Excerpts 08/07/2004


Races of Stone
By David Noonan, Jesse Decker, Michelle Lyons



Any race that spends its time living in the earth or atop its mountains is potentially a race of stone. This book focuses on three races of great interest to players and DMs: the dwarves and their vast underground communities, the burrow-dwelling gnomes, and the goliaths, nomadic mountain-dwellers. Along with detailed discussions of their cultures, equipment, magic, and feats, discover new gnome and dwarf subraces such as the dream dwarf and whisper gnome, plus other races of stone. Be ye warned, however: Not everyone is friendly -- this book also details the stone drake and other classic enemies, and inspirations for creating entire campaigns of stone.

From Chapter 5: Prestige Classes

Deepwarden

While clanwardens guard dwarf cities and clanholds as a last line of defense, deepwardens serve as a living early warning system against threats from both the environment and other creatures. Deepwardens are typically adventurers or retired dwarf militia members who wish to explore the depths of the earth. They travel deep underground and survive on their own, far from civilization. There they search for new resources, threats, or other interesting findings, and send reports back to their city comrades.

Deepwardens are considered the first line of defense against invasions or other threats, and as such they must be both physically hardy and able to survive in the wilderness for an extended period. A warden's first duty is to find out the nature of any threats to the community, then stay alive long enough to make sure his city is warned and can prepare. If a dwarf can meet these criteria, whether through magic or might, he is welcomed among the deepwardens.

Unlike most dwarf NPCs, a deepwarden spends most of his time away from other dwarves and far from dwarf communities. Many join with adventurers for a time as patrons or guides. Dwarven lore is full of tales of deepwardens who saved a group of lost or imprisoned surface adventurers.

Adaptation: The deepwarden prestige class has many class features suitable for any class whose members spend a long time away from civilization yet still need to communicate with it. Animal messenger, sending, and greater animal messenger would be appropriate class features for other prestige classes that focus on long-range reconnaissance, whether above the ground or below.

Hit Die: d12.

Requirements

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

Race: Dwarf.

Base Attack Bonus: +5.

Skills: Climb 5 ranks, Heal 5 ranks, Jump 5 ranks, Knowledge (dungeoneering) 5 ranks, Survival 5 ranks.

Feat: Endurance.

Class Skills

The deepwarden's class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Balance (Dex), Climb (Str), Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Decipher Script (Int), Escape Artist (Dex), Handle Animal (Cha), Heal (Wis), Hide (Dex), Jump (Str), Knowledge (dungeoneering) (Int), Knowledge (geography) (Int), Listen (Wis), Move Silently (Dex), Search (Int), Speak Language (n/a), Spot (Wis), Survival (Wis), Swim (Str), and Use Rope (Dex). See Chapter 4 of the Player's Handbook for skill descriptions.

Skill Points at Each Level: 6 + Int modifier.

Class Features

All of the following are class features of the deepwarden.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Deepwardens are proficient with all types of simple and martial weapons, all types of armor, and shields (except tower shields).

Track: A deepwarden gains Track as a bonus feat.

Trap Sense (Ex): A deepwarden has an intuitive sense that alerts him to danger from traps, giving him a +1 bonus on Reflex saves made to avoid traps and a +1 dodge bonus to AC against attacks made by traps. These bonuses increase by 1 at every three deepwarden levels thereafter (4th, 7th, and 10th). Trap sense bonuses gained from multiple classes stack.

Stone Warden (Ex): Beginning at 2nd level, a deepwarden knows how to use his strengths to compensate for his weaknesses. He adds his Constitution bonus to AC instead of his Dexterity, if the character's Constitution bonus is higher. The deepwarden loses this bonus to his Armor Class whenever he would normally be denied his Dexterity bonus to AC. In such a situation, the deepwarden would still be considered flat-footed.

Animal Messenger (Sp): From 3rd level on, a deepwarden can compel a Tiny animal to carry a message to his allies at a spot he designates. This ability functions as the animal messenger spell (see page 198 of the Player's Handbook), with a caster level equal to the deepwarden's class level.

Uncanny Dodge (Ex): Starting at 4th level, a deepwarden gains the ability to react to danger before his senses would normally allow him to do so. He retains his Dexterity bonus (if any, or his Constitution bonus, if it's higher) to AC even if he is caught flat-footed or struck by an invisible attacker. However, he still loses his Dexterity (or Constitution) bonus to AC if immobilized.

If a character gains uncanny dodge from a different class (a deepwarden with at least four levels of rogue, for example), he automatically gains improved uncanny dodge (see below) instead.

Stubborn Mind (Ex): Starting at 5th level, a deepwarden has a mental resistance to outside influences. If a deepwarden with the stubborn mind ability is affected by an enchantment spell or effect and fails his saving throw, he can attempt it again 1 round later at the same DC. He gets only this one extra chance to succeed on his saving throw. This ability also works against a mind flayer's mind blast attack.

Sending (Sp): Beginning at 6th level, a deepwarden can contact a particular creature with which he is familiar and send a short message of twenty-five words or less. This ability functions as the sending spell (see page 275 of the Player's Handbook), with a caster level equal to the deepwarden's class level.

Swift Tracker (Ex): Beginning at 7th level, a deepwarden can move at his normal speed while following tracks without taking the normal -5 penalty. He takes only a -10 penalty (instead of the normal -20) when moving at up to twice normal speed while tracking.

Improved Uncanny Dodge (Ex): At 8th level and higher, a deepwarden can no longer be flanked; he can react to opponents on opposite sides of him as easily as he can react to a single attacker. This defense denies a rogue the ability to sneak attack the deepwarden by flanking him, unless the attacker has at least four more rogue levels than the target has deepwarden levels.

If a character already has uncanny dodge (see above) from a different class, the character automatically gains improved uncanny dodge instead, and the levels from the classes that grant uncanny dodge stack to determine the minimum level a rogue must be to flank the character.

Greater Animal Messenger (Sp): At 9th level, a deepwarden gains the greater animal messenger ability. This functions as the animal messenger ability (see above), except the deepwarden can use an animal of up to Small size as his messenger.

Table 5-5: The Deepwarden

Level Base
Attack
Bonus
Fort
Save
Ref
Save
Will
Save
Special
1st 1 2 0 2 Track, trap sense +1
2nd 2 3 0 3 Stone warden
3rd 3 3 1 3 Animal messenger
4th 4 4 1 4 Trap sense +2, uncanny dodge
5th 5 4 1 4 Stubborn mind
6th 6 5 2 5 Sending
7th 7 5 2 5 Swift tracker, trap sense +3
8th 8 6 2 6 Improved uncanny dodge
9th 9 6 3 6 Greater animal messenger

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