Exorcist (3.5e Class)
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In a world where spirits walk the length and breadth of the land as common as humans, elves, and dwarves, with planes of existence that extend far beyond our own, it is not rare for there to exist those of an insidious disposition. These spirits and outsiders will try to take possession of the planar natives as a medium through which to wreak havoc of a horrid kind. In response to such possessions, several societies have trained individuals who specialize in rooting out evil and malicious intruders and then banishing them. These individuals are known as Exorcists; armed with a plethora of methods and rituals with which to fight against evil spirits and outsiders, different flavors of these warriors are found in different civilizations, but they all have the same goal in mind.
Making an Exorcist
While not necessarily combat-oriented, the Exorcists are capable of holding their own if need be. Where they truly shine is in their ability to fight against spirits and outsiders; beings that typical adventurers must prepare extensively to confront with much hope of success. While they do channel positive energy in order to perform their exorcisms and rituals, they do not necessarily have to be beholden to a deity or church or even goodness itself to be an Exorcist. The training to become an Exorcist can come from a number of sources. The Exorcist is, basically, a very specialized support class. They are able to hold themselves up in combat well enough to assist their teammates; however they are most heavily appreciated for their talents in dealing with the otherworldly, namely evil spirits and outsiders. They can protect their teammates from possession and sniff out any evil outsiders hiding away.
Abilities: Wisdom and Charisma is the most important ability for Exorcists as many of their more useful skills depend on it and it governs a good many of their Class Features. Intelligence is important if they intend on making use of their Knowledge skills. Combat abilities like Strength and Dexterity are good so that they can hold their own in combat and protect themselves.
Races: Exorcists come in many different flavors and from many different areas. Spirits and outsiders do not discriminate in their possessions and attacks, so the many societies and cultures of the world have all developed some kind of individual who works to combat these hostilities. Races all over the world have developed their own Exorcists for the same purposes. Different races, however, will more than likely be concerned with their own dominion and any otherworldly threats therein; Elven Exorcists seeking to banish outsiders threatening the woodland, Dwarven Exorcists seeking to destroy outsiders threatening their mountain holds, and so on.
Alignment: Any Non-Evil.
Starting Gold: 4d4 x 10 gp.
Starting Age: Moderate
|Saving Throws||Special||Spells per Day|
|1st||+0||+0||+0||+2||Exorcism, Detect Evil||4||3||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|2nd||+1||+0||+0||+3||Enemy to the Unholy, Cleanse Malice||5||3||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|16th||+12/+7/+3||+5||+5||+10||Immunity to Possession||9||6||6||6||6||6||5||4||3||—|
Class Skills (4 + Int modifier per level, x4 at 1st level)
All of the following are class features of the Exorcist.
Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Exorcists are proficient with all simple weapons, one martial weapon of their choice, and light armor.
Spells: An exorcist casts divine spells (the same type of spells available to clerics), which are drawn from the exorcist spell list. He can cast any spell he knows without preparing it ahead of time the way a cleric must. To cast a spell, an exorcist must have a Wisdom score of 10 + the spell's level (Wis 10 for 0-level spells, Wis 11 for 1st-level spells, and so forth). The Difficulty Class for a saving throw against an exorcist's spell is 10 + the spell's level + the Exorcist's Wisdom modifier. Like other spellcasters, an exorcist can cast only a certain number of spells of each spell level per day. His base daily spell allotment is given on exorcist table. In addition, he receives bonus spells for a high Wisdom. Unlike a cleric, an exorcist's selection of spells is limited. An exorcist knows only the spells listed on the exorcist spell list. Whenever he gains access to a new spell level he automatically knows all spells on his list of that level and does not need to learn them or prepare them in advance.
Bonus Languages: An exorcist’s bonus languages include Celestial, Infernal, and Abyssal. He is able to automatically learn one of these languages of his choice.
Exorcism (Ex): As a full-round action, an Exorcist can force a possessing creature or spirit out of the body it inhabits (for example, a ghost with the malevolence ability). To exorcise a possessing creature, he makes a class level check (also adding his Wisdom modifier, if any) against a DC of 10 + the possessing creature’s HD + its Charisma modifier (if any). If his result equals or exceeds the DC, he succeeds in forcing the possessor from the body, with the normal results based on its method of possession. A spirit so exorcised cannot attempt to possess the same victim for 24 hours.
Detect Evil (Sp): At will, an exorcist can use detect evil as a spell-like ability.
Enemy to the Unholy: At 2nd level, an exorcist gains bonuses against undead and evil-aligned outsiders. Extensive study and special training in the proper techniques for combating these foes grants the exorcist a +1 competence bonus on Gather Information, Knowledge, Intimidate, Listen, Sense Motive, and Spot checks against the chosen foe, as well as a +1 bonus on caster level checks to overcome any spell resistance of the chosen foe. At 8th level this bonus increases to +2, and at 16th level it increases to +3.
Cleanse Malice (Su): Beginning at 2nd level, an exorcist can use holy energy to damage evil-aligned outsiders and undead.
