Shadow Striker (3.5e Class)
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Shadow strikers lay in wait for the best moment to attack and than disappear again into the shadows.
Making a Shadow Striker
Shadow Strikers are skilled and capable of filling several different roles out of combat. In combat they are potentially capable of powerful hit and run tactics. While they do not have the fighting prowess of a fighter, they are capable of unnerving ambushes that can leave enemies devastated.
Abilities: Shadow strikers are skill oriented, often finding use for skills in combat, and find Intelligence to be a powerful skill as it also powers several of their skills. Dexterity is their key ability for evasion and many skills as well as possibly being their primary attack ability. Wisdom is equally important to the shadow striker as Intelligence and Dexterity. Wisdom powers many of the shadow strikers skills and also improves one of their primary abilities.
Races: Races that are designed for stealth or combat can make superior shadow strikers. Humans take up being shadow strikers as often as they do other classes. Skulks and Underfolk often become shadow strikers, and while it is much rarer, sometimes shifters become shadow strikers as well.
Alignment: Shadow strikers are people of opportunity and cannot be lawful.
Starting Gold: 5d10; 275GP.
Starting Age: Simple As Rogue.
|Saving Throws||Special||AC Bonus||Unarmored Speed Bonus|
|1st||+0||+2||+2||+2||Shadow Strike +1d6||+0||+0|
|3rd||+2||+3||+3||+3||Shadow Strike +2d6||+0||+10|
|5th||+3||+4||+4||+4||Shadow Strike +3d6||+1||+10|
|7th||+5||+5||+5||+5||Shadow Strike +4d6||+1||+20|
|8th||+6/+1||+6||+6||+6||Improved Uncanny Dodge(+1)||+1||+20|
|9th||+6/+1||+6||+6||+6||Shadow Strike +5d6||+1||+30|
|10th||+7/+2||+7||+7||+7||Ranged Aptitude(60ft), Special Ability||+2||+30|
|11th||+8/+3||+7||+7||+7||Shadow Strike +6d6||+2||+30|
|13th||+9/+4||+8||+8||+8||Shadow Strike +7d6||+2||+40|
|14th||+10/+5||+9||+9||+9||Skill Bonus(Move Silently)||+2||+40|
|15th||+11/+6/+1||+9||+9||+9||Shadow Strike +8d6||+3||+50|
|16th||+12/+7/+2||+10||+10||+10||Special Ability, Uncanny Dodge(+3)||+3||+50|
|17th||+12/+7/+2||+10||+10||+10||Shadow Strike +9d6||+3||+50|
|19th||+14/+9/+4||+11||+11||+11||Shadow Strike +10d6||+3||+60|
|20th||+15/+10/+5||+12||+12||+12||Dark Creature, Ranged Aptitude(120ft), Shadow Strike, Uncanny Dodge(+4)||+4||+60|
Class Skills (6 + Int modifier per level, ×4 at 1st level)
All of the following are class features of the shadow striker.
Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Shadow Strikers are proficient with Daggers, Light Crossbows, Darts, Kukri, Kama, Hand Crossbows, and Shuriken. A shadow striker is not proficient with any armor or shields..
AC Bonus (Su): A shadow striker manipulates shadows to reduce her weight allowing herself to pull herself out of harms way with her body and her shadow. When unarmored and unencumbered, the shadow striker adds her Wisdom bonus (if any) to her AC. In addition, a shadow striker gains a +1 bonus to AC at 5th level. This bonus increases by 1 for every five shadow striker levels thereafter (+2 at 10th, +3 at 15th, and +4 at 20th level). These bonuses to AC apply even against touch attacks or when the shadow striker is flat-footed. She loses these bonuses when she is immobilized or helpless, when she wears any armor, when she carries a medium or heavy load, or when there are no shadows present.
Shadow Strike (SU): If a shadow striker 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 striker’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). This extra damage is 1d6 at 1st level, and it increases by 1d6 every two shadow striker levels thereafter. Should the shadow striker score a critical hit with a sneak attack, this extra damage is not multiplied. (See Table 8–5: Attack Roll Modifiers and Table 8–6: Armor Class Modifiers, page 151, for combat situations in which the opponent loses his Dexterity bonus to AC.) Ranged attacks can count as sneak attacks only if the target is within 30 feet. A shadow striker can’t strike with deadly accuracy from beyond that range, until 10th level when she gains Ranged Aptitude. A shadow striker must use a slashing or piercing, light or ranged weapon to deal a sneak attack. A shadow striker may gain proficiency with other weapons, but their training makes it impossible for them successfully use them with the precision required to deal a shadow strike. A shadow striker can sneak attack only creatures that produce a shadow — incorporeal creatures(except those made of shadow themselves) and creatures with light producing effects on any two sides of them lack a shadow to strike. Any creature that is immune to critical hits is not vulnerable to sneak attacks. The shadow striker 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 striker cannot sneak attack while striking a creature with concealment(not including concealment from shadows or darkness, see page 152), or striking a creature without a shadow. This does not stack with a rogues sneak attack, but both apply if the conditions for both are met, dealing separate damage.
