Entry number 7:
Originally Posted by Korraneleus d'OrienThe Ageless Korraneleus d'Orien
Korraneleus was struggling.
While his position within House Orien was far from pitiable, one more raid on the house’s caravans would have disastrous consequences for him. Not to mention his wife and son.
He drew back the lush curtain from the window of the carriage he rode in, well behind the wares. If you asked him exactly what he was transporting on this excursion, Korraneleus wouldn’t be able to tell you. After all, that was part of what the customer paid House Orien for. Any fool could deliver a package, but it required skill and training to do it discreetly.
These were the kind of shipments Korraneleus worried about the most. Whatever was in them was obviously in short supply in this part of Karrnath.
His coach slowed to a stop.
There was always the chance the coachman had merely spotted an obstacle on the road and they would be on their way once it was cleared.
Still, Korraneleus did not want to ask. The scream followed by the unmistakable thud of a body hitting the road let him know his worst fears had come to pass.
Korraneleus threw his knife to the floor, still in its sheath and put his hands in the air. If they wanted his wares, they could be replaced.
The highwayman outside pierced the curtain on the carriage with a sword. When he saw who sat inside, he threw open the door and dragged Korraneleus out by his doublet, hurling him to the ground.
Korraneleus did not run. He did not fight. He knew what was going to happen to him.
The highwayman before him drew a sacrificial dagger from a hidden compartment somewhere on his person. Korraneleus wasn’t paying attention to such things.
“Has the delivery been made?” Korraneleus asked the man who would soon be his murderer.
“All is well. You need to have more faith, Seeker. It’s all taken care of,” he said.
He took a step toward Korraneleus, drew the blade across his throat, and killed him.
This was the first time Korraneleus would witness Dolurrh. He knew it would not be the last.
The final word of power was spoken in the presence of Korraneleus’s corpse.
His spirit occupied the body before it was wholly together. Korraneleus knew this because for the briefest, most agonizing moment, he was aware of what it felt like to be alive without a body.
The moment his blood was called back from wherever it had gone, he was for the first time in his life aware of its presence. It was the first time he’d truly felt it flow within him. Heard its ebb and flow with every beat of his heart. While the sensation grew fainter with every pulse, he vowed he wouldn’t take it for granted again.
“Ah, good, you’re up,” said a dwarf standing by his side.
Korraneleus didn’t need to turn to see who it was. He would know Bartimeus d’Kundarak’s voice anywhere.
A short time ago, Barty had approached him with a contract from some, to put it mildly, shady characters. It stipulated that if the next shipment from House Orien were attacked, and Korraneleus met with any kind of unfortunate end, there would be a substantial compensation to his family (anonymous, of course.) They even agreed to throw in a free resurrection. True as well. All the bells and whistles. How could he refuse?
Barty had looked everything over and expressed in fluent legalese that it was indeed a good deal, especially since he had a much more depressingly thorough grasp of Korraneleus’s finances than he did. Korraneleus took his friend’s advice.
“Korry, I’m afraid I’ve got some bad news.”
And now he was literally living to regret it.
The priest by his side gave Korraneleus a curt nod and held a stick of sealing wax to his ring finger. He pressed it in and stamped it on a document in Barty’s hand. Korraneleus’s signet ring had already made its mark on the paper.
Strange, why did it look so old?
“I’m not going to like this, am I?” Korraneleus said.
Barty shook his head. “I’m afraid not.”
Korraneleus tilted his head toward the priest in his black and red robes, Vol’s symbol across the chest. “What’s he know?”
Barty shrugged. “Enough, but he’s got no reason to stick around. He’s done his part.”
With that, the priest shrugged off his robe, folded it into a bag of holding, and tossed it to Barty, who squirreled it away in a safe deposit box in the vault they were standing in.
“Good. I’ve got a lunch meeting across town in an hour. Orien got me covered?” he asked.
Barty waved his hand. “Yes, yes, it’s all taken care of. Someone’s waiting for you in the lobby. Don’t want to be late.”
Korraneleus cleared his throat. A bit awkwardly, he said “Thanks for saving my life, I suppose.”
The priest chuckled. “Nothing personal.” With that, he was on his way.
Korraneleus swallowed once they were alone.
