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Author Topic: Brainstorming the Bladesinger Base Class  (Read 3135 times)
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KellKheraptis
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« on: April 23, 2011, 10:07:58 PM »

A la the 2nd Edition Complete Elf kit.  Here's some basics :

-Bladesong will be an adapted form of Bardic Music, with uses per day and a progression of effects, though instead of focusing on buffing a party and debuffing enemies, will solely buff the Bladesinger.  Projected to add Int to AC, an additional attack, Int to Damage, Int to Saves, and Int to Hit, in that order.

-Full caster, Sor/Wiz, Int based, Vancian.  The Bladesinger kit was a Fighter Wizard, and given time could rival a full member of either class, just not as specialized in either as either single class.

-Minor Iron Heart and Diamond Mind progression.  Perhaps 1 per 2 levels known, half that readied, and at most 3-4ish stances.  These SCREAM Bladesinger.

-Saves and BAB : Jury's out on this one.  I'm leaning towards Will Good and Medium BAB at the moment.

-In-built Arcane Channeling?  Again, this would modernize (3.5-ize?) the original concept of the Bladesinger, without accepting the Duskblade as a reasonable substitute (which it is not).

-Capstone ability will be based on Bladesong, using 2 (or more, probably more like 4, with 2 weighted to the Saves and To Hit abilities) uses of Bladesong to activate all previous Bladesongs simultaneously.

-Fillers.  Such as Armored Mage, Detect Magic, non-essentials that fit.

If anyone has managed to build one of these without it becoming a Lightning Warrior, let me know!  Any thoughts thus far, other than OMFG WTFBBQ HAX?
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« Reply #1 on: April 23, 2011, 10:12:47 PM »

The spell list has to be incredibly limited for this class to have 9th level spells (assuming you are using that definition for full caster).
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KellKheraptis
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« Reply #2 on: April 23, 2011, 10:28:18 PM »

The spell list has to be incredibly limited for this class to have 9th level spells (assuming you are using that definition for full caster).

That's what worries me.  Would this be better served as an arcane cleric of sorts with different class features a la variant chaining?

EDIT : Also, this seemed to have positive reviews, perhaps a modification of such (dropping BAB a notch, rearranging class features)?
« Last Edit: April 23, 2011, 10:30:13 PM by KellKheraptis » Logged

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« Reply #3 on: April 28, 2011, 01:53:12 AM »

The Bladesinger
"Enter witty quote here," -
Mr. Bladesinger, Elven Bladesinger

"Enter elven trash talk from a dwarf here," -
Mr. Grumpass, Dwarf Grump

HD: d6

Alignment: Any

Race: Elf Only

The Bladesinger
Level    Special                                              0th  1st  2nd  3rd  4th  5th  6th  7th  8th  9th
1              Armored Mage, Bladesong Focus                    2   1     -    -    -    -    -    -    -    -
2              Bladesong (AC Bonus)                             2   2     -    -    -    -    -    -    -    -
3              -                                                2   2     1    -    -    -    -    -    -    -
4              Summon Familiar                                  2   2     2    -    -    -    -    -    -    -
5              Bladesong (Insightful Strike)                    2   2     2    1    -    -    -    -    -    -
6              -                                                2   2     2    2    -    -    -    -    -    -
7              -                                                2   2     2    2    1    -    -    -    -    -
8              Bladesong (Song of Fury)                         2   2     2    2    2    -    -    -    -    -
9              -                                                2   2     2    2    2    1    -    -    -    -
10             Hybrid Assault                                   2   2     2    2    2    2    -    -    -    -
11             -                                                2   2     2    2    2    2    1    -    -    -
12             -                                                2   2     2    2    2    2    2    -    -    -
13             Bladesong (Song of Evasion)                      2   2     2    2    2    2    2    1    -    -
14             -                                                2   2     2    2    2    2    2    2    -    -
15             Insightful Aim                                   2   2     2    2    2    2    2    2    1    -
16             Martial Scholar                                  2   2     2    2    2    2    2    2    2    -
17             -                                                2   2     2    2    2    2    2    2    2    1
18             Bladesong (Song of Wrath)                        2   2     2    2    2    2    2    2    2    2
19             -                                                2   2     2    2    2    2    2    2    2    2
20             Steel Crescendo                                  2   2     2    2    2    2    2    2    2    2
Maneuvers
Level        Known        Ready        Stances
1                  2               2              1
2                  3               2              1
3                  3               2              1
4                  4               3              1
5                  4               3              1
6                  5               3              2
7                  5               4              2
8                  6               4              2
9                  6               4              2
10                 7               4              3
11                 7               5              3
12                 8               5              3
13                 8               5              3
14                 9               5              3
              15                 9               5              4              
16                10               6              4
17                10               6              4
18                11               6              4
19                11               6              4
20                12               6              5

