Aghori Guru (3.5e Prestige Class)
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|“||[They] had profane tongues, and spoke impure words.
Yet, in their heresy, they reached wholeness.
|—Kadari Moonsinger, human monk, from the Parchment of the Nine Leaves|
Aghori gurus are a cult of warlock-monks that revere chaos and destruction as means to renewal and balance, believing that by delving into the abyss they may find inner light. Some are atheists, some follow deities of destruction and of renewal, but all of them are fixated with breaking taboos as there's no difference, to them, between things: good and bad, sacred and profane, permitted or forbidden, nothing is untouchable and everything is a way to purity. Because of this creed, they appear bizzare to most people, if not downright disrespectful to the living, to the dead and to the gods.
They bathe in the ashes of corpses, eat raw flesh, even of people, resurrect the dead to do their bidding, drink, smoke and engage in any depraved activity, as well as studying the occult arts. For this they are few and sparse, shunted by society and often hunted down. They live in relative peace in more open societies.
Despite their bad reputation they are not evil, but neither they are good, always remaining in the middle. More often they are chaotic, but aghori gurus true neutral or lawful exist. Their powers are a mix between a warlock and a monk, in particular focusing on grappling enemies to deal their eldritch blast damage and creating undead to serve them.
More warlock prestige classes here.
Becoming a Aghori Guru
Monks and warlocks are naturally estranged characters so an aghori guru is basically a mystic hermit, choosing a path of duality, trying to make sense of itself and of its powers, to mend the fracture and find out that there's no separation between itself and the world. An aghori guru is said to be complete when it's dead while living and whole with its spirit.
Characters that rely on Charisma, Wisdom, Strength and Dexterity and want to break taboos, refusing social norms, are meant for this class.
|Skills:||Knowledge(arcana) 5 ranks, Knowledge(the planes) 3 ranks, Knowledge(religion) 5 ranks|
|1st||+0||+2||+2||+2||Arms of the Destroyer, Monk abilities, Ki strike (magic), New lesser invocation: The dead walk||+1 level of existing invocation-using class|
|2nd||+1||+3||+3||+3||Eldritch blast +1d6, Ashes of Life|
|3rd||+2||+3||+3||+3||New lesser invocation: Broken taboo||+1 level of existing invocation-using class|
|4th||+3||+4||+4||+4||Clever Wrestling, Eldritch blast +1d6, Ki strike (lawful/chaotic)||+1 level of existing invocation-using class|
|5th||+3||+4||+4||+4||Arms of the Creator||+1 level of existing invocation-using class|
|6th||+4||+5||+5||+5||Body reborn, Eldritch blast +1d6|
|7th||+5||+5||+5||+5||Occult soul||+1 level of existing invocation-using class|
|8th||+6||+6||+6||+6||Eldritch blast +1d6, Ki strike (adamantine), Quivering palm||+1 level of existing invocation-using class|
|9th||+6||+6||+6||+6||New greater invocation: Cycle of reincarnation||+1 level of existing invocation-using class|
|10th||+7||+7||+7||+7||Death in Life, Eldritch blast +1d6||+1 level of existing invocation-using class|
Class Skills (6 + Int modifier per level)
Autohypnosis (Int), Balance (Dex), Bluff (Cha), Climb (Str), Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Decipher Script (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Disguise (Cha), Escape Artist (Dex), Heal (Wis), Hide (Dex), Intimidate (Cha), Jump (Str), Knowledge (arcana) (Int), Knowledge (local) (Int), Knowledge (religion) (Int), Knowledge (the planes) (Int), Listen (Wis), Move Silently (Dex), Open Lock (Dex), Perform (Cha), Profession (Wis), Search (Int), Sense Motive (Wis), Sleight of Hand (Dex), Spellcraft (Int), Spot (Wis), Survival (Wis), Swim (Str), Tumble (Dex), Use Magic Device (Cha), Use Rope (Dex).
