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    Default A-Hunting They Will Go [Hunter NPC class]

    Fluff story spoiler'd because it made the post rather ponderously large. Encouraged reading, though!

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    “We’ve been wandering through this forest for ages,” Della whined to her companions. The lithe-but-frail halfelf sorcerer’s muscles begged for a rest, and she could feel blisters forming on her feet.

    “It hasn’t been that long, Della.” Olmic, the team’s sturdy dwarven fighter, responded. He was more suited for long walks, but even he was beginning to feel the toll of the prolonged search, as his stomach reminded him with a threatening growl. “I could definitely go for some food an’ drink, though…”

    Jayle, the cleric, was quick to respond. “Well, we might be able to all enjoy some right now if you hadn’t gone and eaten everything five hours ago, you bottomless pit!”

    “Hey! It takes a dwarf a lot more t’keep runnin’ and you know that, human!” Olmic’s last word had the faintest tint of an insult.

    The party’s crisis was interrupted, however, by a keening cry somewhere to their left and the sounds of something crashing through the in the brush towards them. All three readied themselves for an attack, when out of the bushes burst a large buck, a single arrow planted through its neck. The buck stumbled on for a few more seconds, then collapsed in the middle of their path.

    The adventurers just stared at the downed beast for a moment, unsure of what it meant. A second later they got their answer: Out from the bushes in the same direction the buck had come from strode a large human, six and a half feet tall at least, and almost as broad at the shoulders as Olmic was in his gut. He was wearing forest-colored clothing; he bore a longbow, and a large axe, more use for logging or treecutting than fighting, was slung at his side. The arrows in the quiver on his back bore the same fletching as the one stuck in the deer, marking the kill as his. The lower half of his face was engulfed by a large black beard, which shook when he talked.

    “Ho-ho! Well, my new friends. You’re making enough racket to scare away all the game in this side of the forest. What brings you so far deep into these woods?”

    The party cast glances at each other, unsure what to say. “Well,” Jayle began, “we’re doing a job for the hamlet of Greenborough…”

    “Greenborough!” The man exclaimed, his beard quivering furiously. Della thought she saw movement from inside the tangled mess, as if some small creature had taken up residence at some time or other and was agitated by all this movement. “Why, that’s nigh on ten miles east! You’re a fair ways away, aren’t you?”

    Jayle looked embarrassed. “We didn’t know we were that far away. We were trying to track down a small company of gnolls that had been harassing the village lately, and, well…we got lost.”

    The man stroked his beard thoughtfully. (Della noted that he was careful to avoid pressing the part of the beard she thought she’d seen moving earlier.) “Gnolls, hum. I don’t have any love of gnolls, and you all seem like a decent lot…how about I lend you a hand in tracking them and getting you guys back home?”

    Jayle was about to accept, when Olmic broke in: “How’s about some food first?” He asked, nodding at the buck. Jayle whirled about and glared at the dwarf. “What? I’m hungry. A dwarf’s got to have his priorities. Stomach first, gnolls later!”

    The hunter laughed heartily, his hands clutching his sides. “Haw haw! You took the words right out of my mouth, dwarf! Come, let’s cook this deer up and eat a little, then we can worry about those yipping dogs!”


    ---------------------------------------------------------
    There's not overmuch call for another NPC class. Most of the sorts of roles that a character of this class would fill could be filled by the Expert or perhaps Warrior class just fine.

    However, neither of them really reflect the image of the classic hunter very well. Where would our mountain man, our Paul Bunyan sort fit in? The archetype is too skilled with weapons and too skilled at killing animals to really fit the Expert's poor BAB, and the Expert can't use shortbows and longbows, the staple weapon of the iconic medieval hunter. Plus, the hunter is a hardy, sturdy sort, the sort that would scoff at the Expert's paltry d6 and his wimpy fort saves.

    The warrior, though he solves those problems, has a different skill focus and the classic hunter has no reason to be proficient with martial weapons like a falchion or a ranseur. (Though the image of someone hunting deer with a flail or guisarme is pretty funny.)

    Thus, the hunter class, giving an NPC-quality ranger in the way that Kieth Baker's Gleaner provides a npc-level druid of sorts.

    NPC Class: Hunter

    Hit Die: d8.

    Abilities: Dexterity is most important to a hunter, as it increases her accuracy and lets her hide better. Strength can be a valuable asset it the wilds, as well, making physical tasks easier.

    Alignment: Any. The hunter can be a simple peasant hunting for his family, a boastful braggart who enjoys shooting easy targets, or the leader of the King's hunting retinue.