Base Attack Bonus: Average (as a Cleric)
Saves: Will Good
Skill Points per Level: 2+Int mod (4x at 1st level)
Class Skills: Coming Soon!

Class Features
Weapon and Armor Proficiencies: Bladesingers are proficient with all simple and one handed martial weapons, and with light armor.  Armor or shields of any kind interfere with a bladesinger's arcane gestures, granting arcane spell failure chance, but see Armored Mage, below.  Bladesingers are not proficient with any kind of shield, as it throws off the delicate balance required to perform the bladesong.

Spells: A Bladesinger prepares spells and maneuvers as shown on the table, drawn from the Sor/Wiz spell list and the disciplines of Steel Jaguar, Mystic Leopard, or Star Lion.  A Bladesinger gains bonus slots for having a high Int mod.

Maneuvers: A Bladesinger prepares maneuvers as shown on the table, drawn from the disciplines of Steel Jaguar, Mystic Leopard, and Star Lion.  A Bladesinger recovers maneuvers as a swordsage.  Certain maneuvers have a special or additional effect if a Bladesinger elects to expend their focus or expend a spell slot, and this effect will be noted in the maneuver's description.

Armored Mage: Bladesingers may wear light armor without incurring arcane spell failure.

Bladesong Focus: A bladesinger devotes their entire existence to the protection of the elven way of life, gaining a near mystical form of endurance to that end.  By taking a full round action and centering their mind on the task at hand, a bladesinger may achieve a state of focus granting a competence bonus to Fortitude saves equal to their Int modifier, with a maximum bonus of their Bladesinger level.

Bladesong: Bladesingers train in a taxing style of martial and magical discipline, known as the Bladesong.  As they progress, they are capable of blending the two seemingly disparate styles into one cohesive and deadly whole.  To utilize the Bladesong style, a bladesinger must wield a weapon in one hand and nothing in the other.  Using a two handed weapon or two weapons disturbs the delicate balance required for a bladesinger's lithe movements, and while the thinblade and longsword are the most well-known bladesong weapons, any weapon that may be wielded in one hand may be used with the bladesong.  As the Bladesinger gains levels in the Bladesinger class or prestige classes that grant further use of the Bladesong, the Bladesong grows more powerful.

AC Bonus: Beginning at 2nd level, a Bladesinger adds her Int modifier to her AC as long as the bladesinger is in a stance from the Steel Jaguar, Mystic Leopard, or Star Lion discipline.

Insightful Strike: At 6th level, a Bladesinger adds her Int modifier to weapon damage rolls as long as the bladesinger is in a stance from the Steel Jaguar, Mystic Leopard, or Star Lion discipline.

Song of Fury: As long as the Bladesinger is in a stance from the Steel Jaguar, Mystic Leopard, or Star Lion discipline, an 8th level Bladesinger may make an additional melee attack at his full base attack bonus any time he makes a full attack action.  This attack and all others until the start of his next turn are at a -2 penalty to hit.

Song of Evasion: As long as the bladesinger is in a stance from the Steel Jaguar, Mystic Leopard, or Star Lion discipline, a 13th level bladesinger adds her Int modifier to her reflex saving throws, and is treated as though she had the Evasion special ability.  If she already has Evasion from another class, this improves to Improved Evasion.

Song of Wrath: As long as the bladesinger is in a stance from the Steel Jaguar, Mystic Leopard, or Star Lion discipline, an 18th level bladesinger may slip into a state of frenzy not unlike a form of rage.  The Song of Wrath grants the Bladesinger a +2 morale bonus to attack and damage, and immunity to fear effects.  This song is otherwise identical to Inspire Courage, and benefits from the same means of utilizing it as that effect.

