Made with genuine Shadowsteel.

1. Making Plans

I laughed. “Doctor Mallory? The mad chirurgeon? You’re telling me that Mad Mallory is an assassin?”

Charlene scowled at me. “Yes,” she said darkly, “and if you don’t begin taking this job seriously, he’s going to make short work of you.”

“Sorry,” I said, still snickering. “I just - when you told me we were assigned to eliminate our most dangerous threat yet, I thought perhaps you meant perhaps the Blood of Vol. I didn’t expect us to take on a doctor.”

“Antony Mallory is no simple doctor,” she said. “In truth, he worked in a smithy during the Last War, a smithy long thought to be one of Starrin d’Cannith’s secret workshops. We believe he picked up on some of House Cannith’s forbidden artifice. When the Last War ended, he abandoned the forges and opened shop as a chirurgeon, where he could gain an even closer understanding of the human body.”

“Well, that explains his reputation,” I said, chewing my beard. “No wonder he’s such a poor chirurgeon, if he was trained for a hammer and anvil! What was his goal?”

“We believe he is trying to create a hybrid creature - part human, part warforged,” she said, and I shivered. “In fact, if our detective is as good as he claims to be, Mallory has already completed this procedure once - on himself...”


Antony Mallory, a/k/a AM-1468
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Human, Sleeping Tiger Monk 2/Shadowcaster 7/Renegade Mastermaker 10/Soul Eater 1

ANTONY MALLORY
{table=head]Level|Class|Base Attack Bonus|Fort Save|Ref Save|Will Save|Skills|Feats|Class Features

1st|Sleeping Tiger Monk 1|
+0
|
+2
|
+2
|
+2
|Hide 4 ranks, move silently 4 ranks, knowledge (arcana) 4 ranks, craft (blacksmithing) 4 ranks, craft (poisonmaking) 4 ranks, concentration 4 ranks, balance 4 ranks|Improved Unarmed Strike, Weapon Finesse, Master of Poisons, Alertness|Flurry of blows

2nd|Shadowcaster 1|
+0
|
+4
|
+2
|
+4
|Hide 5 ranks, move silently 5 ranks, knowledge (arcana) 5 ranks, craft (blacksmithing) 5 ranks, craft (poisonmaking) 5 ranks||Fundamentals of shadow, apprentice mysteries

3rd|Shadowcaster 2|
+1
|
+5
|
+2
|
+5
|Hide 6 ranks, move silently 6 ranks, concentration 5 ranks, craft (blacksmithing) 6 ranks, craft (poisonmaking) 6 ranks|Path Focus (Ebon Whispers), Craft Wondrous Item|

4th|Shadowcaster 3|
+1
|
+5
|
+3
|
+5
|Hide 7 ranks, move silently 7 ranks, knowledge (arcana) 6 ranks, craft (blacksmithing) 7 ranks, craft (poisonmaking) 7 ranks||Umbral sight (darkvision 30 ft.)

5th|Sleeping Tiger Monk 2|
+2
|
+6
|
+4
|
+6
|Hide 8 ranks, move silently 8 ranks, concentration 7 ranks, craft (blacksmithing) 8 ranks, craft (poisonmaking) 8 ranks, balance 5 ranks|Improved Initiative|Invisible fist

6th|Shadowcaster 4|
+3
|
+7
|
+4
|
+7
|Hide 9 ranks, move silently 9 ranks, concentration 8 ranks, craft (blacksmithing) 9 ranks, craft (poisonmaking) 9 ranks|Craft Magic Arms and Armor|Bonus fundamental

7th|Renegade Mastermaker 1|
+3
|
+9
|
+4
|
+9
|Hide 10 ranks, move silently 10 ranks, craft (blacksmithing) 10 ranks, craft (poisonmaking) 10 ranks, use magic device 1 rank||Battlefist, craft master

8th|Renegade Mastermaker 2|
+4
|
+10
|
+4
|
+10
|Hide 11 ranks, move silently 11 ranks, craft (poisonmaking) 11 ranks, use magic device 3 ranks||Battlefist (+1), self-repair

9th|Renegade Mastermaker 3|
+5
|
+10
|
+5
|
+10
|Hide 12 ranks, move silently 12 ranks, craft (poisonmaking) 12 ranks, use magic device 5 ranks|Sun School|Supporting construction

