Protégé (Apath)

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Unofficial rules compendium

A protégé has gained the favor of a supernatural patron. After having impressed the patron with talent and potential, the protégé receives gifts of magic and power. Protégés are less proficient as adventurers than regular bards, having led a charmed life. Instead they have more magic and are accompanied in their adventures by a familiar, an agent of their patron.

Class Information

This is a force armor archetype open to bards and skalds.

Publisher: Purple Duck Games.

Starting Wealth: 1d6 x 10 gp (average 35 gp.) In addition, each character begins play with an outfit worth 10 gp or less.

Hit Die: d8.

Class Features

The protégé has all the standard bard or class features, except as noted below.

Alignment (Ex)

A protégé can be of any alignment.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency (Ex)

A protégé is proficient with all simple weapons, plus the longsword, rapier, and shortbow. He is not proficient in any armor or with shields. Armor interferes with a protégé’s gestures, which can cause his spells with somatic components to fail.

Familiar (Ex)

At 1st level, a protégé forms a close bond with a familiar, a creature that helps to guide him along his path. Familiars also aid a protégé by granting him skill bonuses, additional spells, and help with some types of magic. This functions like the wizard’s arcane bond class feature. A protégé's familiar is an agent of the patron (see below), sent to keep the protégé alive and in line. The ultimate loyalty of the familiar is to the patron, and it can be a constant nagging reminder to a protégé that it feels is straying from the patron's ideals or takes unnecessary risks. A protégé that for some reason does not have a familiar when leveling up is called to a patron audience (see below) and asked to report in person.

If a protégé takes the Improved Familiar feat, the familiar options available are decided by the patron's alignment, not the bard's.

This replaces countersong and distraction for a bard or uncanny dodge and improved uncanny dodge for a skald.

Familiar Plot Options
As long as the protégé and patron are well aligned, the familiar is loyal. This is the normal situation, but a disloyal familiar has much plot potential for an interested player. If the familiar feels the protégé has betrayed the patron, it might turn hostile and betray him in various ways. It has no control over the protégé's powers, but may alert his enemies, share his secrets, and otherwise work to counter his ambitions in various ways. When the protégé advances in level, the patron asks the familiar to report on the activities of the protégé. If the familiar gives a bad report, the protégé might not be allowed to select the new spells he wants upon gaining the new level, or might be denied new spells altogether. If the familiar's reports that the protégé is a traitor, the patron will deny the increase in power and the protégé cannot level up as a protégé until he makes up with the familiar. A possible theme of such a story might be how the protégé subverts the familiar's loyalty, making it give false reports. An evil solution is to slay the familiar just before leveling and summoning a new one that knows nothing of the protégé's actions.

Mage Armor (Ex)

Add mage armor to the protégé's spell list as a first level bard spell and as a bonus known spell. At 5th level the protégé becomes a master at using force armors, and the armor bonus of mage armor and bracers of armor stack when worn by a protégé.

Patron Audience (Sp)

At 1st level, when a protégé gains his familiar, he must also select a patron from the same list used by the witch. This patron is a vague and mysterious force, granting the protégé power for reasons that he might not entirely understand. While these forces need not be named, they typically hold influence over one area of magic.

Patrons are powerful entities, often dragons, fey, or undead but sometimes from the outer or inner planes; agathions, archons, angels, azatas, devils, genies, kami, oni, and proteans all make good patrons for protégés. A bard's alignment need not resemble the patron's, but too great a difference is likely to cause poor relations. The actual personality and goals of the patron should be worked out between the GM and the player of the protégé, taking into consideration alignment, the type of familiar (and plans for a possible future Improved Familiar), and theme of the patron. The GM should not force a hostile patron on the protégé, but some tension between protégé and patron increases the role-playing potential. The patron's primary interest in the bard is in experiencing the bard perform and sponsoring his artistic development, patrons generally treat their favorite's adventuring careers with benign neglect.

At any time, the protégé can be called back to his patron to entertain. This takes the form of a gate spell that opens and transports the protégé into the patron's presence, then sends him back to his companions when the patron is satisfied. This is basically a random event the GM can spring on the protégé at any time, but it should not be allowed to disrupt the story being told. The most common use of this ability is to explain where the protégé is when the player is away from the game, but it can be used as a plot device by the GM to bring the protégé (and possibly any willing companions) to the patron. The patron might rarely have some advice to offer or task it wants done, but mostly the audience is merely entertainment for the patron. An audience usually takes eight hours but can take much more or less at the whim of the patron. The bard and any friends return from the audience fully healed, fed, rested, and with spells prepared.

At level 16, the protégé can request an audience with his patron once per day. This is a gate spell that brings the bard and his companions into the patron's presence, possibly escaping some dire situation. After the audience is completed, the patron will return the group to a familiar safe location, such as their home, a beautiful glade in the forest, and so on.

At level 20, the protégé can return from the audience with his patron to any spot he knows of, as long as that spot is not inside a building or being guarded. This ability can deposit the bard in exotic locations such as the City of Brass or a specific angelic mountain, but not inside any building or secure area there. Wilderness areas of huge cave complexes count as outdoors for this ability. This replaces jack of all trades ability gained at level 16 and deadly performance for a bard and damage resistance for a skald.

