imbue Ability lets the graven one transfer supernatural ability from one Undead to another by destroying the original creature and spending a number of XP equal to 10 times the original creatures maximum HP. This seems super expensive when there's no guarantee that the second creature won't die. Seize Ability is similar, except the graven one can steal it for themselves (int bonus) times per day. Though it only lasts 24 hours it also doesn't cost Experience points.
Armor of Bones and Shadow is the 9th level ability that lets the graven one summon a suit of +4 full plate made of bones and shadow ( ) that doesn't have an armor check penalty, maximum dex bonus, or arcane spell failure chance. With a command word the armor can be shattered and distributed amongst 10 minions within 100 feet, giving them all a +4 bonus on saving throws and +4 AC. And at 10th level the graven one becomes Undead through Undying .
Yeah, from both a flavor and mechanics standpoint the Graven One is pretty amazing. The necromancer gets some free death coils, the Graven One gets a magic scythe and the highest AC in the game, as well as an unstoppable skeleton army.
Hit Die: d8
Requirements: Horde, BAB+4, Know (Religion)5, Survival 5, Must be able to cast 1st level divine spells
The Shadow Hunter is a full caster class like the Shaman, and there are some similarities, but the fact that their are shadow hunter only spells means that if you want to get them then you're probably waiting until healer 10 to gain access to this class.
Spirits of the Loa are the sole class feature. At 1st, 3rd, 5th, 7th, 9th, and 10th level you can pick an ability. Except there are only 6 abilities so it's basically "Pick the order you're getting these abilities in."
Battle Stride Once per day he can give any number of allies within 30 feet of him a +4 bonus on init checks and a +10 bonus to their land speed for (Shadow Hunter) Rounds. This does not affect the shadow hunter. Healing Wave is a situation where they made an ability far more complicated than it really needed to be. It's a wave of healing that bounces between allies that are at least within 10 feet of each other. It starts at 1d8+(shadow Hunter) Hit Points, and then decreases a die step each time it bounces, to 1d6 and then stopping at 1d4. at 5th level it starts at 1d10, and at 10th level it starts at 1d12. It can bounce back and forth between two allies as many times as it can as long as they stay within 10 feet of each other. "The shadow hunter may sacrifice a 1st, 2nd, or 3rd level healing spell to use this ability a number of times per day equal to his wisdom bonus", the way this is worded it sounds like one sacrificed spell earns you (Wisdom) uses. And this ability is strictly better than Cure Light wounds in every way. So that can't be possible. But it also doesn't increase in efficacy when you use higher level slots, and you can't use 4th+ slots at all. No I have no idea why.
Hex is the only one that has a level requirement (5th) which allows them to cast a special baleful polymorph on someone once per day. They need to make a fort save dc 10+(Shadow Hunter)+(Wisdom Mod) and it lasts 1 round per 2 shadow hunter levels. They gain all the statistics of a toad but keep their own Hit points and saving throws. Which sounds to me like a "Turn them into a toad and let the fighter and barbarian attack something with AC 10 for a few rounds"
Serpentine Form The shadow hunter can wild shape into a snake. That's basically it. Smite Undead (Wisdom Mod) times per day the shadow hunter can add his class level as a bonus to attack and damage rolls against an undead. Storm Spear (Wisdom Mod) times per day the shadow hunter can make a touch attack that deals 1d4+(Shadow Hunter) Electricity damage. it's better than nothing I suppose.
Other than Healing Wave this is sort of a worse Shaman, they get some choice spells from the wizard list though, like Symbol of Death, Symbol of Insanity, and Crushing Despair.
Hit Die: d8
Requirements Tauren, Follower of the Totem, 2nd level divine spells
The spirit walker is a half caster, gaining one level every odd level, and one of the few that we'll encounter. They do gain proficiency with Tauren Halberds, medium armor, and shields. Their first ability they get is Ghost Dance once per day for every 2 class levels the Spirit walker can perform a ghost dance to gain his wisdom modifier as a bonus on attack and damage rolls against undead, demons, and any other known foes of the tauren tribe. No you didn't miss anything, they forgot to give a duration. Also "any other known foe" is amazingly broad. 'those dudes who are attacking me' are known foes.
