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Thread: GitP PrC Contest XLI: Hybrid Theory IV!

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    Default Re: GitP PrC Contest XLI: Hybrid Theory IV!

    Midnight Shaman

    You find me where the roots
    Grow deep under cobblestones
    Where blades of grass
    Peek through the cracks
    Where thorns reach twisting
    Through bleached and drying bones
    Where people throw the the weight
    From off their backs

    Barbarians. Noble savages. The primitive Other that lives in harmony with nature, eschewing the urban society of civilized beings. Elves. Fey. Indigenous tribes. Some cultures fear and vilify them as incomprehensible savages from beyond the fringes of civilization. Others idolize them as preservers of ancient wisdom; spiritually-complete beings living in harmony with nature.

    In truth, even these societies shape the environment around them. Their population increases strain the resources of their surroundings. Their technological advances require more clear acreage for farming, more fuel for fires, more ore or clay or stone for tools and weapons. Even the most urban of peoples were once similarly in touch with the wilderness, but it is mortals’ nature to spread, consume, and build.

    In many cases, cultures that remain in tune with the land do so because of the influence of Midnight Shaman. Spirit Shaman whose connection to the spirits of nature is closer than most, Midnight Shaman are crucial servants of their people; they provide healing, council, protection, and aid. But they serve two masters. Where their people’s urge to spread, multiply, and build threatens to throw off the balance between mortals and nature, Midnight Shaman fight to restore the balance.

    In return for maintaining this difficult, in-between role, the spirits of nature grant Midnight Shaman fantastic powers. When a Midnight Shaman’s spirit guide returns from its daily negotiations, it brings with it portions of the nature spirits themselves in the form of incarnum; wisps of spiritual energy that the Midnight Shaman learns to shape into powerful weapons.

    Becoming a Midnight Shaman
    Only characters with at least three levels of Spirit Shaman can become Midnight Shaman. Most Midnight Shaman select the Shape Soulmeld feat and enter the prestige class as straight Spirit Shaman. Doing so maximizes their spellcasting and their chastise spirits ability, both crucial aspects of being Midnight Shaman. Others take a level or two of Totemist, gaining extra essentia and perhaps even an extra chakra bind in exchange for reduced spellcasting capacity.

    Hit Dice: d8

    Feats: At least one [incarnum] feat
    Skills: Knowledge (nature) 13 ranks, Knowledge (religion) 4 ranks, Spellcraft 4 ranks
    Spellcasting: Ability to cast 4th level divine spells
    Special: Chastise Spirits class ability
    Special: Must have received training from another Midnight Shaman OR been chosen by the spirits (usually in the form of a vision or quest of some kind) to take up the role
    Class Skills:
    The Midnight Shaman’s class skills are Concentration (con), Craft (int), Diplomacy (cha), Handle Animal (cha), Heal (wis), Knowledge (geography), Knowledge (history), Knowledge (local), Knowledge (nature), Listen (wis), Profession (wis), Ride (dex), Spellcraft (int), Spot (wis), Survival (wis), and Swim (str)
    Skill Points at Each Level: 4 + Int modifier

    Table 1: Midnight Shaman
    {table=head]Level|BAB|Fort|Ref|Will|Special|Soulmelds|Essentia|Chakra Binds|Spellcasting
    1|+0|+2|+0|+2|Chastise spirits, spirit chakra bind|1|1|1|+1 level of divine spellcasting
    2|+1|+3|+0|+3|Midnight chastise|2|2|1|--
    3|+2|+3|+1|+3|Chakra binds (crown, feet, hands)|2|3|1|+1 level of divine spellcasting
    4|+3|+4|+1|+4|Spirit reaver|3|4|1|--
    5|+3|+4|+1|+4|Midnight magic|3|5|1|+1 level of divine spellcasting
    6|+4|+5|+2|+5|Chakra binds (arms, brow, shoulders)|4|6|2|--
    7|+5|+5|+2|+5|Guide magic|4|7|2|+1 level of divine spellcasting
    8|+6|+6|+2|+6|Spirit reaver|4|8|2|--
    9|+6|+6|+3|+6|Chakra binds (throat, waist)|5|9|2|+1 level of divine spellcasting
    10|+7|+7|+3|+7|Perfect spirit bind|5|10|2|+1 level of divine spellcasting[/table]

    Class Features

    Weapon and Armor Proficiencies: A Midnight Shaman gains no additional proficiencies with weapons or armor.

