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Looking for Opinions of New BG Kits: Eldritch Knight (3.5e) & Copper Dragon Disciple (Bard)

BG Kit Prestige Class Dragon Disciple Eldritch Knight advice help criticism

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#1 Reddbane

Reddbane
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Posted 05 April 2017 - 03:14 PM

Eldritch Knight: Text Stats
Copper Dragon Disciple: Text Stats
 
Now that I’m done with my 3.5 edition/Pathfinder Rules tweaks mod I thought I’d try my hand at creating some Kit mods based upon some Prestige classes from those iterations of D&D.  For those who don’t have experience with 3rd Edition, Prestige classes were alternate classes you could add to your Character upon level up if you met certain requirements, given in the 3rd edition class system you were never locked into your class and could theoretically pick a new one out of the base classess upon level up.  Most of Beamdog’s new kits are actually based upon these 3e Prestige Classes, like the Dwarven Defender and Shadowdancer.  I wish to do something similar, but I actually want to simulate the experience of adding a prestige class to a character through BG’s dual classing system.  Based upon previous modders work, like @deratiseur , I can create a script that will apply a Kit to (true-class) character so that when they dual-class they access a kit rather than a trueclass version of whatever they are dualing to.  At this point these “Kits” are still in the conceptual phase, nothing has been programed yet, but I want some outside opinions on balance and class features.
 
The first of these is the Eldritch Knight, 3rd Edition’s answer to the Fighter/Mage, a 10 level prestige class that allowed a character that could wield both Martial Weapons and Arcane spells to upgrade both their Attack bonus and Spellcasting level by 1 for each level they took (excluding the first for Spellcasting) in exchange for the extra Combat or Arcane Feats granted by the Solo Fighter or Wizard levels.  Over the years there actually have been several Custom Kits called “Eldritch Knight” for BG2, but none actually simulate the experience or abilities of the 3.5 class.
 
The Standard setup for a Eldritch knight was at least one Warrior level (usually a fighter) followed by enough Arcane Levels to allow for 3rd level spells to be cast (5 Wizard levels), at which point you met the requirements to be an Eldritch Knight, from them on you would be at least 2 caster levels(1 missed for the Fighter level and 1 missed for the first EK level) behind a pure Wizard, but you would have a BAB (15+) equal or greater to a Priest or a Rogue, depending on what levels did with your remaining four levels after maxing out your EK levels.  To simulate this my Eldritch Knight will require a level 2 Fighter (and only a pure class Fighter) to dual class to a Mage at level 2, at which point they become an Eldritch Knight Kit.  However, other than the fact that they can put a point into any weapon proficiency, the class does not begin to function differently until level 3, the same moment they regain their Fighter class: at this level, and level four, the “Kit” does not receive new spells per day nor another caster level (applied via a Caster Malus) effectively meaning for the rest of the game they are two levels behind an equivalent Pure-Wizard, as in 3.5.  The Benefits for this sacrifice are a d6 hit die (the 3.5 EK Hit Die) up to level 10, and an effective base thac0 (applied via attack bonuses) that improves (at a similar rate to the standard EK build) until it caps at 5 thac0 at the 18th level (the 3 million mark that is 2e edition equivalent of later editions level 20), with any further improvements to the thac0 reducing the attack bonus so the PC’s effective base thac0 remains 5. (If this sounds confusing then look at the excel sheet where all the bonuses and maluses are charted.)  The other changes are disallowing effective dual wielding (applying a permanent 8 thac0 malus to the offhand) and shield use, as in 3e a caster needed to be able to have 1 hand always free for casting; as well as applying several maluses and bonuses to certain saving throws so they all cap at 5.
 