Summon Familiar: A 4th level Bladesinger may summon a familiar, as the Wizard or Sorcerer class feature.

Hybrid Assault: At 10th level, a Bladesinger may use a strike to channel a touch spell with a casting time of 1 standard action or less through her weapon, resolving the entire attack with the same action the strike utilizes.

Martial Scholar: A 16th level Bladesinger puts his intense study of spells and swordsmanship to use in practical ways, taking advantage of his unique insight and hybrid nature.  He now adds twice his Int modifier to all Knowledge checks, and further may make any Knowledge check untrained, whether he has ranks in the skill in question or not.

Steel Crescendo: A 20th level Bladesinger has reached the pinnacle of her ability to blend swordplay and arcane magic.  As long as she is in a Steel Jaguar, Mystic Leopard, or Star Lion stance, she may execute a strike and cast an arcane spell with a casting time of no more than one full round action simultaneously, as a special full round action.  Doing so also expends her Bladesong focus.


NOTES : Initial separation of maneuvers and spells made, and Bladesong base benefits spelled out.  Still working on the disciplines and PrC's.  Currently 3 10 level PrC's are expected, and a 5 level "Master Bladesinger" PrC, which is also why Steel Crescendo was separated out from the other bladesong abilities.
« Last Edit: May 02, 2011, 05:11:18 PM by KellKheraptis » Logged

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« Reply #4 on: April 28, 2011, 08:46:59 PM »

I thought I'd already posted here, but I guess not. I meant to. Anyway, while there are a lot of nice, novel ideas here, I feel like ultimately this class is still 100% Tier 1 (or maybe, maybe Tier 2, depending on how many spells it actually knows). It's got 9th level spells drawn from the full Wiz/Sorc list. I don't think it's possible to be less than Tier 2 in that territory. If that's what you were going for, then I guess it's fine, but it felt important to mention.

With the Elf's hit to Constitution this has about the same hp per level as any old Wizard might, but at least Star Elves (I think) get that +2 to Int. From there the Bladesinger has far fewer spells per day than a Wizard of equal level, but he has the option of preparing maneuvers instead. At lower levels, this makes him slightly weaker than a Wizard, but with a MUCH better Fort save and AC. Starting from about 5th to 7th level and onward, however, this guy really starts to pull ahead. Ready maneuvers in your lower level spell slots, ready spells in your highest level spell slots, and enjoy those sick, sick Bladesong bonuses that you keep racking up.

Basically, it seems to suffer from the same problems as the Wizard. It's really, really weak at lower level (weaker than even a Wizard because it can't go glass cannon yet), but it gets really, really powerful at higher levels, and it's a WHOLE lot more reliable than a Wizard at those high levels too. One issue I'm seeing though, is that to achieve real ultimate power you want to set aside your highest spell slots for GOD spells and use maneuvers for trash mobs, but using maneuvers is actually pretty unreliable anyway because of your incredibly fragile hit points (d6 and Elf Con penalty), and your medium BAB. You're not going to see a Bladesinger actually wade into melee very often without casting spells to buff himself, but then that's sort of defeats the purpose. So, then you're just a Wizard with fewer spells per day, but with better saves and AC (still really powerful, but perhaps not Tier 1).
« Last Edit: April 28, 2011, 09:02:26 PM by bkdubs123 » Logged
Prime32
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« Reply #5 on: April 28, 2011, 11:57:57 PM »

Consider throwing in more stuff at low levels, and delaying the spell progression so you don't get 1st-level spells until 3rd level?

You could try handling the spellcasting more like an arcane swordsage (with restrictions obviously) or require them to expend spell slots to refresh maneuvers.
« Last Edit: April 29, 2011, 12:04:57 AM by Prime32 » Logged

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KellKheraptis
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« Reply #6 on: April 29, 2011, 03:02:16 AM »

Consider throwing in more stuff at low levels, and delaying the spell progression so you don't get 1st-level spells until 3rd level?

You could try handling the spellcasting more like an arcane swordsage (with restrictions obviously) or require them to expend spell slots to refresh maneuvers.

Interesting.  I'm currently thinking swordsage recovery, but balanced by the Theurge slots being used for both spells and maneuvers (including stances).  So while you can ultimately restore spell slots, you won't be able to bring to bear nearly the spell might of a full caster.  I'll take that into consideration though, Prime, particularly as I design the three disciplines.

