An effective warrior wielding both skill and stealth, the stalker is a martial disciple who battles in the deep shadows and the hidden underworld of night. Through rigorous training and deep, intuitive instincts, the stalker is a trained killer whose very art is considered illegal in some places. Part mystic, part warrior, and part assassin, the stalker’s arts are varied, but always deadly.
Adventures: Stalkers adventure for many reasons, but most do so either as part of a guild of fellow stalkers on a mission, for money and profit, or for deeper, often darker purposes of the heart. Some adventure for the test of their skill, but this is slightly rarer; whatever the reason, the path of the stalker is often a self-absorbed one.
Characteristics: Stalkers universally are very introspective people, they rely so heavily upon their intuitive reactions to situations and their heightened reflexes through athletic skill that they usually have an air of detachment. Some are braggarts, but many are quiet and calm, paying close attention to their surroundings should they need to use their lethal skills.
Alignment: Any. Stalkers do not lean to any particular alignment trend, running the gamut of all walks of life.
Religion: Some stalkers are deeply religious, finding solace in their meditations to gods of night, death, travels, or revelry. Other stalkers find no use for gods, for if the gods protected and cared for their flock, then they wouldn’t make their followers so easy to kill.
Background: Stalkers often arise from the poor and underprivileged who live in city slums, trained from their youth to be unfeeling killers. Others are trained in remote areas in a more monastic fashion, taught to be warriors who strike from the shadows. The training of stalkers can also be an individual thing, each master teaching a student in their own way, the way they were taught.
Other Classes: Stalkers get on well with rogues and rangers due to having complementary roles. Paladins and clerics often chafe when partied with stalkers, as their reputation as killers (rightly or wrongly) often sours opinions of them. Other classes generally have a neutral opinion of stalkers, unless that stalker has come for them.
Role: Striker. In the party, the stalker follows the heavily armored fighter into combat, using them as shields and distractions so they can inflict maximum damage on their foes. In addition, the stalker can serve quite well as the party scout, finding danger and warning the party before they stumble upon it.
Abilities: Dexterity and Wisdom are prime attributes for stalkers, as many of their skills are governed by these abilities and their combat capabilities are augmented by them as well. Wisdom is the primary initiating attribute for stalker. Strength is valuable for damage, but can fall behind Constitution for endurance in battle.
Starting Wealth: As cleric.
Hit Die: d8
The stalker’s class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are: Acrobatics (Dex), Appraise (Int), Bluff (Cha), Climb (Str), Craft (Int), Disable Device (Dex), Disguise (Cha), Escape Artist (Dex), Heal (Wis), Intimidate (Cha), Knowledge (local) (Int), Knowledge (martial) (Int), Knowledge (nature) (Int), Knowledge (religion) (Int), Perception (Wis), Profession (Wis), Sense Motive (Wis), and Stealth (Dex).
Skill Ranks per Level: 6 + Int modifier
All of the following are class features of the stalker.
Stalkers are proficient with all simple and martial weapons, and with light armor. Stalkers are not proficient with shields of any kind.
A stalker begins his career with knowledge of six martial maneuvers. The disciplines available to him are Broken Blade, Solar Wind, Steel Serpent, Thrashing Dragon, and Veiled Moon. Once he knows a maneuver, he must ready it before he can use it (see Maneuvers Readied, below). A maneuver usable by stalkers is considered an extraordinary ability unless otherwise noted in its description. His maneuvers are not affected by spell resistance, and he does not provoke attacks of opportunity when he initiates one. He learns additional maneuvers at higher levels, as shown above. The stalker must meet a maneuver’s prerequisite to learn it. See the Systems and Use chapter.
Upon reaching 4th level, and at every even numbered stalker level after that, he can choose to learn a new maneuver in place of one he already knows. In effect, the stalker loses the old maneuver in exchange for the new one. The stalker need not replace the old maneuver with a maneuver of the same level. He can choose a new maneuver of any level he likes, as long as he observes his restriction on the highest-level maneuvers he knows. The stalker can swap only a single maneuver at any given level. A stalker’s initiator modifier is Wisdom.
