Entry number 9:

Quote Originally Posted by Vera Tolman d'Ghallanda
Vera Tolman díGhallanda

NE Glimmerskin Halfling Spellthief 1/Ninja 1/Thief of Life 10/Black Dog 5/Assassin 3

Stats (after adjustments)
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Str 12
Dex 16
Con 14
Int 16 (all increases here)
Wis 10
Cha 10


Backstory
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Vera was born a thief. She didnít care that she was an innkeeperís daughter and was supposed to be a good little girl. She knew in her bones that she was destined to pick pockets and take what she wanted from life. Her poor mother tried to wait it out in the hopes it was a phase, and that she would straighten herself out. But Vera never got better, only worse. By her teenage years she partook in the occasional mugging for pocket cash. Her mother obviously asked what she was doing this for; as an inkeeping family they had money enough to live comfortably. Vera just smiled her cold smile and said it was practice. As she grew older, spending less and less time at home, she became enamored with the Blood of Vol; its individualist teachings appealed to her incorrigible willfulness.

When Vera was a young woman she discovered that theft could go beyond petty cash. After cold cocking a nice young initiate from the mageís college, she was sifting through his pockets when she felt a tingling in her fingers, suddenly manifesting as a bolt of energy shooting out into the alleyway. A clever girl like Vera realized what it meant, that for those with enough will, energy and magic could be lifted like a wallet. Vera was unsure of what to make of such a revelation, so did what many in her situation do: she consulted her priest. He was somewhat taken aback at hearing such a story, and defaulted to a rather standard personal sermon. He assured her as best she could that there are many things that are possible in the world, that destiny was what you made of it, and that this brief existence was all that you had. Vera, being Vera listened with one ear and heard what she wanted to hear. She took it as affirmation that she should explore the possibilities of her abilities as much as she could.

Time passed and Veraís experimentation led her down the path of thievery and thuggery, as she always let life lead her the wrong way. She found that she could take a bit of life energy to fuel her own health and potency. She strengthened her resistances to assault on her mind and soul. She even figured out how to use anotherís death to strengthen her own life. In short, she was a disgrace to house Ghallanda. People such as her are eventually found by those who have a use for them, and Vera was no exception. The higher ups of the Blood of Vol had been watching from afar, and sent someone to see if they could recruit her. The stranger explained to Vera that working for the Blood of Vol had perks, that they could teach her greater secrets, even that furthest of goals whispered in the back of all minds: immortality. In return for these secrets, they requested she put her unwholesome skills to work as a dagger in the dark. They planned to use her ancestry and house status to infiltrate the Black Dogs. It would be enormously useful for the Blood of Vol to be able to mask their assassinations behind the perfect disguise: assassinations by a different group. Vera willingly accepted at the thought of all the fun she could have in a life with no end.

She had eventually been accepted by the Black Dogs, though they were slightly reluctant to accept someone so bloodthirsty as a poisoner, but Vera was able to rein in her wildness enough to pass muster. She carried out assassinations for both groups, and when a conflict of commands arose she would of course side with Vol. She could always make up some excuse about visibility or being caught for the Black Dogs. She knew Vol would not be so forgiving of failure.

She was keeping herself relatively incognito, but she could not keep herself shrouded from otherworldly interests. A sinister little figure appeared to her on the road one evening, offering its assistance in furthering the great cause of the Blood of Vol. It explained its skill and boasted of its recuperative abilities, and propensity for subterfuge and espionage. Somewhere in the boasting it mentioned that in return it would want a favor down the line. She pretended to consider its offer while trying to stifle her laughter. They must have thought her simple to make such an offer. She knew that they had hopes for seizing her soul when her time had passed. Church doctrine said that no power could prevent souls from going to the gray place, and even if that was wrong, with her powers her time would never really be up. It was all win.

And so Vera Tolman sold her soul to a devil. She never did make good choices.


