Savage Progressions
Ghost and Werewolf Template Classes
By Sean K Reynolds

In last month's installment, we converted the lich and the weretiger templates to template classes. This month, we tackle the ghost and the werewolf-- a 5-level and a 3-level template class, respectively.

The Ghost

Ghosts are the spectral remains of dead creatures that stubbornly refuse to leave the world of the living. Though many adventurers are stubborn, they are no more likely to return as ghosts than normal people are -- perhaps because adventurers often have access to raise dead and therefore expect to be brought back to life eventually. Nevertheless, an occasional adventurer does force herself into an undead state through sheer willpower when the life force leaves her body. Like all ghosts, such an adventurer must have a strong reason for persisting in an undead form. Thus, a player wishing to play a ghost character should consult with the DM to develop a suitable reason for the ghost's existence and determine appropriate circumstances under which she can rest in peace.

"Ghost" is an acquired template usually gained upon an intelligent creature's death. Such a creature can advance in the ghost template class and develop her powers slowly if desired.

Table SP-15: The Ghost Template Class

Level CR Special
1st +1 Ethereal, fly, ghostly equipment, ghost skills +2, manifestation, undeath
2nd +1 Cha +2, lesser ghost powers, turn resistance +2
3rd +2 Ghost skills +4, rejuvenation
4th +2 Cha +2, greater ghost powers, ghost skills +6, turn resistance +4
5th +2 Ghost skills +8

Ghost Template Class Features

All of the following are class features of the ghost template class.

Ethereal (Ex): A ghost is an ethereal creature. On the Ethereal Plane, she is solid and uses the same natural armor bonus on the Ethereal Plane as she did when she was alive. Furthermore, she can interact normally with other creatures on that plane, and her attacks and spells function normally against them.

Like all ethereal creatures, a ghost is invisible to and cannot interact with creatures on the Material Plane, nor can material creatures harm her (but see manifestation, below). If somehow bodily transported to the Material Plane (with a plane shift or gate spell, for example) she can physically interact with other material creatures because she is solid, but she cannot manifest or return to the Ethereal Plane without magic.

A ghost is native to both the Ethereal and the Material Planes, so she is not considered extraplanar when on either of those planes.

Fly (Ex): On the Ethereal Plane, a ghost has a fly speed of 30 feet, with perfect maneuverability, though she can also move at same rate she did while alive. A manifested ghost flies as an incorporeal creature with a speed of 30 feet (again with perfect maneuverability).

Ghostly Equipment (Ex): A ghost normally appears with ethereal copies of the equipment and other items she carried when she died. This equipment works normally on the Ethereal Plane, but like all ethereal items, it passes harmlessly through material objects or creatures. A ghost with a ethereal magic weapon can manifest and attack with it, though her attacks are subject to a 50% incorporeal miss chance unless the weapon has the ghost touch property. This phenomenon works much like a creature on the Material Plane trying to attack an incorporeal creature with a magical weapon. These ethereal copies of the original items fade away if separated from the ghost or if the ghost is laid to rest.

The original material items that the ghost carried in life remain behind, just as her physical remains do. If another creature seizes one of the originals, the ethereal copy fades away. This loss invariably angers the ghost, who stops at nothing to return the item to its original resting place. A canny ghost character arranges to have her original possessions hidden in a place where they will not be disturbed, so that she can use her ethereal equipment indefinitely.

Ghost Skills: At 1st level, a ghost gains a +2 racial bonus on Hide, Listen, Search, and Spot checks. This bonus increases to +4 at 3rd level, to +6 at 4th level, and to +8 at 5th level.

Manifestation (Su): A ghost on the Ethereal Plane can partially enter the Material Plane at will. Doing so which makes her visible to creatures on the Material Plane, though she remains incorporeal with respect to them. However, she also remains partially on the Ethereal Plane, where she is not incorporeal. Opponents on either the Material Plane or the Ethereal Plane can attack a manifested ghost. The ghost's incorporeality helps to protect her from foes on the Material Plane because of the 50% incorporeal miss chance that applies to attacks from such creatures, but she has no such protection from foes on the Ethereal Plane.

A manifested ghost can attack with a ghost power (see below) that requires a touch attack or with a ghost touch weapon (see ghostly equipment, below). Spells cast by a manifested ghost affect both ethereal and material targets normally, except for those that rely on touch, which work only on ethereal targets.