EDIT : And actually, while they have more total "readied" slots, they also will be bringing fewer high level slots to bear, unlike an arcane swordsage, who can bring their full high level weight to the table.
« Last Edit: April 29, 2011, 05:47:42 AM by KellKheraptis » Logged

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« Reply #7 on: April 29, 2011, 04:18:47 AM »

I thought I'd already posted here, but I guess not. I meant to. Anyway, while there are a lot of nice, novel ideas here, I feel like ultimately this class is still 100% Tier 1 (or maybe, maybe Tier 2, depending on how many spells it actually knows). It's got 9th level spells drawn from the full Wiz/Sorc list. I don't think it's possible to be less than Tier 2 in that territory. If that's what you were going for, then I guess it's fine, but it felt important to mention.

With the Elf's hit to Constitution this has about the same hp per level as any old Wizard might, but at least Star Elves (I think) get that +2 to Int. From there the Bladesinger has far fewer spells per day than a Wizard of equal level, but he has the option of preparing maneuvers instead. At lower levels, this makes him slightly weaker than a Wizard, but with a MUCH better Fort save and AC. Starting from about 5th to 7th level and onward, however, this guy really starts to pull ahead. Ready maneuvers in your lower level spell slots, ready spells in your highest level spell slots, and enjoy those sick, sick Bladesong bonuses that you keep racking up.

Basically, it seems to suffer from the same problems as the Wizard. It's really, really weak at lower level (weaker than even a Wizard because it can't go glass cannon yet), but it gets really, really powerful at higher levels, and it's a WHOLE lot more reliable than a Wizard at those high levels too. One issue I'm seeing though, is that to achieve real ultimate power you want to set aside your highest spell slots for GOD spells and use maneuvers for trash mobs, but using maneuvers is actually pretty unreliable anyway because of your incredibly fragile hit points (d6 and Elf Con penalty), and your medium BAB. You're not going to see a Bladesinger actually wade into melee very often without casting spells to buff himself, but then that's sort of defeats the purpose. So, then you're just a Wizard with fewer spells per day, but with better saves and AC (still really powerful, but perhaps not Tier 1).

Sorry, I missed this one  Bang Head  The reduction in slots was deliberate, given access to both maneuvers and spells, as they both refresh from the same slots.  Adaptive Style effectively returns all the same versatility a Wizard can potentially have, while allowing the Bladesinger to swap at will between melee, caster, and hybrid (the focus of the three styles respectively).  I'm thinking about integrating some of the listed Bladesongs into Star Lion, and adding different class features, and ultimately as I have several Boosts planned to address the lack of melee durability (from Steel Jaguar), the relative frailty in melee is as much a non-issue for a Bladesinger as it is for a Wizard.  Also IIRC two of the class features already address saves.

Thanks for the input from both of you, though, and the fact that it's somewhere below a Wizard on initial analysis is actually a good sign that I didn't turn it into the Lightning Warrior (yes, I'm THAT bad when it comes to doing the 2E Bladesingers justice...).

EDIT : I'm going to reserve the next post for the three disciplines, and get preliminaries up ASAP.
« Last Edit: April 29, 2011, 04:27:17 AM by KellKheraptis » Logged

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« Reply #8 on: April 29, 2011, 04:33:51 AM »

Steel Jaguar
Key Skill: Balance
Favored Weapons: Longsword, Thinblade, Lightblade, Scimitar, Shortsword, Courtblade

List of Steel Jaguar Maneuvers and Stances

1st Level
Telling Blow (Strike) - +1d6 damage with successful Balance check.
Steel Wind (Strike) - As the Iron Heart maneuver.
Duelist's Stance (Stance) - As Stance of Clarity.

2nd Level
Disarming Strike (Strike) - As the Iron Heart maneuver.
Wall of Blades - (Counter) As the Iron Heart maneuver.
Sidestep Attack (Boost) - Replace AC with Balance check.

3rd Level
Tiring Strike (Strike) - Attack at +2, opponent Fatigued.
Smiting Blow (Strike) - +3d6 with successful Balance check.
Pearl of Black Doubt (Stance) - As the Iron Heart maneuver.

