Network Previews – Call of the Wild: Druid

In the very near future, likely within 2-3 weeks, d20pfsrd.com Publishing is launching a new series of books, titled Call of the Wild. Our author, Kalen Tessman, went above and beyond on target word count for the first in this new series and some of it had to be left at the wayside. So, we decided to take one of the things that we had to cut and present it as a freebie here!

We hope you all enjoy this preview, and without further ado, here is the spiritwalker…

(Please note that the following review has NOT been edited in any shape or form, and is the direct raw feed from Kalen’s first draft. There are therefore likely to be some issues left. GM discretion is advised):

Spiritwalker

Spiritwalkers are druids who have found themselves bonded with a powerful animal spirit. This may be the spirit of a dead animal that they were very close to, or they may have crossed paths with the entity in some ancient and wild part of the world. Though occasionally mistaken for some manner of necromancer due to their dealings with ghostly beings, this is quite far from the truth; their spirits aren’t born of negative energy but rather from the power of the realm of faerie, reaching into the prime material through the ethereal plane. Fittingly, very few of these spirits look like their mortal counterparts with much accuracy, often sporting striking feathers, iridescent scales, or brightly colored to the point of glowing patches of fur even on animals that shouldn’t normally have feathers, scales or fur in the first place.

Vision

A spiritwalker begins play with the aid of a powerful and versatile spirit entity called a vision. The vision forms a link with the spiritwalker, who forever after can either harbor the creature within her consciousness or manifest it as an ectoplasmic or incorporeal entity. A vision has the same alignment as the spiritwalker, and it can speak all the languages its master can. A spiritwalker can harbor her vision in her consciousness (see the shared consciousness class feature), manifest it partially (see the bonded manifestation class feature), or fully manifest it. A fully manifested vision is treated as a summoned creature from the ethereal plane, except it is not sent back to the ethereal plane until it is reduced to a negative amount of hit points equal to or greater than its Constitution score.

A spiritwalker can fully manifest her vision through a ritual that takes 1 minute to perform. When the vision is fully manifested, the spiritwalker can change the form of the vision’s manifestation (either from ectoplasmic to incorporeal or vice versa) as a full-round action that provokes attacks of opportunity. When the vision manifests, its hit points are unchanged from the last time it manifested, unless the vision was slain and returned to the ethereal plane; in this case, the vision manifests with half its maximum number of hit point.

The vision does not heal naturally and can be healed only with magic or by being tended to with the Heal skill while fully manifested in ectoplasmic form. The vision stays fully manifested until it is either returned to the spiritwalker’s consciousness (a standard action) or banished to the ethereal plane. If the vision is banished to the ethereal plane, it can’t return to the spiritwalker’s consciousness or manifest again for 24 hours.

While fully manifested, a vision can’t be returned to the ethereal plane by means of dispel magic, but spells such as dismissal and banishment work normally. Whenever the spiritwalker is unconscious or asleep, the vision immediately returns to the spiritwalker’s consciousness. If the spiritwalker dies, the vision is returned to the ethereal plane, and can’t return to the spiritwalker’s consciousness until 24 hours after the spiritwalker is brought back to life.

A vision can’t be dismissed or banished (by a spell or any other similar effect) while it resides in the spiritwalker’s consciousness, as the vision is protected from such effects by the power of the spiritwalker’s psyche.

Fully manifested visions can wear magic items and use items (though not wield weapons) appropriate to their forms. Any items worn, carried, or held by a vision are dropped when the vision returns to the spiritwalker’s consciousness and must be retrieved and donned anew if the vision wishes to use them when it fully manifests in the future.

Visions are capricious, vain creatures that do not play well with other summoned companions. A vision refuses to manifest (either fully or as part of a bonded manifestation; see Bonded Manifestation) in the presence of an eidolon or phantom summoned by the vision’s master. Furthermore, if a vision is manifested when such a creature is summoned, it immediately retreats into its spiritwalker’s consciousness, and will not manifest again until the eidolon or phantom is dismissed.

A fully manifested vision’s abilities, feats, Hit Dice, saving throws, and skills are tied to the spiritwalker’s class level and increase as the spiritwalker gains levels. See the Visions section for more information.

This ability replaces nature bond.

