View Full Version : D&D 3.x Class Ferrous Defender Prestige Class

2014-06-03, 12:38 AM
Some of my players are about to head to a kingdom known for its surprising tenacity against superior opponents, despite not having much of an aptitude for magic. I was going to be designing a prestige class for some of the royal guards to set them apart from some of the other enemies that they've met, but I wanted suggestions for ways that I could improve it (both mechanically and lore-wise.)

Base Attack Bonus
Fort Save
Ref Save
Will Save

Martial Counterspell, Pseudospells

Readied Reflection

Maelstrom Shaping

Concealing Sacrifice

Readied Efficiency

I'm not sure about skill selection (apart from Spellcraft and probably the Knowledges Arcana and History). I'm considering a d6 hit die, but since it's largely a class meant for body guards the argument might be made for d8. In my head, the abilities of this class only work if the person is wielding a weapon or suitable focusing device (like a rod) made out of cold iron. I'm not sure if I like the name "Ferrous Defender" but honestly can't think of something else that I like more. As for a description of the various abilities...

Martial Counterspell (Ex): A Ferrous Defender may counterspell a spell being cast just as a mage may. With a successful Spellcraft check (DC 15 + the level of the spell being cast), a Ferrous Defender can identify a spell as it is being cast. The Ferrous Defender may then make a regular attack roll at his or her highest attack modifier while emulating an pseudospell (see below). If the pseudospell is appropriate and the attack roll is equal to or greater than the caster level of the spell being cast, the Ferrous Defender creates an eldritch wave of energy that counters the spell as it is cast.

Pseudospells (Ex): A Ferrous Defender knows a number of Pseudospells. A Pseudospell is usually a placeholder for a broad form of magic such as a school (like evocation or conjuration) or a descriptor (such as fire or compulsion). Each Pseudospell has a level, as a regular spell does. A Ferrous Defender knows a number of Pseudospells as a Sorcerer (treating the Ferrous Defenderís Base Attack Bonus as the effective Sorcerer level.) A Pseudospell can only counter a spell of equal level or lower to itself, and only if itís a spell of the same school or same descriptor (or a diametrically opposed descriptor, such as good/evil, earth/air, fire/cold, fire/water, etc.)

Readied Reflection (Ex): If a Ferrous Defender identifies a spell as one that will produce a ray or a line effect, the Ferrous Defender may choose not to counter the spell but, instead, to reflect it in another direction (including back at the caster who cast the spell.) The area of the line or range of the ray is recalculated to start from the Ferrous Defenderís position, but is reduced to account for the distance the spell has already traveled. Anyone affected by a line before it reached the Ferrous Defender is unaffected if it moves back through their area if they successfully saved against it the first time; they are entitled to another save when it moves back through their area if they didnít successfully save the first time. The Ferrous Defender is treated as the caster of the spell after deflecting it in this manner.

Maelstrom Shaping (Ex): If a Ferrous Defender identifies a spell as one that will have an area in the form of an Emanation or Spread, the Ferrous Defender may, if the area of the spell touches the Ferrous Defenderís space, use a complicated sequence of maneuvers to pull the entirety of the effect toward them and in another direction as an alternative to countering the spell. The spell effectively becomes two lines, one heading toward the Ferrous Defender, and one heading away with a total distance equal to the number of spaces that the spell would have taken up regularly. The Ferrous Defender is treated as being in the spellís area of effect, but also as having successfully saved against the spell.

Concealing Sacrifice (Ex): If the Ferrous Defender determines that a spell being cast is a Burst spell, the Ferrous Defender may leap upon the point of origin of the spell (assuming that the spell is within the Ferrous Defender movement range) and contain the point of origin of the spell within him or herself as an alternative to countering the spell. The Ferrous Defender will provide concealment for everyone within range of the Burst, but will take the full effect of the spell as if it had been Empowered as through the Empower Spell metamagic feat. The Ferrous Defender may make a fortitude or will save to resist the effects if those saves are appropriate to the spell, but not a reflex save.

Readied Efficiency (Ex): At fifth level, the Ferrous Defender is able to fully combine his or her martial techniques with counterspelling techniques. If a Ferrous Defender has multiple attacks available, the Ferrous Defender may attempt to counterspell once per attack (though each extra attack is reduced as usual for multiple attacks in a round.)

Any thoughts on how it works, or if it could be improved?

2014-06-03, 01:04 AM
Well for a name, you could pull "iron magehunter" or "cold-forged antimage"

In terms of skills, disable device is a must, along with spot and listen, as you want to be able to consistently hear and notice the nearby magic-users. Jump might go well with concealing sacrifice, and heal might be good for one who lacks magical healing.

2014-06-03, 10:52 PM
Heal would definitely fit the reactive/defensive feel that I'm going for, thanks. Hadn't thought of that.

I'm going back and forth on Use Magic Device. On the one hand, they feel like they'd be more apt to be able to figure out how a magic device works than a standard rogue; on the other, their studies of canceling magical effects suggest that they don't have any real aptitude toward magic themselves.

