Sparrow's excrement
Becomes quickly powdery
On sizzling pavements.

Quote Originally Posted by The Last Warder
The Last Warder
LG Mummified Human Crusader 5/Anointed Knight 8/Tomb Warden 3

Image by Alberto Bontempi

A long time ago, the Warders were dying out. The hero who founded their order slew an evil demigod and vowed to guard its tomb against any who would seek to re-awaken him. For generations, the tomb was well-guarded, but as the hero’s deeds passed into myth, fewer and fewer people took up the mantle of the tomb guardians, and the order dwindled. Despairing that soon none would remain to prevent the demigod's resurrection, the remaining Warders hit on a desperate plan: They would mummify one of their own to stand guard even when the rest of the order had died out. A young Warder, her name long lost even to her, volunteered to undergo the procedure.

It didn't work out quite the way the order planned. Passing into death and beyond warped the woman's mind, and it took decades of prayer, meditation, and training before she was well enough to serve as their champion. She eventually recovered from her traumatic rebirth, and bound herself even more closely to the Warders' ideals with the use of holy oils, precious few of her fellows were left, and they soon passed on as well, leaving the mummified woman all alone. She was fervent and disciplined, but the isolation wore heavily on her, to the point that she forgot her own name, and she prayed for companionship. When her axe--the selfsame axe that the first Warder had used to slay the demigod, which had been passed down through the order to her--began conversing with her, she first thought she was going crazy again, but the woman and the weapon soon became friends.

These days, when inquiring adventurers stumble upon the isolated tomb, they find both the Warder and her axe convivial and curious about the outside world. The Warder's first recourse is always to discussion, in the hope that she can convince intruders that breaking through the seals on the demigod's tomb is a fool's errand, but she stands vigilant against the evil or power-mad who would try anyway. After all, it's what she was made for.

Ability Scores & Racial Traits
Level Str Dex Con Int Wis Cha Reason
1st 14 12 10 16 12 14 Starting Scores
4th 14 12 10 16 12 15 4 HD Increase
9th 22 12 - 12 16 19 Mummified Creature template
12th 22 12 - 12 16 20 8 HD Increase
16th 22 12 - 12 16 21 12 HD Increase
20th 22 12 - 12 16 22 16 HD Increase

Mummified Creature Traits: -10 ft. speed, +10 natural armor, slam attack 1d8, Despair, Mummy Rot, DR 5/-, vulnerable to fire.

