Time Warden

Time is something we all understand on an instinctive level, at least to a degree, but few of us have ever tried to define. Time has been called the 4th dimension, nature’s way of making sure everything doesn’t happen all at once, and a philosophical construct to allow for the comparison of durations. Philosophers grant time the power to heal all wounds, but also warn it is the death of all things from mountains, to kings, to peasants. We do not need to understand time to make use of it, but no matter how much we deny its power, we remain beholden to it.

Time is one of the great forces of the universe.

But what if time doesn’t just happen? What if time is fragile, or at least mutable, and must be guarded?

The time warden is a master of chronothurgy, the magic of manipulating time, and a self-appointed guardian of the timeline—the sequence of events from the beginning up to the present, and stretching out to the end. With the ability to manipulate time comes the ability to abuse it, and, if damaged, time can become dangerous. Time wardens are aware that if time is stretched too far, ignored too much, or called upon too recklessly, the result can be an injury to time. The measure of how likely a given use of time is to cause damage is known as chronal dissonance, and time wardens seek such dissonance and do their best to reduce it.

Of course, time wardens do far more than place a stitch in time. They are spellcasters, calling on temporal spells as sorcerers call on the arcane and clerics on the divine. Through manipulation of chronothurgy, a time warden can divine the future, heal his allies, undo many harmful effects, and eventually carry friends through time. Much like the bard or monk, the role of the time warden is less well defined than classes that stick closer to the cleric/fighter/rogue/wizard mold, but by the same token is less likely to overlap with existing characters filling those traditional roles. Certainly a time warden can be of great benefit to a band of adventurers, granting time-based benefits and hampering foes, if not through direct damage.

Time wardens can be of any alignment but because of their instinctive desire to protect and maintain their own timeline, most time wardens are lawful.

Hit Die: d8.

Class Skills

The time warden’s class skills are Appraise (Int), Climb (Str), Craft (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Intimidate (Cha), Knowledge (all categories, each taken separately), Linguistics (Int), Perception (Wis), Profession (Wis), Ride (Dex), Sense Motive (Wis), Spellcraft (Int), Survival (Wis), Swim (Str), and Use Magic Device (Cha).

Skill Ranks per Level: 4 + Int modifier.

Table: Time Warden
Level Base Attack Bonus Fort Save Ref Save Will Save Special Spells per Day
1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th
1st +0 +0 +2 +2 Mote of time 1
2nd +1 +0 +3 +3 Mote of time (AC, proficiencies) 2
3rd +2 +1 +3 +3 3
4th +3 +1 +4 +4 Aevum 3 1
5th +3 +1 +4 +4 Mote of time (duration) 4 2
6th +4 +2 +5 +5 4 3
7th +5 +2 +5 +5 Aevum 4 3 1
8th +6/+1 +2 +6 +6 Mote of time (personal timeline) 4 4 2
9th +6/+1 +3 +6 +6 5 4 3
10th +7/+2 +3 +7 +7 Aevum 5 4 3 1
11th +8/+3 +3 +7 +7 Mote of time (swift spell) 5 4 4 2
12th +9/+4 +4 +8 +8 5 5 4 3
13th +9/+4 +4 +8 +8 Aevum 5 5 4 3 1
14th +10/+5 +4 +9 +9 Mote of time (duration, improved) 5 5 4 4 2
15th +11/+6/+1 +5 +9 +9 5 5 5 4 3
16th +12/+7/+2 +5 +10 +10 Aevum 5 5 5 4 3 1
17th +12/+7/+2 +5 +10 +10 Mote of time (allies’ checks) 5 5 5 4 3 2
18th +13/+8/+3 +6 +11 +11 5 5 5 5 4 3
19th +14/+9/+4 +6 +11 +11 Aevum 5 5 5 5 5 4
20th +15/+10/+5 +6 +12 +12 Lord of time 5 5 5 5 5 5

Class Features

All of the following are class features of the time warden.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency

A time warden is proficient in all simple weapons, but no form of armor or shield.


