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    T.G. Oskar's Avatar

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    Default The Retooled Marshal: a Few Good Men in Full-Metal Jackets bring Apocalypse Now

    Ladies and gentlemen, children of all ages!! Outsiders and Eldritch Abominations too!!

    I bet you were forgetting about me, right? Well, maybe not. Or...never mind. I found I really wanted to work with such a maligned class such as the Marshal, so...

    DID I ORDER YOU TO SPEAK, YA' LARD-FILLED STALE-BREWER!! DROP DOWN AND GIMME 500!! ON THE DOUBLE!!

    Gah! The drill sergeant!!

    THAT'S RIGHT, YA BIG BALL O'...

    I'll do the talkin' here, gotcha?

    Here, we don't train weaklings; here, we build men that build more men! Take a look at this guy!


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    Now, ya might be wonderin'; what in a dirty marsupial's nether-regions does someone like that example of fine leadership has to deal with this exercise?

    NOTHIN', AN' EVERYTHIN' AT THE SAME TIME, FOLKS!

    Ya see, this is a fine example of a man that builds men. Men for the future; men that lead and create more men that lead. Men that would be fit to lead fine specimens of soldiers like these fellas over here.


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    Ah, but ya might be askin'; what these fellas have ta do with that theater o' war called Dungeons & Dragons, right?

    NOTHIN'! AN' STOP GETTIN' AHEAD O' ME, OR YA'LL BE RUNNIN' 500 MILES NEXT TIME!

    Perhaps this'll seem a bit more familiar, yah?

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    There! Ya happy?

    Ah, but in this theater o' war, we get pansies that call themselves "Marshals"! Ain't them fancy-pansy! They get some things called "auras", and think that standing behind and doing nothin' will earn them honor, recognition, medals, MANLINESS!

    THE FOOLS!! THIS IS WHAT THAT KIND O' THINKING'LL GET THEM!!
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    Fancy-schmancy, eh? I feel it for those poor soldiers who got led by a good-fer-nuthin'...

    So we, at High-Fantasy Boot Camp, decided to beef up the training of them "Marshals". Where there were people stayin' behind, now we got people barking orders, standing forefront, takin' some punishment and dealin' it, and makin' MEN outta wimps! This here trainin' will make them marshals forge MEN outta wimps, and AMAZONS outta women (wha', ya thought I was being one o' them sexist fools? Equal opportunity, folks!); SLAYERS outta warriors and MACHINES O' DESTRUCTION outta robe-and-wizard-hat guys. Make ASSASSINS outta scouts; LEGENDS outta them bards, and FOUL SMELLIN' POOLS O' GOO outta the opposition!

    Soldier! Keep explainin' the trainin' montage! Everyone else, at ease! Gods, we be gonna make HEROES worthy o' them war gods!


    Eh...hehe. You heard the instructor. Without further ado, and in honor to those servin' men who honor their countries with their service, I introduce:

    MARSHAL



    "Onward, braves! The battle is on our hands, to do as we please! Spare them or raze them, and let the gods judge them!" - Artyrxia ur Arytmaekrix tibur Gra'ashka the Warmonger, dragonborn (formerly orc) commander of the 18th Mixed Forces Regiment of the Army of Unity, directing her troops

    MAKING A MARSHAL (or, what has or hasn't changed from the original):
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    Abilities: The unique idea behind the Marshal is that abilities should be no impediment to his performance in the battlefield. Some commanders lead by pure strength, others by intellect, and other by force of personality. Thus, pigeonholing them into a single ability score would be dangerous. Most marshals require a good Constitution for a large amount of hit points, and generally have two or three good scores.
    Races: Marshals exist everywhere, but generally upon the civilized races. Any character, whether it's the versatile human, the hardy dwarf, the swift elf or even smaller races such as halflings and gnomes can become marshals, using their unique talents to assist their allies. Amongst the savage races, most warlords hold abilities of similar regard to marshals, but hobgoblins excel on the task of leadership, and thus most hobgoblins are marshals. A marshal may be rare in a non-civilized setting, but a former war leader might train such races in the fine art of tactics.
    Alignment: Accustomed to following and giving orders, most Marshals are Lawful in alignment, but even the Chaotic follow others; usually, those whom are Lawful have high Intelligence scores, while Chaotic Marshals have great deal of Strength, and both alignments share equal amount of charismatic Marshals. A Marshal may be Good or Evil as well; in fact, Marshals of every alignment exist, because war transcends alignments. However, that doesn't mean they may be on equal numbers, or that their tactics will be similar.
    Starting Gold: As paladin
    Starting Age: As paladin


    Class Skills: The marshal’s class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Bluff (Cha), Concentration (Con), Diplomacy (Cha), Disguise (Cha), Gather Information (Cha), Handle Animal (Cha), Intimidate (Cha), Knowledge (architecture and engineering) (Int), Knowledge (geography) (Int), Knowledge (history) (Int), Knowledge (nobility and royalty) (Int), Listen (Wis), Perform (Cha), Profession (Wis), Ride (Dex), Search (Int), Sense Motive (Wis), Speak Language (n/a), Spot (Wis), Survival (Wis), and Swim (Str).
    Skill Points at 1st Level: (4 + Int modifier) x4.
    Skill Points at Each Additional Level: 4 + Int modifier.

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    Big list of skills, right? All are meritory: marshals are social warriors in many ways, so they have full control of social abilities such as Bluff, Diplomacy, Gather Information and Intimidate. As well, a good soldier does well to observe and listen well, so the ability to have good Listen, Search, Spot and even Survival are crucial; to prevent being fooled, Sense Motive is also a strong skill to have. Marshals also have a great deal of knowledge, specifically about the structure of castles, history of wars, maps and the rulers of most countries, so they have unusual mixes of Knowledge skills. And, as most warriors, they have physical skills, such as riding, climbing, jumping and swimming.

    This means the Marshal is a very complex character, not entirely a skill monkey but having enough abilities that a warrior might benefit from. Thus, a 4+Int is reasonable enough, and while strong or charismatic leaders might not do much with so many skills, intelligent leaders do and will take advantage of their huge list.


    Hit Die: d10

    {TABLE=head]Level|Base Attack Bonus|Fort Save|Ref Save|Will Save|Special|Minor Aura|Major Aura|Greater Aura
    1st|+1|
    +2
    |
    +0
    |
    +2
    |Aura (minor and major), rally (1d6, move action)|
    2
    |
    1
    |
    0

    2nd|+2|
    +3
    |
    +0
    |
    +3
    |Fearless, grant move action 1/day|
    2
    |
    1
    |
    0

    3rd|+3|
    +3
    |
    +1
    |
    +3
    |Bonus feat, commanding talent (attack rolls)|
    2
    |
    1
    |
    0

    4th|+4|
    +4
    |
    +1
    |
    +4
    |Rally (1d6, +1 AC, fear effects)|
    3
    |
    1
    |
    0

    5th|+5|
    +4
    |
    +1
    |
    +4
    |Aura (greater), commander’s uncanny dodge, grant move action 2/day|
    3
    |
    2
    |
    1

    6th|+6/+1|
    +5
    |
    +2
    |
    +5
    |Bonus feat, commanding talent (score bonus to Armor Class)|
    3
    |
    2
    |
    1

    7th|+7/+2|
    +5
    |
    +2
    |
    +5
    |Rally (2d6, +1 AC, demoralize)|
    4
    |
    2
    |
    1

    8th|+8/+3|
    +6
    |
    +2
    |
    +6
    |Commander’s improved uncanny dodge, grant move action 3/day|
    4
    |
    2
    |
    1

    9th|+9/+4|
    +6
    |
    +3
    |
    +6
    |Bonus feat, commanding talent (add to damage rolls)|
    4
    |
    3
    |
    1

    10th|+10/+5|
    +7
    |
    +3
    |
    +7
    |Grant standard action, rally (2d6, +2 AC, swift action)|
    5
    |
    3
    |
    2

    11th|+11/+6/+1|
    +7
    |
    +3
    |
    +7
    |Commander skill mastery, grant move action 4/day|
    5
    |
    3
    |
    2

    12th|+12/+7/+2|
    +8
    |
    +4
    |
    +8
    |Bonus feat, commanding talent (saving throws)|
    5
    |
    3
    |
    2

    13th|+13/+8/+3|
    +8
    |
    +4
    |
    +8
    |Rally (3d6, +2, saving throw)|
    6
    |
    4
    |
    2

    14th|+14/+9/+4|
    +9
    |
    +4
    |
    +9
    |Command the commander|
    6
    |
    4
    |
    2

    15th|+15/+10/+5|
    +9
    |
    +4
    |
    +9
    |Bonus feat, grant move action 5/day|
    6
    |
    4
    |
    3

    16th|+16/+11/+6/+1|
    +10
    |
    +5
    |
    +10
    |Rally (3d6, +3, movement boost)|
    7
    |
    4
    |
    3

    17th|+17/+12/+7/+2|
    +10
    |
    +5
    |
    +10
    |Grant move action 6/day|
    7
    |
    5
    |
    3

    18th|+18/+13/+8/+3|
    +11
    |
    +5
    |
    +11
    |Bonus feat, commanding talent (addition)|
    7
    |
    5
    |
    3

    19th|+19/+14/+9/+4|
    +11
    |
    +6
    |
    +11
    |Rally (4d6, +3, extra attack)|
    8
    |
    5
    |
    3

    20th|+20/+15/+10/+5|
    +12
    |
    +6
    |
    +12
    |Grant move action 7/day, grant full round action|
    8
    |
    6
    |
    4
    [/TABLE]

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    As you might have noticed, this Marshal really went forward with his training.

    Increased Hit Dice, full BAB, good Fortitude and Will saves...sounds like a recipe for disaster, no? That goes without mentioning the 4+Int skill points. Sadly, that's not the case: as you know very well, having all of that pretty good doesn't make you broken by any means; however, I feel these are all qualities of a leader that fights with his men, which is something that I felt the Marshal lacked. As the leader of a unit, the Marshal could have been great, but as a warrior himself, he lacked a lot.

    Good BAB means he'll work much better as a frontline warrior, fighting almost with equal ability as the Fighter, Warblade, Crusader and other melee characters, and the d10 Hit Dice makes him a strong frontliner without reaching the upwards of a true tank (d12, for example). Good Fort showcases his physical discipline, as a leader usually has equal or more training than his soldiers, and good Will represents strength of mind even upon hardships; a commander that's easily swayed definitely cannot work as a leader. So, the Marshal has already nice tricks up his sleeve.

    But, you're seeing even more. For example: the Marshal now has three tiers of auras, meaning he has multiplied his potential by more than 33%. Furthermore, if you're savvy enough, you might have seen a peculiar ability called Rally; if the XdX and the +X scares you, it should. More will come later.


    Class Features
    All of the following are class features of the marshal.

    Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Marshals are proficient with all simple and martial weapons (plus one exotic weapon of their choice), with all kinds of armor (heavy, medium and light), and with all shields.

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    So far, so good...wait, proficiency with one exotic weapon AND tower shields? Are you crazy?

    Well...no. A Marshal, at heart, is a warrior and trained as well as another warrior. In skirmishes, a Marshal shouldn't suck because he devoted some time to read upon tomes and learn the various ways to organize an army; thus, he should have at least the same amount of training as the basic Fighter. Fighters get to use Tower Shields and their huge amount of feats make them capable of taking one exotic weapon or two if they so desire, so it's fair play. Thus, if a Marshal decides, he can fight with one massive fullblade, or a bastard sword and tower shield, or whatever suits his fancy. He's trained for it, and he has gone far and beyond the classic warrior.


    Auras (Ex): The marshal exerts an effect on allies in his vicinity. He can learn to produce different effects, or auras, over the course of his career. The marshal may project one minor aura, one major aura and, starting at 5th level, one greater aura at a time.

    Projecting an aura is a swift action. The aura remains in effect until the marshal uses a free action to dismiss it or activates another aura of the same kind (major or minor). A marshal can have an aura active continually; thus, an aura can be in effect at the start of a combat encounter even before the marshal takes his first turn.

    Activating an aura involves haranguing, ordering, directing, encouraging, cajoling, or calming allies. A marshal sizes up the enemy, allies, and the terrain, then gives allies the direction that they can use to do their best.
    Unless otherwise noted, a marshal's aura affects all allies within 60 feet (including himself) who can hear the marshal. An ally must have an Intelligence score of 3 or higher and be able to understand the marshal's language to gain the bonus. A marshal's aura is dismissed if he is dazed, unconscious, stunned, paralyzed, or otherwise unable to be heard or understood by his allies.

    A marshal begins play knowing one minor and major aura of his choice. As his marshal level increases, he gains access to new auras, as indicated on the table above.

    All bonuses granted by a marshal's auras are either morale or circumstance bonuses that do not stack with each other.

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    The key ability of the Marshal is to exert auras of influence, which are meant to support allies. In that sense, the Marshal's position in combat is defined; he's a leader and a warrior, so he'll be on the forefront but providing morale support and orders so that his allies work at maximum efficiency. As you can see, the Marshal can have up to three different kinds of auras active at one time, representing small orders, more elaborate directions, and the necessary orders to follow a full-blown strategy; that would be the representation of each aura.

    Now, you might have noticed the Marshal now knows both minor AND major auras. The auras have been revamped a bit; you won't get ahold of the fun stuff until level 5, but you'll have a strong pair of abilities to make your first few levels a blast. The auras will be introduced later on.


    Rally (Ex): At 1st level, a marshal pushes his troops to impressive efforts. Be it by fooling his troops that victory is underway, inspiring his troops with bolstering words, seizing the advantage through careful tactics, or even promising a fate worse than death, his troops hit harder, survive longer, and even shake off harmful effects through sheer force of will.

