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Thread: Secrets Thief (Prestige Class)
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- Aug 2009
Secrets Thief (Prestige Class)
”Knowledge is power my friends. And for a price I can get you knowledge.”
Borderline psionic assassin-spies, Secrets Thieves live up to their name. A Secret Thief uses their psionic powers to rip information straight from the minds of their foes, stealing from them even their most guarded secrets. A skilled Secrets Thief is able to sense nearby minds, peering across their surface to scan their thoughts, steal from foes their psionic power reserves, and even shatter magic that would protect the mind. No secret is safe from a Secret Thief as long as it is stored in a living, or even unliving, mind.
BECOMING A SECRETS THIEF
Some say the first secrets thieves were elite illithid assassins, and it was the rebel Gith and her rebel followers which liberated the secret art and spread it to other races. Others claim it was originally a humanoid art, and its adoption by the illithids was simply due to their lust for knowledge. Whatever the truth, most secrets thieves learn their talents from a singular master in a personal apprenticeship. Others are taught by the vile cabals of Vecna, dread god of secrets, the snake cults of the yuan-ti, and even a scattering of shadowy guilds now teach the art.
Most Secret Thieves begin as one of a variety of psionic races, their natural psionic powers helping them in their art. Others have nothing more than a smattering of Wild Talent, but others dabble more deeply in psionics picking up a few useful psionic tricks.
Skills: One Knowledge 8 ranks, another 4 ranks; one of these must be Knowledge (Psionics)
Skills: Hide or Move Silently 4 ranks, Sense Motive 4 ranks
Special: Must have a power point reserve.
Special: Sneak Attack, Sudden Strike, or Psionic Sneak Attack.
The Secrets Thief's class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Appraise (Int), Balance (Dex), Bluff (Cha), Climb (Str), Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Decipher Script (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Disable Device (Int), Disguise (Cha), Escape Artist (Dex), Forgery (Int), Gather Information (Cha), Hide (Dex), Intimidate (Cha), Jump (Str), Knowledge (any; each taken individually) (Int), Listen (Wis), Move Silently (Dex), Open Lock (Dex), Perform (Cha), Profession (Wis), Search (Int), Sense Motive (Wis), Sleight of Hand (Dex), Spot (Wis), Swim (Str), Tumble (Dex), Use Magic Device (Cha), Use Psionic Device (Cha), and Use Rope (Dex).
Skills Points at Each Level: 6 + int
Hit Dice: d6
Level Base Attack Bonus Fort Save Ref Save Will Save Special 1st+0+0+2+2 Sneak Attack +1d6, Telepathy (30-ft) 2nd+1+0+3+3 Psychic Sneak Attack, Siphon Secrets 3rd+2+1+3+3 Assimilate Blade, Manifest Blade, Sneak Attack +2d6 4th+3+1+4+4 Read Thoughts 5th+3+1+4+4 Mindsight, Sneak Attack +3d6 6th+4+2+5+5 Psi-blast, Siphon Power Points 7th+5+2+5+5 Sneak Attack +4d6, Telepathy (60-ft) 8th+6+2+6+6 Psychic Lobotomy 9th+6+3+6+6 Rend Mind Blank, Sneak Attack +5d6 10th+7+3+7+7 Alter Memories, Telepathy (100-ft)
Weapon Proficiencies: A Secrets Thief gains no new armor or weapon proficiencies.
Sneak Attack: A Secrets Thief continues to learn how to perform lethal attacks on foes. A Secrets Thief continues to gain Sneak Attack (as the rogue ability) or gains sneak attack if they do not already have it. They gain an additional +1d6 damage with their sneak attack at 1st level and every odd level thereafter.
Telepathy (Su):A Secrets Thief learns to connect with the minds of others. A Secrets Thief gains telepathy with a 30-ft range as long as they are psionically focused, increasing to 60-ft at 7th level and 100-ft at 10th.
Psychic Sneak Attack (Su): A Secrets Thief can convert the devastating blows of their sneak attacks into a mental force. Beginning at 2nd level a Secrets Thief may make their Sneak Attack a mind-affecting effect. If they do so it ignores immunity to critical hits and fortification effects, but a creature immune to mind-affecting effects is also immune to its damage. This also applies to any Sudden Strike or Psionic Sneak Attack they may possess, and whenever a Secrets Thief class feature references dice of Sneak Attack it applies to the total of all three.
Siphon Secrets (Su): A Secrets Thief can steal secrets from the minds of foes. Beginning at 2nd level a Secrets Thief may when making a successful psychic sneak attack on a target pry from the target the information they know on one topic per 3 dice of sneak attack damage dealt (minimum 1 topic) learning what the target knows about the subject (if in doubt use the target’s knowledge skill), alternatively they may drain 1 prepared spell from the creature (rendering them expended as if cast) per topic they would have learned (beginning with their highest spell level). A creature is not aware of this effect, unless prepared spells are lost.
