General Prestige Class : Whisperknife
"Killed a halfling over a trifling bit of property? Burned a wagon, maybe, or drove peaceful settlers out into the wilderness? Cheated the small folk out of money because you knew that they couldn't even the score - when there were only a handful of them but a whole townful of you? I'll find you, and I'll collect the debt you owe my kin. You'll never see me coming." -Gerend Eastwind, halfling whisperknife
Many halflings are rogues; everyone knows that. Some towns are careful to befriend halfling caravans, offering honest work and a fair deal in the expectation that halflings won't steal from friends. Other settlements are standoffish and suspicious, relying on vigilance and harsh laws to discourage any larcenous intent. Still other places greet halflings with violence, cruelty, and scorn, sheltering brigands and thieves who feel free to murder and rob those who are smaller and less numerous than they are. Halfling caravans avoid such settlements from then on - but the halfling whisperknife seeks them out, repaying murder, theft, or humiliation in the same coin.
Becoming A Whisperknife
A whisperknife must be stealthy, quick, and skilled at both ranged and melee combat. The quickest path to this prestige class is to begin with one or two levels of rogue in order to gain the necessary skills and sneak attack ability, and then switch to fighter or ranger to improve overall combat ability (in the form of base attack bonus) and learn the necessary feats.
A few whisperknives acquire some arcane spellcasting in the form of a couple of levels of sorcerer or wizard, because spells such as invisibility or deep slumber can make the deadly work of the whisperknife much easier. A whisperknife of this sort often begins with three or four levels of rogue, then gains five or six levels in an arcane spellcasting class. However, qualifying for the whisperknife class is much easier with the bonus feats offered by either the fighter or ranger class.
To qualify to become a Whisperknife, a character must fulfill all the following criteria:
- Race: Halfling
- Skills: Balance 3 ranks, Climb 3 ranks, Hide 6 ranks, Jump 3 ranks, Move Silently 6 ranks, Tumble 3 ranks
- Feats: Point Blank Shot, Quick Draw, Two-Weapon Fighting, Weapon Finesse.
- Base Attack Bonus: +4
- Special: Sneak attack +1d6.
The whisperknife's class skills are Balance, Bluff, Climb, Disable Device, Handle Animal, Hide, Intimidate, Jump, Knowledge (local), Listen, Move Silently, Open Lock, Search, Sense Motive, Sleight of Hand, Spot, Swim, and Tumble.
Skill Points at Each Level: 6 + Int modifier.
As you advance in level, you become better at switching from melee combat to ranged combat in the blink of an eye. You become a mobile and infuriating opponent who can launch a devastating barrage of sneak attacks.
Weapon and Armor Proficiency: You gain no proficiency with any weapon or armor.
Rapid Shot: Whenever you are throwing light weapons, you are treated as having the Rapid Shot feat, even if you do not have the normal prerequisites for that feat. Most whisperknives, true to their names, throw daggers in this way.
Uncanny Dodge (Ex): You cannot be caught flat-footed and react to danger before your senses would normally allow you to do so. You retain your Dexterity bonus to AC even if caught flat-footed or struck by an invisible attacker. However, you still lose your Dexterity bonus to AC if immobilized.
If you already have uncanny dodge from another class, you instead gain improved uncanny dodge (see below), and the levels from that class stack with your levels of whisperknife to determine the minimum level a rogue must be to flank you.
Sneak Attack (Ex): Beginning at 2nd level, you deal an extra 1d6 points of damage when you are flanking an opponent or at any time when the target would be denied its Dexterity bonus. This extra damage applies to ranged attacks only if the target is within 30 feet. At 5th level the extra damage increases to 2d6, and at 8th level it increases to 3d6. See the rogue class feature.
Defensive Throw (Ex): At 3rd level, you learn special defensive techniques for attacking with thrown weapons. You no longer provoke attacks of opportunity for attacking with a thrown weapon (however, if you attack with a different sort of ranged weapon, such as a bow, you still provoke attacks of opportunity).
Improved Catch (Ex): Also at 3rd level, you become so skilled with thrown weapons that you can take better advantage of a weapon with the returning special ability. When you make a ranged attack with a returning weapon, you can move after the attack, and the weapon will still return to you as long as line of sight between you and the weapon exists at the beginning of your next turn.
Close Defense (Ex): Beginning at 4th level, you know how to fight in a crowd of larger opponents. If you are adjacent to a Medium or larger foe, you gain a +2 dodge bonus to Armor Class against attacks from all foes adjacent to you. If the Medium or larger foe moves away or falls, you lose the benefit of close defense (although you might be able to move next to the same foe again on your next turn and reestablish it). Enemies making ranged attacks or attacks with reach weapons aren't affected by close defense.
Fast Movement (Ex): At 6th level, you have mastered the art of unusually swift movement. Your land speed is faster than the norm for halflings by 10 feet. This benefit applies only when you are wearing no armor, light armor, or medium armor and not carrying a heavy load. Apply this bonus before modifying your speed because of any load carried or armor worn.
Poison Use (Ex): Starting at 6th level, you are trained in the use of poison and never risk accidentally poisoning yourself when applying poison to a blade.
Vengeful Strike (Su): Beginning at 7th level, as a standard action you can execute a single vengeful strike in place of sneak attack. You coldly whisper the name of your intended victim to your weapon, and then you make a single melee or ranged attack. You gain a +2 morale bonus on the attack roll. If you hit, your foe must make a Fortitude save (DC 10 + your class level + your Dex modifier) or be stunned for 1d4 rounds.
You must know the victim's name in order to make a vengeful strike; "that orc over there" is not good enough. Creatures without names (most creatures of Intelligence 2 or lower) are not subject to a vengeful strike. You usually use this ability against a person or creature you know to have harmed halflings.
You can use this ability once per day at 7th level and three times per day at 10th level.
Superior Catch (Ex): When you reach 8th level, your improved catch ability is extended. You can use two returning weapons for two attacks each in a single round, or you can use one returning weapon for three attacks in the same round, as long as your target is no farther away than one range increment. (If your target is farther away than one range increment, you can still use your superior catch ability, but only for a single attack each turn.)
Improved Uncanny Dodge (Ex): When you reach 9th level, you can no longer be flanked. See the barbarian class feature.
Ranged Flank (Ex): At 9th level, you know how to flank a foe by using a ranged weapon. You must be within 10 feet of the enemy in question, and you flank as if you were wielding a reach weapon. You do not threaten the foe and may not make attacks of opportunity against the foe unless you are actually adjacent to the foe and armed with a melee weapon.
|Whisperknife||Hit Die: d8|
|1st||+1||+0||+2||+0||Rapid Shot, uncanny dodge|
|2nd||+2||+0||+3||+0||Sneak attack +1d6|
|3rd||+3||+1||+3||+1||Defensive throw, improved catch|
|5th||+5||+1||+4||+1||Sneak attack +2d6|
|6th||+6||+2||+5||+2||Fast movement, poison use|
|7th||+7||+2||+5||+2||Vengeful strike 1/day|
|8th||+8||+2||+6||+2||Superior catch, sneak attack +3d6|
|9th||+9||+3||+6||+3||Improved uncanny dodge, ranged flank|
|10th||+10||+3||+7||+3||Vengeful strike 3/day|
Source: Races of the Wild