    As a full-round action, a marshal may whip a rally that stirs the heart of the most desperate trooper. Each ally within range that can hear the marshal adds an extra 1d6 points of damage in any successful melee or ranged attack dealt during the round. This benefit lasts for as long as the Marshal concentrates and one round thereafter. At 8th level, and every six levels afterwards, the amount of extra damage dealt increases by 1d6. Unlike similar abilities, creatures immune to critical hits or sneak attacks are not immune to this damage. A marshal may not use this ability if under any fear effect (although the marshal is immune to fear effects, the marshal may not use this ability if for some reason this immunity was bypassed) or demoralized, and allies that suffer any fear effect do not gain the benefit of this ability.

    At 4th level, a marshal grants himself and all allies that hear the rally a +1 competence bonus to Armor Class. This bonus increases by 1 for every six class levels, and lasts for as long as the marshal rallies. Furthermore, any ally that hears the marshal and currently suffers a fear effect may make a new saving throw to remove said effect. An ally can attempt a new saving throw every round in which it suffers a fear effect and hears the marshal rally, but can only attempt a new saving throw once per round.

    At 7th level, a marshal can demoralize an enemy with his rally. He may use the demoralize ability (see the Intimidate skill) as a free action, but only when he begins the rally (as part of the full round action to activate it) or by ending the rally as an immediate action. Unlike the normal demoralize ability, the marshal may affect all enemies that can hear his rally, and the effects of demoralization lasts for as long as the marshal rallies (if he uses it as part of the full round action to activate the ability) or for a number of rounds equal to his Intelligence or Charisma modifier (if he uses it as an immediate action to end the rally).

    At 10th level, a marshal may keep the rally as a swift action instead of a move action.

    At 13th level, any ally that hears the marshal and suffers any of the following effects may attempt a saving throw to remove the condition: confused, dazed, entangled, exhausted, fascinated, fatigued, feebleminded, nauseated, paralyzed, sickened, slowed, or stunned. An ally can attempt a new saving throw every round in which it suffers any of the above effects and hears the marshal rally, but can only attempt a new saving throw once per round.

    At 16th level, a marshal increases the speed of his troops. All allies that can hear a marshal rally gain a +10 bonus to all of their speeds.

    At 19th level, any ally that hears the marshal rally may make an extra melee or ranged attack at its highest attack bonus as part of a full attack. The extra attack gained by means of this ability stacks with other forms of extra attacks gained (such as that from the haste spell, or the speed weapon enhancement) even if the ability says otherwise.

    A rally is an extraordinary, fear (in the case of the demoralize ability), language-dependent, mind-affecting ability.

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    Alright, by now most people must be angry like heck. Let me clear this a bit.

    YES, IT IS BASED FROM SKIRMISH; ISN'T IT OBVIOUS? However, I worked it so that the ability progressed every three levels, starting from level 2.

    Now, look at what it grants. It's an ability that can be used at-will, and it will be undoubtedly very powerful. The main abilities it grant is basically more damage and better AC to pretty much every single ally in range. As the ability progresses, you get new saving throws against most conditions, greater speed, and eventually more attacks so as long as the marshal rallies. Certainly, this seems very, very powerful.

    That's intentional. I mean, have you seen what other classes give? A plain Crusader can do things that are close, if not better, than what you can do with this ability (and Warblades as well)! Clerics can buff entire armies in seconds! If you're gonna be a buffer, you need something to build upon, no? Now, you might come with "why need a Bard when the Marshal overpowers his buffs?" Certainly not; he can coexist with the Bard, and both make the typical commoner look like Superman or something. However, the Bard has spells, and certain abilities that the Marshal doesn't have. The Marshal needs something to remain in play, and the best thing is granting them an ability that reinforces them and just about everybody in range.

    Now, you might have recalled the drill sergeant mentioned that leaders should fight with their men. With Rally, being limited to one action hurts, but it's the price to maintain such a powerful ability active. 11th level, where you're basically defining yourself as a Marshal, gets you the ability to keep your rally as a swift action, returning a great deal of actions but constantly consuming a very valuable action. This makes the use of a rally a double-edged weapon up until half your career, but if you're with a warrior or two, the warrior will be more than thankful that you're supporting darn near everybody.

    Again, complaints or doubts, feel free to post them. Rally is meant to be a very powerful party ability, one super-buff to be used when necessary but that can define the course of a battle. You'll still be supporting through the occasional standard action, your auras and (eventually) full actions, but bear in mind that you'll still have to sacrifice something to get such benefits.

    UPDATE: Owing to the ability shuffling, the marshal gets the Rally ability at 1st level, and upgrades as usual. That means the Marshal can start delivering bonuses right from the get-go, and later involve in combat.


    Fearless (Ex): At 2nd level, a marshal is immune to fear, magical or otherwise.

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    Let's face it; a good leader laughs in the face of fear. If the leader runs away, imagine what would happen to his army?


    Grant Move Action (Ex): Starting at 2nd level, a marshal can direct and motivate his allies to act immediately. Once per day, as a standard action, he may grant an extra move action to any or all of his allies within 30 feet (but not to himself). Each of the affected allies takes this extra move action immediately, acting in their current initiative order. This extra action does not affect the allies' initiative count; the round continues normally after the marshal's turn is over. (This may mean, for example, that an ally whose initiative count immediately follows the marshal's may get an extra move action from the marshal, followed directly by a full round worth of actions on the ally's turn.)

    At 5th level, and every three class level afterwards, a marshal gains the ability to grant an extra move action to his allies one more time per day.

    A character can take only one extra move action per round. (In other words, two marshals can't use this ability on the same ally in the same round.) If an ally chooses not to take the extra move action, it is lost.

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    A legacy ability, and one that's pretty useful. A few times per day, you can command your troops (or your allies) to make a single move check, all at the same time. Since you can ready actions to use grant move action on emergencies, you gain such traditional tactics like disperse, pursue and so forth. If it's not broken, why fix it?

    Wait, you mention you see other "grant X action" abilities? Sure, it's not broken, but that doesn't mean it can't be improved, no?

    UPDATE: Moved the ability to 2nd level, and increased the number of uses. Marshals now grant move actions seven times per day!


    Bonus Feat: At 3rd level, and every three levels after that, a marshal gains a bonus feat in addition to those he obtains by means of improving levels. These bonus feats must be drawn from the feats noted as fighter bonus feats, or from the list of feats below. A marshal must still meet the prerequisites for a bonus feat, as usual. For purposes of fighter level prerequisites, a marshal is considered to have a fighter level equal to his marshal level -2.

    Marshal Bonus Feats: Alertness, Deceitful, Diehard, Endurance, Great Fortitude, Improved Initiative, Investigator, Iron Will, Leadership*, Negotiator, Persuasive, Run, Self-Sufficient, Skill Focus (any), Toughness
    *: Subject to DM’s approval. A DM is not recommended to provide Leadership to a PC unless the group is composed of a few people, or if the DM is comfortable with allowing the marshal player character a suitable cohort. NPC marshals may not take Leadership by means of this bonus feat, nor cohorts with marshal levels or hirelings. A marshal is automatically granted the bonus of “great renown” to his Leadership score.

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    Yes, Leadership. It makes mechanical sense, but you don't have to force it to your DM. In fact, the whole purpose of the note is alerting the DM that it's not necessary to grant Leadership if the player asks for it, and that he should be using his common sense. However, if you're in a war campaign, Leadership may be indeed a powerful tool, and with Rally and your auras, probably far too powerful (and thus probably banned).

    Having said that: the bonus feats provided are a mix between fighter bonus feats (from "basic training") and feats meant to support his social and leadership qualities. Some of the provided feats are not the best, but you still have the large amount of Fighter bonus feats to your disposal, making the feat list entirely salvageable. The Marshal gets less bonus feats than the Fighter (and for very good reasons), but still enough to remain viable as a combatant.


    Commanding Talent (Ex): A marshal is a skilled leader, blessed with incredible knowledge of the battlefield and the power to inspire his troops into victory. A marshal can be one of many: a warrior that leads by strength, an undefeatable warrior that fights in the forefront and uses his resistance to pain as a push, a warrior with knowledge of several tactics, or a warrior that inspires people to fight to their last drop of blood. This talent reflects in one of many ways, enhancing the marshal’s combat capabilities outside of the usual parameters that measure a warrior. The marshal must make the choice at the moment it gains the ability, and once the choice is made (whether to replace the ability score or neglect it), it cannot be replaced.

    At 3rd level, a marshal may use the largest between his Strength, Dexterity, Intelligence, or Charisma modifier when making an attack with a melee or ranged weapon. If an aura or ability grants a bonus to the character’s Intelligence or Charisma-based checks (such as that from the marshal himself, or from items such as a circlet of persuasion), the bonus does not apply in this case; however, direct bonuses to Intelligence or Charisma (such as that from the eagle’s splendor spell or the headband of intellect) do apply.

    At 6th level, a marshal may use the largest between his Dexterity and his Constitution or Intelligence modifiers to his Armor Class. In case the marshal’s Constitution or Intelligence score is the largest (and thus, replaces Dexterity for purposes of his Armor Class bonus), treat the score as if it were a Dexterity bonus to Armor Class for other purposes (such as whether it applies when flat-footed, held, paralyzed or otherwise denied). If an aura or ability grants a bonus to the character’s Constitution or Intelligence-based checks (such as that from the marshal himself, or from items), the bonus does not apply in this case; however, direct bonuses to Constitution (such as that from the bear’s endurance spell or the amulet of health) do apply.

    At 9th level, a marshal may add the largest between his Strength modifier and his Dexterity, Intelligence or Charisma modifiers to the damage dealt with all attacks. Unlike other similar abilities (until 18th level), the marshal adds the damage to the roll, instead of replacing the damage. If an aura or ability grants a bonus to the character's Dexterity, Intelligence or Charisma modifiers (such as that from the marshal himself, or from items), the bonus does not apply in this case; however, direct bonuses to Dexterity, Intelligence or Charisma do apply.

    At 12th level, a marshal may replace the scores he uses for his saving throw bonus. A marshal may add the largest between his Strength and his Constitution scores for purposes of Fortitude saving throws, the largest between his Dexterity and Intelligence bonuses for purposes of Reflex saving throws, and the largest between his Wisdom and his Charisma scores for purposes of Will saving throws. As above, if an aura or ability grants a bonus to the indicated score’s checks, the bonus does not apply for purposes of this ability; however, direct bonuses to the indicated scores do apply.

    At 18th level, a marshal may re-add the ability score replaced in any of the above-mentioned abilities, or add an ability score on those abilities whose scores were not replaced. Thus, a marshal may add his Strength (or Dexterity if using a ranged weapon or Weapon Finesse) and either his Intelligence or Charisma modifier to attack rolls and damage rolls, his Constitution and Dexterity modifiers to Armor Class, Strength and Constitution for Fortitude, Dexterity and Intelligence for Reflex saves, and Wisdom and Charisma for Will saves. In the case of adding both Constitution (or Intelligence) and Dexterity to Armor Class, the penalty on Dexterity imposed by armor only applies to the Dexterity modifier (not to the Constitution or Intelligence modifiers, which receive the entire benefit). In the case of multiple ability scores, the marshal must choose the ability score chosen on earlier levels (in case of replacement) or choose one of the scores (in case of no replacement); once made, the choice is permanent.

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    This is probably something I'll get a lot of heat for, but it's important.

    As you might have noticed, I've been inclining to make builds a bit less unidimensional; for example, making Rangers less "archers" or "skirmishers" and making them bounty hunters or so forth. With the Marshal, I found that there were three types of leaders, each having their own kind of leadership: the strong, the smart, and the pretty. The strong lead by force, and people follow him because they acknowledge their strength, fear them, or are forced by their superior might to fight; the smart leaders lead by tactics, and their attacks usually land where there's more damage; the "pretty" or charismatic leaders lead by example and morale, and they can do surprising things on their own. To prevent a bit of MAD, I decided that something so peculiar such as ability scores shouldn't prevent this type of Marshals from existing, such as someone who's strong suddenly having to develop Charisma just because. Thus, the Marshal gains the unique ability to replace their best ability score (and thus reduce Strength dependence) for their attack rolls and damage rolls.

    The rest of the abilities work on a similar way. We've seen how Wisdom and Constitution may replace Dexterity to add to AC; while Wisdom is something mostly esoterical, Constitution is something most warriors might have, specifically warriors that wield heavy armor. Thus, you might choose to ignore Dexterity and go straight to full Con. As well, I took a page from 4th Edition and worked with the pairs of abilities that best work with each saving throw.

    The last ability is a bit peculiar. If you've gone all levels in Marshal to the point that taking a Prestige Class is impractical, the chassis of the class rewards you by allowing you to stack two ability scores for most of your numbers. So, you can have Strength and Intelligence, or Strength and Charisma for your attack and damage rolls, Dexterity and Constitution for AC, and two ability scores per saving throw. This might seem a bit too far, but consider the following: by level 16, a character who takes full levels in one class and has no magic or similar abilities to state for himself NEEDS some help. So, they get it through class abilities that grant a meaningful increase to most of your required stats.

    Now, if there's a doubt or a question, or even disgust towards the ability, drop your concerns through responses. I suspect the first level will be supremely dip-tastic, but it's very, very hard to prevent that; thus, while something such as bonuses to attack or damage rolls (plus all the nice perks) are just too good for 1st level, the full benefits won't appear unless you take even more levels in the same class. Though, I'm still open for ideas.

    UPDATE: As per Seerow's suggestion, attack and damage rolls were split, and the ability was rolled back various levels (starting at 3rd level). That way, the Marshal will still depend on basic scores during early levels, but at latter levels it becomes a powerhouse. It also cuts a bit on dipping for goodies.


    Commander’s Uncanny Dodge (Ex): A marshal senses the urgency of his scouts, and gains preternatural awareness of his surroundings. Not only is he rarely, if ever, caught unaware; his troops are also never caught unaware, although only those closest to him.

    At 5th level, a marshal and all allies within 60 feet retain their Dexterity bonus to AC (if any) even if they are caught flat-footed or struck by an invisible attacker. However, the marshal or any of his allies still lose their Dexterity bonus to AC if immobilized. If the marshal is immobilized (held or paralyzed), this ability temporarily ceases functioning for all allies.