I'm also considering Craft (Alchemy) since my campaign world doesn't restrict Alchemy to magic users for creation, but... I dunno. It both fits and doesn't fit.

2014-06-08, 02:04 AM
The mage slayer fighter is a classic archetype, but one that's really difficult to pull off. I'm not sure you're going to be too happy with this as it is, since a good cleric, druid, or wizard will tear these guys apart with little difficulty and a bad one may feel singled out by a "DM special" class that defeats all their blasting spells. Let's see what we can do with this.

Ok, let's start with the name and style. I agree, you want something cool I'd suggest one of the following:
Spellcrystal Knight, featuring heavy use of unusual crystalline weapons and armor made from a rare crystal famed for its magic-damping properties
Cold Iron Elite, with both weapons and armor forged of cold iron and etched with obvious defensive glyphs.
Spell-battle Guard, warriors who acquire prominent ritual scarring or tattooing as part of their training.

Now, let's look at crunchy fundamentals:
For prerequisites, consider requiring feats like Mage Slayer (http://dndtools.eu/feats/complete-arcane--55/mage-slayer--1818/), and maybe Pierce Magical Protection (http://dndtools.eu/feats/complete-arcane--55/pierce-magical-protection--2159/) or Pierce Magical Concealment (http://dndtools.eu/feats/complete-arcane--55/pierce-magical-concealment--2158/). Not only are these feats thematically appropriate, but they're pretty useful for the task of warding off magic-using opponents too.
4 or even 6 skill points per level is a good idea, because your typical martial character is going to get into the class with hardly any ranks in the appropriate skills and is going to need to pile the skill points into Spellcraft, Knowledge: Arcana, and Knowledge: Religion fast.
A d12 hit die is perfect for a martial class with "surprising tenacity" that's focused on defense. Yes, you read that right. A d12. It's really not that much; in a 5-level class that's an average of only 5 hp advantage over a stock fighter.
I'd suggest a Poor Fortitude save progression and a Good Reflex save progression. Few spells for Fortitude saves and martial characters are usually already good at them. However, fighter types are famously vulnerable to even the most simple immobilizing spells, such as grease (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/spells/grease.htm), web (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/spells/web.htm), and entangle (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/spells/entangle.htm). The strong Will save is a great idea; I'd urge you to keep that.

How about class features?
Concealing Sacrifice is awesome. Jumping on a live grenade is always heroic. You might consider maximizing rather than enlarging. It eliminates a die roll and is likely to give the NPC a heroic death scene.
The counterspelling abilities need reworking. Counterspelling "just as a mage may" is terrible, because mages have to ready a standard action to counterspell. It seems more like you have in mind a spur-of-the-moment counterspell. I'd suggest expending an immediate action to counter, rather than an attack, both because that allows PC spellcasters to concentrate their fire on a single NPC to overwhelm his defenses and because sometimes it can be hard to determine exactly how many "attacks" an NPC is entitled to when it's not his turn. The pseudospell mechanic is going to be too much bookkeeping for you. Instead, grant a pool of say, 3 + Con bonus counter attempts per day, and have the character use his unmodified base attack bonus to make an opposed check against the spellcaster's caster level. A "regular attack roll" would be problematic because, again, it can be complicated to determine what exactly constitutes "regular" when it's not even the NPC's turn.

Here are a couple of class features I fished out of a similarly styled prestige class that I worked on a few years ago. You might feel inclined to steal from them if you like:

Mark of the Chosen (Su): The warrior undergoes a long and painful tattooing ritual/scribes glyphs upon his armor/wears crystal armor with magical properties. He gains immunity to fear, charms, and compulsions. At 5th level the protective magic grows stronger, and he cannot be affected by any mind-affecting effect unless he wishes.
at class to determine his initiator level.

Watchful Guardian (Ex): The warrior is watchful and vigilant in defending his charge against both mundane and magical threats. He adds his class level as a competence bonus to all Spot checks and Initiative checks, and to Spellcraft checks to identify a spell being cast, identify an in-place spell effect, or identify a spell after saving against it.

Uncanny Dodge (Ex): The warrior gains the ability to react to danger before his senses would normally allow him to do so. He retains his Dexterity bonus to AC (if any) even if he is caught flat-footed or struck by an invisible attacker. At 5th level, or whenever he has five or more levels in classes that grant uncanny dodge, he gains improved uncanny dodge instead.

Mettle (Ex): The warrior's training hardens his mind and body against even magical and unusual assaults. At 3rd level, he gains Mettle. If he makes a successfull Will or Fortitude save against an effect that would normally have a lesser effect on a successful save, he instead completely negates the effect.

Vengeful Guardian (Ex): A warrior of 3rd level or higher gains a +2 morale bonus on attack rolls and damage rolls against any creature that attacks him or that he has previously seen attack his charge. Once per encounter as an immediate action, if he sees any creature attack his charge, he may throw a ranged weapon or initiate a charge action against the creature if it is within range. He can use this ability even while flat-footed, although if he charges during a surprise round he is only permitted a partial charge.