Cat Burglar (D&D class)

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Unofficial rules compendium

Cat burglars are experts at athletic intrusion. They pride themselves on their ability to invade any safe haven without being noticed. Often, such heists will require amazing acrobatic feats to insure success. They are also experts in using contraptions and devices to improve their athletic abilities.

There is nothing to keep members of this class together, and different cat burglars have very few things in common. Most are specialists in a group of people of entirely different vocations, honing their own abilities without even knowing if there are others of their class elsewhere. Thus, little can be said of cat burglars as a group, except that they are all devoted to their art and nimble in the extreme.

Most cat burglars are nonviolent, and try to avoid guards rather than fight them. But a few cat burglars specialize as midnight assassins, a very dangerous combination. Others prefer to steal hearts and carry messages of love instead. Others are spies or messengers that relay messages to spies. Many disdain working with other thieves, considering them brutish and inelegant, and instead live among circus performers or other subcultures.

Cat burglars were usually rogues, monks, or bards, but some barbarians and rangers take up the class as well. No class or race is prohibited, though halflings naturally excel as cat burglars. Many cat burglars are also thief-acrobats.


To qualify to become a cat burglar, the character must fulfill all the following criteria.

Skill Ranks: Balance: 4 ranks, Climb: 4 ranks, Escape Artist: 4 ranks, Jump: 8 ranks, Search: 4 ranks, Swim: 2 ranks, and Tumble: 8 ranks.

Table: The Cat Burglar

Class Level Base Attack Bonus Fort Save Ref Save Will Save Special
1st +0 +0 +2 +0 Bypass Traps, Trap Dodge, Trapfinding
2nd +1 +0 +3 +0 Intrusion Contraptions
3rd +2 +1 +3 +1 Contortions, Quick and Nimble
4th +3 +1 +4 +1 Acrobatic Moves, Fast Movement, Heroic Leap
5th +3 +1 +4 +1 Stage Battle, Fleet footed

Class Features

All of the following are class features of the Cat Burglar prestige class.

Hit Die: d6

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: A cat burglar is proficient with the club, dagger, javelin, quarterstaff, shortspear, and whip. The cat burglar is not proficient with armor or shields.

Class Skills: The Cat Burglar’s class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Appraise (Int), Balance (Dex), Climb (Str), Craft (Int), Disable Device (Int), Escape Artist (Dex), Gather Information (Cha), Hide (Dex), Jump (Str), Knowledge (architecture and engineering) (Int), Listen (Wis), Move Silently (Wis), Open Lock (Dex), Profession (Wis), Search (Int), Spot (Wis), Swim (Str), Tumble (Dex), Use Rope (Dex).

Skill points at each level: 8 + Int modifier.

Bypass Traps

A cat burglar can opt to try and move past a normally impassible trap with athletics without disarming it. Make an Escape Artist or Tumble check (as appropriate for the type of trap) against the normal disarm difficulty. This takes but a move action, but leaves the trap in place. The DM may judge some traps (such as a trap on a locked door) totally impassible, negating this ability.

Trap Dodge

When attacked by a trap, the cat burglar always has her dexterity adjustment to armor class, as long as she can move out of the way. She is never surprised by traps. This is a lesser version of the rogue ability uncanny dodge.


Cat burglars can use the Search skill to locate traps when the task has a Difficulty Class higher than 20. Finding a nonmagical trap has a DC of at least 20, higher if it is well hidden. Finding a magic trap has a DC of 25 + the level of the spell used to create it. Cat burglars can use the Disable Device skill to disarm magic traps. A magic trap generally has a DC of 25 + the level of the spell used to create it. A cat burglar who beats a trap’s DC by 10 or more with a Disable Device check can study a trap, figure out how it works, and bypass it (with her party) without disarming it. This is the same as the rogue ability of the same name.

Intrusion Contraptions

You have perfected the use of contraptions in actions. These are devices that normally are a bit to awkward to use in action and thus are regarded as toys or stage-props. It also includes using ordinary items as if they were specialty items designed for performance.