4th Level
Mithral Tornado (Strike) - As the Iron Heart maneuver.
Aegis of Steel (Counter) - Replace AC with Balance check until beginning of next turn.

5th Level
Devastating Blow (Strike) - +8d6 with successful Balance check.
Pouncing Charge (Strike) - As the Tiger Claw maneuver.
Warrior's Prowess (Stance) - BAB equal's character level.
Song of Fury (Boost) - As Dancing Mongoose.

6th Level
Exhausting Strike (Strike) - Attack at +2, opponent exhausted, fatigued on successful Fort save.
Manticore Parry (Counter) - As the Iron Heart maneuver.
Lightning Thrust (Boost) - Trip as a swift action at +2, opponent doesn't get a trip attempt if it fails.

7th Level
Killing Blow (Strike) - +12d6 damage with successful Balance check.
Strafing Blade (Strike) - Move up to double speed, making a single attack against each opponent you threaten along the way.  Provoke attacks of opportunity as normal.
Throat Punch (Counter) - Attack with sword pommel (as a gauntlet) at -2, if it hits, opponent's next attack automatically misses (as Shield Counter, only without the shield).

8th Level
Acrobatic Positioning (Stance) - Tumble check to move after each attack.
Adamantine Hurricane (Strike) - As the Iron Heart maneuver.

9th Level
Deadly Blade Form (Stance) - BAB equals character level, Power Attack as if using a two handed weapon, Strength bonus as if using a two handed weapon.


Myst Leopard
Key Skill:
Favored Weapons:

List of Myst Leopard Maneuvers and Stances

1st Level
Stuff

2nd Level
Stuff

3rd Level
Stuff

4th Level
Stuff

5th Level
Stuff

6th Level
Stuff

7th Level
Stuff

8th Level
Stuff

9th Level
Stuff


Star Lion
Key Skill:
Favored Weapons:

List of Star Lion Maneuvers and Stances

1st Level
Stuff

2nd Level
Stuff

3rd Level
Stuff

4th Level
Stuff

5th Level
Stuff

6th Level
Stuff

7th Level
Stuff

8th Level
Stuff

9th Level
Stuff

« Last Edit: May 06, 2011, 12:15:55 AM by KellKheraptis » Logged

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« Reply #9 on: April 29, 2011, 05:46:26 AM »

Sorry, I missed this one  Bang Head  The reduction in slots was deliberate, given access to both maneuvers and spells, as they both refresh from the same slots.

No, I realize it was deliberate, I was just evaluating and thinking aloud. I actually think that's quite a genius solution, however it may cause some issues.

Quote
Adaptive Style effectively returns all the same versatility a Wizard can potentially have, while allowing the Bladesinger to swap at will between melee, caster, and hybrid (the focus of the three styles respectively).

So, does the Bladesinger actually recover used spell slots when he recovers his maneuvers? With Adaptive Style is he able to lose prepared spell slots to prepare different spells in those slots? The answer to both of these questions, in my not so humble opinion, should be firmly "no."

Quote
ultimately as I have several Boosts planned to address the lack of melee durability (from Steel Jaguar), the relative frailty in melee is as much a non-issue for a Bladesinger as it is for a Wizard.  Also IIRC two of the class features already address saves.

As long as Steel Jaguar doesn't end up being a "best of Stone Dragon, Iron Heart, and Diamond Mind" sort of discipline then I'm okay with this approach, but you may be skating on thin ice. And yes, I know that two class features address saves, I was saying that this certainly has much higher base AC and saves than a Wizard of equal level.

Quote
Thanks for the input from both of you, though, and the fact that it's somewhere below a Wizard on initial analysis is actually a good sign that I didn't turn it into the Lightning Warrior (yes, I'm THAT bad when it comes to doing the 2E Bladesingers justice...).

So, then it is your intention to make this class solidly Tier 1, then? If your only balance point is "just don't make it more powerful than a Wizard" you're still going to have a difficult time making the maneuvers/melee portion of the class worthwhile without making the class into the Lightning Warrior. Right now, the Lightning Warrior it ain't, but if you give it recoverable/repreppable spells along with the best maneuvers an initiator class has ever seen it could very well become something even worse.
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« Reply #10 on: April 29, 2011, 06:10:07 AM »

No, I realize it was deliberate, I was just evaluating and thinking aloud. I actually think that's quite a genius solution, however it may cause some issues.

