Cassiline Brotherhood (3.5e Other)

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About this page: Consider this an excerpt from a (nonexistent) campaign setting. I may or may not add more to the setting - it depends on whether or not people like it and if I get inspired by another character.

Concerning Editing: Please don't edit something for content! If you disagree with something flavor- or setting-related, and know exactly where I borrowed my material from, I'll be happy to discuss it with you. If you have a problem with balance or game mechanics, please let me know - I'm still working on building the related classes, and I have no idea how good/balanced my first home-made (and totally unrelated) class is. (Feel free to look it up, comment, playtest, and comment some more.)

The Cassiline Brotherhood[edit]

The Cassiline Brotherhood is an organization of dedicated warrior-priests who serve nobles and the wealthy as elite bodyguards. Inducted into the order as children, they are trained in the use of melee weapons as well as the tenets of their faith. The most important things drilled into them, besides weapons training, include unconditional loyalty, honor, dedication, obedience to the Brotherhood, and the ward's safety and survival above all. Once their initial training (which takes about ten years) is complete, they take their final vows to become full members, at which point they may choose to set out on their own for a time, to gain experience, or wait for a ward, training apprentices and younger members until the Prefect (who heads the order) chooses a ward for them.

Once sworn to a ward, a Cassiline will do anything to protect her, including give up his life in her defense. As a last resort, if unable to protect her from her enemies, he will use the terminus, simultaneously killing himself and his ward. It has not been used in living memory.

A child inducted into the Cassiline Brotherhood must swear obedience and loyalty to the order, as well as a few other things. Upon completing his training, a Cassiline apprentice is given a matched set of blades, complete with sheaths and harness: a greatsword, worn across the back, and a pair of daggers, worn one on each hip. A minor bit of ritual magic during their forging binds the three blades into a unit, and enables them to act as binders of Cassiel's Oath. Also given to a graduating apprentice is a set of steel vambraces, bound to the blades with ritual magic. A Cassiline's equipment has no special magical qualities other than that a) they are clearly marked (to any who can see magic) as belonging together as a single Cassiline set; b) when used for the terminus, it binds the life-forces of Cassiline and ward such that they cannot be revived/resurrected except under special conditions (see terminus description), and c) the blades' ability to bind Cassiel's Oath.

When a Cassiline is assigned to (or chooses) a ward, he swears Cassiel's Oath to protect and serve. The exact wording of this blood oath can vary, but the sense is always the same: the oath-maker will do everything in his power to protect the one he serves from her enemies (whoever she believes or declares them to be) and from harm (as much as is reasonably possible to do given her station/profession and way of life). The ward does not need to be present when the oath is given, though her name must be known to the Cassiline who makes the blood oath. (Even if a false or partial name is given, the sense of the oath still identifies the person the Cassiline intends, whether he knows her before he takes the oath or not.)


Cassiline Classes[edit]

All Cassiline classes draw from the same special abilities, though they may vary in progression and number allotted, and have the same core class skills.

The Cassiline classes include Cassiline Apprentice, Cassiline Brother, Cassiline Warder (Prestige), and Anathema Cassiline (Prestige).

Basic Class Features[edit]

Twin Dagger Wield (Ex): when wielding a set of Cassiline daggers, a Cassiline may treat them as a single two-handed weapon for the purposes of attack rolls and damage dealt. (He makes a single attack roll, and applies one and a half times his strength bonus to his damage roll). He may still use the benefits of Weapon Finesse, using his dexterity bonus in place of his strength bonus where applicable.

Improved Twin Dagger Wield (Ex): adds a +2 competence bonus to the attack roll.

Greater Twin Dagger Wield (Ex): adds another +2 competence bonus to the attack roll, for a total of +4.

Perfect Twin Dagger Wield (Ex): adds another +2 competence bonus to the attack roll, for a total of +6. Additionally, the Cassiline now applies fully twice his strength bonus to his damage rolls for attacks using this ability sequence.