    If a marshal already has uncanny dodge from a different class, he gains improved uncanny dodge for himself. His allies are treated as if having uncanny dodge, unless the marshal and the ally both have uncanny dodge (in which case both the marshal and the ally are treated as if having improved uncanny dodge).

    For purposes of qualification, if a marshal cannot affect an ally with his aura (even if it does not have any of his auras active), the ally does not gain the benefit of the marshal’s commander’s uncanny dodge.

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    Uncanny Dodge? On all allies?

    Yep. One of the key aspects of a leader is pre-empting surprises. If he catches a signal that things are going horribly wrong, he'll issue a swift yet meaningful command to his troops (or allies) to remain vigilant, and thus, entire ambushes may be prevented. Uncanny Dodge prevents such ambushes or dirty tricks, so a Marshal gains the simplest form of evading ambushes or dirty tricks and provides it to his allies as well.

    Later you get Improved Uncanny Dodge, but for the time being: if you have Uncanny Dodge and gain Commander's Uncanny Dodge, you gain Improved Uncanny Dodge but your allies don't. If your ally has Uncanny Dodge but you don't, then you (and the rest of your allies) keep Uncanny Dodge but your ally with UD gets the improved version. More explanation when we reach there.

    UPDATE: Rolled back a level, so that you take advantage of it early on.


    Commander’s Improved Uncanny Dodge (Ex): At 8th level, a marshal leads the course of battle by means of keen and precise leadership. Neither the marshal nor any of his allies within 60 feet may be flanked. This defense denies the rogue the ability to sneak attack the marshal or any of his allies by means of flanking, unless the rogue has four more levels than the marshal (if the marshal has four levels less than the rogue but any of his allies has more levels than the marshal, they may still be flanked; see below for the exception).

    If the marshal already has uncanny dodge from a second class, he automatically gains improved uncanny dodge instead, and the levels from the classes that grant uncanny dodge stack to determine the minimum rogue level required to flank the character. If the marshal and an ally both have improved uncanny dodge, all allies use the highest between the marshal’s and the ally’s level in order to determine whether an enemy rogue may flank.
    For purposes of qualification, if a marshal cannot affect an ally with his aura (even if it does not have any of his auras active), the ally does not gain the benefit of the marshal’s commander’s uncanny dodge.

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    Alright, so...Improved Uncanny Dodge. Works just like the classic one, except you and your allies have a mystical link that makes them take advantage of the best between their defenses, hence allowing the Marshal to protect his allies from sneak attack and flanking just by following the lead of the most skilled one. If he's the most skilled of them all, then everybody follows his lead.

    UPDATE: Rolled the ability a few levels earlier.


    Grant Standard Action (Ex): At 10th level, a marshal may grant an ally a standard action instead of a move action when using his grant move action ability.

    A character may take only one extra move and one extra standard action per round. If a character already has gained an extra move or standard action (by means of another marshal’s grant move action or grant standard action, a wizard’s celerity line of spells, or a White Raven martial adept’s maneuvers), it may not take another move action.

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    Now, you're probably gonna fight with me at this one. A standard action?

    Yep, and that should make Marshals gain a very solid boost as action economy breakers. That allows an ally to make a single attack, cast a spell, initiate a maneuver, move, or do anything a standard action would do (except probably ready an action).

    The "non-stacking" rule, though, applies. Say two Marshals use grant action abilities. If they grant each a move and a standard action, then both stack. If both Marshals grant either move actions or standard actions in the same round, then the benefit of one will be lost. That also prevents taking advantage of the Celerity line of spells, so everybody gains an equal degree of enhancement to action economy, without one taking much more advantages than the other.

    I think I have to clear the concept of "round" for this maneuver, since it might be a bit confusing. For purposes of this maneuver, "round" implies the amount of time between the beginning of the user's current turn to the beginning of the user's next turn. Thus, if someone at initiative count 10 used Grant Move Action, you have to wait until initiative count 10 of the next round (and thus everybody gets to use their turn) to use such abilities once again.

    Now, there's one clear exception to the rule, and that's truly an unfortunate one: White Raven Tactics. Since WRT essentially alters your initiative count, the action manipulation stacks. This might sound like a bit of trouble, but do recall that grant move action uses are limited, and you're drawing from the same pool. Having said that, it's probably a truly exploitable trick, but martial characters need some love.

    UPDATE: Marshals gain this ability one level earlier. Hooray!


    Commander’s Skill Mastery (Ex): At 11th level, a marshal is so sure of his leadership skills that he can use them even in the most heated of battles. A marshal may take 10 with any Bluff, Diplomacy, Intimidate, Gather Information or Sense Motive check even if stress and distractions prevent him.

    Spoiler
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    Remember when the old Marshal had Skill Focus: Diplomacy? So underrated, right? Well, we (that is me, but if you're fine with kayfabe then it's the drill sergeant and me) decided to give that old ability a good, serious boost, and thus it became skill mastery related to social abilities. A leader should always be sure of himself and his skills, so he gets a boost in confidence enough to utter the most mundane of lies (or arguments) and still win against someone inexperienced, even in the midst of battle.

    UPDATE: Ability rolled forward a few levels. It appears right at the moment a rogue can take the Skill Mastery ability, so it's not much of a problem.


    Command the Commander (Ex): At 14th level, a marshal has gained great experience in leadership, and learns whenever a fellow (or enemy) commander seeks to wrest control from it. Thus, a marshal gains the unusual ability to wrest control from any attempt to override his leadership, even by magical means. This ability, of course, requires the marshal to be aware of the situation; if caught unaware, he may be taken aback.

    If a marshal or an ally within 60 feet are affected by a mind-affecting spell or effect and fail their saving throws, they can attempt them again 1 round later at the same DC. The marshal and each of his allies get only this one extra chance to succeed on his saving throw (unless the ally has slippery mind, in which case it may use the ability whenever both apply).

    If the marshal (and only the marshal) succeeds on any of the saving throws against a mind-affecting spell or ability, the marshal may force the user to roll a saving throw, with the same DC (except the marshal uses his own Intelligence or Charisma score, whichever is higher, instead of the user’s ability score). If the user fails the saving throw, the marshal wrests control of the ability and the user is affected for the remainder of the round. If the spell or ability cannot affect the caster, the secondary benefit of this ability has no effect. A marshal that gains the benefit of mind blank may not use this spell unless it voluntarily lowers his resistance, and a caster or user benefiting from mind blank or similar immunities does not gain the benefit of this immunity if the spell or ability’s control is wrested.

    For example, a marshal with 22 Int that succeeds on a Will saving throw against the dominate monster spell may force the caster to roll a saving throw against the same effect (assuming the caster had 18 Charisma, the DC of the effect would be 2 points higher because the marshal’s Intelligence is 4 points higher). If the caster fails his Will saving throw, it is dominated instead as if the marshal had cast the spell himself, for the same amount of time the marshal would have been dominated.

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    More nice stuff for martial characters!

    This is a revamp of Slippery Mind, in which you gain the ability to shrug off mind-affecting effects running upon you pretty much instantly, just like Slippery Mind. However, in the case of the Marshal, the effect inverts in such a brutal way, people will be scared to use spell-like abilities and might make Marshals a bit more reckless. With their insanely high Will saves, you might figure they'll resist pretty well.

    So, what happens if you're affected by a mind-affecting spell or effect? It basically bounces off the Marshal and back to the enemy. This only works on offensive mind-affecting abilities (not Inspire Courage and so on). If the Will save is successful, the Marshal may then attempt to reflect the spell or effect back, potentially crippling the user because the Marshal imposes his own brand of leadership into the effect.

    Of course, this ability has its drawbacks, so an Enchanter with Mind Blank may be safe from the effect, but if the enemy is too careless, it may get a terrible surprise.

    UPDATE: Ability rolled forward a few levels. Since it is a pretty strong ability, this should cause no real concern.


    Grant Full-Round Action (Ex): At 20th level, a marshal’s command allows his allies to act even after they have already exhausted his actions. Time neither stops nor slows; rather, the marshal has pushed his troops in such a scale that they move at extraordinary speed. By expending two daily uses of his grant move action ability as an immediate action, a marshal may provide himself and any of his troops a full round action. Each of the affected allies takes this extra full-round action immediately, acting in their current initiative order. This extra action does not affect the allies' initiative count; the round continues normally after the marshal's turn is over. Regardless of how many daily uses of grant move action the marshal possesses, he may use this ability only once per day.

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    So, what were you expecting from the capstone? If you weren't crying foul up until now, then you will with this ability.

    Yes, you heard right; you get an entire full round worth of actions, something that usually applies to stuff like Time Stop. However, while a Wizard gets a full round worth of actions only to himself, the Marshal AND HIS ALLIES gain an impressive boost to their actions. What's worse than that?

    Yes. Immediate action. Give the collective finger to Time Stop when the Marshal, pretty much unsurprised by your move, all of a sudden commands ALL OF HIS ALLIES to stop you at once. It's your trump card; use it well.

    So, is this broken? It's altering action economy, for sure: you're forcing your entire allies' actions before the enemy makes even a single move, so it redefines the concept of blitzkrieg and pre-emptive attack. It's an immediate action, thus as long as the Marshal has the first move or succeeds on his surprise round (or has a way to react before the enemies move), the trump card is open.

    So...how to balance this? Well, it requires two uses of your grant move action ability, and it can only be used once per day. Usually, "once per day" abilities are weak, but this is just fitting. Heck, I could make it "once per week" and it might be fair enough, because this is the equivalent of a 9th level spell (not really, but pretty close).

    However, the biggest perk is that it's a group buff. The power of this ability, much like grant move action and grant standard action, depends exclusively from the group composition. So: if the Marshal makes the right move, the party could obliterate the enemy before they even move; however, if the party is not up to the task, then such an advantage is ruined.
    Last edited by T.G. Oskar; 2011-12-04 at 03:48 PM. Reason: Switching a few abilities from their respective levels

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    Default Re: The Retooled Marshal: Aura descriptions

    THE MARSHAL’S AURAS
    The following is a collection of all auras a marshal may learn as he progresses in levels. As mentioned above, all auras have a maximum range of 60 feet, and all auras (unless mentioned below) are extraordinary abilities. A marshal can have one minor aura, one major aura, and one greater aura active at the same time, as well as any other auras he may get by means of multiclassing, feats or otherwise. Auras, unless otherwise indicated, are either morale bonuses or circumstance bonuses.

    Minor Aura: A minor aura llets allies add the marshal's Strength, Intelligence or Charisma bonus (if any) to certain rolls, up to one point per class level:
    Accurate Strike: Circumstance bonus on rolls made to confirm critical hits.
    Art of War: Morale bonus on disarm, trip, bull rush, and sunder attempts.
    Commander’s Call: Circumstance bonus on Bluff, Diplomacy, and Intimidate checks
    Commander’s Loyalty: Morale bonus on saves versus spells from the enchantment school, powers from the telepathy discipline, fear, and mind-affecting spells and effects.
    Determined Caster: Morale bonus on rolls to overcome spell resistance.
    Enduring March: Morale bonus on Constitution checks made to continue running, Constitution checks made to avoid nonlethal damage from a forced march, Constitution checks made to hold your breath, Constitution checks made to avoid nonlethal damage from starvation or thirst, Fortitude saves made to avoid nonlethal damage from hot or cold environments, Fortitude saves made to resist damage from suffocation, Fortitude saves made to resist fatigue or exhaustion, and Swim checks made to resist nonlethal damage.
    Enduring Physique: Morale bonus on saves to resist daze, nausea, sickness or stun.
    Maiming Strike: Morale bonus on damage rolls on a successful critical hit.
    Master of Opportunity: Dodge bonus to Armor Class against attacks of opportunity.
    Master of Scouting: Circumstance bonus on Listen, Search, and Spot checks.
    Master of Tactics: Circumstance bonus on attack rolls and damage rolls when flanking.
    Over the Top: Morale bonus on attack rolls and damage rolls when charging.
    Resist Bluntness: The marshal’s allies gain damage reduction equal to the amount of bonus the aura provides against bludgeoning attacks. For example, if the marshal is 10th level and has a Charisma of 24, everyone affected gains DR 7/slashing or piercing
    Resist Piercing: The marshal’s allies gain damage reduction equal to the amount of bonus the aura provides against slashing attacks. For example, if the marshal is 10th leveland has a Charisma of 24, everyone affected gains DR 7/bludgeoning or slashing
    Resist Slashing: The marshal’s allies gain damage reduction equal to the amount of bonus the aura provides against slashing attacks. For example, if the marshal is 10th level and has a Charisma of 24, everyone affected gains DR 7/bludgeoning or piercing
    Toughened Soldiers: The marshal and his allies gain an increase in hit points equal to the amount of bonus the aura provides for as long as they remain in the aura. These hit points are treated as if gained from an increased Constitution score, and are not lost first as temporary hit points are.

    Major Aura: A major aura lets allies add half the marshal’s class level to certain rolls:
    Demand Fortitude: Morale bonus on Fortitude saves.
    Force of Will: Morale bonus on Will saves.
    Healer’s Resolve: The marshal and his allies gain a bonus equal to the amount of bonus the aura provides on any ability that heals hit point damage. This includes any kind of rest and any use of heal, but not fast healing or regeneration.
    Motivate Ardor: Morale bonus on all damage rolls.
    Motivate Attack: Circumstance bonus on melee attack rolls.
    Motivate Care: Dodge bonus to Armor Class.
    Motivate Charisma: Circumstance bonus on Charisma ability checks and Charisma-based skill checks (except Use Magic Device). Unlike other major auras, a marshal may only apply his Strength or Intelligence modifier with this aura.
    Motivate Constitution: Circumstance bonus on Constitution ability checks and Constitution-based skill checks.
    Motivate Dexterity: Circumstance bonus on Dexterity ability checks, Dexterity-based skill checks, and initiative checks.
    Motivate Intelligence: Circumstance bonus on Intelligence ability checks and Intelligence-based skill checks. Unlike other major auras, a marshal may only apply his Strength or Charisma modifier with this aura.
    Motivate Strength: Circumstance bonus on Strength ability checks and Strength-based skill checks. A character’s maximum loads also increase as if the marshal and his allies had an increase in the Strength score equal to the bonus provided by the aura. Unlike other major auras, a marshal may only apply his Intelligence or Charisma modifier with this aura.
    Motivate Wisdom: Circumstance bonus on Wisdom ability checks and Wisdom-based skill checks.
    Steady Hand: Circumstance bonus on ranged attack rolls.
    Watchful Eye: Dodge bonus on Reflex saves.

