Malefactors are dangerous to their allies and even more so to their adversaries. A malefactor that has mastered the ability to transfer his own ill fate to others is truly a dangerous opponent.

Role: Malefactors are potent, if haphazard, forces on the battlefield. While malefactors are not the most practiced warriors, their ability to efficiently attenuate the skill, power, and luck of their foes can turn almost any tide. If they can avoid hampering their allies, they can bring a battle to a quick and successful end. While not inherently evil, good alignments find it problematic to willingly harm allies. The gifts of the Yla are a double-edged sword.

Adventurers: The life of a malefactor tends to be that of a drifter. Once too many coincidences and ill omens are connected to their presence, they move on (usually with great haste). By their intrinsic natures, adventure seems to find them.

Alignment: While malefactors have more pull on the strings of fate than most, they are also, ironically, more tightly bound than most others. As this is not a path that one gets to choose, it isn’t surprising that their alignments run the gamut between law and chaos, and good and evil.

Religion: Most malefactors feel they have overcome fate itself and wonder what good the gods could do for them. They find no need for them in their lives, as their destiny is their own to steer. While some become aware of the Yla spirits that surround them, some are ignorant as to precisely how their ability to cause misfortune functions at all. Since many malefactors were persecuted in their youth by misguided zealots, they are frequently distrustful of priests and shamans.

Hit Die: d8

Starting Wealth: 3d6 × 10 gp (average 105 gp.) In addition, each character begins play with an outfit worth 10 gp or less.

Class Skills

The malefactor’s class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Acrobatics (Dex), Bluff (Cha), Climb (Str), Craft (Int), Disguise (Cha), Intimidate (Cha), Knowledge (arcana) (Int), Profession (Wis), Sense Motive (Wis), Stealth (Dex), Swim (Str) and Use Magic Device (Cha).

Skill Ranks Per Level: 6 + Int modifier.

Table: The Malefactor
Level Base Attack Bonus Fort Save Ref Save Will Save Special
1 +0 +0 +2 +2 Aura of misfortune (-2), strife pool, malediction (20 ft.)
2 +1 +0 +3 +3 Harrowing strike (attack rolls), strife surge
3 +2 +1 +3 +3 Luck of the damned, malediction
4 +3 +1 +4 +4 Cursebreaker, steal victory
5 +3 +1 +4 +4 Harrowing strike (damage rolls), malediction
6 +4 +2 +5 +5 Aura of misfortune (-3)
7 +5 +2 +5 +5 Cursebound, malediction
8 +6/1 +2 +6 +6 Harrowing strike (bypass concealment)
9 +6/1 +3 +6 +6 Malediction (40 ft.), discord
10 +7/2 +3 +7 +7 Bonus feat, Dread escalations
11 +8/3 +3 +7 +7 Harrowing strike (1d6 bleed), malediction
12 +9/4 +4 +8 +8 Aura of misfortune (-4)
13 +9/4 +4 +8 +8 Dire displacement, malediction
14 +10/5 +4 +9 +9 Harrowing strike (second strike)
15 +11/+6/+1 +5 +9 +9 Reject defeat, malediction (60 ft.)
16 +12/+7/+2 +5 +10 +10 Curse sense
17 +12/+7/+2 +5 +10 +10 Harrowing strike (touch attacks), malediction
18 +13/+8/+3 +6 +11 +11 Aura of misfortune (-5)
19 +14/+9/+4 +6 +11 +11 Great discord, malediction
20 +15/+10/+5 +6 +12 +12 Ruinous ascension, harrowing strike (2d6 bleed)

Class Features

The following are class features of the malefactor.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency

Malefactors are proficient with all simple weapons plus the hand and light crossbows, rapier, longsword, shortbow and shortsword. They are proficient with light and medium armor, plus shields (excluding tower shields).

Aura of Misfortune (Su)

All creatures (including the malefactor herself) within 10′ of the malefactor are subject to a -2 profane penalty to their saving throws. This penalty increases to -3 at 6th level, and increases by an additional -1 every six levels thereafter. This ability functions only while the malefactor is conscious, not if she is unconscious or dead.

