Prestige Classes

EBON SAINT

"Generally speaking, if I'm involved, things have gone too far already."

óJaed Catt

The ebon saint lives in the darkness, but seeks to expose his enemies to the light. Flitting from the shadows to learn the secrets of his enemies and dispatch them quickly, the ebon saint seeks to further his personal agenda by gathering and exploiting information on those who oppose him.

The goal of these dark infiltrators is to sneak into the lairs of their enemies, uncover their dark secrets, and expose them to the world. Whether an ebon saint seeks to right the wrongs of the world, maintain the status quo, or strike tyrannical fear into the hearts of the oppressed, he does so from the cold, unchanging certainty of the darkness in which he resides.

BECOMING AN EBON SAINT

Ebon saints nearly all begin their careers as lurks, since that class provides the necessary foundation for ebon saint abilities. A fair number, however, are rogues with the Wild Talent feat. Whereas a lurk might use the shadows to achieve his ends, an ebon saint lives in them, seeking to master the art and discipline of the dire strike in the service of an ideology that is greater than any one person. The nature of that ideology is determined by each ebon saint, and is molded by his alignment and life experiences.

PLAYING AN EBON SAINT

You adventure to further your personal ideology. One ebon saint might be concerned with religious matters, another with philosophical issues, and yet another with something else entirely. The one sure thread that ties you to all other ebon saints is your belief that those who oppose your goals should be exposed and removed, or as the saints say, "rendered unto the Ebon Dawn."

Having a differing viewpoint alone isn't enough to qualify someone to become an ebon saint's target. To be marked for the Ebon Dawn, a creature's entire philosophical axis must be opposed to yours. For example, an ebon saint might be convinced that slavery is the greatest injustice and seek to destroy all slave traders. Another might believe that only through complete acceptance of servitude will the populace at large be truly productive, and thus might seek to make a living in the service of a terrible tyrant. Still another might believe that a specific religion is the true path to enlightenment, and seek to expose another church (or churches) as a group of charlatans or corrupt bureaucrats. Whatever the cause he espouses, an ebon saint holds an unshakable conviction to his personal ideology.

Combat

You should try to begin every fight from the shadows, studying your opponent to set up a dire strike attempt. This establishes a combat advantage that eventually allows you to make use of a host of abilities, enabling you to further your cause by obtaining key information.

Unlike some who strike from the shadows, you are not averse to relying on the assistance of your companions. Indeed, without allies, you are hard-pressed to use your abilities to their full effect. You can move fluidly within melee, looking for an opponent that is already distracted by one of your companions. Seek out flanking or near-flanking positions from which to strike, or else find shadowed areas from which you can set up a dire strike.

Eventually, you can use your abilities to take on the appearance of your foes, enabling you to move through enemy strongholds more easily and find the highest-ranking opponents. At the highest levels, you can make surgical strikes, gaining information and then erasing your presence from your victim's mind.

Advancement

This path is chosen by a lurk or rogue whose ability to bring down his foes has evolved into a sort of personal code, or even a pseudo-religion. These dedicated individuals often end up gaining a reputation for their single-minded pursuit of a goal. Ebon saints look for individuals with that drive and conviction and set out to recruit them into the organization, making the group stronger as a whole.

After becoming an ebon saint, you are encouraged to pursue your cause through whatever means you find worthwhile. The organization is a loose one, more a brotherhood of idealogues than a physical collection of resources and individuals. You are largely left to your own devices as far as training and acquiring resources are concerned. As the other saints look at it, if you are devoted enough to a truly worthy core of beliefs, you will find your own way to power.

As you progress in power, it is important to choose powers that aid in mobility (such as psionic dimension door and psionic freedom of movement) or that give you a combat advantage (such as psychofeedback and temporal acceleration). Nonpsionic feats such as Dodge, Mobility, and Spring Attack can be a great help as well

Any magic item or psionic item that enhances your Hide and Move Silently checks (boots and cloak of elvenkind) or that makes you more agile (gloves of Dexterity) is desirable. Any item that increases the DCs for the saving throws against a saint's special abilities (headband of intellect) is desirable as well.

Resources

You were initially recruited into the ebon saints by an existing member of the class, who sought you out because of your strong convictions. He trained you and taught you the basics of being a saint, and how to turn your abilities to even greater advantage in pursuit of your cause. Once initial training is done, you are turned loose in the world to pursue your own philosophy. Like-minded saints sometimes join forces on a particularly difficult task, but most work alone or in small groups with individuals of other classes.

EBON SAINTS IN THE WORLD

"Ebon saint? Ebon slayer is more like it. On the other hand, that Jaed Catt feller keeps the crime lords in the merchant district on their toes, so I'm not one to complain."

óZachary Druthers, blacksmith

Ebon saints are a great source of adventure. They are almost completely self-motivated, and one is always looking for ways to further his personal ideology. As a PC, a saint adds spice to any group of characters because of his dedication to his ideology. As an allied NPC, a saint makes a PC group all the stronger. A saint is excellent at uncovering secrets, so such a character makes an excellent vehicle for advancing a plot.

