Dirgesinger

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Dirgesinger is a custom prestige class available on Arelith.



Introduction

Dirgesingers voice melodies not of celebration and joy, but of sorrow and grief. They are often rootless wanderers who travel from place to place, wrapped in inconsolable torment from some personal tragedy. A few are sinister creatures who extinguish the joy of others by teaching the folly of love, the futility of hope, and the finality of the grave. Others still seek to honor the dead and remind the world of what has been lost, collecting tales of tragedy and writing elegies about them. No one will remember a dead queen in a few short generations, but a great lament might be sung a thousand years hence.

Dirgesingers always have a strong reason to choose their path, drawing power from the deepness of their loss. They have a talent for expressing their grief through song, choosing whether to bring despair, or to avoid the spread of more of it. They hold high positions in cultures where death is revered, serving as death-priests or entrusted with the serious responsibility of composing requiems for those who have passed. The rare dirgesinger who associates themselves with powerful undead might serve in the courts of lich kings or at the arm of a vampire lord.

Class Mechanics

Requirements

To qualify as a Dirgesinger, a character must fulfill all of the following criteria.

  • Skills: Lore 5 ranks, Intimidate 5 ranks
  • Feats: Iron Will and one of the following: Curse Song or Skill Focus: Perform.
    • A Dirgesinger is granted Curse Song or Skill Focus: Perform for free at level 1, based on what they used for their prerequisite.
  • Alignment restrictions: None. A Dirgesinger is as likely to be Good as they are Evil.

Class Features

  • Hit die: d6
  • Proficiencies: none
  • Skill points: 6 + int modifier
  • Class skills:
  • Bonus feats: spell focus (illusion, enchantment or necromancy), greater spell focus (illusion, enchantment or necromancy), arcane defense (illusion, enchantment, necromancy), epic skill focus: perform, epic reputation, perfect health, lingering song, extra music, lasting inspiration, unremitting cadence, song of the heart, dirge of woe, dirge of harvest, dirge of reprisal, dirge of damnation, dirge of awakening, dirge of terror
  • Unavailable Feats: weapon specialization
  • Primary saving throw(s): fortitude, will
  • Base attack bonus: +3/4 levels

Level Progression

Hit points rolls on Arelith are always maximum.

Level BAB Fort Ref Will Feats HP
1st +0 +2 +0 +2 curse song, skill focus: perform, dirgesinger synergy, bonus feat 6
2nd +1 +3 +0 +3 memento mori, [misericorde] 12
3rd +2 +3 +1 +3 macabre eulogy I 18
4th +3 +4 +1 +4 bonus feat 24
5th +3 +4 +1 +4 nocturne crescendo 30
6th +4 +5 +2 +5 macabre eulogy II 36
7th +5 +5 +2 +5 ghastly resonance, bonus feat 42
8th +6/+1 +6 +2 +6 requiem 48
9th +6/+1 +6 +3 +6 danse macabre, macabre eulogy III 54
10th +7/+2 +7 +3 +7 echo, inspiring minstrel, [rhapsody of blood], bonus feat 60

Dirgesinger Features

Feature Type Level Description
Dirgesinger Synergy Class Feature 1 A Dirgesinger sacrifices some of their Bard Song potential in exchange for powerful Dirges. As such, they forego a majority of their Bard Song scaling on Dirgesinger levels, gaining only 1 Effective Bard Song Level at 5 Dirgesinger and another at 10 Dirgesinger. Dirgesingers, however, retain their full Curse Song scaling for every Dirgesinger level, counting as if they'd taken a Bard level.

A Dirgesinger's dealings with death and the macabre grants them proclivities to the Assassin class. 2/3rd of your Assassin levels count towards your Bard Song and Curse Song scaling and your maximum charges for both.
Memento Mori Class Feature 2 A Dirgesinger's performances double as a funereal psalm. Their Curse Song deals bonus Entropy damage to all targets that it strikes, and this effect is stronger against undead. The damage dealt is equal to 1d4 per Dirgesinger level against non-undead, and 1d6 per Dirgesinger level against undead.
Misericorde Synergy Feature 2 (Special) Starting at 2 levels of Dirgesinger, characters with Assassin levels gain Misericorde, activatable ability that consumes 1 Curse Song charge in an attempt to strike a target with Memento Mori, once per round. If the target does not have Curse Song on them, its penalties (but not its damage) will be applied to them if Misericorde hits.
Macabre Eulogy Class Feature 3, 6, 9 Per each tier of Macabre Eulogy, their Bard Song grants an additional +1 bonus to AC and AB vs. Undead and a +1 bonus to saves vs. Fear and Death.

