3.5 d20 Level-By-Level Base Class Breakdowns, Part IV

   Here we have the next segment of the level-by-level breakdowns of the basic d20 character classes for Eclipse: The Codex Persona – in this case the Rogue and the Wizard. One a class that’s changed almost unrecognizably from it’s beginnings, and one that’s hardly changed at all. One that – rather realistically – learns to do things with their hands out in the world, and one that is the epitome of fantasy, weaving the stuff of magic from ancient words and dusty tomes.

   Oddly enough, while you often find tension between the other major archetypes – with phrases such as “blasphemer”, “needlessly violent”, “muscle-bound idiot”, “waiting for some god to fix it instead of actually doing something”, “useless limp-wristed scholar’, and many more floating about – Wizards and Rogues tend to see each other as complimentary; they both rely on cleverness, well-developed skills, and doing it themselves because no one else is as good.

The Rogue, Levels 1-20:

   Every Level: d6 Hit Die (2), +8 Skill Points (8) = 10 CP

Level

Cost

Purchases

1st

55 OR 59

+2 Ref (6), Augment Attack (3), Trapfinding# (See Below, possibly 4), +24 Skill Points (24), Proficient with Light Armor (3), All Simple Weapons (3), and a limited set of Martial and Exotic Weapons (hand crossbow, rapier, sap, shortbow, and short sword, 6).

2nd

25

+1 BAB (6), +1 Ref (3), Fortune/Evasion (6)

3rd

26

+1 BAB (6), +1 Fort (3), +1 Will (3), Augment Attack (3), Awareness/Danger Sense +1 (1)

4th

25

+1 BAB (6), +1 Ref (3), Awareness (6)

5th

13

Augment Attack (3)

6th

26

+1 BAB (6), +1 Fort (3), +1 Ref (3), +1 Will (3), Awareness/Danger Sense +1 (1) 2

7th

19

+1 BAB (6), Augment Attack (3)

8th

22

+1 BAB (6), +1 Ref (3), Awareness/Flankless (Specialized/not versus characters at with at least four more experience levels than the user, 3)

9th

20

+ Fort (3), +1 Will (3), Augment Attack (3), Awareness/Danger Sense +1 (1)

10th

25

+1 BAB (6), +1 Ref (3), Special Ability (6)*

11th

19

+1 BAB (6), Augment Attack (3)

12th

26

+1 BAB (6), +1 Fort (3), +1 Ref (3), +1 Will (3), Awareness/Danger Sense +1 (1) 4

13th

19

Augment Attack (3), Special Ability (6)*

14th

19

+1 BAB (6), +1 Ref (3)

15th

26

+1 BAB (6), +1 Fort (3), +1 Will (3), Augment Attack (3), Awareness/Danger Sense +1 (1)

16th

25

+1 BAB (6), +1 Ref (3), Special Ability (6)*

17th

13

Augment Attack (3)

18th

26

+1 BAB (6), +1 Fort (3), +1 Ref (3), +1 Will (3), Awareness/Danger Sense +1 (1)

19th

25

+1 BAB (6), Augment Attack (3), Special Ability (6)*

20th

19

+1 BAB (6), +1 Ref (3)

   

*In point-buy, the various Rogue Special Abilities are all things you can buy normally – usually for 6 points.

   #In Eclipse, skills normally work the same way for everyone (that’s more or less what makes them skills rather than special powers), hence “Trapfinding” is simply a function of Search and there is no arbitrary DC-based restriction. If you want to reserve trapfinding for specialists, the easiest way is to call it a minor Immunity to the (gratuitous) limitation that you cannot use the search skill to locate traps if the DC is higher than 20 – call it an Uncommon situation with a Major impact and a Minor immunity (it is pretty specialized after all), for a net cost of 4 CP.

   The various Special Abilities all translate to six point “Feats” or abilities from the general list. In point-buy, of course, the possibilities are much wider than the list from the system reference document.

   Grand Total: 473 OR 477 (depending on how the game master feels about Trapfinding) out of 504 available.

