Prestige Classes


“Friends, listen not to the dire warnings of the dwarves! The Underdark, while dangerous, is no worse than any other wilderness . . . and the treasures! Indeed, the Underdark is a new frontier, ripe with adventure and replete with plunder that’s yours for the taking. The drow, you ask? What have you heroes to fear of a few elves?”

—Belgos Xarann, insidious corruptor

The insidious corruptor is a manipulator, a devious and sinister villain who lures individuals to their dooms. Armed with his silver tongue and his keen wit, few can resist his suggestions, and his victims meet dreadful fates either as sacrifices on the high priestesses’ bloody altars or as slaves in the endless tunnels of the Underdark.


Nearly all corruptors are arcane spellcasters, since candidates must master the dominate person spell before taking levels in the class. Insidious corruptors are unique to the drow, and most of them are bards or sorcerers who establish a strong foundation of spellcasting abilities prior to advancing in this prestige class.


Domination is your trade. You derive pleasure from manipulating others, from bending them to your will and making them your creatures. To this end, you have magnified your already impressive powers to specialize in controlling other beings. The more you influence them, and the more you instruct them to behave as you desire, the more they become your slaves.


Under no circumstances should you ever fight on your own behalf. It’s vital to surround yourself with minions—willing or otherwise. You lack the combat capabilities of other characters, and advancing in this class diminishes your spellcasting abilities. Luckily, you have a number of talents that convince others to protect you, and as you grow more powerful, this influence can extend even over your enemies.

Some might see you as a supporting character, a specialized individual with some skill at enchantment magic. In truth, you control everything, convincing your allies to perform as you direct and weakening your opponents so that your comrades can do their jobs.


You didn’t choose to become an insidious corruptor; you were born to it. Your entire life has been spent manipulating, deceiving, and creating situations that best benefit you. This ability only grew more pronounced when you studied magic, for therein lay the secrets of true mastery. You discovered that you could achieve far more with well-placed spells than you ever could with cunning wit and careful words. Even better, you learned to marry those two techniques into one extremely effective method—the claws of influence ability, which changed your life forever.

Although when directly confronted you are nearly impossible to refuse, your powerful personality loses its force when you are separated from your subjects. Those who grow wise to your nature and abilities resent you—and might even hate you. Thus, you rarely remain overlong in your drow city, leaving to seek your fortunes on the surface. There you work carefully to serve the matriarchs, sending expeditions into traps that allow the dark elves to harvest the would-be adventurers as slaves.

The abilities granted by this class are only a starting point; your selection of skills and feats determines your success as an insidious corruptor. As soon as you can, pick up the Leadership feat. This feat gives you a strong base of minions that you can control easily in combat. As well, invest in feats that improve your spellcasting abilities. Examples include Greater Spell Focus (enchantment), Spell Penetration, and Extra Spell. Other excellent choices include Coercive Spell and Imperious Command, as well as Ability Focus (claws of influence). For skills, never neglect Bluff, Diplomacy, Disguise, Intimidate, and Sense Motive. These are vital skills for interaction, and interaction is key to your survival.


One tangible benefit gained from this class is the network of minions you establish. Over time, extensive use of the Diplomacy skill engenders goodwill and allegiance, allowing you to swell the numbers of individuals who will help you. These willing tools work to further your mission, doing everything from setting up appointments with adventurers to monitoring independent expeditions and forays into the Underdark. Aside from the intelligence they gather, they also supply you with wealth, gifts, and even companionship.


“I don’t understand it. The map Belgos gave us says there’s a secret door right here! I’ve looked for over ten minutes, and nothing. Wait. Did you hear that? It sounded like movement . . . over there. . . .”

—Morzul Darkhunter, dungeon delver

An insidious corruptor is the proverbial spider at the center of the web. Since he rarely confronts his foes directly, he serves as a hidden enemy, orchestrating elaborate schemes to harass and impede the PCs on their adventures—likely without them ever knowing it. Insidious corruptors are evil, conniving villains who move their minions like pawns.


At home in a large organization, an insidious corruptor wastes little time climbing the ranks, forcing his way to the top to best control the institution. He manages this with a surgical precision, carefully murdering those who prove too difficult to control and bending the rest to his will. It doesn’t matter which organization he joins, as long as he benefits by doing so.

