View Full Version : 'Core' class: Stalker

Dark Knight Renee
2005-12-12, 11:24 PM
This class came about when a had a very specific character concept that I wanted to translate into actually stats. I tried very hard to do it with multiclassing Rogue/Ranger/Barbarian, but the abilities I wanted where horribly weak and there were many, many abilities I didn't want at all. I eventually came up with this class, though the character himself (a LG Drow with very strong hatred for other drow) also took an obscure prestige class (Foe Hunter) from and older edition book on rangers, druids and barbarians t oget his stats just right.

I did my best to balance it, but I'm interested in a second (third, fourth and fifth too :P) opinion on that.

Level * * *Base Attack * * *Fort * * *Ref * * *Will * * *Special Features
1st * * *1 * * *0 * * *2 * * *0 * * *Swift and Silent, Rage 1/day
2nd * * *2 * * *0 * * *3 * * *0 * * *Sneak Attack +1d6
3rd * * *3 * * *1 * * *3 * * *1 * * *Favored Enemy
4th * * *4 * * *1 * * *4 * * *1 * * *Uncanny Dodge (flanking)
5th * * *5 * * *1 * * *4 * * *1 * * *Rage 2/day
6th * * *6 * * *2 * * *5 * * *2 * * *Stealth Run
7th * * *7 * * *2 * * *5 * * *2 * * *Sneak Attack +2d6
8th * * *8 * * *2 * * *6 * * *2 * * *Favored Enemy
9th * * *9 * * *3 * * *6 * * *3 * * *
10th * * *10 * * *3 * * *7 * * *3 * * *Rage 3/day
11th * * *11 * * *3 * * *7 * * *3 * * *Tireless Rage
12th * * *12 * * *4 * * *8 * * *4 * * *Sneak Attack +3d6
13th * * *13 * * *4 * * *8 * * *4 * * *Favored Enemy
14th * * *14 * * *4 * * *9 * * *4 * * *Silent Run
15th * * *15 * * *5 * * *9 * * *5 * * *Rage 4/day
16th * * *16 * * *5 * * *10 * * *5 * * *
17th * * *17 * * *5 * * *10 * * *5 * * *Sneak Attack +4d6
18th * * *18 * * *6 * * *11 * * *6 * * *Favored Enemy
19th * * *19 * * *6 * * *11 * * *6 * * *Swift Hide
20th * * *20 * * *6 * * *12 * * *6 * * *Rage 5/day

HP and Skills:
Hit Die: d8
Skill Points per level: 6 + Int
Class Skills:
Balance, Climb, Jump,
Tumble, Listen, Spot, Swim,
Escape Artist, Use Rope,
Bluff, Hide, Move Silently,
Knowledge, Profession, Craft
Light and Medium armor
Simple and Martial weapons
Epic Levels:
Bonus Feats every five levels
(at the same levels as Rage (unfortunately))

Favored Enemy: see Ranger ability
Rage, Tireless Rage: see Barbarian ability
Uncanny Dodge: see Barbarian or Rogue Improved Uncanny Dodge ability
Sneak Attack: see Rogue ability

Swift and Silent:
Hide and Move Silently, no penalty at normal speed, as the feat
Stealth Run:
Penalty on Hide and Move Silently while running reduced to -10
Silent Run:
No penalty on Move Silently while running, -10 while charging
Swift Hide:
No penalty on Hide while running, -10 while charging

Single Shot Zombie
2005-12-12, 11:31 PM
Ummm, I would think that "running" and "charging" should be changed to "moving" and "charging/running" respectively.

And I'd say that this seems kinda overpowered. Some of the abilities come much earlier than the class you normally find them in (Barbs only get Tireless Rage at level 17). You should reduce the rage progression or rage bonuses, as the Stalker isn't a primary barbarian.

And since he's called the "stalker", WHY does a sneaky guy even have rage in the first place?

2005-12-13, 12:21 AM
Seems pretty over powered to me. Much better skills than a fighter, only d8 instead of d10. Full Bab, which is why I compared to fighter (skills nearly as good as a rogue) And abilities almost every level, many of which are better than a comparable feat.

Dark Knight Renee
2005-12-13, 12:38 AM
Like I said, I initially designed it for a specific character ::) Basically I had a stealthy character with a penchant for barbarian-like rages, and the triple multi-class didn't work. The name itself is probably my only real dislike about the class, as it doesn't quite fit right.

On Tireless Rage: Barbarian has Damage Reduction, Greater and Mighty Rage, and lots more HP, which I figured balanced that, since it makes the Stalker's rage less useful. I also may not have noticed the possible unbalance because the character I originally made the class for had only 10 Con, further limiting it's usefulness for anything but slaughtering Drow (thanks to the PrC's DR).

