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Musica Arcanist [3.5 GESTALT ONLY] [In Progress]

Game design for the d20 system

Musica Arcanist [3.5 GESTALT ONLY] [In Progress]

Postby NekoIncardine » Mon Feb 13, 2012 6:32 pm

While the details will be explained below, the basic concept of this class is the start of an idea called Linked Classes - which are, more or less, prebuilt Gestalt schemes. The goal is that a player can take a Linked Class from 1 to 20 in a Gestalt game, and be viable (but not necessarily perfectly optimal) in a party using more traditional builds. The cost for an easy (or at least easier) class to pick up and go with in these high-power games is choice - once a player starts on a Linked class, they are committed to that class until 20. No Multiclassing, no Prestige Classes - you get some of the common options from the latter mixed in.

A Linked Class, at its core, consists of two main classes and all their abilities from 1st to 20th level. Further, it mixes in a few abilities and tricks from prestige classes and feats as added class features, to better match with at least some of a path to build optimization. Should the two classes that comprise the Linked Class share similar mechanics, the mechanics get merged - sometimes in all new fashions. Sometimes, other slight boosts are put in to make the class be more than the sum of its parts.

A final reminder: These are meant for Gestalt games. (Though actually they'd work well in a Tristalt game, gestalted with a non-Linked class...) When thinking of the balance, try to keep that in mind.

All Bard and Wizard ACFs should be more or less compatible with this class - in general, that should be the rule for all Linked Classes.

Musica Arcanist
(AKA Sublime Chord 2: Chord Sublimer)
(Bard + Wizard)

Not all Bards come from the improvised, passed-on tradition of one bard teaching another informally in the course of their travels. Some, instead, come from small schools that teach the art of <i>Musica Arcanum</i> - directly teaching what most bards learn intuitively. Music - and magic - can both be split into theory and practice, and by teaching both together, the result is a path to a sort of arcane power few can otherwise lay claim to.

Musica Arcanist is a Linked Class, designed to be played as a single class in a Gestalt game. That is, if you take this class, you do not take an additional class per the Gestalt norms. Instead, the class itself provides enough power and variety to fill a role that would otherwise go to a Bard/Wizard Gestalt. This class has the further restriction that, should you take it, you cannot take classes besides Musica Incarnae until you have attained level 20 in that class. From 21st level onwards, you may take two classes as per the Gestalt norms.

If you are playing a monstrous race or a race with a level adjustment, and its effective character level is an even number, divide the effective character level in half and treat that as the effective character level. For example, a Succubus, with an ECL of 12, would be treated as having an ECL of 6 - in a 7th level game, they would start as a 1st-level Musica Arcanist. If its effective character level is an odd number, either take an ECL+1 template to modify it (then treat the end result as if it were an even number), or talk to your GM to determine whether to treat its ECL as 1 above or 1 below for the purposes of this calculation.

The design of Musica Arcanist includes a couple choice features of some popular Bard prestige classes, and revises several class features from both Bard and Wizard. The goal is that it should work out comparably well to a character who takes a more complex Bard/Wizard gestalt, while being massively simpler for the DM to keep track of. However, what you gain in simplicity, you lose in customizability - in particular because the features of many Wizard prestige classes can be very attractive for that gestalt. Nonetheless, this should work nicely for a novice to moderately skilled player in a party of expert players, with a distinctive flavor ready to use.

Making a Musica Arcanist

A Musica Arcanist's understanding of music is distinct from a typical Bard's - taught by tighter scholarly standards alongside specific training in the magical arts, the Musica Arcanist can cast as many spells as a Wizard, make music much like a Bard, and, most valuably, can combine the two together in powerful fashions, and still know various major trades on the side.

Abilities: Intelligence is the most important ability for a Musica Arcanist - not only largely defining their spellcasting, but also allowing them to be talented in more skills. Charisma is a close second in importance, being critical to your bardic music and allowing you to serve as a party's "face". Constitution and Wisdom are useful, but distinctly less important for an average Musica Arcanist.
Races: Humans, Half-Elves, and Elves are the most traditional races to be Musica Arcanists, their cultures being highly prone to having the kind of developed arcane studies that lead to less-orthodox schools forming. The class is typically less common among less intelligent races.
Alignment: Any. Music is, in many people's eyes, inherently free and chaotic - but it can also be a perfect display of order. Arcane Magic requires an organized, scholarly mind - but such a mind does not nearly as strongly associate with law as one might think. As for good and evil, many Musica Arcanists do not take stock in such concepts - or rather, place them beneath the beauty of perfected music and the understanding of arcane forces.
Starting Gold: (TBD)
Starting Age: As Wizard - the Musica Arcanist's career rarely starts before they have spent no small amount of time studying.

