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    Default [3.5] The Battlelord (High-Powered Melee Base Class)

    The Battlelord


    "Once more the thrill of battle calls me from these peaceful lands and into the den of monsters. One would think I was getting too old for this," - King Duncradg, Human Battlelord, age 53, said with a smile.

    Alignment: Any
    Hit Die: 1d12

    Level BAB Fort Ref Will Special
    1st +1 +2 +0 +0 Powerful Blows, Weapon Aptitude
    2nd +2 +3 +0 +0 Warrior's Wits
    3rd +3 +3 +1 +1 Cunning Parry
    4th +4 +4 +1 +1 Extend Reach, Harrier
    5th +5 +4 +1 +1 Endure Hardship
    6th +6 +5 +2 +2 Cunning Sidestep, Sure Blows
    7th +7 +5 +2 +2 Foehammer
    8th +8 +6 +2 +2 Extend Reach, Returning Attacks
    9th +9 +6 +3 +3 Adrenaline Surge
    10th +10 +7 +3 +3 Crushing Blows
    11th +11 +7 +3 +3 Last Ditch Effort
    12th +12 +8 +4 +4 Extend Reach
    13th +13 +8 +4 +4 Stunning Blows
    14th +14 +9 +4 +4 Reserves of Stamina
    15th +15 +9 +5 +5 Great Reaver
    16th +16 +10 +5 +5 Extend Reach
    17th +17 +10 +5 +5 Impetuous Endurance
    18th +18 +11 +6 +6 Heroic Surge
    19th +19 +11 +6 +6 Unmatchable Stamina
    20th +20 +12 +6 +6 Peerless Warrior

    Spoiler: Author's Note
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    Though this class wasn't built with any reference point of balance in mind, it was built with a purpose. It occurred to me a few weeks ago that in the earliest levels of the game it's the Fighter's job (or Barbarian or Warblade or whichever full BAB d10+ martial proficiency class you prefer) to take out a mean, melee threat (like an Orc Barbarian or an Ogre) as quickly as possible, usually within 1 or 2 rounds. This is his job because 1) he's not good at facing multiple, weaker, scattered enemies but also 2) he's the only character that can deal enough damage against a single burly type to kill it before it one-shots some other member of the party.

    But after the earliest levels the Fighter tends to simply stop having a job. He no longer deals enough damage to take out high-priority melee threats in any reasonable amount of time and he's certainly not effective against anything else. A Barbarian or Warblade can struggle to deal enough damage (or go Uber-Charger) in their own ways, but even they don't exactly finish brutes off in the 1 to 2 round time that they did in levels 1-3 (ish).

    So this was the purpose in designing the Battlelord: to create an effective melee class able to take down most melee brutes of a CR equal to his class level in 1 to 2 rounds and do it efficiently. You'll notice his damage will keep up with a Warblade at low levels, surpass him a bit in the mid levels, and even off against him at the higher levels. The Battlelord shines over the Warblade against the brutes in the department of attacks of opportunity and durability. A Battlelord's attacks of opportunity will usually deal as much damage as any of the Warblade's strikes and where a Warblade might get dazed for a few rounds and let a brute by to feast on his Rogue pal, a Battlelord furiously fights through it to land at least one more powerful blow.

    As a Battlelord gains levels, he continues to pick up class features to penetrate defenses and obstacles alike, and layers more defenses and durability over his impressive offensive capabilities. It was precisely my intention to make the Battlelord unmatched in melee combat. While Warblades can make effective skirmishers and leaders of men, a Battlelord cares only for tearing his foes apart face-to-face. I fully acknowledge that this class is more powerful in most cases than any other melee class, but that was more a consequence of meeting the design goals rather than a decision to aim for a higher Tier or to obsolete other classes.

    Though I have taken great care in designing this class, and though it may all seem in order I still consider this a work in progress. As such, comments and criticism will be appreciated and taken into consideration.


