It’s Hybrid Week at Necromancers of the Northwest, and today’s new class is a hybrid in more than one way. First of all, it’s a hybrid class, like those in Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Advanced Class Guide, combining two separate classes and adding a few new flares of its own. But more than that, it’s a hybrid of two classes published by Rogue Genius Games, another third-party publisher, and is the product of an effort by Necromancers of the Northwest to support and highlight the work of other publishers. Even beyond that, the two parent classes are from Rogue Genius Games’s Anachronistic Adventures, a book whose entire premise is to provide support for those who want to stick some modern, pulpy content into their Pathfinder fantasy game, which is a pretty hybrid-friendly concept all on its own. All told, today’s class is pretty much a hybrid trifecta.
The two classes I chose to combine are the luminary and the sensitive, because I felt they had the most interesting area of overlap: one focuses on bringing out the potential in others, while the other focuses on intuition and empathy. The two dovetail nicely: the better you understand someone’s motivations, the more easily you can communicate effectively and convincingly. The implications of the combination are straightforward enough, and I think you’ll be happy with the results.
The class can be found below, but in order to get full use of it, you’ll need to have access to Anachronistic Adventures, as that’s where you’ll find the archetypes and talents that the class gains. If you don’t have Anachronistic Adventures already, I recommend taking steps to remedy that fact, as it’s got plenty of great content for kitting out your game with pulp genre awesomeness, at a very reasonable price.
New Hybrid Class
Able to quickly read a person and learn what makes them tick, and then leverage that knowledge to persuade them to do as she desires, a manipulator is the undisputed master when it comes to navigating social circles. She can talk her way into and out of just about anything, and whether that is wringing the most out of her allies and helping them reach their potential, or wrapping her enemies around her finger and convincing them to betray themselves and their ideals in order to serve her, at the end of the day, a manipulator always seems to get exactly what she wants.
Role: Manipulators can be passable fighters, but they often perform the best on the battlefield in support roles, helping their allies to perform better than they otherwise would. Where a manipulator truly shines is off the battlefield, where her ability to uncover secrets and influence others can be used to its full potential.
Hit Die: d8.
Parent Classes: Luminary and sensitive (both from Anachronistic Adventures by Rogue Genius Games)
Starting Wealth: 6d6 x 10 gp (average 210 gp). In addition, each character begins play with an outfit worth 10 gp or less.
The manipulator’s class skills are Appraise (Int), Bluff (Cha), Craft (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Disguise (Cha), Handle Animal (Cha), Intimidate (Cha), Knowledge (history) (Int), Knowledge (local) (Int), Knowledge (nobility) (Int), Knowledge (religion) (Int), Linguistics (Int), Perform (Cha), Profession (Wis), Sense Motive (Wis), and Use Magic Device (Cha).
Skill Ranks per Level: 6 + Int modifier.
The following are the class features of the manipulator.
Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Manipulators are proficient with simple weapons and a single Progress Level (see Progress Level Proficiencies in Anachronistic Adventures by Rogue Genius Games).
Archetype: Manipulators come from a wide variety of circumstances, and each one brings their own unique experiences to their craft of influencing those around them. At 1st level, each manipulator selects an anachronistic archetype to represent her focus and background training. Once selected, this choice cannot be changed. Each archetype provides a manipulator with special benefits, ranging from additional class skills and bonus feats to new talents and class powers. The anachronistic archetypes are presented in Anachronistic Adventures by Rogue Genius Games.
Influence (Ex): A manipulator’s powerful personality, compelling motivation, and keen understanding of others allows her to influence the actions of her allies and enemies. The influence of a manipulator is not a generic aura of encouragement that aids everything her friends do and hinders all her foes; instead it represents specific, measured moments when the manipulator exerts her persuasive demeanor to drive her collaborators to great deeds, or to cause her foes to stumble and fail.
A subject must be able to see or hear the manipulator in order to be affected by the influence ability, but does not necessarily need to be able to understand the manipulator (although it must have an Intelligence score of at least 2 in order to be affected). All uses of influence are considered mind-affecting effects. A manipulator cannot affect herself with her own influence ability. A manipulator may use her influence once per day at 1st level. At 5th level, and every four levels thereafter, she gains one additional daily use of this ability.
A manipulator may create the following effects with her influence.
