Chronicler (Apath)

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Unofficial rules compendium

Brave explorers and scavengers of lost or forgotten knowledge, chroniclers are quintessential adventurers, exploring the world for esoteric truths, magical and mundane relics and artifacts, and new and mysterious vistas, be they wonderful or terrible. For some, this journey is purely about the wealth, for others the glory of discovery, and still more are stirred by the irresistible drive to uncover the bones of the ages and legends of forgotten epochs in an effort to chronicle the deeds of yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

Class Information

This is a prestige archetype.

Publisher: Purple Duck Games.

Prestige Class: Chronicler.

Build Classes: Bard.

Role: The chronicler's missions often thrust him into the role of party leader, and adventures typically result from, and revolve around, his endless quests. Other chroniclers find themselves as sidekicks recording the adventures of their own chosen hero and comerades.

Alignment: A chronicler's alignment largely determines his motivations. Good characters tend to view their missions as noble ventures, neutral characters seek to preserve knowledge for knowledge's sake, and evil characters are driven by an urge to accumulate wealth and add to their own glory.

Hit Dice: d8.

Class Skills

The chronicler's class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Acrobatics (Dex), Appraise (Int), Bluff (Cha), Climb (Str), Craft (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Disguise (Cha), Intimidate (Cha), Handle Animal (Cha), Heal (Wis), Knowledge (all) (Int), Linguistics (Int), Perception (Wis), Perform (Cha), Profession (Wis), Ride (Dex), Sense Motive (Wis), Spellcraft (Int), Stealth (Dex), Survival (Wis), Swim (Cha), Use Magic Device (Cha).

Skill Ranks at Each Level: 8 + Int modifier.

Class Features

The chronicler has the standard bard class abilities, except as noted.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency

A chronicler is proficient with all simple weapons, plus the handaxe, longsword, sap, shortbow, shortsword, and throwing axe. Chroniclers are also proficient with light armor and shields (except tower shields). A chronicler can cast spells gained as a chronicler while wearing light armor and using a shield without incurring the normal arcane spell failure chance. Like any other arcane spellcaster, a chronicler wearing medium or heavy armor incurs a chance of arcane spell failure if the spell in question has a somatic component. A multiclass chronicler still incurs the normal arcane spell failure chance for arcane spells received from other classes.

Table: Chronicler Spells Known
Level Spells Known
Zero 1st 2nd 3rd 4th
1st 3
2nd 4
3rd 5
4th 5 2
5th 5 3
6th 6 4
7th 6 4 2
8th 6 4 3
9th 6 5 4
10th 6 5 4 2
11th 6 5 4 3
12th 6 6 5 4
13th 6 6 5 4 2
14th 6 6 5 4 3
15th 6 6 6 5 4
16th 6 6 6 5 4
17th 6 6 6 5 4
18th 6 6 6 6 5
19th 6 6 6 6 5
20th 6 6 6 6 5


A chronicler gains the ability to cast a small number of arcane spells, which are drawn from the bard spell list. A chronicler can only cast bard spells of level four or lower and has no access to bard spells of level 5 or higher - these are not on his spell list.

A chronicler can cast bard spells gained from the chronicler archetype while wearing light armor and using a shield without incurring the normal arcane spell failure chance. Like any other arcane spellcaster, a chronicler wearing medium or heavy armor incurs a chance of arcane spell failure if the spell in question has a somatic component, but a chronicler can ignore the normal arcane spell failure chance of bard spells when wearing light or medium armor. A multiclass chronicler still incurs the normal arcane spell failure chance for arcane spells received from other classes.

To prepare or cast a spell, a chronicler must have a Charisma score equal to at least 10 + the spell level. The Difficulty Class for a saving throw against a chronicler's spell is 10 + the spell level + the chronicler's Charisma modifier. He can cast any spell he knows without preparing it ahead of time, assuming he has not yet used up his allotment of spells per day for the spell’s level.

Like other spellcasters, a chronicler can cast only a certain number of spells of each spell level per day. His base daily spell allotment is given on Table: Chronicler. In addition, he receives bonus spells per day if he has a high Charisma score (see Table: Ability Modifiers and Bonus Spells). When Table: Chronicler indicates that the chronicler gets 0 spells per day of a given spell level, he gains only the bonus spells he would be entitled to based on his Charisma score for that spell level.

A chronicler’s selection of spells is extremely limited. A chronicler at level four knows two spells. As the chronicler advances in level, the number of spells of each level know is given on Table: Chronicler Spells Known. Unlike spells per day, the number of spells a chronicler knows is not affected by his Charisma score. The numbers on on Table: Chronicler Spells Known are fixed.

