Terminator (3.5e Prestige Class)

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Who do you turn to when you wish to kill someone who is already on the lookout for men trying to kill him?

An assassin? No. Assassins are frail and cowardly creatures who take advantage of stealth and the element of surprise. Without these advantages, they are nothing; worthless. Sure, an assassin is a great person to hire if your victim isn't expecting an assassination attempt. But against a prepared foe, who knows that assassins will be coming, they're just a waste of gold.

So I ask again: Who can kill a man who sees it coming from a mile away?

That's where I come in. That is the promise I offer to you, dear customer: the head of your foe no matter how many precautions or preparations he has taken against me.

--Tluth'aste Barri'rahel, Drow Terminator

The Terminators are an elite cabal of combat masters who specialize in relentlessly hunting down a quarry no matter how numerous or how severe the obstacles in their way.

Terminators do the same job as an assassin or a vigilante: they target a specific individual, hunt him down, and kill him. The similarities end there, however. While typical assassins specialize in killing unsuspecting foes who won't see it coming, a Terminator recognizes that some opponents, such as high-profile lords who expect their opponents to make assassination attempts against them, won't be caught by surprise no matter how hard one tries. Thus, the Terminator specializes in killing people who know he's coming. It matters not how many precautions the victim takes against assassination--the Terminator trains to be unstoppable. He knows that his enemies will be expecting him. Aspiring Terminators undergo rigorous training intent on building both physical and mental stamina. The Terminator does not avoid guards, security, and obstacles the way a typical assassin does: he welcomes them. Through sheer brute force he punches through any feeble defenses and slays his fully-suspecting victim in a completely fair and honorable fight.

A Terminator does not have the stealth or the magic of an Assassin or a Vigilante, but in direct combat he could hold his own against both combined.

Adventure: A Terminator typically adventures either to pursue a quarry or to hone his skills and strength. Some serve an organization, a master, or even a country, while others are independent mercenaries out to accumulate wealth and fame. One thing that they all have in common is persistence: once a Terminator has targeted a person to be killed, he hunts that person relentlessly, to the edges of the known world and beyond if necessary. A Terminator never takes on a new target until his existing target is dead.

Characteristics: Terminators are extremely tough, vigilant killing machines. Their ability to withstand punishment is on par with that of a Barbarian or Knight, but their abilities are focused on breaking through defenses in order to reach their target. Rather than using his toughness to protect his allies, a Terminator uses his defense to augment his offense.

Alignment: Only two kinds of people are capable of handling the rigors and dedication of a Terminator's lifestyle: those with a strong belief in order and structure, and those with an unbridled passion for killing. Because of this, all Terminators are either lawful or evil, and many are both. Lawful Terminators generally serve a lord or master, a specialist organization, or a country. Such Terminators often form the "secret police" of the country they serve, hunting down rebels and deviants that the state deems particularly dangerous. Good Terminators are fearsome champions of justice, hunting down villains so dangerous and notorious that ordinary vigilantes would be afraid to go up against them. Chaotic Terminators are ruthless freelancing mercenaries who would kill their own mother if they got paid well enough for it.

Religion: Terminators tend to favor deities that have a focus on martial pride, strength, and battle, but this is only a generalization--there is no religious requirement to becoming a Terminator, and no Terminator organization has any particular focus on religion.

Background: Terminators are generally people who have either trained from a very young age to be master killers, or already powerful warriors who were formerly Good or Neutral and became Evil after a life-changing experience. They can come from all sorts of backgrounds, however.

Other Classes: The Terminator is a natural progression from the already stalwart Knight (PHB2) or Samurai (Complete Warrior). Monks and Wizards likewise admire the Terminator's perseverance. The Terminator respects the Paladin's dedication, but the feeling is not mutual as Paladins try to avoid killing whenever possible. Rangers share the Terminator's love of the hunt, and Barbarians identify with their physical toughness and stamina. Terminators have a mutual despise for finesse and agility focused classes such as the Rogue, the Ninja (Complete Adventurer), and the Swashbuckler (Complete Warrior)--the Terminator seeing them as weak and cowardly, and those classes seeing the Terminator as too narrow-minded and rigid. Other classes are indifferent towards the Terminator.

Becoming a Terminator[edit]

The Terminator is a difficult character to play. The prerequisites are lofty, and the class comes with it many restrictions. He isn't even very powerful at lower levels. However, at higher levels, a player's persistence and perseverance (hallmark qualities of a Terminator) are rewarded with a nearly unstoppable killing machine.

To qualify to become a Terminator, a character must fulfill all of the following criteria.

Entry Requirements
Alignment: Lawful Evil
Base Attack Bonus: +6.
Skills: Concentration 8 ranks, Intimidate 8 ranks, Survival 8 ranks.
Feats: Endurance, Diehard, Power Attack, Track.
Special: The character must kill a person who was given at least one week's notice that the character was going to kill him/her. Aspiring Terminators generally meet this challenge by choosing a target and sending that person a letter which states the intent to kill the victim along with his own personal information and a physical description of himself. If the aspiring Terminator and the victim already know one another, the personal information and description is not necessary.

