Marksman (3.5e Class)
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The Marksman is adept at striking hard from afar using their weapons of choice. Be they hunters of animals for sport, or hunters of men as assassins, Marksmen know how to down their targets. They work best when able to hide themselves, as their melee options are limited.
Making a Marksman
Marksmen do best in parties making themselves scarce. While a fighter is pounding away at the enemy, the Marksmen hides in the shadows and finishes off her opponents, slipping away from view whenever pursued. Marksmen can work alone, but only if they manage to take out their target on the first shot. Any more would be risky, and they use their stealth to slip away in the resulting chaos.
Abilities: Dexterity is the prime ability for the Marksman, both improving their AC and their chance to hit. Wisdom allows for important Spot and Listen checks when stalking their prey and aids Death Attack, Intelligence grants more skill points, and Constitution will help them shore up low hit points for when their hiding is not good enough.
Starting Gold: 5d4×10 gp (175 gp).
|1st||+0||+0||+2||+0||Snipe Attack +1d6, Slip Away|
|3rd||+2||+1||+3||+1||Snipe Attack +2d6|
|4th||+3||+1||+4||+1||Marksman Bonus Feat|
|5th||+3||+1||+4||+1||Snipe Attack +3d6, Sniper Modification 1|
|7th||+5||+2||+5||+2||Snipe Attack +4d6|
|8th||+6/+1||+2||+6||+2||Marksman Bonus Feat|
|9th||+6/+1||+3||+6||+3||Snipe Attack +5d6|
|10th||+7/+2||+3||+7||+3||Sniper Modification 2, Critical Snipe +1|
|11th||+8/+3||+3||+7||+3||Snipe Attack +6d6|
|12th||+9/+4||+4||+8||+4||Marksman Bonus Feat|
|13th||+9/+4||+4||+8||+4||Snipe Attack +7d6|
|14th||+10/+5||+4||+9||+4||Critical Snipe +2|
|15th||+11/+6/+1||+5||+9||+5||Snipe Attack +8d6, Sniper Modification 3|
|16th||+12/+7/+2||+5||+10||+5||Hide In Plain Sight, Marksman Bonus Feat|
|17th||+12/+7/+2||+5||+10||+5||Snipe Attack +9d6|
|18th||+13/+8/+3||+6||+11||+6||Critical Snipe +3|
|19th||+14/+9/+4||+6||+11||+6||Snipe Attack +10d6|
|20th||+15/+10/+5||+6||+12||+6||Death Attack, Sniper Modification 4, Marksman Bonus Feat|
Class Skills (6 + Int modifier per level, ×4 at 1st level)
All of the following are class features of the Marksman.
Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Marksmen are proficient with all simple weapons, all simple and martial bows and crossbows, all martial firearms, plus the sniper rifle. Marksmen are proficient with light armor, but not with shields.
The marksman’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 if the marksman is successfully hidden. That is, he is not visible by virtue of a spell or by using the Hide skill and not being noticed. This extra damage is 1d6 at 1st level, and it increases by 1d6 every two marksman levels thereafter. Should the marksman score a critical hit with a snipe attack, this extra damage is not multiplied. In addition snipe damage can only be done with ranged attacks, and with a minimum range of 30 ft. This damage is not affected by abilities such as Improved Uncanny Dodge, which normally allows for the negation of sneak attack damage.
A marksman can snipe 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 snipe attacks. The marksman 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 marksman cannot snipe attack while striking a creature with concealment or striking the limbs of a creature whose vitals are beyond reach.
Slip Away (Ex): The marksman is an expert at hiding even after their position has been given away. After attacking, the marksman must make an opposed Hide check at a -20 penalty to stay hidden. The marksman may apply their class level as a competence bonus to Hide checks after attacking, to a maximum of +20. At level 5, for example, the marksman gets a +5 bonus to their Hide check after attacking.
Evasion: At 2nd level and higher, a marksman can avoid even magical and unusual attacks with great agility. If she makes a successful Reflex saving throw against an attack that normally deals half damage on a successful save, she instead takes no damage. Evasion cannot be used if the marksman is wearing anything other than light armor or no armor. A helpless marksman does not gain the benefit of evasion.
