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Loren_and_Kivsith
2006-08-21, 06:16 PM
Nature’s Hand

The ranger Thiadrin hid in the bushes in the thick forest, not making a sound, as he waited for his quarry to come just a little closer. *At the same time, he had a funny feeling that something was watching him, as well, but he shook it off as just nerves. *He had been tracking his quarry, a giant scorpion, for days. *He specialized in hunting vermin, foul creatures that they were, and was proud of each one he exterminated. *He aimed his bow, and shot true. *Hours later, after a valiant struggle, the creature was dead, and Thiadrin made ready to leave. *That’s when a comely woman stepped out of the trees and asked, “Why did you kill that creature?” *Her left hand was so completely covered in bandages that not even the form of the hand was apparent, but the bandages showed no trace of blood. *“Because it was a filthy vermin, a blight upon the natural order,” Thiadrin replied. *The woman then tore off her bandages to reveal a wolf’s paw where her hand should have been, and spat, “You should not speak of the natural order, yourself a blight upon it.” *With that, she shoved her claws into a gap in Thiadrin’s armor, and he fought for his life for the second time that day.

Originally formed as a sort of mediator between civilization and wilderness, the Nature’s Hands still keep a strong sense of balance between the two, and tend to see everything as structured, with all things having their place. *That said, they are very close to the natural order they serve, and consider themselves a harmonious part of nature. *They refuse to wield artificial weapons against any creature in its native habitat, in accordance with their code of honor, and many abandon the use of man-made weapons altogether. *As for civilization, Nature’s Hands tend to regard it as a necessary intrusion upon the natural world. *After all, civilization is simply creatures doing what they can to make life better for themselves; not that different from the natural world at all. *They draw the line, however, when civilized peoples disregard the balance of nature, or cause needless destruction. *When that happens, the Nature’s Hands are there to even the score. *All Nature’s Hands have a selected environment, of which they are even more fiercely protective. *Nature’s Hands get along wonderfully with most druids, barbarians, paladins, and rangers, although a few have been known to hold grudges against rangers for their specialization against specific enemies, a trait which can lead to them hunting those targets almost exclusively, thus disrupting the balance of nature. *Obviously, since Nature’s Hands despise meaningless destruction, they hate blighters passionately. *Because of their love of order and balance, Nature’s Hands are typically lawful. *They also tend towards good, but evil Nature’s Hands are not unknown.

Hit die: *d8

Requirements:
To qualify to become a Nature’s Hand, a character must fulfill all the following criteria.
Skills: *Knowledge (Nature) 8 ranks, Survival 8 ranks
Special: *Must never have killed a creature in its native habitat by any artificial means (ie, with a man-made weapon). *If, at any time, a Nature’s Hand breaks this custom, she loses all benefits granted by this prestige class
Special: *Able to cast level 3 divine spells

Class Skills:
The Nature’s Hand’s class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Balance (Dex), Climb (Str), Diplomacy (Cha), Handle Animal (Cha), Heal (Wis), Hide (Dex), Knowledge (Nature) (Int), Listen (Wis), Move Silently (Dex), Spot (Wis), Survival (Wis), Swim (Str)

Skill Points at Each Level: *4+Int. modifier

Level * * BAB * *Fort. * *Ref. * * Will * * * * * Special * * * * * * * * * * * * * Spells per day/spells known
1 * * * * * * +0 * * * +0 * * * +2 * * * *+0 * * *Hand of the Wild (1d4) * * * * *+1 level of existing divine spellcasting class
2 * * * * * * +1 * * * +0 * * *+3 * * * * +0 * * * * * * * * - * * * * * * * * * * * * * * +1 level of existing divine spellcasting class
3 * * * * * * +1 * * * +1 * * *+3 * * * * +1 * * * Native Habitat * * * * * * * * * *+1 level of existing divine spellcasting class
4 * * * * * * +2 * * * +1 * * *+4 * * * * +1 * * * Hand (1d6) * * * * * * * * * * +1 level of existing divine spellcasting class
5 * * * * * * +2 * * * +1 * * *+4 * * * * +1 * * * *Owl's Sight * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * -
6 * * * * * * +3 * * * +2 * * *+5 * * * * +2 * * Healing Spell/Heal the Land * * *+1 level of existing divine spellcasting class
7 * * * * * * +3 * * * +2 * * *+5 * * * * +2 * Hand (1d8), Master of all Lands * * +1 level of existing divine spellcasting class
8 * * * * * * +4 * * * +2 * * *+6 * * * * +2 * * *Senses of the Wild * * * * * * * +1 level of existing divine spellcasting class
9 * * * * * * +4 * * * +3 * * *+6 * * * * +3 * * * Native Habitat (2) * * * * * * +1 level of existing divine spellcasting class
10 * * * * * +5 * * * +3 * * *+7 * * * * +3 * * Hand (1d10), Divine Defender* * * * * * *-

