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Old Screeds


The Pugilist Priest [24 April 2022] A Pathfinder 1.0 prestige class for a monk/cleric.

The Pugilist Priest

Fearsome martial artists and divine casters, pugilist priests are rare practitioners of unarmed combat supplemented by a cleric's support prowess. Those who must face pugilist priests in combat fear them greatly, both for their versatility on the battlefield and their ability to stand steadfast against those who oppose their sacred lawful works.

Because the road to becoming a pugilist priest requires both martial prowess and divine power, pugilist priests almost always begin their paths as multiclassed characters, such as monk/clerics or ninja/paladins. They are monastics who cultivate the disciplined power of the mind and soul over the physical realm.

Role: Pugilist priests blend the abilities of fighting classes and spellcasters, striking down foes one moment and curing wounds the next. They are just as comfortable fighting toe-to-toe as they are casting spells at foes while dancing in and out of combat. Their versatility makes them valuable allies when the nature of an upcoming battle is unclear.

Alignment: The road to becoming a pugilist priest requires both discipline and devotion, so that they are always lawful. They may be good, neutral, or evil, with an alignment that is within one step of their god's.

Hit Die: d10.

Requirements. To qualify to become a pugilist priest, a character must fulfill all the following criteria.

  • AC Bonus: Must receive a bonus to touch AC, such as a dodge bonus or a class bonus based on Wisdom or Intelligence.
  • Class Abilities: Evasion, clerical domain, channel energy
  • Spells: Able to cast second-level divine spells.

Class Skills The eldritch knight's class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Acrobatics (Dex), Bluff (Cha), Climb (Str), Escape Artist (Dex), Knowledge (history) (Int), Knowledge (religion) (Int), Linguistics (Int), Perception (Wis), Perform (Cha), Sense Motive (Wis), Spellcraft (Int), and Swim (Str).

Skill Ranks at Each Level: 4 + Int modifier.

Table: The Pugilist Priest

lvl

bab

fort

rflx

will

cast

special

1

+0

+1

+0

+0

--

Imbue fist, domain stacking

2

+1

+1

+1

+1

+1

+10 movement, still mind

3

+2

+2

+1

+1

+1

+1 AC, damage boost

4

+3

+2

+1

+1

+1

Channel +1d6, purity of body

5

+3

+3

+2

+2

--

+10 movement, improved evasion

6

+4

+3

+2

+2

+1

+1 AC, damage boost

7

+5

+4

+2

+2

+1

Channel +1d6, bonus feat

8

+6

+4

+3

+3

+1

+10 movement, flurry of blows (extra attack)

9

+6

+5

+3

+3

--

+1 AC, damage boost

10

+7

+5

+3

+3

+1

Channel +1d6, perfect concentration

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: A pugilist priest gains no proficiency with any weapon or armor, and indeed loses all class abilities if armor (or shield) is used.

Spells per Day: At certain levels, a pugilist priest gains new spells per day as if he had also gained a level in a divine spellcasting class he belonged to before adding the prestige class. He does not, however, gain any other benefit a character of that class would have gained, except for additional spells per day, domain spells, spells known (if he is a spontaneous spellcaster), and an increased effective level of spellcasting. If a character had more than one divine spellcasting class before becoming a pugilist priest, he must decide to which class he adds the new level for purposes of determining spells per day.

Imbue Fist (Sp): A pugilist priest gains the ability to deliver a touch spell with an unarmed attack. When the target is hit, the spell affects the target in addition to the usual effect of the unarmed attack. A spell cast in this way uses its standard casting time and the pugilist priest makes the attack as part of the casting. Casting a touch-based spell in this way does not provoke an attack of opportunity. The unrmed attack must successfully land during the round that the casting is completed or the spell is wasted. If the attack misses, the spell is wasted.

Domain Stacking: Starting at level 1, pugilist priest levels stack with class levels that grant domains to determine domain powers (not domain spells).

Channel Progression: At levels 4, 7, and 10, a pugilist priest advances channelling energy by an additional 1d6. Prestige class levels stack with other classes that grant channelling as needed, for example, to determine saving throws against channelling. Pugilist priests can use wisdom or charisma when channelling, whichever is more advantageous.

