View Full Version : Community Improvement - the Scourge

2009-12-14, 05:53 PM
Sometimes, you make something that everyone thinks is cool, but flawed.

And then, you hit a wall of bricks trying to make it better.

So I'm here to ask you, the Playground, how I can make one of my base classes better - in this case, my Scourge base class. So, without further ado, here it is!

"Teratology - Technically, it is the study of monsters and anything to do with them (such as threwd); more broadly, it also means the study and practice of theroscaturgy ("beast-destroying"); that is, monster-hunting."

"Yeah, I met a scourge once. Dark fellow, never looked you in the eye, an' he always clinked when he moved. Then that giant rolled inta town and - gods, I wouldn't wish what he did to that thing on anyone."

{table=head]Level|Base Attack Bonus|Fort Save|Ref Save|Will Save|Special

+0|1st Favored Enemy, Scourgecraft I

+0|Accelerate Brewing

+1|Uncanny Dodge


+1|2nd Favored Enemy, Scourgecraft II

+2|Destabalize Mixture


+2|Combat Mixture


+3|3rd Favored Enemy, Scourgecraft III, Imitate Potion I

+3|Improved Uncanny Dodge

+4|Imitate Potion II

+4|Bloody Blows

+4|Imitate Potion III, Iron Fortitude

+5|4th Favored Enemy, Scourgecraft IV

+5|Chemical Cloud


+6|Supersaturate, Slippery Mind

+6|Death Blow

+6|Scourgecraft V, 5th Favored Enemy[/table]

Monster-hunters, mercenaries, chemists, scientists, murderers - Scourges are called a lot of things, and most of them are even accurate. Men and women dedicated to hunting down the blights on civilized folk, Scourges offer up a single service to the world - killing monsters for money. Of course, one Scourge's definition of "monster" is utterly different from another's.

Adventures: Scourges adventure because that is what they are paid to do and how they make their living. What brings one Scourge to adventuring is often vastly different from another - revenge, pay, a sense of justice, or maybe just a love of killing and the need to exercise it on something socially acceptable to kill. Most Scourges are independant operators - they chafe when being ordered about like common footsoldiers.

Characteristics: Scourges fight in stages - they weaken from a distance before closing for melee. Every Scourge is expected to be intelligent and ruthless, and most come off as unfriendly. Those that do make an attempt to be friendly are often viewed as even scarier - how can a murderer be that cheerful?

Alignment: Scourges come from all alignments, but the sad fact of the matter is that there are more evil Scourges than there are good ones. Good-aligned Scourges tend to be miserable wretches who suffer from nightmares and severe (and frequent) crisis of faith. Scourges tend to start their careers as lawful, and end them chaotic-aligned as they become more and more independant.

Religion: Scourges tend to worship gods of slaughter or murder, even if they are good-aligned, because their work falls under those purviews. Those that do not often worship gods and goddesses of protection, guardians, or even vengeance. Scourges don't make a big deal out of their religion, but this is mostly because many of them worship the aforementioned gods of murder.

Background: Scourges come from diverse backgrounds, high-born and low, but all have one thing in common - at some point, they became interested in hunting down and slaying monsters. Some have had family members slain or crippled by marauding beasts, while others are simply interested. Many wanted to become wizards, but lacked the talent for working magic and so turned to alchemy to get a feeling of the power they craved. Others were recruited by the academies to pay of debts owed by their parents. A great deal are simply violent individuals with no desire to be locked up or executed.

Races: Humans and half-elves are the most common Scourges, being the most common races to marry pointless violence with intelligence. Elves and gnomes also boast a fair number of Scourges - these tend to be professionals serving a government rather than independant sell-swords. A surprising number of halflings also become frighteningly effective Scourges as well.

Other Classes: Understandably, Scourges don't get along well with paladins, clerics, or druids. Druids in particular often hold a special hatred for Scourges, and Scourges are more than happy to return the favor. Depending on the Scourge, the party wizard may be a rival or a font of information. Scourges get along very well with rogues, barbarians, and fighters, and have a friendly (one would almost say professional) rivalry with rangers.

Role: Scourges are fonts of knowledge and sources of battlefield control. Their potives can divide the enemy, disorient them, aid their allies and even imitate magic, so the Scourge uses them as often as possible. When the enemy is sufficiently off-balance, they close in for melee, using their knowledge of anatomy to deal wicked blows.

