General Prestige Class : Cloud Anchorite
The remote mountaintops of the world represent one of the harshest incarnations of the frostfell, for in these locations not only does one struggle for shelter, food, and warmth, but also for the air itself. Yet for many, the isolation and beauty of the tallest mountains is an irresistible draw, especially to those who seek to hone and perfect their own bodies and minds far from the busy distractions of civilization. The cloud anchorites are just such an order of monastic recluses who have established monasteries on the slopes of many high mountains.
Cloud anchorite monasteries are never constructed at altitudes of less than 12,000 feet. There, they train in the rarefied chill air under the belief that conditions in lower altitudes and warmer climates serve only to accelerate the aging process and quell the quest for self-perfection. A cloud anchorite is quick to point out how the body of a person who dies in the tropics quickly rots away into corruption, but if the same person were to die atop one of the tallest mountain peaks, his body would become preserved for the ages. The cloud anchorite simply seeks a way to achieve this immortality while maintaining life and awareness.
Although most cloud anchorites were at one point in their lives monks, this is not a strict requirement to join one of their remote monasteries. All the cloud anchorites require of prospective members is a proven self-sufficiency and a willingness to seek immortality. Nevertheless, their teachings are natural extensions of many of the more commonplace monastic orders' teachings. Rangers, bards, and rogues can qualify for this prestige class fairly quickly as well, but the skill requirements make it difficult for most other classes to join a cloud anchorite monastery.
NPC cloud anchorites can be found in their monasteries on distant mountaintops, from which they only rarely leave to return to the lowlands. Those few cloud anchorites who do travel to lower altitudes do so to seek out prospective students, to gather necessary supplies for the monastery, or rarely, to bring the knowledge they have learned to the lowlanders in an attempt to open their eyes to the dangers of life below the treeline.
To qualify to become a Cloud Anchorite, a character must fulfill all the following criteria:
- Alignment: Any nonchaotic
- Skills: Climb 9 ranks, Jump 9 ranks, Knowledge (religion) 9 ranks, Survival 4 ranks.
- Feats: Improved Unarmed Strike, Mountaineer.
- Base Fortitude Save: +5
- Special: The prospective student must live for a week on her own in a wilderness region, during which time she can travel no lower than 12,000 feet in altitude.
Skill Points at Each Level: 4 + Int modifier.
All the following are class features of the cloud anchorite prestige class.
Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Cloud anchorites gain no proficiency with any weapon, armor or shield.
Monk Abilities: A cloud anchorite's class levels stack with her monk levels for determining her unarmed damage and AC bonus.
Climb Speed (Ex): At 1st level, a cloud anchorite gains a climb speed of 10 feet. She gains a +8 racial bonus on all Climb checks. A cloud anchorite must make a Climb check to climb any wall or slope with a DC of more than 0, but she can always choose to take 10, even if rushed or threatened while climbing. She cannot use the run action while climbing. She retains her Dexterity bonus to Armor Class (if any) while climbing, and opponents get no special bonus on their attacks against her while she is climbing. A cloud anchorite in armor (even light armor) or carrying a medium or heavy load loses this extra speed.
As the cloud anchorite gains levels, her climb speed increases. At each odd-numbered level, she gains a +10-foot bonus to her current climb speed. If the cloud anchorite already possesses a climb speed (for example, if she possessed a racial climb speed before becoming a cloud anchorite), these bonuses stack with her current climb speed.
Wisdom of the Mountain (Ex): A cloud anchorite adds her Wisdom modifier on Balance, Climb, and Jump checks made in mountain terrain. In addition, the cloud anchorite can always take 10 on a Balance, Climb, or Jump check, even if circumstances would normally prevent her from doing so.
Slow Breath (Ex): At 2nd level, a cloud anchorite's breathing slows to a fraction of what it used to be. She can hold her breath twice as long as normal, and gains a +2 bonus on all Fortitude saving throws against inhaled poisons, fatigue caused by high elevation, and altitude sickness. At 6th level, her bonus on these Fortitude saving throws increases to +6.
Bonus Feat: At 3rd level and again at 7th level, a cloud anchorite gains a bonus feat. This feat must be selected from the following list, and she must qualify for any prerequisites the feat to be chosen might require: Acrobatic, Agile, Athletic, Cold Endurance, Endurance, Great Fortitude, Improved Cold Endurance, Self-Sufficient, Skill Focus (in any class skill), or Track.
Resistance to Cold (Su): At 4th level, a cloud anchorite gains resistance to cold 5. This increases to resistance to cold 10 at 8th level.
Fast Movement (Ex): At 4th level, a cloud anchorite gains a +10-foot enhancement bonus to her land speed. A cloud anchorite in armor (even light armor) or carrying a medium or heavy load loses this extra speed. At 8th level, this bonus increases to +20 feet.
Empty Stride (Su): At 5th level, a cloud anchorite's stride is nearly weightless. She gains a +4 bonus on all Balance checks. More impressively, she can walk on the surface of any material into which she would normally sink, such as powdery snow, thin ice, and even water. She may continue to walk on this surface as long as she makes a DC 15 Concentration check. Normally, the Concentration check for this activity is a standard action, so a cloud anchorite may make one move action per round while using her empty stride ability. If she makes a DC 30 Concentration check, she may concentrate on her Empty Stride ability as a move action instead, allowing her to use it and still take one standard action in a round. She does not trigger traps that use pressure plates while using empty stride, nor is her speed impacted by deep snow.
Acrobatic Charge (Ex): At 6th level, a cloud anchorite gains the ability to charge in situations where others cannot. She may charge over difficult terrain that normally slows movement. This enables her to run down steep rock faces, leap down from an outcropping, or tumble over small boulders to get to the target of her charge. Depending on the circumstances, she may still need to make appropriate checks (Jump or Tumble checks in particular) to successfully move over the terrain.
Walk on the Clouds (Su): At 9th level, a cloud anchorite can use her empty stride ability as a free action at all times. Additionally, once per day she may use air walk as a quickened spell-like ability. This effect manifests at a caster level equal to her cloud anchorite level.
Immortality of the Mountain (Su): Upon reaching 10th level, a cloud anchorite has achieved the apotheosis she has sought. She no longer has a maximum age, and will never die of old age. Additionally, she no longer has to make saving throws to avoid altitude sickness or fatigue from thin air, and gains a +2 sacred bonus on all Wisdom checks and all saving throws while in mountain terrain.
|Cloud Anchorite||Hit Die: d8|
|1st||+0||+2||+2||+0||Climb speed +10 ft., wisdom of the mountain|
|3rd||+2||+3||+3||+1||Climb speed +20 ft., bonus feat|
|4th||+3||+4||+4||+1||Resistance to cold 5, fast movement +10 ft.|
|5th||+3||+4||+4||+1||Climb speed +30 ft., empty stride|
|6th||±4||+5||+5||+2||Improved slow breath, acrobatic charge|
|7th||+5||+5||+5||+2||Climb speed +40 ft., bonus feat|
|8th||+6||+6||+6||+2||Resistance to cold 10, fast movement +20 ft.|
|9th||+6||+6||+6||+3||Climb speed +50 ft., walk on the clouds|
|10th||+7||+7||+7||+3||Immortality of the mountain|