Prestige Classes


“Watch me. Watch my dance. Ignore my hands. Ignore your death.”

—Mina Longacre, reciting the cloaked dancer’s mantra

The cloaked dancer dances into the hearts and minds of her audience, beguiling those around her with boundless charm and careful dance moves, leaving her victims in a state of ecstasy even as she kills them.


Bards most often and most easily become cloaked dancers, although a substantial number of rogues and some monks also enter the prestige class. Ninjas and spellthieves occasionally travel the path of the cloaked dancer, although they have difficulty qualifying unless they multiclass, usually with a few levels of bard.


You are the center of attention, the person everyone wants to talk to, the “face” of the party. Even if you aren’t the most attractive or charismatic member of your group, your unequaled skill at dance creates an irresistible appeal born of justified confidence and supernatural influence. You are more than just an eye-catching butterfly, though. Your mark rarely survives the encounter if you don’t want him to.


You have two roles in combat: distracter and killer. When your group’s plan calls for a diversion, you shine. You draw the attention of opponents, allowing your allies to position themselves for their most devastating attacks. You can perform this role near the front lines of battle, but you have a better chance of survival if you stay near the back. As the killer you move in close, drawing the enemy’s eye, and deliver one debilitating or deadly blow that turns the tide of battle.

None of your enchanting dance effects can influence creatures immune to enchantments or mind-affecting abilities, so against those foes you’ll need to fall back on the abilities of your other class or classes.


An exquisite physical specimen, you drew the attention of patrons and audiences as often with your unquestionable attractiveness as with your extraordinary artistic talents. Perhaps you sought to give your art a more practical use, or perhaps you grew disgusted with the unhidden lust of those who watched you, but eventually you brought together your love of dance with your martial abilities.

Since the first killing from your enchanting dance—by your own hand or that of a partner—you have grown steadily in both fame and notoriety. You are beloved for your talents but feared for the death that follows you. You must walk a fine line, never letting the dread of the latter outweigh the appeal of the former.

Obviously, you must continue to max out your ranks in Perform (dance), but don’t forget other useful skills such as Bluff, Hide, and Diplomacy. The new ambush feats in Chapter 3 present additional options for your surprising strike ability, particularly if you already have sneak attack or sudden strike from another class. Weapon Finesse and Weapon Focus greatly enhance a mission’s chance of success. Interaction skill tricks are an excellent choice as well.


You rarely work alone, yet your involvement with an organization is transitory at best. As your needs or whims dictate you flit from town to town, dance troupe to dance troupe, and are sought out by thieves and assassins’ guilds. For the short time you join such groups, you can rely on whatever resources they provide. Most of the time, however, you are on your own.


“She was a rare beauty: charming, graceful, talented. It’s too bad she killed the king.”

—Tessa Senchan, spellwarp sniper and royal guard officer

In any setting that includes assassins and bards, cloaked dancers slip comfortably into the space between the two. They can act as alternative assassins or as especially influential bards who focus on their love of dance.


Cloaked dancers typically work with trusted partners or small groups, making them well suited to adventuring parties. In rare circumstances they work alone, but such cloaked dancers often have short careers. On entering a new town or city, a cloaked dancer who expects to stay for more than a few days usually joins a dance troupe or thieves’ guild (or both). These alliances are rarely permanent, lasting just long enough to benefit both parties. A cloaked dancer who travels regularly between a small number of cities might have membership in several organizations but no loyalty to any of them.

NPC Reactions

Reactions to a known cloaked dancer vary widely. The nobility both prize and fear cloaked dancers, welcoming them cautiously, since having one perform brings much prestige but also the risk of death. Bodyguards and law enforcers despise them for the murders that inevitably follow their performances. Common folk strain to catch glimpses of cloaked dancers, treating them with the awe and jealousy that accompany celebrity.


Characters with ranks in Knowledge (nobility and royalty) or Perform (dance) can research cloaked dancers 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: A cloaked dancer can charm watchers with her dance.

DC 15: A cloaked dancer creates an effective diversion while her comrades rob or murder with ease.

DC 20: A cloaked dancer can slide a dagger between your ribs and still leave you happy.

DC 30: Characters who achieve this level of success can learn important details about specific cloaked dancers in your campaign, including a notable individual, the area in which she operates, and the kinds of performances in which she specializes.

Finding a cloaked dancer is rarely difficult if the PCs have a connection to the criminal underworld. A thieves’ guild can usually set up a meeting. If the PCs know of a specific cloaked dancer, they can also inquire of a dance troupe operating in that city.


A cloaked dancer can be attractive to the player who enjoys the role of a specialized killer but does not want to play an evil character. For players who are interested more in social interaction than in assassination, the prestige class ensures that they are the center of attention in any encounter involving intrigue and diplomacy.

Introducing cloaked dancers into your campaign should not be difficult. Famous dancers might already exist, perhaps as part of a traveling show or as members of an exclusive school of dance—their extra talents can be revealed at an opportune time.