Shared Consciousness (Su)

At 1st level, while a vision is confined in a spiritwalker’s consciousness (but not while it’s fully manifested or banished to the ethereal plane), it grants the spiritwalker the Skill Focus feat in two skills determined by the vision’s primal focus, unless the spiritwalker already has Skill Focus in those skills. It also grants a +4 bonus on saving throws against all mind-affecting effects; at 12th level, this bonus increases to +8.

Lastly, once per day, when the spiritwalker fails a saving throw against a mind-affecting effect, as an immediate action she can shunt that effect into the vision’s section of her consciousness instead. When she does so, she is not affected by the mind-affecting effect, but for the normal duration of that effect, the spiritwalker loses the bonuses on saving throws against mind-affecting effects and the Skill Focus effects granted by her vision, and can’t use this ability to shunt a mind-affecting effect into the vision’s consciousness or manifest her phantom in any way. When a mind-affecting effect is shunted in the vision’s consciousness, spells such as dispel magic and break enchantment can be cast on the spiritwalker to end the effect’s duration as if the spiritwalker was affected by the mind-affecting effect.

This ability replaces nature sense and resist nature’s lure.

Etheric Tether (Su)

At 1st level, a spiritwalker can force the vision to manifest in an area around her by pushing the vision’s consciousness through the veil of ethereal essence, allowing it to fully manifest in either ectoplasmic or incorporeal form. Whenever her manifested vision takes enough damage to send it back to the ethereal plane, as a reaction to the damage, the spiritwalker can sacrifice any number of her hit points without using an action. Each hit point sacrificed in this way prevents 1 point of damage dealt to the vision. This can prevent the vision from being sent back to the ethereal plane.

This tether is limited. When the vision is fully manifested, it and the spiritwalker must remain within 50 feet of one another for the vision’s manifestation to stay stable with little to no concentration on the part of the spiritwalker. The spiritwalker can stretch the limited tether, but only when the vision is in ectoplasmic form.

When a spiritwalker starts her turn and her ectoplasmic vision is more than 50 feet away from her (but closer than 100 feet), the spiritwalker must concentrate on the link as a full-round action that provokes attacks of opportunity or the ectoplasmic vision immediately returns to the ethereal plane and cannot be summoned from that plane for 24 hours. This concentration can be interrupted as if it were a spell. Treat this effect’s spell level as equal to 1 + 1 per 10 feet farther than 50 feet that the vision is from the spiritwalker (maximum spell level 6th). If the tether is interrupted or the check fails, the phantom immediately snaps back into the consciousness of its spiritwalker master.

If the ectoplasmic vision is ever more than 100 feet away from its spiritwalker, or the incorporeal vision is ever 50 feet away from the spiritwalker or outside of line of effect from the spiritwalker for more than 1 round per spiritwalker level the spiritwalker possesses, the tether is automatically broken; the vision immediately returns to the ethereal plane and can’t be summoned from that plane for 24 hours.

Bonded Manifestation (Su)

At 4th level, as a swift action, a spiritwalker can pull on the consciousness of her vision and the substance of the ethereal plane to partially manifest aspects of both in her own body. When she does, she uses this bonded manifestation to enhance her own abilities while the vision is still bound to her consciousness.

For the spiritwalker to use this ability, the vision must be confined in the spiritwalker’s consciousness; it can’t be manifested in any other way.

During a bonded manifestation, the vision can’t be damaged, dismissed, or banished. A spiritwalker can use bonded manifestation a number of rounds per day equal to 3 + twice her spiritwalker level. The rounds need not be consecutive. She can dismiss the effects of a bonded manifestation as a free action, but even if she dismisses a bonded manifestation on the same round that she used it, it counts as 1 round of use.

When a spiritwalker uses this ability, she must choose either ectoplasmic or incorporeal form. When she makes this choice, she gains all of the abilities based on the form she chooses and her spiritwalker level.

