Brahmin (3.5e Class)
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There are many deities in Hinduism, which is frequently described as a polytheistic religion. However, Hindu mystics regard the gods as differing manifestations of a single divine essence, the "Brahman": in a sense, multiple avatars of a single godhead (which can themselves have avatars of their own). Furthermore, while these lesser deities may have strong personalities, the "greater" deities (and, ultimately, the Brahman itself) is aloof, impersonal, beyond human conceptions of "good" and "evil". While the priests of these gods can be represented using the standard Cleric class, this variant is intended to represent those who pursue an understanding of the highest levels of Hindu divinity (the Brahma/Vishnu/Shiva trinity) and the divine essence itself, the Brahman.
While this class is primarily intended for campaign worlds similar to that of Indian myth, it would also suit any polytheistic world with a neutrally-aligned "overgod". In the Forgotten Realms, a Brahmin-style priest would revere Ao above all others, with other deities regarded as manifestations of various aspects of Ao. The class lacks the spontaneous healing power of the Cleric and is less hardy, less effective in combat, and generally not very effective against undead: but it offers more versatility in the use of divine domain spells and powers.
Members of this class are intellectuals who seek an understanding of the true essence of the divine, and their powers come primarily from this knowledge, rather than simply from propitiating a deity for spells: "enlightenment" is more important than "faith". Intelligence is their prime spellcasting attribute, not Wisdom. However, Wisdom is still of great importance to them, and several of their class abilities are dependent on it (including the save DC's for resisting their spells). Conceptually, a Brahmin may be regarded a polytheistic "theologian" rather than a "priest": not a devout worshipper of any specific god, but an intellectual who studies the divine rather like a Wizard studies the arcane.
Adventure: Brahmins may have a variety of motives to become adventurers (dependent on campaign circumstances), but in general they resemble Wizards more than Clerics in this respect: they're not champions of a specific deity or cause (an overgod doesn't need champions), but are motivated by a desire to seek knowledge and "enlightenment" for its own sake.
Characteristics: Brahmins tend to be philosophical and studious. They are usually somewhat passive, content to watch events unfold and intervening only when necessary.
Alignment: Brahmins must be of some Neutral alignment, and any non-Neutral component is generally not taken to extremes: they tend to be "moderates".
Religion: Brahmins cannot worship any specific deity in a polytheistic pantheon, other than the overgod.
Background: In campaign settings similar to Hindu myth, Brahmins are a well-educated elite, the highest social class (other than royalty). In other polytheistic societies where worship of the individual "lesser" deities is more common and the overgod is more obscure (e.g. Faerun), Brahmins are strange mystics who may come from any social background (though they still tend to be well-educated).
Races: Almost all Brahmins are Human or part-Human. Most non-Humans with a religious inclination will become Clerics of their racial deities instead.
Other Classes: Clerics and other highly-religious classes regard Brahmins in much the same manner as they regard Clerics of other religions, with a certain amount of suspicion or even outright hostility. Druids are generally more tolerant, regarding the Brahmin as a fellow student of "nature" (albeit an aspect of nature far removed from that of the Druid). Wizards respect Brahmins as fellow academics who study the divine rather than the arcane. Other classes will typically regard the Brahmin as a useful spellcaster, nothing more.
Role: A Brahmin's role is similar to that of a Cleric, providing healing and support. They are somewhat less effective as healers (due to the lack of the Cleric's spontaneous-curing ability) and as backup combatants, but their flexibility with domains gives them more versatility as spellcasters.
Game Rule Information
Brahmins have the following game statistics:
Abilities: Brahmins require high Intelligence and Wisdom scores.
Alignment: Any Neutral. The Brahmin must retain a degree of detachment.
Starting Age: Complex
Starting Gold: as Cleric
|Special||Spells per Day|
|The "+1" entries in the spell table refer to domain spells.|
Class Skills (2 + Int modifier per level; x4 at first level)
All of the following are class features of the brahmin:
Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Brahmins are proficient with all weapons usable by Wizards. They gain no proficiency with armor or shields.
