Prestige Classes


"As magic is responsible for so many of the world's greatest evils, so too is magic the greatest tool against evil."

-Confessor Ruprecht Varsuun, vindicator of the Immaculate Cabal

The holy scourge is a multitalented soldier in the endless war against evil, an arcane caster who instills within his magic the power to cleanse the world of wickedness and depravity. Although he lacks actual divine spellcasting power, he makes up for this shortfall by infusing his evocations with holy power and developing abilities that help him smite evil wherever it appears.


Almost any arcane spellcaster can become a holy scourge, but the class is most popular among sorcerers and warmages. Wizards, particularly those who specialize in evocation or conjuration, also find much to like in this prestige class.


You are a fanatical believer in your cause, with the power to back up your convictions. Thankfully for many others, that cause is an agreeable one: the destruction of evil. You believe that arcane magic is the greatest of weapons, and you intend not to stop until you have gained enough power to scourge the world around you clean of wickedness. Many fear you, failing to understand your purpose, but you never waver in your devotion.

The largest and primary organization of holy scourges, the Immaculate Cabal of the Church of Heironeous, is said to have invented the techniques of the holy scourge. Various orders now exist, however, devoted to Pelor, St. Cuthbert, and other deities. These orders serve as roving enforcers and soldiers of their church, striving to rid the world of evil - starting with the enemies of their own faith. To at least some extent, your organization shapes your adventuring career, since it likely influences your choice of enemies (or at least the order in which you prioritize your foes) and might go so far as to assign you specific quests.


It practically goes without saying that your spells - particularly of the evocation school - are by far your greatest assets. Everything you are, every ability you gain as a holy scourge, improves their functionality against the evils of the world. Use your spells tactically, and don't be afraid to position yourself for optimum effect. You are slightly more durable than most arcane casters, so you have the option of strategic positioning that other casters might not.


You were most likely a typical arcane spellcaster before you "saw the light" and took up the righteous mantle of the holy scourge. Whether you've devoted yourself to a particular faith or are just committed to turning back darkness, you're now engaged in the eternal fight against evil in all its forms. You might go where the church directs, or you might be trusted to find your own adventure as long as it serves the cause. In either case, your life is one of great conflict and hardship - but also great accomplishment.

Put as many skill points as you can spare into your various Knowledge skills, the better to understand the terrible monsters you must face. Focus on feats that boost your prodigious offensive arcane talents, including Spell Focus (evocation), Piercing Evocation, and Energy Gestalt. Feats that increase your survivability, such as Battle Caster and Great Fortitude, also represent reasonable choices.

Obviously, your spell selection should center on evocation spells, but you shouldn't ignore the many excellent options in abjuration and conjuration. Don't let your focus on offense neglect your own (or your allies') protection. Seeding the battlefield with a few summoned allies can give you valuable rounds of spellcasting time before the enemy closes.


Your church supports your efforts in whatever way it can. While you should not expect substantial funds or many magic items, it provides mundane equipment and healing where necessary and might make efforts to provide you with magic items at a reduced - or at least a fair - price. The church also serves as a last-ditch sanctuary, a place to recuperate before you set out once more.


"Bah! Face one 'holier than thou' spellcaster, you've faced them all! This so-called scourge doesn't worry me at-"

-Count Lucius Darvold, vampire lord, twice deceased

The holy scourge fits into any setting in wich churches of light seek to banish the dark and rid the world of evil monsters. Although some such organizations disdain arcane magic as less pure than that granted by the gods, or even as witchcraft, many have come to realize the tactical advantage such magic offers the cause. Because their orders and goals usually prohibit holy scourges from holding a great deal of power within the church, PCs should either encounter them "in the field" or not at all, making it very easy to explain their presence, or absence, almost anywhere.


Holy scourges are members of specific orders, the subsets of various churches. The largest and most well-known is the Immaculate Cabal, an order within the ranks of the Church of Heironeous. The followers of the god of valor were not the first to embrace arcanists within their ranks, but they were the first to develop the talents now employed by the holy scourge. Although differences exist between the various orders and churches, the Immaculate Cabal serves as a solid example.

