For some, whether by their own choice or the will of another who is more powerful, a willingness to serve their vile patrons with every bit of strength and loyalty they can muster is not enough. Sometimes such service calls for more than an ordinary mortal body can withstand. To this end was created the pain taster. Largely unknown among surface-dwellers, the pain taster is a prestige class that has existed among the drow for untold centuries.
This prestige class is usually applied somewhat against the will of the recipient, usually after suffering through some terrible physical torture and developing an obsession with pain as a result. Masochistic individuals who relish the feel of the lash might also take this class as a means of increasing their own personal prowess.
Barbarians take to this class most readily, though many fighters do so as well. Interestingly, the third most numerous class to become pain tasters are fantastically rare drow monks, who embrace its doctrine of will over physical hardship, followed by clerics devoted to some demonic liege. Though rangers are well suited for it, they rarely follow this path. Other classes typically avoid the path of the pain taster as a distasteful, if not an outright insane, pursuit.
Hit Die: d10
To qualify to become a pain taster, a character must fulfill all of the following criteria:
Alignment: Any nongood.
Base Attack Bonus: +6.
Skills: Intimidate 5 ranks.
Special: To become a pain taster, a special ritual is performed that involves extensive torture and conditioning of the mind. The priestesses of the drow excel at this sort of activity. The agony is so intense that the recipient must succeed at a DC 15 Fortitude save or die in the process. Alternatively, the recipient can choose to forego the Fortitude save and instead make a DC 20 Will save in the ultimate exercise of mind over body. Once again, failure results in death, but, if successful, the recipient receives a permanent 1 point increase to his Constitution, having discovered new depths of willpower in himself.
Skill Points at Each Level: 2 + Int modifier.
As they advance in the class, pain tasters become more adept at absorbing injury without detriment. Ultimately, they learn to use the anger caused by their injuries to increase their own strength and combat abilities. The following are class features of the pain taster prestige class.
Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Pain tasters gain proficiency with all simple and martial weapons and with the whip. Pain tasters are particularly adept with whips, and they can choose to inflict lethal damage with a whip rather than non-lethal damage. They gain no additional proficiency with armor or shields.
You have a perverse tolerance for pain that grants you a +4 circumstance bonus on saving throws against pain effects (such as that caused by symbol of pain or other effects especially noted to cause pain) and gives you damage reduction 5/— against nonlethal damage. You gain a +1 circumstance bonus on attack rolls and weapon damage rolls anytime you have sustained lethal damage in the previous round (whether self-inflicted or otherwise).
A pain taster gains insight into the mysteries of self-torture and torment. Upon becoming a pain taster, he gains access to the following routines. When he first performs a routine, he must spend an hour and 2,000 gp to prepare himself in the proper way. After that, he may spend an hour performing that routine to gain its benefits for 1 day. Once he has prepared himself to perform a specific routine, he can perform the same routine every day without spending the 2,000 gp again. If at any time he wishes to change his routine, he must spend another hour and 2,000 gp to prepare himself for a different daily routine. He must repay the preparation costs for his former routine if he ever wishes to return to it. A pain taster can only benefit from one routine at a time.
Disciple of Acuity: By spending an hour performing a regimen of increasingly difficult mental exercises while clutching a length of razor-edged metal, the pain taster gains a +2 enhancement bonus to Intelligence for 1 day. Initial preparation for this routine involves obtaining and scribing exercises from rare tomes of mnemonic insight, which are rendered useless for this purpose in repeat uses.
Disciple of Flexibility: By spending an hour performing complex stretches, the ascetic of self gains a +2 enhancement bonus to Dexterity for 1 day. Initial preparation for this routine involves purchasing, then bursting a complex personal restraint.
Disciple of Insight: By spending an hour performing a regimen of deep meditation, the ascetic of self gains a +2 enhancement bonus to Wisdom for 1 day. Initial preparation for this routine involves obtaining and burning a number of rare incenses.
Disciple of Spirit: By spending an hour reciting famed monologues and self-affirmations, the ascetic of self gains a +2 enhancement bonus to Charisma for 1 day. Initial preparation for this routine involves memorizing the words of various obscure texts, which are then burnt as a symbol of self confidence.
Disciple of Torment: By spending an hour performing deliberate physical self-tortures, the ascetic of self gains a +2 enhancement bonus to Constitution for 1 day. Initial preparation for this routine involves purchasing a set of custom-made, incredibly sharp but fragile knives and needles, which are destroyed after their initial use.
Disciple of Vigor: By spending an hour performing vigorous physical exercises, the ascetic of self gains a +2 enhancement bonus to Strength for 1 day. Initial preparation for this routine involves purchasing, then ceremonially breaking a number of sturdy and precisely weighted steel weights.
At 2nd level, a pain taster gains the sneak attack ability, but only when using slashing weapons. This additional damage stacks with any sneak attack damage he may possess from other classes.
A pain taster is particularly adept at delivering cruelty damage with a whip. As long as he chooses to inflict lethal damage with his whip, he inflicts cruelty damage on every strike. If he has sneak attack as well, the additional sneak attack damage only applies if the conditions for a successful sneak attack are met as well. When attacking with a whip using cruelty, the pain taster ignores the restriction on damaging creatures with high armor or natural armor bonuses.
At 4th level, the pain taster inflicts +2d6 points of damage whenever he strikes with cruelty.
Upon reaching 2nd level, the pain tester gains the ability to shrug off some amount of injury from each blow or attack. Subtract 1 from the damage he takes each time he is dealt damage from a weapon or natural attack. At 5th level, this damage reduction rises by 1 point. This damage reduction stacks with any other damage reduction you may already have as a class feature (such as damage reduction gained from barbarian levels).
At 3rd level, the pain taster gains precise control over the movement of blood within his body. Any attack that deals hit point or Constitution damage through bleeding (such as a bat swarm, stirge, or vampire's bite) reduces its damage by 1 point per round per class level (minimum 0). This applies even to bleeding damage from magical sources such as a wounding weapon.
In addition, a pain taster can delay the effects of injury poisons by attempting a Fortitude check as a free action. The DC of this check is equal to the poison’s save DC. If the pain taster makes the Fortitude check, the poison’s initial and secondary damage are both delayed by 1 minute.
At 3rd level, a pain taster can react to danger before his senses would normally allow him to do so. He retains his Dexterity bonus to AC (if any) even if he is caught flat-footed or struck by an invisible attacker. However, he still loses his Dexterity bonus to AC if immobilized. If a pain taster already has uncanny dodge from a different class, he automatically gains improved uncanny dodge instead.
At 5th level, the pain taster’s tolerance and enjoyment of pain increases his resistance to non-lethal damage so that he now has damage reduction 10/— against all non-lethal damage. He also gains a +2 circumstance bonus on attack rolls and weapon damage rolls anytime he sustains lethal damage in the previous round (whether self-inflicted or otherwise).
Furthermore, the pain taster can now combine two routines when he uses his disciple of pain ability. The time and cost required remains the same, but he can combine the bonuses of two routines into one. Alternatively, he can double any one routine, gaining a +4 enhancement bonus to an ability score rather than two +2 enhancement bonues to any two scores.