The Swanmay Prestige ClassbyColin Chapman
Swanmays are members of a dedicated sisterhood of human women, famed for their ability to assume the forms of large, graceful, white swans. This ability to transform stems from the divine feather token that each Swanmay carries, the form of which varies, and includes swan feather cloaks, caps with swan feather plumes, etc. These tokens are gifted to new members of the sisterhood upon their induction, and each may only be used by the Swanmay it is created for. The Swanmays are devoted to the protection of the natural world, vigorously defending the countryside and its wildlife.
Practically all Swanmays are druids or rangers, although a handful of clerics devoted to appropriate nature deities have also been welcomed into the sorority.
Swanmays dwell in communal lodges near bodies of water, deep within pristine forests, and enjoy strong relations with most woodland inhabitants. Despite this, the sisterhood is extremely secretive and close-knit, with membership being by invitation only when a human female is judged worthy. Swanmays seldom even reveal their true natures to close companions, and are notoriously tight-lipped regarding the sisterhood and its rituals.
Hit Die: d10
To qualify to become a Swanmay, the character must fulfill all the following criteria:
Race: Human (female only)
Alignment: Any good; Neutral
Base Attack Adjustment: +4
Animal Empathy: 14 ranks
Wilderness Lore: 14 ranks
Special: The character must have performed a great deed benefiting the natural world, and this deed must be recognized by the Swanmay sisterhood
|Level||Attack Bonus||Fort. Save||Ref. Save||Will Save||Special|
Spell Resistance 11
|+2||+3||+0||+0||Spell Resistance 12|
|+3||+3||+1||+1||Spell Resistance 13|
Spell Resistance 14
|+5||+4||+1||+1||Spell Resistance 15|
|+6||+5||+2||+2||Spell Resistance 16|
Spell Resistance 17
|+8||+6||+2||+2||Spell Resistance 18|
|+9||+6||+3||+3||Spell Resistance 19|
Spell Resistance 20
The Swanmay’s class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Animal Empathy (Cha), Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Disable Device (Int), Handle Animal (Cha), Heal (Wis), Hide (Dex), Intuit Direction (Wis), Knowledge (nature)(Int), Listen (Wis), Move Silently (Dex), Profession (Wis), Scry (Int), Search (Int), Spot (Wis), Swim (Str), Wilderness Lore (Wis). See Chapter 4: Skills in the Player’s Handbook for skill descriptions.
Skill Points at Each Level: 4 + Int modifier.
Class Features: All of the following are class features of the Swanmay prestige class.
- All of the following are class features of the Swanmay prestige class.
- Weapon and Armor Proficiency: A Swanmay is proficient with the longbow, longsword, shortbow, and short sword. Swanmays are proficient with Light armor, but no shields. Note that armor check penalties for armor heavier than leather apply to the skills Balance, Climb, Escape Artist, Hide, Jump, Move Silently, Pick Pocket, and Tumble. Also, Swim checks suffer a -1 penalty for every 5 pounds of armor and equipment carried.
- Feather Token: The Swanmay is given the enchanted token that grants her the ability to transform into a swan at will. Such tokens are unique to the Swanmay sisterhood, and are crafted specifically for the individual members, making them unusable by anyone else.
While wearing the token, the Swanmay may shapeshift at will into the form of a large, beautiful swan, gaining the ability to fly in the process, and an invulnerability to ordinary weapons. The transformation either way requires a single round. The Swanmay’s clothing and equipment does not transform with her, with the sole exception of the feather token (which becomes part of the swan form’s plumage). Because clothing and equipment must be discarded while transformed, Swanmays prefer to travel light, and hide their belongings well.
The token can be spotted with a Detect Magic spell, and if stolen, the Swanmay is trapped in their current form until the token is recovered. If the token is destroyed, the sorority sends the Swanmay on a special quest to earn the right for a replacement. Use the following statistics for the character’s swam form:
Hit Dice: as character
Initiative: as character (note modified Dex)
Speed: 10 ft., fly 40 ft. (average), swim 10 ft.
AC: (Base: 10, modified by character’s improved Dex)
Attacks: Bite (# attacks: as character, bonus: as character unarmed)
Face/Reach: 5 ft. by 5 ft./5 ft.
Special Attacks: None
Special Qualities: Damage Reduction 0/+1
Saves: as character
Abilities: Str character’s -2, Dex character’s +2, Con as character, Int as character, Wis as character, Cha as character
Skills: Swim +4
The Swanmay’s swan form is that of a large, elegant white swan. While in this form it is impossible for the character to cast any spells, or perform practically any task requiring manual dexterity. Although this form is extremely ineffectual in combat, it provides the Swanmay with several notable advantages, including the ability to fly, disguise her natural form, and swim, as well as near immunity to attacks by normal weapons.
- Damage Reduction: While in swan form, the Swanmay has 15/+1 damage reduction. This is a Supernatural ability. See Chapter 3: Running the Game in the Dungeon Master’s Guide for details.
- Nature’s Boon: The Swanmay may choose to gain Nature Sense (as per the Druid ability) or the Track feat.
- Serene Grace: The Swanmay gets a bonus of +1 to her Dexterity.
- Serene Wisdom: The Swanmay gets a bonus of +1 to her Wisdom.
- Spell Resistance: The secret rituals performed on the Swanmay grant her an innate Spell Resistance. This Spell Resistance increases as the Swanmay advances in levels. This is an Extraordinary ability. See Chapter 3: Running the Game in the Dungeon Master’s Guide for details.
The Swanmay Prestige Class – Creator Notes: The idea that Swanmays should be treated as a "race" of characters was always a poor one, especially given the fact that they were human female rangers and druids that joined the sorority, and were given magical tokens that enabled them to transform. This made it patently obvious that becoming a Swanmay should be a significant achievement, and that is the domain of the new Prestige Classes.
Swanmays are protectors, necessitating the good Base Attack Bonus, Hit Dice, and Fort Save. It was also obvious that the feather token should be granted at first level, marking the induction into the sorority. The increasing Spell Resistance Swanmays are noted as having in 2nd ed. was easily added, and is notably lower than that of drow and svirfneblins of similar level. 2nd ed., swanmays were also noted as possessing a +1 bonus to Dex and Wis, and Tracking and Weather Sense (Nature Sense), so these bonuses were added as unique abilities at different levels. Although the Damage Reduction of the swan form may worry some DMs, it is balanced against the relative uselessness of the swan form for anything other than flying. Additionally, although some DMs may worry about a PC gaining Spell Resistance, it is, as noted, lower than comparative drow/svirfneblins, and is balanced against the fact that this prestige class has very few "cool" special abilities, feats, etc. Given these factors, and the strict requirements for entry, it is felt that the Swanmay prestige class is well-balanced. That said, on with the show!
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