“Barty, why did you promise him special favors within my house? That wasn’t part of our deal,” Korraneleus said.
Barty cleared his throat and handed him a new suit of clothes, his back still turned.
Korraneleus had had no body when he’d been returned to life, so of course he’d been naked. He got dressed.
“A few things had to change, you understand,” Barty said.
Korraneleus hopped off the makeshift dais he’d been placed on, steady as ever on his feet. A knock at the outside of the vault startled him.
“Sir? Are you done with the vault? Our next client needs it in a few minutes.”
“Just wrapping up,” Barty said and chuckled.
“Okay, I’m done,” Korraneleus said.
Barty turned around. There were streaks of gray in his beard. There hadn’t been the last time the two had spoken.
Korraneleus grabbed Barty by the shoulders. “How long have I been under?”
Barty swallowed. “Like I said, a few things had to change—“
“Let me put it this way: the next customer is your grandson.”
Before Korraneleus could react, the door to the vault swung open. A man who looked distressingly like he’d thought his son would when he was a man stood before him.
“Grandfather! How are you?” he said with a smile.
Korraneleus limply extended a hand. “I’m as good as can be expected, I suppose. Listen, ah—“ he reached for his name, feeling foolish for not knowing it.
“Andraias,” he said patiently. “No need to be embarrassed, grandfather. I’ll explain it all on the way.”
“Where are we going?” Korraneleus asked.
“Lunch, of course! I know I’m always famished after the boy brings me back,” Andraias said with disconcerting authority.
Korraneleus saw more than a hint of stubble on the young man’s cheek. Was his own grandson older than he was? How embarrassing.
And had he just referred to a priest of the Blood of Vol as “the boy?”
“I’m not sure I have much of an appetite, son,” Korraneleus said.
“Ah. Don’t worry, that’ll come back too. We’ve got a lot to discuss.”
With that, the pair bid goodbye to Barty and were on their way.
The interior of the bank hadn’t changed much, but that was to be expected. Just as he stepped outside, he felt maybe he’d been too confident about how quickly he’d adjust.
Some enormous steel serpent lay before the bank, resting on a pair of iron slats.
“What is that?!” Korraneleus exclaimed.
“Relax, grandfather. It’s only the lightning rail. You ought to know. After all, you built it,” Andraias said.
“I what?” Korraneleus said.
Andraias stepped forward and showed some papers to what looked like a coachman, judging by the House Orien symbol on his lapel, even though it was no uniform Korraneleus recognized, and he had no idea where the poor man would sit on this steel contraption.
“Ah, yes, very good, sir. Your private car is right this way,” the coachman said. He tipped his hat to Korraneleus. “Nice to see you back, sir,” he said with a wink.
Something about the way he said it put Korraneleus on edge.
He stepped into the compartment after Andraias. Within, it looked not unlike a carriage, albeit a far more spacious one.
“Are we alone here?” Korraneleus asked.
Andraias chuckled haughtily. Korraneleus was annoyed. He’d hoped his son would do a better job raising his children than this, but realized it wasn’t as though he’d had much of a chance. He’d been little more than a child himself when Korraneleus had seen him last.
“Yes, quite. The whole car’s ours, or should I say yours, so by all means, make yourself at home.” Andraias poured them both large brandies from a crystal decanter.
Korraneleus gratefully accepted. He could certainly use one.
“Was that man outside a Seeker?” he asked.
“Oh, yes,” Andraias said. “Joined up last year, I think. Incognito, of course, so I’d appreciate it if you didn’t tell anyone. He’s what we call a conductor nowadays. He makes the lightning rail go from place to place.”
Korraneleus didn’t care for his grandson’s tone, but he was hardly in a position to complain.
“The lightning rail is like a caravan without any horses. It goes from place to place using electricity on steel tracks.”
Korraneleus nodded. So that was how the priest had planned to get across town so quickly. His next question, he had to pose more tactfully.
“What exactly is our standing in the church nowadays?” he asked.
When he’d been alive last was nowhere near lofty enough to treat priests capable of raising the dead like errand boys.
“We’re quite well off, grandfather. Rest assured if you need someone in the church to get something done, I’ll see to it.”
A piercing whistle came from outside. “All aboard that’s coming aboard!” shouted the conductor.
