Random Encounters12/02/2003

Wild Life

Silverwood Outrider

Home to far more than the usual assortment of woodland creatures, the vast and ancient expanse of woodland known as the Silverwood shelters a diverse group of mounted warriors and animal trainers. This group, known as the Silverwood outriders, has long studied with druidic masters to perfect techniques of mounted warfare unmatched by any. Even druids and paladins, with their vaunted ability to work with animals and call special mounts, acknowledge that the blend of martial skill and animal friendship exhibited by the Silverwood outriders at least matches, if not surpasses, their own mounted combat abilities.

The Silverwood itself is large and well protected by the outriders and their druidic teachers, along with animals and strange fey creatures, and it has become a haven for many who share a bond with a single animal. Those warriors drawn to the Silverwood seek a place where they can grow their skills and learn more of the special bond between them and their mounts.

Most Silverwood outriders begin their careers as rangers or barbarians, but a fair number of fighters and rogues join their ranks as well.

Hit Die: d8.


To qualify to become a Silverwood outrider, a character must fulfill all the following criteria.

Base Attack Bonus: +5.

Skills: Ride 5 ranks, Handle Animal 3 ranks, Knowledge (nature) 3 ranks.

Feats: Mounted Combat, Wild Cohort*.

Special: Your wild cohort must be an animal large enough for you to ride and must be trained to serve as a mount. (This training includes either being trained for riding or trained for combat riding with the Handle Animal skill. See pages 74 and 75 of the Player's Handbook for more information on training animals.)

A character can substitute the special mount ability from the paladin class or the animal companion ability from the ranger or druid class in place of the Wild Cohort feat.

Class Skills

The Silverwood outrider's class skills (and the key ability for each) are Balance (Dex), Climb (Str), Handle Animal (Cha), Hide (Dex), Jump (Str), Knowledge (nature), Listen (Wis), Move Silently (Dex), Ride (Dex), Spot (Wis), Survival (Wis), Swim (Str), Tumble (Dex).

Skill Points at Each Level: 4 + Int modifier.

The Silverwood Outrider
1 +1 +0 +2 +0 Fast handling, skilled rider
2 +2 +0 +3 +0 Cohort trick
3 +3 +1 +3 +1 Brute mount
4 +4 +1 +4 +1 Cohort trick
5 +5 +1 +4 +1 Bonded mount

Class Features

The following are all class features of the Silverwood outrider prestige class.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Silverwood outriders gain no proficiency with any weapon or armor.

Fast Handling (Ex): At 1st level, a Silverwood outrider can handle his wild cohort as a free action rather than a move action. The Silverwood outrider can push it as a move action. This benefit applies only toward the Silverwood outrider's animal cohort; the normal action times are required to handle and push other animals. See the description of the Handle Animal skill in the Player's Handbook for more information on handling and pushing animals.

Skilled Rider (Ex): You gain a bonus on Ride checks equal to the number of ranks you have in Ride that you purchased as cross-class ranks. In addition, when you take levels in classes or prestige classes other than the Silverwood arcanist, the Ride skill is treated as an additional class skill.

Cohort Trick: At 2nd level and again at 4th level, your wild cohort can learn a "bonus" trick in addition to the ones it can learn because of its Intelligence, training, and the Wild Cohort feat. These bonus tricks don't require any training time or Handle Animal checks, and they don't count against the normal limit of tricks known by the wild cohort. The Silverwood arcanist selects these tricks, and once selected, they can't be changed.

Brute Mount: Your wild cohort's Strength increases by 2. This is an ability increase like those gained for advancing in level, not a bonus.

Bonded Mount (Su): At 5th level, the Silverwood outrider's continued training and empathy for his wild cohort develops into a deeper, near-magical relationship with the animal. While mounted on his wild cohort, the Silverwood outrider can handle and push his mount as a free action (this supercedes the 1st-level fast handling ability).

Coming in Part 4 of Wild Life

The Silverwood outriders aren't the only mounted adventurers that protect the ancient forest. Next week, learn the secrets of their powerful allies, the Silverwood arcanists.

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