Marshal (3.5e Class)

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Author: Ghostwheel (talk)
Date Created: August 29, 2009
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Marshal

"Stand your ground men, and don't let them take an inch! Follow me, and this day will be ours!"

Most martial characters wade into the thick of battle, crushing their enemies with their weapons or shooting at enemies from afar with ranged weapons of one type or another. The marshal knows the truth of synergy, that the whole is far greater than simply the sum of its parts; together with his group, he allows them to be far more than they could ever be.

Playing a Marshal

Where other characters concentrate completely on their own effectiveness in combat, marshals know that if they were a copy of another character, the combination would still be weaker than the marshal backing up a heavy fighter. Whether it's backing up rogues, fighters, barbarians or rangers, the marshal promises to boost their strength to incredible heights.

A level or two in marshal will allow characters to play a battlefield commander, while taking more levels in the class allows you to become a veritable paragon of inspiration to your friends.

Abilities: Charisma is the primary ability score of marshals due to its influence on their class abilities, but many marshals find Strength to be useful when wading into melee, Constitution for staying alive longer, and Dexterity to help them dodge blows or shoot enemies from afar. However, due to the adaptability of the class one can concentrate in almost any ability score and still stay relatively effective.

Races: With their vast numbers and often ordered society, both dwarves and humans usually become marshals. However, someone of any race can inspire others to greater heights, and so one can find marshals in any society that has a cadre of trained warriors.

Alignment: Marshals come in every alignment, though due to their training and ordering of others about they usually tend towards a Lawful alignment.

Starting Gold: 5d4 x 10 gp (125 gp).

Starting Age: As Fighter.

Table: The Marshal

Hit Die: d8

Level Base
Attack Bonus
Saving Throws Special
Fort Ref Will
1st +0 +2 +0 +2 Battle Orders, "Don't Die On Me!", "Stand Your Ground!" I
2nd +1 +3 +0 +3 Guided Attack, Hear My Voice!
3rd +2 +3 +1 +3 Awesome Blow, "Shake it off!"
4th +3 +4 +1 +4 "Feather yon foe!", Fuel Motivation +1, Unbending Determination
5th +3 +4 +1 +4 "Move, move, move!" I, "Stand Your Ground!" II
6th +4 +5 +2 +5 "No Quarter!" I
7th +5 +5 +2 +5 "Break Free!", Dizzying Retort
8th +6/+1 +6 +2 +6 Fuel Motivation +2, "Never Give Up!"
9th +6/+1 +6 +3 +6 "Move, move, move!" II, "Watch Yourself!"
10th +7/+2 +7 +3 +7 "Stand Your Ground!" III
11th +8/+3 +7 +3 +7 Improved Guided Attack, Improved "Stand Your Ground!"
12th +9/+4 +8 +4 +8 Fuel Motivation +3, Improved "Move, move, move!", "No Quarter!" II
13th +9/+4 +8 +4 +8 Master and Commander, "Move, move, move!" III
14th +10/+5 +9 +4 +9 Improved Dizzying Retort, Step As One
15th +11/+6/+1 +9 +5 +9 "Stand Your Ground!" IV
16th +12/+7/+2 +10 +5 +10 Fuel Motivation +4, "Never Surrender!"
17th +12/+7/+2 +10 +5 +10 Greater Dizzying Retort, "Move, move, move!" IV
18th +13/+8/+3 +11 +6 +11 "No Quarter!" III
19th +14/+9/+4 +11 +6 +11 "CHARGE!"
20th +15/+10/+5 +12 +6 +12 Fuel Motivation +5, Greater Guided Attack, "Stand Your Ground!" V

Class Skills (4 + Int modifier per level, ×4 at 1st level)
The marshal's class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Balance (Dex), Bluff (Cha), Climb (Str), Craft (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Handle Animal (Cha), Heal (Wis), Intimidate (Cha), Jump (Str), Knowledge (all skills individually) (Int), Listen (Wis), Profession (Wis), Ride (Dex), Sense Motive (Wis), Spot (Wis), Survival (Wis), and Swim (Str).

