Bounty Hunters

On March 1, 2005, Posted by , In Campaign Workbook, With No Comments

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Sometimes the law just isn’t enough. Whether things need to be put right or a grudge needs settling, cold hard gold can often bring a kind of justice beyond the reach of the law. Manhunters, bloodhounds, bounty hunters, these specialized mercenaries are often little better than the criminals they pursue. Operating on the fringes of society and outside the confines of the law, they offer their services to any who can meet—or set a bounty high enough to exceed—their often-outrageous prices, no questions asked. While the stereotype of a rugged ex-soldier or a survivalist ranger are tried and tested templates, the magic and special abilities unique to many D&D campaigns afford bounty hunters a host of potent tools to stalk their prey. From hunters relying on steel and stealth to those who use magic to snarl their marks, these characters make determined allies for any party, and even more dedicated opponents.

THE REGULAR

Not every warrior is cut out for the life of a bounty hunter. Requiring a combination of exceptional greed and a blatant disregard for life, these professionals make their living by ruining lives for profit. Although in some cases they hunt down legitimate criminals, or find employment with people or organizations with noble intentions, making a career out of hunting sentient beings for personal gain is immoral at best. Essentially specialized mercenaries, bounty hunters generally work for an open bounty, meaning that those who set the bounty owe the hunter nothing unless he completes the job. This limited connection to both employer and prey prevents bounty hunters from feeling personally involved, a distance that most prefer.

Despite their sinister reputations, bounty hunters are not by definition assassins. In fact, retuning prey alive is a condition of most bounties, although sometimes merely a body suffices. A patron might hire a bounty hunter to fulfill a variety of tasks, from hunting down enemies to returning victims of kidnappings to finding a wayward heir.

Few individuals train to become professional bounty hunters; instead they fall into it from another line of work. Discarded soldiers who have known nothing but war their entire lives occasionally step into this role, and rangers can easily turn their specialized abilities to hunting sentient creatures. The immobilizing and enchanting magic of powerful mages makes them skilled manhunters, capable of forgoing physical violence. Regardless of their back grounds, bounty hunters almost exclusively work alone or in small groups, to avoid having to split their precious bounties.

Presented here is a generic bounty hunter of exactly the type that might be hired by wronged nobles, criminal syndicates, far-reaching governments, or any other employer seeking to have an individual returned.

Bounty Hunter, Male Human Ranger

Bounty Hunter, male human ranger 2: CR 2; Medium humanoid; HD 2d8; hp 12; Init -1, Spd 30 ft; AC 12, touch 9, flat-footed 12; Base Atk +2; Grp +2; Atk +3 melee (1d8, masterwork flail); Full Atk +1 melee (1d8, masterwork flail) and +1 melee (1d6 nonlethal, sap); SA favored enemy humanoid (human) +2, two-weapon com bat style; SQ wild empathy +1; AL NE; SV Fort +2, Ref +2, Will +1; Str 11, Dex 8, Con 10, Int 12, Wis 13, Cha 9.

Skills: Gather Information +1, Hide +4, Listen +4, Move Silently +4, Intimidate +1, Knowledge (nature) +5, Sense Motive +3, Spot +4, Survival +6, Use Rope +2.

Feats: Combat Expertise, Improved Dis arm, Track*, Two Weapon Fighting*.

Languages: Common.

Possessions: +1 leather armor, master work flail, sap, net, sling, 100 sling bullets, backpack, 5 caltrops, healer’s kit, bullseye lantern, masterwork manacles, 50-foot silk rope, 2 tanglefoot bags, 3 potions of cure light wounds, 131 gp.

THE JUDGE

Cadsvine Chartz has never aligned him self with any particular religion or deity, but rather serves death in its most abstract form. Believing that for each creature there isa specific moment at which they’re meant to die, Chartz seeks out with murderous intent those he believes have evaded their proper moment of death. This emotionless dispensation of inscrutable “justice” has led Chartz to be called “The Judge.” Judge Chartz is not a typical bounty hunter. Those who hire Chartz pay him in advance for the time he spends seeking his quarry, and he promises no more.

Once he finds those he hunts, he passes death’s judgment upon them, a trial that usually ends in the target’s death. How ever, on rare occasions, Chartz deems his prey not yet fit to die and moves on, usually to his employer’s impotent fury.

