Prestige Classes


The spawn of Kyuss derive their power from the worm. The worm is their link to divinity, the source of their supernatural powers, and the means of their propagation. It is, in the absence of anything similar within their rotted frames, their soul. Without the worm, they are nothing.

Many before have turned to these strange and dangerous green worms, seeking knowledge or power. How is it that such a small thing can cause such great devastation, such unholy ruin in even the holiest of men? Those who find themselves confronting the spawn of Kyuss are frequently forced to adapt, to develop specialized techniques against these dangerous foes. The spawn of Kyuss are not without their weaknesses. Their link to the worm can be ruined by magic that cleanses curses and disease. Their stumbling gait and unarmored bodies make them relatively easy to hit. And beyond a range of 10 feet, they're relatively harmless (provided you can resist the aura of palpable fear that surrounds them). Yet the spawn of Kyuss are merely the foot soldiers in a vast undead army. There exist far more powerful minions in the dark corners of the world, creatures closer to Kyuss and thus far more dangerous.

Fortunately, the lore of Kyuss can be tapped by those willing to risk a portion of their sanity in exchange for insight into the workings of the worm. A character who survives the worm's caress is never wholly the same thereafter. The scars might heal, but as the worm gnaws upon the brain of a host, it leaves behind part of itself. Memories, emotions, and fragments of knowledge that have sloughed off of Kyuss' vast intellect find their way into the minds of these beings. Certain rare texts like Libris Mortis and the Necronomicon call these souls the wormtouched. Often, their dreams are haunted by these memories. In the worst cases, a victim eventually spirals into insanity.

Yet there is a way to focus these memories. By studying not only the lore surrounding Kyuss and his spawn, but also the words he and his priests have recorded in a blasphemous set of texts called the Apostolic Scrolls, some of the wormtouched can draw upon these memories and turn them back on the source. They can even draw directly upon new worms of Kyuss, absorbing them into their bodies and minds, refining their alien memories to unlock potent abilities of their own. Unfortunately, this path is not without peril - those who take the lore of Kyuss into their minds cannot expect to escape unscathed. Such is the price the wormhunter pays for his edge against those who would usher in the Age of Worms.

The wormhunter prestige class is a very customizable one, and since its prerequisites depend as much on exposure to the teachings of Kyuss as anything else, it's a fairly easy class to qualify for. Of course, not everyone wants to risk his sanity just to get an advantage over one specialized type of undead menace. And while clerics and paladins of lawful or good churches might balk at the concept of accepting the wisdom and memories of an evil deity, taking levels in the wormhunter prestige class is not an evil or chaotic act. Likewise, many of the wormhunter's strengths play to characters that focus on melee combat, so those who specialize in ranged combat don't gain as many benefits from taking levels in this class.

Finally, while the wormhunter itself is designed to build off of the Kyuss Mythos, you can use it as a model for designing other prestige classes specialized at fighting against a related group of monsters. Creatures that have parasitic reproductive cycles make the best nominees, such as mind flayers, slaadi, or vampires, although with enough work one can adapt the wormhunter to any type of creature.

Hit Die: d8.


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

Special: Must have at some point suffered a minimum of 4 points of Intelligence damage from a worm of Kyuss. These 4 points of Intelligence damage need not have occurred as a result of a single worm.

Special: The character must meet two of the following five criteria:

  • Base attack bonus +7.

  • Able to cast 4th-level divine spells.

  • Knowlege (religion) 10 ranks.

  • Base Fortitude save +4.

  • Sneak attack +4d6.

Special: Must have read through a copy of the Apostolic Scrolls.

Class Skills

The wormhunter's class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Concentration (Con), Decipher Script (Int), Gather Information (Cha), Heal (Wis), Intimidate (Cha), Knowledge (arcana) (Int), Knowledge (history) (Int), Knowledge (religion) (Int), Search (Int), Sense Motive (Wis), Spellcraft (Int), and Survival (Wis).