Upon reaching level 9, Macabre Eulogy becomes an activatable ability that applies Death Ward to all friendly targets in a large radius. The duration starts at 10 minutes. Lingering Song adds 5 minutes, and Lasting Inspiration doubles it afterwards. Upon activation, hostile undead in the radius must roll a Fortitude save (10 + Dirgesinger Levels + 1/5 Perform) or be instantly banished, and the area is warded from further Undead summoning for 1 minute.
Nocturne Crescendo Class Feature 5 Whenever the Dirgesinger regains a charge to Bard or Curse Song, they gain an additional charge if they are under an open sky during night hours. They also gain the ability to spend a Bard Song charge once per 3 minutes to recharge class-related spells from the Bard Spellbook upon their use.

- Level 0: Inflict Minor Wounds
- Level 1: Scare, Remove Fear, Inflict Light Wounds
- Level 2: Ghoul Touch, Darkness, Tasha’s Hideous Laughter, Silence, Inflict Moderate Wounds
- Level 3: Bestow Curse, Remove Curse, Crushing Despair, Inflict Serious Wounds, Fear, Confusion
- Level 4: Halt Undead, Inflict Critical Wounds
- Level 5: Nightmare, Enervation, Circle of Doom
- Level 6: Dirge, Control Undead, Evil Blight, Moonbeam, Phantasmal Killer
Ghastly Resonance Class Feature 7 Ghastly Resonance doubles the radius of your Curse Song and adds ten rounds to its duration.
Requiem Class Feature 8 The Dirgesinger's Bard Song counts all Dirgesinger levels when applied to friendly undead.
Danse Macabre Class Feature 9 Friendly undead gain 15% Movement Speed, as well as increased Turning resistance while affected by his Bard Song (This does not appear on the undead summons' character sheet).

Hostile non-player undead with less than 14 intelligence become Entranced by the Dirgesinger's Bard Song when activated nearby, and are unable to act for 1 round per 3 Dirgesinger levels. Player undead and non-player undead with more than 14 intelligence only become entranced upon a failed Will save.

A target can only be Entranced once per 30 minutes. The effect can also be removed with -pray.
Echo Class Feature 10 The Dirgesinger's Dirges now deal Memento Mori damage to their targets upon their activation (except for Dirge of Harvest and Dirge of Awakening).

The Dirgesinger is also able to bring back echoes of their previous performances by activating this ability, dealing Entropy damage upon a single target based on how many Dirges they have active (1d8 + 2d8 per Dirge, except for Awakening). Additionally, it creates one Echo at the location of the target per Dirge that the Dirgesinger is currently playing, up to a maximum of 3.

Summoned Echoes are ethereal copies of the Dirgesinger that stand in place and play dissonant chords, dealing 3d8 Entropy damage to everything around them once per round. The Echoes can be destroyed, and they disappear after 5 Rounds.

Echo, and its summoned projections, cannot be blocked by Silence or Deafen.
Inspiring Minstrel Feat Prerequisite 10 A character with this feat can take Lasting Inspiration so long as they meet the Perform requirements. Granted on 20th level Bard or 10th level Dirgesinger.
Rhapsody of Blood Synergy Feature 10 (Special) With 10 levels of Dirgesinger and Epic Assassin (11+ levels), Your Selfish Solo song now grants you 1 Attack Per Round at full BAB. Blinding Speed now also quickens your Dirges.
Epic Spell Focus: Necromancy Class Feature 10 (Special) If the Dirgesinger has taken Greater Spell Focus: Necromancy and has 10 levels of Dirgesinger, they are granted Epic Spell Focus: Necromancy for free.

Dirge Songs


  • Dirge Songs are special feats available only to a Dirgesinger as bonus feats. They are a primary feature of the Dirgesinger class that sets them apart from a Bard, and personifies their musical talent into macabre (or deadly) power.
  • Dirge Songs are instant use abilities but each Dirge Song can only be applied to a particular time once (in that different Dirge Songs do stack, but the same Dirge Song applied twice will not.)
  • Effects with DCs are calculated as such:
    • [10 + Dirgesinger Level + (Perform / 5)]
    • The effect does count Spellcraft.
    • Effect durations usually start at 1 turn, but are increased by 30 seconds per Lingering Song and Lasting Inspiration feat.


