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    Troll in the Playground
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    May 2009
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    Default The Retooled Defender of Sealtiel: less exalted, more Exalted!

    Ladies and gentlemen, children of all ages! Lawful Good Outsiders and redeemed Eldritch Abominations too!

    So, I guess it's time for "Monthly Retoolings", right? And there's a lot of stuff still on the desk, ready to be deployed; I could deliver it at an instant, but I like it to be slow and steady.

    Today's retooling is from a book that, for many, is anathema. If you've heard of the "Book of Exalted Deeds" (the supplement, not the artifact!), you're probably gonna look at this and say "next!"

    Well, ain't that a rude thing to do, sir!

    Certainly, the book has an insanely high amount of hits and misses, going from the broken (Starmantle, the Saint template in a way, some Sanctified spells) to the broken (Vow of Poverty, Holy Mindraep Sanctify the Wicked, Vow of Nonviolence/Peace, poisons are evil so here's some good poisons Ravages, forget about plagues here's some good diseases Afflictions...the list goes on). And the mildly good and mildly bad in between (feats are hit or miss, monsters can be nice such as more Eladrin and Guardinals, or retarded as the Hollyphant). But this isn't a thread of "bash BoED", this is a thread about a retooling from the book, so hush! Onwards to the topic at hand!

    So, within the prestige classes that are either hit or miss, there's a pair of classes that are interesting because they're great for Paladins or martial-inclined Clerics. One is the Fist of Raziel, which is a class that boosts spellcasting, grants smite evil and improved smite abilities, some...stuff with Sundering, and a capstone that allows you to use Doritos as improvised holy shuriken (well, if D&D had Doritos, but let's face it; you can take any weapon and infuse it with holy power, I kid you not). And then there's the Defender of Sealtiel, which...fails horribly. It's...a class that allows you to use some spell-like abilities related to defense and protection, but eventually fails because it doesn't grant anything else. Well...it does offer a permanent Magic Circle against Evil effect which you can collapse unto a Protective Aura (think Holy Aura) for a while, but Fist of Raziel offers Magic Circle against Evil as well, and it's not a defender type class. So really, you get only a meager amount of skills (and full BAB and d10 HD), but you don't get anything else aside from limited-times per day SLA; no bonus feats, no spellcasting increase...nothing that would allow you to take DoS and really improve it.

    Hence, it is my duty to provide all with a much-improved version of the Defender of Sealtiel. There's no need to tie it to a Hebdomad follower if you want, but the following is meant to do so, being a legacy thing and everything. The following is meant to make the Defender a bit more powerful than before, and make it an undefeatable individual rather than just a simple character who gains...SLA's for no particular reason whatsoever. Therefore, allow me to introduce the...

    DEFENDER OF SEALTIEL


    CGI Image - copyright Square Enix Co. Ltd. 2002-2003

    "Oh, in the name of the Defender of the Hebdomad; what part of 'thou shalt not harm' you fail to understand!? Do I have to teach you again that as long as I live, they shall not be harmed?" - Thual Heartwarden, Wood Elf Defender devoted to Sealtiel, the Patron Archon of Defenders

    Requirements
    To qualify to become a defender of Sealtiel, a character must fulfill all the following criteria.
    Alignment: Lawful good
    Base Attack Bonus: +7
    Feats: Diehard, Servant of the Heavens, either Great Fortitude or Iron Will,
    Special: One of the following: able to cast the shield other spell, proficiency with tower shields, or steely resolve class ability
    Special: A character with the divine grace or indomitable zeal class ability does not require to acquire Great Fortitude or Iron Will to enter.

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    Alright, this should be enough requirements to make the class a late entry.

    Now, you may wonder: why THREE feats, +7 BAB AND yet another requirement? Well...FOUR requirements if you consider that Diehard has a prerequisite.

    This is to make the most reasonable entry point being a Fighter, the most forgotten of all classes. Paladins and Crusaders also gain entry by means of Divine Grace and Indomitable Zeal, considering their hard time dealing with their feat requirements. Knights, on the other hand, will have a harder time (but they can MC into Fighter better than a Paladin would). The final entry point, of course, is Cleric, and the idea was to make the Cleric's entry a bit more convoluted than the rest; either they MC into Fighter, or wait until 11th level to enter normally, not to mention that some of their feats will be compromised while at that.

    All three are necessary requirements: Diehard is the ability to remain conscious even after reaching negative hit points, and a few classes have the ability to restore their HP during their turn, which means they can remain in combat for much longer. Servant of the Heavens is a legacy ability, and meant for normal entry; however, if you're not choosing to tie the PrC to Sealtiel, you may decide to ignore the requirement (you still have to use the Book of Exalted Deeds, however, for some other things). As for Great Fortitude or Iron Will, they're a bit of a feat tax for Clerics and Fighters, given that Fighters already have enough bonus feats and Clerics might get enough benefits from this class that they need some sort of weight to cancel that (and since they already get a spell that replaces Fighters and part of their power is based on divine feats, they get to use their tricks a bit later). Non-divine spellcasters get at least bonus feats to compensate (unless they gain a level in a divine spellcasting class), except for Crusaders who get a maneuver progression instead.


    Class Skills
    The defender of Sealtielís class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Balance (Str), Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Intimidate (Cha), Listen (Wis), Sense Motive (Wis) and Spot (Wis)
    Skill Points at Each Level: 2 + Int modifier.