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: *Nature's Hands gain no proficiency with any weapon or armor

Animal Companion: *Nature's Hand levels stack with druid or ranger levels for purposes of determining an animal companion. *In addition, the Nature's Hand's effective druid level for determining her animal compainion is increased by 3 if her animal companion's environment matches her favored habitat.

Hand of the Wild (ex): *The Nature’s Hand’s off hand becomes that of any creature she chooses, giving her a 1d4 natural attack (the animal chosen makes no difference, except in appearance and later in the environment selection for the Native Habitat ability, and later still in the domain options of the Divine Defender ability). *The claws (or hoof, or whatever) of this new limb grow sharper as the Nature’s Hand progresses in level, increasing the damage to 1d6 at level 4, 1d8 at level 7, and 1d10 at level 10. *The new hand is a permanent change, and gives the Nature’s Hand a -6 penalty on disguise checks to hide her identity as a Nature’s Hand. *Also, because the hand has little in the way of manual dexterity, the Nature’s Hand cannot wield a weapon in two hands, nor can she perform certain other tasks that require both hands, at the DM’s discretion. *She does not take the usual penalties for off-hand weapon attacks with her natural weapon (treat it as a weapon in her primary hand), but if she wields another weapon in her primary hand, the usual penalties for two-weapon fighting apply (treat the hand as a light weapon).

Native Habitat (ex): *At level 3, a Nature’s Hand gains the environment of the creature whose hand she possesses as her preferred environment (example: *Temperate forests). *If her creature’s description does not specify an environment, she may choose (warm, temperate, or cold; forest, plain, hills, mountains, marsh, desert, or underground). *In this preferred environment, she gains strength and resilience, granting her a +1 bonus on damage rolls and damage reduction 1/-. *At level 9, both these bonuses increase to 2.

Owl's Sight (ex): *At level 5, a Nature's Hand gains low-light vision

Healing Spell/Heal the Land (su): *Once per day, a Nature’s Hand may sacrifice a prepared spell (or a spell slot, if she does not prepare spells) in order to heal a number of hit points equal to the spell’s level. *She may use this ability on herself, or on another creature. *Alternatively, a Nature’s Hand can use this ability to “heal the land,” causing it to revert back to how it was before it was affected by civilization. *Roads vanish, farmland becomes forest or grassland, and drained swampland is inundated with water once more. *The area affected is a number of 5-ft squares equal to the level of the spell multiplied by four, arranged in whatever shape the Nature’s Hand desires (as long as the squares are all connected). *Objects and creatures not rooted to the ground are unaffected. *Buildings are not directly affected, but the land under them is; depending on what the land once was, the buildings may be destroyed anyway. *In any case, the bottom floor of the building disappears to make way for the land beneath, but the walls and any upper floors remain intact. *The type of environment created by this ability is the DM’s decision.

Master of All Lands (ex): *At 7th level, a Nature’s Hand can breathe underwater, travel at her normal speed over natural terrain that would normally slow her down, and does not need to make survival checks to resist hot or cold weather.

Senses of the Wild (ex): *At 8th level, a Nature’s Hand gains darkvision out to 60 feet and the Scent special ability.