Fast Movement (Su): At 3rd level, a shadow striker begins to manipulate her shadow to reduce her weight and move faster effectively gaining an enhancement bonus to her speed, as shown on Table The Shadow Striker. A shadow striker in armor (even light armor) or carrying a medium or heavy load loses this extra speed.
Uncanny Dodge (Ex): Starting at 4th level, a shadow striker can react to danger before her senses would normally allow her to do so. She retains her Dexterity bonus to AC (if any) even if she is caught flat-footed or struck by an invisible attacker. However, she still loses her Dexterity bonus to AC if immobilized. If a shadow striker already has uncanny dodge from a different class (a shadow striker with at least four levels of rogue, for example), she automatically gains improved uncanny dodge (see below) instead.
Skill Bonus (Ex): At 6th and 14th levels the shadow striker can manipulate the shadows to increase her ability hide and escape from others. At 6th level the shadow striker can use shadows to blend into the surrounding environment gaining a +8 racial bonus to Hide checks as if through the Dark template. At 14th level the shadow striker can manipulate the shadows to reduce the sound she makes while moving gaining a +6 racial bonus to move silently checks as if through the Dark template.
Ranged Aptitude (Su): A shadow striker begins to manipulate the shadows to give truer flight to her ranged weapons allowing her to make sneak attacks from a greater distance. At 10th level a shadow striker can make ranged sneak attacks at up to 60 feet if she is within the range increment. At 20th level a shadow striker can make ranged sneak attacks at up to 120 feet if she is within the range increment plus 30 feet.
Improved Uncanny Dodge (Ex): A shadow striker of 8th level or higher can no longer be flanked; she can react to opponents on opposite sides of her as easily as she can react to a single attacker. This defense denies a rogue the ability to sneak attack the character by flanking her, unless the attacker has at least four more rogue levels than the target does. When making a reflex savin throw against a trap a shadow striker gains a competence bonus of +1. This bonus increases to +2 at 12th level, +3 at 16th level, and +4 at 20th level. If a character already has uncanny dodge (see above) from a second class, the character automatically gains improved uncanny dodge instead, and the levels from the classes that grant uncanny dodge stack to determine the minimum rogue level required to flank the character.
Special Ability: On attaining 10th and 16th level, a shadow striker gains a special ability of her choice from among the following options.
Crippling Strike (Su): A shadow striker with this ability can sneak attack opponents with such precision that her blows weaken and hamper them. An opponent damaged by one of her sneak attacks also takes 2 points of Strength damage. Ability points lost to damage return on their own at the rate of 1 point per day for each damaged ability.
Defensive Roll (Ex): The shadow striker can roll with a potentially lethal blow to take less damage from it than she otherwise would. Once per day, when she would be reduced to 0 or fewer hit points by damage in combat (from a weapon or other blow, not a spell or special ability), the shadow striker can attempt to roll with the damage. To use this ability, the shadow striker must attempt a Reflex saving throw (DC = damage dealt). If the save succeeds, she takes only half damage from the blow; if it fails, she takes full damage. She must be aware of the attack and able to react to it in order to execute her defensive roll— if she is denied her Dexterity bonus to AC, she can’t use this ability. Since this effect would not normally allow a character to make a Reflex save for half damage, the shadow striker’s evasion ability does not apply to the defensive roll.
Evasion (Ex): A shadow striker with the evasion ability 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 (such as a red dragon’s fiery breath or a fireball), she instead takes no damage. Evasion can be used only if the shadow striker is wearing no armor. A helpless shadow striker (such as one who is unconscious or paralysed) does not gain the benefit of evasion.
Opportunist (Ex): Once per round, the shadow striker can make an attack of opportunity against an opponent who has just been struck for damage in melee by another character. This attack counts as the shadow striker’s attack of opportunity for that round. Even a shadow striker with the Combat Reflexes feat can’t use the opportunist ability more than once per round.
