CGtY:Votary

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Playtest Material

This class is currently being previewed for the Castaway's Guide to Yneslea.

An Echmer readies themselves for battle.
Votary
Personality | Strength
Difficulty
Offense
Defense
Support
2 stars
3 stars
2 stars
2 stars
Custom Class Class | Variant Halfcaster

Class Overview. The Votary is a special halfcaster class that follows a strict religious order that matches their magic with martial might.
Introspection. Grants a boost to the physical capabilities of a Votary.
Familiarity with the Beast. Allows a Votary the ability to defend their allies.

Face contorted with pain and suffering, the bat elf unsheathed the dagger at her side and quickly scribbled an ancient Nemeric glyph into the palm of her hand, before pressing it firmly into the center of her forehead. The alchemic formula reacted swiftly to the raw mana within her and in mere moments she could feel psychic bars springing up around the outskirts of her mind. Grinning as the siren’s telepathic wail no longer harmed her, she released a cloud of fury salts, kindlepitch, and dwarven oil that coalesced into a fiery apparition to attack her foes. The Hyu-Ket knew that he would find no peace manning the blood-stained walls of Portentous Whelm, where the dark daemons of the Nether Realms broke through in their eternal attempts to devour the souls of all mortal and divine things. As the grotesque Wickermen pulled themselves back together into their shambling forms of coagulated cogs and sinew pipes, he grabbed the rosary around his neck and roared in defiance. Lo and behold, did his grandfather heed his call from the living world, and arose once again from slumber to help him lay waste to his enemies. Sighing, he drew his heavy crossbow and began the horrid fighting once more.

Descending into the muck and mire of the outdated sewer line, the Imperial could sense the telltale feeling of necrotic mana coming from the lair of necromancers looming in the distance. He had been tracking these illegals for several weeks now, especially once word reached him and his Maormer companion that they practiced the dark arts. He nodded to his sea elf partner, who quickly grabbed her wand and muttered an incantation that materialized spectral blue torches that burned the swarms of zombies quickly approaching them. With a mere nod she utilized another prayer, this time one that showered him in a sunset downpour that knitted back his wounds, as he pulled upon the threads of the earth and built a garbage golem before igniting his greataxe in a cleansing storm.

Vigilant, pragmatic, zealous, and masters at walking the thin line between self-righteousness and pure altruism, a votary is an unofficial “catch all term” that is used to refer to one who has trained their entire life in order to become a steadfast defender-under-shadows of the civilized races who either hunts supernatural and abnormal creatures or specializes in strange arcane/alchemical arts to treat warriors on the battlefield. Whereas other adventuring professions operate on faith, personal enjoyment, or coin, the Yneslean votary is bound by a particular unyielding dogma—to deface the daemon, to silence the lawbreaker, to heal the downtrodden, to annihilate the beast, to contain the sorcerer, or to exorcise the restless dead—their entire life until their demise or retirement (whichever comes first).

While there are several different types of votaries (Witch-Hunters, Exorcists, Deepseekers, Rectors) with differing goals, foundations, and training regiments, most generally bear the same characteristics of being battle-hardened and cunning individuals who radiate an aura of fear, determination, pity, hubris, and genuine compassion for those around them… until those around them get in between them and their duties, that is. Because of their unpredictability and mission-focused mindsets, as well as their use of dishonorable tactics and heavily regulated but no less disturbing foreign spell schools (like puppetry, blood, bone, incantation, erasure, and silence magic), most people respect them at a distance but keep their discomfort close. For you never know when a votary might come after you.

Harsher the Life, Harsher the Soul

Willingly choosing the life of any of the votary professions signifies an aspect of deep, emotional loss or pain within the heart of the individual. It requires an unshakable resolve and a semi-narrow mind to be able to wake up every day doing what you do as a votary, as none of these paths are devoid of violence, depression, critical thinking, and moral conundrums.

Most of the professions attend the same early curriculum in the hallowed halls of Mustikos’arcere, the esteemed magic academy of the Yneslean Directorate. Witch-Hunters and Exorcists are put through extreme physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual tests and conditions in order to weed out the weak and to discover who has the mettle required to hunt down unlicensed mages or terrifying poltergeists in the In’eslaen archipelago. Rectors are required to memorize hundreds upon hundreds of pages concerning magical medical theory, as well as the mortal psyche, to best learn how to become efficient healers and puppeteers who are empathic enough to shoulder heavy therapeutic duties. And Deepseekers, especially, must be the cream of the crop in order to be entrusted with the mystical arms, spells, and secrets of Portentous Whelm and have the legendary courage to charge into a realm of corruption that makes the gods shiver in fear.

