View Full Version : The Spirit Sage (3.5 Base Class, help me figure out what tier it's in)

2012-07-26, 04:14 PM
I haven't homebrewed in a while, so my skills may be a little rusty. What you see here was created after I couldn't find a suitable class for a character concept, so it has quite a specific flavour. I'm not sure about the balance, although I hope that it might be in the 2-3 region. The thing is, they have a lot of abilities, some of which are quite powerful, but with fairly limited scope - so maybe tier 2? For those who can't be bothered to trawl through the spell list; they have a mixture of spells, mainly from the Bard and Druid spell lists. Their are mainly for use out of combat, and none of them deal damage, give buffs, or give bonuses to attack rolls. There are quite a few healing and protective spells, as well as some negation spells (daze, sleep), and good amount of divination. I've tried to keep conjuration and evocation spells to a minimum, and I've avoided any spells with fluff that connects them the planes other than the material and ethereal planes.

The Spirit Sage

All Spirit Sages start their journey with the search for knowledge. They uncover ancient and arcane secrets, memorise ancient runes, obscure incantations, and prayers to forgotten gods. They care for all pieces of knowledge, and tend to have a kind nature, although evil Spirit Sages are not impossible. However, they tend to be self taught, and certainly don't have access to the formal magical training that allows wizards to unlock magical energy. This means that, although they may know many dozens of spells, they can't cast them. That is, until they read about spirit energy. The entire world is alive with magical memories - souls of the long dead, remnants of once-powerful enchantments, vestiges of forgotten gods...
The Spirit Sage has learnt to commune with the spirit energy around them, and to channel it to cast their spells. This communication is greatly empathic, and whatever the Spirit Sage's attitude to the natural world before they started accessing spirit energy, they usually come to revere and love the natural world, just as much as they love the spirits that suffuse it.

Spell List:

0: Arcane Mark, Dancing Lights, Daze, Detect Magic, Detect Poison, Flare, Ghost Sound, Guidance, Know Direction, Light, Lullaby, Mage Hand, Mending, Message, Open/Close, Prestidigitation, Purify Food and Drink, Read Magic, Resistance, Virtue

1: Alarm, Charm Animal, Charm Person, Comprehend Languages, Cure Light Wounds, Deathwatch, Detect Animals or Plants, Detect Secret Doors, Detect Snares and Pits, Detect Chaos/Evil/Law, Detect Undead, Disguise Self, Erase, Endure Elements, Entangle, Expeditious Retreat, Feather Fall, Goodberry, Hide from Animals, Hide from Undead, Hypnotism, Identify, Magic Mouth, Obscure Object, Obscuring Mist, Remove Fear, Protection Against Chaos/Evil/Good/Law, Pass without Trace, Sanctuary, Shield of Faith, Silent Image, Sleep, Unseen Servant, Ventriloquism

2: Arcane Lock, Aid, Alter Self, Animal Messenger, Animal Trance, Augury, Calm Emotions, Cure Moderate Wounds, Daze Monster, Delay Poison, Detect Thoughts, Enthral, Find Traps, Fog Cloud, Glitterdust, Gust of Wind, Hypnotic Pattern, Invisibility, Locate Object, Make Whole, Minor Image, Mirror Image, Misdirection, Remove Paralysis, Lesser Restoration, Shillelagh, Silence, Status, Suggestion, Tongues, Whispering Wind, Zone of Truth

3: Arcane Sight, Charm Monster, Clairaudience/Clairvoyance, Create Food and Water, Continual Flame, Consecrate, Cure Serious Wounds, Daylight, Deep Slumber, Displacement, Lesser Geas, Good Hope, Helping Hand, Invisibility Purge, Invisibility Sphere, Knock, Levitate, Leomund's Tiny Hut, Magic Vestment, Major Image, Nondetection, Phantom Steed, Plant Growth, Remove Curse, Remove Disease, Scrying, Sculpt Sound, Secret Page, See Invisibility, Slow, Speak with Animals, Speak with Dead, Magic Circle against Chaos/Evil/Good/Law, Water Walk, Wind Wall

