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The Malefactor








“Fate… destiny… luck… these are philosophical concepts that many know, but few are able to truly explain or prove. If destiny is predetermined, inevitable and unchangeable, is there any hope for we mortals to set our own paths? What of those that seem to be damned by fate, always at the mercy of a higher power? Is there any hope for us at all? It is rumored that some mortals can choose their own fate by selecting the correct paths as they walk through life. Others think that all of life’s events are predestined. There are rumors of those who understand fate’s cruel whims can free themselves and no longer be slaves to that harsh mistress. I can tell you those rumors are true… I have lived through perils that would kill even the most steeled warriors. I have slain many a fool that thought to prey upon me. I have danced with fate itself, and taken the lead.

What was once my misery is now my salvation, and your damnation. I am an accursed, a doomgiver — I am a malefactor.”

Some children begin life cruelly afflicted. Soon after birth, they and their families are beset by random misfortune, injury, and loss.

Frequently they are abandoned by their communities for being born under an inauspicious sign, or sacrificed to allay curses seemingly brought down by dark gods. In reality, the birth of these unfortunates was attended by intangible chaos-spirits known as Yla (EE-la). While the Yla are not inherently evil, they are prone to destruction, and ignorant of the pain and misfortune that they cause those whom they bond with. Sages do not know what causes the Yla to seek out an individual, but as of yet, no known spell or prayer can separate them from their chosen. Many afflicted by these spirits live lives of sorrowful destitution, sometimes taking their own lives in misery.

A choice few however, realize that while their affliction cannot be suppressed, it can be commanded. Whether through study or epiphany, these few learn to channel and command the devious spirits that surround them, turning their hardship into a powerful weapon. These few are known as malefactors.

In order to preserve their own lives, they willingly bring misfortune and woe to those around them.

They 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.

Class Features

Hit Points

Hit Dice: 1d8 per malefactor level

Hit Points at 1st Level: 8 + your Constitution modifier

Hit Points at Higher Levels: 1d8 (or 5) + your Constitution modifier per malefactor level after 1st.

Proficiencies

Armor: Light and medium armor

Weapons: Simple weapons, hand crossbows, longswords, rapiers, shortswords

Tools: None

Saving Throws: Wisdom, Charisma

Skills: Choose any three from Acrobatics, Arcana, Athletics, Deception, Insight, Intimidation, Perception, Persuasion, Sleight of Hand, Stealth and Survival.

Equipment

You start with the following equipment, in addition to the equipment granted by your background:

  • a rapier, (b) a longsword, or (c) any simple weapon
  • a shortbow and quiver of 20 arrows or (b) a shortsword
  • a burglar’s pack, (b) a dungeoneer’s pack, or (c) an explorer’s pack
  • Leather armor and a dagger
Table: The Malefactor
Level Proficiency Bonus Strife Maledictions Known Features
1st +2 2 1 Aura of Misfortune, Maledictions
2nd +2 2 1 Harrowing Strike, Strife Surge 
3rd +2 2 2 Luck of the Damned, Accursed Archetype 
4th +2 3 2 Cursebreaker, Ability Score Improvement 
5th +3 3 3 Harrowing Strike (damage rolls) 
6th +3 3 3 Cursebound 
7th +3 4 4 Archetype Feature 
8th +3 4 4 Harrowing Strike (bypass concealment), Ability Score
Improvement 
9th +4 4 5 Curse Sense 
10th +4 5 5 Discord, Archetype Feature 
11th +4 5 6 Harrowing Strike (1d8 necrotic) 
12th +4 5 6 Ability Score Improvement 
13th +5 6 7 Dire Displacement 
14th +5 6 7 Harrowing Strike (second strike) 
15th +5 6 8 Reject Defeat, Archetype Feature 
16th +5 7 8 Ability Score Improvement 
17th +6 7 9 Harrowing Strike (advantage) 
18th +6 7 9 Great Discord, Archetype Feature 
19th +6 8 10 Ability Score Improvement 
20th +6 8 10 Ruinous Ascension, Harrowing Strike (2d8 bleed) 

Class Features

Aura of Misfortune

At 1st level, all creatures coming within 10 ft. of you suffer a -1d4 penalty on all saving throws.

This ability functions only while you are conscious, not if you are unconscious or dead.

You also suffer this effect, but as long as you have one strife point, the penalty is negated for yourself.

Strife Pool

At 1st level, Yla spirits provide you with a supply of supernatural chaotic energy called strife, which you can use to twist luck in a variety of ways. You gain a number of strife points based on your level. You regain any expended points when you finish a short rest.

As long as you have at least one strife point, you are immune to the effects of your own Aura of Misfortune.

Maledictions

Your most potent power lies with the ability to place your own misfortune upon others. These powers are called maledictions and are powered by your strife points.