The most likely target for infestation by an insidious corruptor is a group whose primary function is exploration and acquisition, such as the Blacklock Loreseekers or the Order of Illumination. Posing as a candidate, the insidious corruptor meets whatever criteria are required by the organization—or he fakes the relevant abilities by the use of the Disguise skill or other means—until he is accepted by the group and made a full-fledged member. Once there, he is careful to keep the organization’s purpose and function in mind, secretly replacing key members with those loyal to himself. It’s just a matter of time before he takes control, at which point it’s far too late to stop him.

NPC Reactions

Insidious corruptors cultivate alter egos and disguises to secure their positions with countless supporters and allies. They develop praiseworthy reputations, influenced in no small part by their unusual talents. Thanks to their public facade, they can move freely through communities, spreading their corruption as they go. Few people can see through an insidious corruptor’s disguise, and most are friendly or even helpful to these charismatic individuals. Should a corruptor’s identity and purpose become known, however, hostility—and perhaps even violence—can be the only result.

Among the drow, the same animosity holds true. Dark elves with an understanding of the insidious corruptor’s capabilities are unfriendly at best, since the mere presence of this shady character breeds doubt in the minds of those who have previously crossed his path.


Characters who have ranks in Knowledge (local) can research insidious corruptors to learn more about them. When a character makes a successful skill check, the following lore is revealed, including the information from lower DCs.

DC 10: Some say that at the center of every conspiracy, every plot, and every betrayal, there’s an insidious corruptor, a foul agent of the drow who wants nothing other than to steer us wrong.

DC 15: The insidious corruptor is a cunning spy who sows discord and tragedy. He uses trickery and deception to get his way, exerting his influence on you and making you his slave.

DC 20: Insidious corruptors infiltrate the surface world on occasion, usually to lure individuals into the Underdark. An insidious corruptor might fund an expedition, supply a group with a map, and even offer a few tantalizing treasures to whet his prey’s appetites.

Insidious corruptors don’t advertise their presence. If they have any dealings at all with player characters, it is through intermediaries, or—if they must—behind the safety of a cunningly wrought disguise. In a drow city, however, characters are likely to be found by an insidious corruptor anxious to use them for his own purposes—purposes that likely involve slavery, exploitation, or murder.


The insidious corruptor is an excellent adversary, a hidden enemy who complicates the lives and the efforts of the PCs. When the PCs confront an insidious corruptor, they might have to face friends who have fallen under his sway. The corruptor’s most loyal minions gladly give their lives to protect their master, whether out of fear or adoration. The corruptor is a powerful, intelligent foe, and as such is best used as the final encounter in a long adventure—his capabilities can stretch the characters’ resources to the breaking point.


The insidious corruptor class reflects a very specific aspect of drow culture—the ubiquity of manipulation. Such individuals are born from the self-serving, corrupt environment of their societies. Many of the class features might be attractive to players, and with the right adaptation, you can alter the class in ways that make it considerably less disruptive to the typical adventuring party.

The first and most important change is to alter the alignment prerequisite from any evil to any non-good. From there, you should alter the corruptor’s class features so that they affect only opponents, thus preventing player character corruptors from manipulating other PCs. With these minor changes in place, the class should be playable as written.

Hit Die: d6.


To qualify to become a insidious coruptor, a character must fulfill all of the following criteria.

Race: Drow.

Alignment: Any evil.

Skills: Bluff 9 ranks, Diplomacy 4 ranks, Sense Motive 4 ranks.

Feats: Persuasive.

Spells: Ability to cast dominate person.

Class Skills

The insidious corruptor's class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Bluff (Cha), Concentration (Con), Diplomacy (Cha), Disguise (Cha), Forgery (Int), Gather Information (Cha), Intimidate (Cha), Knowledge (arcana) (Int), Knowledge (local) (Int), Listen (Wis), Search (Int), Sense Motive (Wis), Spellcraft (Int), Spot (Wis).

Skill Points at Each Level: 4 + Int modifier.

Table: The Insidious Corruptor

Level Base
Special Spells per day
1st +0 +0 +0 +2 Claws of influence (1 target), manipulate senses
2nd +1 +0 +0 +3 Probe thoughts +1 level of existing spellcasting class
3rd +1 +1 +1 +3 Manipulation, claws of influence (2 targets)
4th +2 +1 +1 +4 Minion +1 level of existing spellcasting class
5th +2 +1 +1 +4 Swift enchantment
6th +3 +2 +2 +5 Irresistible charm, claws of influence (3 targets) +1 level of existing spellcasting class
7th +3 +2 +2 +5 Greater manipulation
8th +4 +2 +2 +6 Greater minion +1 level of existing spellcasting class
9th +4 +3 +3 +6 Irresistible compulsion, claws of influence (4 targets)
10th +5 +3 +3 +7 Master manipulator +1 level of existing spellcasting class
Class Features

All of the following are class features of the insidious corruptor prestige class.

