Pontifex Sanctus (3.5e Prestige Class)
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|“||Charity is no substitute for justice withheld.||”|
|—Saint Karna, Human, Holy Avenger, Chapter XIII, Book Shaavasti, Subsection VI|
A Pontifex Sanctus, (also historically known as a hollow prima), is a person who is recognized as having an exceptional degree of holiness, likeness, or closeness to God. This title in modern times would be known as a Pope. The Pontifex Sanctus however, is a being who communes through the celestial window and receives direct messages from the realm of light. The Pontifex Sanctus most of the time is a male humanoid creature, but in the rare occasion, a female becomes a Pontifex Sanctus she is revered for taking the steps to rival what is typically a male role.
Becoming a Pontifex Sanctus
The path of a Pontifex Sanctus is long and arduous. One must have the deep religious training to become this class and have a devotion unparalleled to others. Normally, to become this class one must be a class that can cast divine spells and has proficiency in knowledge religion. Although the Pontifex Sanctus are magically strong, having the holy powers of many other divine-based classes, they are physically weaker and tend to fall quickly if not protected. The Pontifex Sanctus utilize divine spells from their previous class in combination with their new abilities to banish both the undead and evil creatures who wish to disrupt the balance of the world's order. A Pontifex Sanctus depend highly on Wisdom and Charisma to bolster their own abilities, while also depending on Dexterity for utility and Constitution to last longer in difficult situations on the battlefield.
|Alignment:||Must be an alignment no further than one step from your patron deity's alignment.|
|Level:||To take this class you must be 5th level or higher.|
|Domains:||Must have domains related to your deity.|
|Ability Scores:||Must have 15 or higher Wisdom and Charisma.|
|Special:||Must have been a class that has access to Divine spells such as a Cleric, Paladin or any other divine class.|
|1st||+0||+0||+1||+1||Bonus Feat, Pontiff of Domains, True Turn Undead, Vow of Equanimity||+1 existing divine spellcaster level|
|2nd||+1||+0||+2||+2||Communion of Mortal and Patron, Divine Cancellation||+1 existing divine spellcaster level|
|3rd||+2||+1||+2||+3||Bonus Feat, Sanctified Intervention, Sanctus Robe||+1 existing divine spellcaster level|
|4th||+3||+1||+3||+4||Genesis of Faith, Indignation of Salvation||+1 existing divine spellcaster level|
|5th||+4||+2||+3||+5||Bonus Feat, Pontiff Maximus, Supreme Pontiff||+1 existing divine spellcaster level|
Class Skills (4 + Int modifier per level)
All of the following are class features of the Pontifex Sanctus.
Spellcasting: At each level, you gain new spells per day and an increase in caster level (and spells known, if applicable) as if you had also gained a level in a spellcasting class to which you belonged before adding the prestige class level. You do not, however, gain any other benefit a character of that class would have gained. If you had more than one spellcasting class before becoming a Pontifex Sanctus, you must decide to which class to add each level to determine spells per day, caster level, and spells known.
Bonus Feat: The Pontifex Sanctus gains a bonus feat every other level from the Divine Feat list. You cannot gain feats of any other kind except Divine Feat's once you have gained this class.
Pontiff of Domains (Ex): At 1st level, you gain an additional domain you have access to when casting divine spells. You may only pick another domain that your patron deity has access to in their domains list.
True Turn Undead (Ex): At 1st level, you have gained the ability to truly obliterate vile creatures of any level as if it was an extraordinary ability. You may use this ability per day equal to your Pontifex Sanctus level + your Charisma Mod. When using this turning ability, you may pick whether to turn or destroy undead outright. You must declare this decision before using this ability. The usage of this ability cannot be increased or enhanced through feats such as Extra Turning. When using this ability, you can target an area up to 20ft away and create a radius of 5ft + 10ft/Pontifex Sanctus level. You do not need line of sight to use this ability. Furthermore, this ability effects any amount of undead of any level within your radius of effect. Undead creatures make no save except if the undead creature is 10 levels or higher than you, they instead must make a Will saving throw (DC:10+ Pontifex Sanctus level + Charisma Mod). On a failed saving throw they are affected by this ability. On a successful saving throw, they instead take 4d6 in Radiant damage. Once the Pontifex Sanctus reaches max level as this class, they can begin to turn even Evil-aligned creatures. Evil-aligned creatures on a successful and failed saving throw suffer they same effects. However, the Pontifex Sanctus cannot destroy them with this ability, only turned.
Vow of Equanimity (Ex): At 1st level to gain this class, one must take a vow to uphold order, peace, harmony, and composure in stressful situations. A Pontifex Sanctus cannot change alignments after taking this class, or they will break their vow. Once the vow is broken the Pontifex Sanctus is considered an Ex-Pontifex Sanctus. When taking this vow, the Pontifex Sanctus gains a +4 to one skill that uses Charisma or Wisdom as its ability modifier, as well as +4 to the Knowledge (Religion) skill. By taking this vow, whenever you interact with another creature you can spend 1 round concentrating on them to determine their alignment. The opposing target makes no save.
