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Thread: GitP PrC Contest XLI: Hybrid Theory IV!

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    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Apr 2011

    Default Re: GitP PrC Contest XLI: Hybrid Theory IV!

    Shadow Champion

    Fallen no more!

    --Cass Tennebrai, former paladin and Shadow Champion

    Paladins fall. Sometimes it is a mistake. Sometimes they atone. Sometimes it is a rejection of good, of oaths, of selflessness and righteousness. Rarely, it marks the realization that the paladin's code is too rooted in law. Rarer still, these individuals find redemption in the most unlikely places: in the gutter, from the whispers of gods of chaos and trickery. The Shadow Champion still fights for good, but she fights from the shadows, using ambush, stealth, and subterfuge. She may long for her time in the sun, when she could ride forth in glory, but the teachings of her new god show her another path.


    A Shadow Champion is usually a fallen paladin who had to accept at some point that dishonorable tactics are the only viable ones, and rather than uphold law over good, they chose good. Either in one sudden outburst or gradually over time, the paladin becomes disillusioned with her code and loses her lawful alignment. However it happens, once she loses the favor of her god, another one may whisper in her head, asking her to become a new kind of champion.


    FEAT: Sacred Strike (BoED)

    CLASS ABILITY: Sneak attack +1d6

    SKILLS: Hide 6 ranks, Knowledge (religion) 2 ranks

    Base Attack Bonus: +5

    SPECIAL: Must be a fallen paladin with a neutral good or chaotic good alignment.

    Class Skills

    The Shadow Champion's class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Balance (Dex), Bluff (Cha), Concentration (Con), Climb (Str), Craft (Int), Decipher Script (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Disable Device (Int), Disguise (Cha), Escape Artist (Dex), Gather Information (Cha), Handle Animal (Cha), Hide (Dex), Heal (Wis), Intimidate (Cha), Jump (Dex), Knowledge (local) (Int), Knowledge (nobility and royalty) (Int), Knowledge (religion) (Int), Listen (Wis), Move Silently (Dex), Open Lock (Dex), Perform (Cha), Profession (Wis), Ride (Dex), Search (Int), Sense Motive (Wis), Sleight of Hand (Dex), Spot (Wis), Swim (Str), Tumble (Dex), Use Magic Device (Cha), and Use Rope (Dex)

    Skills Points at Each Level: 6 + int

    Hit Dice: d8

    {table=head]Level|Base Attack Bonus|Fort Save|Ref|Will|Abilities

    1|+1|+2|+2|+2| Shadow Oath, Shadow Devotion, Shadow mount

    2|+2|+3|+3|+3| shadow strike +1d6

    3|+3|+3|+3|+3| Tactical Calling, Nightís Grace

    4|+4|+4|+4|+4| shadow strike +2d6

    5|+5|+4|+4|+4| Surprise the Dead, Uncanny Dodge

    6|+6|+5|+5|+5| shadow strike +3d6

    7|+7|+5|+5|+5| Holy Strike, Evasion

    8|+8|+6|+6|+6| shadow strike +4d6

    9|+9|+6|+6|+6| Slay Evil

    10|+10|+7|+7|+7| shadow strike +5d6[/table]

    Weapon Proficiencies: The Shadow Champion gains no new weapon or armor proficiencies.

    Shadow Oath: Although the strict code of conduct of a paladin is a reflection of their lawful nature, the Shadow Champion also makes a promise to her new deity. This dedication takes the training and power that was lost and reforms and rebuilds it into something new. The Shadow Championís redemption represents a second chance with a new patron; there is no third chance. Although the Shadow Championís code is far less restrictive, even allowing evil acts and evil associates if they ultimately serve good, if the Shadow Champion falls, i.e., her alignment becomes non-good, there is no other redemption. A fallen Shadow Champion loses all of her Shadow Champion extraordinary and supernatural abilities, including her regained spellcasting, cannot gain levels in paladin or Shadow Champion, and cannot regain her abilities even with the atonement spell. Hereafter, whenever it says ďcharacter levelĒ in the Shadow Championís description, it refers to the sum of her rogue, paladin, and Shadow Champion levels. The Shadow Champion is explicitly NOT a paladin, though her Smite Evil ability qualifies her for any feat or prestige class that requires it, unless it also has alignment requirement that she does not meet. A character can change her alignment back to lawful good and still advance as a Shadow Champion, but this still does not allow her to advance as a paladin.