Although his talents lie in his deceptions, the insidious corruptor has a powerful will that he can exert upon any creature he meets. He sinks the claws of his influence into the hearts and minds of his victims, using them like puppets to further his own ambitions.

Spellcasting: At each even-numbered level, 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 an insidious corruptor, you must decide to which class to add each level for the purpose of determining spells per day, caster level, and spells known.

Claws of Influence (Su): At will, as a standard action, you can select a single living creature within 30 feet that you can see and that has an Intelligence score of at least 3. The target must succeed on a Will save (DC 10 + your class level + your Cha modifier) or become vulnerable to your coercions. You gain your class level as an insight bonus on Bluff, Diplomacy, Intimidate, and Sense Motive checks made against targets that fail their save against this ability.

At 1st level you can affect one target at a time. At 3rd level and every three levels thereafter, you gain an additional target.

The claws of influence remain until you release the subject (a swift action) or until it is more than 30 feet away from you, at which point it is instantly freed from your influence.

Manipulate Senses (Su): As a swift action, you can alter the senses of a creature affected by claws of influence. You can grant an insight bonus or penalty, of any amount up to your class level, to its Listen, Search, and Spot checks for 1 minute.

Probe Thoughts (Sp): Starting at 2nd level, as a standard action you can violate the thoughts of any creature currently under the effect of claws of influence. This ability functions like the detect thoughts spell, except the target does not get a saving throw. You gain information as if you had spent 3 rounds in concentration. After you use this ability, the target becomes confused (as the confusion spell) for 1 round.

Manipulation (Su): At 3rd level, as an immediate action you can telepathically urge a single creature under the effect of claws of influence to take any of the following specific actions on its next turn.

Attack: The target creature uses a standard action to make a single attack.

Cast: The target creature casts a spell with a casting time of 1 standard action or less.

Move: The target creature spends a move action to move at a rate equal to his speed.

The target is free to make choices as to the target of its attack or spell, or where and how it moves. The target is under no compulsion to abide by your instructions. However, if the target chooses not to obey, it takes a –4 insight penalty on all attack rolls, weapon damage rolls, saving throws, and checks for 1 round.

Minion (Su): Beginning at 4th level, as a standard action you can select a single creature under the effect of claws of influence and affect it with a dominatemonster spell for 1 round. As with the spell, if you force the target to do something against its nature, it can immediately make another saving throw against claws of influence with a +2 bonus to break free from this effect.

Swift Enchantment (Ex): Starting at 5th level, as an immediate action you can release a subject under the effect of claws of influence to cast an enchantment spell as a swift action.

Irresistible Charm (Ex): At 6th level, as a swift action you can release a subject under the effect of claws of influence to increase the save DC of the next enchantment (charm) spell you cast by an amount equal to your Charisma modifier (minimum +1).

Greater Manipulation (Su): Beginning at 7th level, you can issue commands to creatures under the sway of claws of influence with greater effect.

Attack: The target attacks another creature that you indicate. If it does, it gains a +4 bonus on attack rolls and damage rolls.

Cast: The target casts a spell at a target you indicate. If it does, the save DC increases by 2.

Move: The target moves where you indicate. If it does, it gains a +10 enhancement bonus to its speed for 1 round. As with manipulation, subjects are not forced to abide by your directives. However, if they choose some other action, they do so under penalties prescribed by manipulation.

Greater Minions (Su): Starting at 8th level, as a standard action you can force any and all creatures under the effect of claws of influence to act as if under the infliuence of a dominate monster spell for 1 round. This ability otherwise functions as the minion ability.

Irresistible Compulsion (Ex): At 9th level, as a swift action you can release a subject under the effect of claws of influence to increase the save DC of the next enchantment (compulsion) spell you cast by an amount equal to your Charisma modifier (minimum +1).

Master Manipulator (Su): At 10th level you can use claws of influence as a swift action. If you use it as a standard action, the save DC to resist it increases by 4