    Class Skills (4+Int): Appraise (Int), Balance (Dex), Climb (Str), Craft (Int), Escape Artist (Dex), Gather Information (Cha), Handle Animal (Cha), Intimidate (Cha), Jump (Str), Knowledge (Architecture and Engineering) (Int), Knowledge (History) (Int), Knowledge (Local) (Int), Listen (Wis), Profession (Wis), Ride (Dex), Sense Motive (Wis), Spot (Wis), and Swim (Str).

    Weapons & Armor Proficiencies: A Battlelord is proficient with all simple and martial melee weapons and with all armor (heavy, medium, and light) and shields (including tower shields).

    Powerful Blows (Ex): When a Battlelord charges or uses a standard action to attack with a melee weapon (including thrown melee weapons) he deals extra damage on attacks with melee weapons during that action, and until the start of his next turn, equal to 1d6 per class level. This extra damage is not precision-based and affects all creatures equally, regardless of concealment or anatomy.

    Weapon Aptitude (Ex): A Battlelord applies the benefits of any feats he has, aside from any Weapon Proficiency feats he has, that normally apply only to specific weapons to any weapon he wields. For example, he may add the +1 bonus to attack rolls from his Weapon Focus (Greataxe) feat to any weapon he wields, or he could benefit from his Lightning Maces feat while wielding any two weapons.

    Warrior's Wits (Ex): Starting at 2nd level, a Battlelord, using a combination of all his battle-keened senses, is able to detect the presence of and direction to any creature within 10ft per class level and even pinpoint the location of any such creature within 5ft per two class levels or per point of his Wisdom modifier (whichever is higher).

    Warrior's Wits only applies from a Battlelord's first round after rolling initiative to the last round of the encounter.

    Cunning Parry (Ex): Starting at 3rd level, as an immediate action, when a creature makes an attack against the Battlelord he may attempt to foil it, opposing the creature's attack roll with a melee attack roll of his own. If he does, he uses the result of his attack roll in place of his AC against that attack. A Battlelord can't use Cunning Parry when he is flat-footed or after learning the results of the opponents attack roll.

    Extend Reach (Ex): Starting at 4th level, and again at every fourth level afterward (but not at 20th), as he brings his might to bear against larger and larger opponents, the Battlelord learns how to weave and strike at a wider range gaining the reach of a creature one size category larger than himself (or +5ft reach, whichever results in more reach).

    Harrier (Ex): Starting at 4th level, enemies of the Battlelord find it more difficult to avoid his attacks. Unfriendly creatures threatened by the Battlelord provoke attacks of opportunity from the Battlelord when using the Withdraw action. Once per round, when a creature in his threatened area takes a 5ft step he may follow, taking a 5ft step of his own without effecting his movement on his next turn.

    Endure Hardship (Ex): Starting at 5th level, as an immediate action, a Battlelord may delay all damage and other effects suffered by a single ability, attack, or effect by 1 round. He may use this ability against any damage dealing effect such as a Troll's warclub, a Dragon's firebreath, or a Sorcerer's magic missile. Any additional effects carried by the attack such as poison or stunning are delayed with the damage.

    Cunning Sidestep (Ex): Starting at 6th level, whenever a creature attacks you for the first time this round and misses that foe may not make any additional attacks against you this round. Additionally, when a Battlelord charges he doesn't provoke attacks of opportunity.

    Sure Blows (Ex): A Battlelord has no need of iterative attacks, and as such does not gain them. Instead, when he uses his Powerful Blows feature and misses he may re-roll the attack and reduce the extra damage his attack would deal by 4d6. He may continue to re-roll as long as reducing the extra damage would not reduce it to lower than 0d6 (for example, a 14th level Battlelord deals 14d6 extra damage with Powerful Blows, and could re-roll his attack roll once reducing it to 10d6, twice reducing it to 6d6, three times reducing it to 2d6, but could not re-roll a fourth time).