Dual Wield (Ex): when wielding any pair of light or one-handed weapons, a Cassiline may treat them as a single two-handed weapon for the purposes of attack rolls and damage dealt. (He makes a single attack roll, and applies one and a half times his strength bonus to his damage roll). He may still use the benefits of Weapon Finesse, using his dexterity bonus in place of his strength bonus where applicable.

Improved Dual Wield (Ex): adds a +2 competence bonus to the attack roll. This bonus stacks with the competence bonus from the twin dagger wield sequence, but is reduced to +1.

Greater Dual Wield (Ex): adds another +2 competence bonus to the attack roll, for a total of +4. This bonus stacks with the competence bonus from the twin dagger wield sequence, but is reduced to +1 (for a total stacking bonus of +2).

Perfect Dual Wield (Ex): adds another +2 competence bonus to the attack roll, for a total of +6. Additionally, the Cassiline now applies fully twice his strength (bonus to his damage rolls for attacks using this ability sequence. This bonus stacks with the competence bonus from the twin dagger wield sequence, but is reduced to +1 (for a total stacking bonus of +3).

Quick Draw (Ex): a Cassiline gains this feat as a bonus feat when his base attack bonus reaches +1.

Weapon Finesse (Ex): a Cassiline gains this feat as a bonus feat when his base attack bonus reaches +1.

Bonus Feats: when a Cassiline gains an unspecified bonus feat, he may choose from the following list:
               weapon focus: Cassiline daggers, weapon focus: Cassiline greatsword, weapon specialization: Cassiline daggers, weapon specialization: Cassiline greatsword, greater weapon focus: Cassiline daggers, greater weapon focus: Cassiline greatsword, greater weapon specialization: Cassiline daggers, greater weapon specialization: Cassiline greatsword, improved unarmed strike, improved critical, improved disarm, improved initiative, combat expertise
The Cassiline must meet all prerequisites except the fighter levels in order to select a feat.

Special Class Features[edit]

Cassiline Fighting Style: Each time a Cassiline advances in the Cassiline fighting style, he may choose one of the following abilities. When he learns a new technique, he may choose his first ability from any of the three categories (symmetry, throwing, and ward). When he levels up his fighting style, he may choose a new ability from any category he already has an ability in (but not a new category). Because the abilities in symmetry and throwing are based on regular feats, a Cassiline must meet all ability score, BAB, and other stats-block based requirements before he can take the ability. Other prerequisites (and their adjustments and waivers) are listed for each specific ability.

Symmetry: the Cassiline fighting style depends on balance, symmetry, and flowing movement. As a result, a Cassiline is equally effective with either hand when fighting. At each level of symmetry, a Cassiline gains one benefit of his choice. He may not choose the same benefit twice.

Ambidexterity: when fighting unarmed or with two light weapons, a Cassiline may make off-hand attacks with no penalty, in addition to his normal primary-hand attacks. He takes the normal off-hand penalties if his weapons are of mismatched weight (light/one-handed, or one hand empty) or of weight greater than light.
Special: Two-Weapon Fighting increases the weight limit to one-handed weapons.
             Any time a Cassiline ability can only be used with Cassiline blades, it can also be used with any weapon combination permitted by the ambidexterity ability, as long as the Cassiline has this ability.

Dodge: this ability works just like the dodge feat. A Cassiline may choose this as a benefit of the symmetry style. He loses the effect when wearing medium or heavy armor.

Mobility: this ability works just like the mobility feat. A Cassiline may choose this as a benefit of the symmetry style, even if he does not have the dodge feat/benefit. He loses the effect when wearing medium or heavy armor.

Spring Attack: this ability works just like the spring attack feat. A Cassiline may choose this as a benefit of the symmetry style, even if he does not have the dodge and/or mobility feats/benefits. He loses the effect when wearing medium or heavy armor, or if wielding weapons other than his Cassiline blades.

Whirlwind Attack: this ability works just like the whirlwind attack feat. A Cassiline may choose this as a benefit of the symmetry style, even if he does not have the combat expertise, dodge, mobility, and/or spring attack feats/benefits. He loses the effect when wearing medium or heavy armor, or if wielding weapons other than his Cassiline blades.

