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Gorbash Kazdar
2004-07-14, 04:32 AM
Janya crouches in the bushes beside his two companions, holding the cloth-wrapped bundle close to his chest and cursing softly to himself. If he didn't know better, he'd think even the wealth his prize would bring wasn't worth the trouble he was in.

"We must have lost them by now," Kaie whispers to his right. "Even he wouldn't dare follow into dwarven lands and risk war."

"Then why are we still whispering and hiding in the brush?" Bili hisses back, looking around furtively.

"Quiet, both of you!" Janya takes a breath, trying to calm down. "Even if they're still following, they're at least half a day behind. This brook will mask our scent, and then we'll be in the mountains - and we can sell this little beauty and never have to worry about leaving our mansions again."

The other two men grin and nod, their fears calmed by Janya's confidence. Rising to a crouch, they wade into shallow creek, and head a little ways downstream to throw off their pursuers before beginning to cross. Before they make it even halfway, though, a wolf's howl pierces the night.

The three men freeze, looking in the direction of the howl, blood even colder than the icy river. Just above the rushing water, the sounds of large running creatures can be heard.

"Run!" Bili shouts, breaking for the far side of the river, Janya and Kaie close on his heels. Faster than the other two, Bili begins to pull ahead, and is soon only steps away from the far side.

We're going to make it! Janya thinks ecstatically. Suddenly, something whistles past his head, followed by a half dozen more. Arrows seem to sprout from Kaie's back as the man tumbles into the river. From the trees on the far bank a pair of immense shapes burst, lunging at Bili. Shouting in fear and anger, the man draws his sword and slashes at the two huge wolves, cutting one's snout. With a fierce battle cry, its rider leaps at Bili, striking him a vicious blow with a spear. The other wolf grabs the man's foot and upends him into the river. The wolves and other rider tear into the screaming man.

As soon as the wolf appeared, Janya broke upstream, hoping the two would be distracted by the closer enemy. From the corner of his eye he sees the first rider pointing at him and shouting something in its bestial language, but all else is ignored in the struggle to escape.

Heavy splashes sound behind him, rapidly coming closer. Turning his head in fear, Janya just catches sight of moonlight hitting steel before the axe strikes home.


* * *
Gorbash grins ferally as he wrenches his weapon free of the pink-skin's soft skull. Dismounting, he picks up the dropped bundle, unwrapping the cloth just enough to ensure that it is the totem the three humans had stolen from the clan shaman. They had claimed the wolf was made of something called emerald, but it was just a pound of green stone to him - except for its spiritual importance to the clan.

Pulling himself back atop Grar, his wolf, Gorbash whistles his men to assemble. In moments ten hands of wolves and orcs stand before him. Raising the retrieved bundle over his head, he shouts: "The clan's honor is avenged! We ride for home!"

Wolves and riders both howl for joy, and all begin running hard for the north without pause - leaving the bleeding corpses of three foolish men behind.

KAZDARAN WOLFRIDER OF GORBASH'S HUNT
The wolfriders of the Kazdar orc tribes of the steppes are skilled and deadly warriors, and renowned for their ability to track and bring down any quarry - be it man or beast. Organized in groups of 30 to 200 hundred wolfriders known as Hunts, they guard their homes from intruders and raid into neighboring lands seeking glory and plunder.

The best of these warriors, though, are inducted into the Hunt led by Gorbash Kazdar. Those wishing to join this group must prove themselves in battle and in tracking, and form a bond with their mounts even stronger than a normal wolfriders. Those who prove worthy become even more powerful, the greatest hunters and riders of the clans. By undergoing special shamanic rituals, they gain a few mystical powers, but most of their strength comes from honing their combat abilities sharper than a razor. Above them all is the warchief Gorbash, who founded the Hunt and has lead it in battle for over a decade.

In war, Gorbash's Hunt serves two roles - as shock cavalry, especially good at hitting an opponent in the flanks or rear, and as supply raiders. Their ability as trackers and to cover ground at an incredible rate makes them fearsome in the second role - so much so that many foes estimate their numbers at four or even fives times the actual 50.