10th|Renegade Mastermaker 4|
+6/+1
|
+11
|
+5
|
+11
|Hide 13 ranks, move silently 13 ranks, craft (poisonmaking) 13 ranks, use magic device 7 ranks||Damage reduction 1/adamantine

11th|Renegade Mastermaker 5|
+6/+1
|
+11
|
+5
|
+11
|Hide 14 ranks, move silently 14 ranks, craft (poisonmaking) 14 ranks, use magic device 9 ranks||Battlefist (+2)

12th|Renegade Mastermaker 6|
+7/+2
|
+12
|
+6
|
+12
|Hide 15 ranks, move silently 15 ranks, craft (blacksmithing) 11 ranks, craft (poisonmaking) 15 ranks, use magic device 10 ranks|Darkstalker|

13th|Renegade Mastermaker 7|
+8/+3
|
+12
|
+6
|
+12
|Hide 16 ranks, move silently 16 ranks, craft (blacksmithing) 12 ranks, craft (poisonmaking) 16 ranks, use magic device 11 ranks||Embed component

14th|Renegade Mastermaker 8|
+9/+4
|
+13
|
+6
|
+13
|Hide 17 ranks, move silently 17 ranks, craft (blacksmithing) 13 ranks, craft (poisonmaking) 17 ranks, use magic device 12 ranks||Damage reduction 2/adamantine

15th|Renegade Mastermaker 9|
+9/+4
|
+13
|
+7
|
+13
|Hide 18 ranks, move silently 18 ranks, craft (blacksmithing) 14 ranks, craft (poisonmaking) 18 ranks, use magic device 13 ranks|Weapon Focus (Battlefist)|Battlefist (+3)

16th|Renegade Mastermaker 10|
+10/+5
|
+14
|
+7
|
+14
|Hide 19 ranks, move silently 19 ranks, craft (blacksmithing) 15 ranks, craft (poisonmaking) 19 ranks, use magic device 14 ranks|Improved Fortification|Construct exemplar

17th|Soul Eater 1|
+11/+6/+1
|
+16
|
+9
|
+16
|Hide 20 ranks, move silently 20 ranks, craft (blacksmithing) 15 ranks, craft (poisonmaking) 20 ranks, use magic device 14.5 ranks||Energy drain 1

18th|Shadowcaster 5|
+11/+6/+1
|
+16
|
+9
|
+16
|Hide 21 ranks, move silently 21 ranks, craft (blacksmithing) 16 ranks, craft (poisonmaking) 21 ranks, use magic device 15 ranks|Extend Mystery, Snap Kick|Sustaining shadow (eat 1 meal/week)

19th|Shadowcaster 6|
+12/+7/+2
|
+17
|
+10
|
+17
|Hide 22 ranks, move silently 22 ranks, craft (blacksmithing) 18 ranks, craft (poisonmaking) 22 ranks||

20th|Shadowcaster 7|
+12/+7/+2
|
+17
|
+10
|
+17
|Hide 23 ranks, move silently 23 ranks, craft (blacksmithing) 20 ranks, craft (poisonmaking) 23 ranks||[/table]

Stats:
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Starting Stats (32-point buy): Str 8/Dex 16/Con 14/Int 14/Wis 8/Cha 16

Level boosts: All boosts go to Charisma. Craft or purchase a +4 Headband of Intellect before the highest levels to guarantee the ability to cast your Master Path mysteries. If that is not going to be an option in your campaign, consider instead putting your level boosts into Intelligence.


Mysteries:
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Fundamentals (at-will): Black Candle, Arrow of Dusk, Sight Obscured, Umbral Hand, Caul of Shadow, Widened Eyes

Supernatural Mysteries (3/day): Life Fades, Voice of Shadow, Steel Shadows, Congress of Shadows, Flicker (x2)

Spell-like Mysteries (2/day): Bolster (x2), Shadow Vision, Curtain of Shadows, Unveil, Step into Shadow

Spell Mysteries (1/day): Truth Revealed, Dark Soul, Soul Puppet

Level by level mystery progression:
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2- Black Candle, Arrow of Dusk, Sight Obscured, Life Fades

3- Voice of Shadow

4- Steel Shadows

6- Umbral Hand, Congress of Shadows

8- Flicker

9- Flicker

10- Bolster

11- Caul of Shadow, Shadow Vision

12- Curtain of Shadow

14- Bolster

15- Unveil

16- Widened Eyes, Step into Shadow

18- Dark Soul

19- Truth Revealed

20- Soul Puppet



Suggested Items:
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AM-1468 needs few items beyond his own body to succeed. He can provide many enhancements to his physical form himself, such as enhancing his battlefist with the spell-storing enchantment. However, here are a few additional items that might help.

