The 20-level classes presented in books other than the Player's Handbook have become popular choices for players and DMs. The first two articles in this series discussed how to import classes from Player's Handbook 2 and the warlock class into the Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting. This installment focuses on two classes from Player's Handbook 2-- the scout -- and the Miniatures Handbook -- the healer. At the end of each entry are alternatives for how to include the ideas written here but without requiring the introduction of these classes into your game.
Scouts are the first line of defense in any standing army. With their ability to move quickly, superlative stealth and survival skills, and their pension for sniping at enemies while staying out of harm's way, scouts are the best defense against getting surprised, surrounded, and outnumbered. While rogues and rangers can be effective in these endeavors, rogues lack the wilderness abilities and toughness of the scout, and rangers lack the skill and speed. These abilities, along with the scouts' ability to find traps, make scouts a great asset to most parties.
Among the elves of Faerûn, the largest contingents of scouts resides on Evermeet and in newly resettled Cormanthor. The elite group of scouts on Evermeet, known as Kel'min'hara (fleet defenders of the blessed), are based in Sumbrar, the island military stronghold 50 miles to the east of Evermeet. This contingent of 100 elite lookouts and snipers utilizes portals between the two islands to be ready for threats both on land and from the sea. The numbers of the Kel'min'hara were greater prior to the resettlement of Cormanthor, but when Seiveril Miritar put out his call for volunteers, a significant portion of the elite squad heeded his request. Now, 35 scouts of the original group patrol the forests of Cormanthor, stomping out baatezu, drow, and other threats. Having lost 15 of their members in the war, the Kel'min'hara of Cormanthor have a renewed dedication to protecting these lands from evil. They sing campfire songs about the legendary deeds of Otaerhyn Hawksong, the wood elf commander of the scout contingent of Cormanthyr's armor.
The scouting tradition is strong among other races as well. Seven halfling scouts of the akh'velahr (the standing army of Cormanthyr) destroyed a large encampment of worshippers of Moander in the Year of the Galloping Gorgon (503 DR). The septet became known as the Heroes of Myth Drannor and was celebrated for years. Two of their members were given prominent positions as armathors of Myth Drannor. After the fall of Myth Drannor, a contingent of halfling scouts returned to their ancestral land and established a strong scouting tradition that continues today.
Throughout Faerûn, scouts serve in armies, act as bounty hunters, work as guides, and travel with adventuring parties. From the wilderness guides of Rashemen to the elite lookouts of Silverymoon, scouts play an important role. DMs who do not wish to introduce this class, however, have little extra work to do. Almost any PC or NPC scout could just as easily be a rogue or ranger (or a multiclass combination of the two). While scouts have a more focused hybrid of stealth and wilderness abilities, those classes can almost as easily function in the same roles.
Healers are divine spellcasters devoted entirely to tending to the sick and injured. Healers only belong to good faiths and cannot refuse to help good-aligned wounded creatures. While the Miniatures Handbook allows healers to derive their powers from ideals or causes, in Faerûn, healers must choose a patron deity. It is possible for healers to belong to any good or neutral-aligned religions, but they never associate with gods granting the death, destruction, hatred, metal, retribution, suffering (with the exception of Ilmater), tyranny, undead, or war domains. Healers are most commonly found in churches with the healing domain -- Berronar Truesilver, Ilmater, Lurue, Sharindlar, and Torm.
Healers are unique among the members of their churches in that they typically remain entirely apolitical. It is rare for a healer to be involved in religious intrigue or to be denied spells from her deity. If she fulfills her oath to heal the sick and injured at all times, her deity has no reason to punish or refuse her. Some might find this life boring, but to a healer, anonymity and neutrality are liberating. They also make her an excellent and trustworthy midwife, physician, combat medic, and adventuring companion.
The Churches of Berronar Truesilver and Sharindlar share collective responsibility for the health and well being of the dwarven people of Faerûn. Sharindlar's clergy typically oversee the more "fun" aspects of health, such as sex, courtship, and romance. Sharindlar's faithful, known as thalornor (those who are merciful) are easygoing -- like sisters or confidants with whom dwarves can share problems and secrets. Berronar's clergy, known as faenor (those of the home) take on the role of stern but caring matriarch, helping people with problems in a more formal role. Healers from both religions care for the sick and injured, working both on the battlefield and in medical wards. Sharindlar's healers are more likely to work on a micro-level, getting their hands dirty with local problems. Berronar's healers are more likely to work in a directorial or educational capacity, teaching and organizing healing and familial activities. It is not uncommon for healers of both religions to adventure, though the more chaotic nature of Sharindlaran healers makes them more likely to travel. The churches of both faiths run a healer's college together in Earthheart -- the religious capital of The Great Rift (homeland of the gold dwarves). Graduates tend to the sick and injured in the Rift, acting as physicians, midwives, and combat medics to the multitude of dwarves living in the region.
Healers of Ilmater are often even more dedicated and ascetic than the paladins and clerics of the Broken God. Unlike some healers, those dedicated to Ilmater rarely refuse to help the injured of even evil and tyrannical races and groups. They never endorse or support such causes, but when an individual is in need, these healers seldom deny aid. In Heliogabalus, a group of Ilmatari worshippers runs a healer's college known as the End's Rest. This small college tends to the paladins and young recruits who defend the city as well as the local sick, pregnant, and injured.
For those wishing to employ healing colleges but without using the healer class, there is a simple alternative. Clerics and druids can perform much the same roles as healers, though their focus is wider and their politics are often more complicated.
About the Author
Eytan Bernstein hails from exotic Long Island and spends his days writing and editing projects for numerous game companies. In addition to his work on Dragons of Faerûn, the Magic Item Compendium, and numerous other projects, Eytan serves as a partner and PR & Marketing Manager for Silven Publishing. Eytan enjoys hunting for gems and minerals in rock quarries, studying religion and theology, composing music, and playing with his many pets. For more information about Eytan, check out www.eytanbernstein.com. Send questions and comments for Eytan here.