Some musicians hear only the melodies of life, but others are attuned to the tones heard at death’s door. These individuals, perhaps shunned or looked upon suspiciously by the living for their unsettling presence, have an affinity for the notes and tunes which reach across the borders of this world and into the next. The bell is their symbol, their tool, and their weapon, and Abhorsen is their title among those who know their duty to lay the dead to rest in a turbulent world.
The abhorsen is an archetype of the bard class.
For Whom the Bell Tolls (Su)
At 1st level, the abhorsen receives a set of seven handbells of varying sizes held in a bandolier. The bandolier has a leather container for each bell, sized accordingly and muffling the bell until it is uncased. If the abhorsen loses his bells or they are destroyed, he may magically replace them and complete the set at a cost of 100 gil per bard level and a week’s worth of labor.
Beginning at 1st level, the abhorsen gains the ability to deal 1d4 non-elemental damage to a single target with a handbell, with a range of 25 ft. + 5 ft. per four bard levels after 1st. In order to successfully deal damage, the abhorsen must make a Perform (Percussion) roll equal to or greater than his target’s AC. Additionally, the first time that a target receives damage, it must make a Will save with a DC equal to 10 + half of the bard’s level + his Charisma modifier; if the target fails the save, it becomes confused for 1d4 rounds. The abhorsen may use any bell in this way a number of times per day equal to his maximum song level + his Charisma modifier.
At 10th level, a number of times per day equal to his Charisma modifier, the abhorsen may choose to target all enemies within a 30 ft. radius of himself instead of a single target at range. The confusion DC for the targets to beat is reduced by 1 for every target affected. Additionally, the non-elemental damage for all uses of his bell (whether for single or multiple targets) increases to 2d4 and he may roll Perform (Percussion) against a target’s touch AC.
At various levels, the abhorsen is able to play a new bell from his full set as it was truly meant to be played by its master. Imbuing the action with grim purpose, he may ring that bell as a standard action in order to activate its particular effect a number of times per day equal to his Charisma modifier; If he attempts to ring a bell but is unable to activate its effects (whether because he is not the proper level or he has expended his daily uses), he will suffer the bell’s negative effects himself if applicable. The DC for each effect, when applicable and unless otherwise noted, is equal to 10 + half of the bard’s level + his Charisma modifier. The range for the effects, unless otherwise stated, is 25 ft. + 5 ft. per four bard levels after 1st.
- Ranna: At 1st level, the abhorsen is able to ring the first and smallest bell, Ranna. Upon ringing it, the abhorsen is able to inflict the Sleep status on a target of his choice within range. The target must have an HD equal to or less than the Abhorsen’s maximum song level + twice his Charisma modifier to be affected. The target may attempt to resist the effect with a Will save.
- Mosrael: At 4th level, the abhorsen is able to ring the next bell in the sequence, Mosrael. Upon ringing it, the abhorsen may awaken any sleeping target of his choice within range; the Sleep effect may then, if desired, be transferred to another target within the same range, provided that target fails its Will save. Awakened creatures then gain a bonus to their Will saves equal to the abhorsen’s Charisma modifier to resist further Sleep effects for 1d4 rounds, whereas sleeping creatures gain a corresponding penalty to awaken or be awakened where applicable.
- Kibeth: At 7th level, the abhorsen is able to ring the next bell, Kibeth. Upon ringing it, the abhorsen may use its resonance to open locks and doors as though using Disable Device, but using Performance (Percussion) in its place. Alternatively, the abhorsen may secure a lock or door, using his Performance (Percussion) roll as the Disable Device DC needed for another character to re-open the lock or door.
- Dyrim: At 10th level, the abhorsen is able to ring the next bell, Dyrim. Upon ringing it, the abhorsen is able to inflict the Silenced status on a target of his choice. Alternatively, he may remove the Silenced status from any one target within range and transfer it to another. Unsilenced creatures then gain a bonus to their Will saves equal to the abhorsen’s Charisma modifier to resist further Silenced effects for 1d4 rounds, whereas silenced creatures gain a corresponding penalty to become unsilenced where applicable.
- Belgaer: At 13th level, the abhorsen is able to ring the next bell, Belgaer. Upon ringing it, the Abhorsen is able to inflict the Berserk status on a target of his choice within range. Alternatively, he may remove Berserk or another mind-affecting effect (such as a fear or charm effect) from a target within range and transfer it to another.
- Saraneth: At 16th level, the abhorsen is able to ring the penultimate bell, Saraneth. Upon ringing it, the abhorsen can attempt to enslave an Undead target within range by rolling Performance (Percussion); the target must have an HD equal to or less than the abhorsen’s maximum song level + twice his Charisma modifier to be affected. The target must make a Will save against the result. If it makes the save, it is immune to further attempts for the remainder of the day. If it fails the save, the target is enslaved for a number of days equal to the abhorsen’s Charisma modifier. An enslaved target must follow the abhorsen’s commands.
- Astarael: At 20th level, the abhorsen is able to ring the final and largest bell, Astarael. Doing so casts everyone within a range of 40 ft.—including the abhorsen himself—into the grips of Death. The bell’s effect is like that of the spell Death, but affects all creatures within its area of effect. The abhorsen is not immune to the effect, but adds his Charisma modifier on his Fortitude save to resist death, and takes only 2d6 shadow damage if his save is successful.
This ability replaces inspire courage, inspire competence, inspire greatness, and inspire heroics.
Minor Aura (Su)
The abhorsen gains access to an additional minor aura:
- Memento Mori: Bonus on attack rolls against Undead creatures.
This ability modifies minor aura.
Major Aura (Su)
The abhorsen gains access to additional major auras:
- Bane of the Undying: The DC of the abhorsen’s songs to affect Undead creatures increases by an amount equal to the aura’s bonus.
- Obol Passage: Denies attacks of opportunity to a number of Undead targets equal to the aura’s bonus.
This ability modifies major aura.
Death comes to all in its time, and none knows this better than one who hears its song. At 10th level, at the cost of 3 MP, the abhorsen may share this morbid melody as a standard action with a target of his choice within a range of 25 ft. + 5 ft. per four bard levels after 1st by ringing a bell. Upon ringing it, the target must make a Will save with a DC of 10 + half of the bard’s level + his Charisma modifier. If the target makes the save, it takes 2d6 points of non-elemental damage. If it fails the save, it is inflicted with the Cursed and Shaken status effects; additionally, it is also inflicted with the Doom status and has 2d4 rounds to be cured before its life is snuffed out. The round before it is killed, the target’s status changes from Shaken to Frightened. The fear and death effects occur even if the target is normally immune to them. The abhorsen may use this ability a number of times per day equal to his Charisma modifier.
This ability replaces a song talent gained at 10th level.