I am in the midst of designing a Gun Mage prestige class for my own campaign setting (the three classes of that name that I've found on the intarwebz don't agree with me, but the flavour does!) and I need some help on prerequisites.
My take on the Gun Mage is a very wild sort of combatant - a man waltzing across the battlefield, unloading his lead-belching mechanical contraptions every which way. Unlike the Arcane Archer (a class I detest), my Gun Mage is not the "cast spells through your weapon" type; that smacks too much of "wizard with firearm proficiency", which is easily done without a prestige class. Rather, he uses his arcane skills (alongside knowledge of alchemy and metal casting) to get around the limitations of Renaissance-era firearms, allowing him to wield a pistol like he's a supporting character in The Matrix.
In terms of flavour, humans possess the flexibility to acquire the wide range of skills required by the class, while gnomes (as lovers of mechany, alchemy, and the arcane arts) think it's about the coolest thing humans have ever come up with and are equally likely to take levels in the class.
In terms of game abilities (as opposed to RP), the Gun Mage is a path for arcane casters who want to use their existing skills to turn themselves into devastating ranged combatants. The Gun Mage's arcane spellcasting should be weaker by some margin than that of a pure caster, but he should have offensive options not available to any Wizard. Compared to an archer build (say a character with levels in Rogue and/or Fighter), the Gun Mage should have a shorter range, poorer defensive options (no armour or Evasion-type abilities), and no stealth capacity (his weapon obviously making stealth very, very difficult); but he should have a similar or higher capacity for sheer damage-dealing, as well as his spellcasting ability.
In terms of balance
, that horrible concept, I don't expect my Gun Mage to live up to the phenomenal power granted 20th-level arcanists - but I do want him powerful enough to be an asset in a team.Question:
I want to design the class so that it is almost exclusively geared towards human and gnome sorcerors, but I have a fundamental distaste for race and class as PrC prerequisites - I want anyone to potentially be able to take the class, just not be as good at it as a human/gnome Sorceror would be. What combination of feats, skills, and other prerequisites can I use to make it very difficult (if not impossible) for non-human/-gnome characters to take this class before level 11? And what abilities could I give the class that just makes it better
if the character's a Sorceror rather than a Wizard or some other arcane caster?
I want the class to pretty much require that the character be a human or gnome, whereas I only want it to favour (not require) a Sorceror - not outright exclude Wizards, Bards, and other arcanists. I've already got a mechanism in place that (somewhat) favours Sorcerors over Wizards, and one that favours humans over other races, but I'd like to hear what y'all think.