Breathstealer (3.5e Prestige Class)

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Well, well! What a pleasure it is to see you again.
—Eladdin Vannith, Human Breathstealer, as related by a rare witness

Class Transference - Once a 1st level rogue chooses to become a breathstealer and completes the requirements, at 2nd level he or she becomes a 2nd level Breathstealer; they are no longer a rogue!!! 'Rogue' is essentially replaced by 'Breathstealer' as a "base" class for this character.

Becoming a Breathstealer[edit]

Breathstealers begin as roguish types who apply their superior intelligence to obtaining murder victims (who may or may not be viewed as "test subjects"). Their desire to kill is innate, and they are always planning their next hunt when not in the act. They often have jobs or professional training, and are adept at blending into populations. Those who choose to adventure usually do so as a means to further their interests - primarily killing, though many do seek wealth and social status. The Intelligence, Dexterity, and Charisma ability scores are the most important for a 'successful' breathstealer.

Entry Requirements
Alignment: Any evil.
Race: Majority in world (or large region).
Skills: Disguise, 4 ranks; Sneak, 8 ranks; Move Silently, 8 ranks; Knowledge (Anatomy), 8 ranks.
Intelligence: 16
Special: Must begin as 1st level rogue, and perform a murder with methodical precision.
Hit Die: d6
Table: The Breathstealer
Level Base
Attack Bonus
Saving Throws Special
Fort Ref Will
1st +0 +0 +2 +0 Sneak Attack +1d6, Trapfinding
2nd +1 +0 +3 +0 Evasion, +1 to Charisma Ability Score
3rd +2 +1 +3 +1 Sneak Attack +2d6, Trap Sense +1
4th +3 +1 +4 +1 Weapon Finesse Feat, Uncanny Dodge
5th +3 +1 +4 +1 Sneak Attack +3d6
6th +4 +2 +5 +2 Trap Sense +2, Improved Uncanny Dodge
7th +5 +2 +5 +2 Sneak Attack +4d6
8th +6/+1 +2 +6 +2 Hide in Plain Sight (w/in 10 ft of shadow)
9th +6/+1 +3 +6 +3 Sneak Attack +5d6, Trap Sense +3
10th +7/+2 +3 +7 +3 Special Ability or Bonus Feat
For levels above 10, see Rogue Table!
Class Skills (8 + Int modifier per level)

The following skills are often valued by breathstealers, and some are requirements to take the class - Balance (Dex), Bluff (Cha), Climb (Str), Diplomacy (Cha), Disable Device (Int), Disguise (Cha), Escape Artist (Dex), Gather Info (Cha), Intimidate (Cha), Jump (Str), Knowledge (Anatomy) (Int), Knowledge (Arcana) (Int), Open Lock (Dex), Perception (Wis), Search (Wis), Sense Motive (Wis), Sleight of Hand (Dex - Trained Only), Sneak (Dex), Spellcraft (Int), Swim (Str), Tumble (Dex), Use Magic Device (Cha), and Use Rope (Dex).

Table: The Epic Breathstealer
Level Special
11th Sneak Attack +6d6
12th Trap Sense +4
13th Sneak Attack +7d6, Special Ability or Bonus Feat
14th -
15th Sneak Attack +8d6, Trap Sense +5
16th Special Ability or Bonus Feat
17th Sneak Attack +9d6
18th Trap Sense +6
19th Sneak Attack +10d6, Special Ability or Bonus Feat
20th -

Class Features[edit]

All of the following are class features of the breathstealer.

Dagger Preference : Breathstealers are proficient with daggers and other small blades, such as knives and scalpels. They do NOT used ranged weapons, except in extreme circumstances, as they prefer killing by their own hands.

Enable Criticals: One Enables Criticals feat earned at 2nd level, 4th level, 8th level, 12th level, etc., etc.

