Death Incarnate (3.5e Prestige Class)
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|“||Thirst for power such as that of immortality leads only to a path of dispair. What is death, if not an end to our journey?||”|
|—Clier, Human Death Knight|
Death is eternal, and essential. Those who recognize this, may embrace that idea, and dedicate themselves to the practice of ending life, and slaying the undead. The method of this idealism is dependent of the person, but they must have no positive or negative feeling towards the living world. The Death Incarnate is an embodiment of that idea, and as well as acting as death, they also commit a great deal of effort to mastery of the scythe. Two types of Death Incarnates exist. Those who focus on offense, and those who focus on defense. The specialization may be different, but they stop at nothing to kill, despite the path. Because of these ideas, the Death Incarnate are generally seen as omens of death, or Death itself, in some cases, and not much liked in any civilization. Because of this, they generally travel alone, and are not very social.
- Author note- This class is somewhat inspired/borrowed from the Whirling Reaper prestige class, by Slagger the Chuul, and also has borrowed abilities from other classes.
Becoming a Death Incarnate
Because of the nature, people who aspire to become a Death Incarnate typically tend to no longer have a need to live, or have come to detest the living, or those who seek to live forever. Almost any mortal race may aspire to become a Death Incarnate, however the most likely are humans, as they have such short lives. On that note, elves are one of the less likely races, but even elves may come to detest life. Clerics of the Death domain are the most frequent, however Rogues, fighters, and some barbarians are known to walk this path. Occasionally Bards, Sorcerers, and Wizards have also been known to become subservient to Death's cause as well.
|Base Attack Bonus:||+5|
|Race:||Any, but humans are most common.|
|Skills:||Knowledge (Religion): 5 ranks
Concentration: 5 ranks
|Special:||One seeking to become a Death Incarnate must have endured an ordeal that has caused them to lose all ties to life.|
|1st||+1||+2||+2||+0||Whirling Defense +1/Bond of the Scythe +1|
|2nd||+2||+3||+3||+0||Flurry of Blows/Perfect Parry, Mourning Blow|
|3rd||+3||+3||+3||+1||Whirling Defense +2/Bond of the Scythe +2|
|4th||+4||+4||+4||+1||Soul Consumption/Soul harvest, Aura of Pain/Death Ward|
|5th||+5||+4||+4||+1||Whirling Defense +3/Bond of the Scythe +3|
|6th||+6||+5||+5||+2||Breath of the Damned, Blood Sacrifice/Bloody counter|
|7th||+7||+5||+5||+2||Death Attack Whirling Defense +4/Bond of the Scythe +4|
|8th||+8||+6||+6||+2||Chaos Invite/Cyclone of Terror|
|9th||+9||+6||+6||+3||Whirling Defense +5/Bond of the Scythe +5, Black flight|
|10th||+10||+7||+7||+3||Death's Grasp, Mastery of the Scythe|
Class Skills (4 + Int modifier per level)
All of the following are class features of the Death Incarnate
Weapon and Armour Proficiency: Death Incarnate gain no additional proficiency with any weapons. Death Incarnates are proficient with light armor, but not with shields.
Bond of the Scythe/Whirling Defense: The Death Incarnate must choose to to become proficient with the scythe in the ways of offense, or defense. At first level, the Death Incarnate may choose Whirling Defense, or Bond of the Scythe. Every other level, the selected ability grows, until it reaches its pinnacle at 9th level. Only one ability may be selected.
If Whirling Defense is selected, every round that the Death Incarnate makes an attack, an armor bonus to its AC is gained depending on the level(+1 at level 1, +2 at level 3, etc). This ability becomes active even in the event of a miss. The Death Incarnate must be wielding a scythe for this bonus to be gained.
If the Death Incarnate selects Bond of the Scythe, at every other level the Death Incarnate gains a bonus to attack and damage rolls, depending on his/her level. This ability is only active if the Death Incarnate is wielding a Scythe at the time.
Flurry of Blows: A Death Incarnate who chooses to become proficient with the scythe as an offensive tool gains the ability to use a Flurry of Blows attack while wielding a scythe, similar to the monk ability. When used, the Death Incarnate may make one extra attack in a round at their highest base attack bonus, but this attack takes a –1 penalty, as does each other attack made that round, as a monk of this level would. As with the Monk, this ability grows with levels gained, however the final level of the Flurry of Blows is the same as a level 10 monk. A Death Incarnate must use a full attack action to strike with a flurry of blows. Due to the increased fatigue gained from using a scythe, this ability may only be employed once every 10 rounds (This grows to once every 5 rounds at 5th level, and becomes usable with no limit at 10th level), and after the use of the ability, the Death Incarnate takes a -3 AC penalty for 5 rounds. This is only available for a Death Incarnate who has selected Bond of the Scythe.
