View Full Version : Mimicking masters of survival: The Lichenfriend

The Vorpal Tribble
2005-12-29, 11:59 AM

As I staggered across the frozen wastes, having not felt my toes for several days, I looked out across the frigid mud and I realized I saw life all around. In fact, as I looked upon my clothing, my equipment, even my flesh, I found it was even growing on me! - Tagert of the Tundra Rangers.

A lichenfriend is a master of the knowledge of what life can live through. Through their study of mosses, algae, lichens, and other flora that flourishes from the boiling mud pits to the peaks of the chilliest mountain, they learn how to survive, adapt and eventually thrive in the most inhospitable of climes.
You have, at some time in your life, had to lower yourself to pure survival, scraping existence off rocks and lapping dew from the shadows of stones. But no matter where, you indeed found life that didn't just survive but lived its entire life in this desolate place. You came to regard the wastelands as not a waste, but a challenge, a test of nature to find if you were truly worthy. Few enough are, but you learned, and the barren became, to your eyes, but an opportunity full of potential.

Becoming A Lichenfriend
Most lichenfriends are primarily druids or rangers who have a feel for the land and few difficulties meeting the prerequisites.

As NPCs, lichenfriends are often loners who have been forced by desperate circumstances such as exile to inhabit areas where life can only barely survive. Others are explorers, scouts, or simply watchful guards who must needs live off any land.

Hit Dice: d8

Entry Requirements
Feats: Cold Endurance, Great Fortitude
Skills: Climb 4 ranks, Knowledge (Dungeoneering) 4 ranks, Knowledge (nature) 9 ranks, Survival 9 ranks, Swim 4 ranks
Special: Must have had to feed on lichens and mosses to keep from starving.

{table=head]Class Level|Base Attack Bonus|Fort Save|Ref Save|Will Save|Special|Spells Per Day
1st|+0|+2|+0|+0|Groundcover, Dampscent|-
2nd|+1|+3|+0|+0|Greencloak|+1 level of existing class
3rd|+2|+3|+1|+1|Resilience of Life, Greencloak (slick)|-
4th|+3|+4|+1|+1|Survivalist, Greencloak (synesthete)|+1 level of existing class
5th|+3|+4|+1|+1|Cliff Clinger, Greencloak (hardy)|-
6th|+4|+5|+2|+2|Beckon Spores, Greencloak (chill)|+1 level of existing class
7th|+5|+5|+2|+2|Breathe Easy, Greencloak (dank)|-
8th|+6|+6|+2|+2|Relentless Health, Greencloak (feral)|+1 level of existing class
9th|+6|+6|+3|+3|Enduring Husk|-
10th|+7|+7|+3|+3|Sporeform|+1 level of existing class[/table]

Class Skills
A Lichenfriend's class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Climb (Str), Concentration (Con), Escape Artist (Dex), Heal (Wis), Hide (Dex), Knowledge (dungeoneering/nature) (Int), Listen (Wis), Search (Dex), Spot (Wis), Survival (Wis), and Swim (Str)
Skills Points at Each Level: 6 + Int modifier

Class Features
All the following are Class Features of the Lichenfriend prestige class.

Spellcasting: At every other level, you gain new spells per day and increase in caster level (and spells known, if applicable) as if you had also gained a level in a spellcasting class to which you belonged before adding the prestige class level. You do not, however, gain any other benefit a character of that class would have gained. If you had more than one spellcasting class before becoming a Lichenfriend, you must decide which class to add each level for the purpose of determining spells per day, caster level, and spells known.

Groundcover (Ex):
Groundcover allows a Lichenfriend to use a number of abilities as a free action. The area of these effects is 10 feet + 5 feet per lichenfriend level and they take 1 round per five feet of the effect to grow. You must maintain concentration for each additional five feet.

A lichenfriend can have slime-spores coat a surface at will as the Grease spell. The save DC is equal to 10 + Lichenfriend level + Wis mod. The lichenfriend is not immune to her own spores if she ventures within an affected area.
A lichenfriend can also cause dry mosses and lichens to grow over slick surfaces to negate the chance of slippage.
A lichenfriend is also capable of having mounds of thick moss spread upon an area. This has a number of beneficial uses. Caltrops may be covered over, and prone figures of Huge or smaller in the area gain a +20 bonus to their hide checks as long as they remain unmoving.
And finally, if in an area of still water the lichenfriend can bring forth Sargasso (Stormwrack, p. 19), which may halt ships or provide a surface upon the water on which to stand.