Spirit Companion Is a druid's animal companion except they've got the extraplaner subtype and killing them returns them to the emerald dream for 1d6 days. Hero's Spirit lets the Spiritwalker to gain a morale bonus equal to his class level on attack and damage rolls as well as saving throws for a number of rounds equal to his wisdom modifier once per day. Spirit of the Kodo is another temporary combat buff, +4 natural armor and a +2 bonus to strength and con for (new con mod) rounds per day.
Ethereal Form lets the Spiritwalker go incorporeal for a number of rounds equal to his spiritwalker level once per day, but he can't affect the physical world except with spells. Chant of Ages lets the Spirit walker add his Wisdom bonus to any skill check he could take a 10 or 20 on. War Dance allows a sprit walker to buff any allies within 30 feet of him by dancing. They get a +4 morale bonus on attack and damage rolls for as long as he concentrates plus a number of rounds equal to his spirit walker level. Which is a minimum of 6 rounds by the time you get it. So just dance for a round, then get back to killing. Mass Ethereal Form just lets him bring other people along for the ride when he uses Ethereal Form. Avatar of the Ancients once per year the Spirit walker can summon an ancient of war to aid him for a single day. The thing is that Ancients are supposed to have class levels per the monster manual, and it doesn't say how many it has, so maybe the Dm is supposed to scale it up. Considering it's a thing you can only use once per year it should probably have about the same effect as a nuke.
The class isn't bad, it gets a bunch of temporary combat buffs, and depending on how you spread them out you can either be a godlike killing machine for one combat a day, or pretty good all day long. I'm not sure if it's worth giving up 5 spellcasting levels though.
This class is bad, it does not give any bonuses over just staying a tinker other than the ability to keep your steam armor up to date rather than having to build new armor. In fact you lose class features. Just, don't.
Hit Die: d6
Requirements: Night-Elf, non-chaotic, Alliance, BAB+5, Gather Information 8, Move Silently 6, Dodge, Mobility
The warden is a spellcasting prestige class, and gains access to the Ranger's spell list. They're rather light on class features though.
Slicing Torrent is the major one, but it's not that impressive. You deal 1d4 points of damage per 2 class levels in a 40 foot long cone. But only to the 5 closest targets in that cone, be they friend or foe. and they can make a reflex save for half damage. You can only use it 3 times per day at 1st level, but you gain additional uses and a longer cone as you level up. But the longer cone is kind of worthless because it always hits the nearest 5 creatures, and you're at maximum doing 20 damage, trending more towards 10, 5 if they make their reflex save. Woohoo. Blink lets you do short-distance dimension doors 1/2/3 times per day. Lesser Shadow Strike is a spell that we get to later that they can cast 1/2/3 times per day, as is Avatar of Vengeance but since that's a capstone they only get to use it once.
The class isn't great, all the spells that it can get are spells that the wizard can also get, the only unique feature it does have is terrible. The requirements to get in it are also really specific, and the only advantage it has otherwise is it inexplicably has a 1/1 BAB.
Hit Die: d4
Requirements: Troll, Non-Good, Craft(Alchemy)7, Brew Potion, 2nd level arcane spells.
"But Kurieg" you cry "Witch Doctors are divine casters", and I reply yes, they are, in 2nd edition, in this edition they're arcane casters, so they're evil, also they're only half-casters like the spirit walker was.
Their first class feature is Ward Craft which increases the armor class, hardness, and hit points of "ward spells that create totems" by the witch doctor's intelligence bonus. There is precisely one spell that fits those criteria. Moving on. At 2nd level the witch doctor can add a few drops from his Shaka Brew cauldron to any potion or alchemic item to maximize the variable numeric effects. This increases the cost of brewing potions by 5xp per level of the spell, or the dc of creating the item by +5.