Stat boosters are always appreciated. In particular, AM-1468 would look toward items that boost his Dexterity, Charisma and Intelligence.

Anything that boosts his stealth is also nice. Essence of the Scout (ECS) is especially handy, giving a +15 competence bonus to each with the greater version for a relatively low cost. If available, a Collar of Umbral Metamorphosis would also not go amiss.

Wands can further increase AM-1468's utility, and should be easily activated via UMD. An embedded wand sheath (ECS) is similarly useful.

Finally, augment crystals (MIC) can also be used on his battlefist to provide situational bonuses. For example, the Lesser Truedeath crystal can aid against incorporeal enemies, while the Fiendslayer crystal can add a dimensional anchor effect to prevent targets from escaping.



USER MANUAL
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This leather-bound book is old and heavily stained with what appears to be dried blood. The first dozen pages appear to be some sort of diary of progress, written by noted chirurgeon Antony Mallory. As the pages progress, the entries appear more and more sporadic. The last several pages of this “diary” are scratched out, followed by the words “USER MANUAL” in a heavy, mechanical hand.

Combat Maneuvers

SECTION 1: DEFENSIVE MANEUVERS

1.1 (Teleportation Unit)

1.1.1 - It is highly recommended that the short-range teleportation unit be activated prior to any combat maneuvers. This is set to a neural switch, so that it may be activated immediately and in response to any threats. This unit can remain active for intervals of 2.5 minutes; during this time, the same neural switch can be pressed to immediately teleport a short distance (see section 2.1, Attack Sequences, for more details). Studies indicate that activating this neural switch in response to a threat closing to melee range is effective in stopping the majority of short range attacks, and can be combined with the first attack sequence (sec. 2.1).

1.1.2 - If longer range teleportation is necessary, manually activate the unit. This allows for distances of up to 960 feet, and if desired, you may extend its range to cover any allies or hostages present.

1.1.3 - The same teleporation unit can be used for long-range communication. The range on this device is 15 miles when used in this fashion.

(The Flicker mystery, which is useable six times per day as a (Su) ability, allows for teleportation of up to 35’ each round as an immediate action. This is used both defensively to avoid attacks, and offensively via Sun School. As it is an immediate action, it can be used outside of AM-1468’s turn, meaning he can spend his turn moving and casting as normal, then flicker and attack either before his turn starts again or in response to an attack. He also has access to Step into Shadow twice a day, which acts as dimension door. And if he needs to communicate at long range, Congress of Shadows allows him to send and receive a short message up to 15 miles away.)

1.2 (Recovery)
1.2.1 - The modifications made to the nervous system have resulted in a deadening of the sensation of pain, allowing for a minor resistance to damage. As an unintended but welcome side effect, this eliminates many of the “pressure spots” located throughout the body, providing a line of defense against targeted attacks.

1.2.2 - Activating a power surge greatly increases endurance, lasting 2.3 hours increasing your capacity to take damage by approximately 60% with each use. The power stored allows for four of these surges per day.

1.2.3 - If your temporary store of strength via the power surge is depleted, you may direct power from some of the other units to restore the body itself. This will prevent their use, and should only be used in case of emergency. For typical repairs, an auxiliary method is instead recommended.

1.2.4 - If you or an ally is experiencing negative conditions, temporarily overloading the mental circuits is suggested. This will remove the following conditions (listed in A-alpha order): ability damage / blinded / confused / cursed / dazed / dazzled / deafened / diseased / exhausted / fatigued / immobilized / insanity / nauseated / sickened / stunned / poisoned.

