Used with permission from jason-felix.
“Since when were you under the impression that you had free will?”
The subconscious. The most active part of the mind is not the conscious mind, observing and thinking about the world. No, it is the layer below that, the layer which processes and records and makes connections to things the conscious mind isn’t even aware of. To manipulate it is to bypass the stubborn resistance too often found in the waking mind. A Taxiarch is one who has shaped his psychic abilities towards affecting this untapped well of power.
Although the method of training Taxiarchs was originally discovered by the military of a certain nation, the centuries since have spread the teachings across the continent. They can now be found anywhere, but their training even now reflects its origins in the militaristic bent of those who adopt the roll of Taxiarch.
Role: A Taxiarch makes for an excellent leader or party spokesman by reason of their understanding of other sapient beings. Once it comes down to combat, it may at first appear that the Taxiarch’s mind is elsewhere as he leaves the heavy lifting to the rest of the party—but once one looks past that, the extensive and elaborate working of the Taxiarch is revealed. Reaching out to brush against the subconsciousnesses of many beings at once, the Taxiarch works to coordinate his allies, disrupt his enemies, and shape the battlefield to his advantage.
Alignment: The patience, sense of subtlety, and the extensive training they must undergo means that most Taxiarchs are lawful. There are no moral leanings in the Taxiarch’s training, but the nature of their power over the mind is such that some succumb to the temptation of dominance. However, there remain enough good souls amongst their ranks to keep their reputation clean.
Hit Die: d8
Starting Gold: As fighter.
The Taxiarch’s class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Autohypnosis (Wis), Bluff (Cha), Craft (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Handle Animal (Wis), Heal (Wis), Intimidate (Cha), Knowledge (all) (Int), Linguistics (Int), Perception (Wis), Profession (Wis), Ride (Dex), Sense Motive (Wis), Spellcraft (Int), and Use Magic Device (Cha)
Skill Ranks per Level: (6 + Int modifier)
Level Base Attack Bonus Fort Save Ref Save Will Save Special Power Points/day 1st +0 +2 +0 +2 Bonus Feat, Disrupt and Disable, Statagem, Subconscious Directive (+1/-1) 2 2nd +1 +3 +0 +3 Quiet Suggestions, Second Guess 4 3rd +2 +3 +1 +3 One Unit, Stratagem 8 4th +3 +4 +1 +4 Bonus Feat, Sensory Network, Subconscious Directive (+2/-1) 12 5th +3 +4 +1 +4 Benefits of Collaboration, Stratagem, Warfare is Deception 16 6th +4 +4 +2 +4 Companions of Battle, Empathy, Study of Tactics 24 7th +5 +5 +2 +5 Stratagem, Subconscious Directive (+2/-2) 32 8th +6/+1 +6 +2 +6 Adapt or Die, Bonus Feat, Subliminal Yoke 40 9th +6/+1 +6 +3 +6 Comrades, Distracting Surprise, Stratagem 48 10th +7/+2 +7 +3 +7 Action Seed, Battlefield Camaraderie, Subconscious Directive (+3/-2) 56 11th +8/+3 +7 +3 +7 Fool the Wise, Blind the Sighted, Stratagem, Study of Strategy 72 12th +9/+4 +8 +4 +8 Bonus Feat, Order Behind the Chaos, Telepathic Communications Network 88 13th +9/+4 +8 +4 +8 Stratagem, Subconscious Directive (+3/-3) 104 14th +10/+5 +9 +4 +9 Seize the Advantage 120 15th +11/+6/+1 +9 +5 +9 Adapt and Thrive, Stratagem, Ties Tested and True 136 16th +12/+7/+2 +10 +5 +10 Bonus Feat, Study of War, Subconscious Directive (+4/-3) 160 17th +12/+7/+2 +11 +5 +11 Instigator of Falsehoods, Stratagem 192 18th +13/+8/+3 +11 +6 +11 Ever-Shifting Objective, Commander of Consciousness 208 19th +14/+9/+4 +12 +6 +12 Stratagem, Subconscious Directive (+4/-4) 132 20th +15/+10/+5 +12 +6 +12 Artist of War, Bonus Feat, Prince of Lies 256
All of the following are class features of the Taxiarch.
Weapon and Armor Proficiencies: The Taxiarch is proficient with simple and martial weapons, and with light armor and shields (but not tower shields).