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    Skill points are definitely not one of the Defender's strong points, but they at least get some strong skills. Balance, of course, aids them on remaining standing, which may later lead to getting prone without much trouble; Concentration is needed for some spells (and if using Diamond Mind maneuvers, they're also a necessity); Listen and Spot are meant to make them strong scouts, Intimidate is strong for demoralizing (if you have demoralizing tricks), and Sense Motive to catch bluffs. What other skills would a defender want?

    ...Wait...you really want more!? What's that hogwash about devoting oneself to Knowledge? Oh, that it gives more damage power! Uh, well...

    Thing is, few skills fit the defender thematically. The ones that are up there are some of the closest ones, and they don't merit many skill points. Their focus is on spells and protection, so it's not like they're focused on using many skills. On the other hand, the skills they get are usually some of the ones most sought by martial characters (mostly Listen and Spot), so it's not a big deal.

    Still, if it's a big deal for you, and you can justify at least about 12 skills so as to augment the skill point list to 4 + Int, I might think about it.


    Hit Dice: d12

    {table=head]Level|Base Attack Bonus|Fort Save|Ref Save|Will Save|Special|Spells

    1st|+1|
    +2
    |
    +0
    |
    +2
    |Spontaneous spellcasting (shield other)|-

    2nd|+2|
    +3
    |
    +0
    |
    +3
    |Magic circle, bonus feats, maneuvers|+1 level of existing divine spellcasting class

    3rd|+3|
    +3
    |
    +1
    |
    +3
    |Divine shield|+1 level of existing divine spellcasting class

    4th|+4|
    +4
    |
    +1
    |
    +4
    |Defensive stance 2/day|+1 level of existing divine spellcasting class

    5th|+5|
    +4
    |
    +1
    |
    +4
    |Mettle|+1 level of existing divine spellcasting class

    6th|+6|
    +5
    |
    +2
    |
    +5
    |Spontaneous spellcasting (glory of the martyr)|-

    7th|+7|
    +5
    |
    +2
    |
    +5
    |Extended shielding|+1 level of existing divine spellcasting class

    8th|+8|
    +6
    |
    +2
    |
    +6
    |Improved shielding|+1 level of existing divine spellcasting class

    9th|+9|
    +6
    |
    +3
    |
    +6
    |Defensive stance 3/day|+1 level of existing divine spellcasting class

    10th|+10|
    +7
    |
    +3
    |
    +7
    |Protective aura, unyielding resolve|+1 level of existing divine spellcasting class [/table]

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    A 12-sided hit die!? Yeah, I mean...what defender shouldn't have a d12 hit die for their hit points!? That's a reason why most of the meat shields aren't so meaty after all; they lack a bit of hit points to work with, and if they get some good Constitution, even more.

    As for the rest, you'll notice that they get good Fortitude and Will saving throws, a necessity to resist some of the most dangerous spells around. It also helps Fighters with their Will, Knights with their Fortitude, and all around it strengthens Paladins and Crusaders on their already awesome saves. 8/10ths spellcasting stops at 1st and 6th level since you get spontaneous spellcasting of the two key spells of the Defender; Shield Other and Glory of the Martyr. Both of them will be explained later, but the idea is that just getting the ability to cast spontaneously two spells and the focus on defense and martial prowess pretty much justifies the loss of two spell levels; if you work it right, you'll still get 18th level spellcasting, which means even the rare Favored Soul who enters gets 9th level spells anyways.


    Class Features
    All of the following are features of the Defender of Sealtiel prestige class.

    Spontaneous Spellcasting (Sp): A defender of Sealtielís main purpose is to protect the innocent at all costs. This oath is not to be taken lightly, and all defenders know the task is near impossible. Their patron Tome Archon, Sealtiel, recognizes this and grants them the ability to take and bear the wounds of others even at a distance.

    At 1st level, a defender of Sealtiel gains the ability to manifest the effect of the Shield Other spell, regardless of whether he is capable of casting spells or not. If the defender can cast divine spells, he gains the ability to convert any 2nd level or higher spell into a shield other spell as a cleric can convert prepared spells into cure spells. If the defender does not know how to cast divine spells, he gains the ability to use Shield Other as a spell-like ability, as a spellcaster of the defenderís character level, a number of times per day equal to his Charisma modifier (minimum three times per day).

    At 6th level, the defender gains the ability to manifest the effect of the Glory of the Martyr spell. A spellcasting defender may sacrifice a 4th level or higher spell, and a non-spellcasting defender gains the ability to use the spell as a spell-like ability a number of times per day equal to his Charisma modifier (minimum three times per day).

    If the defender of Sealtiel has no divine spellcasting ability and gains a level in a class that grants divine spells, he loses the ability to cast shield other (if he gains the ability to cast 2nd level spells) or glory of the martyr (if he gains the ability to cast 4th level spells) as spell-like abilities, but immediately gains the ability to spontaneously convert spells.

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    The key concept of the Defender is that they can convert any spell in their disposal into Shield Other and Glory of the Martyr spells, which effectively take part of the target's damage and transfers it to the character, while granting a deflection bonus and a resistance bonus to boot. This is pretty nice, since it implies a different way of tanking.

    However...what about those Fighters, those Knights, those Crusaders, and those martial characters that don't cast divine spells (even Duskblades, who use arcane spells)? Well, they get a treat; they can cast the spell as a spell-like ability for a few times per day (between three to their maximum Charisma, to be precise), and since most of the classes will love to have some Charisma (except Fighter, but then again you might be building a Charisma-based Fighter?), it's all in good measure. This is a clever way to deal with spell-like abilities, since those who have spells will use their spell slots, while those who haven't get a measure of spellcasting ability.

