Way of the Shadow

The last of a trio of ninja-ish prestige classes. This one is written up to have more of an emphasis on supernatural abilities and fighting rather than stealth.

A fact that the authorities don't like to publicise is that there exists a secretive organisation with links to the criminal fraternity in many cities of the realm. This organisation has many names, although its people usually refer to it simply as "the Family". The Family does not engage in simple larceny; its niche is in services that an ordinary thieves' guild cannot provide. Its members act as highly trained spies, assassins, and enforcers for employers both illicit and above-board, including many who would be considered pillars of society. While it might be technically correct to say that the Family is a criminal organisation, it is also much more.

In addition to its spies and assassins, there are some within the Family who are trained in a style of martial arts taught nowhere else: a style that has evolved over long years to fit the unique needs of this organisation. The masters of the Way of the Shadow, or shadow warriors, have gained a formidable reputation in the underworld. They serve as the Family's elite guard, keeping its leaders from harm; and and agents of last resort, called in when the interests of the Family itself are at stake.

All shadow warriors are exceptional martial artists, trained in the use of the sword, staff, and other fighting implements (some of which are quite exotic). They are also well-versed in the arts of stealth, as befits members of an underground organisation. The most powerful shadow warriors, however, are masters of dark magic, being able to conjure shadowstuff and shape it to their will.

Mastery of the Way of the Shadow

Prerequisites: Blind-Fight, Dodge, Mobility, Spring Attack, 6 ranks in Balance, 10 ranks in Hide, 10 ranks in Move Silently, 6 ranks in Listen, evasion class ability, trap sense class ability +2. Must be accepted for training by the Family.

Training Benefit: You gain a +1 bonus to attacks against opponents who are in shadow or darkness. You do not gain this benefit if your opponent has blindsense or blindsight. This is an extraordinary ability.

Social Benefit: You gain a +2 circumstance bonus to Intimidate checks when dealing with members of the criminal underworld.


Shadow Warrior

Prerequisites

Base attack bonus: +6.

Other: Must have achieved mastery of the Way of the Shadow.

Class Statistics

Hit Die: d8.

Class Skills: Balance (Dex), Bluff (Cha), Climb (Str), Craft (Int), Disguise (Cha), Escape Artist (Dex), Hide (Dex), Intimidate (Cha), Jump (Str), Listen (Wis), Move Silently (Dex), Profession (Wis), Sense Motive (Wis), Tumble (Dex).

Skill Points/Level: 4 + Int modifier.

Level

Base Attack Bonus

Fort
Save

Ref
Save

Will
Save

Special

1

+1

+2

+2

+0

Obscuring shadow, AC bonus

2

+2

+3

+3

+0

Sneak attack +1d6, blindsense

3

+3

+3

+3

+1

Hide in plain sight

4

+4

+4

+4

+1

Grasping darkness

5

+5

+4

+4

+1

Elusive body

6

+6

+5

+5

+2

Sneak attack +2d6, darkvision

7

+7

+5

+5

+2

Improved evasion

8

+8

+6

+6

+2

Shadow jump (80 ft)

9

+9

+6

+6

+3

Shadow swarm, weapon of shadow

10

+10

+7

+7

+3

Sneak attack +3d6, blindsight

Special Abilities

All the following are special abilities of the shadow warrior. His spell-like and supernatural abilities only function in the absence of bright sunlight (not merely a daylight spell).

Weapon and armour proficiency: The shadow warrior is proficient with all simple and martial weapons. In addition, he gains proficiency in the kama, nunchaku, sai, shuriken and siangham. He is proficient in the use of light armour, but not shields.

AC bonus: The shadow warrior can add his prestige class levels to his martial artist levels (if any) to determine his level-based dodge bonus to AC.

