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Severists are artful combatants whose abilities are neither entirely physical, nor wholly magical, but certainly powerful. Each severist has by definition been touched by tragedy, a chapter of their lives ended without warning or ceremony, and it is then that the severist truly sees the threads of life as they are; intricate and ever so fragile.

Whether it is a severist’s innate supernatural ability that brings tragedy, or the nature of tragedy itself that the severist draws power from, is a question lost to the ages. It is rare for a severist to fully understand his abilities, and he may even mistake them for hallucinations.

Severists are not trained; there is no organization comprised of them, no titles or reputation to be known by, no membership to attain, and few documents or clues on how the nature of how their powers actually work. This distinction means that they find themselves on the path of heroes, martyrs and madmen more often than most.

Role: Severists are a versatile melee class, good against enemies who are magical or rely on magical protection as well as bulky opponents. They have a host of useful abilities to maneuver the battlefield, vex casters and perform feats outside the realm of possibility for a party full of warrior-types. Their sundering capabilities and their ability to see magical connections let them confront arcane puzzles with ease. Their unconventional experience and lack of formal training leaves them less durable than other classes, so being a lone front-line fighter is dangerous for a severist.

Alignment: Any.

Hit Die: d8.

Starting Wealth: 1d6 x 10 gp (average 30 gp.) In addition, each character begins play with an outfit worth 10gp or less.

Class Skills

Class Skills: Acrobatics, Escape Artist, Knowledge (local), Knowledge (arcana), Perception, Profession, Spellcraft, Survival, and Swim

Skill Ranks per Level: 4 + Int modifier.

Weapon Proficiencies: Severists gain proficiency in light armor. They also gain proficiency in longsword, shortsword, great sword, dagger, waraxe, greataxe, short bow, longbow, throwing axe, and two exotic weapons of their choice (these exotic weapons must deal slashing damage).

Table: Severist
Level Base Attack Bonus Fort Save Ref Save Will Save Special
1st +1 +1 +1 +1 Burned bridges, Improved Sunder, Split in two, threadseeking
2nd +2 +1 +2 +1 Severance
3rd +3 +1 +2 +2 Sundering precision
4th +4 +2 +3 +2 Severance
5th +5 +2 +3 +3 Evasion
6th +6/+1 +2 +4 +3 Severance
7th +7/+2 +3 +4 +4 Asa’s severing scissors
8th +8/+3 +3 +5 +4 Severance
9th +9/+4 +3 +5 +5 The weave unfurled
10th +10/+5 +4 +6 +5 Severance
11th +11/+6/+1 +4 +6 +6 Improved Evasion
12th +12/+7/+2 +4 +7 +6 Severance
13th +13/+8/+3 +5 +7 +7 Lines of sight
14th +14/+9/+4 +5 +8 +7 Severance
15th +15/+10/+5 +5 +8 +8 Splitting sunder
16th +16/+11/+6/+1 +6 +9 +8 Severance
17th +17/+12/+7/+2 +6 +9 +9 Asa’s sorcerous shears
18th +18/+13/+8/+3 +6 +10 +9 Severance
19th +19/+14/+9/+4 +7 +10 +10 Tragedian’s strength
20th +20/+15/+10/+5 +7 +11 +10 Severance, bridge of heaven

Class Features

The following are class features of the severist.

Burned Bridges (Ex)

A severist has lost their connections to their past lives. If you have levels in any previous class, choose one of the following traits at 1st Level:

The Amnesiac: The severist does not know who he is. The severist is afflicted by the Amnesia Madness, but it is incurable by normal means until the severist is at least 5th Level. The severist may also change Alignments and his character name. As long as the severist remains afflicted by amnesia, he is immune to fear effects and, possessed of the perverse fortune of the universe, he gains a +2 bonus to AC versus critical hits.

The Outcast: The severist has been disgraced. The severist chooses an Order, faith, or guild that they were once a part of. They are considered enemies, and cannot receive aid from any member of that group unless they are a party member. NPCs of that group consider them hostile by default and will always attempt to capture or slay them. A Cavalier or Samurai with this trait must change their Order to the ronin/knight errant Order. A severist with this trait gains DR 1/vs. any alignment opposite theirs (they must choose when taking this trait; True Neutral severists can choose any alignment).

