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Jeriah
2012-01-12, 07:32 AM
The Plague Knight

Design Notes: For those of you not familiar with my Holie Man Armipōtent (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=223595) project, the purpose of this may not be readily apparent. I am reworking the paladin-like base and prestige classes to be stronger and balanced against one another without losing their core mechanics and flavor. This is one more piece of that project. I would love to have comments on the larger project as well as on this class.

The PrC one which this is based was originally published in a DragonLance book. The plague knight is meant primarily to be an interesting class for an NPC villian. It doesn't really work well for PCs due to the long times involved with diseases and the fact that most enemies will be dead before the diseases can come into effect (until you reach the capstone anyway). This is as I intended it, as I wanted this to be more of an evil NPC class. It still offers things for players, but its usefulness in a campaign can be rather situational.

http://fc00.deviantart.net/fs70/f/2010/227/f/4/f48493a38c1925eb08c30d549f457403.jpgWearing the semblance of lepers or beggars surrounded by vermin, the plague knights dispel such thoughts when inspected more closely. With rank breath and a corroded steel blade drawn from under tattered robes, a plague knight is one of the deadliest threats in a world that struggles under an epidemic’s yoke.

Requirements
To qualify to become a plague knight, a character must fulfill all the following criteria.
Alignment: Any evil
Base Attack Bonus: +5
Skills: Heal 4 ranks, Intimidate 4 ranks, Knowledge (relition) 4 ranks
Special: Must have willingly contracted at least three diseases and survived without magical aid.

The Plague Knight____Hit Die: d10
{table=head]Level|BaseAttack Bonus|FortSave|RefSave|WillSave|Special|1st|2nd|3r d|4th|5th
1st |+1 |+2 |+0 |+2 |Noxious strike 1/encounter, plaguebearer |0 |- |- |- |-
2nd |+2 |+3 |+0 |+3 |Blessed immunity, baleful touch |1 |0 |- |- |-
3rd |+3 |+3 |+1 |+3 |Delay symptoms, aura of despair, mettle |1 |1 |- |- |-
4th |+4 |+4 |+1 |+4 |Abyssal swarm |2 |1 |0 |- |-
5th |+5 |+4 |+1 |+4 |Noxious strike 2/encounter, dread disease |2 |2 |1 |0 |-
6th |+6/+1 |+5 |+2 |+5 |Bonus Feat |2 |2 |1 |1 |-
7th |+7/+2 |+5 |+2 |+5 |Chronic illness |3 |2 |2 |1 |0
8th |+8/+3 |+6 |+2 |+6 |Virulent affliction |3 |3 |2 |2 |1
9th |+9/+4 |+6 |+3 |+6 |Noxious strike 3/encounter |3 |3 |2 |2 |1
10th |+10/+5 |+7 |+3 |+7 |Improved Mettle, living plague |3 |3 |3 |2 |2
[/table]
Class Skills (2 + Int modifier per level): Bluff, Climb, Concentration, Handle Animal, Heal, Hide, Intimidate, Jump, Knowledge (religion), Profession, Survival, and Swim.

Class Features
All of the following are class features of the plague knight.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Plague knights are proficient with all simple and martial weapons, with all types of armor, and with shields (including tower shields).

Spells: A plague knight has the ability to cast a small number of divine spells, which are drawn from the plague knight spell list. He must choose and prepare his spells in advance.

To prepare or cast a spell, a plague knight must have a Wisdom score equal to at least 10 + the spell level. The Difficulty Class for a saving throw against a plague knight’s spell is 10 + the spell level + the plague knight’s Wisdom modifier.

Like other spellcasters, a plague knight can cast only a certain number of spells of each spell level per day. His base daily spell allotment is given on Table: The Plague Knight. In addition, he receives bonus spells per day if he has a high Wisdom score. When Table: The Plague Knight indicates that the plague knight gets 0 spells per day of a given spell level, he gains only the bonus spells he would be entitled to based on his Wisdom score for that spell level.

