This was my first attempt ever to homebrew a class, I'm sure I've made a bunch of mistakes. By all means, please feel free to point them out to me so I can make this work better. It's a semi-undead spellcaster, which has an effectively limitless number of spell slots, but can't really "go Nova." I tried to achieve this by giving them a fairly limited pool of energy to draw from, which they can refill for free outside of combat (but only if they dismiss their currently-ongoing spells), or refill slowly in combat by using skills besides spellcasting.
Typically servants of a god of death, shadepriests give up their humanity to further their god's will.
Characteristics: Shadepriests are primarily spellcasters, with a natural ability to drain power from enemy creatures to fuel their spellcasting. They have undergone a terrible ritual to split their soul into two pieces, and the severed piece eventually gains the power to take their place and move about on its own. Wisdom is highly important to shadepriests, as their spellcasting relies on it, as well as Dexterity and Constitution.
Alignment: Shadepriests worship a deity, most commonly those with the death domain. The shadepriest's alignment must be within one step of his deity's, and he may not serve good deities.
Classes: Shadepriests are frequently detested by clerics of good deities and paladins. They often get along well with other classes that have given up something for their power, especially warlocks, and are indifferent to most others.
Starting Age: Complex
Hit Die: d8
Table: The Shadepriest
Level BAB Fort Ref Will Special Max Essence 1st +0 +0 +2 +2 Split Soul, Essence Drain 1 3 2nd +1 +0 +3 +3 Darkvision 60 ft. 3 3rd +2 +1 +3 +3 4 4th +3 +1 +4 +4 Shadeform 5 5th +3 +1 +4 +4 Essence Drain 2 5 6th +4 +2 +5 +5 6 7th +5 +2 +5 +5 Dead Mind 7 8th +6/+1 +2 +6 +6 7 9th +6/+1 +3 +6 +6 Special Ability 8 10th +7/+2 +3 +7 +7 Essence Drain 3 9 11th +8/+3 +3 +7 +7 Dead Body 9 12th +9/+4 +4 +8 +8 10 13th +9/+4 +4 +8 +8 Special Ability 11 14th +10/+5 +4 +9 +9 11 15th +11/+6/+1 +5 +9 +9 Essence Drain 4 12 16th +12/+7/+2 +5 +10 +10 13 17th +12/+7/+2 +5 +10 +10 Special Ability 13 18th +13/+8/+3 +6 +11 +11 14 19th +14/+9/+4 +6 +11 +11 15 20th +15/+10/+5 +6 +12 +12 Essence Drain 5 15
Class skills (4+Int modifier per level, x4 at 1st level): Bluff, Concentration, Craft, Disguise, Intimidate, Knowledge (arcana), Knowledge (religion), Knowlege (the planes), Listen, Move Silently, Profession, Spellcraft, Spot
Weapon and Armor proficiency: Shadepriests are proficient with all simple weapons, plus heavy picks, scythes, sickles, and shortswords. Shadepriests are proficient with no armor or shields (though wearing armor does not interfere with their ability to cast shadepriest spells).
Spells: A shadepriest casts divine spells drawn primarily from the cleric spell list. He knows a number of spells of each level indicated in the table, Shadepriest Spells Known (below). He can cast any spell he knows without preparing it ahead of time, the way a wizard or cleric must. Each spell he casts subtracts an amount of essence from his essence total equal to the spell's level. He cannot cast spells he does not have enough essence for, nor can he cast spells when not wearing his token (see Split Soul, below). He also receives bonus spells at certain levels, indicated on the table. These spells do not count towards his spells known.
To learn or cast a spell, a shadepriest must have a Wisdom score equal to at least 10 + the spell level. The Difficulty Class for a saving throw against a shadepriest’s spell is 10 + the spell level + the shadepriest’s Wisdom modifier.
A shadepriest’s selection of spells is extremely limited. Upon creating his first token (see Split Soul, below), A shadepriest learns a number of spells of different spell levels appropriate for his shadepriest level as indicated on Table: Shadepriest Spells Known. Unlike spells per day, the number of spells a shadepriest knows is not affected by his Wisdom score; the numbers on Table: Shadepriest Spells Known are fixed. He chooses these spells from the cleric spell list.
Once per week, after a full rest, a shadepriest can choose to learn a new spell in place of one he already knows, with 10 minutes of uninterrupted meditation while wearing his token. This requires his full concentration and cannot be performed unless he ends all ongoing magical effects that he has cast which are dismissable or require concentration. In effect, the shadepriest “loses” the old spell in exchange for the new one. After doing so, the shadepriest's maximum essence total is reduced by the spell level of the new spell for 24 hours. The shadepriest may only do this if the spells he will know after the exchange would still fit within his spells known for his current level, and only if his maximum essence is at least as high as the new spell's level.