4: Arcane Eye, Antiplant Shell, Break Enchantment, Cure Critical Wounds, Detect Scrying, Discern Lies, Dispel Magic, Divination, Dominate Person, Freedom of Movement, Hallucinatory Terrain, Legend Lore, Leomund's Secure Shelter, Locate Creature, Modify Memory, Neutralize Poison, Rainbow Pattern, Repel Vermin, Restoration, Sending, Shadow Conjuration, Speak with Plants, Spell Immunity, Zone of Silence

5: Animate Objects (animated objects cannot attack), Commune with Nature, Mass Cure Light Wounds, Death Ward, Dream, False Vision, Hallow, Mind Fog, Minor Creation, Mirage Arcana, Mislead, Nightmare, Persistent Image, Prying Eyes, Rary's Telepathic Bond, Seeming, Shadow Evocation, Spell Resistance, Mass Suggestion, Symbol of Sleep, Telekinesis, True Seeing, Wall of Thorns

6: Analyse Dweomer, Animate Plants (animated plants cannot attack), Antilife Shell, Awaken, Baleful Polymorph, Mass Charm Monster, Mass Cure Moderate Wounds, Find the Path, Geas/Quest, Greater Dispel Magic, Guards and Wards, Heal, Heroes' Feast, Ironwood, Liveoak, Major Creation, Permanent Image, Programmed Image, Reincarnate, Repel Wood, Repulsion, Greater Scrying, Spellstaff, Stone Tell, Tree Stride, Veil, Word of Recall

Spells Retrieved per Day:
Level |
0 |
1 |
2 |
3 |
4 |
5 |
1st | 3
2nd | 3 | 1
3rd | 3 | 1
4th | 3 | 2 | 1
5th | 3 | 2 | 1
6th | 3 | 2 | 2
7th | 3 | 3 | 2 | 1
8th | 3 | 3 | 2 | 1
9th | 3 | 3 | 3 | 2
10th | 3 | 3 | 3 | 2 | 1
11th | 3 | 3 | 3 | 2 | 1
12th | 3 | 3 | 3 | 3 | 2
13th | 3 | 3 | 3 | 3 | 2 | 1
14th | 3 | 3 | 3 | 3 | 2 | 1
15th | 3 | 3 | 3 | 3 | 3 | 2
16th | 3 | 3 | 3 | 3 | 3 | 2 | 1
17th | 3 | 3 | 3 | 3 | 3 | 2 | 1
18th | 3 | 3 | 3 | 3 | 3 | 3 | 2
19th | 3 | 3 | 3 | 3 | 3 | 3 | 2
20th | 3 | 3 | 3 | 3 | 3 | 3 | 3

Spells per Day:
Level |
1 |
2 |
3 |
4 |
5 |
6 |
1st | 2
2nd | 3 | 1
3rd | 3 | 2
4th | 3 | 3 | 1
5th | 4 | 3 | 2
6th | 4 | 3 | 3
7th | 4 | 3 | 3 | 1
8th | 4 | 3 | 3 | 2
9th | 4 | 3 | 3 | 3
10th | 4 | 4 | 3 | 3 | 1
11th | 4 | 4 | 3 | 3 | 2
12th | 4 | 4 | 3 | 3 | 3
13 th | 4 | 4 | 4 | 3 | 3 | 1
14th | 5 | 4 | 4 | 3 | 3 | 2
15th | 5 | 4 | 4 | 4 | 3 | 3
16th | 5 | 4 | 4 | 4 | 3 | 3 | 1
17th | 5 | 5 | 4 | 4 | 4 | 3 | 2
18th | 5 | 5 | 5 | 4 | 4 | 3 | 3
19th | 5 | 5 | 5 | 5 | 4 | 4 | 4
20th | 5 | 5 | 5 | 5 | 5 | 5 | 5

