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Watcher

The gods of the dwarves build to last, as the mighty works and legacies of their favored children attest to. They do not favor small gestures or subtle ones, instead choosing to create grand gifts whose effects can be felt through the ages. Watchers are such a gift.

Long ago, a tribe of gargoyles came to a dwarf hold, begging asylum. Drow, they warned, were invading from beneath and had driven the gargoyles from their homes. They offered treasures from their lair and desperate vows of service if only the dwarves would extend them mercy, and to their great surprise the dwarves permitted them into the city, accepting no treasure and no servitude for the act. Indeed, the dwarves asked only that the gargoyles vow to slay no sapient being that did not first attack them while under the aegis of the dwarves, a promise the gargoyles made readily. The war, when it came to the dwarf -hold, was savage.

The drow attacked with stealth and sorcery, assailing the walls of the city with rabid demons and an army of slaves. The dwarves fought a war of master tactics, but despite their best efforts were slowly driven back beneath the onslaught of horror unleashed by the dark elves. Searching for a way to stem the Abyssal tide unleashed by their enemies, the augurs of the dwarves discovered that the demons were commanded by a small cabal of priestesses and sorcerers, without whom the demons would run amok and devastate the ranks of the drow forces.

Surprising even themselves, the gargoyles sheltered by the dwarves volunteered to assassinate the cabal, wanting the chance to repay the undeserved mercy given to them by the dwarves. The dwarves armed and armored their strange allies and sent them off with the blessings of the gods. With great difficulty, the gargoyles succeeded in their mission, though it cost them their lives, and the war was broken in a single night of slaughter and chaos.

A few years later, while the dwarves were still picking up the pieces and settling refugees back into their homes, the first of the watchers were born under signs of favor from the mountain gods, and even to this day a few watchers are born into each generation of dwarves to be shields to their people, in honor of the sacrifice laid down by their progenitors.

Appearance

Watchers appear as slightly taller, thinner dwarves with rocky hides, wide wings and long tails. Watchers grow hair on their heads but not beards or other facial hair, and have red eyes that glow faintly. Watchers may have long nails, though many clip or file them so that they can use tools and weapons more easily, and some have small horns that protrude from their foreheads.

Most watchers are warriors, priests, or both, and dress as such. Like dwarves, they favor heavier armor and blunt, crushing weapons. Watchers openly and proudly display symbols of their faith and are often found with copies of holy texts upon themselves. Watchers move in surprisingly swift, fluid movements that make them stand out in groups of dwarves, even if their nature is somehow disguised by magic.

Demeanor

Watchers have perspective—both literal and figurative—that other dwarves sometimes lack. Raised with the knowledge that they are the favored of the dwarven gods, watchers are expected to take up positions of responsibility as guardians, soldiers, priests, and spiritual advisors for their people—sometimes all at once. To meet these expectations, watchers become observant, patient souls with a talent for picking out when a person has a problem they don’t want to talk about—a necessity in dwarven society, given the stoicism of the race. Watchers spend a lot of time in high places, gazing upon the bustle of dwarven life and seeing where they can help.

The result is that watchers are thoughtful, responsible individuals who sometimes stick their nose a little too deeply into the problems of others. Watchers step in to protect the weak and oppose chaos and injustice and don’t particularly care if anyone asked them to or not, which is not to say they are incapable of proper caution or planning. The favored of the dwarven gods possess a strong protective instinct that drives them to seek out those who suffer from chaos and devastation and bring stability, order, and justice to their lives

Backgrounds

Watchers are marked as blessed from birth, as destined for greatness. From a young age they are taught the dwarven arts of war, craftsmanship, and religion, and they are often raised with temples rather than by their parents (who do, admittedly, still take an active part in the watcher’s life). Many watchers become clerics, but even those that do not are seen as spiritual advisors and sought out in this capacity by dwarves in need of guidance. The idea of responsibility to others forms a core theme of a watcher’s upbringing, and informs their later life.

As watchers become adults they join the dwarven military, first as rank-and-file soldiers and then as special agents. Many begin an “adventuring” career in this capacity, proactively seeking out threats to their home and eliminating them, or seeking resources to aid their homelands. Watchers are sometimes gifted with dvine visions that draw them from home, seeking holy relics to protect or diabolical plots to thwart. Both bring them into contact with other races, often for the first time, and the watcher brings their protective instincts into those relationships just as they do with dwarves.

Watchers shoulder tremendous responsibilities, and can often feel like the weight of the world is on their shoulders. Even those that return to dwarf society often stay in regular contact with the friends they made amongst other races, if only to have someone in which to confide their woes and ask for an outsider’s perspective from. This can sometimes lead them to pick up habits that are seen as “undwarflike”, but watchers are afforded great respect for their sacrifices and are prmitted their eccentricities, for the most part.