Spoiler: TopicA topic, as used for this ability, can be most questions. The more precise the question the more detailed the information obtained.
- The dungeon's defenses: Would tell you about traps, and monsters that the target knows about, but would not provide detailed information on what spells Vorgath the 5/8ths Sane prepares, or more about Krarg than that he's an awakened hydra.
- Magic used by the inhabitants: Would give you a general feel for Vorgath's prefered spells, such as the fact that despite being a necromancer he dabbles heavily in transmutation and enjoys polymorphing foes into rabbits, also Ilpheon the Nymph is a sorceress capable of using Wings of Flurry.
- Spells Vorgath would use: Would tell you what the target thought Vorgath's prepared spells were, as Pete the Hypothetical Kobold is greatly misinformed about Vorgath this would be significantly heavier on the necromancy than conjuration and leave you ill-prepared.
- Most powerful creature in the dungeon: Krarg the awakened hydra who lairs in Swamp Chamber C-3 and who enters a barbarian rage at the least provocation thrashing and destroying everything in his path. He has a taste for kobolds.
- Reason the Shadow Knives are helping the monsters: Again this runs into Pete's misinformation problem rears its head, he thinks it has to do with their burning hatred of humanity, if you were asking someone fully informed you'd learn that it is part of a plot to replace the king with a doppleganger.
- The Dungeon: You'd learn the general lay out of the dungeon, an overview of its politics (Krarg and Vorgath's rivalry), some basics of its dangers (not a list of all the traps in the tunnels, but traps, beholder, Krarg the awakened hydra) and learn that there are secret doors. You'd get the feeling Pete knows where many of these secret passages are.
- The Kingdom of Plaesholdar: Well Pete the Kobold knows next to nothing about the kingdom, but if you used this on a peasant you'd get a general overview of the kingdom (limited by the peasant's knowledge), if you used it on the scheming duke Jack you'd get that he believes that it should be his, a general idea of the king, nobility, and politics, a good idea of what all the cities are, etc, but you'd not get details (that he knows) about his domain such as the name of the blacksmith who shoes his horses (Thomas if you must know), or even an exhaustive list of the six barons whose baronies are part of his fief (Jason, Kimberlee, William, Zack, Trini, and Oliver).
Assimilate Blade (Su): A good spy never allows themselves to be disarmed, and a Secrets Thief is a good spy. Beginning at 3rd level they may absorb a light weapon into their being as a full round action, or eject it again as a standard action. While this weapon is absorbed it is completely hidden to effects. A Secrets Thief may only have two assimilated weapons at a time.
Manifest Blade (Su): A Secrets Thief may also manifest a psychic projection of any weapon hidden within them. This is a free action and manifests a psychic duplicate of the weapon made of pure mental force, with identical enchantments and even considered the same material for all purposes, although it may not look the same. If this psychic manifestation leaves their hand it vanishes swiftly, although remaining long enough to be used as a thrown weapon, and they may only manifest one copy of any given weapon at a time. When wielding a manifested weapon a Secrets Thief may deal non-lethal damage without a penalty to hit and with their sneak attacks, but doing so renders the attack mind-affecting and grants it the ability to ignore 5 points of Damage Reduction.
Read Thoughts (Su): Beginning at 4th level a Secrets Thief can read the surface thoughts of creatures. By spending a move action you can read the thoughts of a creature within your telepathy range unless they succeed at a Will save (DC 10 + Class Level + Int modifier), it is unaware of this intrusion unless it succeeds at its Will save by 5 or more, and if it fails by at least 8 you may obtain information on one topic (as siphon secrets) from that creature (once you have obtained information on one topic from a specific creature this way you may not obtain information on another topic from that creature for 1 hour). If it succeeds its Will save you cannot target it with this ability for 1 minute.
Creatures with animal intelligence (1 or 2) have simple, instinctual thoughts you may pick up, and more intelligent creatures will of course have more complicated thoughts. You pick up on the target’s general mood, anything they are actively thinking about, and general awareness of other creatures nearby. In addition you gain a +4 bonus to Bluff, Diplomacy, and Intimidate checks against a target affected by this ability, as well as a +8 bonus to Sense Motive checks. Should a creature whose mind you are reading attack you the warning obtained from this means you are not flat-footed (or surprised; even if they are flat-footed) and gain a +4 insight bonus to AC and saving throws against it. This ability lasts as long as you spend a move action each round to maintain it and the creature remains in up to twice your telepathy range.
Mindsight: At 5th level a Secrets Thief gains MindsightLords of Madness as a bonus feat. If they already have Mindsight they may select another feat they qualify for as a bonus feat.