Class Features

All of the following are class features of the marshal.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Marshals are proficient with all simple and martial weapons. Marshals are also proficient with light armor, medium armor, and with shields (except for tower shields).

Battle Orders: The marshal inspires those around him to great bravery, allowing them to surpass their own limitations and do great things that they would never be able to do on their own. To represent this ability to inspire others, the marshal gains Battle Order points that he can spend to activate some of his abilities. At the beginning of each encounter, he loses all the Battle Order points he had before and gains a number of Battle Order points equal to his Charisma modifier (minimum 1) + 1/2 his class level. All abilities that require the use of Battle Order points have a range of 10' per class level or 30', whichever is greater.

The marshal may refresh his abilities by catching his breath and letting his voice rest for a moment, spending a swift, move, and standard action to regain all their Battle Order points as though they had begun the encounter anew. At level 6 this ability improves, allowing them to spend only a swift and move action to regain their Battle Order points. The marshal may not spend Battle Order points in the same round that he regains them (until the start of his next round).

"Don't Die On Me!" (Ex): Marshals know that they're part of a team, and refuse to let a friend die needlessly. As a free action, a marshal can stabilize any ally within 10' per character level.

"Stand Your Ground!" (Su): Marshals are aware that the only thing that stands between them and their doom is their comrades, and thus inspire their allies to stay up when others would fall. Once per round as a move action, a marshal can grant one ally (including himself) temporary HP equal to the marshal's character level (not class level) plus his class level plus his Charisma modifier (minimum 0). These temporary hit points last for one round and stack with each other, allowing you to affect a person more than once (so to affect one ally twice would cost the same as affecting two separate allies each once).

At 5th level and every 5 levels afterward, the marshal can affect one more ally within range with the use of this ability and the number of HP granted by his Charisma modifier is multiplied by the same number. This ability costs one Battle Order point to activate, plus two for every additional ally affected (one point for one ally, three for two, five for three, seven for four). At level 11 you may use this ability as an Immediate action, allowing you to activate this ability twice per round (once as a move action, and once as an immediate action).

  • Thus, a 15th level marshal with 24 Charisma who affected three allies could grant them 58 ((7x4) + 15 + 15) temporary hit points each at the cost of seven Battle Order points.
  • Alternatively, the same marshal could affect a single ally twice, granting them twice the previous number (116 temporary hit points) for three Battle Order points.

Guided Attack (Ex): A marshal allows his allies to move even swifter than they would normally be able to; as a standard action, the marshal can allow any ally (apart from himself) to make a single attack at their highest attack bonus. This attack gains a morale bonus to its attack roll equal to 1/2 the marshal's Charisma modifier. This ability costs one Battle Order point to activate. At higher levels this ability receives upgrades, but the marshal may still activate a less potent effect if they wish to conserve Battle Order points.

At level 11, Guided Attack improves so that a marshal may allow a character to make a charge instead of a standard attack. This use of the ability costs two Battle Order points to activate.

At level 20, Guided Attack improves further, and rather than a standard attack or a charge, the target may make a full attack. This use of the ability costs three Battle Order points to activate.

Hear My Voice! (Ex): Allies can come in all shapes and forms, and the marshal knows how to rally them even when others could never; at second level, the marshal may grant morale boosts to creatures who would normally be unable to gain bonuses from them.

Awesome Blow (Su): The marshal knows that only through a diverse array of conditions will enemies be defeated; specialization is all well and good, but what if the enemy counters that in which you're specialized? Thus, the marshal allows his allies to inflict an array of conditions upon his enemies. This ability can be used once per round as a free action, and applies to the next attack made by target ally (other than the marshal himself). This attack gains a morale boost to attack equal to 1/2 the marshal's Charisma modifier and only one condition which has been unlocked can be chosen. Each condition lasts for one round and can be resisted with a Fortitude save whose DC equals 10 + 1/2 class level of the marshal + the marshal's Charisma modifier. This ability takes effect on the ally's turn, and thus can't be used with abilities like Guided Attack. This ability costs a number of Battle Points to activate as shown on the following chart;