Ectoplasmic Bonded Manifestation: When a spiritwalker uses this ability and chooses ectoplasmic form, she gains an ectoplasmic shield that protects her without restricting her movement or actions. She gains a +4 shield bonus to armor class; this bonus applies to incorporeal touch attacks. The ectoplasmic shield has no armor check penalty or arcane spell failure chance. At 8th level, the spiritwalker also sprouts a pair of ectoplasmic claws over her arms. Once per round as either a swift or a standard action (spiritwalker’s choice), the spiritwalker can use one or both claws to attack creatures within her melee reach (using the attack bonus and damage dice of her ectoplasmic manifested vision) or to manipulate objects. She can even use that action to have one claw make an attack and the other manipulate an object, as long as that object can be manipulated with one hand. At 13th level, the vision’s ectoplasm clings to the spiritwalker like a suit of armor. This grants the spiritwalker a +6 armor bonus to AC without imposing an armor check penalty, an arcane spell failure chance, or any reduction in speed. At 18th level, the spiritwalker can take a full-round action to attack all creatures within her melee reach with her claws (using the attack bonus and damage dice of her ectoplasmic manifested vision). When she does, she rolls the attack roll twice, takes the better of the two results, and uses that as her attack roll against all creatures within her melee reach. If the better attack roll threatens a critical hit, the spiritwalker chooses one target that she hit to confirm the critical hit against. The other attacks that hit are considered normal hits rather than critical threats.

Incorporeal Bonded Manifestation: When a spiritwalker uses this ability and chooses incorporeal form, she becomes shrouded in a haze of insubstantial mist, granting her concealment against ranged attacks. At 8th level, the spiritwalker can better affect incorporeal creatures with melee attacks; her unarmed strikes, natural weapons, and melee weapon attacks are treated as if they had the ghost touch magic weapon special ability. At 13th level, the spiritwalker can take a standard action to become invisible (as the invisibility spell) until the start of her next turn. At 18th level, the spiritwalker gains the incorporeal subtype and a fly speed of 30 feet (good) while using this form of bonded manifestation.

Wild Shape (Su)

A spiritwalker gains this ability at 6th level, and it functions at her druid level -2.

Spiritual Bond (Su)

At 15th level, a spiritwalker’s life force becomes intrinsically linked with the vision’s spiritual essence. As long as the vision has 1 or more hit points, when the spiritwalker takes damage that would reduce her to fewer than 0 hit points, those points of damage are transferred to the vision instead. This transfer stops after the vision takes all of the damage or the vision is reduced to a negative amount of hit points equal to its Constitution score. In the latter case, points of damage dealt in excess of this limit are dealt to the spiritwalker. This ability affects only effects that deal hit point damage.

This ability replaces timeless body.

Visions

A vision’s abilities are determined by the spiritwalker’s level and the choice of manifestations the spiritwalker makes when she performs the manifestation ritual. The table below displays many of the base statistics of the vision. Each vision possesses a primal focus that modifies these base statistics and abilities. Visions are considered outsiders for the purpose of determining which spells affect them.

A vision was once a living animal that experienced a strong bond to the natural world before it died. This bond was strong enough that its soul lingered in the wild parts of the world after it passed, eventually passing through into the realm of faerie, which shines like a beacon towards lost animal spirits. Its time spent in a timeless place changed it and made it more than it once was, and as it is eventually drawn once more explore the realm of mortals, it seeks out the shelter of a receptive mind that also has a close bond with nature. This fusion creates a spiritwalker.

Visions may retain some of their memories from mortal life, but not many. Some visions wish to see what has become of the places they once knew, while others desire to see new parts of the world that were beyond their comprehension in life. Still others wish to act as sentinels, to guard the natural world against those that would do it harm.

A Spiritwalker’s Vision uses the same rules as a spiritualist’s phantom, with the following exceptions: Visions have two natural claw attacks instead of slam attacks, though the damage dealt is the same. Knowledge (planes) is not a class skill for them, but Knowledge (nature) is. Most importantly, rather than having an emotional focus, visions are defined by their primal focus.

Primal Focus

Each vision has a primal focus—some core aspect of its identity that its soul rallied around after death, and that persisted to become the seed of the new and greater being it has since become. Along with determining how the vision attempts to relate to and understand the world around them, this focus also grants the vision abilities that it can use while manifested. The type of each ability and its power are determined by the spiritwalker’s level.

The primal focus determines which bonus skill ranks the vision gains, as well as the skills in which its spiritwalker master gains Skill Focus. It also determines the good saving throws of the manifested vision and the special abilities the vision gains as it increases in level.

