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In D&D3.5e, what options do I have to play a non-psionic, non-religious seer?

I want to play a character who has an innate talent for predicting the future, but isn’t religious (so no cleric). We haven’t included psionic mechanics in our play, so that isn’t an option either. I do imagine him as a wizard, but I want only his precognitive ability to be innate, so sorcerer doesn't work either.

I’m mostly interested in class options since I already know of which race he is. (Yet, I’m open to suggestions.)

While I’m interested in all other possibilities, let’s also exclude Truespeech and Esentia, which are other mechanics we don’t use, in order to narrow it down a bit.

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No time to write an answer, but "[...] a wizard, but [...] innate" is kind of the definition of sorcerer. –  MrLemon Sep 1 at 15:11
    
If Psi is out, what about other sub-systems like Essentia (Magic of Incarnum?), Shadow Magic, Pact Magic and Truespeech (all 3 ToM) and Initiator classes (ToB)? I'd assume them to be out by default, but an edit to that regard would be nice. –  MrLemon Sep 1 at 15:15
    
@MrLemon Sorcerer is no option because his magical talent itself shouldn’t be innate, but only his precognition. Truespeech and Essentia are out. –  zett Sep 1 at 15:29
    
@HeyICanChan What is a mutant? –  zett Sep 1 at 16:18
    
Wikipedia article on the mutant trope in fiction. –  SevenSidedDie Sep 1 at 16:21

3 Answers 3

The easiest way to do this is with

Feats

  • The spelltouched feat Omniscient Whispers (Unearthed Arcana 94) grants the creature the extraordinary ability to use 1/week an effect like the spell commune [div] (Player's Handbook 211) for 1 question that leaves the creature exhausted. Note: A generous DM may permit a character with an appropriately ridiculous background to take this feat immediately.

    I recommend this option. It's not game-breaking, it's cool, and if it's available at level 1 it'll be doing something unique for a long time. It's also a minimal investment compared to sinking class levels into what could just be the character making things up and accidentally getting them right.

  • The general feat Least Dragonmark (mark of finding) (Eberron Campaign Setting 56, 64) grants the creature divination spell-like abilities and paves the way for other feats that do the same. Note: Exclusive to the Eberron campaign setting, but if fluffed differently permits a creature (human or half-orc only in Eberron) in a different campaign setting birthmarks granting increasingly powerful magical abilities.

While it's possible to just play a wizard who has the previously listed feats, it's also possible to have divination abilities by taking levels in classes that neither cast spells nor have as requirements for entry casting spells. Classes with such features are rare and obscure, but below I've listed below a sampling of such

Classes

  • The base class dragon shaman (Player's Handbook II 11-19) at level 14 grants the class feature commune with dragon spirit, granting the creature the spell-like ability to use 1/week an effect like the spell commune.
  • The prestige class dungeon delver (Complete Adventurer 42-4) starting at level 3 grants the class feature deductive augury, granting the creature the spell-like ability to use up to 3/day an effect like the spell augury [div] (Player's Handbook 202).
  • The prestige class inquisitor (Dragonlance Campaign Setting 80-1) at level 10 grants the class feature intuitive logic, granting the character the extraordinary ability to use 1/day an effect like the spell divination [div] (Player's Handbook 224).
  • The prestige class watch detective (Masters of the Wild 75-7) starting at level 4 grants the class feature deductive augury, granting the creature the spell-like ability to use up to 3/day an effect like the spell augury.
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How do you take 14 levels of dragon shaman or 10 levels of inquisitor while also having wizard spellcasting? –  KRyan Sep 1 at 17:41
    
@KRyan Um. Gestalt or very shallow wizard spellcasting? Imagining the character as a wizard but wanting "innate" divination abilities through class levels (connoting not spellcasting and not needing spellcasting to qualify) is just that hard. –  Hey I Can Chan Sep 1 at 17:51

The spontaneous divination variant of the wizard from Complete Champion is the closest I can imagine for this. It allows you to swap a spell for any divination of the same (or lower) level, similar to how a cleric can swap a spell for a cure or inflict spell or a druid can swap a spell for a summon nature’s ally spell.

This replaces your 5th-level bonus feat (which means you have to be at least a wizard 5 to get this ability). You are otherwise a normal wizard; you don’t even have to be a diviner specialist wizard (like all wizards, you cannot ban divination; nothing says you have to prepare those spells, though).

This allows your “innate ability” to divine things to grow with your ability to cast wizard spells, mechanically, and keeps everything fairly simple and effective.

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Is this the mechanic Milo uses in HPd20? –  Dakeyras Sep 1 at 17:05
    
@Dakeyras Haven’t read it, but from what I understand of the premise, most likely yes. Spontaneous Divination is a rather powerful variant and you give up very little for it. –  KRyan Sep 1 at 17:07

I don't know if this is enough prayers removed from playing a religious character as you want to, but you could play an Archivist with a single level in Sacred Exorcist or in cleric-who-worships-an-ideal. (Despite being divine classes, they don't put much emphasys on deities/religion.) From level 17 you can use Divine Metamagic to persist the foresight spell, that can be roleplayed as always knowing what is going to happen in the nearby future.

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