Warriors with Class
The biggest single impediment to playing Dungeons and Dragons is that the Warriors are not set up to scale to the same exponential power scale as the Wizards and Monsters. Ideally, this section addresses that point.
Some Base Classes are Short
Some characters can go on forever within the same milieu. A wizard can continue mastering more and more powerful magics, poring over strange and cryptic books and learning the arcane secrets of the universe without end and still be basically the same person he was when he was a bumbling apprentice whose spells dazzled and delayed onrushing orcs to buy his compatriots some time. A Monk can master more and more impressive Kung Fu indefinitely off into Epic level and still be the same unruly child from the Shaolin monastery. But some characters really can't do that. By the time a Knight hits 10th level, he's already probably riding around on a winged steed and wielding a sword made out of fire, and let's be honest – he's barely recognizable as the ogre challenging lancer from the beginning of the campaign. And that's fine, but it means that writing levels of Knight past that point is an exercise in futility. We can't really predict what your Knight will be doing at 10th level so it would be folly to pretend that there was a "normal" line of advancement for a Knight after that point. Characters need to get level appropriate abilities from 11th level on, but the D&D gameworld does not actually have any 13th level Knights in it. It has Death Knights, and Dragon Riders, and Knights of the Chalice, and Brazen Serpent Knights, and a whole bunch of other things that have Knight levels and are CR 13+, but every one of them has a Prestige Class. That's no accident, by the time you get to that point in your character's life, the direction your character is going to take should be fairly clear, and you will take a Prestige Class. That's fine, and for the short classes we encourage that sort of behavior.
|“||Guards! Get them!||”|
The worlds of D&D have a multitude of powerful champions who slay dragons with their swords and break necromancers over their knees. But while these characters are often the primary focus of the D&D game, the fact remains that the way of the sword is traveled quite frequently by orcs and elves alike, and the vast majority of those who do so are not actually capable of performing such awesome displays of martial prowess. These are the Warriors – the people who wield weapons in a manner that is entirely unlikely to get their names told in lasting song and story.
Warriors in the Game: Warriors aren't playable as PCs. They lack the depth and tactical versatility to be an interesting character and they are not powerful enough to pull their weight in any real adventuring setup. They have a CR equal to half their Warrior level and don't get multiclassed with real classes at all. In order to keep this from being potentially unbalanced, we strongly suggest that warriors show up in groups. So while a 4th level Warrior is nominally a CR 2 opponent, he's not really a good challenge for a 2nd level party. But 2 of them are an appropriate challenge for a 4th level party. And that's really what the Warrior is for – showing up in groups and getting smacked around anyway.
|3rd||+3||+1||+1||+3||Loyal to Death|
Class Skills (4 + Int modifier per level, ×4 at 1st level)
Balance (Dex), Climb (Str), Craft (Int), Escape Artist (Dex), Handle Animal (Cha), Intimidate (Cha), Jump (Str), Listen (Wis), Profession (Wis), Ride (Dex), Spot (Wis), Survival (Wis), Swim (Str), Use Rope (Dex).
All of the following are class features of the Warrior:
Replaceable: Warriors represent the faceless hordes of grunts, guards, and mooks. They are intended to be easy to use, and very easy to replace. Instead of worrying about the feats that a Warrior has, simply give Warriors +1 to-hit for each feat they would be eligible for.
Signature Weaponry: 2nd level warriors are proficient with all racial and cultural weapons and armor of their people. For example, 2nd level Dwarven Warriors are proficient with the Dwarven Waraxe and Stone Plate armor, while 2nd level Elven Warriors are proficient with Elven Thinblades and Darkleaf Armor.
Loyal to Death: 3rd level Warriors will fight to the death and remain conscious when below 0 hit points (they are still staggered as normal).
Rank: 4th level Warriors are qualified to lead troops, and have a Command Rating equivalent to being a Sergeant.
Unshakable Morale: 5th level Warriors never have to make Morale checks and receive a +2 bonus on saves vs. Fear.
Trading Out Warrior Levels
Warrior levels aren't capable of doing anything good. If for some reason a Warrior became a named character, he becomes a member of a real character class. That is, simply trade levels of Warrior for levels in a real class that has a full BAB progression.
|“||I've seen this kind of fire-breathing chicken-demon before. We're going to need more rope. Also a bigger cart.||”|
The Fighter is a versatile combatant who is able to actively disrupt the activities of his enemies. Fighters represent plucky heroes and grizzled veterans, but they always appear to surmount impossible odds. Which means in retrospect that the odds weren't all that impossible. At least, not for someone with a Fighter's talents.
Playing a Fighter
Fighters are often handed to beginning players in order to help them learn the ropes. This is a cruel practice that dates back to when the Fighter was explicitly a weak class that players were forced to play to the (quit proximate) death if for whatever reason they didn't roll well enough on their stats to play a real character. The Fighter described here is not the hazing ritual of old, but it is a more complicated character than many others, being the non-magical equivalent to the Wizard. Beginning characters should probably be given a Barbarian, Conduit, or Rogue character to introduce them to the game mechanics of D&D.
A Fighter has an answer for virtually any circumstance and a great deal of adaptability and flexibility, and benefits greatly from being played by a player who actually knows how far a Roper's strands or a Beholder's rays reach. The Fighter character is archetypically a character who uses her opponent's limitations against them, and it really slows down play if the player needs to have those limitations explained during combat. As such, a full classed Fighter is recommended for experienced players of the game.
That being said, a level or two of Fighter can give some breadth and resilience to almost any martial build, and makes a good multiclassing dip even (sometimes especially) for inexperienced players.
Races: Every humanoid race has warriors, but actual Fighters are rarer in societies that don't value logistics and planning. So while there are many Fighters among the Hobgoblins, Dwarves, and Fire Giants, a Fighter is rarely seen among the ranks of the Orcs, Gnomes, or Ogres.
Alignment: Every alignment has its share of Fighters, however more Fighters are of Lawful alignment than of Chaotic Alignment.