Judge Cadsvine Chartz, Male Elf Cleric

Judge Cadsvine Chartz, male elf cleric 9: CR 9; Medium humanoid; HD 9d6+9; hp 43; Init +0, Spd 30 ft; AC 18, touch 10, flat-footed 18; Base Atk +6; Grp +8; Atk +9 melee (2d444/x4, +1 human bane scythe); Full Atk +9/+4 melee (2d4+4/x4, +1 human bane scythe); SA rebuke undead, spells; SQ elven traits, low-light vision; AL LN; SV Fort +7, Ref +3, Will +9; Str 14, Dex 10, Con 12, Int 10, Wis 16, Cha 12. Skills: Diplomacy +3, Gather Informa tion +3, Intimidate +3, Knowledge (reli gion) +6, Knowledge (the planes) +2, Listen +9, Search +8, Spellcraft +2, Spot +11.

Feats: Alertness, Diehard, Endurance, Investigator.

Cleric Spells Prepared (caster level 9): 0— detect magic (3), inflict minor wounds (2) (DC 13), light; 1st—bane (DC 14), bless, cause fear* (DC 14), deathwatch, doom (DC 14), magic weapon; 2nd—bull’s strength, death knell* (DC 15), eagle’s splendor, enthrall (DC 15), hold person (2) (DC 15); 3rd—animate dead*, bestow curse (DC 16), blindness/deafness (DC 16), speak with dead; 4th—dimensional anchor (+6 ranged touch), divination*, lesser planar ally; 5th—raise dead, slay living* (DC 18). * = Domain spell. Domains: Death (death touch 1/day, damage 9d6), Knowledge (cast divination spells at +1 caster level; all Knowledge skills are class skills).

Languages: Common, Elven, Orc. Possessions: +1 half plate, +1 human bane scythe, cloak of resistance +1, potion of bull’s Strength, potion of cure moderate wounds, masterwork manacles, 282 gp.

THE CHARMER

Few can agree on any consistent description of the bounty hunter Darston Shooter. Sometimes a grizzled, dark-eyed gnome woodsman, sometimes a dashing half ling wanderer, the only thing that always remains the same is the distinctive, high pitched tune the enigmatic mercenary whistles constantly. Very few people know the truth that Dar ston herself conceals at all times; her hat of disguise hides a rather nondescript halfling woman. Her natural appearance doesn’t suit her flair for the dramatic or her sense of what a bounty hunter should look like, and so she changes her facade with each new assignment. Of about middle age, Darston has seen much of the world and is a talented actor and musician. Putting her people skills, eclectic knowledge, and compelling music to good use, she performs for crowds wherever she travels and hunts down fugitives on the side. A good-natured soul, Shooter only takes assignments from good-aligned local governments or from people obviously wronged or seeking loved ones. Her specialty is tracking down criminals and missing persons of all types and returning them under the enchantment of her magic, music, and personality.

Darston Shooter, Female Halfling Bard

Darston Shooter, female halfling bard 6: CR 6; Small humanoid; HD 6d6-6; hp 17; Init +3, Spd 20 ft.; AC 17, touch 14, flat-footed 14; Base Atk +4; Grp +0; Atk +8 melee (1d4+1, +1 sickle); Full Atk +8 melee (1d4+1, +1 sickle); SA bardic music, fascinate, inspire competence, inspire courage +1, spells, suggestion; SQ bardic knowledge 47, halfling traits, countersong; ALNG; SV Fort +2, Ref +9, Will +6; Str 11, Dex 16, Con 8, Int 12, Wis 10, Cha 16.

Skills: Bluff +7, Climb +2, Concentration +3, Diplomacy +7, Disguise +5, Escape Artist +5, Gather Information +6, Hide +10, Jump +2, Knowledge (arcana) +2, Knowledge (local) +3, Knowledge (nature) +2, Lis ten +6, Move Silently +8, Perform (act) +6, Perform (wind instrument) +12, Search +2, Sense Motive +2, Sleight of Hand +5, Spell craft +5, Spot +2, Tumble +5, Use Magic Device +5, Use Rope +5.

Feats: Persuasive, Track, Weapon Finesse (sickle).

Bard Spells Known (3/4/3; caster level 6): 0—dancing lights, daze (DC13), detect magic, lullaby (DC13), mage hand, message; 1st—charm person (DC14), expeditious retreat, hypnotism (DC14), sleep (DC14); 2nd—blindness/deafness (DC15), calm emotions (DC15), hold person (DC15).

Languages: Common, Elven, Halfling.

Possessions: +1 leather armor, +1 sickle, hat of disguise, 2 potions of cure light wounds, backpack, hooded lantern, 2 tanglefoot bags, masterwork flute 105 gp.

BY F. WESLEY SCHNEIDER
ILLUSTRATED BY UDON WITH JIM ZUBKAVICH AND GALA FERRIERE