New Disciplines: A Stalker A stalker adds either Riven Hourglass or Tempest Gale to his list of available disciplines. If he does not have that discipline’s associated skill as a class skill, he gains it as a class skill.
A stalker can ready four of his six starting maneuvers, but as he advances in level and learns more maneuvers, he must choose which maneuvers to ready. He readies his maneuvers by meditating and focusing his ki for 10 minutes. The maneuvers he chooses remain readied until he decides to repeat this again and change them. Stalkers do not need to sleep or be well rested to ready their maneuvers; any time he spends 10 minutes in meditation, he can change his readied maneuvers. He may not ready any individual maneuver more than once. He begins an encounter with all readied maneuvers unexpended, regardless of how many times he may have already used them since he chose them. When the stalker initiates a maneuver, he expends it for the current encounter, so each of his readied maneuvers can be used once per encounter (until they are recovered, see below).
Stalkers may recover their maneuvers in one of two ways. The stalker may either center his awareness of the combat momentarily as a standard action and recover a single expended maneuver of his choice.
Alternately, he may recover his Wisdom modifier in expended maneuvers (min of 2) as a full round action that does not provoke attacks of opportunity, centering his spirit completely to re-align his perceptions of the battle and change his place in it. When recovering his maneuvers as a full round action, he may move up to his base speed and adds a +4 insight bonus to his Armor Class as his ki defends his form while he re-centers himself. In addition, the next attack he makes this encounter adds his deadly strike damage if it hits.
Stalkers begin play with knowledge of one stance from any discipline open to stalkers. At the indicated levels (see class table), the stalker selects an additional new stance. Unlike maneuvers, stances are not expended and he does not have to ready them. All the stances he knows are available to him at all times, and he can change the stance he is currently using as a swift action. A stance is an extraordinary ability unless otherwise stated in the stance description. Unlike with maneuvers, the stalker cannot learn a new stance at higher levels in place of one he already knows.
At 1st level, a stalker gains a pool of ki points, supernatural energy he can use to accomplish amazing feats. The number of points in the stalker’s ki pool is equal to 1/2 her stalker level + his Wisdom modifier (minimum of 1).
At 1st level, the stalker may spend 1 point of ki to grant himself a +4 insight bonus to a single Perception or Sense Motive check as an immediate action, as he uses his ki to feel out the vibrations of others and their hidden motives.
At 5th level, the stalker may use his deadly strikes in conjunction with his combat insight to “read” his opponent’s defenses and deliver devastating blows beyond his foe’s guard. The stalker spends one point of ki as a swift action to read his target opponent, and may apply his deadly strike to all martial strikes initiated by the stalker for a number of rounds equal to his Wisdom modifier against this target. If the stalker scores a successful critical hit against the target while this ability is active, then he activates deadly strike as normal.
At 9th level, the stalker can delve into his subconscious in battle and remember key lessons from his training. The stalker envisions potential scenarios where martial abilities he has not readied come into play and gains a momentary burst of martial insight. A number of times per day equal to his Wisdom modifier, the stalker can spend one ki point as a swift action and trade one readied maneuver for another maneuver known of the same level or lower. The new maneuver is immediately readied and accessible for use. The character may initiate this maneuver and recover it as if he had prepared at the beginning of the day (or when ever the stalker readied his maneuvers last) until the end of the combat encounter.
The ki pool is replenished each day after 8 hours of rest and meditation; these hours do not need to be consecutive. If the stalker possesses levels in another class that grants points to a ki pool, stalker levels stack with the levels of that class to determine the total number of ki points in the combined pool, but only one ability score modifier is added to the total. The choice of which score to use is made when the second class ability is gained, and once made, the choice is set. The stalker can now use ki points from this pool to power the abilities of every class he possesses that grants a ki pool.
