View Full Version : The Shadow Stalker (3.5 base class)

2012-07-22, 05:49 AM
Shadow Stalker


Hit Die

Class Skills
Balance (Dex), Bluff (Cha), Climb (Str), Concentration (Con), Disable Device (Int), Hide (Dex), Intimidate (Cha), Jump (Str), Knowledge (dungeoneering), Knowledge (the planes) (Int), Listen (Wis), Move Silently (Dex) Perform (Cha), Profession (Wis), Search (Int), Sleight of Hand (Dex), Spot (Wis), Swim (Str) and Tumble (Dex) Use Rope (Dex).
Skill Points at 1st Level (6 + Int modifier) ◊4.
Skill Points at Each Additional Level 6 + Int modifier.

Table 1:1 The Shadow Stalker

Base Attack Bonus
Fort Save
Ref Save
Will Save

Shadow Weapon (1d4), Stealthy, Umbral sight (darkvision 30 ft.)

Combat style, Trapfinding

Improved Toughness, Sustaining shadow (eat 1 meal/week)

Fundamentals of shadow, Apprentice mysteries

Shadow Weapon (2d4)

Improved combat style

Bonus fundamental, Shadow Step

Umbral sight (see in darkness 60 ft.), Fleeting Shadows

Evasion, Sustaining shadow (sleep 1 hour/day)

Apprentice mysteries (spell-like), Initiate mysteries, Bonus fundamental, Shadow Weapon (3d4)

Combat style mastery


Bonus fundamental

Sustaining shadow (immune to poison/disease)

Apprentice mysteries (supernatural), initiate mysteries (spell-like), Shadow Weapon (4d4)

Bonus fundamental

Hide in plain sight

Sustaining shadow (no need to breathe, eat, or sleep)

Bonus fundamental, initiate mysteries (supernatural)

Darkness beyond Twilight, Shadow Weapon (5d4)

Class Features
All of the following are class features of the Shadow Stalker.

Weapon and Armour Proficiency
A Shadow Stalker is proficient with all simple and martial weapons, and with light armour and shields (except tower shields).

Shadow Weapon (Su)
At 1st level, as a standard action a Shadow Stalker can wrap any melee weapon they wield in a layer of shifting shadows. This causes the weapon to darken, become less distinct, and leave a trail of shadow behind it as it moves. This effect also applies to the ammo of a ranged weapon, when the ammo in question is loaded. The weapon must be in their hand and ready for use to be able to activate this effect. This effect can be dismissed as a free action; dropping or sheathing the weapon also ends the effect.
The effect grants the following bonuses at the following levels:

1st level: Deals a extra 1d4 of magic damage, grants a +2 bonus to bluff checks when attempting to feint and is treated as a magic weapon for the purposes of overcoming damage reduction and attacking incorporeal creatures.

5th level: The extra damage increases to 2d4, and counts as having the Ghost Touch weapon enhancement.

10th level: The extra damage increases to 3d4, and grants a +4 to bluff checks when attempting to feint (replaces the bonus from level one), adding this effect is now a move action.

15th level: The extra damage increases to 4d4, and deals one temporary Con damage per round that lasts for 4 rounds which stacks to a max of 4, every hit after the max of 4 is reached, refreshes the duration.

20th level: The extra damage increases to 5d4, and grants a +6 to bluff checks when attempting to feint (replaces the bonus from level ten), adding this effect is now a free action.

A Shadow Stalker gains Stealthy as a bonus feat.

Umbral Sight (Su)
A Shadow Stalkerís vision extends slightly into the Plane of Shadow. They gain darkvision out to 30 feet. If they already have darkvision, or gain it from some other source, the effective distance of that vision is increased by 30 feet. At 8th level, They become able to see perfectly in complete darkness, even magical darkness, out to 60 feet.

Combat Style (Ex)
At 2nd level, a Shadow Stalker must select a combat style to pursue and does so by picking one of the following feats, which they then gain even if they did not have the normal prerequisites for that feat.
Rapid Shot
Two-Weapon Fighting
The benefits of the Shadow Stalkerís chosen style apply only when he wears light or no armour. He loses all benefits of his combat style when wearing medium or heavy armour.