Divine Defender (su): *At 10th level, a Nature’s Hand gains access to a spell domain (and its associated ability), and can spontaneously convert spell energy to cast the spells in that domain (sacrificing a spell of the same level as the one she spontaneously casts). *If she already can spontaneously convert spells (as a cleric with cure and inflict spells), she retains the ability. *The domains accessible via this ability are as follows (click here (http://www.crystalkeep.com/d20/rules/DnD3.5Index-Spells-ClericalDomains.pdf#search=%22dungeons%20and%20dra gons%20domain%22) for an almost complete list of domains, and here (http://realmshelps.dandello.net/cgi-bin/domainform.pl) for a list of some of the domains that the first list missed):
Domains available to all Nature's Hands:
Animal
Plant
Protection
Balance (PGF, Und)
Life (Eb)
Domains available to Nature's Hands with a cold natural habitat:
Cold (PGF, CDiv)
Domains available to Nature's Hands with a temperate natural habitat:
Storm (PGF)
Domains available to Nature's Hands with a warm natural habitat:
Fire
Domains available to Nature's Hands who have Aquatic as their natural habitat:
Water
Weather
Ocean (PGF)
Moon (PGF)
Purification (CDiv)
Domains available to Nature's Hands who have Deserts as their natural habitat:
Sun
Air
Hunger (DR312)
Time (PGF)
Endurance (BoED)
Sand (Sandstorm)
Thirst (Sandstorm)
Domains available to Nature's Hands who have Forests as their natural habitat:
Earth
Healing
Meditation (Eb)
Fey (BoED)
Illusion (PGF)
Community (BoED, Eb)
Forest (http://www.giantitp.com/cgi-bin/yabb/YaBB.pl?board=homebrew;action=display;num=11579455 54)
Domains available to Nature's Hands who have Hills as their natural habitat:
Earth
Weather (CDiv)
Sky (RotW)
Celerity (CDiv)
Highland (http://www.giantitp.com/cgi-bin/yabb/YaBB.pl?board=homebrew;action=display;num=11579455 54)
Domains available to Nature's Hands who have Marshes as their natural habitat:
Water
Pestilence (CDiv)
Decay (Eb)
Scalykind (PGF)
Watery Death (PGF)
Slime (PGF)
Marsh (http://www.giantitp.com/cgi-bin/yabb/YaBB.pl?board=homebrew;action=display;num=11579455 54)
Domains available to Nature's Hands who have Mountains as their natural habitat:
Earth
Strength
Cavern (PGF)
Sky (RotW)
Highland (http://www.giantitp.com/cgi-bin/yabb/YaBB.pl?board=homebrew;action=display;num=11579455 54)
Domains available to Nature's Hands who have Plains as their natural habitat:
Travel
Sun
Community (BoED, Eb)
Endurance (BoED)
Celerity (CDiv)
Plain (http://www.giantitp.com/cgi-bin/yabb/YaBB.pl?board=homebrew;action=display;num=11579455 54)
Domains available to Nature's Hands who have Underground as their natural habitat:
Earth
Death
Cavern (PGF, FR)
Darkness (FR)
Shadow (Eb)
Madness (CDiv, Eb)

Loren_and_Kivsith
2006-08-22, 12:06 PM
Could someone please post? I'd really like some feedback.

asromta
2006-08-22, 12:48 PM
I don't know much about balance, but the class doesn't seem really strong, but I could be wrong.
And the Balance requirement is strange, except for the meaning you probably use here. But it is not a Druid class skill, and this class seems aimed at Druids.

Loren_and_Kivsith
2006-08-22, 01:21 PM
Thank you for replying! Yes, I agree that the Balance requirement is odd (I was looking at changing that; it's sort of a leftover from when this class was in its earlier stages), but the thing is that my current DM (the one running the game I intend to use this class in) tends to be a little stingy about player power. So I need a different, equivalent requirement to replace it with, if I'm going to remove the Balance requirement, and I'm having trouble thinking of one. Would Survival be a good one?

asromta
2006-08-22, 01:33 PM
Yes, that seems to fit. Maybe make it 10 ranks.

Loren_and_Kivsith
2006-08-22, 01:38 PM
That's a good number. Thanks.

Does anyone else have comments, critiques, or ideas?

Daedrous Avari
2006-09-06, 04:50 PM
Love it.

Loren_and_Kivsith
2006-09-06, 05:07 PM
Thank you for commenting. I had given up on anyone else ever commenting on this thread.

Fizban
2006-09-06, 05:29 PM
Well, generally once something's off the front page no one sees it.

That said, on to the commenting:

Nature's Hand, while flavorful, carries enough drawbacks that it's not much of a boon. All in all, the prereqs are a little high, and the abilites are not worth the loss of spell progression. I'd make it the usual 3rd level spells/8 ranks of skills, and give it spellcasting at all levels except 5th and 10th. Otherwise it's underpowered.

Great class idea though.