When not on the battlefield, the Hunt's occupation may surprise some outsiders. In addition to being border guards and hunters, Gorbash and his followers take on the role of law enforcement and thief-catchers. Any who violates clan law and tries to escape justice soon finds himself with a pack of wolves and riders on his trail, a pack impossible to lose or long escape. Gorbash will follow criminals even into the lands of other races if he thinks their crimes particularly abhorrent, and often metes out justice as soon as he lays hands - or axe and dagger - on them.
Hit Die: d10

REQUIREMENTS:
Race: Half-orc or orc*
Base Attack Bonus: +6
Skills: Handle Animal 9 ranks, Ride 9 ranks, Survival 4 ranks
Feats: Mounted Archery, Mounted Combat, Track
Special: Must have the rage class ability. Must have personally acquired a dire wolf and trained it as a mount and attack animal. Must survive the wolfrider initiation ritual. This involves imbibing a poisonous drink that inspires visions (Fort DC 16, 1d4 Wisdom, Death), then tracking down and killing an appropriate foe (CR 6 or higher) with only the trained dire wolf to help, and armed only with a short bow and a spear.
*This requirement may be disregarded if the character is inducted into the Kazdar tribe; this is a rare honor bestowed only upon those who have proven themselves skilled in battle.

Kazdaran Wolfrider of Gorbash's Hunt
{table="head"]Level|BAB|Fort| Ref|Will|Special

1|
+1|
+2|
+0|
+0| Improved trip, one with the wolf

2|
+2|
+3|
+0|
+0|Pack-bond, scent

3|
+3|
+3|
+1|
+1|Rage +1/day

4|
+4|
+4|
+1|
+1|Improved mounted archery, mounted hunter

5|
+5|
+4|
+1|
+1|Back-to-back, hit them when they're down

6|
+6|
+5|
+2|
+2|-

7|
+7|
+5|
+2|
+2|Rage +1/day

8|
+8|
+6|
+2|
+2|Pounce from wolfback

9|
+9|
+6|
+3|
+3|Bite and claw

10|
+10|
+7|
+3|
+3|Great hunter[/table]

CLASS SKILLS:
The Kazdaran wolfrider of Gorbash's Hunt's class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Craft (Int), Handle Animal (Cha), Intimidate (Cha), Listen (Wis), Ride (Dex), Spot (Wis), and Survival (Wis).
Skill Points at Each Level: 2 + Int modifier.

CLASS FEATURES:
All of the following are class features of the Kazdaran wolfrider of Gorbash's Hunt prestige class.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Kazdaran wolfriders are proficient with all simple and martial weapons and light and medium armor.

Improved Trip: At 1st level, a Kazdaran wolfrider of Gorbash's hunt gains Improved Trip (page 96, Player's Handbook) as a bonus feat, even if he does not normally meet the prerequisites for that feat. The wolfriders learn to fight as their mounts do.

Special Mount: A Kazdaran wolfrider may only use his class abilities associated with riding if he is mounted on a dire wolf he has trained himself. If mounted on any other creature, he loses access to these abilities. A Kazdaran wolfrider may only have one wolf he rides at a time; he cannot replace that wolf unless it dies or is set free (the wolf may refuse to be dismissed). Additionally, the wolfrider's chosen mount gains greater strength and abilities than a normal member of its kind (see below).

One With the Wolf: A Kazdaran wolfrider gains a competence bonus to ride checks equal to his levels in this class while mounted on his wolf.

Pack-Bond (Ex): At 2nd level, a Kazdaran wolfrider becomes a member of the pack. When flanking an opponent, the Kazdaran wolfrider's bonus to attack is +4 instead of +2, as long as the other flanking creature is another Kazdaran wolfrider, the mount of another Kazdaran wolfrider, or the Kazdaran wolfrider's own mount. The wolfrider's mount also gains this ability.

Scent (Ex): A 2nd level Kazdaran wolfrider gains the scent ability (page 314, Monster Manual).

Rage +1/Day (Ex): When a Kazdaran wolfrider reaches 3rd level and again at 7th level, the number of times per day that he can enter a state of rage increases by one.

Improved Mounted Archery: The Kazdaran wolfrider gains Improved Mounted Archery (page 101, Complete Warrior)** as a bonus feat at 4th level.

Mounted Hunter (Ex): At 4th level, a Kazdaran wolfrider may track as normal while his mount is moving at its normal speed, and suffers only a -10 penalty to track while it is moving double its speed. These bonuses apply only when the wolfrider is tracking while mounted, and therefore do not stack with the ranger's Swift Tracker ability (which applies when the ranger himself is moving at normal or double speed).

Back-to-Back (Ex): A dismounted Kazdaran wolfrider of 5th level or higher and his mount may fight while occupying the same space at no penalty. Additionally, neither can be flanked while fighting in this manner.

Hit Them When They're Down (Ex): A 5th level Kazdaran wolfrider may make an Attack of Opportunity on any opponent tripped by his wolf in combat.