While the appearance of a vision tends to be somewhat informed by its appearance in life, this rarely comes across as much more than providing a basic animal species for it to start from. How a vision looks is often much much more influenced by its primal focus than its shape in life, and most visions will subtly change their appearance over time as a subconscious reflection of themselves.

Cowardly

Cowardly visions are borne of spirits which were nearly too afraid of death to even be able to die. They were certainly too fearful of it to stay that way, and they often seek out masters who share their instinct to avoid the spotlight. Their colors vary but usually consist of colder tones. Most of them do not find the idea of an adventuring life very appealing, and such visions more often find themselves dragged into such careers by their masters rather than the other way around.

Skills: The vision gains a number of ranks in Perception and Stealth equal to its number of Hit Dice. While confined in the spiritwalker’s consciousness, the vision grants the spiritwalker Skill Focus in each of these skills.

Good Saves: Reflex & Will

Stealthy: The vision gains Stealthy as a bonus feat.

Distractingly Pathetic (Ex)

When a cowardly vision hits a creature with its claw attack, that creature must succeed at a Will saving throw (DC = 10 + 1/2 the vision’s Hit Dice + the vision’s Charisma modifier) or any attacks targeting the creature gain a +1 bonus on their attack rolls and damage rolls until the beginning of the vision’s next turn.

Penalties from multiple hits don’t stack with themselves.

Imagined Terrors (Su)

When the spiritwalker reaches 7th level, the vision learns to project its own half-formed fears and imaginings into the world around it, half-appearing in the corners of the eyes of those nearby. Enemies within 20 feet of the vision become shaken. This effect persists as long as the enemy is within 20 feet, or until the vision ends the ability as a free action. This ability cannot cause a creature to become frightened or panicked, even if the target was already shaken from another effect. This is a mind-affecting fear effect.

Hide from Light (Su)

When the spiritwalker reaches 12th level, a cowardly vision figures out how to better hide using its unearthly form. This ability works like invisibility, using the vision’s Hit Dice as its caster level for the effect. The vision can use this ability three times per day, in either ectoplasmic or incorporeal form.

Absorb Terror (Ex)

When the spiritwalker reaches 17th level, the vision becomes so skittish that it can actually be terrified on behalf of other creatures. Allies within a 20-foot-radius aura of the vision are immune to fear. This also grants the vision’s spiritwalker master immunity to fear as long as the vision is not banished to the Ethereal Plane.

Curious

Visions with this primal focus have an unquenchable thirst for the unknown that borders on the reckless. They often appear with oversized eyes or ears, and their colors frequently shift in imitation of (or in striking contrast against) the shades around them. They are quick to goad their masters into situations which, while unquestionably interesting, are rarely safe or comfortable.

Skills: The vision gains a number of ranks in Perception and Knowledge (any one, selected at first level) equal to its number of Hit Dice. While confined in the spiritwalker’s consciousness, the vision grants the spiritwalker Skill Focus in each of these skills.

Good Saves: Reflex & Will

Inherently Inquisitive: The vision gains a +2 bonus to Intelligence and a -2 penalty to Charisma. Instead of the vision gaining a bonus to Charisma as the spiritwalker gains level, a curious vision gains a bonus to Intelligence instead.

Dissect Offense (Ex)

Each time the vision hits a creature with a melee attack, the creature must succeed on a Will saving throw (DC = 10 + 1/2 the vision’s Hit Dice + the vision’s Intelligence modifier) or take a -2 penalty on attack and damage rolls against the vision for 1 round. This effect does not stack with itself.

Aura of Distraction(Su)

When the spiritwalker reaches 7th level, as a swift action, the vision can induce intense but short-range curiosity in those nearby, forcing anyone within 15 feet to succeed on a Will Saving Throw (DC = 10 + 1/2 the vision’s Hit Dice + the vision’s Intelligence modifier) or be fascinated by whatever is in their hands (or, if empty, their hands themselves) for as long as the vision continues to concentrate. Once a target successfully saves against a vision’s aura of distraction, they are immune to that vision’s aura for 24 hours. This is a mind-affecting effect, and the vision can use this ability in either ectoplasmic or incorporeal form.

