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Mariner

A Base Class for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game


Every seafaring culture has their own version of seafaring protagonists who parlay their skill as fishermen into skills as heroes. Mariners are warriors who evolved from fishing-centric cultures who are deadly on both land and sea. Mariners are skilled with many martial weapons but are particularly deadly with the weapons of their trade: harpoons, nets, tridents, and even things like fishing rods adapted for combat. Though they are not divine casters, they have mystic abilities that they use to bring the sea to wherever they are fighting.


Though a mariner has powers bestowed upon them by the gods of the sea, their relationship their their patron deity is fundamentally different than that of other divine characters. Their relationship is often antagonistic or the deity is seen more as a rival than as a true benevolent deity. Through superstition and the old laws of the sea the mariner slowly steals divine power from their god- earning it through cunning and demonstrations of their prowess. The mariner is like a fisherman casting his line- drawing in a bounty of power through force of will in a struggle as old as time.


Many times a mariner does not intend to steal the power they gain and may even start out fearful of the unwanted and bizarre abilities thrust upon them. Some are cursed, some are the subject of the whims of the gods (accidentally or intentionally antagonizing one deity or another), others seek this sort of strength as a means to an end. The sea god may not be a literal deity- it may be the metaphysical concept of man vs nature (more literally- man vs the sea) and it challenges the mariner to overcome it.


The sea god may go out of his way to cause ill fortune or even death on particularly strong mariners, but they typically regard novice ones in the same fashion that a shark might regard a minnow. There is often a begrudging respect between sea god and mariner- the kind of respect a fisherman might have for a marlin he fought for hours to catch. Mariners, while they may not activity heed the call of their deity in times of need, do have a special connection to the sea and may occasionally offer aid if it suits them- working together with their deity as two enemies with a common goal.


Mariners are often old sea dogs or those who have somehow earned or taken some of the powers of a sea god though some act of service or even simply the fickle winds of fate. Mariners easily find common ground with rangers, their brethren of the grove, and even paladins who understand their connection to the divine- even if mariners have a very different sort of relationship.

Hit Dice: D10.


Role: Mariners are combatants who belong in the midst of a melee. They excel at catching weaker opponents like fish and drawing them into range of their allies on the front line. They require superb Strength and are more focused on their offense than their defense.


Alignment: Any


Inspirations: The Odyssey, the Rime of the Ancient Mariner, Old Man and the Sea, Moby Dick, The Tempest


Starting Wealth: 3d6 × 10 gp (average 105 gp.). In addition, each character begins play with an outfit worth 10 gp or less.


Class SkillsEdit

The mariner’s class skills are Acrobatics (Dex), Craft (Int), Knowledge (geography) (Int), Knowledge (nature) (Int), Knowledge (religion) (Int), Perception (Wis), Profession (sailor) (Wis), Spellcraft (Int), Survival (Wis), Swim (Dex).

Skill Ranks per Level: 4 + Int modifier.


Table #-1: The Mariner

Level

Base Attack Bonus

Fort Save

Ref Save

Will Save

Special

1st

+1

+0

+0

+2

Fishing, flood magic, ire of the sea

2nd

+2

+0

+0

+3

Bold explorer, bonus feat

3rd

+3

+1

+1

+3

Martial mariner, prince/princess of the sea

4th

+4

+1

+1

+4

Flood magic, heart of the sea

5th

+5

+1

+1

+4

Appeasement, bonus feat

6th

+6/+1

+2

+2

+5

Martial mariner

7th

+7/+2

+2

+2

+5

Flood magic

8th

+8/+3

+2

+2

+6

Bonus feat, death of an albatross

9th

+9/+4

+3

+3

+6

Martial mariner

10th

+10/+5

+3

+3

+7

Flood magic

11th

+11/+6/+1

+3

+3

+7

Bonus feat

12th

+12/+7/+2

+4

+4

+8

Martial mariner, power of Poseidon

13th

+13/+8/+3

+4

+4

+8

Flood magic

14th

+14/+9/+4

+4

+4

+9

Bonus feat

15th

+15/+10/+5

+5

+5

+9

Martial mariner

16th

+16/+11/+6/+1

+5

+5

+10

Flood magic

17th

+17/+12/+7/+2

+5

+5

+10

Bonus feat

18th

+18/+13/+8/+3

+6

+6

+11

Martial mariner

19th

+19/+14/+9/+4

+6

+6

+11

Flood magic

20th

+20/+15/+10/+5

+6

+6

+12

Sea god

Class Features:Edit

The following are the class features of the mariner.


