“I will do whatever is needed to fulfill my oath—even that which you believe impossible.”
Perhaps the most dedicated and steadfast individuals in all the land, oathsworn (singular and plural) pick a task and then set out to accomplish it—no matter what stands in their way. Oathsworn are skilled martial artists and unarmed combatants, and their supernatural devotion to their oath allows them to forgo food, sleep, and even air.
Oathsworn place a number of harsh restrictions on themselves. They do not, however, judge non-oathsworn for not abiding by their restrictions—their morality and sense of honor extend only to themselves.
To begin with, oathsworn do not use weapons or armor. Only in the case of being unable to fulfill their oath will they ignore this restriction. For example, if an oathsworn encounters a creature with damage reduction standing in her way, she may deign to pick up a magical weapon (if somehow available) and use it to fight. Likewise, if presented with a flying foe, the oathsworn may find need of a ranged weapon. Because of this need, oathsworn eventually learn to make any handy object into a ranged weapon they can throw.
In any event, oathsworn will never carry a weapon or wear armor. They only use tools when absolutely necessary—they see it as a sign of weakness to need things beyond their own bodies. They would never, for example, use a tool to attempt to batter down a wall when they could do the same with their fists or feet. They would never use a rope to climb a slope they could ascend with their own hands.
Oathsworn do not ride animals or allow themselves to be borne by another (such as in a cart pulled by horses or on a sedan chair carried by slaves). The only exception is if a comrade carries a wounded oathsworn out of harm’s way—and even then the oathsworn feels ashamed.
Adventurers: Oathsworn do not go on “adventures.” They do what needs to be done to fulfill their oaths. If that means exploring ancient ruins or rooting out a tribe of goblins from their lair, so be it. In all that oathsworn do, they show their devotion to their oaths.
Background: Oathsworn trace their legacy back to a time more than 1,000 years ago, when a group of humans swore allegiance to a semi-divine being worthy of their supreme devotion. They learned to channel all their personal needs and desires into their work defending him and doing as he asked—or as he needed without even having to ask. This legacy has continued ever since.
Oathsworn begin their careers alone. They gain their training and insight not through interaction with others but through meditation. They feel a psychic call to the role and, if they prove themselves worthy, they accept the sacred call and seek enlightenment to find oaths worthy of taking.
Races: Human oathsworn act as bodyguards, while giantish oathsworn are usually guardians of places. Faen oathsworn are rare, usually lone wanderers. Mojh oathsworn swear complex and mysterious oaths, usually having to do with discovering ancient secrets. Litorian oathsworn, sometimes called avengers, often deal with righting perceived wrongs. Sibeccai oathsworn are some of the harshest and most severe of this class, forsaking all else to do as they must. Verrik oathsworn act in groups as elite warriors.
Other Classes: Oathsworn do not judge, nor are they choosy about their companions, except as to how each ally might help or hinder them in fulfilling their oaths.
NPCs: Oathsworn swear to guard the life of a noble. Other oathsworn might seek to end the life of that same noble, for motivations of their own. The vengeful villain who will stop at nothing to achieve his terrible and bloody goal is an oathsworn.
Hit Die: d10
- Avenger: You have sworn an oath to right a wrong. Someone you know—a family member, friend, mentor—was murdered, kidnapped, or mistreated. Now, you seek to avenge that crime and will stop at nothing to see justice done. If others happen to think as you do, or are headed in a similar direction, you will not refuse their company, but you’ll not tolerate events that might delay you in fulfilling your oath.
- The Chosen One: You’ve sworn an oath to fulfill an ancient prophecy. You are the chosen one, and thus nothing can stop you. People have waited generations for your appearance, and all signs and portents point to your being the one to fulfill the prophecy. Inwardly, you harbor some doubt, and conquering that doubt is as important a step to fulfilling your oath as defeating any foe or overcoming any obstacle.
- Guardian: Questing holds less appeal for you than staying back to defend a place you hold dear. Of course, often the greatest defense is a strong offense. You know that to fulfill your oath, sometimes you must travel to those who mean it harm—and defeat them.
- Questing Knight: Although not a knight in the traditional sense (you wear no armor, wield no sword, and would never ride a galloping charger), you are a knight on a quest. The mission you’ve undertaken is a difficult one, however, and you realize that until you gain power and experience, you’ll never manage to complete it. Thus, if you become sidetracked now and again on the way, taking and fulfilling smaller oaths, that’s acceptable—it all leads up to the completion of your real quest.
