Imperial Kommissar Prestige Class

22 March, 2010

Atop the low hill, now stained red with blood, the Irrin Militia still held at noon.  When the Kothic Horde had first started advancing shortly after dawn, they had tried to run, but Imperial Kommissar Valtic had stopped that rout by killing the first man who tried to move by him.  He still stood behind the militia, his grim visage inspiring them to face possible death at the hands of the horde rather than certain death from him.

Imperial Kommissar
Discipline maintains order, we maintain discipline.”

The Imperial Forces rely upon a small number of highly trained soldiers to maintain order across the Empire.  In times of a large scale disturbance or major war, allies are mobilized and placed under Imperial authority.  Those allied units that are considered unreliable, rebellious or simply poorly led are placed under the watchful eyes of the Imperial Kommissars.

The Imperial Kommissars are renown for being fearless and ruthless in combat.  The Kommissars do not flee battle, nor do those under their command.  If one man must die to steady ten or a hundred to steady a thousand, the Kommissar will do what is needed to see that the Imperial will is carried out.

[For other campaign worlds, a similar class might be called a Loyalty Officer, Master of Discipline, Morale Officer, Taskmaster or Unity Commander.]

Role: To lead soldiers though iron discipline and focussed fear, his troops should fear the kommissar far more than they fear the enemy.

Alignment: To be an Imperial Kommissar one must be extremely disciplined and loyal to a single purpose, a streak of cruelty is not unknown either.

Hit Dice: d10

To qualify to become an Imperial Kommissar, a character must fulfill the following criteria.
Alignment: Lawful Neutral or Lawful Evil
Base Attack Bonus: +4
Skill: Intimidate 5 ranks
Feat: Any two of the following: Iron Will, Persuasive or Skill Focus (intimidate)
Special: Must be a long service professional in Imperial Service.

Class Skills
The Imperial Kommissar’s class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Bluff (Cha), Climb (Str), Craft (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Handle Animal (Cha), Intimidate (Cha), Knowledge (military) (Int), Perception (Wis), Perform (weapon drill) (Cha), Ride (Dex), Sense Motive (Wis), and Swim (Str).

Skill Points at Each Level: 2 + Int modifier.

Class Level    Base Attack    Fort    Ref    Will    Special
1st        +1        +1    +0    +1    Fearsome Reputation, Painful Discipline, Weapon Focus (baton)
2nd        +2        +1    +1    +1    Lead through Fear, Resolute
3rd        +3        +2    +1    +2    Coward’s Cut +2, Unfaltering
4th        +4        +2    +1    +2    Improved Intimidate, Weapon Specialization (baton)
5th        +5        +3    +2    +3    Bonus Feat, Make an Example
6th        +6        +3    +2    +3    Battlefield Execution, Coward’s Cut +4
7th        +7        +4    +2    +4    Fearsome Foe, Greater Weapon Focus (baton)
8th        +8        +4    +3    +4    Grim Resolve, Superior Lead through Fear
9th        +9        +5    +3    +5    Coward’s Cut +6, Improved Critical (baton)
10th        +10        +5    +3    +5    Frightful Presence

Class Features
All of the following are class features of the imperial kommisar prestige class.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: An Imperial Kommissar is proficient in simple and martial weapons, light, medium and heavy armor and shields (not tower shields).

Fearsome Reputation (Ex):  The imposing attitude of an Imperial Kommissar is drilled into recruits early on.  They gain a circumstance bonus to Intimidate checks equal to their levels in this class.

Painful Discipline (Ex): The Kommissar become highly adept at dealing painful but nonlethal blows.  The Kommissar suffers only a -2 attack penalty when using a weapon to inflict nonlethal damage and he may choose to deal nonlethal damage with his baton at no attack penalty.

Weapon Focus (baton) (Ex): The symbol of their personal authority is a baton with which they become very adept at dealing out blows.  Treat the baton as a light mace.

Lead through Fear (Ex): All troops allied to the Imperial Kommissar and within 60′ gain a +1 morale bonus to Will saves, this bonus is raised to +3 against fear effects (except those generated by a Kommissar).

Resolute (Ex):  The total fear affects targeting a Resolute character are reduced by one degree.  Panicked characters are instead frightened.  Frightened characters are shaken.  Shaken characters are not afraid.  Resolute characters are never panicked.  At worst, they are frightened.

Coward’s Cut (Ex): An Imperial Kommissar can exploit an enemy’s uncertainty and apprehension.  They receive a +2 bonus to damage with melee attacks against any opponent who is shaken, frightened, or panicked.  This bonus increases to +4 at 6th level and to +6 at 9th level.