Game Rule Information

Abilities: Scourges benefit first from high Intelligence scores, then high Dexterity, Constitution, and Strength. Intelligence controls the save DCs of their potives, as well as a host of their class features.
Alignment: Any
Hit Dice: D8

Class Skills: Appraise (Int), Balance (Dex), Climb (Str), Craft (Int), Craft (Alchemy) (Int), Escape Artist (Dex), Gather Information (Cha), Heal (Wis), Hide (Dex), Intimidate (Cha), Jump (Str), Knowledge (Arcana, Dungeoneering, Local, Nature, the Planes, Religion) (Int), Listen (Wis), Move Silently (Dex), Ride (Dex), Search (Int), Sense Motive (Wis), Speak Language (Abyssal, Auran, Aquan, Celestial, Goblin, Gnoll, Ignan, Infernal, Orc, Terran) (None), Spot (Wis), Survival (Wis), Swim (Str), Use Rope (Dex)
Skill Points at First Level: (6 + Intelligence Modifier) x4
Skill Points Per Level: 6 + Intelligence Modifier

Class Features

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Scourges are proficient with all simple weapons, as well as the bolas, flail, handaxe, hand crossbow, longsword, raipier, shortsword, and whip. They are proficient in light and medium armor.

Favored Enemy (Ex): At 1st level, a scourge may select one of the following types of creatures: Aberration, Animal, Dragon, Elemental, Fey, Giant, Humanoid (Aquatic), Humanoid (Goblinoid), Humanoid (Gnoll), Humanoid (Orc) Humanoid (Reptilian), Magical Beast, Monstrous Humanoid, Ooze, Outsider (Any), Undead, or Vermin. The Scourge gains a +2 bonus on Bluff, Listen, Sense Motive, Spot, and Survival checks when using these skills against creatures of this type. Likewise, he gets a +2 bonus on weapon damage rolls against such creatures.

At 5th level and every five levels thereafter (10th, 15th, and 20th level), the Scourge may select an additional favored enemy from those given on the table. In addition, at each such interval, the bonus against any one favored enemy (including the one just selected, if so desired) increases by 2.

If the Scourge chooses humanoids or outsiders as a favored enemy, he must also choose an associated subtype. If a specific creature falls into more than one category of favored enemy, the Scourge’s bonuses do not stack; he simply uses whichever bonus is higher.

Scourgecraft (Ex): At first level and again at 5th level and every five levels thereafter, the Scourge may select a minor mutation. The Scourge uses their alchemy and knowledge of their own bodies to modify themselves. Scourgecraft is only possible through extensive study both of the art and of one's own body. Because each body is different, a Scourge cannot bestow these abilities on another being. A Scourge may make a selection from his current level of Scourgecraft or any level below it. Unless otherwise stated, all penalties stack.

It is important to note that Scourges are constantly working on their Scourgecraft - it does not simply appear on them. Instead, each tier is the culmination of much work and scientific discovery, and is gained over time.

I - At this level, the Scourge is just beginning to enhance themselves in cautious steps. The abilities are minor and provide small, but useful, abilities and bonuses.

Brighteyes: The Scourge enhances his vision through chemical treatment to his eyes, gaining a +2 bonus on Spot checks and a +1 bonus on Search checks.

Keen Nose: The Scourge stimulates growth in his olfactory nerves, granting him a +2 bonus on Survival checks and a +1 bonus on Alchemy checks when making items that do not inflict hit point damage.

Sensative Skin: The Scourge stimulates his sense of touch to hypersensative levels, granting him a +2 bonus on Spot checks made to avoid being pickpocketed and a +2 bonus to Appraise checks when handling the object in question.

Heightened Hearing: The Scourge uses chemicals to change the nature of their eardrums and inner ears, gaining a +2 bonus on Listen checks and a +1 bonus on Balance checks.

Taste Enhancement: By stimulating their tongue, the Scourge quadruples their sense of taste. They may detect poisons by tasting food and water and may determine the ingredients of a substance by tasting a small amount of it (note that they may still be affected by these substances).

II - At this level, the Scourge is more confident in his abilites, trying stranger and more potent mutations. His lifestyle and personality start changing in little ways, and they seem irritable and snappish much of the time.