As an enemy NPC, an ebon saint can make a great recurring villain as he attempts to slay or stop the members of an adventuring group. An evil ebon saint, with his enhanced ability to hide, his acceptance of the dark, and his strong conviction about the way the world should be, could be set up in direct opposition to the PCs' pursuits, embodying a philosophy that directly contradicts that of the PCs.

Organization

Each ebon saint is governed by his own chosen system of beliefs. Where those beliefs are challenged by civic authority, an ebon saint is viewed as a rebel, or in some instances, a vigilante. Where they are supported by the community, he is regarded as a hero. In almost all cases, however, an ebon saint and his allies operate outside the bounds of established organization structures.

Some ebon saints share beliefs with larger groups and latch on to those organizations to further their own ends. An ebon saint with particular spiritual convictions might become an agent of a particular church, for example. Some saints become convinced that the best way to pursue their personal ideology is to recruit like-minded individuals, so they form their own organizations dedicated to those convictions.

NPC Reactions

Ebon saints take pride in remaining unnoticed in the shadows. An individual ebon saint is far more likely to be judged on his own reputation than his membership in such a nebulous organization. Those NPCs who do know of the ebon saints have an initial attitude of indifferent toward such a character. If they are among the target of the character's beliefs, however, their attitude shifts to unfriendly or even hostile. Other ebon saints are typically friendly toward such a character based solely on his status as an ebon saint. However, if the two characters' ideologies are at odds, the attitude of each one toward the other varies according to the extent of the difference.

EBON SAINT LORE

Characters with ranks in Knowledge (local) can research an individual ebon saint to learn more about him. When a character makes a skill check, read or paraphrase the following, including the information from lower DCs.

DC 10: [Name of NPC] strikes from the darkness. If he reveals himself, it's likely the last thing you'll see.

DC 15: [Name of NPC] has been disrupting the efforts of [name of organization or group]. He seems to have a real vendetta going, or someone is paying him well to keep the pressure on.

DC 20: [Name of NPC] is an ebon saint. Each ebon saint is dedicated strongly to his own personal convictions, and will do everything he can to reveal his enemies and expose their weaknesses for the world to see.

DC 30: Characters who achieve this level of success can learn important details about a specific notable ebon saint, the areas where he operates, and the kinds of activities he undertakes.

EBON SAINTS IN THE GAME

An ebon saint PC might be the catalyst for events in your game, or he might simply follow the rest of the group, attempting to enforce his ideology wherever he goes. His fervent adherence to a cause can provide a handy way to involve characters in an adventure, though it can lead to conflict within the group if it is relied on too often, or if the ebon saint's player decides his goals take precedence over everything else.

People who enjoy playing ebon saints are often attracted to the strong sense of purpose these characters have, combined with the freedom to set their own goals (as opposed to having to exemplify an alignment, for example). Players who enjoy creating self-professed vigilantes will find this class attractive as well. Ideally, an ebon saint PC has aims and goals that are generally aligned with those of the other characters. In this role, the ebon saint is a friend, if one with potential thorns.

Adaptation

Whether the ebon saint in your game has the spotlight or waits in the wings, you'll want to be sure to work with the player to make sure that the ideology his character pursues doesn't conflict too strongly with other members of the party. Next, devise an NPC or an NPC organization whose ideology directly conflicts with the ebon saint's. This gives the character a great deal to worry about and plan for. The open-ended nature of the prestige class leaves plenty of room for working the class into your game.

Hit Die: d6.

Requirements

To qualify to become a ebon saint, a character must fulfill all of the following criteria.

Skills: Bluff 8 ranks, Disguise 8 ranks. Hide 8 ranks, Move Silently 8 ranks.

Feats: Combat Expertise, Improved Feint.

Psionics: Must have a power point reserve of at least 1 power point.

Special: Sneak attack +1d6 or psionic sneak attack +1d6.

Class Skills

The ebon saint's class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Bluff (Cha), Climb (Str), Concentration (Con), Disguise (Cha), Escape Artist (Dex), Hide (Dex), Intimidate (Cha), Jump (Str), Listen (Wis), Move Silently (Dex), Psicraft (Int), Search (Int), Sense Motive (Wis), Sleight of Hand (Dex), Spot (Wis), Swim (Str), Tumble (Dex).

Skill Points at Each Level: 4 + Int modifier.


Table: The Ebon Saint

Level Base
Attack
Bonus
Fort
Save
Ref
Save
Will
Save
Special Manifesting
1st +4 +2 +5 +5 Dire strike, shadowfriend
2nd +5 +2 +5 +5 Thought theft +1 level of existing manifesting class
3rd +6 +2 +6 +6 Mind interrogation, sneak attack +1d6 +1 level of existing manifesting class
4th +6 +3 +6 +6 Steal form +1 level of existing manifesting class
5th +7 +3 +7 +7 Disappear from the mind +1 level of existing manifesting class
Class Features

All of the following are class features of the ebon saint prestige class.

Unlocking secrets is an ebon saint's stock in trade. The class focuses somewhat on stealth, but mostly on the acquisition of information. Ebon saints' abilities allow them to steal what they seek from the minds of their foes.