Bad Juju lets the witch doctor make a voodoo doll as long as they have 1 hit points worth of flesh/blood/hair from a creature which allows them to deliver any harmful touch attack or enchantment(compulsion) spell of up to 3rd level through the doll as long as they're on the same plane... but only once, then the doll explodes. Voodoo Weapon allows a Witch Doctor to make a wooden weapon that can, once per day as a full round action, gain the frost, flaming, or thundering property for (Witch Doctor) Rounds. no one else can use the weapon, and if you lose it it takes a month to recreate. You will never use this. Doom Rattle allows a witch doctor to do a sort-of bardic music thing by shaking his voodoo rattle and causing anyone within 60 yards to make a will save or be shaken. But the witch doctor can't move, and has to concentrate on doing nothing but shaking his rattle.
Bambe Brew lets you create 2 potions for 150% of the XP cost of one, which is sort of okay I guess. saves you a little bit. Heap Bad Juju lets the witch doctor cast any level spell through the doll. Zuvembi Brew lets the Witch Doctor create a special potion that mind controls anyone who drinks it, it costs 100 times normal in material components though the Xp cost remains the same, at any point within 1d4 days after drinking the potion the witch doctor can dominate them as long as he has line of sight to them. It doesn't say if they get a saving throw, but it lasts (witch doctor) days.
Finally they get Death Rattle requires an expensive and fragile carved gourd as a focus that the Witch Doctor must carefully protect at all times, once per day he can shake the gourd, targeting 1+Int living creatures in a 20 foot radius, but you don't get to choose who, it's whoever is closest to you. It's also sort of terrible. Creatures with less than 3 hit dice die on a failed save, success means they take 6d10 damage (and probably die anyway). from 3-9 hit dice take 6d10 damage on a failed save and half on a successful one. 10+ take 6d10 damage on a failed save and no damage on a successful one. Or you could cast fireball.
The potion things are sort of neat, Zuvembi Brew especially, but the rest of the features are situational and basically the kind of thing that a villain NPC would use as his gimmick.
Up Next: Spells, Magic Items, and Technology(that they haven't really fixed)
Magic & Mayhem: Spells and ItemsOriginal SA post
Spells and Items
I tried to make this interesting but beyond one absolutely batshit broken spell there's not much here you haven't seen in any other OGL d20 game.
The Spells chapter opens up with Runes, and runes are divided up into families. The issue is that they're divided up rather stupidly into "families". All the runes that incrase your unarmed strike damage are one family. All the runes that restore hit points are one family. All of the runes that buff stats or grant abilities are one family. All of the runes that grant alternate modes of perception are a family. All of the runes that grant alternate movement modes are a family. But then you have the "Restoration Family" which includes restoration, greater restoration, resurrection, regeneration, freedom of movement, and curing disease and poison. and the "Shielding Family" which has spell turning, spell resistance, spell turning, mind shield, all sorts of stuff. The problem is that Runemasters only gain access to two families at the start, a third at level 10, and a fourth at level 20. So if you want to be able to heal damage and hit things in melee, you aren't going to be able to do any of the other things a cleric could do until level 10 or 20, if you want to be able to buff things, heal, cure diseases, *and* be decent in melee then you need to wait till level 20, and you won't get any of the other utility things.
Never play a first edition Runemaster.
As far as spells go, all of the Warcraft 3 spells that didn't get a version in the core book get versions here, there are a few noteworthy ones
Brilliance Aura (Sor/Wiz 7)
for 1 round/level any ally within a 30 foot radius of a caster can cast a spell without expending it if they succeed on a Spellcraft check DC 30+spells level, with a roll of a natural 4 or below always failing. The sky high spellcraft DC means that this is mostly a Wizard only club, but free spells are free spells.
