Wolf Rider (3.5e Prestige Class)
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|“||Faster than my arrow? I think not.||”|
|—Kiara Khatamok, Wolf Rider, N/A|
In the frozen north of Stoneheim, the mighty wild wolves are revered for their strength and ability to survive. These animals have become an integral part of the lives of the 'civilized' races, aiding in their survival in the harsh environment. These wolves assisted their humanoid partners in hunting large game, serving as mounts, and protecting their territory from rival clans. A poetic understanding and companionship formed from between the wolves and their riders and thus the Wolf Riders were born. The Wolf Riders patrol the wilderness around their encampments, working as hunting parties and scouts. If a threat to the Pack arises, the Wolf Riders are quick to respond, tracking their prey and then running them down. The stalwart races of the north and their wild brethren form a sacred bond and assist each other in keeping the wilds safe from all types of northern hazards.
Becoming a Wolf Rider
Characters at home in the frozen waste and uncomfortable in bigger settlements are the first choice to become Wolf Riders. A character ready to join the hierarchy of the Pack should be ready to uphold the laws of the Pack and able to handle the wild elements and animals of the north. An aspiring wolf rider will need have a wolf as his animal companion and to serve as his mount and a good eye for archery. Some Wolf Riders will break from the Pack, becoming a lone wolf, wandering the vast wilderness. Lone wolf's will often start a new Pack, joining forces with friends they meet along the way.
Skills: Ride(7 ranks), Handle Animal(7 ranks), Spot(4 ranks)
Special: Animal Companion (Wolf)
|1st||+1||+2||+2||+0||Animal Companion, Fleet Movement, Wolf Eyes||+1 level of existing divine spellcasting class|
|3rd||+3||+3||+3||+1||+1 level of existing divine spellcasting class|
|4th||+4||+4||+4||+1||Keen Wolf Eyes|
|5th||+5||+4||+4||+1||Stunning Arrow||+1 level of existing divine spell casting class|
|7th||+7||+5||+5||+2||Summon Wolf Pack||+1 level of existing divine spellcasting class|
|9th||+9||+6||+6||+3||+1 level of existing divine spellcasting class|
|Class Skills (4 + Int modifier per level)|
Climb (Str), Craft (Int), Handle Animal (Cha), Heal (Wis), Jump (Str), Knowledge (geography/nature) (Int), Listen (Wis), Profession (Wis), Ride (Dex), Search (Int), Spot (Wis), Survival (Wis), Swim (Str), and Use Rope (Dex).
Spells per Day: At every odd wolf rider class level, the character gains new spells per day as if she had also gained a level in whatever divine spellcasting class she belonged to before she added the prestige class. She does not, however, gain any other benefit a character of that class would have gained. If a character had more than one divine spellcasting class before she became the wolf rider, she must decide to which class she adds each odd level of wolf rider for the purpose of determining spells per day. In addition, the wolf rider adds wolf's splendor and wolf's splendor, mass to her spell list, and can spontaneously cast any summon nature's ally spell she knows (as a cleric casts cure or inflict spells) to summon wolves or dire wolves.
Animal Companion (Ex): At 1st level, a wolf rider's class levels also stack with the character's druid level for determining the statistics and abilities of her animal companion. If the wolf rider changes her animal companion to any animal other than a wolf, dire wolf or other canid, the animal companion gains no benefit from the wolf riders class levels, and the wolf rider loses the ability to take levels in the wolf rider prestige class.
Fleet Movement (Ex): At 1st level, wolf rider's movement speed is faster than the norm for her race by +10 feet. This benefit applies only when she is wearing no armor, light armor, or medium armor and not carrying a heavy load. Apply this bonus before modifying the wolf rider’s speed because of any load carried or armor worn. This bonus applies while in an alternate form to all types of movement the form may possess.
Wolf Eyes(Ex): At 1st level, wolf rider gains low-light vision, allowing her to see twice as far as a human in starlight, moonlight, torchlight, and similar conditions of shadowy illumination. If the wolf rider already has low-light vision from another source (such as her race), her low-light vision improves, allowing her to see three times as far as humans in conditions of shadowy illumination. The wolf rider also gain a +2 bonus to spot and search checks.