Patron Spells

At 1st level, 4th level and every 3 protégé levels after level 4 until level 16, a protégé’s patron adds new spells to a protégé’s spells list and known spells.

The spells gained depend upon the patron chosen. Each patron is listed by its theme. See patron audience for more on the patron. Patron spells and commune replaces lore master for both bards and skalds.

Commune (Sp)

At level 10, the protégé can cast commune at will to communicate with his patron. This ability requires using two rounds of bardic performance per question asked. If used during a patron audience, it only costs one round of bardic performance per question. Patron spells and commune replaces lore master for both bards and skalds.

Summary of Changed Class Abilities

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

  • Class Skills
  • Weapon and Armor Proficiency
  • Bardic Knowledge
  • Countersong
  • Distraction
  • Deadly Performance
  • Jack Of All Trades

Table: The Bard Protégé

Special Spells per Day
1 2 3 4 5 6
1st +0 +0 +2 +2 Bardic performance, cantrips, familiar, mage armor, fascinate, inspire courage +1, patron audience, patron spell (1st) 1
2nd +1 +0 +3 +3 Versatile performance, well-versed 2
3rd +2 +1 +3 +3 Inspire competence +2 3
4th +3 +1 +4 +4 Patron spell (2nd) 3 1
5th +3 +1 +4 +4 Inspire courage +2, lore master (take 10), mage armor (stacking) 4 2
6th +4 +2 +5 +5 Suggestion, versatile performance 4 3
7th +5 +2 +5 +5 Inspire competence +3, patron spell (3rd) 4 3 1
8th +6/+1 +2 +6 +6 Dirge of doom 4 4 2
9th +6/+1 +3 +6 +6 Inspire greatness 5 4 3
10th +7/+2 +3 +7 +7 Commune, versatile performance, patron spell (4th) 5 4 3 1
11th +8/+3 +3 +7 +7 Inspire competence +4, inspire courage +3, lore master 1/day 5 4 4 2
12th +9/+4 +4 +8 +8 Soothing performance 5 5 4 3
13th +9/+4 +4 +8 +8 Patron spell (5th) 5 5 4 3 1
14th +10/+5 +4 +9 +9 Frightening tune, versatile performance 5 5 4 4 2
15th +11/+6/+1 +5 +9 +9 Inspire competence +5, inspire heroics 5 5 5 4 3
16th +12/+7/+2 +5 +10 +10 Patron audience (escape) , patron spell (6th) 5 5 5 4 3 1
17th +12/+7/+2 +5 +10 +10 Inspire courage +4, lore master 2/day 5 5 5 4 4 2
18th +13/+8/+3 +6 +11 +11 Mass suggestion, versatile performance 5 5 5 5 4 3
19th +14/+9/+4 +6 +11 +11 Inspire competence +6 5 5 5 5 5 4
20th +15/+10/+5 +6 +12 +12 Patron audience (travel) 5 5 5 5 5 5

Table: Skald Protegé

Special Spells per Day
1 2 3 4 5 6
1st +0 +2 +0 +2 Audience, bardic knowledge, familiar, cantrips, inspired rage (+2 Str/Con), mage armor, patron spell, raging song, scribe scroll 1
2nd +1 +3 +0 +3 Versatile performance, well-versed 2
3rd +2 +3 +1 +3 Rage power, song of marching 3
4th +3 +4 +1 +4 Inspired rage, uncanny dodge, patron spell 3 1
5th +3 +4 +1 +4 Mage armor (stacking), spell kenning 1/day 4 2
6th +4 +5 +2 +5 Rage power, song of strength 4 3
7th +5 +5 +2 +5 Patron spell, versatile performance 4 3 1
8th +6/ +1 +6 +2 +6 Inspired rage (+4 Str/Con) 4 4 2
9th +6/ +1 +6 +3 +6 Rage power 5 4 3
10th +7/ +2 +7 +3 +7 Commune, dirge of doom 5 4 3 1
11th +8/ +3 +7 +3 +7 Spell kenning 2/day 5 4 4 2
12th +9/ +4 +8 +4 +8 Inspired rage, rage power, versatile performance 5 5 4 3
13th +9/ +4 +8 +4 +8 Patron spell 5 5 4 3 1
14th +10/ +5 +9 +4 +9 Song of the fallen 5 5 4 4 2
15th +11/ +6/ +1 +9 +5 +9 Rage power 5 5 5 4 3
16th +12/ +7/ +2 +10 +5 +10 Audience (request), inspired rage (+6 Str/Con), patron spell 5 5 5 4 3 1
17th +12/ +7/ +2 +10 +5 +10 Spell kenning 3/day, versatile performance 5 5 5 4 4 2
18th +13/ +8/ +3 +11 +6 +11 Rage power 5 5 5 5 4 3
19th +14/ +9/ +4 +11 +6 +11 5 5 5 5 5 4
20th +15/ +10/ +5 +12 +6 +12 Audience (anywhere), inspired rage, master skald 5 5 5 5 5 5
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