Monkish Powers: A pugilist priest gains a number of monk class abilities, stacking with existing similar abilities from other classes.
At level 1, add wisdom bonuses to AC, as a monk. At levels 3, 6, and 9, add +1 to the bonus.
At level 2, gain the monk's still mind ability.
At levels 2, 5, and 8, increase base speed by +10.
At levels 3, 6, and 9, increase unarmed strike damage as a monk.
At level 5, gain improved evasion.
At level 8, gain an extra flurry of blows attack.

Perfect Concentration: At level 10, pugilist priests do not provoke AoOs when casting spells. (If they have the combat casting feat, they may replace it with another feat.) They add +4 to all concentration checks. They may maintain a spell that has a duration of "concentration" as a move action rather than a standard action.


Note: Here are a few optional rules, a feat and an archetype, published by Paizo in splat books that complement this option very well.

Domain Strike (Combat Feat)

You unleash a domain power upon your enemy as part of your unarmed strike.
Prerequisites: Domain class feature, Improved Unarmed Strike.
Benefit: When you gain this feat, choose one domain-granted power that you can use to affect no more than one opponent. If you make a successful unarmed strike against an opponent, in addition to dealing your unarmed strike damage, you can use a swift action to deliver the effects of the chosen granted power to that opponent. Doing so provokes no attacks of opportunity.
Special: You can take this feat multiple times. Each time you take it, you apply it to a different qualifying domain power.

Ecclesitheurge (Cleric Archetype)

Eschewing physical armor for the protection of his faith, an ecclesitheurge focuses on the miracles his deity bestows and the breadth of that deity's dominion.
Weapon and Armor Proficiency: An ecclesitheurge is proficient with the club, dagger, heavy crossbow, light crossbow, and quarterstaff, but he's not proficient with any type of armor or shield. This ability replaces the cleric's weapon and armor proficiency.
Ecclesitheurge's Vow: At 1st level, an ecclesitheurge makes a vow to his deity to protect himself solely with his faith, not with armor or shields. An ecclesitheurge who wears armor or uses a shield is unable to use his blessing of the faithful ability, to use cleric domain powers, or to cast cleric spells.
Blessing of the Faithful (Su): As a standard action, the ecclesitheurge can bless one ally within close range (25 ft. + 5 ft./2 levels). A blessed ally gains a +2 sacred or profane bonus (depending on whether the ecclesitheurge channels positive or negative energy) on attack rolls, skill checks, ability checks, or saving throws or to AC until the ecclesitheurge's next turn. The ecclesitheurge can expend 1 use of channel energy when activating this ability to increase the duration to a number of rounds equal to the number of dice of his channel energy.
Domain Mastery: At 1st level, when an ecclesitheurge chooses his cleric domains, he designates one as his primary domain and the other as his secondary domain. An ecclesitheurge can use his non-domain spell slots to prepare spells from his primary domain's spell list.
Each day when he prepares spells, an ecclesitheurge can select a different domain granted by his deity and gain access to that domain's spell list instead of his secondary domain's spell list. He does not lose access to his secondary domain's granted powers or gain access to the other domain's granted powers.
This ability alters the domains ability.
Bonded Holy Symbol (Su): At 3rd level, an ecclesitheurge forms a powerful bond with a holy symbol of his deity, which functions identically to a wizard's bonded object except it can be used to cast cleric and domain spells (instead of wizard spells) and the ecclesitheurge can grant his bonded holy symbol only magic abilities appropriate for a holy symbol or a neck slot item.
As with a wizard's bonded item, an ecclesitheurge can add additional magic abilities to his bonded holy symbol as if he had the required item creation feat (typically Craft Wondrous Item), provided he meets the feat's level prerequisite. For example, an ecclesitheurge with a bonded holy symbol who wants to add a wondrous amulet ability, like amulet of natural armor, to his bonded holy symbol must be at least 3rd level to do so. The magic properties of a bonded holy symbol, including any magic abilities the ecclesitheurge added to the object, function only for the ecclesitheurge. If a bonded holy symbol's owner dies or the item is replaced, the object loses all enhancements the ecclesitheurge added using this ability.
This ability replaces the increase to channel energy gained at 3rd level.

Image credit, with thanks: Wizards of the Coast D&D public images.


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