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Stalker of Canus

D&D 3e (3.0/3.5) Rules

by Ogre Bane


"In the Age of Might, the Dark Queen brought us the word of Canus. Canus brought us the Bond between wolf and man, wülfbunde and master, both loyal to the Corps. Nothing can break this Bond. Nothing can come between this Bond. No force can sway this Bond - not even death."
   - Oath of the Bündesphar

During the beginning era of the Age of Might, the gods of Krynn fought each other. The good gods used the Light to combat the gods of Darkness. Takhisis, Queen of Darkness, took the Dark essence of the world and used it to forge weapons to fight the gods of good and their loyal minions. As evil usually does, Takhisis lost control of the Darkness and it slipped from her grasp, running rampant and out of her control. She fought back for control, hunting the Darkness that eluded her. During these hunts, she found Canus, a denizen of the Abyss who also hunted the Darkness. Together they forged the Bond, between goddess and fiend, between wolf and master, between wülfbunde and bündesphar.

Takhisis and Canus then forged the Stalkers of Canus, an elite array of soldiers in the Queen's army that specialized in tracking and woodland ambushes. Together these soldiers, also called the bündesphar, and their loyal wolf companions, called wülfbunde, led an onslaught against the forces of Good.

The Stalkers of Canus have been around since the Age of Might; however, they're known for their role in the War of the Lance when they often led patrols for the Dragonarmies. At least a few bündesphar and their wolves scouted for the Dragonarmies as they conquered throughout Ansalon. The Stalkers were also used in the Summer of Chaos by Ariakan and the Knights of Takhisis, again as scouts and lead patrols for the armies. However, Ariakan also forged large patrols of the bündesphar together, called the Corps, that were used for quick hit and run attacks on enemies.

Stalkers of Canus are almost always rangers that want to further their scouting and tracking skills and become allied with wolves. They give up their fighting techniques as well as some other special abilities to gain better tracking skills as well as a more powerful animal companion. Druids have been known to become bündesphar, but few druids wish to give up spellcasting abilities and animal shapes to learn the secrets of Canus. Some fighter/rangers and ranger/rogues are also found in the Stalkers, but few other classes can meet the requirements.

NPC Stalkers of Canus are usually found in a group of travelers or scouts in armies.

Adaptation: Since Stalkers of Canus in fact get their spells and supernatural powers from Takhisis, playing one in the Age of Mortals after the War of Souls would not be beneficial since the Queen of Darkness is dead. The Stalkers of Canus still exist, but they have been recruited by Mishakal and follow the goddess of light. If you wish to play a Stalker of Canus during this era, simply make your patron deity Mishakal and call the prestige class the "Stalker of Mishakal." Change the alignment requirements to non-evil and non-chaotic. Also, the Favored of Canus class ability would be renamed to Favored of Mishakal. Everything else remains the same.

Hit Die: d8.

Requirements

To qualify to become a Stalker of Canus, a character must fulfill all of the following criteria.

Alignment: Any non-good, non-chaotic.
Skills: Hide 3 ranks, Knowledge (nature) 8 ranks, Move Silently 3 ranks, Survival 8 ranks.
Feats: Endurance, Track.
Patron Deity: Takhisis.
Special: Must possess the Wild Empathy class feature. In addition, the character must swear the oath to Takhisis and Canus (described above) and must have a wolf (not a dire wolf) as an animal companion.

Class Skills

The Stalker of Canus's class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Climb (Str), Concentration (Con), Handle Animal (Cha), Heal (Wis), Hide (Dex), Jump (Str), Knowledge (geography) (Int), Knowledge (nature) (Int), Listen (Wis), Move Silently (Dex), Ride (Dex), Search (Int), Spot (Wis), Survival (Wis), Swim (Str), and Use Rope (Dex). See Chapter 4: Skills in the Player's Handbook for skill descriptions.
Skill Points at Each Level: 6 + Int modifier.

Table 1-1: Stalker of Canus
Level Base Attack Bonus Fort Save Ref Save Will Save Special Spells per Day
1st +1 +2 +2 +0 Bond of Canus, wolf aspects

-
2nd +2 +3 +3 +0 Improved tracking, coin of adamant +1 ranger level
3rd +3 +3 +3 +1 Favored enemy, woodland stride -
4th +4 +4 +4 +1 Favored of Canus 1/day +1 ranger level
5th +5 +4 +4 +1 Improved Trip -
6th +6 +5 +5 +2 Swift tracker +1 ranger level
7th +7 +5 +5 +2 Camouflage, Diehard -
8th +8 +6 +6 +2 Favored of Canus 2/day +1 ranger level
9th +9 +6 +6 +3 Evasion -
10th +10 +7 +7 +3 Scent +1 ranger level

Class Features

All of the following are class features of the Stalker of Canus prestige class.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Stalkers of Canus are proficient with all simple and martial weapons, and with light and medium armor, but not shields.

