Sangromancer (3.5e Prestige Class)
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|“||I've spilled the blood of thousands, but even a drop from me is more valuable than all the viscera in their pathetic bodies.||”|
|—Sir Alicare, human sangromancer|
The magical forces that course through the world can be manipulated by gifted wizards, clerics and other spellcasters. Channeling these forces, however, can be tiring, even dangerous for a person's body. This is why spellcasters seek not to extend themselves too much, and divide their spells over the course of days.
Sangromancers embrace the dangerous, wasting nature of magic. They cast not only of the natural magic force around them, but of their own inner strength, drawing power from their own blood. They are among the most powerful spellcasters in the world, but theirs is a dangerous style of magic: one that slays the careless user.
A sangromancer uses his visceral powers by spilling his blood in whatever way they choose. Their spells often look awesome, if grotesque: acid arrows covered in caustic blood; bull's strength that bulges the target's veins and has them frothing blood from their mouths; summoned creatures formed of guts and viscera.
Becoming a sangromancer
The reason most people seek to become sangromancers is simple: power. There are few who can use the kind of power sangromancers have access to, and since becoming one is actually fairly simple, many take the road early on - and almost as many perish early in their careers as they overextend themselves.
|Ability Scores:||Constitution 15.|
|Skills:||Spellcraft 8 ranks.|
|Feats:||One or more metamagic feats.|
|Spellcasting:||Ability to cast 3rd-level arcane spells.|
|1st||+0||+2||+0||+2||Blood casting (metamagic)||—|
|2nd||+1||+3||+0||+3||+1 level of existing arcane spellcasting class|
|3rd||+1||+3||+1||+3||Blood casting (difficulty class)||+1 level of existing arcane spellcasting class|
|4th||+2||+4||+1||+4||+1 level of existing arcane spellcasting class|
|5th||+2||+4||+1||+4||Blood casting (damage)||+1 level of existing arcane spellcasting class|
The ability of a sangromancer to improve his magic grows with each level of the class. All of the following are class features of the sangromancer.
Spellcasting: From 2nd level on, when a new sangromancer level is gained, the character gains new spells per day (and spells known, if applicable) as if he had also gained a level in whatever arcane spellcasting class in which he could cast 5th-level spells before he added the prestige class level. He does not, however, gain any other benefit a character of that class would have gained. If a character had more than one arcane spellcasting class in which he could cast 5th-level spells before he became a sangromancer, he must decide to which class he adds each level of sangromancer for the purpose of determining spells per day.
Blood Casting (Su): Sangromancers can spill their own blood to improve the effectiveness of their spells. To use his blood casting powers, a sangromancer must spill his own blood when casting the spell (by cutting himself, biting his tongue, scratching his hands or similar; this takes no extra effort from the spellcaster). The use of blood casting makes the sangromancer take an amount of Constitution damage given in the ability description. A sangromancer takes this damage the instant he casts a spell improved with blood casting. A sangromancer who reduces his Constitution to 0 is dead; a sangromancer can't improve a spell with blood casting in such a way that would leave his Constitution below 0.
Starting at 1st level, a sangromancer can reduce the spell slot level a spell modified by a metamagic feat requires. A sangromancer can lower the spell slot requirement of a metamagic-modified spell by one for each level of sangromancer he has. A sangromancer can't lower the spell slot requirement of a spell to lower than that spell's standard level. When a sangromancer casts a metamagic spell, he takes 1 point of Constitution damage for each spell slot lowered with blood casting.
For example, a 5th-level wizard/1st-level sangromancer wants to prepare an empowered acid arrow, which would normally mean the spell would use a spell slot of 4th level, but the sangromancer can use his blood casting to reduce the spell to require only a 3rd-level spell slot. The sangromancer can't reduce the spell slot to 2nd (the standard level of acid arrow) since he has only one level of sangromancer. When casting the spell, the sangromancer takes 1 point of Constitution damage.
Starting at 3rd level, a sangromancer can increase the DC of any spell he casts by taking 1 point of Constitution damage for each point the sangromancer wants to add to the spell's DC. A sangromancer can increase the DC of a spell he casts by one for each level of sangromancer he has.
Starting at 5th level, a sangromancer can increase the damage of any damaging spell he casts by taking 1 point of Constitution damage for each 1d6 points of damage the sangromancer wants to add to the spell. A sangromancer can increase the damage of a spell by a maximum of 5d6 this way.
Playing a sangromancer
Combat: Sangromancers are among the strongest and most outright powerful of mages, and often take the role of main spellcaster in combat. They bombard foes with metamagic spells, increase the DC of their disables and cast devastating damage spells. Always take care not to overextend yourself when playing a sangromancer: once your hit points drop below zero, there's little you can do, and even if they're just low, the fact you're not at full health means you're vulnerable to ambushes and other attacks.
