Herald of the Sea

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Frans Francken (II) (1581–1642) Triomftocht van Neptunus en Amphitrite

Frans Francken (II) (1581–1642) Triomftocht van Neptunus en Amphitrite

Relics & Rituals: Olympus

© 2004 White Wolf Publishing, Inc. Distributed for Sword and Sorcery Studios by White Wolf Publishing, Inc.

By W. Jason Peck, Aaron Rosenberg, Christina Stiles and Relics & Rituals: Olympus team

Devoted servant of one of the many gods of the ocean, the herald of the sea channels the raw fury of the ocean, and speaks the god’s prophecies. As serene as the deeps or as violent as a storm, a herald of the sea is a moody creature, often reacting to unseen stimuli — an earthquake many miles away can have disastrous results for a coastline.

Clerics of Poseidon and druids are the most likely to become heralds of the sea, other classes can qualify as well, but a character without some divine spell casting ability will probably not find the herald of the sea class worthwhile. Although the majority of heralds of the sea are in Poseidon’s service, other divinities of the sea such as his wife Amphitrite or the Titaness Tethys might also grant a measure of their power in this fashion.

Herald of the sea NPCs can sometimes be found serving as the high priests or priestesses of Poseidon in coastal or island city-states. Others spend more time away from human settlements, interacting with other humans only to deliver warnings or enact the god’s vengeance.

Hit Die: d8.

Requirements

To qualify to become a herald of the sea, a character must fulfill all the following criteria.

Skills: Handle Animal 5 ranks, Profession (Sailor) 5 ranks, Knowledge (religion) 8 ranks.
Languages: Aquan
Spells: Able to cast control water.
Special: The character must undergo a drowning ritual — priests of the sea god take the character miles off shore, strap him to the back of a horse, and cast both rider and mount into the ocean. If the would-be herald is pleasing to the sea god, he will survive and find his way to shore, a 1st-level herald of the sea.

Class Skills

The herald of the sea class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Concentration (Constitution), Handle Animal (Charisma), Heal (Wisdom), Knowledge (geography) (Intelligence), Knowledge (mythology) (Intelligence), Knowledge (religion) (Intelligence), Profession (Wisdom), Ride (Dexterity), and Survival (Wisdom).

Skill Points at Each Level: 2 + Intelligence modifier.

The Herald of the Sea
Level Base Attack Bonus Fort Save Ref Save Will Save Special Spells per Day
1st +0 +2 +0 +2 Bonus domain, fast swim I, possessed +1 level of divine spellcasting class
2nd +1 +3 +0 +3 +1 level of divine spellcasting class
3rd +2 +3 +1 +3 water breathing +1 level of divine spellcasting class
4th +3 +4 +1 +4 Fast swim II +1 level of divine spellcasting class
5th +3 +4 +1 +4 Speak with marine animals, aquatic cohort
6th +4 +5 +2 +5 Crushing Blow +1 level of divine spellcasting class
7th +5 +5 +2 +5 Fast swim III +1 level of divine spellcasting class
8th +6 +6 +2 +6 +1 level of divine spellcasting class
9th +6 +6 +3 +6 Tidal Spell
10th +7 +7 +3 +7 +1 level of divine spellcasting class

CLASS FEATURES

All of the following are features of the herald of the sea prestige class.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: The herald of the sea is proficient with all simple weapons, plus trident, harpoon and net. The herald of the sea gains no additional armor proficiency.

Spells per Day: At 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 6th, 7th, 8th and 10th level, the herald of the sea gains new spells per day as if he had also gained a level in whatever divine spell - casting class he belonged to before he added the prestige class. He does not, however, gain any other benefit a character of that class would have gained (extra uses of remove disease as a spell-like ability, turning undead and so on).

If a character had more than one divine spellcasting class before he became a herald of the sea, he must decide to which class he adds each spellcasting level of herald of the sea for the purpose of determining spells per day.

Bonus Domain: The character gains access to the bonus Herald of the Sea Domain , which draws on a portion of the shapechanging power common to sea-gods. The character receives the command water creatures domain power (see below), and may choose from this domain when selecting his domain spell for each level. (If he has levels of cleric, the character now has three domain spell lists to choose from).

If the character does not have domain spells from another class, he still gains the granted power, and may add Herald of the Sea Domain spells to his spell list when preparing divine spells (although he does not gain a bonus spell).

Herald of the Sea Domain

Fast Swim (Ex): At 1st level, the herald of the sea gains a swim movement rate equal to one-half of his land speed. At 4th level, his swim speed increases to equal his land speed, and at 7th, the character adds an additional 20 feet to his swim speed.

Possessed (Su): While not strictly a class “ability,” the herald of the sea is subject to possession by the spirit of his deity. In effect, the character becomes an NPC for a short period of time, usually somewhere between one minute and an hour. The god (or goddess) may use this time within the character’s body to speak prophecies, punish the faithless, or even pursue romantic affairs. This possession may be part of game-play, or happen behind the scenes (at the GM’s discretion), but the herald of the sea character does not have any memory of the event in either case

The deity most likely will not be overly concerned about the situation he’s left his herald in when the possession ends. Angry husbands, enraged kings, upset populaces or all of the above may follow in the wake of the god’s foray into mortal life!

As a cautionary note to the GM, the possessed class feature goes directly counter to the d20 game’s general assumption of player primacy in character decision-making. Keeping your players in mind, you should carefully consider what uses of this class feature (if any) are appropriate for your game. The possessed class feature is presented here simply as a means to encourage thematic (and intriguing) play. Removing it from the class altogether will not negatively impact the herald of the sea.

Water Breathing (Su): At 3rd level, the herald of the sea gains the ability to breathe water as if under the permanent effects of a water breathing spell.

Speak with Marine Animals (Su): At 5th level, the herald of the sea may speak with any marine animals as if under the permanent effect of a speak with animals spell. This spell does not allow communication with animals of less than 2 Intelligence (such as mollusks), but it does allow the herald of the sea to communicate with animals and birds that spend most of their time in or on the ocean, such as seagulls.

Aquatic Cohort: At 5th level, the herald of the sea gains an aquatic or marine cohort, much as if he possessed the Leadership feat. If the character already possesses the Leadership feat, he gains another cohort without having to recruit it. This cohort is automatically two levels lower than the herald of the sea, regardless of the herald of the sea’s comparative Leadership score. Tritons, merfolk and sea cats are a few examples of thematic aquatic cohorts, and an evil herald of the sea might attract a siren.

Crushing Blow (Su): The 6th level herald of the sea has learned how to bring the crushing pressure of the deep sea to bear with his melee attacks. Once per day as a free action, he gains a bonus to melee damage equal to one half of his herald of the sea level (rounded down). This bonus lasts for a number of rounds equal to his Constitution modifier.

Tidal Spell (Su): The 9th level herald of the sea can embody the relentless nature of the ocean’s tide within his divine spells. Once a day as a free action, he can cause one of his divine spells to force two saving throws. This ability does not change the spell’s effect, but an opponent must make two separate saving throws to resist or mitigate the tidal spell (per the individual spell’s description).

For example, a herald of the sea casts a harm spell using the tidal spell ability. He still must succeed at a touch attack to affect his target, but if his target fails either of the required saves, the target suffers full damage.

In addition, a herald of the sea using the tidal spell ability may make two attempts to penetrate an opponent’s Spell Resistance. Should either of his spell penetration checks succeed, the tidal spell takes effect normally (and still forces two saving throws, as above).

The herald of the sea may only use the tidal spell ability to enhance a spell up to three levels below the highest-level spell he can cast.

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