    Foehammer (Ex): Starting at 7th level, a Battlelord's attacks overcome all damage reduction and regeneration. When a creature is dealt damage by a Battlelord's attack it loses its Fast Healing, if any, for 1 round.

    Whirling Weaponry (Ex): Starting at 8th level, a Battlelord may throw any melee weapon. One-handed weapons have a range increment of 80ft while two-handed weapons have a range increment of 50ft. Any melee weapon the Battlelord throws is treated as having the Retuning special property.

    Adrenaline Surge (Ex): Starting at 9th level, as a standard action, that does not provoke attacks of opportunity, a Battlelord may end any one of the following provided he is a target or within the area of effect (even if he has Delayed the effect with his Endure Hardship feature):

    • A single spell/power or equivalent effect with a duration longer than 1 round.
    • A single extraordinary, spell-like, or supernatural ability or effect with a duration longer than 1 round.
    • A single item's effect, either one that the Battlelord holds, wears, or carries, or one that is used on him.
    • Any one of Blinded, Confused, Cowering, Dazed, Dazzled, Deafened, Entangled, Exhausted, Fascinated, Fatigued, Frightened, Immobilized, Nauseated, On Fire, Panicked, Paralyzed, Petrified, Shaken, Sickened, Slowed, Staggered, Turned.

    Any of the above are ended only for the Battlelord. They affect all other creatures as normal and may effect him again later in the round in the case of ongoing effects (such as in the case of a Stinking Cloud spell, an Umber Hulk's gaze attack, or a cursed item the Battlelord continues to hold). Adrenaline Surge cannot end a racial trait or any effect with an instantaneous duration.

    For 1 round after using Adrenaline Surge the Battlelord gains a bonus to AC equal to 1/2 his class level and a bonus to saving throws equal to 1/3 his class level.

    Crushing Blows (Ex): Starting at 10th level, a Battlelord's attacks ignore hardness and deal double damage against objects and structures as well as creatures that are immune to critical hits. As normal, extra damage, such as that obtained through the Punishing Blows feature or through a weapon property like Flaming or Icy Burst, is not doubled in this way.

    Crushing Blows also counts as, and provides the benefits of, the Improved Sunder feat. When a 10th level Battlelord makes a Sunder attack and he successfully destroys the targeted object or structure, he may make an attack against a creature that held, wore, or gained cover from the object/structure if he chooses, treating his Sunder attack roll as his attack roll against the creature.

    Last Ditch Effort (Ex): Starting at 11th level, whenever a Battlelord is reduced to 0 or fewer hit points by an attack, if he had more than 0 hit points before the attack, he gains an extra standard action which he may take even if it isn't his turn or if he would ordinarily be Dead.

    Stunning Blows (Ex): Starting at 13th level, while a Battlelord deals extra damage through Punishing Blows, any foe he strikes must succeed on a Will save (DC 10 +1/2 Battlelord level + your Strength modifier) to avoid being Dazed, Stunned, and Staggered for 3d4 rounds.

    Reserves of Stamina (Ex): Starting at 14th level, when a Battlelord uses his Adrenaline Surge feature he gains 3 temporary hit points per class level which last until the end of the encounter.

    Great Reaver (Ex): Starting at 15th level, a Battlelord's attacks ignore any miss chances, AC bonuses, saving throw bonuses, and energy resistance of his targets derived from spells, spell-like abilities, or supernatural abilities. When the Battlelord hits a creature with a melee weapon, spells, spell-like abilities, and supernatural abilities whose effects are triggered when the creature is hit (such as Fire Shield and even so-worded Contingency or a Babau Demon's Protective Slime) do not trigger.

    Impetuous Endurance (Ex): Starting at 17th level, a Battlelord does not automatically fail saving throws on a roll of 1. Furthermore, when he uses his Endure Hardship feature he may delay damage and other effects from all attacks he suffers that round by 1 round.