Skill Points at Each Level: 2 + Int modifier.

Table: The Wormhunter

Level Base
1st +0 +2 +0 +2 Gift of the worm I, kyussbane
2nd +1 +3 +0 +3 Detect minion, wormscarred
3rd +2 +3 +1 +3 Gift of the worm II
4th +3 +4 +1 +4 Wormeaten
5th +3 +4 +1 +4 Gift of the worm III
Class Features

All of the following are class features of the wormhunter prestige class.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: A wormhunter does not gain any proficiency with weapons or armor.

Gift of the Worm (Ex): By consuming a Kyuss worm, a wormhunter gains insight into the nature of Kyuss and his minions. Alternatively, the wormhunter can allow a Kyuss worm to burrow into his body - this deals the standard 1 point of damage per round for 1d4+1 rounds until the worm reaches the brain. At this point (or immediately, if the wormhunter voluntarily consumes the worm) the wormhunter's body absorbs the worm. This immediately kills the worm (and prevents any Intelligence damage).

Immediately thereafter, the wormhunter absorbs the latent knowledge and power contained within the worm and magnifies it, using it to augment his own abilities. He immediately selects one of the Gifts of the Worm listed below. The benefit granted is permanent. Unfortunately, the influx of knowledge also damages the wormhunter's mind in some way. He must also select one form of madness from those listed in Madness of the Worm below. This madness cannot be cured by magic, as it becomes as fundamental a part of the wormhunter's being as the gift granted.

A wormhunter gains a second gift at 3rd level, and a third at 5th level. He must secure a new Kyuss worm for each gift. Normally, a Kyuss worm dies after it leaves a spawn and doesn't immediately attach to a host, but alchemists have discovered that these worms can be stored in a state of dormancy inside a potion of gentle repose. Usually, these worms are stored for nefarious purposes, but a wormhunter can take advantage of them to activate one of his gifts. A preserved Kyuss worm costs 1,800 gp (this includes the cost of the potion of gentle repose), but is usually considered an illegal (at worst) or controlled (at best) commodity, and as such probably requires at least a DC 25 Gather Information check to track down a seller. Even then, Kyuss worms are generally not for sale in any settlement smaller than a large town.

Once a wormhunter selects a gift and its attendant form of madness, he cannot later change that gift or madness. Likewise, he cannot select a gift or madness more than once.

Kyussbane (Ex): A wormhunter is particularly skilled at fighting against the minions of Kyuss. He gains a bonus on all weapon damage rolls and checks to overcome spell resistance made against these creatures equal to his wormhunter level.

Detect Minion (Sp): If the wormhunter concentrates, he can sense the proximity of minions of Kyuss via a subtle tingling in his scars. This functions as the spell detect undead, but it only detects minions of Kyuss (be they undead or living). A wormhunter may use this ability at will.

Wormscarred (Su): At 2nd level, the wormhunter's body begins to develop patches of scarring. These scars are as much physical scars left from being infested by Kyuss worms as they are manifestations of the wormhunter's growing taint and lurking madness. The wormscarred wormhunter is immune to disease and gains a +2 bonus on all saving throws against poison.

Wormeaten (Su): At 4th level, a wormhunter's body carries the taint of Kyuss. This taint is detectable as a faint magic aura. It grants the wormhunter a +4 bonus on Bluff, Diplomacy, and Disguise checks made against or opposed by undead creatures, as other undead are strangely comforted and lulled by the taint. The character also gains a +2 bonus on saving throws made against attacks or spells from any minion of Kyuss. A wormeaten wormhunter need never fear infestation by Kyuss worms again - these worms interpret the taint as indication that the character is already a spawn of Kyuss, and do not attempt to infest him. Wormeaten wormhunters are immune to fear effects generated by the minions of Kyuss.

A wormeaten wormhunter takes a -2 penalty on all Bluff and Diplomacy checks made against living creatures (save for those made against other wormhunters), since the taint is somewhat unsettling to the living.

