Not all heroes are born with special abilities, or fortunate enough to find a kindly, old mentor who teaches them their secret arts. Not every hero is a natural-born leader, or has an innate kinship with the shadows. Some heroes must make themselves powerful using any means necessary, taking risks or making bargains that others would fear to even consider. Pariahs are just such people.
Pariahs gain their power by making a bargain with some powerful entity, stealing power from an artifact's endless well of magic, or by carefully borrowing power from another dimension. Some pariahs make a deal with a powerful arch-devil, or inherit the consequences of such a deal from their family. Other pariahs have bargained with the Outer Madness, granting those powers access to our plane in exchange for power for themselves. Others still siphon magic directly from the Well of Power, constantly riding the razor's edge of utter annihilation if they draw too much. Some steal power from the First World, but slowly becoming more Fey-like in the process. Others compel a powerful artifact to grant them power, even in defiance of the artifact's own will.
One thing is true of all pariahs — their power comes at a price.
Role: Pariahs focus on dealing damage to their enemies, typically up close and personal. They are often viewed by society as dangerously unstable individuals, people whose motives cannot be guessed at, and whose self-control is entirely in question. Even during combat, pariahs tend to find themselves apart from their comrades, spreading their powerful brand of destruction around them with little regard for the safety of others. Pariahs are also very capable at manipulating the center of a combat, wielding several abilities which let them move enemies or allies about, whether they want to or not.
Hit Die: d6
Starting Wealth: 250 gp
Skill Ranks per Level: 4 + Int modifier
Recommended Ability Score Priority:
- Intelligence: primary; the majority of a pariah's abilities are derived from INT.
- Dexterity: secondary; used for ranged touch and melee touch attacks.
- Constitution: tertiary; used to survive being in close quarters with the enemy.
- Strength: low priority.
- Charisma: low priority.
- Wisdom: low priority. It is rare for pariahs to have a high wisdom, since wise people generally avoid making pacts with greater powers.
|1st||+0||+2||+2||+0||Pact, Karma, Bane, Ward, Implement|
|2nd||+1||+3||+3||+0||Favored Child, Gift|
|10th||+5||+7||+7||+3||Ward, Special Pact Affinity|
|20th||+10/+5||+12||+12||+6||Gift, Special Pact Affinity|
|30th||+15/+10||+17||+17||+11||Bane, Special Pact Affinity|
Weapon and Armor Proficiency
Pariahs are proficient with all simple weapons, though they generally require both hands free to make use of their pact's affinities (Banes, Wards, and Gifts). They are not proficient with any type of armor or shield. Armor interferes with a pariah's movement, which can cause their pact affinities to fail (see Arcane Spells and Armor).
Natural Talent (Ex)
At 1st level, all characters receive two natural Natural Talent skills: one in their bailiwick skill, and one in any other skill of their choice. Natural talent allows you to re-map a skill to use any ability score you wish, rather than the ability score it normally uses. You may not select a skill for natural talent that you cannot put ranks into (such as a bailiwick skill not available to your class). Natural talent skills never suffer an armor check penalty, even if the chosen ability modifier is STR or DEX.
All characters receive an additional natural talent skill at character (not class) levels 11, 21, and 31. Additional natural talents may also be gained through Self-Improvement.
At character creation, each pariah must declare the source of their power by selecting one of the pacts listed below. Once chosen, a pact cannot ever be changed, even by means of character re-training. A pact is an agreement between the pariah and some greater power. The pariah gains the ability to wield exotic and dangerous magic, while the greater power gains... something they want.
- Note to GM's: In game terms, the greater power doesn't appear to get much at all; there are no mechanical benefits granted to the greater power by the pact. Instead, there are potential role-playing hooks, available to a creative GM and player, wherein the greater power gains more access to the Prime Material plane, gains a boon, derives quintessence from the pariah, or any of a number of other possible "soft" benefits. In no case should the greater power be given an advantage that directly interferes with the pariah's player having fun and enjoying the game. The greater power should be a nebulous threat, possibly good, possibly evil, looming over the world, and made more potent by the pact the pariah has made. However, they shouldn't be an all-powerful character the GM can play to show off how mighty a GM-run PC can be. Nobody likes that. Don't be that guy.
Pacts grant the pariah several benefits:
- Theme: The greater power behind a pact is an important part of the pariah's character, and should greatly affect how they interact with the world, from a role-playing standpoint. If you like the pact's powers, but don't like the idea of being a pawn, worshiper, or advocate of that particular greater power, you may want to either choose a different pact, or negotiate with your GM to re-skin that pact to a more palatable greater power. (Of course, if you're not comfortable with the rather Faustian nature of pariahs in general, you should probably choose a different class.)
- Karma: Each pact provides a unique way that the pariah can gain Karma, in addition to the normal means of gaining karma.
- Unique Abilities: Each pact provides access to a unique Bane, Ward, and Gift, which become available at levels 10, 20, and 30.
