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Origins of the PCs: Killoren

Wild beings, tied to nature itself, killoren are a new race of fey brought into this world to contest the aggressive growth of humanoid races. Although they are more adaptable than most fey, they find themselves in a world that they must adjust constantly to in order to avoid the fate of their more steadfast kin.

Killoren, introduced in Races of the Wild are a group of human-like fey creatures with the ability to manifest aspects of nature in order to receive special abilities. Although they possess a number of abilities that make them stronger than humanoids, they still possess some key fey weaknesses that set them apart from the world.

Killoren Strengths

  • Immune to effects that target only humanoids
  • Immune to sleep effects
  • Bonus to saves against to enchantment spells and effects
  • Bonus to Handle Animal and Survival checks
  • Ability to manifest an aspect of nature each day, providing a number of bonuses

Killoren Weaknesses

  • Penalty when using weapons made of cold iron

Playing a Killoren
The killoren's defining ability is being able to manifest an aspect of nature's might, giving them a number of different abilities. Each morning, a killoren meditates to manifest the aspect of their choice, which they can change each day. The benefits are as follows:
    Aspect of the Ancient: Bonus to Knowledge (nature) checks and an increase to the killoren's bonus against enchantment effects.
    Aspect of the Destroyer: Access to a special smite attack that affects only creatures of the aberration, construct, humanoid, ooze, outsider and undead types.
    Aspect of the Hunter: Bonus to Hide, Listen, Move Silently and Spot checks, as well as a bonus to initiative checks.

Each of these aspects has fairly straightforward benefits, but each has a drawback as well. Although the Aspect of the Ancient provides a scaling bonus, Knowledge (nature) bonuses aren't a huge use to characters unless they regularly require use of that skill, like the archivist class. The Aspect of the Destroyer gives a smite attack that scales in power and number of uses based on the character's Charisma bonus, but that smite attack may only be used up to one time per hour. The Aspect of the Hunter provides a number of benefits, but unlike the other aspects, it does not improve as the character themselves improve.

Killoren characters can find themselves at a distinct disadvantage if sparring against other fey, outsiders or other creatures that are vulnerable to cold iron, as they suffer penalties when wielding weapons made of the material. A killoren that has access to at least a little magic will find that they have a much easier time fighting these kinds of enemies.

Killoren are fey creatures and aren't affected by abilities that only target humanoids. They are also resilient to enchantment effects. This means that they are relatively safe against low-level enchantment spells.

Class Suggestions
Killoren characters, because they have no obvious deficiencies that would bar them from being productive in any class, have quite a number of choices when it comes to selecting their class. Overall, because of their connection to nature, they tend to do slightly better in nature-based classes, but not so much as to automatically exclude them from any other choices.

The most obvious class choice and the one that provides the killoren with the most benefit is the druid. It provides the killoren with a number of nature-related spells, and the ability to take on the forms of creatures of nature. A killoren druid can find a use for every single one of their aspects in this form.

Killoren also do well when taking the healer class (Miniatures Handbook). The higher Charisma that they'll have to power their Healing Hands ability works well when coupled with the aspect of the destroyer. When facing off against enemies that can turn the character against their companions, the aspect of the ancient will almost certainly prevent their minds from being taken over. In addition, a traditional fey companion, a unicorn, will eventually join the character, allowing the character some additional mobility and offensive capabilities, especially against the enemies of nature.

For killoren who wish to focus on their fey aspects, the spirit shaman (Complete Divine) is an excellent choice. This class receives the same spell-list as druids, but they also gain a number of class features that manipulate spirits, which include other fey creatures, elementals and incorporeal undead. Beyond being able to ward themselves, spirit shamans also know how to bring back the souls of the recently departed and become incorporeal themselves, making them an excellent alternative to the druid.