Harass: The manipulator can use her speech, tone of voice, gestures, and timing to make it difficult for a foe to focus on what he is doing. As an immediate or swift action, the manipulator can force a foe to reroll any one successful concentration check, attack roll, skill check, saving throw, or damage roll.
The manipulator may make this decision after the roll has been revealed to succeed, but before any consequences of that success are known (thus the manipulator can force a foe to reroll a successful attack roll after the attack is known to have hit, but before damage has been rolled).
Spur to Action: As an immediate or swift action, the manipulator can grant an additional action to an ally. This may be a swift action (taken on the ally’s turn) or a +1 increase to the number of attacks of opportunity the ally may make before its next turn.
At 4th level, the manipulator may instead grant an ally an additional move action taken on its turn, or a swift action taken at any time.
At 8th level, the manipulator may instead grant an ally an additional standard action taken on its turn, or a move action taken at any time.
At 12th level, the manipulator may instead grant an ally an additional full round of actions taken on its turn, or a standard action taken at any time.
At 16th level, the manipulator may instead grant an ally an additional full round of actions that it can take at any time.
A creature cannot benefit from spur to action more than once per round (even if more than one manipulator uses the ability on the same creature). A manipulator cannot use this ability to grant herself more actions.
Steadfast Support: The manipulator can convince an ally that an apparently hopeless situation can, in fact, be overcome. As an immediate or swift action, the manipulator can allow an ally to reroll any one failed attack roll, skill check, saving throw, or damage roll. The manipulator may make this decision after the roll has been revealed to fail, but before any consequences of that failure are known (thus a manipulator can give an ally a reroll for a failed Reflex saving throw against a fireball, but only before the spell’s damage is known).
Unsettle: Through a combination of words, tone, gestures, and obvious attitude, a manipulator can throw a foe off his game. A manipulator instinctively customizes her unsettling demeanor to match her target: frightening cautious mooks, flirting with stalwart guardians, and enraging powerful warlords. The end result is the same: her manipulation of her targets’ emotions causes them to be temporarily unable to fully focus on what they are doing.
As a standard action, the manipulator forces a foe to make a Will save (DC = 10 + 1/2 the manipulator’s class level + the manipulator’s Charisma modifier) or suffer a penalty on all attack rolls, ability checks, concentration checks, skill checks, and saving throws for a number of rounds equal to 1/2 the manipulator’s class level. This penalty begins at –2. At 5th level, and every five levels thereafter, the penalty increases by 1 (to a maximum penalty of –6 at 20th level).
Inscrutable (Ex): While a manipulator finds others to be an open book, her own thoughts and motives are kept carefully hidden from others. The DC of Sense Motive checks made to gain a hunch about her is increased by an amount equal to 1/2 her class level (minimum +1). Further, she gains a +4 bonus on saving throws made to resist divination effects. Finally, beginning at 8th level, if a magical effect is used against the manipulator that would detect her lies or force her to speak the truth, the user of the effect must succeed on a caster level check (1d20 + caster level) against a DC of 15 + the manipulator’s class level in order to succeed. Failure means the effect does not detect the manipulator’s lies or force her to speak only the truth.
Intuition (Ex): A manipulator has a very strong sense of how things are “supposed” to work, act, and relate to one another. As a result, the manipulator is often able to perform complex or specialized tasks without the background or training normally required to do so. A manipulator may make an intuition check (1d20 + class level + Wisdom modifier + 3) in place of a skill check. This acts as a skill check with the same DC for success as if the manipulator were trained in the appropriate skill. Only skill checks completed using a full round action or less may be replaced by an intuition check, and such checks still require the proper tools to perform them.
Alternatively, a manipulator can use intuition to get a hunch, an inexplicable feeling for how one event, creature, or item works. This allows her to generate one of the following effects.
The manipulator gets a gut assessment of the social situation, such as the feeling from another’s behavior that something is wrong, such as when talking to an impostor. Alternatively, the manipulator can get the feeling that someone is trustworthy. This acts as if the manipulator had made a successful Sense Motive check to gain a hunch (no roll is necessary).
The manipulator learns information about one creature or object as if she had studied it for 3 rounds with any two of the following spells: detect chaos, detect evil, detect good, detect law, or detect magic. This information should be given to the manipulator confidentially by the GM and not shared with other players. The manipulator cannot use specifics to explain this intuition to other characters or players, instead making vague statements such as “I don’t trust them,” or “I think this has some connection to dead people.”