Strife Pool (Ex)

At first level, Yla spirits provide the malefactor with a supply of supernatural chaotic energy called Strife, which the malefactor can use to twist luck in a variety of ways. The maximum number of points in the malefactor’s Strife pool is equal to ½ her malefactor level + her Wisdom modifier. A malefactor’s supply of Strife is replenished to maximum every 24 hours, at the same time each day. As long as the malefactor has at least one point of Strife, she is immune to the effects of her own aura of misfortune.

Malediction (Sp)

A malefactor’s most potent power lies with the ability to place their own misfortune upon others. These powers are called maledictions. At 1st level, the malefactor gains one malediction of their choice. They gain an additional malediction every 2 levels attained after 1st level, as noted on Table: The Malefactor.

Apt Curse (Sp): The target of this malediction must make a Will save or suffer a 50% chance of taking no action each round the malediction is in effect. Otherwise, the target may act normally.

Dread Escalation: The duration increases to permanent, and the save DC increases by 2.

Cost: 1 Strife.

Benign Weapon (Su): Once per round, as a free action, when the malefactor is struck by an enemy wielding a manufactured melee weapon, she may use this malediction to lessen its effectiveness, as Yla spirits cling to the weapon’s striking surface and cushion its blows. Enemies who fail a Reflex save against this malediction find that their weapons deal damage as if they were one size smaller for the duration of the effect. This effect does not stack.

Dread Escalation: The Yla spirits clinging to the weapon twist and wrench at it, making the wielder take a -2 penalty on each attack made with it, for the duration of the effect.

Cost: 1 Strife.

Cross the Path (Sp): A malefactor who successfully uses the Acrobatics skill to pass through a creature’s threatened area may target them with this malediction as a swift action. If the target fails a Will save, he is considered flanked until the beginning of the malefactor’s next turn.

Dread Escalation: The target remains flanked until the end of the malefactor’s next turn.

Cost: 1 Strife.

Curse Weapon (Sp): With this malediction, a malefactor may suppress the enhancement of, or even curse a magic weapon. Attended weapons are entitled to a Will save to resist the effect. You may remove enhancement bonuses or special abilities up to a +2 value, effectively cursing the weapon with -2 worth of penalties. Special abilities without a an enhancement value cannot be targeted. An item that is reduced below +0 becomes cursed and any negative enhancement bonuses become penalties.

Dread Escalation: For each point of strife invested in the escalation, an additional -1 of penalties can be applied, up to a total of -5.

Eye of the Storm (Su): This malediction reduces the effectiveness of damaging area effect spells and effects, such as breath weapons. For the duration of this malediction, the target makes a Will save each time he uses an area effect that causes hit point damage, if he fails the save, each die of damage is reduced by 1, to a minimum of 1.

Dread Escalation: In the case of a failed save, in addition to the normal effect, the damaging effect is expressed in dice one size smaller than normal (d10 is reduced to d8, d6 to d4, etcetera, to a minimum die size of d3).

Cost: 3 Strife.

Dolt’s Grace (Sp): The target of this malediction must make a Fort save or suffer a -5 profane penalty to skill checks for the duration of the effect.

Dread Escalation: The penalty increases to -10, and the save DC increases by 2.

Cost: 1 Strife.

Feast of Fate (Su): The target of this malediction must make a Will save, or be unable to benefit from natural or magical healing for the duration of the effect. The malefactor gains 5 temporary hit points for each enemy that fails to save versus this effect, although an individual enemy can only be targeted with this malediction once per 24 hours. The temporary hit points gained in this manner stack and go away after the duration has elapsed.

Dread Escalation: The duration of the effect doubles, and the save DC increases by 2.

Cost: 2 Strife.

Foolschant (Sp): This cacophonous, nonsensical malediction takes the form of an emanation from the malefactor, permeating the extent of its range. For the duration of the effect, all spellcasters within this emanation must make Concentration checks equal to 5 + the spells level, or lose the spell. This is a sonic, mind-affecting effect.