    Spellcasting: As she gains levels, a Midnight Shaman gains new spells per day and spells retrieved as if she had gained a level in a divine spellcasting class she belonged to before adding the prestige class. She does not, however, gain any other benefit a character of that class would have gained, except for an increased effective level of spellcasting. If a character had more than one spellcasting class before becoming a Midnight Shaman, she must decide to which class she adds the new level for purposes of determining spells per day.

    Chastise Spirits (Su): Midnight Shaman class levels stack with Spirit Shaman class levels for the purpose of determining the damage dealt by the Midnight Shaman’s Chastise Spirits class ability and the save DC to resist the effects of that ability.

    Meldshaping: At 1st level, a Midnight Shaman gains the ability to shape a limited number of soulmelds outlined on Table 1 and drawn from the Totemist soulmeld list. She knows and can shape any soulmeld from this list. The difficulty class for a saving throw against a Midnight Shaman’s soulmeld is 10 + the number of points of essentia invested in the soulmeld + the Midnight Shaman’s Wisdom or Charisma modifier (chosen when she takes her first level in the prestige class and unchangeable thereafter). Her meldshaper level is equal to her class level.

    At 1st level, a Midnight Shaman also gains access to her personal pool of essentia, which she can invest in her soulmelds to increase their power. Her essentia pool’s size is shown on Table 1. Like other meldshapers, the essentia capacity of a Midnight Shaman’s soulmeld is determined by her character, based on Table 2-1 on p. 19 of Magic of Incarnum. She can reallocate her essentia as a swift action each round, as described on p. 50 of Magic of Incarnum.

    A Midnight Shaman shapes her soulmelds in the morning when she retrieves her daily spells and they remain until she unshapes them or replaces them with new soulmelds. She cannot shape new soulmelds until she retrieves spells. Because a Midnight Shaman’s soulmelds are a part of the bargain she strikes with the spirits, they have a misty, insubstantial appearance even when bound to a chakra.

    If a Midnight Shaman already has a meldshaping progression (such as from levels in a meldshaping class or from the Vow of Asceticism [incarnum] feat), the two progressions are tracked separately and do not overlap.

    Chakra Binds: At 1st level, a Midnight Shaman can bind her soulmelds to her chakras, as described in Magic of Incarnum. At 1st level she can have one chakra bind active. She can have two chakra binds active beginning at 6th level.

    At 1st level, a Midnight Shaman can bind a soulmeld to her spirit chakra (see below). At 3rd level, she can bind soulmelds to her crown, feet, and hands chakras. At 6th level she can bind soulmelds to her arms, brow, and shoulders chakras. At 9th level, she can bind soulmelds to her thoat and waist chakras.

    Spirit Chakra Bind: At 1st level, a Midnight Shaman gains access to her spirit chakra, a unique chakra that represents her connection to the spirits and the bargains she makes for power. This functions as a totemist’s totem chakra, including gaining an increased essentia capacity. It does not, however, grant the totem chakra’s meldshaper level increase or the double bind ability.

    Additionally, as long as a Midnight Shaman has a soulmeld bound to her spirit chakra, her natural attacks can affect incorporeal creatures normally and she uses her normal AC rather than her touch AC against incorporeal touch attacks, as the Ghost Touch magic weapon and armor properties. Additionally, for every point of essentia she has invested in the soulmeld bound to her spirit chakra, her natural attacks deal one extra point of damage to spirit creatures (see "What is a Spirit" sidebar on p. 17 of Complete Divine).

    If a Midnight Shaman has the ability to grant another creature access to her spirit guide (for example, through the Wandering Spirit feat), the other creature also gains the Ghost Touch property within the parameters outlined here while under the influence of her spirit guide. Its natural attacks affect incorporeal creatures normally and it uses its normal AC against incorporeal touch attacks.

    Midnight Chastise: At 2nd level, a Midnight Shaman gains the ability to invest essentia in her Chastise Spirits class ability. The damage her Chastise Spirits ability deals increases by +1d6 for every point of essentia she has invested in this ability. The ability’s save DC also increases by half the amount of essentia she has invested. A Midnight Shaman cannot invest essentia in this ability that exceeds the limit outlined on p. 19 of Magic of Incarnum.

    Spirit Reaver (Su): At 4th level, a Midnight Shaman’s natural attacks are better able to penetrate the defenses of spirit creatures, ignoring a number of points of damage reduction (regardless of type) equal to the amount of essentia she has invested in the soulmeld bound to her spirit chakra. This ability only affects the damage reduction of spirit creatures; other creatures’ damage reduction is not affected. At 8th level, she ignores a number of points of damage reduction equal to twice the amount of essentia she has invested in the soulmeld bound to her spirit chakra.

