The Golden Wastes
Worm Hunter Prestige Class
The Corpse Worm is the link of the Wormspawn to the divine; the source of their supernatural power and means of their propagation. It is, in the absence of anything similar in the rotted carcass of the Wormspawn, their soul. Without the worm, they are nothing.
A reading of the Heraldic Scroll reveals that those willing to risk of portion of their sanity may gain insight into the workings of the Corpse Worm via its connection to the profane spiritual force. Once touched by the Worm, the mind is forever scarred. Fragments of the Worm’s memories, emotions, and knowledge remain the deepest recesses of the mind. There the power of the Conqueror Worm still dwells. The Heraldic Scroll calls these horrified survivors, the Worm Touched. Often, the dreams of these victims are haunted by the memories of what they saw and may one day drive them into madness.
Yet there is a way to focus these inchoate memories. By studying the lore of the Conqueror Worm and its servants and the secret lore recorded in the blasphemous texts of the Heraldic Scrolls, some Worm Touched could draw upon these memories and use them against their source. They could even learn to draw upon new Corpse Worms, absorbing their bodies and essence to unlock potent abilities not known to normal men.
This path is not without risk. Insanity and death is a possibility as the Prestige Class is based on bonding with the essence and power of an evil deity, but taking levels in the Worm Hunter prestige class is not an inherently evil or chaotic act.
To qualify to become a wormhunter, a character must fulfill all the following criteria.
Special: Must have at some point suffered a minimum of 4 points of Intelligence damage from a Corpseworm. These 4 points of Intelligence damage need not have occurred as a result of a single worm.
Special: The character must be at least 7th level.
Special: Must have read through a copy of the Heralidic Scrolls.
Hit Die: d8
The wormhunter’s class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Diplomacy (Cha), Heal (Wis), Intimidate (Cha), Knowledge (arcana), Knowledge (history) (Int), Knowledge (religion) (Int), Linguistics (Int), Perception (Wis), Sense Motive (Wis), Spellcraft (Int), and Survival (Wis).
|1st||+0||+1||+0||+1||Gift of the worm 1, wormbane|
|2nd||+1||+1||+1||+1||Detect minion, wormscarred|
|3rd||+2||+2||+1||+2||Gift of the worm 2|
|5th||+3||+3||+2||+3||Gift of the worm 3|
All of the following are class features of the wormhunter prestige class.
Weapon and Armor Proficiency: A wormhunter does not gain any proficiency with weapons or armor.
Gift of the Worm (Ex): By consuming a Corpseworm, a wormhunter gains insight into the nature of the Conqueror Worm and its minions. Alternatively, the wormhunter can allow a Corpseworm to burrow into his body – this deals the standard 1 point of damage per round for 1d4+1 rounds until the worm reaches the brain. At this point (or immediately, if the wormhunter voluntarily consumes the worm), the wormhunter’s body absorbs the worm. This immediately kills the worm (and prevents any Intelligence damage).
Immediately thereafter, the wormhunter absorbs the latent knowledge and power contained within the worm and magnifies it, using it to augment his own abilities. He immediately selects one of the Gifts of the Worm listed below. The benefit granted is permanent. Unfortunately, the influx of knowledge also damages the wormhunter’s mind in some way. He must also select one form of madness from those listed below. This madness cannot be cured by magic, as it becomes as fundamental a part of the wormhunter’s being as the gift granted.
A wormhunter gains a second gift at 3rd level, and a third at 5th level. He must secure a new Corpseworm for each gift. Normally, a Corpseworm dies after it leaves a spawn and doesn’t immediately attach to a host, but alchemists have discovered that these worms can be stored in a state of dormancy inside a potion of gentle repose. Usually, these worms are stored for nefarious purposes, but a wormhunter can take advantage of them to activate one of his gifts. A preserved Corpseworm is considered an illegal commodity except in cases of special dispensation by the local Inquisition.
Once a wormhunter selects a gift and its attendant form of madness, he cannot later change that gift or madness. Likewise, he cannot select a gift or madness more than once.
Wormbane (Ex): A wormhunter is particularly skilled at fighting against the minions of the Conqueror Worm. He gains a bonus on all weapon damage rolls and checks to overcome spell resistance made against these creatures equal to his wormhunter level.
Detect Minion (Sp): If the wormhunter concentrates, he can sense the proximity of minions of the Conqueror Worm via a subtle tingling in his scars. This functions as the spell detect undead, but it only detects minions of the Conqueror Worm (be they undead or living). A wormhunter may use this ability at will.
Wormscarred (Su): At 2nd level, the wormhunter’s body begins to develop patches of scarring. These scars are as much physical scars left from being infested by Corpseworms as they are manifestations of the wormhunter’s growing taint and lurking madness. The wormscarred wormhunter is immune to disease and gains a +2 bonus on all saving throws against poison.
