View Full Version : Because the ranger never gets any love. [PrC]

2007-08-13, 01:49 AM
The Pandemonic Vanguard

The pandemonic vanguard is the warrior from the endless tunnels of Pandemonium, who brings slaughter and death in his wake. He has no remorse, no pity, only an overwhelming urge to destroy. Where he walks, the chaos and unending shrieks of the Windswept Depths soon follow. The lucky ones die. The unlucky ones have an eternity of insanity in the buffeting tunnels to look forward to.


Alignment: Chaotic Evil or Chaotic Neutral
Base Attack Bonuc: +10
Feats: Track, Blind-Fight, Improved Two-Weapon Fighting
Skills: Climb 8 ranks, Listen 8 ranks, Survival 8 ranks
Class Feature: Evasion
Special: Must have spent at least one consecutive week in the Windswept Depths of Pandemonium

Hit Die: d8

{table=head]Level|Base Attack Bonus|Fort Save|Ref Save|Will Save|Special|Spells per Day

+2|Howling strike +1d6, windswept oath|—

+3|Master of the cavernous walls|+1 Level of Existing Divine Spellcasting Class

+3|Howling strike +2d6|—

+4|Guard of the deafening pits|+1 Level of Existing Divine Spellcasting Class

+4|Howling strike +3d6|—

+5|Warrior of the infinite darkness|+1 Level of Existing Divine Spellcasting Class

+5|Howling strike +4d6|—

+6|Gaoler of the damned tunnels|+1 Level of Existing Divine Spellcasting Class

+6|Howling strike +5d6|—

+7|Envoy of the windswept depths|+1 Level of Existing Divine Spellcasting Class


Class Skills: The pandemonic vanguard's class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Climb (Str), Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Handle Animal (Cha), Hide (Dex), Jump (Str), Knowledge (dungeoneering/geography/nature/the planes) (Int), Listen (Wis), Move Silently (Dex), Search (Int), Spot (Wis), Survival (Wis), Swim (Str), and Use Rope (Dex).

Skill Points at Each Level: 4 + Int modifier.

All of the following are class features of the pandemonic vanguard.

Windswept Oath: The pandemonic vanguard’s abilities come from the Windswept Depths of Pandemonium, and whenever he gains a level in this class he must spend an hour meditating in the Depths before gaining any spellcasting or supernatural abilities from his new level. He also loses access to these class features if he ever performs an exceptionally lawful act. A vanguard who has violated his windswept oath may atone by spending a day living in the Depths, killing everything he comes across.

Howling Strike (Su): The pandemonic vanguard can channel the insanity of Pandemonia through his weapons to slaughter his enemies. Once per day per class level, plus an additional number of times per day equal to his Wisdom modifier, the vanguard may add the listed damage to his strikes in a round, so long as he is fighting with two weapons at the time. The effect lasts for one round, and is activated as a swift action. Extra damage dealt through this effect is sonic-based.

As well, when activated, the vanguard may choose one of the following effects to add to one of his weapons for the duration of the strike, so long as he is of an appropriate level. He may add a different effect to each of his weapons, if he so chooses, but he may not add the same effect to both weapons. Each of the effects targets a being damaged by the howling strike. If more than one target is hit by the weapon in the same round, each one may be affected by the ability, but the same creature may not be affected twice by the same extra effect in the same round.

To add one of these effects to a weapon, the vanguard must sacrifice 1d6 damage from his howling strike. Thus, an 8th level vanguard could imbue his off-hand weapon with a deafening effect, his main weapon with a paralysing effect, and deal an additional 2d6 sonic damage with his strikes in that round.

{table=head]Level|Extra Effect

2nd|Deafened for one round (Fort negates)

4th|Takes 1d10 cold damage (Ref negates)

6th|Confused for one round (Will negates)

8th|Paralysed for one round (Fort negates)

10th|Panicked for one round (Will negates)


The DC for the saving throw against one of these effects is equal to 10 + the vanguard’s class level + his Wisdom modifier.

Master of the Cavernous Walls (Ex): The pandemonic vanguard has learned how to use the rocky walls of the endless caverns of Pandemonium to his advantage. At 2nd level he gains a climb speed equal to his land speed, as well as a +8 bonus to Climb checks to avoid a special hazard or take a special action, and he can always take 10 on a Climb check, even if stress or distraction would normally prevent him from doing so.

