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Magicus
2009-06-08, 10:11 AM
I'm about to begin running a campaign for my group, and one of my players has decided to play a Favored Soul of Nerull. When I was talking with him about Nerull's dogma and various churches in my world (specifically, a continent known as the 13 Kingdoms), he expressed an interest in eventually joining a group I created known as the Reapers. Being the kindhearted and benevolent DM I am (and, of course, loving it when players stroke my ego by being interested in random aspects of my world :smallbiggrin:), I decided to craft a prestige class he could take if he ever joins them.

Think of the Reapers as essentially Nerull's special forces. I do run the god a bit differently in this world, though: he's not so much evil and life-hating as simply the overlord of death. He's a lot like Hades from Greek Mythology, really - he's the Lord of the Underworld, alongside his consort Wee Jas. He also doesn't really want to kill the whole world at once, he's quite secure in the knowledge that one day everything will pass into his domain. He absolutely despises those who try to escape the Underworld or avoid it entirely, however (unless they work for him), and that's where the Reapers come in.
So, without further ado:

Reaper of Nerull
Everything must pass away, given enough time. Iíll make certain of it.
-Kelris the Hunter, Elven Reaper of Nerull

Any priest of Nerull, Lord of the Underworld, is an object of fear and awe, but none inspire more of these emotions than the black-robed, scythe-carrying group of highly-trained operatives known as the Reapers. Peasants shiver in fear as they walk past, and even the mightiest king sees his own mortality reflected in the eyes of these pitiless bringers of death. Nonetheless, while the Reapers do act as the hands of their god in any required capacity, their primary concerns do not lie in the world of mortals. They have been charged with Nerullís most sensitive task: hunting down and eliminating all those who attempt to elude his grasp. Alchemists seeking elixirs of immortality, creators of sentient constructs, all who try to defy the inevitability of death are fated to become the victims of the Reapers. Even the intelligent undead, traditionally allies of Nerull, are not immune to this punishment Ė unless they choose to work directly for the god of death, their attempts to keep their soul eternally on the material plane are as reprehensible to that god as any other means of prolonging one's "life" indefinitely. The Reapers are a small subsection of Nerullís church, but their reputation strikes fear into the hearts of all but the most powerful and foolhardy of those who seek immortality.

Requirements
Feats: Weapon Focus (Scythe)
Skills: Knowledge (Arcana) 10 ranks, Knowledge (Religion) 10 ranks
Spells: Must be able to cast 3rd level divine spells
Special: Must have Nerull as patron deity

Class Skills
The Reaper of Nerull's class skills are: Concentration, Craft, Heal, Hide, Intimidate, Knowledge (Arcana), Knowledge (History), Knowledge (Religion), Knowledge (Planes), Move Silently, Profession, Sense Motive, and Spellcraft.
Skill Points per level: 2 + Int modifier

Hit Dice: d8

Weapon and Armor Proficiencies: A Reaper of Nerull gains no proficiencies with weapons or armor.


Reaper of Nerull
{table=head]Level|Base Attack Bonus|Fort Save|Ref Save|Will Save|Special|Spells

1st|
+0|
+2|
+0|
+2|Rebuke Undead, Deathwatch, Student of Life and Death|

2nd|
+1|
+3|
+0|
+3|Scythe Specialization|+1 level of existing spellcasting class

3rd|
+2|
+3|
+1|
+3|Spellscythe|+1 level of existing spellcasting class

4th|
+3|
+4|
+1|
+4||+1 level of existing spellcasting class

5th|
+3|
+4|
+1|
+4|Citizen of the Underworld|+1 level of existing spellcasting class

6th|
+4|
+5|
+2|
+5|Death Ward, Master of Life and Death|

7th|
+5|
+5|
+2|
+5|Deadly Strike|+1 level of existing spellcasting class

8th|
+6|
+6|
+2|
+6|Greater Spellscythe|+1 level of existing spellcasting class

9th|
+6|
+6|
+3|
+6||+1 level of existing spellcasting class

10th|
+7|
+7|
+3|
+7|Reaper of Souls|+1 level of existing spellcasting class [/table]

Rebuke Undead: A Reaper of Nerull rebukes undead as a Cleric of his class level. Any actual levels of Cleric he has stack with his class level for this purpose.