A Shadow Stalker can use the Search skill to locate traps when the task has a Difficulty Class higher than 20. Finding a nonmagical trap has a DC of at least 20, or higher if it is well hidden. Finding a magic trap has a DC of 25 + the level of the spell used to create it. A Shadow Stalker can use the Disable Device skill to disarm magic traps. A magic trap generally has a DC of 25 + the level of the spell used to create it. A Shadow Stalker who beats a trapís DC by 10 or more with a Disable Device check can study a trap, figure out how it works, and bypass it (with their party) without disarming it.

Improved Toughness
A Shadow Stalker gains Improved Toughness as a bonus feat at 3rd level even if he does not have the normal prerequisites for that feat.

Sustaining Shadow (Ex)
When they reach 3rd level, a Shadow Stalkerís bond to the Plane of Shadow allows them to absorb dark energies, mitigating certain biological needs. They need eat only a single meal per week to maintain health. At 9th level, they only need 1 hour of sleep per night (but they still must rest for 8 hours to regain their mysteries for the next day). At 14th level, they gain immunity to nonmagical diseases and poisons. Finally, at 18th level, they no longer need to breathe, and never need to eat or sleep.

Fundamentals of Shadow (Su) (The fundamentals are found in Tome of magic on page 139)
At 4th level a Shadow Stalker begins to learn the more versatile secrets of shadow magic. Beginning with the fundamentals which function as supernatural abilities usable three times per day each. At this level they know three fundamentals and gain an additional fundamental at 7th level and every Three additional levels beyond 7th. At 14th level, They can use their fundamentals an unlimited number of times per day. They can, when gaining a new level, choose a new fundamental in place of another mystery. When choosing a fundamental, They can ďrelearnĒ an already known fundamental, thus gaining another set of uses of that fundamental per day. The save DC of any fundamental is equal to 10 + their Int modifier.

Mysteries and Paths: (The Mysteries and Paths are found in Tome of magic on page 140 to 153)
Shadow Strikers do not cast spells as other classes do, but instead invoke mystical secrets called mysteries. They learn their first mystery at 4th level and gain one additional mystery every class level. Up to 9th level, they can learn only apprentice mysteries. At 10th level, they gain access to initiate mysteries. They can choose their new mystery from any category they have access to (including fundamentals). For instance, at 12th level, they could select either a fundamental, an apprentice mystery, or an initiate mystery. Shadow magic progresses in very specific stages. They may not ďjump aheadĒ in a path, although they need not complete a path if they do not wish to. Within a category (apprentice, initiate), they can only learn mysteries of a new level if they have learned at least two mysteries of a previous level, and they must know all previous mysteries within a path to select a mystery from that path. For example, they cannot learn congress of shadows (the second mystery of the Ebon Whispers path) until they know at least two 1st-level mysteries, one of which must be voice of shadow (the first mystery of that path). However, they can always select the first mystery in a path of a category they have access to, even if they didnít complete the lower category paths. For example, they could learn the shadow vision mystery, the first one (4th level) in the Initiate Veil of Shadows path, even if they know no 3rd level mysteries (all of which are in the Apprentice category).
Mysteries represent thought patterns and formulae so alien that other spells seem simple in comparison. As a Shadow Stalker progresses, however, their connection to the Plane of Shadow (or Shadow Weave) grows stronger, and their mysteries become more ingrained in their essence. When they are capable of casting only apprentice mysteries, they cast them as though they were arcane spells. They all have somatic components, armour-based spell failure chance, and are subject to interruption (but they do not require material components, foci, or verbal components). Whenever they cast a mystery as an arcane spell, observers can make a DC 15 Spot check to note that their shadow is making different gestures from the ones they make when they cast the mystery.

