Ageless creatures filled with ancient melancholy, divine guardians spend centuries in penitent prayer, thanking their gods for the bittersweet blessing of eternal life. In lost temples and forgotten holy shrines, they while away long years in contemplation, weighing all that they have gained against what they would gain by losing everything.
A divine guardian is a creature charged by a deity to guard an area it considers sacred. This guardianship might be a permanent assignment granted to a willing creature, penitence for a great sin, or a curse laid by the deity on someone who has injured its faithful.
A divine guardian does not age and need not fear hunger or disease so long as it remains in the area it has been tasked to guard. Should it ever leave, it must soon recant the dereliction of its duties, or the long years will weigh heavily upon it, and it will find its freedom in death.
“Divine guardian” is an acquired template that can be added to any creature (referred to hereafter as the base creature). Usually, the alignment of a creature that becomes a divine guardian matches that of the god that invested it with power. Sometimes, however, a god punishes a wayward worshiper or an enemy of the faith by making it a divine guardian.
A divine guardian uses all the base creature’s statistics and special abilities except as noted here.
Challenge Rating: Same as the base creature +1.
Size and Type: Size and type are unchanged, but the creature might gain one or more alignment or elemental subtypes, depending on the alignment and portfolio of the deity that granted it the template. Possible subtypes include air, chaotic, cold, earth, evil, fire, good, lawful, and water. For instance, a lawful good deity’s divine guardian would have the lawful and good subtypes, even if it were actually of some other alignment. Similarly, a neutral god of water and ice would grant its divine guardian the water and cold subtypes.
Initiative: A divine guardian gains a +4 bonus on initiative rolls.
Speed: A divine guardian is gifted with incredible speed. Each of its speeds is double the corresponding speed of the base creature. If the base creature flies, the divine guardian’s maneuverability becomes perfect if it was not already. The water subtype, if acquired, grants the creature a swim speed equal to its highest speed.
Defensive Abilities: A divine guardian gains the following defensive abilities.
- Ability Healing (Ex): A divine guardian heals 1 point of ability damage per round in each damaged ability score.
- Fast Healing (Ex): A divine guardian has fast healing 5.
- Immunity to Mind-Affecting Effects (Su): The divine guardian is immune to all mind-affecting effects.
- Immunity to Disease and Poison (Ex): Divine guardians are immune to disease and poison.
Weaknesses: A divine guardian gains the following weakness.
- Bound to the Faith (Ex): A cleric or paladin of the deity that granted the divine guardian its power can rebuke or command the divine guardian as though it had only 1/2 the total Hit Dice (character level) it actually possesses. Establishing command over the divine guardian is performed as described in the Command Undead feat, and uses one of the cleric or paladin’s daily channel energy abilities.
Special Attacks: A divine guardian retains all the base creature’s special attacks and gains those described here.
- Dimension Door (Su): At will, a divine guardian can use dimension door as the spell (caster level equals divine guardian’s Hit Dice) to reach any location within its sacred site (see Sacred Site, below).
Spell-Like Abilities: A divine guardian gains spell-like abilities according to its Hit Dice, as indicated on the following table. These abilities are cumulative. Caster level equals divine guardian’s Hit Dice. The save DCs are Charisma-based.
Special Qualities: A divine guardian retains all the base creature’s special qualities and gains those described here.
Blessed Life (Ex): A divine guardian does not age or breathe. It does not require food, drink, or sleep.
Sacred Site (Ex): Each divine guardian is assigned to guard a specific site sacred to the deity that invested it with power. This area may be a structure, series of structures, or natural site with clearly defined borders. It can be as large as a city, but in most cases it is a single temple complex or a sacred grove. Gods do not waste their powers on places that their worshipers can protect, so most divine guardians keep watch over abandoned burial grounds or lost temples. The divine guardian is charged with protecting the site from harm and preventing incursions by those not of the faith. It must keep its vigil until worshipers return or until the god deems the site no longer worthy of protection.
Should the divine guardian ever move out of the area defined as the holy site, it immediately loses the divine guardian template, and any spellcasting ability the deity might have granted based on its class levels. It cannot regain the template unless it atones for its failure (usually by completing some quest or via an atonement spell) and re-enters the site within 1 week. Otherwise, it loses the template permanently, taking 6d6 points of Constitution drain as the years of lost food, drink, and sleep return to it tenfold. A creature that lacks a Constitution score takes 2d6 points of damage per Hit Die from this process. Even if it survives, the creature can never expect to regain the template.
Abilities: Change from the base creature as follows: Wis +4, Cha +4.