Guard of the Deafening Pits (Ex): At 4th level, the pandemonic vanguard has spent enough time in the deafening pits of Pandemonium that he is no longer easily affected by harsh noises. Any being wishing to affect him with a hostile sound-based effect must succeed on a caster level check against a DC of 10 + the vanguard's class level + his Wisdom modifier, or the action has no effect on the pandemonic vanguard.

Warrior of the Infinite Darkness (Ex): At 6th level, the pandemonic vanguard has learned to use every clue his enemy gives him in the pitch-black darkness to his advantage. He gains blindsense out to 30 feet.

Gaoler of the Damned Tunnels (Su): The pandemonic vanguard is eager to add to the ranks of the damned in the buffeting tunnels of Pandemonium. The vanguard may sentence his most hated foes to dwell in the Windswept Depths for eternity. Once per day starting at 8th level, the vanguard may force a favored enemy he has struck in battle to be instantly transported (as per the plane shift spell) to the Windswept Depths of Pandemonium. The target may make a Will save against this effect, with a DC equal to 10 + the vanguard’s class level + his Wisdom modifier.

Envoy of the Windswept Depths (Su): At 10th level, the pandemonic vanguard has truly become an avatar of the Windswept Depths of Pandemonium. His type changes to Outsider, and he gains the Chaotic subtype. He gains damage reduction equal to 10/lawful, and may use Plane Shift as a spell-like ability once per day, but only to link to the Windswept Depths of Pandemonium. Unlike other outsiders, the pandemonic vanguard may be brought back from the dead as if he were a being of his previous character type.

The Corinthian
2007-08-13, 04:19 AM
Cool. But WAY powerful. The prerequisites are stiff, but even so the class abillities are too much. Cut Howling Strike to 1/5/10 progression, 3d6 at level 10. Also, drop Gaoler of the Damned Tunnels, it is effectively a death sentence. Compare the Assassin's death attack. Weaken Envoy of the Windswept Depths a little. DR 10/lawful is enough, and let him use Plane Shift rather than Gate.

2007-08-13, 07:40 AM
I really don't think you understand how truely broken Gate can be. Use Plane Shift if you want him to go to and from Pandemonium.

Howling Strike: How about this instead... let him 'trade off' damage for other effects. So instead of doing xd6, he does a Save or Loose effect.

Guard of the Deafening Pits: Immunity to sonic damage? Crack. How about immunity to sonic effects instead. Even so, that's pretty darn powerful. Immunity to things like Banshee's Wail and most bard stuff. Maybe put that in as a capstone ability at level 10.

Gaoler: Broken as written. How about make it a banish effect against anything FROM Pandemonium, with the appropriate save. If you hit a critter from Pandemonium, and you're not ON pandemonium, he makes a save or get punted back home.

Envoy of the Windswept Depths... change the DR to Lawful OR Good, or just Magic, and remove the crack Gate ability, and you've got it.

2007-08-13, 08:44 AM
As it is, I love it, but as mentioned, with such power it should be an epic PrC. Because if you're spending that much time in Pandemonium, you have bigger problems than trying to get into a PrC.

I do love the ranger though.

One question, that seems clear enough is:

Howlingstrike notes that no creature maybe affected twice by the same ability in the same round. Does that also apply to the cold damage?

2007-08-13, 12:48 PM
I did write the prestige class to be quite powerful, but that was mostly because I saw the ranger as underpowered. The way I see it, the only way to get into this prestige class by 11th level is as a Ranger 10. I'm not an expert at Character Optimization, but I believe that that is quite a suboptimal choice. Thus, I intended this prestige class to be strong enough to make it worth it.

That said, you've made some good points. The changes I implemented:

- Dropped the hit die from d10 to d8. Same as the regular ranger now.

- You must now sacrifice d6s of damage to add extra effects to howling strike. Sorta like ambush feats, I guess, but sonic. Also, I made the effect a bit more clear and increased the cold damage to 1d10 (to make up for the loss of 1d6 sonic).

- Guard of the deafening pits now simply gives you the equivalent of spell resistance against sound-based effects, instead of flat immunity to sonics.

- Gaoler of the damned tunnels may now only be used once per day, but is essentially the same. It's powerful, but there are plenty of other things out there that are more save or die than this. The assassin has to study the target, yes, but he can do it all day. This can be used once per day, and only against a favored enemy. Also, this requires a successful attack and a save, whereas most death spells require only a save. The vanguard needs to be able to hit the enemy to affect him. Finally, the effect isn't as final as death. At 18th level, most of the clever enemies you'll be fighting are going to have access to plane shift or similar magic to come back, and the rest should have allies that will want to bring them back.

