Dear Doctor Evil,
I'm a big fan of both The Book of Fiends and Plot & Poison. I like to read them right before bedtime as they give me happy dreams. But, I'm having a hard time figuring out how to make drow unholy warriors. How about some help?
Why Molly, it seems we have the same taste in books. I've always wanted to blend the cool stuff in Plot & Poison with the awfulness in The Unholy Warrior's Handbook, but for one reason or another, I never got around to it. But since you asked, here's a little help.
For those not in the know, let me catch you up. Plot & Poison: A Guidebook to Drow is the perfect resource for GMs wanting a bit more information about d20's most popular bad guys: the drow. Written by Wizards of the Coast's own Matthew Sernett, this sourcebook is packed to the gills with all sorts of nastiness.
The unholy warrior class was first presented in the Master Class book of the same name, and then updated and revised for The Book of Fiends. The idea here was to provide an evil answer to the Book of the Righteous' Holy Warrior: a customizable paladin. Holy and unholy warriors gain a set of domains that grant extraordinary, spell-like, and supernatural abilities. The patron deity determines which domains the character can access. Of course, these characters also gain spells, poké-steeds, and other cool features, too.
It would seem that the drow would be an obvious source of unholy warriors. And certainly, their gods are dark and nasty enough to support this idea. But the trick is that in general, (un)holy warrior domains tend to reflect the domains the deities grant to their clerics (or cultists). With Plot & Poison there are a slew of new domains, so it could be a bit difficult to pick out which (un)holy warrior domains go with which cleric domain.
That's where I come in. Let's start by looking at the Drow Pantheon presented in the dark elf book.
||Bat, Earth, Poison, Vermin, Underdark
||Death, Law, Necromancy, Vengeance
||Abjuration, Healing, Protection
||Control, Enchantment, Pain
||Glamer, Shadow, Trickery
||Strength, War, Wrath
||Augury, Communication, Knowledge
||Air, Calling, Conjuration
||Agility, Secrecy, Stealth
|The Spider Queen
||Destiny, Evil, Magic, Thought, Web
||Adaptation, Transmutation, Water
||Chaos, Destruction, Evocation, Fire
Clearly, there are some new domains that don't seem to have parallels with the standard spread of unholy warrior domains. I might be tempted to come up with a bunch more, but, well, I don't want to. So let's see what fits the best.
The current list of unholy warrior domains are as follows: Air, Corruption, Darkness, Disease, Earth, Envy, Fire, Gluttony, Greed, Hate, Horror, Lust, Magic, Pain, Pride, Sloth, Treachery, Tyranny, Undead, Water, and Wrath. The default unholy warrior uses Corruption and Tyranny.
A powerful deity, Arrachnovoleth is a renegade among the drow gods and seems to represent the difficulties and awfulness of the subterranean world. Of the cleric domains, one is standard—Earth, so we know, from the start, unholy warriors of this god should gain the Earth domain. For the others, we have Bat, Vermin, and Underdark, all things that creep about in the darkness, which leads me to suggest that this god grants Darkness as its other unholy warrior domain. Easy.
The Black Widow is the demigod of revenge, hate, death, and undeath, among other things. Of her domains, both Death and Law are standard. So, without messing around with the other domains, we can give her unholy warriors Undeath (for Death) and Tyranny (for Law). See how easy this is?
For the sake of moving quickly, I've assembled this list in advance. Also note, unholy warriors gain additional class skills depending on their patron, which I've also included. Naturally, I just couldn't help but come up with another unholy warrior domain, so we also have Madness (my personal favorite) to follow.
||Unholy Warrior Domains
||Additional Class Skills
||Darkness and Earth
||Tyranny and Undeath
||Corruption and Envy
||Lust and Pain
||Darkness and Treachery
||Sleight of Hand
||Hate and Wrath
||Magic and Tyranny
||Air and Magic
||Corruption and Treachery
|The Spider Queen
||Horror and Madness*
||Corruption and Water
||Corruption and Fire
Unholy Warriors with the Madness domain are crazed and unpredictable, but have a startling ability to channel their insanities to serve the will of their masters.
1st Level: Impenetrable Madness (Ex)
The unholy warrior always stands on the brink of insanity, giving him a unique defense against those who would sense his thoughts. Any caster who targets this unholy warrior with an enchantment (charm) or divination [mind-affecting] spell must succeed on a Will save (DC 10 + one-half the unholy warrior's level + his Charisma modifier) or take 1d6 points of Wisdom damage.
2nd Level: Raving (Ex)
The voices and delusions grow so severe that the unholy warrior spends more and more time withdrawn into his own haunted mind. He gains an Insanity score equal to half his class level. For the purpose of spellcasting and psionics (determining bonus spells and DCs), he uses his Wisdom score plus his Insanity score in place of Wisdom alone. For all other purposes, such as skill checks, saving throws, and so on, he uses his Wisdom score minus his Insanity in place of Wisdom.
