Shinigami (3.5e Class)
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"Death Gods", they channel restless spirits back to where they belong. They are exorcists who do battle with the ghosts and shadows in their world.
Making a Shinigami
Shinigami are warriors who are strongest when not in their native plane. They work best in planar campaigns, but make excellent ghost and undead slayers even without plane hopping.
Abilities: Strength and Constitution are vital for any melee warrior class, though Charisma also plays a large roll, such as their special abilities and attacks. Wisdom is good for their special class skills, and Dexterity helps as they lack major armor. Shinigami who want to use their skills may want Intelligence to shore up their low skill points per level.
Races: Any race is capable of becoming a Shinigami. Strong races focus on the melee attacks while dexterous and wise races take a defensive roll. Charismatic races focus on the more magical aspects of the class.
Starting Gold: 4d4×10 gp (80 gp).
Starting Age: Moderate.
|Saving Throws||Special||Spells per Day|
|1st||+1||+2||+2||+0||Zanpaktou, Spiritual Form, Aura||—||—||—||—||—|
|2nd||+2||+3||+3||+0||Planar Senses, Determination +1||—||—||—||—||—|
|5th||+5||+4||+4||+1||Shikai, Fast Movement +10, Flash Step, Ghost Strike, Soul Burial||2||1||—||—||—|
|6th||+6/+1||+5||+5||+2||Spiritual Armor, Manifest Spiritual Pressure||2||2||—||—||—|
|10th||+10/+5||+7||+7||+3||Shikai Special Ability||3||2||2||—||—|
|11th||+11/+6/+1||+7||+7||+3||Locate Spirit, Determination +2||4||2||2||1||—|
|13th||+13/+8/+3||+8||+8||+4||Detect Silver Cord||4||2||2||2||—|
|20th||+20/+15/+10/+5||+12||+12||+6||+5 Weapon, Determination +3, Death God Apotheosis||7||4||4||4||4|
Class Skills (2 + Int modifier per level, ×4 at 1st level)
All of the following are class features of the Shinigami.
Weapon and Armor Proficiency: A shinigami is proficient with all simple and martial weapons, the bastard sword (katana), and with light armor and no shields.
Spells: A shinigami casts divine spells which are drawn from the shinigami spell list. He can cast any spell he knows without preparing it ahead of time, the way a wizard or a cleric must (see below).
To learn or cast a spell, a shinigami must have a Wisdom score equal to at least 10 + the spell level. However, the Difficulty Class for a saving throw against a shinigami’s spell is 10 + the spell level + the shinigami’s Charisma modifier.
Like other spellcasters, a shinigami can cast only a certain number of spells of each spell level per day. His base daily spell allotment is given on Table: The Shinigami. In addition, he receives bonus spells per day if he has a high Wisdom score.
A shinigami’s selection of spells is extremely limited. A shinigami learns one 0th level spell and one 1th level spell at 4th level. At each new shinigami level, he gains one or more new spells, as indicated on Table: Shinigami Spells Known. (Unlike spells per day, the number of spells a shinigami knows is not affected by his Wisdom score; the numbers on Table: Shinigami Spells Known are fixed.) These new spells can be common spells chosen from the shinigami spell list, or they can be unusual spells that the shinigami has gained some understanding of by study. The shinigami can’t use this method of spell acquisition to learn spells at a faster rate, however.
Upon reaching 6th level, and at every even-numbered shinigami level after that (6th, 8th, and so on), a shinigami can choose to learn a new spell in place of one he already knows. In effect, the shinigami "loses" the old spell in exchange for the new one. The new spell’s level must be the same as that of the spell being exchanged, and it must be at least two levels lower than the highest-level shinigami spell the shinigami can cast. A shinigami may swap only a single spell at any given level, and must choose whether or not to swap the spell at the same time that he gains new spells known for the level.
Unlike a wizard or a cleric, a shinigami need not prepare his spells in advance. He can cast any spell he knows at any time, assuming he has not yet used up his spells per day for that spell level. He does not have to decide ahead of time which spells he’ll cast.