The stalker is capable of maximizing his deadliness whenever he lands a critical blow upon his opponent, opening his target up for future punishment as the stalker becomes attuned to his prey. The stalker’s deadly strike activates whenever the stalker scores a successful critical hit against a target, and is active against that target for a number of rounds equal to his Wisdom modifier. Deadly strike inflicts extra damage, to only this target creature, on all of the stalker’s attacks. This extra damage is 1d6 at 1st level, and increases by 1d6 for every four stalker levels thereafter. When the stalker scores a critical hit, this extra damage is not multiplied, it is simply added to the damage. If the stalker scores a successful critical hit during the time his deadly strike is active, the duration of this ability is extended by one round (no more than one extension can be made per round). Ranged attacks can count as deadly strikes only if the target is within 30-ft.. Deadly strike is more effective with weapons with higher critical multipliers, such as scythes and battle axes. Weapons with a x3 critical multiplier inflict damage with deadly strikes using a d8 instead of a d6, and weapons with a critical multiplier of x4 use d10’s. Damage multipliers higher than x4 use d10’s for deadly strikes damage.
Deadly strike may not be used with weapons that inflict non-lethal damage. The stalker must be able to see the target well enough to pick out a vital spot and must be able to reach such a spot. Creatures immune to critical hits or precision damage cannot be targeted by a deadly strike. A stalker cannot deadly strike while attacking a creature who has concealment.
At 2nd level, the keen senses and awareness of the stalker delivers him a sort of sixth sense. This insight performs as an intuitive alarm, alerting him of danger. Through his rigorous practice and learning to trust his instincts and intuition to an unearthly level, the senses of the stalker are unusually sharp.
At 2nd level, the stalker’s combat sense opens his third eye, granting him defensive reflexes that protect him in combat. The stalker may add his Wisdom modifier to his initiative score and to Reflex saving throws as an insight bonus.
At 8th level, the killer’s instinct in the stalker is honed to a razor’s fine edge, allowing him to add his Wisdom modifier as a competence bonus to confirm critical hits. This ability counts as if the character possessed the Critical Focus feat, and for the purposes of taking critical feats that the character qualifies for. The character may not select the Critical Focus feat once he has this ability, and should he have it before he gains this ability, he loses the Critical Focus feat and may select a critical feat in its place.
At 12th level, the stalker’s insight allows him to funnel the ki of his foes into his form with his deadly attacks. The character can recover a single expended maneuver when he scores a successful critical hit against a living creature. This ability does not function against constructs, undead, or creatures with under 1/2 HD.
At 18th level, the heightened precognitive abilities of the stalker manifest in his ability to sense things around him that others cannot, granting him blindsight of 30-ft.. This is a supernatural ability.
The stalker’s heightened perception of danger allows him to defend himself from attacks as they are made against him, anticipating the attacks as they come. A stalker gains a +1 dodge bonus to his Armor Class at 2nd level, which improves by an additional +1 every four stalker levels thereafter. When recovering maneuvers as a full round action, the character may add his Wisdom modifier to his AC as an additional dodge bonus; his defensive precognition being heightened by centering his ki through maneuver recovery.
As a stalker gains experience, he learns a number of arts that aid him and confound his foes. Starting at 1st level, a stalker gains one art; he gains an additional art at 3rd level and new arts every four class levels attained after 3rd level. A stalker cannot select an individual art more than once (unless noted). Stalkers select their arts from the following list.
Advanced Study The stalker’s knowledge of the martial disciplines expands, imparting new maneuvers as if the character had taken the Advanced Study feat. This art may be selected more than once. The stalker must meet the prerequisites of this feat to select this stalker art.
Alacrity (Ex) A stalker’s land speed is faster than the norm for his race, gaining a +10-ft. enhancement bonus to his base speed and he may add his Wisdom modifier to Acrobatics checks, due to his nimble and finely honed body. The stalker enjoys this benefit only when he is wearing no armor or light armor, not using a shield, and not carrying a medium or heavy load. As a swift action, the character may spend a point of ki to pour extra speed to his step to increase this bonus from 10-ft. to an additional 30-ft. for one minute, but he is fatigued afterward for 1d4 minutes as he catches his breath.
Combat Art A stalker that selects this art gains a bonus combat feat. The stalker must meet the prerequisites for selecting this feat. This art may be selected more than once.
Combat Precognition (Su) The stalker designates his combat senses towards his opponents and gains momentary flashes of insight into how to defend himself against them. SpendIng one point of ki as an immediate action forces opponents who attack the stalker to roll their attack rolls twice and take the worse of the two results due to the stalker’s precognitive abilities. This art has a duration of 1 + the stalker’s Wisdom modifier in rounds.