1st | +0 | +0 | +0 | +2 | Prestidigitation, Calm, Lore, Knowledgeable Spellcaster, Spirit Pledge
2nd | +1 | +0 | +0 | +3 | Read Magic, Comprehend Script
3rd | +1 | +1 | +1 | +3 | Spirit Companion
4th | +2 | +1 | +1 | +4 | Spirit Companion (Empathic Link)
5th | +2 | +1 | +1 | +4 | Ancient Knowledge, Spirit Companion (Telepathy, Str 4, 40lb)
6th | +3 | +2 | +2 | +5 | Spirit Companion (Ventriloquism, Speed 30)
7th | +3 | +2 | +2 | +5 | Spirit Companion (Ethereal Sight, Str 6, 60lb)
8th | +4 | +2 | +2 | +6 | Spirit Companion (Mirror Image)
9th | +4 | +3 | +3 | +6 | Spirit Companion (Clairaudience/Clairvoyance, Str 8, 80lb)
10th | +5 | +3 | +3 | +7 | Ancient Knowledge, Spirit Companion (Extended Telepathy)
11th | +5 | +3 | +3 | +7 | Spirit Companion (Share Skills, Str 10, 100lb)
12th | +6/+1 | +4 | +4 | +8 | Spirit Companion (Speed 40, Fly)
13th | +6/+1 | +4 | +4 | +8 | Spirit Companion (Scrying, Str 12, 130lb)
14th | +7/+2 | +4 | +4 | +9 | Spirit Companion (Simulacrum)
15th | +7/+2 | +5 | +5 | +9 | Ancient Knowledge
16th | +8/+3 | +5 | +5 | +10 | Ghost Sympathy
17th | +8/+3 | +5 | +5 | +10 | Spirit Companion (Greater Scrying, Deliver Spells)
18th | +9/+4 | +6 | +6 | +11 | Animal Sympathy
19th | +9/+4 | +6 | +6 | +11 | Spirit Companion (True Seeing)
20th | +10/+5 | +6 | +6 | +12 | Spirit Companion (Recall), Ancient Knowledge

Class Skills: Appraise, Autohypnosis, Concentration, Craft, Decipher Script, Diplomacy, Forgery, Handle Animal, Heal, Knowledge (all skills, taken individually), Profession, Search, Sense Motive, Speak Language, Spellcraft, Survival, Truespeech, Use Magic Device
Skill Points per Level: 6+int modifier

Weapon and Armour Proficiencies: You are proficient with light armour and shields (except tower shields) and with simple weapons. Because Spirit Sage spells have relatively simple somatic components, you may wear light armour without the normal arcane spell failure chance.

Spellcasting: A Spirit Sage casts spells from the Spirit Sage spell list. She can choose for her spells to be arcane or divine when she retrieves them, however, even if divine they still incur a spell failure chance if the Spirit Sage is wearing medium or heavy armour. A spirit sage cannot cast a spell as arcane if it is not on the bard or sorcerer/wizard spell lists, and she cannot cast a spell as divine if it is not on the druid or cleric spell lists.
A Spirit Sage's intelligence score determines what spells she can cast and whether she get bonus spells, and her wisdom score determines the save DCs of those spells.
A Spirit Sage knows only a small number of spells, however, every day she can change the spells that she knows. She can communicate with spirits and attract those which can provide the correct magical energies for certain spells. Every day she selects her spells retrieved from the Spirit Sage spell list, and can then cast those spells using her spell slots for that day. It takes an hour to retrieve new spells and recover used spell slots.

Prestidigitation (Sp): You can command minor spirits to do your bidding. You have a prestidigitation spell continually in effect.

Calm (Su): You have a connection with all small spirits. This ability works on all non-outsider creatures with an Intelligence score of two or less and a Charisma score of six or less, or on creatures who are upset or confused (not magically) and have one or less HD. As a standard action you can make a Knowledge (nature) check (substitute a knowledge (religion) check for ghosts) with a DC of 10 + the target creature's HD. The creature is then subjected to the effects of a Calm Animals spell, being allowed a Will check to negate if they are a dire animal or are trained to guard or attack (the DC is the same as for first level spells cast by the Spirit Sage).

Lore (Ex): This functions as the Bardic Knowledge ability, except you use your Sprit Sage levels instead of Bard levels.

Knowledgeable Spellcaster (Ex): You can substitute a knowledge check for a spellcraft check. If the spell being cast is arcane, use knowledge (arcana), if it is cast by a cleric or paladin, use knowledge (divine), and if it is cast by a druid or ranger, use knowledge (nature).