A plague knight prepares and casts spells the way a cleric does, though he cannot lose a prepared spell to spontaneously cast a cure spell in its place. A plague knight may prepare and cast any spell on the plague knight spell list, provided that he can cast spells of that level, but he must choose which spells to prepare during his daily meditation.

A plague knight's caster level is equal to his class level.

Plaguebearer (Ex): Plague knights have become highly resistant to disease through repeated exposure. A plague knight can willingly contract a disease without suffering any effects of the disease, but each different disease he contracts in this way lowers his Constitution by 1. This penalty can not be removed as long as he is a carrier for the disease.

The diseases he carries spread in their usual way, and he can use them with his noxious smite ability. A plague knight may choose to automatically contract one non-supernatural, non-magical disease of his choice when he gains the first level of this class. He may only be a carrier of one disease at a time, though he may later carry one additional disease for each odd level he gains, two at 3rd, three at 5th, etc. He does not gain these diseases automatically.

A plague knight is not immune to disease. If exposed to a disease that he does not carry, he must decide at the point of exposure whether to contract the disease and become carrier or become infected as normal, suffering the normal effects of the disease. When a plague knight chooses to become a carrier of a new disease, he must succeed on a Fortitude save against the disease. When he does, he becomes a carrier, no longer suffers any effects of the disease, and the penalty to his Constitution score increases by 1. If he fails the save, he becomes infected as usual. If he succeeds on his later saves to cure the disease, he may choose to become a carrier instead of curing it.

If he is already carrying the maximum number of diseases he can for his level when he becomes a carrier for a new disease, he may attempt to purge one disease he already carries to replace it with the new one. To purge a disease, he must make a successful Fortitude save against the disease's normal DC. If he fails this save, he becomes infected with the old disease, immediately taking damage with no incubation period and must be cured of the disease as normal. On a successful save, his immune system rids him of the disease with no ill effects. In either case, he successfully becomes a carrier for the new disease.

Noxious Strike (Su): Once per combat encounter, a plague knight may attempt to channel any disease he carries into a melee attack, even if the disease is not injury-based. If the attack is successful and causes damage, the target must immediately make a Fortitude save (DC 10 + plague knight level + Wis bonus (if any) or contract the disease. The target gains another saving throw each day as normal. After the first save of the initial strike, all saving throws to resist the disease use the disease's normal save DC.

At 5th level and 9th level, the plague knight may make a noxious strike one additional time per encounter, as indicated on Table: The Plague Knight.

Blessed Immunity (Su): At 2nd level, a plague knight gains a bonus equal to his Wisdom bonus (if any) on all saving throws.

Baleful Touch (Su): Beginning at 2nd level, a plague knight can cause wounds with a successful touch attack. Each day he can deal a total number of hit points of damage equal to 2 × his plague knight level × his Wisdom bonus. A plague knight may choose to divide his damage among multiple recipients, and he doesn’t have to use it all at once. Using baleful touch is a standard action. An opponent subjected to this attack can make a Will save (DC 10 + plague knight level + plague knight’s Wis modifier) to halve the damage dealt.

A plague knight may use this ability to enhance the effects of poison and disease by weakening the target's immune system. By expending a number of points, the next time the recipient makes a saving throw to resist the poison or disease, subtract the number of points expended as a profane penalty to the save.

A plague knight can not use this ability to cure undead.

Delay Symptoms (Su): At 3rd level, a plague knight may choose to extend the incubation period of any disease he carries to twice as long as normal. An infected target can spread the disease to others as normal after the normal incubation period, but he does not make any saves or suffer any effects until later. This is useful for infecting a target that the plague knight does not want to show immediate symptoms and to infect others. Often, the originally infected target will show symptoms the same day or later that other's he has unintentionally infected show them, making it difficult to track the disease back to its original host.

Aura of Despair (Su): Beginning at 3rd level, the plague knight radiates a malign aura that causes enemies within 10 feet of him to take a –2 penalty on all saving throws.

