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Zealot of Orcus

The Zealot of Orcus is an individual whose veneration of death magic and necromancy has led him or her to pledge obedience and servitude to Orcus, the Demon Lord of Undeath. Only the most powerful of necromancers, death priests and undead sorcerers are allowed into this circle, as Orcus prefers such beings give themselves willingly to him.

In exchange they receive power over the undead, the ability to assume aspects of undead creatures, and raise armies of undead for the war Orcus wages on all living things.

Most often clerics and necromancers become Zealots of Orcus, but sorcerers and antipaladins can make good Zealots. After binding themselves to Orcus, they are expected to lead other faithful in obscene rights and work to swell the ranks of undead that one day Orcus plans to employ in his final battle against the living and rival demon lord.

Role: With their potent spellcasting ability and undead minions, the Zealots of Orcus are best suited for the typical role of the evil cleric or wizard who blasts foes from behind a wall of dedicated followers. If melee combat is inevitable a Zealot can utilize their undead resistances and ability to cast necromantic spells through their weapon to make opponents think twice about confronting them directly.

Alignment: All Zealots of Orcus are evil.

Hit Die: d8.

Requirements

To qualify to become a Zealot of Orcus, a character must fulfill all the following criteria.

Alignment: Any evil.

  • Skills: Knowledge (religion) 5 ranks.
  • Spells: Ability to cast at least 5 necromancy spells, and one spell must be of 3rd or higher level. A wizard may not have necromancy as an opposition school.
  • Feats: Spell Focus (necromancy).
  • Other: Must be a worshiper of Orcus. The ability to control undead in some manner. This can be from any source, excluding magic items less than artifact status.

Class Skills

The bound to Orcus class skills (and key ability for each skill) are Bluff (Cha), Intimidate (Cha), Knowledge (arcana) (Int), Knowledge (planes) (Int), Knowledge (religion) (Int), Perception (Wis), Spellcraft (Int), and Stealth (Dex).

Skill Ranks at Each Level: 2 + Int modifier.

Table: Zealot of Orcus
Level Base Attack Bonus Fort Save Ref Save Will Save Special Spells per Day
1st +0 +1 +0 +1 Rite of Orcus
2nd +1 +1 +1 +1 Undead Leadership +1 level of spellcasting class
3rd +2 +2 +1 +2 Rite of Orcus +1 level of spellcasting class
4th +3 +2 +1 +2 Bonus Feat +1 level of spellcasting class
5th +3 +3 +2 +3 Rite of Orcus
6th +4 +3 +2 +3 Indomitable Casting +1 level of spellcasting class
7th +5 +4 +2 +4 Rite of Orcus +1 level of spellcasting class
8th +6 +4 +3 +4 Bonus Feat
9th +6 +5 +3 +5 Rite of Orcus +1 level of spellcasting class
10th +7 +5 +3 +5 Slay Living +1 level of spellcasting class

Class Features

All of the following are class features of the Zealot of Orcus prestige class.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency

Zealots of Orcus gain no proficiency with any weapon or armor.

Spells

At 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 6th, 7th, 9th, and 10th level, the character gains new spells per day as if they had also gained a level in any one arcane or divine spellcasting class they belonged to before they added the prestige class. They do not, however, gain other benefits a character of that class would have gained. This essentially means that they add the level of Zealot to the level of whatever other arcane spellcasting class or divine spellcasting class the character has, then determines spells per day, spells known, and caster level accordingly. If a character had more than one arcane spellcasting class or more than one divine spellcasting class before they became a Zealot, they must decide to which class they add each level of Zealot of Orcus for the purpose of determining spells per day.

Channel Negative Energy (Su)

All Zealot of Orcus levels stack with cleric levels when determining channel energy effects.

Bonus Feat

*Editor’s Note

Original text specifies that Bonus Feats are acquired at 4th, 6th, and 8th level, while the class chart shows Bonus Feats only at 4th and 8th level. The publisher has clarified that the chart is correct.

[Source]

At 4th and 8th* level the Zealot of Orcus may select a bonus feat from the following list: Channel Smite, Command Undead, Extra Channel, Greater Spell Focus (necromancy), Improved Channel, Skeleton Summoner, and Undead Master. They must meet the prerequisites for these feats.

