Chapter 3: The Backgrounds
Every character has a story of some sort, tales of their homeland, their past, their interests, their goals. Backgrounds represent these elements in some way. Exactly how they represent those things is left largely in the hands of the player, but each presented background has a small story hook that can be used to get started. Perhaps the chosen background represents the character's childhood and the skills he learned from his parents, or perhaps it is a reflection of his culture or the influence of his ancestors. Maybe it's just his own personality and desires. While a character may have a wide and varied story, each character should select only one background to gain its benefits.
While each background does add a small power boost to the character, the goal of backgrounds is to add flavor, diversity, and uniqueness. In the hands of the DM, whole regions of NPCs, such as a large area of nomads, might have the same background or perhaps only the ruling family has a unique background, representing traces of draconic blood running through their veins. Ideally, only backgrounds appropriate to your particular campaign setting should be used for player characters, but that is up to the DM.
SpoilerApprenticeSpoilerYou have served as apprentice to an accomplished spellcaster for a few years. Through your service, you have picked up a little knowledge and a minor knack for magic.
Special: If you have levels in a Magic class, you must choose the ability score related to that class. These spells are added to your list of spells known. You know and can prepare and cast these spells from memory and do not need to copy them into a spellbook if you use one. These spells do not count against your normal number of spells known. You can still cast these cantrips 1+mod times per day without counting against your normal spellcasting limits.
- You gain Spellcraft as a class skill if you do not already have it.
- Choose either Intelligence, Wisdom, or Charisma as the focus on this ability. You learn three cantrips from any one spell list of your choice. You may cast them a total number of times per day equal to 1 + the chosen ability's modifier. Any save DCs are based on the chosen ability modifier.
AristocratSpoilerYou were born into a family of greater means and political connection than most.
- You gain Diplomacy as a class skill if you do not already have it.
- You gain a +2 circumstance bonus on Diplomacy and Knowledge (nobility and royalty) checks.
ArtisanSpoilerYou are quite skilled in a single craft skill. Perhaps you were trained by an artist or have a great appreciation of work well done or maybe you're just a dwarf.
- Choose a single Craft skill. You permanently gain that Craft skill as a class skill if you do not already have it.
- When making Craft checks with the chosen skill, you gain a +2 circumstance bonus.
- You gain a 10% discount on materials when crafting items using that Craft skill.
Close to the LandSpoilerYou come from a family of rangers or druids or have some other close ties to the land. Whenever you're in your homeland, the familiar surroundings enable you to perform better than you normally would.
Special: If you have the Favored Environment ability and choose the same environment, these bonuses stack.
- You gain Survival as a class skill if you do not already have it.
- Choose one of the following environments: Aquatic, Desert, Forest, Hills, Jungle, Marsh, Mountain, Plains, Tundra, or Underground.
While in the chosen environment, you gain a +1 circumstance bonus to Hide, Knowledge (nature or dungeoneering), Listen, Move Silently, Spot, and Survival checks.
Fast HealerSpoilerWhether you've been blessed by the gods or have a bit of troll In your bloodline, you heal at an accelerated rate.
- Your rate of natural healing is doubled.
- A number of times per day equal to your Constitution modifier (minimum 1), you may spend a full-round action to heal a number of hit points equal to your Constitution modifier + your character level (minimum 1). This does not provoke attacks of opportunity. You may perform no other actions during your turn except to take a 5-foot step.
LuckySpoilerFortune smiles upon you.
- Once per day per two character levels, rounded down, you may reroll any one failed ability check, skill check, attack roll, or saving throw.
Military TrainingSpoilerYou were trained as a member of a military or law enforcement group, or perhaps you are just from a very martial society. You have learned to more efficiently wear armor and handle weapons.
Special: Any class or archetype features you have which are restricted by armor may be used in one category heavier armor, i.e. abilities that can only be used unarmored may now be used in light armor, light in medium, and medium in heavy.
- You gain proficiency with one martial weapon of your choice and gain a +1 circumstance bonus to attack rolls with that type of weapon.
