Monday, May 17, 2010

Green Star Adept review

I’ve thought for a while about how to say something positive about the Green Star Adept, the much maligned and very bizarre prestige class that slowly transforms the character into some sort of weird green robot like monster. It has awful requirements, an odd assortment of abilities, and really does not do anything all that well. It’s not a full caster, has virtually no skill points, and does not particularly excel at combat. As far as I can tell it’s pretty good defensively, so at least it has that going for it. And it gets to turn green by eating metal.

My biggest issue with the Green Star Adept is that I just think it is really lame. Who would want to be this character? I suppose that if you have played every other type of character it would be an interesting role to get into, but other than that? I just don’t know. Eating metal? I think that it just falls very far from the realm that I view as medieval type fantasy. Then again I also do not understand why anyone would want to be a Warforged either.

The requirements at first seem like standard fare for a caster/melee gish; +4 base attack, Combat Casting, and Arcane caster 1st. Just like the Abjurant Champion! Unfortunately the similarities end there. It also requires 2 ranks of Decipher Script, Knowledge (Architecture and Engineering), Knowledge (Geography), and Knowledge (History). Plus, 8 ranks of Knowledge (Arcana). Seriously, this is one knowledgeable character. But to what end I have no idea since the class has nothing to do with any of those skills. Especially Decipher Script. You would think that such a wordly individual would know to not each metal. The tough thing here is finding a class that can get into at a reasonable level. A wizard seems like the best choice, except taking this class as a caster is a horrible waste of time. It’s not as bad as a melee class, but which one? Since it requires arcane casting the options are really Hexblade and Duskblade. Dipping into another class to meet the requirements really seems like going down the wrong path. Duskblade has all those skills as class skills so it probably makes the most sense (we will just pretend that taking this class makes some sense), unless your human Hexblade has a high intelligence. Our earliest entry is looking like Duskblade 5.

The other strange requirement is consuming several ounces worth of Starmetal, a magical metal infused with power and the source of the Green Star Adept’s myriad of mystical abilities. I would hope that any DM running a game with a Green Star Adept would make sure that the metal is obtainable, especially since the character needs to continue to consume Starmetal in order to level up. Though it would be really funny if a character got all the requirements for the class only to find that they existed in a world devoid of Starmetal. Sounds like the basis of a great campaign.

Now that we’ve navigated the treacherous waters of class entry, what happens now that we’re there? In general not too much, but paired with the right class it is much better than I had initially given it credit for. As a class the Duskblade is a front loaded powerhouse with fragility problems. The Green Star Adept matches up pretty well with it, really the only good match that it has. Our green friend has a medium Base Attack, d8 hit die, a good Will Save, increased casting at every other level, and 2+ skill points. It’s like a lot of other classes, nothing special there. It also receives a slew of other abilities that continue to scale upwards as the character grows in power.

The best of them is probably Damage Reduction/Adamantine equal to the class level. That’s pretty solid, no pun intended. For a “glass cannon” style class like the duskblade it becomes even more valuable. At 1st level it also adds it’s entire GSA level to it’s caster level, which is very nice for some of the variable effects that go along with spells. It sort of softens the blow of losing five caster levels in order to turn into a statue.

Star Metal Rigor has the character trading some agility as they slowly transform into a construct. Basically dexterity goes down while both strength and natural armor go up. It caps at 10th level with a total gain of 6 strength and natural armor, and dexterity decreased by 3. Unless you are a ranged character or a rogue that’s a pretty fair trade. It also makes up for the loss of a couple points of base attack.

The other really nice class skill is the fortification which gives immunity to sneak attacks and criticals. It starts at 25% and moves up over the levels. Both sneak attack and criticals can mess a character up in a hurry so it’s a bonus to not have to worry about those all that much, especially since I think that the awkward green man is not going to be hiding from many rogues. They also get something called Unnatural Metabolism which gives a +2 saving throw bonus to a variety of effects. Among these poison and death effects are the best. The bonus increases to a maximum of +6.

Additionally there are also some other perks that they get along the way; a natural slam attack, darkvision, immunity to sleep and drowning, and no longer needing to sleep, eat and breathe. The slam attack is totally worthless but the others have some use in game. But mostly they just add to the whole living statue gimmick that the class has going on.