At 10th level, when they become capable of casting initiate mysteries (whether or not they choose to learn any), their apprentice mysteries become so much a part of them that they now function as spell-like abilities, and they no longer require somatic components. Their new initiate mysteries (when they learn them) function as arcane spells and follow the rules described above. When they reach 15th level another change occurs, their initiate mysteries function as spell-like abilities. Their apprentice mysteries become supernatural abilities. And further on at 19th level their initiate mysteries become supernatural abilities.
A Shadow Stalker can learn a mystery more than once. Each time they relearn a mystery, they gain another set of uses of that mystery per day. They can use each mystery they know a certain number of times per day depending on whether it is cast as a spell (once), a spell-like ability (two times), or a supernatural ability (three times). The allotments per level are given on Table 1:2, but only apply if they are able to cast mysteries of the level indicated. For example, if they choose breadth over depth and know no 4th-level mysteries as a 13th-level Shadow Stalker, they cannot take advantage of the one use per mystery per day detailed in the table. Unlike normal spellcasters, they donít get bonus mysteries for a high ability score. Although they do not prepare spells, they must rest for 8 hours and meditate for 15 minutes each day to regain their use of mysteries just as a sorcerer or bard must rest and meditate to regain use of their spell slots. In order to cast a mystery, a Shadow Striker must have an Intelligence score of at least 10 + the mysteryís level. The save DC for their mysteries equals 10 + mystery level + their Int modifier. Even though as a Shadow Stalker they do not ďcast spellsĒ in the traditional sense, their levels in this class count for the purpose of determining their overall caster level.

Table 1:2 Uses per Mystery per Day

Improved Combat Style (Ex)
At 6th level, a Shadow Stalkerís aptitude in his chosen combat style (Rapid Shot, Two-Weapon Fighting or Cleave) improves. If he selected the feat Rapid Shot at 2nd level, he now gains the Manyshot feat, even if he does not have the normal prerequisites for that feat.

If the Shadow Stalker selected Two-Weapon Fighting at 2nd level, he gains the Improved Two-Weapon Fighting feat, even if he does not have the normal prerequisites for that feat.

If the Shadow Stalker selected Cleave at 2nd level, he gains the ability to move and full attack as a full round action as long as they move ten feet or more before attacking, and cannot move after attacking.

As before, the benefits of the Shadow Stalkerís chosen style apply only when he wears light or no armour. He loses all benefits of his combat style when wearing medium or heavy armour.

Shadow Step (Ex)
Starting at 7th level, a Shadow Stalker leaves no trail and cannot be tracked. They may choose to leave a trail if so desired

Fleeting Shadows (Ex)
Beginning at 8th level, a Shadow Stalker can move at his normal speed while stealthed without taking the normal -5 penalty to Hide and Move Silently checks. They also only take a -10 penalty (instead of the normal -20) when moving at up to twice normal speed while stealthed.

Evasion (Ex)
At 9th level, a Shadow Stalker can avoid even magical and unusual attacks with great agility. If he makes a successful Reflex saving throw against an attack that normally deals half damage on a successful save, he instead takes no damage. Evasion can be used only if the Shadow Stalker is wearing light armour or no armour. A helpless Shadow Stalker does not gain the benefit of evasion.

Combat Style Mastery (Ex)
At 11th level, a Shadow Stalkerís aptitude in his chosen combat style (Rapid Shot, Two-Weapon Fighting or Cleave) improves. If he selected the feat Rapid Shot at 2nd level, he now gains the Improved Precise Shot feat, even if he does not have the normal prerequisites for that feat.

If the Shadow Stalker selected Two-Weapon Fighting at 2nd level, he gains the Greater Two-Weapon Fighting feat, even if he does not have the normal prerequisites for that feat.

If the Shadow Stalker selected Cleave at 2nd level, he gains the Great Cleave feat, even if he does not have the normal prerequisites for that feat.

As before, the benefits of the Shadow Stalkerís chosen style apply only when he wears light or no armour. He loses all benefits of his combat style when wearing medium or heavy armour.

Creeping Darkness (Su)
A Shadow Stalker of 12th level or higher that remains in one place too long they begins to meld with the surroundings. If they remain still without taking any actions for 1 round they gain concealment. Taking any action other then a free action or a move with the relevant Hide and Move Silently checks, cancels their concealment.

