From light come shadows. From shadows come I.
-- Alvo Sour, shadowfringe sentinel
Through the mist, through the woods,
Through the darkness, and the shadows.
It's a nightmare but it's one exciting ride.
Paladins, the quintessential protectors, shed their light to banish evil and protect the innocent. But to protect someone fully, one must understand one's enemy. The paladins shed their light and cast shadows, wherein the shadowfringe sentinels lie in wait. They are the silent defenders, following the path of shield and shadow as one.
Hit Die: d10.
To qualify to become a shadowfringe sentinel, a character must fulfill all of the following criteria.
Skills: Hide 7 ranks, Listen 4 ranks, Move Silently 7 ranks, Spot 4 ranks.
Special: Aegis of the legion, light absorption.
Class Skills: The shadowfringe sentinel's class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Balance (Dex), Bluff (Cha), Climb (Str), Craft (Int), Disguise (Cha), Escape Artist (Dex), Hide (Dex), Intimidate (Cha), Jump (Str), Listen (Wis), Move Silently (Dex), Profession (Wis), Search (Int), Sense Motive (Wis), Spot (Wis), Swim (Str), and Tumble (Dex).
Skill Points at Each Level: 4 + Int modifier
||Base Attack Bonus
||Defender in the shadows, plated scoundrel
||Rush (darkness), shadow strike +1d6
||Aegis of shadows, shadowfringe strike
||Rush (shadow disc)
||Shadowfringe safeguard, shadow strike +2d6
All of the following are class features of the shadowfringe sentinel.
Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Shadowfringe sentinels gain no additional weapon or armor proficiencies.
Defender in the Shadows: A shadowfringe sentinel defends her allies from the darkness. Every level of shadowfringe sentinel increases the range of light absorption by 5 feet as if she had taken a level in extinguisher. In addition, at 1st, 3rd, and 5th levels, the shadowfringe sentinel may have an additional shadow disc and the bonus gained when a shadow disc is broken increases by 1. Finally, each level of shadowfringe sentinel counts as a level of sentinel for the purposes of advancing aegis of the legion features.
Plated Scoundrel (Ex): Armored, but always silent. The shadowfringe sentinel's armor check penalty is halved when making Hide and Move Silently checks.
At 4th level, the armor check penalty is ignored entirely when making Hide and Move Silently checks.
Rush (Ex): At 2nd level, whenever the shadowfringe sentinel rushes, she leaves darkness in her previous location. The darkness is considered a supernatural effect.
At 4th level, whenever the shadowfringe sentinel rushes, she can break a shadow disc to rush again and regain her immediate action for that round. The effects of breaking a shadow disc are considered supernatural effects.
Shadow Strike (Su): This is exactly like the extinguisher ability of the same name. The extra damage dealt increases by +1d6 at 2nd and 5th level. If a shadowfringe sentinel gets a shadow strike bonus from another source the bonuses on damage stack.
Aegis of Shadows (Su): At 3rd level, any allies within the shadowfringe sentinel's aegis of the legion range emit shadowy illumination in the same range as the shadowfringe sentinel if they wish to.
Shadowfringe Strike (Su): A shadowfringe sentinel strikes always from the edge of the shadows, ready to leap out to defend an ally and at the same time shrouded in darkness. Once per round, when an ally within aegis of the legion range is attacked, the shadowfringe sentinel may break a shadow disc and make a single attack against the offender with shadow strike damage applied, regardless of light conditions.
Shadowfringe Safeguard (Su): At 5th level, the shadowfringe sentinel can break a shadow disc and dash up to 60 feet as an immediate action to a square adjacent to an ally once per encounter. The ally is protected from all damage for 1 round while the shadowfringe sentinel takes half of what the ally would take. This damage is reduced by aegis of the legion as if the ally had taken damage. Every square between the shadowfringe sentinel's original position and new position is covered in darkness for 1 round and for every 5 points of damage she takes in defending her ally, the shadowfringe sentinel can cover another square within 30 feet in darkness (minimum 1). This is considered a rush for the purposes of concurrent effects.
PLAYING A SHADOWFRINGE SENTINEL
The shadowfringe sentinel is the knight in the shadows, protector in the night. Sticking to the darkness, but ready to leap into the light to protect friends, the shadowfringe sentinel is a defender and a scoundrel concurrently.
Combat: A shadowfringe sentinel combines the usually mutually exclusive roles of assassin, taking out important targets, and defender, protecting allies and being tough to take down. Hiding in darkness and taking out powerful enemies while at the same time keeping everyone safe is a tough spot to fill, but one the shadowfringe sentinel was made for.
Advancement: Most shadowfringe sentinels will continue down the path of the extinguisher or of the sentinel, depending on what roles they want to focus on more. Some, however, will split their paths even further, ending up on a path right down the middle.
Resources: Shields and shadows are the shadowfringe sentinel's game. The element of surprise, darkness, and a healthy reserve of equipment are a shadowfringe sentinel's main resources. Some of them also join certain clandestine organizations, granting access to that organization's insider resources.
SHADOWFRINGE SENTINELS IN THE WORLD
My father was a knight. He stood with honor in an attempt to protect us from a great force and died for it, bringing our town down with him. This woman...has no honor. This fact...has saved us all.
Shadowfringe sentinels have tended to remain in darkness, concealed from the common eye. This keeps them safe, but constant in number, rather than rising or falling.
