Ill Winds Over Verbobonc
The Flanaess is a polytheistic land, full of competing pantheons predicated not just on cultural mores but also racial heritage. In the Kingdom of Celene, for instance, minority populations of humans, gnomes, and halflings worship Suel deities, the Lords of the Golden Halls, and Yondalla’s Children, but the Seldarine reigns supreme. Excepting the Empire of Iuz, where Old Wicked tolerates few rivals, orcs tend to cleave to their own gods, while goblinoids and giants stick to theirs.
It is accepted custom for most folk of the land to offer propitiation to any number of gods while favouring a single one above all, but in some lands a single faith has grown particularly strong at the expense of their rivals. In the Theocracy of the Pale, few would dare to invoke a god other than Pholtus, while even amidst the far more tolerant Archclericy of Veluna the name of Rao is on nearly ever mortal’s lips, and other religions are relegated to distant pretenders. Some gods such as Boccob, Ehlonna, Saint Cuthbert and (regrettably) the aforementioned Iuz have transcended cultural and racial ties, gaining a special status by virtue of their exclusivity or inclusivity.
In every land, faiths feel the pressure to strengthen their position. They organise their churches along strict hierarchies, raising great temples to inspire their congregations and forbidding abbeys to hoard their knowledge. Enormous sums are spent to train and equip militant priests to lead and defend their faith, or even to crush its enemies. These worthy souls are identified early in their devotional training, for the ability to channel the divine power of their gods and the good judgement to see when to do so is invaluable to their faiths. Invariably, such people are trained to be Clerics or, if of more athletic and less contemplative temperaments, Paladins. Those without the talent for magic take holy orders as monks or lay priests, and can serve in a variety of ways as Experts.
It is rare for people of talent to be overlooked but occasionally, a mortal will be so devoted to a god that their passion establishes the conduit to the divine where rigid discipline and wisdom would otherwise serve. If found within locales where the faith is strong, efforts are soon made to coopt these rare, charismatic folk so that they might be indoctrinated and put to good use as preachers and proselytisers. Sometimes, they will even arise among members of the clergy that formerly served in a lesser role, and these folk will usually go on to lead their abbey, or find promotion and further training in their home temples.
However, it is far more likely that these singularly favoured souls will spontaneously arise in rural areas, or in lands where the faith to the god in question is typically weak. There their talents make them either local prophets, dangerous subversives to enemy faiths, or even reviled heretics to the organised hierarchy of their own faith. In such cases, they will arise from any walk of life, but there seems to be a disproportionate number who arise from the crude traditions of Adepts, particularly in less civilised lands or barbaric peoples.
No matter their origins, favoured souls enjoy a special understanding with their god that even a cleric might envy. Their dreams are often blessed (or cursed) by visions of the celestial or fell realms, and the manner in which their bodies and souls are shaped by the divine energies they wield has nothing less than a transformative effect. As understanding and power grows, these intuitively spiritual folk come to take on traits that are typically common to the divine servitors of their god, gaining supernatural resistance to damage and even, in time, growing angelic or demonic wings. Some favoured souls (usually of the heretical variety) have hinted that all of their ilk have distant celestial or infernal ancestors, and their transformation is nothing so much as their immortal blood calling them home…
The favoured soul’s class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Heal (Wis), Knowledge (arcana) (Int), Knowledge (religion) (Int), Knowledge (the planes) (Int), Profession (Wis), Sense Motive (Wis), and Spellcraft (Int).
Skill Points at 1st Level
(2 + Int modifier) ×4.
2 + Int Modifier
Weapon and Armor Proficiency:
Favored souls are proficient with all simple weapons, with light and medium armor, and with shields (except tower shields). A favored soul is also proficient with her deity’s favored weapon. Although a favored soul is not proficient with heavy armor, wearing it does not interfere with her spellcasting.
Spells: A favored soul casts divine spells (the same type of spells available to clerics), which are drawn from the cleric spell list. She can cast any spell she knows without preparing it ahead of time the way a cleric must.
To cast a spell, a favored soul must have a Charisma score of 10 + the spell’s level (Cha 10 for 0-level spells, Cha 11 for 1st-level spells, and so forth). The Difficulty Class for a saving throw against a favored soul’s spell is 10 + the spell’s level + the favored soul’s Charisma modifier. Like other spellcasters, a favored soul can cast only a certain number of spells of each spell level per day. Her base daily spell allotment is given on Table: The Favored Soul. In addition, she receives bonus spells for a high Charisma.
Unlike a cleric, a favored soul’s selection of spells is limited. A favored soul begins play knowing four 0-level spells and three 1st-level spells of your choice. At each new favored soul level, she gains one or more new spells, as indicated on Table: Favored Soul Spells Known. (Unlike spells per day, her Charisma score does not affect the number of spells a favored soul knows; the numbers on the table are fixed.)
Upon reaching 4th level, and at every even-numbered favored soul level after that (6th, 8th, and so on), a favored soul can choose to learn a new spell in place of one she already knows. In effect, the favored soul “loses” the old spell in exchange for the new one. The new spell’s level must be the same as that of the spell being exchanged, and it must be at least two levels lower than the highest-level favored soul spell the favored soul can cast. A favored soul may swap only a single spell at any given level, and must choose whether or not to swap the spell at the same time that she gains new spells known for the level.