    Shadow Devotion (Su): The Shadow Champion gains the ability to cast spells, smite evil, and turn undead as a paladin of her character level. She also adds a number of spells to her spell list that are not normally paladin spells: 1st level: Obscuring Mist, Nystulís Magical Aura, Disguise Self. 2nd level: Invisibility, Charm Person, Catís Grace. 3rd level: Spider Climb, Nondetection, Invisibility Sphere. 4th level: Dimension Door, Confusion, Freedom of Movement.

    The Shadow Champion can no longer cast Protection from Chaos, Magic Circle Against Chaos, and Dispel Chaos unless or until they regain a lawful good alignment.

    Shadow Mount (Su): The Shadow Champion gains a new special mount, a giant celestial panther.

    Giant Celestial Panther:

    Giant Celestial Panther: CR 2; Large Magical Beast (extraplanar); HD 3d8+12; hp 30; Init +1; Spd 40 ft., climb 20 ft; AC 16, Touch 12, Flat-footed 13 (+3 dex +4 natural -1 size); Base Atk +2; Grp +13; Atk +8 melee (1d8+7, bite); Full Atk bite +8 melee (1d8+7) and 2 claws +3 melee (1d4+3); Space/Reach 10 ft./5 ft.; SA Improved Grab, Pounce, Smite, Rake 1d4+3; SQ Darkvision 60 ft, scent; SV Fort +7, Ref +6, Will +2; Str 24, Dex 17, Con 19, Int 3, Wis 12, Cha 6.

    Skills: Balance +11, Climb +15, Hide +6, Jump +15, Listen +6, Move Silently +9, Spot +6. Feats: Alertness, Stealthy

    {table]character level|bonus HD|Nat. Armor|Str adjustment|Int|Special

    5-7th|+2|+4|+1|6|Empathic link, improved evasion, share spells, share saving throws, resistances, DR 5 magic

    8-10th|+4|+6|+2|7|Improved speed

    11-14th|+6|+8|+3|8|Command creatures of its kind, increased resistances

    15-20th|+8|+10|+4|9|Spell resistance[/table]

    Shadow Strike (Ex): The Shadow Championís shadow strike ability is like a rogueís sneak attack in most ways, however, the extra damage is not subject to any type of damage reduction when used against evil opponents. Additionally, evil outsiders or creatures with the corrupted template cannot heal the damage with magic or fast healing, instead healing at the rate of 1 hit point per hitdice per day of rest. It always counts as lethal damage against any evil creature with regeneration. Any sneak attack dice the Shadow Champion gained from other sources, such as levels in rogue, become shadow strike dice instead. Shadow strike is modified by any feats or abilities that modify sneak attack, and counts as sneak attack for the purposes of qualifying for feats or prestige classes. In addition to the shadow strike gained on their class table, a Shadow Champion also gains +1d6 shadow strike damage per two paladin levels she had before becoming a Shadow Champion.

    Tactical Calling (Su): Instead of a full round action, the Shadow Champion can now call her special mount as a swift action and dismiss it as a free action. She may call her mount a number of times per day equal to her levels in Shadow Champion. Additionally, the mount may appear anywhere within thirty feet, instead of an adjacent square

    Nightís Grace (Su): During the night, the Shadow Champion adds her charisma bonus to her saves, Hide and Move Silently skill checks, and AC as a perfection bonus.

    Surprise the Dead (Su): Normally, the Shadow Champion turns undead as a cleric of three levels lower than the total of her paladin and Shadow Champion levels, but if she uses this ability when the undead in question are unaware of her or otherwise denied their dexterity bonus to AC, she rolls her turning check and damage as if she was a cleric of equal level to the total of her paladin and Shadow Champion levels, and any undead that would normally be turned are destroyed. Since the Shadow Championís effective cleric level would be different if some undead in her turning range were surprised and some were not, two turning checks are made in this case to determine if she can affect some or all of them, and the turning damage is applied to the surprised undead first.

    Uncanny Dodge: As the rogue ability. If the Shadow Champion already has uncanny dodge, she gains improved uncanny dodge.

    Holy Strike (Ex): This ability enhances the Shadow Championís Sacred Strike feat. Instead of rolling d8s for damage when shadow striking evil opponents, she now rolls d10s.

    Evasion: As the rogue ability. If the Shadow Champion already has evasion, she gains improved evasion.

    Slay Evil (Ex): If the Shadow Champion uses her smite evil ability on an evil opponent when it also qualifies to be shadow striked, all shadow strike dice deal maximum damage.


    A Shadow Champion is often bitter over the loss of her first god's favor, and may struggle constantly to reconcile her old life with her new one.

    Combat: The Shadow Champion relies on stealth and ambush, making good use of the spells added to her spell list and using the mobility of her new special mount to flank and dispatch foes, often dismissing it and calling it right behind her target in the same round. If she has mounted combat feats, she may occasionally return to the paladin's typical tactics.

