The Elemental Infiltrator

Everyone has heard tales of thieves who have made pacts with evil powers from the underworld in return for dark powers, or of heroic rogues who ally themselves with the hosts of the heavens to seek out hidden evils. Told less often, however, are the stories of those who turn to extraplanar powers neither good nor evil. There are those who feel a natural affinity to one of the four cardinal elements and use that connection to open the path to a rarely-seen combination of stealth and elemental power. These elemental infiltrators might be the chosen agents of inscrutable elemental lords, or they might be men and women with the blood of genies running through their veins, or perhaps some other role they keep to themselves.

The elemental infiltrator is actually four classes, as each of the four elements train their infiltrators for different tasks. A prospective infiltrator must choose one element and fulfill all of the prerequisites for that one element; no one may take levels in more than one elemental infiltrator class. Air infiltrators are supreme acrobats, capable of the most elaborate cat burglaries on record. Earth infiltrators are masters of traps and locks; no matter how secure, no vault can keep them at bay for long. The quick-witted fire infiltrators use trickery and legerdemain to swindle their foes. Finally, water infiltrators are masters of disguise, their features flowing like water from one shape to the next. Each type of infiltrator is master of their chosen technique, but they tend to stop developing skills associated with the other elements that a more well-rounded thief would continue to practice. Thus, elemental infiltrators are often considered specialists after a fashion.

The Elemental Infiltrator

Alignment: Any neutral.
Base Attack Bonus: +4
Skills: Each element requires that different skills be mastered:
  • Air: Balance 4 ranks, Escape Artist 8 ranks, Tumble 8 ranks, Speak Language (Auran).
  • Earth: Appraise 8 ranks, Disable Device 8 ranks, Open Locks 4 ranks, Speak Language (Terran).
  • Fire: Bluff 8 ranks, Sleight of Hand 8 ranks, Use Magic Device 4 ranks, Speak Language (Ignan).
  • Water: Disguise 8 ranks, Bluff 8 ranks, Swim 4 ranks, Speak Language (Aquan).

Feats: Each element requires that different feats be mastered:
  • Air: Combat Reflexes, Dodge
  • Earth: Great Fortitude, Power Attack
  • Fire: Combat Expertise, Improved Feint
  • Water: Improved Initiative, Iron Will

Special: Sneak Attack +1d6.
Special: Must either be an native outsider with the appropriate elemental subtype OR have 4 ranks in Knowledge (the planes).
Special: Must make peaceful friendly contact with an elemental from the appropriate plane.

Class Skills:
The elemental infiltrator’s class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Appraise (Int), Balance (Dex), Bluff (Cha), Climb (Str), Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Hide (Dex), Jump (Str), Knowledge (local) (Int), Knowledge (the planes) (Int), Listen (Wis), Move Silently (Dex), Profession (Wis), Search (Int), Sense Motive (Wis), Sleight of Hand (Dex), Spot (Wis), and Use Rope (Dex).
In addition, each of the four elements has additional skills that are class skills only for them:
  • Air: Escape Artist (Dex), Tumble (Dex)
  • Earth: Disable Device (Int), Open Locks (Dex)
  • Fire: Intimidate (Cha), Use Magic Device (Cha)
  • Water: Disguise (Cha), Forgery (Int), Swim (Str)

Skill Points at Each Level: 6 + Intelligence modifier.
Hit Dice: d6

Class Features:
Weapon and Armor Proficiencies: The elemental infiltrator gains no additional weapon proficiencies. Earth infiltrators gain medium armor proficiency and shield proficiency, if they do not already possess them.

Elemental Transition I (Ex): When the rogue first embarks on the path of the elemental infiltrator, they start to slowly take on traits associated with their extraplanar allies. At 1st level, the elemental infiltrator no longer needs to sleep; they need only meditate on the mysteries of their element for 4 hours to refresh themselves (this is similar to an elf’s trance)and they become immune to sleep effects. Their physiology takes on other characteristics of an elemental as well; whenever a critical hit or sneak attack is scored against the infiltrator, there is a 25% chance that it is negated due to his partial elemental transformation. Roll damage normally instead. At this stage of transformation, the elemental infiltrator has no outward signs of his allegiance.

Find Flaw (Ex): Careful study of the elements allows the infiltrator to find harmonic weaknesses in the pure elemental bodies of creatures from those planes. An elemental infiltrator can make sneak attacks or critical hits against creatures of the elemental type. This ability also bypasses the chance to ignore a critical hit or sneak attack when attacking another elemental infiltrator.

Sneak Attack (Ex): This is exactly like the rogue ability of the same name. The extra damage dealt increases by +1d6 every other level (2nd, 4th, 6th, and 8th, but not 10th). If an elemental infiltrator gets a sneak attack bonus from another source, the bonuses on damage stack.

Elemental Transition II (Ex): The infiltrator’s body continues to shift towards an elemental state, granting him immunity to paralysis and a +4 bonus to saving throws vs. poison. His appearance starts shifting towards that of an elemental, perhaps changing his coloration or skin texture; this grants him a +2 bonus to Charisma-based skills when dealing with elementals or outsiders with an elemental subtype. Most importantly, he gains the ability to move through the element he has chosen with ease:
  • Air: Gains the ability to fly at a rate equal to his base speed (good maneuverability).
  • Earth: Gains the ability to burrow at a rate equal to his base speed. Earth infiltrators may burrow through dirt, but not stone or similar hard substances. He does not leave a tunnel behind.
  • Fire: Any racial fire resistance the infiltrator has increases by 10. If the infiltrator does not have racial fire resistance, he gains fire resistance 10.
  • Water: Gains the ability to swim at a rate equal to twice his base. The infiltrator gains the benefits of having a racial swim speed (+8 to Swim checks, may always take 10, may use the run action while swimming.) The water infiltrator can also hold his breath for 4 times as long before making a Constitution check, and need only make such a check every 4 rounds thereafter.

