Grim (3.5e Class)
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A supernatural warrior that channels power from the Ethereal Plane to transform his spirit and body as a divine ally of Death. 20 1 Moderate
Good Spontaneous Divine Spellcasting Other
You are forged by death and loss, for it tempers your body and spirit.
Harnessing and channeling abstracted extraplanar power (typically from the Ethereal Plane), the grim transforms his core essence. He learns spells and focuses energy as a destructive scourge attack. He is a grim reminder of the fleeting lives of mortals and the horrific torment brought upon those who fail to cross over to the afterlife. It is this association that earns him the name of "grim".
Grims are at their peak when transformed, gaining access to spells, resistances, abilities and enhancements. Their spells allow them to communicate, manipulate their surroundings, weaken opponents, bestow blessings, avoid detection and bear their wrath down upon their foes.
Making a Grim
Some that follow this path have inborn supernatural connections. Others are bound to the agents of death, the fates or the Ethereal Plane by longstanding and powerful traumas. A rare few even make pacts with powerful spirits or deities of death.
Abilities: A grim will favor some ability scores over others depending on his focus and which Aptitude Path he chooses. A high key mental ability score increases the potency of grim spells and grants additional LP. Strength is valuable for grims who focus on for melee brawling and combat maneuver tricks. Dexterity is valuable for grims who focus on lighter armors, initiative and the specialization in finesse weapons.
Races: Any mortal race with enough culture to be aware of the afterlife is likely to have grims. Outsiders and elementals are less likely to become grims, as they already have a predisposed connection to a particular plane.
Starting Gold: 5d4 × 10 gp (125 gp).
|Saving Throws||Special||Spells Known|
|1st||+0||+0||+0||+2||Alteration, Past Deeds, Scourge Attack, Transformation||2||—||—||—|
|4th||+3||+1||+1||+4||Alteration, Death's Communion||3||2||—||—|
|5th||+3||+1||+1||+4||Divine Suffusion 1st Level||3||2||—||—|
|6th||+4||+2||+2||+5||Alteration, Death's Accord||3||3||—||—|
|7th||+5||+2||+2||+5||Agile Scourge, Returning Memories||3||3||—||—|
|8th||+6/+1||+2||+2||+6||Alteration, Bonus Feat, Imbued Body||4||3||—||—|
|9th||+6/+1||+3||+3||+6||Divine Suffusion 2nd Level, Nixing Scourge||4||3||—||—|
|10th||+7/+2||+3||+3||+7||Alteration, Death's Contract||4||3||2||—|
|11th||+8/+3||+3||+3||+7||Eternal Life, Imbued Body||5||3||2||—|
|14th||+10/+5||+4||+4||+9||Alteration, Divine Suffusion 3rd Level, Imbued Body||5||3||3||—|
|18th||+13/+8/+3||+6||+6||+11||Alteration, Bonus Feat||5||4||4||2|
|19th||+14/+9/+4||+6||+6||+11||Divine Suffusion 4th Level||5||4||4||2|
|20th||+15/+10/+5||+6||+6||+12||Alteration, Imbued Body, Perfect Transformation||5||4||4||3|
Class Skills (4 + Int modifier per level, ×4 at 1st level)
The following are class features of the grim.
Competent Combatant: A grim's class level may be used instead of his grim base attack bonus for the purposes of meeting prerequisites for feats and for the benefits of base attack bonus-tiered scaling feats. Additionally, when making a bull rush, disarm, grapple, sunder, or trip attempt, a grim may use his grim class level instead of his grim base attack bonus for the purpose of the check.
Aptitude Path: A grim chooses one of these paths upon gaining his first level.
- Brawler Path: He gains a monk's Unarmed Strike and Flurry of Blows abilities that scale with his grim level. Though, he must flurry with unarmed strikes or with special grim weapons (dagger, handaxe, light mace, light pick, quarterstaff, scythe, sickle and throwing axe).
- Defense Path: He gains Heavy Armor Proficiency as well as Tower Shield Proficiency. Increase his grim class level Fortitude save progression to "Good".