Death Attack: If the breathstealer studies his victim for 3 rounds, and then makes a sneak attack with a melee weapon that successfully deals damage, the sneak attack has the additional effect of possibly either paralyzing or killing the target (breathstealer's choice). While studying the victim, the breathstealer can undertake other actions so long as his attention stays focused on the target, and the target does not detect the breathstealer or recognize the breathstealer as an enemy. If the victim of such an attack fails a fortitude save, DC = 10 + (breathstealer's level) + (Int modifier), against the kill effect, they die. If the saving throw fails against the paralysis effect, the victim's mine and body become enervated, rendering them completely helpless and unable to act for d6 rounds + 1 round per level of the breathstealer. If the victim's saving throw succeeds, the attack is just a normal sneak attack. Once the assassin has completed the 3 rounds of study, he must make the Death Attack within the next 3 rounds. If the Death Attack is attempted and fails, or the victim makes their saves, or if the breathstealer does not launch the attack within 3 rounds of completing the study, 3 new rounds of study are required before they can attempt another Death Attack.

Immunity to Poison : All breathstealers are immune to poison, and are learned in the use of poison.

"Mission Mode" : While in commission of a meticulously-planned and ritual murder (their ideal kill), the breathstealer gets +2 to every ability check. The effect lasts for up to one hour per level, or until the desired target is captured or killed, as desired. This ability may be used only when extensive planning is executed, usually once per 3 days (but perhaps more often, based upon Intelligence and GM's discretion). Most, in a settled existence, use this ability much less often, based upon the amount of pleasure to be derived from their ideal victim.

Sneak Attack : If a breathstealer can catch an opponent when he is unable to defend himself effectively from her attack, she can strike a vital spot for extra damage. The breathstealer's attack deals extra damage any time her target would be denied a Dexterity bonus to AC (whether the target actually has a Dexterity bonus or not), or when the breathstealer flanks her target. This extra damage is 1d6 at 1st level, and it increases by 1d6 every two breathstealer levels thereafter. Should the breathstealer score a critical hit with a sneak attack, this extra damage is not multiplied. Ranged attacks can count as sneak attacks only if the target is within 30 feet. With a sap or an unarmed strike, a breathstealer can make a sneak attack that deals nonlethal damage instead of lethal damage. She cannot use a weapon that deals lethal damage to deal nonlethal damage in a sneak attack, not even with the usual -4 penalty. A breathstealer can sneak attack only living creatures with discernible anatomies - undead, constructs, oozes, plants, and incorporeal creatures lack vital areas to attack. Normally, any creature that is immune to critical hits is not vulnerable to sneak attacks. The breathstealer must be able to see the target well enough to pick out a vital spot and must be able to reach such a spot. A breathstealer cannot sneak attack while striking a creature with concealment or striking the limbs of a creature whose vitals are beyond reach.

Trapfinding : Breathstealers (like rogues) can use the Search skill to locate traps when the task has a Difficulty Class higher than 20. Finding a nonmagical trap has a DC of at least 20, or higher if it is well hidden. Finding a magic trap has a DC of 25 + the level of the spell used to create it. Breathstealers (like rogues) can use the Disable Device skill to disarm magic traps. A magic trap generally has a DC of 25 + the level of the spell used to create it. A breathstealer who beats a trap's DC by 10 or more with a Disable Device check can study a trap, figure out how it works, and bypass it (with her party) without disarming it.

Charisma Bonus: A breathstealer receives a +1 to their Charisma ability score at 2nd level.

Uncanny Dodge (Ex): Starting at 2nd level, a breathstealer can react to danger before her senses would normally allow her to do so. She retains her Dexterity bonus to AC (if any) even if she is caught flat-footed or struck by an invisible attacker. However, she still loses her Dexterity bonus to AC if immobilized.

Trap Sense (Ex): At 3rd level, a breathstealer gains an intuitive sense that alerts her to danger from traps, giving her a +1 bonus on Reflex saves made to avoid traps and a +1 dodge bonus to AC against attacks made by traps. These bonuses rise to +2 when the breathstealer reaches 6th level, to +3 when she reaches 9th level, to +4 when she reaches 12th level, to +5 at 15th, and to +6 at 18th level. Trap sense bonuses gained from multiple classes stack.