Starting Gold: 6d6 x 10 gp (210 gp).
|1st||+1||+2||+2||+2||Weapons Training, Combat Focus|
|3rd||+3||+3||+3||+3||Problem Solver, Pack Mule|
|5th||+5||+4||+4||+4||Logistics Mastery, Active Assault|
|7th||+7/+2||+5||+5||+5||Forge Lore, Improved Delay|
|13th||+13/+8/+8||+8||+8||+8||Array of Stunts|
|15th||+15/+10/+10||+9||+9||+9||Greater Combat Focus|
|17th||+17/+12/+12/+12||+10||+10||+10||Improved Foil Action|
|19th||+19/+14/+14/+14||+11||+11||+11||Intense Combat Focus, Supreme Combat Focus|
Class Skills (Skill Points::6 + Int modifier per level, ×4 at 1st level)
All of the following are class features of the fighter.
Weapons Training (Ex): Fighters train obsessively with armor and weapons of all kinds, and using a new weapon is easy and fun. By practicing with a weapon he is not proficient with for a day, a Fighter may permanently gain proficiency with that weapon by succeeding at an Intelligence check DC 10 (you may not take 10 on this check).
Combat Focus (Ex): A fighter is at his best when the chips are down and everything is going to Baator in a handbasket. When the world is on fire, a fighter keeps his head better than anyone. If the fighter is in a situation that is stressful and/or dangerous enough that he would normally be unable to "take 10" on skill checks, he may spend a swift action to gain Combat Focus. A Fighter may end his Combat Focus at any time to reroll any die roll he makes, and if not used it ends on its own after a number of rounds equal to his Base Attack Bonus.
Pack Mule (Ex): Fighters are used to long journeys with a heavy pack and the use of a wide variety of weaponry and equipment. A 3rd level Fighter suffers no penalties for carrying a medium load, and may retrieve stored items from his person without provoking an attack of opportunity.
Problem Solver (Ex):A Fighter of 3rd level can draw upon his intense and diverse training to respond to almost any situation. As a Swift action, he may choose any [Combat] feat he meets the prerequisites for and use it for a number of rounds equal to his base attack bonus. This ability may be used once per hour.
Logistics Mastery (Ex):Fighters are excellent and efficient logisticians. When a Fighter reaches 5th level, he gains a bonus to his Command Rating equal to one third his Fighter Level.
Active Assault (Ex):A 5th level Fighter can flawlessly place himself where he is most needed in combat. He may take a 5 foot step as an immediate action. This is in addition to any other movement he takes during his turn, even another 5 foot step.
Forge Lore (Ex): A 7th level Fighter can produce magical weapons and equipment as if he had a Caster Level equal to his ranks in Craft.
Improved Delay (Ex): A Fighter of 7th level may delay his action in one round without compromising his Initiative in the next round. In addition, a Fighter may interrupt another action with his delayed action like it was a readied action (though he does not have to announce his intentions before hand).
Foil Action (Ex):: A 9th level Fighter may attempt to monkeywrench any action an opponent is taking. The Fighter may throw sand into a beholder's eye, bat aside a key spell component, or strike a weapon hand with a thrown object, but the result is the same: the opponent's action is wasted, and any spell slots, limited ability uses, or the like used to power it are expended. A Fighter must be within 30 feet of his opponent to use this ability, and must hit with a touch attack or ranged touch attack. Using Foil Action is an Immediate action. A Fighter may not wait until an action is partially completed before deciding to attempt to foil the action, but must instead attempt to foil an action as it is declared. Note that this means that a Fighter may not foil a Full Attack (because it is not declared until after it has already begun), nor may he foil a move or charge action that began out of range.
At 17th level, Foil Action may be used at up to 60 feet.
Lunging Attacks (Ex): The battlefield is an extremely dangerous place, and 11th level Fighters are expected to hold off Elder Elementals, Hezrous, and Hamatulas. Fighters of this level may add 5 feet to the reach of any of their weapons
Array of Stunts (Ex): A 13th level Fighter may take one extra Immediate Action between his turns without sacrificing a Swift action during his next turn.
Greater Combat Focus (Ex): At 15th level, a Fighter may voluntarily expend his Combat Focus as a non-action to suppress any status effect or ongoing spell effect on himself for his Base Attack Bonus in rounds.
Intense Focus (Ex): A 19th level Fighter may take an extra Swift Action each round (in addition to the extra Immediate Action he can take from Array of Stunts).
Supreme Combat Focus (Ex): A 19th level Fighter may expend his Combat Focus as a non-action to take 20 on any die roll. He must elect to use Supreme Combat Focus before rolling the die.
|“||My name is Sharptooth of the Wolf Tribe. Your women, lands, and riches are mine.||”|
Playing a Barbarian is actually very easy. In general, you hit things, and they fall down. A Barbarian's action in almost any circumstance can plausibly be "I hit it with my great axe!" As such, a Barbarian character can be a good method to introduce a new player to the game or kill some orcs when you've had a few glasses of brew.
Making a Barbarian
As a Barbarian, you charge into a crowd of enemies and turn on Drowning Pool's Let the Bodies Hit the Floor. You will take many, many hits in doing so, but once the fight ends and you stop raging, your Fast Healing will allow you to go back to full HP relatively soon. Which is good, because nothing makes the party healer irritable like him having to burn all the charges in his wand AND his spells that day for your benefit. Therefore, the only time you may need healing is in the thick of battle, to keep you from actually dying (which is a distinct possibility for you). Nonetheless, if you aren't taking damage in an encounter, you aren't playing your Barbarian correctly.
Races: Anybody can become a barbarian, and in areas with little in the way of civilization, a lot of people do.
Alignment: Every alignment has its share of Barbarians, however more Barbarians are of Chaotic alignment than of Lawful Alignment.
