This is a work in progress, which I’m eventually going to turn into a full-fledged mod once I get a handle on some more fundamentals. Before I jump in, though, I’d appreciate some feedback on this draft from a play angle and would be very grateful if someone could help me figure out what can and can’t be done with modding (I indicated these in brackets throughout the draft).
Preamble – Why Change Mage Slayer
The purpose of my tentative mod is to revise the Barbarian’s Mage Slayer subclass in a way that is both lore-friendly and, in my opinion, more interesting to play as.
Mage Slayer’s current iteration (from the Fextralife Wiki):
Successful melee weapon attacks (or Carnage Hits) add Spell Disruption to the target, causing wizard, priest, druid, cipher, or chanter spells to have a chance to fail when cast. Gain 25% passive Resistance against Spells.
Cannot use Potions or Scrolls. Passive Spell Resistance affects Friendly and Hostile spells.
A few issues come up with the Spell Disruption ability, mostly to do with positioning. Spellcasters don’t tend to cluster together often, which marginalizes some of the class’s passives like One Stands Alone and Carnage as well as its staple full attack (Barbaric Blow). Spell Disruption centers on stacks and chances, which makes it a bit too reactive for a Barbarian archetype and fails to do anything when the enemy caster decides to auto attack. Why wait for the enemy to cast a spell that might not fizzle when any number of interrupts could ensure the desired outcome?
Likewise, the spell resistance is unwieldy: enemies might not always target your Mage Slayer with a spell but it’s a good guarantee you’ll want to include them in a good buff zone and heal them from time to time.
I think the lockdown on scroll use is fine but disabling potion use is a bit off considering many Alchemy checks throughout the game treat the ability as herbalism or a natural science. If they’re to survive in isolation, Mage Slayers would probably know a thing or two about making basic poultices and antidotes. (Besides, weapons blessed by the gods or imbued with arcane powers are a-ok.)
"Mage slayers are typically from isolated communities that have little exposure to academics of any sort and have a general distrust for magical arts. The exposure they do have is usually hostile, and mage slayers are trained to deal with them in the most efficient way possible. Swearing off the use of many magical devices, mage slayers inure themselves to magical effects to better fight spellcasters."
Revised Mage Slayer: The Tear Down Bruiser
Like its namesake suggests, the Mage Slayer is about taking down enemy casters, and while my revised version keeps this theme, it expands on the Barbarian’s strengths as a frontliner: rewarding the player for sticking to the fray or for venturing off to its favorite quarry. Not content with the mere destruction of mages and their ilk, the Mage Slayer’s specialty is stunting and destroying the essence of magic itself (including boons and spiritual aberrations).
While it lacks the raw power of a Berserker (and the, uh, something, of the Corpse Eater and base Barbarian), the revised Mage Slayer is a subclass capable of negating a single target’s magical defenses and bursting them down while collapsing magic around them with every strike – with some magic defense thrown in for good measure.
Since Mage Slayers have devoted their lives to snuffing out the mere mention of magic, they’ve spent less time training and perfecting their physique compared to their fellow Barbarians: a malus, which manifests while the character is put into a frenzied state. Mage Slayers are also a xenophobic sort, paranoid and dismissive toward magic and worldly ideas regardless of intention – they don’t venture well with others.
At a glance:
Changes to Frenzy (Active): Keeps Strong and action speed increase, removes Fit, adds Veil Piercing to attacks, adds suppress enemy beneficial effect on melee Crit; lowers maximum Health, Fortitude, and Deflection. Renamed Outliers Frenzy.
Changes to Carnage (Passive): Reduces Carnage damage and increases base radius by 50%. Now adds enemy beneficial duration reduction to the effect. Renamed Spellbane Bedlam/Spellbane Collapse.
Changes to Spell Resistance (Passive): Spell resistance only applies to hostile effects; lowered base resistance from 25% to 5% (scales with Power Level); added +5 Defenses versus spells (scales with Power Level). Renamed Spell-weathered.
Removes Spell Disruption
Removes disabled Potions
Keeps disabled Scrolls
Adds Enmity for The Profane (Passive): Disables the ability to multiclass with casters and Rogue Trickster (or significantly lowers the Power Level of spells).
Adds Primitive Doubt (Passive): Reduces incoming healing and beneficial effect power/duration from other party members; effect is doubled when the Mage Slayer is Near Death.
