General Prestige Class : Ancestral Avenger

by Monte Cooke, Dragon #279

Most everyone knows that surface elves hate the drow, and that the drow return those feelings. Hatred is a powerful force that can shape an entire way of life. The ancestral avenger is fired in the oven of hatred and cooled in the breeze of eons of experience fighting their racial enemy. The drow might be diabolically depraved and debased, but they still fear the ancestral avenger. This prestige class is limited in scope, but for an anti-drow campaign or an extended trip down into the Underdark, there's no better character to play.

There's nothing a high-level ancestral avenger would like more than to go to the Demonweb Pits where the queen-goddess of the drow, Lolth, dwells. An opportunity for such an adventure exists in DUNGEON Magazine #84 in the adventure "The Harrowing."

The ancestral avenger is a uniquely elven prestige class. Long ago, the elven race was split by terrible racial wars. Whole legions of dark-hearted elves turned toward the worship of Lolth and eventually fled underground. The remaining surface elves never forgot the betrayal and depravity of these twisted brethren. Never.

Among the ranks of the elves, a secret few are trained to focus on the destruction of dark elves. These elves hate drow more than anything else, and their training allows them to become the most efficient and deadly foes the dark elves have ever faced. They are trained to resist drow spells and overcome whatever defenses and allies the drow possess.

Ancestral avengers are found among all classes. However, many elven rangers who have taken Humanoid (drow) as a racial enemy (one of the only instances in which a good-aligned character can take his own race as a racial enemy), are often drawn to this path.


To qualify to become an Ancestral Avenger, a character must fulfill all the following criteria:

Class Skills

The ancestral avenger's class skills are Bluff, Concentration, Intimidate, Knowledge (Underdark), Listen, Profession, Search, Sense Motive, Spot, and Survival.

Skill Points at Each Level: 2 + Int modifier.

Class Features

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Ancestral avengers are proficient with all simple and martial weapons, with all types of armor, and with shields.

Underground Tracking: An ancestral avenger can track underground with no penalty for poor visibility. Furthermore, hard surfaces (like the solid stone most tunnels are made of) are treated as firm surfaces for the purpose of making tracking attempts. This is an extraordinary ability.

Drow Bane: Beginning at 1st level, an ancestral avenger gains a competence bonus when fighting drow in the form of a +1 attack bonus and a +1d6 damage bonus. At higher levels, this bonus increases to +2/+2d6 and +3/+3d6. This is a supernatural ability.

This ability stacks with a ranger's favored enemy bonus (provided the ranger has selected drow as a favored enemy). So a 5th-level ranger/1st-level ancestral avenger would have a +3 bonus to attack and an additional +1d6+2 damage bonus versus drow.

Poison Resistance: An ancestral avenger gains a resistance bonus equal to her ancestral avenger class level to saves vs. poison from spiders or poison manufactured by the drow. This is a supernatural ability.

Overcome Drow Spell Resistance: Ancestral avengers of 3rd level and higher gain a +2 bonus to overcome the spell resistance of drow and driders. This bonus is cumulative with a bonus gained from the Spell Penetration feat. This is a supernatural ability.

Spider Bane: The 5th level ancestral avenger can use her drow bane bonuses against any type of spider, as well as aranea, driders, retrievers, and bebiliths. This is a supernatural ability.

Webwalking: At 6th level, the ancestral avenger can ignore web spells and spider webbing as if affected by a freedom of movement spell. He can walk along webs as if on solid ground (no Balance check is required). This is a supernatural ability.

Drowic Change: A 7th level ancestral avenger can alter her appearance to that of a drow. This supernatural ability functions as the spell alter self as if it were cast by a sorcerer of the ancestral avenger's class level

Demon Bane: At 8th level, the ancestral avenger can use her bane bonuses against any type of chaotic evil outsider. This is a supernatural ability.

Spell Resistance: The 10th level ancestral avenger gains spell resistance equal to 10 plus her class level. This is a supernatural ability.

Ancestral AvengerHit Die: d8
1st+1+2+0+2Underground tracking, drow bane +1/+1d6
2nd+2+3+0+3Poison resistance
3rd+3+3+1+3Overcome spell resistance
4th+4+4+1+4Drow bane +2/+2d6
5th+5+4+1+4Spider bane
7th+7+5+2+5Drowic change
8th+8+6+2+6Drow bane +3/+3d6
9th+9+6+3+6Demon bane
10th+10+7+3+7Spell resistance

Source: Dragon #279

General Prestige Classes