Epic Insights
Murmur, Epic Infiltrator
By Andy Collins

Murmur is a master spy. Sometimes called "The Unrepentant" for his cold, callous nature, Murmur is a professional in every sense of the word. Murmur isn't the name he was born with, but his birth moniker is lost to the past. In fact, very little is known about the man beyond a few rumors -- some claim that he's the bastard child of a minor lord or even royalty, others that he grew up among elves, and a few whisper that he gained some of his power due to a bargain with a demon prince. Depending on your campaign, some, all, or none of these stories might be true.

As his name suggests, Murmur tends to speak in low tones when not "in character." He hides his true face behind a silk veil when meeting with potential employers, and he also uses a variety of other mundane or magical disguises. Even those who believe they've seen his true visage are almost certainly mistaken, for he guards his appearance as much as any other part of his identity.

Murmur rarely carries a weapon larger than a dagger since he prefers to rely on his spellcasting ability to deliver deadly touch attacks to his chosen victim. If confronted, he always prefers escape over defense, and if escape is impossible, he quickly surrenders if outmatched. After all, being alive makes it easier to escape later.

Murmur knows a lot of secrets about a lot of people. Those who have crossed his path know that he is not to be trifled with, since he has no compunction against destroying someone's reputation and social and political standing for even the slightest offense. He has absolutely no conscience and respects nothing but gold.

Murmur has a variety of often-used disguises, but he has three favorite cover identities (see Improved Cover Identity, below). The first is Ithkan, a low-level human male sorcerer who specializes in buying and selling magic items and other special trinkets. Ithkan knows all the movers and shakers in the world of magic, and he is a great contact for PCs looking to track down a rare item or spell. The second identity is Meleanna, a female elven bard who plays in all the finest theaters and in various royal courts. More than a few dukes and barons have lusted after the enigmatic performer, without ever suspecting her true identity. The third cover identity is purposefully left to the DM to decide -- it might be a minor functionary in the royal bureaucracy, a lieutenant in the local thieves' guild, the consort of an elven princess, or anything else appropriate to the campaign.

Using Murmur

In your campaign, Murmur could serve any of a variety of roles. If your PCs have been causing too much trouble for a powerful individual or organization (and really, doesn't that describe just about every group of PCs?), Murmur can be sent to assassinate one of them, steal a valuable item, or even just learn the characters' deepest secrets, enabling a more potent strike to be made at a later point. Perhaps the PCs are charged with the task of intercepting the infiltrator before he completes a task or even stealing something back from him after the job is done. Alternatively, the PCs might find themselves in the need of an expert information gatherer and hire Murmur for a job.

Customizing Murmur

Replace one or more levels of sorcerer with rogue or assassin levels to make Murmur a more accomplished sneak thanks to the extra skill points. To change Murmur to a less cold-blooded professional, replace his assassin levels with additional rogue levels and the Improved Death Attack epic feat with Improved Sneak Attack.

If you need to increase Murmur's CR, add levels in one or more classes. Additional rogue levels can give him access to one or more rogue special abilities, such as improved evasion or slippery mind. More sorcerer levels open up the possibility of higher-level spells, such as teleport. Adding to Murmur's assassin level focuses his talents in a particularly deadly manner, while increasing his epic infiltrator level gives him additional uses of some of his special abilities.

Murmur: Male half-elf Rogue 7/Sorcerer 8/Assassin 6/Epic Infiltrator 4; CR 25; Medium-size humanoid; HD 7d6+7 plus 8d4+8 plus 6d6+6 plus 4d6+4; hp 104; Init +10; Spd 30 ft.; AC 25, touch 19, flat-footed 25; Atk +18 melee touch (by spell), or +22 ranged touch (by spell), or +22/+17/+12 melee (1d4+6/19-20, +4 dagger), or +22/+17/+12 melee (1d3+2, unarmed strike); SA death attack, sneak attack +9d6; SQ +3 save against poison, evasion, far senses 1/day, half-elf traits, improved cover identity, low-light vision, mind blank 1/day, posion use, read thoughts 1/day, specialist training (Diplomacy, Gather Information, Intimidate, Sense Motive), traps, uncanny dodge (Dex bonus to AC, can't be flanked, +1 against traps); AL NE; SV Fort +15, Ref +24, Will +17; Str 14, Dex 22, Con 13, Int 25, Wis 12, Cha 24.