Evasion (Ex): At 4th level and higher, a breathstealer can avoid even magical and unusual attacks with great agility. If she makes a successful Reflex saving throw against an attack that normally deals half damage on a successful save, she instead takes no damage. Evasion can be used only if the breathstealer is wearing light armor or no armor. A helpless breathstealer does not gain the benefit of evasion.

Weapon Finesse Feat Bonus: This bonus feat is earned at 4th level.

Improved Uncanny Dodge (Ex): A breathstealer of 8th level or higher can no longer be flanked. This defense denies a rogue the ability to sneak attack the character by flanking her, unless the attacker has at least four more rogue levels than the target has breathstealer levels.

Hide in Plain Sight (Su): At 8th level, a breathstealer can use the Move silently skill even while being observed. As long as he is within 10 feet of some sort of shadow, a breathstealer can hide himself from view in the open without having anything to actually hide behind. He cannot, however, hide in his own shadow.

Special Abilities
On attaining 10th level, and at every three levels thereafter (13th, 16th, and 19th), a breathstealer gains a special ability of her choice from among the following options.
Crippling Strike (Ex) A breathstealer with this ability can sneak attack opponents with such precision that her blows weaken and hamper them. An opponent damaged by one of her sneak attacks also takes 2 points of Strength damage. Ability points lost to damage return on their own at the rate of 1 point per day for each damaged ability.
Defensive Roll (Ex) The breathstealer can roll with a potentially lethal blow to take less damage from it than she otherwise would. Once per day, when she would be reduced to 0 or fewer hit points by damage in combat (from a weapon or other blow, not a spell or special ability), the breathstealer can attempt to roll with the damage. To use this ability, the breathstealer must attempt a Reflex saving throw (DC = damage dealt). If the save succeeds, she takes only half damage from the blow; if it fails, she takes full damage. She must be aware of the attack and able to react to it in order to execute her defensive roll - if she is denied her Dexterity bonus to AC, she can't use this ability. Since this effect would not normally allow a character to make a Reflex save for half damage, the breathstealer's evasion ability does not apply to the defensive roll.
Improved Evasion (Ex) This ability works like evasion, except that while the breathstealer still takes no damage on a successful Reflex saving throw against attacks henceforth she henceforth takes only half damage on a failed save. A helpless breathstealer does not gain the benefit of improved evasion.
Opportunist (Ex) Once per round, the breathstealer can make an attack of opportunity against an opponent who has just been struck for damage in melee by another character. This attack counts as the breathstealer's attack of opportunity for that round. Even a breathstealer with the Combat Reflexes feat can't use the opportunist ability more than once per round.
Skill Mastery The breathstealer becomes so certain in the use of certain skills that she can use them reliably even under adverse conditions.

Upon gaining this ability, she selects a number of skills equal to 3 + her Intelligence modifier. When making a skill check with one of these skills, she may take 10 even if stress and distractions would normally prevent her from doing so. A breathstealer may gain this special ability multiple times, selecting additional skills for it to apply to each time.

Slippery Mind (Ex) This ability represents the breathstealer's ability to wriggle free from magical effects that would otherwise control or compel her. If a rogue with slippery mind is affected by an enchantment spell or effect and fails her saving throw, she can attempt it again 1 round later at the same DC. She gets only this one extra chance to succeed on her saving throw.
Feat A breathstealer may gain a bonus feat in place of a special ability.


Breathstealers never give up their obsession. If forcefully caused to change alignment, a breathstealer will retain all his knowledge and skills, and will quickly revert back to an evil alignment at the first opportunity. They have a sickness which cannot be cured.

Campaign Information[edit]

Playing a Breathstealer[edit]

Breathstealers are ruthless killers, showing absolutely no remorse for their victims, and viewing most all living creatures as means to their own ends.

Combat: Breathstealers usually initiate conflict by Sneak Attacking whenever possible, even when not trailing an ideal victim.

