Arc Lord (3.5e Prestige Class)

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Arc Lord[edit]

Do you know what happens to an orc when it's struck by lightning? The same thing that happens to everything else.
—"Doc" Sy Monsoon, Halfling Arc Lord

Forged from the union of mortal flesh with one of the most primal forces of nature, the Arc Lord is a force to be reckoned with. He strides across the battlefield with crackling traces of lightning zigzagging across his body, assaulting his foes with devastatingly fast, electrically-charged blows. He does not fear the assaults of his enemies, for he knows that even as they attempt to harm him, they wound themselves & that even should he fall, in doing so he will strike down his enemies & rise again.

Becoming an Arc Lord[edit]


Anyone with an affinity for lightning who seeks to lead from the front with minimal close support will be at home with the precepts of the arc lord. Storing, manipulating & releasing electrical energies with a thought, the arc lord is an individual who strives to be the strongest & the fastest, a true nightmare to their foes - as long as they are affected by electrical damage.

Dexterity is the key ability score for arc lords, with many of their abilities being linked to it. As a melee combat class, Strength & Constitution are also useful. Due to their naturally high dexterity scores, elves and drows often make excellent arc lords.

Entry Requirements
Racial restriction: Any non-aquatic.
Base Attack Bonus: +3
Ability Scores: Dexterity 15.
Table: The Arc Lord

Hit Die: d10

Level Base
Attack Bonus
Saving Throws Special
Fort Ref Will
1st +1 +2 +2 +0 Shock Charge, Arc Bolt, Electricity Absorption,
2nd +2 +3 +3 +0 Arc Field, Evasion
3rd +3 +3 +3 +1 Lightning Speed, Shocking Synergy
4th +4 +4 +4 +1 Defibrillate, Merciful Charges
5th +5 +4 +4 +1 Improved Shocking Synergy
6th +6 +5 +5 +2 Greater Electricity Absorption, Improved Evasion
7th +7 +5 +5 +2 Bolt From The Blue, Shock Nova
8th +8 +6 +6 +2 Elemental Conversion
9th +9 +6 +6 +3 Greater Shocking Synergy, It Lives!
10th +10 +7 +7 +3 Detonate, Immunity to electricity

Class Skills (4 + Int modifier per level)
Balance, Concentration, Craft, Intimidate, Jump, Listen, Spot, Tumble.

Table: The Epic Arc Lord
Level Special
13th Bonus feat
16th Bonus feat
19th Bonus feat

Class Features[edit]

Arc lords are the personification of lightning tamed, as such, their abilities reflect this & all revolve around the storage, manipulation & (semi)controlled discharge of electricity, in order to strike harder & faster. All of the following are class features of the arc lord.

Shock Charge (Ex): The arc lord is a master of storing & manipulating electrical energy within his own body. After 8 hours of sleep, he replenishes his stock of Shock Charges, which is equal to 2 x arc lord level. These charges are used to power many of the arc lords other abilities. An arc lord can store up to double his starting allotment of charges without ill effect, but any charges over the starting allotment fade at a rate of -1 charge every 1d6 rounds. If the number of charges an arc lord has ever exceeds double his starting allotment, he must discharge the excess charges within 1 round or the charges in excess of double his allotment will automatically discharge and deal to his body 1d4 damage per charge with no save possible.

Arc Bolt(Su): the arc lord discharges a short-range (25ft +5ft per arc lord level) bolt of lightning at a target, doing 1d8 electricity damage per Shock Charge used. Each Arc Bolt can use a maximum of 1 Shock Charge plus 1 for every level of arc lord levels beyond 1st. The arc lord must succeed on a ranged touch attack to hit the target, with a +2 on the attack roll if the target is wearing metal armour. In case of water...[1]

Elemental Absorption (shock) (Ex): As a result of his constant exposure to high levels of electrical energy, the arc lord gains resist electricity 5. Furthermore, for every 5 full points of electricity damage (including damage negated by his resistance) received, the character gains an additional Shock Charge.

Arc Field[2] (Sp): By projecting his innate electrical power, an arc lord of 2nd level can expend up to the his Wisdom modifier Shock Charges to activate a shield that covers himself & any carried gear. Whenever an attacker strikes the Arc Lord with a melee attack, the attacker is dealt 1d6 damage per charge. In addition, the first unarmed melee attack or natural attack made by the arc lord, or whenever he makes a grapple check, the opposing creature takes damage equal to his shield. This effect applies each round the shield is active, the shield has a duration equal to half the character's arc lord level, rounded down.

Evasion: At 2nd level, an arc lord receives the Evasion special ability, as the Rogue ability of the same name.

Lightning Speed: Due to the electricity that is constantly coursing through his nerves, the reactions of the arc lord are significantly higher than those of normal people, seeming to move almost as fast as the lightning that he contains. At 3rd level, the arc lord receives the Improved Initiative feat and Fast Movement +10 ft.. If he already has Improved Initiative, he instead receives a +2 bonus to initiative.