Starting Gold: 4d6 x 10 gp, (140 gp).
|1st||+1||+2||+0||+0||Rage, Fast Healing 1|
|2nd||+2||+3||+0||+0||Rage Dice +1d6, Combat Movement +5'|
|4th||+4||+4||+1||+1||Rage Dice +2d6, Combat Movement +10'|
|5th||+5||+4||+1||+1||Sidestep Hazards, Fast Healing 5|
|6th||+6/+1||+5||+2||+2||Rage Dice +3d6, Combat Movement +15'|
|8th||+8/+3||+6||+2||+2||Rage Dice +4d6, Combat Movement +20'|
|10th||+10/+5||+7||+3||+3||Rage Dice +5d6, Combat Movement +25', Fast Healing 10|
|11th||+11/+6/+6||+7||+3||+3||Call the Horde|
|12th||+12/+7/+7||+8||+4||+4||Rage Dice +6d6, Combat Movement +30'|
|13th||+13/+8/+8||+8||+4||+4||Watched by Totems|
|14th||+14/+9/+9||+9||+4||+4||Rage Dice +7d6, Combat Movement +35'|
|15th||+15/+10/+10||+9||+5||+5||Primal Assault, Fast Healing 15|
|16th||+16/+11/+11/+11||+10||+5||+5||Rage Dice +8d6, Combat Movement +40'|
|18th||+18/+13/+13/+13||+11||+6||+6||Rage Dice +9d6, Combat Movement +45'|
|19th||+19/+14/+14/+14||+11||+6||+6||One With The Beast|
|20th||+20/+15/+15/+15||+12||+6||+6||Rage Dice +10d6, Combat Movement +50' ,Fast Healing 20|
Class Skills (Skill Points::4 + Int modifier per level, ×4 at 1st level)
All of the following are class features of the Barbarian.
Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Barbarians are proficient with simple weapons, martial weapons, light armor, medium armor and with shields.
Rage (Ex): When doing melee damage to a foe or being struck by a foe, a Barbarian may choose to enter a Rage as an immediate action. While Raging, a Barbarian gains a +2 morale bonus to hit and damage in melee combat and may apply any Rage Dice he has to his melee damage rolls. He also gains a +2 to saves, a -2 to AC, and he gains DR X/- with “X” being equal to half his Barbarian level +2 (rounded down). For example, a 1st level Barbarian has DR 2/- while Raging and a 10th level Barbarian has DR 7/- while Raging.
While Raging, a Barbarian may not cast spells, activate magic items, use spell-like abilities, or drop his weapons or shield. Rage lasts until he has neither struck an enemy for three consecutive rounds nor suffered damage from an enemy for three consecutive rounds. He may voluntarily end a Rage as a full-round action.
Fast Healing (Ex): Barbarians shrug off wounds that would cripple a lesser man, and have learned to draw upon deep reserves of energy and stamina. At 1st level, they gain Fast Healing 1. At 5th level this becomes Fast Healing 5, Fast Healing 10 at 10th level, Fast Healing 15 at 15th level, and Fast Healing 20 at 20th level. This healing only applies while he is not raging.
If a Barbarian ever multi-classes, he permanently loses this ability. A multiclass character does not gain this ability. A character with 4 or more levels of Barbarian gains this ability even if multiclassed.
Rage Dice (Ex): While Raging, a Barbarian may add these dice of damage to each of his melee attacks. These dice are not multiplied by damage multipliers, and are not applied to any bonus attacks beyond those granted by Base Attack Bonus. These dice are not sneak attack dice, and do not count as sneak attack dice for the prerequisites of prestige classes or feats.
Combat Movement (Ex): While Raging, a Barbarian moves faster in combat, and may add his Combat Movement to his speed when he takes a move action to move.
Battle Hardened (Ex): At 3rd level, a Raging Barbarian’s mind has been closed off from distractions by the depths of his bloodlust and battle fury. While Raging, he may use his Fortitude Save in place of his Will Save. If he is under the effects of a compulsion or fear effect, he may act normally while Raging as if he was inside a protection from evil effect.
Sidestep Hazards (Ex): At 5th level, a Raging Barbarian learns to sidestep hazards with an intuitive and primal danger sense. While Raging, he may use his Fortitude Save in place of his Reflex Save.
Great Blows (Ex): At 7th level, a Raging Barbarian’s melee attacks are Great Blows. Any enemy struck by the Barbarian’s melee or thrown weapon attacks must make a Fort Save or be stunned for one round. No enemy can be targeted by this ability more than once a round, and the save DC for this ability is 10 + half the Barbarian’s HD + his Constitution modifier.
Great Life (Ex): While Raging, a 9th level Barbarian is immune to nonlethal damage, death effects, stunning, critical hits, negative levels, and ability damage (but not ability drain).
Call the Horde (Ex): An 11th level Barbarian becomes a hero of his people. He gains the Command feat as a bonus feat, but his followers must be Barbarians. In campaigns that do not use Leadership feats, he instead gains a +2 unnamed bonus to all saves.
Watched by Totems (Ex): At 13th level, a Barbarian may immediately reroll any failed save. He may do this no more than once per failed save.
Primal Assault (Ex): At 15th level, a Raging Barbarian’s may choose to radiate an effect similar to an antimagic field when he enters a Rage, with a caster level equal to his HD. Unlike a normal antimagic field, this effect does not suppress magic effects on him or the effects of magic items he is wearing or holding.
Savagery (Ex): At 17th level, a Raging Barbarian may take a full round action to make a normal melee attack that has an additional effect similar to a mage's disjunction. Unlike a normal disjunction, this effect only targets a single item or creature struck.
One With The Beast (Ex): At 19th level, a Barbarian no longer needs to be in a Rage to use any Barbarian ability.
|“||Do you hear me you big lizard? You unhand that young man this instant!||”|
Knights are more than a social position, in fact many knights don't have any social standing at all. These knights-errant uphold the values of honor, and make a name for themselves adventuring.
Playing a Knight
A knight has the potential to dish out tremendous damage to a single opponent, and it is tempting to think of them as monster killers. It is, however, best to realize in advance that the knight does not often realize their tremendous damage output. The threat of the knight's Designate Opponent ability is just that – a threat. A knight excels at defensive tasks, and attacking a knight is often one of the least effective options an opponent might exercise.
By making it a logical combat action for your opponents to attack your party's defensive expert, you've really contributed a lot to the party. A knight can take a lot of the heat off the rest of the party, so don't get frustrated if enemies constantly interrupt your Designate Opponent action – that's the whole point. A knight's role is to protect others, and the best way you can do that is to provide a legitimate threat to your opponents.
Iconic Knight: In examples, we will always use the Lady Vayn, the iconic Goblin Knight.
