Writer Aeryn Rudel has created a truly dark prestige class in ?None So Vile: Disciples of Darkness II ? Soul Harvester.? As a class for which PCs to aspire, it?s downright creepy; as a class for NPCs, the soul harvester is definitely a character concept to be feared.
Normally, I?m not particularly moved by role-playing material introduced by lengthy fiction. However, the prose that made up the first page-and-a-half of this supplement is quite well written and leaves no question as to what kind of character a soul harvester might be. Be warned: this is a piece of writing that pulls no punches. This brief story of hobgoblin-cleric-turned-soul-harvester Jukko Ironscourge is harsh, but fits perfectly the flavor of this prestige class.
There are two main attractive features of the soul harvester class. First, the soul harvester?s weapon becomes his or her sacrificial blade, and becomes the tool of the actual soul harvesting. As the soul harvester slays more enemies with the sacrificial blade, certain benefits become available to the character in the form of ?virtual feats,? like Power Attack, Improved Critical and Greater Weapon Focus. Additionally, the sacrificial blade can, for a short time, function as a magical weapon with various weapon enhancements (an example of how the sacrificial blade can be used as a flaming weapon is given). Certain metamagic feats can also be earned through use of the sacrificial blade.
The other feature that truly sets this prestige class terrifyingly apart from the others is its dread mark class ability. The soul harvester can ?taint the essence? of a foe, ?marking the victim?s soul as the property of the soul harvester?s dark god.? This invisible mark lasts for a short time (one minute per soul harvester level), but if the target is slain during the time the dread mark is upon him or her, the victim must make a Will save or have his or her soul consumed by the soul harvester?s deity.
(The soul harvester also has the sacrificial strike class ability which allows him or her to perform a coup de grace attack as a standard action instead of a full round action.)
This is an information-packed supplement. After breaking down the specifics of this prestige class, writer Rudel presents material describing how a soul harvester might be played, how the character would interact with other characters and their place in the world. The supplement concludes with a sample soul harvester (Jukko Ironscourge?s statblock and historical information is here) as well as information about the dark god Nurrog Bahl, the Crimson Harvester and Elfreaper.
The writing is tight, and the artwork and graphic design supports the material nicely. This is a slick product; graphic designer Erik Nowak should be commended.
As a DM, I would be a bit hesitant to allow a player to bring this character to the table, and as a player, I would be both thrilled and terrified to face an NPC soul harvester. <br><br>
<b>LIKED</b>: Enough material is packed into this supplement's few pages to make this a fully-realized NPC. The idea of a soul harvester should be scary, and writer Rudel has done a fine job of crafting such an effective NPC. As a DM, I'm looking forward to incorporating this class into an upcoming game!<br><br><b>DISLIKED</b>: There is nothing I didn't like about this product!<br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Excellent<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Very Satisfied<br>
[5 of 5 Stars!]