Shadow Rogue (3.5e Class)
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Description: A Shadow Rogue feels at home in the darkness, shadows, and otherwise "sketchy" environs. Often found consorting with rogues, mischievous bards, and other scoundrels, shadow rogues fit in well as a sneaky addition to most adventuring parties. As Shadow Rogues tend to favor chaos, and neutrality, it is uncommon to find them in the service of a king (good or evil) as a spy, as you might find a rogue. Often adventuring for wealth, or perhaps just for the fun of it, these rogues can come from any walk of life; from fallen nobles, to common street beggars. Masters of their art, few are ever actually caught and sent to prison, and even fewer actually can be kept in the walls.
Characteristics: A Shadow Rogue can effectively serve his party as both a ranged striker, and a melee striker. Having too few hit points to remain in melee combat for long, most step into combat, deliver serious damage, and then retreat back to a safe distance.
Races: Halflings are perhaps the most common Shadow Rogue race, but Humans, Elves, and Half-Elves also can make fairly effective Shadow Rogues. Half-Orcs can create an unusually effective melee Shadow Rogue, but are often not intelligent enough to compete with others. Dwarves, and their cousins gnomes, are typically ill-suited for a Shadow Rogue.
Making a Shadow Rogue
Abilities: As a typical Rogue, Shadow Rogues rely most heavily on Dexterity. Either Intelligence or Charisma is also important for Clever Strike, depending on your chosen play style. Strength might also be a useful investment. Constitution and Wisdom are traditionally the lower stats of a Shadow Rogue.
Alignment: Any, but rarely lawful.
Starting Age: Simple
Starting Gold: 5d4×10 (125 gp)
|1st||+0||+0||+2||+0||Roguish Talent 1, Sneak Attack +1d6, Trapfinding|
|3rd||+2||+1||+3||+1||Evasion, See in Darkness|
|4th||+3||+1||+4||+1||Sneak Attack +2d6|
|7th||+5||+2||+5||+2||Sneak Attack +3d6|
|9th||+6/+1||+3||+6||+3||Improved Uncanny Dodge, Roguish Talent 2|
|10th||+7/+2||+3||+7||+3||Sneak Attack +4d6|
|11th||+8/+3||+3||+7||+3||Improved Shadow Step|
|13th||+9/+4||+4||+8||+4||Sneak Attack +5d6|
|14th||+10/+5||+4||+9||+4||Light Blade +2|
|15th||+11/+6/+1||+5||+9||+5||Roguish Talent 3|
|16th||+12/+7/+2||+5||+10||+5||Sneak Attack +6d6|
|17th||+12/+7/+2||+5||+10||+5||Light Blade +3|
|19th||+14/+9/+4||+6||+11||+6||Sneak Attack +7d6|
|20th||+15/+10/+5||+6||+12||+6||Light Blade +4|
Class Skills (6 + Int modifier per level, ×4 at 1st level)
All of the following are class features of the Shadow Rogue.
Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Shadow Rogue are proficient with all simple weapons, plus the hand crossbow, rapier, sap, shortbow, and short sword. Shadow Rogues are proficient with light armor, but not with shields.
Sneak Attack (Ex): If a Shadow Rogue can catch an opponent when he is unable to defend himself effectively from his attack, he can strike a vital spot for extra damage. The Shadow Rogue's attack deals extra damage any time his target would be denied a Dexterity bonus to AC (whether the target actually has a Dexterity bonus or not), or when the Shadow Rogue flanks his target. This extra damage is 1d6 at 1st level, and it increases by 1d6 every three Shadow Rogue levels thereafter. Should the Shadow Rogue score a critical hit with a sneak attack, this extra damage is not multiplied.
Ranged attacks can count as sneak attacks only if the target is within 30 feet.
With a sap (blackjack) or an unarmed strike, a Shadow Rogue can make a sneak attack that deals nonlethal damage instead of lethal damage. He cannot use a weapon that deals lethal damage to deal nonlethal damage in a sneak attack, not even with the usual –4 penalty.
A Shadow Rogue can sneak attack only living creatures with discernible anatomies—undead, constructs, oozes, plants, and incorporeal creatures lack vital areas to attack. Any creature that is immune to critical hits is not vulnerable to sneak attacks. The Shadow Rogue must be able to see the target well enough to pick out a vital spot and must be able to reach such a spot. A Shadow Rogue cannot sneak attack while striking a creature with concealment or striking the limbs of a creature whose vitals are beyond reach.
