View Full Version : The Vanguard

2008-08-25, 12:24 PM
I will be the shield against the blackened sky. I will be the sword the ripostes that fatal blow. I will be the warden of the body, the spirit, and the mind of my people.

The vanguard is a martial prestige class that focuses on aiding and protecting his allies, while forcing enemies to focus their attacks on him to no avail. Eventually he becomes capable of supernatural defenses and restoration of his chosen wards.

Elite warriors often seek to train under the master vanguards that protect the nobility and royalty of the land. Such training is intensive and requires a scholarly understanding of both the tenets of martial techniques and the anatomy and physiology of man. More than anything vanguards must be willing to defend others and sacrifice their very lives for their wards.

To qualify to become a vanguard, a character must fulfill the following criteria.
Skills Heal 9 ranks, Marital Lore 9 ranks

Class Skills
Bluff (Cha), Craft (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Handle Animal (Cha), Intimidate (Cha), Knowledge (architecture and engineering, geography, history, local, nobility and royalty, religion) (Int), Martial Lore (Int), Listen (Wis), Perform (Cha), Ride (Dex), Sense Motive (Wis), Speak Language (n/a), Spot (Wis), Survival (Wis), and Swim (Str).
Skills Points at Each Level: 6 + int
Hit Dice: d12
BAB: Average
Saves Fort Good, Refx Poor, Will Good

Ward (Ex): At 1st level the vanguard may once per day designate a willing sentient ally to be his ward. This confers a +2 bonus to the target's AC and all of the ward's saves and allows the vanguard to use other abilities pertaining to the ward on this creature. At the start of an encounter he must appraise the situation his wards are in and renew this bond as a swift action. Before doing so he cannot use any other abilities tied to his ward. In order to benefit from being warded the vanguard must be within close range of the vanguard. The vanguard has knowledge of his ward as if affected by a status spell. At 5th and every five levels thereafter the vanguard may choose an additional ward to benefit from these bonuses.

Vanguard's Oath (Ex): Swearing to protect his charge deep within his soul the vanguard may as a move action recite such an oath. At 2nd level the vanguard knows two oaths. Each time the vanguard gets this ability he may select an additional oath as well as retrain a previous one. Unless stated otherwise declaring an oath is a standard action and may be used as often as the vanguard wishes provided the requirements to make such an oath are met.

Oath of Taunting Defiance: A vanguard issues this oath against a single enemy who has threatened his ward or wards. The target receives a -4 on attack and saves every round in which he does not target the vanguard with an attack. The vanguard is treated as if he has Combat Reflexes for the purposes of attacks of opportunity against the target. If the vanguard already possess this feat he instead gains a +2 on attack and damage rolls when making an attack of opportunity against the target. Only a single oath of taunting defiance may be active at any given time.

Oath of Boundless Vengeance: A vanguard can select one target creature who has damaged or imposed a negative condition on his ward and gain a +4 bonus on all attack and damage rolls, pertaining to that target for the duration of the encounter.

Oath of Sacrificial Resistance: A vanguard may as a full-round action touch an adjacent ward and transfer the full effects of blindness, dazing, deafness, fatigue, exhaustion, nausea, sickening, or a single poison, negative level disease, curse to themselves. This cannot remove permanent conditions, and can not remove any other effects the removed condition may have engendered upon the ward. Finally if the ward has already suffered the effects of a disease the vanguard may not remove it.

Oath of Final Judgment: A vanguard can select one foe within a close range of his ward and issue a power word kill effect the DC for this is 10+1/2level+Cha bonus. A vanguard may make a perform (oratory) check at a DC 15+1/2target's HD. If successful the save DC for this oath increase by 4. A vanguard may only attempt this once per Constitution modifier per day.

Oath of Bolstering: A vanguard who has one-half or less than his total hip-points may utter this oath and temporarily gain temporarily hit points equal to 1d6 time his vanguard level. These expire after three rounds. This oath may only be invoked once per encounter.

Ward Aegis (Su): As an immediate action the vanguard may project an aura of protection out to 60 feet that affects his ward(s) plus one ally for every four vanguard levels. The vanguard can share pain with any creature effected by his aura as a free action. Wards who are effected by this take 1/3rd of the total shared damage, and the vanguard takes , the remaining damage does not affect anyone in any way.

