Evil / Undead Class : Life-Eater
The Shadow Path
By James Wyatt
The life eaters are a cult of assassins devoted to Baphomet, and the cult is part of a loosely-organized network that spans Faerûn. Their name comes from the ability of the leaders of the cult to literally consume the life energy of a slain victim, in much the same manner as a barghest does. Though their ultimate aim is bound up with three thousand years of esoteric prophecy, a secondary goal of the order -- and the only one most of its members care about -- is to spread disorder and mayhem in the name of their patron to the ultimate benefit of all that is chaotic and evil, especially themselves.
Many life eaters are rogues with at least a few levels in a class, such as cleric or wizard, that has Knowledge (religion) as a class skill. A few are bards, while a great number are monsters that, like mind flayers, can meet the skill Requirements with little or no effort. All are servants of Baphomet, the demon lord who is patron deity of minotaurs as well as the figurehead of an evil cult spread throughout Faerûn's Underdark.
Life eaters usually work together in small cells, though they never trust each other. Cells break apart and reform with new configurations of members on a regular basis, with the strongest personalities pulling cells together. A small number of life eaters, mostly outside the Underdark, operate completely independently, reporting to no one but Baphomet himself.
To qualify to become a Life-Eater, a character must fulfill all the following criteria:
- Alignment: Chaotic evil.
- Skills: Bluff 5 ranks, Hide 6 ranks, Intimidate 7 ranks, Knowledge (religion) 8 ranks, Move Silently 5 ranks.
- Feats: Dodge.
- Patron: Baphomet.
The life eater's class skills are Balance, Bluff, Climb, Disguise, Escape Artist, Gather Information, Hide, Intimidate, Jump, Knowledge (religion), Listen, Move Silently, Open Lock, Sense Motive, Sleight of Hand, and Spot.
Skill Points at Each Level: 6 + Int modifier.
The following are Class Features of the life eater. Unless otherwise specified, a life eater's spell-like abilities are used with a caster level equal to the life eater's class level and a saving throw DC of 10 + the spell level + his Charisma modifier.
Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Life eaters gain no additional weapon or armor proficiency.
Deathwatch (Su): At 1st level, a life eater gains a supernatural understanding of life and living souls. He is always aware of how near death creatures around him are, as if under the effects of a deathwatch spell. His caster level (for purposes of determining range only, not duration) is equal to his life eater level.
Poison Use (Ex): Life eaters are trained in the use of poison and never risk accidentally poisoning themselves when applying poison to a blade.
Sneak Attack (Ex): If a life eater can catch an opponent when she is unable to defend herself effectively from his attack, he can strike a vital spot for extra damage. Any time the life eater's target would be denied her Dexterity bonus to AC (whether she actually has a Dexterity bonus or not), or when the life eater flanks the target, the life eater's attack deals extra damage. The extra damage is +1d6 at 2nd level and an additional 1d6 every three levels thereafter. This extra damage stacks with any extra sneak attack damage the character already deals. Thus, a rogue 7/life eater 5 deals +6d6 damage with a sneak attack: +4d6 from his rogue levels and +2d6 from his life eater levels.
Should the life eater score a critical hit with a sneak attack, this extra damage is not multiplied. Ranged attacks can count as sneak attacks only if the target is within 30 feet. With a sap (blackjack) or unarmed strike, the life eater can make a sneak attack that deals subdual damage instead of normal damage. He cannot use a weapon that deals normal damage to deal subdual damage in a sneak attack, not even with the usual -4 penalty, because he must make optimal use of his weapon in order to execute a sneak attack.
A life eater can only sneak attack living creatures with discernible anatomies -- undead, constructs, oozes, plants, and incorporeal creatures lack vital areas to attack. Additionally, any creature that is immune to critical hits is also not vulnerable to sneak attacks. Also, the life eater must be able to see the target well enough to pick out a vital spot and must be able to reach a vital spot. The life eater cannot sneak attack while striking a creature with concealment or striking the limbs of a creature whose vitals are beyond reach.
Death Knell (Sp): A life eater of at least 2nd level can use death knell as a spell-like ability three times per day.
Chill Touch (Sp): At 3rd level, a life eater gains the ability to use chill touch as a spell-like ability three times per day.
Hide in Plain Sight (Su): A 4th-level life eater can use the Hide skill even while being observed. As long as he is within 10 feet of some sort of shadow, a life eater can hide himself from view in the open without anything to actually hide behind. A life eater cannot, however, hide in his own shadow.
Wounding Sneak Attack (Su): At 5th level, any time a life eater delivers a sneak attack, the wound bleeds for 1 point of damage per round thereafter in addition to the normal damage from the attack. Multiple wounding sneak attacks result in cumulative bleeding loss (two wounds for 2 points of damage per round, and so on). The bleeding can be stopped only by a successful Heal check (DC 15) or the application of any cure spell or other healing spell.
Fatiguing Touch (Sp): Once per day, a 6th-level life eater can cause a creature to become fatigued by touching that creature. The target receives a Will save to negate the effect. This is a necromantic effect and does not affect undead or constructs. A fatigued creature cannot run or charge and suffers an effective penalty of -2 to Strength and Dexterity. A fatigued creature becomes exhausted by doing something else that would normally cause fatigue. This effect lasts until the victim rests for 8 hours.
Enervation (Sp): A 7th-level life eater can use this spell-like ability once per day.
Draining Sneak Attack (Su): At 8th level, any time a life eater delivers a sneak attack, the victim gains a negative level. After 24 hours, the victim must make a successful Fortitude save (DC 10 + the life eater's class level + his Charisma modifier) or lose a level. This is cumulative with the wounding sneak attack ability.
Destruction (Sp): A 9th-level life eater can use this spell-like ability once per day.
Feed (Su): When a 10th-level life eater slays a living opponent, he can feed on the corpse, devouring both flesh and life force. While a barghest can perform this grisly task in a single round, it requires a full hour for a life eater to complete. When a life eater consumes a once-living creature, he gains a +1 inherent bonus to his Constitution score for every 4 HD or levels the creature possessed, to a maximum of +5. As with other inherent bonuses, the bonuses gained from feeding do not stack with each other or with other inherent bonuses. Thus, once a life eater consumes a 4-HD creature, gaining a +1 inherent bonus, he must feed on a creature with at least 8 HD to increase that bonus to +2. Feeding destroys the victim's body and prevents any form of raising or resurrection that requires part of the corpse. A wish, miracle, or true resurrection spell can restore a devoured victim to life, but there is a 50% chance that even such powerful magic will fail.
|Life-Eater||Hit Die: d6|
|1st||+0||+2||+2||+2||Deathwatch, poison use|
|2nd||+1||+3||+3||+3||Sneak attack +1d6, death knell|
|4th||+3||+4||+4||+4||Hide in plain sight|
|5th||+3||+4||+4||+4||Sneak attack +2d6, wounding sneak attack|
|8th||+6||+6||+6||+6||Sneak attack +3d6, draining sneak attack|
Older Prestige class adapted to 3.5