At 10th level the Green Star Adept receives it’s capstone ability Emerald Perfection. This ability is not just useless, but it has a negative effect on the character. Really, this class should be looked at as a 9 level prestige class. At 10th level the transformation has been complete and the character is now fully a construct. It gets immunity to all of the same effects that tie into Unnatural Metabolism (which is like taking a retroactive dump on that class feature), fortification becomes 100%, immunity to any Fort saves, and no longer ages. That’s an allright set of class features. However an equal amount of horrible things happen as well. They lose their constitution score (and all associated hit points), die immediately if reduced to 0 hit points and can’t be healed by cure spells. No thanks.

The Green Star Adept is not as bad as I initially thought it was, but it is still completely uncool. I could see it as an NPC, maybe some sort of guardian keeping an engineering ancient artifact safe in exchange for a steady diet of Starmetal. Or an obsessed artist looking to create the ultimate artwork…himself! But as a PC? I don’t think I could do it.

12 comments:

Nick said...

I'm thinking evil overlord's minions on a forced diet of starmetal. But again, not a PC.

Anonymous said...

I agree with most the things you wrote about it, I had exactly the same impressions in the beginning. But... I manage to think about a quite balanced PC for this class by making the Final Tank character. My opinion is that with all of his phisycal abilities and a +6 to streng have to be a tank that can get stronger and undestructable by the aid of arcane magic. Simply for having the most powerful (STR) PC you should take a goliath half dragon with a 18 point as base (30 at 1st level). Then you proceed with barbarian just one or two level sorcerer, GSA and abjurant champion. By selecting the few right spells you have fun with it. And it's not the same stupid barbarian as usual...

Excuse for the english, I'm italian.

Andrea

Anonymous said...

Never seen any good word about this class. May be it's because no one care to read Spell Compendium properly to find spell "Awaken Construct" and then put some metamagic on it.

Anonymous said...

So all those knowledges and such will come in handy. The DM is allowing the star metal swap to mythral (it does mention adaptation to other metals). But i think i'll take the advice and stop at 9 or maybe even less cause i want that duskblade 13th level channeling. We usually play up to 27 level at least. i'll pop back and give feedback.

Anonymous said...

my first line got cut off....

I will try this with the duskblade - the campaign is mostly within a city/country and more role-play politics than mostly hack and slash. So all those knowledges will...

Fran said...

Anon,

I'm curious how it turns out. And you are a brave man for diving so strongly into the GSA. Good luck!

dramorak said...

I was reading the description of the GSA class, and an idea came to mind. As you mentioned above, the entire class seems pretty lame, and does not mesh well with most classes (especially those of pure arcane casters, however they may spin it in the description)

So an idea came to me, which I think of as being reasonable. What if it were possible to continue to consume starmetal AFTER you have reached the final level? To build yourself further, depending on what you want.

The main idea of this train of thought was to reintegrate it with caster classes. Because starmetal is magical in nature, it could be possible to create receptacles for crystals that have been imbued with spells (basically functioning as additional spell slots). The one nicety being, if you were to attach, say, a crystal imbibed with a heal spell, it could cast automatically upon reaching a critical HP.

Tell me what you think =D

Fran said...

Dramorak,

That makes far too much sense for such a nonsensical class as the Green Star. Anyone wishing to go Epic GSA needs to be rewarded with a superior level of useless and bizarre. I'm thinking a power that actually turns them into a statue! Like a real statue, making them an NPC instead of a PC. That seems like a worthy capstone for eating all that star metal.

Anonymous said...

thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

I do not see the class working even for a DB. I played a DB and considered it and still said no. The drop to 3/4 bab, only one good save now and 1/2 spell casting progression is too expensive for a DB. Especially if the DB does not yet have Vampiric touch a known spell, the earliest of which, he can get at level 9 DB. If you want defense, take the battle caster feat letting you cast arcane spells in armor one category heavier than you already can. The DB can even take it at first so he can wear medium armor right off the bat and when it gets to level 4 when he could normally wear medium armor and still cast without arcane spell failure, the feat would upgrade that from medium I to Heaney. The DB is already proficient in heavy armor so this get you survivable armor from the get go. You do not have to wait till you can afford Mithras full plate.

Anonymous said...

The point of the class is that it gives you +5 caster levels of spell progression, stacking with +10 levels of caster level. In other words, if you take 8 levels, you get 12 caster levels back. 3 levels of bloodline add 3 to the caster level of your base class, and 3 to the green star adept's special caster level boost.

So in other words, you can give 11 levels to get 18 caster levels back. Not completely amazing, but the class isn't completely unworkable.

Anonymous said...

Romans ate lead and some of them knew it was bad for you. When in rome do as the romans do.