Crimson Claw (Apath)

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Crimson claws are part of the same dread order as crimson assassins, delving deep in the mystic unity with the mantis. Working as scouts and guides for crimson assassins, crimson claws delight in situations where the victim attempts to hide in the wild.

Class Information

This is a prestige archetype. Crimson claws are manhunters with mantis abilities.

Prestige Class: Crimson Assassin from Pathfinder Campaign Setting: The Inner Sea World Guide.

Build Classes: Ranger.

Alignment: Lawful Evil. Crimson claws strive for mystic understanding of the mantises they emulate, but they remain first and foremost elite assassins.

Hit Die: d10.

Class Skills

The crimson claw's class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Acrobatics (Dex), Acrobatics (Dex), Appraise (Int), Bluff (Cha), Climb (Str), Craft (Int), Disguise (Cha), Escape Artist (Dex), Handle Animal (Cha), Heal (Wis), Intimidate (Cha), Knowledge (geography) (Int), Knowledge (nature) (Int), Knowledge (nobility), Knowledge (religion), Perception (Wis), Profession (Wis), Ride (Dex), Spellcraft (Int), Stealth (Dex), Survival (Wis), and Swim (Str).

Skill Ranks at Each Level: 6 + Int modifier.

Class Features

This is all the class features of the crimson claw.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency

A crimson claw is proficient with all simple and martial weapons, plus the hand crossbow and sawtooth sabre. He is proficient with light armor but not shields. A crimson claw can cast spells while wearing light armor without incurring the normal arcane spell failure chance. Like any other arcane spellcaster, a crimson claw wearing medium or heavy armor incurs a chance of arcane spell failure if the spell in question has a somatic component. A multiclass crimson claw still incurs the normal arcane spell failure chance for arcane spells received from other classes.

Sneak Attack

If a red claw can catch an opponent when he is unable to defend himself effectively from his attack, he can strike a vital spot for extra damage.

The red claw's attack deals extra damage anytime his target would be denied a Dexterity bonus to AC (whether the target actually has a Dexterity bonus or not), or when the red claw flanks his target. This extra damage is 1d6 at 1st level, and increases by 1d6 at level five and every five red claw levels thereafter. Should the red claw score a critical hit with a sneak attack, this extra damage is not multiplied. Ranged attacks can count as sneak attacks only if the target is within 30 feet.

With a weapon that deals nonlethal damage (like a sap, whip, or an unarmed strike), a red claw can make a sneak attack that deals nonlethal damage instead of lethal damage. He cannot use a weapon that deals lethal damage to deal nonlethal damage in a sneak attack, not even with the usual –4 penalty.

The red claw must be able to see the target well enough to pick out a vital spot and must be able to reach such a spot. A red claw cannot sneak attack while striking a creature with concealment.

Track (Ex)

A crimson claw adds half his level (minimum 1) to Survival skill checks made to follow tracks.

Vermin Empathy (Ex)

A crimson claw can play on the inborn reflexes of vermin, making the vermin act more friendly than it would usually do, even tough vermin are non-intelligent and not really capable of holding an attitude. This ability functions just like a Diplomacy check to improve the attitude of a person. The crimson claw rolls 1d20 and adds his crimson claw level and his Charisma bonus to determine the vermin empathy check result. The initial reaction of vermin is usually unfriendly.

To use vermin empathy, the crimson claw and the vermin must be within 30 feet of one another under normal visibility conditions. Generally, influencing vermin in this way takes 1 minute, but, as with influencing people, it might take more or less time.

The crimson claw can also use this ability to influence other mantis-based monsters who are not vermin, such as ankhegs.

Sabre Fighting (Ex)

As he increases in level, the crimson claw learns feats that make him a specialist with the sawtooth sabre. He need not fulfill the prerequisites of these feats. If he already knows a given feat, he gains a bonus combat feat instead, which he must fulfill the prerequisites for. This replaces trap sense.

  • At 2nd level, the crimson claw gains Weapon Focus (sawtooth sabre) as a bonus feat.
  • At 4th level, the crimson claw gains Weapon Specialization (sawtooth sabre) as a bonus feat.
  • At 7th level, he gains Greater Weapon Focus (sawtooth sabre) as a bonus feat.
  • At 10th level, he gains Greater Weapon Specialization (sawtooth sabre) as a bonus feat.


A crimson claw gains Endurance as a bonus feat at 3rd level.

Mantis Companion

At 4th level, the crimson claw gains a blood red giant mantis companion bred specifically for the purpose by the order and can only be replaced by the order.

This ability functions like the druid animal companion ability (which is part of the Nature Bond class feature), except that the crimson claw's effective druid level is equal to his crimson claw level –3.

Table: Crimson Claw Spells Known
Level Spells Known
1st 2nd 3rd 4th
4th 2
5th 3
6th 4
7th 4 2
8th 4 3
9th 5 4
10th 5 4 2
11th 5 4 3
12th 6 5 4
13th 6 5 4 2
14th 6 5 4 3
15th 6 6 5 4
16th 6 6 5 4
17th 6 6 5 4
18th 6 6 6 5
19th 6 6 6 5
20th 6 6 6 5


A crimson claw casts arcane spells drawn from the ranger spell list. Rangers spells are arcane spells for the crimson claw. In addition he adds all the sorcerer/wizard illusion and transmutation spells of levels 1 to 4 to his spell list. He can cast any spell he knows without preparing it ahead of time. To cast a spell, a crimson claw must have a Charisma score of at least 10 + the spell’s level. His 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).

In addition to the above, the crimson claw adds the following spells to his spell list at the indicated spell levels.

