It depends on how many encounters you're in between levels... I don't have a good way to judge that. At level 2-3, 20 black bears will net you +1 to STR by themselves (STR 19)... 40 wolves will get you +1 to DEX or CON. If most of the XP is coming from combat rather than from quest completion I think it might work out reasonably well, if the Deathwalker can keep his share of kills up.I like the fact that this class can become stronger by slaying creatures and 'taking their strength'. I would decrease the amount of kills needed because hardly anyone would ever get 1 actual ability point in it before dying.
Peasants are probably level 1 commoners with a basic stat array. If stats are randomly distributed, maybe 30% of them have 12 STR. A Deathwalker would need to personally kill upwards of 240 peasants to gain +1 to strength... If someone does that they will have an entire kingdom's military chasing them down just as fast as a dragon that was destroying villages would.Maybe only have it work on creatures who are at least the same level (or ECL) as you are? (to avoid any 'slay village, acquire strength' moments).
When Cheat Death becomes an option, an Evil Deathwalker could wipe out a village of 400 singlehandedly to reduce his age by a year. At that point, you're either running an evil campaign or he's the new BBEG.
His physical age gets reduced by 1 year - his mental age is the same - so mentally he's still middle aged and doesn't get the mental bonuses again until he goes from middle aged to old.Cheat death can be 'abused' with an infinite mental ability scores loop if the campaign actually takes years.
=> One day before middle age become lvl 17
=> day later become middle age, recieve age bonuses and penalties
=> Cheat Death, no more physical penalties
=> rinse and repeat every year.
Generally campaigns don't last years in-game, so I guess it is ok.
Whoops, I'll correct that.Is the limit of 2x level maximum per round on Mana Use still valid on Cheat Death. If yes, the class feature is useless before level 50. And even then it would be generally not needed anymore.