Thus the posting here before it actually sees the light of day Big Grin  And thanks, the inspiration was of course the Arcane Swordsage.

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So, does the Bladesinger actually recover used spell slots when he recovers his maneuvers? With Adaptive Style is he able to lose prepared spell slots to prepare different spells in those slots? The answer to both of these questions, in my not so humble opinion, should be firmly "no."

Figure that an Arcane Swordsage can do the same thing, and with one book have the same infinite pool of spells known, and a Wizard can do the same thing with a myriad of methods (we have a Handbook for it, even), and the Erudite and Psion have been doing it since level 1.  However, the idea I'm having for it now is adding a cost to it, similar to the Solaris Arcanum discipline, or at the very least restricting the spells in the slots from being used (at least all at once) with Adaptive Style.  Perhaps THAT should be the capstone, being able to Adaptive Style out everything as a full round action, Chameleon style?

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As long as Steel Jaguar doesn't end up being a "best of Stone Dragon, Iron Heart, and Diamond Mind" sort of discipline then I'm okay with this approach, but you may be skating on thin ice. And yes, I know that two class features address saves, I was saying that this certainly has much higher base AC and saves than a Wizard of equal level.

Steel Jaguar will be most similar to Iron Heart, though focused for one handed melee (a stance allowing 1.5 Str and x2 BAB Power Attack, for example) and defense (one of the Counters being a "Wall of Steel"-esque maneuver allowing an attack roll against a single effect, a second allowing several, and a final allowing one against each attack in the round, similar to the neutral fighting posture in 2E).

Myst Leopard will be more Boosts, and augmenting spellcasting.  Perhaps a final way to implement Metaspells, as it were, including boosts to convert spells to force/untyped damage, battlefield mobility, that sort of thing.

Star Lion however will be the fusion of the two; using magic to augment and facilitate melee attacks.

Ultimately, I'm considering also implementing the laden mechanic to them as well, from Arcana Unearthed, allowing for increased effects on some maneuvers from Myst Leopard and Star Lion if the bladesinger is willing to pay the slot cost, and then have the spell refresh be based upon HP or ability damage.  Once again, not a complete deal breaker like the ArcSwSg, but no slouch either, and no worse than any Wizard I've ever put together (let alone what a psion can do).  By those benchmarks, it's fairly tame, I would think.

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So, then it is your intention to make this class solidly Tier 1, then? If your only balance point is "just don't make it more powerful than a Wizard" you're still going to have a difficult time making the maneuvers/melee portion of the class worthwhile without making the class into the Lightning Warrior. Right now, the Lightning Warrior it ain't, but if you give it recoverable/repreppable spells along with the best maneuvers an initiator class has ever seen it could very well become something even worse.

I would say so.  Bladesingers were the absolute elite of the elite, training fully in two styles that took a lifetime each to perfect, while still achieving roughly the same mastery of each, and truly excelling when embracing their hybrid nature.  While truly becoming a Warblade/Wizard would require gestalt (and lead to a lot of GOD wizards shaking their heads), a Bladesinger should be able to fill either role, and fill a hybrid role usually taken by a bard, swordsage, or spellthief, while being better at it on a single basis (as a Bard will always outbuff this guy on a party basis, particularly on a by-round basis, as only sufficient time prepping or a War Weaver can bring a Wizard to that level, all Chain Spell reductions aside).

So in sum, yes to refreshable slots, no to free instant arcane spell recharge, yes to recharge using slots (with additional cost), and jury still out on class features in their current placement.  I almost wonder if those Bladesong abilities would be better served as a progression of stances in Steel Jaguar, as that feels right.  You'll only ever need the benefits in combat, and that also would give you a reason not to ignore your melee discipline and fixate on refreshable spells (since then you're a Wizard who just lost a ton of spell slots in return for less BAB than a cheap item or easily gained spell can replace...oh and +1 hp per level and no bonus metamagic feats).
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« Reply #11 on: April 29, 2011, 06:19:01 AM »

