“Let the weak skulk in the shadows. We shall bring the shadows to our foes and show them the horror that lurks therein.”
–Alsundra Rakarth, Dreadcloak
Fear is a thing that many can use, but few ever learn to master it. Fewer still manage to master it without recourse to magic or political power. One group alone has mastered it through mastery of the Sublime Way.
The Dreadcloaks are part assassin guild, part cult. The group was founded by the first of their number, Alsundra Rakarth, who stumbled upon ancient texts detailing long-forgotten applications of the Sublime Way, dating back to before rise of humanity. Penned in several dead tongues, the texts proved difficult to translate, but Rakarth eventually completed a translation and undertook the ritual the texts detailed. The result was notable.
Rakarth became a hollow echo of his former self, but found that fear and darkness became his playthings. His newfound prowess, combined with extant mastery of Sublime Way, turned him into an excellent if unorthodox assassin.
He did not cling to the shadows, and make his way to his targets without warning. He smote open the doors to their keeps, driving all resistance before him with a pall of terror, slaying all those who dared to resist before reaching his target and granting them a slow death, wracked with terror. Yet soon, Rakarth’s ambitions grew beyond those of assassin – his newfound powers shared with others broken to his will would create a great army, one he could use to impose his dark will upon the world. Thus was born the Dreadcloak order, a slowly growing canker of terror in the heart of civilisation.
To qualify to become a Dreadcloak, a character must fulfil all the following criteria.
Base Attack Bonus:
Intimidate 9 ranks.
Armour Proficiency (medium).
Must be able to use 3rd level maneuvers, and have knowledge of at least one strike of the Iron Heart or Shadow Hand disciplines.
Must undergo the Rite of Hollow Terror and survive, thus gaining membership in the Dreadcloaks.
The Dreadcloak’ class skills are Balance, Climb, Concentration, Craft, Intimidate, Jump, Knowledge (history), Knowledge (local), Martial Lore, Profession, Swim and Tumble.
Skill points at each level:
4 + Int modifier, minimum 1.
|Level||Base Attack Bonus||Fort Save||Ref Save||Will Save||Special|
|1st||+1||+2||+0||+2||Death Come Not Softly, Sweet Embrace of the Dark|
|2nd||+2||+3||+0||+3||Stance of the Black Breath, Terrorflesh +2|
|5th||+5||+4||+1||+4||Darkfear Herald’s Blow|
|10th||+10||+7||+3||+7||High Terrorlord’s Piercing Gaze, Terror Made Uncarnate|
|Level||Man. Known||Man. Readied||Stances Known|
All the following are class features of the Dreadcloak prestige class.
Weapon and Armour Proficiency:
Dreadcloaks are proficient with all medium and heavy armour, and with all simple and martial weapons.
At 1st, 3rd, 5th, 7th and 9th levels, a dreadcloak gains new maneuvers known from the Army of One
, Iron Heart, The Narrow Bridge
or Shadow Hand disciplines. You must meet a maneuver's prerequisite to learn it. You add your full dreadcloak levels to your initiator level to determine your total initiator level and your highest-level maneuvers known.
At 3rd, 7th and 9th levels, you gain additional maneuvers readied per day.
At 1st, 5th and 9th levels, you learn a new martial stance from the Army of One, Iron Heart, The Narrow Bridge or Shadow Hand disciplines. You must meet the stance’s prerequisites to learn it.
Death Come Not Softly (Ex):
The strength of a dreadcloak lies not in subtlety, but in brutality and fear. Their force of personality is potent, even compelling the shadows into aiding them. At 1st level, a dreadcloak may use their Charisma modifier instead of their Intelligence modifier to determine the bonus granted by the battle clarity, battle ardour, battle cunning, battle skill and battle mastery class features, if the dreadcloak possesses them. They may also use their Charisma modifier instead of their Wisdom modifier to determine the bonus granted by their AC bonus class feature if they swordsage. In addition, if they possess the AC bonus class feature, it now only works in medium or heavier armour.
A dreadcloak wearing light or no armour of their own volition loses the bonus of this class feature, as well as the benefits of the Sweet Embrace of the Dark, Stance of the Black Breath, Darkfear Herald’s Blow and High Terrorlord’s Piercing Gaze class features.
Sweet Embrace of the Dark (Ex):
At 1st level, the dreadcloak gains the ability to see normally in any natural or magical darkness. In addition, they may add their Charisma modifier as a profane bonus to saving throws made against effects with the light, darkness or shadow descriptor. Furthermore, whilst in a stance belonging to the Iron Heart or Shadow Hand disciplines, or whilst in the Stance of the Black Breath or the High Terrorlord’s Piercing Gaze stance, the dreadcloak adds his class level as an insight bonus on Intimidate checks.
