Endless Blue – Week 31 – The Xanthellaette, Coral Shapers of the Chelon Reefs   5 comments

Sociology

Xanthellaette — Coral Shapers of the Chelon Reefs

Invisible lacework criss-crosses the sea beds of Elqua’s many bodies of water, palpably pulsing with life energies that feed the basic foundations of oceanic ecology and tying together every living thing.  The xanthellae are the chosen ones charged with keeping that primal circulatory system hale and healthy, free of the parasitical feeding of less astute races.  Their role as protector grants them access to the pulse of the Source, and by dipping into the eldritch power that shoots through the silt they can employ coral like clay.

Adventurers: The worth of a coral shaper is dependent on the proximity of a ley line, one of the ephemeral strands of sustenance that the metaphysical world lives on.  This requires the xanthellaette to be touching the ground in order to draw energy — called “tapping into” — from the network of global essence.

Alignment: Only through diligent study and meticulous research can new spells be discovered by a xanthellaette; on the other hand it is intuition that guides them to the network of ley lines and instinct that urges them to tap into the raw power therein.  Consequently, coral shapers tend to remain neutral, with the variation of belief expressing itself through acts of kindness or cruelty.

Xantellaettes in the Known World
Self-appointed and self-aggrandizing, xanthellaettes see themselves as the moral superiors to the other races, placing reverence of nature over that of social or economic progress.  The hypocrisy of this stand is lost on their deluded culture, but the evidence of their ability to make vital coral malleable to their will is unchallenged.

GAME RULE INFORMATION
Xanthellaettes have the following game statistics.

Abilities: Any xanthellaette will tell you they excel at their craft due to high Intelligence, which not only grants them bonus spells but also heightens their skills at coral shaping and locating the latticework of ley lines that lace the sea floor.  Though they will claim intelligence is all they need, they gain secondary bonuses to skills from Wisdom and Dexterity.

Race: It is unheard of for any race, civilized or primitive, other than Chelon becoming xanthellaettes, yet there is no intrinsic reason for this.  The ability to sense ley lines seems to only be found in Chelon, but this ability is observably learned by the coral shaper and is not innate to his race.  This, coupled with the natural racism all Chelon exhibit, has kept the art of xanthellae isolated to the dwindling Chelonite population.

Alignment: Coral shapers tend to be neutral on the law/chaos axis, but vary widely in terms of good or evil.
Hit Dice:
d4.
Starting Funds:
4d6 gp.

CLASS SKILLS
The xanthellaette’s class skills (and key ability for each) are Appraise (Int), Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Craft (coralshaping) (Int), Decipher Script (Int), Forgery (Int), Knowledge (Int), Profession (Wis), Spellcraft (Int), Survival (Wis).

Skill Points at 1st Level: (2 + Intelligence modifier) x 4.
Skill Points at Each Additional Level:
2 + Intelligence modifier

CLASS FEATURES
All of the following are the xanthellaette’s class features.