Shinigami choose their spells from the following list:
1st—Cure Light Wounds, Cause Fear, Deathwatch, Protection from Evil, Shield of Faith, Align Weapon, Gentle Repose, Hold Person, Status, Undetectable Alignment, Longstrider, Magic Aura, Jump, Feather Fall, Slide (Spell Compendium)
Zanpaktou: At 1st level a Shinigami receives a masterwork weapon to bond with, typically a katana. This weapon will become the physical base for all Shinigami powers beyond spellcasting. Each Zanpaktou has a special name, and as the Shinigami levels, he will eventually become aware of it and bring it to a sort of sentience.
In addition, if a zanpaktou is ever broken, the weapon loses its power and zanpaktou related powers cannot be used, and you may not level in the class.The zanpakuto will slowly grow back to normal and will eventually turn back to normal after 2 days or so.Until then you lose your powers and abilities.
Spiritual Form (Su): When facing incorporeal opponents, the shinigami may willingly leave their body and enter the ethereal or shadow planes to combat them. While this levels the playing field against incorporeal opponents it comes with a major disadvantage: your physical body remains in the material plane helpless. Therefore it is a good idea to hide your body to have friends who can watch over it. You may exist away from your body for 50 ft. every shinigami level. You may stay out of body as long as you like.
A shinigami is vaguely aware of the condition of their body, as if by a Status spell. When their body is in danger, a shinigami typically rushes back to join with their corporeal form. Leaving or returning the body is a move action which does not provoke attacks of opportunity. Since a shinigami is a spirit and only has a temporary body, if the body dies the shinigami lives but his/her maximum heath is reduced by 2d6. As long as she is in this form she gains spell resistance 16 and all damage rolls and attacks rolls made by the shinigami gain +2. When attacked by a corporal being the damage/attack rolls are reduced by 2.
Aura (Ex): A shinigami of a chaotic, good, or lawful alignment has a particularly powerful aura corresponding to the shinigami’s alignment. An evil or chaotic shinigami gains an aura of fear, and all creatures within a 10 ft radius of her must make DC 14 will save. If they fail they are shaken for 1d6 minutes.
Planar Senses (Ex): Able to sense the world beyond, the shinigami may now use Spot, Listen, and other sensory skills on ethereal and incorporeal creatures, as if they were on his plane, with a +10 DC modifier. Spotting an incorporeal creature does not mean you see them, but rather have pinpointed what square they are in. You still incur normal miss chance.
Determination (Ex): A shinigami gains a +1 competence bonus on Will saves at 2nd level. This bonus increases to +2 at 11th level and +3 at 20th level.
Ghost Hunter (Ex): The focus on defeating incorporeal dangers has given the shinigami an edge in fighting. They receive a +1 competence bonus to attack and damage against incorporeal creatures.
Weapon Enchantment Bonus (Su): At 4th level the zanpaktou of he shinigami becomes magical, gaining a +1 enhancement bonus. Unlike magic weapons created by normal means, the shinigami need not spend experience points or gold pieces to accomplish this task. However, an shinigami’s magic bonus only function for him. For every four levels the character advances past 4th level, the zanpaktou gains +1 greater potency (+1 at 4th level, +2 at 8th level, +3 at 12th level, +4 at 16th level, and +5 at 20th level).
The weapon may be enchanted as normal, though the shinigami must first spend the 2000 gold needed for a +1 weapon before applying any additional enchantments, regardless of the class-granted enchantment bonus.
Shikai (Su): At 5th level, after a ritual which takes 24 hours of meditation, the name of the zanpaktou becomes known to the shinigami, and he can unlock its true form. With a move action the weapon transforms, sometimes into an entirely different weapon. It retains any still valid enchantments placed upon the original, as well as any feats such as Weapon Focus still operating, even if the weapon type changed. A zanpaktou can stay in Shikai form for 1 minute per class level and can be activated as many times per day as 1 + Wis modifier (minimum 1).
In shikai form the weapon deals damage as if one size category higher.
There is a feat which allows your shikai to be out permanently.
Fast Movement (Ex): The Shinigami is very swift from the training they receive, gaining a +10 bonus to their movement speed. This stacks with similar bonuses, such as barbarian's fast movement.
