Prestige Classes


"By the order of the Council of Wyrms, and for their greater glory, you must die!"

-Myrmith Drakeblade

Dragons often need expert servants to be their eyes, ears, and hands in humanoid society. A hand of the winged masters has dedicated his life to the service of a single dragon or to a group of dragons united in a common cause. A dragon master becomes the political and spiritual leader for the hands, gaining their total loyalty. This service rises above obedience to country, church, family, or friend. Usually, the hands act as spies and informants, but when needed, they can also be saboteurs and killers.


Since hands of the winged masters primarily serve as spies and informants, this prestige class is most applicable to rogues and multiclass rogues (such as rogue/rangers and rogue/fighters). In campaigns using the ninja, scout, and spellthief classes, ninjas and scouts are equally common members of this prestige class. Spellthieves are less likely to enter this class, since it offers no arcane spell progression, but a spellthief who is willing to sacrifice future spellcasting ability can easily qualify.


You are a humanoid servant for one or more dragon masters that desire to influence the world indirectly. As courier, spy, guardian, warrior, and (if need be) assassin, you further the cause of your overlords. Since your missions often require secrecy, it's best to put forth a simple cover story or demonstrate an obvious purpose so as not to raise suspicions. You might pose as nothing more than a sneak and treasure hunter, but in truth, you belong to a vast network and could be called on at any moment to carry out covert duties.

Most hands of the winged masters work for a cabal of some kind, such as the Shadow's Fangs. These cabals can provide minor assistance with training, cover stories, and delivering messages to and from your dragon masters. However, they will not expend valuable resources to solve your problems. By the time you enter this prestige class, the cabal expects you to extricate yourself from most trouble on your own. Only if you had something of great value for the dragon masters would the cabal risk itself for your sake.


You are more alert than most rogues and no less able to take advantage of a distracted foe. If possible, you should strike early in combat, while your opponent is still flat-footed. After that, your job is to outmaneuver foes, picking off the weak and (if needed) delivering a powerful blow to a flanked major combatant. Never allow yourself to be cut off from a speedy exit, and always remain aware of your environment. While your allies focus on hitting an enemy, make sure to keep an eye on alcoves, corners, and shadowy passages from which a new foe - or some other opportunity - might appear.


As a hand of the winged masters, you must demonstrate great loyalty to a superior and a willingness to bend or break laws in service to that superior. Nothing is more important than carrying out your mission, and you are willing to betray or trick others if needed. This dedication and moral ambiguity brought you to the attention of a secret cabal and convinced them to recruit you. When you finally learned the identity of their ultimate leader, you saw the benefit of belonging to an organization run by a creature far older, stronger, and wiser than you will ever be.

You are now a trusted agent of the dragon masters that rule your cabal. Acting on your own, you follow orders loyally - without ignoring opportunities to further the cabal's goals - and maintain a cover story to ensure you are never linked to the group. Not yet a leader, you remain an expert agent and troubleshooter, sent to accomplish difficult missions that others have failed to complete.

As a spy, you should purchase as many ranks in the Listen and Spot skills as you can. Not only does this make you better able to ferret out information, but it also makes you more likely to act in a surprise round (and deal sneak attack damage). Hide and Move Silently are the next two most important skills for you. After that, choose skills that will help you fulfill your assigned missions and maintain your cover story, which might paint you as nothing more than a common thief or greedy adventurer.


If you absolutely must have something to accomplish a mission, such as a map or a description of a target, your cabal provides it. Beyond that, you are expected to take care of your own needs. In major cities, the cabal can arrange for you to buy illegal materials (such as thieves' tools and poisons) safely, but at your own expense. The group is not insensitive to your financial needs, however, and might give you leads on legitimate opportunities for jobs or treasure, thus ensuring that you acquire the funds you will need to pull off future secret missions.


"Myrmith is a great trapfinder - witty, clever, and dependable. I just wish he wouldn't wander off so often. Sometimes it takes two or three days to find him for a new mission."

