General Prestige Class : Pact-bound Adept
"Let go of your rules, your rituals, and your formulas, and let the magic flow as the dragons do." - Rothan, pact-bound adept
Pact-bound adepts are sorcerers who have learned to transcend their beliefs about spells and magic and embrace arcane power as dragons do. They focus their innate connection to magic, becoming more like dragons in the way they cast spells. A pact-bound adept opens herself to the raw magical energy that flows just our of reach of other humanoid casters and becomes a conduit for that power. Most pact-bound adepts can perform incredible feats of magical prowess, growing beyond the bounds of what some spellcasters consider possible and moving into the realm of dragon sorcery.
Pact-bound adepts are typically sorcerers who have embraced their draconic ancestry and want to learn more about how dragons cast spells. Knowing that their own spellcasting ability comes from the draconic blood in their veins, these sorcerers want to unlock within themselves the same connection to magic that all dragons possess. Pact-bound adepts seek out powerful dragons and bond with them, learning under their tutelage the path to greater skill in the arcane arts. Each adept is closely allied with at least one dragon and uses the gifts bestowed by her draconic instructors to open herself more fully to magic.
To qualify to become a Pact-bound Adept, a character must fulfill all the following criteria:
- Feats: Draconic Heritage.
- Knowledge (arcana) 9 ranks, Spellcraft 9 ranks.
- Spells: Ability to cast 3rd-level arcane spells
- Special: Must have an active dragonpact with a dragon.
Skill Points at Each Level: 2 + Int modifier.
Pact-bound adepts shift their spellcasting style to match that of dragons, allowing them to cast spells by instinct rather than with hand gestures and vocal sounds. Additionally, they learn to temper their own magical ability, making them more powerful spellcasters and letting them accept magical boons from dragons more easily.
Spellcasting: At each level other than 1st and 4th, you gain new spells per day and an increase in caster level (and spells known, if applicable) as if you had also attained a level in an arcane 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 arcane spellcasting class before becoming a pact-bound adept, you must decide to which class to add each level for the purpose of determining spells per day, caster level, and spells known.
Improved Pact (Su): You learn to alter the magic that flows through you so that you can gain greater benefits by way of your dragonpact. At 1st level, your caster level with spell-like abilities from your dragonpact improves by one. In addition, at 1st level choose a single dragonpact that you currently have; you gain spell-like abilities as if you had sacrificed a spell one level higher than the actual spell sacrificed. For example, a pact-bound adept who has sacrificed a 3rd-level spell as part of the flames of crimson wrath dragonpact would gain three daily uses of burning hands and two daily uses of protection from energy (fire), as if she had sacrificed a 4th-level spell. At 4th level, your caster level with dragonpact spell-like abilities improves by another one, and the spell-like abilities from your chosen dragonpact improve as if you had sacrificed a spell two levels higher than the actual spell sacrificed.
Each time you enter into a new dragonpact, you can choose to apply this benefit to the new dragonpact in place of the previous dragonpact.
Dragoncast (Su): Starting at 2nd level, you become able to channel magical energy in much the same way that dragons do. Three times per day, you can cast any arcane spell (of a level equal to or less than your class level) as though it were affected by both the Silent Spell and Still Spell metamagic feats, removing the need for any verbal and somatic components. Neither the casting time of the spell nor the spell's level changes for this casting.
Eschew Materials: At 3rd level, you gain Eschew Materials as a bonus feat. If you already have this feat, you can choose any other feat for which you meet the prerequisite.
Bonus Dragonpact: At 5th level, you gain the ability to enter into a second dragonpact. The second dragonpact can be with the same dragon or another dragon, even of another kind. You can't enter into the same dragonpact twice.
