Shadow Rogue (3.5e Class)
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Description: A Shadow Rogue feels at home in the darkness, shadows, and otherwise "sketchy" enviroments. Often found consorting with rogues, mischievous bards, and other scoundrels, shadow rogues fit in well as a sneaky addition to most adventuring parties. As Shadow Rogues tend to favor chaos, and neutrality, it is uncommon to find them in the service of a ideal (good, neutral or evil) as a spy or scout, as you might find a rogue, almost all the shadow rogue are True Neutral. Often adventuring for wealth, or perhaps just for the fun of it, these rogues can come from any walk of life; from fallen nobles, to common street beggars. Masters of their art, few are ever actually caught and sent to prison, and even fewer actually can be kept in the walls.
Characteristics: A Shadow Rogue can effectively serve his party as both a ranged striker, and a melee striker. Having too few hit points to remain in melee combat for long, most step into combat, deliver serious damage, and then retreat back to a safe distance.
Races:Halflings are perhaps the most common Shadow Rogue race, but Humans, Elves, and Half-Elves also can make fairly effective Shadow Rogues. Half-Orcs can create an unusually effective melee Shadow Rogue, but are often not intelligent enough to compete with others. Dwarves, and their cousins gnomes, are typically ill-suited for a Shadow Rogue.
Making a Shadow Rogue
Abilities:As a typical Rogue, Shadow Rogues rely most heavily on Dexterity. Intelligence is also important for skill points and Clever Strike, and depending on your chosen play style Charisma or Strength might also be a useful investment. Constitution and Wisdom are traditionally the lower stats of a Shadow Rogue.
Starting Age: Simple
Starting Gold: As Rogue (5d4x10 (125 gp))
|1st||+0||+0||+2||+2||Sneak Attack +1d6, Trapfinding, Bonus Feat|
|2nd||+1||+0||+3||+3||Quick-Witted Fighter, Evasion, Uncanny Dodge|
|3rd||+2||+1||+3||+3||Clever Strike, See in Darkness|
|4th||+3||+1||+4||+4||Sneak Attack +2d6, Bonus Feat|
|7th||+5||+2||+5||+5||Sneak Attack +3d6, Shadow Strike/Shadow Claw, Bonus Feat|
|8th||+6/+1||+2||+6||+6||Light Blade+1, Improved Uncanny Dodge|
|10th||+7/+2||+3||+7||+7||Sneak Attack +4d6, Bonus Feat|
|12th||+9/+4||+4||+8||+8||Improved Shadow Step|
|13th||+9/+4||+4||+8||+8||Sneak Attack +5d6, Improved Shadow Strike, Bonus Feat|
|14th||+10/+5||+4||+9||+9||Light Blade +2|
|16th||+12/+7/+2||+5||+10||+10||Sneak Attack +6d6, Bonus Feat|
|17th||+12/+7/+2||+5||+10||+10||Light Blade +3|
|19th||+14/+9/+4||+6||+11||+11||Sneak Attack +7d6, Bonus Feat|
|20th||+15/+10/+5||+6||+12||+12||Light Blade +4|
Class Skills (8 + Int modifier per level, ×4 at 1st level)
All of the following are class features of the Shadow Rogue.
Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Shadow Rogue are proficient with all simple weapons, plus the hand crossbow, rapier, sap, shortbow, and short sword. Shadow Rogues are proficient with light armor, but not with shields.
Sneak Attack: If a Shadow Rogue 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 Shadow Rogue'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), or when the Shadow Rogue flanks her target. This extra damage is 1d6 at 1st level, and it increases by 1d6 every three Shadow Rogue levels thereafter. Should the Shadow Rogue score a critical hit with a sneak attack, this extra damage is not multiplied.
Ranged attacks can count as sneak attacks only if the target is within 30 feet.
With a sap (blackjack) or an unarmed strike, a Shadow Rogue can make a sneak attack that deals nonlethal damage instead of lethal damage. She cannot use a weapon that deals lethal damage to deal nonlethal damage in a sneak attack, not even with the usual –4 penalty.
