Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Al-Qadim 5th Edition Patch: Hakima

So this is where I get frustrated with the new edition. The "hard-coded" assumptions are making it difficult for me to think of how I might adapt some older material which was pretty easy in 2nd edition, but becomes more difficult with this edition. The Al-Qadim Hakima.

The Hakima is supposed to be the seer and wise-woman of the setting. In second edition, she is a cleric who has a very limited set of spells (Divination, Healing, Protection, Sun, minor access to Charm, Creation, Guardian, and Weather). She also gives up access to clerical items (scrolls in particular), as she's not really associated with the faiths of Zakhara, but rather is divinely inspired. She gains a lot of truth-seeing powers or perception abilities. She also gains access to any sorts of nonweapon proficiencies.

At first glance, translating the Hakima to 5th edition would be just creating a new Cleric domain. Maybe you call it visions or whatnot, but that's what you want, right? However. Then this vision cleric still gets stuff that she really shouldn't have: ritual caster and turn undead. Also, the Hakima will have all sorts of crazy spells which are a bit less thematic. So, while you could try to make a Hakima out of the Cleric, its not a very appropriate hack. I wish it worked. Or at least it isn't as simple as making a new domain.

So, we turn to a few other options. Paladins are a divine class, but the Hakima certainly doesn't seem like she would easily be hewn from the rock of the Paladin. Druids are another divine class, but their wild shape focus doesn't fit at all. Ditto Rangers. The bard also grants ritual casting so that's not a great option either, even if a college of visions or something could be crafted and well-themed. The other caster classes are arcane: warlock and sorcerer. Warlock seems obviously out thematically.

Sorcerer, however, has the beginnings of a fit with one crucial change: the divine visions origin would need to replace Charisma with wisdom for the sorcerer and probably grant a different spell list. Well, you could leave them as charisma based but they're supposed to be wise women. The ability change plus spell list change might be preferable to having a wholly distinct Hakima class (and since we don't have a prophet/invoker/oracle/favored soul...). The metamagic stuff might be a bit odd because some of the metamagic won't actually fit well with many of the divination spells: I don't see a Hakima blasting shit with her magic. But second edition Hakimas (ugh, I kinda want to use an actual Arabic plural there Hakimat) did get the Sun sphere... Since sorcerers only get a few metamagic options during their 20 levels, this probably isn't an issue combined with giving the Hakima access to a couple actual damaging spells.

The Hakima is a pretty narrow archetype, though it would totally fit as a build of a prophet/oracle/invoker/favored soul type class if done right. Of course, the other benefit of a prophet/oracle/invoker/favored soul type class is that it also kinda fits with the Al-Qadim setting and I've thought for quite a while now that it is totally classworthy and distinct from the Cleric.

So the easy / direct interpretation of the Hakima (cleric domain) isn't great. Next easiest option might be a new sorcerer build, but it might be a bit more of a radical change than the class will allow. Last option is to just craft a Hakima class from the raw stuff of D&D. Obviously this would be the most faithful, but... not the easiest.

The other iconic class-worthy kit from Al-Qadim is the Sha'ir. This is a genie-based caster who uses a completely different spellcasting mechanic than the normal AD&D wizard. A thematic reimplementation of the Sha'ir is a genie-pact warlock. For the setting, it is more important the a Sha'ir gains his powers by making pacts with genie-kind than the exact mechanism of sending his genie familiar out to retrieve spells for him. This Sha'ir has some similar issues as the Hakima, but the warlock might provide a much easier base to build a thematically similar caster than the cleric would do for the Hakima. It is also possible that a Genie pact might be compatible with the Sha'ir as its own class with unique spellcasting as well. But I'll tackle that in another post. Similar issues, but maybe not in quite as bad shape.

Another thing in favor of trying to use the sorcerer is that the second edition Hakima was built out of the stuff of second edition. There were two types of magic: wizards who studied their spells and clerics who prayed for their spells. Clerics simply fit best, hands down. In a third edition world though, I'd consider building the Hakima off of the favored soul: the divine equivalent of the Sorcerer. I don't see a real reason why the Hakima has to be divine rather than arcane. Also, I'm not sure there is any mechanical distinction between Arcane magic and Divine magic in the new edition.