Flash Step (Su): At 5th level the Shinigami gains the ability to move at blinding fast speeds. At 5th level the Shinigami gains the ability to teleport up to 25 ft. + 5 ft./2 levels, once per day as a swift action. Every three levels after the Shinigami can Flash step once more per day. (Twice at level 8, Three times at 11, Four times at 14, Five times at 17, Six times at 20)
Ghost Strike (Su): When using the zanpaktou, the miss chance granted by incorporeal creatures is negated, much like Ghost Touch. Unlike Ghost Touch, you cannot be ethereal and attack the physical realm with your weapon, it can only strike ethereal creatures.
Soul Burial (Su): A shinigami's job is to pacify and defeat ghosts. At 5th level, within 1 minute of defeating a ghost you may perform a full round action on the spirit's energies to purge it of its evil essence and guide it to the afterlife. The DC check for a ghost attempting Rejuvenation becomes equal to (10 + 1/2 the shinigami's class level + Cha modifier). Performing this act in a Consecrated or Hallow area adds +4 to the DC. A shinigami may also attempt this on objects which contain souls, such as a Trap the Soul crystal (using the Will save of the caster of the Trap the Soul spell) or a phylactery, if the lich has been defeated but has yet to respawn (using the lich's Will save).
Spiritual Armor (Ex): When on the Astral, Ethereal, or Shadow planes the shinigami has a deflection aura of energy protecting them. They may use their Cha modifier as a deflection bonus to AC (minimum +1).
Manifest Spiritual Pressure (Su): A shinigami may release his spiritual pressure forcefully in a 30 ft radius as a full round action. Those within the radius are treated as if they had cast the appropriate Detect Alignment or Detect Power Level spell, including the stunning effect if the aura is overwhelming. This is typically used for intimidation and is impractical in combat with high level foes.
Material Essence: At 7th level, and later at 14th, the shinigami can make a DC 20 Craft check to permanently alter their weapon's material properties as if he forged it from that base material originally. The process requires enough material to forge such an item, and 1 day of work. They pay the costs of the material property (such as adamantine) as usual to bond it to their zanpaktou.
At 14th level you may add a second property. For example an adamantine/mithral weapon would be 50% lighter, hardness 20 and other adamantine bonuses, and count as adamantine and mithral for bypassing DR.
Sense Spirit (Su): At 9th level the shinigami can attune themselves to 1 person per point of Wis bonus. A shinigami with a Wisdom of 17, for example, can be attuned to 3 people. Attuning takes 24 hours and either requires a personal item of the creature or their presence, but once attuned the shinigami can recognize when they are within 100 ft of them. This ability does not tell them where the creature is located, simply that they are within 100 ft. It only operates if the person is on the same plane.
Shikai Special Ability (Sp): At 10th level, 1/day while in Shikai form the weapon can employ a spell-like ability. The imbued spell can be any from the cleric or sorcerer/wizard list, no greater than 5th level. Effectively, it adds one spell you do not know to be cast 1/day.
At 20th level you can use your ability 2/day.
Locate Spirit (Su): At 11th level, if you detect a presence with your Sense Spirit ability, you may now locate which direction they are in. This does not tell how far away they are or reveal them if they are invisible. It is useful for keeping track of allies, or if you managed to obtain the personal belongings of someone you are stalking, allows you to find them easier.
Detect Silver Cord (Ex): At 13th level you are aware of the things which bind spirits to their bodies, you may now detect the presence of Silver Cords and those under the Astral Projection spell. This does not allow you to strike the Silver Cord unless you possess a means to do so.
Bankai (Su): The final transformation of the zanpaktou is a strenuous process. After a week long ritual of meditation and fasting, you must face the manifestation of your weapon's spirit in mental combat, making a DC 20 Will save. Failure means you take 5d6 points of nonlethal damage and you are exhausted. Success means you have unlocked Bankai.
You may unleash your Bankai as a full-round action. It lasts for 1 round/class level and can only be performed 1/day, at 20th level it can be performed 2/day. Bankai's vary greatly. (See below for details on Zanpaktou and Bankai).