- Exotic Path: He gains proficiency with all martial weapons and proficiency with one exotic weapon of his choice. He adds 2 skill points per level for his grim class levels.
- Finesse Path: He gains proficiency with all martial weapons as well as Weapon Finesse. Increase his grim class level Reflex save progression to "Good".
Grim Focus: Grims use different mental ability scores as their key mental ability for spell-casting and grim abilities. A grim chooses one of the following.
- Intelligence-Based: Gain all Knowledge skills as class skills. Gain 1 bonus skill point per grim level to invest in any Craft skill.
- Wisdom-Based: Gain Autohypnosis as a class skill. Gain 1 bonus skill point per grim level to invest in any Profession skill.
- Charisma-Based: Gain Use Magic Device as a class skill. Gain 1 bonus skill point per grim level to invest in any Perform skill.
Grim Spellcasting: A grim casts his spells at-will while transformed which does not expend the slots they occupy. He cannot cast spells when not transformed unless he has also gained the corresponding Divine Suffusion to cast a spell of that level. His key mental ability score determines the power of his spells.
A grim readies his spells through divine meditation in an hour-long meditation ritual typically performed at dawn after waking. Anytime he wishes to change all his readied spells, he must meditate uninterrupted for one hour. The spells he readies are ingrained into his essence and he may use them at-will while transformed. For quickly readying different spells, he may swap out one spell for another of the same level by spending 1 LP per spell level as a full-round action. A grim may ready and cast any spell on the grim spell list, provided that he can cast spells of that level, but he must choose which spells to ready during his meditation.
To ready or cast a spell, a grim must have a key mental ability score equal to at least 10 + the spell's level. The Difficulty Class for a saving throw against a grim’s spell is 10 + the spell's level + the grim’s key mental ability modifier. Unlike most other spellcasters, a grim has a nearly limitless supply of spells per day. He gains access of up to 4th level spells and is initially limited to casting spells only while transformed.
A grim’s list of spells is harshly limited. A grim is able to prepare two 1st-level spells of his choice at 1st level. As he gains more grim levels, he gains more new spells, as indicated on Table: The Grim. The number of spells a grim readies is not affected by his key mental ability score; the numbers on Table: The Grim are fixed. These spells are chosen from the list below.
Upon reaching 4th, 10th and 15th levels, the grim gains access to each higher level of spells. He may choose to have a lower level spell occupy a higher level slot (though, the spell is still cast as though it were of its normal level). Metamagic spells must be prepared in the higher slot to be used.
Grims choose their spells from the following list:
Grim Life Points (Ex): A grim gains a pool of life points (LP) equal to his grim level + his key mental ability modifier (minimum of 1). LP refresh at a rate of 1 per 10 minutes counting since their last usage.
An increase in his key mental ability grants the capacity for more LP, which are filled at the normal refresh rate.
Alteration (Su): Starting at 1st level and each time he gains an even-numbered grim level, he gains an alteration of his choice. He may choose any alteration he meets the prerequisites for. An alteration only functions while he is transformed. The full alteration list can be found below.
Grim Transformation (Su): Ethereal essences imbue his body and weapons. At 1st level, he learns to directly harness the otherworldly power of the Ethereal Plane to transform himself. His transformation's appearance evolves as he gains levels, though the details vary from grim to grim.
A 1st-level grim may transform into his grim form as a swift action on his turn by spending 1 LP (with 1 LP each additional round to maintain the transformation as a non-action). A grim may end his transformation as a free action, even when it is not his turn. If a grim runs out of LP, he may overextend and continue to maintain his transformation by paying the "grim cost" (1 HP of lethal damage per HD each round transformed, bypassing resistances and any temporary HP). Entering into this overextension, the grim may not transform again after he de-transforms until all his LP are refreshed.
The influx of power grants him a reroll on a d20 roll he makes once per round. Additionally, he may spend 1 LP while transformed to reroll any single d20 roll once per round.
As a grim gains levels, he will have his choice of alterations to modify the abilities he gains when he transforms. A grim who is knocked unconscious or dies while transformed, remains transformed until the start of his next turn.