The Immaculate Cabal is organized like a combination of academic circle and military order. Its members are considered soldiers for the cause, but advancement through the ranks by service in the field is limited. To become a true leader of the cabal - called a doyen - a holy scourge must demonstrate an advanced understanding of religious and arcane principles. Most doyens are clerics with only a level or two of holy scourge; those more focused on the prestige class fulfill their divine duty by questing to destroy evil. (A few retired scourges also serve as doyens, but few scourges survive long enough to retire and learn what they need learn to fulfill the role.) Through this dichotomy, the church manages to maintain a skilled and competent oversight of the Immaculate Cabal, without wasting the capabilities of its members. The majority of the cabal's members are divided into three basic ranks: seekers (newly recruited scourges who have yet to prove themselves), requiters (those who have proven their abilities and convictions), and vindicators (the best of the best, the most powerful and loyal scourges). Members also hold a rank in the church proper, and might be referred to as father, reverend, confessor, or whatever title is appropriate.

Members of the Immaculate Cabal are not permitted to rise to the rank of bishop or higher, since it is believed that holding a position of true authority within the church would conflict with the duties and requirements of the scourge's mission.

NPC Reactions

Most people consider the holy scourge a champion of light and a protector of the weak. Good-aligned individuals begin one step nearer to helpful than normal while dealing with a holy scourge, while evil-aligned individuals begin one step closer to hostile.

In some circumstances, however, the zealotry of a holy scourge might cause others to fear him. If a particular holy scourge is known for his merciless behavior, his singleminded devotion to the cause, or even a willingness to sacrifice for "the greater good," all reactions to him begin one step nearer to hostile.


Characters who have ranks in Knowledge (religion) or the bardic knowledge ability can research holy scourges to learn more about them. When a character makes a successful skill check or bardic knowledge check, read or paraphrase the following, including the information from lower DCs.

DC 10: Holy scourges? Aren't they church soldiers who cast arcane spells?

DC 15: Saw one of those in action once. He was throwing a lot of flashy spells. I know my arcane magic, but this guy was packing something special in those lightning bolts.

DC 20: They're more than just casters. They can smite their foes like a paladin, pierce the defenses of evil foes, and empower their most deadly spells to hurt evil creatures even worse than others.

DC 30: Characters who achieve this level of success can learn important details about specific holy scourges in your campaign, including notable members, the areas where they operate, and the kinds of activities they undertake.

PCs should have little trouble finding a holy scourge if they need to. They merely travel to a church of Heironeous or one of the other priesthoods that utilizes them. Even if none are assigned locally, the priests can tell the PCs where to look.


The holy scourge's mission - to use arcane magic to destroy evil - is tailor-made for most campaigns. Holy scourges participate in adventures, explore ancient strongholds of depravity, seek to rid governments of corruption; in short, they have a place in the vast majority of D&D adventure plots. As long as your setting involves even a single good deity of a somewhat martial or mystical bent, the holy scourge is easy to integrate.

This prestige class should appeal to players who enjoy arcane casters but wish for a bit more flavor, or those who simply have reason to devote themselves to the eradication of evil.


The holy scourge need not be linked to the Church of Heironeous. You might attach to a deity of your own setting (in the Eberron setting, for instance, they are very likely servants of the Silver Flame), or disconnect them from the hierarchy entirely, portraying them as independent operatives. You might decide that the divine component of the class doesn't come from worship at all, but simply a branch of mystical study that allows the scourge to tap into positive energy. With relatively little work, you could replace the arcane requirements of the class with a psionic equivalent, creating a wilder/holy scourge.

Sample Encounter

Holy scourges appear wherever evil (particularly of a magical nature) exists to be destroyed. Whether as part of an adventuring party, a soldier in a great army, or a lone traveler, a holy scourge is on a quest when the PCs meet him. Whether he seeks the same great evil they do, or their paths simply happen to cross, might determine if he sees them as potential allies or mere travelers.

