Excerpts 01/05/2007

Complete Scoundrel Excerpts
By Mike McArtor and F. Wesley Schneider

Gain an upper hand in many situations by perusing the options and suggestions found within Complete Scoundrel. Whether your character defies gravity with acrobatic movements, has the right words for every occasion, or even moves behind the scenes with aplomb, you're sure to find something useful for your character. Check out some excerpts that give you a taste of what's in store for you. You'll find some information about making a scoundrel, some ideas for those acrobatic scoundrels out there, the master of mask prestige class, a list of new feats along with three feat you use in your game, information about skill tricks, and details about the organization called the Blind Tower.


"It's locked," Lidda said, backing away from the heavily bound iron door. Its hundreds of etched demonic faces leered at her.

"Of course it is. That's your job. Deal with it," prodded Regdar, his armor clanking as he shifted impatiently.

"I can't. It's not locked like that. Hennet, you want to give this one a try?"

"Pardon me," the sorcerer whispered as he squeezed past Regdar, whose wide frame filled most of the tight hallway. Stepping in front of Lidda and gesturing his companions back, Hennet flamboyantly produced a wand, a flimsy thing little more than a gnarled twig. He closed his eyes and concentrated for a moment to summon the power inherent in his blood, then focused on the wand. A silent wave of blue sparks washed over the evil-looking door, but as they struck its surface they vanished like rain upon warm stone.

"It's beyond the wand's power," Hennet stated matter-of-factly as the blue light faded. He turned back, skirting past the fighter.

Regdar looked to Lidda with an exasperated shrug. "Well, how do we get by?"

"We look for another way." Annoyance tinged Lidda's voice.

"I could try something," chirped Gimble from the rear. Disbelieving eyes turned toward the brightly dressed bard. With his hands stretched out ahead of him, the gnome forced his way past his doubtful companions. He tossed Lidda a jaunty smirk and a quick raise of his eyebrows as he met her level gaze.

"A little room, please," Gimble said in serious tones, mocking Hennet's dramatic pose. The others stepped back as he put his back between them and the door. The gnome reached into his cloak for a split second, then pressed his hands against the door and began whispering slowly, ominously.

Regdar glanced at Hennet, who arched an eyebrow dubiously. Their misgivings quickly gave way to surprise, though, as a loud creaking echoed through the web-strewn hall. The heavy door swung inward at the gnome's push.

"How'd you --?" Lidda started.

"Old gnome trick." Gimble waved his arms toward the entrance like the most gracious host. "After you."

As his companions passed by cautiously, Hennet fixed the gnome with a sidelong look. Gimble hung back a moment. Deftly, he slipped the palmed stone with its sinister demon face -- just like the ones on the door -- back into his cloak. He'd found it a few rooms back and pocketed it in case it might prove useful, as it had.

Skipping after his allies, Gimble smiled. They didn't need to know. That was the old gnome trick.

Your Scoundrel

A lot of the fun of the D&D game lies in playing iconic individuals and fantasy archetypes: the axe-wielding barbarian, the wise, staff-bearing wizard, the expert sharpshooter elf. All these images hold an identifiable charm. Another classic fantasy figure is the witty rogue who lives by his luck and always comes out on top: the scoundrel. Scoundrels can be wildly different characters, including Bilbo Baggins, Robin Hood, Han Solo and Princess Leia, Sherlock Holmes, Zorro, and Lara Croft. All of them live by their wits, take chances when they must, and land on their feet against all odds. Each has a distinct personality and goals, from solving crimes to committing them, but these characters' methods and outlooks, not their professions or morality, make them scoundrels.

As personas for characters, scoundrels represent a style of play rather than a class. They're the sneaks, the cheats, the bluffers, and the opportunists. They use improvisation and imagination to gain an advantage, exploiting a weakness or a hidden benefit in even the worst situation. Anyone can play a scoundrel. Simply adjust how you prepare for encounters, react to situations, and interact with both NPCs and your fellow PCs. Lawful or chaotic, sword-swinger or spellcaster, scoundrels come in all types.

Scoundrels are also fun and valuable tools for DMs. Whether a skilled but unreliable cheat the PCs can never be sure about, or an entire guild of trained sneaks and thrill-seekers, the scoundrel archetype might enhance a campaign in any number of ways. The versatile new feats, skill tricks, spells, and equipment presented in this book might be just the way to spark a party's imagination and inspire new tactics. By the same token, putting these features in the hands of an opponent NPC allows you to confront even the most experienced player with something never seen before.

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