-Regdar, fighter

A hand of the winged masters needs a cabal from which to take orders, and one or more worthwhile dragon rulers to work for. These need not be particularly complicated (the DM can use the First Scroll or the Shadow's Fangs), but they should match the character's interests. A chaotic good scout should be approached by a group working toward the common good, while a lawful evil ninja is more likely to serve a dragon that believes the world must be conquered and remade in a more orderly manner.

A cabal presents an easy way to interest the character in an adventure. A note from the organization requesting information about a particular dungeon or ordering the assassination of a certain evil wizard pushes the hand, and his companions, into adventure as easily as do commands from a paladin's or cleric's superiors.


A dragon-led cabal can organize itself in numerous secret ways. Typically, a hand of the winged masters knows only a few other agents and leaders, ensuring that he can't leak much to the group's enemies if he is captured. The hand is taught passwords and secret signs to identify other members of the cabal, but if group leaders suspect that the information has been compromised, they quickly change these codes and signals. Normally, a hand works without direct aid from the cabal, receiving orders through a secret method of communication (perhaps from a barmaid at a favored tavern) and reporting his results to a different agent. Again, if these arrangements are compromised, a new cabal member makes herself known to the hand and institutes a new set of contact procedures.

NPC Reactions

As long as a hand keeps his cover story intact, others treat him as if he is exactly what he claims to be. Most hands pose as adventurers who happen to be expert locksmiths, which gives them a veneer of legitimacy but often provokes suspicion from guards and nobles. However, if a hand's role as a spy for dragons is discovered, practically everyone immediately considers him a threat, and thereafter he receives an indifferent reaction at best.


Characters with ranks in Knowledge (history) can research hands of the winged masters to learn more about them. When a character makes a skill check, read or paraphrase the following, including the information from lower DCs.

DC 10: Hands of the winged masters are agents for secretive dragons.

DC 15: Each hand receives orders from a secret cabal and rarely knows more than one or two other members.

DC 20: Hands are alert, they benefit from arcane spells more than most, and they act as spies, assassins, or couriers for their dragon overlords.

Finding a hand of the winged masters is difficult at best. A DC 20 Gather Information check reveals where to drop off a request for a meeting. After that, the player characters must wait to see if a hand shows up or makes contact. Only if the PCs have some urgent business will the cabal expose even a junior member of its organization.


Before introducing hands of the winged masters into a campaign world, the DM should decide why one or more dragons would need a cabal of spies, and then consider the nature of the group. The Shadow's Fangs are one example of a cabal, but it's possible for a group to serve a council of dragons, or even drakes of good alignment that want to keep their involvement in humanoid affairs as clandestine as possible. Once you have a simple idea for the cabal, introduce it to the players and see if they're interested in working more closely with the secretive group.

A hand of the winged masters appeals most to players who like rogues, secrets, and ongoing plots. The class is built to let a PC carry out covert missions and serve hidden agendas while still having reasons to go on adventures with the rest of the party. Players who enjoy the idea of medieval spies in a fantasy setting should find the class intriguing.


Hands of the winged masters are less closely tied to dragons than most of the other prestige classes in this chapter. They could easily be transformed into bodyguards for arcane spellcasters, couriers serving a deity of travel, or simply advanced spies. Their class features would remain the same, but the DM would need to restructure the group they work for.

Sample Encounter

Because villains often want to keep their schemes secret, they are more likely than good-intentioned dragons to employ hands of the winged masters. The simplest way to introduce a hand to the PCs is to make them the focus of a mission for the cabal. A hand might spy on the characters or try to gain their confidence by posing as a traveler or barkeeper. For a more confrontational encounter, a hand could have orders to steal an important object from the player characters, forcing them to deal with him directly.

EL 15: Myrmith Drakeblade (N male human rogue 5/fighter 1/hand of the winged masters 9) is a loyal servant of the Shadow's Fangs, and one of their most trusted spies and assassins. He has been directed by his masters to retrieve an item held by one of the PCs (perhaps a recently acquired spellbook or a magic item that has not yet been identified). If possible, Myrmith sneaks into the characters' camp when they are out in the wild; otherwise, he tries to catch the owner of the item alone. In any case, while Myrmith fights as hard as he must to acquire the object, he won't kill a PC unless he is forced to do so to accomplish his mission. If he knows he's going to engage in combat, Myrmith activates his ring of blinking.