Cleansing Malice is a standard action that deals 1d6 damage/level to all undead creatures and evil outsiders within 40 feet of the exorcist. The affected creatures get a Will save (DC 10 + exorcist’s level + exorcist’s Wis modifier) for half damage.
When using this ability against incorporeal creatures, an exorcist does not have to roll the normal 50% miss-chance this effect hits the creature automatically. An exorcist can use this ability a number of times per day equal to 3 + his Wis modifier (Minimum 3). An exorcist may use this ability an additional time at 8th level, 14th level and 20th level.
Holy Warding (Sp): Starting at 5th level, an exorcist can perform a special rite once per day to ward himself and his companions against hostile undead and evil outsiders. Performing the rite requires 1 minute (10 rounds). The warding lasts for 1 hour per caster level and otherwise functions like a magic circle against evil, except it has a 30ft radius focused on a point in space and it prevents undead from entering it just as if they were a summoned creature.
Resist Possession: Starting at 6th level, an exorcist receives a +4 sacred bonus on their saving throws against magic jar spells or similar abilities (Possession abilities), and a +2 sacred bonus on dispel checks made to dispel such effects. They also get a +2 sacred bonus on their saving throws against all charm and compulsion spells and effects cast by evil outsiders or undead.
Pierce Malevolence (Su): At 8th level, the exorcist gains the supernatural ability to penetrate the illusions and disguises of evil beings at will. Whenever an exorcist sees an illusion or disguise spell of any sort, he immediately makes a Will save to see through it. The exorcist need not interact with the illusion in any way; visual contact is enough. This ability only works against illusions and disguises cast by an evil creature.
Weaken Malice (Su): At 10th level and higher, an exorcist can choose to rob evil outsiders and undead creatures of their magical power and defenses instead of damaging them with their cleanse malice ability. When a creature is weakened, it loses any spell resistance or damage reduction it has. In addition it loses the ability to use any spell-like abilities it may possess. It also loses any fast healing or regeneration qualities it has. Finally, an incorporeal creature loses its immunity to nonmagical attack, its 50% chance to ignore damage from corporeal sources, and its ability to move into or through objects.
To weaken malice, an exorcist uses his cleanse malice ability but chooses to forgo damage in exchange for weakening the creatures for a short time. Creatures must succeed on a Will save (DC 10 + exorcist’s level + exorcist’s Wis modifier) or be weakened for 1 round per caster level.
Consecrated Presence: At 14th level and higher, an exorcist is surrounded by an aura of positive energy that extends 20 feet from his presence. This aura duplicates the effects of a consecrate spell, but it moves with the exorcist. If the exorcist enters an area affected by a desecrate spell, both effects are negated while the exorcist remains in the area. If the exorcist is the target of a desecrate spell, his aura is suppressed for the duration of the desecrate spell.
Immunity to Possession: An exorcist of 16th level or higher has immunity to magic jar, soul bind, trap the soul, a ghost’s malevolence ability, and all other spells or effects that displace or replace a character’s life force. The character can still travel to the planes via astral projection, if so desired.
If an Exorcist's alignment shifts into that of the Evil axis, then they lose the ability to gain any more Exorcist levels as well as the ability to use the following class features (If they have already earned them): Consecrated Presence, Warding of the Spirits, Smite Evil, and Exorcism.
Human Exorcist Starting Package
Weapons: Longsword (1d6, Crit 19–20/×2, One-handed, Slashing). Dagger (1d4, Crit 19-20/x2, Light, Piercing).
Skill Selection: Pick a number of skills equal to 4 + Int modifier.
Feat: Iron Will
Bonus Feats: Persuasive
Gear: Chain Shirt (+4 AC, Armor Check Penalty -2, Arcane Spell Failure Chance 20%, Speed 30 ft., 30 lb.), Backpack with Waterskin, One Day's Trail Rations, Bedroll, Flint and Steel, Torch
Gold: 2d4 gp
Playing an Exorcist
Religion: Exorcists do not necessarily have to pledge themselves to a deity or church, but many often do for added protection in their job or as a motivation to do what they do. Even if they do not worship a deity, many Exorcists will pay homage and tribute to a few deities out of respect and perhaps a little favor in their endeavors.
Exorcists who are dedicated to good deities tend to be those who act under their church’s or deity’s orders, simply doing what their doctrine demands, while those of a Neutral deity may seek to preserve some kind of balance. Evil deities count very, very few Exorcists amongst their worshipers because they simply have no real need for them and vice versa; such a relationship would be counterproductive to both parties.
Other Classes: Exorcists will usually share a sense of camaraderie with characters that tend toward the same goals they do; Clerics and Paladins for instance get along very well with Exorcists and both parties generally appreciate each other for their abilities.
Combat based classes like a Ranger and Fighter are not uncommonly found traveling with an Exorcist as protection, especially when they delve into places where malicious spirits are sure to be abundant; haunted crypts and the like. In essence, the Exorcist will travel with whoever helps him achieve his ultimate goal.