Pact Description Pact of the Ancestral Relic You draw your power from a poorly-understood, yet powerful family heirloom passed down from generation to generation. Pact of the Aura Eater You feed directly off of the fundamental energies that permeate the world, that surround us, and flow through us. Pact of the Invisible Sun You draw power from the black star of the Unterwelt, the shadow sun of the world below the world. Pact of the Masquerade You pull power from the unknowable Glamarie of the First World, the living lie of the Feykind. Pact of the Prince You derive your power from a deal struck with a powerful devil, perhaps by accident, or perhaps by design. Pact of the Unfathomed Font You carefully sip from the limitless torrent of magic gushing forth from the Well of Power Pact of the Whispering Void That tentacled god seemed nice enough, and hey, free magic! Pact of the Willing Host You open your body to be a willing vessel for one or more potent spirits, in exchange for power. Pact of the Worldseed You draw your magic from the natural life energies of the Nascent Seed.
Pariahs are more attuned to fortune and fate than most people, having tied their own fates to something much greater than themselves. As a result, beginning at 1st level, pariahs can attain a state of karma during combat, if the right circumstances occur. Pariahs can achieve karma three ways:
- If they roll a natural 1 on an attack roll or a saving throw
- If they drop a non-minion enemy creature to 0 or fewer hit points
- One additional way, based on the Pact the pariah has chosen.
Pariahs can only earn Karma during a combat encounter. Karma does not accumulate, and it is not measured in the form of points, it is a state — either the pariah has karma, or they do not. Once a pariah has karma, they retain it until the end of the current encounter.
Once a pariah has attained a state of karma, they gain a number of benefits which endure until the end of the encounter:
- Any critical threats rolled to resolve a Bane attack against an enemy creature are automatically confirmed as criticals.
- All of the pariah's Bane attacks can target one additional target within their listed area of effect, assuming additional targets are present.
- All of the pariah's Wards become easier to trigger.
Once the current combat encounter ends, the pariah's karma (if they have it) goes away, and must be earned again in each future encounter. It is entirely possible that a pariah will fail to earn karma in a given encounter. Such is the way of Fate — sometimes she's your best friend, and sometimes she wants to smash all your stuff and laugh at you.
A pact affinity is a special ability granted to the pariah by the power of their pact. Pact affinities come in three varieties: Banes, Wards, and Gifts.
- Banes are offensive abilities.
- Wards are defensive abilities.
- Gifts are utility abilities.
With the exception of 1st and 2nd levels, when the pariah learns their first Bane, Gift, and Ward abilities, each time the pariah gains a level, they are given an opportunity to either learn a new pact affinity of a specific type (Bane, Gift or Ward, depending on the class level achieved), or to upgrade an existing pact affinity that they already know of that type. That is, at level 3, a pariah may either select a second Bane ability to learn, or upgrade the Bane ability they learned at level 1. They may not use the new Bane ability to gain a new Ward or Gift, or to upgrade any existing Wards or Gift.
Each pact affinity can be upgraded up to nine times, and each time the affinity is upgraded, its power is significantly improved. Pariahs, therefore, must decide whether to focus on a small number of affinities and upgrade them to very powerful levels, or to diversify their abilities, allowing them to have more appropriate tools for any situation they encounter.
Pact affinity upgrades must be taken in the order they are presented. That is, the first time you upgrade a given pact affinity, you gain the ability listed as the first upgrade. You cannot skip an upgrade to get a different one further down the list. Upgrades must be taken in order.
Unlike spells, pact affinities are not memorized; they are granted by the pariah's pact, and simply known. Each pact affinity can be used as many times per day as the pariah wishes, but no single pact affinity can ever be used more than once in the same round.
Using a pact affinity does not provoke attacks of opportunity from threatening creatures. A pariah does not need to concentrate to use a pact affinity while threatened. Banes, and other pact affinities that directly or indirectly target creatures, are not subject to Spell Resistance.
Using a pact affinity requires the pariah to gesture with both hands, though it is assumed that one hand is holding an implement. If the pariah is wearing a shield, all bonuses provided by the shield are lost during any round in which they activate a pact affinity. (This is akin to performing a shield bash, and subsequently losing the shield's bonus to AC until the start of the character's next turn.) If the pariah is wielding a weapon, or their implement is a weapon, they do not threaten enemies during any round in which the pariah activates a pact affinity. As a result, it is rare for a pariah to threaten adjacent enemies, or provide flanks for their allies.
Activating a pact affinity is subject to Arcane Spell Failure, should the pariah be wearing any armor at the time. While pact affinities are not spells, they are arcane in nature, and armor interferes with the precise movements required to activate them, making it possible for the pariah to fail to activate their ability. As a result, few pariahs will risk wearing armor.
Banes are a type of pact affinity that allows the Pariah to directly attack one or more enemy creatures. At 1st level, the pariah learns their first Bane ability. At 3rd level, and every three class levels beyond 3rd level, the pariah may either choose another Bane ability to learn, or upgrade an existing Bane ability.
Unless otherwise specified, activating a Bane requires a standard action.