Build
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Level Class Base Attack Bonus Fort Save Ref Save Will Save Skills Feats Class Features
1st Spellthief 1 +0 +0 +0 +2 Bluff 4, Heal 4, Hide 4, Jump 4, Knowledge (Arcana) 4, Knowledge (Religion) 2(4), Move Silently 4, Tumble 4, Use Magic Device 4 Least Dragonmark (Hospitality,Prestidigitation) Sneak Attack +1d6, Steal Spell (0 or 1st), Trapfinding
2nd Ninja 1 +0 +0 +2 +2 Disguise 3, Hide 5, Jump 5, Move Silently 5, Sleight of Hand 2, Tumble 5 Ki Power, Sudden Strike +1d6, Trapfinding
3rd Thief of Life 1 +0 +2 +4 +2 Disguise 4, Hide 6, Move Silently 6, Sleight of Hand 5, Tumble 6, Use Magic Device 6 Indigo Strike Lifesense 5 ft
4th Thief of Life 2 +1 +3 +5 +2 Balance 3, Hide 7, Move Silently 7, Sleight of Hand 7, Tumble 7, Use Magic Device 7 Sneak Attack +2d6
5th Thief of Life 3 +2 +3 +5 +3 Balance 5, Bluff 6, Hide 8, Move Silently 8, Sleight of Hand 8, Tumble 8, Use Magic Device 8 Lifesense 10 ft
6th Thief of Life 4 +3 +4 +6 +3 Bluff 9, Diplomacy 1, Hide 9, Move Silently 9, Sleight of Hand 9, Tumble 9, Use Magic Device 9 Lesser Dragonmark (Hospitality, Create Food and Water) Borrow Vigor
7th Thief of Life 5 +3 +4 +6 +3 Bluff 10, Diplomacy 4, Hide 10, Move Silently 10, Sleight of Hand 10, Tumble 10, Use Magic 10 Immunity to Fear, Lifesense 15 ft
8th Thief of Life 6 +4 +5 +7 +4 Bluff 11, Diplomacy 8, Hide 11, Move Silently 11, Sleight of Hand 11, Tumble 11, Use Magic Device 11 Sneak Attack +3d6
9th Thief of Life 7 +5 +5 +7 +4 Bluff 12, Diplomacy 12, Hide 12, Move Silently 12, Sense Motive 1, Sleight of Hand 12, Use Magic Device 12 Obtain Familiar (Dung Snake) Immunity to Energy Drain, Lifesense 20 ft
10th Thief of Life 8 +6/+1 +6 +8 +4 Bluff 13, Diplomacy 13, Hide 13, Move Silently 13, Sense Motive 5, Sleight of Hand 13, Use Magic Device 13 Steal Vitality
11th Thief of Life 9 +6/+1 +6 +8 +5 Bluff 14, Diplomacy 14, Hide 14, Move Silently 14, Sense Motive 9, Sleight of Hand 14, Use Magic Device 14 Immunity to Death Effects, Lifesense 25 ft
12th Thief of Life 10 +7/+2 +7 +9 +5 Bluff 15, Diplomacy 15, Hide 15, Move Silently 15, Sense Motive 13, Sleight of Hand 15, Use Magic Device 15 Shape Soulmeld (Gloves of the Poisoned Soul) Sneak Attack +4d6, Steal Immortality
13th Black Dog 1 +7/+2 +9 +11 +5 Mosquitoís Bite Bluff 16, Diplomacy 16, Hide 16, Move Silently 16, Sense Motive 16, Sleight of Hand 16 Heirís Mark, Improve Hospitality, Poison Use
14th Black Dog 2 +8/+3 +10 +12 +5 Bluff 17, Concentration 2, Diplomacy 17, Hide 17, Move Silently 17, Sense Motive 17, Sleight of Hand 17, Tumble 13 Death Attack, Dhurindaís Trick
15th Black Dog 3 +9/+4 +10 +12 +6 Bluff 18, Diplomacy 18, Hide 18, Knowledge (local) 1, Move Silently 18, Sense Motive 18, Sleight of Hand 18, Tumble 16 Improved Familiar (Imp) Create Poison, Refine Poison
16th Black Dog 4 +10/+5 +11 +13 +6 Bluff 19, Diplomacy 19, Hide 19, Move Silently 19, Sense Motive 19, Sleight of Hand 19, Spellcraft 1(2), Tumble 19 Empower Poison,Lost in the Crowd
17th Black Dog 5 +10/+5 +11 +13 +6 Acrobatic Backstab, Conceal Spellcasting Bluff 20, Diplomacy 20, Hide 20, Move Silently 20, Sense Motive 20, Sleight of Hand 20, Tumble 20 Dhurindaís Touch
18th Assassin 1 +10/+5 +11 +15 +6 Bluff 21, Hide 21, Move Silently 21, Sense Motive 21, Sleight of Hand 21, Use Magic Device 19 Mortifying Attack Sneak Attack +5d6, Death Attack, Poison Use, Spells
19th Assassin 2 +11/+6/+1 +11 +16 +6 Bluff 22, Diplomacy 22, Hide 22, Move Silently 22, Sense Motive 22, Sleight of Hand 22, Tumble 22 +1 Save Against Poison, Uncanny Dodge
20th Assassin 3 +12/+7/+2 +12 +16 +7 Bluff 23, Diplomacy 23, Hide 23, Jump 7, Move Silently 23, Sense Motive 23, Sleight of Hand 23, Tumble 23 Sneak Attack +6d6