    Characteristics: Hunters are burly, swarthy men and women of strong build and strong personality. They tend towards the outdoors more than urban areas. They can be friendly and outgoing towards those they meet, or they can be secretive and resentful that someone would be on their 'turf' and scaring off game. They are often more brawn than brain, and they usually make jokes, good-natured or otherwise, at the expense of those less physically gifted.

    Skills: The hunter’s class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Balance (Dex), Climb (Str), Handle Animal (Cha), Hide (Dex), Jump (Str), Move Silently (Dex), Ride (Dex), Search (Int), Spot (Wis), and Survival (Wis).
    Skill Points at 1st Level
    (4 + Int modifier) × 4.
    Skill Points at Each Additional Level
    4 + Int modifier.

    Weapon and Armor Proficiency: The hunter is proficient in the use of all simple weapons, plus the throwing axe, handaxe, shortbow (simple and composite), and longbow (simple and composite). The hunter is proficient with light armor but not shields.

    Table: The Hunter
    {table=head]Level|
    BAB
    |Fort Save|Ref Save|Will Save|
    Special

    1st|
    +1
    |
    +2
    |
    +0
    |
    +0
    |Track
    2nd|
    +2
    |
    +3
    |
    +0
    |
    +0
    |Hunter’s Skill
    3rd|
    +3
    |
    +3
    |
    +1
    |
    +1
    |
    4th|
    +4
    |
    +4
    |
    +1
    |
    +1
    |
    5th|
    +5
    |
    +4
    |
    +1
    |
    +1
    |Hunting Blinds
    6th|
    +6/+1
    |
    +5
    |
    +2
    |
    +2
    |
    7th|
    +7/+2
    |
    +5
    |
    +2
    |
    +2
    |
    8th|
    +8/+3
    |
    +6
    |
    +2
    |
    +2
    |
    9th|
    +9/+4
    |
    +6
    |
    +3
    |
    +3
    |
    10th|
    +10/+ 5
    |
    +7
    |
    +3
    |
    +3
    |
    11th|
    +11/+ 6/+ 1
    |
    +7
    |
    +3
    |
    +3
    |
    12th|
    +12/+ 7/+ 2
    |
    +8
    |
    +4
    |
    +4
    |
    13th|
    +13/+ 8/+ 3
    |
    +8
    |
    +4
    |
    +4
    |
    14th|
    +14/+ 9/+ 4
    |
    +9
    |
    +4
    |
    +4
    |
    15th|
    +15/+ 10/+ 5
    |
    +9
    |
    +5
    |
    +5
    |
    16th|
    +16/+ 11/+ 6/+ 1
    |
    +10
    |
    +5
    |
    +5
    |
    17th|
    +17/+ 12/+ 7/+ 2
    |
    +10
    |
    +5
    |
    +5
    |
    18th|
    +18/+ 13/+ 8/+ 3
    |
    +11
    |
    +6
    |
    +6
    |
    19th|
    +19/+ 14/+ 9/+ 4
    |
    +11
    |
    +6
    |
    +6
    |
    20th|
    +20/+ 15/+ 10/+ 5
    |
    +12
    |
    +6
    |
    +6
    |[/table]

    Class Features
    The following are class features of the hunter NPC class.
    Track
    At first level, the hunter gains Track as a bonus feat.
    Hunter’s Skill
    At second level, the hunter gains a favored enemy bonus against all creatures of the animal subtype. This functions exactly like the ranger’s Favored Enemy ability, except the hunter cannot choose the creature type; it is set as animal. The hunter also doesn’t gain additional favored enemies or increased bonuses.
    Hunting Blinds
    At fifth level, the hunter gains partial use of the Camouflage ability. In natural terrain, even if the terrain doesn’t grant cover or concealment, the hunter can the Hide skill. Towards any creature other than animals, treat checks as if the hunter was using only half of his ranks in Hide.
    Ex.: Cliff, a sixth level hunter with eight ranks in the Hide skill and a dex of 13 (for a total Hide bonus of 9), is set up in his hunting blinds in the forest. A deer wandering by must make a Spot check related to his nine ranks in hide; the check that Bellom, the ranger wandering through the forest, would have to make would only reflect four ranks in Hide.
    ---------------------------------------------------------

    I can see this character being used in a manner like the story fragment above; the PCs need a local who knows the area to lead them through a wilderness area, or they run into her while scouting through the forest. The hunter class would allow a DM to send an NPC along with the party that wouldn't be too much help in fights, but wouldn't be completely useless, either. In essence, he'd be sort of like a gimped ranger, giving a PC group access to a ranger's wilderness skills without giving them the combat crutch. The DM can use a hunter NPC to send the party into the woods even if there’s no wilderness-related character in their ranks, like the ill-lucked party taled above.

