Shadow Stalker

There are many kinds of assassins. Some are specialists at killing from a distance, although because of the inherent uncertainties in this approach, such characters are just as often scouts or guards as they are assassins. Courtiers and courtesans prefer a more subtle approach. Sometimes, however, nothing can substitute for a knife in the back at an opportune time, and this is the shadow stalker's niche.

Most shadow stalkers work as part of a team. Although they may have lethal skills, they still need backup to carry out their task, and to make their escape afterwards. A shadow stalker who is cornered and unable to escape usually risks death; few authorities are willing to show mercy to an assassin.

As with most assassins, shadow stalkers are often called evil, whether or not this is actually warranted. Many of the most infamous shadow stalkers serve evil masters, but even more benign characters or organisations often find a need for their skills. Nevertheless, the occupation of a hired killer demands a certain cold-bloodedness, and all shadow stalkers are nothing if not ruthless when the time comes.

Rogues or multiclassed fighter/rogues are the most likely characters to become shadow stalkers. Wizard/rogues or sorcerer/rogues (including arcane tricksters) are the next most likely to be found; many arcane spells such as true strike or silence are very useful in a shadow stalker's profession. Even barbarian/rogues may become shadow stalkers, and such characters are possibly the most dangerous of all. Not only do few victims suspect a burly, coarse-mannered berserker of being an assassin, but a barbarian's great strength, especially in a rage, makes a perfect complement to the shadow stalker's enhanced sneak attack abilities.


Requirements

Skills: Disguise 8 ranks, Hide 8 ranks, Move Silently 4 ranks.

Other: Sneak attack or ranged sneak attack class ability, trap sense class ability +1.

Class Statistics

Hit Die: d6.

Class Skills: Balance (Dex), Bluff (Cha), Climb (Str), Craft (Int), Decipher Script (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Disable Device (Int), Disguise (Cha), Escape Artist (Dex), Forgery (Int), Gather Information (Cha), Hide (Dex), Intimidate (Cha), Jump (Str), Listen (Wis), Move Silently (Dex), Open Lock (Dex), Profession (Wis), Search (Int), Sense Motive (Wis), Sleight of Hand (Dex), Spot (Wis), Swim (Str), Tumble (Dex), Use Magic Device (Cha), Use Rope (Dex).

Skill Points/Level: 6 + Int modifier.

Level

Base Attack Bonus

Fort
Save

Ref
Save

Will
Save

Special

1

+0

+0

+2

+0

Sneak attack +1d6, enhanced sneak attack +2d6

2

+1

+0

+3

+0

Safe poison use, uncanny dodge

3

+2

+1

+3

+1

Sneak attack +2d6, hide in plain sight

4

+3

+1

+4

+1

Shadow jump (20 ft), chameleon

5

+3

+1

+4

+1

Sneak attack +3d6, enhanced sneak attack +4d6

6

+4

+2

+5

+2

Shadow jump (40 ft), improved uncanny dodge

7

+5

+2

+5

+2

Sneak attack +4d6, darkvision

8

+6

+2

+6

+2

Shadow jump (80 ft), poison resistance

9

+6

+3

+6

+3

Sneak attack +5d6, invisibility

10

+7

+3

+7

+3

Enhanced sneak attack +6d6

Special Abilities

All the following are special abilities of the shadow stalker.

Weapon and armour proficiency: The shadow stalker gains proficiency with the crossbow (hand, light, or heavy), dagger (any type), dart, rapier, sap, shortbow (normal and composite), and short sword. He is proficient with light armour but not with shields.

Sneak Attack (Ex): This is exactly like the rogue ability of the same name. The extra damage is +1d6 at 1st level, and +1d6 for every two levels after that. If the shadow stalker gets sneak attack damage from another source (such as rogue levels), the bonuses to damage stack.