Hide in Plain Sight (Su)
A Shadow Stalker can use the Hide skill even while being observed. As long as they are within 10 feet of some sort of shadow, a Shadow Stalker can hide themselves from view in the open without anything to actually hide behind. They cannot, however, hide in her own shadow.

Darkness beyond Twilight
A ShadowStalker further joins with the shadows and they become one and the same, gaining the following:
-Total concealment in shadows or darkness
-Damage reduction 5/-
-Fast healing 2
-Voyage into Shadow as per the mystery (1/day)

Build notes:
Original build: Shade Knife (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?p=10537780#post10537780)

The original build suffered from several things, such as "I have a weapon", "Only one way to build" and "too many parts to make a whole".

To combat this I used the ranger as a base, modifying or replacing elements as I saw fit. The class overall may seem stronger then the ranger with many of the conditional elements made to be used anywhere. With the removal of the animal companion, I saw this as justified. You'll also notice it has full casting, due to mysteries not being as powerful as normal Arcane magic, and how it starts 4 levels later then the Shadow Caster. I admit I increased the rate at which it gains the uses per day, however it is still 4 mysteries behind the Shadow caster and gets higher level Mysteries later then the shadow caster despite this increase.

Please feel free to PEACH and or ask questions, If you decide to use this Class, feed back on it in play is always wanted.

2012-07-22, 06:25 AM
The first thing you will hear is something like "why no capstone?", and it is, indeed, true. You have an E6 capstone (although it is a feat-y one) and a 10th level one as well (although i prefer having capstone that are totally "original" in the sense of that they aren't existing atm). You truly need a 20th level capstone.

2012-07-23, 10:52 PM
Well, on there being no proper capstone, if you get to level 19 in the class, one more level does improve two of your saves and BAB by 1, and increases your shadow weapon damage by another 1d4 (which if you're making say 8 attacks a round is pretty significant), makes adding the damage a free action instead of a move action, and you learn another mystery, your second 9th level one.

As for taking 19 levels in the first place, well level 15 is quite good in terms of giving you improved mysteries, 4d4 shadow weapons, and temporary con damage to enemies. Proceeding to 17th level nets you 8th level mysteries and hide in plain sight, and 19 levels gets you 9th level mysteries (with a nice flavourful bonus at 18); all the while taking levels in a class with full BAB and 2 good saves and learning a mystery every level.

So while a capstone wouldn't hurt...I'm not entirely sure it's needed. If though you did want to add one, perhaps a way to use a mystery as they attack/full attack could be fitting, or a way to significantly boost their shadow weapon damage once a day or something. Either that or take Sustaining Shadow and dial it up to 11 and give them the dark template or something, etc.

2012-07-25, 05:07 PM
A simple improvement in your class abilities (BBA, saves, even things like shadow weapon) aren't enough for a capstone. You need something that's truly worth it, something who won't makes you think when you get your 20th level "and now I won't take a level of that class, I could take a level of that"... And a +1d4 isn't a big deal, especially on an ability that is so slowly increasing.

In fact, every class should have a capstone, simply to encourage fidelity to that class.

2012-08-04, 02:54 AM
...I would have thought a 25% increase on an ability was significant, compared to say a 11.1*% increase if you go from say, 9d6 sneak attack to 10d6.

Anyway, as far as I'm aware Sustain Shadows used to be the capstone, but it got moved down a few levels because while fluffy, isn't that powerful, and moving it helped cover a dead level. Other than just arbitrarily moving an ability to level 20 to make a capstone, any suggestions on what it should be?

Would gaining the Dark template be suitable? Or would a way to use mysteries with their attacks be appropriate? Any suggestions instead of just saying it needs a capstone?

2012-08-04, 04:08 AM
I am not sure if Full BAB fits. This guy seems a skirmisher and a scout really. Even with the Mysteries. Maybe 3/4 BAB progression since he will have more "casting" power than a Ranger, and is fluffed and mechanically designed to sneak. The only Full BAB sneak class I know of is Nightsong Enforcer, and is a PRC.

2012-08-04, 10:03 AM
...I would have thought a 25% increase on an ability was significant, compared to say a 11.1*% increase if you go from say, 9d6 sneak attack to 10d6.

