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D&D 3E
Darkness is a state of mind, I can go where you would stumble... 
17th-Feb-2009 03:01 am
Lycanthrope
First off, I wanted to thank you all for your assistance and suggestions for the kobold warlock I asked about earlier. Unfortunately, my DM has expressed interest in the recharge magic variant, which seriously dampens the appeal of the warlock, as now everyone can cast all day, everyday, and the lack of a recharge time just doesn't seem worth the hit they take in versatility.

So I have a second question. Knowing my group, I will be stuck playing the arcanist. I first wanted to play a Necromancer aiming for the True Necromancer prestige class from Libris Mortis, buuuut knowing my group no one would go for that. Then I considered a conjurer with an emphasis on summoned monsters. Then I remembered we already have 6 people playing and adding in a ridiculous amount of monsters is just going to slow things down, especially at higher levels.

Then I noticed Divination. Diviners are legendary (as in you hear about them and see feats and prestige classes for them but you've never actually seen one), and I wanted to try it out and see if they really do suck or are just severely underrated. The first character concept that came to mind, however, is that of a character with black hair, black robes, and a black blindfold. The stereotypical blind seer.

However, a blind character is SEVERELY hampered, so how might you balance a character with innate blindness with a standard character? An extra feat or two? Some other special ability? Is it too much effort to even try?

[EDIT]

I should have added what Blind actually does.

Blinded

The character cannot see. He takes a -2 penalty to Armor Class, loses his Dexterity bonus to AC (if any), moves at half speed, and takes a -4 penalty on Search checks and on most Strength- and Dexterity-based skill checks. All checks and activities that rely on vision (such as reading and Spot checks) automatically fail. All opponents are considered to have total concealment (50% miss chance) to the blinded character. Characters who remain blinded for a long time grow accustomed to these drawbacks and can overcome some of them.

Comments 
17th-Feb-2009 11:43 am (UTC)
My advice is, forget it. You can't use Scrying, or Prying Eyes, or Arcane Sight, or True Seeing. Also, you'll need to restrict yourself to area-damage spells in combat if you want to avoid the 50% miss chance on targeted spells. You can't be a wizard - no ability to read your spellbook -> no spells. Even if you've been blind so long you've developed Zatoichi-level blindsight (which is hardly a handicap for, say, martial classes) you still can't read or prepare spells.

If you just want some flavor, you can easily say that your character is blind, but attains a sight-like awareness of the world through frequent premonitions. There's no mechanical effect, though, so I don't know how satisfying that would be.
17th-Feb-2009 02:36 pm (UTC)
I thought about the spellbook thing, and figured a unique form of braille could fix that.

I also realized he wouldn't be able to attack, as even area-effect spells would require some kind of aiming.

I didn't notice that about the spells, though. It's ironic how many divination spells actually require sight, considering some of the greatest diviners in fiction tend to be blind. :P
17th-Feb-2009 03:36 pm (UTC)
Or alternatively, take Chain Of Eyes from the Spell Compendium as your second level Divination spell, cast it on your familiar...

If you just want some flavor, you can easily say that your character is blind, but attains a sight-like awareness of the world through frequent premonitions.

I thought of that but, at least in 3.0 with its pre-Nerfed Darkness spell, that is too easy to abuse in the company of enemies that really need light to see. An episode of "Hart to Hart" and pretty much every film with a blind character in peril relies on that twist.
18th-Feb-2009 12:24 am (UTC)
Scrying wouldn't be a problem; the image appears in the scrying mirror, right? Just have your fellow PCs or trusty apprentice watch the show and take notes.

Prying Eyes...no problem. The caster's vision doesn't enter into the picture at all. OTOH, your sense of internal consistency might be offended by the idea of a blind man being able to correctly interpret those funny sensations in his brain when the eyes play back their video.

Arcane Sight...change to Arcane Hearing, and magical auras have distinctive magical sound harmonics :)

True Seeing...definitely wouldn't work.

As previously noted, the spellbook could be in braille. Scrolls would be a bitch, though.
18th-Feb-2009 03:48 am (UTC)
Just have your fellow PCs or trusty apprentice watch the show and take notes.