A shadepriest may not cast a spell with a spell level more than the highest level spell he currently knows (for example, an 11th-level shadepriest could not cast a maximized searing light spell, because that would be equivalent to a 6th-level spell, and the highest-level spell he knows is 5th), though he may use scrolls and other magic devices as normal.
At certain levels, the shadepriest also gains access to certain bonus spells while wearing his token. He knows all spells of his current shadepriest level or lower listed under the bonus spells column of Table: Shadepriest Spells Known. He may cast these spells even if their spell level is higher than the maximum spell level he knows. These bonus spells do not count towards the shadepriest's known spells, and they may not be exchanged for other spells.
Unlike a wizard or a cleric, a shadepriest need not prepare his spells in advance. He can cast any spell he knows at any time, assuming he has enough essence to do so. He does not have to decide ahead of time which spells he’ll cast.
A shadepriest's essence is restored to full after 10 minutes of uninterrupted meditation while wearing his token. This requires his full concentration and cannot be performed unless he ends all ongoing magical effects that he has cast which are dismissable or require concentration.
Table: Shadepriest Spells Known
Level 0th 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th Bonus Spells 1st 4 2 - - - - - - - - Cure Light Wounds, Cure Minor Wounds, Inflict Light Wounds, Inflict Minor Wounds 2nd 5 2 - - - - - - - - - 3rd 5 3 - - - - - - - - Cure Moderate Wounds, Inflict Moderate Wounds 4th 6 3 1 - - - - - - - - 5th 6 4 2 - - - - - - - Cure Serious Wounds, Inflict Serious Wounds 6th 7 4 2 1 - - - - - - - 7th 7 5 3 2 - - - - - - Cure Critical Wounds, Inflict Critical Wounds 8th 8 5 3 2 1 - - - - - - 9th 8 5 4 3 2 - - - - - Mass Cure Light Wounds, Mass Inflict Light Wounds 10th 9 5 4 3 2 1 - - - - - 11th 9 5 5 4 3 2 - - - - Mass Cure Moderate Wounds, Mass Inflict Moderate Wounds 12th 9 5 5 4 3 2 1 - - - Harm, Heal 13th 9 5 5 4 4 3 2 - - - Mass Cure Serious Wounds, Mass Inflict Serious Wounds 14th 9 5 5 4 4 3 2 1 - - - 15th 9 5 5 4 4 4 3 2 - - Mass Cure Critical Wounds, Mass Inflict Critical Wounds 16th 9 5 5 4 4 4 3 2 1 - - 17th 9 5 5 4 4 4 3 3 2 - - 18th 9 5 5 4 4 4 3 3 2 1 Mass Reconstitution (see below) 19th 9 5 5 4 4 4 3 3 3 2 - 20th 9 5 5 4 4 4 3 3 3 3 -
Split Soul: At first level, the shadepriest may undergo a ritual taking 24 hours to split his soul into an object called a token. Until he does so, his maximum essence total is 0, and he does not gain any shadepriest class abilities. A token can be any nonmagical ring, amulet, or headband. When worn, it uses up the magic item slot appropriate for its kind. Attemting to apply other permanent magical enhancements to a token will destroy it. The token faintly radiates magic, but is otherwise typical for an object of its kind.
If the shadepriest's current token is destroyed, he loses all shadepriest class abilities and his current and maximum essence become 0. The class abilities and maximum essence are restored when the shadepriest creates another token. The shadepriest may perform this ritual even when his token is still intact. However, doing so destroys his previous token, causing it to crumble to dust the instant his new token becomes active. He retains his essence total when replacing a token in this way. A shadepriest may not have more than one token at a time.
After undergoing this ritual for the first time, the shadepriest is thereafter healed by negative energy and harmed by positive energy, as undead are, regardless of whether he is wearing his token or not. His creature type remains unchanged and he does not gain any of the other abilities, bonuses, or penalties associated with being undead.
Essence Drain(Sp): A shadepriest wearing his token has the ability to gain essence by draining the life forces of other creatures. By default, this is a touch attack requiring a standard action which, if successful, causes the shadepriest to regain 1 essence and deals 1d4 damage to the target per essence gained. The amount of essence regained increases by one at level 5 and again at every fifth level thereafter. This ability may be further augmented as the shadepriest levels up and chooses new special abilities (see below). The shadepriest may not gain more than his maximum essence with this ability.
