Guardian (3.5e Prestige Class)
Rate this article |
Discuss this article
A defensive warrior clad in a thick coat of steel, standing in front of allies and protecting them from harm. 5 Martial Maneuvers Full
|“||By the power of my shield, I will not let a single one of you pass!||”|
|—Marcus Ittschild, Human Guardian|
Being a fighter is very straightforward. Anyone can learn to swing a sword around with some manner of proficiency. But there are some people, often those who have seen much loss in their life, who choose to focus wholly on the defense of others. These disciplined warriors devote themselves to learning techniques that focus fully on the protection of themselves and others. They gird their minds and bodies to step between an ally and a descending blade without hesitation, and to turn back the most powerful of blows like onto an impenetrable wall. Guardians are bred from the ranks of those who pursue the martial art of organized warfare, building upon martial maneuvers honed through combat to maximize their defensive power. Many defensively oriented crusaders and warblades choose to take the guardian path, as do people from other classes focusing more on heavy armor and power-based maneuvers, that favor security and an impenetrable guard over overall damage potential.
Becoming a Guardian
Guardians favor Constitution and defense over pure Strength and offensive power, though they need both to be effective. Most guardians also possess some Intelligence due to their mastery of the Sublime Way, and many also opt to pursue a degree of Wisdom as they need powerful mental defenses to avoid being manipulated by either guile or spell.
|Skills:||Martial Lore 5 ranks.|
|Feats:||Armor Proficiency (heavy), Combat Expertise, Tower Shield Proficiency.|
|Maneuvers:||Able to initiate 3rd-level maneuvers.|
|1st||+1||+2||+0||+2||Defender, Defense Bonus, Defense Pool, Maneuvers|
|2nd||+2||+3||+0||+3||Shield Mastery +1, Bulwark, Provoke|
|3rd||+3||+3||+1||+3||Entrenchment 5 ft.|
|4th||+4||+4||+1||+4||Shield Mastery +2, Phalanx|
|6th||+6/+1||+5||+2||+5||Shield Mastery +3, Entrenchment 10 ft.|
|8th||+8/+3||+6||+2||+6||Shield Mastery +4, Aggravate|
|9th||+9/+4||+6||+3||+6||Entrenchment 15 ft., Supreme Stonewall|
|10th||+10/+5||+7||+3||+7||Shield Mastery +5, Diamond Wall|
Class Skills (4 + Int modifier per level)
All of the following are class features of the guardian.
Maneuvers: At each level, a guardian gains new martial maneuvers per day and an increase in initiator level (and maneuvers known, if applicable) as if he had also gained a level in an initiator class to which he belonged before adding the prestige class level. He does not, however, gain any other benefit a character of that class would have gained. If he had more than one initiator class before becoming a guardian, he must decide to which class to add each level for the purpose of determining the recovery of maneuvers, initiator level, and maneuvers known.
Defense Bonus: Guardians have a defense bonus that applies to many of their special defensive abilities. This defense bonus can be considered a counter to an attacking creature's attack bonus, and is equal to the guardian's base attack bonus + the guardian's shield bonus to AC + the guardian's Constitution bonus.
Defender (Ex): A guardian sacrifices his offense in order to provide a more effective defense to himself or his allies. A 1st-level guardian may enter the Defender stance at will as a move action. The guardian must expend a move action at the start of every turn to maintain the stance.
While the Defender stance is active, the guardian may perform a defensive roll out of turn in response to a successful attack roll made against himself or an ally in one of his adjacent squares. The defensive roll is equivalent to an attack action out of turn, and is made at 1d20 + the guardian's defense bonus.
Like with iterative attacks, the guardian may make a second defensive roll with a -5 penalty at +11 BAB, and a third defensive roll with a -10 penalty at +16 BAB. A guardian may always choose to take a readied standard action to perform an extra defensive roll at a +5 bonus, at the cost of having no attacks during his turn.
When a defensive roll beats the targeted attack roll, the target of the attack takes no damage. Instead, the guardian takes half of the damage the target would have otherwise taken. If used to defend against an attack made against the guardian himself, a successful defensive roll effectively halves the damage dealt.
To perform a defensive roll against a particular attack, the guardian needs to be aware of the attacker.
Defense Pool: A guardian's defense is so strong that he can parry and deflect some attacks that would otherwise wound him. A guardian has a defense pool equal to 3 times his class level. This defense pool acts as temporary hit points that are replenished at the start of each turn. Any damage dealt that exceeds the remainder of the guardian's defense pool is dealt normally to his hit points. The guardian only benefits from his defense pool while he is using his Defender or Diamond Wall stance.
Shield Mastery: At 2nd level, a guardian gains increased defensive proficiency. While in his Defender or Diamond Wall stance, the guardian's shield bonus to AC increases by half his guardian level, rounded down. This bonus is active even when the guardian has no shield equipped.
Bulwark (Ex): A 2nd-level guardian roots his feet to the ground and doesn't allow himself to be moved easily. He gains a bonus equal to his guardian level to any and all opposed checks to avoid being grappled, bullrushed, tripped, trampled, or overrun, as well as to saving throws against any effect meant to move the guardian against his will. The guardian may replace his Strength or Dexterity modifier with his Constitution modifier for the purpose of making these opposed checks.
If the guardian is targeted by a grapple, bull rush, trip, or overrun attempt while using his Defender stance, he may expend one of his defensive rolls for the round (see Defender, above). In this case, the opponent attempting the move is treated as not having any of the following feats; Improved Grapple, Improved Trip, Improved Bull Rush, or Improved Overrun. He still makes the opposed check as normal.