Another option for killoren is the archivist (Heroes of Horror). These characters can learn to cast spells from any divine spellcasting list, and can make knowledge checks to provide themselves, and their teammates with numerous bonuses in battle. These characters tend to favor the aspect of the ancient, as it provides them with a bonus to Knowledge (nature) checks that makes them more efficient when facing off against giants and fey (as long as they have taken the Archivist of Nature feat first).

For those wishing to take a more arcane bent, the sorcerer is a good choice. Killoren sorcerers tend to favor the aspect of the destroyer for its reliance on Charisma, something that they should have plenty of already.

Killoren do fairly well as rogues, especially when manifesting the aspect of the hunter, to improve their skills. Unlike many rogues, those that come from the killoren focus more on the wilderness and trap-making then urban environments and devices.

On the flip-side, killoren rangers are also an excellent choice for much the same reasons as the rogue is. Rangers are less subtle, but more nature oriented, making them a better choice for that kind of environment, but lack a number of skills that a rogue may find useful.

The scout (Complete Adventurer) is a fairly good compromise between the two. They possess more woodcraft than the average rogue, and are much subtler than the average ranger. This class will also find that the aspect of the hunter is a good choice for them.

Those wishing to become more martially inclined should consider the barbarian. This class certainly provides a strong offense, although they are somewhat lacking in the defensive department. Raging barbarians can make smite attacks, such as those provided by the aspect of the destroyer, providing characters with additional offensive options. In addition, the class's damage reduction helps to protect the character from harm.

Killoren also make good hexblades (Complete Warrior). Besides being marginally more defensive than the barbarian, the hexblade has access to a number of abilities that temporarily curse opponents, rendering them less able to put up an attack. Killoren hexblades will equally favor the aspect of the destroyer and the aspect of the hunter as the situation calls. Between the hexblade's mettle and resistance to spells, they are less likely than most other classes to require a bonus to saves versus enchantment spells, making the aspect of the ancient unappealing to this character.

Killorens who wish to pursue the study of psionics will likely wish to take levels as an ardent (Complete Psionic). The ardent class allows the character to select a number of psionic mantles, from which they learn their powers and gain additional abilities. These characters favor mantles such as Creation, Deception, Destruction, Elements, Freedom and Natural World.

Those few killoren who decide to practice soulmelding generally decide to follow the path of the totemist (Magic of Incarnum), much like their duskling cousins. Gaining the ability of magical beasts can be very appealing to these characters as it further cements their bonds to the natural world.

Killoren characters can also fit in quite well as nature spirits in Asian settings, perhaps as the less civilized cousins of the spirit folk. These characters work in much the same way as their traditional fantasy-setting versions, but tend to favor different classes. Most killoren in these campaigns will gravitate to the shaman class (Oriental Adventures and the updated 3.5 edition rules in Dragon Magazine #318). These characters receive arcane spellcasting, unarmed strike damage progression, the ability to access certain shaman domains, the ability to turn undead and an animal companion, putting them somewhere in between a cleric, a druid and a monk.

Arcane killoren in these settings will want to gravitate towards the wu jen (Complete Arcane) for the power of the spells they cast and for the spirit that watches over them. Dungeon masters may not accept the taboo of not being able to wield cold iron weapons, but there are a number of other taboos that a killoren wu jen may be able to take that would set them far apart from their more civilized companions.

Feat Suggestions
Despite only having a short description of their race, killoren characters actually have three unique racial feats that they have access to. Presented in Races of the Wild, each feat empowers one of the killoren's aspects.

Killoren Ancient allows a killoren that is manifesting the aspect of the ancient to spend 10 minutes of time to gain a +4 insight bonus to a single Knowledge check, and can make the check as if they were trained in the skill, even if that the character possesses no ranks in it. While this may be good for a character that needs to learn more about something around them, it has a somewhat limited use and the long preparation time required to receive the benefit means that it is likely not helpful to a killoren archivist character (who otherwise would benefit greatly from an increase to knowledge checks).