Except most people don't take the time to crunch all the numbers.
As for a capstone, I'd say some kind of dark/shadow template.

2012-08-05, 10:11 AM
Couple minor queries-
Why Intimidate as a class skill?
How does Trackless Step meld in with the Shadow theme?

As for the Capstone-perhaps some sort of "I'm near shadow, +9001 AC, bonus to skill checks (Hide, Move Silently,etc.), and automatic Sneak Attacks?"

2012-08-07, 09:38 PM
I reply!

in reverse order:

Trackless step: A druid ability I liked, I didn't see any reason not to have it as it a stealthy ability and this is a stealthy class, you could say their walking on shadows (as opposed to sunshine). And it's not that much of a huge mechanics change/bonus. Know what I'll rename it.

Why intimidate? Reason: character fluff/options. And it was a class skill for the first version of this class (the shadeknife). Although I don't really see this guy being the party face, I see allot of potential for being dark and scary, so it would seem a shame to not allow him to have the intimidate skill. you could also ask why Bluff? It's a sneaky character if they get caught they probably should be able to lie their way out or further in, also their need it to faint in combat, which they have bonuses to (though I don't see many people wanting to use faint, but anyway). If you lick your shadowy blades after threatening to kill someone if they don't give you the info you want, I will give you a circumstance bonus.

Full BaB: I used the ranger as a template, yes the resulting class has better casting then the ranger, this is because I dropped the animal companion, and I don't care what anyone says an extra body like that (animal companion, familiars don't count) is always a large bonus. but I understand what your getting at, so I've dropped master Mysteries. Meaning they only get up to level 6 casting, and Mysteries aren't as powerful as Arcane or Divine casting, so that should be a sufficient nerf.

The ranger is a potentially stealthy class with full BaB, and if you pick up the feat Guerilla Warrior (Heroes of Battle, p. 97) any full BaB class can be stealthy. Besides Nightsong Enforcer isn't all that great.

Capstone: Gah... I do not see the point in a "capstone" ability at level 20, the same level that if your lucky enough for the campaign to have gotten that far, it ends. Time for your characters to retire, or play epic, which I hear the rules for suck anyway... I never look at the high levels or worry about what abilities I may never get, to decide if I stay with a class or multi-class away. It's not the mechanics that chooses how I build a character, it's the character that does...

But if you all insist... and since originality is near impossible to pull off these days, I've just copied across the capstone from the first version of the class. (the shadeknife)

2012-08-18, 10:54 PM
- I think full BAB suits the class, in my opinion pretty much every dedicated warrior class needs full BAB. If it had 8+int mod skill points, and if the shadow weapon scaled to like...9d4, or higher, I could see 3/4 BAB, but otherwise, it needs the BAB to fight.
- Not sure if I can think of a better feat, but, not sure why Improved Toughness fits at 3rd level. I'm aware the Ranger gets endurance at that level, and it's probably not really an issue, but there might be a better fit here.
- To better fit the Shadow Caster, the 4th-6th level mysteries should scale only to 2, not 3. However, I would probably give them 'bonus mystery uses' from their intelligence, like spell slots. I'm aware Shadow Casters don't normally gain that, but the creator of the class thinks they should, and it would give them a bonus for having higher intelligence, and gives them a few more low level uses.

Darkness beyond Twilight:
- Possibly you could give a lesser version of this or two at lower levels? I'm aware this should be a capstone, but it seems like a lot of abilities out of nowhere.
- Becoming an extraplanar being is generally bad; other abilities that make you an outsider for example make you a native outsider. Also you should mention you can still be revived.
- Not entirely sure on the Total Concealment...but the Wizard has Time Stop and Gate, so probably not a big deal I suppose.
- Not a worry on the power, but it's odd you go from no uses, to atwill uses of cause fear; maybe only 3/day?
- The Damage Reduction can probably be 10, or even higher. Either that or 5/- (or even higher).
- Fast Healing 2 isn't really enough to do anything in combat, but out of combat it keeps you healed up...meh, I guess it's okay, could be higher, depends on what you do with the DR I suppose.

On the whole though, it's looking pretty good now.