Obscuring Shadow (Sp): At 1st level, the shadow warrior learns the rudiments of controlling the essence of shadow. Three times per day, he can create a cloud of shadowy vapors that obscure sight, as per the spell obscuring mist. The differences are that the mist created is dark and shadowy rather than foglike, and this ability is a Darkness effect (and can thus be countered or dispelled by Light effects).

Sneak Attack (Ex): This is exactly like the rogue ability of the same name. The extra damage is +1d6 at 2nd level, and +1d6 for every four levels after that. If the shadow warrior gets sneak attack damage from another source (such as rogue levels), the bonuses to damage stack.

Blindsense (Ex): At 2nd level, the shadow warrior can perceive the locations of those around him, without the need for sight. He gains the blindsense extraordinary ability as described in the DMG, with a range of 60 feet.

Hide in Plain Sight (Su): At 3rd level, the shadow warrior 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.

Grasping Darkness (Sp): At 4th level, the shadow warrior's power over shadowstuff is such that he can give it corporeal form, sending it to grapple and constrict his enemies. This duplicates the effect of the black tentacles spell, and the shadow warrior's caster level for this ability is equal to 5 + his levels in this prestige class. He can use this ability once per day.

Elusive Body (Su): At 5th level, the shadow warrior can evade the blows of his enemies with supernatural ease. Attacks against him are subject to a 50% concealment miss chance, as per the spell displacement. The shadow warrior can use this power for up to 10 rounds per day, and the duration need not be consecutive rounds. Activating and deactivating this power takes no time in itself, but the shadow warrior can only do it during his action, not in response to somebody else's action.

Darkvision (Ex): At 6th level, the shadow warrior gains the ability to see in the dark, with no light source at all. His darkvision has a range of 60 feet. Darkvision is black and white only, but it is otherwise like normal sight.

Improved Evasion (Ex): At 7th level, the shadow warrior's evasion ability improves. He still takes no damage on a successful Reflex saving throw against attacks such as a dragon's breath weapon or a fireball, but henceforth he only takes only half damage on a failed save.

Shadow Jump (Su): At 8th level, the shadow warrior 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 warrior can jump up to a total of 80 feet each day in this way. He can split this among many jumps, but each one, no matter how small, counts as a 10-foot increment (thus a shadow warrior who jumps 75 feet cannot jump again until the next day). This is a supernatural ability.

Shadow Swarm (Su): At 9th level, the shadow warrior can summon 2d4 shadows once per day (see the MM for the shadow's statistics). He must be within 10 feet of an area with some shadow to use this ability. The shadows cannot be turned, rebuked, or commanded by any third party, and are unswervingly loyal to their summoner. The duration of the summoning is one minute, although the shadow warrior can dismiss them at any time. Unlike normal shadows, summoned shadows cannot create spawn.

Weapon of Shadow (Su): At 9th level, the shadow warrior gains the ability to channel negative energy to strike his foes. On a successful melee attack, he can inflict 2d6 points of temporary Constitution damage, in addition to his normal damage. A successful Fortitude save (DC 10 + the shadow warrior's class level + his Charisma modifier) halves the Constitution damage. The shadow warrior can use this ability once per day, and he must decide whether to use it before the attack is rolled.

Blindsight (Ex): At 10th level, the shadow warrior is fully at home even in magical darkness, gaining the blindsight special ability. His blindsight has a range of 30 feet.


Sample Shadow Warrior

A black-haired, grim-faced swordsman with a jagged scar running down his left cheek (the product of a time when he wasn't as experienced as he is now), Tarim is a man of few words. He doesn't need to say much going from his appearance, most people assume he's a mercenary of some sort, and avoid messing with him. If they knew the truth, they'd give him an even wider berth. He is, in fact, a shadow warrior, one of the inner circle of the Family, and one of the most dangerous men in the city.

