General Prestige Class : Sworn Slayer
Scott Fiztgerald Gray, Dragon #324
In a world where combat prowess and oaths of loyalty are the measure of many heroes, the sworn slayer stands out as an unstoppable engine of vengeance and destruction - a dedicated hunter of the world's most feared and fearsome creatures. Choosing to forswear all other mortal motivations, a sworn slayer pledges a lifelong oath of enmity against a specific kind of creature. He follows a path that can lead as easily to an outcast's life on the fringes of society as it can to a hero's legacy, standing tall in society's defense.
From the jaded undead hunter bearing his many hunts' scars - of both body and soul - to the easygoing giant hunter full of youth and hubris, the sworn slayer class accepts any who wish to protect the helpless masses. No organization or brotherhood links sworn slayers, and many prefer working alone or with companions who aren't sworn slayers themselves. Competitions between sworn slayers oathbound to destroy the same kind of creature rarely result in friendly rivalries; the unquenchable need of sworn slayers to bring ruin upon the creatures they hate sometimes make them oppose each other as much as those they truly seek to destroy. Sworn slayers whisper stories of sabotaged ambushes and capture at the hands of those who fight the same creatures they do. A sworn slayer never takes apprentices and never teaches others his secrets; he learns his techniques the hard way. Times are changing among the sworn slayers, though, and newer members of the class band together in order to bring down bigger, tougher foes.
Sworn slayers come from those who have suffered a great loss at the hands of the creatures they seek to destroy. This vengeful aspect of the sworn slayer comes from the death of a loved one or the utter destruction of the sworn slayer's home. Clerics, monks, and paladins might come to the class after witnessing the destruction of their monastery or temple. A druid or ranger might swear an oath to annihilate a race of monsters that ravaged his beloved forest, grove, or oasis. The loss need not result in death or poverty, but it must be severe and its effects long felt.
Although their origins are as varied as the creatures they pledge their lives to destroy, all sworn slayers share one trait: a willingness to abandon all other precepts, callings, and pursuits in the name of retribution. With a lifestyle devoted to the destruction of perilous foes, the warrior classes tend to fill the ranks of the sworn slayers, as they most easily achieve its Requirements.
Rangers and paladins find the sworn slayer's single-minded purpose a natural extension of their own dedication and moral duty. Fighters also excel as sworn slayers, finding a focus for the full destructive capability of their combat ability. Since a ranger's favored enemy bonuses provide a solid foundation on which to strengthen the sworn slayer's own abilities, characters driven to seek the path of the sworn slayer often take levels of ranger (with an appropriate favored enemy). Paladin sworn slayers typically choose those monster kinds devoted to evil or that oppose the tenets of their faith: intelligent undead, demons, and devils. To make use of their inherent ability to detect the presence of evil, such sworn slayers almost never choose creatures that typically have a neutral alignment.
Members of other classes sometimes become sworn slayers, as the trials and risks of an adventurer's life make it all too easy for any character to find himself consumed by the hatred that fuels the sworn slayer's oath. The special abilities of rogues, monks, and clerics make them formidable sworn slayers against certain creature types, although clerics and monks sometimes find it difficult to balance the dedication of their original calling with the focus required to follow the path of the sworn slayer. Wizards and sorcerers can make devastating representatives of the class, their arcane strength acting as a potent weapon in a sworn slayer's dedicated hands.
NPC sworn slayers might appear in virtually any setting and situation and are as often found in isolation (such as the solitary renegade slaying aberrations in desolate ruins) as in the thick of civilization (such as troops of wererat-hunting sworn slayers heroically defending the sewers of massive cities).
To qualify to become a Sworn Slayer, a character must fulfill all the following criteria:
- Skills: Knowledge (appropriate to creature type) 4 ranks, Sense Motive 4 ranks
- Base Attack Bonus: +6
- Special: Must swear a vow to destroy all creatures of a chosen kind. This vow must be in response to the character suffering a great loss at the claws of the chosen creature kind. A great loss might include the death of a loved one, the loss of all material wealth, the destruction of a prized family heirloom, or something similar.