Communion of Mortal and Patron (Ex): At 2nd level, you have now gained the ability to contact your patron deity regularly. At will, you may use this ability. For further details and specifics see the spell SRD:Commune. Beyond this spell, you may also regularly talk and discuss with your patron deity through divine-telepathic communication. However, they cannot give you any information that would suggest helping your overall task or situation. Nevertheless, your DM ultimately decides how this second effect works. This communication can be blocked through anti-magical means.
Divine Cancellation (Sp): At 2nd level, once per short rest, you may call upon angelic intervention. You may target an area up to 20ft away from you with a 10ft radius of antimagic. While in this radius all magical, divine, psionic, and supernatural effects are temporarily negated (including your powers). While you and your allies are in this area they cannot be affected by status effects. Any magical, divine, psionic, or supernatural effect that enters the radius dissipates such as Area of Effect abilities (Ex: Fireball). However, space next to this area is still affected by AoE abilities. This area of antimagic lasts for one minute before dissipating. The area can be easily noted as the area is filled with golden light.
Sanctified Intervention (Su): Beginning at 3rd level, you can call on your deity to intervene on your behalf when your need is great. Imploring your deity's aid requires you to use your Full Round Action. Describe the assistance you seek, and roll percentile dice. If you roll a number equal to or lower than your effective character level, your deity intervenes. The DM chooses the nature of the intervention; the effect of any divine spell or domain spell would be appropriate, ultimately your DM decides the form of intervention. If your deity intervenes, you can't use this feature again for 7 days. Otherwise, you can use it again after you finish a Long Rest. At effective 20th level, your call for intervention succeeds automatically, no roll required.
Sanctus Robe (Su): At 3rd level, you have been gifted a truly unimaginable gift. This ability can only be used once. It cannot be used again until a year has passed. This ability can only be reset through divine intervention. When used this ability grants the Pontifex Sanctus a holy robe crafted by his patron deity which must be attuned. The robe is considered a Godly Artifact and is beyond quantitative worth. The robe is considered a +11 enchanted robe. However, it offers no AC bonus. A pure white glowing robe that gives off a 5-ft radius of dim-light as well as provides a +1 to all saving throws while attuned to this item, and you take half damage from any Evil-aligned creature. Also, the robe has a total of 10 charges contained within the otherworldly silk made by the Pontifex Sanctus' patron deity. The robe never dirties or stains. The robe can never lose its divine power, be affected by supernatural/spell-like abilities, or be nullified. These charges will never be lost when completely depleted. They recharge after a short rest. If a charge of 7 or higher is expended the recharge time is increased during the short rest, resulting in only half of the charges being restored. These charges may be expended to use any of the following effects:
- 1-9 Charges - Depending on the number of charges expended, you may cast this as a spell equal to comparable levels from Cure Light Wounds to the SRD:Mass Heal spell.
- 1,3,6 Charges - Depending on the number of charges expended, you may cast this spell equal to the charges required for the following spells; SRD:Lesser Restoration, Restoration, SRD:Greater Restoration
- 3 Charges - SRD:Shield Other
- 4 Charges - Scrying
- 5 Charges - SRD:Slay Living
- 6 Charges - SRD:Holy Word
- 7 Charges - SRD:Greater Dispel Magic
- 8 Charges - Resurrection
- 9 Charges - Miracle
Genesis of Faith (Sp): A Pontifex Sanctus at 4th level has learned the path of faith. Up to 1 + 1/2 your Charisma Mod per long rest, you may unleash the fury of the heavens compressed into pillars of radiant energy. To accomplish this, you must spend two Full Round Actions preparing this unrelinquishing ability, in the third round you unleash this power. Afterwards, you may target up to 15 creatures or objects you can see. All creatures must make a Reflex saving throw (DC:10 + Pontifex Sanctus level + Charisma Mod). Objects make no save and take full damage. If the creature fails this saving throw, they take 2d6 radiant as well as 2d6 force damage/Pontifex Sanctus level. To use this spell-like ability, you must have a ceiling of 40ft or higher. If used against an undead, devil, or demon, these creatures take 2x radiant damage. If you use this ability, the next time you take a long rest you must pick between using this ability or Indignation of Salvation. You cannot use both abilities, and once either ability has been picked, you cannot use the other until you have taken a long rest.
Indignation of Salvation (Sp): A Pontifex Sanctus at 4th level has learned the path to salvation. Up to 1 + 1/2 your Charisma Mod per long rest, you may unleash a devastating wave of radiant energy. To accomplish this, you must make a touch attack on the target you wish to use this ability on. Afterwards, by making a successful touch attack, the opposing target makes a Fortitude saving throw (DC:10 + Pontifex Sanctus level + Charisma Mod). If the creature fails this saving throw, they are disintegrated lighting up the sky for miles in a wave of radiant energy. If the creature succeeds this saving throw, they instead take 20 + 2d6/Pontifex Sanctus level of radiant damage. If used against an undead, devil, or demon, these creatures take 2x radiant damage. If you use this ability, the next time you take a long rest you must pick between using this ability or Genesis of Faith. You cannot use both abilities, and once either ability has been picked, you cannot use the other until you have taken a long rest.
