Factory of Faith (A Visit to the Buff-et: Zealot)

GodHunter Blog SmallYesterday we discussed the symbiat from Drop Dead Studios as a potential “fifth wheel” class for the “buff-er” or support role. A great support character can fill in for missing character roles or make the going much easier on a larger party. We’ll be looking at some of the more unusual offerings for this role over the next few days. And today we look at the collective will of the zealot from Dreamscarred Press.

Buff-et Basics: The Zealot

As a hybrid psionic and maneuver based character, the zealot benefits from amazing versatility and a great workday balance if psionic energy is expended carefully. The class uses collective based mental buffs and has the ability to manifest powers and maneuvers through party members in exciting ways. With that in mind we will be comparing them to the Core Rulebook bard‘s abilities to benchmark:

  • Song of Steel: Our zealot‘s mid BAB matches the bard, blow for blow. Edit: Post playtest version got Full BAB!!! Holy crap amazing! The weapon selection is broad gaining full proficiency through martial weapons. It also gains all armors and most shields.
  • Song of Magic: None, but the class possesses psionic energy that can be actualized into true power use by feats but generally empowers the martial attacks of the zealot. The martial maneuvers of the class pace many spell effects.
  • Song of Lore: 4+Int isn’t great, and with a decent selection of Knowledge and Social skills the zealot will play a second seat to the bard in terms of social skills and lore. As a primary skill user, there are other classes that would do the job better but it is a small price to pay when considering the over all benefit of the class. Consider multiclassing if skill coverage is an absolute must, and remember that psionic classes share power points and synergize nicely.
  • Song of Support: The zealot‘s primary buffs are based around its collective, conviction, and zeal class features. Zeal’s base abilities are similar to base bardic music effects. These abilities are further refined by the mission class feature. Possible buffs include:
    • Whenever a zealot successfully hits an opponent with a strike maneuver, all allies in his collective (including him) gain a +1 morale bonus on attack rolls for one round. This bonus increases by +1 at 5th level and every five levels thereafter. Use of the Aid Another action also triggers this effect.
    • Enduring Zeal (Su): When the zealot activates his zeal class feature, he can spend up to 1 power point per zealot level to extend the duration of his zeal by a number of rounds equal to the power points spent.
    • Hearten the Mindless (Su): Creatures in the zealot’s collective that are mindless or immune to mind-affecting effects still benefit from his zeal class feature, gaining morale bonuses as if they were not mindless or immune to mind-affecting effects.
    • Improved Zeal (Su): Whenever the zealot activates his zeal class feature, he can choose to pay 2 power points. If he does so, the intensity of his zeal increases by 1 for that use of his zeal class feature.
    • Impulsive Reactions (Ex): The zealot gains Combat Reflexes as a bonus feat, even if he does not meet the prerequisites. He uses his zealot initiation modifier
      instead of his Dexterity modifier to determine the number of additional attacks of opportunity he can make each round.
    • Path of Dedication (Su): As a move action, the zealot can grant one willing member of his collective a move action to move (even if it isn’t their turn). This movement must be taken immediately, and provokes attacks of opportunity as normal.
    • Path of Dedication, Improved (Su): Whenever the zealot initiates a boost or counter, the zealot can pay 3 power points to activate his Path of Dedication conviction as a free action, even if it isn’t his turn. This is not considered
      an augment and does not count against the maximum amount of power points the zealot can spend on the maneuver. In addition, he can expend psionic focus
      when using the Path of Dedication conviction to grant its effects to all willing members of his collective, including himself. The zealot may still only use this ability once per round.
    • Strike of Unity (Su): The zealot can spend 5 power points when initiating a strike to initiate that maneuver through a member of the zealot’s collective. The strike is resolved in all ways as if the zealot’s ally had initiated it (in terms of base attack bonus, weapons, feats, line of sight, reach, cover, etc.). This is not considered an augment and does not count against the maximum amount of power points the zealot can spend on the maneuver.
    • Tempered Body (Ex): The zealot’s incredible dedication allows him to weather serious and even fatal attacks. When a critical hit or sneak attack is scored on the zealot, there is a 25% chance that the critical hit or sneak attack is negated and damage is instead rolled normally.
    • Creation Mission – Eternal Rebirth (Su): The zealot’s psyche resists the death of those in his collective, giving them a chance to be reborn after a fatal blow. At 4th level, as long as the zealot maintains psionic focus, creatures in his collective that have died within 1 round can still benefit from healing and remain in the collective for 1 round (though the zealot must still make a Fortitude save a normal for a creature in his collective dying). If the dead creature is healed so that the creature’s hit point total is at a negative amount less than its Constitution score, it comes back to life and stabilizes at its new hit point total without leaving the zealot’s collective.
    • Destruction Mission – Crushing Blows (Su): By striking at the fundamental
      nature of the objects and creatures he wishes to destroy, the zealot can shatter them as easily as brittle vessels. At 4th level, as long as the zealot is psionically focused, his attacks ignore hardness and damage reduction up to double the intensity of his zeal. In addition, the zealot can expend psionic focus as a free action, allowing each member of his collective’s attacks to ignore hardness and automatically overcome damage reduction for one round.
    • Protection Mission – Living Bastion (Su): When a zealot’s allies are wounded
      from battle, they can find a refuge at his side. At 4th level, as long as the zealot is psionically focused, his reach increases by 5 feet. In addition, whenever an ally within his reach takes hit point damage, the zealot can expend psionic focus as a free action (even if it isn’t his turn) to surround the ally with a telekinetic shield which reduces the damage they take by half (after applying damage reduction and energy resistance). A creature can only benefit from this ability once per round.

Compared to the bard, the zealot is fairly perisistent martial “buff-er” with a longer potential workday. Manuvers can be selected from disciplines like Golden Lion to further increase beneficial augments to the party. A discrete eye to power point usage can ensure these benefits remain constant throughout a party’s active period.

Not the right fit for you? Come back tomorrow for “buff-et” eats.  Paramour is our support role claass or you can pre-order the Book of Beyond WIP subcription or see our other products at: d20pfsrd.com, drivethruRPG, paizo and RPGNow.

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