Relic Masters: Magic for the Spell-less
Though it is far from universal, there are several common styles of Pathfinder RPG play that cause groups to decide classes that lack any spellcasting ability are at a disadvantage, and that the disadvantage grows as other classes gain increasingly powerful spells. This is especially frustrating for players who have a character concept for someone who shouldn’t have spells (spellcasting would invalidate the character concept), but seem to then be penalized with fewer options in many encounters due to their lack of access to magic.
Item Mastery Feats are a great way to add magic abilities to characters that don’t gain spells or spell-like options from their class features. In a nutshell, they allow characters to force magic items to do things the item isn’t normally able to do. Since the Use Magic Device skill proves that spells aren’t necessary to use magic items, and numerous classes can pick up just a little spellcasting without being a spellcasting class (such as minor magic from rogues), the idea that there is a technique to manipulate magic in new ways to do new things without being a spellcaster is in keeping with the suggested metaphyscis of the Pathfinder rules.
Item Mastery Feats can patch one or two holes in a character’s options easily, but using them to alter how nonspell classes play in general requires some new options. Some of those should be limited to characters who really focus on these feats, which can represented by the relic master archetype. However, that archetype can only be taken by fighters, and there are a lot of classes that don’t gain spells.
So, step one is to give rules for the relic master archetype to be usable by every class with no automatic access to spells, extracts, or similar broad-utility magic options. That means we need replacement options for the relic master’s powers at the appropriate levels for the barbarian, brawler, cavalier, gunslinger, kineticist, monk, rogue, slayer, swashbuckler, and vigilante.
Below are the rules for a “More Universal” Relic Master, that also tweaks the archetype itself to fix weaknesses that have been found in play since the archetype was published.
“More Universal” Relic Master
The relic master receives Knowledge (arcana) and Use Magic Device as class skills, but doesn’t receive two class skills of the base class, as noted below: as class skills.
Barbarian: Handle Animal and Ride
Brawler: Handle Animal and Ride
Cavalier: Bluff and Swim
Fighter: Handle Animal and Ride
Gunslinger: Handle Animal and Ride
Kineticist: Intimidate (already receives Use Magic Device)
Monk: Intimidate and Knowledge (history)
Rogue: Intimidate (already receives Use Magic Device)
Slayer: Intimidate and Knowledge (geography)
Swashbuckler: Intimidate and Ride
Vigilante: Knowledge (engineering) (already receives Use Magic Device)
Improved Item Mastery (Su)
At 3rd level, once per day, a relic master can use an item mastery feat she knows with a magic item that doesn’t have an appropriate spell in its construction requirements. The magic item must meet all other requirements of the item mastery feat. Alternatively, if she is using a magic item with an appropriate spell in its construction requirements, she can use an item mastery feat without it counting against the feat’s total uses per day. She can use this ability one additional time per day at 7th, 11th, and 15th levels.
This ability replaces or modifies a class feature gained at or before 3rd level depending on the relic master’s base class, as detailed below:
Barbarian: Trap sense
Brawler: Maneuver training
Cavalier: Cavalier’s charge. (The cavalier still receives mighty charge and supreme charge at their normal levels)
Fighter: Armor training
Gunslinger: Any 2 of the following 3 deeds: gunslinging initiative, pistol-whip, utility shot. Anytime the gunslinger gains new deeds from any source in the future, she may choose to forgo the new deed in favor of gaining one of these deeds.
Kineticist: Infusion gained at 3rd level
Monk: Still mind
Rogue: Trap sense
Slayer: The slayer does not gain the slayer talent normally gained at 2nd level.
Swashbuckler: Any 2 of the following 3 deeds: kip-up, menacing swordplay, precise strike. Anytime the swashbuckler gains new deeds from any source in the future, she may choose to forgo the new deed in favor of gaining one of these deeds.
Relic Channeler (Su)
At 5th level, a relic master can increase the potency of a magic item she wields by investing it with a bit of her vitality as a swift action. If the item is armor, a shield, or a weapon, its enhancement bonus increases by 1 to a maximum of +5. If the magic item creates a spell or has a save DC, its effective caster level increases by 1. The bonus gained increases by +1 at 10th level and every 5 levels thereafter, to a maximum of +4.
A relic master can use this ability for a number of minutes per day equal to 1 + her Constitution modifier (minimum 1 minute). This duration doesn’t need to be consecutive, but it must be used in 1-minute increments.
This ability replaces or modifies a class feature gained at or before 5th level depending on the relic master’s base class, as detailed below:
Barbarian: Rage powers gained at 4th and 12th level.
Brawler: Brawler’s strike or close weapon mastery (once this decision is made, it cannot be changed)
Fighter: Weapon training
Gunslinger: Gun training
Monk: Purity of body
Rogue: Sneak attack is 1d6 lower than normal for a rogue of the same level.
Slayer: Has 1 fewer studied targets than normal for a slayer of the same level
Swashbuckler: Swashbuckler weapon training
Vigilante: Startling appearance
Improvised Item Mastery (Su)
At 19th level as a full-round action, the relic master can select one item mastery feat whose prerequisites she meets but that she doesn’t already have. She gains access to this feat, though she can’t use it as a prerequisite for other feats or options. If she selects a different item mastery feat, she loses access to her previous use of improvised item mastery and any magic effect created with it ends immediately. Any daily uses of a selected improvised item mastery feat count against all improvised mastery feats selected in the same day.
This ability replaces or modifies a class feature gained at or before 19th level depending on the relic master’s base class, as detailed below:
Barbarian: Damage reduction does not increase to 5/–
Brawler: AC bonus does not increase to +4 at 18th level
Cavalier: Challenges does not increase to 7/day
Fighter: Armor mastery
Gunslinger: Any one deed gained at this level is not gained. Once this decision is made, it cannot be changed.
Kineticist: Metakinetic master
Monk: Empty body
Rogue: Rogue talented not gained at 8th level
Slayer: Improved quarry
Swashbuckler: Any one deed gained at this level is not gained. Once this decision is made, it cannot be changed.
Vigilante: Social talent
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Posted on May 1, 2017, in Game Design, Pathfinder Development and tagged #Microfeats, Development, Game Design, gaming, Pathfinder First Edition. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.
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