Faerûnian Prestige Class : Night Mask Deathbringer
"The winds of change have blown into Westgate, and I am like a whisper on that wind. The city does as I bid, as my masters bid, but all it feels is my cool kiss gently guiding its withered will." - Emuin Nightshade
The deathbringers are the phantoms of Westgate, able to walk among mortal men during the light of day but possessed of some of undeath's most ghastly powers. They are not truly undead beings, but hybrids bred to go where the masters of the Night Masks cannot tread. As a deathbringer, you stalk the shadows of Westgate and beyond in search of ways to empower yourself and your guild. You have tasted the kiss of death, and the fear it brought you never quite leaves the back of your mind.
Night Mask deathbringers are highly trained members of the Westgate thieves' guild who have caught the favorable attention of the vampires in charge of the organization. They undergo a gruesome ceremony involving the drinking of their own blood from the veins of a vampire lord, which changes them into monsters capable of the most vile and depraved acts. Rogues have the easiest time qualifying for this prestige class; other classes generally must stray from their primary training to achieve the necessary requirements. Dexterity (for stealth), Wisdom (for perception), and Charisma (for more powerful special abilities) are key abilities for a Night Mask deathbringer.
To qualify to become a Night Mask Deathbringer, a character must fulfill all the following criteria:
- Alignment: Any evil.
- Skills: Hide 8 ranks, Knowledge (local) 3 ranks, Move Silently 8 ranks.
- Feats: Great Fortitude.
- Special: Evasion and uncanny dodge class features.
The Night Mask deathbringer's class skills are Balance, Bluff, Climb, Craft, Decipher Script, Diplomacy, Disable Device, Disguise, Escape Artist, Forgery, Gather Information, Hide, Intimidate, Jump, Knowledge (local), Listen, Move Silently, Open Lock, Perform, Profession, Search, Sense Motive, Sleight of Hand, Spot, Swim, Tumble, Use Magic Device, and Use Rope.
Skill Points at Each Level: 8 + Int modifier.
As they increase in level, Night Mask deathbringers gain more of the powers their undead masters possess, increasing their deadliness and skill.
Creature of Darkness (Ex): Animals can sense the death in you, causing them to fear your presence. As a result, all animals except for bats, rats, and wolves have their initial attitudes moved down one category when you first approach them. In addition, you take a -2 penalty on all Ride checks due to the beast's inherent nervousness at your presence.
Hesitating Stare (Su): Deathbringers can force their opponents to confront their own mortality with but a glance. This ability can be activated once per day at any time, even when you are surprised. You cast a glance at any foe within 30 feet, who must then make a successful Will save (DC 10 + 1/2 your class level + Cha modifier) or be stunned for 1 round. You can use this ability twice per day at 4th level and higher, three times per day at 7th level and higher, and four times per day at 10th level.
Light Sensitivity (Ex): In sunlight or bright magical light (such as a daylight spell), a deathbringer is dazzled.
Spider Climb (Sp): Starting at 1st level, you can act as if you were under th~ influence of a spider climb spell (caster level equals your deathbringer class level). You can use this ability a number of times per day equal to your Charisma modifier, minimum one.
Feral Senses: At 2nd level, you gain low-light vision - the ability to see twice as far as a human in starlight, moonlight, torchlight, or similar conditions of poor illumination. You retain the ability to distinguish color and detail under these conditions.
At 7th level, you gain darkvision out to 60 feet.
Speak with Creatures of the Night (Ex): When you reach 3rd level, you can speak with rats, bats, and wolves as if you were under the influence of a speak with animals spell. This ability does nothing to affect the attitude of such creatures.
Ghost Step (Su): Once per day starting at 3rd level, you can make yourself invisible for 1 round. This is a swift action (something you can do as a free action once per round) that does not provoke attacks of opportunity. You can use this ability twice per day at 6th level and higher, and three times per day at 9th level and higher.
