Commando (3.5e Class)

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Commando
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Commando[edit]

Commandos are specially-trained soldiers in the service of a military force. While the main army clashes with the enemy on the battlefield, the Commando works somewhat behind the scenes, striking at key targets and objectives behind the enemy's back and with extreme precision. Unlike regular soldiers, which are deployed in large battallions, the Commando is rarely seen in squads above single-digit numbers. These small insertion forces work their way behind enemy lines to conduct special missions, such as assassinating an enemy officer or wizard, demolishing enemy fortifications, or disrupting enemy supply lines. The Commando is thus a model of efficiency--causing as much damage as possible to the enemy while risking only a handful of your own soldiers.

Making a Commando[edit]

The Commando's abilities place her role somewhere between that of a fighter and a rogue. She is as deadly in melee combat as either, and like the rogue she has a wide selection of skills to assist her in her missions. However, she is comparatively less able to stand her ground, lacking both the heavy armor of the fighter and the evasive maneuvers of the rogue. To make up for this, she is highly skilled in fast attack capability, able to make quick, devastating strikes before the enemy can even prepare. The Commando should thus avoid direct confrontation until the opportune moment arises.

Abilities: Commandos need a strong body, nimble feet, and a keen mind. Intelligence powers some of their special abilities and serves as a prerequisite for certain feats. Dexterity and Strength improve their combat prowess as well as the acrobatic and athletic skills they need for their missions. Constitution can help make up for the lack of strong armor.

Races: Humans, with their versatility and adaptability, are the most common races trained as Commandos. The agility of the elves makes them effective Commandos as well. Commandos exist among dwarves, gnomes, and halflings, but are comparatively rare. Orc commandos are almost never seen.

Alignment: Any.

Starting Gold: As Fighter.

Starting Age: Moderate.

Table: The Commando

Hit Die: d8

Level Base
Attack Bonus
Saving Throws Special
Fort Ref Will
1st +1 +2 +0 +0 Insightful Feint
2nd +2 +3 +0 +0 Sudden Strike +1d6, Sudden Strike Subdual
3rd +3 +3 +1 +1 Improved Feint, Silent Advance
4th +4 +4 +1 +1 Combat Style
5th +5/ +4 +1 +1 Fast Movement, Sudden Strike +2d6
6th +6/+1 +5 +2 +2 Quick Flip
7th +7/+2 +5 +2 +2 Reversal Attack
8th +8/+3 +6 +2 +2 Sudden Strike +3d6
9th +9/+4 +6 +3 +3 Dash-Leap
10th +10/+5 +7 +3 +3 Improved Combat Style, Outsmart
11th +11/+6/+1 +7 +3 +3 Sudden Strike +4d6
12th +12/+7/+2 +8 +4 +4 Distracting Strike
13th +13/+8/+3 +8 +4 +4 Sliding Feint
14th +14/+9/+4 +9 +4 +4 Camoflage, Sudden Strike +5d6
15th +15/+10/+5 +9 +5 +5 Combat Style Mastery
16th +16/+11/+6/+1 +10 +5 +5
17th +17/+12/+7/+2 +10 +5 +5 Sudden Strike +6d6
18th +18/+13/+8/+3 +11 +6 +6 Silent Run
19th +19/+14/+9/+4 +11 +6 +6
20th +20/+15/+10/+5 +12 +6 +6 Combat Style Perfection, Death Blur, Sudden Strike +7d6

Class Skills (6 + Int modifier per level, ×4 at 1st level)
Balance (Dex), Bluff (Cha), Climb (Str), Disable Device (Int), Disguise (Cha), Escape Artist (Dex), Heal (Wis), Hide (Dex), Jump (Str), Knowledge (Architecture & Engineering) (Int), Knowledge (Geography) (Int), Knowledge (Local) (Int), Knowledge (Nobility and Royalty) (Int), Listen (Wis), Move Silently (Dex), Open Lock (Dex), Search (Int), Spot (Wis), Survival (Wis), Swim (Str), Tumble (Dex), Use Rope (Dex).

Class Features[edit]

All of the following are class features of the commando.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: A commando is proficient with all simple weapons, plus the kukri, the sap, the shortsword, the longsword, the rapier, the scimitar, the shortbow and composite shortbow, the longbow and composite longbow, the sai, the hand crossbow, the net, and shuriken. A commando is proficient with light armor but not with shields. Some commando class abilities are disabled if she wears more than light armor or carrier more than a light load.