EL 10: Confessor Ruprecht Varsuun (LG male human warmage 6/holy scourge 4) has only recently attained the rank of vindicator. A devoted churchgoer who watched helplessly as his fellow congregants were slaughtered by yuan-ti, he adopted the arts of the warmage, and then the holy scourge, to seek out and destroy such threats to civilization. When the PCs encounter him, he is operating in a small city and has run afoul of the law. The government has branded him an agitator and criminal, but in truth he is seeking the roots of the mystical corruption that rots the heart of city hall.

Hit Die: d6.


To qualify to become a holy scourge, a character must fulfill all of the following criteria.

Alignment: Any good.

Skills: Knowledge (religion) 2 ranks.

Spellcasting: Able to cast three evocation spells, able to cast 3rd-level arcane spells.

Class Skills

The holy scourge's class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Knowledge (arcana) (Int), Knowledge (religion) (Int), Knowledge (the planes) (Int), Profession (Wis), and Spellcraft (Int).

Skill Points at Each Level: 2 + Int modifier.

Table: The Holy Scourge

Level Base
Special Spellcasting
1st +0 +0 +0 +2 Code of conduct, dedicated spellcaster, righteous evocation +1
2nd +1 +0 +0 +3 Arcane smite 1/day +1 level of existing arcane spellcasting class
3rd +1 +1 +1 +3 Devoted arcanist +1 level of existing arcane spellcasting class
4th +2 +1 +1 +4 Arcane smite 2/day +1 level of existing arcane spellcasting class
5th +2 +1 +1 +4 Righteous evocation +2 +1 level of existing arcane spellcasting class
Class Features

As a holy scourge, your abilities are geared toward scouring evil from the world, primarily through the use of evocation magic. Although you are certainly capable of casting other spells, offensive magic is where your strength truly lies.

All of the following are class features of the holy scourge prestige class.

Spellcasting: At each level beyond 1st, you gain new spells per day and an increase in caster level (and spells known, if applicable) as if you had also gained a level in a spellcasting 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 spellcasting class before becoming a holy scourge, you must decide to which class to add each level for the purpose of determining spells per day, caster level, and spells known.

Code of Conduct: You must devote yourself to the destruction of evil, particularly those who use evil magic and innately evil creatures. You must not resort to evil methods to achieve these goals. You might briefly ignore a lesser evil for the sake of defeating a greater one, but otherwise you must make every reasonable effort to obliterate evil wherever you find it. Should you ever violate this code or step outside the boundaries of what is considered acceptable good-aligned behavior, you lose your holy scourge class features.

Dedicated Spellcaster (Ex): You gain a +1 bonus to your caster level when casting good spells. You may not cast evil spells.

Righteous Evocation (Su): Your evocation spells are infused with a small amount of good-aligned divine energy. Against evil creatures, your evocation spells deal an extra 1 point of damage per spell level. This extra damage applies to all creatures damaged by the spell. This extra damage consists of pure divine energy and is not subject to being reduced by resistance or immunity.

At 5th level, this extra damage increases to 2 points per spell level.

Arcane Smite (Su): At 2nd level, you can smite evil once per day. This ability functions like the paladin class feature, except that you can apply the effect only to an arcane spell that requires a melee or ranged attack roll (such as shocking grasp or scorching ray). In addition to the bonus on the spell's attack rolls and damage rolls, this adds the good descriptor to the spell.

At 4th level, you can use this class feature twice per day.

Devoted Arcanist (Ex): Beginning at 3rd level, you can add your class level on caster level checks made to overcome the spell resistance of evil creatures with your arcane spells.

Ex-Holy Scourges

If you violate the code of conduct or step outside the bounds of the class's acceptable alignments, you lose all spells and class features. You may not progress any further in levels as a holy scourge. You retain your abilities and advancement potential if you atone for your violations (see atonement), as appropriate.