Previews11/16/2006


Previews for November and Beyond



Malena d'Lyrandar, a storm sentry

Storm Sentry

"Fear the fury of the storm!"

-- Malena d'Lyrandar of the Mistral

Members of House Lyrandar call the wind to fill the sails of merchant vessels or summon gentle rain for farmers in need. However, the Mark of Storm is aptly named, and its heirs control a powerful and deadly force of nature. The storm sentry is a colorful warrior who masters the martial applications of her dragonmark, blasting her enemies with terrible winds and charging her weapons with crackling lightning. Woe to the Lhazaar pirate who tries his luck against a Lyrandar vessel only to find a storm sentry on board.

BECOMING A STORM SENTRY

A storm sentry is a soldier first and foremost, and must be a capable combatant. At the same time, she must also be able to move with the wind, and to feel it flowing around her. The swashbuckler (from Complete Warrior) is the best-suited class to proceed to storm sentry, but any swift, lightly armored soldier can successfully take up this path. Though it is not a requirement, storm sentries tend toward chaotic alignments, and many are as restless and changeable as the storm whose power they summon.

ENTRY REQUIREMENTS

Base Attack Bonus: +4.
Skills: Balance 4 ranks, Tumble 4 ranks.
Feats: Least Dragonmark (Mark of Storm -- gust of wind).

THE STORM SENTRY HIT DIE: d10

Level Base
Attack
Bonus
Fort
Save
Ref
Save
Will
Save
Special
1st +1 +2 +2 +0 Heir's mark, improved gust, wind's embrace
2nd +2 +3 +3 +0 Lyrandar's shield, powerful winds
3rd +3 +3 +3 +1 Lyrandar's fist
4th +4 +4 +4 +1 Storm strike
5th +5 +4 +4 +1 Gale force

Class Skills (4 + Int modifier per level): Balance, Bluff, Climb, Concentration, Craft, Escape Artist, Intimidate, Jump, Knowledge (nobility and royalty), Profession, Swim, Tumble, Use Rope.

CLASS FEATURES

The storm is your weapon and shield. As you master your dragonmark, you learn to smash your enemies with mighty gales, or to call on the wind to protect you from harm.

Heir's Mark: Levels in the storm sentry prestige class count as levels in the dragonmark heir prestige class when determining the caster level for the spell-like abilities of your dragonmark. You can have a maximum of five effective levels in dragonmark heir for the purpose of determining the caster level of your dragonmark.

Improved Gust (Ex): You can use the gust of wind power of the Mark of Storm an additional number of times per day equal to your class level.

Wind's Embrace (Sp): You can expend one use of any of your dragonmark powers to use feather fall as a spell-like ability, at the same caster level as your other dragonmark powers. This is a swift action that does not provoke attacks of opportunity.

Lyrandar's Shield (Sp): From 2nd level on, you can expend one use of a least dragonmark power to use shield as a spell-like ability, at the same caster level as your other dragonmark powers. If you instead expend one use of a lesser or greater dragonmark power, the duration of the effect is extended to 10 minutes per level.

Powerful Winds (Ex): Beginning at 2nd level, you add your class level to the saving throw DC of the gust of wind and wind wall powers of the Mark of Storm.

Lyrandar's Fist (Sp): From 3rd level on, you can target a single creature with an intense blast of wind by expending one use of any of your dragonmark powers as a standard action. This ability has a range of 25 feet + 5 feet per class level, and is resolved as a bull rush attack made by a Medium creature. The effective Strength modifier on the bull rush attack is based on the strength of the dragonmark whose power you expend.

Dragonmark Strength Modifier

Least +4
Lesser +8
Greater +16

If you win the opposed Strength check, the target is forced back 5 feet plus an additional 5 feet for every 5 points by which your check result is greater than the defender's. Using Lyrandar's fist is a standard action that does not provoke attacks of opportunity.

Storm Strike (Su): At 4th level, you learn to expend one use of any of your dragonmark powers to charge your current melee or ranged weapon (but not thrown weapons or ammunition) with the energy of the storm. This is a swift action that does not provoke attacks of opportunity.

If you expend one use of a least mark power, this duplicates the effect of the shocking weapon special ability. If you expend one use of a lesser or greater mark power, the effect is that of shocking burst. A ranged weapon with these abilities bestows the ability on its ammunition, as normal. The effect lasts for 1 round per dragonmark power caster level, or until the weapon leaves your hand. This ability cannot be used on natural weapons, though a monk's unarmed strike is considered a manufactured weapon as normal.

Gale Force (Ex): At 5th level, you can generate a more intense blast of wind when using your gust of wind power. You treat all targets in the path of the gust as if they were one size category smaller, so that Medium creatures can be knocked down, while Small creatures can be sent flying.

PLAYING A STORM SENTRY

You feel the storm within your soul, and you revel in unleashing its power. Whenever possible, you prefer to be out on the open seas or on the deck of an airship, where you can feel the wind flowing around you. Most storm sentries are wild and carefree, following the wind and seizing each new opportunity it offers. Exceptions abound, however, and more than a few of your fellows are as dour and grim as the blackest thunderstorm.

As a storm sentry, decide whether you want to join the Sheltering Storm (see Organization, below) or if you prefer to follow your own path. House Lyrandar recognizes the value of your skills, and might pressure you to join one of the house arms. Though the viceroys respect any decision to remain independent, you might find your access to the standard benefits of house membership restricted. After all, if you are going to benefit from your birth, it is only fair that your family expect something in return.