New/Changed Abilities (Details and Notes/Ideas):
Outlier’s Frenzy (Active; replaces Frenzy; upgrades to Blood and Spirit paths as usual)
Cost: 1 Rage
Base Duration: 15s
The Mage Slayer manifests their unquenchable rancor against magic and its practitioners by sacrificing physical prowess. User temporarily gains the Strong Inspiration, Veil Piercing to attacks, and an Action Speed bonus (+25%); and suffers penalties to max Health (-15%), Fortitude (-10), and Deflection (-10). Critical hits made with melee weapons while under the effects of Outlier’s Frenzy suspend enemy beneficial effects (4.0s base; increases by 1s per Power Level).
Notes: Like Carnage, Spellbane Bedlam doesn’t affect the primary target so the suppression on-crit on Outlier’s Frenzy is there to fill in the gap and also incentivize the player to go after backline casters if need be. Veil Piercing gives an edge over Spirits and Wizards.
The penalties to health and fortitude are there to represent the subclass’s training in taking down casters and its lack of expertise against martial combatants comparable to other Barbarians. In my mind, a Mage Slayer has more experience dodging a Shadowflame and chopping through a robe than defending a heavy blow, and in a frenzied state, would be even more susceptible to physical attacks. Also note that Spell-weathered offsets the fortitude and deflection losses by 5 versus spells.
Spellbane Bedlam (Passive; Replaces Carnage)
Ever vigilant against forsaken arts, Mage Slayers heighten their attacks to obliterate arcane energies, and can extend this talent to tearing down beneficial effects from all manner of foes. For every successful melee attack, the Mage Slayer reduces beneficial effects (4.0s base; scales .5s per Power Level) on all other enemies within a short distance of the target.
More concerned with magic than mettle, the Mage Slayer deals less damage with Spellbane Bedlam than the Barbarian’s Carnage but in a wider area. (15% of hit damage down from 33%; increased base radius by 50%).
Notes: Carnage’s damage is already pretty meh so I may remove it if possible. Beneficial effect reduction duration and radius will need to be tested. I might name this “Spellbane Collapse” instead.
Spell-weathered (Passive; Replaces Mage Slayer’s Spell Resistance)
Through frequent battles against arcane adversaries, the Mage Slayer can shrug off an occasional missile or hex: even amidst the thick of combat. Adds +5 to defenses and 5% resistance versus hostile spells (both scale at 1.2 points per Power Level).
Notes: Simple buff, which replaces the current Mage Slayer’s random chance to resist harmful and beneficial spells in favor of a more consistent, party-friendly version. The defense bonus helps offset Outlier’s Frenzy’s Fortitude and Deflection penalties (versus spells).
Spellbane Bedlam and Outlier’s Frenzy both have a couple penalties to offset the benefits, but I’d like to add two more maluses:
Enmity for The Profane
Mage Slayers forbid the practice of magic – regardless of origin, be it wizardly, spiritual or psionic – and in their small communities, often oust any whose interest in the subject goes beyond its total ruination. Mage Slayer conclaves are known for burning magical tomes and scrolls in effigy: a ritual they hope will sear the Archmages’ souls.
The Mage Slayer cannot *multiclass with Chanter, Cipher, Druid, Priest, Wizard or Trickster, and cannot use scrolls.
*Or receives a hefty penalty to PL from those classes and spells, depending on which is easier to mod. Ranger is going to be tricky to figure out since it has a few spells.
Be it through superstition or stubbornness, the Mage Slayer’s single-minded contempt for magic guides them forward: even on the tipping point toward Berath’s Wheel. The general perils of outlier life aside, it is rare for Mage Slayers to reach their elder years: many would rather succumb to a horrific (though honorable) death than be saved (or have their souls imprisoned) by supposed miracles.
Incoming healing from other party members reduced by 25%; incoming beneficial effects from other party members reduced by 25%. These effects double if the Mage Slayer is Near Death.
Notes: This is the other side to removing the Mage Slayer’s default spell resistance. Alternatively, I could try and impose a Power Level penalty on incoming beneficial effects made by Ciphers, Druids, Chanters, etc. I'll probably rename this "Primal Fear".
[Mod Note:] Are either of these options possible?
Thanks for taking the time to read this. I hope to get started this weekend.
Edited by Ophiuchus, 24 September 2018 - 10:33 PM.