At 1st level, you gain one malediction of their choice. You learn additional maledictions as you level when noted.

You cannot select an individual malediction more than once. Any malediction that mimics a spell uses your level as your effective caster level.

Unless otherwise noted, using a malediction is an action that does not provoke an opportunity attack. The save to resist a malediction is equal to 8 + your proficiency bonus + your 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 your Wisdom modifier (minimum of 1 round), unless specified otherwise.

Harrowing Strike

As an Attack action, you can spend one of your strife points to make a special attack called a Harrowing Strike. This melee attack has special effects usable only against targets currently suffering from a curse effect (curse spell, item, hex, or malediction).

At 2nd level, when you make a Harrowing Strike you may add your Wisdom bonus as a bonus to attack rolls.

At 5th level, you can add your Wisdom bonus to damage rolls.

At 8th level, you ignore cover bonuses with your Harrowing Strike.

At 11th level, your Harrowing Strike deals +1d8 extra necrotic damage, as a semi-tangible Yla spirit claws and tears at the target.

At 14th level, you may make a second Harrowing Strike as a bonus action, against any eligible target.

At 17th level your Harrowing Strike are made with advantage.

At 20th level your Harrowing Strike deals an extra +2d8 necrotic damage.

Strife Surge

Whenever a creature within your Aura of Misfortune rolls a “natural 1” on a saving throw, skill check or attack roll, your Yla spirits become energized. You gain one strife point, up to your normal maximum.

Luck of the Damned

Your experience avoiding the caustic whims of the Yla enable you to subtly step between the jagged tendrils of misfortune. You gain proficiency with Dexterity saves. If you already have proficiency with Dexterity saves, you gain a bonus equal to half your proficiency bonus instead.

Cursebreaker

You can break curses by drawing them into yourself. At will, you can target a creature with remove curse, using your malefactor level as your caster level. You must then attempt a save against the curse’s effects with advantage (at the original DC) each time you use this ability, suffering the effects yourself if the save is failed.

Cursebound

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

You can use any beneficial properties the item possesses, but are not hindered by the item’s detrimental properties. Once the item is no longer in you possession, it reverts back to its normal, cursed state. You are never hindered in any way by a cursed item, and can always remove them from your possession if you desire to do so.

Example: You pick up a helm of opposite alignment. It functions as a standard helm for you, with no hindrance to your alignment. If that item is then given to another person, it then takes full effect.

Additionally, as long as you have at least one point of strife, you gain advantage on any save against any type of curse attempted against you, such as a bestow curse spell or from an item.

Discord

At 10th level, creatures that team up to attack you find that they impede each other more than they help. If more than one opponent threatens you, they all suffer disadvantage on attack rolls made against you.

Dire Displacement

As a bonus action, you may spend a point of strife to gain displacement, causing all attacks against you to suffer disadvantage for one round and allowing you to make Stealth checks even when observed, as the Yla spirits shroud your whereabouts.

Reject Defeat

With this ability, you may spend a point of strife whenever you roll a “natural 1” on a saving throw in order to immediately attempt a new saving throw. This ability does not let you use your Strife Surge class feature.

Curse Sense

At 9th level, you gain a precise awareness of the subtle auras given off by a cursed object or creature. You also automatically detect cursed creatures and objects within 30 ft. In addition, you can automatically determine if a magical item is cursed by sight, without the need for a spell or skill check.

Great Discord

Creatures near you become even more inept.

All creatures within your Aura of Misfortune automatically suffer disadvantage when attacking or making saving throws.

Ruinous Ascension

At 20th level, you undergo a perfect apotheosis of misfortune. You are permanently immune to any spell or effect with the curse descriptor.

Any creature attempting to affect you with a curse effect must also make a save against their own curse, as it targets them instead.

Maledictions

Aged Bones

The target of this malediction suddenly feels all the weight of their life and age in one moment. Their limbs become heavy, and their energy is sapped. The target must make a Constitution save or suffer one level of exhaustion.

You may spend one point of strife to give the target an additional point of exhaustion.

Apt Curse

The target of this malediction must make a Wisdom save or suffer a 50% chance of taking no action for one round. Otherwise, the target may act normally.

You can spend 2 points of strife to increase the duration to 1 minute.

Bad Footing

The target of this malediction finds themselves awkwardly off-balance. They must make a Dexterity save or all attacks against them gain advantage until the start of your next turn.

Bane

Up to three creatures of your choice that you can see within 30 ft. must make Charisma saving throws. Whenever a target that fails this saving throw makes an attack roll or a saving throw before the spell ends, the target must roll a d4 and subtract the number rolled from the attack roll or saving throw. This effect lasts until the target can make a successful Charisma save at the beginning of their turn.

