Dark Guardians serve as bodyguards, enforcers, and sometime hit men for various high-level members of the Guild of Shadows. They are often chosen from the ranks of those with little or no spellcasting ability, as becoming a Dark Guardian generally precludes any further advancement in the guild ranks (and usually ends up being a short career). Most high-ranking members of the guild have at least one Dark Guardian; The Darkness, leader of the guild, has an entire retinue that serves him.

In order to become a Dark Guardian, one must prove his worth through notable service in several missions, and must have done at least one great deed – saving the life of a senior member, killing a prominent enemy leader, etc. These people are always selected by someone of the third or fourth tier to become a Dark Guardian, and their names referred to the captain of the guard, who approves or denies them.

Once selected, the candidate is given a chance to refuse – the process is irreversible. If he accepts, he (or sometimes she – a few women have joined the ranks) undergoes a secret ritual in which he is infused with a small amount of shadow essence. His skin gains a dusky gray hue, his hair turns black (if it wasn't that color already) and his eyes turn gray. The new Dark Guardian is given new gear enchanted to a degree commensurate with his ability (i.e., based on his level), all dyed black – chainmail, leather (for missions requiring stealth), light shield (if he uses one), and a blackened weapon of the person's choice.

Dark Guardians are almost always fighters or rangers – barbarians are considered too crude and unsubtle, and rogues and monks generally choose the path of the Shadowdancer.

Hit Die: d10.

To qualify to become an Arcane Archer (ArA), a character must fulfill all the following criteria.

Base Attack Bonus: +4

Feats: Point Blank Shot, Precise Shot, Weapon Focus (longbow or shortbow)

Spells: Ability to cast 2nd-level arcane spells.

Class Skills

The Arcane Archer’s class skills are Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Handle Animal (Wis), Jump (Str), Ride (Dex), Perception (Wis), Spellcraft (Int), Stealth (Dex), and Survival (Wis).

Skill Points Per Level: 4 + Int modifier

Table 1: The Arcane Archer
Level Base
Attack Bonus
Special Spells Per Day
1st +0 +0 +2 +2 Enhance arrow (minor) +1 level of existing class
2nd +1 +0 +3 +3 Imbue arrow (touch)
3rd +2 +1 +3 +3 Enhance arrow (effect)
4th +3 +1 +4 +4 Phase arrow +1 level of existing class
5th +3 +1 +4 +4 Enhance arrow (lesser)
6th +4 +2 +5 +5 Imbue arrow (area)
7th +5 +2 +5 +5 Enhance arrow (effect) +1 level of existing class
8th +5 +2 +6 +6 Combined casting
9th +6 +3 +6 +6 Enhance arrow (greater)
10th +7 +3 +7 +7 Arcane arrow +1 level of existing class

Class Features
All of the following are class features of the Arcane Archer prestige class.

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