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Renegade Paladin

[D&D 3.5] Class Design: Base Class Blackguard

Well, I decided that Scyllua Darkhope's build sucks (major Forgotten Realms NPC in the 3e incarnation, for those who don't know), so I'm building a base class blackguard to rebuild her with for use in my game.  Suggestions and critique welcome.  

Read First: Notes on the class design.

1.) Yes, I know this is massively more powerful than the core paladin and fighter.  This is intentional.  I'm aiming to balance with the Tome of Battle classes, rogue, OneWinged4ngel's rebalanced paladin (which this class owes much of its inspiration to), and my still-unfinished rebalanced ranger.  

2.) I am convinced that some of the secondary buffs I've given Dark Conduit are too powerful even for the balance point I'm aiming for.  Suggestions for bringing them in line while still maintaining flavor are welcome.

3.) This is (obviously) unfinished.  We're looking at version 0.11 Alpha, so much of this will change.  I do not recommend using it in a game not meant for or open to playtesting at this time.

4.) I didn't want to repost all of OW4's Smite feats wholesale here.  Whenever a feat name has an asterisk next to it in the class description, it is referring to one of these feats.  They may be found in the OP of the Rebalanced Paladin thread, linked to in item 1.) on this list.  

5.) This class is much better viewed in a format with spoiler blocks that collapse rather than just blacking out text, so that sidebars, lists, and additional rules exposition can be easily skipped over when reviewing the basic mechanics.  Since that code is not available on this board at this time, you may wish to read the class here.

Now that that's out of the way, I give you the blackguard.  

The Rebalanced Blackguard
By Renegade Paladin

Special acknowledgment to OneWinged4ngel and Seerow for their work on the Rebalanced Paladin, without which this class would not be possible.  Thanks also go to OneWinged4ngel for the name and basic concept of the Dark Conduit ability.  

Current Version:  v0.11

The Blackguard
Hit Die: d10
BAB: Full
Saves: Good Fort, Bad Reflex, Bad Will
Skill Points at 1st level: (4+int modifier) x4
Skill Points at each additional Level: 4 + Int Modifier
Class Skills:  The blackguard’s class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Bluff (Cha), Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Handle Animal (Cha), Heal (Wis), Intimidate (Cha), Knowledge (History) (Int), Knowledge (nobility and royalty) (Int), Knowledge (religion) (Int), Knowledge (the planes) (Int), Profession (Wis), Ride (Dex), and Sense Motive (Wis).
Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Blackguards are proficient with all simple and martial weapons, with all types of armor (heavy, medium, and light), and with shields (except tower shields).

The Blackguard           Hit Die: d10                                    
        Attack            Fort   Ref    Will                                            
Level   Bonus             Save   Save   Save   Special                                    
1st     +1                +2     +0     +0     Aura of Evil, Detect Good, Smite Good 1/encounter
2nd     +2                +3     +0     +0     Dark Blessing, Dark Conduit
3rd     +3                +3     +1     +1     Aura of Despair, Placeholder
4th     +4                +4     +1     +1     Rebuke Undead
5th     +5                +4     +1     +1     Smite Good 2/encounter, specialization
6th     +6/+1             +5     +2     +2     Unholy Fury
7th     +7/+2             +5     +2     +2     Bonus Feat
8th     +8/+3             +6     +2     +2     Aura of Terror
9th     +9/+4             +6     +3     +3     DC Ability Placeholder
10th    +10/+5            +7     +3     +3     Smite Good 3/encounter
11th    +11/+6/+1         +7     +3     +3     Vigilance
12th    +12/+7/+2         +8     +4     +4     DC Ability Placeholder
13th    +13/+8/+3         +8     +4     +4     Aura of Weakness
14th    +14/+9/+4         +9     +4     +4     Bonus Feat
15th    +15/+10/+5        +9     +5     +5     Smite Good 4/Encounter
16th    +16/+11/+6/+1     +10    +5     +5     Paralyzing Strike
17th    +17/+12/+7/+2     +10    +5     +5     Constant Vigilance
18th    +18/+13/+8/+3     +11    +6     +6     Aura of Malevolence
19th    +19/+14/+9/+4     +11    +6     +6     Enervating Strike
20th    +20/+15/+10/+5    +12    +6     +6     Smite Good 5/Encounter, Vengeance from Beyond the Grave

