Hello, everyone, and happy Friday! This week’s article is a Tier 3 update to the Hunter, bringing the base class and all of its subclasses to level 16! Additionally, this update brings with it the Summoner Quarry, a hunter who traps extraplanar fey, fiends, and elementals in a deck of soul cards. These trapped extraplanar creatures can be summoned later, and as a fight goes on, a Summoner can sacrifice these lesser summons to call forth greater monsters.
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“..and as you can see, for just a fraction of the investment you’ve placed in me, you’ll see tremendous returns.” an elf, coated in opulent silks and gold chains, explained to a bemused dragon. If nothing else, this pitiful creature’s ‘business venture’ would prove much more entertaining than an afternoon snack.
Tamers of Monsters
Driven to pursue all manner of creatures, the hunter develops expertise in handling their quarry, and frequently enlist the aid of similar allies in their adventures.
Some hunters may find themselves more comfortable in solitude, surrounded only by the subject of their hunt, but most recognize that there is safety in numbers, and are more than willing to travel alongside other adventurers.
Pursuing Greater Quarries
As a hunter refines their art, they must face greater and greater challenges. This escalation naturally lends a hunter to a life of adventure – after all, the most fearsome of foes dwell where mortals dare not tread.
Creating a Hunter
As you create a hunter, you should consider what drives them to the hunt – are they driven by revenge against a foe that took something (or someone) precious to them? Do they hunt as a noble or sportsmanlike pursuit? Or were they taught from a young age of the monsters that lurk in the world, and find it their duty to slay them?
You can quickly build a hunter using the following suggestions. Your Intelligence should be your highest ability score, followed by Constitution. Second, choose the hermit background.
|1st||+2||Hunting Quarry, Hunters’ Command|
|2nd||+2||Hunting Quarry Feature|
|4th||+2||Ability Score Improvement|
|6th||+3||Hunting Quarry Feature|
|8th||+3||Ability Score Improvement, Hunting Quarry Feature|
|12th||+4||Ability Score Improvement|
|13th||+5||Hunting Quarry Feature|
|16th||+5||Ability Score Improvement|
Hit Dice: 1d12 per hunter level
Hit Points at 1st Level: 12 + your Constitution modifier
Hit Points at Higher Levels: 1d12(or 7) + your Constitution modifier per hunter level after 1st.
Armor: Light armor, medium armor
Weapons: All simple and martial weapons
Tools: Leatherworker’s tools
Saving Throws: Constitution, Intelligence
Skills: Choose 3 from Stealth, Medicine, Perception, and Survival.
You start with the following equipment, in addition to the equipment granted by your background:
- (a) short sword or (b) any simple melee weapon
- (a) scale mail or (b) leather armor
- (a) a light crossbow and 20 bolts or (b) a shortbow and 20 arrows
- an explorer’s pack
Choose a quarry based on the creatures you prefer to hunt: Beast, Planar, or Monstrosity. Each quarry is detailed at the end of the class description. Your choice grants you features when you choose it at 1st level. It also grants you additional benefits at 2nd, 6th, 8th, 13th, and 17th levels.
Each Hunting Quarry provides you with the ability to somehow bring a creature under your control. The creature obeys your commands as best as it can. It takes its turns on your initiative, though it does not act unless instructed. On your turn, you can verbally instruct the creature where to move(no action required by you). You can also use your action to verbally command the creature to take the Attack, Dash, Disengage, Dodge, or Help action, or any action detailed in its stat block(except for the Multiattack action if it has one).
Starting at 3rd level, you can identify foes with uncanny precision. As a bonus action, you may attempt to discern information about a creature. On a success, the GM will tell you two of the following characteristics of your choice.
- Saving Throw(one attribute of your choice)
- Armor Class
- Damage vulnerabilities (if any)
- Damage resistances (if any)
- Damage immunities (if any)
- Current hit points
The skill used by this check is determined by a creature’s type as follows:
|Aberration, Construct, Dragon, Elemental, Fey, Monstrosity||Arcana|
|Beast, Plant, Ooze||Nature|
|Celestial, Fiend, Undead||Religion|
The DC of this check is equal to 10 + the creature’s CR(rounded down).