   Either way, the Rogue is winding up with a few points left over – and Eclipse-style point-buy Rogues shouldn’t have any trouble at all; they can just buy their way up the chart and – at most – have to delay a few skill points for a level or so for the first couple of levels. After that, they’ll have a few extra points to spend.

   This does imply that the classical Rogue is just a bit underpowered – about one levels worth by the time they hit level twenty – but that’s automatically fixed in Eclipse: just spend those extra points!

   My recommendations from back when I wrote Eclipse really haven’t changed: Rogues should get a guild membership if the setting features a “thieves guild” or a few reliable contacts if it doesn’t, pick up an Immunity to Divination (a necessity if they want to do much thieving in the usual quasi-medieval setting with magic and live), and probably pick up a bit of magic – a specialized caster level or two and a few steps on the Paladin/Ranger Spell Progression (mostly devoted to divination and illusion magic) or an Occult Talent or two, simply so that they can tell when they’re up against major magical defenses.

The Wizard, Levels 1-20:

   Every Level: d4 Hit Die (0), +2 Skill Points (2), +1 level of Wizard Spellcasting (one Caster Level, Specialized in Wizardry, 3, and one level of the Wizard Spell Progression, 11) = 16 CP.

Level

Cost

Purchases

1st

48

+2 Will (6), Companion (6), Spell Storing (6), Proficient with a small group of Simple Weapons (2), +6 Skill Points (6), Fast Learner (Specialized in Spells, gains two per level automatically, 6).

2nd

25

+1 BAB (6), +1 Will (3)

3rd

22

+1 Fort (3), +1 Ref (3)

4th

25

+1 BAB (6), +1 Will (3)

5th

22

Bonus Feat (6)

6th

31

+1 BAB (6), +1 Fort (3), +1 Ref (3), +1 Will (3)

7th

16

None

8th

25

+1 BAB (6), +1 Will (3)

9th

22

+1 Fort (3), +1 Ref (3),

10th

31

+1 BAB (6), +1 Will (3), Bonus Feat (6)

11th

16

None

12th

31

+1 BAB (6), +1 Fort (3), +1 Ref (3), +1 Will (3)

13th

16

None

14th

25

+1 BAB (6), +1 Will (3)

15th

28

+1 Fort (3), +1 Ref (3), Bonus Feat (6)

16th

25

+1 BAB (6), +1 Will (3)

17th

16

None

18th

31

+1 BAB (6), +1 Fort (3), +1 Ref (3), +1 Will (3)

19th

16

None

20th

31

+1 BAB (6), +1 Will (3), Bonus Feat (6)

   Grand Total: 502 out of 504 available.

   The Wizard’s been around a long time, and has undergone less change than pretty much any other class since first edition. Of the big four, the Fighter’s become deeply entangled in the Feat rules, the multi-attack rules, and the movement rules, the Cleric’s gone from seven levels of spells and a sphere system to nine and a domain system, and the Rogue is virtually unrecognizable – but the Wizard is pretty much the same as ever and an awful lot of the spell list is still recognizable after all this time.

   That’s because it works pretty well. The Wizard starts off relatively weak, but becomes a major figure at higher levels – slightly overshadowing the other characters whom he or she was a bit behind to start with. Very little frontloading and a strong finish – and a nicely balanced build. There are a few levels in there with a high point cost, but they tend to be neatly associated with levels with low point costs. For the most part, an Eclipse point-buy Wizard can just go straight on up the chart, spending their bonus Feats, and any extra points from disadvantages, on picking up special abilities to suit their conception.

3.5 d20 Level-By-Level Base Class Breakdowns, Part III

   Here we have the next segment of the level-by-level breakdowns of the basic d20 character classes for Eclipse: The Codex Persona – in this case the Paladin and Ranger. “Paladins” are always popular; the noble knight, backed by the powers of light, is one of the basic heroic archetypes. The actual class is sometimes a bit disappointing that way, but it’s hard to come up with something practical that really lives up to that imaginary standard.

   The Ranger – the strong (and usually silent) rugged wanderer of the wilderness who knows the hidden secrets of nature – goes all the way back to when people were living as tribal hunter-gatherers. When the Ranger comes to your aid, finds food for the party in the wilderness, or fights off a dangerous beast, it’s hard to get any more classical.

