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The New Argonauts -- Scorpion Scion Prestige Class

(This is the Scorpion Scion prestige class by Sean K Reynolds, included here for your convenience as it's mentioned in The New Argonauts as a class quite suitable for an Argonauts campaign.)

(Download a printer-friendly PDF of this document.)

Requires use of the Dungeons & Dragons® Third Edition Core Books, published by Wizards of the Coast, Inc. This document utilizes updated material from the v. 3.5 revision.

    In some lands, the climate is harsh and the most successful and feared predators are the venomous crawling things of the earth, scorpions. Some legends say that those stung by a monstrous scorpion and survive the encounter carry a vestige the scorpion's poison in their blood forever. Some wild folk take this to an extreme, deliberately dosing themselves with scorpion poison to build up the toxicity of their blood and gain powers from a mystical connection to scorpions; these are the scorpion scions.
    Barbarians have the toughness necessary to withstand the effects of a scorpion's attack and are likely to have the knowledge of nature needed to tend wounds from scorpion stings and the poisonous aftereffects. Fighters can easily become scorpion scions as well, and rogues who like using poison sometimes taint their blood with scorpion venom.
    Most scorpion scions rarely see others of their kind. They normally are unique champions among the ranks of more common fighters, or may be seen as a divine representative in places where scorpions are seen as holy. In some places, certain cults produce elite cadres of scorpion scions, using them as assassins or temple guards. Normally there are no rivalries between loner scions and those belonging to groups, and individuals have sometimes joined with groups for temporary or long-term purposes.
    Hit Die: d8.

Requirements
To qualify to become an scorpion scion, a character must fulfill all the following criteria.
    Base Attack Bonus: +5
    Base Save Bonuses: Fort +3
    Skills: Heal 3 ranks, Knowledge (nature) 3 ranks
    Feats: Great Fortitude
    Special: Blood Infusion: The character must have suffered at least 24 points of Strength damage from scorpion poison within a period of one year. The character must have actually taken this damage (not had it negated by magic or a class ability before it occurred) and can not have used any method to repair the damage other than natural healing. After this process, the character's blood is heavily laden with the residue of scorpion poison and the powers of the scorpion scion can be awakened.

Class Skills
The scorpion scion's class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Alchemy (Int), Climb (Str), Craft (Int), Handle Animal (Cha), Heal (Wis), Hide (Dex), Knowledge (nature) (Int), Profession (Wis), and Spot (Wis).
    Skill Points at Each Level: 4 + Int modifier.

Table 1: The Scorpion Scion
Class Level Base Attack Bonus Fort Save Ref Save Will Save Special
1st +1 +2 +0 +0 Blood poisoning, poison resistance, scorpion skills
2nd +2 +3 +0 +0 Weapon envenoming (move-equivalent action,1 Str), improved grab
3rd +3 +3 +1 +1 Venomous bite, heat tolerance, scorpion kinship
4th +4 +4 +1 +1 Weapon envenoming (free action, 1d2 Str)
5th +5 +4 +1 +1 Light fortification, weapon envenoming (1d4 Str)
6th +6 +5 +2 +2 Tremorsense (10 ft.)
(There are only 6 levels to this class.)

Class Features
All of the following are class features of the scorpion scion prestige class.
    Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Scorpion scions gain no proficiency with any weapons, armor, or shields.
    Blood Poisoning (Ex): The scion's blood is tainted with scorpion poison. Any creature that bites the scion tastes the poison and immediately recognizes that he is a poisonous creature. Although this causes no harm to the attacker, most creatures that recognize a creature as poisonous will not attempt to bite it, which means that under normal circumstances a creature with a bite attack will not attempt to bite the scion after the first successful bite (normally using the bite on a different creature or not biting at all if no other opponents are available). Other non-biting attacks that involve ingesting the scion's blood (such as a stirge's blood drain ability) are affected similarly. Creatures that are immune to poison ignore this effect.
    Poison Resistance (Ex): A scorpion scion is completely immune to the effects of scorpion poison, has a +8 resistance bonus to saves against poison from spiderlike creatures, and a +4 resistance bonus to all other kinds of poison.
    Scorpion Skills: The scion gains a +4 racial bonus to Climb, Hide, and Spot checks.
    Weapon Envenoming (Ex): Because his blood is full of poison, starting at 2nd level a scorpion scion may cut himself with a slashing or piercing weapon in order to apply his poisonous blood to it. Applying poison in this manner deals 1 hit point of damage to the scion per weapon envenomed and requires a move-equivalent action. The poison deals 1 Str initial and secondary damage and is considered scorpion poison (DC 10 + class level + Constitution modifier). Like all poison, the effect lasts for only one hit, after which it must be applied again. The poison decays after a few minutes outside of the scion's altered bloodstream. An attacker's weapon that draws blood does not become envenomed.
    At 4th level, the scion's poison damage increases to 1d2 Str initial and secondary damage. He may cut himself to apply the blood-poison to a weapon as a free action, allowing him to strike multiple times in one round with an envenomed weapon, or fire multiple envenomed arrows in a single round. At 5th level, the effect of the poison increases to 1d4 Str initial and secondary damage.
    Improved Grab (Ex): If the scorpion scion hits a creature one size or smaller than itself with an unarmed attack (a creature with claw or bite attacks uses those attacks instead), he deals normal damage and attempts to start a grapple as a free action without provoking at attack of opportunity. No initial touch attack is required.
    Venomous Bite (Ex): By biting his tongue (or other part of the mouth) to draw blood, a scion coats his teeth with his own poisonous blood. A successful bite attack (which provokes an attack of opportunity if the scion is a creature that normally does not have a bite attack as a natural weapon) deals bite damage and poison damage as if the target were struck by an envenomed weapon. A scion that is grappling an opponent may make a bite attack in this manner without provoking an attack of opportunity.
    Heat Tolerance (Ex): Scorpions are notorious for their tolerance for great heat, and have survived for hours in temperatures that would cook meat. Scorpion scions gain fire resistance 5, which normally prevents them from ever suffering subdual damage from living in a hot environment.
    Scorpion Kinship (Ex): A scorpion scion may use his Animal Empathy or Handle Animal skill to influence scorpions as if he were using the Animal Empathy skill on an animal. For example, he could use it to influence the actions of an approaching monstrous scorpion, convincing it that he and his companions were not potential prey, causing it to move elsewhere.
    Light Fortification* (Ex): At 5th level, a scion is able to function even when vital organs are damaged. He gains the light fortification ability (as if wearing light fortification armor), gaining a 25% chance to turn a critical hit or a sneak attack into a normal attack. If the scion already has an ability that gives this benefit, use the higher value.
    Tremorsense* (Ex): Like scorpions, scions can learn the location of nearby creatures by sensing ground vibrations. At 6th level, scorpion scions automatically pinpoint the location of anything within 10 feet that is in contact with the ground. This ability does not function if the scion is not in contact with the ground himself.

* Both of these abilities are inspired by Monte Cook's suggestion to use these abilities for actual vermin in the game. The idea of tremorsense for scorpions was also suggested in an article by Arlen P. Walker.
 

    This content is produced under version 1.0a and/or draft versions of the Open Game License and the System Reference Document by permission of Wizards of the Coast.
    Designation of Product Identity: The following items are hereby designated as Product Identity in accordance with Section 1(e) of the Open Game License, version 1.0a: None.
    Designation of Open Game Content: Subject to the Designation of Product Identity above, the entirety of "The New Argonauts: Scorpion Scion" is Open Game Content. "The New Argonauts: Scorpion Scion" Copyright © 2004 Sean K Reynolds. All rights reserved.
    Open Game License