Provoke (Ex): A guardian is fantastic at forcing his opponents' hand, compromising their defenses in the process. As a standard action, a 2nd-level guardian may designate one enemy within 30 feet. This enemy incurs a —6 circumstance penalty to attack and damage rolls, except when attacking the guardian. If the designated enemy attacks another creature while within the guardian's reach, the guardian may make an Attack of Opportunity. This effect lasts until discharged or until the enemy moves further than 30 feet away from the guardian, and may be switched to another enemy as a standard action.
Entrenchment (Ex): Regardless of where the battle is fought, a guardian is hard to get around. Each square within 5 feet of a 3rd-level guardian counts as difficult terrain for his foes. The range of this ability increases to 10 feet at 6th level, and to 15 feet at 9th level.
Phalanx (Ex): A guardian must be able to hold the line at any time. At 4th level, he learns to share his shield bonus to Armor Class with all adjacent allies. This shield bonus overlaps (does not stack) with any shield bonuses any allies may already possess. This ability cannot increase an adjacent ally's total Armor Class above that of the guardian. Allies whose AC is already above the guardian's do not benefit from this ability.
Furthermore, just like his allies depend on the guardian for a solid defense, the guardian depends on his allies for a mighty offense. Whenever a 4th-level guardian may make an attack of opportunity, he may designate an ally within melee attack range of the provoking enemy to make the attack of opportunity in his stead.
Renewal (Ex): Whenever a guardian renews his mind, he renews his body as well. Every time a 5th-level guardian gains or recovers one or more maneuvers, he also regains a number of hit points equal to his guardian level. This effect can only happen a maximum of once per round.
Stonewall (Ex): When a guardian says 'You shall not pass!', he bloody well means it. A 5th-level guardian's stance is so completely without openings that tumbling through his space is impossible. It is still possible to Tumble past the guardian, but the DC is equal to the guardian's defense bonus + 10. Any creature failing to Tumble past the guardian does not only incur an attack of opportunity, but is also prevented from moving any further.
Ward (Ex): An experienced guardian can even gird himself and his allies against magic. A 7th-level guardian projects a ward equal to 10 + half his defense bonus, that extends to adjacent allies. This ward is not supernatural in nature, and instead represents the guardian's ability to quickly and decisively repel and deflect magical and touch attacks from himself and his closeby allies.
Aggravate (Ex): At 8th level, the penalty to attack and damage rolls of a Provoked enemy increases to -10, and the maximum range in which Provoke is sustained doubles to 60 feet. Furthermore, any enemy within the guardian's Entrenchment area automatically takes a -4 penalty to attack rolls and damage rolls, except when attacking the guardian. If these two penalties apply to the same target, they do not stack.
Supreme Stonewall (Ex): The guardian's defense becomes so solid that it stops nearly everything in its tracks. A 9th-level guardian's stonewall ability may extend to a single adjacent 5-foot square. For all intents and purposes, the guardian occupies both squares, and both squares cannot be Tumbled through. Furthermore, the guardian actively blocks line of effect to any creature or object behind him. Area effects that hit the guardian frontally do not pass through him, and do not reach any place behind him. The guardian grants total cover to any creature within 10 feet of him against attacks or area effects that have to pass through his squares to reach the creature.
Diamond Wall (Ex): A master guardian can hold his ground against anything. At 10th level, the guardian may enter the Diamond Wall stance at will as a full-round action. The guardian must expend a move action at the start of every turn to maintain the stance. While in the stance, the guardian is locked completely in place and becomes utterly immovable, no matter how much force is applied to him. In this stance, he is immune to any effects that alter his position, including bull rushes, trips, overrun attempts, grapples and pins, and even magical effects like telekinesis. In addition, the guardian's armor and shield is completely indestructible, except by certain effects that specifically target certain materials, like rusting grasp. As long as the Diamond Wall stance is maintained, all incoming damage is halved.
The Diamond Wall stance counts as the Defender stance for the purpose of making defensive rolls. As a result of this stance, damage to the guardian stemming from successful defensive rolls is halved a second time.
Moving more than 5 feet in a single turn immediately ends this stance.
Playing a Guardian
Combat: This class is all about front-line defense and strategic placement. A guardian in the right place completely shuts down the enemy's advance. Guardians use narrow passes in the environment in order to bottleneck their opponents. Other times, guardians bring up the rear along with the vulnerable spellcasters, using their abilities to keep them in one piece.
Advancement: Most accomplished guardians choose other specializations that do not require too much mobility on their part and that maximize their personal toughness. Certain kingdoms and organizations of Knights-Errant employ guardians with a specialization in mounted warfare, such as the Cavalier class. That said, most continue on the path to martial mastery and reprise their initiator classes after completing guardian.
Guardians in the World
|“||When I was a kid, I thought all those funnily dressed Tallhelms lined up in front of the House of Lords were a bunch of mannequins. Well, I know better now.||”|
Since warriors with a powerful focus on pure defense are few and far between, master guardians are hard to find and worth their weight in gold. Guardians can often be found in the entourage of nobles and kings. Entire armies have been known to break upon a single phalanx of well trained guardians. If a location requires protecting, the probability of guardians being involved is high.
|Article Balance||High +|
|Base Attack Bonus Progression||Good +|
|Class Ability||Martial Maneuvers +|
|Class Ability Progression||Full +|
|Fortitude Save Progression||Good +|
|Identifier||3.5e Prestige Class +|
|Minimum Level||5 +|
|Rated By||Leziad + and Luigifan18 +|
|Rating||Rating Pending +|
|Reflex Save Progression||Poor +|
|Skill||Balance +, Climb +, Concentration +, Craft +, Heal +, Intimidate +, Jump +, Martial Lore +, Profession +, Ride +, Sense Motive + and Spot +|
|Skill Points||4 +|
|Summary||A defensive warrior clad in a thick coat of steel, standing in front of allies and protecting them from harm. +|
|Will Save Progression||Good +|