|11th||<-any improvements to class features gained at this level, including any bonus feats->|
|12th||<-any improvements to class features gained at this level, including any bonus feats->|
|13th||<-any improvements to class features gained at this level, including any bonus feats->|
|14th||<-any improvements to class features gained at this level, including any bonus feats->|
|15th||<-any improvements to class features gained at this level, including any bonus feats->|
|16th||<-any improvements to class features gained at this level, including any bonus feats->|
|17th||<-any improvements to class features gained at this level, including any bonus feats->|
|18th||<-any improvements to class features gained at this level, including any bonus feats->|
|19th||<-any improvements to class features gained at this level, including any bonus feats->|
|20th||<-any improvements to class features gained at this level, including any bonus feats->|
You are a martial artist at the core that works with the occult to better understands itself. Your powers revolves around grappling your enemies and raising the dead as your companions. All of the following are class features of the Aghori Guru.
Weapons and Armors proficiency: An aghori guru gains no proficiency with weapons or armors.
Invocations: At each level (except 2nd and 6th level), you gain new invocations and an increase in caster level as if you had also gained a level in a invoking class to which you belonged before adding the prestige class level. You do not, however, gain any other benefit a character of that class would have gained.
Arms of the Destroyer (Ex): As a swift action you create two semi-corporeal additional arms that you may use for flurry of blows and grappling. They don't provide any bonus except a +2, as a circumstantial bonus, to grapple checks and to resist grappling, and to any check involving using arms (such as Climb checks or Strength checks). You gain also an extra attack using flurry of blows.
You may immediatly release the eldritch blast as you succesfully grapple the opponent (you don't need to wait to inflict damage). The limbs remain indefinitely until you dismiss them or become unconscious or dead. Even without the arms you gain a bonus on Escape Artist checks equal to your class level. You add your aghori guru level plus your monk level to grapple and disarm checks, adding the appropriate modifiers, instead of using your base attack bonus (effectively you have full base attack bonus for these checks).
A pair of translucent arms spawn under your on upper limbs. The arms a symbol of power and they bestow to you the power of destruction. You become similar to the Destroyer, the entitt that pushes for change and forwardness, as opposed to the lie of permanency.
Monk abilities: Your aghori guru and monk levels stack for the purpose of determining its unarmed damage, bonuses to Armor Class, unarmored speed, flurry of blows and stunning strike's uses and DC. Additionally it uses Charisma instead of Wisdom as bonus AC. Your aghori guru's levels count as monk's levels for any prerequisite and scaling feature from feats.
Ki strike (Su): At 1st level, an aghori guru's unarmed attacks are empowered with ki. Its unarmed attacks are treated as magic weapons for the purpose of dealing damage to creatures with damage reduction. Ki strike improves with the character's aghori guru level. At 4th level, its unarmed attacks are also treated as lawful or chaotic weapons (depending on its alignment) for the purpose of dealing damage to creatures with damage reduction. A true neutral aghori guru must choose between lawful and chaotic and may never change its decision (unless it changes alignment) At 8th level, its unarmed attacks are treated as adamantine weapons for the purpose of dealing damage to creatures with damage reduction and bypassing hardness.
New lesser invocation: The dead walk (Sp): You gain the invocation The dead walk as a free invocation.
A common tool for a warlock, though scarcely used. Your connection to the dead grants you the power to blur the line between Life and Death and discover unity.
Ashes of Life: The caster level for The dead walk invocation is equal to your aghori guru level plus your warlock level, increasing the maximum HD of undeads you can create and control and the maximum time the undeads remain if you don't include the material components normally used in the spell. Besides you may control 3 HD per caster level of undeads instead of 2 HD. You become also immune to natural and magical diseases (but not supernatural ones), though you may still carry them.
As you delve into the Abyss you find the remnants of past lives scattered on the ground. You cover yourself in grey ashes, that resplends in your liberation.
Eldritch blast (Sp): As the class feature of the same name of the warlock. It increases by +1d6 at 2nd, 4th, 6th, 8th and 10th level.
