"Human Elder? It's an oxymoron. How can a human be an Elder? They're lucky to see the end of their first century!" -Faryn Moonstone, High Elf Noble.
Where many priests primarily tend to other worshippers and followers of their gods, Elders see to the spiritual needs of their entire race. They give worship to all the deities that look after their people, revering the entire pantheon as a single divine entity that watches and protects their fellows. Elders are rewarded for their faith and devotion with a deep connection to both the major aspects of their deities' portfolios, and the innate skills and powers of their own race.
The archetypal Elder is a wisened leader who often tends to both a spiritual and political role among its people. Naturally, such wisdom and experience requires some time to develop. Younger Elders often adventure to connect with far-flung communities of their people, form alliances with other races, accomplish quests for their gods, and devlop their own knowledge and skill. Many eventually return home to guide or even lead their communities, but some continue traveling abroad in service of their people and their deities. Those who reach the greatest heights of power may even travel to other worlds and planes, protecting and guiding the children of their gods wherever they may be found.
Elders are flexible spellcasters who spontaneously cast divine spells from various domains. While they are by necessity more focused than most prepared casters, they also have the freedom to exchange their domains on a day-to-day basis, giving them some additional versatility over spontaneous casters. To this, they add several powers that build upon and enhance their natural racial abilities. Elders also commonly perform political duties for their communities as well as spiritual, and are quite adept in various social skills.
Most Elders are of the typical alignment of their race. Elders of a different alignment are certainly possible, but the people who share the average outlook of the race are most likely to become an Elder. Likewise, since most deities in a race's pantheon cluster around the race's normal alignment, the Elder's restrictions on spellcasting make such an alignment mechanically advantageous.
Elders always worship the pantheon of their race, although most choose a specific deity within that pantheon whose portfolio or dogma resonates particularly strongly with them.
Heritage is a common way for an Elder to be chosen. The son or daughter of a community's current Elder is trained by their parent and other priests in the history of the race, the lore of its pantheon, the use of divine magic, and the skills needed for leadership. Some Elders personally choose to follow the path, or are even called to it by the deities of their race, often upon performing some great deed for their people.
Any race with a pantheon of deities that it worships can have Elders. In most settings, human Elders are unlikely, as humans as a race are less likely to have a dedicated pantheon of gods. Even in settings where humans of different cultures have specific pantheons, though, humans are one of the only races poorly mechanically suited to being Elders, as they lack many of the racial features that the class builds upon.
Divine casters are the classes most likely to have particular feelings for Elders as a class - those feelings depending entirely on if the caster in question worships and allied or opposed deity. That aside, Elders of a given race often show particular respect for members of the race's favored class.
An Elder's role can vary from character to character and even day to day, depending on its domains, but typically Elders fall into a supportive role with augmentative, curative, tactical, and utility magic. Depending some on domains and even more on race, certain Elders may also be surprisingly adept at physical combat and mundane skills.
Naturally, the Elder class fits easiest into a campaign world where the races each have their own pantheon, such as the Forgotten Realms. Other worlds with multiple pantheons are also suitable, even if they are based more on culture than on race. In a world where pantheon worship is rare, a good balance is to allow an Elder to select domains from any deities within one step of its own alignment. Finally, if gods in general are less detailed, an Elder might simply select an assortment of domains to choose from. A number equal to its spellcasting modifier plus half its class level is a good rule of thumb.
GAME RULE INFORMATION
Elders have the following game statistics.
The exact ability scores an Elder uses depends on the race in question, although many Elders use Wisdom to drive their spellcasting powers.
Any, but see Spellcasting.
The Elder's class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are...
Bluff (Cha), Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Decipher Script (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Gather Information (Cha), Heal (Wis), Knowledge (Int), Listen (Wis), Perform (Cha), Profession (Cha), Sense Motive (Wis), Speak Language (N/A), Spellcraft (Int), and Spot (Wis).