Marksman Bonus Feat: You may select a feat from the Marksman Bonus feat list. If a feat has the prerequisite of Point Blank Shot, it can be disregarded. You lose these benefits of these feats when wearing anything other than light or no armor. The feats you may select are: Far Shot, Precise Shot, Improved Precise Shot. Quick Draw, Rapid Shot, Shot on the Run, Rapid Reload, Improved Critical (any ranged weapon), Weapon Focus (any ranged weapon), Blind-Fight, Crossbow Sniper (PHBII), Improved Crossbow Sniper, Skill Focus, and Stealthy. At level 12 or higher, you may also choose to pick a rogue's improved evasion skill instead.
Sniper Modifications (Ex): At level 5 and every 5 levels beyond, the marksman can create a series of attachable modifications for their ranged weapons. You may choose to gain a new ability or upgrade your existing one. If you gain a new weapon it takes 24 hours for the modification effects to be applied. They are nonmagical attachments and only work for the marksman, who knows how to use them properly. You may select one of the following benefits below:
Sniper Scope: Add +1 to attack. This modification can be taken multiple times, and stacks with itself.
Overclocked: Add +2 to damage. This modification can be taken multiple times, and stacks with itself.
Silencer: +3 circumstance bonus to Hide checks after shooting. This modification can be taken multiple times, and stacks with itself.
Tripod: When using Critical Snipe, add +1 to your threat range by taking an additional round to study. Upgrade adds +1 to the threat range, increasing the study time by 1 round again. This modification can only be made once.
Telescope: Increase the weapon's firing range by 20% of its base range. Stacks with feats which provide similar benefits. Upgrade adds 20% to its range each time. For example, a marksman who has taken this modification twice with a longbow (base range increment 100 feet) may treat her longbow as having a range increment of 140 feet. This modification can be taken multiple times, and stacks with itself.
Poison Canister: You learn how to coat your ammunition quickly with one or more injury poisons, making it much more deadly. By taking this modification you add small capsules which flood onto the tip of the projectile when it is fired. Taking this modification multiple times allows you to coat a single shot with multiple poisons, or several shots in a row with poison before having to refill the canisters. Refilling a poison container if a full-round action which provokes attacks of opportunity. Therefore if you have 3 empty containers it takes 3 full-round action to fill them all. Each canister contains one dose of injury poison. Activating the canister coats the ammunition with the poison, allowing the wielder to deliver toxic strikes with the weapon. A character using poison in this way faces all the normal perils of using poison (including accidental exposure when activating the capsule or with a natural 1 on the attack roll). Activating a canister is a free action which does not provoke attacks of opportunity. This modification can be taken only once.
Messy Shot: If you successfully snipe someone to before initiative is rolled, all allies gain +1 to initiative in the following round of combat from the shock of the attack to enemy forces. If the target died from the attack, it is a +2 bonus. Upgrade adds an additional +1 bonus to initiative, and +2 if it successfully kills the target. This modification can be taken multiple times, and stacks with itself.
Armor Piercing: Ignore 2 points of natural armor from your assigned target. This cannot bring the opponent's natural armor below 0. Upgrade adds an additional 2 points of natural armor ignored. This modification can be taken multiple times, and stacks with itself.
Critical Snipe (Ex): If an marksman studies his victim for 3 rounds and then makes a snipe attack, they may add a bonus to the weapon's normal critical threat range. At level 10, a 20/×3 weapon would become 19–20/×3 for the purpose of this one attack. By level 20, the range of a 20/×3 weapon has added +3 to the range, making it 17–20/×3. While studying the victim, the marksman can undertake other actions so long as his attention stays focused on the target and the target does not detect the marksman or recognize the marksman as an enemy. Once the marksman has completed the 3 rounds of study, he must make the critical snipe attack within the next 3 rounds.
Once a critical snipe is attempted or if the marksman does not launch the attack within 3 rounds of completing the study, 3 new rounds of study are required before he can attempt another critical snipe attack. You may upgrade your critical range by taking the Tripod modification.
Hide In Plain Sight (Su): At 16th level, a marksman can use the Hide skill even while being observed. As long as she is within 10 feet of some sort of shadow, a marksman can hide herself from view in the open without anything to actually hide behind. She cannot, however, hide in her own shadow.