Frost Arrows (Su): At 2nd level, whenever a wolf rider deals damage with a ranged weapon to a creature, that creature takes 1d6 cold damage and must make a Fortitude save DC 10 + wolf rider level + wolf rider’s Con modifier or have their movement speed reduced by half for 1 round/class level. Creatures immune to cold damage are immune to this effect.
Keen Wolf Eyes (Ex): At 4th level, the wolf rider's sight becomes even sharper. The wolf riders ranged attacks have +50% range. The wolf rider may make spot checks as a swift action. The wolf rider's class bonus to spot and search increase to +4 for each.
Stunning Arrow (Ex): At 5th level, whenever a wolf rider successfully confirms a critical with a ranged weapon, that creature is stunned for 1d4 rounds. Creatures immune to criticals are immune to this effect.
Summon Wolf Pack (Sp): At 7th level, the wolf rider can summon 1d3 dire wolves or 1d4+1 wolves a number of times per day equal to her Wisdom modifier (as summon nature's ally spell, caster level equal to wolf rider level).
Crippling Arrow (Ex): At 10th level, whenever a wolf rider successfully confirms a critical with a ranged weapon, that creature takes 2d4 Dexterity damage. Creatures immune to criticals are immune to this effect.
The Wolf Rider's Animal Companion
A wolf rider's animal companion is different from a normal animal of its kind in many ways. A wolf rider’s animal companion is superior to a normal animal of its kind and has special powers, as described below.
Fleet Movement (Ex): The animal companion's movement speed is faster than the norm for her kind by +10 feet. This benefit applies only when she is wearing no armor, light armor, or medium armor and not carrying a heavy load. Apply this bonus before modifying the animal companion's speed because of any load carried or armor worn. This bonus applies all types of movement the animal companion may possess.
Magic Fangs (Ex): The animal companion gains a +1 enhancement bonus/4 Hit Dice to attack and damage rolls with their natural attacks. This bonus does not stack with any other enhancement bonuses.
Frost Breath (Su):The animal companion gains a breath weapon that deals cold damage in a 30ft cone. Using a breath weapon is a standard action. Once the animal companion breathes, it can’t breathe again until 1d4 rounds later. If the animal companion has more than one type of breath weapon, it still can breathe only once every 1d4 rounds. Creatures caught in the area can attempt Reflex saves to take half damage. The reflex save DC against a breath weapon is 10 + ½ animal companion's HD + animal companion's Con modifier. The breath weapon deals 3d6 cold damage/4 wolf's Hit Dice, rounded down.
Savage (Ex): The animal companion gains the savage ability. If the animal companion successfully trips an opponent, it latches onto the opponent’s body and tears the flesh. This attack automatically deals an additional 1d6/Hit Dice plus strength modifier points of damage. If an opponent goes prone for any reason in an area the animal companion threatens, the animal companion can also savage the victim as a free action (treat as the animal companion’s attack of opportunity for the round), even though it had nothing to do with tripping the foe.
Frightful Presence (Ex): The animal companion can unsettle foes with her mere presence. The ability takes effect automatically whenever the animal companion attacks, charges, or flies overhead. Creatures within a radius of 30 feet are subject to the effect if they have fewer HD than the animal companion. A potentially affected creature that succeeds on a Will save (DC 10 + ½ animal companion’s HD + animal companion’s Cha modifier) remains immune to that animal companion’s frightful presence for 24 hours. On a failure, creatures with 4 or less HD become panicked for 4d6 rounds and those with 5 or more HD become shaken for 4d6 rounds.
Monstrous Growth (Ex): The animal companion grows bigger, increasing by one size category. This is exactly like a permanent Animal Growth, except that it is nonmagical, so it will stack with other magical effects that increase size.
Adaptation: This prestige class is campaign specific to Stoneheim, a city of half-dires, with a smattering of gnomes and dwarves. Wolf riders can be adapted to any campaign with an element of wilderness for them to roam. In campaigns featuring armies, they could be portrayed as scouts. Other animals besides wolves, such as the owl, could be a good alternative, as long as it had appropriate flavor and class abilities. Wolf Riders could be part of an order of knight/ranger hybrids.
