The World of Llowellen
“My spear is yours. My life is yours. My love is yours. My blood, my body, my songs, you own them all. I live and die at your command, fierce maiden.”
Gondriq, Spear of The Bloodsword
Perhaps the most dedicated and steadfast individuals in all the World of Llowellen, oathsworn (singular and plural) pick a task and then set out to accomplish it – no matter what stands in their way. Oathsworn are skilled martial artists and unarmed combatants, and their supernatural devotion to their oath allows them to forgo food, sleep, and even air.
Oathsworn place a number of harsh restrictions on themselves. They do not, however, judge non-oathsworn for not abiding by their restrictions – their morality and sense of honor extend only to themselves.
To begin with, oathsworn do not use weapons or armor. Only in the case of being unable to fulfill their oath will they ignore this restriction. For example, if an oathsworn encounters a creature with damage reduction standing in her way, she may deign to pick up a magical weapon (if somehow available) and use it to fight. Likewise, if presented with a flying foe, they oathsworn may make use of a ranged weapon. Because of this need, oathsworn eventually learn to improvise any handy object into a missile weapon they can throw.
In any event, oathsworn will never carry a weapon or wear armor. They only use tools when absolutely necessary – they see it as a sign of weakness to need things beyond their own bodies. They would never, for example, use a tool to attempt to batter down a wall when they could do the same with the feet and fists. They would never use a rope to climb a slope they could ascend with their own hands.
Oathsworn do not ride animals or allow themselves to be borne by another (such as in a cart pulled by lizards or on a sedan chair carried by slaves). The only exception is if a comrade carries a wounded oathsworn out of harm’s way – and even then the oathsworn feels ashamed.
Adventurers: Oathsworn do no go on “adventures.” They do what needs to be done to fulfill their oaths. If that means exploring ancient ruins or rooting out a tribe of kobolds from their lair, so be it. In all that oathsworn do, they show devotion to their oaths.
Background: Oathsworn trace their legacy back to a time during The First Age, when a group of litorians swore allegiance to a semi-divine being worthy of their supreme devotion. They learned to channel all their personal needs and desires into their work defending her and doing as she asked – or as she needed without even having to ask. This legacy has continued ever since.
Oathsworn begin their careers alone. They gain their training and insight not through interaction with others but through meditation. They feel a psychic call to their role and, if they prove themselves worthy, they accept the sacred call and seek enlightenment to find oaths worthy of taking.
Races: Oathsworn can be found throughout the Old World of Llowellen although they are most common in Anupam, Ken’ Kazuki, the Tuyen Isles and among the Kalanese.
Although mankind are the most likely to choose the challenging life of an oathsworn, Heavenborn are also drawn to this aesthetic lifestyle. In most cases, this class does not appeal to the carefree and hedonistic Fey, but the occasional oathsworn Fey or Fey-Kissed character is not uncommon.
NPCs: Oathsworn swear to guard the life of a noble. Other oathsworn might seek to end the life of that same noble, for motivations of their own. The vengeful villain who will stop at nothing to achieve his terrible and bloody goal is an oathsworn. The human bodyguard. The giant guardian, standing sentinel in the grove. The faen pilgrim wandering the world, barefoot and penniless.
Hit Die: d10
First – Fourth Age: Oathsworn in The Old World do not easily fit within any archetypes. They represent a very diverse group of individuals from varied backgrounds, affiliations whose only common ground is the swearing of an oath. Their reasons for taking their oath might never be the same, but all oathsworn share the determination to keep their vow. Such is their devotion to this oath they are able to draw power from their convictions. They perform ancient rituals, as they swear themselves to a particular oath or promise. These oath-swearing ceremonies are powerful enough that arcane powers can be drawn upon to see that the oath is fulfilled.
Oathsworn do share many traits and skills with monks and while it is true that oathsworn in any given age or culture might ally or be affiliated with monks they are just as often not. Oathsworn do not necessarily share the spiritual or religious beliefs of monks. Many might pursue an austere lifestyle but as a means to fulfilling their oaths and not in a spiritual pursuit.
Skill Points At 1st Level: (4 +Intelligence bonus) x4.
Skill Points at Higher Levels: 4 +Intelligence bonus.
Class Skills: The oathsworn’s class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Balance (Dex), Climb (Str), Concentration (Con), Craft (any) (Int), Escape Artist (Dex), Heal (Wis), Intimidate (Cha), Jump (Str), Listen (Wis), Sense Motive (Wis), Sneak (Dex), Spot (Wis), Swim (Str), and Tumble (Dex).
Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Oathsworn are proficient with no weapons and no armor. They disdain both, for they see themselves as weapons. If need, be, they can make use of objects as weapons with surprising skill (see the throw object and objects as weapon abilities).
As she gains levels,, an oathsworn’s Armor Class improves with an insight bonus. This Armor Class bonus represents a preternatural awareness of danger, and an oathsworn does not lose it even in situations when she loses her Dexterity modifier due to being unprepared, ambushed, stunned, and so on. (Oathsworn do lose this Armor Class bonus when immobilized).
When wearing armor, an oathsworn loses her insight Armor Class bonus for class and level, her favorable multiple unarmed attacks per round, and her heightened movement. Furthermore, her special abilities all face the spell failure chance that the armor type normally imposes.
Unarmed Strike: An oathsworn fighting unarmed does not provoke attacks of opportunity from armed opponents that she attacks.
When an oathsworn is using unarmed strike, she doesn’t have the option of making an off-hand attack, as she uses her whole body in every attack. On the rare occasion that the character might be fighting with a one-handed weapon, she can make an unarmed strike as an off-hand attack but suffers the standard penalties for two-weapon fighting.
Usually, an oathsworn’s unarmed strikes deal normal damage rather than subdual damage. However, she can choose to deal her damage as subdual without penalty.
An oathsworn with natural weapons uses her unarmed strike attack bonus and damage with those natural weapons, or the normal natural weapon attack bonus and damage, whichever is greater.
Swear an Oath (Ex): An oathsworn must always work toward fulfilling an oath. To swear an oath, she names – very specifically – a task she will accomplish in no more than one year’s time. If the task is not completed in that time, or if conditions arise that indicate the failure of the oath, the oathsworn loses all class abilities for one month. After that month, the oathsworn must swear an oath again (it can be the same oath). An oathsworn who loses her class abilities three times loses them forever.
An oathsworn cannot be tricked into thinking an oath is fulfilled when it is not, and no magical compulsion can force her to stop attempting to fulfill it. An oathsworn gains a +4 luck bonus to Spot or Sense Motive checks against any attempt to fool her about part of an oath (giving her an imposter to protect when she has sworn to guard a person, for example).
An oathsworn who successfully fulfills her oath must immediately swear a new one. If she does not, she loses all class abilities until she does – which means an oathsworn could retire after fulfilling an oath, then suddenly regain her powers, years later, when she swears another oath.
Oaths can be singular tasks (destroy Tower Nestran) or ongoing (keep Daerial Daymaker alive). Ongoing oaths can be renewed at the end of each year. An oath must be something measurable, so the character knows whether it has been fulfilled. If Tower Nestran still stands after one year, or if Daerial Daymaker remains alive (never having died at any point during the year), the oaths were fulfilled and the oathsworn successful.
It is crucial that the player of an oathsworn character work out the details of her oath with the GM. The GM should make sure that the oath does not counter to the direction of the campaign or prevent the character from taking part in planned adventures.