Racial Paragons

Racial Paragons

Racial paragons are, as their name suggests, nearly ideal examples of the strengths and abilities of the character's race. Unlike members of other classes, however, racial paragons are more than merely powerful individuals. They are strong in all the ways that their race is strong, while still vulnerable in the ways that their race is vulnerable. Beyond that, they possess powers or capabilities that supersede those of normal members of their race. While any elf might rise in power, prestige, and (in game terms) level, most do so by gaining levels in the standard character classes — only a few are so much in tune with their heritage and racial abilities that they become racial paragons.

Racial paragons rarely undergo the rigorous training or study that members of other classes commonly undertake between levels. Their experience, wisdom, and heroic abilities simply manifest in the form of superior innate racial abilities. Despite this strong association with race, racial paragons need not have specific views or special dedication to their race's beliefs or typical attitudes (although many do).

Obviously, a character can only take levels in the racial paragon class associated with his race. A human cannot take levels in dwarf paragon — only dwarves are capable of reflecting the highest virtues of dwarfhood by gaining levels in the dwarf paragon class. Half-elves and half-orcs are exceptions - see the Half-Elf and Half-Orc Paragons respectively.

Like the fighter, the wizard, and the other standard character classes, the racial paragon classes have no prerequisites (other than being a member of the appropriate race). Paragon class levels can be taken any time a character gains a new level, even at 1st level. A character can multiclass freely between standard character classes, prestige classes for which he or she qualifies, and the character's appropriate racial paragon class.

It's possible for a powerful magic effect such as shapechange, reincarnate, or wish to change a character's race. If a character has already taken racial paragon levels in his original race, he can never become a paragon of another race. However, such shapechanging and form-altering magics also cause no loss of a paragon's class abilities — the class abilities gained from racial paragon levels are affected no more or less drastically than benefits gained from having levels in any other class.

Levels in racial paragon classes never result in XP penalties for multiclass characters.

Subraces And Paragon Classes

As a general rule, a member of a subrace can take levels in the standard race's paragon class unless a specific paragon class exists for the subrace. For example, aquatic elves, gray elves, wild elves, and wood elves may all advance as elf paragons, but drow elves may not, because drow have a separate paragon class.

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