Talespinners and raconteurs, savants embody the legendary tales they tell. The story of a rampaging barbarian turns a savant into the wildest of warriors, while an anecdote about a great wizard unlocks arcane secrets in the savant’s mind. His passion for knowledge and flare for the dramatic allow him to embody the powers that make legends legendary–at least temporarily.
Some believe a savant’s power comes as a gift from the gods of theater and poetry. Others suggest that they arise through esoteric insight into the nature of heroism, with heroic exemplars and personal flexibility standing in for arcane tomes. Others still believe that savants tap into the rhythms of energy that create magic, their heartbeats acting as spoken incantations, their blood flow as the subtle movements that unlock spells. As the question of the origins of a savant’s power mostly gets debated between savants, the truth may remain forever buried beneath conjecture and hyperbole. All anyone knows is that savants have a knack for adventure.
Fantasy roleplaying games have included jack-of-all-trade classes since the hobby’s inception. The bard, ranger, and the magus all fill multiple tactical roles, but attached to each is a specific theme–artisan adventurer, rugged combatant, and arcane warrior, respectively. The savant is a jack-of-all-trades mechanically and thematically. Players who enjoy building characters as much as playing them will find the savant a perfect fit. A savant adopts personas through knacks, little bits of adventurer know=how, customizing their role to fit the needs of any given situation. Eventually, a savant can summon an avatar of legend, a character of the savant’s imagination and under the savant’s control.
Role: A savant is always a parable away from whatever role the party needs filled.
Hit Die: d8
Starting Wealth: 2d6 × 10 gp (70 gp average.) In addition, each character begins play with an outfit worth 10 gp or less.
The savant’s class skills are Appraise (Int), Bluff (Cha), Craft (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Disguise (Cha), Intimidate (Cha), Knowledge (all, taken individually) (Int), Linguistics (Int), Perception (Wis), Perform (Cha), Profession (Wis), Sense Motive (Wis), Spellcraft (Int), and Use Magic Device (Cha).
Skill Ranks per Level: 4 + Int modifier
|Level||Base Attack Bonus||Fort Save||Ref Save||Will Save||Special||Knacks||Max Spell Level|
|4th||+3||+4||+1||+4||Extended persona 1/day||4||1|
|6th||+4||+5||+2||+5||Avatar of legend||4||2|
|10th||+7/+2||+7||+3||+7||Extended persona 2/day||5||3|
|16th||+12/+7/+2||+10||+5||+10||Extended persona 3/day||7||4|
Playing a Savant
The savant demands far greater levels of preparation than any other base class. The savant is a class built with certain players in mind, players who enjoy experimenting with a variety of different characters and combinations of game mechanics—the character is a shifting constellation of powers. A savant allows such players to try being a roguish cleric or a bard-like fighter without having to commit to a potentially underpowered build for the long term or disrupting an ongoing story by switching out characters. There is nothing wrong with playing a straightforward savant who relies on a small suite of personas, but to get the most out of the class, a player should keep these tips in mind.
Keep a notebook…
A savant can add a new note to his notebook each day. That quickly adds up to a lot of notes. Instead of finding space on an already busy character sheet, get a cheap notebook to write your notes in. It helps to categorize them to make embodying personas easier. Have sections dedicated to your equipment, feat, skill, race, and spell knacks. Embrace the notebook, drawing pictures of the items, if you like, or sketches of the arcane symbols used in spells.
A savant is many characters in one…
A savant player will need separate character sheets for each avatar of legend. On top of that, avatars of legend enter play gaining the benefits of knacks that may modify the avatar’s abilities. A savant player needs to know his avatars of legend as well as he knows his savant or the game risks slowing down. Fortunately summoning an avatar of legend is a full-round action, giving the player time to work out any necessary modifications. To a lesser degree, the savant plays like multiple characters in that the personas he embodies redefine how he plays. A player should note popular combinations of knacks to best serve common situations, especially those the rest of the party has trouble handling.
Yes, a savant may add notes to his notebook at regular intervals, but the notes he can take are based on abilities, equipment, skills, and spells he experiences. A player may have to choose between noting the orc double axe that he sundered or the vampiric touch spell the evil sorcerer cast. Knowing which direction the player wants to take the character makes these choices quicker.
This class is ripe with roleplaying opportunities. Showing up with a list of over-the-top names and adjectives to define your personae and avatars of legend enhances the experience of playing a savant.
A savant is proficient with all simple weapons. He is proficient with light armor but not with shields.
When a savant says “This reminds me of the time ” he is more than just spinning a yarn. Through his stories, a savant embodies the characteristics of his protagonists. These characteristics, called knacks, can be anything from spellcasting to proficiency with a weapon to a full set of armor conjured by the savant’s story. A savant can embody a persona as a full-round action that does not provoke attacks of opportunities.
