Previews for December and Beyond
See What's "In the Works"
By Mat Smith


The thief-acrobat excels in getting in and getting out. If every street-level entrance to the Jewelers' Guildhouse is locked and well guarded, the thief-acrobat simply jumps atop the building from the roof of a nearby inn, throws a grappling hook to the highest minaret, runs up the attached rope to a shuttered window, and quickly picks the lock. Should her escape go awry once she has the goods, her gymnastic combat style keeps her out of harm's way.

Most thief-acrobats are rogues who worked their way up through the ranks of the local thieves' guild before learning the second-story trade from more experienced burglars. But characters of other classes -- particularly barbarians and illusionists -- often find that the acrobatics and climbing skills of the thief-acrobat prestige class complement their abilities nicely.

Adventuring parties often encounter NPC thief-acrobats in the midst of crimes. Sometimes, however, thief-acrobats hire adventurers to help them with particularly dangerous capers, or even to create diversions while they work.

Adaptation: Like the guild in Rockroost, guilds of thieves large and small could have an elite core of cat-burglars and second story men. Changing the name slightly can have great impact on how the prestige class is perceived in your game. Adventuring rogues find the skills of the acrobat incredibly handy, and despite its name, members of the thief-acrobat class might have nothing to do with thievery. Labeling the class adventuring acrobat or something similar gives the class a reason to exist that has little to do with high-level burglaries.

Hit Die: d6.


To become a thief-acrobat, a character must fulfill all the following criteria.

Skills: Balance 8 ranks, Climb 8 ranks, Jump 8 ranks, Tumble 8 ranks.
Special: The character must have the evasion ability.

Class Skills

The thief-acrobat's class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Appraise (Int), Balance (Dex), Climb (Str), Craft (Wis), Disable Device (Int), Escape Artist (Dex), Hide (Dex), Jump (Str), Move Silently (Dex), Open Lock (Dex), Perform (Cha), Search (Int), Tumble (Dex), and Use Rope (Dex). See Chapter 4 of the Player's Handbook for skill descriptions and Chapter 3: Skills and Feats in this book for expanded skill uses.

Skill points at each level: 6 + Int modifier.

Class Features

All the following are class features of the thief-acrobat prestige class.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Thief-acrobats gain proficiency with all simple weapons.

Fast Acrobatics (Ex): The thief-acrobat can avoid the normal penalties for accelerated movement while using her acrobatic talents. She ignores the normal -5 penalty when making a Balance check while moving at her full normal speed. She can climb half her speed as a move action without suffering a -5 penalty on her Climb check. Finally, she can tumble at her full speed without taking the normal -10 penalty on her Tumble check.

Kip Up (Ex): A thief-acrobat can stand up from a prone position as a free action that doesn't provoke attacks of opportunity. This ability only works if the thief-acrobat wears light or no armor and carries no more than a light load.

Steady Stance (Ex): The thief-acrobat remains stable when others have difficulty standing. He is not considered flat-footed while balancing or climbing, and may add his class level to Balance or Climb checks to remain balancing or climbing when taking damage.

Agile Fighting (Ex): A whirling, spinning thief-acrobat becomes a devilishly difficult target. At 2nd level, the thief-acrobat gains a +1 dodge bonus to AC. When fighting defensively or using total defense, this bonus becomes +2. At 4th level, these bonuses each increase by +1 (to +2 and +3, respectively).

In addition, the thief-acrobat suffers no penalty to her AC or on her melee attack rolls when kneeling, sitting, or prone.

This ability only works if the thief-acrobat wears light or no armor and carries no more than a light load.

Slow Fall (Ex): At 2nd level, a thief-acrobat within arm's reach of a wall can use it to slow her descent. She takes damage as if such fall were 20 feet shorter than it actually is. At 4th level, the falling distance is effectively reduced by 30 feet.

If the thief-acrobat has this ability from another class, the distances stack to determine the effective reduction of the falling distance.

Acrobatic Charge (Ex): A 3rd-level thief-acrobat can charge in situations where others cannot. He may charge over difficult terrain that normally slows movement or allies blocking his path. This ability enables him to charge across a cluttered battlefield, leap down from a ledge, or to swing across a chasm to get to his target. Depending on the circumstance, he may still need to make appropriate checks (such as Jump, Tumble, or Use Rope checks) to successfully move over the terrain.

Defensive Roll (Ex): Beginning at 3rd level, the thief-acrobat can roll with a potentially lethal blow to take less damage from it than she otherwise would. Once per day, when she would be reduced to 0 or fewer hit points by damage in combat, the thief-acrobat can attempt to roll with the damage. To use this ability, the thief-acrobat must attempt a Reflex saving throw (DC = damage dealt). If the save succeeds, she takes only half damage from the blow; if it fails, she takes full damage. She must be aware of the attack and able to react to it in order to execute her defensive roll -- if she is denied her Dexterity bonus to AC, she can't use this ability. Evasion does not apply to the defensive roll.

At 5th level, the thief-acrobat may use this ability twice per day.

Skill Mastery (Ex): A 4th-level thief-acrobat becomes so certain in her mobility that she can take 10 on Balance, Climb, Jump, and Tumble skill checks even if stress and distractions would normally prevent her from doing so.

Improved Evasion (Ex): Beginning at 5th level, the thief-acrobat can avoid damage from certain attacks with a successful Reflex save and take only half damage on a failed save. See the monk class feature on page 42 of the Player's Handbook.

Table 1-8: The Thief-Acrobat

ClassLevel Base
1st +0 +0 +2 +0 fast acrobatics, kip up, steady stance
2nd +1 +0 +3 +0 agile fighting +1/+2, slow fall 20 ft.
3rd +2 +1 +3 +1 acrobatic charge, defensive roll 1/day
4th +3 +1 +4 +1 agile fighting +2/+3, skill mastery, slow fall 30 ft.
5th +3 +1 +4 +1 defensive roll 2/day, improved evasion

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