Master of Subdual (Vigilante)

August 23rd, 2016

Alex Riggs

Best in Class Archive

It’s Peace Week here at Necromancers of the Northwest, as we take a week to try to take a step back from all of the chaos, violence, and hate that infects not only fantasy game worlds, but all too often the real world as well. I’ve always been a big fan of heroes that hold themselves to a higher standard, who believe the best about people, and who genuinely seem to want to make the world a better place. It’s always been my favorite thing about paladins, and while today’s archetype isn’t for paladins, it does add a little tenderness to another class that seems predisposed to think twice before murdering his foes, the vigilante.


New Vigilante Archetype
Master of Subdual

Many vigilantes operate with some sort of code, which governs their vigilante activities and separates them from those they fight. A common vigilante code is to refrain from killing their foes, and the vigilantes who are the best at taking down their opponents nonlethally are known as masters of subdual.

Nonlethal Takedown (Ex): At 1st level, a master of subdual becomes an expert in nonlethal takedowns. He does not suffer the normal −4 penalty on attack rolls made to deal nonlethal damage with weapons that normally deal lethal damage. Additionally, whenever the master of subdual successfully deals nonlethal damage to a creature, he deals an additional amount of precision-based nonlethal damage equal to his class level.

This ability replaces the vigilante specialization class feature.

Social Talents: A master of subdual can select from any of the following social talents, in addition to general social talents.

Parley (Ex): The master of subdual is an expert at using his words to defuse a tense situation. While in his social identity, as a full-round action, the master of subdual can call for a parley during combat. To do this, he makes a Diplomacy check with a DC equal to 15 + the Hit Dice of the opponent with the most Hit Dice + the Charisma modifier of the opponent with the highest Charisma modifier. Creatures with an Intelligence score of 2 or less are not affected by this ability (and are not included when determining which foe has the highest Hit Dice or Charisma modifier). If any of the opponents are a different creature type than the master of subdual, the master of subdual suffers a −4 penalty on this check, and if any of the opponents do not speak the master of subdual’s language, he suffers an additional −8 penalty on this check. If the master of subdual already failed a Diplomacy check to influence the attitude of one or more of these opponents in the last 24 hours, this attempt automatically fails.

If the check succeeds, the opponents agree to cease hostilities long enough for the master of subdual to parley with them, allowing him to make further Diplomacy checks to improve their attitude, ask favors, negotiate some non-violent resolution to their conflict, etc. If the master of subdual or any of his allies makes any hostile actions during this time, or appear to be using the time to prepare for further combat (casting beneficial spells on themselves, drawing weapons, moving into better position, etc.), the opponents immediately resume combat, and gain a +2 morale bonus on attack and damage rolls against the master of subdual and his allies for 1 minute. At the GM’s discretion, certain creatures may simply be completely unwilling to parley, or, during a parley, it may become clear that there is no possible non-violent resolution.

Rehabilitation (Ex): The master of subdual understands that everyone has a chance at redemption, and is potentially able to bring around even black-hearted villains to his way of thinking. In order to do so, he must spend at least two hours per day for an entire week in his social identity speaking with the person in question about moral and ethical issues, the reasons why they act the way that they do, and what other ways they could solve their problems, instead. At the end of this time, the master of subdual must make a Diplomacy check (calculate the DC as though asking the target to give aid that could result in punishment, so 40 + Charisma modifier for a hostile character). If the check succeeds, the target’s attitude towards the master of subdual permanently increases by one step. If this increases the target’s attitude towards the master of subdual to indifferent or higher, the target must succeed on a Will save (DC 10 + the master of subdual’s Charisma modifier + 1 per previous saving throw) or have his alignment shift one step closer to the master of subdual’s alignment. The target chooses whether this shift occurs on the good/evil axis or the chaos/law axis. Otherwise, the alignment shift functions similarly to the redemption/temptation option of atonement. The master of subdual can continue trying to rehabilitate the individual indefinitely, as long as the individual is still willing to do so (or is imprisoned or otherwise accessible to the master of subdual). The GM may determine that certain individuals with strong convictions or particularly broken minds may have a higher than normal Diplomacy DC, gain a bonus on Will saves to resist having their alignment changed in this way, or simply be unable to be rehabilitated.

