General Prestige Class : 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 anti-paladins 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 bardic 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.
To qualify to become a Blackguard, a character must fulfill all the following criteria:
- Alignment: Any evil.
- Skills: Knowledge (religion) 2 ranks, Hide 5 ranks.
- Feats: Cleave, Improved Sunder, Power Attack.
- Base Attack Bonus: +6.
- Special: The blackguard must have made peaceful contact with an evil outsider who was summoned by him or someone else to have contracted the taint of true evil.
Skill Points at Each Level: 2 + Int modifier.
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. Note that armor check penalties for armor heavier than leather apply to the skills Balance, Climb, Escape Artist, Hide, Jump, Move Silently, Pick Pocket, and Tumble.
Detect Good: At will, the blackguard can detect good as a spell-like ability. This ability duplicates the effects of the spell detect good.
Poison Use: Blackguards are skilled in the use of poison and never risk accidentally poisoning themselves when applying poison to a blade.
Dark Blessing: A blackguard applies his Charisma modifier (if positive) as a bonus to all saving throws.
Spells: Beginning at 1st level, a blackguard gains the ability to cast a small number of divine spells. To cast a spell, the 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 a spells of a given level, such as 0 1st-level spells at 1st level, he gets only bonus spells. (A blackguard without a bonus spell for that level cannot yet cast a spell of that 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 like a cleric. A blackguard prepares and casts spells just as a cleric does (though the blackguard cannot spontaneously cast cure or inflict spells).
Smite Good: 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 the blackguard accidentally smites a creature that is not good, the smite, has no effect but it is still used up for that day. Smite good is a supernatural ability.
Aura of Despair: Beginning at 3rd level, the blackguard radiates a malign aura that causes enemies within 10 feet of him to suffer a -2 morale penalty on all saving throws. Aura of despair is a supernatural ability.
Command Undead: When a blackguard teaches 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: If a blackguard can catch an opponent when she is unable to defend herself effectively from his attack, he can strike a vital spot for extra damage. Basically, any time the blackguard's target would be denied her Dexterity bonus to AC (whether she actually has a Dexterity bonus or not), the blackguard's attack deals +1d6 points of damage at 4th level and an additional +1d6 points for every three levels thereafter (+2d6 at 7th level, +3d6 at 10th level, and so on). Should the blackguard score a critical hit with a sneak attack, this extra damage is not multiplied.
Ranged attacks only count as sneak attacks if the target is 30 feet away or less. A blackguard cannot make a sneak attack to deal subdual damage. The blackguard must be able to see the target well enough to pick out a vital spot and must be able to teach a vital spot. He cannot sneak attack while striking at a creature with concealment or by striking the limbs of a creature whose vitals are beyond reach.
A blackguard can only sneak attack living creatures with discernible anatomies. Undead, constructs, oozes, plants, and incorporeal creatures lack vital areas to attack. Additionally, any creature immune to critical hits is not subject to sneak attacks.
If a blackguard gets a sneak attack bonus from another source (such as rogue levels), the bonuses to damage stack.
|Blackguard||Hit Dice: d10|
|1st||+1||+2||+0||+0||Detect good, poison use||0||-||-||-|
|2nd||+2||+3||+0||+0||Dark blessing, smite good||1||-||-||-|
|3rd||+3||+3||+1||+1||Command undead, aura of despair||1||0||-||-|
|4th||+4||+4||+1||+1||Sneak attack +1d6||1||1||-||-|
|7th||+7||+5||+2||+2||Sneak attack +2d6||2||1||1||0|
|10th||+10||+7||+3||+3||Sneak attack +3d6||2||2||2||1|
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, 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.
Blackguards who possess levels of paladin (that is to say, are now ex-paladins) gain extra abilities the more levels of paladin they possess. Those who have tasted the light of goodness and justice and turned away make the foulest villains.
Fallen Paladin Blackguard Abilities
|Paladin Levels||Extra Ability|
|1-2||Smite good once per day. (This is in addition to the ability granted to all blackguards at 2nd level, so that a fallen paladin blackguard can smite good a total of twice per day.)|
|3-4||Lay on hands. Once per day, the blackguard can cure himself of damage equal to his Charisma bonus times his level. The blackguard can only cure himself or his fiendish servant with this spell-like ability.|
|5-6||Sneak attack damage increased by +1d6.|
|7-8||Fiendish summoning. Once per day, the blackguard can use a summon monster I spell to call forth an evil creature. For this spell, the caster level is double the blackguard's class level.|
|9-10||Undead companion. In addition to the fiendish servant, the blackguard gains (at 5th level) a Medium-size skeleton or zombie as a companion. This companion cannot be turned or rebuked by another and gains all special bonuses as a fiendish servant when the blackguard gains levels.|
|11+||Favored of the dark deities. Evil deities like nothing more than to see a pure heart corrupted, and thus a fallen paladin of this stature immediately gains a blackguard level for each level of paladin he trades in. For example, a character who has twelve levels of paladin can immediately become a 10th-level blackguard with all abilities if he chooses to lose ten levels of paladin. The character level of the character does not change. This, of course, is in every way a profitable trade for the evil character, since he has already lost most of the benefits he gained from having those paladin levels. However, with the loss of paladin levels, the character no longer gains extra abilities found on this table. Thus, a fallen paladin of 15th level could become a 10th-level blackguard/5th-level paladin with the first three extra abilities on this chart because of those five levels of paladin.|
Upon or after reaching 5th level, a blackguard can call a fiendish bat, cat, dire rat, horse, pony, raven, or toad to serve him. (See the Monster Manual for these creatures' basic statistics.) This creature may be used as a guardian (such as a bat), a helper (such as a cat), or a mount (such as a horse). The blackguard's servant further gains HD and special abilities based on the blackguard's character level.