The Survivor: The severist is the last survivor of a tragic accident, a vicious assault or a grave cataclysm. They gain the effects of one 1st-level oracle’s curse but no other oracle class features. In addition, once per day, whenever they would roll a d20, they can roll twice and take the higher result. You must declare the use of this ability before making the roll. If you have no levels in any previous class, you automatically gain this trait at 1st Level:

The Unsettled: The severist has been abruptly forced into a life of adventure by tragedy. They gain a -1 penalty on all Bluff, Diplomacy, Intimidate and Sense Motive checks.

This trait cannot be changed.

Threadseeking (Ex)

The eyes of the severist can literally see magical bonds, perceiving them as faintly glowing, insubstantial threads. The severist sees only external bonds, not magic itself; while he could perceive a caster projecting a magical effect on another object and immediately discern the source, he would not see the innate magic of a dragon, magical artifact, or plane if it was not being used. Likewise, he would not see a caster projecting an effect on himself or an object he is holding. A magical bond cannot be seen if the source is more than 100 feet from the target of the effect; the magic is spread too thinly for the severist to perceive.

This ability is active at all times as long as the severist is awake, even if the severist is not in his natural form; only upon the death and permanent, willing passage of the soul to the afterlife does he lose it at last. It even functions within an anti-magic field, though the ability would only allow the severist to perceive the field itself, since all magic within it, including threads that pass through it, would appear to vanish.

A severist can detect an ongoing magical effect with a DC of 10 + caster level as long as it targets something other than the caster. It is more difficult to notice the casting of instantaneous effects. The DC to notice an instantaneous effect is DC 20 + the caster level.

Improved Sunder (Ex)

The severist gains Improved Sunder at 1st Level as a bonus feat, even if they do not automatically qualify for it. If they already have Improved Sunder, they can choose an additional Severance instead.

Split in Two (Ex)

The severist can use their Dex modifier in place of their Str modifier for sundering and smashing manuevers, but only when wielding slashing weapons.

Severance (Su)

Severists have the ability to see the threads that bind the world together, both figuratively and literally. A severist’s blades are not merely adept at breaking physical objects but magical machinations and even metaphorical concepts. At 2nd Level and every two levels thereafter, a severist gains a Severance from the following list:

Bond of Magicka: The severist can see the thread between a caster and the magical effects it has created on a target. The thread is a straight line between the caster and its target. A successful sunder check of DC 10 plus the Caster’s level + casting modifier strikes the thread (hit points = caster level, hardness = casting modifier), and damages it. Destroying the thread instantly ends the effect. The bond cannot be seen if the caster is more than 100 ft from the target, and therefore this effect cannot be used. You must be at least 4th Level to select this Severance. This ability can be used a number of times per day equal to your severist level.

Bond of Faith, Bond of Arcana: When the severist successfully sunders a cleric’s holy symbol or a wizard’s bonded item, the ongoing effects of all spells cast by that wizard or cleric immediately end.

Bond of the Master: A severist can attempt to sever the connection between a familiar (or animal companion) and his master. The thread is a straight line between the companion and his master. A successful sunder check of DC 20 plus the caster’s level destroys the thread (hit points = CL, hardness = casting modifier). If successful, the animal companion or familiar temporarily becomes a normal creature of their type and loses any ability which a normal creature of their type would not possess. If the master and companion do not share a spoken language, they cannot communicate at all, though if the creature is still innately loyal to the master it may still aid the master (GM’s discretion). It takes a full minute in order to restore this bond.

Bond of Civilization: A severist breaks the bonds that keep a soul tethered to civilized society. The severist must be adjacent to a character and make a DC 20 sunder Check + the character’s level (if they are unwilling). If successful, the character flies into a bestial rage, as the barbarian class feature. If the character does not have a rage class feature, they gain one as if they were a level 1 barbarian. This rage lasts for a number of rounds equal to the character’s Constitution (not Constitution modifier), at which point the character is immediately rendered unconscious (as though affected by the sleep spell, even if immune to such effects) and the bond is automatically restored. This ability can be used a number of times per day equal to your ½ your Dex modifier +1 additional time.

