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 become a pain taster, a character must fulfill all the following criteria.
- Feats: Diehard, Endurance, Great Fortitude.
- Skills: Heal 5 ranks, Intimidate 5 ranks.
- Alignment: Any nongood.
- 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 forgo 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.
The pain taster’s class skills (and the key ability for each) are Disguise (Cha), Escape Artist (Dex), Heal (Wis), Intimidate (Cha), Knowledge (religion) (Int), Sense Motive (Wis), and Survival (Wis).
Skill Ranks Per Level: 2 + Int modifier.
|Level||Base Attack Bonus||Fort Save||Ref Save||Will Save||Special|
|1st||+1||+1||+0||+0||Disciple of pain, masochism 1, scourge|
|2nd||+2||+1||+1||+1||Cruelty +1d6, damage reduction 1/—|
|3rd||+3||+2||+1||+1||Blood control, torturer’s mettle 1/day|
|4th||+4||+2||+1||+1||Cruelty +2d6, damage reduction 2/—, masochism 2|
|6th||+6||+3||+2||+2||Cruelty +3d6, damage reduction 3/—, torturer’s mettle 2/day|
|7th||+7||+4||+2||+2||Exquisite lash, masochism 3|
|8th||+8||+4||+3||+3||Cruelty +4d6, damage reduction 4/—|
|9th||+9||+5||+3||+3||Sadism, torturer’s mettle 3/day|
|10th||+10||+5||+3||+3||Cruelty +5d6, damage reduction 5/—, masochism 4|
The following abilities are class features of the pain taster prestige class.
A pain taster is proficient with all simple weapons, martial weapons, and whips. A pain taster gains no armor or shield proficiencies.
At 1st level, a pain taster can focus her agony through the use of six torture routines. Each routine grants her a different day-long benefit.
The first time a pain taster performs a particular torture routine, she must spend 1 hour inflicting self-harm using materials that cost 2,000 gp. The method of self-torture is detailed in the routines below. After performing a routine for the first time, she can subsequently perform a less strenuous version of that routine to gain its benefits for 24 hours without needing to expend any further money on torture implements, ritual incense, and pain heightening drugs.
If the pain taster wishes to change her routine, she must spend 2,000 gp when first performing the new ritual. She must pay this cost each time she changes her routine, even if returning to a routine she had previously paid for. A pain taster can benefit from only one routine at a time.
- Disciple of Acuity: By spending an hour reciting a lengthy series of mantras while clutching a length of razor-edged metal, the pain taster gains a +2 enhancement bonus to Intelligence for 24 hours. The initial torture session for this routine involves making dozens of arterial incisions and writing the mantras in blood.
- Disciple of Flexibility: By spending an hour painfully hyper-extending each joint, the pain taster gains a +2 enhancement bonus to Dexterity for 24 hours. The initial torture session for this routine involves tearing major tendons in each limb.
- Disciple of Insight: By spending an hour whipping or bludgeoning herself while meditating on her failures and regrets, a pain taster gains a +2 enhancement bonus to Wisdom for 24 hours. The initial torture session for this routine involves inserting a long needle directly into the heart, causing massive internal hemorrhaging.
- Disciple of Spirit: By spending an hour splitting her tongue by cutting it centrally from the tip to the base, the pain taster gains a +2 enhancement bonus to Charisma for 24 hours. The initial torture session for this routine involves applying acid to a normally visible part of the body, inflicting extensive chemical burns.
- Disciple of Torment: By spending an hour eating dirt, rocks, and other indigestible matter, the pain taster gains a +2 enhancement bonus to Constitution for 24 hours. The initial torture session for this routine involves slicing open the abdominal cavity with a blade, and then sewing up the wound.
- Disciple of Vigor: By spending an hour hanging by the wrists from a tree, crossbeam, or any other support structure, the pain taster gains a +2 enhancement bonus to Strength for 24 hours. The initial torture session for this routine involves breaking each rib by lying on the ground, and then repeatedly dropping a large rock directly on the ribcage.
At 1st level, a pain taster becomes empowered by pain, and is inured to its effects. She receives a +4 class bonus on saving throws made against pain effects.
Additionally, a pain taster can deal lethal damage to herself at any time to gain a bonus on attack and damage rolls. Doing so is a swift action that deals 2 points of damage to the pain taster, does not require an attack roll, and bypasses any damage reduction the pain taster possesses. For 1 round, the pain taster gains a +1 morale bonus on attack rolls and a +2 bonus on damage rolls.
Every 3 levels thereafter (4th, 7th, and 10th), the amount of damage the pain taster deals to herself increases by 2 and the resulting bonus she receives on damage rolls increase by 1 (to a maximum of 8 points of self-inflicted damage and 5 points of bonus damage to other targets at 10th level). At 7th level, the bonus on attack rolls gained when using this ability increases to +2.
Pain tasters are masters of torture, and at 1st level they receive Weapon Focus (whip) as a bonus feat. If the pain taster already has Weapon Focus (whip), she instead receives Whip Mastery as a bonus feat.
At 2nd level, a pain taster gains the sneak attack ability, but only when using a whip. This additional damage stacks with any sneak attack damage she possesses from other classes. The amount of damage dealt by cruelty increases by 1d6 every 2 pain taster levels thereafter.
At 2nd level, the pain taster’s incredible resilience grants her a modest amount of damage reduction (DR). Subtract 1 point from the damage she is dealt by any weapon or natural attack. The pain taster’s damage reduction increases by 1 point every 2 pain taster levels thereafter. This ability stacks with any other damage reduction the pain taster might already have from other classes. The value of this damage reduction doubles when the pain taster is subject to nonlethal damage.
At 3rd level, the pain taster gains the ability to control the blood pressure throughout her body.
Anytime the pain taster is dealt bleed damage, she reduces the amount of damage taken by 1 per pain taster level (minimum 0). When taking Constitution damage as a result of blood loss (such as a stirge or a vampire’s bite), a pain taster reduces the amount of ability damage dealt by an amount equal to half the pain taster’s class level (minimum 0).
As an immediate action, a pain taster can delay the onset of injury or contact poisons by succeeding at a Will save. The DC of this check is equal to the poison’s save DC. If the save is successful, the poison’s initial and secondary damage are both delayed by 1 minute per pain taster level.
At 3rd level, a pain taster can gain a number of temporary hit points equal to her pain taster level as a swift action. These temporary hit points last for 1 minute. This ability is a swift action that can be used once per day at 3rd level and an additional time per day every 3 levels thereafter (6th and 9th).
At 5th level, when using her masochism ability, the pain taster can combine two of her daily routines into one. The pain taster must still self-inflict the combined amount of hit point damage for both routines, though she can perform both routines simultaneously in 1 hour. When she does so, she gains the benefits from both routines (a pair of +2 enhancement bonuses). To gain access to a second routine for the first time or to change out one of the paired routines, the pain taster must still perform the new routine’s initial torture session in full, and must pay the cost for it.
At 7th level, a pain taster’s aptitude with the whip increases. She receives Whip Mastery as a bonus feat. If the pain taster already has Whip Mastery, she instead receives Improved Whip Mastery as a bonus feat.
At 9th level, a pain taster becomes worked into a frenzy when dealing damage to other targets. When she deals bonus damage to a target using her cruelty ability, she halves the number of points of damage she must self-inflict as part of her masochism ability until the end of her next turn.
Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Occult Mysteries © 2014, Paizo Inc.; Authors: Jason Bulmahn, Crystal Frasier, Jim Groves, Brandon Hodge, James Jacobs, Erik Mona, F. Wesley Schneider, and Jerome Virnich.