Other Exclusive Prestige Class : Empowered
by Clifford Horowitz, Dragon #308
The empowered believe just as fervently as their ordinator counterparts. But where ordinators worship the divine and rely on it to carry them above the mortal realm, the empowered place their faith in the raw abilities of the common person. They live by the belief that only will separates mortal from god. The realm of the divine is accessible to anyone if he but perseveres on the trail to attain it. Ordinators passionately serve their god to gain a taste of that power. The empowered don't wait for a gift - they hunt power down and take it for themselves.
The empowered look about their world and see creatures from other planes of existence that sometimes slay natives by the thousands, other times threaten whole communities, and yet other times ask for or demand worship. But few of these powerful beings actually make their home in this world. They toy with the lives of all who live on the Material Plane, but none are so connected to it as the mortals who dance at their whim. To the empowered, this is unacceptable. Rather than bend a knee and beg for orders from one of these removed masters, such men and women rise to the defense of their fellow mortals, sending a clear and violent message to the alien creatures that play god with their world: Go home.
This staunch rejection of deities might make the empowered sound atheistic, but many are in fact quite spiritual. Instead of investing their spiritual passion in mighty beings from elsewhere, they place their faith in the ability of mortal beings to become everything the gods are and more. More than a few engage in ancestor worship, and all revel in stories of great heroes. In many ways, the empowered are human (or humanoid) supremacists. After all, who better to rule over the world than those who dwell in it?
To qualify to become an Empowered, a character must fulfill all the following criteria:
- Skills: Concentration 10 ranks, Knowledge (religion) 15 ranks
- Feats: Iron Will; Epic Feats: Epic Will.
- Base Will Save: +10.
- Special: The candidate may not worship outsiders of any kind; if they were clerics or worshipers of a specific god, they must renounce the god and instead become worshipers of a philosophy of idea such good, evil, chaos, humanity, and so on.
Skill Points at Each Level: 4 + Int modifier.
All the following are class features of the empowered prestige class.
Great Wisdom: Central to the doctrine of the empowered is the belief that the mortal will can bend the world as surely as divine, if only it grows strong enough. The empowered begins to manifest this ability at 1st level by gaining a +1 bonus to Will saves. This bonus increases by an additional +1 every three levels thereafter.
Will to Power (Ex): Already able to mold his own mind with sheer belief, the empowered now turns her attention to her body, fortifying it with willpower and the drive to transcend mortal limitations. She forces it to adapt and become more than human. At 3rd level, the empowered gains additional hit points equal to her Wisdom bonus, and again every three levels thereafter (calculated the same way).
Power of Ascendancy (Su): By 4th level, the empowered gains the ability to send a telling message to all outsiders who invade his plane, with a powerful blow that hurts them like no other. When attacking an outsider of any kind, the empowered deals an additional +1d6 damage with every successful strike, regardless of the weapon. This bonus damage increases by +1d6 every four levels.
Godless Ground (Su): At 5th level, the empowered's desire for a world free of outsider meddling manifests itself as more than drive. Once per day, he may sacrifice bonus damage from the power of ascendancy ability (see above) to strike a melee blow that banishes an outsider back to its home plane. The empowered must declare this strike before rolling the attack, and if the attack misses, the ability is wasted. If the attack succeeds, the outsider must make a Will save with a DC of 20 + empowered class level + 2 per damage die sacrificed. If the outsider succeeds, it ignores the banishment and is immune to further banishment attempts from the empowered for month. Failure immediately sends it back to its home plane, where it is trapped for month.
The empowered gains an additional use of this power per day every ten levels.
To Stand Alone (Su): The force of the empowered's beliefs becomes so strong that she gains the ability to force it on others. At 6th level, the empowered may make a melee attack against any creature or character that derives its power from an extraplanar source. This includes outsiders with innate abilities (their foreign physiologies qualify as an extraplanar source), as well as spellcasters who derive their powers from outsiders (such as many arcane prestige classes and most clerical classes). If the blow connects, the empowered and the target make opposed Will saves; should the empowered win, the target is cut off from its power for day. During that time, that being must make do with its mundane abilities. The empowered may use this ability once per day and gains an additional daily use every ten levels.
|Empowered||Hit Dice: d8|
|3rd||Will to power|
|4th||Great Wisdom, power of ascendancy +1d6|
|5th||godless ground 1/day|
|6th||Will to power, to stand alone|
|8th||power of ascendancy +2d6|
|9th||Will to power|
For Your Character
Ordinators have several class abilities associated with smiting. While this ability is most often associated with paladins and blackguards, others gain it as well - and they do not always fall along alignment lines. Your ordinator might not be a champion of a particular moral cause, but rather the scourge of a chosen foe. Your DM might even relax the smiting entry requirement and allow an ardent ranger to take this class, then develop the smite ability against one or more favored enemies.
Although ordinators and the empowered are presented as enemies, this is not essential to their makeup. What defines these classes is devotion to their beliefs, and it's perfectly possible for your character to hold both views. Characters serving a deity that makes its home on the Material Plane could easily fill the role of both holy servant of the god and the outsider-banishing empowered. Perhaps the deity is the source of strength for the empowered as well, wishing to rid its home of all extraplanar interference. Followers of this god might even be required to take both classes, alternating as they attain levels.
For Your Campaign
Ordinators and the empowered might share common roots. For example, they might be two factions of a common order in the midst of a horrible schism, with both sides adopting extreme and opposite views. Loyalists become fanatical followers of the church, while dissenters go from objection to complete rejection of theocratic doctrine. In fact, these groups might not exist at all in your campaign to begin with but develop as the stability of an important church deteriorates. This polarization of mortal followers is a good indication that the heavens are in flux as well.
By placing a racial requirement on the empowered. you can imbue the chosen race with an inherent mysticism all its own. These people might not worship gods, but they obviously have a strong tie to some power source that runs in their blood. Attaching this to a traditionally evil race would turn them into dangerous and exciting villains, able to strike down agents of the heavens with frightening ease and to separate the devout from their gods. Of course, such scourges need special champions to deal with them. Are the ordinators specially created as the divine response to these evil beings? One of the quests for young ordinators could be discovering what grants the empowered their abilities.
In a world where the gods of evil hold sway, most ordinators would rise from the legions of blackguards, specially favored to strike down any last vestiges of purity as they lead ravening hordes over the land. The gods of good have fallen; angels and devas fear to leave their realms; Heaven will offer no aid. But something stirs within the souls of the righteous, their own innate goodness rising to meet the challenge when divine agents will not. To counter the ordinator onslaught, mortals begin ascending to the empowered, crushing demonic hosts and forcing unholy warriors to face retaliatory strikes unaided by their dark gods.
Source: Dragon #308