Making a Knight
Alignment: Many knights are Lawful, but not all of them are. You have to maintain your code of conduct, but plenty of Chaotic creatures can do that too.
Races: Knights require a fairly social background to receive their training. After all, a solitary creature generally has little use for honor. As such, while knights often spend tremendous amounts of time far from civilization, they are almost exclusively recruited from the ranks of races that are highly urban in nature.
Starting Gold: 6d6 x 10 gp (210 gold).
|1st||+1||+0||+0||+2||Designate Opponent, Mounted Combat, Code of Conduct|
|3rd||+3||+1||+1||+3||Energy Resistance, Speak With Animals|
|4th||+4||+1||+1||+4||Immunity to Fear, Knightly Spirit|
|6th||+6/+1||+2||+2||+5||Defend Others, Quick Recovery|
|7th||+7/+2||+2||+2||+5||Bastion of Defense, Draw Fire|
|8th||+8/+3||+2||+2||+6||Mettle, Spell Shield|
Class Skills (Skill Points::4 + Int modifier per level, ×4 at 1st level)
All of the following are class features of the knight.
Designate Opponent (Ex): As a swift action, a knight may mark an opponent as their primary foe. This foe must be within medium range and be able to hear the knight's challenge. If the target creature inflicts any damage on the knight before the knight's next turn, the attempt fails. Otherwise, any attacks the knight uses against the opponent during her next turn inflict an extra d6 of damage for each knight level she possesses. This effect ends at the end of the knight's next turn, or when she has struck her opponent a number of times equal to the number of attacks normally allotted to her by her Base Attack Bonus.
- Example: Vayn is a 6th level knight presently benefiting from a haste spell, granting her an extra attack during a full attack action. On her turn she designates an ettin as her primary opponent, and the ettin declines to attack her during the ensuing turn. When Vayn's next turn comes up, she uses a full attack and attacks 3 times. The first two hits inflict an extra 6d6 of damage, and then she designates the ettin as her opponent again. It won't soon ignore her again!
Code of Conduct: A knight must fight with honor even when her opponents do not. Indeed, a knight subscribes to honor to a degree far more than that which is strictly considered necessary by other honorable characters. Actions which even hint at the appearance of impropriety are anathema to the knight:
- A knight must not accept undue assistance from allies even in combat. A knight must refuse bonuses from aid another actions.
- A knight must refrain from the use poisons of any kind, even normally acceptable poisons such as blade toxins.
- A knight may not voluntarily change shape, whether she is impersonating a specific creature or not.
- A knight may not sell magic items.
A knight who fails to abide by her code of conduct loses the ability to use any of her knightly abilities which require actions until she atones (see Fighting with Honor for more about codes of honor in D&D).
Energy Resistance (Ex): A knight may protect herself from energy types that she expects. As a swift action, a 3rd level knight may grant herself energy resistance against any energy type she chooses equal to her knight level plus her shield bonus. This energy resistance lasts until she spends a swift action to choose another energy type or her shield bonus is reduced.
Speak to Animals (Ex): A knight can make herself understood by beasts. Her steed always seems to be able to catch the thrust of anything she says. A 3rd level knight gains a bonus to any of her Ride and Handle Animal checks equal to half her knight level. In addition, there is no limit to how many tricks she can teach a creature, and her Handle Animal checks are not penalized for attempting to get a creature to perform a trick it does not know.
Command: A knight gains Command as a bonus feat at level 5.
- Example: Vayn is hit by a mind blast and would be stunned for 7 turns. She misses her next action and then shakes off the condition ready to fight.
Bastion of Defense (Ex): A 7th level knight can defend others with great facility. All adjacent allies except the knight gain a +2 dodge bonus to their Armor Class and Reflex saves.
Draw Fire (Ex): A 7th level knight can exploit the weaknesses of unintelligent opponents. With a swift action, she may pique the interest of any mindless opponent within medium range. That creature must make a Will save (DC 10 + ½ knight's Hit Dice + knight's Constitution modifier) or spend all of its actions moving towards or attacking the knight. This effect ends after a number of rounds equal to the knight's class level.
Mettle (Ex): An 8th level knight who succeeds at a Fortitude Partial or Willpower Partial save takes no effect as if she had immunity.
- For example, if Vayn was hit with an inflict wounds spell and made her saving throw, she would take no damage instead of the partial effect in the spell description (half damage in this case).
Sacrifice (Ex): As an immediate action, a 9th level knight may make herself the target of an attack or targeted effect that targets any creature within her reach.
Knightly Order: What is a powerful knight without a descriptive adjective? Upon reaching 10th level, a knight must join or found a knightly order. From this point on, she may ignore one of the prerequisites for joining a Knightly Order prestige class. In addition, becoming a member of an order has special meaning for a 10th level knight, and she gains an ability related to the order she joins. Some sample orders are listed below:
- Angelic Knight The Angelic Knights are a transformational order that attempts to live by the precepts of the upper planes. An Angelic Knight gains wings that allow her to fly at double her normal speed with perfect maneuverability. Also, an Angelic Knight benefits from protection from evil at all times.
- Bane Knight The Bane Knights stand for running around burning the countryside with extreme burning. Bane Knights are immune to fire and do not have to breathe. In addition, a Bane Knight may set any unattended object on fire with a Swift Action at up to Medium Range.
- Chaos Knight Chaos Knights stand for madness and Giant Frog. With the powers of Giant Frog, they can Giant Frog. Also their natural armor bonus increases by +5 and they are immune to sleep effects.
- Dragon Knight Dedicated to the Platinum Dragon, the Dragon Knights serve love and justice in equal measure as dishes to those who need them. A Dragon Knight gains a +5 bonus to Sense Motive and any armor she wears has its enhancement bonus increased to +5 (it also gains a platinum sheen in the process, and as a side effect a Dragon Knight is never dirty for more than a few seconds).
- Elemental Knight The Elemental Knights may be dedicated to a particular element, or somehow dedicated to all of them. An Elemental Knight can plane shift at will to any inner plane or the Prime Material Plane. Also, she is immune to stunning and always benefits from attune form when on any Inner Plane.
