Ethereal Hunter (3.5e Class)
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The Ethereal Hunter
Phase Spiders are a cause for caution when traveling in places that they are rumored to hunt. Unfortunately, travelers who are not gifted with uncanny perceptive abilities literally walk into the clutches of the Phase Spider's web. Only but a moment after unwary prey has walked into its trap, the Phase Spider returns from the ethereal plane to bite its victim. With the inability to move, the victim is rendered helpless to the extra-dimensional venom that the Phase Spider injects. Rare is the day that an adventurer who has wandered into the web of a Phase Spider, escapes in time, and it is even rarer that the individual survives the venom while in the web. Curiously, all of the existing ethereal hunters were once rangers; perhaps it is because of the ranger's natural calm or their knowledge of nature and how to survive. Those who survive the web and get away without the bite become more cautious about their surroundings whereas those who survive the venom become something more. They are gifted with the extraordinary ability to Phase Shift between the Material Plane and the Ethereal Plane. With this amazing feat comes a curse of sorts. The poison that a Phase Spider injects into its victims weakens them and no mater the treatment, the victim never fully recovers.
Making an Ethereal Hunter
Ethereal Hunters were once rangers…in tune with nature and friendly to all who treated nature with respect. Their former path is not necessarily different, nor does it have to be as an ethereal hunter. They are still in tune with nature but they can protect it from a whole new tier of ability. Only a ranger can become an ethereal hunter from a Phase Spider bite. If a ranger is bitten by a Phase Spider in or outside of combat, they are given the choice of becoming an ethereal hunter by the DM and can decide on the choice before the poison is either cured or removed. With the exception that the character will exchange equal class levels of ranger for ethereal hunter levels, the DM should not inform the Player of what the ethereal hunter is or can do until the class is chosen or a character in the party succeeds on a Knowledge (Legend) check of at least 30. Should a ranger choose to become an ethereal hunter during the campaign, then their ranger class levels turn into ethereal hunter class levels of equal amount. Standard Phase Spider rules apply to other character classes when fighting a Phase Spider or receiving a bite from one.
An ethereal hunter is gifted with the ability to shift between the Material Plane and the Ethereal Plane. Consequentially, an ethereal hunter can disappear from one spot and reappear in another to surprise an opponent. They can be the key to a winning battle...or to diffusing a dangerous conversation by slipping their blade around an unsuspecting enemy after reappearing a foot behind them.
The poison that once threatened their life was treated as best as possible, but the damage was done nonetheless. The biggest weakness that an ethereal hunter has is likely its drastically reduced Constitution. The poison of a Phase Spider must be kept in the blood for the ethereal hunter to use their extraordinary ability. The ethereal hunter's body eventually blends with the poison allowing them to naturally recover the lost Constitution, but they never fully heal.
An ethereal hunter is very valuable to a party because of their extraordinary ability to shift to the Ethereal Plane at will. Strategies built to this ability put them as both excellent flanking partners and flawless scouts. They interact with their party members just like they used to as rangers. The only exception being that if the ethereal hunter is male then they generally have to gain the trust of female characters in the party. (The Ethereal Plane can see into the Material Plane.)
Requirements and Restrictions:
- Because of the immense stress that the poison and Phase Shifting puts onto the body of the ethereal hunter, it is physically impossible for their body to withstand taking another class besides their own. Multiclassing is not possible with the ethereal hunter.
- Only a ranger can become an ethereal hunter after character creation.
- A ranger wishing to become an ethereal hunter must have a Constitution score of at least 7.
