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Grim (3.5e Class)

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Grim

{{#set:Summary=A supernatural warrior with a distaste for those who defy death. He transforms into a glowing otherworldly force of destruction, moving through solid walls and sending souls to the afterlife. |Length=20 |Minimum Level=1 |Base Attack Bonus Progression=Moderate |Fortitude Save Progression=Poor |Reflex Save Progression=Poor |Will Save Progression=Good |Class Ability=Divine Spellcasting |Class Ability=Spontaneous Spellcasting |Class Ability=Other |Class Ability Progression=Other }} {{#set:Allowed Alignments=Lawful Good}} {{#set:Allowed Alignments=Lawful Neutral}} {{#set:Allowed Alignments=Lawful Evil}} {{#set:Allowed Alignments=Neutral Good}} {{#set:Allowed Alignments=Neutral}} {{#set:Allowed Alignments=Neutral Evil}} {{#set:Allowed Alignments=Chaotic Good}} {{#set:Allowed Alignments=Chaotic Neutral}} {{#set:Allowed Alignments=Chaotic Evil}}

Grim Edit

He fell from the sky with a swoosh of his cloak waving in the sun. Light gleamed from his golden-feathered wings, illuminating his skeletal face. A haunting echoing voice came forth and those before him fled in terror, all but the staunch paladin, who charged forth upon his stead. The glowing figure dodged the lance and struck forth his maul, shattering the stead to dust. The glowing figure spoke as the paladin lay on the ground 'You hide behind your faith as a shield. No more shall you cower. Arise and fight me!'. With that, the two figures clashed into combat...
—Excerpt from "Tale of the Golden Day", Chapter 9

Harnessing abstract power directly from the Ethereal Plane, the grim channels this energy, transforming his body. He learns spells and the ability to channel this energy as a powerful bane attack. Grims, however, are a diverse group and their modes and methods of combat, function and style vary greatly. Some grims despise undead, while others embrace them. Some slowly emulate fiends, while others gain a divine presence. With the mysterious blessings of the Ethereal Plane, grims are capable of fending off undead creatures and death attacks.

To most, the grim appears as a warrior or shaman. He is a grim reminder of his mortality and the horrific torment brought upon those who fail to cross over to the afterlife. It is this trait that earns him the name of "grim".

In essence, a grim is much like a barbarian. He channels his power to transform, attaining greater power, though he is also able to cast a few low-level spells and channel raw energy to deal out bane attacks on his foes.

Making a Grim Edit

He who follows this path may be brought into the life of a grim by making a pact with powerful spirits, a deity of death or perhaps his path is directed by some inborn connection or longstanding powerful trauma that has bound him to the agents of death, the fates or the Ethereal Plane.

Grims are very versatile. It is important to focus on an aspect of their capabilities and build upon that as well as focus on what abilities and roles they need to have to function within their party. Some grims wear light armor or medium armor and rely on maneuverability and tactics, casting spells to inhibit opponents and attack from afar out of danger. Other grims don heavy armor and take the brunt of the enemy attacks, focusing on abilities that grant them resistances and using their bane attacks to full effect. Other grims might cast spells to debilitate enemy forces and sow fear and confusion in their ranks, moving in silently and striking at problems at the source.

A grim is at his most powerful when he transforms, gaining access to spells, resistances, abilities and enhancements. Grim spells allow them to manipulate situations, bypass traps and obstacles, weaken opponents and avoid detection.

Grim appears to be a middle-ground class, lacking the martial prowess barbarians or the magical aptitude of the wizard. However, while they lack in both these areas, they make up for in bare damage from their bane attacks and the flexibility of spells, a broad range of alterations, class-focused feats and class abilities. With that, grims may go frontline with the fighters and rogues, or hang back with the archers and spellcasters.

Abilities: A high Wisdom increases the potency of grim spells, increases his transformation's duration and eventually aids in making bane attacks strike truer. Strength is, of course, nearly essential for melee combat, grappling and other burley stuff. Constitution comes in handy and is vital for a long career as a combat-able adventurer. Dexterity is great for Armor Class, initiative and the specialization in finesse weapons. Depending on how he wants to focus, a grim will favor some ability scores over others, but Wisdom should always be paramount.

Races: Any race with enough culture to be aware of the afterlife is likely to have grims. Humans, with their natural need to understand the world around them, take to becoming grims easily. Elves and half-elves often have a fair number of grims among their numbers. Dwarves are rarely grims, as the role often plays against dwarven cultural ideals and norms. Halflings and gnomes occasionally take up the life of a grim, either as outcasts or eccentric but necessary public servants. Primitive cultures often have grims, who may additionally serve as spiritualists and preachers to their fellows. Outsiders are less likely to become grims, as they already have a predisposed connection to a particular plane.

Alignment: Grims have diverse reasons for following their path. Their personalities, motivations and passions drive them and their quest to attain greater diversion from their past selves. Just as their backgrounds and reasons are diverse, so are their alignments, and a grim may be of any alignment without restriction to his class abilities.

Starting Gold: 5d4 × 10 gp (125 gp).

Starting Age: Moderate, as fighter.

Table: The Grim

Hit Die: d8

Level Base
Attack Bonus
Saving Throws Special Spells Known
Fort Ref Will 1st 2nd 3rd 4th
1st +0 +0 +0 +2 Transformation 1/day, Discount, Grim Favor, Bane Attack 1
2nd +1 +0 +0 +3 Alteration, Dedication 2
3rd +2 +1 +1 +3 Quick Transformation 2
4th +3 +1 +1 +4 Transformation 2/day, Alteration 21
5th +3 +1 +1 +4 Divine Suffusion 1st Level 21
6th +4 +2 +2 +5 Alteration 22
7th +5 +2 +2 +5 Readied Bane 22
8th +6/+1 +2 +2 +6 Transformation 3/day, Alteration, Returning Memories 32
9th +6/+1 +3 +3 +6 Imbued Body, Divine Suffusion 2nd Level 32
10th +7/+2 +3 +3 +7 Death's Contract, Alteration 321
11th +8/+3 +3 +3 +7 Eternal Life, Perceptive Bane 421
12th +9/+4 +4 +4 +8 Transformation 4/day, Alteration 421
13th +9/+4 +4 +4 +8 Imbued Body 422
14th +10/+5 +4 +4 +9 Alteration, Divine Suffusion 3rd Level 422
15th +11/+6/+1 +5 +5 +9 Nixing Bane 4221
16th +12/+7/+2 +5 +5 +10 Transformation 5/day, Alteration 4321
17th +12/+7/+2 +5 +5 +10 Imbued Body 4321
18th +13/+8/+3 +6 +6 +11 Immediate Transformation, Alteration 4331
19th +14/+9/+4 +6 +6 +11 Divine Suffusion 4th Level 4331
20th +15/+10/+5 +6 +6 +12 Transformation 6/day, Alteration, Erudite Bane 4332

Class Skills (4 + Int modifier per level, ×4 at 1st level)
Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Disguise (Cha), Hide (Dex), Intimidate (Cha), Knowledge (religion) (Int), Listen (Wis) Move Silently (Dex), Profession (Wis), Sense Motive (Wis), Spellcraft (Int), Spot (Wis).

Class Features Edit

Grims gain powers that augment their transformation, ease their passage from life and death and back, augment their bodies, senses and essences as well as destructive attacks and resistances to undead.

All of the following are class features of the grim.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: A grim is proficient with light armor, medium armor, light and heavy shields and simple weapons.

Proficiency Path: You must choose which additional proficiencies you gain.

Offense Path: Gain Martial Weapon Proficiency as well as Exotic Weapon Proficiency with one weapon of his choice.

Defense Path: Gain Heavy Armor Proficiency as well as Tower Shield Proficiency.