    Advancement: Fighter and ranger levels often help a Shadow Champion get better at some aspect of her chosen path, and some prestige classes meant for paladins are still accessible and helpful to her as well. Because it will continue to advance her spells, mount, shadow strike, and smite, it can be very difficult to find a better advancement path than more rogue levels. Shadowdancer levels can net her the improved versions of uncanny dodge and evasion quite early if she doesn't have them after finishing her Shadow Champion levels, and it fits quite well thematically and makes her more mobile and stealthy, as well as giving the same number of skill points.

    Resources: Part of the Shadow Championís personal journey is learning the weaknesses of the paladinís methods. A Shadow Champion often has a mentor, an older Shadow Champion, a cleric of a trickster god, or even the leader of a rogueís guild. Unlike paladins, Shadow Champions will work with those who donít necessarily share their ideals, even manipulating evil creatures into furthering their goals. They can amass quite a network of useful associates.


    I remember her. Used to be a paladin. Now sheís a thief or something.

    The changes in a Shadow Champion are so drastic that many may not believe that they are looking at the same person.

    Daily Life: A Shadow Championís new god doesnít grant her the ability to detect evil anymore, so she must use mundane methods to make sure that her targets are indeed evil. Therefore, a Shadow Champion spends most of her time spying, researching, and gathering information between missions. She may also seek out others like herself and redeem them as well.

    Notables: Cass Lumine, who changed her name to Cass Tennebrai after her conversion. Cass was a powerful enforcer of the church of Pelor, but politically her temple was controlled by a less-than-honorable lord. Cass was sent as an escort for a diplomatic mission, only the ďdiplomatĒ was really an assassin, who killed the lord of a rival city. Cass executed the assassin, but found that she could not give herself up for trial, as honor demanded. She fled, and spent some time as an outlaw, but didnít lose her paladin powers until she herself turned assassin, killing her former lord. Pelor no longer accepted her. Again, she lived as an outlaw, until she befriended a particularly devout thief, who explained to her the philosophy of Olidammara. She felt a calling, different from the one that led her to become a paladin, but with the same urgency.

    Organizations: Shadow Champions will work together, usually only if they follow the same god, but they often keep their nature secret. They will try to redeem fallen paladins, especially if they came from the same order, but more often they fall in with other stealthy, devious types. If they can find an organization of thieves with benevolent goals, they wouldnít hesitate to join them, but often they are forced to take less reputable groups and manipulate them into performing good deeds.

    NPC Reaction

    Shadow Champions are difficult to tell from rogues. Sometimes, if they have a little wilderness experience, they pretend to be rangers. If an NPC knows they used to be a paladin, they might view them even more unfavorably. A Shadow Champion is most effective when others donít know of her true nature, abilities, and intentions, so she will often not disabuse people of the notion that she is an outlaw.


    Adaptation: Whatever god of trickery is found in your campaign will work as the Shadow Championís patron. If paladins donít exist in the setting, it might not be really workable.

    Encounters: Shadow Champions are a diverse lot. They usually look for good goals that require subterfuge and canít be handled by working within the law, leaving conventional heroics to conventional heroes. Some can be found working to bring down evil empires from within, others are the shadowy protectors of whatever territory they decide is their responsibility, while others will be actively traveling and hunting down evil-doers. Good PCs will generally not have any trouble with them, but they might find themselves under close observation for a while. Evil PCs can expect to be attacked, though perhaps subtly. A Shadow Champion is expected to use the best tactics available, including pretending to ally with evil opponents for a time, or even manipulating evil factions into fighting one another.

    Sample Encounter

    Give an example of how one might encounter a member of this PrC.

    EL x: Give the encounter level and description of a sample member of this class and a stat block for him/her.

    Cass Tennebrai

    Chaotic Good Female Human Pal 5, Rog 1, ShR 4

    Init +0, Senses: Listen +, Spot +,



    AC , touch , flat-footed ()

    hp ( HD)

    Fort +, Ref +, Will +


    Speed: 30 ft. (6 squares)


    Base Atk: +8/+3, Grp +9

    Atk Options:

    Combat Gear:

    Spells Prepared:

    Supernatural Abilities:


    Abilities: Str 12, Dex 16, Con 12, Int 10, Wis 14, Cha 14




    Last edited by sengmeng; 2013-06-17 at 09:42 PM.
    My Homebrew (Free to use, don't even bother asking. PM me if you do, though; I'd love to hear stories).

    Avatar done by me (It's Durkon redrawn as Salvador from Borderlands 2).

    Nod, get treat.