It is no wonder then that after joining a familiar suborder of their particular profession that votaries become distant and ponderous to others, even those that they were close to before their training; in a sense, they lose a bit of themselves every day in their line of work (sometimes very literally), aging faster and descending into melancholy the more they try to defend Yneslea and other parts of the known world from terrible threats. The fact that many also have to dabble in or deal with dangerous or traumatizing magics can also be incredibly straining, leaving those without a good support system bitter yet faithful people.

Service Above Self

Your typical votary, no matter the profession, typically travels light but plans for every possible outcome in a scenario due to an inbred sense of paranoia. They typically carry a primary and secondary melee weapon which are sometimes enchanted, although most are taught or teach themselves how to temporarily imbue their weapons with elemental power through the use of meditational magicka control. They are extremely well-learned, carrying books and/or scrolls detailing the lore of monsters they encounter and the monsters those monsters typically are found alongside and so on and so forth. Because of their pragmatism, they tend to be outfitted with either a utility belt or multiple satchels containing grenades, multiple-use or single-use wands, potions, toxins, ancestral rosaries, glyphs, lockpicks, smelling salts, vials of kindlepitch, gas masks, and more so that they can jury rig their way out of seemingly inescapable positions. To be a votary is to be one who is wise not only through sheer intelligence, but through heightened levels of creativity in order to put copious amounts of common sense, street smarts, and lore to good use.

Creating a Votary

As you make your votary character, consider the upbringing and training that went into your character becoming the monster and mage hunter they are now. The life of a votary is harsh, and their backstory should reflect these themes of hardship and pain. Ask, what made my character choose this life? Was she abandoned by her parents to be a ward of the Empire, and from there, she was placed under the service of a votary profession? Does your character willingly submit themselves to the laws of the Divine Mandate, or are they rebellious in their duties?

Votary Class Table

Level Proficiency Bonus Features Cantrips Known Spells Known Magicka Spell Level Orisons Known
1 +2 Introspection, Didactic Orisons - - - - 2
2 +2 Familiarity with the Beast (2d6), Fighting Style - - - - 2
3 +2 Divine Profession, Spellcasting 2 3 4 1st 3
4 +2 Attribute Score Improvement 2 4 6 1st 3
5 +3 Extra Attack 3 4 6 2nd 4
6 +3 Know Your Enemy, Familiarity with the Beast Improvement (3d6) 3 5 6 2nd 4
7 +3 Divine Profession Feature 3 6 14 2nd 4
8 +3 Attribute Score Improvement 3 6 14 2nd 4
9 +4 Damning Strike 3 7 14 3rd 5
10 +4 The Beast Within 4 8 17 3rd 5
11 +4 Extra Attack (2) 4 8 17 3rd 5
12 +4 Attribute Score Improvement 4 9 17 3rd 6
13 +5 Inspiring Word 4 9 27 4th 6
14 +5 Introspection Improvement 4 10 27 4th 6
15 +5 Divine Profession Feature 4 10 27 4th 7
16 +5 Attribute Score Improvement 4 11 32 4th 7
17 +6 Damning Strike Improvement 4 11 32 5th 7
18 +6 Familiarity with the Beast Improvement (4d6) 4 12 32 5th 8
19 +6 Attribute Score Improvement 4 12 38 5th 8
20 +6 Divine Profession Feature 4 13 38 5th 8

If your group uses the optional rules on multiclassing in the 5e Core Rules and the Basic Rules, here’s what you need to know if you choose votary as one of your classes.

Attribute Score Minimum. As a multiclass character, you must have at least Strength (or Agility) and Personality scores of 13 to take a level in this class, or to take a level in another class if you are already a votary.

Proficiencies Gained. If votary isn’t your initial class, here are the proficiencies you gain when you take your first level as a votary: light and medium armor, shields, axe, long blade, blunt, marksman, polearm, short blade, Alchemist's Supplies, Rosary (Ancestral).

Magicka Points. Add half your levels (rounded up) in the votary class to the appropriate levels from other classes to determine your available magicka.

Quick Build

You can make a votary quickly by following these suggestions. First, Personality should be your highest ability score, followed by either Agility or Strength. Second, choose the acolyte background. Third, choose the reassurance and grasp at life didactic orisons.