You can affect an additional target for each additional strife point spent.

Beloved of the Yla

This malediction causes the Yla spirits to gather around you and shield you from blows.

You may add your Charisma bonus to your AC for a number of minutes equal to your Wisdom modifier (minimum 1).

An additional point of strife spent increases the duration to a number of hours instead of minutes.

Bleeder

The target of this malediction becomes highly susceptible to blood loss. The target must make a Constitution save or all attacks that damage the creature for the duration of this effect also deal 1d4 extra damage.

An additional point of strife spent increases the duration to one minute.

Clouded Eyes

The target of this malediction is suddenly affected by dirt or debris in their eyes, causing them to become blinded. The target must make a Constitution save or become blinded for 1 minute.

An additional point of strife spent also deals 1d4 points of damage if the target fails to save.

Crossed Paths

You may target a creature with this malediction as a bonus action whenever you pass through the creature’s threatened area. If the target fails a Wisdom save, opponents gain advantage on attack rolls against until the target until the end of that creature’s next turn.

An additional point of strife spent increases the duration of the effect to the end of your next turn.

Curse of Ineptitude

The target of this malediction must make a Wisdom save or become stunned for a round as they fumble around with their words and actions until they can make a successful Wisdom save, ending the effect. The saving throw is made at the beginning of the target’s turn as a free action.

You can expend a strife point to increase the DC by +2.

Curse of Biting Blades

The target of this malediction finds his movements buffeted by unseen forces, and even glancing blows dig deeply. If the target fails a Constitution save, all attacks against the target deal +1d6 damage for a number of rounds equal to the malefactor’s Wisdom bonus (minimum 1).

You can expend an additional point of strife to increase the duration to a number of minutes.

Curse Weapon

With this malediction, you may suppress the enhancement of, or even curse a weapon.

Targets are entitled to a Charisma save to resist the effect. If the target fails its save, a magic weapon they are wielding temporarily loses its magical effects (enhancement bonus and special properties). If it is non-magical (or struck with this power again), it becomes cursed, causing its wielder disadvantage on all attack rolls for the duration.

Deflect Weapon

As a reaction, when you are struck by an enemy wielding a manufactured melee weapon, you may use this malediction to lessen its effectiveness, as Yla spirits cling to the weapon’s striking surface and cushion its blows. You gain resistance to bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage against that attack.

An additional point of strife spent increases the duration of the resistance to the beginning of your next turn.

Deafening Din

A loud noise such as a weapon strike leaves the target’s hearing damaged, suffering the deafened condition (a –4 penalty on initiative checks, automatically fails Perception checks based on sound, a –4 penalty on opposed Perception checks, and has a 20% chance of spell failure when casting spells with verbal components) for a number of minutes equal to your Wisdom modifier.

An additional point of strife spent increases the duration of the deafness to a number of hours.

Dolt’s Grace

The target of this malediction must make a Wisdom save or suffer disadvantage on all physical skill checks for a number of minutes equal to your Wisdom bonus (minimum 1).

You may expend an additional point of strife to increase the save DC by +2.

Eye of the Storm

This malediction reduces the effectiveness of damaging area effect spells and effects, such as breath weapons. For the duration of this malediction, the target must make a Wisdom save each time he uses an area effect ability (spell, breath weapon, etc.) that causes hit point damage, or all targets automatically suffer half damage and no damage if they make their successful saving throw against the effect.

You can spend a point of strife to also reduce the damage dice inflicted by 1 die size.

Feast of Fate

The target of this malediction must make a Wisdom save, or be unable to benefit from natural or magical healing for a number of rounds equal to your Wisdom bonus (minimum 1) and you gain 5 temporary hit points for each of their healing attempts that fail.

You can spend one point of strife to double the duration.

Feast of Fate

The target of this malediction is plagued by fire. Any fire source near them seeks them out and they burn as easily as witches on a pyre.

The target must make a Wisdom save or gain weakness to fire (suffering 50% more damage from fire sources) and if they are within 30 ft.

of a fire source, they must make Dexterity saves each round to avoid catching fire as embers float on the wind, seeking them out.

You may spend a point of strife to increase the DC by +2 and the duration to 24 hours.

Foolschant

This cacophonous, nonsensical malediction takes the form of an emanation from you, permeating the extent of its range. Until the end of your next turn, all spellcasters within this emanation must make an Intelligence save or lose concentration and be unable to cast spells until they can make a successful Intelligence save.

Fray

This subtle malediction breaks down and destroys fibrous materials like cloth, ropes, webs, and vines. Attended objects and magical effects are entitled to a wielder’s Charisma save to resist the effect.

Otherwise, the targeted object (or 5 ft. 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.

At the cost of one point of strife, your 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.