Xanthellaette Class Abilities Chart

Level BAB Fort Ref Will Feats Spells per Day*
1 +0 +0 +0 +0

Spells, Ley Locating, Ley Cartography, Ley Line Tapping, Coral Shaping

1

2 +1 +0 +0 +0

2

3 +1 +1 +1 +1

2/1

4 +2 +1 +1 +1

Coral Shaping Mastery

3/2

5 +2 +2 +2 +2

3/2/1

6 +3 +2 +2 +2

3/3/2

7 +3 +3 +3 +3

Coral Casting

4/3/2/1

8 +4 +3 +3 +3

4/3/3/2

9 +4 +4 +4 +4

4/4/3/2/1

10 +5 +4 +4 +4

Bonus Feat

4/4/3/3/2

11 +5 +5 +5 +5

4/4/4/3/2/1

12 +6/+1 +5 +5 +5

4/4/4/3/3/2

13 +6/+1 +6 +6 +6

4/4/4/4/3/2/1

14 +7/+2 +6 +6 +6

4/4/4/4/3/3/2

15 +7/+2 +7 +7 +7

Bonus Feat

4/4/4/4/4/3/2/1

16 +8/+3 +7 +7 +7

4/4/4/4/4/3/3/2

17 +8/+3 +8 +8 +8

4/4/4/4/4/4/3/2/1

18 +9/+4 +8 +8 +8

4/4/4/4/4/4/3/3/2

19 +9/+4 +9 +9 +9

4/4/4/4/4/4/4/3/3

20 +10/+5 +9 +9 +9

Bonus Feat

4/4/4/4/4/4/4/4/4

* — Add the appropriate number of doses for bonus spells due to high Intelligence when they first become accessible.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: The xanthellaette is proficient in all simple weapons, but no armor.  Wearing of any armor impinges on the connection between the xanthellaette and the ley line he is tapping into, and such interference can cause spellcasting to fail on par with the armor’s % Arcane Failure rating.

Spells: Xanthellaette magic stems from the life energies of the world, the pulse of the Source.  As such, it expresses qualities of both arcane and divine magic at once.  By default the coral shaper has a daily alotment of spells he can cast must memorize which spells he want to use before hand.  However, when in the presence of their divinity (i.e., when on a ley line), they can commune with the spirituality of their world and tap into the life of the Source, using its life force to cast spells spontaneously. Xanthellae, this hybrid form of magic, involves direct manipulation of mystic energies drawn from a divine force to alter the coral that serves as the foundation of most ecological biomes.

In order to learn, prepare, or cast a xanthellae spell, the coral shaper needs to have an Intelligence score of at least 10 plus the level of the spell being cast.  The saving throw against such xanthellae magic is 10 + spell level + the coral shaper’s Intelligence modifier.  Coral shapers do not have access to cantrips or orisons.

The spells available to a xanthellaette are limited by his level, and he is only allowed to cast a number of spells per level each day (unless tapping into a ley line).  The maximum number of spells allowed to have memorized is shown in the Class Ability Table above.  In addition to those, a coral shaper gains bonus spells per day if he possesses a high enough Intelligence score.

The number of spells a xanthellaette can know is practically unlimited, but the list to chose from is rather limitled — they may choose from any spell on either the Cleric or Wizard spell lists, with the stipulation that the spell appears on both lists.  This results in a coral shaper able to access the same spell at different levels — for example, remove curse is a 3rd level cleric spell and a 4th level spell for a wizard.  A xanthellette can choose either spell when the opportunity opens up, and may even take both.  This does take up two choices from the total number of spells known, but allows the coral shaper to cast the spell using both his 3rd level and 4th level slots (without the need for metamagic feats).  Xanthellaettes start knowing two 1st level spells and may learn a new spell of the indicated level (or lower) each time they gain a new class level, and maintain a spell book just as a wizard requires.

Ley Locating: Xanthellaettes can sense the flow of magic power through the world of Elqua, and can locate ley lines when within range.  They make a Spellcraft check at DC 20.  This roll gains a bonus equal to the xanthellaette’s class levels, then modified negatively by the distance to the ley line in increments of 10 feet.  For example, a ley line 60 feet away would have a -6 penalty to the Spellcraft check.  Ley line location is very rare, and a coral shaper could go for hundreds of miles before sensing another ley line.

Ley Cartography: Knowledge of fresh ley lines and nexuses is the most jealously guarded secret for most xanthellaettes, perhaps more than their own spellbooks.  Xanthellaettes produce a series of ley maps as they explore the Known World and record their findings on foldable sheets of hide in the form of shallow relief maps.  This must be done by physically standing on the ley line itself and tapping into it.  Then, using minute invocations of coral shaping (at no spell level cost), a raised line forms on the map.  The line on the map follows the path of the ley line exactly, but to scale.  The length recorded is equal to one mile per level of the xanthellaette.  The coral shaper starts knowing the location of two ley lines, plus one for every point of the character’s Int modifier.  These ley lines need not be local, but their location must be determined beforehand.

Ley Line Tapping: Once a coral shaper has located a ley line, he can tap into the energies running through a ley line much the same way farmers can tap into a plant and withdraw it’s sap.  This takes a simple Spellcraft check at DC 20, modified by the purity of the ley line, made every time he wishes to call upon the puissant magic flowing within the line.