Aura of Evil (Ex)
The power of a blackguard’s aura of evil (see the detect evil spell) is equal to her blackguard level.  It is not a switchable aura.

Detect Good (Sp)
At will, a blackguard can use detect good, as the spell.

Smite Good (Su)
Once per encounter, a blackguard may attempt to smite good with one normal melee attack. This damage is not multiplied on a critical, or by any other multiplier that would not count "bonus dice."  If the blackguard accidentally smites a creature that is not good, the smite has no effect, but the ability is still used up for that encounter.

At 5th level, and at every five levels thereafter, the blackguard may smite good one additional time per encounter, as indicated on Table: The Blackguard, to a maximum of five times per encounter at 20th level.  An encounter is considered over when you do no strenuous action for 1 minute or more.

Dark Blessing (Su)
At 2nd level, a blackguard gains a bonus equal to her Charisma bonus (if any) on all saving throws, up to a maximum of her class level.

Dark Conduit (Su)
Beginning at 2nd level, a blackguard with a Charisma score of 12 or higher can grant temporary hit points (to herself or others) by touch. She gains a pool of temporary hit points, which allows her to grant a total number of hit points equal to her blackguard level × her Charisma bonus. A blackguard may choose to divide her temporary HP among multiple recipients, and she doesn’t have to use it all at once.  Temporary hit points granted by Dark Conduit last one round per the blackguard’s class level or until depleted, whichever comes first. A Blackguard may fill this pool with a full minute (10 rounds) of concentration and prayer. Refreshing the pool brings the Blackguard's pool of healing back up to the maximum (Blackguard level * Charisma Bonus). She may fill her healing pool a number of times per day equal to 1 + half her Charisma modifier (rounded down).

The blackguard's Dark Conduit gains additional capabilities as she progresses in level as a blackguard.  The blackguard may use all additional effects in conjunction with granting temporary HP, as long as she spends enough points.

Switchable Auras
All auras except Aura of Evil are switchable as a move action. You may have only one aura other than Aura of Evil active at a given time.  These auras function while the blackguard is conscious, but not while the blackguard is unconscious or dead.  The blackguard's auras only affect other characters and creatures, and not the blackguard herself.

Aura of Despair (Ex)
At 3rd level, the blackguard may exude an aura of despair that demoralizes her enemies.  Each enemy within 30 feet of her takes a -2 morale penalty on saving throws. Aura of Despair's penalties scale by level.  At level 8, enemies take -4 to saves, and a -1 morale penalty to attack rolls.  At level 13, enemies take -6 to saves, and a -2 morale penalty to attack rolls.  At level 18, enemies take -8 to saves, and -3 morale penalty to attack rolls.  This is a switchable Aura.

Placeholder (Ex)
At 3rd level, a blackguard needs an ability other than Divine Health.  Suggestions welcome.

Rebuke Undead (Su)
When a blackguard reaches 4th level, she gains the supernatural ability to rebuke undead. She may use this ability a number of times per day equal to 2 + her Charisma modifier.  She rebukes undead as a cleric of her level.