Weapon and Armor Proficiency:Edit

The mariner is proficient with all simple and martial weapons and with light armor, but not with medium or heavy armor or any kind of shield. In addition, mariners are proficient with fishers, harpoons, great harpoons, and battle anchors.


Fishing (Ex):Edit

At 1st level, a mariner who successfully hits their opponent with a harpoon, great harpoon, or fisher compares the result of their attack roll against their opponent’s CMD without their size modifier. If the mariner’s result is higher than the target’s CMD, the mariner may move his target up to his weapon’s range increment and return his weapon to him. This movement may not cause the target to be placed in a dangerous square.


This does not provoke an attack of opportunity; though if the initial attack was made as a ranged attack or in another fashion in which it would provoke, it still provokes. This is done in lieu of a grapple attempt made with the weapon. Weapons without a listed range have an effective range of their reach for the purpose of this class feature.

Flood Magic (Sp):Edit

Due to the magic stolen from their deity a mariner is granted certain spell-like abilities that he can use at will. For the purpose of determining his caster level for these class features, it is equal to his mariner level. Mariners are Wisdom based casters.

  • 1st Level (1 ire point): create water, know direction, speak with animals (any)

  • 4th Level (2 ire points): alter winds, hydraulic push APG

  • 7th Level (3 ire points): gust of wind, water breathing

  • 10th Level (4 ire points): aqueous orb APG, control water

  • 13th Level (5 ire points): seamantle APG, polar ray

  • 16th Level (6 ire points): control weather*, stormbolts APG

  • 19th Level (10 ire points): tsunami APG

*Only storms in the spring, torrential rain in the summer, fog in the autumn, blizzards in the winter, and hurricane-force winds in the later winter.

Ire of the Sea (Pn):Edit

Casting magic via flood magic robs it from the grasps of the sea gods the mariner is antagonising (intentionally or unintentionally). Each time he uses a  spell-like ability, he collects 1 or more points of ire that the GM can spend on behalf of the sea god to cause him (and potentially his party) grief as they continue their journey. Ire points never reset and the GM should try to use these abilities at least once per day. They can be spent by the GM at any point while out of combat or on the mariner’s turn during combat. It can interrupt the marriner’s turn at any point.


On a basic level a GM can spend these points to target the mariner with any cleric spell, paying 3x the spell’s level in ire points. The spell must target the mariner, though exceptions to this rule can be made if it would cause greater misfortune (paying ire points to spook a herd of buffalo with cause fear or using ire points to creatively frame the mariner for murder is also acceptable). Spells that just outright cause damage to a mariner (like inflict) or kills them directly are discouraged, though have their place if the situation calls for it.

A GM can also use ire points in the following ways:

  • Influence Attitude: The whispers of the sea god taints the heart of a person the mariner meets, dropping his initial attitude towards the mariner by 1 step for every 3 ire points spent.

  • Downpour: The area within 10 miles of the mariner suffers unpleasant, soggy weather for 24 hours if 3 ire points are spent. This is generally heavy rain, can be accompanied by winds, and is either muggy or significantly colder (whichever is appropriate for the environment).

  • Awake: By spending 2 ire points the mariner awakes and cannot sleep for 1 hour. This can only be spent once per 24 hours. This is generally accomplished by a startling dream or a unnatural jittery feeling.

  • Intervention: By spending 3 ire points the GM can cause the mariner to re-roll a successful save and take the new result. This can only be done once per save.

