Endless Blue – Week 30 – The Ambusher, Guerilla Fighters of the Sargasso   1 comment

Sociology

Ambusher — Guerilla Fighters of the Sargasso

Some careers come fully formed out of sheer skill, while others are pure need.  Ambushers are a mix of both — the desperate need to survive in a world utterly turned against them coupled with such raw potential honed to a perfect result.  No other class is so well suited to take advantage of their natural abilities to hide amongst the swaying foliage, only to suddenly turn around and become such a dangerous threat to unsuspecting prey.  Nothing is safe in the cool blue waters of Elqua, not when a whirling dervish of pain could erupt from any direction without so much as a ripple.

Adventurers: Minimalists are drawn to the ambusher’s lifestyle, with few belongings to weigh them down.  The freedom from the metaphorical shackles of possessions gives them liberty few have ever truly known.  One part wanderlust, one part survivalist, and one part individualist, ambushers took their persecuted circumstances and remade themselves into testaments of resilience.

Alignment: Most ambushers are chaotic neutral, hoping on optical deception and quiet patience to guard them from danger but relying on quick reaction and random savagery to escape from the direst of situations.  The constant pressure of life on the run that served as the impetus for the ambusher lifestyle left little opportunity for long term planning or rigid, inflexible thinking.  Everything could, and often did, change at a moment’s notice, and an ambusher must be able to react instinctively.

Ambushers in the Known World

After the fall of the Kraken Empire and the Known World’s freedom from occupation, the degenerating kraken were hunted ruthlessly where ever they tried to hide.  These cleansing witch hunts ran rampant across the Maw, scattering the bewildered and abandoned overlords across the bodies of water. As the years went by and their own bodies mutated into the puny forms that we know today as the Ceph, they were forced to rely on their brute strength and physiognomy to survive.

Hiding among the kelp forests, employing their camouflage abilities to stay hidden most of the time, springing out to attack the isolated straggler or wandering monster, the ceph ambushers had to make every attack quick and every attack had to count.  Much of the current irrational fear of the Ruins of the Kraken Empire stems from the hide-and-strike tactics used by the near feral ceph in order to survive.  They appeared suddenly, as if through magic, only to disappear again in the blink of an eye.  Few ever survived these ambushers, and many who did still were not sure of what happened to them.

GAME RULE INFORMATION

Ambushers have the following game statistics.

Abilities: Strength is the primary focus for an ambusher, allowing him to strike more accurately and then cause more damage.  Behind that would come Constitution for the raw, primal vitality of health a high Constitution entails, and then Dexterity for the boost in stealth.

Race: Only the lowly Ceph can become ambushers, as the class is practically a physical extension of their already existing potentiality.  Not even the Lumulans, with their vestigial extra arms, can achieve the manual dexterity or the astounding reach needed for multi-tentacled combat.

Alignment: Any non-lawful, though most are more concerned about simple survival than any existential debate over good vs. evil.  Ambushers have more in common with animals trying to survive another day than existential thinkers trying to rationalize their world view.
Hit Dice:
d6.
Starting Funds:
2d4x5gp.

CLASS SKILLS

The ambusher’s class skills (and key ability for each) are Climb (Str), Disguise (Cha), Hide (Dex), Intimidate (Cha), Move Silently (Dex), Sense Motive (Wis), Spot (Wis), and Survival (Wis).

Skill Points at 1st Level: (2 + Int modifier) x 4.
Skill Points at Each Additional Level:
4 + Int modifier

CLASS FEATURES

All of the following are the ambusher’s class features.

Ambusher Class Abilities Chart

Level BAB Fort Ref Will Feats Extra Attacks
1 +1 +0 +0 +0

Unarmed Strike, Two-Armed Fighting

0/1

2

+2 +0 +0 +0

Weapon Focus (Unarmed Strike)

3 +3 +1 +1 +1

Improved Unarmed Strike

4 +4 +1 +1 +1

Weapon Specialization(Unarmed Strike)

5 +5 +1 +1 +1

Flurry of Blow

6 +6/+1 +2 +2 +2

Multiattack

1/1
7 +7/+2 +2 +2 +2

Weapon Focus (Grapple)

