View Full Version : Making Tanking Possible - The Guardian [3.5]

The Dark Fiddler
2012-07-02, 09:53 AM
The Guardian

Hit Die: d12

Requirements: To qualify to become a guardian, a character must fulfill all the following criteria.

Proficiency: Must be proficient with medium armor and shields.
Base Attack Bonus +5

Class Skills: The Guardian's class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Balance (Dex), Climb (Str), Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Gather Information (Cha), Handle Animal (Cha), Jump (Str), Heal (Wis), Intimidate (Cha), Listen (Wis), Profession (Wis), Spot (Wis), and Survival (Wis).

Skill Points at Each Level: 4 + Int modifier.

LevelBase Attack BonusFortRefWillSpecial
1st+1+2+0+2Skilled Shieldsman
2nd+2+3+0+3Shrug it Off (Con to AC)
3rd+3+3+1+3Second Skin
4th+4+4+1+4Imposing Presence
5th+5+4+1+4Unyielding Endurance
6th+6+5+2+5Shrug it Off (Damage Reduction)
7th+7+5+2+5I Will Protect You!
8th+8+6+2+6My Shield Is Yours
9th+9+6+3+6Inspiring Endurance
10th+10+7+3+7Shrug it Off (Spell Resistance), Truly Imposing Presence

Class Features: All of the following are features of the guardian prestige class.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: A Guardian gains Heavy Armor Proficiency and Tower Shield Proficiency if he does not already have them.

Skilled Shieldsman: Guardians are particularly skilled with the use of shields. A Guardian that wields two shields may add both of their shield bonuses to his armor class; a Guardian that wields a shield in two hands may instead apply double its shield bonus to his armor class. A Guardian who bashes with his shield does not treat it as an off-hand weapon, unless he would do so due to Two Weapon Fighting, and deals damage as if he were one size category larger. A Guardian may apply the benefits of the Weapon Finesse feat to a shield he wields, and may count his shield as a light weapon for the purposes of Two Weapon Fighting.

Shrug it Off: A Guardian rarely fights through agility, by dodging attacks, instead relying on his endurance to withstand blows. Starting at second level, a Guardian may add his Constitution modifier, rather than his Dexterity modifier, to his armor class.

At sixth level, a Guardian learns to shoulder blows in such a way that even the strongest hits are less effective, gaining DR/- equal to half of his class level. This stacks with damage reduction from other sources, such as Barbarian levels.

At tenth level, a Guardian learns to shrug off even magical effects, gaining Spell Resistance equal to 15 plus his armor bonus and shield bonus.

Second Skin: Guardians learn to move with their armor without being hindered like other warriors would be. At third level, a Guardian lowers his Armor Check Penalty by half his class level, rounded up. Additionally, he treats his armor as a category lighter for the purposes of movement penalties and restrictions on class abilities, and is no longer fatigued for sleeping in his armor.

Imposing Presence: Guardians understand that it is their duty to protect their allies, and subconsciously put themselves between their friends and their foes. Starting at fourth level, a Guardian provides cover to allies, rather than soft cover. Additionally, he may choose to treat all squares within his natural reach as difficult terrain for any foe traveling through them.

Unyielding Endurance: A Guardian’s sense of duty can carry him beyond the point where lesser warriors would have fallen. Beginning at fifth level, a Guardian no longer dies at -10 hit points, instead dying upon reaching a number of hit points equal to twice his Constitution score below zero, and may additionally act normally when reduced below zero hit points. Furthermore, whenever a protector fails a Fortitude or Will save, he may make a second save to cancel the effects the following round, albeit with a -2 circumstance penalty.

I Will Protect You!: When a Guardian’s ally is threatened, he may perform extraordinary feats to defend him. Starting at seventh level, a Guardian may, as an immediate action, move up to his full movement speed to intercept an attack; he replaces the previous target, moving him five feet in any direction, and become the new target of the attack. If he can recognize it, he may also intercept an area effect (such as the fireball spell) by occupying its point of origin; a spell intercepted in this manner must overcome any Spell Resistance he has or fail entirely.

My Shield is Yours: In their steadfast dedication to protecting their allies, Guardians learn to protect others with their shield. Starting at eighth level, a Guardian may grant any ally within his natural reach the benefits of his shield (that is, the shield bonus and any enchantments on the shield). He may change the ally that receives this bonus as a free action on his turn, or an immediate action otherwise. If the Guardian wields two shields, he may grant each to a separate ally, but they must be on opposite sides of him, and he may only change who receives the bonus from one shield as an immediate action (he may change both during his turn).

Inspiring Endurance: A Guardian’s enduring spirit can serve as an inspiration to his allies in dire times. Starting at ninth level, when a Guardian succeeds on a saving throw, any ally within 30 feet of him may make a second save against any effect they are suffering from, albeit with a -2 circumstance penalty.

Truly Imposing Presence: As a Guardian continues to train, he becomes a bastion of defense through which his enemies have a hard time passing. Starting at tenth level, any enemy entering a square threatened by the Guardian must make a Strength or Dexterity check, opposed by the Guardian’s. If they fail, they may not enter the area and lose half of their remaining movement for that action. Size modifiers from being large apply as a bonus to the Strength check and a penalty to the Dexterity check, while size modifiers from being small do the opposite. A creature prevented from entering the area may attempt to do so with another move action, but still must succeed on a check. A creature that successfully enters the area does not need to make another check unless it leaves and re-enters the area.

Additionally, all squares affected by Imposing Presence provide soft cover to the Guardian’s allies.

I want to state beforehand that this is purposefully a fluff-light class with easy prerequisites. Playing the role of a defensive character that can both protect himself and his allies can be difficult in 3.5, and it's not exactly the most overpowering this, so I didn't want to limit this prestige class by making it difficult to work with. As with anything, DMs should feel free to apply a more specific flavor or harsher requirements, but I would recommend against it for the same reasons that kept me from adding them in the first place.

Anyway, this class is sort of a redo of a PrC I made and posted two years ago. That class had some serious issues, caused largely by my lack of system familiarity at that point in my life. I've got a number of games under my belt since then, read up on the rules quite a bit, and generally matured, so hopefully this second attempt ends up being a bit more successful and usable.

Of note, I think this class finally solves the issue that defensive classes have of enemies just walking around or shooting past them. Although it doesn't have a mechanic that forces enemies to attack him (for which, although it's not perfect, there is the Goad feat), I Shall Protect You and (Truly) Imposing Presence lets a guardian take an attack that would otherwise hit an ally and lock down enemies that try to move past him. My Shield is Yours also lets him give a bit of a boost to otherwise vulnerable allies that he's standing near. In the end, I feel like I made a class that satisfactorily covers the role of tank without being restrictively specific in flavor.