Backstabbing Expert (3.5e Class)

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Backstabbing Expert
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Editing: Constructive edits welcome

Backstabbing Expert[edit]

The backstabbing expert is unparalleled in its ability to inflict damage on unsuspecting or unprepared targets.

Making a Backstabbing Expert[edit]

The backstabbing expert is the perfect class for a sneak-attack-based character.

Abilities: A backstabbing expert is a master at using physical weapons in close range, and as such should be good at either Strength or Dexterity, or both. Constitution would be the most useless ability score for the backstabbing expert, except that they lack the defensive special abilities that other Rogue-like classes have. Some of the optional class features of the backstabbing expert have effects that are improved by a good strength or charisma score.

Races: Backstabbing experts are most popular with races that rely on stealth for their survival and combat, such as Halflings and Goblins.

Alignment: Any.

Starting Gold: 2d6×10 gp.

Starting Age: Moderate.

Table: The Backstabbing Expert

Hit Die: d6

Level Base
Attack Bonus
Saving Throws Special
Fort Ref Will
1st +0 +0 +2 +0 Stealth Attack +1d6, Fearsome Reputation, Attack Upgrade
2nd +1 +0 +3 +0 Stealth Attack +2d6 or Stealth Trick
3rd +2 +1 +3 +1 Stealth Attack +3d6
4th +3 +1 +4 +1 Attack Upgrade
5th +3 +1 +4 +1 Stealth Attack +4d6
6th +4 +2 +5 +2 Stealth Attack +5d6 or Stealth Trick
7th +5 +2 +5 +2 Stealth Attack +6d6
8th +6/+1 +2 +6 +2 Attack Upgrade
9th +6/+1 +3 +6 +3 Stealth Attack +7d6
10th +7/+2 +3 +7 +3 Stealth Attack +8d6 or Stealth Trick
11th +8/+3 +3 +7 +3 Stealth Attack +9d6
12th +9/+4 +4 +8 +4 Attack Upgrade
13th +9/+4 +4 +8 +4 Stealth Attack +10d6
14th +10/+5 +4 +9 +4 Stealth Attack +11d6 or Stealth Trick
15th +11/+6/+1 +5 +9 +5 Stealth Attack +12d6
16th +12/+7/+2 +5 +10 +5 Attack Upgrade
17th +12/+7/+2 +5 +10 +5 Stealth Attack +13d6
18th +13/+8/+3 +6 +11 +6 Stealth Attack +14d6 or Stealth Trick
19th +14/+9/+4 +6 +11 +6 Stealth Attack +15d6
20th +15/+10/+5 +6 +12 +6 Attack Upgrade

Class Skills (8 + Int modifier per level, ×4 at 1st level)
Balance (Dex), Bluff (Cha), Climb (Str), Diplomacy (Cha), Disguise (Cha), Escape Artist (Dex), Hide (Dex), Intimidate (Cha), Jump (Str), Listen (Wis), Move Silently (Dex), Open Lock (Dex), Sense Motive (Wis), Sleight of Hand (Dex), Spot (Wis), Survival (Wis), Swim (Str), Tumble (Dex), Use Rope (Dex).

Class Features[edit]

The backstabbing expert's class features exist to provide more damage. All of the following are class features of the backstabbing expert.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: The backstabbing expert is proficient with all simple weapons and light armor, as well as with the kukri, sap, short sword, and rapier.

Stealth Attack: If a backstabbing expert can catch an opponent when he is unable to defend himself effectively from her attack, she can strike a vital spot for extra damage.

The backstabbing expert’s attack deals extra damage any time her target would be denied a Dexterity bonus to AC (whether the target actually has a Dexterity bonus or not), but only so long as the backstabbing expert has moved at least 10 feet since the beginning of her current turn, or last turn if taking the stealth attack during another character's turn. This extra damage is 1d6 at 1st level, and it increases by 1d6 on every level that is not a multiple of 4. Should the backstabbing expert score a critical hit with a stealth attack, this extra damage is not multiplied.

Ranged attacks can count as stealth attacks only if the target is within 30 feet.

With a sap (blackjack) or an unarmed strike, a rogue can make a stealth attack that deals nonlethal damage instead of lethal damage. She cannot use a weapon that deals lethal damage to deal nonlethal damage in a stealth attack, not even with the usual –4 penalty.