    Now, I'm sure not all of you have access to the Book of Exalted Deeds, which means you might not get enough access to the Glory of the Martyr spell. If you don't, the best way to handle it is "Mass Shield Other"; you grant the benefit of Shield Other to all allies within 30 ft. range of each other, and you take the damage for everyone. Yes, it can be a bit cumbersome to take half the damage for everyone (but then again, that's why you have a d12 hit die for hit points!), but that way you reduce the damage all allies take, which is what you actually want, no?

    Also...you may want to check on that Charisma, alright?


    Spells per Day: At all levels except 1st and 6th, a defender of Sealtiel gains new spells per day as if he had also gained a level in a divine spellcasting class he belonged to before adding the prestige class. He does not, however, gain any other benefit a character of that class would have gained. If a character had more than one spellcasting class before becoming a defender of Sealtiel, he must decide to which class he adds the new level for purposes of determining spells per day.

    If the defender of Sealtiel has no levels in a divine spellcasting class, he gains no benefit. If the defenderís spellcaster levels are from paladin or ranger, the caster level for those spells is equal to their defender of Sealtiel class levels plus half their paladin or ranger levels (including 1st and 6th level, unlike other divine spellcasters).

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    Clerics and Paladins get this benefit, mostly; the rare Favored Soul (or even Sohei!) also gets it as well. You get 8/10ths spellcasting, which is a decent enough progression.

    One point I wanted to consider was Paladin (and Ranger) spellcasting. If a character somehow got Paladin spells or Ranger spells and decided to progress those, forcing them to have half their caster level seems like a punishment. Thus, they get a special treat; if you progress Paladin spells or Ranger spells, you get full CL while taking these levels. Now, that only works if you merely progress Paladin spellcasting or Ranger spellcasting; if you decide to raise a single level of Paladin and then the rest on Cleric, well...that won't work that way. Or at least, it shouldn't. So, as a rule of thumb: if you take the 2nd level of Defender of Sealtiel and progress Paladin spellcasting, your 1st level of Defender counts as adding to CL, and your 2nd level grants full CL instead of half CL. If you take then 3rd level in Cleric, you raise your CL on Cleric spells, not Paladin spells. If you take your 6th level in Defender and progress Paladin spells, your 5th level of Defender counts as adding to CL, and your 6th level grants full CL instead of half CL. So your Paladin (or Ranger) progression is conditioned, in order to prevent some weird tricks such as having Cleric spellcasting and one or two Paladin spells with CL 12th or something; you either progress Cleric or Paladin, but you get a few freebies if you progress Paladin (or Ranger).


    Bonus Feats: A defender of Sealtiel that has no levels in a spellcasting class (even arcane spellcasting classes) or levels in a class that grants maneuvers gain bonus feats at 2nd level and every three class levels afterwards. A defender of Sealtielís bonus feats must be taken from the list of fighter bonus feats, and levels in defender of Sealtiel stack with fighter levels for purposes of determining the characterís effective fighter level.

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    Since Fighters and Knights (and even Duskblades or Samurai) don't get spellcasting levels, they get bonus feats to compensate. They get them at roughly the same time they'd get a general feat, and levels in the class are considered Fighter levels in case you wanna take, say, Weapon Specialization or Melee Weapon Mastery or something along those lines. This progression, however, does not affect divine spellcasters (they progress their spells instead) nor martial adepts (they progress their maneuvers instead).


    Maneuvers: At each odd-numbered level, the Defender of Sealtiel gains a new maneuver from the Devoted Spirit, Stone Dragon or White Raven disciplines. The Defender of Sealtiel must meet a maneuverís prerequisite to learn it. The Defender of Sealtiel adds his full levels in the prestige class to his initiator level to determine his total initiator level and his highest-level maneuvers known.

    A Defender of Sealtiel must have at least one level in a martial adept class (Crusader, Swordsage or Warblade) to take advantage of this feature; if doing so, the defender does not take advantage of bonus feats or spell progression.

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    Finally, the treat for martial adepts; they progress their maneuvers as usual, as if they were a Crusader (since you're expected to be a Crusader, after all). They get a progression much like a Warblade, which means they might get even more maneuvers than the typical Crusader. However, this only works IF you already had maneuvers from a Martial Adept class, of course.


    Maneuvers Readied: If the defender of Sealtiel gains maneuvers by means of advancing class levels, they can ready a new maneuver at 4th level and again at 8th level. The defender prepares maneuvers in the same way as it prepared them on a martial adept class it once belonged (in the case of Crusader maneuvers, they also get an extra granted maneuver each time they get a readied maneuver by means of class levels).

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    ...And of course, new maneuvers readied. But again; this is only for those Defenders who were originally martial adepts.


    Stances: At 6th level, the defender of Sealtiel gains a new stance known. The defender may choose from either the Devoted Spirit, Stone Dragon, or White Raven maneuvers.

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    ...And of course, a new stance.

    Now...what about steely resolve? Do they advance steely resolve? Well, the answer is no; that would make it just TOO perfect for Crusaders to get. The idea is that they should retain their progression, but not to be automatically better than what they get, and mostly to improve their defending potential, even if they are quite different in their tanking potential. They already lose their bonus feats, and they get two strong spells that can fill their steely resolve pool at a decent level; otherwise, you'd just abandon Crusader, and that's not the idea.