Spells: A Brahmin casts divine spells, which are drawn from the cleric spell list. However, as with Clerics, his alignment may restrict him from casting certain spells opposed to his moral or ethical beliefs (Chaotic, Evil, Good, and Lawful spells). A Brahmin must choose and prepare his spells in advance. To prepare or cast a spell, a Brahmin must have an Intelligence score equal to at least 10 + the spell level. The Difficulty Class for a saving throw against a Brahmin’s spell is 10 + the spell level + the Brahmin’s Wisdom modifier. Like other spellcasters, a Brahmin can cast only a certain number of spells of each spell level per day. His base daily spell allotment is identical to that of a Cleric of the same level. In addition, he receives bonus spells per day if he has a high Intelligence score. A Brahmin also gets one domain spell of each spell level he can cast, starting at 1st level. When a Brahmin prepares a spell in a domain spell slot, it must come from a domain that he currently has access to (see Domain Access and Domain Spells, below).
Brahmins meditate for their spells at the beginning of each day, spending 1 hour in quiet contemplation to regain their daily allotment of spells. Like a Wizard (and unlike a Cleric), a Brahmin needs to be well-rested in order to prepare spells. Furthermore, while a Cleric need not diligently pursue knowledge of religion, a Brahmin must: knowledge of the divine is essential to them, and a Brahmin must have at least 2 ranks of the Knowledge (religion) skill per spell level when preparing spells (i.e. preparing a 9th level spell requires 18 ranks in this skill). A Brahmin may prepare and cast any spell on the cleric spell list, provided that he can cast spells of that level, but he must choose which spells to prepare during his daily meditation.
Domain Access and Domain Spells: Unlike a Cleric, a Brahmin can only select one domain rather than two. However, the Brahmin can change his selected domain each day, choosing to contemplate a different aspect of the Cosmic All (though he can only select domains available to normal Clerics, not those available only to specific prestige classes: also, he cannot select the alignment domains of Good, Evil, Law or Chaos). Thus, he can select a different set of domain spells and a different domain special ability each day. Domains which normally confer extra class skills will confer a temporary Skill Focus feat in each affected skill instead, and those relating to the "deity's favoured weapon" will apply to the quarterstaff. As these abilities are temporary in nature, they cannot be used to satisfy the requirements for additional feats or prestige classes. When a Brahmin changes his domain, unused domain spells will be lost: it is not possible to retain unused spells from a previously-selected domain. Similarly, the Brahmin may lose the ability to use domain-specific scrolls and suchlike that he created earlier. A Brahmin can still gain additional domains as a Cleric would (e.g. the epic Bonus Domain feat, joining certain prestige classes, and so forth) and these will be permanent: furthermore, a Brahmin doesn't suffer from the Cleric's limitation of only having access to a small deity-dependent subset of domains.
Bonus Languages: A Brahmin’s bonus language options include Celestial, Abyssal, and Infernal (the languages of good, chaotic evil, and lawful evil outsiders, respectively). These choices are in addition to the bonus languages available to the character because of his race.
Spontaneous Casting: Unlike a Cleric, a Brahmin does not gain the ability to convert any number of non-domain prepared spells into "cure" or "inflict" spells. Instead, from 2nd level, he can convert any spell in a domain slot into any other domain spell of the same level or lower (typically from a domain he has not selected that day), but only a number of times per day equal to his Wisdom modifier (e.g twice a day for 14 Wisdom).
Mystic Power: This is identical to the Cleric's ability to channel positive or negative energy to turn or rebuke undead, except that the Brahmin channels "neutral energy" that has no effect on undead, and the Brahmin can use his Wisdom modifier when determining how often this power can be used (if this exceeds his Charisma modifier). It affects Outsiders that are not on their native planes, turning or destroying (banishing) them just as a good Cleric turns or destroys undead (regardless of the alignment of the Brahmin or the Outsider): the Brahmin's channelling ability is considered to be that of a Cleric of 3 levels lower. This can be used to power divine feats that normally require the ability to turn or rebuke undead, provided that either of these powers will suffice (i.e. not turn-only or rebuke-only). It also entitles the Brahmin to enter prestige classes which are open to those who can turn or rebuke undead, provided that either ability will qualify. As with Clerics, 5 or more ranks in Knowledge (religion) gets a +2 bonus on turning checks (where applicable). Note that certain domains will give turning ability against various creature types, including the Sun domain's "greater turning" against undead. Also, if the Brahmin gains true turning ability from another source, Mystic Power will stack with it.
The Epic Brahmin
|23rd||Cleric Bonus Feat|
|26th||Cleric Bonus Feat|
|29th||Cleric Bonus Feat|
Skill Points Per Level:
All the following are class features of the Epic Brahmin:
Spells: The Brahmin's caster level continues to increase.
Bonus Feats: The Epic Brahmin gains a bonus feat every three levels above 20th, from the Cleric feat list.