(AM-1468 has several powerful methods of recovery. In addition to damage reduction and improved fortification, he may use the Bolster mystery four times per day, each use granting him a whopping 75 temporary hit points, lasting 140 minutes. He can also channel his higher level mysteries to recover his own HP, or activate wands of repair damage. Finally, the Unveil mystery removes a huge suite of negative conditions on himself or an ally.)

1.3 (Defensive Boosters)
1.3.1 - Traditional armor plating is not recommended, as it interferes with offensive functions. Two shadow-based units have instead been developed. These create armor and shields that protect the user without inhibiting them.

(Steel Shadows gives a +3 armor bonus and a +3 shield bonus, while Caul of Shadow provides a +4 deflection bonus. AM-1468 can Steel Shadows up for 14 hours total with a Rod of Extend, and Caul of Shadows is usable at-will and so can be kept up permanently. Neither of these interfere with AM-1468’s monk abilities.)

1.4 (Stealth and Perception Devices)
1.4.1 - Embedding the scouting unit greatly increases stealth capabilities. To augment these abilities, use your shadow mechanisms to adjust the ambient light available and obscure your position.

1.4.2 - Umbral lenses have been installed, allowing your vision to operate under any lighting condition. If facing an unseen enemy, activate your infrared sensors, which will see through any magical interference.

1.4.3 - Infrared sensors can also be focused to reveal additional information on targets, including surface thoughts, magical auras, fears and loved ones. Use this ability to identify weak spots or obtain hidden information.

(By creating and embedding an Essence of the Scout unit, AM-1468 has exceptionally high scores in Hide and Move Silently. He can also use Sight Obscured at will to add an additional +5, and Black Candle to create either darkness or light. On the perception end of things, umbral sight and widened eyes gives AM-1468 the ability to see under any lighting condition, while Truth Revealed grants him true seeing, which can be focused to duplicate any of the detect spells, including detect thoughts, to discern lies, find out someone’s recent actions, or reveal their greatest love and fear.)


SECTION 2: OFFENSIVE MANEUVERS

2.1 (Attack Sequences)

2.1.1 - Most major attack sequences, including the battlefist (sec. 2.2), are keyed in to activate alongside the teleportation unit. This allows for swift, harrying attacks intended to keep the target off-guard.

2.1.2 - All physical attacks, including the battlefist (sec. 2.2), are designed to debilitate rather than outright damage. The body will maintain a charge of shadow energy, which will weaken targets upon contact.

2.1.3 - It is imperative that targets are constantly kept off guard. As the attack sequence can occur at unexpected intervals, time can otherwise be spent finding otherwise to harry and confuse targets (sec. 2.3).

(Sun School combined with Flicker and Step into Shadow means that each round, AM-1468 can hide, buff himself, lay down battlefield control, or otherwise attack. Then, as an immediate action (usually in response to movement or an attack), he can Flicker and make two attacks. These attacks will deal a relatively small amount of damage, but will carry with them a whole suite of negative effects, including level drain from Soul Eater, contact poison, multiple touch spells, and more.)

2.2 (Battlefist)
2.2.1 - The battlefist is the primary offensive unit. It is constructed entirely of inorganic material, making it less vulnerable than many other units. However, it still carries the same charge of shadow energy that the rest of the body has (sec. 2.1.2).

2.2.2 - The battlefist may powered up with other offensive abilities, as circumstances require. Due to the nature of its construction, it may be powered with up to two such effects at once.

2.2.3 - When dealing with targets with vulnerabilities to them, organic poisons can be applied to the battlefist to debilitate them.

2.2.4 - Auxiliary modifications should be kept at hand to further assist the battlefist’s functionality. These modifications are maintained in crystal form, and designed for easy installation and use.

(AM-1468 has enhanced his battlefist with the spell storing enhancement, a +1 enhancement that AM-1468 can create himself at ECL 15, or that he can pay someone else to add earlier. He can use this to charge up his battlefist with targeted mysteries. At a minimum, his at-will Arrow of Dusk can always be used to add some additional damage. Also, he has several touch-range mysteries, which he can cast in advance and hold the charge. Since his battlefist is both a manufactured weapon (and therefore a legal target for spell storing) and also a natural weapon, striking someone with it can hit them with up to four effects - poison, the stored mystery, the held touch spell, and a negative level from Soul Eater. Finally, AM-1468 carries around weapon crystals to apply as needed to his battlefist.)

