Excerpts 05/06/2005

Heroes of Battle Excerpt
By David Noonan, Will McDermott, Stephen Schubert

Bring the battlefield to your player characters with the Heroes of Battle rules supplement! This book provides you with new feats, spells, uses for traditional spells, and prestige classes that you can use on the battlefield. To help you vanquish your foes, you'll find tools such as siege engines, weapons, magic items, steeds, and other exotic mounts, plus discussions of terrain-oriented topics. To help the DM further, encounters and details about designing battlefields are included within the book. Learn more about this supplement by reading the Introduction excerpt, which goes over the book's topics in more detail, and then take a look at the second excerpt, which goes over some of the rules regarding the use of teamwork benefits. For more excerpts from this book, check out both the April 2005 and May 2005 Previews.

More About Teamwork Benefits

Heroes at Rest

To qualify for a teamwork benefit, PCs must meet two broad categories of requirements: training time and prerequisites.

First, the characters seeking the benefit must jointly practice techniques relevant to the benefit for at least two weeks before acquiring the benefit. This two-week training period must be repeated whenever a new character joins the group, as the newcomer becomes accustomed to the operating procedures of veteran team members.

Second, some teamwork benefits have prerequisites such as skill ranks, base attack bonus, or feats. A prerequisite can take one of two different forms.

Task Leader Prerequisites: These requirements must be met by at least one character on the team. If only one character qualifies, and that character leaves the team, the group loses the teamwork benefit until the character returns or is replaced by another character who meets the same prerequisites. The designation of task leader can vary from one benefit to another; a character who serves as the task leader for the Infiltration teamwork benefit might be a different individual from the one who functions as the task leader for the Heavy Cavalry benefit. In addition to the indicated prerequisites, a task leader must have an Intelligence score of at least 8. (While a task leader need not be a genius, nor has he particular need of a strong personality, he must be at least reasonably capable of communicating his thoughts to others.)

Team Member Prerequisites: These requirements must be met by every character on the team. Any character who joins the team must meet the prerequisites in order for the team to enjoy the teamwork benefit.

For example, the Infiltration teamwork benefit has a task leader prerequisite of 8 ranks in both Hide and Move Silently, and a team member prerequisite of 1 rank in Hide or Move Silently. This means that at least one character in the group must have 8 or more ranks in each of the two skills, while each other character in the team must have at least one rank in either of the two skills. When the team is sneaking around, the task leader directs her less adept comrades in stealth techniques, covering any extra noise with environmental sounds, and so on.

A team gets one teamwork benefit for every 4 Hit Dice the lowest-level member of the team has, so it earns a new teamwork benefit whenever that character attains a new level evenly divisible by 4. If that character's level later drops below the required level (due to energy drain or being brought back from the dead), the team retains all of its current teamwork benefits but doesn't gain a new one until the lowest-level character regains his or her lost level(s) plus four more levels.

Any time a team gains a new teamwork benefit, it also has the option to swap out a previously known teamwork benefit for a new one for which the team qualifies. In effect, the team can elect to lose one teamwork benefit in order to gain two others. This is most often done when the team roster has changed in such a way as to make a previously known teamwork benefit no longer useful.

Unless otherwise specified, each teamwork benefit can be taken only once. The teamwork benefit applies whenever the characters on the team can communicate with each other, whether verbally, with gestures, or by magical means.

Teamwork Benefit Excerpt


You are adept at moving silently and unseen. You point out noisy ground to your comrades, identify good hiding places for one another, and otherwise move as unobtrusively as possible. You dart ahead while your teammates watch for enemies, then you cover your comrades while they advance. While this teamwork benefit doesn't help much amid the tumult of a pitched battle, you're able to sneak behind enemy lines to attack enemy leaders, sabotage siege engines, and otherwise give your army the upper hand before the trumpets sound.

Training: Infiltration training involves hours of practice sneaking as a group. Elves and other woodland denizens often play elaborate games of hide and seek (with the seeking team getting useful practice as scouts). Subterranean races stalk the caverns and tunnels of their realms, practicing the art of hiding in a pitch-black environment. With practice, members of an infiltration team get good at sharing hiding spaces, darting from cover to cover, and timing their movements to be as silent and stealthy as possible.

Task Leader Prerequisite: Hide 8 ranks, Move Silently 8 ranks.

Team Member Prerequisite: Hide 1 rank or Move Silently 1 rank.

Benefit: Your team can move at full speed without taking a -5 penalty on Hide and Move Silently checks. Other penalties (such as from difficult terrain) still apply, and you take the normal penalties on Hide or Move Silently checks while attacking, running, or charging.

Team members are always visible to each other despite their Hide check results and the presence of anything less than total concealment (although cover might still block line of sight between team members). If you move to a position where none of your comrades can see or contact you, you lose the teamwork benefit at the start of your next turn and don't count as part of the team until you reestablish contact with at least one member.

Tips: If you're part of an infiltration team, keep in mind that you can take 10 on your Hide and Move Silently checks whenever you aren't being threatened or distracted. It's often easiest to just tell your DM what the lowest Hide and Move Silently check results on the team are. Those check results set the DC for NPCs' Spot and Listen checks.

Invisibility Sweep

If you're aware of the presence of an unseen enemy, you can quickly move through an area and pinpoint your foe's location.

Training: You practice finding invisible enemies by swinging your weapons through empty spaces and making sudden movements that an invisible foe wouldn't anticipate. More important, you quickly develop a shorthand way of describing the location of an unseen enemy you have pinpointed: "At my 4 o'clock -- 10 feet out," for example. Eventually, members of your team can quickly and effectively target a specific (apparently empty) square based on your verbal description.

Task Leader Prerequisite: Blind-Fight.

Benefit: Each team member can check for the presence of an invisible enemy by groping into four adjacent 5-foot squares within reach, making touch attacks into those squares as described on page 295 of the Dungeon Master's Guide. Doing so is a standard action. If one team member pinpoints the location of an invisible enemy (whether through groping, Spot and Listen checks, or other means), every other team member within earshot also has that enemy pinpointed until that enemy moves into a different square. (Pinpointed invisible enemies still gain the benefits of total concealment; see page 152 of the Player's Handbook.)

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