Every Time You Level Up, You Get Something Awesome
If a character in a D&D-influenced show or book leveled up from 5 to 6 and the author didn't explicitly tell you, would you even notice? They'd get 5% more likely to hit an enemy, resist certain kinds of spells and traps, and they'd be able to cast one or two extra spells before resting, but unless you're counting each sword swipe and doing statistical analysis to determine when they started making two attacks every six seconds, you'd never know. In a Magignosis class, you'd know, because every time you level up, you get something awesome. Depending on how they're built, a Magignosis beguiler leveling up to 6 gets the ability to infiltrate an enemy caster's mind to blow up their spells before they can cast them as an attack of opportunity, create an illusion of a pulsing, hypnotic pattern of light that fascinates everyone who looks at it, or the ability to inspire their allies every time they defeat an enemy. They don't just get 5% better at stuff they could already do, they get new powers.
This philosophy for class-design is really appealing for a certain type of player, traditionally called "the butt-kicker" and which I've named "Jim" after the Darths and Droids character. Jim loves awesome powers, and a Magignosis class gives him an awesome new power at every single level. They're all fully compatible with existing classes, so Pete (the min-maxer) can play a regular class and pick out each of his bonus feats and get a bonus to his AC against javelins thrown by quarter-elven worshipers of botany, insufferable madness, or shoelaces so long as he's concealed by the dimming twilight of a winter sun, and also take a racial trait where his grandpa's aunt is a drow so twilight's an hour and fifteen minutes earlier for him, and Jim can skip all that and just have an army of zombies.
Make Class Leveled NPCs Quick
Making an 11th-level necromancer boss who's any good requires a lot of time sifting through sourcebook spells if you're using the vanilla wizard class. If you're a player, all those options give you the ability to personalize a character, which is great if that's your jam. If you're a GM, you very probably just want a boss monster who's easy to manage even with four underlings of slightly lower level. Magignosis classes are quick to create, easy to manage, and, in keeping with the "get something awesome at every level" philosophy, have lots of powers that are tons of fun to use in a fight.
Magignosis classes develop from a single major decision made at level 1, rather than dozens of small ones made at each individual level, which means once you've decided whether your elementalist specializes in fire, ice, storm, or stone, all you have to do is copy/past the BAB, saves, and powers. No need to go diving through the spells chapter assembling a grimoire for this mini-boss who'll be dead next Tuesday, they get everything they need as spell-like abilities.
What's In The Book?
Magignosis will be over 100 pages long (exact length will depend on backer content). Its centerpiece is the four classes: Artificer, beguiler, elementalist, and necromancer. The new powers baked into the classes make up dozens of new feats and spells, and there are several new NPCs (with more backer NPCs to come) who use the new classes to serve as readymade antagonists, because sometimes you're so short on time that NPCs who can be completed twice as fast still isn't fast enough.
What Are Aspects?
Each Magignosis class comes with three (sometimes four) aspects. Their primary aspect is available at first level and has caster level equal to their class level. Their secondary aspect is available at third level and has caster level equal to two less than their class level. Their tertiary aspect is available at sixth level and has caster level equal to half their class level, rounded down. The primary aspect is what they'll rely on most of the time, with the secondary aspect providing some backup tricks in case the primary gets hard countered, and the tertiary aspect providing some real bottom of the barrel but not totally useless abilities. For example, an elementalist might have fire as their primary aspect, storm as their secondary, and stone as their tertiary. If they encounter an enemy immune to fire damage, they can switch to their storm powers dealing electricity damage instead. Their stone powers will come online badly behind, but are still sometimes useful. On the other hand, an elementalist could also take the aspect of stone as their primary aspect, getting the powers at full strength, while the aspect of fire is trailing behind as a tertiary aspect used only when desperate. Characters with reversed aspects from one another are very different even if they have otherwise identical builds - same race, same class, same skills and stats and feats. Aspect prioritization is one big decision made at level one instead of a dozen small decisions made all through the game, but it still results in very different characters.
See For Yourself
Without the aid of illustrators and layout artists, the gnosis necromancer looks like this. This fragment shows the first five levels of the necromancer's Ghoul aspect, and serves as an example of what it means to get something awesome at every single level. Level one? You get a little hit squad of zombie minions. Level two? You can make your zombie minions explode and deal acid damage to nearby creatures. Level three? You pick up a suite of immunities to things like disease and poison that make you basically an undead yourself. Level four? Since your body isn't using those vital organs anymore, you can fill them up with a swarm of insects that you can summon from your wounds and orifices and command in battle. Level five? Sculpt Horror provides an extensive suite of options for customizing your undead minions. Make them disproportionately tall, cut wings off of one corpse to stitch them onto another, or combine multiple corpses together into a giant conglomerate.
Magignosis is a small spin-off project I made using material I developed principally for Petals and Thorns. According to the price estimates I've gotten, I can handle formatting for $400, illustration (excepting the cover I already paid for) for $200, and need to set aside another $200 for tax and transaction fees.
$1 backers appear in the acknowledgements section. I notice a lot of Kickstarter acknowledgements list their backers in what I assume is the order they backed, because it looks completely random. I feed those lists into an alphabetizer because that makes it easier to find your name and even the little rewards deserve some attention to detail.
$15 backers will get a copy of the Magignosis .pdf. The .pdf will contain all four of the gnosis elementalist, necromancer, beguiler, and artificer, each completely compatible with existing classes for the system(s).
$25 backers will get a copy of the Magignosis .pdf and Strangers in Ramshorn. Strangers in Ramshorn is an adventure about power and what you do with it that ordinarily costs $20, but backers at this level get it for pledging just $10 more. The gnosis necromancer, beguiler, and elementalist appear amongst NPCs in the adventure.
$50 backers will get a power named after their character in the book. Got an elementalist who's famous for their insanely overpowered fireballs? Maybe a necromancer who's really into mummies? Immortalize your caster's schtick by getting a power named after them.
$100 backers will have their character added as an iconic character to the book. Not only will at least one power be named after them, they'll actually show up in the book as a fully statted character with an inked illustration and a few paragraphs of backstory. In addition to their appearance in this book, if the Gnosis series of source books continues to be successful, these iconic characters could appear in many more books in the future. For obvious reasons, the appearance and backstory of the character is subject to my approval. I don't work for Wizards of the Coast or Paizo and any reference made to their IP is getting stripped out, for example.
Risks and challenges
The project is a .pdf, and the work I've already done could be shipped out right now and it would contain all four classes entirely playable. Barring some terrible accident befalling myself or one of my freelancers, it is difficult to imagine how the basic project could possibly be cancelled or even fall behind schedule.
Backer rewards could make things trickier. All I have to do to fulfill backer rewards is rename a handful of powers, write up a very small number of stat blocks, and write two or three pages of backstory. Compared to the 100 stat blocks written for Petals and Thorns, this is a very small amount of work and I'm confident I can complete it on time. That said, it is work that hasn't been completed already, and it is theoretically possible that it may turn out to be much harder than anticipated. I can't imagine why the backer rewards would require more than a weekend's worth of effort, but stranger things *have* happened.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (20 days)