Class Features

Hit Points
Hit Dice 1d10 per Votary level
HP at 1st Level 10 + your Endurance modifier
HP at Higher Levels 1d10 (or 6) + your Endurance modifier per Votary level after 1st
Proficiencies
Armor Light armor, medium armor, shields
Weapons Axe, long blade, blunt, marksman, polearm, short blade
Tools Alchemist's Supplies, Rosary (Ancestral)
Saving Throws Strength, Personality
Skills Choose two from Athletics, Acrobatics, Arcana, History, Insight, Investigation, Medicine, Perception, Religion, Stealth, and Survival
Equipment
You start with the following equipment, in addition to the equipment granted by your background:
  • (a) a long blade, axe, blunt, or spear weapon or (b) two short blades weapons
  • (a) scale mail or (b) leather armor
  • (a) a light crossbow and 20 bolts or (b) hand crossbow, 20 bolts and two daggers
  • (a) a priest's pack or (b) an explorer's pack
  • (a) a holy symbol or (b) an amulet

As a votary, you gain the following class features.

Introspection

1st-level votary feature

You can invoke an ancient magical practice of your order that requires years of deep, reflective introspection. It graces you with supernatural physical enhancements, and acute mental hyperfocus.

You can use a bonus action to start your Introspection, which lasts for 1 minute. It ends early if you are incapacitated. You can also dismiss the Introspection at any time (no action required).

While your Introspective is active, you gain the following benefits:

  • Your walking speed increases by 10 feet.
  • You have advantage on Agility (Stealth) and Willpower (Perception) checks.
  • You gain a bonus to any Endurance saving throw you make to maintain your concentration on a spell. The bonus equals your Personality modifier (minimum of +1).

You can use this feature a number of times equal to your proficiency bonus, and you regain all expended uses of it when you finish a long rest, unless you spend a number of magicka points equal to your proficiency bonus to use it again.

At 14th level in this class, you can add your Personality modifier (minimum of +1) to the damage of your weapon attacks while your Introspection is active.

Didactic Orisons

1st-level votary feature

In your study of the religious practices of the Divine Mandate, you have learned didactic orisons, lawfully approved magical knowledge that imbues you with an abiding divine ability.

You gain two didactic orisons of your choice. Your orison options are detailed at the end of the class description. When you gain certain votary levels, you gain additional orisons of your choice, as shown in the Orisons Known column of the Votary table.

Additionally, when you gain a level in this class, you can choose one of the orisons you know and replace it with another orison that you could learn at that level.

Familiarity with the Beast

2nd-level votary feature

You focus your ire towards your prey, granting your allies greater insight into their weaknesses and how best to exploit them. As a bonus action, you designate one creature you can see within 60 feet of you as the target of this feature. The first time each turn when you hit that target with a weapon attack, you and friendly creatures of your choosing within 10 feet of the target deal bonus damage against it. Once per turn, the target takes this extra damage, which equals your Personality modifier (with a minimum bonus of +1).

If your Inspection is active, and a friendly creature you can see within range of the target takes damage from it, you can use your reaction to reduce that damage by 2d6.

When you reach certain levels in this class, you can reduce the damage by more: by 3d6 at 6th level and by 4d6 at 18th level. This benefit lasts until you finish a short or long rest. It ends early if you designate a different creature. At 18th level, the range of this area increases to 30 feet.

Fighting Style

2nd-level votary feature

You adopt a style of fighting as your specialty. Choose one of the following options. You can’t take a Fighting Style option more than once, even if you later get to choose again.

  • Archery. You gain a +2 bonus to attack rolls you make with ranged weapons.
  • Defense. While you are wearing armor, you gain a +1 bonus to AC.
  • Dueling. When you are wielding a melee weapon in one hand and no other weapons, you gain a +2 bonus to damage rolls with that weapon.
  • Great Weapon Fighting. When you roll a 1 or 2 on a damage die for an attack you make with a melee weapon that you are wielding with two hands, you can reroll the die and must use the new roll. The weapon must have the two-handed or versatile property for you to gain this benefit.
  • Grenadier. When you throw a grenade, you gain a +2 to the DC for your grenades.
  • Parrying. When you are wielding a short blade in one hand and one other melee weapon in another, and another creature attacks you with a melee weapon, you add a bonus equal to your proficiency bonus to your AC against one melee attack that would hit you. To do so, you must see the attacker and be wielding a short blade melee weapon.
  • Protection. When a creature you can see attacks a target other than you that is within 5 feet of you, you can use your reaction to impose disadvantage on the Attack roll. You must be wielding a shield.
  • Shield Fighting. When you engage in fighting with your shield as an improvised weapon, you are proficient with the shield, and if you shove a creature as part of the attack, the target takes damage equal to d6 + your Strength modifier. When you wield a shield that is magical and it offers a bonus to your AC, it also offers that same bonus to your attack and damage rolls with it.
  • Two-Weapon Fighting. When you engage in two-weapon fighting, you can add your attribute modifier to the damage of the second Attack.

