Ruins of Adventure
- Races: Any
- Sub-Classes: Any
- Ability Requirements: Reason 14
- Alignments: Non-Chaotic
- Starting Cash: By class
- Weapon Slots: By class
- Bonus Weapon Proficiencies: none
- Required Weapon Proficiencies: One missile weapon
- Allowed Weapons: By class
- Allowed Armors: By class
- Non-weapon Slots: By class
- Available Categories: By class
- Bonus Non-weapon Proficiencies: Alertness, Camouflage, Intimidation, Law, Tracking
- Required Proficiencies: none
- Recommended Proficiencies: Blind-fighting, Disguise, Etiquette, Hunting, Modern Languages, Persuasion, Set Snares, Signaling, Street Fighting, Survival, Trailing, Trail Marking, Trail Signs
- Forbidden Proficiencies: none
Overview: The stalker is a lone and enigmatic figure who spends most of his time hunting through back alleys and run-down taverns for his chosen enemies. Unlike many adventurers, it is not supernatural horrors that the stalker seeks but the more common evils of humanoid criminals and villains. The stalker sees thieves, murderers, and other felons as the most monstrous creatures exactly because they are human beings who have chosen to prey on the innocent and week. To catch such outlaws requires determination and skill, and it is to this pursuit that a stalker dedicates himself.
Most stalkers are good people who believe that they must seek out evil criminals so that others may be safe. They have seen lawbreakers escape justice one time too many and have thus vowed to take matters into their own hands. Some stalkers have suffered a terrible tragedy at the hands of criminals, lose parents or loved ones to malefactors who were never brought to trial. But in hunting down the worst society has to offer, the stalker comes to look and act much like a criminal himself.
In a party, stalkers serve as spies, informants, and interrogators. Stalkers are comfortable in both wilderness and urban settings. A stalker may covertly observe a bandit camp to inventory their supplies and hostages, or eavesdrop in the corridors of an evil wizard’s castle. A few innocuous questions enable him to distinguish friend from foe, and fact from fiction. His mastery of stealth makes him a deadly opponent.
Description: At first glance, this soft-spoken, rather nondescript character seems hopelessly out of place in an adventuring party, looking instead like an town dweller who’s wandered into the wilderness by mistake. But the drab demeanor is only a facade, concealing keen senses, a shrewd mind, and remarkable insight. Only his closest friends realize the extent of his expertise in intelligence-gathering. And that’s just the way he likes it.
Role-Playing: A stalker can be a benefit to any party, although many see him as a mixed blessing. While the skills and information provided by a stalker can be of great benefit to a party, stalkers are also the targets of the people they hunt and can bring unwanted attention to adventurers. They are also usually more concerned with the success of their quest than the well-being of their comrades. Even good-aligned stalkers often see the loss of friends and family to be an unfortunate but necessary price to pay for the good they do.
Stalkers tend to be introspective and reflective, valuing intellect over physical prowess. They avoid drawing attention to themselves, seldom speaking unless directly addressed, then responding succinctly and without elaboration. They avoid small talk and socializing, instead preferring the company of a good book or an hour spent examining an unusual footprint. Stalkers tend to suppress their emotions so their decisions aren’t colored by what they consider to be irrelevancies.
Though most people respect Stalkers, they are also wary of them. The Stalker’s stealthiness and secrecy make many people uneasy, as these are traits usually associated with the thieves and sneaks the stalker is supposed to be fighting against. A hired Stalker can be trusted to focus on the job at hand, complete it efficiently, make his report, then go his own way without comment.
Adventuring parties often hire Stalkers on retainer, though occasionally, a Stalker will join a party with no assurance of monetary reward if the adventure presents an intriguing challenge. Stalkers rarely are party leaders, though they express their opinions freely when invited to do so. In combat, most Stalkers are brave but cautious, waiting for tactical opportunities to present themselves rather than charging into the fray. They prefer to surprise their opponents, striking silently and quickly.
- When using a missile weapon, the Stalker gains a +1 on all attack and damage rolls.
- Stalkers can use the Tracking proficiency in urban settings without penalty.
- Stalkers gain a bonus to surprise opponents, but only if the stalker is not in metal armor. Even then, the stalker must either be alone or 90 feet or more away from his party to gain this bonus. If he fulfills these conditions, he moves so silently that opponents suffer a -4 penalty to their surprise die rolls. If the stalker must open a door or screen to attack, this penalty is reduced to -2. If the stalker gains similar abilities from another source, such as being an Elf or a Thief, the penalty is increased by 2.
- A stalker’s familiarity with lawbreakers is so great that he has a chance of recognizing a criminal on sight. Whenever a stalker meets a criminal, he may make a check against his Law proficiency. If successful, the stalker recognizes the criminal—this allows the stalker to know the offender’s name, a list of his crimes, and information about where the criminal is wanted. Obviously this ability only works on individuals who are at least suspected of crimes by some local law enforcement group.
- Interrogation: When interrogating an NPC for any reason, a Stalker can acquire special knowledge about the NPC in one (but not both) of the following ways. In order to use any of these abilities, the Stalker must be able to speak with and question the NPC without distraction.
- By making a successful Reason check, the Stalker can determine the general alignment of the NPC. If successful, the Stalker learns the good-evil component of the NPC’s alignment (good, neutral, or evil).
- The Stalker can ascertain the NPC’s honesty. The DM secretly makes a Reason check for the Stalker. If the check succeeds and the NPC is being honest with the Stalker, the DM tells the Stalker that the NPC is telling the truth to the best of his knowledge. A successful check in no way compels the NPC to reveal any information to the Stalker. The NPC may refuse to cooperate, but the Stalker is assured of the truthfulness of anything the NPC decides to share (note that the NPC may still pass along unreliable information that he believes to be true).
If the check succeeds, and the NPC is being dishonest with the Stalker, the DM tells the Stalker that the NPC may be lying. It’s up to the Stalker to separate the truth from the lies; a successful check only tells him that he shouldn’t take everything the NPC says at face value. If the check fails, the DM tells the Stalker nothing about the honesty of the NPC. The Stalker must make up his own mind about the NPC’s reliability based on the NPC’s responses.
- Photographic Memory: When a Stalker reaches 10th level, he acquires a limited photographic memory, enabling him to recall details about anything he’s seen or heard since achieving 10th level. He can recall a fragment of a conversation, conjure up a mental image of a place he’s visited, or remember words on a printed page. To use this ability, the DM secretly makes an Knowledge check for the Stalker, with a -2 penalty. If the roll fails, the memory is too vague to be of any use to the Stalker. If the roll succeeds, the DM tells the Stalker what he wishes to remember. If the roll is a natural 20, the DM gives the Stalker intentionally misleading information about whatever he’s trying to remember (a room, for instance, is incorrectly recalled as having a locked window or mysterious claw marks on the walls). Because of the mental stress involved, this ability can be used only once per day.
- Regardless of class, the Stalker cannot use a shield or wear any type of metal armor (not even elven chain).
- The dark mood of a stalker often makes him seem at least as frightening and evil as those he hunts and those who meet a stalker for the first time are likely to come to the wrong conclusion about the dark, brooding figure. Thus a stalker suffers a -3 penalty on all initial NPC reaction rolls.
- The stalker’s primary dedication is to capture and punish lawbreaking miscreants. Once a stalker has set out to capture a particular criminal, he does not rest until the hunt is complete. If circumstances make it obvious that the stalker must leave such an undertaking until later, he must make a Willpower check to bring himself to abandon his quarry. Even if this roll is successful, the stalker is so agitated by this unfinished business that he suffers a -2 penalty on all d20 rolls for 1d4+1 weeks.
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