Abilities: The ethereal hunter’s abilities are the same as a ranger’s abilities; the ethereal hunter is simply a variation of the ranger. "Dexterity is important for a ranger both because he tends to wear light armor and because several ranger skills are based on that ability. Strength is important because rangers frequently get involved in combat. Several ranger skills are based on Wisdom, and a Wisdom score of 14 or higher is required to get access to the most powerful ranger spells. A Wisdom score of 11 or higher is required to cast any ranger spells at all. One of the ranger’s trademark skills, his ability to track foes, is based on Wisdom." - Player's Handbook p.46
Races: Because the ethereal hunter was once a ranger, they have the same race description as a regular ranger. "Elves often choose the ranger’s path. They are at home in the woods, and they have the grace to move stealthily. Half-elves who feel their elf parents’ connection to the woods are also likely to adopt this class. Humans are often rangers as well, being adaptable enough to learn their way around the woods even if it doesn’t come naturally to them. Halforcs may find the life of a ranger more comfortable than life among cruel and taunting humans (or orcs). Gnome rangers are more common than gnome fighters, but still they tend to remain in their own lands rather than adventure among “the big people.” Dwarf rangers are rare, but they can be quite effective. Instead of living in the surface wilderness, they are at home in the endless caverns beneath the earth. Here they hunt down and destroy the enemies of dwarvenkind with the relentless precision for which dwarves are known. Dwarf rangers are often known as cavers. Halfling rangers are highly respected for their ability to help communities of halflings prosper as they pursue their nomadic lifestyle. Among the savage humanoids, only gnolls are commonly rangers,using their skills to slyly stalk their prey." - Player's Handbook p.46-47
Alignment: Any, but they tend to be more chaotic than rangers.
Starting Gold: 5d4x10 gp (200gp). (Ethereal Hunters can potentially be expert thieves because of their ability.)
Starting Age: As Ranger or Moderate
|Saving Throws||Special||Spells per Day|
|1st||+1||+2||+2||+0||Phase Shift 1 Hour, Immunity Mutation, 1st Favored Enemy, Track, Wild Empathy, Timeless Body, Ethereal Combat, Ethereal Sense||—||—||—||—|
|3rd||+3||+3||+3||+1||[[Endurance, Phase Shift +30 Minutes||—||—||—||—|
|5th||+5||+4||+4||+1||2nd Favored Enemy, Phase Assault||0||—||—||—|
|6th||+6/+1||+5||+5||+2||Improved Combat Style, Phase Shift +30 Minutes||1||—||—||—|
|9th||+9/+4||+6||+6||+3||Evasion, Phase Shift +30 Minutes||1||0||—||—|
|10th||+10/+5||+7||+7||+3||3rd Favored Enemy, Ethereal Swiftness, Immunity Mutation +5, Phase Assault||1||1||—||—|
|11th||+11/+6/+1||+7||+7||+3||Combat Style Mastery||1||1||0||—|
|12th||+12/+7/+2||+8||+8||+4||Phase Shift +30 Minutes, Ethereal Swiftness +5 Minutes||1||1||1||—|
|15th||+15/+10/+5||+9||+9||+5||4th Favored Enemy, Phase Shift +30 Minutes, Immunity Mutation +5, Phase Assault||2||1||1||1|
|16th||+16/+11/+6/+1||+10||+10||+5||Ethereal Swiftness +5 Minutes||2||2||1||1|
|17th||+17/+12/+7/+2||+10||+10||+5||Hide in Plane Sight||2||2||2||1|
|18th||+18/+13/+8/+3||+11||+11||+6||Phase Shift +30 Minutes||3||2||2||1|
|20th||+20/+15/+10/+5||+12||+12||+6||5th Favored Enemy, Ethereal Swiftness +5 Minutes, Immunity Mutation +5, Phase Assault||3||3||3||3|
Class Skills (6 + Int modifier per level, ×4 at 1st level)
All of the following are class features of the ethereal hunter.
Bonus Languages: An ethereal hunter gains the ability to learn several bonus languages that they could not have learned before they were bitten. Upon biting a victim, the Phase Spider breaks into and absorbs the information stored in the victims mind. This information is so great that the Phase Spider must store it inside their blood which touches every part of their body, including their poison. The keys to learning a bonus language are unlocked to the Phase Spider though they may not be able to use them. The bonus languages can only be taken from fleshy victims that the Phase Spider feeds on. An ethereal hunter's bonus language options include all languages except: Abyssal, Aquan, Auran, Druidic, Gaint, Ignan, and Terran. These choices are in addition to the bonus languages available to the character because of their race.
