As a reader recently pointed out to me, I've been going on a lot in my screeds on arcane tricksters, mage/rogues, and assassins. Well, all I can say is "Ha! Guilty as charged!" See, one of my two current liontaur PCs is a sneak attacking mage, so I have spent a lot of time thinking up ways to max the synergies of that combo.
Her name is Vauhwyt (the part of my Web site devoted to her is a little more than somewhat under construction), and she is an Avenger. From the PrC write-up:
The avenger is driven by a deep aching need for revenge. Before you can be an avenger, you must first be a victim of a soul-piercing injury. Then you will understand the hunger of the wronged, the anger and guilt of the survivor, and the consuming hatred of those who still bleed. The avenger learns to take these drives and emotions, and he channels them into implacable relentless action -- action leading to vengeance. Because the avenger understands the wounds carried by those who have been injured, he may also try to salve the hurts of other victims and offer closure to those in whom grievance gnaws like a cancer.
It is a neat concept, but the PrC is overpowered -- deliberately. The Powers That Be in the Wold wanted to encourage players to try the game's Wold-unique options, especially the Wold's pantheon of gods, so a number of divine-oriented PrCs were made over-potent. To bring the Avenger back into line balance-wise would require changes like changing the hit die from a d8 to a d6; only granting spell-casting levels at even levels, not every level; and granting 4+Int skill ranks per level, not 6+Int.
But what if your PC wants to be an avenger-like character, and your DM resists tinkering with an already admittedly overpowered home-brewed contraption like the Wold Avenger. Well, you can get very much the same flavor by tinkering with the tried and true Assassin. Here's how the New Avenger works:
- Remove the evil requirement. The New Avenger does not have to be any particular alignment. Good ones want to give closure to those who have been wronged. Neutral ones may be seeking their own vengeance. Evil ones might be bounty hunters or agents for hire.
- Change the special requirement from "must kill someone" to "must revenge a great wrong."
- Change the Death Attack ability to Summon Familiar, exactly like a mage. The New Avenger refers to his familiar as his "Conscience." The familiar helps the New Avenger avoid the perils of mindless retribution and disproportionate violence.
- Add Mage Hand as a first level spell. This lets the New Avenger become a Arcane Trickster after five levels of New Avenger, if he wants to.
- Replace Magic Circle Against Good with Blink as a third level spell, since the New Avenger is not necessarily evil, and also to fix the problem of so many third level Assassin spells sucking.
The New Avenger is a simple way to open up a core-based option to non-evil PCs and to get a sneak attacking mage into your game. Enjoy!
Update [1 Jan 07] Just fixed a few typos.