Spells: A grim casts his spells at-will as spell-like abilities while transformed. The grim cannot cast spells when not transformed unless he has also gained the appropriate Divine Suffusion to cast a spell of that level. Wisdom determines the power of his spells.

A grim channels his spells through divine meditation in a one hour meditation ritual typically performed at dawn after awaking. The spells he learns are ingrained into his essence and he may use them at will while transformed. However, if he wishes to change what spells he is able to cast, he must meditate uninterrupted for one hour. He may change any or all of his known spells. A grim may prepare and cast any spell on the grim spell list, provided that he can cast spells of that level, but he must choose which spells to prepare during his meditation.

To learn or cast a spell, a grim must have a Wisdom score equal to at least 10 + the spell level. The Difficulty Class for a saving throw against a grim’s spell is 10 + the spell level + the grim’s Wisdom modifier. Unlike most other spellcasters, a grim has a limitless supply of spells per day. In addition, he only gains access to lower level spells and is initially limited to casting spells only while transformed.

A grim’s variety of spells is extremely limited. A grim is able to learn one 1st-level spell of his choice at 1st level. As he gains more grim levels, he gains more new spells, as indicated on Table: The Grim. (The number of spells a grim knows is not affected by his Wisdom score; the numbers on Table: The Grim are fixed.) These spells are chosen from the list below.

Upon reaching 4th, 10th and 15th levels, the grim gains access to each higher level of spells. He may choose to have a lower level spell occupy a higher level slot (though, the spell is still cast as though it were of its normal level).

Metamagic feats are a great boon to a grim's spellcasting, allowing him to cast a wider variety of spells that occupy his higher level spell-slots for greater effect. However, to use a metamagic feat, the spell must be prepared to occupy the higher slot to be used, like a wizard.

Like a wizard or a cleric, a grim prepares his spell slots in advance. He can cast any spell he meditated for at-will while transformed. To cast a spell while not transformed, a grim must have the corresponding Divine Suffusion to cast spells of that level.

Grims choose their spells from the following list:

1st— cause fear, comprehend languages, deathwatch, detect magic, detect secret doors, detect undead, disrupt undead, expeditious retreat, hide from undead, light, mage hand, message, obscuring mist, sleep, touch of fatigue

2nd— augury, blur, darkness, darkvision, death knell, false life, fog cloud, ghoul touch, gust of wind, invisibility, levitate, scare, silence, whispering wind

3rd— displacement, fear, fly, gaseous form, halt undead, invisibility sphere, speak with dead, vampiric touch, wind wall

4th— contact other plane, crushing despair, death ward, dimensional anchor, divination, divine power, enervation, greater invisibility, phantasmal killer, sending, solid fog, tongues


Discount (Ex): At 1st level, he is recognized as something other than a mere mortal by those who ferry the souls of the dead. He gains a discount on being raised from the dead as raising him is simply less trouble and less costly. The material component cost requirement drops by 5% for each grim level he possesses. At 20 grim levels, the material component cost to be raised from the dead no longer needs to be paid.

Grim Favor (Ex): His connection to the essences of the Ethereal Plane affords him protection against undead creatures. Starting at 1st level, the grim gains a bonus on all saves to resist the supernatural, extraordinary, spell-like or psi-like attacks of undead creatures. This ability increases at a rate of 1 point of bonus per 4 additional grim levels, increasing to +2 at 5th, +3 at 9th, +4 at 13th, +5 at 17th and so on.

Grim Transformation (Su): A flow of strange ethereal waves flow into his body and weapons. At 1st level, he learns to directly harness the otherworldly power of the Ethereal Plane to transform his body. His transformation's appearance evolves as he gains levels (the exact form he takes varies from grim to grim. See "Choosing a Transformed Form" below for ideas).

The outpouring of otherworldly energy temporarily transforms him into an Outsider (unless he already has either the Undead or Construct types). He is considered a creature of his new type but gains no other benefits of this type than those benefits listed below.

He can touch any incorporeal creature as though it were solid, dealing damage normally and ignoring an incorporeal creature's 50% miss chance.

He glides roughly 4 inches over solid ground without touching it. He can pass over difficult terrain without suffering penalties to movement. He leaves no tracks behind.

He may transform at will as a swift action on his turn. His transformation lasts for a number of rounds equal to 3 + his Wisdom modifier (minimum of 1 round). A grim may prematurely end his transformation. As a grim gains levels, he will have his choice of Alterations to modify the abilities he gains when he transforms.

At 1st level he can use his transformation ability once per day as a swift action. At 4th level and every four levels thereafter, he can use it one additional time per day (to a maximum of six times per day at 20th level). Transforming takes almost no time itself, but a grim can do it only during his action, not in response to someone else’s action.

Bane Attack (Su): At 1st level, he learns to channel energy directly from the Ethereal Plane as part of a full attack action against his opponents. He channels this energy through an attack, natural or manufactured. Despite the number of attacks he may make in a round, only one attack may be a bane attack. He may choose which of his attacks to apply this ability to. Bane attack deals 1 damage per grim level as raw magical energy tears through and inundates the target. While transformed, he deals damage equal to 2 damage per grim level.

Bane Attack affects a single target, allowing no saving throw. A bane attack deals 1 damage at 1st level and increases in power as the grim rises in level. For the purposes of spell resistance and other effects calculated by spell level, bane attack is the equivalent of a spell whose level is equal to one-half the grim’s class level (rounded down), with a minimum spell level of 1st and a maximum of 9th when a grim reaches 18th level or higher. A bane attack is subject to spell resistance, however, the Spell Penetration feat and other effects that improve caster level checks to overcome spell resistance also apply to bane attack. The feat Ability Focus (Bane Attack) increases the DC for all saving throws (if any) associated with a grim’s Bane Attack by 2.

A bane attack deals half damage to objects until he gains Nixing Bane.

Table: Bane Attack/Nixing Bane Damage
Target Standard Damage Transformed Damage
Creature 1 damage per grim level 2 damage per grim level
Object1 1 damage per two grim levels 1 damage per grim level
Object2 1 cubic foot per 2 grim levels 1 cubic foot per grim level
  1. Damage dealt without Nixing Bane.
  2. Must have Nixing Bane to disintegrate objects.

Fortitude Save DC = 10 + Wisdom modifier + 0.5 ½ grim level.

Alteration (Su): Starting at 2nd level, each time he gains an even-numbered level, he gains another Alteration ability. He may choose these abilities in any order, so long as he meets any prerequisites. Alterations only function while he is transformed.

Alteration Types: Alterations come in four basic types: Passive, Burst, Aura and Special. Alterations may have more than one type.

Passive alterations grant their function to the grim at all times simply by having them.

Burst alterations have an area of effect and require an action to use.

Aura alterations have a radius and effect either the grim and his allies, all targets within the radius, or some other target as described.

Special alterations are those that don't fit into either of the above types.

AlterationsEdit
Name Type Prerequisite Description

{{#ask:

?Type ?Prerequisite ?Summary format=template template=Table Row link=none limit=9999

}}

3.5e Grim Alterations: A complete list of alterations as well as additional comments on their design.

Dedication (Ex): At 2nd level, because of dedication in pursuing the path of the grim, the grim class becomes a favored class.

Quick Transformation (Su): At 3rd level, the grim may transform on his turn as a free action.

Divine Suffusion (Su): The divine energies that power the grim's spells suffuses itself into the grim's soul, allowing him to cast spells of the given level when not transformed. At 5th level, the grim may cast his 1st level spells when not transformed. At 9th level, the grim may cast his 2nd level spells when not transformed. At 14th level, the grim may cast his 3rd level spells when not transformed. At 19th level, the grim may cast his 4th level spells when not transformed.

Readied Bane (Su): At 7th Level, he may use a bane attack as part of a readied action.