Spells per Day: At every even-numbered level (2nd, 4th, 6th, 8th, and 10th), the Stalker of Canus gains new spells per day as if he had also gained a level in the ranger class. He does not, however, gain any other benefit a character of that class would have gained. If the character had no ranger levels before becoming a Stalker of Canus, he gains the spellcasting ability of a ranger equal to his Stalker of Canus class level. Thus, a 4th-level Stalker of Canus receives spells if his Wisdom modifier is high enough to grant him a bonus 1st-level spell. See the ranger class table in the Player's Handbook for more information.

A Stalker of Canus's caster level is one-half the sum of his ranger levels and stalker levels.

Bond of Canus (Su): Takhisis formed a Bond with Canus, and the Stalkers of Canus form a Bond with their wülfbunde, their wolf companions. This Bond is permanent and cannot be broken by any mortal means. The Bond grants the following benefits:

First, the Bond can only be formed with a wolf. It takes a full 24 hours of prayer and meditation to create the alliance and friendship between man and wolf. If the Stalker of Canus already has a wolf animal companion, the Bond is formed between the two. However, if the Stalker has another type of animal companion, it immediately flees the area and a wolf is called to the area. The stalker then loses his old animal companion and acquires his wolf as his new animal companion. The stalker must perform the Bonding ritual in a suitable habitat for a wolf (such as mountains or a forest, but not a dungeon or crypt).

The Stalker of Canus's wolf companion is different from other wolves in many ways. First, the wolf automatically grows in size (from Medium to Large) and becomes a dire wolf. The wolf does not grow further, even after increasing in Hit Dice as shown below. The wolf is treated as a magical beast, not an animal, for the purpose of all effects that depend on its type (though it retains the animal's Hit Dice, Base Attack Bonus, saves, skill points, and feats). Also, the wolf is superior to others of its kind and gains additional abilities as defined on Table 1-2 below.

The Stalker of Canus is bound to his wolf forever. If the wolf is killed, the Stalker of Canus must make a Fortitude save (DC 15) or lose 200 experience points per Stalker of Canus level. A successful save reduces this to half. The wolf companion can be raised from the dead normally, and it does not lose a point of Constitution when done.

A Stalker of Canus is not normally permitted to acquire a new wolf companion. However, if his wolf companion is utterly destroyed and there are no remains or no way to bring the wolf back from the dead, he may gain a new wolf companion at his next Stalker of Canus level, after performing a new Bonding ritual as noted above.

Wolf Aspects (Su): A Stalker of Canus files his canine teeth and sharpens his fingernails to make claws, much like a wolf. Any time a Stalker of Canus is involved in a grapple, he may make a bite attack that does not provoke an attack of opportunity and deals 1d6 damage + Strength modifier. He may only make this bite attack when involved in a grapple. This does not grant him a secondary form of attack when fighting normally.

The filed teeth and sharpened nails also add to his already intimidating appearance, granting him a +4 morale bonus to all Intimidate checks.

Improved Tracking (Ex): Due to his further training in tracking enemies, a 2nd-level Stalker of Canus gains a +5 insight bonus to all Survival checks made to track enemies.

Coin of Adamant (Sp): The symbol of the Stalkers of Canus is a small, silver-gray coin made of the hard alloy adamant. It is engraved with arcane symbols. The Stalkers of Canus must wear this coin at all times since it shows their devotion to Takhisis and Canus. The coin is worn around the neck as an amulet and takes the place of the amulet spot to determine what magical items can be worn by a character. The coin gives the Stalker a +1 sacred bonus to Armor Class and saves.

The coin of adamant also acts as the holy symbol and divine focus for spells cast by the Stalker of Canus. If the coin is lost or destroyed, the Stalker must spend three consecutive days in prayer and meditation to create a new one, while also sacrificing 250xp.

Favored Enemy (Ex): The Stalker of Canus focuses on hunting different types of prey, much like a ranger does. He gains a favored enemy (or an additional favored enemy if another class grants one) as the ranger ability described in the Player's Handbook. The bonus to skill checks and damage is +2. Gaining this favored enemy does not increase the bonuses to other favored enemies granted by another class.