“Let’s sit down. Wouldn’t want you to spill your drink,” Andraias said.
Korraneleus sat down and sipped from his glass. It was much better than anything he’d drank in his day, but he was careful not to let his face show it.
“What else has changed? Is your grandmother still alive? Why have I been under so long?”
Andraias smiled indulgently, but then took on a more somber cast.
“I’m afraid the first question is a bit beyond what I can answer in our time together. The second, unfortunately, I can tell you now is no, I’m afraid grandmother is no longer with us. The third has an unfortunate, if interesting answer.”
The wheels on the lightning rail began to turn, and at once, they were off. By the scenery whizzing past, they were moving faster than the swiftest horse.
“You see, shortly after you were, well, I suppose the technical term would be ‘murdered,’ there was an investigation within House Orien. It seems a few of our less scrupulous members had been dealing with the Blood of Vol in exchange for the occasional kickback,” he said with a wink. Andraias finished his brandy.
Korraneleus scowled. “Those kickbacks were all that kept us going when times were hard. It paid for that drink in your belly, didn’t it?”
Andraias coughed and set down his glass. “I was only teasing, grandfather. Anyway, if you had been brought back too soon, even though everything was anonymous, it would look suspicious. Barty talked things out with father once he was old enough. The church offered us enough to improve our standing within the House. Mother had taken a turn for the worse, you see. In exchange for delaying things a while longer, they agreed to give us something of an installment for the short term.”
Korraneleus, unfortunately, was beginning to see the shape of things. “And I gather it continued in this fashion for some time.”
“You have to understand, a project like the lightning rail doesn’t just happen overnight. We were doing fine, sure, but almost all our operating capital was tied up in the project. When it stalled, we didn’t have much of a choice but to extend the contract”
“I’m sure,” Korraneleus said.
They arrived at their destination a frighteningly short time later. None of the restaurants Korraneleus suggested were still extant, so he reluctantly took his grandson’s suggestion about where to dine.
“You’ll love it,” he said. “It’s this charming little place called ‘The Empty Plate.’ The chef comes and manifests false sensory input on you and you have whatever you like.”
Korraneleus wasn’t sure quite how to respond to that.
Midway through an ineffable lobster bisque, Korraneleus glanced around the room.
“You know, perhaps I need to catch up a little. I could use some new clothes. I can show you to this wonderful tailor in Cyre—“
Andraias choked on his champagne. If he’d actually been drinking anything, it would’ve gone straight in Korraneleus’s face. As things stood in this modern world, he simply imagined his glass full and continued normally. He set it down and came over quite serious.
“I’m afraid that’s quite impossible, grandfather.”
Korraneleus was beginning to grow annoyed.
“Look, I’m getting sick of this.”
Andraias bit his lip. “We can’t go because there is no more Cyre.” He made some vague gesture to the Sovereign Host. They were in public after all.
Korraneleus laughed. Everyone in the restaurant gasped and then fell silent.
“Come on, you certainly could’ve come up with something better than that,” Korraneleus said. He reached forward to take another mouthful of soup, but found his bowl empty.
The chef, who had stood dutifully unnoticed with his back to the table, as any good servant should, turned to face him.
“Sir, I’m going to have to ask you to leave,” he said.
Korraneleus couldn’t help but laugh again. “Oh, very funny. I suppose my grandson put you up to this.”
The chef clenched his fist so tight, the tendons stood out in his wrist.
“There are some things you just don’t do. My father was killed on the Day of Mourning. Get out, or I will throw you out.”
Korraneleus was about to retort when his grandson actually shushed him.
“I’m so sorry. Please, charge everything to House Orien as my way of recompense,” Andraias said. He left the restaurant.
Korraneleus was about to protest, when he heard a deep, bass hum from the back of his skull.
“I warned you,” the chef said. He wouldn’t.
Korraneleus knew he had about thirty seconds. He could already taste bile. He sprinted from the restaurant, his every nerve telling him to get as far away from it as possible. He dove for a plate glass window, his gift from Orien allowing him to slip at once to that space between spaces and appear unharmed on the other side, the glass intact.
On the sidewalk outside, he doubled over in pain and vomited into the gutter.
The bastard had made him averse to the restaurant.