Skill Mastery: The shadow striker becomes so certain in the use of certain skills that she can use them reliably even under adverse conditions. Upon gaining this ability, she selects a number of skills equal to 3 + her Intelligence modifier. When making a skill check with one of these skills, she may take 10 even if stress and distractions would normally prevent her from doing so. A shadow striker may gain this special ability multiple times, selecting additional skills for it to apply to each time.
Slippery Mind (Su): This ability represents the shadow striker’s ability to wriggle free from magical effects that would otherwise control or compel her. If a shadow striker with slippery mind is affected by an enchantment spell or effect and fails her saving throw, she can attempt it again 1 round later at the same DC. She gets only this one extra chance to succeed on her saving throw.
Feat: A shadow striker may gain a bonus feat in place of a special ability.
Dark Creature (Ex): At 20th level a shadow striker gains the remainder of the Dark Creature template. The shadow striker does not gain the skill bonuses, speed adjustment, or level adjustment as they have already gained them through this class.
Shadow Strike (Su): Any slashing or piercing, light or ranged weapon made of metal that a shadow striker wields automatically shines with a jet black reflective surface that seems to ripple on occasion. It becomes uncomfortably cold but does not cause damage. For a ranged weapon only the ammunition has to be metal. A shadow strike draws on the reflective nature of shadow to alter the weapon's nature and overcome damage reduction. The weapon emulates any alignment or material to overcome damage reduction. Therefore damage reduction that can only be bypassed by bludgeoning cannot be overcome by this ability.
Shadow strikers who become lawful can no longer take levels in shadow striker until their alignment changes back to non-lawful. An ex-shadow striker loses part of her connection to the shadow plane and is treated as 3 levels lower for the purposes of her ac bonus, sneak attack, and fast movement bonuses.
Epic Shadow Striker
|Level||Special||AC Bonus||Unarmored Speed Bonus|
|21st||Sneak Attack +11d6||+4||+70|
|23rd||Sneak Attack +12d6, Uncanny Dodge(+5)||+4||+70|
|25th||Bonus Feat, Sneak Attack +13d6||+5||+80|
|27th||Sneak Attack +14d6||+5||+90|
|29th||Sneak Attack +15d6, Uncanny Dodge(+7)||+5||+90|
|30th||Ranged Aptitude(Full), Bonus Feat||+6||+100|
6 + Int modifier skill points per level.
AC Bonus: The shadow striker's bonus to Armor Class when unarmored increases by +1 every five levels after 20th (25th, 30th, and so on).
Shadow Strike: The epic shadow striker’s shadow strike damage increases by +1d6 at every odd-numbered level(21st, 23rd, and so on).
Fast Movement: The epic shadow striker's speed when wearing no armor increases by 10 feet at 21st level and every three levels thereafter (24th, 27th, 30th, and so on). The unarmored speed of Small and dwarven shadow strikers increases by 5 feet instead of 10 feet.
Uncanny Dodge: The bonus on the shadow striker’s saving throws against traps increases by +1 every three levels above 20th (23rd, 26th, and so on).
Special Ability: The shadow striker does not gain additional shadow striker special abilities after 19th level, but can choose a shadow striker special ability from the Player’s Handbook (crippling strike, defensive roll, evasion, opportunist, skill mastery, or slippery mind) instead of a bonus feat.
Bonus Feats: The epic shadow striker gains a bonus feat (selected from the list of epic shadow striker bonus feats) every 5 levels after 20th.
Epic Shadow Striker Bonus Feat List: Armor Skin, Blinding Speed, Combat Archery, Damage Reduction, Dexterous Fortitude, Dexterous Will, Epic Dodge, Epic Reputation, Epic Skill Focus, Epic Speed, Fast Healing, Improved Combat Reflexes, Improved Shadow Strike, Lingering Damage, Self-Concealment, Sneak Attack of Opportunity, Superior Initiative, Uncanny Accuracy.
Ranged Aptitude: The epic shadow striker can manipulate the shadows as second nature and can make sneak attacks at a distance of up to the range increment(minimum 30 feet).
Underfolk Shadow Striker Starting Package
Weapons: Dagger, 10 Shuriken.
Skill Selection: Pick a number of skills equal to 7 + Int modifier.
|Sleight of Hand||4||Dex||-|
|Use Magic Device||4||Cha||-|
Feat: Weapon Finesse.
Gear: Backpack, Bedroll, Flask, Flint & Steel, 10 Days Trail Rations, Hempen Rope 50ft., Whetstone, Thieve's Tool, Traveler's Outfit, Cold Weather Outfit
Gold: 223 Gold Pieces.