Too Intrigued to Freak Out (Ex)

When the spiritwalker reaches 12th level, the vision becomes immune to fear effects. If it is targeted with a mind-affecting fear effect of CL 6 or higher, the vision gains a +2 bonus to all saving throws for 1 round.

Vivisect Defense (Ex)

When the spiritwalker reaches 17th level, if the vision hits a creature with a melee attack who is still suffering the effects of Dissect Offense, they must make a Will Saving Throw (DC = 10 + 1/2 the vision’s Hit Dice + the vision’s Intelligence modifier) or else for 1 round take a -2 penalty on armor class and -5 feet to the speed of their primary form of movement. This effect stacks.

Malicious

Malicious visions delight in playing with their prey and consider inflicting fear and pain to be wonderfully good fun. Their appearance often looks quite aggressive, from mohawk-like ridges of crimson fur to teeth that would shame a sabertooth. They often sport the front arms of bears, great cats, or gorillas—powerful limbs with a wide range of motion that let them bat foes around like toys. While malicious visions make effective teams with sadistic masters, they often find it more fun to inflict themselves on aspiring spiritwalkers who don’t see things their way.

Skills: The vision gains a number of ranks in Intimidate and Bluff equal to its number of Hit Dice. While confined in the spiritwalker’s consciousness, the vision grants the spiritwalker Skill Focus in each of these skills.

Good Saves: Fortitude & Will

Bully Breed: The vision gains a +2 bonus to Strength and a -2 penalty to Dexterity. Instead of the vision gaining a bonus to Dexterity as the spiritwalker gains level, a malicious vision gains a bonus to Strength instead.

Mocking Blow (Ex)

If the vision hits a creature with a claw attack, that creature must succeed at a Will saving throw (DC = 10 + 1/2 the vision’s Hit Dice + the vision’s Charisma modifier) or be shaken for 1d4 rounds. Multiple attacks against the same creature do not cause the creature to become frightened. This is a mind-affecting fear effect

Terrifying Roar (Su)

When the spiritwalker reaches 7th level, as a swift action, the vision can bellow and increase or induce fear conditions in enemies within a 30-foot cone who fail their Will saving throws (DC = 10 + 1/2 the vision’s Hit Dice + the vision’s Charisma modifier). Enemies so affected are shaken, shaken enemies who are affected become frightened, but frightened enemies do not become panicked. When the spiritwalker reaches 15th level, shaken or frightened enemies who fail to save against this effect become panicked.

This is a mind-affecting fear effect. The vision can use this ability in either ectoplasmic or incorporeal form.

Menacing Strike (Ex)

When the spiritwalker reaches 12th level, if the vision hits with a claw attack, it can choose to frighten those it hits instead of causing them to be shaken. This is a mind-affecting fear effect.

Butcher’s Ballroom (Su)

When the spiritwalker reaches 17th level, once per day, the vision can kidnap up to two subjects, transporting them to a pocket dimension and leaving them with a shadow of the vision itself. This ability works like maze, except the DC of the Intelligence check to escape is 22 and as long as a creature remains in the maze they must deal with the shade of the vision.

Every round that a creature remains within the maze, it must succeed on, as determined by coin toss, either a Reflex or Will save (DC = 10 + 1/2 the vision’s Hit Dice + the vision’s Charisma modifier). If they fail the Reflex save, they suffer an attack from the shade. This attack has a bonus to hit equal to the vision’s Hit Dice, and deals 2d8 damage. If they fail the Will save, they become frightened for 2d4 rounds. The shade itself is immaterial, and cannot be harmed or affected by any spells or effects.

While lost in the pocket dimension, the surroundings appear to be a demented parody of the area they were just in, and wandering only seems to make them loop through a small area until they manage to find their way out.

Predatory

Predatory visions tend towards seriousness. Wolf features are common, as are elements of eagles and savannah cats. Their colors are often muted, blending easily into their surroundings, and when entering an area and left to their own devices they will often gravitate towards hiding spaces with commanding views. They are prone to getting bored if left directionless long enough, and if cooped up can become comically serious about hunting even tiny mice.

Skills: The vision gains a number of ranks in Stealth and Survival equal to its number of Hit Dice. While confined in the spiritwalker’s consciousness, the vision grants the spiritwalker Skill Focus in each of these skills.