Gain information about a creature or item as if the manipulator had made the appropriate Knowledge skill check with a result of 20 + her class level + her Wisdom modifier. If the manipulator is aware an object or effect is magic, this can be used in place of a Spellcraft check to identify it. As with the above option, this information should be given to the manipulator confidentially by the GM and not shared with other players.
Intuition does not translate as a legal truth, and will not stand up in a court of law: it is obvious to the manipulator alone. Finding proof of an intuition requires additional work.
Unlike a sensitive, a manipulator’s intuition does not reduce nonproficiency penalties she suffers.
At 1st level, a manipulator can use this ability once per day. At 4th level, and every three levels thereafter, she can use this ability an additional time per day (to a maximum of 7 uses per day at 19th level).
Talents: As a manipulator’s intuition and charm develop, she learns a number of talents that aid her in understanding and controlling the world around her. At 2nd level, and every six levels thereafter, the manipulator gains a single talent from among those available to members of the sensitive class (fr0m Anachronistic Adventures, by Rogue Genius Games). At 5th level, and every six levels thereafter, the manipulator gains a single talent from among those available to members of the luminary class (also from Anachronistic Adventures). At 20th level, the manipulator gains one talent from each of her parent classes.
Untouchable (Ex): Through a combination of combat intuition, foresight, and having too much personal magnetism and charm for anyone to be able to try to harm her without harboring at least a few reservations on the subject, a manipulator can be quite difficult to hit in combat. Beginning at 2nd level, the manipulator gains a +1 circumstance bonus to AC. This bonus does not apply if the manipulator is denied her Dexterity bonus to AC, or if the attacker cannot see her clearly (such as if she is disguised, invisible, fighting in the dark, or affected by a spell such as blur or mirror image). At 6th level, and every four levels thereafter, this bonus to AC increases by 1 (to a maximum of +5 at 18th level).
Empathic Communication (Su): Beginning at 3rd level, a manipulator is able to communicate on an empathic level even with creatures that she does not share a language with. She can communicate very simple ideas and concepts with such creatures, such as “I mean no harm” or “I’m hungry,” via body language, facial expression, tone of voice, and pantomime. This also allows her to use Bluff, Diplomacy, Intimidate, and Sense Motive against creatures that she does not share a language with (provided they have an Intelligence of 2 or higher). When using these skills in this way, she must stick to very basic concepts, and she suffers a –4 penalty on the check. Finally, she can use language-dependent effects against creatures she does not share a language with, although she suffers a –4 penalty on any d20 rolls she makes as part of such effects, and the saving throw DC of such effects is decreased by 2.
Hide Aura (Su): At 7th level, a manipulator learns to hide her own aura, to better protect her motivations from close scrutiny. She is immune to the analyze auraOA spell, as well as any spell that grants information about her based on her aura (including, but not necessarily limited to: detect chaos, detect evil, detect good, detect law, detect magic, and detect undead). She can suppress or resume this effect as a standard action.
Universal Influence (Su): At 9th level, a manipulator gains the ability to influence things that cannot normally be persuaded or compelled. She can use mind-affecting effects against creatures that are normally immune to them, including mindless creatures, constructs, and undead, as though they did not possess that immunity, although such creatures gain a +4 bonus on saving throws to resist the effect.
Motivation Sense (Sp): Beginning at 12th level, a manipulator is able to peer into a creature’s eyes and learn that creature’s deepest desires and darkest fears. She can cast detect anxietiesUI and detect desiresUI as spell-like abilities at will.
Spare Me (Su): By 15th level, a manipulator is able to compel her attackers to leave her alive, whether it is by appealing to their mercy, offering them their heart’s desire, or simply commanding it with force of will. Whenever a manipulator would be reduced to 0 hit points or fewer, as an immediate action, she can force her attacker to succeed on a Will save (DC 10 + 1/2 her class level + her Charisma modifier) or be compelled to stay his hand, reducing the damage dealt so that she is left at exactly 1 hit point, instead. This is a mind-affecting effect. The manipulator can use this ability once per day.
Suggestive Speech (Su): At 20th level, almost every word that comes out of a manipulator’s mouth carries the weight of a command. She can cast suggestion as a spell-like ability at will.