Timeless Body (Ex): Upon attaining 17th level, a shinigami no longer takes penalties to her ability scores for aging and cannot be magically aged. Any such penalties that she has already taken, however, remain in place. Bonuses still accrue, and the shinigami still dies of old age when her time is up.
Ghostly Presence (Ex): When slain, the shinigami retains a thin link to the material world. When others, such as his team members, are concentrating they may receive messages from the shinigami as if he still walked among them. In truth he does, as if constantly scrying on one of his party members. Concentrating on the shinigami's ghostly presence is a full round action.
True Sight (Su): Attuned to seeing things clearly in spite of magic and planar effects, the shinigami becomes under the effects of a permanent True Sight spell.
Death God Apotheosis: At 20th level, a shinigami becomes a magical creature. He is forevermore treated as an outsider rather than as a humanoid (or whatever the shinigami’s creature type was) for the purpose of spells and magical effects. Additionally, the shinigami gains damage reduction 10/magic, which allows her to ignore the first 10 points of damage from any attack made by a nonmagical weapon or by any natural attack made by a creature that doesn’t have similar damage reduction. Unlike other outsiders, the shinigami can still be brought back from the dead as if she were a member of her previous creature type.
The Zanpaktou and Bankai
Bankai Powers : As a Zanpaktou levels its bankai grows stronger and stronger. At 15th and every three levels after, it obtains additional powers taken from the list below. In many respects, it's identical to an intelligent weapon, including gaining an Ego score. Instead of the usual intelligent weapon benefits, they gain a series of spiritual abilities as detailed below. The weapon may also be enchanted with one of the normal intelligent item benefits in place of one or more of its spiritual abilities, but you must pay the appropriate cost. A Lesser Power is worth one spirit power, and a Greater Power or Special Purpose is worth two spiritual abilities.
Each spiritual ability may be taken up to three times, with increasing benefits.
|15th||Two Spiritual Abilities, 60 ft Darkvision and Hearing, Two Ability Scores at 16, One at 10|
|18th||+1 Additional Spiritual Ability, 90 ft Darkvision and Hearing, Two Ability Scores at 18, One at 10|
|21st||+1 Additional Spiritual Ability|
|24th||+1 Additional Spiritual Ability, 120 ft Darkvision and Hearing, Two Ability Scores at 20, One at 10|
|27th and beyond||+1 Additional Spiritual Ability|
Brutal: You weapon is a monster in combat, its spirit believing that brute strength wins the day. Your weapon deals damage one size larger than it actually is.
Taken a second and third time increases the effective damage size up again. For a medium creature swinging a medium weapon, after all three they deal the damage of a gargauntuan weapon.
Elemental: Your weapon's spirit is mixed in with the natural forces in this world. Fire, lightning, acid, and cold, these are its manifestations. Unlike other spirital abilities this can be taken beyond three times, but only with a new element. Choose an element from fire, electric, cold, and acid. Your weapon deals 2d6 additional elemental damage.
Taken a second and third time increases the elemental damage, up to 6d6 damage at its third level. You may take the path again for a different element.
Toxic: Your weapon's spirit is hazardous to life around it. On contact it deals its deadly poison which damages the body. Taken once, your weapon now deals a single point of ability damage to an ability score you specify on choosing this power. It is similar to Wounding, and stacks with Wounding if you happen to pick Con damage.
Taken a second time allows you to imbue your weapon with any poison you possess as a free action. You do not suffer a chance of poisoning yourself using this method, and may continue making poisoned strikes up to however many poisons you have access to. Taken a third time, the DC for these poisons rise by +2.
Mystic: Your weapon is magical and assists in your spellcraft. Your energy flows out through your blade naturally. The weapon becomes a Spell Storing weapon. In addition the caster level of any spells you cast rise by 1.
Taken a second time allows you to store two spells in your weapon. You still may only discharge one spell a round, however. You caster level for your spells rises by 1 again. Taken a third time allows you to store up to three spells at a time, with the same limitations, and your caster level rises by 1 again. As this is not a true enchantment, this ability can stack with the actual Spell Storing enchantment, but the same caveat of one spell per round applies.
