July 21, 2017

Body Snatcher

Roguish Archetype
Notes from the Nails: we've had a tomb raiding rogue in the Waste Update, but how about something a little more... gothic?

Body Snatcher

Creeping around in darkened graveyards, making their living by desecrating the resting places of the fallen, the body snatchers are a singularly unsavory bunch. Their grubby clothes, perpetually covered with soil and muck, mirror their dirty fighting styles: these rogues pick on the weakest of targets and are more than willing to stoop to any number of cheap tricks to gain an advantage - sometimes even making their own corpses when fresh ones are not available elsewhere. Despite this, their clients know that there is no one more reliable when it comes to clandestine excavation and exploration, and are therefore willing to hand over handsome sums to these filthy criminals.

Dirty Work
When you choose this archetype at 3rd level, you become adept at moving earth quickly and quietly. As long as you have appropriate tools (such as picks and shovels), you can use an action to excavate a five-foot cube of natural earth within five feet of you, or fill in a hole of the same volume.

Walls are Closing in
At 3rd level, you are most comfortable fighting in enclosed spaces. When your target is in a corridor or tunnel that is no more than 5 feet wide, you can use Sneak Attack against that creature, even if you do not have advantage against it or if no enemy of the target is within 5 feet of it.

'Alternative Blessings'
By 9th level, you have found a way – perhaps by having a sign of protection tattooed into your skin, or by drinking nothing but holy water – to protect yourself from the many hexes and afflictions that are found among grave goods. You are immune to being cursed by magic items and your maximum hit points can't be reduced.

Shadow Fade
Starting at 13th level, you excel at escaping into the shadows and out of harm's way. When you use your Cunning Action to take the Dash or Disengage actions, you take both of these actions as part of a single bonus action.

Putrid Stench of the Grave
When you reach 17th level, you learn to extract vile fluids from diseased cadavers, which you can then turn into a weapon against your enemies. As an action, you can apply infectious slime to one weapon or three pieces of ammunition, which then works like an injury poison (you cannot use this in combination with other poisons). When you hit a creature with the diseased weapon, it must make a Constitution saving throw (DC is equal to 8 + your Intelligence modifier + your proficiency bonus) or become diseased. A diseased creature cannot regain hit points except by magical means, and immediately gains 1 level of exhaustion. Every hour, the creature must make the saving throw again, curing the disease on a successful save.



23 comments:

  1. The name is a bit misleadin- I thought of Invasion of the body snatchers when I read the title, and was certain that was going to be the Dark Matter rogue.

    Nontheless, this seems pretty cool. Dirty work would be very much impossible irl- it's moving about 3 tons of earth in 6 seconds.

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    1. Yeah, it wasn't my first choice for the name (I wanted grave robber), but I had to differentiate it from the existing tomb robber. Still, the phrase 'body snatcher' originally meant people who steal corpses - the film is a more recent invention.

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    2. Is my age showing when I didn't know there was movie??

      Additionally, the action surge +dirty work makes me chuckle inside.

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    3. Well, I mean, I've never seen Invasion of the Body Snatchers. It's before my time. But, being a massive blockbuster from when baby boomers were young, it's had a massive impact on western culture. I'm actually hoping that this subclass will push back against that a little.

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    4. Anyone who's old enough to have seen the original as a teenager would've been over 30 by the time D&D began. So unless Gygax reads MFoV as a lich, I doubt it's "from the time" of anyone around this site.

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  2. How often can you apply putrid stench of the grave?

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    1. Often as you like, right now. The disease doesn't stack or do any damage and it costs and action to apply, so...

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    2. This was less about balance and more a clarification thing: just checking

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  3. Hello, the guy who has the Hoovykin gmail account.
    I'd like to see something where they gain sneak attack damage against the creature with the lowest amount of hitpoints within 5 feet.

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  4. Ok so cool its fuckin cool.but i need some paly or monk or new hallows eve subclasses but i still like the witch

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  5. I saw the Grave Robber from Darkest Dungeon and was way stoked for a DD themed subclass (a number of which I've been diligently working on myself). Still, overall a solid subclass to add to my list of "need to play".

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  6. Agree with above about Dirty Work - an action to excavate a five foot cube of dirt is wildly impossible, even by fantasy standards. Taking a minute to dig that amount is still superhuman, but less crazy.

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    1. A minute is still pretty out there. Under optimal conditions, it will still take about an hour to dig a pretty standard grave - a hole about 8 x 2.5 x 6, give or take. Under less preferable conditions, it could take a person 4+ hours.

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    2. Is firing nine heavy crossbow bolts in 6 seconds possible? Is spraying fire from your fingertips possible? Is catching bullets in flight possible?

      There are all sorts of ways you could fluff this to make it more believable, if you like. Magical shovels, the Mold Earth cantrip, a couple of silent lackeys that follow you around with picks and spades...

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    3. But, you know, if this /is/ immersion-breaking for folks, we can tweak it, as we did to the Shovel Knight fighter, which I believe started with the exact same mechanic.

      After all, I think we can agree that this isn't intended to be a super powerful feature, and it's not doing it's job as a ribbon if it's making people scratch their heads as to how it works.

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    4. It's kind of central to the concept though: sneak into graveyard, dig up corpse, run - all in a matter of seconds.

      Anyone can dig a grave in an hour; this rogue has super powers that let them do it ultra quick.

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    5. Then why not just give Mold Earth? That makes the feature more sensible, and even allows room to throw in a little something else (advantage on saves against diseases or something).

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    6. Because this isn't a spellcaster, you know? I can't just say 'have a cantrip' because then I'd have to give it the whole spellcasting feature, with save DCs and foci and whatever.

      The default fluff for this feature is that it's mundane, but extraordinary (in the same way extra attack 3, action surge and crossbow expert are).

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    7. But you just mentioned how you could fluff it as something like mold earth, or something magical. In regards to the fluff though, all of the things mentioned above are completely impossible, but not nearly as immersion breaking as saying "Boom, 5ft hole". I personally don't see an issue with giving the class mold earth, simply because that would make more sense and feel better than just saying "wanna play minecraft in D&D?". There's also nothing saying you have to give the class full spellcasting progression either, nor does it need save or spell attack information since Mold Earth doesn't require those things, so I don't understand that line of logic necessarily. It would be no different than a racial cantrip or spell.

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    8. Nails, I see where you're coming from, but your comparison for suspension of disbelief is equating a peak turn of a max-spec crossbow attacker with a basic at-will. And that's still off by an order of magnitude - shooting nine crossbow bolts could be done in real life by a proficient human in a couple minutes, whereas digging that much dirt in real life would take a couple hours.

      So yes, it's hugely immersion breaking.

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    9. I don't realy want to pile on more arguments, but The MFoV Way of the Wheel and Soul Knife get cantrips without getting spellcasting, so it has a precedent.

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    10. But that goes back to what I'm saying about this not being a spellcaster. Soul Knife is obviously a magical class, and I consider Way of the Wheel a caster (because the DK mistress is). It just doesn't feel right to me to make this a cantrip in the eyes of the law.

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  7. Right now, I'm running a campaign focusing on gothic horror and this looks perfect. A lot of it is inspired by the game Darkest Dungeon, so I would love other homebrew from it, if you have anything planned.

    In other campaigns, I've run characters based on classes from Darkest Dungeon and they were my favorites. A Jester (a rogue) and a Leper (a fighter who was based on wielding greatswords)

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