Through the natural course of arcane study, many come to the conclusion that time is merely another spell component. It can be used to cast spells, or at the very least, casting spells costs time, but it is not seen as anything more by most. Even spells that appear to affect time don't really; they merely cause a few subjects to move more or less quickly than usual within a set timeframe.
Temporal tinkers, sometimes referred to as kairotheurges, are eclectic arcanists who have become obsessed with the idea that time itself can be manipulated.
Usually with a strong background in mathematics and machinery, and always equipped with heavy arcane talent and an analytic mind that picks systems apart and gets at their inner workings, temporal tinkers tend to see chronology as a machine—one that they can tweak to better suit their needs. Time-travel is a fanciful dream of some new to kairotheurgic theory, but one of the first things they learn is that there is no rewinding the gears. And if time-travel is limited to going forward, the work of necromancers is sufficient for those desiring to open their eyes in a new era. So temporal tinkers limit their ambitions and focus on achieving short-term results by slowing or hastening the flow of time in their immediate surroundings.
Role: The temporal tinker is primarily a spellcaster, and continues to fill the role of one even after diverting his arcane studies into the tweaking of time. Ultimately, his spellcasting abilities will lag behind a pure arcanist dedicated to spells, but he gains extra versatility in the form of his time bubble ability. He can discharge the arcane energy normally used for spells to manipulate time around him, distorting momentum and perceptions to the advantage of his party.
Alignment: any nonchaotic. Tinkering with time takes dedication and research rarely found amongst the chaotic.
Hit Dice: d6.
To qualify to become a temporal tinker, a character must fulfill all the following criteria.
Feats: Magical Aptitude, Skill Focus (Knowledge [arcana]).
Special: Able to regularly produce a haste or slow effect. Transmutation cannot be an opposition school.
Skills: Disable Device 3 ranks, Knowledge (arcana) 7 ranks, Knowledge (engineering) 5 ranks, Use Magic Device 7 ranks.
Spells: Arcane caster level 5th.
The temporal tinker's class skills are Appraise (Int), Craft (Int), Disable Device (Dex), Knowledge (arcana) (Int), Knowledge (engineering) (Int), Perception (Wis), Profession (Wis), Spellcraft (Int), and Use Magic Device (Cha).
Skill Ranks per Level: 2 + Int modifier.
All of the following are class features of the temporal tinker prestige class.
Weapon and Armor Proficiency: A temporal tinker doesn't take the normal -4 penalty on attack rolls with improvised weapons when wielding an hourglass or other time piece.
Spells per Day: At the indicated levels, a temporal tinker gains new spells per day, new spells known, and an increase in arcane caster level as though he had advanced in an arcane caster class to which he belonged before adding the prestige class. He does not, however, gain any other benefits a character of that class would have gained.
Alchemy/Scholarship: It is possible to enter this prestige class using nonstandard arcane methods (such as an alchemist's extracts or a scholar's notes). Characters with levels in alchemist or scholar can sacrifice extracts or notes, respectively, to power any temporal tinker abilities, and can apply any bonuses from temporal tinker abilities that benefit spellcasting to their extracts or notes. Finally, whenever the temporal tinker would advance spellcasting, it can instead advance extract or note progressions.
Fast Aging: Their experiments leave temporal tinkers more susceptible to time's natural course. Temporal tinkers halve the delimiters for age categories, though they do not automatically change age category upon entering the class. The first time a temporal tinker advances to a new age category, he advances to the appropriate category for his newly halved lifespan.
Time Bubble (Su): At 1st level, a temporal tinker can, as a standard action that does not provoke attacks of opportunity, sacrifice a prepared arcane spell or unused arcane spell slot to project a field of temporal wobble (a "time bubble"). This is a spherical aura with a 30' radius, centered on the temporal tinker. The time bubble lasts for 1 round per level of the sacrificed spell.
The temporal wobble warps momentum and perception. Creatures interacting across the time bubble's barrier receive a penalty equal to ½ the tinker's class level (minimum -1) on attack rolls, ability checks, and skill checks—this is referred to as the distortion effect. Any creature within a time bubble receives an automatic Perception check (DC 30 - the tinker's class level) to notice the distortion. If the creature has ranks in Knowledge (arcana), they receive a +5 insight bonus on this check.
Time bubbles cannot be terminated prematurely, even if the temporal tinker dies or is transported to another plane. The effect's length is fixed to the level of the sacrificed spell (though this can be extended at later levels, see "Extend Bubble," below) and the affected area is always centered on the tinker.
At 4th level, a temporal tinker has become more adept with his temporal manipulation and he can project his time bubble as a move action. At 7th level, this becomes a swift action; at 10th level, it is a free action.
Tweaks: At 1st level, and every odd-numbered level thereafter, a temporal tinker masters one trick which he can use to manipulate the flow of time to his advantage. These only function when his time bubble is projected. Some are passive, constant bonuses; others require activation. Each tweak is strengthened or provides additional bonuses when the tinker is compressing his time bubble (see below). Tweaks are selected from the list thereof. Every tweak a temporal tinker knows applies to every time bubble he projects.
