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- May 2012
- Ordial Plane
The DWARVEN DEFENDER - A remix! (3.5e, PrC)
The Dwarven Defender
Dwarves are a lot like walls. Both are born of stone, both are quite stubborn, and both if constructed correctly, can repel any attack. For some Dwarves, it is their goal to become as wall-like as possible, transcending normal combatants and becoming the ultimate bastion. These individuals are known as Dwarven Defenders.
Spoiler: Designer's Note!The original Dwarven Defender wasn't the worse class in the world, but it had some major design flaws that kept it from functioning as it could.
First, the limitation on moving was a problem. If you can't move, then an enemy that you should be defending your friends from could easily loop around you and attack your squishy allies. This wasn't a problem in thin bottlenecks or if you could arrange perfectly, but those two situations are rarely the case.
The second flaw of the original Dwarven Defender was it's lack of a way to encourage enemies to attack it rather than the party. You can be the ultimate wall if you want, but if your enemies are just ignoring you (and they can ignore you because your complete focus on defense means you skimped on the offense), then you've failed at your job.
The third flaw was pretty simple. The prerequisite feats are horrible.
I aim to correct all of those problems in this fix while maintaining something balanced for around for mid-range optimization play groups. I also attempted to keep the class mechanically simple and without a huge amount of abilities. You'll notice that most of the class features in this class simply build on themselves rather than being completely unique, meaning that the class should have a good learning curve for a beginner.
A Dwarven Defender holding his ax in a deeply strange fashion.
Any lawful. To truly be a living wall one must live a life of dedication and discipline.
Base Attack Bonus: +7
Feats: Improved Toughness, Endurance, Steadfast Determination
Climb (Str), Craft (Str), Intimidate (Cha), Listen (Wis), Sense Motive (Wis), and Spot (Wis).
Skill Points as Each Level:
2+ Int Modifier
Level BAB Fort Ref Will Special Damage Reduction 1st +1 +2 +0 +2 Defensive Stance DR 1/- 2nd +2 +3 +0 +3 Aura of Aggression 10 ft. DR 1/- 3rd +3 +3 +1 +3 Shield Mastery (Light) DR 2/- 4th +4 +4 +1 +4 Aura of Aggression 20 ft., Mettle DR 2/- 5th +5 +4 +2 +4 Shifting Defense DR 3/- 6th +6 +5 +2 +5 Aura of Aggression 30 ft., Fierce Rebuttal DR 3/- 7th +7 +5 +2 +5 Shield Mastery (Heavy) DR 4/- 8th +8 +6 +2 +6 Aura of Aggression 40 ft., Enduring Stance DR 4/- 9th +9 +6 +3 +6 Shield Mastery (Tower) DR 5/- 10th +10 +7 +3 +7 Aura of Aggression 50 ft., Living Armor DR 5/-
All the following are class features of the Dwarven Defender prestige class.
Weapon and Armor Proficiency:
A Dwarven Defender is proficient with all simple and martial weapons, all types of armor, and shields.
The most basic of defenses is a thick skin, and Dwarves have that in surplus. At 1st level, a Dwarven Defender gains damage reduction. This damage reduction increases at by 1 at every subsequent odd level.
To live as a wall lives, a Dwarven Defender must do as a wall does. Starting at first level a Dwarven Defender may adopt a Defensive Stance once per encounter. This Defensive Stance lasts a number of rounds equal to the Dwarven Defender's constitution modifier. Taking up a Defensive Stance requires a free action. During a Defensive Stance a Dwarven Defender may move no more than 5 ft. per round. The benefits of the Defensive Stance include +2 to Strength, +4 to Constitution, a +2 resistance 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 defender cannot use skills or abilities that would require him to shift his position more than 5 ft. A defender may end his defensive stance voluntarily prior to this limit. At the end of the defensive stance, the defender is winded and takes a -2 penalty to Strength for the duration of that encounter.
Aura of Aggression:
A Dwarven Defender's determination is so great that those that dare defy them seem to crumble under an invisible weight of force. At 2nd level a Dwarven Defender exudes a 10 ft. radius that damages opponents who try to strike the Dwarven Defender's allies. Any enemy who strikes a Dwarven Defender's ally within the radius of the Aura of Aggression must make a will saving throw (DC = 10 + 1/2 Dwarven Defender level + constitution modifier) or take damage equal to the Dwarven Defender's constitution modifier. This damage may not be avoided or reduced in any way and is not affected by miss chances or damage reduction. After taking damage in this way, enemies instinctually become aware of the source and reason for the damage. The radius of Aura of Aggression increases by 10 ft. every even level.
A Dwarven Defender's favorite implement is their mighty shield, and as they grow more accustomed to it they learn to wield it with greater and greater ease. At 3rd level a Dwarven Defender may wield a light shield as they do a buckler, allowing them use of both hands while using a light shield. This comes with the same limitations as wielding a buckler. At 7th level a Dwarven Defender may use this ability in conjunction with heavy shields and at 9th level they may use it with tower shields.
At 3rd level and higher, a Dwarven Defender can resist magical and unusual attacks with great willpower or fortitude. If he makes a successful Will or Fortitude save against an attack that normally would have a lesser effect on a successful save (such as any spell with a saving throw entry of Will half or Fortitude partial), he instead completely negates the effect. An unconscious or sleeping Dwarven Defender does not gain the benefit of mettle.
Just as all Dwarves learn to move more easily in heavy armor, the Dwarven Defender must eventually learn to move while in the Defensive Stance. At 5th level a Dwarven Defender is no longer limited to 5 ft. of movement when in the Defensive Stance. They may move as they please and may use movement related skills and abilities.
An angry Dwarf is a dangerous Dwarf, and an Angry Dwarven Defender is even worse. At 6th level a Dwarven Defender may add their strength modifier to their Aura of Aggression damage.
Sometimes a Dwarven Defender must hold the line for hours, acting as a bastion between their allies and the enemy for far-longer than any would assume possible. At 8th level the duration of the defensive strength is equal to the Dwarven Defender's strength plus constitution modifier, rather than just their constitution modifier.
At the peak of their strength, Dwarven Defender unlocks the final secret of being a living wall. Over a lifetime of defending the weak and protecting their allies, the Dwarven Defender has reached an apotheosis of defense, rendering their very skin almost impenetrable to harm. At 10th level the Dwarven Defender may add their constitution modifier to their armor class in place of their dexterity. The Dwarven Defender loses this bonus to his Armor Class whenever he would normally be denied his Dexterity bonus to AC. In such a situation, the Dwarven Defender would still be considered flat-footed. However, this bonus ignores the maximum dexterity bonus of armor.