General Prestige Class : Elemental Savant
Elemental savants study the basic building blocks of existence - air, earth, fire, and water - learning to harness their powers. Eventually they transcend their mortal forms and become elemental beings.
Elemental savants often begin their careers as individuals intrigued by one or all of the classic elements. Before they ever take levels in the prestige class, these spellcasters typically find themselves drawn to spells of a particular energy type. These spellcasters find satisfaction in the unleashed purity of the elemental energy forms, and they become elemental savants to grow closer to the element that becomes their favorite.
Most elemental savants start out as warmages, wizards, or sorcerers, although divine spellcasters are not unknown in the class. A cleric with the Fire, Water, or Sun domain could also qualify for this prestige class.
NPC elemental savants usually prefer to pursue their studies in solitude or in the company of other elemental savants. Sometimes groups of them gather in places where an element's majesty and power is on display, such as the flanks of a volcano, an island, or a high, windy mountain.
Adaptation: Making a particular element the basis for the theme of a spellcaster's repertoire is an idea that could exist in most any game. For a twist, you might want to consider elements that go beyond the standard, though this would require some work on the DM's part. Other elements might include: bone, metal, nether, plasma, and wood, to name a few. Determining the sort of damage each of these elements does, and how that type of damage interacts with the four recognized types of energy damage (acid, cold, electricity, and fire) is the crux of this design process.
To qualify to become an Elemental Savant, a character must fulfill all the following criteria:
- Skills: Knowledge (arcana) 8 ranks, Knowledge (the planes) 4 ranks.
- Feats: Energy Substitution (acid, cold, electricity, or fire).
- Spells: Able to cast at least three spells that have one of the following descriptors in common: acid, cold, electricity, or fire. One of the spells must be at least 3rd level.
- Special: Must have made peaceful contact with an elemental or outsider that has an elemental subtype (air, earth, fire, or water).
Skill Points at Each Level: 2 + Int modifier.
All the following are class features of the elemental savant prestige class.
Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Elemental savants gain no proficiency with any weapon or armor.
Spells per Day/Spells Known: At each level except 5th and 10th, an elemental savant gains new spells per day (and spells known, if applicable) as if she had also gained a level in a spellcasting class to which she belonged before adding the prestige class level. She does not, however, gain any other benefit a character of that class would have gained (improved chance of turning or destroying undead, a bonus feat, and so on). If she had more than one spellcasting class before becoming an elemental savant, she must decide to which class to add each level for the purpose of determining spells per day and spells known.
Elemental Specialty (Ex): The first step toward transcending mortal form requires an elemental savant to choose her elemental specialty. Upon entering the class, she must select an element and its associated energy type (air = electricity, earth = acid, fire = fire, or water = cold). This choice must match the Energy Substitution feat that the savant selected to gain entry to the prestige class. When the savant casts a spell that normally deals energy damage, its energy descriptor changes to the savant's chosen energy type, and it deals damage of that energy type instead of its normal energy type.
For example, an elemental savant choosing to specialize in fire could still cast meld into stone, and its descriptor would not change because it does not deal energy damage. However, if she casts Melf's acid arrow, the spell would deal fire damage and have the fire descriptor instead of dealing acid damage and having the acid descriptor.
Resistance to Energy (Ex): As an elemental savant gains levels in this prestige class, she becomes more resistant to the type of energy allied with her chosen element. At 1st level, she gains resistance 5 against this energy type. This resistance rises to 10 at 4th level and 20 at 7th level.
Immunity to Sleep (Ex): At 2nd level, as an elemental savant continues to transcend her mortal form, she gains immunity to sleep effects.
Energy Penetration (Ex): Beginning at 3rd level, an elemental savant further refines her ability to wield energy associated with her chosen element. When she casts a spell using that type of energy, she gains a +2 competence bonus on caster level checks (1d20 + caster level) to overcome a creature's spell resistance. Ar 8th level, this bonus increases to +4. These bonuses stack with those granted by the Spell Penetration and Greater Spell Penetration feats.
Energy Focus (Ex): From 5th level on, an elemental savant is better able to manipulate energy associated with her chosen element. The save DC for any spell with that energy descriptor increases by 1. At 10th level, these save DCs increase by 1 again (total increase of 2). These increases are cumulative with those granted by the Spell Focus and Greater Spell Focus feats.
Darkvision (Ex): At 6th level, an elemental savant gains darkvision out to 60 feet.
Immunity to Paralysis and Poison (Ex): As an elemental savant approaches elemental perfection, she gains immunity to paralysis and poison at 9th level.
Elemental Perfection: At 10th level, an elemental savant, through long association with elemental entities and extensive study of their secrets, completely transcends her mortal form to become an elemental creature. Her type changes to elemental. She no longer needs to eat, sleep, or breathe (though she must still rest to regain spells). She gains an elemental creature's immunity to stunning, and she is no longer subject to extra damage from critical hits or flanking. An elemental savant gains the speed and movement modes, natural attacks, special attacks, and special qualities of a Medium elemental of the type appropriate to her elemental specialty, as noted in the Monster Manual, except that the save DC against her elemental attack form, if any (whirlwind, burn, or vortex) is 20 + her Con modifier.
Upon achieving this state, an elemental savant's appearance undergoes a minor physical change, usually to the skin or eyes. An earth elemental savant, for example, might acquire gemlike eyes and hard, pebbly skin. Anyone who shares the elemental savant's predilection for study of her chosen plane immediately recognizes her transcendent nature. She gains a +2 circumstance bonus on all Charisma-based skill and ability checks when interacting with creatures that share her elemental subtype (air, earth, fire, or water) and with other elemental savants who have chosen her element. Unlike a normal elemental, an elemental savant retains a soul separate from her body. She can be raised from the dead as normal for a creature of her previous type.
Energy Immunity (Ex): From 10th level on, an elemental savant gains immunity to the type of energy associated with her chosen element.
|Elemental Savant||Hit Die: d4|
|CL||BAB||Fort||Ref||Will||Special||Spells per day|
|1st||+0||+0||+0||+2||Elemental specialty, to energy 5 resistance||+1 level of existing spellcasting class|
|2nd||+1||+0||+0||+3||Immunity to sleep||+1 level of existing spellcasting class|
|3rd||+1||+1||+1||+3||Energy penetration +2||+1 level of existing spellcasting class|
|4th||+2||+1||+1||+4||Resistance to energy 10||+1 level of existing spellcasting class|
|5th||+2||+1||+1||+4||Energy focus +1||-|
|6th||+3||+2||+2||+5||Darkvision||+1 level of existing spellcasting class|
|7th||+3||+2||+2||+5||Resistance to energy 20||+1 level of existing spellcasting class|
|8th||+4||+2||+2||+6||Energy penetration +4||+1 level of existing spellcasting class|
|9th||+4||+3||+3||+6||Immunity to paralysis and poison||+1 level of existing spellcasting class|
|10th||+5||+3||+3||+7||Elemental perfection, energy focus +2, energy immunity||-|