Power Points/Day: A number of the Taxiarch’s class abilities require the use of power points, and the class gains a number of power points dependant on his level. The Taxiarch cannot manifest psionics; however, he does have a manifester level equal to his caster level. Should the Taxiarch ever take a prestige class that increases manifester level, he increases his effecting Taxiarch level, acting as though he took a level of Taxiarch for determining the bonuses/penalties of Subconscious Directive and for level-dependant strategems, in place of learning more powers. He learns no new abilities or stratagems. He gains bonus powers for having a high Intelligence, Wisdom, or Charisma (primary manifesting score is chosen at character creation and cannot be changed)
Bonus Feat: The Taxiarch gains a teamwork feat. He must meet all prerequisites for this feat, save for the following exception: if the feat requires a specific caster level, the Taxiarch may substitute his manifester level for caster levels. However, unless he is capable of casting spells, the Taxiarch is unable to use the feat himself, making the feat only useful in bolstering an allied spellcaster with the same teamwork feat. He gains an additional bonus feat at levels 4, 8, 12, 16, and 20
Disrupt and Disable (Ex): Warfare is a battle between minds, and this concept can be applied as easily to basic combat. The Taxiarch uses his manifester level in place of his base attack bonus and his primary manifesting ability score in place of his Strength score when using the feint combat maneuver.
Stratagem (Ex, Su, Sp, Ps): The Taxiarch gains a stratagem from the list of Taxiarch stratagems, listed below. Many of these require that the Taxiarch either maintain or expend his psionic focus, and some have prerequisites that must be met before selecting it. Any stratagem with a continuous effect or that requires psionic focus can be activated or deactivated as an immediate action. Any stratagems referring to level are speaking about class level. Unless stated otherwise, stratagems may only be taken once.
Subconscious Directive (Su): The conscious mind considers the information presented to it and resists intrusion with a powerful will; the unconscious, though, controls so much more of the body and directs the conscious mind in ways it never notices. The Taxiarch may speak directly to the subconscious of others and guide their actions. Within a 30 foot aura, the Taxiarch can do one of the following: provide a bonus to AC or attack; provide a penalty to AC or attack. The Taxiarch chooses who to target with this ability, allowing them to misdirect their enemies or adjust their allies to more advantageous positioning. Activating the ability, or changing effects, is a standard action. He does not gain the benefits of this ability himself, but is still considered to be under its effect in regards to other class abilities.
At level 4 he is gains the option of providing the depicted bonus or penalty to all skill checks or to damage: with damage, the bonus/penalty is doubled. At level 8 he can provide the bonus/penalty to concentration checks or one saving throw, the saving throw determined when reaching 8th level. At level 12 he can provide the bonus/penalty to Combat Maneuver Defense or to a second saving throw, the saving throw determined when reaching 12th level. At 16th level he now provides the bonus/penalty to all saving throws and to his Combat Maneuver Bonus. At level 20, he can apply the bonus/penalty to ability checks, critical hit confirmation rolls, and initiative rolls. This is a mind-affecting ability.
Quiet Suggestions (Su): The subconscious is a confusing swirl of thoughts, images, and impressions; a Taxiarch can find patterns in the flow of thoughts and insert commands of his own into the thought-stream of another. By expending his psionic focus he can select one enemy within 30 feet: although the DM initially determines what actions (move, standard, full-round) the NPC will perform, the Taxiarch is the one to decide what the character does with one of that character’s actions. However, as this is only an indirect form of control, the subject will never make an obviously stupid or disadvantageous act, nor cease fighting unless it would already have a good reason to do so. This is a mind-affecting effect, and a subject may make a Will save (DC 10 + ½ class level + primary manifesting ability score bonus), becoming dazed for one round on a successful save. At levels 4 and 6 he can affect one more individual with this ability.
Second Guess (Su): Perhaps the best way to find success in war or in battle is to set one’s opponent off-balance or catch them by surprise. Should he not already possess it, the Taxiarch gains Improved Feint as a bonus feat, even if he does not meet the prerequisites. Should he already possess Improved Feint, he instead gains another feat with Combat Expertise as a prerequisite: however, for this feat he must meet all requirements. So long as he is psionically focused, the Taxiarch gains a +2 bonus to CMB to feint and a +2 to CMD against the same.
One Unit (Su): Teamwork is critical to the success in any group, but the Taxiarch can emphasize its importance. The Taxiarch and anyone currently receiving a bonus from the Taxiarch’s Subconscious Directive ability doubles the bonus provided by aid another, so long it as it is used to assist the Taxiarch or another person receiving the bonus from Subconscious Directive. For one round after using aid another, both the user and the assisted increase their AC by 1.