Deathwatch (Su): At 1st level, a Reaper of Nerull gains the ability to monitor the vitality of those around him. This supernatural ability functions exactly like the spell Deathwatch, save that the Reaper can invoke it at will. Also, he can use this ability to estimate a targetís remaining lifespan, assuming the target survives to die a natural death.

Student of Life and Death (Su): A Reaper of Nerull must devote himself to all aspects of necromantic energies in order to understand fully the nature of death. At 1st level, he gains the ability to channel his spells spontaneously into both Cure and Inflict spells of the same level, as he chooses at the time.

Scythe Specialization: At 2nd level, a Reaper of Nerull gains the feat Weapon Specialization (Scythe).

Spellscythe (Su): A Reaper of Nerull is trained to slay his enemies with both spell and blade. At 3rd level he gains the ability to channel Cure and Inflict spells through his scythe as a standard action, usually to harm either mortals or the undead. Casting a spell like this does not provoke attacks of opportunity. If the attack is successful, the spell damage is added to weapon damage, though they remain distinct damage types. A spell cast in this manner is subject to the scytheís critical hit range and multiplier.

Citizen of the Underworld (Ex): A Reaper of Nerull is unnaturally comfortable with the process of his own death, and gains the ability to shrug off the ill effects of returning from his trip to the Underworld. At 5th level, he is entitled upon resurrection to a Fortitude save against a DC equal to the number of hours he spent dead. Success on this save protects him from any Constitution or level loss that he would otherwise incur.

Death Ward (Sp): At 6th level, a Reaper of Nerull is so used to working with necromantic energies that he has developed the ability to make himself Ė or others Ė immune to them for a short time. A number of times per day equal to his Charisma modifier (minimum 1), he may employ the spell Death Ward as a spell-like ability.

Master of Life and Death (Su): At 6th level, the Reaper of Nerull is so practiced at manipulating the forces of life and death that he no longer has to concern himself with consciously choosing the appropriate type of energy. He merely decides whether he wants to harm or heal his target, and automatically casts the appropriate spell, whether Cure or Inflict. He is always aware of which energy type, Positive or Negative, he is using. Unlike his ability to spontaneously cast Cure and Inflict spells, this ability also applies to the spells Heal and Harm; the Reaper must still prepare them, but as a single spell, which becomes Heal or Harm upon casting depending on the Reaperís intent. This ability can also be used in conjunction with the Reaperís Spellscythe or Greater Spellscythe abilities. The Reaper can always simply elect to cast a spell without modification instead of using this ability.
Example: Kelris the Hunter, a Cleric 7/Reaper of Nerull 6, encounters a disguised vampire using Nondetection to bypass his Deathwatch. Unaware of the vampireís undead nature, Kelris declares that he is going to cast Harm; however, while casting the spell and manipulating the life energy of the vampire, he recognizes that his enemy is powered by Negative energy and is immediately able to shift his spell to channel Positive energy and automatically casts Heal instead. If Kelris had instead decided to heal the vampire, intending to cast Cure Moderate Wounds, he would have automatically channeled Negative energy and cast Inflict Moderate Wounds Ė though he could, of course, choose to ignore this ability and cast Cure Moderate Wounds as planned.

Deadly Strike: At 7th level, a Reaper of Nerull gains the feat Improved Critical when using his scythe. If he already possesses this feat, he gains the feat Power Critical when using his scythe instead.

Greater Spellscythe (Su): This ability, gained at 8th level, functions as Spellscythe, except that the Reaper of Nerull may also channel the spells Heal and Harm through his scythe.

