The Executioner

The executioner is overall a perfectly playable class, but in the spirit of fixing things that aren't broken, I'm going to change it anyway. The objectives of this revision are:


Class Statistics

Hit Die: 1d4+4/level.

Skill Groups: Athletics, Perception, Stealth.

Skill Points/Level: 6 + Int modifier (x4 at 1st level).

Level

Base Attack Bonus

Base Defense Bonus

Sneak Attack

Special

Finesse Feat Mastery

Lore Feat Mastery

Power Feat Mastery

Other Feat Mastery

1

+1

+1

1d6

Armor-piercing strike

1

1

2

+2

+2

1d6

Execution pool, executioner's eye

1

1

3

+3

+3

1d6

First strike

2

2

1

4

+4

+4

1d6

 

2

2

1

5

+5

+5

1d6

Create distraction

3

3

2

1

6

+6

+5

1d6

Bonus feat

3

3

2

1

7

+7

+6

1d6

Hindering strike

4

4

3

2

8

+8

+7

2d6

 

4

4

3

2

9

+9

+8

2d6

Superior initiative

5

5

4

3

10

+10

+9

2d6

Bleeding strike

5

5

4

3

11

+11

+10

2d6

Bonus feat

6

6

5

4

12

+12

+10

2d6

 

6

6

5

4

13

+13

+11

2d6

Crippling strike

7

7

6

5

14

+14

+12

2d6

Deceptive blade

7

7

6

5

15

+15

+13

2d6

 

8

8

7

6

16

+16

+14

3d6

Bonus feat

8

8

7

6

17

+17

+15

3d6

Deathstroke

9

9

8

7

18

+18

+15

3d6

 

9

9

8

7

19

+19

+16

3d6

Supreme initiative

9

9

8

7

20

+20

+17

3d6

Execution blow

9

9

8

7

Class Features

Weapon and Armor Proficiency

Executioners are proficient with all simple and martial weapons and with light armour.

Armor-Piercing Strike

Your training in the art of killing has given you knowledge of how to find and exploit the flaws in your opponent's armour. Your attacks can bypass a set amount of an opponent's damage reduction, if any. This amount depends on your level.

Class Level

DR Bypassed

1-5

1

6-10

2

11-14

3

16-20

4

Sneak Attack

You gain a base +1d6 points of sneak attack damage at 1st level. This increases to +2d6 points at 8th level, and +3d6 at 16th level. This damage is not restricted to the target of your execution pool.

You can gain further sneak attack damage dice when you attack the target of your execution pool, by spending execution tokens (see below). For every 2 tokens you spend, you gain a further +1d6 points on every attack you make against the target of your execution pool for 1 round. The maximum number of tokens you can spend is equal to your executioner level. You must still meet the usual requirements for dealing sneak attack damage.

Execution Pool

At 2nd level you gain an execution token pool. You must choose a target for your pool; your abilities that require execution tokens only function against this target. You can change targets as a free action on your turn, but you lose half of any accumulated tokens you may have. Similarly, you also lose half of your accumulated tokens if you lose sight of your target. You can have a maximum number of unspent tokens equal to 10 + your executioner level. You lose any unspent tokens you may have at the end of each encounter.

If you have at least 1 round in which to study your target beforehand, you can start an encounter with a number of execution tokens equal to 1.5 times your class level, rounded down. If you have at least 3 rounds to study your target, you can start the encounter with a full token pool.

Executioner's Eye

You can gain execution tokens during an encounter by studying the target of your pool. You make a Sense Motive check, opposed by your target’s choice of either a Bluff check or a base attack check. You take a modifier to your skill check based on the type of action you use to study your target. If you win the opposed roll, you gain a number of tokens equal to 2 + 1/2 your executioner level. You can study your target only once per round, even if you use a free action.

Action Type

Modifier

Free

-5

Move

+0

Standard

+5

Full round

+10

The following modifiers apply to your target's roll. If multiple penalties would apply, use the most severe. For example, a target who is aware of the presence of a hidden opponent, but doesn’t know the opponent is an executioner who is studying them, would take a -10 penalty to their roll.