Level Class Base Attack Bonus Fort Save Ref Save Will Save Skills Feats Class Features
1st Crusader +1 +2 +0 +0 Craft (Alchemy) 4, Balance 4, Diplomacy 4, Intimidate 4, Know (Arcana) 2, Listen 4, Sense Motive 2, Spot 4 Toughness, Able Learner (Bonus) Steely Resolve 5, Furious Counterstrike
2nd Crusader +2 +3 +0 +0 Craft (Alchemy) 5, Balance 5, Diplomacy 5, Intimidate 5, Know (Religion) 1, Listen 5, Spellcraft 2, Spot 5 Indomitable Soul
3rd Crusader +3 +3 +1 +1 Craft (Alchemy) 6, Diplomacy 6, Intimidate 6, Know (Arcana) 3, Listen 6, Sense Motive 3, Spellcraft 3, Spot 6 Ancestral Relic Zealous Surge
4th Crusader +4 +4 +1 +1 Craft (Alchemy) 7, Diplomacy 7, Intimidate 7, Know (Religion) 4, Listen 7, Spot 7 Steely Resolve 10
5th Crusader +5 +4 +1 +1 Diplomacy 8, Intimidate 8, Know (Religion) 7, Listen 8, Sense Motive 4, Spot 8
6th Mummified LA +5 +4 +1 +1
7th Mummified LA +5 +4 +1 +1
8th Mummified LA +5 +4 +1 +1
9th Mummified LA +5 +4 +1 +1 Mummified Creature traits
10th Anointed Knight +6/+1 +6 +1 +3 Diplomacy 9, Intimidate 9, Listen 9, Spot 9 Extra Granted Maneuver, Combat Reflexes (Bonus) Anoint Self (Celestial Strategy)
11th Anointed Knight +7/+2 +7 +1 +4 Diplomacy 10, Intimidate 10, Listen 10, Sense Motive 5 Anoint Ancestral Weapon (Good Weapon)
12th Anointed Knight +8/+3 +7 +2 +4 Diplomacy 11, Intimidate 11, Listen 11, Spot 10 Power Attack (Bonus)
13th Anointed Knight +9/+4 +8 +2 +5 Diplomacy 12, Intimidate 12, Sense Motive 6, Spot 11 Resounding Blow Anoint Self (Deep Strike)
14th Anointed Knight +10/+5 +8 +2 +5 Diplomacy 13, Intimidate 13, Listen 12, Spot 12 Anoint Ancestral Weapon (Sentient)
15th Anointed Knight +11/+6/+1 +9 +3 +6 Diplomacy 14, Intimidate 14, Listen 13, Sense Motive 7 Cleave (Bonus)
16th Anointed Knight +12/+7/+2 +9 +3 +6 Diplomacy 15, Intimidate 15, Listen 14, Spot 13 Quell the Profane Anoint Self (Inspired Strike)
17th Anointed Knight +13/+8/+3 +10 +3 +7 Diplomacy 16, Intimidate 16, Sense Motive 8, Spot 14 Anoint Ancestral Weapon (Unicorn’s Blood)
18th Tomb Warden +14/+9/+4 +12 +3 +7 Diplomacy 17, Intimidate 17, Listen 15, Sense Motive 9, Spot 15 Turn Immunity
19th Tomb Warden +15/+10/+5 +13 +3 +7 Diplomacy 18, Intimidate 18, Listen 16, Sense Motive 11, Spot 16 Nimbus of Light Tomb Sense
20th Tomb Warden +16/+11/+6/+1 +13 +4 +8 Diplomacy 19, Intimidate 19, Listen 18, Sense Motive 13, Spot 18 Power of the Dead

Maneuvers & Stances
IL: 10

Maneuvers Known: Charging Minotaur, Crusader’s Strike, Douse the Flames, Foehammer, Mountain Hammer, Revitalizing Strike, Stone Bones.

Maneuvers Readied: 5 (3).

Typical Maneuvers Readied: Crusader’s Strike, Douse the Flames, Foehammer, Mountain Hammer, Revitalizing Strike.

Stances Known: Martial Spirit, Iron Guard’s Glare.

Level Breakdown
Level 5
Welp, she’s a Crusader. There’s nothing wrong with that, of course. It’s a solid class. But the only unique thing she has at these levels is her Ancestral Relic.

Level 10
The level at which the Warder was mummified is semi-arbitrary. I chose level 6 because (a) it’s a breakpoint between two of her classes, and (b) it allows me to talk about the template in a single level summary.

Losing 4 HD hurts. A lot. This is the point in the build where the Warder is weakest, I think, because her saves/BAB/HP/etc. are very low for her level. But she’s a guardian undead, dangit, and mummies are the iconic guardian undead. The stuff she does get back from the template is mostly defensive: DR, a huge AC boost, and the Undead type itself. She’s also got the Charisma to make Despair useful. Mummy Rot could be helpful as well, but using it would be causing unnecessary suffering, so she won’t do it.

She’s just barely started as an Anointed Knight, but Combat Reflexes is a nice bonus feat, and even though she’s lost four levels, she at least has the right number of attacks per round for a 10th-level character.

Level 15
Now she’s getting back on track. Anointed Knight gives her a bunch of Exalted-flavored goodies, including bonus feats and the ability to add extra damage to attacks a few times a day. Even better, the extra damage applies to “a successful attack,” which means it can’t be wasted on a whiff the way a Smite could be. Note, though, that I assumed the Warder would have access to at least a +2 Cha item by level 13. If she doesn’t, she can’t qualify for Deep Strike, which is a bummer, but hardly breaks the build. In that case, take Divine Clarity instead. +1 Cha is never bad.