Spirit Pledge: The Spirit Sage must not deal damage to creatures she pacifies for more than one round using magic (e.g. use of the Sleep spell, or her Calm ability), and she must not let allies do the same without trying to stop them. If she does, she loses all of her supernatural and spell-like abilities, as well as her spellcasting, until she undergoes a ritual taking 24 hours to complete, in which she apologises profusely to the spirits for misusing the abilities they have granted her. If the creature has no intelligence score, or is an outsider, then this pledge does not apply. If the Spirit Sage breaks her pledge too many times, the spirits may abandon her entirely, this is to be judged by the DM.

Read Magic (Sp): Three times per day the Spirit Sage may use Read Magic as a spell-like ability.

Comprehend Script (Sp): Once per day the Spirit Sage may use Comprehend Languages as a spell-like ability, but only to understand writing.

Spirit Companion (Su): At third level, the Spirit Sage gains a spirit companion, a spirit which follows her everywhere. It acts like an unseen servant created by the Unseen Servant spell, but with some key differences. It can go as far from the Spirit Sage as she wishes, without dissipating. If it does dissipate (e.g. due to area damage), the Spirit Sage can reform it by spending a minute undergoing a minor ritual. The spirit companion has a speed of 20ft. The spirit companion can also deliver touch spells, as a wizard's familiar. At 5th, 7th, 9th, 11th, and 13th level the spirit companion increases its effective strength score by two, and can exert more force appropriately. At 6th and 12th level the spirit companion increases its base land speed by 10ft. It also gains other abilities as the Spirit Sage levels up:

At fourth level, the spirit companion starts to develop a personality. As it does so, it also gains an empathic link with its master, as a wizard's familiar does. As for a familiar, the range of this ability is one mile. It gains an intelligence score of 4, a charisma score of 3, and it has the same wisdom score as its master.

At fifth level, the spirit companion can communicate telepathically with its master, as long as it is within a number of feet equal to your Spirit Sage level times 10. At 10th level multiply this rang increases to a number of feet equal to your Spirit Sage level times 100. It gains an intelligence score of 6 and a charisma score of 4.

At sixth level, the Spirit Sage can speak through his spirit companion at will, as if he was casting the Ventriloquism spell. This is a spell-like ability.

At seventh level, the spirit companion can see things on the ethereal plane, and report them to its creator if it is within range for its telepathy ability. It gains an intelligence score of 8 and a charisma score of 6.

At eighth level, the spirit companion can briefly take on the appearance of its master, once per day. This effect is identical to the Mirror Image spell, except that the mirror image occupies the same space as and is controlled by the spirit companion, meaning that it can appear to open doors, carry objects, cast touch spells, etc.

At ninth level, the Spirit Sage can see or hear the area around the spirit companion. This effect is identical to the Clairaudience/Clairvoyance spell, except it must centre on the spirit companion.

At eleventh level, the spirit companion can make skill checks using its master's skill bonuses, but its own ability scores. It gains an intelligence score of 10, a charisma score of 8, and a dexterity score of 6. It cannot make skill checks that require a constitution score.

At twelfth level, the spirit companion gets a 30ft fly speed with good manoeuvrability.

At thirteenth level, once per day, the Spirit Sage can scry on his spirit companion, just as a wizard can scry on his familiar.

At fourteenth level, the Spirit Sage can use ritual to turn his spirit companion into a simulacrum of himself. First, an effigy must be created of the Spirit Sage. It must be possible for the spirit companion to move the body parts of this effigy around, so it couldn't be a statue but it could be, for instance, a Medium rag doll, or a figure of soft clay. Ruby dust costing 1400gp must then by sprinkled on the effigy. The spirit companion then animates it, making it take your exact appearance. The effigy can then move around exactly like you, and is effectively a disguise for your spirit companion with a disguise check result of 30. People who are familiar with you can use Sense Motive to detect this effect - the DC is 20. If you move out of range of your telepathy ability, these DCs decrease to 20 and 15 respectively. When your spirit companion is operating the simulacrum it can use your prestidigitation ability, and can cast spells from your spells per day as long as you are within range of your telepathy ability. While your companion spirit is animating it, it cannot fly, see the ethereal plane, or use its True Seeing ability if it has it. The simulacrum takes damage just like the effigy you made it from. If the companion spirit is dissipated while animating the simulacrum, the effigy immediately collapses and the illusion disappears, but it the companion spirit can reanimate it by touching it. At your instruction the companions spirit can stop animating the simulacrum, in which case the effigy can be stored and animated again. The simulacrum has no equipment that you do not provide it with.

