Grims, also known as ghostmasters, dreads, and spirit-talkers, are concerned with trapped spirits who cannot go on to their afterlife in the Lands of Rest -- spirits that are trapped against their will, excluding spawned and evil-aligned undead who have been corrupted and now choose their unlife. Grims find these lost souls, figure out what binds them, and then free them. A ghost or disembodied soul is often trapped by guilt at a misdeed, by anger at an injustice, by duty or quest left unsatisfied, or by strong attachment to a loved one who yet lives -- in these cases, a grim's job may be to assuage the guilt, right the injustice, finish the quest, or bring resolution and closure to the loved one. The grim acts, however, not from any sense of mercy or justice, but from a devout sense that death must result in afterlife and rebirth -- by freeing a trapped soul, a grim (as an agent of fate) brings events to their destined path. At higher levels, grims also seek out and release the souls of mortals who die in other dimensions or planes -- these souls seldom find the path to the afterlife on their own. Grims also oppose trapping souls by magic, as by possession or magic jar. A grim uses whatever means is most effective to accomplish a spirit's release, not caring whether that means is cruel or gentle, nor caring what mortals say.
Grim are always devout followers of Gargul -- in fact, the great majority are Eyes of Gargul -- but grims can also have levels in a wide range of classes -- most often, spellcasters. In some cases, Gargul himself will allow a character to be raised from the dead on the condition that the character agrees to become a grim.
NPC grims are dour types who take their jobs very seriously. Common folk both fear and respect them -- with perhaps a bit more fear than respect being usual. Few dare to object or interfere with grims who are performing their duties -- even government officials tend to ignore grims who break the law, since it is very difficult to imprison one. People seek out grims only if they have a house that is haunted or a ghost that is troublesome -- otherwise they are glad to give grims a wide berth. On rare occasions, people might petition a grim to help them contact a dead spirit -- and a grim tends to agree even more rarely.
Hit Die: d8
To qualify to become a grim, a character must fulfill the following criteria.
- Skills: Intimidate 7 ranks
- Feats: Iron Will, Toughness
- Spells: Able to cast 1st level spells.
- Special: Must perform a special ceremony while in the Realm of Shadow
The grim's class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are: Craft (Wis); Intimidate (Cha); Knowledge [All] (Int); Perception (wis); Profession (Int); Spellcraft (Int); Stealth (dex)
Skill Points per level: 2 + Int modifier
|Level||BAB||Fort Save||Ref Save||Will Save||Special|
|1st||+0||+1||+0||+1||Nail Shadow, Sense Spirit|
|3rd||+2||+2||+1||+2||Question Spirit, +1 level of existing spellcasting class|
|4th||+3||+2||+1||+2||Darkwalk (Ethereal), +1 level of existing spellcasting class|
|5th||+3||+3||+2||+3||Compel Spirit, +1 level of existing spellcasting class|
|6th||+4||+3||+2||+3||Darkwalk (Incorporeal), +1 level of existing spellcasting class|
|7th||+5||+4||+2||+4||Carry Spirit, +1 level of existing spellcasting class|
|8th||+6||+4||+3||+4||Darkwalk (Teleport), +1 level of existing spellcasting class|
|9th||+6||+5||+3||+5||Free Spirit OR Shadow Touch, +1 level of existing spellcasting class|
|10th||+7||+5||+3||+5||Darkwalk (Plane Shift), +1 level of existing spellcasting class|
Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Grims are proficient in all armor, shields (but not Tower Shields), simple melee weapons, and martial melee weapons. They gain no proficiency in missile weapons.
Spells Per Day: At levels three through ten, when a new grim level is gained, the character gains new spells per day as if she had also gained a level in a spellcasting class she belonged to before she added the prestige class. She does not, however, gain any other benefit a character of that class would have gained (better wildshape, metamagic or item creation feats, and so on). This essentially means that she adds the level of grim (minus two) to the level of some other spellcasting class the character has, then determines spells per day, spells known, and caster level accordingly. If a character had more than one spellcasting class before she became a grim, she must decide to which class she adds her grim levels for purposes of determining spells per day when she first adopts the PrC.
Sect: Grims are not highly structured in their organization, and they do not use ranks or titles in general. But they do organize, meet, and pass on news. Some say they send messages to one another, carried by their shadowed servants. Others suggest that Grim gather in secret safe places in the Realm of Shadow from time to time -- but the truths in these whispers are hard to tell. Certainly, all Grim help each other, and they work together when their missions require extra hands.