The Paladin, Levels 1-20:

   Every Level: d10 Hit Die (6), +1 BAB (6), +2 Skill Points (2), religious Duties (-2) = 12 CP.

Level

Cost

Purchases

1st

57

+2 Fort (6), Occult Sense/Detect Evil (3*), Smite/Evil once per day (3*), Proficient with all Simple and Martial Weapons (9), Light, Medium, and Heavy Armor (15), and Shields (3), and +6 Skill Points (6). “Aura of Good” doesn’t do anything useful – and therefore isn’t a power.

2nd

36

+1 Fort (3), Augmented Bonus/Improved x3 (add Cha Mod to Reflex Saves, add Cha Mod to Fort saves, add Cha Mod to Will saves, 18* total), Healing Touch (3*)

3rd

27

+1 Ref (3), +1 Will (3), Presence/Aura of Courage (3*), Immunity/Fear (Common, Minor, Major, 3* CP), Immunity to Disease (Uncommon, Major, Major, 3* CP)

4th

27

+1 Fort (3), Positive-Energy Channeling (3 + Cha Mod uses/day, 4*), two Caster Levels Specialized in Paladin Spellcasting (6) and +1 Level of the Paladin Spell Progression (2)

5th

17

+2 Bonus Uses on Smite (1*), Inherent Spell/Summon Mount 1/Day (L3, Corrupted: if the mount is slain, the summoner cannot use this power again for a month and suffers a -1 on attack and weapon damage rolls until he can, 2*), +1 Level of the Paladin Spell Progression (2)

6th

29

+1 Fort (3), +1 Ref (3), +1 Will (3), Healing Touch/Improved (Remove Disease, 3*), +1 Caster Level Specialized in Paladin Spellcasting (3), +1 Level of the Paladin Spell Progression (2)

7th

14

+1 Level of the Paladin Spell Progression (2)

8th

20

+1 Fort (3), +1 Caster Level Specialized in Paladin Spellcasting (3), +1 Level of the Paladin Spell Progression (2)

9th

20

+1 Ref (3), +1 Will (3), +1 Level of the Paladin Spell Progression (2)

10th

21

+1 Fort (3), +1 Bonus Use of Smite (1*), +1 Caster Level Specialized in Paladin Spellcasting (3), +1 Level of the Paladin Spell Progression (2)

11th

14

+1 Level of the Paladin Spell Progression (2)

12th

26

+1 Fort (3), +1 Ref (3), +1 Will (3), +1 Caster Level Specialized in Paladin Spellcasting (3), +1 Level of the Paladin Spell Progression (2)

13th

14

+1 Level of the Paladin Spell Progression (2)

14th

20

+1 Fort (3), +1 Caster Level Specialized in Paladin Spellcasting (3), +1 Level of the Paladin Spell Progression (2)

15th

22

+1 Ref (3), +1 Will (3), +1 Bonus Use of Smite (2), +1 Level of the Paladin Spell Progression (2)

16th

20

+1 Fort (3), +1 Caster Level Specialized in Paladin Spellcasting (3), +1 Level of the Paladin Spell Progression (2)

17th

14

+1 Level of the Paladin Spell Progression (2)

18th

26

+1 Fort (3), +1 Ref (3), +1 Will (3), +1 Caster Level Specialized in Paladin Spellcasting (3), +1 Level of the Paladin Spell Progression (2)

19th

14

+1 Level of the Paladin Spell Progression (2)

20th

21

+1 Fort (3), +1 Bonus Use of Smite (1*), +1 Caster Level Specialized in Paladin Spellcasting (3), +1 Level of the Paladin Spell Progression (2)

   

*Specialized for half cost: the character will lost the use of these abilities until he or she atones if he or she fails to remain truly good and pure in faith, knowingly commits an evil act, or fails to adhere to the Paladin’s Code. Since a Paladin’s spellcasting is already subject to the “Conduct” limitation (page 11), you can’t use this to save any points there.