    Magic Circle (Su): At 2nd level, a defender of Sealtiel is protected by a potent barrier that shields him and nearby allies from the depredations of evil. A defender of Sealtiel is constantly warded by a Magic Circle against Evil effect. A defender of Sealtiel may deactivate or reactivate this ability as a free action if it so desires.

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    The key ability of both the Fist of Raziel and the Defender of Sealtiel is essentially having a permanent Magic Circle against Evil effect. This was meant to provide a very strong defense against most depredations, including and not limited to mind control and possession; thus, it is a very strong ability in case you are pretty close to the Defender, and it clears your spell list (if you have it) for other protective spells.

    While this was one of the good abilities of a Fist of Raziel, this was the ONLY good ability of a Defender of Sealtiel. Hopefully, this has changed a bit, but nonetheless it's one of the few things I'd defy changing. Not even if Turbine gave some good examples (but limited the entry to Paladins, mind you).


    Divine Shield (Ex): At 3rd level, a defender of Sealtiel adds his Charisma modifier as a deflection bonus to his Armor Class. Unlike other kinds of deflection bonuses, this bonus stacks with any other deflection bonus (and allows other deflection bonuses to stack with it exclusively) except for the bonuses provided by a Shield of Faith spell or magic items based from the spell (such as a Ring of Protection).

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    Alright, this may seem a bit weird; you get your Charisma modifier as a deflection bonus to your Armor Class, but you can't stack it with the single-most easiest way to get one. What's the point then?

    Well...look at Magic Circle against Evil. Don't worry, I'll wait. Or heck, just look at Holy Aura. Notice they also provide a deflection bonus to AC, one that will essentially stack against most enemies (and in the case of Holy Aura, pretty much ALL of them?) Now, look at Divine Shield (the feat, not the ability), the divine feat from Complete Warrior. Yep; you get there twice your Charisma to AC, because they apply to two different bonuses.

    The idea behind Divine Shield is that, since you'll be constantly protected by a Magic Circle against Evil, you'd have two redundant bonuses to AC unless your Charisma was less than 13. You obviously don't want that, so instead you get to stack those sources. However, Shield of Faith has the peculiarity that it increases with your level, so that means you'll get a monstrous deflection bonus to AC just by getting that as a ring, or even as a potion. The idea is that Divine Shield is basically the equivalent of having your Charisma modifier as a deflection bonus to AC, much like all archons and angels do, but with the peculiarity that it gets a bit stronger than before because it stacks with slightly different sources.

    Now; why not the same with saves? Why, I wouldn't deny the Paladin of the best benefit they have! So, Paladins (and to an extent Crusaders) get a nifty gift of having their Charisma apply to even MORE things!


    Defensive Stance:
    Beginning at 4th level, when a defender of Sealtiel adopts a defensive stance, he gains phenomenal strength and durability, but limits his movement capabilities. He gains +4 to Strength, +4 to Constitution, a +2 competence bonus on all saves, and a +4 dodge bonus to AC. The increase in Constitution increases the defenderís hit points by 2 points per level, but these hit points go away at the end of the defensive stance when the Constitution score drops back 4 points. These extra hit points are not lost first the way temporary hit points are. While in a defensive stance, a defenderís base land speed is reduced by half, but gains a competence bonus on opposed checks and saving throws to prevent movement (such as a bull rush) equal to half his class level; furthermore, a defender may not use the Climb, Jump, or Tumble skills but gains a competence modifier on Balance checks to remain standing equal to half his class level. A defensive stance lasts for a number of rounds equal to 3 + the characterís (newly improved) Constitution modifier. A defender may end his defensive stance voluntarily prior to this limit. At the end of the defensive stance, the defender is winded and becomes fatigued for the duration of that encounter. Using the defensive stance takes no time itself, but a defender can only do so during his action.

    At 4th level, a defender of Sealtiel may use this ability twice per day. At 9th level, a defender of Sealtiel may use the ability three times per day. Defensive stance is treated as if having the rage ability for purposes of feats that have the requirement (such as Extra Rage).

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    Oh, Defensive Stance. So...where do we start?

    Perhaps with the basics. Defensive Stance is effectively considered one of the most worthless abilities around, since it pretty much forces you to stay still. If you moved at least more than 5 miserable feet, the effect ended.

    Well, that's retarded, no? So, we decided for something equally punishing yet still effective enough to provide some entry to Defensive Stance: half your speed instead of full speed. Heck, not even Paizo thought of that! So, whom devised such a nice idea?

    ...Well, it wasn't me. You were expecting it to be me? No, actually I have to give some kudos to the devs at Turbine (and perhaps every single person who thought that moving less than 5 feet, or even just moving 5 feet, to keep defensive stance was utterly retarded) for figuring this idea. Half speed means that, unless you're wearing light armor, you'll be moving at most 10 ft., but if you get an increase to your base land speed you can move half your total base land speed; just a Haste spell allows you to move 15 ft., which is a big increase. This also applies to other speeds, but if you can move about 90 ft. while flying, 45 ft. won't hurt THAT much. It also implies you can be moved and you won't lose your defensive stance. Not only that, you get a bonus to prevent being moved, tripped or greased. So you get even more bonuses for your buck, just for a proportionally smaller decrease of movement.

