Abhorsen (3.5e Class)
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 The Abhorsen
|“|| Just as his slimy, corrupted fingers stretched forward, Sabriel opened her eyes and demonstrated the stop-thrust that had earned her second place in Fighting arts and, later, lost her the first. Her arm and sword straightened like one limb to their full extent and the sword point ripped through Thralk's neck, and into eight inches of air beyond.
Thralk screamed, his reaching fingers gripping the sword to push himself free- only to scream again as the charter marks flaired on the blade. White hot sparks plumed between his knuckles and Thralk suddenly knew what he'd encountered.
"Abhorsen!" he croaked, falling backwards as Sabriel twisted the blade free with one explosive jerk.
Already, the sword was affecting the dead flesh Thralk inhabited, Charter Magic burning through reanimated nerves, freezing those all-too-fluid joints. Fire rose in Thralk's throat, but he spoke, to distract this terrible opponent while his spirit tried to shuck the body, like a snake in its skin, and retreat into the night.
"Abhorsen! I will serve you, praise you, be your hand... I know things, alive and dead,... I will help lure others to you..."
The clear, deep sound of Saraneth cut through the whining, broken voice like a foghorn booming above the shriek of seagulls. The chime vibrated on and on, echoing into the night, and Thralk felt it bind him even as his spirit leaked out of the body and made for flight. The bell bound him to paralyzed flesh, bound him to the will of the bell-ringer. Fury seethed in him, anger and fear fueling the struggle, but the sound was everywhere, all around him, all through him. He would never be free of it.
|—Garth Nix, Sabriel|
This class is inspired by and based on the books Sabriel, Lirael and Abhorsen by Garth Nix. This is a very specialist class and should only be allowed in a campaign if the DM tailors the campaign specifically to fit the Abhorsen class within it. The Abhorsen class will not work in pre-published campaign settings.
Adventure: Abhorsens adventure to put the dead back to rest, and to protect the living from of dead. For this is not their path.
Characteristics: Abhorsens are morbid, thinking of death far too often for normal people. Other than this, they are likable people, with varied personalities, just like other humans.
Alignment: Abhorsens MUST be good, because an evil Abhorsen would simply be a necromancer. Most Abhorsens are Chaotic Good.
Religion: Abhorsens do not worship any deity, and do not believe in their existence. While many have delusions of life after death, the Abhorsen knows better, having experienced death in person. After death, you find yourself in a river, in the first precinct of death. You follow the river, through the first gate, into the second. In this way you pass through the nine precincts, and past the final gate. This is true death, and none know what comes after. The gates form as different water features (waterfalls, most often), and each precinct has its own danger. In the final precinct, there are strange lights that draw those who are supposed to die past the final gate. The living may only pass these gates by speaking the required free-magic command, and only necromancers and the Abhorsen know these words.
|“|| Five great charters knit the land
Together linked, hand in hand
One in the people who wear the crown
Two in the folk who keep the dead down
Three and Five became stone and mortar
Four sees all in frozen water
|—Garth Nix, Sabriel|
This simple rhyme holds all that is known on the origins of the charter and the abhorsens.
Races: Only humans may become the Abhorsen- it is a title passed through blood relatives. Once an Abhorsen falls, there is always another to take her place. There is only ever one Abhorsen. Note that there is always an "Abhorsen-in-waiting" to take the Abhorsen's place if she dies. This "Abhorsen-in-waiting" is assumed to be an NPC who is elsewhere (training to become the Abhorsen). If two players want to be Abhorsens, one is the Abhorsen, and the other is the "Abhorsen-in-waiting". Both will have the Abhorsen starting Equiptment, as there are usually spares for the "Abhorsen-in-waiting" to train with. If the Abhorsen dies, the "Abhorsen-in-waiting" gains the title (the sword, bells and armour are magically teleported to them). If you plan on taking levels in Abhorsen, you must take the Abhorsen class at first level.
Other Classes: Abhorsens hate necromancers and free-magic sorcerers (those who cast magic without the charter). Abhorsens don't tend to judge people on what class they have. Most people tend to look up to Abhorsens to keep the dead down.
Role: The Abhorsen takes the role as an undead stalker, free-magic spellcaster slayer, and construct destroyer. The Abhorsen also knows much magic, which can be useful when it comes to slaying the dead.
 Game Rule Information
Abhorsens have the following game statistics:
Abilities: Wisdom and Charisma is required for charter magery, and Strength and Dexterity are useful for fighting undead who get too close. Constitution is useful for withstanding the attacks of the dead.
Alignment: Any Good, though most are chaotic Good.
Starting Age: Complex: There is only ever one Abhorsen, the next taking their place once the one before is dead. Therefore, add +5 to the starting age.