   Grand Total: 459 out of 504 available.

   We actually have two separate designs here: the writeup really shouldn’t have both “Duties” and that big Specialization listed in the last box on the chart. The “Paladin’s Code” should cover most of the Duties, and the Duties should cover most of the Specialization requirements; using both is a arguably a violation of the basic rule of limitations – “if it doesn’t really add to the character’s difficulties, it isn’t worth anything”.

   Dropping the Specialization increases the total cost by 47 points, to 506 out of 504 available, and is the choice I recommend: it offers a lot more room for roleplaying borderline situations and creeping penalties than the all-or-nothing knockout punch you get from that Specialization.

   Dropping the Duties, however appropriate they seem, increases the cost by 40 points, to 499 out of 504 available. Either way, the Paladin will be pretty well balanced.

   Like several of the other base classes, the Paladin is pretty heavily frontloaded. Of course, in 3.0, it was even more frontloaded – to the point where taking one level of Paladin was an excellent multiclassing deal for all kinds of lawful-good-heroic characters. They could trade in one level for adding their charisma modifier to all their saves, +1 BAB, +2 Fort, a d10 Hit Die, Detect Evil, Immunity to Disease, minor healing powers (enough to stabilize people without worrying about first aid – and possibly more if you could talk the game master into reading “the paladins level” as “the characters total level” rather than “the number of paladin levels the character has”), and the ability to use spell-completion items containing a variety of useful spells. In 3.5 it’s still grossly frontloaded, but at least the frontloading is spread over the first few levels.

   On the other hand, the Paladin is dull at higher levels: all you get really get is a better BAB and a few more rather practical and unexciting spells – and most of them are things that the party Cleric got long before.

   It’s also the only base class where you can spontaneously lose a major portion of the character points you’ve invested and which cannot work with large numbers of other characters. You can be quite effective until – suddenly, and sometimes rather arbitrarily – you’re seriously crippled or effectively out of the party. Of course, most game masters don’t do this, since it tends to frustrate everyone at the table and isn’t good for the game – which means that the Paladin is getting a bonus with no particular penalty. That would be bad for game balance if the Paladin had actually spent the points they saved on anything.

   You can play an Eclipse-style point-buy Paladin using the standard progression – and it fixes a part of the problem right up front; you’ll be able to afford the first level with some disadvantages, but you’ll have to put off some of the later abilities for a level or two, or even a little longer if you go ahead and get rid of the Specialization.

   Of course, in practice, there are at least three point-buy sample characters on this site – Matthew Carrington, an anime-themed holy archer, Sem the Sin-Eater, a poverty-stricken keeper of oaths, and Li Kao, an eastern-style spirit master – who consider themselves Paladins. None of them bear much resemblance to the standard build though. That’s partly because being a “Holy Warrior of Generic Goodness” just lacks style somehow and partly because – players being players – they try to squeeze more efficiency out of their builds.

 

The Ranger, Levels 1-20:

   Every Level: +1 BAB (6), d8 Hit Die (4), +4 Skill Points (+2 for Fast Learner, 4) = 14 CP.

Level

Cost

Purchases

1st

80

+2 Fort (6), +2 Ref (6), Favored Enemy (6), Track (6), Lore/Animals (Specialized, only to understand how to get along with them, 3), Proficient with all Simple and Martial Weapons (9), with Light Armor (3), and with Shields (3), Fast Learner (Specialized in Skills, for +2 SP/Level, presumed acquired at level zero to start at level one, 6), and +18 Skill Points (18)

2nd

24

+1 Fort (3), +1 Ref (3), Combat Feat (Corrupted, only while wearing Light or No Armor, 4)

3rd

19

+1 Will (3), Immunity/Natural Environmental Hazards (Common, Minor, Trivial, 2)

4th

30

+1 Fort (3), +1 Ref (3), Companion (Specialized/companion bonuses progress as if the user was only half his or her level, 3), two Caster Levels Specialized in Ranger Spellcasting (6) and +1 Level of the Ranger Spell Progression (1*)

5th

15

+1 Level of the Ranger Spell Progression (1*)