Roguish Talent 1 (Ex): At 1st level, a shadow rogue must choose a path. The path of the Gilded Tongue is perfect for the witty, charismatic rogue who beguiles his opponents in, and out, combat. The path of the Adroit Mind is well suited for the logical, intelligent rogue who uses his brain more in combat than any muscle, and can often find a clever way out of a sticky situation. The path chosen at level one must be continued throughout the rest of the shadow rogue progression.
- Sly Strike: At 1st level a Gilded Tongue shadow rogue has practiced flourishes and ornate maneuvers with a single weapon. Because of this, the Gilded Tongue Shadow Rogue may use their Charisma modifier in place of Strength (or Dexterity) for that weapon's Attack and Damage rolls. The Shadow Rogue may choose the Light Blade as their chosen weapon, in which case this ability is dormant until level 8.
- Clever Strike: At 1st level an Adroit Mind shadow rogue has studied and measured a single weapon, and fully understands its physical potential. Because of this, the Adroit Mind shadow rogue may use their Intelligence modifier in place of Strength (or Dexterity) for any single weapon's Attack and Damage rolls. The Shadow Rogue may choose the Light Blade as their chosen weapon, in which case this ability is dormant until level 8.
Uncanny Dodge (Ex): Starting at 2nd level, a shadow rogue can react to danger before his senses would normally allow him to do so. He retains his Dexterity bonus to AC (if any) even if he is caught flat-footed or struck by an invisible attacker. However, he still loses her Dexterity bonus to AC if immobilized.
Evasion (Ex): At 3rd level and higher, a shadow rogue can avoid even magical and unusual attacks with great agility. If he makes a successful Reflex saving throw against an attack that normally deals half damage on a successful save, he instead takes no damage. Evasion can be used only if the shadow rogue is wearing light armor or no armor. A helpless shadow rogue does not gain the benefit of evasion. Furthermore, A shadow rogue of 12th level or higher may take this opportunity to use a shadow slide and leave the area of effect, assuming it is within the range of their standard slide, should they choose (ie. A 14th level shadow rogue who successfully avoids a Fireball Spell may jump to the outer edge of the blast, as a free immediate action, because the maximum range of his jump is 55 feet, and the diameter of the fireball is only 40 feet. He may also jump to the side of a 100' line of lightning, but as 100' is further than his maximum jump, he may not jump to the end of the line of lightning. He may not jump to another point within the area of effect, or to an occupied space under any condition. He may also choose to stay within the area of effect and take no damage, should he wish.).
See in Darkness (Su): At 3rd level Shadow Rogue can see in darkness of any sort, even magical darkness.
Shadow Step (Sp): At 5th level, a Shadow Rogue can use dimension slide as a spell-like ability at will. This works just like the psionic power, except that they must start and end in a shadow conceivably large enough for them to fit through (ie. A Half-orc shadow rogue could not expect to jump into or out of the shadow cast by a common house cat, unless the lighting was just so). A shadow rogue can start in their own shadow and end in someone else's shadow. It is equally possible to dive into a moving shadow(like one cast by a galloping horse), or come out of a moving shadow. It is up to the DM to discern the appropriate check for such an event (Failing such a check would imply that you "missed" the shadow, and therefore remain standing, or prone, where the shadow was. It is impossible to "miss" the exit shadow.). Should an acceptable shadow not be within range, nothing happens. At 11th level a shadow rogue gets Improved Shadow Step. This functions as Shadow Step, but is a move action, as opposed to a standard action.
Shadow Boxing (Su): At 6th level, when you have an opponent with their back against a wall, you may use their shadow against them to let you flank.
Improved Uncanny Dodge (Ex): A Shadow Rogue of 9th level or higher can no longer be flanked. This defense denies another rogue the ability to sneak attack the character by flanking her, unless the attacker has at least four more Shadow Rogue levels than the target does. Levels in classes that provide Uncanny Dodge, like Barbarian and Rogue can be counted as Shadow Rogue levels for determining the required level to flank a shadow rogue(ie a 13th level Rogue/Barbarian could flank an 9th level shadow rogue) . If a character already has uncanny dodge (see above) from a different class, the character automatically gains improved uncanny dodge at level 2, and the levels from the classes that grant uncanny dodge stack to determine the minimum Shadow Rogue level required to flank the character.