Honestly, a Wizard that can recover spells is something I've never heard of until now, and I don't know if this would put me in the minority or not, but I would consider recovering spell slots or PP recharge to be theoretical optimization. I urge you not to balance this class's out-of-the-box power against heavily optimized, (TO'd in my opinion) Wizards/Psions. Balance it against the Wizard, that's fine, but don't just give the Bladesinger a base power level of a Wizard that has turned the system upside down and gone all morality of the knife on it's naive ass.
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« Reply #12 on: April 29, 2011, 06:31:24 AM »

Honestly, a Wizard that can recover spells is something I've never heard of until now, and I don't know if this would put me in the minority or not, but I would consider recovering spell slots or PP recharge to be theoretical optimization. I urge you not to balance this class's out-of-the-box power against heavily optimized, (TO'd in my opinion) Wizards/Psions. Balance it against the Wizard, that's fine, but don't just give the Bladesinger a base power level of a Wizard that has turned the system upside down and gone all morality of the knife on it's naive ass.

It's actually a native power option for the Primal Scholar, and a Red Wizard (or any caster with Circle Magic) can do so just as easily using the Mage's Lube/Rary's Mnemonic Enhancer trick with Versatile Spellcaster and Uncanny Forethought.  Hell, Versatile Spellcaster with a means of casting spontaneously can give a Wizard access to his whole spellbook on the fly, and that isn't even shallow TO.  I think what your describing is more a matter of flagrant power creep, which in a sense I'm building to address.  I think restricting spell slot recharge to strictly maneuvers, and actual spells to a maneuver that uses resources (both immediate in the form of ability damage or hit points, and secondary permanent in the form of the inevitable way to offset it with one of your few feats) would address this issue quite handily, especially if it is used in the midst of combat.  Do I recharge that Forcecage while there are six mooks around me all threatening and risk getting curbstomped for more damage, DD out to do it and ass out for the round, or refresh that Steel Jaguar maneuver so I can mop up first and hope the BBEG hasn't pinged me again?

I've been all in favor of recharge mechanics since day 1, which ultimately is also a product of power creep, as without, the day ends when the Wizard needs to rest.  99% of my actual play-ready wizards use a form of recharge to keep things moving, and at the end of the day, being able to constantly recharge even 9th level spells pales in comparison to raping the action economy, so even as a T1 caster, he can only do so many things per round, and fewer as he's lacking the feat or PrC support to do so properly (no Quiescent Weave, no Metamagic Effect or Improved Metamagic, no Ultimate Magus free meta, though metaspells would be close).
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« Reply #13 on: April 29, 2011, 08:58:45 AM »

See, I either have never heard of half of those options for the Wizard or don't have any idea how they operate, and I'm quite sure I'm not alone in that. My point is that even without any blatant power creep a Wizard is a Tier 1 class capable of raping the game just using spell slots per day and his spell list. He doesn't need PrCs, he doesn't need special feats, he doesn't even need metamagic. Unless you're designing this class just to be played by you and your gaming group you really shouldn't, and don't at all need to, balance it against a power-creeped Wizard, theoretical optimization or not.

The reason I called TO on that stuff, by the way, was because I was under the impression that TO was defined as optimization that won't see play in an actual game. Now, while you cited that 99% of your play-ready Wizards use some form of spell recharge, I rebut with the fact that I don't know a single other GM that would allow a Wizard to recover his spell slots by any means other than Pearls of Power.

I think you may be worried your Bladesinger won't perform as admirably in your gaming group as other characters without building in powerful options comparable to optimized/power-creeped Tier 1 classes. You mention that he has no access to several really potent options. My suggestion then would be to re-evaluate the basic design of the class so that either a) the Bladesinger DOES have access to those or other equally powerful optimization options; or b) you can create your own additional character options FOR the Bladesinger (in the form PrCs, Alternate Class Features, and/or feats, etc) that offer equal power.

The idea here is that if you balance it against a Wizard, any GM that allows Wizards in his game shouldn't have a problem allowing the Bladesinger into their game. If you balance it against a Spell-recharge Incantatrix/War Weaver, you drastically narrow the playing field of your class. That may well not concern you, but I'd say it's generally accepted class design "good form" to create classes that are easy to plug-and-play into a wide range of campaigns.
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« Reply #14 on: April 29, 2011, 01:24:20 PM »

Admittedly so to a degree, especially since I tend to play with several gentleman's agreements with my current group.  Have you read this thread?  It's one of the more prolific homebrew disciplines, and provides several means of recharging slots, though as stated earlier, at a cost.  Also, don't forget that an Arcane Swordsage (which this is meant to be a more versatile version of, in ToB terms) with minimal investment (one feat, one cheap item) and two spells always ready (Mental Pinnacle and Time Stop) has access to literally every Sor/Wiz spell at any time.

