This month's theme is beginnings and to celebrate that I'm going to be talking about a class that draws it's power from the very forces that created the planes and all that is. The Kathodos. This class was created by Xefas, and is part of the Mythos set of classes, which I discuss as a whole sometime soon.
The Kathodos is an exciting and flavourful class that is ideal for playing a warrior that is master of the elemental forces and the power of the soul itself. DND sees a lot of manipulators of the elements, and as such it can be very hard to make yourself noticed over the pyromancers, druids, evocationists and shamans out there. Despite being a fairly crowded area the Kathodos does more than stand out, it excels and it caught my attention.
Before we get too far into it just be aware this is a 3.5 class, so if you play pathfinder it means you'll need to do a small amount of simple conversion if you want it to fit seamlessly.
To give you the basic rundown; this class has an amazing chassis, perhaps too much so but I'll get to that, and then it gives you some special abilities that make up the meat of your abilities. At first glance it doesn't /look/ like you really get enough abilities, but each and every one of them is exciting and interesting and they allow you to do a whole host of things. Most of the abilities have different elemental versions which turns each one into at least 4 different looks and feels, and from there they get more intricate. One ability let's you make one of four weapons and you can change it each time, another allows you to forge one of 12 different totems and you can create new ones with 8 hours of work. So what seems like one ability a level really blossoms like a lotus into a whole slew of options and not one of them falls flat.
The actual mechanics the class employs are simple and elegant. As I mentioned most of your powers draw on elemental power. Some abilities simply require you to have a trace of this element inside you. Blood, body heat, breath, bones which essentially means 99% of characters get access to those abilities all the time. The rest of the powers require you to actually have enough of the element within a certain range in order to use the ability with that element. It's really that simple. A mechanic like that means you do have to pay some attention to your environment but you'll almost never be unable to use all your powers.
As I mentioned above the chassis for the class seems bit too much for me. Full base attack, all good saves, D10, 6+int skills. Personally, given that it's an int based class I would have dropped it all the way down to 4 or 2+int, even though the class has a lot of skills it can draw on the naturally high int and skill bonuses the class can access would take the sting away. I'm also inclined to lower the reflex or fort save for similar reasons. The class has built in ways to increase all three saves and it's heavily dex based. So if your DM take a look at the class and feels it's too much I'd recommend those changes. Beyond that, the only thing I would caution is that Xefas really really knows his stuff, and while that sounds great, it does mean that you will be seeing a lot of other 3.5 material referenced and someone without a ton of resources might not be able to decipher it all. But for someone experienced or with access to a lot of content have no fear because it's all put to good use.
Beyond the basic mechanics for the abilities the most important thing is the core of the Mythos classes: The beauty of the abilities and writing. This class has some amazing powers that are both powerful and incredibly exciting. This is a class that I saw and immediately had to add to my campaign and put near the top of the list of classes I want to play if I can ever wrangle myself a GM. It has powers for channelling incarnum (one of my favourite subsystems), as well as the parelemental forces of smoke, ooze, ice, and lava and even positive and negative energy. It is incredibly comprehensive and draws on many elements, which is so meta that it blows my mind.
If you want a class that blends beautiful innovative mechanics, balanced but deep power, and a flavour that evokes the feeling of a great elemental master this is the class for you and I can't recommend it enough.