Arcane Highwayman (3.5e Class)

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Highwaymen have long been the bane of travelers and merchants. They watch the roads where people travel and where goods are transported, lining their pockets with ill-gotten riches. Skilled with firearms and riding, they can swiftly run down all but the fastest and most wary of prey and be gone in seconds, laden with all the riches the travelers were carrying. Bandits and outlaws of a higher class, the "gentlemen of the road" were looked up to by many of their thieving peers as professionals, more than merely someone who took what didn't belong to them. Highwaymen were fond of theatrics and guile, frequently chasing those they would rob into ambushes and traps. Though not necessarily evil, they are not afraid to shed blood to protect themselves or in pursuit of high treasure. Intelligent and clever, they could pick out lawmen and armed guards on caravans and transports carrying great riches, and take them out first. Highwaymen are never cowardly but do believe that discretion is the better part of valor. One cannot spend riches if one is dead.

Arcane Highwayman[edit]

As long as there have been people with riches, there have been others happy to relieve them of that burden. Highwaymen are some of the most highly esteemed thieves in all the realms. Typically preying on travelers from horseback, alone or in a gang, the highwayman ambush at speed, take anything of value, and ride off as quickly as they arrived. Bandits of this type usually rely purely on firearms such as hexagun pistols or hexagun rifles. The Arcane Highwayman has highly customized his weapons to be able to fire arcane ammunition. These weapons must be maintained constantly however, or they are liable to backfire with ruinous consequences.

Making an Arcane Highwayman[edit]

Effective, versatile, ranged damage dealers, the Arcane Highwayman is a master of his weapon. While not afraid of a fist fight, they prefer to engage from range and have no scruples about fighting dirty to win.

Abilities: Dexterity is the most important ability score for Arcane Highwayman, enhancing their class abilities and capacity for ranged damage. Intelligence is also important for their abilities. Constitution will allow them to stay in the fight longer and charisma will assist in their class skills.

Races: Any.

Alignment: Any non-lawful.

Starting Gold: 6d4 x 10 gp (150 gp).

Starting Age: Simple.

Table: The Arcane Highwayman

Hit Die: d8

Level Base
Attack Bonus
Saving Throws Special
Fort Ref Will
1st +1 +0 +1 +0 Craft Arcane Firearms and Ammunition +0, Ambush +1d6, Quick Draw
2nd +2 +0 +2 +0 Stand and Deliver, Bonus Feat
3rd +3 +1 +2 +1 Arms and Ammo +1, Ambush +2d6, Uncanny Dodge
4th +4 +1 +3 +1 Evasion, Bonus Feat
5th +5 +1 +4 +1 Barrage, Ambush +3d6
6th +6/+1 +2 +4 +2 Arms and Ammo +2, Bonus Feat
7th +7/+2 +2 +5 +2 Ambush +4d6, Ricochet 5%
8th +8/+3 +2 +6 +2 Bonus Feat, Trick Shot
9th +9/+4 +3 +6 +3 Arms and Ammo +3, Ambush +5d6
10th +10/+5 +3 +7 +3 Bonus Feat, Improved Barrage
11th +11/+6/+1 +3 +8 +3 Improved Uncanny Dodge, Ambush +6d6
12th +12/+7/+2 +4 +8 +4 Arms and Ammo +4, Bonus Feat, Improved Evasion
13th +13/+8/+3 +4 +9 +4 Ambush +7d6, Ricochet 10%
14th +14/+9/+4 +4 +10 +4 Bonus Feat
15th +15/+10/+5 +5 +10 +5 Arms and Ammo +5, Ambush +8d6, Greater Barrage
16th +16/+11/+6/+1 +5 +11 +5 Bonus Feat, Defensive Roll
17th +17/+12/+7/+2 +5 +12 +5 Ambush +9d6, Opportunist
18th +18/+13/+8/+3 +6 +12 +6 Bonus Feat, Slippery Mind, Arms and Ammo + 6
19th +19/+14/+9/+4 +6 +13 +6 Ambush +10d6, Ricochet 15%
20th +20/+15/+10/+5 +6 +14 +6 Bonus Feat, Unending Barrage,