Counterspell (Healer 6, Sor/Wiz 6)
This is a dedicated spell for countering, it will always count as a copy of the spell being cast so it will always succeed, and it has a Long range(400+40/level). However you must still be able to identify the spell being cast so it's only effective within your ability to hear and see. I guess if you stocked up on vision enhancing spell you could be the troll lord of the casting world for a while. it also comes in greater(level 9) and lesser (level 3) versions.
Death and Decay (Necromancer 9)
For Concentration up to 1 round/level you deal....an unclear amount of damage (it says "3d3 per caster level, maximum of 20d8" but even accounting for it being 3d8 the earliest level you can cast this will already do the maximum) to all creatures and non-natural structures in a 60 foot radius of your choice within medium range. It will also heal undead for a like amount. This spell is the one reason you'd pick a Necromancer over a Graven One. "For 17 rounds welcome to pain town, also me and my undead are being healed for an average of 80 points a round."
Shadow Strike (Sor/Wiz 6)
This version of the spell is completely unlike it's WC3 counterpart. You charge a slashing weapon with energy that deals an extra 10d8 damage on your next melee attack, and it lingers for another 6 rounds dealing 5d8 damage each round. Also if you cast another spell it's discharged or if the attack you make that hits deals no damage due to damage reduction or absorption. This is one of those times where "It should have just been a class ability, it didn't need to be a spell" comes to mind.
Vengeance (Healer 9, Sor/Wiz 9)
You slash your hand with a dagger dealing 1d4 points of damage and you summon a greater spirit of vengeance to murder your foes. It also turns the corpses of your allies into lesser spirits of vengeance to aid it. It's undead and not particularly durable, but it is incorporeal and deals 2 negative levels on a touch.
As far as magic items, there are a lot.
There's a table this large for unique weapons, another one almost as large for new types of potions. The Wondrous Item table takes up two pages. I'm not really sure where to begin because there's a lot of them and most of them are either far too powerful for their level or not worth wearing. The Crown of Kings for instance gives +4 to strength, wisdom, and charisma. and +2 to Dex, Con, and Int. Whereas the Druid's Pouch strikes me as something an intern did. The druid's pouch gives anyone who wears it a +1 enhancement bonus... to Intelligence. When carried by a Druid of the Wild it instead gives a +4 bonus... to Intelligence. In WC3 all casters used Intelligence as their power stat, looks like this one didn't get changed to wisdom.
Most of the magic items however are almost exactly like a DMG magic item just more powerful in one way or another. The whole thing reeks of inexperienced "Well we'll do it like this but better so people will use our things and then it's good." mistakes.
Remember how this book promised to fix the broken Technological Item creation rules?
Yeah I'm sorry but it doesn't.
All it does include are rules for maneuvering vehicles in combat, which is exactly as convoluted as it is in most other d20 games, and a random table for malfunction effects! You would never want to use this table as many of the options are "Your device is unusable or generally fouled in some way that makes it so you'd rather re-create it from scratch than use this particular one again"
It also introduces some new technological devices, and while some of them are neat (Handcuffs that get tighter and harder to break out of the more failed attempts are made) others are...
All portable heads know at least one language, in order to understand spoken commands. The most common portable heads have a second language installed in order to act as translators.
More complex portable heads possess a body of knowledge on a particular subject. When activated the head can be asked a question. If it doesn't know the answer its eyes will light. If it does know the answer it will speak it through it's mouth.
When a portable head is created it can possess a single speak language or knowledge skill at 3 ranks
And that's about all for this book. I can forgive it for having lots of spells, that's a good way to let the flavor of your world show through in niche edge cases that the core players handbook spells wouldn't cover. But you don't need five billion magic items when half of them are "Like flaming weapon but slightly better" or "Like the crown of intelligence but charisma instead".
Thankfully almost all of my complaints about this book (particularly the runemaster) are fixed in the 2nd edition. Which I will get to eventually. But for now I'm switching gears to something I can properly loathe instead of just kind of being sad about.