Faerûnian Prestige Class : Aglarondan Griffonrider
Soaring above the Yuirwood and the coasts of Aglarond, the famed Aglarondan griffonriders are an elite force of aerial knights who serve the Simbul and defend their homeland against attack. Griffonriders study aerial combat and develop special skills for fighting from the sky. Fighters, paladins, and rangers are most common among their ranks, but a small number of clerics and wizards also have become griffonriders.
All griffonriders hold the rank of velskoon (a mid-ranking officer) in Aglarond's army and possess broad powers to commandeer Aglarondan soldiers, enforce the Simbul's laws, and keep the peace in their homeland. While many griffonriders are palace guards, scouts, messengers~ or company commanders, in practice, they have a great deal of latitude in the pursuit of their duties. Griffonrider scouts range far over the plains of Thesk and the plateau of Thay, watching the armies of the Red Wizards. Because of their loyalty and skill, many griffonriders undertake dangerous tasks of spying and infiltration, leaving their feathered mounts behind and relying on wits and stealth instead. Some griffonriders are trustworthy enough to operate completely on their own, advancing Aglarond's cause in whatever manner they deem appropriate.
The typical NPC griffonrider is a 4th-level human or half-elf fighter who selects feats and skills suitable for aerial combat, rather than taking levels in the Aglarondan griffonrider class. In general, NPC griffonrider commanders are responsible for leading the Simbul's forces and supervising her palace guard. Player character griffonriders are detached for special service or the recipients of an honorary title. A character's level in this prestige class is irrelevant to her rank in Aglarond's military, although higher-ranked griffonriders tend to be of higher level.
To qualify to become an Aglarondan Griffonrider, a character must fulfill all the following criteria:
- Alignment: Any nonevil
- Skills: Diplomacy 5 ranks, Ride 10 ranks, Spot 5 ranks
- Feats: Mounted Combat, Ride-by Attack,
- Base Attack Bonus: +3
- Special: The character must qualify to select regional feats from Aglarond (Aglarond is her home region, or she has 2 ranks in Knowledge [local - Aglarond]).
Skill Points at Each Level: 2 + Int modifier.
All the following are class features of the Aglarondan griffonrider prestige class.
Weapon and Armor Proficiency: An Aglarondan griffonrider is proficient with all simple and martial weapons, and with light and medium armor, but not with shields.
Bonded Mount: When a character becomes an Aglarondan griffonrider, she is gifted with a griffon as a willing, bonded mount. It gains the advantages listed on the below, based on the griffonrider's level. The griffon retains its own type and gains no abilities other than those listed, although the griffonrider may be able to confer the ability to perform special maneuvers. The griffonrider can have only one bonded mount at a time, and either party may sever this relationship at any time without penalty (although the griffon almost never does so unless the griffonrider violates the griffonrider code described below).
If the griffonrider is a paladin, she may designate the griffon as both her bonded mount and her special paladin mount. In this case, the mount abilities described under Paladin supersede those listed on Table 2-2 here, and the paladin adds her griffonrider levels to her paladin levels to determine which abilities her bonded mount gains.
|Griffonrider Level||Bonus Hit Dice||Natural Armor Bonus||Strength Adjustment|
|Griffonrider Level: The character's griffonrider levels only. If the mount receives negative levels, treat it as the mount of a correspondingly lower-level griffonrider.|
|Bonus Hit Dice: These are extra ten-sided (d10) Hit Dice, each of which gains a Constitution modifier as normal. Extra Hit Dice also improve the griffon's base attack and base save bonuses. Natural Armor Bonus. This number is an improvement to the griffon's natural armor bonus.|
|Strength Adjustment: Add this figure to the griffon's Strength score. This is not a cumulative adjustment.|
Flyby Attack: While an Aglarondan griffonrider is on her bonded mount, both she and her griffon have access to the Flyby Attack feat.
Aerial Evasion (Ex): Beginning at 2nd level, when an Aglarondan griffonrider is airborne on her bonded mount, both she and her mount gain the benefit of evasion. If exposed to any attack that normally allows a character to attempt a Reflex saving throw for half damage, the character and her mount may attempt a single saving throw at the better of their two Reflex saving throw bonuses. If successful, both the griffonrider and her mount take no damage. Aerial evasion cannot be used if the griffon is carrying a medium load.
At 8th level, the griffonrider and her mount gain superior aerial evasion. This works like aerial evasion, except they take only half damage on a failed saving throw.
Improved Mounted Combat (Ex): At 3rd, 5.th, and 7th level, an Aglarondan griffonrider increases by one the number of Ride checks she may attempt each round to negate a hit against her mount (two times per round at 3rd, three times per round at 5th, and four times per round at 7th). The hit is negated if the griffonrider's Ride check result is greater than the attack roll.
Hover (Ex): Starting at 4th level, when an Aglarondan griffonrider is on her bonded mount, her mount gains the ability to hover much as some dragons do. When flying, the griffon can halt its forward motion and hover in place, fly straight down, or fly straight up, regardless of its maneuverability. While hovering, the griffon can perform a full attack action but cannot rake.
Power Dive (Ex): At 6th level, an Aglarondan griffonrider gains the ability to direct her bonded mount to perform a power dive attack while she is riding it. The griffon must begin its move at least 50 feet above its target, and it uses the charge action to attack with both foreclaws simultaneously, making a single attack that deals 2d4 + (Strength bonus x 1 1/2) points of damage. The griffon may fly past the target and alter course after it makes its attack.
Superior Flight (Ex): From 9th level on, when an Aglarondan griffonrider is airborne on her bonded mount, her mount's fly speed increases to 100 feet (good). The griffonrider knows how to encourage the best possible performance from her mount.
Fell Swoop (Ex): When an Aglarondan griffonrider reaches 10th level, her mount deals double damage in a power dive attack, as if it knew the Spirited Charge feat.
THE GRIFFONRIDER CODE
A griffonrider is sworn to defend the people of Aglarond, obey the orders of the Simbul or her duly authorized proxy, and uphold the laws of the land.
Replacement Mounts: If the griffonrider's mount is slain, she may obtain a new mount at no cost the next time she gains a level in the Aglarondan griffonrider prestige class. (Some griffonriders prefer to have a slain mount raised or resurrected at their own expense to avoid the delay.) The griffonrider and her new mount require three days of training before the griffonrider's special benefits accrue. If a griffonrider loses her third mount and does not replace the mount at her own expense, she becomes an ex-griffonrider as noted below.
Ex-Griffonriders: A griffonrider who loses three mounts or which fails to uphold the griffonrider code loses all special abilities derived from this prestige class.
|Aglarondan Griffonrider||Hit Die: d8|
|1st||+1||+0||+2||+0||Bonded mount, Flyby Attack|
|3rd||+3||+1||+3||+1||Improved mounted combat (1)|
|5th||+5||+1||+4||+1||Improved mounted combat (2)|
|7th||+7||+2||+4||+2||Improved mounted combat (3)|
|8th||+8||+2||+6||+2||Superior aerial evasion|
Source: Unapproachable East