View Full Version : Desert Forlorner [PrC]

2008-03-20, 07:46 PM
Desert Forlorner

"Times of desperation... the loneliness... it grows on you. I was abandoned once, but these sands do not forget."


The rolling sands of the desert can be a place of strange renewal. When one comes to embrace the ravages of this foreboding landscape, they can forge a powerful link with the fury and emptiness within the deepest parts of such undiscovered expanses. Desert Forlorners stumble upon this sacred, perhaps profane, rite of relife and accept its gifts wholeheartedly. To confront a forlorner is to stare down the raw nature of the desert. They are often guardians of the unexplored regions of deserts, rarely leaving its borders. Only the most highly organized and intrepid organizations within the desert have come to know of the Desert Forlorners; in such cases they will either come to favor or despise these marauders. Bhuka are almost always opposed to the existence of these "beasts", while asherati hold unspoke alliances with those who walk the desert above.

Prerequisites (one of the following):
-Character level 5; Know (nature) 4 ranks; Survival 4 ranks; completion of ritual
-Special Entry

HD: d6
Skill Points: 4 + Int modifier
Skills: Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Heal (Wis), Hide (Dex), Knowledge (nature) (Int), Listen (Wis), Move Silently (Dex), Profession (Wis), Ride (Dex), Search (Int), Spot (Wis), and Survival (Wis).

BAB Fort Ref Will Class Features
+0 +2 +0 +0 Light Pact; Pact Sickness; Inescapable Obligation
+1 +3 +0 +0 Alignment Shift I; Know the Master; +1 level to existing spellcasting class
+2 +3 +1 +1 Strong Pact; Desert Dependence
+3 +4 +1 +1 Alignment Shift II; Follow the Master; +1 level to existing spellcasting class
+3 +4 +1 +1 Overwhelming Pact; Vicious Tribute

Special Entry: The Desert Forlorner class can be entered by those lost in desperate times among endless sands. When one is left to die in the desert, succumbing to starvation or dehydration, there is a small chance that they will be offered new life by the very will of the empty land that has sought to kill them. This is only available to characters of sixth level or higher. When they would die of starvation or dehydration in the desert, they may choose to exchange their last class level for a level of Desert Forlorner, whether they qualify for the appropriate ranks. This desert becomes its "home desert". They recover from dehydration and starvation and the effects of its first level take effect immediately.

Ritual: The other way to join into unity with the sands is to seek out the most remote stretch of sand the desert holds. No other creature must have walked this land. A DC 25 Know (nature) check allows them to uncover the secrets of whispering winds that carry the exact nature of the ritual. If this check fails, they must continue to wander for another 1d4 days. Once accomplished, this desert is known as its "home desert".

Class Features:
Pact Sickness: The first time a Desert Forlorner is damaged in an encounter, it might unleash the fury it bears in its soul. Roll a d%. If it is less than 10 x class levels, the Forlorner succumbs to the pact sickness and is confused for their next round. At the end of a pact sickness round, they roll again. If the result is greater than their last roll, they are cured of pact sickness.

Inescapable Obligation: When the Forlorner loses a level, it must pick a non-Desert Forlorner class level other than its first five levels to be lost unless there are none available. As the Forlorner takes additional levels, it must take one Forlorner level per two other class levels taken after its first Forlorner level. (A Bard 5/Forlorner 1 can take two Bard levels before needing another Forlorner level.) At level 5, the Forlorner is no longer restricted this way (for the purpose of gaining epic levels and such).

Light Pact (Ex): The Forlorner no longer eats, sleeps, or drinks. It is immune to the effects of environmental heat up to severe heat and considered a creature native to the desert. Fire damage works as normal. While in any desert, it gains a +1 bonus to attack and damage against non-desert creatures.

Alignment Shift I & II: At second level, a Forlorner's alignment must be non-Lawful to take advantage of its Pact and Master abilities. At fourth level, it must be Chaotic to have those advantages.

Know the Master (Ex): The Forlorner adds its class levels to Know, Survival, and bardic knowledge checks concerning its home desert.

Desert Dependence (Ex): The Forlorner takes a -1 penalty to Wisdom every 1d4 hours when away from a desert. Carrying five pounds of home desert sand increases this to 2d4 hours. When its Wisdom is equal to or less than 3, the decrease stops and it regresses to animal instinct and returns to the home desert by any means. The Wisdom penalty is removed once it sets foot in the desert and it regains control.

Strong Pact (Ex): The Forlorner gains a +2 bonus to natural armor and +1 hitpoints per level. When it deals melee damage to an adjacent non-desert-native creature, it must succeed on a Fortitude save with a DC of 10 + class levels or become fatigued.

Follow the Master (SLA): Twice per day, the Forlorner may use find the path as a spell-like ability that must be cast within the home desert with a target somewhere in the home desert. If the target has left the desert, they are told the exit point. The caster level is equal to its HD.

Overwhelming Pact (Su): When slain, the Forlorner takes on a sandy gaseous form and seeks out the home desert where it took on the Desert Forlorner prestige class. Upon arrival, it returns to life in 3d6 days. Any contact with liquid water during this time cancels the effect and the Forlorner dies, reforming into its remains. If it cannot reach the home desert in three days, the effect also ends. Any equipment is left behind rather than taken with the Forlorner.

Vicious Tribute (Ex): The Forlorner takes a -2 penalty to one ability score.

2008-03-20, 10:48 PM
The Pact Sickness, Desert Dependence, and Vicious Tribute are too severe of penalties for a character to be reasonably willing to take levels in this class for any reason other than avoiding character death after starving to death in a desert. It's just too much of a hindrance.

The pact sickness gets worse with every level, regardless of how high or low your saves are. By fifth level, there is a 50% chance that the character will be confused the first time it's hit. With a chance like that and the purely random nature of whether or not a character can be freed from it next round, an unlucky player will have their character incapacitated for the entire battle. This alone makes the entire class not worth it.

As for the desert dependence, this makes it fairly impossible to do any sort of travel. So, while this class would not be too bad for a purely desert campaign, it would be nearly impossible to play in any campaign which has, for example, an element of sea travel. The character would be insane after a day or two on a ship like that. Furthermore, considering the way that D&D defines terrain, being inside of a city in a desert or being inside of a cave inside of a desert counts as not being in a desert. This class ability (penalty) requires a campaign to take place in the wilderness of the desert.

A -2 penalty to an ability score is not worth an ability which ties you to an area with a radius equivalent to three days of travel in order to use. That -2 will stay with you no matter where you go. If you're more than three days of travel away from your home desert, the ability that you got alongside it is worthless.

Really, while the survival abilities which this class grants are fairly neat, the penalties are far too severe to justify them. Sure, you don't need to eat or drink anymore and can sit around naked in the desert. But you had better not leave your home desert, because while you're confused and crippled by your ability score penalty, you're going to get killed. And wouldn't it suck if you weren't home or if your enemy had a full bladder at the time? (How's that for an autokill ranged-touch?)

2008-03-20, 11:00 PM
Alright. How would it look without the penalties?

2008-03-20, 11:04 PM
this is going to take me a while to dissect, but it looks pretty cool. i love desert-flavored class. heck, i live in the desert. what's not to love?