Faerûnian Prestige Class : Master Harper
By Skip Williams and Ed Greenwood
Master Harpers are elite members of the Harpers, which is a secret society that battles evil and tyranny, preserves lore, and works to balance civilization and the wild. Master Harpers study spells and develop many skills to help them in their duties of preserving lore by imparting it to others, raising morale, and aiding Harpers and others who promote similar aims.
Many master Harpers are bards, but by no means all are. Ranger, sorcerer, wizard, loremaster, and Harper scout are classes whose members often also become master Harpers. All have a love of accurate information (particularly old or secret lore) and of verifying, augmenting, and imparting it. Not all longtime Harpers are master Harpers, and rank within the Harpers doesn't depend on class or level, but many senior Harpers have at least one level in the master Harper prestige class.
To qualify to become a Master Harper, a character must fulfill all the following criteria:
- Alignment: Any nonevil
- Skills: Bluff 8 ranks, Diplomacy 8 ranks, Knowledge (local) 12 ranks, Perform 12 ranks, Sense Motive 8 ranks, Spellcraft 8 ranks
- Feats: Alertness, Iron Will,
- Spells: Able to cast 2nd-level arcane or divine spells
- Special: Approval of the High Harpers or majority vote of any dozen master Harpers.
The master Harper's class skills are Appraise, Bluff, Decipher Script, Diplomacy, Forgery, Gather Information, Hide, Knowledge (all skills taken individually), Listen, Move Silently, Perform, Profession, Search, Sense Motive, SpellCraft, and Use Magic Device.
Skill Points at Each Level: 4 + Int modifier.
All the following are class features of the master Harper prestige class.
Weapon and Armor Proficiency: A master Harper gains no proficiency with any armor or weapons.
Spells per Day: A master Harper continues training in magic as well as Harper lore. Thus, when a new master Harper level is gained, the character gains new spells per day as if she had also gained a level in a spellcasting class she belonged to before she added the prestige class. If the master Harper adds a spellcasting level to a class that keeps a personal spell list, such as bard or sorcerer, she add spells to her list as though adding a level of that class. If she adds spellcasting levels to a class that keeps spellbooks, such as wizards, she gains two new spells for her spellbooks, just as if she had gained a level in that class. She does not, however, gain any other benefit a character of that class would have gained (improved chance of controlling or rebuking undead, metamagic or item creation feats, and so on). This essentially means that she adds the level of master Harper to the level of some other spellcasting class the character has, then determines spells per day and caster level accordingly. For example, Lirela is a 9th-level bard/4th-level master Harper; she has the spells of a 13th-level bard, but uses the other master Harper aspects of level progression such as attack bonus and save bonus. If she next gains a level of bard, making her a 10th-level bard/4th-level master Harper, she gains and casts spells as if she had risen to 14th-level as a bard.
If a character had more than one spellcasting class before she became a master Harper, she must decide to which class she adds each level of master Harper for purposes of determining spells when she adds the new level.
Harper Knowledge (Ex): Like a bard, a master Harper has a knack for acquiring oddments of lore. This ability works exactly like the bardic knowledge ability of the bard class. If a master Harper has bard levels, they stack with her master Harper (and, if she possesses any, her Harper scout) levels for the purpose of using Harper knowledge.
Harper Secret (Ex): The master Harper leans secret Harper lore that improves her abilities. This secret can come in the form of a bonus feat, an extra daily use of bardic music (this secret is only available to master Harpers with bard levels), or a bonus 1st-level spell. The master Harper can choose one secret at 1st, 5th, and 10th level. She can choose the same secret more than once.
When choosing a bonus feat, the master Harper can choose any general feat; if she chooses a regional feat, she must meet the feat's regional requirement.
Craft Harper Item (Ex): The master Harper gains a limited ability to create magic items. The ability works like the Craft Wondrous Item feat, except that it allows a master Harper to create magic musical instruments, Harper pins, and certain potions (Charisma, cure light wounds, delay poison, detect thoughts, gaseous form, glibness, neutralize poison, nondetection, speak with animals, tongues, truth, vision, and water breathing). This ability replaces the need for any other item creation feat for the item, but all other normal requirements and rules apply. The master Harper's casting level for such items is her spellcaster level at the time she crafts the item.
Mielikki's Truth (Su): The master Harper can correctly identify trees, shrubs, and herbs by their leaves, and she can identify forest creatures by sight or by their spoor (tracks, and so on). If the creature, leaf, or plant is or was magically disguised, altered, summoned or created, this is revealed -- together with some impression of when and where this was done. This ability has a range of 60 feet, or the limit of the master Harper's sight (whichever is less). The master Harper must use a standard action to study her subject.
Eldath's Landtouch (Su): A master Harper can sense the direction and approximate distance of the nearest drinking water, cave connected to the surface world, or Harper refuge. She can seek each of these three things once per day. The master Harper feels if anything is amiss (the water is tainted, the cave is unsafe or occupied, and the refuge is damaged, occupied, trapped, or watched over by hostile beings).
