Assassin, Stealth Variant (3.5e Prestige Class)

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Shadow Acrobat[edit]

Not letting them know I'm here until I'm twirling around them and have stabbed them six times is all the fun
—Deraway Lynch, Woodelf, Rogue/Shadow Acrobat

This type of prestige class focuses on knowing their surroundings, getting where they want possibly in not the usual way and surprising at the opportune moment. All races except dwarf, half-orc, orc. Assassins believe they fight for the good of people but won't kill someone who stands in the way of other's lives.

Becoming a Shadow Acrobat[edit]

Most assassin classes focus on not being seen as a threat till too late, but this class focuses on not being known at all and a little bit of tumbling. Dexterity is huge.

To become an Shadow Acrobat, the following is required:

Entry Requirements
Alignment: Any chaotic.
Skills: Hide 8 ranks, Move Silently 8 ranks, Disguise 4 ranks, Tumble, 6 ranks.
Feats: Stealthy.
Special: The character must save someone innocent by killing one or more guilty person.
Table:Shadow Acrobat

Hit Die: d6

Level Base
Attack Bonus
Saving Throws Special
Fort Ref Will
1st +0 +0 +2 +1 Sneak Attack +1d6, Bonus Feat, Sign Language.
2nd +1 +1 +2 +1 Kip up, Pole Jump.
3rd +2 +1 +3 +2 Sure Climb or Acrobatic Flair
4th +3 +2 +3 +2 Spells.
5th +4 +2 +4 +3 Sneak attack 2d6.
6th +5 +3 +4 +4 Hide in Plain Sight Or Rapid Stealth.
7th +6 +3 +5 +2 Death From Above.
8th +7 +4 +5 +4 Bonus Feat.
9th +8 +4 +6 +5 Shadow Tumble.
10th +9 +5 +6 +5 Sneak attack 3d6.

Class Skills (6 + Int modifier per level)
Balance, Climb, Disguise, Escape Artist, Forger, Hide, Jump, Listen, Move Silently, Open Lock, Perform, Search, Sleight of Hand, Spellcraft, Spot, Tumble.

Class Features[edit]

All of the following are class features of the Shadow Acrobat.

Weapon Proficiency: The Shadow Acrobat is proficient in all simple weapons plus hand crossbow, light armour but no shields.

Sneak Attack: If a Shadow Acrobat can catch an opponent when he is unable to defend himself effectively from her attack, she can strike a vital spot for extra damage. Basically, the Shadow Acrobat’s attack deals extra damage any time her target would be denied a Dexterity bonus to AC (whether the target actually has a Dexterity bonus or not), or when the rogue flanks her target. This extra damage is 1d6 at 1st level, and it increases by 1d6 every five Shadow Acrobat levels thereafter. Should the Shadow Acrobat score a critical hit with a sneak attack, this extra damage is not multiplied. Ranged attacks can count as sneak attacks only if the target is within 30 feet. A Shadow Acrobat can’t strike with deadly accuracy from beyond that range. With a sap (blackjack) or an unarmed strike, a Shadow Acrobat can make a sneak attack that deals nonlethal damage instead of lethal damage. She cannot use a weapon that deals lethal damage to deal nonlethal damage in a sneak attack, not even with the usual –4 penalty, because she must make optimal use of her weapon in order to execute a sneak attack. A Shadow Acrobat can sneak attack only living creatures with discernible anatomies—undead, constructs, oozes, plants, and incorporeal creatures lack vital areas to attack. Any creature that is immune to critical hits is not vulnerable to sneak attacks. The rogue must be able to see the target well enough to pick out a vital spot and must be able to reach such a spot. A Shadow Acrobat cannot sneak attack while striking a creature with concealment or striking the limbs of a creature whose vitals are beyond reach.

Bonus Feats: At 1st level, a Shadow Acrobat gets a bonus Stealth/Strike-oriented feat in addition to the feat that any 1st-level character gets and the bonus feat granted to a human character. The Shadow Acrobat gains an additional bonus feat at 8th level. A Shadow Acrobat must still meet all prerequisites for a bonus feat, including ability score and base attack bonus minimums. These bonus feats are in addition to the feat that a character of any class gets from advancing levels.

Sign Language: At 1st level, all Shadow Acrobats are taught a secret sign language that consists of hand signals and subtle motions. The sign language may not be learned by most classes and is never taught to outsiders.