Returning Memories (Ex): A day after returning from the dead, an epiphany of memories strikes the grim, and he regains his lost power. At 8th level, if the grim dies and is brought back to life with a means that would cause him to lose a level, he instead only suffers temporary level drain as if he had been energy drained. The negative level is automatically restored after 24 hours and never becomes permanent level loss.

Imbued Body (Ex): At 9th level, the grim may choose an Alteration he has learned to become a permanent aspect of his body and soul. The Alteration continues to function even when he is not transformed.

He gains another Imbued Body from another Alteration at 13th level and at 17th level.

An Alteration can only be taken as an Imbued Body if all prerequisite Alterations have been gained as Imbued Bodies.

Death's Contract (Ex): At 10th level, the grim is granted immunity to all effects from spells with the death descriptor, magical death effects, energy drain, and negative energy effects (such as those from inflict spells or chill touch) but not planar effects such as that generated by the Negative Energy Plane. This ability does not remove previously gained negative levels or effect the saving throw necessary 24 hours after gaining a negative level. This ability doesn't protect against other sorts of attacks, such as hit point loss, poison, or petrification, even if those attacks might be lethal. This ability does not negate the temporary negative level gained when using the Returning Memories ability.

At this point, the grim may never become undead through any means. If he is already undead, he instead becomes a variant Deathborne Grim.

Eternal Life (Su): At 11th level, he no longer ages normally. He may continue to age, gaining bonuses and penalties as normal, but he no longer has a maximum age.

Perceptive Bane (Su): At 11th level, he adds half his Wisdom bonus (rounding down), if any, as an insight bonus to his attack roll when making a Bane Attack while transformed.

Nixing Bane (Su): At 15th level, the power of his Bane Attack grows to affect objects and force effects, such as a wall of force. Any creature reduced to 0 or fewer hit points by this attack is entirely disintegrated, leaving behind trace dust and any equipment it carried. A Fortitude save prevents disintegration but leaves the body a mangled wreak. Against an object, the touch disintegrates 1 cubic ft/2 grim levels. Against force effects, he must make a caster check (d20 + spell slot's level + Wisdom modifier) against the DC of the force effect. If he succeeds, the force effect is destroyed.

Immediate Transformation (Su): At 18th level, the grim may transform as an immediate action (allowing him to transform when its not his turn). On his turn, he may still transform as a free action.

Erudite Bane (Su): At 20th level, he adds his Wisdom bonus, if any, as an insight bonus to his attack roll when making a Bane Attack.

Ex-Grims Edit

I've seen much death. It haunts me still these years later, but shall I don my mantle again and fight when the time is willing? May the gods give mercy to my enemies when I do.
—Stigmael, celestial grim

A grim may voluntarily give up his grim powers, disconnecting himself from the powers that bind him to the Ethereal Plane. Doing so requires an hour of uninterrupted meditation. After which, he no longer gains the benefit of any of his grim class abilities (except his base proficiencies, but not his proficiency path).

A grim who voluntarily gives up his powers cannot level in the grim class. He can regain his class abilities (and allow him to take grim levels) once again by meditating for eight hours uninterrupted in an atonement ritual.

Rebuilding Grims Edit

Why would a grim give up his grim powers? Well, he may want to simply retire, or perhaps pass through an area without air of suspicion or detection, though, additionally, he may do it to clear his head and come back later, rebuilt.

A grim who disconnects himself from his grim powers may later atone and re-choose his proficiency path, grim spells, Alterations and Imbued Body abilities. Though purely descriptive flavor, his transformation's appearance may change as well. These sorts of rebuilding are rare however, revolving around great personal change, such as a great lose, great victory, epiphany or alignment shift.

Epic Grims Edit

GrimTransformed
To have faced so many hardships, battles won and lost, friends gone and buried, paths walked and power attained. When I came to believe I neared the end, new worlds opened up before me, and in my wisdom did I seek the answers those worlds held. I strode forth, and in my footsteps, death.
—Alem Eigrod the Gray Saint

Table: The Epic Grim

Hit Die: d8

Level Special
21st Imbued Body
22nd Alteration
23rd Bonus Feat
24th Alteration, Transformation 7/day
25th Bonus Feat
26th Alteration, Imbued Body
27th Bonus Feat
28th Alteration, Transformation 8/day
29th Bonus Feat
30th Alteration

4 + Int modifier skill points per level.

Spells: The grim’s caster level is equal to his grim class level. The grim’s number of spells per day does not increase after 20th level.

Grim Transformation: The epic grim gains an additional Transformation per day every four levels after 20th.

Imbued Body: Every 5 levels, starting at 21st level, an epic grim is able to further transmute himself with permanent Alterations.

Alteration: Every even numbered epic level, an epic grim gains access to even more abilities during his transformation, building upon abilities he has already learned, focusing his power to an even greater degree.

Bane Attack: The damage and mass effected by his Bane Attack continues to grow with each level he gains.

Bonus Feat: The epic grim gains a bonus feat (selected from the list of epic grim bonus feats) that he meets the prerequisites for on any epic level in which he doesn't otherwise gain an epic class ability. These feats are in addition to the feats regularly attained every 3 levels by a character.

Epic Grim Bonus Feat List1: Armor Skin, Damage Reduction, Energy Resistance, Epic Fortitude, Epic Prowess, Epic Reflexes, Epic Skill Focus, Epic Speed, Epic Toughness, Epic Weapon Focus, Epic Will, Extended Life Span, Fast Healing, Great Charisma, Great Constitution, Great Dexterity, Great Intelligence, Great Strength, Great Wisdom, Improved Darkvision, Improved Low-Light Vision, Legendary Climber, Legendary Leaper, Legendary Wrestler, Penetrate Damage Reduction, Perfect Health, Spectral Strike2, Spell Stowaway, Superior Initiative.

1. A grim may also select any grim feat that he meets the prerequisites for as an epic grim bonus feat.
2. Epic grims can gain this feat regardless of not being able to turn or rebuke undead.

Grim Feats Edit

Name Prerequisite Description

{{#ask: Type::Grim

?Prerequisite ?Summary format=template template=Table Row link=none limit=9999

}}

Human Grim Starting Package Edit

Weapons: Scimitar, Sickle, Light Crossbow with 20 Bolts, Spiked Gauntlet.

Skill Selection: Pick a number of skills equal to 4 + Int modifier.

Skill Ranks Ability Armor
Check
Penalty
Concentration 4 Con
Craft 4 Int
Disguise 4 Cha
Hide 4 Dex
Intimidate 4 Cha
Knowledge (religion) 4 Int
Listen 4 Wis
Move Silently 4 Dex
Profession 4 Wis
Sense Motive 4 Wis
Spellcraft 4 Int
Spot 4 Wis

Feat: Improved Initiative.

Bonus Feat(s): Extra Transformation.

Gear: Studded Leather, Backpack, Flint & Steel, 2× Sunrod.

Gold: 45 gp.

Campaign Information Edit

GrimEnergy
A grim charging up an elemental projectile.

Playing a Grim Edit

Danger will follow me, now, everywhere I walk.

Angels will call on me, now, and take me home.

—Lissie's Grim Mantra, Common Translation

Playing a grim is pretty easy, with its mutable flavor, the character's style is greatly up to the player. However, this section should provide some insight and ideas on how to play a grim.

It is advised to read through all class features, as well as alterations and feats before character creation.

Religion: While grims may not be a very religious bunch, they are known to pray to deities with the Death domain, racial deities or other deities that include the passage of souls into the afterlife in their portfolios. With their wisdom and understanding of the passing of souls, religion doesn't serve the purpose of comfort, but rather allegiance. Though, belonging to a religion does not have a bearing on how much a grim may worship, revere or pay homage to a deity.