2.3 (Other Attacks)
2.3.1 - As containing targets is often paramount, a caging unit has been developed that converts shadow energy into a more stable form, which can be used as a barrier. While this barrier is still permeable, it blocks light and can be used to contain or seal off, causing damage to any who attempt to pierce it.

2.3.2 - It is possible to channel energy to directly impair an enemy’s vision. This can either be used at range or channeled through the battlefist (sec. 2.2). As the eyes are a particularly vulnerable spot on most targets, this is an effective way to weaken stronger enemies. It also can function as a quick escape, as it conceals you from your target’s vision.

2.3.3 - Using electrical impulses, it is possible to bypass an enemy’s neural functioning completely, allowing us to control an enemy’s musculature from afar. A limited form of this can be used at range on a number of enemies, although control must be reestablished constantly. A more powerful form can be channeled through the battlefist, which allows complete control over the target for approximately one month.

(There are a number of other powerful attacks AM-1468 has access to, most of which can be channeled through the battlefist. Curtain of Shadows is a shapeable wall, blocking line of sight and dealing 15d6 damage to all who pass through. Shadow Vision gives a -4 penalty to most checks and conceals AM-1468 from his target’s vision. Dark Soul lasts for one round/level and allows AM-1468 to spend a standard action to force an enemy to attack whatever is closest (he prefers to use this from hiding early on). Soul Puppet acts as dominate monster, and can be extended to last for up to a month of complete control.)


2. First Contact

I pushed my way into the chirurgeon’s shop. It was dark, but I could see a low red gleam toward the back. I made my way to it.

“Hello, there,” said a harsh voice. I started. “I apologize for the state of things here. Always so much to do, and so little time to clean up...”

“Where are you?” I was looking all around, but could not see the source of the voice in the dim. “I can’t see anything in here!”

“My apologies,” said the voice. “I work better in the dark, and sometimes it is easy to forget that others do not share my... aptitude... with the shadows. Allow me to remedy the situation.”

With that, the workshop was suddenly illuminated, although I could see no lamp or lantern. The shop was indeed messy, littered with paper and cruel-looking instruments. Jars of specimens lined the back wall. But most gruesome of all was the doctor.

He was wearing a chirurgeon’s frock of a muddy brown color, heavily stained. His face was deeply lined and covered in scars, and his right eye was gone completely, replaced instead with a lens of some sort. The lens glowed a deep red. His right hand had long, spidery fingers, which were currently holding a scalpel over what appeared to be a cat. His left hand was something else entirely - bulky and metallic, and covered in harsh spikes.

“Now, my friend,” he said, still focusing on his cat. “Tell me what ails you, and I will see what I can do.”

“Actually,” I said, “it’s not what, it’s who. I came here because I’d heard you can make people, erm, disappear.”

He looked at me hard, his right eye glinting. “Close the door,” he said, and I did. “Truth be told, I would prefer to never have to take on such work, but my... experiments... can be costly, and a chirurgeon not of House Jorasco is hard pressed to find good, paying work. Now, sit down.”

“Thank you, Doctor Mallory,” I said. I moved a pile of scrolls off a wooden stool and sat.

“I prefer AM-1468 these days. Antony Mallory is so tragically human, don’t you agree? Convential names define a person’s past: ancestry, house, location, religion. I am not who I was ten years ago, and certainly not who I will be in twenty years. The name 1468 reflects my conviction that the year 1468 will be a magical time, a time when such collective identity is no longer necessary.”

“The year 1468?” I was confused. This job was not going at all as planned. “But... that’s ages away! What does that have to do with you?”

“Aye, ages away. Five hundred years after my birth, if you must know. But I fully plan to see that year’s dawn. 1468 is a dream and a goal, a reminder to myself that I shall never die...”

Snapshots
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LEVEL 5: Human, Sleeping Tiger Monk 2/Shadowcaster 3

At these levels, AM-1468 plays more like a rogue than anything else. His maxed out stealth skills become even better when combined with Sight Obscured. His primary form of offense is his crossbow, which he uses to deliver poisoned bolts to enemies. He also generally pre-casts Life Fades and holds the charge, so he can strike anyone nearby with an unarmed attack and add on extra damage and fatigue. Steel Shadows and an excellent dexterity keeps his defenses up without compromising his stealth.

