View Full Version : The Axe-Fiend, A first attempt at a Prestige class

2012-09-08, 06:07 PM
As the title suggests, this is my first attempt at doing more than dreaming at some cool ideas Iíve had floating around in my head. I decided to try to flesh out this Prestige class I've wanted to make, and possibly use in a campaign I might run down the road (far down the road).

My problem is that I have little to no clue what things would be going too far and what would be totally useless. On the whole, I get the feeling this class is a bit underpowered, but I'm unsure as to why, or how I could fix that without making it OVERpowered. I'd appreciate some feedback as to how I can improve this class so it is on-par with other classes at similar levels.

The class is a prestige class, meant to be taken after level 5, with either a Barbarian or Fighter as the base class.

I wrote them a brief history and description to give you an Idea of what roles the Axe-Fiends are supposed to fill:

History: The first Axe-Fiends were the result of a civilized nation attempting to incorporate barbarians into the standing army. However, the rages they were prone to did not mesh well with the strict military doctrine. To solve this, they trained them in the wielding of two axes, simultaneously. To do so required some focus and concentration or one would end up killing one-self or oneís ally. This prevented them from giving themselves to blind rages... Most of the time. Over time, the numbers and skill of these warriors grew. From these humble beginnings sprung a tight-knit cadre of blood-hungry warriors, who have found some sense of perfection in their art of war.

Description: The Axe Fiends are an elite group of warriors who claim to have discovered the ultimate fighting style. Whether this is true or not, few dispute their desired place on the battlefield: the front-line. Not so much out of respect, but out of a desire to keep them pointed in the other direction; carnage seems to follow them wherever they go.

Hit Die: 1d12

Alignment:Any Neutral (Lawful, True, Chaotic)
Base Attack Bonus:+5
Feats: Two Weapon Fighting, Weapon Focus (Axe)

{table=head]Level|Base Attack<br>Bonus|Fort Save|Ref Save|Will Save|Special

+0|The Way of the Axe, Dual Axe Training, bonus feat


+1|Rain of Steel

+1|Bathed in Blood,

+2|bonus feat

+2|Steel Screen, Storm of Steel

+3|Bloodlust Charge

+3|You're Next!

+4|Dual Axe Mastery

+5|Vision of Slaughter, Onslaught of Steel, bonus feat[/table]

Class Abilities

Bonus feats: the Axe-Fiend may take any feats as a bonus feat that a fighter can.

The Way of the Axe: Gain Weapon Specialization (axe) at first level, gain Greater Weapon Focus (axe) at third level, gain Greater Weapon Specialization (axe) at fifth level, gain Epic Weapon Focus (axe) at seventh level, gain Epic Weapon Specialization (axe) at ninth level. You gain these feats even if you do not meet the prerequisites.

Dual Axe Training: Gain Two-Weapon Defense as a bonus feat, even if you do not meet the prerequisites. In addition, when the Axe-Fiend is wielding two Axes, one in each hand, the off-hand weapon may be considered a light weapon even if it is not a light weapon.

Dual Axe Mastery: The Axe fiend no longer takes any penalties to attack rolls due to Two-Weapon Fighting, as long as both weapons are Axes. The penalties mentioned in the Improved Two Weapon Fighting, Greater Two-Weapon Fighting, and Perfect Two-Weapon Fighting feats still do apply.

Hit-and-Run: When Charging an opponent, The Axe-Fiend may make a single additional attack with his off-hand weapon against a secondary opponent who enters melee range during the charge. The secondary target must not be within melee range when the charge begins, and must no longer be within melee range when the charge ends in order to make this attack. The secondary attack is made with a -2 penalty to hit and the result of the original charge is unaffected. The secondary target does not get an opportunity attack against the Axe-Fiend, even if he has the Hold the Line feat. This can be done only once per charge.

Bloodlust Charge: When Charging an opponent, the axe-fiend may make a ranged attack with his off-hand axe against the object of his charge during the charge. In order to do so, the square on which he makes the ranged attack must be at least 15 feet (3 squares) from the target, and also must not be the square from which he started the charge. If the Axe-Fiend made use of his Hit-and-Run ability during this charge, the secondary target must also no-longer be within melee range. This ranged attack does not normally provoke opportunity attacks.

The attack is made with the Axe-fiends base-attack bonus, plus either his Dexterity or Strength modifier, whichever the player chooses.
If the player chooses Dexterity, then his attack will do extra damage on a successful hit equal to his Dexterity modifier.

