View Full Version : [PrC] The Scholar - a 5-level PrC

Magnor Criol
2008-03-30, 06:03 PM
This is just a short, fluff-oriented class. All of its abilities are centered around the Knowledge skills and an ability to give lectures for money.
This is aimed at characters, both PCs and NPCs, who actively pursue academic goals; I feel there's very little in DnD that represents people who try to be academics, but aren't (necessarily) spellcasters.
Though obviously wizards, who must have high Int and have all Knowledge skills as class skills, have the easiest time entering this class, its benefits would be felt by anyone. Bards (who also get all Knowledge skills) may find an interesting synergy with the Lecturer ability, depending on what their Perform focus is. Even martial classes like Fighter or Barbarian - provided the latter's spent some skill points for literacy - could gain a very nice bonus, in the Weapon Studies scholastic study.


A scholar is someone interested in pursuing knowledge, though they have widely differing reasons for such pursuit. Some do it for power, some do it for the love of learning, some do it for a career but all of these disparate goals are united under one academic path.
scholars can be of any alignment, though the studious lifestyle lends itself more to Lawful than Chaotic folks. Though no deity is universally worshipped by scholars, most at least pay some deference to gods of learning or knowledge.
scholars have as good a chance of getting along with one another as they do ending up on the business end of each other's weapons. However, scholars regardless of their creed or motto will always recognize another scholar as a fellow academician, however grudgingly they might do so.

Skills: Knowledge (Any three) 8 ranks each, Decipher Script 8 ranks, Perform (Oratory) or Profession (Lecturer) 4 ranks.
Feats: Diligent, Skill Focus (Knowledge (Any).
Special: Must be literate.

HD: d4.
Skill points per level: (4 + Int mod).
Class Skills: Appraise (Int), Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Decipher Script (Int), Gather Information (Cha), Handle Animal (Cha), Heal (Wis), Knowledge (all, taken individually) (Int), Perform (Oratory) (Cha), Profession (Wis), Speak Language, Spellcraft (Int), and Use Magic Device (Cha).

The Scholar
{table=head]Level| BAB | Fort | Ref | Will |Special|Spells

+2| Well-Read, Lore, Scholastic Studies |+1 level of existing spellcasting class

+3| Extended Synergy, Scholastic Studies |+1 level of existing spellcasting class

+3| Lecturer, Scholastic Studies |+1 level of existing spellcasting class

+4| Eminent Academic, Scholastic Studies |+1 level of existing spellcasting class

+4| Scholastic Studies |+1 level of existing spellcasting class[/table]

Well-Read (Ex): A scholar gains bonus skill ranks equal to his scholar class level to all Knowledge skills. These bonus ranks do not allow him to qualify for things such as prestige classes or feats; they do, however, allow the scholar to treat all Knowledge checks as if he were trained in them if he otherwise has no ranks in that particular knowledge skill.

Lore (Ex): A scholar gains the ability to know legends or information regarding various topics, just as a bard can with bardic knowledge. The scholar adds his class level and Int mod to the lore check, which functions otherwise exactly like a bardic knowledge check.
Levels of classes which grant abilities identical to this one (bard levels for bardic knowledge, or the loremaster's lore ability, for instance) stack with this ability, allowing the scholar to add any applicable levels of such classes to his scholar level when making Lore checks.

Lecturer (Ex): A scholar is often asked to give a lecture or teach a class on a subject. When giving a talk on some academic subject, the scholar can make a Perform (Oratory) or Profession (Lecturer) check, adding his scholar class levels and Int bonus (if any) to the result. Calculate the payment as normal (See the Perform skill description, page 79 of the Player's Handbook).
These bonuses do not apply to any other use of the Perform (Oratory) skill; only when giving a lecture on some scholarly matter he's studied does he gain them.