Table: The Terminator
Hit Die: d12

Level Base
Attack Bonus
1st +1 +2 +2 +2 +0 Code of the Terminator, Speed Bonus, Trap Sense +1, Weapon of Choice
2nd +2 +3 +3 +3 +0 Improved Overrun, Overexertion
3rd +3 +3 +3 +3 +0 Armored Mobility +1, Improved Bull Rush, Trap Sense +2
4th +4 +4 +4 +4 +5 Daunting Blow
5th +5 +4 +4 +4 +5 Bum Rush, Constitution Boon +1, Trap Sense +3
6th +6 +5 +5 +5 +5 Armored Mobility +2, Spell Deflection 1/day
7th +7 +5 +5 +5 +10 Trap Sense +4
8th +8 +6 +6 +6 +10 Piercing Blow, Spell Deflection 2/day, Spell Resistance 15
9th +9 +6 +6 +6 +10 Armored Mobility +3, Trap Sense +5
10th +10 +7 +7 +7 +15 Constitution Boon +2, Frightful Presence, Knockout Blow, Spell Deflection 3/day
Class Skills (2 + Int modifier per level)
Climb (Str), Concentration (Con), Intimidate (Cha), Listen (Wis), Ride (Dex), Search (Int)

Class Features[edit]

All of the following are class features of the Terminator.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: The Terminator gains proficiency with all types of armor (light, medium, and heavy). The Terminator gains no weapons proficiencies except for the one granted by the Weapon of Choice class feature (see below).

Code of the Terminator: In order to hone their skills, Terminators must adhere to a special code of conduct. The rules are similar to the code of conduct of a Knight (PHB2), but the Terminator holds them for a different reason. While a Knight adheres to his code of conduct out of ideals of honor, duty, and fairplay, a Terminator obeys his code out of mere necessity: the rules are necessary in order to become stronger as a Terminator. Without obedience to the Code of the Terminator, a person gains no experience or knowledge in the skills and abilities necessary to continue walking the path of a Terminator.

If a Terminator violates any of these points of the Code of the Terminator, he gains no experience points for that day. If he had already gained experience points that day, he loses them. The player may avoid this effect by declaring that the character's experience points are going towards a different class. However, if the player makes such a declaration, he or she MUST abide by it (in other words, the next level the character takes MUST be in a class other than Terminator).

  • A Terminator never attacks an unaware opponent. When a Terminator attacks a flat-footed opponent, that opponent is treated as if he were not flat-footed (the Terminator allows the opponent to ready himself before striking). The Terminator may choose to disable this effect, but he will suffer the penalty described above.
  • A Terminator does not back-stab. When flanking an opponent, a Terminator must choose to forgo the usual flanking bonus. He still confers the benefits of flanking to his allies, however.
  • A Terminator sees his quarry before he sees anything else. In combat, a Terminator must choose a single target at a time. The Terminator may not attack anything except for his chosen target. There are three exceptions: a Terminator can attack enemies that get in his way (blocking a straight path between him and his target). Secondly, if a Terminator uses an attack that damages multiple enemies (such as Cleave, or Whirlwind Attack, or throwing a vial of acid), he may damage multiple enemies as long as his target is one of them. Finally, a Terminator can attack any enemy that attacks him first. A Terminator may not select a new target until his current target is dead or retreats.
  • Stealth is for cowards and weaklings. A Terminator may not use the Hide or Move Silently skills for any reason.
  • Deception is for cowards and weaklings. A Terminator may not use the Disguise, Forgery, or Bluff skills for any reason (this includes combat feinting).
  • A Terminator is persistent until death. A Terminator may never retreat from combat.

Speed Bonus (Ex): A Terminator is able to move at his full base land speed regardless of encumbrance due to armor or medium or heavy loads. At 4th level and every 3 levels thereafter, he gains a +5 bonus to his base land speed.

Trap Sense (Ex): Starting at 1st level, a Terminator gains 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 by +1 every two Terminator levels thereafter. Trap sense bonuses gained from multiple classes stack.

Weapon of Choice: The amount of focus required to be a Terminator is so great that the Terminator only has time to hone his skills with a single weapon. With all other weapons, his skills fade. At 1st level, the Terminator chooses a single weapon to be his weapon of choice. It can be simple, martial, or exotic. The Terminator takes a -2 penalties on all attack rolls made by any weapon other than his weapon of choice (Exceptions: a Terminator can still use Unarmed Strike, Gauntlets, Shield Bash, and Armor Spikes at no additional penalty). However, he gains the appropriate weapon proficiency with his weapon of choice. Furthermore, he also gains Weapon Focus for his weapon of choice as a bonus feat. If he already had the Weapon Focus feat for that weapon, he may choose a different feat from this list: Weapon Specialization, Greater Weapon Focus, Greater Weapon Specialization, Improved Critical. He does not need to meet the fighter level prerequisite.