Weakened (Ex): Ethereal Hunters are both blessed and cursed to have the poison of a Phase Spider flowing through their veins. They gain phenomenal power but they suffer a permanent lose to their Constitution. The ethereal hunter has a permanent -6 to their Constitution until they reach level 10. At level 10 the ethereal hunter's body has fully adapted to the poison and has naturally recovered 2 points of the lost Constitution. This leaves the ethereal hunter with a permanent -4 penalty to Constitution instead of the -6 Constitution that they received at their starting level. Should a ranger become an ethereal hunter after level 10 then the Constitution penalty is changed from -6 to -4 at level 20. A ranger cannot become an ethereal hunter if they only have 6 Constitution, they must have a Constitution score of at least 7.
Phase Shift (Ex): The ethereal hunter gains the extraordinary ability Plane Shift which allows them to shift between the Material Plane and the Ethereal Plane at will. Shifting from the Ethereal Plane to the Material Plane is a move action, but shifting from the Material Plane to the Ethereal Plane is a swift action. The ethereal hunter can stay in the Ethereal Plane for up to one hour per day and can divide this time up as he wishes. The time that the ethereal hunter can stay in the Ethereal Plane increases by 30 minutes per level divisible by three (3rd, 6th, 9th, etc.)
Ethereal Swiftness (Ex): At level 10, the ethereal hunter gains the ability Ethereal Swiftness along with the bonuses of a level 10 ranger. Ethereal Swiftness allows the ethereal hunter to travel five times as fast while in the Ethereal Plane but they can only do this for 30 minutes per day. The thirty minutes can be divided over that day as the ethereal hunter wishes whether for 6 seconds or 57 seconds (round up to the nearest half minute of use). The time that the ethereal hunter can use Ethereal Swiftness for increase by five minutes every level divisible by four (4th, 8th, 12th, etc.). Traveling in the Ethereal Plane is a move action. When the ethereal hunter uses this ability, both the ethereal hunter's walk speed and run speed are equal to five times what their walk and run speed is in the Material Plane.
Phase Assault (Ex): The ethereal hunter can use his Phase Shift ability to send a single arrow out of the Ethereal Plane to strike a being on the Material Plane. This is a strenuous task, for the ethereal hunter must focus his power on only the arrow. Firing an arrow in this way requires a standard action and the ethereal hunter's attack bonus suffers a -5 penalty for the attack. Starting at 5th level and for every level divisible by 5 until level 20, the ethereal hunter can fire one arrow from the Ethereal Plane onto the Material Plane per day.
Ethereal Combat (Ex): The ethereal hunter can attack and strike incorporeal beings from the Ethereal Plane. The ethereal hunter suffers a -2 penalty to its attack bonus when doing so. Furthurmore, an ethereal hunter can attack and strike an incorporeal being from the Material Plane but suffers a -4 penalty to its attack bonus when doing so.
Ethereal Sense (Ex): The ethereal hunter can sense when an incorpereal being is near it. The ethereal hunter cannot identify what the incorpereal being is but can pinpoint which square the being is in from 60ft. away. The ethereal hunter knows the general direction that the incorpereal being is in when the being is 200ft. away. The ethereal hunter knows that an incorpereal being is near but not its direction or position when within 500ft. of the being.
Immunity Mutation (Ex): The ethereal hunter is immune to the poison of a Phase Spider and gains +5 to resistance against all acids and saving throws against poisons. This bonus is reapplied every level divisible by five starting at 10th level (10th, 15th, 20th, etc.). For instance, a level 1 ethereal hunter gains a +5 resistance to acid and a +5 bonus to all saving throws against poison; whereas, a level 15 ethereal hunter gains a +15 resistance to acid and a +15 bonus on all saving throws against poison. The acid resistance and bonuses to saves against poison stack with all other bonuses that the ethereal hunter may gain, whether racial or equipment bonuses.