  • Summon Sea Creature: The sea deity may summon a sea-dwelling creature whose CR is equal to half the ire points expended to attack the mariner. This is done in the fashion of a summon nature’s ally spell, but is not restricted to the list of creatures presented there. The creature summoned must either be aquatic or amphibious. The creature still yields experience, as per a normal encounter, and the GM should keep in mind the increase to the encounter CR it provides.

The GM is, of course, invited and encouraged to make up new uses for ire points.

Bold Explorer (Su):Edit

A mariner is compelled by his connection with the wide open expanses of the sea towards a certain wanderlust and their connection with their deity has exacerbated that. When he travels at least 10 miles he gains, he gains a morale bonus on all saves equal to 1 + 1/4th his mariner level (minimum +1). This bonus lasts for 6 hours or until he sleeps (at least 2 hours). Every increment of 10 miles he walks resets the timer on this effect. A GM may also consider refreshing the duration of this ability upon the discovery of something unique and interesting (a famous landmark, a complete change in biome, upon reaching the top of a great mountain, etc).

Bonus Feats:Edit

At 2nd level, and at every 3 levels thereafter, a mariner gains a bonus feat in addition to those gained from normal advancement. These bonus feats must be selected from those listed as Combat Feats.


Martial Mariner:Edit

At 3rd level and every 3 levels thereafter a mariner’s martial skill manifests itself in one of the following ways. At the indicated levels, select one of the talents from the list below.

  1. Ahab (Ex): A mariner gains a +4 competence bonus on all combat maneuvers or fishing attempts made with a harpoon. When using the mariner's fishing class feature, the +4 is added retroactively to his attack roll.

  2. Deadly Catch (Ex): The mariner gains a +1 competence bonus on all attack and damage rolls with a fisher or harpoon.

  3. Fly-Fisher (Ex): The reach of a fisher wielded by a mariner with this talent improved to 15 feet.

  4. Sea Legs (Ex): The mariner gains a 20 foot swim speed.

  5. Hunter of the Deep (Ex): The mariner can track aquatic creatures, as if by scent, while underwater and gains a bonus equal to 1/3rd his mariner level on such attempts. This bonus also applies to attempts to identify creatures with the aquatic subtype.

  6. Sailor’s Grip (Ex): When wielding a fisher or harpoon (not a great harpoon) the weapon may be used and reeled in with only one hand. Doing imposes a -2 penalty on attempts to reel in creatures with that weapon.

  7. Whaler (Ex): The mariner gains a +2 competence bonus on damage rolls against creatures of a large or larger size category.

  8. White Whale (Ex): Once per day the mariner may declare a single creature of the animal or magical beast type as the target of his hunt. He gains a  morale bonus on attack rolls against that creature equal to 1/4th his level.

  9. Stormstruck (Su): The mariner has learned to not simply tempt the sea but the sky as well. On a critical hit the mariner calls down a bolt of lightning upon the creature, dealing 1d6 points per 3 levels of mariner (minimum 1d6) of electricity damage and incurring 1 ire point.

  10. Misdirected Wrath (Su): Once per day, the mariner can invoke the wrath of the deity he antagonizes, but cleverly shifting the target of his deity’s wrath to an enemy. As a full round action he may make a melee attack against an adjacent enemy. If he succeeds, the creature takes 1d6 electricity damage per ire point the mariner currently has (maximum 1d6 per mariner level) in addition to the damage dealt by the melee attack. If the attack fails to hit, the mariner takes the electricity damage instead. If the attack hits, no ire points are erased but if the attack fails to hit he reduces his current ire point total by 1 for every 1d6 damage dealt.

  11. Protection from the Sea: The mariner gains SR 12 + his mariner level against spells with the water or electricity descriptors. Each time a spell fails due to this, the mariner gains 3 ire points.

Prince / Princess of the Sea (Sp):Edit

At 3rd level, any time the mariner uses his flood magic to use speak with animals on an aquatic creature, it can additionally be subjected to a charm monster spell (using the mariner’s level as his caster level) if the mariner wishes it.