Shadeform(Su): At fourth level, the fragment of the shadepriest's soul inside the token gains enough power to take the shadepriest's place for a short time, in a form called a Shade. If wearing his token and carrying no more than a medium load, the shadepriest, everything he carries, and everything he wears may transform into a free-floating, shadowy wisplike creature for a number of rounds equal to 3 + 1/2 the shadepriest's level, rounded down. Taking this form is a standard action. The shadepriest may dismiss the shade form as a free action before its time expires. After returning to its normal form, the shadepriest may not return to shade form for 1d4 rounds. If the shadepriest returns to a corporeal form while inside of a solid object, he is shunted to the nearest empty square and takes 1d6 damage per 10 ft. of movement this way. If he is in the air after returning to corporeal form, he falls. In Shade form, the shadepriest gains the following traits:
Has the (incorporeal) subtype and all incorporeal traits.
Any gear worn or carried by the shadepriest melds into the Shade and becomes nonfunctional. Though it is not physically present, the shadepriest counts as wearing his token while it is melded into him. When the Shade form ends, any objects previously melded into the Shade reappear in the same location on his body that they previously occupied and are once again functional. Any new items worn in the Shade form fall off and land at the shadepriest's feet.
Cannot perform any action except to move, observe, and end the Shade form.
+10 hide bonus in dark environments
A True Seeing spell will reveal the Shadepriest's true form.
Dead Mind: At 7th level, the shadepriest gains immunity to all mind-affecting effects, poison, sleep effects, paralysis, stunning, disease, and death effects.
Dead Body: At 11th level, the shadepriest is no longer subject to critical hits, nonlethal damage, ability drain, or energy drain. It is also immune to damage to its physical ability scores (Strength, Dexterity, and Constitution). He no longer needs to eat, sleep, or breathe, and he may gain the effects of a full rest by meditating for four hours. He no longer suffers penalties due to aging.
Special Abilities: At 9th level and every 4 levels thereafter, the shadepriest gains one of the special abilities from the list below. He may not select the same ability more than once unless specified.
Chilling Shadow: the shadepriest may use his Essence Drain ability while in Shade form (even against corporeal creatures).
Controlled Essence Drain: the shadepriest's Essence Drain ability becomes a ranged touch attack with a +2 bonus and a range of 25 ft. +5 ft./level.
Drainspell Devouring: Once per turn, whenever the shadepriest casts a spell that targets a non-willing creature in range of his Essence Drain, he may immediately Essence Drain the target as a free action, but draining two less essence than usual (minimum 1).
Empower Essence Drain: the shadepriest's Essence Drain ability drains one additional essence (as well as increasing all effects based on amount of essence drained). This special ability may be chosen any number of times.
Enduring Shadow: the shadepriest may stay in Shade form for 1 minute/level. His Shade form also gains Improved Evasion and Energy Resistance equal to 1/2 his shadepriest level rounded down against one type of energy chosen when he takes Shade form.
Enervating strike: Once per turn, if the shadepriest makes a successful weapon attack against a target within range of his essence drain, he may immediately use his essence drain against that target as a free action. If successful, the target gains one negative level.
Enhanced Essence: the shadepriest's maximum essence increases by 3. This special ability may be chosen any number of times.
Rejuvenating Spirit: every round, the shadepriest recovers one essence. This special ability may be chosen any number of times, and each time increases the amount of essence regained per round by one.
Shadowsculpter: When in Shade form, the shadepriest's items do not meld into him. Instead, they become incorporeal as well, and continue to function. This ability does not affect the Shadepriest's token, which still melds into his body and counts as being worn. The shadepriest may attack with his manufactured or natural weapons, if any, while in Shade form.
Spellshade: the shadepriest may cast shadepriest spells while in Shade form.
Vicious Essence Drain: the shadepriest's Essence Drain deals 2d6 points of damage per point of essence drained.
Withering Essence Drain: the shadepriest may choose to deal 1 point of constitution damage per point of essence drained instead of normal damage.
New Spell: Mass Reconstitution
Level: Shadepriest 9
Components: V, S
Casting Time: 1 standard action
Range: Close (25 ft. + 5 ft./2 levels)
Targets: One or more creatures, no two of which can be more than 30 ft. apart
Saving Throw: Will negates (harmless)
Spell Resistance: Yes (harmless)
Mass reconstitution enables you to channel a restorative energy which transcends the boundaries between life and unlife. This energy wipes away injury and afflictions. It immediately ends any and all of the following adverse conditions affecting the Target: ability damage, blinded, confused, dazed, dazzled, deafened, diseased, exhausted, fatigued, feebleminded, insanity, nauseated, sickened, stunned, and poisoned. It also cures 10 hit points of damage per level of the caster, to a maximum of 250 points at 25th level. Unlike many other restorative spells, this affects both living and undead creatures equally.
Mass Reconstitution does not remove negative levels, restore permanently drained levels, or restore permanently drained ability score points.