Butoh (3.5e Prestige Class)
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|“||The first rule of the butoh: You do not exist. The only thing that exists is who you are impersonating, nothing more.||”|
|—A butoh master, adressing his students.|
Some great warlords are known for their secrecy. Sometimes their greatest weapon is the butoh: actors so skilled in the art of disguise and mimicry that they can alter their appearance with a simple shift of posture, a change of expression. The butoh are these lords' eyes and ears outside their own territory. They might impersonate anyone from a powerful warrior's assistant to a lowly farmer if it serves the purposes of their secretive masters. It is said that a buoth never wears the same face twice, and a butoh would proudly claim that even this is an understatement. That is, if you could find one...
Becoming a Butoh
|Base Attack Bonus:||+5.|
|Skills:||Disguise 8 ranks, Bluff 8 ranks.|
|Feats:||Con Artist, Many Faced.|
|Special:||Sneak attack ability: 3d6 damage or better. Must pierce another butoh's disguise and survive the encounter.|
|1st||+0||+0||+2||+2||Astonishing Actor, Poison Use|
|2nd||+1||+0||+3||+3||Sneak Attack +1d6|
|5th||+3||+1||+4||+4||Final Blow, Sneak Attack +2d6|
|8th||+6||+2||+6||+6||Sneak Attack +3d6|
|10th||+7||+3||+7||+7||No More Lies|
Class Skills (4 + Int modifier per level.
All of the following are class features of the butoh.
Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Butoh gain proficiency with simple weapons, but not armor or shields.
Atonishing Actor (Ex): At 1st level, the butoh has already begun to ingrain the arts of disguise into his very being. He can easily shift from one persona to another, though he still relies on physical impliments and makeup to assist his disguise. He gains a circumstance bonus to all Disguise and Bluff checks equal to his butoh level. In addition, if he possesses a knowledge skill that relates directly to his target, such as Knowledge (Religion) when imitating a cleric, he gains an additional +2 circumstance bonus to his Disguise check.
Poison Use: Butoh gain this ability at first level. As they sometimes serve in the capacity of assassins, all butoh are educated in the proper use of poisons, and do not risk accidentally poisoning themselves when applying or brewing poison.
Versatile (Ex): Butoh must be masters of many skills os that they may more easily slip into alternate personae unnoticed. At 3rd, 6th, and 9th level the butoh can gain the special class features of any class he chooses equal to his character level. He does not gain any proficiencies, spellcasting or manifesting abilities, or previous abilites of the class he chooses, nor can he choose the abilities of a prestige class. The butoh also does not receive the chosen class's base attack bonus or saves.
- Example: Ryuu, a human rogue 6/butoh 3, decides that he wants to gain the special abilities of an assassin;since his total level is 9, he gains the abilities of a 9th level assassin: Improved Uncanny Dodge and a death attack with +11d6 worth of damage. He does not, however, gain any of the assassin's spellcasting, nor does he gain any of the assassin's previous abilities, such as Cloak of Discretion, Hide in Plain Sight, Trapmaking, etc.
Malleable Mimic (Su): At 4th level, the butoh begins to learn the deeper secrets of the great impersonators. With a simple act of concentration, the butoh can change is face, posture, and demeanor while weaving a sublte illusion arround himself. This makes the butoh, including clothing, armor, weapons, and equipment, look different. He can seem 1 foot shorter or taller, thin, fat, or in between. He cannot change his body type. For example, a human butoh could look human, humanoid, or like any other generally human-shaped bipedal creature. Otherwise, the extent of the change is up to the butoh himself. He can add obscure or minor features, such as a mole or a beard, or look like an entirely different person.
This ability does not provide the abilities or mannerisms of the chosen form. It does not alter the perceived tactile or audible properties of the butoh or his equipment, so if he changes his leather armor to look like full plate, it still functions as leather. If he uses this spell to create a disguise, he gains a +10 bonus on the disguise check, which stacks with his bonus(es) from Astonishing Actor.
Note:Creatures get Will saves to recognize the illusion if they interact with it (such as by touching you and having that not match what they see, in this case).
Final Blow (Ex): Though not all butoh are assassins, they are trained to take advantage of a helpless enemy should the need arise. From 5th level onwards, the butoh may perform a coup de grace on against a helpless opponent as a partial action rather than a full round action.