The blackguard may have only one fiendish servant at a time. Should the blackguard's servant die, he may call for another one after one day. The new fiendish servant has all the accumulated abilities due a servant of the blackguard's current level.
|Blackguard LvL||Bonus HD||Nat. Armor||Str Adj||Int||Special|
|12 or less||+2 HD||+1||+1||6||Improved evasion, share spells, empathic link, share saving throws|
|13-15||+4 HD||+3||+2||7||Speak with blackguard|
|19-20||+8 HD||+7||+4||9||Spell resistance|
Blackguard Lvl: The character level of the blackguard (his blackguard level plus his original class level).
Bonus HD: These are extra d8 Hit Dice, each of which gains a Constitution modifier, as normal. Extra Hit Dice improve the servant's base attack and base save bonuses, as normal.
Natural Armor: This is a bonus to the servant's natural armor rating.
Str Adj.: Add this figure to the servant's Strength score.
Int: The servant's Intelligence score. (The fiendish servant is smarter than normal animals of its kind.)
Improved Evasion: If the servant is subjected to an attack that normally allows a Reflex saving throw for half damage, it takes no damage on a successful saving throw and only half damage on a failed saving throw. Improved evasion is an extraordinary ability.
Share Spells: At the blackguard's option, he may have any spell he casts on himself also affect his servant. The servant must be within 5 feet. If the spell has a duration other than instantaneous, the spell stops affecting the servant if it moves farther than 5 feet away and will not affect the servant again even if the servant returns to the blackguard before the duration expires. Additionally, the blackguard may cast a spell with a target of "You" on his servant (as a touch range spell) instead of on himself. The blackguard and the servant can share spells even if the spells normally do not affect creatures of the servant's type (magical beast).
Empathic Link: The blackguard has an empathic link with the servant out to a distance of up to one mile. The blackguard cannot see through the servant's eyes, but they can communicate telepathically. Even intelligent servants see the world differently from humans, so misunderstandings are always possible. This empathic link is a supernatural ability.
Because of the empathic link between the servant and the blackguard, the blackguard has the same connection to a place or an item that the servant does.
Share Saving Throws: The servant uses its own base save or the blackguard's, whichever is higher.
Speak with Blackguard: The blackguard and servant can communicate verbally as if they were using a common language. Other creatures do not understand the communication without magical help.
Blood Bond: The servant gains a +2 bonus to all attacks, checks, and saves if it witnesses the blackguard threatened or harmed. This bonus lasts as long as the threat is immediate and apparent.
Spell Resistance: The servant's spell resistance equals the blackguard's level + 5. To affect the servant with a spell, a spellcaster must make a caster level check (1d20 + caster level) at least equal to the servant's spell resistance.
Dragons as Fiendish Servants
If your campaign includes blackguards, such a character use these rules to recruit a dragon as his fiendish servant. Compare the blackguard's character and class level to: Dragon Fiendish Servant Availability. If the blackguard is of sufficient level, he may select an available dragon as his fiendish servant after taking the Dragon Cohort feat.
As with a dragon special mount, a dragon fiendish servant gains special abilities at a rate based on the level at which the servant first becomes available. This means that the most powerful dragon fiendish servants don't get all the typical abilities of a fiendish servant.
|Dragon Fiendish Servant Availability|
|Character Level*||Dragon (Maximum Rider Size)|
|9th (5th)||Dragonnel (M)|
|12th (6th)||White, young (5)|
|12th (6th)||Wyvern (L)|
|13th (7th)||Black, young (5)|
|16th (8th)||Green, young (5)|
|17th (9th)||Blue, young (5)|
|17th (9th)||Dragon turtle (L)|
|17th (9th)||White, juvenile (5)|
|18th (9th)||Black, juvenile (5)|
|19th (10th)||Red, young (M)|
|20th (10th)||Green, juvenile (M)|
|*The minimum blackguard level is in parentheses.|
A dragon fiendish servant gains abilities much as a typical fiendish servant, though at a rate based on the blackguard's character level at which the mount first becomes available. This means that the most powerful dragon fiendish servants don't get all the typical abilities of a fiendish servant.
Bonus HD: Treat the same as bonus HD for a regular fiendish servant, except that these are extra twelve-sided (d12) Hit Dice.
Int: The "Intelligence" column only applies to those dragons whose Intelligence score is lower than that value (that is, a dragon fiendish servant with an Intelligence higher than the given value retains its normal Intelligence).
Improved Speed: This ability applies to all of the dragon's modes of movement, including land speed, fly speed, and even burrow speed or swim speed if the dragon possesses one or both).
Share Spells: This ability applies only to spells that the blackguard casts. The dragon can't elect for spells that it casts on itself to also affect the blackguard.
Spell Resistance: The spell resistance gained by a dragon fiendish servant doesn't stack with any natural spell resistance it might have. Only the higher value applies.
|Dragon Fiendish Servant Abilities|
|Blackguard Level (by Servant's Availability)*|
|9th||10th-13th||14th-17th||18th-20th||Bon. HD||Nat. Armor Adj.||Str. Adj.||Int||Special|
|9th-10th||10th-14th||14th-18th||18th-20th||+2||4||+1||6||Improved evasion, share spell, empathic link, share saving throws|
|*The boldface column headers (9th, 10th-13th, etc.) represent the character level (or a range of levels) at which a servant of a certain kind becomes available. The number ranges below the header in each column are the blackguard levels at which the fiendish servant has the characteristics indicated on the right-hand side of the table.|
Source: Dungeon Master's Guide v.3.5