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Post by The Hive Mind on Thu May 15, 2014 1:30 pm

The battle against Izrador is lost, the forces of the light chewed up and spit out by the military machine of the Shadow. But there are still those who refuse to let the war die and who pursue their dreams of vengeance no matter the odds. They are as likely to be halfling slaves and crippled old servants as they are to be powerful warriors. They know they may never again face Izrador’s troops on the field of battle, but they have learned to strike from the shadows and take their victories where they may. These hidden killers, men and women sworn to battle the Shadow to their dying breath, probably account for as many dead soldiers of the enemy as any freerider or dwarven tunnel-fighter.

Fearful of discovery, the avenging knives are only loosely organized into cells, each of which knows nothing of the members of other cells. Most receive their training from an older knife and never speak to another insurgent again, preferring to work alone. Others maintain contact with one another to organize loosely affiliated cells, the better to pass on information and provide warnings, but they never meet face to face. Hidden drops and the occasional animal messenger or sending spell are the sole means for these cell- mates to maintain contact with one another.

Training by an avenging knife is difficult to come by, mostly because they go to great pains to keep their natures secret to save themselves from discovery by the minions of Izrador. When word of heroes reach the ears of a knife, he watches and waits, hoping to find another recruit to his cause. Those he (or the cell, in some cases) feels would be valuable warriors for the cause are approached and offered training. This invitation is dangerous, for all involved. If the prospective member declines to join, he is a danger to the Knife and to all of his connections, who must watch him carefully lest he betray them to the Shadow. If the knives believe the invited individual is a true threat to their cause, they do not hesitate to assassinate him, saving themselves at the expense of one who might one day have become a hero.

Once his training is complete, an avenging knife  may be contacted from time to time with useful information, suggested targets, warnings, or requests for assistance.

Hit Die: d6.

Class Level / Base Attack Bonus / Fort Save / Ref Save / Will Save / Special
1st ----------------+0 -------------+0 --------+2 --------+0 -----The drop +1
2nd ----------------+1 -------------+1 --------+3 --------+1----- Security breach
3rd ----------------+2 -------------+1 --------+3 --------+1 ------Sneak attack +1d6
4th ----------------+3 -------------+1 --------+4 --------+1 -----Target study, the drop +2
5th ----------------+3 -------------+2 --------+4 --------+2----- Fast hands
6th ----------------+4 -------------+2 --------+5 --------+2 ------Cover story, sneak attack +2d6
7th ----------------+5 -------------+2 --------+5 --------+2 ------Stunning sneak attack, the drop +3
8th ----------------+6 -------------+3 --------+6 --------+3 ------Improved coup de grace
9th ----------------+6 -------------+3 --------+6 --------+3 ------Still as stone, sneak attack +3d6
10th ---------------+7 -------------+3 --------+7 --------+3 ------Death attack, the drop +4

Class Skills: Balance (Dex), Bluff (Cha), Decipher Script (Int), Disguise (Cha), Escape Artist (Dex), Gather Information (Cha), Hide (Dex), Jump (Str), Listen (Wis), Move Silently (Dex), Open Lock (Dex), Profession (Wis), Search (Int), Sense Motive (Wis), Speak Language (n/a), Spot (Wis), Swim (Str), Tumble (Dex), and Use Rope (Dex).

Skill Points at Each Level: 6 + Int modifier.

Class Features

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Avenging knives gain no additional proficiencies with either weapons or armor.

The Drop (Ex): At 1st level, when attacking a flat-footed opponent, the avenging knife gains a +1 bonus to both attack and damage rolls. Every three levels after 1st, this bonus increases by an additional +1.

Security Breach (Ex): The avenging knife is able to research an inhabited site (a castle, fortress, manor or inn, for example) and discover the weaknesses in its security, or discover that no such weakness exists.

This ability allows a specific use of the Gather Information skill and requires a use of the skill within a day's travel of the site to be investigated. the DC of this skill check is equal to the Hide DC to blend in while in the area.

The weaknesses found allow the avenging knife to find a way to get to a specific point in the site (the king's bedchamber, the merchant's vault, etc.). This specific point is known as the target.

If this skill check succeeds, the avenging knife discovers the chinks in the site's defenses. This provides the avenging knife with an insight bonus equal to his avenging knife level on all Hide, Move Silently, and Bluff checks made while attempting to reach his target. This bonus applies only as long as the avenging knife is attempting to exploit the weaknesses he discovered while investigating the site. The bonus does not apply to any attempts to escape the site and ceases to function once the knife reaches the target.