Unfaltering (Ex): Whenever an Imperial Kommissar kills an opponent (or an ally), he reaffirms his purpose and hardens himself to danger.  An Imperial Kommissar gains a number of temporary hit points equal to his class level plus his Charisma modifier (minimum +0) when he kills an opponent, these temporary hit points last for the character’s level in rounds and do not stack with themselves.

Improved Intimidate (Ex):  Improved Intimidate allows a character to Intimidate an opponent in combat as a move action, instead of a standard action.

Weapon Specialization (baton) (Ex): The Kommissar can deliver precise and lightning fast blows with his baton.  At 4th level he gains Weapon Specialization with the baton as a bonus feat.

Bonus Feat: The Imperial Kommissar may select any combat feat as a bonus feat at 5th level.

Make an Example (Ex): Sometimes, simple intimidation is not enough and an enemy needs to see a demonstration of how unbending the Imperial will is.  Whenever a Imperial Kommissar of 5th level or higher makes a successful coup de grace against a fallen foe, all enemies within 60 feet receive a -2 morale penalty to saves against fear effects for one round per hit die of the slain foe and the bonuses granted to his allies from Lead though Fear is increased by 1 for the same duration.

The Kommissar may also execute a member of an allied unit suffering from the frightened or panicked condition to cause all members of that unit within his ‘Lead through Fear’ radius to make an immediate second save against fear.  If they make the second save, their fear is reduced to shaken and they rally around their officers (or the Kommissar, if no other officers remain).

Battlefield Execution (Ex): The Kommissar become adept at quickly dispatching helpless and terrified soldiers, he may now use the coup de grace as a standard action.  Further, characters suffering from the panicked condition are considered to be helpless for the purpose of a coup de grace attempt made by a Kommissar.

Fearsome Foe (Ex):  With a standard action, the character may attempt an Intimidate check against all opponents he threatens.  The character makes a single Intimidate check, with a -2 circumstance penalty for each opponent to be affected after the first.  All affected opponents make individual level checks, with the standard modifiers.

Greater Weapon Focus (baton) (Ex): The Kommissar can stand down even armed and armored men with only their will and their baton.  At 7th level, a Kommissar gains Greater Weapon Focus with the baton as a bonus feat.

Grim Resolve (Ex): As Resolute, but the fear affects are reduced by an additional degree.  The character is never frightened or panicked.

Superior Lead Through Fear (Ex): As Lead through Fear except that it effects all allies within 120′ of the Kommissar and the morale bonus gained is now +2 to Will saves, raised to +5 against fear effects and a +1 moral bonus to melee damage is gained.

Improved Critical (baton) (Ex): The Kommissar knows where to strike with their baton to cause maximum damage.  At 9th level, a Kommissar gains Improved Critical with the baton as a bonus feat.

Frightful Presence (Ex): For up to ten rounds per day, the character becomes a terrifying sight in combat.  These rounds need not be used consecutively, but the character must attack in a round this ability it used.  Enemies with fewer Hit Dice or levels than the character and within 30 feet must make a Will save (DC 15 + the frightful character’s Charisma modifier) or be shaken for 5d6 rounds.  Characters must make a save each round they are in the area of affect and may become frightened or panicked as a result.  An opponent that succeeds on the saving throw is immune to that same character’s frightful presence for 24 hours.  Frightful presence is a mind-affecting fear effect.

Ex-Kommisssars: A Kommissar who loses his status as a member of the Imperial forces loses access to the following class features: Grime Resolve, Resolute and Unfaltering as their lost of official standing and place within the order of things weakens their iron determination.  Their bonuses gained from Coward’s Cut and Fearsome Reputation are halved.

Those ex-kommissars who survive tend to end up working for the worst of the worst, bandit kings, slavers and other such filth.

Notes: Inspired by and adapted from the Kerlun Footman by Chad Stevens <orcboss@hotmail.com>.  Additional inspiration from the Warhammer 40K universe and the historical Roman Centurions and Russian Commissars.

The class’ primary weapon does not have to be a baton, for example a classic orc variant would use a whip for their weapon of choice, but if it is moved to a better weapon, their melee ability will increase . . . which is not in and of itself a bad thing.

Very much designed as an opposition class for some magic items to support the class, see the Disciplinarian’s Baton and Whip-Sword of the Taskmaster.


  1. Pretty cool.
    –Lots of food for thought.

    How Pathfinder-friendly is this prestige class?

    • Should be aligned with Pathfinder except for the Knowledge (military) and Perform (weapon drill) skills which you can just ignore if you do not want them cluttering things.

  2. Excellent.
    –Thank you for the clarification.
    —If my new character (LN Cleric of Heironeous) survives long enough to qualify, I hope my GM will allow its incorporation.

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