A Shadow Rogue can sneak 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 sneak attacks. The Shadow Rogue 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 Shadow Rogue cannot sneak attack while striking a creature with concealment or striking the limbs of a creature whose vitals are beyond reach.
Trapfinding: Shadow Rogues can use the Search skill to locate traps when the task has a Difficulty Class higher than 20. A shadow rogue adds 1/2 her level to Perception skill checks made to locate traps and to Disable Device skill checks (minimum +1). A shadow rogue can use Disable Device to disarm magic traps.
Evasion (Ex): At 2nd level and higher, a shadow rogue can avoid even magical and unusual attacks with great agility. If he makes a successful Reflex saving throw against an attack that normally deals half damage on a successful save, he instead takes no damage. Evasion can be used only if the rogue is wearing light armor or no armor. A helpless shadow rogue does not gain the benefit of evasion. Furthermore, A shadow rogue of 12th level or higher may take this opportunity to use a shadow slide and leave the area of effect, assuming it is within the range of their standard slide, should they choose (ie. A 14th level shadow rogue who successfully avoids a Fireball Spell may jump to the outer edge of the blast, as a free immediate action, because the maximum range of his jump is 55 feet, and the diameter of the fireball is only 40 feet. He may also jump to the side of a 100' line of lightning, but as 100' is further than his maximum jump, he may not jump to the end of the line of lightning. He may not jump to another point within the area of effect under any condition. He may also choose to stay within the area of effect and still take no damage, should he wish.).
Quick-Witted Fighter (Ex): Rogues often use their quick wits to get by, or grand gestures that hide their form and allow them to trick the eye. At second level, the rogue gains the Shielded in Life feat with either Intelligence or Charisma.
Uncanny Dodge (Ex): Starting at 2nd level, a shadow rogue can react to danger before his senses would normally allow him to do so. He retains his Dexterity bonus to AC (if any) even if he is caught flat-footed or struck by an invisible attacker. However, he still loses her Dexterity bonus to AC if immobilized.
Clever Strike (Ex): At 3rd level a Shadow Rogue may choose to add their Intelligence modifier to any attack and damage made with the following weapons: any light weapon, rapier, whip, bow, crossbow, scimitar or spiked chain . This bonus can also be applied to thrown weapons. A shadow rogue with a negative Intelligence modifier may choose to not use this only after succeeding a DC 15 Intelligence check. This check need only be made once per lifetime.
See in Darkness (Su): At 3rd level Shadow Rogue can see in darkness of any sort, even magical darkness. (20 feet)
Darkness (Sp): At 5th level a Shadow Rogue can use darkness, as a spell-like ability, a number of times per day equal to 1/5 his ECL (1/day level 5-9, 2/day level 10-14, 3/day level 15-19, 4/day level 20).
Shadow Step (Sp): At 6th level, a Shadow Rogue can use dimension slide as a spell-like ability at will. This works just like the psionic power(Standard action, range equal to 25'+5'/2 levels), except that you must start and end in a shadow conceivably large enough for your character to fit through (ie. A Half-orc shadow rogue could not expect to jump into or out of the shadow cast by a common house cat, unless the lighting was just so). You can start in your own shadow and end in someone else's. It is equally possible to dive into a moving shadow(like one cast by a galloping horse), or come out of a moving shadow. It is up to the DM to discern the appropriate check for such an event(Failing such a check would imply that you "missed" the shadow, and therefore remain standing where the shadow was. It is impossible to "miss" the exit shadow.). Should an acceptable shadow not be within range, nothing happens. At 12th level a shadow rogue gets Improved Shadow Step. This functions as Shadow Step, but takes only a Move-Action, as opposed to a Standard Action.