Insightful Feint (Ex): 1st-level Commandos may apply their Intelligence modifier instead of their Charisma modifier to the Bluff skill when making Feint attempts.

Sudden Strike (Ex): Identical to the Ninja (Complete Adventurer) ability of the same name, but with a lower progression rate. A Commando deals Sudden Strike damage with her weapon any time that her opponent would be denied a Dexterity bonus to AC. Unlike Sneak Attack, Sudden Strike damage is not necessarily dealt when flanking an opponent, unless that opponent is also denied a Dexterity bonus to AC. Sudden Strikes may be made with ranged weapons, but only within 30 feet. Sudden Strike counts as the equivalent of Sneak Attack for the purpose of feats, magic items, feat prerequisites, and prestige class prerequisites. Sudden Strike does not affect constructs, elementals, oozes, plants, undead, or any creature with no discernible anatomy.

Sudden Strike Subdual (Ex): Unlike the Ninja, a Commando can deal nonlethal damage with her Sudden Strikes. She is trained in the anatomies of various creatures and knows exactly what nerves to hit for a nonlethal knockout.

Improved Feint: A Commando gains Improved Feint as a bonus feat at 3rd level.

Silent Advance (Ex): At 3rd level, a Commando no longer suffers the usual -5 penalty for moving up to her full speed while moving silently. She still suffers the usual penalties for attempting to run or charge while moving silently, however. She loses this ability if she wears medium or heavy armor, carries a shield, or carries a medium or heavy load.

Combat Style (Ex): Beginning at 4th level, a Commando must choose one of two combat styles to specialize in. This choice affects the character's class features but does not restrict the selection of feats in any way.

Assault: If the Commando selects the Assault combat style, she gains Spring Attack as a bonus feat, even if she could not normally meet the prerequisites.

Sniping: If the Commando selects the Sniping combat style, she gains Far Shot as a bonus feat, even if she could not normally meet the prerequisites. Furthermore, the distance at which she can make Sudden Strike attacks with ranged weapons increases to 60 feet.

Fast Movement (Ex): At 5th level, a Commando's movement speed increases by 10 feet. She loses this bonus if she wears medium or heavy armor, carries a shield, or carries a medium or heavy load.

Quick Flip (Ex): A 6th level Commando can stand up from prone and move up to half her speed with a single move action. This incurs attacks of opportunity as normal unless she also succeeds on a DC 15 tumble check (she does not have to slow down any further to attempt this tumble). She loses this ability if she wears medium or heavy armor, carries a shield, or carries a medium or heavy load.

Reversal Attack (Ex): A 7th level Commando can quickly make a tactical counterattack against an enemy that attacked her. As an immediate action, she may take an attack of opportunity against an opponent that failed a melee attack roll against her. However, this counts as her attack of opportunity for the round (so she may only use this ability once per round, unless she has Combat Reflexes or a similar benefit).

Dash-Leap (Ex): A 9th level Commando can attempt to move 10 feet as part of a five-foot step, instead of the usual 5. To do this, she must make a DC 20 jump check. If the check fails, she only moves 5 feet as usual. She loses this ability if she wears medium or heavy armor, carries a shield, or carries a medium or heavy load.

Improved Combat Style (Ex): At 10th level, a Commando’s aptitude in her chosen combat style (Assault or Sniping) improves. Depending on which combat style she chose at 4th level, she gains a unique special ability.

Assault: This ability is called Feinting Charge. The Commando gains the ability to feint as part of a charge. This is a free action. The target of the feint attempt must be the same as the target of the charge. If the Commando is damaged by attacks of opportunity during her charge, she must make a Concentration check (DC = total damage taken) or automatically fail the feint attempt.

Sniping: This ability is called Sleek Shot. The Commando can feint at a distance, as long as the target of the feint attempt can see her. When she successfully feints in this way, the target of her feint attempt is denied its Dexterity bonus to its AC against her ranged attacks, as well as melee. Furthermore, the distance at which she can make Sudden Strike attacks with ranged weapons increases to 90 feet.

Outsmart (Ex): At 10th level, whenever an enemy would gain the benefit of Uncanny Dodge or Improved Uncanny Dodge against one of the Commando's attacks, she may attempt to outsmart that opponent. For each attack that her enemy would get the benefits of Uncanny Dodge or Improved Uncanny Dodge against, she may make an Intelligence check (DC = 10 + enemy's Dexterity modifier). If the Commando succeeds on this check, her enemy loses the benefit of Uncanny Dodge/Improved Uncanny Dodge against that single, specific attack.