Reaper of Souls (Su): At 10th level, the Reaper of Nerull knows that his true target is not the body of his enemy but his soul. A number of times per day equal to his Charisma modifier, he can transform his scythe into a spiritual weapon that bypasses all material forms of protection. In place of a regular attack, he may use a standard action to make a melee touch attack with his scythe, which affects any ensouled enemy (any enemy with an Int score), and does normal damage that bypasses hardness and damage reduction. This attack also affects incorporeal foes as if augmented by the Ghost Touch enhancement. He may use this ability in conjunction with his Spellscythe or Greater Spellscythe abilities. In addition, the attack made with this ability is capable of critically hitting even those enemies (undead, etc.) normally not subject to critical hits, as long as they are intelligent. Finally, he may also use this ability against a soul-storage device such as a Lichís phylactery; if such an attack hits, the damage it deals is incurred by both the phylactery itself and the being to whom it is attached. Creatures slain by this ability cannot be raised from the dead by any means other than a Wish or Miracle spell.

-=-=-=-=-=-=-

So, thoughts? I know it could probably be broken in a number of ways, but one of my houserules bans DMM, so I shouldn't have to worry about any persistent-spell 'zillas and the like, at least. And I trust my players enough not to over-optimize anyway.
I am a tad concerned about general balance issues, though. This is my first major attempt at homebrew, so I'd be very grateful for any advice, criticism, or recommendations you are willing to offer.
Thanks so much in advance!

Kornaki
2009-06-08, 11:15 AM
Student of Life and Death (Su): A Reaper of Nerull must devote himself to all aspects of necromantic energies in order to understand fully the nature of death. At 1st level, he gains the ability to channel his spells spontaneously into both Cure and Inflict spells of the same level, as he chooses at the time.

Considering that the character (probably) is channeling negative energy already, does it really make much sense that a study of the nature of death and necromantic energies leads to channeling healing power? This is mostly just a fluff thing though.

I'd be a little bit concerned about characters with a keen improved critical scythe dishing 600 damage with a harm spell on a critical hit; that's save AND die for most things. Are there any other ways to increase the critical range? 18-20 isn't that bad but if the players can make it lower that could become a problem

Magicus
2009-06-08, 11:31 AM
Considering that the character (probably) is channeling negative energy already, does it really make much sense that a study of the nature of death and necromantic energies leads to channeling healing power? This is mostly just a fluff thing though.
Ah, right, I'd meant to put that in. Another one of my houserules is placing all Healing spells back into Necromancy - the way I see it, both Cure and Inflict spells are about manipulating life force, and Positive and Negative energies are really just two sides of the same coin. Plus, the Reapers are frequent opponents of the undead, so they need the ability to channel Positive energy. This ability doesn't actually matter for the player in question, though, since Favored Souls are spontaneous casters. I just put it in there for any Clerics who might take the class, really.


I'd be a little bit concerned about characters with a keen improved critical scythe dishing 600 damage with a harm spell on a critical hit; that's save AND die for most things. Are there any other ways to increase the critical range? 18-20 isn't that bad but if the players can make it lower that could become a problem
I don't believe Keen and Improved Critical stack, so the lowest they could get the threat range would be 19-20, which isn't so bad. Also, Harm can never actually kill its target, only reducing them to 1 hp... Although I suppose the weapon damage would take care of the rest at that point. Perhaps I should change it so that the spell damage is applied after weapon damage?

Kornaki
2009-06-08, 11:56 AM
Right, forgot they don't stack. Even putting the guy at 1hp is good enough though; if your party can't finish him off before your next turn you have to wonder what the heck is wrong with them.

At just a 10% chance though the big shot is probably unpredictable enough that it shouldn't be too much of a problem, but the BBEG might bite the dust a bit prematurely.

J.Gellert
2009-06-08, 04:45 PM
You could add that creatures slain by the Reaper of Souls power cannot be raised from the dead (at least not without Wish/Miracle).

Citizen of the Underworld seems a little too powerful for me. Powerful may be the wrong word - it won't unbalance one single fight, but it'll get ridiculous for your party members and your DM if you just don't care about dying.