Enhanced Sneak Attack (Ex): If the shadow stalker studies his victim for one round and then makes a sneak attack with a melee weapon, he gains a +2 bonus to the attack roll and deals an extra +2d6 points of damage if he hits. The attack bonus and extra damage (over and above his normal sneak attack damage) applies only to the first sneak attack he makes after studying the target, and the attack must be made within 3 rounds or the benefit is lost.

Studying the victim is a full-round action that provokes attacks of opportunity. While the shadow stalker is studying his victim, he takes a 4 penalty to AC for that round. The target must be unable to detect the shadow stalker, or fail to recognise the shadow stalker as an enemy.

At 5th level, the extra damage the shadow stalker inflicts after studying his victim increases to +4d6. At 10th level, it increases to +6d6.

Poison Use (Ex): At 2nd level, the shadow stalker can use poison without any risk of poisoning himself.

Uncanny Dodge (Ex): At 2nd level, the shadow stalker gains the ability to react to danger before his senses would normally allow him to even be aware of it. he retains his Dexterity bonus to AC (if any) regardless of being caught flat-footed or struck by an invisible attacker. (He still loses any Dexterity bonus to AC if immobilised.)

If a character gains uncanny dodge from a second class (such as a barbarian/rogue), the character automatically gains improved uncanny dodge (see below).

Hide in Plain Sight (Su): At 3rd level, the shadow stalker can use the Hide skill even while being observed. As long as he is within 10 feet of some sort of shadow, the shadow stalker can hide himself from view in the open without anything to actually hide behind. He cannot, however, hide in his own shadow.

Chameleon (Su): At 4th level, the shadow stalker gains the supernatural ability to change his appearance at will, as if via the spell change self.

Shadow Jump (Su): At 4th level, the shadow stalker gains the ability to travel between shadows as if by means of a dimension door spell. The limitation is that the magical transport must begin and end in an area with at least some shadow. The shadow stalker can jump up to a total of 20 feet each day in this way. The distance he can jump each day increases to 40 feet at 6th level, and to 80 feet at 8th level. He can split this among many jumps, but each one, no matter how small, counts as a 10-foot increment. (An 8th shadow stalker who jumps 75 feet cannot jump again until the next day.)

Improved Uncanny Dodge (Ex): At 6th level, the shadow stalker can no longer be flanked, since he can react to opponents on opposite sides of him as easily as he can react to a single attacker. This defense denies rogues the ability to use flank attacks to sneak attack the shadow stalker. The exception to this defense is that a rogue at least four levels higher than the shadow stalker can flank him (and thus sneak attack him).

If a character gains uncanny dodge (see above) from a second class (such as a barbarian/rogue), the character automatically gains improved uncanny dodge, and the levels from those classes stack to determine the minimum rogue level required to flank the character.

Darkvision (Ex): At 7th level, the shadow stalker gains darkvision to a range of 60 feet.

Poison Resistance (Ex): At 8th level, the shadow stalker gains a +5 bonus to saving throws against poison.

Invisibility (Sp): At 9th level, the shadow stalker can fade from view exactly as if via the spell invisibility. He can do this up to 3 times per day.


Sample Shadow Stalker

Garth (he doesn't know his parentage, and doesn't really care) is a happy-go-lucky kind of half-elf. He's pleasant to be around, witty, inoffensive, and intelligent. He's also a complete psychopath who leads a double life as a contracted assassin for the Family. His friends don't suspect a thing, which is exactly how he wants it. The more that people think of him as just a nice guy, the less likely it is that suspicion will fall on him each time a dead body turns up in an alleyway.

On assignment, Garth prefers to wield paired shortswords, being of the opinion that cold steel is the most reliable way of ending a life. Despite his training, he never uses poison. He thinks of himself as a consummate professional, and so doesn't allow himself such indulgences as taunting his victims or leaving behind a calling card. That's his image of himself, anyway; in truth, he's actually one of the more extravagant killers on the Family's roster. His superiors have been keeping tabs on him for some time, but haven't ordered him to tone down his excesses yet. One more torso neatly cut open from throat to abdomen with a single stroke, though, and that's likely to change.