“That was my fault, I should’ve told you earlier,” Andraias said without consideration of his predicament. “Something terrible happened there a while ago. Cyre was destroyed. It was just a few years before the war stopped.”
“The war stopped?” Korraneleus asked.
“Well, on paper. You know how things are. Don’t worry, business is still good.”
“The House or the church?” Korraneleus asked once he was sure no one was around. His nausea had passed, so he got to his feet.
“Oh, the House, to be certain. You saw those rails. We move much more than we ever could in the old days. Sorry, in your time.”
“And the church?” Korraneleus asked, ignoring the gibe.
“I can’t precisely be sure. While father and I have certainly benefited from your sacrifice on the church’s behalf, I’m afraid I personally never had much affinity for your branch,” Korraneleus said.
Andraias spoke of the Thieves of Life like they were some lodge.
“And your father?” Korraneleus asked.
“Oh, he’s on church business right now. Terribly hush hush. Or he’d have been here to greet you himself.” That, Korraneleus believed.
“Anyway, sorry about all this. I’ll tell you what, I’ll take you somewhere and get you something to cheer you up,” Andraias said with a pat on the back. At this point, Korraneleus knew better than to ask what it was.
They got off the lightning rail at the next destination. Andraias shepherded him into a shop where everything was gleaming metal. Korraneleus was afraid to touch anything, lest he leave a fingerprint. Old habits.
The merchant greeted Andraias as an old friend.
“What can I do for you today, young master?” he asked.
“Something for my grandfather. Can you believe he’s never had one?” Andraias said, as though it were a joke.
“No shame in that. What is sir’s pleasure?” he asked.
Korraneleus wasn’t sure how to respond.
“I’m sure whatever you select is fine,” Andraias said.
The merchant returned with a gleaming warforged in tow.
Korraneleus quirked an eyebrow. “I don’t really need a bodyguard, you know. I can take care of myself.”
Andraias snorted. “No, not a bodyguard. A, uh, well, you know, valet, dogsbody, something like that. I can’t be around all the time, I’m afraid,” he said as though Korraneleus would miss him.
“I see,” Korraneleus said. He extended a hand to the warforged. “Korraneleus d’Orien.”
“Jayvas,” the warforged said.
“There, see? I’m sure you’ll be the best of friends. Put it on the account,” Andraias said. “And with that, I’m afraid I must be off. House business to attend to. Let them know if you need anything. Our standing there’s improved quite a bit as well. If you see father, send him my regards. Ta.” Andraias disappeared without a trace.
The brat had Orien’s gift of teleportation. If Korraneleus was lucky, he would be far away by now.
“Where to, sir?” Jayvas asked.
“Somewhere else,” Korraneleus said.
“That, I think, can be arranged,” Jayvas said.
Korraneleus went back to the bank to discuss things with Barty. Jayvas waited outside.
They determined due to some intricacies of the law in this area, as long as Korraneleus was alive, he retained control of the assets that had passed to his descendants during the period of his death. It was a tricky area of the law, but it was why he’d kept Barty around all these years.
“You’ve got some work to do,” Barty said.
“I’ve not even been alive one single solitary damned day,” Korraneleus said.
Barty shrugged. “Hey, what can I say, the only thing you can count on is taxes. You’ve go the other thing all taken care of.” He handed him his envelope from the church.
Korraneleus read it, gathered the pertinent information on his target, and burnt it then and there. He wasn’t in the least surprised.
He emerged a short time later, Jayvas patiently waiting for him as a good servant should.
“Sir? Where are we going next?” he asked.
“Hunting,” Korraneleus said.
His standing within the house truly had improved. He had a member who could teleport beside him as soon as they got word that he needed it.
The site of his job was on the lightning rail, far away from where he’d ridden today.
His House Orien credentials got him onboard without needing to be officially added to the manifest. He got a compartment adjacent to the private car, which was in use. Big surprise.
He instructed Jayvas to wait for him, and send up an alarm should anything happen. Not that it should. His target was someone misappropriating church funds. They weren’t, as a rule, fearsome opponents.
The door to the private car was something even a silver key would have trouble circumventing. Fortunately, Korraneleus didn’t have to. Orien’s gift let him appear on the other side in an instant. He crept to the bedroom, his gift from Orien ensuring his feet never touched the floor. Korraneleus held a pillow over his target’s face and stabbed through it over and over with his bloodfang until whatever was underneath it stopped moving.