Loren_and_Kivsith
2006-09-06, 08:36 PM
Yeah, I erred on the side of underpowered, because like I said, I have a pain-in-the-arse strict DM. But I made the changes you suggested, for the sake of making a class that those without such strict DMs would benefit from. Thank you for the advice.

I can't help but notice that now, literrally nothing happens at level five. No new spells, no abilities, not even better attack and saves. Nada. That'll be annoying, but I can't see what to do about it (I don't want to move either of the abilities above or below it).

Tyrel_Aurelian
2006-09-07, 08:45 AM
I'll say:

Points for style: 11 of ten possible! Awesome!

For the rule issues I have a few suggestions:

You are somewhat at a loss regarding your 5th Level of th PrC, and I was thinking about your senses of the wild feature:

You grant Darkvision and Scent, but the real "Wild sense" that most animals have is Low-Light vision, which you do not grant at any level. This strikes me as an excellent class feature introduction at 5th Level.

Also, you should grant Darkvision out to 60 feet as is normal for any creature that disposes of it. It is not such a special thing as that it should be restricted so much, I mean we are talking Level 13 at the earliest - you needn't worry here about overpowering.

On we go, the healing of the land ability is very stylish, but perhaps you should consider taking a look at comparable spells (I am not very much into that druid thing myself, but I know spells exist that more or less have the same effect) - take a look at the spell stats as for example range and radius and consider that an ability that is usable only once per day should be at least marginally more powerful as the spell, which you can prepare like 4 times a day or something. I am sorry I cannot be of more specific help here.

The Master of all Lands feature strikes me as especially cool, I don't know if your parties are playing with the Sandstorm/Frostburn/Stormwrack books, but if you start and come up with this ability your DM is in for some nasty surprises 8)

What I miss a little bit is something regarding your animal companion - consider perhaps something like "if your animal companion corresponds to your habitat you can consider your effective level to be 3 higher than actual", there should be a feature like that as you even take on a semblance to an animal yourself - as central feature, I mean.

I do not very much like part of your level 10 feature divine defender, it states "a spell domain" meaning you could literally take ANY domain (for an outrageous example the domain of Undeath) - i think you should narrow it down to either one specific (in that case it should be Nature in my opinion) or several choices depending on the chosen habitat. An interesting selection could perhaps be Storm and Ocean domains for waterbound habitat, Earth, Metal and storm for mountains, Speed for plains, Scalykind for swamps and so on - you really have all opportunities ;)

The last things I do not quite understand belongs to your requirements:

First of all, never to kill an animal in its habitat using any artificial weapon really leaves but two options:

You throw a stone (or 287 stones, to kill e.g. a bear) or you kill it with your bare hands -> this is clearly not an option for a druid in my opinion, and even a ranger will be hard-pressed to kill, say, an oppossum - sorry for the exaggeration, I just want to really make clear my point.

If you are thinking of spells for killing animals then you are effectively banning rangers from completing the special requirement as they get I think one offensive spell somewhere around Level 37 :(

And even using spells shouldn't really be considered an option, as a cantrip such as Ray of Frost is certainly a more developed and artificial weapon than, say, a longspear (and certainly capable of providing a frozen raven snack, for example).

If I simply didn't get the point tell me, but as I understand it I do not think it a wise prerequisite especially for a naturebound class.

Then there is the Lawful alignment prerequisite: I think I understand what you want to accomplish by placing it, but there are some pretty standard references on the issue of "balance", which effectively is crying out for a neutral alignment in my opinion. It may be a little bit uninventive, but you should also consider that the only druid that could progress in this class would be a LN guy, which pretty much leaves druids out of the scheme as their perception of nature usually is anything but lawful. "Nature should be uncontrolled, chaotic LIFE", as the statement of any standard druid should be.

On the other hand, if you keep a neutral alignment prerequisite, you have most of the rangers (which often are LN or CN or sometimes NG), all druids (thus keeping open the possibility of evil Hands) and quite a lot of clerics, even though it is more difficult to find a god whose alignment restrictions do not interfere.


Weeell, again I didn't get it shortcut, anyway I hope I could provide some incentives and please be assured that you have done some great work, I really like it.

Loren_and_Kivsith
2006-09-07, 11:58 AM
Wow, thank you for the excellent critique. *You have a lot of really good ideas, which I will now adress one by one.