Woodland Stride (Ex): A 3rd-level Stalker of Canus gains the Woodland Stride class feature, as the ranger ability described in the Player's Handbook.

Favored of Canus (Sp): Beginning at 4th level, the Stalker of Canus can call upon the divine power of Takhisis and Canus to increase his combat effectiveness. He gains the benefits of the divine power spell, with a caster level equal to his Stalker of Canus class levels plus his ranger and druid levels (if any). This ability is usable once per day at 4th level and twice per day at 8th level.

Improved Trip (Ex): Learning the ways of the wolf in combat and using trip attacks as a better advantage, a 5th-level Stalker of Canus gains Improved Trip as a bonus feat, even if he does not meet the prerequisites.

Swift Tracker (Ex): A 6th-level Stalker of Canus gains the Swift Tracker class feature, as the ranger ability described in the Player's Handbook.

Camouflage (Ex): A 7th-level Stalker of Canus gains the Camouflage class feature, as the ranger ability described in the Player's Handbook.

Diehard (Ex): The Stalker of Canus is extremely resilient and resistant to pain. He gains the Diehard feat as a bonus feat at 7th-level.

Evasion (Ex): A 9th-level Stalker of Canus gains the Evasion class feature, as the ranger ability described in the Player's Handbook.

Scent (Ex): The Stalker of Canus gains the extraordinary ability to track by scent at 10th level. This ability is described in the Monster Manual.

Table 1-2: Dire Wolf Animal Companion
Class Level Bonus Hit Dice Natural Armor Adjustment Str/Dex/Int Adjustment Bonus Tricks Special
1-2 +0 +0 +1 1 Empathic link, share spells
3-4 +2 +2 +2 2 Greater devotion
5-6 +4 +4 +3 3 Evasion
7-8 +6 +6 +4 4 Fiendish
9 +8 +8 +5 5 Double bite
10 +10 +10 +6 6 Improved Evasion

Dire Wolf Animal Companion Basics: Use the base statistics for the dire wolf as given in the Monster Manual, but make the following changes:

Class Level: The character's Stalker of Canus level. This does not stack with any other class that offers an animal companion, however, the wolf does retain any special abilities it had from previous levels of ranger or druid. Any special abilities mentioned supercede anything granted by another class.

Bonus Hit Dice: Extra eight-sided (d8) Hit Dice, each of which gains a Constitution modifier, as normal. Remember that extra Hit Dice improve the wolf's base attack and base save bonuses. An animal companion has good Fortitude and Reflex saves and gains additional skill points and feats for bonus HD as normal for advancing a monster's Hit Dice (see the Monster Manual).

Natural Armor Adjustment: This is an improvement to the wolf's existing natural armor bonus.

Str/Dex/Int Adjustment: Add this value to the wolf's Strength, Dexterity, and Intelligence scores. As the wolf's Intelligence increases, it will gain additional skill points.

Bonus Tricks: As described under the Druid's Animal Companion entry in the Player's Handbook.

Link (Ex): As described under the Druid's Animal Companion entry in the Player's Handbook. Also, the wolf can understand any language the Stalker of Canus can speak. The wolf cannot speak without magical aid, but it can understand what the Stalker of Canus is saying to it, making it easier to give the wolf orders.

Share Spells (Ex): As described under the Druid's Animal Companion entry in the Player's Handbook.

Greater Devotion (Su): The Stalker of Canus and his wolf are Bonded forever, and no mortal means can break this bond. A Stalker of Canus and his wolf companion cannot be forced into harming each other even if under the effects of an enchantment, compulsion, or similar ability. The wolf companion also gains a +4 morale bonus on Will saves against enchantment spells and effects.

Evasion (Ex): As described under the Druid's Animal Companion entry in the Player's Handbook.

Fiendish (Su): The wolf companion gains the fiendish template as described in the Monster Manual. If you are using the alternate rules where Stalkers of Canus follow Mishakal, then the wolf gains the celestial template instead.

Double Bite (Ex): The wolf gains an additional bite attack, however this attack is made at a -5 penalty. The wolf animal companion cannot take the Multiattack feat.

Improved Evasion (Ex): As described under the Druid's Animal Companion entry in the Player's Handbook.

Inspired by:
  • Bond, by Kevin T. Stein; The Search for Magic: Tales from the War of Souls; 2001.
  • Coin of Adament, by Kevin T. Stein; The Search for Power: Dragons from the War of Souls; 2004.

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