View Full Version : [PrC] A Scholarly PrC 2.0

2011-02-19, 03:16 PM
Hereís a tip for all you homebrewers out there: if you have a concept that seems nifty and want to put it out as quickly as possible, donít dive into it when you get home exhausted from work. The product will end up weak, uninspired, and embarrassingly poorly named.

Hereís my second, much more thought-out take on the class I originally came up with a number of days ago. His themes are Knowledge dominance, spell flexibility and familiar survivability and improvement. As always, give me feedback. I'd like to iron this guy out before I post the monster that is the Lacunamancer.

The Athenaeum Sage

Image by Eva Widerman. ( http://www.eva-widermann.de/)

"When I first met your father he had his nose in a book and I swear to Pelor it has never left. He even brought one to our wedding day! I had to scold him several times to put it away during the procession! And now Iliatís picking up the habit, at such a young age! I only hope it doesnít become as problematic with your son as it is with my husband." Ė Telisa Herath, wife of Johan Herath.

The chronic bookworm, the dedicated scholar, the disciplined learner. These are all archetypes of the typical wizard, but few reach the pentacle of studiousness of the Athenaeum Sages. These individuals are constantly driven to discover and exercise new things, valuing knowledge above all else. Their dedication allows them unparalleled capabilities in the magical arts that no single-tracked mind can achieve. So wrapped up are they in their studies and experiments they rely upon the service of their familiars to perform the mundane tasks of everyday life.

The primary feature of the Athenaeum Sage is his ability to progress two spellcasting classes simultaneously. This is largely a result of his intensely studious nature which borders upon being a class restriction. Constantly purusing texts has also given him an immense pool of knowledge with which he can better understand the otherwise foreign world outside of his abode, and the constant mental exercises that he undergoes gives him a superior level of mental flexibility. As he expands his mind he provides toughening benefits to his familiar as well so that it may serve him better as a companion.

Becoming an Athenaeum Sage

Becoming an Athenaeum Sage requires both an indomitable drive to learn and a mind bestowed with the gifts of managing all of the information that spills into it. Rare is a person who combines these virtues of will and talent, but those that do become among the most knowledgeable of people. They often rise to great heights of status, finding themselves as the archmagi of magical academies, dukes who oversee numerous congregations or town elders of great renown.

The downside for most of these characters is that their overwhelming addiction to the attainment of knowledge often leads them to ignore outside affairs. Few things aside from the chance to practice what they learn can pry them from their studies. Many find themselves with a reputation as genius recluses. Few try to change this perception usually because it is both more than deserved and because they care little of what others think of them.

Though deviations are not impossible, every known Athenaeum Sage is a student of either arcane (Wizard) or divine (Archivist) study who possesses sufficient drive to branch their talent off into another simultaneous field. The possibilities are incredibly varied. The truly studious mix both Wizard and Archivist fields into a single realm of unparalleled flexibility. Wizard/Sorcerers possess an unrivaled array of arcane might just as Archivist/Clerics and Archivist/Favored Souls do divine.

Athenaeum Sages who possess skills as Dread Necromancers and Beguilers are not unheard of, and though unorthodox, those who sport talents in the capabilities of the Bard appear from time to time. Druids can become Sages but are usually so reclusive that they spend their entire lives away from society and are largely unknown. The martial natures of Duskblades, Warmages and Hexblades are inherently opposed to the studiousness required of the Athenaeum Sage, but such is the flexibility and dedication of these individuals that mixing these fields is hardly outside of their capabilities.

Hit Dice: d4

Skills: Knowledge (any three) 8 ranks.
Spells: Able to prepare 2nd-level spells, able to cast 1st-level spells from any other class.
Special: Possess a familiar.