Soft Target (Ex): While in his social identity, the master of subdual can deliberately make himself appear to be harmless in order to influence the likelihood of creatures attacking him, instead of other targets. This is a subtle change in body posture, word choice, and other minor cues, which he can activate or deactivate as a swift action. Whenever he does so, the GM should make a Bluff check for the master of subdual in secret. Creatures that encounter the master of subdual while he is using this ability may make a Sense Motive check to see through this ruse, in which case they realize that he is far more dangerous than he appears, and is deliberately attempting to appear harmless, which may influence their likelihood of attacking him, anyway. This ability cannot force any creature to attack or ignore the master of subdual, but affected creatures view him as the least threatening individual present, and act accordingly, based on their normal tactics and preferences. If the master of subdual deals damage to a creature while using this ability, all creatures that witness him do so are no longer affected by this ability.

New Vigilante Talents: A master of subdual can select from any of the following vigilante talents, in addition to general vigilante talents.

Drop Your Weapons (Ex): As a full-round action, a master of subdual can call out for a foe within 30 feet to drop his weapons in an authoritative voice, a command which works surprisingly often. The opponent must be able to hear and understand the master of subdual, and must have an Intelligence score of at least 3, or the attempt has no effect. The master of subdual makes an Intimidate check (DC 15 + the target’s Hit Dice + the higher of the target’s Wisdom and Charisma modifiers). If the check succeeds, the target drops any weapons or objects he is currently holding. The master of subdual cannot use this ability on the same creature more than once in a 24-hour period.

Make Them Talk (Ex): The master of subdual is an expert at pressuring captured prisoners into revealing information. The master of subdual gains a +5 bonus on Intimidate checks made to convince a helpless or disabled foe to provide him with information. At 10th level, this bonus increases to +10. This bonus does not stack with the Skill Focus feat.

Superior Intimidation (Ex): The master of subdual can truly strike fear into the hearts of his foes. The first time each day that he uses Intimidate to demoralize a particular opponent, if the result of his Intimidate check exceeds the DC by 5 or more, the target is frightened, rather than shaken, for the duration of the effect.

Persuasive (Ex): Whether it’s gentle, calming words in his social identity, or harsh threats in his vigilante identity, the master of subdual is intensely persuasive. Beginning at 3rd level, he gains a bonus equal to 1/2 his vigilante level on Diplomacy checks while in his social identity, and on Intimidate checks while in his vigilante identity. This bonus does not stack with the Persuasive feat.

This ability replaces the unshakeable class feature.

Lasting Bruises (Ex): Beginning at 5th level, a master of subdual learns how to inflict nonlethal wounds that have a more lasting effect. When a character that has suffered nonlethal damage from a master of subdual receives magical healing, the healing does not also remove an equal amount of nonlethal damage. Instead, the target can choose whether to heal lethal or nonlethal damage first, and any nonlethal damage healed counts against the amount of healing provided by the magical effect. Additionally, nonlethal damage inflicted by the master of subdual heals naturally at the same rate as lethal damage, rather than healing at a rate of 1 hit point per hour per character level.

This ability replaces the startling appearance class feature.

Fair Fighting (Ex): Beginning at 11th level, the master of subdual’s nonlethal fighting style allows him to more easily dodge the lethal attacks of his opponents. He gains a +1 dodge bonus to AC as long as he is wearing medium armor, light armor, or no armor. This bonus does not apply to attacks made to deal nonlethal damage, and is lost if the master of subdual has dealt lethal damage to a living creature in the last hour. At 15th level, this bonus increases to +2, and at 19th level, it increases to +3.

This ability replaces the frightening appearance class feature.

Knockout Blow (Ex): Beginning at 17th level, when the master of subdual confirms a critical hit on an attack that deals nonlethal damage, the damaged creature must succeed on a Fortitude save (DC 10 + 1/2 the master of subdual’s vigilante level + the master of subdual’s Strength modifier) or fall unconscious for 1 minute. The master of subdual can use this ability up to 3 times per day.

This ability replaces the stunning appearance class feature.