Past Deeds: A grim isn't always delving in tombs and crypts. At 1st level, he gains an archetype feat he meets the prerequisites for.
Scourge Attack (Su): At 1st level, he learns to channel damaging power as part of an attack made as a standard action at the cost of 1 LP. He channels this energy through an attack, natural or manufactured. Only one attack per round may be a scourge attack and is declared before the attack is rolled, affecting a single target. A scourge attack's unleashed power rends through and inundates the target, dealing 1d6 damage at 1st grim level and an additional 1d6 at every odd-numbered grim level. While transformed, he deals damage equal to 1d6+2 damage instead.
Second Path: A grim must choose to specialize or diversify. At 3rd level, he may choose either a second Aptitude Path or a High balance or lower feat he meets the prerequisites for.
Death's Communion (Ex): At 4th level, he is recognized as notable by those who ferry the souls of the dead. A grim can be raised from the dead without the need for expensive material components or experience point loss.
Additionally, a grim may choose up to two allies, bestowing upon them this benefit in a binding pact (taking 1 minute of concentration by the grim). Alternatively, he may choose up to four allies, cutting the material component requirements to raise them and experience loss by 50% instead. The pact can be completed or withdrawn from an ally at a range of up to 30 feet. The pact cannot be applied to an unwilling target.
Divine Suffusion (Su): The divine energies that power the grim's spells suffuses itself into the grim's soul, allowing him to cast spells of the given level when not transformed. At 5th level, the grim may cast his 1st level spells when not transformed. At 9th level, the grim may cast his 2nd level spells when not transformed. At 14th level, the grim may cast his 3rd level spells when not transformed. At 19th level, the grim may cast his 4th level spells when not transformed.
Death's Accord (Ex): At 6th level, the grim is empowered with a resistance to effects from abilities with the death descriptor, death effects and energy drain, re-rolling any failed save, taking the better of the two results. Additionally, he takes ½ effectiveness from energy drain (minimum of 1), and negative energy effects (such as those from inflict spells or chill touch) regardless if he was allowed a save or if the save was successful.
Agile Scourge (Su): At 7th level, the grim gains the option of making a scourge attack when making any attack, such as when part of a full attack action, standard action, readied action or from an attack of opportunity. He is still limited to 1 scourge attack per round.
Returning Memories (Ex): A day after returning from the dead, an epiphany of memories strikes the grim, and he regains his lost power. At 7th level, if the grim dies and is brought back to life with a means that would cause him to lose a level, he instead only suffers temporary level drain as if he had been energy drained. The negative level is automatically restored after 24 hours and never becomes permanent level loss. If reincarnated, he may instead choose to have his body restored to its original form (though as a young adult).
Bonus Feat: At 8th level, the grim gains a bonus grim feat for which he meets the prerequisites.
He gains an additional grim bonus feat at 13th and 18th levels.
Imbued Body (Ex): At 8th level, the grim may choose an Alteration he has learned to become a permanent aspect of his body and soul. The Alteration continues to function even when he is not transformed.
He gains another imbued body from another alteration at 11th, 14th, 17th and 20th levels.
Nixing Scourge (Su): At 9th level, the power of his Scourge Attack grows, becoming capable of disintegrating creatures, objects and force effects, such as a wall of force. By spending an additional LP, any creature killed or object reduced to 0 or fewer hit points by this attack is disintegrated, leaving behind trace dust and any equipment it carried. A Fortitude save (DC 10 + his key mental ability modifier + ½ his HD) prevents disintegration but leaves the body a mangled wreak.
Nixing scourge allows scourge attacks to bypass an amount of DR or hardness equal to his grim level.
Against force effects, he must make a caster check (d20 + spell slot's level + key mental ability modifier) against the save DC of the force effect. If he succeeds, the force effect (up to a 10' square) is destroyed.
