Anchorite (3.5e Prestige Class)

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"Anchorite" is a generic term for a person who lives in seclusion in one place, usually for religious reasons. Historically, some have taken this to extremes: some medieval churches had cells built into their walls, where anchorites were imprisoned for life (at their own request), and the saint Simeon Stylites spent 36 years perched on a pillar in Syria. This class is an adaptation of the Anchorite concept designed for spellcasters who wish to remain in one place, for a variety of reasons. A Cleric may wish to remain within a specific temple, a Druid may wish to become the resident guardian of a place of natural beauty, a Wizard may become so devoted to studying the magical arts that he never wants to leave his laboratory again, and anyone might wish to go into semi-retirement in a place of safety after encountering too many horrors in dark dungeons. The class is also suitable for Nymphs and Dryads (especially the latter) who tend to be associated with specific locations in any event (the Monster Manual has no Level Adjust for the Dryad, as their "tree dependency" is assumed to make them non-viable as PC's or cohorts: as this is no longer the case, assume a Level Adjust of +3). A lack of distractions and plenty of time for meditation allows an Anchorite to devote more time to developing his/her magical powers, and the class also allows the development of various means of projecting magical influence over great distances.


Table: The Anchorite
Hit Die: d4
Level Base Attack
Special Spells per Day/Spells Known
1st +0 +0 +0 +2 Anchoring, Familiar, Proxy, Sustenance +1 level of existing class
2nd +1 +0 +0 +3 Special Ability, Spell Preparation +1 level of existing class
3rd +1 +1 +1 +3 Anchored Constitution (+1), Transdimensional Proxy +1 level of existing class
4th +2 +1 +1 +4 Special Ability +1 level of existing class
5th +2 +1 +1 +4 Anchored Phasing +1 level of existing class
6th +3 +2 +2 +5 Special Ability +1 level of existing class
7th +3 +2 +2 +5 Anchored Constitution (+2) +1 level of existing class
8th +4 +2 +2 +6 Special Ability +1 level of existing class
9th +4 +3 +3 +6 Ghostly Binding +1 level of existing class
10th +5 +3 +3 +7 Special Ability +1 level of existing class

Class Skills (4 + Int modifier per level)
Concentration, Craft, Knowledge (arcane), Knowledge (religion), Knowledge (the planes), Spellcraft.

Class Features[edit]

All of the following are class features of the Anchorite:

Weapon and Armour Proficiency: Anchorites gain no proficiency with weapons and armour.

Spellcasting: When a new Anchorite level is gained, the character gains new spells per day as if he/she had also gained a level in a spellcasting class he/she belonged to before adding the prestige class. He/she does not, however, gain any other benefit a character of that class would have gained, except for an increased effective level of spellcasting. If a character had more than one spellcasting class before becoming an Anchorite, he/she must decide to which class the new level is added for purposes of determining spells per day.

Anchoring (Su): By remaining in one place and meditating there for a period of one month, the Anchorite becomes "anchored" to his or her chosen location (a newly-qualified 1st level Anchorite must do this as part of his/her training for attaining 1st level). Thereafter, the Anchorite must never venture more than 100 yards from the location's central point (many Anchorites choose to remain within a smaller area than this). If the Anchorite leaves this area, he/she will permanently lose one level of experience and temporarily lose all remaining spellcasting levels gained as an Anchorite, in addition to losing any Anchorite abilities described as operating "while anchored". These abilities (other than the lost experience level) return when the Anchorite has re-anchored, either in the same location or in a new one. Mind-influencing spells or similar effects will never cause an anchored Anchorite to leave the chosen location (e.g. a Fear spell will not cause an Anchorite to flee out of the area). A forcibly removed Anchorite can avoid the level loss if he/she tries as hard as possible to return and successfully does so within 24 hours.

A living Anchorite, or an undead one with a corporeal body, can leave the location "in spirit" via spells such as Magic Jar or Astral Projection, provided the body remains within it and the soul returns within 24 hours. Astral projection will terminate automatically when this duration is up (even if cast by somebody else) and the soul will return to the body from any range or any plane, unless constrained by powerful magic (e.g. a Trap The Soul spell): Magic Jar has no such guarantee, and it's up to the Anchorite to get back in time. The Anchorite must then remain in his/her anchored location for an amount of time at least equal to the time spent "elsewhere" before venturing forth in this fashion again.