Undeath: A ghost is the undead spirit of a slain person. Thus, at 1st level, her type changes to "undead (augmented humanoid)," and she gains all the normal benefits and drawbacks that go with that type. She no longer has a Constitution score, so she loses any Constitution bonus or penalty to hit points, saving throws, and skill checks, though she uses her Charisma score for Concentration checks. She also becomes immune to many attacks (including critical hits and sneak attacks), but she is subject to turn or rebuke undead attempts and is immediately destroyed if brought to 0 or fewer hit points (but see Rejuvenation, below). All of her Hit Dice (current and future) increase to d12s. (Rather than rerolling all her Hit Dice, just add 4 hp for every d4 she previously had, 3 hp for every d6, 2 hp for every d8, and 1 hp for every d10).

Familiars and animal companions have the normal reaction to the character's death. If such a companion encounters her as a ghost, it feels uncomfortable around her and refuses to continue its former association with her.

Ability Score Changes: The indicated ability score increases or decreases by the amount noted. These changes are cumulative.

Lesser Ghost Power (Su): At 2nd level, a ghost gains one of the following ghost powers. Unless otherwise stated, the DC is 10 + 1/2 ghost's HD + ghost's Cha modifier.

Corrupting Touch (Su): If a ghost with this ability hits a living target with her incorporeal touch attack, she deals 1d6 points of damage. Against an ethereal opponent, she adds her Strength modifier to her attack and damage rolls when using this attack. Against a material opponent, she adds her Dexterity modifier to her attack rolls only.

Frightful Moan (Su): A ghost with this ability can emit a frightful moan as a standard action. Each living creature within a 30-foot spread must succeed on a Will save or become panicked for 2d4 rounds. This ability is a sonic, necromantic, mind-affecting, fear effect. A creature that successfully saves against the moan cannot be affected by the same ghost's moan for 24 hours.

Telekinesis (Su): A ghost with this ability can use telekinesis as a standard action (caster level 12th or equal to the ghost's HD, whichever is higher). Each time she uses this power, she must wait 1d4 rounds before doing so again.

Turn Resistance (Ex): At 2nd level, a ghost gains +2 turn resistance. When she reaches 4th level, her turn resistance increases to +4.

Rejuvenation (Su): At 3rd level, a ghost becomes stubbornly attached to its new existence, so it is difficult to get rid of her permanently. Destruction in combat simply allows her a DC 16 level check. Success means that she reforms in 2d4 days with all of the ethereal equipment she had when she was "destroyed." As a rule, the only way to get rid of a ghost permanently is to determine the reason for her existence and set right whatever prevents her from resting in peace. As mentioned in the opening paragraph, the player and DM should discuss what keeps the ghost from staying dead and what circumstances would allow her to rest in peace before the character enters play.

Greater Ghost Power (Su): At 4th level, the ghost can choose one ghost power from the following list or two from the Lesser Ghost Powers list.

Corrupting Gaze (Su): A ghost with this power can blast living beings with a glance at a range of up to 30 feet. Any creature that meet the ghost's gaze must succeed on a Fortitude save or take 2d10 points of damage and 1d4 points of Charisma damage.

Draining Touch (Su): If a ghost with this ability hits a living target with her incorporeal touch attack, she deals 1d4 points of ability drain to any one ability score she selects. With each such successful attack, she heals 5 points of damage to herself. Against an ethereal opponent, she adds her Strength modifier to her attack and damage rolls when using this attack. Against a material opponent, she adds her Dexterity modifier to her attack rolls only.

Horrific Appearance (Su): Any living creature within 60 feet that views a ghost with this ability must succeed on a Fortitude save or immediately take 1d4 points of Strength damage, 1d4 points of Dexterity damage, and 1d4 points of Constitution damage. A creature that successfully saves against this effect cannot be affected by the same ghost's horrific appearance for 24 hours.

