Black-Hearted Knave

"Of course I’m out for myself. If I don’t look out for me, who will?"

Personal gain motivates the black-hearted knave. Scoundrels of the highest order, these cunning, untrustworthy villains exploit, betray, and deceive, having little concern for the people they hurt and the lives they destroy. Knaves encompass a wide range of characters, from the charlatan foisting colored water off as a cure for ills to the charming rake who steals hearts and purses in equal numbers. Turncoats, bandits, and public figures might be knaves in secret, masking their true intentions behind facades.
    One does not make a career of double-crossing and exploiting people without risking consequences. Rather than advertise their villainy, many knaves go to great lengths to stay above suspicion. A good disguise is sometimes all a knave needs. Fabricating a history, adding possible relations, and becoming established in a community gives the knave freedom to pursue his or her goals. Others work their trickery by being exceptional liars. A ready story and a convincing manner can divert a skeptic’s attention elsewhere.
    Black-hearted knaves don’t put down roots. No matter how many safeguards they have in place, a simple gaffe or a glimmer of recognition by a prior victim is all it sometimes takes to expose a knave for what he or she truly is. Adventuring provides a knave with a ready excuse to move from place to place. Between expeditions, he or she works schemes in whatever town or hamlet that has the bad fortune to serve as a host to the knave. Then, before anyone grows the wiser about what has been done, he or she moves off, drawn toward the next dungeon and adventure.

    Black-Hearted Knave Starting Feature (1st level): You gain the treacherous advantage power.
    Black-Hearted Knave Level 5 Feature (5th level): Whenever you would make a Diplomacy check or an Intimidate check, you can instead make a Bluff check with a -2 penalty.
    Black-Hearted Knave Level 10 Feature (10th level): You can use a minor action in place of a standard action when making a Bluff check to gain combat advantage or to create a diversion to hide.

Black-Hearted Knave Attack Treacherous Advantage

Shoving an ally into danger creates a distraction so that you can move into an advantageous position.

Encounter        Martial, Weapon
Standard Action      Melee 1

Primary Target: One ally

Effect: You push the primary target up to 2 squares, and he or she grants combat advantage until the start of your next turn. You then shift up to half your speed and make the secondary attack.

Treacherous Advantage Secondary Attack

Encounter      Martial, Weapon
Standard Action      Melee 1

Secondary Target: One creature

Secondary Attack: Highest ability modifier vs. AC

Hit: 2[W] + your highest ability modifier damage, and the target grants combat advantage until the end of your next turn.
    Level 11: 3[W] + your highest ability modifier damage.
    Level 21: 4[W] + your highest ability modifier damage.

Black-Hearted Knave Utility 2Flee Peril

When the enemy gains the upper hand, you waste no time making good your escape.

Encounter        Martial
Immediate Reaction      Personal

Trigger: An ally within 5 squares of you is hit by an attack.

Effect: You shift up to half your speed.

Black-Hearted Knave Utility 6Surprising Betrayal

You shove a nearby ally into an attack’s path so that you can slip away unscathed.

Encounter        Martial
Immediate Interrupt      Melee 1

Trigger: A creature hits or misses you with a melee or a ranged attack.

Target: One ally

Effect: You and the target swap positions (the target slides 1 square, and you shift 1 square). The target is hit or missed by the attack, instead of you.

Black-Hearted Knave Utility 10Duplicitous Evasion

You duck behind another creature to escape an attack, leaving it to fend for itself.

Daily        Martial
Immediate Interrupt      Personal

Trigger: An enemy makes a melee or a ranged attack against you while you are adjacent to at least one other creature.

Effect: You gain a +4 power bonus to all defenses against the triggering attack. If the attack misses you, you can swap positions with an adjacent creature other than the triggering enemy (the creature slides 1 square, and you shift 1 square), and the enemy repeats the attack against that creature.

Published in Dragon Magazine 406.