- You are able to wear heavier armor than normal with minimal hindrance. You gain proficiency with one specific type of armor one category heavier than you currently have, e.g. if you are proficient only with light armor, you can choose to become proficient with chainmail or breastplate.
ProfessionalSpoilerYou are adept at running a business and earning income. Whether from a family of merchants or just possess good money sense, you seem to earn more than other people.
- You gain Profession as a class skill if you do not already have it.
- When using the Craft or Profession skill to earn a wage, you gain a +5 circumstance bonus on the check and make the full total in gold per week instead of only half your total check result. If you already make your full total because of some other ability, you gain no additional benefit.
Skilled StudentSpoilerYou have a great aptitude for learning, or perhaps you simply had overzealous parents pushing your studies or training.
- You gain 6 bonus skill points at 1st level.
- You gain 1 additional skill point at 2nd through 6th level.
Chapter 4: Feats
Combat, Magic, and Skillful Feats
Combat feats require a certain level of training and prowess in battle beyond simple weapons use, Skillful feats require certain levels of insight and skill training, and Magic feats require a magical understanding beyond most. As such, these feats are only available to characters who have levels in the appropriate class.
As a spellcaster's knowledge of magic grows, she can learn to cast spells in ways different from the ways in which the spells were originally designed or learned. Preparing and casting a spell in such a way is harder than normal but, thanks to metamagic feats, at least it is possible. Spells modified by a metamagic feat are more difficult to cast, incurring an additional cost to the caster. All metamagic feats have a cost listed in the feat description. The exact nature of the cost depends on spellcaster.
SpoilerThe magus prepares his spells in advance. During preparation, he chooses which spells to prepare with metamagic feats. These spells use a spell slot higher than normal. This does not change the level of the spell, so the DC for saving throws against it does not go up. When preparing a spell with metamagic, the spell counts as a spell a number of levels higher equal to the metamagic cost. A magus can add as many metamagic feats to a single spell as he chooses, provided he has a high enough spell slot available to cast the modified spell.
SpoilerThe augur chooses spells as she casts them. She can choose when she casts her spells whether to apply her metamagic feats to improve them. The improved spell costs an additional number of motes to cast equal to the metamagic cost. In addition, any spell improved with a metamagic feat takes longer to cast. If a spell's normal casting time is 1 swift action, it is increased to 1 standard action. If the spellís normal casting time is 1 move or 1 standard action, casting a metamagic version is a full-round action. For a spell with a longer casting time, it takes an extra full-round action to cast the spell. An augur can add as many metamagic feats to a spell as she chooses, provided she can spend enough motes to cast the modified spell.
SpoilerA spellblade always has access to his magic, so metamagic feats apply a little differently to spells he casts. Using a metamagic feat puts a strain on the spellblade, increasing the time he must wait before he can cast that spell again. He must normally wait 1d4 rounds after casting a spell before being able to cast it again. Applying a metamagic feat to the spell increases the time he must wait by 4 rounds for each point of the metamagic cost. A spellblade may only ever apply a single metamagic feat when he casts a spell.
feat prerequisites benefit Combat Focus Int, Wis, or Cha 13 Access to Focus Points, +2 on one save Combat Lunge Combat Focus Spend Focus Points to gain reach Focused Body Combat Focus Gain bonus hit points Focused Critical Combat Focus Spend Focus Points to confirm criticals Meditative Focus Combat Focus, character level 6th Meditate to regain Focus Points Unerring Strike Combat Focus, character level 3rd Spend Focus Points to reroll an attack Perfect Strike Combat Focus, Unerring Strike, character level 3rd Spend Focus Points to roll twice before an attack Extra Knack 3rd Knack class feature Gain an additional Knack Knack Generalist 2nd Knack class feature Gain access to an additional type of knacks.
SpoilerCombat Focus [Combat, Focus]SpoilerTrained warriors often enter a state of heightened awareness and achieve near superhuman levels of strength, endurance, and skill.
