Pathfinder 1E Matachan Death Speaker

Michael Morris

First Post
One of my players is taking a level in death speaker, a custom prestige class of my setting. So I have to convert the class to Pathfinder. The class has, since it's inception as a specialist priest all the way back in 2e, has been the setting's go to class for undead extermination.

Turn undead got changed into channel for Pathfinder, so this class got it's underpinnings shook up. This is a first draft, which is simplified from the prior versions but still is very much kick ass vs. undead, while weaker than a normal cleric when not dealing with the undead.

Death Speakers
“So tell us the reason our lives here must go on
And tell us the reason our loves here are lost
We demand the answer we know shall never come
For every man a dying, a new baby is born.”
-- The Song of the Ruandi Nombren

Death speakers are the servants of the Matacha, the Goddess of Natural Death and the Dead. Unlike many deities controlling this portfolio, Matacha is good and her priests are charged with the task of maintaining the sanctity of death. Part of this charge is the duty to destroy any and all undead they encounter as she considers undeath to be a direct mockery of her.

Most death speakers are clerics in service to Matacha before they enter this prestige class, but this isn’t mandatory. While the common folk revere the protective role they play, they nevertheless unnerve the common folk in their role as undertakers and occasionally pallbearers.

Role: As clerics of Matacha of the Eternally Sleeping, death speakers attend to the rituals and customs associated with death and dying. The help families to grieve and look after cemeteries and other places of the dead. Death Speakers in particular hunt down the dead that refuse to rest and those who create such mockeries of life and set them back to rest in the name of their Goddess. While their offensive power against the undead is markedly increased above that of core cleric, their ability to aid allies with other applications of channel energy is limited.

Alignment: In the standard Pathfinder alignment system Matacha is Neutral Good, and death speakers must be true neutral or good aligned. Most mimic their Goddess and are neutral good. In the Dusk setting Matacha is Valran/Sodran and her clerics and death speakers must stay to these two alignments.

Hit Die: d8

To become a Death Speaker, a character must fulfill the following.
Spells: The character must be able to cast 4th level divine spells.
Feats: Extra Channel, Improved Channel

Class Skills
The Death Speaker’s Class skills and the key ability for each are Craft (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Intimidate (Cha) Knowledge (Arcana)(Int), Knowledge (Religion)(Int), Profession (Wis), and Spellcraft (Int)

Skill Points at each level: 2+Int modifier

        Attack  Fort    Reflex  Will
Level   Bonus   Save	Save    Save    Special           Spells Per Day      
1       +0      +1      +0      +1      Holy Blast +1d6   +1 level of existing class
2       +1      +1      +1      +1      Holy Blast +1d6   +1 level of existing class
3       +2      +2      +1      +2      Holy Blast +1d6   +1 level of existing class
4       +3      +2      +1      +2      Holy Blast +1d6   +1 level of existing class
5       +3      +3      +2      +3      Holy Blast +1d6   +1 level of existing class
6       +4      +3      +2      +3      Holy Blast +1d6   +1 level of existing class
7       +5      +4      +2      +4      Holy Blast +1d6   +1 level of existing class
8       +6      +4      +3      +4      Holy Blast +1d6   +1 level of existing class
9       +6      +5      +3      +5      Holy Blast +1d6   +1 level of existing class
10      +7      +5      +3      +5      Holy Blast +1d6   +1 level of existing class

Class Features
All of the following are the abilities of the death speakers
  • Weapon and Armor Proficiency: The death speakers gain no proficiency with any weapons or armor.
  • Spells per day/Spells Known: When a death speaker level is gained the character gains new spells for the day as if he had also gained a level in a spellcasting class he belonged to before adding the prestige class. He does not however gain other benefits of that class not directly related to spellcasting (spells / day, spells known if spontaneous, increased effective level of casting). If a character has more than one spellcasting class he or she must choose which class the deathspeaker level will stack upon.
  • Holy Blast: Death speakers are famous for their ability to deal damage to the undead through the channeling of positive energy. At each level of the class the character adds an additional d6 channel energy damage to the undead and the save DC increases by 1. However, holy blast is not channel insofar as feats which modify a cleric's channel energy abilities will not modify holy blast. For example, a holy blast cannot be delivered through a channel smite and alignment channel cannot be used to focus a holy blast's energies against foes of a particular alignment. In addition to damage, Undead who fail their willpower saving throw against a holy blast by 3 are shaken, those who fail by 6 are frightened, those who fail by 9 are panicked, and those who fail by 12 are destroyed unless their hit dice is higher than the death speaker's level in the death speaker class.

Ex-Death Speaker
Death speakers serve Matacha. Should one displease the goddess greatly lose their powers as any other cleric. If the character later converts to another faith the death speaker levels can be exchanged for cleric levels.

Basically the death speaker trades off the ability to heal allies with channel energy for increased damage and the ability to repel the undead using the fear rules as the old turn undead ability allows for. I've trimmed off some of the abilities of the class such as a energy drain against undead since these rarely saw use in play and also I don't see them being used since holy blast overshadows them.
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First Post
Should they not get a Speak with Dead spell-like ability? Being Death Speakers and all?

I might also give them a perma-Death Ward that is always active at like level 10, to spice things up.

Maybe give them various immunities, like they can never become undead if they die at a certain level.

I'd also keep the immunity or resistance to ability damage you were talking about, although that can come from Death Ward as well.

I think you need to throw a few abilities in there to spice things up.

Another thought might be, not going the Prestige Class route and instead make it a Cleric Archetype. Since all you seem to be doing (currently) is upping the damage. Just replace the Cleric's Channel Divinity with Holy Blast and call it an Archtype.

Michael Morris

First Post
The 3.5e writeup had some additional abilities, including some you mentioned above, but I didn't know whether or not to plug them in for the pathfinder update. These were

Draining Touch: The touch of a deathspeaker disrupts negative life forces. Anyundead creature gains an effectivenegative level when a death speaker makes a successful touch attack. If the undead creature itself is able to drainability levels the death speaker will not beaffected by that ability when making this touch attack.

Negative Levels: At 4th level the deathspeaker ignores the first negative level he receives each round. At 8th level he ignores the first two negative levels he receives each round. Negative levelsassigned to a Death Speaker disappear ata rate of one per minute and are neverpermanent (no fortitude save is requiredto be rid of them).

Improved Turning: The Death speakercan elect to do an improved turn attempt. Each such attempt counts as two uses of the turning ability instead of one. During such a turn the Death speaker isconsidered to be two levels higher thannormal and he affects double the normal number of undead.

Improved Draining Touch: The Deathspeaker’s touch assigns two negative levels to eligible undead per successful touch attack.

Greater Turning: A greater turn expends three uses of the turn ability for the day. The death speaker is considered four levels higher than he actually is forthe attempt and affects triple the normal number of undead on the attempt.


First Post
A cleric taking your prestige class will give up or least greatly delay their L8 domain powers, so they are making a sacrifice to take this.

I assume the holy blast is added to Channel Energy, but I'm not entirely clear on that from the class's description.

The blast having scaling results based on how badly the creature failed its save seems really clunky to me. Doing something like the holy word chart might be cleaner?

Draining touch, improved draining touch, and the negative level resistance are neat and should definitely be in the prestige class.

Greater Turning and Improved Turning would need to be significantly reworked, since turning undead was significantly reworked. Maybe improved is "expend an additional use of channel energy while channeling to harm undead to Empower the channel energy damage" while greater comes at level 10 is "expend an additional use of channel energy while channeling to harm undead to maximize the channel energy damage."

Epic Threats

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