The Sa'Kage

Designer's Note
As promised in my thread for The Feruchemist, here is the next class I'm 'brewing for use in my Dead Heat campaign. I hope you like it.

Shadows, my ally. Silence, my shroud. Subtlety, my weapon.-Zoara Rhydal, a Sa'Kage.

Game Information

Abilities: Constitution adds to a Sa'Kage's Talent pool, fueling most of their mystical abilities. Like any other combatant, Dexterity and Strength are also of high importance, although individual Sa'Kage tend to focus on either one or the other.

Role: While the Sa'Kage can stand in for a front-line fighter if necessary, her low hit points and lack of heavier armors would lead to a swift, and likely messy, end. A Sa'Kage functions best as a support combatant, striking unseen from the shadows against targets wholly unaware of her murderous intent.

Background: All Sa'Kage must learn at the foot of another. No one person could ever discover the numerous secrets of the bloody arts as have been handed down through the many generations of Sa'Kage.

Organization: While all Sa'Kage are trained by others of their ilk, they seldom form large associations; Instead, they tend towards a one master, one pupil paradigm. However, they do occasionally join with other organizations, such as thieves' guilds or assassins' guilds, that would allow them to further their own goals. Others inside these organizations tend to eschew the arcane title "Sa'Kage" in favor of the crude "Wetboy". True Sa'Kage have been known to kill for less.

Alignment: Sa'Kage can be of any alignment, however the flexible morality required of many of their jobs means that there are far more neutral and evil Sa'Kage than good ones.

Races: A member of any race can learn to become a Sa'Kage, though those with a heartier constitution tend to fare best.

Religion: A shockingly high number of Sa'Kage follow the tenets of Pelor, The Burning Hate.

Other Classes: Sa'Kage tend to get along well with any other class that relies on stealth and subterfuge rather than direct confrontation. They get along less well with classes that tend to wear loud, heavy armor or who's moral rigidity clashes with the necessity of a Sa'Kage's work.

Hit Die

Class Skills

The Sa'Kage’s class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Appraise (Int), Balance (Dex), Bluff (Cha), Climb (Str), Craft (Int), Decipher Script (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Disable Device (Int), Disguise (Cha), Hide (Dex), Intimidate (Cha), Jump (Str), Knowledge (Local) (Int), Knowledge (Nobility and Royalty), Listen (Wis), Move Silently (Dex), Open Lock (Dex), Profession (Wis), Search (Int), Sense Motive (Wis), Speak Language, Sleight of Hand (Dex), Spot (Wis), Survival (Wis), Tumble (Dex), and Use Rope (Dex).

Skill Points at 1st Level
(8 + Int modifier) ×4.

Skill Points at Each Additional Level
8 + Int modifier.

Table: The Sa'Kage

1st|+0|+0|+2|+2|Trapfinding, Sneak Attack +1d6, Poison Use, Talent (Full Round Action)

2nd|+1|+0|+3|+3|Perfect Poise


4th|+3|+1|+4|+4|Be Elsewhere (1/day, 20 ft)

5th|+3|+1|+4|+4|Sneak Attack +2d6, Talent (Standard Action)

6th|+4|+2|+5|+5|Uncanny Dodge


8th|+6/+1|+2|+6|+6|Be Elsewhere (2/day, 40ft)

9th|+6/+1|+3|+6|+6|Sneak Attack +3d6

10th|+7/+2|+3|+7|+7|Improved Uncanny Dodge, Death Attack, Talent (Move Action)

11th|+8/+5|+3|+7|+7|Talented Toxins

12th|+9/+6|+4|+8|+8|Be Elsewhere (3/day, 60 ft)

13th|+9/+4|+4|+8|+8|Sneak Attack +4d6


15th|+11/+6/+1|+5|+9|+9|Talent (Swift Action)

16th|+12/+7/+2|+5|+10|+10|Be Elsewhere (4/day, 80 ft)

17th|+12/+7/+2|+5|+10|+10|Sneak Attack +5d6

18th|+13/+8/+3|+6|+11|+11|Faceless Assailant

19th|+14/+9/+4|+6|+11|+11|Inevitable Defeat

20th|+15/+10/+5|+6|+12|+12|Be Elsewhere (5/day, 100ft), Talent (Immediate Action 3/day), Deaderest

Designer's Note
This class is based in large part on The Wetboy from The Night Angel Trilogy. They're basically, in case you haven't figured it out by now, magical assassins. To build the class, I took some inspiration from the various Rogue-ish classes (Rogue, Ninja, Spellthief, Scout), and also from the Ranger and the Bloodhound (Complete Adventurer). For the Talent system, I drew largely from the Incarnum system, though I'm sure you'll note the lack of anything resembling Soulmelds or Chakra Binds.

Class Features:
All the following are class features of the Sa'Kage.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency:
A Sa'Kage is proficient with all simple weapons as well as the handaxe, throwing axe, kukri, sap short sword, rapier, scimitar, longbow, shortbow, kama, nunchaku, sai, siangham, spiked chain, bola, hand crossbow and shuriken. Sa'Kage are proficient with light armor but not with shields.

As the Rogue ability of the same name.

Sneak Attack:
As the Rogue ability of the same name.

Poison Use:
As the Ninja ability of the same name.