Stance of the Black Breath (Ex):
At 2nd level, a dreadcloak gains access to a stance that allows them to channel the terror beginning to fester in their body and use it as a weapon. They may take a swift action to lose the benefits of their current stance to gain the benefits of this one. Whilst in this stance, a dreadcloak can deal untyped damage equal to its half Intimidate ranks (rounded down) to each enemy creature within 30ft every round as a free action oncer per round. In addition, whilst in this stance, the dreadcloak may make Intimidate checks to demoralise opponents in combat as a move action.
At second level, the true nature of the Rite of Hollow Terror makes itself manifest as you slowly begin the transformation into a semi-corporeal unliving creature. You gain a +2 deflection bonus to AC and immunity to fear effects. This bonus improves by +2 every even level thereafter. In addition, you gain further benefits at higher levels as you become less and less alive.
At 4th level, you gain immunity to fatigue, nausea and paralysis and sleep effects.
At 6th level, you gain immunity to exhaustion, disease, poison, and the sickened condition.
At 8th level, you gain immunity to energy drain and death effects.
Darkfear Herald’s Blow (Ex):
At fifth level, the dreadcloak gains access to a unique martial strike much like those granted to martial adepts. This strike must be recovered and readied to use, just like any maneuver, and is not considered to belong to any particular discipline.
Initiating this strike is a standard action. As part of this strike, you make a normal melee attack. If your attack is made against a shaken, frightened or panicked target, you may add your Charisma modifier to your attack roll and the critical confirmation roll, if any. If the attack hits and deals damage, both the target and any of its allies within 30ft must make a Will save (DC 10 + class level + Cha modifier) or become shaken for 1 minute. If your target or any of their allies fail their save and were already shaken, they become frightened instead. If they were already frightened, they instead become panicked. If they were already panicked, they die instantly. If your attack was a critical hit, then shaken targets that fail their saves become panicked, and frightened or panicked targets that fail their save die instantly. This strike is a mind-affecting fear effect.
High Terrorlord’s Piercing Gaze:
At 10th level, a dreadcloak’s mastery of fear is complete and made manifest in this stance. They may take a swift action to lose the benefits of their current stance to gain the benefits of this one. Whilst in this stance, the dreadcloak possesses frightful presence out to 120ft that triggers whenever the dreadcloak charges, initiates a martial strike or draws a weapon. Enemy creatures within range must make a Will save (DC 10 + class level + Cha modifier) each round or become frightened and take damage equal to the dreadcloak’s Intimidate modifier. On a successful save, the creature is instead shaken, and only takes damage equal to half the dreadcloak’s Intimidate modifier. No matter how many actions the dreadcloak takes in his turn that would trigger his frightful presence, it cannot be triggered more than once per round.
Terror Made Uncarnate:
At 10th level, a dreadcloak’s slow transformation is complete, and they become a creature straddling the borders of life and death, only the fear of what lies beyond keeping one foot in the breathing world. The dreadcloak’s type changes to undead, and they gain the augmented and unliving subtypes. Furthermore, all attack resolved against the dreadcloak have a 10% miss chance, as the dreadcloak’s flesh further fades from corporeality. Any attack or effect that would bypass the miss chance from incorporeality, such as force effects or a ghost touch
weapon also ignore the miss chance of this class feature.
The Unliving Subtype
Unliving creatures teeter between undeath and life. They are to undead what living constructs are to constructs.
- Unlike other undead, unliving possess a Constitution score.
- Unlike other undead, unliving do not automatically have darkvision.
- Unlike other undead, unliving are not immune to mind-affecting spells and abilities.
- Immunity to fatigue, nausea, paralysis, sleep effects, exhaustion, disease, poison, effects that cause the sickened condition, energy drain and death effects.
- Unlike other undead, unliving are subject to critical hits, nonlethal damage, stunning, ability damage, ability drain and necromancy effects.
- Like other undead, unliving are healed by negative energy and damaged by positive energy.
- Unlike other undead, unliving are not destroyed upon reaching 0 hit points. At 0 hit points, an unliving creature is disabled, as with a living creature. When their hit points are between 0 and -10, unliving are unconscious and helpless, and cannot perform any actions. At -10 hit points, an unliving creature is dead.
- Unliving creatures can be raised and resurrected.
- Unliving do not necessarily need to eat, sleep or breath, though some types may, but they can still benefit from the effects of consumable spells and magic items.
- Although many unliving do not need to sleep, an unliving wizard must rest 8 hours before preparing spells.
Please, critique away.
I'm painfully aware of the dead levels, but I tried to arrange the maneuver progression so that they get something
at ever level. I'm also aware that this might well be overpowered, but that's where you lot come in.