Shadow Strike (Sp): As an attack action, a 7th level Shadow Rogue can hit somebody with a bolt of solid shadow. A shadow strike has short range, strikes as a ranged touch attack, and deals cold damage equal to (1d6 for every 2 ECL) and may be used as part of a sneak attack. Feats and abilities such as Two-Weapon Fighting and Rapid Shot that grant extra attacks do not grant extra uses of this ability. She may use this ability a number of times per day equal to half his ECL. The shadow rogue may also to choose to make a melee touch attack with this attack. In this instance a shadowy claw appears on the users hand and deals 1d3 damage per ECL. Using Shadow Claw does not count against uses of Shadow Strike per day, however, once the daily allotment of Shadow Strike has been used, Shadow Claw may not be used. Shadow Claw likewise deals cold damage, and qualifies as a light weapon, so it can be used for weapon finesse and Clever Strike (unlike Shadow Strike, which does not). At level 13 a shadow rogue gets Improved Shadow Strike, which functions as Shadow Strike, but the damage dice turns to d8, and the Shadow Rogue can, at her option, choose to deal force damage instead of cold. Shadow Claw improves to a d6.
Improved Uncanny Dodge (Ex): A Shadow Rogue of 8th level or higher can no longer be flanked. This defense denies another rogue the ability to sneak attack the character by flanking her, unless the attacker has at least four more Shadow Rogue levels than the target does. If a character already has uncanny dodge (see above) from a second class, the character automatically gains improved uncanny dodge instead, and the levels from the classes that grant uncanny dodge stack to determine the minimum Shadow Rogue level required to flank the character.
Light Blade (Su):: Naturally, shadows cannot exist without illumination, and at higher levels the shadow rogue gains the ability to create a special weapon, the Light Blade. He can create a Light Blade (two if he has Two-Weapon Fighting). To do this, he must have at least partial illumination(the light of a torch, or even 0 level light spell will suffice). With a flourish of his hands he grabs a piece of the lit room, and breaks it off into a blade. He automatically has proficiency with this light weapon. A Light Blade has a reach of 5' and deals 1d6 (+1d6 per Class Level max 20d6) slashing damage and may additionally be thrown like Shadow Strike up to 100ft. A Light Blade threatens a critical on an 18-20 and has a critical multiplier of ×2. Light Blades have a range increment of 10', and melt 1 round after they hit a target, or the ground, assuming they have not been picked up by the wielder. Light blades also instantly dissipate the effects of any darkness spell, whether cast by the shadow rogue, an ally, or an enemy. Furthermore, they can also provide light as if light had been cast on a standard weapon. This cannot be suppressed until the light blade as been dropped or thrown(and subsequently melted). Light blades will only function for their creator; if someone else tries to touch one it loses it's solid nature and returns to particles of light, thereby losing all their abilities. Each special property chosen counts as +1 toward the magical bonus of the total enchantment bonus of the weapon (ie a Shadow Rogue who has taken Light blade with Explosive Light, Absorption, and Blinding Offense has a Light Blade with an enchantment bonus of +3). As a Light Blade wielder, you may choose one of the following special properties when you get the "Light Blade" ability, and additional ones as noted by the +X. The special properties may be taken in any order:
- Explosive Light: As a move action, the wielder of a Light Blade can enhance any nearby light, causing all within 30' to make a Fortitude save (DC 10 + ½ character level + Dex modifier) or be blinded for 3 rounds. Creatures with light sensitivity take a -4 penalty to their save and are permanently blinded if they fail the save. If they pass, light-sensitive creatures are dazzled for three rounds.
- Absorption: As an immediate action, you may make an attack against any ray fired at you. If your attack roll beats the attack roll used to hit you, your blade absorbs the ray and the next successful hit made with the blade deals 1d8 damage, rather than 1d6. On a confirmed critical hit any Light Blade augmented with an absorbed ray deals 2d8, rather than 2d6 or 1d8+1d6. You may absorb an infinite number of rays with this effect, but the damage dice never increases more than 1(In essence, the ray is simply negated).
- Blinding Offense: Enemies count as flat-footed against any attacks you make with your Light Blades.
