The Illustrious Ones
"Take me if you will, my Lord. Yet you must know that your bars will not hold me forever, for no steel you forge nor enchantment you place can resist the will of the universe...MY will."
- Domonic Arrel, an Illustrious One, to Lord Gregory Bastion
An age of Illustrious Ones, captured in a single moment in time...
Image by GENZOMAN on DeviantArt
Every generation there are born those who will change the world. For better or worse, these are the thinkers, the dreamers, and the doers of reality, and it is they who shape the world for those who will come after them. Once or twice with each generation come those who will alter the path of the future: these are the individuals who are remembered in song and story throughout the ages, and whose deeds reshape the entire course of history...
And once, just once, within hundreds of thousands of such individuals, comes one for whom the world has waited. These are the Illustrious Ones: men and women of such cosmic importance that reality bends around them, and the destiny of lesser creatures is thrust aside. Their presence signifies universal change, as an Illustrious One is incapable of remaining unnoticed: even their smallest deed alters the course of history forever.
Becoming an Illustrious One
Alignment: Any non-neutral.
Skills: Any two (43 ranks).
Feats: Enduring Life, Epic Leadership, Force of Personality, Leadership, any other five Epic feats.
Special: Must have had a leading hand in at least one major, world-changing event of unprecedented magnitude.
Special [Out of Character]: Must have been given express permission by the DM to take this class.
The Illustrious One's class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are any skill the Illustrious One previously had ranks in, regardless of the number of these ranks or the possession of a skill as a class skill.
Skills Points at Each Level: 4 + Intelligence
Hit Dice: D8
1st|Step Through Song, Unfettered Destiny, Karmic Backlash (1-3)|+1 level of Existing Class
3rd|Boon of Earth, Illustrious Presence (Salience)|+1 Level of Existing Class
4th|Universum Ex Machina|-
5th|Aura of Glory, Karmic Backlash (4-6)|+1 Level of Existing Class
6th|Illustrious Presence (Inspiration)|-
7th|Unimpeded Step, Fate's Gift|+1 Level of Existing Class
8th|Voice of Destiny|-
9th|Illustrious Presence (Dominion), Karmic Backlash (7-9)|+1 Level of Existing Class
Weapon Proficiencies: An Illustrious One gains no proficiencies in weapons or armor.
Class Features [Ex]: At first level, and every two levels thereafter (so again at third, fifth, seventh, and ninth levels), the Illustrious One gains features just as if she had advanced a level in a class she possessed before taking this one. Obviously, as an epic level character, the Illustrious One does not increase her base attack bonus or saving throws, but she otherwise gains all special class abilities, spells known, spells per day, manuevers, power points, et cetera just as if she had gained a level in a class he possessed before she began taking levels in this one.
The Illustrious One may choose a different class to gain features from each time he gains this class feature, but is under no obligation to do so. This ability does not affect the Illustrious One's character level, though it might affect his caster level, initiator level, manifester level, et cetera.
Step through Song [Ex]: An Illustrious One lives both in the mortal world and in the world of legend and myth. Each moment a creature thinks or speaks of an Illustrious One, the Illustrious One's presence gains strength, and her pull on the world strengthens in that vicinity, to the point where the Illustrious One can bend the laws of physics and travel on paths of legend and belief. Whenever a creature speaks the Illustrious One's name, the Illustrious One is aware of the situation and circumstance, and may choose, as an immediate action, to teleport to that creature’s side.
Unfettered Destiny [Ex]: The world relies on the presence of Illustrious Ones to determine its course, and it does not take kindly to those who do not take action, whether as a fault of their own doing, or because of the actions of another being. An Illustrious One is always placed in a position of choice and action, regardless of the circumstances surrounding them. The exact specifics of this ability are left up to the DM, but the ability is straightforward: no matter the situation, an Illustrious One will somehow be given potential courses of action. For example: an Illustrious One imprisoned in the Hollow Bastion might receive a telepathic missive from representatives of both Celestia and the Nine Hells, each offering her a chance of freedom…for something in exchange. An Illustrious One who dallies to much and accomplishes nothing has such situations forced upon her: the Illustrious One in the above example, if she chooses to merely languish in prison, might find her section of the Bastion assaulted by the armies of Hell, or find her guards have inexplicably left the door of her cell unlocked, allowing her into the hallways of the Bastion.
Note that this ability doesn’t always work to the Illustrious One’s advantage, nor is it constant. Opportunities do not always arise, although they may be frequent (alternatively, it may be days or weeks before a chance arises, but arise it will), and an inattentive Illustrious One may miss many chances.
