In this column, we present several new epic feats designed for vile characters, new rules on epic poisons, an epic-level progression for the diabolist prestige class, and a brand new epic prestige class (the warlord of utterdark). All of these epic-level progressions enhance the rules provided in the Epic Level Handbook and the Book of Vile Darkness.
New Epic Feats
For information on vile feats, you will need a copy of the Book of Vile Darkness.
Automatic Vile Spell [Epic, Metamagic]
Epic Evil Brand [Epic, Vile]
Epic Poison Crafter [Epic]
Vile Deathstrike [Epic, Vile]
Vile Smite [Epic, Vile]
While most high-level characters largely ignore the threat of deadly toxins, some particularly devious villains have devised variant poisons that bypass common defenses. These poisons, often referred to as antimagic poisons, are effectively an antimagic field in toxic liquid (or gel) form. As such, they are totally unaffected by any magical effects that might protect against their effects, including spells such as delay poison or neutralize poison, supernatural resistances or immunities to poison, or even magical bonuses on saves against poison (such as from a cloak of resistance or periapt of proof against poison). Even nonpermanent enhancements to the victim's ability scores do not apply to saves to resist antimagic poisons.
Furthermore, magical means are useless in restoring ability damage inflicted by these toxins. Only rest can restore such losses.
Heal checks made to tend wounds poisoned by such toxins work normally, and antitoxin's alchemical bonus to saves still applies.
Perhaps thankfully, only a few such toxins exist, and the secret of their making -- indeed, of their very existence -- is not widely known. Only those who have selected the Epic Poison Crafter feat (see above) can attempt to create such poisons. Characters without this feat cannot even assist in the creation of epic poisons. Below is a list of these poisons.
Much like epic magic items, crafting epic poisons uses slightly altered rules from crafting standard poisons. First, the character must spend one-third of the market price in raw materials. If the Craft (poisonmaking) or Alchemy check is successful, multiply the check result by the DC for the check. That result indicates how many tens of gold pieces' worth of poison are created that week. For example, an assassin crafting lyzeum begins by spending 110,000 gp in raw materials. On his first Craft (poisonmaking) skill check, he rolls a 71. Multiplying this result by the DC of 59 results in a total of 4,189, which means that he has created 41,890 gp worth of poison -- roughly 1/8 of a dose. Assuming similar success, the task will be complete in another seven weeks or so.
The epic diabolist seeks to build her power base and prepare for that inevitable day when she takes her rightful place as one of the rulers of hell itself. Though she may bargain with archdevils, she does so from a position of equality.
The epic diabolist should look to feats that strengthen her greatest power: her spellcasting ability. Epic Spell Focus and Epic Spell Penetration are excellent choices, as are Improved Spell Capacity and Improved Metamagic. Epic Evil Brand displays her allegiance (and power) for all to see. And, of course, vile feats are always attractive.
The epic diabolist's ability increases usually go toward the ability that controls her spellcasting (Intelligence, Wisdom, or Charisma). If she enjoys casting corrupt spells, she should also consider boosting any ability commonly drawn upon by such spells.
Other Options: Epic diabolists with divine spellcasting abilities can pick up Improved Alignment-Based Casting. Those looking to build an army should try Epic Leadership and Legendary Commander.
Hit Die: d4.
Skill Points at Each Additional Level: 4 + Int modifier.
Spells: The epic diabolist's caster level increases by 1 per level gained above 10th. In addition, at every level, the epic diabolist gains new spells per day as if she had also gained a level in whatever spellcasting class she belonged to before she added the prestige class, up to the number of spells per day possessed by a 20th-level character of that class.
Diabolism: At 13th level, and every 3 levels thereafter, the diabolist can choose to grant one of her spells greater magical power one additional time per day.
At 15th level, and every 5 levels thereafter, the unholy damage dealt by one of these spells increases by +1d6 (+4d6 at 15th, +5d6 at 20th, and so forth).
Bonus Feats: The epic diabolist gains a bonus feat (selected from the list of epic diabolist feats) every 4 levels after 10th.
Epic Diabolist Bonus Feat List: Automatic Quicken Spell, Automatic Silent Spell, Automatic Still Spell, Automatic Violate Spell (new feat; see above), Enhance Spell, Epic Evil Brand (new feat; see above), Epic Reputation, Epic Spell Focus, Epic Spell Penetration, Epic Spellcasting, Familiar Spell, Ignore Material Components, Improved Alignment-Based Casting, Improved Combat Casting, Improved Heighten Spell, Improved Metamagic, Improved Spell Capacity, Intensify Spell, Multispell, Permanent Emanation, Spell Knowledge, Spell Opportunity, Spell Stowaway, Spontaneous Spell, Tenacious Magic. In addition, the epic diabolist can select any vile feat (see the Book of Vile Darkness) as a bonus feat.