Let's assume I use something roughly equivalent to the two powers in Solaris Arcanum for recharging spell slots.  One requires having spell energy being flung at you, so if you bone the check, you eat the spell in the face, and the other outright damages an ability score (in fact, DRAINS it unless you laden/enflare the maneuver).  In context to the ArcSwSg, who does it with no personal risk whatsoever, it doesn't seem that bad.  And again, we won't even talk about the Erudite, who gets all this and more bone stock if they're a Spell to Power model

EDIT : Let me know what you think about Solaris Arcanum in relation to this guy, as I really like the idea of ability damage to recharge spells.  If it seems feasible, that'll be the mechanic I use.  If not, I'll have to find some sort of work around (I was hoping to use the limiting factors of lower slots and lack of metamagic support built in with spells and maneuvers sharing slots to justify the dual progression being able to be refreshed, but even if it can potentially kill you, it's coming across as overpowered).
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« Reply #15 on: April 29, 2011, 01:45:56 PM »

I really like the idea of ability damage to recharge spells.
So does The Grinning Hound.
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« Reply #16 on: April 29, 2011, 01:53:09 PM »

I really like the idea of ability damage to recharge spells.
So does The Grinning Hound.

Took me a second to get the reference, but yes, I'm sure he does.  My last Wizard build was an anima mage for just this reason (coupled with Metaphysical Spellshaper for free metamagic out the ass).

EDIT : Would it work better if I separated out the maneuvers and spells?  Such as keep the progression of the theurge, and add in, say, the maneuver progression (roughly) of a Warblade?

EDIT #2 : Also, I'm thinking about leaving this thread as the feedback/brainstorm thread, and transfering the actual Bladesinger and disciplines to its own thread.
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« Reply #17 on: April 29, 2011, 06:35:09 PM »

Admittedly so to a degree, especially since I tend to play with several gentleman's agreements with my current group.  Have you read this thread?  It's one of the more prolific homebrew disciplines, and provides several means of recharging slots, though as stated earlier, at a cost.  Also, don't forget that an Arcane Swordsage (which this is meant to be a more versatile version of, in ToB terms) with minimal investment (one feat, one cheap item) and two spells always ready (Mental Pinnacle and Time Stop) has access to literally every Sor/Wiz spell at any time.

A) Yeah, I've read Solaris Arcanum. Or rather I did when it was first designed, but it looks like several changes have been made. *skims* Okay, it's much better balanced now, although in my opinion all of the stances are still way too powerful. The important part, the spell recovery, seems fine, but that's because the discipline was designed for Warmages not full casters with access to the entire Wiz/Sorc list.

B) Really the Arcane Swordsage doesn't exist, and without some serious thought in the actual design of it (because it cannot be considered an adaptation or alternate class feature), it will always be absurdly overpowered.
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« Reply #18 on: April 29, 2011, 07:10:52 PM »

In that case, is separating the maneuvers and spells the best solution?

EDIT : Or failing that, perhaps taking the suggestion of a Bladesinger PrC (or three, as there are three disciplines, possibly four), and leaving any "recharge" to something like that in a limited fashion.
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« Reply #19 on: April 30, 2011, 12:49:27 PM »

In that case, is separating the maneuvers and spells the best solution?

Well, it would allow the class to use some of the more powerful options that your other players have access to, but I don't know that it's the best solution.

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EDIT : Or failing that, perhaps taking the suggestion of a Bladesinger PrC (or three, as there are three disciplines, possibly four), and leaving any "recharge" to something like that in a limited fashion.

I like this idea the most. Three PrCs, tailored to each of the three disciplines, along with a suite of feats designed with the Bladesinger in mind (perhaps a few Bladesinger only and a few that are clearly designed for him but able to be taken by others). It keeps the base power of a Bladesinger in the Mid Tier 2 to Low Tier 1 range while allowing for enough shenanigans through optimization to raise it to Mid Tier 1 status.
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