Spellcasting

3rd-level votary feature

As an agent for the Divine Mandate, you can cast votary spells. See chapter 10 for the general rules of Spellcasting in the Basic Rules and the end of this class description for a selection of Votary Spells.

Cantrips (0-Level Spells)

You know two cantrips of your choice from the votary spell list. At higher levels, you learn additional votary cantrips of your choice, as shown in the Cantrips Known column of the Votary table.

When you gain a level in this class, you can replace one of the votary cantrips you know with another cantrip from the votary spell list.

Magicka

The Votary table shows how much magicka you have to cast your votary spells of 1st level and higher. To cast one of these spells, you must expend magicka, as noted in the spell's description and the Magicka Cost table found in chapter 10 of the Basic Rules. You regain all expended magicka when you finish a long rest. For example, if you know the 1st-level spell burning hands and have a spell level of 2nd, you can use magicka to cast burning hands at either level.

Spells Known of 1st level and Higher

You know two 1st-level Spells of your choice from the votary spell list.

You learn an additional votary spell of your choice at each odd numbered level thereafter. Each of these spells must be of a level for which you can cast spells at that level as shown on the Spell Level section on the Votary Table. For instance, when you reach 7th Level in this class, you can learn one new spell of 1st or 2nd Level.

Additionally, when you gain a level in this class, you can choose one of the votary Spells you know and replace it with another spell from the votary spell list, which also must be of a level for your listed spell level.

Spellcasting Attribute

Personality is your spellcasting attribute for your votary spells, since your magic draws on your unerring adherence to the Divine Mandate. You use your Personality whenever a spell refers to your spellcasting attribute. In addition, you use your Personality modifier when setting the saving throw DC for a votary spell you cast and when making an Attack roll with one.

Spell save DC = 8 + your proficiency bonus + your Personality modifier
Spell attack modifier = your proficiency bonus + your Personality modifier

Ritual Casting

You can cast a votary spell as a ritual if that spell has the ritual tag and you have the spell prepared.

Spellcasting Focus

You can use a holy symbol (see the "Adventuring Gear" section) as a spellcasting focus for your votary spells.

Votary Divine Profession

3rd-level votary feature

You choose a Divine Profession that you submit yourself to serve, such as the Bonerat, Deepstalker, Exorcist, Rector, or Witch-Hunter. Your choice grants features at 3rd Level, and again at 7th, 15th, and 20th level.

Votary Professions Source
Bonerat CGtY
Exorcist CGtY
Deepstalker CGtY
Rector CGtY
Witch-Hunter CGtY

Attribute Score Improvement

4th-level votary feature

When you reach 4th level, and again at 8th, 12th, 16th, and 19th level, you can increase one attribute score of your choice by 2, or you can increase two attribute scores of your choice by 1. As normal, you can’t increase an attribute score above 20 using this feature.

Extra Attack

5th-level votary feature

You can attack twice, instead of once, whenever you take the Attack action on your turn. Moreover, you can cast one of your cantrips in place of one of those attacks.

The number of attacks increases to three when you reach 11th level in this class.

Know Your Enemy

6th-level votary feature

If you spend at least 1 minute observing or interacting with another creature outside combat, you can learn certain information about its capabilities compared to your own. The GM tells you if the creature is your equal, superior, or inferior in regard to two of the following characteristics of your choice:

  • One Attribute score
  • One Skill
  • Walking Speed
  • Armor Class
  • Current hit points
  • Current magicka points
  • Total class levels, if any

Damning Strike

9th-level votary feature

Your commanding presence grants further insight into your prey. When you score a critical hit against a target, friendly creatures within 30 feet of you score a critical hit against the target on a roll of 19-20. This benefit remains until the creature rolls a 19 on their attack roll, until the creature dies, or until you score a critical hit against another target.