Distracting Strike (Ex): As a standard action, a 12th level Commando may make a single, special melee or ranged attack. If she succeeds on the attack roll, the enemy must make a Will save (DC = 10 + 1/2 Commando level + Commando's Int modifier). If the enemy fails, it is considered "distracted" for 1 round. While "distracted", the enemy does not count as "observing" the Commando for the purpose of making Hide checks, so the Commando can hide from that particular enemy (but there must be cover or concealment as normal). Additionally, a distracted enemy must make Concentration checks to cast spells (DC 10 + spell level). Distracting Strike counts as a mind-affecting effect.

Sliding Feint (Ex): If a 13th level Commando is adjacent to a Large or smaller creature and makes a successful feint attempt against that creature, she may immediately move (free action) to the opposite side of that creature. Additionally, the creature counts as flanked for the next attack that she makes against it, provided she makes an attack within 1 round, even if there are no allies to flank it. She loses this ability if she wears medium or heavy armor, carries a shield, or carries a medium or heavy load.

Camoflage (Ex): A Commando of 14th level or higher can use the Hide skill while in any sort of natural terrain, even if the terrain doesn’t grant cover or concealment. She loses this ability if she wears medium or heavy armor, carries a shield, or carries a medium or heavy load.

Combat Style Mastery (Ex): At 15th level, a Commando’s aptitude in her chosen combat style (assault or sniping) improves again. Depending on which combat style she chose at 4th level, she gains another unique special ability.

Assault: This ability is called Acrobatic Charge. The Commando gains the ability to charge when it would normally be disallowed. She can charge through difficult terrain or through allies blocking her path. This ability enables her to run down steep stairs, jump from a balcony, or tumble over tables to get to her target. Depending on the circumstances, she may still need to make the appropriate checks (Jump or Tumble, in particular) to get over the terrain. She loses this ability if she wears medium or heavy armor, carries a shield, or carries a medium or heavy load.

Sniping: When the commando uses her Sleek Shot ability, the required feint attempt takes only a free action, rather than a move action. Furthermore, the distance at which she can make Sudden Strike attacks with ranged weapons increases to 120 feet.

Silent Run (Ex): At 18th level, a Commando can make Move Silently checks without penalty even while running or charging. She loses this ability if she wears medium or heavy armor, carries a shield, or carries a medium or heavy load.

Combat Style Perfection (Ex): At 20th level, a Commando has achieved perfection in her chosen combat style (assault or sniping). Depending on which combat style she chose at 4th level, she gains a final unique special ability.

Assault: This ability is called "Confounding Feint". The Commando can now feint in melee as a free action. Whenever she successfully feints in melee, her target is denied its Dexterity bonus to AC against all of her melee attacks in the same round, instead of just one attack.

Sniping: This ability is called "Confounding Sleek Shot". Whenever the Commando successfully feints for her Sleek Shot ability, her target is denied its Dexterity bonus to AC against all of her ranged attacks in the same round, instead of just one attack. Furthermore, the distance at which she can make Sudden Strike attacks with ranged weapons increased to 150 feet.

Death Blur: This mighty maneuver takes so much patience and preparation that it can only be used once per day. Once per day, a 20th level Commando can make a full attack as a standard action. At the end of her full attack, she is fatigued. She loses this ability if she wears medium or heavy armor, carries a shield, or carries a medium or heavy load.

Epic Commando[edit]

Table: The Epic Commando

Hit Die: d8

Level Special
21st
22nd
23rd Sudden Strike +8d6
24th Bonus Feat
25th
26th Sudden Strike +9d6
27th
28th Bonus Feat
29th Sudden Strike +10d6
30th

6 + Int modifier skill points per level.

Sudden Strike: Increases by 1d6 every 3 levels beyond 20th.

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

Epic Commando Bonus Feat List: Blinding Speed, Combat Archery, Dire Charge, Distant Shot, Epic Dodge, Epic Prowess, Epic Speed, Improved Combat Reflexes, Improved Manyshot, Improved Sneak Attack, Instant Reload, Legendary Climber, Legendary Leaper, Sneak Attack of Opportunity, Swarm of Arrows, Uncanny Accuracy.

