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Elays
2004-07-19, 10:38 PM
The Shieldless of Elays

Gord the Paladin stood his ground, slowly falling back against the tide of troglodytes. *He had been slowly falling back for several minutes, drawing closer and closer to the dwarven colony he had come to defend. *Arrows and spears clanged as his tower shield deflected them. *Gord was forced to stay behind that shield more and more as the press of his enemies became larger and larger. *Finally, Gord managed to dive behind an opening and a portcullis slammed shut in front of the advancing horde. *Thankful for the reprieve, Gord turned to meet his rescuers.

A good twenty dwarves stood there, each carrying an axe as tall as their shoulders, with another axe and an urgosh strapped to their back. *Advancing as a group, their leader motioned to have the portcullis raised. *Gord looked on in amazement as the dwarves deflected arrows with the hafts of their axes and hurling the immense blades at the advancing foes. *Gord cried out “Don’t you need shields?”

The dwarves replied in unison, singing out their reply as a battle call.
“WE DON’T NEED NO STEENKING SHIELDS!”




The Shieldless of Elays are the dwarves who have devoted their life to exemplifying a fighting style entirely devoted to the use of axes so large they require two hands to use. *This fighting style is known as Elays. *This name is actually elven in origin, roughly translated to ‘lucky fool’. *This was the nickname of the dwarven hero Pahk Raskarl who, after his many adventures, returned to the clans to found and train others in the Shieldless style. *To this day, only the bravest and heartiest of dwarves are allowed into the official ranks of the Shieldless, though many aspirants follow the style on their own.


Requirements:
Race: Dwarf
Feats: Martial Weapon Proficiency(greataxe), Martial Weapon Proficiency(dwarven waraxe), Martial Weapon Proficiency(dwarven urgosh), Armor Proficiency(medium), Power Attack, Weapon Focus(dwarven waraxe AND dwarven urgosh OR greataxe)
Skills: Intimidate 5 ranks
BAB +6
Special: Must have been trained by a current member of The Shieldless

{table]
LevelBABFORTWILLREFLAbilities
1+1+2+0+0Truly Shieldless, Broadside Defense
2+2+3+1+1Axe of Focus
3+3+4+1+1Bat Away, Bound to The Axe
4+4+4+2+2Mighty Throw
5+5+5+3+3Wed to The Axe


Weapon And Armor Proficiency
The Shieldless gain no weapon or armor proficiencies.

Truly Shieldless(Ex)
When a dwarf becomes one of the Shieldless, they hold themselves to a code of discipline and training. *At 1st level, as they specialize in training, Shieldless gain a +1 competence bonus to attacks with axes of all sorts. *However, if a Shieldless uses any shield they lose all Shieldless bonuses and abilities for a year or until undergoing repeat training with the Master Shieldless.

Axe of Focus(Su)
At 2nd level, the Shieldless has spent so much time training with his axe that he becomes totally focused on its use. *From that time, the Shieldless has a –1 to all attack rolls not using an axe. *In addition, all axes gain +1 competence bonus to damage when wielded by a Shieldless.

Mighty Throw(Ex)
At 4th level, the Shieldless depends on his axe so much that he often has no time to switch weapons if ranged combat is necessary. *As a result, Shieldless gain the ability to throw two-handed axes with a range increment of 15 feet. This is a full round action.

Broadside Defense(Ex)
Using a combination of the broad face of their axe and the haft of their axe, a Shieldless is able to gain much needed defensive capabilities. *This provides a shield bonus equal to the character's Shieldless level.


Bat Away(Ex)
At 3rd level, the Shieldless’s training focus with their axe gives them the benefit of the Deflect Arrows feat while holding a two-handed axe, whether or not he has the prerequisites.

Bound To The Axe
At 3rd level, the Shieldless selects one of the following: dwarven waraxe, dwarven urgosh, greataxe. The Shieldless gains the Greater Weapon Focus feat with this weapon whether or not he meets the prerequisites.

Wed To The Axe
At 5th level, the Shieldless gains the Weapon Specialization feat with the same weapon selected for the Bound To The Axe class attribute.


Behind The Scenes
This prestige class is based off my character concept of Pahk Raskarl, a Dwarven Barbarian I play. *I love the idea of shunning traditional fighter types, but the needed balance just wasn’t there. *Elays is Pahk’s actual nickname in game. *And yes, “WE DON’T NEED NO STEENKING SHIELDS” is his actual warcry.

