"For all your years of study, what do you have to show for it? Musty tomes and bat guano explosions. I spent one day copying down a rune. Watch what I can do. - Ezreal, Prodigal Explorer
Magic, as most know it, is a complicated set of incantations, motions and spells known to a select few, who either were born with the innate talent within them, or studied for years to master the subtle intricacies involved in the various components. In its most basic form, however, magic takes the form of a radiant flame known as Spellfire. Drawn directly from the Weave, this magic is incredibly flexible, and while natural manipulators of it are relatively rare, methods to harness their nature have met with some amount of success.
Prodigal Explorers are those who have, through purposeful exploration or sheer luck, stumbled on a set of runes that grant the wielder command of this exotic energy. Scribing the first, critical rune (typically on their own bodies, so as to never lose its power) the Prodigal Explorer embarks on their new journeys equipped with new knowledge and power, capable of twisting the Spellfire to suit their needs.
BECOMING A PRODIGAL EXPLORER
Maybe your runes came from a long-lost civilization. Maybe they were scrawled in an ancient tome somewhere. Wherever you found them, they have granted you abilities you never thought you could have. Some would go the route of the Channeler, but these are likely those who already knew magic's power. The Prodigal Explorer's route is more focused for those who lacked arcane proficiency, but now possess it.
Base Attack Bonus:
Concentration 2 ranks, Spellcraft 2 ranks
The Prodigal Explorer's class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Balance, Climb, Concentration, Craft, Heal, Hide, Intimidate, Jump, Knowledge (Arcana), Listen, Move Silently, Profession, Ride, Spellcraft.
Skills Points at Each Level:
6 + Int
Master Rune (Ex):
|Level||Base Attack Bonus||Fort Save||Ref Save||Will Save||Special|
|Master Rune, Increased Capacity 2|
|Spell Charge, Increased Capacity 3|
|Runic Weapon, Defensive Discharge|
|Through the Fire|
|Increased Capacity 4|
|Through the Flames|
|Perfect Master Rune, Perfect Runic Weapon|
The first rune the Prodigal Explorer discovers is the one that grants him command of the Spellfire. It is a unique rune, drawing fire from the weave of its own volition, into the Explorer. Having this unique power so close to himself allows the Explorer to wield the great force as he would any other weapon.
When making a melee or ranged attack with Spellfire (as detailed in Magic of Faerun
), the attack is made as if the Prodigal Explorer had spent additional Spellfire energy levels equal to half his class level (minimum of one.) For example, a level 4 Explorer makes a Spellfire attack spending 3 energy levels, the attack strikes as if he had spent five energy levels.
Additionally, by focusing for a full minute, the Prodigal Explorer can add a number of spellfire energy levels to his pool equal to his constitution modifier.
Increased Capacity (Ex):
The Prodigal Explorer’s capacity for storing spellfire energy levels is multiplied by the listed value. As his mastery of the rune grows, so too does its ability to store Spellfire for him.
Weapon Rune (Ex):
Through a ritual requiring 8 hours and 25g of materials, the Prodigal Explorer can inscribe a derivative of his Master Rune on a weapon of his choice. A weapon so inscribed becomes a potent channel for Spellfire, and often the Prodigal Explorer’s favorite weapon. As a free action before making an attack, the Prodigal Explorer can expend a number of Spellfire Energy Levels up to his constitution modifier to empower all of his attacks that round with Spellfire. For each energy level spent, his attacks deal an additional 1d6 damage each.
Typical Spellfire Wielders are known for their ability to steal the very magic from spells cast at them, turning what was meant for harm to a boon for themselves. The Prodigal Explorer can do the same, but thanks to his Master Rune, he has more time to react. The Prodigal Explorer can absorb spell energy as an Immediate Action instead of needing to ready a standard action (pg. 18 Magic of Faerun
Spellfire is more than an offensive weapon. Its practitioners are known to be great healers, but for a fighter, in the midst of battle, sometimes healing isn’t enough. You need your wits, your cunning, and every move you have. By expending Spellfire energy levels equal to its level, the Prodigal Explorer can recover one expended maneuver as a free action.