Pounce from Wolfback (Ex): By succeeding on a DC 20 ride check, an 8th level Kazdaran wolfrider may dismount and land adjacent to his mount as a free action. If the wolfrider threatens an opponent after dismounting in this manner, he may make an attack against that opponent with a +2 bonus to hit, and suffers a -2 penalty to AC until his next action (as if he had just charged that opponent). Attacking in this manner is a full-round action. This ability may only be used if the wolf is moving no faster than twice its speed.

Bite and Claw (Ex): At 9th level and higher, a mounted Kazdaran wolrider can make a full attack when his wolf moves more than 5 feet but no further than a single move action would carry it. The wolfrider cannot combine this full attack with a charge.

Great Hunter (Su): A 10th level Kazdaran wolfrider of Gorbash's Hunt can track his quarry across any distance and terrain. If he and his wolf spend 1 hour studying an item that was in the possession of the intended quarry for at least 3 days, the wolfrider knows in which direction and how far in that direction the quarry is, no matter how far away the quarry is, as long as the wolfrider and his quarry are on the same plane. Nothing can shake this bond, save death or traveling to another plane (and the wolfrider knows which his quarry has done). This bond lasts one year and a day or until the quarry is slain; a wolfrider cannot choose a new quarry until one or the other of these requirements is met. Additionally, the wolfrider must make a Will save to willingly spend a day doing something not directly related to bringing down his quarry. The DC of this save is 10 on the first day, and increases by a cumulative +2 on each additional day he chooses not to continue his hunt. The save is made at the beginning of each day the wolfrider wishes not to hunt; if the save is failed, the wolfrider must immediately take action to continue after his quarry.

Code of Conduct and Ex-Wolfriders:
Kazdaran wolfriders of Gorbash's Hunt have few rules to follow, but those few must always be observed. A wolfrider may never turn down a challenge involving hand-to-hand combat, riding skill, or hunting, unless the challenge is obviously a trap. A wolfrider may not break an oath, even if it means his death, unless it would bring great harm to his clan. If a wolfrider swears to bring down a certain quarry, he has one year and a day to see to that creature's death. A wolfrider must always defend his wolf's life with his own.

If the wolfrider violates his code of conduct, his wolf is killed, or he fails to kill his quarry (without extreme extenuating circumstances, such as the quarry having been falsely accused of the crime that caused the wolfrider to hunt hm), he loses access to all class abilities granted by the Kazdaran wolfrider of Gorbash's Hunt prestige class, and his mount loses all granted abilities (but not bonus HD, Str, or Natural Armor), until he atones (see the atonement spell description, page 201 Player's Handbook). If the Kazdaran wolfrider's mount has died, he may not atone until he finds a new mount.

**This feat reduces penalties for firing from a moving mount by 2.

Wolfrider's Mount
The wolfrider's mount is superior to normal dire wolves, and has special abilities, as described below.

{table="head"]Wolfrider Level|Bonus HD|Natural Armor Adj.|Str Adj.|Special


1-3|
+3|
+4|
+1|Endurance, evasion, wolf rage


4-6|
+4|
+6|
+2|Improved evasion, longrunner


7-9|
+5|
+6|
+3|Empathic link, improved speed


10|
+6|
+8|
+4|Ferocity, perfect stride[/table]


Wolfrider's Mount Basics: Use the base statistics for a dire wolf, as given in the Monster Manual on page 65-66, but make changes to take into account the attributes and characteristics summarized on the table and described below.

Bonus HD: Extra eight-sided (d8) Hit Dice, each of which gains a Constitution modifier, as normal. Extra Hit Dice improve the wolf's base attack and base save bonuses. The wolf's base attack bonus is equal to that of a cleric with the same number of levels as the wolf has HD, and has good Fortitude and Reflex saves (treat as a character whose level equals the wolf's HD). The wolf gains additional skill points or feats for bonus HD as normal for advancing a monster's Hit Dice (see the Monster Manual).

Natural Armor Adj.: The number on the table is an improvement to the mount's existing natural armor bonus.

Str Adj.: Add this figure to the wolf's Strength score.

Endurance: The wolf gains the Endurance feat as a bonus feat (see page 93 of the Player's Handbook).

Evasion (Ex): When subjected to an attack that normally allows a Reflex save for half damage, the wolf takes no damage if it makes a successful saving throw.

Wolf Rage (Ex): When its rider is mounted on the wolf and goes into a rage, the wolf may also gain the benefits of that ability. The wolf gains the same bonuses as the rider for the same length of time, and suffers the same penalties when the rage ends. Since the wolfrider must also be raging, this ability may only be used a number of times per day equal to the number of times the wolfrider may rage each day, and may only be activated while the wolfrider is mounted on the wolf (though the effect can continue after the wolfrider dismounts). In order to activate this ability, the wolfrider must succeed at a DC 20 Handle Animal check (a free action as part of initiating his own rage).

