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While a cleric’s faith is her highest priority, her church may wield significant political power in some regions. In these cases, cardinals arise from the ranks of the clergy, engaging in the game of intrigue on behalf of their churches. While some cardinals manage to join the world of politics and retain the purity of their faith, many cardinals find that they must compromise some part of their beliefs in pursuit of their church’s political power, and some cardinals even fall prey to the corrupting influence of their power.

The cardinal is an archetype of the cleric class.

Political Skill

A cardinal adds Bluff, Intimidate, Knowledge (geography), Knowledge (local), and Perform (oratory) to her list of class skills. She gains a number of skill ranks equal to 6 + her Intelligence modifier at each level, instead of the normal 2 + her Intelligence modifier. However, her base attack bonus from cleric levels is equal to half her class level (which is the same as for a black mage or white mage). In addition, she is trained to project her voice with great skill and effect; the DC to hear her speak in difficult conditions is reduced by an amount equal to her cleric level plus her Charisma modifier (minimum 0).

Sermonic Performance (Su)

A cardinal gains the ability to deliver a select number of supernatural and spell-like performances through the force and power of her divinely inspired preaching and exhortation. This ability is similar in all respects to bardic performance as used by a bard of the same level (including interactions with feats, spells, and prestige classes), using Perform (oratory) as the cardinal’s performance skill. However, a cardinal gains only the following types of bardic performance: countersong, fascinate, and inspire courage at 1st level; inspire greatness at 9th level; and inspire heroics at 15th level.

This ability replaces aura of resolve.

Shining Star (Su)

At 3rd level, the cardinal has learned how to focus attention on herself so thoroughly that even the presence of danger does not distract her adoring crowd. When using fascinate, a target making a save to break the effect because of a potential threat takes a –4 penalty on that save, and even obvious threats require a save rather than automatically breaking the effect. Creatures affected by the cardinal’s fascinate ability ignore the shaken condition.

This ability replaces armored mage.

Wide Audience (Su)

At 4th level, a cardinal can choose to affect a 60-foot cone instead of a 30-foot radius with bardic performances that affect an area. In addition, for every four levels beyond 4th, the area of such powers is increased by 10 feet (radius) or 20 feet (cone). If the power instead affects multiple creatures, it affects one additional creature than normal for every four levels beyond 4th. This does not affect powers that affect only a single creature.

This ability replaces blessing of the faithful.

Consensus (Ex)

At 7th level, twice per day as a swift action during the first full round of combat, a cardinal can take a vote from a number of allies equal to or less than 3 + her Charisma modifier, all of whom must be within 30 feet of the cardinal. In initiative order, each ally can vote for Freedom, Justice, or Responsibility. Allies who vote receive a +2 sacred bonus either on attack rolls (if Justice wins), on saving throws (if Freedom wins), or to Armor Class (if Responsibility wins) until the end of combat. The cardinal votes last, and in the case of a tie, her vote breaks the tie.

This ability replaces prayer.

Determination (Ex)

At 13th level, the cardinal is a person of few words on the battlefield, but those words hold great power and authority. A number of times per day equal to her Charisma modifier, the cardinal can use this ability to create one of the following effects. Each is a free action to use.

  • Aggression: The cardinal may reroll an attack roll that she just made before the results of the roll are revealed. She must take the result of the reroll, even if it’s worse than the original roll.

  • Defense: When the cardinal would be hit by a melee or ranged attack, as an immediate action she may add a +4 insight bonus to her Armor Class against that attack, and if this makes the cardinal’s AC higher than the opponent’s attack roll, the attack misses.

  • Warning: When a cardinal’s ally within line of sight would be hit by a melee or ranged attack, she may call out a warning to that ally, and the attacker must reroll the attack and use the results of the second roll. The ally must be able to hear the cardinal and must not be helpless for this ability to have any effect.

This ability replaces aura of war revelry.