    Heroic Surge (Ex): Starting at 18th level, when a Battlelord uses his Adrenaline Surge feature he may end any or all of the following that affect him:

    • Spells/powers or equivalent effects with durations longer than 1 round.
    • Extraordinary, spell-like, or supernatural abilities with durations longer than 1 round.
    • Item effects, from items that the Battlelord holds, wears, or carries, or that are used on him.
    • Blinded, Confused, Cowering, Dazed, Dazzled, Deafened, Entangled, Exhausted, Fascinated, Fatigued, Frightened, Immobilized, Nauseated, On Fire, Panicked, Paralyzed, Petrified, Shaken, Sickened, Slowed, Staggered, Turned.

    Unmatchable Stamina (Ex): Starting at 19th level, when a Battlelord uses his Adrenaline Surge feature, if he isn't Dying, he regains all lost hit points.

    Peerless Warrior (Ex): The presence of a 20th level or higher Battlelord weighs heavy on the minds of his opponents, so much so that any foes he threatens considers its actions very carefully. For such creatures, their actions become limited in the following ways:

    • On something that would ordinarily require only a free action, the creature must spend a swift action.
    • On something that would ordinarily require a swift action, the creature must spend a move action (though still limited to one per round).
    • On something that would ordinarily require a move action, the creature must spend a standard action.
    • On something that would ordinarily require a full round action, the creature must spend 1 whole round.
    • The creature cannot take immediate actions or attacks of opportunity while threatened by the Battlelord.

    If a creature has full Base Attack Bonus a Challenge Rating at least four higher than the Battlelord it ignores these restrictions. Peerless Warrior has no effect on standard actions.
    Last edited by Ziegander; 2015-04-22 at 02:28 PM.
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    Default Re: The Battlelord (High-Powered Melee Base Class)

    For Endure Hardship: "attack" is defined as anything requiring an attack roll. This includes trip attempts, but not Magic Missile.
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    Default Re: The Battlelord (High-Powered Melee Base Class)

    Quote Originally Posted by Morph Bark View Post
    For Endure Hardship: "attack" is defined as anything requiring an attack roll. This includes trip attempts, but not Magic Missile.
    I know I've seen the designers use the word "attack" to reference any sort of harmful action before, including in abilities like this one, but for clarity's sake I'll change it.
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    Default Re: [3.5] The Battlelord (High-Powered Melee Base Class)

    Why is this allowed to full heal itself once per turn?

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    Default Re: [3.5] The Battlelord (High-Powered Melee Base Class)

    Quote Originally Posted by Phosphate View Post
    Why is this allowed to full heal itself once per turn?
    Perhaps I misunderstand your question, but I'll try to answer. The Battlelord is allowed to full heal itself once per turn because at 19th level and higher, there is a very real chance that any given powerful foe that is his job to face down and defeat within 2 rounds can take him from 300hp to 0 with a full round action (sometimes even a single standard action). If he's unable to go toe to toe with a Young Adult Red Dragon or the Terrasque then he's unable to do the job that he's built for. Instead of waiting for the Cleric to run up and cast Heal on him, the near-Epic Battlelord shrugs his shoulders, cracks his neck and gets back to it next round.
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    Default Re: [3.5] The Battlelord (High-Powered Melee Base Class)

    Quote Originally Posted by Phosphate View Post
    Why is this allowed to full heal itself once per turn?
    At 19th level? Sounds fair to me. If you're in melee with Gargantuan dragons and tarrasques, you need healing.

    I like the class. It puts melee at less of an disadvantage. Ignoring DR and regeneration, self-heal and status removal, auto-critting undead and constructs. These class features are all really well thought out. My favorite is Stunning Blows.

    Also a nice variety of class skillls. This is one of the better melee base classes I've seen on the forum.

    But, uh, you want PEACH, not compliments. Right. Maybe you could improve Harrier by treating all squares the Battlelord threatens as difficult terrain?
    Last edited by NeoSeraphi; 2011-06-08 at 11:29 AM.

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    Default Re: [3.5] The Battlelord (High-Powered Melee Base Class)

    Is there a limit to his amount of Adrenaline Surge uses?