Malevolence (Su): Once per round, an ethereal ghost who has this power can merge her body with that of a creature on the Material Plane. This effect is similar to that of a magic jar spell (caster level 10th or the ghost's Hit Dice, whichever is higher), except that no receptacle is required. To use this ability, the ghost must be manifested, and she must try to move into the target's space, but doing so does not provoke attacks of opportunity. The target can resist the attack with a successful Will save (DC 15 + the ghost's Cha modifier). A creature that successfully saves is immune to that same ghost's malevolence for 24 hours, and the ghost cannot enter the target's space. If the save fails, the ghost vanishes into the target's body.

The Werewolf

Werewolves are cruel and evil creatures that enjoy killing for the sake of violence and prefer innocents as their targets. Some werewolves enjoy inflicting lycanthropy on good folks by attacking them and stopping short of killing them. Others kill ruthlessly by night and often prey on family and friends. Still others spread their infectious curse among like-minded creatures to create a pack of shapechanging allies. Because of these predilections, afflicted werewolves are fairly common.

A character who chooses to keep his lycanthropic curse can progress in the werewolf template class to gain werewolf abilities. This template class can also be used by natural werewolves who wish to start play at lower levels and develop their powers, or for characters who somehow acquire this form of lycanthropy from another source.

This template class can be taken only by a lycanthrope who is aware of his condition, whether because he was born a werewolf or because he realizes that he is afflicted with lycanthropy. Any ability noted as applying to all forms is available to the werewolf in his natural, hybrid, and animal forms, but not forms acquired via polymorph or other means.

Each lycanthrope template class has three levels, but only natural lycanthropes can take all the levels it offers. An afflicted lycanthrope can take only 1st and 2nd levels in the class, since his level adjustment is +2 instead of +3.

Lycanthrope template classes also follow special rules relating to the benefits such characters acquire from their animal natures. The template allows for a level adjustment of +3 (or +2 for afflicted lycanthropes), but that value does not include the Hit Dice from the lycanthrope's animal form. So while a 1st-level human natural werewolf warrior (as presented in the Monster Manual) has a level adjustment of +3, his ECL is actually 6 -- 1 from his warrior Hit Die, +3 from the template, +2 for his wolf Hit Dice.

Thus, in addition to the levels offered via the appropriate lycanthrope template class, each kind of lycanthrope also has a separate (optional) class progression for his animal abilities. Essentially, a character progressing as a lycanthrope multiclasses into the template class and can also multiclass into the appropriate animal class if desired.

The animal class is entirely optional. No would-be lycanthrope is required to take it, but doing so is an advantage, since a character without it is weaker than other lycanthropes of the same type. Taking levels in the appropriate animal template class gives the character the animal's Hit Dice and hit points (in all forms), saving throw bonuses (in all forms), skill points (in all forms), racial skill bonuses (in all forms), conditional skill modifiers (in animal form), ability score modifiers (in hybrid or animal form), natural armor bonus, and special attacks (such as the wolf's trip). Levels in the animal class may be taken at any point after the character takes one level in the lycanthrope template class. He is also free to take levels in other classes between levels of the template class and the animal class, as desired. The animal class, like the template class, does not count when determining whether a character takes an XP penalty for multiclassing.

An afflicted werewolf that is cured of lycanthropy (as described in the Monster Manual on page 178) immediately loses all werewolf template class levels and wolf class levels (if any). These levels cannot be restored with restoration or similar magic; they are simply gone. Most lycanthropes that do not wish to lose their lycanthropy in this way deliberately fail their saving throws against the spell in order to prevent this traumatic change.

The werewolf template class can also be used for werewolf lords. The only difference is that a werewolf lord must use Table SP-18 for advancement, while a normal werewolf uses Table SP-17.

Table SP-16: The Werewolf Template Class

Level CR Special
1st +1 Wis +2, natural armor +2, alternate form (wolf), low-light vision, shapechanger subtype, werewolf feat (Track)
2nd +1 Alternate form (hybrid), wolf empathy, damage reduction (5/silver), werewolf feats (Iron Will, Weapon Focus [bite])
3rd +2 Curse of lycanthropy, damage reduction (10/silver)

Werewolf Template Class Features

All of the following are class features of the werewolf template class.

Ability Score Changes: The indicated ability score increases or decreases by the amount noted. These changes are cumulative.

Natural Armor Improvements: At 1st level, the werewolf's natural armor bonus increases by +2. A character who does not normally have a natural armor bonus (such as a human) is considered to have an initial natural armor bonus of +0 for the purpose of this ability. Thus, a human's natural armor bonus would increase to +2 at 1st level. These changes are cumulative. The werewolf also gains additional natural armor increases in hybrid or animal form from the animal class.