Cantrips: A chronicler learns cantrips, or 0-level spells, as noted on Table: Chronicler Spells Known. These spells are cast like any other spell, but they do not consume any slots and may be used again.

This replaces the bard's spell ability.

Bardic Performance

This is exactly like the bardic performance ability of the bard, except that the chronicler learns some abilities at a different level, as follows.

  • Suggestion (Ex): A chronicler gains this ability at level 8
  • Dirge of Doom (Su): A chronicler gains this ability at level 10.
  • Soothing Performance (Su): A chronicler gains this ability at level 14.
  • Frightening Tune (Sp): A chronicler gains this ability at level 16.
  • Mass Suggestion(Sp): A chronicler gains this ability at level 20.
  • Deadly Performance (Su): A chronicler never gains this ability.

Master Scribe

A chronicler adds half his class level as a bonus on all Linguistics and Craft (calligraphy) checks, as well as Use Magic Device checks involving scrolls or other written magical items. A chronicler can make Linguistics checks to decipher text as a full-round action and can always take 10 on Linguistics and Profession (scribe) checks, even if distracted or endangered.

Deep Pockets (Ex)

A chronicler collects items as well as lore, picking up small amounts of this or that throughout his travels. At 3rd level, this becomes a practical utility. The chronicler may carry unspecified equipment worth up to 100 gp per class level. This can be any kind of gear that can reasonably fit into a backpack, including potions and scrolls (but not any other sort of magic item). As a full-round action, the chronicler may dig through his pockets to retrieve an item he specifies at that time, deducting its value from the allocated amount of cost. When the total remaining cost reaches 0, the chronicler can retrieve no more items until he refills his deep pockets by spending a few hours at a marketplace and an amount of gold to bring his total up to 100 gp per class level. The withdrawn item cannot weigh more than 10 pounds and cannot be ones specifically fitted to the chronicler's current situation—no keys fitting locks just encountered, no lists of passwords, no books detailing the current dilemma. Generic textbooks or skeleton keys are ok.

In addition, if he takes 1 hour to pack his gear each day, he gains a +4 bonus to Strength to determine his light encumbrance. This does not affect his maximum carrying capacity. The efficient distribution of weight simply encumbers his less than the same amount of weight normally should. Finally, the chronicler gains a +4 bonus on Sleight of Hand checks made to conceal small objects on his person.

Grim Tales (Sp)

At 4th level, by spending one round of bardic performance, the chronicler can create the effect of a doom spell as cast by a sorcerer of his class level. This is a language-dependent effect. The duration of the effect is per the spell, independent of bardic performance.

Lampoon (Sp)

Chroniclers influence the world through their control of information and ability to shape public perception. At 6th level, as a use of bardic performance, a chronicler can praise or lampoon a particular target (an individual or a definable group of creatures) to others. This form of bardic performance creates the effect of the enthrall spell. As long as the performance was maintained one round for each affected target, at the end of the performance all creatures who failed to save shift their attitude toward the target of the lampooning by one step (in the direction of the chronicler's choice) for 1 day per class level.

Pathfinding (Ex)

Beginning at 6th level, a chronicler develops an excellent sense of direction and skill at leading others through difficult terrain. A chronicler gains a +5 bonus on Survival checks made to avoid becoming lost and to Intelligence checks to escape a maze spell. In addition, he always uses the “road or trail” overland movement modifier even when in trackless terrain, whether on foot or mounted. With a DC 15 Survival check, the chronicler can extend this benefit to one companion per class level.

Versatile Performance

This is the same as the bard ability, except that the chronicler can select one Perform Skill at level 6, and another every 6 levels after level 6. The first Perform skill a chronicler selects must be Comedy, Oratory, or Sing.

Live to Tell the Tale (Ex)

At 7th level, once per day plus an additional time per three class levels after level 7, a chronicler can attempt a new saving throw against any ongoing condition against which he failed a saving throw in a previous round, even if the effect is normally permanent. This ability has no effect on conditions that do not allow saving throws or against instantaneous effects.

Table: Chronicler Barbarians Summoned
Level Barbarians Summoned
8 1d4 Level 3 Barbarians
10 2d4 Level 3 Barbarians
12 1d4 Level 6 Barbarians
14 2d4 Level 6 Barbarians
16 4d4 Level 6 Barbarians
18 1d4 Level 13 barbarians
20 2d4 Level 13 barbarians

Call Down Legends

At 8th level, as a bardic performance, a chronicler can summon barbarians of any player-character race allowed in the campaign, as if by summon monster. These barbarians are extra-planar. They arrive after one round of continuous performance (as from a one round casting time spell) and stay for the duration of the performance. They come with normal equipment for NPC barbarians of their level and attack anyone the chronicler designates.