Timeless Body (Ex): The body's aging process of the ethereal hunter is stopped by the poison, indefinitely. The reason the ethereal hunter gains immortal life is because the poison of a Phase Spider was meant to kill and then preserve the its meal for as long as the Phase Spider wanted or needed. It is suspected that Phase Spiders keep a cave or place of rest filled with the immortal corpses of dozens of travelers or adventurers in case they are unable to capture prey to feed on. The ethereal hunter cannot die of old age and does not suffer penalties of aging unless those penalties are already active before being bitten.
Ritual - Pact of Nature (Ex): The ethereal hunter can commence this ritual at any time that he could rest. For three days and three nights the ethereal hunter and their animal companion undergo this ritual. The ritual is more spiritual than physical. The mental part of the ritual. Both the ethereal hunter and their animal companion connect with such mental force that for an entire day there isn't a difference between their minds. This part spans over the three days and is active parallel to the physical part of the ritual. The physical part of the ritual requires the ethereal hunter and the animal companion to share their blood on the third day of the ritual. The wounds must be self-inflicted and there must be at least trickling blood. Once the wounds are open, the ethereal hunter and the animal companion must place their wounds against one another and must hold them in that position for one full day. During that day, the ethereal hunter must chant, "Erlelee gemuth, yth re ir." which means "Embrace nature, we are one." Should the ritual be interrupted then the ethereal hunter and their animal companion may try again from the beginning until it is completed.
Ritual Benefits and Loses The benefits that the ethereal hunter and their animal companion gain are well worth the effort and the wait: Blood of the Hunter The animal companion gains the Timeless Body extraordinary ability from the poison-enhanced blood of the ethereal hunter which now runs through it's veins.
Move As One The animal companion gains two special abilities of the ethereal hunter, and the ethereal hunter gains one special ability of their animal companion. The two abilities the animal companion gains are the Phase Shift and Ethereal Swiftness abilities because of the transfer of the Phase Spider's poison into the animal companion. They do not gain any other abilities from the ethereal hunter. If this would kill the animal companion then the ritual cannot be performed. The ethereal hunter can choose one special ability that he copies from the animal companion. If the ethereal hunter chooses the special ability Fly from their animal companion's special abilities, they grow wings identical to a Raptorans (Races of the Wild p.67) with a flight speed equal to their land speed (Good Maneuverability). Should the animal companion ever die or be dismissed, the Pact of Nature will break and all benefits from the ritual are lost.
Think As One The animal companion and the ethereal hunter always know where their companion is and can communicate telepathically with them over indefinite distances in any of the languages that the ethereal hunter or animal companion know. They can communicate this way across all Planes. Additionally, the animal companion gains the same Initiative modifier and Intelligence score as the ethereal hunter if their own is not higher. This affects the animal companion's Intelligencemodifier and therefore all skill checks associated with Intelligence
Suffer As One The animal companion shares the same blood as the ethereal hunter, but the ethereal hunter's body only gave out a controlled amount of the poison coursing through his veins. The animal companion suffers half the Constitution penalty (caused by the poison of the Phase Spider) the ethereal hunter had upon completing the ritual. If the ethereal hunter had a Constitution penalty of -6 from the Phase Spider's bite then the animal companion suffers a -3 Constitution penalty.
As ranger, but they do not lose their extraordinary abilities.
Epic Ethereal Hunter
|21st||Epic Phase Shift +30 Minutes, Epic Animal Companion, Bonus Feat|
|24th||Epic Ethereal Swiftness +10 Minutes, Epic Phase Shift +30 Minutes, Bonus Feat|
|25th||Epic Immunity Mutation +5, 6th Favored Enemy|
|27th||Epic Phase Shift +30 Minutes, Bonus Feat|
|28th||Epic Ethereal Swiftness +10 Minutes|
|30th||Epic Immunity Mutation +5, 7th Favored Enemy, Epic Phase Shift +30 Minutes, Bonus Feat|
6 + Int modifier skill points per level.