Combat: In a combat situation, the Exorcist is quite capable of holding his own, so long as there is at least one other person in the party who is combat-oriented. He usually tries to hang back and take on grunts that he can handle while his stronger allies go after the more difficult adversaries. Where the Exorcist's combative ability truly shines is in encounters against spirits or outsiders, where his class abilities can help turn the tide of battle and support his part in extraordinary ways. Granted, this does not mean it gives the Exorcist can excuse to charge into the meat of the conflict, but it allows him to be abundantly more useful in such a battle.
Advancement: There are not a lot of feats that can assist the Exorcist or boost their spirit-fighting abilities, so it is desirable to allocate your feat purchases toward combat-oriented feats so that you can play your battles smart when there are no spirits or outsiders about. In the way of multiclassing, you may want to look into other divine or holy classes to boost your ability to fight evil, such as the Cleric, Paladin, or any number of Prestige Classes in the Complete Divine supplement.
Exorcists in the World
|“||There are those who would see our world undone at the hands of malevolent outsiders; demons and dark spirits from another plane, invading our very minds so that they might orchestrate the havoc and terror they so desperately wish to create. I will see to it that these trespassers are banished back to the infernal, loathsome pit from whence they came, or destroyed on the spot should they prove to be uncooperative.||”|
|—Abiellon, Human Exorcist of the Order of the Holy Trinity|
Exorcists can very often be found among the ranks of Holy Orders, Churches, or crusading Guilds. Such organizations will produce such individuals to act upon their orders and root out evil beings where they are to be found. However, as nearly every culture in the land has developed some kind of spiritual specialist, you are just as likely to find an Exorcist acting as a kind of witch doctor in a tribal society. Exorcists do not have to belong to an organization or society, however. They can be individuals who learned the trade from a mentor and simple travel the world looking to do good and banish any malevolent spirits they come across.
Daily Life: The daily life of an Exorcist differs greatly from one to another depending on their background. Even so, the life of an Exorcist is typically a quiet one, usually composed of studying, prayer, combat training, and waiting for orders/searching for rumors or leads to any possible malevolent spirits.
Organizations: Though guilds specifically composed of Exorcists are not impossible to find, the individuals are more commonly found to be a part of a much larger organization like a church, order, or guild of crusaders. Communication between such organizations across the land are vital to the goals that such characters seek (Typically the quelling of any evil extraplanar forces), as everyone must be well up to date and be able to send orders out as fast as possible when an evil spirit is discovered.
NPC Reactions: Though Exorcists typically do not seek renown or fame for what they do, it is unavoidable to be admired and cherished for some of the good that they do in the world; freeing souls whom have been trapped in a malevolent possession, for instance. As such, the presence of an Exorcist in a town is taken in two ways: extremely good news that a trained professional is here to assist them, and extremely bad news if the townspeople didn't already know that they were being invaded by an extraplanar force.
Characters with ranks in Knowledge (Religion) or Knowledge (Planes) can research Exorcists to learn more about them. When a character makes a skill check, read or paraphrase the following, including information from lower DCs.
|5||Exorcists are people who have been specially trained to fight undead and evil aligned outsiders.|
|10||Exorcists are able to detect, banish, and resist undead creatures, outsiders, and their possessive abilities.|
|15||Some Exorcists have an aura of positive energy that seems to make everyone feel much more comfortable and protected.|
|20||Some powerful exorcists can render evil outsiders and undead nearly powerless with their fearsome holy powers. Powerful exorcists are generally impossible to possess for even very powerful creatures.|
Exorcists in the Game
As specialized as Exorcists are, it's not typically advised to take on the class unless you are part of a group of like-minded individuals who will be pursuing the same goals as you. Otherwise, it won't be likely that you'll encounter a lot of undead and outsiders, and so you'll become more of a liability than anything. Therefore, it is optimal to take on this class if the rest of the party is composed of classes like Clerics, Paladins, even Druids.
You're quite capable of holding your own in combat, but you can't do anything special or noteworthy until you encounter spirits or outsiders. This is where you truly get a chance to shine, as nearly all of your class features are geared toward such encounters. Don't be afraid to play Inquisitor: seek out signs of evil and possession, consider everyone a possible suspect.
Again, in normal combat, you can't you anything special, so filling up a role as a supportive grunt in a standard combat situation is your best bet while you bide your time until you're needed. Let the Fighter and Ranger shine in their combative prowess and do what you can to help without getting in the way. Meanwhile, take on some combat-oriented feats so you can play your battles smart and clever. Then when you all encounter a spirit or outsider, take charge and coordinate with your allies so that you can put your class abilities to use and get the most effect out of everyone's skills.
Adaptation: There are plenty of ways to adapt the Exorcist into a setting. In most D&D settings, spirits and other planes exist. If they exist, then possessions and invasions can exist. This is where an Exorcist would come in: somewhere in the course of history, the many cultures in the land (Not necessarily all at once) would have trained individuals and developed ways to combat such possessions. Good and Evil having a stance in the world as real forces is important as well, considering the idea of the Exorcist is to banish and destroy evil spirits and outsiders specifically.
So, in order to adapt an Exorcist to a setting you need two things: spirits and evil.