Daily Life: Some shadowfringe sentinels will work as guards (mostly at night) or even bodyguards in an elite force. It depends much on the shadowfringe sentinel herself, however. Many do not pursue standard careers, instead opting for adventuring, vigilantism, or some other odd job.
Notables: Not many shadowfringe sentinels have been well known throughout history. One, however--Oliver Astolpho--reveled in a hero's glory. Traveling the world, he worked to root out those who would exploit the innocent while seeking others to join his cause. He only stayed long enough in one place to leave his name and a token of protection (which would also act as a sort of magical compass, pointing in the direction of Oliver himself). Soon, he formed an organization of shadow knights, later becoming known as The Shadowfringe Sentinels. After Oliver's death many years later, the organization fell apart, but the members continued to call themselves shadowfringe sentinels. The name became a title for the people who acted in defense in shadows rather than for an organization, and so, went down in history.
Organizations: The old organization of The Shadowfringe Sentinels has inspired some to create mini-guilds of their own, mimicking the old one. Many do not follow such noble goals as the original, however, instead following their own codes. It's extremely rare for an organization to be officially recognized.
Many NPCs fear the shadowfringe sentinels if they ever encounter them. Some will write them off as myths, nightmares, or hallucinations. What an improbable thought, indeed! Still more hail them as heroes, defenders of common folk similar to paladins but with less holding them back.
SHADOWFRINGE SENTINELS IN THE GAME
Shadowfringe sentinels bring powerful extinguisher abilities to bear with a plated, defending frame. This gives both a powerful offense and defense, as well as great mobility.
Adaptation: It's not difficult to adapt the shadowfringe sentinel to a setting. A metropolis could have a vigilante organization hidden (perhaps in plain sight) or a lone defender could watch over a city like Batman. The shadowfringe sentinels could be an elite force protecting the stereotypical evil emperor or the equivalent in your setting. Or they could simply exist with little internal organization.
Encounters: The PCs could be set upon by thugs in an alleyway only to see a shadowfringe sentinel or multiple come out of the woodwork and stop the thugs before the PCs have a chance to even mouth off at them. Or perhaps the PCs are the thugs and shadowfringe sentinels will drop down to stop them from harassing poor folk.
Delving into the dungeon's depths after defeating a powerful sorcerer, obviously the leader of the groups you defeated even before facing him, you feel joy and elation as you see mountains of gold and the infinitely valuable amulet you came here for. Your hand nearly closes on the amulet, but just an inch away, a statue's hand closes around your wrist. No, not a statue, but a woman...drenched in shadows. She pushes you away and steps between you and the amulet, sword and shield raised and ready. Two more statues--no, defenders of the amulet again--step to her sides.
EL 13: Lana Geredun has been defender of this amulet for several years now. She will protect the treasury at any cost, including her own life, as will her two companion defenders, both of whom are lawful neutral female human sentinel 2/extinguisher 4/shadowfringe sentinel 1 with the same elite array and same feats, items, skills, etc. (where possible). All are clad in similar dark heavy plate armor with ancient symbols etched into the metal, Lana's being somewhat more elaborate. A leader. She voices that anyone who leaves shall not have to deal with her or her allies. "Come any closer, however, and you'll have three holes in you before you can say, 'No!'" Two nods from the other two defenders affirm this statement. Before the PCs can react, the torches lighting the room snuff out and the two sentinels to Lana's sides disappear into the darkness. They will attempt to attack any targets that appear easy to kill (lightly armored, few obvious magical defenses, etc.) while at least one stays within aegis of the legion range of Lana. Both of them will attempt to mitigate as much damage on her as possible unless it would be tactically unsound. All three defenders will drink their potions as soon as they hear the party coming (probably before they come into the chamber).
Lawful neutral female human sentinel 3/extinguisher 4/shadowfringe sentinel 5
Init +5, Senses darkvision 30 ft.; Listen +12, Spot +12
AC 32, touch 21, flat-footed 31 (+1 Dex, +11 +3 full plate, +8 +5 heavy steel shield, +1 ring of protection, +1 dusty rose prism ioun stone)
hp 142 (3d12+4d8+5d10+72)
Fort +13, Ref +12, Will +8 (+1 on Will saves vs. magic)
Speed 20 ft. (4 squares)
Melee +12 +1 collision longsword (1d8+8/19-20/x2)
Base Atk +8, Grp +11
Atk Options Blind-Fight, Combat Reflexes, Mage Slayer, Pierce Magical Concealment, shadowfringe strike, shadow strike +4d6
Combat Gear +1 collision longsword, +3 full plate, +4 heavy steel shield
Supernatural Abilities Aegis of the legion, aegis of shadows, light absorption, shadowfringe safeguard, shadowfringe strike, shadow strike +4d6
Abilities Str 14 (16), Dex 13, Con 18 (22), Int 10, Wis 12, Cha 8
Feats Blind-Fight, Combat Reflexes, Darkstalker, Improved Initiative, Mage Slayer, Pierce Magical Concealment, Shield Specialization (heavy), Shield Ward
Skills Balance +6, Bluff +4, Diplomacy +4, Hide +9, Intimidate +4, Listen +12, Move Silently +9, Sense Motive +7, Spellcraft +2, Spot +12
Possessions +1 collision longsword, +3 full plate, +5 heavy steel shield, amulet of health +4, anklet of translocation, bracers of opportunity, cloak of resistance +2, dusty rose prism ioun stone, gauntlets of ogre power, healing belt, potion of divine favor (CL 1), potion of heroism (CL 3), ring of protection +1, 200 gp