Dragonlance Exclusive Prestige Class : Shark Cultist

by James Jacobs, Dragon #315

The southeastern reaches of Taladas (in particular the group of islands known as the Fisheries) have been plagued by a particularly insidious secret society of shark-worshiping cultists since the Time of Dragons. The shark cult spread quickly through the Fisheries, and chapters eventually began to appear in coastal cities throughout the continent. The cultists are particularly adept at infiltrating small villages and replacing the leaders and elders with their own people, effectively taking control of these settlements from the inside out. The cult is well known for its violent tendencies and willingness to murder and kill; their members resemble sharks in more ways than one.

When a shark cultist is not hiding her identity, she wears a large war-helm made from the head of a shark. Her face is framed by the shark's toothy maw, and a large cape (including the shark's dorsal fin) hangs down over her back. The cultists prefer to fight with sharkskin gauntlets that are studded with shark teeth, and many of them have learned to turn themselves into sharks.

Most shark cultists are evil, since their beliefs encourage murder, mayhem, and frequent bloodletting. The majority possess levels of druid, but a growing number are either rangers or clerics. There are even reports of some shark cult cells that have decided to focus their attention on worshiping sharks themselves as personifications of the destructive aspect of nature; these cultists have little interest in pursuing the more traditionally evil aspects of the cult. Nevertheless, the majority of shark cultists serve the will of the gods of evil, at least indirectly.


To qualify to become a Shark Cultist, a character must fulfill all the following criteria:

Class Skills

The shark cultist's class skills are Bluff, Concentration, Craft, Diplomacy, Disguise, Gather Information, Handle Animal, Hide, Intimidate, Knowledge (nature), Knowledge (religion), Move Silently, Profession, and Swim.

Skill Points at Each Level: 4 + Int modifier.

Class Features

All the following are class features of the shark cultist prestige class.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Shark cultists gain no proficiency with any weapons, but they do gain proficiency with all forms of light armor.

Hold Breath (Ex): A shark cultist can hold her breath for a number of rounds equal to four times her Constitution score before she risks drowning.

Weapon Focus: At 2nd level, a shark cultist gains Weapon Focus (sharktooth gauntlet) and Weapon Focus (bite) as bonus feats. The Weapon Focus (bite) feat only applies if the character has a natural bite attack, such as from a wild shape form the cultist might assume or the cultist's sharkshape ability (see below).

Divine Spells per Day: When a new even-numbered shark cultist level is gained, the character gains new spells per day as if she had also gained a level in a divine spellcasting class she belonged to before adding the prestige class. She does not, however, gain any other benefit a character of that class would have gained (improved chance of controlling or rebuking undead, bonuses to an animal companion, and so on), except for an increased effective level of spellcasting. If a character had more than one divine spellcasting class before becoming a shark cultist, she must decide to which class she adds the new level for purposes of determining spells per day. This ability cannot be applied to any arcane spellcasting class the cultist belonged to before taking levels in the prestige class.

Sharkshape (Su): At 3rd level, the shark cultist gains the ability to transform into a Medium or Large shark once per day, as a druid of the shark cultist's character level using the wild shape ability. At 6th level, the shark cultist can use this ability twice a day and can assume the form of a shark of up to Huge size. At 9th level, the shark cultist can use this ability three times a day and can assume the form of a dire shark.

Bloodscent (Ex): At 4th level, the shark cultist's senses become incredibly well honed to the presence of blood. She can locate wounded living creatures (that have either blood or some other sort of life-sustaining fluid) with this ability as if using the scent special quality. She also gains a +4 competence bonus to any Survival checks to follow the trail of a wounded creature that matches this description. Bloodscent allows a shark cultist to detect and track wounded creatures both within and out of the water.

Weapon Specialization: At 5th level, a shark cultist gains Weapon Specialization (sharktooth gauntlet) and Weapon Specialization (bite) as bonus feats, even if she would normally not qualify for the feats. The Weapon Specialization (bite) feat only applies if the character has a natural bite attack, such as from a wild shape form the cultist might assume or the cultist's sharkshape ability.

Take to the Water (Ex): At 7th level, the shark cultist is completely at home in the water as she is on land. She gains a Swim speed equal to her land speed, and she gains a +8 racial bonus to Swim checks. She may always take 10 Swim checks even when distracted or threatened. She can use the run action while swimming, providing she swims in a straight line.

Improved Critical: At 8th level, a shark cultist gains Improved Critical (sharktooth gauntlet) and Improved Critical (bite) as bonus feats, even if she would normally not qualify for the feats. The Improved Critical (bite) feat only applies if the character has a natural bite attack, such as from a wild shape form the cultist might assume or the cultist's sharkshape ability.

Blood Frenzy (Su): At 10th level, a shark cultist that wounds a creature with her sharktooth gauntlets or bite attack can enter a blood frenzy as a free action. A blood frenzy infuses the shark cultist with supernatural speed and ferocity. She functions as if under the effects of a haste spell for the next 3 rounds. A shark cultist can enter a blood frenzy a number of times per day equal to her Constitution bonus (minimum of once per day).

Shark CultistHit Die: d12
CLBABFortRefWillSpecialDivine Spells per Day
1st+1+0+0+2 Hold breath-
2nd+2+0+0+3Weapon Focus+1 level of existing class
3rd+3+1+1+3Sharkshape 1/day (Large)-
4th+4+1+1+4Bloodscent+1 level of existing class
5th+5+1+1+4Weapon Specialization-
6th+6+2+2+5Sharkshape 2/day (Huge)+1 level of existing class
7th+7+2+2+5Take to the water-
8th+8+2+2+6Improved Critical+1 level ol existing class
9th+9+3+3+6Sharkshape 3/day (Dire)-
10th+10+3+7+7Blood frenzy+1 level of existing class

Source: Dragon #315

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