Barbarian, Rogue, several other classes have abilities every level, too. Those levels that have none usually have a relevent increase in saves, BAB, spells per day, or some combination of those things. I hesitate to alter the progression because I tried very hard not to make any single level-up too weak or too powerful.
I compared the Stalker to Ranger and Barbarian more than Fighter when I was making it, which also have full BAB. I also compared it to Rogue and Scout (Complete Adventuer). It lacks the barbarian's toughness, the fighter's feats, and the rogue's masive skill list.

However, as you say, it may be unbalanced, though it could have been worse...

That Lanky Bugger
2005-12-13, 12:45 AM
Kneejerk reaction is that this is broken, if only because it does most of the things from the three classes it emulates ALMOST as well. The Bard gets away with this only because it's a spellcasting Class and the spellcasting, while useful, is completely overshadowed by other spellcasters. Warrior-types don't get this advantage.

As a DM, I'd allow this with some changes, though. Dropping the Sneak Attack to dice at 3rd, 9th, and 15th (losing the fourth); Favoured Enemies at 4th, 10th, and 16th (again, losing the fourth); Rage at 1st, 5th, 11th, and 17th (losing the Tireless Rage). Aside from those, I'd get rid of Swift Hide entirely (as a DM, my knee-jerk reaction to Hide and Running/Charging is NO), perhaps replacing it with an improved form of Uncanny Dodge at 14th or so and drop Skill Points to 4+Int.

I like the sort of flavour you're going for (a Hunter-type that focuses on Ambushing, right?) but the rules as written give the impression of an Uber-warrior. Another idea to increase the flavour might be to reduce the benefits of the other classes a little further (say reducing a Sneak Attack die and a Favoured Enemy) in favour of some abilities which give the Stalker some more leeway in the Surprise Round.

Maybe a Class Ability that gives the Stalker an additional Standard Action to start (so they can move and attack, attack twice, or move twice), all the way up to allowing Full Attacks at the end of a partial charge in the Surprise Round, to maybe even giving the Stalker the ability to automatically act in any given Surprise Round (though not always at the full Class Ability)?

Edit: Darn it, you posted seven minutes before mine went through! Ah well, most of this is still my opinion anyways.

Dark Knight Renee
2005-12-13, 12:52 AM
Intersting suggestions there, Lanky.

That Lanky Bugger
2005-12-13, 12:57 AM
Thanks. I do aim to please.

I mean, what's the point of a new Core class if it doesn't come with some nifty-keen abilities that are... well, core to that classes' utility that other core classes don't have?

I mean, to further my comparison from before, the Bard is pretty much a Rogue/Sorcerer combo with a slightly different way of casting spells. A Bard's nifty abilities (His Perform abilities and his Bardic Lore) are what seperate him from a Rogue/Sorcerer multiclass.

2005-12-13, 01:07 AM
The closest class to compare it with would be ranger.

HD, skills and BAB are identical, or close enough to identical that it does not matter.

What this class has that ranger doesn't :
Improved Uncanny Dodge (at one level earlier than the earliest in any core class).
Sneak attack (at approximately half the progression of the rogue)
The ability to use stealth skills on the move unpenalized (and running at higher levels)
Rage (Tireless kicks in 6 levels earlier than for barbarian, but rage progression is slightly slowed, and no greater+ rages)

What ranger has that this class doesn't :
Tracking (basicly a locked bonus feat)
Combat Style
Spells (which is, at the levels you get it, not a very powerful part of the ranger)
Endurance (another locked bonus feat)
Animal Companion
5th favored enemy
Woodland Stride
Swift Tracker
Hide in Plain Sight
Good Fort Save

Now the second list is longer than the first, but the first has more powerful entries.

Evasion and Improved Uncanny Dodge are about equal (as long as we don't include regular uncanny dodge in the latter), but maybe IUD carries a bit more weight.

Sneak attack would balance out combat style and endurance.

Tracking, swift tracking, woodland stride and camouflage would balance out the "hasty" stealth features.

That leaves rage to be balanced against spells, animal companion, 5th favored enemy and the fort save. The only thing that I would say weighs heavily for the ranger here is the fort save, the three other are general niceties, but not a big deal. But it's more or less balanced against the rage, especially if tireless rage is postponed a bit.

In power level balance, I would say it may be a bit stronger than the ranger.

However, my issue with this class is the fact that it is made to eliminate the need for multiclassing when one wants features from several different classes. That cries PrC in my book.