Two-Weapon Defense: this ability works just like the two-weapon defense feat. A Cassiline may choose this as a benefit of the symmetry style, substituting twin dagger wield for the normal two-weapon fighting requirement. He loses the effect when wearing medium or heavy armor, or if wielding weapons other than his Cassiline blades.

Throwing: a Cassiline trains extensively to learn how to throw his daggers with skill and precision, from either hand. At each level of throwing, a Cassiline gains one benefit of his choice. He may not choose the same benefit twice.

Point Blank Shot: this ability works just like the point blank shot feat. A Cassiline may choose this as a benefit of the throwing style. He loses the effect when wearing medium or heavy armor, or when using weapons other than his Cassiline blades.
Special: at the DM's discretion, a Cassiline may throw his greatsword in an attempt to save his ward's life. The Cassiline must still retain possession of both his daggers, and the opponent must be the only remaining threat to both the ward and the Cassiline. Both ward and opponent must be within 15 feet of the Cassiline attempting the throw, with the ward either directly behind or clearly to the side of the opponent.

Rapid Shot: this ability works just like the rapid shot feat. A Cassiline may choose this as a benefit of the throwing style, even if he does not have the point blank shot feat/benefit. He loses the effect when wearing medium or heavy armor, or if using weapons other than his Cassiline blades.

Precise Shot: this ability works just like the precise shot feat. A Cassiline may choose this as a benefit of the throwing style, even if he does not have the point blank shot feat/benefit. He loses the effect when wearing medium or heavy armor, or if using weapons other than his Cassiline blades.

Improved Precise Shot: this ability works just like the improved precise shot feat. A Cassiline may choose this as a benefit of the throwing style, even if he does not have the point blank shot feat/benefit. He loses the effect when wearing medium or heavy armor, or if using weapons other than his Cassiline blades.

Terminus: as a last resort, a Cassiline may perform the terminus, which kills both himself and his ward. With his right hand, the Cassiline throws his dagger at his ward's heart. With his left hand, he slits his own throat. When used this way, both Cassiline and ward can only be revived using resurrection or true resurrection, and they must be revived together. This ability cannot be used when wearing medium or heavy armor.
Special: this ability may only be used with Cassiline daggers.
Game Mechanics: Make the ranged attack roll as normal (with no penalties for attacking an ally), including any miss chance if applicable. If the attack hits the target, both ward and Cassiline are killed, regardless of hit points. There is no damage roll or Reflex save.

Ward: once a Cassiline has learned the terminus, he is eligible to be sworn to a ward. Responsible for his ward's safety and survival, the Cassiline thus begins to learn additional skills which would make this easier. Whether he has a ward to protect or not, a Cassiline may choose any of these abilities instead of a level of throwing or symmetry, provided he has already mastered the terminus. He may not choose the same ability more than once.

Foresight - Ward: much like the spell foresight, this ability gives the Cassiline a split-second warning of any harmful actions directed against his ward, and a recommended action to avoid damage. While a Cassiline can learn this ability at any time, he can only make use of it after he has been sworn to a ward. Once activated, this ability is always on and can only be deactivated by the death of the ward, the breaking of Cassiel's Oath, or a ritual in which the Cassiline is formally released from service to his ward.
Special: this ability can be activated at the same time as foresight - self, or separately. Cassiel's Choice automatically activates this ability.

Foresight - Self: much like the spell foresight, this ability gives the Cassiline a split-second warning of any harmful actions directed against himself, and a recommended action to avoid damage. While a Cassiline can learn this ability at any time, he can only make use of it after he has been sworn to a ward. Once activated, this ability is always on and can only be deactivated by the death of the ward, the breaking of Cassiel's Oath, or a ritual in which the Cassiline is formally released from service to his ward.
Prerequisites: foresight - ward
Special: this ability can be activated at the same time as foresight - ward, or separately. Cassiel's Choice automatically activates this ability.

Invisibility: like greater invisibility/invisibility sphere, this ability allows the Cassiline to cause his ward to "disappear". Duration:  ? Number of Uses:  ?