Roguish Talent 2 (Ex):
- Whistle While You Work: At level 9 a Gilded tongue shadow rogue can use their Charisma modifier instead of their Strength modifier for trained skills that normally require Strength.
- Work Smarter, Not Harder: At level 9 an Adroit mind shadow rogue can use their Intelligence modifier instead of their Strength modifier for trained skills that normally require Strength.
Light Blade (Su):: Naturally, shadows cannot exist without illumination, and at higher levels the shadow rogue gains the ability to create a special weapon, the Light Blade. As a swift action usable once per round, he can create a Light Blade (two if he has Two-Weapon Fighting). To do this, he must have at least partial illumination (the light of a torch, candle, or even 0 level light spell will suffice). With a flourish of his hands he grabs a piece of the light, and breaks it off into a blade. He automatically has proficiency with this weapon. A Light Blade has a reach of 5' and deals 1d6 slashing damage for medium, large, and small characters alike. A Light Blade threatens a critical on an 18-20 and has a critical multiplier of ×2. Light Blades have a range increment of 10', and melt 1 round after they hit a target, or the ground, assuming they have not been picked up by the wielder. Light blades also instantly dissipate the effects of any darkness spell, whether cast by the shadow rogue, an ally, or an enemy. Furthermore, they also provide light as if light had been cast on a standard weapon. This cannot be suppressed until the light blade as been dropped or thrown (and subsequently melted). Light blades will only function for their creator; if someone else tries to wield one it loses its solid nature and returns to particles of light, thereby losing all abilities. As a Light Blade wielder, you may choose one of the following special properties when you get the "Light Blade" ability, and additional ones as noted by the +X (ie a Shadow Rogue who has taken Light blade with Explosive Light, Absorption, and Blinding Offense has a Light Blade +3). The special properties may be taken in any order, unless otherwise noted:
- Explosive Light: As a move action, the wielder of a Light Blade can enhance any nearby light, causing all within 30' to make a Fortitude save (DC 10 + ½ character level + Dex modifier) or be blinded for 3 rounds. Creatures with light sensitivity take a -4 penalty to their save and are permanently blinded if they fail the save. If they pass, light-sensitive creatures are dazzled for three rounds.
- Absorption: As an immediate action, you may make an attack against any ray fired at you. If your attack roll beats the attack roll used to hit you, your blade absorbs the ray and the next successful hit made with the blade deals 1d8 damage, rather than 1d6. On a confirmed critical hit any Light Blade augmented with an absorbed ray deals 2d8, rather than 2d6 or 1d8+1d6. You may absorb an infinite number of rays with this effect, but the damage dice never increases more than 1(In essence, the ray is simply negated).
- Blinding Offense: Enemies count as flat-footed against any attacks you make with your Light Blades.
- Refraction: If and only if the Shadow Rogue has taken "Absorbtion" as a special property, they may choose to "refract" the ray cast, and increase the damage dice of one character's weapon within 30 feet, rather than increasing the damage of their own attack. This effect can only be cast onto melee or ranged weapons, and only lasts for one successful hit. A Shadow rogue can give this benefit to any number of characters, but the effects do not stack (ie 4 allies may simultaneously have the benefit, but no one may upgrade their damage dice by more than one).
- Prism Splash: As a standard action, a Shadow rogue may use his light blade(s) to cast Scintillating Pattern once per day, however the duration is instantaneous. Prism Splash may only be taken if the Shadow Rogue has taken Explosive Light at a previous level.
- Handy Halo: A shadow rogue may keep their light blade form encounter to encounter. Normally, a light blade dissipates 1 minute after leaving combat, but with "Handy Halo" a light blade remains for a number of days equal to levels of Shadow Rogue. Furthermore, a Light Blade with "Handy Halo" will return to the shadow rogue's hand after being thrown. Outside of combat, the glow of a Handy Halo Light Blade can be effortlessly suppressed and activated as free actions at will. When the light feature is suppressed, the light blade looks like a dull gray shadow.
