"They clung to their flaming birds of green and black... I would worship no such mindless cult! I would not become the lackey of the magi my forefathers so willfully kissed the boots of! I shall take my freedom if I must burn it to death first!"
-Kessa Dusk, in a rage
Kessa Dusk, soulfire invoker
Soulfire invokers, also known by those who know of the cult of phoenixes as Grey Phoenix Rebels, are a rebel organization to those who worship both the Jade phoenix magi and the Ebon phoenix magi. In ages past, there was a great battle between the thirteen great Jade Phoenix Magi, and the seven Ebon Fiends and several mortals witnessed such an epic battle and survived the incredible magic and martial clashing. These mortals went on for ages in worship of these great and terrible creatures, finding out soon after that the souls of all twenty of the fallen warriors were given the gift of reincarnation and so the Grey Phoenix disciples devoted themselves to all of these warriors, aiding them however was possible.
A small sect of the more free-willed worshipers of the jade and ebon magi shunned their 'gods' and took a life for their own. They did not leave empty-handed, however. They left with some of the mastery over the inspiring qualities of the powerful magi in both sword, magic and skill as well as the contempt of their mother cult. Now these soulfire invokers disguise themselves in broad daylight to avoid the cult of the phoenixes, as well as using their secrets to aid their allies in the name of their own freedom.
Martial Lore 2 ranks, Perform 4 ranks, Spellcraft 4 ranks, Tumble 8 ranks
Desert Wind Dodge and either White Raven Defense or Shadow Blade
Ability to use 2nd level maneuvers of the Desert Wind discipline.
Bardic music class feature.
Balance, Bluff, Climb, Concentration, Craft, Diplomacy, Disguise, Escape Artist, Gather Information, Heal, Hide, Intimidate, Jump, Knowledge (All), Listen, Martial Lore, Move Silently, Perform, Profession, Sense Motive, Sleight of Hand, Speak Language, Spellcraft, Swim, Tumble and Use Magic Device
Skill-points per level:
|1st||+0||+0||+2||+2||Inspire inner flame, bardic music||+1 of existing bardic spellcasting|
|2nd||+1||+0||+3||+3||Skill in song||-- |
|3rd||+2||+1||+3||+3||Blackfire, whitefire||+1 of existing bardic spellcasting|
|5th||+3||+1||+4||+4||Inspire flamewrath||+1 of existing bardic spellcasting|
|6th||+4||+2||+5||+5||Grey phoenix stance||--|
|7th||+5||+2||+5||+5||Adaptive talent||+1 of existing bardic spellcasting |
|8th||+6||+2||+6||+6||Grey phoenix rebellion||--|
|9th||+6||+3||+6||+6||Inspire great inferno||+1 of existing bardic spellcasting|
|10th||+7||+3||+7||+7||Invoked phoenix stance||--|
Weapon and Armor proficiencies:
|Level||Man. Known||Man. Readied||Stances Known|
Soulfire invokers do not gain any additional weapon or armor proficiencies.
At each level except 3rd, 6th, and 9th, a soulfire invoker gains new maneuvers known from the Desert Wind, Shadow Hand or White Raven disciplines. You must meet a maneuver's prerequisite to learn it. You add your full soulfire invoker levels to your initiator level to determine your total initiator level and your highest-level maneuvers known.
At levels 2nd, 6th and 10th, you gain additional maneuvers readied per day.
At 3rd and 9th level, you learn a new martial stance from the Desert Wind, Shadow Hand or White Raven disciplines. You must meet the stances prerequisites to learn it.
At each odd-numbered level, you gain new spells per day, an increase in caster level and spells known as if you had also gained a level in bard. You do not, however, gain any other benefit a character of that class would have gained(except bardic music, see below).
Whenever you gain a new soulfire invoker level, you gain new daily uses of bardic music as if you had also gained a Bard level. You do not gain any of the Bardís new bardic music abilities.
Inspire Inner Flame (Su):
At 1st level, the soulfire invoker learns how to inspire their allies to heat the very fire within their souls and spread it into combat with beauty and might. By expending a single use of bardic music as a standard action, you ignite the souls and weapons of your allies. You and all allies within 30 feet of you gain fire resistance 5 and their melee weapons and all offensive spells with the Fire descriptor deal an additional 1d6 fire damage for as many rounds as your initiator level divided by two.