Dampscent (Ex): A lichenfriend can smell water and gains the Scent ability towards any source of water, be it stream, canteen or even living creatures.
Creatures with water within them, such as most living beings can be detected out to 60 feet.
Creatures with the aquatic or water subtype can be detected at twice the range.
Sources of water, such as a lake or river, or elementals with the water subtype can be smelled at 10x the normal range.
This does not allow for tracking if the Lichenfriend also possesses the Track feat.

Greencloak (Ex): A lichenfriend can summon special spores that when inhaled grows a symbiotic organism that is both plant and fungus that bonds permanently with the host. It can appear as a cape of stringy, webbed moss, or cover the subject with a rough, hairy down, or any manner of different variations, though does not alter its base properties.
As the lichenfriend comes closer to the hardy survivalists that are lichens and mosses, the greencloak grants additional abilities.
The greencloak allows the lichenfriend to gather food from light if exposed to illumination for 2 hours, removing the need for normal eating. These two hours can be interspersed over the course of 24 hours. It's also capable of taking over breathing for the lichenfriend. She can switch between either lungs or greencloak instinctively, allowing her to ignore inhaled poisons, diseases, and scents which are filtered and purified through the greencloak. The cloak also thickens and bonds with the host, granting it a +1 bonus to her natural armor. This improves to +2 at 4th level, +3 at 6th level, +4 at 8th, and +5 at 10th.

A greencloak is treated as a creature in a grapple for the purpose of striking at the cloak instead of the lichenfriend (but the lichenfriend is not considered grappled in turn). It has the hardness of wood and a quarter the hit points of its lichenfriend's full, healthy amount. If the lichenfriend's cloak is destroyed, they cannot regrow another cloak for a week.

Slickness - At 3rd level the cloak can generate a slick slime that grants the lichenfriend a +4 bonus to escape artist checks.

Synesthete - At 4th level the cloak becomes sensitive to light and grants the lichenfriend to see even with his eyes closed. This acts as blindsense out to 60 feet.
He becomes immune to blinding and gaze attacks when seeing via the cloak. This also grants +4 bonus to spot checks if eyes and moss are used simultaneously.

Hardy - At 5th level the greencloak further toughens the lichenfriend to unfriendly climates, granting the benefits of the Endurance feat. As well, when a lichenfriend would normally die from dehydration or cold damage he instead goes into a deep trance alike to suspended animation. He may last this way for a month per lichenfriend level before finally dying.
If dehydrated he may be awoken by the application of at least a gallon of water orally or through his cloak, or be immersed in liquid. He awakens a minute later.
If the victim of cold damage he can be revived by application of a healing spell or ability.

Chill (Su) - At 6th level the greencloak can take on the properties of Snowflake lichen (Frostburn, p.16) for up to 4 rounds + Lichenfriend level per day. The lichenfriend takes on the cold subtype and upon an attack with a natural weapon causes 1 point of dexterity damage if the opponent fails a Fortitude save (DC 10 + half Lichenfriend's HD + Con mod)).

Dank - At 7th level the greencloak can release a disagreeable odor of horrible dampness once per day per lichenfriend level that causes those within 20 feet to make a fortitude save or become nauseated (DC 10 + half Lichenfriend's HD + Con mod) until out of range. Those who make the save are sickened until the next round.

Feral (Su) - At 8th level the greencloak becomes mobile and grants two extra slam attacks that deal damage equal to 1d4 + lichenfriend level as secondary attacks. The natural armor provided by the cloak also increases to +6.

Resilience of Life (Ex):
At third level a lichenfriend has learned the ways of true survival and suffers no harm from being in a hot, cold, or heavy pressure environment. She can exist comfortably in conditions between 50 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit without having to make Fortitude saves. The lichenfriend's equipment however is not likewise protected.

Resilience of life does not provide any protection from fire or cold damage, nor does it protect against other environmental hazards such as smoke, lack of air, and so forth.

Survivalist (Ex):
A lichenfriend gains Improved Toughness as a bonus feat. For each additional level he also gains +1 hit points.

