A Dire Nightmare is an especially lethal nameless which as come to develop its own sentience from consumed minds. They serve as deadly hunters, targeting the most powerful minds over less developed ones. It is unclear if this is due to personal taste and lust for power or an instinctive sense to destroy those who may prove a threat to their kind. The implications of either explanation are frightening. Essentially, dire nightmares are specially-advanced nameless. However, the nature of this advancement is best expressed mechanically as a prestige class with some changes rather than as normal monster advancement.
To become a dire nightmare, all the following requirements must be met:
RACE: Nameless of at least 9 Hit Dice.
FEATS: Consumed Identity (above).
SPECIAL: This class cannot be advanced normally. To gain any level (including 1st) in this class, the conditions described in Consumed Identity must be met.
GAME RULE INFORMATION
Autohypnosis, Concentration, Craft, Diplomacy, Disguise, Gather Information, Intimidate, Knowledge (all skill, taken individually), Profession, Sense Motive, and Survival. Skills per level: 8 + Intelligence modifier
All of the following are class features of the dire nightmare.
Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Dire nightmares gain no additional proficiency in any weapon or armor.
Dream of the Form (Ex): If a dire nightmare kills any creature with its racial psi-like abilities, it may imprint that creature as a free action if it can currently store at least one more imprint. This is an exception to the usual [Formbound] rules.
Freedom of Fear: Dire nightmares are particularly lethal among nameless, for they may advance in levels of other classes. Instead of advancing as a dire nightmare when the conditions in Consumed Identity are met, a dire nightmare may choose to instead gain a level of any class that any of its victims had. This level counts as a dire nightmare level when determining the number of victims needed to gain a level. For example, a 2nd-level dire nightmare who has consumed a wilder would have to consume three victims to take a level of wilder, and four more victims to take a second level of wilder (or a third level of dire nightmare, or the first level of any other class it has consumed).
Reshape Body (Ex): When a dire nightmare consumes a new victim, it may transform its body to mimic this new form with 24 hours of solitude on the region of dreams (similar to the augmented nameless template, although the change is less extreme). When a dire nightmare does so, its size, speed, natural armor, natural attacks, and physical ability scores change to match those of the new victim’s. Its challenge rating becomes its hit dice +1 or the victim’s hit dice + the dire nightmare’s levels in all character classes + 1, whichever is higher. The dire nightmare does not gain any other changes from the augmented nameless template when reshaping its body this way.
Assimilation: With each level taken in this class, a dire nightmare gains an ability stolen from its prey. This ability must be one that belonged to at least one victim that the nightmare killed since gaining the Consumed Identity feat, except for Eldritch Mimicry, Scavenge Psionics and Skilled (which instead reference the victim in question). This ability could not have stemmed from the consumed creature’s equipment. This ability becomes a permanent trait for the dire nightmare, much like a class feature.
At first, the dire nightmare can only assimilate abilities that appear on Menu A, below. At 3rd level and higher the nameless may instead choose from Menu B, and from 6th level on Menu C is available. A dire nightmare may choose to gain two abilities from a lower menu instead – for instance, a nameless gaining its 7th level in dire nightmare gains its choice of one C ability, two B abilities, one B ability and two A abilities, or four A abilities. The list of abilities a dire nightmare can assimilate may be expanded at the GM’s option.
Additional Imprint: At 2nd level and again every three levels afterward, the maximum number of forms the dire nightmare can imprint (see the [Formbound] descriptor) increases by one.
Psi-like Abilities (Ps): Dire Nightmares gain the psilike abilities as shown in the Dire Nightmare class table. Its manifester level for these abilities is equal to its Hit Dice. These abilities are in addition to any racial psilike abilities gained from advanced Hit Dice, and are all drawn from this book.
Any victims referred to in these abilities must have been consumed after gaining the Consumed Identity feat.
Menu A abilities:
- Eldritch Mimicry I (Sp): The dire nightmare chooses one spell of 3rd level or lower that a victim either knew how to cast spontaneously or had prepared at the time of death. The nightmare may now use this spell as a spell-like ability once per day. Alternatively, the dire nightmare may choose one spell-like ability a consumed victim possessed, as long as the spell it produced was 3rd level or lower. The dire nightmare gains this spell-like ability and may use it as often as the consumed victim could (such as at will or 3/day). In both cases the dire nightmare uses this spell-like ability with a caster level equal to its Hit Dice and uses its Charisma score to set the DC. This ability may be chosen more than once.