Skill in Song (Su):
At 2nd level, you are capable of enhancing your skills or the skills of your allies even beyond the normal inspiration of a bard. A soulfire invoker can take a free action to expend any number of uses of bardic music equal to or less than their soulfire invoker level. If they do, they can grant themselves or any one ally an enhancement bonus to their Diplomacy, Hide or Tumble equal to the expended uses of bardic music times three. This bonus lasts a number of minutes equal to your soulfire invoker level.
At 3rd level, you learn how to channel your power over flame into your darker side. Whenever you use a Desert Wind maneuver while in a Shadow Hand stance, and successfully strike a foe with it, you invoke black flames that eat away at the victims soul. They take a number of Con damage equal to the level of the Desert Wind maneuver divided in two(rounded down) plus one. To use this ability, you must expend a single use of your bardic music. Once this ability has been used, you must wait 1d3+1 rounds to use it again.
At 3rd level, you learn how to channel your power over flame through your influence over your allies. Whenever you use a Desert Wind maneuver while in a White Raven stance, and successfully strike a foe with it, you create great inspiring white flames. All foes within 30 feet of your victim have a twinge of the white fire attach to their weapons. Your allies gain a +4 morale bonus to Str, Dex and Cha and each attack they successfully make, and any harmful spells of the Fire descriptor deal 1 Cha damage, both effects lasting for 1d4 rounds. To use this ability, you must expend a single use of your bardic music.
Ember's Punishment (Ex):
At 4th level, you are capable of turning the betrayal of fire into something of use. Whenever you or an ally within 30 feet of you takes fire damage from a foe or trap, you may either regain an expended maneuver or two uses of your bardic music. The regained maneuver and at least one of the uses of bardic music must be used in the next round or they are lost. A soulfire invoker can only receive the benefits of this class ability once per round. This ability does not allow you to have more readied maneuvers or uses of bardic music than you would normally have.
Inspire Flamewrath (Su):
Your inspiration of the fires of the soul increase further. At 5th level, when you use the Inspire Inner Flame class feature, you can instead expend 3 uses of bardic music to give your allies fire resistance 10 instead of 5, and let their fire spells and melee weapons deal 3d6 extra points of damage instead of 1d6.
Grey Phoenix Stance (Su):
At 6th level, you are capable of using a special stance of the grey phoenix cult. You take a swift action to lose the benefits of any Desert Wind stance you're in to gain the benefits granted by this stance. While in this stance, you're surrounded by a corona of fire, with a color that fluxuates from black to white, and every shade in between. These flames are harmless to you, but anyone making a melee attack against you without using a reach weapon take 1d6+Cha modifier points of damage as your flames burn them. Additionally, your melee attacks deal an equal amount of additional damage, which stack with all the bonuses to damage granted by this class.
Adaptive Talent (Ex):
At 7th level, you gain the use of one of three feats; Clarrion Commander, Gloom Razor or Scorching Sirocco. You are capable of changing which one of the three feats you can use by resting for eight hours and training yourself for half an hour. You need not meet the prerequisites of the feat to take it.
Grey Phoenix Rebellion (Su):
Your break-off sect has rebelled against the jade and ebon phoenixes, but you still carry a small portion of their death-defying magic in your fiery soul. After 8th level if you are ever killed, you are treated as though by a true resurrection
spell after one year and one day. Your body does not appear where you died, but in whatever fire burns closest to the site of your death. For every time this ability is used, the duration between your death and resurrection increases by six months.
Inspire Great Inferno (Su):
Your ability to inspire the fires of the soul is refined and mastered. When using your Inspire Inner Flame class feature, you can choose to grant any ally within 30 feet of you the ability to use one of your Desert Wind maneuvers. The maneuver is not considered expended by you, but only lasts 5 rounds and at the end of that duration, the maneuver disappears from your allies use. The cost of this ability is the expenditure of a number of bardic music attempts equal to the level of the maneuver plus one. One this ability is used, it cannot do so again for 5 rounds, but you may still use the Inspire Inner Flame and Inspire Flamewrath class features.