Cliff Clinger (Ex):
A lichenfriend gains the ability to stick to the steepest surfaces by projecting from his skin thousands of nearly invisible root-like filaments that though far finer than a hair are as tough as steel. This ability functions as the Spider Climb spell but the lichenfriend may only advance at their base speed each round.

Beckon Spores (Su):
A lichenfriend can add to his Summoning list a variety of spores of hardy groundcovers which grow rapidly upon arrival. Unlike normal summoning, that which is summoned by this ability do not attack and remain indefinitely as long as they can survive in the climate they are brought into. The area of these spores is 5 feet + 5 feet per lichenfriend level.

Cantrip|*Phosphorescent Fungus
Summon level II|*Brown Mold
Summon level III|+Snowflake Lichen
Summon level IV|*Green Slime
Summon level V|*Yellow Mold[/table]
* Dungeon Master's Guide, p. 76
+ Frostburn, p. 16

Breathe Easy (Ex):
A lichenfriend's greencloak begins to produce its own oxygen that is fed directly into its host, allowing him to breathe easily even in airless environs or underwater.

Relentless Health (Ex):
A lichenfriend toughens even further and gains the ability to regrow lost limbs, organs or even a head, within 2d6 days. If the lichenfriend looses a head (such as from a vorpal weapon) or vital organ (death from a sneak attack or mindflayer extraction for example) he does not die but goes unconscious and is stable until he has regenerated unless he continues to take damage. This is alike to the Regeneration ability but much slower.

Enduring Husk (Su):
If a lichenfriend would be killed but retains a body his spirit instead melds with his cloak as his physical form reverts into a withered husk. Upon it the cloak lives and thus allows the shriveled corpse to retain a spark of life. The lichenfriend retains the ability to see his surroundings, and can even cast spells that do not require components (even if the Lichenfriend has the Eschew Materials feat he may not cast those that would normally require components). The lichenfriend can be the recipient of a healing spell or potion and once out of negative hit points awakes. While within the greencloak it retains the ability to use its slam attacks with the same bonus as before. If the cloak is destroyed so is the Lichenfriend.

Spore Form (Su):
At tenth level a Lichenfriend gains the ability to turn into a cloud of hardy lichen spores once per day. (This ability also affects up to 100 pounds of gear the lichenfriend is carrying, plus greencloak.) As a spore cloud, the lichenfriend is intangible and invisible to standard methods of obervation, even blindsight. Creatures with the scent ability note a strong, musky odor in the air, and the Detect Animals or Plants spell reveals the lichenfriend. The lichenfriend cannot move, except with the wind (if any), or upon a host.
The lichenfriend may adopt his spore form as a standard action and allow himself to touch the ground. The spores rapidly grow into a broad swath of moss or lichens that grows over everything in an area of 60 feet.
Alternatively it can simply float about with the breeze and 'infect' a living creature within 100 feet. The potential carrier must succeed at a Fortitude save (DC 10 + half Lichenfriend's HD + Con mod) to avoid having his lungs filled with the spores. Any creature that comes within 10 feet of a lichenfriend in spore form is subject to the saving throw to avoid becoming a carrier of the lichenfriend.
The lichenfriend travels with the carrier, aware of whatever the victim is aware of. A number of times per day equal to the lichenfriend's Charisma modifier, she may attempt to force the carrier to take one round's worth of actions of the lichenfriend's choosing; a successful Will save at the DC above allows the victim to resist this. While controlling his carrier, the lichenfriend has access to all skills, feats, spells, psionics, and special abilities of the host, plus any of his own that he can use in his disembodied state.
The lichenfriend can leave his host at any time by making him cough out the spores.
A diminish plant spell paralyzes the lichenfriend, an antiplant shell spell expells him from the host, and a blight spell kills the lichenfriend if he fails a Fortitude save (calculating the save DC as for spells of the same level). Even if the lichenfriend succeeds at the saving throw for the latter spell, he is forced to assume his material form adjacent to the victim.
A lichenfriend can remain in spore form as long as he desires, or he can return to his natural form and be done with the spore form for that day. While in spore form, the lichenfriend does not need to eat, sleep, or drink, and she does not age. She could remain growing upon a surface or remain as dormant spores for a hundred years, then take her material form or take a new host.

The Vorpal Tribble
2005-12-29, 01:13 PM
Tee-hee, found a great pic for it...

2005-12-29, 03:31 PM
I'm fairly sure it's overpowered.