Summon: The spiritual form of your weapon is monstrous, proud, and strong. It manifests directly to fight the enemy. You gain no benefits to your weapon itself, but you are able to summon a monster that represents your sword's spirit. With DM's permission, choose a creature whose HD your character level -2. You may summon this creature and it exists for 1 round/level. As you level up, it too levels up, gaining additional HD appropriate for its species and additional feats, but it is always -2 your HD. If the summon dies in battle, you may not resummon it until 24 hours have past.
Taken a second time and the penalty is reduced to -1 HD. Taken a third time, and the summon matches your HD exactly. As this is the same creature summoned every time, one should keep their creature's information on hand as if it were a cohort. In addition the creature, like the sword itself, has its own free will. If the sword is disobeying its master, its summon likewise will be no more willing.
Skillful: Clever and intelligent, the skillful bankai assists its user in feats of daring and genius. Take one skill which the shinigami possesses at least 1 rank in. This skill receives a +10 bonus while in bankai, and the shinigami receives Skill Mastery in this skill, allowing the shinigami to take 10 in combat. Once chosen, your selection is fixed.
Taken a second time, and the shinigami may select another skill. They receive a +10 bonus, and his previous skill rise to +20. Taken a third time, and you may select one more skill, which receives a +10 bonus. The previous skill rises to +20, and the original skill becomes +30. In all cases, each skill with a bonus receives Skill Mastery.
Booster: Without its user, the weapon is nothing. Therefore it goes out of its way to increase the users abilities to its fullest, boosting the shinigami with a surge of confidence. The shinigami receives a +4 sacred bonus to two of their abilities scores of their choosing. Once the choice is made, the decision is fixed.
Taken a second time, and the bonuses rise to +6. Taken a third time, and the bonuses rise to +8. This effect lasts as long as the shinigami wields his weapon.
Swift: Mobility is king. Riding the winds, the shinigami becomes fast as a thunderbolt. He receives a +10 foot sacred bonus to his land speed, and a +1 dodge bonus to AC when moving at least 10 feet.
Taken a second time increases the speed of his travel to a +20 bonus. He may also employ his Flash Step as a swift action. Taken a third time, and the speed increases to +30 feet. His Flash Step is now an immediate action.
Protection: The weapon's spirit protects its user from harm. Calling on its bankai, the shinigami receives a +3 sacred bonus to his armor class.
Taken a second time, and the bonus rises by +3. Taken a third time and the bonus rises by +3 again.
Warding: You soul is bound tightly to the soul, and you can endure the worse spells. You gain a +1 sacred bonus to all saving throws.
Taken a second and third time net you an additional +1 to saving throws.
Healing: Your weapon's soul is a kind, gentle one. The shinigami gains a pool of healing identical to the paladin's Lay On Hands, equal to 2x his shinigami class level. While it can quickly be spent, the shinigami can re-charge his pool of healing by dealing damage with his weapon in bankai. This positive energy can harm undead as well.
Taken a second time, and the amount of the shinigami's healing pool increases to x3 his class level. Taken a third time, and the weapons healing pool increases to x4 his class level. In addition the healing pool may be used offensively, releasing a surge of negative energy in a single melee attack against an enemy as a standard action. Threat this ability as a smite attack, which is wasted if the attack misses.
Like a member of any other class, a shinigami may be a multiclass character, but multiclass shinigamis face a special restriction. A shinigami who gains a level in any class other than shinigami may never again raise her shinigami level, though she retains all her shinigami abilities.
2 + Int modifier skill points per level.
Weapon Enchantment Bonus (Su): The zanpaktou continues to accumulate enhancement bonuses. For every four levels past 20th the zanpaktou gains +1 greater potency.
Bonus Feats: The epic shinigami gains a bonus feat (selected from the list of epic shinigami bonus feats) every 3 levels after 20th.
Epic Shinigami Bonus Feat List: Armor Skin, Blinding Speed, Damage Reduction, Devastating Critical, Dire Charge, Energy Resistance, Epic Fortitude, Epic Prowess, Epic Reflexes, Epic Speed, Epic Toughness, Epic Will, Fast Healing, Great Charisma, Great Constitution, Great Dexterity, Great Strength, Great Wisdom, Improved Combat Casting, Improved Combat Reflexes, Improved Whirlwind Attack, Legendary Leaper, Overwhelming Critical, Penetrate Damage Reduction, Perfect Health, Spell Knowledge, Spellcasting Harrier, and Superior Initiative.
