General Prestige Class : Stonedeath Assassin

For as long as the two ancient races have existed, dwarves and goblins have fought. They share an affinity for underground living, but dwarves live for honor and craft, while goblins and their kin practice brutality and spread strife. Through the many wars that the two races have waged against one another, their stone citadels and underground strongholds have given the stout and honorable dwarves a tremendous advantage. Although the goblinoids easily outnumber the dwarves, their swarming hordes cannot overcome strong stone walls and carefully trapped corridors. Through the years, the smartest and cruelest among the goblinkin began to train in earnest to overcome these strongholds, striving to turn the dwarves' affinity for stone into a weakness rather than a strength. The best of these creatures developed their own affinity with stone, and they began to infiltrate dwarf strongholds, disarming traps, weakening gates, and assassinating dwarf leaders just as they were trying to organize their people to repel a goblin invasion.

Most stonedeath assassins are hobgoblin rogues or rangers, but bugbears and even exceptional goblins have been known to undertake stonedeath training.

NPC stonedeath assassins are usually found sneaking their way through dwarven defenses - if they're found at all. Often they merely leave bearded corpses in their wake. Even when they're not on missions for their goblinoid masters, stonedeath assassins like to hunt dwarves for sport, dwarven mining operations being a favorite hunting ground. A stonedeath assassin sometimes lurks in the tunnels of a dwarven mine for days, picking off miners one by one until the dwarves either retreat or form warbands to chase the assassin down.

Adaptation: The stonedeath assassin prestige class combines traditional rogue and assassin abilities with ones related to the likely environment the class will hunt in. You could create a similar "poison thorn assassin" class, for example, that was designed for elves, not goblinoids. You would replace meld into stone, stoneskulk, and corrupt stone with forestskulk, tree shape, and perhaps tree stride or blight. Rather than stonedeath strike as a 5th-level ability, perhaps a poison thorn assassin can exude its own poison periodically for a particularly deadly attack.


To qualify to become a Stonedeath Assassin, a character must fulfill all the following criteria:

Class Skills

The stonedeath assassin's class skills are Balance, Climb, Decipher Script, Disable Device, Escape Artist, Hide, Intimidate, Jump, Listen, Move Silently, Open Lock, Search, Spot, Survival, Swim, and Use Rope.

Skill Points at Each Level: 6 + Int modifier.

Class Features

All of the following are class features of the stonedeath assassin prestige class.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Stonedeath assassins gain no proficiency with any weapon or armor.

Meld into Stone (Sp): In perfecting their skills to elude pursuers within the halls of a dwarf stronghold, stonedeath assassins develop a near mystical ability to meld with stone surfaces for brief periods. A stonedeath assassins can use meld into stone as the spell of the same name cast by a cleric of a level equal to the stonedeath assassin's class level. A stonedeath assassin can use this ability once per day per class level.

Trapfinding (Ex): A stonedeath assassin can use the Search skill to locate traps when the task has a Difficulty Class higher than 20. Finding a nonmagical trap has a DC of at least 20, or higher if it is well hidden. Finding a magic trap has a DC of 25 + the level of the spell used to create it.

A stonedeath assassin can use the Disable Device skill to disarm magic traps. A magic trap generally has a DC of 25 + the level of the spell used to create it.

A stonedeath assassin who beats a trap's DC by 10 or more with a Disable Device check can study a trap, figure our how it works, and bypass it (with his party) without disarming it.

Sneak Attack: If a stonedeath assassin of 2nd level or higher can catch an opponent when he is unable to defend himself effectively from his attack, he can strike a vital spot for extra damage. Basically, the stonedeath assassin's attack deals extra damage any time his target would be denied a Dexterity bonus to AC (whether the target actually has a Dexterity bonus or not), or when the stonedeath assassin flanks his target. This extra damage is 1d6 at 2nd level, and it increases to 2d6 at 4th level. Should the stonedeath assassin score a critical hit with a sneak attack, this extra damage is not multiplied. (See Combat Modifiers, for combat situations in which the stonedeath assassin flanks an opponent or the opponent loses his Dexterity bonus to AC.)

Ranged attacks can count as sneak attacks only if the target is within 30 feet. A stonedeath assassin can't strike with deadly accuracy from beyond that range.

With a sap (blackjack) or an unarmed strike, a stonedeath assassin can make a sneak attack that deals nonlethal damage instead of lethal damage. He cannot use a weapon that deals lethal damage to deal nonlethal damage in a sneak attack, not even with the usual -4 penalty, because he must make optional use of his weapon to execute a sneak attack. (See Nonlethal Damage.)

A stonedeath assassin can sneak attack only living creatures that have a discernible anatomy - undead, constructs, oozes, plants, and incorporeal creatures lack vital areas to attack. Any creature that is immune to extra damage from critical hits is nor vulnerable to sneak attacks. The stonedeath assassin must be able to see the target well enough to pick out a vital spot and must be able to reach such a spot. A stonedeath assassin cannot sneak attack while striking a creature with concealment or striking the limbs of a creature whose vitals are beyond reach.

Stoneskulk (Ex): At 2nd level, a stonedeath assassin learns subtle tricks for moving and blending with stone, especially in caverns and worked stone corridors. When underground and touching a stone surface, the character can use the Hide skill even if the terrain doesn't grant cover or concealment.

Corrupt Stone (Su): More than simple assassins, the disciples of this class turn their deep understanding and devoted training against the stone that their dwarf enemies love so much. Starting at 3rd level, a stonedeath assassin can weaken and corrupt objects of stone and creatures of earth with a simple touch. With a successful melee touch attack, a stonedeath assassin can deal 3d6 points of damage to a stone object or a creature with the earth subtype. This damage ignores the hardness of such an object or overcomes the natural damage reduction of such a creature.

This damage increases to 4d6 points at 4th level and 5d6 points at 5th level. A stonedeath assassin can use this ability once per round, up to a maximum number of times per day equal to his class level.

Stonedeath Strike (Su): If a 5th-level stonedeath assassin studies his victim for 3 rounds and then makes a sneak attack with a melee weapon that successfully deals damage, the sneak attack has the additional effect of petrifying the target. While studying the victim, the stonedeath assassin can undertake other actions so long as his attention stays focused on the target, the target does not detect the stonedeath assassin or recognize him as an enemy, and both remain in contact with a stone surface. If the victim of such an attack fails a Fortitude save (DC 10 + stonedeath assassin's class level + the stonedeath assassin's Int modifier), the victim's body is petrified (as the flesh to stone spell). Humanoids with the dwarf or gnome subtype take a -4 penalty on this save. If the victim's saving throw succeeds, the attack is just a normal sneak attack. Once a stonedeath assassin has completed the 3 rounds of study, he must make the attack within the next 3 rounds. If a stonedeath strike is attempted and fails (the victim makes her save) or if the stonedeath assassin does not launch the attack within 3 rounds of completing the study, 3 new rounds of study are required before the assassin can attempt another stonedeath strike.

Both the stonedeath assassin and the victim must remain in contact with a stone surface while the assassin studies the victim and while the attack is made.

Stonedeath AssassinHit Die: d6
1st+0+0+2+0Meld into stone, trapfinding
2nd+1+0+3+0Sneak attack +1d6, stoneskulk
3rd+2+1+3+1Corrupt stone
4th+3+1+4+1Sneak attack +2d6
5th+3+1+4+1Stonedeath strike

Source: Races of Stone

General Prestige Classes