Blightmancer (3.5e Prestige Class)
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|“|| The man seemed little more than a skeleton...a creature of skin and bone dressed in a hooded greatcoat. A flock of flies followed him persistently and a horrid stench permeated from his very being. His arrival in the town was met with jests by the men, gossip by the women, and laughter by the children. He ordered a room for the night at the Four Suns Inn and left in the small hours of the next morning.
By the end of the week, the entire village lay dead. Rotting, diseased corpses became homes for ravaging swarms of giant scorpions and cockroaches. Bloated corpses still in their dining rooms showed the full effects of the poison in the well. Three whole squadrons of Lurgar's Paladins were called in to purify the town. Even then, it took them nearly a fortnight and close to a dozen casualties to finally eradicate the last of the taint.
Within days of their triumph, news poured in from the outlying farmlands: more and more cities in Thoalia were falling prey to some strange new disease. Even more curiously, the infected cities seemed to form a line from an overhead map heading directly towards the capital..."
|—Von Brehner, Johansen., A Short History of Thoalia. Volume 4: The Diseased Age". Excerpt.|
As long as there are those who cure diseases and plagues, there will be those who spread them. And there exist no carriers more efficient or feared than the blightmancers. Spellcasters by nature and rotten to the core, both literally and figuratively, the fears of the common folk are well founded. Though they rarely appear in childhood tales, quite unlike dragons or werewolves, blightmancers are capable of exponentially more damage than the vast majority of bogeymen.
Adventures: Blightmancers, like any potent magic-users, generally adventure to increase their own magical power. However, more often than not, a blightmancer will go on an adventure simply for the purpose of spreading disease, death, and terror amongst civilized lands. Furthermore, blightmancers will occasionally go on adventures for a similar reason as their first class, provided is coincides with the blightmancer's current goals.
For example, a cleric/blightmancer who follows the diety Nerull may go on a quest to spread the good word of Nerull to an occupying nation...and make life a living hell for all who refuse this good word.
Characteristics: Blightmancers draw their power from the dark side of nature; disease, poisons, and hungry vermin. In the right hands, these can be far more potent than any other sort of spellwork; divine, arcane, or otherwise. The blightmancer eventually learns how to inflict horrific amounts of suffering upon large groups of innocent people using these potent tools in addition to using them in combat.
Once a blightmancer is familiar with the basics, he may wish to specialize in one of the areas of his trade. It is not uncommon to find blightmasters (as such powerful blightmancers are called) who specialize in any of the three categories. Some blightmasters, however, choose instead to focus on their spellpower, though this is rather a rare occurrence.
Alignment: A blightmancer must be Evil, for no do-gooder in their right mind would cause such devastation among innocents. They tend toward Chaotic more than Law; their trade keeps them largely nomadic as they must move swiftly to evade authorities. However, both Chaotic and Lawful, even Neutral, blightmancers are fairly commonplace and get along well in general.
Religion: Most blightmancers revere Nurgle the Plaguebringer, the Chaos lord of Disease. If they do not revere him, all blightmancers at least respect him and hold him in high regard; to do otherwise would be most unwise. In the event a blightmancer does not worship Nurgle, he will likely worship Nerull instead.
Background: Blightmancers are fairly loosely organized. There exists no formal leader or ruling party of their kind, but there is a sort of respect between them and a general knowledge of who-has-done-what. Often, a more experienced blightmancer will take an initiate under his wing to teach the youngster enough basic skills to get by. They generally have little formal training, going with their instincts, contracts, and general maliciousness in times of doubt.
Races: Humans make good blightmancers since they are so widespread across the lands and susceptible to the taint of Evil. Half-Elves who were raised in human lands are also likely candidates. Half-Orcs lack the magical prowess to manifest the dark powers associated with blightmancers, and it is unlikely for any other races to become one. Some claim that Nurgle simply doesn't find them worthy to receive his power.
Among the savage humanoids, blightmancers are a surprisingly rare sight. Again, the theory that Nurgle finds them unworthy is the only explanation given thus far.
Other Classes: Blightmancers, quite frankly, don't get along well with people. With potentially fatal diseases and vermin hordes stored inside them, they are feared and generally misunderstood by a large majority of outsiders. They often get along best with Evil druids, who also represent the darker side of nature, and clerics of the diety Nurgle, who fully respect the blightmancer for what he is. It is not unheard of for blightmancers to get along passably with barbarians and some bards, as they are outcasts of society. Blightmancers will never EVER in one million Dwarf lifetimes get along well with paladins, good clerics, or most healers.
