It’s Travel Week at Necromancers of the Northwest, and if there’s one class that stands out to me as ill-suited for travelling, it’s the vigilante. Yes, you can very easily run a vigilante in a game that features lots of travel, but you’ll be missing out on the benefits of a lot of the best social talents—the ones that make use of your renown. Now, it makes sense that renown is tied to a particular location, but what if it wasn’t? After all, isn’t a vigilante who keeps popping up in different places across the world going to have rumors spread about him or her as well? That’s the idea we explore with today’s vigilante archetype, the wandering nemesis.
New Vigilante Archetype
Many vigilantes carve out a particular place of their own to protect, claiming a neighborhood, a city, or even a small region as their ward. Other vigilantes chase their foes wherever they may hide, spanning the globe in pursuit of justice. These vigilantes lack many of the social ties of their rooted brethren, but are no less well-known for their globetrotting exploits.
Fame (Ex): Beginning at 1st level, legends and stories of the wandering nemesis’s exploits begin to spread far and wide, striking fear into the hearts of his enemies, and giving hope to those they prey upon. This functions similarly to the renown social talent, except that it is not tied to a particular settlement. Instead, for any given situation, there is a 25% chance that the benefits of his fame apply. For example, for any given NPC or group of NPCs that the wandering nemesis encounters in his social identity, there is a 25% chance that their starting attitude towards him is improved by one step (as long as their initial attitude would have been at least indifferent), and for each group of creatures he encounters in his vigilante identity, there is a 25% chance that he gains a +4 bonus on Intimidate checks.
At 3rd level, and every odd-numbered level thereafter, the chance that a wandering nemesis’s fame applies to a particular encounter increases by 5% (to a maximum of a 75% chance at 19th level). The GM may determine that it is impossible for a particular creature or group of creatures to have heard of the wandering nemesis, such as if those creatures live in isolated settlements and don’t regularly get word from the outside world. As with the renown social talent, the GM may also determine that a foe may have a starting attitude toward him that’s one category worse, rather than one category better, etc.
This ability replaces the social talent gained at 1st level, and counts as the renown social talent for the purposes of qualifying for social talents that require it.
Nemesis (Ex): A wandering nemesis devotes himself to fighting against a particular type of foe, whether that be a specific organization, or perpetrators of a particular type of crime, or even a specific sort of creature. At 1st level, the wandering nemesis must choose a particular type of opponent to specialize in combatting, from the options below.
Creature Type: The wandering nemesis can choose a particular type of creature as his foe. If he does, he chooses a single creature type (and subtype, if applicable) from those available in the ranger’s favored enemy class feature.
Occupation: The wandering nemesis can choose a particular occupation or similar activity as the recipient of his fury. He must choose a single profession, crime, or other identity-defining activity. This must be reasonably specific: “soldier” would be an acceptable choice, but would not apply to other fighters who are not part of a military unit. “Criminal” is too broad, but “smuggler,” and “murderer” are both acceptable. In order to qualify, the creature must engage in the activity often enough for it to be defining: fishing once a month probably doesn’t make someone a fisherman, nor does sneaking one or two items of contraband across a border for personal use once make one a smuggler. The GM is the final arbiter of who does and does not qualify for a particular occupation, and what is a suitable choice for occupations.
Organization: The wandering nemesis can choose to devote himself to battling the forces of a particular organization, such as the members of a particular nation’s army, a single crime syndicate, members of a particular cult or church, etc. The organization must be an easily-defined and cohesive entity, even if it may have sub-factions and a certain amount of internal strife. The GM is the final arbiter of what is and is not an appropriate choice for an organization. “Soldiers” is not an organization, and neither, in most cases, is “citizens of a particular country,” but members of a particular nation’s military or regime would be (and this would apply to all members of the regime, including soldiers, spies, bureaucrats, and the monarch herself, but not private citizens under her rule).
The wandering nemesis gains a +2 bonus on Bluff, Knowledge, Perception, Sense Motive, and Survival checks against creatures meeting the chosen criteria. Likewise, he gets a +2 bonus on weapon attack and damage rolls against them. He can also make Knowledge skill checks untrained when attempting to identify or learn about creatures meeting the chosen criteria. Finally, the chance that the wandering nemesis’s fame class feature will apply to a given creature or encounter is increased by 20% if the encounter in question involves a creature that fits one of his chosen categories.