Graven Step

Choose 1d6 squares within 60 ft. These squares become difficult terrain.

You can expend an additional point of strife to gain an additional 1d6 squares of effect.

Heart Grip

The target of this malediction is plagued with an internal injury, such as a small heart attack or palpitation, minor brain aneurism or other traumatic mishap. The target must make a Constitution save or suffer damage equal to 1d6 + your Wisdom bonus.

For each additional point of strife consumed (up to your Wisdom modifier), you may increase the base damage by +1d6.

Hesitation

The target of this malediction must make a Wisdom save or suffer 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.

You may spend one point of strife to increase this penalty to -10.

Ill-Fated

You can expend a point of strife as an action and gain a number of d6s equal to your Charisma bonus (minimum of 1). You may place them on any number of targets’ actions that you predetermine (attacks, saves, skills, etc.) as a luck penalty. The target(s) must take the specified action in order to suffer the penalty, and no more than a single die can apply to the action each time. Multiple ill-fate dice can affect a target’s actions for several rounds however.

Each additional point of strife spent gains an additional d6 for this ability.

Itembreaker

An object you target suffers from an unforeseen internal fracture. The wielder of the object must make a Wisdom save or the object suffers 2d6 damage. Unattended objects do not gain a saving throw unless magical.

For each additional point of strife consumed (up to your Wisdom modifier), you may increase the base damage by +1d6.

Last Call

Targets of this malediction that are stable and at 0 hit points lose their battle with mortality and begin to die. The target must make a Constitution save or begin dying (making death saves as normal). Note that this ability only works on creatures at 0 hit points.

At the cost of 1 point of strife, the target also gains 1 failed death save.

Leadened Limbs

The target of this malediction must make a Constitution save or be unable to take any reactions or bonus actions for the duration of this ability.

By expending an additional point of strife, the target’s movement is also halved.

Lightning Rod

Upon invoking this malediction, you 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 or bolt (including lightning bolt, call lightning, the breath weapon of a blue dragon, and other, similar effects) must make a Wisdom save, or choose to place you within the area of effect, if possible. You are treated as having resistance versus the effects for the duration of this malediction, and if you makes a successful saving throw, the effect terminates at your square, regardless of its normal range dealing no damage.

By spending an additional point of strife, you become immune to electrical attacks.

Oafstep

You cause a single foe to suddenly lose his footing. Choose a target. They are knocked prone unless they make a successful Dexterity save.

You may expend one point of strife to increase the DC by +2.

Paper Flesh

The target must make a Constitution save or become more susceptible to critical hits. All attacks deal critical hits on one number less (20 becomes 19, etc.) against the target for 1 minute.

Paralyzing Fear

The target of this malediction finds that all of their fears are magnified tenfold. Even the slightest sensation of fear becomes crippling.

The target must make a Wisdom save or become frightened of you for 1 minute.

Squirming Grip

Choose an object held by a target within 60 ft.

You attempt to disarm the target from a distance. The DC to resist is equal to 8 + your proficiency bonus + Wisdom bonus.

If within 30 ft., you can spend a strife point to cause the object to fly to your hand (if you have a free hand).

Steal Victory

You can stifle the luck of an opponent. As a reaction, whenever a target within 30 ft. rolls an attack roll, you may force the target to suffer disadvantage unless they can make a successful Wisdom save.

You can spend one point of strife to increase the DC by +2.

Taboo

With an imperious warning, you 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 crea-ture must make a Wisdom save or become stunned until the end of their turn. You 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, he cannot be affected by it again for 24 hours (though they can fail against it multiple times until saving). You can only have one taboo active at a given time.

Tanglefoot

The target of this malediction finds themselves caught up or otherwise tangled up in debris, causing them to be entangled momentarily.

The target must make a Strength save or Dexterity (Acrobatics) check with a DC of 15 to remove the entangled condition.

You may expend 1 point of strife to increase the DC by +2.

Ungainly Lunge

The target of this malediction must make a Will save or lose 10 ft. of their movement and be unable to take bonus actions until their next turn.

Unwilling Bodyguard

A creature within range of your Aura of Misfortune may be targeted with this malediction and must make a Wisdom save or become irresistibly attractive to ranged attacks. While this malediction is in effect, any ranged attacks that target you suffers disadvantage. If they miss, they instead attack the unwilling bodyguard using the better die on the attack. You can only have one creature under the effects of unwilling bodyguard at a time.

Vile Sickness

The target of this malediction is suddenly affected by illness causing fever, dizziness and vomiting. The target must make a Constitution save or gain the poisoned condition for 1 round.

Section 15: Copyright Notice

The Malefactor Revised and Expanded. Copyright 2017, Total Party Kill Games; Authors: James Olchak and Brian Berg.