    Greater Aura: Starting at 5th level, a marshal may project a greater aura along his minor and major auras. A greater aura lets allies add a +2 to certain rolls. At 8th level, and every 3 class levels afterwards, the bonus increases by 1.
    Aura of Courage: Morale bonus on attack rolls, damage rolls and saving throws vs. fear. This bonus overlaps with similar abilities (such as inspire courage)
    Deceive Item: Competence bonus on Use Magic Device checks. This ability does not grant a character the ability to make Use Magic Device checks untrained.
    Grant Constitution: Morale bonus to Constitution
    Grant Charisma: Morale bonus to Charisma
    Grant Dexterity: Morale bonus to Dexterity
    Grant Intelligence: Morale bonus to Inteligence
    Grant Strength: Morale bonus to Strength
    Grant Wisdom: Morale bonus to Wisdom
    Hardy Soldiers: The marshal's allies gain damage reduction equal to the amount of bonus the aura provides. For example, if the marshal is 11th level, everyone affected gains DR 3/-.
    Healer’s Determination: The marshal and his allies gain a bonus equal to the amount of bonus the aura provides on any ability that heals ability damage, ability drain or energy drain.
    Irresistible Caster: Circumstance bonus on all spells’ and spell-like abilities’ Difficulty Class.
    Resilient Troops: Morale bonus to Armor Class and all saves.

    Spoiler
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    Here they are: the new auras, in all their glory!

    As you might have seen, there are three types of auras: minor, major, and greater. Minor and major auras are pretty similar to what you saw already on the original Marshal, but some "minor" auras were ascended to "major" auras. Greater encompasses most of the original "major" auras. All are at least one order of magnitude higher: minor auras deal with very specific types of actions, major auras provide more general bonuses, and greater auras provide surprisingly effective buffs.

    So, why the format? Why minor auras get 1/2 class level and major auras get Int (or Cha) to the bonus? You see, while this might mean that a major aura gains a much larger bonus, to reach the full benefit of a minor aura you need a spectacular ability score number. At first, minor auras provide very...er-hem, "minor" benefits, but the idea is that they catch up. They progress in a very orderly state, a stable progression that doesn't get affected by most actions. Major auras, on the other hand, are unpredictable and very potent: you can gain a massive boost to an ability score and reap huge rewards, but also get feebleminded and your benefits go to zero. In the end, I went for stability with minor auras (orders that everybody is used to) and unpredictability with major auras (orders barked at the heat of battle).

    Greater auras, on the other hand, use the same format as the old major auras, draconic auras, and the general aura format. These are meant to be very powerful, thus you can see actual ability score increases, actual DR X/-, and other very potent bonuses.

    The fact that you get a lot of auras, and can work with three of them at the same time, allows you to mix and match based on the situation. If you find all your enemies went with spears, you might not need Hardy Soldiers; Resist Piercing might be a more effective ability, and thus you get to use another Greater Aura in its place. On the other hand, you might find that Resilient Troops provides the right amount of AC and saves bonus, thus you can work with Motivate Ardor as a major aura. Furthermore, you can stack the benefits of most auras: if you're facing an Illithid, you might go with Grant Wisdom (or Resilient Troops), Motivate Wisdom and Enduring Physique, and the stacking bonuses to Will saves make it enough to resist a brutal mind blast attack. This makes every choice of aura and every synergy between auras essential, because while you might take benefit of one set of auras, probably you need to change all three, which means you need to take three turns replacing auras, and if you're rallying your troops while at it, you might need to rethink your strategy. The system should, hopefully, be intuitive and reward good thinking, making people who do correct actions feel like helping the party in more ways than one.


    MARSHALS AND OTHER DUNGEONS & DRAGONS SUPPLEMENTS
    Although the class is designed to be mostly self-sufficient, one of the big problems with the Marshal was the lack of support between classes. Aside from a pair of classes that provided some auras, the concept of an aura class was greatly neglected. Given that the original marshal had troubles being a martial character despite being geared for such, and because it was hidden within a supplement that saw very little light (the Miniatures Handbook), the marshal was relegated to second duty. Some supplements either provided very limited help (Complete Champion, Heroes of Battle, and the Magic Item Compendium) or served as a blanket replacement (Tome of Battle: the Book of Nine Swords, with its White Raven discipline). In order to provide options for the marshal that decides to multiclass or enter into a suitable prestige class.

    Heroes of Battle: a supplement that could quite easily rework the Marshal into the fray, providing more auras and options for the character, fell oddly short from its expectations. However, the concept of a commander and a campaign geared towards battles is a natural for a Marshal. Namely, the concept of rally and commander’s auras are suitable for a Marshal, not to mention that a Marshal would be a high-ranking commander straight out of the box.

    Commander Rating: unlike other classes, the Marshal begins with a much higher commander rating. If using the rules, a marshal should begin on a rank no lower than lieutenant (rank 3), but usually no higher. Unless specified by the DM, the Marshal should raise in ranks at level 6th, level 10th, level 15th, and level 20th (levels 6th and 15th representing mid-level play and pre-epic play, 20th level being actual epic play, and level 10th being the theoretical midpoint of the game).
    Rally Checks: a Marshal making a rally check may use his Strength or Intelligence modifier instead of his Charisma modifier. As well, the auras of Commander’s Loyalty and Aura of Courage add the aura’s benefit to rally checks. A marshal using his rally ability may make a rally check as a free action as part of the action required to activate the ability, and the effects of the check last for as long as the marshal rallies. A 9th level marshal with the Commander’s Skill Mastery class ability may take 10 when making a rally check (an exception to the rule in which you may not take 10 on a rally check) even if stress and distractions affect him. A 16th level Marshal may use his Charisma modifier and either his Strength or Intelligence modifier when making rally checks.
    Commander Auras: given that the Marshal is the perfect battlefield class, and being an aura-inspired class, they gain unique benefits. A Marshal may take a commander aura instead of a minor, major or greater aura, plus the commander’s aura they gain by means of rank. Auras gained by means of commander rating are treated as the Marshal’s auras in all respect (including scaling the benefit based on the type of aura they are similar to), and may be deactivated as a swift action. Unlike commander’s auras, if a Marshal chooses a commander’s aura instead of a minor, major, or greater aura, he may take the benefit of the aura alongside a pre-existing commander aura, but the marshal may not have an aura of the same type as the equivalent commander aura (thus, a marshal that has chosen a commander aura as a minor aura may not have a minor aura of its own, but it may have that minor-equivalent commander aura alongside the actual commander aura).
    The following is the equivalency between the commander’s auras (and their requirements, with alternate requirements in the case of a Marshal) and the Marshal’s auras:
    o Animal Commander (commander rating 1, any neutral alignment, wild empathy or Handle Animal 4 ranks): Major Aura
    o Archery Commander (commander rating 2, any chaotic alignment, Point Blank Shot): Greater Aura
    o Bloodthirsty Commander (commander rating 3, any evil alignment): Minor Aura
    o Deathslayer Commander (commander rating 2, any good alignment, turn undead or Knowledge [religion] 9 ranks): Greater Aura
    o Defensive Commander (commander rating 2, lawful good alignment): Major Aura
    o Dwarf Commander (commander rating 3, dwarf, lawful good alignment): Major Aura (2x bonus vs. giants)
    o Elf Commander (commander rating 3, elf, chaotic good alignment): Minor Aura
    o Feral Commander (commander rating 3, any neutral alignment, Handle Animal 5 ranks): Minor Aura
    o Giant-Killer Commander (commander rating 2, Small or smaller size, any good alignment): Minor Aura
    o Goblinoid Commander (commander rating 3, goblinoid, lawful evil alignment): Minor Aura
    o Maneuvering Commander (commander rating 2, chaotic good alignment): Minor Aura
    o Melee Commander (commander rating 3, any lawful alignment, base attack bonus +2): Major Aura
    o Mobile Commander (commander rating 3, any chaotic alignment): Major Aura (5 ft. per point of bonus)
    o Necromantic Commander (commander rating 2, any evil alignment, rebuke undead or Knowledge [religion] 9 ranks): Greater Aura
    o Orc Commander (commander rating 3, orc, lawful good alignment): Major Aura
    o Orderly Commander (commander rating 2, any alignment): Major Aura (adds 5 ft per point of Charisma or Intelligence to movement speed, minimum 10 ft., when making a rally check or using the Marshal’s rally; the ability stacks with the movement boost from rally)
    o Protective Commander (commander rating 1, any lawful alignment): Major Aura
    o Pursuing Commander (commander rating 2, lawful evil alignment): Major Aura
    o Reckless Commander (commander rating 2, chaotic evil alignment): Major Aura
    o Runt-Squasher Commander (commander rating 2, Large or larger size, any evil alignment): Major Aura
    o Sneaky Commander (commander rating 5, chaotic evil alignment, sneak attack or sudden strike ability): Greater Aura
    o Spellslinging Commander (commander rating 3, ability to cast 1st level spells or Knowledge [arcana] 5 ranks, Spellcraft 5 ranks): Greater Aura
    o Steadfast Commander (commander rating 5, lawful good alignment): Minor Aura
    o Tyrannical Commander (commander rating 5, lawful evil alignment): Minor Aura

    Note: since Doublestrike Commander and Healing Commander do not provide any bonuses (instead enabling actions), they may not be chosen as Marshal’s auras.
    Volley of Arrows: a marshal’s extra damage from rally adds to the damage dealt from a volley of arrows in the following way: for a normal volley, all creatures take damage equal to the marshal’s rally extra damage; for a concentrated volley, the creature takes damage equal to the marshal’s rally extra damage per five arrows shot (thus, a concentrated volley of 20 arrows shot from a longbow led by an 8th level marshal deals 4d8 points of damage plus 8d6 points of damage from the rally). The marshal must be using his rally ability in order to add the extra damage, but he may make the volley attack as a standard action instead of a full round action as part of the rally.
    Siege Engines: a Marshal does not affect the damage from siege engines (if any) when using his rally ability, and any ability that increases damage does not affect the damage from siege engines. However, auras and abilities that increase attack rolls do affect the siege engine attack roll.

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    Survey time! If you've read Miniatures Handbook (or saw the Marshal in the excerpt), Heroes of Battle and then Heroes of Horror (bonus points if you also read Complete Warrior), did you felt disillusioned by the lack of support to the Marshal? Probably not, but after seeing how Heroes of Battle has so little class-based support and how Heroes of Horror introduces two new classes, WotC could have at least tried to update the Marshal and make it slightly better than it currently is. Even Complete Warrior spoke of the nature of a war campaign. Marshals should have thrived on a war campaign, and how better than to use the years of experience from creating other material AND improving this class? They did the same with the Warmage and the Favored Soul, so why not with the other classes from Miniatures Handbook?

    This is the best attempt to address that great fault. Heroes of Battle introduces a nice set of rules, some of which the Marshal could take benefit of. Namely, with all the commander auras introduced (which are taken pretty much straight from the Miniatures sets), the Marshal could have had a field day (hur hur, "field"...like in Field Marshal...meh, maybe you won't get the joke) with new auras and increased support.

    One particular thing I liked was the way to implement and improve Commander Auras. Most of the commander auras provided such a little benefit for practically nothing (at most a +1 bonus...), having the Marshal boost them was pretty much natural. Some auras (as mentioned, Doublestrike and Healing) don't have numerical bonuses, so they are out of the reach of the Marshal's auras, but the rest are fair play. With such stuff as Dwarf Commander or Elf Commander, you could have a very distinctive type of marshal. Example: the dwarven warlord, leading a pack of shock-troopers, having Dwarf Commander and auras such as Resist Piercing, Motivate Ardor, and Resilient Troops. An orc warlord, on the other hand, might have Orc Commander, probably share Motivate Ardor, but also have Over the Top as an aura. Commander Auras introduce a new degree of customization that should be exploited somewhat, and also gives a big amount of flavor.

    As you might have figured, the use of "rally" as a class ability came from the rally checks. To support that, if using the book, the Rally ability also supports rally checks, since you're effectively rallying your troops. Rally allows your troops to remain standing even after the loss of morale, and the auras plus the rally ability are ways to whip up the morale of soldiers, thus it's natural that they show some synergy. Volleys of arrows and other machines also have a distinctive way of working with the Rally ability and with the Marshal, since you might expect such a class to take full advantage of the tactics (being the commander of the troops and thus the most likely to execute them, no?)


    Player’s Handbook II: a supplement that offers some options for the marshal, the book also introduces the second official aura-based class: the dragon shaman.

    Dragon Shaman: the dragon shaman introduces the concept of draconic auras, and follows a progression similar to the marshal’s greater aura bonus. For purposes of multiclassing, a marshal/dragon shaman adds a +1 bonus to his greater auras for every 2 points of bonus with the dragon shaman’s draconic auras; as well, draconic aura bonuses increase by 1 for every two points of greater aura bonus. Thus, a marshal 10/dragon shaman 10 has a greater aura bonus total of +3 (+2 from the class and +1 from the draconic aura synergy) and a draconic aura bonus of +4 (+3 from the class and +1 from the greater aura synergy).
    Adrenaline Boost (Marshal ACF): Adrenaline Boost is meant to replace the grant move action ability, which had its own kind of progression. Keep the bonus as-is, but replace the Grant Standard Action and Grant Full-Round Action in case that the marshal exchanges Grant Move Action for Adrenaline Boost as follows:

    At 11th level, a marshal’s granted temporary hit points act as if they were granted by a Constitution bonus. These hit points are not lost first as temporary hit points do. As well, all allies that gain the temporary hit point bonus gain a bonus on attack rolls, damage rolls, ability checks and saving throws equal to one-fourth the marshal’s level (rounded up).