Class Skills (8 + Int modifier per level, ×4 at 1st level)
Appraise (Int), Balance (Dex), Bluff (Cha), Climb (Str), Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Disguise (Cha), Escape Artist (Dex), Forgery (Int), Gather Information (Cha), Hide (Dex), Handle Animal (Cha) Intimidate (Cha), Jump (Str), Knowledge (local) (Int) Listen (Wis), Move Silently (Dex), Open Lock (Dex), Ride (Dex) Search (Int), Sense Motive (Wis), Sleight of Hand (Dex), Spot (Wis), Swim (Str), Tumble (Dex), Use Magic Device (Cha), Use Rope (Dex).

Class Features[edit]

All of the following are class features of the Arcane Highwayman.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Self-Crafted Firearms, Simple and Martial Weapons, as well as Light and Medium Armor.

Quick Draw: Beginning Arcane Highwaymen gain access to Quick Draw, as the feat.

Craft Arcane Firearms and Ammunition (Sp): Unlike most people capable of casting arcane spells, the Arcane Highwayman solely uses his magical talent for crafting, pouring his powerful knowledge and experience into his firearms and the ammunition they shoot. As Craft Magic Arms & Armor, the weapons and ammunition may be modified with abilities or with an enhancement bonus. The crafting checks and costs are the same for this class feature. We are using the Herregor Supplement material for crafting and weapon stats in this campaign but they can be easily adapted or customized to fit your personal campaign needs.

Ambush: If an Arcane Highwayman can catch an opponent when they are distracted or unable to defend themselves effectively from an attack (such as a surprise round of combat, blinded, or flanked), the Arcane Highwayman can strike for extra damage. The attack deals extra damage any time the intended target would be denied a Dexterity bonus to AC, or when the target is flanked or distracted. This extra damage is 1d6 at 1st level, and it increases by 1d6 every two Highwayman levels thereafter. This extra damage is not multiplied by a critical hit. Ambush can only be used up to the max range of the weapon currently equipped. If for any reason the Arcane Highwaymans attack deals non-lethal damage, the bonus damage is not added. An Arcane Highwayman can ambush only physical creatures capable of being surprised—constructs, oozes, plants, and incorporeal creatures are immune. The Arcane Highwayman may ambush creatures with concealment or in cover but still takes the penalties to hit.

Stand and Deliver: During, and only during, the surprise round of combat, may an Arcane Highwayman make an intimidate check as a free action against an enemy (DC 1d20 + HD + target’s Wisdom bonus + target’s modifiers on saves vs fear). If the check fails, he may still attack or take other actions as normal, and the target is immune to intimidate for the remainder of the day. If the check succeeds, the Highwayman may force the target to take any standard action allowed by an intimidate and may also rob them. The targets may normally attempt to conceal the truth, location, or amount of goods, coin, and equipment they have from the Highwayman. If the DC is surpassed by 10 or more, the target quakes with fear and will not lie or hide valuables unless they are of the utmost importance. Creatures immune to fear are immune to Stand and Deliver. This ability must be used on the "leader" or strongest target available if there is more than one target. The target must be able to hear and understand you.

Uncanny Dodge (Ex): At 3rd level, an Arcane Highwayman can react to danger before their senses would normally allow it, retaining their Dexterity bonus to AC (if any) even if they are caught flat-footed or struck by an invisible attacker. However, they still loses their Dexterity bonus to AC if immobilized. If an Arcane Highwayman already has uncanny dodge from a different class, they automatically gain improved uncanny dodge instead.

Evasion (Ex): At 4th level and higher, an Arcane Highwayman can avoid magical and unusual attacks with great agility. If they make a successful Reflex saving throw against an attack that would normally deal half damage on a successful save, they instead take no damage. Evasion can be used only if the Highwayman is wearing light armor or no armor. A helpless Highwayman does not gain the benefit of evasion.