Improved Evasion (Ex): When subjected to an attack that normally allows a Reflex save for half damage, the wolf takes no damage if it makes a successful saving throw and only half damage on a failed saving throw.

Longrunner (Ex): At 4th level and beyond, whenever a Kazdaran wolfrider rides his wolf at a hustle or a forced march, the wolf makes its Constitution checks and takes non-lethal damage as normal for these actions, instead of taking lethal damage and automatically failing Constitution checks for a forced march.

Empathic Link (Su): The wolfrider has an empathic link with his mount out to a distance of 1 mile. The wolfrider cannot see through the wolf's eyes, but they can communicate empathically. Note that the wolf may see the world differently from its rider, so misunderstandings are possible. Because of this link, the wolfrider has the same connection to an item or place that his wolf does, just as with a master and her familiar (see Familiars, page 52 of the Player's Handbook).

Improved Speed (Ex): The wolf's base speed increases by 10 feet.

Ferocity (Ex): The wolf may continue to fight without penalty even while disabled or dying.

Perfect Stride (Ex): At 10th level, the wolfrider's mount can run faster than normal creatures across broken ground and through difficult terrain. The wolf ignores non-magical terrain features (such as undergrowth or a slope that would not require a climb check to scale) that would hamper its movement, and is able to move at its full speed across this terrain. Additionally, when moving overland, add to the terrain multiplier.

For example, if the wolf was moving across a trackless desert or forest, the movement modifier would be x3/4, instead of x1/2. On a road in a swamp or a highway in a mountain, movement modifier would be x1 rather than x3/4. On a plains highway, movement would x1 instead of just x1.

The Giant
2004-07-14, 10:47 AM
Very nicely done, Gorby.

If I make some minor mechanical critiques, I think the "Hit Them When They're Down" ability should be considered an Attack of Opportunity rather than a "free attack", which is kind of vague. Likewise, I think the wording of "Pounce from Wolfback" should be cleaned up into a specific full-round action, the way a Charge is.

Gorbash Kazdar
2004-07-14, 11:01 AM
Glad you like it :)

I think you're right with Hit Them When They're Down (I originally intended to make it an AoO, dunno why I didn't in the end).

I'll see what I can do with the wording for the Pounce ability...

Lord_Zaryn
2004-07-14, 02:18 PM
Wow.....That is really good. Kudos. Good luck.

Gorbash Kazdar
2004-07-15, 11:55 AM
Thanks, Zaryn. :)

Edits as of Today:
Modified the Hit Them When They're Down and Pounce from Wolfback abilities as suggested by the Giant.
Renamed Ride Bonus (now One With the Wolf) and Full Mounted Attack (Bite and Claw) to give the class a more unique flavor.
Fixed the fluff bit at the begining so the tenses match and it (hopefully) reads a little easier.
--------------------
Making the Class
In case anyone was curious, I figured I'd post a sort of behind the scenes on how I came up with this class and its abilities. It didn't happen exactly in this order (ocassionally I'd have a class ability for later levels figured out before the lower-level ones).

The Name: This was both the easiest and the hardest part. Easy because I knew it had to contain "Gorbash Kazdar" in some way; hard because it's rather obviously a proper name and thus a bit difficult to incorporate in a class name.

Luckily for me, Gorbash was already an established character concept - an orcish wolfrider. It occurred to me that any class with this character's name in it should reflect him, so the Wolfrider part became obvious. The rest depended on picking a name for a group of wolfriders - and I didn't really have it until later. It should be noted now that from the beginning Gorbash and his tribe have been loosely based on Mongolian horsemen.

Class Concept and Abilities: Now I had a name, and a very vague concept - orcish warriors mounted on wolves. Also, with the Mongolian influence, abilities related to long-distance riding and archery would fit nicely. Time to flesh it out further.

The obvious part was to include a number of mounted combat abilities. To this end, I looked over a few mounted PrCs already published - namely the Cavalier and especially the Halfling Outrider. Bite and Claw (then simply Full Mounted Attack) and Pounce from Wolfback came from this, as did One With the Wolf (then Ride Bonus). Now I had a good core of class abilities to add to.

After the mounted combat abilities, I wanted to make a few other combat abilities with a different focus - namely, wolf and rider fighting alongside each other. I saw the wolf as more than just a mount, sort of a companion as well. The Pack-Bond ability came from this; I'd known I wanted to use that name for an ability since the beginning, but not what it should do. The Back-to-Back ability grew out of a feat-chain I'm working on that involves combatants sharing space while fighting; its a concept I really like, and seemed appropriate.