    At 20th level, a marshal also grants regeneration X, where X is equal to one fourth the marshal’s class level. This regeneration is bypassed by attacks that deal negative energy damage (such as inflict light wounds spells), and behaves like normal regeneration.

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    With the retooling of the Marshal, it's evident that the one and only ACF that exists for the class might become obsolete. To give it a much needed boost, I decided to give it a new set of options. You're sacrificing a very powerful ability for a less powerful one, so the exchange should be on equal degree, if at least to the extent of the sum of its parts. Thus, at 11th level, you gain a further increase to abilities for as long as the ability lasts, and at 20th level you gain an ability which is just as meaty as Grant Full Round Action, and probably the most definitive example of having an "Adrenaline Boost". This ACF should stand on pretty much equal terms to the improved ability, so exchanging one ability for the other should be a cause of consideration.

    Another thing I wanted to consider was Dragon Shaman. If you've seen the Bez-Kismet, you know that the class has a form of aura, and a mechanic that allowed it to stack with the Marshal's major auras and the Dragon Shaman's draconic auras, since all of their auras had a root in class-based aura increases. I decided to apply that same benefit to multiclassing Marshals, so that their aura power doesn't get affected so much, while getting a new set of shiny abilities.

    For those who use both the Bez-Kismet and the retooled Marshal: whenever the Bez-Kismet mentions "the Marshal's major aura", replace with "the Marshal's greater aura". That way, a Marshal with a greater aura bonus of +2 (namely, a Marshal of 8th level or higher) adds 1 point to the penalty of the Bez-Kismet's aura of misfortune, and every two points of penalty provided by the aura of misfortune becomes a +1 bonus on all Greater Auras of the Marshal. That should open some synergy between multiclasses, and reinforce the idea on how to handle auras.


    Dragon Magic: this supplement allows for most characters, including Marshals, to gain draconic auras instead of marshal’s auras. The rules for gaining auras, however, are left mildly unclear and most of the auras don’t grant a specific benefit, usually causing a dragonblooded marshal to use his own dragonblooded subtype to enhance the auras. The following should clear up things a bit, in accordance with the enhancement to the class:

    Draconic Auras: The marshal can learn any of the draconic auras presented here in place of a major aura. The bonus granted by a draconic aura equals the bonus normally granted by the marshal’s greater aura, and otherwise follows all the normal rules for the marshal’s auras (including range, eligible targets, and when it ceases functioning). It is also considered a draconic aura for all effects that apply to such auras, such as the Double Draconic Aura feat. (Paraphrased and modified from Dragon Magic, page 86)
    For purposes of eligibility, a marshal may only choose from the list presented on the Draconic Auras section of Dragon Magic, page 87. A marshal that has at least one level on dragon shaman may choose from the auras exclusive to the dragon shaman as well. A dragonblooded marshal with draconic auras may use either the progression granted by the marshal’s auras, or the progression granted by the dragonblooded subtype as presented on the Draconic Aura feat, page 16-17 of Dragon Magic, whichever is highest. (Usually, this means a dragonblooded marshal will use the dragonblooded progression between levels 1st to 12th, and then the marshal progression from 13th level onward).
    Dragon Lord (Draconic Aura-based PrC): A marshal that enters the Dragon Lord class adds the draconic aura progression to his greater aura bonus at the indicated levels (thus, a marshal 9/dragon lord 5 has a total greater aura bonus of +4; 2 from his marshal levels and 2 from his dragon lord levels). He may choose between the draconic auras granted by the class, or from the marshal’s list of auras (minor, major or greater) at each level in which he gains a new draconic aura. His other class abilities remain unchanged.

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    Another thing I wanted to address was the concept of draconic auras and how they stack with the new aura synergy mechanic. Draconic auras have a peculiar progression, in which if you are a dragon-blooded character, your draconic auras progress based on your character level. Since the aura mechanic states that for every two points of bonus, you add a +1 bonus to all your auras, this might cause an unexpected multiplicative effect. To prevent that, draconic auras (and only draconic auras, not the Marshal's greater auras or the Bez-Kismet auras of misfortune) may determine which of the two progressions to follow, indicating when the progression of one class supersedes the other. The one other point to consider is that if you use the dragonblood subtype progression, you cannot add that bonus to the bonus of your other auras: thus, a character that has a draconic aura with a +2 bonus doesn't add a +1 to the Marshal's greater auras, and by extension a -1 to the Bez-Kismet aura of misfortune penalties. However, if you take the marshal progression, then it's fair play.

    Furthermore, I decided that if you were going to PrC out of Marshal, at least make it a bit more effective. I am sorely disappointed by Mythic Exemplar, the ONLY PrC other than Dragon Lord who progresses Marshal's auras, because the progression is so bad it's cringe-inducing. So I decided that Dragon Lord had a much more relaxed synergy with Marshal, where the bonus between both auras increases (thus, you might progress auras faster), but otherwise you gain auras in a very different way. This won't make multiclassing very viable, but at least it's ONE thing to take advantage of. Maybe later I might deal with Reikhardt's path, because he's one Marshal that really needs to return to boot camp.


    Tome of Battle: the Book of Nine Swords: widely regarded as the book that redefines martial characters (or a book of magic-flavored anime attacks and characters), the White Raven discipline on its pages deals a mortal blow to the marshal, as abilities like Leading the Charge, Tactics of the Wolf and even the arch-famous (and undoubtedly broken) White Raven Tactics make for a superb marshal-type character. What’s best, the White Raven discipline is granted to two classes, the crusader and the warblade, and some PrCs allow for its progression (namely, Eternal Blade, Master of Nine and Ruby Knight Vindicator). For those marshals that wish to expand their options by means of adding martial maneuvers, the following should be worthwhile.

    Maneuvers and Stances: a martial adept with marshal levels, or a marshal with knowledge of at least one White Raven stance or maneuver, treats his levels in the marshal class as initiator levels for purposes of qualifying for White Raven maneuvers, or White Raven maneuvers that depend on initiator level (such as Leading the Charge). For purposes of qualifying for other classes, the marshal’s initiator level is equal to his levels in a martial adept class, plus half his levels in other classes, as usual.

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    Smile. I know you want to smile.

    I've heard a lot that Marshals can be completely replaced by having a Warblade or Crusader specialize in White Raven, and sadly? It's true. White Raven really works well as an extraordinary set of support abilities, and I wanted the Marshal to be far more effective than those. However, in order to provide some benefit to people who dip into other classes, I decided to throw a bone to them. Thus, while you still have to deal in the same way with other disciplines, White Raven maneuvers become second nature to Marshals, and thus they can reach the higher echelon of their abilities. If a Marshal knows exactly how to dip, it can reach the all-mighty White Raven Tactics, White Raven Hammer AND War Master's Charge, granting superior boosts to their combat capabilities while taking full advantage of the Marshal's Auras, Grant X Action abilities and the all-mighty Rally ability.



    SPECIAL: Retooled Marshals and Wyrmlords
    If your group uses the Wyrmlord class alongside the retooling of the Marshal, both classes share the same "commander" chassis, which makes their synergy a bit easier to handle. Replace the Draconic Auras section with the following:

    Draconic Auras: The marshal can learn any of the draconic auras presented in the Wyrmlord class description, except for Draconic Auras, if the marshal has at least one level in the wyrmlord class. Levels in marshal and wyrmlord stack to determine the accessibility of auras and the power of Major, Greater and Draconic Auras. For example, a 2nd level marshal/2nd level wyrmlord gains a new minor aura as if he had taken four levels in either of the classes (not two). A marshal/wyrmlord does not gain Greater or Draconic Auras unless it takes 5 levels in any of the classes (thus, a 3rd level marshal/2nd level wyrmlord has no access to Greater or Draconic Auras by means of class, but if he takes two more levels in Marshal or three more levels in Wyrmlord he gains his first Greater or Draconic Aura at a +2 bonus, as a 7th level marshal or wyrmlord, and gains a +1 to the Greater/Draconic Aura bonus with an extra level in either of the classes). If the marshal takes the Draconic Aura feat, he is limited to the following auras unless he takes five levels in wyrmlord: Draconic Spell Resistance, Energy Potency, Energy Resistance (default to fire unless the marshal has the ability to be treated as a dragon of a different type). If the marshal takes a Draconic Aura instead of a Greater Aura, the Draconic Aura is still treated as a supernatural ability.
    A dragonblooded marshal with draconic auras may use either the progression granted by the marshal’s auras, or the progression granted by the dragonblooded subtype as presented on the Draconic Aura feat, page 16-17 of Dragon Magic, whichever is highest.

    Spoiler
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    NEW: With the advent of the Wyrmlord, and the great similarities that exist in both (as both are classes following the "commander" chassis, even if one is a proper class and the other is a "template" class), a few clarifications are at hand.

    First, the access to marshal and wyrmlord auras don't stack twice, but once. Thus, a 5th level marshal/3rd level wyrmlord is treated as an 8th level "commander", and has four minor auras, two major auras and one greater aura (and no draconic auras), not twice that amount. However, if it HAD a draconic aura (by means of the Draconic Aura feat, for example), the bonus of both Greater and Draconic Auras would be +3, the bonus for Major Auras would be +4 (half the combined levels of Marshal and Wyrmlord), and the bonus for Minor Auras would be limited to +8 (as per the combined levels of Marshal and Wyrmlord).

    Second, the limit on accessing Greater or Draconic Auras. Since the ability to choose the best auras of the classes requires some effort, granting easy access would be abusive; a dip in Wyrmlord would grant the marshal something like Draconic Vigor, and the Marshal would only lose Grant Full Round Action and an extra use of Grant Move Action, which is a BAD idea. Hence, the 5 level requirement.

    Third, the ability only applies to auras. Wyrmlords that dabble in Marshal don't get more grant move action or rally abilities than what they'd get as a single-level Marshal, and viceversa with Wyrmlords and natural weapons, breath weapons and other abilities.

    --

    So, as usual: good? Bad? Horrible? Superb? The next of a line of failures from my part? Another hit like most of my retoolings? Why I haven't posted Project Heretica just yet? Why this is so broken, OMG!? Questions? Comments?
    Last edited by T.G. Oskar; 2011-12-06 at 09:28 PM. Reason: Fixing the minor/major aura progression
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    Default Re: The Retooled Marshal: a Few Good Men in Full-Metal Jackets bring Apocalypse Now

    In short: I think it's great and you shouldn't de-power it at all. It gets powerful full-party buffs and learning how to screw the action economy really is the only way they could possibly compete with spellcasters for party buffing utility. I was actually less amazed by the auras than I had anticipated with all the build-up, but that's fine since they're supposed to be solid on/off switch abilities. I don't know if everyone's going to "jump all over you" like you expect, since most of the forum seems to be cool with anything since wizards are always better. Either way, I don't think you need to start axing things.

    The only thing that I didn't like was presentation. Large block of unspoilered fluff that you have to scroll past before seeing the class, long fluffy sentences introducing every single ability, and the breaks for side notes and reasoning. However, the ratio of fluff to crunch is a matter of taste and the side notes are important whenever you're doing something radical, so there's really no problem there until you're ready for "print". Lastly, I think most of the main abilities could probably be said more clearly and efficiently (Commanding Talent, Commander's Uncanny X and Command the Commander in particular). I'd provide rewrites myself, but it's a big job and it's late here. It's something I've also run into when homebrewing, using more words to make sure you get the point across when you come up with something new, and I'm sure it'll get pruned down with time.
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    sheer awesomeness

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    Default Re: The Retooled Marshal: a Few Good Men in Full-Metal Jackets bring Apocalypse Now

    I agree with Fizban, this looks good as is, no need to drop or change things.

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    Quote Originally Posted by T.G. Oskar;10336534.

    Greater Aura: Starting at 5th level, a marshal may project a greater aura along his minor and major auras. A major aura lets allies add a +1 to certain rolls. At 8th level, and every 3 class levels afterwards, the bonus increases by +1
    Looks good. I really like the class as a whole. Balance isn't my thing, so instead I'll simply say I like this class quite a bit. I think it's my favorite of your class overhauls.. Also I bolded a typo for you above.
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    Default Re: The Retooled Marshal: a Few Good Men in Full-Metal Jackets bring Apocalypse Now

    I like it. One suggestion though: The rally ability acts a lot like auras. You activate it, then everyone pretty much gets a passive buff, especially at higher level when you can keep it going as a swift action. That works fine, great even, but they also get auras, which are passive buffs to nearby allies. It's just a little redundant. With the auras, they can already give allies buffs most of the time, so it feels like Rally should be a one-shot deal that grants bonuses immediately or for one round. A rallying cry to turn the tides of battle, rather than just giving orders/encouragement every round.

    [Edit]: Also, why Strength, Intelligence, or Charisma for major auras? There doesn't seem to be any reason not to just max out Strength and ignore the others. I'd leave it as Intelligence or Charisma.

    [Edit2]: Why Commander’s Loyalty? I think everything it provides a bonus against will be a Will save, and there's an aura that gives the same bonus to every Will save.

    You may also want to add a line to Toughened Soldiers explaining that if they leave the aura and come back, they don't regain the hit points. For example, if they gained 5 hit points, took 5 damage, left the aura, and came back, under current wording they'd gain those 5 hit points again.
    Last edited by Goober4473; 2011-02-09 at 01:21 PM.

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    Default Re: The Retooled Marshal: a Few Good Men in Full-Metal Jackets bring Apocalypse Now

    Quote Originally Posted by Fizban View Post
    In short: I think it's great and you shouldn't de-power it at all. It gets powerful full-party buffs and learning how to screw the action economy really is the only way they could possibly compete with spellcasters for party buffing utility. I was actually less amazed by the auras than I had anticipated with all the build-up, but that's fine since they're supposed to be solid on/off switch abilities. I don't know if everyone's going to "jump all over you" like you expect, since most of the forum seems to be cool with anything since wizards are always better. Either way, I don't think you need to start axing things.

