Thirsty Thursday: Let’s Homebrew a Rogue Archetype

Let’s dredge up another old 3e prestige class: the Skullclan Hunter.

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I don’t think I’ve done a rogue yet as part of this series. I’ve tried to cover a variety of classes thus far, and I’ve gotten through quite a few of the: Bard, Barbarian, Cleric, Druid, Monk, Ranger, and Warlock. That’s not even counting two races and what I’ve done in other entries (a Fighter and the “Call of the Wild” document). We’ll eventually reach them all; don’t worry.

For this week, let’s dredge up another old 3e prestige class: the Skullclan Hunter. In theory, you might think that this class would work well as a Ranger archetype, and it probably would be fine. However, it was really a Paladin / Rogue multiclass, and it’s biggest advantage was giving Rogues a way to deal extra damage to undead creatures. Now this is actually a default thing in this edition, so we’ll have to adjust it a bit, but Sneak Attack is a uniquely Rogue mechanic and so it works best for this class. We’re also going to make it a bit more generic to work around product identity.

Rogue Archetype: Death’s Rest Stalker

Sometimes the dead refuse to pass to their final rest. When zombie hordes threaten civilization or ghosts haunt forgotten homes, the hunters of the Death’s Rest clan cull the undead numbers and preserve life for the living. The stalkers, the clan’s most secretive agents, are experts at putting the dead back to rest permanently and silently.

Life from Death: Beginning when you choose this archetype at 3rd level, you learn a brief necromantic ritual to sap the life from defeated foes. When you reduce a creature to 0 hit points you can use a bonus action to regain your rogue level in hit points (or twice your rogue level if the creature is undead). You can use this feature a number of times equal to your Intelligence modifier (minimum of 1). You regain all expended uses when you finish a long rest.

Disruptive Strike: Also starting at 3rd level, you can deal radiant damage with your Sneak Attack dice when attacking an undead creature.

Two features here: the first draws on divine power to grant the Rogue health, which feels very “righteous” to me (and also makes undead more valuable to kill). The second isn’t that much more than a ribbon (only a few undead have radiant vulnerability), but it’s a cool feature.

Blades of Light and Darkness: Starting at 9th level, you can empower your weapons with a bit of magical energy. Your weapon attacks count as magical and can strike incorporeal creatures.

In some ways this is a fairly minor feature, but it combines a couple of 3e features into one and means that you don’t have to worry so much about selecting the right weapon to battle undead.

Death’s Rest Defenses: Starting at 13th level, you gain resistance to poison and necrotic damage. Additionally, your hit point maximum can never be reduced.

Another adaptation from 3e, but one uniquely suited to going against nasty creatures. Comparable to what several other classes get around this point and a defensive option in contrast to the overtly aggressive ones of other features.

Death’s Rest Secrets: Starting at 17th level, you gain the following benefits based on the study of your clan’s hidden knowledge:

  • When you reduce a creature to 0 hit points on your turn, you may make one additional weapon attack with the Attack action.
  • You may cast feign death as a ritual.
  • You gain advantage on any saving throws made to defend yourself against the abilities of undead creatures.
  • You can use Sneak Attack dice once per turn against an undead creature even if the attack would not normally qualify for Sneak Attack damage.

A pretty big collection of benefits, though two are anti-undead only. Feign death isn’t much more than a ribbon at this level, and the other is pretty strong but requires you to be hitting things and maintains a connection with death. It also sort of makes up for using your bonus action on Life from Death if you dual wield like many Rogues.

Overall, though, I’m pretty happy with this. It’s designed to be more specialized, but I think the features have broad enough application and will also feel quite good against its favored foe.

Like this content? You can find this race and other homebrewed material here.

Author: lpivellius

I am a gamer of all kinds. Sometimes I write about them.

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