At this point I had to decide whether or not the PrC was a barbarian specific class or not. I decided it should be, since it allowed me to use the Wolf Rage ability, something that struck me as an interesting mechanic.

The bonus feats were added in to reflect sharing combat styles with wolves and superior archery in keeping with the above stated Mongolian influence, as did the ability to travel further than normal while mounted.

The last set of abilities, Mounted Hunter and Great Hunter, actually came about from the flavor bit. I imagined how this class would be used, and the scene above came about, though in less detail. The hunting aspect especially intrigued me, so I decided to include it in the class. Also, it gave me the last piece for the name - calling a group of wolfriders a Hunt.

At this point the wolf was not a special mount, but I had already limited many of the abilities to that particular wolf. After a bit of discussion with a friend, who rightly pointed out that the wolf would be very vulnerable at higher levels, which would then make the wolfrider vulnerable as well, I decided to go back and change that. The Wolf Rage ability became a mount ability, as did Longrunner (originally named Longrider). I based the mount table on the Paladin's Mount, but modified the granted abilities to fit the class better and slow the increase in HD/Nat. Arm. since the wolf was already more powerful than a normal paladin's mount. The Great Hunter ability was also deemed too powerful, and the Will saves were added at my friend's suggestion. With some abilities moved to the wolf, I added the two Rage +1/day abilities.

I also decided that the class needed some further restriction and thus added the Code of Conduct - a nicely orcish code, of course. ;)

Proficiencies, skills, and Hit Die didn't take long - I didn't see wolfriders wearing heavy armor or bothering with shields, so I didn't add them (though anyone qualifying for the class likely has them). Skills were easy, though I went back and forth on 4 + Int or 2 + Int for a while, before deciding the class would be too good with 4. I decided that lower HD than the barbarian would help balance it, though d8 seemed too low, so d10 was the obvious answer.

Requirements: Now that I had the class more or less fleshed out, I had to decide on the requirements. The racial requirement was obvious, but I did want to include the ability to join the Kazdar tribe as a way to get around it (at first the iniation ritual was included in this, but then got moved to the normal requirements).

The feats and skills were clear - the Mounted ones very much so, and Track to go along with the Hunter abilities. I decided to lower the Survival ranks to allow multiclass Bbn/Ftr characters to take the PrC, but then added in the BAB requirement to push other combinations acquirement of the class further back (this was especially done to deal with Bbn/Rogs, who would benefit greatly from the Pack-Bond ability and acquiring a melee companion creature).

The special requirements fluctuated several times - at first only the need to find a dire wolf mount was used, but the rage requirement was quickly added (otherwise single class rangers and fighters could meet the requirements). The initiation ritual wasn't moved until just before I posted the class - it seemed very much in line with the class concept as elite wolfriders; risking death to join fit quite nicely.

And the Rest: Formatting the post so it was readable took almost as long as writing the class did (or at least it seemed so at the time). I detailed out the flavor piece based on what I had imagined earlier, and the explanation of the class really wrote itself. As you can see I've made some changes since posting the class, and I'll probably make some more before the contest ends, but now you know how the original came about.

Hope you enjoyed my little docu-post.

thorondor
2004-07-15, 01:20 PM
Really cool class, great behind-the-scenes 8)

Calyn
2004-07-15, 06:45 PM
Great job Gorbash. This PrC is great. I've always liked the idea of the paladin's mount, and it's nice to see someone other than a paladin get something similar.

One thing you might want to think about, purely on a flavor basis, is how do they receive their more mystical abilities (empathy, great hunter, etc)? As it is, the class seems very non-magical until they suddenly receive these magical-esque powers later on.

Otherwise, looks great!

Gorbash Kazdar
2004-07-15, 09:48 PM
Good point, Calyn. I think I'll probably add some mention of later rituals that unlock the supernatural abilities.

Zagaroth
2004-07-18, 02:43 PM
I LIKEY!

'nuff said

Musrum
2004-07-20, 12:56 AM
Great Hunter (Su):
Since this feature is gained at charater level 16 I think you need something that will give you a chance to track down higly mobile (flying and teleporting) prey.

I think the Freocity ability for you wolf is very under-powered. I would look at giving the wolf some sort of (Su) movement that can only be used on the Hunt which would compliment the Great Hunter ability.

Ikkitosen
2004-07-20, 08:59 AM
This is a great class - you really don't want to get caught out-of-doors by these guys! Quick, run for the caves!!

Way to set the standard :)

Ikki.

