View Full Version : Centurion Prestige Class

2006-02-11, 10:32 AM
I was inspired by the Phalanx Fighting and Formation Expert feats from Complete Warrior to make this. Does it seem balanced enough, it focus is giving bonuses to allies...

Hit Die: d10
Skill Points: (2 +Int Modifier)
Class Skills: Bluff, Climb, Intimidiate, Knowledge (Geography), Knowledge (Architecture and Enginerring) Ride

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

Any Lawful

Formation Expert (Complete Warrior), Phalanx Fighting (Complete Warrior), Leadership

Hit Die: d10
Skill Points: (2 +Int Modifier)
Class Skills: Bluff, Climb, Intimidiate, Knowledge (Geography), Ride

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

Any Lawful

Formation Expert, Phalanx Fighting, Leadership

Table: The Centurian
1st +1 +2 +0 +0 Improved Locked Shields +1

2nd +2 +3 +0 +0 Shout over the revel

3rd +3 +3 +1 +1 Improved Locked Shields +2; Hold the Line

4th +4 +4 +1 +1 Shout over the revel +2

5th +5 +4 +1 +1 Improved Locked Shields +3; Praetorian Master

Improved Lock Shields: When using the Lock Shields maneuver from the Formation Expert feat the Centurion gains an additional +1 AC bonus for a total of +2. This bonus increases by an additional +1 at level 3 and 5 for a total of +4 at level 5.

Shout over the revel: Once per day as part of an attack action a Centurion may shout out various orders to his allies to maintain order on the battle field. All allies within 60ft who can hear the Centurion get a +1 morale boost on attacks rolls for 3 rounds + the Centurian's charisma modifier. This bonus increases to +2 at level 3 and at level 5 this bonus increases to +3 and he may use it additional times per day (See Praetorian Master). If the Centurion dies or becomes unconcious before the end of the duration of this effect it ends.

Hold the Line: A Centurion recieves Hold the Line as a bonus feat. If he already has this feat he may choose another Fighter bonus feat in place of it.

Praetorian Master: At tenth level a Centurion has reached the pinnacle of command prowess. He may now use his "Shout over the revel" ability once per day per point of his charisma modifier (minimum one) up to a maximum of 3 times per day. Additionally any allies (including the Centurion) who use the Phalanx Fighting Feat with the Centurion gain an additional +1 to armor class and +1 to reflex saves. Characters using this Phalanx Fighting also gain the use of the Lock Shields manuever and the Wall of Polearms manuever whether they have the feat Formation expert or not but only so long as the Centurion is participating in the Shield Wall.

2006-02-11, 11:56 AM
Add Knowledge (Architectuer & Engineering) to the list. Romans were builders as well as fighters. Heck, every roman needed to know how to set up a fortified camp...every night...

2006-02-11, 12:36 PM
If you're attempting to represent the Testudo formation with Improved Lock Shields, then it should only appy to ranged attacks. While in Testudo formation, the infantry were too closely packed to fight effectively in melee. In melee, the Romans spread out to prevent such from happening.

2006-02-11, 07:53 PM
First, good call on Know (engineering). I couldn't think fo a good way to represent that. Also, I know about those tactics concerning the testudo but I have to go with usefulness over historical accuracy at this point. I already have my character intended for this class going with a Spatha rather than a Gladius because I can't bear to be without my disarm. Also, posting my editted version of above, 5 classes only.

2006-03-25, 07:55 AM
I like, few nitpicks:
You put in the class' requirments twice, in the description of Praetorian Master you say "at tenth level" but the class only has five and finally the sentence "If the Centurion dies or becomes unconcious before the end of the duration of this effect it ends." should be formulated so it is clear that the 'it' at the end refers to the effect like so:
"If the Centurion dies or becomes unconcious before the end of the duration of this effect, the effect ends."

End of nitpicks, on the constructive critisism.
I think you made a good class, worth its five levels. (it wouldn't be worth ten, I imagine you shortened it for this reason.)

With your added reasons behind the changes you made for usefulness over historic accuracy, I think this gives the right vibe.

Maybe you could add those reasons to the first post?

2006-03-25, 02:56 PM
the spatha was a cavarly blade, but I like the attempt at historical PrCs

2006-03-26, 12:47 AM
Although the 'Spatha' was originally only employed by Roman Cavalry, in later centuries it was employed by the Roman Infantry.


There is little to suggest that the Spatha would not have been an effective infantry weapon.

Just as an aside, not all Romans were good engineers or architects; like most military organisations, I'm led to believe, they had specialists to fulfil this role. I'm not convinced that it should be a Class Skill, but I'm not particularly opposed to it either.

2006-04-10, 02:54 PM
Romans used the phalnax formation VERY rarely and never used it at all after conqering the Italian peninsulae. They decided that the unflexibility of the phalnax outweighed the benifits.

I <3 Wikipedia
I <3 Rome: Total War

2006-04-11, 07:45 AM
Although the 'Spatha' was originally only employed by Roman Cavalry, in later centuries it was employed by the Roman Infantry.
There is little to suggest that the Spatha would not have been an effective infantry weapon.

However during the era in which the centurion was at his peak of power/prestige the legions only used the gladius.

Another class skill should be Know (Seige Engineering)

Most Romans soldiers would have at least one rank or enough ranks to provide a +0 bonus (can +0 be a bonus???)