Warlord of Utterdark
The warlord of utterdark is the personification of evil. He may be cold and calculating or savage and brutal, but one fact remains crystal clear: He is evil incarnate and the sworn foe of all who hold good and mercy dear to their hearts.
The path of utterdark attracts fighters, barbarians, rangers, monks, and even fallen paladins. However, most warlords of utterdark come from the ranks of blackguards or warriors of darkness (see the Book of Vile Darkness).
A warlord of utterdark can rule an army of like-minded individuals, or he may serve an even more powerful master of evil, whether mortal or divine. They care nothing for rank or personal honor -- only the performance of vile deeds upon innocents interests them.
Hit Die: d10.
To qualify to become a warlord of utterdark, a character must fulfill all the following criteria.
Alignment: Any evil.
Base Attack Bonus: +21.
Skills: Alchemy 12 ranks, Hide 15 ranks, Knowledge (arcana) 9 ranks, Knowledge (religion) 9 ranks, Speak Language (Abyssal and Infernal), Spellcraft 6 ranks.
Feats: Cleave, Evil Brand, Great Cleave, Iron Will, Power Attack, Sunder, Vile Martial Strike (or Vile Ki Strike or Vile Natural Attack).
Special: The character must endure a month-long ritual of black magic performed by an evil spellcaster of at least 21st level or an evil outsider of at least 21 HD.
The warlord of utterdark's class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Alchemy (Int), Bluff (Cha), Climb (Str), Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Handle Animal (Cha), Heal (Wis), Intimidate (Cha), Jump (Str), Knowledge (arcana) (Int), Knowledge (the planes) (Int), Knowledge (religion) (Int), Move Silently (Dex), Profession (Wis), Ride (Dex), Scry (Int), and Spellcraft (Int). See Chapter 4: Skills in the Player's Handbook for skill descriptions.
Skill Points at Each Level: 4 + Int modifier.
All of the following are class features of the warlord of utterdark prestige class.
Weapon and Armor Proficiency: A warlord of utterdark gains proficiency with all simple and martial weapons, with all types of armor, and with shields.
Darkvision (Ex): At 1st level, the warlord of utterdark gains darkvision 120 feet. This overlaps (but does not stack with) any darkvision the character may already possess.
Bulwark of Evil (Su): The warlord of utterdark gains a +1 profane bonus to saves against good spells. All evil allies within 30 feet of the warlord share this save bonus. The profane bonus increases by +1 every four levels thereafter (+2 at 5th level, +3 at 9th level, and so on).
The warlord of utterdark radiates evil as if he were an evil outsider.
VileStrike (Ex): Beginning at 2nd level, the warlord of utterdark deals 1 additional point of vile damage with any weapon or natural weapon attack. This additional vile damage increases by 1 additional point for every four levels gained thereafter (6th, 10th, and so on).
Dark God's Blessing (Su): At 3rd level, the warlord of utterdark can apply a +5 luck bonus to a single attack roll, skill check, ability check, or saving throw once per day. Using this ability is a free action but must be declared before the roll is made.
At 7th level, and every four levels thereafter, the warlord of utterdark can call upon this blessing one additional time per day (twice at 7th level, three times at 11th, four times at 15th, and so on).
Bonus Feats: The warlord of utterdark gains a bonus feat at 4th level and an additional bonus feat every 4 levels thereafter (8th, 12th, 16th, and so on). These bonus feats must be selected from the following list: Armor Skin, Damage Reduction, Devastating Critical, Epic Leadership, Epic Poison Crafter (new feat; see above), Epic Prowess, Epic Reputation, Epic Toughness, Epic Weapon Focus, Epic Will, Improved Darkvision, Legendary Commander, Overwhelming Critical, Perfect Health.
Game Resources: To use the material in this article to its fullest, check out the Epic Level Handbook, and grab a copy of theBook of Vile Darkness. Of course, you'll also need the Player's Handbook, Dungeon Master's Guide, and the Monster Manual.
About the Author
Andy Collins is the co-designer of the Epic Level Handbook. Read more about him and his projects at www.andycollins.net.
©1995-2008 Wizards of the Coast, Inc., a subsidiary of Hasbro, Inc. All Rights Reserved.