Shadow Grapple (Su): At level 12 a shadow rogue can grapple the shadow cast by an enemy, rather than the actual enemy. The shadow has the same base attack bonus and size modifier as the opponent, but only half the Strength score (rounded down). For example, Ulric, the 8th level human Fighter with 18 STR, would have a shadow with a base attack bonus of +8, no special grapple size bonus, and a Strength score of 9. Ulric's Grapple bonus would be +12, his shadow's would be only +7. When grappling a shadow, you must be in the same square as the shadow, and adjacent to the person casting the shadow. All other rules for grappling apply as normal.
Roguish Talent 3 (Ex):
- Grin and Bear It: At level 15 a Gilded tongue shadow rogue uses their Charisma modifier for Fortitude saves, instead of their Constitution modifier.
- Mind Over Matter: At level 15 an Adroit Mind shadow rogue uses their Intelligence modifier for Fortitude saves, instead of their Constitution modifier.
Shadow Trip (Su): At 18h level a shadow rogue has gained the power temporarily disrupt shadows. He may utilize this to "pull the shadow out from under someone" and make a trip attempt. He must be within 30 of the target, and have line of sight, to attempt this. A shadow trip is a standard action that provokes an attack of opportunity only from the target. If he loses, the defender may not to try to trip him in return.
Epic Shadow Rogue
|22nd||Sneak Attack +8d6|
|25th||Sneak Attack +9d6|
|26th||Light Blade +5|
|28th||Sneak Attack +10d6|
6 + Int modifier skill points per level.
Weapons: Dagger and Rapier.
Armor: Leather Armor.
Skill Selection: Pick a number of skills equal to 6 + Int modifier.
|Sleight of Hand||4||Dex||—|
Feat: Two-Weapon Fighting.
Bonus Feats: Improved Initiative.
Gear: 50 feet of silk rope, backpack, water skin, flint and steel, 1 day of trail rations, bedroll, hooded lantern, 4 pints of oil, thieves' tools.
Gold: 41 gp.
Playing a Shadow Rogue
Religion: Olidammara, being the typical god of rogues, is the most common deity of Shadow Rogues. However, atheism is also common amongst Shadow Rogues. It is incredibly uncommon for any Shadow Rogue to worship a deity that is lawfully aligned.
Other Classes: Shadow Rogues deal well with other scoundrels, namely bards and rogues. Due to their chaotic tendencies they often don't get along astoundingly well with clerics and paladins, however in an adventuring party anything can happen.
Combat: Taking the role of a striker, Shadow Rogues often shadow jump into combat to deliver staggering amounts of damage. However, a shadow rogue can do equally well as a ranged fighter standing in the second rank.
Advancement: Shadow Rogues are a specialized bunch, so multi-classing is often unlikely, as are prestige classes.
Shadow Rogues in the World
|“||Afraid of the dark? You probably should be.||”|
|—Johann Tordak, Human Shadow Rogue|
Daily Life: Shadow Rogues spend their days, or more accurately their nights, roaming the streets. Burglary, murder, and racketeering are more like badges of honor than criminal convictions. However, the best shadow rogues live comfortably and totally under the radar of local authorities.
Notables: Belrock "'Ole Badgerface" Rubynak, a halfling shadow rogue, is considered to be the father of modern shadow rogues. He perfected the art of the ideal shadow step, and perfected the technique used to harness beams of light as offensive weapons. Before him, shadow steps were largely inaccurate, and light blades had a better chance of hurting the user than the target.
Organizations: Shadow rogues consort with typical thieves guilds, but as a large group of shadow rogues often draws the attention of local police, most thieves' guilds have only one teacher and a few students, if that.
NPC Reactions: Unless a NPC has seen a shadow rogue preform a shadow step or a shadow strike they are likely to just think of them as a typical rogue. After witnessing such a feat; however, a great respect, and a bit of fear, develops.
Shadow Rogue Lore
Characters with ranks in some appropriate skill can research shadow rogues to learn more about them. When a character makes a skill check, read or paraphrase the following, including information from lower DCs.
|5||The shadows are a good place to wait for a shadow rogue.|
|10||The shadows are a good, but dangerous, place to wait for a shadow rogue.|
|15||Shadow rogues need light as well as shadow.|
|20||Anyone who openly admits they are a shadow rogue probably isn't, and just wants to be.|