Other Classes: Grims work well with most classes, even if they do have personal differences off the battlefield. Their wisdom grants them the insight to know who to trust and who to watch. Mages increase a grim's power with buffing spells, while the grim communicates and avoids any dangerous spells that get tossed into the fray. Ranged martial companions, such as Rangers, support grims from afar with arrow fire. In melee, the grim is a welcome ally for flanking opponents with him, aiding rogues, who also benefit from a casting or two from a grim's spells. Melee martial companions, such as Barbarians and fighters, fight alongside grims without getting in each other's way, most of the time. Divine casters, like Clerics, heal and turn undead if a grim finds himself overwhelmed. Paladins and grims are often at odds with each other. A paladins constant need to prove himself clashes with the grims need to get the job done. Some classes, such as Paladins and monks, don't trust a grim's power and where it comes from.

When away from combat, support classes, such as bard and rogue enjoy the company of grims, who often need to avoid conspicuity. Mages typically let grims do their own thing and just give them the space they need to do what they do. Grims gladly reciprocate the feeling. Necromancers and grims often come to blows and rarely ever get along. A typical grim sees the art of animating the dead as monstrous, regardless of intention or alignment.

Combat: A grim's function in combat varies depending on how he has progressed. A grim may take point, holding off opponents as long as he can, reducing his enemy's capacity to attack, and providing protection for his teammates. He might choose to stay farther back, pelting enemies with range attacks. With several communication spells, he can coordinate attacks across the battlefield easily, using his hampering spells from afar, buffing up with invisibility or blur to throw off his opponent and then going in, transformed, weapon drawn for a damaging Bane Attack.

Advancement: Grims typically stick with their class, but some occasionally venture into full attack progression martial classes, such as fighter, ranger or barbarian. Occasionally, a grim will multiclass into rogue to gain skills and even sneak attack, making them effective against a wide variety of opponents and situations. For the most part, multiclassing is done with other classes that aid their combat ability, rather than spellcasting.

The grim class doesn't have prestige classes. With its mutable, albeit fairly specific flavor and continual progression of abilities, the grim is built more like a twenty-level prestige class available from level one. Of course, a grim may go into any prestige class that he meets the requirements for.

Bookkeeping: The grim class may appear complicated, but organized bookkeeping is key to prevent confusion or slow down the game during play. Keeping a list of the abilities and powers he gains while transformed is essential, listing his Alterations and what they separately from feats or other abilities allows for quick reference. It is vital to track his remaining uses of Grim Transformation, the bonuses he gains from his class abilities through leveling (such as Discount and Gate Protection) and the damage and DC of his Bane Attack and his chosen spells. Be sure to check the example NPC below.

Choosing a Transformed FormEdit

Detailed here are some ideas to help players choose what a grim looks like when he transforms. A transformed grim is no longer limited in appearance by his race, but rather the limitations of his basic form, the Alterations the grim has gained and the imagination of the player.

  • The Anti-grim: Throwing conventions aside, the grim takes on the appearance of something far unlike what his abilities and personality are like.
  • The Avatar: The grim's appearance becomes closer to that of a deity of the player's choice.
  • The Beast: The grim's appearance becomes more animalistic or feral. In this way, the grim becomes somewhat like lycanthropes. He may consider choosing the Bestial Grim variant.
  • The Elemental: The grim's appearance reflects that of an elemental or several elemental forces. He may consider choosing the Elemental Grim variant.
  • The Gentle Face: The grim's appearance becomes smoothed out, calm and serene as if his face were a mask.
  • The Grip: The Grip results from a stressful event and causes the grim to act in a way contrary to his dominant personality. The Grip is also a representation of a release of inhibition, allowing long repressed emotions and desires to surface. The grim's appearance changes to reflect becoming much of his opposite personality.
  • The Grimdark: The Grimdark is a tortured mess of a character. He broods with angst. He speaks of horrors and atrocities. He is often warped and twisted to reflect his own monstrousness. He may curse and act in extremes. Despite the light he gives, he lives in darkness and torment.
  • The Horrid Visage: The grim's face distorts into a horrific visage. Perhaps his skull shows through or his face takes on the qualities of a fiend.
  • The Outsider: The grim's whole appearance changes to resemble that of an outsider of the player's choice. Depending on his alignment, the grim may appear fiendish or celestial, or something else altogether. He may consider choosing the Planar Grim variant.
  • The Idealized Persona: The grim becomes more attractive, tougher, taller, prouder, better built or all around more grandiose.
  • The Lord of the Dead: The grim's flesh appears to melt away leaving a glowing ghostly monster pulsing with waves of energy and ethereal power.
  • The Machine: The grim's appearance becomes more rigid, as if made from metal, stone, crystal or other minerals.
  • The Monster: The grim's appearance changes so much, that he is no longer recognizable as the same person, changing into something that looks like its from the Outer Planes.
  • The Split Personality: The grim's appearance takes on that of someone else. He may even act differently. A transformed grim isn't limited in changes to form. His personality, mannerisms, outlook and identifying characteristics may change as well.

Grims in the World Edit

When you look back on your life do you ask yourself 'Have I made the right choices? Do I have regrets? Were my failures my bane?' or do you say 'It matters not what I feel, for the historians for ages to come shall know my name and my tale'. When you look back on your life, do you see Death following?
—Alem Eigrod the Gray Saint

Grims are a component of the natural order of mortal life, and to a lesser extent, outsider agents in control of judging who is fit to live and die. Since grims are such a varied group, they may even take to thinning out their own numbers to ensure that the flock of living souls is not culled without cause. Mainly, grims serve as guides for wayward souls trapped on the material plane. Grims send these unfortunate souls onward to their final resting place, or back into the karmic cycle to be reborn again.

Daily Life: Grims travel about, going from town to town, searching for lost souls in graveyards, old temple crypts and cellars. In the wilds, they explore long forgotten ruins and tombs. Its their job to search out souls, and wayward souls are typically those who never received a proper burial, dying horrible deaths, or just have unfinished business and refuse to leave until it is set straight. Since grims get paid for doing this service, it makes the prospect of visiting these places filled with danger a little easier to justify.

Notables: Grims are uncommon, yes, but there are grims within works of fiction outside of DnD. However, these characters rarely, if ever, go by the name "grim". The most common grim would of course be a grim reaper, though, this concept is fairly skewed compared to the grim itself, which focuses less on harvesting lives or souls for whatever purpose drives it, as such a concept plays poorly to the party driven world of DnD. However, there are those ghost-busting, soul-reaping shadow knights that easily fit the mold of the grim. The grim class is easily given to define a character, and by being fairly archetypal, it is suited to being a base class rather than a prestige class, allowing grims to flourish at any level of the game. The PCs might meet a grim at any time, and with their diversity as a group, designing an NPC grim might be a tricky prospect. Given here are a couple examples of NPC style grims that might pop up in any given world of D&D.

Brody: A wise-ass candothist, Brody travels from town to town offering to exorcize ghosts and troublesome undead from local graveyards and spooky haunts, for a price of course. Though his methods appear unprofessional and his personal hygiene is lax, he always manages to get the job done, with a smile. Regardless of how useless an un-haunted cemetery is for anyone, at least the spirits are happy. As he transforms, his appearance becomes simplistic. His colors fade to a pale greenish-ivory and he moves as if drifting in the waves of unseen water.

Omnijaku Broktoon: A wild brute of a grim, Omnijaku dresses in loose furs and smelling of herbs. He has been known to hang around dangerous areas of fame, waiting for traveling adventurers to come wandering by. If the adventurers prove worthy, he will offer to aid them in their quest, acting as a guide and watchman (if the adventurers care to trust him). If things get harsh, he's not without recourse of withdrawing to fight another day, and if his temporary companions fail to heed his warnings, serve as grave digger. It is said that he has an extensive collection of diamonds, which he has been known to sell to travelers seeking to bribe the gatekeepers of the dead to allow souls to return to their bodies and live again. However, he often keeps these treasures in hidden places, safe from robbing and treachery. Omnijaku is careful to watch his back, and when in danger, he transforms into a great horned brute, pummeling his opponents back when he can, but most often taking to hiding and striking out from the shadows.

