Dragonlance Prestige Class : Companion of the Dead
by James Jacobs, Dragon #315
Although the gnomes of Taladas are known for their obsession with technological tinkering, at least a few groups of gnomes that dwell deep in the inhospitable reaches of central Taladas have abandoned this love of all things technological. The most infamous of these groups is the Company of the Dead.
The gnomes that comprise this society come from a long tradition of highly focused warriors that have chosen to accept the inevitability of death so completely and wholly that they view themselves as kin to the dead. Upon becoming a member of the Company, a gnome cuts all ties with friends and family and gives his worldly possessions away. His family often holds a funeral service for him, a service that the new companion of the dead is welcome to attend. From this point on, his family and friends no longer acknowledge him as living.
A companion of the dead is instantly recognizable by his skull-like face paint and distinctive armor that bears an image of a skeleton on its surface. Members of the Company are strictly melee fighters; ranged weapons are forbidden to them. Most companions of the dead have several levels of fighter to help offset the significant number of feats required to gain entry into the organization. To this point, no non-gnomes have been welcomed into the Company, but this is more out of tradition than an intrinsic quality possessed by gnomes.
To qualify to become a Companion of the Dead, a character must fulfill all the following criteria:
- Race: Gnome.
- Skills: Intimidate 10 ranks, Knowledge (history) 5 ranks.
- Feats: Armor Proficiency (heavy), Diehard, Endurance, Power Attack, Toughness, Weapon Focus (any melee weapon).
- Special: Must sever all ties with family and forsake all personal wealth and possessions (with the exception of armor, melee weapons, and magic items that augment melee combat).
Skill Points at Each Level: 2 + Int modifier.
All the following are class features of the companion of the dead prestige class.
Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Companions of the dead gain proficiency with all simple and martial melee weapons. As part of their vows, the companion of the dead forsakes the use of any ranged weapon. If a companion of the dead ever makes an attack with a ranged weapon of any sort (including thrown weapons and spells that resolve as ranged touch attacks), he immediately suffers a -4 penalty on all attack rolls, skill checks, and Will saving throws for the next 24 hours.
Death's Vow: Upon becoming a companion of the dead, the character severs all ties with any family or friends, and divests himself of all worldly possessions except for armor, weapons, and any magic items that directly augment his ability to fight in melee. He may still adventure with his companions, but any personal relationships he might have had with them before are now forbidden. The dead have no need for friendship or physical wealth. If at any time the companion breaks Death's Vow, he becomes wracked with guilt and suffers penalties for 24 hours as described above.
No Fear (Ex): A companion of the dead is immune to all fear effects.
Death's Visage (Ex): As long as the 2nd-level companion of the dead wears his traditional face paint (the image of a skull), he gains a competence bonus equal to his class level on all Intimidate checks.
Deathrage (Su): At 3rd level, a companion of the dead can enter a deathrage once per day as a free action in any round in which he slays an enemy with a melee attack. Upon entering a deathrage, the companion of the dead gains a +2 bonus to Strength, a +2 bonus to Dexterity, and 1d6 temporary hit points per class level. These bonuses persist for minute before fading. Hit points gained from a deathrage are subtracted from the companion's total before his normal hit points when he suffers damage. A companion of the dead can enter a deathrage 2/day at 6th level and 3/day at 9th level.
No Sleep (Ex): At 4th level, a companion of the dead no longer needs to sleep. He is immune to magical sleep effects. If the companion has the ability to cast spells from another class, he no longer requires sleep to prepare spells. He is still limited to preparing spells only once per day, and the preparation time still takes 1 hour of meditation, study, or prayer.
Dead Mind (Ex): At 5th level, a companion of the dead becomes immune to all mind-affecting effects. This includes all morale effects, even those that would normally be beneficial to the character.
No Pain (Ex): At 7th level, the companion of the dead no longer feels pain or exhaustion. He is immune to all effects based on pain, and he no longer suffers the effects of fatigue, exhaustion, or stunning.
Death Ward (Su): At 8th level, the companion's close association with death infuses his body and soul with powerful energies. He is now immune to all death effects, energy drain, and negative energy effects (such as from inflict spells or chill touch).
Dead Body (Su): At 10th level, the companion of the dead has turned his back on life to such an extent that he has nearly become an undead creature himself. He no longer suffers additional damage from sneak attacks or critical hits, and he is immune to poison and disease. He can still be harmed by nonlethal damage and ability damage.
|Companion of the Dead||Hit Die: d12|
|1st||+1||+2||+0||+2||Death's vow, no fear|
Source: Dragon #315