You are somewhat at a loss regarding your 5th Level of th PrC, and I was thinking about your senses of the wild feature:

You grant Darkvision and Scent, but the real "Wild sense" that most animals have is Low-Light vision, which you do not grant at any level. This strikes me as an excellent class feature introduction at 5th Level.

Also, you should grant Darkvision out to 60 feet as is normal for any creature that disposes of it. It is not such a special thing as that it should be restricted so much, I mean we are talking Level 13 at the earliest - you needn't worry here about overpowering.

That's a good point about the low-light vision. *I hadn't really thought of it that way. *But I will add low-light vision, and change the darkvision as you said.

I don't think I've ever seen any spells that approximate the Healing the Land power. *I kinda like the way it works, though, with a malleable area rather than a radial or conical one. *It's more complicated, but I'd rather not change it.


What I miss a little bit is something regarding your animal companion - consider perhaps something like "if your animal companion corresponds to your habitat you can consider your effective level to be 3 higher than actual", there should be a feature like that as you even take on a semblance to an animal yourself - as central feature, I mean.

Oo, I love that idea. *It rewards the Nature's Hand becoming even more focused in his/her chosen environment, which is exactly what I'm looking for here.


I do not very much like part of your level 10 feature divine defender, it states "a spell domain" meaning you could literally take ANY domain (for an outrageous example the domain of Undeath) - i think you should narrow it down to either one specific (in that case it should be Nature in my opinion) or several choices depending on the chosen habitat. An interesting selection could perhaps be Storm and Ocean domains for waterbound habitat, Earth, Metal and storm for mountains, Speed for plains, Scalykind for swamps and so on - you really have all opportunities *

This was the idea I nearly died when I saw, because I loved it so much. *Divine Defender was the ability I was unhappiest with, what with trying to make it fit into the whole scheme of Nature's Hand (I wanted something powerful for 10th level, but I wasn't sure what, and this was the best I came up with). *But your idea is absolutely brilliant! *I will add which domains go to which environments as soon as I get the chance.


First of all, never to kill an animal in its habitat using any artificial weapon really leaves but two options:

You throw a stone (or 287 stones, to kill e.g. a bear) or you kill it with your bare hands -> this is clearly not an option for a druid in my opinion, and even a ranger will be hard-pressed to kill, say, an oppossum - sorry for the exaggeration, I just want to really make clear my point.

If you are thinking of spells for killing animals then you are effectively banning rangers from completing the special requirement as they get I think one offensive spell somewhere around Level 37 *

And even using spells shouldn't really be considered an option, as a cantrip such as Ray of Frost is certainly a more developed and artificial weapon than, say, a longspear (and certainly capable of providing a frozen raven snack, for example).

If I simply didn't get the point tell me, but as I understand it I do not think it a wise prerequisite especially for a naturebound class.

The point of this prerequisite wasn't to give characters a challenge to overcome, it was to discourage them from doing something they shouldn't. *The basis for it is the idea of survival of the fittest (fittest, in this case, meaning the one best at surviving without any sort of unnatural advantage), and Nature's Hands believe that if a creature cannot be killed by natural means in its natural habitat, it has every right to live. *Perhaps more so than the Nature's Hand does. *The stipulation "in its natural habitat" is there because creatures not in their natural habitats can cause problems to the natural order, and thus the rule has an exception for those cases. *Does all that make sense?


Then there is the Lawful alignment prerequisite: I think I understand what you want to accomplish by placing it, but there are some pretty standard references on the issue of "balance", which effectively is crying out for a neutral alignment in my opinion. It may be a little bit uninventive, but you should also consider that the only druid that could progress in this class would be a LN guy, which pretty much leaves druids out of the scheme as their perception of nature usually is anything but lawful. "Nature should be uncontrolled, chaotic LIFE", as the statement of any standard druid should be.

On the other hand, if you keep a neutral alignment prerequisite, you have most of the rangers (which often are LN or CN or sometimes NG), all druids (thus keeping open the possibility of evil Hands) and quite a lot of clerics, even though it is more difficult to find a god whose alignment restrictions do not interfere.

You're probably right. *Especially the point you made about druids having to be neutral anyway, so that only leaves them with one alignment option. *And, to tell the truth, I don't really like alignment restrictions that much anyway, so I think I'll just get rid of it altogether.

EDIT: *I have finished with the changes you suggested. *What do you think?