Wolf's Nose: Through further stimulation of his olfactory nerves, the Scourge gains the Scent special quality. His nose develops frequent bleeds. A Scourge must first have the Keen Nose mutation to take this one.

Hyper-Hearing: The Scourge continues to experiment upon his inner ear and eardrum, developing Blindsense within ten feet (the hearing based version described in the Dungeon Master's Guide). The Scourge increasingly begins to detest loud noises and crowds and suffers often from migrane headaches. The Scourge must have the Heightened Hearing mutation to select this one.

Autosanguination: Through excercise, injections, and controlled breathing, the Scourge learns how to direct the flow of blood in their body to some extent. They gain DR 2/Bludgeoning and a +2 bonus on Fortitude saves vs. poison. The Scourge's blood changes to a strange color and is often more viscious than normal, which disturbs many who see them bleed.

Adrenalin Enhancer: By carefully creating and then inserting an artificial gland into their neck, the Scourge gets increased adrenalin in their system. They gain a +2 inherant bonus to Strength and a +1 inherant bonus to Initiative, but a -2 penalty on spot and search checks. The Scourge becomes energetic and even hyper, always restless, and has trouble sleeping.

Enhanced Skeletal Structure: Through harsh conditioning and injections into his system, the Scourge hardens his bones. He gains DR 3/Slashing or Piercing and take 1d6 points of falling damage per twenty feet fallen, not ten. The Scourge is constantly in low levels of pain and is more stiff, gaining a -2 penalty to Escape Artist checks and Use Rope checks.

III - At this level, the Scourge makes major anatomical and cosmetic changes to themselves, often having to wear concealing clothing or skulk in the shadows. Many look at themselves in horror, but by now they've become addicted to the chemicals in their system.

Talons: The Scourge changes the skeletal structure of their hands and chemicaly treats their nails, creating talons. Treat these talons as natural attacks that deal 1d6 points of slashing damage. They threaten a critical hit on a 20 with a x3 modifier. The Scourge takes a -2 penalty to Craft checks requiring delicate work (except Alchemy) and to Use Rope checks, but gains a +2 bonus to Climb checks.

Redundant Organs: Through a long and painful process of growing, then inserting, artificial organs into their body, the Scourge becomes 50% immune to critical hits and stunning, but permanently loses two points of Constitution due to bodily trauma. They develop a prodigious appetite, eating three times as much as normal without gaining weight.

Toughened Hide: Via chemical treatment and scarification, the Scourge develops a tough hide, gaining a +3 bonus to natural armor. This bonus increases by +1 for each additional Scourgecraft the character gains, to a maximum of +5 at level 20. The Scourge's skin becomes hideous, inflicting a -4 penalty on all Charisma-based checks except Perform and Intimidate.

Inhuman Reflexes: By inserting small, artificial electrical organs into his body and conditioning himself rigorously, the Scourge brings his reactions up to superhuman levels. He gains a +4 enhancement bonus to Reflex saves and Initiative checks. They grow increasingly paranoid, taking a -4 penalty to Sense Motive checks, and they require more energy to perform the same tasks, becoming fatigued and exhausted in half the time.

Acid Spittle: By modifying their salivary glands, the Scourge may spit a minor form of acid once per encounter. The Scourge rolls a ranged touch attack (Maximum range 10 feet) - success indicates that the victim takes 1d6 points of acid damage and is struck blind (if they have eyes) for the duration of the encounter or until they wash their eyes out with water as a full-round action. At the DM's discretion, creatures with multiple eyes might not be blinded by this ability. The Scourge loses their sense of taste.

IV - At this level, the Scourge no longer anatomically resembles anything human. They carry around an aura of strangeness that makes folk shy away from them, and they are often angry or irritated all the time. Many Scourges at this level have problems making real friends.

Extrasensory Perception: By stimulating all of their senses and further insertion of artificial organs, the Scourge gains Blindsight within 20 feet. The only way to negate this blindsight is incorporeality or burrowing - otherwise, it is infalliable. The Scourge develops twitches and palsies, taking a -2 penalty to Initiative and developing a -4 penalty to all Dexterity-based skills except for Move Silently.