Good Saves: Reflex & Fortitude

Scent: The vision gains the scent ability.

Chosen Prey (Ex)

By spending 3 rounds studying them from line of sight in short range, a predatory vision can select one creature to be its chosen prey. The vision gains a bonus equal to half its Hit Dice (minimum 1) on survival checks made to track its chosen prey, and against its chosen prey it deals claw damage as a creature one size category larger than either its current size or it’s chosen prey’s size, whichever is larger. A vision can only have 1 chosen prey at a time, and the selection lasts until the prey is dead, the vision has selected new prey, or a number of days have passed equal to the vision’s Hit Dice.

Berserker Howl (Su)

When the spiritwalker reaches 7th level, as a swift action, the vision can let out a howl that inspires aggression in creatures within a 20-foot-radius. Creatures within the radius gain a +2 bonus on melee attack rolls but take a -2 penalty to AC for a number of rounds equal to half the vision’s Hit Dice. The vision can use this ability in either ectoplasmic or incorporeal form.

Artful Ambush (Ex)

When the spiritwalker reaches 12th level, the predatory vision becomes able to bring its prey down with a single well-placed strike. This works like the death attack assassin ability except as noted here: only the vision’s chosen prey can be studied, any variables based on class level are instead based off the vision’s Hit Dice, the Fortitude Save DC is based on Charisma instead of Intelligence, and despite counting as a sneak attack, the attack deals no extra dice of sneak attack damage.

Pack Tactics(Ex)

When the spiritwalker reaches 17th level, the vision can pass its plans into the minds of its friends. When the vision designates a chosen prey, its allies also gain a +2 bonus on attack rolls and a +4 bonus on damage rolls against that enemy.

Protective

These spirits often found purpose in lifeguarding a pack or defending their territory. They extend that protective urge to the spiritwalkers they travel with and make fine guardians to any lucky enough to earn the companionship of such a creature. They tend to display a nearly encyclopedic knowledge of defensive species of animal, and they don’t hesitate to incorporate elements from any such beasts that should match the situation. Their general outline doesn’t tend to change much when doing this, but their composition can shift dramatically. They most commonly appear in warm earth tones, though it’s not uncommon for them to display a singular affinity for some more vibrant hue.

Skills: The vision gains a number of ranks in Perception and Intimidate equal to its number of Hit Dice. While confined in the spiritwalker’s consciousness, the vision grants the spiritwalker Skill Focus in each of these skills.

Good Saves: Reflex & Fortitude

Antagonistic: The vision gains Antagonize as a bonus feat.

Guardian’s Rage (Su)

When a creature makes an attack against the vision’s master, the vision gains a +2 bonus on attack rolls against that target and deals damage against that target as if the vision were one size category larger. For the purposes of this ability, an attack includes any harmful spell targeting the spiritwalker master of whose area or effect includes the spiritwalker master.

Guardian’s rage lasts for 1 minute until another creature attacks the vision’s master (at which point this effect transfers to the new attacker), or until the attacking creature is reduced to fewer than 0 hit points, whichever comes first.

Toughening Aura (Su)

When the spiritwalker reaches 7th level, the vision can emit a 10-foot-radius aura of invigorating energy that thickens the skin and quickens the reactions of nearby allies. It can activate this aura at will as a swift action. Allies within the aura gain a +2 natural armor bonus to AC and a +2 bonus to CMD and on all saving throws.

Deactivating the aura is a free action.

Morphic Defense(Ex)

When the spiritwalker reaches 12th level, the vision gains DR equal to its Hit Dice. This DR can be overcome by either slashing & blunt, slashing & piercing, or blunt &  piercing. The vision can change between these three options as a free action once per turn.

Lick the Wounds (Ex)

When the spiritwalker reaches 17th level, the vision gains the ability to cast regenerate once per day as a spell-ike ability.

We hope you all enjoyed this preview. 🙂

About Kim Frandsen

Kim is a freelance writer for various companies (including d20pfsrd.com Publishing, Fat Goblin Games, Flaming Crab Games, Outland Entertainment, Purple Duck Games, Rusted Iron Games and Zenith Games) as well as an editor of the Pathfinder and D&D 5th Edition product lines for d20pfsrd.com Publishing. Hopes to one day rule the world!

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