Faroth - An Elven Character Class
Date: Fri, August 06, 2004
Topic: Power Groups & Organizations
Many DM’s and players have been frustrated by the level limits placed on demi-human advancement. I have created a set of classes specific to each demi-human race, so that demi-humans are unlimited in advancement in their own classes.
In my campaign, there are four classes specific to elves: “Arathalian” (noble warriors), “Faroth” (wilderness warriors), “Nolengol” (sorcerers), and “Herutaur” (druid-mages). Earlier CF! articles described Arathalian and their role in the Elven Knights of the Hart.
This post describes Faroth, the most common elven class. It is formatted for 2nd edition.
Faroth - An Elven Character Class
Used with Permission. Do not repost without obtaining prior permission from the author.
Min. Scores: Dex.12 Con.12; No bonus experience for high ability scores
The word “faroth” is best translated from elven as “hunters”. Faroth are wilderness warriors, the elven equivalent of rangers, although they prefer combat at a distance to melee. They are adept at woodcraft and fighting, particularly missile combat. They have limited spell ability and a good choice of armor and weapons. Faroth have a number of powerful special abilities within their “habitat”, or preferred type of terrain, but these powers diminish in unfamiliar environments.
Faroth are the most common elven characters. Low-level faroth are a village’s hunting force and the bulk of its army. Mid-level faroth serve as guides, scouts, saboteurs and guerilla fighters. High-level faroth are community leaders and devastating opponents who strike unseen with deadly force. Faroth are not particularly heroic, but they are brave, resourceful, and respected.
Faroth may progress to 40th level of ability. They may be multi-classed as thieves, with unlimited thief advancement. Experience is divided 75/25 with the thief class getting the lesser portion. Multi-classing gives a faroth access to thief abilities as an elf of that thief level, including backstab bonus for melee weapons and scroll reading. It does not affect hit points, attack rolls, or saving throws. Multi-classing as a thief is a popular option with faroth adventurers and those who live near human civilizations or large elven cities, for it gives the faroth stealth abilities indoors and in urban environments equivalent to those outdoors, and increases the damage they can do when fighting in close quarters (via the backstab).
Most faroth receive mage spells, which must be studied from books as normal for mages. In addition to the maximum number of spells limited by intelligence, faroth have a maximum number of spells knowable based on their level (see chart at article’s end). Whichever maximum is currently lower applies. The chance to learn a spell may be checked at each faroth level. Mage spells may not be cast while wearing any sort of armor, with the exception of elven chain or elven leather. Elven-made leather employs a special tanning process to make it both hard (protective) and supple (not interfering with motion). Faroth who are multi-classed as thieves do not get mage spells.
Faroth who are true neutral receive druid spells in addition to mage spells. Faroth druid spells require material components as druid spells (i.e., greater mistletoe or similar plant for full effect). Druid spells are typically granted by the servant powers of Aerdrie, Fenmarel, Rillifane, or Solonor. Druid spells may not be cast in any sort of metal armor, with the exception of studded leather or elven chain (which uses no more metal than is in the average scimitar).
Depending on the faroth, then, a character might receive no spells (a non-neutral faroth/thief), mage spells only (a non-neutral faroth), druid spells only (a neutral faroth/thief), or both mage and druid spells (a neutral faroth).
Faroth may use any weapons that do not require the loss of initiative, and may wear any armor that does not reduce their base move below 90/30/90. Thus magical plate armor could be worn, but not normal plate. Faroth have a d8 for hp. They receive the full fighter bonus for high Constitution and advance as fighters in weapon proficiencies, to-hit rolls, saving throws, and NWP, with the following exceptions:
(1) They do not get the multiple attacks on creatures of <1HD in melee, or the double attacks in “heroic fray”.
(2) They may not specialize in melee weapons, but are free to do so with missile weapons.
