This is a re-write of an old homebrew class which I wrote up a while back and play tested. It's a class that's based around movement. Initially it sucked horribly at low levels, since most D&D combat takes place in very confined spaces. But after reworking some of the class abilities and adding a lot of new maneuvers, I think it has been vastly improved.
Special thanks to Cardea, who also play tested the class, had a fun time, and provided me with valuable feedback.
"I really need to take the Endurance feat next time. Or the Run feat. Those would both be solid choices." ~Elan
Hit Die: d8
Skill Points at 1st Level: (6 + Int modifier) ×4.
Skill Points at Each Level: 6 + Int modifier.
Class Skills: The Vanguard's class skills are Balance, Climb, Concentration, Escape Artist, Hide, Jump, Knowledge (Architecture), Knowledge (Local), Knowledge (Geography), Knowledge (Nature), Listen, Martial Lore, Move Silently, Profession, Spot, Survival, Swim, and Tumble.
Weapon and Armor Proficiency: The Vanguard is proficient in all simple weapons, martial weapons, and light armor, but not shields.
Table: The Vanguard
BAB Fort Ref Will Special Fast Movement Maneuvers Known 1st +0 +0 +2 +0 Parkour, Fast Movement 10 4 2nd +1 +0 +3 +0 Endurance, Dodge 10 5 3rd +2 +1 +3 +1 Run 20 6 4th +3 +1 +4 +1 Mobility 20 6 5th +3 +1 +4 +1 Spring Attack 30 7 6th +4 +2 +5 +2 Skate Gravity 30 7 7th +5 +2 +5 +2 40 8 8th +6 +2 +6 +2 Pouncing Spring Attack 40 8 9th +6 +3 +6 +3 50 9 10th +7 +3 +7 +3 Rapid Skill Mastery 50 9 11th +8 +3 +7 +3 60 10 12th +9 +4 +8 +4 Evasive Skitter 60 10 13th +9 +4 +8 +4 70 11 14th +10 +4 +9 +4 Dauntless 70 11 15th +11 +5 +9 +5 80 12 16th +12 +5 +10 +5 Instant Velocity 90 12 17th +12 + 5 +10 +5 100 13 18th +13 +6 +11 +6 Freedom of Movement 110 13 19th +14 +6 +11 +6 120 14 20th +15 +6 +12 +6 Incomparable Speed 150 14
Maneuvers: You begin your career with knowledge of four martial maneuvers. The disciplines available to you are Lightning Fox, Desert Wind, and Tiger Claw. (At your DM's discretion, you may substitute Desert Wind or Tiger Claw for the Falling Star, Diamond Mind, Shadow Hand, or other disciples appropriate for your character). You learn additional maneuvers at higher levels, as shown Table: The Vanguard. See Table 3-1 on pg. 39 of the Tome of Battle to determine the highest level maneuvers you can learn. Upon reaching 4th level and every even level thereafter, you can choose to learn a new maneuver in place of you already know, following the standard rules for doing so.
Maneuvers Readied: The Vanguard begins every combat with no maneuvers readied. At the start of his first turn as a Free Action he may ready one maneuver of his choice. At the start of each of his subsequent turns a Free Action, the Vanguard may ready one additional maneuver of his choice for every 30 feet that he has moved since the start of his last turn of this combat, up to a maximum of 1/2 his highest initiator level (minimum one, maximum ten). For example, a 6th level Vanguard would ready zero additional maneuvers if he moved less then 30 feet since the start of his last turn of this combat, one if he moved from 30-55 feet, two if he moves from 60-85 feet, and three if he moves from 90 feet or more. At the end of each combat and whenever the Vanguard is rendered Prone, Pinned, Immobile, Helpless, or Dead, he loses all readied maneuvers. The Vanguard may not ready a maneuver if that same maneuver was readied or used since the start of his previous turn.
Only the Vanguard's purposeful land based movement and jumping during combat counts toward this determination. Movement that results from the Vanguard being mounted, carried, bull rushed, attacked, riding a vessel, flight, swimming, interdimensional travel (such as Dimension Door, Teleport, or movement while Ethereal), or similar circumstances do not count towards the number of maneuvers the Vanguard may ready. For example, if the initiator was Bull Rushed by an enemy and failed, thus being pushed back, that movement would not count towards the number of maneuvers a Vanguard could ready. If the initiator attempted a Bull Rush attack against an enemy, succeeded, and choose to move along with his enemy, that movement would count. The Vanguard cannot ready maneuvers gained from this class before an encounter starts. His abilities are based on both mental and physical momentum, which rely on an awareness of real and immediate danger to build up and use.
Stances Known: You begin play with knowledge of one 1st level stance from any discipline open to you. At your 3rd, 7th, 13th, and 20th Vanguard levels, you can choose one additional stance. Unlike maneuvers, stances are not expended, and you do not have to ready them. All the stances you know are available to you at all times, though you may only have one active at any given time. You can change the stance you are currently using as a Swift Action. A stance is an extraordinary ability unless otherwise stated in the stance description. Unlike maneuvers, you cannot learn a new stance at higher levels in place of one you already know.
Fast Movement (Ex): At 1st level the Vanguard gains a bonus to his base land speed as shown on Table: The Vanguard. This bonus stacks with Fast Movement bonuses from all other sources, such as those provided by the Monk, Scout, Barbarian, Haste, Boots of Speed, etc. This ability only applies to the Vanguard's land speed, and not to any swim, fly, climb, burrow, or other movement form that he may possess, even if those speeds would otherwise be calculated using his base land speed. This ability only functions when the Vanguard is wearing no armor or light armor, and is not encumbered.