    Midnight Magic: At 5th level, a Midnight Shaman gains the ability to invest essentia in her spellcasting. When she retrieves her spells for the day, she can choose to invest a number of points of essentia in her spellcasting , retrieving a number of extra spell levels equal to the amount of essentia she invested. Once she invests this essentia, she cannot re-allocate it until she next retrieves spells. For example, Vishwamitra the Spirit Shaman 10/Midnight Shaman 5 invests two points of essentia in his spellcasting using this ability. He could choose to retrieve two extra 1st level spells or one extra 2nd level spell that day. A Midnight Shaman cannot invest essentia in this ability that exceeds the limit outlined on p. 19 of Magic of Incarnum.

    Guide Magic (Su): At 7th level, a Midnight Shaman gains the Guide Magic ability as a 10th level Spirit Shaman. If she already has this ability, her spirit guide can concentrate on two spells simultaneously, though the duration of each spell is halved when using this ability. The Midnight Shaman can still choose to have her spirit guide concentrate on a single spell for its full duration.

    Perfect Spirit Bind: At 10th level, a Midnight Shaman’s ability to use her spirit chakra has reached its peak. When she shapes her soulmelds for the day, she can choose one soulmeld to bind to her spirit chakra. This bind does not count against her limit for active chakra binds. For example, Vishwamitra the Spirit Shaman 10/Midnight Shaman 10 can normally have two active chakra binds. However, if she binds a soulmeld to her spirit chakra, it doesn’t count as an active bind for the purpose of this limit, allowing her to bind a total of three soulmelds; the one bound to her spirit chakra and two bound to other chakras. She cannot, however, unbind this soulmeld from her spirit chakra until she shapes new soulmelds the next day even if she has an ability that allows her to rebind her soulmelds.

    Playing a Midnight Shaman

    A Midnight Shaman can fill a number of rolls, depending on what soulmelds she has shaped, what chakra binds she has available, and what spells she has retrieved. In combat, she can be a potent secondary melee character or a fantastically mobile battlefield control caster. She can heal, summon, and buff as well as any druid all while falling back on her soulmelds if the going gets rough. Out of combat, she can function well in the wilderness and has a decent selection of Knowledge skills. She needs a moderate Charisma score and has Diplomacy as a class skill, so she can serve as a party face if need be. Any of these roles can be augmented by retrieved spells and soulmelds.

    Combat: A Midnight Shaman can fill two main combat roles, depending on which soulmelds she shapes. Soulmelds like Girallon Arms and Manticore Belt can allow the Midnight Shaman to become a secondary, or even primary, damage dealer; wading into melee with natural weapons or striking from range with tail spikes. The right spells can enhance this role, granting strength and toughness necessary to survive combat.

    On the other hand, soulmelds like Frost Helm, Pegasus Cloak, and Gorgon Mask can supplement the Midnight Shaman’s spellcasting and enable her to become a more effective caster. They can provide mobility and toughness. They can even provide ranged attacks that supplement spellcasting and enable her to become a more powerful battlefield control or debuffing caster. They can even help her assume other roles, like combat medic or summoner.

    Advancement: Ultimately, a Midnight Shaman’s spellcasting and Spirit Shaman abilities are likely to be more powerful than her meldshaping. With this in mind, the Midnight Shaman is well-served by choosing a prestige class that advances her spellcasting. A prestige class that also advances her chastise spirits ability, like Spirit Warrior or Servant of the Spirits can be even more effective.

    Resources: A Midnight Shaman’s resources depend on her relationship with her community. Some Midnight Shaman are important elders and spiritual leaders; they can call on all the resources of their tribe. Others are outsiders, operating solitarily to check the expansion of the people around them. These Midnight Shaman are more limited in their resources, relying on their own devices in most circumstances.

    Midnight Shaman in the World

    Sentient beings, whatever the nature of their societies, shape and are shaped by their environments. Midnight Shaman play a pivotal role in maintaining this balance, serving as a check on developments that might result in widespread environmental degradation. Some do so willingly; embracing their role as simultaneous social leaders and outcasts. Others chafe under the difficulty and isolation of the life chosen for them, only reluctantly standing in the way of their societies’ growth.

    Most Midnight Shaman come from tribal peoples, where social organizations are determined by complicated and ever-shifting networks of kinship and allegiance. In such societies, they often serve as leaders and elders. They can use their spirit-given magic to bring healing and blessing. They can defend against their tribes’ enemies with spell and soulmeld. But they can also stand in the way of progress. They are even, in some circumstances, forced to make very difficult and morally-challenging decisions when individuals threaten the balance between society and nature. Their role in their tribes is ambiguous; simultaneously blessing and cursing, healing and holding back.