Advancement: Breathstealers often seek for their crimes to be quite notorious. Other times, they only care about the kill itself, and ignore the ramifications. However, they value their privacy among strangers - they seek a reputation for their acts, not for themselves personally (most often they attempt to seem normal in every way). Generally, breathstealers do not multiclass. They enjoy what they do far too much. Perhaps in an especially heavily policed area, they might multi-class to address their weaknesses.

Resources: Breathstealers generally work alone on their 'special projects' but will sometimes team with others as an adventurer, as a means to access better 'opportunities,' i.e., notoriety. They very rarely cooperate with other breathstealers, instead more often competing with them to acheive a more repulsive reputation for their crimes.

Breathstealers in the World[edit]

Breathstealers in rural areas are often extreme loners and hermits. In cities, however, breathstealers often occupy mundane jobs or positions of good repute. A breathstealer is not above committing good deeds to further their masquerade.

You thought you had me this time, didn't you?
—The Scourge of Myrrthia, from a note left at the scene of a grizzly murder

In their everyday, perhaps mundane existence, breathstealers fulfill normative roles in society. Their clandestine exploits, however, often occupy local news channels, gossip webs, and bogeyman tales.

NPC Reactions: NPC's interact extremely favorable with breathstealers, as they are masters of manipulation and can maintain deep covers. In the presence of a breathstealer in Mission Mode, they often disregard him completely in crowds and would be frightened if confronted directly by him.

Breathstealer Lore[edit]

Practically every serial killer in the history of a given setting was, in reality, a breathstealer. They have existed sporadically throughout the history and prehistory of civilization.

Characters with ranks in Knowledge (Arcana) or Knowledge (Local) can research breathstealers to learn more about them. When a character makes a skill check, read or paraphrase the following, including information from lower DCs.

Knowledge (Arcana) or Knowledge (Local)
DC Result
11 Certain humanoids are born with mental imbalances that affect their thinking and personality.
16 Often, one is only at risk of a breathstealer's obsession if they fit the profile of previous victims.
21 A breathstealer's obsession with a target does NOT end until the desired result is achieved.

Breathstealers in the Game[edit]

Breathstealers, few and far between, lurk in the shadows and haunt the imaginations of commoners and nobles alike.

As party members, breathstealers often masquerade as rogues, fullfilling their role in a group setting. Random disappearances are explained away. In an evil party, a breathstealer may reveal their true nature to trusted companions.

Adaptation: Perhaps party members meet a stranger, hiring him to aid the party with his professional skills.

Sample Encounter: A rogue in a tavern claims knowledge of a location sought by the party.

Encounter Level 10: Vervarrin tells the party he is a noble who is seeking out a magical item. He is a seemingly down to earth and says that he has a map to its location, which secretly leads to another noble's booby-trapped magical item stash.

Vervarrin Crespelde

CR 10

Male human Breathstealer 10
CN Medium humanoid (human)
Init/Senses +5/Listen +15, Spot +15
Languages Common, Elven, Celestial, Draconic, Abyssal
AC 17, touch 1, flat-footed 17
hp 47 (10 HD)
Fort/Ref/Will +6/+8/+5
Speed 30 ft. (6 squares)
Base Atk/Grp (+7/+2)/+9
Atk Options Melee Attack Dagger, Combat Reflexes, Sneak Attack, Ranged Attack Dagger
Abilities Str 14, Dex 13, Con 16, Int 20, Wis 15, Cha 17
Feats Weapon FinesseB, Improved InitiativeB, DodgeB, MobilityB, Spring AttackB, Action BoostB, Action SurgeB, Enable Criticals (Construct)B, Enable Criticals (Undead)B, Enable Criticals (Plant)B
Skills Balance +13, Bluff +13, Disguise +13, Escape Artist +13, Gather Info +13, Knowledge (Anatomy) +13, Open Lock +13, Perception +13, Search +13, Sleight of Hand +13, Sneak +13, Swim +3, Tumble +13, Use Rope +13.
Possessions 49000 gp in gear and wealth

Vervarrin is a noble who is secretly a serial killer. Over the years, they have secretly killed off a number of other nobles who were rising in prominence. He is goal orientated and will otherwise work with others whenever it suits his interests, which are fame and renowned.

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