Telepathos (Psionic): At 6th level a Secrets Thief gains the ability to manifest a limited number of psionic powers. They gain the ability to manifest Mind Thrust (as a 1st level psionic power) and Ego Whip (as a 2nd level psionic power) as well as 3 power points per Secrets Thief level. Their manifester level with these powers equals their character level, and any save DCs are based off of Intellignece. A Secrets Thief does gain bonus power points for a high Intelligence, but only at a manifester level of their class level as opposed to full character level.
Siphon Power Points (Su): At 6th level a Secrets Thief gains the ability to drain psionic power from foes. When they perform a psychic sneak attack on a creature with a psionic power point reserve they may drain 2 power points per die of sneak attack damage dealt, gaining 1 temporary power point per point drained which lasts for 1 minute or until used. They may only siphon power points from a single target once per round.
Psychic Lobotomy (Su): Beginning at 8th level a Secrets Thief’s attacks may rob their targets of intelligence. When a Secrets Thief performs a psychic sneak attack against a creature they deal 2 points of
Intelligence damage; a specific creature may only suffer Intelligence damage from this effect once per round regardless of how many times a Secrets Thief sneak attacks them.
Rend Mind Blank (Su): Beginning at 9th level a Secrets Thief’s psychic sneak attack is so devastating it destroys defenses that would stand against it. Whenever a Secrets Thief makes a psychic sneak attack against a target any immunity to mind-affecting effects they may possess, except that granted by being mindless, is suppressed for 3 rounds and any spell or psionic effect granting it is immediately dispelled. This effect is applied before damage would be dealt by a Secrets Thief's psychic sneak attack.
Alter Memories (Su): Beginning at 10th level a Secrets Thief can peer deeply into the mind of unconscious creatures. By spending a full-round action they may look into the mind of a touched unconscious creature observing its memories at a rate of 1 hour per round spent, and altering them at a rate of 1 minutes per round spent altering these memories (a single round can do both). Given sufficient time a Secrets Thief could alter the entirety of a creature’s life.
PLAYING A SECRETS THIEF
A Secret Thief is not about combat, but knowledge. While their continued sneak attack progression, and ability to get around many creatures' immunity to such, aids them in battle, their real power lies elsewhere. A Secret Thief is a scout able to perceive thinking threat with nothing more than their mind, a spy able to discover even a target's most deeply held secrets with a single blow. As such a Secrets Thief lends themselves to gathering information from foes, and a certain extent of the political game, relying more on clever use of knowledge than strict combat ability.
Combat: At low levels a secrets thief fights much like a rogue, relying on stealth or flanking to score sneak attacks. Their psychic sneak attack allows them to strike at normally immune elementals, but it is not till significantly later that they gain a means to harm intelligent undead and constructs with it due to the prevalence of immunity to mind-affecting effects. Their mindsight grants them an edge in combat detection, and their manifest weapons allows them to take greater advantage of thrown weapons by allowing a free action to draw such weapons. Once they obtain Siphon Power Points and Psychic Lobotomy they become more capable against psions and even wizards, a single blow able to strip a foe of several high level spells/powers per day and fueling their own psychic attacks. Psychic Lobotomy even allows them to take down any animal in a single blow, although at a high enough level (13th minimum) that animals are rarely a major threat.
Advancement: Some Secrets Thieves will return to rogue (assuming they entered from it) once they have completed the class, although another option is to dabble in a variety of sneak attack granting prestige classes to obtain the highest sneak attack possible using Rend Mind Blank and Psychic Sneak Attack to sneak attack any intelligent creature and to increase the power of their Steal Secrets and Siphon Power Point abilities. Others might dabble in magical or psionic means of stealth to further emphasize their stealthy capabilities. One option is a few levels of factotum for the Intelligence synergy gaining if nothing more Intelligence to Str and Dex skills.
Resources: A Secrets Thief which is part of an organization may draw upon appropriate resources. One that is part of the cabals of Vecna would have some access to their vast information network (of which they are likely one cell out of many) as well as friendly (for a certain value of friendly) divine and likely arcane arcane casters. A Secret Thief that served one of the Yuan-ti snake cults would likely have easier access to their notably smaller information network as well as priests and their powerful psionic powers. A Secrets Thief working for the less unwholesome (though still rather criminal) thief guilds known to employ them would have all the benefits to be gained from that. Even an independent secrets thief often develops a large range of contacts and allies either through their services as an information broker and spy or through the simple art of blackmail.
SECRETS THIEF IN THE WORLD
"Secret thieves, I don't believe in them, like some psychic gutter rat could reach into my mind and pry out my greatest secrets." - King Efygor, shortly before a failed assassination attempt preceding a battle with surprisingly good military intelligence.