    Daily Life: If they do their job well, Midnight Shaman live much like those around them. They serve their community as protectors and healers, using their spirit-given magic and meldshaping to bless and guard their tribes. But they are also constantly wary for threats to their environment and act ruthlessly if need be. In such circumstances, their days are dominated by tense negotiations or judicious applications of force.

    Notables: The most notable Midnight Shaman remain unsung. Societies, even idealized, bucolic tribal groups, tend not to make legends of checks on their growing power. So few Midnight Shaman have gone down in history. And that’s as it should be. The few Midnight Shaman whose names are remembered are famous for their notoriety. Some avoided their duty for too long, fought doomed battles against the tide of urbanization, and are remembered in lore as villains opposed to peace and prosperity. Others fought with too much zeal, becoming boogeymen in the legends of neighboring civilizations.

    Organizations: Each Midnight Shaman has his or her own area of responsibility. They only gather in large numbers when an overwhelming threat to the natural world looms on the horizon; a powerful empire that seeks to clear entire forests for wood and agricultural land or an evil necromancer whose zombie swarms threaten to turn all living beings into shambling monstrosities. In these situations, the spirits themselves often intervene, calling a Midnight Conclave of all Midnight Shaman to join forces and confront the problem.

    NPC Reactions

    Some NPCs react positively to Midnight Shaman, particularly those with strong ties to the natural world or a tribal society. They see Midnight Shaman as kindred spirits and guardians; tireless champions of balance between social and natural worlds. They are inclined to aid Midnight Shaman, providing support, succor, and information. Others might even fight alongside Midnight Shaman.

    Others, particularly members of settled, urban civilizations, view Midnight Shaman more negatively. They see Midnight Shaman as implacable opponents to the spread of the enlightenment, peace, and comfort their civilization brings. They view Midnight Shaman and the tribal societies that produce them as backward, savage holdouts against the inevitability of progress.

    There are also members of urban civilizations who idolize Midnight Shamans and tribal cultures. They see them as noble and pure, lacking the corruption and decadence brought by the wealth and complexity of urban life. These people, however, are unlikely to actually aid or support a Midnight Shaman. For them, Midnight Shaman are the stuff of parlor conversation and thrilling tales, not flesh and blood mortals. To meet a Midnight Shaman forces them to confront the superficiality of their picture of “noble savages,” an experience few relish. They are initially excited and ask hundreds of questions, but their interest wanes quickly as the reality of a Midnight Shaman doesn’t compare to the idealized archetype from their favorite stories.

    Midnight Shaman in the Game

    Adaptation: How a DM introduces Midnight Shaman into the game depends on the nature of the party. A more wilderness-focused party could easily based in an area where Midnight Shaman have substantial influence; they fold well into any non-urban society, particularly one associated with an area near where wilderness and settled areas meet. Such a party would have easy access to experienced Midnight Shaman who can train PCs, provide adventure hooks, or serve as allies. Alternatively, the party could be allied with individuals or factions within these societies that want to promote development and urbanization. In this case, the Midnight Shaman might be rivals for influence or enemies of progress.

    A party based in an urban civilization would probably encounter Midnight Shaman in very different ways. They might be advanced scouts ahead of an invading army or settlers and frontiersmen looking to expand the reach of their society into savage lands. They might be explorers seeking to open trade routes to distant kingdoms, or agents of logging companies looking for new sources of timber. Either way, they pose a threat to the natural order and might encounter Midnight Shaman as deadly enemies. They could also be idealistic urban youth striking out from the banality of daily life in search of adventure and transcendental experiences in nature. In this case, a Midnight Shaman might be a role model or unexpected savior.

    Encounters: Most encounters with Midnight Shaman will take place in the wilderness. Theirs is not a rejection of civilization, merely a belief in balance between settled and wild lands. PCs who threaten pristine wildernesses might arouse their ire, but they could also be much-needed allies for PCs just passing through. Only in the most desperate circumstances would a Midnight Shaman take the fight to the cities. But then, watch out!

    The Wild Fringe: EL 20

    Long ago, an empire arose. It built colossal cities that grew and flourished. As they grew, they spread; consuming the wild lands between them until the cities grew together, merging into one massive megalopolis that stretched over almost the entire continent. Magic sustained these cities, providing the food people ate, the clothes they wore, and the materials with which they built their houses.