    The only thing that I didn't like was presentation. Large block of unspoilered fluff that you have to scroll past before seeing the class, long fluffy sentences introducing every single ability, and the breaks for side notes and reasoning. However, the ratio of fluff to crunch is a matter of taste and the side notes are important whenever you're doing something radical, so there's really no problem there until you're ready for "print". Lastly, I think most of the main abilities could probably be said more clearly and efficiently (Commanding Talent, Commander's Uncanny X and Command the Commander in particular). I'd provide rewrites myself, but it's a big job and it's late here. It's something I've also run into when homebrewing, using more words to make sure you get the point across when you come up with something new, and I'm sure it'll get pruned down with time.
    The presentation is mostly a medium I use only to present the class; certainly, if I were to make a full-fledged project, I'd cut off on the zaniness. I mean, have you even noticed the title of the thread? It's mostly so people get a laugh while watching it; some want to get to the meat of the series, some might want to see it all, and I try to add some humor so that things don't get boring. In fact, the only "fluff" before the full job description is a long joke, partly explaining why it needs to be changed and partly to have a laugh. Maybe I'm not that funny? I consider myself the serious type most of the time, so...

    The notes, though, are things that while not fit for print, I usually place them. Some abilities come from other sources (Rally, Command the Commander), some are upgraded (the auras) and some are brand new, so the rationale behind each ability is needed so that it doesn't seem that it was pulled without explanation. I'm sure the explanation would be outside of the "print" version (so to speak) and that probably there would be a small block of info explaining most of the changes so that they don't seem like tucked out for its own sake.

    Finally...I tend to be quite verbose when I write stuff, and while it helps to be very precise in the language, it might not be simple. While I don't need so much help with the fluff and whatnot, I could use a check-up on simplifying the language so that it conveys the same meaning in a simpler format. I tend to stick to the format of most abilities pretty much to the letter (the aura ability is almost point-for-point taken from the Marshal write-up) since it aids on redaction (and try to do editing where there might be a confusing ruling). The notes work to further explain the ruling, so hopefully I don't end up with RAW rulings that might be exploited, unless I show I intend to make them exploitable.

    Quote Originally Posted by mrcarter11 View Post
    Looks good. I really like the class as a whole. Balance isn't my thing, so instead I'll simply say I like this class quite a bit. I think it's my favorite of your class overhauls.. Also I bolded a typo for you above.
    Thanks for pointing that up. Odd how that got missed.

    Quote Originally Posted by Goober4473 View Post
    I like it. One suggestion though: The rally ability acts a lot like auras. You activate it, then everyone pretty much gets a passive buff, especially at higher level when you can keep it going as a swift action. That works fine, great even, but they also get auras, which are passive buffs to nearby allies. It's just a little redundant. With the auras, they can already give allies buffs most of the time, so it feels like Rally should be a one-shot deal that grants bonuses immediately or for one round. A rallying cry to turn the tides of battle, rather than just giving orders/encouragement every round.
    The thing is, Rally works somewhat different from an Aura. For starters, it has a much larger range (auras have 60 ft., rally has range up to where you can listen it which is much more than 60 ft., especially if you have something to increase your voice range), and the core ability isn't really built to be a one-time buff. Rally is a mixture between Inspire Courage and Skirmish, given all the benefits it brings (extra damage, extra AC, saving throws to most status effects, intimidation, extra move and finally extra attacks), so it has a restriction somewhat like Skirmish and a concentration requirement somewhat like Inspire Courage, with the caveat that the character has action limitations (unlike Skirmish, that only requires you to move; there are several ways to move and still get a full round worth of actions; thus why the ability gets a lesser restriction later on) and doesn't linger (unlike Inspire Courage).

    If it were a one-shot ability, which could work as a swift action pretty well, there would be a need to define the restrictions of such ability. Having Rally as a swift action at-will ability would make it very powerful from level 2, even though it's already powerful (but it limits you). A per-day ability would be nice, but then it enters in conflict with Grant X Action which is by most means far more powerful; furthermore, it would cause a conflict as to how many times per day it would be useful (1/day/class level as with Bardic Music? 6/day like Grant X Action and stuff such as Rage?).

    While it's a valid concern, I find that Rally works fine as intended. It forces the Marshal to think in a different way, perhaps setting up flanking, taking up battlefield control, providing aid another actions and so forth, instead of moving and attacking. I'll gauge it to see if it's worth changing to your position (a 1-time buff), keeping it, or reaching an intermediate state (maybe make it somewhat like Bardic Music or something).

    [Edit]: Also, why Strength, Intelligence, or Charisma for major auras? There doesn't seem to be any reason not to just max out Strength and ignore the others. I'd leave it as Intelligence or Charisma.
    There are good reasons, both fluff and mechanical. Strength is already valued a lot; it's easier to raise, you can combine it with other abilities (Rage comes to mind, since you aren't prevented from speaking and auras require no Concentration, even though Rally does), and you can use it as a battlefield controller (adding your Strength to bull rush, grapple and trip as well as breaking locks and locked chests), so it allows you to make Strength your main stat and leave Intelligence or Charisma lower than, say, Constitution or Dexterity. If you were to make it only Intelligence and Charisma (as I had it before), you'd require to have two ability scores at near-equal ranges, plus Constitution and probably Dex or Wis good enough (at least up until you could replace Dex for Con regarding AC and Dex for Int regarding Reflex saves) if you wanted to use stuff like Power Attack (minimum 13 Str) and stuff such as trip (even though Imp. Trip requires Combat Expertise, which requires a minimum 13 Int), bull rush and grapple at full force. And fluff-wise, keeping it only relegated to mental scores would prevent most savage races from taking the class, as they'd need either good smarts or a strong presence to take advantage of something they could just use their Strength with; hence, it opens options of which races could become Marshals.

    [Edit2]: Why Commander’s Loyalty? I think everything it provides a bonus against will be a Will save, and there's an aura that gives the same bonus to every Will save.
    Probably because it's best to make it a minor aura instead of a major aura. I have no idea what led me to place Commander's Loyalty up one tier, since the effect it offers is pretty specific compared to what Force of Will provides. I'll make that change in a jiffy.

    You may also want to add a line to Toughened Soldiers explaining that if they leave the aura and come back, they don't regain the hit points. For example, if they gained 5 hit points, took 5 damage, left the aura, and came back, under current wording they'd gain those 5 hit points again.
    I saw it again, and I noticed: they are not lost first as temporary hit points are. It's much like the HP increase you get from Bear's Endurance; if they leave the aura, they keep the same damage they took, so there's no change on that one. If it were actual temporary hit points (such as the ones you lose first), then I would have added the note; however, they're the "temp" hit points gained through a temporary increase in Constitution. That means that if you have Toughened Soldiers and Grant Constitution, you'd have a similar increase in HP coming from two different sources (a minor and a greater aura).

    Maybe it's just that Commander's Loyalty and Toughened Soldiers got mixed up...
    Last edited by T.G. Oskar; 2011-02-09 at 07:30 PM.
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    Default Re: The Retooled Marshal: a Few Good Men in Full-Metal Jackets bring Apocalypse Now

    Subscribing to the class that is awesome beyond all belief.

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    Default Re: The Retooled Marshal: a Few Good Men in Full-Metal Jackets bring Apocalypse Now

    You have done it again. Congratulations. Its amazing, unfortunatly my marshal charactor is crying in a corner now.

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    Default Re: The Retooled Marshal: a Few Good Men in Full-Metal Jackets bring Apocalypse Now

    Nice work as usual, Oskar. There are two things that I would like to point out.

    The first of which is Grant Move Action's ability usage sentence, which conflicts slightly with the table in that it sounds like you get two additional uses per 4 levels after 3rd, not the one additional use that I think you meant, as evidenced by the table. Probably want to change that 'twice per day' to 'an additional time per day'.

    The second is again with the wording of Toughened Soldiers, as using the term 'temporary hit points' has a specific meaning that you immediately refute. I'd remove the term 'temporary' and just call them hit points and the rest of the text can stay to explain that they aren't 'temporary' in the normal sense of the game term.

    Looking forward to further Retools. Them's my 2 coppers. Take as you will.
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    Default Re: The Retooled Marshal: a Few Good Men in Full-Metal Jackets bring Apocalypse Now

    Awesome retool. Actually makes me want to roll up a marshal now.

    Just one question. Do the auras and the rally ability give their bonuses to the marshal as well, or just the other allies within their area?

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    Default Re: The Retooled Marshal: a Few Good Men in Full-Metal Jackets bring Apocalypse Now

    Quote Originally Posted by M. Mayonnaise View Post
    Just one question. Do the auras and the rally ability give their bonuses to the marshal as well, or just the other allies within their area?
    The auras specifically says it affects the marshal. Some of Rally does, so I assume all parts work equally well on himself as his allies.
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    Default Re: The Retooled Marshal: a Few Good Men in Full-Metal Jackets bring Apocalypse Now

    Quote Originally Posted by Cieyrin View Post
    Nice work as usual, Oskar. There are two things that I would like to point out.

    The first of which is Grant Move Action's ability usage sentence, which conflicts slightly with the table in that it sounds like you get two additional uses per 4 levels after 3rd, not the one additional use that I think you meant, as evidenced by the table. Probably want to change that 'twice per day' to 'an additional time per day'.
    True; situation with terminology. Basically, it should have read something like "twice per day at X level, three times per day at X level" or "one extra use per X levels". Better change that, or text trumps table and the Marshal gets more uses than it should.

    Then again...maybe I should leave that wording as intended. More uses=better, and it's one more bone to throw to the class.

    The second is again with the wording of Toughened Soldiers, as using the term 'temporary hit points' has a specific meaning that you immediately refute. I'd remove the term 'temporary' and just call them hit points and the rest of the text can stay to explain that they aren't 'temporary' in the normal sense of the game term.

    Looking forward to further Retools. Them's my 2 coppers. Take as you will.
    You gotta be getting close to a couple silvers by now :^P
    I was really trying to use the type of "temporary HP" from Bear's Endurance, but the text explicitly says so. They ARE "temporary" HP, but the idea is that it should work as per Bear's Endurance or a temporary increase in Constitution. Also, at 2 cp per retooling, I should be at 2 sp by now.

    Quote Originally Posted by M. Mayonnaise View Post
    Awesome retool. Actually makes me want to roll up a marshal now.

    Just one question. Do the auras and the rally ability give their bonuses to the marshal as well, or just the other allies within their area?
    As Cie mentioned, all auras affect the marshal as well as his allies. As for rally, the marshal takes full benefit (of course, demoralize doesn't work against himself, but the rest should), but unless he can get a move action the benefit is only minimal (unless using a ranged weapon, in which case he has one heck of a benefit). The only thing in which he might not benefit from is his Grant Move Action ability, as indicated on the description, nor his Grant Standard Action ability (though he DOES benefit from Grant Full-Round Action). So yeah, he gets the extra damage, bonus to AC, saving throw, extra speed and extra attack, since he always considers himself an ally; however, it's not until 10th level when he can take full benefit of it.
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    Default Re: The Retooled Marshal: a Few Good Men in Full-Metal Jackets bring Apocalypse Now

    This is the most fantastic thing. Excellent job. It might be pushing Tier 2ish with the capstone, but I wouldn't change that.

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    Default Re: The Retooled Marshal: a Few Good Men in Full-Metal Jackets bring Apocalypse Now

    Okay, so I was directed here after someone mentioned it in another thread, and I decided to look it over.

    I like a lot of what you've done, and honestly I only have a couple complaints, and they're not even in the areas you were worried about.

    The biggest offender is your first level ability, Commanding Talent. This ability alone makes it worthwhile for anybody ever who wants to play a physical combatant that doesn't rely on strength. Want to play a bow user with dex to damage? This feature is the only way I know of to get it. Want to get Intelligence or Charisma to both Hit and Damage as a Gish, again this feature's got it done for you. 1 level gets you a level with a great chasis, you pick up two not-negligible buffs (the major aura in particular will continue scaling after you leave the class, even if the minor aura will be forever minor), and the ability to add your best ability score to hit and damage while in melee or at range. It's the ultimate one level dip, and I really doubt that's what you intended.

    I understand your intent to help eliminate MAD, but you probably went a bit too overboard here. And honestly, while I feel the pain of physical archtypes typically being forced into str/dex, so Int or Cha based characters end up weaker... this isn't a good solution. That should either be solved through the core system, or feats, not by making a class so great that anyone will want to dip it.


    Okay that was the big one, now for the more minor nitpicks.

    -First, Aura of Courage doesn't need to specify it overlaps with Inspire Courage, it's explicitly a morale bonus. They overlap by default.

    -Do abilities that boost inspire courage also boost aura of courage? ie would dragonfire inspiration or word of creation shenanigans work with this? You specify inspire courage overlaps with the aura, but not how other things would interract.

    -As was mentioned briefly above, Major Auras scale with a stat and are not capped at all, and you get one at level 1. Very dippable, consider limiting the bonus of your major aura to your Marshall level, or even double that. Just don't let people get +14 to their favorite skills with a 1 level dip.

    -Hardy Soldiers is terribly weak compared to the other great auras. It honestly seems more like a major aura. Consider you have a -minor- aura that will grant DR5/(damage type), compared to that is DR3/- really worth great aura? Especially when the alternative is flat stat bonuses. Maybe if you rolled the DR3/- in with the +AC/Saves it would be worth it.


    -Under the leadership comments you mention that the auras may be too strong with leadership in a war setting, where lots of low level things with buffs could potentially dominate. I'd like to suggest restricting most of the class abilities (such as grant actions, grant uncanny dodge, etc), and all auras except minor auras to like 5+1/4 level creatures, or 3+int/str/cha mod creatures, or something along those lines, so that you can basically affect your whole party, but in large scale battles, you're mostly providing a smaller buff, and not turning a bunch of level 1s into super soldiers that overwhelm everything unless the enemy is also a marshall.
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    Default Re: The Retooled Marshal: a Few Good Men in Full-Metal Jackets bring Apocalypse Now

    Quote Originally Posted by Seerow View Post
    Okay, so I was directed here after someone mentioned it in another thread, and I decided to look it over.