Ability Score Improvement
When you reach 4th level, and again at 8th, 12th, 16th, and 19th level, you can increase one ability score of your choice by 2, or you can increase two ability scores of your choice by 1. As normal, you cannot increase an ability score above 20 using this feature.
Beginning at 5th level, whenever you or a creature you control take the Attack action on your turn, you or the creature you control can attack twice, instead of once.
Starting at 7th level, you have learned to remain observant when creatures around you may rush into action. On your first turn in combat, you or a creature under your command have advantage on attack rolls against any creature which acted before you in the combat.
Starting at 10th level, you have honed your sense of timing to deliver swift and decisive action when strictly necessary. If you chose not to use your action on your previous turn, you may take a second action this turn.
Starting at 11th level, you and the creatures you command have honed your instincts to fight as one. Whenever you attack a creature, each creature under your command has advantage on their next attack against that same target until the start of your next turn.
By 14th level, your knowledge and command over creatures has instilled newfound confidence in creatures under your control. When a creature you control is hit by an attack or fails a saving throw, you may instead choose to have the attack miss or the saving throw succeed. You may use this feature a number of times equal to your Intelligence modifier.
You regain all expended uses of this feature when you complete a long rest.
There are several foes a hunter can pursue, known as quarries. These quarries include Beast, Dragon, Planar, and Monstrosity
The natural world is filled with fearsome beasts, and a well-practiced hunter recognizes that the creatures of the wilderness have naturally refined their hunting talents. With this in mind, it is only logical that hunters of a Beast quarry take to training their own beast companions and refining their physical trapping skills.
When you choose this quarry at 1st level, you gain proficiency in the Animal Handling skill.
Starting at 1st level, you can call upon the aid of a beast companion to fight at your side in battle, and have trained one such beast companion already. Choose a beast that is no larger than Medium and that has a challenge rating of ¼ or lower. Add your proficiency bonus to the beast’s AC, attack rolls, and damage rolls, as well as to any saving throws and skills in which it is already proficient.
The beast does not have hit points. Instead, it has a number of Resolve Points equal to your proficiency bonus. When the beast would take damage from a successful attack or from failing a saving throw, it loses one Resolve Point. If the beast reaches 0 Resolve Points, it flees from combat to nurse its wounds. A beast regains all of its Resolve points during a short rest.
If the beast flees from combat, it can return to you during a short rest.
You may also tame additional beasts during your adventures. You may tame a number of beasts equal to your Intelligence modifier. To tame a new beast, you must attempt an Animal Handling check as an action with a DC equal to 8 + the CR of the beast you wish to tame. This DC increases by 5 for every 10 hit points the beast currently possesses. You may release a beast you have tamed into the wild during a short rest.
Though all of the beasts you have tamed accompany you in your adventures and remain friendly to you, you may only bring one into battle at a time. If a beast companion flees a battle, you may call forth another beast you have tamed as an action.
Starting at 2nd level, you have developed a knack for building traps to capture prey or to turn a battle in your favor. As an action on your turn, you may assemble one of the following traps within 5 feet of yourself. Each trap occupies a 5 foot space.
You know how to construct the following traps at 2nd level:
Rope Snare. When a hostile creature enters the space of a Rope Snare, it must succeed on a Dexterity saving throw or be restrained. It can repeat this saving throw at the end of each of its turns.
Dart Trap. When a hostile creature enters the space of a Dart Trap, thin, poisonous darts embed themselves in a creature’s body. The creature must succeed on a Constitution saving throw or be poisoned. It can repeat this saving throw at the end of each of its turns.
Trackers’ Dye. When a hostile creature enters the space of a Trackers’ Dye trap, the trap explodes with an iridescent blue dye which stains exposed fur, skin, or cloth and leaves an obvious trail of droplets. For the next 24 hours, you have advantage on Intelligence(Survival) checks made to track the creature, and the creature cannot benefit from being invisible.