Barrage (Ex): As a full round action, the Arcane Highwayman unleashes a volley of weapons fire at any target in range until his weapons are empty of ammunition and may move up to his total move speed while firing. Each attack more than you are allowed is made at a stacking -2 modifier (e.g., at level 10, 1st attack at +10, 2nd +5, 3rd +3, 4th +1, 5th at -1, etc.) He may fire in any direction he chooses and any enemies in cover are shaken for 1 round. Enemies immune to fear are dazzled instead. Barrage improves at level 10, forcing enemies in cover to cower in fear instead (Fear immune still only dazzled). Barrage improves again at level 15 removing the penalty to successive attacks. Barrage improves again at level 20 allowing you to reload the weapon(s) you fired with and fire again. After Barrage is used, you must wait 1d3 +1 rounds to use it again.

Ricochet (Ex): Starting at level 7, the Highwaymans attacks that miss have a chance to strike the intended target on a ricochet 5% of the time. You may reroll missed attacks. On a roll of 20, the attack hits. While you may reroll every attack you miss in a round, no more than one may ricochet and hit the target. The chance to hit increases to 10% (19-20) at level 13 and 15% (18-20).

Trick Shot (Ex): The Arcane Highwayman may use trick shot to make ranged trip and disarm attempts using dexterity for his opposed rolls.

Improved Uncanny Dodge (Ex): An Arcane Highwayman of 11th level or higher can no longer be flanked.

Improved Evasion (Ex): This ability works like evasion, except that while the Arcane Highwayman still takes no damage on a successful Reflex saving throw against attacks henceforth they henceforth take only half damage on a failed save.

Defensive Roll (Ex): The Arcane Highwayman can roll with a potentially lethal blow to take less damage from it than they otherwise would. Once per day, when they would be reduced to 0 or fewer hit points by damage in combat (from a weapon or other blow, not a spell or special ability), the Highwayman can attempt to roll with the damage. To use this ability, they must attempt a Reflex saving throw (DC=damage dealt). If the save succeeds, they take only half damage from the blow; if it fails, they take full damage. They must be aware of the attack and able to react to it in order to execute her defensive roll—if she is denied her Dexterity bonus to AC, she can’t use this ability. Since this effect would not normally allow a character to make a Reflex save for half damage, the rogue’s evasion ability does not apply to the defensive roll.

Opportunist (Ex): Once per round, the Arcane Highwayman can make an attack of opportunity against an opponent who has just been struck for damage in melee by another character. This attack counts as the Highwayman’s attack of opportunity for that round. Even a character with the Combat Reflexes feat can’t use the opportunist ability more than once per round. They may, however, make additional attacks of opportunity normally, up to their total max allowable.

Slippery Mind (Ex): This ability represents the Highwayman’s ability to wriggle free from magical effects that would otherwise control or compel them. If an Arcane Highwayman with slippery mind is affected by an enchantment spell or effect and fails their saving throw, they can attempt it again 1 round later at the same DC. They get only this one extra chance to succeed on their saving throw.


Highwaymen who retire from their violent, larcenous ways usually do so after being arrested / atoning or fold themselves into the mercenary ranks as expert guns for hire. They are not penalized and retain all abilities and class features but take a -15 to diplomacy with other Highwaymen if they become lawful.

Epic Highwayman[edit]

Table: The Epic Arcane Highwayman

Hit Die: d8

Level Special
21st Craft Epic Firearms and Ammunition, Bonus Feat, Ambush +11d6
22nd Improved Class Feature
23rd Bonus Feat, Ambush +12d6
24th Improved Class Feature
25th Bonus Feat, Ambush +13d6
26th Improved Class Feature
27th Bonus Feat, Ambush +14d6
28th Improved Class Feature
29th Bonus Feat, Ambush +15d6
30th Improved Class Feature

8 + Int modifier skill points per level.

