Excerpts 04/08/2005

Lords of Madness Excerpt
By Bruce R. Cordell, Jennifer Clarke-Wilkes, JD Wiker

Aberrations and more await you within the pages of Lords of Madness! With this D&D accessory, you can learn more about aboleths, beholders, mind flayers, neogi, grell, Tsochari, and more. Additionally, PCs who wish to hunt these creatures can add new feats, spells, magic items, and grafts to their list of options. (Plenty of choices abound, so be prepared to start making even tougher decisions on what your character should do or get next!) Our sneak peek of this book includes a look at chuuls, beholder magic, mind flayer goals, neogi defilers, grell anatomy, Tsochari, half-farspawn, some sample feats, and a couple of prestige classes.

Sample Prestige Class: Darkrunner


See that? The circular patch of ground that's all muddy and smooth, when all the stone around it is rough and solid? One of them gibbering mouthers jumped someone here, and recently. Hand me that shovel. Sometimes they leave their victims buried in the mud they make, and they don't take the poor fool's gear when they're done.

-- Jasper Ringlerock of the Darkrunner Guild

Darkrunners devote their lives to traveling the haunted underground depths. Some hire out their services as guides to those who wish to navigate the lightless ways, while others are lone wolves who simply wish to explore the deepest reaches of this wondrous and dangerous realm. They understand the lay of the subterranean world like no other, and use its terrain and features to great advantage in combat.

Becoming a Darkrunner

The ranger class is the easiest path to becoming a darkrunner. Despite having to take cross-class ranks in Knowledge (dungeoneering), barbarians and druids both can qualify fairly quickly (unless they multiclass into a class that has this as a class skill). Intelligence is perhaps the most important ability for a darkrunner, since it grants bonus skill points and enhances several of the darkrunner's class features. After Intelligence, Charisma and Dexterity are likely the best abilities for a darkrunner, since both contribute to many of the character's class skills.

Due to the darkvision requirement, most darkrunners come from races already adapted to underground life (dwarves, half-orcs, drow, and the like). Creatures with the Aberration Blood and Inhuman Vision feats might also find surprising welcome in the Darkrunner Guild.

Entry Requirements

Skills: Knowledge (dungeoneering) 5 ranks, Search 5 ranks, Survival 7 ranks.

Feats: Alertness, Track.

Special: Darkvision as a racial trait or class feature.

Special: You must seek out a chapter house of the Darkrunner Guild and successfully petition to join the guild. Once you are a member, you gain your first level of darkrunner. If at a later time you lose membership in the guild, you become a darkrunner exile. You can still gain levels in this prestige class, but you can no longer rely upon the support of the guild.

Table 9-5: The Darkrunner Hit Die: d6

Level Base
1st +0 +2 +0 +0 Direction sense, spelunking, darkrunner emblem
2nd +1 +3 +0 +0 Aberration lore, darkvision +10 ft.
3rd +2 +3 +1 +1 Cavefighting, tunnelport
4th +3 +4 +1 +1 Tremorsense, darkvision +20 ft.
5th +3 +4 +1 +1 Lore of the stones
6th +4 +5 +2 +2 Aberration specialist, darkvision +30 ft.
7th +5 +5 +2 +2 Deepsong
8th +6 +6 +2 +2 Improved cavefighting, darkvision +40 ft.
9th +6 +6 +3 +3 Greater tunnelport
10th +7 +7 +3 +3 Stonewalking, darkvision +50 ft.

Class Skills (6 + Int modifier per level): Balance, Bluff, Climb, Craft, Diplomacy, Escape Artist, Gather Information, Heal, Hide, Intimidate, Jump, Knowledge (architecture and engineering), Knowledge (dungeoneering), Knowledge (geography), Knowledge (local), Knowledge (nature), Listen, Move Silently, Search, Sense Motive, Speak Language, Spot, Survival, Swim, and Tumble.

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