Locate Ward: much like the spell discern location allows the spellcaster to locate the subject of the spell, this ability allows the Cassiline to locate his ward. This ability can be used at will.

Resistance: like the spell resistance, this ability allows the Cassiline to grant his ward a bonus to saving throws. Useable twice per combat, plus [Cassiline levels/3]/day. Duration: 10 minutes.

Shield Ward: much like the spell shield other, this ability allows the Cassiline to take some of the damage dealt to his ward. Useable twice per day for every three Cassiline levels, with no distance restriction after casting, this ability functions otherwise like the shield other spell. Caster level is the combined level of all Cassiline classes the character has.

Status (Ward): much like the spell status, this ability allows the Cassiline to monitor his ward's condition and relative location. Use of this ability requires a successful concentration check (DC 10 + [Cassiline levels/2], rounded up). Once this check succeeds, any and all information available with the status spell is available at will to the Cassiline for the next several hours (equal to the number of Cassiline levels the character has). Useable once per day per level of ward (maximum 8).

Prismatic Sphere: similar to the spell prismatic sphere, this ability allows the Cassiline to erect a spherical prismatic shield centered on his ward. Useable once per combat, but no more times per day than the character has levels of ward (maximum 8). Caster level is the combined level of all Cassiline classes the character has.

Class Skills[edit]

A Cassiline's class skills include: balance (Dex), climb (Str), hide (Dex), intimidate (Cha), knowledge (religion) (Int), listen (Wis), move silently (Dex), profession (bodyguard), ride (Dex), search (Int), sense motive (Wis), spot (Wis), and survival (Wis). Individual classes may specify more skills.

Restrictions[edit]

There are some restrictions associated with being a Cassiline. Some have to do with alignment, others have to do with oaths and oathbreaking. In any case, violating these restrictions results in severe, perhaps excessively harsh, consequences.

Alignment[edit]

A Cassiline's alignment is lawful good. At the DM's discretion, an alignment of lawful neutral may be allowed with no consequences. A Cassiline who strays from this alignment is declared anathema and is expelled from the Brotherhood.

Evil Cassilines[edit]

A Cassiline cannot have an evil alignment. Should a character with Cassiline levels become evil, he loses all Cassiline-related skills and abilities. Additionally, he loses a Xd6 character levels, where X is the number of Cassiline classes the character has. He can never lose more than 1/3 of his character levels this way.

Non-Lawful Cassilines[edit]

A character with Cassiline levels who becomes neutral or chaotic may no longer advance as a Cassiline. As long as his alignment has never strayed beyond "neutral", the character may return to the Cassiline path, with some restrictions, once his alignment has returned to "lawful" (see below). If the character's alignment has ever been "chaotic", this return is impossible.

Lawful-Neutral-Lawful[edit]

If a character with Cassiline levels has become neutral, then returned to lawful by some unusual (but not necessarily near-impossible) means, the following restrictions apply should the character wish to continue on the Cassiline path:

  1. He must not have broken Cassiel's Oath (i.e., not allowed his ward to die when he could have prevented it, yet still survived himself).
  2. He cannot have strayed from the Cassiline path more than once before (making Cassiel's Choice does not count as straying from the path).
  3. He cannot have had an evil or chaotic alignment since first beginning on the Cassiline path.
  4. He is still anathema, and cannot advance as a Cassiline Apprentice or Cassiline Brother. He may still advance as a Cassiline Warder, or as an Anathema Cassiline.

Oath-Breakers[edit]

Those who cannot keep their vows are ejected from the order. For some things, the lesser vows such as most of those a Cassiline swears as an apprentice, a simple religion/faith-based, task-oriented penance is enough. These lesser vows are most often broken by the apprentices, who are, after all, still children, and may not completely understand. Even as adults and full members of the Brotherhood, the truly penitent are only removed once they have proven themselves incapable of honoring their vows. Breaking Cassiel's Oath, however, is unacceptable, and anyone who survives such an event is immediately ejected from the order and formally declared anathema.