Secrets Thieves do their best to keep a low profile in the world at large, even those who hire their services of information acquisition rarely know the methods and powers involved in it. Those that do, Vecna's cabals, Yuan-ti cults, and rare elite thieves guilds, are also those that are quite good at keeping their secrets; that the most powerful Secrets Thieves are able to make targets forget these secrets should they leak aid them intensely in keeping them. Even so such powers will be noted, and some among the learned know of secrets thieves and such tend to be the same sort as keep good watch of their secrets, though many such keep their existence as their own secret as a tool to be used against their less aware enemies.
Daily Life: Secrets thieves tend to value their own privacy, knowing exactly how much power information about a person's life can give you. Many secrets thieves have little contact with others outside of business, they are quiet and introverted sorts, prone to sitting alone in their favorite bar or pub. That is not to say that all secrets thieves are total introverts, give one the need and they can easily match any other spy in socializing, if not better; it's easy to pick the right words to charm the young duke when one can peer into his mind after all. Even so secrets thieves tend to live solitary and sometimes paranoidly erratic lives, fearing to allow themselves to fall into a pattern that another might take advantage of.
Notables: One could say that notable secrets thieves are rare, at least ones notable for being such; in their line of work it is best simply to have a reputation for success and that their methods and even the details of their person remain a secret. Even so there are many of their kind worth taking note of. One such specimen is Rithla Maruen. She was once captured by illithids, forced to work as their slaves in building some horrible artifact in the honor of their inscrutable god. A psychic rogue she was already psionically active when she was rescued by a band of adventurers who had been hired to root out the cause of a wave of disappearances. Soon after the escape she came face to face with an illithid secrets thief, her own mind reacting to its psychic probe as it pried the identities of her saviors from her mind. Luckily for all involved the illithid spy had acted sloppily, and her new allies included a rather wary archer whose arrows, launched through the window from well beyond the illithid's telepathy struck down the creature. Rithla has sense made it her duty to rouse her fellow elves against the illithid threat growing beneath her country. She has adapted their own powers to her ends, and begun to seek out the illithids' elven agents; of which she has found a horrifying number. Recently Rithla has gone missing, as well as many who were her close allies.
Another notable secrets thief is known simply as the Black Heron. A powerful freelance information broker, he is often employed by various governments across the world; even the church of Vecna respects, and occasionally hires, his skill. Formerly the guild master of the Red Arrows, a powerful coastal thieves' guild that was broken by a crusade which brought the churches of Heironeus and St. Cuthbert into a temporary and close alliance, he had already prepared his new identity for just such an occasion. Few know the natures of his skills, fewer still know his true identity as an immortal elan, and even fewer realize how many identities he has previously held and abandoned as he has manipulated both the growth and government of several neighboring kingdoms. The Black Heron is currently stoking the flames of war, feeding his employers information that will lead to two neighboring kingdoms entering a bloody battle. He stands to make a tidy profit in doing so, do to his own mercantile and mercenary investments.
Organizations: The Blue Shadows, one of the competing thieves' guild of insert major city here, harbor and train many secrets thieves. The Blue Shadows began largely as a smuggling ring, but have since branched out into political maneuverings. They now control several key lords, many of whom have come to rely on their services as information gatherers in their own fiefs, and now have to face the reality that the guild knows far too much of their secrets and illicit dealings and that should they turn against the guild they will probably find themselves destroyed politically. This fear was greatly increased after the guild let it be known that one lord had displeased them, and soon afterwards they faced mass peasant uprisings in their territory, and a truly horrid list of crimes was laid at their feet. The other lords are not sure how many of these crimes were true, but the end result, a year long war to put down the rebellion even after the king's forces moved in and the destruction of the noble house, is enough to make them wary of opposing the guild themselves.
This is an in detail description of how NPC's would perceive your class and the immediate generalization that people would give of your class.
SECRETS THIEF IN THE GAME
Secrets thieves are similar to rogues. Their psychic sneak attack allows them to more easily affect elementals, and hive minded swarms, but aids in few other combats and their siphon secrets aids against prepared casters that a rogue can fight against to begin with. Instead their abilities mainly grant non-combat applications. Their ability to steal secrets can be used to solve mysteries where they are able to attack someone with key information, and their mind-reading gives a DM many chances to give clues and both are abilities that must be considered in building a mystery.
Adaptation: Secrets thieves could easily be tied to a specific organization in a campaign setting, perhaps given more religious ties and connected to Vecna or another god of information and knowledge (especially one tied to secrets). For a campaign without psionics you could remove the psionic power point and knowledge (psionic) requirements (replacing them with skill, feat, or casting requirements), and remove Psi-blast and Siphon Power Points replacing them with a personal mind blank or brain spiders or scrying/clairvoyance abilities.
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