Magnizar, Ghost Knight: A tower of armor, Magnizar is an errant knight for his king. Traveling upon horseback, with a small group of soldiers and wisemen, he quests to rid his king's land of vile undead. With a curled lip and a stout laugh, he besets the challenges before him with noble intent and is never more at home than wading through a haunted crypt, smiting ghouls. Though, in his downtime, he prefers the company of ale and song. Many taverns know him as a generous tipper and a teller of great tales, though, his hearty spirit lends best to the ear of a beautiful woman. In battle, as he transforms, a pair of gray feathered wings sprout from his back. His armor turns a pale gold and he charges forward as if he were an angel of death.

Organizations: Most grims go about their careers, never knowing or happening upon other grims. Though, occasionally they will somehow stumble upon others of their kind, as if guided by fate, and form temporary groups to take on greater menaces that they could not handle without the aid of other grims. Grims with reputation may receive summons from clerics of death deities (especially if a grim worships the same diety). Churches of death deities are often in need of grims to perform special tasks for them.

NPC Reactions: The general life of a commoner is best suited to be guarded against strangers. Without the slick tongue of the trickster, the scholarly appearance of the mage, or the noble presence of the knight, the grim is often regarded as a suspicious character and commoners would to best to stay wary of him. NPCs who are used to dealing with odd adventurers are more likely to be just as cautious around a grim as they would anyone else. Some folk however, will welcome grims, for they serve the duty of removing undead, a valuable service for common folk who have enough to worry about in such a dangerous world.

Grim Lore Edit

Characters with ranks in Knowledge (religion) can research grims to learn more about them. When a character makes a skill check, read or paraphrase the following, including information from lower DCs.

The DC to learn about a specific class feature of the grim is 10 + the level the ability is gained.

Knowledge (religion)
DC Result
5 Grims can transform, becoming stronger for a short period of time. Their powers are granted through a connection to the Ethereal Plane.
10 Grims are wise and often pose as shamans or exorcists. They gain power to destroy undead creatures and deal powerful blows with weapons as well as cast a few spells.
15 A grim's connection to the Ethereal Plane affords him a cheaper passage from the afterlife back to the world of the living as well as protection to means that would surely kill most others.
20 A grim becomes able to destroy objects, creatures and solid force with a touch. Able to transform at a moment's notice and strike out with supernatural power against his foes, the grim often walks about in invisible silence.

Grims in the Game Edit

Dealing with the afterlife varies from campaign settings, so, be sure to find out what plane is considered the afterlife for determining the effects of some of the grim's abilities. The afterlife may vary for certain creatures, or even vary among followers of a faith or alignment. The default afterlife for the core rules is alignment-based, being Hell, the Abyss, Celestia and Mechanus.

Grims often stick to the back of the party, keeping quiet during traveling and while doing business among townsfolk, but in the dark hours of night, gathered around a campfire, a grim tells stories and keeps a vigilant lookout for predators who stalk his party in the darkness beyond the fire light's reach. When in dungeons, grims might lead (though someone close at hand may simply be telling them to go certain ways) keeping a keen eye out for undead and hidden secrets. A grim may spare a use of his transformation to help bypass or overcome deadly traps. When in combat, he leads the way, keeping undead and other dangerous monsters away from his companions who are lesser suited to deal with such beasts at close range.

While taking breaks between adventures, bartering with traders and stocking up on supplies, reclusive grims tend to keep conversation with NPCs short, lest they have their unusual powers revealed. Grim powers are strange and fearsome to commoners who don't understand how a grim controls such mysterious abilities (as is the case with most mages in general). Grims are rarely the face of the party, often to the point that NPCs may forget about them altogether.

Grims are wise with conversation, though most lack the social graces or book learning to excel at it, often using their sense to speak only when needed.

Grims who wish to keep their powers kept secret may take on the archetypal appearance of scoundrels, shamans, thugs or adventurers in order to gain acceptance.

Grims who are open about their abilities may travel from town to town advertising their powers as Exorcists. This role makes them much less feared by NPCs, except some people will still show doubt of their skill until it is proven, and often, a grim is loathe to waste precious transformation time on demonstrations.

Adaptation: Grims, rather than being a bunch of unorganized individuals, recruited haphazardly throughout the land by forces unknown and unseen, may be part of a strong organization of clerics who worship a God of death as well as high level grims who operate in secret to ensure the extermination of undead and unnatural immortals who go against the cycle of life and death. A church of a God of Death would be just as likely to have squads of grims patrolling the lands as it would clerics, or even groups of the two out on crusade.

Alternately, grims may work with or support undead, having powerful undead as masters. Such grims would almost definitely be evil, scouring the lands, killing those who oppose them while their undead masters raise an army of undead to kill the world.

Variations on a Theme Edit

Not all games are themed around undead. For this, it is easy to adapt the flavor of the grim to take advantage of several other creature types, modifying the source of his power. Since class features such as Alterations and feats already allow for a wide variety of flavor options, creating grims with reworked flavor is easy.

Bestial Grim
Deathborne Grim
Dragon Grim
Elemental Grim
Fey Grim
Planar Grim

Bestial Grim Edit

Unlike most of the other grim variants, a bestial grim has a racial limitation. Only humanoids, monstrous humanoids, giants and fey creatures may be bestial grims. The bestial grim's power may originate from several sources. He may have tainted blood, a curse upon his soul, a deep-rooted connection to nature and beasts or a wild untamed spirit instead of a connection to the Ethereal Plane. Grim class features that relate to undead creatures now relate to magical beasts and shapechangers. Replace the Grim Transformation and Grim Favor abilities with the following two abilities.

Bestial Transformation (Su): Primal magic flows into his body and weapons. At 1st level, he learns to directly harness primal powers to transform his body. His transformation's appearance evolves as he gains levels (the exact form he takes varies from bestial grim to bestial grim. See "Choosing a Transformed Form" for ideas).

The outpouring of primal spirit energy temporarily transforms him into a magical beast. He is considered a creature of his new type but gains no other benefits of this type than those benefits listed below.

His attacks, natural or manufactured, are treated as alchemical silver for the purposes of overcoming damage reduction.

His senses become keen and attuned. He gains darkvision out to 60 feet. If he already has darkvision from another source, it increases by an additional 60 feet. Additionally, he gains a +2 bonus on Spot and Listen checks.

He may transform at will as a swift action on his turn. His transformation lasts for a number of rounds equal to 3 + his Wisdom modifier (minimum of 1 round). A bestial grim may prematurely end his transformation. As a bestial grim gains levels, he will have his choice of Alterations to modify the abilities he gains when he transforms.

At 1st level he can use his transformation ability once per day as a swift action. At 4th level and every four levels thereafter, he can use it one additional time per day (to a maximum of six times per day at 20th level). Transforming takes almost no time itself, but a bestial grim can do it only during his action, not in response to someone else’s action.

Wild Favor (Ex): His connection to primal powers affords him protection against magical beasts and shapechangers. Starting at 1st level, the grim gains a bonus on all saves to resist the supernatural, extraordinary, spell-like or psi-like attacks of magical beasts and shapechangers. This ability increases at a rate of 1 point of bonus per 4 additional bestial grim levels, increasing to +2 at 5th, +3 at 9th, +4 at 13th, +5 at 17th and so on.

Deathborne Grim Edit

A grim who becomes undead. Deathborne grims are seen as perversions of what it means to be a grim. That, however, doesn't stop them from existing or thriving. A deathborne grim still gains his power from the ethereal plane, it just functions differently for him than for a living grim. Deathborne grims are a blight on the living world, turning the order of life and death topsy turvy. Replace Death's Contract and Eternal Life with the following class features. If the deathborne grim ever returns to life, he loses this variant.

