Wednesday, March 18, 2015

The Pen is Mightier: Calligrapher Class

{This is a draft and likely highly unstable/unbalanced, but here it is}

Race: Calligraphers can be of any literate race. However for systems where race and class are the same, assume that the long years of study and peculiar discipline required to become a competent calligrapher outweigh racial attributes.

Hit Points: Calligraphers accumulate hit points as wizards/magic users

Armor Proficiencies: None
Weapon Proficiencies: Daggers, darts, slings, bows, staffs, light crossbows.
Saving Throws: Intelligence, Wisdom

Skills: Two from: Arcana/Research, Religion, Persuasion, Insight, Perception

You know two extra languages.

Starting Equipment - An ornate dagger (penknife), inkwell, inks parchment or paper and pens. Robes. Anything else you'll have to write up, you're a scholar not an adventurer.

General Abilities - 

  • The calligrapher spends a turn writing out the name of a simple object, crafting it in such a shape as to also reflect the form of the thing. The word then 'becomes' the object, "dagger" acts as a dagger, "torch" acts as a lit torch. At any given time, the calligrapher may create a number of such objects equal to half their level. Writing out a new object in excess of this number causes the earliest written to dissolve into a spatter of ink.
  • While they cannot produce magical scrolls themselves, calligraphers can transcribe scrolls produced by sorcerers. Turning the often-illegible and sloppy script of the sorcerer into a thing of beauty and contemplation enhances the power of such scrolls. Doing so, which takes the same amount of time and money as originally creating the scroll, allows the inscribed spell to be cast at its original level + calligrapher level. The act of transcription renders the original scroll a worthless scrap of paper.
  • The calligrapher can write a message coded by the very intricacy of its script. This message can only be read by its intended target(s) or by a very difficult decoding process.

--The calligrapher may create a creature crafted entirely of words. The process takes a week of writing and embellishing the text, and the result can be any creature up to the calligrapher's level in HD (or 1/2 level in 5e CR). The cost of the inks and papers is the HD of the creature x100gp (or whatever currency you use). The creature is obedient and intelligent, and while it cannot speak can communicate with the calligrapher through changing the sinuous lines of text in its body. At any point in time, the calligrapher can spend an exploration turn changing the creature back into written words and vice-versa. 
A level one calligrapher begins with such a creature which may be a cat, hawk, owl, poisonous snake, or similar small animal.

--At level five, you can spend considerable contemplation on the cosmological significance of the two letters and craft a lam-alif, لا, or "NO" that acts weapon dealing d10 damage and gives +1 to AC. The lam-alif allows you to cast remove curse or remove a negative status effect once per day.

--The calligrapher additionally has a number of spell-like things they can do. Calligraphers start off knowing 3 random scripts and add one at random every odd level. They can use a number of scripts per day equal to their level:*
  • Create a glyph that can temporarily paralyze, entrance or cause psychic damage (d6 per level) to a creature reading it.
  • Create a maze with words that can trap a creature for d4 hours: 1: Creature dies inside, 2: Creature comes back with d6 damage done to it, chastised 3-5: Comes back unharmed and confused, 6: Comes back angry.
    Parastou Forouhar
  • Write out a message that takes the shape of a carrier pigeon or similar bird. When completed the message takes flight and flies to its intended recipient. You get five words per calligrapher level 
  • You can write a message in such a way that even people who do not read the language it is written in or the illiterate can understand it. At higher levels (?) the message will translate their words into a form legible to you.
  • You take an object and create a calligraphic depiction/description of it. The object disappears and is held in the written words on paper. You can spend a turn contemplating the words to return the object to its material form, however if the parchment/paper is destroyed while the object is contained within it, the object is lost.
  • You gain knowledge of the author of a message by their writing, at higher levels the face itself appears to you as a series of letters allowing you to read minds.
  • You are briefly connected to the cosmological Tablet and the Pen, the instruments on which destiny is recorded. While you cannot change what is written, you can gain a precognition of your next encounter, or can use it to save against the next attack that would damage you or another target. Potency increases with level 
*This is definitely a bastardized version of Brendan S's spells without levels from Wonder and Wickedness. You could probably use these as a magic specialization within that system if you think this is a dumb class but maybe some of the magic is okay.

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