Sensory Network (Su): As a side effect of constantly brushing against the subconsciousnesses of those around them, the Taxiarch is exposed to snippets of his surroundings that the Taxiarch has, over time, learned to interpret as sensory data. So long as the Taxiarch is psionically focused and a thinking being not immune to mind-affecting effects is within 30 feet, the Taxiarch gains a +2 bonus to initiative and Perception. At level 14 he can provide this benefit to all allies within 30 feet.
Benefits of Collaboration (Su): Wars are not won by individual men, but by groups brought together by common need. Any allies receiving a bonus from his Subconscious Directive and uses aid another and one another gain a +1 bonus to CMD for one around, affecting both the aider and the aided.
Warfare is Deception (Ex): Through both their own skills at deception and by subtle prodding at the mind, a Taxiarch is able to blind the enemy to what actions he and his allies are actually performing, or simply push his mind off balance. The Taxiarch may make a feint attempt at any individual within thirty feet as a standard action.
Study of Tactics (Su): The Taxiarch is always learning how to manage the battlefield. He is now able to maintain two different Subconscious Directives at the same time. When the Taxiarch attacks someone behind cover and expends his psionic focus, that cover is considered to only be light cover, and already light cover is ignored.
Empathy (Su): The Taxiarch has learned to decipher more of the subconscious’s mysteries. The Taxiarch can, as a standard action, determine the emotional state of any being susceptible to mind-affecting effects within 30 feet.
Companions of Battle (Su): The bond between the Taxiarch and those he works with are strong, and the Taxiarch can use this closer bond to assist his companions more thoroughly (and keep himself from being stuck in combat alone). The Taxiarch can, each day when refilling power points, select one of his teamwork feats. All allies within 30 feet of him are treated as having this feat.
Subliminal Yoke (Su): The Taxiarch gains greater mastery over manipulating the minds of others. This is treated like Quiet Suggestions, except as follows: the Taxiarch can only select one target, can choose all actions the target will take next round, and the target takes a -1 penalty to any attack it directs at the Taxiarch for the rest of the day. The Taxiarch can affect one additional target at level 10, and a third target at level 14.
Adapt or Die (Su): If a general is not able to react quickly against the unexpected then he is doomed to defeat. The Taxiarch gains a +1 bonus on attacks of opportunity and attacks against targets denied their Dexterity bonus to AC. The Taxiarch may expend three power points to temporarily gain a teamwork feat possessed by an ally within 30 feet. This feat lasts for one minute even if the ally later moves more out of range, and he can only possess one “adaptive feat” at a time.
Comrades (Su): Working together as a cohesive team is critical to success in any endeavor. Battle, only more so. While within 30 feet of the Taxiarch, he and anyone benefiting from his Subconscious Directive are capable of using aid another on anyone else, regardless of the distance between them. Aid another only costs a single move action for anyone doing so.
Distracting Surprise (Ex): He is skilled at acting in ways that people are mentally incapable of anticipating. The Taxiarch may feint as a move action. Note that one can use a standard action as a second move action.
Action Seed (Su/Ps): The Taxiarch’s mastery of the subconscious has reached the point where their meddling in the mind can have lasting effects. He can, 1/day, plant a kernel of thought in the mind of another by expending his psionic focus, to be activated immediately or at a later date. One subject within 30 feet must make a Will save. Failure means that he planted the seed, and they do not gain another save against it until subject to Break Enchantment or Remove Curse—however, the target is not aware of the seed unless he at any point rolls a 25 or higher on an Autohypnosis roll. This seed is a combined single-target Subliminal Yoke and Compelling Voice power, which the Taxiarch can augment with power points as though manifesting the power. When He activates the seed he gives the command, which the subject will try to accomplish—if it cannot accomplish the command, it will fall under the Taxiarch’s Subliminal Yoke for one round, which the Taxiarch may direct as though he were present. Actions taken to fulfill the suggestion are considered reasonable actions in terms of what he may force the subject to do. The action seed can be activated as a move action so long as he is within one mile of the target.
Battlefield Camaraderie (Su): Supported by the Taxiarch’s will, the teamwork of the party becomes something beyond mere assistance of an ally. Whenever the Taxiarch or someone benefiting from his Subliminal Directive and uses aid another on another like target, all involved gain a +1 circumstance bonus to saving throws for one round.