Once per day, though, the unholy warrior can see and act with the clarity of true madness, allowing him to use his Insanity score as a positive modifier on a single roll that involves Wisdom. He must declare use of this ability before he makes the roll.
3rd Level: Aura of Insanity (Su)
All characters within 10 feet of the unholy warrior must succeed on a Will save (DC 10 + one-half the unholy warrior's level + his Charisma modifier) or become confused for 1 round. Characters who succeed or fail become immune to this unholy warrior's aura of insanity for 24 hours.
Gift of Darkness
Confusion once per week, with additional uses as indicated on Table A2–1: The Unholy Warrior in Green Ronin's The Book of Fiends.
Putting it all Together
With all the parts in place, now it's time to build a champion of darkness: a drow unholy warrior. Since we went to all the work to create this new unholy warrior domain, we'll make this unholy warrior a slave of the Spider Queen. She's also a god of psionic-type characters too, so we can make things interesting by adding a few levels of psychic warrior.
Ravillen Zandra, Thrall of the Spider Queen (CR 12)
Female drow psychic warrior 5, unholy warrior 6
NE Medium humanoid (elf)
Init +2; Senses Spot +1, Listen +1; darkvision 120 ft.
Aura lesser confusion (10 ft., DC 17)
Languages Common, Elven, Undercommon
21, touch 13, flat-footed 19
66 (11 HD)
+4 (+6 against spells and spell-like abilities, +8 against enchantments)
35 ft. (7 squares)
Melee +1 psychokinetic longsword
+13/+8 (1d8+3 plus 1d4/19–20)
Ranged +1 hand crossbow
Greater Psionic Weapon, Focused Sunder, Power Attack, Stand Still
dread 2/day (DC 17), frightful presence, rebuke undead 6/day (+4, 2d6+7, 3rd)
potion of cure moderate wounds,
2 potions of cure light wounds,
dose of drow knockout poison
Psionic Powers Known (ML 5th, Power Points: 12):
2nd—dissolving weapon, wall walker
1st—biofeedback A, call weaponry A, conceal thoughts
(DC 13), doom
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 11th):
1/day—dancing lights, darkness, faerie fire
Str 16, Dex 14, Con 12, Int 10, Wis 12 (15/9), Cha 18
can notice secret or concealed doors, dark ally, impenetrable madness (DC 17), raving 3, strong aura of evil, unholy warrior domains (Horror and Madness)
Cleave, Greater Psionic Weapon B
, Focused Sunder, Improved Sunder B
, Persuasive B
, Power Attack, Psionic Weapon B
, Skill Focus (Intimidate) B
, Stand Still
Autohypnosis +6, Bluff +11, Concentration +6, Diplomacy +6, Disguise +4 (+6 acting), Intimidate +16, Jump +7, Knowledge (psionics) +6, Listen +1, Ride +4, Search +2, Spot +1
combat gear plus +1 mithral shirt of quickness, +1 heavy steel shield, +1 psychokinetic longsword, +1 hand crossbow
with 10 silver bolts, ring of protection +1, cloak of Charisma +2, gloves of Dexterity +2
Dread (Su): Twice per day, Ravillen may make a special attack against a living opponent. Using a melee attack, she gains a +4 bonus to her attack roll. If she hits, the target must succeed on a DC 17 Will save or become confused, as per the confusion spell, for 4 rounds.
Frightful Presence (Ex): Whenever Ravillen charges, up to four times per day, she forces all opponents within 30 feet to succeed on DC 17 Will saves or become frightened for 5d6 rounds. A successful save grants immunity to this ability for 24 hours.
Fiendish Heavy Spidersteed* (CR —)
NE Large magical beast (extraplanar)
Init +2; Senses Spot +12, Listen +5; darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision, scent, tremorsense 60 ft.
18, touch 11, flat-footed 17
39 (6 HD); DR
cold 5, fire 5, improved evasion; SR
50 ft. (10 squares), climb 20 ft.; Run
hoof +6 (1d6+3)
2 hoofs +6 (1d6+3) and bite +1 (1d4+1 plus poison)
10 ft.; Reach
web (ranged touch +4, entangle; Escape DC 14; Break DC 18; hp 12)
poison (DC 14; 1d6 Str/1d6 Str), smite good (1/day, +6 damage)
Str 17, Dex 15, Con 15, Int 6, Wis 12, Cha 4
Climb +11, Hide +2, Jump +13, Listen +5, Move Silently +4, Spot +12
combat gear plus military saddle
*The fiendish heavy spidersteed is an amalgam (see Advanced Bestiary
page 16) creature. It blends a large monstrous hunting spider with a heavy warhorse.
This creature vaguely resembles a black horse, except it has eight legs and an exoskeleton. Its head, also like that of horse, at least in shape, has eight blood-red eyes and a maw filled with needle-like fangs that drip a noxious poison.