Skill Points at First Level:
(4 + Int modifier) x 4
Skill Points at Each Additional Level:
4 + Int modifier
Spells Per Day
|Level||Base Attack Bonus||Fort Save||Ref Save||Will Save||Special|
|Domains, Racial Paragon.|
|Blessed Child +2.|
|Protector of the People.|
|Blessed Child +4.|
|Blessed Child +6.|
|Blessed Child +8.|
All of the following are class features of the Elder.
Weapon and Armor Proficiencies:
Elders are proficient with simple weapons, but not with armor or shields. They are also proficient with any weapons that their race receives easier proficiency with or a bonus to attack rolls with, or that has the race in the weapon's name.
Elders cast divine spells, which are drawn from various domain lists (see the Domains class feature below), as well as all 0-level spells on the Cleric spell list. An Elder can cast any spell it knows without preparing them ahead of time. When an Elder gains access to a new level of spells, it automatically knows all spells for that level listed on its spell list. Essentially, its spell list is the same as its spells known list.
To cast a spell, an Elder must have a Wisdom score of 10 + the spell's level. The Difficulty Class for a saving throw against an Elder's spell is 10 + the spell level + the Elder's Wisdom Modifier. Like other spellcasters, an Elder can only cast a certain number of spells of each spell level per day. Its base daily allottment is given in Table: Spells per Day above. In addition, Elders receive bonus spells for a high Wisdom score.
Due to their close connection to their pantheon, Elders can create simple invocations of divine energy very easily. Elders may cast one 0-level spell per minute, with no daily limit. They also reduce the casting time of their 0-level spells to one swift action.
Elders need not prepare their spells in advance. They may cast any spell they know as long as they have spells per day available.
Elders worship all the gods of their race. Their close connection to their pantheon of deities gives them impressive spellcasting flexibility - within the spheres of their deities' influence. At first level, each Elder receives three domains. The first is always set - the domain that corresponds to their own race (so Elf Elders get the Elf domain). The second is any domain available to the leader of their pantheon (called a Ruler Domain). The third is any domain available to any deity of their pantheon (called a Pantheon Domain).
At fifth and thirteenth level, the Elder may choose another Pantheon Domain.
At ninth level, the Elder may choose a single deity of its pantheon who is feels a particularly strong connection with. It receives a bonus domain from that deity's list, called a Devotion Domain.
At seventeenth level, the Elder may choose another Ruler Domain.
Elders may only select domains associated with deities whose alignments are within one step of their own, or the leader of the pantheon. When choosing a favored deity at 9th level, the Elder must select a deity with the same alignment as its own.
Unlike most spontaneous casters, though, the Elder's devotion to its pantheon as a whole allows it a great measure of flexibility. The Elder is able to change its domains, albeit not as easily as a wizard or cleric can change their prepared spells. Changing domains can be done at any time, but requires a full eight hours of prayer, and can only be done in a location sacred to the pantheon or one of its deities, such as a temple, shrine, or holy place. A location that has been Hallowed (or Unhallowed) by a worshipper of a deity of the pantheon for at least a week is also acceptable. After eight hours of prayer, the Elder can choose one
of the following options:
- Exchange any or all Pantheon Domains available from a chosen deity for other Pantheon Domains (from the same or other deities).
- Exchange any or all Ruler Domains for other Ruler Domains.
- Exchange any or all Devotion Domains for other Devotion Domains (it may not change the deity from whom it receives Devotion Domains).
Changing domains immediately changes the Elder's spells known, spell list, and granted powers. Any of the Elder's spells that are active on a duration other than permanent expire if the Elder loses access to the domain from which it received the spell.