Skills Skill Points at 1st Level: (4 +Intelligence bonus) × 4.
Skill Points at Higher Levels: 4 + Intelligence bonus. Class Skills: The oathsworn’s class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Balance (Dex), Climb (Str), Concentration (Con), Craft (any) (Int), Escape Artist (Dex), Heal (Wis), Intimidate (Cha), Jump (Str), Listen (Wis), Sense Motive (Wis), Sneak (Dex), Spot (Wis), Survival (Wis), Swim (Str), and Tumble (Dex).
Class Features Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Oathsworn are proficient with no weapons and no armor. They disdain both, for they see themselves as weapons. If need be, they can make use of objects as weapons with surprising skill (see the throw object and objects as weapon abilities).
As she gains levels, an oathsworn’s Armor Class improves with an insight bonus. This Armor Class bonus represents a preternatural awareness of danger, and an oathsworn does not lose it even in situations when she loses her Dexterity modifier due to being unprepared, ambushed, stunned, and so on. (Oathsworn do lose this Armor Class bonus when immobilized.)
When wearing armor, an oathsworn loses her insight Armor Class bonus for class and level, her favorable multiple unarmed attacks per round, and her heightened movement. Furthermore, her special abilities all face the spell failure chance that the armor type normally imposes.
Unarmed Strike: An oathsworn fighting unarmed does not provoke attacks of opportunity from armed opponents that she attacks.
When an oathsworn is using unarmed strike, she doesn’t have the option of making an off-hand attack, as she uses her whole body in every attack. On the rare occasion that the character might be fighting with a one-handed weapon, she can make an unarmed strike as an off-hand attack but suffers the standard penalties for two-weapon fighting.
Usually, an oathsworn’s unarmed strikes deal normal damage rather than subdual damage. However, she can choose to deal her damage as subdual without penalty.
An oathsworn with natural weapons uses her unarmed strike attack bonus and damage with those natural weapons, or the normal natural weapon attack bonus and damage, whichever is greater.
Swear an Oath (Ex): An oathsworn must always work toward fulfilling an oath. To swear an oath, she names—very specifically—a task she will accomplish in no more than one year’s time. If the task is not completed in that time, or if conditions arise that indicate the failure of the oath, the oathsworn loses all class abilities for one month. After that month, the oathsworn must swear an oath again (it can be the same oath). An oathsworn who loses her class abilities three times loses them forever.
An oathsworn cannot be tricked into thinking an oath is fulfilled when it is not, and no magical compulsion can force her to stop attempting to fulfill it. An oathsworn gains a +4 luck bonus to Spot or Sense Motive checks against any attempt to fool her about part of an oath (giving her an imposter to protect when she has sworn to guard a person, for example).
An oathsworn who successfully fulfills her oath must immediately swear a new one. If she does not, she loses all class abilities until she does—which means an oathsworn could “retire” after fulfilling an oath, then suddenly regain her powers, years later, when she swears a new oath.
Oaths can be singular tasks (destroy Tower Nestran) or ongoing (keep Daerial Daymaker alive). Ongoing oaths can be renewed at the end of each year. An oath must be something measurable, so the character knows whether it has been fulfilled. If Tower Nestran still stands after one year, or if Daerial Daymaker dies, the oathsworn who made those oaths clearly failed. If the tower lies in ruins or if Daerial remains alive at the end of the year (never having died at any point during the year), the oaths were fulfilled and the oathsworn successful.
It is crucial that the player of an oathsworn character work out the details of her oath with the DM. The DM should make sure that the oath does not run counter to the direction of the campaign or prevent the character from taking part in planned adventures.
Eschew Food (Ex): At 2nd level and higher, an oathsworn no longer needs to eat to survive. She simply refuses to let her body be bound to such requirements. To survive she needs only water (and air to breathe, of course).
Shattering Blow (Su): At 2nd level and higher, the oathsworn can take a full-round action to make a single powerful strike with the full force of her oath behind it. The unarmed strike ignores 1 point of a creature’s damage reduction for each oathsworn class level. So a 3rd-level oathsworn ignores 3 points of damage reduction. This ability also applies to object hardness and extends to makeshift weapons that the oathsworn forms from handy objects.
