August 28, 2018

The Feline

Otherworldly Patron
Comments from the Finger: I realized today that my cat is basically a warlock patron.

The Feline

Your patron, for all intents and purposes, is a cat. Fickle and demanding, it insists on your attention, affection, and offerings of food and milk. Your patron is easily bored, so once sated, your patron leaves you with your otherworldly powers until it again returns for you.
     In ages long past, dead empires worshipped these special cats as gods, for their charm and the zeal of their warlocks enthralled many to their power. Now, only a few recognize their nobility as a source of arcane might, and fewer still can court a Feline's attention for long enough to secure a warlock's pact.

Feline Expanded Spell List
Spell Level Spells
1stanimal friendship, longstrider
2nddarkvision, enhance ability
3rdcatnap, haste
4thfreedom of movement, locate creature
5thdream, mislead

Land on Feet
Starting at 1st level, your patron bestows upon you a cat's uncanny ability to land gracefully. If you aren't incapacitated, you don't take damage from falling 30 feet or less.

Cat Scratch
At 1st level, your patron has granted you razor-sharp arcane claws, which usually lie retracted underneath your fingers. You can use your claws to make unarmed strikes, and can use Dexterity instead of Strength for their attack and damage rolls. If you hit with your claws, you deal slashing damage equal to 1d4 + your Strength or Dexterity modifier (your choice), instead of the bludgeoning damage normal for an unarmed strike.
     Additionally, as a reaction when you take damage from a creature within 5 feet of you, you can make a melee attack against this creature using your claws.

Hiss
At 6th level, as a reaction when you take damage from a creature within 5 feet of you, you can ferociously hiss. The next two attacks that the creature makes before the end of its turn are made with disadvantage. 
     Once you use this ability, you can't use it again until you finish a short or long rest.

Evasion
Beginning at 10th level, you can nimbly dodge out of the way of certain area effects, such as a red dragon's fiery breath or an ice storm spell. When you are subjected to an effect that allows you to make a Dexterity saving throw to take only half damage, you instead take no damage if you succeed on the saving throw, and only half damage if you fail.

Cat’s Meow
At 14th level, you can speak in the language of your Feline master, enthralling those nearby with your song. Each creature you choose within 15 feet of you must make a Wisdom saving throw against your warlock spell save DC. On a failed save, it is charmed by you for 1 minute or until your concentration is broken (as if concentrating on a spell). 
     On each of your turns, you can use your bonus action to command a creature you have charmed by this ability to use its reaction to move up to half its movement speed to a location that you choose or take an action of your choice. This action can be used only to take the Attack (one weapon Attack only), Dash, Disengage, Hide, or Use an Object action.
     Once you use this ability, you can't use it again until you finish a long rest.


Eldritch Invocations

In your study of occult lore, you have unearthed eldritch invocations, fragments of forbidden knowledge that imbue you with an abiding magical ability.
     At 2nd level, you gain two eldritch invocations of your choice. Your invocation options are detailed at the end of the class description. When you gain certain warlock levels, you gain additional invocations of your choice.
     Additionally, when you gain a level in this class, you can choose one of the invocations you know and replace it with another invocation that you could learn at that level. A level prerequisite in an invocation refers to warlock level, not character level.

Eldritch Claw
Prerequisite: 5th level
When you cast a cantrip that requires one or more ranged spell attacks, you can make melee spell attacks instead. 

Nine Lives
Prerequisite: 15th level
Your patron has embraced your soul, protecting you from death. Whenever you are required to make death saving throws, you do not die until you fail 9 rolls (you still stabilize upon succeeding on three rolls).




Changelog: Hiss reworked: Now happens as a reaction to taking damage and causes disadvantage on two attack rolls

26 comments:

  1. I suppose you meant freedom of movement in the pact spells? Or we've gottan a new Hold spell?

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    1. I'd imagine that "Freedom from Movement" would involve summoning one or more spectral cats to sit on the target, preventing them from standing up ever again.

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    2. I vaguely recall a freedom from movement in connection with the misspelled spells thing, but that may just have been a thought I had when reading it.

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  2. So I’m noticing some of the spells you get with this patron that aren’t in the player handbook. Like catnap.

