Everyone reacts to negativity differently, including harbingers. Ravenlords are a curious but not uncommon phenomenon amongst those grim warriors; unable to fully cope with whatever sorrows fuel their power, ravenlords splinter off a fraction of their soul into a bird-like servant that contains their sorrow for them. From then on, the two are inseparable. This bird, this dark messenger, serves the ravenlord and does his bidding, but the more the ravenlord pours his own misery into the dark messenger, the more it acts on that misery unless the ravenlord is wise or cunning enough to control it. More than one ravenlord has woken up in the morning to find his servant slathered in gore that he cannot account for.
A ravenlord is served by a raven-like bird, known as his dark messenger. The dark messenger functions as a bird animal companion (using the ravenlord’s level as his effective druid level) with the following exceptions:
- The dark messenger’s Intelligence score is equal to the ravenlord’s. The ravenlord does not need to use the Handle Animal skill to handle or direct it; it can act normally for a creature of its intelligence.
- The dark messenger always acts on the same initiative count as the ravenlord.
- The ravenlord may communicate telepathically with his dark messenger provided the two are within one mile of each other. The dark messenger always obeys the ravenlord’s orders to the best of its ability, and will exercise its own initiative to promote the ravenlord’s interests and safety.
- When slain, the dark messenger deals 1d6 points of Constitution damage to the ravenlord, then re-forms 24 hours later, reappearing on its master’s shoulder with hit points.
- The dark messenger does not gain bonus tricks or the share spells ability.
This ability replaces ill tidings.
Both the ravenlord and his dark messenger gain the benefits of the ravenlord’s dark focus class feature, with the exception of the bonus feat gained at 6th level. This ability otherwise functions as normal.
This ability alters dark focus.
At 3rd level, a ravenlord’s dark messenger gains the ability to initiate counters and strikes that the ravenlord has readied (expending them from the ravenlord’s readied maneuvers as normal). The dark messenger’s initiation modifier is Intelligence, and its initiator level is equal to the ravenlord’s initiator level. Only one of the ravenlord or his dark messenger can initiate a strike in a single round (that is, if the dark messenger initiates a strike, the ravenlord may not initiate a strike until the next round, and vice versa). When either the ravenlord or his dark messenger initiates a strike, the other generates a 10-foot-radius sphere of Gloom for one round. The Gloom is stationary and grants concealment to the creature that generated it for as long as that creature is within its area.
Starting at 3rd level, opponents within the Gloom become cursed and take a –2 penalty on skill checks and Reflex saves while within its area.
Starting at 9th level, opponents within the Gloom also take a –4 penalty to their AC and on attack and damage rolls within its area.
This ability replaces grim news.
At 4th level, a ravenlord’s dark messenger’s type changes to magical beast and it gains Toughness as a bonus feat. Do not recalculate its base attack bonus, hit points (except those granted by Toughness), saving throws, or skills. In addition, the dark messenger can change its size once per round as a free action. At 4th level, it can become Small or Medium size, at 10th level, up to Large size, and at 16th level, up to Huge size. The dark messenger cannot use this ability to become smaller than Small size. The dark messenger’s ability scores do not change when it uses this ability.
This ability replaces massacre.
At 11 level, a ravenlord gains the ability to swap places with his dark messenger once per encounter as an immediate action. In order to use this ability, the ravenlord and his dark messenger must be within long range (400 feet + 40 feet per ravenlord level) of each other. If the ravenlord uses this ability in response to one or more attacks or effects targeting himself or the dark messenger, each becomes the potential target of such effects targeting the other. For example, if the ravenlord is targeted with a charge attack, he can activate this ability to exchange places with his dark messenger. The dark messenger would then be the target of the charge attack. This is a teleportation effect, and if either the ravenlord or his dark messenger are prevented from teleporting for any reason (such as by a dimensional anchor spell), the ability fails and its use for the encounter is expended. At 17th level, the ravenlord can use this ability twice per encounter.
Starting at 13th level, the Gloom generated by a ravenlord’s channel of woe class feature lasts for a number of rounds equal to his ravenlord initiation modifier modifier. Additionally, opponents within the Gloom become incapable of benefiting from insight or morale bonuses while within its area.
This ability replaces dark murmur.
Both the ravenlord and his dark messenger gain the benefits of the ravenlord’s whispers of atrocity class feature. This ability otherwise functions as normal.
This ability alters whispers of atrocity.
Path of War – Expanded, © 2016, Dreamscarred Press.