General Prestige Class : Cipher

by Christopher Campbell, Dragon #287

The Transcendent Order calls its members ciphers, because no one can figure them out. Ciphers believe actions speak louder than words and thinking wastes time. They act on their environment instead of reacting to it. Fighters and monks are most attracted to this philosophy, seeking that elusive balance where thought and deed are simultaneous. Wizards and clerics have a difficult time adopting the philosophy, because their spellcasting requires preparation and forethought, but bards and sorcerers embrace the Transcendent Order for its spontaneity.


To qualify to become a Cipher, a character must fulfill all the following criteria:

Class Skills

The cipher's class skills are Balance, Climb, Concentration, Escape Artist, Hide, Jump, Move Silently, Ride, Sense Motive, Swim, and Tumble.

Skill Points at Each Level: 2 + Int modifier.

Class Features

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

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Characters who take a level of cipher gain no special proficiency with armor, shields, or weapons.

Improved Unarmed Strike: Ciphers are trained to use their bodies as weapons and gain this feat at 1st level.

Locate Weakness: By concentrating and focusing her inner energy, the cipher can make devastating attacks against inanimate objects. If the cipher attacks an object with a full attack action and succeeds at a Concentration check (DC 10 + object's hardness), she can ignore the object's hardness when calculating damage for her attacks that round. The attacks must be unarmed attacks. This is an extraordinary ability.

Heightened Instinct: A 2nd-level cipher gains a +1 insight bonus to initiative rolls. This increases to a +2 bonus at 5th level and a +3 bonus at 8th level. This is an extraordinary ability.

Evasion: At 2nd level, a cipher can avoid even magical and unusual attacks with great agility. If a cipher makes a successful Reflex saving throw against an attack that normally deals half damage on a successful Reflex save, the cipher takes no damage. Evasion can only be used if the cipher is wearing light armor or no armor. This is an extraordinary ability.

Self Mastery: A 3rd-level cipher receives a +1 insight bonus to saving throws against Enchantment spells and effects. This increases to a +2 bonus at 6th level and a +3 bonus at 9th level. This is an extraordinary ability.

Battlemind: At 4th level, the cipher gains a +1 insight bonus to AC. This increases to a +2 bonus at 7th level, and a +3 bonus at 10th level. This is an extraordinary ability.

Improved Evasion: At 4th level, a cipher's evasion ability improves. She still takes no damage on a successful Reflex saving throw against the attacks to which evasion applies, but henceforth she only takes half damage on a failed save. Move Without Barriers: At 6th level, the cipher can become ethereal once per day as a standard action. This spell-like ability functions like ethereal jaunt as cast by a 10th-level spellcaster.

Clarity of Vision: At 8th level, the cipher can see all astral, ethereal, and invisible creatures within 20 feet. This is a supernatural ability.

Thought is Action: As a free action, a 10th-level cipher can become hasted (as per the haste spell) for a total of 10 rounds a day. These rounds need not be consecutive. This is a supernatural ability.

CipherHit Die: d8
1st+0+0+2+0Improved Unarmed Strike, locate weakness
2nd+1+0+3+0Heightened instinct +1, evasion
3rd+2+1+3+1Self mastery +1
4th+3+1+4+1Battlemind +1, improved evasion
5th+3+1+4+1Heightened instinct +2
6th+4+2+5+2Self mastery +2, move without barriers
7th+5+2+5+2Battlemind +2
8th+6+2+6+2Heightened instinct +3, clarity of vision
9th+6+3+6+3Self mastery +3
10th+7+3+7+3Battlemind +3, thought is action

Source: Dragon #287

General Prestige Classes