Improved Overrun: At 2nd level, the Terminator gains Improved Overrun as a bonus feat. If he already had the feat, he may pick a different feat of his choice, as long as he meets the prerequisites.

Overexertion (Ex): A 2nd level or higher Terminator can choose to overexert himself in melee. The Terminator may choose to apply his Constitution modifier, if any, to any or all of his melee damage rolls. However, for each roll he applies his Constitution modifier to, he takes 1d4 points of damage. Effect that prevent or redirect damage (such as a Barbarian's Damage Reduction) do not protect against this damage. Use of this ability is otherwise free and unlimited. Many of the Terminator's higher-level abilities are powered by the Overexertion ability.

Armored Mobility (Ex): A Terminator is trained in armored movement and agility. Starting at 3rd level, the maximum Dexterity bonus of any armor he wears is increased by 1, and the armor check penalty is reduced by 1. These bonuses increase by another 1 at level 6 and again at level 9.

Improved Bull Rush: At 3rd level, the Terminator gains Improved Bull Rush as a bonus feat. If he already had the feat, he may pick a different feat of his choice, as long as he meets the prerequisites.

Daunting Blow (Ex): A Terminator is trained in making attacks that not only cause injury, but disorientation as well. Whenever a Terminator combines both the Power Attack feat and the Overexertion ability into a single attack, he makes a daunting blow. Any creature that is struck by such a blow must make a Fortitude save against a DC equal to the amount of damage dealt or be dazed for 1 round. This has no effect on creatures already dazed. Creatures with no discernible anatomy and creatures immune to critical hits are unaffected by this ability.

Bum Rush (Ex): A Terminator can charge through opponents, knocking them over like bowling pins, in order to reach his quarry. At level 5, whenever a Terminator succeeds on a Bull Rush or an Overrun attempt against an opponent, he makes one free attack against that opponent at his highest attack bonus with any weapon he is holding.

Constitution Boon: Terminators train to have greater toughness and endurance than other members of their race. At level 5, a Terminator's Constitution score increases by 1. At level 10, it increases by another 1.

Spell Deflection (Su): Terminators know that the only thing capable of truly stopping their might is magic. Higher level Terminators therefore train in the ability to turn their one weakness back at their foes. Once per day at level 6, a Terminator can attempt to deflect any spell back at its original caster. A Terminator declares that he is using this ability before any saving throws or spell effects are rolled. The Terminator makes a Concentration check against a DC equal to 5 + the spell's normal save DC. If he succeeds, the Terminator is completely unaffected by the spell. Furthermore, he automatically casts the spell back at the original caster, with a caster level equal to his Terminator levels.

At level 8, the Terminator can use this ability twice per day. At level 10, the Terminator can use it three times per day.

Piercing Blow (Ex): A Terminator learns how to bypass even the toughest armor with his attacks. Whenever a Terminator combines both the Power Attack feat and the Overexertion ability into a single attack, he makes a piercing blow. This blow ignores up to 4 points of the target's Armor bonus to its AC before the attack roll is actually made. This includes natural armor as well.

Spell Resistance 15 (Su): At level 8, a Terminator has trained his body to resist magic. He gains Spell Resistance 15 (or, if he already had spell resistance, his existing spell resistance increases by 15).

Frightful Presence (Ex): An elite Terminator strikes fear into the hearts of all his foes with a single glance. Whenever a level 10 terminator draws his weapon of choice, opponents within 30 feet must succeed on a Will save (DC 20 + Terminator's Charisma modifier) or become panicked for 4d6 rounds (if they have 4 or fewer Hit Dice) or shaken for 4d6 rounds (if they have from 5 to 19 Hit Dice). Creatures with 20 or more Hit Dice are not affected. Any foe that successfully resists the effect cannot be affected again by the Terminator's frightful presence for 24 hours.

Knockout Blow (Ex): At level 10, a Terminator's blows are so powerful that anyone who manages to survive them may still be knocked unconscious by the sheer forcefulness of the impact. Whenever a Terminator combines both the Power Attack feat and the Overexertion ability into a single attack, he makes a knockout blow. If an opponent is hit by this blow, he takes an additional amount of nonlethal damage equal to the total damage dealt by the attack.


A Terminator who becomes an alignment that is neither Lawful nor Evil loses the Frightful Presence, Spell Resistance, Spell Deflection, Overexertion, and Trap Sense abilities. He no longer has to abide by the Code of the Terminator. He may no longer gain any new levels in Terminator. He retains the remaining class features, including Weapon of Choice. An ex-Terminator may spend a feat to remove the penalties incurred by the Weapon of Choice ability.

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