Playing a Shadow Striker
Religion: A shadow striker will often worship the same gods as rogue or sometimes gods that embody speed.
Other Classes: Shadow strikers often seen rogues and similar classes as competition more than allies, while they see fighter, barbarians, and other similar classes as perfect distractions to slip through unnoticed. Shadow strikers see the power of spellcasters, but find themselves highly wary of spells they may know that could reveal them for who and what they are.
Combat: Shadow strikers will come in close for an attack when the safest opportunities arise, but normally prefer to stay a slight distance away from their target while striking with ranged weapons.
Advancement: Shadow strikers typically progress in their own class often taking feats to specialize in ranged combat or stealth and deception. Many also become assassin's. Shadow strikers that multiclass find the high hit dice and free combat feats of a fighter favorable. Some find the techniques and abilities a monk grants to be promising, although the speed bonuses and ac bonuses do not stack and instead overlap.
Shadow Strikers in the World
|“||You believe what you see to be the truth, but in the darkness the only truth to be found is who is the strongest.||”|
|—Codename: Chameleon, Unknown, Shadow Striker|
Daily Life: Shadow striker's are commonly thieves and assassins, earning their way through harming others. Some choose to be good and only accept jobs that involve protecting or retrieving objects for people, sometimes even taking on jobs to defeat tyrannical overlords with the aid of the assassin's guild. A shadow striker finds little pleasure in mundane life as they seek out the power that lies in darkness and uses it to meet their ends.
Notables: Sherri Grax, Former Doppelganger leader of the Assassin's Guild on the continent of Arglod.
Organizations: Shadow strikers rarely join any organization other than the Assassin's Guild. When they do they are often mercenary or thieves guilds.
NPC Reactions: NPCs rarely notice a shadow striker's presence as they tend to stay hidden even when out for a casual stroll. When NPCs do notice them they often try to head the other direction out of fear they will be too close to the shadow strikers target, or worse, that they are the target.
Shadow Striker Lore
Characters with ranks in Knowledge(Local) can research Shadow Strikers to learn more about them. When a character makes a skill check, read or paraphrase the following, including information from lower DCs.
|5||Shadow strikers are stealthy and prefer to not be seen before they strike a target.|
|10||Shadow strikers are commonly a part of the assassin's guild and rarely leave headquarters except on a job.|
|15||Shadow strikers have a strong connection to the shadow plane.|
|20||Shadow strikers can manipulate shadows to increase the speed at which they move and to deal devastating damage to their foes, as well as use it to aid in stealth.|
Shadow Strikers in the Game
Shadow strikers can be used to bring a connection to the shadow plane making it a much more important part of the game as well as being a high ranking official in the assassin's guild. They can open up quests, be a powerful enemy that is part of a powerful group, or even open up doors to other planes. Shadow strikers can replace rogues as a skirmisher class bringing a new flavor to the thief or skill monkey in the player's party.
Adaptation: Shadow strikers can easily be transitioned to have a connection with planar magic instead of only shadow. Calling Shadow Strike as Planar Strike and even replacing Knowledge(Local) with Knowledge(The Planes). Replacing similar abilities with planar specific abilities can bring a unique and powerful flavor to the world in which the character resides.
Sample Encounter: As the players begin to discover the connections of planes the shadow plane could be the first one they discover while chasing a thief through the woods. After finding themselves on the shadow plane the level 5 party could be ambushed by 3 level 3 Dark Elf Shadow Strikers and have to capture one to find a way back to their home plane.
|Male Dark Creature Elf Shadow Striker 3|
|CE Medium Humanoid(Elf, Extraplanar)|
|Init/Senses||+5/Listen +11, Spot +11|
|Languages||Common, Elven, Dwarven, Draconic|
|AC||17, touch 17, flat-footed 12|
|hp||15 (3d6 HD)|
|Speed||50 (10 Squares)|
|Melee||Dagger +7 (1d4/19-20/x2)|
|Ranged||Composite Longbow +7 (1d6/20/x3)|
|Abilities||Str 11, Dex 20, Con 14, Int 14, Wis 14, Cha 12|
|Feats||Martial Weapon Proficiency(Longbow), Martial Weapon Proficiency(Shortbow), Weapon Finesse, Quick Draw|
|Skills||Disable Device +9, Gather Information +8, Hide +20, Listen +11, Move Silently +18, Open Lock +10, Search +11, Spot +11, Tumble +7|
|Possessions||Dagger, Composite Shortbow, Trail Rations x7, 932 GP|
EL 5: After chasing a group of suspected assassins the party find themselves on the shadow plane only to be ambushed by the enemy.