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Dread Crusher

“Feel the weight of this weapon. It will shatter steel, stone and bones alike!”

The dread crusher is a warrior who specializes in the use of heavy bludgeoning weapons. They are known for their brute force and devastating attacks capable of crumpling even the most heavily armored opponents. Dread crushers have a reputation for relishing combat and destruction, and are frequently treated with caution by friend and foe alike.

Hit Die: d10


To qualify to become a dread crusher, a character must fulfill all of the following criteria.

Class Skills

The class skills for this class (and the key ability for each skill) are Climb (Str), Craft (Int), Handle Animal (Cha), Intimidate (Cha), Knowledge (dungeoneering) (Int), Knowledge (engineering) (Int), Profession (Wis), Ride (Dex), Survival (Wis), and Swim (Str).

Skill Ranks at Each Level: 2 + Int modifier

Table: The Dread Crusher
Class Level BAB Fort Save Ref Save Will Save Special
1st +0 +1 +0 +0 Crushing Discipline, Dread Sunder
2nd +1 +2 +0 +0 Crush Armor +1
3rd +2 +2 +1 +1 Crushing Whirlwind
4th +3 +3 +1 +1 Improved Power Attack
5th +4 +3 +1 +1 Crush Armor +2, Crushing Mental Focus (cold iron, silver, or magic)
6th +5 +4 +2 +2 Knockback
7th +6 +4 +2 +2 Stunning Blow
8th +7 +5 +2 +2 Crush Armor +3
9th +8 +5 +3 +3 Shockwave 1/day
10th +9 +6 +3 +3 Crippling Strike, Crushing Mental Focus (cold iron, silver, magic, or adamantine)

Class Features

All of the following are class features of the dread crusher prestige class.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency

A dread crusher does not gain any additional weapon or armor proficiencies. However, they disdain the use of weapons other than the heavy mace, morningstar, flail, heavy flail, dire flail, greatclub or warhammer and suffer penalties when using them (see below).

Crushing Discipline (Ex)

Because of the time and discipline required to master the dread crusher’s specialized weapon(s) to such a high level, the dread crusher must neglect practice with other weapons and with shields. Over time, his skill with them decays and he suffers a –2 penalty to attack rolls with all other weapons and suffers an additional –2 armor check penalty to attack rolls when using shields. These penalties apply even if the dread crusher is proficient with these other weapons or shields. Furthermore, dread crushers are forbidden from ever taking the Weapon Focus feat for any type of weapon other than the listed weapons or they lose all their prestige class abilities.

Dread Sunder (Ex)

At 1st level, the dread crusher gets a +1 damage bonus when attempting to sunder while using a heavy mace, morningstar, flail, dire flail, or warhammer and a +2 damage bonus when attempting to sunder using a heavy flail or greatclub.

Crush Armor (Ex)

At 2nd level, the dread crusher becomes an expert at using his specialized weapons to deliver crushing blows targeted against the weak points in armor. When using one of these weapons against opponents wearing heavy armor or those with a natural armor bonus of +5 or more, the dread crusher gains a bonus to his attack roll. This bonus is +1 at 2nd level and increases at 5th and 8th level.

Crushing Whirlwind (Ex)

At 3rd level, the dread crusher’s skills with his specialized weapons become so great he can wield two one-handed weapons of his favored types (heavy mace, morningstar, flail or warhammer) of equal size with a reduced penalty (provided he is specialized in them). He suffers a –5 penalty to his regular attack or attacks with his primary hand and a –9 penalty to the attack with his off hand, instead of -6/-10. If he has the two-weapon fighting feat, his penalties would be reduced to -3/- 3. In addition, a dread crusher who uses a two-handed version of his specialized weapon rather than two weapons now gains a +1 competence bonus to initiative.

Improved Power Attack (Ex)

At 4th level, the dread crusher’s power attack becomes more powerful. When using Power Attack with one of his specialized weapon types, he re-rolls all 1’s and 2’s on damage dice.

Crushing Mental Focus (Su)

At 5th level, the dread crusher’s mental focus with his specialized weapons now reaches a supernatural level and he gains the ability to bypass certain types of damage reduction. He may choose one of the following types of damage reduction: cold iron, alchemical silver, or magic. Once chosen, the type cannot be changed. From this point on, any of the dread crusher’s specialized weapons counts as if it were made of that type of material whenever he uses it against opponents with that type of damage reduction. Furthermore, if the dread crusher obtains a weapon made of a special material different than his mental focus choice, the weapon is considered to have both types. Thus, a dread crusher with the ability to bypass alchemical silver and wielding a magic heavy mace, morningstar, flail, heavy flail, dire flail, greatclub or warhammer can bypass both silver and magic damage reduction.

At 10th level, his mental focus increases and he may choose another type of damage reduction to bypass from the previous list, or he may choose adamantine.

Knockback (Ex)

At 6th level, on a successful critical hit with one of his specialized weapons, the dread crusher can potentially knock his opponent back in addition to the extra damage inflicted. If he so desires, the dread crusher can make an opposed Strength roll vs. the target. If he succeeds, the impact of the blow is so great that the target is pushed back 5 ft., as if it had been bull rushed. Knockback is not effective against opponents two or more size categories larger than the dread crusher.

Stunning Blow (Ex)

At 7th level, the dread crusher gains the ability to use his specialized weapons to deliver a stunning blow to his opponents. He must declare that he is attempting a stunning blow before making his attack roll (thus, a failed attack roll ruins the attempt). Stunning Blow forces a foe damaged by the attack to make a Fortitude saving throw (DC 11 + 1 per dread crusher class level), in addition to dealing damage normally. A defender who fails to save is stunned for 1 round. The dread crusher may attempt a stunning attack once per day for every four levels of the prestige class he has attained and no more than 38 once per round. Thus, a character with eight dread crusher prestige class levels could use the ability twice per day. Constructs, oozes, plants, undead, incorporeal creatures, and creatures immune to critical hits cannot be stunned.

Shockwave (Ex)

At 9th level, when using two of his one-handed specialized weapon types or when using a single two-handed specialized weapon, the dread crusher can smash the ground with his weapon(s), creating a shockwave that can potentially stagger all opponents (no more than one size category larger than himself) within 10 ft. who are standing on the ground. The dread crusher makes a single CMB vs. CMD check which is applied to each opponent. Those he beats are staggered for one round. This ability is usable once per day and requires a standard action.

Crippling Strike (Ex)

At 10th level, the dread crusher can deliver devastating blows that cripple his opponents. Once per day, he may use one of his melee attacks to make a crippling strike with one of his specialized weapons. An opponent damaged by this attack takes 2d4 points of temporary Strength or Dexterity damage (dread crusher’s choice). Ability points lost to damage return at the rate of 1 point per day for each damaged ability.

Section 15: Copyright Notice

Grimoire Viperian: A Tome of Exotic Lore Copyright 2021 Magic Skull Games Author: Steven F. Johnson