- Fey Knight Using the powers of the sprites, the Fey Knight has many fairy strengths. Firstly, she gains DR 10/Iron. Also, any of her attacks may do nonlethal damage at any time if this is desired. Also, she never ages and does not need to drink.
- Great Knight Clad in opulent armor, the Great Knight cares only for her own power. The Great Knight gains a +4 bonus on Disarm or Sunder tests, and gains a +4 Profane bonus to her Strength.
- Hell Knight Forged in the sulphurous clouds of Baator, the Hell Knight is bathed in an evil radiance. In addition to being granted a ceremonial weapon made of green steel, a Hell Knight gains the coveted see in darkness ability of the Baatorians. Also, she has an inherent ability to know what every creature within 60' of finds most repugnant.
- Imperial Knight The great Empire needs champions able to unswervingly support its interests, and the Imperial Knight is one of the best. She may impose a zone of truth at will as a Supernatural ability, and all of her attacks are Lawfully aligned. Also, she continuously benefits from magic circle against chaos.
|“||My ancestors had words for people who would do such a thing. They were not nice words.||”|
|“|| When you are even with an opponent, it is essential to keep thinking of stabbing him in the face with the tip of your sword in the intervals between the opponent’s sword blows and your own sword blows. When you have the intention of stabbing your opponent in the face, he will try to get both his face and body out of the way. When you can get your opponent to shrink away, there are various advantages of which you can avail yourself to win. You should work this out thoroughly.
In the midst of battle, as soon as the opponent tries to get out of the way, you have already won. Therefore it is imperative not to forget about the tactic of ‘stabbing the face.’ This should be cultivated in the course of practicing martial arts.
|—Miyamoto Musashi, human samurai|
The war torn countrysides of many a land are held together with tremendous amounts of dedicated work by masters of weaponry and honor. These martial specialists represent the structure of society by their very existence, and beat the living crap out of any who would dare to stand against it.
At least, that's the idea. In truth, there are those who take upon the mantle of the Samurai only to betray its ideals. Those who trample the fabric of the social network they are supposedly sworn to protect.
Making a Samurai
With your peculiar set of abilities, you are the anti-tank gun. With your Kiai! ability, you are practically guaranteed to win personal combat--as long as you have uses of it left. As you gain Samurai levels, you gain more abilities which negate defenses, allowing you to, for example, demolish the formerly-invulnerable Wall of Force and escape the almighty Forcecage. Your ability to commune with the dead gives you something to do when you're trying to find out where to go next. Your armor and HP are relatively fragile, making you something of a glass cannon--nonetheless, you will be able to reave your way through crowds of opponents, and no matter what your opponent is, you will eventually be able to hurt it.
Alignment: The Samurai can be of any alignment. All of them must maintain the veneer of honor and civility, though there is no reason that they have to actually be Lawful.
Races: The Samurai is primarily found in societies where the law of the land is held in primacy over other things. So while a Samurai himself does not have to be Lawful, Lawful races bear the vast majority of Samurai.
Starting Gold: 4d6x10 gp (140 gold), plus one masterwork weapon.
|1st||+1||+0||+0||+2||Ancestral Weaponry, Pledge of Loyalty|
|6th||+6/+1||+2||+2||+5||Blindfighting, Terrible Blows|
|10th||+10/+5||+3||+3||+7||Blade of Devastation|
|13th||+13/+8/+8||+4||+4||+8||Deny Caster Defenses|
|17th||+17/+12/+12/+12||+5||+5||+10||Blade of Souls|
|20th||+20/+15/+15/+15||+6||+6||+12||Scrolls of Wisdom|
Class Skills (Skill Points::4 + Int modifier per level, ×4 at 1st level)
All of the following are class features of the Samurai.
Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Samurai are proficient with all simple and martial weapons, as well as a single exotic weapon appropriate to the Samurai's tradition. Samurai are proficient with light and medium Armor, but not with shields of any kind.
Ancestral Weaponry: Every culture with a Samurai tradition has a signature weapon that Samurai from that culture use. Whether it is the Spiked Chain of the Hobgoblin Khanate of Khadun or the Katana of the Human Empire of Rokugan, the weapon serves as a symbol of the office and prowess of the Samurai.
A samurai can only have one weapon designated as his Ancestral Weapon at a time, and this weapon must be a masterwork weapon exalted by the Samurai's warrior culture. He must perform a 24 hour ritual to call his ancestral spirits into the weapon and designate it as his Ancestral Weapon. This ritual costs 100 gp in incense and offerings, and once performed grants the following abilities:
- Counts as his Ancestral Weapon for all Samurai abilities.
- Has a minimum enhancement bonus to attack and damage equal to his level divided by three (maximum of +5 for a samurai of 20th level or lower).
- The Ancestral weapon has double HPs and +10 Hardness, and has the Ghost Touch special property.
- Example: Bandy Humaido is a halfling samurai, and his people greatly extort the halfling skiprock as a weapon of war – but because the skiprock is thrown weapon ammunition, it is inappropriate as an Ancestral Weapon (which, of course, you could only have one of). As such, Bandy instead draws the power of his ancestors into a short sword.
Pledge of Loyalty: Samurai pledge their loyalty to a Lord, a figure of temporal power and head of a noble family or clan. To retain this Lord, they must follow this Lord's orders and uphold any Code of Conduct the Lord obeys. As long as a Samurai does these two things, he cannot be forced to act against his Lord or Lord's family by mind-affecting effects.
Samurai who have broken their vows to their lord are called ronin, while samurai who have never been pledged to a lord or are unwilling to do so are weaponmasters called kensai, sword saints, or simply "master swordsman" or other descriptive title. Regardless of their name, Samurai without a Lord receive a +4 bonus against mind-affecting effects.
Horde Breaker: A Samurai gains Horde Breaker as a bonus feat at 2nd level. If the Samurai already has this feat, he may choose a Combat Feat instead, but only if he meets the prerequisites of that feat.
Kiai! (Ex): At 3rd level, a Samurai may convert a successful strike into a confirmed critical hit. He may use this ability a number of times per day equal to his half his Samurai level + 2. This ability is a free action that is declared after the strike is rolled and confirmed as a hit, but before damage is rolled. This ability cannot be used on Attacks of Opportunity.