The Knowledge skill requirement of a character who wishes to become a sworn slayer depends upon the creature type that he wishes to slay. For example, a character who wishes to slay beholders must have at least 4 ranks in Knowledge (dungeoneering), which covers knowledge pertaining to aberrations.
Skill Points at Each Level: 4 + Int modifier.
All of the following are features of the sworn slayer prestige class.
Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Sworn slayers are proficient with all simple and martial weapons, with all armor, and with shields (except tower shields).
Sworn Foe (Ex): At 1st level, the sworn slayer dedicates his life to the destruction of creatures of a specific type, gaining a specialized bonus against those creatures. The sworn slayer chooses a monster type (such as aberration, humanoid, or undead). Against creatures of his chosen type, he gains a +1 bonus on Bluff, Listen, Move Silently, Sense Motive, Spot, and Survival checks, as well as weapon damage rolls. This bonus stacks with those from a ranger's favored enemy ability.
This bonus increases to +2 at 3rd level and to +3 at 5th level.
Animosity (Su): At 2nd level, the sworn slayer can choose to focus his anger and hatred on a particular kind of creature. The sworn slayer chooses a specific monster kind from among those of his sworn foe type. For example, if a sworn slayer chose undead as his sworn foe type, he might choose lich, mummy, or vampire (or any other creature with the undead type) as the target of his animosity. Against this specific kind of creature, the sworn slayer gains an additional +3 bonus on Bluff, Listen, Move Silently, Sense Motive, Spot, and Survival checks. He also gains an additional +3 bonus on weapon damage rolls. This bonus stacks with the bonus from his sworn foe ability as well as any favored enemy bonuses from ranger levels.
At 4th level, this bonus increases to +5.
Determination (Ex): Also at 2nd level, the sworn slayer gains a +2 bonus on all saving throws against the special attacks, spells, and spell-like abilities of creatures of his sworn foe type.
At 4th level, this bonus increases to +4.
Nemesis (Su): At 3rd level, the sworn slayer gains the Nemesis feat even if he does not meet all of its prerequisites. The sworn slayer senses his sworn foe rather than a favored enemy.
Slayer Attack (Su): At 5th level, the sworn slayer gains the ability to study a particular creature of his sworn foe's kind in order to kill or destroy it with a single attack. If the sworn slayer studies his foe for 3 rounds and then makes a single attack with a melee weapon or a ranged weapon within 30 feet that successfully deals damage, the attack has the additional effect of possibly killing (if alive) or destroying (if a construct or undead) the target. While studying his foe, the sworn slayer can undertake other actions so long as his attention stays focused on the target and the target does not detect the sworn slayer or recognize him as an enemy. If the victim of such an attack fails a Fortitude save (DC 10 + the sworn slayer's class level + the sworn slayer's Tnt modifier) against the slayer attack, it dies (if alive) or is destroyed (if a construct or undead). If the victim's saving throw succeeds, the attack is just a normal attack. Once the sworn slayer has completed the 3 rounds of study, he must make the slayer attack within next 3 rounds. If the sworn slayer attempts a slayer attack and it fails (the victim makes its save) or if the sworn slayer does not launch the attack within 3 rounds of completing the study, 3 new rounds of study are required before he can attempt another slayer attack.
|Sworn Slayer||Hit Die: d10|
|1st||+1||+2||+0||+0||Sworn foe +1|
|2nd||+2||+3||+0||+0||Animosity +3, determination +2|
|3rd||+3||+3||+1||+1||Nemesis, sworn foe +2|
|4th||+4||+4||+1||+1||Animosity +5, determination +4|
|5th||+5||+4||+1||+1||Sworn foe +3, slayer attack|
Source: Dragon #324