PF: Zodiac

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Disclaimer: It's been a hot minute since I designed a standard d20 class, and I think I've only ever designed one Pathfinder class, which was a few years back. I've been departing from standard d20 design for literal years, with my own tastes and goals in game design. Attempting to backport a class I've designed wholly for my system into Pathfinder is ... an interesting exercise.

Fluff will still largely be specific to my setting, because right now I'm more concerned about mechanics than I am fluff.

One other thing that I'm doing that I'm not sure has been done in the past - but it probably has - is be concerned about E6/8/10 breakpoints. That is, the abilities gained at 6th, 8th, and 10th levels should be solid enough - and iconic enough - to be considered capstones in their own right. As that level range is when stuff starts to get weird anyway, I don't think that having significant power jumps at those points is a major concern. The PF community may disagree, but... eh.

Zodiac

The Zodiac
Level BAB Fort Ref Will Special AC Bonus
1 +1 +2 +2 +0 Aspect, Shift, Wild Empathy +0
2 +2 +3 +3 +0 Aspect, Lycanthropic Empathy, Track +0
3 +3 +3 +3 +1 Woodland Stride, Natural Adaptation (magic) +0
4 +4 +4 +4 +1 Aspect +1
5 +5 +4 +4 +1 Trackless Step +1
6 +6/+1 +5 +5 +2 Aspect, Multiattack +1
7 +7/+2 +5 +5 +2 Animorph, Natural Adaptation (cold iron/silver) +1
8 +8/+3 +6 +6 +2 Aspect, Dire Aspect +2
9 +9/+4 +6 +6 +3 Infused Shift +2
10 +10/+5 +7 +7 +3 Aspect, Multiaspect (two aspects) +2
11 +11/+6/+1 +7 +7 +3   +2
12 +12/+7/+2 +8 +8 +4 Aspect +3
13 +13/+8/+3 +8 +8 +4 Multiaspect (three aspects) +3
14 +14/+9/+4 +9 +9 +4 Aspect +3
15 +15/+10/+5 +9 +9 +5 Timeless Body +3
16 +16/+11/+6/+1 +10 +10 +5 Aspect, Natural Adaptation (adamantine) +4
17 +17/+12/+7/+2 +10 +10 +5 Multiaspect (five aspects) +4
18 +18/+13/+8/+3 +11 +11 +6 Aspect +4
19 +19/+14/+9/+4 +11 +11 +6 Natural Adaptation (epic) +4
20 +20/+15/+10/+5 +12 +12 +6 Aspect, Multiaspect (all aspects) +5

 

Zara, iconic zodiac
"The energy within reflects the energy without: manipulate one, manipulate the other."

Among those who first investigated the mysteries of the Natural world were those who felt the movement of the elements within their souls. The first tribe of spoken so affected were attuned strongly to the moons, and when the moons waxed in power, at their strongest, some members of their tribe underwent a transformation into great wolves, retaining almost none of their memory and acting purely on instinct. When dawn came, they reverted back to their natural states, with little memory of what had passed.

The legend of these creatures - these "werewolves" - was passed down through history, and other stories similar became known: in instances of extreme elemental flux, where one element dominated all others, some people would seemingly spontaneously transform into great beasts. As knowledge of the elements - and Nature itself - grew, some investigated these strange happenings, and eventually a conclusion was reached. In some instances, those whose souls were reincarnated experienced a particularly strong "bath" of elemental energy on their return journey to the prime. These souls, marked by Gaia, would then - and forevermore - be intimately tied to that element, their soul echoing the ebb and flow of that element's presence in the prime.

As time passed, while some of these souls remained pure, others were exposed to other elemental energies on their eternal cycle between the prime and the Soulfont, mixing into unusual combinations and resulting in new "weres," as they were generically known. These individuals learned that while their response to a particular element's stimulus was reduced, they were much more able to control the power: at first only retaining memories of their actions, but - with further mental discipline - able to actually control it, and a very select few, to command it, voluntarily undergoing their transformation even when their elements were waning.

These touched individuals determined that extreme mental and physical control were necessary to understand and exploit their abilities to the fullest. Those first individuals who learned to truly and completely harness the power within their souls learned that the form they took was not fixed: while the elemental powers influenced them, they did not control them, and with sufficient clarity of mind and soundness of body, they could transform themselves into any number of creatures. To demonstrate this, many of the first crop of this new breed of warrior took on forms resembling the constellations, and thus was their order named: the zodiac.

Today, this unusual effect on souls is relatively well-understood, and enclaves dot the worlds of Trinity that will take in those ancient souls who have been touched by Gaia in this fashion, to teach them to overcome, control, and harness their inner beast - as they have many times before, and will do many times again.

Role: Zodiacs can serve in a variety of roles, depending upon the animal aspects they choose. In general, most aspects are good for being some sort of combatant - with a tendency to be more front-line than ranged or support - or have solid uses as scouts, able to get around in unusual ways or being small and unassuming enough to be ignored by guards. While initially limited in their choice of aspects, as they gain levels zodiacs gain access to more aspects, increasing their utility, and can eventually unlock dire versions of their aspects and combine multiple aspects at once.

Alignment: Any neutral.

Hit Die: d10.

Starting Wealth: 2d6 x 10 gp (average 70 gp.) In addition, each character begins play with an outfit worth 10 gp or less.

Starting Age: As per rogue.

Class Skills

The zodiac's class skills are Acrobatics (Dex), Climb (Str), Craft (Int), Disguise (Cha), Escape Artist (Dex), Fly (Dex), Handle Animal (Cha), Heal (Wis), Knowledge (nature) (Int), Perception (Wis), Profession (Wis), Ride (Dex), Sense Motive (Wis), Stealth (Dex), Survival (Wis), and Swim (Str).

Skill Ranks Per Level: 4 + Int modifier.

Class Features

The following are the class features of the zodiac.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency

Zodiacs are proficient with the following weapons: club, dagger, dart, quarterstaff, scimitar, scythe, sickle, shortspear, sling, and spear. They are also proficient with all natural attacks (claw, bite, and so forth) of any form they assume with shift (see below).

Zodiacs are proficient with light and medium armor but are prohibited from wearing metal armor; thus, they may wear only padded, leather, or hide armor. A zodiac may also wear wooden armor that has been altered by the ironwood spell so that it functions as though it were steel. Zodiacs are proficient with shields (except tower shields) but must use only wooden ones.

A zodiac who wears prohibited armor or uses a prohibited shield is unable to use any of her supernatural or spell-like abilities while doing so and for 24 hours thereafter.

When wearing armor, using a shield, or carrying a medium or heavy load, a zodiac loses her AC bonus.

AC Bonus

When unarmored and unencumbered, the zodiac adds her Wisdom bonus (if any) to her AC and CMD. In addition, a zodiac gains a +1 bonus to AC and CMD at 4th level. This bonus increases by 1 for every four zodiac levels thereafter, up to a maximum of +5 at 20th level.

These bonuses to AC apply even against touch attacks or when the zodiac is flat-footed. She loses these bonuses when she is immobilized or helpless, when she wears any armor, when she carries a shield, or when she carries a medium or heavy load.