Dirge Song Song Charge Cost Target Cooldown Duration Description Prerequisites
Dirge of Woe 1 Curse Song Charge Single Enemy 3 Minutes Effect: 1 Turn The Dirgesinger performs a woeful requiem. Upon a failed Will save, the target is struck with Despairing, receiving penalties of -2 AB, -2 Saving Throws, -10% Movement Speed for 1 round, and -1 APR for 1 round. At 10 levels of Dirgesinger, the effect increases to -3 AB and -3 Saving Throws. If the target succeeds in the Will Save, they are instead afflicted with -1 AB and -1 Saving Throws. Dirge of Woe cannot be removed by Restoration. -
Dirge of Harvest 1 Curse Song Charge AoE, Special 3 Minutes Effect: 1 Turn The Dirgesinger plays a dissonant chord that calls for a harvest of souls. All hostile targets in the radius are struck by the reaper's touch, receiving 1d6 plus an additional 2d6 per Dirgesinger level as Entropy damage. A portion of all damage dealt is returned back to all friendly targets as hitpoints (up to a maximum of 10 HP per Dirgesinger level). Additionally, All friendly targets gain 1 point of Vampiric Regen per 2 Dirgesinger levels and 1 + 1 per 5 Dirgesinger levels as bonus magic damage for the duration of the dirge.
Note: Echo's additional Memento Mori damage does not function on Dirge of Harvest.
-
Dirge of Reprisal 1 Curse Song Charge AoE, Friendly 3 Minutes Effect: 1 Turn
Spell Absorption: 3 Rounds
The Dirgesinger unleashes a frenzied rhapsody of vengeance. As an instant action, all friendly targets gain a bulwark of spectral thorns that deal 1d4 magic damage plus 1 damage per Dirgesinger level to any attacker for the duration. They will also absorb the next spell cast upon them within 3 rounds.
Note: Dirge of Reprisal is breachable.
Note: Echo's additional Memento Mori damage does not function on Dirge of Harvest.
-
Dirge of Damnation 1 Curse Song Charge Single Enemy 3 Minutes Effect: 1 Turn
Root: 1 Round (2 at 10 Dirgesinger)
The Dirgesinger strikes a discordant elegy that burrows into the soul over the course of two rounds. On the first round, the target must make a Reflex save or find themselves rooted in place for 1 round. At 10th Dirgesinger, the duration increases to 2 rounds. On the second round, they must make a Fortitude save or are afflicted with 5% Damage Vulnerability to every damage type, 5% Spell Failure, and -1 AC. At 10 levels of Dirgesinger, the effect is upgraded to 10% Damage Vulnerability, 10% Spell Failure, and -2 AC. Dirge of Damnation also breaches 1 protection, plus 1 extra per 5 Dirgesinger levels (3 at 10). The Root effect can be removed with -pray. -


Dirge of Awakening 2 Bard Song Charges Self 15 Minutes (after unsummoning) 24 Hours The Dirgesinger leads a ballad of awakening to which the dead reply, per the Animate Dead spell. At 5 Dirgesinger levels, Dirge of Awakening works like Create Undead, and at 10 Dirgesinger levels, it is upgraded to Create Greater Undead. If the Dirgesinger has 10 levels and Lasting Inspiration, their undead are upgraded to the highest possible tier, per Mummy Dust.
Note: Echo's additional Memento Mori damage does not function on Dirge of Awakening.
Charisma 21+, Bard Song
Dirge of Terror 1 Curse Song Charge AoE, Hostile 3 Minutes Effect: 1 Turn
Paralyze: 1 Round (Plus 1 round if the Dirgesinger has Lasting Inspiration)
The Dirgesinger swells a verse of nightmarish cantor. All enemies in a large radius around the Dirgesinger must make a Will Save or be paralyzed with Fright for 2 rounds (plus 1 round with Lasting Inspiration). All targets are also afflicted by Harrowing, receiving penalties of -3 AB, -3 AC, -3 Saving Throws, -3 to All Skills, and 15% Spell Failure on a failed save. A successful save reduces the penalties to -1 AB, -1 AC, -1 Saving Throws, -1 to All Skills, and 5% Spell Failure instead. -

Roleplaying Suggestions & Themes


Thoughts from ThePreserver:

To those who follow the path of art, performance, and bardic craft, it is only natural to seek the chords of their peers for emotion. To some it is merriment, to others the epic of adventure; other still, try to seek deeper, and find the strings of hearts and souls within that which is touched by memory, loss, nostalgia, or melancholy.
Such is the path followed by Dirgesingers. These artist, scholars of emotion and music both, find ways to awaken the sorrowful sensations that linger in the soul of living and dead, turning their expressive art into something tangible, a tool… even a weapon.
There is no inherent malice in Dirgesingers: nostalgia can cast one in the depths of regret, yet also lift them in a smile of remembrance; so can melancholy force one to fall in incoherent apathy, or ponder on what good remains of a once-glorious past. Elegists, cursed poets driven by a need for expression, often tormented themselves by a tragic past, Dirgesingers seek adventure as a way to expand their repertoire of sorrow.
Their art manifests itself in curse-songs, melodic hexes, and crescendos of doom that can make them a force to be reckoned with in battle, and stalwart allies to fight beside with.


Thoughts from SK:

  • It should be noted that perspective is everything, so though a Dirgesinger can cause harm with their music, it could be similar to Curse Song in a way. How you use it is probably key to note.
  • The Dirges ARE magic, just like Bard Song and Curse Song. There's a difference between playing a piano and summoning up strength with musical incantation. Take a look at the official sourcebooks on Bard if you're curious.
  • Animation is still animation, so remember this when using Dirge of Awakening. You can flavor it slightly different from, say, a palemaster, but the basis is the same.