UnDeath's Contract (Ex): At 10th level, the deathborne grim is granted immunity to all effects from spells with the Healing Subschool, and positive energy effects but not planar effects, such as that generated by the Positive Energy Plane.

Eternal UnLife (Su): At 11th level, if he has a corporeal form, he no longer decays. His body repairs itself to its appearance while he was alive. He may continue to gain aging bonuses and penalties as normal, despite not actually aging. Being undead, he has no maximum age. If he is incorporeal, but has a body elsewhere (such as in a tomb or grave in the case of a ghost), that body's appearance is restored and under a permanent gentle repose effect.

Dragon Grim Edit

The dragon grim's power originates from a connection to ancient dragon magic instead of a connection to the Ethereal Plane. Grim class features that relate to undead creatures now relate to dragons and dragonblooded creatures. Replace the Grim Transformation and Grim Favor abilities with the following two abilities.

Dragon Transformation (Su): Ancient draconic magic flows into his body and weapons. At 1st level, he learns to directly harness the spirit energy of dragons to transform his body. His transformation's appearance evolves as he gains levels (the exact form he takes varies from dragon grim to dragon grim. See "Choosing a Transformed Form" for ideas).

The outpouring of dragon spirit energy temporarily transforms him into a dragon (unless he already has either the Outsider, Undead or Construct types). He is considered a creature of his new type but gains no other benefits of this type than those benefits listed below.

He gains +1 natural armor as he becomes tough, like dragons. This natural armor stacks with other existing natural armor bonuses.

He becomes steady and sure-footed. He can pass over difficult terrain without suffering penalties to movement. He gains a +4 bonus on ability checks made to resist being bull rushed or tripped when standing on the ground (but not when climbing, flying, riding, or otherwise not standing firmly on the ground). This bonus does not stack with other sources of stability, such as dwarven stability or being quadrupedal.

He may transform at will as a swift action on his turn. His transformation lasts for a number of rounds equal to 3 + his Wisdom modifier (minimum of 1 round). A dragon grim may prematurely end his transformation. As a dragon grim gains levels, he will have his choice of Alterations to modify the abilities he gains when he transforms.

At 1st level he can use his transformation ability once per day as a swift action. At 4th level and every four levels thereafter, he can use it one additional time per day (to a maximum of six times per day at 20th level). Transforming takes almost no time itself, but a dragon grim can do it only during his action, not in response to someone else’s action.

Draconic Favor (Ex): His connection to the essences of ancient dragon spirits affords him protection against dragons. Starting at 1st level, the grim gains a bonus on all saves to resist the supernatural, extraordinary, spell-like or psi-like attacks of dragons. This ability increases at a rate of 1 point of bonus per 4 additional dragon grim levels, increasing to +2 at 5th, +3 at 9th, +4 at 13th, +5 at 17th and so on.

Elemental Grim Edit

The elemental grim's power originates from a connection to an elemental plane instead of a connection to the Ethereal Plane. Grim class features that relate to undead creatures now relate to elemental creatures. Replace the Grim Transformation and Grim Favor abilities with the following two abilities.

Elemental Transformation (Su): Prime elemental energy flows into his body and weapons. At 1st level, he learns to directly harness the power of various elemental planes, or one specific plane, to transform his body. His transformation's appearance evolves as he gains levels (the exact form he takes varies from elemental grim to elemental grim. See "Choosing a Transformed Form" for ideas).

The outpouring of elemental energy temporarily transforms him into a elemental (unless he already has either the Outsider, Undead or Construct types). He is considered a creature of his new type but gains no other benefits of this type than those benefits listed below.

He may transform at will as a swift action on his turn. His transformation lasts for a number of rounds equal to 3 + his Wisdom modifier (minimum of 1 round). An elemental grim may prematurely end his transformation. As an elemental grim gains levels, he will have his choice of Alterations to modify the abilities he gains when he transforms.

At 1st level he can use his transformation ability once per day as a swift action. At 4th level and every four levels thereafter, he can use it one additional time per day (to a maximum of six times per day at 20th level). Transforming takes almost no time itself, but a fey grim can do it only during his action, not in response to someone else’s action.

He gains one of the following subtypes, with its associated power, of his choice. This choice is always the same each time he transforms. Regardless of his elemental subtype, he gains a +2 on checks to resist being turned or rebuked while in elemental form.

Air: Fly speed of 10 feet, perfect maneuverability.

Water: Swim speed equal to base land speed. He gains a +8 racial bonus on any Swim check to perform some special action or avoid a hazard. The elemental water grim can always can choose to take 10 on a Swim check, even if distracted or endangered. The elemental water grim can use the run action while swimming, provided he swims in a straight line. He also gains the ability to breathe water.

Earth: Elemental earth grims have a burrow speed of 10 feet. A burrowing elemental earth grim usually does not make a usable tunnel, but can construct a tunnel; he burrows at half speed when he does so.

Fire: An elemental fire grim gains immunity to fire damage. However, he has vulnerability to cold damage, which means he takes half again as much (+50%) damage as normal from cold, regardless of whether a saving throw is allowed, or if the save is a success or failure.

Elemental Favor (Ex): His connection to the essences of elemental energy affords him protection against elemental creatures. Starting at 1st level, the grim gains a bonus on all saves to resist the supernatural, extraordinary, spell-like or psi-like attacks of elemental creatures. This ability increases at a rate of 1 point of bonus per 4 additional elemental grim levels, increasing to +2 at 5th, +3 at 9th, +4 at 13th, +5 at 17th and so on.

Fey Grim Edit

The fey grim's power originates from a connection to the natural world's spirit instead of a connection to the Ethereal Plane. Grim class features that relate to undead creatures now relate to fey creatures. Replace the Grim Transformation and Grim Favor abilities with the following two abilities.

Fey Transformation (Su): Fey magics flow into his body and weapons. At 1st level, he learns to directly harness the spirit energy of the natural world to transform his body. His transformation's appearance evolves as he gains levels (the exact form he takes varies from fey grim to fey grim. See "Choosing a Transformed Form" for ideas).

The outpouring of natural spirit energy temporarily transforms him into a fey (unless he already has either the Outsider, Undead or Construct types). He is considered a creature of his new type but gains no other benefits of this type than those benefits listed below.

His attacks, natural or manufactured, are treated as cold iron for the purposes of overcoming damage reduction.

He becomes elusive and tricky. He gains a +4 bonus on Hide and Bluff checks.

He may transform at will as a swift action on his turn. His transformation lasts for a number of rounds equal to 3 + his Wisdom modifier (minimum of 1 round). A fey grim may prematurely end his transformation. As a fey grim gains levels, he will have his choice of Alterations to modify the abilities he gains when he transforms.

At 1st level he can use his transformation ability once per day as a swift action. At 4th level and every four levels thereafter, he can use it one additional time per day (to a maximum of six times per day at 20th level). Transforming takes almost no time itself, but a fey grim can do it only during his action, not in response to someone else’s action.

Forest Favor (Ex): His connection to the essences of fey magic affords him protection against fey creatures. Starting at 1st level, the grim gains a bonus on all saves to resist the supernatural, extraordinary, spell-like or psi-like attacks of fey creatures. This ability increases at a rate of 1 point of bonus per 4 additional fey grim levels, increasing to +2 at 5th, +3 at 9th, +4 at 13th, +5 at 17th and so on.

Planar Grim Edit

The planar grim's power originates from other planes or possibly deities instead of a connection to the Ethereal Plane. Grim class features that relate to undead creatures now relate to outsiders. Replace the Grim Transformation and Grim Favor abilities with the following two abilities.

Planar Transformation (Su): Planar magic flows into his body and weapons. At 1st level, he learns to directly harness energy directly from a plane or deity to transform his body. His transformation's appearance evolves as he gains levels (the exact form he takes varies from planar grim to planar grim. See "Choosing a Transformed Form" for ideas).

