I’ve never been to the tropics myself, and so creating a new archetype for this week’s Best in Class was a bit of a challenge. Naturally, when I think of the tropics, I think about beach resorts and fruity drinks served out of cups made from coconut shells, and that just doesn’t lend itself well to heroics. Of course, that isn’t really very fair to tropical regions, which have a lot more to offer than nice beaches. And so I essentially decided to create an archetype that championed and embodied the tropics. The guardian of the tropics is a ranger who fiercely defends his tropical home, but takes a low key and relaxed approach.
New Ranger Archetype
Guardian of the Tropics
A guardian of the tropics is a ranger who hails from warm and wet climates and has dedicated his life to the defense and prosperity of his homeland, embracing with his whole heart the land he comes from. Unlike other rangers, a guardian of the tropics does not hunt down specific enemies or travel varied terrain, believing the hate other rangers feel towards one type of creature is a waste, and that leaving tropical paradise would be foolish. Guardians of the tropics instead channel nature more strongly than other rangers, drawing upon more powerful magics fueled by their tropical home.
Weapon and Armor Proficiency: A guardian of the tropics is proficient with all simple and martial weapons, but is not proficient with any form of armor or shields.
This ability modifies the weapon and armor proficiency class feature.
Tropical Defense: A guardian of the tropics adds his Wisdom modifier to AC when he wears no armor and does not use a shield. He loses this bonus to AC while flat-footed.
Tropical Offence (Su): At 1st level, the guardian of the tropics’ intense bond with his tropical home fills his body, granting him additional combat abilities while fighting in friendly terrain. As long as the guardian of the tropics is in a warm or coastal environment, he gains a +1 bonus to attack and damage rolls. This bonus is doubled against creatures not native to or born in those areas. At 5th level, and every 5 levels thereafter, this bonus increases by a further +1.
This ability replaces the favored enemy class feature.
Spells of the Tropics (Su): At 2nd level, the guardian of the tropics begins to gain a greater mastery of spells. At 2nd level, the guardian of the tropics gains the ability to cast flare at will, with a caster level equal to his ranger level and saving throw DC equal 10 + 1/2 his ranger level + his Wisdom modifier. At 4th level, the guardian of the tropics gains the ability to cast heat metal as a 1st-level ranger spell. At 8th level, the guardian of the tropics can cast daylight as a 2nd-level ranger spell. At 12th level, the guardian of the tropics can cast fire shield as a 3rd-level ranger spell. At 16th level, the guardian of the tropics can cast tree stride as a 4th-level ranger spell.
Tropical Guardian: At 3rd level, the guardian of the tropics gains additional strength while within his tropical home. As long he remains in a warm or coastal environment, the guardian of the tropics gains DR 1/–, as well as a +2 bonus on initiative checks and on Perception, Knowledge (nature), Sense Motive, and Survival checks. At 8th level, and every 5 levels thereafter, the bonus to initiative checks and skill checks increases by a further +2, and the DR is increased by a further +1.
This ability replaces the favored terrain class feature.
Familiar: At 4th level, a guardian of the tropics gains a familiar in much the same way a wizard does, though he must choose an animal which is native to a warm or coastal environment. His effective wizard level is equal to his ranger level for the purposes of determining what kind of abilities his familiar gains.
This ability replaces the hunter’s bond class feature.
Call the Sun (Sp): At 9th level, a guardian of the tropics can call upon his deep connection to the tropics in order to cause a small area to be filled with warm tropical sunlight. By spending 3 full rounds chanting, the guardian of the tropics can create warm natural sunlight in the 100-foot-radius spread surrounding him. The sunlight remains for 10 minutes per level.
This ability replaces the evasion class feature.
Call the Rain (Sp): At 16th level, a guardian of the tropics an chant to summon a torrential downpour of rain. As long he remains outside within a warm or coastal environment, a guardian of the tropics can chant for 1 full round in order to cause the 100-foot-radius spread around him to fill with torrential rain, obscuring vision beyond 10 feet, and granting concealment to characters within 10 feet. The rain also reduces movement speed by half, though characters with woodland stride are immune to this effect.
This ability replaces the improved evasion class feature.
Monsoon Warrior (Su): A guardian of the tropics is the ultimate champion of his homeland and is an engine of destruction in defense of his tropical home. At 20th level, the guardian of the tropics adds his Wisdom modifier to attack and damage rolls made while in warm or coastal environments. Additionally, while in a warm or coastal environment, whenever the guardian of the tropics successfully confirms a critical hit against a creature which is not native to a warm or coastal environment, that creature must succeed on a Fortitude save or die.
This ability replaces the master hunter class feature.