If your target:

Penalty to Their Roll

Is unable to see you

-5

Doesn't know you are studying them

-10

Is completely unaware of your presence (not just unable to see you)

-20

First Strike

You gain this ability at 3rd level. The cost of extra sneak attack dice is halved for your first melee attack against the target of your token pool in the surprise round of an encounter, to +1d6 per token. This benefit only applies to the first attack you make in the surprise round. Your attack must be a melee attack, and your target must be flat-footed when you make your attack. If you hit and deal sneak attack damage, your target takes a penalty to their initiative equal to half the execution tokens you spent on sneak attack dice.

Create Distraction

You gain this ability at 5th level. Announce before an attack that you are using this ability, and spend 2 tokens. If you hit, your target must make a Reflex save (DC 10 + 1/2 your executioner level + your Wisdom modifier + additional tokens spent). You can spend up to 10 tokens to increase the save DC. If you dealt sneak attack damage as part of the attack, the DC increases by +5.

If your target fails the save, they do not threaten you until the start of their next turn. If you attempt to study your target in that time, your target takes a -5 penalty to their roll as if they could not see you. Furthermore, if you move at least 3 squares (15 feet) in that time, you can make a Hide check to evade your target’s notice, as if they were not observing you. You still need cover or concealment as usual to hide, and other creatures may be able to see you.

Bonus Feat

At 6th, 11th and 16th level, you gain a bonus feat. The feat must come from the Finesse or Lore category. You must still meet the usual prerequisites for the feat.

Hindering Strike

You gain this ability at 7th level. Announce before you make an attack that you are using this ability, and spend 1 token. If you hit, your target must make a Fortitude save (DC 10 + 1/2 your executioner level + additional tokens spent to increase the DC) or take either a -1 penalty to attacks and defense, or a -1 square (5 foot) penalty to speed. These penalties last for one minute. You can use this ability once per round. If you dealt sneak attack damage as part of the attack, the DC increases by +5.

You can spend tokens to enhance this ability in two ways. First, you can spend up to 5 tokens to increase the DC of the save. Second, you can spend tokens to increase the penalty. If you choose to inflict a penalty to attacks and defense, you can increase this by -1 per 2 additional tokens spent. If you inflict a penalty to speed, you can increase this by -1 per 4 additional tokens spent. The maximum number of tokens you can spend to increase the penalty in both cases is equal to 1/2 your executioner level. You cannot reduce your target below 0 defense or 0 speed.

The penalty can be removed by making a Heal skill check as a standard action. The DC for the Heal check is equal to the Fortitude save DC.

You can activate only one of hindering strike, bleeding strike, crippling strike and execution blow on any given attack. You can, however, activate more than one of these abilities in a round, if you have multiple attacks. You can also use these abilities in the same round that you use your token pool to gain sneak attack dice. You can only activate these abilities on your turn, not on somebody else’s turn.

Superior Initiative

You gain a +2 bonus to initiative at 9th level, stacking with other bonuses you may have.

Bleeding Strike

You gain this ability at 10th level. Announce before an attack that you are using this ability, and spend 2 tokens. If you hit, your target suffers 1d6 points of damage at the start of their turn for the next 3 rounds. A Fortitude save (DC 10 + 1/2 your executioner level + your Wisdom modifier + additional tokens spent to increase the DC) halves the bleeding damage taken (roll one Fortitude save when the attack is made, and apply its result on subsequent rounds). If you dealt sneak attack damage as part of the attack, the DC increases by +5. Hitting your target more than once with this attack increases the extra damage suffered. You can use this ability once per round.

You can spend tokens to enhance this ability in two ways. First, you can spend up to 10 tokens to increase the save DC. Second, you can increase the amount of damage taken per round, at +1 point per round per token. The maximum number of tokens you can spend to increase the damage is equal to your executioner level.

The bleeding can be stanched by making a Heal skill check as a standard action. The DC on the Heal check is equal to the Fortitude save DC. This does not restore hit points already lost.

Targets immune to sneak attack damage are also immune to this ability.

