Home >Variant Rules >Variant Classes >

Prestigious Character Classes




Prestigious Character Classes

A number of the standard character classes represent very specific (if not always specialized) roles in the game. These classes-the bard, the paladin, and the ranger-might require special training to enter, training that can be mimicked by transforming these classes into prestige classes.

With this variant, these classes become off limits for starting (1st-level) characters. Thus, the three prestige classes presented below represent elite character archetypes, roles that can only he achieved through training in specific areas of knowledge and expertise. In each case, the prestige class recreates the feel of the character class, but with slight variations. Each class has fifteen levels, allowing a character who enters at 6th level to continue along that path all the way up to 20th level.

If you use any of the variant classes presented here, the standard version of the class should be unavailable. For instance, you shouldn’t include both the standard paladin character class and the paladin prestige class in the same game.

Unique Spells

The bard, paladin, and ranger spell lists contain a number of spells that don’t appear on other classes’ spell lists. In general, any character who enters one of these prestige classes should gain access to spells unique to that class’s spell list, at the same levels indicated for the standard class. At the game master’s discretion, spells unique to that class’s spell list found in other books may also be available, but on a case by case basis. The game master may require such spells to be researched or learned specifically by the character, rather than simply making them freely available.

Prestige Bard

The prestige bard is a jack-of-all-trades, master of none. She relies on wit, agility, and no small amount of magic to see her through her daring adventures.

Virtually all characters who become prestige bards are already multiclass characters, usually mixing rogue and wizard or rogue and sorcerer. Some dabble in barbarian or fighter as well, depending on their social backgrounds.

NPC prestige bards may serve as heralds, tale-tellers, spies, ne’er-do-wells, or all of the above. Some work in troupes, others form colleges, but most share a strong streak of independence.

Compared to the standard character class, the prestige bard gains her bardic music abilities later in her career, but has a greater range of spells available.

Hit Die

d6.

Requirements

To qualify to become a prestige bard, a character must fulfill all the following criteria.

Alignment

Any nonlawful.

Base Attack Bonus

+3.

Skills

Knowledge (any one) 4 ranks, Perform (any one) 8 ranks.

Special

Ability to cast at least one 1st-level arcane spell from each of the divination, enchantment, and illusion schools.

Class Skills

The prestige bard’s class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Appraise (Int), Balance (Dex), Bluff (Cha), Climb (Str), Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Decipher Script (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Disguise (Cha), Escape Artist (Dex), Gather Information (Cha), Hide (Dex), Jump (Str), Knowledge (all skills, taken individually) (Int), Listen (Wis), Move Silently (Dex), Perform (Cha), Profession (Wis), Sense Motive (Wis), Sleight of Hand (Dex), Speak Language (None), Spellcraft (Int), Swim (Str), Tumble (Dex), and Use Magic Device (Cha).

Skill Points at Each Level

6 + Int modifier.

Table: The Prestige Bard
Level Base
Attack
Bonus
Fort
Save
Ref
Save
Will
Save
Special Spells per Day
1st +0 +0 +2 +2 Bardic music (countersong, fascinate,
inspire courage +1), bardic knowledge
2nd +1 +0 +3 +3 +1 level of existing arcane spellcasting class
3rd +2 +1 +3 +3 Inspire competence
4th +3 +1 +4 +4 +1 level of existing arcane spellcasting class
5th +3 +1 +4 +4 Inspire courage +2 +1 level of existing arcane spellcasting class
6th +4 +2 +5 +5 +1 level of existing arcane spellcasting class
7th +5 +2 +5 +5 Inspire greatness
8th +6 +2 +6 +6 +1 level of existing arcane spellcasting class
9th +6 +3 +6 +6 Song of freedom +1 level of existing arcane spellcasting class
10th +7 +3 +7 +7 Inspire courage +3 +1 level of existing arcane spellcasting class
11th +8 +3 +7 +7 Inspire heroics +1 level of existing arcane spellcasting class
12th +9 +4 +8 +8 +1 level of existing arcane spellcasting class
13th +9 +4 +8 +8 Mass suggestion
14th +10 +4 +9 +9 +1 level of existing arcane spellcasting class
15th +11 +5 +9 +9 Inspire courage +4 +1 level of existing arcane spellcasting class

Class Features

All the following are class features of the prestige bard class.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency

As the standard bard. A prestige bard can cast any arcane spells in light armor without the normal arcane spell failure chance.

Spellcasting

When a new prestige bard level is gained (except at 1st, 3rd, 7th, and 13th level), the character gains new spells per day (and spells known, if applicable) as if she had also gained a level in whatever arcane spellcasting class she belonged to before she added the prestige class.