Upon reaching 5th level, a blackguard may choose any of three abilities representing three different specializations:  Dark Scourge (Aggressive), Dread Cavalier (Mounted), and Unyielding Tyrant (Defensive)

(Sidebar) Behind the Scenes: Specializations
Specializations are designed in order to emphasize a blackguard's specific fighting style, or to make certain choices more viable (For example, fighting with a sword and shield is typically a suboptimal choice of armament compared to a two-handed weapon).  DMs:  If a player in your campaign has an idea for a particular esoteric fighting style or whatever that might otherwise be less than viable, but is nonetheless interesting and supported by his character's flavor, you may consider designing a Specialization in order to facilitate this choice.  Just decide what abilities it grants (usually 4, granted at level 5, 8, 11, and 15) and what bonus feats it makes available (as a rule of thumb, keep it to 5).  

In fact, you could even create a unique specialization for each church or faith within your campaign setting, guaranteeing that blackguards of every faith will be even more unique!  Essentially, it can be an efficient medium for creating class variants on the blackguard, allowing new concepts without designing a full PrC.

Unyielding Tyrant
The blackguard gains a number of abilities as she rises in level.

Level     Ability                                    
5th       Shield Ward
8th       Swift Conduit
11th      Retribution
15th      Placeholder

Shield Ward
The Blackguard gains Shield Ward as a bonus feat, even if the blackguard does not meet the prerequisites.

Swift Conduit (Su)
Once per encounter, the blackguard may use Dark Conduit on herself as an immediate action in response to an attack.  The blackguard may grant herself any number of temporary HP within her normal limits, but may not use any other Dark Conduit abilities in conjunction with it.  The decision to use Dark Conduit in this way must be made after the success of the attack has been determined, but before the attacker rolls damage.

The blackguard gains Retribution* as a bonus feat, even if she does not meet the prerequisites.

Placeholder (Su)
The Unyielding Tyrant blackguard needs a 15th level ability.  Suggestions welcome.

Dark Scourge
Aggressive specialization, to be determined.  Suggestions welcome.

Dread Cavalier

The blackguard gains the service of an unusually intelligent, strong, and loyal steed to serve her in her crusade for her dark cause. This mount is usually a heavy warhorse (for a Medium blackguard) or a warpony (for a Small blackguard).

As full-round action, a blackguard may magically call her mount from the infernal realms in which it resides. This ability is the equivalent of a spell of a level equal to one-third the blackguard’s level. The mount immediately appears adjacent to the blackguard and remains until dismissed.  The mount is the same creature each time it is summoned, though the blackguard may release a particular mount from service.

Each time the mount is called, it appears with the same hp it had previously, as well as any other effects it may have had (though some may have worn off because of their duration).  Whether the mount is with you or not, things like poison run their course.  The mount also appears wearing or carrying any gear it had when it was last dismissed. Calling a mount is a conjuration (calling) effect.

When the blackguard rests for 8 hours (or long enough to restore his spells), the mount is restored to full hp.

Should the blackguard’s mount die, it immediately disappears, leaving behind any equipment it was carrying. The blackguard may not summon another mount for thirty days or until she gains a blackguard level, whichever comes first, even if the mount is somehow returned from the dead. During this thirty-day period, the blackguard takes a -1 penalty on attack and weapon damage rolls.

The Blackguard’s Mount

The blackguard’s mount is superior to a normal mount of its kind and has special powers, as described below. The standard mount for a Medium blackguard is a heavy warhorse, and the standard mount for a Small blackguard is a warpony. Another kind of mount, such as a riding dog (for a halfling blackguard) or a Large shark (for a blackguard in an aquatic campaign) may be allowed as well.

A blackguard’s mount is treated as a magical beast, not an animal, for the purpose of all effects that depend on its type (though it retains an animal’s HD, base attack bonus, saves, skill points, and feats).

Blackguard   Bonus     Natural    Strength                                                
Level      HD      Armor Adj.    Adj.    Int   Special                        
5th        +2         +4         +1       6  Empathic link, improved evasion, share spells, share saving throws
8th        +4         +6         +2       7  Improved speed
11th       +6         +8         +3       8  Command creatures of its kind
15th       +8         +10        +4       9  Spell resistance

Blackguard’s Mount Basics

Use the base statistics for a creature of the mount’s kind, but make changes to take into account the attributes and characteristics summarized on the table and described below.