Pontiff Maximus (Ex): At 5th level, the Pontifex Sanctus has become the global symbol of holiness. Nevertheless, from this holiness comes great responsibility. Under the testaments of your patron deity, you have been allowed a second chance to continue to walk the path you had previously chosen. You may pick two levels from the spellcasting class to which you belonged to before taking this prestige class. These levels may not be equal to or higher than your effective level. You gain any abilities from those two levels from your previous class to which you belonged. You do not, however, gain any ability score bonus increases, Base Attack Bonus, saving throw bonuses, additional spells per day, or increase in caster level. You only gain the extraordinary, supernatural, spell-like, or psionic abilities they would have granted you at those levels. A Pontifex Sanctus gains a permanent +1 to Wisdom and Charisma. You must choose at Pontifex Sanctus 5th level between this ability and Supreme Pontiff.
Supreme Pontiff (Su): At 5th level, the Pontifex Sanctus may embody the very deity they worship. The Pontifex Sanctus becomes the very vessel for the deity to use. The deity can only place their consciousness in the Pontifex Sanctus' body for minutes equal to the Pontifex Sanctus' effective character level. If the Pontifex Sanctus falls unconscious, they lose this ability. The exact details of the embodiment are left up to the DM for both enhancements, powers, as well as the persona and RP aspects. Once this ability is used or lost, it cannot be used again for a week. This ability cannot be refreshed even through divine intervention, miracle, or a wish spell. A Pontifex Sanctus gains a permanent +1 to Wisdom and Charisma. You must choose at Pontifex Sanctus 5th level between this ability and Pontiff Maximus.
If a Pontifex Sanctus becomes evil or commits an atrocity of evil, their abilities and powers granted to them by this class are nullified. They cannot use any ability obtained by this class, and lose all enhancements and levels temporarily until they correct this grave error in judgment. If the error is not corrected after days equal to half the Pontifex Sanctus' effective level they are stripped of all Pontifex Sanctus levels and labeled as an infidel and defiler of the church they worship. To compensate, the once-Pontifex Sanctus must gain levels in a class of their choosing, excluding this class, equal to the number of levels lost from this class. Alternatively, the DM may choose to give the Player Character a level adjustment equal to the levels lost as a once-Pontifex Sanctus as punishment and strip them of gaining any levels in a class.
Playing a Pontifex Sanctus
Combat: Pontifex Sanctus act as support units for their friends, allies, and the people that look to them for guidance. They tend to stay in the back to help aid troubled allies and free others from curses or ailments.
Advancement: Being a holy class such as a Cleric, Paladin, Holy Avenger or any other class that allows for the usage of divine spells is highly recommended before taking this class.
Resources: As the head of the church, the Pontifex Sanctus acts a beacon of stability and order to the world and its need for darkness and evil.
Pontifex Sanctus in the World
|“||The Order between Light and Dark must be contained through Divine Judgment.||”|
|—Saint Karna, Human, Holy Avenger, Chapter LXVI, Book Shaavasti, Subsection XVII|
Pontifex Sanctus' is often the high priests or church leaders your party members go to when they are downed in combat and die. They revive the dead and bring order to chaos. The Pontifex Sanctus main job is to maintain the balance between the light of harmony and the dark of discord as they provide assistance when needed.
NPC Reactions: Most commoners, kings, nobles, and other religious leaders are usually in awe and HIGHLY respect the opinions of the Pontifex Sanctus as he resides not only over the church but every religious sector being an embodiment and divine servant of a specific divine patron or patrons. Evil creatures and undead shy away from these powerful individuals as their divine nature makes them extremely potent in battles against these creatures due to their purity of heart. The only class that rivals the Pontifex Sanctus, if not surpassing them is the Saint (3.5e Prestige Class).
Pontifex Sanctus Lore
Characters and NPCs with ranks in the Knowledge Nobility or Knowledge Religion can research Pontifex Sanctus to learn more about them. When a character makes a skill check, read or paraphrase the following, including information from lower DCs.
|11||Holy individuals who represent all that is good in the world for there cannot be light without darkness. Nor love without hate.|
|16||Powerful individuals capable of banishing even the most dangerous undead creature.|
|21||Noticeable by their robes, they represent their peity and divine connection towards their patron deity.|
|26||Some Pontifex Sanctus are able to become the deity they serve.|
Pontifex Sanctus in the Game
Adaptation: The Pontifex Sanctus is an expert healer and support class which she is taken after a character has advanced a bit in their own character development and class.
Sample Encounter: "You and your party return to the city of Basdha where you must return to the high temple of Hujin to resurrect a fallen party member from your last encounter. You run to this temple and come face to face with a woman who is wearing pure white robes that seem to glow. She holds a long staff in her hands and wears white slippers with a gold belt. Her cascading hair flows down her face and she smiles at you all with a hand reach out towards you. She beckons you forward and explains that she can revive your fallen ally for a price that the church demands. After this has been completed she smiles at you all again and asks to join your party saying she is an expert healer and simply wishes to make the world a better place while spreading her faith around the world along with your adventures. Do you accept, or will you decline her wish?"