Tyrel_Aurelian
2006-09-08, 03:19 AM
Looks quite good to me, but there are still some issues I'd like to comment:

First I noticed that you state Move Silently as Class Skill but not Hide, which strikes me as a little bit odd. I know, the Barbarian also has Listen and not Spot which are Skills that should always appear as a team, I just wanted to say it in case you omitted it by error.

Also, you didn't grant Heal as a Class skill which is perfectly fine (using your class description you shouldn't be running around killing animals but neither you should be healing them), again I just wanted to draw your attention for consideration.

Your Divine Defender Feature has evolved quite nicely as I see it, but I have questions:

First of all, is the general idea to create a class that gains power "in its chosen habitat" or that gains power "over man and nature alike"?

This is very important for your given choice of domains.

When I read your class it was "obvious" (as in - I thought you thought so and so) to me that the spells primarily have a connection to nature, i. e. the most likely to take levels in this class will be a druid (for a ranger the spell progression is more or less unimportant and clerics of nature deities are rare). Assuming this, the choice of domains you present is too wide in my opinion.

Specifically, if my assumption is correct I would recommend removing the following domains:

General List:

Healing, Knowledge, Strength, Endurance, Life, Mind, City, Community, Creation.

Leaving only Animal, Plant, Balance and Protection.

Why? Because this is really the central idea. You are no more an agent of life, as a normal druid would be, favoring growing foliage over just protecting it. As I got the idea from your class description, you are an agent of balance of "the status quo" - as a city or community in most of the cases will work against your goals (by needing more wood) you will almost automatically be on the side of the natural habitat, simply to keep the balance between nature and the encroaching settlers. Healing, Strength and Endurance are aspects which I would recommend assigning to other specific habitats, e. g. to mountains strength and to desert endurance.

For all your options regarding habitats, following this line of argument would mean the removal of all domains that are not specifically revolving around a natural aspect, such as Glory, Truth and Trickery - note that I very much liked the Hunger domain in the desert or Decay for the swamps, that is another story - I am talking only of really abstract concepts.

The rest of your choices strikes me as very nicely done. You seem to have tried to supply an even number of domains for every habitat, which I do not consider to be necessary - the choices are quite straightforward and if a player would like a lizardfolk swamp habitat Nature's Hand he will not care that he can only choose two direct domains - he still has the standard domains and his "climate category" domain to choose from, and there are simply more matching domains for some habitats than for others. I would recommend you keep it simply as it is and add as many domains to every habitat as there are matches, you needn't worry about being unfair or undemocratic - Nature was never a fair player.

There are some domains you didn't include which I suggest you add: From the Player's Guide to Faerun you could add to the aquatic and Marshes habitats the Watery Death Prestige domain (this IS a Prestige Class after all) and to the Aquatic(Ocean) Habitat you could add the Blackwater Domain from Stormwrack, as well as the Sand and Thirst Domains from Sandstorm to the Desert Habitat.

Well, that would be my suggestion IF my assumption on the goal of the Class is correct.

If you definitely want to give it the power to influence man as well I think you have done a great job distributing the respective domains, it looks really good.

To serve dessert, I will again attack your special prerequisite regarding the don't kill an animal in its natural habitat: :D

I want to know how you imagine the character, e. g. a druid during his first five levels before taking this prestige class. It is not that I want to deliberately spoil that, I just consider it to be a very hard prerequisite - would it be allowed for the PC to grab a piece of a tree and use it as a club? You menitoned "survival of the fittest" but doesn't mean "I'm smarter than you and can build this funny little trap and cover it with foliage and can coat the tips of the sharp wooden shafts at the bottom with a monstrous spider's poison" that I AM fitter than the stupid bear who never knew what hit it? How do you imagine the evolution of this character?

Please don't get that wrong, I really am just trying to understand your idea behind it.

Loren_and_Kivsith
2006-09-08, 09:54 AM
Once again, thank you for the critique.


First I noticed that you state Move Silently as Class Skill but not Hide, which strikes me as a little bit odd. I know, the Barbarian also has Listen and not Spot which are Skills that should always appear as a team, I just wanted to say it in case you omitted it by error.

Also, you didn't grant Heal as a Class skill which is perfectly fine (using your class description you shouldn't be running around killing animals but neither you should be healing them), again I just wanted to draw your attention for consideration.

The abscence of the Heal skill is, admittedly, an error. *The Hide skill I had left out for a reason that, now that I consider it again, doesn't really make sense. *So I will add both skills as class skills.


