Grafter (3.5e Prestige Class)

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Grafters augment their physical form with custom designed implants which mimic magical items


Copyright 2008, Ben McFarland. Used with permission. Artwork by Jeff McFarland CCA 3.0, Used with permission

The scents of smoke and sulfur mingled with the stinging tang of the acid and burned in his nose as Zavos stepped over the smoldering, dissolving corpse of the aberration. The strange creature had been difficult to slay, but summoned beasts and evocations had brought victory. The mage kicked aside a twitching, rapier-like foreleg and took stock of the bizarre lair. Looking past the exotic plants growing where the ceiling met the floor, he scanned the mysterious etchings covering the grotto’s walls. Zavos knew he had to quickly make rubbings of those symbols before destroying them. With both the Necromancer and the Verdant Circle close behind, there was little time to lose. He couldn’t let this knowledge either fall into their hands or be blotted out forever, like those purist rangers were likely to do. He must save it. Here, encoded in ancient text, lay the secret to grafted magical items, a secret formerly lost for ages. Then, Zavos realized he needed to harvest as much of the twisted flora as possible and destroy the rest. The literal fruits of the creature’s research bloomed around him, hidden in plain sight. A cold smile spread across the elf’s face—this triumph ensured he would learn an art unpracticed in millennia.

A master of alchemical, organic magic items that are bonded to the bodies of applicants, the grafter delves into strange research that pushes the boundaries of magical item creation. Unconcerned with the cosmetic aspects of their creations, grafters revel in the connection between themselves and their handiwork, becoming something more in the process.

Becoming a Grafter:[edit]

The grafter is most open to druids, sorcerers, and wizards. They have the easiest access to the skill and feat requirements, and find the greatest use in the class’ abilities. Clerics might participate — likely devout with the Knowledge domain, though this class has a an appealing flavor to those who follow Madness, Magic, or change oriented gods. Bards with enough casting ability could start this path and might find a few grafts useful enough in their rakish exploits to lose a bit of savoir-faire. The grafter is a good fit for creatures like aboleth, mind flayers, or tsochari. Hit Die: d6


To qualify to become a grafter, a character must fulfill the following criteria.

  1. Craft (Alchemy): 6 ranks
  2. Knowledge (Nature): 8 ranks
  3. Heal: 4 ranks
  4. Feats: Craft Wondrous Item, any one other item creation feat.

Class Skills[edit]

The grafter's class skills (and their key abilities) are Concentration (Con), Craft (Any) (Int), Decipher Script (Int), Heal (Wis), Knowledge (Nature) (Int), Knowledge (Arcana) (Int), Knowledge (Dungeoneering) (Int), Profession (Any) (Wis), Spellcraft (Int).

Skill Points at Each Level: 4 + Intelligence modifier

Table: The Grafter
Level Base
Attack Bonus
Check Bonus
Special Spells per Day/Spells Known
1st +0 +2 +0 +0 +0 Craft grafted item, insight of the spark, symbiosis
2nd +1 +3 +0 +0 +2 Harden the bond +1 level of existing spellcasting class
3rd +2 +3 +1 +1 +2 Slippery mind +1 level of existing spellcasting class
4th +3 +4 +1 +1 +2 Burn the lifeblood
5th +3 +4 +1 +1 +3 Strengthen the bond +1 level of existing spellcasting class
6th +4 +5 +2 +2 +3 Decipher the alien handiwork +1 level of existing spellcasting class
7th +5 +5 +2 +2 +3 Dominant host
8th +6 +6 +2 +2 +4 Solidify the bond, inventive vision +1 level of existing spellcasting class
9th +6 +6 +3 +3 +4 Sacrifice the bond +1 level of existing spellcasting class
10th +7 +7 +3 +3 +4 Multiplicity of form

Class Features:[edit]

As grafters progress, they learn how to make stouter and more compact grafted items which impart an alien look to the grafter but cannot be sundered, stolen, or lost. They learn more about the nature of living things and how grafted items interact with the grafter’s own body. Their spellcasting past is not forgotten, but advances slower than those who focus solely on an arcane or divine path.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: A grafter gains no new proficiency with armor, shields, or weapons.

Spellcasting: When a grafter gains a level of spellcasting, if the grafter previously had more than one spellcasting class, he must decide which class progresses in ability.

Craft Grafted Item [Ex]- Grafted Items, or Grafts, are living magic items with no space limitation, grown or crafted by the grafter and attached to an applicant, usually himself. Grafts have an odd appearance, like something plant-like, or insectoid, possibly from the Realm of Madness, even though they’re born of a mortal’s alchemical laboratory. A grafter with many augmentations would likely seem particularly frightening to the average person. Each graft attached provides a –1 penalty to Charisma-based skills. This penalty works as a bonus to Intimidate checks.