- Refraction: If and only if the Shadow Rogue has taken "Absorbtion" as a special property, they may choose to "refract" the ray cast, and increase the damage dice of one character's weapon within 30 feet, rather than increasing the damage of their own attack. This effect can only be cast onto melee or ranged weapons, and only lasts for one successful hit.
- Prism Splash: As a standard action, a Shadow rogue may use his light blade(s) to cast Scintillating Pattern once per day, however the duration is instantaneous. Prism Splash may only be taken if the Shadow Rogue has taken Explosive Light at a previous level.
- Handy Halo: A shadow rogue may keep their light blade form encounter to encounter. Normally, a light blade dissipates 1 minute after leaving combat, but with "Handy Halo" a light blade remains for a number of days equal to levels of Shadow Rogue. Furthermore, a Light Blade with "Handy Halo" will return to the shadow rogue's hand after being thrown. Outside of combat, the glow of a Handy Halo Light Blade can be suppressed and activated as free actions at will. When the light feature is suppressed, the light blade looks like a dull gray shadow.
Epic Shadow Rogue
|22nd||Sneak Attack +8d6, Bonus Feat|
|25th||Sneak Attack +9d6, Bonus Feat|
|26th||Light Blade +5|
|28th||Sneak Attack +10d6, Bonus Feat|
8 + Int modifier skill points per level.
Weapons: Dagger and Rapier.
Armor: Leather Armor.
Skill Selection: Pick a number of skills equal to 8 + Int modifier.
|Sleight of Hand||4||Dex||—|
Feat: Two-Weapon Fighting.
Bonus Feats: Improved Initiative.
Gear: 50 feet of silk rope, backpack, water skin, flint and steel, 1 day of trail rations, bedroll, hooded lantern, 4 pints of oil, thieves' tools.
Gold: 41 gp.
Playing a Shadow Rogue
Religion: Olidammara, being the typical god of rogues, is the most common deity of Shadow Rogues. However, atheism is also common amongst Shadow Rogues. It is incredibly uncommon for any Shadow Rogue to worship a deity that is lawfully aligned.
Other Classes: Shadow Rogues deal well with other scoundrels, namely bards and rogues. Due to their chaotic tendencies they often don't get along astoundingly well with clerics and paladins, however in an adventuring party anything can happen.
Combat: Taking the role of a striker, Shadow Rogues often shadow jump into combat to deliver staggering amounts of damage. However, a shadow rogue can do equally well as a ranged fighter standing in the second rank.
Advancement: Shadow Rogues are a specialized bunch, so multi-classing is often unlikely, as are prestige classes.
Shadow Rogues in the World
|“||Afraid of the dark? You probably should be.||”|
|—Johann Tordak, Human Shadow Rogue|
Daily Life: Shadow Rogues spend their days, or more accurately their nights, roaming the streets. Burglary, murder, and racketeering are more like badges of honor than criminal convictions. However, the best shadow rogues live comfortably and totally under the radar of local authorities.
Notables: Belrock "'Ole Badgerface" Rubynak, a halfling shadow rogue, is considered to be the father of modern shadow rogues. He perfected the art of the ideal shadow step, and perfected the technique used to harness beams of light as offensive weapons. Before him, shadow steps were largely inaccurate, and light blades had a better chance of hurting the user than the target.
Organizations: Shadow rogues consort with typical thieves guilds, but as a large group of shadow rogues often draws the attention of local police, most thieves' guilds have only one teacher and a few students, if that.
NPC Reactions: Unless a NPC has seen a shadow rogue preform a shadow step or a shadow strike they are likely to just think of them as a typical rogue. After witnessing such a feat; however, a great respect, and a bit of fear, develops.
Shadow Rogue Lore
Characters with ranks in some appropriate skill can research shadow rogues to learn more about them. When a character makes a skill check, read or paraphrase the following, including information from lower DCs.
|5||The shadows are a good place to wait for a shadow rogue.|
|10||The shadows are a good, but dangerous, place to wait for a shadow rogue.|
|15||Shadow rogues can control shadows.|
|20||Shadow rogues of a high enough level are capable of fierce damage in both the light and the shadows.|