Epic Athas 3.5 by redking (WIP)

I have been working on this content for around three years now. Its designed as an update to or an addition to Legends of Athas, and also fills some gaps in some of the other releases. Here we go.

Why I made this minority report. https://1drv.ms/b/s!At1QqAc0yBQTgYQ7-N87fqm76IO0UA?e=UoPGPu

Salient feats and epic feats. Salient feats are one of the main ways advanced beings gain power. New mechanic. https://1drv.ms/b/s!At1QqAc0yBQTgYQ2oUOU_Hok8XNlHQ?e=12M6zR

Updated metamorphosis seed. DC numbers are placeholders. https://1drv.ms/b/s!At1QqAc0yBQTgYQ5VIMZmQaJkr7bfw?e=MqhYyU

Epic spells and psionic enchantments. https://1drv.ms/b/s!At1QqAc0yBQTgYQ1jGa4u28gU39bpg?e=LanY0N

Trinkets, the minor magic and psionic items of Athas. https://1drv.ms/b/s!At1QqAc0yBQTgYQ9GK_HjGwCMISR8Q?e=kDyM9f

Prestige classes:

The Mindlord of Saragar: https://1drv.ms/b/s!At1QqAc0yBQTgYQ6UXiLfztt2kNFhA?e=Y4De76

The Evolved Paragon, a PrC for advanced beings: https://1drv.ms/b/s!At1QqAc0yBQTgYQ32cTea3Ln9Zpjlw?e=n6N6Ss

Master of the Way, a replacement for the archpsion: https://1drv.ms/b/s!At1QqAc0yBQTgYQ4j76TMs90F6Bx5w?e=5HQXrw

Base class - the Templar: https://1drv.ms/b/s!At1QqAc0yBQTgYQ0hPjAOB2CMoov-g?e=2ubGHf

The mindlord template: https://1drv.ms/b/s!At1QqAc0yBQTgYQ-UwyFr7gzh-g0gQ?e=5GH1av

Looking forward to some feedback.

NEW: 05/MAY/2020 The Athasian Cerebremancer prestige class. https://1drv.ms/b/s!At1QqAc0yBQTgYRMnVB7mC04TLHZSQ?e=NxCLYE

NEW: 05/MAY/2020 The Psychic Oblate prestige class. My take on the non OGL psychic theurge. Ultimate Magus design chassis. Similar to the Athasian Cerebremancer for obvious reasons, but slightly different.

https://1drv.ms/b/s!At1QqAc0yBQTgYRQQytbajMz1oamPA?e=Ib4xvO

New 18/05/2020 Psychic Oblate PrC using the hated True Necromancer chassis.

New 18/05/2020 Athasian Cerebremancer PrC using the hated True Necromancer chassis.

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As ever, a great piece of work mate. I’ve pinged you some feedback on the Mindlord of Saragar PrC.

I particularly like the way you’ve not only delved into the deeper mysteries of the Epic levels of DS, but also spent the time to really bring home how psionics infuses the everyday life of Athasians with the trinkets. thumbs up

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NEW: The Athasian Cerebremancer prestige class. Ultimate Magus design chassis.

https://1drv.ms/b/s!At1QqAc0yBQTgYRMnVB7mC04TLHZSQ?e=NxCLYE

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I like. I’ve not seen the Ultimate Magus but I like the way this sacrifices a little bit of magical/psionic advancement in order to mesh the 2 disciplines closer together. It also makes up for the lack of psion/wizard bonus feats by letting you have the item creation feat other discipline equivalent if you take one.

I’m impressed even more than I usually am mate!

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NEW: The Psychic Oblate prestige class. My take on the non OGL psychic theurge. Ultimate Magus design chassis. Similar to the Athasian Cerebremancer for obvious reasons, but slightly different.

https://1drv.ms/b/s!At1QqAc0yBQTgYRQQytbajMz1oamPA?e=Ib4xvO

Wow. I like a lot of this. Most of the salient feats and epic feats are awesome and I really like how Athasian Cerebremancer works, and combining it with advanced being stuff and dragon 313 mind mage PrC for maximum fusion of abilities seems awesome.

A couple things of note: There is no mechanic for dragon or avangion magic (life draining on spell casting for example). I would definitely like to see more epic feats/salient feats/spell factors that tied directly into the innate powers of such beings. While it was horribly balanced, one of the my favorite things with athas.orgs shadow transformation was that between shadow manipulation and the abilities gifted by the metamorphosis spells, the resulting creature felt truly distinct from simply a high level wizard/psionicist (incidentally my biggest problem with avangions in 2e was that until they got aura’s at the highest level they didn’t feel distinct from a wizard/psionicist in any way, another reason people probably cared for them less than dragons besides their bizarre appearance).

