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Jiraat Bard Archetype

The companies of players who crisscross the towns and cities found in more hospitable climates rarely visit the tiny, remote settlements scattered across the polar biomes. Acting serves as a popular form of entertainment in civilized lands, but the craft’s purpose and focus take a divergent turn in the frigid realms where such escapism receives an apropos cold shoulder from the local inhabitants. Thespians traditionally take on the role of another person, occasionally crossing the boundaries of gender, race, and age to portray their chosen character. The jiraat, a nomadic bard who wanders across the chilly landscape, uses a much different technique. He figuratively and literally crawls into the skin of one of the frozen domain’s indigenous animals rather than play the part of another humanoid. These traveling performers defy the stereotypes commonly associated with others of their profession. They crave neither the adulation, fame, nor wealth heaped upon their most celebrated counterparts. Indeed, the jiraat prefers anonymity. His form of artistic expression considers completely blending in with a roaming herd of reindeer or assuming the guise of an innocuous snow hare to be his grandest accomplishments. In his mind, it takes no talent to step into the shoes of a king or a commoner on a contrived stage. On the other hand, it demands a lifetime of discipline and study to fool animals who lack preconceived notions and instead rely upon more dependable means, including scent and keen senses to root out deception within their ranks. Therein lies the challenge for the jiraat — to trick animals into completely ignoring his presence despite their inherent suspiciousness. A jiraat who becomes an adventurer puts these unique skills to good use. He may infiltrate a frost giant compound by pretending to be a wayward musk ox or even board an enemy ship adrift in polar waters as a juvenile member of an orca pod. If he can deceive wary animals, pulling the wool over a humanoid’s eyes proves easier done than said.

Bardic Performance: A jiraat gains the following types of bardic performance.

Sound the Part (Su)

At 1st level, a jiraat can use performance to perfectly mimic animal calls he has heard. Each round of the performance the bard designates a square within 30 feet of him and makes a Perform (act) skill check. At the same time, all creatures within 30 feet of the square he designated also attempt Perception skill checks each round. If the jiraat’s Perform check result exceeds the opponent’s Perception check result, the creature believes the animal sound is real and that it originates from the square the bard designated. If the jiraat’s check result exceeds the listener’s check result by 5 or more, the listener is distracted until the end of his next turn. On the other hand, if the listener’s Perception check result exceeds the jiraat’s Perform check result, the listener hears the sound, but recognizes the animal call as a ruse originating from another location. Creatures with an Intelligence score greater than 2 recognize the animal call’s true nature and may ignore the performance if they choose. Otherwise, the creature continues to make Perception checks each round to determine where the animal call comes from and whether it is believable. If the listener’s check result exceeds the bard’s check result by 5 or more, he recognizes the bard as the animal call’s source, is immune to the same bard’s sound the part performance for 24 hours, and can pinpoint the square the jiraat occupies that round, if the bard is invisible or otherwise concealed. Sound the part relies on audible components. This performance replaces countersong.

Walk the Part (Su)

At 1st level, a jiraat can use performance to move past animals without being noticed. This effect functions as the hide from animals spell. Using this ability requires 3 rounds of continuous performance, but its effects last for 10 minutes after the jiraat stops performing. This ability replaces fascinate.

Look the Part (Su)

At 3rd level, a jiraat can use performance to make himself look like an animal of his choice. The animal must be the same size as the jiraat.

The glamer alters the appearance of the jiraat’s clothing, armor, weapons, and equipment, making them blend into the illusion as he desires, including concealing them entirely. The illusion does not provide the abilities or mannerisms of the chosen animal, nor does it alter the perceived tactile (touch) or audible (sound) properties of the bard and his equipment. A creature interacting with the glamer gets a Will save (DC 10 + 1/2 the bard’s level + the bard’s Charisma modifier) to recognize it as an illusion. Likewise, if the jiraat undertakes an action inconsistent with the animal’s character, such as wielding a weapon, speaking, or walking upright, all creatures who can see and hear the jiraat also get a Will save to recognize the jiraat’s appearance as an illusion. The glamer lasts for as long as the bard continues the performance. This illusory effect requires audible and visual components.