At 3rd level, and every three levels thereafter, these bonuses increase by +1 (to a maximum of +8 at 18th level). At 5th level, and every five levels thereafter, the wandering nemesis can choose an additional type of foe to specialize in combating. Each different type chosen grants the same bonus. If a creature qualifies as one of the wandering nemsis’s nemeses in multiple ways (such as being both the right creature type and belonging to a particular organization), the bonus is increased to 1.5 x the normal amount (+3 at 1st level, up to a maximum of +12 at 20th level).
This ability replaces the vigilante specialization class feature. A wandering nemesis counts as an avenger vigilante for the purposes of determining what vigilante talents he qualifies for.
Social Talents: A wandering nemesis can choose from the following social talents, in addition to those available to all vigilantes.
Favored Terrain (Ex): The vigilante selects a single favored terrain from among those listed in the ranger class feature of the same name, and gains the benefits of that class feature for that terrain, using his vigilante level as his ranger level. This social talent can be taken multiple times. Its effects do not stack. Each time it is selected, the vigilante must choose a new terrain type.
Hitch a Ride (Ex): The vigilante is skilled in finding passage for himself and his friends. If passage is readily available, then by spending 1d4 hours canvassing merchant caravans, ship captains, and other travelers, and succeeding on a DC 20 Diplomacy check, he can secure advantageous passage on a boat, wagon, caravan, or other transportation method heading in the general direction he wishes to travel. This allows him to reduce either the cost or the length of the trip by 10%. For every 5 points by which the result of his check exceeds the DC, he can further reduce either the cost or the length of the trip by 10%. If passage would not ordinarily be available for whatever reason (such as a closed border, or if the party are wanted criminals, etc.), the vigilante instead gains a +5 bonus on all checks made to secure passage despite these obstacles.
Lay of the Land (Ex): The vigilante has a knack for getting his bearing in a new town. When he first arrives in a new settlement, he can spend 1d4 hours canvassing the area to get the lay of the land, requiring a successful Diplomacy check to gather information (DC 15 + 2 per community size category the community is beyond hamlet). If he succeeds, he immediately learns the community’s alignment, government type (as well as the names of important figures in the local government), and any qualities or disadvantages the settlement might possess. Additionally, for the next week, whenever the vigilante makes a Knowledge (local) check relating to that community, he can choose to substitute the result of his check to gather information, instead. This allows him to make such checks untrained.
Pick up the Lingo (Ex): The vigilante is able to quickly pick up the local lingo wherever he goes, including slang, regional dialects, and even whole languages. He can make a DC 15 Linguistics check in order to emulate the slang and dialect of a particular geographic region, ethnicity, social class, or similar group, provided he can listen to and observe members of that group speak and converse in that fashion for at least 1 hour. The vigilante can make such checks untrained.
Additionally, he can learn the rudimentary basics of a language from someone who speaks it fluently in only 8 hours. Once he learns a language in this fashion, he is able to speak and understand it normally, although the GM may determine that particularly specialized vocabulary or very complex sentences may be beyond him. The vigilante retains knowledge of the language until the next time he learns a new language in this way, in which case the old language is forgotten.
Swift Tracker (Ex): The vigilante can move at his normal speed while using Survival to follow tracks without taking the normal –5 penalty. He takes only a –10 penalty (instead of the normal –20) when moving at up to twice normal speed while tracking. Finally, he gains a bonus equal to 1/2 his vigilante level on all Perception and Survival checks made to find and follow tracks.
Vigilante Talents: A wandering nemesis can choose from the following vigilante talents, in addition to those available to all vigilantes.
Additional Nemesis (Ex): The vigilante may choose an additional nemesis, as outlined in the nemesis class feature.
To the Ends of the Earth (Ex): The vigilante doggedly pursues his foes no matter how far they run, and, in fact, the further the chase goes on, the greater his vengeance when it finally comes to its inevitable conclusion. Whenever the vigilante engages in combat with a creature that he has fought before, he gains a morale bonus on attack and damage rolls against that creature based on how far he has traveled since the last time the two fought, as outlined on the table below.
Travel Conditions Bonus*
10 or more miles +1
100 or more miles +1
1,000 or more miles +1
Crossed a mountain +1
Crossed an ocean +1
More than 1 month travel time +1
More than 6 months travel time +1
More than 1 year travel time +1
On a different plane than your previous combat +3
*Bonuses are cumulative, add all that apply.
The bonus granted by this ability cannot exceed +6, and lasts for one minute after combat begins. Regardless of the fight’s outcome, all bonuses are reset once the combat ends, and begin accruing again based on travel made since that combat. You do not begin accruing bonuses until at least 24 hours after the initial combat (for example, if your foe uses gate to flee combat, and you follow after him 3 rounds later, you would not receive the normal +3 bonus for being on a different plane than your previous combat).