Similar restrictions apply if the Anchorite enters an extradimensional space within his/her anchored location (a portable hole, Rope Trick, Mage's Magnificent Mansion or similar): the entry/exit (if mobile) must not leave the area, and the Anchorite must emerge within 24 hours and spend at least as much time outside it as inside it.

Familiar: An Anchorite can acquire a familiar, just as a Sorcerer or Wizard can. When determining familiar advancement, each Anchorite level counts as TWO Sorcerer/Wizard levels, provided the total does not exceed the character's overall experience level: this allows the powers of an Anchorite's familiar to eventually catch up with, but not to exceed, those of the familiar of a comparable single-classed human Sorcerer or Wizard.

Proxy (Su): An Anchorite has the power to nominate another intelligent creature as his/her proxy, or "field agent". The souls of both must be in close proximity (within a few feet) when this nomination takes place (which usually means that the proxy must visit the Anchorite, unless one or both is astrally-projecting). The creature must be willing (though a charm spell could be used here), each Anchorite can have only one proxy at a time, and no creature can be the proxy of more than one Anchorite at a time. Once per day, for a period of up to 10 minutes, the Anchorite can establish a two-way telepathic connection with his/her proxy, sufficient for detailed information to be transferred. Range is not a factor, provided the Anchorite and the proxy are on the same plane of existence. To establish communication, the Anchorite must be anchored, and fully present at the anchor location (i.e. not astrally-projecting or whatever).

In addition to exchanging information, this ability also allows an Anchorite to gain experience points from the actions performed on the Anchorite's behalf by the proxy. An Anchorite who is the cohort of a party member gains experience just as a normal cohort does (see the description of the Leadership feat) by nominating his/her PC as the proxy. A non-cohort Anchorite who is present "in spirit" via a Magic Jar or Astral Projection spell (or similar means) is considered to be physically present when calculating experience in the normal fashion. Otherwise, if a party contains the proxy of a distant Anchorite who is NOT a cohort (i.e. the Anchorite is a PC, or an NPC patron) and the distant Anchorite is able to make a significant contribution to the party's power (by sending his/her own cohort to assist the party, or providing spells to his/her proxy via the Spell Transference special ability), the party's average CR is calculated as if the Anchorite was present, experience is divided as if the Anchorite is to receive a half-share, but the Anchorite nevertheless receives the same experience as everyone else. Thus, if a party of four PC's includes three on the scene and one PC Anchorite who is providing assistance from afar, the experience is divided by 3.5, but everyone gets this amount (including the Anchorite), allowing the Anchorite to advance in level at the same rate as the others. The Anchorite is probably making a smaller contribution than the others, and isn't facing the same risk of being killed, but is also studying and meditating intensively while the others are adventuring: whereas the rest of the party faces a somewhat stiffer challenge than they would if the Anchorite was physically present and able to provide more assistance.

Sustenance (Su): After the first three days of performing the "anchoring" ritual, the Anchorite begins to benefit from the same magical effects as normally bestowed by a Ring of Sustenance: the Anchorite no longer needs to eat or drink, and only needs 2 hours of sleep per night. This effect persists until the anchoring process is complete, and for as long as he/she remains anchored thereafter.

Spell Preparation: From 2nd level, an Anchorite who normally casts spells spontaneously has the option to prepare all or some of his/her spells in advance instead. Each prepared spell occupies a slot normally reserved for a spontaneous spell. This advance preparation allows metamagic feats to be incorporated into a spell without increasing its casting time, and also allows the spell to be transferred to another via the Spell Transference special ability.

