Base Requirements

  • Races: Any
  • Sub-Classes: Any Rogue
  • Ability Requirements: Muscle 12, Balance 14
  • Alignments: Any
  • Starting Cash: By class

Weapon Proficiencies

  • Weapon Slots: By class
  • Bonus Weapon Proficiencies: none
  • Required Weapon Proficiencies: none
  • Allowed Weapons: By class, plus Spears tight group
  • Allowed Armors: By class

Non-Weapon Proficiencies:

  • Non-weapon Slots: By class
  • Available Groups: By class, plus Performance
  • Bonus Non-weapon Proficiencies: Juggling, Jumping, Tightrope Walking, Tumbling
  • Required Proficiencies: none
  • Recommended Proficiencies: Alertness, Dancing, Disguise, Endurance, Fast-Talking, Land-based Riding, Musical Instrument, Rope Use, Ventriloquism
  • Forbidden Proficiencies: none

Overview: Faerûn has traveling circuses, annual and regional festivals, and trade fairs that showcase the talents of athletic performers eager to show off their agility for the cheers and coins of the crowds. These performers are in great demand during the annual festivals of Midwinter, Greengrass, Midsummer, and Higharvestide (and Shieldmeet every four years). Some acrobats have a hidden life as thieves or adventurers, and between festivals they strike out alone or with others to get rich quickly. These acrobats might be hired for special missions requiring their athletic skills. Most acrobats got their start in cities, working for wayfaring circuses that traveled yearly circuits of various kingdoms. The acrobatic life attracts athletic characters from all regions and walks of life.

Description: Acrobats tend to be graceful, fairly strong, and in good physical condition. For their acts, they dress in brightly colored, tight-fitting clothing. At other times, they prefer stylish, comfortable clothes, avoiding capes, robes, etc., which might trip them up. On adventures, they wear dull or dark clothing (though it may still look stylish). Acrobats do not like to encumber themselves and so travel light.

Role-Playing: Acrobats as a whole are proud of their bodies and skills, and so tend to be vain and prone to show off, which is understandable. They relish challenges and feel a thrill when facing danger, a special high that they seem to live for.

Even Acrobats who are not inclined toward larcenous behavior are rarely looked up to by the rest of their society. People who become Acrobats or actors often were born into the middle class, though their status actually becomes lower. The middle class delights most in the entertainments. The lower classes are usually too busy struggling to survive, and may be tied to their land or profession in the manner of serfs. The nobility and wealthy people are “above” the crude entertainment of the crowd; and even if they might see a circus on occasion, it would be socially impermissible to join it.

Except in unusual circumstances, then, Acrobats will come from the middle class. A player character might be different, if a player wishes, but he will need a plausible explanation of the situation. Because of the social disgrace, it is likely that any entertainer from wealthy or noble class will be disowned.

But then, many people who seek employment as entertainers didn’t leave their previous lives out of choice, anyway. A noble-born Acrobat was probably disowned (or worse) before he took up that profession, and might even have assumed a new identity. Acrobats from other backgrounds may have histories, too—things to hide, and enemies to fear. One thing they like about the circus is that nobody presumes to remove anyone else’s mask or make-up.

The circus may indeed get its own history. Run by a competent swindler, a circus may make piles of money from gullible spectators. It could bring in even more by having its own cutpurses, who are permitted to work the crowds so long as they give a percentage of their take to the circus management.

Acrobats are almost always wanderers. A small town quickly tires of its entertainers, so they must move on to the next, where their tricks and displays may be considered new and impressive.

Special Abilities:

  • Acrobats gain a +1 bonus with the Juggling, Jumping, Tightrope Walking, and Tumbling proficiencies, and on all Climbing checks. This bonus increases to +2 if the acrobat is unarmored. Acrobats gain other special bonuses with these proficiencies:
    • An acrobat using the juggling proficiency adds his level to his attack roll when attempting to catch a hurled weapon without harm to himself. Missile or hurled weapons too large to catch are instead deflected when using this proficiency.
    • An acrobat using the jumping proficiency doubles his level for all jumping calculations. He can use poles up to 20 feet longer than himself, and he can make vaults with a 15-foot run, not dropping the pole if a second proficiency check is made.
    • An acrobat who is tightrope walking has only half-normal penalties (drop all fractions; for example, 5 for one-inch surfaces, -2 for two to six-inch surfaces, and a -2 attack roll penalty). The use of a balancing pole grants a +4 bonus to the check.
    • An acrobat using the tumbling proficiency gains the +4 Armor Class bonus during any round in which initiative is won, even if the acrobat attacks later that same round. No proficiency check is required to reduce falling damage, but a successful check doubles the falling distances involved in damage calculations.
  • An acrobat gains double the normal rate of attack with any thrown weapon.
  • Against creatures at least two sizes larger than him, the Acrobat can try a special maneuver: rolling between the creature’s legs. A successful Balance check means the Acrobat dives between the opponent’s legs, rolls to safety, and bounces to his or her feet behind the enemy. If the check fails, however, the acrobat can be attacked with no special bonus to Armor Class. If the acrobat successfully performs this maneuver and wins initiative on the next round, he or she can backstab that opponent.

Special Disadvantages:

  • In order to make use of their Acrobatic skills, Acrobats favor the least and lightest equipment possible. Acrobats should not be permitted more than light encumbrance. Acrobats may encumber themselves more in special situations (e.g., carrying a wounded comrade to safety, hauling a great hoard of treasure), but they gain none of their special benefits when so burdened.
  • Acrobats, regardless of class, never attract followers, nor do they gain the ability to use written magical devices.

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