Spines: By augmenting their skeletal structure and taking injections, the Scourge develops spines on their back and shoulders that may be extended and retracted at will (if painfully). Creatures striking the Scourge in melee with nonreach weapons take 1d6 points of piercing damage from the spines. Once per day, the Scourge may go prone and fire all of their spines like missles. They make a ranged attack vs. all enemies in a 20 foot radius, dealing 3d6 points of piercing damage and threatening a critical hit on a 20 with a x3 modifier. The Scourge takes a -4 penalty on all Charisma-based checks except Intimidate and Perform.

Prosanguination: Through further experimentation on his blood, the Scourge enhances his own natural healing to an incredible rate, gaining Fast Healing 2 but permanently losing two points of Constitution. The damage reduction gained from their Autosanguination mutation increases to 6/Bludgeoning. The Scourge must have the Autosanguination mutation to select this one.

Bone Lacing: Through chemical treatment and a strict regimen of conditioning, the Scourge further enhances their bone structure. The DR from their Enhanced Skeletal Structure mutation increases to 8/Slashing or Piercing and they no longer take damage from falling. Furthermore, due to a fusing of their ribcage, they gain 25% immunity to critical hits and stunning (this stacks with the bonus granted by Redundant Organs). The Scourge permanently loses two points of Constitution when they select this mutation, and must have the Enhanced Skeletal Structure mutation to do so.

Celerity: By enhancing leg muscles and nervous reflexes, the Scourge becomes a paragon of speed. They gain a +2 inherant bonus to Dexerity and a +4 bonus to Initiative, as well as a +10 inherant bonus to their base land speed. Their other muscles recieve less blood, resulting in a permanent loss of 2 points of Strength and an increased ease of becoming fatigued and exhausted, doing so in one-quarter of the normal time. The Scourge must have Inhuman Reflexes in order to select this mutation.

V - The Scourge is clearly inhuman and often seen as mad or dangerous. Only their badge of office and the monster blood tattos they wear keep them relatively safe from molestation by mobs with pitchforks. Secrecy and lies are now an accepted part of their life.

Wings: Carefully grown wings are surgically grafted onto the Scourge's body. These wings are bat-like and grant the Scourge a 50 foot fly speed with average manueverability, as well as the benefits of the Hover feat. The Scourges appetite increases immensely, and they eat four times the amount a normal person does (this replaces the appetite increase from Redundant Organs, if any).

Claws: The Scourge further alters his hands, increasing the damage of his claws to 2d6. They gain a burrow speed of 15 feet and a climb speed equal to their base land speed. The penalties from the Talons mutation increase by 4 points, and the Scourge must have the Talons mutation to select this one.

Poison Spittle: The Scourge alters his salivary glands beyond recognition, making them produce deadly poison. By making a ranged touch attack (maximum range 10 feet), the Scourge may force one victim to make a Fortitude save (DC 10 + 1/2 class level + Con modifier) or die. Failure indicates that they instead take 2d4 points of Constitution damage.

Bladed Tail: A carefully grown tail is grafted onto the Scourges body, ending in a bladelike bone growth. This tail is prehensile, though it cannot weild weapons, and acts as a natural attack dealing 3d6 points of damage. The tail also grants a +2 bonus on Climb, Balance, and Jump checks.

Exoskeleton: Through treatments and artificial insertion, the Scourge develops a light exoskeleton, increasing his natural armor bonus by +4 and making him immune to critical hits and stunning. Furthermore, the exoskeleton shields him from much harm, granting him a +4 bonus on Reflex saves vs. area of effect attacks. The hideous nature of this exoskeleton inflicts a -4 penalty on all Charisma-based checks except for Intimidate and Perform.

Accelerated Brewing (Ex): Alchemy is a lot of "hurry up and wait" and Scourges learn early on that you have to multitask if you're going to get things done. Starting at second level, a Craft (Alchemy) check only takes eight hours for a Scourge, and they may make one check per class level in that same eight hour period.

Example - Mason Lakan, a 2nd level Scourge, is making some Alchemist's Fire to replenish his stock. He rolls two seperate checks - one for each batch he wants to make - and sits around, waiting for things to react so he can mix them. After eight hours, both are finished.