    ...Note that it says "speed". That means jaunting doesn't count ^__^

    Oh, one small, little, IIIIIIITTYYYYY BIIIIIIIITTTYYYYY thing... Notice the small quip about Rage? Well, a defensive stance is pretty much like a Rage, so if you want to spend feat slots on Extra Rage or Extend Rage, do so. Just...be aware that you won't qualify for OTHER feats (for example, Chaotic Rage for epic, since you're lawful). You can do Intimidating Rage, tho ( or rather, Intimidating Defensive Stance, oxymoronic as it may seem). As a rule of thumb; if it requires the rage ability and doesn't require you to be chaotic or evil, and if it fits thematically Defensive Stance, you can use it. It's just pointing at the similarities between both, enough so as to provide a good use to those feats (since Defensive Stance doesn't increase with level, unlike Rage).


    Mettle (Ex): At 5th level, whenever a defender of Sealtiel succeeds on a Fortitude or Will saving throw against an attack that normally deals a partial effect or half damage, he instead takes no effect or damage.

    If a defender of Sealtiel already has the mettle ability, it gains the improved mettle ability instead.

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    You are a tank. You NEED Mettle. Enough said.

    I mean: every single class should have Mettle in one way or another. Well, every martial class that uses heavy armor, that is. There are few moments in which this may apply, but when it does (like Disintegrate), you want to be save, right? Especially since Disintegrate can ruin your plans of remaining alive, right?


    Extended Shielding (Su): At 7th level, a defender of Sealtielís effective shielding range increases. A defender that casts Shield Other (or uses it as a spell-like ability) treats the spell as if affected by the Enlarge Spell metamagic feat. As well, if the defender casts Glory of the Martyr (or uses it as a spell-like ability), it treats the spell as if affected by the Widen Spell metamagic feat. In both instances, the benefits are applied immediately and without requiring a higher level spell slot (in the case of casting the spell).

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    So...yeah. Shield Other pretty much lasts forever, but it has a really small range. And Glory of the Martyr has an equally short range. So, at this level, you get to extend that range so that you can protect allies without the need to be THAT close. You can just go forward, and if someone slips your way and hits the ward, you still protect your ward without much trouble.

    So...you thought it was Extend Spell? Naw...both spells are already rather long. What you extend is their shielding range, not their shielding time.


    Improved Shielding (Su): At 8th level, a defender of Sealtiel that uses the Shield Other or Glory of the Martyr spell (or spell-like ability) may elect to take full damage for the creature instead of half damage. Furthermore, the defender of Sealtiel grants the warded creature a deflection bonus to AC and a resistance bonus to saves equal to his Charisma modifier; these replace the benefits provided by the Shield Other or Glory of the Martyr spells.

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    Remember when I said "watch your Charisma"? This is what I meant. Not only YOU get the benefit of adding your Charisma to your AC, now you provide EVERYONE whom you affect with the aforementioned spells with a better deflection and resistance bonus equal to your Charisma as well. That means you can prepare Glory of the Martyr and grant both Divine Grace AND Divine Shield (class ability) to everyone, except that neither of the abilities stack with other deflection or resistance bonuses. Still, this means that any Cloaks of Charisma or Eagle's Splendor spells (or even Tomes of Leadership and Influence) will go your way, and you'll be delivering massive buffs to your allies even if you're not a spellcaster. Yes. Even the Fighter. Even the Knight. Isn't that nice?

    Not only that, you're effectively increasing your protection by taking ALL of the damage. So you have loads of people who simply can't get hit, and if they get hit, they take no damage; you take the damage instead, so that means the Cleric or Crusader (essentially himself/herself) can focus on healing one person. In the case of Crusaders, they can take their steely resolve and raise the pool at any moment, so they can play with the pool (even if it's a little) and get bonuses to attack with little to no problem. And Knights can combine this with Shield Ally to really protect people.


    Protective Aura (Su): At 10th level, a defender of Sealtiel may collapse his Magic Circle against Evil aura and intensify its power to mimic the effects of a Holy Aura spell. Unlike the Holy Aura spell, the spell resistance granted by this ability is equal to 15 + the defenderís character level, and the effect only applies to the defender (although a defender may grant the benefits instead to a single character under the Shield Other or Glory of the Martyr spells or spell-like abilities; in this case, the target receives the benefit of both the protective aura and the improved shielding, hence the deflection and resistance bonuses of both abilities stack with each other). A defender of Sealtiel may use this ability once per encounter, and only for a number of rounds equal to his class level. The save DC for the blinding effect is Charisma-based. Unlike the Holy Aura spell, the spell resistance granted by this skill is equal to 15 + the defenderís character level.

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    Fitting capstone, no? You can sacrifice your Magic Circle against Evil and provide an even STRONGER protection to a warded target, or collapse the aura and provide an even STRONGER protection to yourself, once per encounter, for at least a minute.

    Holy Aura is a frickin' strong buff, mostly because it punishes those evil enemies who hit your allies, and provides a very strong amount of deflection and resistance bonuses that you'd otherwise require two magic items of an insanely high cost to compensate for (and they apply to all enemies, not just enemies of a specific alignment). With this ability, even the Fighter gains the ability to protect itself or an ally with an even better version of the buff, requiring only a moderate investment in Charisma (which you should already have pretty high, no?)

    Of course, Clerics have an advantage over the rest, which is the ability to cast the actual spell, so they may not need this ability active; however, for the rest, it's not only an awesome buff, but one that works every single time. It's almost as good as holy Doritos shuriken, no?


