Acrobat

Ability Requirements: 15 Strength, 16 Dexterity, Wisdom 13.
Prime Requisite: Dexterity.
Secondary Requisite: Strength.
Tertiary Requisite: Wisdom.
Hit Die: d6 per level until 10th, +2 HP from 11th level on.
Alignment: Lawful Neutral, Chaotic Neutral, Neutral Good, True Neutral, Neutral Evil.
Allowed Races: Amurian, Changeling, Elf (AdarAflin, Aflin, New Elf, Vanir, Eurynomos, Half-Elf, Halfling, Human, Leprechaun, Mull, Tabaxti, or Teffnut.
To-hit Progression (BAB): as Faith.
Experience Progression: XPro Chart 9.
Saving Throws: as Rouge.

An acrobat is a carney turned adventurer (or criminal). One might have been a jester or part of a wandering troupe of performers. Acrobats learn their skills while they had that job but perhaps the circus itself was a front for a thieving ring or the acrobat just tired of that life and decided to strike out on his own. An acrobat is partly a thief. So he would rather put on a show and earn his daily bread, he can easily steal a pie cooling on a second story windowsill, if he must.

Acrobats need never have been a member of a clandestine organization. They could have been (or still be) if they wish but their skills come from their years as entertainers. After that time, they could have chosen to become true criminals but that is not characteristic of all acrobats. Their skill set does make them highly desirable to such societies but because they lack most proper thief skills, they are useful in only specialized jobs. Though acrobats can still rise to positions of power within a thieves’ guild, few prefer the life of a guild member. Acrobats are trained to draw attention to themselves, and secret societies rarely find that trait desirable in members.

Acrobats like to live their lives in the limelight. They tend to be foppish and see things in a very lighthearted way. They are dramatic, flashy, and tend to overact. An acrobat’s every movement is a performance and every gesture is grandiose. It wouldn’t do to just walk across the room when they can get there in a few cartwheels and a flip. They are not great thieves, though they do make excellent cat burglars. Acrobats are better compared to bards.

The benefits of the Acrobat class are as follows:

Use of Armor and Shields: Acrobats can only use padded or leather armor. The movements an acrobat normally makes require a wide range of motion, thus they cannot wear more restrictive armors and continue to use their special abilities. Acrobats do not use shields for the same reason.

Use of Weapons, Proficiency and Specialization: Though they can use any weapon, Acrobats prefer weapons that are small or quick, or both; and can be used one handed (particularly those that can be thrown). Weapons of those types complement their style of movement and other abilities. The weapons commonly used by Acrobats are: dagger, darts, hand crossbow, hand/throwing axe, knife, long sword, lasso, quarterstaff (which can be used as a balance bar), rapier, sabre, scimitar, short bow, short sword, spear, stiletto, and whip. Acrobats may not specialize in the use of any weapon when they are being created but may specialize in the use of one weapon once they have reached 4th level, and gain all the bonuses due to a weapon specialist. They may never specialize in the use of a second weapon.

Weapon Style Proficiency and Specialization: When being created acrobats are proficient in the following basic Weapon Styles Two Handed Weapon, Single Hand-Single Weapon, and Bow Missile) and have specialization in both Two Weapon and Thrown Missile/Sling styles. They may use Weapon Proficiencies to specialize in any of those styles (though specific training is needed).

Unarmed Fighting Styles: When being created acrobats are proficient in the boxing; unarmed fighting style. They are allowed to use their Weapon Proficiencies to specialize in boxing. There are several specialized unarmed fighting styles that are only available to starting heroes certain geographical areas. If an acrobat begins play in one of these areas he may gain the style when being created or whenever he returns to it (if a proper tutor can be located).

Ambidexterity: Acrobats train and perform with weapons in either or both hands and thus gain the Ambidexterity weapon proficiency as a bonus while being created. They can wield any weapon with which they are proficient with either hand with equal proficiency and suffer no to-hit penalties. Because they are also specialized in the Two Weapon Fighting Style, they may fight with two weapons (one weapon in each and) and suffer no penalties with either weapon (even if these weapons are evenly weighted).

Non-weapon Proficiencies: Acrobats follow the rouge progression for starting and gaining Non-weapon Proficiencies. They have access to the general, rouge and fighter lists. They may take proficiencies off of the mage or faith lists but mast pay a 1 slot penalty for every NWP they choose to take in this way.

