Want to play a character that really walks the line between light and darkness? How about something like the Warlock, but not as convoluted?

Here’s the Heroic Hellraiser class:
Download: Essentials Hellraiser (Warlock) v.1

The Hellraiser is a sleak version of the Infernal Pact Warlock without all the weird Christmas-Tree powers that WotC decided to hang on the Warlock because they couldn’t find another place to put them. No design space was wasted here.

The Hellraiser has a twinned themes: darkness and the Infernal Pact. This is reflected in basically every class feature and power. The Warlock’s former “Shadow Walk” has here been streamlined as Shroud of Shadows. Counting spaces was a pain.

There’s a simple matter of using a move action to walk, run, or shift. You still get the same basic effect — the Hellraiser moving every round — and knocking him down or immobilizing him proves a life-threatening handicap with his meager defenses.

Binding Curse replaces the bookkeeping-intensive Warlock’s Curse, and further references the theme of the Infernal Pact. The Hellraiser can literally attack his foes with the bargain he struck with the Lower Planes.

Pact boons have also been replaced with the straightforward Infernal Compact, which borrows a little from the Essentials Warlocks — Binder and Hexblade. The Infernal Rebuke power is the Warlock’s “Eldritch Blast” — albeit with more flavor.

Shadow Flay is a new addition, reflecting the Hellraiser’s vicious nature, and reinforcing the class’s role as a striker — it begs the leader classes to grant this character attacks — more attack rolls means more chances to crit.

And the pièce de résistance is the class’s encounter power, Burnt Offering. It is essentially the Executioner’s Death Attack feature in power form, but it more closely resembles “Power Strike” in form and function. Ten extra damage once per fight.

But, but — you can only use Burnt Offering when your attack reduces an enemy to within ten hit points of dead, and you can only use it once per encounter (at first), and you lose the choice of whether to kill the creature or knock it unconscious.

The beauty of the power? You’re doing the bidding of the character’s Infernal master.

The Hellraiser just gets cooler as it advances in level — overcoming fire resistance, gaining bonuses while concealed, and recharging your Second Wind whenever the infernal flames of your encounter power consumes yet another doomed soul.

At 10th level, you gain the Shadow Retreat power, which you can only use while in partial or total concealment. It allows you to remove yourself from play until the end of the encounter, or you decide to come back. It’s the coward’s way out. Beautiful.

Check it out. Play at your own risk.