Nature Gnasher (3.5e Prestige Class)
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|“||"The very spirits of nature are my companions. When you enter our home, show respect... or you will wish you had"||”|
|—Kadal, Elf Nature Gnasher, The Teachings of the Wild|
When one completes the binding ritual of the Nature Gnasher, they are filled with an immense new appreciation for the power of nature. Their new life is devoted to protecting their new home. Apart from just keeping the local city from destroying it for timber or space, they consider it their divine duty to keep any outsiders from fighting within their domain.
Becoming a Nature Gnasher
Few but the most devout Druids choose to become a Nature Gnasher, and even they must obtain acceptance of the forces around them in order to fulfill the ritual required.
|Skills:||Knowledge (Nature) 10 Ranks|
|Spellcasting:||Ability to cast Summon Nature's Ally V|
|Special:||Must be bound to a natural area using a secret ritual known only to other Nature Gnasher’s or those who have seen/assisted in the ritual.|
|1st||+1||+2||+0||+2||Binding Ritual I, Advanced Wildshape||Summon Nature's Spirit 5/day|
|2nd||+2||+3||+0||+3||Commune With Nature 5/day|
|3rd||+3||+3||+1||+3||Binding Ritual II|
|4th||+4||+4||+1||+4||Commune With Nature at will|
|5th||+5||+5||+2||+5||Binding Ritual III||Summon Nature's Spirit at will|
Class Skills (4 + Int modifier per level)
Climb (Str), Concentration (Con), Craft (any)(Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Disguise (Cha), Handle Animal (Cha), Hide (Dex), Jump (Str), Knowledge (nature) (Int), Listen (Wis), Spot (Wis), Swim (Str), and Survival (Wis).
All of the following are class features of the Nature Gnasher.
Advanced Wildshape: (Ex) Every level taken in this prestige class advances the wildshape of the nature gnasher as if they had taken a level of druid. This bonus does not apply for spells in any way.
Binding Ritual: (Su) Once every odd level, the Nature Gnasher must spend twelve hours in a single day performing a ritual to further his connection with nature. In preparation for this ritual, the Nature Gnasher must obtain the blessing and aid of at least one of every natural creature (including humanoids) that reside in the area he is binding himself to. The ritual must be performed in the Nature Gnasher’s home-heart, which he selects when he first does the ritual. The binding ritual causes the following changes:
- The Nature Gnasher is now bound to the land surrounding his home-heart, and can not leave (See ‘Attempts at Leaving’, bottom). This area begins as a 5 mile diameter, and doubles every time the ritual is performed. The Nature Gnasher must still eat and drink normally, but if such things are not within his area he is able to satiate these desires by meditating in his home-heart for two hours a day.
- The spirit of the Nature Gnasher’s animal companion passes through his dominant hand, leaving a tattoo of the creature behind. Every other animal present at the ritual follows suit, though their tattoo is placed in a different location.
- After the ritual concludes, the Nature Gnasher loses his animal companion and can not get a new one. However, a new primary animal may be chosen from the list available to a druid of the Nature Gnasher’s effective druid level (class level + druid level + 1/2 ranger level) every time the ritual is performed, replacing the old tattoo on his dominant hand.
- The 15’ radius circle in which the ritual was performed now becomes the Nature Gnasher’s home-heart. While in this location, the Nature Gnasher receives fast healing 5 + class level, SR 10+3*class level, and acts as if hasted.
- Any ability to cast divine spells from the druid spell list the Nature Gnasher possessed now act as spontaneous casting. This ability also effects any new casting he may receive in later levels.
- Upon completing the binding ritual for the third time, the Nature Gnasher is completely in tune with the world around him. He gains the fey subtype and DR 10/coldiron.
Summon Nature's Spirit (Sp): At first level, the Nature Gnasher gains the ability to call upon the spirits of the animals of his bound area for assistance 5 times per day. This ability acts as Summon Nature’s Ally except as noted here: the selection of animals he can summon is based on the tattoos he received during his binding ritual. These summoned spirits have the Spirit Animal template applied to their base form. If calling on the tattoo on his dominant hand, the animal is advanced as if it were an animal companion of the Nature Gnasher’s effective druid level. By concentrating, the Nature Gnasher can exercise his will upon the animal, giving him the ability to perceive the world through the spirit and to cast through it; if more than one animal is summoned at a time, he must make a concentration check (DC 10 + HD of all creatures summoned + number of creatures summoned.) to select the proper one to control or a concentration check (DC (10 + HD of all creatures summoned + number of creatures summoned)* number of creatures controlled) to control more than one. If either of these checks fail then the Nature Gnasher loses the direct connection with the animals and can no longer control them, as well as losing his round. To reestablish his direct control, the animal spirits must return to within 10' of the Nature Gnasher and spend one round connecting to him. If at any time the animal spirit leaves the bound area of the Nature Gnasher, the spirit is un-summoned.