Racial Paragon (Ex):
Elders are blessed by the gods of their race, exemplary in the race's favored fields. Any skills that the Elder's race receives a bonus on (including a size bonus) are treated as Elder class skills. If the Elder's race receives a bonus on saving throws or a Resistance against a certain descriptor, the Elder instead gains immunity to effects with that descriptor. If the Elder's race provides spell-like abilities of a level that the Elder can cast, casting times for those abilities change to one swift action, and daily uses become hourly uses. They become uses per minute if the Elder can cast spells two levels higher, and at will if it can cast spells five levels higher. Additionally, depending on the racial bonuses the Elder receives to its ability scores, it may select one of the following options:
- If the Elder receives a racial bonus to Strength, it may receive a Medium Base Attack Bonus and proficiency in all armor and shields.
- If the Elder receives a racial bonus to Dexterity, it may receive a Good Reflex Save and a 10' bonus to its base land speed.
- If the Elder receives a racial bonus to Constitution, it may receive a Good Fortitude Save and increase its Hit Die to a d8.
- If the Elder receives a racial bonus to Intelligence or Charisma, it may substitute that score for Wisdom for Elder spells and class features.
- If the Elder receives a racial bonus to Wisdom, it may receive an additional spell per day of the highest level it can cast.
Finally, the Elder adds half its class level as a Circumstance bonus on Diplomacy checks targeting members of its race.
Since Elders focus entirely on the domains of their gods, they find it easier to wield both weapons and powers associated with their deities. At second level, the Elder gains Weapon Focus with any weapons it qualifies for proficiency for from this class due to its race (see the Weapons and Armor Proficiency class feature). At 6th, 10th, 14th, and 18th level, it gains an additional feat related to its racial weapons, in the following order: Weapon Specialization, Improved Critical, Greater Weapon Focus, Greater Weapon Specialization.
The Elder may also substitute its spellcasting ability score (typically Wisdom, unless it gained the Intelligence or Charisma Racial Paragon ability) for any references to Wisdom or Charisma in its domain powers. Additionally, for each such instance of this class feature gained (that is, at 2nd, 6th, 10th, 14th, and 18th level), the Elder gains the following abilities. It gains abilities for all domains that qualify, but in the event that a domain qualifies for multiple such abilities, it must divide its instances of this ability among them. For example, a 10th level Elder with the Animal domain could add three uses to its Speak with Animals power, twelve ranks to its Knowledge (Nature) skill, one use of Speak with Animals and eight ranks to Knowledge (Nature), or any other such combination.
Expanded Aptitude (Ex):
- If the domain's granted power is usable a limited number of times per day, increase that number by 1.
- If the domain grants a skill as a class skill, gain four ranks in that skill (this cannot bring a skill's ranks higher than your normal maximum, and these ranks are lost if you trade out the domain).
- If the domain grants a constant numerical bonus, or a feat that provides a numerical bonus, increase that bonus by 1.
Starting at third level, the Elder can apply its racial abilities to a greater variety of situations. It may choose to make any two of the following changes, provided that either the score it is substituting in is a score that it receives a racial bonus to, or the score it is substituting out is a score that it receives a racial penalty to.
Blessed Child (Ex):
- Substitute Strength for Dexterity on ranged attack rolls.
- Substitute Strength for Constitution on Fortitude saves.
- Substitute Dexterity for Strength on damage rolls (applies to all melee and ranged attacks, and always uses the full modifier, not half or 150%).
- Substitute Dexterity for Constitution on hit points.
- Substitute Constitution for Dexterity on Armor Class, which is not limited by armor.
- Substitute Constitution for Strength to resist any sort of combat maneuver.
- Substitute Spellcasting Ability for any one ability modifier on skill checks.
- Substitute any ability score with a racial bonus for its Armor bonus to AC (including Armor Enhancement). This does not stack with other abilities that add an ability modifier to AC.
The Elder is blessed with greater prowess in its race's fields. At fourth, eighth, twelfth, and sixteenth level, it increases any racial bonuses on skill checks or saving throws by 2, and any racial bonuses on attack rolls and AC by 1. It also increases a single racial bonus to an ability score by 2.