Alternate Form (Su): At 1st level, the werewolf can take the form of a wolf, and he undergoes this change involuntarily on the nights of the full moon or in times of stress, as described in the Monster Manual. Unless the werewolf is a natural lycanthrope, he does not automatically have control over this ability and must attempt a Control Shape check to intentionally change form or to resist an involuntary change. For an afflicted lycanthrope, Control Shape is a class skill for all classes as well as racial Hit Dice, if any. Natural lycanthropes have full control over when they change shape and do not need to take ranks in this skill. Changing form is a standard action that can be attempted once per round.

A werewolf character who is aware of his condition retains his identity and does not lose control of his actions when he changes. Each time he involuntarily changes to his animal form, however, he must make a Will save (DC 15 + number of times he has been in animal form) or permanently assume the alignment of his lycanthrope kind (chaotic evil for werewolves) in all forms. Any voluntary change to wolf or hybrid form immediately and permanently changes the character's alignment to chaotic evil.

Until the character has taken one or more levels in the optional wolf animal class (see Wolf Abilities, below), changing shape to wolf form does not give him the abilities of a wolf -- he simply is able to take that creature's shape, as if he had a perfect disguise. Since this ability is of limited use, most characters taking levels in the werewolf template class choose to take levels of the wolf class as well in order to gain the full abilities of their animal forms.

At 3rd level, the werewolf can assume a hybrid form -- a shape between his humanoid and his wolf forms. As with the wolf form, this change is purely cosmetic unless the character has taken the wolf class to gain the appropriate abilities.

Low-Light Vision (Ex): A 1st-level werewolf gains low-light vision.

Shapechanger Subtype (Ex): At 1st level, the werewolf gains the shapechanger subtype.

Werewolf Bonus Feats: At 1st and 2nd level, the werewolf gains the feats indicated on Table SP-16 as bonus feats, assuming that he doesn't already have them. If the werewolf doesn't meet the prerequisites (if any) for a bonus feat, he gains the feat but cannot use it until he does meet the prerequisites.

Wolf Empathy (Ex): Starting at 2nd level, a werewolf in any form can communicate and empathize with normal or dire wolves. This ability gives him a +4 racial bonus on checks made to influence the attitude of such creatures. It also allows the communication of simple concepts and (if the animal is friendly) commands, such as "friend," "foe," "flee," and "attack."

Damage Reduction (Ex): At 2nd level, the werewolf gains damage reduction 5/silver. At 3rd level, a natural lycanthrope gains damage reduction 10/silver. An afflicted lycanthrope's damage reduction does not improve beyond 5/silver.

Curse of Lycanthropy (Su): At 3rd level, a natural werewolf can infect other creatures with lycanthropy. Any humanoid or giant hit by the bite attack of a werewolf in animal or hybrid form must succeed on a DC 15 Fortitude save or contract lycanthropy. Afflicted lycanthropes do not transmit lycanthropy.

Table SP-17: The Wolf (Lycanthrope) Class

Class
Level
Hit
Dice
Base
Attack
Bonus
Fort.
Save
Ref.
Save
Will
Save
Skill
Points
Special
1st 1d8 +0 +2 +2 +0 2 + Int mod. Str +2, Con +2, natural armor +2, wolf abilities, bite
2nd 2d8 +1 +3 +3 +0 2 + Int mod. Dex +4, Con +2, scent, trip

Wolf Animal Class Features

All of the following are class features of the wolf class.

Ability Score Changes: The indicated ability score increases or decreases by the amount noted. These changes are cumulative.

Natural Armor Improvements: At 1st level, the character's natural armor bonus increases by +2. A character who does not normally have a natural armor bonus (such as a human) is considered to have an initial natural armor bonus of +0 for the purpose of this ability. Thus, a human's natural armor bonus would increase to +2 at 1st level. These changes are cumulative.

Wolf Abilities (Ex): Upon taking a level in the wolf animal class, the character gains the animal's Hit Dice (in all forms), base attack bonus (in all forms), base saving throw bonuses (in all forms), ability score modifiers (in hybrid and animal forms), skill points (in all forms), and natural armor bonus (in hybrid and animal forms), as well as the special abilities indicated on Table SP-17.

