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.

Making a Scoundrel

Not every scoundrel wears leather armor and conceals a dagger beneath a black silken cloak. Scoundrels come in all shapes and sizes, and they draw their strength from a variety of sources both mundane and magical.

This section discusses how to create a scoundrel character regardless of the abilities she wields. Whether stealthy or brash, nimble or clever, magical or psionic, your would-be scoundrel can glean useful advice from the entries below. These discussions include references to the new skill tricks rules presented in Chapter 3, as well as to other D&D supplements for those readers who have assembled a library of resources.

Acrobatic Scoundrel

Flashy and flexible, the acrobatic scoundrel performs agile acts that leave her victims and other witnesses in awe.

Personality: The acrobatic scoundrel craves attention. You despise performing away from an audience -- even if your "performance" includes theft. You put forth a persona for others to admire or hate, but you might lead a mundane life in your downtime.

Strengths: Agility and athletic talent mark the acrobatic scoundrel. Where others see insurmountable obstacles or terrain difficult to navigate, you see opportunities. Acrobatic scoundrels should have high modifiers in Balance, Climb, Jump, and Tumble.

Weaknesses: Acrobatic scoundrels typically lack the larcenous talents of the burglar and the smooth tongue of the con artist. While able to go just about anywhere, you might not be able to finish your task with the same level of grace and sophistication as you demonstrated in reaching your target.

Best Classes: The best classes for an acrobatic scoundrel are those known for their movement skills. Monks, ninjas, rogues, and swashbucklers make up the vast majority of acrobatic scoundrels. Rogues have the skill points to let you maximize all your favorite athletic stunts and still pick up a few larcenous abilities on the side. Monks and ninjas make good acrobatic scoundrels because they have a number of movement-related class features. High-level swashbucklers gain the acrobatic skill mastery class feature, making them excellent tumblers and jumpers even in the heat of battle.

Best Skills: Movement-based skills make up the core repertoire of the acrobatic scoundrel. Balance, Climb, Escape Artist, and especially Jump and Tumble should stay at the top of your skill priorities. They allow you to infiltrate secure locations and evade determined guards, all the while impressing witnesses with your grace and agility.

Best Skill Tricks: The acrobatic scoundrel gains the most benefit from movement tricks (page 82).

Acrobatic Backstab: This trick can help you render an opponent flat-footed. Plus, the trick's name fits in with the character's flavor.

Corner Perch: Get away from your enemies and amaze them at the same time. This trick is useful for gaining the higher ground bonus or darting out of reach to drink a potion.

Extreme Leap: Combine this trick with the great leap of a ninja or fast movement of a monk to jump anywhere you need to go. Adding the Leap of the Heavens feat (Player's Handbook II) makes it even better.

Leaping Climber and Wall Jumper: Don't bother with climbing that wall -- jump up it! And then drop back down again to truly surprise your enemies.

Slipping Past: Get to where you need to go without worrying about cramped quarters.

Best Feats: These feats are optimal choices for the acrobatic scoundrel.

Ascetic Rogue (Complete Adventurer) and Ascetic Stalker (page 73): Each of these feats allows you to combine the monk's martial prowess with the rogue's or ninja's stealth.

Combat Acrobat (PH II): You don't want to stumble around and look foolish. The feat's name plays right into your scoundrel's archetype as well.

Dodge: While useful in its own right, this feat's true value lies in the other options it opens up (Mobility and Spring Attack). For acrobatic scoundrels with a high speed, consider Expeditious Dodge (Races of the Wild) instead.

Freerunner (page 77): This handy feat lets you add more movement tricks to your repertoire.

Leap of the Heavens (PH II): Next to Tumble, Jump is your most important skill. Make it look easy.

Lucky Catch (page 79): Just in case that key Jump check fails by 5 or more.

Best Multiclass Combination: Regardless of your main class, a level or two of bard doesn't hurt, and it can help a lot. Not only do bards have a high number of skill points, but all the important acrobatic skills are class skills for them. The real advantage of two bard levels comes from their spell selection. Expeditious retreat and feather fall in particular can keep you alive and help you shine on the battlefield.

Best Prestige Classes: As its name implies, the thief-acrobat from Complete Adventurer fits in perfectly with the acrobatic scoundrel archetype. Another excellent choice is Complete Warrior's dervish, which grants fast movement and the extremely useful ability to take 10 on Jump and Tumble checks. A quirkier choice is the exemplar (Complete Adventurer), which puts a heavy emphasis on skill use.

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