Bonus HD
Extra eight-sided (dCool Hit Dice, each of which gains a Constitution modifier, as normal. Extra Hit Dice improve the mount’s base attack and base save bonuses. A special mount’s base attack bonus is equal to that of a cleric of a level equal to the mount’s HD. A mount has good Fortitude and Reflex saves (treat it as a character whose level equals the animal’s HD). The mount gains additional skill points or feats for bonus HD as normal for advancing a monster’s Hit Dice.

Natural Armor Adj.

The number on the table is an improvement to the mount’s existing natural armor bonus.

Str Adj.
Add this figure to the mount’s Strength score.

The mount’s Intelligence score.

Empathic Link (Su)
The blackguard has an empathic link with her mount out to a distance of up to 1 mile. The blackguard cannot see through the mount’s eyes, but they can communicate empathically.

Note that even intelligent mounts see the world differently from humans, so misunderstandings are always possible.

Because of this empathic link, the blackguard has the same connection to an item or place that her mount does, just as with a master and his familiar.

Improved Evasion (Ex)
When subjected to an attack that normally allows a Reflex saving throw for half damage, a mount takes no damage if it makes a successful saving throw and half damage if the saving throw fails.

Share Spells
At the blackguard’s option, she may have any spell (but not any spell-like ability) she casts on herself also affect her mount.

The mount must be within 5 feet at the time of casting to receive the benefit. If the spell or effect has a duration other than instantaneous, it stops affecting the mount if it moves farther than 5 feet away and will not affect the mount again even if it returns to the blackguard before the duration expires. Additionally, the blackguard may cast a spell with a target of "You" on her mount (as a touch range spell) instead of on herself. A blackguard and her mount can share spells even if the spells normally do not affect creatures of the mount’s type (magical beast).

Share Saving Throws
For each of its saving throws, the mount uses its own base save bonus or the blackguard’s, whichever is higher. The mount applies its own ability modifiers to saves, and it doesn’t share any other bonuses on saves that the master might have.

Speak with Blackguard (Ex)
The blackguard and servant can communicate verbally as if they were using a common language. Other creatures do not understand the communication without magical help.

Blood Bond (Ex)
If the blackguard’s character level is 11th or higher, the mount gains a +2 bonus on all attack rolls, checks, and saves if it witnesses the blackguard being threatened or harmed.

This bonus lasts as long as the threat is immediate and apparent.

Spell Resistance (Ex)
A mount’s spell resistance equals its master’s blackguard level + 5. To affect the mount with a spell, a spellcaster must get a result on a caster level check (1d20 + caster level) that equals or exceeds the mount’s spell resistance.

Unholy Fury (Su)
Upon reaching 6th level, whenever a blackguard expends at least 20 points of temporary HP from her dark conduit she may grant a +2 morale bonus to attack and damage to any person she touches. This bonus increases by a further +2 for every 20 points above the first 20 granted, so if she spends at least 40 points of temporary HP she may grant a +4 bonus to attack and damage and so on.  This is in addition to temporary hit points granted.  The bonuses last as long as the recipient still has temporary HP from Dark Conduit remaining.

The blessings of the dark powers do not come cheaply.  When the unholy fury ends, whether by the end of the ability’s duration or by the loss of all temporary hit points, the subject becomes fatigued.

Bonus Feats
At 7th level, and again at 14th level, the Blackguard gains a bonus feat.  At each such opportunity, a blackguard may choose any Smite feat*, or a feat drawn from the following list.  If a feat is labeled with "Aggressive", "Defensive", or "Mounted", then that feat may only be chosen by a blackguard of the corresponding specialization.