    Unyielding Resolve (Ex): At 10th level, a defender of Sealtiel becomes capable of fighting even when his forces fail him, beyond where others could stand. A defender is never considered disabled or staggered, even if he has less than 0 hit points or his nonlethal damage exceeds his current hit point total. Furthermore, he may continue to fight even if he has less than -10 hit points, but only to an amount of negative hit points equal to 10 plus his defender level plus his Constitution modifier. Instant death effects and attacks that destroy the body still affect the defender if successful.

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    But wait! There's more!

    For a small, small payment of ten class levels, you become practically immortal! Yes, you've heard that correctly; virtually immortal!

    Consider the following: you won't get disabled or staggered anymore (which is what Diehard allowed you to evade). You can keep fighting even longer than other characters (up to your class level plus your Constitution modifier, which implies at about -23 negative hit points give or take). You'll still bleed, but you can move and heal (and remain fighting) without trouble.

    So, what's the catch? Well, instant death effects and attacks that destroy the body (Disintegrate, Destruction, Implosion) still kill you, as well as negative energy levels, loss of Constitution, and other non-HP based deaths.

    ...But of course, that's why there's Death Ward. Well...it doesn't work with Disintegrate or Implosion...wait, did you just mentioned Mettle? Remember I told you it'd be useful? Yep, in case you haven't noticed, Death Ward, Mettle and huge Fortitude and Will saving throws (remember you get either Great Fortitude or Iron Will, not to mention Magic Circle against Evil?) imply you'll be prepped enough to survive anything. Hence, virtually immortal, and if you somehow get Timeless Body, you can last for ages. An Elan Defender of Sealtiel could very well last forever, save for a really lucky cheap shot.

    Crusaders don't need much of this since they can get Immortal Fortitude, but in the rare case it may be needed, you can have it at your disposal. Both the stance and this ability combine. A Knight gets this instead of Loyal Beyond Death, but hey, that means you don't have to expend your Knight's Challenges just to remain alive. And, hopefully, it'll give some justice to the Fighter or the Paladin whom just won't. Remain. Dead. Oh, and...yeah, Clericzilla. But then again, I don't think you can do much about that.


    So, as usual: comments, questions, inquiries, insults? Good enough? Terrible, a show of how pathetic I may be? You're in love with me and wanna have my babies (...well, if you're a girl anyways ;) Then again, I am destined for chastity...)? Just enough to be good, and with a need of a push to be nice, more to be awesome, and just not enough to be broken?
    Last edited by T.G. Oskar; 2010-10-29 at 04:03 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by firebrandtoluc View Post
    My friend is currently playing a paladin. It's way outside his normal zone. I told him to try to channel Santa Claus, Mr. Rogers, and Kermit the Frog. Until someone refuses to try to get off the naughty list. Then become Optimus Prime.
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    Default Re: The Retooled Defender of Sealtiel: less exalted, more Exalted!

    So, lemme get this straight.

    Full bab.
    Good fort/will saves.
    The best hit dice in the game - d12.
    8/10 levels progress divine spellcasting
    Maneuvers.
    Class features nearly every level. Not to mention bonus feats.


    This is basically a divine/martial mystic theurge that sacrifices absolutely nothing but 2 measly caster levels.


    -stamps with OP mark-
    Last edited by Jane_Smith; 2010-10-29 at 04:20 PM.

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    Default Re: The Retooled Defender of Sealtiel: less exalted, more Exalted!

    Quote Originally Posted by Jane_Smith View Post
    So, lemme get this straight.

    Full bab.
    Good fort/will saves.
    The best hit dice in the game - d12.
    8/10 levels progress divine spellcasting
    Maneuvers.
    Class features nearly every level. Not to mention bonus feats.


    This is basically a divine/martial mystic theurge that sacrifices absolutely nothing but 2 measly caster levels.


    -stamps with OP mark-
    WHOA, hold it right there!

    It's not meant to be a divine/martial mystic theurge. That's Ruby Knight Vindicator. This is not Ruby Knight Vindicator.

    What you get to progress is one of the three: divine spellcasting, bonus feats, OR maneuvers. You can only get one of the three, you don't get all three. The explanation is on the spoilered part, and I generally try to phrase things to be as explicit as possible.

    Quote Originally Posted by myself
    Spells per Day: At all levels except 1st and 6th, a defender of Sealtiel gains new spells per day as if he had also gained a level in a divine spellcasting class he belonged to before adding the prestige class. He does not, however, gain any other benefit a character of that class would have gained. If a character had more than one spellcasting class before becoming a defender of Sealtiel, he must decide to which class he adds the new level for purposes of determining spells per day.

    If the defender of Sealtiel has no levels in a divine spellcasting class, he gains no benefit. If the defenderís spellcaster levels are from paladin or ranger, the caster level for those spells is equal to their defender of Sealtiel class levels plus half their paladin or ranger levels (including 1st and 6th level, unlike other divine spellcasters).
    Quote Originally Posted by myself
    Bonus Feats: A defender of Sealtiel that has no levels in a spellcasting class (even arcane spellcasting classes) or levels in a class that grants maneuvers gain bonus feats at 2nd level and every three class levels afterwards. A defender of Sealtielís bonus feats must be taken from the list of fighter bonus feats, and levels in defender of Sealtiel stack with fighter levels for purposes of determining the characterís effective fighter level.
    Quote Originally Posted by myself
    Maneuvers: At each odd-numbered level, the Defender of Sealtiel gains a new maneuver from the Devoted Spirit, Stone Dragon or White Raven disciplines. The Defender of Sealtiel must meet a maneuverís prerequisite to learn it. The Defender of Sealtiel adds his full levels in the prestige class to his initiator level to determine his total initiator level and his highest-level maneuvers known.

