Gald moved through the underbrush silently. He had tracked the beast for days, and he knew he was nearing its lair. The beast had proven to be quite clever, and had eluded capture for months, and that’s why he was here. People only summoned him to handle the most difficult of beasts.
Gald edged forward and spotted a patch of fur clinging to a bramble bush. Yep, this was definitely the right path. He paused to ensure he was still up-wind; it would do no good to sneak up on the beast if it smelled him coming.
Ahead, Gald spotted a clearing. Quietly, he drew his longsword and dagger—both alchemically silvered. All the better for bringing the beast down quickly. He crept up, careful not to make any noise, and peered through the underbrush.
And there stood the beast.
It was in hybrid form—an amalgam of human and boar features—and it wasn’t alone. Tied to a pole in the middle of the clearing was the missing daughter of Lord Chrin.
“Excellent,” Gald thought. “The reward money just doubled.”
Gald watched carefully, waiting for the right moment when the beast was looking elsewhere.
Then he sprang into action. Gald charged at the beast. His sword sunk deep into the beast’s chest, eliciting a sickening howl from the creature. Gald smirked as the beast’s shape twisted and transmuted before him. In a matter of seconds, the beast was no more than a man.
“Your rampage has gone on long enough!” Gald declared, as he stood over the bleeding man. “I am here to end your reign of terror.”
The creature smirked back. “Ah, you must be the infamous Gald. Word of you travels fast among my kind. Tell me, Gald, what would you do with her after you have killed me?”
Gald looked at the beast with a puzzled expression. “Take her home, of course. Then collect my reward money.”
The creature laughed. “Think again, you foolish hunter! She’s one of us now! I may not live to see the next moon, but she is my child now, and through her, my blood shall continue!”
The scowl on the beast’s face quickly turned to a look of fear as Gald’s sword and dagger both came arcing down at it. And just that quickly, it was done; the beast was no more. “Hold still for a moment,” Gald said to the Lady.“I think I can cure you before you do any harm.”
Hunters of the cursed are skilled at locating and destroying lycanthropes. They utilize many varied techniques to accomplish their task: stealth, brute force, combat prowess, and more.
People become hunters of the cursed for varying reasons but all share a common trait—the shapeshifting monsters themselves once bit the future hunters, and the horror of that time has stayed with them. Regardless of their reasons for entering the class, all share a common goal: the eradication of lycanthropes.
Role: Hunters are usually willing to work within groups, either of other hunters or less skilled warriors. In fact, a good hunter realizes that members of other classes offer abilities to aid him during his task. When not directly combating a lycanthrope, a hunter of the cursed is still a capable combatant who can work well within a group structure.
Alignment: Becoming a hunter of the cursed requires a strong drive to eradicate lycanthropes, but characters of any alignment can undertake such a task.
Hit Die: d10
To qualify to become a hunter of the cursed, a character must fulfill all the following criteria.
Skills: Survival 5 ranks
Feats: Great Fortitude, Skill Focus (Survival)
Special: Must have been bitten by a lycanthrope
The Hunter of the cursed’s class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Acrobatics (Dex), Climb (Str), Diplomacy (Cha), Handle Animal (Cha), Heal (Wis), Intimidate (Cha), Perception (Wis), Profession (Wis), Stealth (Dex), and Survival (Wis).
Skill Ranks at Each Level: 4 + Intelligence modifier
Table: The Hunter of the Cursed
|Level||Base Attack Bonus||Fort Save||Ref Save||Will Save||Special|
|1st||+1||+1||+1||+0||Master hunter +2, sense taint|
|2nd||+2||+1||+1||+1||Hard hitter, precision strike +1d6|
|3rd||+3||+2||+2||+1||Resist the curse +2|
|4th||+4||+2||+2||+1||Smite lycanthrope 1/day|
|5th||+5||+3||+3||+2||Precision strike +2d6|
|6th||+6||+3||+3||+2||Master hunter +4, resist the curse +4|
|7th||+7||+4||+4||+2||Cure the curse|
|8th||+8||+4||+4||+3||Precision strike +3d6, smite lycanthrope 2/day|
|9th||+9||+5||+5||+3||Resist the curse +6|
All of the following are class features of the hunter of the cursed prestige class.
Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Hunters of the cursed gain no proficiency with any weapon or armor.
Master Hunter (Ex): The hunter of the cursed has spent many long hours honing skills in finding and destroying lycanthropes. At first level, the hunter of the cursed gains a +2 bonus to Bluff, Knowledge, Perception, Sense Motive, and Survival checks when using these skills against lycanthropes. Likewise, the hunter gets a +2 bonus to weapon attack and damage rolls against such creatures. A hunter of the cursed may make Knowledge skill checks untrained when attempting to identify a lycanthrope, including the base creature and animal.
At 6th level, this bonus increases to +4.
If the hunter of the cursed has lycanthropes as a ranger’s favored enemy (or similar ability), these bonuses stack. In addition, if the hunter of the cursed has a favored enemy (or similar ability) for the base creature, these bonuses stack. For example, if a 6th-level ranger/1st-level hunter of the cursed has humans as one of his or her favored enemies, the hunter would apply both ranger favored enemy bonuses and the hunter of the cursed bonuses against humans afflicted with lycanthropy.
Sense Taint (Sp): By spending a standard action each round, a hunter of the cursed can learn if creatures within the area are afflicted with lycanthropy, or if the creature is a natural lycanthrope. The hunter of the cursed can determine this even for afflicted creatures that have not yet demonstrated any signs of the disease. The hunter can scan within a 60 ft. cone. On the first round, the hunter determines the presence or absence of lycanthropes; on the second round, the hunter learns which people in the cone are lycanthropes. On the third and final round, the hunter of the cursed learns if the lycanthropes are natural or afflicted with the disease. Each round requires a standard action that provokes attacks of opportunity.
Precision Strike (Ex): Hunters of the cursed are skilled at hitting lycanthropes where it hurts the most. This ability is exactly like a rogue’s sneak attack, except it applies only to lycanthropes. If the hunter of the cursed has sneak attack damage from another source, the two abilities stack.
Hard Hitter (Ex): A hunter of the cursed has had plenty of practice wielding alchemical silver weapons. Whenever the hunter strikes with an alchemically silvered weapon, the weapon’s damage is not reduced by one (as is normal for silvered weapons).
Resist the Curse (Ex): Hunters of the cursed get exposed to lycanthropy more than is healthy. Beginning at 3rd level, hunters gain a natural resistance to the disease. This bonus is +2 at third level, and increases by 2 every three levels. This bonus applies only to Fortitude saves to resist contracting lycanthropy.
Smite Lycanthrope (Su): Once per day, a hunter of the cursed may attempt to smite a lycanthrope with one normal melee attack. The hunter adds the Charisma bonus (if any) to his or her attack roll and adds class level to all damage rolls made against the target of the hunter’s smite. In addition, while smite lycanthrope is in effect, the hunter of the cursed gains a deflection bonus equal to the Charisma bonus (if any) to AC against attacks made by the target of the smite. If the hunter accidentally smites a creature that is not a lycanthrope, the smite has no effect, but the ability is still used up for that day.
The smite lycanthrope effect remains until the target of the smite is dead or the next time the hunter of the cursed regains his uses of this ability. At 8th level, the hunter of the cursed may smite lycanthropes one additional time per day.
Cure the Curse (Sp): Once per day beginning at 7th level, the hunter of the cursed may cast remove disease as a spell-like ability. This ability is limited, however, to being able to remove only lycanthropy. The hunter of the cursed is considered a 12th-level cleric when using this ability; any attempt to cure an individual must occur within the first three days of infection.
Force Form (Su): At 10th level, the hunter of the cursed has achieved the pinnacle of his or her career and is feared by lycanthropes for the ability to control their form. During any melee attack, the hunter can force a lycanthrope to resume the form of its base creature. The lycanthrope is entitled to a Fortitude save, with a DC equal to 10 + the hunter’s class level + the hunter’s Charisma modifier.