Lycanbane (Ex): A master Harper is made immune to affliction by lycanthropy, and her blood (by ingestion) or her bite (if she draws blood) becomes a cure for others afflicted by lycanthropy (equal to belladonna and offering a second chance for those for whom belladonna hasn't worked). This ability is not granted to master Harpers who are natural lycanthropes.
Milil's Ear (Su): A master Harper can identify (with 100% accuracy and certainty) the origin of a sound she hears. For example, did a brief, cut-off scream heard from ahead come from a human throat? Male? Female? Was the screamer afraid? In pain? Faking? Was magic involved in producing the sound? Milil's blessing allows the user to know all the details. The power works three times a day. Upon hearing the sound, the master Harper must use a standard action to identify it. She must do so within 5 minutes, or her opportunity to identify the sound is lost.
Lliiras' Hand (Su): A master Harper gains a +4 holy bonus on saving throws against compulsion and fear effects, and she may extend this immunity to a single other touched being (for only as long as contact is maintained).
Deneir's Orel (Su): A master Harper can try to determine information about any glyph, heraldic device, rune, symbol, or inscription. She must view the image and concentrate for 2 unbroken minutes. If a Harper knowledge check succeeds, the Harper identifies the general purpose of the symbol (warning, way-marker, information about food, shelter, water, or magic, and so on), though the precise message remains unknown. If she spends another 2 minutes and succeeds in Harper knowledge on another check, she can determine the rune's approximate age in minutes, hours, days, months, years, or centuries as appropriate for the subject.
If a master Harper attempts to use this ability on magic runes of any sort, she becomes instantly aware of their magic power. She must succeed in two Knowledge checks before learning anything else about the runes. If either fail, the magic is triggered (if the master Harper has met the usual triggering conditions of the rune). If both succeed, the master Harper can pass by or withdraw from the rune without triggering it. Note that the orel ability applies only to magic images the master Harper is reading or looking at -- it does not function automatically if a Harper touches or passes a rune of which she is unaware.
Tymora's Smile (Su): Twice per day, a master Harper can add a +2 luck bonus on a single saving throw. This bonus can be added after the die is rolled and success or failure of the unmodified roll is determined.
Oghma's Echo (Su): Once a day, a master Harper can flawlessly memorize long and exacting inscriptions, poems, instructions, contracts, and other writings -- including magical passwords or words and phrases of activation, but not entire, functional written spells. Corrections, annotations, and (if the Harper hears a performance or spoken utterance) voice pitch and inflections are reproduced. She can remember up to 2 minutes of material per character level. This ability enables the master Harper to recall material for recitation or writing down, but other beings that use magic to contact the Harper's mind experience the original exactly as the master Harper remembers it.
The master Harper, or others who have shared her memory, may then later reproduce the original exactly as the Harper experienced it.
A character can violate the code of the Harpers or intentionally turn away from the society. Such an individual quickly gains a reputation among other Harpers and can no longer progress in the master Harper prestige class. Furthermore, the former master Harper can no longer use any of the divine blessings (supernatural abilities) of the class.
A petition to the High Harpers, a suitable quest imposed by them, and an atonement spell from a deity they choose brings a fallen master Harper back into good standing; and she can thereafter gain levels in the prestige class again.
Master Harpers who are also High Harpers aren't deemed to have strayed (and do not lose class benefits) until a majority of their fellow High Harpers meet and deem them to have done so. Master Harpers often disagree over Harper policy or must knowingly endanger other Harpers by their decisions, so the master Harper does not lose any power until a majority of High Harpers believe her actions were malicious or intended to harm the whole organization.
|Master Harper||Hit Die: d6|
|CL||BAB||Fort||Ref||Will||Special||Spells per Day|
|1st||+0||+0||+2||+2||Harper knowledge, Harper secret||+1 level of existing class|
|2nd||+1||+0||+3||+3||Craft Harper item||+1 level of existing class|
|3rd||+2||+1||+3||+3||Mielikki's truth||+1 level of existing class|
|4th||+3||+1||+4||+4||Eldath's landtouch||+1 level of existing class|
|5th||+3||+1||+4||+4||Lycanbane, Harper secret||+1 level of existing class|
|6th||+4||+2||+5||+5||Milil's ear||+1 level of existing class|
|7th||+5||+2||+5||+5||Lliiras's hand||+1 level of existing class|
|8th||+6||+2||+6||+6||Deneir's orel||+1 level of existing class|
|9th||+6||+3||+6||+6||Tymora's smile||+1 level of existing class|
|10th||+7||+3||+6||+6||Oghma's echo, Harper secret||+1 level of existing class|
About the Authors
Ed Greenwood lives in a house surrounded by woods that aren't infested with mosquitoes only when they're choked with chest-deep snow. He loves to look out windows at green growing things and the many flowers his wife Jenny coaxes into splendor -- but actually prefers flickering computer screens where he can bring new corners of the Realms to life.
Skip Williams has been active in the game industry since 1974, when he took up wargaming and roleplaying in high school. He soon got an after-school job at TSR, Inc., the original publisher of the D&D game, and the rest (as they say) is history. Skip is the co-author of the D&D 3rd Edition game and the Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting book. He is currently a freelance game designer.