I’ve long thought that the Assassin was a little too narrow a set for a class. Moreover, to my mind, there is significant overlap with the concept of the ranger: stealthy fighter with some specific combat bonuses. Then it struck me that the assassin and the ranger are both hunters, only their venue is different. So, for the ACKS game I may never get off of the ground, here is the Huntsman.
Prime Requisite STR and DEX
Hit Dice D6
Maximum Level 14
Huntsmen are warriors trained to stalk and ambush prey, whether that prey be beasts, monsters, or other men.
Huntsmen are expert combatants, though lacking somewhat in toughness (hit points). At first level, huntsmen hit an unarmored foe (AC 0) with an attack throw of 10+. They advance in attack throws and saving throws as fighters, by two points every three levels of experience. Huntsmen increase their base damage roll from either successful missile or melee attacks by +1 at 1st level and by an additional +1 at 3rd, 6th, 9th, and 12th level. The choice to specialize in either melee or missile combat has a number of other consequences, described later.
Huntsmen may use any weapon without limitation. They may fight with two-handed weapons or with a weapon in each hand, but they are not trained in the use of shields, nor may they wear armor heavier than chain. Moreover, if wearing leather armor or lighter, a huntsman may move silently, hide in shadows and backstab as a theif of the same level. If wearing armor heavier than leather, these abilities are not available.
All huntsmen are expert trackers, able to follow tracks with a proficiency throw of 11+, modified depending on the circumstances (as per the tracking proficiency). Huntsmen move at half speed while tracking.
Huntsmen specialized in melee combat may perform feats of acrobatics. In lieu of moving during a round, the huntsman may attempt a proficiency throw of 20+ to tumble behind an opponent in melee. The proficiency throw required for the tumble is reduced by 1 per level of experience the character possesses. If successful, the huntsman is now behind his opponent. The opponent loses the benefit of his shield, if any, and the huntsman can backstab his opponent (gaining +4 to his attack throw and bonus damage based on his level). Huntsmen also gain a +2 bonus to saving throws where agility would help avoid the situation, such as tilting floors and pit traps. Melee focused huntsmen are also expert skirmishers, and may withdraw or retreat from melee combat without declaring the intention to do so at the start of the melee round.
Huntsmen focused on missile combat are extremely precise shots, and may conduct missile attacks against opponents engaged in melee at a -4 penalty to their attack throw. These huntsmen are also practiced snipers, able to use ranged weapons to ambush or backstab at up to short range, as long as they are otherwise eligible.
Alchemy, Alertness, Ambushing, Beast Friendship, Blind Fighting, Bribery, Climbing, Combat Reflexes, Combat Trickery, Contorsionism, Disguise, Eavesdropping, Fighting Style, Intimidation, Mapping, Mimicry, Mountaineering, Naturalism, Navigation, Pass without Trace, Riding, Running, Skulking, Survival, Swashbuckling, Trapping, Weapon Finesse, Weapon Focus
HD1, Fi2, Th1, same attack and saving throws as a fighter, 2150 for second level and you can do the math from there. I am thus far torn between a hideout and a castle, that part is easy enough to write once I’ve decided. One thing I definitely need is an expanded list of hijinks: if I did choose a hideout, I don’t think “smuggling” is the right activity for Huntsmen to perform. I’d like to come up with something else more appropriate.
The proficiencies are a mix of assassin-like skills like disguise, and ranger type abilities like Pass without Trace. The names of the templates, from bottom to top are: wanderer, bounty hunter, pirate, woodsman, assassin, treasure hunter, monster hunter, torturer. Most are lifted directly from the assassin and explorer, with the default proficiencies modified as appropriate. Some I like better than others, but I’m fairly set on that list, as it has to fit in with the template lists of the classes I will use, and I am not re-writing all of them for a game that may never happen!