This class is part of a campaign setting I am designing. The campaign revolves around 11 base classes (loosely based upon the 3rd edition core base classes) each with extraordinary super powers. It is intended to be inspired by, but not a copy of such super-hero plots like Heroes or BG2: Throne of Bhaal, in which ordinary people are given dangerous and wondrous power over others and then burdened with destiny.

A common theme in superhero stories is the moral dilemma of being powerful and the tragedy and corruption inherent in such positions. I have tried to stay as close to those themes as possible in designing these classes.
"... and as I looked upon the entrails and ichor of the unidentifiable I was unable to raise my sword for a sickness took me. I will never fight again, for the enemy took my fighting spirit with their spoils and the dead."
~ An Old Soldier
There are legends that tell of barbarian warriors who struck deals with great devils and demons to augment their skill and strength. To no great surprise the price for such infernal contracts were high, bringing great ruin upon the families and tribes who would dare to meddle with extra-planar powers. The balesworn had no such dealings but is one who suffers a terrible curse upon his lineage as a result. The details surrounding the curse are vague, but it is undeniable that a trail of blood will follow the balesworn forever. The slightest touch inflicts bruises, anything more draws blood, and the balesworn is only ever truly satisfied when the iron-like taste of blood hangs in the air.

Any non-lawful.

Hit Die

Class Skills
The balesworn’s class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Balance (Dex), Climb (Str), Escape Artist (Dex), Intimidate (Cha), Jump (Str), Knowledge (the planes) (Int), Listen (Wis), Spot (Wis), Survival (Wis), Swim (Str) and Tumble (Dex).

Skill Points at 1st Level
(4 + Int modifier) x4.

Skill Points at Each Additional Level
4 + Int modifier.

{table=HEADER]LVL|Base Attack Bonus|Frt|Ref|Will|Special
1|+1|+2|+0|+0|Vicious Strike
3|+3|+3|+1|+1|Heartless (+1)
6|+6/+1|+5|+2|+2|Heartless (+2)
8|+8/+3|+6|+2|+2|Wrath (4d6, 2d6)
9|+9/+4|+6|+3|+3|Heartless (+3)
10|+10/+5|+7|+3|+3|Improved conviction
11|+11/+6/+1|+7|+3|+3|Visceral carnage
12|+12/+7/+2|+8|+4|+4|Wrath (6d6, 4d6)
14|+14/+9/+4|+9|+4|+4|Heartless (+4)
15|+15/+10/+5|+9|+5|+5|Greater conviction
16|+16/+11/+6/+1|+10|+5|+5|Wrath (8d6, 7d6)
19|+19/+14/+9/+4|+11|+6|+6|Heartless (+5)
20|+20/+15/+10/+5|+12|+6|+6|Perfect conviction, wrath (10d6, 10d6)[/table]

Class Features
All of the following are the class features of the balesworn.

In any given campaign there is only one instance of the balesworn class.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency
The balesworn is proficient with all simple and martial weapons, with all types of armor (heavy, medium, and light), and with shields (except tower shields).

Vicious Strike (Ex)
Each successful attack the balesworn makes with a melee weapon, unarmed strike or a natural weapons he possesses is treated as having the Vicious property. A successful attack against a creature deals an additional 2d6 damage to its target and 1d6 damage to the balesworn. This ability cannot be suppressed by the balesworn, but is not applied when his hit point total is 0 or less. His vicious strikes leave noticeably bloody wounds on both the balesworn and his target even when the weapon used would not draw blood and as a result any subdual damage he inflicts with his vicious strike becomes lethal damage. The balesworn suffers a -4 penalty to ranged attack rolls due to his excessive and reckless use of force.

Bloodbath (Ex)
Starting at 2nd level, the balesworn is revitalized by the gruesome carnage he inflicts in battle. Whenever an enemy is dropped below 0 hit points by an attack made with his Vicious Strike ability and that enemy dies, the balesworn gains a number of temporary hit points equal in magnitude to the enemy’s negative hit point value. Also, whenever the damage inflicted by his Vicious Strike ability would drop his own hit points below 0, he is instead reduced to 0 hit points and receives temporary hit points equal in magnitude to what his negative hit point value would have been. The temporary hit points last up to one hour after combat ends.