Gorbash Kazdar
2004-07-20, 10:17 AM
Thanks, Ikkitosen! Yeah, getting inside is probably the best way to deal with a Kazdaran wolfrider. ;D



Since this feature is gained at charater level 16 I think you need something that will give you a chance to track down higly mobile (flying and teleporting) prey.
I don't follow this. The Great Hunter ability is constantly active - a Kazdaran wolfrider could point directly at his quarry even if that quarry was 1,000 miles away and 500 feet in the air. If that quarry then teleported to 1 mile away and 300 feet underground, the wolfrider would know immediately. This is a pretty powerful ability - with teleport without error, a party with a wolfrider could find an enemy without bothering to stop and scry. And since it does both direction and distance, a wolfrider can pinpoint the square occupied by an invisible quarry at any time.

The only time a wolfrider would lose this is if the quarry was killed, or left the plane. As soon as the wolfrider is on the same plane again, he can sense the quarry. He may not know which plane a quarry has fled to, but he does know when such an evasion is attempted.


I think the Freocity ability for you wolf is very under-powered. I would look at giving the wolf some sort of (Su) movement that can only be used on the Hunt which would compliment the Great Hunter ability.
I'll take this under advisement. One thing to keep in mind is that the wolf is critical to several of the other abilities of the class - the wolf is needed for Great Hunter, for example. Additionally, several abilities also affect the wolf - Pack-Bond and Back-to-Back, for example.

Gorbash Kazdar
2004-07-22, 04:33 AM
Added a 10th level movement ability for the wolf - Perfect Stride, which was suggested by Picasso007.

Credit where credit is due - Musrum suggested adding an extra ability, Picasso suggested the particular ability

Zherog
2004-07-22, 06:01 PM
I really liked this class a lot, Gorb. *It's complex, with all the mount stuff; and yet everything flows from one level to the next very smoothly.


<<snipped flavor text>>

Very nice flavor text. *An enjoyable read, and it paints the picture of the class very nicely.


Hit Die: d10

REQUIREMENTS:
Race: Half-orc or orc*
Base Attack Bonus: +6
Skills: Handle Animal 9 ranks, Ride 9 ranks, Survival 4 ranks
Feats: Mounted Archery, Mounted Combat, Track
Special: Must have the rage class ability. *Must have personally acquired a dire wolf and trained it as a mount and attack animal. *Must survive the wolfrider initiation ritual. *This involves imbibing a poisonous drink that inspires visions (Fort DC 16, 1d4 Wisdom, Death), then tracking down and killing an appropriate foe (CR 6 or higher) with only the trained dire wolf to help, and armed only with a short bow and a spear.
*This requirement may be disregarded if the character is inducted into the Kazdar tribe; this is a rare honor bestowed only upon those who have proven themselves skilled in battle.

Everything here seems OK to me. *The slightly lower hit die helps add some balance to the class, and all the requirements fit nicely. *A Ranger/Barbarian would make a very interesting character going into this class....


CLASS SKILLS:
The Kazdaran wolfrider of Gorbash's Hunt's class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Craft (Int), Handle Animal (Cha), Intimidate (Cha), Listen (Wis), Ride (Dex), Spot (Wis), and Survival (Wis).
Skill Points at Each Level: 2 + Int modifier.

Everything looks good here. *As most everybody knows, I generally like to see craft and profession in a class. *While you could add profession, it fits the flavor of the class not to have it.


Improved Trip: At 1st level, a Kazdaran wolfrider of Gorbash's hunt gains Improved Trip (page 96, Player's Handbook) as a bonus feat, even if he does not normally meet the prerequisites for that feat. *The wolfriders learn to fight as their mounts do.

I love this feat, and I also like the way you allow the rider to learn combat tricks from the mount, just as the mount learns from the rider. *Nice. * 8)


One With the Wolf: A Kazdaran wolfrider gains a competence bonus to ride checks equal to his levels in this class while mounted on his wolf.

A very nice flavor ability. *


Pack-Bond (Ex): At 2nd level, a Kazdaran wolfrider becomes a member of the pack. *When flanking an opponent, the Kazdaran wolfrider's bonus to attack is +4 instead of +2, as long as the other flanking creature is another Kazdaran wolfrider, the mount of another Kazdaran wolfrider, or the Kazdaran wolfrider's own mount. *The wolfrider's mount also gains this ability.

Nice.


Scent (Ex): A 2nd level Kazdaran wolfrider gains the scent ability (page 314, Monster Manual).

A very good fit for the hunting flavor.


Rage +1/Day (Ex): When a Kazdaran wolfrider reaches 3rd level and again at 7th level, the number of times per day that he can enter a state of rage increases by one.