The soul of his prey flowed into him. He grew full of life. The same way he had felt his blood for the first time, he felt something like it again. The heartbeat of his victim pulsed within him for a moment until it was subsumed within his own. He had stolen another year. Fitting for an embezzler.
He hopped back outside and told Jayvas to summon another teleporter. They needed to return to the bank. He’d had an idea.
Barty was glad as ever to see him.
“That was fast,” he said.
“Is the church complaining?” Korraneleus asked.
“Do they have a contract out on me?” Korraneleus asked.
“Hey, you know if they did, I’m the first guy you’d hear it from,” Barty said.
“Do you know if they’d like one?” Korraneleus asked.
“Are you crazy?” Barty said.
“Look, it’s like this: House Kundarak takes money from one person and gives it to another in another city when there’s need. Why not do that with years? I’m sure there’s someone else who needs to lie low once in a while. Why let that year go to waste? If someone needs to be out of the way, temporarily or otherwise, why not have one of us do it? We could even it amongst each other, even,” he said.
Barty looked shocked, intrigued, then excited. “That’s a great idea. It’s so simple.”
Korraneleus nodded. “And in desperate need of being made so complicated that only bankers can understand it. I can think of no better man for the job. Congratulations, Barty, you’re hired.”
Barty asked “As what?”
“As chair of the Blood Bank of Vol.”
One year later, when his borrowed time was up, they had indeed found a “buyer,” another Thief of Life who was eyeing the title of Ageless himself. Korraneleus was happy to make it happen for a price. In this way, he was able to further grow his fortune. In exchange for larger and larger payouts, he could be killed quite often, as could others in his network, since it would hardly do to resurrect the same man every day.
He’d been out for a while, awoken as ever by Jayvas, accompanied by another priest. He could scarcely tell them apart these days. This one was another distant scion of his. Neither was sure of the precise relation, so he just called him uncle on his way out wishing him a pleasant life. Neither was sure which life he was on now.
Jayvas accompanied him out into the street. He was wearing a tailored suit of his own now, like a man. Korraneleus did an admirable job of not laughing.
“Where did you get that suit?” he asked politely.
“I made it, sir,” Jayvas said.
“I didn’t know you sewed,” Korraneleus said. Jayvas shrugged.
“One picks things up as time passes. I have my own shop now, sir.”
By now, Korraneleus knew never to laugh when hearing something outrageous after being brought back.
“We’re free now. Perhaps not in exactly the same way as you, but in our own way. I’ve come to say goodbye and to wish you well. I figured I owed you that courtesy. Please feel free to stop by any time you like, sir.”
Korraneleus was shocked, but not surprised. He shook Jayvas’s hand like he would a man’s and wished him well. Truthfully, he was in need of a new suit, as he always was upon emerging from Dolurrh, but having his old friend wait on him after his speech about being freed would be in poor taste. He shopped elsewhere.
Without Jayvas as a touchstone, or even Barty after his next dozen dozen contracts, the years began to blur. He slept longer and longer, the conditions he left with his executor about when to wake him becoming ever less specific: when an enemy of his died. When this descendent or that came of age. When something interesting happened.
House Orien arranged for a guide to shepherd him out into the world when he came back to life. By now, no one was sure how they were related, so they all called him grandfather and none of them understood why it always made him smile.
A distant scion of his picked him up. An orc, if such things can be believed. Full-blooded. Korraneleus had learned by now not to comment on such things. He caught him up on current events. Which houses were at Orien’s throat, the names of the current rulers, and things that were no longer acceptable to say in public. He suggested taking Korraneleus to a play. He had no reason to object.
Outside, the lightning rail was gone. The last time Korraneleus had been out, when he’d asked what time the rail arrived, people had laughed at him. House Orien had been teleporting people directly to their destination on large crystal pads for decades. It’d been as if he’d asked where to rent a horse, back when such things still existed. People scarcely knew what they were these days.