{table=head]Level|Base Attack Bonus|Fort Save|Ref Save|Will Save|Special|Spells
+2| Familiar Empowerment, Skim the Pages, Well Read |+1 level of lowest-level existing class
+3| Mental Bookmark 1/day |+1 level of existing prepared spellcasting class, +1 level of existing class
+3| Well Read |+1 level of existing prepared spellcasting class, +1 level of existing class
+4| Expansive Mind | +1 level of existing prepared spellcasting class, +1 level of existing class
+4| Well Read |+1 level of existing prepared spellcasting class, +1 level of existing class
+5| Mental Bookmark 3/day |+1 level of existing prepared spellcasting class, +1 level of existing class
+5| Well Read |+1 level of existing prepared spellcasting class, +1 level of existing class
+6| A Soul of Two Bodies |+1 level of existing prepared spellcasting class, +1 level of existing class
+6| Well Read | +1 level of existing prepared spellcasting class, +1 level of existing class
+7| Mental Bookmark 5/day, Pliant Mind |+1 level of existing prepared spellcasting class, +1 level of existing class[/table]

Class Skills:
The Athenaeum Sage class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Decipher Script (Int), Knowledge (all skills, taken individually) (int), Speak Language (Int) and Spellcraft (Int).
Skill-points per level: 2 + Int modifier

Class Features

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Athenaeum Sages gain no proficiency with any weapons or armor.

Spells per Day: For every level except 1st, an Athenaeum Sage gains new spells per day and an increase in caster level (and spells known, if applicable) as if he had gained a level in his prepared spellcasting class as well as another spellcasting class to which he belonged before adding the prestige class. He does not, however, gain any other benefit a character of either class would have gained.

At 1st level, the Athenaeum Sage gains new spells per day and an increase in caster level (and spells known, if applicable) as if he had gained a level in his lowest-level spellcasting class. He does not, however, gain any other benefit a character of that class would have gained.

Familiar Empowerment: Due to his nearly ceaseless scholarly study, the Athenaeum Sage relies heavily upon his familiar to perform many things from clawing at the eyes of an enemy to fetching a certain gem heíd had his eyes on at the market. Levels gained in Athenaeum Sage stack with whatever other class he possesses that grants familiar progression.

The familiar of a Athenaeum Sage is also a notably more powerful entity than others of its kind. As the Sage gains levels in this prestige class his familiar gains the following benefits:

1st| HP boost
2nd| +1 All Saves
3rd| Mettle
4th| +1 All Saves
5th| Familiar Special x2
6th|+1 All Saves
7th| Speed Bonus
8th| +3 AC
9th| +1 All Saves
10th| Familiar Special x3 [/table]

At 1st level, the Athenaeum Sageís familiarís Hit Points improve to 3/4th its masterís, rounded down.

At 3rd level, the Athenaeum Sageís familiar gains the Mettle feature. If his familiar makes a successful Will or Fortitude save against an attack that would normally have a lesser effect on a successful save, it instead completely negates the effect.

At 5th level, the effectiveness of the familiarís special bonus to its master doubles and, at 10th level, triples. For example: a cat familiar that normally grants +3 to Move Silently would grant +6 at level 5 and +9 at level 10.

At 7th level, the Athenaeum Sageís familiar gains a 10ft bonus to its movement speed.

Skim the Pages: So refined is the Athenaeum Sageís mental retention that he can dedicate complex arcane formula and long divine scriptures to memory in mere minutes. It takes an Athenaeum Sage half the normal time required to prepare his spells for the day.

Well Read: Countless hours of study have endowed the Athenaeum Sage with a massive array of knowledge that only the wisest of sages can rival. At 1st, 3rd, 5th, 7th and 9th levels he may choose any Knowledge skill with which he is proficient. From this point forward he can apply a bonus to his chosen Knowledge skills equal to his Athenaeum Sage class level.

Mental Bookmark (Su): At 2nd level the Athenaeum Sage learns to combine his quick and detailed retention with his resource materials to rapidly modify the magical tools in his arsenal for any situation. Once per day as a full-round action the Athenaeum Sage may exchange the spell in any unexpended prepared spell slot for another of the same spell level. He may use this ability 3 times per day at 6th level and 5 times per day at 10th.

Expansive Mind: By 4th level the days of incessant study begin to bolster the Athenaeum Sageís already impressive mind, priming it to become a font of encyclopedic knowledge. He may add half his levels in this prestige class (rounded down) to his relevant mental attributes when determining bonus spells. This class feature has no effect on any other factors involving these attributes such as spell power and save DCs.

A Soul of Two Bodies (Sp): At 8th level the Athenaeum Sage has refined the spiritual connection he shares with his familiar to perfection. If his familiar is ever slain he may perform a ritual similar to its original summoning to return it to life and his service. The ritual takes 24 hours and uses up magical materials that cost 100 gp, but does not require the familiarís corpse. The familiar is immediately returned to life before the Athenaeum Sage upon the ritualís completion. This class feature may be used to resurrect companions lost before the Athenaeum Sage reaches 8th level.