8 +8/+3 +2 +2 +2

Four-Armed Fighting

1/2
9 +9/+4 +3 +3 +3

Weapon Specialization (Grapple)

10 +10/+5 +3 +3 +3

Ultra-camouflage

11 +11/+6/+1 +3 +3 +3

Improved Multiattack

2/2
12 +12/+7/+2 +4 +4 +4
13 +13/+8/+3 +4 +4 +4

Six-Armed Fighting

2/3
14 +14/+9/+4 +4 +4 +4
15 +15/+10/+5 +5 +5 +5
16 +16/+11/+6/+1 +5 +5 +5

Supreme Multiattack

3/3
17 +17/+12/+7/+2 +5 +5 +5
18 +18/+13/+8/+3 +6 +6 +6

Eight-Armed Fighting

3/4
19 +19/+14/+9/+4 +6 +6 +6
20 +20/+15/+10/+5 +6 +6 +6


Weapons and Armor Proficiencies:
Ambushers are proficient in all simple weapons and may wear any light armor.  Most of the classes’ abilities are contingent on using unarmed attacks and therefore require empty “hands”.

Hands vs. Tentacles

While it is easy to see that the Ceph have what we could equate with arms, they are lacking any obvious source of minute manipulation like other pisceans have evolved in the form of hands.  The ceph tentacle has its root at the base of the creature’s body, extending about the length of a piscean arm (the actual length varies according to which of the three genotypes is in question, with the “cuttlefish” having the shortest arms and the “squid” having the longest) and tapers off to the tip.  Two of these eight tentacles end in a broad pad, and these serves as their hand, folding in half and wrapping around the item to be held.  These are their primary limbs, the equivalent to any other races arms, and it is with these arms that the fine, dexterous movements like writing are made.  Ceph still, like all other intelligent races, favor one arm over another.

Subsequent arms, with enough skill, can be used to wield items as well, but without the widened musculature at the tip they are only capable of wrapping primitively around an item.  Carrying delicate things or items that need to be kept stable requires either a Balance check or a raw Dexterity check to prevent them from becoming damaged (apply their Strength modifier as damage).  The use of the Multiattack feat or the Ambusher class features remove this drawback at a rate of one pair of tentacles with every application of the feat/class feature.

Unarmed Strike: Ambushers develop styles that allow them to cause extreme damage with every blow, or to minimize that damage so it can be shrugged off in a matter of hours.  At will, they can choose whether their unarmed blows cause lethal or subdual damage, with no penalty to attack or damage rolls.  They are still limited in dealing damage by the creature type being targetted, and cannot for example cause subdual damage to undead or constructs.

Two-Armed Fighting: An ambusher can fight unarmed with both arms, granting an additional attack each round with the off-hand arm at the standard penalty for off-hand attacks.  Treat this class ability like the Two-Weapon Fighting feat that only applies to unarmed strikes, resulting in -2 penalty for primary hand attacks and a -2 penalty for off-hand attacks.  This means an off-hand unarmed attack will always have the same bonus as the corresponding primary hand attack.  However, damage from successful attacks with the off hand arm only benefit from half of the ambusher’s Strength modifier, rounded down.

Weapon Focus (Unarmed Strike): As the feat Weapon Focus, the ambusher gains a +1 bonus on all unarmed attack rolls.

Improved Unarmed Strike: Ambushers become adept in all manners of unarmed combat.  They are able to use their empty arms as weapons, whipping and lashing at a target rapidly, and do not invoke an attack of opportunity when attacking unarmed.  This ability applies only to their unarmed attacks, and does not extend to any other weapons they employ, even monk weapons or attempts at grappling.

Weapon Specialization (Unarmed Strike): By 4th level, the ambusher is so adroit at attacking unarmed that he gains a +2 bonus on all damage rolls when attacking unarmed.  Ambushers are allowed to continue along the Weapon Focus/Specialization tree using feats gained at every three character levels (by taking Greater Weapon Focus and Greater Weapon Specialization) as if they were fighters, but must still meet all other prerequisites.