(3) All faroth begin with eight wilderness NWPs: Animal Lore, Bowyer/Fletcher, Direction Sense (outdoors only), Hunting, Set Snares (including man-traps), Survival, Tracking, and Weather Sense. This costs them only the four base slots initially available. Faroth with exceptional intelligence may have more NWP at normal cost. Faroth from lacustrian, riparian, and oceanic habitats should substitute Fishing and Swimming for the Boyer/Fletcher and Hunting initial NWP. An additional starting NWP, Ambush, is described below.
(4) All of the above NWP with the exception of Swimming function best in the habitat in which the faroth was raised and trained (for example, temperate woodlands). Proficiency checks made in other habitat types incur penalties as listed below. A faroth who has lived and trained in another habitat for several months, and who has an NWP slot available, may take an NWP in “Alternate Habitat”. This allows the operation of all eight initial NWP in that one habitat type without penalty.
(5) Faroth who are multi-classed as thieves need only spend the normal slot cost for Rogue NWP (not cost +1).
Faroth have the following special abilities, which are limited by habitat type as above:
(1) Faroth may hide in natural surroundings, move silently outdoors, hear noise outdoors,
and climb trees and cliffs as a thief of equal level, including adjustments for race and armor.
(2) If a faroth is making a short range missile attack on an target that does not know the
location of the faroth, the faroth treats the attack as a backstab by a thief, for +4 to hit and base damage bonus as a thief of equal level. The target may be warned and wary, but if it does not know the general location of the faroth, the faroth is still entitled to the bonus, as when a thief is attacking unseen.
(3) A faroth outdoors alone or solely in the company of other faroth, herutaur, rangers, etc., is surprised only on 1 on a d6 and surprises others on a 1-3.
(4) A faroth may use the poison sacks or glands of killed creatures to make insinuative
poisons. The glands must be recovered intact (80% chance, -10% for every damaging blow the creature took before death) and the faroth must make a successful save vs. Spells to create the poison (a failed save indicates the poison is useless; failure on a natural 1 requires the faroth to make a save vs. Poison or be affected by it). The poison will have a number of effective applications equal to the HD of the animal. Each application will last for one day per level of the faroth in a stored form or for 5 melee rounds once applied to a weapon (typically an arrow head). The effect of the poison is equivalent to that from the animal, but victims are allowed +4 on their saves. Note that the use of such poisons is not considered an inherently Evil act by faroth or elves in general, but depends more on the circumstances of the use. Poison use against evil humanoids inherently hostile to elves is standard practice, and many faroth are more concerned with the ethical harvesting of poison from animals than with its use against the enemies of their people.
(5) Faroth have the Ambush NWP, as detailed below, as one of their nine starting NWP.
Ambush NWP (Warrior / Rogue - Dex):
As elves, faroth are automatically unseen outdoors so long as they are not moving or attacking. This allows them to set up ambushes. Given time and the presumed direction of impending arrival, faroth can conceal themselves from sight by the use of natural cover. A successful Ambush proficiency check means that creatures coming upon the faroth are automatically surprised. If the intended creatures (or some other creatures) arrive from an unanticipated direction, they are still automatically surprised, but the faroth must roll for surprise as well.
If the initial Ambush proficiency check was successful, faroth may use the surprise round to attack with missiles or spells without automatically revealing themselves. If the surprise round ended with the faroth not having moved, not surprised, not having attacked in melee, and not closer than 30-110 feet from the creatures (based on terrain, see below), the faroth may make another Ambush proficiency check with a cumulative penalty of +1 per missile or spell attack made. If the check is passed, the location of the attacking faroth is still unknown to the creatures being attacked. This may continue for a number of rounds, although each round the faroth must make the check with the cumulative penalty for all prior attacks made. Thus a faroth might be able to attack for several rounds of missile fire without his or her location being discovered. Combined with the short-range damage as backstab bonus, or if done in a group, this can be quite effective. If the creatures move closer than the minimum distance, the faroth is automatically seen when attacking.
If the Ambush NWP is learned by a human or other race without the elven ability to be “unseen unless moving or attacking”, the checks are made at +4 and a check to continue unseen must be made for each subsequent attack, not each round. The cost of the Ambush NWP is 2 slots for rogues and warriors, 3 for others.