    The remnants of the Shaka tribe live in the only place not enveloped by these monstrosities; a cold and forbidding rocky peninsula and island chain far to the south. Only a few clans remain; the others were subsumed by the spreading empire. The tribe's shaman didn't realize the threat until it was too powerful to resist; they either died in ignominious failure or led their people to the islands.

    Vishwamitra is the descendent of one of those shaman. Early in his life, he felt the call of the spirits and has spent years honing his abilities and leading his people, hoping to push against the endless cities and bring green and growth back to the world.

    PCs can confront Vishwamitra in several different ways. He might make a stealthy foray into the city and encounter them as they're going about unrelated business. He might also conduct a raid on an outlying neighborhood, drawing the PCs into a fight to drive him away. He might even be an ally, serving as a resource or inspiration for disaffected city dwellers. The PCs might even be members of the Shaka tribe given special tasks by their spiritual leader.

    Lawful Good Shifter (longtooth) Spirit Shaman 10/Midnight Shaman 10
    Init +4, Senses Listen +18, Spot +18
    Languages Common, Sylvan
    AC 29 (+10 exalted, +4 Dex, +3 deflection, +2 natural), touch 17, flat-footed 25
    hp 133 hp (20d8+40)
    Fort +19, Ref +13, Will +24
    Speed 30 ft (6 squares)
    Melee 2 claws +25 (1d4+4) OR touch spell +21
    Ranged ranged touch spell +21
    Base Atk +14/+9/+4, Grp +14
    Special Abilities Spirit Guide, Wild Empathy, Chastise Spirits (20d6, DC 27, 10/day), Detect Spirits, Blessing of the Spirits, Follow the Guide, Ghost Warrior, Warding of the Spirits, Spirit Form (1/day), Guide Magic, Spirit Chakra Bind, Midnight Chastise, Chakra Binds (crown, feet, hands, arms brow, shoulders, throat, waist), Spirit Reaver, Midnight Magic, Perfect Chakra Bind, Endure Elements, Mind Shielding, DR 10/evil, Greater Sustenance, Energy Resistance 15 (acid, cold, electricity, fire, sonic), Freedom of Movement, Regeneration, True Seeing
    Abilities Str 10, Dex 18, Con 15, Int 12, Wis 24, Cha 24
    Skills Balance +6, Diplomacy +27, Knowledge (nature) +21, Knowledge (religion) +9, Listen +18, Spellcraft +21, Spot +18, Survival +27, Tumble +6
    Feats Vulnerable (flaw), Sacred Vow, Vow of Poverty, Vow of Asceticism (psionic), Extend Spell, Nymph's Kiss, Extra Spell Retrieved, Touch of Golden Ice, Intuitive Attack, Midnight Metamagic, Sanctify Natural Attack, Trust in your Guide, Exalted Guardian, Lightness of Body, Azure Talent, Animal Friend, Extra Shifter Trait (longstrider), Lightness of Spirit, Servant of the Heavens
    Typical Spells Retrieved
    • 0 (6/day, 3 retrieved) - Cure Minor Wounds, Detect Magic, Know Direction
    • 1st (8/day, 3 retrieved) - Entangle, Faerie Fire, Produce Flame
    • 2nd (8/day, 4 retrieved) - Gust of Wind, Heat Metal, Soften Earth and Stone, Summon Nature's Ally II
    • 3rd (8/day, 3 retrieved) - Call Lightning, Cure Moderate Wounds, Wind Wall
    • 4th (7/day, 3 retrieved) - Dispel Magic, Rusting Grasp, Summon Nature's Ally IV
    • 5th (7/day, 3 retrieved) - Baleful Polymorph, Cure Critical Wounds, Transmute Rock to Mud
    • 6th (7/day, 2 retrieved) - Antilife Shell, Wall of Stone
    • 7th (6/day, 2 retrieved) - Summon Nature's Ally VII, Transmute Metal to Wood
    • 8th (3/day, 1 retrieved) - Earthquake

    Psionics - 17/day, 33 augmentation points
    • 1st - Expansion, Far Hand, Force Screen, My Light
    • 2nd - Hustle, Suggestion (psionic)
    • 3rd - Telekinetic Thrust, Ubiquitous Vision
    • 4th - Dimension Door, Metamorphosis, Mindwipe

    Typical Soulmelds Shaped - 10 essentia
    • Manticore Belt - waist, spirit chakra bind
    • Displacer Mantle - shoulder chakra bind
    • Dread Carapace - feet chakra bind
    • Lammasu Mantle - arms
    • Totem Avatar - heart
    Last edited by Mephibosheth; 2013-06-16 at 07:58 PM.
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