Pole Jump: At 2nd Level, If holding a pole, spear, staff, long staff, or other pole-like object in both hands, a Shadow Acrobat can add +5 to a jump check.

Kip Up: At 2rd level, a Shadow Acrobat may stand up from prone as a swift action.

Spells: Beginning at 4th level, an Shadow Acrobat gains the ability to cast a number of spells. To cast a spell, an Shadow Acrobat must have an Intelligence score of at least 10 + the spell’s level, so an Shadow Acrobat with an Intelligence of 10 or lower cannot cast these spells. Shadow Acrobat bonus spells are based on Intelligence, and saving throws against these spells have a DC of 10 + spell level + the Shadow Acrobat’s Intelligence bonus. When the Shadow Acrobat gets 0 spells per day of a given spell level he gains only the bonus spells he would be entitled to based on his Intelligence score for that spell level. The Shadow Acrobat’s spell list appears below. A Shadow Acrobat casts spells just as a bard does.

Acrobatic Flair: A Shadow Acrobat may move her full movement while using the Tumble or Balance skill without suffering a penalty or increasing the DC of her check.

Sure Climb: A Shadow Acrobat gains a climb speed equal to half her land speed.

Hide in Plain Sight: An Shadow Acrobat can use the Hide skill even while being observed. As long as he is within 10 feet of some sort of shadow, an assassin can hide himself from view in the open without having anything to actually hide behind.

Rapid Stealth: The Shadow Acrobat does not suffer the -10 penalty to Move Silently or Hide for moving at her full normal speed. She still suffers the normal -20 penalties to hide and move silently for running or fighting if she performs those actions.

Death from Above: At 7th level, the Shadow Acrobat has learned to used the energy of a fall to devastating effect. If the Shadow Acrobat can fall at least 30’ (by falling from a height or by using a Jump check) and end in her enemy's square, any attacks made at the end of that fall do triple damage. Sneak Attack is not multiplied in this way.

Shadow Tumble: At 9th level, a Shadow Acrobat has learned to tumble through the Plane of Shadow. She may make a tumble check with a DC equal to 10 plus five for every square she wishes to pass through another plane of existence. Intervening terrain, even walls of force have no effect on movement through the plane of shadow. The Shadow Acrobat's total distance moved does not increase, no matter how much of it may be taken through the plane of shadow.

Shadow Acrobat Spell List:

4th—Obscuring Mist, Cat's Grace, Message, Ghost Sound.

6th— Armour of Darkness, Blacklight, Silent Image, Ventriloquism.

8th—Prying Eyes, Nightmare, Disguise self, .

9th—Power Word Blind, Darkvision.

10th— Permanency.

Campaign Information[edit]

Playing a Shadow Acrobat[edit]

Combat: The Shadow Acrobat (If they can tell a combat situation is coming, and often anyways) will hide himself before any enemies can tell he's there and once he get's a kill off he retreats back into shadows with a flip.

Advancement: Often this class goes well with Rogue because of the Sneak Attack.

Resources: Often Shadow Acrobats are just in it for the money but will be thankful for other things useful to them.

Shadow Acrobats in the World[edit]

We are normal people. At least until all hell breaks loose.

Shadow Acrobats are often hired as hitmen because they can get in and out of places without being noticed with ease.

NPC Reactions: Most people don't realize that Shadow Acrobats are what they are until they are told because they are exactly like everyone else in most ways until something interesting happens.

Shadow Acrobat Lore[edit]

Characters with ranks in Knowledge (local) can research Shadow Acrobat to learn more about them. When a character makes a skill check, read or paraphrase the following, including information from lower DCs.

Knowledge (local)
DC Result
11 Shadow Acrobats don't have the best of attacks, they just have stunning abilities outside of combat.
16 <-rare information->.
21 <-very rare information->.
26 When a Shadow Acrobat goes into the shadow plane using shadow tumble, they have the potential to get lost there forever.

<-pluralized class name-> in the Game[edit]

<-How characters of this class fit in the game (PC and NPC) and what roles they play->

Adaptation: <-Fitting this class in your campaign->

Sample Encounter: <-DM placement for NPC of this class->

EL whatever: <-Encounter scenario and character info on sample NPC including stat block. The CR of the NPC is typically the same as the EL for the encounter->

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