<-Sample race of your choice-> <-class name-> Starting Package[edit]

Weapons: <-Weapon selection for starting at 1st level with this class.->.

Skill Selection: Pick a number of skills equal to 4 + Int modifier.

Skill Ranks Ability Armor
Check
Penalty
<-Skill name-> <-4 for class skills and 2 for cross-class skills-> <-Abbrieviated key ability-> <-armor check penalty based on starting armor. If innapplicable put "—"->
<-Skill name-> <-4 for class skills and 2 for cross-class skills-> <-Abbrieviated key ability-> <-armor check penalty based on starting armor. If innapplicable put "—"->

<-copy and paste the rows as necessary.->

Feat: <-1st-level feat selection->.

Bonus Feats: <-1st-level feat bonus feats due to class or sample race. remove this section if this sample doesn't get any bonus feats at 1st level. ->.

Gear: <-Starting armor and other equipment outside of weapons.->.

Gold: <-Starting gold using this package.->.

Campaign Information[edit]

Playing a Commando[edit]

Religion: Commandos come from all walks of life and can worship any deity, or none at all. However, there is a tendency towards deities of war, such as Kord, Erythnul, and Heironeous.

Other Classes: Commandos, by their nature, tend to work alone, and as a result they generally don't get along well with classes that don't share similar abilities. They find a lot in common with rogues and rangers, both masters of stealth and infiltration. At the other end of the spectrum, they scoff at barbarians, monks, and paladins, thinking their direct, brute-force approaches to be foolish and inefficient.

Combat: The commando is a martial damage-dealing class, like the fighter and barbarian. Unlike the fighter and barbarian, however, they rely on fast attack and stealth rather than direct confrontation. With only light armor, no shield, and only a medium hit die, they can't take as much punishment as other martial classes. They must compensate for this using their skills and opportunist tactics. Rather than meeting their enemy face-to-face, they observe from hiding, waiting for the perfect moment to strike. When they do strike, it is lethal indeed.

Advancement: Commandos generally don't multiclass, but when they do, they generally choose a class that fits their combat style. Commandos of the Assault specialization can benefit from levels in Fighter, or the Duelist prestige class. Among Sniping commandos, the Arcane Archer and Assassin are popular prestige options. Commandos of both combat styles enjoy learning the arts of the Shadowdancer to complement their infiltration abilities.

Commandos in the World[edit]

One chance is all I need
—Vance Skye, human commando

Commandos are used as specialist soldiers by military forces, to make surgical strikes against key targets. Their training is far more intense than that of ordinary military soldiers. They spend years in special training camps designed to weed out the best of the best through a series of rigorous--and often lethal--trials and challenges. Those that survive the training camp become Commandos, and are sent on special missions behind enemy lines.

Daily Life: The Commando's life is relatively boring compared to that of a regular soldier. While the soldier is out on the battlefield day after day, meeting armies of the enemy in intense melee, the commando usually sees very little action. Only occassionally do his superiors call upon him to undertake a mission. They spend most of their free time--which they have a great deal of--living among ordinary citizens, while visiting their training camp every few weeks or so in order to keep their skills fresh.

Organizations: Commandos begin as ordinary soldiers in an army. The single best and strongest soldier in an entire company is chosen to undergo commando training. Even then, less than half of those chosen survive the deadly and arduous training process. After training is complete, they generally sign a contract to continue serving the military for a particular length of time (usually six years, though this varies widely).

NPC Reactions: Commoners may not even know that a given person is a commando. Regular soldiers have mixed feelings about them. Some respect and admire them for their skill and prowess. Other soldiers, however, look upon commandos with disdain, for while the soldier must face the enemy army on the battlefield, risking life and limb every day, the commando merely relaxes until he is eventually called upon to serve a mission which almost always involves more stealth than confrontation. One could call it jealousy.

Commando Lore[edit]

Characters with ranks in Knowledge(Nobility and Royalty) can research commandos to learn more about them. When a character makes a skill check, read or paraphrase the following, including information from lower DCs.

Knowledge(Nobility and Royalty)
DC Result
5 Commandos are soldiers which recieve special training.
10 Commandos are trained for stealth, infiltration, and fast attack.
15 Commandos have an array of extraordinary skills, including the ability to move both quickly and silently and the ability to dart around their opponent's defenses.
20 The mightiest commandos can appear seemingly out of nowhere, launch an entire flurry of attacks in the blink of an eye, and then disappear just as suddenly.

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