General Prestige Class : Crimson Scourge
"Don't worry. I'll see that the package is delivered unharmed. Well... mostly unharmed." - Geddrik the Whip
In the fantasy world as well as the real world, the reach of the law sometimes isn't enough. When a criminal is on the loose, or a prisoner has escaped, professional bounty hunters offer their services to bring in the fugitive. Additionally, in some urban fantasy settings, the slave trade is just an accepted fact of life. And just as a rancher sends herders after stray cattle, so too must a slaver hire specialists to track down and recover lost or escaped slaves.
Whether they are independent crime-fighters assisting the law or grim mercenaries who hunt living property, such trained specialists are called crimson scourges. These fearsome trackers are known not only for their efficiency, but for their zealous commitment to the task at hand. Crimson scourges are dedicated - at least to the handsome sums they earn.
The crimson scourge is a tough and efficient tracker who specializes in dealing painful but ultimately nonlethal wounds. Scourges hail almost exclusively from the ranks of barbarians, fighters, and rangers, though the occasional dedicated warrior might join their ranks as well. Druids can qualify almost as quickly, but most find a scourge's work distasteful or unfulfilling. All other classes either cannot meet the alignment and/or skill requirements, or must reach higher levels before qualifying to become a crimson scourge.
To qualify to become a Crimson Scourge, a character must fulfill all the following criteria:
- Alignment: Any nongood.
- Skills: Gather Information 4 ranks, Handle Animal 8 ranks, Heal 1 rank, Intimidate 3 ranks.
- Feats: Urban Tracking
- Base Attack Bonus: +4. Base Fort Save: +3.
The crimson scourge's class skills are Balance, Bluff, Climb, Craft (trapmaking), Diplomacy, Disable Device, Disguise, Escape Artist, Gather Information, Handle Animal, Hide, Intimidate, Jump, Knowledge (local), Listen, Move Silently, Ride, Search, Sense Motive, Spot, Survival, Swim, and Use Rope.
Skill Points at Each Level: 6 + Int modifier.
A crimson scourge gains abilities that help him track down and subdue sentient beings. He develops these abilities as he gains levels in his class, and in the process grows increasingly difficult to dissuade from his objectives. While a crimson scourge is capable of using deceit to recover his quarry—and is trained in disguising his appearance should the need arise - he prefers instead to trade on his fearsome reputation, "encouraging" locals to cooperate with him. By the time a scourge masters his class, he has become a coldly efficient tracker of human prey.
Weapon and Armor Proficiency: You are proficient with all simple and martial weapons, light and medium armor, and shields (but not tower shields). In addition, you can select one of the following as a free weapon proficiency: bolas, net, or whip.
Kid Gloves (Ex): Crimson scourges excel at manipulating the wounds they inflict, causing more or less harm as the situation demands. If you choose, you can deal nonlethal damage with weapons that normally deal lethal damage, or lethal damage with weapons that normally deal nonlethal damage - both without taking the usual -4 penalty on the attack roll.
Special Dispensation: Crimson scourges do not operate in secrecy unless they have to, so their patrons provide them the freedom to perform their duties. While operating in any area where bounty hunting is acceptable, a slavers guild has any presence, or you enjoy the patronage of an influential figure, you gain the benefit of the Special Dispensation feat, even if you do not meet the prerequisites.
Swift Tracker (Ex): Starting at 2nd level, you can make a Gather Information check when using Urban Tracking every half-hour without taking the usual -5 penalty.
Painful Strike (Ex): At 3rd level, you gain the ability to deal an extra 1d6 points of nonlethal damage when making a melee attack that deals nonlethal damage against an unarmed opponent. This ability does not function if the opponent has a weapon of any sort in either hand, or if your attack deals lethal damage. Unarmed foes with the Improved Unarmed Strike feat are still considered unarmed. This ability never applies to ranged attacks, regardless of the target's proximity to you. If you score a critical hit with the melee attack, the extra damage from this ability is not multiplied. This extra damage increases to 2d6 points at 6th level, and to 3d6 at 9th level. Creatures not subject to nonlethal damage, as well as constructs, oozes, plants, and incorporeal creatures, are not affected by this ability.
Immovable Heart (Ex): Your grim profession hardens your emotions. Beginning at 4th level, you gain a +2 competence bonus to resist enchantment spells and fear effects.
Improved Disarm: At 5th level, you gain Improved Disarm as a bonus feat, even if you do not meet the prerequisites.
Threaten (Ex): Crimson scourges of at least 7th level are masters at shaking the confidence of their foes. This ability grants three advantages when you use the Intimidate skill to demoralize an opponent (PH 76). First, you can attempt to demoralize an opponent as a move action, rather than a standard action. Second, a successful attempt causes the target to be shaken for a number of rounds equal to your unmodified Strength modifier (minimum 1 round). Finally, you gain a +2 bonus on any Intimidate check to demoralize an opponent.
Deadened Hide (Ex): Upon reaching 8th level, you become immune to nonlethal damage and to spells or effects that inflict or manipulate pain (DM's discretion).
Smell of Blood (Ex): At the apex of your advancement, you acquire an almost animalistic awareness of the world around you. You gain the scent ability and a +3 insight bonus on initiative checks.
|Crimson Scourge||Hit Die: d10|
|1st||+1||+2||+2||+0||Kid gloves, special dispensation|
|3rd||+3||+3||+3||+1||Painful strike +1d6|
|6th||+6||+5||+5||+2||Painful strike +2d6|
|9th||+9||+6||+6||+3||Painful strike +3d6|
|10th||+10||+7||+7||+3||Smell of blood|
Crimson Scourge Lore
Characters with ranks in Knowledge (local) or bardic knowledge can research crimson scourges to learn more about them. When a character makes a successful skill check, the following lore is revealed, including the information from lower DCs.
- DC 10: Slavers guilds and city watches sometimes use fearsome trackers to hunt down fugitive criminals and escaped slaves.
- DC 15: These so-called crimson scourges are highly skilled not only in hunting their quarry but in causing pain without dealing lethal injury. They are known for their callousness.
- DC 20: Crimson scourges have a talent for dealing massive amounts of pain to unarmed opponents, and for disarming opponents who might otherwise provide a threat. The best of them feel no pain at all.