Uncanny Dodge (Ex): The Scourge spends most of his time in the wilds, and due to the nature of his profession, has to be on guard at all times. He retains his Dexterity bonus to armor class even if caught flat-footed or struck by an invisible attacker, though he still loses it if immobilized. If the Scourge already has Uncanny Dodge from another class, he automatically gains Improved Uncanny Dodge (see below) instead.

Grenadier (Ex): Scourges specialize in grenade-based combat, and have a host of techniques that they use to make themselves more effective at it. Starting at level four, they add an additional 15 feet to the range increments of grenade-like weapons that they use and an additional 5 feet to the splash radius. Furthermore, if they are using a grenade-like weapon that deals lesser damage when used as a splash weapon (such as acid), they deal base damage instead.

Destabalize Mixture (Ex): Starting at level six, the Scourge knows how to make particularly volatile mixtures. Items the Scourge makes using Craft (Alchemy) have all save DCs involved in them increased by 2 and deal an additional 1d6 points of damage (if they deal damage in the first place). Their duration, if any, is increased by 50% (1.5 times the normal duration).

Evasion (Ex): Starting at seventh level, the Scourge can avoid even magical and unusual attacks with astonishing agility. Whenever they roll a reflex save for half damage, they take no damage on a sucessful save. They still take full damage on a failed save. A Scourge may only use this ability in medium or lighter armor and while carrying no more than a medium load. A helpless Scourge does not gain the benefit of Evasion.

Combat Mixture (Ex): Starting at eighth level, at the cost of finesse and using more materials, a Scourge can whip up an alchemic compound as a move action that provokes attacks of opportunity in the middle of combat. Using up raw materials equal to 1.5 times the item's market price, the Scourge whips up his mixture. It must be used on his next turn or it becomes impotant, the materials wasted.

Painwrack (Ex): The Scourge's potives hurt, and he knows it. Starting at level nine, whenever a creature that has already sustained hit point damage takes damage from the Scourges mixtures, that creature must make a Fortitude save (DC 10 + 1/2 class level + Intelligence modifier) or be wracked with pain, taking a -2 penalty to attack and damage rolls, skill checks, ability checks, and saving throws for a number of rounds equal to half the Scourge's levels in this class.

Imitate Potion (Ex): Starting at tenth level, the Scourge can even imitate magic with his alchemy. Treat this as brewing a potion, except that the Scourge pays full market price for the potion and no XP. At tenth level, they can only make potions from the first-level spell list provided below. At twelfth level, they may make second-level potions, and at fourteenth, third-level. The Craft (Alchemy) DC to make a potion is (20 + level of the spell), and the Scourge's caster level is considered to be one-half their class level.

Potions made with this ability may be hurled as grenade-like weapons, affecting whomever they hit. They have no splash.

First Level - Cure Light Wounds, Endure Elements, Expeditious Retreat, Inflict Light Wounds, Jump, Obscuring Mist.

Second Level - Blindness/Deafness, Bear's Endurance, Bull's Strength, Cat's Grace, Calm Emotions, Cure Moderate Wounds, Delay Poison, Fog Cloud, Inflict Moderate Wounds, Remove Paralysis, Resist Energy, See Invisibility, Spider Climb, Touch of Idiocy.

Third Level - Contagion, Cure Serious Wounds, Fireball, Haste, Hold Person, Inflict Serious Wounds, Protection from Energy, Rage, Remove Disease, Slow, Stinking Cloud, Water Breathing.

Improved Uncanny Dodge (Ex): A Scourge of 11th level or higher can no longer be flanked, as he reacts equally well to opponents on both sides. This defense denies a rogue the ability to sneak attack the character by flanking her, unless the attacker has at least four more rogue levels than the target does.

If a character already has uncanny dodge (see above) from a second class, the character automatically gains improved uncanny dodge instead, and the levels from the classes that grant uncanny dodge stack to determine the minimum rogue level required to flank the character.

Bloody Blows (Ex): A Scourge always hits where it hurts. Starting at 13th level, a Scourge does an additional 1d6 points of damage to his victims in melee, so long as said creature has been damaged since the last round. Creatures immune to critical hits are also immune to this ability.

Against a Scourge's favored enemy, he instead does an additional amount of damage equal to his class level.

Iron Fortitude (Ex): Starting at fourteenth level, a Scourge may resist the most virulent of magical poisons and supernatural diseases with ease. Whenever he makes a Fortitude save against an effect that has a Fortitude (Partial) save or against a poison, nothing happens to him on a successful save. He still suffers the full effects if he fails.