Lesser Blood Bond (Su): One of the deathbringer's most insidious powers, this ability helps you break down the will of her enemies. To use this ability, a deathbringer of 4th level or higher must get the target to drink three drops of her blood. She can do this by hiding the blood in food or drink, or by pinning the target for 1 round and bleeding directly into his mouth. Once this condition has been fulfilled, the deathbringer can cause a charm person effect to come over the target by speaking directly to him. The words used are unimportant, only that the deathbringer wills the target to be friendly to him. The caster level of the effect equals the deathbringer's class level, and the DC to resist the effect equals 10 + the deathbringer's class level + Cha modifier.
You can have a number of outstanding blood bonds, active or not, equal to your Charisma modifier. Should you exceed this limit, the oldest blood bond becomes inactive.
Sneak Attack (Ex): At 4th level and higher, you deal extra damage when you catch a foe flat-footed or flank a foe, as the rogue class feature. Sneak-attack dice attained from multiple sources stack.
Improved Evasion (Ex): At 5th level, your pseudo-vampiric celerity grants you supernatural reflexes. You now take no damage on a successful Reflex saving throw against area attacks and half damage on a failed save. You do not gain the benefit of this ability if you are helpless.
Slippery Mind (Su): When you attain 6th level, your mind is only partly mortal, allowing you to shrug off mental attacks and compulsions more easily than others. Any time you are affected by an enchantment spell or effect and you fail your saving throw, you can attempt the save again 1 round later at the same DC. You only get one extra chance to succeed per effect.
Greater Blood Bond (Su): This ability, acquired at 10th level, works just like lesser blood bond, except the target comes under the influence of a dominate person spell rather than charm person.
A deathbringer can have a number of outstanding blood bonds, active or not, equal to her Charisma modifier. Should she exceed this limit, the oldest blood bond becomes inactive.
|Night Mask Deathbringer||Hit Die: d6|
|1st||+0||+0||+2||+0||Creature of darkness, hesitating stare 1/day, light sensitivity, spider climb|
|2nd||+1||+0||+3||+0||Feral senses (low-light vision)|
|3rd||+2||+1||+3||+1||Speak with creatures of the night, ghost step i/day|
|4th||+3||+1||+4||+1||Hesitating stare 2/day, lesser blood bond, sneak attack +1d6|
|6th||+4||+2||+5||+2||Slippery mind, ghost step 2/day|
|7th||+5||+2||+5||+2||Hesitating stare 3/day, feral senses (darkvision)|
|8th||+6||+2||+6||+2||Sneak attack +2d6|
|9th||+6||+3||+6||+3||Ghost step 3/day|
|10th||+7||+3||+7||+3||Hesitating stare 4/day, greater blood bond|
Night Mask Deathbringers In The World
Night Mask deathbringers make terrible foes for any group of PCs, because deathbringers can sow seeds of distrust between even the most stalwart companions. Any characters who are active and successful in or near the city of Westgate will eventually run across a deathbringer, whether they know it or not. Westgate is the deathbringers' city, and they want to know about any potential threats or allies that come inside its walls. A deathbringer can even act as a character's first introduction to the Night Masks guild, and potentially bring him inside to work for the guild. If the PCs are looking for a contact in Westgate's underworld, they could not do much better than one of Orbakh's pseudo-vampiric minions (for more information on Orbakh, see page 41 of Lords of Darkness).
Organization: The deathbringers are a special arm of the Night Masks thieves' guild. Most of the time they are left to their own devices, using their extraordinary powers to further the assets and position of the guild. Occasionally, the vampires at the center of the guild's power structure command one or more deathbringers to see to an important bit of guild business. Daytime meetings and ambushes are typical of the missions to be assigned, as are those with more far-reaching goals such as the exploration of a ruin, or contact with an ally outside Westgate or along the Dragon Coast.
The deathbringers are like a plague across Westgate, one that often extends across the Dragonmere into Sembia, and south into Turmish and Amn. Its individual agents have spread out across the lands that interest the Night Masks and their masters. One deathbringer, a sorcerer/rogue named Ciodaru Arexis, has risen to such power that he now commands the respect of all the others. Little do they know that Ciodaru is actually a disguised illithid, working under a special arrangement with Orbakh. Although he is bestowed with no more power than any other deathbringer, his knowledge of the city's power structures and the intrigues he has woven throughout them means that nothing goes on in the city without his knowledge.