The Ambush NWP may be used to conceal others who are only hiding, not attacking. In this case the check is based on Wisdom, and is made at a penalty of +1 per person concealed.
At higher levels, faroth gain the following special abilities, which rely on habitat:
(1) At 3rd level, the faroth may attempt to make a Wis. check when preparing an Ambush. If successful, he reduces the minimum Ambush distance by 3’ per level, although it may not go lower than 5’.
(2) At 6th level, the faroth is surprised only on a 1 in d8, and surprises others on 1-6.
(3) At 9th level, any piercing-damage missile hit from a faroth at short range on a completely unsuspecting target has a chance for instant death, as if the faroth were making an assassination attempt as an assassin of two-thirds his level, rounded down (See DMG1 p.75). Fighter-class and all monster targets are allowed a save vs. Death Ray to avoid the instant death. Even if the instant death roll fails or the target makes the save, the target still takes the faroth short range bonus damage. If the target is at all aware of the faroth’s presence (even if the exact location is unknown), this special ability may not be used, so typically this works but once per combat as the first attack from ambush.
(4) At 12th level, the faroth is surprised only on a 1 in d10, surprises others on a 1-9, and receives a +1 bonus to initiative for all attacks made with missile weapons.
(5) At 15th level, if the faroth is unsurprised and is the victim of a special attack from which the environment might protect him (dodging out of sight against spells, under cover against dragon breath, etc.), the faroth takes only ¼ damage when a saving throw is made. Attacks with no save are allowed a save for ½ damage if the environment could protect the faroth.
(6) At 18th level, the faroth is surprised only on a 1 in d20, surprises others on 1-19, and receives a +2 bonus to initiative for all missile attacks.
(7) At 24th level, the faroth receives a +3 bonus to initiative for missile attacks.
(8) At 30th level, the faroth receives a +4 bonus to initiative for missile attacks.
|Faroth Level Progression|
Beyond 11th level, the Arafaroth receives +1 hp per level and requires 150,000 xp per level.
|Faroth Druid Spell Progression|
Druid spells are received only if the faroth is True Neutral
| ||Level 1||Level 2|
|1||1||1 of 1|| |
|2||1||1 of 2|| |
|3||2||1 of 2|| |
|4||2||2 of 3|| |
|5||3||2 of 3|| |
|6||3||2 of 4|| |
|7||4||2 of 4|| |
|8||4||3 of 5||1 of 1|
|9||5||3 of 6||1 of 1|
|10||5||3 of 6||1 of 2|
|11||6||3 of 7||1 of 2|
|12||6||3 of 7||2 of 3|
|13||7||4 of 7||2 of 3|
|14||7||4 of 7||2 of 4|
|15||8||4 of 8||2 of 4|
|16||8||4 of 9||3 of 5|
|17||9||4 of 10||3 of 6|
|18||9||5 of 10||3 of 6|
18th level is maximum spell acquisition for a faroth, but “caster level” for those spells that can be cast continues to advance as one caster level for every two faroth levels.
|Faroth Mage Spell Progression|
Mage spells are received only if the faroth is not multi-classed as a thief
| ||Level 1||Level 2|
|1||1||1 of 1|| |
|2||1||1 of 1|| |
|3||2||1 of 2|| |
|4||2||1 of 2|| |
|5||3||2 of 3|| |
|6||3||2 of 3|| |
|7||4||2 of 4|| |
|8||4||2 of 4|| |
|9||5||3 of 5|| |
|10||5||3 of 5||1 of 1|
|11||6||3 of 6||1 of 1|
|12||6||3 of 6||1 of 2|
|13||7||4 of 7||1 of 2|
|14||7||4 of 7||1 of 3|
|15||8||4 of 8||1 of 3|
|16||8||4 of 9||2 of 4|
|17||9||4 of 10||3 of 5|
|18||9||5 of 10||3 of 6|
A Faroth begins with proficiency in one habitat type only, of the following:
Tundra and Steppe (TS)
Taiga and Boreal Forest (TB)
Veldt, Scrubland, and Rural (VSbR)
Temperate Forest (TF)
Chaparel and Savanna (CS)
Tropical Forest (TrF)
Only multi-classed faroth/thieves may start with Urban as a known habitat or subsequently spend a NWP slot to acquire it. The selection of Urban as habitat type is not required of multi-classed faroth/thieves, however.