Master of Life and Death seems too complicated. Why include Heal and Harm? Keep it simple.

Gorgondantess
2009-06-08, 05:35 PM
Citizen of the Underworld seems a little too powerful for me. Powerful may be the wrong word - it won't unbalance one single fight, but it'll get ridiculous for your party members and your DM if you just don't care about dying.


I agree, but I think you should keep the ability in some sense. I'd advise being able to roll a save or the like, with a DC equal to, say, the number of hours you've been dead. That way there's still an inherent risk, but you keep some of the ability.

Pyrusticia
2009-06-08, 06:16 PM
Reaper of Souls (Su): At 10th level, the Reaper of Nerull knows that his true target is not the body of his enemy but his soul. A number of times per day equal to his Charisma modifier, he can transform his scythe into a spiritual weapon that bypasses all material forms of protection. In place of a regular attack, he may use a standard action to make a melee touch attack with his scythe, which affects any ensouled enemy (any enemy with an Int score), and does normal damage that bypasses hardness and damage reduction. He may use this ability in conjunction with his Spellscythe or Greater Spellscythe abilities. In addition, the attack made with this ability is capable of critically hitting even those enemies (undead, etc.) normally not subject to critical hits, as long as they are intelligent. Finally, he may also use this ability against a soul-storage device such as a Lichís phylactery; if such an attack hits, the damage it deals is incurred by both the phylactery itself and the being to whom it is attached.

It also functions as ghost-touch, right? I get that from the fluff, but I'm not seeing the specific wording which would allow it to do that...

Magicus
2009-06-08, 07:57 PM
You could add that creatures slain by the Reaper of Souls power cannot be raised from the dead (at least not without Wish/Miracle).
Great idea, thanks. I'll add that.


Citizen of the Underworld seems a little too powerful for me. Powerful may be the wrong word - it won't unbalance one single fight, but it'll get ridiculous for your party members and your DM if you just don't care about dying.

I agree, but I think you should keep the ability in some sense. I'd advise being able to roll a save or the like, with a DC equal to, say, the number of hours you've been dead. That way there's still an inherent risk, but you keep some of the ability.
Fixed.


Master of Life and Death seems too complicated. Why include Heal and Harm? Keep it simple.
Well, perhaps it's worded poorly, but I think it's a necessary ability. It's always seemed to me like Heal is basically just Cure Egregious Wounds with some extra goodies - it's only a more effective way to channel positive energy, and Harm is the same for negative energy. Essentially, what I want the ability to do is make it so that all the player has to say is "I want to hurt that guy with Harm", and the ability takes over to provide the appropriate energy type, but that's a little difficult to convey in terms if mechanics.


It also functions as ghost-touch, right? I get that from the fluff, but I'm not seeing the specific wording which would allow it to do that...
Oh, that's true... I wasn't thinking about that mechanic when I built the class, but now that you've pointed it out, it definitely needs it. Thanks.

Trodon
2009-06-08, 08:48 PM
THIS... IS... AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!! anyway i don't see a problem with the class good job

Madra Rua
2009-07-09, 11:21 PM
Simply amazing. Im definitely using this class in my next campaign.

quick_comment
2009-07-10, 12:04 AM
I like the flavor, but it doesnt have the special forces feel to me. The ruby knights-vindicator have sneaking and shadow hand maneuvers which makes it possible to sneak into a castle and assassinate an enemy of their god.

This seems more to me like Nerull's version of the radiant servant of Pelor, not a version of a ranger platoon.

To give it that special forces feel, I think give it hide and move silently as class skills and let it burn turn attempts for bonuses to those skills. Maybe also let it burn turning attempts for sneak attack.

Pie Guy
2009-07-10, 02:42 PM
I don't think the abilities are worth the loss of 2 casterlevels, I would make it one loss at the firs level.

Lord Loss
2009-07-10, 02:54 PM
CONGRATS! 25.7/12! WOOTZ! Write a sourcebook, man!