On a stony mountainside perch, the elf Kiara sat astride her fierce dire wolf, Motley, and surveyed the glistening snow-bound Hope valley. The coarse wind rushed through her hair and stung her eyes. Motley's keen ears pricked up, drawing Kiara's attention to the figures of men moving through the pine forest on the opposite side of the valley, shadowed by the bald mountain. She guessed there must have been at least 20 men snowshoeing through the powdery snow. Motley growled subtly, anxious to follow and chase down the men. She patted him on the neck, "Soon". She whistled a command and Motley stood up and trotted along the mountainside towards their camp. She would have to inform the pack leader about these intruders. Kiara crooned to her mount, "Tonight Motley, we will give credence to the tales men tell of the 'evil wolves' of Stoneheim." As they trotted beyond the sight of the valley, Kiara thought aloud, "Humans have schemed and lied to our pack before. They killed our wolves and run us off of our land. We shall pay them back in kind." Motley let out a trilling bark, as if in agreement.
The intrusion of man into the mountainous lands of Stoneheim was etched in the ancestral memory of the elves that lived there. The elves had lived in the Khatamok Valley, alongside banks of the Ingres River when the boats carrying the troops of men landed. At first, the men only traded with the elves. Because winter was coming, the men had built a fort on the banks of the Ingres River. One dark night in the midst of the winter, the men snuck into the elven town set fire to the homes and killed the elves as they ran from the burning buildings. Unprepared for the sudden betrayal, the elves had to flee into the mountains with what few possessions they could grab. The remaining elves created an encampment. Starvation soon began to ravage the elves who could not fish in the river as they normally would in the winter because the men patrolled up and down the Ingres. If it had not been for the elf druids, the elves would have died of starvation. The druids called upon the wild wolves to kill deer and other large game to feed the camp. The Stoneheim wolves soon became inexorably entwined with the elves. The Wolf Riders were formed and called upon to patrol their new home. Eventually they reclaimed the Ingres River in the Khatamok Valley, but their lives were forevermore bound to the wolves. The Wolf Riders' fiercesome reputation spread, until all races learned to respect the wolves of Stoneheim.
Playing a Wolf Riders
Combat: Wolf Riders prefer too use their mounted archery to whittle down their opponents before charging in for the kill. While you are loosing arrows from afar, your wolf can contribute with his breath weapon. If the enemy gets too close, your wolf can bite and trip him so that he can deal Savage damage.
Resources: They can always find sanctuary with their Pack. Most cities will not let a wolf rider enter, at least with his animal companion, so they try to avoid big settlements.
Wolf Riders in the World
|“||My prey is crafty, but my wolf will sniff him out.||”|
|—Ioren Bootes, Wolf Rider, N/A|
Wolf Riders tend to live in close-knit clans or packs, where the social hierarchy is rigid. The leaders of the Pack acquire and hold their positions through their charisma, strength of will, and sometimes through a feat of strength, wresting leadership by force from a previous leader. They are very social communities that love to to talk and dance and sing and play. Hunting is a focal point in their daily lives, where most all can contribute, but the shares are divided up based on social standing. Those who cannot or will not contribute to the Pack will be driven away by force, which is one reason why there are not many Wolf Riders that live to old age because of the precariousness of life in the tundra. It is not uncommon for some young wolf riders to venture off alone, breaking all ties with their previous pack. Some lone wolf riders start their own new pack. Wolf Riders are renowned in northern lands for their fierce nature and severe reputation.
NPC Reactions: NPC's do not care to be in the presence of Wolf Riders due to their gruff and sometimes hostile mannerisms. And they are often treated roughly in return. However, if one becomes friends with one, they are loyal and friendly to a fault.
Wolf Rider Lore
Characters with ranks in Knowledge(local) can research famous Wolf Riders to learn more about them. When a character makes a skill check, read or paraphrase the following, including information from lower DCs.
|20||Wolf Riders are from a specific clan or pack.|
|26||Wolf Riders are deadly archers.|
|31||A Wolf Rider's bow has cold magic woven into it.|
|36||You gain information of a specific Wolf Riders or other obscure knowledge. (DM's choice)|