Mettle (Ex): At 3rd level and higher, a plague knight can resist magical and unusual attacks with his force of will. If he makes a successful Fortitude or Will saving throw against an attack that normally has a lesser effect on a successful save, he instead takes no damage. An unconscious or sleeping plague knight does not gain the benefit of mettle.

Abyssal Swarm (Su): At 4th level, a plague knight gains the services of an unusually virulent and powerful swarm from the following list: bat swarm, rat swarm, or spider swarm. This swarm has the Fiendish template.

Once per day, as a full-round action, a plague knight can call his abyssal swarm from the dark places in which is dwells. The abyssal swarm immediately appears adjacent to the plague knight, seeming to spill forth from under his robes and remains for 2 hours per plague knight level; it may be dismissed at any time as a free action. Unlike a normal swarm that attacks the nearest target, the abyssal swarm follows the plague knight's commands as would a willing animal.

Each time the abyssal swarm is called, it appears in full health, regardless of any damage it may have taken previously. Calling an abyssal swarm is a conjuration (calling) effect.

Should the plague knight's swarm die, it immediately disappears. The plague knight can not summon another swarm for one week or until her gains a plague knight level, whichever comes first.

Except for the changes above, the plague knight’s abyssal swarm advances in power with the plague knight like a blackguard’s fiendish servant does (see the Blackguard class feature). The swarm possesses a collective intelligence, so it can communicate and respond to its master’s wishes just like a fiendish servant does. If a plague knight wishes, he can choose to replace his abyssal swarm with a more powerful type of swarm at higher levels, as follows: 6th Level: Fiendish locust swarm
8th Level: Fiendish centipede swarm
10th Level: Fiendish hellwasp swarmA plague knight’s character level for the purposes of determining these advanced abyssal swarm’s bonus abilities, Hit Dice and other features is reduced by -2 for a locust swarm, -4 for a centipede swarm and -6 for a hellwasp swarm.

Dread Disease (Su): A 5th level plague knight is capable of intensifying the disease strains he harbors, increasing their damage by one and a half times the standard damage.

Bonus Feat: At 6th level, the plague knight gains a bonus feat. The feat can be any one of the following for which the plague knight meets the prerequisites: any Fighter feat, Extra Smiting, Improved Smiting, and Toughness.

Chronic Illness (Su): A 7th level plague knight’s diseases are much harder to shake off than normal. For any disease harbored by the plague knight that a target contracts, the number of successful daily saving throws required before the disease is really eliminated is doubled.

Virulent Affliction (Su): An 8th level plague knight’s diseases have reached maximum potency in his system. Any such disease carried by a plague knight that infects another deals maximum ability damage. This stacks with Dread Disease, above.

Improved Mettle (Ex): This ability works like mettle, except that while the plague knight still takes no damage on a successful Fortitude or Will saving throw, he henceforth takes only half damage on a failed save. An unconscious plague knight does not gain the benefit of improved mettle.

Living Plague (Su): By 10th level, the infernally charged diseases that infect the plague knight’s internal systems literally change him. His type changes to outsider (native), and he is no longer affected by spells that target humanoids. However, the remove disease spell now causes him actual harm if cast upon him, dealing 1d6 points of damage per caster level with no saving throw. Plague knights of this level learn to avoid directly confronting paladins and other curative individuals.

Additionally, a number of times per day equal to his Wisdom modifier, minimum 1, he can reduce the incubation period of any disease to immediate, forcing the infected individual to take damage immediately and make their first daily save. If the target saves against the disease, they take no damage, as usual. This ability can not be used on a target who has already made his first daily save against a disease.

Ex-Plague Knights
A plague knight who abandons his faith or betrays the tenets of his faith loses all supernatural and spell-like abilities including bonus spell progression until he atones (see the atonement spell description in the Player’s Handbook). In addition, all diseases that the plague knight currently safely harbors immediately infect the plague knight fully, and he suffers the effects without an incubation period. He must recover from these diseases as he normally would.