Bonus Feats

Divine Cleansing (CW)
Divine Might (CW)
Divine Resistance (CW)
Divine Shield (CW)
Divine Vigor (CW)
Sacred Vengeance (CW)
Extra Smiting*
Divine Armor (PHB II)
Divine Justice (PHB II)
Profane Aura (PHB II)

Shield Specialization (Defensive) (PHB II)
Armor Specialization (Defensive) (PHB II)
Agile Shield Fighter (Defensive) (PHB II)
Active Shield Defense (Defensive) (PHB II)
Improved Shield Bash (Defensive)

Mounted Combat (Mounted)
Mounted Archery (Mounted)
Ride-By Attack (Mounted)
Spirited Charge (Mounted)
Trample (Mounted)

Intimidating Strike (Aggressive) (PHB II)
Power Attack (Aggressive)
Cleave (Aggressive)
Great Cleave (Aggressive)
Weapon Focus (Aggressive)

Aura of Terror (Ex)
Upon reaching 8th level, the Blackguard may exude an Aura of Terror.  While this ability is active, the Blackguard seems to have a terrifying visage to his enemies.  All enemies of the blackguard within 30 feet of her must make a Will save (DC 10 + half class level +Cha modifier) upon being first exposed to the aura or become shaken.  At level 13, enemies must instead make the save or become frightened.  At level 18, enemies must make the save or become panicked.  Enemies who succeed on the save are immune to the blackguard’s Aura of Terror for 24 hours.  This mind-affecting fear effect is a switchable aura.

Dark Conduit Ability (Su)
Beginning at 9th level The Blackguard needs another add-on for Dark Conduit.  At this level, rebalanced paladins can remove ability damage with Lay on Hands; should blackguards be able to grant ability-damaging attacks?  Suggestions welcome.

Vigilance (Su)
Upon reaching 11th level, the Blackguard's ability to detect those opposed to her increases.  When she uses her Detect Good ability, the area of effect is a 60-foot radius centered on the Blackguard, rather than a 60-foot cone.

Dark Conduit Ability (Su)
Beginning at 12th level a Blackguard needs another add-on for Dark Conduit.  At this level, rebalanced paladins can remove exhaustion, fatigue, sickness, and nausea with Lay on Hands; should blackguards be able to grant status-inducing attacks?  Suggestions welcome.

Aura of Weakness (Ex)
Beginning at 13th level, the blackguard gains Aura of Weakness.  While this ability is active, the Blackguard forces one enemy within a thirty foot radius of her to reroll one Fortitude save every round and keep the worse result.  The decision to force a reroll must be made after the roll is made but before the result is declared.  This is a switchable Aura.

Paralyzing Strike (Su)
Beginning at 16th level, the Blackguard may grant the ability to immobilize an opponent struck to a subject whenever she spends at least 30 points from her dark conduit pool.  The first attack the subject makes every round has a chance of immobilizing its target, as the spell hold monster.  The target of the attack receives a Will save (DC 10+1/2 blackguard level+Cha) to negate the effect.  If the save fails, the target is treated as though under the effect of hold monster in all ways, including receiving a new save every round, for three rounds.  This is in addition to temporary hit points granted.  The ability lasts as long as the recipient still has temporary HP from Dark Conduit remaining.

The blessings of the dark powers do not come cheaply.  When paralyzing strike ends, whether by the end of the ability’s duration or by the loss of all temporary hit points, the subject becomes exhausted.  

Constant Vigilance (Su)

Upon reaching 17th level, the Blackguard is always vigilant for any signs of those who would attempt to thwart her, and her eyes begin to glow with an inner light.  Her Detect Good no longer requires any concentration to maintain, and has an unlimited duration.

Aura of Malevolence (Ex)
At 18th level, the blackguard gains Aura of Malevolence.  While this ability is active, the Blackguard forces one enemy within a thirty foot radius of her to reroll one Will save every round and keep the worse result.  The decision to force a reroll must be made after the roll is made but before the result is declared. This is a switchable Aura.