Powers Known: At every level above 1st level, you gain additional power points per day, an increase in manifester level, and access to new powers as if you had also gained a level in whatever manifesting class to which you belonged before adding the prestige class level. You do not, however, gain any other benefit a character of that class would have gained. If you had more than one manifesting class before becoming an ebon saint, you must decide to which class to add each level for the purpose of determining power points per day, powers known, and manifester level.

Dire Strike (Ex): Ebon saints are trained at infiltration and gathering of information through subversive means. If you study a creature for 1 round and then make a successful sneak attack against that creature, you gain an insight into that creature's abilities.

For the rest of that encounter, you gain a bonus on attack rolls made against that creature equal to your ebon saint level. You also gain a dodge bonus to AC against that creature's attacks equal to one-half your class level, rounding down (minimum 1). In addition, a creature you have used dire strike against is subject to dire augments that are unique to the ebon saint class.

Once you have completed your round of study, you must make your dire strike attempt within the next 3 rounds. If you do not, you must spend another round studying your target before you can attempt a dire strike. You cannot use a dire strike against an unconscious opponent. As with a sneak attack, you can deal nonlethal damage with a dire strike, which becomes important when you master the disappear from the mind ability.

Shadowfriend (Ex): While you are psionically focused, you gain an enhancement bonus on Hide checks and Move Silently checks equal to your class level.

Dire Augments: An ebon saint gains dire augments that function much as the lurk class feature does (see page 14). While a lurk's abilities cover a spread of options, however, you have dedicated yourself to the art of infiltration and espionage.

Using a dire augment is a swift action. You can spend a number of power points less than or equal to your character level on a single attack. You can use your dire augments a number of times per day equal to 3 + your ebon saint level. In addition, you can only use your dire augments to modify a dire strike attack, not a normal sneak attack.

At 3rd level, you can combine any two of your dire augments in a single dire strike (as a single swift action), provided you can pay the power point cost of each ability. At 5th level, you can combine any three of your dire augments in a single dire strike, provided you can pay the power point cost of each ability.

Thought Theft (Su): Beginning at 2nd level, you can gain insight into any hazards you will encounter in the near future that your victim is aware of. If your dire strike is successful, you can access the creature's mind in a manner similar to the read thoughts power (EPH 128). The information you ascertain is the nature of any hazards the creature is aware of within 50 feet. Hazards include traps, enemies, and other obstacles intended to impede you or cause you harm. You become aware of these hazards in only the most general sense. You might learn, for example, that a trap lies 30 feet down a corridor from your victim, but not the nature of the trap or how to bypass it. You might also learn that a patrol of four guards comes down the corridor every few minutes, but not the race or weaponry of each of the guards.

The creature can attempt a Will save (DC 10 + 1/2 your character level + your Int modifier) to resist the thought theft. Using this augment costs 3 power points. For every 2 additional power points you spend, the save DC of the ability increases by 1.

Mind Interrogation (Su): Beginning at 3rd level, you gain the ability to steal specific important information directly from the mind of the victim of one of your dire strikes. When you make a successful dire strike against a foe that deals damage, you can visualize one question in your mind and spend 4 power points. If your victim knows the answer to the question, you immediately know the answer as well.

Steal Form (Su): At 4th level, you learn the pinnacle of successful infiltration: You can become the victims of your dire strikes. If you make a successful dire strike attack and spend 5 power points, you can shift your form into that of your victim as a full-round action, as if using an alter self spell (PH 197) cast by a spellcaster of your ebon saint level.

You can shift back into your own form with another full-round action; doing so does not require an expenditure of power points. You can also shift back into the form of your victim again at any time during the next 24 hours by spending 5 more power points. You only have a total time of 50 minutes to use your victim's form, but you can spread that time out over the 24-hour period. Once 24 hours have elapsed, you can no longer access the victim's form unless you seek out that creature and perform another successful dire strike against it (if it is still alive). You are subject to the same limitations as described in the alter self spell when using this ability.

You can "collect" a total number of five forms in a given 24-hour period that you can use, although you must pay power points separately for each one and you must still successfully use dire strike against each victim.

Disappear from the Mind (Su): At 5th level, you master the art of disappearing right in front of your victim. When you make a successful dire strike attack that deals nonlethal damage, you can spend 5 power points to erase your presence from the victim's mind. This works as the cloud mind power. Your victim can attempt a Will save (DC 10 + 1/2 your character level + your Int modifier) to resist the effect. If you have dealt lethal damage to your victim within the previous 24 hours, you cannot use this ability against that target. If you deal lethal damage to the target at any point after using this ability successfully, it remembers everything about this encounter.

You must remove yourself from the victim's line of sight within 1 round of using this power, or the creature remembers everything. You must remain out of sight for at least 1 minute; once this time has passed, the creature treats you as if the previous encounter never happened if you again expose yourself to its line of sight.

Sneak Attack (Ex): At 3rd level, the damage you deal on a sneak attack improves by 1d6 points. If you have the psionic sneak attack class feature, that ability improves instead. If you have both sneak attack and psionic sneak attack, choose one or the other to improve.