Death's Contract (Ex): At 10th level, the grim is empowered with immunity to effects from abilities with the death descriptor, death effects, energy drain, and negative energy effects (such as those from inflict spells or chill touch) but not planar effects such as that generated by the Negative Energy Plane (though he retains his ½ effectiveness against negative energy from Death's Accord). This ability does not remove previously gained negative levels or affect the saving throw necessary 24 hours after gaining a negative level. This ability doesn't protect against other sorts of attacks, such as hit point loss, poison, or petrification, even if those attacks might be lethal. This ability does not negate the temporary negative level gained when using the Returning Memories ability.
An undead grim instead applies these benefits to positive energy effects instead.
Eternal Life (Su): At 11th level, he no longer ages normally. He may continue to age if he chooses, gaining bonuses and penalties as normal, but he no longer has a maximum age and cannot die of old age.
Great Scourge (Su): At 15th level, the grim may make a single Scourge Attack in place of a full attack action as he channels all his fury. For each iterative attack he gives up, he adds a multiple of his scourge attack damage dealt with the attack.
Perfect Transformation (Su): At 20th level, the grim need not spend LP to maintain his grim transformation in any round in which he doesn't attack or cast spells, though his LP do not refresh while in this state.
Alteration Types: Alterations come in four basic types: Passive, Burst, Aura and Special. Alterations may have more than one type.
- Passive: These alterations function simply by having them.
- Burst: These alterations have an area of effect and require an action to use.
- Aura: These alterations have a radius and affect targets as described.
- Special: These alterations don't fit into the above types.
|Armor Fusion||Passive||None||Your armor's restrictions and encumbrance is lessened.|
|Aura of Dread||Aura||Intimidate 6 ranks||A 30 foot burst of fear used to demoralize opponents with intimidation.|
|Boon of Charisma||Passive||None||+2 bonus to Charisma.|
|Boon of Constitution||Passive||None||+2 bonus to Constitution.|
|Boon of Dexterity||Passive||None||+2 bonus to Dexterity.|
|Boon of Fortitude||Passive||None||+2 bonus on Fortitude saves.|
|Boon of Reflex||Passive||None||+2 bonus on Reflex saves.|
|Boon of Strength||Passive||None||+2 bonus to Strength.|
|Boon of Will||Passive||None||+2 bonus on Will saves.|
|Dark Matter||Burst||Tenebrous Body, Tenebrous Deviation, Tenebrous Wave||You create an ever expanding wave of darkness which devour your opponent and leave nothing behind.|
|Devourer of Light||Aura, Burst||Tenebrous Wave, Tenebrous Body||A burst that consumes magical lights.|
|Elemental Affinity||Special||Ability to speak either: Auran, Aquan, Ignan or Terran; Minor Elemental Affinity||Gain Minor Bends from one of the Bender of Elements classes.|
|Elemental Affinity, Final||Special||Ability to speak either: Auran, Aquan, Ignan or Terran; Minor Elemental Affinity, Elemental Affinity, Improved Elemental Affinity||Gain elemental subtypes; Elemental abilities.|
|Elemental Affinity, Improved||Special||Ability to speak either: Auran, Aquan, Ignan or Terran; Minor Elemental Affinity, Elemental Affinity||Gain Major Bends; Elemental features.|
|Elemental Affinity, Minor||Special||Ability to speak either: Auran, Aquan, Ignan or Terran||Gain Basic Bends of one element, minor elemental ability.|
|Elemental Attack||Passive||Bestial Body||A natural attack gains added elemental energy damage.|
|Elemental Body||Passive||Bestial Body, Elemental Resistance||You are surrounded by an aura of elemental energy.|
|Elemental Breath||Special||Elemental Resistance||You gain a breath weapon.|