Bond of Death Itself: A severist destroys the threads that attempt to pull a soul into the Afterlife (hit points 10, hardness 0), reclaiming it for the world of the living. The severist first coats his blade with diamond dust worth 2500 GP. The severist must make a sunder check of DC 25 + 1 for each hour the subject has been dead; after 25 hours, it becomes completely impossible to destroy the threads. If the sunder check is successful, the subject is alive but at -1 hit points; any ability scores reduced below 0 are restored to 1, and the diamond dust is consumed in a blaze of shimmering light, instantly dazzling all creatures in the area. All other negative effects remain upon the caster. You can continue trying to cut the threads for as long as the subject has been dead less than a day, with an additional check every hour. For every 10 hours the subject has been dead they gain 1 negative level. You must be at least 10th Level before selecting this Severance.

Sunder Force: You can break even immaterial armor. Treat armor and shield bonuses granted by magical effects as if they were normal Iron or Steel armor with an equivalent armor bonus for the purposes of sundering them. If this armor is sundered, it disintegrates and the effect ends. If the effect is granted by a magical item, that item becomes inoperable for 24 hours.

Dweomersiege: You can break through magic barriers, including magic circles and force cages. Magic circles are considered to have DR 20 against whichever alignment they’re Protecting against. The AC for a solid force object is the DC to cast the spell plus the Caster Level. The hardness for a solid force object is the Caster’s level, and the HP is equal to twice the caster’s Hit Die. You must have previously taken Sunder Force and be 7th Level or higher to qualify for this Severance.

Grand Dweomersiege: You can break through magic barriers of all kinds, even Walls of Force. The AC for a solid force object is the DC to cast the spell plus the Caster Level. The hardness for a solid force object is the Caster’s level, and the HP is equal to twice the caster’s Hit Die. You must have previously taken Sunder Force and be 15th Level or higher to qualify for this Severance.

Blinking and Entering: A number of times per day equal to your Dex. modifier, you can make a DC 15 sunder check on an empty square to replicate the spell dimension door as a move action; however, this also immediately ends the spell. At 14th Level, if you dimension door into a square adjacent any character, you make a single attack on that character immediately as a standard action (your turn immediately ends afterward). You must be at least 8th Level before selecting this Severance.

Gate Crasher: Once per day, you can use one of your uses of Blinking and Entering to make a DC 20 sunder check on an empty square to replicate the spell gate with a caster level equal to your severist level. You must also succeed a DC 20 Knowledge (planes) check to connect to the correct plane, otherwise roll randomly on the table to determine which plane the gate has accessed. You must be at least 14th Level before selecting this Severance, and have also selected the Blinking and Entering Severance.

Cut to the Truth: As an immediate action, if a severist is within 5 feet of striking distance of an Illusion spell when it is cast, the severist can attack the illusion (stepping in that direction 5 feet beforehand if necessary). This uses the severist’s sunder check in place of a Will save, and if it is successful, all the severist’s allies automatically disbelieve the illusion as well. You must be at least 6th Level before selecting this Severance.

Outsider’s Conduit: You can make a sunder check against any summoned outsider, striking at the arcane conduits from whence they arrived. On a successful sunder check where the DC is the Caster’ s Level + the creature’s level, you damage the conduit (hit points = CL, hardness = casting modifier) and the outsider is forcibly ejected, as if the summoning had been Dismissed. You must be 4th Level to take this Severance.

Thread of Life: For a number of rounds per day equal to half your severist level (rounded down), you may treat all slashing weapons that you are wielding as if they had the vorpal property. They lose this property immediately if you are not wielding them. You can only activate or deactivate this ability at the start of your turn. You must be 16th Level to take this Severance.

Disharmonic Strike: A number of times per day equal to your Dex modifier, you can declare a Disharmonic Strike. An opponent struck by this attack must make a (DC 20 + severist Level + Dex mod) Will save or randomly roll (d20) on the following table. The target can only speak the following language; this also affects the use of language-dependent spells:

1-2: Abyssal 3-4: Aklo 5-6: Aquan 7-8: Auran 9-10: Celestial 11-12: Draconic 13-14: Giant 15-16: Goblin 17-18: Ignan 19-20: Sylvan

This effect lasts for 1d4 + (severist Level) hours; on a critical hit, it is permanent, but in either case can be dispelled with break enchantment or remove curse.