Awesome Blow Class Feature
Level Upgrade Unlocked Condition Caused Battle Order points Expended
3 Flash them! Dazzled 1
4 In the Gut Sickened 1
5 Shake them up Shaken 1
7 Tire them out Fatigued 1
8 Slow them down! Entangled 1
9 Go for the ears! Deafened 1
11 Go for the eyes! Blinded 2
12 (Improved) Slow them down! Slowed 2
13 (Improved) In the Gut Nauseated 2
14 (Improved) Shake them up Frightened 2
15 (Improved) Flash them! Dazed 3
16 (Greater) In the Gut Stunned 3
17 Stoned! Petrified 3
18 (Greater) Shake them up Panicked 3
20 (Greater) Slow them down! Paralyzed 3


"Shake it off!" (Ex): Combat magics and the like can be debilitating, turning friends to foes and disabling the mightiest warrior. At third level, a marshal can allow an ally (including himself) who has rolled a saving throw against an effect to make another saving throw with an additional +5 morale bonus to the save. This ability is an immediate action, and must be used immediately after a saving throw has been rolled, but before the result has been announced. The re-roll must be taken even if it is worse than the original. If the ally makes the save on the second re-roll, they ignore all effects of the effect (such as half damage or the like). This ability costs one Battle Order point to activate.

"Feather yon foe!" (Ex): Foes often start from afar, and a marshal knows how important it is to get the first blow in. At 4th level as a free action the marshal may rouse his allies from their slowness, allowing each (including himself) to draw a weapon and make a ranged attack at an enemy with that weapon, or any other they have in hand. The attacks may use the marshal's Charisma modifier instead of the attacker's Dexterity modifier for the attack roll. This ability may be used once per encounter, and only on the first round of that encounter during which the marshal can act.

Fuel Motivation (Ex): As he cries to his allies to move more quickly and hit harder a bond is formed. His allies' impressive actions fuel the marshal's own motivation, giving him the drive to lead by example. Should the marshal use any Battle Order points during his turn, all attacks he makes until his next turn gain a +1 competence bonus at fourth level. This bonus increases by one every four levels afterward (maximum of +5 at level 20), and stacks with any competence bonus granted by any class, but not one granted from feats or other abilities.

Unbending Determination (Su): Without his comrades, the marshal is nothing. Without the marshal, his comrades are nothing. At level 4, the truth of this dawns upon the marshal, and he understands that he must be unrestrained by the foul magics that his enemies might use to turn him against his allies. The marshal may add his Charisma modifier (if positive) to all of his saving throws. This ability does not stack with other effects that add his Charisma to saving throws, such as the paladin's Divine Grace ability.

"Move, move, move!" (Ex): As a purveyor of the battlefield, a marshal knows best how important positioning is. At level five as a swift or move action but only once per round, the marshal may allow an ally (apart from himself) to move their speed. The first square from which the ally moves is not considered threatened. This ability costs one Battle Order point to activate. For every four levels past 5th (9, 13, and so on) that the marshal possesses, he may target another ally with the use of this ability at the cost of one additional point per ally. At level 12 this ability may be activated as an immediate action.

"No Quarter!" (Ex): The marshal begins to come into his own, and sees the fruits of his work come to life. The feats of other commanders appear paltry before his abilities as he gains in experience and knowledge. At 6th level as a swift action, a marshal adds 3d6 damage an ally (apart from himself) deals within their next round. This amount increases by 1d6 damage every two class levels afterward; thus, when he gains this ability, he can grant an ally +3d6 damage. At 8th level this increases to +4d6, at 10th level to +5d6, and so on. Every six levels after this ability is gained (12, 18, and so on) the marshal may target another ally with each use (two allies at 12th level, three allies at 18th level). This damage can only be applied against a single opponent, and only once for every iterative attack the ally could make (two times with BAB +6, three attacks with BAB +11, and so forth). This ability costs one Battle Order point to activate for each ally affected.