Commune With Nature (Sp): At level two, the Nature Gnasher gains the ability to speak with the very spirits of nature in the land he inhabits 5 times per day. This acts as the Commune with Nature spell except as noted here: the area from which you gain knowledge is limited only by your bound area. At fourth level, he gains this ability at will.
Attempts at Leaving
The penalties for leaving his bound area depend on how connected to it the Nature Gnasher is.
- After completing binding ritual for the first time, the Nature Gnasher has a solid connection to his bound area and more especially his home heart. If he leaves his bound area, he loses all class abilities he gained from Nature Gnasher as well as any druid casting he has. These return after five hours of uninterrupted meditation at his home-heart. If a Nature Gnasher is forced out of their bound area by any mundane or magical means, they do not incur these penalties so long as they immediately attempt to return to their bound area.
- After the binding ritual has been completed a second time, the Nature Gnasher has a deep connection to his area. If attempting to leave, his very life-force begins to fade from him. He takes 1 point of con damage per 6 hours spent away from his bound area. These stats can only be returned after spending a five hour meditation in his home-heart. If a Nature Gnasher is forced out of their bound area by any mundane or magical means, they do not incur these penalties so long as they immediately attempt to return to their bound area.
- Once the final binding ritual is finished, the Nature Gnasher has a supernatural connection to his home-heart and bound area. Whenever he leaves his bound area (by his own volition or someone else’s) he immediately appears in the center of his home-heart with no penalty.
(Note: these penalties do not stack, they replace each other)
Playing a Nature Gnasher
Due to the area limitations, the Nature Gnasher is not a Prestige Class that characters would normally be able to take. Therefore, this section applies to DMs who would use it for an NPC.
Combat: Combat for a Nature Gnasher can depend between melee ad casting. Although the five level dip does not progress the casting of a druid any, its ability to spontaneously cast from a distance of up to 20 miles away make it very suitable for a high level druidic caster. However, most will likely resort to their Wildshape and attack in some other form.
Advancement: The two main paths for a Nature Gnasher are casting and melee. If one wanted to flesh out its casting, finishing the levels in druid would work perfectly well. For melee the best adaptation would be Master of Many Forms from Complete Warrior.
Resources: Nature Gnashers have little to no interactions with others. If, however, their bound-area increased to include a settlement (and particularly if that settlement was druidic or of some other poeple that revered nature), the Nature Gnasher would be inclined to watch over them as an Oaken Defender would a grove of dryads. As such, all druids and rangers who come into contact with a Nature Gnasher recognize their deep connection with nature and are treated as friendly.
Nature Gnashers in the World
|“||"When the ritual was done, I was saddened to see my companion go, but I knew that his spirit would be with me. For I, myself, am now a spirit of my surroundings, and my brothers are always with me." -Vixen, Elf Nature Gnasher||”|
NPC Reactions: Most know nothing of the existence of Nature Gnashers, others see them simply as Druids too lazy or stubborn to leave their homes, but a select few see them for what they truly are: a divine force of nature ready to destroy any that threaten their home. Most who come across the Nature Gnasher are amazed at the kindness this seemingly loner posses, yet fear the force with which he tells them to tread lightly in his home.
Nature Gnasher Lore
Characters with ranks in Knowledge (Nature) can research Nature Gnasher to learn more about them. When a character makes a skill check, read or paraphrase the following, including information from lower DCs.
|16||Nature Gnashers are a select group of druids who have further connected to nature by binding themselves to a specific area.|
|21||Inside the center of their bound area is a home-heart. This is their special place of power and grants them certain abilities.|
|26||In order to complete the binding ritual they must obtain a blessing from all that inhabit their new bound area. Once this ritual is complete, they lose their animal companion but gain a set of tattoos. These tattoos are actually imprints of the spirits of the animals that dwell in their bound area which they can call upon to aid them in defending their home.|
|31||The original Nature Gnasher was a Great Wyrm Gold Dragon who spent several hundreds of years of his life in a single grove. One day, a surge of magic caught hold of him, and he began to see the world in a new light. From then on he regarded his fellow residence of the grove not just as neighbors but as family and they, in turn, regarded him as a guardian and gave him a bit of their soul as thanks for helping to protect them.|
Nature Gnashers in the Game
Adaptation: The Nature Gnasher is easily adapted to any natural campaign. He can be a wise old man that guides the party through a thick forest, the sole force preventing the nearby town from destroying the entire forest for lumber and land, or even the only thing keeping open war from breaking out between different sects of druids.
Sample Encounter: While walking through the dense jungle the party begins to run low on food. Ignoring the warning of the kind stranger they met earlier, they kill a nearby boar in an attempt to obtain food. A spirit of the very animal they are now cooking appears before them, and casts entanlge on them. They have incured the wrath of a Nature Gnasher...