Illustration by Ubaid Ullah Ahmed
Phoenix children give me great solace that no matter how deep in Damnation one has fallen, one can find the way up to Heaven. It gives me great solace that the vilest of villains can repent, and do good upon this earth, and that redemption does not end with death, but that penance begins with rebirth.
A phoenix-child in his or her previous life has always done wrong not just in their own eyes and the eyes of others but in in that of a particular patron deity, in Questhaven this is most often Our Reaper of Death and Rebirth. Phoenix-children are truly repentant individual who has been resurrected to set right what they have done wrong or to atone in this world for their sins. They always carry a list of deeds they must perform in this new life, even if it is just mental one, though most carry a written one. When they are reborn in the ashes of their own pyre they gain both a new god-given name, new abilities, and a new appearance, but always bear a prominent birth mark in the shape of a burning phoenix. Yet few mortals have the mercy of the divine, so they often must overcome great prejudice and persecution if it is discovered who they once were.
Phoenix-Child (Universal Archetype)
“Phoenix-child” is a universal archetype that is usually applied via the actions of the GM, rather than a choice by a player. Characters who multiclass apply this archetype to every applicable class, adding the class’ levels together to determine the archetype abilities gained.
Alignment: becomes the alignment of the patron deity or ethos that sponsored the base creature becoming a phoenix child.
Rebirth (Su): The phoenix-child’s old body is consumed by flames and a new one walks forth from the ashes. When the DM determines an appropriate time, such as the end of the encounter that caused the character’s death, or a return that allows a phoenix-child creature to save the lives of former foes.
The fire of rebirth actually changes a person. When the phoenix-child emerges from the flames of its pyre, her appearance may have changed, including but not limited to her sex, race, and/or cultural background and basic physical appearance. Her hair color, eye color, the shape of her nose – any obvious physical appearance is always changed in the process. The new face will be of someone killed by the phoenix in her prior life whenever possible. The phoenix-child may also gain new abilities and lose others, fundamentally altering her personality. The PC can change replace all class levels with class level of any other class allowed in the campaign, reassign skill points, reselect feats, and determine a new hit point total as if one were creating the character anew with this level of experience. The GM is encouraged to provide new equipment via the wealth by level charts as if one had created a new character, replacing the characters previous equipment as if it had been transformed by a deity of death or rebirth, including the subject’s spellbook if any. This is how a powerful and charismatic evil mage can be consumed by the pyre and come out a laconic but strong soldier.
Phoenix-children gain two permanent negative levels when they are reborn into to the land of the living, just as if it had been hit by an energy-draining creature. If the subject is 1st level, it takes 2 points of Constitution drain instead (if this would reduce its Con to 0 or less, it can't become one a phoenix-child). A character that is reborn as a spellcaster has a 50% chance of having the correctly prepared spell upon coming back as a phoenix-child. A spellcasting creature that does not prepare spells (such as a sorcerer) has a 50% chance of not losing any given unused spell slot as if it had been used to cast a spell.
A phoenix-child creature returns with a number of hit points equal to its current HD. Any ability scores damaged to 0 are raised to 1. Normal poison and normal disease are cured in the process of becoming a phoenix-child, magical diseases and curses are not undone. Missing parts of the original body are still missing when the creature becomes one of the phoenix-children.
Any bonded animals can become a phoenix-child if they were slain along with their master when she returns as one of the children of the phoenix.
The phoenix-child’s original form cannot be returned to life, though her new phoenix-child form can be by all the normal means.
