Carrilion Retiarius or Tethranier

The retiarius prestige class was originally designed by Henry Lockwood in June 2007 and posted on, see the links page. I added some flavour text for my campaign and made a few minor changes to the abilities. The retiarius or tethranier is the master of trident and net. He specializes in this fighting style to the exclusion of all others. During his advancement he learns to keep out of reach of his opponents, hinder, entangle and strike them where they are most vulnerable.

Historically there was a parallel evolution of two branches that ended up to be the same in style. The first retiarius was Retiarius Corsic a human foreigner who came to Carrilion with the Celts. He was at that time an escaped slave from the south. Nowadays those of the human races (humans, dwarves and elves) who learn his fighting style name themselves after this famous warrior.

The name tethranier is derived from Tethra, the Fomóraigh god of the oceans. Most if not all tethraniers are of a fomorian race (merrows, scrags, storm giants), although some sea elves and other faeries master this fighting style. Basically the people of the mortal realm speak of a retiarius whereas the denizens of the otherworld use the name tethranier. So we use the name retiarius from now on. :-)

Fighters, Rangers, Rogues and especially Fighter-Rogues and Ranger-Rogues become retiari. Other classes rarely qualify and don't gain much from this prestige class anyway. Those who want to become members of the class need above average dexterity and intelligence.

Members of this class are best suited to fight opponents which are not much bigger or stronger. If their net is not usable because of size difference, they lose one of their greatest assets. The same is true for opponents with great strength, who could tear the net apart.

Hit Die: d8.


Weapon Proficiencies: Net, Trident
Feats: Combat Expertise, Dodge, Two-Weapon Fighting
Base Attack Bonus: +6

Class Skills

The retiarius' class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are
Balance (Dex), Bluff (Cha), Craft (Int), Escape Artist (Dex), Intimidate (Cha),
Jump (Str), Perform (Cha), Sense Motive (Wis), Tumble (Dex), Use Rope (Dex).

Skill Points at Each Level: 4 + Int modifier.

Class Features

Table I: The Retiarius
BAB Fort Ref Will Special
+1 +0 +2 +0 Improved Net Proficiency, Shift the Footing
+2 +0 +3 +0 Net defence +1, Fleet of Foot +10
+3 +1 +3 +1 Strike the Weakness, Mobility
+4 +1 +4 +1 Tangling the Blade, Sneak Attack +1d6
+5 +1 +4 +1 Net defence +2, Improved Entangle
+6 +2 +5 +2 Greater Net Proficiency, Fleet of Foot +20
+7 +2 +5 +2 Two-Weapon Mastery, Spring Attack
+8 +2 +6 +2 Net defence +3, Sneak Attack +2d6
+9 +3 +6 +3 Never There, Greater Entangle
+10 +3 +7 +3 Deadly Strike, Special Ability

Weapon and Armor Proficiency:

The retiarius gains no proficiency with any weapon, but should the Retiarius have the feat Weapon Finesse, he may apply its benefits to the trident. The retiarius gains no proficiency with any armour or shield. He loses the benefit of his special abilities while wearing heavier than light armour or while carrying a medium or heavy load.

Improved Net Proficiency: The retiarius has practised his skill with the net such that he can now throw an unprepared net without too great a loss in accuracy. His penalty for throwing an unfolded net is halved (from -4 to -2).

In addition, his net now causes an entangled opponent to lose his Dexterity bonus to AC (if any).

Shift the Footing (Ex): The retiarius gains the ability to make a Trip attack with either net or trident, without suffering an attack of opportunity. He still suffers the chance of losing the weapon if he fails the opposed Trip check.

Net defence (Ex): The retiarius can keep his net spinning and twirling, presenting a distracting screen to foes. In any round where his net is unfolded and he does not attack with it, he gains a +1 shield bonus to AC. This bonus increases by +1 every three levels, i.e. to +2 at 5th level and +3 at 8th level.

The retiarius gains an additional +1 to this bonus when using his Combat Expertise feat.

Fleet of Foot (Ex): Years of keeping out of reach of an opponent have given the retiarius an advantage in his mobility. He gains a +10 ft. enhancement bonus to base land speed at 2nd level. This bonus increases to +20 ft. at 6th level.

Strike the Weakness (Ex): The retiarius is an expert in taking advantage when his opponent is tangled in his net. Starting at 3rd level, he gains a +2 bonus to attack rolls against any entangled opponent (including rolls to confirm a critical hit).

Mobility: The retiarius is treated as having the Mobility feat, even if he does not have the normal prerequisites for that feat.

Tangling the Blade (Ex): Starting at 4th level, the retiarius can use his net to hinder an opponent's weapon or shield. He can make a disarm attempt using his net, without triggering an attack of opportunity.

Sneak Attack: This is exactly like the rogue ability of the same name. The extra damage dealt increases by +1d6 every four levels (4th and 8th). If a retiarius gets a sneak attack bonus from another source the bonuses on damage stack.

Improved Entangle (Ex): A retiarius of 5th level or higher can use a specially-sized net to deal with creatures of a different size category. He can use a net one size smaller or larger than his own with a -2 penalty on attack rolls, or a net two sizes different with a -8 penalty (so a Medium retiarius could use a Small net, against creatures of size Tiny through Medium, at a -2 penalty; or a Small retiarius could use a Large net against Medium through Huge creatures, albeit at a -8 penalty on attack rolls).

The Concentration DC for spellcasting while entangled increases to 25, and the Escape Artist DC increases to 30.

Greater Net Proficiency: Starting at 6th level, the retiarius no longer suffers a penalty for using an unfolded net.

Two-Weapon Mastery: The retiarius is treated as having the Improved Two-Weapon Fighting feat, even if he does not have the normal prerequisites for that feat. If he already has Improved Two-Weapon Fighting, he is treated as having the Greater Two-Weapon Fighting feat instead.

Spring Attack: At 7th level, the retiarius is treated as having the Spring Attack feat, even if he does not have the normal prerequisites for that feat.

Greater Entangle (Ex): By 8th level the retiarius has made his net into a fearsome weapon indeed. He can either entangle two adjacent foes (both within the net's range), or can apply greater penalties to a single entangled foe: -4 on attack rolls, and movement is reduced to 1/4 speed. The Concentration DC for spellcasting increases to 30, and the Escape Artist DC increases to 35.

Never There (Su): When using his net defence special ability, a retiarius of 9th level or higher is able to confuse his position. He can obscure himself from his designated Dodge opponent as a free action in addition to the AC bonus, granting him concealment (causing a 20% miss chance) or can, as a move-equivalent action, gain concealment from all opponents in a 90 degrees arc.

Deadly Strike (Ex): If a 10th level retiarius succeeds in entangling an opponent he may make an immediate attack of opportunity against the entangled foe.

Special Ability: At 10th level the retiarius gains a special ability similar to a rogue. He chooses from the following list: Crippling Strike, Defensive Roll, Opportunist, Slippery Mind, or a bonus feat.

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© 2007 by Lorenz Lang, alle Rechte vorbehalten.     ∞