Vigilante (3.5e Prestige Class)

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Author: Steve

And whosoever shed man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed, for in the image of God made He man.
—Il Duce, The Boondock Saints

A Vigilante is essentially an Assassin of good rather than evil. Instead of killing for glory, power, wealth, or sport, the Vigilante kills in the name of justice. Not content to depend on unreliable law enforcement agencies to protect the streets, he hunts down notorious criminals, murderers, and men of evil on his own terms to deliver his own form of justice. His philosophy is that the guilty must be destroyed in order for the innocent to live in peace. The protagonists of The Boondock Saints are a perfect example of the Vigilante.

The Vigilante is an ideal Prestige Class for those who wish to be an Assassin, but don't want an evil alignment.

Adventuring Vigilantes generally adventure to hunt down criminals and evildoers, investigate crimes or situations where evil may have an influence, or to protect innocents from impending harm. However, they are not blind to long-term goals, and many adventure for the purpose of improving their skills and fighting abilities, that they may better deliver justice in the future.

Characteristics Vigilantes are very similar to Assassins. They train themselves in the art of fast, stealthy, and efficient killing or incapacitation. At the same time, however, they try to make a name for themselves, so as to not only deliver justice but also to inspire fear in the hearts of would-be evildoers, deterring them from committing evil in the first place. The greatest Vigilantes are as famous as any royalty, and their very names strike fear into the hearts of evil men.

Alignments Vigilantes are always Good. Lawful Vigilantes prefer to stun and capture their targets and deliver them to the authorities so that the law may decide their fate. Chaotic Vigilantes prefer to simply kill their prey on the spot. A Lawful Vigilante is mainly inclined to target fugitives and crimelords. Chaotic Vigilantes do as well, but will also target tyrannical dictators, corrupt noblemen, and slaveowners.

Religions Vigilantes have no set religions, though they tend to favor deities that have a strong focus on justice and smiting evil. Vigilantes that worship a particular deity have been known to be highly devout, almost to the degree of a cleric.

Background Vigilantes come from a diverse range of backgrounds. Some are deeply religious men who smite evil in the name of their god. Others were simply born with or raised to have a strong sense of justice, and seek to destroy those who commit deliberate evil. Many Vigilantes are men of charity who work to provide the innocent and the good with safer, happier lives. Still others seek vengeance for friends or family members killed at the hands of evil. A few Vigilantes even fight to achieve redemption and penance for the evil deeds they have committed in their own past. Whatever a Vigilante's motive is, it is never selfish.

Races Vigilantism is seen among almost every race that has at least some semblance of a culture or society. However, it tends to be most prevalent in humans.

Interaction The Vigilante gets along well with most non-evil characters. In particular, he can appreciate the devotion of the Cleric, the skill and cunning of the Rogue, and the hunting instinct of the Ranger. Some (not all) Paladins, on the other hand, might shake their heads at the Vigilante's apparent "eye for an eye" philosophy, and some Barbarians might consider the lifestyle of constantly hunting evil to be too monotonous (although it certainly doesn't have to be).

Vigilante vs Assassin[edit]

The Vigilante is very similar to the Assassin, except for the following differences:

  • The Vigilante is Good rather than Evil
  • The special prerequisite is slightly different
  • The Vigilante receives more skill points at each level
  • The Vigilante gets a critical hit bonus in place of the poison use ability
  • The Vigilante does not receive a bonus save against poison
  • The Vigilante casts spells as Divine spells rather than as Arcane spells. He casts as a Cleric rather than as a Bard.
  • Likewise, his spellcasting ability is based on Wisdom rather than Intelligence
  • The Vigilante gets more spells per day.
  • The Vigilante can attain 5th-level spells.
  • The Vigilante has a slightly different arsenal of spells
  • A character can potentially lose his abilities and advancement as a vigilante, similar to the way a Paladin might (see Ex-Vigilantes, below)

Ups & Downs[edit]

The Vigilante has the following advantages compared to the Assassin:

  • More skill points
  • New +1 Critical ability
  • Because his spells are Divine, he needn't worry about arcane spell failure when wearing armor
  • He has access to all spells of the level he can cast
  • More spells per day
  • Has access to 5th-level spells, albeit a small number
  • Has some spells that are more powerful

The Vigilante has the following disadvantages compared to the Assassin:

  • The special prerequisite is more restrictive, so the prestige class is harder to attain
  • He still retains the usual risk of accidentally poisoning himself when using poisons
  • He receives no bonus save against poison
  • Because his spellcasting ability is based on Wisdom rather than Intelligence, while his Death Attack ability and many of his skills are still based on Intelligence, he must focus on one more ability score than most classes need to worry about
  • He must choose and prepare his spells in advance instead of being able to spontaneously cast all the spells he knows
  • Recharging his spells requires meditation or prayer, not merely rest
  • Some of his spells aren't as useful or versatile as the Assassin's selection
  • His class is far more restrictive when it comes to roleplaying--while the Assassin can pretty much do whatever he wants, the Vigilante must always act to uphold goodness and justice, lest he lose his powers (see Ex-Vigilantes, below)


To qualify as a vigilante, a character must fulfill all the following criteria.

Alignment: Any nonevil.

Base Attack Bonus: +4.


Gather Information 8 ranks, Intimidate 8 ranks, Search 8 ranks, Sense Motive 8 ranks.

Feat: Alertness.

Class Skills[edit]

The vigilante’s class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Balance (Dex), Bluff (Cha), Climb (Str), Craft (Int), Decipher Script (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Disable Device (Int), Disguise (Cha), Escape Artist (Dex), Forgery (Int), Gather Information (Cha), Hide (Dex), Intimidate (Cha), Jump (Str), Listen (Wis), Move Silently (Dex), Open Lock (Dex), Search (Int), Sense Motive (Wis), Sleight of Hand (Dex), Spot (Wis), Swim (Str), Tumble (Dex), Use Magic Device (Cha), and Use Rope (Dex).

Skill Points at Each Level: 8 + Int modifier.

Hit Die: d6.

Table: The Vigilante
Level Base Attack Bonus Fort Save Ref Save Will Save Special Spells per Day
1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th
1st +0 +0 +2 +0 Sneak attack +1d6, death attack, spells 1
2nd +1 +0 +3 +0 Uncanny dodge 2
3rd +2 +1 +3 +1 Sneak attack +2d6, +1 critical (choose weapon) 3 1
4th +3 +1 +4 +1 4 2
5th +3 +1 +4 +1 Improved uncanny dodge, sneak attack +3d6 4 3 1
6th +4 +2 +5 +2 +1 critical (choose weapon) 4 4 2
7th +5 +2 +5 +2 Sneak attack +4d6 4 4 3 1
8th +6 +2 +6 +2 Hide in plain sight 4 4 4 2
9th +6 +3 +6 +3 Sneak attack +5d6, +1 critical (choose weapon) 4 4 4 3 0
10th +7 +3 +7 +3 +1 critical (choose weapon) 4 4 4 4 1

Class Features[edit]

All of the following are Class Features of the vigilante prestige class.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Vigilantes are proficient with the crossbow (hand, light, or heavy), dagger (any type), dart, rapier, sap, shortbow (normal and composite), and short sword. Vigilantes are proficient with light armor but not with shields.

Sneak Attack: This is exactly like the rogue ability of the same name. The extra damage dealt increases by +1d6 every other level (2nd, 4th, 6th, 8th, and 10th). If a vigilante gets a sneak attack bonus from another source the bonuses on damage stack.

Death Attack: If a vigilante studies his victim for 3 rounds and then makes a sneak attack with a melee weapon that successfully deals damage, the sneak attack has the additional effect of possibly either paralyzing or killing the target (vigilante’s choice). While studying the victim, the vigilante can undertake other actions so long as his attention stays focused on the target and the target does not detect the vigilante or recognize the vigilante as an enemy. If the victim of such an attack fails a Fortitude save (DC 10 + the vigilante’s class level + the vigilante’s Int modifier) against the kill effect, she dies. If the saving throw fails against the paralysis effect, the victim is rendered helpless and unable to act for 1d6 rounds plus 1 round per level of the vigilante. If the victim’s saving throw succeeds, the attack is just a normal sneak attack. Once the vigilante has completed the 3 rounds of study, he must make the death attack within the next 3 rounds.

