Racial Specialty Levels

The prowess of the maenad warriors is renowned throughout the land, and you’d be hard-pressed to find a more powerful psion than an elan. These are represented in-game through racial specialty levels, a pseudo-replacement level for members of specific races and classes. If you are a member of a specific race, you may take a racial specialty level rather than a standard class level. These come with specific abilities unique from the base class level, including hit dice and skill lists, but are only available at specific points in a character’s progression. For instance, a duergar about to take his first, third, or fifth level of egoist may instead take a level of “duergar egoist,” which comes with a higher hit die and its own unique class features, all detailed below.

If you choose to take a racial specialty level instead of the standard class level, you may never gain the abilities of the original level. Sometimes, this means giving up a powerful ability for another powerful ability. Other times, you may sacrifice a class feature that did not grant much of a benefit due to your race. For example, xeph soulknives who take the first racial specialty level never gain the Wild Talent feat. However, as the race is naturally psionic, the only loss this poses is an extra two power points, which matters little for a soulknife, who does not manifest powers. Other levels, however, might replace a psionic power with a new special ability, limiting that character’s options of powers to manifest, but granting them a specific ability other races may not be able to access. Each class feature will identify what it replaces, if anything. If a class feature has the same name as the original class’s feature and is marked with an asterisk (*), it has been modified in some way from the original class feature.

Racial specialty levels are, in all other regards, levels in their original classes. You do not need to take a level in a racial specialty if you do not want to, nor do you need to take earlier levels to take later ones. For instance, a maenad fighter may decide to take only the level 4 racial specialty, opting instead for the standard fighter levels 1 and 2, while another maenad fighter may have no racial specialties and another may take all three. Because these specialty levels are essentially levels in the original class, they do not count as separate classes for purposes such as multi-class experience penalties.

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