Common knowledge regarding sorcerers holds that they're able to instinctively access arcane magic due to having a blood connection to dragons. However, for all the sages that hold this to be true, it remains only a theory, and like all theories, it has instances that seem to contradict it. One of these is the sorcerer known as Atavan.
Born to a druid mother and a father who was a cleric of Goddess of Love and Beauty, Atavan was clearly unnatural even before he was born. For all his parents' magic and mundane healing abilities, the birth was long and difficult, ultimately resulting in the death of Atavan's mother. His father, still in shock over the death of his lover, was horrified to see the result of her pregnancy. Despite both of his parents being human, the baby was barely recognizable as such. Its skin, what could be seen of it underneath a layer of coarse, wiry hair, was mottled and grayish-brown. Small claws grew from the end of its fingertips, and most horrific of all was its face - the lower part of it projected outward from the skull in what looked like a stunted muzzle.
Repulsed by the monstrous thing he had fathered, the cleric's paternal instincts extended just far enough to refrain from killing the boy, instead leaving it on the doorstep of an orphanage in a distant city and leaving it there, never to return. Finding it the next morning, the managers there decided, after much debate about the hideous orphan they'd been given, to take the boy in after the local cleric determined that it was indeed human, albeit horribly deformed. Naming the boy Atavan - meaning "primitive"; in reference to the boy's ugliness - they reluctantly let him live among the other children.
The first few years of Atavan's life were not kind. He was almost constantly teased and picked on mercilessly by the other children, who hated and feared him for his looks. Though the managers who ran the orphanage tried to blunt the worst of it, and raise the boy with a sense of right and wrong, Atavan spent most of his early years miserable and alone. As he grew older though, whatever forces had twisted him in his mother's womb began to assert itself, and Atavan found that he was not only able to drive his frequent tormentors off with his claws, but also discovered that he had a natural-born ability to wield magic. Indeed, this first became known to him when, running from six bullies who weren't afraid of his claws, he inadvertantly cast a jump spell, letting him escape by leaping onto a nearby roof.
Slowly experimenting with his new-found powers, and pouring over every book he could find in the orphanage regarding magical ability, Atavan slowly harnessed his burgeoning ability. However, this was the last straw for one of the more conservatively-minded managers. Late one night, the man snuck into Atavan's room and attempted to bash his head in while he slept. He didn't count on the boy's mottled skin being thick enough to help turn aside such blows, however, and in a blind, panicked fury (and unable to help but unleash a bite of the wolf spell) Atavan slew the man. Unfortunately, that was when the other members of the orphanage ran into the room, stopping at the sight of Atavan covered in blood over their peer's corpse.
Knowing that he wouldn't be given a chance to so much as explain, let alone defend himself, Atavan leaped out his window and ran from the only home he'd ever known. Since then, he's spent most of his time in the wilderness, managing to survive on what he can forage for himself. Lately, though, his magic has grown powerful enough that he's had some modest success in hiring out his services as a mercenary, usually in the seedier parts of towns where his ugliness is seen as useful for how intimidating it is.
Atavan CR 10
N M Humanoid (Human)
, Senses ;
AC 20, touch 12, flat-footed 19 (+7 +3 chain shirt, +1 Dex, +1 amulet of natural armor, +1 ring of protection)
hp 55; DR 3/slashing
Spd 30 ft.
Melee +1 battleaxe/ ( /x3) and claw ( ) or 2 claws ( )
Space 5 ft.; Reach 5 ft.
Combat Gear +1 battleaxe
Spells Known (CL 10; +8 ranged touch)
5th (2/day) — baleful polymorph (DC 18)
4th (4/day) — bestial power (as divine power), stoneskin (DC 17)
3rd (6/day) — fly (DC 16), haste (DC 16), protection from energy (DC 16)
2nd (6/day) — animal affinity, barkskin, psionic scent, summon swarm
1st (6/day) — bite of the wolf, charm animal (DC 14), expeditious retreat, jump (DC 14), speak with animals
Cantrips (6/day) — detect magic, detect poison, falcon’s eye*, guidance (DC 13), know direction, resistance (DC 13), suppress bodily function* (DC 13), virtue (DC 13), wrongfoot* (DC 13)
Abilities, , , , ,
Feats Endurance, Eschew Materials, Fight Not Flight, Quick Learner, Rubberflesh, Run, Track
Skills, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Possessions +3 chain shirt, +1 amulet of natural armor, +1 ring of protection, potion of cure moderate wounds
Flaws Freak, Instinctive Magic
Though he's far more capable in combat than most arcane spellcasters, Atavan is still very cautious about getting into a fight. He knows that most warrior-type characters would easily be a match for him in a straight-up fight. Worse, he is keenly aware that he has no real tactics for fighting at a distance. If targeted with ranged attacks, Atavan's usual reaction, if unable or unwilling to close to melee combat, is to cast a something like expeditious retreat or fly to be able to escape.
If engaging in melee, Atavan will always try to use his buff spells as soon as possible. He'll cast bestial power, stoneskin, and barkskin in that order before all other spells. He'll save his baleful polymorph for particularly troublesome characters, usually spellcasters, whom he knows have a poor chance of saving against it.
Atavan's original ability scores were generated using the elite array: Str 14, Dex 12, Con 13, Int 10, Wis 8, and Cha 15. The two ability points he gained at 4th and 8th level were both added to Charisma.
Two variants are used for Atavan's sorcerer class levels. First, he uses the battle sorcerer variant class found in Unearthed Arcana. He also uses the bloodbound sorcerer variant from Octavirate Expansions: Feared and Hated. As each bloodbound sorcerer must choose one of the domain types presented in the book, Atavan uses the Manbeast domain. This domain grants Atavan his claws, but also has him be treated as an animal for purposes of spells and favored enemy designations.
Atavan's spells known list and spells per day are altered by his class variants. The battle sorcerer variant reduces his spells known and spells per day by 1 per spell level. However, his bloodbound sorcerer variant increases his spells known by 1 per spell level (though it severely restricts what spells he can choose). He also gains bonus spells per day due to his Charisma bonus. Further, Atavan gains bonus 0-level spells for his Charisma, using the chart laid out in Octavirate Presents Vol #3: Simple Tricks and Nonsense .
Freak gives Atavan a -4 penalty to all Charisma-based skills and checks except Intimidate and those related to spellcasting/psionics (already factored into above scores).
Instinctive Magic causes Atavan's magic to sometimes discharge uncontrollably. If he becomes shaken, frightened, panicked, is Intimidated, is attacked (whether the attack hits or not) while flat-footed, or needs to make a Concentration check during a dangerous situation, then he automatically casts a spell on the nearest available target as a standard action (no matter what the spell's normal casting time is). If he is out of spell slots for the day, he takes 1 point of Constitution damage instead.
Atavan has two spelltouched feats (from Unearthed Arcana) in exchange for his flaws; as per the guidelines in Feared and Hated, he may take both of these for the flaws without meeting the feat prerequisites. The two feats are Rubberflesh, and Fight Not Flight, both from Feared and Hated. Rubberflesh gives him DR 3/slashing and an armor check penalty of 2 (already factored into statistics), while Fight Not Flight allows Atavan to, if he successfully saves against a fear effect, ride it to gain a +2 bonus to attack rolls, saving throws, and skill and ability checks for what the fear effect's duration would have been. Note that in this case he doesn't have a spell automatically go off from his Instinctive Magic flaw.
The Quick Learner feat is from The Practical Enchanter, by Distant Horizons Games. It grants 1 extra skill point per level (4 extra skill points at 1st level); Atavan took this feat at 1st level.