Flurry of Blows: Similar to the Monk class ability, ambushers gain the skill to make a massive number of attacks at the cost of accuracy.  Upon reaching 5th level, when using the flurry of blows ability, all attacks that round suffer a -2 penalty (including off hand attacks) but gain an additional attack with their primary arm at their highest base attack bonus.  This penalty lasts for a whole round, until the ambusher’s action the next round.  If the ambusher is allowed an attack of opportunity before that new round, it suffers the -2 penalty as well.  Unlike the Monk class ability, an ambusher’s flurry of blows penalty does not alter as he gains levels in the class.  An ambusher may not make grapple attempts while using the flurry of blows class feature.

Mulitiattack: At 6th level an ambushers gain the ability to employ an additional pair of arms in combat.  This grants one additional attack with the primary hand, at the highest base attack bonus.  While this allows the usage of additional shields, the shield bonuses of concurrently used shield do not stack — instead they only serve to givesthe ambusher protection on additional sides (i.e., with two shields, the ambusher would gain the shield bonus from attacks made from the direction of attack that has the shield between himself and the attacker: front, left, right, rear, above, or below).  The shield bonus applies to any attacks coming from the nine cubes on the same plane that the shield is facing.           Further, every shield being used reduces the number of available off-hand attacks by one, starting with the least favorable one.

Weapon Focus (Grapple): This ability is the same as the Weapon Focus feat, and gives the ambusher a +1 attack bonus when trying to perform the grapple special action.

Four-Armed Fighting: As with Two-Armed Fighting, but this class feature grants an ambusher the ability to utilize an additional pair of arms in combat.  This equates into an additional attack each round with the off-hand arm at the second highest base attack bonus.  The standard penalty for off-hand attacks (attack and damage rolls) still apply.

An ambusher with this ability may employ it with the grapple action, allowing him to grapple with two arms, then attack with two others (assuming the grapple was not initiated with his final iterative attack).  The ambusher will get a single attack with both a primary arm and his off-hand arm at his current base attack bonus.

Weapon Specialization (Grapple): By 9th level, the ambusher’s reflexes are so well honed in grappling that he gains a +2 bonus on all damage rolls when attempting a grapple.  This is essential identical to the Weapon Specialization feat.  Ambushers are allowed to continue along the Weapon Focus/Specialization tree using feats gained at every three character levels (by taking Greater Weapon Focus and Greater Weapon Specialization) as if they were fighters, but must still meet all other prerequisites.

Ultra-camouflage: At 10th level, an ambusher has mastered his natural camouflage ability through intense practice and enhanced via dietary techniques discovered during their years foraging in the Ruins to rely less on chemicals that fluoresce in ultraviolet light.  When an ambusher is in the area of ultraviolet light and utilizing their camouflage ability, observers with ultravision must make a Spot check at a DC of 15 + the ambusher’s levels in the ambusher character class to hope to spot the hidden ceph.

Improved Multiattack: An improved version of the Multiattack class feature that allows the use of an additional pair of arms.  The extra primary attack gained by this ability is at the second highest base attack bonus.  These ambushers can now use three shields at once, essentially improving their protection on three fronts but reducing the number of available off-hand attacks by one for each shield used (starting with the lowest bonus attack).

Six-Armed Fighting: As with Four-Armed Fighting, an ambusher can fight unarmed with an additional pair of arms (now three pairs).  This grants an additional attack each round with the off-hand arm at the third highest base attack bonus.  The standard penalty for off-hand attacks (attack and damage rolls) still apply.

An ambusher with this ability may employ it with the grapple action, allowing him to grapple with two arms, then attack with four others (assuming the grapple was not initiated with either of his two final iterative attacks)..  The ambusher will get a two attacks with both a primary arm and his off-hand arm — the first at his current base attack bonus and the second with a -5 penalty to the attack roll.  If the character does not have enough iterative attacks to make both primary and secondary attacks, he may make as many as he can until his allotment for this round is exhausted.

Supreme Multiattack: As the improved multiattack and multiattack class feature before it, this ability allows an ambusher the use of yet another pair of additional arms (for a total of 4 pairs of arms) at their third highest base attack bonus.  Shields can be employed in four of the six directions, but for each shield so used, reduce the number of available off-hand attacks by one (starting with the lowest bonus).