Starting Equipment: The Abhorsen starts with the following equipment automatically:
- The Bells of the Necromancer: Ranna, Mosrael, Kibeth, Dyrim, Belgaer, Saraneth, and Astarael the Sorrowful.
- The Book of the Dead.
- A Charter-spelled Longsword (Masterwork Longsword).
- Leather Armour.
Starting Gold: 2D4gp
|Saving Throws||Special||Spells per Day|
|1st||+0||+0||+0||+2||Enter Death, Put the Dead Back to Rest +2, Vow of Undeath Slaying, Bells of the Necromancer||3||1||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|2nd||+1||+0||+0||+3||Perform (Bells) +2||4||2||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|4th||+3||+1||+1||+4||Perform (Bells) +3, Send the Dead Back||5||3||2||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|5th||+3||+1||+1||+4||Put the Dead Back to Rest +4||5||3||2||1||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|7th||+5||+2||+2||+5||Perform (Bells) +4||6||4||3||2||1||—||—||—||—||—|
|9th||+6/+1||+3||+3||+6||+2 Blade, Perform (Bells) +5||6||4||4||3||2||1||—||—||—||—|
|10th||+7/+2||+3||+3||+7||Put the Dead Back to Rest +6, Perform (Bells) +6||6||4||4||3||3||2||—||—||—||—|
|15th||+11/+6/+1||+5||+5||+9||Put the Dead Back to Rest +8, +4 Blade||6||5||5||4||4||4||3||2||1||—|
|16th||+12/+7/+2||+5||+5||+10||Paragon of Undeath||6||5||5||4||4||4||3||3||2||—|
|20th||+15/+10/+5||+6||+6||+12||Put the Dead Back to Rest +10||6||5||5||4||4||4||3||3||3||2|
Class Skills (4+Int modifier per level; ×4 at 1st level)
 Class Features
All of the following are class features of the Abhorsen:
Weapon and Armor Proficiency: The Abhorsen is proficient with longswords and light and medium armour but not with shields. The Abhorsen is proficient with bells and pipes.
- Puts the dead back to rest
At 1st level, the Abhorsen gets +2 to her attack and damage rolls against undead and constructs (except if the construct was created with charter magic). This improves by +2 every 5 levels (5th, 10th, 15th and 20th).
 Bells of the Necromancer
These are magical bells that a necromancer can use to aid his evil deeds. They are also the tools of the Abhorsen, used to put the dead back to rest.
There are seven different bells, fastened into pouches on a bandolier (worn across the chest) to silence the noise. You must be proficient with the bells to use them, otherwise when you ring the bells their affect will affect the ringer rather than their target. Proficiency can be gained with the exotic weapon proficiency feat (bells), or by having levels in the Abhorsen class. These both let you gain proficiency with all the bells.
The seven bells are: Ranna, Mosrael, Kibeth, Dyrim, Belgaer, Saraneth and Astarael the Sorrowful.
To use a bell, the ringer must remove it from the bandoleer (standard action, requiring 2 hands). Alternatively, a bell can be removed from the bandolier one-handed (standard action). If the bell is removed single-handedly, the ringer must pass a DC 15 Dexterity check to prevent the bell ringing of its own accord. If this happens, resolve the affect of the bell as if the wielder was not proficient with bells.
To ring the bell, the ringer must make a perform (percussion) skill check. The target(s) of the bell must then make an opposed will save against the result of the ringer's perform (percussion) skill check. If they fail, resolve the effects of the bell. Note that Astarael the Sorrowful is an exception to these rules. Also note that, if this bell functions as a spell follow all its rules, but ignore casting time and spell components. These is replaced with the bell (ringing the bell is a swift action).
Ranna is the sleepbringer, the high-pitched tinkling bell that brings the silence of sleep. Ranna causes the target(s) to be affected by the Sleep spell (maximum target HD 4x ringer's level). Note that the sleep effect does not allow the saving throw of the spell (this is replaced with the bell ringing rules above), and DOES affect undead.
Mosrael is the waker, a harsh, rowdy bell that throws the ringer further into death while restoring life to the listener. the Abhorsen should rarely, if ever. use this bell. The dead (in death) immediately disappear and the corpses are affected by an Animate Dead spell. The ringer immediately disappears and then reappears in the middle of a precinct of death D4 precincts deeper into death (closer to the ninth gate). If the wielder can go no farther than the ninth precinct in this way. The ringer is not in control the dead she animates with this bell.
Kibeth is the walker. It can give freedom of movement to the dead, or walk them past the next gate. The ringer may give the listener (an undead creature) freedom of will (it gains a charisma and intelligence score of 10 if it is not free-willed undead (this includes zombies and skeletons) and removes the control over the target undead from the character or NPC that controls them. Alternatively, it can cause a death affect on the target undead, sending them into the first precinct of death (if they are in life), or send them to the next precinct of death (if they are in death). If affected by this bell herself, the ringer will walk one precinct deeper into death. Other than this, Kibeth only affects undead.