If the player chooses Strength, then on a successful hit, the targetís AC is lowered by Ĺ the Axe-Fiendís Strength modifier (minimum 1) while the axe is lodged in the target and for 1d2 rounds after the axe is removed.

If the attack hits, the thrown axe becomes lodged in the targetís body/armor, and can be removed with a move action by making a DC 16 Strength Check. The target must make a concentration check DC 12 each round the axe remains lodged in his body/armor in order to ignore it. If he fails, he must spend a move action attempting to dislodge it.

If the attack misses, then the thrown axe lands on a randomly determined square adjacent to the target.

Regardless of whether the ranged attack succeeds or fails, the charge will continue as normal.

Rain of Steel: The Axe-Fiend can make one additional attack per round with the off-hand Axe, as with Improved Two-Weapon Fighting.

Steel Screen: The Axe-Fiend has learned the value of being able to simply survive the heat of the battlefield. When taking the total defense action, the Axe-Fiend gains a +7 dodge bonus to AC, instead of the normal +4.

Storm of Steel: The Axe-Fiend can make one additional attack per round with the off-hand Axe, as with Greater Two-Weapon Fighting.

Onslaught of Steel: The Axe-Fiend can make as many attacks with the off-hand axe as he can with the primary axe, as with Perfect Two-Weapon Fighting.

Bathed in Blood: Upon landing the killing blow on an opponent, the Axe-Fiend can opt to spend the rest of his turn (even if killing the opponent WAS the last action on his turn) taunting up to three enemies within 15 feet of him who witnessed his kill. (The Axe-fiend must be aware of the targets, and the targets must be the same size or smaller than the target originally killed.) This triggers an attack of opportunity from any enemy who is NOT one of the three targets.

The Axe Fiend makes an Intimidate Check, boosted by half the number of hit-dice the creature he killed possessed. Roll separately for each of the 3 enemies. The attempt is opposed by a Modified Level Check from each target.

For each success, the target is shaken for 1d4 rounds. If all three enemies are successfully shaken, they are instead frightened for 1d4 rounds.

Youíre Next!: Upon landing the killing blow on an opponent the Axe-Fiend can opt to spend the rest of his turn (even if killing the opponent WAS the last action on his turn) taunting one enemy within 25 feet of him who witnessed his kill. (The Axe-fiend must be aware of the targets) This triggers an attack of opportunity from any enemy who is NOT the target.

The Axe Fiend makes an Intimidate Check, boosted by the number of hit-dice the creature he killed possessed. The attempt is opposed by a Modified Level Check from the target.

If successful, the target is frightened for 1d6 rounds. If the die rolls a 6, the target is instead panicked for 1d4 rounds. On a failure the target is Shaken for 1d2 rounds.

Vision of Slaughter: The Bathed in Blood and Youíre Next! Abilities no longer trigger opportunity attacks, and using them does not end the Axe-Fiendís turn. The Axe-Fiend may continue his actions after the abilities are resolved.

2012-09-08, 11:17 PM
It's definitely a really solid first entry. I personally really liked the second half of the class -- that is, the part that begins with "Bathed in Blood". The first half isn't bad, but I personally don't like feats as class features. It just doesn't seem very interesting to me; it makes me feel like I'm just playing a pre-made character that someone else gave me, rather than a class that's a chassis for my own character. But the feats themselves are great and certainly logical for the theme of an axe-wielding warrior devoted to her weapon -- honestly, what I would do is consolidate the whole thing into a single class ability - listed at first level -, something like this:

Way of the Axe (Ex): Gain weapon specialisation at 1st level, gain weapon focus at 3rd level... (so on, so forth)

It's really just one ability that gets better and better over time, so it doesn't need to be spread out over the entire table (though that's certainly a valid design choice, so don't think I'm saying that you made a mistake here!) It's just my personal taste; if abilities clearly build off of one another that strongly, I just leave them like that.

One of the really genuinely awesome aspects of your class is the use of the Intimidate mechanic. Skill checks in combat don't really get that much love, especially in prestige classes, and it's nice to see one that's used synergistically in a way that's both flavorful and interesting. I think you should really consider making more class features like this; not necessarily with the Intimidate skill or even skill checks in general, but ones that are creative and interesting and not just a bunch of feats and static bonuses given as class features.

2012-09-09, 10:41 AM
I made some changes, I'm curious as to what you think of Bloodlust Charge, I wanted to make the throwing of the weapon be a real risk, as he might not get the weapon back immediately, but have a payoff that was worth it.

I also replaced some of the less essential feats with customizable bonus feats in order to promote some variation in the possible builds, and tweaked Steel screen a bit.