New Feat: Sympathetic Magic

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Talanall
Talanall's picture
New Feat: Sympathetic Magic

I'm looking at this specifically as a release candidate for the Tolrea setting, but I don't think that it is necessarily so specific to what I'm doing there as to make it unsuited to use in some other setting. Thoughts on balance? Is there anything unclear about how the feat works?

Sympathetic Magic [General]
You have studied the eldritch resonance between like and like, and have developed techniques that allow you to focus better on the object of your magical techniques.
Prerequisites: Caster level 1st or greater.
Benefit: To use this feat, you must possess a sample of a creature's body (commonly a cachet of hair, nail parings, blood, saliva, or some other bodily fluid or emission). This sample acts as a focus component when you cast a spell against that creature, granting a +4 bonus to the Difficulty Class of the saving throw to resist your spell's effects. You may only use this feat against one creature at a time (thus, a fireball spell cast using this feat would gain an improved Difficulty Class against the Reflex saves of only one creature; any others in the area of effect save against the normal DC).
Special: If you possess a sample from the body of a creature of the same species as your target, you may use the sample as a material component to gain a +1 bonus to the Difficulty Class of the saving throw of a single spell, chosen at the time of casting. If the sample is from a parent, child, or sibling of the target creature, this bonus increases to +2.

Edited by: Talanall on 07/22/2016 - 22:24
MinusInnocence
MinusInnocence's picture

Cool idea. Do you have any plans for elaborating on how someone might acquire such a sample? I mean aside from sneaking up to the subject while it sleeps and cutting its hair or whatever. Maybe something modeled after the Steal combat maneuver in Pathfinder?

"Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag and begin slitting throats." - H.L. Mencken

Talanall
Talanall's picture

The easiest way would be to get a sample of hair off of the target's hairbrush, either by burglarizing the target's home, or by bribing or coercing another member of the household to do it.

Failing that, you could take hair or something from a sleeping victim, as you suggest. Or you could scrape blood off of a weapon that had just been used to injure him, or from the ground at the scene of a fight.

Depending on what kind of campaign you're dealing with, there's also the possibility of stealing excrement. Or soiled menstrual rags. And I guess there would be all sorts of opportunities to harvest semen or mucus if you got hold of a victim's favorite prostitute.

It is the kind of feat that I think would reward people for thinking circuitously.

Wæs se grimma gæst Grendel haten,
mære mearcstapa, se þe moras heold

Fixxxer
Fixxxer's picture

For a balance perspective, I get limiting the effect to one creature at a time. And that makes perfect sense if you're gaining the bonus for having the specific creature's DNA or that of his parents or offspring. But I'm having trouble figuring a justification beyond balance for limiting the effect to one target when you're gaining the special effect of +1 due to having the DNA of the same species. Is there a reason I'm missing, or is that just for the sake of balance and simplicity?

Talanall
Talanall's picture

No, it's as you presumed.

Having a piece of the person is best. Having a piece of the person's blood kin is not as good, but okay. Having a piece of someone that is the same species is better than nothing. And if someone is going to blow a feat slot on this, I think it's reasonable to set the bar for "better than nothing" pretty low.

I used fireball as an exemplar spell specifically because it is a good, clean explanatory case for "okay, so this feat's effects only apply to this ONE CREATURE in particular." In actual practice, I would expect this feat to be used to pep up spells from the enchantment, divination, necromancy, and illusion schools, in approximately that order.

Wæs se grimma gæst Grendel haten,
mære mearcstapa, se þe moras heold

Fixxxer
Fixxxer's picture

I like it.