Epic Quick Draw: At epic levels, a Highwayman may draw, conceal, or sheathe an equipped or hidden weapon as a free action.

Epic Barrage: At epic levels, a Highwayman's skill synergize. The Highwayman may now fire and reload and fire their main equipped weapons once, then hoster them both and draw and fire all other weapons they have once as well.

Epic Ricochet: At epic levels, Ricochet now has a 25% (16-20) chance to hit and also may hit as many times as you missed (e.g., 4 attacks, 2 misses, two total ricochet rerolls, two max times that it can hit).

Epic Trick Shot: At epic levels, Trick shot may be used to both trip and disarm a single target with a single attempt.

Epic Opportunist: At epic levels, the Highwayman may make opportunistic attacks up to his total attacks of opportunity per round.

Bonus Feats: The epic Arcane Highwayman gains a bonus feat (selected from the list of epic Arcane Highwayman bonus feats) every other level after 20th.

Epic Arcane Highwayman Bonus Feat List: Blinding Speed, Dextrous Fortitude, Dextrous Will, Distant Shot, Epic Dodge, Epic Endurance, Epic Leadership, Epic Prowess, Epic Reflexes, Epic Weapon Focus, Great Dexterity, Improved Combat Reflexes, Improved Sneak attack (Ambush), Instant Reload, Legendary Rider, Perfect Two Weapon Fighting, Polyglot, Self-Concealment, Sneak Attack of Opportunity, Superior Initiative, Swarm of Arrows (Hail of Bullets), and Uncanny Accuracy.

Campaign Information[edit]

Playing a Arcane Highwayman[edit]

Religion: As Arcane Highwaymen come from all backgrounds, they tend to worship the deity of their people. Those who do not, if they worship at all, pray to Fharlanghn or Olidammara.

Other Classes: Distanced or Hostile to "inflexible" lawful PCs and NPCs. Friendly or downright Jovial with Rogues, Bards, and similar classes.

Combat: Good Ranged Damage Dealer, Fair Battlefield Controller.

Advancement: Arcane Highwaymen often take ranks in Rogue, Bard, Fighter, Ranger, or Sorcerer depending on the roll they want to play in the party. Prestige classes vary with PC ambition and game setting from Blackguard, as the right hand scoundrel of a would-be usurper of the throne, to a horizon walker with legendary wanderlust.

Arcane Highwaymen in the World[edit]

Good morning to you both. Now, stand and deliver!
—Patrick Flemmen, Gnome Arcane Highwayman

Arcane Highwayman tend to be among the ranks of leadership in a gang of thieves or can be found as elite mercenaries working for pillage and coin.

Daily Life: Highwaymen spend their time stealing from traders, travelers, and merchants. When they aren't "working," they are spending their coin in taverns, brothels, and gentlemans clubs both celebrating their successes and gathering information about possible heists.

Notables: Robin of the hood, Claude Du Vall, Sixteen String Jack, Jesse James.

Organizations: While there are traders, travelers, and merchant caravans heading overland, there will always be Highwaymen to relieve them of their goods and coin. These are usually only organized into bands of 4-40 people, organized much as pirates would be, with the leader and his right hand and usually one to two more lower officers dividing loot, training, and giving orders.

NPC Reactions: Strictly lawful PCs and NPCs treat known Highwaymen with distrust or hostility. Unlawful PCs and NPCs treat known Highwaymen with the respect due to a "gentleman of the road".

Arcane Highwaymen in the Game[edit]

Ranged damage dealers, battlefield controllers, tacticians, leaders, scoundrels, duelists, gypsies, tramps, and thieves. Any and all unlawful souls can find something to do amongst the Highwaymen. Some hoard their coin to retire and live like royalty, some live like (well armed) paupers and support the orphanage where they grew up. Some spend all they gain in a short life of wild, pleasurable abandon, some use what they steal to become legitimate businessmen. The motivations of Highwaymen, though almost always unlawful, are as varied as the people who join their ranks. They lie, steal, cheat, and murder, but they not necessarily without regret.

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