Unlike a cleric, a favored soul need not prepare her spells in advance. She can cast any spell she knows at any time, assuming she has not yet used up her spells per day for that spell level.
The domain spells granted to the Favoured Soul each day are additional to the spells per day allocated on the table.
Favoured Souls may cast a number of orisons, or 0-level spells, each day, as noted under the Table: “Sorcerer Spells Known.” A sorcerer casts cantrips in the usual manner. However, those selected will not become exhausted after being cast, so may be cast again later that day. This means that all orisons known may be cast far more often than 3.5 rules allow. A Favoured Soul may cast a given orison a number of times each hour equal to their class level, after which it takes their conduit to the wellspring of their god’s power a small time to regenerate. In a manner of speaking, the magical energy gone into the orison is not exhausted, but it could be considered fatigued for a little while.
Favoured Souls each have a unique and personal relationship with their divine patron. At 1st level, 4th level, and every even numbered level thereafter, they may select one domain spell of each spell level available from the list of those available to followers of that deity, provided it is a spell level to which they normally have access. Unlike a cleric, who must select a spell of each spell level from one of two domains chosen at 1st level, a Favoured Soul may choose to memorise a single spell of each spell level from any of the domains available to followers of that deity. These spells are a gift from the deity each day, and do not count towards spells known by the Favoured Soul. Unlike clerics, a Favoured Soul does not gain domain powers of any sort.
At 3rd level, 9th level, 12th level, and 18th level, a favored soul gains a bonus feat. This feat must be either a metamagic feat, an item creation feat, Weapon Focus with their deity’s favored weapon or, if Weapon Focus has already been chosen, Weapon Specialisation with their deity’s favoured weapon.
Energy Resistance (Ex)
As their connection to their divine patron grows stronger, the body of the Favoured Soul becomes infused with otherworldly energy. Slowly, they grow resistant to harmful energies. At 5th level, a favored soul chooses an energy type and gains resistance 10 against that type. At 10th level,15th level, and 20th level, the character gains resistance 10 against another energy type of her choosing. The player should be encouraged to work with their DM to adopt an energy resistance most in common with the nature of their god.
Damage Reduction (Su)
A Favoured Soul’s conduit to the divine continues to strengthen, toughening their form against certain attacks. At 8th level, good aligned Favoured Souls gain Damage Reduction 5/ Evil while Evil aligned Favoured Souls gain Damage Reduction 5/ Good. Alternatively, those with neither good nor evil components to their alignment gain Damage Reduction 5/ Alchemical Silver (for Lawful Neutral) or Damage Reduction/ Cold Iron (for Chaotic Neutral). A Favoured Soul of True Neutral alignment may choose whichever damage reduction variety most suits their ethos. This damage reduction improves to 10 at 16th level.
At 14th level, a favored soul gains wings and can fly at a speed of 60 feet (good maneuverability). A good-aligned favored soul grows feathered wings, and an evil-aligned favored soul gains bat-like wings. A favored soul who is neither good nor evil may choose either type of wings.
Rationale and Explanation of Changes
- Of all the optional core classes presented in D&D 3.5, this is the only one that truly sat well with me. The idea of a divine spellcaster who comes into their power through raw, untrained passion, intuition, and faith seems to fill a vacuum that has always existed in D&D. They are just as rare as sorcerers, if not more so, but they do exist. This class is considered open to players of Ill Winds.
- Unlike the RAW version presented in Complete Divine, which I found to be a bit murky thematically, I wanted to firmly establish this class as a divine analogue to the sorcerer. Both outcast and natural leader, this Favoured Soul has the capacity to shake up the order of their established faith and bring a sense of destiny to the class.
- Favoured Souls add Knowledge: Religion and Knowledge: the Planes to their class skills. Their dreams, visions, and communion with their gods, agents of those deities, as well as dealing with the faithful who would cleave to their words, makes this an obvious choice. Jump has been removed from the class skill list, because it was an incongruous addition in the first place.
- Henceforth Favoured Souls know and cast 0-level spells as orisons as per the Pathfinder rules, modified as follows. There are no 0 level spell slots for them, and they are not exhausted after being cast. This means that all orisons known may be cast far more often than 3.5 rules allow. A Favoured Soul may cast an orison a number of times each hour equal to their class level, after which it takes the divine conduit a small time to regenerate.
- Domain spells. This an attempt to give Favoured Souls a bit more of a relationship with the ethos of their divine patron, as well as a utility on par with sorcerers and their bloodline spells. Unlike a cleric, who gains access to a choice of two domain spells of each spell level, a Favoured Soul can instead choose to memorise a single spell of each level chosen from among all of their divine patron’s domains.
- Damage reduction is now scaled, and available much earlier for the Favoured Soul. There is also more thematic variety as to the nature of the damage reduction.
- The Wings extraordinary ability is also available earlier to this revised iteration of the class.
- A Favoured Soul gains a bonus feat at 3rd, 9th, 12th, and 18th levels. Metamagic and Item Creation feats are possible, not just the Weapon Focus and consequent Weapon Specialisation option from the RAW Favoured Soul. Not all would desire to take such a martial bent, so a Favoured Soul of Rao, for instance, would have other options.