Due to their circus training, acrobats have abilities that are specific to that lifestyle. They gain the following non-weapon proficiencies as a bonus when being created: Juggling, Jumping, Tightrope Walking, Tumbling, and Sideshow Talents. Acrobats practice extensively in these areas and are extremely skilled in these abilities.

Use of Magical Items: Acrobats can use any of the items allowed to rouges but they never gain the ability to read magic or use spell scrolls.

Thieving Skills: Most of an acrobat’s time is spent performing or practicing, and thus honing their skills. Acrobats are not simple thieves but they do benefit from several of the skills common to thieves. They gain the abilities to; Open Locks, Move Silently, Hide in Shadows, Detect Noise, Climb Walls, and Read Languages (their base values are listed on table 1 below).

To determine the actual value of each of these skills; start with the base values, then add or subtract any appropriate modifiers for race, dexterity and armor worn (wearing any armor heavier than leather puts heavy penalties on their thieving skills) using the tables on the linked page. Those scores can be further modified by discretionary points. No score can be raised above 95% including ant and all adjustments.

At first level an Acrobat gains 40 discretionary points that they may add to their base scores (no more than 20 of these points may be added to any one score). Other than this restriction, the player may distribute the points however he wishes. Each time he raises in level, the acrobat gains another 20 points to distribute (no more than 10 can be added to any one score). The GM can rule that some portion of the points earned must be applied to certain skills used during the course of the adventure.

Some characters may find that, after their adjustments, they have negative scores. In this case, the character must spend points to raise the skill to at least 1% before he can use the skill (some races just aren’t very good at certain things). An acrobat uses the “no armor” column if he is wearing bracers of defense or a cloak without large or heavy protective clothing.

Table 1: Base Thieving Skill Scores for Acrobats
Skill Base Score
Climb Walls 60
Detect Noise 15
Hide in Shadows 5
Move Silently 10
Open Locks 10
Read Languages 5
  • Climb Walls: Although everyone can climb rocky cliffs and steep slopes, the acrobats are far superior to others in this ability. Not only does he have a better climbing percentage than other characters, he can also climb most surfaces without tools, ropes, or devices. Only the acrobat can climb smooth and very smooth surfaces without climbing gear. Of course, the acrobat is very limited in his actions while climbing – he is unable to fight or effectively.
  • Detect Noise: A good acrobat pays attention to every detail, no matter how small, including faint sounds that most others miss. His ability to hear tiny sounds (behind heavy doors, down long hallways, etc.) is much better than the ordinary person’s. Listening is not automatic; the acrobat must stand still and concentrate on what he’s hearing for one round. He must have silence in his immediate surroundings and must remove his helmet or hat. Sounds filtering through doors or other barriers are unclear at best.
  • Hide in Shadows: An acrobat can try to disappear into shadows or any other type of concealment – bushes, curtains, crannies, etc. Acrobats can hide this way only when no one is looking at him; he remains hidden only as long as he remains virtually motionless (the acrobat can make small, slow, careful movements: draw a weapon, uncork a potion, etc.) Acrobats can never become hidden while a guard is watching him, no matter what his dice roll is – his position is obvious to the guard. However, trying to hide from a creature that is locked in battle with another is possible, as the enemy’s attention is fixed elsewhere. The DM rolls the dice and keeps the result secret, but the acrobat always thinks he is hidden. Similarly hiding in shadows cannot be done in total darkness, since the talent lies in fooling the eye as much as in finding real concealment (camouflage, as it were). However, hidden characters are equally concealed to those with or without lowlight or dark vision. Spells, magical items, and other special abilities that reveal invisible objects can reveal the location of a hidden acrobat.
  • Move Silently: Acrobats can try to move silently at any time simply by announcing that he intends to do so. While moving silently, the acrobat’s movement rate is reduced to 1/3 normal. The DM rolls percentile dice to determine whether he is moving silently; he always thinks he is being quiet. Successful silent movement improves the acrobat’s chance to surprise a victim, avoid discovery, or move into position to stab an enemy in the back. Obviously, an acrobat moving silently but in plain view of his enemies is wasting his time.
  • Open Locks: An acrobat can try to pick padlocks, finesse combination locks (if they exist), and solve puzzle locks (locks with sliding panels, hidden releases, and concealed keyholes). Picking a padlock requires tools. Using typical thief’s tools grants normal chances for success. Using improvised tools (a bit of wire, a thin dirk, a stick, etc.) imposes a penalty on the character’s chance for success. The DM sets the penalty based on the situation; penalties can range from -5 for an improvised but suitable tool, to -60 for an awkward and unsuitable item (like a stick). The amount of time required to pick is 1d10 rounds. An acrobat can try to pick a particular lock only once per experience level. If the attempt fails, the lock is simply too difficult for the character until he learns more about picking locks (goes up a level).
  • Read Languages: Living the life of a performer tends to bring acrobats to many countries and out of the way places, acrobats learn odd bits of many languages. Because of that they gain the ability to read various languages (particularly as they apply to treasure maps, deeds, secret notes and the like). Acrobats have enough exposure to languages that they have a chance to read most non-magical writing. This ability naturally improves with more experience. However, your DM can rule that some languages (those the thief has never encountered) are indecipherable. The die roll to read a language must be made every time the character tries to read a document (not just once per language). A successful die roll means he has puzzled out the meaning of the writing. His understanding of the document is roughly equal to his percentage chance for success: a 20% chance means that if he understands it at all, he gets about 20% of the meaning. A different document in the same language requires another die roll (it probably contains different words). It isn’t necessary to keep notes about what languages the acrobat has read in the past, since each document is handled individually. Only one die roll can be made for any particular document at a given experience level. If the die roll fails, the acrobat can try again after gaining a new experience level. If the character knows how to read a given language because he spent a proficiency slot on it, this die roll is unnecessary for documents in that language.