Killoren Destroyer adds a daze effect to the smite attacks made by a killoren manifesting the aspect of the destroyer. Any killoren that is finding themselves manifesting this aspect on a regular basis would be hard-pressed to find a better use of a feat, as this improves their smite attacks and can help them control the ebb and flow of battle.

Finally Killoren Hunter allows a killoren manifesting the aspect of the hunter to pinpoint the location of any living creature within 30 feet of them. While not immediately coming forth as useful, this feat can allow the character to locate invisible and ethereal creatures around them that might otherwise escape notice. This feat does specify the living, so undead creatures such as ghosts and constructs will escape notice.

Killoren characters that wish to emphasize their connection to the fey will want to consider the Fey Heritage feats from Complete Mage. Unlike the Draconic Heritage feats from Complete Arcane, these do not require sorcerer levels, although not all of the feats are useful for characters that do not possess spellcasting abilities. The first feat in the tree, Fey Heritage provides the character with an additional bonus against enchantment effects. Fey Power improves the caster level and save DC for enchantment spells or invocations the character casts and Fey Skin provides the character with damage reduction (overcome by cold iron) based on the number of feats in this tree the character possesses.

Two feats in the Fey Heritage tree (Fey Presence and Fey Legacy) provide access to spell-like abilities that any killoren character will find useful, but have a level requirement (6th and 9th levels respectively).

Killoren characters may be tempted to select Extra Smiting (Complete Warrior) as it provides two additional smite attacks per day. However, because of how killoren characters receive their smite attacks, this feat is not recommended. Killoren that manifest the aspect of the destroyer receive a number of smite attacks each day equal to their Charisma bonus, but to a maximum usage of once per hour. While this feat will provide characters with an additional two uses per day, the hourly limit will remain intact, meaning that a killoren with a decent Charisma score may not be able to effectively make use of extra smite attacks.

Killoren characters who are more martially minded may wish to consider the Smiting Power feat (Champions of Valor). It allows the killoren to add their smite attack attack bonus to the Strength check for a bull rush or overrun attack and deal smite damage normally, but only against the killoren's normal smite attack targets.

Killoren characters in the Ghostwalk campaign setting should also take note that the smite attack provided by aspect of the destroyer will work against the ghosts of Manifest. Killoren do not need the Ghost Smite feat (Ghostwalk Campaign Setting) to affect these spirits.

Prestige Class Suggestions
With such a wealth of options available to them, killoren characters can select any number of prestige classes. There are however some options that allow them to place more emphasis on their fey heritage.

Bear Warrior (Complete Warrior): Killoren barbarians who wish to have a better connection with the wild may want to consider the bear warrior. The class allows them to take the form of increasingly more powerful bears, while maintaining their fighting abilities and rages.

Forest Reeve (Complete Champion): Most killoren characters that choose to focus upon nature can easily meet the prerequisites for this class, and are provided with a number of nature-focused abilities, including healing themselves through contact with plant-life and the ability to move quickly through the wilderness. Alternatively, the Holt Warden (from the same book) represents a more druidic approach, with similar abilities for characters with spellcasting abilities.

Ruathar (Races of the Wild): Killoren that wish to become more civilized may find themselves becoming overwhelmed by many races, but may be more at ease with races like the elves. Becoming an elf-friend isn't an easy task, but it provides the character with several benefits that can benefit them, regardless of their path.

Wavekeeper (Stormwrack): If you find yourself near the water most of the time, you may want to consider the wavekeeper. Druids, shamans and rangers can all meet the prerequisites quite easily, and gain the ability to use water as a weapon, to take the form of water, and summon powerful water elementals.

Wild Soul (Complete Mage): For killoren that have taken up arcane spellcasting, the wild soul prestige class is a natural extension. Being fey themselves, they can ignore much of the flavor-based prerequisites, making accessing this class much easier for them. In addition to normal spellcasting abilities improving, the class also provides some spontaneous casting options, the ability to summon fey creatures, and benefits that last as long as fey are summoned.

