Previews04/13/2003


Excerpt: Blackguard



The blackguard epitomizes evil. He is nothing short of a mortal fiend. The quintessential black knight, this villain carries a reputation of the foulest sort that is very well deserved. Consorting with demons and devils and serving dark deities, the blackguard is hated and feared by all. Some people call these villains antipaladins due to their completely evil nature.

The blackguard has many options available to him -- sending forth dark minions and servants to do his bidding, attacking with stealth and honorless guile, or straightforward smiting of the forces of good that stand in his way. Fighters, ex-paladins, rangers, monks, druids, and barbarians make for indomitable combat-oriented blackguards, while rogues and bards who become blackguards are likely to stress the subtle aspects of their abilities and spells. Sorcerers, wizards, and clerics who become blackguards are sometimes called diabolists and favor dealing with fiends even more than other blackguards do.

As NPCs, blackguards usually lead legions of undead, evil outsiders, or other monsters to conquer their own doomed demesne or expand their existing territory. Sometimes they serve more powerful evil characters as dark lieutenants. On occasion they operate alone as hired killers or wandering purveyors of ill, destruction, and chaos.

Hit Die: d10.

Requirements

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

Alignment: Any evil.

Base Attack Bonus: +6.

Skills: Hide 5 ranks, Knowledge (religion) 2 ranks.

Feats: Cleave, Improved Sunder, Power Attack.

Special: The character must have made peaceful contact with an evil outsider who was summoned by him or someone else.

Class Skills

The blackguard's class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Handle Animal (Cha), Heal (Wis), Hide (Dex), Intimidate (Cha), Knowledge (religion) (Int), Profession (Wis), and Ride (Dex). See Chapter 4 of the Player's Handbook for skill descriptions.

Skill Points at Each Level: 2 + Int modifier.

Class Features

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

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Blackguards are proficient with all simple and martial weapons, with all types of armor, and with shields.

Aura of Evil (Ex): The power of a blackguard's aura of evil (see the detect evil spell) is equal to his class level plus his cleric level, if any.

Detect Good (Sp): At will, a blackguard can use detect good as a spell-like ability, duplicating the effect of the detect good spell.

Poison Use: Blackguards are skilled in the use of poison and never risk accidentally poisoning themselves when applying poison to a blade.

Dark Blessing (Su): A blackguard applies his Charisma modifier (if positive) as a bonus on all saving throws.

Spells: A blackguard has the ability to cast a small number of divine spells. To cast a blackguard spell, a blackguard must have a Wisdom score of at least 10 + the spell's level, so a blackguard with a Wisdom of 10 or lower cannot cast these spells. Blackguard bonus spells are based on Wisdom, and saving throws against these spells have a DC of 10 + spell level + the blackguard's Wisdom modifier. When the blackguard gets 0 spells per day of a given spell level (for instance, 1st-level spells for a 1st-level blackguard), he gains only the bonus spells he would be entitled to based on his Wisdom score for that spell level. The blackguard's spell list appears below. A blackguard has access to any spell on the list and can freely choose which to prepare, just as a cleric. A blackguard prepares and casts spells just as a cleric does (though a blackguard cannot spontaneously cast cure or inflict spells).

Smite Good (Su): Once a day, a blackguard of 2nd level or higher may attempt to smite good with one normal melee attack. He adds his Charisma modifier (if positive) to his attack roll and deals 1 extra point of damage per class level. For example, a 9th-level blackguard armed with a longsword would deal 1d8+9 points of damage, plus any additional bonuses from high Strength or magical effects that normally apply. If a blackguard accidentally smites a creature that is not good, the smite has no effect but it is still used up for that day.

At 5th level, and again at 10th level, a blackguard may smite good one additional time per day.

Aura of Despair (Su): Beginning at 3rd level, the blackguard radiates a malign aura that causes enemies within 10 feet of him to suffer a -2 penalty on all saving throws.

Command Undead (Su): When a blackguard reaches 3rd level, he gains the supernatural ability to command and rebuke undead (see the Player's Handbook, pages 139-140). He commands undead as would a cleric of two levels lower.

Sneak Attack: This ability, gained at 4th level, is like the rogue ability of the same name. The extra damage increases by +1d6 every third level beyond 4th (7th and 10th). If a blackguard gets a sneak attack bonus from another source (such as rogue levels), the bonuses on damage stack.

Blackguard Spell List

Blackguards choose their spells from the following list:

1st Level: cause fear, cure light wounds, doom, inflict light wounds, magic weapon, summon monster I*.

2nd Level: bull's strength, cure moderate wounds, darkness, death knell, eagle's splendor, inflict moderate wounds, shatter, summon monster II*.

3rd Level: contagion, cure serious wounds, deeper darkness, inflict serious wounds, protection from elements, summon monster III*.

4th Level: cure critical wounds, freedom of movement, inflict critical wounds, poison, summon monster IV*.

* Evil creatures only.

Table 6-6: The Blackguard
Class
Level
Base
Attack
Fort
Save
Ref
Save
Will
Save
Special -- Spells per Day --
1st 2nd 3rd 4th
1st +1 +2 +0 +0 Aura of evil, detect good, poison use 0 -- -- --
2nd +2 +3 +0 +0 Dark blessing, smite good 1/day 1 -- -- --
3rd +3 +3 +1 +1 Command undead, aura of despair 1 0 -- --
4th +4 +4 +1 +1 Sneak attack +1d6 1 1 -- --
5th +5 +4 +1 +1 Fiendish servant, smite good 2/day 1 1 0 --
6th +6 +5 +2 +2 1 1 1 --
7th +7 +5 +2 +2 Sneak attack +2d6 2 1 1 0
8th +8 +6 +2 +2 2 1 1 1
9th +9 +6 +3 +3 2 2 1 1
10th +10 +7 +3 +3 Sneak attack +3d6, smite good 3/day 2 2 2 1
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