Acrobat Skills: As circus performers, acrobats train extensively in Juggling, Jumping, Tightrope Walking and Tumbling. Due to their focus on this circus training they are extremely skilled in these areas.
Acrobats gain following special benefits from these proficiencies:

  • Catching Weapons: This ability is a function of the Juggling proficiency. When trying to catch small items or weapons hurled or thrown at them, acrobats must still make an attack roll vs. AC 20 but they get a bonus to their roll equal to their level. If this attack roll fails, however, the character automatically suffers damage. Acrobats can catch one missile per empty hand per round (plus an additional one per hand if they have both hands free and forgo all other actions), whether they have initiative or not. Acrobats can also deflect missiles and hurled weapons that are medium or large size. If an acrobat puts additional slots in this proficiency, they can catch an additional missile and a +1 bonus on the attack rolls to catch the missiles. Though they can gain additional +1s to the catch attempt for adding additional proficiency slots, they may never catch more than 5 missiles per round.
  • Defensive Spin: This ability is a function of both the Jumping and Tumbling proficiencies. A defensive spin is a specialized form of parrying (see Chapter 9 of the PHB) in which the Acrobat flips and rolls, and whirls his weapon to create a deadly shell about his body. An acrobat may not attack during any round in which he is performing a defensive spin. During a defensive spin, the acrobat gains a bonus to his Armor Class equal to half his level (round up). In addition, any creature that attempts a melee attack on the acrobat must succeed in a successful saving throw vs. Paralyzation or suffer damage equal to half the acrobat’s level (round down). This damage is limited to the weapon’s maximum damage (including any bonuses of the weapon, but not the acrobat’s damage bonus from Strength). Defensive spin may be used only once per combat, and can last only for a maximum number of rounds equal to the acrobat’s Constitution. Any successful blow landed upon the acrobat disrupts his concentration and ends the spin.
    Dodge: This ability is a function of both the Jumping and Tumbling proficiencies. Acrobats are amazingly agile and have very quick reflexes. This enables them to jump away from or dodge many potentially harmful situations if a successful saving throw vs. Paralyzation is rolled (with a bonus to the roll equal to his Defensive Bonus from Dexterity. Situations that can be avoided include falls (into pits, through illusionary floors, down sliding stairways traps, etc.), being struck from above (by ceiling blocks, rocks, piercers, collapses, etc.), area-effect spells that can be dodged (lightning bolt, web, fireball, etc.), and any other situation that the Dungeon Master feels could be avoided by a sudden agile leap (possibly breath weapons). The maximum range of the dodge is equal to the acrobat’s base movement rate (modified for encumbrance), so if the jump or dodge would not move the acrobat safely out of harm’s way it cannot be attempted. The benefit of dodging is that all harm is completely avoided, whereas many successful saving throws result in half damage. If any attempted dodge fails, the acrobat suffers the full effects of the danger. NOTE: Dodge replaces all other allowed saving throws. Once dodge is used, no other saving throw can be attempted to avoid the threat. An acrobat can opt to not dodge and attempt any normally allowed saving throw but cannot choose to use dodge afterward. Also, dodging cannot be used against missile weapons or hurled weapons, personal spells (those that affect only one person) directed specifically at them, or spells that have no physical effect to dodge (such as hold person).
  • Evasion: Evasion checks are made against the Tumbling proficiency. Acrobats can opt to evade attacks directed at them. After making a successful Tumbling check and adding 1 segment to his initiative, an acrobat can apply the + 4 AC bonus for the remainder of the combat round; even in a round when he is attacking.