Enervating Strike (Su)
Beginning at 19th level, the Blackguard may grant the ability to inflict negative levels to a subject whenever she spends at least 40 points from her dark conduit pool.  The first attack the subject makes every round also forces the target of the attack to make a Fortitude save (DC 10+1/2 blackguard level+Cha) or take one negative level.  The negative levels bestowed by this ability last for one hour.  Usually, negative levels have a chance of permanently draining the victim’s levels, but the negative levels from enervating strike don’t last long enough to do so. This is in addition to temporary hit points granted. The ability lasts as long as the recipient still has temporary HP from Dark Conduit remaining.

Due to the strains of supporting both life-bolstering energies and life-draining ones, the duration of Dark Conduit is halved when used with enervating strike.  

The blessings of the dark powers do not come cheaply.  When enervating strike ends, whether by the end of the ability’s duration or by the loss of all temporary hit points, the subject gains 1d4 negative levels.  Unlike negative levels bestowed by the subject’s attacks, these negative levels last for 24 hours and have a chance of permanently draining levels as normal.  

Vengeance from Beyond the Grave (Ex)
At 20th level, the blackguard's hatred and determination drive her on when death would claim lesser men.  Once per day when a blackguard would be reduced to -10 or less hp or otherwise killed (such as by a death effect), she rises one round later as a vengeful revenant.  The blackguard is then considered undead and has her full normal hit points, but otherwise has all game statistics and status effects she had when killed, barring those that the undead type would render her immune to.  The blackguard attacks furiously, not stopping until she has either slain her killers or is destroyed.  If the former occurs, she falls lifeless to the ground as soon as her last attacker is dead.  This does not interfere with attempts to raise or resurrect the blackguard.  

Spells: Beginning at 4th level, a Blackguard gains the ability to cast a small number of divine spells, which are drawn from the Blackguard spell list. A blackguard must choose and prepare her spells in advance (see below).

To prepare or cast a spell, a blackguard must have a Wisdom score equal to at least 10 + the spell level. The Difficulty Class for a saving throw against a Blackguard’s spell is 10 + the spell level + the Blackguard’s Wisdom modifier.

Like other spellcasters, a blackguard can cast only a certain number of spells of each spell level per day. Her base daily spell allotment is given on Table: Blackguard Spells per Day. In addition, she receives bonus spells per day if she has a high Wisdom score. When Table: Blackguard Spells Per Day indicates that the Blackguard gets 0 spells per day of a given spell level, she gains only the bonus spells she would be entitled to based on her Wisdom score for that spell level. The Blackguard does not have access to any domain spells or granted powers, as a cleric does.

A Blackguard prepares and casts spells the way a cleric does, though she cannot lose a prepared spell to cast a cure spell in its place. A blackguard may prepare and cast any spell on the Blackguard spell list, provided that she can cast spells of that level, but she must choose which spells to prepare during her daily prayer.

Through 3rd level, a Blackguard has no caster level. At 4th level and higher, her caster level is her Blackguard level minus 3.

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

Blackguard Spells


Curse Water
Curse Weapon
Create Water
Cure Light Wounds
Detect Poison
Detect Undead
Divine Favor
Endure Elements
Entropic Shield
Magic Weapon
Protection From Good
Protection From Chaos (If lawful.)
Protection From Law (If chaotic.)
Cause Fear
Restoration, Lesser
Shield of Faith


Align Weapon
Bull's Strength
Cure Serious Wounds
Delay Poison
Eagle's Splendor
Hold Person
Invisibility Purge
Magic Circle Against Good
Magic Circle Against Chaos (If lawful.)
Magic Circle Against Law (If chaotic.)
Magic Vestment
Owl's Wisdom
Protection from Energy
Remove Blindness/Deafness
Remove Curse
Remove Disease
Remove Paralysis
Resist Energy
Undetectable Alignment
Zone of Truth