If the player of an Illustrious One is flat out refusing to follow any avenues offered, the DM is free to either force the player’s hand, or strip the player of his Illustrious One class features: an Illustrious One should not sit idle through his own doing, and a player who does so should not gain the benefits of a class so crucial to a campaign world.
Karmic Backlash [Su]: Illustrious Ones are inextricably linked to the fabric of the universe, and turning your hand against one of the world's chosen brings the threads of karma back upon you. Any time a being (other than the Illustrious One herself) targets the Illustrious One with a spell, invocation, spell-like ability, martial maneuver, psionic power, or supernatural ability, the initiator of the effect suffers the same effects that the Illustrious One would suffer (in the case of beneficial effects, the initiator receives the benefits in addition to the Illustrious One). In the case of spells or abilities that require a saving throw, the initiator of the effect replaces any required saving throw with a Will saving throw against a DC of (10 + 1/2 the Illustrious One's Character Level + the Illustrious One's Charisma modifier).
At level one, these benefits only apply to spells, invocations, maneuvers, and/or powers of levels one through three (though it applies to all other supernatural abilities). At level five, this ability applies to spells, invocations, manuevers and/or powers of levels four through six, and then applies to levels seven through nine once the Illustrious One gains her ninth class level.
Fate's Chosen [Ex]: The destiny of an Illustrious One is protected by fate itself, and, as such, fate weighs in on her actions, turning failure into success and success into perfection. Whenever the Illustrious One rolls a d20, she may instead roll two d20s, and choose whichever one she desires.
Boon of Earth [Su]: An Illustrious One can draw power from the world itself, channeling her pain and suffering into the immutable planet. Once per day, as a Swift action, an Illustrious One can bring the forces of the universe to bear. When this ability is active, the Illustrious One cannot be affected by any outside mortal attack, whether helpful or harmful (as the psionic power timeless body), although she may move and interact with things as normal. This ability lasts for 1 round per class level the Illustrious One possesses.
Illustrious Presence (Salience) [Ex]: It is impossible for an Illustrious One to be overlooked or ignored, as their presence is felt as a physical weight in the world. More to the point, ordinary mortals cannot help for feel strongly towards the Illustrious One, no matter their outlook. Any creature not already unfriendly or hostile to an Illustrious One is immediately treated as being helpful. This can be reverted through the actions of the Illustrious One: a Chaotic Evil Illustrious One (who does not immediately sow hostility through her choice of dress or companions) will initially be held in high regard even by Lawful Good citizens who have not heard of her deeds, but this opinion will most likely change within a few short minutes of conversation. Still, properly used, a single good first impression can serve the Illustrious One well.
A side effect of this ability is that the Illustrious One becomes incapable of using mundane disguises, although magical disguises continue to function as normal.
Universum Ex Machina [Su]: When an Illustrious One is in danger, the universe intervenes, twisting the laws of reality to protect its charge. Once per day, as a Swift action, an Illustrious One can bring the forces of the universe to bear. Each round this ability is active, any enemy within one hundred feet of the Illustrious One must succeed on a Will save (DC 10 + 1/2 the Illustrious One's Hit Dice + the Illustrious One's Charisma modifier) or turn against their own allies, striving to destroy them to the best of their abilities. A creature who successfully saves against this ability is immune to further domination effects of this power for 24 hours, although even creatures who successfully save against this ability are turned for a single round (after which their immunity kicks in for the rest of the duration). This ability lasts for 1 round per class level the Illustrious One possesses, and enemies who turn upon their allies through the use of this ability do not return to their normal state for 1 week per character level the Illustrious One possesses.
Aura of Glory [Su]: An Illustrious One exudes an aura of intense personal glory that spreads out of her body and invigorates her allies and herself. She and all allies within one hundred feet are treated as under the effects of any of the following spells that share an alignment with the Illustrious One: Cloak of Chaos, Holy Aura, Shield of Law, and Unholy Aura.
Illustrious Presence (Inspiration) [Ex]: Those who follow an Illustrious One ride the waves of her destiny, and see their devotion returned a hundredfold by the Illustrious One's undeniable cosmic glory. All of the Illustrious One's followers and cohorts (gained through the Leadership feat or through Illustrious Presence [Dominion]) gain bonus Hit Dice equal to 1/2 the Illustrious One's total character level, up to a maximum number of Hit Dice equal to the Illustrious One's total character level -1. These bonus Hit Dice come from class levels, and the Illustrious One may grant PC class levels through this ability, rather than simply NPC class levels.