Role: A blightmancer is more of a behind-the-scenes supportive caster in a party. He can weaken enemies with poisons and diseases, deal some lighter spell damage, summon vermin to harass and distract the enemy, and "buff up" his allies' weaponry to further weaken their foes. In fact, through careful applications of diseases, a solo blightmancer could eliminate the need for combat in the first place by wiping out all resistance beforehand.
- Alignment: any evil
- Skills: Knowledge (nature) 8 ranks, Caft(alchemy) 8 ranks
- Spells: Ability to cast 3rd level spells or higher
- Special: Preform a sacred ritual known only to master blightmancers, where a candidate's body is filled with diseases, vermin, and the dark magicks protecting him against his deadly tenants. Preforming the ritual requires an individual to contact a blightmancer to moderate the ritual (which is surprisingly easy; they are always ready to accept another into their ranks) and acquire 1000gp of evil relics to actually preform it.
|Level||Base Attack Bonus||Fort||Ref||Will||Special||Spells per Day||Diseased Host AC Bonus|
|1st||+0||+0||+0||+2||Diseased Host, Plague Spores||+2 Blightmancer spells/day||+1|
|2nd||+1||+0||+0||+3||Summon Vermin I, Contagion or Poison 1/day||+1 level of existing class||+1|
|3rd||+1||+1||+1||+3||Venom, Practical Application||+3 Blightmancer spells/day||+1|
|4th||+2||+1||+1||+4||Firsthand Experience||+1 level of existing class||+1|
|5th||+2||+1||+1||+4||Infestation||+4 Blightmancer spells/day||+2|
|6th||+3||+2||+2||+5||Contagion or Poison 2/day||+1 level of existing class||+2|
|7th||+3||+2||+2||+5||Mutated Strains||+5 Blightmancer spells/day||+2|
|8th||+4||+2||+2||+6||Summon Vermin II||+1 level of existing class||+2|
|9th||+4||+3||+3||+6||Virulent Host||+6 Blightmancer spells/day||+3|
|10th||+5||+3||+3||+7||Contagion or Poison 3/day, Blightmastery||+1 level of existing class||+3|
Class skills: Concentration (Con), Craft: Alchemy (Int), Decipher Script (Int), Intimidate (Cha), Heal (Wis), Hide (Dex), Knowledge: Nature (Int), Spellcraft (Int)
Skill points at each level: 2 + int modifier
All of the following are Class Features of the blightmancer prestige class.
Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Blightmancers gain no new weapon or armor proficiencies.
Spells: A blightmancer casts spells depending on his original class type. If the blightmancer’s first class was a divine spellcaster (such as a cleric), the blightmancer casts divine spells. If his first class was an arcane spellcaster (such as a wizard), he casts arcane spells. He continues to gain spell levels as his first class and still selects spells from his initial spell list with the same ability score-based bonuses (bonus spells, difficulty class, etc). In addition to his initial spells, however, the blightmancer begins to get bonus blightmancer spells every other level selected from the list below. A blightmancer may use these to prepare spells of the highest level possible. However, when prepared, he may only prepare as many blightmancer spells per day for that level as he can for his other class(es). For example, a lv10 wizard/lv10 blightmancer could prepare 1 lv8 wizard spell and 1 lv8 blightmancer spell per day. Blightmancer spells are still cast as the base class (ie: arcane versus divine, spell DC, etc). The bonus Contagion or Poison spells are exempt from daily spells; when preparing spells, a blightmancer decides which of these two spells to cast for that day. The blightmancer spell list can be found below.
Diseased Host: A blightmancer is the host of an impressive variety of diseases and verminous creatures. As a result, they are justly feared throughout most civilized lands; it is all but unheard of for any cities to allow them inside due to risk of disease and infestation by vermin. If they are discovered inside a city, it is highly likely for citizens to report to the town guard, initializing a full-blown manhunt. The blightmancer also suffers an immediate and permanent –2 to CHA upon choosing the class. However, the blightmancer gains immunity against all diseases and a +5 save versus poisons. Lastly, the creatures inhabiting a blightmancer’s body provide protection to their host. He receives a +1 bonus to AC that is retained when caught flat-footed. This bonus is increased to +2 at the 5th level and +3 at the 9th.