    I like a lot of what you've done, and honestly I only have a couple complaints, and they're not even in the areas you were worried about.

    The biggest offender is your first level ability, Commanding Talent. This ability alone makes it worthwhile for anybody ever who wants to play a physical combatant that doesn't rely on strength. Want to play a bow user with dex to damage? This feature is the only way I know of to get it. Want to get Intelligence or Charisma to both Hit and Damage as a Gish, again this feature's got it done for you. 1 level gets you a level with a great chasis, you pick up two not-negligible buffs (the major aura in particular will continue scaling after you leave the class, even if the minor aura will be forever minor), and the ability to add your best ability score to hit and damage while in melee or at range. It's the ultimate one level dip, and I really doubt that's what you intended.

    I understand your intent to help eliminate MAD, but you probably went a bit too overboard here. And honestly, while I feel the pain of physical archtypes typically being forced into str/dex, so Int or Cha based characters end up weaker... this isn't a good solution. That should either be solved through the core system, or feats, not by making a class so great that anyone will want to dip it.
    I'd rather go overboard and tune it down than stay short and THEN overblow it.

    Personally, adding that to the core system is even worse than normal, for several reasons. The first stumble is exactly HOW to pull it, specifically the rules language to use so that those who want to use Int or Cha as their combat stats get them without further empowering the top-tier classes (because, let's face it, having a Wizard use his Int for attack and damage with a quarterstaff at 1st level essentially takes the Fighter out of commission permanently, without mentioning the Cleric if there's an option for Wis which takes ALL of the melee characters out of commission before level 7 and Divine Power). Without carefully constructed language and notes detailing the intention behind it, you can end up with a really unnecessary and arbitrary ruling for the sense of fairness or a very broad definition that further empowers already powerful classes for the sake of unusual builds. It's entirely possible, but very hard to nail correctly.

    The best way aside from class features is through the creation of feats, but that involves feat tax. I do agree that such "unusual" options should be the realm of feats (which should deal with enabling options and less with feat tax), but some options are just essential. Example of that would be the Rogue; with a primary Dex/secondary Int focus, the Rogue NEEDS Weapon Finesse to fight decently, or else face poor accuracy with which to pull off Sneak Attack, unless you get decent Strength for it. That's one of the few feats the Rogue can choose if it somewhat decides to get all 20 levels in the class, alongside its main combat method (usually TWF to take advantage of the precision damage). Putting Weapon Finesse as a bonus feat for Rogues would do a world of good for them, but it may increase the dip-ability of the class itself, which has VERY good reasons to be dipped (8+Int skill points, UMD, sneak attack, evasion at 2nd level, good Reflex). However, it fulfills the concept of the feat: it allows the character to use its Dexterity instead of its Strength. So it's rather inevitable in that case.

    As a class feature, however, it introduces a rare balancing mechanic, and that is the nature of multiclassing itself. A Fighter dipping Marshal for using Int or Cha to its attack and damage rolls loses virtually nothing, but that's a Fighter problem to be precise. Cha-based martial characters (Paladins, Hexblades, you may argue Crusaders and Samurai) and Int-based martial characters (Warblades, Duskblades, you may argue Rogues and Swashbucklers as well) will also benefit, but will also require delaying access to their primary class to do so. That can be a mixed blessing, since while you get two very good abilities (your primary score to attack and damage and the minor aura, as you mention below) you delay your primary abilities a bit further (such as Duskblade spellcasting, or the Hexblade's curses). However, it makes it VERY simple to deal with.

    The only thing I might figure out is splitting the benefit within two levels (much like Swashbuckler does with Insightful Strike, except it's not treated as an added bonus until MUCH later). While it would still retain its wonderful dip-ability, the impact is lessened because it only applies to one part of your attack routine instead of both. For example, making it so that your damage stat can be shifted but not your attack stat implies you'll be capable of dealing slightly more damage, but won't have the needed accuracy to pull it off. On the other hand, using the inverse (attack at lv. 1, damage some time later) means you can hit better but your damage will be slightly lower, although eventually it'll scale when the AC and the HP of your enemies likewise increases. That would push the remainder of Commander's Talent's traits one tier further (assume attack at 1st level, damage at 4th level, AC at 8th level, saves at 12th level, addition at 16th) and reduce in half the initial impact of the ability while keeping the spirit of the ability somewhat intact.

    Of course, that is going with the impression that the class only needs to be nerfed a bit. I notice that your issue is with the primary benefit of Commander's Talent, but I might be wrong and perhaps you're having issues with the entire class ability (no matter how stretched it is).

    Okay that was the big one, now for the more minor nitpicks.

    -First, Aura of Courage doesn't need to specify it overlaps with Inspire Courage, it's explicitly a morale bonus. They overlap by default.
    I guess I was really aiming for the Paladin's Aura of Courage, which offers a morale bonus on saves vs. fear. In that case, you'd benefit either FROM the Aura of Courage of the Paladin, OR the Aura of Courage of the Marshal (which is strictly better). But then again, with the "only the highest bonus applies" notion within the morale bonus description, that's mostly redundant. Can't really say where that came from.

    -Do abilities that boost inspire courage also boost aura of courage? ie would dragonfire inspiration or word of creation shenanigans work with this? You specify inspire courage overlaps with the aura, but not how other things would interract.
    Ideally, anything that improves auras will also improve the Marshal's auras, but stuff that improves Inspire Courage won't improve Aura of Courage. Really, having Dragonfire Inspiration and Words of Creation and the item set from Magic Item Compendium applying pretty much twice might seem a bit too much when coupled with Rally, which is pretty much Skirmish for all allies with further benefits. One character providing all allies with pretty much 10d6 points of damage without lifting a finger is kinda scary (kinda, because the Crusader and the Bard pull that without troubles to be honest...)
    -As was mentioned briefly above, Major Auras scale with a stat and are not capped at all, and you get one at level 1. Very dippable, consider limiting the bonus of your major aura to your Marshall level, or even double that. Just don't let people get +14 to their favorite skills with a 1 level dip.
    Actually, for some reason, I seem to have shifted the Minor and the Major auras thing, if only because Major Aura scales much, much faster. I recall having some worry that Minor Auras had to be less powerful, but then I shifted the Motivate [Stat] auras to Major which is basically the same thing I wanted to avoid, and most of the Minor Auras work pretty well scaling that way. I'll consider doing the shifting AND imposing a limit, so that Minor Auras progress very quickly but offer a minor bonus while Major Auras progress a bit slower and provide a moderate bonus (with Greater Auras offering the best benefit but progressing at a snail's pace).

    -Hardy Soldiers is terribly weak compared to the other great auras. It honestly seems more like a major aura. Consider you have a -minor- aura that will grant DR5/(damage type), compared to that is DR3/- really worth great aura? Especially when the alternative is flat stat bonuses. Maybe if you rolled the DR3/- in with the +AC/Saves it would be worth it.
    I really, really, really have to introduce the idea of DR as percentage reduction. The idea is that the minor aura that grants DR based on a damage type has, theoretically, the easiest way to overcome (for example, Resist Slashing will be overcome by quite a lot of attacks) compared to DR X/- which has none aside from abilities that specifically overcome ALL kinds of damage reduction. It's working within the idea that DR/- > DR/metal > DR/alignment > DR/magic > DR/damage type > DR/two damage types; of course, what kills it is that DR X/- rarely gets over 5, and if it gets higher it's either after 20th level or through very rare spells (Transcend Mortality comes to mind, but you'd need to be a Wu Jen that's ready to die or a Wizard that has pulled several shenanigans to get ahold of the spell). I'll consider rolling in Hardy Soldiers and Resilient Troops, since they do offer a similar concept (complete resilience to damage and spells).

    -Under the leadership comments you mention that the auras may be too strong with leadership in a war setting, where lots of low level things with buffs could potentially dominate. I'd like to suggest restricting most of the class abilities (such as grant actions, grant uncanny dodge, etc), and all auras except minor auras to like 5+1/4 level creatures, or 3+int/str/cha mod creatures, or something along those lines, so that you can basically affect your whole party, but in large scale battles, you're mostly providing a smaller buff, and not turning a bunch of level 1s into super soldiers that overwhelm everything unless the enemy is also a marshall.
    Oddly enough, I believe that's best solved through the core system, if only because the combat system of D&D isn't really suited to very large scale battles (anything higher than 15 units and the battles last for hours). I'd go with reducing the benefit based on the size of the unit: 5 or less gain the full bonus, 10 or less gain the bonus -1 (for greater)/-2 (for major)/-3 (for minor), 25 or less gains the bonus -2/-4/-6, and then similar reductions based on such increments (50, 100, 200, 500, 1000, etc). Then again, if you're fighting in large scale battles, you'll want an entirely different method of combat gameplay anyways(such as working with squads over a larger battlefield, best suited for stuff like Warhammer/40K or Warmachine/Hordes).
    Last edited by T.G. Oskar; 2011-06-01 at 04:12 AM.
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    Default Re: The Retooled Marshal: a Few Good Men in Full-Metal Jackets bring Apocalypse Now

    Wow this is fantastic. I now want to see a four person game with a Marshal, a White Raven Tactics Warblade, a Bard, and a Rogue.

    That would undoubtedly be an entertaining party.
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    Default Re: The Retooled Marshal: a Few Good Men in Full-Metal Jackets bring Apocalypse Now

    Quote Originally Posted by T.G. Oskar View Post
    I'd rather go overboard and tune it down than stay short and THEN overblow it. *snip*
    I understand the worry about making Wizards or Clerics too strong, but let me put it this way: Any character concept I ever may want to make that involves physical combat, where strength doesn't tie into the majority of my class features, I would take one level in this class. Not just some of them, not just if marshall fit the concept, no. Every last one. I'd dip into this class as a Paladin. I'd dip in as a Gish. I'd dip in as a duelist. Hell I'd even be tempted to dip in as a Warblade, since Int actually fuels most of the class features and str is just for hit and damage.

    Normally, methods to get alternative stats to hit or damage apply to only one or the other, and come later in the class. I think you really went too far in the direction of SAD, every guideline that 3.5 follows regarding applying an alternate stat to hit/damage is broken with your level 1 ability. By the time you get to level 8, your primary stat is pretty much the only stat you need until 16 where suddenly all the other stats start mattering again.

    When you are going that far into eliminating MAD, it seems somewhat unfair to do it for only one class. Yes, having it given for free to all classes has its own issues, but it seems better to me than making one class a mandatory dip for any build that doesn't care about strength.

    On the other hand, you may have just gone too far with your changes. Having 2, or even 3 stats, that you use, isn't going to break the class. This still isn't any monk or Paladin, requiring all 5-6 stats. All you need is your primary stat for your auras, and the ability to be able to hit well in combat. Making the Marshall have both Str and Cha, or Str and Int, isn't that bad of a scenario, and would be better than the current method.

    Of course, that is going with the impression that the class only needs to be nerfed a bit. I notice that your issue is with the primary benefit of Commander's Talent, but I might be wrong and perhaps you're having issues with the entire class ability (no matter how stretched it is).
    The primary complaint is that first level dip. Alternate stat to saves/ac at a later level isn't outside the range of normal, and not something worth spending so many levels in for most cases. However for something like int or cha to range attack and damage rolls? There's nothing in the game that grants that, and here you get both for level 1. Hell there's not even a way to gain dexterity to range damage rolls outside of this class without being restricted to crossbows that I am aware of.




    Ideally, anything that improves auras will also improve the Marshal's auras, but stuff that improves Inspire Courage won't improve Aura of Courage. Really, having Dragonfire Inspiration and Words of Creation and the item set from Magic Item Compendium applying pretty much twice might seem a bit too much when coupled with Rally, which is pretty much Skirmish for all allies with further benefits. One character providing all allies with pretty much 10d6 points of damage without lifting a finger is kinda scary (kinda, because the Crusader and the Bard pull that without troubles to be honest...)
    Right, it's pretty powerful... but in games that allow a bard to use those abilities, a Marshall without such boosting may seem weak by comparison, which is why I asked what was intended. I'm also not familiar with what items out there typically boost auras.


    Actually, for some reason, I seem to have shifted the Minor and the Major auras thing, if only because Major Aura scales much, much faster. I recall having some worry that Minor Auras had to be less powerful, but then I shifted the Motivate [Stat] auras to Major which is basically the same thing I wanted to avoid, and most of the Minor Auras work pretty well scaling that way. I'll consider doing the shifting AND imposing a limit, so that Minor Auras progress very quickly but offer a minor bonus while Major Auras progress a bit slower and provide a moderate bonus (with Greater Auras offering the best benefit but progressing at a snail's pace).
    Fair enough.



    I really, really, really have to introduce the idea of DR as percentage reduction.
    But then you have to deal with percentages regularly in game

    The idea is that the minor aura that grants DR based on a damage type has, theoretically, the easiest way to overcome (for example, Resist Slashing will be overcome by quite a lot of attacks) compared to DR X/- which has none aside from abilities that specifically overcome ALL kinds of damage reduction. It's working within the idea that DR/- > DR/metal > DR/alignment > DR/magic > DR/damage type > DR/two damage types; of course, what kills it is that DR X/- rarely gets over 5, and if it gets higher it's either after 20th level or through very rare spells
    Yeah, the problem is that the game vastly overestimates the value of DR in general. By level 20 when characters are dishing out 70-100 damage a hit with ease, DR is taking 5 off the top (on the other hand DR/alignment or DR/Metal is taking like 15-20 which is better)
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    Default Re: The Retooled Marshal: a Few Good Men in Full-Metal Jackets bring Apocalypse Now

    I really like the class. I haven't been able to run through everything, but the core is easy to see as excellent. This will likely provide even more food for thought as I attempt to figure out niches.

    That said, I'm heavily inclined to agree with Seerow on Commanding Talent (so here's where he's been spending his effort, tee-hee; I got recommended the same way).