Balance Pole: A cat burglar can use a long pole to improve her balance. A longspear, quarterstaff or shortspear is appropriate. With the aid of such a pole used in both hands, the cat burglar gets a +5 circumstance bonus to Balance checks.

Cape Gliding: While wearing a voluminous cape, you double the distance you take off a fall with a successful Jump or Tumble roll. A DC 15 Jump or Tumble roll will reduce the effective falling distance by 20 ft. rather than the usual 10 ft. In addition, you can glide vertically a number of feet equal to twice the sum of any Jump and Tumble rolls you made to reduce damage, but no more than five times the height of the fall. Note that the Jump skill can only be used to reduce falling damage when jumping deliberately.

Pogo Stick: (50 gp, 5 lb.) A pogo stick is a spring-loaded device used to hop and is normally regarded as a child's toy. It consists of a pole with a T-bar handle at one end, and spring-loaded footpads on the other. You use the pogo stick when moving, and it takes you one hand to use. Make a Jump roll at the end of each move action and move a number of additional feet equal to the result, rounded down to the nearest 5 ft. interval. On a Jump result less than 5 you fall prone.

Pole Vaulting: When using a balance pole as described above, a cat burglar can pole-vault, which grants a +5 circumstance bonus to jump checks where applicable. A jumping pole also halves the difficulty of a high jump up to the length of the pole.

Stilt Walking: With a DC 10 Balance check, the cat burglar can walk on stilts with a ground clearance in feet equal to her skill bonus in the Balance skill. Guards have a hard time spotting people who are above them, so this might allow her to move in their line of vision with a successful hide roll at -10. It can also be used to safely pass dangerous areas like bogs, clouds of heavy poison gas, pools of acid or a field of caltrops.

Swinging: If a rope, chandelier or other swinging line is available, the cat burglar can make great swinging leaps as a move action and can then ignore the penalty for either standing jumps or horizontal jumps, but not both at the same time. Grabbing a rope or vine (or similar line) to swing with is a swift action for a cat burglar. A whip can be used to swing up to 20 ft. if there is something suitable overhead to attach it to (a swift action). With two whips and Two-Weapon Fighting, a cat burglar can do this several times in consecutive rounds, without touching the ground in between.


The cat burglar can contort her body and dislocate her joints to get a +5 circumstance bonus on the Escape Artist skill.

Quick and Nimble

The cat burglar can Climb, Swim, and Tumble at higher speed and avoid the usual penalty.

Acrobatic Moves

The cat burglar can still use her Dexterity modifier to armor class when not fully mobile, such as when climbing or balancing (but not when caught flat-footed). Her effective Dexterity is not reduced when entangled. Foes do not receive a bonus to strike her in melee when she is prone, but ranged attacks against her still suffer the usual penalty.

Fast Movement

The cat burglar has a speed faster than the norm for your race by +10 feet. This is the same as the barbarian ability of the same name, and does not stack with that ability.

Heroic Leap

The cat burglar can use flips and leaps to move, combining tumbling and jumping. This gives a +5 bonus on Tumble checks and Jump checks. After a tumble that ends on the other side of your opponent and triggers no attack of opportunity you are considered to be flanking this opponent until his next action, regardless of where your allies are standing.

Stage Battle

The cat burglar can choose to take ten on Balance, Climb, Escape Artist, Jump, Hide, Move Silently, Search, Swim and Tumble skill rolls, even in stressful situations such as combat.

Fleet Footed

The cat burglar gets a free partial action each round that can only be used for movement.

New Equipment

Collapsible Pole

A collapsible balance pole made out of several hollow tubes of wood or bamboo that slide out of each other but can be locked at a certain length. It can be adjusted in length between 2 ft. and 8 ft. and is suitable as a probe, but will soon break if used as a club. It can be used with the Balance Pole and Pole Vaulting abilities. Cost: 5 gp, Weight 4 lb.