Design Diary 17

Legendary Classes

When I started working on the legendary classes, I thought it would they would end up as little better than the existing epic progressions - scaling existing abilities and filling in bonus feats to make up for the lack of abilities that didn't scale.

What I forgot, though, is that most of the abilities I designed DO scale. Yeah, I know, I should've known that, but it's been awhile since I did any major work on the classes. So, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the legendary classes lose very little power compared to their pre-20th-level counterparts. Some were a little harder to design than others, though; the barbarian, for instance, kind of got screwed on the totem spirit side, so I had to include the ability to take a second totem (because I couldn't really think of additional abilities for each). The formerly epic rage feats, though, played right into the battlerager progression. The same thing happened with the ranger - with all the new archery feats, it was a snap adding five new abilities for them.

Bards, monks, and druids were easy - each of them has paths where you can pick and choose among them. With bards, you simply keep choosing new songs as normal; I replaced the every-five-levels class ability with a bonus feat. Monks advance in their fighting style, or choose a new one. A really high-level monk can even take a third style with the Martial Arts Grandmastery feat. Druids are the same - if they reach max level in a given mastery, they just choose another one.

Fighters and rogues were the easiest of all - they didn't change a bit, since all their abilities already scale. I might come up with some legendary rogue special abilities later, but I think they'll be all right for now.

Paladins were a little harder - I couldn't do much more with their divine touch (what do you heal after drained Hit Dice?), and I couldn't think of better auras, but I got some ideas from the Divine Proselytizer epic PrC - the divine speech. So, I made a new progression where divine speech took the place of divine touch and accomplished different effects. I think it models a legendary paladin well - someone of that power should be able to speak a word and have others flee, or banish outsiders, or smite his enemies.

Clerics… ugh. Since clerics have no abilities to start with, they gained and lost nothing.

Sorcerers and wizards were fairly easy, though sorcerers lose out a bit on their heritage abilities - again, something I might rectify later. What they get, though, is spells above 9th level (as do the cleric and druid). I've had rules for a legendary spell system for a couple years now, so it'll be easy to get everything converted and cleaned up.

As for PrCs… sorry, no legendary progressions. Most of the existing ones don't lend themselves well to such, and I don't design PrCs to be taken past max level, though I suppose you could probably extrapolate their abilities, since they scale in a lot of cases.

Oh yeah - in case you're wondering why I didn't simply tack these on to the base class progressions, instead of keeping them separate… I went back and forth over this issue, but a couple things decided me. First off, not all groups will want to go beyond 20th level (or even 15th, sometimes). Secondly, the extended spell progressions got a bit unwieldy - the full casters have access to spells up to 16th level, and that would make for a very messy chart. It was far easier to simply list the new spells they get (from 8th onwards) rather than have 6-7 columns of "5+1" or "4" or whatever.

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