The blackguard, introduced in Heroes of Shadow is an anti-paladin, a striker class who worships the more ‘evil’ gods and gains his power from his vice. Its a flavourful and mechanically interesting class, but is poor in comparison to a lot of the other essentials builds such as the Slayer or Elementalist. Heroes of Shadow was a massively undersupported book, lacking racial feats, magic items, or many other standard 4e sections to make it interesting. In addition, the classes featured in the book have almost been forgotten by WotC.
So I’d like to present you with 2 new Vices, the Vice of Seduction, originally written for the UK Drowathon blog, and heavily influenced by Lolth and the Rise of the Underdark storyline, and the more than a little bit distrubing, Vice of Gluttony…
Vice of Seduction
The life of a drow is tense and deadly. From conflicts with rival houses, to raiders from the Underdark, to assassination at the whim of the matriachol mothers and priestess’, it is a surprise that lust and sex is a large part of their society. But sex, whether it is consensual or not, lust, and seduction are a huge factor in their culture. It offers a momentarily release from the fear of inevitable death, a feeling of closeness, of bonding with others of your species. Few drow live to old age, so procreation is viewed almost like immortality, a way to beat death.
To this end, the drow have taken their natural strengths, self-confidence, deceit, betrayal, and learnt to wield it as a force of power, crafty their armour and weapons to take advantage of their agile forms and exotic sensuality. Those that embrace the shadows and the pleasure that come with them, do so without regard for morality, the emotional gain from the physical release of tempting and eliminating a foe.
Alignment: Those who follow the teachings of the drow temptresses and pleasure-mistresses do so becuase they have an Evil heart and worship evil goddesses such as Lolth.
Level 1: Spirit of Vice (Seduction)
While some blackguards punish those who oppose them, embodying wrath, determination, and self-mutlation, to you, a battle is merely a playground for you to tempt and seduce within, capturing your foes hearts before slaughtering them when they are weakened by your beauty.
Benefit: When you use the bluff skill to gain combat advantage against an adjacent enemy, you make the check as a minor action.
Level 1: Vice At-Will Power (Seduction)
Your presence upon the battlefield is a distraction, your disregard for the social norms of sexuality a key to your success.
Benefit: You gain the seductive strike power.
Seductive Strike * Paladin Attack 1
“Even underneath your armour, your foe can sense your lithe movements, distracting them.”
At-Will * Divine, Enchantment, Weapon
Standard Action * Melee Weapon
Target: One Creature
Attack: Strength vs AC
Hit: 1W + Strength modifier damage. The target takes a penalty to it’s next attack roll against you equal to your Charisma modifier.
Level 7: Improved Shroud of Shadow (Seduction)
Drawing on the shadows to empower you, you weave them around you to emphasise your body’s natural assets.
Benefit: When you use your shroud of shadow power, you gain a +2 bonus to bluff checks until the end of your next turn.
Vice of Gluttony
If cavaliers are shining examples of purity and virtue, then blackguards are the opposite, embracing the many pleasure and sins that life allows. Some turn to anger and pain, others to domination and control of weaker beings. Others still explore their sexuality, using their body to seduce and tempt. But the stengest of these dark sinners are those who embrace the vice of gluttony. They are often apathetic beings, who feel like the goal their existance is simply sample whatever life throws at them, from sex, to drugs, to human flesh. and sample it they do, with incredible frequency.
While many are surprised that such worshippers of debased self pleasure would take up the mantle of heroic adventurer, it should not shock, for the life of an adventurer is one of exposure to new cultures, new experiences, new food and drink. The life of an adventurer brings with it the reward of wealth, and money is needed to truly feast upon every available morsel.
Alignment: Those who embrace gluttony tend towards worship of Neutral dieties.
Level 1: Spirit of Vice (Gluttony)
The blackguards who embrace the gluttonious path are hardy beings, their bodies warped by layers of fat and flesh. As they fight and prayer to the gods of pleasure and pain, their heaving masses solidify, absorbing and deflecting blows that would kill lesser men.
Benefit: When you gain temporay hit points from a paladin power, you gain resistance to all damage equal to your Constitution modifier. The damage resistance lasts until the end of your next turn, and your speed is reduced by one while you have the resistance.
Level 1: Vice At-Will Power (Gluttony)
While all adventurers are exposed to the new experiences and tastes, those who have given into this vice embrace acts that are vile and disturbing. As they fight and slaughter goblins, orcs, kobolds or yuan-ti, they are filled with the growing temptation of cannibalism, the desire to feast upon the flesh of their fallen foes.
Benefit: You gain the feasting strike power.
Feasting Strike * Paladin Attack 1
“As you flail flesh from your opponents bones, you crave a taste, knowing that giving in to the desire will only make you stronger.”
At-Will * Divine, Healing, Weapon
Standard Action * Melee Weapon
Target: One Creature
Attack: Strength vs Fortitude
Hit: 1W + Strength modifier damage. If the target was granting you combat advantage, you gain temporary hit points equal to your Constitution modifier
Level 7: Improved Shroud of Shadow (Gluttony)
The shadows swirl and whisper to you, showing you the dark secrets that can be feasted upon if you open your heart to the experience, restoring you so that you can be tempted again and again.
Benefit: When you use your shroud of shadow power, you regain hit points equal to the amount of temporary hit points received.