Parry Stance: At second level, the Death Incarnate who specializes in defense gains the ability Parry Stance. This ability allows the Death Incarnate to begin an attack with the intent to parry quickly afterward. The Death Incarnate makes an attack as one normally would, but gains a -5, but gains a +2 to AC during the first attack received that round, regardless of whether it hits or not.
Mourning Blow: As the use of the scythe becomes more fluid, and the skill of the Death Incarnate begins to root, the precision with which the scythe is used increases greatly. When a Death Incarnate scores a critical hit, they gain an extra attack as with the Cleave feat. The same target may be selected, and this ability may not be used two times in the same round.
Aura of Pain: At third level, the Death Incarnate becomes surrounded by an Aura of Pain. Every three rounds, a pulse of agony is released from the Death Incarnate. This attack's damage and range increase as the Death Incarnate gains levels. At third level, it extends 10 feet, and deals 2d4 to any enemies within the range, this grows to 20 feet with 2d6 damage at level 6, and finally to 30 feet with 2d8 at 9th level. This aura is activated at the beginning of combat, and may be dismissed and called again as the Death Incarnate wishes. Both activation and dismissal are free actions. This aura may only be used by a Death Incarnate with the Bond of the Scythe ability.
Death's Ward: At third level, a Death Incarnate with the Whirling Defense ability gains Death's Ward. This is an aura that provides damage reduction to all allies within the range. The range and reduction increase as the Death Incarnate gains levels. At 3rd level, the range is 5 feet, and the damage reduction is 5, at 6th level the range grows to 10 feet, and the reduction is 10, and at 9th level, the range grows to 15 feet, with a reduction of 15. This aura is activated at the beginning of combat, and may be dismissed and called again as the Death Incarnate wishes. Both activation and dismissal are free actions. This does not stack with other damage reduction effects, the higher of the two effects is used in damage calculation.
Soul Harvest: Once the Death Incarnate reaches fourth level, the Death Incarnate has been exposed enough to death, and the souls of the recently slain to use the leftover energy to focus his next attack. This damage bonus varies based on the size of the creature. Fine-1d4 Diminutive-1d6 Tiny-1d8 Small-1d10 Medium-2d6 Large-2d8 Huge-3d6 Gargantuan-3d8 Colossal-4d6. This ability can only be used when a creature has died within 5 rounds of the use, and the Death Incarnate must be within 15 feet of the corpse. This ability can only be used if the Death Incarnate has the Bond of the Scythe ability.
Soul Consumption: Once the Death Incarnate reaches fourth level, the Death Incarnate has been exposed enough to death, and the souls of the recently slain to use the leftover energy to heal their wounds. If someone, or something has died within five turns, and the Death Incarnate can get within 15 feet of it, he heal for half the creatures max HD. This ability may only be used if the Death Incarnate has the Whirling Defense ability.
Blood Sacrifice:A Death Incarnate gains knowledge of the use of his blood to empower his attacks at fifth level. A Death Incarnate may sacrifice a multiple of 5 health(max of 30) to gain an attack bonus penalty of -2 per five sacrificed damage, however he gains a damage addition of +1d6 per five sacrificed damage. This ability is restricted to once per encounter. This is a free action.
Bloody Counter:A Death Incarnate gains knowledge of the use of his blood to empower his scythe, and gains a counter attack at fifth level. This ability may be used before an attack as a free action, and gives the Death Incarnate a -10 attack penalty, however if an enemy attacks, and missed, he initiates a counter attack(with the -10 penalty remaining) for 1/2 standard damage. This ability lasts until his next round, and the Death Incarnate may counter all attacks, assuming the requirements are met. This ability also requires a sacrifice of 25 health, and only a Death Incarnate with the Whirling Defense ability may use this ability. This may only be used once per encounter.
Breath of the Damned: At sixth level, the Death Incarnate gains a wretched air breath attack. This attack has a 30 foot cone range, and any target caught within it takes 3d6 + cha modifier damage. A will save can be made by any target to reduce the damage by 1/2, the DC is 10 + Death Incarnate level + Cha modifier. This power may be used once a day, until 10th level, at which point it may be used once per encounter. This is a standard action.