Any standard magic item which a grafter is able to craft may be crafted as a graft. Grafted armor has no space limitation, but is otherwise identical to regular armor and can use special materials. Grafted weapons may use special materials and still incur their additional costs for construction. Grafted weapons are never hidden, are always considered drawn, and impart a –2 penalty on all skill checks requiring the use of hands. Where applicable, grafts don’t require the usual x2 additional cost for having no space limitation. The grafter requires an alchemy laboratory to produce grafts. All creatures are limited to a number of grafts equal to their total, modified Constitution bonus plus 1, minimum of 1. Should their Constitution bonus decrease such that a creature has more grafts than permitted, randomly select grafts to become nonfunctional until the proper number function. Grafts that become nonfunctional in this way reactivate if the grafted's Constitution increases again to the point where more grafts are permitted and are not considered failed. The apparatus of the crab, and other items which might be larger than the graft applicant cannot be turned into a grafted item. GM has final discretion regarding an item's suitability as a graft.

Attaching a graft to an applicant requires a day spent entirely on the process, with a DC 5+1/1000gp value of the graft Heal check — an unwilling applicant may make a Fortitude save at the same DC to reject the graft. The grafter cannot take 10 or 20 on this check. Failure of the Heal check requires an additional day and check. If interrupted, the process simply fails for that day. Three successive failures of this check indicate that the applicant’s body rejects the graft. The graft may be forced to bond with an applicant if the grafter succeeds exceeds the DC required by 15 or more on a fourth check. Grafts that fail to bond after four attempts cannot be bonded with that particular applicant, but may be bonded to a different applicant. Grafts' magical properties don’t function in an antimagic area. Grafts affected by Mordenkainen’s Disjunction become nonfunctional and count towards the total number of permitted grafts.

If the grafted takes 50 hp of damage or more from a single source, or is forced to make a Fortitude saving throw against a death effect, he must make a second Fortitude save at the same DC. (DC for massive damage is equal to the damage) If this second save is failed the applicant loses use of one graft at random for 2d4 days as it goes into shock from the trauma, becoming nonfunctional. After this period of nonfunctionality, a third save at the same DC is required. Failure of this third save causes the graft to permanently become nonfunctional. A successful Heal check can be substituted for these Fortitude saves, if the grafted so chooses. Nonfunctional grafts count towards the total permitted number of grafts, but aren’t considered if the grafted creature later needs determine another possibly failed graft. A heal, miracle, limited wish, or wish will restore operation to a attached graft which has become nonfunctional for this reason. See below for rules on removing a graft.

If the grafted contracts a disease, then each time a check is made to determine the infection’s progression, an additional check at the same DC must be made for all grafts. Failure causes a randomly selected, uninfected graft to become infected and nonfunctional for 2d4 days. If no healthy grafts remain but the infection continues, then each day reduces the time graft failure by one day. It’s possible to have grafts with different periods until failure. If the disease continues beyond this infection period, nonfunctional grafts become permanently nonfunctional, or failed grafts. Magically curing the disease saves all grafts made nonfunctional by disease without checks; a failed graft remains attached, but useless. If a character makes the necessary saving throws to cure the disease, any infected, nonfunctional grafts become functional the next day.

Grafts maintain their form and function should the grafted creature shapeshift, such as from a wild shape, polymorph or alter self. In essence, all grafts have the wild aspect that magic armor can have. However, no matter what the final shape, grafts remain visible as additions to the creature's current form.

Should a creature with grafts be killed in such a way that the body is not mangled or destroyed, (DM’s discretion) an individual Fortitude save (of DC 15+1/1000gp of graft value) should be made for each graft to survive for 1d4+grafter level days. Use the former grafted creature's Fortitude bonus to make these saves. A DC 10 Search or Spot check allows an observer to notice grafts on a person. A DC 30 Bardic Knowledge, or a DC 25 Knowledge (Nature or Arcana), or a DC 20 Heal check will allow someone to identify the oddities on the corpse as grafts, unless the observer bonded the items in which case the check is automatically successful. The graft must be removed, and survive the process, before another applicant may use it. (See below) Then, a DC 25 Craft (Alchemy) check is required to bond a foreign graft to an applicant. Once attached, the grafted gains an intuitive understanding of how to operate the graft.

Removing a graft from a corpse requires a DC 10 Heal check. When dealing with a living applicant, a DC 20 Heal check is needed to do so without destroying the graft in the process. Even so, it’s dangerous to the graft and grafted. Removal inflicts 1d6hp of damage per 1000gp value of the graft. This damage can be reduced 1d6 for every two points which the Heal check exceeds the DC; the healer cannot take 10 or 20 on this check. In either case, a DC 15+1/1000gp Fortitude save must be made for the graft using the host’s base Fortitude bonus to see if it survives the process. A graft that fails this save is destroyed.

