Base Requirements

  • Races: Any
  • Classes: Any
  • Ability Requirements: Health 15, Willpower 15
  • Alignments: Non-Chaotic
  • Starting Cash: 1d4+1 x5gp

Weapon Proficiencies

  • Weapon Slots: By class
  • Bonus Weapon Proficiencies: none
  • Required Weapon Proficiencies: Martial Arts
  • Allowed Weapons: Blowguns Group, Close-Combat Weapons Group, Darts Group, Mancatchers Group, Staff Group, and Sling Group
  • Allowed Armors: None

Non-Weapon Proficiencies:

  • Non-weapon Slots: By class
  • Available Categories: By class, plus Psionic
  • Bonus Non-weapon Proficiencies: Chanting, Fasting, Literacy, Philosophy
  • Required Proficiencies: none
  • Recommended Proficiencies: Alertness, Agriculture, Ancient History, Ancient Languages, Artistic Ability, Astrology, Athletics, Blind-Fighting, Chanting, Close-Quarters Fighting, Endurance, Explosive Energy, Fasting, Harness Subconcious, Healing, Hypnosis, Jumping, Meditative Focus, Philosophy, Prayer, Rejuvination, Religion, Running, Slow Respiration, Spellcraft, Survival, Sword Swallowing, Teaching, Tightrope Walking, Tumbling, Weapon Improvisation
  • Forbidden Proficiencies: All Craft Proficiencies, Begging, Bargain, Drinking, Eating, Gaming, Haggling

Overview: Ascetics are those striving for perfection of the inner self. Members of nearly any class and social level may become Ascetics, though few ever choose such a path. Ascetics are known to be able to contort their bodies into impossible positions, walk on hot coals, sleep on beds of nails, even transport themselves to other planes and change shape. In theory at least, the will is the only limit to power.

Ascetics abandon pursuit of all other goals save their own enlightenment. Pleasures of the flesh-treasure, sex, wine, even soaps and scents-must be eschewed. This concentration does not mean complete disavowal of society; an Ascetic can participate in associations with those of other classes and social levels and even go on adventures so long as meditation is not ignored. Ascetics even can kill if necessary, though they are not allowed to take pleasure from combat.

Thoughtful, reserved, and extremely introspective, the Ascetic is devoted to self-enlightenment and sees his adventuring profession (whether combat, spellcraft, psionics, or even the thief’s art) as the key to spiritual awareness. The Ascetic enjoys nothing more than spending long hours contemplating the mysteries of the universe and attempting to become more in touch with his inner self. The Ascetic is not necessarily a student of religion; he seeks an awareness that can only be found intuitively. While an Ascetic may take on one or two pupils, they otherwise keep their abilities and rituals in strictest secrecy.

Description: Ascetics are recognizable by their generally shaven heads, bare feet (even when crossing burning desert sands), and spartan garb. The Ascetic must be free of all possessions beyond food, simple clothes and implements, and humble shelter. He may never wear armor, never hordes wealth, and may own only a very small number of magic items (favoring those dealing with achieving greater personal understanding or physical perfection).

Role-Playing: In many societies, the Ascetic is considered to be little more than a crackpot, an eccentric with an utter lack of ambition who serves no useful purpose. In more enlightened cultures, the Ascetic is seen as a seeker of truth, a sensitive soul engaged in an inspiring spiritual journey.

In a campaign, the Ascetic is quiet and non-aggressive. His very presence is soothing to the party, and he always has a word of comfort or encouragement for his companions. His martial and mental prowess coupled with his quiet, self-reliant nature make him an unfathomable adversary.

The Ascetic usually avoids combat whenever possible, but courageously rises to the occasion when his comrades are threatened. He is most likely to join an adventuring party for the opportunity to broaden his outlook, discover new things about himself, and use his skills in new, enlightening ways.