Heart of the Sea (Su):Edit

Starting at 4th level, any time a mariner with at least 10 ire points accumulated scores a critical hit with a piercing weapon, he has a 5% chance of instantly killing the creature struck. For every additional ire point he has accumulated beyond 10, the chance increases by 1%. A creature who is his by this effect can attempt a Fortitude save (DC 10 + 1/2 mariner level + Strength modifier) to resist the effect. On a successful save, the creature instead takes 2 damage per mariner level (in addition to the damage from the critical hit). This counts as precision damage and is a death effect, though creatures immune to death effects, precision damage, or death by massive damage are always treated as having successfully made their Fortitude save (recieving the damage rather than the death effect).

Sidebar: Heart of the Sea and the GMEdit

Your player has access to a, potentially, very powerful ability in heart of the sea. However, if you remember to spend your ire points frequently on the mariner- it takes a lot of the punch out of it.

Appeasement (Su):Edit

At 5th level, once per day while near a sizable natural body of water (a wide river, a natural pond that contains at least 10 gallons of water, the ocean, etc) he may make an offering to the deity he has an antagonistic relationship with and diminish some of its ire. If he spends 10 minutes at this a number of ire points equal to his mariner level is erased. If he spends 30 minutes appeasing the deity and offering a object as compensation worth at least 1 gp per mariner level as tribute- 3x his mariner level in ire points are erased. The object sacrifice must be submerged in the water and is sent to the domain of the deity (the deity will reject harmful items and this invalidates the ritual). The tribute or appeasement need not be sincere (and often isn’t) but the old laws of the sea dictate that the sea god must accept the appeasement in good faith regardless.

Death of an Albatross (Su):Edit

At 8th level, when a mariner is reduced to 0 hp, the enemy that felled him takes a penalty, due to ill-fortune, on all rolls for 1d4 rounds equal to 1/4th his mariner level (minimum -1). This is because, even though the mariner is a source of much distress to their deity, a begrudging (if not adversarial) respect has begun to form between them.

Power of Poseidon (Su):Edit

At 12th level, a mariner gains a +1 sacred bonus on all damage rolls for every 5 ire points he has to a maximum bonus equal to 1 + 1/4th his mariner level. If he is an evil mariner, this is a profane bonus and if he is a neutrally aligned mariner he may select if he gains a sacred or profane bonus (the choice cannot be changed once made).

Sea God (Su):Edit

At 20th level, a mariner’s heart of the sea class feature is always active, regardless of how many ire points he has accumulated. The % chance of the instant death effect is no longer 1% per ire point over 10 but rather 3% per ire point. In addition a mariner can breath underwater and gains a 60 foot swim speed (or a +60 foot increase to any swim speed they have). Finally, all commands given to sea creatures (creatures native to the open ocean, creatures of the aquatic subtype, etc) are accompanied by dominate monster.


New WeaponsEdit

Name

Cost

Dmg (s)

Dmg (m)

Crit.

Range

Weight

Type

Special

Weapon Type

Harpoon

5 gp

1d6

1d8

x3

20 ft.

16 lbs.

P

Grapple, fragile

Two-Handed Exotic

Fisher

10 gp

1d3

1d4

x3

-

3 lbs.

P

Disarm, grapple, reach, trip

Two-Handed Exotic

Great Harpoon

20 gp

1d8

1d10

x2

10 ft

28 lbs.

P

Grapple, fragile, reach

Two-Handed Exotic

Battle Anchor

10 gp

1d10

1d12

x2

-

50 lbs.*

B

Special

Two-Handed Exotic

Battle AnchorEdit

Two-Handed Exotic Weapon

This heavy, chained, thick, wrought-iron hooked anchor has a short 1 and a half foot chain affixed to a D-shaped handle. A character can make a grapple combat maneuver (as if the weapon had the grapple special feature) after successfully hitting a creature to entangle the creature in the anchor. If this is done, the anchor’s weight is added to the creature’s and they are entangled. An anchor that is entangling a creature cannot be used to attack. Anchors may be purchased at any weight, though the cost increases. The lightest anchor is 50 lbs. For every 5 additional gold spent on the anchor the weight is increased by a further 50 lbs.