6th

31

+1 Fort (3), +1 Ref (3), +1 Will (3), Combat Feat (Corrupted, only while wearing Light or No Armor, 4), +1 Caster Level Specialized in Ranger Spellcasting (3), and +1 Level of the Ranger Spell Progression (1*)

7th

18

Travel/Forest (3), +1 Level of the Ranger Spell Progression (1*)

8th

27

+1 Fort (3), +1 Ref (3), Celerity (Specialized: only increases tracking speed, 3), +1 Caster Level Specialized in Ranger Spellcasting (3), and +1 Level of the Ranger Spell Progression (1*)

9th

24

+1 Will (3), Fortune/Evasion Variant (6), +1 Level of the Ranger Spell Progression (1*)

10th

24

+1 Fort (3), +1 Ref (3), +1 Caster Level Specialized in Ranger Spellcasting (3), and +1 Level of the Ranger Spell Progression (1*)

11th

19

Combat Feat (Corrupted, only while wearing Light or No Armor, 4), +1 Level of the Ranger Spell Progression (1*)

12th

27

+1 Fort (3), +1 Ref (3), +1 Will (3), +1 Caster Level Specialized in Ranger Spellcasting (3), and +1 Level of the Ranger Spell Progression (1*)

13th

17

Immunity/need to have cover or concealment to use the Hide skill (Common, Minor, Minor, Specialized/only in natural terrain, 2), +1 Level of the Ranger Spell Progression (1*)

14th

24

+1 Fort (3), +1 Ref (3), +1 Caster Level Specialized in Ranger Spellcasting (3), and +1 Level of the Ranger Spell Progression (1*)

15th

18

+1 Will (3), +1 Level of the Ranger Spell Progression (1*)

16th

24

+1 Fort (3), +1 Ref (3), +1 Caster Level Specialized in Ranger Spellcasting (3), and +1 Level of the Ranger Spell Progression (1*)

17th

17

Immunity/inability to hide while under direct observation (Common, Minor, Minor, Specialized/only in natural terrain, 2), +1 Level of the Ranger Spell Progression (1*)

18th

27

+1 Fort (3), +1 Ref (3), +1 Will (3), +1 Caster Level Specialized in Ranger Spellcasting (3), and +1 Level of the Ranger Spell Progression (1*)

19th

15

+1 Level of the Ranger Spell Progression (1*)

20th

24

+1 Fort (3), +1 Ref (3), +1 Caster Level Specialized in Ranger Spellcasting (3), and +1 Level of the Ranger Spell Progression (1*)

   

*Specialized: Only usable in light armor despite not having the Components limitation, restricted to utilitarian nature-related spells only; you won’t find a ranger with much in the way of powerful offensive, illusion, or stealth spells.

   Grand Total: 504 out of 504 available.

   The Ranger is well balanced, if a bit erratic in it’s per-level costs. Like so many other classes, however, it’s got far too much loaded into that first level. An Eclipse point-buy Ranger will just have to delay gratification on a few things for a couple of levels or restrict (Specialize or Corrupt) a few items to start with and buy off the limitations later.

   Unlike the Paladin, the basic Ranger type has been reasonably popular in our point-buy games – although most of those characters throw in a few disadvantages, throw in “Adept” so they can get along with fewer skill points, and throw in a Spirit Weapon or some archery enhancements or some such.

   The 3.5 Ranger is also notable for being the only base class build that has been notably revised since Eclipse was published. At that point in the writing process – not so long after 3.5 came out – the Class Breakdown appendix was being rather hurriedly finished up so that we could get the book out for people to use, and the 3.5 Ranger writeup wound up using a near-unique modifier that was then edited out of the rest of the book in favor of simply using Specialization and Corruption – which were far more powerful tools for designing characters anyway. Ergo, here we have the corrected version.

Latest Material Index

   Updated July 28

   It’s once again time to get the latest material index updated and to transfer the material from the old one to the main index tabs. If you want the very latest material, it may be necessary to either scroll down or consult the “Recent Posts” listing-widget on the lower right The previous Latest Materials Index can be found HERE.

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