That's right. I didn't think of that. My familiar will be able to speak Common and be quite intelligent by that time, so that will work.

OTOH, your sense of internal consistency might be offended by the idea of a blind man being able to correctly interpret those funny sensations in his brain when the eyes play back their video.

If he suffered damage to the occipital lobe, then yes, but if he lost his blindness due to injury to the eyes or nerves, his brain is still capable of interpreting images. I haven't quite decided which I wanted for him.

True Seeing...definitely wouldn't work.
True Seeing would actually be quite useless anyway, since invisibility and visual illusions are already powerless against blind people.
18th-Feb-2009 03:52 am (UTC)
For True Seeing, I was thinking more in terms of whole-party utility. For instance, the blind character won't say "Watch out! That's not the princess, it's a demon under illusion!" while a sighted wizard with True Seeing cast would.
18th-Feb-2009 04:08 am (UTC)
Could share it with my familiar when cast.

"See anything unusual?"
*Squeek*
"Good."
17th-Feb-2009 12:51 pm (UTC)
I wouldn't think the recharge variant would apply to Warlocks, but I'm not the DM. Let's assume you want to go a different direction and be a Diviner. You don't have to go with the stereotype of being blind. Blind is too limiting, IMO. Maybe he has some other malady. Maybe he's sickly and was always getting infections as a kid that resulted in "fever dreams". See if the DM will let you take Disabilities and Perks to add some flavor.

Another fun variation might be a Transmogrifist (sp). Maybe the character has a lame leg or is very weak, but has a lot of spells that buff himself up and later transform his body. Check out psionics too.

Another spin on a caster is to go the "elementalist" route, but pick something different. Many people go for fire. I played one character that focused on air. He was very creative with using air-based spells for ways in which they were not intended. At higher levels he mixed in a lot of lightning, including taking a feat that let him change any elemental damage to his preferred type (in Tomb & Blood, back when that came out).

Just some ideas.
17th-Feb-2009 02:32 pm (UTC)
Recharge variant applies to other classes, and that's the point. Warlocks benefit from being able to cast that one or two spells they have all the time, round after round, with no fear of running out, while other spellcasters have to ration their spells. With recharge, everyone can cast their spells all day, with only a few rounds of waiting between. If they have multiple levels of spells, they can cast those other levels while they wait, and the warlock ceases to be unique. I didn't feel that the somewhat faster cast time made up for the lack of versatility the warlock suffered.

I did consider evoker. I was considering perhaps cold or lightning. I may end up doing that, since I can't seem to come up with a character concept that is not A) evil, or B) completely unworkable.
17th-Feb-2009 01:02 pm (UTC)
Agree with poster above. However...

Option 1: You are blind as a bat. Your spellbook is in some form of arcane braille. Whenever you cast a spell, you "feel" the presence of others. Drawback: Cannot cast spells from scrolls, other spellbooks. Cannot copy spells from scrolls or other spellbooks without assistance, which requires someone who can read magic and takes twice as long to scribe. Benefit: While spellcasting, you gain Blindsight to a radius of 40'. Whenever you have a spell active that requires vision (such as True Seeing), the spell functions as if you could see.

Option 2: Your blindness is more for flavor and for an occasional roleplay device/benefit. Think Toph from Avatar. Your magical abilities have granted you a sort of second sight, which allows you, through magic, to see normally. Drawback: Select some likely condition that prohibits you from seeing normally. When in an area that suppresses magic, such as within an Anti-Magic Field, you are also unable to see. Benefit: Immune to gaze attacks and any other abilities that require the target to see.
17th-Feb-2009 01:03 pm (UTC)
"poster above" here being crazy_sunshine. Not that I disagree with edobrzel.
17th-Feb-2009 02:39 pm (UTC)
Hmm. I was thinking more along the lines of option 1. The fun thing is that the familiar I had in mind was a bat, and I didn't realize the "blind as a bat" thing until just now. Bats have Blindsense 20 ft., which would allow his familiar to act more like a seeing-eye bat, and true-strike gives him a +20 bonus on attack rolls and allows him to ignore the 50% miss chance associated with blindness, so he could still contribute to battle so long as he prepares ahead of time.
18th-Feb-2009 12:26 am (UTC)
One more obvious possbility.