The outpouring of planar energy temporarily transforms him into a Outsider (unless he already has either the Undead or Construct types). He is considered a creature of his new type but gains no other benefits of this type than those benefits listed below.

His attacks, natural or manufactured, are treated as aligned to his alignment for the purposes of overcoming damage reduction. For example, a chaotic good planar grim's weapons would be treated as both anarchic and holy. A lawful neutral planar grim's weapons would only be axiomatic.

He gains darkvision out to 60 feet.

He may transform at will as a swift action on his turn. His transformation lasts for a number of rounds equal to 3 + his Wisdom modifier (minimum of 1 round). A planar grim may prematurely end his transformation. As a planar grim gains levels, he will have his choice of Alterations to modify the abilities he gains when he transforms.

At 1st level he can use his transformation ability once per day as a swift action. At 4th level and every four levels thereafter, he can use it one additional time per day (to a maximum of six times per day at 20th level). Transforming takes almost no time itself, but a planar grim can do it only during his action, not in response to someone else’s action.

Outsider's Favor (Ex): His connection to planar essences or deities affords him protection against outsiders. Starting at 1st level, the grim gains a bonus on all saves to resist the supernatural, extraordinary, spell-like or psi-like attacks of outsiders. This ability increases at a rate of 1 point of bonus per 4 additional planar grim levels, increasing to +2 at 5th, +3 at 9th, +4 at 13th, +5 at 17th and so on.

Sample Encounter Edit

The following encounter is for DMs to get an idea of how to use a grim NPC in the game. The example NPC is helpful for players to see a worked out character.

The Hook Edit

There is a tomb. It contains some item the PCs need (a McGuffin or other plot device of the DM's choice), or perhaps is just renowned for having valuable loot. Whatever the DM comes up with to get the PCs to check into it more and take the bait, that's what's in the tomb. Conveniently, the tomb may be placed less than a day's travel from town, or, if the DM wishes, he may incorporate this encounter into a broader scale adventure and increase that distance.

The Scene Edit

Ian Jackdaw, a rough and uncouth wandering supernatural mercenary, has begun questing to seek out a recently discovered tomb, which he has no intentions of letting others despoil, making his purpose publicly known. Any would-be grave robbing adventurers would do well to steer clear of him, lest they find themselves on the receiving end of his punishment. The location of the tomb is a secret, if only to those who don't have the gold to spare to pay those with the knowledge of its location (an old man, local priest or other figure with access to such information). However, upon first meeting Ian Jackdaw in town (conveniently have him show up where ever the PCs happen to be), overhearing their attempt to gather information, or even warned by locals, the PCs can learn that Ian Jackdaw wants no part in others attempting to plunder the tomb, defiling graves and looting the place of its ancient treasures. Ian intends to check the tomb for wayward spirits and undead and then seal it once again. The more Ian acts like a jerk to the PCs, the more willing the PCs will be to fight him, regardless of alignment or intentions.

Outside of the tomb, deep in a dense forest (or other difficult to access area), away from civilization, Ian goes about his business. If the PCs happen upon him, they must convince him that they have no intention of defiling the place (a highly unlikely prospect, as they traveled all the way to the tomb) or be met with hostile reactions. If they do not heed his warnings about the dangers, he will let them enter the tomb (typically by retreating to visibly superior forces and circumstances so long as he is not acted upon with hostility), though once inside, he will enter in behind and attack in the narrow corridors. He casts spells upon himself first before going in, and may use other spells to confuse and frighten the PCs. Once in melee, he transforms, increasing in power and danger. If he gets wounded right away, he may back off (with expeditious retreat), blocking the PCs from following in order to recover.

The Tomb Edit
Grim-Dungeon
A simple tomb.

The tomb is hidden in a rocky hillside. Its doorway is a pair of two-ton granite slabs leaning into a stone frame and set in a groove at the bottom. Each stone slab, five feet wide by ten feet tall, is decorated with worn runes and the figures of two people. A noble man covers the right slab while a noble woman is carved on the left slab. Additionally, each slab covered with dangling roots and moss as well as four steel anchors. Typically these anchors are used with pulleys and ropes or chains to pull the stone slabs sideways, opening the tomb as the slab slides in its groove. However, the rope is rotted away on the ground around the stone slabs (DC 15 Spot check to notice the rotted ropes in the leaves and dirt). Opening the tomb will require either breaking the stone slabs or using a great strength to pull them away. The rope and pulley system, if used, will reduce any check to do so by 10 (starting DC to move each slab is 30 for a Strength check).

Entering the tomb, there is a section of stairs leading down a ten-foot wide passage into a twenty-foot wide crypt. Two crude stone statues stand in each corner near the entrance stairs. The opposite end of the room is illuminated by a pair of continual flames near the ceiling. The walls are marked with sealed crypts and carved with names. The air is musty and dry. The main entry chamber leads to two sets of stairs that head down into the main crypt, while also leading north to the main ceremonial room. A great statue of a noble robed figure looms darkly in a northern alcove while two more continual flames illuminate the large stone alter in the center. The alter is roughly three feet tall and solid stone, decorated with wavy carvings (DC 20 Knowledge History will mark the style as reminiscent of a common style from 200 years previous). The walls are decorated with rough bas relief carvings of standing figures.

The stairs down into the main crypt are narrower. The main crypt itself loops around, however, in the center, a passage leads to the north that contains the main crypt and a mighty sarcophagus. A DC 20 Search check will locate the name Jackdaw on one of the smaller crypts in the main crypt area. The mighty sarcophagus contains the remains of an old noble and his wife. Much like the door, the sarcophagus has a split lid, with each side carved to resemble a figure (the noble man on the right and his wife on the left).

Ian takes any intrusion into the tomb as an act of aggression against him. Turns out, he has ancestors buried there.

Treasure Edit

If Ian Jackdaw is killed, note what gear he has. In addition, the tomb itself holds various mundane goods and a few minor magical trinkets.

So long as the PCs actually defile the tomb, if he is unsuccessful in his sneak attack and fear and confusion, he will retreat and try again at another opportunity, hounding the PCs until he kills them or they kill him.

Ian Jackdaw Edit

The DM is free to describe Ian however he wishes, but here is a default appearance.

Appearance: Ian Jackdaw appears to be a rather scruffy and unkempt traveling shaman, but with a big sword. His ragged clothes are adorned with small skulls and worthless trinkets, covering most of his chain shirt. His hair dangles loosely about.

Transformed Appearance: As he transforms, his face becomes like a skull, except for his fierce eyes. His hair drifts and waves in the air, turning pale.

Behavior: He prefers to wait to fight until the situation is in his favor. Rather than being cowardly, is simply isn't foolhardy, taking his time with situations and gaging them as they come. He however does have a temper and isn't shy with insults when given disrespect.

Special: If slain within the tomb, he rises as a ghost in 1d4+1 minutes later.