Dyrim is a very musical bell, ringing a clear and pretty tone. Dyrim is the lost voice of the dead. An undead who hears Dyrim gains the ability to speak and understand common. It If the ringer wishes, she can remove the ability to speak all spoken languages from the undead listener. If the listener is alive, the ringer can use this bell to temporarily (5 minutes x ringer's level) remove the ability to speak all spoken languages from the listener, or to reverse any such affect.
Belgaer is a very trickysome bell that seeks to ring of its own accord. Most necromancers scorn to use this bell, as it is the thinking bell that restores indipendant thought to the listener. An undead that hears Belgaer regains the Intelligence, Wisdom and Charisma scores it had in life. It also regains all its memories. When used on an intelligent undead or non-undead, the listener forgets all its memories, and has Intelligence, Wisdom and Charisma of 0. This reverses in 1 minute x ringer level. The bell can be used to reverse this.
Saraneth is the deepest and lowest bell. Anyone who listens to this bell is under the control of the ringer. The save to negate is the ringer's will will check added to the ringer's effective caster level. The ringer can command up to 4HD x ringer's level at any one time.
Astarael the Sorrowful
This is the final bell. When it is rung (even by accident or by someone who is not proficient with bells) the ringer's body is killed as if by a death effect, an the are sent into the D4+5 precinct of death. Everybody (and everything, undead or living) within 30ft must pass a DC 25 will save or be affected by the same fate as the Ringer. Everything between 30ft-60ft must pass a DC 20 will save or be affected by the same fate as the Ringer. Everybody between 60ft and 100ft must pass a DC 10 will save or be affected by the same fate as the Ringer. Everybody who suffers the death effect loses control of themselves in death and will go as fast as possible to the ninth gate moving through the gates of death automatically (they are not affected by the dangers of death).
 Charter Magic
The Abhorsen casts charter magic, choosing spells in the same way that a sorcerer does, from the Sorcerer/Wizard spell list. The Abhorsen casts her spells in a different way to a sorcerer. First, she must be within 120 miles of a charter stone. If more than 40 miles away from a charter stone, she is at -1 level for spells per day and spell effects. If within 40 miles of a charter stone, the Abhorsen is at +1 level for spells per day and spell casting. Other than this, treat the Abhorsen as a sorcerer for spell casting purposes. The Abhorsen knows as many spells as she gets spells per day. For example a 1st level Abhorsen knows 3 level 0 spells, and 1 level 1 spell.
The Abhorsen uses charter marks- drawn from the pool of chater marks networked around charter stones- to cast spells. The Abhorsen casts all spells with verbal and somatic components- she speaks the names of the marks as she casts them and directs the flow with her hand. The knowledge of the charter mark's names comes to the Abhorsen automatically, so shre does not need to memorize them beforehand. Other than this the Abhorsen casts spells just as a sorcerer does. The abhorsen must have Wisdom and Charisma of at least 13 in order to cast spells. In order to find out your bonus spells, you must use the following formula and apply it to Table: Ability Modifiers and Bonus Spells Table: Ability Modifiers and Bonus Spells.
The Abhorsen can sence the presence of the undead from up to 100 ft. away. In addition, she can instantly identify anything that is undead just by looking, ignoring all magical effects and preventative spells.
- Send the Dead Back
While in death, the Abhorsen can see the souls of all of the dead that are currently in the plane of the living. In combat, she takes her turns from the planes of death, while her body is unconscious in the plains of the living. She can use her bells from the planes of death, and when she does, they take effect without the dead able to take their will check. The bell's effects are always desireable and instant. She can also attack with her sword while in death and it gains a +2 on all attack and damage rolls against the undead.
- Paragon of Undeath
The Abhorsen transforms into a wraith when she is in death. She gains incorporeal traits, Can fly 90 ft. per round, and still has the ability to use all of her bells.
- Enter Death
The Abhorsen may enter death as a free action. While in death, the Abhorsen may not move her body (which is in death). Her body in life has an AC of 10 less than your flat-footed AC.The Abhorsen's soul is separated from her body and enters death. If the Abhorsen's body is slain while she is in death, she loses control and walks towards and into the ninth gate, automatically ignoring all of the perils of death, and the gates automatically open to her as she approaches them).
In death the Abhorsen may travel east or west as far as she likes, and with a successfully knowledge (death) check (DC 20), she may travel to an area of death layered on any point in life relative to where her body is by traveling the distance away from her body east or west. Fort example, if she wants to travel 10 miles north, she may travel to the same point in death by passing a DC 20 knowledge (death) skill check and travel east or west. If she leaves death she ends up back in her body in the place where she entered death (but back in life) even if she went far west or east in death.