For instance, the guy can't die, as long as his body exists. First he regenerates from a sneak attack or a vorpal attack, and then at the next level, he literally cannot die. Or rather, he "dies" but can be brought back to life by a simple healing potion.

The level ten Sporeform is cool, but the "infecting" needs to be clarified. It says anyone within the radius has to make a save or be infected... what happens if more than one person if infected? You could make the argument that he could control/be carried by both of them, but what happens when he reverts back to his original form? Where does he appear?

EDIT- also, Grease, at will, at level one?

The Vorpal Tribble
2005-12-29, 04:40 PM
For instance, the guy can't die, as long as his body exists.
Acid, fire, disentegration, a simple coup de grace or hacking of the body into pieces, plus killing off the greencloak are very straightforward and valid ways of dealing with that.

First he regenerates from a sneak attack or a vorpal attack
Yes, that takes a minimal of 2 days, a maximum of 12. Also, remember that this player would have to be at least 15th level. A 12th level druid who turns into a plant basically is granted these abilities plus some. The druid is completely immune to sneak attack damage, vorpal damage, and many others while the lichenfriend is not, he just doesn't die from it immediately.

Or rather, he "dies" but can be brought back to life by a simple healing potion.
Unless any of those damages mentioned above occur.

Are you familiar with the Master of Many Forms PrC from Complete Adventurer? At a mere 2nd level in it he can turn into a troll that has real regeneration, who can regrow parts almost immediately, and who heals 5 points even after its reduced to hit points that would normally leave a creature dead. It can wake up on its own without the need of spells or potions. And this would be a 7th level character opposed to the 15th leveler here you find unbalanced.

The level ten Sporeform is cool, but the "infecting" needs to be clarified. It says anyone within the radius has to make a save or be infected... what happens if more than one person if infected?
Since there is only one of him he gets to choose. In this instance I was mainly quoting verbatim from the cancer mage's Disease Form ability that is similiar to the Lichenform's Spire Form.

EDIT- also, Grease, at will, at level one?
A 1st level spell at will when the Lichenfriend would have a minimum character level of 7th? That all it does is make an area slippery? I don't think there should be a problem.

A Elocater for instance gains permanent levitation at 1st PrC level and never again has to worry about falling, pressure traps, water or heights, even if asleep, unconscious, or dying. It also has a ten foot fly speed.

If you look at most other PrC's, none of this one's abilities are particularly powerful. And very little of it is offensive in nature or benefits anyone but the Lichenfriend.

2005-12-29, 09:38 PM
It's "The End"!

The Vorpal Tribble
2005-12-29, 11:26 PM

2005-12-30, 12:31 AM
I think its a cool new character variant...definitely druidish. A parasitic druid rides on his familiar Polar Bear in the middle of the frozen tundra.

If he was a Whiskey Bottle Champion/Lichenfriend, he could be like...the Judge Roy Bean of Alaska.


2005-12-30, 01:42 AM

Groundcover should be constructed like you did Greencloak: more abilities by level. Also, groundcover and cliff clinger should be given limited uses.

The enduring husk seems based on coolness rather than balance. Consider making the husk inanimate, but allowing him to eventually regrow, springing up from the ground when he's done. The husk would essentially be a moss growth, and the whole process could be stopped by either uprooting it (revealing a partially formed body...ewww) or using magic/nature abilities to stop the plant growth. It would take a few weeks (3-5 I'd say), and the guy would return a level lower, just like he was the subject of a resurrection spell.

Take away about 1/2 of the Greencloak abilities (so he's getting them every few levels or so), and do the same with Groundcover (using the suggestion above).

Sorry if that was a bit disorganized, but that class needed balancing.

PS: less spell progression, please. This guy already has enough abilities as-is.

2005-12-30, 01:58 AM
It's "The End"!

The End, perhaps the awesomest videogame boss in history. Since he was a sniper (and therefore stayed still on the ground for long periods of time) and so in tune with nature, he actually had moss growing on him symbiotically. This allowed him to, among other things, live to well over a hundred years old (and still run ludicrously fast,) regenerate his health in sunlight, and blend in to the undergrowth of Sokrovenno in a way only texture-mapping could accomplish.

Hideo Kojima: voted Most Stoned Game Designer, 2004.