HarpoonEdit

Two-Handed Exotic Weapon

A harpoon is a barbed spear with an attached rope 50 feet or less in length. If you are proficient in the harpoon, it is a grappling weapon. A harpoon’s weight includes the weight of 50 feet of hemp rope. It can be reduced by using shorter or lighter rope. For an additional 5 gp this weapon can be made of steel, increasing the total weight of the weapon to 20 lbs. and losing the fragile quality.


Great HarpoonEdit

Two-Handed Exotic Weapon

A great harpoon is a massive weapon weapon normally referred to as a “whaling lance”. They have a 7 foot thick hardwood or steel (if masterwork) shaft and a long thin 4 foot iron head that ends in a spade shape head. It comes with 100 feet of rope. If you are proficient in the great harpoon, it is a grappling weapon. A great harpoon’s weight includes the weight of 100 feet of hemp rope. It can be reduced by using shorter or lighter rope. For an additional 5 gp this weapon can be made of steel, increasing the total weight of the weapon to 30 lbs. and losing the fragile quality.

FisherEdit

Two-Handed Exotic Weapon

A fisher is a fishing rod adapted for combat. It has a 4 foot shaft made of thick-circumference hardwood or steel (if masterwork) that does not flex with a powerful and simplistic winch. The line is typically made of silk rope or even thick metal wire (if masterwork) and has a quadruple-hooked lure with a 2 inch hook. It is used to latch onto opponent’s flesh or armor and drag them closer or rip out their flesh in great chunks.


Reference PicturesEdit

Harpoon Designs

Harpoon Designs

Harpoon Glaive

FF Fishing Rod Weapon

WoW Fishing Pole Weapon


Non-Aquatic Campaigns and Non-Aquatic MarinersEdit

While, at the heart of the mariner, is his connection to the sea and the gods of the sea- one can play a non-aquatic mariner or play a mariner in a non-aquatic game. This is because the center of their concept as a class is the conflict of man vs nature. Any sort of climate that features an inhospitable environment for humans can be used as. Frigid mountain gods, fearsome deities of the desert, and even feral forest gods can be used in place of angered sea gods. We have included a few examples below of non-aquatic mariners as archetypes for the class. We encourage you to use these as templates for creating your own variants of mariners.


Replacements for Fishing:Edit

This class feature at first level should replace the mariner’s reliance on their fishing line and harpoons- their chosen weapons. This might be a climbing pick for a mariner who has a relationship with a icy mountain god or perhaps something like a shovel for someone in the forest who has drawn the ire of a forest or earth god. This should not be a straight mechanical damage or attack roll boost but afford the marriner a new option in combat.

  • Example- Mountain Gods: At 1st level a marriner who successfully hits their opponent with a pick he may make a free trip attempt against the creature. This may only be done once per round. This ability replaces fishing.

Replacements for Flood Magic:Edit

This class feature will need to be renamed. For a character with a relationship with a desert god, for instance, it might be called “dune magic” or “permafrost magic” if the deity they have angered was a mountain god. The majority of the mariner’s spells should be related to the sort of environment they are in- climbing for mountains, moving through the sand without issue in the desert, ignoring difficult terrain in the forest, etc. Make sure to intersplice some direct damage spells and area of effect spells to give them some versatility in combat.

  • Example- Mountain Gods:

    • 1st Level (1 ire point): know direction, speak with animals (any)

    • 4th Level (2 ire points): spider climb, fog cloud

    • 7th Level (3 ire points): stone shape, ice storm

    • 10th Level (4 ire points): freezing sphere APG, sleet storm

    • 13th Level (5 ire points): polar ray

    • 16th Level (6 ire points): control weather*, stormbolts APG

    • 19th Level (10 ire points): earthquake APG

    • This ability replaces flood magic.

Replacements for Ire of the Sea:Edit

The name of this class feature obviously has to change for your mariner. You will also need to change several of the more environmentally themed ires to ones suited for your deity’s environment.

