By Owen K.C. Stephens (owenkcstephens.com)
Since popular media often inspires what characters players want to build (and what campaigns GMs want to run), in this month’s Rogue Ramblings we take a look at new specialization options for the vigilante, increasing the class’s flexibility without going as far as building whole new archetypes.
A vigilante can select from one of two specializations: avenger (gaining a base attack bonus equal to his class level) or stalker (gaining a hidden strike ability that is similar to, though not exactly the same as sneak attack). But that’s only two possible kinds of vigilantes, and even including the warlock, zealot, and other vigilante archetypes that alter or replace the specialization class feature that doesn’t even come close to representing all the iconic concepts of vigilante characters in fiction. To help round out vigilante possibilities, presented below are three new specializations, and a few talents (social, vigilante, or both) unique to each new specialization.
The judge seeks to impose sentencing on those he deems guilty, bypassing any other normal discovery or court process. The judge may see local law enforcement as corrupt, or inept, or may simply believe in a different standard of justice he must mete out on his own terms.
- Investigate (Ex) (Social Talent): When you take ten or more minutes to investigate a location where a noteworthy event recently occurred, you can make a Survival skill check. You identify the number of creatures, their size and creature type with a successful check, and gain one additional piece of information from the following list for every 5 by which you check exceeds its DC: CR of one randomly selected creature you do not yet know the CR of, all subtypes of all creatures; the skill with the highest bonus of the most skill creature about which you have not yet learned this; the AC of the creature with the highest AC about which you have not yet learned this; the length of time it took the noteworthy event to occur; the rough tactics of each creature during the noteworthy event.
- Judgmental (Su) (Vigilante Talent): As a standard action you can make one melee attack against a foe. If your attack hit, deal damage normally but you also force the target to make a Will save (DC 10 +1/2 your vigilante level +the highest of or Intelligence, Wisdom, or Charisma score). If it fails this save, you learn if the target has the same alignment as yours, an alignment 1 step from yours, and alignment 2 steps from yours, or an alignment3 or more steps from yours.
- Star Chamber (Sp) (Vigilante Talent): You can cast zone of truth as a spell-like ability a number of times per day equal to 1/3 your vigilante level (minimum 1/day). The save DC against this ability is increased by a value equal to 1/3 your vigilante level (minimum +1), but the effect only applies to creatures within the area that are helpless.
The mastermind is a planner and plotter, who tries to foresee problems and devise solutions before they are needed and can direct allies into a cohesive group that is stronger than the sum of its parts.
Gain two skill points per vigilante class level, and gain all remaining Knowledge skills as class skills. Whenever you put a skill rank into a Knowledge skill, you also gain a bonus rank in another Knowledge skill or your choice. You still cannot exceed the maximum ranks in a skill for your level.
You can give directions in combat to aid yourself and allies work together. This works as the bardic performance ability, using your vigilante level as your bard level, but only for the inspire courage, inspire confidence, inspire greatness, and inspire heroics functions of bardic performance. Rather than an inspiring artistic performance, your directions are quick, compressed sound tactical advice and timely warnings, often (though not always) given in the form of signals and code-phrases you have prearranged with your allies.
- Find Weakness (Ex) (Vigilante Talent): A number of times per day equal to 1/2 your vigilante class level (minimum 1/day), as a swift action you can determine if a foe you can see (and have seen in combat for at least 1 round, or observed out of combat for at least 10 minutes) has a weakness. You learn the first of the following things that are true for that creature that you do not already know – it has a vulnerability to a damage type (and what that damage type is), it has regeneration (and what the regeneration does not function against), it has DR that can be bypassed (and what bypasses it), it has a spell that affects it in a special or unusual way (and what spell, and how it affects the target). When you use this on a target that has more than one unknown weakness remaining, you also learn there are additional weaknesses you can learn if you use this ability on the creature again.
- Prepared (Ex) (Social Talent): You prepare for events as carefully as you can. A number of times per day equal to 1 +1/2 your vigilante level, you can provide the tools necessary to make anyone ability score check or skill check without penalty for lack of tools, and additionally grant a circumstance bonus to the check equal to 2 +1/3 your vigilante level. The tools function for only a single check (though if you have additional uses per day, you can use them for additional checks of the same type).
- Utility Belt (Ex) (Vigilante Talent): You have some kind of collection of equipment and tinctures you use to prepare for every eventuality you can. As long as no one has removed this collection from you, it can act as a traveler’s any tool, and once per day, you can produce one potion from it to use immediately. You cannot sell this potion to give it to someone else (though you can apply it to them yourself as a full-round action). It takes one minute for you to set what the potion is, and it must be an alchemist spell with a spell level no greater than 1/3 your vigilante level (minimum 1).
The trainer is a vigilante who knows the fight he faces is not one he can win alone.
You gain a “sidekick.” This can be an animal companion as a hunter of the same level as your vigilante level, including the ability for the animal companion to learn hunter’s tricks and have an animal focus (though if your animal companion dies, you do not gain the ability to add that animal focus to yourself).
Alternatively, you gain a cohort as if you had the Leadership feat, but your cohort is built using only NPC classes and has ability scores generated using 5 fewer point-buy points than are required to buy your ability scores, and is 2 class levels lower than you. At 1st and 2nd level, your cohort is a 1st level commoner, changing to a 1st level character of any NPC class when you become a 3rd level vigilante. The cohort has gear worth gp equal to the wealth per level of an NPC of its level.
Your sidekick has the dual identity vigilante class feature, and benefits from any talent you take that improved your dual identity or allows you to change identity more easily or more quickly.
- Bestial Justice (Ex) (Vigilante Talent): You gain the ability to add an animal focus to yourself or your sidekick, treating your vigilante level as your hunter level to determine the animal focus’s effects.
- The High Sign (Ex) (Vigilante Talent): If your sidekick is allowed to act in the surprise round of a combat you are as well, as long as you are within 60 feet and can see and hear your sidekick. Whenever you and your sidekick both roll initiative for the same combat, you may use either your initiative total or your sidekick’s, and your sidekick goes immediately after you each round.
- Irregulars (Ex) (Social Talent): You have a support group of minor agents who can spy on buildings, watch your headquarters, deliver messages, and otherwise assist you in ways that do not require them to be as skilled or dangerous as you. This gives you followers as if you had Leadership feat, but grants you twice as many followers (with a minimum of 2 1st-level commoners).