Garth: Half-elf male rog5/shadow stalker 7; CR 12; Medium Humanoid (elf); HD 12d6+24 (72 hp); Init +8; Spd 40 ft (30 ft base), climb 20 ft; AC 20; BAB +8; Grap +10; Atk +12/+7 melee (1d6+4/1720, +2 keen shortsword) and +11 melee (1d6+3/1920, +1 shortsword); SA Sneak attack +7d6, enhanced sneak attack +4d6, poison use; SQ Evasion, uncanny dodge, improved uncanny dodge, trap sense +1, hide in plain sight, shadow jump (40 ft), chameleon, darkvision 60 ft, half-elf traits; AL NE; SV Fort +7, Ref +13, Will +4; Str 14, Dex 19, Con 14, Int 14, Wis 12, Cha 11.

Skills and Feats: Bluff +15, Climb +19*, Diplomacy +11, Disable Device +9, Disguise +19, Gather Information +7, Hide +20**, Intimidate +8, Jump +11, Listen +17, Move Silently +19**, Search +15, Sense Motive +6, Spot +13, Tumble +15, Fast Climb, Great Fortitude, Improved Initiative, Two-Weapon Fighting, Weapon Finesse.
* includes +8 competence bonus from Fast Climb.
** includes +5 competence bonus from +2 mithral chain shirt of shadow and silent moves.
includes +10 bonus from chameleon special ability.

Evasion (Ex): If exposed to any effect that normally allows a character to attempt a Reflex saving throw for half damage (such as a fireball), Garth takes no damage with a successful saving throw.

Uncanny Dodge (Ex): Garth has the extraordinary ability to react to danger before his senses would normally allow him to do so. He retains his Dexterity bonus to AC regardless of being caught flat-footed or struck by an invisible attacker.

Improved Uncanny Dodge (Ex): Garth can react to opponents on opposite sides of him as easily as he can react to a single attacker. He cannot be flanked, except by a rogue of at least 16th level.

Trap Sense (Ex): Garth gains a +1 bonus on Reflex saves to avoid traps and a +1 dodge bonus to AC against attacks made by traps.

Sneak Attack (Ex): This is exactly like the rogue ability of the same name. Garth's sneak attack damage is +7d6.

Enhanced Sneak Attack (Ex): If Garth studies his victim for one round and then makes a sneak attack with a melee weapon, he gains a +2 bonus to the attack roll and deals an extra +4d6 points of damage if he hits. The attack bonus and extra damage (over and above his normal sneak attack damage) applies only to the first sneak attack he makes after studying the target, and the attack must be made within 3 rounds or the benefit is lost.

Studying the victim is a full-round action that provokes attacks of opportunity. While the shadow stalker is studying his victim, he takes a 4 penalty to AC for that round. The target must be unable to detect the shadow stalker, or fail to recognise the shadow stalker as an enemy.

Poison Use (Ex): Garth can use poison without any risk of poisoning himself.

Hide in Plain Sight (Su): Garth can use the Hide skill even while being observed. As long as he is within 10 feet of some sort of shadow, he can hide himself from view in the open without anything to actually hide behind. He cannot, however, hide in his own shadow. This ability only functions in the absence of bright sunlight (not merely a daylight spell).

Chameleon (Su): Garth has the supernatural ability to change his appearance at will, as if via the spell change self.

Half-Elf Traits: Immunity to sleep spells and similar effects; +2 racial bonus on saves against enchantment spells and effects; +1 racial bonus on Listen, Search and Spot checks, and +2 racial bonus on Gather Information and Diplomacy checks (already figured into stats above); low-light vision.

Equipment: +2 keen shortsword, +1 shortsword, +2 mithral chain shirt of shadow and silent moves, gloves of Dexterity +2, belt of Strength +2, oil of greater magic weapon (+3).


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