Wormeaten (Su): At 4th level, a wormhunter’s body carries the taint of the Conqueror Worm. This taint is detectable as a faint magic aura. It grants the wormhunter a +4 bonus on Bluff, Diplomacy, and Disguise checks made against or opposed by undead creatures, as other undead are strangely comforted and lulled by the taint. The character also gains a +2 bonus on saving throws made against attacks or spells from any minion of the Conqueror Worm. A wormeaten wormhunter need never fear infestation by Corpseworms again – these worms interpret the taint as indication that the character is already a Wormspawn, and do not attempt to infest him. Wormeaten wormhunters are immune to fear effects generated by the minions of the Conqueror Worm.
A wormeaten wormhunter takes a -2 penalty on all Bluff and Diplomacy checks made against living creatures (save for those made against other wormhunters), since the taint is somewhat unsettling to the living.
GIFTS OF THE WORM
The touch of the Conqueror Worm blesses each wormhunter with a unique variety of abilities.
Cannibalization: One of your ability scores increases by 1 point, but at a cost – you must reduce two other ability scores by 1 point (or one other ability score by 2 points).
Increased Spellcasting: Choose a spellcasting class to whic you belonged before you gained this Gift of the Worm. You gain new spells per day as if you had also gained a number of levels in this spellcasting class equal to the number of Gifts of the Worm you currently possess (including this one). You do not gain any other benefit a character of that class would have gained. If you gain additional Gifts of the Worm at a later date, the number of spellcasting levels granted by increased spellcasting does not increase.
Regained Lore: You gain a number of bonus feats equal to the number of Gifts of the Worm you currently possess (including this one). If you gain additional Gifts of the Worm at a later date, the number of bonus feats granted by regained lore does not increase.
Sinister Smite: You must have already selected the Spiritual Conduit gift and be able to channel energy in order to select this gift. Inflict wounds spells now function as if empowered and maximized when cast on you. Your body’s ability to conduct negative energy grows to an extent that you gain the ability to channel negative energy in sudden bursts of power when you strike a particularly solid blow against a living creature. Whenever you deal sneak attack damage or score a critical hit on a living creature, you also deal 2 points of Strength damage to that creature.
Smite Undead: You must have already selected the Spiritual Conduit gift and be able to channel energy in order to select this gift. Cure wounds spells now function as if empowered and maximized when cast on you. Your body’s ability to conduct positive energy grows to an extent that you gain the ability to channel positive energy in sudden bursts of power when you strike a particularly solid blow against undead. Whenever you deal sneak attack damage or score a critical hit on an undead creature, you also deal 2 points of Strength damage to that creature.
Spiritual Conduit: The worms have made your body more conductive to the type of energy you have chosen. All cure wounds and all inflict wounds spells cast on you function as if empowered. If you have the ability to channel energy, your effective level increases by an amount equal to the number of Gifts of the Worm you currently possess (including this one). If you gain additional Gifts of the Worm at a later date, the number of effective levels granted by spiritual conduit does not increase.
MADNESS OF THE WORM
Even as his might empowers the Wormhunter, the touch of the Conqueror Worm leaves no mortal mind unscarred.
Hypersomnia: You have extreme difficulty staying awake. You suffer a constant -2 penalty on all Wisdom-based skill checks. Additionally, whenever you are engaged in a repetitive activity (such as using Craft or Profession checks), you must make a DC 10 Will save (up to once per hour) to avoid falling asleep for an hour.
Insomnia: You have extreme difficulty falling asleep. Each time you try to rest, you must make a DC 20 Will save. Failure indicates that your sleep wasn’t restful and you awaken fatigued.
Paranoia: You are convinced that the world and all that dwells within are out to do you harm. You cannot take the aid another action, nor can you ever receive bonuses on your own checks from an aid another action. You also take a -2 penalty on Bluff and Diplomacy checks.
Schizophrenia: You periodically lose your grip on reality and ahve difficulty at times telling the difference between what is real and what is hallucination. These constant hallucinations can cause you to appear erratic, chaotic, and unpredictable. You take a -2 penalty on all Charisma-based skill checks. If you ever roll a natural 1 when making any Charisma-based check, you must make a DC 15 Will save to avoid becoming confused for 1d4 rounds.
Terataphobia: A monstrous phobia is an irrational fear of a type of monster. Select one monster type from the list of ranger favored enemies on page 64 of the Pathfinder RPG Core Rulebook. You now take a -2 penalty on attack rolls, skill checks, and Will saving throws made against these monsters. If you possess immunity to fear from some other source, your immunity to fear effects do not apply to fear attacks generated by monsters from this category.
Tic Disorder: You have developed nervous, often violent spasms. These spasms cause a constant -1 penalty on all Reflex saving throws and Dexterity-based skill checks.