Shadow Walker

What is it that makes the shadow walkers most different from the rest of the world’s rogues? On the surface, one might say that it is their use of magic, but in truth there is much more. The shadow walkers are an unusual people who have sworn to use the talents of the thief and the magic of darkness to avenge the wronged and to battle evil. Under cover of darkness, they act as a vigilante force and strike at criminals and wrongdoers who, for one reason or another, have escaped traditional justice.

Base Class Statistics:

  • Ability Requirements: Balance 15, Reason 15
  • Alignments: Good (LG, NG, CG)
  • Experience Chart: Rogue
  • Hit Dice: d6
    • Maximum Hit Dice: 10d6
    • Additional Hit Points: +2 per level beyond 10th
  • Attack: Wizard
  • Saves:
    • Paralyzation/Poison/Death: as Rogue
    • Rods/Staves/Wands: as Wizard
    • Petrification/Polymorph: as Rogue
    • Breath Weapon: as Rogue
    • Spell: as Wizard
  • Proficiencies:
    • Weapons, Initial: 1
    • Weapons, Advancement: +1 per 4 levels
    • Non-Weapon, Initial: 6
    • Weapons, Advancement: +1 per 2 levels
    • Non-weapon Proficiency Groups: Larceny, Detection, and Craft
    • Bonus Proficiencies: Hiding, Modern Language (Thieves’ Cant)
  • Allowed Weapons: Small, one-handed Melee weapons, Slings
  • Allowed Armor: Studded Leather or lighter

Class Features:

Shadow walkers devote a great deal of time to the mastery of magical devices. They can use any item intended for rogues. They can also use magical items intended for any other class as well, but must always take care when doing so. Because of this, they suffer a -4 penalty to their initiative roll when using magical items that would normally be restricted to another class in combat.

Night Vision: A shadow walker’s eyes are naturally attuned to darkness and are able to register more subtle illumination sources than normal humans can. They can see normally in all but absolute darkness. The range of their night vision is equal to 10 feet per experience level.

Backstab: Shadow walkers are weak in toe-to-toe hacking matches, but they are masters of the knife in the back. When attacking someone by surprise and from behind, a shadow walker can improve his chance to successfully hit (+4 modifier for rear attack and negate the target’s shield and Balance bonuses) and greatly increase the amount of damage his blow causes.

To use this ability, the shadow walker must be behind his victim and the victim must be unaware that the shadow walker intends to attack him. If an enemy sees the shadow walker, hears him approach from a blind side, or is warned by another, he is not caught unaware, and the backstab is handled like a normal attack (although bonuses for a rear attack still apply). Opponents in battle will often notice a shadow walker trying to maneuver behind them—the first rule of fighting is to never turn your back on an enemy! However, someone who isn’t expecting to be attacked (a friend or ally, perhaps) can be caught unaware even if he knows the shadow walker is behind him.

The multiplier given in the Table applies only to the base damage of the weapon before modifiers for Muscle or magical bonuses are added. The weapon’s standard damage is multiplied. Then Muscle and magical weapon bonuses are added.

Level Backstab Damage
1-4 x2
5-8 x3
9-12 x4
13+ x5

Backstabbing does have limitations. First, the damage multiplier applies only to the first attack made by the shadow walker, even if multiple attacks are possible. Once a blow is struck, the initial surprise effect is lost. Second, the shadow walker cannot use it on every creature. The victim must be generally humanoid. Part of the skill comes from knowing just where to strike. A shadow walker could backstab an ogre, but he wouldn’t be able to do the same to a beholder. The victim must also have a definable back (which leaves out most slimes, jellies, oozes, and the like). Finally, the shadow walker has to be able to reach a significant target area. To backstab a giant, the shadow walker would have to be standing on a ledge or window balcony. Backstabbing him in the ankle just isn’t going to be as effective.

Thieves’ Cant: Thieves’ cant is a special form of communication known by all thieves and their associates. It is not a distinct language; it consists of slang words and implied meanings that can be worked into any language. The vocabulary of thieves’ cant limits its use to discussing things that interest thieves: stolen loot, easy marks, breaking and entering, mugging, confidence games, and the like. It is not a language, however. Two thieves cannot communicate via thieves’ cant unless they know a common language. The cant is useful, however, for identifying fellow cads and bounders by slipping a few tidbits of lingo into a normal conversation.

The concept of thieves’ cant is historical (the cant probably is still used today in one form or another), although in the AD&D game it has an ahistorically broad base. A few hours of research at a large library should turn up actual examples of old thieves’ cant for those who want to learn more about the subject.

Much of the shadow walker’s early training is in the magical arts. Where other thieves might be learning how to make the best use of minute cracks and protrusions to scale a seemingly impassible wall, novice shadow walkers are mastering the spider climb and jump spells that allow them to do the same.

The ability of a shadow walker to cast spells is greatly restricted compared to a true wizard (or even a Bard). They never gain the ability to learn spells of higher than 5th level. In addition, they are restricted to memorizing no more than four spells from each level. Shadow walkers are only able to learn spells from the Abjuration, Alteration, Illusion/Phantasm, and Lesser/Greater Divination schools.

Shadow walkers do not have the ability to research new magical spells or create magical items. While they are able to master the art of magic when another teaches them its finer points, the subtle refinements required to experiment with the supernatural remain forever beyond their reach.

Class Spells
Level 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th
1 1
2 2
3 3
4 4
5 4 1
6 4 2
7 4 3
8 4 4
9 4 4 1
10 4 4 2
11 4 4 3
12 4 4 4
13 4 4 4 1
14 4 4 4 2
15 4 4 4 3
16 4 4 4 4
17 4 4 4 4 1
18 4 4 4 4 2
19 4 4 4 4 3
20 4 4 4 4 4

Shadow Aura: Upon reaching the 3rd level of experience, a shadow walker is able to raise a semi-magical aura of darkness about his body. This increases his Hiding proficiency score by +5 if the character has at least one round to prepare himself. Once the shadow aura is erected, he can maintain it for a number of rounds equal to his level. This power can be used three times each day.

Shadow Cloak: When a shadow walker attains the 8th level of experience, he can assume a shadowy form. This makes him invisible (as the spell) in dimly lighted areas and increases his his Hiding proficiency score by +10 in other places. As with the shadow aura, this requires one round to manifest and can be maintained for a number of rounds equal to the level of the character. This ability may be employed three times in any 24-hour period.

When wrapped in his cloak of shadows, the character is uncommonly vulnerable to light-based attacks. Any weapon or spell that causes damage via light has a +2 bonus to its effects and causes normal plus half damage. Saving throws the character makes as a result of light-based special attacks have a -2 penalty.

Shadow Form: After he reaches 12th level, a shadow walker becomes truly attuned to shadows and darkness. If he has one round to mentally prepare himself, the character may totally transform himself into an animate shadow. The effects of this power are similar to those of the wraithform spell, except the character is also invisible in all but the brightest light. As with the lesser abilities of this class, the character can maintain this power for a number of rounds equal to his level and can employ this power three times in any 24-hour period.

When in this form, however, the character is very vulnerable to light-based attacks. Any saving throw the character makes against such an attack suffers a -4 penalty. Any attack against the character that causes damage with light inflicts double damage and has a +4 bonus on any applicable attack roll.

Shadow Walker

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