Whirlwind Attack: A Samurai gains Whirlwind as a bonus feat at 4th level.
Ancestral Guidance (Sp): At 5th level, a Samurai may seek guidance from his ancestors. This counts as a commune effect that can be used once a day. A samurai can also seek guidance from other peoples' ancestors if they are available. This works like a speak with dead effect that may be used once per day.
Blindfighting: A Samurai gains Blind Fighting as a bonus feat at 6th level. If the Samurai already has this feat, he may choose a Combat Feat instead, but only if he meets the prerequisites of that feat.
Parry Magic (Su): At 8th level, a Samurai may use his Ancestral Weapon to parry magic targeted at him. When the Samurai is targeted by a spell or supernatural ability, he may take an Attack of Opportunity against the targeted effect. If he can make an attack roll against an AC equal to the spell or effect's DC with this Attack of Opportunity, the effect does not affect him.
Subtle Cut: A Samurai gains Subtle Cut as a bonus feat at 9th level. If the Samurai already has this feat, he may choose another Combat Feat instead, but only if he meets the prerequisites of that feat.
Blade of Devastation (Su): At 10th level, the Samurai may attack enemies within his reach through objects and walls, his Ancestral Weapon automatically destroying any unattended object or wall in the way with a Hardness less than 20. As a result, enemies do not gain cover bonuses against an attacking Samurai. This effect can also pierce force effects.
As a standard action, he can also destroy unattended objects of any Hardness with a successful Ancestral weapon attack, or dispel up to a 10' by 10' section of a [force] effect.
Cut Magic (Su): At 12th level, a Samurai may attack ongoing spell effects by attacking the square they are in for Area of Effect effects or the object or person for targeted effects (which does damage as normal to the object or person). This attack is handled like the Samurai's Parry Magic ability, but it only dispels a 10' by 10' section of an Area of Effect spell or spell-like ability.
Deny Caster Defenses (Ex): At 13th level, a Samurai attacking with his Ancestral Weapon ignores any AC bonuses on his targets that come from spells or spell-like abilities.
Final Cut (Ex): At 14th level, a Samurai's Ancestral Weapon gains the Vorpal special quality, even if it is not a slashing weapon.
Iaijutsu Master (Ex): At 15th level, any enemy struck by a Samurai's Attacks of Opportunity must make a Fortitude save against a DC equal to 10 + ½ the Samurai's HD + the Samurai's Wisdom bonus or be dazed for one round. A successful save against this effect makes the enemy immune to this effect for five rounds.
Reflect Magic (Su): At 16th level, an spell effect that would be dispelled by a successful use of the Samurai's Parry Magic ability can instead be reflected back on the caster, as per a spell turning effect.
Blade of Souls: At 17th level, any enemy killed by a Samurai's Ancestral Weapon has his soul sucked into it, and this enemy cannot be raised, resurrected, or otherwise returned to life until the Ancestral Blade is broken. Each time the Ancestral Weapon takes a soul, the Samurai gains a single bonus use of his Kiai! ability that must be used before the next sunrise.
Scrolls of Wisdom: At 20th level, the Samurai has reached the pinnacle of his art, and he may compose a treatise of his collected wisdom. If he spends one month composing this treatise, he may distribute it and spread his wisdom. Anyone who reads this treatise gains a +2 competence bonus to attack characters with Samurai levels, but a -8 penalty to attack the writer of the treatise.
In addition, a Samurai who writes his treatise no longer takes ability penalties for aging as long as one copy of the treatise exists.
|“||There is no horror you have known that can prepare you for what I am about to reveal.||”|
Those who take up the black sword of the Death Knights in the name of powerful evil gods are not all undead. They aren't even all evil, since sometimes evil gods simply curse warriors in order to screw with them. But a lot of them are evil and undead, and that gives the Death Knight his classic image.
|Base Attack Bonus:||+6|
|Skills:||Knowledge (Religion) 4|
|Special:||Must have proficiency with all martial weapons|
|Special:||Must have had nonviolent contact with a fiend|
|1st||+1||+0||+0||+2||Sword of Death, Life and Death|
|2nd||+2||+0||+0||+3||Army of the Dead|
Class Skills (4 + Int modifier per level)
The Death Knight's class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Climb (Str), Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Intimidate (Cha), Jump (Str), Knowledge (all skills, taken individually) (Int), Listen (Wis), Move Silently (Dex), Spot (Wis), Swim (Str).
All of the following are class features of the Death Knight.
Weapon and Armor Proficiencies: The Death Knight gains no new proficiency with armor or weapons.
Life and Death: A Death Knight can transform himself into a Vampire, Ghoul, Revenant, or Swordwraith if he chooses either upon becoming a Death Knight or at some later date. Rules for being these undead creatures are found in the Tome of Necromancy. In addition, a Death Knight may qualify for and use Necromantic Feats using his Base Attack Bonus instead of a caster level.
Sword of Death (Su): A Death Knight can transform his blade into a black instrument of destruction. His melee attacks inflict 2d6 of Unholy damage against living creatures.
|“||The Oni Lords have granted me great power, and in return I shall give them a world a blood.||”|
Samurai are men of honor and duty, but are men nonetheless, and they have needs and desires that may not be understood by their fellows. To attain these desires, some samurai pledge their loyalty to powerful fiends, and in return they are invested with demonic power. Cruel, dangerous, and loyal to a force of primal evil, Demon Samurai wander the land or lead armies of their lesser fellows, seeking to restructure the world to fit their own deviant desires.
Becoming a Demon Samurai
|Alignment:||Must be Evil|
|Base Attack Bonus:||+5|
|Skills:||4 ranks in Knowledge (Religion)|
|Patron:||Any powerful fiend.|
|Special:||Must have the ability to have an Ancestral Weapon by class ability or feat.|
|1st||+1||+2||+0||+2||Mantle of Dark One, Code of Conduct|
|2nd||+2||+3||+0||+3||Face of Evil|
|5th||+5||+4||+1||+4||Usurp the Darkness|
Skill Points (4 + Int modifier per level)
Class Skills: The Demon Samurai's class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Balance (Dex), Climb (Str), Hide (Dex), Intimidate (Cha), Jump (Str), Knowledge: Religion (Int), Listen (Wis), Move Silently (Dex), Ride (Wis), Sense Motive (Wis), Spot (Wis), and Survival (Wis).