Additionally, if the Athenaeum Sage is ever slain while his familiar still lives his soul transfers immediately to his familiar, replacing the creatureís mental scores with his own. This overrides any spell or ability that may control the passage of a characterís soul following their death. If the familiar is present when a spell is cast to bring the Sage back from the dead he may return to life without suffering any level or ability score loss.

Pliant Mind: At 10th level the adaptable nature of an Athenaeum Sageís mind allows him to mentally convert the spells heís prepared into others at a momentís notice. When an Athenaeum Sage prepares his spells for the day he may select one spell of each spell level in his prepared spellcasting class. This spell must not have an attached Metamagic feat, exp cost, expended material component of monetary worth, or casting time longer than a standard action. The Athenaeum Sage can choose to ďloseĒ any prepared spell that is not a domain spell to cast a spell selected as such of the same spell level or lower, much as a Cleric can spontaneously cast cure spells. This feature remains in effect as long as the selected spells remain on the Athenaeum Sageís prepared spell list; if the selected spell itself is expended, other spells can no longer be ďlostĒ to cast it until he can refresh his spell list once again.

For example: Johan has prepared one use of Heroism as a 3rd level spell. Over the course of the day he exchanges a use each of Displacement (3rd level) and Charm Monster (4th level) to cast Heroism on two separate accounts. He is later forced to expend his prepared copy of Heroism. Lacking a prepared copy of that spell, he can no longer exchange uses of others to cast it.

This spellís status as the chosen spell for its level is locked in upon being prepared at the beginning of the day. Pliant Mindís benefit is not passed on if the selected spell is replaced through an ability such as Mental Bookmark. The spell is instead considered spent and other spells can no longer be "lost" to cast it.

If an Athenaeum Sage has levels in two or more prepared spellcasting classes than he may use this class feature individually with each class. Spells chosen in this way remain isolated from other spell lists; the Athenaeum Sage may not lose a spell on one list in exchange for a selected spell on the other.

If an Athenaeum Sage has levels in a spontaneous spellcasting class he may add the selected prepared spells to his list of spells known for that class provided his caster level is high enough to access spells of that level. These spells are removed from his spells-known list if expended from his prepared spells list. If the Athenaeum Sage has two prepared spellcasting classes as well as a spontaneous spellcasting class, he must choose only one select spell of each spell level among his prepared spellcasting classes to add to his spells-known list.

Playing an Athenaeum Sage
Adaptation: Athenaeum Sages are most effective when used to combine pure spellcasting classes. A Wizard and Archivist would clearly be the most obvious combination as it allows the casting of nearly any spell in the game and the two classes rely mostly upon the same attribute. The requirement of a familiar (unless Iíve missed one) is limited to Wizard, Sorcerer, Dread Necromancer (level 7) and Hexblade (level 4). A single feat however, Obtain Familiar, can open up this class to some really interesting combinations. Cleric/Druid comes to mind as perfectly viable even though it doesn't fit the class's theme.

Combat: An Athenaeum Sage's low HD makes him a fragile combatant at home on the back line where he can cast his spells. His dual-casting capabilities allows him to persist for more fights than the average single-progression spell-caster, and the ability to switch spells around gives him an added layer of versatility. The benefits he gives to his familiar allow it to play a more active role in his life. Though it's no more adept at combating enemies directly, its survivability and use to its master are increased several fold. As a welcome bonus, his intensive study makes him the party's ace in the hole for nearly any general knowledge check both inside and outside of combat.

2011-02-20, 11:59 AM
Bump for justice.

Frog Dragon
2011-02-20, 05:58 PM
While I said the last one was underpowered, this one is gaining a bit too much for what it loses. Perhaps it should lose a level of the prepared casting class at first level? Currently, you're losing a level of casting (for the level of the other casting class) for a whole bunch of excellent abilities. It might stand to want to lose another.

2011-02-21, 12:38 PM
Thanks for the input Frog, and I'd have to agree with you.

Made a few tweeks mostly to fix a few grammar errors. Looking for more feedback. :smallsmile:

2011-02-22, 05:17 PM
Anyone else want to toss in some feedback on this guy, or can I go ahead and file him away?