Boost: You may select an additional tweak.
Time Mage (Ex): A temporal tinker is extremely well-versed in magic that mimics the alteration of time. He automatically recognizes any haste, slow, allegro, or time stop spell as it is being cast within his sights, as though he had succeeded on the appropriate Spellcraft check. Additionally, he receives a bonus on caster level checks to counter or dispel these effects equal to 1/2 his tinker level (minimum +1).
Compress Bubble (Su): At 2nd level, a temporal tinker gains the ability to compress his time bubble, focusing its effects entirely on himself. Engaging this ability is a free action. A temporal tinker's compression lasts until he dismisses it (another free action), or until the time bubble duration expires.
A tinker may compress his time bubble for a number of rounds per day equal to 2 + his Constitution modifier, plus 2 for every level of temporal tinker he has.
When a time bubble is compressed, the normal distortion effect is suppressed and the time bubble is considered to have a volume equal to exactly the tinker's body. The tinker, manipulating time to his benefit, gains a 10-foot enhancement bonus to his speed, as well as a +1 bonus to attack rolls, AC, Reflex saves, and Dexterity- and Wisdom-based skill checks. These bonuses do not stack with those from a haste or similar effect.
Confining such a high level of time manipulation to such a small space is tiring. When the compression effect ends, either because it is dismissed, the time bubble dissipates, or the tinker runs out of compression rounds for the day, the tinker is fatigued for a number of rounds equal to 2 times the number of rounds spent compressing his time bubble.
When compression ends, if the time bubble effect survives it, the normal distortion effect resumes. Compression can end prematurely if the tinker is rendered unconscious, or if he is dazed, stunned, or nauseated.
Boost: You gain 2 more rounds of compression per day.
Extend Bubble (Su): At 3rd level, the temporal tinker gains the ability to sacrifice a prepared spell or spell slot as a swift action at any point while his time bubble is projected to extend its duration by a number of rounds equal to the level of the sacrificed spell. This allows the tinker to maintain a single seamless time bubble across multiple projections for the purpose of maintaining compression.
Time Gap (Su): At 6th level, the distortions caused by a temporal tinker's time bubble are amplified to the point where moving in or out of the bubble is a nigh-traumatic event. The sharp shift in perception at the edge of the time bubble gives pause to any creature trying to enter or exit it.
If a creature begins its turn outside the bubble and attempts to move into it, or begins its turn within the bubble and tries to move out of it, it must make a Will save (DC 10 + the tinker's level + the tinker's Intelligence modifier). If the save is failed, the creature's movement ends at the border of the bubble—just outside it, if it had been trying to enter, or just inside, if it had been trying to exit. The creature may still use any remaining actions as usual, but it may not make any further movement on this turn. A creature that fails its save against this effect gets an incremental +2 bonus on further saves against the ability.
Time gap has no effect on creatures shunted into it, teleporting into it, or forced into it (if it is initially projected around them) or out of it (if it is compressed such that they are no longer within it, or if it ends when they were in it). Nor are creatures affected if a temporal tinker moves away from them such that they are no longer within the time bubble, or toward them such that they become within the time bubble.
If a temporal tinker has been close friends with someone for at least a month and they have trained together, that person may move in and out of the tinker's time bubble with impunity (regardless of friendship or attitude in the present). The tinker's familiars, summons, eidolons, animal companions, etc. are never affected by this ability, no matter how recently they were acquired. Creatures immune to mind-affecting effects are also unaffected by time gap.
Threefold Aspect (Sp): At 8th level, the temporal tinker gains the ability to cast threefold aspect at will as a spell-like ability. The caster level for this effect is equal to the temporal tinker's character level. Each use of this ability requires the use of 2 rounds of compression (and, by extension, the projection of a time bubble lasting at least 2 rounds). The effects of this spell-like ability are indefinite, lasting until the next time the tinker uses it. True seeing does not see through this effect.
Time Rift (Su): At 9th level, the tinker's time gap becomes more frightening yet. If a creature attempting to enter or exit the time bubble succeeds on its Will save and crosses the boundary, it gains the fatigued condition (if the creature is already fatigued, it does not become exhausted) for 2d4 rounds. If it fails its Will save, its movement ends (as before) but now it takes 1d4 Wisdom damage. As before, allies and one-time allies are unaffected, along with pets and creatures immune to mind-affecting effects.
Snap Perfection (Ex): Temporal tinkers achieve unprecedented perfection in the space of seconds when undertaking tasks in compressed time bubbles. At 10th level, a temporal tinker can take 10 on any roll except saving throws while compressing his time bubble. Additionally, while compressing his time bubble, he may take 20 on skill checks without increasing the time it takes to complete those checks. This does not allow the tinker to take 20 on skills that normally don't allow taking 20.