In instances where any other sources would deal damage in the same moment as the balesworn’s attack, the temporary hit points are calculated before other damage is dealt, but are applied after other damage is dealt.

No longer bothered by pain or grief, the balesworn gains 1 additional hit point per hit die starting at 3rd level. Hit points are gained retroactively by gaining this ability. He gains an additional hit point per hit die at 6th, 9th, 14th, and 19th level.

Rivalry (Ex)
At 4th level, the balesworn’s pride augments his aggression. He may select another member of his party to be his rival. The balesworn tracks his and and his rival’s kills in combat. A kill is earned whenever either character succeeds in killing an enemy that the other did not damage with a melee strike. Score is only kept while the balesworn is conscious, and acting under his own will. The balesworn’s pride and obsession with violence prevent him from intentionally not observing a kill made by his rival.

As long as the rival’s score is higher, the balesworn’s vicious strikes receive a +4 morale bonus to attack rolls and his land speed increases by 10 feet as a morale bonus. As long as the balesworn’s score is equal or higher, the balesworn is immune to fear and enchantments with the compulsion descriptor. A new rival may be selected to replace his current one at any time, but must have an observed score higher than the current rival to grant either bonus.

Conviction (Ex)
Starting at 5th level, the balesworn’s vicious strikes ignore any damage resistance or immunity that would be bypassed by magic weapons.

As the balesworn taps his endless font of rage, he also learns how to temper its wrath. Starting at level 7, the balesworn may reduce the amount of damage his vicious strike inflicts upon himself by an amount equal to his wisdom modifier.

Wrathful Strike (Ex)
As the balesworn learns to harness the destructive forces within himself, the potency of his vicious strikes become more destructive. Starting at 8th level, whenever he attempts a vicious strike he may choose to increase the amount of damage his vicious strike ability inflicts for the duration of the current battle. The damage his vicious strike deals can not be reduced until one hour has passed between separate combats in which he participates. At 12th, 16th, and 20th level, even higher amounts of damage become available, which are shown on the following table.

Wrathful Strike damage tiers
{table=header]Level|Damage to Enemy|Damage to Self

The balesworn is not required to select the next highest tier of wrathful strike. He may choose any of the available tiers as long as it is a higher level tier than his current wrathful strike.

Improved Conviction (Ex)
At 10th level, any attack the balesworn makes that would be a vicious strike ignores any damage resistance or immunity that would be bypassed by an aligned weapon.

Visceral Carnage (Su)
At 11th level and after, enemies dropped below 0 hitpoints by the balesworn’s vicious strike violently explode, damaging everyone but the balesworn in an area centered around the target. The radius of the explosion is 5 ft for medium sized creatures and an additional 5ft for every category size larger. The damage inflicted is equal to the balesworn’s vicious strike damage.[/b]

Starting at 13th level, the balesworn may add his Intelligence modifier to the damage his vicious strike deals to his opponent. Only one of Cruelty or Temper may be applied to a vicious strike.

Greater Conviction (Ex)
At 15th level, any attack the balesworn makes that would be a vicious strike ignores any damage resistance or immunity that would be bypassed by a weapon of a specific material, such as cold iron, alchemical-silver or adamantine.

Starting at level 17, the balesworn may choose to instill an opponent successfully dealt damage by his vicious strike with a resonant, self-destructive energy. For a number of rounds equal to the balesworn’s charisma modifier, any successful melee attacks the opponent makes inflict 1d6 damage to him or herself as if he or she had made a vicious strike. Each successive application of Inflame before the effects of the previous Inflame has expired increases the self-inflicted damage by 1d6 and extends the duration. An opponent affected by Inflame suffers a -4 penalty to ranged attack rolls. Only one of Cruelty, Inflame or Temper may be applied to a vicious strike.

Perfect Conviction (Su)
At 20th level, any damage the balesworn deals with a successful vicious strike may not be restored by any regeneration ability that is defeated by a specified type of damage. The extra damage inflicted by his vicious strike ability cannot be healed by magic, regeneration, or fast healing until one hour has passed since the last vicious strike this particular enemy has been dealt by the balesworn. The only exception is a regeneration spell, which restores as many hit points lost because of perfect conviction as it heals.