Human Shinigami Starting Package
Weapons: Masterwork Katana (Bastard Sword).
Skill Selection: Pick a number of skills equal to 2 + Int modifier.
Feat: Improved Initiative.
Bonus Feats: Weapon Focus Bastard Sword.
Gear: Chain Shirt, Backpack.
Playing a Shinigami
Religion: Shinigami typicly worship neutral deities of death.
Other Classes: Shinigami typicly get along with paladins and samurai, feeling a sence of justice in their dedication to law. Knights are less inclined to ally with shinigami, feeling their lack of armor a weakness. Ninja's, Rogues and evil Clerics are often under close suspicion when traveling with a shinigami.
Combat: Shinigami are to paladins as what barbarians are to fighters. For the barbarian, they excel when raging. For the shinigami, they excel in shikai or bankai. Knowing when and where to activate their bankai is key to victory. Shinigami's are highly focused on their weapons and benefit the most from weapon based feats, for a shinigami will never willingly change weapons.
Advancement: Shinigamis who multiclass lose out on the bankai and other advance abilities. However, the shinigami's flavor goes well with any divine melee class, making paladin prestige classes a good opportunity to explore their more religious side.
Shinigamis in the World
|“||This sword is one with me. That is why you cannot beat me||”|
|—Zukoe, Human Shinigamis/Fighter|
Shinigamis are a secrative lot, working across the planes and keeping the material plane free from harm. Most normal people have never heard, or seen a shinigami. But without them extraplanar horrors would surely reach out and consume them all.
Daily Life: The shinigami can never rest, always on the look out for demons who threaten the world from beyond this dimension. Like a vigilant police officer, they are never really off duty, and must always be on call.
Notables: Ichigo is a strange shinigami, who is completely freelance. He is said to have a sinister side which seems unbefitting of the otherwise good-minded hero.
Organizations: On the neutral and good outer planes, and specifically within the Outlands and the city of Sigil, the shinigami are organized travelers who look out for dangerous demonic invasion attempts and terrible hauntings of souls who refuse to pass on. Here the counsel of Seireitei is ruled over by 13 captains in control of 13 squads, each specialized by their bankais and fighting styles.
NPC Reactions: A common NPC would have no idea to the purpose of a shinigami. To them, they are just another man with a sword, some sort of fighter perhaps. Often shinigami go out of their way to look inconspicuous as well, and it may result in absolutely no reaction at all. Those NPCs who see a shinigami leave his body however may think the poor soul has dropped dead.
Characters with ranks in Knowledge (The Planes) or Knowledge (Religion) can research Shinigami to learn more about them. When a character makes a skill check, read or paraphrase the following, including information from lower DCs.
DC 10: A shinigami hunts ghosts and other incorporeal and extraplanar beings with their powerful weapon.
DC 15: A shinigami may leave their body at will and drift as a ghost. They possess both spell and sword to handle their meneces.
DC 20: A shinigami's magical weapon is an expression of their soul, and through it they can achieve "bankai" and unlock massive power for a short time.
DC 30: Those who reach this level of success can find information on a specific shinigami, their powers and abilities, legends surrounding them, and their common whereabouts.
Shinigamis in the Game
Shinigamis are protectors, and thus are not evil. Those which fall until evil lose their powers or worse, become as demons themselves. They are best in campaigns against incoporeal enemies, but do just fine in the material plane.
Adaptation: By reducing the BAB to Poor, giving a Poor Reflex save, reducing the HD to d6, and granting the cleric's spell list and progression the shinigami becomes much more caster focused while still maintaining the iconic shikai and bankai abilities.
Sample Encounter: The party encounters a comatose man in a field. Attempts to revive him fail, but shortly after the discovery, a gate opens in the nearby town from the shadow plane and monsters roll out. The gate remains open, where the wounded shinigami is found inside beset by more monsters. Assist him and close the gate.