Shocking Synergy: The infused electrical energy within the arc lord's body allows him to enhance the effects of certain shocking weapons. When an arc lord of 3rd level wields a metallic melee weapon that does a variable numeric amount of electricity damage, the die size of the electricity damage is increased 1 stage (eg Shocking weapons do an additional 1d8 damage, rather than 1d6 & Shocking Burst weapons use 2d6 for every 1d10 they would normally use).

Defibrillate[3]: As his control over his own abilities gets finer, an arc lord of 4th level gains the ability to produce limited healing effects as a result of his shocking abilities. He may expend a Shock Charge to automatically stabilise a target that is on negative hit points.

Merciful Charges: An arc lord of 4th level may choose to manipulate the frequency of his electrical energies, making all electricity damage he deals nonlethal damage. This is in addition to the elemental damage type, so if something is resistant to either electricity or nonlethal damage, it is resistant to this damage, but if it has a vulnerability against either electricity or nonlethal damage, it has a vulnerability to this damage.

Improved Shocking Synergy: As his power & control extends, the arc lord gets better at augmenting the abilities of shocking weapons. In addition to the effects of Shocking Synergy, all eligible weapons wielded by an arc lord of 5th level count as having an additional +1 enhancement bonus, on top of any they may possess. This only applies to weapons the arc lord wields, and it no longer applies when he stops wielding them. Thrown weapons retain this improvement during the attack when the arc lord throws it.

Greater Electricity Absorption: At 6th level, with greater immersion into electrical mastery, the character's electricity resistance is increased to 10. Furthermore, for each 5 points of electricity damage or part thereof received (including that negated by this effect), the character now receives an additional 2 Shock Charges.

Improved Evasion: The arc lord gains the Improved Evasion special ability at 6th level.

Bolt From The Blue: At 7th level, the character's class bonus to initiative increases to +4 & his Fast Movement increases to +20 ft. Additionally, if he rolls a natural 20 on initiative, he gets second full action at the end of the first combat round, which does not affect his initiative score.

Shock Nova[4]: At 7th level, the arc lord may expend Shock Charges to blast nearby creatures with 1d8 electricity damage per charge expended. All targets within 10' of the arc lord are hit, regardless of whether they are friend or foe (or inanimate object that wasn't bothering anyone, but just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time). The maximum charges that can be expended in this way are equal to the arc lord's dexterity modifier

Elemental Conversion: At 8th level, the arc lord now gains Shock Charges as per Greater Electricity Absorption when hit by energy damage of any type, though the resistance remains confined to electricity damage.

Greater Shocking Synergy: At 9th level, in addition to the effects of Improved Shocking Synergy, all eligible weapons count as weapons of Speed.

It Lives![2]: A 9th level arc lord may restore a target corpse to life, bringing it to half it's total hit points, rounded down, as long as the target has died within the last hour. This effect can be applied once per day & drains a number of Shock Charges equal to half the total hit dice of the target. If the character has insufficient charges, the effect fails, all remaining charges are drained & no more attempts can be made that day. Creatures restored to life this way lose 1 class level, or if they cannot lose one class level, they permanently lose 1 point of constitution.

Detonate[4]: If reduced to negative hit points, a 10th level arc lord automatically discharges all remaining Shock Charges in a massive, 20 ft. radius version of Shock Nova that does 1d12 damage per charge. Additionally, the arc lord gains 1d6 hit points per charge expended. While this is usually effective at getting revenge on the source of the damage, it can also be dangerous for any allies standing too close. This effect can only be used once per day. If the arc lord restored to life this way, he loses 1 class level.

Immunity to electricity: At 10th level, the arc lord gains immunity to electricity.

Bonus feat: The epic arc lord gains a bonus feat (selected from the list of epic arc lord feats) every 3 levels after 10th.

  1. When immersed in water or a similar conductive material*, this ability acts as a blast effect, centered on the arc lord with a radius of 40ft. If the Bolt passes through water at any point of its journey between the arc lord & the target, the damage is split between every creature in contact with the water.
  2. 2.0 2.1 When immersed in water or a similar conductive material*, this ability does not function. Any attempt to activate this power results in 2d6 damage to the arc lord & the loss of 1d3 Shock Charges, in addition to any used in the activation.
  3. Any attempt to activate this power results in 2d6 damage to the arc lord & the loss of 1d3 Shock Charges, in addition to any used in the activation.
  4. 4.0 4.1 When immersed in water or a similar conductive material*, this ability functions as normal, except the radius is doubled & the dice size used for damage is reduced 1 stage.

* Metal Armour Issues: While an arc lord can wear metal armour, they rarely do as it interferes with most of their abilities. If clad in metal armour, the arc lord counts as being immersed in water.

Campaign Information[edit]

Playing an Arc Lord[edit]

I'm hitting him again! Don't you give up on me now, move away from the light, damn you! Clear!

Combat: Arc Lords are dangerous warriors who excell at rapid assaults. With a nervous system that is constantly tingling with raw electrical energy, they serve as excellent "shock" troops (pun intended). They are most effective at melee & close support roles, as they lack any inherant long-range abilities (even at maximum (non-epic) level, their longest range ability tops out at 75 ft.) & are highly effective when not supported by other melee classes, due to some of their abilities being indiscriminate in who is affected. The exception to this unsupported role is when two or more Arc Lords fight side-by-side, as their energies rebound off each other, extending their longevity in combat.