Special Ability: On every even-numbered Anchorite level, the Anchorite may choose a special ability from the following list:

Advanced Spellcasting: This ability adds the equivalent of one caster level to any one spellcasting class the Anchorite has (and it can be stacked with the Anchorite's normal spellcasting progression, giving the equivalent of a +2 level increase). It can be selected multiple times. All aspects of spellcasting are enhanced by this, including possible access to higher-level spells and the ability to cast more spells per day. However, the Anchorite's total caster level in any spellcasting class cannot exceed the character's overall experience level: thus, this ability allows the spellcasting level of a multiclassed Anchorite (or one with a racial Level Adjustment) to eventually catch up with, but not to exceed, that of an equivalent single-classed human spellcaster. This ability can also confer higher-level spell slots beyond the usual maximum for the class (similar to the Improved Spell Capacity epic feat) if this maximum has already been reached: for every 3 caster levels beyond that at which the class normally receives its highest-level spells (e.g. every 3 caster levels above 16th for the Bard spell list), add one higher-level spell slot (7th, 8th, 9th etc) plus any applicable bonus slots for a high spellcasting ability score (e.g. Charisma for the Bard), but no more than once for each occasion that Advanced Spellcasting has been selected. This benefit can be gained retrospectively if Advanced Spellcasting was taken at a lower level.

Astral Projection (Su): This ability can only be selected if the Anchorite has at least 18 ranks in the Knowledge(the planes) skill. It is similar to the Astral Projection spell, except as follows: it's a supernatural ability that is usable once per day and requires no components, and it only affects the Anchorite.

One with Nature (Ex): This ability can only be selected if the Anchorite has chosen an anchor location in a natural setting (typically a forest) and has at least 10 ranks of the Knowledge(nature) skill. It allows Knowledge(nature) and Survival to be treated as Anchorite class skills thereafter, and the Anchorite can use Commune with Nature (as the spell) as a supernatural ability three times per day (caster level is the Anchorite's overall character level). Also, like a Druid, the Anchorite can gain an animal companion and use the Wild Empathy ability, as follows: ignoring all previous Anchorite levels, treat the current level and all following Anchorite levels as TWO Druid levels each, but total animal companion and Wild Empathy abilities cannot exceed those of a single-classed human Druid of the character's overall experience level.

Remote Aid (Su): This ability allows a distant Anchorite to cast spells upon his/her proxy, regardless of range (and even across planes), up to three times per day. The Anchorite must be anchored and fully present at the anchor location (i.e. not astrally-projecting elsewhere), and a body part of the proxy will be required as a focus component (hair, nail clippings etc). Only spells which can normally be cast on another creature can be cast in this way (i.e. not spells with a range of "personal", unless the proxy is the Anchorite's familiar). Spells which normally affect a group of creatures, or an area, will affect only the proxy (thus, a Fireball will briefly cause the proxy to be engulfed in flames, but won't include others nearby). This ability allows the spell to be cast while maintaining concentration on a Scrying spell or similar remote-viewing method. It is possible to remotely raise a slain proxy from death by this means, provided some physical remains still exist at the proxy's location. Though this ability is normally used to cast beneficial spells, a ruthless Anchorite could use it to cast a spell such as Disintegrate on a captured or slain proxy (spells which normally require a touch attack roll will hit automatically, but normal saves apply). This ability can be taken multiple times to gain another 3 uses per day each time.

Skill Focus feat: This is identical to the standard feat of the same name, and can be selected multiple times (for a different skill each time). As an Anchorite special ability, it can only be selected for a skill which is an Anchorite class skill.

Spell Focus feat: This is identical to the standard feat of the same name, and can be selected multiple times (for a different school of magic each time).

Spell Knowledge: This ability can be selected multiple times. Each time, the Anchorite gains knowledge of two new spells (spell level cannot exceed the maximum level which can be cast, and multiclassed Anchorites with more than one spell table must choose which it will apply to). This can be used to exceed the spells-known limit of classes with a limited spell repertoire, such as Bard or Sorcerer. Specialist Wizards can use this ability to gain spells from forbidden schools. Spells can also be learned from the spell lists of other core character classes (excluding clerical domain spells), but these will always be at least 2 levels higher, plus another level if crossing the Arcane/Divine division: thus, a Wizard could learn Cure Serious Wounds as a 5th level spell (from the Bard list, where it's normally 3rd level) and Raise Dead as an 8th level spell (from the Cleric list, normally 5th level).