  • Example- Mountain Gods:

    • Flash Freeze: The area within 10 miles of the mariner suffers a sudden drop in temperature (up to 15 degrees) for 24 hours if 3 ire points are spent. The drop occurs in 10 min or less- a very quick and unexpected drop. This is generally associated with the death of crops, the freezing of water (and craft on said water), as well as creating slick ice, and even killing exposed creatures who are unable to find a place out of the elements. If it drops low enough this might also come with snow or light hail. This replaces the downpour ire of the standard marriner.

    • Summon Mountain Creature: The mountain deity may summon a monsters from the frozen reaches of the highest peaks whose CR is equal to half the ire points expended to attack the mariner. This is done in the fashion of a summon nature’s ally spell, but is not restricted to the list of creatures presented there. The creature summoned must either be native to arctic or mountainous environments. The creature still yields experience, as per a normal encounter, and the GM should keep in mind the increase to the encounter CR it provides. This replaces the summon sea creature of the standard marriner.

Replacements for Martial Marine:Edit

This list of talents functions as a unique set of combat “feats”. Many of them play into other class features of the mariner. Many (such as ahab, deadly catch, fly-fisher, and sailor’s grip) are directly related to the weapon specified in the fishing class feature or relate to the environment their deity is from.

  • Example- Mountain Gods:

    • Pick Trip (Ex): A mariner gains a +4 competence bonus on trip attempts.

    • Miner’s Strike (Ex): The mariner gains a +2 competence bonus on damage rolls with a pick.

    • Arctic Winds of Returning (Su): Picks wielded by the mariner gain a range increment of 10 feet and return to the hand of the mariner if thrown (as per the returning weapon enhancement).

    • The White Death (Ex): The mariner can sea though snow and heavy winds as though conditions were clear. They also gain a +4 bonus also applies to attempts to identify creatures with the cold or earth subtypes.

    • Ice Crusher (Ex): When wielding a pick, the mariner ignores up to 1/2 his mariner level in DR and always ignores the hardness on objects.

    • Stone Slayer (Ex): The mariner gains a +2 competence bonus on damage rolls against creatures with the cold or earth subtypes or who are made primarily of stone or ice.

    • Hunter of the Great White North (Ex): Once per day the mariner may declare a single creature of the animal or magical beast type as the target of his hunt. He gains a  morale bonus on attack rolls against that creature equal to 1/4th his level.

    • Glacial Pick (Su): On a critical hit the mariner calls down a frigid wind upon the creature, dealing 1d6 points per 3 levels of mariner (minimum 1d6) of cold damage and incurring 1 ire point.

    • Misdirected Wrath (Su): Once per day, the mariner can invoke the wrath of the deity he antagonizes, but cleverly shifting the target of his deity’s wrath to an enemy. As a full round action he may make a melee attack against an adjacent enemy. If he succeeds, the creature takes 1d6 cold damage per ire point the mariner currently has (maximum 1d6 per mariner level) in addition to the damage dealt by the melee attack. If the attack fails to hit, he takes the cold damage. If the attack hits, no ire points are erased but if the attack fails to hit he reduces his current ire point total by 1 for every 1d6 damage dealt.

    • Protection from the Peaks: The mariner gains SR 12 + his mariner level against spells with the cold or earth descriptors. Each time a spell fails due to this, the mariner gains 3 ire points.

Replacements for Heart of the Sea:Edit

This class feature may need a minor name change but the mechanic should stay the same. While the harpoon is a piercing weapons- it might behove you to consider the weapon you selected with the fishing class feature when deciding on the acceptable damage type for this class feature.

  • Example- Mountain Gods: This class feature does not need to be changed, though it should be called “Heart of the Mountain” instead.

Replacements for Appeasement:Edit

Again, this class feature mostly needs a name change and a minor environmental shift. Rather than having to cast things into a pool of water, perhaps it is an oasis for a desert-dwelling mariner, over the side of a cliff for a mariner of the frozen north, or in a knot of a tree for a forest dwelling one.

  • Example- Mountain Gods: In order to use appeasement the offering must be thrown off a cliff, into a deep ravine, or off the top of a mountain rather than dropping in a source of water. The object must be able to fall out of sight from the height it is dropped.

Replacements for Death of an Albatross & Power of Poseidon:Edit

A simple name change is all that is required.

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