Invoked Phoenix Stance (Su):
At 10th level, you learn the ultimate eldritch secret of the grey phoenix you rebelled against. You take a swift action to lose the benefits of any Desert Wind stance you're in to gain the benefits granted by this stance. While in this stance, you are wreathed in grey fire that outlines in the shape or a large bird. It grants you a fly speed equal to twice your base land speed, two wing melee touch attacks that deal 2d6+Cha modifier damage each, which have a reach equal to your own plus 5 feet(max 15 ft.) and immunity to fire. Additionally, as a standard action you may cause the phoenix to burst in all directions, sparing only those you deem fit. The burst deals 10d6 points of damage to everyone within 30 feet of you, except those you decide not to harm(Ref save DC 10+half initiator level+Cha modifier for half damage). One you use that burst ability, you cannot do so again for 5 rounds.
Playing a Soulfire Invoker
Soulfire invokers are welcome nearly anywhere on the battlefield; With the meleeists on the front line or the spell-slingers in the back, to improve damage of either spell or sword--or perhaps both.
Though the soulfire invoker's main function is to aid allies in combat with power over their inner fire, but it is also a skilled meleeist. With it's martial abilities, most will stay on the front lines, swinging a blade.
The soulfire invoker was created to follow varying paths, not including the strange path it's taken as a bard of fire. Each one may choose to focus not only on Desert Wind maneuvers, but also Shadow Hand, White Raven or both, making this class all around support, but with added potential to be a backstabbing assassin.
Good places to look advancing this class include Complete Adventurer, Complete Scoundrel
and most obviously, Tome of Battle: The Book of Nine Swords
, the book from which it's powers are drawn.
Soulfire Invokers In the World
"Such rapscallions, such rebels and backstabbers! They threw away the power and grace of the phoenixes of both Jade and Ebon! My people will find them all and lay them to waste!"
-Venred Kisang, leader of the Phoenix cult.
To all but those who hunt them for their betrayal, soulfire invokers are rarely seen as any different from other charming warrior mages, such as battle sorcerers or eldritch knights. Many ignorant societies will shun them merely for their sorcerery, much like any other spellcaster. To those who do hunt them, they are seen as worse than criminals, and more as trash and any cultist of the grey phoenix will likely do their best to destroy them.
There is as much variation between different soulfire invokers as there are with normal people. They all once belonged to a soul-crushing, tedious cult but sprang loose and now wish to make a life for themselves. Some live in secret, pretending to be any old commoner and many still adventure in disguise, for fear of being discovered and killed.
Kessa Dusk is one of the original rebels against the grey phoenix cult, and is a rarity among her kin because she rarely tries to hide her nature as a grey phoenix rebel, only doing so in impossible circumstances.
Most soulfire invokers disdain from a true organization, as it becomes too much of a reminder of their former lives as cultists, but some small groups gather together. If not for more than just watching eachothers backs, some soulfire invokers make sects that are devoted to destroying the grey phoenix cult and even all twenty phoenix magi.
Most people see these as just other bards or sorcerers, and many see them as warriors. Your average commoner will probably like any given soul invoker, simply because of their fiery, inspiring spirit and natural charm. Things will turn sour, however, if any given soulfire invoker should happen to let the fires loose and let them burninate
their thatched-wood cottages...
Soulfire Invokers in the Game
This class was designed to help the whole party, so with one of these in your average party will improve it all around.
It is possible, with a good deal of modification, for this class to become a class for fighter/bards or just single-class bards. Things such as stances could be constant abilities or those that require concentration by singing.
Most times, facing one of the members of this class means you have slighted them personally or you are a weaker cultist of the grey phoenix and have made that known. Sometimes, however, the fire of their soul will break loose and they will have to lay their blade against an unwitting victim, or perhaps by burning down a small village-which will no doubt grab the attention of the PC's for news of an arsonist.
Kessa Dusk(CN Female Tiefling swordsage 5/bard 3/soulfire invoker 10) is a likely person to meet, as she is charming, flamboyant and shows obvious physical signs of her fiendish ancestry. She is the grand daughter of a great balor named Mallok'koth who was a devotee to the seven ebon fiends even before their death and resurrection. Unfortunately, the demons hot temper and natural sense of rebellion(one that it seems Mallok'koth has suppressed) was passed down to his grand daughter and she lead the rebellion against the cult, proudly declaring her betrayal.
If encountered by the PC's, she may be a target for bounty that the PC's dearly desire. She may also be a quest-giver and ally in her war against the phoenix cult, the PC's possibly being strong enough to take down the merely medium-sized cult.