Additionally, starting at 8th level, you have learned to construct the following traps:
Alchemical Gel. When a hostile creature enters the space of an Alchemical Gel trap, they are sprayed with a thick gel composed of alchemical reagents. When setting an Alchemical Gel trap, choose a type of damage: Fire, Cold, Lightning, or Acid. The creature which entered the trap gains vulnerability to that type of damage. If they were resistant or immune to that type of damage, they instead will take that damage normally. This effect lasts until the creature can take a short rest to try and remove the gel.
Smoke Bomb. When a hostile creature first enters the space of a Smoke Bomb, a noxious cloud of smoke engulfs a 10 foot sphere centered on the Smoke Bomb’s location, which spreads around corners. The cloud lasts for 1 minute or until the smoke is dispersed by the wind or by magical means. The area within the cloud is heavily obscured. Creatures within this cloud are blinded until they exit the cloud.
Pheromone Bomb. When a hostile creature enters the space of a Pheromone Bomb, a mist of soothing pheromones erupts from the space. For the next minute, any creature within 30 feet of the Pheromone Bomb which makes an attack or targets a creature with a harmful spell must first make a Wisdom saving throw. On a failure, the creature must choose a new target or lose the attack or spell.
When a trap requires a creature to make a saving throw, its DC is equal to 8 + your proficiency bonus + your Intelligence modifier.
Starting at 6th level, you have trained your beast allies to deal ferocious damage to a foe. When a creature under your command hits with a melee attack with advantage, if one or more of its damage dice show a maximum possible result, it may roll those damage dice again and add its result to the original damage total. It may continue to roll extra dice in this way until each die has shown less than a maximum result.
Starting at 13th level, you have attuned your senses to interact with beasts. You gain the ability to cast speak with animals as a ritual.
Additionally, while you and any of your beast companions are conscious, you can’t be surprised.
Long-lived and incredibly powerful, dragons capture the imagination and reflect the ambition of the mortal races.
Skilled negotiators and almost as ambitious as the dragons they hunt, hunters of the Dragon Quarry negotiate the services of fearsome dragons to aid them in battle. In order to enlist dragons’ assistance, these hunters offer up some of the spoils of their adventure to entice the dragon into remaining on their side.
When you choose this quarry at 1st level, you gain proficiency in the Persuasion skill.
Aid of Dragons
Also starting at 1st level, you have negotiated the aid of a chromatic dragon, intrigued by the potential wealth you may bring them. Choose a color of dragon from the following: Red, Blue, White, Black, or Green. As an action, you may summon a wyrmling of the color you have selected to join you in battle.
The dragon does not have hit points. Instead, whenever the dragon would take damage, you must succeed on a Cha(Persuasion) check whose DC is equal to half of the damage taken or 10(whichever is higher). On a failure, the dragon departs, concluding that the danger outweighs the opportunities from assisting you. You cannot call upon the aid of a dragon again until you negotiate a new arrangement with another dragon during a long rest, selecting a different type of dragon than the one you previously worked with.
As you continue to adventure, your reputation and negotiation skills continue to improve, and can attract the interest of progressively stronger dragons. At 6th level, you may instead enlist the aid of a young dragon of the color you have selected, and at 17th level an adult dragon.
You cannot use the Legendary Actions or Legendary Resistance detailed in the stat block for a dragon under your command.
Bargain with Fate
Starting at 2nd level, you have learned that everything can be negotiated – even luck. You can increase the result of an attack roll, ability check, or saving throw made by a creature you can see by an amount equal to your proficiency bonus. Once you do so, you must complete a long rest before you can use this feature again.
Any time before you regain the use of this feature, your GM can then reduce an attack roll, ability check, or saving throw by an amount equal to your proficiency bonus(except for one already modified by your Bargain with Fate feature). You then regain the use of this feature.
Hunter of Legend
Beginning at 8th level, you have spent enough time in the company of dragons to utilize a small portion of their legendary abilities.
Once per day, if you or a dragon under your command fail a saving throw, you may choose to succeed instead. You regain the use of this feature when you complete a long rest.
