Orange! (Black is the new orange, you see.)

Quote Originally Posted by Black Wing
Black Wing


The harbor had been quiet that night, but Captain Heidos of the ship The Red Death had not let his crew rest in their watch. Heidos seemed certain something would happen that night. His crewmen were less concerned, eager to either be at sea or on shore leave once their cargo had been dropped off. A dwarf, notably rotund, leaned against the railing of the vessel, casually gazing around and chatting with his shipmates.

"You lads heard stories of the Black Wing?"

They had not and the dwarf grinned eagerly as he told the story

"They say in these Eastern lands there's a dragon, soul as black as its scales. And it's got this... creature, a servant no bigger than a mouse. But it's a shapeshifter, ya see. And it serves its master's interests in keepin' people from its home and bringing riches. It takes jobs from folk to dispose of their enemies. And sometimes it sets its own eye on a particular treasure, say, a ship smuggling magic weapons"

That got their attention, of course. Something flitted across the dwarf's vision, too small to be important, and he eagerly continued

"Now, not only can the shapeshifter grow to the size of a man, but it learned its tricks from the dragon itself. Its breath chokes the life from you, melts flesh from bone. It can darken the sky and if you should be unlucky enough to see its fullsized form, a winged monstrosity that heals every injury and fights like a demon, you'd best pray it has its sight on someone else and run the other way. It's said the creature leaves no one it sees alive."

As the fat dwarf spoke, the moon seemed to pass behind the clouds, suitably darkening the atmosphere.

"I've seen the beast, first time I was here with Captain Heidos. A run like this one, the Captain had me and some of the other lads transporting the goods to the estate of some nobleman. The Black Wing was finishing up its work when we came upon it. On every god there is, I was lucky I made it back to the ship. Captain had me flogged for abandoning the loot, but I was just glad to make it out of this harbor alive. Asked about it the next time we were here. Turns out the noble had made a deal with that dragon master some time ago and failed to live up to his demands. I guess we were lucky we weren't its targets."

The crew seemed to ponder his story for a moment, as the grin spread across the dwarf's face. Another saw him and punched his arm

"You all should have seen the looks you gave each other! The Black Wing's just an Eastern myth!"

The sky had gotten even darker than before and was becoming difficult for even a dwarf to see. And then, nothing could be seen. A crewman let out a cry that was suddenly choked out. The sound of sizzling accompanied a chemical smell as the crew drew arms and tried to rush out of the darkness. The dwarven storyteller pulled himself over the side of the ship to escape the choking air. A creature, birdlike but about the size and shape of a man, flew up and landed on the mast, turning its head until it spotted him under the now clear night sky. In one hand, it held what seemed to be a mace or heavy club. It leaped from its perch and dove after the fleeing dwarf, its beak opening to unleash an acidic mist.

The Red Death was full of beaten and half melted corpses when it was found in the morning. Something had torn through the board in the lower decks and seemed to have found what it was looking for, judging from the emptied containers and chests. A dingy was missing from The Red Death's compliment. It was found week later, floating down the river from deep within Dragon's Forest.

NE Sparrow Hengeyokai, Black Dragon Shaman 6
Level Class Base Attack Bonus Fort Save Ref Save Will Save Skills Feats Class Features
1st Dragon Shaman +0 +2 +0 +2 Hide 4, Listen 1, Move Silently 4, Spot 1, Swim 4 Hidden Talent (Distract) Totem Dragon (Black), Draconic Aura +1 (Vigor, Power, Senses)
2nd Dragon Shaman +1 +3 +0 +3 Hide 5, Listen 2, Move Silently 5, Spot 1, Swim 4 Bonus Feat: Skill Focus (Move Silently) Skill Focus
3rd Dragon Shaman +2 +3 +1 +3 Hide 6, Listen 2 , Move Silently 6, Spot 2, Swim 4 Power Attack Draconic Adaptation (Water Breathing), New Aura (Swiftness)
4th Dragon Shaman +3 +4 +1 +4 Hide 7, Listen 3, Move Silently 7, Spot 2, Swim 4 Breath Weapon (Acid; 30 ft line; 2d6), Draconic Resolve
5th Dragon Shaman +3 +4 +1 +4 Hide 8, Listen 3, Move Silently 8, Spot 3, Swim 4 Shamanic Invocation (Darkness), Draconic Aura +2
6th Dragon Shaman +4 +5 +2 +5 Hide 9, Listen 4, Move Silently 9, Spot 3, Swim 4 Dragontouched Breath Weapon (3d6), Touch of Vitality (24 points)

Epic Bonus Feats
Shape Breath
Maximize Breath
Clinging Breath
Psionic Weapon
Psionic Talent
Lingering Breath
Draconic Senses
Dragonfire Assault
Draconic Heritage (Black)