Crippling Strike

You gain this ability at 13th level. Announce before an attack that you are using this ability, and spend 4 tokens. If you hit, your target must make a Fortitude save (DC 10 + 1/2 your executioner level + your Wisdom modifier + additional tokens spent). If you dealt sneak attack damage as part of the attack, the DC increases by +5. If they fail, they take 2 points of temporary ability damage to either Strength, Dexterity or Constitution (your choice). You can use this ability once per round.

You can spend tokens to enhance this ability in two ways. First, you can spend up to 10 tokens to increase the DC of the save. Second, you can increase the amount of ability damage dealt, at +1 point per 4 additional tokens. The maximum number of tokens you can spend to increase the damage is equal to your executioner level.

Targets immune to sneak attack damage are also immune to this ability.

Deceptive Blade

You gain this ability at 14th level. Your silken touch with your weapon allows you to bide your time until a suitable opening appears in your foe's defenses, at which point you strike with devastating accuracy. By spending tokens, you can gain a bonus to all your attack rolls for the round against the target of your execution pool, at +1 per token spent. You can spend up to 10 tokens in this way. You cannot use this ability in the same round as Power Attack.

Deathstroke

You gain this ability at 17th level. Against an unprepared opponent, your blade strikes with breathtaking speed and deadliness. By spending 2 tokens, you can make two melee attacks on the target of your execution pool as a standard attack or charge action in the surprise round. Both your attacks are made at a -4 penalty. If your target is flat-footed, you only gain the benefit of your First Strike ability to the first attack you make.

Supreme Initiative

You gain a +4 bonus to initiative at 19th level, stacking with other bonuses you may have, including that from superior initiative.

Execution Blow

You gain this ability at 20th level. Make an attack as a standard action when your target has lost their active bonus to defense against you, and spend 15 tokens. If you hit, your target must make a Fortitude save (DC 10 + 1/2 your executioner level + your Wisdom modifier + additional tokens spent) or die. If you dealt sneak attack damage as part of the attack, the DC increases by +5. You can spend up to 10 tokens to increase the DC of the save. You can only use this ability once per target per encounter. This ability counts as a death effect, which means certain magical spells and effects may be able to counter it.

Executioner Strategy

Even more so than in the IH rulebook, the executioner presented here depends on her tokens for her special powers. If you play an executioner, your strategy should revolve around the principle of striking first and hard, and withdrawing if necessary. You can deal vast amounts of damage in the first few rounds of combat, but unless you can replenish your tokens quickly, you will be at a disadvantage if your opponents manage to survive. In particular, you will be in trouble if you are taken by surprise, as you will have no tokens and thus little offensive power for the fight. An executioner is thus inherently a high-risk/high-reward class, compared to more durable but less offensively-oriented classes.

Most of your abilities work much better if you are able to sneak attack your target. If you cannot gain flanking, you should use skill challenges, feats or other abilities to deny them their active bonus to defense as much as possible. Ideally you should spend your tokens on special executioner abilities when you can use standard attack actions, only buying extra sneak attack dice when you make a full attack. However, a smart opponent will also seek to deny you the opportunity to make a full attack while flanking, so don't be stingy when it comes to spending tokens on standard attacks. Conversely, if you find that your target has protection against sneak attacks, you should be very careful in how you approach them.

While you should try as much as possible to end a fight quickly before your lack of tokens becomes an issue, you should also pay some attention to regaining tokens. Your create distraction and deceptive blade abilities can grant you bonuses to study your target, should they survive your initial onslaught. While you are replenishing your pool, you should remain on the defensive and try to avoid making low-percentage attacks that would slow down your rate of regaining tokens. This doesn't mean you can't contribute to a fight; for example, you can grant flanking for your comrades even if you don't make attacks yourself. If you are severely wounded or facing multiple enemies, you can take advantage of cover and concealment to hide, which not only protects you from further damage but also grants you a bonus to study your target. You shouldn't abandon your comrades, but remember that you can contribute a lot more with a full token pool than without.


Last updated: 13 Jun 2006

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