Spells
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Spells per Day
Level 0lvl 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th
1st - - - - - - - - - -
2nd - - - - - - - - - -
3rd - - - - - - - - - -
4th - - - - - - - - - -
5th - - - - - - - - - -
6th - - - - - - - - - -
7th - - - - - - - - - -
8th - - - - - - - - - -
9th - - - - - - - - - -
10th - - - - - - - - - -
11th - - - - - - - - - -
12th - - - - - - - - - -
13th - - - - - - - - - -
14th - - - - - - - - - -
15th - - - - - - - - - -
16th - - - - - - - - - -
17th - - - - - - - - - -
18th - 0* - - - - - - - -
19th - 1 - - - - - - - -
20th - 2 0* - - - - - - -

Spells Known
Level 0lvl 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th
1st - - - - - - - - - -
2nd - - - - - - - - - -
3rd - - - - - - - - - -
4th - - - - - - - - - -
5th - - - - - - - - - -
6th - - - - - - - - - -
7th - - - - - - - - - -
8th - - - - - - - - - -
9th - - - - - - - - - -
10th - - - - - - - - - -
11th - - - - - - - - - -
12th - - - - - - - - - -
13th - - - - - - - - - -
14th - - - - - - - - - -
15th - - - - - - - - - -
16th - - - - - - - - - -
17th - - - - - - - - - -
18th - 2 - - - - - - - -
19th - 3 - - - - - - - -
20th - 3 2 - - - - - - -

Spells Known
1st: Alibi, Shock and Awe, Mimicry
2nd: Getaway, Blade of Pain and Fear


Level 5
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Look at how fast youíre into the SI! Weíre getting a quick dose of our vegetables and then jumping straight to the cake. So first up weíre starting with 1 level of Spellthief followed by 1 of Ninja. The race weíre going with is Glimerskin Halfling for Heal as a class skill. It also sets up for Black Dog later.

Spellthief provides us with Knowledge (Arcana), and also gives us some normal sneak skills to get a start on being a slippery weasel. Sneak Attack counts at low levels so use it well. Trapfinding canít technically be traded away because they want Spellthief to be sad. If your DM gives the OK you might trade it for mimic for disguise self 1/day, but itís not necessary. Steal Spell is the signature, and it works even at low levels. If you give up 1 die of sneak attack when sneak attacking, you can steal a 0 or 1st level spell of theirs. It only lasts for an hour so use it quick. If you know a spell they have, you can choose to steal it. You can steal spells as long as your enemy has them. You use their stats, so donít worry about your lack of caster level, but you canít steal personal spells.

Ninja finishes qualifying for the SI via 1 die of sudden strike. Yes, sudden strike counts as sneak attack for qualifying for classes, thereís a sidebar in CAdv to that effect. Itís nice too, remember that enemies that havenít acted in combat are flatfooted, as are enemies trying to balance without 5 ranks, which at level 5 you have. Marbles, oil and the like are your friend. Once again you cannot explicitly trade your trapfinding because they want you to be sad. Again trade it for mimic if you can, but itís not a big deal. The AC bonus isnít worth not wearing armor, and your stuff all works in armor, so weíll ignore it. Ki Power is actually granted before you have anything to spend it on, so enjoy the +2 bonus to will saves youíll always have.

Now SI time! Lifesense is very useful. While it is limited to only sensing living creatures, this means that you can use it as a crude divination for detecting other things. If a creature in your range doesnít ping on lifesense but you can perceive them other ways, you know theyíre undead or a construct, so know to switch tactics. And of course it means you know who is playing possum. When of course youíre fighting living creatures (most things at this point) it works like normal blindsense, so you can use it to thwart hiding, get around things that block your vision, etc. Sneak attack goes with sneak attack like peanut butter and more peanut butter: itís all jam.

Least Dragonmark gives you prestidigitation 2 times per day. For now, this is just a great spell, doing tons of small-scale magical things that are great for distracting, entertaining, or otherwise film-flamming bystanders and foes, in addition to making your life easier. Indigo Strike provides a +2 bonus on sneak attacks right now from investing the 1 essentia the feat grants you. This is the second point, it grants you an essential pool for next level.