Nail shadow (SU): In order to become a grim, a candidate must first be blessed by an Eye of Gargul. Then, while the bless spell is still in effect, he or she must enter the Realm of Shadow (using spells that allow one to do so) and ceremonially nail his or her own shadow into the Realm (using spells like a specially cast Dimensional Anchor or Lesser Planar Binding). If the candidate uses a less potent spell, or one not intended for the purpose, or a magic scrolls that has a chance of backfire, then in the event of mishap, the ceremony cannot be tried again until a new level is gained. Thereafter, the grim's shadow is bound into the Realm of Shadow, so he or she casts no shadow in the Wold. However, the grim now exists in both planes, and therefore gains Ghost Touch as a permanent ability for self and any items carried. Thus, the grim's attacks and spells affect incorporeal opponents as effectively as they affect corporeal opponents. The Ghost Touch power does not extend to missile weapons, however. The grim can also see into the Realm of Shadows as a free action at will in a 60 foot radius.
Sense Spirit (SU): The grim can sense the direction and distance to any disembodied spirit or soul in long range (400 ft. + 40 ft./level), even through material objects. This could let the grim target the spirit's square, but not see it (unless it is within 60 feet). Sense spirit is a supernatural ability that takes a full round action to initiate and lasts for so long as the grim concentrates.
Darkwalk (SU): The grim can partly or completely enter the Realm of Shadow, for a duration of one minute per level per day. This duration may be used all at once or in separate blocks, though any use rounds up to the nearest full minute. To do this, a Grim must make a DC 10 check, adjusted up by +2 for every person that the grim brings along, using either their Concentration Check (including Combat Casting), or 2x their Grim Levels as a modifier. Only willing people can be brought along, and only if they are all holding hands; those with the grim must make a Will save vs DC 20 or take 1d6 points of temporary Con damage as they enter the Realm of Shadows. Those accompanying the grim automatically return to the Wold when the grim does. A failed check uses up a one-minute block for the day.
- At 2nd level, the grim can partly enter the Realm of Shadows, gaining concealment, a 20% miss chance, a +2 resistance bonus to saves, and a +8 bonus to Stealth checks.
- At 4th level, the grim can fully enter the Realm of Shadow and can then see but not affect those who remain in the Wold. This is treated as Etherealness.
- At 6th level, the grim can fully enter the Realm of Shadow and also affect those who remain in the Wold. This is treated as Incorporeality.
- At 8th level, the grim can enter the Realm of Shadow and travel quickly to another place in the Wold. This effectively lets the grim teleport from place to place, traveling up to 100 miles per minute.
- At 10th level, the grim can not only enter the Realm of Shadow, but can also travel to other dimensions and planes, including the Lands of Rest. The DM sets the travel times required.
Question Spirit (SU): The grim can speak with any spirit, ghost, or incorporeal creature as if under the affect of a Tongues spell. The being cannot lie to the grim, although it is not forced to answer. This power can also be used with mortals, although with no Tongues affect, and the mortal must tell the truth (if it chooses to answer) only after failing a Bluff check opposed by the grim's Intimidate check.
Compel Spirit (SU): Once per level per day the grim can make a Suggestion (just like the spell, with DC equal to 10 + levels in this prestige class + Wisdom modifier) to any incorporeal creature -- such as a suggestion to tell the truth. The grim can use this even if the creature is normally immune to mind-affecting magic.
Carry Spirit (SU): The grim proposes to a disembodied soul a course of action that will free it -- then, if the soul agrees to the plan, the grim can bind the soul into his or her shadow, carrying the soul wherever the grim goes. The soul may be willing because it honestly agrees to the plan or as a result of a successful Suggestion. As the grim carries out the plan, the presence of the soul gives the grim a +2 morale bonus on attacks, weapon damage, checks, and saves. If the plan takes too long, the bonus drops by one per day (+1, 0, -1, -2, -3 ... ) until the grim releases the spirit. The grim can carry only one soul at a time.
Free Spirit OR Shadow Touch
Free Spirit (SP): The grim can cast a Freedom spell once per day. In addition to its usual affects, this casting frees a spirit of any or all magical constraints. Among other uses, the grim can use this spell to remove a soul from an intelligent magical item and to reverse the effects of these spells: Awaken, Binding, Flesh to Stone, Geas/Quest, Imprisonment, Magic Jar, Planar Binding, Soul Bind, Trap the Soul, etc. An unwilling intelligent magic item or awakened animal gains a Will save DC of 10+Levels in this prestige class+Grim's Wis Mod to resist the magic.
Shadow Touch (SU): Drawing on his connection with the Realm of Shadow, with a successful melee touch attack a grim can force an opponent to make a Fortitude Save or take 1d10 temporary Con damage. The grim can use this power once per minute.
[Here is some advice for players wondering how to qualify for the Grim prestige class.]