(Heroes of Battle variant, p. 103)
Dread commandos are the elite scouts and strike force of a well-trained mercenary band.
6 + Int
Sudden Strike (Ex): If you can catch an opponent when she is unable to defend herself effectively from your attack, you can strike a vital spot for extra damage. Whenever your target is denied her Dexterity bonus to AC against your attack (whether the target actually has a Dexterity bonus to Armor Class or not), you deal an extra 1d6 points of damage with your attack. The extra damage increases to 2d6 at 3rd level and to 3d6 at 5th level.
Ranged attacks count as sudden strikes only if the target is within 30 feet; you can't strike with deadly accuracy from beyond this range.
You can only use sudden strike against living creatures with discernible anatomies—undead, constructs, oozes, plants, and incorporeal creatures lack vital areas to attack. Any creature that is immune to extra damage from critical hits is not vulnerable to sudden strike damage. You must be able to see the target well enough to pick out a vital spot and must be able to reach such a spot. You cannot make a sudden strike while striking a creature with concealment or striking the limbs of a creature whose vitals are out of reach.
You can't use sudden strike to deliver nonlethal damage. Weapons capable of dealing only nonlethal damage don't deal extra damage when used as part of a sudden strike.
The extra damage from the sudden strike ability stacks with extra damage from a sneak attack whenever both would apply to the same target.
Team Initiative Bonus (Ex): You are skilled at keeping a team organized and ready for danger. All allies within 30 feet who can see you (including yourself) gain a competence bonus on initiative checks equal to your class level.
Armored Ease (Ex): You learn to adapt your movements to the restrictive nature of armor. Beginning at 2nd level, you reduce the armor check penalty of any armor with which you are proficient by 2 (to a minimum of 0). At 4th level, this reduction increases to 4 points (to a minimum of 0).
Stealthy Movement (Ex): You learn to remain quiet and hidden even while mobile. Beginning at 4th level, you take no penalty on Hide or Move Silently checks while moving at up to your normal speed, and you take only a —10 penalty on Hide and Move Silently checks when running or charging (instead of the usual —20).
|1st||+1||+0||+2||+0||Sudden strike +1d6, team initiative bonus|
|2nd||+2||+0||+3||+0||Armored ease 2|
|3rd||+3||+1||+3||+1||Sudden strike + 2d6|
|4th||+4||+1||+4||+1||Armored ease 4, stealthy movement|
|5th||+5||+1||+4||+1||Sudden strike +3d6|
|Skill name||Key ability||Trained only||Armor check penalty|