Extended Synergy (Ex): The scholar understands how to synergize his knowledge with real-world application better than most. For each scholar level above 1st, the scholar gains the ability to extend Knowledge skill synergies by one "set", so that an additional five ranks in a Knowledge skill nets an additional +2 bonus on the applicable check.
For example, 5 ranks in Knowledge (Nobility & Royalty) normally gives you a +2 bonus on Diplomacy checks. A 2nd-level scholar gains that benefit for one extra "set" of the synergy; thus, he could have 10 ranks in Knowledge (Nobility & Royalty) and gain a +4 bonus on Diplomacy checks. At 3rd level, he can get a +6 bonus on his Diplomacy checks for 15 ranks in Knowledge (Nobility & Royalty), and so on.

Eminent Academic (Ex): The scholar becomes well-known for his knowledge. When making a lecture, he doubles the amount of gold he would earn (calculate normally as per the Lecturer ability, above, then double that amount).
In addition, the scholar is known by members of the academic community, and benefits from this renown. This could come in various fashions: a circumstance bonus on Diplomacy checks made with a professor, the willingness of a university to dedicate some researchers to studying a topic for you, a wizard's college allowing you access to materials and use of their labs. The DM determines what sort of benefits would be appropriate.

Scholastic Studies: At each scholar level, the scholar chooses an area of interest to focus their studies on.
Linguistics: The scholar learns a number of bonus languages equal to his scholar class level. For each language he knows over two, he gains a +1 bonus on Decipher Script checks made to decipher writing in an unknown language or unfamiliar form.
You may select this study multiple times; each time, you gain additional languages equal to your class level.
Creature Studies: Choose one creature type. If you have 5 ranks in the relevant Knowledge skill (see the Knowledge skill description, page 78 of he Player's Handbook) you gain a +2 to attack and damage rolls and +1 to AC against that creature type.
You can impart some of this knowledge to your allies; if you can brief them for at least 1d4 minutes, plus one additional minute for each ally you're briefing, each ally gains a +1 bonus to attack and AC against that creature type for one hour per scholar level you possess. Multiple briefings about the same creature type do not stack, though the duration is started anew each time. Multiple briefings about different creature types do stack, granting bonuses about all applicable enemy types, though you cannot combine briefings; you must have one briefing for each creature type.
This study can be taken multiple times; each time, choose a different creature type to study.
Social Studies: You add you scholar class level as a bonus to all Bluff, Diplomacy, Disguise, Gather Information, Intimidate, Perform, and Sense Motive checks.
You may select this study multiple times. Each time, the bonus increases by 1 (effectively, the bonus becomes scholar class level +1 per extra time you take this study).
Fabrication: You add you scholar class level as a bonus to all Craft skill checks. Objects you craft have their hardness increased by 1 point, and their HP increased by its normal hit points or 2 points, whichever is less. If you have 5 or more ranks in a Craft skill that allows you to produce weapons, you receive a +2 bonus on attack rolls for sunder attempts made against weapons you can make with that craft skill.
Focused Studies: You gain 4 ranks in a specific Knowledge skill. You may not exceed the normal maximum ranks for class skills using this study. If these bonus ranks would cause you to do so, you only gain ranks up to the maximum ranks allowed for your level. Any leftover points are held "in reserve" and granted to you automatically as you level up; these ranks do not count against his points gained for leveling up. You gain these ranks regardless of what class you choose when you level up.
Thus, if a 10th-level character with 11 ranks in Knowledge (Nature) chooses this study to gain 4 ranks in Knowledge (Nature), he only gains two bonus ranks enough to put him at 13, the maximum ranks he can have as a 10th-level character. When he reaches 11th level, he automatically gains one of the remaining ranks, again maxing out his Knowledge (Nature) skill, and he gains the last rank when he reaches 12th level.
You may select this study multiple times; however, you may not choose to take this skill for a given Knowledge skill if you still have ranks remaining "in reserve" for that Knowledge skill from a previous selection of this study. So, the character in the above example could not take this study for Knowledge (Nature) again until at least 13th level, as he still has points "in reserve" being allotted at 11th and 12th levels.
Weapon Studies: You must have the Weapon Focus feat to choose this study. When you choose this study, select one weapon you have Weapon Focus feat for. Duplicate the effects of any Weapon Focus or Weapon Specialization feats (including Greater, Superior, etc. versions) that you possess for that weapon for a similar weapon. In general, a "similar weapon" will be in the same weapon category (simple, martial, or exotic), takes the same amount of effort (light, one-handed, or two-handed) and deals the same damage type. However, exceptions exist; for example, a longsword and a short sword are reasonable candidates for this study, while a rapier and a heavy pick are likely sufficiently different to not qualify. Your DM can approve or reject any weapon.
You may select this study multiple times.
Spell Mastery: The scholar gains the Spell Mastery feat as a bonus feat.
You may select this study multiple times.