Musrum
2004-07-19, 11:00 PM
Requirements:
Race: Dwarf
Feats: Martial Weapon Proficiency(greataxe), Exotic Weapon Proficiency(dwarven waraxe), Exotic Weapon Proficiency(dwarven urgosh), Armor Proficiency(medium), Power Attack


A 3.5E Dwarf would never need Exotic Weapon Proficiency(dwarven waraxe).

If you are using the dwarven urgosh then Two Weapon Defence could be a good prerequisite.




Bat Away(Ex)
At 5th level, the Shieldless’s training focus with their axe gives them the benefit of the Deflect Arrows feat while holding a two-handed axe, whether or not he has the prerequisites.

I'd change to "while wielding an axe or dwarven urgosh in both hands" (to allow for the dwarven urgosh).

Starbuck_II
2004-07-19, 11:10 PM
What about Dwarves raised by other cultures?
You lose racial weaponry then to my knowledge. You do get a racial ability from the culture though.

I mean it adds more flavor to live in another culture, but I'm guessing most don't.

I like the bat away ability: I think there should be a feat that allows a weapon to deflect stuff but a class ability is good too.

Zagaroth
2004-07-20, 01:56 AM
Broadside Defense(Ex)
Using a combination of the broad face of their axe and the haft of their axe, a Shieldless is able to gain much needed defensive capabilities. This provides an AC bonus equal to the Shieldless level.

what sort of bonus? 'shield' bonus? dodge bonus? or specificlaly an unnamed bonus?

and if all they train in is the two handed axes, why the proficiency in the other weapons that they have penalties with?

I assume using an animated shield counts as using a shield.

Elays
2004-07-20, 10:29 AM
Modified the class.

1) Made Exotic Proficiencies into Martial Proficiencies (weapon familiarity from race)

2) Broadside Defense is a shield bonus

3) The Shieldless CAN use shields that do not require actual use (animated being one example, Ring of Force Shield being another)


Also, I was wondering if the abilities are a bit underpowered or overpowered. This is my first attempt, so I was uncertain. Should I make more abilities and expand it to a 10 level prestige class?

evileeyore
2004-07-25, 06:54 PM
i would remove the allowance of Force Shields and Dancing sheilds.

yeah i know they don't stack with other sheild bonuses, but Dancing Sheilds can have other enchantments on them. I think the Oath of Sheildlessness should cover all sheilds.

As for overpowered...

This PrC adds a lot in five levels. 3 feats, Duplicates Weapon Focus (while still allowing you to take the feat), and adds a sheild bonus of +5. Downside, -1 on all other weapons. In a magic heavy campiagn the lost sheild could have +5 and 5 levels of enchantment... that ones a wash.

So 4 feats in exchange for a -1 on all nontwo-handed axes.


I would play it as a Barbarian, and get me a +1 Dancing sheild at first opurtunity and start enchanting it all the way up. The sheild bonus won't stack, but the enchantments could be damn handy.

--EvilE

Zherog
2004-07-26, 02:05 PM
Overall, I generally agree with EvilEeyore's assessment about the power of the class. I did like the flavor of the class, though, so we can all work to re-balance the class. My individual comments to explain why are below.


<<snipped flavor text>>

Good, solid flavor text. It's short, but nicely describes the origin of the class and provides an overview of what to expect.



Requirements:
Race: Dwarf
Feats: Martial Weapon Proficiency(greataxe), Martial Weapon Proficiency(dwarven waraxe), Martial Weapon Proficiency(dwarven urgosh), Armor Proficiency(medium), Power Attack
Skills: Intimidate 10 ranks
BAB +6
Special: Must have been trained by a current member of The Shieldless

With the exception of the special requirement, I think just about every dwarven fighter or barbarian would qualify for this class. Given we're talking about Axe experts, I don't think adding Weapon Focus would be a bad thing at all. Also, if you want to really make the character focus on axes, you could require Weapon Specialization as well. That would mean everybody in this class would have at least 4 levels of fighter, but that's not a bad thing overall.

Finally on the pre-reqs, the ranks in intimidate don't really make sense mechanically. Nothing in the class indicates to me that the character needs to be good at scaring their opponent.

Here's my advice on tweaking the pre-reqs. Drop the number of ranks required in Intimidate down to 5. Add Weapon Focus in one of those axes. Weapon Specialization could be added if you wanted to have them really focus on axes, but it really isn't needed in my opinion.

Also, you don't list the Hit Die of the class anywhere. I'd assume a d10?


Weapon And Armor Proficiency
The Shieldless are proficient with all simple and martial weapons and all armors. *They shun shields at all costs.

This is a waste. You grant them proficiency in all these weapons, then tell them they can't use 'em. I'd set this to "gains no weapon or armor proficiencies."