Advancement: Arc Lords are at their best at the forefront of any battle, surrounded by enemies (or in a "Target-rich environment" as many are known to call this), as such, the wild assault of a typical barbarian is often to their liking, especially as their inability to wear metal armour precludes the use of many heavier protective garments. Those who follow a more lawful path often find satisfaction in the ways of the monk, though the lack of weaponry with which to syenergise their shock abilities can be off-putting. The bonuses to initiative can be useful to rogues, allowing them ample opportunity to get in a first strike with a Sneak Attack before an enemy has readied his defences.

Resources: Arc Lords are often found in the employ of arcane mages, especially those who possess the metamagical feat Energy Substitution (Shock), since such individuals can "power-up" an Arc Lord to keep him in battle for longer. Outside of this, Arc Lords often band together with each other (for much the same reason as their alliances with arcane casters), or join groups that lack any frontline combatants that could be zapped as a byproduct of the Arc Lords abilities.

Arc Lords in the World[edit]

I told you to clear!
—"Doc" Sy Monsoon, Halfling Arc Lord

NPC Reactions: Many individuals are somewhat wary of all Arc Lords, even those who appear friendly to their cause. While the potential to inadvertantly damage allies is not common knowledge, there's just something a bit worrying about the bloke at the bar of the inn with lightning skittering across his skin. Some - more primative - barbarian tribes have been known to fall to their knees & worship Arc Lords, especially if they consider natural lightning to be a god.

Arc Lord Lore[edit]

Characters with ranks in Knowledge (arcana) can research Arc Lords to learn more about them. When a character makes a skill check, read or paraphrase the following, including information from lower DCs.

Knowledge (arcana)
DC Result
11 Arc Lords are combat types who are often employed by arcane casters as bodyguards.
16 They use electrical energy, including any thrown at them offensively, to enhance their combat prowess.
21 They are significantly less dangerous at long range.
26 Powerful Arc Lords explode when killed & rise from the remains like a high-voltage phoenix!

Arc Lords in the Game[edit]

Arc Lords are specialised melee combatants who combine electrifying speed with powerful attacks to defeat their enemies. While not without their drawbacks, they can make excellent first strikers, often devastating powerful foes in a the first few rounds. Though powerful, the class does have limitations, the most significant of which is also the source of their strength - their dependance on stored electrical energy. When in water or when faced with enemies who have a resistance to electrical damage, the utility of many of the Arc Lords powers is significantly reduced. In addition to this, the Arc Lord has a limited store of power from which to draw his electrical energy & once out of charges, he becomes a much less capable combatant.

Adaptation: Arc Lords are melee combatants, as such they are useful in most games, though if there is likely to be considerable time spent in an underwater environment a fair DM should probably encourage a different path.

Sample Encounter: While searching the docks of a major coastal city for information on a cursed item trafficing ring, the party enters the "Drunken Bishop" inn. Despite the bar being crowded, a male halfling is stood alone at the counter - hardly suprising as he appears to have lightning arcs skittering up & down his body & occasionally earthing themselves on the bar rail.

EL 13: "Doc" Sy Monsoon

"Doc" Sy Monsoon, L5 Ranger, L8 Arc Lord

CR —

CG Small humanoid (halfling)
Init/Senses +12/Listen +2, Spot {{{spot}}}
Languages Common, Hafling, Gnome, Dwarven
AC 23 (+1 size, +4 Dex, +6 armour, +2 Deflection), touch 15, flat-footed 17
hp 107 (13 HD)
Fort/Ref/Will 14/12/5(+2 vs. Fear)
Speed 40 ft. (8 squares)
Melee +2 Shocking Greatsword +18/+13/+8 (1d10+4+1d8 Shock/19-20)
Ranged Masterwork Daggers +19/+19/+14/+9 (1d3+1/19-20)
Base Atk/Grp +13/+10
Special Actions Wild Empathy, Arc Bolt, Shock Nova.
Abilities Str 12, Dex 19, Con 16, Int 14, Wis 11, Cha 19
SQ Favoured Enemies (Monsterous Humanoid +4, Magical Beast +2), Animal Companion, Elemental Absorption (Shock), Shock Charge, Arc Field, Evasion, Lightning Speed, Shocking Synergy, Defibrilate, Shocking Stun, Improved Shocking Synergy, Greater Elemental Absorption (Shock), Improved Evasion, Bolt From The Blue, Elemental Conversion.
Feats Track, Rapid Shot, Endurance, Improved Initiative, Point Blank Shot, Quick Draw, Weapon Focus-Dagger, Weapon Focus-Greatsword
Skills Climb +11, Handle Animal +7, Heal +8, Hide +12, Jump +9, Listen +10, Move Silently +12, Spot +4, Survival +4
Possessions +3 studded leather, +2 Shocking Greatsword, 8x Masterwork Dagger, +2 Ring of Deflection, 17 pp, 28 gp, 9sp

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