At 1st level, when a savant embodies a persona, he can choose any three of the knacks below to assume as part of that persona, assuming he has the necessary notes in his notebook. He can assume an additional knack at 4th level and every four levels thereafter (five at 8th, six at 12th, seven at 16th, eight at 20th) as indicated on Table: Savant. Unless otherwise noted, a knack cannot be chosen more than once. The DC of his abilities that allow saves is equal to 10 + 1/2 the savant’s level + the savant’s Charisma modifier.
Some knacks are spell-like abilities. When a savant casts spells, he treats arcane spell notes as arcane spells and divine spell notes as divine spells, with the usual limitations, such as arcane spell failure. When a savant details a spell note, the type of spell (arcane or divine) and the spell level depends on the caster he observed casting the spell. Regardless of type, a savant uses his Charisma modifier to determine the Difficulty Class of resisting his spells. When embodying a spell-casting knack, a savant can choose any spell noted in his spellbook, up to the max spell level indicated on Table: Savant. A savant needs a Charisma score equal to 10 + the spell’s level to cast a spell. A savant’s caster level is equal to his class level.
A savant can embody a persona for a number of minutes per day equal to 3 + his Charisma modifier. At 2nd level, and every even level thereafter, he may embody a persona for an additional minute per day. These minutes need not be consecutive, but they must be spent in 1-minute intervals. Ending the embodiment of a persona is a free action that does not provoke attacks of opportunity.
A persona is simply a term for different combinations of knacks. There is no limit to the number of personae a savant knows. A savant player is encouraged to create the personae he expects his savant to embody in advance, complete with associated knacks, a name, and legends of their greatness, to speed up play.
For example, by embodying the exemplar of wisdom, orison, and pinch of magic (cure light wounds) knacks, the savant can create a holy man persona. By taking the exemplar of strength, fabled item (bastard sword), and weapon recognition knacks, he can create a warrior persona.
At 1st level, a savant knows all of the following knacks. However, the extent to which he can embody them as part of a persona varies depending on the notes in his notebook. See the notebook special ability, below.
Exemplar (Su) The savant gains a temporary +4 enhancement bonus to the ability score of his choice. This bonus improves to +6 at 10th level and +8 at 20th level. He can choose this knack multiple times when embodying a persona, choosing a different ability score each time.
Invigoration (Su) The savant gives himself a boost of confidence, fuel, and adrenaline and gains 3 temporary hit points per Hit Die. These temporary hit points last until they are lost, or until the savant utilizing this knack embodies a new knack.
Fabled Item (Su) The very item the savant describes appears within his outstretched hand. The savant gains a suit of armor, a shield, a weapon, or another item noted in his notebook. This item functions in all ways as a real version of the chosen item for as long as the savant embodies this knack, but it is obviously a temporary conjuration and cannot pass for a real weapon under any scrutiny. If he is already wearing armor when he embodies this knack, a savant uses the better AC bonus and the worse armor check penalty and arcane spell failure chance. The savant can cast arcane spells while wearing light fabled armor without incurring the normal arcane spell failure chance. Wearing fabled armor or wielding a fabled weapon does not grant the savant proficiency with the armor or weapon. He can choose this knack multiple times when embodying a persona, and he must have an appropriate number of hands free to use this knack.
First and Last Line of Defense (Su) The savant gains proficiency with all medium armor and all shields noted in his notebook.
Magic Wit (Sp) What a savant lacks in know-how and faith, he more than makes up with style. The savant gains a spell detailed in his notebook as a spell-like ability, useable once. This spell can be up to his maximum spell level (see Table: Savant). He must have a Charisma score equal to 10 + spell level to cast the spell. He can choose this knack multiple times when embodying a persona, designating different spells or the same spell multiple times.
Pinch of Magic (Sp) A little magic goes a long way. The savant can spontaneously cast any three cantrips or orisons chosen from his notebook. He casts cantrips as arcane spells and orisons as divine spells, based on the caster he was observing when he added the spell to his notebook.
Racial Emulation (Sp) The savant describes the appearance and mindset of other races with such insight, he could be mistaken for a member of another race. The savant can assume the form of any Small or Medium creature of the humanoid type detailed in his notebook. If the form assumed has any of the following abilities, he gains the listed ability: darkvision 60 feet, low-light vision, scent, and a swim speed.
Skill Familiarity (Su) The savant gains a +2 bonus to a skill he has detailed in his notebook. This bonus increases by +2 at 5th level and every 5 levels thereafter. Additionally, he is treated as being trained in the skill as though he had a rank in the skill. He can choose this knack multiple times when embodying a role, designating a different skill each time.