Dread Escalation: The concentration check DC increases to 10 + the spell’s level.

Cost: 2 Strife.

Fray (Su): This subtle malediction breaks down and destroys fibrous materials like cloth, ropes, webs, and vines. Attended objects and magical effects are entitled to a Fort save to resist the effect. Otherwise, the targeted object (or 5′ square of fibrous material) takes 5 points of damage per round, bypassing DR, for the duration of the effect, as Yla spirits pick it apart.

Dread Escalation: The malediction’s destructive energy can be expended in a single round, in the form of an attempt to burst, shred, or break the obstruction. This works similarly to the area effect function of a shatter spell (centered anywhere within the malediction’s range), only targeting fibrous materials.

Cost: 1 Strife

Hesitation (Sp): The target of this malediction must make a Will save or take a -5 penalty to his initiative, immediately lowering his position in the initiative count. If the target has already acted in the round this takes place, he does not act again until the next round. Depending on the initiative count, this may have no effect upon the initiative order.

Dread Escalation: The initiative penalty increases to -10.

Cost: 2 Strife.

Lightning Rod (Sp): Upon invoking this malediction, the malefactor becomes supernaturally attractive to spells and effects that deal electricity damage. For the duration of the effect, any creature that attempts to use an electrical attack that takes the form of a line (including lightning bolt, call lightning, the breath weapon of a blue dragon, and other, similar effects) must make a Will save, or place the malefactor within the area of effect, if possible. The malefactor is treated as having evasion versus electrical effects for the duration of this malediction, and if she makes a successful Reflex save, the line of effect terminates at the malefactor’s square, regardless of its normal range.

Dread Escalation: Rather than the line of effect terminating in the malefactor’s square with a successful Reflex save, the malefactor can divert any remaining area of the attack, in any direction he chooses, even directing it back at the point of origin.

Cost: 2 Strife.

Leaden Arms (Sp): The target of this malediction must make a Fort save or be restricted to one fewer attack of opportunity per round than normal (for most creatures, this results in them being unable to take any attacks of opportunity).

Dread Escalation: The target becomes unable to make any attacks of opportunity for the duration of the effect.

Cost: 2 Strife.

Oafstep (Su): You cause a single foe to suddenly lose his footing. Choose a target. They are subjected to a trip combat maneuver by the malefactor. Use the malefactor’s level in place of her BAB and Wisdom bonus instead of Strength bonus.

Dread Escalation: The target hits the ground with such tremendous force that he is nauseated for one round.

Cost: 1 Strife.

Squirming Grip (Su): Choose an object held by a target. They are subjected to a disarm combat maneuver by the malefactor. Use the malefactor’s level in place of her BAB and Wisdom bonus instead of Strength bonus.

Dread Escalation: The dropped object bounces and skitters 1d4 x 10 ft. in a direction chosen by the malefactor. If the object then enters the malefactor’s square, she can catch it as a free action, if she has a hand free.

Cost: 2 Strife.

Taboo (Sp): With an imperious warning, a malefactor can decree a single creature within the range of this malediction to be taboo. Creatures that attempt to make a melee attack against, touch, or pass through the square occupied by a Taboo creature must make a Will save or become stunned for one round. A malefactor can also make a large or smaller unattended object taboo (Malefactors frequently use this malediction to cut off escape routes). Once a creature successfully saves against the Taboo malediction, he cannot be affected by it again for 24 hours. The malefactor can only have one taboo active at a given time. This is a sonic, mind affecting effect.

Dread Escalation: Creatures that fail their saves against a Dread Taboo are blinded and deafened in addition to being stunned, and the effect lasts for an additional round.

Cost: 3 Strife.

To the Hilt (Su): The target of this malediction finds his movements buffeted by unseen forces, and even glancing blows dig deeply. For the duration of the effect, weapons deal damage to the target as if the attacker had the Improved Critical feat. Fort save negates.

Dread Escalation: Against the target, attackers are also treated as if they possess the Critical Focus feat.

Cost: 1 Strife.