Advancement: Sangromancer is a prestige class you can either dip in, devote yourself for a few levels or go the full distance - your call. Aim to raise the level to either 1st, 3rd or 5th, as the blood casting ability is improved at these milestones. A sangromancer can also seek other arcane prestige classes to further improve the effectiveness of his spells.
Resources: Sangromancers are not automatically weak, since the class requires a fairly high Constitution. Using their blood casting ability can and will leave them weak, so tanky characters that can save the sangromancer from harm are a good pairing. Healers do little to help the sangromancer, since the life loss they take from blood casting can't be healed.
Sangromancers in the World
|“||Five of the bandits were running towards me, and one of them screamed: "I'll spill your blood!" Oh, how I laughed! Little did he know I'd be more than happy to spill it myself.||”|
Instinct warns that sangromancers are an evil folk, spilling their blood in morbid rituals to improve their power. This is not necessarily the case, however. A sangromancer can be of any alignment and of any profession, although villains gravitate to the class for the easy power it offers. Many sangromancers travel the world, seeking to improve their art, but just as many remain grounded and work as alchemists, court wizards, leaders and other such professions.
NPC Reactions: The first reaction to a sangromancer tends to be dislike, thanks to both their great powers and the grotesque way they use them. Sensible NPCs can be taught to understand that despite the morbid looks of the sangromancer abilities, they don't make their user a monster. In some countries, sangromancers are more common and thus more accepted.
Characters with ranks in Knowledge (arcana) can research sangromancers to learn more about them. When a character makes a skill check, read or paraphrase the following, including information from lower DCs.
|11||Sangromancers are mages who improve their spells with bloody rituals.|
|16||By spilling their own blood, sangromancers can use metamagic to improve their spells more easily.|
|21||Casting spells using their blood leaves sangromancers weak and drained until they've had a chance to lick their wounds properly.|
|26||Sangromancers of high caliber can spill copious amounts of their blood to make a spell almost instantly fatal.|
Sangromancers in the Game
Sangromancers enter the niche of strong spellcaster, treading somewhat on the feet of prestige classes like archmage, but with a distinct and spectacular flavor added. In raw power, very few classes can challenge a sangromancer. Play as a sangromancer if you enjoy making intelligent, dangerous decisions and casting spells to deadly effect.
Adaptation: Sangromancers can be met in the world in a variety of ways. If the players travel to a new country or location, you can insert flavor by having them run into sangromancers, who in that country are a perfectly normal sight. The traditional way works, too: have the players be attacked by a powerful mage with a bloody magic and watch them cower in fear.
Sample Encounter: While rummaging through the ruins of an ancient civilization, the players run into an emaciated woman, her skin white as ivory except for the blue veins running up and down the length of her body. Without warning, she pulls out a small silver dagger and slices her arm open with it. To your horror, a bolt of crackling lighting the color of her blood strikes forth from the wound.
EL 8: Bathory, a human sangromancer, is searching for the same artifact as the players and attacks them without mercy when she figures out what they're after.
|Size/Type:||Medium Humanoid (Human), 5th-level Sorcerer/3rd-level Sangromancer|
|Hit Dice:||8d4+24 (44 hp)|
|Armor Class:||14 (+2 Dex, +2 deflection), touch 14, flat-footed 12|
|Attack:||Silver dagger +3 melee (1d4-1/19-20)|
|Full Attack:||Silver dagger +3 melee (1d4-1/19-20)|
|Space/Reach:||5 ft./5 ft.|
|Special Qualities:||Blood casting (metamagic and difficulty class)|
|Saves:||Fort +7, Ref +4, Will +8|
|Abilities:||Str 10, Dex 14, Con 16, Int 11, Wis 12, Cha 18|
|Skills:||Concentration +14, Knowledge (arcana) +11, Spellcraft +11|
|Feats:||Empower Spell, Improved Initiative, Quicken Spell, Spell Penetration|
|Treasure:||Standard plus ring of protection +2 and boots of levitation|
Sorcerer Spells Known (6/7/7/5): 0: resistance, daze, dancing lights, ray of frost, ghost sound, touch of fatigue, mage hand; 1st: mage armor, burning hands, shocking grasp, color spray, expeditious retreat; 2nd: acid arrow, scorching ray, invisibility; 3rd: hold person, fireball.
Bathory has no great defensive powers so as soon as the fight starts, she casts invisibility or expeditious retreat to move away from combat and put up her defenses, unless she knew a fight was going to happen, in which case she already has mage armor and invisibility up. Bathory casts her spells, usually enhanced with blood casting (empowered fireball and hold person with +3 DC are common choices), and thanks to her blood casting, can cast a quickened invisibility fairly easily if the going gets too rough.