New Material

Aspect of the Reclaimer [Racial]
You have the ability to take on the aspect of nature's cycle of decay and growth.
    Prerequisite: Killoren.
    Benefit: When preparing an aspect of nature's might, you may choose to prepare the aspect of the reclaimer:
    Aspect of the Reclaimer: The cycle of life if not just about death, but also about rebirth and the link between the two. A killoren that manifests the aspect of the reclaimer becomes connected to this cycle and feels these bonds acutely. Once per hour (up to a maximum number of times per day equal to the character's Charisma bonus, minimum 1), a killoren manifesting the aspect of the reclaimer can make a special touch of reclamation that pushes this cycle forward. This touch may only be made against a living creature that has -1 or fewer hit points. The target must make a Will save (DC 10 + 1/2 your character level + your Cha modifier) or die. If the target dies, you gain 1d8 temporary hit points and a +2 bonus to Strength. This benefit lasts for 10 minutes. While a killoren manifests the aspect of the reclaimer, her hair and eyes turn a deep black, with a rich green color speckled throughout.
    Normal: Killoren characters only have access to three aspects of nature's might.

Aspect of the Unnatural [Racial]
You have the ability to take on the aspect of the very unnatural growth of civilization.
    Prerequisite: Killoren.
    Benefit: When preparing an aspect of nature's might, you may choose to prepare the aspect of the unnatural:
    Aspect of the Unnatural: Killoren were created as an answer to the unchecked growth of the humanoid races. To this end, the aspect of the unnatural is the contribution of the more civilization-minded fey to their killoren cousins and helps them to adapt to life within a large, crowded community. While manifesting the aspect of the unnatural, a killoren gains a +2 racial bonus on Diplomacy, Gather Information, Intimidate, Knowledge (local), and Sense Motive checks. While a killoren manifests the aspect of the unnatural, her hair becomes pale brown and her skin tone changes to a light shade of grey.
    Normal: Killoren characters only have access to three aspects of nature's might.

Killoren Reclaimer [Racial]
You favor the killoren aspect of the reclaimer.
    Prerequisites: Killoren, Aspect of the Reclaimer.
    Benefit: When you are manifesting the aspect of the reclaimer, you may forgo the benefits received from using your touch of reclamation as a free action to cast cure light wounds as a spell-like ability. This is cast as a cleric of your character level. Once this ability is used, you immediately lose the Strength bonus and any remaining temporary hit points you possess as a result of the touch of reclamation.

Killoren Unnatural [Racial]
You favor the killoren aspect of the unnatural.
    Prerequisites: Killoren, Aspect of the Unnatural.
    Benefit: When you are manifesting the aspect of the unnatural, you may cast speak with animals as a spell-like ability once per day. This ability has a total duration of 1 minute, and you may only use it to speak with domesticated animals (such as pets or livestock).

Ensorcelled Claws
Level: Drd 1, Rgr 1
Components: V, S, DF
Casting Time: 1 standard action
Range: Touch
Target: One living creature touched
Duration: 1 min./level
Saving Throw: Will negates (harmless)
Spell Resistance: Yes (harmless)

With a few words and a gesture, the creature you designate takes on a very slight metallic-blue sheen.

This spell allows the target to treat of its natural attacks as if they were made of cold iron for the purpose of overcoming damage reduction. The spell affects unarmed strikes, slam attacks, claw attacks, bite attacks and any other natural weapons the target creature possesses.

Ensorcelled Weapon
Level: Pal 1, Rgr 1, Sor/Wiz 1
Components: V, S, DF
Casting Time: 1 standard action
Range: Touch
Target: One weapon or projectile touched
Duration: 1 min./level
Saving Throw: Will negates (harmless, object)
Spell Resistance: Yes (harmless, object)

With a few words and a gesture, the weapon you touch begins to shine slightly as it were made out of a dull blue-grey metal.

The target of this spell is treated as a cold iron weapon for the purpose of overcoming damage reduction. This spell cannot be cast on natural weapons such as claws, teeth or unarmed strikes.

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