Spoiler: Stats/On Hengeyokai and other abilities

Hengeyokai are humanoid shapechangers with three forms. These forms affect their physical stats. Additionally, in Animal and Hybrid form, Black Wing has low-light vision, can speak with animals of his kind, and has fly speeds (50ft for Animal, 20 ft for Hybrid, both average). In Animal form his land speed is 1ft and in Hybrid form it is 20ft. He can't wear more than medium armor in Hybrid form and all held or carried equipment melds into his Animal form, causing magic items to cease functioning as long as he is in that form. In Animal form his size is Fine and his AC is 24. They can change form a number of times each day equal to their Character Level +1

Stats Human Form Hybrid Form Sparrow Form
Strength 14 14 1
Dexterity 10 12 23
Constitution 16 (17) 16 (17) 10
Wisdom 8 8 8
Intelligence 14 14 14
Charisma 14 14 14

Sparrow Hengeyokai have -2 to Wisdom in all forms, a +2 to Dex in Hybrid form, and set physical stats in their animal form. +1 to Con at 4th level

The Darkness invocation functions exactly like Darkness when used. It is treated as cast by a Dragonfire Adept four levels lower than the Dragon Shaman's class levels.

Distract gives a single target a -4 on Listen, Spot, Search, and Sense Motive checks.

Power gives a bonus = to the aura bonus on melee damage rolls

Vigor: Gives fast healing for each point of aura bonus, but only on creatures at or below half HP

Senses: gives a bonus on Listen, Spot, and Initiative checks = to the aura bonus

Swiftness: gives a bonus to Climb, Jump, and Swim (presumably equal to the aura bonus). Also increases
Swim, Climb, and Fly speeds by 5x the aura bonus, but does not give a Swim or Fly speed if you don't already have one

Touch of Vitality gives a pool of points each day that heals HP (if we got to higher levels it could do more, but in this case it doesn't do too much)

Water Breathing is an Ex ability, which is always active, and allows breathing underwater, as well as the use of spells and other abilities freely underwater.

Breath Weapon works like a dragon's breath weapon except the save is a Reflex save with a DC equal to 10 + 1/2 your dragon shaman level + your Con modifier.

How to use Black Wing:

Level 1-3: As Black Wing steps out from his master's cave for the first time in many years, he is largely a magic thug. His best tactics are to sneak past enemies or sneak up on them after using Distract and unleash a Power Attack from hiding with the heaviest weapon he can find. He can run and hide effectively thanks to having wings and a changing form. Ideally he keeps to his Hybrid or Animal forms while working. The human form is only used when he needs to be completely incognito. 3rd level gets him Power Attack, Water Breathing, and a slightly faster flight speed (as well as a climb speed, for what that's worth). He is now capable of approaching from any terrain, which is probably his best feature at this point: Even if a foe expects him, they don't know how he'll approach. In Sparrow form, he is exceptionally hard to hit or even see, making this his ideal approach tactic, but he can use other means if necessary.

In a group, Black Wing can support a rogue in scouting or warriors by providing a little extra damage, better initiative, or keeping them at least at half.

Levels 4-5: Gaining a breath weapon and a few immunities, Black Wing can now rain acid on his foes from the air. He becomes a far better skirmisher at this point: His high AC as a sparrow coupled with his fast movement and ranged breath weapon means he has little to fear in being followed. At level 5 his auras improve and rather than learn a new one, he takes the Darkness invocation as an ACF. This helps him hide, gives a little BFC (important especially when on his own), and makes it even easier to escape pursuers after a skirmish.

Level 6: Now with more damage from his breath weapon and a direct healing ability, Black Wing has a better chance in surviving on his own. The Dragontouched feat is gained as he is finally accepted as his master's most loyal and capable servant. Tactics are largely the same, he can just fight longer now.

Epic Feats: These work best all together, I think. With his draconic feats, Black Wing now has darkvision and low-light vision in all forms, as well as getting to change his bonus damage from Power attack to acid and some resistance to acid itself. Breath feats + Darkness let him set up some decent BFC now, especially if he can trap enemies in tight spaces. Darkstalker and being able to use Distract more often make it harder to find him on night assaults, which would be his preferred time to strike what with having Darkvision and low-light vision all the time now. Between fights he would psionically focus, which in tandem with Power Attack, gives him a lot more damage, as a sort of one use Sneak Attack (albeit a weaker one).

So, Black Wing goes from magic thug to decent skirmisher to ambush predator over his career.

Thanks to everyone judging this round! This was really fun to put together.

Spoiler: Sources

Power Attack, Skills, Skill Focus

Player's Handbook II
Dragon Shaman, Power, Vigor, Senses Auras

Oriental Adventures (and 3.5 update)

Dragon Magic
Shamanic Invocation ACF, Darkness Invocation
Swiftness Aura
Draconic Senses
Dragonfire Assault
Draconic Heritage (Black)

Lords of Madness
Darkstalker Feat

Expanded Psionics Handbook
Hidden Talent (Distract)
Psionic Weapon
Psionic Talent

Shape Breath
Clinging Breath
Lingering Breath
Maximize Breath