At seventeenth level, the Spirit Sage's scry ability instead replicates the effects of the spell Greater Scrying. The Spirit Sage can choose to treat his spirit companion as the caster of his spells for the purposes of range.

At eighteenth level, the spirit companion always sees as if it were under the effects of the spell True Seeing.

At twentieth level, once per day, the Spirit Sage can teleport the spirit companion to the space next to him as a full action, replicating the effects of the Greater Teleport spell, including the ability to transport additional creatures. He also gains the ability to, once per day, teleport himself (but no others) to the location of his spirit companion, replicating the effects of the Greater Teleport spell.

Ancient Knowledge: At 5th, 10th, 15th, and 20th level, the spirit sage can choose from one of the abilities on the list below.

Bonus Feat (you must meet the prerequisites) (all feats are from the Tome of Magic): Bind Vestige, Improved Bind Vestige, Practiced Binder, Supernatural Crusader, Obscure Personal Truename, Truename Research, Truename Training, Minor Utterance of the Evolving Mind, Utterance of the Evolving Mind, Utterance of the Crafted Tool, Utterance of the Perfected Map, any recitation feat

Ancient Runes (Sp): Twice per day you can draw a rune as a full round action. You must make a Knoweldge (Arcana) check when drawing the rune. It lasts for a number of hours equal to half your check, or for the spell duration, whichever is shorter. It can have any of the following effects that you meet the DC for:
5 - Arcane Mark
10 - Light
15 - Mending (on the object on which it is inscribed)
20 - Hold Portal (on the object on which it is inscribed)
25 - Arcane Lock (no material component necessary) (on the object on which it is inscribed)
30 - Darkness

Turn Undead (Su): Twice per day, you can turn undead as a cleric of your Spirit Sage level. You do not qualify for feats or prestige classes which require Turn Undead.

Repel Invaders (Su): Twice per day, you can turn outsiders as if they were undead and you were a cleric of your Spirit Sage level.

Secrets of the Ancients (Ex): You gain a +2 bonus to one of Knowledge (arcana), (religion), and (nature); one of (Knowledge (architecture and engineering), (dungeoneering), (history) and Decipher Script; and one of Knowledge (geography), (local), (nobility and royalty), (the planes) and Appraise.

Prayer to Forgotten Gods (Su): You gain one domain - you can use the domain power and add the domain spells to your spell list. You must spend ten minutes every day praying to a forgotten god, or you lose this ability for 24 hours. You cannot retrieve spells from these lists that cause damage or provide bonuses to ability scores or attack rolls.

Animal Companion (Su): In a process taking one minute, your spirit companion can possess the body of one of the types of animal that can be a Druid's animal companion at first level, as long as that animal has be calmed by your Calm ability. When it does, it shares the body with the spirit of the animal, and so you must make handle animal checks to control it, but you behave as if you had the Wild Empathy ability with it and it has an attitude of helpful towards you. You gain the same benefits as the Link and Share Spells abilities, and the animal learns a bonus trick. The animal does not gain any other qualities that a Druid's animal companion gets, and cannot be any of the alternative animal companions listed in the Druid description. Your spirit companion can leave the body of the animal, in which case it reverts to its normal state, and will usually leave unless restrained.

Strong Mind (Ex): You gain a +3 bonus to all saves against Enchantment effects.

Satyr's Song (Sp): You add perform (wind instrument) to your list of class skills, and can (only when you gain this ability) exchange ranks in other skills for ranks in perform. A number of times per day equal to 2 + your charisma modifier, you may play the pan pipes, making a perform check against one creature with a DC equal to 10 + the target creature's HD. If you fail, your use of this ability is not expended. If you succeed, then you can subject the creature to the effects of a Charm Person, Sleep, or Fear spell, with a save DC as if you were casting it.