Adventures

A watcher on an adventure is likely either on a holy quest or eliminating a threat to his homeland. Some are exiles who have turned from their duties (or were framed for such), while others leave home long -term to combat the forces of chaos wherever they rise. Watchers favor divine classes—clerics, druids, oracles, paladins, and rangers—with warders and zealots also being common. Arcane spellcasting is rare amongst watchers, as are more “traditional” forms of psionic power, though watchers sometimes become aegii.

Watchers have little respect for chaotic or frivolous races such as elves and gnomes, and share similar attitudes to dwarves when it comes to race. Most watchers eventually become a bit more open-minded, especially once they have friends from other cultures, but making such friends can be a difficult process at first because of the culture gap that divides the watcher from them.

Racial Traits

Ability Score Adjustments

+2 Constitution, +2 Wisdom, -2 Intelligence: Watchers are tough and have a keen insight but are typically raised with an emphasis on religious, rather than academic, achievement.

Size

Medium: Watchers are Medium creatures and thus have no bonuses or penalties due to their size.

Type

Humanoid (crossblood, dwarf): Watchers are humanoids with the crossblood and dwarf subtypes.

Other Racial Traits

Slow and Steady (Ex) Watchers have a base speed of 20 feet, but their speed cannot be reduced by armor or encumbrance.

Hard Flesh: A watcher’s hardened exterior increases their natural armor bonus by 2.

Vestigial Wings (Ex) Watchers gain Vestigial Wings as a bonus feat. At 9th character level they gain Aerial Wings as a bonus feat.

Darkvision (Ex) Watchers can see in the dark up to 60 feet.

Blessed Children (Su) Watchers are blessed of the dwarven gods; they benefit from a +2 sacred bonus to Knowledge (religion) checks and a +1 sacred bonus to saving throws vs. chaotic spells and effects.

Sheltering Wings (Ex) As an immediate action, the watcher may shelter an adjacent ally with his wings. Half of the hit point damage that would be dealt to the sheltered ally by one attack or effect is transferred to the watcher, reduced by the watcher’s damage reduction at this point, and the remainder is dealt to the sheltered ally as normal.

Enduring (Ex) A watcher does not need to sleep (but is not immune to sleep effects). They still require 8 hours of rest as normal to prepare spells. Watchers also require much less sustenance than normal beings; they treat each week as only 1 day for calculating penalties and damage from starvation and thirst.

Freeze (Ex) Watchers are able to remain stationary indefinitely, refraining from the slightest shift, twitch, or blink of the eye. In this motionless state they are often mistaken for statues, gaining a +10 competence bonus on Stealth checks; they may hide without cover or concealment while motionless in this fashion.

Languages: Watchers begin play speaking Common and Dwarf. Watchers with high Intelligence scores can choose from the following: Aklo, Celestial, Elf, Ignan, and Terran.

Alternate Racial Traits

Sons of the Forge (Su) Some watchers are blessed by the gods in a different way —they gain a +2 sacred bonus to Craft checks and a +1 sacred bonus on the DCs of lawful spells. This replaces blessed children.

Lawful Enforcer (Su) Some watchers take the fight to the enemy instead of sheltering allies. They can use smite chaos once per day as a swift action; this functions as the smite evil paladin class feature but affects chaotic creatures instead of evil ones, with the bonus damage affecting aberrations, chaotic dragons and chaotic outsiders instead of undead, evil dragons, and evil outsiders. This replaces sheltering wings.

Claws: Some watchers inherit the claws of the gargoyle rather than their stone-like patience. They have 2 claw attacks that deal 1d4 damage each. This replaces the freeze racial trait.

Favored Class Options

Aegis: Add 1 to the hit points restored using astral repair.

Barbarian: +1 round of rage per day.

Cleric: Add +1/4 to caster level when casting spells with the earth descriptor.

Druid: Add +1/4 to natural armor when using wild shape.

Fighter: Add +1/3 racial bonus on Stealth checks when using freeze.

Inquisitor: Add +1/3 to the effective inquisitor level for one type of smite.

Oracle: Add +1/2 to the oracle’s level for the purpose of determining the effects of one revelation.

Paladin: Add +1/4 to the personal deflection bonus against the attacks of the target of the paladin’s smite evil.

Ranger: Add a +1/2 bonus on wild empathy checks to influence animals and magical beasts that live underground.

Warder: Gain +1/3 additional use of armiger’s mark.

Zealot: Gain +1/6 of a new conviction.

Section 15: Copyright Notice

Bloodforge, © 2017, Dreamscarred Press, LLC; Author: Matthew Ryan Medeiros, Jade Ripley, based on material by Owen K.C. Stephens