Plague Knight Spell List
Plague knights choose their spells from the following list:

1st Level: cause fear, chill touch, cure light wounds, detect animals or plants, doom, inflict light wounds, obscuring mist

2nd Level: cure moderate wounds, darkness, fog cloud, inflict moderate wounds, spider climb, summon swarm, touch of idiocy, warp wood.

3rd Level: contagion, cure serious wounds, deeper darkness, diminish plants, inflict serious wounds, spike growth, stinking cloud.

4th Level: antiplant shell, blight, cure critical wounds, giant vermin, inflict critical wounds, plague of rats, poison

5th Level:

Jeriah
2012-01-15, 07:24 PM
Three days and nothing...

eftexar
2012-01-15, 07:31 PM
It looks well balanced and the remove disease vulnerability is my favorite feature.
My only issue is that I don't understand why it has cure spells. I would swap them out for more disease related stuff or even spells that augment his melee (some of the assassin or duskblade spells would fit fairly well).

Cipherthe3vil
2012-01-15, 07:32 PM
Oh my, this is absolutely lovely.

Many sinister plots are already swimming in my mind for this~

NeoSeraphi
2012-01-15, 07:37 PM
Nice-looking class. Slight quibble, you reference the "blackguard spell list" in your spellcasting class feature.

Kenneth
2012-01-15, 10:48 PM
So is this prestige class supposed to get X4 skill points at first level?

I could be mistaken.. but I think that no other PrC get that X4 bonus.

also you have 5th level spells listed in the spellprogression and have a slot open for them
so i guess I will toss in my suggesstions

5th:Insect Plague, Slay Living, Blight, Plague of Rats, Mass Contagion, Doomtide,

Steward
2012-01-15, 11:41 PM
When it comes to the special ability that conjures a swarm, does the duration have to be all at once or can they break it up? (Like, if they can summon the swarm for two hours per day, can they summon it for one hour, then dismiss it, and call it again later to finish the remaining hour of duration?) The way you have it says "no", and that's fine, but I just want to make absolutely sure.

Jeriah
2012-01-16, 12:36 AM
It looks well balanced and the remove disease vulnerability is my favorite feature.
My only issue is that I don't understand why it has cure spells. I would swap them out for more disease related stuff or even spells that augment his melee (some of the assassin or duskblade spells would fit fairly well).Because I wanted it to be able to heal itself, and spells are the only healing ability he has. I do agree that he needs more disease related spells though. I'm still working on finding good spells.
Oh my, this is absolutely lovely.

Many sinister plots are already swimming in my mind for this~
Thank you.
Nice-looking class. Slight quibble, you reference the "blackguard spell list" in your spellcasting class feature.Fixed.
So is this prestige class supposed to get X4 skill points at first level?

I could be mistaken.. but I think that no other PrC get that X4 bonus.That was a mistake. I used my template for base class tables when I filled out the information and missed removing that. Fixed now.
also you have 5th level spells listed in the spellprogression and have a slot open for them
so i guess I will toss in my suggesstions

5th:Insect Plague, Slay Living, Blight, Plague of Rats, Mass Contagion, Doomtide,Very good suggestions. I just hadn't made it to 5th-level spells yet before posting.
When it comes to the special ability that conjures a swarm, does the duration have to be all at once or can they break it up? (Like, if they can summon the swarm for two hours per day, can they summon it for one hour, then dismiss it, and call it again later to finish the remaining hour of duration?) The way you have it says "no", and that's fine, but I just want to make absolutely sure.It was based on the paladin's special mount which can only be summoned 1/day. I am considering redoing it to break up the summoning time though. If I do, it will be broken up by hours so that if you summon it for one hour or one round, it counts as an hour for that summoning.

Steward
2012-01-16, 12:52 AM
For additional spells, you could consider Creeping Doom (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/spells/creepingDoom.htm), Antilife Shell, Web, Breath of the Jungle (a Spell Compendium spell that increases the save DC against poisons and disease), Contagious Fog, Contagious Touch, Delay Disease, Infestation of Maggots, and Scourge (all from the Spell Compendium).