First of all, is the general idea to create a class that gains power "in its chosen habitat" or that gains power "over man and nature alike"?

The idea was never to gain power over nature. *It was to gain enough power to be able to protect nature.


General List:

Healing, Knowledge, Strength, Endurance, Life, Mind, City, Community, Creation.

Leaving only Animal, Plant, Balance and Protection.

Why? Because this is really the central idea. You are no more an agent of life, as a normal druid would be, favoring growing foliage over just protecting it. As I got the idea from your class description, you are an agent of balance of "the status quo" - as a city or community in most of the cases will work against your goals (by needing more wood) you will almost automatically be on the side of the natural habitat, simply to keep the balance between nature and the encroaching settlers. Healing, Strength and Endurance are aspects which I would recommend assigning to other specific habitats, e. g. to mountains strength and to desert endurance.

You have a good point, and this is probably what I should've done in the first place. *Instead, I made myself crazy trying to find domains for all the habitats because all the ones that would have fit were already taken. *I guess what I thought was that there should be enough choices that players wouldn't feel too limited. *I have followed your suggestion, but I left Life on the list, because I think that is a fairly central concept to the Nature's Hands.


For all your options regarding habitats, following this line of argument would mean the removal of all domains that are not specifically revolving around a natural aspect, such as Glory, Truth and Trickery - note that I very much liked the Hunger domain in the desert or Decay for the swamps, that is another story - I am talking only of really abstract concepts.

I agree with your assessments of Glory and Trickery (especially in the case of Trickery, which is a really tenuous connection), but Truth for Hills I will defend. *You see, I didn't pick it for the literal meaning of "Truth" (because most people would see Truth under Hills and think "WTF??"). *Rather, I noticed that most of the spells under that domain have to do with seeing (True Seeing, See Invisibility, Discern Location, etc.), and hills are a place where you can see far and wide. *So I would have renamed this domain "Sight" in my description, but I didn't want to confuse people. *Speaking of that though, is there an actual Sight domain that you know of? *For that matter, I've also been looking for any kind of sound-related domain, because of the way sound carries in the hills.


There are some domains you didn't include which I suggest you add: From the Player's Guide to Faerun you could add to the aquatic and Marshes habitats the Watery Death Prestige domain (this IS a Prestige Class after all) and to the Aquatic(Ocean) Habitat you could add the Blackwater Domain from Stormwrack, as well as the Sand and Thirst Domains from Sandstorm to the Desert Habitat.

I was a little leery of the Watery Death domain, just because of the odd title. *That's probably dumb, but that's why I didn't add it. *But, considering that titles don't have that much effect on the roleplay (and it is a fitting domain for Marshes), I'll add it.

As for the other domains you mention, the only reason I didn't add them was because I'd never heard of them. *They weren't on the 'complete' domain list that I found. *And actually, I was looking for domains that fit the concepts of Sand and Thirst, and was even considering making up my own. *Thank you for saving me the trouble.


The rest of your choices strikes me as very nicely done. You seem to have tried to supply an even number of domains for every habitat, which I do not consider to be necessary - the choices are quite straightforward and if a player would like a lizardfolk swamp habitat Nature's Hand he will not care that he can only choose two direct domains - he still has the standard domains and his "climate category" domain to choose from, and there are simply more matching domains for some habitats than for others. I would recommend you keep it simply as it is and add as many domains to every habitat as there are matches, you needn't worry about being unfair or undemocratic - Nature was never a fair player.

That one was my bad. *I have this irrational obsession with fairness, sometimes (what can I say? *I'm Lawful Good), and I don't like to see things get unbalanced. *I was causing quite a bit of trouble for myself, because I was trying to find extra domains for everything so that it would be even. *But you make a good point about Nature not being a fair player, so I'll try not to worry about it.


I want to know how you imagine the character, e. g. a druid during his first five levels before taking this prestige class. It is not that I want to deliberately spoil that, I just consider it to be a very hard prerequisite - would it be allowed for the PC to grab a piece of a tree and use it as a club? You menitoned "survival of the fittest" but doesn't mean "I'm smarter than you and can build this funny little trap and cover it with foliage and can coat the tips of the sharp wooden shafts at the bottom with a monstrous spider's poison" that I AM fitter than the stupid bear who never knew what hit it? How do you imagine the evolution of this character?