Grafts with charges that are completely expended wither and die in 2d4 days, freeing the allocation. Grafts with a single use, such as potions or scrolls, are consumed in their use and free their allocation immediately for use by a new graft without inflicting damage on the grafted.

For grafts that require it, activation is a standard action that does not provoke an attack of opportunity. Grafts may not be sundered.

Insight of the Spark (Ex)- A grafter gains an edge from his experiences with grafts and their construction. This edge manifests itself as a +2 bonus to Heal and Craft (Alchemy) checks.

Symbiosis (Su)- At any time, a grafter may select a graft to be sacrificed in order to stabilize and return a grafter to 1hp. This swift action consumes the graft, freeing the allocation and doesn’t inflict removal damage to the host.

Harden, Strengthen, Solidify the Bond (Su)- The bond a grafter has with his grafts improves as he perfects his art and provides a bonus to saving throws made to determine fate of grafts (See Table: The Grafter, "Graft Check Bonus"). This bonus is applicable only the checks made to determine the continued functionality or survival of grafts. It begins at +2 with Harden the Bond, and increases by one with each step of this ability. This allows him to accept more grafts than others. At this point, he may have a number of grafts equal his modified Constitution bonus plus his Graft Check Bonus. (1 graft at a minimum)

Slippery Mind (Su)- A grafter gains a subtle link to the items joined to his body, hearing whispers in the back of his mind. This provides the grafter with the ability to shrug off magical effects that would otherwise control or compel him. If a grafter with slippery mind is affected by an enchantment and fails his saving throw, one round later he can attempt the saving throw again. He gets only this one extra chance to succeed on his saving throw.

Burn the Lifeblood (Su)- A grafter may start to create charged items that he powers with 3hp of damage per charge spent. Experience point costs must still be paid. Single use items can’t be lifeblood-powered. The grafter may substitute material spell components that cost more than 1gp by suffering 5hp of true damage plus 5hp per/100gp value. This damage is applied after the graft’s effects and cannot be taken from temporary hit points, like those from spells such as aid. Thus, if Zavos has a wand of restoration as a graft, and uses it repair the Strength damage from a recent battle with wraiths he would cure the Strength damage, and then take 3hp of damage for the charge and 10 hp of damage for the component requirement. This damage may not be healed magically by a spell, potion, scroll, graft or fast healing, although other alchemical items and resting heals the damage normally. Only a grafter of third level or higher may use these lifeblood-powered grafts, even if salvaged from the dead. Such a graft never withers and dies from having expended all its charges. This ability doesn’t prevent a grafter from making charged items.

Decipher the Alien Handiwork (Ex)- A grafter who finds a custom graft fashioned by another grafter or a graft of a creature’s manufacture — like a fiendish graft — may spend one day per 1000gp value of the graft to analyze it for future manufacturing. Failed grafts may not be studied in this manner. Racial grafts learned this way and attached still count towards the grafted’s total permitted allocation. The analysis costs 500gp plus 100gp per week of work. The grafter also gains a +2 bonus to Heal checks made to attach a new graft to an applicant. This bonus stacks with that provided by Insight of the Spark. This ability will substitute for the Graft Flesh feat for other feats or classes that might require it, such as the fleshwarper.

Dominant Host (Ex)- A grafter may now choose to remove a graft from his body with little difficulty. He no longer needs to make the Heal check to remove the graft, does not take the damage, and may do so as a standard action which provokes attacks of opportunity. Grafts removed in this way may survive separated from their host for (1d4+grafter level) days if detached. If the grafter makes a DC 25 Craft (Alchemy) check, he can brew a nutrient solution that will extend the separation duration by a week. Brewing the solution takes a day and requires 250gp worth of materials per graft to be supplied.

Inventive Vision (Ex)- A grafter may research new, custom grafts, as he would research new magic items. Researching grafts is identical to creating new magic items, except that it costs 100gp per week in addition to standard item research costs. Grafts don’t incur the x2 modifier for having no space limitation.

Sacrifice the Bond (Su)- As a swift action, a graft can be sacrificed, cannibalizing the resident magic to provide 1d6 hp of healing per 1000gp value of graft. This consumes the graft, as per Symbiosis.

Multiplicity of Form (Ex)- A grafter can infuse a graft with the powers of two items whose combined value is no greater than 1000gp per character level. This isn’t a new item, per se, but is considered simply the grafter’s ability to create more compact grafts that require fewer resources from their host and thereby let him bond with more items. Items need not be crafted again, but augmented in the same way that a caster can upgrade one of the ability boosting items.

Playing a Grafter:[edit]

Grafters find themselves subject to the prejudice often reserved for those who would modify themselves in the name of knowledge or gain. Many who do so disregard the well-being of others, and you have to be at peace with the fact that those who encounter you and see your work might think you to be an aberration, even a demon. You know different.