A prestige bard casts arcane spells from the schools of divination, enchantment, and illusion at +2 caster level. She casts arcane spells from the schools of evocation and necromancy at -2 caster level.

Bardic Knowledge (Ex)

As the standard bard ability of the same name.

Bardic Music

As the standard bard ability of the same name, except that the minimum number of ranks in Perform required is increased by 5 (8 ranks for countersong, fascinate, or inspire courage; 11 ranks for inspire competence, and so forth).

Prestige Paladin

After training in the arts of combat and the mysteries of the divine, the prestige paladin is anointed as a holy warrior dedicated to the protection of law and goodness.

Most prestige paladins are clerics or fighter/clerics, though rare cleric/monks might pursue this path as well.

NPC prestige paladins usually belong to a holy order dedicated to a lawful good deity. Some are lone wanderers, dealing out justice while walking the earth.

Compared to the standard paladin, the prestige paladin gives up a small amount of combat prowess in exchange for a larger spell list and a higher top end of his spellcasting powers. Also, his class features aren’t quite as powerful as the standard paladin’s as a result of his reduced paladin class level.

Hit Die

d10.

Requirements

To qualify to become a prestige paladin, a character must fulfill all the following criteria.

Alignment

Lawful good.

Base Attack Bonus

+4.

Skills

Knowledge (religion) 2 ranks, Knowledge (nobility and royalty) 2 ranks, Ride 4 ranks.

Feats

Mounted Combat.

Spellcasting

Ability to cast protection from evil as a divine spell.

Special

Ability to turn undead.

Class Skills

The prestige paladin’s class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Handle Animal (Cha), Heal (Wis), Knowledge (nobility and royalty) (Int), Knowledge (religion) (Int), Profession (Wis), Ride (Dex), and Sense Motive (Wis).

Skill Points at Each Level

2 + Int modifier.

Table: The Prestige Paladin
Level Base
Attack
Bonus
Fort
Save
Ref
Save
Will
Save
Special Spells per Day
1st +1 +2 +0 +0 Detect evil, smite evil 1/day, turn undead +1 level of existing divine spellcasting class
2nd +2 +3 +0 +0 Divine grace, lay on hands, special mount
3rd +3 +3 +1 +1 Aura of courage, divine health +1 level of existing divine spellcasting class
4th +4 +4 +1 +1 Remove disease 1 /week
5th +5 +4 +1 +1 Smite evil 2/day +1 level of existing divine spellcasting class
6th +6 +5 +2 +2
7th +7 +5 +2 +2 +1 level of existing divine spellcasting class
8th +8 +6 +2 +2 Remove disease 2/week
9th +9 +6 +3 +3 +1 level of existing divine spellcasting class
10th +10 +7 +3 +3 Smite evil 3/day
11th +11 +7 +3 +3 +1 level of existing divine spellcasting class
12th +12 +8 +4 +4 Remove disease 3/week
13th +13 +8 +4 +4 +1 level of existing divine spellcasting class
14th +14 +9 +4 +4
15th +15 +9 +5 +5 Smite evil 4 /day +1 level of existing divine spellcasting class

Class Features

All the following are class features of the prestige paladin class.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency

As the standard paladin.

Spells per Day

A prestige paladin’s training focuses on divine spellcasting. At every odd numbered level reached, the prestige paladin gains new spells per day as if he had also gained a level in whatever divine spellcasting class he belonged to before he added the prestige class.

Detect Evil (Sp)

As the standard paladin ability of the same name.

Smite Evil (Su)

As the standard paladin ability of the same name.

Turn Undead (Su)

For the purpose of determining his ability to turn undead, a prestige paladin’s class levels stack with his levels from all his other classes from which he has gained the ability to turn undead. For instance, a 4th-level fighter/1st-level cleric/2nd-level prestige paladin would turn undead as a 3rd-level cleric.

Divine Grace (Su)

As the standard paladin ability of the same name.

Lay on Hands (Su)

As the standard paladin ability of the same name, except that the total number of hit points of damage that a prestige paladin can heal per day is equal to his Charisma modifier x (his paladin level + 3). For example, a 3rd-level prestige paladin with a Charisma of 16 (+3 modifier) can heal 18 points of damage per day.

Special Mount (Sp)

As the standard paladin ability of the same name, except treat the prestige paladin’s effective level as three higher when calculating the mount’s bonus Hit Dice, powers, and so forth.

Aura of Courage (Su)

As the standard paladin ability of the same name.

Divine Health (Ex)

As the standard paladin ability of the same name.

Remove Disease (Sp)

As the standard paladin ability of the same name, except that a prestige paladin gains the ability at 4th level and can use this ability one additional time per week for every four levels gained thereafter (twice at 8th and three times at 12th).