You bring up a good point, that there is a fine and blurry line between natural and artificial weapons. *And you also bring up the excellent point that intelligence could be considered a natural advantage. *I don't have a good counter for the first point; I'll have to keep thinking about that.

For your second point, I think that it's intelligence itself that can be considered unnatural. *After all, it's really the only thing separating human(oid)s from the natural world. *And the people inhabiting the world of D&D don't know about evolution, that we evolved from natural creatures, so it's entirely possible that they think of themselves as something entirely different. *And, according to the Nature's Hands, unnatural. *But only unnatural in terms of their intelligence; for all other purposes, to a Nature's Hand, humans are part of nature. *Thus, while it isn't 'wrong' to be intelligent, they mustn't use that intelligence to gain an unnatural advantage over their fellow creatures. *Does that make sense?

You also asked how I would picture a level five druid who was going to take this prestige class. *I picture him/her either having known about the Nature's Hands already, and following in their tracks in hopes of becoming one someday, or perhaps they reached the same conclusion I just did; that intelligence is unnatural, and that they shouldn't use it against animalkind.

Loren_and_Kivsith
2006-09-10, 11:55 PM
Just bumping to make sure you didn't forget this board was here.

Tyrel_Aurelian
2006-09-11, 06:35 AM
Sorry I didn't get to reply any sooner, I have internet connection only at my working place, so I'm effectively isolated from modern civilization during weekends :(

I will start more or less in the middle, at your general domains explanation: This was really my fault, Life is of course an important aspect of the class and should be in that list. (By the way, how do you continuously quote, I seem not to have this option once I start replying - please don't laugh, it's my first participation in any forum, I really don't know :-[)

After your explanation for the truth domain I find it to be a very good choice (I didn't even know the spells it had as my choice of character usually is something LE with a lot of ranks in Bluff ;D).

I'm glad I could help you with the rest of the domains issue, drawing up one's own domains is a lot of trouble after all. As I see it you have done a great job with the current distribution.

I just want to point your attention to the still not released books Cityscape and Dungeonscape for additional inclusion possibilities, as well as Stormwrack if you want to include the possibility of, e.g. a Sahuagin or a Sea Elf / Merfolk Hand. This book also offers a lot of new races which could be considered.

I will not harass you any longer with your special prerequisite as we simply seem to have a very different perception. Also, if I did understand you correctly, it is not so much a requirement to enter the prestige class as more a requirement to stay in the prestige class and not lose its special abilities - if I did understand that correctly there really is no problem at all, as a philosophy like that can of course be adapted. Just for the sake of knowing (for me) and for the sake of definition (for you) I think we should get to a clear statement concerning the following points:

Spells are also in no way whatsoever allowed to use, i. e. are considered in any case an artificial weapon?

A druid's Wild Shape ability is not natural per se and therefore also falls into the category of artificial weapons? Following your decision for this special case you should define whether only supernatural and spell-like abilities are considered unnatural or if you want to include extraordinary abilities in the forbidden array. (Note that there are quite unnatural abilities such as spell resistance which are extraordinary).

You might consider a definite phrase such as "forbidden to kill an animal in its natural habitat with anything other than his bare hands (or natural weapons, if any)".

Help from other persons (if they use the same restrictions), something like an animal companion and similar possibilities are allowed?

And, finally, again you might want to clear the issue of it being really a requirement to enter the class or a requirement in the form of a conductive code or both. In any case I think you need - for the sake of transparency - to include this requirement not only in the prerequisites but you should include a short paragraph stating the code of conduct for the class, e. g. below the weapons and armor proficiency.

For the intelligence issue I would recommend you to simply decide that it shouldn't be used and simply belongs to the philosophy of this class (you could include that in the code of conduct), because I believe you will get into trouble trying to prove that it really IS unnatural - in any case there are some frighteningly smart animals, mostly predators such as foxes, wolves, tigers, snakes, consider e. g. the octopus, that knows that by throwing a little rock into a mussle it will open itself - at which point the octopus strikes very efficiently. Again I would state that nature surely is balanced, but never was fair - most dumb animals are many and therefore survive, the individual however usually falls prey to some - more intelligent - predator.

Conclusion: Great work, I really am impressed. Try to invent other PrCs when an idea surges up in your head, and if you do please send me a PM because I will surely want to take a look.

It was very nice to work with you.