The List (Su) The first thing the phoenix-child does after taking her new name is write down a list of all the things she must do in order to right the wrongs of her prior life. The items must be specific (e.g. “kill the Last Warlord,” “destroy the Crematorium of Our Grim Wanderer,” “retrieve Stevon’s soul from hell’s damnation,” etc.). There may be as many or as few items on the list as the GM’s determines is appropriate, but everything that can be done to make amends for her prior transgressions against the patron deity or ethos must be listed, and the GM must approve the final list. One should be mindful not to make the list short or easy. Whenever the reborn is directly performing a task on the List, she receives a +1 sacred bonus to all rolls. At 4th level, this becomes a +2 bonus; at 10th level, a +3 bonus. When the Phoenix-child checks off the last item on the List she dies, absolved of all sins forgiven by the deity or ethos. This does not happen often, as children of the phoenix usually die pursuing the items on their list. They can be returned though life via normal means.
Phoenix Gifts (Sp) At 3rd level, a phoenix child gains continual flame, detect magic, detect poison, and see invisibility as spell-like abilities with a caster level equal to her character level. She can use this ability a number of times per day equal to 3 + her Charisma bonus (minimum +1) This ability replaces the character’s 3rd level class feature or two 1st level spell slots if the phoenix-child is a spellcaster and has no class feature at this level.
Shroud of Flame (Su) At 5th level, a phoenix-child can burst into fire as a free action. Thus inflicts an additional 1d6 points of fire damage with each natural attack, and any creature within reach must make a successful Reflex save (DC 10 + ½ her character level + her Con modifier) each round to avoid taking 1d6 points of fire damage plus 1d6 points of fire for every 5 character levels after that she possesses at the start of its turn. A creature that attacks the phoenix-child with natural or non-reach melee weapons takes 1d6 points of fire damage (no save) with each successful hit. This ability replaces the character’s 5th level class feature or two 2nd level spell slot if the phoenix-child is a spellcaster and has no class feature at this level.
Wall of Fire (Sp) At 7th level a phoenix-child can cast wall of fire as a swift action once per day. At 11th level a phoenix-child gains an additional use per day, and again at 17th level a phoenix-child gains an additional use per day. This ability replaces the character’s 7th level class feature or two 3rd level spell slots if the phoenix-child is a spellcaster and has no class feature at this level.
Phoenix Shape (Su) At 9th level, a phoenix-child gains the ability to turn herself into a Medium sized phoenix and back again three times per day. This ability functions like the beast shape III spell, except as noted here. The effect lasts for 1 hour per character level, or until she changes back. Changing form (to phoenix or back) is a standard action and doesn't provoke an attack of opportunity. A phoenix-child retains her ability to speak while in phoenix form.
A phoenix-child can use this ability an additional time per day at 10th level and every two levels thereafter, for a total of eight times at 18th level. At 20th level, a phoenix-child can use phoenix shape at will. As a phoenix-child gains in levels, this ability allows the phoenix-child to take on the form of larger versions.
At 12th level, a phoenix-child can use phoenix shape to change into a Large phoenix as beast shape IV.
At 14th level, a phoenix-child can use phoenix shape to change into a Huge phoenix and gains a +6 size bonus to Strength, a -4 penalty to Dexterity, and a +6 natural armor bonus.
At 16th level, a phoenix-child can use phoenix shape to change into a Gargantuan phoenix and gains a +10 size bonus to Strength, a -4 penalty to Dexterity, a +8 size bonus to Constitution, and a +8 natural armor bonus.
This ability replaces the character’s 9th level class feature or two 4th level spell slots if the phoenix-child is a spellcaster and has no class feature at this level.
Self-Resurrection (Su) At 13th level a slain phoenix-child only remains dead for only 1d4 rounds unless its body is completely destroyed by an effect such as disintegrate. Otherwise, a fully healed phoenix-child in phoenix shape emerges from the remains 1d4 rounds after death (even if she has no uses per day left), as if brought back to life via resurrection. A phoenix-child cannot self-resurrect if she possesses this permanent negative level. A phoenix-child that dies within the area of a desecrate or antimagic field spell cannot self-resurrect until the desecrate or antimagic field effect ends, at which point the phoenix-child immediately resurrects. This ability replaces the character’s 13th level class feature or two 6th level spell slots if the phoenix-child is a spellcaster and has no class feature at this level.