|Elemental Burst||Aura, Burst||Bestial Body, Elemental Resistance, Elemental Body||You release a wave of energy from your body in a 30 foot radius.|
|Elemental Projectile||Special||Elemental Resistance||You can throw energy projectiles.|
|Elemental Resistance||Passive||None||Resistance to Energy from either fire, cold, acid, electricity or sonic damage.|
|Feral Body||Passive||None||You gain a feral strike weapon of your choice.|
|Flash Before the Eyes||Burst, Special||None||Targets within a 60 foot cone become fascinated.|
|Fleet Movement||Passive||None||You gain a monk's fast movement and may 10' step.|
|Forcefield||Passive||Lucent Body or Tenebrous Body||You have a forcefield around you, which bolster your AC and provide temporary hit point.|
|Great Form||Passive||Boon of Constitution, either Boon of Dexterity or Boon of Strength||You grow a size category larger.|
|Greater Dread||Passive||Intimidate 6 ranks, Aura of Dread||When you make targets shaken, they become intensely shaken.|
|Greater Stalwart Body||Passive||Stalwart Body||Damage Reduction 4/−.|
|Improved Uncanny Dodge||Passive||Uncanny Dodge||You can no longer be flanked.|
|Invincible Forcefield||Passive||Forcefield, Grim level 16th||Your forcefield repel attacks without fail, being barely damaged by it.|
|Leaps and Bounds||Passive||None||Double roll Balance, Jump and Tumble skill checks and avoid provoking for some movement.|
|Lucent Body||Aura, Passive||None||A luminous aura of light, Bright-light Vision and a +2 deflection bonus to AC.|
|Lucent Deviation||Special||Lucent Body, any other Lucent alteration||You become mostly light, able to move through solid objects at half speed.|
|Lucent Flare||Aura, Burst||None||Aura causes targets to become dazzled.|
|Lucent Fortification||Passive||Lucent Body||Scoring precision damage against you is more difficult.|
|Lucent Moderate Fortification||Passive||Lucent Flare, Lucent Body, Lucent Fortification||You gain moderate fortification.|
|Master of Portals||Special||None||You can open a pair of portals which lead to each other.|
|Memories of the Dead||Special||None||You enter the mind of a foe you kill or identify a corpse.|
|Reaper's Sickle||Special||Lucent Body or Tenebrous Body||You summon a large amount of ghostly sickle to strike down your foes.|
|Sight of Revelation||Passive||Spot 10 ranks||You gain the ability to see invisible creatures near you.|
|Spectral Weapon||Special||None||You create a spectral weapon when making a scourge attack.|
|Stalwart Body||Passive||None||Damage Reduction 2/−.|
|Surge of Emotion||Aura, Burst||None||You create a 30 foot bursting aura that either boosts morale for allies or lowers morale for opponents.|
|Tenebrous Body||Aura, Passive||None||A shadowy aura that reduces illumination, Darkvision and a +2 deflection bonus to AC.|
|Tenebrous Deviation||Special||Tenebrous Body, any other Tenebrous alteration||Your body temporarily becomes like shadow-stuff, allowing you to dimension door.|
|Tenebrous Force||Special||Grim level 6th, Tenebrous Body||You possess an unseen forces which allow you to move objects or even creatures telekinetically.|
|Tenebrous Wave||Aura, Burst||None||Aura causes targets to have blurry vision.|
|Tongue of Power||Passive||Boon of Charisma||You can speak and understand all languages and unleash a damaging power word.|
|Uncanny Dodge||Passive||None||Retain your Dexterity bonus to AC (if any) even when caught flat-footed or struck by an invisible attacker.|
|Vigorous Burst||Special||Vigorous Healing||Fast Healing 2.|
|Vigorous Healing||Passive||Boon of Constitution||Fast Healing that scales with your grim level.|
|Wings||Passive||Boon of Dexterity, either Fleet Movement or Leaps and Bounds||You grow a pair of wings, enabling you to fly.|
|Wispform||Special||Lucent Body||Assume the form of a small swarm of will-o wisps.|
3.5e Grim Alterations: A complete list of alterations as well as additional comments on their design.