Study of Strategy (Su): Although strategy is more important in conflicts an order of magnitude larger than the size of an adventuring party’s typical battle, the methods of it are still applicable on the smaller scale. The Taxiarch is capable of holding three different Subconscious Directives at one time. While he holds psionic focus he doubles any circumstance bonuses to attack, AC, damage, skills, or saves from the terrain. He and any allies travelling with him only need to make saving throws every other hour.
Fool the Wise, Blind the Sighted (Ex/Su): The Taxiarch’s skill at trickery is great, and their understanding of the fundamental workings behind the human mind equally so. When feinting, the Taxiarch may feint against one other target within range, rolling one feint attempt against both their CMD’s. This is an extraordinary ability. If faced with a target immune to mind-affecting effects, the Taxiarch can still his knowledge of the basic rules driving action to feint against the target, who is also allowed a Will saving throw against the effect. Targeting the fundamental pseudo-mental composition of a target like this is a supernatural ability.
Telepathic Communications Network (Su): The Taxiarch may serve as a node allowing his allies to engage in secret conversation. While within thirty feet of the Taxiarch, all allies are capable of engaging in telepathic communication with one another. Another Taxiarch is capable of overhearing the conversation so long as a 30 foot space around them intersects with the other Taxiarch’s area, but cannot “speak” in it.
Order Behind the Chaos (Su): It is easy to see complex events and believe them to be chaotic, but there is always an underlying pattern and reason present. The Taxiarch is capable of changing his Subconscious Directives as a swift action. While his allies have a better understanding of his thought processes, if any enemies are within range and were affected both before and after by the switching ability, they are all dazed for one round. A given individual can only be dazed by this three times in one combat, as it quickly acclimatizes to the Taxiarch’s ways.
Seize the Advantage (Su/Ex): The Taxiarch’s allies learn by necessity to be better at taken down those who have lowered their guard before it can be raised again. All allies, but not the Taxiarch, within 30 feet of the Taxiarch gain a +2 bonus to attack and damage against flanked targets or denied their Dexterity bonus to AC. This is a supernatural ability. The Taxiarch’s own experience allows it to take advantage of any opening in moments. He gains the Combat Reflexes feat, or another combat feat he qualifies for should he already possess it. He receives a +2 bonus to confirm critical hits when attacking a target that is flanked, denied their Dexterity bonus to AC, on worse terrain than him, or has been hit with a critical hit in the previous round.
Adapt and Thrive (Su): As Adapt or Die, but the Taxiarch can now possess two adoptive feats.
Ties Tested and True (Su): The bonds between companions are forged by the heat of battle, and those ties are what pulls a unit through combat alive. When any allies benefiting from his Subconscious Directive are within 30 feet and use aid another on another such ally, both involved gain a +2 bonus to attack and CMB for one round. Once per day he may expend his Subconscious Directive, disabling it for 1d3 rounds, to bestow upon a single target double the bonus or penalty until the Taxiarch can use Subconscious Directive again.
Study of War (Su): His knowledge of all aspects of combat has been honed by more battle experience than most men would find in their entirely lifetime. The Taxiarch are capable of maintaining 4 different Subconscious Directives at once. His speed is not impeded by moving through difficult terrain.
Instigator of Falsehoods (Ex): Deception has become second nature, and the Taxiarch can now feint in combat as a swift action.
Commander of Consciousness (Su): With proper care and surpassing knowledge of the subconscious, one can temporarily override a victim’s sense of self entirely. By spending ten power points and expending his psionic focus, the Taxiarch can for a single round control every action a target makes regardless of the consequences to the victim or how he would normally behave. The subject is allowed a Will save against this mind-affecting effect, and the Taxiarch can only use this ability once every ten minutes.
Ever-Shifting Objective (Su): Staying still is to be outmaneuvered—easily guessed goals and easily performed tactics are easily defended against. The Taxiarch can change his Subconscious Directives as a swift action. Any enemies subject to its penalties both before and after this change must make a Will save or be stunned for one round. A successful save dazes them for one round. A target can only be dazed three times in a single combat before he acclimatizes to the Taxiarch’s ways.
Artist of War (Su): Were they able to see it, your control of the beautiful would awe all with its intricacy and beauty. You are capable of holding two psionic focuses at once, although you much achieve each individually. The secondary benefits provided when your allies use aid another are doubled and last for two rounds. You can manage a full 5 different Subconscious Directives at once.
Prince of Lies (Ex): Your mastery of trickery and illusion is at the peak that such talents can reach. When using feint you may make a single feint attempt against all targets within 30 feet.