Evasion (Ex): If a 3rd-level or higher oathsworn makes a successful Reflex saving throw against an attack that normally deals half damage on a successful save, she instead takes no damage. Evasion applies only if the oathsworn wears light armor or no armor.
Combat Rites: Starting at 4th level, the oathsworn gains access to combat rites, special abilities that stem from the ritualization of combat. Similar to the way in which a spellcaster casts spells, an oathsworn can activate a certain number of combat rites of a given rank per day, based on her level. The oathsworn can use any combat rite, as long as she can use rites of that rank. To use a combat rite, the oathsworn must have a Wisdom score of at least 10 + the rite’s rank. Combat rites do not require components, do not have a failure chance based on armor worn, and cannot be dispelled or suppressed. They are not magical.
The oathsworn gains bonus combat rites based on her Wisdom score.
Fast Movement (Ex/Su): At 4th level and higher (3rd level for Tiny and Small characters), an oathsworn moves faster than normal. An oathsworn in armor (even light armor) or carrying a medium or heavy load loses this extra speed. A Small or Tiny oathsworn moves more slowly than a Medium oathsworn.
From 10th level on, the oathsworn’s fast movement ability actually becomes a supernatural ability.
Throw Object (Ex): Starting at 4th level, an oathsworn can use any object she can lift above her head as a ranged (thrown) weapon she is proficient with. The object must weigh at least 1 lb. to use it as a ranged weapon. She uses her normal attack bonus and unarmed damage, and the weapon has a range increment of 10 feet. She uses this only against foes she cannot reach or otherwise harm with her unarmed strikes. Assume that, unless the object is particularly sturdy, it breaks when thrown.
Lesser Adaptation (Ex): At 4th level and above, the oathsworn can ignore ongoing damaging environmental effects of up to 1 point of damage per round. This includes damage from exposure in the hot desert, but not damage from directed attacks, like a fireburst spell.
Refuse Fatigue (Ex): At 5th level and beyond, the oathsworn does not tire. As long as she gets a good night’s rest (eight hours), she never feels the effects of fatigue. She could run at her top speed all day and not tire.
Refuse Fear (Ex): Starting at 5th level, the oathsworn is immune to fear and fear effects.
Objects as Weapons (Ex): Rarely, an oathsworn faces a foe her fists cannot overcome or one that would be foolish to touch (a caustic ooze or a fire elemental). In such cases, a 6th-level and higher oathsworn can use any object she can lift over her head as a weapon she is proficient with. The object must weigh at least 1 lb. to use it as a weapon. She uses her normal attack bonus and unarmed damage. The DM should pay close attention to the sturdiness of the object. Although the oathsworn can inflict surprising damage with harmless-looking objects, this ability does not grant the object any special strength. Many objects will break when used as weapons. Some objects, at the DM’s discretion, might grant special abilities. For example, a character might wield a rope as a whip and use it to make trip attacks.
Lesser Shattering Strike (Su): Beginning at 7th level, an oathsworn empowers every unarmed attack she makes with the full strength of her oath. The unarmed strike ignores 1 point of a creature’s damage reduction for every two oathsworn class levels. So a 7th-level oathsworn ignores 3 points of damage reduction. This ability also applies to object hardness and extends to makeshift weapons that the oathsworn forms from handy objects.
Refuse Wounds (Su): Starting at 9th level, an oathsworn can cure her own wounds. She can cure up to twice her current level in hit points each day and can spread this healing out among several uses.
Eschew Water (Ex): At 8th level and beyond, an oathsworn no longer needs even water to survive. Other than air to breathe, the oathsworn requires nothing—such things only distract from the oath.
Oathpower (Su): Starting at 10th level, the oathsworn gains further ability to fulfill her oath through incredible dedication. She gains a +2 competence bonus on all Balance, Climb, Concentration, Escape Artist, Jump, Sneak, Swim, and Tumble checks.
Refuse Poison or Disease (Su): Beginning at 11th level, an oathsworn gains immunity to poison and diseases of all kinds.
Eschew Air (Ex): A 12th-level or higher oathsworn no longer even needs to breathe.
Greater Adaptation (Ex): At 13th level and beyond, after studying a given situation, environment, or area for 1 round, the oathsworn can ignore any circumstance penalties placed on attack and damage rolls, checks, and saves due to the conditions of that area for the next 10 rounds. For example, after contemplating for a round, an oathsworn can make attacks underwater at no penalty. She can walk across a slick, slippery ledge with no circumstance penalties placed upon her Balance checks.