In wolf form, the werewolf's speed changes to 50 feet. Class skills for the wolf racial Hit Dice are Control Shape, Hide, Listen, Move Silently, Spot, and Survival.

Bite: The wolf animal class gives the werewolf a bite attack in his animal and hybrid forms. The bite is a natural weapon that deals 1d6 points of damage.

Scent (Ex): As a 2nd-level wolf, the character gains the scent ability in all forms.

Trip (Ex): A werewolf in hybrid or wolf form that hits with a bite attack can attempt to trip the opponent as a free action without making a touch attack or provoking an attack of opportunity. If the attempt fails, the opponent cannot react to trip the wolf.

The Werewolf Lord

A character can take levels in the dire wolf animal class only if he is a natural or afflicted werewolf lord. Because of the size restrictions on lycanthropy, only Medium, Large, or Huge creatures can become werewolf lords.

Table SP-18: The Dire Wolf (Lycanthrope) Class

Class
Level
Hit
Dice
Base
Attack
Bonus
Fort.
Save
Ref.
Save
Will
Save
Skill
Points
Special
1st 1d8 +0 +2 +2 +2 2 + Int mod. Str +2, Con +2, natural armor +2, wolf abilities, bite
2nd 2d8 +1 +3 +3 +3 2 + Int mod. Dex +4, Con +2, scent, trip
3rd 3d8 +2 +3 +3 +3 2 + Int mod. Str +2, natural armor +1
4th 4d8 +3 +4 +4 +4 2 + Int mod. Str +2, Large, dire wolf bonus feat (Run)
5th 5d8 +3 +4 +4 +4 2 + Int mod. Str +4, dire wolf skills
6th 6d8 +4 +5 +5 +5 2 + Int mod. Str +4, Con +2, dire wolf bonus feat (Alertness)

Dire Wolf Animal Class Features

All of the following are class features of the dire wolf class.

Ability Score Changes: The indicated ability score increases or decreases by the amount noted. These changes are cumulative.

Natural Armor Improvements: At 1st level, the character's natural armor bonus increases by +2. A character who does not normally have a natural armor bonus (such as a human) is considered to have an initial natural armor bonus of +0 for the purpose of this ability. Thus, a human's natural armor bonus would increase to +2 at 1st level. These changes are cumulative.

Wolf Abilities (Ex): Upon taking a level in the dire wolf animal class, the character gains the animal's Hit Dice (in all forms), base attack bonus (in all forms), base saving throw bonuses (in all forms), ability score modifiers (in hybrid and animal forms), skill points (in all forms), and natural armor bonus (in hybrid and animal forms), as well as the special abilities indicated on Table SP-18.

In dire wolf form, the werewolf's speed changes to 50 feet. Class skills for the dire wolf racial Hit Dice are Control Shape, Hide, Listen, Move Silently, Spot, and Survival.

Bite: The wolf animal class gives the werewolf a bite attack in his animal and hybrid forms. The bite is a natural weapon that deals 1d8 points of damage.

Scent (Ex): As a 2nd-level dire wolf, the character gains the scent ability in all forms.

Trip (Ex): A werewolf lord in hybrid or dire wolf form that hits with a bite attack can attempt to trip the opponent as a free action without making a touch attack or provoking an attack of opportunity. If the attempt fails, the opponent cannot react to trip the werewolf lord.

Large (Ex): When the dire werewolf reaches 4th level in the animal class, his animal and hybrid forms become Large size. In either of those forms, he takes a -1 penalty to AC and attack rolls for size, and his Space/Reach changes to 10 ft./5 ft. His ability scores and natural armor bonus change as indicated on Table SP-18.

Dire Wolf Bonus Feats: At 1st and 2nd level, the werewolf lord gains the feats indicated on Table SP-18 as bonus feats, assuming that he doesn't already have them. If the werewolf lord doesn't meet the prerequisites (if any) for a bonus feat, he gains the feat but cannot use it until he does meet the prerequisites.

About the Author

Sean K Reynolds spends a remarkable amount of time on trains, where he defeats bandits, solves complex mathematical equations, and shushes noisy children. Then he wakes up. Check out his website.


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