Concealed Recovery (Su) The stalker may utilize his ki-fueled attunement to the world around him to defend himself while he centers his spirit for martial maneuver recovery. When recovering maneuvers (either as a full round action or as a standard action) the stalker enjoys concealment (with a 20% miss chance). At 11th level, this improves to total concealment (50% miss chance).
Critical Edge (Ex) The stalker’s deadly efficiency in combat allows him to increase the critical threat range of any weapon he wields by +1. This bonus is applied after abilities such Improved Critical or the keen weapon property and cannot be doubled.
Critical Training (Ex) The stalker’s deadly strike damage increases by an additional damage die, and he may treat his class level as his base attack bonus for the purposes of qualify for critical feats. If the stalker possesses fighter levels, he may add his stalker level to his fighter level to qualify for critical feats.
Deadly Ambush (Ex) The stalker with this art may now use his deadly strike class feature against flat- footed targets and targets that are being denied the Dexterity modifier to their AC as well as on critical hits and when focusing his ki to read his opponent.
Deadly Insight (Su) The stalker may use his deadly strikes in conjunction with his combat insight to “read” his opponent’s defenses and effortlessly attack beyond his foe’s guard. The stalker spends one point of ki as a swift action to read his target opponent, and may apply his deadly strike to all of his attacks for a number of rounds equal to his Wisdom modifier against this target. If the stalker scores a successful critical hit against the target while his deadly strike ability is active, the duration of this ability is extended by one round (no more than one extension can be made per round).
Deadly Recovery (Ex) The stalker’s deadly nature is reflected when he is considered to be most vulnerable. While recovering maneuvers as a full round action, the stalker gains the use of the Combat Reflexes feat (using his Wisdom modifier in place of his Dexterity modifier). He may also add his deadly strike damage to any attacks of opportunity he makes while he is recovering maneuvers.
Evasion (Ex) A stalker can avoid damage from many area-effect attacks by channeling his ki into his reflexes. If a stalker makes a successful Reflex saving throw against an attack that normally deals half damage on a successful Reflex save he instead takes no damage. Evasion can be used only if a stalker is wearing light armor or no armor. A helpless stalker does not gain the benefit of evasion.
Ki Vampirism (Su) The stalker’s ki gains a hungry quality that expresses itself through the martial prowess of a disciple of the Path of War. If the stalker reduces a living foe to 0 or less hit points with a martial strike or scores a successful critical hit, then he may regain 1 point of ki as an immediate action. He may not use his ki vampirism more times per day than 3 + his Wisdom modifier. This ability does not function against constructs, undead, or creatures with under 1/2 HD. Minimum stalker level 11th.
Mind Bending (Su) The stalker’s inner sense learns the workings of another being’s mind, granting him the ability to impose his own will over those weak enough to succumb to this art. As a standard action, the character spends one ki point and must make eye contact with the target creature and begin speaking to them, using his ki to influence his target’s thoughts. The target then must make a Will save (DC 13 + the stalker’s Wisdom modifier) or be subject to a charm monster spell. Minimum stalker level 5th.
Murderous Insight (Su) The stalker designates his combat senses towards ending the lives of his opponents and gains momentary flashes of insight in how to best accomplish this. By spending one point of ki as a swift action, the stalker makes an attack and rolls twice for that attack and uses the better of the two results due to the stalker’s precognitive abilities. This art has a duration of 1 + the stalker’s Wisdom modifier in rounds.
Obfuscation (Su) The stalker knows how to maintain a quiet, innocuous attitude as if he were nothing more than a part of the scenery. The stalker spends a point of ki as a full round action to activate his obfuscation, and as long as he remains in a non- threatening posture (by carrying no weapons in hand moving at half his base speed) the stalker radiates a psychic field that causes others to ignore his presence for a number of minutes equal to the stalker’s Wisdom modifier. Subjects who normally would react to the stalker’s presence in a way that would stop or harm him must make a Will save (DC 15 + the stalker’s Wisdom modifier) or be under the influence of the cloud mind psionic power. For every 2 additional points of ki spent on this art, the saving throw DC increases by +1 to a maximum of the stalker’s Wisdom modifier. Minimum stalker level 7th.