Insurmountable Impersonator (SU): A butoh who reaches 7th level no longer needs to rely on illusion to conceal his identity. The core of his existence has become a thing of deception. The illusion created by Malleable Mimic now becomes real, effectively upgrading it so that it is, for all intensive purposes, an alter self spell, cast by a sorcerer of his character level. This change carries certain limitations when compared to a true alter self spell; the butoh cannot emulate wings or gills as normally allowed by the spell, and can also become "faceless," that is, he can have no identifying features whatsoever. Unlike normal shape-shifting, if the butoh dies while in an altered form, he remains permanently in that form.
No More Lies (Su): At 10th level, the butoh's Insurmountable Impersonator effect has an unlimited duration. In addition, once per day per hit die, as a standard action, the butoh can also make his face look nightmarish and terrifying, directing a gaze attack against one target of his choice. The target must make a Will save (DC 10 + his character level + Charisma modifier). If this save fails, the target stands helpless for one round. This is a mind-affecting fear effect.
Playing a Butoh
Combat: Butoh are not very good combatants. Their abilities are far more suitable for intrigue-based campaigns then anything else. Well, at least until 10th level, at which point in time he can use No More Lies with Final Blow to make an opponent helpless and perform a coup de grace in the same turn. Their Versatality class feature also lets them become somewhat more adept in combat.
Advancement: Most butoh continue as butoh. Some take other shapeshifting classes later on, or perhaps a few more levels of rogue.
Resources: The butoh have their own secret spy cabals, which can occasionally offer things to the butoh. More often than not, however, it will simply be an assignment.
Butoh in the World
|“||Anyone can be a butoh in disguise at any time. You know that courtesan you were with last night? Yeah, today she could be impersonated by a male butoh, and you would never know the difference.||”|
|—Ota Nobuyuki, Human warlord|
The butoh are the master spies, operating a large web of influence and control. Few acknowledge the existence of the butoh, as doing so invites a large amount of paranoia. They gather influence, favors, and information from all around the world, usually for some shadowy organization with sketchy goals.
NPC Reactions: NPCs react to butoh according to who or what the butoh is impersonating at the time.
Characters with ranks in Knowledge (Local) can research butoh to learn more about them. When a character makes a skill check, read or paraphrase the following, including information from lower DCs.
|11||Some actors are so skilled they can look like others. They are called butoh.|
|16||Butoh can easily dispatch helpless opponents, and is skilled at killing helpless opponents.|
|21||Butoh can impersonate almost anything or anyone.|
|26||Some butoh can twist their faces into a horrifying mockery of life.|
Butoh in the Game
Butoh should rarely be fought in combat. They work best as an NPC, perhaps as one who helps out the PCs under the guise of some other person, and is eventually revealed. The goals of the butoh's masters are often enigmatic and inscrutable, but they rarely coincide with the those of the PCs, and there are numerous amounts of intrigue you can shovel on with a well used butoh.
Adaptation: Butoh can have their name changed so that it applies to any sort of skilled actor, in a Western-themed campaign. Other than that, few changes are necessary.
Sample Encounter: I can't write these, and this class needs one.
EL Whatever: Again, I'm really bad at making NPCs.
|Allowed Alignments||Lawful Good +, Lawful Neutral +, Lawful Evil +, Neutral Good +, Neutral +, Neutral Evil +, Chaotic Good +, Chaotic Neutral + and Chaotic Evil +|
|Article Balance||High +|
|Base Attack Bonus Progression||Moderate +|
|Class Ability||Sneak Attack +|
|Class Ability Progression||Minor +|
|Fortitude Save Progression||Poor +|
|Identifier||3.5e Prestige Class +|
|Minimum Level||7 +|
|Reflex Save Progression||Good +|
|Skill||Balance +, Bluff +, Climb +, Concentration +, Craft +, Disguise +, Escape Artist +, Forgery +, Gather Information +, Hide +, Knowledge +, Listen +, Move Silently +, Open Lock +, Perform +, Profession +, Sense Motive +, Spot +, Tumble + and Use Magic Device +|
|Skill Points||4 +|
|Summary||The butoh is an actor so skilled that he can alter his appearance to suit his needs. They make excellent spies, infiltrators, and assassins. +|
|Will Save Progression||Good +|