A time warden casts temporal spells drawn from the time warden spell list. He can cast any spell he knows without preparing it ahead of time. To learn or cast a spell, a time warden must have a Charisma score equal to at least 10 + the spell level. The Difficulty Class for a saving throw against a time warden’s spell is 10 + the spell level + the time warden’s Charisma modifier.

Like other spellcasters, a time warden can cast only a certain number of spells of each spell level per day. His base daily spell allotment is given on Table: Time Warden. In addition, he receives bonus spells per day if he has a high Charisma score (see Ability Modifiers and Bonus Spells).

The time warden’s selection of spells is extremely limited. A time warden begins play knowing four 0-level spells and two 1st-level spells of the time warden’s choice. At each new time warden level, he gains one or more new spells, as indicated on Table: Time Warden Spells Known. (Unlike spells per day, the number of spells a time warden knows is not affected by his Charisma score. The numbers on Table: Time Warden Spells Known are fixed.) Upon reaching 3rd level, and at every other time warden level after that (5th, 7th, and so on), a time warden can choose to learn a new spell in place of one he already knows. In effect, the time warden “loses” the old spell in exchange for the new one. The new spell’s level must be the same as that of the spell being exchanged, and it must be at least one level lower than the highest-level time warden spell the time warden can cast.

A time warden can swap only a single spell at any given level and must choose whether or not to swap the spell at the same time that he gains new spells known for the level.

A time warden need not prepare his spells in advance. He can cast any spell he knows at any time, assuming he has not yet used up his allotment of spells per day for the spell’s level.

Table: Time Warden Spells Known
Time Warden Level Maximum Spells Known
0th 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th
1st 4 2
2nd 5 3
3rd 6 4
4th 6 4 2
5th 6 4 3
6th 6 4 4
7th 6 5 4 2
8th 6 5 4 3
9th 6 5 4 4
10th 6 5 5 4 2
11th 6 6 5 4 3
12th 6 6 5 4 4
13th 6 6 5 5 4 2
14th 6 6 6 5 4 3
15th 6 6 6 5 4 4
16th 6 6 6 5 5 4 2
17th 6 6 6 6 5 4 3
18th 6 6 6 6 5 4 4
19th 6 6 6 6 5 5 4
20th 6 6 6 6 6 5 5

Mote of Time (Su)

A mote is a tiny, splitsecond of time that a time warden gathers from lost timelines and the aftereffects of chronal dissonance. The motes are inconsequential slivers of continuance left over from lost timelines, denied fates, and avoided destinies. If left “wild,” the motes can cause chronal dissonance, leading most time wardens to believe gathering them is an important part of their timeline-guarding duties. By using these motes, a time warden can affect his present timeline, allowing him to subtly alter the normal flow of time.

Once a round, as a free action, a time warden can expend a mote to create one of the effects listed below. When the effect grants a bonus to a roll or check, the bonus is equal to +1d4. This increased to +2d4 at 8th level, and +3d4 at 16th level. The time warden can decide to add this bonus immediately after seeing the result of the original die roll. The possible uses of a mote are as follows:

  • Defensive Retry: Gain a bonus to one saving throw.
  • Detailed Retry: Gain a bonus to one skill check or ability check. The roll must represent a single action that occurs entirely within a single round. (A time warden could use a mote to add a bonus to a Spellcraft check to identify a spell as it is cast, but not to a Craft check made to determine how much progress was made after a day of work.)
  • Eldritch Retry: Gain a bonus to one caster level check.
  • Ready for Anything: Add a bonus to an initiative check.
  • Spare Second: Take a single swift action that does not count against the time warden’s normal limit of one swift action per round.
  • Time of War: At 2nd level, a time warden gains the ability to add the bonus from spending a mote of time to his Armor Class (as a dodge bonus) until the beginning of his next turn, or to gain proficiency in a single weapon or type of armor for 24 hours.
  • Slow Spell: At 5th level, the time warden can spend a mote to extend the duration of a time warden spell he has cast. By slowing the speed with which the spell’s magic travels through time, the time warden can increase the duration of any time warden spell he has cast that already has a duration of at least 7 rounds. The spell’s duration is increased by the time warden’s mote of time bonus.
  • Personal Timeline: At 8th level, a time warden can spend a mote of time to alter his personal timeline to one in which he received different training. This requires 1 hour of uninterrupted meditation. At the end of this time, the time warden can remove skill ranks from one skill and add them to a different skill, or exchange one feat for another feat, or exchange one spell known for a different spell known. In all cases the selection must meet all normal restrictions (cannot exceed maximum skill ranks in a skill, select a feat for which the time warden does not qualify or exchange one being used to qualify for other feats, spells must be exchanged for other spells of the same level on the same class list, and so on). Any change made remains in effect for 24 hours. A time warden cannot have more than 1 total change per three class levels in effect at the same time. Any attempt to make additional changes to his timeline of training fail.
  • Personal Casting Time: At 11th level, the time warden can spend a mote to cast a spell with a casting time of 1 standard action or less as a swift action. The time warden cannot cast any other spell on the same round this ability is used.
  • Sphere of Calm Time: At 17th level, the time warden can use a mote to grant any ally he can see his mote of time bonus to any one skill check or ability check that occurs entirely within 1 round.

Each day, a time warden can spend a total of three motes, plus one mote per time warden level.


Editor’s Note: Per Owen K.C. Stephens, the table progression for aevum is correct, so the text is being updated to match.

At 4th level, the time warden gains the ability to control aevum, distinct moments of important time, gathered in the same way motes are from fragmented futures and lost histories. Unlike a mote, which is a very minor split second of time, an aevum is a more noteworthy moment—a crucial instance when something important was supposed to happen. While a time warden can freely spend motes for minor effects, aevum represent more major manipulations of time.

When first gained, the time warden must select a single power he can use with his aevum from the list below, and he has only a single aevum to spend each day. He gains additional aevum powers at 7th level and every 3 levels thereafter, as well as gaining one additional aevum at each of those levels. Spending an aevum is a standard action unless an ability says otherwise.

Arcane Timeline (Su): The time warden alters his personal past so that one spell slot he has expended becomes available again.

Divide Time (Su): The time warden can break up the bigger, more important moments of fateful time under his control into smaller, more easily manipulated pieces. By spending an aevum, the time warden can recharge his daily uses of motes. He regains a number of motes of time equal to 1d4 + his Charisma modifier. This cannot increase his number of motes available to above his normal mote maximum.

Enforce Dissonance (Su): The time warden can spend an aevum to negate the effect of any ability that creates chronal dissonance, which includes any ability that requires the expenditure of motes or aevum, and spells and spell-like abilities with “time” in the title. This acts as a greater dispel magic spell, but can affect (or counterspell) spell-like and supernatural abilities that meet the description of creating chronal dissonance.

Preferred Timeline* (Su): The time warden can rewind time by small amounts to erase any minor mistakes he makes as a result of distraction around him. By spending an aevum, the time warden can use skills reliably even under adverse conditions. Once he spends the aevum, he can take 10 on any skill check made over the next hour, even if stress and distractions would normally prevent him from doing so.

Reverse Timeline (Su): By spending an aevum, a time warden can draw information from his future or past, allowing him to instantly gain the benefits of considerable study and reflection. He can also peer briefly into the future to see how others react to his various attempts at negotiation or subterfuge. The time warden can make a single ability check or skill check with a result equal to 20 + his total ability or skill bonus.