At 17th level, friendly creatures score a critical against the target on a roll of 18-20. This benefit remains until the creature rolls either an 18 or 19 on their attack roll, or until the creature dies.

The Beast Within

10th-level votary feature

You’ve found yourself, more often than not, faced with treacherous and dangerous individuals from across the civilized races of Nirn.

Once per turn, when you are hit by a weapon attack from a Medium sized creature or smaller, you expel an aura of bloodlust that permeates the air around you. The creature becomes unnerved, and makes its next weapon attack against you with disadvantage on its same turn.

When you reach 13th level, Large or smaller creatures are affected by this feature, and when you reach 17th level, Huge or smaller creatures are affected by this feature.

Inspiring Word

13th-level votary feature

Your voice is a beacon of encouragement or intimidation to those around you. This word of inspiration steels the resolve of your comrade, and grants them resilience against their foes.

As a bonus action while in combat, you can grant a friendly creature 5d4 + your Personality modifier in temporary hit points. This feature gains an additional 1d4 when your proficiency bonus increases at 17th level.

You can use this feature a number of times equal to your proficiency bonus. You regain all expended uses when you finish a long rest.

Optional Class Features

You gain class features in this document when you reach certain levels in your class. This section offers additional features that you can gain as a votary. Unlike the features in this document, you don’t gain the features here automatically. Consulting with your GM, you decide whether to gain a feature in this section if you meet the level requirement noted in the feature’s description. These features can be selected separately from one another; you can use some, all, or none of them.

Martial Versatility

4th-level votary feature

Whenever you reach a level in this class that grants the Attribute Score Improvement feature, you can do one of the following, as you shift the focus of your martial practice:

  • Replace a fighting style you know with another fighting style available to votaries.

Divine Professions

Taking to the life of a votary, each who submits themselves to the Divine Mandate takes to one of the following professions. While the organizations are divided into orders, the path which one walks as a votary is seen as a lifelong profession to root out evil, and to enforce the Divine Mandate.

An outcast subdivision of the Order of the Witch-Hunters, these votaries hold little fear, and even embrace the time old adage of “fight fire with fire”. While their tactics can be seen as distasteful, or even downright heretical, Bonerats find a pragmatic, and oftentimes utilitarian approach to necromancy and the forbidden magics.

Unlike other votaries, who are beholden to the Divine Mandate, Bonerats have special privileges that afford them the ability to use the dark arts, so long as this magic doesn’t corrupt their soul. While considered inherently dangerous, Bonerats often delight in venturing into the volatile unknown.

Often identifiable by their glass jars that house a translucent Daedric creature known as a rotwyrm, and their overt adornment with severed rat tails, Ratbones distinguish themselves from other votaries with their apparent fascination (or even love) for the morose and the creepier elements of the world.
An ancient order of paladins who defend the Echmer from the constant threat of the Nether Realm, Deepseekers are considered an elite fighting force that few would dare trifle with. Often seen as the defending force of the Portentous Whelm, some Deepseeker successor groups (like the Deepfinders and/or the Deepmongers) are tasked with traversing the land to hunt down those who would threaten the archipelago in major capacity, especially if they have ties to Har-Gaun.
An order whose purpose is to cleanse the souls of others, the guardians of the Temple Outposts, or Exorcists, are called to expel the unholy and banish any and all evil. Exorcists predominantly focus their ire towards ghosts, spirits, fey, and the undead, and tend to have a close working relationship with their Witch-Hunter compatriots due to the connection between mages and these types of creatures.
An order whose purpose is to cleanse the souls of others, the guardians of the Temple Outposts, or Exorcists, are called to expel the unholy and banish any and all evil. Exorcists predominantly focus their ire towards ghosts, spirits, fey, and the undead, and tend to have a close working relationship with their Witch-Hunter compatriots due to the connection between mages and these types of creatures.
Commonly seen but constantly moving, the Witch-Hunters of In'eslae deal with the illegal trafficking of magical objects and/or persons, unlicensed practitioners of magic within the archipelago, obtuse researches into ancient ruins without a permit, potential cult activities, and several other crimes stemming from the misuse of magic and refraining from proper control of it. Because of this (similar to the Exorcists), Witch-Hunters are split into several different branches and groups with their own interests and pursuits (e.g. the Vaultwardens, who guard or unearth Noraken ruins for proper study and containment).