Prestige Classes


Dark hunters specialize in hunting down and eliminating creatures in the dark, twisting caves of the Underdark, often protecting underground communities or those people who make their living under the earth (such as miners or hunters). They use stealth, ambush, and deception to single out foes and remove them one by one. A typical strategy is to locate the enemy, then hide against a nearby wall of earth or stone. The dark hunter then waits for her enemy to pass by, leaping out to attack when the target least expects it. A dark hunter uses her knowledge of underground terrain to find the best areas to create pits, cave-ins, and rockslides, often enabling her to eliminate the enemy without drawing her axe. If a dark hunter is outnumbered, she retreats into the darkness, hiding until she can pick off individual targets.

Because they spend so much time in the stark wilderness of caves and caverns, dark hunters are slightly ostracized by other members of society. Most individuals live among others of their own kind, so the rootless existence of the dark hunter seems like a social aberration. Still, great honor is to be found in protecting the clan from attack, so dark hunters are given respect. None of this concerns the individual, who cares little for what others think; she finds purpose in what she does every time she brings down another one of her enemies. She prefers to work alone, but also knows that cooperation with others has its advantages.

Rangers are the most likely characters to become dark hunters. Druids, rogues, and fighters are also common. Feral tribes of barbaric dwarves sometimes produce dark hunters, who track down their foes in silence and then explode into action once they ambush their prey. Half-orcs make excellent dark hunters, since they are often found on the fringes of society anyway. Elves, with their abiding hatred of the drow, sometimes follow this path.

Hit Die: d8.


To qualify to become a dark hunter, a character must fulfill all of the following criteria.

Base Attack Bonus: +5.

Skills: Craft (trapmaking) 5 ranks, Knowledge (dungeoneering) 2 ranks, Move Silently 2 ranks, Survival 2 ranks.

Feats: Blind-Fight, Track.

Class Skills

The dark hunter's class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Climb (Str), Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Disable Device (Int), Hide (Dex), Knowledge (dungeoneering) (Int), Listen (Wis), Move Silently (Dex), Profession (Wis), Spot (Wis), Survival (Wis), Swim (Str), and Use Rope (Dex).

Skill Points at Each Additional Level: 4 + Int modifier.

Table: The Dark Hunter

Level Base
Attack Bonus
1st +1 +0 +2 +0 Improved stonecunning
2nd +2 +0 +3 +0 Enhanced darkvision
3rd +3 +1 +3 +1 Sneak attack +1d6
4th +4 +1 +4 +1 Stone’s hue
5th +5 +1 +4 +1 Death attack
Class Features

All of the following are class features of the dark hunter prestige class.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency:Dark hunters gain no proficiency with any weapon or armor.

Improved Stonecunning (Ex): A dark hunter gains the stonecunning ability possessed by dwarves (see page 15 of the Player’s Handbook), or, if the character already has the ability, she increases her bonus from +2 to +4 on checks to notice unusual stonework, such as sliding walls, stonework traps, new construction, unsafe stone surfaces, shaky stone ceilings, and the like. This bonus also applies on Search checks made to detect stonework traps.

Enhanced Darkvision (Ex): Dark hunters spend most of their lives in the darkest caverns they can find. As a dark hunter’s skills improve, her almost mystical understanding of the deep caverns sharpens her inborn visual acuity. If a dark hunter does not already have darkvision when she attains 2nd level, she gains it at a range of 30 feet. If she already had darkvision, she adds 30 feet to the range. Once a dark hunter attains 4th level, her darkvision range increases by an extra 30 feet.

This bonus stacks with other natural or extraordinary abilities that improve darkvision, but it does nothing to improve magically granted darkvision.

Any condition that causes the character to lose her normal darkvision also causes the enhanced darkvision to fail.

Sneak Attack (Ex): If a dark hunter can catch an opponent when he is unable to defend himself effectively from her attack, she can strike a vital spot for extra damage. Any time the dark hunter’s target would be denied his Dexterity bonus to AC (whether the target actually has a Dexterity bonus or not), the dark hunter’s attack deals an extra 1d6 points of damage. Should a dark hunter score a critical hit with a sneak attack, this extra damage is not multiplied.

It takes precision and penetration to hit a vital spot, so ranged attacks can only count as sneak attacks if the target is within 30 feet.

With a sap or an unarmed strike, a dark hunter can make a sneak attack that deals nonlethal damage instead of lethal damage. She cannot use a weapon that deals lethal damage to deal nonlethal damage in a sneak attack, not even with the usual –4 penalty, because she must make optimal use of her weapon in order to execute the sneak attack.

A dark hunter can only sneak attack living creatures with discernible anatomies - undead, constructs, oozes, plants, and incorporeal creatures lack vital areas to attack. Any creature that is immune to critical hits is not vulnerable to sneak attacks. The dark hunter must be able to see the target well enough to pick out a vital spot and must be able to reach such a spot. A dark hunter cannot sneak attack while striking a creature with concealment or striking the limbs of a creature whose vitals are beyond reach.

If a dark hunter gets a sneak attack bonus from another source (such as rogue levels), the extra damage stacks.

Stone’s Hue (Su): When within 5 feet of a stone or earth wall, a dark hunter can take on the coloration of the stone and may seem to blend into the surface of the wall. As long as the dark hunter is within 5 feet of the wall, she gains a +10 circumstance bonus on Hide checks and can successfully hide herself from view in the open without having anything to actually hide behind.

Death Attack (Ex): If a dark hunter studies her victim for 3 rounds and then makes a sneak attack with a melee weapon that successfully deals damage, the sneak attack has the additional effect of possibly either paralyzing or killing the target (dark hunter’s choice). While studying the target, the dark hunter can undertake other actions as long as her attention stays focused on the target and the target does not detect the dark hunter or recognize the dark hunter as an enemy. If the victim of such an attack fails a Fortitude save (DC 10 + the dark hunter’s class level + the dark hunter’s Int modifier) against the kill effect, he dies. If the saving throw fails against the paralysis effect, the victim’s mind and body become enervated, rendering him helpless and unable to act for 1d6 rounds plus 1 round per level of the dark hunter. If the victim’s saving throw succeeds, the attack is just a normal sneak attack. Once the dark hunter has completed the 3 rounds of study, she must make the death attack within the next 3 rounds. If a death attack is attempted and fails (the victim makes his save) or if the dark hunter does not launch the attack within 3 rounds of completing the study, 3 new rounds of study are required before she can attempt another death attack.