Undead Leadership (Ex)

The Zealot of Orcus receives the Leadership feat. Their followers and cohort must be undead creatures.

Rite of Orcus

At 1st, 3rd, 5th 7th and 9th levels the Zealot of Orcus can perform a rite to Orcus to gain special benefits from the demon lord. Each rite takes 24 hours to complete and once performed cannot be changed.

The rite must be performed in total darkness and include the sacrifice of one sentient being of a number of HD equal to 1/2 the character level or Hit Dice, whichever is greater, of the Zealot of Orcus. Once completed the Zealot may choose one of the following abilities:

Darkvision (Ex)

The Zealot of Orcus gains darkvision of 60 ft. If they already possess darkvision the range increases +30 ft. This rite may be selected more than once. Each time after the first increase the range of darkvision 30 ft.

Death Aura (Su)

The Zealot of Orcus radiates a death aura of 10 ft.

Within this aura creatures take a –4 penalty to stabilization checks and all bleed effects within the aura persist until ended with a source of magical healing. This rite may be chosen once.

Necromantic Strike (Su)

As a swift action, the Zealot of Orcus may cast a necromancy spell with a duration of 1 standard action or less and then make a melee attack, all as a standard action. On a successful hit, the target of the melee attack also suffers the effect of the necromancy spell.

If the attack misses the spell is discharged without effect. This rite may be chosen once.

Powerful Necromancy (Sp)

Once per day the Zealot may apply Empower Spell or Heighten Spell to one necromancy spell they cast without increasing the spell’s casting time. Casting Empower Spell does not increase the spell’s level. This rite may be chosen more than once to increase the number of uses per day.

Channel Energy Focus (Su)

The Zealot of Orcus is considered 2 levels higher when channeling negative energy. They must have the channel energy class ability to select this rite. This rite may be chosen more than once. Its effects stack.

Undead Body (Ex)

The Zealot of Orcus gains a 25% chance to ignore critical hits and sneak attacks. This rite may be chosen once.

Undead Fortitude (Ex)

The Zealot of Orcus can use their Charisma modifier instead of theirs Constitution modifier when determining how many bonus hit points they receive per Hit Die, as well as Fortitude saves and other checks that rely on Constitution. This rite may be chosen once.

Undead Mind (Ex)

The Zealot of Orcus becomes immune to fear. This rite may be chosen once.

Universal Necromancy (Ex)

The Zealot of Orcus may add one necromancy spell not on their spell list. For example, a cleric may choose to add eyebite to their spell list. The Zealot must be of a high enough level to cast the spell they add to their spell list. This rite may be chosen more than once. Its effects stack.

Wand of Orcus (Sp)

The Zealot of Orcus may cast spiritual weapon once per day as a spell-like ability (caster level equals caster’s hit dice).

The weapon deals 1d10 points of damage + 1 point for every two Zealot levels. On a successful critical hit with the weapon the target gains 1 negative level in addition to any damage taken. This rite can be chosen more than once. Each additional rite increases the uses per day.

Wounding Touch (Sp)

The Zealot of Orcus may cast inflict light wounds 3/day as a spell-like ability with a caster level equal to the Zealot’s hit dice. The Zealot may select this rite more than once. Each additional time the Zealot selects this rite the spell-like ability increases by one step. For example, from inflict light wounds to inflict moderate wounds, and so on.

Indomitable Casting (Ex)

The Zealot of Orcus becomes unshakeable when casting death spells. They do not need to make concentration checks to cast necromancy spells.

Slay Living (Sp)

Once per day the Zealot may use slay living as a melee touch attack (caster level equal to caster’s hit dice). The DC against the spell-like ability is 15 + the creature’s Charisma modifier. A creature slain with this ability rises 1 round later as an undead creature created with greater create undead under the control of the Zealot.

Section 15: Copyright Notice

Rappan Athuk Copyright 2012 Bill Webb, Frog God Games

Orcus from the Tome of Horrors Complete, Copyright 2011, Necromancer Games, Inc., published and distributed by Frog God Games; Authors Scott Greene and Clark Peterson, based on original material by Gary Gygax.