Okay, so the idea behind this class is someone who uses masks in order to assume different identies to achieve their objectives, matching the identity to the objective. Fantastic, I love it as an idea. However it presents some serious problems, someone in this class could (in theory) fill the role of any other class. That’s no bad thing in itself (see: bard) however there’s a need to make sure a member of this class doesn’t outshine a character specialised in the appropriate action.
To make things a little more complicated, we need to make things useful to a character who has no pre-existing skill, while not overpowering the ability for someone who does have it. For instance a thief mask that provides “+4 to hide and move silently” is bad for two reasons. Firstly it’s useless to anyone who didn’t already have those skills, +4 to a baseline skill will be almost worthless. Secondly it’s overpowered for someone who did have them, a rouge who’d maxed the skill before taking the class now has a skill three points better than someone who’d gone rogue all of the way and tried to specialise in stealth. The new class needs a better way to handle skills.
Lots of the masks offered abilities that can be used so many times per day. With so many masks being available it’s almost inconcievable that somone could run out of powers. There needs to be some way of linking the masks so that if someone uses their 4 times per day fire breath in the dragon mask, that they can’t just switch to the 4 tims per day acid breath from the demon mask. Somehow using limited abilities in one mask should use abilities from the other masks.
The spells granted by the masks as written are simply unfair. Spell lists are seperate for a reason, getting a more inclusive spell list is murderous in a core game. You either need to be a bard or a mystic theurge, either of which will mean your highest level spell is lower than it would be if you’re a single class caster. There needs to be some way to balance the idea of getting extra spells, rather than casually throwing out spells up to fifth level for the sake of it.
If the class offers an extra level of your casting class every level it’s extra abilities need to be marginal (As with the wizard gaining an extra feat every five levels and powering up it’s familiar) or there needs to be some drawback to the class. This class is just asking for an interesting drawback, the idea of using different personas lends itself to all sorts of interseting problems that could create both system and roleplaying problems. Roleplaying problems are fun and make the game better, system problems are needed to keep things in balance. Here is a class that needs some sort of drawback.
Masks for classes need to allow the character to function as a cut down member of that class. They should never outshine an actual member of the class, but nor should they be weak enough to be worthless at the classes primary function. This means that the abilities the masks grant needs to take into account the other weaknesses of the class, for instance in designing a fighter mask the classes low BAB and hitpoints need to be taken into account.
Last, but not least, the class shouldn’t offer abilities before they’d normally become available. Masks that offer a way of gaining the benefits of a 4th level spell before 7th level need to be avoided.
These problems are all surmountable, next week I’ll present my solution to the problem, I’d appriciate any feedback on how well you think it would work. Thanks for reading.
(I’ve started writing these and it turns out the class will be across a few posts. One for the class itself and then another one or two for the masks)