(I'm very sorry about the tiny size of this table - this is the only way to get it to not disappear under the forum CSS.)
LevelBABFortRefWillSpecialSpellsBard Spells Known
1st+0+0+2+2Summon Muse Familiar, Scribe Scroll, Spontaneous Spellcasting, Bardic music, bardic knowledge,countersong, fascinate, inspire courage +13+11+2--------4------
3rd+2+1+3+3Inspire competence4+12+31+0-------63-----
5th+3+1+4+4Bonus Feat4+23+32+21+0------643----
8th+6/+1+2+6+6Inspire courage +24+24+34+33+22+1-----6443---
9th+6/+1+3+6+6Inspire greatness4+24+34+33+32+21+0----6443---
10th+7/+2+3+7+7Bonus Feat4+24+34+33+33+22+1----64442--
12th+9/+4+4+8+8Song of freedom4+24+34+34+33+33+22+1---64443--
14th+10/+5+4+9+9Inspire courage +34+24+34+34+34+33+33+22+1--644443-
15th+11/+6/+1+5+9+9Bonus Feat, Inspire heroics4+24+34+34+34+34+33+32+21+0-644443-
18th+13/+8/+3+6+11+11Mass suggestion4+24+34+34+34+34+34+33+33+22+16444444
20th+15/+10/+5+6+12+12Bonus Feat, Inspire courage +44+24+34+34+34+34+34+34+34+34+36444444

Class Features

Weapon and Armor Proficicency: A Musica Arcanist is proficient with all simple weapons, plus the longsword, rapier, sap, short sword, shortbow, and whip. Musica Arcanists are proficient with light armor and shields (except tower shields). A Musica Arcanist can cast Musica Arcanist spells while wearing light armor without incurring the normal arcane spell failure chance. However, like any other arcane spellcaster, a Musica Arcanist wearing medium or heavy armor or using a shield incurs a chance of arcane spell failure if the spell in question has a somatic component. The normal arcane spell failure chance still applies for arcane spells received from other classes.

Spellcasting: A Musica Arcanist casts Arcane Spells, drawn from two distinct lists - the Wizard list represents book-learned spells which are memorized from day to day, while the Bard list represents inherently-memorized arcane rhythms.

To learn or cast a spell, a Musica Arcanist must have an Intelligence score equal to at least 10 + the spell level. The Difficulty Class for a saving throw against a Musica Arcanist's spell is 10 + the spell level + the Musica Arcanist's Intelligence modifier.

A Musica Arcanist can cast a limited number of spells per day, from a base daily spell count shown on their class table. In addition, they receive bonus spells based on their Intelligence score. They also gain a small number of Spontaneous slots for each level over time; these are exclusively used for bard spells (see Spontaneous Spellcasting). (Bonus spell slots are always prepared slots.)

A Musica Arcanist is not limited in how many wizard spells they may learn; they must choose and prepare their wizard spells ahead of time by getting a good night’s sleep and spending 1 hour studying her spellbook. While studying, the wizard decides which spells to prepare.

A Musica Arcanist learns only a limited number of bard spells. They begin play knowing four 0-level spells of your choice. At most new levels, they gain one or more new spells, as indicated on the class table. (Unlike spells per day, the number of bard spells a Musica Arcanist knows is not affected by their Intelligence score; the numbers on the class table are fixed.)

Upon reaching 5th level, and at every third Musica Arcanist level after that (8th, 11th, and so on), a Musica Arcanist can choose to learn a new bard spell in place of one they already know. In effect, the Musica Arcanist "loses" the old bard spell in exchange for the new one. The new spell’s level must be the same as that of the spell being exchanged, and it must be at least two levels lower than the highest-level bard spell the bard can cast. A Musica Arcanist may swap only a single spell at any given level, and must choose whether or not to swap the spell at the same time that they gain new spells known for the level.

A Musica Arcanist's bard spells are not prepared ahead of time; see Spontaneous Spellcasting.

Spontaneous Spellcasting: A Musica Arcanist can cast many spells using well-practiced arcane rhythms. Unlike their wizard spells, these may be cast spontaneously.

At the start of each day, while memorizing their wizard spells, a Musica Arcanist also refreshes a number of empty spell slots. These may be used to spontaneously cast any bard spell they know. Further, the Musica Arcanist may expend any memorized spell to instead cast any bard spell they know of the same level. For example, a 7th-level Musica Arcanist who memorized fireball as their last remaining 3rd-level spell for the day, may instead choose to use that memorization to cast Cure Serious Wounds, if they have learned that spell as a 3rd-level bard spell.

Note that Musica Arcanists often gain bard spell slots for levels before gaining any bard spells known for that level - and in the case of 7th level and above spells, they never (usually) gain bard spells for those levels at all. These higher-level slots are used for spontaneous casting of Bard spells in tandem with metamagic.

Muse Familiar: A Musica Arcanist can obtain a familiar. Doing so takes 24 hours and uses up magical materials that cost 100 gp. A familiar is a magical beast that resembles a small animal and is unusually tough and intelligent. The creature serves as a companion and servant.

Muse Familiars are distinct from the familiars of typical Wizards and Sorcerers in that they do not gain the ability to deliver touch spells. Instead, they gain their master's sense of rhythm when their master hits 5th level; if provided with an instrument they can physically play (usually a magically or technologically aided instrument of one or another sort), they can maintain a Bardic Music effect their master started, as if the master were still concentrating on it, as long as that effect requires either no action, or a swift action, to maintain. Doing so is a standard action for the familiar.

Scribe Scroll: At 1st level, a Musica Arcanist gains the Scribe Scroll feat as a bonus feat. A Musica Arcanist's scrolls tend to, in slight ways, resemble sheet music, but are perfectly readable and usable by any wizard or sorcerer.

(For now, every other feature is as normal for Bard or Wizard features.)
(TODO: Figure out what extras to put in. The target would be to emphasize Bard things.)
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