She may only enter the next or previous precinct of death through a gateway- commonly a waterfall but always some water feature- by speaking the required free magic command (a free action) while within 20ft of the gate and walking through it while it is open. The gate closes after 4 rounds. Inside there are 9 precincts each with their own dangers. The gateways extend on the north and south side as far as you can see. It takes 4D4 minutes to travel through a gate.
The precinct widths (south-north), type of gate and dangers are summarized on the table below. While in death the Abhorsen is in water as if she where wading in a river (the depth varying from angle depth in the first precinct to waist deep in the ninth precinct), and must pass a balance check each round or be pulled downstream by the river (DC 15+ the number of the precinct the Abhorsen is in). Once pulled downstream by the river, they are pulled downstream 30x the number of precinct they are in ft a round (northwards), and must pass a balance check (same DC as before) in order to regain their footing. These ballance checks are strength based.
While in death, there is a 5% chance of an encounter with an undead monster ever hour spent in undeath (make the roles 5 minutes after the Abhorsen enters death). Incorporeal creatures are considered to be corporeal in death. Also, each precinct from 2nd onwards has its own unique danger, summarized below:
|1st||Stronger Current||a waterfall||150ft|
|2nd||Underwater Pits||A Whirlpool||50ft|
|4th||Stronger Current||a Waterfall||300ft|
|5th||Metamorphic Waters||a Reverse Waterfall- a Waterclimb||300ft|
|6th||Stronger Current||a circle of water*||300ft|
|7th||Stronger Current||a Wall of Fire||300ft|
|8th||Pillars of Fire||a Wall of Darkness||300ft|
|9th||the Light of Death||the Veil of Stars||150ft|
Stronger Current The balance check DC for this precinct of death is 5 higher than normal.
Underwater Pits For every 5ft traveled in this precinct of death, the Abhorsen must pass a spot check (DC 20) or fall into a hidden underwater pit. She may make a reflex save (DC 15) to avoid all damage taken, but if she fails, she falls into the pit and dies. The Abhorsen is considered to be in difficult terrain in this precinct of death.
Waves Every 5 rounds in this precinct, a wave sweeps the hole precinct. When this happens, the Abhorsen must pass a balance check (DC 25) or be swept away as if she where pulled underwater.
Metamorphic Waters For every minute spent in this precinct the Abhorsen must pass a will save (DC 20) or take D6 permanent Wisdom and Charisma damage. This cannot be reversed, even with a spell.
Pillars of Fire Every round, the Abhorsen must pass a reflex save (DC 15) or take 6D6 points of Fire damage.
the Light of Death Once someone (or something...) enters the ninth precinct, they see a light. When they see this light, they loose control of their body and walk through the ninth gate. People are only affected by this light if they have died, are undead, are a necromancer, or if it is time for them to die. This requires the DM to make a decision to whether or not this affects someone (but on the whole, an Abhorsen will be unaffected). It is possible to avert your gaze from the glare if you were aware of the danger before you entered the ninth precinct. If so, you must make a reflex save (DC 20) each round to avoid seeing the light.
The Ninth Gate The ninth gate is the final gate of death. If you walk through it, you die (and cannot come back in any way, including via spells like resurrection).
- The book of the dead
This Item allows the Abhorsen to take ranks in knowledge (Death). Without this book, no ranks can be taken in this skill.
- Knowledge (death)
This is a knowledge skill for information to do with the precincts of death. If the Abhorsen has 5 or more ranks in knowledge (Death), she gains a +2 bonus on all skill checks made while in death (as if it was a skill synergy).
- Knowledge (the charter)
This skill works exactly like Knowledge (Arcana) but is instead used with charter magic. This skill only works with charter-related knowledge, and thus not with ordinary arcane magic.
- Undead Bane
At third level, The Abhorsen's charter-spelled longsword becomes an undead bane. This means that whenever struck, the undead must pass a will check of DC 10 + The character's Abhorsen level to not be inflicted with fear for 1d4 rounds
- +x blade
At sixth level the Abhorsen's longsword becomes a +1 undead bane longsword. This increases to by +1 every third level hereafter.
- vow of undeath slaying
The Abhorsen cannot accept more than half her share of gold from winning combats, and cannot earn money by working or owning a business etc.
 The Epic Abhorsen
|25th||Puts the dead back to rest +12|
|30th||Puts the dead back to rest +14|
Skill Points Per Level
 Class Features
All of the following are class features of the Epic Abhorsen:
- Puts the dead back to rest
At 25th level, the Abhorsens competence bonus to attacks against undead and constructs becomes +5, and increases to +6 at 30th level. It does not increase beyond this point.