As the chronicler advances in level, the level and number of the summoned barbarians increases, as shown in Table: Chronicler Barbarians Summoned.

Epic Tales (Su)

A 9th-level chronicler can scribe a tale so evocative and so moving that it conveys the effects of bardic performance through the written word. To create an epic tale requires the chronicler to expend a number of rounds of his bardic performance ability equal to twice the duration of the epic tale (maximum duration of 10 rounds), and any relevant Performance skill check is made with Perform (Oratory). An epic tale affects only the reader, but it grants all the benefits that would normally apply for hearing a performance. A chronicler may apply the effects of any feats that affect bardic performance to his epic tales. An epic tale retains its supernatural potency for 1 day per class level. It requires 1 hour to inscribe, a full-round action to activate, and a duration equal to 1/2 the number of bardic performance rounds expended during its creation. Once activated, an epic tale's magic is consumed.

Inspire Action (Su)

As a use of performance with immediate duration, an 10th-level chronicler can exhort any one ally within hearing (except himself) to a sudden surge of action, allowing his ally to immediately take an extra move action. This does not count against the ally's number of actions on his own turn.

At 15th level, he can enable an ally to immediately take a standard action instead. At 20th level, he can enable an ally to immediately take either a full-round action or a standard and move action.

Note that using a new bardic performance breaks any other bardic performance in progress. It is possible to use this performance and then start another bardic performance in the same round, but this costs two rounds of bardic performance and two bardic performance actions. It is not possible to use or be affected by inspire action multiple times in the same round.

Jack of Trades (Ex)

At 16th level, the chronicler considers all skills to be class skills. This is modified version of the bard's jack of all trades ability.

Greater Epic Tales (Su)

At 16th level, the chronicler's written word gains in power. This ability functions like the chronicler's epic tales ability, except that if read aloud, the bardic music takes effect as if the author had used the ability, but the effects are targeted by the reader and use the reader's Oratory skill bonus and Charisma score where applicable.

Table: Chronicler

Base Attack
Special Spells per Day
1 2 3 4
1st +0 +0 +2 +2 Bardic knowledge, master scribe, cantrips, countersong, distraction, fascinate, inspire courage +1
2nd +1 +0 +3 +3 Grim tales, well-versed
3rd +2 +1 +3 +3 Deep pockets, inspire competence +2
4th +3 +1 +4 +4 Lampoon 0
5th +3 +1 +4 +4 Inspire courage +2, lore master 1/day 1
6th +4 +0 +1 +1 Pathfinding, versatile performance 1
7th +5 +1 +1 +1 Inspire competence +3, live to tell the tale 1 0
8th +6/+1 +1 +2 +2 Call down legends, suggestion 1 1
9th +6/+1 +1 +2 +2 Epic tales, inspire greatness 2 1
10th +7/+2 +2 +3 +3 Dirge of doom, inspire action (move) 2 1 0
11th +8/+3 +2 +3 +3 Inspire competence +4, inspire courage +3 2 1 1
12th +9/+4 +2 +4 +4 Lore master 2/day, versatile performance 2 2 1
13th +9/+4 +3 +4 +4 Greater epic tales 3 2 1 0
14th +10/+5 +3 +5 +5 Soothing performance 3 2 1 1
15th +11/+6/+1 +3 +5 +5 Inspire action (standard), Inspire competence +5, inspire heroics 3 2 2 1
16th +12/+7/+2 +3 +7 +7 Frightening tune, jack-of -trades, greater epic tales 3 3 2 1
17th +12/+7/+2 +3 +7 +7 Inspire courage +4, lore master 3/day 4 3 2 1
18th +13/+8/+3 +4 +8 +8 Versatile performance 4 3 2 2
19th +14/+9/+4 +4 +8 +8 Inspire competence +6 4 3 3 2
20th +15/+10/+5 +4 +9 +9 Inspire action (full), mass suggestion 4 4 3 3

Summary of Lost Class Abilities

These abilities of the original class are lost or modified in this archetype:

  • Spells
  • Cantrips
  • Suggestion
  • Suggestion
  • Dirge of Doom
  • Soothing Performance
  • Frightening Tune
  • Mass Suggestion
  • Deadly Performance
  • Jack of all trades (level 10 and 19)
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