LEVEL 10: Human, Sleeping Tiger Monk 2/Shadowcaster 4/Renegade Mastermaker 4

In addition to general utility, including much easier crafting of poisons and several healing abilities, the following five levels completely change AM-1468's tactics.

First of all, his main combo, Flicker + Sun School, comes online. Flicker is like abrupt jaunt on steroids - every round, he can teleport as an immediate action. With Sun School, he can also deliver an attack at the end of that action. The battlefist is also key. Being both a natural and manufactured weapon, he can deliver touch spells with it and also cover use it to deliver poison. So, he holds the charge on a Life Fades, then as an immediate action, he teleports next to someone and strikes them with his battlefist, both poisoning and fatiguing them.

The other big addition here is Bolster. This adds on up to a whopping 50 temporary HP every time he uses it at these levels. That significantly increases his endurance.

LEVEL 15: Human, Sleeping Tiger Monk 2/Shadowcaster 4/Renegade Mastermaker 9

A lot of AM-1468's abilities continue to progress in these levels. He picks up several new defensive abilities, including damage reduction from Renegade Mastermaker and deflection from Caul of Shadow. He can also begin embedding components, including the Essence of the Scout, which he builds himself and uses to boost his stealth potential (alongside Darkstalker, which nabs at level 12). Oh, and he gets more uses of Bolster (which now provides up to 75 temporary HP) and the powerful Unveil, which gets rid of just about any negative effect in the game.

He also gets a couple of new offensive mysteries, but the biggest thing is that he is now a high enough level to enchant his battlefist with the spell-storing enhancement. Now his immediate-action strikes can deliver three effects - poison, a stored mystery, and a held charge from a touch spell.

LEVEL 20: Living Construct, Sleeping Tiger Monk 2/Shadowcaster 7/Renegade Mastermaker 10/Soul Eater 1

Once AM-1468 completes his conversion from human to construct, his power goes up exponentially. His defenses are much better, and he is immune to precision damage and critical hits. He can also coat more than just his battlefist in poison now.

But there are two particularly huge power boosts: Soul Eater and the master level mysteries. Soul Eater lets him add a fourth debuff on his strikes, a negative level. His master mysteries give him an improved divination spell that acts as true seeing, detect thoughts, detect magic, detect alignment and more, all rolled together, plus a dominate monster effect (which can be channeled through his battlefist) and a third mystery that lets him force allies to attack each other.


On the Use of Renegade Mastermaker
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Renegade Mastermaker seems like a poor choice for a "caster" style build, as it loses two caster levels. However, it provides many powerful options here, making AM-1468 far stronger than the typical shadowcaster.

The biggest boost is the battlefist. It is unique in counting as both a manufactured and natural weapon, allowing it to be enhanced with augment crystals, enchanted with abilities like spell-storing and coated in poison, while still being able to deliver held touch spells. It also counts as a natural weapon for Soul Eater.

The boost to craft is also much appreciated, giving a +10 bonus to two of AM-1468's key skills.

Self-repair and supporting construction both add two healing abilities that the build otherwise lacks, and they combine well with Bolster to make a surprisingly sturdy skirmisher. Similarly, the damage reduction also boosts endurance.

Embedded components are especially nice for AM-1468 because he cannot wear armor, meaning he does not have access to some of the best Hide/Move Silently boosters in the game (Shadow and Silent Moves armor and their hefty +15 bonus). A greater essence of the scout can be embedded for an equivalent bonus to both checks. Other embedded components are useful (see the Items section), but the essence of the scout is particularly handy.

Finally, Construct Exemplar further boosts both offense and defense - those excellent warforged immunities (which can be used to deliver poison with the Snap Kick that follows up the initial Flicker attack) along with the bonus feat for Improved Fortification. And, even more important, it provides access to the Soul Eater prestige class by changing AM-1468's type to construct.

All of these benefits, alongside a stronger chassis (including a better BAB, better skills and access to UMD), make this more than a fair trade for accepting two fewer master mysteries.


3. Failure

“I hate to be gauche,” said Doctor Mallory, “but I would prefer half of my payment up front. Collections is such a sticky matter, and I would much prefer to avoid it.”

