Hello! I'm working on a new D&D character, and I've come up with a character concept that really requires me to create my own class. Or adapt several classes for it. I'm trying to make something balanced, both in power and in mechanics vs. roleplay potential. And I'm hoping you guys can offer me some advice!The concept
My character is a cleric named Kendra. She doesn't have the martial capabilities that a cleric usually has, though. She's more of a student. She worships a deity of knowledge, with the idea that knowledge and wisdom are things we gain as we travel through our lives. We gain it from learning from history and from our own experiences. Because of this, her purpose is to pursue knowledge, usually magical knowledge, in the same way that a devoted wizard might pursue arcane knowledge. She goes into any situation with a mix of curiosity and logic. Her faith believes that you can't really find fulfillment if you are really smart, or really wise. Both intelligence and wisdom are required for true enlightenment. So, she seeks both. She has a NG or LG alignment and is fully capable of healing the party, but she is equally capable of accomplishing other tasks, almost all of which are through the use of magic. Personality-wise, if you were to put a bard, a cleric and a wizard together, you'd have something similar to this divine archivist. And though she is referred to as a archivist, her faith believes that life is a journey, and you'll never gain the knowledge you seek if you don't look for it. So, she is constantly wandering, looking for new experiences, new magic, and more information.The mechanics
Here's how I started putting Kendra together, mechanics wise. I started with the cloistered cleric variant in the Unearthed Arcana. The variant cleric gains a poor BAB and a d6 HD, but they gain more class skills, a higher number of skill points/level, the benefit of the knowledge domain, and the lore class ability, which works exactly like the bardic knowledge ability. Then a friend mentioned a divine spellcaster in the Heroes of Horror book called the Archivist. Most of the class didn't appeal to me (it's made for a dark, horror-type theme), but I fell in love with their spell system. The archivist basically casts divine spells like a wizard. Meaning that they aren't granted all their spells from their deity. They have a spellbook and they have to seek out new spells just as a wizard would. I don't know why, but I really like this idea. Really REALLY like it. I mean, it's not real enlightenment if a deity just hands you a bunch of spells. You should search for them, seek them out, learn them from those who have come before. The learning is just as important as the knowledge you gain in the end. So, between those two classes, I've come close to getting exactly what I want. There's only a few things I'm working out that I could use advice on.
1. The archivist doens't learn domains like a cleric, but I really want the domain ability. Specifically, magic and protection, plus knowledge which comes with the cloistered cleric variant class. Without the domains, the archivist can cast more spells / day than a wizard, but less than a sorcerer. Would it be fair, to take away one of their spells/day for every level and make it a domain spell? For example, intead of casting 4 1st level spells/day, she could cast 3 1st level spells + 1 1st level domain spell each day?
2. The cloisterd cleric apparently retains their turn undead ability. On one hand, I'm not horribly attatched to it, so if I need to give up that ability to keep the class balanced, I will. On the other, I could use it with the divine metamagic feat in Complete Divine. That would be a way to put more emphasis on the spellcasting aspects of my character, by giving her additional access to metamagic feats using her undead attempts.
3. I'm always paranoid about making sure that my characters are well-rounded. Meaning, I tend to try to think of situations where my character would be powerless. One thing I'm thinking of here is the fact that if she takes massive amounts of damage, she'll be unable to cast spells, even with a sky-high concentration check. Thus, my thought is to pair her spellcasting ability (as we get to higher levels) with a variety of magic items that can be used without concentration checks. And, with the use of the Magic Domain, she can use any arcane spell trigger item (like rods and wands and staffs, I believe), and any spell completion item (like scrolls) that are half her level or less. That gives her a great deal of options.
Is there any other major achilles heel I need to consider? Besides the fact that she has less hit points and can only wear light armor, of course. My thought is that she'll make good use of the sanctuary spell. After all, there's a lot a cleric can do in battle that isn't an attack spell.
4. According to the archivisit class, the archivist can learn new divine spells that are not part of the cleric spell list (such as druid spells), but they first have to track down the approapriate scrolls and scribe them into their spellbooks themselves. I really like that idea, but I'm wondering if, with everything else, that might be a little too overpowering? If need be, that's a class ability I'd consider droping.
5. I mentioned earlier that I'd like the magic, knowledge and protection domains, but I haven't yet found the perfect god. There's one that rules over magic and knowledge, and one that rules over knowledge and protection, but not all three. I could ask about working out my own diety that fits the character concept, but do you guys have any ideas of deities that might work?
6. And lastly, the lore class ability. This might be a bit too much, but I'm trying to consider how to make it a bit more mechanically effective. As it stands, the lore ability (like the bardic knowledge ability) is pretty much a roleplaying ability. And while I love to roleplay, the group I play with don't roleplay as much as I'm used to. So, I want to be sure I have abilities that will help us when we are going through dungeons and fighting lots of monsters. One option is the Dark Knowledge ability that the archivist has, but like I said, it's a little too dark for me. And I also don't like that it is focused entirely on monsters. Monsters aren't the only things that a party will come up against. There are puzzles, and humanoids, and traps too. So, I was wondering about putting together somethign simple, instead of the lore class ability, that would work similar to the dark knowedge checks. Where the archivist can make a knowledge: religion check to give their allies bonuses against undead, perhaps Kendra could use a knowledge: dungeoneering check to give her allies bonuses in their saves against traps. Something like that. Perhaps knowledge: the planes gives the party some sort of elemental resistance, and knowledge: nature helps the party make survival checks to find food or keep from losing their way. And maybe a knowledge: local check would allow the party bonuses to their diplomacy and bluff checks in a given town, due to understanding the local traditions. Something along those lines. Any ideas on how I could do this without unbalancing the class?
At the moment, I'm not in a hurry - I'm just mulling over the idea and working out different options. And any suggestions you guys can provide would be greatly appreciated.