Korraneleus and his guide materialized in a playhouse in time for curtain. It was a play about a warforged, if such a thing could be believed. Korraneleus had long passed the stage where such things could scandalize him. Now he was merely amused. The actor wasn’t a real warforged, obviously, just an elf with his face done up in silver paints, screws and bolts glued here and there across his cheeks. The story of the principal character was common enough among their kind. After the war’s end, where they were declared sentient beings, he sought a life of some normal trade to escape his past. Things progressed, and he even worked as a tailor. What an amusing coincidence.
As the story continued, there began to be more similarities. It became clear this was based on Jayvas, even if the name were different. Korraneleus signaled to his descendant with the telepathic link groups attending the theater had put in place so they could converse without disturbing others.
“I think I know this chap,” Korraneleus said.
“Oh, grandfather, you’re so funny.”
Korraneleus had nothing to say after that.
Korraneleus awoke again. The priest murmured something about his guide being here for him. Korraneleus scarcely listened anymore.
The door opened and a warforged stood before him.
“Has my descendant been delayed?” Korraneleus asked, making sure to look the warforged in he eye.
“Good afternoon, grandfather,” it said.
Korraneleus blinked. It produced official papers, evidently having anticipated his reaction. They were genuine. The warforged was indeed a member of House Orien, having married his great-great-great-great granddaughter. It—he, Korraneleus reminded himself—suggested they go see a play. He couldn’t object.
It was the same one as the last time he’d been alive. Actual warforged climbed the boards. One played the lead, Jayvas, now credited and billed as the playwright, if one could believe such things. Some other members of the cast were warforged too, even those playing the human characters. It reminded him of how boys had used to play women in plays, something his descendant ten or eleven visits ago hadn’t believed when he had mentioned it.
The play was better the second time around. He and his descendent had much to discuss. He actually wanted to hear about Korraneleus seeing the original production. Their telepathic link hummed, even after the final curtain call.
When it was time to go back to the bank and fill out the forms, they came to the final section: “When would you like to be woken up?”
Korraneleus didn’t have to think twice before filling it out:
“Any time you like.”
TN silverbrow human rog 1/spellthief 1/ thief of life 4/ blade of orien 8/ thief of life 10
str 16 (increases here)
Level Class Base Attack Bonus Fort Save Ref Save Will Save Skills Feats Class Features 1st Rogue 1 +0 +0 +2 +0 balance 4, diplo 4, heal 4, hide 4, know (religion) 4 (2), spot 4, tumble 4, umd 4 draconic heritage (gold), least dragonmark (dimension leap) sneak attack +1d6, mimic 2nd Spellthief +0 +0 +2 +2 know (arcana) 4, tumble 1 (5), umd 1 (5) Sneak attack +2d6, steal spell (0 or 1st), trapfinding 3rd Thief of Life 1 +0 +2 +4 +2 hide 2 (6), ms 4 orien battle stride Lifesense (5 ft.) 4th Thief of Life 2 +1 +3 +5 +2 disguise 1, hide 1 (7), ms 3 (7), umd 1 (6) Sneak attack +3d6 5th Thief of Life 3 +2 +3 +5 +3 diplo 4 (8), disguise 2 (3) Lifesense (10 ft.) 6th Thief of Life 4 +3 +4 +6 +3 hide 2 (9), ms 2 (9), umd 2 (8) lesser dragonmark (dimension door) Borrow vigor 7th Blade of Orien 1 +4 +4 +8 +3 listen 2, spot 2 (6) Heir’s mark, improved dimension leap 8th Blade of Orien 2 +5 +4 +9 +3 spot 4 (10) Swift leap 9th Blade of Orien 3 +6/+1 +5 +9 +4 hide 3 (12) spot 1 (11) greater dragon mark (overland flight) Korran’s strength 10th Blade of Orien 4 +7/+2 +5 +10 +4 listen 4 (6) Orien’s grasp 11th Blade of Orien 5 +8/+3 +5 +10 +4 spot 3 (14), listen 1 (7) Olladra’s twist 12th Blade of Orien 6 +9/+4 +6 +11 +5 listen 4 (11) cerulean will Dimensional push 13th Blade of Orien 7 +10/+5 +6 +11 +5 spot 2 (16), listen 2 (13) Orien’s wrath 14th Blade of Orien 8 +11/+6/+1 +6 +12 +5 tumble 4 (9) Shadow shift 15th Thief of Life 5 +11/+6/+1 +6 +12 +5 umd 6 (14) shape soulmeld (soulspark familiar) Immunity to fear, lifesense (15 ft.) 16th Thief of Life 6 +12/+7/+2 +7 +13 +5 bluff 6 Sneak attack +4d6 17th Thief of Life 7 +13/+8/+4 +7 +13 +5 bluff 1 (7), diplo 5 (13) Immunity to energy drain, lifesense (20 ft.) 18th Thief of Life 8 +14/+9/+4 +8 +14 +5 tumble 6 (15) staggering strike Steal vitality 19th Thief of Life 9 +14/+9/+4 +8 +14 +6 bluff 6 (13) Immunity to death effects, lifesense (25 ft.) 20th Thief of Life 10 +15/+10/+5 +9 +15 +6 bluff 1 (14), diplo 5 (18) Sneak attack +5d6, steal immortality
Spoiler: lvl 5Show
Congratulations, you are in the secret ingredient as early as possible. You can begin stealing people’s lives right away. Your dragon blood allows entry by giving you heal as a class skill, and rogue and spellthief complement one another providing precision damage.