Word of Transformation (Su): Once per day you can gain one of the following creature types for a number of hours equal to your spirit sage level by succeeding a DC 15 Knowledge check of the type indicated.
Fey (nature) - you gain low-light vision
Dragon (arcana) - you gain immunity to magic sleep effects
Construct (arcana) - you are not subject to critical hits, nonlethal damage, fatigue or exhaustion, but you cannot heal
Abberation (dungeoneering) - no ability
Animal (nature) - you gain low-light vision, and you are treated as having neutral alignment
Giant (nature) - you gain low-light vision
Monstrous Humanoid (nature) - no ability
Ooze (dungeoneering) - you are not subject to critical hits or flanking, you deal 1 point of acid damage per round to objects you are holding, you are blind
Plant (nature) - you are not subject to critical hits
You also gain the shapechanger subtype while in an alternate form.

Ghost Sympathy (Su): You can activate an aura which draws ghosts near. Once per day, you can spend a minute to replicate the effects of a Sympathy spell, except that the spell only works on ghosts, there is no material component, the effect is on an area centred around you (which moves as you move, and has its size determined by your caster level), and the spell lasts no longer than one hour.

Animal Sympathy (Su): When activating your Ghost Sympathy ability, you can instead attract any and all animals and vermin (but not trained or dire animals).

2012-07-26, 06:15 PM
Yo dude,

seems that I'll kick things off.

First of all, why does he get his primairy feature only on level 3?
Putting his primairy ability on level 3 really puts is down on those level in my eyes. Maybe consider nerving it a lil and put it in on level 1? Just my 2 cents on that.
Also, the way it is read, via your companion, you can get unlimited scry spells. Is this intented? Maybe that would be a bit much. Putting a dailly cap on the uses of those abilities might be wise.
And seeing that the bard is tier 3 and has alot less oempf and equal skillpoints, it is maybe wise to give it a bardic knowledge equal to a bard his level minus 2 or something.
The ancient runes power might use some buffing when compaired to the domain gaining power for example, I mean, gaining a domain with domain power is far more powerfull then.....light or darkness once per day.
Otherwise, I see no real balance issues which I can see. But I'm not that experienced. As far as tier goes, I would count this a cut above the bard, so I would guess tier 2.

Hope this helped ^^


P.S. If you can spare the time, I could use some Peaching on a baseclass of mine The Spellguide (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=250627). If you have time, I would appreciate it if you could take a look at it, although I'm still working on the spells (Flows) in that class. Thx in advance. Also, post on this thread if you want someone more experienced in tiering to look at your class: Morph's Tier Compendium (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=245701).

2012-07-26, 07:38 PM
I like it, but I have to warn that I don't play at high levels so am not really qualified to judge balance there. Actually I am most happy for the inspiration, as I am working on two spirit-powered E6 classes, a Spirit Warrior and a Spirit Mage. The spirit companion would be a nice feature for the Mage, as I have been trying to think of class features and archetypes to distinguish the two, other than the Warrior has better BAB and not as much magic.

2012-07-27, 01:49 AM
Thanks! About the lateness of the spirit companion ability; the Druid gets wildshape at level five, so I think it's ok getting iconic abilities relatively late in the game. Also, prestidigitation is sort of a precursor. I was about to give them a penalty to Lore, but then something in me just said 'nooooo'. I think that, in a party with a bard, they wouldn't tread on each other's toes too much, since the bard would be busy buffing and doing a bit of combat, but the Spirit Sage would hang back and cast protective spells and try to do more of the kind of things you do in combat that don't directly deal damage (e.g. getting her spirit companion to trigger and avalanche).
On the subject of companion scrying, the ability refers to the wizard's familiar, which says 'once per day'. Sorry for causing confusion. And yeah, it's a bit difficult balancing the ancient knowledge powers with each other, but I try to go for about the power level of a feat. I'll keep tweaking them, I think.

On another note, I just realised that I didn't give them a hit die! I gave them d6. Would it be better balance-wise to go for d4? Might push them down a bit with respect to the bard.

2012-07-27, 04:05 AM
well, I don't think 1 hp per hitdice will make a difference. I think a d6 is just fine. About the wizard familiar thing, kinda forgot about that, soz. Your other point are kinda fair too, I suppose. I'll give the class another look if I have time to see if I can come up with any more tweakingz. Btw, is your aimed tier, tier 2 or tier 3?

2012-07-27, 09:34 AM
I'm not aiming for a specific tier, I just want it to be balanced and playable. My main thing was not wanting it to be a better bard than a bard, but I think I managed that by not giving it buffing spells.