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    2. Catnap is a new spell from Xanathars Guide... Cast it on a willing person sends them to sleep for 10 minutes and give the effect of a short rest.

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    3. Sorry for the non-OGL spell. It was basically too good to pass up, both for theme and for this as a warlock.

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    4. Do you even Xanathar, mate?

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    5. I think we *need* to use the blog as an outlet for writing things that need non-SRD spells to function. Writing OGL-compliant stuff all the time really grinds a person down...

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  3. An... interesting interpretation of the cat-human relationship. Seems mostly correct.

    I've a feeling the Cat Scratch could make this warlock really good for a 1 level dip, but probably not a real balance issue.

    However, giving 2 consecutive abilities that work on your dex save seems a bit too much. Sure, very thematic for cats, but still.

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    1. Yeah, I was definitely thinking about that as the last draft came together. An earlier draft had the effects of the spell Catnap spelled out as a class feature (self only, 1/long), which provided more difference in kind, but it was decided that we could move this to the spell list with little issue.

      I'm open to reworking Hiss to be different to Evasion, if you have ideas.

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    2. Hmmm... take the dodge action as a reaction?

      Or maybe when a creature moves near you, you can scratch and move away without AoO (while also keeping the disadvantage on attack from current hiss)?

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  4. Holy crap Nine Lives is OP af... I get and like the flavor, but you're basically making it so the DM either has to go out of his way and be unreasonable in order to kill the player, or the player 99% of the time will never die. To be fair, not sure what else you could do with a feature called Nine Lives... but that just seems too strong.

    Maybe make it like Relentless Endurance, but they can do it 9 times? That way there's an actual chance of the player dying without having to have the DM be sure to deal twice his HP in damage or stabbing his unconscious body FIVE times for no reason, just to make sure they die.

    And maybe instead of getting all 9 recharges back at a long rest, they get it only once they... do something with a cat or cat related? Or once they make an offering of catnip and milk at an appropriate altar?

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    1. At level 15 there are plenty of things that kill outright- from disintegrate and finger of death to special monster abilities. And you're still useless while unconscious.

      Also, 9x relentless endurance would be WAY more powerful.

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    2. I mean, in the scenario you're painting (in my opinion), the ability is either completely useless (in the case where there are plenty of things that ignore this 15th level ability and kill outright), or is still OP (imo) due to the reasons I laid out initially.

      As for 9x Relentless Endurances being way more powerful, I'd disagree. In a 15th level fight, I think it'd be way easier/way more normal/reasonable for a group of enemies (let's say at LEAST 4) who all (most likely) have multiattack (allowing for two to three attacks in a single turn) to hit a player 9 times than it is for a DM to act outside of the realm of reasonableness (again, most likely imo) and attack an unconscious player FIVE separate times in a turn (meaning more than one enemy has to hit a downed opponent, which makes no sense).

      AND, that's assuming the player has ALL 9 charges for this fight, AND that's assuming it's really easy for them to get all their charges back via a long rest, which I oppose.

      Apologies for my disgusting overuse of parentheses.

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    3. I agree with Idan in that Relentless Endurance is far more powerful. Your argument that being conscious makes you more likely to receive hits is sound, but that also means you're conscious and able to act, which is precisely what makes it more powerful.

      That being said, I'm definitely interested in nerfing this feature if we can find a reasonable workaround that keeps the gimmick and spirit of the feature.

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    4. I think 9 Lives is pretty balanced, but then, the dice have never been kind to my players on death saves. Only ever had one or two pass 3 death saves.
      If we insist on putting a limit on it, might I suggest the player can choose to succeed up to 3 death saves per day? This way, they can still take damage on the turns between, allowing particularly malicious enemies to kill then while unconscious as normal, and otherwise they have to go down a second time and have to risk it. Or they can choose to make a few attempts before using the free passes, depends on how much the player feels safe risking (usually not much mid-combat).

      On a side note, could Eldritch Claw invocation stack with others like Repelling Blast and Lance of Lethargy (xge)?

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    5. Choosing to succeed is problematic, since you can't actually choose while unconscious. And it misses the point of having to fail specifically 9 times.

