Nature's Champion

January 21st, 2013

Alex Riggs

Best in Class Archive

            Just a couple of weeks ago, I wrote two articles focusing on creating archetypes whose impact could be felt at lower levels in general, and first level in specific. I managed to get most of the classes in the core rulebook, but I missed three: the druid, the sorcerer, and the wizard. Today, I wanted to try to give the druid another shot. This archetype definitely won’t be felt at first level, but it does have a very dramatic effect on the way the class works that can be felt as early as fourth level.



New Druid Archetype
Nature’s Champion

            While nearly all druids are servants of nature in some way, shape, or form, nature’s champions consider themselves holy warriors who fight on the side of the planet and the natural world, as well as the plants and animals that cannot defend themselves against the encroaching onslaught of civilization. Rather than turning into beasts, they draw upon the power of nature to turn them into mighty avatars and pummel their foes into pulp.

            Nature’s Avatar (Su): At 4th level, a nature’s champion gains the ability to call upon the forces of nature to transform her into an avatar of natural might and ferocity. As a move action, she can cause her body to grow a thick layer of wood, plant matter, and soil all over her body, causing her to take on an almost elemental appearance.

            While in this form, the nature’s champion’s natural armor bonus increases by +6, and she gains a +4 enhancement bonus to her Strength and Constitution scores. Further, she gains two slam primary natural attacks, which each deal 1d6 + Strength modifier points of bludgeoning damage on a successful hit. A nature’s champion is incapable of casting spells while under the effects of her nature’s avatar ability, even if she possesses the Wild Spell feat. Further, she is incapable of holding any items, as the transformation fuses her hands into fists. A nature’s champion remains in this form for a number of rounds equal to 10 + her Wisdom modifier, or until she ends the effect as a standard action.

            The nature’s champion can use this ability once per day at 4th level. At 8th level, and every four levels thereafter, the nature’s champion gains an additional daily use of this ability.

            At 6th level, the nature’s champion gains thorny protrusions all over her body whenever she uses this ability. This causes her slam attacks to deal an additional 2 points of piercing damage. Further, any creature that grapples the nature’s champion while she is using this ability automatically takes 2 points of piercing damage each round that it remains in the grapple.

            At 8th level, the nature’s champion grows to Large size whenever she uses this ability. This increases her space to 10 feet, and causes the bonuses she gains to Strength and Constitution to become +8, instead of +4, as well as increasing her armor bonus to AC from +6 to +10, and granting a +1 size bonus to CMB and CMD. On the other hand, the nature’s champion now suffers a -2 size penalty to her Dexterity score, as well as a -1 size penalty to attack and AC, whenever she uses this ability.

            At 10th level, whenever the nature’s champion uses this ability, she may choose not to gain two slam attacks, and instead gain four primary tentacle attacks, which take the form of vines growing from her body. Each of these attacks deals 1d4 + Strength modifier points of damage with a successful hit. Any bonuses or effects that would normally apply to her slam attack (such as the +2 piercing damage gained at 6th level) apply to these tentacle attacks, instead.

            Further, whenever the nature’s champion hits a creature of her size or smaller with one of her tentacle attacks, she may start a grapple as a free action without provoking attacks of opportunity. The nature’s champion may then choose to conduct the grapple normally, or hold the target with just the tentacle (the latter imposes a -20 penalty on grapple checks, but the nature’s champion does not gain the grappled condition herself). The nature’s champion gains a +4 bonus on checks made to start or maintain a grapple with one of these tentacles.

            Even if the nature’s champion chooses to gain tentacles instead of slam attacks, she still cannot hold or wield objects with her hands.

            At 12th level, whenever the nature’s champion uses this ability, she gains spell resistance equal to 10 + her druid level for as long as she remains under the effects of this ability.

            This ability replaces the wild shape class feature.

            Nature’s Blessing (Su): Beginning at 4th level, the nature’s champion gains a +4 bonus on saving throws made to resist effects which can only target humanoid creatures (such as charm person or hold person, but not charm monster or hold monster).

            This ability replaces the resist nature’s lure class feature.