Outside the known habitat, a Faroth performs NWP and other skills at a penalty. Habitats closely related to the known one have small penalties. Habitats extremely different have large penalties. Consider the following chart:
|P||TS||TB or A|
|Pl||VSbR or U||TF|
|D||CS or Ud||TrF|
“Or” categories are not the same; the faroth is from one of the habitat types OR the other.
All nine beginning proficiencies (excluding Swimming but including Ambush) performed outside of known habitat type are at a +3 penalty to the proficiency check within the same space on the chart (“or”), +5 penalty for one vertical or horizontal remove, and +10 penalty for one diagonal remove. These are cumulative for farther removes. For example, a faroth who knows the Chaparral and Savannah (CS) habitat may use the Hunting NWP with no penalty in Chaparral or Savannah. However, the same faroth suffers a +3 penalty to hunting checks in the Underdark. In a Desert, Tropical Forest, Veldt, Savannah, Rural, or Urban habitat the faroth would check Hunting at +5. In Plains, Temperate Forest, Tundra, or Steppe the faroth would check at +10. Finally, checks would be at +15 in Permafrost, Taiga, or Boreal Forest.
All faroth ability checks (move silently outdoors, etc.) are at -15% within the same space, -25% for one space off vertical or horizontal, and -50% for one diagonal remove. These are cumulative for farther removes. Thief abilities are not affected by habitat, as the “indoor habitat” is the same regardless of what it is like outside.
All surprise checks are made as if the next rank down for the same space or one vertical or horizontal remove, and two ranks down for a diagonal remove. These are cumulative.
For example, a 12th level faroth who knows Chaparral and Savannah is surprised only 1 in d10 in Savannah, but 1 in d8 in a Rural habitat, 1 in d6 in Tundra, and 2 in d6 in Permafrost. Chance of surprise cannot get worse than 2 in d6. Chance to surprise others goes down similarly.
If a faroth is outside of known habitat and is attempting the close range missile “backstab” bonus, he is treated as -3 levels for the same space, -5 levels for one vertical or horizontal remove, and -10 levels for one diagonal remove. These penalties are cumulative for farther removes. This penalty applies only to the “backstab” damage bonus, not to-hit rolls, etc. The “backstab” bonus damage is at least that of a thief of first level, regardless of penalty. A faroth of high enough level for a chance at instant kill is treated as an assassin of one third of his level when out of his habitat.
A faroth who acquires an additional “known habitat” through time and an NWP slot has no penalty in that habitat. However, penalties in other habitats are calculated based on distance from the original habitat, even if the new one is “closer” (more similar).
Minimum Ambush Distances:
Permafrost, Desert, Tundra: 120 yards
Steppe, Plains, Savannah: 90 yards
Veldt, Scrubland, Rural, Chaparral, Alpine: 60 yards
Taiga, Forest: 30 yards
Urban, Underdark: 30 feet
If the creature attacked from Ambush is closer than a minimum distance, the faroth is automatically spotted when attacking. These minimum distances may be halved at night with moonlight, or reduced to one-third on a moonless night, although ambushed creatures with infravision will spot the faroth at the lesser of 60 yards or the original minimum distance. If the faroth has made a Wisdom check to reduce the minimum distance, that reduction comes before the adjustment for darkness. The Underdark is assumed to already be in darkness, of course.
Good luck and happy hunting!
Semi-Related: Elvish Class - The Arathalian
Semi-Related: Arathalian Training in the Knights of the Hart
Semi-Related: Brief History of the Knights of the Hart, Part 2 - High Forest Branch