A backstabbing expert can stealth attack only living creatures with discernible anatomies—undead, constructs, oozes, plants, and incorporeal creatures lack vital areas to attack. Any creature that is immune to critical hits is not vulnerable to stealth attacks. The backstabbing expert must be able to see the target well enough to pick out a vital spot and must be able to reach such a spot. A backstabbing expert cannot sneak attack while striking a creature with concealment or striking the limbs of a creature whose vitals are beyond reach.

Stealth attacks qualify as sneak attacks for the prerequisites of feats and prestige classes.

Fearsome Reputation: The backstabbing expert gets a +2 circumstance bonus to intimidate checks and bluff checks relating to combat skill when interacting with characters that have heard of a successful attack by a backstabbing expert.

Attack Upgrade: At 1st level and every level which is a multiple of 4, the backstabbing expert learns a new attack upgrade.

Stationary Attack: A backstabbing expert with this ability is not required to have recently moved 10 feet in order to inflict a stealth attack.

Crippling Assault (Ex): A backstabbing expert with this ability may sacrifice 2d6 points of stealth attack damage in order to deal 2 damage to any single ability score.

Disturbing Slaughter (Ex): A backstabbing expert with this ability may sacrifice any number of dice of stealth attack damage in order to force all enemies within 30 feet of the target (including the target) who can see the target to pass a Will save (DC 10 + number of dice sacrificed + your Cha modifier) or be shaken for a number of rounds equal to the number of dice you sacrificed.

Violent Strike (Ex): A backstabbing expert with this ability may sacrifice 1d6 points of stealth attack damage in order to force the target to make a Balance (DC 15 + your Str modifier) check or be knocked prone.

Explosive Strike (Su): A backstabbing expert with this ability may sacrifice 5d6 points of stealth attack damage in order to deal 1d12 points of fire damage to each character other than the backstabbing expert that is within 20 feet of the target (Reflex save half, DC 15 + your Cha modifier).

Amnesia Attack (Su): A backstabbing expert with this ability may sacrifice 2d6 points of stealth attack damage in order to force the target to lose a spell of their highest level slot that they have remaining and to lose a number of power points equal to the power point cost of the most expensive power they know.

Less Lethal Attacks: A backstabbing expert with this ability can do nonlethal damage with stealth attacks with any weapon without a -4 penalty.

Discerning Attacker (Ex): A backstabbing expert with this ability can use stealth attacks on creatures of her own size or smaller even if they have no discernible anatomy or are immune to critical hits.

Very Discerning Attacker (Ex): This ability requires the Discerning Attacker ability. Discerning Attacker no longer has a size restriction.

Flanker: A backstabbing expert with this ability can use stealth attacks on opponents that she is flanking even if they are not denied their dexterity bonus to AC.

Swift Attack: The backstabbing expert can use stealth attacks on dazed, entangled, dazzled, nauseated, panicked, or frightened opponents.

Hidden Blow: The backstabbing expert only takes a -10 penalty to hide when trying to remain hidden while making a stealth attack instead of the normal -20.

Jump Attack: If the backstabbing expert jumps onto an enemy or a square adjacent to an enemy from higher ground and at least 10 feet away, she may deal stealth attack damage with her first attack against that enemy during that turn.

Stealth Trick: At 2nd, 6th, 10th, 14th, and 18th level, the Backstabbing Expert may choose to get a stealth trick instead of improving her stealth attack damage by 1d6.

Running Stealth: Backstabbing experts with this ability only take a -2 penalty to hide and move silently for moving more than half speed, and only a -10 penalty for running or charging, instead of the normal -5 and -20 penalties.

Hurry: The backstabbing expert gets +10' to all of her movement speeds, so long as she is wearing light or no armor.

Tumbling Terror: The backstabbing expert may move at full speed instead of half speed when using a tumble check to avoid attacks of opportunity.

Blinking (Sp): The backstabbing expert may spend a full round action to teleport up to 60 feet in any direction a number of times per day equal to her Charisma modifier. She does not need line of sight to use this ability, but attempting to teleport to an occupied space makes the ability fail, using it up and dealing 1d10 damage to the backstabbing expert.

Scuttling (Ex): The backstabbing expert may put extra effort into Climb, Jump, or Swim once per day. If she does so, she adds her Charisma modifier and her Dexterity modifier to all checks with the chosen skill for the next 10 minutes.

Disappearing (Su): The backstabbing expert automatically turns invisible whenever she stays still for 5 minutes in a row. This effect lasts until she takes any actions.

Ventriloquism (Ex): The backstabbing expert can spend a move action to project her voice up to 50 feet in any direction she has line of effect to.

