General Prestige Class : Prairie Runner
by Eric Cagle, Dragon #292
The prairie grass sways in the wind like water in the tide, with nothing around for miles and miles to stop the breeze. In the distance, a tiny figure can be seen running through the grass with a steady, graceful purpose. Her feet barely touch the ground, and her eyes are fixed on the horizon, taking in everything around her but also shutting everything out. For the prairie runner, nothing matters except for a steady stride, the rhythm of her breath, and the serenity of her mind. She is chasing after an elusive state of being called "the Run."
Nomadic halfling family groups sometimes travel great distances, journeying them far from other clans. Although most clans stick to tried-and-true patterns, some strike out into new territory. Over the centuries, a special group of halflings has developed, and it is this group, more than any other, that allows the far-ranging halfling clans to maintain contact with one another and scout dangerous terrain; members of this special group are called prairie runners. These halflings have an innate sense that allows them to find the best paths to take. They also have been blessed with amazing speed and stamina, which helps them make long, arduous journeys quickly and easily. Prairie runners are sent out as scouts and trailblazers, finding suitable campsites, water sources, and hunting grounds for the clan.
Prairie runners are also used as messengers between the far-flung clans, carrying messages when magic fails or the assurance of a fellow halfling is necessary to maintain relations. Because of this, many prairie runners train in diplomacy. The sight of an approaching prairie runner is a cause of celebration for a clan, because she is full of news, gossip, and vital information of all kinds. Other than food and a place to rest, prairie runners rarely ask for payment for their services, but small tokens of appreciation are accepted. Because they must travel lightly, prairie runners must be diplomatic when a clan leader gives them a heavy or bulky gift, doing their best to show their appreciation for the gift, but also politely declining.
Prairie runners almost never wear armor heavier than leather, and they carry only light weapons. They do their best to avoid combat, relying on their speed and agility to get them out of danger. If a prairie runner has no choice, she stays on the move, sprinting and dodging gracefully with each strike.
Instead of relying on steeds, which can sicken, become injured, or die out in the wilderness, prairie runners have become superb long-distance runners. Prairie runners become obsessed with the Run - a transcendental state of being in which they lose any sense of self. When a prairie runner enters this trance, she becomes incredibly attuned to her body, falling into a steady rhythm that allows her to run for hours and hours without food, water, or rest. She becomes faster and faster as she runs, until she becomes almost a blur. Over time, an experienced prairie runner learns how to pass along some of her stamina and endurance to others, allowing them to move almost as quickly with her through the wilderness.
Rangers and druids are the most common classes to become prairie runners, as they are used to the hardships of the wilderness and do not mind acting alone. Fighters who pack lightly sometimes become prairie runners, as well as some monks, who find a spiritual purity in the Run. A few barbarians become prairie runners, although it takes special discipline to balance the serenity of the Run and the barbarian rage. Clerics of Fharlanghn are the most likely clerics to become prairie runners. Wizards, sorcerers, rogues, and bards are almost never drawn to this path - wizards and sorcerers usually lack the physical stamina, and rogues and bards often become bored by the loneliness of the wilds.
To qualify to become a Prairie Runner, a character must fulfill all the following criteria:
- Race: Halfling
- Skills: Spot 4 ranks, Survival 8 ranks
- Feats: Endurance Run,
- Special: Must spend three days alone on the prairie. If the character receives any aid while meeting this requirement she must begin the trial again.
Skill Points at Each Level: 4 + Int modifier.
All of the following are class features of the prairie runner prestige class.
Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Characters that take a level of prairie runner gain no new proficiency with any weapons, armor, or shields.
Fast Movement (Ex): The prairie runner has a speed faster than the norm for her race by +10 feet when wearing no armor, light armor, or medium armor (and not carrying a heavy load). This movement stacks with the barbarian fast movement class ability.
Fleet of Foot (Su): Starting at 1st level, a prairie runner can drastically increase her speed for short distances as a standard action when wearing no armor, light armor, or medium armor (and not carrying a heavy load). This is similar in most respects to the expeditious retreat spell, although the duration lasts for 10 minutes per prairie runner class level.
Trance of the Run (Su): Starting at 2nd level, a prairie runner can enter a trance-like state that allows her to run great distances for a long period of time. She can hustle (see Overland Movement, Chapter 9: Adventuring in the Player's Handbook) a number of hours equal to her Constitution bonus plus class level. One hour after that, the prairie runner must make a Constitution check (DC 10) to continue running for another hour - if she fails, she takes point of subdual damage. Every additional hour increases the DC by 1 and causes twice the damage taken in the previous failed save. A prairie runner in a trance does not have to sleep or eat, and only requires the normal amount of sleep and food when she comes out of the trance and stops running.
Pathlore (Ex): At 2nd level, the prairie runner gains an intuitive understanding of the best path to take through the wilderness. The prairie runner receives a +10 insight bonus to Survival checks for the purposes of determining the easiest and most direct route through terrain.
Bolster the Runner (Su): Starting at 4th level, a prairie runner can lend some of her amazing endurance to others. Once per day, the prairie runner can grant the Endurance feat to a number of targets equal to her class level. The affected targets can also hustle for a number of hours equal to their Constitution bonus (minimum hour), before taking subdual damage (see Overland Movement, Chapter 9: Adventuring in the Player's Handbook).
Haste (Sp): Once per day, the prairie runner can cast haste on herself using her prairie runner class level as the level of the caster. This is a spell-like ability. Using this ability is a standard action.
|Prairie Runner||Hit Die: d8|
|1st||+0||+2||+0||+2||Fast movement fleet of foot 1/day|
|2nd||+1||+3||+0||+3||Trance of the run, pathlore|
|3rd||+2||+3||+1||+3||Fleet of foot 2/day|
|4th||+3||+4||+1||+3||Bolster the runner|
|5th||+3||+4||+1||+3||Fleet of foot 3/day haste|
Halfling Druids And Rangers
Halflings are a bit of a dichotomy when it comes to the natural world. On one hand, their nomadic wandering takes them through areas of pristine wilderness, far from any civilization. There they learn to respect nature's strength and wonder. On the other hand, halflings are social creatures who enjoy the company of others. The typical halfling is a rogue, whose focus is on the trappings of civilization - theft of goods, information gathering, and the like. These two ideas make halfling druids and rangers interesting and unique.
Halfling druids usually separate themselves from the rest of their clan and take to the trail, blazing their own if none exists. However, halflings understand wanderlust and send these individuals off with a fond farewell, knowing that they might return someday. Halfling druids who remain with their people serve multiple roles - healer, seer, and tender of the clan animals. They watch the weather and seasons, indicating the best time for the clan to pick up stakes and move on.
Halfling rangers are usually loners. Some serve as trailblazers for the clan, always moving and seeing what's beyond the next hill. They scout out the terrain, keeping their eye out for danger and eliminating many troublesome creatures before the clan is even aware of a threat. If halfling rangers are rare, evil ones are even more exotic. All halflings carry a bit of a mean streak, but evil halfling rangers take this to an extreme, playing harrowing games with their enemies before slitting their throats in the middle of the night.
The animal companions that halfling druids and rangers usually choose are swift and stealthy, such as panthers, wolves, eagles, and owls. Over time, they ally themselves with larger creatures that can be used both as mounts and fighting companions, like bears. Many halfling druids and rangers aspire to become prairie runners.
Source: Dragon #292
Older Prestige class adapted to 3.5