Combat

Storm sentries love to dive into the thick of combat. Tumble lets you dance between your enemies, while storm strike adds deadly force to your attacks. Lyrandar's shield offers the defensive benefits of a tower shield while leaving your hands free, so two-weapon fighting or specialization with a double weapon are good tactics for you. You can use storm strike on multiple weapons (or both ends of a double weapon), but at the expense of multiple uses of your dragonmark powers.

Though melee combat is exhilarating, you can also be an effective archer. Lyrandar's shield protects you even while you use a bow, and Lyrandar's fist and gale force gusts of wind let you drive back opponents who get too close. The wind's power also lets you take advantage of your surroundings. More than a few pirates have been blasted overboard by a storm sentry who has them outmaneuvered.

Advancement

The gifts of a storm sentry come only from within. The least Mark of Storm symbolizes your potential, but only time will tell how your power will grow. Once it becomes clear that you have the makings of a storm sentry, House Lyrandar will be eager to take advantage of your skills. If you agree to work with the Sheltering Storm, other storm sentries help you develop your gifts. If you wish to walk alone, you must find your own path to power.

Though the abilities of this class can be used by characters in armor, the skills and prerequisites lend themselves to a more mobile style of combat. If you follow this path, devote skill points to Tumble, and consider feats such as Combat Expertise, Dodge, and Mobility. Beyond combat, members of the Sheltering Storm help maintain order aboard Lyrandar ships. A few ranks in Balance, Climb, Swim, and Profession (sailor) can make life at sea easier, while Intimidate and Bluff can help keep a crew under control.

Resources

Storm sentries feel a strong sense of camaraderie toward one another. Unless you develop an especially infamous reputation, other storm sentries have a friendly reaction toward you, often willing to swap stories or lend a hand. If you are in the Sheltering Storm, you can request any sort of magic or mundane equipment the house deems necessary to accomplish a particular task. House elders keep a strict accounting of this gear, however, and expect to have all equipment returned intact.

As a member of your house, you have access to the resources described on page 48. If you are an active member in good standing with the Sheltering Storm, you receive a +1 bonus on favor checks you make with the Favored in House feat.

STORM SENTRIES IN THE WORLD

"After the orb payday, I staked a little operation running protection on aristos in Sharn. Easy money, no risks, right? Sure, up until that skinny half-elf heir we try to put the touch on sends a windstorm that blows me right off the bridge to Dragon Towers!"

-- Kenton Del, retired thief

Storm sentries are the elite warriors of the House of Storm. In the past, they have defended Lyrandar interests from enemies of the house, but some say that the numbers of storm sentries are growing -- and that they seek a more active role in shaping Lyrandar's future. The boundless energy of the storm drives the storm sentries. One might be as pleasant as a spring breeze while another is loud and blustering, but both make their presence felt wherever they go.

Sentries working for the Sheltering Storm are often assigned to protect Lyrandar ships carrying important cargo and passengers or vessels traveling especially dangerous routes. Recently, the house has begun to partner storm sentries with windwright captains (a prestige class described in Explorer's Handbook) for the most dangerous voyages. Though a storm sentry is largely present to provide security, sentries with ranks in Perform can help entertain passengers. If a storm sentry possesses the wind's favor power of the lesser Mark of Storm, she can even assist the captain at the helm.

Organization

Most storm sentries belong to a loose alliance called the Sheltering Storm, which works to protect the vessels of the Windwrights Guild from piracy and other threats. However, rumors constantly circulate of a secret order of house enforcers known as the Lightning Strike -- monks and scouts (from Complete Adventurer) who combine the power of the storm sentry with the arts of stealth. Sentries in the Sheltering Storm often have semipermanent positions on specific ships, with important cargo assigned according to the sentry guarding it. The Sheltering Storm maintains a small training facility on the island of Stormhome, but storm sentries more often use general house enclaves and Windwrights Guild facilities.

NPC Reactions

Storm sentries are dashing and flamboyant, and their rarity makes them stand out all the more. The common folk react to a storm sentry as they would to any respected heir of House Lyrandar, while members of the house are especially respectful of the class's skills and dedication.

STORM SENTRY LORE

Characters with ranks in Knowledge (nobility and royalty) can research House Lyrandar to learn more about the storm sentries. When a character succeeds on a skill check, the following lore is revealed, including the information from lower DCs.

DC 10: The storm sentries of House Lyrandar learn to call on the winds to gain an edge in battle.

DC 15: A storm sentry can wrap herself in a shielding wind, blast an enemy with a mighty gale, and charge her weapons with the power of lightning.

DC 20: There are rumors that House Lyrandar maintains a secret strike force of storm sentries used in covert operations. This order is supposedly called the Lightning Strike.

DC 30: Characters who achieve this level of success can learn important details about storm sentries in your campaign, including history, notable individuals, the areas in which they operate and the kinds of activities they undertake.

STORM SENTRIES IN THE GAME

Storm sentries are an essential component of House Lyrandar's security operations, but are rare enough that PCs might never have met one. If an adventurer becomes a storm sentry and wants to work with the house, the Lyrandar viceroys might pair him with a windwright captain. This can provide a party with transportation and the freedom to choose assignments, with the oath to serve Lyrandar offering adventure hooks in abundance.

Adaptation

In a non-Eberron campaign, the storm sentry could be a magic-oriented combat class, or an order of specialist fighters serving aboard the ships of a naval kingdom. Simply add a prerequisite feat to replace Least Dragonmark, then give the class the ability to use gust of wind as a spell-like ability a number of times per day equal to class level.

In an Eberron game, storm sentries could be a secret order entirely contained within the Lightning Strike. As special operatives, sentries sacrifice social skills for stealth, replacing Bluff and Intimidate for Hide and Move Silently.

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