Epic Backstabbing Expert[edit]

Table: The Epic Backstabbing Expert

Hit Die: d6

Level Special
21st Stealth Attack +16d6
22nd Stealth Attack +17d6
23rd Stealth Attack +18d6
24th Bonus Feat
25th Stealth Attack +19d6
26th Stealth Attack +20d6
27th Stealth Attack +21d6
28th Bonus Feat
29th Stealth Attack +22d6
30th Stealth Attack +23d6

6 + Int modifier skill points per level.

Stealth Attack: The backstabbing expert's stealth attacks continue to improve in number of damage dice at the same rate.

Bonus Feats: The epic backstabbing expert gains a bonus feat (selected from the list of epic backstabbing expert bonus feats) every 4 levels after 20th.

Epic backstabbing expert Bonus Feat List: Blinding Speed, Combat Archery, Dire Charge, Distant Shot, Epic Prowess, Epic Reputation, Epic Skill Focus, Epic Speed, Epic Weapon Focus, Improved Combat Reflexes, Improved Sneak Attack, Instant Reload, Legendary Climber, Lingering Damage, Penetrate Damage Reduction, Sneak Attack of Opportunity, Spellcasting Harrier, Superior Initiative, Uncanny Accuracy. The backstabbing expert may choose an Attack Upgrade instead of a bonus feat.

Halfling Backstabbing Expert Starting Package[edit]

This is a devious little fiend.

Weapons: Short sword, dagger, shortbow.

Skill Selection: Balance 4 ranks, Climb 4 ranks, Hide 4 ranks, Move Silently 4 ranks, Listen 4 ranks, Open Lock 4 ranks.

Skill Ranks Ability Armor
Check
Penalty
Balance 4 DEX
Climb 4 STR
Hide 4 DEX
Move Silently 4 DEX
Listen 4 WIS
Open Lock 4 DEX

Feat: Improved Initiative.

Attack Upgrade: More Lethal Attacks.

Gear: Leather Armor, Standard Adventurer's Kit.

Gold: 70 gold.

Campaign Information[edit]

Playing a Backstabbing Expert[edit]

Backstabbing experts are unpopular with people who do not know them, given their tendency to kill people during the first round of combat.

Religion: Backstabbing experts prefer to worship deities who approve of stealth and a "stab first, ask questions later" approach. They almost never agree with deities who believe in fair fights, although some of the attack upgrades do make it possible to make a backstabbing expert who relishes them.

Other Classes: The backstabbing expert makes an excellent first line of offense for a party, but a lack of defensive traits makes them rely on defensive classes during longer battles.

Combat: The backstabbing expert sneaks around and stabs as many enemies as they can until the opponents realize what's going on. Then they rely on their allies to enable a continued offensive.

Advancement: Backstabbing experts that multiclass should probably take levels in a stealth or magic class, since combat classes are unlikely to significantly impact the damage that they deal.

Backstabbing Experts in the World[edit]

Backstabbing experts are devoted combat characters, and as such are likely to be found working in some sort of militaristic or assassination-friendly organization.

"They was dead when I got here, I swear!"
—Ugg Thogbreaker, Half-Orc Backstabbing Expert/Barbarian
"Et tu, Brute?"
—Emperor Julius Cesar, to his trusted friend and killer, Marcus Brutus


Daily Life: The backstabbing expert wakes up in the morning, inflicts a great deal of damage, is payed, and has some fun.

Notables: Slortch Makkers, grand assassin of goblinkind is a hero to his people, killing adventurers and dragons to keep goblins safe. Dravus von Lortz, one of the most feared vampires in history, is so feared because he has been known to drain the blood of everyone in an entire castle without anybody realizing until the next week.

Organizations: Backstabbing experts prefer to assemble in places where they can sit next to a wall.

NPC Reactions: Backstabbing experts are devoted killing machines, and are treated as such.

Backstabbing Expert Lore[edit]

Characters with ranks in Knowledge (history), Knowledge (local), or Knowledge (Topic relevant to battles or assassinations) can research backstabbing experts to learn more about them. When a character makes a skill check, read or paraphrase the following, including information from lower DCs.

Knowledge (Something Relevant)
DC Result
5 It's a bad idea to lose track of a backstabbing expert.
10 Some backstabbing experts can make their attacks on targets that are immune to sneak attacks.
15 Backstabbing experts can deal incredible amounts of damage, but they aren't particularly hard to kill if you can find them.
20 Military backstabbing experts generally work as advance troops for an army coming close behind.

Backstabbing Experts in the game[edit]

Like Rogue


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