“Of course,” I said. I fumbled in my bag, pretending to search for coin. My heart was pounding as I closed my hands around the dagger. If I could get one shot in, one shot to put him off his guard, I knew I could finish him.

I pulled out the dagger and flung it toward the doctor. I had just enough time to see his smile, and then he vanished, flickering out of existence like a candle.

Just as suddenly, I felt a metal fist thud against my head from somewhere behind me, followed by a hard kick to the back of my knees. I staggered - surely two such blows could not debilitate me so quickly? But I felt my lifeforce draining, as though it was being sucked away.

The metal hand closed around my throat, and the terrible feeling of draining increased. “Naughty, naughty,” the doctor whispered into my ear. “Didn’t I tell you? I shall never die. Now,” he went on, and suddenly I could feel a powerful energy flowing through his fist, and hear his voice in my head, commanding me to obey. “Now, perhaps you ought to tell me who sent you...”


Rules Clarifications:
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1. How does AM-1468 qualify for Craft Wondrous Item with only two levels in shadowcaster, or Craft Magic Arms & Armor with only four?

Path Focus (Ebon Whispers) not only boosts the DC of the Ebon Whispers line, it also boosts its caster level. This lets AM-1468 qualify for the feats at the appropriate time.

2. How can AM-1468 qualify for Soul Eater, which requires being a non-humanoid?

Quote Originally Posted by Amphetryon
Quote Originally Posted by Query
Does the Renegade Mastermaker capstone "Construct Exemplar" change your type to construct, or do you remain a humanoid?
Given the verbiage about qualifying as a Warforged, you take on the Construct (Living Construct) type, just as they have.
3. Are you sure held touch spells can be delivered with a battlefist and alongside stored spells like that?

Yes. The relevant rules from the SRD are as follows:

Quote Originally Posted by SRD
Holding the Charge

If you don’t discharge the spell in the round when you cast the spell, you can hold the discharge of the spell (hold the charge) indefinitely... Alternatively, you may make a normal unarmed attack (or an attack with a natural weapon) while holding a charge... If the attack hits, you deal normal damage for your unarmed attack or natural weapon and the spell discharges. If the attack misses, you are still holding the charge.
As the battlefist qualifies as a natural weapon, AM-1468 can make an attack with it, activating the stored spell, and also discharging the held touch spell.

4. Can Flicker really avoid attacks as an immediate action?

Yes and no. Flicker provides immediate action teleportation each round. If this is used to avoid an attack, there is a 50% chance of the attack still being successful. This still prevents a full attack, and gives a decent chance of missing that first hit. However, there are ways to make this work even better. The first is to simply flicker in response to an opponent's movement, rather than in response to an attack. If you flicker outside of their range when they move to close, there isn't even a 50% chance of being hit. The second is to stack on more miss chances. Simply activating your Black Candle mystery, which you use at-will, will give you a 20% miss chance due to concealment on top of your 50% chance. Alternatively, the Shadow Vision mystery gives you complete concealment from a single enemy.

5. Does the Soul Eater's negative level require an action?

The verbiage on Soul Eater's level drain simply says that the touch of the Soul Eater causes level drain. As the Soul Eater appears to be modeled after the draining slams of vampires and similar creatures, this makes sense. However, many DMs will instead rule that this is a separate touch attack to drain a level.

If that is the case, the attack sequence still works, but it must be re-ordered. Instead, make a touch attack to drain a level and discharge any held touch spell. Then, in response to an attack or movement, flicker and hit again, discharging your stored mystery and also hitting them with any injury poison. If this is the case, replacing Snap Kick might be a good idea, since it will not be able to deliver an additional negative level.


Sources:
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Tome of Magic:
Shadowcaster (class), all its mysteries, Path Focus & Extend Mystery feats

SRD/Unearthed Arcana:
Sleeping Tiger monk variant

Book of Vile Darkness:
Soul Eater (class)

Magic of Eberron:
Renegade Mastermaker (class)

Complete Warrior:
Sun School feat

Lords of Madness:
Darkstalker feat

Drow of the Underdark:
Master of Poisons feat

Eberron Campaign Setting
Improved Fortification feat, essence of the scout