  • Falling: Checks for falling are made against the Jumping proficiency. Acrobats automatically reduce their falling damage on falls of up to 10 feet to 0 damage, and falls of up to 60 feet to half (no proficiency check is required). A successful proficiency check reduces the damage from falls up to 20 feet to 0, and reduces the damage from falls up to 120 feet by half. However, damage from falls from greater heights cannot be reduced and result in normal damage.
  • Jumping: Acrobats double their level bonus for all Jumping proficiency calculations and may pass all height or distance restrictions by this amount. They can pole vault with only a 15 foot running start. They can use a pole up to 20 feet taller than themselves and need not drop the pole if they succeed in a second proficiency check.
  • Offensive Spin: Offensive Spin is a function of Tumbling and Jumping. An offensive spin creates a fearsome looking display of skill directed at a specific opponent. The acrobat must spend an entire round setting up the spin (during which he cannot attack). On the next round, the acrobat makes all his normal attacks against the chosen opponent. If any of his attacks hit the victim must make a morale check. If it fails the check, it will either try to stay at least ten feet from the acrobat going off to attack other members of the acrobat’s party, or flee in terror if the acrobat is the only available opponent). An acrobat can only attempt an offensive spin once on a particular creature. Furthermore, the acrobat cannot have been damaged by that creature prior to the spin because a creature won’t fear someone it has already injured. As the creature gets a free round to attack while the acrobat is the first round of the offensive spin it is a difficult maneuver to pull off. Also offensive spins function only against creatures of at least Low (5) Intelligence or better. An offensive spin is interrupted if the acrobat is successfully attacked, and he does not get an attack that round.
  • Tightrope Walking: When using this proficiency acrobats halve all penalties (round down). I.E. -5 for 1 inch surfaces, -2 for 2 to 6 inches, and -2 penalty to attack rolls. Use of a balancing rod provides acrobats with a +4 bonus.
  • Trick Throw: This ability is a function of the Juggling proficiency. Trick throw enables an acrobat to perform more precise called shots with thrown weapons. The usual – 4 to-hit penalty is lessened by 1 for every five experience levels of the acrobat (1st- through 5th-level acrobats suffer only a – 3 penalty, 6th- through 10th level suffer only a – 2 penalty, etc.). Because acrobats often throw weapons blindfolded, those with the Blind-fighting proficiency use that proficiency with thrown or hurled weapons to a maximum range of 30 feet.

Encumbrance and the use of Thief and Acrobat Abilities: An acrobat cannot be carrying more than a light load when using any of its Acrobat or Thief Abilities (see Weight Allowance and Encumbrance effects). Also they may not use any of these abilities when wearing a backpack. They may still use their bonus proficiencies under either of these circumstances but they do not gain any bonuses or special benefits. Thus, acrobats typically carry their loot and non-essential equipment in a loose bag or hand-held container so they can be quickly dropped when he needs to vault, jump, or tumble.

Entertain Crowd: By juggling, performing flips, or displaying his acrobatic talents, an acrobat can influence the reactions of an audience that is not already attacking or about to attack. He must perform for d10 rounds, after which all NPCs who have viewed performance must roll a saving throw vs. Paralyzation (split large audiences into groups of 10 and roll one save for each group). The save is rolled with a -1 penalty per three levels of the acrobats (rounded down). Those failing their saving throws have their reactions adjusted one level in a more friendly direction (DMG Table 59). Acrobats cannot attempt to worsen the reactions of a crowd (it is difficult to juggle or walk a tightrope in an offensive manner). However, if the crowd saves with a natural 1, the onlookers are disappointed by the performance and their reactions automatically worsen by one level.

Acrobat

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