Prerequisites: Int, Wis, or Cha 13
Benefit: You gain access to Focus Points, which may be spent on a variety of abilities. Upon taking this feat, you immediately gain a number of Focus Points equal to your Hit Dice. The maximum number of Focus Points you may have at one time is equal to your Hit Dice. You must expend at least one Focus Point to activate Focus abilities, though some abilities may require more than one.
Once per encounter, you may spend 1 Focus Point as a swift or immediate action to gain a +2 bonus to either Fortitude, Reflex, or Will saves until your next turn. If you have at least four Focus feats, this bonus increases to +4.
Focus Points do not renew automatically. In order to gain additional Focus Points, you must perform one of four actions listed below.
- Slaying a Foe: When you successfully attack an enemy and reduce his hit points to 0 or lower, you gain one Focus Points.
- Making Critical Hits: When you confirm a critical hit against an enemy, you gain 1 Focus Points.
- Successful Combat Maneuvers: When you make a successful bull rush, disarm, feint, grapple, overrun, sunder, or trip attack, you gain 1 Focus Points.
- Defending an Ally: Anytime you prevent an attack against an ally, you gain 1 Focus Points. Such actions include, but are not limited to, disrupting a spell cast against an ally, stopping an enemy charging at an ally, using the In Harm's Way ability. Simply negating the damage or effect is not sufficient. The attack itself must be prevented from occurring.
You do not ever gain Focus Points for attacks against helpless creatures, creatures with fewer than half your Hit Dice, or attacks against allies and you do not gain Focus Points from attacks on which you spent Focus Points.
In addition, other feats or abilities may grant Focus Points or provide additional ways to gain Focus Points.
Combat Lunge [Combat, Focus]SpoilerWith a quick thrust, you attack foes seemingly out of reach.
Prerequisites: Combat Focus
Benefit: You may spend 1 Focus Point as part of a melee attack to increase your reach by 5 ft on that attack.
Extra Knack [Skillful]SpoilerYou are able to learn one additional knack
Prerequisites: 3rd Knack class feature
Benefit: When you take this feat, you gain one additional Knack for which you meet the prerequisites.
Focused Body [Combat, Focus]SpoilerThrough intense focus, you ignore potentially fatal wounds.
Prerequisites: Combat Focus
Benefit: When you take this feat, you gain 2 hit points for each Focus feat you have (including this one). Whenever you take a new Focus feat, you gain 2 more hit points.
Focused Critical [Combat, Focus]SpoilerA trained warrior can make any opening into a lethal wound.
Prerequisites: Combat Focus
Benefit: After rolling a critical threat, you may spend 2 Focus Points as a swift action to automatically confirm the critical.
Knack Generalist [Skillful]SpoilerYour knacks are less specialized that most Experts.
Prerequisites: 2nd Knack class feature
Benefit: Select an Expert specialization you do not already possess as the target of this feat. Any knacks you gain in the future may be selected from the selected specialization in addition to your originally chosen one. You gain no other specialization benefits from this feat.
Meditative Focus [Combat, Focus]SpoilerThrough calm reflection and mental discipline, you have learned to become more focused in battle.
Prerequisites: Combat Focus, character level 6th
Benefit: After resting for 8 hours, you may spend 15 minutes meditating to regain one half your Hit Dice in Focus Points. You may not exceed your maximum.
Special: Upon gaining this feat, you immediately gain 1 Focus Point.
Perfect Strike [Combat, Focus]SpoilerPausing for an instant to be certain of your attack, you more easily land a telling blow.
Prerequisites: Combat Focus, Unerring Strike, character level 3rd
Benefit: You may spend 2 Focus Points as a free action before making an attack roll. Roll twice for the attack and use the better result.
Special: If either roll threatens a critical, the other roll serves as the confirmation roll. Do not roll again to confirm the critical.
Unerring Strike [Combat, Focus]SpoilerThrough skill and quick reflexes, a missed attack can be turned into an opening for a hit.
Prerequisites: Combat Focus, character level 3rd
Benefit: After making an attack roll with a melee attack, you may spend 2 Focus Points as a swift action to reroll that attack. You must use the second result, even if it is worse.