As I've said on other threads, I like when there's a synergy like this between the base class that was used to get here and the PrC. *


Back-to-Back (Ex): *A dismounted Kazdaran wolfrider of 5th level or higher *and his mount may fight while occupying the same space at no penalty. *Additionally, neither can be flanked while fighting in this manner.

Nice ability.


Hit Them When They're Down (Ex): *A 5th level Kazdaran wolfrider may make an Attack of Opportunity on any opponent tripped by his wolf in combat.

You could go a slight step further and grant the same ability to the mount for opponents tripped by the Hunter.


Pounce from Wolfback (Ex): *By succeeding on a DC 20 ride check, an 8th level Kazdaran wolfrider may dismount and land adjacent to his mount as a free action. *If the wolfrider threatens an opponent after dismounting in this manner, he may make an attack against that opponent with a +2 bonus to hit, and suffers a -2 penalty to AC until his next action (as if he had just charged that opponent). *Attacking in this manner is a full-round action. *This ability may only be used if the wolf is moving no faster than twice its speed.

An interesting ability.


Bite and Claw (Ex): At 9th level and higher, a mounted Kazdaran wolrider can make a full attack when his wolf moves more than 5 feet but no further than a single move action would carry it. *The wolfrider cannot combine this full attack with a charge.

Nice extension of the mounted combat rules, making the Hunter better at it than others.


Great Hunter (Su): <<snipped to save space>>

Nice ability. *I agree - this is a lot more powerful than it appears at first.


Code of Conduct and Ex-Wolfriders: <<snipped>>

Nice addition. *Just chaotic enough to fit orcs and barbarians, too.


Longrunner (Ex): At 6th level and beyond, whenever a Kazdaran wolfrider rides his wolf at a hustle or a forced march, the wolf makes its Constitution checks and takes non-lethal damage as normal for these actions, instead of taking lethal damage and automatically failing Constitution checks for a forced march.

Is this gained only at 6th level, or is it gained at 4th level like the table suggests?

***

A very impressive class indeed. *Excellent treatment of the mount to ensure it's survivability at higher levels. *This class actually has a chance to make an appearance in my games. *:)

Gorbash Kazdar
2004-07-22, 07:00 PM
Is this gained only at 6th level, or is it gained at 4th level like the table suggests?

Oops, missed that. Originally Longrunner was a 6th level class ability, before I gave the wolf special abilities. I didn't pay enough attention to fix it when I changed the rest. Thanks for catching that!


A very impressive class indeed. Excellent treatment of the mount to ensure it's survivability at higher levels. This class actually has a chance to make an appearance in my games. :)
Thanks! I'm glad people like it :)

Gorbash Kazdar
2004-08-01, 09:42 PM
Gorbash is not a typical orc, nor are his fellow wolfriders. Below is the orcish subrace to which he belongs:

STEPPE ORCS
In the great highlands and plains live nine clans of orcish wolfriders and herdsmen, eeking out a living in some of the harshest lands in the world. Under the great open sky, steppe orcs tend vast herds of bison like creatures and tame huge dire wolves as mounts and companions. Between these two creatures and a few small crops tended by older members of the clans, the steppe orcs have all they need, and thus care little for the "wealth" of other races.

Strongly spiritual and fiercely protective of their lands, steppe orcs are reknowned hunters and combatants, ready to go to war for almost any insult or provocation.

Personality: Steppe orcs tend to be arrogant and short-tempered, and prone to violence. They have a prickly sense of personal honor, based on their abilities in battle, hunting, and herding. Other races have great difficulty finding the twists and turns of steppe orc relations; what a steppe orc finds insulting coming from one person may make him laugh coming from another.

Physical Description: Steppe orcs, like other orcish races, are massively built, far stronger than other demihuman races. Unlike their cousins, though, steppe orcs often do not appear as monstrous in appearance, though they are still quite savage. Males tend to be heavier than females, but slightly shorter, standing between six and six and a half feet in height, and weighing 200 pounds or more. Males often grow facial hair, which they keep trimmed in goatees and short beards, and wear their hair - which is generally black or dark brown - long, either loose or in numerous dreadlocks. Females also wear long hair, generally pulled back in one or more braids. Steppe orc skin tends to be rough, and rather green in color. Their eyes are dark red, black, dark brown, dark green, or dark blue in color.

Relations: Steppe orcs don't really get along well with anyone, even other orcs. They see elves as weak and arrogant, beneath notice. Halflings are little better. Humans are not only weak, but lack honor and often steal steppe orc lands. Gnomes are disreptuable tricksters, incapable of taking important matters seriously. Oddly, of the demihuman races, they have the most respect for dwarves, but even this is sparing. Dwarves may understand honor - to a small degree - but they live in the ground like moles, something steppe orcs cannot fathom. Other orcs and half-orcs are greedy dirt-diggers, barely worthy of the name orc.