I’m not a huge fan of “unbound” metamorphosis where there’s no mechanical benefit for embarking on a 10 stage transformation as opposed to just using the seed to cherry pick abilities, but this applies to the base athas.org rules as much as your own. I do love many of the new options you added to the metamorphosis seed, particularly cerebral expansion and the blindsight/telepathy ability. I love the new epic spells/psionic enchantments, etc. If this site was still publishing material for 3.5 I would definitely have wanted to see much of this to be made official material, after some tweaks.

I do think that I would like to see more power wrapped up in the transformation spells themselves. One of the biggest hurdles I’ve struggled with in 3.5 dragon transformation is that there is little reason for even a full athasian dragon to ever use physical attacks, whereas in 2e their combat abilities in melee were insane and not prone to disruption like magic was. That they had access to meaningful physical power was the main separation between them and avangions.

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Dragon magic and avangion magic are first level ability for the Dragon and Avangion prestige classes in Legends of Athas. In my personal working copy of WIP epic Athas, I have ripped out that ability and reimplemented dragon magic and avangion magic as feats.

I am also considering using the hated True Necromancer chassis (a 14 level prestige class) as my athasian cerebremancer, with dragon magic or avangion magic (depending on whether you are a defiler preserver) as the capstone ability.

It’s my intention to require proper progression. So the progression for dragon or avangion in Legends of Athas is the baseline. You can add various abilities or immunities on top of that, but the basic route is fixed. I’ll make that clear later. It’s going to need a chapter of its own. Also constructing sorcerer monarch levels requires explanation also. The SMs should not take level dips, and should have at least 5 levels in any class they take.

My biggest problem with avangions is that they could apparently not hold or manipulate any equipment. A terrible oversight, if you ask me. For this reason among others, I go with every metamorphosis being phenotypically different.

I’ll try to work on more design notes to explicate the transformation spell side of what is going on. It needs more work. Under my framework, character levels are still the most important thing for a PC or NPC advanced being. What they get from metamorphosis is some specific immunities and abilities that are not the generic buffs that advanced beings get from salient feats.

With my advanced beings you get the sense of how King Kalak, with all his power, was able be almost killed by the Heartwood spear. Ultimately the sorcerer monarchs will have to be statted under my framework to see the beauty of how it works.

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I agree with this in full. Not to mention how are Avangions making verbal components work without a mouth? Got to love TSR’s “editing” process. Another funny note is that in 2e the durations on the transformation spells was Permanent rather than Instantaneous, which meant they were technically dispel-able, even though that made no sense. (Incidentally, I actually ran into this issue in my 2e dark sun game, as well as a similar one when the Athasian Dragon in the party got level drained by an undead after a disjunction destroyed most of the groups defenses)

Incidentally, hoping for new official support for advanced beings are almost half the reason why I want official support for dark sun 5e. There were so many problems, and yet so much interesting stuff, in their 2e write-ups, not to mention the lore surrounding them. While advanced beings were technically done in 4e, the limitations of the system made them feel extremely generic and lackluster. Seeing something official done with them in a more flexible system yet with better oversight than TSR ever had is a personal dream of mine.

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New 18/05/2020 Psychic Oblate PrC using the hated True Necromancer chassis.

New 18/05/2020 Athasian Cerebremancer PrC using the hated True Necromancer chassis.

Working with the True Necromancer chassis, its not hard to understand why people hate it. That said, its the logical implementation of a dual casting prestige class.

Note: Floating Feats can be overpowered, but also hilarious. Case in point, a huge size Athasian dragon with a breath weapon can use the four feats for snatch, improved snatch, snatch and swallow, and gape of the serpent, AKA I’m just going to decide to be a snake today. (I’m not sure if this is really so much a problem with floating feats as the fact that nobody knows what the heck feats are actually supposed to represent. I’m assuming the intention with floating feats is based on the idea that most feats are knowledge based, but there are many feats out there, particularly dragon and monstrous feats, that often represent changes in physique or physical capabilities. Still makes for some legitimately cool interactions, allowing them to grab combat feats, metabreath feats, and more. Silly, useful, or overpowered depending on the day, but I like the morphic concept.)

Edit: Also, i would tone down advanced being skill affinity to only add half the total level to skills. It’s still a huge boost, but not so completely rule bending. I’ve done that change in the stat block I’ve been developing based on this update.

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Funny that you mention that. I’ve gone back and forth repeatedly on the skills from half, full, half then back again.

I think you are right. The psiotheurgy skill gives a big boost to metamorphosis spells anyway.

I think that we are getting closer and closer to the intentions of the designers. Good thing

Nerfed Advanced Being Prowess feat. Now called Advanced Being Magical Prowess, it does nothing for psionic manifester levels. It also makes essence integration more relevant. PDFs updated.

