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Polar Surveyor Ranger Archetype

Commerce thrives on trade. New markets offer exciting possibilities for buyers and sellers alike.

Exotic goods from far-off places whet the appetites of an eager public and fill the waiting coffers of shipping interests and merchant houses. However, obstacles greater than miles sometimes separate willing trading partners. Massive glaciers, frigid temperatures, and impassable sea ice make it seemingly impossible to haul goods across an overland route or ship products via a navigable oceanic route. However, looks cannot dissuade the most determined individuals from succeeding where so many others failed before them.

Unwilling to accept nature’s superiority, they may assemble an expedition to trek across the frozen wasteland or to sail across the treacherous seas in search of a means of passage over the poles. Although most happily appoint a proxy to represent their interests in this bold endeavor, others refuse to cede judgment to someone else. Instead, they take the vanguard and lead their charges over the mighty glaciers and through the tumultuous waterways on their quest to find an elusive path to fame and riches.

An explorer hoping to survive this difficult journey must rely upon more than dreams of attaining enormous wealth. It takes a specialized set of skills and abilities to outlast the poles’ notoriously vicious weather and imposing barriers. A subgroup of rangers known as polar surveyors operates at the forefront of this perilous industry. They can withstand the bitter cold better than the average man and demonstrate a remarkable breadth of knowledge regarding polar biomes. Just as importantly, he deftly avoids polar hazards likely to swallow up less experienced travelers. While less versatile than other members of his profession, the polar surveyor constantly proves his worth when traveling across the top and bottom of the world.

Seasoned (Ex)

At 1st level, a polar surveyor gains the benefits of endure elements against cold environments only. At 4th level, the polar surveyor gains cold resistance 5, which increases to cold resistance 10 at 9th level, and culminates in immunity to cold at 14th level. This ability replaces the ranger’s first favored enemy and wild empathy.

Favored Terrain (Ex)

At 3rd level, a polar surveyor gains favored terrain (arctic). He does not add additional terrains. He treats areas of sea ice and frozen bodies of water as arctic terrain. A polar surveyor suffers no penalty to speed and never needs to make an Acrobatics check to run or charge in his favored terrain. The ranger leaves no trail in ice or snow, and cannot be tracked (unless he chooses to leave a trail).

He may take 10 even when threatened or distracted on Survival checks made to avoid terrestrial polar hazards, such as hidden crevasses and thin ice. This ability otherwise functions as and alters favored terrain and replaces woodland stride.

Never Lost (Sp)

At 3rd level, a polar surveyor in his favored terrain may cast know direction at will as a spell-like ability. This ability replaces endurance.

Hunter’s Bond (Ex)

At 4th level, when the polar surveyor gains hunter’s bond, he must choose to bond with his companions. Polar surveyors do not have animal companions. This ability otherwise functions as and alters hunter’s bond.

Polar Geographer (Ex)

At 5th level, a polar surveyor can take 10 on any Knowledge (geography) skill check he makes in his favored terrain, so long as he has ranks in this skill. In addition, once per day he can take 20 on any Knowledge (geography) skill check as a standard action. He can use this ability one additional time for every five levels he possesses beyond 5th to a maximum of four times per day at 20th level. This ability replaces the ranger’s second favored enemy.

Polar Stride (Ex)

At 10th level, when a polar surveyor is in his favored terrain, he may spend a standard action surveying the terrain within 60 feet of him, allowing him to study its effects on overland movement. At the beginning of his next turn, he may spend a free action to impart his insight to his allies. If he does so, his allies moving within the area he surveyed suffer no penalties to speed or on Acrobatics, Climb, and Stealth checks to move across ice and snow, provided they can hear the polar surveyor and are within his line of sight. In addition, his allies become aware of any terrestrial polar hazards in the surveyed area, including hidden crevasses and thin ice.

These benefits last for a number of rounds per day equal to his ranger level. These rounds need not be consecutive, thus allowing the polar surveyor to use this ability at multiple locations over the course of the day, but he cannot use it in less than 1-round increments. Terrain features within the surveyed area other than those involving ice and snow affect the polar surveyor’s allies normally. This ability replaces the ranger’s third favored enemy.

Polar Speed (Ex)

At 11th level, the polar surveyor’s base speed while moving through his favored terrain increases by 5 feet. Furthermore, the maximum speed of any vehicle he drives across his favored terrain also increases by 5 feet. At 19th level, the polar surveyor’s base speed and the maximum speed of any vehicle he drives across his favor terrain increase by an additional 5 feet. This ability replaces quarry and improved quarry.

Commune with Nature (Sp)

At 15th level, as a standard action a polar surveyor may cast commune with nature as a spell-like ability using his ranger level as the caster level, so long as he does so within his favored terrain. If he attempts to use this ability in a locale other than one within his favored terrain, the spell fails. He may use this ability a number of times per day equal to his Wisdom modifier (minimum 1).

This ability replaces the ranger’s fourth favored enemy.

Master Surveyor (Ex)

At 20th level, a polar surveyor can always move at full speed while using Survival to get along in the wild and to follow tracks without penalty while in his favored terrain. This ability replaces the ranger’s fifth favored enemy.

Find the Path (Sp)

At 20th level, once per day as a standard action, a polar surveyor may cast find the path as a spell-like ability using his ranger level as the caster level, so long as the prominent, specified destination is located within his favored terrain. If he attempts to use this ability to reach a destination outside of his favored terrain, the spell fails. This ability replaces master hunter.