Warrior’s Swing (Su) The competence with which the savant handles himself in combat suddenly and obviously improves. The savant treats his base attack bonus as equal to his savant level.
Weapon Recognition (Su) Suddenly the savant looks upon the weapons around him with understanding and much greater appreciation. The savant gains proficiency with all martial and exotic weapons detailed in his notebook.
A savant carries a book of tricks, stories, and shortcuts to assist his comrades and confound his enemies. A savant always keeps this notebook, a quill, and vial of ink on his person, to detail the amazing events witnessed on his adventures. To add a note to his notebook, a savant must observe the specifics of what he wants to note. To observe, a savant must be aware of and able to see the details of that which he intends to note. Observing is a free action, but adding a note to his notebook takes 1 minute and provokes attacks of opportunity. He can only add a note about something he observed within 1 hour per class level.
Once per day, a savant can add one of the following notes to his notebook:
- Equipment: An equipment note details an item the savant observed in use. An equipment note details the exact item the savant observed. In some cases, this distinction is irrelevant (for example: detailing an equipment note about a specific longsword would still grant the savant proficiency with all longswords when embodying the weapon recognition knack). In other cases, it is entirely relevant (for example, detailing an equipment note about a specific key a savant observed will only allow him to use the key on locks that specific key could open). If the savant details an equipment note about a masterwork item, a magic item, or an item made of a special material, the equipment note does not also detail the mundane version of the item. A savant may detail natural attacks as equipment notes.
- Feat: A feat note details how a feat works. If the feat grants a bonus, the savant is considered to have observed it as long as he witnessed the creature with the feat involved in a situation where the feat came into play. For example, if a savant is aware of and able to see a creature with Improved Initiative when initiative is rolled, he is considered to have observed Improved Initiative. If he is aware of and able to see a creature with the Toughness feat take damage, he is considered to have observed Toughness. If the feat grants a special ability, the savant is only considered to have observed it as long as he witnessed the creature with the feat perform the special ability. For example, a savant is only considered to have observed Arcane Armor Training if the creature used the feat to reduce the arcane spell failure chance of its armor while the savant was aware of and able to see a creature with Arcane Strike. If a savant observes a feat with other feats as prerequisites, he must first note the prerequisites of the feat he observes. For example, if a savant observes a creature use Spring Attack, the savant can only add a note about Spring Attack, if he already has Dodge and Mobility notes.
- Race: A race note details the characteristics of a Small or Medium humanoid race. A savant must have spent a significant amount of time among or interacting with a race to add a race note to his notebook. For example, a savant could note the details of a dwarf and create a dwarf race note after drinking with a dwarf for an hour, spending the night in a dwarf-run inn, or arguing with a dwarf for a few minutes.
- Skill: A skill note details how a skill can be used. Any skill the savant observes in use can be added as a skill note, even if a skill has multiple uses and the savant only witnesses one. For example, if a savant observes a sage identify a magical beast using Knowledge (arcana), he may add a Knowledge Arcana skill note to his notebook.
- Spell: A spell note details the components necessary to cast a spell, and its spectacular effects. To add a spell note to his notebook, a savant must not only observe a spell as it is cast, but also either identify the spell as it is cast or have the spell identified for him. When a savant adds a spell note to his notebook, he indicates whether it is a divine or arcane spell, the class of the caster, and the spell level at which the spell was cast. If a savant observes a spell modified by a metamagic feat, he must choose to either add a feat note detailing the metamagic feat, or a spell note detailing an unmodified version of the spell.
A savant begins play with a notebook containing notes for all the equipment he owns, all savant class skills, any cross-class skill he has ranks in, and three 0-level spells chosen from any spell list. Because a note takes up fewer pages than the arcane iconography of true magic, and because of a savant’s liberal use of page edges for footnotes and addendums, one notebook has enough space for a savant’s entire career. A savant cannot embody personae without his notebook on hand. A savant who has lost his notebook has 1 week to buy a new one and rewrite up to half his notes, chosen by the savant, in a ritual that requires 8 hours. If more than a week passes, he loses all knacks he knew and must start collecting them again. A notebook uses the same cost and statistics as a wizard’s spellbook.
A savant sometimes becomes comfortable in a persona he embodies. At 4th level, once per day, a savant can embody a persona for 1 hour rather than its normal duration. He may use extended persona twice per day at 10th level, and three times per day at 16th level. Extended persona must be embodied for 1 hour intervals.
At 5th level, when a savant embodies a persona, he can choose any the following advanced knacks in addition to his standard knacks, assuming he has the necessary notes in his notebook.
