Tattooed Vessel (3.5e Prestige Class)
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Tattooed vessels are occultists who dabble in pact magic, binding the last vestiges of ancient powers to their will. Rather than forming symbiotic composites with these hoary entities, however, tattooed vessels see them as tools to be used at their leisure, whether it be in the pursuit of greed and power or, in very rare cases, putting their eternal soul on the line for the greater good. After all, if these shallow reflections of bygone powers were truly as powerful as they'd have their binders believe, why did they end up in such a pitiful state to begin with?
In order to gain this greater command of vestiges, tattooed vessels have the sigils of their favored vestiges branded into their living flesh. Not only does this make their connection to these ancient powers stronger, but the vestiges themselves get to experience the living worldy more vividly, and thus more eager to accept the vessel's pacts despite the vessel's ulterior motives for doing so.
While tattooing is the art used by more civilized hallowed vessels, other forms of body modification are certainly possible. The scarification favored by barbarian berserkers and the many piercings of the masochistic tribesmen of the jungle lands are but two examples.
That said, most tattooed vessels tend to be lone scholars locked away in obscure libraries and laboratories, while only a handful travel abroad and adventure in order to further their wisdom and power in a more direct approach.
Making a Tattooed Vessel
Abilities: Charisma and Constitution are the most crucial abilities for a tattooed vessel. Charisma helps bolster their warlock abilities, while Constitution allows them access to greater vestiges more easily.
Alignment: A tattooed vessel can be of any alignment, though neutral or evil alignments tend to be the norm due to the restrictions of the warlock class. However, other invocation-using classes can fulfill the prerequisites of the the tattooed vessel, so it's not completely unheard of to see good-aligned dragonfire adepts taking up the mantle, for example.
Becoming a Tattooed Vessel
|Skills:||Craft (Alchemy) 5 ranks, Knowledge (The Planes) 8 ranks|
|Special:||You must possess the Soul Guardian class feature and be able to invoke at least two invocations|
|1st||+0||+2||+0||+2||Otherworldly Secret, Soul Binding, Tattoo Sigil||+1 level in existing invocation class|
|2nd||+1||+3||+0||+3||Soul Guardian||+1 level in existing invocation class|
|3rd||+2||+3||+1||+3||Potent Sigil||+1 level in existing invocation class|
|4th||+3||+4||+1||+4||Vestige Expulsion||+1 level in existing invocation class|
|5th||+3||+4||+1||+4||Perfect Pact||+1 level in existing invocation class|
Class Skills: Autohypnosis, Bluff, Concentration, Craft, Diplomacy, Forgery, Gather Information, Handle Animal, Heal, Intimidate,
Weapon and Armor Proficiencies: You do not gain any additional proficiencies as a tattooed vessel.
Invoking: At each level, you gain new invocations known, increased damage with eldritch blast, and an increase in invoker level as if you had also gained a level in any invocation class you already possess. You do not, however, gain any other benefit a character of that class would have gained. Your effective binder level stacks with any levels you have in an invoking class for these purposes, both retroactively and proactively. If you have more than one invocation-using class, you must choose which class is advanced each time you gain a level as a tattooed vessel.
Soul Binding: At each tattooed vessel level, your soul binding ability improves as if you had also gained a level in the binder class. Thus, your tattooed vessel levels, invocation levels, and binder levels stack for the purpose of determining your bonus on binding checks, the effectiveness of your vestige-granted abilities, your ability to bind higher-level vestiges, and the number of vestiges you can bind at one time. You do not, however, gain any other benefit a binder would have gained, such as bonus feats of pact augmentations.
Otherworldly Secret (Su): At each tattooed vessel level, you discover a secret arcane technique from your vestiges, allowing you to choose one of the following special abilities as a granted power any time you have a bound at least one vestige. Once chosen, your choice is permanent.
- Cantrips: You can use any three 0th-level spell from the sorcerer/wizard spell list at will as a sorcerer of your effective binder level, using Charisma as your linked ability score as appropriate. This secret may be selected more than once, but you may not select the same spell a second time in order to gain additional uses per day. You may select which cantrips you learn each day when binding your first vestige.