Your character is "blind", but also a liar. In other words, he's not blind, but pretends to be blind to adhere to the prejudice that good diviners need to be blind.

;)
18th-Feb-2009 03:35 am (UTC)
Thaaaat's... pretty cool, actually. That thought never even crossed my mind, but it's a good one.
17th-Feb-2009 01:27 pm (UTC)
Don't take this the wrong way but it sounds kind of gimmicky. Wouldn't you rather play a character with deep emotional depth? Do you really want to play a character with a handicap only to mostly overcome it at the beginning of the game?
17th-Feb-2009 02:26 pm (UTC)
Oh no, I wasn't planning on counterbalancing it completely. I was mostly looking for ways with which to help mediate some of the penalties so that he's playable, despite being blind. Playing a character with a handicap is fun, but I want him to be able to survive long enough to do that. Automatic AC 8, half movement speed, and inability to use attack spells makes him difficult to play at even a rudimentary level, and the rest of the party would likely lament having such a fragile character along.

Though the more I think about it and the more I read these comments the more I realize how bad of an idea it really is. It seems to be far more trouble than it's worth.
17th-Feb-2009 02:00 pm (UTC)
Another option might be to have a "blindfold" that gives you blindsight or blindsense or something? I had a drow character once who created darkvision blindfolds for her companions to use when they went underground.
17th-Feb-2009 02:41 pm (UTC)
That's a good idea.
17th-Feb-2009 08:19 pm (UTC)
I'm going to agree that taking Blindness as a mechanical handicap is just going to be a pain for you and everyone else. It doesn't really add all that much. If you want the flavor of the "blind seer," I would just flavor him as blind and say that his magic/whatever lets him see the same as anyone else. Unless your DM is a jerk (and trust me, I know the type), that should be fine.

For a Diviner, you might consider the Unseen Seer PrC from Complete Mage--it's a rogue/diviner cross that isn't shabby. Also, if you guys aren't irrationally afraid of Psionics, the psionic Seer type does a really good Diviner while still being able to contribute in fun and interesting ways.

Finally, if your group is the kind that makes it so you are "stuck playing an arcanist," you probably ought to do something about that. Play whatever class you want. If you really think you need an arcane caster (and for the record: you don't), let someone else do it (or you can play something with UMD to half cover the role if necessary). Getting stuck playing a character you don't like isn't all that fun.
18th-Feb-2009 03:33 am (UTC)
Yeah, the more I think about it the more blindness seems to be too much of a hassle. I am somewhat tempted to go with it still, probably because no other idea has taken its place yet. There are some feats in Encyclopedia Arcane : Divination that grant tremorsense when combined, as well as blindsense and scent, which may be able to alleviate the symptoms for everything but ranged.

It's not that I don't want to play an arcanist, I'm quite happy playing anything, it's just that each person in my group has a "favorite role" and never really breaks from it, and arcanist is the only one usually left open (managing a spellbook is considered too complicated by some people). One person always plays the rogue, one person always plays an elf, one person always plays the biggest, baddest character the rules allow, etc. I have been considering asking everyone to pick a race and class they've never played before, just to mix stuff up.
18th-Feb-2009 03:54 am (UTC)
"Everyone have your characters ready? Great. Pass your character sheet to the person on your left.

Everyone, meet your new characters!"
18th-Feb-2009 04:06 am (UTC)
Hahaha... that's great. I'm not the DM, unfortunately...
18th-Feb-2009 05:07 am (UTC)
I presented that to my players once. They didn't go for it at all. I didn't help that it would have meant everyone there was playing opposite gender because they were sitting man/woman/man/woman/man but... they didn't like it at all.
18th-Feb-2009 05:47 am (UTC)
Actually, I was paraphrasing a scene from a Knights of the Dinner Table comic rather than seriously suggesting it :)
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