Time Jaunt (Su): By spending one aevum, the time warden can take himself and up to one touched creature per three levels in a short hop through time. The time travelers can go a maximum number of years into the future or the past equal to the time warden’s level x the time warden’s level, but this theoretical maximum is almost never achieved. Because of the pressure of chronal dissonance, there are severe limitations to how far a time jaunt can go. The time jaunt cannot go any farther back in time than when the time warden and those traveling with him last interacted with another creature with an Int, Wis or Cha of at least 1 or interacted with the world in any major way (including any change to any character’s status, or acquisition of any material or item worth at least 1 gp). It cannot go any further forward in time than the earliest point at which a creature with an Int, Wis or Cha of at least 1 would observe. As a result of this limitation, the time jaunt can only take the time warden when no one is observing him (except those traveling with him), and only to an area that is unobserved. A time warden can spend an aevum to time jaunt only once per day. A time warden must be at least 13th level to select this ability.

Time Stop, Lesser (Su): By spending an aevum as a swift action, the time warden can pause his own timeline to engage in activity that occurs outside the normal timeline. This acts as the time stop spell, but the time warden gains only a single round of activity during the time stop. A time warden must be at least 16th level to select this ability.

Lord of Time (Su)

At 20th level, the time warden has almost total control over his own timeline, allowing him to change his history (and training) daily. Each time the time warden regains the use of his spells and abilities for the day, he can also re-assign his skill points, feats, and spells known as he wishes. The time warden must meet the prerequisites for any new feats he selects, and he cannot change out a feat he is using as a prerequisite for other feats or abilities. The new selection of skill point allotment, feats, and spells known is instant, remaining (even in an antimagic field) until the time warden changes them again with this ability. Further, the time warden can add his Charisma modifier to his caster level when resisting any chronothurgy effect attempting to dispel his spells and abilities (such as the dispel duration spell or enforce dissonance aevum ability).


Chronothurgy is a new spell descriptor, normally exclusive to spells used by the time warden. It indicates that a spell deals with manipulation of time and travel through time, and it also stipulates that the spell is subject to a set of rules that apply to all such spells.

Chronothurgy spells can accomplish only those effects that it would be possible for the caster to create without a spell, if given infinite time to do so, or if the effect can be created by slowing, speeding, or changing the flow of time. This is because the effects created through chronothurgy spells are actually effects wrought by the caster either in the future (and then brought back to the current time), in an alternate timeline (such as borrowing knowledge from another timeline where the caster researched such a question), or as a result of slowing, speeding, or freezing time to manage a task with precision not normally possible. So when a time warden casts cure light wounds, he is speeding the natural recuperation of the character affected, and when casting inflict light wounds he is moving the character’s body back to a time when it had been injured.

In all these cases, it is assumed that even with infinite time the caster has access only to his current resources and those that could easily be obtained by him. Thus a time warden casting a spell to summon or create a sword can do so, because characters with common resources and no time limit can obtain swords easily. The time warden could not necessarily summon a tyrannosaurus (depending on the campaign), and definitely couldn’t summon a dagger of three wishes. Similarly the caster must deal with the physical state of the world as it is currently, rather than as it might be at some point in the future. Thus a time warden wishing to create a campfire underwater in a lake is unable to do so, even if there is a dam holding water in the lake and it might someday break, releasing the water.

All time warden spells have the chronothurgy descriptor, and thus they are all limited to effects the time warden could create through time manipulation. This is true even if the time warden is casting a spell that doesn’t have the chronothurgy descriptor when cast by other classes. Thus a time warden casting teleport is limited to teleporting to those locations he could reasonably get to if given unlimited time to do so, but can’t teleport into a resilient sphere (since it has no entrance point), even though a wizard casting teleport could do so. Of course most of the time the spells work as described and the GM can use the normal function of the spell as a baseline for what is reasonable. A time warden casting summon monster I could arrange to have trained allies somewhere in his future or past, and thus can summon those creatures listed in the spell.