Break Enchantment
Cure Critical Wounds
Cure Light Wounds, Mass
Death Ward
Dimensional Anchor
Discern Lies
Dispel Magic
Divine Power
Freedom of Movement
Heal Mount
Magic Weapon, Greater
Mark of Justice
Neutralize Poison
Spell Immunity


Cure Moderate Wounds(Mass)
Dispel Chaos (If lawful.)
Dispel Good
Dispel Law (If chaotic.)
Flame Strike
Heroes' Feast
Unholy Sword
Righteous Might
Spell Resistance
True Seeing

Code of Conduct

A blackguard must be of Evil alignment, and to boot is much more malicious and foul than the average Evil-aligned person.  Indeed, she is the paragon of villainous Evil, drawn to dominate and cause suffering in others.  

Codes of conduct for such a character can vary wildly, depending upon the motivation for her evil and (in some settings) the goals and motivations of her divine sponsor.  Consult your DM to determine what, if any, standard of conduct should apply to your character.  


A blackguard who ceases to be evil or grossly violates her code loses all blackguard spells and abilities.  She may not progress any farther in levels as a blackguard. She regains her abilities and advancement potential if she atones for her violations (see the atonement spell description), as appropriate.
Renegade Paladin

List of Balance Concerns:

Dark Conduit.  I've been given the opinion that the ability to dump that much temporary HP is broken in and of itself.  Having both DMed and played in games with power attackers that can pump out damage comparable to what a blackguard with high Charisma could give in a single pool in one attack, to say nothing of one round, I don't think it's too over the top, even if it is a little powerful, but I could see how it might be a problem for lower-powered games.  Thoughts?

Aura of Despair.  Sure, a hexblade can do even worse with Hexblade's Curse, but Hexblade's Curse gets a save, while the only way to resist Aura of Despair is to get away from the blackguard.  I'm thinking of reducing the scaling to an additional -1 per increase rather than -2, so it would give -3 to saves at 8th, -4 at 13th, and -5 at 18th.  The attack penalty would remain the same.  

Unholy Fury.  This touches upon the balance reason why I didn't counter Lay on Hands with a damage pool.  Offensive abilities are inherently more powerful than defense or healing, and this is pure offense.  I already increased the number of temporary HP needed to grant it (I had originally set it at 10 per +2/+2); this was the change from version 0.1 to 0.11.  This is replacing the paladin's ability to cure disease and poison with Lay on Hands.  I don't want to set the threshold much higher; it might hit the point where a 6th level blackguard doesn't have enough in the pool to actually trigger the ability if I go much higher than 20.  It hasn't been tested yet, so I don't have any real reason to think it's overpowered beyond the basic principle of the supremacy of offense; should I leave it alone, scale back the bonus to +1/+1, or make it a higher level ability?  

Paralyzing Strike.  The same ever-present concern with the supremacy of offense.  I really don't think this is too bad at this level, though, considering the duration.  Though three rounds could make it very nasty were the blackguard teamed with an assassin.  Twisted Evil

Enervating Strike.  Supremacy of offense again, but that's my only concern.  At this level, the party should have been facing things that pass out negative levels like candy for at least the previous eight or nine levels, so I don't think it's too terrible.  Besides, it's a good counterpart for the paladin's ability to LoH away negative levels at this point.
Renegade Paladin

Proposed ability:  

Unholy Vigor (Su)
Beginning at 9th level The Blackguard can make the subject of Dark Conduit supernaturally stronger, faster, and tougher.  The blackguard can grant one point to the subject's Strength, Dexterity, or Constitution scores per every 10 temporary hit points granted.  The blackguard can increase multiple stats, so long as enough temporary HP are spent to grant the total number of points.  For example, a blackguard could spend 20 points to add +2 to Str, or 30 points to add +1 to Str, Dex, and Con.  

The blessings of the dark powers do not come cheaply. When the unholy toughness ends, whether by the end of the ability’s duration or by the loss of all temporary hit points, the subject takes 1d3 points of ability damage to any ability that was enhanced.

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