Spell Transference (Su): This ability allows an Anchorite to transfer prepared spells to his/her nominated proxy during the daily telepathic-communication period. Initially, only 0th and 1st level spells can be transferred, but this then improves by two spell levels for each additional Anchorite level gained (Epic spells cannot be transferred, but ordinary spell-slots above 9th can be). Up to half of the Anchorite's spells at each spell level can be transferred (fractions rounded up, and the count includes bonus spells from class features and ability score modifiers). The proxy can then cast those spells, supplying whatever components are needed (though an Anchorite with feats such as Eschew Materials, Silent Spell and Still Spell can reduce these requirements). The power of each spell is determined as if it emanated from the Anchorite (but ignoring modifiers from items worn by the Anchorite and including modifiers from items worn by the proxy). Unused spells are lost after 24 hours or when the Anchorite renews his/her spell selection, whichever happens first.

Spells of Projection: This ability allows the Anchorite to add the following spells to his/her spells known, at the levels indicated: 1st, Message: 2nd, Clairvoyance/Clairaudience: 3rd, Scrying: 4th, Sending: 5th, Greater Scrying: 6th, Magic Jar: 7th, Demand: 8th, Astral Projection: 9th, Gate. For classes with a limited number of spells known (e.g. Bard, Sorcerer), such limits are expanded to accommodate these spells. Multi-classed spellcasters may add them to each spellcasting class.

Supernatural Knowledge (Su): This ability can only be selected if the Anchorite has at least 10 ranks in both the Knowledge(arcane) and Knowledge(religion) skills. Once selected, all knowledge skills become Anchorite class skills, and the Anchorite gains the equivalent of Bardic lore as follows: ignoring all previous Anchorite levels, treat the current level and all following Anchorite levels as TWO Bard levels each, but total Lore ability cannot exceed the character's overall experience level. This ability also allows an Anchorite to Contact Other Plane (as the spell) as a supernatural ability usable once per day.

Anchored Constitution (Su): At 3rd level, when anchored and fully present at the anchored location (i.e. not astrally-projecting), the Anchorite draws stamina from his/her surroundings, gaining a +1 Constitution bonus. This increases to +2 at 7th level. When astrally-projecting, the bonus still applies to the left-behind physical body, but not the astral body or any new body formed elsewhere.

Transdimensional Proxy (Su): From 3rd level, the telepathic communication between an Anchorite and his/her proxy will function across the planes, allowing contact to be maintained wherever the proxy goes.

Anchored Phasing (Su): At 5th level, an anchored Anchorite can modify his/her body to make it "out of phase" with reality. The Anchorite's body becomes invisible and incorporeal, and the Anchorite no longer needs to breathe in this state. No concentration is required to maintain the effect, which can even be used to hide the body when astrally-projecting: however, the anchorite's death will terminate the effect.

Ghostly Binding (Ex): From 9th level, an anchored Anchorite cannot be permanently killed by normal means, as he/she will reappear as a ghost at the anchor location, permanently haunting the location (unless he/she chooses true death). The ghost will be forever bound to the location for as long as it exists. Astral projection is still possible, but as a ghost has no attachment to a physical body, the Magic Jar spell must be used to transfer its essence to a soul gem at the anchored location, which can then temporarily become the "body" from which astral projection can occur. An astrally-projecting ghost cannot form a physical body elsewhere, but can still manifest as a ghost. Note that the ghost template has a +5 Level Adjust (see the Monster Manual): the character will be unable to gain any further levels until this is paid off (i.e. the character must accumulate enough experience to gain 6 levels in order to reach the next level). A ghost also has from 1 to 3 optional special attacks: a newly-formed Anchorite ghost has one, then a second is gained after 3 levels of the Level Adjust have been paid off, then the third is gained when the Level Adjust is fully paid off.

The Epic Anchorite[edit]

Class Skills[edit]

Skill points at each additional level: 4 + Int modifier

Class Abilities[edit]

Hit Die: d4

Class Features[edit]

All the following are class features of the Epic Anchorite:

Spells: The Anchorite continues to gain caster levels at the rate of one per Anchorite level.

Anchored Constitution: This continues to improve by +1 for every 4 levels above 7th (11th, 15th etc).

Bonus Feats and Special Abilities: The Epic Anchorite gains a bonus feat every three levels above 10th. The Epic Anchorite no longer gains Special Abilities every even-numbered level, but can take these as Anchorite bonus feats instead. Alternatively, the Epic Anchorite can select any metamagic or item-creation feat, or the three mind-boosting epic feats (Great Intelligence, Great Wisdom, Great Charisma).

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