Communal (large communities built around them and tapped into constantly)                    -10
Developed (commonly known but not tapped into constantly)                                              -5
Robust (a few xanthellaettes know of it and have occassionally  tapped into it)                  0
Fresh (one or two coral shapers have found it and have rarely tapped it)                           +5
Pristine (newly discovered and never before tapped into)                                                    +10

Tapping into a ley line allows a coral shaper to use the world’s life energies to create coral items (see coral shaping below), cast certain spells spontaneously, or even overcome the chance of arcane spell failure while wearing armor.

Coral Shaping: At first level, xanthellaettes tap into the connectivity of Elqua’s ley lines and learn how to shape coral into physical objects.  By sacrificing an appropriate number of spell levels, a xanthellaette can use the Craft (coralshaping) skill to create physical solid items such as tools or weaponry, but not non-rigid things such as bows or antitoxins.  Use the chart in the Player’s Handbook to determine the item’s DC, then sacrifice the appropriate number of spell levels indicated below:

Craft DC Range # of Spell Levels Needed
Up to 14 1

15-19

2

20-24

3

25+ 4+

Increase the number of spell levels needed by one for every five full points of DC beyond 25.

Alternately, the coral shaper can dip directly into the power coursing through the ley line to provide the spell level energy instead of sacrificing his own spells.  He is not limited by the amount of energy he syphons in this manner, and many xanthellaette set up their shop along ley lines to take advantage of this easy supply of magic.

The speed of shaping coral is not as swift as other crafts, and each attempt takes a month of work instead of the standard week as the xanthellaette coaxes to coral polyps to grow in the appropriate directions.

Spontaneous Coral Casting: The following chart shows the list of spells a xanthellaette can cast using the magic of a ley line as the source of his power instead of his own daily allotment of spells.  These spells do not need to be memorized before hand, but the coral shaper must be of high enough level to be able to cast them.  In many ways, this is the equivalent of a Domain for their divine casting, but the spells cannot otherwise be cast unless the coral shaper is tapping into a ley line.

1st level – Entangle
2nd level – Spike Growth
3rd level – Meld into Stone
4th level – Evard’s Black Tentacles
5th level – Wall of Coral
6th level – Flesh to Coral/Coral to Flesh
7th level – Statue
8th level – Coral Body
9th level – Meteor Swarm

The effect of these spells will be comprised of coral instead of rock or other material.  For example, entangle or Evard’s black tentacles results in tendrils of coral erupting from the silt seabed, while statue or “coral body” produce the same effects, but are comprised of coral.

When at a ley nexus, the coral shaper can spontaneously cast maximized versions of the above spells.

Coral Shaping Mastery: At 4th level, xanthellaettes have developed sufficient skill in his coral shaping abilities to begin producing masterwork items.  This costs the coral shaper an additional number of spell levels equal the number required to make the item to begin with, and can be tapped from a ley line in place of sacrificing levels.

Coral Casting: At 7th level, a coral shaper wearing xanthellae armor can ignore the armor’s inherent chance of arcane spell failure when casting spells while at a ley line.  This ability improves at 12th level to only require the coral shaper within a number of feet from a ley line equal to his class level.

Bonus Feat: Xanthellaettes gain a bonus feat at 10th level, and again every five levels there after (at 15th and 20th levels).

The Repercussions of Tapping into the Source

While it may be tempting to tap into ley lines to fuel all a xanthellaette’s magic, the dark truth is every usage of the world’s ley energies slowly depletes it.  Forcing coral growth in the coral shaper’s proximity means coral elsewhere dies, and the more energy syphoned off, the greater the area of coral blight.  It is ironic that the champions self-appointed as the defenders of the coral reefs are themselves as guilty of destroying as they charge the other races.  Many of the greatest cities of the Chelon Seas’ history died out more to overuse of xanthellae than the “debasement of ethics and morals” the Chelon blame on other races.

Blighted coral is brittle and dull, little more than a grey-ish crust than the vibrant life that healthy coral exudes.  Xanthellae items, armor, and weapons are not beyond becoming blighted, even if enchanted.  They will maintain any magical glamour placed upon them, but they will lose their artistic esthetic and the slow self-repair capabilities.

“Even Xanthellaette need to make a kerf in coral…”
— an Elquan turn-of-phrase meaning
even the best need to get their hands dirty.

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