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Red Mantis Assassin

Initiates of the Red Mantis usually begin their training as rogues, fighter/rogues, or ranger/rogues, as stealth and skill at arms are both prerequisites to joining the order.

Red Mantis Assassin Class Details

Hit Die: d8.


To qualify to become a Red Mantis assassin, a character must fulfill all the following criteria.

Alignment: Lawful evil.

Skills: Intimidate 5 ranks, Perception 5 ranks, Stealth 5 ranks.

Feats: Alertness, Exotic Weapon Proficiency (sawtooth sabre), Two-Weapon Fighting, Weapon Focus (sawtooth sabre).

Class Skills

The Red Mantis assassin’s class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Acrobatics (Dex), Appraise (Int), Bluff (Cha), Climb (Str), Disguise (Cha), Escape Artist (Dex), Heal (Wis), Intimidate (Cha), Knowledge (local), Knowledge (nature), Knowledge (nobility), Knowledge (religion), Perception (Wis), Sense Motive (Wis), and Stealth (Dex).

Skill Ranks at Each Level: 6 + Int modifier.

Table: Red Mantis Assassin

Level Base Attack Bonus Fort Save Ref Save Will Save Special Spells per Day
1st 2nd 3rd 4th
1st +0 +0 +1 +1 Sneak attack +1d6, sabre fighting 1 1
2nd +1 +1 +1 +1 Prayer attack 2
3rd +2 +1 +2 +2 Red shroud 3
4th +3 +1 +2 +2 Summon mantis, Sneak attack +2d6 3 1
5th +3 +2 +3 +3 Resurrection sense, sabre fighting 2 4 2
6th +4 +2 +3 +3 Mantis form 4 3
7th +5 +2 +4 +4 Sneak attack +3d6, sabre fighting 3 4 3 1
8th +6 +3 +4 +4 Blood mantis form, fading 4 4 2
9th +6 +3 +5 +5 Mantis doom 5 4 3
10th +7 +3 +5 +5 Death mantis form, sneak attack +4d6 5 4 3 1

Class Features

The following are class features of the Red Mantis assassin.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: A red mantis assassin is proficient with all simple weapons and all light martial weapons. She is proficient with light armor but not shields. A red mantis assassin can cast spells while wearing light armor without incurring the normal arcane spell failure chance (see Errata below.) Like any other arcane spellcaster, a red mantis assassin wearing medium or heavy armor incurs a chance of arcane spell failure if the spell in question has a somatic component. A multiclass red mantis assassin still incurs the normal arcane spell failure chance for arcane spells received from other classes.


Editor's Note

In switching the Red Mantis assassin over to casting spells from the sorcerer/wizard spell list rather than keeping a special Red Mantis spell list of her own, we inadvertently left out the line that says that Red Mantis assassins ignore arcane spell failure chances while wearing light armor, just like bards.


Editor's Note: 3rd Party Addition

If you wish, you may add kiss of unrequited love from Bastion Press's Villains Rebirth by James Jacobs (his first RPG book!) to the 4th level spell choices of the Red Mantis Assassin spell list. The original version of this spell was added to the spell list of the assassin prestige class, however during the update to the PFRPG, the assassin lost its spellcasting class feature. In the interest of remaining thematically appropriate, it was determined that the Red Mantis Assassin prestige class was the closest approximation to the original intent.

Table: Red Mantis Assassin Spells Known
Level 1st 2nd 3rd 4th
1st 2
2nd 3
3rd 4
4th 4 2
5th 4 3
6th 4 4
7th 5 4 2
8th 5 4 3
9th 5 4 4
10th 5 5 4 2

A red mantis assassin casts arcane spells drawn from the sorcerer/wizard spell list, but is limited to illusion and transmutation spells. She can cast any spell she knows without preparing it ahead of time. To cast a spell, a Red Mantis assassin must have a Charisma score of at least 10 + the spell’s level. Her bonus spells are based on Charisma, and saving throws against these spells have a DC of 10 + the spell level + the caster’s Charisma modifier (if any). Her selection of spells is extremely limited—at each Red Mantis level, she gains one or more new spells, as indicated on the table on the next page. At 4th, 6th, 8th, and 10th level, she can choose to learn a new spell in place of one she already knows, provided the new spell is of the same level as the one she is replacing.

As mentioned above, a Red Mantis assassin can only learn sorcerer/wizard spells from the schools of illusion and transmutation, although as she gains levels, a small number of additional spells are added to her list. She does not automatically learn these spells when they become available—they must be selected as part of her total spells known.

At 2nd level, she adds obscuring mist and true strike to her spell list.