- Eldritch Essential: As you progress, the knowledge you have gained from your vestiges allows you to gain a bonus invocation to apply to your eldritch blast ability. At 1st, 3rd, and 5th levels in this class, you gain your choice of a bonus eldritch essence invocation or blast shape invocation from any category (least, lesser, greater, or dark) that you already have access to, such as hellrime blast or eldritch chain. These invocations are only available when you have a vestige bound to you, however.
- Eldritch Weapons: On your turn, you may spend a free action to channel your eldritch blast into any melee weapons you are currently wielding until the start of your next turn. If you successfully strike an opponent with your charged weapons, your target is also affected as if struck by your eldritch blast (including any eldritch essence applied to the blast).
- When you learn this otherworldly secret, you also gain one eldritch essence invocation of choice at 1st, 3rd, and 5th levels. However, these essences only apply when channeling your blasts through your weapons and are unavailable (unless you purchase them normally) for your ranged blasts. These bonus essences are retroactive upon learning this secret.
- Like all of the otherworldly secrets, you may only invoke your eldritch weapons if you have bound at least one vestige for the day. Your eldritch weapon has an equivalent spell level equal to one-half your effective invoker level. Furthermore, it counts as an applied blast shape and cannot benefit from other blast shape essences such as eldritch chain or eldritch spear.
- Imbue Magic: You can use your supernatural powers to create magic items, even if you don't know the spells required to make them. You can substitute a Use Magic Device check (DC 15 + spell level) in place of a required spell you don't know or can't cast. In addition, you gain a bonus item creation feat at 1st, 3rd, and 5th level. This bonus feat is retroactive upon learning this secret.
- Magical Skill Mastery: Upon gaining this ability, you may take 10 even if stress and distractions would normally prevent you from doing so with the following skills: Concentration, Craft (alchemy), Knowledge (arcane, religion, or the planes), Spellcraft, and Use Magic Device. If one of these skills is instead used for an extended period of time, such as researching a topic or crafting an item, the minimum required time to perform that action is halved. At 5th level, this secret also grants a competence bonus equal to half your effective binder level (rounded down) on each of those checks.
- Master Blaster: You have learned how to use your eldritch blast more effectively than traditional warlocks. Its range increases by 20 feet per class level, and in any round in which you use your eldritch blast, if an opponent within 15 feet takes an action that would provoke an attack of opportunity, you may attack them with your eldritch blast using your highest attack bonus. Doing so, however, consumes all of your remaining attacks of opportunity for that round. Additionally, if your base attack bonus is +6 or higher, you can take a full-attack action in order to make as many iterative attacks with your eldritch blast as your base attack bonus allows.
- At 1st level, you gain the equivalence of Improved Precise Shot and Precise Shot when using your eldritch blast even if you don't normally meet the prerequisites. This improves to include Rapid Shot at 3rd level and Improved Rapid Shot at 5th, but only with regards to your eldritch blast. These bonus feats are retroactive upon learning this secret.
- Furthermore, you can alter your eldritch blast if it uses one of the following shapes: burst, cone, cylinder, emanation, line, or spread. The alteration consists of creating spaces within the blast's area of effect that are not subject to the effect. The minimum dimension for these spaces is a 5-foot cube.
- Finally, if your eldritch blast has an elemental effect, such as the one granted by hellrime blast, you can choose between acid, cold, electrical, fire, and sonic each time you invoke your blast with that eldritch essence. The effect remains the same, only the elemental type changes. Otherwise, this ability functions the same as the Energy Substitution feat, and you are treated as if you possessed that feat for the purposes of meeting prerequisites.
- Like all of the otherworldly secrets, you only gain these benefits with your eldritch blast if you have bound at least one vestige for the day. Your eldritch blast has an equivalent spell level equal to one-half your effective invoker level and it can benefit from both eldritch essence and blast shape invocations. Any such invocations applied to your eldritch blast last for the duration of the round, however; once chosen, you may not use a different blast shape or eldritch essence until the start of your next turn.