Ungainly Lunge (Su): The target of this malediction must make a Will save or be unable to make 5-foot steps for the duration of the effect.

Dread Escalation: Once per round, if the affected creature fails a Reflex save, or makes a missed melee attack, he provokes an attack of opportunity.

Cost: 2 Strife.

Unwilling Bodyguard (Sp): A creature targeted with this malediction must make a Will save or become irresistibly attractive to ranged attacks. While this malediction is in effect, any ranged weapon attacks (but not magical ranged touch attacks, such as rays) that target the malefactor and miss instead target the afflicted enemy, using the same modifiers as the original attack, as long as the enemy is within 10′ of the malefactor. A malefactor can only have one creature under the effects of unwilling bodyguard at a time.

Dread Escalation: If the creature affected by this malediction is within 10 ft. of the malefactor, the malefactor is treated as having cover from ranged attacks.

Cost: 2 Strife.

A malefactor cannot select an individual malediction more than once. Any malediction that mimics a spell uses the malefactors level as an effective caster level.

Unless otherwise noted, using a malediction is a standard action that does not provoke an attack of opportunity. The save to resist a malediction is equal to 10 + 1/2 the malefactor’s level + the malefactor’s Wisdom modifier. At first level, Maledictions have a range of 20 ft. This range increases to 40 ft. at 9th level and to 60 ft. at 15th level. The duration for these abilities is equal to the malefactor’s Wisdom modifier (minimum of 1 round), unless specified otherwise.

Harrowing Strike (Su)

As a standard action, the malefactor can spend a point of Strife to make a special attack called a Harrowing strike. This melee attack, made at her highest attack bonus, functions against any target currently suffering from a curse effect.

At 2nd level, the malefactor making a Harrowing Strike adds her Wisdom bonus to attack rolls. At 5th level, the malefactor can add her Wisdom bonus to both her attack and damage rolls.

At 8th level, the malefactor automatically bypasses concealment with her Harrowing Strikes (targets with total concealment are treated as if they only had concealment).

At 11th level, a malefactor’s Harrowing Strikes deal 1d6 bleed damage (as semi-tangible Yla spirits claw and tear at the target).

At 14th level, the malefactor may make a second Harrowing strike as part of the same standard action, against any eligible target. Both Harrowing strikes this round are made at a -2 penalty.

At 17th level a malefactor’s Harrowing Strikes are made as touch attacks.

At 20th level Harrowing Strikes deal 2d6 bleed damage, and the DC of the Heal check made to stop the bleed effect rises to 10 + ½ the malefactor’s level + her Wisdom bonus. Magical healing only stops this bleed damage with a successful caster level check against the same DC.

Strife Surge (Ex)

Whenever a creature within a malefactor’s aura of misfortune rolls a “natural 1” on a saving throw or attack roll, the Yla spirits become energized. For the next round, whenever the malefactor uses an ability or malediction that normally requires an expenditure of Strife, the amount of Strife consumed is reduced by 1, to a minimum of zero.

Luck of the Damned (Ex)

Your experience avoiding the caustic whims of the Yla enable you to subtly step between the jagged tendrils of misfortune. You add your Wisdom bonus to your Reflex and Fortitude saves.

Cursebreaker (Sp)

The malefactor can break curses by drawing them into themselves. At will, the malefactor can target a creature with remove curse, using her malefactor level as her caster level. Whether the curse is successfully removed or not, the malefactor must save against the curse’s effects (at the original DC) each time she uses this ability, suffering the effects herself if the save is failed.

Steal Victory (Su)

At 4th level, the malefactor can stifle the luck of an opponent. As an immediate action, whenever a target within 10′ rolls a d20 for an attack roll, the malefactor may spend a point of Strife to force the target to roll two dice for their attack, and use the lowest roll. The malefactor must do this before the result of the roll is known.

Cursebound (Ex)

The malefactor may now choose to become immune to cursed items and can use the items without suffering any ill effects.

The malefactor can use any beneficial properties the item possesses, but is not hindered by the items detrimental properties. Once the item is no longer in the possession of the malefactor, it reverts back to its normal, cursed state. The malefactor is never hindered in any way by a cursed item, and can always remove them from her possession if she desires to do so.