Protector of the People (Su):
One of the most important tasks of an Elder is protecting its people from their enemies. At seventh level, whenever casting a spell which heals hit points, removes negative effects, improves AC or saving throws, or grants resistances or immunities, the Elder may increase the spell's range by one step; Personal to Touch, Touch to Close, Close to Medium, Medium to Long, so long as its target is a member of its race or a worshipper of a deity of its pantheon. Additionally, if it increases the casting time of the spell to one full round and its range was not originally Personal, it may affect one such target per point of its casting ability modifier.
The Elder may also name other characters as Friends of the race in a ritual requiring one hour to perform. This causes such characters to be treated as worshippers of the Elder's gods for purposes of this class feature any other beneficial spells and powers that provide or improve their effects for worshippers of the caster's deity, and also grants them a +2 Circumstance bonus on Diplomacy checks regarding members of the Elder's race. The Elder's gods may veto or revoke this Friendship if the character abuses it, or does some significant harm to the race.
Racial Legend (Ex):
An eleventh level Elder is a paragon of its race. It may choose to gain another Racial Paragon ability (if it has bonuses to multiple ability scores), or improve its existing bonus as follows:
- If the Elder receives a racial bonus to Strength, it may receive a Good Base Attack Bonus.
- If the Elder receives a racial bonus to Dexterity, it may double its speed in all movement modes.
- If the Elder receives a racial bonus to Constitution, it may increase its Hit Die to a d12.
- If the Elder receives a racial bonus to Intelligence or Charisma, it may substitute that score for Wisdom for Will saves.
- If the Elder receives a racial bonus to Wisdom, it may receive an additional spell per day of each spell level it can cast (this overlaps with the initial Racial Paragon bonus).
A fifteenth level Elder is a conduit for the will of its gods. The DM may offer to have a deity take over the Elder in situations that support that deity's aims (that is, allowing the DM to control the character). The Elder may grant the deity any or all of its allowed actions each round (it may veto any action that it wishes). Deities typically only use this capability to provide advice or information (or to castigate enemies), using the Elder as a mouthpiece, but they can also take command of the Elder in combat or other scenarios. Any spells that the deity causes the Elder to cast use up spell slots two levels lower than normal, and can draw from any domains granted by the deity (the deity cannot cause the Elder to cast a spell outside of its domains or more powerful than the Elder could normally cast). Any words spoken by the deity through the Elder result in a natural 20 on any Bluff, Diplomacy, or Intimidate check rolled. This function of the power is, however, strictly under the purview of the DM.
Due to the Elder's strong connection to its deities, it can cast particularly costly spells more easily. Each day, it gains a number of points equal to its class level that can be exchanged to negate 20 points of a spell's XP cost, or conserve 100 gold worth of a spell's components (the components must still be provided, they just aren't consumed, as if they were a focus).
This connection also renders the Elder immune to all negative effects of age. Benefits still accrue, and the Elder's maxmum age can be extended by as much as 10% per class level.
Request Blessing (Su):
A nineteenth level Elder can call upon its gods for aid when it needs them most. Once per day as a free action, the Elder can make an exchange of domains as if it had just spent eight hours praying in a sacred location.
At twentieth level, the Elder becomes an ascended servent of its gods. It gains the benefits of another application of Blessed Child, and becomes an Outsider of the type that matches its alignment, gaining all appropriate Outsider and Type traits: Archon (LG), Angel (NG), Eladrin (CG), Modron (LN), Slaad (CN), Devil (LE), Yugoloth (NE), or Demon (CE). Neutral Elders may choose which Type to take. The Elder also gains DR 10 and Regeneration 5, both overcome by weapons opposed to one of its alignment components (non-neutral may choose, partially neutral use the non-neutral component, neutral are overcome by any aligned weapon or attack). Finally, the Elder may perform a Greater Teleport to any location sacred to its deities, or a Greater Plane Shift to the plane its deities reside on or its home plane, a combined total five times per day as a full-round action.
Elders with this ability may still be resurrected normally.