Cloaked dancers are most appropriate for campaigns that focus on urban adventures and social encounters. In campaigns involving large combats, exploration, or dungeon delving, they are as out of place as songbirds on the battlefield. Against intelligent humanoid enemies they can hold their own in any campaign, though, with abilities resembling those of enchanters and bards. If your campaign’s main antagonists are creatures immune to enchantments or mind-affecting abilities, such as undead, you might need to adjust the enchanting dance to affect such beings. Consider changing the entry requirements to include ranks in the Knowledge skill appropriate to that type of creature.

Hit Die: d6.


To qualify to become a cloaked dancer, a character must fulfill all of the following criteria.

Skills: Hide 5 ranks, Perform (dance) 10 ranks, Sleight of Hand 5 ranks.

Class Skills

The cloaked dancer's class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Appraise (Int), Bluff (Cha), Climb (Str), Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Disguise (Cha), Escape Artist (Dex), Gather Information (Cha), Jump (Str), Perform (Cha), Profession (Wis), Sense Motive (Wis), Sleight of Hand (Dex), Speak Language (none), Swim (Str), Tumble (Dex), Use Magic Device (Cha), Use Rope (Dex).

Skill Points at Each Level: 6 + Int modifier.

Table: The Cloaked Dancer

Level Base
Special Spells per day
1st +0 +0 +2 +0 Enchanting dance (beguiling dance)
2nd +1 +0 +3 +0 Surprise strike +1d6 +1 level of existing arcane spellcasting class
3rd +2 +1 +3 +1 Enchanting dance (wearying dance)
4th +3 +1 +4 +1 Surprise strike +2d6 +1 level of existing arcane spellcasting class
5th +3 +1 +4 +1 Enchanting dance (frightful dance)
Class Features

All of the following are class features of the cloaked dancer prestige class.

The cloaked dancer distracts and fascinates her enemies, allowing her to strike unexpectedly . . . and with deadly effect.

Spellcasting: At each even-numbered level, you gain new spells per day and an increase in caster level (and spells known, if applicable) as if you had also gained a level in an arcane spellcasting class to which you belonged before adding the prestige class level. You do not, however, gain any other benefit a character of that class would have gained. If you had more than one arcane spellcasting class before becoming a cloaked dancer, you must decide to which class to add each level for the purpose of determining spells per day, caster level, and spells known.

Enchanting Dance (Su): Once per day per cloaked dancer level, you can use your dance to produce supernatural effects on those who observe you. Each ability requires both a minimum cloaked dancer level and a minimum number of ranks in the Perform (dance) skill to qualify; if you do not have the required number of ranks, you do not gain the enchanting dance ability until you acquire them. This ability can be used only if you are wearing light armor or no armor and carrying no more than a light load. Enchanting dance is an enchantment (compulsion), mind-affecting ability.

Starting an enchanting dance effect is a standard action. You must concentrate each round to maintain the dance; no dance can be maintained for more rounds than your cloaked dancer level + your Con modifier (minimum 1 round).

The save DC for your enchanting dance effects is 10 + your cloaked dancer level + your Cha modifier. A creature can’t be affected again by your enchanting dance effect for 24 hours whether or not it succeeds on the saving throw.

Beguiling Dance: A cloaked dancer with 10 or more ranks in Perform (dance) can use her enchanting dance to distract her enemies. Whenever you start or maintain a beguiling dance, all enemies within 30 feet who can see you must succeed on a Will save or be dazed for 1 round. Creatures that fail this save also have their attitude improved by one step for as long as you maintain the dance (see Influencing NPC Attitudes, PH 74). This attitude adjustment does not prevent any subsequent attitude changes. For example, an enemy that becomes indifferent toward you as a result of this effect still turns hostile if you then attack it.

Wearying Dance: A 3rd-level cloaked dancer with 12 or more ranks in Perform (dance) can use her enchanting dance to tire her enemies. Whenever you start or maintain a wearying dance, all enemies within 30 feet who can see you must succeed on a Will save or be fatigued for as long as you maintain the dance. Creatures failing this save that are already fatigued become exhausted.

Frightful Dance: A 5th-level cloaked dancer with 14 or more ranks in Perform (dance) can use her enchanting dance to scare her enemies. Whenever you start or maintain a frightful dance, all enemies within 30 feet who can see you must succeed on a Will save or be shaken for as long as you maintain the dance. Creatures failing this save that are already shaken become frightened, and those that are already frightened become panicked.

Surprise Strike (Ex): Beginning at 2nd level, you can make a particularly effective attack against creatures distracted by your dance. As a full-round action, you can maintain your enchanting dance and make a melee attack with a light weapon, dealing an extra 1d6 points of damage. At 4th level, the extra damage you deal increases to 2d6.

The extra damage from the surprise strike ability stacks with the extra damage from sneak attack whenever both would apply to the same target.

A target under the effect of your enchanting dance is considered flat-footed against the attack. Any creature that is not vulnerable to extra damage from sneak attacks is immune to this effect.

This ability counts as sudden strike for the purpose of meeting prerequisites or using ambush feats (page 71).