2006-04-11, 08:48 AM
The increasing evidence for the Late Republic (Second Century BC) is that the 'Spanish Gadius' introduced by Scipio Africanus had a blade length of some 27" (i.e. only two to three inches shorter than a Spatha http://www.larp.com/legioxx/gladius.html). How long the swords of Caesar's Legions were is something of an open question, in my opinion. Here's a link to a recent discussion on the subject on the Roman Army Talk forums:


2006-04-11, 10:40 AM
Saying that you want a Roman Centurion is like saying you want an American Army Ranger. Like Centurions, Rangers have been around in some form since before the Republic was founded. While they have always represented elite soldiers, their role, tactics, and technology have changed dramatically with history.

Now, you may not be interested in historical accuracy. But if you are, I would suggest picking a specific time period to locate your Centurion in.

Also, I would like to reiterate the uselessness of the Testudo formation after the Roman innovation of combined arms. Despite all of the modern video game evidence to the contrary, Romans rarely used the Testudo.

2006-04-11, 10:30 PM
IIRC via Vegetius, Josephus, et al. the testudo was primarily used during sieges to protect vs. missile fire from the defenders... not real usefull in open battle...

as to the whole spatha/gladius debate...there was much variation in length (and width) of the blade as there are breeds of cats...

personally i think that during the early to middle republic they would not have possessed the technology to produce long swords of any quality (now as this is a Fantasy game magical / 'god-forged' blades could be longswords..)

2006-04-11, 11:26 PM
Just a bit of history.

The Roman legions had several effective combat tactics:

-They used large tower shields, which were large enough to protect the entire body

-Each soldier carried 2 or 3 pila, the pila are javelin weapons which would be thrown at the opposing army while charging at eachother. The pila were specially made so that if one was caught in a shield, it could not be easily removed, thus encumbering the bearer of the shield. The pila were also used to defend against charges.

-They fought with various short swords, which were large and durable compared to other short swords, the strongest one used was the falcatta, which was designed almost like an axe and had the power to break wooden shields.


-The tortoise was a essentially defensive formation by which the legionaries would hold their shields overhead, except for the front rows, thereby creating a kind of shell-like armour shielding them completely against missiles from the front or above.

-The wedge formation was a formation in which the soliders form up in a triangle shape with the point facing the enemy, and thrust through the enemy lines like a spear. By breaking the enemy lines and pushing them back, the enemies formation was broken up and the enemy troops were pushed into restricted positions, making hand-to-hand fighting difficult. In such close combat fighting, the roman short swords and tower shields had a great advantage over the enemy longswords and other weapons.

-The skirmishing formation was essentially a formation in which every other soldier in the line advances and creates a new line, leaving a one man wide gap between each man, but the solider in the line behind would stand behind that gap. It could allow for swift attacks with subsequent quick withdrawals. It would allow for any friendly units falling back to pass through the formation.
It also could be used by a victorious army sweeping over the battle field, killing all that was left in its way.

-The repel cavalry formation was used against cavalry charges, the front line of soldiers would crouch down, firmly planting their sheilds in the ground, and holding their pila up at a 45 degree angle (like setting a spear against a charge). The next line would hold their shields over the heads of the crouching front line and hold their pila overhead to stab at the riders. Often the horses would see this wall of shields and spears and disobey their riders, refusing to impale themsleves.

-The orb formation is the least genius of the roman tactics, used as a desperation move. If a group of soldiers found themselves seperated from the main formation and surrounded by enemies, they would form a circle formation, with any archers or officers protected in the middle.


A famous Greek formation (which, was sometimes used by romans, but not often as the standard soldier did not carry a long enough spear) was the phalanx formation.

- The soldiers would tightly pack together and form a shield wall, each soldier would carry an incredibly long spear with a counterweight at the end so that it could be held parallel to the ground easily. They also carried shortswords as back up weapons. The first 5 rows in the formation would lower their spears towards the enemy, with the spears of the men in the 5th row eaching just barely past the shields of the first row. This effecively created a shield and spear wall in which each soldier had his own spear and the spears of 4 people behind him between himself and the enemy. This formation could effecitvely march into the enemy line and impale many of the enemies before they even reached the shield wall.

-The only weakness of the phalanx is that it requires disciplined soldiers who could hold a very tight formation, and the formation could not maneuver quickly, so it was hard to use on rough terrain and had to be protected from attacks on the sides by cavalry or other infantry.

P.P.S. Although I sound like a total history freak here, it is actually just a bunch of research I am doing for a project in my history class.

2006-04-12, 08:19 AM

Just about everything you state 'as fact' is a point of debate and differed from period to period, unit to unit and, perhaps, theatre to theatre. Check out the Roman Army Talk Forums to read all manner of learned and (sometimes) unlearned opinions about the equipment and tactics of the Roman Republican and Imperial Army of all periods.

I would be interested in the sources you are using, if you wouldn't mind including them.


Technology was apparently not a problem in the production of longer swords during the Republican period; again, check out the Roman Army Talk Forums.

However, this discussion probably ought to be moved to the Real world Weapon and Armour Questions thread, as we no longer seem to be really addressing the needs of the original post.

2006-04-12, 09:40 AM
good point about moving to Real World ? thread...

be sure to re-read about the length of the spatha compared to the gladius...

2006-04-12, 09:42 AM
the falcatta [sic] was a greek blade iirc Thracian in the beginning...

2006-04-12, 09:30 PM
the falcatta [sic] was a greek blade iirc Thracian in the beginning...

And who do you think conquered the Greeks and used some of their weapons and tactics?