Death Delver

(Heroes of Horror variant, p. 93)

The death delver is that rare individual, who, rather than fearing and avoiding death, delves as deeply into its mysteries as he can, to better understand and eventually gain some small power over it.


Skills: Concentration 8 ranks , Heal 2 ranks , Knowledge (religion) 4 ranks

Saving Throws: Base Will Save +2
Special: Must have had at least one near-death experience (fallen below 0 hit points and lived)

Hit die


Skill points

2 + Int

Class Features

Spellcasting: As a death delver, you have the ability to cast a small number of divine spells. To cast a spell, you must have a Wisdom score of at least 10 + the spell's level. Death delver bonus spells are based on Wisdom, and saving throws against your spells have a DC of 10 + spell's level + your Wisdom modifier. When you get 0 spells per day of a given level, you gain only the bonus spells you would be entitled to based upon your Wisdom score. The death delver spell list appears on page 94. You have access to any spell on the list and can freely choose which to prepare. You prepare and cast spells just like a cleric does.

Death delvers must spend 1 hour each night in the contemplation of death to regain their daily allotments of spells. Time spent resting has no impact on whether death delvers can prepare spells.

Deathsense (Ex): You have the infallible ability to detect the presence and condition of nearby life. This ability functions as the spell deathwatch (see page 217 of the Player's Handbook) but can be invoked at will, with no cost, as a swift action.

Rebuke Undead: Like an evil cleric, you can rebuke undead. Use your death delver level as the cleric level for determining success and damage. You can do this a number of times per day equal to 3 + your Charisma modifier and can take the Extra Turning feat to gain additional turn attempts. If you already have the ability to rebuke undead from a previous class, death delver levels stack with those class levels for the purposes of rebuking undead.

Deadened Soul (Ex): Upon reaching 2nd level, your understanding of death has progressed to the point where you no longer fear it, nor anything else. You are immune to fear effects of any kind.

Spontaneous Casting: By 2nd level, your familiarity with the ebb and flow of death has blossomed to the point that, like a cleric, you can lose any prepared spell in order to cast any cure spell of the same level or lower. An evil death delver can only spontaneously convert prepared spells into inflict spells of equal level or lower. Neutral death delvers must choose whether they will cast spontaneous cure or inflict spells and can never change their selection once the choice has been made.

Death Ward (Su): At 3rd level, you gain the ability to mystically protect yourself or another from the depredations of death magic and life-draining attacks. This supernatural ability functions exactly like the spell death ward (see page 217 of the Player's Handbook), save that the duration is 1 hour per death delver level. Using this ability is a standard action.

You gain an additional use of this ability per day upon reaching 6th level, and again at 9th level.

Diehard: Death delvers of at least 4th level gain the benefit of the Diehard feat (see page 93 of the Player's Handbook), even if they do not meet the prerequisites.

Fear Aura (Su): Starting at 5th level, once per day you can emanate a nearly palpable aura of fear in a 30-foot radius. The effect lasts for a number of rounds equal to your class level. Enemies (not allies) within the area must make a Will save (DC 10 + class level + your Cha modifier) or be affected as if by a fear spell (see page 229 of the Player's Handbook).

Cheat Death (Ex): Upon reaching 7th level, your mastery over death and dying has progressed to the point where you can deny a foe the ability to send you into death's embrace in a single, cowardly blow. Whenever anyone attempts a coup de grace on you, you automatically make the subsequent Fortitude save (see pages 153—154 of the Player's Handbook). The attacker still deals just as much damage as she normally would, and you could still die from that damage. Similarly, when you take massive damage (50 or more points of damage from a single attack), you automatically succeed on the Fortitude save to survive the associated trauma (see page 145 of the Player's Handbook), although you can be killed by sheer damage dealt.

Mantle of Life (Su): Beginning at 8th level, you gain the ability to project your own wisdom and confidence into your allies. As a full-round action, you can send a surge of vitality through all companions within 60 feet. This surge grants every ally in the area (including yourself) a +4 bonus on Will saves for 1 minute per class level.

Nine Lives (Ex): The pinnacle of achievement for a death delver is the remarkable ability to step back through death's door when forcibly pushed through it. Upon reaching 10th level, you gain the ability to cheat death nine times—in effect, gaining nine bonus lives. Every time a single attack, spell, or effect would drop you below —10 hit points or otherwise kill you, you lose one of your nine lives in lieu of taking the effects of whatever would have killed you; instead you drop to —9 hit points but are stable. Continuing sources of damage, such as being dropped into lava or held under water, will of course burn through a character's nine lives in no time. Keep track of how many lives you've used, because once they're gone, they're gone.

For example, consider a death delver with seven lives and 11 hit points remaining who is struck by a critical hit that deals 32 points of damage. Since dropping to —21 hit points would kill him, he automatically loses one of his remaining bonus lives instead and stabilizes at —9 hit points, leaving him with six lives remaining. Later in the adventure, after he has been fully healed, a dread witch hits him with a disintegrate spell, which would normally reduce him to a pile of dust. He is once again reduced to —9 hit points and marks off another life (leaving five bonus lives remaining). He's not having a very good week, but at least he's still around to complain about it.


Level BAB Fort Ref Will Special 1st 2nd 3rd 4th
1st +0 +2 +0 +2 Deathsense, rebuke undead 0
2nd +1 +3 +0 +3 Deadened soul, spontaneous casting 1
3rd +2 +3 +1 +3 Death ward 1/day 1 0
4th +3 +4 +1 +4 Diehard 1 1
5th +3 +4 +1 +4 Fear aura 1 1 0
6th +4 +5 +2 +5 Death ward 2/day 1 1 1
7th +5 +5 +2 +5 Cheat death 2 1 1 0
8th +6 +6 +2 +6 Mantle of life 2 1 1 1
9th +6 +6 +3 +6 Death ward 3/day 2 2 1 1
10th +7 +7 +3 +7 Nine lives 2 2 2 1

Class skills

Skill name Key ability Trained only Armor check penalty
Concentration CON no no
Craft INT no no
Gather Information CHA no no
Knowledge (arcana) INT yes no
Knowledge (religion) INT yes no
Listen WIS no no
Profession WIS yes no
Search INT no no
Spellcraft INT yes no
Spot WIS no no

Spells for Death Delver

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