Ciodaru has control of the Purple Lady Festhall, the closest thing to a central meeting hall the guild maintains. A complex underneath the inn leads to a temple of Talona, where victims, kidnapped from parties at the festhall, are taken for experimentation with new diseases and poisons. The priests of the temple provide Ciodaru with an elixir that dulls the horror permeating the minds of all those who have undergone the deathbringer transformation; his success is partly attributable to the mental clarity he gets from the elixir, so no one outside of himself, the inn's owner, and the temple priests knows of this secret arrangement.
Westgate has a reputation as a city where anything can be bought for a price. This atmosphere lends itself extremely well to the Night Masks' business concerns, and even more so for its most shadowy operatives - the deathbringers. Deathbringers are active day and night, looking for new opportunities to bring wealth and power to the guild. During the day, most of their activities include scouting locations and talking to their contacts in order to stay current with the new faces in town.
Everything changes in Westgate at night. The smartest law abiding citizens stay off the streets, where robbers and worse lurk in every shadow. Deathbringers swarm from their hidden holes and hideaways as soon as the sun falls, ready to implement their plans and attack their enemies from the shadows. The "phantoms of Westgate" are rarely out to simply rob someone of their purse - they stalk likely targets for a blood bond and investigate their background; they track powerful adventurers who have come into town without "registering" with the guild; and they assassinate merchants and nobles who have proven troublesome to their undead masters
Of course, the deathbringers are not without their enemies in Westgate and beyond. Chief among them are the Five Souls of the Dead, a group of Kelemvorites who are committed to rooting out the vampiric lords of the Night Masks. Since Orbakh and the Court of Night Masters rarely venture out into the city, the Five Souls have focused their efforts on the bastard creations known as the deathbringers. The Kelemvorites have already destroyed three deathbringers since coming to Westgate, and they are on the trail of at least two more. Ciodaru has managed to maneuver them into his sphere so that he can keep tabs on them, but until he is ready to confront them outright, he is forced to impede their information gathering as best he can from the shadows.
The Night Masks are an accepted, if not welcome, part of the Westgate culture and landscape. In some parts of town, guild members can talk freely about their association without care, while in others such flaunting is looked down upon. One thing is for certain, though - the authorities have long since given up trying to control the guild and its activities. Those who find themselves on the guild's good side welcome its members into their establishments, might give them preferential treatment or minor discounts on goods, and won't betray their confidence for too little coin.
Those who find themselves at odds with the guild quickly find that they must hire mercenaries to guard them and their businesses against guild activities. One might even attract the attention of a deathbringer, at which point all the mercenaries in the world might not be enough protection. Although they do not identify themselves as anything but ordinary guild thieves, deathbringers have an aura about them that clearly differentiates them from other individuals. This leads to stronger reactions in both cases, with guild-friendly NPCs being even friendlier toward deathbringers, and those with reason to fear or loathe the guild reacting strongly in the opposite direction.
Night Mask Deathbringer Lore
Characters with Knowledge (local Westgate) can research the deathbringers or the Night Masks. Investigating a deathbringer by name is certain to pique the guild's curiosity, while trying to find information on the guild itself is certain to warrant a personal visit, possibly from a deathbringer if the inquiring character is powerful or influential. When a character makes a skill check, read or paraphrase the following, including the information from lower DCs.
DC 10: "the Night Masks have free rein in Westgate. They likely already know more about you than you do about them."
DC 15: "The Night Mask assassins are the greatest in all of Faerûn. I hear they can either kill you or bring you under their control. I'm not sure which one's worse."
DC 20: "There is a group called the Five Souls of the Dead that knows more about the Night Masks than anyone else in the city."
DC 30: A character with this level of success can find a particular deathbringer, and will also learn that the individual is somehow connected to the city's vampire lords.
Source: Champions of Ruin