Level 10
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More SI, more jam. First up we get borrow vigor, probably the most interesting of the features. If you knock someone to -1 hp you gain their HD in temporary hp, as well as 1 essentia, both lasting 1 hour. This is a great little bonus for when you beat someone (youíre going to be sneak attacking enemies to death anyway) but for really doing some fun things with it weíll get back below.

The Lifesense range is now 20 feet, which is around the meaningful distance in combat, giving you a good view of the situation youíre in. Immunity to fear is useful since youíre low enough level that you can expect to encounter fear with some regularity. Same for immunity to energy drain, this is the level when death ward comes on for classes that have to spend slots on it like chumps. Steal Vitality is even more reward for doing what you do already (killing) this time with immunity to fatigue and exhaustion so you can run forever, sleep in your armor, etc. Getting sources for this is always pretty easy, animals often have rather high amounts of HD at low CR, so can provide you with what you need before a battle. Immunity to sleep is still helpful at this point for deep slumber, sleep motes, etc.

Lesser Dragonmark gives create food and water 1/day. Itís nice for when youíre hungry (or attracting those animals) but itís mostly for other purposes. Firstly is raising your caster level for dragonmark SLAs from 1 to 6. This means that you can take the next feat: obtain familiar.

Obtain familiar is one of the most useful feats you can take if you qualify. You qualify via the arcane caster level for your spell like abilities. Familiar abilities are keyed off of levels in classes that let you cast spells. Spellthief is one of them, even though it didnít give you spells yet. You donít need the other abilities too much, the important thing is that you get a dung snake, because it has fast healing. Now begins the real fun. Fast healing on your living familiar works even at -1 hitpoints.

Weíre going to be a bad person and mistreat an animal. Vera isnít evil for nothing. When you smack your familiar down to -1 you get 1 essentia to invest (for now just in indigo strike). You also get its HD in hp. Is this an effect related to number of HD (in which case you use your HD)? Iíd really like to think so. The important thing is that you can refresh your essential when it expires, and top off hp whenever you get hurt. 20 hp isnít necessarily immunity, but a bottomless pad will cushion blows more often than you think, especially since youíll top off in combat whenever you fell someone with a sneak attack. Use a low damage weapon to ensure you donít take things too far.

Level 15 (Sweet Spot)
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Last few levels of the SI first. Immunity to death effects is quite helpful, and prevents other black dogs, assassins, or thieves of life from trying to take you out. Steal Immortality is a fascinatingly useful ability. The immediate benefit is half their HD in essentia, easily enough to fill what you have. You have the bonus of making it quite hard to bring them back (not even possible for wizards and clerics at the level that you get it). It also makes you IMMORTAL (for 1 year per kill). Who doesnít want that? For now you donít have spells, so you donít have to sleep. Even when you get spells, you can spend time in light rest or researching new targets instead of unconscious. Not needing to eat means that you can poison communal stewpots and the like without having to deal with the consequences.

The SI is over, time for icing on this cake. Welcome to Black Dog, a sneaky Halfling class about poisoning and death. At this point you have 3 extra uses of prestidigitation and poison use. What is this prestidigitation for? For Dhurindaís Trick, where you put poison on some food or drink nearby. You can use Sleight of Hand to prevent people from seeing you do it, and you can use lifesense to make sure your targets are susceptible. Where do you get the poison? By burning uses of create food and water to make select poisons. You can purify them if you wish for a +2 DC.

Now letís get to the big class feature: death attack. It lets you kill someone if you sneak attack them after studying them. Because death attack is a sneak attack, when someone dies from it, thatís a fast trigger for borrow vigor, steal vitality, and steal immortality all at once. Then you can use the hp and essentia to fight whatever enemies remain.

You can channel some of that essentia into Gloves of the Poisoned Soul. Itís great fun as a soulmeld, and allows you to produce a poison and inflict it with a touch attack. It deals 1 Wis damage +1 per essentia (so max 5), which is always useful since it reduces their perceptive abilities and potentially their spellcasting. Because itís a poison, you can move it using Dhurindaís trick into food and drink, and because itís a soulmeld no-one can actually ever catch you with the poison; you donít need any of the vials and syringes to move poison around. Itís also usable in combat if you want, since itís a contact poison. This meld has a save. The way shape soulmeld is written it canít tell you how to determine the save, Wis or Con, but I think Con is a safe assumption (since it is a Soulborn meld).