You know what you do is nothing more than another method for crafting magical items — one that is far more elegant and artistic. You are proud of what you can fashion and know those who will accept them will see the craft for just those qualities. You may find sharing the fruits of your labor with others to be the finest method for dispersing its good name.

Optimally, you are considered an eccentric. You know what you do has undeniable virtues. If the hidebound populace ignored the cosmetic drawbacks of grafts, they would see what you do could change the world. The body can be augmented, it has the potential to accept and become more. If only the narrow minded would be willing to take that leap.


Battle isn’t something you necessarily long for. With your access to graft augmentation, you have the means to freely do things that would ordinarily provoke the opportunistic blows of others in combat. You can incorporate what allows others to act as force multipliers and force extenders. Your strength lies in the ability to provide items not easily lost or recognized. You fashion the tools that can prove to be the saving grace when things seem grim, if only by their sheer obscurity.


As you gain experience, remember your spellcasting origins — they will help focus your progression. Any grafter should consider whether they want be more combat oriented versus artillery oriented versus support oriented. In all cases, the amount of specialization will probably determine what grafts you create and use to augment yourself. Almost every grafter will likely benefit from a grafted amulet of health — although be careful if your focus is melee, as having that graft go dormant in combat would likely have a cascading effect. Regardless, a grafter is likely to use his allocations to supplement his role and enhance his companions’. You should keep in mind how your grafts modify your appearance, and take this into account by taking a hat of disguise graft or a robe of blending graft if you feel the need. If you’re a more social character, then a circlet of persuasion graft and a cloak of charisma graft might offset your abilities penalties and still provide additional enhancement.


Becoming a new practitioner of an otherwise lost art doesn’t present a lot of options for support. You’re guided by the vision that led you to discover grafting in the first place and the reasons you have for seeking its greater secrets. However, you do have some options to consider. A grafter of good or neutral intent might try to find a reasonable patron, willing to help further your research in exchange for a few completed efforts on your part. Adventuring parties are known to embrace unorthodox methods, and might sponsor you — if you weren’t a member already. Those able to show the benign nature of grafts will likely find allies amongst druids that focus on shapeshifting, who find such items are quite useful in their alternate forms.

Evil grafters have more choices; cabals of the less ethically challenged tend to also be less concerned with physical appearances. This can lead the evil grafter into alliances with those commoners already associate grafters with — like necromancers or alienists — or creatures whose lore might be used as a stepping stone, such as aboleth or tsochari.

In truth, the nature of the relationship will be the defining factor when considering what benefits will be available to the grafter.

Grafters in the World:[edit]


Grafters are loners by the sheer nature of their art and its acquisition. While a master who seeks to bring a renaissance to the craft might establish a circle of grafters, such a fellowship would be exceedingly rare. Evil grafters could seek out creatures with racial grafts to assist them with otherwise unknown items.

NPC Reactions:[edit]

Society, on the whole, has a hard time accepting the grafter and his labors. He seems alien and unnatural, despite his mortal grown grafts. The grafter’s demeanor, outlook, and goals greatly influence how he interacts with other organizations — whether they view him as a threat to be neutralized or an ally whose work enriches them. Most will start with an initial attitude of unfriendly, given a grafter’s odd appearance and driven, isolated nature.

Grafter Lore:[edit]

Characters with Knowledge (Arcana) can research grafters to learn more about them. When a character makes a skill check, read or paraphrase the information below, remembering that higher checks reveal information from lower DCs as well.

DC 15: “Grafters are spellcasters who specialize in the creation of living magic items.”

DC 20: “Grafters aren’t always evil. However, many actually conflict with other magi, in particular fleshwarpers. Their handiwork has one major difference in that the devices become part of their owner.”

DC 25: “Grafters can attach items to anyone, willing or not. Removing the items isn’t always healthy for the person with the graft. Severe wounds can cause grafts to fail.”

DC 30: Characters who achieve this level of success can learn important information about specific grafters in your campaign, as well as the nature of their research and perhaps the types of grafts they and their minions might have.

Grafters in the Game:[edit]

The grafter and his bizarre nature can fulfill many campaign roles. A grafter may be a twisted mastermind or a reclusive ally. His grafted items add flavor to minions and provide a sense of the exotic while possibly serving as the gateway a PC needs to start down this path. In either case, he will add a facet of wonder and diversity.


The grafter is a fairly specialized class, adding an aspect to the campaign world that might be previously unconsidered. As long as your world has grafts in it, this class can be integrated with nothing more than trivial modification.


As the DM, grafters provide you with a very specialized and interesting character to use. He can be the quiet researcher or the dark druid opposing the spread of civilization. The grafter is what you make of him.

See also Zavos Semho (DnD NPC).

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