Truly Shieldless(Ex)
When a dwarf becomes one of the Shieldless, they hold themselves to a code of discipline and training. *At 1st level, as they specialize in training, Shieldless gain a +1 to attack with axes of all sorts. *However, if a Shieldless uses any shield they lose all Shieldless bonuses and abilities for a year or until undergoing repeat training with the Master Shieldless. *The only exceptions are shields that do not require actual use (animated quality or the Ring of Force Shield).

Good, solid flavor ability. I would do two things, though.

Name the type of bonus they receive. Competence seems like a great fit here.

I'd not allow them to use Animated shields or even Rings of Force Shield. They disdain shields, so don't let them have loopholes they can then exploit.


Axe of Focus(Su)
At 2nd level, the Shieldless has spent so much time training with his axe that he becomes totally focused on its use. *From that time, the Shieldless has a –1 to all attack rolls not using a two-handed axe. *In addition, two-handed axes gain +1 to damage when wielded by a Shieldless.

So... the shieldless would actually gain a -1 when using throwing axes? or if they were able to wield an axe in one hand (the battleaxe can be used one-handed with the monkey grip feat)? That seems a bit wrong to me.

Again, you should name the damage type. Competence seems to fit here as well.


Mighty Throw(Ex)
The Shieldless depends on his axe so much that he often has no time to switch weapons if ranged combat is necessary. *As a result, Shieldless gain the ability to throw two-handed axes with a range increment of 30 feet.

This seems too good. The feat "Throw Anything" sets the range increment to 10'. Now, I understand this is focused purely on axes, but triple the range increment seems really good. Maybe make it 15' to account for the fact that it's only with axes.

Also, you need to specify what type of action it takes to throw the axe. Throw Anything says it takes a Full Round action to throw a two handed weapon - I'd recommend you keep that, but specifically mention it.


Broadside Defense(Ex)
Using a combination of the broad face of their axe and the haft of their axe, a Shieldless is able to gain much needed defensive capabilities. *This provides an AC bonus equal to the Shieldless level. *This bonus counts as a shield bonus.

A very nice ability. Just to simplify it a bit, I'd reword the bolded part to say, "This provides a shield bonus to AC equal to the character's Shieldless Level."


Improved Disarm
At 3rd level, the Shieldless gains Improved Disarm as a bonus feat whether or not he has the prerequisites.

Why? This seems to not fit the flavor of the class at all?


Improved Sunder
At 4th level, the Shieldless gains Improved Sunder as a bonus feat whether or not he has the prerequisites.

Again, why? This also doesn't really seem to fit into the flavor of the class.


Cleave
At 4th level, the Shieldless gains Cleave as a bonus feat whether or not he has the prerequisites.

I can sort of see this feat fitting the class.


Bat Away(Ex)
At 5th level, the Shieldless’s training focus with their axe gives them the benefit of the Deflect Arrows feat while holding a two-handed axe, whether or not he has the prerequisites.

Nice ability, but I don't know if it's worth being the 5th level ability. Here's how I'd fix the "end" of the class.

I'd drop Improved Sunder and Improved Disarm. They really don't seem to fit the "flavor" of the class, and instead it looks like you're just looking to gain "free" feats. I'd move Mighty Throw down to fourth level.

At 3rd level, I'd grant Greater Weapon Focus in the character's choice of one of the axes that were required for entry. I'd also put Bat Away at 3rd level.

At 5th level I'd grant Weapon Specialization in the same axe they took Greater Weapon Focus in. If you decide to make Weapon Spec a pre-req, you could instead grant Greater Weapon Spec at this level.

***

Overall it's a class full of awesome flavor! I could envision playing a character like this - especially since I tend to favor two handed weapons over a one-hander and shield with the 3.5 power attack rules!

Zherog
2004-07-26, 02:08 PM
Also, I just now noticed...

You don't have a list of class skills, nor do you mention how many skill points per level. ;)

Zherog
2004-07-29, 11:36 PM
Your edits look good. One little thing:


Mighty Throw(Ex)
At 4th level, the Shieldless depends on his axe so much that he often has no time to switch weapons if ranged combat is necessary. As a result, Shieldless gain the ability to throw two-handed axes with a range increment of 15 feet. This is a full round action.

You should also explicitly state that this ability removes the normal -4 penalty for throwing a weapon that isn't made to be thrown. That should cover all the bases.

Invariel
2004-07-31, 05:40 PM
Also, does the Shieldless have any aversion to the spell 'Shield' being cast upon him/her? And, if so, what sort of negative effects arise?