Advanced Being Magical Prowess [Advanced Being]

Your casting of spells are bolstered by virtue of being an advanced being.

Prerequisites: Advanced being

Benefit: An advanced being with this feat casts arcane spells almost effortlessly. The advanced being adds half its total character level to arcane caster levels when casting a spell or manifesting a power. For example, a Wizard 10, Psion 10, Cerebremancer 10, Fighter 5 has 35 total character levels. The creature adds half of its total character level (round down) to its caster level when casting an arcane spell. In this case the creature has a spellcaster level of 37.

Note: This feat does not change the maximum level of spells that can be cast. It only provides a boost to caster level when a spell is cast.

Advanced Being Skill Affinity nerfed to reflect a skill bonus of half character level.

Advanced Being Skill Affinity [Advanced Being]

An advanced being with this feat finds within its own nature the effortless use of skills, the advanced being able to use skills to a high degree of proficiency with only a small amount of knowledge. Its abilities are boosted when making checks.

Prerequisites: Advanced being

Benefit: An Advanced Being receives an untyped bonus to all skill checks equal to its hit dice, and an untyped bonus equal to half its hit dice for ability checks or opposed ability checks. Additionally, all skills are considered class skills for the advanced being.

Withstand Backlash has been depreciated.

Looking at nerfing Lifebender (Ex): Thinking of doing it in 5% increments rather than 10%.

Gentle metamorphosis has been altered to make it more logical. Also a slight nerf to prevent the use of focus structures in gentle metamorphosis. The transformations fueled by focus structures are anything but gentle, and gentle metamorphosis is for filling in gaps.

Gentle Metamorphosis (Ex): You can use the metamorphosis spell on itself or another creature without the spell counting towards the maximum 10 uses of metamorphosis that a single creature can withstand. When casting gentle metamorphosis, you may not use a focus structure (a singular exception for the Pristine Tower). You can cast one additional metamorphosis on an individual (or yourself) without counting against the ten-time limit once for every 12 ranks you have in this skill.

Advanced Being Magical Prowess[Advanced Being] has been depreciated, and replaced entirely by Essence Integration[Advanced Being]. The reason for this is that essence integrate largely renders advanced being magical prowess obsolete. It also balances better.

Essence Integration [Advanced Being]

You need never fear falling behind in caster and manifester levels because you have learned to integrate all your classes to make them advance your caster and manifester levels.

Prerequisites: Ability to cast 9th level spells and manifest 9th level powers. Advanced Being. Advanced Being Magical Prowess. Practiced manifester. Epic Practiced Manifester. Practiced Spellcaster. Epic Practiced Spellcaster.

Benefit: Your base caster level and manifester level for any of your classes that have epic practiced manifester and epic practiced spellcaster is equal to your Hit Dice.

19/06/2020 New: Ultra-phrenic template.

27/06/2020: Updated the base templar for two reasons. One, to give the epic base templar a path for independence from his Sorcerer Monarch. And two, to nerf the Sorcerer Monarchs from having epic templars under their complete thrall, being completely subject to the SM’s control of the elemental vortice. Changes below.

Unbreakable Bond (Ex): At 20th templar caster level, the bond with the vortice from which the templar draws divine magic becomes unbreakable. The vortice is always open to the templar, and even the templar’s Sorcerer Monarch patron cannot stop the templar from receiving spells. Even the death of the Sorcerer Monarch does not stop the templar from receiving spells. The templar becomes aware of this strengthened bond, but the Sorcerer Monarch has no special way of knowing unless the Sorcerer Monarch cuts off the templar from spells and notices that the templar can still cast spells.

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That’s pretty neat. It explains why a SM would rarely countenance such a high level templar, despite their usefulness. Ofc, there will always be a templar or two who’ll be able to sneak beneath the radar and then the SM has a potential problem.

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Yes. And even if an SM is aware of the problem, the SM can’t metagame it. All the SMs know, if they know, is that sometimes ‘the most powerful’ templars are able to go independent. Not that 20th level templars go independent.

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I’ve made an interesting discovery. RPGA had a variant of the True Necromancer which was available for play in RPGA. As you can see in the screenshot below, this variant has full spellcasting. RPGA was playtested and very strict about what they would allow, so if they allowed a full spellcasting True Necromancer, it would probably be OK for me to revise my PrCs based on the True Necromancer chassis.

TN RPGA2

TN RPGA

New 28/06/2020: Athasian Cerebremancer with RPGA chassis and Psychic Oblate with RPGA chassis.

New 29/06/2020: The Dray race. Initially I followed the athas dot org decision to make Dray a dragon type race. The more I looked at it, the less sense it made. Going on precedent, I made the Dray dragonblood subtype, humanoid type.