Death Attack: Exactly as an Assassin, a Death Incarnate may initiate a Death Attack at seventh level. If a Death Incarnate studies his victim for 3 rounds and then makes an attack with a melee weapon that successfully deals damage, attack has the additional effect of possibly either or killing the target. While studying the victim, the Death Incarnate can undertake other actions so long as his attention stays focused on the target and the target does not detect the Death Incarnate or recognize the Death Incarnate as an enemy. If the victim of such an attack fails a Fortitude save (DC 10 + the Death Incarnates class level + the Death Incarnates Cha modifier) against the kill effect, she dies. If the victim’s saving throw succeeds, the attack is just a normal attack. Once the assassin has completed the 3 rounds of study, he must make the death attack within the next 3 rounds. Rather than making a sneak attack, this attack must be an Attack of Opportunity, or an Attack made from behind, so long as the target is unaware of your presence, or preparation to attack.
Chaos Invite: If the Death Incarnate has "Bond of the Scythe", Once a Death Incarnate has reached eighth level or more, he may throw his scythe 30 feet to make an attack. The Death Incarnate takes a -5 penalty to the attack. The standard bonus from Bond of the Scythe does not apply. The Scythe is returned at the beginning of the next round. During the time the Death Incarnate lacks his scythe, he takes a -2 AC penalty. Any enemies in the path of the scythe(Straight path back to the Death Incarnate)take the scythe's standard damage. A reflex save can be made against the return to evade damage completely. The DC is 10+Death Incarnate level+dex mod.
Cyclone of Terror:At eighth level, a Death Incarnate who has selected Whirling Defense gains the ability Cyclone of Terror. The Death Incarnate uses this attack to put his scythe in motion around him, as in a whirling manner to parry any oncoming attacks. Employing this ability is a full round action. After this ability is used, the scythe remains spinning around the Death Incarnate until he wills it to stop, and adds a +3 AC bonus to the bonus gained from Whirling Defense, however he becomes unable to attack, and immobile.
Black flight:Once a Death Incarnate reaches ninth level, they gain the ability to fly at will. The Black flight ability has no time limit, and can be used constantly with no penalty, however once it is canceled willingly, it cannot be used again for one hour. The speed of flight is the same as movement speed, with good maneuverability. The use of this ability is a free action.
Death's Grasp: At tenth level a Death Incarnate has reached his pinnacle as an incarnate of Death, and may use the Death's Grasp ability three times a day. This ability allows the Death Incarnate to make a touch attack, and if successful the target must make a fortitude save of 15 + Death Incarnate level + Cha modifier or die instantly. A character that survives takes 3d6 points of damage, and takes a -2 to all roles. This is a standard action.
Mastery of the Scythe: Once the Death Incarnate has reached his pinnacle at level 10, he may choose to alter the way his scythe is used, and change his Bond of the Scythe to Whirling Defense, or Whirling Defense to Bond of the Scythe. At no point are the abilities of both usable. For 1d4 days, the Death Incarnate loses all of the specialization based abilities(those gained from Bond of the Scythe/Whirling Defense), and must meditate for 8 hours each day. If there is any disturbance during this meditation, a day is added to the time. After the 8 hours of mediation, the Death Incarnate is free to partake in any activities. No levels or experience penalties lie in changing one's specialization.
Playing a Death Incarnate
Combat: Death Incarnate are generally melee fighters, and generally function best at the head of the party, not only because they are lawful neutral, thus being unbiased, and favoring order, but also because they are very capable warriors. Their mastery of the scythe is optimized in the face of the enemy. Some Death Incarnate are more rogue-ish in nature, and would be better suited out of sight, while preparing a Death Attack, acting as a scout, or just allowing the party to fight for them.
Advancement: Death Incarnate is generally a melee class, thus Fighters, and some Clerics are common, as well as fallen Paladins. Barbarians, rogues and some sorcerers and wizards may also aspire to become Death Incarnate.
Resources: Death Incarnates will almost always travel and work alone, and are almost never accompanied by other Death Incarnates.
Death Incarnates in the World
NPC Reactions: As most other people, NPCs are not fond of Death Incarnates, unless they too have an affinity for death.
Death Incarnates in the Game
Adaptation: While Death Incarnate frequently act alone, and are generally allowed to act alone, as they are usually seen as a bane of life, they have been known to accompany groups, or even employ others as a means of more efficient slaying. Because they are required to be lawful neutral, they should be effective party leaders, as well as members, as they have no bias of the intent of those they work with.