Plague Spores (Su): Blightmancers have turned the simple task of spreading diseases and poisons into a delicate art. The blightmancer is now able to spread many types of diseases through a large population. The blightmancer may only use a disease he knows from the Diseases table or a disease he has encountered in the game world before. This disease needs to be prepared for at least two hours and it may be stored in a glass vial (or something similar). If not stored in a vial, every applicable creature and being the blightmancer comes into contact with has a 30% chance of catching the disease from him. In liquid form, a disease takes up 16 oz (1 pint). A separate check is made while preparing the disease as for actually using it. DC checks for both the creation and for the spreading are as listed under the spell Contagion for each disease. DC modifiers are as follows:
- Presence of a chapel, hospital, or other place of healing nearby: +5 DC
- Used airborne instead of in food, water, etc. : +4 DC
- Every mile from highly populated area: +2 DC
- Every additional hour spent preparing the disease: -1 DC
- Use of alchemist’s tools while preparing: -2 DC
- Used in a village: -3 DC
- Used in a large city: -5 DC
Apply your ranks in Knowledge (nature) to the spreading check and Craft (alchemy) to the preparation check. This ability costs no money since the blightmancer carries his diseases inside him. Creatures that do not need to breathe and/or are immune to disease are unaffected by this ability regardless of one’s roll (unless there is a special circumstance, though this is very rare).
Summon Vermin (Ex): A blightmancer may draw upon the hordes of creatures that follow him and summon a group of them to fight. As the ability improves, more creatures can be summoned per day. When cast, the blightmancer summons (1d6/blightmancer level) vermin of whatever type he whishes. They must be of size Tiny initially; however, they can be enlarged via Giant Vermin once summoned. For every 20 vermin that is created, a Swarm creature of the specific insect type is formed instead (eg: Centipede Swarm, Spider Swarm, etc).
Summon Vermin II changes the spell to summon (1d3/3 blightmancer levels) swarms of vermin. They follow both the restrictions above and as outlined in the spell Creeping Doom. This replaces Summon Vermin I.
Venom: When a full-blown plague is unacceptable for any situation, for whatever reason, a blightmancer still has a deadly trick up his sleeve: poison. This skill works in a similar manner to Plague Spores; a blightmancer may only use a poison he knows how to create, a separate check is made for both the creation and use of the poison, and can be used to eliminate targets in a stealthy manner. The preparation remains identical. However, as an additional cost, the blightmancer must spend 1/4 the cost of the desired poison in raw materials. If the preparation check is failed by 5 or more, the raw materials are ruined. A successful check creates 32 ounces (2 pints) of poison.
For the spreading check, apply your ranks in Craft (alchemy) instead of Knowledge (nature). Furthermore, the poison must be spread in a logical manner (ie: ingested poisons must be placed in food). All restrictions on poisons apply when performing this action.
Practical Application: Any blightmancer worth his salt knows how to apply deadly diseases and poisons to his allies’ weapons making them even more deadly. Once a poison or disease has been created and placed in an appropriate container, the blightmancer may attempt to apply them to any weapon wielded by himself or his allies. The disease MUST be in a container or the blightmancer cannot use it to taint his allies’ weapons. Taint causes their attacks to do the effects of the disease or poison, but the target is still allowed to make a save (if applicable). 4 ounces of disease/poison is enough to taint 1 medium sized weapon or 8 medium sized projectiles. Small weapons use half as much poison while large weapons use twice as much (round down). All risks and restrictions associated with poisons apply. If used on a natural weapon (ie: claws), the target suffers the same restrictions as vermin, as outlined below.
The blightmancer may also use a disease to infect his vermin. When used in this manner, the vermin and/or swarms suffer the full effect of the disease after 1 hour. However, like with a tainted weapon, the vermin are able to spread the disease by successfully dealing damage to a target. The target is still allowed to make a save against the disease’s effects.