Hit Die: d8.


To qualify to become a hand of the winged masters, a character must fulfill all of the following criteria.

Base Attack Bonus: +4.

Skills: Bluff 4 ranks, Hide 4 ranks, Move Silently 4 ranks, Knowledge (arcana) 4 ranks, Sense Motive 4 ranks.

Languages: Draconic.

Feats: Dragontouched.

Special: Sneak attack, sudden strike, or skirmish +2d6.

Class Skills

The hand of the winged masters' class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Appraise (Int), Balance (Dex), Bluff (Cha), Climb (Str), Craft (Int), Decipher Script (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Disable Device (Int), Disguise (Cha), Escape Artist (Dex), Forgery (Int), Gather Information (Cha), Hide (Dex), Intimidate (Cha), Jump (Str), Knowledge (arcana) (Int), Knowledge (local) (Int), Listen (Wis), Move Silently (Dex), Open Lock (Dex), Profession (Wis), Search (Int), Sense Motive (Wis), Sleight of Hand (Dex), Spot (Wis), Survival (Wis), Swim (Str), Tumble (Dex), and Use Rope (Dex).

Skill Points at Each Level: 6 + Int modifier.

Table: The Hand of the Winged Masters

Level Base
1st +0 +0 +2 +2 Draconic Senses
2nd +1 +0 +3 +3 Special attack +1d6
3rd +2 +1 +3 +3 Dragonfire Strike
4th +3 +1 +4 +4
5th +3 +1 +4 +4 Special attack +2d6
6th +4 +2 +5 +5
7th +5 +2 +5 +5 Master's gift
8th +6 +2 +6 +6 Special attack +3d6
9th +6 +3 +6 +6 Improved dragonfire strike
10th +7 +3 +7 +7 True stealth
Class Features

As agents of great dragons, hands of the winged masters constantly strive to accomplish their assigned missions and train to be more effective tools. They learn to move about unnoticed, strike from the shadows, and work with other servants of their masters.

All of the following are class features of the hand of the winged masters prestige class.

Draconic Senses: At 1st level, you gain Draconic Senses as a bonus feat, even if you don't meet its prerequisite. If you already have Draconic Senses, you can instead take any other draconic feat for which you meet the prerequisite.

Special Attack (Ex): At 2nd level, 5th level, and 8th level, your sneak attack, skirmish, or sudden strike ability deals an extra 1d6 points of damage. If you have more than one of these abilities, you can improve any one ability of your choice (choose each time you gain this benefit).

Dragonfire Strike: At 3rd level, you gain Dragonfire Strike as a bonus feat, even if you don't meet its prerequisite. If you already have Dragonfire Strike, you can instead take any other draconic feat for which you do meet the prerequisite.

Master's Gift (Su): Starting at 7th level, you are so attuned to the arcane powers of your dragon master that beneficial arcane spells have an improved effect on you. Any arcane spell that is harmless (those that include the word "harmless" in their saving throw entry) has twice the standard duration when cast on you. If the spell is cast on multiple targets, the duration is doubled only for you.

Improved Dragonfire Strike (Su): At 9th level, you gain the ability to deal extra damage when using your Dragonfire Strike feat. Whenever you choose to convert your sneak attack, skirmish, or sudden strike damage to energy damage by using this feat, you can add an extra 1 point of damage per die rolled. For example, if you have sneak attack +6d6, you would deal 6d6+6 points of fire damage with your Dragonfire Strike feat.

True Stealth (Ex): At 10th level, you gain a heightened awareness of the difficulties involved with concealing your presence from advanced senses. This ability helps you learn to avoid even the keenest senses. If you take a -10 penalty on Hide or Move Silently checks (as appropriate), you can use these skills to conceal yourself from scent, tremorsense, blindsense, and blindsight. Creatures using those sensory abilities must make an opposed Listen or Spot check to notice you.