The typical warlock feature, now laced with the power of the Self and the Nil, conjoined in you.
New lesser invocation: Broken taboo (Sp): This invocation works as the spell desecrate but its bonuses apply also to any aghori guru in the area, including you, and the maximum of undeads you may control with your The dead walk invocation is 6 HD per caster level instead of 3 HD. You may improvise an altar, using at least a bone from a sentient creature, to double the bonuses (but not the HD of undeads you may control). This counts as a 4th level spell.
As you descend in spiral of darkness you become estranged from your peers, the tangle of their life. Your power over Death strengthen and in return you survive better than others. You learn small and simple ritual that resonates with the universe to aid you.
Clever Wrestling: You gain the Clever wrestling feat as a bonus feat.
When you are not meditating on the mysteries of being you brawl in taverns, where you drink yourself almost to unconsciousness. This unusual training makes you better against larger adversaries.
Arms of the Creator (Ex): You may now create another pair of arms, increasing the circumstantial bonus to +4, adding +1 per damage die when discharging the eldritch blast in grapple and increasing the DC of eldritch essence invocations, used while blasting an enemy you are grapple with, by 2. You gain another extra attack with your flurry of blows. Now you may target incorporeal creatures with your flurry of blows ability, you may grapple them and discharge your blast on them. When you manifest the arms you may use quivering palm on incorporeal creatures.
The Golden Arms of Creation are now yours and you comprehend that to destroy is to create and to create is to destroy. Armed with this knowledge, you drag the prideful in the mud, to show them humility.
Body reborn (Su): At 6th level or higher, an aghori guru can heal its own wounds. It can heal a number of hit points of damage equal to twice its current aghori guru level plus monk level each day, and it can spread this healing out among several uses. This counts as the wholeness of the body feature for prerequisites.
Life surges in your soul and body, overlapping and confusing them in a way that your thought may simply shake off physical wounds.
Occult soul (Ex): At 7th level, an aghori guru gains spell resistance equal to its current aghori guru level plus warlock level + 5. In order to affect the aghori guru with a spell, a spellcaster must get a result on a caster level check (1d20 + caster level) that equals or exceeds the aghori guru's spell resistance.
When the body is weak the mind sustains it, but when the mind is fascinated with the illusion of magic the body stands, firm as a rock, and nullifies the false power of earthly concepts.
Quivering palm (Su): Starting at 8th level, an aghori guru can set up vibrations within the body and soul of another creature that can thereafter be fatal if the aghori guru so desires. It can use this quivering palm attack once a week, and it must announce its intent before making its attack roll. Constructs, oozes, and creatures immune to critical hits cannot be affected. Otherwise, if the aghori guru strikes successfully and the target takes damage from the blow, the quivering palm attack succeeds. Thereafter the aghori guru can try to slay the victim at any later time, as long as the attempt is made within a number of days equal to her monk level. To make such an attempt, the aghori guru merely wills the target to die (a free action), and unless the target makes a Fortitude saving throw (DC 10 + 1/2 the aghori guru's full level + the aghori guru's Wis modifier), it dies. If the saving throw is successful, the target is no longer in danger from that particular quivering palm attack, but it may still be affected by another one at a later time. The aghori guru may use this power with a succesful grapple check.
Others defy Death, believing the lie of disparity and duality, thinking there's a hard line between them. You teach them the truth, by showing them that Life is no more than a gust of wind.
New greater invocation: Cycle of reincarnation (Sp): With this invocation you may replicate the spell create undead, at similar conditions to the invocation The dead walk, using your aghori guru's level and warlock's level as caster level and to determine the kind of undead you may create. This invocation is subject to the Ashes of Life class features. It counts as 6th level spell. If you cannot learn greater invocations you don't gain this invocation. When you may learn greater invocations you gain this one a free one.
You've elevated yourself above the cycle and comprehend that dead flesh is mere matter, not different from water or soil. If man works the earth and changes its elements, why shouldn't you do the same with men?