All of the following are class features of the Demon Samurai.
Weapon and Armor Proficiency: A Demon Samurai gains proficiency with one fiendish weapon, and Demon Armor.
Code of Conduct: On first day of the new year, a Demon Samurai must sacrifice a magic item or collection of souls worth more than 15,000 gp to his Patron, or else lose all Demon Samurai class abilities for one year.
Mantle of the Dark One (Su): At 1st level, a Demon Samurai becomes so tied to the forces of darkness that he can no longer hide his taint. After donning any armor, it transforms into Demon Armor after 10 minutes have passed, retaining any existing magical abilities or bonuses. If the armor would normally inflict negative levels due to the Demon Samurai’s alignment, it no longer does so after transforming into Demon Armor. The Demon Armor generally looks the same with every transformation, but generally becomes more stylized as the Demon Samurai grow in power.
This transformation to the armor ends if the Demon Samurai removes it, unless the Demon Samurai has worn that armor continuously for at least one year.
Face of Evil (Su): As a swift action, the Demon Samurai may cast fear as a spell-like ability usable at will. When he uses this ability, his face transforms into a demonic visage, and creatures which do not meet his gaze are not affected. This demonic visage is the same every time, and is a reflection of the Demon Samurai’s particular sins. If a character makes their saving throw against this effect, they may not be affected by it again for 24 hours.
Should the Demon Samurai defeat his Patron in single combat, he is no longer bound by his Code of Conduct, and no longer needs to retain an Evil alignment to maintain class abilities.
|“||She is not my steed, she is my companion.||”|
Fantasy worlds are filled with people who ride around on all kinds of stuff, but none is more immediately iconic than that of the Dragon Rider. Every fantasy world has warriors who ride around on dragons. Even ones that don't fit into D&D methodology in any other way. At some level it resonates.
Becoming a Dragon Lancer
|Skills:||Diplomacy 12 ranks, Ride 12 Ranks, Speak Language (Draconic).|
|Special:||Must have made friendly contact with a dragon.|
|1st||+1||+2||+2||+2||Dragon Mount, Dragon Skills, Dragon Resistances|
|4th||+4||+4||+4||+4||Dragon Fighting, Dragon Senses|
Class Skills (4 + Int modifier per level)
Appraise (Int), Balance (Dex), Bluff (Cha), Climb (Str), Craft (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Escape Artist (Dex), Hide (Dex), Intimidate (Cha), Jump (Str), Knowledge (all skills individually) (Int), Listen (Wis), Move Silently (Dex), Perform (Cha), Profession (Wis), Sense Motive (Wis), Spellcraft (Int), Spot (Wis), Swim (Str)).
Weapon and Armor Proficiency: The Dragon Rider gains no proficiency with armor or weapons.
Dragon Mount: A Dragon Rider always has a level appropriate Dragon to ride around on. A level appropriate Dragon is 2 levels lower than the Dragon Rider's character level.
Dragon Skills: Whatever a Dragon Rider does with her life, the special skills of her Dragon Mount's race are class skills for her, and she gains a +3 bonus on them (Balance and Climb for White, Hide and Swim for Black, Bluff and Listen for Blue, Survival and Diplomacy for Green, Sense Motive and Appraise for Red).
Dragon Resistances (Ex): A Dragon Rider is naturally resilient to whatever it is that her dragon breathes. She gains Energy Resistance equal to her Base Attack Bonus to that energy type.
Dragon Armor: A Dragon Rider can fashion armor and shield for herself from the discarded scales of her mount. This is appropriate Dragonscale equipment that does not require the skinning of a live Dragon. While the Dragonrider is using it, this Dragonscale equipment has an enhancement bonus equal to one third of her character level.
Dragon Immunities (Ex): At 3rd level, a Dragon Rider gains immunity to whatever energy type her Dragon Mount breathes. Also she has the immunities granted by being a Dragon – immunity to Paralysis and Aging.
Dragon Fighting (Ex): A 4th level Dragon Rider knows the tricks of fighting with and against Dragons. Both the Dragon Rider and her mount have the Edge for any attack they make against a Dragon. Also, any attack she makes against a Dragon inflict an extra 2d6 of damage.
Dragon Senses (Ex): A 4th level Dragon Rider has Blindsight out to 30', as well as Darkvision out to 60' and Low-light Vision.
Destroy Property (Ex): At 5th level, a Dragon Rider may ride her mount straight through objects that obstruct her path. While flying at full speed, her mount may crash through objects even as structurally sound as Force effects without slowing down.
First of all, we know that the Dragons in the Monster Manual make you sad. They make us sad too. Not just because they are all color coded by philosophy and that's really dumb, but also because Dragons are way too small. Seriously, the proper challenge for most adventurers is a Dragon the size of my dog, and you just can't ride around on those things at all. Most characters want to ride around on a dragon that is at least two sizes larger than they are, and under the normal rules that's just not available until epic levels (by which time you no longer care).
Naturally of course, complete rules for making a Dragon that is scalable and a decent challenge while being substantially larger than my cat will be introduced in the Tome of Tiamat. But since we know that won't be out for a while, let's throw in a preview mount for Vayn to have when she's an 11th level character:
Dragon (White) 7 / Metallic Paragon 2
Large Dragon (Cold): – 100 Hit Points
Speed: 60 ft., Burrow 10 ft., Fly 200 ft. (average)
Strength 23, Dexterity 8, Constitution 18, Intelligence 14, Wisdom 13, Charisma 15
Balance: +14, Concentration +16, Diplomacy +16, Listen +13, Sense Motive +13, Spellcraft +14, Spot +13, Survival +13
Attacks: Bite +14 (2d6+9) & 2 Claws +12 (d8+3)
Special Actions: Breath Weapon (9d6 Cold or paralyzing gas) - DC 18. Fear DC, human form, fog cloud.
Special Qualities: Blind Sense 60', Immunity to Cold and Paralysis, DR 5/Magic, Fire Vulnerability, Ice Walking, SR 14.