    A Defender of Sealtiel must have at least one level in a martial adept class (Crusader, Swordsage or Warblade) to take advantage of this feature; if doing so, the defender does not take advantage of bonus feats or spell progression.
    Emphasis mine. Otherwise, yes, it'd be overpowered (divine spellcasting, bonus feats and maneuvers would do that). But no; it's choosing between one of the three, which are meant to be mutually exclusive: you either progress bonus feats (for Fighters, Knights and other martial characters), spellcasting (for Clerics, Paladins and Favored Souls), or maneuvers (for Crusaders, Warblades or Swordsages).

    A d12 hit die is mostly 1 point on average. They are tanks; they NEED as many HP as they can get, specifically since they're soaking all the damage from their allies. They also need Fortitude and Will. And yes, it is intentional the 10th level class ability, since otherwise they wouldn't last that much after receiving the damage from the entire group of allies.

    And yes, it gains class features every level. I...don't see what's wrong with that. If it had fewer class features, I'd get lambasted for having dead levels, and I've been lambasted for them quite enough.

    Plus, depending on how you wanna enter, you do sacrifice some stuff: three feats, to be precise, and if you were attempting a Cleric/Crusader entry and attempt to pull off both, you'd still have divided attention. So no; it's not that harsh to be precise. I know it seems pretty powerful at first (and it IS pretty powerful at the end), but could it just take a moment to read the spoilers and see the explanation beneath them, please? They aren't there for decoration, that's for sure; they're there because otherwise they'd take a huge amount of space that perhaps a few people wouldn't read.
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    Quote Originally Posted by firebrandtoluc View Post
    My friend is currently playing a paladin. It's way outside his normal zone. I told him to try to channel Santa Claus, Mr. Rogers, and Kermit the Frog. Until someone refuses to try to get off the naughty list. Then become Optimus Prime.
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    Default Re: The Retooled Defender of Sealtiel: less exalted, more Exalted!

    @ Jane: It looks to be either spells or bonus feats or maneuvers, not all three at once.

    Still feels like it's trying to do too much. I dislike that the straight cleric entry requires you to hobble along for ten levels with a set of gimped entry feats, then blesses you with ten levels of unmitigated awesome. I'd prefer lighter entry requirements for the cleric, but less casting progression. Leads to a more balanced progression over the life of a character.

    And Oskar...friends don't let friends require Endurance as a prerequisite (via Diehard). Just don't do it, man.

    Wording on Divine Shield is extremely difficult to understand. Rather than creating the complex exception to the stacking rules, I recommend you simply have Divine Shield increase the bonus provided by the magic circle against evil. Easier that way.

    Improved Shielding has the potentional to push party saves to an unplayable level. It's fairly reasonable for a high-level pally/DoS to push Charisma to +8 or +10; stacking mass conviction and something like a chained heroism could give the entire group a ~ +20 bonus to saves, taking them completely out of the ballpark of the save DCs for level-appropriate opponents. It's not unreasonable to expect to get a +10 bonus to AC from this at higher levels as well. While that's less of an issue since to-hit tends to outstrip AC progression at higher levels, it can render CR-appropriate monsters unable to hit effectively. I don't object to the principle of allowing non-casters to buff, but this buff can easily make the party almost entirely immune to the attacks of level-appropriate monsters.
    Last edited by jiriku; 2010-10-29 at 05:08 PM.
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    Default Re: The Retooled Defender of Sealtiel: less exalted, more Exalted!

    Much better now that you pointed out that bit about 1/3 options for advancement. I didnt mean the 'every level has a class feature' was overpowered in and of itself - i meant with 'everything else' it was to much (when i thought it got spells, feats, and maneuvers).

    Though ^ as he said above, their are some issues still.
    Last edited by Jane_Smith; 2010-10-29 at 05:07 PM.

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    Default Re: The Retooled Defender of Sealtiel: less exalted, more Exalted!

    Quote Originally Posted by Jane_Smith View Post
    Much better now that you pointed out that bit about 1/3 options for advancement. I didnt mean the 'every level has a class feature' was overpowered in and of itself - i meant with 'everything else' it was to much (when i thought it got spells, feats, and maneuvers).
    Oh, no troubles on that. I just had to point out that it was 1 of 3 options; I aim high, but not to that degree. Though, usually theurge classes are seen as somewhat weak (though being maneuvers, the concept shifts quite violently to actual effectiveness, if RKV says something about it).

    Quote Originally Posted by jiriku View Post
    Still feels like it's trying to do too much. I dislike that the straight cleric entry requires you to hobble along for ten levels with a set of gimped entry feats, then blesses you with ten levels of unmitigated awesome. I'd prefer lighter entry requirements for the cleric, but less casting progression. Leads to a more balanced progression over the life of a character.

    And Oskar...friends don't let friends require Endurance as a prerequisite (via Diehard). Just don't do it, man.
    That's a hard one to deal with. Endurance is definitely a so-so choice, given that what it offers usually doesn't compare; still, Diehard is a strong feat when coupled with the concept.

    As for the casting progression, what gimps the Cleric utterly gimps the Paladin. Even if Paladin spellcasting is not considered very strong, it has some nice spells you can use constantly (and I don't mean the Cure Wounds spells). Half-casting would make the class a bit unplayable, but full casting would unnecessarily boost the Cleric to unadulterated awesome. I could play with 5/10 casting for Cleric and 10/10 casting for Paladin, but it would be basically the same thing as with Divine Shield: complex wording.