Reprieve (Ex): Once per encounter as an immediate action the vanguard chooses a ward and grants that target the effects of ironguard spell and SR 16+vanguard's level. This lasts until the end of the target's turn. At ninth level the vanguard may use this ability twice per encounter.

Mettle (Ex): The vanguard gains Mettle. If the vanguard already possessed mettle he instead may gain either Uncanny Dodge or a bonus feat for which he qualifies.

Resiliency (Su): Three times per day as an immediate action the vanguard may project an aura out to 60 feet that affects a number of allies equal to 1+Charisma bonus. This aura grants fast healing for one minute. The value of this fast healing is 3, or 4 for targets that are wards, when the vanguard gains this ability and increase to 6/8 when the vanguard attains 9th level.

Remake Destiny (Su): The vanguard gains a powerful ability to rewrite reality in favor of his ward. As an immediate action once per day he may target any ward within close range with this ability. The target is affected by a miracle that, within the power of that spell, undoes any negative effect upon that target. Common uses include mimicking a revivify, freedom, psychic chirurgery or heal.

Flurry (Ex): The vanguard can once per day enter into the ultimate defensive stance as a swift action. He is immobilized (though he may end this stance at any time and lose the benefits and this condition) and cannot be harmed by weapon or force damage. He gains resistance to all energy types 30. He may remain in this stance for a number of round equal to his Constitution modifier after which he is fatigued for the duration of the encounter.

Vanguard's Sacrifice (Su): As an immediate reaction to the death of a ward, the vanguard may drop to -9 hit points and stable. The targeted ward must be on the same plane as the vanguard, but otherwise distance is unimportant. The ward is instantly freed from any bondage, and benefits from the effects of a heal spell.

1. Ward
2. Vanguard's Oath
3. Ward Aegis
4. Reprieve 1/encounter
5. Mettle
6. Ward, Resiliency 3
7. Vanguard's Oath
8. Remake Destiny
9. Flurry, Resiliency 6, Reprieve 2/encounter
10. Ward, Vanguard's Sacrifice

Vanguards are a powerful martial force on the battlefield, capable of taking hits and dealing damage. Their primary concern is protecting their ward or wards from danger or reversing it's harmful effects. Make sure to have high Constitution and Charisma scores.

Combat: Most vanguards prefer to act first and without hesitation, while a few prefer to take a reactionary route and repair any problems caused. After renewing your ward, maneuverer to a position that puts you in enemies line of effect. The challenge them. When your ward or wards are harmed use Vanguard's Oath, Resiliency, and Remake Destiny to make the best of a touch situation.
Advancement: Selecting tactical feats, investing in restorative and abjuration consumables, and planning ahead for either further defensive class options or a return to your roots are all advantageous ways to move forward.
Resources: Many vanguard's are members of powerful organizations whose vast resources can be tapped for use in protecting their members. Other vanguards who are still making their reputation can often call upon renowned mentors for aide.

Were that Kirion Lichabane could stand at my side instead of these mountain walls, for he would be more stable.
~Uttar the Solid, deepwarden general of Elzagag

Notables: Kirion Lichbane (LG alantari crusader 4/paladin10/vanguard10) is a member of the once renowned Order of the Hawk, and is responsible for the slaying the aspect of a demon lord, and protecting the High Queen from treachery daily in a turbulent political climate. As his name alludes he has slain more than a dozen liches in his career and holds a burning hatred for the undead who seek to undermine the sacred right of life he so dearly protects.
Shilar Grimblade (LE solari fighter 2/ninja 6/vanguard 6) known also as the Ghost of Solartun is well known for tracking down promising vanguards and ambushing their comrades. Should they survive and preform well he takes them as his wards and trains them in the path of the perfect defender.

Organizations: The Knights of the Iron Oath uphold an ancient code of chivalry and maintain a fortress that holds secrets even older than this respected brotherhood. Many vanguards are members of this prestigious sect of scholar-knights and can receive from them training in many techniques and a constant flow of information on the surrounding region and more sagacious subjects
The Sons of Elcrys are the remnants of an exceptionally tight organization who were sworn at birth to protect the declared king of old. When his attempt at the crown failed they held on for centuries eventually becoming the for-hire mercenaries they are widely recognized as today. And they are some of the finest protection money an buy.