Example: A malefactor with the Cursebound ability picks up a helm of opposite alignment. It functions as a standard helm for the malefactor, with no hindrance to her alignment. If that item is then given to another person, it then takes full effect.

Additionally, as long as the malefactor has at least one point of Strife, she gains a +4 bonus to save against any type of curse or hex attempted against them, such as a Witch’s hex or bestow curse spell.

Discord (Ex)

Creatures that team up to attack a malefactor find that they impede each other more than they help. Characters using the Aid Another action against a malefactor need to successfully attack AC 15, rather than AC 10, in order to have an effect, and creatures that flank the malefactor take a -2 profane penalty on their attack rolls against her instead of the normal +2 bonus.

Bonus Feat (Ex)

A malefactor gains a bonus feat at 10th level, which may be chosen from the following list:

Baleful Aura, Cursed Weapon, Extended Strife Surge, Extra Strife, Extra Malediction, Focused Malediction, Improved Cursebreaking, Improved Strife Surge, Quick Malediction, Tenacious Malediction.

Dread Escalations (Sp)

Once a malefactor reaches 10th level, she gains the ability to enhance the power of her Maledictions by spending Strife at the moment of enaction. These are called Dread Escalations, and are described in greater detail in each individual malediction entry.

Dire Displacement (Sp)

As a swift action, a malefactor may spend a point of Strife to enter a state of displacement, as the spell, for one round.

Should an opponent make an unsuccessful melee attack against the malefactor due to the displacement effect, Yla spirits redirect that attack against a random creature within the attacker’s reach, using the same modifiers as the original attack.

Reject Defeat (Ex)

By spending a point of Strife, a malefactor with this ability that rolls a “natural 1” on any saving throw may immediately re-roll. The malefactor must take the results of this re-roll.

Curse Sense (Su)

At 16th level, a malefactor gains a precise awareness of the subtle auras given off by a cursed object or creature. A malefactor detects cursed creatures (including creatures carrying cursed objects) within 30′ as if by blindsense. In addition, she can automatically determine if a magical item is cursed by sight, without the need for a Spellcraft check.

Great Discord (Ex)

Creatures near the malefactor become even more inept. Creatures within the malefactor’s aura of misfortune take a -5 profane penalty on attack rolls made while flanking, and must successfully attack AC 25 in order to use the Aid Another action.

Ruinous Ascension (Ex)

At 20th level, a malefactor undergoes a perfect apotheosis of misfortune. She is permanently immune to any spell with the curse descriptor that allows spell resistance. In addition, her aura of misfortune is especially oppressive. Any creature within the Aura treats a roll of “natural 2” as if it was a “natural 1,” with regards to both saving throws and attack rolls (and abilities like Strife Surge).

Favored Class Bonuses

Instead of receiving an additional skill rank or hit point whenever they gain a level in a Favored Class, some races have the option of choosing from a number of other bonuses, depending upon their Favored Classes. The following options are available to the listed race who have malefactors as their Favored Class, and unless otherwise stated, the bonus applies each time you select the listed Favored Class reward.

Class Specific Feats

The following class specific feats are available to a malefactor character who meets the necessary prerequisites.