If a marksman studies his victim for 3 rounds and then makes a snipe attack with a ranged weapon that successfully deals damage, the snipe attack has the additional effect of possibly either paralyzing or killing the target (marksman's choice). While studying the victim, the marksman can undertake other actions so long as his attention stays focused on the target and the target does not detect the marksman or recognize the marksman as an enemy. If the victim of such an attack fails a Fortitude save (DC 10 + 1/2 the marksman's class level + the marksman's Wis modifier) against the kill effect, she dies. If the saving throw fails against the paralysis effect, the victim is rendered helpless and unable to act for 1 round per level of the marksman. If the victim’s saving throw succeeds, the attack is just a normal snipe attack. Once the marksman has completed the 3 rounds of study, he must make the death attack within the next 3 rounds.
If a death attack is attempted and fails (the victim makes her save) or if the marksman does not launch the attack within 3 rounds of completing the study, 3 new rounds of study are required before he can attempt another death attack.
The marksman cannot make a death attack and a critical snipe at the same time.
|21st||Snipe Attack +11d6|
|23rd||Snipe Attack +12d6|
|25th||Snipe Attack +13d6, Sniper Modification 5|
|27th||Snipe Attack +14d6|
|29th||Snipe Attack +15d6|
|30th||Sniper Modification 6|
(6 + Int modifier skill points per level.)
Bonus Feats (Ex): The epic Marksman gains a bonus feat selected from the list below every 4 levels after 20th.
Blinding Speed, Combat Archery (applies to crossbows and firearms), Distant Shot, Epic Prowess, Epic Speed, Great Dexterity, Great Wisdom, Improved Death Attack (snipe attack functions as sneak attack requirement), Improved Sneak Attack (works to improve your snipe attack instead), Instant Reload, Penetrate Damage Reduction (applies to your ranged weapons only), Self-Concealment, and Uncanny Accuracy.
Human Marksman Starting Package
|Use Magic Device||4||Cha||—|
Bonus Feats: Improved Initiative.
Gold: 35 gp
Playing a Marksman
Other Classes: Marksmen can share a lot in common with rogues and rangers. Melee fighters are appreciated but a Marksman cannot relate to them, nor spellcasters. Sometimes they rub harshly against those obsessed with 'honorable combat' and dissuading the use of stealth.
Combat: Marksmen are the hidden allies who take out or weaken enemies for other party members, keeping the opponents on their toes and providing a trump card when times are dim. With their ability to use magic devices Marksmen buff themselves for stealth, and act as backup saviors, popping out with a lifesaving spell when the enemy is not looking.
Advancement: Any ranged-focus prestige class works, as well as classes which offer sneak attack. For the purpose of advancement you may replace any sneak attack class features you gain from a prestige class and use them as sneak attack dice (by DM fiat).
Marksmen in the World
|“||I saw two gunmen on the grassy knoll, and maybe one on the roof. I can't tell, there aren't many places he could hide, where could the assassin have been?||”|
|—Johnny Poorguard, Human Guard for the recently assassinated King|
NPC Reactions: NPCs have mixed feelings depending on the type of marksman they come off to be. A hunter of animals for sport is admired, but an assassin dare not speak of his profession, and rather plays the part of some other class when introducing themselves.
Characters with ranks in Knowledge (local) can research Marksmen to learn more about them. When a character makes a knowledge check, read or paraphrase the following, including information from lower DCs.
|5||Marksmen are experts at crossbows and firearms, they specialize in ranged combat above all else.|
|10||A marksman can hide, waiting for his prey, and take them out in a single powerful blow.|
|15||Marksmen are so good at hiding they can slide away even after they've attacked, leaving the enemy confused. Eventually they can hide even when you're looking right at them.|
|20||Marksmen are weak if then can't hide or attack at range- a marksman in melee is a dead marksman.|
|30||At this level of success you can bring up the details of a specific marksman.|
Marksmen in the Game
A professional marksman may be hired by royalty to assassinate other members of a rival party. It may be the PCs job to stop the sniper, and root out where they are hiding before it is too late. Alternatively they might be assigned to be the assassin, and must escape the attentions of the heavily armed guards.