Since this ability comes into effect whenever an ally deals damage, it can also affect spells and such. Here are a few examples: let's say a marshal granted +6d6 damage to a caster with +6 BAB who uses Scorching Ray with all the rays targeted against a single target. The caster would be able to able to add +6d6 damage to two of their rays. If the same caster cast Magic Missile and was able to let loose three missiles, two of them would gain +6d6 damage as long as they targeted a single enemy. On the other hand, a Fireball only deals damage once, so the caster would only apply the bonus damage against a single enemy within the fireball's area of effect.

"Break Free!" (Ex): Even the hardiest warriors can be brought low; the marshal refuses to let his allies fall before their time, overcoming their weakness and allowing them to surge ahead with renewed confidence. As a move action, the marshal selects one of the conditions listed below or the effects of one spell, supernatural, or spell-like ability with the duration of 1 or more rounds that is currently affecting an ally (including himself), but not one whose duration is instantaneous or permanent. If this is a spell, supernatural, or spell-like ability, it must be targeted. The effects of this condition, spell, supernatural, or spell-like ability end on that ally, but if others are affected by it as well, its effects are unabated for them. This ability costs one Battle Order point to activate.

Conditions: Blinded, Confused, Cowering, Dazed, Dazzled, Deafened, Entangled, Exhausted*, Fatigued*, Fascinated, Frightened, Nauseated, Panicked, Paralyzed, Petrified, Shaken, Sickened, Stunned

  • These can't be removed if their source is a lack of sleep.

Dizzying Retort (Su): Just as the marshal knows what makes creatures work harder, he also knows how to break the will of his foes. As a standard action, a seventh level marshal may target one enemy, forcing them to make a Will save with a DC equal to 10 + 1/2 class level + Charisma modifier. Should the enemy fail, they are denied their move action during their next round. This ability costs one Battle Order point to activate, and is a mind-affecting effect. At level 14 this ability upgrades to deny an enemy their standard action and costs two Battle Order points to activate. At level 17 the enemy is denied both their move and standard action during the next round and costs four Battle Order points to activate. The marshal may still activate a less potent effect if they wish to conserve Battle Order points.

"Never Give Up!" (Su): Even when all looks hopeless, a marshal can turn the tide in moments with a few well-placed words. At 8th level, a marshal can allow all allies (including himself) who have less than 75% of their maximum HP left to regain 25% of their maximum HP as a swift action once per encounter. This ability costs three Battle Order points to activate.

"Watch Yourself!" (Ex): As he gains in his ability to see through the flows and ebbs of the battlefield, the marshal can begin to foresee where his allies will make a mistake and head them off, warning them from it before they do. At level 9 as a move or swift action, the next time target ally (including himself) takes an action which would provoke an attack of opportunity, the action does not provoke an attack of opportunity. This ability is usable once per round, and lasts for one round. This ability costs one Battle Order point to activate.

Master and Commander (Ex): The marshal's mastery of the battlefield continues to grow as he learns the greatest intricacies of battle, knowing how and where to move and what orders to give when at the same time as saving his own breath for the orders issued to come. At level 13, the marshal may take one extra move or swift action per round. Consequentially, this allows him to take an extra immediate action by sacrificing one of the swift actions he takes next round.

Step As One (Ex): With a nod and a step, the marshal can allow his allies to follow his example, taking a single step in unison. Three times per encounter as a free action when taking a 5' step, the marshal can activate this ability to allow all his allies to take a 5' step as well at 14th level. This ability costs one Battle Order point to activate.

"Never Surrender!" (Su): At 16th level the marshal can pull characters from the brink of death with a few memorable words and a dramatic wave of his hand. This ability upgrades "Never Give Up!", healing allies by 50% of their maximum HP. Apart from this, it follows all the same rules as "Never Give Up!". This ability costs three Battle Order points to activate.

"CHARGE!" (Ex): As the marshal reaches the pinnacle of his abilities, he gains the ability to motivate all of his allies together in a single charge of glorious power. Once per encounter as a full-round action, the marshal allows himself and each ally within 60' to make a charge action against a foe (this range overrides the usual one for Battle Order abilities). Each charge deals an extra 50 damage, gains a morale bonus to attack equal to the marshal's Charisma modifier (minimum 0), and if a foe is hit by more than one creature that foe is Stunned for one round. Creatures charging due to this action do not get in each others' way while charging. This ability costs five Battle Order point to activate.