Chemical Cloud (Ex): Starting at sixteenth level, when crafting an alchemical device that doesn't take a lot of effort to apply (such as alchemist's fire or scentbreaker powder, or one of his potions), the Scourge may choose to put it into a special kind of delivery device. When activated as a standard action, the device releases a cloud of the substance, affecting all but the Scourge within it. The cloud is a circle with a 20-foot radius, centered on the Scourge, and lasts for (class level + Intelligence modifier) divided by two rounds. Potions and alchemical items that deal damage to not gain a duration.

Eviscerate (Ex): Starting at seventeenth level, whenever a Scourge successfully deals slashing damage to a creature, that creature must make a Reflex save (DC 20 + Intelligence modifier) or take a point of Constitution damage as the Scourge rips away part of their vital organs. Creatures immune to critical hits are also immune to this ability.

Supersaturate (Ex): Starting at eighteenth level, the Scourge has learned to mix chemicals in ever-more volatile ways. By increasing the gold cost by 1.5 times the normal creation cost when creating an item with Craft (Alchemy), they may choose one of the following options. This ability may only be applied once per item crafted.

- Double the amount of damage dice rolled (if any) and increase the area by 1.5 times (if any).

- Triple the duration (if any) and double the bonuses/penalties (if any).

- Maximize the effect.

Slippery Mind (Ex): This ability represents the Scourge’s ability to wriggle free from magical effects that would otherwise control or compel him. If a Scourge is affected by an enchantment spell or effect and fails his saving throw, he can attempt it again 1 round later at the same DC. He gets only this one extra chance to succeed on his saving throw.

Death Blow (Ex): Starting at nineteenth level, the Scourge may make a Death Blow as a standard action. If they succeed at a melee attack, their victim must make a Fortitude save (DC 10 + 1/2 class level + Intelligence modifier) or die. If they succeed, it is counted as an automatic critical hit instead. Creatures immune to critical hits are also immune to this ability. Death Blows take some time to set up, and may only be performed once every four rounds.

Death Blow is a normal part of all melee attacks made against a Scourge's favored enemies.

2009-12-14, 06:35 PM
To be honest i liked this class. A lot.

However, some of the aspects are kind of out there, i sugest changing scourgecraft to more resemble d20 modern's mutations system where they gain a certain number of points each level. Then give them some special abilities revolving around these mutations, monster killing, and alchemy.

Take a look at some of the alchemist style classes, transmutation specialists, and other classes that incorporate part of your concept and see what you like the idea of, then adapt it and reflavor it to make it fit.

I am actually glad you brought this back up, it was the inspiration for my Fleshcrafter class, although it was more of a spellcaster.

Here's an alchemist that i think may help with some of the abilities.

2009-12-15, 06:58 AM
That is disturbing....ly awesome!

Wow, I've really never felt so put off by a class description.

Suggestion: at level 20 or maybe 15, I believe your Scourge should officially qualify as a "Monstrous Humanoid" due to his Scourge-crafting.

Also perhaps some kind of insanity mechanic?

2009-12-15, 09:02 AM
This class has a few issues but looking at it the first thing I think is "damn, this is pretty frikkin' cool". It needs some work, but as is it seems to do the "kill things in painful ways" thing pretty well.

However, there are some issues that really stand out for me - such as Scourgecraft, level the fifth especially. Poison spittle is ridiculous compared to everything else. You might want to put limits on how often you can use it, because round-to-round "death or 2d4 Con damage" is pretty over the top. Exoskeleton seems pretty fun, primarily because of its immunities. Having extra body parts to bludgeon, slash, bludgeon, climb and/or fly just don't seem as useful (or awesome) to me, though.

Couple of ideas which you're free to ignore or steal - the fluff screams "fear effects" to me, probably kicking in when the bad guys see the various horrible things you've done to their friends. Speaking of horrible things, you've indicated the class is best-suited for battlefield control. Maybe the scourge could force temporary mutations on his enemies? Change their monster types or take away special abilities and other fun things like that?

Final thoughts are - all in all it's a fun concept. The idea of a medieval mad scientist/monster hunter of questionable ethics appeals to me, and it makes for good villains and heroes (or protagonists, at least).