    To justify the features: Track, well, it’s obvious why a hunter would be able to track. Hunter’s Skill is reflective of the fact that a hunter’s life and livelihood is connected to being able to hunt animals, and therefore he’d have put a lot of practice into doing so, equating into bonuses against them. The Hunting Blinds feature, as the name suggests, represents the various tools of the trade hunters use: blinds, screens, feeders, et cetera, all things which give them an edge against animals, but not most intelligent things. Take a deer blind, for example: That serves effectively for hiding the hunter from the deer, who can’t tell that it’s a manmade thing and only make out that it’s a box-shaped piece of forest. Any human, however, can see that a deer blind doesn’t belong, and it wouldn’t help against them.

    Even more basic than all that, though, I wanted to stretch some homebrewing muscles and see if I had what it takes to make something half decent. I don't see NPC classes remade / modified / added to much, so I figured if nothing else I can get soem credit for treding new(ish) territory. Tell me how you guys think I did.

    Particularly on my mind:
    -- The Hunting Blinds feature – is that clearly worded? If it is, is it an acceptable feature, or is there something wrong with it? Is there anything I left out?
    --Many classic hunters have a hunting dog (or dogs) to help them. Should there be some sort of class feature that enables / emphasizes this? Not every hunter would want a dog, so it shouldn’t be universal, and having a dog makes the class feel too close to the ranger with his animal companion, so I’m split on this.
    --Should there be a second Hunter’s Skill increase, say, to a +4 bonus at tenth level or somesuch?
    --This class still feels somewhat too close to the ranger, even without a dog. While that's somewhat intentional - it's supposed to be a dumbed-down version of the ranger, to give outdoor-character-less parties access to wilderness skills - what could be done to vary him more?
    --This could, potentially, be fleshed out into a PC class; but I don't know of many ways it'd be discernable, stylewise, from a ranger. If anyone has thoughts on that...
    Last edited by Magnor Criol; 2007-04-16 at 08:37 PM.

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    crazedloon's Avatar

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    Default Re: A-Hunting They Will Go [New NPC class?]

    I like it.

    As far as a dog or something perhapse allow a bonus to handle animal. This way the hunter could go say with using the bonus to have a hunting hound or be the sort of hunter who brings prey back alive this way it is still flexable as far as role which the NPC classes should be.
    Check out my horrible homebrews

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    Magnor Criol's Avatar

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    Default Re: A-Hunting They Will Go [New NPC class?]

    Makes sense to me. Perhaps, on that same line of thinking, there should some bonus related to traps, so long as they're hunting-related traps (bear traps, etc.)?

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    Default Re: A-Hunting They Will Go [Hunter NPC class]

    Interesting idea. I would suggest 4-6 Skill Points per level and 1D6 Hit Die, bringing it more in line with the Ranger Player Character Base Class.
    It is a joyful thing indeed to hold intimate converse with a man after one’s own heart, chatting without reserve about things of interest or the fleeting topics of the world; but such, alas, are few and far between.

    – Yoshida Kenko (1283-1350), Tsurezure-Gusa (1340)

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    Default Re: A-Hunting They Will Go [Hunter NPC class]

    The skill points I'm split on, but the hit die I still think should be a d8: hunters are hardy folk. Strength and sturdiness is their thematic focus, while most rangers, thematically, are dex-focused. They're tougher physically than most people, so they should have a high hit die.

    But the skill points; I can agree with an increase. The reason I left it rather low is I was thinking that the typical sort of hunter wouldn't really concern himself with being skilled with anything other than shooting and hunting - but then, there's a lot of aspects of hunting that are represented in the skills. So yeah, skill point increase it is.

    How should I word some sort of bonus to handle animals when doing hunting-related activities?

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    Default Re: A-Hunting They Will Go [Hunter NPC class]

    Yes, it's true that Hunters are hardy, but, then, hardier than what? Commoners only have a 1D4 Hit Die. Saying that, both Experts and Adepts enjoy 1D6 and Aristocrats 1D8. To be honest, I never agreed with moving the Ranger's Hit Die down from 1D10 to 1D8, but there's no undoing that now. Still, I can see an argument both ways for keeping the Hit Die 1D8 or reducing it to 1D6. The only reason I thought to do it, is in order to increase the available Skill Points, which a Hunter is going to need, considering his trade - Sneak, Hide, Search, Spot, Listen and Survival are all going to be primary Skills for this sort of NPC Base Class and they are the only one aside from Warrior to get full BAB. If you increase the number of Skill Points to 4, keep the Hit Die, if you increase it to 6, you definitely ought to reduce the Hit Die to 1D6.