Human Marshal Starting Package[edit]

Armor: Scale mail (+4 AC, armor check penalty -3, speed 20 ft., 30 lb.), large steel shield (+2 AC, armor check penalty -2, 15 lb.)

Weapons: Longbow (1d8, crit 20/x3, range inc. 100 ft., 3 lb, piercing), longsword (1d8, crit 19-20/x2, 4 lb., one-handed, slashing)

Skill Selection: Pick a number of skills equal to 4 + Int modifier.

Skill Ranks Ability Armor
Check
Penalty
Bluff 4 Cha
Diplomacy 4 Cha
Intimidate 4 Cha
Listen 4 Wis
Ride 4 Dex
Sense Motive 4 Wis
Spot 4 Wis
Survival 4 Wis

Feat: Skill Focus (Diplomacy).

Bonus Feats: Toughness.

Gear: Backpack, bedroll, waterskin, flint & steel, 3 torches, sewing needle, belt pouch, sack, traveler's outfit.

Gold: 3d4 gp.

Campaign Information[edit]

Playing a Marshal[edit]

Religion: Both Heironeous and Kord are often worshiped by marshals for their combative side, while other more neutral-minded marshals worship St. Cuthbert. Evil marshals can be found worshiping Hextor if they are lawfully aligned, while those who simply revel in the slaughter may revere Erythnul.

Other Classes: Most martial classes get along fine with the marshal, and appreciate the marshal's ability to boost their strikes while helping them to continue standing despite the attacks arrayed against them. Some casters feel disdain for marshals though, especially those who believe in using nonlethal methods to destroy their opponents, or those who prefer to kill without dealing any damage (such as through Phantasmal Killer).

Combat: The role of marshals is clear, and they do it well: to help their allies surpass their own limitations. They excel in this role, and can easily substitute the Cleric or Healer classes for in-combat healing and keeping their comrades up and fighting.

Advancement: The marshal class makes for a good dip for any character who wants to be a leader; their "Stand Your Ground!" ability scaling well with levels even if the character takes only a level or two in marshal. That said, the marshal has no real break point, every level giving them something new and cool to do, or boosting an existing ability.

Marshals in the World[edit]

"Even if a dozen swords are arrayed against us, we shall prevail; for together, we are far stronger than any of us apart!"
—Delmar, human marshal

Daily Life: Many marshals find themselves thrust into the role of leaders or mediators where they use their skills to convince others to act one way or another. Their knowledge of tactics also sometimes places them in the role of an advisor, where they give sound advice on how to act in the coming battles ahead.

Organizations: Marshals can be found in almost any organization where martially-oriented characters group. In wars they can be found leading squads, in churches they can be found leading prayer services, and in times of peace they can be found training militia. Governments, churches, and other organizations that seek to pacify others through the use of martial power love to recruit marshals for their cause.

NPC Reactions: Marshals, with their charismatic ways and knowledge of interaction, are often welcomed by most people. There are, however, some people who see them as a force which fuels the war machine, and amongst pacifists they are often shunned if they display their true abilities.

Marshal Lore[edit]

Characters with ranks in Knowledge (Local) can research marshals to learn more about them. When a character makes a skill check, read or paraphrase the following, including information from lower DCs.

Knowledge (Local)
DC Result
5 Marshals are often leaders of various groups for some reason, though no one is really sure why.
10 The companies which contain marshals often have less deaths in them, almost as though something keeps the marshal's companions alive despite the fact that marshals have no real healing abilities.
15 Marshals are able to toughen their allies, boost their attacks, and are a boon in most groups. Just be sure to follow their orders and you should do fine.
20 Often the key to winning battles, marshals can push people past their own limitations. As a marshal grows in power, they can revive their allies from near-death, allow them to make devastating attacks, and even have them all charge together for a series of stunning strikes.