Skills and Feats: Bluff +37, Diplomacy +25, Disable Device +24, Disguise +37, Forgery +17, Gather Information +29, Hide +22, Intimidate +16, Knowledge (arcana) +13, Knowledge (history) +9, Knowledge (local) +12, Listen +16, Move Silently +22, Open Lock +18, Perform (ballad, comedy, dance, epic, flute, lute, lyre, mime, poetry, storytelling) +17, Read Lips +8, Search +22, Sense Motive +14, Spot +21; Alertness, Dodge, Great Fortitude, Improved Death Attack, Improved Initiative, Polyglot, Scribe Scroll, Silent Spell, Skill Focus (Bluff), Weapon Finesse (unarmed strike).

Death Attack (Ex): Murmur can study a victim for 3 rounds then make successful melee sneak attack to kill or paralyze target. A successful Fortitude save (DC 25) negates the effect.

Evasion (Ex): If exposed to any effect that normally allows a character to attempt a Reflex saving throw for half damage, Murmur takes no damage with a successful saving throw.

Far Senses (Su): Murmur can extend his vision or hearing into an area beyond his normal range, once per day, to a distance of 100 feet. He must have visited the location earlier. This effect is otherwise similar to clairaudience/clairvoyance (caster level 15th).

Half-Elf Traits: Murmur is immune to magic sleep spells and effects. He has a +2 racial bonus on saves against enchantment spells or effects and a +1 racial bonus on Listen, Spot, and Search checks (already figured into the statistics given above).

Improved Cover Identity (Ex/Su): Murmur has three favored cover identities, as described above. While operating in one of these cover identities, Murmur gains a +4 circumstance bonus on Disguise checks and a +2 circumstance bonus on Bluff and Gather Information checks. Murmur can switch between cover identities or don a disguise in 1d3 minutes. He can also put on or take off armor in half the normal time. Murmur has an ongoing undetectable alignment effect protecting him. This last effect is a supernatural ability.

Mind Blank (Sp): Once per day Murmur can use mind blank on himself (caster level 15th).

Poison Use: Murmur never risks accidentally poisoning himself when applying poison to a blade.

Read Thoughts (Su): Murmur can "hear" the surface thoughts of a single target once per day, as though using a detect thoughts spell.

Specialist Training (Ex): Murmur has focused his craft on interaction and thus gains a +3 bonus to Diplomacy, Gather Information, Intimidate, and Sense Motive checks (included above).

Sorcerer Spells Known (6/8/8/7/4; save DC 17 + spell level): 0 -- detect magic, detect poison, ghost sound, light, mage hand, mending, open/close, ray of frost; 1st -- chill touch, mage armor, Nystul's undetectable aura, spider climb, true strike; 2nd -- obscure object, see invisibility, spectral hand; 3rd -- gaseous form, haste; 4th -- improved invisibility.

Assassin Spells Prepared (3/3/3; save DC 17 + spell level): 1st -- change self (2), obscuring mist; 2nd -- darkness (2), pass without trace; 3rd -- deeper darkness, invisibility (2).

Spellbook: 1st -- change self, detect poison, ghost sound, obscuring mist, spider climb; 2nd -- alter self, darkness, pass without trace, undetectable alignment; 3rd -- deeper darkness, invisibility, misdirection, nondetection.

Possessions:Bracers of armor +6, ring of protection +3, +4 dagger, gloves of Dexterity +6, circlet of Charisma +6, cloak of resistance +4, goggles of night, amulet of proof against detection and location, tome of clear thought +5 (read), 2 arcane scrolls of dimension door, masterwork thieves' tools, disguise kit, spell component pouch, 1d4 doses each of deathblade poison, dragon bile, and dark reaver powder, several changes of clothes, various props and tools.

About the Author

Andy Collins served as the lead developer for the Revised Player's Handbook and was a co-designer of the Epic Level Handbook. He thanks all the visitors to www.andycollins.net for their inspirations for this column.


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