Mimic is there as a fun treat since spellthief’s trapfinding can’t be traded away, and disguise self is certainly better than nothing.
In addition to stealing lives, you can also steal spells via spellthief. This helps improve overall versatility and save on wands/scrolls.
Orien battle stride is up and running, helping you out on bullrush, overrun, and trips. we’re taking it early because that means there’s no delay of taking lesser and greater marks of passage. This means when you nab the lesser mark next level, you immediately gain the ability to make a 5 foot step as an immediate action (no aoos) any time an opponent misses you with a melee or ranged attack. The possibilities are limitless.
your dragonmark’s on too, providing access to dimension leap, offering valuable tactical teleportation. Remember you use character level to determine distance, providing more bang for your buck.
skulk around, stab people in the back, and claw your way to the top. it’ all uphill from here
Spoiler: lvl 10Show
borrow vigor is up and running, giving you additional bonuses in combat.
orien battle stride is up to it full potential now. you can make an immediate to take a 5 foot step any time someone misses with a melee or ranged attack. in addition, you now have dimension door in your repertoire, offering more combat and non-combat options for you and your pals.
You are now within the esteemed ranks of the blade of orien, providing a great deal of additional utility.
you gain more uses of dimension leap, can hop in 5 rather than 10 foot increments, can dimension leap as a move action, and can bring passengers along when you use dimension leap.
you now take to the skies with overland flight, the final gift your dragonmark has to give you. everything you do with teleportation now functions in three dimensions.
orien’s grasp let you call mall objects to hand, picking things up that’re on your person as a swift (no aoo) or even things that are held or attended after the enemy makes a will save (reliant on your cha, hence the points there.)
Spoiler: lvl 15Show
You are now immune to fear, and your lifesense extends to 15 feet. You also have a soulspark familiar handy. cerulean will shores up your saves, and provides valuable essentia for your later incarnum-related features.
when you invest essentia in it, it gains fast healing. use this in tandem with borrow vigor for a clean, sustainable source of essentia in between combat encounters.
blade of orien continues to bear fruit. olladra’s twist lets you switch positions with allies, or switch two friends around. dimensional pus lets you teleport your friends, orien’s wrath lets you even lets you teleport enemies around. thanks to shadow shift, your dimension leap and dimdoor no longer provoke aoos.
hop around the battlefield and shuffle everyone around to your liking.
Spoiler: lvl 20Show
the rest of thief of life rounds out the final needed ranks in umd to hit a 20 without failure, gives you the rest of your sneak attack, immunity to energy drain and death effects, beefs up your lifesense, and lets you steal both vitality and immortality. let slip the bonds of mortality and live on forever as you are now: death incarnate.
staggering strike’s up, so every time you peg someone with your sneak attack, they will be staggered, helping you move in for the kill. continue to teleport, kite, and finish off your prey
races of the dragon: draconic heritage
complete adventurer: spellthief, staggering strike
exemplars of evil: mimic ACF
faiths of eberron: thief of life
dragonmarked: blade of orien
eberron campaign setting: least dragonmark, lesser dragonmark, greater dragonmark
magic of incarnum: shape soulmeld, cerulean will
dragon magic: silverbrow human