Saves: Fort: +11, Reflex +6, Will +8
|“||We can do this.||”|
Every group of people has a leader. Some leaders go on to fame in history as total bad asses. That's the Legendary Strategist right there.
Becoming a Legendary Strategist
|Skills:||Knowledge (History) 9 ranks, Bluff 4 ranks, Sense Motive 4 ranks.|
|Feats:||Must have at least one Leadership feat.|
|Special:||Must hold or have held a Rank.|
|Special:||Must have been on the winning side of a battle with at least 100 participants.|
|1st||+1||+0||+0||+0||A World of Opportunity, Assistance, Legacies of Command|
|2nd||+2||+0||+0||+0||Rousing Speech, Trapmaker|
|3rd||+3||+1||+1||+1||Sending, Trick Opponent|
|5th||+5||+1||+1||+1||Heroes' Feast, Best Efforts|
Class Skills (8 + Int modifier per level)
Balance (Dex), Bluff (Cha), Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Disable Device (Int), Escape Artist (Dex), Hide (Dex), Jump (Str), Knowledge (all skills individually) (Int), Listen (Wis), Perform (Cha), Profession (Wis), Search (Int), Sense Motive (Wis), Spellcraft (Int), Spot (Wis), Swim (Str), and Use Rope (Dex).
Weapon and Armor Proficiency: The Legendary Strategist gains proficiency with any Siege Weapons he happens to come across.
A World of Opportunity (Ex): Once per turn, a Legendary Strategist may take an Immediate Action without using up his swift action next round.
Assistance (Ex): A Legendary Strategist may lend assistance and direction to his compatriots. As an immediate action he may allow an ally to reroll one die roll. The ally must be within Medium Range. This is a language dependent ability.
Legacies of Command (Ex): A Legendary Strategist adds his class level to his Commander rating and his Leadership score(s).
Rousing Speech (Ex): With a 10 minute tirade, a 2nd level Legendary Strategist may grant all allies who can hear him a Morale Bonus equal to his class level to Damage Rolls and saves vs. Fear. These bonuses last until the sun next rises or sets.
Trapmaker (Ex): A 2nd level Legendary Strategist is adept at getting traps made. He may allow other characters to use his Craft skill when making Traps so long as they benefit from the effects of his rousing speech.
Trick Opponent (Ex): A 3rd level Legendary Strategist can trick people into doing all kinds of stupid crap on the battlefield. With an Immediate Action, the Legendary Strategist can force any character within Medium Range to reroll a die roll. This is a language dependent ability.
Rally Troops (Ex): With an Immediate Action, a 4th level Legendary Strategist can negate any [Fear] status currently on any allies within Medium Range. This is a Language Dependent ability.
Heroes' Feast (Sp): At 5th level, a Legendary Strategist may cast heroes' feast as a spell-like ability at will.
Best Efforts (Ex): A 5th level Legendary Strategist can inspire any plebian to perform at their best. Any character who has at least 6 less hit dice than he does who is under the effects of his Rousing Speech gains a +5 Morale bonus on any skill or ability check it makes.
"What do I do? I stab things in the face. ...Fine, I'm a Fighter/Ranger/Barbarian/Master of Black Fire/ Cloud Jumper."
It's time to face the music, Warriors are the only people who multiclass, and thus the proper place to discuss multiclassing characters is right here in the book about War. The reasons for this are extremely simple: the only level appropriate abilities that Warriors get are based on skill ranks and BAB, and those things stack up between classes just fine. A Warrior can take three different classes and still be getting abilities that are as appropriate to his level as if he had taken one all the way through. Spellcasting, on the other hand, grants its primary level appropriate abilities based on the class spell level chart, and that does not stack between classes at all. In fact, if a Spellcaster takes prestige class that simply does not advance spellcasting every level, he has permanently sacrificed the ability to ride the level appropriate ability train forever, and D&D does not have the possibility of a quick fix for this. Maybe 4th edition is going to have a universal ability slots system in which characters have level appropriate daily slots and different classes could allow you to use them for different things (such as casting powerful spells or performing amazing non-magical stunts) – certainly it would if I were writing it. But for now that kind of overhaul is simply outside the scope of this document.
What we can do is eliminate some of the rough edges that occur with multiclassing non-spellcasting classes. That's pretty simple, and most of it is common sense:
I don't know why these ever seemed like a good idea to anyone, but they weren't. The best spellcasters are single classed and classically warrior builds have rarely taken more than 2 levels of anything. So really multiclass XP penalties only happen to organic and concept characters. And those are the characters we don't want to jack over. So poof! No multiclass XP penalties. That was easy, wasn't it?
So we're getting rid of Multiclassing XP Penalties because they are dumb... what then is the Favored Class supposed to do? Well, it's supposed to be a minor advantage for races to play those classes (instead of being a complete waste of our time like it is in the base book), so let's make it a real minor advantage. If you are taking your race's favored class, you can take racial substitution levels, if you want. And yes, that means that a Human can take any racial substitution levels that they want – merry Christmas.
And while we're on the subject, it has probably come to your attention that when the idea of Favored Classes was first thrown down there were only 11 base classes. Now there are... many classes. That's why all the races listed in this document have two favored classes. We suggest that you do the same for any other races you allow (for example: Gnomes have favored classes of Bard and Wizard).
As we all know, characters multiclassing get saving throws that are crazy-go-nuts. The simple fact that the good save is restarted every time you start a new class (or prestige class into a variant class) means that the maximum save bonus at 20th level is 40, and the minimum is zero. That means that two characters are different in their base saves by more than two entire random number generators. And while you can come up with fractional schemes to fix this problem, experience has shown that players actually can't keep track of those. What's needed is something simple that works within the existing D&D rules framework. Our suggestion is to throw down the caveat that if you start a progression with a good save and you already have at least one level with a good save in that category that you gain +1 instead of +2. It's simple, easy to understand, and pulls in the crazy just enough that you can overlook the mathematical inadequacies of the system and play the game.
It goes without saying that the entire idea of paying skill points at the cross-class rate breaks D&D. Noone should ever buy things at the cross-class rate. Ever. Cross class skill maximums are fine, but the Cross Class skill rate exists only as a method to perform repeatable actions to permanently increase or reduce your total skill points.