2008-03-30, 06:44 PM
Uh, dude, loremaster, it's in the SRD. This class is it, but 5 levels. The bad thing is you even new about it. Read through the thread On the Philosophy of Class Design, linked in my Handy Haversack.

Magnor Criol
2008-03-30, 08:07 PM
I realize it's quite similar to the Loremaster class. That's fine; there's a reason I'm not just using Loremaster, however. I'm not looking to create a groundbreaking new class here, just make a short, balanced PrC that focuses on knowledge - and also to test-fly a few abilities that I'm contemplating putting in a bigger class I'm doing later. Comments that simply say "this is like X class" don't help me - and, as you pointed out, I already knew about the class. Saying it's just like the class, in that case, is basically insulting me.

The problem with the Loremaster is that it practically requires straight Wizard levels to get into - certainly, if you want to get in before level 10, in any case. It also requires spellcasting to enter, and I'm not of the opinion that any learned individual must be able cast spells to be a, well, learned individual.

This class requires neither spellcasting nor so many feats to enter. The skill requirements set it at 5th level at the soonest, and anyone can get the two requisite feats by then, no matter their class, if they so chose.

This is also much more mundane-focused, giving abilities and bonuses to things that few other classes do - if only because few people are actually interested in advancing the abilities. Improvement of knowledge synergies isn't a widely called-for quality, but it's certainly someone who devotes themselves to the pursuit of knowledge would be able to do - if you've thrown yourself into a field of expertise, you'll be able to pull more out of it than many would. And so on.

Thanks for the link to that Philosophy of Class Design thread, though; it looks interesting.

2008-03-30, 08:39 PM
Those comments should help you: make it unlike x class. Read On the Philosophy of Class Design. It goes more in depth into the reasons you shouldn't do this. And I can enter Loremaster as a 7th level cleric: max know religion and planes, grab extend for free (planning domain), persist as level 1, DMM persist at level 3 or human or flaw 1, skill focus know religion at 6, heck, take Divine Oracle at level 6 and switch up know relig and DMM. Easy-peasy. Then the Archivist, Artificer, Druid, Sorcerer (with a variant, otherwise not until late), or really any caster, but it benefits those with int as a primary stat, so wizard is the obvious choice. It makes sense that they made it primarily a wizard class because of the int synergy.

Now, here's a suggestion then, since you don't think it should require spells: don't have spells yourself! If you're trying to eliminate that stereotype, don't play into it! Also, play a factotum. That's the class you want (Dungeonscape).

Finally, as if I haven't said it enough, make the class different, if you want it to stand out and have a chance. I should not be able to come up with a PrC that perfectly mimics what yours does (especially not better).

More concrete: don't have spell casting if you didn't want it in the first place. Also, Exemplar is a skill focused class (CAdv). Don't tread on its toes either. Read OtPoCD and you should have a better idea of what to do.

smart thog
2008-03-31, 01:21 PM
This has already been done. In hero's of the light, there is a 5 level Scholar prestige class.

2008-03-31, 03:03 PM
And what book would that be? I'm fairly certain it is 3rd party, since I have never heard of it and it doesn't have a setting tag.

2008-03-31, 03:44 PM
For that matter, if you don't mind the lack of spells (as you apparently don't), the Expert NPC class can be used for a scholar just fine. Just choose a bunch of Knowledge and related skills for your class skills.

2008-03-31, 04:56 PM
This class makes Diplomancers very happy. It's not a class skill, admittedly, but the Extended Synergy more than makes up for that- taking 5 levels of Scholar gives another +8 to Diplomacychecks on top of everything else.