All power comes at a price. Corruptions are things that can twist the body, and taint the soul, but they also allow one to go beyond what they would normally be capable of. This option, put forth in Horror Adventures, is one that a lot of players have been hesitant to delve into. As such I thought I would put together a series of articles where I suggest some the best classes to pair with given corruptions, and to try to minimize the potential harm they can do while emphasizing the powers they offer.
And since I covered the Promethean corruption in my Iron Hands space marine character conversion, I figured I'd start there.
What Is The Promethean Corruption?
The Promethean corruption takes many forms, but the short version is that your body has been augmented with construct parts. Whether this was to try to make you stronger, as part of an unwilling experiment, or an attempt to extend your lifespan, that is up to you. However, you find your body trying to fail, and the machine-like nature of a construct scratching at your mind, trying to drain from you the will and thoughts of a living being with its own sentience and desires.
Mechanically, the Promethean corruption forces you to make a Fortitude save of 15 + your Manifestation level anytime you fail a Fortitude save, or you are brought to or below 0 hit points. If you fail you need to spend 8 hours undergoing surgery to replace failing body parts with construct parts, and you have 3 days to do so (you don't have to make these Fortitude saves during those 3 days, though, so that's nice). After the surgery is complete, there's a 50% chance your corruption progresses to the next stage. If it doesn't, then your Fortitude save DC increases by 2 until it does progress to the next stage (and these increases stack). Not only that, but when you progress your corruption, your alignment shifts one spot toward neutral.
What do you get in exchange for this rather serious drawback? Well, this corruption gives you access to a Berserk manifestations that grants you bonus to-hit and damage. You can gain bonuses, and eventual immunities, to poisons, disease, mind-affecting effects, and you can eventual function without the need of food or sleep. You can also gain natural armor and slam attacks.
So what pairs nicely with this corruption?
#1: The Paladin
The idea of a Promethean paladin might bring across the image of characters like Robocop. Justicars who fight against their own, failing forms to carry on another day, struggling against their own deteriorating form while trying to stand as a shield between the helpless and those who would harm them. An older post, Robocop is Lawful Good, might make for an interesting read for those looking to pursue this option.
With that said, there are definitely some pros and cons to this choice.
Firstly, the potential of alignment shift is pretty brutal, as that will strip a paladin of their class features in a way that can't necessarily be fixed by an atonement spell. While that can be somewhat mitigated by using the Gray Paladin out of Ultimate Intrigue, that only buys you so much breathing room. Not only that, but many of the manifestations such as the immunity to disease, poison, and many mind effects are things paladins already get as class features, or which they can acquire through class-specific feats.
On the other hand, though, a paladin's Divine Health class feature shields them from a lot of Fortitude saves. Additionally, the ability to add their Charisma bonus to their Fortitude saves is going to tilt the odds of not failing in their favor. Those who do opt to go with the Gray Paladin, though, receive lesser versions of these class features that can be nicely bolstered by the manifestations of this corruption. The ability to rapidly heal themselves with their Lay on Hands feature, in addition to having a sizable hit die also makes it less likely the paladin will hit or drop below 0 very often, barring bad luck or failed strategies. Features that add armor, and which increase damage on top of Smite can be quite useful, especially when one considers the lessened damage of the Smite Foe feature of the Gray Paladin.
#2: The Fighter
The fighter is a workhorse chassis, and one that can be greatly improved by corruptions that require physical toughness to resist. Not only that, but using archetypes like the Cyber Soldier out of the Technology Guide can dovetail nicely with the Promethean corruption, allowing you to replace limbs with a manifestation, and then gain bonuses to attack and damage with those limbs due to the Cyber Soldier's class features. Additionally, fighters don't require any particular alignment as a rule, so the shifts caused by a progressing corruption wouldn't be as much of an issue going forward. Failing the final save may still result in a loss of the character, but that's an issue for down the road.
The key for the Promethean corrupted fighter is to use your class features, gear, and abilities to avoid as much damage and failed saves as possible. Abilities like Armored Sacrifice can help avoid going down to 0 hit points, for example, and archetypes like the Defender can attempt to parry incoming attacks. The class gets good Fortitude save progression, and it can be enhanced with traits, magic items, etc. to help you remain as long-lived as possible.
#3: The Cavalier
A Promethean cavalier is a terrifying prospect. Iron horsemen who never eat, never sleep, and who will not stop until their duty is done. Whether this is a part of becoming one of the land's honor guard, or something that was done to preserve the life of a warrior fallen in battle who refuses to leave their vows unfulfilled is difficult to say.
Cavaliers have no alignment restriction (typically), and there's enough variety on their abilities that they can be tailored toward the drawbacks of the Promethean corruption. Slowed movement, for example, matters little when one is on horseback. Increased damage done from the saddle can be devastating, and increased armor on top of what a cavalier already wears can be a great boon. One's order can also make a large difference, such as the Order of The Shield which allows the cavalier to transform some damage into non-lethal, thus allowing them to mitigate harm and avoid dropping to 0 in the moment. If one wishes to pair the Greater Shattered Body manifestation that allows them to avoid eating and sleeping with an equally terrifying mount, then a Ghost Rider from Occult Adventures might make for an ideal choice.
#4: The Kineticist
There haven't been a lot of casters on this list, since generally speaking casters are at a huge risk from a Fortitude-based corruptions. The exception is, of course, the Kineticist from Occult Adventures. While the kineticist doesn't have a great hit die, they do have a good Fortitude save, and Constitution is one of their main attributes. Additionally, the nature of the Promethean corruption can fit well with a kineticist thematically. After all, their power tends to burn through their physical bodies, and a kineticist whose abilities were too much for their flesh might find that said flesh needed to be augmented in order to allow them to keep using their abilities. Whether it's steel limbs to better direct blasts of electricity, or sets of crystal organs that aren't as easily affected by earth shaping, the end result can be a particularly interesting character.
As with other Promethean options, the challenge will be protecting yourself from taking too much damage, and avoiding failing Fortitude saves. Additionally, manifestations such as the Berserk Fury won't be as useful for many kineticist builds, since it clouds the mind and causes issues with casting and focus. But resistances and immunities, as well as natural armor, can be quite useful when added into some of the talents this class can make use of.
#5. The Warpriest
While it might seem an unusual choice, the warpriest is one that can easily suit a Promethean corruption... particularly for those who have fallen on the battlefield, or who sought unusual ways to bring them closer to their deity. Iron-skinned and stone-fisted, this corruption might be seen as a blessing, given to those who are strong enough of spirit to sacrifice their own flesh in order to carry on the fight.
Warpriests don't get great hit points, but they do get both good Will and Fortitude saving bonuses. They gain the ability to heal themselves as a swift action, not dissimilar from paladins, and as long as one chooses a deity that won't be upset by a neutral alignment this class can continue on until the bitter end of the corruption. Additionally, even when enraged there are effects that can still be manifested by the warpriest. When combined with the spells they possess, and the protections they can layer on themselves (such as spells like delay poison and defending bone), warpriests are quite durable. Adding on the resistances and immunities of the Promethean corruption can only make them more so.
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