I'd say make this a 10-level PrC that requires rage, favored enemy and sneak attack and 8 ranks of MS and Hide. Let the PrC have a Rage progression about 2/3 of the Barbs, keep HD and skills, give it both good fort and ref, and keep the swift stealth stuff (although I agree that it would need a rewording). It could also get away with 2-3 dice of sneak attack spread across the 10 levels.

2005-12-13, 01:27 AM
And just because I feel like being helpful :

If you want, I could type out a suggestion for a PrC based on your core class (to show you what I mean). If you don't like the idea of making it a PrC, I'm not going to put in the effort ;)

Dark Knight Renee
2005-12-13, 12:14 PM
And just because I feel like being helpful :

If you want, I could type out a suggestion for a PrC based on your core class (to show you what I mean). If you don't like the idea of making it a PrC, I'm not going to put in the effort

Thanks! Please do:)

2005-12-13, 02:04 PM
Yeah, I don't see any reason you couldn't make this out of the three classes you mentioned. The only things you have there that isn't covered by one of those classes are the stealth abilities. Why not just make a feat tree out of them, since one of them is a feat already?

1 Barbarian 1, take Swift and Silent feat
2 Rogue 1
3 Ranger 1, take Stealth Run feat
4 Brb 2
5 Brb 3
6 Rog 2, take Silent Run feat
7 Rog 3
8 Rgr 2
9 Rgr 3, take Swift Hide feat
10 Brb 4
11 Rog 4
12 Rog 5
13 Rgr 4
14 Rgr 5
15 Brb 5
16 Rog 6
17 Rog 7
18 Rgr 6
19 Rgr 7
20 Rgr 8

This won't give you exactly what you want (less rages per day, less favoured enemies, less than perfect BAB) but it will give you a pretty balanced character, since everyone seems to think your homebrew class was overpowered anyway. It actually looks more like a Gestalt class than a new base class.

I'm all for customization, but I always have reservations about creating new "base" classes. My basic questions are "what is it about this class that can't be accomplished using what's already there?" and "why shouldn't this be a prestige class?"

2005-12-13, 08:28 PM
Ok, here comes my suggestion for a Stalker prestige class :

I've let the stalker gain 3 dice of sneak attack over 10 levels (as opposed to a rogue gaining 5), 2 extra uses of rage (as opposed to a barbarian gaining 3), and I didn't let the class totally negate penalties for hide/move silently on the run. I included Uncanny dodge for the simple reason that this is a level 2 ability for Barbarians and level 4 ability for rogues. Some builds towards this PrC may not have that ability. At level 4, I upgrade it to IUD (which would be level 9 for the quickest build, slower than both the regular barbarian and rogue). I considered letting the stalker increase favored enemy bonuses, but that would be too much while also giving UD/IUD, but if you prefer Favored Enemy bonuses, simply exchange the IUD with a favored enemy increase as per the ranger rule.


Prerequisites :
* Rage class ability
* Sneak Attack class ability
* Favored enemy class ability
* 8 ranks of Move Silently
* 8 ranks of Hide

HD : d8

Skills : 6+int per level

Class Skills : Balance, Climb, Jump,
Tumble, Listen, Spot, Swim,
Escape Artist, Use Rope,
Bluff, Hide, Move Silently,
Knowledge (dungeoneering, geography, local and nature), Profession, Craft

1+1+2+20Uncanny Dodge
2+2+3+30Swift and Silent
3+3+3+3+1Sneak Attack
4+4+4+4+1Extra Rage, Improved Uncanny Dodge
5+5+4+4+1Stealth Run
6+6+5+5+2Sneak Attack
7+7+5+5+2Silent Charge
8+8+6+6+2Extra Rage
9+9+6+6+3Sneak Attack
10+10+7+7+3Hidden Charge


Uncanny Dodge (Ex)

A stalker can react to danger before her senses would normally allow her to do so. She retains her Dexterity bonus to AC (if any) even if she is caught flat-footed or struck by an invisible attacker. However, she still loses her Dexterity bonus to AC if immobilized.

Swift and Silent (Ex)
A stalker may move at up to normal speed while using Hide and/or Move Silently without taking the normal -5 penalty for doing so. The stalker still takes full penalties for running, charging or attacking.

Sneak Attack

This is exactly like the rogue ability of the same name. The extra damage dealt increases by +1d6 each time this ability is gained (level 3, 6 and 9). If a stalker gets a sneak attack bonus from another source the bonuses on damage stack.