At a certain level of power and mastery of his Master Rune, the Prodigal Explorer notices that Spellfire becomes more and more coherent when they summon its power. Instead of billowing silver flames, their Spellfire attacks are more focused and smooth, like a comet more than a dragon’s breath. The same with their Weapon Runes. When their blows would once flare up dramatically, sending Spellfire every which way, the energy stays closer to the weapon itself, threatening to consume it with its sheer brilliance. It is at this point the mundane weapon becomes unnecessary entirely - cogent Spellflame does the job just as well.
When marking a weapon with his Weapon Rune, the Prodigal Explorer can, at his option, choose to inscribe a more potent version, costing 500g worth of material and 24 hours to inscribe. Upon completion, the weapon is consumed by Spellfire, forging a weapon of pure magical power.
The created weapon is identical in all ways as the weapon used to create it (hereby referred to as the “base weapon”) (this includes any enchantments the weapon had) except as noted below. The weapon’s damage is now 1d6/2 class levels, and the damage type is now half fire and half pure magical damage. The weapon can be “drawn” and “sheathed” as a free action (which simply causes the weapon to materialize or dematerialize), and when drawn, gives off light as a torch. Ranged weapons so changed no longer require ammunition or reloading. If the weapon is disarmed or sundered, it simply blinks out of existence and can be reformed by the Prodigal Explorer on his next turn.
Defensive Discharge (Ex):
Combat isn’t always about pushing the advantage, and no matter how shiny and magical your weapon might be, at some point you will need to cease your assault and just stay alive. Spellfire gives you additional means to do so. As an Immediate Action, you can expend Spellfire energy levels up to your Con modifier to create a defensive blaze of Spellfire around yourself. This gives you an untyped bonus to AC and all saves until the end of the round equal to the number of Spellfire energy levels you expended. Any melee attack targeting you that misses while this barrier is active causes the attacker to take 1d6 fire damage for each energy level expended.
Through the Fire (Ex):
Location, location, location. It is very important in more than real estate - in a battle, where one stands, and where ones enemies are is absolutely key to the eventual outcome. Prodigal Explorers, already, are a very creative bunch when it comes to combat in general, but given the nearly infinite capabilities of Spellfire, their creativity can really shine. By wreathing themselves in Spellfire, the Prodigal Explorer becomes not only something you don’t want to be next to, but also a highly mobile combatant. For every Spellfire energy level he expends, the Prodigal Explorer can, as a swift action, charge 10 feet in any direction. Any creatures he passes through take 1d6 damage per Spellfire energy level expended.
A Prodigal Explorer cannot always wait for an enemy to try to attack him to recharge his Spellfire. Now and then, you have to go right to the source, and rip that spell energy right out of those casters. As a melee touch attack that takes a standard action, the Prodigal Explorer can use his Master Rune to try to control the Spellfire making up the spells another caster has available. If the attack is successful, the Prodigal Explorer can expend Spellfire energy levels up to his Constitution modifier, for each energy level expended, roll 1d6. The affected creature must lose spells whose levels total at least the sum of all the dice rolls, and the Prodigal Explorer gains Spellfire energy levels equal to the sum as well.
The Prodigal Explorer continues refining his Runic Weapon. The Spellfire forming it and lashing out at his enemies becomes more and more potent, harder and harder to ward against. Attacks with your Runic Weapon ignore Damage Reduction, Hardness, and Fire Resistance/Immunity.
Through the Flames (Ex):
Maybe more traditional spellcasters are a hoity-toity bunch, but they do have excellent ideas regarding mobility and battlefield navigation - namely, leaving it entirely. Prodigal Explorers of lesser power might have left the earth’s pull temporarily before, but now, with more control and more power, you can more fully mimic the dastard’s capabilities.