EL 8:

{{#set:Name=Ian Jackdaw|CR=8|Size=Medium|Summary=An unkempt traveling supernatural warrior and exorcist who'll do anything for the right bit of coin.|Type=Humanoid (Human)}} {{#set:Race=human}}

Ian Jackdaw

CR 8

male human grim 8
CN Medium Humanoid (Human)
Init/Senses +6/Listen +14, Spot +14
Languages Common
AC 17, touch 12, flat-footed 15
(+5 armor (+1 chain shirt of light fortification), +2 Dexterity)
Miss Chance 25% chance for normal damage on special attacks due to light fortification.
hp 44 (8 HD)
Fort/Ref/Will +3/+4/+9; +2 on all saves to resist the supernatural, extraordinary, spell-like or psionic attacks of undead creatures.
Speed 30 ft. (6 squares) in chain shirt, base speed 30 ft.
Melee +1 Bastard Sword +8/+3 (1d10+2/19–20) or
Melee sickle +7/+2 (1d6+1)
Ranged light crossbow +8/+3 (1d8/19-20)
Base Atk/Grp +6/+1/+8
Special Actions Bane Attack +24 damage (+32 damage while transformed) on full attack or readied action.
Grim Spells Prepared (CL 8th):
2nd—blur, death knell usable at will while transformed
Abilities Str 13, Dex 14, Con 12, Int 10, Wis 17, Cha 8
SQ Discount (Ex), Grim Favor (Su), Returning Memories (Ex)
Feats Armor Proficiency (Light), Simple Weapon Proficiency, Martial Weapon Proficiency, Exotic Weapon Proficiency (bastard sword), Improved Initiative, Bane Attack Focus ×2, Bind Possession (his bastard sword)
Skills +12 Concentration (Con), +11 Knowledge(religion) (Int), +14 Listen (Wis), +14 Sense Motive (Wis), +14 Spot (Wis)
Possessions ring of sustenance, backpack, flint & steel, sunrod ×2, 64 gp
Patron Deity Rejik
Grim Transformation (Su) A flow of strange ethereal waves flow into his body and weapons. His hair, skin and eyes turn pale. His type changes to Outsider. He can touch any incorporeal creature as though it were solid, dealing damage normally and ignoring an incorporeal creature's 50% miss chance. He glides roughly 4 inches over solid ground without touching it. He can pass over difficult terrain without suffering penalties to movement. He leaves no tracks behind. He may transform at will as a free action (as Quick Transformation) on his turn. Ian Jackdaw can transform 3 times a day for 6 rounds per transformation.

Ian Jackdaw has the following 4 Alterations:

Bane Attack (Su) When making a full attack action against his opponents, hey may make a one of those attacks a Bane Attack, dealing +24 damage (+32 damage while Transformed) as magical energies tear through and inundate the target. He may also use his Bane Attack as part of a readied action.
Discount (Ex) He gains a discount on being raised from the dead. The material component cost requirement drops by 40%.
Grim Favor (Ex) He gains a +2 bonus on all saves to resist the supernatural, extraordinary, spell-like or psionic attacks of undead creatures.
Divine Suffusion 1st Level (Su) Ian may cast his 1st level spells when not Transformed at will.
Returning Memories (Ex) A day after returning from the dead, an epiphany strikes him, and he regains his lost power. If he dies and is brought back to life with a means that would cause him to lose a level, he instead only suffers temporary level drain as if he had been energy drained. The negative level is automatically restored after 24 hours and never becomes permanent level loss.
Bind Possession (Su) He may, as a free action when held, retrieve or send his bastard sword to a hidden pocket dimension. If Ian and the item are on the same plane, and the item is not in the possession of another creature, he may call it to himself. The item winks out and returns to his hands instantly. If his hands are full or otherwise unable to grasp the item, it falls to his feet. If the item is in the possession of another creature, he may make an opposed level check (1d20 + his HD) as a swift action to wrest the item from its possessor. If he is successful, the item winks out and returns to his hands instantly.


Ian Jackdaw's Ghost Edit

Much like in life, Ian will not rest so long as the tomb is open, in danger of being looted. He will hound anyone who removes anything from the tomb.

EL 10:

{{#set:Name=Ian Jackdaw|CR=10|Size=Medium|Summary=An unkempt traveling supernatural warrior and exorcist who'll do anything for the right bit of coin.|Type=Undead (Incorporeal)}} {{#set:Race=human}}

Ian Jackdaw

CR 10

male human grim 8
CN Medium Undead (Incorporeal)
Init/Senses +6/Listen +22, Spot +22
Languages Common
AC 18, touch 13, flat-footed 16
(+5 armor (+1 chain shirt of light fortification), +2 Dexterity, +1 Deflection)
Miss Chance 25% chance for normal damage on special attacks due to light fortification.
hp 52 (8 HD)
Fort/Ref/Will +2/+4/+9; +2 on all saves to resist the supernatural, extraordinary, spell-like or psionic attacks of undead creatures.
Speed 30 ft. (6 squares) in chain shirt, base speed 30 ft., fly 30 ft. (perfect maneuverability)
Melee +1 Bastard Sword +8/+3 (1d10+2/19–20) or
Melee sickle +7/+2 (1d6+1)
Ranged light crossbow +8/+3 (1d8/19-20)
Base Atk/Grp +6/+1/+8
Special Actions Bane Attack +24 damage (+32 damage while transformed) on full attack or readied action.
Grim Spells Prepared (CL 8th):
2nd—blur, death knell usable at will while transformed
Abilities Str 13, Dex 14, Con 12, Int 10, Wis 17, Cha 12
SQ Discount (Ex), Grim Favor (Su), Returning Memories (Ex), Turn Resistance (Ex), Rejuvenation (Su),
Feats Armor Proficiency (Light), Simple Weapon Proficiency, Martial Weapon Proficiency, Exotic Weapon Proficiency (bastard sword), Improved Initiative, Bane Attack Focus ×2, Bind Possession (his bastard sword)
Skills +12 Concentration (Con), +11 Knowledge(religion) (Int), +10 Hide (Dex), +22 Listen (Wis), +14 Sense Motive (Wis), +8 Search, (Int), +22 Spot (Wis)
Possessions ring of sustenance, backpack, flint & steel, sunrod ×2, 64 gp
Patron Deity Rejik
Grim Transformation (Su) A flow of strange ethereal waves flow into his body and weapons. His hair, skin and eyes turn pale. His type changes to Outsider. He can touch any incorporeal creature as though it were solid, dealing damage normally and ignoring an incorporeal creature's 50% miss chance. He glides roughly 4 inches over solid ground without touching it. He can pass over difficult terrain without suffering penalties to movement. He leaves no tracks behind. He may transform at will as a free action (as Quick Transformation) on his turn. Ian Jackdaw can transform 3 times a day for 6 rounds per transformation.

Ian Jackdaw has the following 4 Alterations:

Bane Attack (Su) When making a full attack action against his opponents, hey may make a one of those attacks a Bane Attack, dealing +24 damage (+32 damage while Transformed) as magical energies tear through and inundate the target. He may also use his Bane Attack as part of a readied action.
Discount (Ex) He gains a discount on being raised from the dead. The material component cost requirement drops by 40%.
Grim Favor (Ex) He gains a +2 bonus on all saves to resist the supernatural, extraordinary, spell-like or psionic attacks of undead creatures.
Divine Suffusion 1st Level (Su) Ian may cast his 1st level spells when not Transformed at will.
Returning Memories (Ex) A day after returning from the dead, an epiphany strikes him, and he regains his lost power. If he dies and is brought back to life with a means that would cause him to lose a level, he instead only suffers temporary level drain as if he had been energy drained. The negative level is automatically restored after 24 hours and never becomes permanent level loss.
Bind Possession (Su) He may, as a free action when held, retrieve or send his bastard sword to a hidden pocket dimension. If Ian and the item are on the same plane, and the item is not in the possession of another creature, he may call it to himself. The item winks out and returns to his hands instantly. If his hands are full or otherwise unable to grasp the item, it falls to his feet. If the item is in the possession of another creature, he may make an opposed level check (1d20 + his HD) as a swift action to wrest the item from its possessor. If he is successful, the item winks out and returns to his hands instantly.
Turn Resistance (Ex) A ghost has +4 turn resistance.
Rejuvenation (Su) In most cases, it’s difficult to destroy a ghost through simple combat: The “destroyed” spirit will often restore itself in 2d4 days. Even the most powerful spells are usually only temporary solutions. A ghost that would otherwise be destroyed returns to its old haunts with a successful level check (1d20 + ghost’s HD) against DC 16. As a rule, the only way to get rid of a ghost for sure is to determine the reason for its existence and set right whatever prevents it from resting in peace. The exact means varies with each spirit and may require a good deal of research.



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