|Ascended Transformation||Grim Transformation, Character Level 9th||You gain two additional transformations alteration at a higher cost to maintain.|
|Bind Possession||Grim Transformation||You gain the ability to establish a connection to an item, allowing you to store it in a pocket dimension. It gains benefits.|
|Brutal Transformation||Grim Transformation||When you transform you are physically stronger.|
|Conductive Spell Essence||Grim Transformation||You gain healing and harming-themed spells to your grim spell list plus a bonus to Heal.|
|Death's Arbiter||Grim Transformation, Knowledge (religion) 6 ranks||You may absorb damage taken by an ally instantly if it would otherwise kill him.|
|Elemental Scourge Attack||Scourge Attack||Transforms your Bane Attack damage into elemental energy on command.|
|Final Rites||Grim Transformation, Knowledge (religion) 18 ranks||You put a curse-like supernatural effect on creatures you kill, preventing them from being raised or returning to the Material Plane.|
|Grim Desperation||Grim Transformation||When your LP pool is empty, you can choose to pay the "grim cost" in HP instead.|
|Grim Rider||1 passive Alteration||Grant a companion creature your passive alterations while transformed|
|Life Point Reserve||Grim Transformation||Gain additional grim Life Points with your level.|
|Manifest Scourge Attack||Divine Suffusion||You harness the full power of your Scourge Attack when not transformed.|
|Scourge Attack Focus||Scourge Attack||Your Scourge Attack deals additional damage per grim level.|
|Scourge Cleave||Cleave, Power Attack, Scourge Attack, Strength 13||When you cleave an opponent with a Scourge Attack, your cleave attack may also be a Scourge Attack.|
|Soul Warden||Grim Transformation, Knowledge (religion) 10 ranks||You guide souls to the afterlife and destroy incorporeal undead.|
|Tenebrous Spell Essence||Grim Transformation||You gain several darkness-themed spells to your grim spell list plus improved vision.|
|Zephyrean Spell Essence||Grim Transformation||You gain several flight-themed spells to your grim spell list plus a bonus to Jump.|
Dealing with the afterlife varies from campaign settings, so, be sure to find out what plane is considered the afterlife for determining the effects of some of the grim's abilities. The afterlife may vary for certain creatures, or even vary among followers of a faith or alignment.
In some societies, grims may play against ideals and norms, becoming either outcasts or eccentrics. They may also serve as public servants, spiritualists and preachers to their fellows.
|“||When you look back on your life do you ask yourself 'Have I made the right choices? Do I have regrets? Were my failures my bane?' or do you say 'It matters not what I feel, for the historians for ages to come shall know my name and my tale'. When you look back on your life, do you see Death following?||”|
|—Alem Eigrod the Gray Saint|
Characters with ranks in Knowledge (religion) can research grims to learn more about them. When a character makes a skill check, read or paraphrase the following, including information from lower DCs.
The DC to learn about a specific class feature of the grim is 10 + the level the ability is gained.
|10||Grims can transform, becoming stronger for a short period of time. Their powers are granted through a connection to the Ethereal Plane.|
|15||Grims often pose as shamans or exorcists. They gain power to destroy undead creatures and deal powerful blows with weapons as well as cast a few spells.|
|20||A grim's connection to the Ethereal Plane affords him a cheaper passage from the afterlife back to the world of the living as well as protection to means that would surely kill most others.|
|25||A powerful grim may destroy objects, creatures and solid force with a touch. Able to transform at a moment's notice and strike out with supernatural power against his foes, the grim often walks about in unseen quietude.|
|Article Balance||Very High +|
|Author||Ganteka Future +|
|Base Attack Bonus Progression||Moderate +|
|Class Ability||Spontaneous Divine Spellcasting +|
|Class Ability Progression||Other +|
|Identifier||3.5e Class +|
|Minimum Level||1 +|
|Skill||Balance +, Bluff +, Climb +, Concentration +, Craft +, Diplomacy +, Disguise +, Escape Artist +, Heal +, Hide +, Intimidate +, Knowledge +, Listen +, Move Silently +, Perform +, Profession +, Ride +, Search +, Sense Motive +, Spellcraft +, Spot +, Survival + and Swim +|
|Skill Points||4 +|
|Summary||A supernatural warrior that channels power from the Ethereal Plane to transform his spirit and body as a divine ally of Death. +|
|Will Save Progression||Good +|