- Envoy of the windswept depths now grants only damage reduction 10/lawful, and you gain plane shift as a spell-like ability.

Thanks for the feedback!

2007-08-13, 12:51 PM
Rangers don't get Evasion, so you'd need other levels for this.

2007-08-13, 12:55 PM
Er... From the SRD:

Evasion (Ex): At 9th level, a ranger 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 ranger is wearing light armor or no armor. A helpless ranger does not gain the benefit of evasion.

I'm pretty sure they do. :P

2007-08-13, 12:57 PM
I still think a barbarian could get this class easier.

2007-08-13, 01:02 PM
Except remember that a barbarian does not get Evasion. Thus, he'd have to multiclass into rogue in order to do it, for two levels, which means he'd need to be at least 11th level to enter it, since rogues don't get full BAB. He wouldn't be able to finish the class until epic levels, and one of the best abilities (Gaoler of the damned tunnels) he wouldn't be able to activate since he doesn't have favored enemies.

So, in short, he could, but why would he?

Grey Paladin
2007-08-13, 04:24 PM
What people often forget when writing classes is that they do not want to keep Fighter types inferior to Wizards in every possible way, even with all these so called "broken" class features a "Chaos Guard" is not nearly as powerful as even a sorcerer, but can still contribute.

I love this class, and I think its perfectly balanced and very flavorful, kudos!

2007-08-13, 05:31 PM
Quite a good class. I've actually been working on homebrewing a PrC with a similar concept (except based on the Plane of Negative Energy, and not as exclusively intended for rangers).

2007-08-13, 05:35 PM
I still think a barbarian could get this class easier.

I'm really interested how.

Barbarian would have to spend feats to get track and improved two weapon fighting. And would have to multiclass for evasion, of course.

So what excactly did you mean?

2007-08-13, 09:01 PM
I've seen Ranger variants with Evasion replacing uncanny dodge. It was in a magic heavy campaign though.

Grey Paladin
2007-08-14, 04:36 AM
I've seen Ranger variants with Evasion replacing uncanny dodge. It was in a magic heavy campaign though.

. . .
Wait, what?

2007-08-14, 05:13 AM
My question: why in all that is optimization do you think rangers are underpowered? They are quite possibly, other than the casters, the most powerful of the core classes.

They're the only full BAB class with Evasion, and the ONLY core base class one that gets Hide in Plain Sight. Rangers are already strong, making a completely cracked out PrC is unnecessary. It's like Planar Shepherd all over again.

2007-08-14, 07:09 AM
The way I see it, Rangers get specialization in Two-Weapon Fighting or archery by getting several feats, but don't get any method of dealing extra damage with tose hits, making them either fairly ineffectual ranged combatants or very inaccurate melee fighters. Their spellcasting is laughable, and they get a bunch of bonus feats like Track or Endurance that, while flavorful, never really seem to come up much. They get a bunch of special abilities, such as Hide in Plain Sight, as you said, but by that point it is too little, too late, since it is far easier to get that ability through other means. There is also no capstone, making it pointless to stay in it until 20th level. It's mostly a stepping stone to more specialized prestige classes such as dervish or order of the bow initiate, both of which have means of dealing additional damage in TWF or archery through dervish dance or ranged precision... Just as the pandemonic vanguard can deal extra damage through howling strike.

And correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't the Planar Shepherd a druid prestige class? If you're trying to compare the ranger to the druid on the power scale, I'm going to have to politefully disagree with you.

2007-08-14, 07:29 AM
Barbarian, not Ranger. That's the kind of thing you get with bad internet connections, pages take so long to load you loose track of what you were saying.

2007-08-14, 07:38 AM
Also, it's not exclusive to rangers. A Rogue2/Barbarian9 has all skills listed as class skills and can get the feats indicated easily enough. If you want it exclusively Ranger, I'd suggest prerequsite of 3rd favored enemy.

And yes, I'd take a well-built Ranger up against a Barbarian any day of the week. Ranger will have high levels of Hide and Move Silently and be able to track the Barbarian easily, sniping and fading away into the natural concealment with Hide in Plain Sight.

2007-08-14, 02:14 PM
You can snipe all day, but I only have to get close once. And I can run you down.