Prestige Classes

BATTLE TRICKSTER

ďOh, Iím terribly sorry. Is that my blade in your gut?Ē

óElibor Gunter, battle trickster

The battle trickster engages in combat not only to defeat enemies but to impress them with martial and acrobatic prowess. He amazes onlookers with daring and death-defying stunts, making a spectacle of war.

BECOMING A BATTLE TRICKSTER

Swashbucklers make up the majority of battle tricksters, since their abilities already so closely mimic those of the prestige class. Most of the rest are rangers, along with the occasional fighter whose high Intelligence provides extra skill points. Bards or rogues sometimes pick up a few levels of battle trickster, though such characters prefer the uncanny trickster prestige class (page 67).

PLAYING A BATTLE TRICKSTER

Whereas magical tricksters (page 45) and uncanny tricksters (page 67) can be show-offs, you never use your tricks to get attention, no matter how flashy they are. You might not be quiet about your abilities, but you donít flaunt them. When combat begins, they speak for themselves.

You work well with both combat specialists and other kinds of tricksters. Becoming a skill trick expert instantly affiliates you with a very loose fellowship of tricksters (magical, uncanny, and battle). You donít get along with every trickster you meet, though: Some jealously guard their secrets and view others of their kind as rivals.

Combat

Whereas other tricksters might flit about the battlefield, looking for just the right opportunity to perform a spectacular combat-ending strike, you stand near the front lines. Your fighting experience, solid hit points, and repertoire of feats and skill tricks offer you the flexibility to serve as a front-line battler or in a supporting role. You donít see your tricks as ways to impress onlookers or intimidate foes, but rather as additional weapons in your arsenal.

Advancement

You donít become a battle trickster in a vacuum. You probably had a mentor at some point, someone who sensed your boredom with traditional fighting techniques. Or you might be self-taught, watching other unconventional combatants and endlessly repeating the movements you saw. Once you learned the basics, you decided to move on to more advanced battle techniques.

Through self-sacrifice and hard work, you managed to learn enough basic skill tricks that picking up more has become easy. You know some skills, perhaps a wider array than most who pursue your profession, but you are not necessarily a master of any one of them.

Just as you spent so much time learning basic skill tricks, you must continue to practice the more advanced techniques. Fortunately, this prestige class offers strong support in skill points and access to bonus tricks. Your feat selection should support your skill tricks as well as your preferred mode of combat. If you focus on movement tricks, choose feats that allow you to move faster or traverse difficult obstacles more easily; if you rely on Combat Expertise to thwart attackers, youíll get more punch by focusing on that feat tree.

Resources

Although you might not have realized it when you became a battle trickster, you are part of a larger (albeit very loosely organized) group. The benefits and requirements of this group are few, but it does offer the camaraderie of shared experiences as well as the chance to learn new tricks. Nevertheless, tricksters owe no more to one another than do any other people with similar, nonbinding interests.

BATTLE TRICKSTERS IN THE WORLD

ďHe came at me from out of nowhere. One moment heís not there, and the next he is. I donít know what he did to me, but it hurt.Ē

óTheta Sunglory, survivor

The battle trickster makes an excellent irregular soldier operating in a small group of specialists, such as an adventuring party. Whether scrumming toe to toe in the front line or engaging a distant foe, the battle trickster holds his own in any combat situation. He usually continues to specialize in whatever role he held before joining the prestige class, albeit with unusual techniques.

Organization

Battle tricksters congregate only on an occasional basis, usually along with magical tricksters and uncanny tricksters (although they make up the smallest number in such a mixed group). They swap techniques, introduce newly developed tricks and trick-supporting equipment and magic, and share experiences. Outside observers might assume such a meeting is part of a circus or carnival, with tricksters springing about performing for the enjoyment and education of onlookers.

These gatherings, though enjoyable, do not represent a structured organization. Battle tricksters looking to become part of something more permanent usually join groups that appreciate both their abilities and their moral choices: police forces, thievesí guilds, and military or guard units.