Unfortunate Strike: A number of times per day equal to your Dex modifier, you can declare an Unfortunate Strike. Halve any damage inflicted by this attack. An opponent struck by this attack must make a (DC 20 + severist level + Dex mod) Will save. If they do not save, the next time they would roll a D20, they must roll twice and take the lowest result. You must be at least 7th Level to take this Severance.

Gift of Perception: Your perception of reality’s tapestry is keen enough that you can show others a portion of it. Once a day as a move action, you can temporarily grant another character who has at least 5 skill ranks in Perception the use of one of your Severances; they have the use of this Severance for a number of rounds equal to the number of ranks you have in Perception. You can not grant the Thread of Life Severance with this ability, even to another severist. You must have 10 ranks in Perception to take this Severance.

Leyline Navigation: You add your severist level as a bonus to Survival skill checks made to find your direction or explore any area. At 10th Level, you also know exactly how deep you are underground at any given time. At 20th Level, you always know what plane you are on.

Spellsight Evasion: Your keen perception of magical forces gives you a +2 dodge bonus to your AC against ranged touch attack spells and a +2 to your Reflex saves against spells that grant a Reflex save.

Sundering Precision (Ex)

At 3rd Level, whenever you attempt a sunder or smashing maneuver with a slashing weapon, double the critical threat range of your weapon for the purposes of that maneuver only. Inanimate objects and constructs are vulnerable to your critical hits, even if they otherwise would not be. (Undead creatures still retain their immunity to your critical hits).

Evasion (Ex)

At 5th Level, you gain the benefits of Evasion, as the rogue ability. If you already had Evasion from levels in another class, you gain Improved Evasion instead.

Asa’s Severing Scissors (Ex)

At 7th Level, whenever you attempt a sunder maneuver and fail, you can immediately make another one as a swift action at a -2 penalty. You may use this ability a number of times per day equal to half your class level.

The Weave Unfurled (Ex)

At 9th Level, whenever you make a successful Spellcraft check to determine information about a spell being cast, you can determine the exact effect of the spell, including exactly how much damage or healing it would have done (if any), even if it missed its target.

Improved Evasion (Ex)

At 11th Level, you gain the effects of Improved Evasion. If you already have Improved Evasion, you gain an advanced rogue talent instead.

Lines of Sight (Ex)

You perceive the eyes that peer at you from unseen places. At 13th Level, for a number of hours per day equal to half your Dexterity modifier (rounded down), you and any characters who you choose within 50 feet of you cannot be seen by any means other than ordinary, mortal senses. Characters who are scrying, using clairvoyance or clairaudience, or any similar magical effect, will fail the spell. Characters attempting to perceive you with true seeing or similarly augmented vision will perceive the surrounding area and any invisible objects, except the characters you have chosen and whatever they are wearing/carrying.

Splitting Sunder (Ex)

At 15th Level, when you successfully make a sunder or smashing maneuver with a Slashing weapon, the target’s hardness (if any) is treated as half its hardness.

Asa’s Sorcerous Shears (Ex)

At 17th Level, while you are dual-wielding two slashing weapons, you may inflict critical hits even on creatures that are normally immune to them.

Tragedian’s Strength (Su)

At 19th Level, when the severist rolls a natural 1, he may choose to gain a +3 untyped bonus to hit or a +3 bonus to his armor class for 1 minute. This ability stacks with all bonuses from all abilities except itself. In addition, if the severist drops below 0 hit points during the turn they roll a 1, but does not die, he automatically stabilizes.

Bridge of Heaven (Su)

At 20th level, you reclaim what was lost to you those many years ago. You lose any negative effects of Burned Bridges. If you had the Amnesiac trait, your amnesia is cured and you become immune to madness effects. If you had the Outcast trait, your lost guild or order ceases hostilities and offers peace, though you cannot truly rejoin them; your reputation gives you a +10 bonus to Diplomacy and Intimidate against those who would oppose you. If you had the survivor trait, you suffer no penalties for your curse although it is still apparent to other characters. Regardless of the trait you chose, you gain total immunity to all death effects.

Section 15: Copyright Notice

Caneis: The Triumphant World © 2013-2014, Gungnir Gamedev; Author: Michael Massey