Finally, the Hakima as sorcerer (ess?) actually lets us tie the sorcerer into the setting. Draconic origin doesn't fit the theme. The wild sorcerer could fit, but has some elemental province difficulty. There are some thematic potential origins to use: genie, yikaria (yak-men), ghul... Maybe even something crazy like Lammasu or Sphinx, though they could also fit with warlock packs somehow. But the sorcerer and warlock need some serious re-flavoring to fit an Arabian setting, so using the Hakima for this kinda kills two birds with one stone. Though a unique Hakima and Sha'ir class would promote these two iconic options to the front row a lot more, rather than hiding them under the umbrella of other classes.

Unfortunately, trying to craft a thematic Hakima spell list is problematic, particularly at higher levels. Its particularly problematic since so many non-blasting spells don't actually have the at higher levels: note in spells indicating an increased duration or more powerful effect for casting with a higher level slot. Though their list was pretty skimpy in second edition too, only one seventh level spell in the PhB. I don't like it, but I gave them some of the "sun sphere" spells (which they had in 2nd edition), which means that the Hakima will probably be blasting moonbeams constantly. Ugh. But in a fantasy world, anyone given an uncanny ability to see the truth is also quite likely to be able to blast away with their radiant enlightenment I suppose. The Hakima had random healing abilities in second edition because that's what clerics did, so if the Hakima is a sorcerer, she'd better also do what sorcerers do a bit.

Anyway, a potential sorcerer version of the Hakima is sketched out below. I'm pleasantly surprised with how it turned out, but a little less impressed with sorcerers in general. In 3rd edition, a sorcerer got more spell slots than a wizard in exchange for a smaller inflexible spell list. Sorcerers don't get a bunch of extra slots till later levels (via sorcery points) while wizards get arcane recovery early on. Meh, fodder for another day. Still kinda like this: its a simpler conversion than the cleric without requiring a full-on new class.

Sorcerous Origin:

Chosen by Fate

Mindful Revelation
Starting when you choose this origin at 1st level, your spellcasting is based on your wisdom, rather than your charisma. Any sorcerer class feature which refers to charisma can instead use your wisdom. Furthermore, you choose your spells from the Hakima list, rather than the normal Sorcerer list. Additionally, you are trained in one (your choice) of the insight, investigation, or perception skills.

Fateful Insight
Starting at first level, you double your proficiency bonus for all inteligence (investigation), wisdom (insight), or wisdom (perception) checks to detect lies, illusions, mirages, secret doors, and concealed items.  Additionally, you may use wisdom (insight) to determine if someone is disguised whether via mundane or magical means (including polymorphing). If any character's disguises are impenetrable, you may still learn that they are not who they appear, though you cannot ascertain more information about them.

Potent Insight
Starting at 6th level you may spend a sorcery point to gain advantage whenever you make a wisdom check to uncover anything concealed or hidden (including information). 

Two more potent features go here:
At 14th level...
At 18th level...

Hakima Spell List (lacking a bit at level 4 and 7, or 4+ generally)
Spare the Dying
True Strike

First Level
Comprehend Languages
Cure Wounds
Detect Evil and Good
Detect Magic
Detect Poison and Disease
Guiding Bolt
Healing Word
Protection from Evil and Good
Purify Food and Drink
Speak with Animals

Second Level
Calm Emotions
Detect Thoughts
Enhance Ability
Find Traps
Hold Person
Lesser Restoration
Locate Animals or Plants
Locate Object
Prayer oh Healing
Protection from Poison
See Invisibility
Zone of Truth

Third Level
Beacon of Hope
Bestow Curse
Mass Healing Word
Remove Curse
Speak with Dead
Speak with Plants

Fourth Level
Locate Creature

Fifth Level
Commune with Nature
Dispel Evil and Good
Greater Restoration
Legend Lore
Mass Cure Wounds

Sixth Level
Find the Path
True Seeing

Seventh Level
Divine Word

Eighth Level
Holy Aura
Mind Blank

Ninth Level
Mass Heal
True Resurrection

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