Further, for that time, the oathsworn can ignore ongoing damaging effects of up to 10 points of damage per round. This includes damage from running through a burning building, but not damage from directed attacks, like a dragon’s breath weapon.
Eschew Sleep (Ex): At 14th level and higher, an oathsworn does not need sleep. She can stay awake at all times and suffers no fatigue from doing so.
Refuse Hindrances (Su): At 14th level and higher, an oathsworn is immune to blinding attacks, deafening attacks, paralysis, stunning, nausea, and daze effects.
Refuse Spells (Su): At 15th level and higher, an oathsworn gains spell resistance equal to her level + 10.
Greater Shattering Strike (Su): At 16th level and beyond, an oathsworn’s ability to empower her unarmed attacks increases. Each unarmed strike she makes ignores 1 point of a creature’s damage reduction for every class level. So a 16th-level oathsworn ignores 16 points of damage reduction. This ability also applies to object hardness and extends to makeshift weapons that the oathsworn forms from handy objects.
Eschew Aging (Ex): After achieving 17th level, an oathsworn no longer suffers ability penalties for aging and cannot be magically aged. (Any penalties she may have already suffered remain in place.) Bonuses for aging still accrue.
Refuse Debilitation (Ex): At 17th level and beyond, the oathsworn is not subject to ability score damage or energy drain.
Oathstrike (Su): Once per week, in a fight that directly pertains to the fulfillment of the oath (DM’s discretion), the 18th level or higher oathsworn can make a mighty unarmed blow that acts as a coup de grace against an opponent, even one who is not helpless. This is a full-round action. Creatures with no discernable anatomy (those normally immune to critical strikes or sneak attacks) are immune to oathstrike.
Starting at 23rd level, she can make an oathstrike once per day.
True Adaptation (Ex): A 19th-level or higher oathsworn reduces all circumstance penalties to attack and damage rolls, checks, and saves by 4 points.
Further, the oathsworn can ignore ongoing damaging effects of up to 10 points of damage per round. This includes damage from crossing a frozen tundra without winter gear, but not damage from directed attacks, like a dragon’s breath weapon.
Refuse Harm (Su): The 20th-level and higher oathsworn’s devotion is so strong that her flesh turns away blades and barbs. The oathsworn gains DR 5/+1 (or 5/magic). At 24th level, the damage reduction becomes 10/+2 (or 10/magic).
Refuse Elements (Su): At 21st level and beyond, the oathsworn can even ignore attacks of an elemental nature. She enjoys air, earth, fire, and water resistance 10.
Refuse Energy (Su): At 22nd level and beyond, the oathsworn can also ignore the attacks of pure energy. She enjoys acid, cold, electricity, and sonic resistance 10.
Refuse Mortality (Su): From 25th level on, an oathsworn is forevermore treated as an outsider rather than as a humanoid. Additionally, the oathsworn gains damage reduction 20/+3 (or 15/magic).
|Class Level||BAB||Fort Save||Ref Save||Will Save||Special|
|1||+0||+2||+2||+2||Unarmed Strike, Swear An oath|
|2||+1||+3||+3||+3||Eschew food, shattering blow|
|4||+3||+4||+4||+4||Fast movement†, throw object, lesser adaptation|
|5||+3||+4||+4||+4||Refuse fatigue, refuse fear|
|6||+4+1||+5||+5||+5||Objects as weapons|
|7||+5/+2||+5||+5||+5||Lesser shattering strike|
|11||+8/+5/+2||+7||+7||+7||Refuse poison or disease|
|14||+10/+7/+4/+1||+9||+9||+9||Eschew sleep, refuse hindrances|
|16||+12/+9/+6/+3||+10||+10||+10||Greater shattering strike|
|17||+12/+9/+6/+3||+10||+10||+10||Eschew aging, refuse debilitation|
|20||+15/+12/+9/+6/+3||+12||+12||+12||Refuse harm (5/+1 or 5/magic)|
|24||+18/+15/+12/+9/+6/+3||+14||+14||+14||Refuse harm (10/+2 or 10/magic)|
|Class||Unarmed||AC||Unarmored||Combat Rites Per Day|