Extra Rage (Ex)

The stalker gains one additional rage per day at levels 4 and 8

Improved Uncanny Dodge (Ex)

At 5th level and higher, a barbarian can no longer be flanked. This defense denies a rogue the ability to sneak attack the barbarian by flanking him, unless the attacker has at least four more rogue levels than the target has barbarian levels. If a character already has uncanny dodge from a second class the levels from the classes that grant uncanny dodge stack to determine the minimum level a rogue must be to flank the character.

Stealth Run (Ex)
A stalker who is running while using Hide and/or Move Silently only takes a penalty of -10 instead of the normal -20. The stalker still takes full penalties for charging or attacking.

Silent Charge (Ex)
A stalker who is charging while using Move Silently only takes a penalty of -10 instead of the normal -20.

Hidden Charge (Ex)
A stalker who is charging while using Hide only takes a penalty of -10 instead of the normal -20.

(P.S. The table got slightly weird, but I couldn't find the error in the code for it (there was no space inside any of the brackets when I typed it, so I have no idea where that came from

Dark Knight Renee
2005-12-13, 10:00 PM
Wow, thanks :)

2005-12-13, 10:09 PM
Sci, you just gave me a gamegasm. Beautiful translation

2005-12-13, 10:31 PM
Dark_Knight_Renee :

No problem, I enjoy fiddling with the rules :) And it gave me an opportunity to make a PrC, something I haven't done before.

Misplaced_Jedi :

Thanks :) I was actually quite satisfied with the result myself, especially since this is the first PrC I've done.

2005-12-14, 06:12 PM
I'd nix Favored Enemy. You've already got Rage and Sneak Attack buffing the class's damage. 3 damage buffs is a bit much.

Other than that, it's a solid class. "Feral and crazy" seems to be a popular character concept among my players. I'm gonna copy this one down for later reference.

A few other suggestions...

Why have them have one set of rules for running while moving silently, and another for charging? I'd just give them the same bonuses for either. Because of the way the flat-footed rules work, moving silently while charging isn't going to come up much.

One other special ability this class needs: the ability to charge as a partial action. Restrict them to moving only their full speed when they do it, not double their full speed, of course. This ability would let them charge during a surprise round. Normally you can't do that, which limits the usefulness of ambushes for melee characters. If a rogue wants to burst out of hiding and make a melee sneak attack, he has to either pop out 5' from the target or hope he wins initiative in the first round. Since he could sneak-attack if he won initiative in the first round anyway, ambushes often just aren't worth setting up unless you're using a ranged weapon.

2005-12-14, 07:42 PM
Umm... this reeks of Drizzt Do' Urden. : P Ahh, another youth corrupted by the Dark Elf syndrome. I blame the recent incarnation of Drizzt with his "hunter" raging fits for this.

Dark Knight Renee
2005-12-14, 07:55 PM
Ahh, another youth corrupted by the Dark Elf syndrome.

Yep :D Fortunately, the character himself differs from Drizzt far more than the basic stats premise would suggest...

2005-12-14, 08:01 PM
One other special ability this class needs: the ability to charge as a partial action. Restrict them to moving only their full speed when they do it, not double their full speed, of course.

You mean like this:

If you are able to take only a standard action or a move action on your turn, you can still charge, but you are only allowed to move up to your speed

That's something that's already allowed in the SRD (http://d20srd.org/srd/combat/specialAttacks.htm#charge), so everyone can do that.

2005-12-14, 09:33 PM
I don't think making additional starting classes that combine the effects of other classes is a bad idea, so long as the new class has solid flavour. That's why Swashbucklers are great; they have tons of flavour, and having a Swashbuckler prestige class just wouldn't serve the same purpose; I think it makes more sense to play your character concept right from the beginning, as opposed to suddenly switching to it after five or six levels of generic broadsword hacking.

'Course, making a class that emulates multiple existing classes without sucking or being overpowered is a problem, especially in a game like D&D which tends to rely on specialized character roles. As I see it, the original build that was presented is somewhat over the top - I can see the sneak attack and the rage (never mind full BAB) stacking pretty brutally. I honestly think this build would be better with either 3/4 BAB or a d6 hit die, otherwise this build just beats Ranger so hard, it's not even funny. And 6 skill points per level I don't quite get - not only is it kind of broken, but this kind of character should be so specialized in his specific kind of combat abilities, he shouldn't have that much time for extra skills.

The concept is nice, though. I agree it would be even better if there was something special to the class, similar to, say, the Bard's songs - though those are, alas, nowhere near enough to save Bards from suckdom - but even then, just with a bit of toning down, it would be a nice, functionable and interesting class.