These restrictions exist for numerous reasons. First, it helps a GM adjudicate what can and cannot be done with chronothurgy spells, especially more open-ended ones such as time travel. Second, the theme of the time warden is a respectful and careful use of time, and these limitations represent what cannot be done because doing so might cause a rift in time. The power of a time warden is drawn from the strong fabric of the timestream, so it’s impossible for their chronothurgy spells to weaken that fabric in the same way that it’s impossible to fly by pulling on your bootstraps.

Additionally, because of their alien nature compared to most magic, chronothurgy spells are more difficult to duplicate or turn into magic items. When using other spells to duplicate the effect of a chronothurgy or chronothurgy spells (such as limited wish, wish, or miracle), or when using spells to price magic items based on chronothurgy or chronothurgy, treat the spell level as if it was 50% higher (minimum +1 level). Thus, for these purposes, a 4th-level chronothurgy spell is treated as being 6th level, and a 6th-level chronothurgy spell is treated as being 9th level.

How Hard Is It To Go To Tomorrow?

There’s a conceit to the design of the time warden that requires an explanation. The class, and its powers, are based on the idea that the difficulty in traveling through time is not how far you go, it’s how much change you have wrought as a result. Traveling ten years into the future in a small, empty room and then coming back is relatively easy because you haven’t made any changes to either end of your timeline. When you do make changes, the universe fights against you, and that is when greater power is required.

Thus, the true limit of time magic is not how far can you go, it’s what can you accomplish when you do so. When describing the force that pushed back against changes wrought through time travel, time wardens refer to “chronal dissonance.” As time wardens learn to manipulate their timelines (and those of others) through spells and class abilities, they discover that although trips through time can be made easily, useful trips through time are difficult. Thus they must focus on making specific, small, controllable changes in their timelines to reduce chronal dissonance and get something useful done. The practical effect of this is that a time warden’s spells and abilities are defined in terms of change, rather than temporal distance. At low levels, time wardens can implement only relatively minor changes, roughly on par with the effects of the spells, talents, and feats available to other classes.

When a time warden casts comprehend languages, he might actually be drawing on the power to take a trip through time to study the language in question at a small university, but the end effect is the same as any other class with access to the spell. While this might not seem quite as flavorful as creating a whole new set of a few hundred time manipulation spells exclusively for the time warden, using existing spells has advantages of balance. (GMs and players already have a good feel for how powerful hold person is, but might not be so sure about a single-target freeze timeline spell that did much the same thing.)

Favored Class Bonuses

Instead of receiving an additional skill rank or hit point whenever they gain a level in a favored class, some races have the option of choosing from a number of other bonuses, depending upon their favored classes. The following options are available to the listed race who have time warden as their favored class, and unless otherwise stated, the bonus applies each time you select the listed favored class reward.

Table: Alternate Favored Class Bonuses
Race Bonus Source
Core Races
Dwarf Add +1/6 to your mote bonus (max +1). SCC:TW
Elf Add one spell known from the time warden spell list. This spell must be at least one level below the highest spell level the time warden can cast. SCC:TW
Gnome Add one spell known from the time warden spell list. This spell must be at least one level below the highest spell level the time warden can cast. SCC:TW
Halfling Gain 1/6 of the future vitality mote power. If you already have that power, you can gain 1/6 of the improved future vitality mote power instead. SCC:TW
Human Choose one—You gain 1/2 of an additional mote of time; or you gain 1/6 of a new mote power, which counts as the Mote Specialization feat. SCC:TW
Orc/Half-Orc Orc: Gain 1/6 of the Mote Mastery feat for the reaver or time thief. SCC:TW

Section 15: Copyright Notice

Section 15: Copyright Notice

The Genius Guide To: The Time Warden. © 2011, Rogue Genius Games. Author: Owen K.C. Stephens.

Genius Options: Masters of Time. © 2012, Super Genius Games, LLC; Author: Owen K.C. Stephens.

S-Class Characters: Time Wardens. © 2023, Samurai Sheepdog, LLC; Author: Kevin Glusing.

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