Code of Conduct and Associates

These restrictions are the same as those described for the standard paladin class.

Ex-Paladins

Same as for the standard paladin, but with no restrictions on multiclassing.

Prestige Ranger

The prestige ranger navigates the dark forests, craggy mountains, or desert wastes of her homeland with unparalleled skill. She becomes one with nature while remaining a deadly hunter.

Most prestige rangers are former druids, though some multiclass in barbarian, fighter, or rogue. Some replace druid levels with cleric levels, selecting the Animal domain. If your campaign uses the wilderness rogue, that class also provides a good starting point for a would-be prestige ranger.

NPC prestige rangers are typically loners, trusting few but themselves while on the hunt. Some form loose affiliations of like-minded individuals, occasionally relying on each other for assistance in dire times.

Compared to the standard ranger, the prestige ranger gives up immediate access to some of her iconic abilities (such as favored enemy) by having to qualify for the class, but has a much wider selection of spells.

Hit Die

d8.

Requirements

To qualify to become a prestige ranger, a character must fulfill all the following criteria.

Base Attack Bonus

+4.

Skills

Knowledge (nature) 2 ranks, Survival 4 ranks.

Feats

Endurance, Track, and either Rapid Shot or Two-Weapon Fighting.

Spellcasting

Must be able to cast calm animals as a divine spell.

Class Skills

The prestige ranger’s class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Climb (Str), Concentration (Con) Craft (Int), Handle Animal (Cha), Heal (Wis), Hide (Dex), Jump (Str), Knowledge (dungeoneering) (Int), Knowledge (geography) (Int), Knowledge (nature) (Int), Listen (Wis), Move Silently (Dex), Profession (Wis), Ride (Dex), Search (Int), Spot (Wis), Survival (Wis), Swim (Str), and Use Rope (Dex).

Skill Points at Each Level

6 + Int modifier.

Table: The Prestige Ranger
Level Base
Attack
Bonus
Fort
Save
Ref
Save
Will
Save
Special Spells per Day
1st +1 +2 +2 +0 1st favored enemy, animal companion,
wild empathy
2nd +2 +3 +3 +0 Bonus feat, woodland stride +1 level of existing divine spellcasting class
3rd +3 +3 +3 +1 Swift tracker
4th +4 +4 +4 +1 +1 level of existing divine spellcasting class
5th +5 +4 +4 +1 2nd favored enemy
6th +6 +5 +5 +2 +1 level of existing divine spellcasting class
7th +7 +5 +5 +2 Bonus feat
8th +8 +6 +6 +2 +1 level of existing divine spellcasting class
9th +9 +6 +6 +3 Camouflage
10th +10 +7 +7 +3 3rd favored enemy +1 level of existing divine spellcasting class
11th +11 +7 +7 +3
12th +12 +8 +8 +4 +1 level of existing divine spellcasting class
13th +13 +8 +8 +4 Hide in plain sight
14th +14 +9 +9 +4 +1 level of existing divine spellcasting class
15th +15 +9 +9 +5 4th favored enemy

Class Features

All the following are class features of the prestige ranger class.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency

As the standard ranger.

Animal Companion (Ex)

At 1st level, a prestige ranger gains an animal companion. This is identical to the standard druid ability of the same name.

If a prestige ranger already has an animal companion from another class, the character’s prestige ranger levels stack with those class levels for purposes of determining the companion’s abilities.

Favored Enemy (Ex)

As the standard ranger ability of the same name.

Wild Empathy (Ex)

As the standard ranger ability of the same name.

If a prestige ranger already has the wild empathy ability from another class, the character’s prestige ranger levels stack with those class levels when making animal empathy checks.

Bonus Feat

At 2nd level, a prestige ranger gains either Manyshot or Improved Two-Weapon Fighting as a bonus feat. She must have the Rapid Shot feat to select Manyshot as a bonus feat, and she must have Two-Weapon Fighting to select Improved Two-Weapon Fighting as a bonus feat. However, the ranger need not have any of the other normal prerequisites for the bonus feat selected.

At 7th level, a prestige ranger gains either Improved Precise Shot or Greater Two-Weapon Fighting as a bonus feat. She must have the Manyshot and Rapid Shot feats to select Improved Precise Shot as a bonus feat, and she must have Two-Weapon Fighting and Improved Two-Weapon Fighting to select Greater Two-Weapon Fighting as a bonus feat. However, the ranger need not have any of the other normal prerequisites for the bonus feat selected.

Woodland Stride (Ex)

As the standard ranger ability of the same name.

Camouflage (Ex)

As the standard ranger ability of the same name.

Hide in Plain Sight (Ex)

As the standard ranger ability of the same name.