Despite this, Tarim is in fact quite an atypical shadow warrior. While he can be as ruthless as they come, lately he's been questioning, if not the morality, then at least the necessity of some of the hits he's been ordered to make. To his mind, many of his victims have simply been caught up in events beyond their control. The latest were the hardest: the wife and children of a duke who had launched a campaign to drive the Family out of his lands. However, he keeps these thoughts to himself, since he knows that those members of the Family who display too much independence of mind tend to meet grisly ends. The lucky ones are found in the gutter, disembowelled and with their throats slit. He prefers not to dwell on the fate of the unlucky ones.

Tarim, Shadow Warrior: human male Rog3/MA4/shadow warrior 6; CR 13; Medium Humanoid (mammal); HD 3d6+10d8+39 (110 hp); Init +9; Spd 30 ft; AC 24 (touch 19, flat-footed 17); BAB +12; Grap +15; Atk +20/+15/+10 melee (1d10+6/1720 plus 2d6+2 vs humans, +2 keen, humanbane bastard sword); SA Sneak attack +4d6, obscuring shadow, grasping darkness, Way of the Shadow mastery; SQ Evasion, uncanny dodge, trap sense +2, blindsense, darkvision 60 ft, hide in plain sight, elusive body; AL N; SV Fort +15, Ref +19, Will +10; Str 16, Dex 21, Con 16, Int 12, Wis 14, Cha 10.

Skills and Feats: Balance +12, Bluff +8, Climb +16, Disable Device +7, Disguise +4, Hide +20, Intimidate +14, Listen +16, Move Silently +20, Search +11, Sense Motive +9, Tumble +16, Blind-Fight, Dodge, Improved Initiative, Iron Will, Martial Finesse (bastard sword), Mobility, Spring Attack, Weapon Focus (bastard sword).

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), Tarim takes no damage with a successful saving throw.

Uncanny Dodge (Ex): Tarim 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.

Trap Sense (Ex): Tarim gains a +2 bonus on Reflex saves to avoid traps and a +2 dodge bonus to AC against attacks made by traps.

Way of the Shadow Mastery (Ex): Tarim gains a +1 bonus to attacks against opponents who are in shadow or darkness. He does not gain this benefit if his opponent has blindsight.

Obscuring Shadow (Sp): Three times per day, Tarim can create a cloud of shadowy vapors that obscure sight, as per the spell obscuring mist. The differences are that the mist created is dark and shadowy rather than foglike, and this ability is a Darkness effect (and can thus be countered or dispelled by Light effects). This ability only functions in the absence of bright sunlight (not merely a daylight spell).

Sneak Attack (Ex): This is exactly like the rogue ability of the same name. Tarim's sneak attack damage is +4d6.

Blindsense (Ex): Tarim can perceive the locations of those around him, without the need for sight. He has the blindsense extraordinary ability as described in the DMG, with a range of 60 feet.

Hide in Plain Sight (Su): Tarim 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).

Grasping Darkness (Sp): Tarim's power over shadowstuff is such that he can give it corporeal form, sending it to grapple and constrict his enemies. This duplicates the effect of the black tentacles spell, cast at 11th caster level. He can use this ability once per day, and he must be within 10 feet of an area with some shadow to create the grasping darkness. This ability only functions in the absence of bright sunlight (not merely a daylight spell).

Elusive Body (Su): Tarim can evade the blows of his enemies with supernatural ease. Attacks against him are subject to a 50% concealment miss chance, as per the spell displacement. He can use this power for up to 10 rounds per day, and the duration need not be consecutive rounds. Activating and deactivating this power takes no time in itself, but Tarim can only do it during his action, not in response to somebody else's action. This ability only functions in the absence of bright sunlight (not merely a daylight spell).

Darkvision (Ex): Tarim has the ability to see in the dark, with no light source at all. His darkvision has a range of 60 feet. Darkvision is black and white only, but it is otherwise like normal sight.

Possessions: +2 keen, humanbane bastard sword, +5 bracers of armour, ring of resistance +2, gloves of Dexterity +4, belt of Strength +2, amulet of Constitution +2, potion of haste.


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