I know some people may see this Kit as pointless, as the Fighter 9 or 13 / Mage Dual or a Fighter/Mage multi provides the same role already, but my aim is to simulate the experience of leveling a Fighter/Wizard in 3.5; to provide a “Gish” class that both does not require you to play a Pure fighter for all of BG1, then a Pure Wizard for a good chunk of BG2 (as happens with the standard Dual) until you can finally have a Gish, as well as not massively fall behind the Human Dual-Classes in BG2 (as Demi-Human Multi-classes tend to because of plateauing experience ranks.)  Also I wanted an option a little less cheesy than the broken Kensai-Mage run, where you spend half of the BG Saga playing an underpowered weakling, until you suddenly become an unstoppable killing machine a third of the way through BG2.  The Eldritch Knight is meant be a more gradual build up in power, where for your entire Game run you are playing a Gish, albeit one that is neither as good as a Pure Fighter in Fighting, or as good as pure Mage in Casting.
 
Some other things to note: because the EK abandons his Fighter class early he is “softer” HP wise than the standard Fighter/Mage, and after the first level he gains proficiency points very slowly (at the rate of a Mage), and thus can only achieve Grandmastery in one Weapon by level 18 at the earliest (if he spends his points single-mindedly), and completely abandons any extra attacks he would get for Fighter level (7 and/or 1) and an offhand weapon, as well as benefits of a shield.
 
The only thing I am still conflicted about is how to simulate the “battle casting” aspect of Eldritch Knights, which varies from edition to edition, but usually means EKs get some ability to avoid spellcasting interruptions: getting bonuses to Concentration, getting abilities that prevent spellcasting attacks of opportunities, or allowing them to significantly speed up spellcasting, if not some combination of these abilities.  Because I am unsure if there is a way to make Spellcasting for one class uninterruptable in the Infinity Engine (though if there is could someone tell me), I think at the moment the only way to simulate the EK “battle casting” is to give them a spellcasting speed bonus a la the amulet of power, though I don’t want them to start with a massive edge over the Single class mage, so I believe I want to make something they only gain with level: at the moment I’m leaning towards every 6 or 8 levels.  However, to balance this out, and prevent them from cheesing in Throne of Bhaal, I would probably forbid the Improved Alacrity HLA, to prevent their bonuses from stacking.  Although I am looking for input.
Here is the class description thus far (text mostly borrowed from official sources):
<blockquote\>ELDRITCH KNIGHT: Fearsome warriors and spellcasters, Eldritch Knights are rare among magic-users in their ability to wade into battle alongside fighters, barbarians, and other martial classes. Those who must face Eldritch Knights in combat fear them greatly, for their versatility on the battlefield is tremendous; against heavily armed and armored opponents they may level crippling spells, while opposing spellcasters meet their ends on an eldritch knight's blade. Because the road to becoming an Eldritch Knight requires both martial prowess and arcane power, eldritch knights almost always begin their paths as a martial class. They may be found wherever studies of the arcane are as prevalent as martial training.
 
(Note: must dual class from a pure class fighter at level 2, any higher is forbidden.)
 
Class Features:
 
- To-hit progression between Fighter and Mage, capping at 5 thac0 at level 18.
- May achieve Grandmastery (five slots) in any weapon and achieve Specialization (two slots) in Two-Handed and Single Weapon Styles.
- May wear robes.
- May wear helmets at level 3.
- May wear any armor at level 3, though they still cannot cast in it.
- May use any weapon at level 3.
- Saving Throws all cap at 5 at level 21.
- Hit Die: d6
- Gains Mage High Level Abilities.
 
Advantages:
 
- Bonuses to Death and Breath Saving Throws.
- Every ? levels receive a bonus to spellcasting speed.
 