Elemental Transition III (Ex and Sp): Now clearly resembling an elemental humanoid of some sort, the infiltrator becomes immune to stunning and gains darkvision with a range of 60 feet. He also gains the ability to manipulate his element to hide himself from others. He gains one of the following as a spell-like ability, usable three times per day:
  • Air: fog cloud
  • Earth: stone shape
  • Fire: pyrotechnics (Saving throw is Charisma-based.)
  • Water: alter self

Elemental Transition IV (Ex): The elemental infiltrator becomes immune to poison. The chance to negate a sneak attack or critical hit increases to 50% as most of their body has transmuted to their chosen element.

Elemental Escape (Sp): When in a desperate situation, an infiltrator learns to use the plane to which he has pledged himself as a handy escape route. An elemental infiltrator learns to plane shift themselves to their elemental plane once per day at 9th level. They cannot take any other creatures with them except bonded animals (animal companions, familiars, etc.) They may also plane shift from the elemental plane to their native plane once per day. The lack of accuracy with this method of travel makes it useless as a form of teleportation, though, as the infiltrator may well end up 500 miles from his intended destination.

Elemental Perfection (Ex): After long studies, the infiltrator finally transforms permanently into an elemental. His type becomes “elemental” and he gains the appropriate elemental subtype (Air, Earth, Fire, or Water), as well as the “Augmented” subtype with regards to his previous creature type. This grants him full immunity to flanking, starvation, suffocation, and critical hits, plus the immunities gained in earlier forms of elemental transition. He does not need to meditate or rest at all, and cannot be fatigued or exhausted, though if he is an arcane spellcaster he must still rest for 8 hours before regaining spells. He gains the following additional abilities as an elemental of his size:
  • Air: Air mastery, fly 100 ft. (perfect), slam attack, whirlwind attack.
  • Earth: Earth glide, earth mastery, push, slam attack.
  • Fire: Burn, immune to fire, slam attack, vulnerability to cold.
  • Water: Drench, slam attack, vortex, water mastery.

The elemental infiltrator is now indistinguishable from a native to their chosen elemental plane, though they are still also recognizable as themselves. They gain a +4 bonus to Charisma-based skill checks when dealing with natives of their plane, but now suffer a –4 penalty to those same skills when dealing with elementals from the opposed plane.

Unlike other elementals, an elemental infiltrator can still be brought back from the dead as if he were still a member of his previous creature type.

Epic Advancement:
Hit Dice: d6
Skill Points: 6 + Int modifier
Sneak Attack: At every additional even-numbered level after 10th, the elemental infiltrator’s sneak attack damage increases by +1d6.
Damage Reduction: At 13th level, the epic elemental infiltrator gains damage reduction 5/--; this increases by 1 every 3 levels thereafter (6/-- at 16th level, 7/-- at 19th level, etc.)
Bonus Feats: At 14th level and every 4 levels thereafter, the elemental infiltrator gains a bonus epic feat, selected from the list of epic elemental infiltrator feats.
Epic Elemental Infiltrator Bonus Feat List: Armor Skin, Blinding Speed, Damage Reduction, Energy Resistance, Epic Reflexes, Epic Speed, Epic Toughness, Great Dexterity, Great Intelligence, Improved Darkvision, Improved Sneak Attack, Superior Initiative.

Design Notes: There are classes with wizards turning into elementals and clerics turning into elementals; why not rogues? That was the key idea here, and I’ll be the first to admit it is inspired by the air genasi rogue I am currently playing in a chatroom game. I looked to the existing elemental transition classes, but most of them focused on elemental damage and resistance. I thought for this class, it would be more interesting to spread out the movement capabilities of the elemental over the course of the class and ignore energy resistance—rogues have Evasion for that anyway. I also spread out the immunities of an elemental, figuring that a rogue would really value them at earlier levels over, say, a wizard who is trying not to get hit in the first place. I tried to balance the Elemental Transition II and III, so that Air has one of the better movement types (flying), but the weakest spell-like ability (fog cloud 3/day just isn’t that impressive at 10th level or so). Water, meanwhile, has the weakest movement type (because everyone can already swim anyway), but a very useful spell-like ability (alter self is always worthwhile for a rogue). The sneak attack progression is meant to mimic the spellcasting progression of the Elemental Savant; full progression until 10th level, when it skips. This will put the infiltrator one or two dice behind a single-classed rogue. He also loses out on skill points and skill list. This is meant to not only balance them, with their large number of special abilities, but also to force a little of the specialization that is often missing from prestige classes. A fire infiltrator simply can’t waste points keeping his cross-class Disable Device skill maxxed, making that the specialty of the earth infiltrator. The large number of prerequisites for the class keep it out of the hands of most casually interested characters, as only a fairly dedicated rogue or bard can even hope to qualify in a reasonable amount of time.

Looking Back...
You know, I still like everything I did here. I think this is a solid choice for a rogue character to take.

Sorry, I don't think I have anything else to say about this one.