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Viper Assassin

“A serpent’s strike is quicker than the eye and deadlier than any weapon made by man.”

The viper assassin spends time studying poisons and models his attacks after the viper’s abilities and hunting techniques. Unlike a standard assassin, he is not as skilled at delivering a single death blow. Instead, he seeks to strike swiftly, inflict a deadly, crippling wound that will kill the target over a short period of time, and then retreat to safety and wait. He often employs a trained pet viper in his assassination missions, sending the snake in to administer a deadly bite, or using it as a distraction and flanker when he makes his own attack.

Hit Die: d8

Requirements

To qualify to become a viper assassin, 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 Acrobatics (Dex), Appraise (Int), Bluff (Cha), Climb (Str), Craft (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Disable Device (Dex), Disguise (Cha), Escape Artist (Dex), Handle Animal (Cha), Intimidate (Cha), Knowledge (dungeoneering, local, nature), Linguistics (Int), Perception (Wis), Perform (Cha), Profession (Wis), Sense Motive (Wis), Sleight of Hand (Dex), Stealth (Dex), Swim (Str), and Use Magic Device (Cha).

Skill Ranks at Each Level: 4 + Int modifier

Table: The Viper Assassin
Class Level BAB Fort Save Ref Save Will Save Special
1st +0 +0 +1 +0 Sneak Attack +1d6, Viper Strike, Poison Use
2nd +1 +1 +1 +1 +1 save vs. poison, Uncanny Dodge, Viper Speed
3rd +2 +1 +2 +1 Sneak Attack +2d6, Viper Animal Companion
4th +3 +1 +2 +1 +2 save vs. poison, Swift Poisoning, Skilled Assassin
5th +3 +2 +3 +2 Sneak Attack +3d6, Improved Uncanny Dodge
6th +4 +2 +3 +2 +3 save vs. poison, Bonus Combat Feat
7th +5 +2 +4 +2 Sneak Attack +4d6
8th +6 +3 +4 +3 +4 save vs. poison, Improved Critical (second weapon), Hide in Plain Sight
9th +6 +3 +5 +3 Sneak Attack +5d6
10th +7 +3 +5 +3 +5 save vs. poison, Viper Strike (greater blood loss)

Class Features

All of the following are class features of the viper assassin prestige class.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency

A viper assassin’s weapon training focuses on weapons suitable for stealth and sneak attacks. Assassins are proficient with the crossbow (hand, light or heavy), dagger (any type), dart, rapier, sap, shortbow (normal and composite), and short sword. Viper assassins are proficient with light armor but not with shields.

Sneak Attack

This is exactly like the rogue ability of the same name. The extra damage dealt increases by +1d6 at every other level (1st, 3rd, 5th, 7th and 9th). If a viper assassin gets a sneak attack bonus from another source, the bonuses on damage stack.

Viper Strike

A viper assassin is constantly honing the speed and precision of his combat skills. As a result, on a critical hit, viper assassins re-roll any 1’s rolled for damage. In addition, if using a piercing or slashing weapon, the critical hit bleeds for 1d3 points of damage per round for 1 round per viper assassin level. Bleeding damage increases to 1d4 points per round at 10th level. If the viper assassin has the Bleeding Critical feat, the bleeding damage stacks.

Poison Use

Viper assassins are trained in the use of poison and never risk accidentally poisoning themselves when applying poison to a blade. Viper Speed: At 2nd level, the viper assassin’s base land speed increases by +5 ft. This benefit applies only when he is wearing no armor or light armor and not carrying a heavy load. Apply this bonus before modifying the viper assassin’s speed because of any load carried or armor worn. This bonus stacks with any other bonuses to the viper assassin’s land speed.

Save Bonus vs. Poison

Viper assassins train with poisons of all types and slowly grow more and more resistant to their effects. This is reflected by a natural saving throw bonus to all poisons gained at 2nd level that increases by +1 for every two levels the viper assassin gains (+1 at 2nd level, +2 at 4th level, +3 at 6th level, and so on).

Uncanny Dodge (Ex)

Starting at 2nd level, a viper assassin cannot be caught flat-footed, even if the attacker is invisible. He still loses his Dexterity bonus to AC if immobilized. A viper assassin with this ability can still lose his Dexterity bonus to AC if an opponent successfully uses the feint action against him. If a viper assassin already has uncanny dodge from a different class, he automatically gains improved uncanny dodge instead.

Improved Critical

At 2nd level, the viper assassin’s melee skills with a particular weapon type (e.g., short sword, dagger, shortbow, etc.) improve to the extent that he gains the Improved Critical feat as a bonus, even if he does not meet the prerequisites. The assassin must choose the type of weapon immediately upon reaching 2nd level, and it must be a type he is already proficient with. He may not change it at a later date. Upon reaching 8th level, the viper assassin gains the Improved Critical feat as a bonus again. It must be a different weapon type than the type chosen at 2nd level. He may not change it at a later date.

Viper Companion

At 3rd level, the viper assassin gains a viper animal companion which he frequently uses on assassination missions. The viper companion is identical to that of a druid’s, except that it gains the Ability Focus (poison bite) feat instead of the ability to share spells. The viper assassin’s prestige class levels +3 are used to determine the companion’s abilities, so a rogue 5/viper assassin 5 would count as an 8th level druid. If the viper assassin already has a viper animal companion from another class, then his viper assassin prestige class levels stack with the other class to determine the companion’s abilities. If the viper assassin already has an animal companion that is not a viper, he must dismiss it in exchange for the new viper companion, and suffers no penalties for doing so. If the viper assassin loses his viper companion, he may gain a new one by spending 24 uninterrupted hours searching for a suitable replacement in an environment where vipers can typically be found.

Swift Poisoning

At 4th level, a viper assassin can apply a dose of poison to a weapon as a swift action.

Skilled Assassin

At 4th level, a viper assassin becomes so skilled at administering poison and striking critical areas with poisoned weapons that the DC of any poison he uses is increased by +1. In addition, he gains a +4 competence bonus when using the Sleight of Hand skill to hide weapons and small vials of poison on his body, or to hide his viper companion in a carried container, sack or even within his cloak or other clothing.

Improved Uncanny Dodge (Ex)

At 5th level and higher, a viper assassin can no longer be flanked. This defense denies a rogue the ability to sneak attack the assassin by flanking him, unless the attacker has at least four more rogue levels than the target has viper assassin levels. If a character already has uncanny dodge from another class, the levels from the classes that grant uncanny dodge stack to determine the minimum rogue level required to flank the character.

Bonus Combat Feat

At 6th level, the viper assassin gains a bonus Combat feat, provided he meets the prerequisites.

Hide in Plain Sight (Su)

At 8th level, a viper assassin gains the Hide in Plain Sight ability identical to the assassin prestige class.

Section 15: Copyright Notice

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