If a death attack is attempted and fails (the victim makes her save) or if the vigilante does not launch the attack within 3 rounds of completing the study, 3 new rounds of study are required before he can attempt another death attack.

Spells: Beginning at 1st level, a vigilante gains the ability to cast a small number of divine spells. Even the spells on his list that are normally restricted to arcane spellcasters are cast as divine spells. A vigilante must choose and prepare his spells in advance.

To prepare or cast a spell, a vigilante must have a Wisdom score equal to at least 10 + the spell level. The Difficulty Class for a saving throw against a vigilante’s spell is 10 + the spell level + the vigilante’s Wisdom modifier.

Like other spellcasters, a vigilante can cast only a certain number of spells of each spell level per day. His base daily spell allotment is given on Table: The Vigilante. In addition, he receives bonus spells per day if he has a high Wisdom score. When Table: The Vigilante indicates that the vigilante gets 0 spells per day of a given spell level, he gains only the bonus spells he would be entitled to based on his Wisdom score for that spell level. The vigilante does not have access to any domain spells or granted powers, as a cleric does.

The vigilante's spell list appears below. A vigilante prepares and casts spells the way a cleric does, though he cannot lose a prepared spell to spontaneously cast a cure spell in its place. A vigilante may prepare and cast any spell on the list below, provided that he can cast spells of that level, but he must choose which spells to prepare during his meditation.

Uncanny Dodge (Ex): Starting at 2nd level, a vigilante retains his Dexterity bonus to AC (if any) regardless of being caught flat-footed or struck by an invisible attacker. (He still loses any Dexterity bonus to AC if immobilized.)

+1 Critical: Beginning at 3rd level, a vigilante may choose one weapon that he has proficiency with and increase its critical threat range by 1. This takes effect AFTER any multipliers from feats, spells, or abilities. For instance, if you have the Improved Critical feat with the Falchion and then add this ability, the critical threat range only increases to 14-20, not 13-20.

By the 10th vigilante level, you will have gained this ability four times. Its effects do not stack. Each time you receive it, apply it to a new type of weapon. You must be proficient with a weapon in order to apply this ability to it.

Improved Uncanny Dodge (Ex): At 5th level, a vigilante can no longer be flanked, since he can react to opponents on opposite sides of him as easily as he can react to a single attacker. This defense denies rogues the ability to use flank attacks to sneak attack the vigilante. The exception to this defense is that a rogue at least four levels higher than the vigilante can flank him (and thus sneak attack him).

If a character gains uncanny dodge (see above) from a second class the character automatically gains improved uncanny dodge, and the levels from those classes stack to determine the minimum rogue level required to flank the character.

Hide in Plain Sight (Su): At 8th level, a vigilante can use the Hide skill even while being observed. As long as he is within 10 feet of some sort of shadow, a vigilante can hide himself from view in the open without having anything to actually hide behind.

Vigilante Spell List[edit]

Vigilantes draw their spells from the following list:

1st Level: disguise self, doom, feather fall, ghost sound, jump, magic weapon, obscuring mist, sleep.

2nd Level: alter self, cat’s grace, darkness, hold person, invisibility, pass without trace, silence, spider climb, undetectable alignment.

3rd Level: Blindness/deafness, deep slumber, deeper darkness, magic circle against evil, misdirection, nondetection.

4th Level: clairaudience/clairvoyance, dimension door, discern lies, glibness, greater invisibility, greater magic weapon, locate creature, tongues.

5th Level: Dispel evil, scrying, slay living, true seeing.


A Vigilante who willfully commits an Evil act ceases to be a vigilante. He loses the ability to cast spells as a vigilante and can no longer gain any more levels in Vigilante. He also loses the vigilante's Hide in Plain Sight ability if he had gained it. He still retains other abilities and existing levels in Vigilante. The Atonement spell can undo this effect.

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