Unimpeded Step [Ex]: The Illustrious Ones are favored by the world, and, as such, the world does not stay their progress; Illustrious Ones of seventh level or higher are never subject to difficult or dangerous terrain, and never take environmental damage when on their native plane. An Illustrious One can even walk on surfaces that would not normally support his weight, such as water, acid, lava, or mud, without suffering penalties or taking damage. The Illustrious One may, of course, choose to swim or utilize any other form of movement she wishes. Furthermore, the Illustrious One enjoys the benefit of a constant Freedom of Movement spell (though it should be noted that, as an extraordinary ability, this benefit cannot be dispelled).
Fate's Gift [Su]: Even when the situation looks impossibly grim, an Illustrious One is never abandoned by her destiny. Once per encounter, as an Immediate action, an Illustrious One may declare any one d20 roll to be a natural 20. When the Illustrious One rolls a natural 20 without using this ability, she regains the use of it for that encounter (or gains an additional use for that encounter, if she has yet to use the ability).
Voice of Destiny [Su]: The command of an Illustrious One resonates through the earth itself, and brooks no argument or disagreement. Once per day, as a Standard action, an Illustrious One may issue a rebuke to all creatures within hearing distance. All creatures within range much succeed on a Will save (DC 10 + 1/2 the Illustrious One's Hit Dice + the Illustrious One's Charisma modifier) or suffer a -10 penalty on all d20 rolls involved in actions opposing the Illustrious One or the Illustrious One's actions, and additionally suffers a 50% failure chance on all actions taken against the Illustrious One. The effects of this ability last for a year and a day.
A creature who succeeds on its saving throw suffers a -2 penalty to all d20 rolls involved in actions opposing the Illustrious One or the Illustrious One's actions, and additionally suffer a 20% failure chance on all actions taken against the Illustrious One. The effects of this ability last for a year and a day
Illustrious Presence (Dominion) [Ex]: As an Illustrious One grows in power, her ability to sway lesser individuals to her ends becomes an unconscious response, brought on by her mere presence. Any unfriendly or hostile creature who interacts in any way with the Illustrious One (including offensive actions such as attempting an attack) must immediately succeed on a Will save (DC 10 + 1/2 the Illustrious One's hit dice + the Illustrious One's Charisma modifier) of immediately become a devoted follower of the Illustrious One, and become dedicated to furthering the goals of the Illustrious One. A creature who succeeds on this saving throw is immune to this ability for 24 hours. Unique creatures approaching god-like power (gods, archfiends, angel lords, and similar planar entities) are immune to this effect. When the Illustrious One hits 10th level, only creatures of a higher or equal Divine rank are immune to this effect.
Followers converted through the use of this ability receive bonus Hit Dice as normal from the Illustrious Presence (Inspiration) ability.
Transcend Mortality [Ex]: At 10th level, an Illustrious One has achieved the pinnacle of her destiny, and becomes a divine figure who can rival the gods themselves. The Illustrious One immediately gains a Divine Rank of 6, and all the powers and abilities this rank entails (detailed below), with the exception of domains or portfolios (and the precognition such abilities entail).
- All past and present Hit Dice are maximized.
- Land speed increases to 60ft, if not already higher.
- Gains a +6 Divine bonus to Armor Class.
- Gains a +6 bonus to existing Natural Armor, or gains +6 Natural Armor.
- Applies Charisma modifier as a Deflection bonus to Armor Class.
- Gains a +6 Divine bonus to all attack rolls.
- Gains Damage Reduction 20/epic and any alignment opposed to the Illustrious One's own.
- Gains a +6 Divine bonus to all saving throws.
- Gains immunity to polymorph, petrification, energy drain, ability drain, ability damage, mind-affecting effects, electricity, cold, acid, disease, poison, stunning, sleep, paralysis, death effects, disintegration, and all effects that imprison or banish the Illustrious One. These immunities (except elemental immunities) can be overcome only be a creature with a higher divine rank than the Illustrious One.
- Gains fire resistance 11.
- Gains spell resistance 58.
- Gains Immortality (cannot die from natural causes, does not age, does not need to eat/sleep/breath).
- Immune to massive damage.
- No longer fails on a roll of a natural 1.
- Gains a Divine Aura (Daze). Every creature (or every enemy, at the Illustrious One's choice) within a radius of up to 600 feet (the Illustrious One may increase or decrease this radius as a free action) must succeed on a Will save (DC 10 + 1/2 the Illustrious One's character level + the Illustrious One's Charisma modifier) or simply stare at the Illustrious One in awe, unable to take any actions save those required to defend themselves. The Illustrious One may activate or deactivate this ability as a free action. Once a creature has saved against this effect, it is immune to the effect for 24 hours. This ability is a mind-affecting ability, and does not effect creatures of an equal or higher Divine Rank than the Illustrious One.