At 4th level, she adds darkness and summon swarm to her spell list (see Editor's Note at right for an additional option).

At 6th level, she adds fog cloud and see invisibility to her spell list.

At 8th level, she adds clairaudience/clairvoyance and hold person to her spell list.

At 10th level, she adds dimension door and modify memory to her spell list.

Sneak Attack (Ex)

This is exactly like the rogue ability of the same name. If the Red Mantis assassin gets a sneak attack bonus from another source, the damage bonuses stack.

Sabre Fighting (Ex)

At 1st level, the Red Mantis assassin gains Weapon Specialization (sawtooth sabre) as a bonus feat.

At 5th level, she gains Greater Weapon Focus (sawtooth sabre) as a bonus feat.

At 7th level, she gains Greater Weapon Specialization (sawtooth sabre) as a bonus feat.

Prayer Attack (Su)

At 2nd level, a Red Mantis assassin learns her signature assassination style. To initiate a prayer attack, she holds her sawtooth sabre (or sabres) out, point down, and weaves the blade in the air. She must be within 30 feet of and visible to her victim. Beginning a prayer attack is a standard action, and causes her victim to be fascinated by her unless he makes a Will save (DC 10 + the Red Mantis assassin’s class level + her Charisma modifier—if she’s wielding two sawtooth sabres, this DC gains a +2 bonus). She can maintain the fascination effect by concentrating. The victim may attempt a new save to escape fascination each time a threat (other than the fascinating assassin) appears. At any point after 3 rounds, she may make a coup de grace attack against the target, provided the target is still fascinated. Activating or concentrating on maintaining a prayer attack does not provoke an attack of opportunity.

Red Shroud (Su)

At 3rd level, a Red Mantis assassin gains the ability to create a veil of red mist a number of times per day equal to her Constitution bonus (minimum once per day) as a move-equivalent action. The red shroud persists for 1 round per class level. It grants a +1 dodge bonus to AC and fast healing equal to her Constitution bonus (minimum of fast healing 1). This mist cannot be dissipated by wind. If she is slain while this ability is active, she can choose whether to remain corporeal or to disintegrate into a cloud of red mist that leaves behind only her gear in order to deprive her enemies of access to her remains.

Summon Mantis (Sp)

Once per day at 4th level, a Red Mantis assassin may summon an advanced fiendish giant mantis, 1d3 fiendish giant mantises, or 1d4+1 giant mantises, as if using summon monster V. She can mentally direct the actions of these summoned vermin as a free action. All mantises summoned by this spell-like ability are blood red, and gain no racial bonus on Stealth checks in forests.

Resurrection Sense (Su)

At 5th level, a Red Mantis assassin senses if a creature she has slain within the last year has been restored to life, as long as they are both on the same plane.

Mantis Form (Su)

At 6th level, a Red Mantis assassin may transform into a bloodred giant praying mantis once per day as a standard action, as if using vermin shape II (caster level equals her class level). In addition to the normal adjustments to Strength, Dexterity, and natural armor provided by this spell effect, she gains the giant mantis’s darkvision 60 feet, grab, lunge, mandibles, and sudden strike extraordinary abilities, but not its immunity to mind-affecting effects or its racial modifiers to Perception or Stealth. If she wields a magical sawtooth sabre in her hand when she transforms, the magical enhancements for that weapon apply to her corresponding claw attack—if she wields two of them, then the weapons each apply to a different claw attack.

Blood Mantis: At 8th level, her claw attacks inflict 1d6 bleed on a hit. She also gains damage reduction 5/good while in this form.

Death Mantis: At 10th level, whenever she uses her mandibles to attack, she inflicts 1 negative level. Each negative level inflicted in this manner grants the Red Mantis assassin 5 temporary hit points that last for 1 hour. The save DC to remove these negative levels is equal to 20 + the Red Mantis assassin’s Constitution modifier. In addition, her damage reduction increases to 10/good while in this form.

Fading (Su)

At 8th level, the Red Mantis assassin can become ethereal as a free action a number of times each day equal to her Constitution modifier (minimum 1/day) for an instant as she is attacked by a weapon or is forced to make a Reflex saving throw. She must choose to activate this ability before the weapon’s attack roll or the spell’s effects are adjudicated. This grants the Red Mantis assassin a 50% chance to avoid taking damage from the attack or effects.

Mantis Doom (Sp)

At 9th level, a Red Mantis assassin may use creeping doom as a spell-like ability three times per day. This version of the spell summons swarms of venomous praying mantises, but the effects are otherwise the same as the spell.