Special Abilities:

  • The Ascetic, regardless of class, may specialize in any unarmed combat form, including multiple unarmed combat forms. They may also gain continuing specialization in unarmed combat.
  • Once per week, the Ascetic can transform his consciousness into a ghostly spirit form, leaving his physical body behind. The spirit form has the appearance of a misty cloud in the shape of the ascetic. The spirit form cannot attack, speak, or cast spells, but it can fly at a movement rate of 24 (Maneuverability Class B) and can pass through the smallest opening or tiniest crack. The Ascetic’s spirit form can travel an unlimited distance from his physical body as long as it remains in the same plane of existence. The spirit form is invulnerable to all attack forms, but dispel magic or a similar spell causes the spirit form to instantly return to its body.
    While in spirit form, the Ascetic’s physical body remains comatose. The body is subject to all regular attacks and suffers damage normally. The spirit form can remain away from the body for up to 24 hours, but once it returns to its body, the Ascetic revives and cannot use his spirit form for another week. To use his spirit form, the Ascetic must merely concentrate for 1 round; no components are necessary.
  • Ascetic wizards (including spellcasting rogues) need no spellbooks, and do not follow Paths as other casters do, instead having a unique ability called “spell mimicry.” When an Ascetic watches a caster use a wizard spell of a level he can use, he can make a Chance to Learn Spell roll. If successful, the Ascetic can memorize the spell from then on. However, if a month passes between uses of a spell, he forgets it. Once an Ascetic’s maximum spells for a level is reached, he can learn no new spells. Even if a spell is forgotten due to lack of use, it still counts towards the maximum number of spells that an Ascetic wizard can know. An Ascetic wizard begins with a number of 1st-level spells known equal to 1 plus the number of bonus paths granted by his Knowledge score.
  • An Ascetic wizard also rarely needs material components. When a component crucial to a spell is required, the Ascetic can substitute something cheap. For example, instead of the 5,000 gp in powdered diamond for a wall of force, the Ascetic uses a handful of sand. Use good judgement; a building is still needed for guards and wards.
  • The Ascetic is capable of stretching his body in amazing ways. He can fit through passages as thin as 6 inches wide, and receives double Balance bonuses on Armor Class and saving throws.
  • The Ascetic always functions as if he is under a free action spell.
  • Each time the Ascetic gains a level, he gains a point that may be put into his Balance, Health, Intuition, Willpower, or Leadership scores. The Ascetic cannot raise any ability above a maximum of 19 using this ability (though other methods of raising ability scores still apply and can stack with this).

Special Disadvantages:

  • An Ascetic must spend two consecutive hours per day meditating. These two hours must always occur at the same time of day; the player can decide which hours are devoted to meditation, but once decided, the time period can never change. If the Ascetic neglects to perform his meditation, is unable to perform it, or is interrupted more than once, the following day all of his class abilities (spellcasting, turning undead, thief skills, etc.) function as if he was one level lower than his actual level.
  • Ascetics attract no followers and cannot build strongholds.
  • Ascetics are so focused on mastering their own bodies and spirits that Ascetic spellcasters and psionicists can use their spells and powers only on themselves. Thus an Ascetic wizard could not target an enemy with a fireball, nor could an Ascetic priest heal an ally with a cure light wounds spell, and an Ascetic psionicist could not establish telepathic communication with an ally. The Ascetic is allowed to use Divination spells and Clairsentient powers to locate other creatures and read their auras.
  • Ascetics, regardless of class, never wear armor, as it goes against their code of self-reliance. Likewise, regardless of class, the Ascetic is limited to learning weapons from the groups indicated above.
  • The Ascetic must donate all excess starting money and all monies gained, beyond normal living expenses, to his order or to needy recipients. He may keep one of each type of magical item that he is able to use by his class and kit (one ring, one wand, one weapon, etc.), and must donate all others that are his share of treasure to his order or to the needy. The needy mentioned above never refers to other PCs, not even other PC members of the Ascetic’s order.

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