- Gains the ability to speak, read, write, and understand all forms of communication.
- Can use greater teleport as a spell-like ability at will, as the spell cast by a 20th-level character, except that the Illustrious One can transport only itself and up to 600 pounds of objects.
- Can use plane shift as a spell-like ability at will, as the spell cast by a 20th-level character, except that the deity can only transport itself and up to 100 pounds of objects. If the Illustrious One has a familiar, personal mount, or personal intelligent weapon, the creature can accompany the Illustrious One in any mode of travel if the Illustrious One touches it. The creature’s weight counts against the Illustrious One's weight limit.
- Gains Fast Healing 46.
- Always wins initiative, except against deities of higher Divine Rank.
- Any creature attacking the Illustrious One suffers a -6 Luck penalty to attack rolls, saving throws, and skill checks for 24 hours.
- All attacks (including spells and targeted abilities) against the Illustrious One have a 55% chance to have no effect.
Special Notes of Class Interaction
Illustrious Ones and the Lord-Warden's Solitary Confinement Ability: When a Lord-Warden successfully uses his Solitary Confinement ability on an Illustrious One, the effects vary slightly. Rather than completely alienating the Illustrious One, a failed save against the ability removes her ability to communicate as per the usual effect, but instead of the usual effect of turning friends away and sowing hatred, the Illustrious One instead loses access to her Illustrious Presence (Salience) and Illustrious Presence (Dominion) abilities. Creatures already under the Illustrious One's dominion remain as such.
Design Notes: Why Not Mind-Affecting?
By this level, most creatures are immune to mind-affecting magic. As such, the Illustrious One simply sidesteps this, using power outside the normal realm to turn even the most resilient creatures to her side. Without this slight loophole in the rules, the class would not function at the intended levels.
Design Notes: Why Extraordinary?
Many abilities are Extraordinary because they stem from sources outside the Illustrious One, and thus will not be stopped by actions against the Illustrious One.
Design Notes: Why Such a Complex Capstone?
Blame the 3.5 rules. That's what being a deity gets you, and, much as I'd like to break the formula, I can't rightly give a divine rank without tacking on what a divine rank gets you.
Design Notes: Why Penalize Successful Saves?
By levels 40-50, saves are sky-high. To be a real threat, abilities must penalize creatures upon use, even if only a little. Therefore, an Illustrious One's daily abilities carry a kicker even on a successful saving throw, albeit a much less devastating one.
Design Notes: Why So Much Power?
Let's be honest...Epic prestige classes are nothing special. So here's a chance to go a bit overboard: this class is actually Epic, and makes a wonderful and incredibly potent cap to a character's Epic career. It's not a "play past" class...it's the end of the road for a much loved character who has changed the world in incredible ways.
PLAYING AN ILLUSTRIOUS ONE
An Illustrious One should always be searching for new things to accomplish, and new battles to fight. A character with such a destiny does not sit back and take it easy: they constantly strive to accomplish new goals, forge new destinies, and change the path of the world.
Combat: An Illustrious One fights much like a member of its previous path, but should constantly exploit it's powerful new abilities to dominate its foes into submission. You have impunity to many forms of attack, and any aggressive action against you is severely punished, putting your opponents in a very difficult position. Make use of your devastating area attacks to turn your opponents upon themselves,
Advancement: After completing the Illustrious One class, and Illustrious One can continue down her old path, but many pursue the newly opened avenue of divinity, and some even become major gods or vestiges in their own right.
Resources: An Illustrious One has numerous resources across the planes, and no two Illustrious Ones will have the same resource pool, making this hard to quantify. Regardless, all Illustrious Ones have numerous devoted followers, and their mere presence can make almost anyone a willing ally. Many Illustrious Ones exploit this ability when they are in need of support.
ILLUSTRIOUS ONES IN THE WORLD
"Like a rabid wolf amongst a flock of sheep, the Illustrious Ones are a danger to themselves and to those around them. They must be constrained, and, if need be, they must be put down."
- Lord Gregory Bastion, a Lord-Warden of the Silent Cage
An Illustrious One always has an impact in the world, as her interactions with it cannot help but reshape it. The simple fact that an Illustrious One is is enough to ensure her a permanent place in the world, as well as in all of history to come. Illustrious Ones naturally fall into leadership positions: even if they do not intend for it to happen, ordinary mortals flock to them like moths to a flame, making it impossible to go unnoticed through life.