Sample Encounter: An NPC working for the side of goods may be a professional monster hunter. He seeks various fell beasts, and slays them to make the surroundings safer. A particular monster he hunts cannot be taken down by one man, and he hires the adventurers to help him slay the monster. On the other side of the coin, the adventurers may have gotten themselves in a great deal of trouble, and earned the ire of those in higher positions. Assassin snipers have been dispatched to eliminate the party, or an important ally to the party, and they must survive the onslaught and take out the snipers. It can make a good lead in to a political drama.
|Female Elan Marksman 15|
|CN Medium Aberration|
|Init/Senses||+9/Listen +3, Spot +21|
|Languages||Common, Goblin, Draconic|
|AC||18, touch 15, flat-footed 13; +1 Dodge|
(+5 Dex, +3 armor)
|hp||105 (15d6+15 HD); Resilience|
|Melee||Spell Storing Rapier +17 (1d6+1, 18–20/x2)|
|Ranged||Merciful Seeking Sniper Rifle +17 (2d6+6, 20/x4) or|
|Ranged||Repeating Heavy Crossbow +17 (1d10+6, 19–20/x2)|
|Space/Reach||5 ft./5 ft.|
|Special Actions||Critical Snipe +2, Poison Canister Modification (3 Canisters)|
|Combat Gear||Wand of Cure Light Wounds, Wand of Detect Magic, 2x Potion of Invisibility, Potion of Spider Climb, Dust of Tracelessness|
|Abilities||Str 10, Dex 21, Con 12, Int 14, Wis 12, Cha 10|
|SQ||Repletion, -15 reduction of Hide Penalties, Light Fortification (25%), Haste 10 rounds/day (free action to activate)|
|Feats||Dodge, Improved Initiative, Rapid Reload, Weapon Finesse, Alertness, Weapon Focus Sniper Rifle, Firearm Sniper, Improved Firearm Sniper, Quick Draw|
|Skills||Bluff +3, Diplomacy +3, Disguise +3, Escape Artist +23, Gather Information +21, Hide +23, Handle Animal +3, Intimidate +3, Knowledge (local) +20, Listen +3, Move Silently +23, Perform +3, Spot +21, Tumble +23, Use Magic Device +21|
|Possessions||combat gear plus Spell Storing Rapier +1*, Merciful Seeking Sniper Rifle +1, Repeating Heavy Crossbow +1, Light Fortification Feather Cloak +1 (Sandstorm), Handy Haversack, Hydration Suit (Sandstorm), Boots of Speed, Circlet of Persuasion, Cloak of Resistance +1, 3 doses of Drow Poison, 230gp|
- Usually comes stored with Hold Person, DC 17.
Feather Cloak: Her armor does not impose the usual –4 penalty on Fortitude saves against damage dealt by hot environments and on Constitution checks to avoid heatstroke. Taken from Sandstorm.
Miluda is the leader of the Sand Rats, a group of bandits which prowl the Desert of Illusions in Piesok. They make a living off of preying on traveling merchants and bands of adventurers, stripping them of their gear and using their city contacts to sell it for goods. They reportedly have an underground base from some ancient ruins, but as are many things in that desert, its location is unknown.
She is the adopted daughter of another Elan, a paladin of freedom who went in search of a legendary evil, and fell to it. After the loss of her surrogate family and troubles with the law as she was forced into dire straights to survive, she went into exile in the desert. There she encountered a band of goblins and kobolds who were causing trouble, and ended up not only kicking some sense into them (literally), but taking control of their roughshod group and turning it into a safe haven for those who cannot live within the lawful walls of the city.
While she is not evil, she has grown a distaste for laws, and believes that one must be free to do as they wish. While she is willing to leech off the riches of others (as they have earned them through force), she does not enjoy killing. Her merciful sniper rifle is proof of her desire to merely strip possessions and not lives. In battle she uses stealth and decoys, using her new goblin and kobold allies to pose a threat, as she picks them off from a distant sand dune, hidden away. If possible, she would prefer the enemy never see who they are really fighting. When cornered she employs every trick of the environment she can to let her hide again.