Epic Phase Shift: This ability functions exactly as Phase Shift. The total time possible that the ethereal hunter can stay in the Ethereal Plane is increased by 30 minutes per ethereal hunter level divisible by 3.
Epic Ethereal Swiftness: This ability functions the same as Ethereal Swiftness with the exception that the ethereal hunter gains +10 minutes of extra time to use Ethereal Swiftness per ethereal hunter level divisible by 4 after level 20.
Epic Immunity Mutation: This ability functions exactly the same as Immunity Mutation. Acid resistance and bonuses to saves against poison continue to rise by +5 for every level divisible by 5 that the ethereal hunter gains.
Spells: As Epic Ranger
Epic Favored Enemy: As Epic Ranger
Epic Animal Companion: As Epic Druid. The epic ethereal hunter has lived long enough to match a druid in befriending animals. They're effective druid level when choosing an animal companion is the same as a druid's. A level 20 ethereal hunter may select the same level animal companion as a level 20 druid. The ethereal hunter's animal companion can use Phase Shift and Ethereal Swiftness if both the ethereal hunter and their animal companion complete a Pact of Nature.
Bonus Feats: The epic ethereal hunter gains a bonus feat (selected from the list of epic ethereal hunter bonus feats or regular feats) at every level divisible by 3 (21st, 24th, 27th, etc.).
Epic Ethereal Hunter Bonus Feat List: Bane of Enemies, Blinding Speed, Combat Archery, Death of Enemies, Distant Shot, Epic Endurance, Epic Prowess, Epic Speed, Epic Toughness, Epic Weapon Focus, Fast Healing, Improved Combat Casting, Improved Favored Enemy, Improved Manyshot, Improved Spell Capacity, Legendary Climber, Legendary Rider, Legendary Tracker, Perfect Health, Perfect Two-Weapon Fighting, Permanent Emanation, Spontaneous Spell, Storm of Throws, Swarm of Arrows, Two-Weapon Rend, Uncanny Accuracy.
Catfolk Ethereal Hunter Starting Package
Armor: Leather (+2 AC, no armor check penalty, speed 40ft., 15lb,)
Weapons: Longbow (1d8, crit ×3, range inc. 100 ft., 3 lb., piercing), Longsword (1d8, crit 19–20/×2, 4 lb., one-handed, slashing)
Skill Selection: Pick a number of skills equal to 6 + Int modifier.
Feat: Point Blank Shot
Gear: Backpack with waterskin, one day’s trail rations, bedroll, sack, and flint and steel. Three torches. Quiver with 20 arrows.
Gold: Starting Gold 150gp
Playing an Ethereal Hunter
Religion: As Ranger.
Other Classes: As Ranger.
Combat: As Ranger. Additionally, because of their Phase Shift and Ethereal Swiftness abilities, ethereal hunters are exceptional at flanking enemies and catching them flat-footed. Most ethereal hunters prefer to kill from a distance if possible but they don't mind getting their hands bloody if they have to.
Advancement: As Ranger.
Ethereal Hunters in the World
|“||Gods why do I always get the low bounties? Ignorant mortals, I could do so much more...Nera, have you picked up their scent? Good, I never could stand the stench of assassins, much less an entire guild of them. Let's make this quick and painless...||”|
|—Narrssuras Stalking Leopard, Felinis-Catfolk Ethereal Hunter|
Ethereal Hunters are masters of infiltration, easily rivaling a rogue. Short of a trans-Plane barrier nothing can keep them out. Combined with their tracking abilities an ethereal hunter is also the perfect bounty hunter. Ethereal Hunters are extremely rare to come across in Faerûn, mostly because an unwary adventurer rarely escapes a Phase Spider before the poison kills him.