The increased caster level from Lesser Dragonmark means you can trade your dung snake for an imp. Imp also has fast healing, so the same trick works here as well, and the little bugger likely deserves it. Imp has the added benefit of being able to take an unassuming form like rat in addition to good combat form of boar (which is medium for flanking, and thus for sneak attack and death attack). Imp is intelligent on its own, can speak, and has little hands, so can use wands. Imp also makes a poison of its own, which targets dexterity. Certainly a nice addition to the toolkit, again meaning you donít have to store poison on your person so you canít get caught.

Mosquitoís Bite is a neat skill trick that lets you make your enemy believe you didnít strike them, and instead missed. Itís useful for if you want to hit someone with a concealed dagger or the like (palm it with sleight of hand) and write it off as a drunken punch, then wait for poison to take its toll. Alternatively, strike confusion into your foes as they get killed by death attack but donít even know they are dead!


Level 20
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First letís finish Black Dog. Empower poison is great on whatever poison you feel like using (that isnít from the Gloves because they donít vary) and helps get more bang for your buck. Lost in the Crowd is a wonderfully useful ability that means you can Hide while being observed and without something to hide behind as long as 3 creatures larger than you are within 10 feet. Your imp turned boar will be one (being small has perks), and your target is more likely than not the other, so if you ever get in a fight with 2 or more enemies, suddenly disappear from view. Hell, just bring a pony around with you and have it hang out while you fight. Any creature close enough lets you hide, and you can use that luxury to study for death attack or otherwise assess the situation. With your imp able to turn invisible itself youíve got a recipe for sneaky goodness.

Dhurindaís touch lets you hit a foe with a touch attack and dose them with poison of any kind, bypassing normal delivery. Itís time to break out whatever weird poison you like, or just stick with stuff like imp venom. Ask your DM if you can combine Dhurindaís touch with an attack from Gloves of the Poisoned Soul in a single attack for double your pleasure. The ability to delay your poisonís effect is outstanding for establishing alibis. This is a wonderful use for Mosquitoís Bite, since you can pass off a missed touch attack as an attempt to tap someoneís shoulder, get a bug, or pick their pocket. Also feel free to use sleight of hand to steal something from them, then use the excuse of returning it as your chance to touch them and use poison. It says you can use a Bluff check to conceal your intent; do so. You didnít max ranks for nothing.

Now to Assassin. More sneak attack is always welcome, uncanny dodge adds to your protections, and it stacks with black dog levels for determining DC of death attack. It also gives you spells. Specifically, it gives you: Alibi for making people think they met you to back up fake stories. Mimicry, to fake sounds for distraction, lies, stories, etc. Shock and Awe is cast during the surprise round and imposes a -10 penalty on initiative for the coming combat, meaning theyíre likely to go after you and thus be flatfooted, and targets several creatures with no save. For level 2 spells you have Darklight and Blade of Pain and Fear. The blade makes touch attacks and deals good damage, so is a great way to sneak attack better, since itís not subject to DR. Itís a melee weapon so you can death attack with it. Darklight creates a little sphere of darkness that canít be seen through in either direction. However, you can use your lifesense to see through it and scope the situation while remaining unseen. Talk to your DM about whether itís sufficient for studying for death attack.

Mortifying Attack is a fun little feat that makes it so that enemies who witness your death attack have to save or be shaken for several rounds and flatfooted for the next one. It makes for a great opening statement, giving you time to act before your enemies can. The DC is based off of damage dealt, so should easily be pretty good.

At this point you have Acrobatic Backstab, which renders a target flatfooted if you tumble through their square, which your tumble mod makes pretty easy. Conceal Spellcasting does just that, though itís unclear whether it covers verbal as well as somatic components. Great if it does, though. At this point you have enough UMD ranks that success is guaranteed, so use all the wands you like. Share with your familiar, itís the least you could do to repay it.


Sources
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Spellthief, Ninja: Complete Adventurer
Thief of Life: Faiths of Eberron
Black Dog: Dragonmarked
Least Dragonmark, Lesser Dragonmark: Eberron Campaign Setting
Indigo Strike, Shape Soulmeld: Magic of Incarnum
Obtain Familiar: Complete Arcane
Dung Snake Familiar: Serpent Kingdoms
Mortifying Attack: Champions of Ruin
Darklight: Book of Vile Darkness
Alibi: Exemplars of Evil
Mimicry: Complete Scoundrel
Blade of Pain and Fear: Spell Compendium
Assassin, Improved Familiar: SRD