Firsthand Experience (Ex): Most people see sickness as a hazard; a blightmancer sees new diseases as an opportunity. Whenever a blightmancer encounters a new disease in an area, he may make a Knowledge (nature) check to attempt to learn how to create and nurture such a disease. More deadly diseases require more difficult checks as they are harder to control. Sample DC checks of diseases from the real world are as follows:
- Common Cold: DC 5
- Typhoid: DC 10
- Tuberculosis: DC 15
- Yellow Fever: DC 20
- Ebola: DC 25
A blightmancer may acquire a number of diseases equal to 2 times his blightmancer level. The diseases listed under the spell Contagion do not count towards this limit. Disease effects and DC save should be at the DM's discretion.
Infestation (Ex Sp): By releasing a pair of rapidly-reproducing vermin into an area, a blightmancer can quickly infest a large area in little time, causing mass panic in many cities. Preparation for this action requires 6 hours worth of preparing time, a set of fertility potions worth at least 750gp in value, and a DC 15 Knowledge (nature) check. If the check is failed, the infestation is unsuccessful. This creates 2 vermin with a 24-hour lifespan from the time the preparation is completed. These vermin are magically enhanced to produce 10 eggs before they die, preferably in a dark place with plenty of food for their offspring. The process repeats, with 10 pairs of vermin laying 10 eggs each the next day (50 total) and so forth. If there is not adequate food in an area to support themselves, the vermin resort to cannibalism and eat half of their number per day. These vermin may be infected with plague, form swarms with 20 or more vermin, etc. If used in a populated city, each 100 vermin adds a 1% of the locals noticing the infestation, with this check made at the start of each day. If discovered, a new check is made at the start of every day using a d%. The results of this roll are as follows:
- 01-40: Some of the residents flee the city. The number of fleeing residents is 1 for every 50 vermin in the city (so, if there are 500 vermin in the city, 10 people will run away).
- 41-65: Residents attempt to kill the vermin themselves, killing 5d6+5 vermin per day
- 66-75: Residents pray for divine intervention, but nothing happens
- 76-85: Residents pray somewhat successfully. A benevolent diety kills (10d6+10) vermin per day
- 86-95: Residents pray quite successfully. Multiple dieties kill 2x(15d6+20) vermin per day
- 96-99: Residents get very lucky while praying. All the vermin are immediately eradicated.
- 100: The gods rule in favor of the blightmancer instead. The number of vermin created the next day doubles.
Mutated Strains: By constantly mutating the diseases he finds, a blightmancer’s illnesses become even harder for his poor victims to cure. This ability adds +3 to the saving DC for Contagion, diseased weapon damage, and Plague Spores checks.
Virulent Host: When a blightmancer accumulated enough diseases inside him, it becomes very hazardous to successfully attack him. When the blightmancer is dealt damage, the attacker suffers 1d4+(blightmancer level/2) poison damage. The attacker also must make a fortitude save or catch one of the blightmancer’s diseases at random. Again, this has no effect on creatures immune to poison and disease. Finally, because of his vermin’s near constant exposure to his diseases, the vermin in the blightmancer may enter play diseased without the blightmancer having to prepare the disease in a vial as per the norm. They still suffer the disease’s full effects after an hour.
Blightmastery: Upon successfully reaching the 10th level, a blightmancer proves himself worthy to specialize in a specific area of blightcasting. A blightmancer may select from one of the following specializations and the bonus associated with them:
- Plague Master: Adds an additional +3 to Plague Spores checks, allows Contagion to affect up to 3 targets in a 20ft radius on a successful cast.
- Venom Master: Adds an additional +3 DC to Poison and envenomed weapon attacks, +3 to all Craft (alchemy) checks involving poison.
- Vermin Master: Summon Vermin II produces an additional +2 swarms, AC bonus increases to +4.
- Spell Master: Add an additional +1 existing caster level, 7 blightmancer spells/day
- Diseased Master: Adds an additional +3 DC to Contagion and diseased weapon attacks, Contagion may be cast as a ranged spell with range 60ft.
Blightmancer Spell List
- 1st level: obscuring mist, speak with vermin, chill touch, cause Fear
- 2nd level: summon swarm, animal messenger, Melf’s acid arrow, web
- 3rd level: contagion, miasma of pestilence, poison, stinking cloud
- 4th level: blight, giant vermin, repel vermin, lance of foulness
- 5th level: insect plague, commune with nature, cloudkill, mind fog
- 6th level: acid fog, repulsion, circle of death, the putrid fountain