A Greater Barter
By 13th level, your negotiation skills have drastically increased due to your dalliances with dragons. When you use your Bargain with Fate ability, you may modify the attack roll, saving throw, or ability check instead by an amount equal to double your proficiency bonus.
If your GM reduces an attack roll, ability check, or saving throw through your Bargain With Fate ability, they may modify the roll by an amount equal to double your proficiency bonus.
Balanced on the point of a cosmic needle, the Prime Material Plane is susceptible to all manner of incursion, from the lowliest pixies to the titanic primordials.
Hunters of the Summoner Quarry have honed techniques to draw power from this delicate balance – using a mysterious deck of blank talismans known as Soul Cards, they capture the essence of the extraplanar fey, fiends, and elementals they encounter. Channeling this essence, a Summoner can call forth monsters to fight on their behalf, building a repertoire of powerful extraplanar allies.
When you choose this quarry at 1st level, you gain proficiency in the Arcana skill and with a playing card set.
Also starting at 1st level, you have crafted for yourself a deck of Soul Cards, blank talismans which can capture creatures from other planes, one of which you have already captured. Choose between a Dryad, Imp, or Magmin.
When an Elemental, Fey, or Fiend would die while you can see it, you collect its essence, adding the creature to your deck of Soul Cards and the repertoire you can summon. Additionally, you have made a habit of researching new extraplanar creatures to add to your Soul Deck. At 3rd, 7th, 11th, and 15th levels, you may add an Elemental, Fey, or Fiend of your choice to your Soul Deck whose Challenge Rating is less than or equal to your proficiency bonus. Your GM may specify that certain creatures cannot be researched in this way.
As an action, you may summon any creature from your Soul Deck whose Challenge Rating is less than or equal to 1. You may only have one summoned creature at a time.
The creature you summon does not have hit points. Instead, when you summon it, make an Intelligence(Arcana) check. If the summoned creature would take damage greater than or equal to the result of this skill check, it is destroyed, its essence returning to your Soul Deck. If it is not destroyed from damage, the creature’s essence returns to your Soul Deck 1 hour after being summoned.
As a bonus action, you may sacrifice the creature you control in order to summon another creature from your Soul Deck whose Challenge Rating is less than or equal to 1 + the Challenge Rating of the creature you sacrificed.
If a creature you summoned is sacrificed or destroyed, you cannot summon it again until you complete a short rest.
Starting at 2nd level, your manipulation of Soul Cards has given you the ability to rejuvenate yourself more easily while resting. If you roll less than your proficiency bonus on a hit die, you may re-roll the die once, using either result.
Beginning at 8th level, you have learned to use your Soul Deck to interrupt the flow of magic around you. If a creature within 60 feet of you is casting a spell of 3rd level or lower, its spell is absorbed into a Soul Card and has no effect. If it is casting a spell of 4th level or higher, make an Intelligence(Arcana) check. On a success, the creature’s spell is absorbed and has no effect.
You may expend a spell captured in your Soul Deck to cast it at the level it was originally cast, originating from either yourself or a creature you control whose Challenge Rating is greater than or equal to the spell’s level.
Whenever a spell refers to your spellcasting ability, you use your Intelligence. If the spell requires a saving throw, its DC is equal 8 + your proficiency bonus + your Intelligence modifier. If the spell requires you to make a spell attack, its spell attack modifier is equal to your proficiency bonus + your Intelligence modifier.
You cannot use this feature again until you complete a long rest.
By 13th level, you have eschewed some of the need to gradually build your summons’ powers through sacrifice. You may summon a creature whose Challenge Rating is 5 or less from your Soul Deck.
As with any player’s options reliant on monster entries to function, there are a lot of moving parts to playtest in the Hunter class; Challenge Ratings certainly don’t align perfectly with character levels, and designing a class from the ground up is already a fairly involved process. If you’ve encountered any trouble while using this class, I’d certainly appreciate any feedback you can send me! You can reach me via DM on Twitter @nat1advice or in the comments for this post on my Patreon.
Some artwork © 2015 Dean Spencer, used with permission. All rights reserved.