The Sa'Kage, through strict training and innate potential, gains a pool of magical ability, called Talent, from which they draw power. This is what separates true Sa'Kage from mere assassins. A Sa'Kage has a number of Talent points equal to their class level +1/2 their Constitution modifier. The Sa'Kage may invest points of Talent in various supernatural effects. Points of Talent are never expended; By spending a full round action a Sa'Kage may reinvest her Talent at any time. At 5th level, a Sa'Kage may rearrange their Talent as a Standard action, at 10th level they may do so as a move action, at 15th level they may do so as a swift action, and at 20th level they may, three times per day, rearrange their Talent as an immediate action.

Designer's Note
Think Essentia.

Also, the Sa'Kage gains access to all of their Talent abilities (see below) at level 1, though they will not have the Talent pool to fully power (or even access) many of them for quite some time.

Perfect Poise
Surefootedness is a fundamental aspect of being a Sa'Kage. Starting at 2nd level, a Sa'Kage gains a bonus to all Balance, Climb, Escape Artist, Jump and Tumble checks equal to one half their class level (round down).

As the Rogue ability of the same name.

Be Elsewhere: (Su)
As a standard action, a Sa'Kage may relocate to another, nearby, location as with the Dimension Door spell. Unlike the spell, this is a Supernatural ability, with uses per day and range per use as shown on the above table. A frequent tactic used by Sa'Kage about to be attacked is to ready an action to Be Elsewhere when struck, allowing them to avoid the attack.

Uncanny Dodge: As the Rogue ability of the same name.

Deader: Assassins have targets, because Assassins occasionally miss. Sa'Kage have Deaders. Once a Sa'Kage has accepted a contract, the Deader's life is already over -- all that remains is the cleanup. Once per day, a Sa'Kage may designate a target as a Deader. Against this target, the Sa'Kage receives a bonus equal to half her class level (round down) to all Gather Information, Listen, Search, Spot and Survival checks to determine the location of her quarry. Note that declaring a Deader is not an action taken lightly by a Sa'Kage, and once so sworn, a Deader contract is broken under the gravest of penalties. Should a Sa'Kage break a Deader contract, for reasons justified or otherwise, the Sa'Kage may never again declare that individual to be a deader, nor may she take any hostile action against them in the future. The breaking of a Deader contract is just as binding as the acceptance of one. Additionally, any other Sa'Kage hearing of a broken Deader agreement will become hostile towards the Sa'Kage that broke it, and in dire enough situations may attempt to complete the contract themselves.

Designer's Note:
In case you can't tell, Sa'Kage take the declaration of a Deader quite seriously. To the player I would only recommend not declaring a Deader lightly, as they are not broken easily.

Death Attack:
If a Sa'Kage studies her victim for 3 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 (Sa'Kage’s choice). While studying the victim, the Sa'Kage can undertake other actions so long as his attention stays focused on the target and the target does not detect the Sa'Kage or recognize her as an enemy. If the victim of such an attack fails a Fortitude save (DC 10 + half the Sa'Kage’s class level + the Sa'Kage’s Int modifier) against the kill effect, he dies. If the saving throw fails against the paralysis effect, the victim is rendered helpless and unable to act for 1d6 rounds plus 1 round per two levels of the Sa'Kage. If the victim’s saving throw succeeds, the attack is just a normal sneak attack. Once the Sa'Kage has completed the 3 rounds of study, she must make the death attack within the next 3 rounds.

If a death attack is attempted and fails (the victim makes his save) or if the Sa'Kage does not launch the attack within 3 rounds of completing the study, 3 new rounds of study are required before she can attempt another death attack.

Improved Uncanny Dodge:
As the Rogue ability of the same name.

Talented Toxins:
The Sa'Kage can create venoms and poisons the potency of which normal poison crafters can only dream of. When making a Craft (poisonmaking) check, the Sa'Kage may choose to invest a number of points of available Talent, up to a maximum of one half her class level, into the toxin. Add that number to all saving throw DCs required to resist the poison's effect. Talent points remain invested for 1 week or until the poison is used. After 1 week, the poison becomes inert, all Talent is refunded, and all crafting materials used to make the poison are lost.

At 14th level, a Sa'Kage also adds half her class level as a bonus to the first attack roll made against a Deader and, should that hit connect, as a bonus to the damage roll. Additionally, the Sa'Kage may now declare up to 2 Deaders, so long as both are designated as part of the same contract.

Designer's Note:
Please help me come up with a real name for this ability. The best one I've come up with so far is Deader Deader.

Faceless Assailant: (Ex)
At 18th level, a Sa'Kage becomes a knife in the darkness. Whenever she engages in combat with a Deader, any witnesses find themselves utterly unable to recall her countenance. They cannot describe, with any detail great or small, any discernible features of the Sa'Kage. This is a nonmagical, non mind affecting effect, and is not defeated by True Seeing, Mind Probe, or any other magics short of Wish or Miracle.

Inevitable Defeat:
Every strike a Sa'Kage makes against a Deader saps their will to fight and brings their eventual demise that much closer. At 19th level, for every successful attack the Sa'Kage makes, the Deader receives a cumulative -1 penalty to AC and Saving Throws, as well as a cumulative -5' penalty to movement speed. These penalties disappear after 1 minute of taking no damage from the Sa'Kage.

At 20th level, the Sa'Kage has become death incarnate. When making a Death Attack against a Deader, the Sa'Kage adds her full class level to the DC, rather than half. In addition, each sneak attack made against a Deader deals an additional 1 point of Constitution damage. This Constitution damage stacks with damage from any other source, such as from a poison or a Wounding weapon. Additionally, the Sa'Kage may now declare up to 3 Deaders, so long as all are designated as part of the same contract.

Designer's Note
For the love of Vecna, save me from myself. Help me rename this.