  1. obscuring mist, true strike.
  2. darkness, fog cloud, see invisibility, summon swarm.
  3. clairaudience/clairvoyance, hold person.
  4. dimension door, modify memory.

His selection of spells is extremely limited—at each crimson claw level, he gains one or more new spells, as indicated on Table: Crimson Claw Spells Known. At 7th, 13th, 16th, and 19th level, he can choose to learn a new spell in place of one he already knows, provided the new spell is of the same level as the one he is replacing.

Prayer Attack (Su)

At 6th level, a crimson claw learns his signature assassination style. To initiate a prayer attack, he holds his sawtooth sabre (or sabres) out, point down, and weaves the blade in the air. He must be within 30 feet of and visible to his victim. Beginning a prayer attack is a standard action, and causes his victim to be fascinated by him unless he makes a Will save (DC 10 + ½ the crimson claw’s class level + his Charisma modifier—if he’s wielding two sawtooth sabres, this DC gains a +2 bonus). He 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, he 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.

Woodland Stride (Ex)

Starting at 7th level, a crimson claw may move through any sort of undergrowth (such as natural thorns, briars, overgrown areas, and similar terrain) at his normal speed and without taking damage or suffering any other impairment.

Thorns, briars, and overgrown areas that are enchanted or magically manipulated to impede motion, however, still affect him.

Red Shroud (Su)

At 8th level, a crimson claw gains the ability to create a veil of red mist a number of times per day equal to his 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 his Constitution bonus (minimum of fast healing 1). This mist cannot be dissipated by wind. If he is slain while this ability is active, he can choose whether to remain corporeal or to disintegrate into a cloud of red mist that leaves behind only his gear in order to deprive his enemies of access to his remains.

Swift Tracker (Ex)

Beginning at 9th level, a crimson claw can move at his normal speed while using Survival to follow tracks without taking the normal –5 penalty. He takes only a –10 penalty (instead of the normal –20) when moving at up to twice normal speed while tracking.

Summon Mantis (Sp)

At 10th level, as a standard action, a Crimson 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.

At level 14, using this ability becomes a swift action. At level 16, it becomes a free action. This ability can be used once per day at level 10 and the crimson claw gains another use at level 12 and every two levels thereafter.

Resurrection Sense (Su)

At 10th level, a crimson claw senses if a creature he 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 12th level, a crimson claw may transform into a bloodred giant praying mantis once per day as a standard action, as if using vermin shape II (caster level equals his class level). In addition to the normal adjustments to Strength, Dexterity, and natural armor provided by this spell effect, he 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 he wields a magical sawtooth sabre in his hand when he transforms, the magical enhancements for that weapon apply to his corresponding claw attack—if he wields two of them, then the weapons each apply to a different claw attack.

At 16th level, his claw attacks inflict 1d6 bleed on a hit. He also gains damage reduction 5/good while in this form.

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

Fading (Su)

At 14th level, the crimson claw can become ethereal for an instant as he is attacked by a weapon or is forced to make a Reflex saving throw. This is a free action and can be used a number of times each day equal to his Constitution modifier (minimum 1/day). He must choose to activate this ability before the weapon’s attack roll or the spell’s effects are adjudicated. This grants the crimson claw a 50% chance to avoid taking damage from the attack or effects. Force effects and effects that affect ethereal creatures ignore this defense.

Hide in Plain Sight (Ex)

While there is any crimson in the local terrain, a crimson claw of 17th level or higher can use the Stealth skill even while being observed. Crimson terrain can occur naturally, be artifical, or be the result any red-blooded creature recently having taken bleed damage or been killed by slashing or piercing damage within 10 ft. of where the crimson claw is attempting to hide.

Mantis Doom (Sp)

At 18th level, a crimson claw 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.

Table: Crimson Claw

Base Attack
Special Spells per Day
1 2 3 4
1st +1 +2 +2 +0 Sneak attack +1d6, track, vermin empathy
2nd +2 +3 +3 +0 Sabre focus
3rd +3 +3 +3 +1 Endurance
4th +4 +4 +4 +1 Hunter's bond, sabre specialization 0
5th +5 +4 +4 +1 Sneak attack +2d6 1
6th +6/+1 +5 +5 +2 Prayer attack 1
7th +7/+2 +5 +5 +2 Sabre greater focus , woodland stride 1 0
8th +8/+3 +6 +6 +2 Red shroud, resurrection sense 1 1
9th +9/+4 +6 +6 +3 Swift tracker 2 1
10th +10/+5 +7 +7 +3 Greater sabre specialization, sneak attack +3d6 2 1 0
11th +11/+6/+1 +7 +7 +3 Summon mantis 2 1 1
12th +12/+7/+2 +8 +8 +4 Mantis form 2 2 1
13th +13/+8/+3 +8 +8 +4 Summon mantis (2/day) 3 2 1 0
14th +14/+9/+4 +9 +9 +4 Fading 3 2 1 1
15th +15/+10/+5 +9 +9 +5 Sneak attack +4d6, 3 2 2 1
16th +16/+11/+6/+1 +10 +10 +5 Blood mantis form, summon mantis (3/day, swift) 3 3 2 1
17th +17/+12/+7/+2 +10 +10 +5 Hide in plain sight 4 3 2 1
18th +18/+13/+8/+3 +11 +11 +6 Mantis doom 4 3 2 2
19th +19/+14/+9/+4 +11 +11 +6 Summon mantis 3/day (free) 4 3 3 2
20th +20/+15/+10/+5 +12 +12 +6 Death mantis form, sneak attack +5d6 4 4 3 3
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