by Silva Stormrage
Spellcasting classes have always been troublesome to homebrew, mainly because just the ability to cast spells on it's own is so powerful there's little room for other abilities. One of the finest ways to get around this restriction is to limit the kind of spellcasting the class can use. We Saw wizards of the coast do this with Warmages, Dread Necromancers, and Beguilers, and now we're seeing Homebrewers following suit. Today's example is Silva Stormrage with his Haruspex, a divination focused caster.
The Haruspex was made years ago, and ironically it slipped under most people's radar's, but that is a tragedy worth making a save against. As mentioned above the Haruspex is a divination focused spellcaster, and while many argue the versatility of divination it's widely agreed that it cannot stand along on its own two feet, but this is where it's array of class abilities comes in. Let's not get ahead of ourselves though, despite how on theme it would be.
The basic chassis of the haruspex is basically a wizard but with a little extra hitpoints, and a bit more in the area of skills. Combined with intelligence as a primary stat this makes the class an expert at knowing how to do things, allowing them to better understand the things they see and hear from afar.
The Haruspex has a host of class features that work together in beautiful harmony. It has an ability allowing it to use animal entrails to aid in divinations, a nod to classic divining methods from the origins of fortune telling itself. But it also has abilities that directly aid in the power of the spells and how hard they are to resist, ensuring that your scrying spells come through with greater clarity and frequency than a typical caster.
From these basic and humble beginnings a Haruspex grows ever more interesting with an entire host of unique abilities that make you ask "Why wasn't THAT a divination spell?" which is much harder than it sounds. In homebrewing, especially with spellcasting it's all the more difficult to grant new abilities you couldn't have just gained with a spell or feat, it takes true awareness and a very strong creative energy to find so many abilities that fit the theme without stepping on the toes of any spells.
some of the highlights of the class include the ability to predict the entire events of a day so perfectly that you can essentially restart a day with the knowledge you gained from your "dream" of the day. But my favourite ability is the ability to ready an action without declaring what will trigger you. I find this to be an amazing ability not just for how useful it is, but also for how unique. Very rarely do we see anything change around readied actions but there's so much potential in tweaking that aspect of gameplay. The capstone is an absolutely amazing ability as well, one that strikes fear into the hearts of DM's everywhere. The ability to simply know everything that your target knows, without a save. Only spell resistance can foil this potent and potentially campaign altering ability, though I would weep alongside any player who had their 1/week ability fail due to a low SR roll. Oh woe, if only there were some sort of divination spell that could assay my fears over spell resistance.
This class was designed for 3.5 but as with most 3.5 content it doesn't take much to update it, in fact the hit die was already bumped up to a D6, one of the few changes that had to be made. The spell list does draw extensively from many 3.5 sources though so its advised to allow those spells whenever posible, and to be considerate regarding new pathfinder divinations.
In total this is an amazing class that is balanced for combat, but as with all divination, and by extension spellcasting, it must be watched by the ever vigilant eyes of the DM to avoid some mysteries from being spoiled. (I talk about just that in my article here). I adore this class when used responsibly, but then, you already knew I'd say that, didn't you?