- Feat: The dire nightmare chooses one feat that it qualifies for which a victim possessed, and gains it as a bonus feat. This may include proficiency feats for armor or weapons with which a consumed victim was proficient.
- Evasion (Ex): As the monk ability.
- Favored Enemy (Ex): As the ranger ability. When a dire nightmare gains this ability, its choice of favored enemy is limited to those chosen by its victims. This ability may be chosen multiple times; each time the bonuses granted against previous favored enemies improve by 1. The dire nightmare cannot use this ability to gain more favored enemies than any single consumed victim possessed.
- Rebuke Undead (Su): As the cleric ability. A dire nightmare cannot assimilate the Turn Undead ability. It rebukes as a cleric of its hit dice.
- Scavenge Psionics I (Ps): The dire nightmare chooses one power of 3rd level or lower that a victim either knew. The dire nightmare may now use this spell as a psi-like ability once per day. Alternatively, the dire nightmare may choose one psi-like ability a consumed victim possessed, as long as the power it produced was 3rd level or lower. The dire nightmare gains this psi-like ability and may use it as often as the consumed victim could (such as at will or 3/day). In both cases the dire nightmare uses this psi-like ability with a manifester level equal to its Hit Dice and uses its Charisma score to set the DC. This ability may be chosen more than once.
- Skilled: The dire nightmare gains 5 extra skill points. They must be spent on skills that were class skills for a single consumed victim. Additionally, these skills are now class skills for the dire nightmare.
- Sneak Attack (Ex): As the rogue ability, the dire nightmare gains +1d6 sneak attack. This ability may be chosen multiple times; the extra dice of damage stack. The nightmare cannot use this ability to gain more dice of Sneak Attack than any single consumed victim possessed. A dire nightmare with this ability counts its Hit Dice as rogue levels for the purposes of flanking targets with Improved Uncanny Dodge.
- Trapfinding (Ex): As the rogue ability.
- Uncanny Dodge (Ex): As the barbarian ability.
Menu B abilities:
- Eldritch Mimicry II (Sp): As Eldritch Mimicry I, but the dire nightmare may select spells known or prepared by a consumed victim of up to 6th level (or spell-like abilities possessed by a victim that produced spells of up to 6th level).
- Improved Evasion (Ex): As the monk ability. The dire nightmare must have the Evasion ability to select this ability.
- Improved Uncanny Dodge (Ex): As the barbarian ability. The dire nightmare treats its Hit Dice as class levels for determining the minimum character level required to flank the dire nightmare. The dire nightmare must have the Uncanny Dodge ability to select this ability.
- Poison Use (Ex): As the assassin ability.
- Fast Healing (Ex): The dire nightmare gains the fast healing ability of one of its victims, recovering that many hit points every round. This ability may be chosen multiple times; each time the new fast healing value overrides and replaces the previous value.
- Scavenge Psionics II (Ps): As Scavenge Psionics I, but the nightmare may select powers known by a consumed victim of up to 6th level (or psi-like abilities possessed by the victim that produced powers of up to 6th level).
Menu C abilities:
- Eldritch Mimicry III (Sp): As Eldritch Mimicry I, but the nightmare may select spells known or prepared by a consumed victim of up to 9th level (or spell-like abilities possessed by a victim that produced spells of up to 9th level).
- Damage Reduction (Su): The dire nightmare gains the damage reduction of one of its victims, including the type of weapon needed to bypass it. This is identical in all ways to the victim’s damage reduction, except that it is always supernatural. If the victim had more than one type of damage reduction, choose only one. This ability may be chosen multiple times; multiple selections always overlap as normal for damage reduction.
- Hide in Plain Sight (Ex): As the shadowdancer ability. A dire nightmare may consume this ability from a ranger, but always uses it as a shadowdancer.
- Scavenge Psionics III (Ps): As Scavenge Psionics I, but the nightmare may select powers known by the consumed victim of up to 9th level (or psi-like abilities possessed by the victim that produced powers of up to 9th level).