By expending one Spellfire energy level as a free action, the Prodigal Explorer can fly with a speed of 60ft (perfect maneuverability) for two rounds.
Additionally, by expending all the Spellfire energy levels he currently has stored, he can Teleport
, as the spell, cast by an arcane spellcaster of his character level.
Perfect Master Rune:
Every little detail is perfected. Every tick, line, and curve has been fine-tuned and implanted so deeply in the body and soul of the Prodigal Explorer that they are practically one and the same. All Spellfire effects that use d6’s now use d8’s. Additionally, by painstakingly scribing a secondary Master Rune, the Prodigal Explorer can be protected against death itself.
After crafting a master rune that requires 1000g of materials and a week of uninterrupted work, if the Prodigal Explorer dies, his body will reform, crafted from Spellfire, 1 day later at the location of his secondary Master Rune.
Perfect Runic Weapon:
It is a thing of true beauty, shining brightly as it strikes your foes, biting their flesh with the searing flames that make up magic itself. At this point, these flames burn so hot, shields and armor are worthless before them, and magic is undone by the flames in which it was forged. All attacks made with your Runic Weapon are now touch attacks. Additionally, for every Spellfire energy level expended to empower your attacks (see the Weapon Rune ability) any enemy struck loses spells whose levels equal at least the number of energy levels expended.
PLAYING A PRODIGAL EXPLORER
You've suddenly become the master of a form of magic most wizards can't command. Make use of it as much as you can. Use it to add flourish to your attacks or just as a brute force maneuver to prove that magic isn't just the realm of the casters.
Your spellfire can be used to augment essentially any style of fighting you previously had delved into. It allows you to do more damage, in more ways, with more style, than with weapons alone. Use what spellfire offers to change up your style from time to time and keep enemies on their toes. Don't underestimate being underestimated.
The path an Explorer takes can lead almost anywhere. Seek additional capabilities with spellfire, perhaps, or just become a blazing inferno of martial prowess.
The runes you discovered are already a potent resource, so don't be afraid to keep exploring the ruins you found them in for more. Who knows what lurks in the true depths of ancient times?
PRODIGAL EXPLORERS IN THE WORLD
"What I would give for a bow like that... hell, I'd trade my spellbook.
"Real" casters will call you a cheater and quite possibly lazy. It's largely true, you did cheat your way where you are to some extent, but the power is still yours to command. Some will see you as a genius of sorts, others will look down on you. Carve your own place in the world - and show people how they should look at you.
Spending some time during the day studying and tweaking your runes is an integral part of growing in power as an Explorer. Experiment, fail, succeed, and eventually power will be granted to you.
Ezreal found a Master Rune long ago and adapted it to himself. Seizing the power of spellfire for himself, he went on to become a very well known combatant in a great colosseum, fighting for glory and power forever within its league of legends.
Symbolist organizations and other magical institutions with knowledge of runes will be valuable to the Prodigal Explorer. Even if they can't know the true intricacies of the rune you wear, their knowledge and advice will help you to advance your own.
Most NPCs will be awed, as they would be awed by anyone else swinging a flaming sword or slinging fireballs. Some will admire your knowledge and ingenuity with your rune, and some will consider your uppity or cocky for stealing power in such a way.
PRODIGAL EXPLORERS IN THE GAME
The Prodigal Explorer presents a powerful option for essentially any melee class to diversify its capabilities. It is easy to enter the class, but provides no benefits based on the class you entered from. There's a balance to be found - yes, the diversity it offers is good, and powerful, but when your old abilities suffer, you must decide if its worth it.
The runic flavor can be switched about to something else - some other power the Explorer discovers and taps into - which can also remove the spellfire specific bits of flavor. The mechanics are very versatile, feel free to play with the flavor to meet whatever needs your campaign has.