Daily Life: They act similar to rangers with the exception that they take on a wider variety of jobs. Ethereal Hunters are not recognized straight away; it is only after disappearing before an enemies eyes that they are known. That and they like to change their eye color every few seconds in a conversation to get a surprising effect.
Notables: Ethereal Hunters don't like to stay known or to be recognized but one particular ethereal hunter watches over The High Forest in northern Faerûn. She is not known by her real name but people call her, Sargt di Caesin or "Guardian of Nature" when translated from Draconic.
Organizations: Ethereal Hunters rarely run into one another, but when they do, they tell of the tales they've experienced over their immortal life. If one of them is new to being an ethereal hunter, the experienced one usually shares his wisdom with the novice. There aren't enough ethereal hunters to form an organization, guild, or clan. There has never been an ethereal hunter who forgot the pain that the Phase Spider's poison caused them, and because of this, they strive to help those in need.
NPC Reactions: As Ranger. NPCs are unsettled by the ethereal hunter when their eyes turn from sky blue to blood red. Nearly all NPCs mistake an ethereal hunter for a ranger unless the ethereal hunter tells them what they are.
Ethereal Hunter Lore
Characters with ranks in the appropriate skills can research ethereal hunters to learn more about them. When a character makes a skill check, read or paraphrase the following, including information from lower DCs.
|10||They were once rangers.|
|15||They were bitten by a Phase Spider.|
|20||Ethereal Hunters can disappear before a person's eye. They go where they please and help those in need.|
Ethereal Hunters in the Game
Adaptation: The ethereal hunter is a variation of the ranger.
Sample Encounter: Night falls on the Castle of Dedremor. The changing of the guard happened only an hour ago. Narrssuras eyed the guards in the towers of the wall and counted eight in all. It would be difficult but he thought he could take them without giving himself away. "Nera, I want you to make sure the guard next to the bell rope, the one who will set off the alarm, is taken care of. Do you understand?" Narrssuras's black panther companion brushed his hand and mind purring, "Yesss". Narrssuras and Nera vanished from the Material Plane. Seconds later, the sound of eight armored figures falling to the ground could be heard. With the stealth of felines, Narrssuras and Nera shot toward the castle. They did not bother to knock out the two guards standing watch by the entrance but instead passed through the walls in the Ethereal Plane. Minutes passed until Nera purred into Narrssuras's mind, "Herrre." In utter silence, the two appeared in a dark room warmed by the embers of the fireplace. As they approached the bed where their bounty lay they heard a voice strike out in the darkness, "I wondered when you would finally come after me." A torch burst into blazing life in the corner and it became apparent to Narrssuras that the dark room had been an ambush. With some lighting, they both would have seen the half-dozen guards and their bounty surrounding them, but even if they had entered by normal means they would have smelled them. Now, fully outnumbered, Narrssuras thought up a plan with Nera. Only a moment after they had appeared they vanished once again and just as the guards on the wall, they knocked out the six here as well. Alone and gravely regretting not hiring a wizard, their bounty stood at their mercy. Without a second thought, Narrssuras vanished before his bounty fell unconscious to the floor. "Gods, I hope I'm paid well for this..." Narrssuras picked up his bounty and left the castle, Nera taking out every guard they came across. Daybreak came and Narrssuras heard the words, "We are gathered here today, to witness the union..." before disappearing into the Ethereal Plane with Nera and a large sum of gold coins.
EL: Characters wishing to fight against an Ethereal Hunter should be at least 2 levels higher than the Ethereal Hunter. CR of an Ethereal Hunter is it's character level + 2.
Attacking an Ethereal Hunter is extremely difficult for anyone who cannot cast force spells. However, with a successful reflex save a character can make a single attack against the Ethereal Hunter using their first attack bonus if the Ethereal Hunter is within the character's range of attack. This attack is made just before the Ethereal Hunter's attack and may distract the Ethereal Hunter (5% chance) causing him to miss his attack. This can be done once per round by all characters attacking the Ethereal Hunter on the successful reflex save.