Not all barbarians live out their lives in frozen tundras, searing deserts, or rugged badlands. At least one type of feral barbarian, the gutter stalker, makes her home at the heart of civilization, in the great cities of the world. The gutter stalker is a loner and a nomad; they do not form tribes of their kin, as do most barbarians. Rather, the gutter stalker’s tribe consists of the seething horde of diseased rats that lurk in the gutters and sewers of the city. Gutter stalkers themselves are always small sized barbarians at the largest, and are usually gnomes or halflings that have spurned society.
Gutter stalkers are all barbarians to some degree, although a fair number of them multiclass as druids, fighters, rangers, or rogues before taking levels in this prestige class. Regardless of their beginnings, all gutter stalkers are united with a strange love/hate relationship with the big city. While the organization and lawfulness disgusts them, they cherish the seedy underbelly with its ample food, numerous nooks and crannies, and the plenitude of rats to run with. Gutter stalkers do not get on well with others, including fellow gutter stalkers. A gutter stalker selects a defined region of several city blocks as her territory. While she suffers pedestrians and tenants on the streets and in the buildings, the arrival of a competing gutter stalker on the scene invariably ends in a massive urban war between the two barbarians and their armies of rats.
Hit Die: d10.
To qualify to become a gutter stalker, a character must fulfill all of the following criteria:
Size: Small sized or less.
Special: Rage class ability.
Special: Must file teeth down to points (no game effect).
The gutter stalker’s class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Bluff (Cha), Escape Artist (Dex), Handle Animal (Cha), Intimidate (Cha), Knowledge (local) (Int), Stealth (Dex), Survival (Wis) Swim (Str).
Skill Points at Each Level: 4 + Int modifier.
|Level||Base Attack Bonus||Fort Save||Ref Save||Will Save||Special|
|1st||+1||+1||+1||+0||Bloodfrenzy, speak with rats, disease immunity|
|2nd||+2||+1||+1||+1||Feral bite +1d6, scent|
|4th||+4||+2||+2||+1||Feral bite +2d6|
|6th||+6||+3||+3||+2||Wounding bite, feral bite +3d6|
|8th||+8||+4||+4||+3||Feral bite +4d6|
|9th||+9||+5||+5||+3||Invoke the putrid swarm|
|10th||+10||+5||+5||+3||Avatar of the rat god, feral bite +5d6|
The following are class features of the gutter stalker prestige class.
The gutter stalker is proficient with no additional weapons or armor.
A gutter stalker can choose to enter a bloodfrenzy instead of a standard barbarian rage whenever she activates her rage ability. Instead of gaining her normal barbarian rage bonuses, the gutter stalker instead temporarily gains +4 to Dexterity, +2 bonus to AC, +4 morale bonus to natural attack damage caused to wounded targets, and double normal speed (these bonuses are not cumulative with similar bonuses provided by the haste spell or the speed effect.) Since a bloodfrenzy is little more than a variant on a standard barbarian rage, all of the penalties associated with a barbarian rage apply to a bloodfrenzy (such as the inability to use skills and abilities that require concentration and patience and the period of fatigue after the bloodfrenzy ends). A gutter stalker cannot have a bloodfrenzy and a standard barbarian battle rage active at the same time.
Upon becoming a 2nd level gutter stalker, the character grows large rat-like incisors to augment her sharpened teeth. Additionally, her face grows a stubby snout and the muscles in her jaws and neck become thick and powerful. This grants the gutter stalker a natural attack in the form of a bite attack that does 1d6 points of damage on a hit. The gutter stalker may make one bite attack per round at her highest base attack, and if she makes no other attacks in that round she adds 1.5 x her Strength modifier to the damage done. If the gutter stalker wishes to make additional attacks with hand-held weapons, she only adds her normal Strength modifier to the damage dealt and all attacks made with her hand-held weapons suffer a –5 penalty to their attack roll.
As the gutter stalker gains levels, she grows more teeth and becomes more adept at striking with them, which increases the damage she does with her bite.
With the accompanying snarling, slavering, and gnashing of teeth, a gutter stalker’s feral bite is not a subtle attack. A gutter stalker with the sneak attack ability may not make sneak attacks with her feral bite.
At 2nd level, the gutter stalker gains the scent ability. This ability is especially focused in regards to disease; a gutter stalker can actually determine if a target within scent range is diseased by making a Perception check (DC 15).
As a full-round action the gutter stalker can attempt to latch onto a target with her bite attack. She makes a normal bite attack, and if she hits, she immediately makes a grapple attack. If the gutter stalker establishes a hold, she may continue to gnaw on the target each round, doing automatic bite damage each round the hold is maintained; maintaining the grapple is a full-round action for the gutter stalker.
Once per day per gutter stalker level, a gutter stalker may wound a target with her bite attack. The gutter stalker can choose to activate this ability the instant she strikes a target with her bite for damage. A target damaged by a wounding bite suffers 1 point of bleed damage per round thereafter in addition to the normal damage suffered by the bite. Multiple wounds from the bite result in cumulative bleeding loss. Only a successful Heal check (DC 15) or the application of any cure spell or other healing spell can stop the bleeding.
Once per day, the gutter stalker can quicken a disease currently afflicting a single target within 30 feet. This is a standard action for the gutter stalker, and the target can resist the effects by making a Fortitude save (DC 16 + the gutter stalker’s Wisdom modifier). Failure indicates that the disease currently afflicting the target begins to rapidly eat away at him. The victim must make a Fortitude saving throw against the DC of the disease each round or suffer the appropriate disease damage that round. If the victim makes two successful Fortitude saving throws in a row the disease burns itself out and she is cured. Otherwise, she continues to suffer damage until she perishes from the disease.
Once per day, the gutter stalker may cast a variant of the creeping doom spell that calls forth a seething mass of diseased rats. Treat this ability as if it were a creeping doom cast by a druid of a level equal to the gutter stalker’s level plus her Wisdom modifier, with the following modifications. Rather than calling four swarms of arthropods, this spell calls four swarms of rats; a biting, roiling mass of hundreds of disease-ridden rats driven to uncharacteristic heights of aggression by fantastic and overwhelming hunger. The swarms have 60 hit points each and deal 4d6 points of damage with their swarm attack. The save to resist their poison and distraction effects is equal to the save DC of this spell. Creatures caught in multiple swarms only take damage and make saves once. Creatures damaged by a swarm of rats must make a Fortitude save (DC 15) to avoid catching a random disease.
At 10th level, the gutter stalker gains the ability to transform into an avatar of the rat god once per day. This ability functions identically to the druidic wild shape ability, save that the gutter stalker may only assume one form (that of a Huge dire rat) and may only maintain the form for one round per gutter stalker level. While in avatar form, the gutter stalker can make full use of her bonus damage to most of her abilities, including bonus damage from bite attacks, contagious bite, attach, and wounding bite. While in rat god form, the gutter stalker gains the following:
- +14 size bonus to her Strength, -6 penalty to her Dexterity, +10 size bonus to her Constitution, and a +5 natural armor bonus.
- Base land speed changes to 40 ft. and gains a climb speed of 20 ft.
- Base bite damage changes to 2d6.
Additionally, the gutter stalker becomes bloodfrenzied for the duration of the change; this does not count as one of the gutter stalker’s rage uses in a day. Finally, while in rat god form, the gutter stalker gains damage reduction 10/silver.
Villains: Rebirth. Copyright 2003, Bastion Press, Inc. Author: James Jacobs.