If the Gather Information skill check fails, the knife learns nothing of use and may (at the DM's discretion) even uncover misleading information.

Target Study (Ex): The avenging knife is able to glean important information about a particular creature or monster using a Gather Information skill check (DC 10 + 1 per level or HD of the target creature or monster). This skill check requires a full eight hours to conduct and must occur in a populated area (even a village will suffice for this purpose) within 10 miles of the target creature's or monster's normal territory.

If this skill check succeeds, the avenging knife learns some of the creature's tactics and weaknesses. This provides the avenging knife with a +2 insight bonus to either attack and damage rolls made by the avenging knife against the target, or a +4 insight bonus to the knife's Armor Class against attacks made by the creature. In addition to this bonus, the knife also gains knowledge of one fact the DM believes will help him in his battles against the target.

Fast hands (Ex): The avenging knife may gain a +4 bonus to an initiative check by accepting a -2 circumstance penalty to his attacks during the current round. This ability may only be used during the opening round of a combat and the avenging knife must declare the use of this ability before he makes his initiative check. On following rounds the knife takes no penalty to his attacks but may continue to act at the same initiative slot.

Cover Story (Ex): While not easy to establish, the cover story is vital for avenging knives who wish to avoid discovery while staying in an area for an extended period of time. The art of establishing a cover story comes in convincing others they saw you in an area at a time when you may not have been there. By partying loudly in a tavern or staying regularly at an inn, a knife can condition others to believe he was present at a given time or place, even when he may not have been there at all. This is very useful for avoiding persecution by the legates and their minions.

To successfully use this ability, the knife must have spent at least a week in the area for which he wishes to fabricate a cover story. During each night and day of this time, he must be conspicuous and come up with a standard routine. The routine is important, and usually involves eating dinner at the same time, having drinks at the same time, and otherwise letting others get used to his presence. The idea is that later, when remembering a particular time, those who have witnessed his routine will believe he was present even when he was not.

This requires a successful Bluff skill check (DC 20) made each night when attempting to establish a cover story. At least four of these skill checks must succeed for this ability to be of any use. If the knife gains enough successes, then his cover story is established. During the next week, the knife must maintain his scheduled routine for at least three nights, but may do as he wishes on the remaining four nights. Anyone questioned about his whereabouts during the second week will swear he was present on his normal routine for the entire night, even if he was nowhere near the area.

The cover story allows the knife to move more freely than might otherwise be possible--when the legates and their minions come calling about who assassinated the local Shadow general the night before, it can be very useful to have trusted witnesses and informers claim it could not have been you.

Stunning Sneak Attack (Ex): Up to three times per day when the avenging knife successfully hits a flat-footed opponent, that opponent must make a Fortitude save (DC 10 + the knife's class level + the knife's Intelligence modifier) or be stunned for the following round and unable to shout or raise an alarm.

Improved Coup de Grace (Ex): The avenging knife may perform a coup de grace as a standard action rather than a full round action and always inflicts maximum damage when performing a coup de grace.

Still as Stone (Ex): This ability may only be used during the infiltration of a site after successful use of the security breach ability. The knife may, at any time during the infiltration prior to his discovery, choose to hole up in a currently deserted area and wait. The knife must then make a Hide skill check, for which he receives a +10 insight bonus. The knife may remain hidden for a number of hours equal to his current level, but may not move. If discovered, the knife is considered shaken for one round, until he can regain his composure and work the kinks out of his muscles.

Death Attack (Ex): If the avenging knife studies his victim for three rounds and then makes a sneak attack with a melee weapon that successfully deals damage, the sneak attack has the additional effect of possibly either paralyzing or killing the target (knife's choice). While studying the victim, the avenging knife can undertake other actions so long as his attention stays focused on the target and the target does not detect the knife or recognize the knife as an enemy. If the victim of such an attack fails his Fortitude saving throw (DC 10 + the knife's class level + the knife's Intelligence modifier) against the kill effect, he dies. If the saving throw fails against the paralysis effect, the victim's mind and body become enervated, rendering him completely helpless and unable to act for 1d6 rounds plus 1 round per level of the avenging knife. If the victim's saving throw succeeds, the attack is just a normal sneak attack. Once the avenging knife has completed the three rounds of study, he must make the death attack within the next three rounds. If a death attack is attempted and fails (the victim makes her save) or if the avenging knife does not launch the attack within three rounds of completing the study, three new rounds of study are required before he can attempt another death attack.
The Hive Mind

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