      I think the strong thing about having to fail 9 times is simply the fact that your allies have a ton of time to heal you- enemies rarely attack players who are down. And let's face it, most combats end within 3-5 rounds anyway. So it basically only helps to avoid death due to damage from area effects while unconscious, and in the rare cases an enemy still hits while you're down (or swallows you or something).

      Personally, I don't think it's too powerful- in my experience, players usually heal their allies within 1-2 rounds anyway.

      A nerf could be that a natural 1 counts as 8 failed rolls (just like it counts as 2 out of 3).

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    6. I think that in a world where you get 9 Relentless Endurances per specific ritual performed (as opposed to long rest) is not as bad is it's being made out to be. Seems to be, in the very best scenario (in a 15th level OR HIGHER fight), a player would get an extra 2, maaaaaybe 3 turns at most, whereas a normal Half-Orc wouldn't really get any. The Half-Orc would get smacked down to 0, use RE, then be back at 1, and then, in all likelihood, be killed by the next attack (assuming it's not the SUPER lucky scenario where the very last enemy attack was the attack that triggered RE). A guy who just renewed their REs (and in a scenario where they're close to dying anyway) would burn around 2-4 REs on an enemy turn (given that the player would start with a HP pool that'd not be reduced to 0 by a single enemy attack), then get 1 action. Then next turn, given that they'd start the round with very little HP (possibly even 1), they'd use up the rest of their REs then and there, possibly surviving for 1 more round.

      Also, I've only just realized this is an invocation, not a feature, although I don't think that changes my position.

      Also also, it feels like the counter-argument to my points (perhaps aside from the Relentless Endurance angle) regarding the strength of Nine Lives is that Nine Lives is really weak...

      1. It's not OP because there're lots of things that'll ignore it completely and kill you outright.

      2. Most combat ends within 3-5 rounds anyway... so the extra 6 death save chances don't even come into play.

      3. Players usually heal their allies within 1-2 rounds anyway... so, again, the extra death saves don't come into play anyway.

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    7. Even if you do have to use several REs to get your turn, that means several attacks- each of which probably deals at least about 20 damage at this level- go to waste trying to knock you down. Which means the REs are worth 180+ hp, which is much higher than your maximum hp at 15th level. So it more than doubles the amount of damage you have to take to be knocked unconscious. Still think it's not too powerful?

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    8. That's a very good point. I suppose the strength doesn't come from the ability to stay conscious just a little bit longer, but instead comes from the amount of damage you'd be soaking up. Good point.

      Thoughts on the second part of my last comment? At this point I agree that REs won't be the solution, but I still don't see how Nine Lives isn't either too strong or too weak (I lean toward it being too strong, but you make a couple good cases of it being too weak).

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    9. I personally think 9 lives is okay, because not bleeding out is useful, but basically gives no combat potency. There's even the undying warlock (from SCAG) that also can make it very hard to bleed out, and by 15th level players will have access to resurrection and clone most of the time.

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    10. Just to support my last comment, a CR13 vampire (MM297) can "choose" to succeed on a saving throw instead when it would fail (as can other creatures with Legendary Resistance). I'd argue that if the DM can have a vampire unconsciously "choose" to succeed, a player could make the same decision for their character. That's just my perspective though, and how often out-of-character decisions occur probably varies per table. It's just an idea, but personally, I think the Invocation is fine as is. As was pointed out, most players get revived by allies quickly or are killed outright at that level, so having to fail many saves might not be as helpful as we think.

      I'd just not bother changing it. I've done it in the past where a character got knocked out but was taken prisoner before he passed all his saves, woke up in a prison and the party had to save him. Extending the saves may or may not help characters survive, but I'd allow it just for another thing to use as a plot device.

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    11. Twisted: I think you're right that Nine lives is sometimes very powerful, but the three downsides you summed up make it weaker- And even then it's probably not too weak, because you're right that in many circumstances it makes you close to unkillable, so it pretty much balances out.

      EXLmage: I'm not sure Legendary Resistance is subconscious. Just like a fighter's Indomitable isn't- it's the creature consciously pushing itself harder, which it only has power to do a few times.

      I agree that the invocation doesn't really require a change.

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  5. Quick question on the cats meow: is it an action to "sing" or is it a bonus or free action?

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