Excerpts 02/09/2007

Dungeonscape Excerpts
By Jason Bulmahn and Rich Burlew

Build a dungeon or two, or adapt your character for upcoming dungeon challenges, with the help of the material you'll find within Dungeonscape. To see what's in store for your next door-bashing, trap-filled dungeon adventure, read a few excerpts below, which include paladin options, door descriptions, an adventuring kit, a prestige class, a swarm, and a new trap.

Standard Class Options: Paladin

Your purpose in the dungeon is to fight and guard against evil. The typical dungeon is full of wicked creatures and magic. Your detect evil and smite evil abilities are more likely to come into play in a dungeon than elsewhere. Take advantage of detect evil whenever possible to prevent surprise and give the advantage to you instead of to your adversaries. Use your smite cautiously -- don't waste it on a weaker being if you suspect greater evil lies ahead.

Lay on hands provides all-important healing and can give the cleric a chance to use offensive or support spells. If you encounter undead that are particularly hard to hit, using lay on hands as a touch attack can more effectively damage them and conserve your party's resources.

Divine health protects you from diseases that can debilitate a party. When facing creatures or environmental hazards that can cause disease, stay in front to protect your companions. Your ability to use remove disease at 6th level lets you do even more.

For your spell selection, gauge the party's overall capability to deal with damage, disease, and other ill effects. If they can easily handle those problems, pick spells that grant combat bonuses, such as bless, bull's strength, prayer, and holy sword. If not, cure and restoration spells, delay poison, shield other, remove curse, and neutralize poison might be better choices.

Don't bring your mount into the dungeon. Few dungeons are constructed to allow a horse or other Large creature to pass, especially with the added height of a rider, so a mount is usually only a hindrance (and faces unnecessary danger).

Alternative Class: Divine Spirit

Most paladins form a special relationship with a celestial mount that aids them in battle. You, however, spend most of your time fighting below the ground or in enclosed spaces, where a mount is of little use. Instead, you have forged a bond with celestial spirits whose aid you can call upon when needed.

Level: 5th.

Replaces: If you select this alternative class feature, you do not gain the special mount ability.

Benefit: Upon reaching 5th level, you can call upon your deity for aid in the form of a celestial spirit. Using this ability is a standard action that does not provoke attacks of opportunity. See below for detailed spirit descriptions and rules.

Your paladin level determines which kinds of celestial spirits answer your summons. You can summon the spirit available at your current level as well as any that became available at lower levels.

Paladin Level Spirit Summoned
5th-10th Spirit of healing
11th-15th Spirit of combat
16th-19th Spirit of heroism
20th+ Spirit of the fallen

The following entries describe how each of the different spirits function. Unless otherwise specified, all spirits share some characteristics, as set out below.

  • A spirit occupies a 5-foot square on the battle map.
  • When summoned, a spirit appears on the battlefield within 30 feet of you. You can use a free action to have it move once per round. The spirit has a land speed of 30 feet.
  • All spirits are insubstantial and transparent. Any creature can move through them normally, and they do not block line of sight or line of effect.
  • A spirit cannot attack or be attacked. It is not undead and cannot be turned. It is subject to dispel magic, dismissal, or banishment as if it were a summoned creature, using your paladin level as the caster level.
  • If you lose line of sight to a spirit, it disappears immediately.
  • Each spirit available to you can be summoned once per day.
  • A spirit remains for a number of rounds equal to your paladin level, until it is dismissed, or until special conditions in the spirit's description are met.

Spirit of Healing: This spirit increases your ability to heal damage dealt to you or your allies. When summoned, it can heal an amount of damage equal to twice the amount you can heal using your lay on hands ability.

To use its healing ability, you or an ally must begin or end your turn in the same square as the spirit. That character can then use a standard action to transfer some or all of the hit points from the spirit to herself. Once the spirit has used all its healing ability, it dissipates.

Spirit of Combat: This spirit enhances combat ability. Whenever an ally (including yourself) is adjacent to the spirit of combat or occupying its space, that character gains holy fervor. Holy fervor grants a +1 sacred bonus on attacks and damage rolls for every four paladin levels you possess (up to a maximum of +5 at 20th level). In addition, affected characters' weapons are treated as good-aligned for the purpose of overcoming damage reduction.

Spirit of Heroism: This spirit automatically occupies your space and does not leave until dismissed or dispelled, or the duration of the summoning ends. You gain DR 10/--. In addition, you gain the benefit of the Diehard feat (even if you do not meet the prerequisite) and can use your lay on hands ability as a free action once per round instead of as a standard action.

Spirit of the Fallen: While you or any of your allies are adjacent to this spirit, it grants fast healing 10 to those characters. If an affected character's hit points drop to 0 or fewer while within 30 feet of this spirit, it revives that character at the start of his next turn, allowing him to take his action as normal. The character heals an amount of damage equal to twice your paladin level, though if his hit points are still at -10 or below, he still dies. The spirit can use its revive ability once per round.

A spirit of the fallen cannot revive creatures whose bodies have been destroyed (such as by a disintegrate spell), nor can it reverse the effects of bodily changes, such as from flesh to stone or baleful polymorph, or other effects that slay a character without dealing damage.

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