Table: Favored Class Bonuses
Race Bonus Source
3rd Party Publishers
Total Party Kill Games
Aasimar +1 hit point or +1/4 bonus to penetrate and save against curses with their Cursebreaker ability. TPK:M
Dwarves +1 hit point, +1 skill point or +1/6 to all Malediction save DC’s. TPK:M
Changelings +1 hit point or +1/6 additional Maledictions. TPK:M
Dhampir +1 skill point or +1/4 dodge bonus to armor class in any round when performing the malefactor’s Harrowing Strike ability. TPK:M
+1 skill point or +1/2 bonus to CMD against a specific Combat Maneuver. TPK:M
Elves +1 skill point or +1/4 to penetrate and save against curses with their Cursebreaker ability. TPK:M
Fetchlings +1 skill point or +1/4 bonus to your aura of misfortune power per level. TPK:M
Gnomes +1 hit points or a +1/4 luck bonus to all Disable Device checks. TPK:M
Goblins +1/6 bonus malefactor feat. TPK:M
Half-Elves +1 skill point or +1/3 extra point of Strife. TPK:M
Half-Orcs +1/4 bonus to your aura of misfortune power per level. TPK:M
Halflings Choose any other race’s favored class bonus for the malefactor, and may change this at every level if they choose. TPK:M
Humans +1/6 additional Maledictions per level. TPK:M
Tieflings +1 skill point or +1/6 bonus malefactor feat. TPK:M
Jon Brazer Enterprises
Duergar Add a +1/4 bonus to your malefactor level when attempting to break the curse of another creature. The malefactor must be 4th level before selecting this ability. JBE:SF:FCO
Hobgoblin Choose one malediction. The DC to resist this power increases by +1/3. JBE:SF:FCO
Orc Add a +1/4 bonus to your aura of misfortune ability. JBE:SF:FCO
Ratfolk Add +1/3 point to the malefactor’s strife pool. JBE:SF:FCO
Wayang Add +1 foot to the radius of your aura of misfortune (to a maximum of 20 feet). This option has no effect unless the malefactor has selected it 5 times (or another increment of 5); an aura of 14 feet is effectively the same as an aura of 10 feet, for example. JBE:SF:FCO

Archetypes/Alternate Class Features

When a character selects a class, he must choose to use the standard class features found or those listed in one of the archetypes presented here. Each alternate class feature replaces a specific class feature from its parent class. For example, the elemental fist class feature of the monk of the four winds replaces the stunning fist class feature of the monk. When an archetype includes multiple class features, a character must take all of them—often blocking the character from ever gaining certain familiar class features, but replacing them with equally powerful options. All of the other class features found in the core class and not mentioned among the alternate class features remain unchanged and are acquired normally when the character reaches the appropriate level (unless noted otherwise). A character who takes an alternate class feature does not count as having the class feature that was replaced when meeting any requirements or prerequisites.

A character can take more than one archetype and garner additional alternate class features, but none of the alternate class features can replace or alter the same class feature from the core class as another alternate class feature. For example, a paladin could not be both a hospitaler and an undead scourge since they both modify the smite evil class feature and both replace the aura of justice class feature. A paladin could, however, be both an undead scourge and a warrior of the holy light, since none of their new class features replace the same core class feature.

Archetypes are a quick and easy way to specialize characters of a given class, adding fun and flavorful new abilities to already established adventurers. Characters may take more than one archetype if they meet the requirements.

Table: Malefactor Archetypes / Alternate Class Features
Archetype / Alternate Class Feature Class Features Changed or Replaced
Class Skills Skill Ranks per Level Weapon & Armor Aura of Misfortune Strife Pool Malediction Harrowing Strike Strife Surge Luck of the Damned Cursebreaker Steal Victory Cursebound Discord Bonus Feat Dread Escalations Dire Displacement Reject Defeat Curse Sense Great Discord Ruinous Ascension
1 6 12 18 1 3 5 7 9 11 13 15 17 19 2 8 11 14 17 20
3rd Party Publishers
Total Party Kill Games

Doom Hearld



X=replaced, (X)=optional replacement, C=changed, 1=archetype package 1, 2=archetype package 2

Malefactors In Your Campaign

Malefactors add a very interesting new dynamic to the game table. In order to maximize their own abilities, the malefactor usually needs to use their auras and maledictions to the detriment of those around them. Will the other players allow the malefactor free rein to use their abilities to their fullest, or will they blame every bad thing that happens to them on the malefactor player? As a support member of a party, the malefactor has some great abilities to debuff enemies and increase their own strength. Their ability to remove curses is invaluable to an adventuring team. In addition, malefactors can be capable combatants when supporting other primary warriors.

Section 15: Copyright Notice

The Malefactor Base Class. Copyright, June 25, 2012, Total Party Kill Games. Author(s): Brian Berg and James Olchak.

scroll to top