|Pact-bound Adept||Hit Die: d4|
|1st||+0||+0||+2||+2||Improved pact +1||-|
|2nd||+1||+0||+3||+3||Dragoncast||+1 level of existing arcane spellcasting class|
|3rd||+1||+1||+3||+3||Eschew Materials||+1 level of existing arcane spellcasting class|
|4th||+2||+1||+4||+4||Improved pact +2||-|
|5th||+2||+1||+4||+4||Bonus dragonpact||+1 level of existing arcane spellcasting class|
Playing A Pact-bound Adept
Though other spellcasters rely on hand gestures, powerful words, and complex formulas derived from years of research, you know that the purest and most powerful form of spellcasting is that used by true dragons. Tower-bound wizards might spend years researching a single spell, while you could spend mere days in the presence of a dragon and achieve the same result. You can conjure up spells of incredible power before anyone else knows you have even started. Other casters, both divine and arcane, seem clumsy and slow to you, because they have handicapped themselves with humanoid concepts, rules, and sciences. You cultivate instinct and intuition, learning to listen to your inner connection to magic. You have felt the purity of draconic spellcasting and hope that, some day, everyone can share in this knowledge. If other spellcasters would just stop long enough to heed the wisdom of dragons, they too would see an easier way, one unencumbered by physical form. You know that you are truly in the minority-most spellcasters are too frightened or stubborn to change. In a way, you feel pity for them, while at the same time hoping they will learn to reach within themselves for answers.
Not everyone thinks that dragons are as benevolent as you believe them to be. Certainly, evil dragons exist, as do evil humans, evil elves, evil dwarves, and evil members of any other race. Unfortunately, in your viewpoint, many people see all dragons as a threat, which keeps them from opening their eyes enough to learn from the great creatures. Despite any display of power you manifest, some will always choose to remain blind. For now, you seek to prove that your way - the way of the dragons - is better by going out into the world and doing things that no other spellcaster can. If others will not hear the truth, you must let them see it with their own eyes, all the while gaining knowledge for yourself. With each passing day, your power grows because you are willing to embrace your draconic heritage. You spend hours deep in meditation, looking inward to find a stronger connection to the arcane and to better understand how dragons instinctively tap into this source.
Unafraid to wade into battle, you rely on your natural abilities for defense. Since you can cast some spells without having to speak or move, you have little fear of being grappled, especially when a well-placed spell can free you from entrapment. Unlike your more timid fellow spellcasters, you enter combat boldly, knowing that the blessings of dragonkind give you an advantage over those who rely on traditional spellcasting.
Offensive spells, your greatest strength, come to you as naturally as breathing. Since you can use your abilities to penetrate the staunchest magical defenses, allies look to you for help. When spells cast by others might be rebuffed, your spells can punch through, putting the responsibility on you to bring down a dangerous foe.
Your first steps toward becoming a pact-bound adept were those you took into a dragon's lair. After learning that the legendary beasts could grant great power, you dedicated yourself to a path that allows you to study under the wisest dragon sorcerers. Your entry into a dragonpact marked the beginning of your journey and unlocked the first of many new abilities that other casters can only dream about.
As a pact-bound adept, you constantly seek new ways to tap into the source of magic. Since you have accepted your draconic heritage, you spend your days attempting to strengthen that connection and learning to cast spells instinctively. As your knowledge grows, you can cast spells without worrying about simplistic humanoid spellcasting concepts.
Now that you have increased your natural aptitude for spellcasting, you can focus on expanding your raw magical knowledge. Metamagic feats should make up a large portion of your feat choices, giving you new options when casting spells and compensating for a slightly reduced overall spellcasting power level. Additionally, draconic feats provide extra abilities when casting spells; those that provide extra benefits each time a spell is cast allow you to gain the maximum effect from every spell.
Very few other individuals see the world as you do. Fellow pact-bound adepts are few and far between, and most other sorcerers and wizards think that dealing with dragons is asking for trouble. Most divine spellcasters consider you to be a heretic, leaving you very few places to turn. No official organization exists to provide you with aid or resources, but most pact-bound adepts have crossed paths with at least one or two others like themselves.
Despite these difficulties, you do have one group on your side: friendly true dragons. They rarely act directly on your behalf, but most view you as a student seeking enlightenment, and they eagerly provide you with knowledge. Given their long lives and knowledge of the past, friendly dragons are especially helpful when you need information of almost any kind. Additionally, friendly dragons are much more likely to enter into dragonpacts with you due to an increased level of trust. On rare occasions, these dragons will provide monetary assistance.
Pact-bound Adepts in the World
"These heretics preach the blasphemy that dragons are the way to true enlightenment, but do not be fooled. Only the deities grant miracles, no matter what these so-called adepts claim. They have bartered their very souls away for a taste of power, but in the end they have damned themselves by turning away from the gods and prostrating themselves before these covetous beasts." - Pharsis the Pious, Inquisitor
Pact-bound adepts are easily integrated into any setting where sorcerers can be found. In essence, a pact-bound adept is a sorcerer who has followed a slightly different path. Rather than focusing on learning many new spells of higher levels, a pact-bound adept seeks to make the most of the spellcasting ability she already possesses. However, the local public attitude toward dragons quickly comes robe associated with the character as well. If a community receives aid from a benevolent silver dragon, a pact-bound adept might be considered an ambassador between the people and dragonkind. If, on the other hand, a city is constantly terrorized by a violent red dragon, a pact-bound adept might be seen as one who consorts with the enemy and could face prejudice or violence. In many ways, pact-bound adepts fit into the world in much the same way as dragons do.