Daily Life: Can it be quantified? A wizard with power beyond compare might spend his days erecting a silver fortress amongst the stars, or Kord himself might devote time to watching a heavenly wrestling match between the spirits of two of the greatest warriors ever to have walked the earth, but neither of these compares to the life of an Illustrious One. With each passing moment an Illustrious One wraps fate and destiny around herself, the universe hanging on her every word. Cities rise and fall at her command, and entire planes will rise in arms behind her...or to oppose her. Such is the life of an Illustrious One.
Notables: All Illustrious Ones are notable beyond compare, but perhaps none more so that Lord Cassius Adeun, formerly the Lord of Chains. This is due less to his cosmic imprint (for all Illustrious Ones have an enormous impact on existence), but rather to the tireless efforts of the Lord-Wardens of the Silent Cage seeking his eternal imprisonment. Lord Adeun (Sorcerer 5/Swordsage 5/Jade Pheonix Mage 20/Lord-Warden of the Silent Cage 10/Illustrious One 10) was once the leader of that fabled body of planar jailers, but dedicated himself to much, and to too great an effect...and rose the the ranks of the Illustrious Ones as the world claimed him for itself. His organization recognized the threat, and sought to pacify him, only to be torn asunder by his terrible power, which broke the ranks of the Lord-Wardens for many years. Since that day, Lord Adeun and his still-devoted rebellious Wardens have turned the tables upon the Lord-Wardens, capturing the Lord-Wardens themselves, and imprisoning all they find in an ironically terrible parody of the Lord-Warden's own practice. For obvious reasons, Lord Adeun sits alone atop the Lord-Warden's list of targets, but he has thus far eluded all attempts to bring him to "justice".
Organizations: Illustrious Ones do not organize: the world cannot handle it. If such a situation were to arise, undoubtedly the existence of the universe would hang in the balance, for no other fate could possibly be devastating enough to risk the might of several such beings uniting around a single cause.
NPCs are always in awe of an Illustrious One, whether for better or for worse. Extremes are the norm where Illustrious Ones are concerned: hatred and adoration abound, for it is rare to find a being unaware of an Illustrious One, and rarer still is the being who is immune to the presence of such a radiant entity.
ILLUSTRIOUS ONES IN THE GAME
An Illustrious One will completely command the gaming table, meaning that a DM should be especially careful before allowing such a character into his or her game. An Illustrious One has the potential to change the course of entire plots or even entire worlds, and should not be treated lightly.
ILLUSTRIOUS ONES and the LORD-WARDENS OF THE SILENT CAGE
The conflict between the Illustrious Ones and the Lord-Wardens of the Silent Cage stems from the Lord-Warden's desire for power...or perhaps their desire to control the universe...or perhaps...or perhaps...
The truth is that little is known about the Lord-Warden's machinations, but it is known that they go to extraordinary lengths to incarcerate Illustrious Ones for whatever reason (DMs should feel free to elaborate on these reasons: perhaps the Lord-Wardens are simply trying to save reality from alteration or destruction...or perhaps they are imprisoning powerful entities to slowly siphon their power away for reasons unknown. Either way, the Lord-Wardens are, at best, an organization composed of shades of gray, for good and evil being alike are imprisoned within the Hollow Bastion.).
For their part, the Illustrious Ones care little for such things...at least until they are captured, if ever they are. Then the Lord-Wardens face the full fury of an Illustrious One, and imprisonment and recapture become of utmost importance.
The Coven of Chains: The Coven of Chains is the name given to a group of Lord-Wardens sent to hunt down an Illustrious One. Never has a Coven consisted of fewer than thirteen Lord-Wardens, and all thirteen first are conditioned to despise their target utterly, rendering them as immune as possible to the Illustrious One's presence.
The Hunt: A hunting Coven splits into at least two separate parties, the first functioning much like living bait, trying to draw the Illustrious One's most potent powers onto themselves, hopefully allowing the second half of the Coven to secure the prisoner. Failure rates are high, and it is for this reason that only the most seasoned Lord-Wardens are ever sent on a hunt of this magnitude.
The Incarceration: None but the Illustrious Ones and a scattering of other incredibly fortunate souls know what lurks within the Hollow Bastion, and few of the wish to speak of it. In theory, however, it would require artifact level magic to even attempt to constrain an Illustrious One, and even then the Lord-Wardens must go to exceptional lengths to keep one prisoner, often extending to a forced hunt or mind alteration of any who might speak the name of the prisoner.