This performance replaces inspire competence.

Become the Part (Su)

A jiraat can transform into a creature of the animal type. At 6th level, this effect functions as a beast shape I spell, allowing the jiraat to transform into any Small or Medium creature of the animal type. At 12th level, this effect functions as beast shape II, allowing the jiraat to transform into any Tiny or Large creature of the animal type. At 18th level, this effect functions as a beast shape III, allowing the jiraat to transform into a Diminutive or Huge creature of the animal type. He cannot use this performance to transform into a magical beast, regardless of its size.

The animal he transforms into must have an environment entry that includes cold, such as cold mountains or cold forest, or at the GM’s discretion is indigenous to a polar biome even if the animal also inhabits temperate and tropical environments as in the case of a coyote. He remains in animal form for as long as he continues this performance. He can extend this duration to 1 minute by performing for 5 consecutive rounds. This ability relies upon visual and audible components. This ability replaces suggestion, soothing performance, and mass suggestion.

Animal Instincts (Ex)

At 1st level, a jiraat adds his level to all Handle Animal checks made to influence animals indigenous to a polar biome (see his become the part performance above) as well as Knowledge (nature) checks pertaining to those same animals. He can use Knowledge (nature) untrained, but only when the check applies to indigenous polar animals as described above. This ability replaces bardic knowledge.

Man in Sheep’s Clothing (Ex)

At 2nd level, a jiraat can disguise himself as an animal. When doing so he suffers a –10 penalty to his Disguise skill check. He can disguise himself only as an animal with the same number of limbs as him, so it is possible for a human jiraat to disguise himself as a wolf, but he could not disguise himself as a snake. However, when disguised as an animal, the penalties for being disguised as a different gender, race, or age category do not apply. At 6th level, and every 4 levels thereafter, the penalty to his Disguise check decreases by –2.

He may use the skin and fur from an animal slain within the last twenty-four hours to enhance his disguise to appear as a member of that species.

Therefore, he can use a polar bear fur to disguise himself as a polar bear, but he cannot use it to disguise himself as a grizzly bear. To use these materials in this manner requires a successful DC 15 Craft (armor), Craft (clothing), Craft (leather), Profession (tanner), or another suitable Craft or Profession skill check associated with creating outerwear or protective gear from animal skins and furs. Altering the skin and fur to coincide with the jiraat’s size increases the preceding DC by +10 per size category. For instance, if a human jiraat procured the skin and fur of a polar bear, a Large animal, the DC would increase to 25. If the check succeeds, he reduces the Disguise skill check penalty by –4; thus, the normal –10 penalty would be lowered to –6. For every 5 points by which his Craft or Profession check exceeds the DC, he reduces the penalty by an additional –2.

If the check fails, the skin and fur are ruined and cannot be used as part of his disguise.

Using the animal’s skin and fur in this manner reduces the time needed to create a disguise from 1d3 x 10 minutes to 1d3 minutes. At 10th level, it takes the jiraat 1d3 minutes to create an animal disguise without the skin and fur and 1d3 rounds to create an animal disguise with the animal’s skin and fur. His size while disguised as this animal must be the same as that of the animal who contributed the skin and fur unless the materials were altered during the manufacturing process (see above). For example, a human jiraat using a polar bear’s skin and fur must disguise himself as a Large creature, which imposes an additional –10 penalty to his Disguise skill check. If the disguised jiraat takes other actions inconsistent with the animal’s typical behavior, such as wielding a weapon, speaking, or walking upright, the Disguise skill check is treated as if the jiraat rolled a natural 1.

This ability replaces versatile performance, well-versed, and jack-of-all trades.

Natural Insight (Ex)

At 5th level and every six levels thereafter, a jiraat can add one spell to his spells known from the druid or ranger spell list. The spell must be of a level he can cast. This ability replaces lore master.