A pact-bound adept usually finds a role in an adventuring party or other organization that allows her time to explore her spellcasting ability freely. Since no organization specifically caters to pact-bound adepts, many find themselves in drastically different circumstances from those of their comrades. Some join organizations that work with or for dragons, using this association to bring themselves closer to the creatures. For example, a pact-bound adept might join a church that reveres the dragon deities, working as an acolyte to make contact with dragon worshipers of those gods. Alternatively, a pact-bound adept might seek our a college of wizardry that has a standing agreement with a dragon to share knowledge, working as a researcher or aide while spending time getting acquainted with the drake.
Within the ranks of pact-bound adepts, prestige and influence is measured by the depth of their devotion to draconic magic. The most highly revered are those who have forged dragonpacts with a number of dragons, especially if the dragons are of different varieties. A widely traveled pact-bound adept with numerous dragonpacts and abilities is thought to be living her best possible life. When two or more pact-bound adepts come into conflict, they usually defer to the one with a greater knowledge of draconic spellcasting, relying on her wisdom and experiences to provide a reasonable solution.
Clerics, paladins, and other spellcasters who specialize in divine magic often view pact-bound adepts as heretics and blasphemers who have put their faith in false deities (dragons) and forsaken the righteous path in favor of idolatry. This viewpoint tends to make religious characters unfriendly or hostile toward pact-bound adepts, though the more tolerant religions are usually indifferent. Similarly, characters who live in communities terrorized by evil dragons are likely unfriendly toward pact-bound adepts, fearing them to be collaborators out to sabotage local defenses against the monsters. Whether or not this is true is immaterial to these people - they simply view any who associate with dragons as potential enemies.
On the other hand, communities that benefit from the presence of a good-aligned dragon are usually friendly or helpful to a pact-bound adept. Additionally, most good dragons (and some neutral and evil dragons) are at least indifferent toward a pact-bound adept. Unless the character directly interferes with the dragon's plans, a dragon usually treats her as a neutral third party, neither friend nor foe, sparing her from its wrath when others would certainly be slain.
Pact-bound Adept Lore
Characters with ranks in Knowledge (local) can research pact-bound adepts to learn more about them. When a character makes a skill check, read or paraphrase the following, including the information from lower DCs.
- DC 10: Pact-bound adepts are sorcerers who make treaties with dragons to gain advanced powers.
- DC 15: Pact-bound adepts claim that dragons can teach methods of spellcasting that require less effort and yield greater results.
- DC 20: Pact-bound adepts use a combination of arcane spells and spell-like abilities, some of which aren't normally available to sorcerers.
- DC 30: Characters who achieve this level of success can learn important details about a specific notable pact-bound adept, the areas where she operates, and the kinds of activities she undertakes.
Locating a pact-bound adept is a matter of learning where dragons reside in the vicinity. Usually, pact-bound adepts make their homes close to dragon lairs or in areas where dragon sightings are common. In some cases, they can be found by asking local sorcerers and wizards about those who fraternize with dragons.
Pact-bound Adepts in the Game
The pact-bound adept is a great alternative for spellcasters who wish to explore the dragonpact magic system. Any campaign that makes use of the dragonpact rules would be a perfect fir for this class. Though a pact-bound adept falls behind a standard sorcerer in spellcasting, this loss is offset by the more potent benefits gained from the adept's dragonpact.
Players looking for a new take on sorcerer spellcasting should consider playing a pact-bound adept. Since the class features cater to the dragonpact magic system, any player who wishes to have her character enter into a magical agreement should consider the pact-bound adept as a means of gaining additional benefits over sorcerers who enter into dragonpacts more casually.
You could adapt this class to allow characters other than sorcerers to dabble with the dragonpact magic system. For example, a favored soul or warmage might use this class to qualify for dragonpacts as if he were a sorcerer; in place of the dragonpact requirement for entry, you might require the Dragontouched feat.
Source: Dragon Magic