    Another thing is that I really wanted pure Cleric entry to be unnecessarily complex because they'd be late bloomers in that sense. Most of the non-Cleric classes have a 7th level entry, in any case.

    And...heck, the entry requirements are a bit less stringent than before (the original required all the feats PLUS Improved Toughness, and didn't allow for Divine Grace or Indomitable Zeal to count instead of Great Fortitude/Iron Will). I could work with Imp. Toughness instead of Diehard, and then add the latter as a bonus feat with the caveat of "if you have this feat, replace with another with which you qualify for". But...no idea on how to tackle spellcasting so that it's fair to half-spellcasters and full spellcasters alike (otherwise, it's back to square one, and the idea was that Paladins could at least reach level 4 spells to use Glory of the Martyr/Mass Shield Other spontaneously).

    Wording on Divine Shield is extremely difficult to understand. Rather than creating the complex exception to the stacking rules, I recommend you simply have Divine Shield increase the bonus provided by the magic circle against evil. Easier that way.
    Hmm...technically it should be easy: deflection bonus equal to Charisma, stacks with all except Shield of Faith, Ring of Protection, Potion of Shield of Faith. Otherwise, you'd lose the benefit if you use Protective Aura (since you'd be changing your MCaE for Holy Aura), not to mention that there are several ways to get more deflection bonuses (Scintillating Scales is one, and it can be placed on a potion, for example). Perhaps making it a "scales with Magic Circle against Evil and Holy Aura", so that it makes a bit more sense?

    Improved Shielding has the potentional to push party saves to an unplayable level. It's fairly reasonable for a high-level pally/DoS to push Charisma to +8 or +10; stacking mass conviction and something like a chained heroism could give the entire group a ~ +20 bonus to saves, taking them completely out of the ballpark of the save DCs for level-appropriate opponents. It's not unreasonable to expect to get a +10 bonus to AC from this at higher levels as well. While that's less of an issue since to-hit tends to outstrip AC progression at higher levels, it can render CR-appropriate monsters unable to hit effectively. I don't object to the principle of allowing non-casters to buff, but this buff can easily make the party almost entirely immune to the attacks of level-appropriate monsters.
    I can understand this one, but well...consider that you'd be dealing with two kinds of saves. One is resistance (consider that Improved Shielding is meant to improve the resistance bonus to saves granted by Shield Other), the other two are morale and thus aren't meant to stack with each other. So, you'd have Improved Shielding and Mass Conviction applying at the same time, which would be somewhat similar as chaining Superior Resistance and casting Mass Conviction; Superior Resistance grants a +6 resistance bonus to saves, Conviction grants up to +6 morale bonus to saves, and you'd need somewhere around the ballpark of 26-30 Charisma to pull that off, considering that you'd need at least 26 Charisma to surpass what a chained Superior Resistance would bring to the plate. I could understand that getting a 2nd level spell to pull that off (though Conviction grants most of that at 1st level...) and a 4th level or higher spell to do it en masse could seem like a bit off, considering Superior Resistance is a 6th level spell a Cleric can reasonably cast off by itself (but not chain, unless using a Rod of Chain Spell) and lasts for an entire day (not like Shield Other which will last an entire day at CL 24 if not extended). And being Improved Shielding a resistance bonus to saves, that means Cloaks of Resistance and Vests of Resistance and bonuses that depend on resistance (the most common form of bonuses to saves) wouldn't count.

    It's not a bad point: it allows for huge stacking bonuses, but it's not strongly defended when the Cleric can pull off granting saves to "no" levels by itself. I could work on reducing it, but consider that while you need a Charisma of at least 22 to bypass Superior Resistance (either normal or chained), you'd need 34+ Charisma to pull off a chained Superior Resistance + Mass Conviction trick on your own. That goes without mentioning that it wouldn't allow stacking resistance bonuses to saves either, and that all of these effects (including Shield Other/Glory of the Martyr) can be dispelled. I could make it a sort of pool in which you can spread out the resistance bonus upon all allies, but it would be a bit pointless (still equally powerful with Shield Other, good if spread equally between two, stringent if between three, pointless between four or more people, actually).

    And if getting a bonus to saves weren't bad, getting different stacking bonuses to AC is even easier to get (armor, enhancement to armor, shield, enhancement to shield, natural armor, enhancement to natural armor, morale, deflection, dodge, reflex, competence, etc.) so even having a +10 to deflection (which means it wouldn't stack with Shield of Faith or Magic Circle against Evil, two of the most common deflection bonuses) wouldn't seem much.

    The best way to deal with it is topping the granted bonus in a way that stacks slower, but it has to be measured carefully or else other spells will still be pretty effective. Half your class level seems right on line, but I'd go for something on the lines of X + 1/2 class level, for terms of effectiveness and elegance. Any lower than half and it'll cripple the buff since you'd be focusing on Charisma for a bonus that can be surpassed by others (and that, since you're applying through a different means, you don't take advantage of it personally, specifically on saves since unless you have Divine Grace you'd be unable to provide your Charisma bonus to all saves, making you the target which is the idea of tanking after all).
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    Quote Originally Posted by firebrandtoluc View Post
    My friend is currently playing a paladin. It's way outside his normal zone. I told him to try to channel Santa Claus, Mr. Rogers, and Kermit the Frog. Until someone refuses to try to get off the naughty list. Then become Optimus Prime.
    T.G. Oskar profile by Specter.

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