2006-01-03, 05:40 AM
It is useless to compare individual abilities to other classes, because it is the sum of all abilities that either breaks or balances it. If one want to kill this PrC you must know all that. And at will spells are usually very unbalancing. And the saves. They are WAY too high. Especialy the grease effect.

The Vorpal Tribble
2006-01-03, 09:19 AM
And at will spells are usually very unbalancing.
A 1st level spell at will is unbalancing?

And the saves. They are WAY too high. Especialy the grease effect.
The grease effect is only one of two abilities that even need a save. The other the player can't do till he's 15th level, and all it does is nauseate, and its usable once a day.

Need I remind you that many of the other PrC's out there get abilities that could easily let them blast death? This guy makes folks fall down... and no one can approach him to take advantage without also riskign falling on their duff.

He also gets a +4 bonus to his AC against ranged attacks now.

So basically, this ability is self limitting, as I intended it.

2006-01-03, 09:29 AM
The only comment I have is:

Spell at will as a free action = strong

Pretty much no-fail.

The Vorpal Tribble
2006-01-03, 10:15 AM
An ability alike to a spell but with differences perhaps isn't all that powerful. For one, spells that affect plants also can be used against it unlike the true spell, and the lichenfriend can't cast it on himself and gain a +10 bonus on escape artist checks. Nor can it be cast on an item.

So along with the fact its only a 1st level spell, its a gimped 1st level spell.

Meat Shield
2006-01-03, 10:32 AM
I may be crazy in thinking this, but this seems to me to be an excellent class for trolls to take. I say this because trolls to me have always been the "swamp thing with a carrot nose" type, and always will be. As well as I have always thought trolls were barbarous druids. This seems to nicely dovetail with existing troll abilities (if they don't mimic or slightly tweak them).

Also, it would seem to be somewhat analogous (after some tweaking maybe) with the dragon disciple class for troll disciples. It gives a lot of the same abilities a troll has (other than the whole spore form of course).

Tribble, I don't know if you were aiming for or inspired by trolls for this, but I could see this used as a racial class for trolls or half-trolls. I would especially like it as a class for the main campaign bad guy who is a troll. :)

2006-01-03, 10:49 AM
Level one spell with a save of 20 at level 15 at will? 6+ natural armour? +++? I think it is overpowered.

2006-01-03, 11:02 AM
The usual DC for Sp abilities is 10 + 1/2 HD + StatMod. That means a L15 would have a DC of 17+StatMod (easily a DC20 or higher) on its Sp abilities

The Vorpal Tribble
2006-01-03, 12:55 PM
Level one spell with a save of 20 at level 15 at will? 6+ natural armour? +++? I think it is overpowered.
Yes, as Ayana mentioned if I just went along with normal Spell like ability rules it'd very likely go even higher.

And all the spell does is whisk him off his feet. Which means to harm him you'd have to use a ranged weapon, which is even harder to hit him once he's gone.

You could argue that Grease is a very powerful spell for 1st level, and on that I may agree, but its still only a 1st level power that does nothing but inconvenience others. If he doesn't try to walk he doesn't even get affected.

Now, I have been looking at some other PrC's and maybe the AC bonus is a bit much. I'm also changing it so that they only gain spells every other level.

2006-01-03, 01:26 PM
It appears to me that you already toned it down a bit.
One might be tricked into thinking this class as (too) many abilities, but as TVT has been trying to tell us, most are not very powerful at all.
The only problem I have is with the 'invulnerability' too sneak damage and later death. You are very right that he can still be killed, just destroy his cloak when he is down, but most opponents should not know this. I'd even go further then that: in my party, we almost always stop combat when all oponents are down. (that is, unconscious, dying or disabled.) We assume that the rest is taken care of. With an opponent like this, that would be a problem. (Altough I see a fun side too: the PC's leave the Lichenfriend to die, but later they meet him again >:-] )

I do think the level 10 ability is good though, albeit a bit sudden. Very flavourous and handy.

2006-01-03, 01:56 PM
The usual DC for Sp abilities is 10 + 1/2 HD + StatMod. That means a L15 would have a DC of 17+StatMod (easily a DC20 or higher) on its Sp abilities
Really? I thought it was 10 + 1/2 classlevel (as in, levels in the class that gave you the ability) + modifier, which would give him a 15 + mod. Anyway, it is still at will. Grease is extremely potent for a first level spell and casting it out at will is what is breaking this class, for me.