Bestial weapon: A learned man can relate to an animal as well as a humanoid. The savant gains a natural attack noted in his notebook, dealing damage appropriate for his size. This does not include additional abilities associated with the attack. For example, if a bite knack was gained from observing a wolf, manifesting the bite attack does not include the free trip attack.
Calming Words (Su) Nothing soothes a racing pulse after a dangerous battle like a quiet story. A savant can, as a full-round action, grant all allies within 30 ft., including himself, fast healing equal to his Charisma modifier, for 3 rounds. Allies cannot engage in any activity during this time or they lose the benefits of the savant’s calming words. The savant’s persona immediately ends after using calming words. Calming words cannot be extended by the savant’s extended persona ability.
Dash of Metamagic The savant chooses one metamagic feat noted in his notebook. He can add this metamagic feat to any spell he casts, increasing its level normally. He can choose this knack multiple times when embodying a persona, choosing a different metamagic feat each time.
Enchantment A single item of armor worn by the savant or a shield or a weapon he carries (including armor, shields, and weapons created by knacks) gains a +1 enhancement bonus. This bonus increases by +1 every three levels after 5th. These bonuses stack with existing bonuses to a maximum of +5. Alternately, a savant can add armor, shield, or weapon properties detailed in his notebook. Properties added with this knack do not replace existing item properties, but duplicate abilities do not stack. If the armor, shield, or weapon is not magical, a +1 enhancement bonus must be added before any other properties can be added. A savant can choose this knack multiple times when embodying a persona, enchanting a different piece of equipment each time.
Healing Touch (Su) A savant can remove debilitating conditions from allies with a touch. A savant can, as a standard action, designate one of the following conditions each round to immediately end: blinded, deafened, diseased, frightened, nauseated, paralyzed, poisoned, or sickened. A healing touch can remove a condition caused by a curse, disease, or poison without curing the affliction.
Tactical emulation The savant gains the use of one feat noted in his notebook. He must meet the prerequisites for this feat, with one exception: if a savant has all of a feat’s prerequisite feats noted in his notebook, he may embody the feat without embodying the prerequisite feats. A savant must embody a knack that grants a spell-like ability to qualify for a feat with a spell-casting prerequisite. The knack must grant a spell of the appropriate type and level.
Experienced savants can conjure legendary allies. At 6th level, once per day, a savant can summon an avatar of legend as a full-round action. An avatar of legend appears within 100 ft. of the savant and within line of sight. An avatar of legend is a separate character, created using the cohort rules of the Leadership feat. The savant’s effective leadership score is his character level plus his Charisma modifier. The avatar of legend enters play with any knacks the savant embodied at the time and remains for as long as the savant concentrates as a standard action. The avatar vanishes immediately when the savant’s concentration ends. The savant knows a number of avatars of legend equal to his Charisma modifier. When using this ability, he can choose one of those avatars to summon. Whenever a savant gains a level, he can choose to replace one avatar of legend. Avatars of legend do not gain experience on their own; instead, their level is always equal to the highest-level cohort the savant’s Leadership score grants, up to his level -2. An avatar of legend is summoned with non-magical equipment designated by the savant based on notes in his notebook. If the avatar of legend can cast spells, it knows the minimum number of spells its class allows and appears with its full suite of spells and abilities.
If exaggeration is an art, a savant is a virtuoso. At 7th level, a savant creates a new knack, called a hyperbole, by combining the effects of two existing knacks. For example, he could create a hyperbole called Weapon Master out of the fabled item and weapon recognition knacks. When embodying a role, a hyperbole counts as a single knack. A hyperbole cannot be embodied along with its component knacks unless its component knacks can be embodied multiple times. A hyperbole can be shared like any other knack. A savant can create a second hyperbole at 13th level and a third at 19th level. A hyperbole cannot be a component knack of another hyperbole.
Unpredictability is rare by definition. Once per day at 11th level, a savant can substitute one knack he has embodied with another as an immediate action.
A savant is not the only one who benefits from his knowledge and heroic power. At 15th level, when the savant embodies a persona, he can share knacks with a number of allies. The savant can share multiple knacks with a single ally, share knacks with multiple allies, or any combination. Sharing knacks counts against the total number of knacks the savant can embody at a time and is subject to the normal limitations for the knacks. The savant needs to manifest at least one knack when embodying a persona. For example, after a 15th level savant shares a knack with each of his four allies, he can designate two knacks for himself, or only designate one knack for himself and share a second knack with an ally.
Like a noble sidekick, the savant learns to fight alongside legendary heroes. At 20th level, a savant can create and concentrate on an avatar of legend as a move action.
New Paths Compendium. © 2013 Open Design LLC; Authors: Marc Radle, Crystal Frasier, John Ling, Jr., and Jerall Toi.