Though the druidic tenets regarding the circles and cycles of life are holistic, and teach us as much about death as of life, there are those few in the druidic community who pursue a darker path in order to ensure the continuance of nature’s bounty. Salvaging the castoff dead companions of their fellows, or calling forth the remnants of sacrificial interments, ossuarites forsake the more fey-bound and life-based abilities for the study of bones and undeath. Taking the view that nature wastes nothing, and that the bones of the dead are freely available for use again, ossuarites are often shunned by many of their life-affirming peers. Wiser druids however, understand the ossuarites path and promote their agency within the circle of life and death – recognizing the ossuarites’ ultimate dedication to the proper functioning of the natural realm and order.
The following are class abilities of the ossuarite druid archetype:
The ossuarite gains the Bonecaller feat at 1st level.
This ability replaces spells lost due to diminished spellcasting.
The ossuarite gains one fewer spell of each level than normal. If this reduces the number of spells at a certain level to 0, she may cast spells of that level only if she receives bonus spells of that level from having a high ability score.
Unbound: True to the ultimate neutrality of death, an ossuarite holds no ethical or moral obligation toward maintaining a strict code with regard to spellcasting. She may cast spells of any alignment.
This replaces the druid’s Chaotic, Evil, Good and Lawful Spells restriction.
The animal companion gains the skeletal template (gaining immunity to cold; claw attacks if applicable; +2 Dexterity bonus and Improved Initiative as a bonus feat), but unlike usual skeletons, it retains the base creature’s intelligence, skills, feats and any other special abilities. It has a natural armor bonus based on its size (+0 if tiny, +1 if small, +2 if medium) but due to its weakened genesis it does not gain DR 5/bludgeoning until the ossuarite reaches 5th level. Due to its strong bond with the ossuarite, the skeletal beast gains +4 channel resistance.
This ability replaces wild empathy.
Upon reaching 3rd level, the ossuarite’s skeletal beast gains the following ability:
Necrotic Aura (Su): The skeletal beast radiates an aura of necrotic energy that causes corporeal creatures to rapidly decompose and crumble to dust. Creatures adjacent to the skeletal beast feel crawling necrotic energy radiating from it. Anyone that touches the skeletal beast or strikes it with an unarmed strike or natural weapons takes 1d4 points of damage +1 point of damage for every two levels of the ossuarite. This damage affects any creature that is living or was once alive, including undead. The ossuarite is immune to the effects of her skeletal beast’s aura. As a full round action the ossuarite can lower the necrotic aura – raising the aura again is a swift action.
This ability replaces trackless step.
This is similar to the druid’s wild shape ability, except that at 4th level the ossuarite can turn into a skeletal aspect of herself and back again once per day. She cannot change into an animal. While in this form, the ossuarite gains darkvision 60 feet, cold resistance 5 ,and a +2 bonus versus cold-based spells and effects, a +1 natural armor bonus and the Improved Initiative feat. Though not truly undead the ossuarite is subject to positive energy channeling and takes half damage from such energy. The effect lasts for one hour per ossuarite level or until she changes back. Changing form (to skeletal aspect or back) is a standard action that doesn’t provoke an attack of opportunity.
At 6th level, an ossuarite’s skeletal aspect confirms her link to undeath – she takes normal damage from positive channeling. She gains channel resistance +2 and DR 5/bludgeoning and a +1 profane bonus to saves against paralysis, poison, sleep, stun and any effects that require a Fortitude save . She can also use skeletal shape to change into a Small animal skeleton. When taking the form of an animal skeleton, an ossuarite’s skeletal shape functions as undead anatomy I, disregarding that spell’s specification for a humanoid shape. Note that this ability also countermands the usual restriction on combining templates and polymorph.
At 8th level, an ossuarite’s skeletal aspect’s natural armor bonus improves to +2, cold resistance improves to 10, and her cold-based save improves to +4. An ossuarite can also use skeletal aspect to change into a Medium animal skeleton. She cannot change into an elemental or a plant creature.
At 10th level, an ossuarite’s skeletal aspect gains claw attacks (1d6 damage), and her profane bonus to saves against paralysis, poison, sleep, stun and any effects that require a Fortitude save increases to +2. She can also use skeletal shape to change into a Large or Tiny animal skeleton. When taking the form of an animal skeleton, an ossuarite’s skeletal shape now functions as undead anatomy II.
At 12th level, an ossuarite’s skeletal aspect gains cold immunity, a +2 profane bonus to Dexterity, and her channel resistance increases to +4. She can also use skeletal shape to change into a Huge animal skeleton. When taking the form of an animal skeleton, an ossuarite’s skeletal shape now functions as undead anatomy III.
At 16th level, an ossuarite’s skeletal aspect gains a +2 profane bonus to Strength, lifesense 60 feet, and her profane bonus to saves against paralysis, poison, sleep, stun and any effects that require a Fortitude save increases to +4.
At 20th level, an ossuarite permanently changes into her skeletal aspect, becoming an animate skeleton and gaining the undead subtype. She may continue to use her skeletal shape ability to change into an animal skeleton. This ability otherwise functions as and replaces wild shape.
At 10th level the bonus on saving throws against spells and spell-like abilities of undead and to spells and effects that cause ability damage or drain increases to +4 and the ossuarite is no longer affected by a wraith’s Constitution drain.
This ability replaces resist nature’s lure and a thousand faces.
Additional Ossuarite Options
The following new options complement the ossuarite druid archetype:
New Simple Creature Template: Graveborne (CR +1)
The Ossuarite ©2014 Forest Guardian Press. Authors: Morgan Boehringer and Jim Wettstein.