NPC Reactions

Battle tricksters are impressive and terrifying in combat. People who have witnessed them in action treat them with respect, even awe. Most strangers have a friendly attitude, or at least a false warmth brought on by intimidation (whether intended or not). Some are jealous of battle tricksters and their abilities, or covet such prowess for themselves. They treat battle tricksters with calculated indifference, and the most petty of such people are unfriendly.

Because tricksters run the entire gamut of morality, some use their abilities to take advantage of less talented folk. A victim of such exploitation has a negative view of all tricksters and is unfriendly at best.

BATTLE TRICKSTER LORE

Characters with ranks in Knowledge (history) or Knowledge (local) can research battle tricksters to learn more about them. When a character succeeds on a skill check, the following lore is revealed, including the information from lower DCs.

DC 10: Battle tricksters employ unusual talents in combat.

DC 15: Battle tricksters donít stop practicing other abilities just because they start to learn tricks.

DC 20: Not every battle trickster is a swashbuckling acrobatósome of them are also raging barbarians or righteous paladins. They use skill tricks to enhance their existing talents.

DC 30: Characters who achieve this level of success can learn important details about specific battle tricksters in your campaign, including a notable individual, the area in which he operates, and the kinds of activities he undertakes.

Because battle tricksters operate in small groups of mixed abilities or in connection with military units, the easiest way to find one is to contact the local garrison or sheriff and inquire about individuals with unique fighting talents.

BATTLE TRICKSTERS IN THE GAME

Battle tricksters are frighteningly effective opponents with a few surprises in store. A single one in a group of standard combatants makes an excellent leader. The majority of battle tricksters are not villains, but they can be entertaining bodyguards for the partyís antagonist.

Anyone who enjoys playing swashbucklers and similar characters who perform over-the-top, cinematic acts of daring should find the battle trickster an interesting PC choice. The prestige class does not hamper a fighting classís abilities, so even someone who prefers the role of frontline combatant might enjoy the slight change of pace and increased flexibility offered by the prestige class.

Adaptation

The battle trickster is already a very generalized prestige class that can easily fit into any campaign setting. It does rely on the new rules for skill tricks, however, so it is not suitable for a campaign that does not incorporate them. Replacing bonus tricks with extra feats from the fighter list can repurpose the character as a combat specialist with a more generalized approach to skills.

Hit Die: d10.

Requirements

To qualify to become a battle trickster, a character must fulfill all of the following criteria.

Base Attack Bonus: +5.

Skills: Any three skills 6 ranks each.

Skill Tricks: Any two.

Class Skills

The battle trickster's class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Balance (Dex), Bluff (Cha), Climb (Str), Craft (Int), Handle Animal (Cha), Jump (Str), Profession (Wis), Ride (Dex), Swim (Str), Tumble (Dex).

Skill Points at Each Level: 4 + Int modifier.


Table: The Battle Trickster

Level Base
Attack Bonus
Fort
Save
Ref
Save
Will
Save
Special
1st +1 +2 +0 +0 Bonus trick
2nd +2 +3 +0 +0 Bonus feat
3rd +3 +3 +1 +1 Bonus trick, tricky fighting
Class Features

All of the following are class features of the battle trickster prestige class.

The battle trickster excels at combining skill tricks with normal combat.

Bonus Trick: At 1st level, and again at 3rd level, you gain a bonus skill trick for which you meet the prerequisite. These bonus tricks do not cost skill points and do not count against your maximum number of skill tricks available.

Bonus Feat: At 2nd level, you gain a bonus feat for which you meet the prerequisite. This feat must be selected from the list of fighter bonus feats.

Tricky Fighting (Ex): At 3rd level, you have mastered incorporating skill tricks into your combat routines. In any round when you perform a skill trick, you gain a +1 competence bonus on the next attack roll you make that round.