Death in Life (Ex): You become immune to death effects and inflict spells heal you (you are still healed by cure spells; if you are harmed by them, they now heal you). You gain a bonus equal to your class level on saving throws against level drain, negative levels, ability damage and ability drain. You no longer age: an aghori guru no longer takes penalties to its ability scores for aging and cannot be magically aged. Any such penalties that it has already taken, however, remain in place. Bonuses still accrue, and the aghori guru still dies of old age when its time is up.
You're in and out of everything, at the same time being and not being. Attacks to your vitality don't mean anything to you anymore, you're dead while living.
The epic <-class name-> gains a bonus feat (selected from the list of epic <-class name-> feats) every <-# of levels-> levels after <-usually the last non epic level->.
Epic <-class name-> Bonus Feat List: <-list of bonus epic feats->
If you use my version of the monk you should change the invocations progression and add ki techniques and ki points progression: at each class level, except at 2nd and 6th level, you increase your invocations progression by one and, at each class level, you gain a progression equal to that of the monk for ki techniques and ki points.
You may choose to use Charisma, instead of Wisdom, for all purposes connected to ki techniques and ki points. You may not change your choice later.
Aghori gurus usually use techniques from the Theophany of the broken taboos school.
An Aghori Guru never really leave the class: even betraying the teachings of the cult and changing alignment to one that is not allowed doesn't mean anything. The only reason you may not continue in this class it's because you refuse it and don't want to explore that part of you anymore. But remember, change is always near.
Playing a Aghori Guru
Combat: An aghori guru most prominent feature is its grappling blast ability, that structures its role in combat. Despite this your position may vary depending on the invocations you choose and if you decide to tend, instead, towards ranged attack with your eldritch blast. Your necromantic powers work as a secondary feature to help you in combat, given the time to prepare.
Advancement: Members of this class prefer to stick to it and fully explore it, while advancing in the monk and warlock class, from which they benefit the most.
Resources: You may expect hostility as well as simpathy from your fellows aghori. The problem is recognize which one it will be, before it reveals itself.
Aghori Gurus in the World
|“||Nightmother! That tavern has the best drinks, women, men and weed! If you don't mind running away chased by the cook with a big knife, that is.||”|
Aghori gurus by definition don't fit: they refuse society and its norms. They refuse religion, laws, kindness and cruelty, they refuse respect for both the dead and the living. They live to free themselves from the curse of being.
NPC Reactions: NPCs react with a mix of fear and digust to aghori gurus, as they walk semi-naked, covered in dirt and ashes, chasing young girls and beating up old men. The only ones that listen to them while they belittle traditions and the knowledge of the sages on the stairs in front of the temple are people as estranged as them or irated scholars, holding rotten fruits and stones.
Aghori Guru Lore
Characters with ranks in Knowledge (arcana), Knowledge (local) or Knowledge (religion) can research Aghori Gurus to learn more about them. When a character makes a skill check, read or paraphrase the following, including information from lower DCs.
|11||They are crazy hermit that indulge in vices.|
|16||They believe that in destroying all that is sacred they will renovate themselves.|
|21||It seems that small gatherings of aghori exist in the sewers and outside of cities. It's rumored that they practice necromancy.|
|26||Their behaviour puts our beliefs at test: why would sane people do the things they do? Perhaps they really found something.|
Aghori Gurus in the Game
The philosopher, the ascetic and the anarchic, borderline crazy, all fit in this class, both as PC or NPCs.
As NPCs you may use them as the village's fool, an enemy or some kind of mentor, although a crazy one. PCs aghori gurus may travel with a companionship just as a part of their path to unity or to proselitize.
Adaptation: You may render them more disciplinated, giving them a small organization or you may treat them as solitary individuals, that occasionally pass their creed to few others, in a kind of teacher-pupil relationship. They may be evil or just amoral.
Sample Encounter: <-DM placement for NPC of this class->
EL whatever: <-Encounter scenario and character info on sample NPC including stat block. The CR of the NPC is typically the same as the EL for the encounter->