NPC Reactions
Allies perceive vanguards are wonderful gifts and value their assistance highly. Foes view vanguards as targets either to be fully assaulted or avoided at all costs. In general most people mistake vanguards for defensively specialized warriors or paladins.

Vanguard's provide a new kind of defensive warrior to the game. Not only capable of making himself nigh indestructible, he can protect his allies lives and wound his enemies in more ways than pure damage.
Adaptation: The vanguard is generic enough to fit well into most settings. However you might wish to reflavour it as a warrior aided by the spirits of his ancestors to protect those still living, or supernal guardian's given flesh to ensure proper fulfillment of destiny should such a thing better suite your campaign.
Encounters: You might encounter an evil vanguard protecting the nefarious villain in his lair, whose timely defenses allow your enemy to escape. A player with Leadership may be approached by a vanguard who has heard of his reputation and wishes to swear fealty. Or a vanguard who failed to protect his ward or wards may seek the PCs for help in atoning.

Sample Encounter
Even the powers of darkness have their willing or unwilling devoted servants and Illyra the Ironfist is just such a person. She has survived the deaths of many villainous wards whom she has given her all to defend. Her pact with a demon forces her into such service and she secretly wishes to see the downfall of the evil men she so often protects.
EL 15: Illyra the Ironfist (solari warblade 9/vanguard 6) with two other skilled warriors guard a narrow arch of stone across a volcano in order for her master to escape the clutches of the PCs. She protects the warriors while they attempt to knock the PCs into the lava below.

2008-08-25, 12:28 PM
This is a very rough draft of a PrC that has been noodling around in my head for some time. The wording on several of the abilities probably very sketchy and the power level may be erratic, with these things I desire help. I still have in mind several other abilities. Such as being able to invoke knight's move, block line of effect, or be immune to fear and emotion-based effects that just didn't fit. This is one of my last designs in pure 3.5 and as such it's very half-assed at the moment.

2008-08-26, 09:35 AM
12 HD is a bit overpowered for a martial prestige class--should probably be d8 like a Monk.

Also, you may find these to be for editing charts.

http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=10313 [Scroll down for charts for Prestige Classes]

http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=10433 just has more info on the matter.


2008-08-26, 10:32 AM
Also, I think Marital Lore is a strange skill requirement for this... How does marriage play into this whole PrC?


Zeta Kai
2008-08-26, 11:09 AM
Very nice flavor; I like it. That said, here are some criticisms:

I'd suggest going down to HD = d10; in exchange, consider beefing up the BAB to a full progression. None of the class features from Oath on down say what level they are gained on. Oath doesn't specifiy that you gain more Oaths at 7th level. Considering how may oaths you gain (3+? it's not really clear), please consider adding some more oaths; 5 seems pretty meager, so more options would be nice. 9th level has too many features; consider moving one of them to another level. Your chart has the Vanguard gaining a ward at 6th level instead of 5th.

BTW, have a table:

The Vanguard
{table=head]Level|BAB|Fort Save|Reflex Save|Will Save|Special
1st|+0|+2|+0|+2|Ward (1)
2nd|+1|+3|+0|+3|Vanguard's Oath
3rd|+2|+3|+1|+3|Ward Aegis
4th|+3|+4|+1|+4|Reprieve 1/encounter
5th|+3|+4|+1|+4|Ward (2), Mettle
6th|+4|+5|+2|+5|Resiliency 3
7th|+5|+5|+2|+5|Vanguard's Oath
8th|+6/+1|+6|+2|+6|Remake Destiny
9th|+6/+1|+6|+3|+6|Flurry, Resiliency 6, Reprieve 2/encounter
10th|+7/+2|+7|+3|+7|Ward (3), Vanguard's Sacrifice[/table]

2008-08-26, 06:01 PM
You know, the old sexist husband protects wife thing :P I'll fix the typo.

A d12 is purposeful. The amount of damage any given vanguard will take each round is huge and it is there primarily goal. The lower BAB is to represent a higher attention to defense at the expense of attacking.

I will edit Oath tonight to make things clear. I intend to add more oaths, probably to a total of twelve or so though currently I am uninspired as to what they should be.

9th level does not have too many class features, rather it has one and certain class features gain additional abilities at ninth. To avoid this confusion in the future I will take improvement listings out of the table.

Speaking of which, thank you very much for the table Zeta Kai.