Gifts of the Worm

The touch of Kyuss blesses each wormhunter with a unique variety of abilities.

Cannibalization: One of your ability scores increases by 1 point, but at a cost - you must reduce two other ability scores by 1 point (or one other ability score by 2 points).

Increased Spellcasting: Choose a spellcasting class to which you belonged before you gained this Gift of the Worm. You gain new spells per day as if you had also gained a number of levels in this spellcasting class equal to the number of Gifts of the Worm you currently possess (including this one). You do not gain any other benefit a character of that class would have gained. If you gain additional Gifts of the Worm at a later date, the number of spellcasting levels granted by increased spellcasting does not increase.

Regained Lore: You gain a number of bonus feats equal to the number of Gifts of the Worm you currently possess (including this one). If you gain additional Gifts of the Worm at a later date, the number of bonus feats granted by regained lore does not increase.

Sinister Smite: You must have already selected the spiritual conduit gift and be able to rebuke or control undead in order to select this gift. Inflict wounds spells now function as if empowered and maximized when cast on you. Your body's ability to conduct negative energy grows to an extent that you gain the ability to channel negative energy in sudden bursts of power when you strike a particularly solid blow against a living creature. Whenever you deal sneak attack damage or score a critical hit on a living creature, you also deal 2 points of Strength damage to that creature.

Smite Undead: You must have already selected the spiritual conduit gift and be able to turn undead in order to select this gift. Cure wounds spells now function as if empowered and maximized when cast on you. Your body's ability to conduct positive energy grows to an extent that you gain the ability to channel positive energy in sudden bursts of power when you strike a particularly solid blow against undead. This ability allows you to critically hit or sneak snack undead creatures as if they were living creatures.

Spiritual Conduit: The worms have made your body more conductive to the type of energy you have chosen. All cure wounds and all inflict wounds spells cast on you function as if empowered. If you have the ability to turn or rebuke undead, your effective cleric level when turning or rebuking undead increases by an amount equal to the number of Gifts of the Worm you currently possess (including this one). If you gain additional Gifts of the Worm at a later date, the number of effective cleric levels granted by spiritual conduit does not increase.

Madness of the Worm

Even as his might empowers the wormhunter, the touch of Kyuss leaves no mortal mind unscarred.

Hypersomnia: You have extreme difficulty staying awake. You suffer a constant -2 penalty on all Wisdom-based skill checks. Additionally, whenever you are engaged in a repetitive activity (such as using Craft or Profession checks), you must make a DC 10 Will save (up to once per hour) to avoid falling asleep for an hour.

Insomnia: You have extreme difficulty falling asleep. Each time you try to rest, you must make a DC 20 Will save. Failure indicates that your sleep wasn't restful and you awaken fatigued.

Paranoia: You are convinced that the world and all that dwells within are out to do you harm. You cannot take the aid another action, nor can you ever receive bonuses on your own checks from an aid another action. You also take a -2 penalty on Bluff and Diplomacy checks.

Schizophrenia: You periodically lose your grip on reality and have difficulty at times telling the difference between what is real and what is hallucination. These constant hallucinations can cause you to appear erratic, chaotic, and unpredictable. You takes -2 penalty on all Charisma-based skill checks. If you ever roll a natural 1 when making any Charisma-based check, you must make a DC 15 Will save to avoid becoming confused for 1d4 rounds.

Terataphobia: A monstrous phobia is an irrational fear of a type of monster. Select one monster type from the list of ranger favored enemies. You now take -2 penalty on attack rolls, skill checks, and Will saving throws made against these monsters. If you possess immunity to fear from some other source, your immunity to fear effects do not apply to fear attacks generated by monsters from this category.

Tic Disorder: You have developed nervous, often violent spasms. These spasms cause a constant -1 penalty on all Reflex saving throws and Dexterity-based skill checks.