- Obtain Familiar: You gain the Obtain Familiar feat as a bonus feat. Once selected, you do not lose your familiar if you have failed to make a pact, but it temporarily loses any special abilities it possesses from your bond until you do so. Until such time, it is treated as an ordinary specimen of its type, albeit loyal and obedient. At 5th level, you also gain the Improved Familiar feat, and may select a new familiar to take the place of your old one. This bonus feat is retroactive upon learning this secret at a higher level.
- Supernatural Transformation: Your eldritch blast becomes a supernatural effect for the duration of your binding, as if by the Supernatural Transformation feat. It still requires a somantic component, but is no longer subject to spell resistance (though it can still be suppressed in an antimagic field), and it does not provoke an attack of opportunity. This secret may only be unlocked at 5th level. You may still apply any eldritch essence or blast shape essence to your eldritch blast when using this secret.
Tattoo Sigil (Ex): For each tattooed vessel level you gain, choose one vestige you can currently make a pact with. Using your skill in alchemy, you create a special ink (costing 100gp per level of the vestige) that you can use to tattoo the vestige's sigil into your flesh. The process takes approximately one hour per level of the vestige. At the end of this time, make a binding check (you may take 10 or 20 on this check, though it increases the time it takes to tattoo the sigil as per the standard rules) using a DC equal to the vestige's standard DC +5. If successful, from that point forward you can bind that vestige as a move-equivalent action without needing to draw their sigil. This increases to a swift action if you have the Rapid Pactmaking feat. Each tattoo you possess also grants you a +1 bonus on any future binding tests you make regardless of vestige.
Only a limited wish or wish spell can erase a tattoo once it has been successfully scribed. If such measures are taken, you may choose to tattoo another sigil in its place using the same process detailed above.
Soul Guardian (Su): As a tattooed vessel, the pacts you make create a strong bond with your vestiges, allowing you to become even more resistant to outside influence. Use your effective binder level, as opposed to just your binder class levels, to determine the strength of the soul guardian class feature. This increased effectiveness only applies when you are bound to at least one vestige with which you have had their sigil tattooed. When not bound to such a vestige, your soul guardian class feature is based solely on your binder class levels.
Potent Sigils (Su): For every tattooed sigil you possess, you gain a +1 bonus to the DC of any supernatural abilities granted by your vestiges.
Vestige Expulsion (Ex): You may now freely expel any vestige you possess up to one time per day per Charisma modifier. This requires a swift action, and you must succeed at a standard binding check with a DC equal to the normal binding DC for the vestige you are attempting to expel. If attempting to expel a vestige to which you bear their sigil, this becomes more difficult increasing the DC by +5. If you fail, the attempt counts against your normal daily limit and you may not attempt to expel another vestige for 5 rounds.
Failure to expel a vestige in this manner results in 1d6 points of non-lethal damage per level of the vestige, and you must make a Fortitude save (DC equal to the vestige's binding DC) or be nauseated for 1d4 rounds.
Perfect Pact (Su): When binding a vestige who's sigil you have been tattooed with, it is always considered a good pact for all purposes except influence. A binding check is still required, however, with a successful check protecting you from their influence. Additionally, an illusion of the vestige no longer appears unless you desire it, and you are not forced to bargain with it in order to forge a bond.
Finally, you may bind one additional vestige above your normal limit, but at least one of your vestiges must be one with whom you have a sigil tattooed. If you attempt to expel such a vestige while over your normal limit and you are not bound to any other tattooed vestige, you must make an immediate Fortitude check with a DC equal to the most powerful vestige you are currently bound to. Failure indicates that you suffer 1d6 points of non-lethal damage per level of the vestige expelled and are dazed for 1d4 rounds.
Extra Tattooed Sigil [General]
You may tattoo an additional sigil onto your flesh with which to bind vestiges.
Prerequisite: Tattoo Sigil class feature.
Benefit: Using the same process you use to tattoo sigils onto yourself, you may tattoo one additional sigil for any vestige you can bind upon taking this feat.
Normal: You are limited to a number of tattooed sigils equal to your class level as a tattooed vessel.