Minor Oathbreaking[edit]

The consequences of minor oathbreaking (details determined by DM, see below for examples) are:

  • a -1 penalty to Charisma modifier until a confession is made and quest of penitence is undertaken (must be able to complete the quest in 2 levels or less, solo)
  • a -1 penalty to all Will saves until penance is complete
  • any additional Cassiline abilities gained by leveling up are unusable until penance is complete

Examples of minor oathbreaking include, but are not limited to: lying, stealing, cheating for personal gain; medium acts of disobedience; spreading gossip about friends/comrades; etc.

Major Oathbreaking[edit]

Breaking Cassiel's Oath and surviving carries the following penalties:

  • All advancement as a Cassiline is halted. It is no longer possible to take levels in a Cassiline class (see anathema, below).
  • All abilities in ward are lost, including foresight, even if activated.
    • If foresight - self was activated, the character takes 2 points of ability drain to Dexterity.
  • All other Cassiline abilities are inaccessible.
  • If Cassiel's Oath was broken without the use of magic or the intervention of another deity, the charcter takes 2 points of ability drain to Constitution.
Anathema[edit]

If an Oathbreaker can somehow atone for his failure, he might still be able to continue as a Cassiline, albeit an Anathema Cassiline. This would give him access to his symmetry and throwing abilities, as well as permit him to relearn the ward abilities. However, to atone for his failure, the Oathbreaker must perform a great quest, and such feats are difficult to complete (DM's discretion).

Cassiel's Choice[edit]

Sometimes, the wishes of the Cassiline and the demands of the Brotherhood conflict. And sometimes, a Cassiline becomes attached to his ward beyond the call of duty and Cassiel's Oath. The Brotherhood has the ability and the authority to release a Cassiline from his Oath (via ritual magic), but only uses it on rare occasions. Even more rarely, the Cassiline in question will refuse to participate, claiming his duty to his ward is more important than obedience to the order. This is known as Cassiel's Choice, and the following consequences apply:

  • He is now considered anathema, and may no longer advance as a Cassiline Apprentice or Cassiline Brother. He may still advance as a Cassiline Warder, and he is now eligible to take levels as an Anathema Cassiline.
  • If and when he gains the foresight abilities (or when he makes his Choice, if he has already gained them), thay are automatically activated, both self and ward.
  • If his ward dies when he could have prevented it, he takes 1 point of ability damage per day to a random ability until his ward is returned to life. No ability score may drop below 3 because of this.

Additional Notes[edit]

Cassiline Levels/Classes[edit]

The term "Cassiline levels" refers to the total number of levels a character has in all Cassiline classes. "Cassiline classes" refers to any and all classes with the word "Cassiline" in the name (Cassiline Apprentice, Anathema Cassiline, etc.).

For example:

Sarai is a 2nd level Fighter, 6th level Cassiline Apprentice, and 5th level Cassiline Brother. When she reaches character level 14, she takes another level of Cassiline Brother and gains a fighting style level. She chooses shield ward. Because she has 12 Cassiline levels, her caster level is 12 (see shield other) and she may use her new ability 8 times per day (twice per day for every three Cassiline levels = 2 x [12 ÷ 3] = 2 x 4 = 8).

Joscelin is a 5th level Cassiline Brother, 5th level Anathema Cassiline, and 10th level Cassiline Warder. He has three Cassiline classes and twenty Cassiline levels. His shield ward caster level is 20, and he may use the ability 12 times per day.

Categorizing the ward abilities[edit]

The Cassiline's ward abilities are, strictly speaking, spell-like abilities. For the purposes of antimagic field, dispel magic, and other similar effects, however, they should be treated as extraordinary abilities. Exceptions: resistance, invisibility, and shield ward are susceptible to dispel magic effects but not antimagic field effects; and using status (ward) in combat situations will provoke attacks of opportunity.

Multiclass Cassilines[edit]

Most of the time, Cassilines only multiclass as Cassilines, although there is no rule against it. Classes outside the Brotherhood which complement the Cassiline lifestyle include cleric, fighter, and ranger.


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