Phantom Reach (Su) The stalker is capable of extending the reach of melee range martial strikes by infusing ki into the maneuver, causing a phantom echo to rush towards the enemy and initiate the attack. As a swift action, the stalker may spend one ki point and initiate a melee martial strike with a range of melee attack as if it instead had a range of close (25-ft. + 5-ft. / 2 levels). Strikes with a range greater than melee attack do not function with this art.
Precocious Step (Su) By relying on his combat insight to steer him effortlessly through a dangerous spot, the stalker may spend one point of ki as a swift action and move without provoking attacks of opportunity for a number rounds equal to his Wisdom modifier (min 1).
Rogue Talent Some stalkers have learned techniques that are similar to those of the rogue, and may select rogue talents instead of stalker arts. Stalkers may not learn advanced talents, nor can they gain the Ki Pool or Underhanded rogue talents. Talents that apply to a rogue’s sneak attack apply to a stalker’s deadly strike ability.
New stalker arts (POW:E)
Bloodseeker (Ex) The stalker gains the scent special ability.
Fear Monger (Ex) The stalker gains Cornugon Smash and Dazzling Display as bonus feats. The stalker must meet the prerequisites of these feats to select this stalker art.
Killer’s Implements (Ex) The stalker chooses a melee weapon he is proficient with, and gains the benefits of the Weapon Finesse and Deadly Agility feats when using that weapon, even if that weapon could not normally be used with those feats. At 6th level and every five levels thereafter, the stalker chooses an additional melee weapon to gain the benefits of this ability with. The stalker can change one of these weapon choices by practicing with a new weapon for ten minutes. This stalker art counts as both Weapon Finesse and Deadly Agility for the purposes of meeting prerequisites.Lord of War (Ex) The stalker adds Scarlet Throne or Piercing Thunder to his list of available disciplines. If he does not have that discipline’s associated skill as a class skill, he gains it as a class skill. In addition, he gains a +2 competence bonus on checks with that skill. A stalker may select this stalker art once for each discipline. • Sniper’s Tools (Ex): The stalker chooses a ranged weapon he is proficient with, and gains the benefits of the Point Blank Shot and Precise Shot feats when using that weapon. At 6th level and every five levels thereafter, the stalker chooses an additional ranged weapon to gain the benefits of this ability with. The stalker can change one of these weapon choices by practicing with a new weapon for ten minutes. This stalker art counts as both Point Blank Shot and Precise Shot for the purposes of meeting prerequisites.
At 6th level the stalker’s natural attunement to the flow of ki in other people grants him insight in reading others and avoiding their notice. The character gains a +2 insight bonus to Perception, Sense Motive and Stealth checks. At 16th level, the stalker’s abilities improve further, and the character is permanently under the effects of a pass without trace spell.
Once per day at 10th level, the stalker’s deadly skill in combat improves, allowing him to initiate two martial strikes as a full round action. The strikes the stalker initiates must have an initiation action of one standard action, and he must have both strikes readied. Boosts may not be applied to a dual strike due to the need to concentrate on two separate martial movements. When a dual strike is used, the action must be declared beforehand when used, both strikes are resolved separately and are expended. At 14th level the character may use dual strike twice per day, and three times per day at 18th level.
At 20th level, the stalker’s mystical ki power allows for him to generate a powerful burst of energy to gain retribution on those who would injure him. When the stalker is harmed by an attack, spell, or ability of an enemy, as an immediate action he may spend two ki points to initiate a martial strike that he has readied (with an initiation action of one standard action) in retaliation against that attack. He uses the range of the attacker’s ability as the range of his strike, creating a phantom echo of himself with his ki (as with the phantom reach art) that rushes out and strikes his attacker if they are outside of the stalker’s normal reach. Use of this ability expends his strike as normal, and the strike functions as normal otherwise.
Instead of receiving an additional skill rank or hit point whenever they gain a level in a Favored Class, some races have the option of choosing from a number of other bonuses, depending upon their Favored Classes. The following options are available to the listed race who have Stalker as their Favored Class, and unless otherwise stated, the bonus applies each time you select the listed Favored Class reward.
Path of War, © 2014, Dreamscarred Press.