Marshals in the Game[edit]

Marshals can benefit almost any party that contains people who do damage, boosting their abilities while keeping allies standing and moving about tactically. They are often found in the company of military squads, allowing squadmates to attack faster, do more damage, and be more effective, or as leaders in rebellions, filling much the same purpose.

Adaptation: While the standard flavor is that of an inspiring leader, the class can easily be played in a domineering, almost sadistic role where the marshal (perhaps "mistress" instead?) calls their allies "slaves" or "peons", making scorching remarks to get them to fight past their own abilities rather than using inspiring words. Alternatively, you could change the flavor to that of a commissar, making allies move to and fro at your whim under the threat of punishment (usually death) should they refuse, and forcing allies to their limits with the right word and demeanor.

Sample NPC


Delmar Rallen

CR 4

Human Marshal 4
CN Medium Humanoid (Human)
Init/Senses +5/Listen +7, Spot +7
Languages Common
AC 19, touch 11, flat-footed 18
(+6 armor (+1 Breastplate), +2 shield (heavy steel shield (mwk)), +1 Dex)
hp 29 (4 HD)
Fort/Ref/Will +10/+8/+8
Speed 20 ft. (4 squares) in +1 Breastplate, base speed 30 feet.
Melee Longsword (mwk) +5/ (1d8+1/19-20 ×2)
Ranged Javelin +4/ (1d6+1/ ×2) 30 ft. range
Base Atk/Grp +3/+4
Atk Options Fuel Motivation
Special Actions “Don’t Die On Me!”, “Stand Your Ground!” (11 hp), Guided Attack, Awesome Blow (Flash Them!, In the Gut) (DC 17), “Shake it off!”, “Feather yon foe!”
Abilities Str 13, Dex 12, Con 14, Int 8, Wis 10, Cha 16
SQ Hear My Voice!, Unbending Determination, Battler Order Points (8/Encounter)
Feats Lightning Reflexes, Improved Initiative, Ability Focus (Awesome Blow),
Skills +12 Diplomacy (Cha), +7 Listen (Wis), +7 Sense Motive (Wis), +7 Spot (Wis)
Possessions +1 Breastplate, Masterwork Heavy Steel Shield, Masterwork Longsword, Four Javelins, Cloak of Resistance +1 Potion of Eagle’s Splendor, Potion of Sanctuary ×2, Sunrod, 3 days’ trail rations, 200 gp.

Delmar Rallen dreams of being immortalized in memory as a hero; to this end, he has taken up travelling in hopes of finding like-minded fellows who he can lead to deeds of valor. His mind fluctuates between seeking danger and seeking allies, so any significantly talented characters are as likely to be seen as challenges to overcome as they are as potential recruits.


Sample Encounter: A group of four highway men (Human Rogues 1) guard a trail leading through a forest. Their leader, a 4th-level elf marshal, stands with them, demanding tolls of any who attempt to pass down that path. (The marshal claims she collects tolls on behalf of her king, though the truth of this claim is up to the DM.) The marshal personally attempts diplomacy on any travelers, while the rogues hide in advantagous spots. If the travelers are reluctant to pay up and seem weak, then the rogues surround them and advance to mount the pressure; combat begins if intimidation fails. If the travelers seem ready for armed resistance, the marshal gives a signal for the rogues to fire from hiding, using her "Feather Yon Foe!" ability to let each rogue get in two shots before the surprise round is over. If the opponents seem softened up after this barrage, the group attacks; if not, they retreat before their foes retaliate. EL : 6



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Ghostwheel's Homebrew (292 Articles)
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Facts about "Marshal (3.5e Class)"
Article BalanceHigh +
AuthorGhostwheel +
Challenge Rating4 +
Identifier3.5e Class +
NameDelmar Rallen +
RaceHuman +
Rated ByAarnott +
RatingRating Pending +
SizeMedium +
SummaryThe battlefield commander in all his glory, directing friends to greater heights than they could ever be on their own. + and {{{summary}}} +
TitleMarshal +
TypeHumanoid (Human) +