    Is this basically an attempt to one-up the Tome Samurai?
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    Default Re: [3.5] The Battlelord (High-Powered Melee Base Class)

    Quote Originally Posted by Morph Bark View Post
    Is there a limit to his amount of Adrenaline Surge uses?
    None. The limitation of course is that it uses his standard action, which he would ordinarily be using to kill something.

    Is this basically an attempt to one-up the Tome Samurai?
    No, though the features Crushing Blows and Great Reaver were directly inspired by the Tome Samurai. The Tome Samurai has a very different design and a number of things it can do that the Battlelord cannot. If you'll read the author's note I explain what this is an attempt to do. If you'd like a level-by-level comparison between this class and a Tome Samurai I can do that.

    Quote Originally Posted by NeoSeraphi View Post
    But, uh, you want PEACH, not compliments. Right. Maybe you could improve Harrier by treating all squares the Battlelord threatens as difficult terrain?
    As a matter of fact, that's what the ability originally did; however, I thought that was a bit too defendery for the Battlelord and that it pushed Harrier up to being a bit too good for its level and to be paired with the bonus feat. I'll consider tweaking it though if others feel like it needs it.
    Last edited by Ziegander; 2011-06-08 at 04:42 PM.
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    Default Re: [3.5] The Battlelord (High-Powered Melee Base Class)

    Quote Originally Posted by Ziegander View Post
    As a matter of fact, that's what the ability originally did; however, I thought that was a bit too defendery for the Battlelord and that it pushed Harrier up to being a bit too good for its level and to be paired with the bonus feat. I'll consider tweaking it though if others feel like it needs it.
    well, you could leave it as is for 4rd level, then just improve it like 5 levels later.

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    Default Re: [3.5] The Battlelord (High-Powered Melee Base Class)

    You're going to disagree with this, and I know you will, but I'm just going to put my opinion down anyway:

    I think the presence of the Foehammer and Crushing Blows abilities actually strip some of what I find interesting about melee from the game. By 7th level, DR is usually still in the paltry realm of 5-10 points, so my power attacks [thanks to low enemy ACs] and manoeuvres are happily bypassing it with just an annoyance.

    On the other hand, I feel smug or at least clever, whenever I come face to face with something I actually prepared to face, by having Cold Iron or Silver or whatever available.

    The ignoring of all DR removes a tactical aspect from the game, one that's not even all that bothersome considering the number of bonus damage dice that these guys can play with.

    It just strikes me as a mechanical ability that while it brings the class to where you need it to be, makes the game as a whole more boring.

    [shrug] My opinion
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    Default Re: [3.5] The Battlelord (High-Powered Melee Base Class)

    Quote Originally Posted by Popertop View Post
    well, you could leave it as is for 4rd level, then just improve it like 5 levels later.
    I just don't know where I'd fit it in.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mulletmanalive View Post
    You're going to disagree with this, and I know you will, but I'm just going to put my opinion down anyway:

    I think the presence of the Foehammer and Crushing Blows abilities actually strip some of what I find interesting about melee from the game. By 7th level, DR is usually still in the paltry realm of 5-10 points, so my power attacks [thanks to low enemy ACs] and manoeuvres are happily bypassing it with just an annoyance.

    On the other hand, I feel smug or at least clever, whenever I come face to face with something I actually prepared to face, by having Cold Iron or Silver or whatever available.

    The ignoring of all DR removes a tactical aspect from the game, one that's not even all that bothersome considering the number of bonus damage dice that these guys can play with.

    It just strikes me as a mechanical ability that while it brings the class to where you need it to be, makes the game as a whole more boring.

    [shrug] My opinion
    No, actually, I don't disagree. It's simply as you said, it brings the class where I needed it to be, but I would prefer a more dynamic game as well. However, redesigning all monsters, while I would love to do it, is more work than I have time for (I'm also not very good at it XD).
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