Disadvantages:
 
- Caster level and spells progression is two levels lower than a normal mage, and does not receive level 9 spells until level 20.
- Penalties to Wand and Spell Saving Throws.
- Gains Proficiencies slowly (every six levels), and can only attain Grandmastery at level 18 at the earliest.
- Cannot equip shields
- Cannot wield two weapon effectively, gaining an additional 8 thac0 penalty to the offhand in addition to any Weapon Style penalties.
- Does not receive extra attacks per round at level 7 and 13.
- Cannot gain Improved Alacrity High Level Ability.
</blockquote>
For reference and comparison, here are some official EK (as well as similar Gish classes offered in later editions) splats:
 
The second Kit is a little simpler, another Dragon Disciple, although this one is based upon a Bard build, and for the sake of variety, lore, and flavor this one is the more roguish Copper Dragon Disciple (as the current Dragon Disciple is clearly a Red Dragon).  I’ve adjusted the bonuses to occur at the same approximate experience level as the DD Sorcerer, the main difference being some different stat gains (which are closer to the source material), and Acid element affinity (from the Copper Dragon) rather than fire, as well at the gaining a natural claw attack when unarmed that becomes magical and gains an Acid bonus at level 8 (and can be paired with an offhand weapon or shield).  Overall the bonuses are probably greater than the Sorcerer DD, but it is paired with a greater weakness.  Like the 3.5 DD, the Copper Dragon Disciple does not gain a caster level or new spells every 4 levels (that is to say for every four level they only gain 3 spell levels), meaning the already limited spellcasting ability of the bard is lessened and delayed even further (as opposed to the Sorcerer DD, which only loses one spell per spell level per day, and no caster malus) in exchange for being a bulkier fighter.  You can check the full bonuses in the Excel sheet or the work-in-progress description:
 
<blockquote\>COPPER DRAGON DISCIPLE: Charismatic, sly, and witty, copper dragons are by far the cleverest and most interesting of dragons–or so they say. Schemers and thieves, they tend to be charming scoundrels. Quick-witted, clever creatures, copper dragons cultivate their lively senses of humor. They delight in outfoxing and deceiving enemies, and they love a good jest– as long as it isn't directed at them.  As such, their descendants among the mortal races often show an inborn proclivity to roguery and performance as well as their natural arcane talents.  It is thus common for the few Copper Dragon Disciples that come into their powers to be Bards rather than Sorcerers of other Dragon-touched progeny.
 
Advantages:
 
- 1st level: +1 bonus to AC.
- 2nd level: Gains a claw attack, so their unarmed attack does 1d6 Slashing.
(note: the Dragon Disciple can still use his natural attack with another weapon or shield in the offhand.)
- 3rd level: +1 bonus to Strength.
- 4th level: May use Breath Weapon once per day.
 
BREATH WEAPON: The Dragon Disciple breathes a gout of acid up to 30 ft. long, inflicting 3d8 points of acid damage on all creatures caught within the 140 degree cone.
 
- 5th level: Gains 25% innate Acid Resistance. 
- 6th level: +1 bonus to Constitution.
- 7th level: Breath Weapon damage increases to 4d8.
- 8th level: Unarmed attack does an additional 1d6 Acid and is considered magical for the purposes of bypassing resistances.
- 9th level: Innate Acid Resistance rises to 50%.
- 10th level: Breath Weapon damage increases to 5d8.
- 11th level: +1 bonus to AC. 
- 14th level: Breath Weapon damage increases to 6d8.
- 14th level: Innate Acid Resistance rises to 75
- 18th level: +1 bonus to AC and Strength.
- 19th level: Breath Weapon damage increases to 7d8. 
- 20th level: Innate Acid Resistance rises to 100%. 
- 24th level: Breath Weapon damage increases to 8d8.
- Hit Die: d10
 
Disadvantages:
 
- Starting at level 2, and every 4 afterwards (6, 10, 14, etc.) the Dragon Disciple does not gain a caster level nor new spells per level.</blockquote>
Again here are the Official DD Splats:
 
Before closing I just want to thank anyone ahead of time for their feedback.  I want to make sure the “Kits” are well-balanced before I start coding them.  When I’m done I may work on Adapting other later prestige classes, like the Arcane Trickster.




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