    Hmmn. Wording a Bonus of that type is a little tricky and it is fairly unusual to grant an NPC Class any Class Features at all. Still, you could try something like 'when in the wilderness a Hunter gains +X to Animal Handling Checks.'
    It is a joyful thing indeed to hold intimate converse with a man after one’s own heart, chatting without reserve about things of interest or the fleeting topics of the world; but such, alas, are few and far between.

    – Yoshida Kenko (1283-1350), Tsurezure-Gusa (1340)

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    Default Re: A-Hunting They Will Go [Hunter NPC class]

    I think you should leave handle animal as a class skill, then if the hunter wants a hunting dog, he puts ranks in it, buys a dog, and maybe takes skill focus (handle animal). Is there really a need for a huge bonus? I mean the hunter's dog needs to learn what, "fetch" and "wait" right?

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    Default Re: A-Hunting They Will Go [Hunter NPC class]

    I think I agree with Starsinger about that. You might consider saving such Abilities for a Player Character Base Class with a similar theme.
    It is a joyful thing indeed to hold intimate converse with a man after one’s own heart, chatting without reserve about things of interest or the fleeting topics of the world; but such, alas, are few and far between.

    – Yoshida Kenko (1283-1350), Tsurezure-Gusa (1340)

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    OldWizardGuy

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    Default Re: A-Hunting They Will Go [Hunter NPC class]

    I agree with Starsinger as well. Also, you have "The expert is proficient in the use of all simple weapons..." there. Other than that, I think it's a good idea, and it looks good!
    They say the pen is mightier than the sword, so I took Weapon Specialization.

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    Default Re: A-Hunting They Will Go [Hunter NPC class]

    Actually, now that I think about it, why not just make hunting blinds an item? I'm sure PCs might have use for them too. Allow them to fool animals and magical beasts with less than 3 int. Hunter's skill and track are fine, but hunting blinds would make a nice item.

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    Default Re: A-Hunting They Will Go [Hunter NPC class]

    Quote Originally Posted by Matthew View Post
    [Reasons for d6 vs d8 hit die]
    Those are good points. However, I think the mountain man's outdoor experience and training would make him at least as hardy as the warrior's martial training would, and the warrior has a d8, so I'll keep it at that. The skill points will stay at 4; anything more would suggest more devotion to increasing skills than I think the hunter would have.

    Quote Originally Posted by Starsinger, Matthew, Scribbler
    [Agreement that there shouldn't be bonuses for the hunter vis-a-vis handle animal checks]
    Again, good points. I think I got a little bit carried away and forgetting the more limited scope of an NPC class.

    I wouldn't mind making this a PC class, but it's so similar thematicall and ability-wise to a ranger, I don't think there's a need for it...the only difference is a personality one, being that rangers are protectors of the wilderness and hunters see the outdoors as the place for their livlihood or hobby. If anyone has any suggestions about how to accomplish this, I'm more than open to them...it's definitely an appealing idea to me.

    Scribbler - thanks for pointing that out; I was looking at the expert's stats to get the idea for the format, I guess I wasn't paying attention as I typed. =p

    Quote Originally Posted by Starsinger View Post
    Actually, now that I think about it, why not just make hunting blinds an item? I'm sure PCs might have use for them too. Allow them to fool animals and magical beasts with less than 3 int. Hunter's skill and track are fine, but hunting blinds would make a nice item.
    The Hunting Blinds ability represents more than a specific item; it's also representative of aspects like how the hunter deploys said blinds, the way he settles himself down into the brush to hide, the colors he wears to camouflage better, et cetera. It might be a better candidate for the name Hunter's Skills, but I don't know what I'd call the first ability then.
    The idea of hunting blinds as items is a fun one, though, I'll look into tooling those up (or, of course, any of you are welcome to as well.)

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    OldWizardGuy

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    Default Re: A-Hunting They Will Go [Hunter NPC class]

    A different name for the ability called "Hunter's Skills"? Hmm.. "Humanoid advantage" (of course, creatures that aren't humanoids can take the class, so probably not)? "Intelligent advantage", then? "Outwit animal"? I dunno.
    They say the pen is mightier than the sword, so I took Weapon Specialization.

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