Banes nearly always require a melee touch attack or a ranged touch attack for each target they are attempting to affect. Unless otherwise specified, targets of Banes do not get a saving throw to resist the damage or effects of the Bane, once they have been successfully hit.
On a roll of a natural 20, Banes can critically hit the target of that particular roll, inflicting double damage. Note that feats, such as Improved Critical, or the Keen (Magic Property) on the pariah's implement, can improve the critical hit chance of the pariah's Bane pact affinities.
Bane Description Alabaster Gyre You manifest a bitter, icy wind to freeze your enemies. Astral Nova Inflicts stellar damage. Foliate Diaspora Inflicts nascent damage. Force Torrent Inflicts force damage. Fracturing Barrage Inflicts bludgeoning damage. Galvanic Rigor Inflicts electricity damage. Hate Conflagration You call forth flames to consume your enemies. Liquefying Shroud Inflicts acid damage. Mephitic Host Inflicts toxic damage. Orphic Lance Inflicts eldritch damage. Sin Reaper Inflicts negative damage. Sinew Saw Inflicts slashing damage. Splintering Void Inflicts psychic damage. Stygian Martyr Inflicts umbral damage. Trepan Gale Inflicts piercing damage.
Wards are pact affinities which grant the pariah a defensive advantage. At 1st level, the pariah selects their first Ward. At 4th level, and every 3 Pariah class levels after that, the pariah may either select another Ward ability to learn, or upgrade an existing Ward ability.
Wards nearly always require only a swift action to initiate (unless otherwise specified). However, wards must also be triggered before their benefits are granted to the pariah. Any time a ward is cast, the pariah must declare which of the following triggering actions they wish to use to activate the ward:
- Bringer: the pariah must displace at least 15 feet (10 feet with karma) from their starting space to trigger the ward.
- Exile: the pariah must end a move (or charge) while at least 15 feet from any of their allies (10 feet with karma) to trigger the ward.
- Nihilist: the pariah must be threatened by 3 or more enemies simultaneously (2 enemies with karma) and be stationary (i.e. not in the middle of a move or charge) to trigger the ward.
Once a ward is triggered, its benefits are provided to the pariah until the start of the pariah's next turn.
Players should generally expect to have to spend their swift actions to activate a ward, and their move actions to arrange the appropriate circumstances to trigger the ward, each round. This leaves their standard action available to activate a Bane (or a Gift, if they prefer).
The triggering condition of a ward can change each round, but must be declared at the time the ward is first activated. Once declared, it cannot be changed until the ward is cast again.
Ward Description Blood Subjugation Take only a portion of the physical damage you sustain Defamed Outcast Inflicts to-hit penalties on target Disillusionment Grants the pariah SR while active Energy Leash Redirects energy damage to another target Fettered Flesh Grants the pariah DR while active Hardened Heart Grants the pariah ER while active Ill-Advised Prey Deal damage to any enemy that hits you with a melee attack or melee touch attack Mystical Misdirection Gain a dispel magic immediate action Perplexing Parody Enemy attacking you has a % chance to hit an adjacent target they can reach, instead. Predetermined End Improves the pariah's AC while active Resilient Perdition Improved maneuver defense while active Revivify Vessel Grants you an immediate action self-heal. Savvy Positioning Gain a free a 5-foot step after an enemy attacks you Tainted Remission Gain immunity to some status conditions while active Worst Alternative One enemy you hit this round becomes unable to target you
Gifts are pact affinities which grant the pariah a special ability, a new movement type, or the ability to manipulate some aspect of the battlefield to their advantage. Gifts usually do not inflict damage, or increase the pariah's durability in a fight, but instead give them some oddball ability that no one expects. At 2nd level, the pariah selects their first Gift. At 5th level, and every 3 Pariah class levels after that, the pariah may either select another Gift to learn, or upgrade an existing Gift ability.
Unless otherwise specified, activating a Gift requires a standard action.
Gift Description Balletic Stride Your movement becomes more graceful. Bloodchanger Transfer damage from one ally to another ally. Bounding Surge You can leap through the air, covering great distances. Carefree Descent Falling is no danger to you. Cragfarer Grants a climb movement speed. Fathomglider Grants a swim movement speed. Invoked Aspect You can rapidly disguise yourself. Leased Liberty Grants a flight movement speed. Misbegotten Minion You summon a creature to perform your bidding. Rebounding Contagion When you gain a status condition, you inflict a status condition on a nearby enemy. Reiterating Hark You can perceive the world through sound alone. Scent Scout Your sense of smell improves dramatically. Spade Step You can move through the ground with ease. Spatial Exchange Swap places with an enemy creature. Vista Aeterna Your vision improves tremendously.
The Pariah is one of the classes which is allowed to use Implements to boost their magical ranged touch attacks. See the Crafting Magic Implements page for more details.
Favored Child (Ex)
Beginning at 2nd level, pariahs may use their Dexterity modifier in place of their Strength modifier when calculating their melee to-hit and melee touch to-hit bonuses. Ranged to-hit and ranged touch to-hit continue to be calculated off the pariah's Dexterity modifier, as usual.