Eight-Armed Fighting: As with Two-Armed Fighting, but an ambusher can fight unarmed with an fourth pair of arms (for a total of four pairs).  This grants an additional attack each round with the off-hand arm at the fourth highest base attack bonus.  The standard penalty for off-hand attacks (attack and damage rolls) still apply.

An ambusher with this ability may employ it with the grapple action, allowing him to grapple with two arms, then attack with six others (assuming the grapple was not initiated with his one of the three final iterative attacks)..  The ambusher will get a three attacks with both a primary arm and his off-hand arm — the first at his current base attack bonus, the second with a -5 penalty to the attack roll, and the third with a -10 penalty.  If the character does not have enough iterative attacks to make all three primary and secondary attacks, he may make as many as he can until his allotment for this round is exhausted.

Table of Ambusher’s Additional Unarmed Attacks

Level Multiattack Tree
(Primary Arm only)
Both Arms (Multiattack + # Armed Fighting) Both Arms with Flurry of Blows
Primary Off-hand Primary Off-hand
1 +1 -1 -1
2 +2 0 0
3 +3 +1 +1
4 +4 +2 +2
5 +5 +3 +3 +1/+1 +1
6 +6/+6/+1 +4/+4/-1 +4 +2/+2/+2/-3 +2
7 +7/+7/+2 +5/+5/0 +5 +3/+3/+3/-2 +3
8 +8/+8/+3 +6/+6/+1 +6/+1 +4/+4/+4/-1 +4/-1
9 +9/+9/+4 +7/+7/+2 +7/+2 +5/+5/+5/0 +5/0
10 +10/+10/+5 +8/+8/+3 +8/+3 +6/+6/+6/+1 +6/+1
11 +11+11/+6/+6/+1 +9/+9/+4/+4/-1 +9/+4 +7/+7/+7/+2/+2/-3 +7/+2
12 +12/+12/+7/+7/+2 +10/+10/+5/+5/0 +10/+5 +8/+8/+8/+3/+3/-2 +8/+3
13 +13/+13/+8/+8/+3/+3 +11/+11/+6/+6/+1/+1 +11/+6/+1 +9/+9/+9/+4/+4/-1/-1 +9/+4/-1
14 +14/+14/+9/+9/+4/+4 +12/+12/+7/+7/+2/+2 +12/+7/+2 +10/+10/+10/+5/+5/0/0 +10/+5/0
15 +15/+15/+10/+10/+5/+5 +13/+13/+8/+8/+3/+3 +13/+8/+3 +11/+11/+11/+6/+6/+1/+1 +11/+6/+1
16 +16/+16/+11/+11/+6/+6/+1 +14/+14/+9/+9/+4/+4/-1 +14/+9/+4 +12/+12/+12/+7/+7/+2/+2/-3 +12/+7/+2
17 +17/+17/+12/+12/+7/+7/+2 +15/+15/+10/+10/+5/+5/0 +15/+10/+5 +13/+13/+13/+8/+8/+3/+3/-2 +13/+8/+3
18 +18/+18/+13/+13/+8/+8/+3 +16/+16/+11/+11/+6/+6/+1 +16/+11/+6/+1 +14/+14/+14/+9/+9/+4/+4/-1 +14/+9/+4/-1
19 +19/+19/+14/+14/+9/+9/+4 +17/+17/+12/+12/+7/+7/+2 +17+12/+7/+2 +15/+15/+15/+10/+10/+5/+5/0 +15/+10/+5/0
20 +20/+20/+15/+15/+10/+10/+5 +18/+18/+13/+13/+8/+8/+3 +18/+13/+8/+3 +16/+16/+16/+11/+11/+6/+6/+1 +16/+11/+6/+1

Note:  These numbers do not reflect bonuses given by Weapon Focus or Weapon Specialization class abilities/feats, nor those from a high Strength modifier.

“If not for our superior martial prowess, the sheer ability of seasoned ceph ambushers
to deliver such astonding damage would leave me fearful of a second occupation…”
— the accomplished Orcan packbreeder known as “The Beastmaster”.

One response to “Endless Blue – Week 30 – The Ambusher, Guerilla Fighters of the Sargasso

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  1. Pingback: Endless Blue – Kickstarter Day 08 – The Classes of Elqua « Endless Blue

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