Steppe orcs refer to most demihuman races derisively as "pink-skins," other races are often called "skyless," because their lands seem closed in compared to the steppes - not to mention that they often live under hard stone or wood roofs. Rarely do steppe orcs manage to fully overcome their prejudices and work well with other races.

Alignment: Steppe orcs tend to be very chaotic, valuing personal freedom and honor greatly. They will die to protect their clan, but seem to hold few other loyalties. Steppe orcs have virtually no laws; the only governance to be found comes in the form of shamanistic advisors, warchiefs, and clan matriarchs. These are only obeyed in specific matters, and even then can be ignored if they fail to meet expectations. Most steppe orc leaders manage to control their fellows by appealing to their honor or by personal example. A series of strict taboos are the only other controls on steppe orc society - breaking these brings great dishonor.

Steppe Orc Lands: The steppe orcs, as their name suggests, live in the high grasslands. They are nomadic, following their herds across the landscape, so no steppe orc claims to own lands, but they are very protective of the steppes they live in.

Language: The steppe orcs speak a harsh dialect of orcish. The language has more complex forms of address and terms for spiritual matters than standard orcish, and many more words for matters involving herding, hunting, and riding. There is no written form of this dialect; on the few occasions it does appear in writing, it general is in a phonetic transcription, using either the common or dwarven alphabets.

Religion: Steppe orcs swear allegiance to no gods, instead worshipping the natural world or taking on totem spirits, generally animals who have traits the orc wishes to emulate. Steppe orc shamans also consult with ancestral spirits for guidance.

Names: Steppe orcs have two names, a given name chosen upon reaching majority and a clan name. As children they have pet names, but calling a steppe orc by this name is considered a grievous insult, unless you are the orc's parent or lover. Names follow no standard conventions, though male names tend to end in a consonant while female names end in a vowel sound.

There are nine different clans, the largest and most powerful being the Kazdar. The clan name is always given after the given name.

Male Names: Broz, Devog, Gorbash, Hrond, Mordath, Sorg, Yaran

Female Names: Aras, Crasa, Jyraza, Norindi, Priza, Udra, Worazi

Clan Names: Anrog, Doraz, Gamdrad, Kazdar, Lanvrok, Nadrac, Ryzar, Tamer, Zodar

Adventurers: Steppe orcs rarely leave their lands unless at war or exiled, but most of the latter do not fit into outside society. Their skill with hunting and combat generally leads them into the adventuring "profession," though they still tend to rub companions of other races the wrong way.

STEPPE ORC RACIAL TRAITS
+2 Strength, -2 Intelligence, -2 Charisma: Steppe orcs are immensely strong, but care little for the "book learning" of other races, and even less for what others think of them.
Medium: As Medium creatures, steppe orcs have no special bonuses or penalties due to their size.
Steppe orc base land speed is 30 feet.
Low-Light Vision: A steppe orc can see twice as far as human in starlight, moonlight, and similar conditions of poor illumination. He retains the ability to distinguish color under these conditions.
Steppe orcs have a +2 racial bonus to Ride and Survival checks. Steppe orcs are taught to ride almost before they can walk, and how to survive in the harsh steppes even before then.
+3 racial bonus to Intimidate checks. Steppe orcs are reknowned for being very dangerous opponents, which aids them in frightening others into doing what they want.
Endurance: Steppe orcs gain Endurance as a racial bonus feat.
Illiterate: No steppe orc learns to read or write while growing up; they must spend 2 ranks to learn to read and write the languages they know. Steppe orc barbarians must spend double the normal ranks in ordert to read and write.
Automatic Languages: Orcish. Bonus Languages: Common, Dwarven, Giant, and Goblin.
Favored Class: Barbarian.
Random Heights and Weights
{table]
Race

Base Height

Height Modifier

Base Weight

Weight Modifier


Steppe orc, female

5'11"

+2d4

150 lb.

x (2d6) lb.


Steppe orc, male

5'10"

+2d4

160 lb.

x (2d6) lb.

[/table]
Random Starting Ages
{table]

Race

Adulthood

Simple1

Moderate2

Complex3


Steppe orc

16 years

+1d4

+1d6

+2d6
[/table]1Barbarian, rogue, and sorcerer.
2Bard, fighter, paladin, and ranger.
3Cleric, druid, monk, and wizard.

Aging Effects
{table]
Race

Middle Age

Old

Venerable

Maximum Age


Steppe orc

34 years

50 years

65 years

+2d12 years

[/table]