Parkour (Ex): One of the first lessons the Vanguard learns is that moving efficiently and in unexpected ways is just as important as moving quickly. At 1st level the Vanguard may traverse rooftops, stairs, walls, and other slanted or vertical surfaces without his movement being slowed or impaired, as long as he begins and ends his movement on a horizontal surface. If the Vanguard does not end his movement on a horizontal surface that he is normally capable of standing on, he falls at the end of his turn.
Passing between these surfaces (from floor to wall, from wall to wall, from rooftop to wall, etc) costs no movement, and the height he can achieve on the wall or other vertical surface is limited only by his movement. While moving on these surfaces the Vanguard may be targeted by attacks of opportunity of enemies within reach as normal (which the Vanguard may attempt to avoid as normal with Tumble). Similarly, the Vanguard may attack enemies within reach per the normal rules (with Spring Attack, maneuvers, etc) while using this ability. Many Vanguards take advantage of this ability by running up walls at an angle and then Jumping off to attack enemies from above, to power up certain stances and maneuvers, and to gain extra distance in their movement to ready additional maneuvers on the following round. This ability only functions when the Vanguard is wearing no armor or light armor, and is not encumbered.
Bonus Feats: At 2nd level the Vanguard gains Endurance and Dodge as bonus feats. At 3rd level he gains Run as a bonus feat. At 4th level he gains Mobility as a bonus feat. At 5th level he gains Spring Attack as a bonus feat. If the Vanguard already has any of these feats, or later gains them from another class or prestige class, he may choose another feat that he otherwise qualifies for in its place.
Skate Gravity (Ex): At 6th level the Vanguard gains the ability to move across difficult terrain (such as sand, snow, undergrowth, etc) and liquid surfaces of any type at his normal speed without having his movement slowed or impaired in any way. This includes the ability to move across acid, mud, oil, snow, quicksand, ice, and even lava as if they were normal terrain, and all terrain or liquid surfaces created by magic, psionics, Feats, class abilities, or any other effect. In addition, the DC's for Balance and Tumble Skill checks are not effected by the type of terrain that the Vanguard is moving across. And movement across liquid surfaces using this ability count as land based movement for the purpose of Lightning Fox maneuvers and stances. In addition, the Vanguard never takes damage from falling as long as he is not Immobile or Helpless.
The Vanguard is still effected by magic or other effects that otherwise reduces movement without effecting the terrain, such as Solid Fog or a net. The Vanguard still touches the terrain (rather then floating above it), but he moves so quickly and deftly that it does not hinder his movement. He would still take heat or contact damage from lava or acid, but he wouldn't take any damage from sinking into it. If he ever spends a round without moving at leave 30 feet, he sinks into liquid surfaces as normal. This ability only functions when the Vanguard is wearing no armor or light armor, and is not encumbered.
Pouncing Spring Attack (Ex): At 8th level the Vanguard gains the ability to make a full attack (instead of just an attack action) when he uses the Spring Attack feat or at the end of a Charge. In addition, the Vanguard can take a Move Action to move and then take his Standard Action at any point during that move. (As per Flyby Attack, but while moving on the ground).
Rapid Skill Mastery (Ex): At 10th level the Vanguard does not suffer any penalties to the Balance or Tumble Skills based on his movement speed, including accelerated movement, or using the Run, Charge, or other similar actions. He may also take 10 on all Balance, Tumble, and Jump Skill checks, even when threatened or rushed.
Evasive Skitter (Ex): At 12th level the Vanguard gains the Evasion ability. If he already has or later gains the Evasion ability from another class or prestige class, he instead gains Improved Evasion. This ability only functions when the Vanguard is wearing no armor or light armor, and is not encumbered.
In addition, as a Free Action during anyone's turn whenever the Vanguard successfully avoids all of the damage from an enemy's area of effect attack which targeted the Vanguard and required a Reflex Saving Throw, the Vanguard may move up to his movement speed to the closest unoccupied space of his choice that is adjacent to the outside edge of the area of effect (if such a space is available). He essentially runs outside of the blast area.
Dauntless (Ex): The Vanguard has run for so long that nothing wears him out. At 14th level, he becomes immune to all Fatigue and Exhaustion effects, and does not require normal sleep. He automatically passes all Constitution checks required to continue running and avoid nonlethal damage from a forced march, and may do so for any number of rounds. However, he must still rest and/or meditate to recover spells, psionics, soulmelds, vestiges, etc. In addition, the Vanguard becomes much more difficult to stop, and cannot be Tripped or otherwise rendered Prone against his will.
Instant Velocity (Ex): At 16th level the Vanguard gains the continuous ability to instantly change the velocity of his movement, turning with perfectly accurate control at will. The Vanguard is no longer required to move in a straight line whenever he Runs, Charges, or uses any class ability, maneuver, or stance which would otherwise require him to move in a straight line. This ability only functions when the Vanguard is wearing no armor or light armor, and is not encumbered.
Freedom of Movement (Su): At 18th level the Vanguard is effected by a continuous Freedom of Movement effect. This ability only function when the Vanguard is wearing no armor or light armor, and is not encumbered.
Incomparable Speed (Ex): The Vanguard may now Run as a Move and/or Standard Action, instead of a Full Round Action.