She should be upgrading her Ancestral Relic weapon regularly, but level 14 is where she gets my personal favorite boost: The weapon becomes an intelligent magic item. It’s not a huge power boost or anything, but I love the flavor of the Warder having no one to talk to but her axe. It also opens up some cool avenues for upgrading, since she can add further intelligent item powers. See the “Ancestral Relic” section for more details on her weapon.

Level 20
The Warder was always sorta fluffed as an NPC (because guarding a single location is not really conducive to adventuring), but Tomb Warden converts that fluff into crunch, because she’ll lose the benefits from the PrC if she goes away for more than a week. They’re pretty cool benefits, though: While in the tomb, she’s completely immune to turning/rebuking, and she can precisely pinpoint the location of anyone inside, effectively making her immune to stealth. She can also add her Charisma bonus--which should be pretty high--to attack, damage, and saves once a day.

That's all undead stuff, but she also adds some Exalted functionality, too--Inspired Strike is great, and Unicorn Blood (which I assume is just produced by the weapon? BoED doesn't say) and Quell the Profane give her some extra oomf against evil enemies. Nimbus of Light is honestly a bad feat, but it ties into her Diplomacy-first approach and lets good-aligned adventurers know that she's a good tomb-guarding mummy, not an evil one. Making stuff like that clear is very important.

Ancestral Relic
The Warder is in kind of an odd position for this competition, since some of her class features are closely tied to gear. Her ancestral relic is a greataxe (though changing it to a different melee two-hander wouldn't mess anything up), and the bonuses from Anointed Knight mean that, even if she’s never able to update it, it is at minimum a good-aligned intelligent weapon with 14 Int, 14 Wis, and 10 Cha and two lesser item powers. Anointed Knight specifically says to roll randomly on the lesser item power table.

The properties listed below are just suggestions. I don’t expect the Warder to be able to apply all of them, but her weapon is an integral build component, so I wanted to go into more detail than usual. From a fluff perspective, I imagine she’s sacrificing the gear of would-be tomb robbers in order to upgrade her weapon.

Magical Properties
Holy (+2, DMG): Surprise, the quintessential evil-fightin’ weapon property is useful for this evil-fightin’ character.

Metalline (+2, Underdark): Do demons have DR/silver or DR/cold iron? Oh wait, doesn’t matter.

Spellblade (6000 GP, PgtF): At mid-to-high levels, grabbing immunity to Heal is a good call for an undead character, especially because it’s so inexpensive.

Sudden Stunning (2000 GP, DMG2): She has good Charisma, which controls this property’s DC and uses/day, and this gives her a way to stop enemies who save against her Despair.

Warning (+1, MIC): Another standard one. High initiative is always better, and her Dex is not great.

Intelligent Item Powers
10 Ranks in a Knowledge Skill (L, 5000 GP): The Warder only has ranks in Know (Religion) and Know (Arcana). Give her weapon ranks in one of the other monster-identifying knowledges.

Hold Person 3/day (L, 6500 GP): Usefulness varies based on what kind of enemies she’s facing, obviously, but I like giving her more ways to paralyze folks.

Magic Circle Against Evil (G, 16000 GP): Protection from Evil is a nice effect, and this ability certainly fits her flavor.

Slow 3/day (G, 16000 GP): Being mummified means that the Warder’s speed is terrible, so she should try to prevent opponents from getting past her.

Zone of Truth 3/day (L, 6500 GP): Bluffing one’s way past guards is an ancient D&D tradition. The Warder would like to make it more difficult.

LA Buyoff: This round of JW gives a little extra XP for LA buyoff, but not enough to start buying off a +4 LA. If your DM allows it, though, the Warder's LA can be reduced to +3 at 16th level. Use the extra level for more Anointed Knight.

Feat Retraining: Ugh, Toughness. If you can get away with retraining it after the Warder starts taking levels in Tomb Warden, do so. Since axing the Completes cuts out a lot of options, just taking Improved Initiative instead is a fine idea.

Book of Exalted Deeds: Anointed Knight, Ancestral Relic, Nimbus of Light, Quell the Profane, Resounding Blow
Libris Mortis: Mummified Creature, Tomb Warden
Races of Destiny: Able Learner
Tome of Battle: Crusader, Extra Granted Maneuver, Stone Power

Core: Everything else