    Sure, Patton's best attribute may be his danglies, but that won't help him shoot down planes with pistols. Most of the great commanders through time have been good at both fighting and strategizing, but those two abilities came to them independently. West Point, for example, gives students both physical training and bookwork. The concept, in addition to the math, cries for MAD, just not to an unreasonable degree.

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    Default Re: The Retooled Marshal: a Few Good Men in Full-Metal Jackets bring Apocalypse Now

    Perhaps move commanding talent to lvl 3, putting rally at 1st and grant move action at 2nd?
    Still a good start, but requires a heavier investment in the class. And if you've gone to lvl 3, you may just as well continue to 5 and get the upgrade on commanding talent.
    Personally I don't see a problem with reducing a(ll) fighter type(s) to SAD. Really. The casters already have this, so why worry about it?
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    Default Re: The Retooled Marshal: a Few Good Men in Full-Metal Jackets bring Apocalypse Now

    Quote Originally Posted by drakir_nosslin View Post
    Perhaps move commanding talent to lvl 3, putting rally at 1st and grant move action at 2nd?
    Still a good start, but requires a heavier investment in the class. And if you've gone to lvl 3, you may just as well continue to 5 and get the upgrade on commanding talent.
    I'm personally with the idea of splitting the attack and defense shifts of the classes and shuffle them between levels.

    Based on your idea, the abilities would have to be reshuffled like this:
    {TABLE=head]Level|Class Ability
    1st|Rally (1st tier)
    2nd|Grant Move Action (1/day)
    3rd|Commander's Talent (attack & damage rolls)
    4th|Rally (2nd tier)
    5th|
    6th|Grant Move Action (2/day)
    7th|Rally (2nd tier), Commander's Talent (AC bonus)
    8th|
    9th|
    10th|Rally (3rd tier), Grant Move Action (3/day), Grant Standard Action
    11th|Commander's Talent (save bonuses)
    12th|
    13th|Rally (4th tier)
    14th|Grant Move Action (4/day)
    15th|Command the Commander (essentially bridges the Commander's Talent features)
    16th|Rally (5th tier)
    17th|
    18th|Grant Move Action (5/day)
    19th|Rally (6th tier), Commander's Talent (addition)
    20th|Grant Full Round Action[/table]

    Since Commander's Talent and Grant Move Action progress every four class levels whereas Rally progresses every three, a reshuffling of the class abilities would require a reshuffling of all related abilities as well. At first sight it seems like a logistical nightmare, and it still provokes the Marshal to be a nice dip class, except it extends the dip to 3 levels instead of 1 (and grants you even more, since it grants a bonus feat, immunity to fear, a 1/day ability to allow everyone to ignore action economy and STILL get attack and damage rolls shifted. It's a larger dip, but a much more appetizing dip (I mean, it doesn't even shift the wizard's power since it can use the class for a strong gish entry).

    I'll probably have to figure out whether I should split attack and damage rolls as two different abilities (the most elegant answer, since it also negates the need for a bridging ability and makes Command the Commander stand on its own), or whether I should keep it as-is but shift it into a latter level. However, it does introduce the idea whether the abilities work better reshuffled or not, especially since that makes rally the iconic Marshal ability (aside from the Auras).

    Personally I don't see a problem with reducing a(ll) fighter type(s) to SAD. Really. The casters already have this, so why worry about it?
    It's a difference of POV, but a valid one. Remember the PSA Thread recently posted ("The Wizard is worse at this, so..."), which seems like the example to a fallacy where the intention of class homebrewing isn't to one-up another class but to create a mechanical chassis to encompass a group of archetypes (something which I believe must be the pet peeve of Okuno, unless I'm wrong).

    Wizards aren't really SAD more than primarily SAD. Unlike Druids, who can do pretty fine with JUST Wisdom, the Wizard still needs a decent amount of Dexterity and Constitution for its first few levels. Since most offensive spells (and single-target debuff spells such as Ray of Exhaustion and Enervation) require ranged touch spells, a poor Dexterity leads to poor accuracy with them, meaning you lose the spell; True Seeing can only help so far. Also, at the very first few levels, you'll want a decent amount of Constitution for a better Fort save, better HP and better Constitution ratings. A Wizard progressively loses the need for Dex and Con as its spellcasting progresses, but at early levels it does well with decent scores instead of pumping Int like nobody's business. Technically, a Wizard is Int-primary/Dex-secondary/Con-tertiary class, but because its full potential is defined by its Int score, it's considered a SAD class.

    On the other hand, the Retooled Marshal is deceptively SAD. Basically, with the first level of Commander's Talent, they can use their Int or their Cha for MANY things. With 4+Int skill points per level, eventual inclusion of Int to AC (first replacing Dex, then complementing Dex), Int to Reflex saves (first replacing Dex, then complementing Dex) and Int to Major Aura bonuses (though I'm planning to drop them to Minor Auras as before), they only need a decent amount of Constitution to survive (and with good Fort saves and decent HD, that's not even a question). So technically you could become a pure Int Marshal that resembles the true nature of SAD. Likewise, you can create a Cha-based Marshal that gets Cha to attack & damage rolls, Will saves, Major Aura bonuses and many of the face skills, which the Marshal definitely gets (Bluff, Diplomacy, Gather Information, Intimidate) which makes the Marshal the uber-face (lie almost like if you had Glibness, do Diplomancy without troubles, frighten even the most powerful of enemies that lack immunity to fear, and if things go wrong, they can still beat you to a pulp). It definitely makes little justice to Dex-focused or Str-focused Marshals, because Dex-based Marshals cannot add their stat to Major Aura bonuses, and Str-based Marshals still don't make Constitution pointless, plus they already get the base benefit of Commander's Talent for free. That's the concern of both Seerow and Okuno; it's just too good to pass up, and it propitiates dipping the class rather than dunking in it (taking more than 4 levels in it, which requires considerable effort to work with).

    Ideally (or at least, the vibe I get from them), all classes should have something resembling the 4e idea behind stats: one primary stat, two secondary stats. In that line of thought, a SAD class build is just as bad as a MAD class build because it's either too exploitable or too weak. A DAD build (whether depending exclusively on a Primary/Secondary build, Primary/2 Secondaries build, Dual-stat Synergistic builds or even just 2 Primary builds) is closer to what's expected, since it reduces the stat load (and thus the need for good stats overall) in builds but prevents exploits. Thus, it's not the martial characters that have to be SAD; it's the casters that have to drop some of their SAD traits in order to become slighly more "balanced". Oddly enough, the existing attempts (Favored Soul, Spirit Shaman) aren't much appreciated, something that's solid irony.

    Quote Originally Posted by Okuno View Post
    I really like the class. I haven't been able to run through everything, but the core is easy to see as excellent. This will likely provide even more food for thought as I attempt to figure out niches.

    That said, I'm heavily inclined to agree with Seerow on Commanding Talent (so here's where he's been spending his effort, tee-hee; I got recommended the same way).

    Sure, Patton's best attribute may be his danglies, but that won't help him shoot down planes with pistols. Most of the great commanders through time have been good at both fighting and strategizing, but those two abilities came to them independently. West Point, for example, gives students both physical training and bookwork. The concept, in addition to the math, cries for MAD, just not to an unreasonable degree.
    I think I explained above.

    Technically, while Marshals can be done with a pretty SAD mentality, they aren't truly purely MAD. I do recognize some builds have priority (Int and Cha over Str-focused Marshals), but I worked with mostly existing stat shifts:
    ATK & DMG: Str (base), Dex (Weapon Finesse + Shadow Blade), Int (Insightful Strike), Cha (Snowflake Wardance, Smite)
    AC: Dex (base), Int (not coming ATM), Con (Deepwarden)
    Saves: Str or Con for Fort/Dex or Int for Reflex/Wis or Cha for Will (the usual shifts presented in 4th Edition).

    That, coupled with the Auras (Str, Int or Cha) makes three specific traits which you can liken to archetypes: the Warchief (mostly Str-focused, probably with good Con as well, leads its men through harsh leadership and potential intimidation), the Tactician (mostly Int-focused, some Dex or Con for defensive qualities, leads its men through sheer tactical prowess) or Inspiring leader (mostly Cha-focused, probably using Int or Con as secondary traits, leads its men through force of personality). I'd love to work with ways on how to build Dex-based and Wis-based archetypes (nominally the Paratrooper Commander and the Warrior-Philosopher), but I'd probably make those feats, unless there's a solid argument over why those should be class features instead of feats. Probably that should help over the archetypes the class should cover.

    Still, with Drakir's idea and plotting to split the attack and damage applications of Commander's Talent, it should deal with your concern. I'm inclined towards splitting attack and damage, make attack a "replace X with Y" bonus and grant it at first, then make the damage portion much like Insightful Strike and add it perhaps as the 3rd tier benefit (hence you get attack, then AC, then added damage, then saves, then add all).

    Quote Originally Posted by Seerow View Post
    I understand the worry about making Wizards or Clerics too strong, but let me put it this way: Any character concept I ever may want to make that involves physical combat, where strength doesn't tie into the majority of my class features, I would take one level in this class. Not just some of them, not just if marshall fit the concept, no. Every last one. I'd dip into this class as a Paladin. I'd dip in as a Gish. I'd dip in as a duelist. Hell I'd even be tempted to dip in as a Warblade, since Int actually fuels most of the class features and str is just for hit and damage.

    Normally, methods to get alternative stats to hit or damage apply to only one or the other, and come later in the class. I think you really went too far in the direction of SAD, every guideline that 3.5 follows regarding applying an alternate stat to hit/damage is broken with your level 1 ability. By the time you get to level 8, your primary stat is pretty much the only stat you need until 16 where suddenly all the other stats start mattering again.

    When you are going that far into eliminating MAD, it seems somewhat unfair to do it for only one class. Yes, having it given for free to all classes has its own issues, but it seems better to me than making one class a mandatory dip for any build that doesn't care about strength.

    On the other hand, you may have just gone too far with your changes. Having 2, or even 3 stats, that you use, isn't going to break the class. This still isn't any monk or Paladin, requiring all 5-6 stats. All you need is your primary stat for your auras, and the ability to be able to hit well in combat. Making the Marshall have both Str and Cha, or Str and Int, isn't that bad of a scenario, and would be better than the current method.
    I was inclining more towards the idea of forming archetypes from stats, as I suggested to Okuno (Warchief, Tactician and Inspired), so you might figure what's the idea behind it. I don't think I can follow a 4e mentality behind stats with making the Marshal a primary Cha or Str character, since it would cause a bit of conflict with the archetypes (a Warchief may be charismatic, of course, but perhaps to a lesser degree and people will probably go for him because of his physical prowess; a Tactician has a range of Charisma from non-existent to recognizable yet not inspiring, but people follow him because they KNOW the Tactician's know-how will lead them to victory).

    That said, I think that splitting the attack and damage exchanges, potentially making damage an addition, should do loads of good to Strength and might reinforce a decent Str mentality. That, alongside having Con as a necessary score (for Fort, HD and for those with poor Dex also to their AC) means they do need some physical training. I might also consider removing Int from the AC bonus and keeping it straight between Dex and Con, so that Constitution also becomes valuable. Those who depend on Intelligence or Charisma might need a decent Strength nonetheless to deal decent damage, and eventually they add their score to damage so that they become spectacular, but at 8th level which might mean they're already building for that.

    A minor concern, though, is that you seem to focus quite a lot on providing utility to Strength. You might do good if you post a thread on how to make Strength a bit more valuable than just "attack, damage, special maneuvers, Str-based checks and weight limit" which is only close in utility to Charisma. But, that's just me.

    The primary complaint is that first level dip. Alternate stat to saves/ac at a later level isn't outside the range of normal, and not something worth spending so many levels in for most cases. However for something like int or cha to range attack and damage rolls? There's nothing in the game that grants that, and here you get both for level 1. Hell there's not even a way to gain dexterity to range damage rolls outside of this class without being restricted to crossbows that I am aware of.
    There's none, but that's not because it's not meant to exist.

    Also, if you're adding the web enhancements to all choices, Fey may replace Dex with their Charisma to attack rolls with ranged weapons. Also, if you're stretching it a bit, Ranged Smite does exactly that. But those are isolated rulings, and the idea still stands; the 1st level ability as written is just too good. Still, while I suggested an idea on how to deal with it, I still haven't heard whether it eases your complaints or not other than explaining that I went a bit too far. That could help a lot, since I'm not so sure whether you want the ability tweaked or removed.

    Right, it's pretty powerful... but in games that allow a bard to use those abilities, a Marshall without such boosting may seem weak by comparison, which is why I asked what was intended. I'm also not familiar with what items out there typically boost auras.
    Regalia of the Hero, from Magic Item Compendium. The Helm of Tactics increases the effect of minor auras by 1 for one minute up to 3 times per day, while the Horn of Resilience increases the effect of major auras by 1 for 5 rounds. The Rearguard Cape also grants a +2 bonus to minor and major auras 1/day, but only if outnumbered. There's another item that works for marshals, but only to its grant move action ability.

    But then you have to deal with percentages regularly in game
    Not like I'm worried about it. As I said to someone else, no self-respectable DM (unless it's an awesome DM that needs nothing regarding calculations) lacks a calculator or a computer, so that's no actual trouble. The calculation shouldn't take a while, but it dents more than a minimal reduction to scores. And if necessary, the players could also have a calculator that they could use. After all, calculators are used by players too (calculating XP can be a hassle).
    Yeah, the problem is that the game vastly overestimates the value of DR in general. By level 20 when characters are dishing out 70-100 damage a hit with ease, DR is taking 5 off the top (on the other hand DR/alignment or DR/Metal is taking like 15-20 which is better)
    And that's not something I disagree with (the overestimation of DR). The original calculations of DR were right at the point, but they hurt those characters that depended on multiple hits for damage, so they held back and became a bit more conservative on DR at the shift to 3.5. Obviously, having something that could constantly take 10-15 points of damage off any attack you make (regardless of the type) would be disastrous to anyone who doesn't keep up with static damage (or multiples of precision damage); thus, DR X/- has to be lower than the norm. In that case, they exaggerated a bit since they expected that DR X/- would be the absolute minimum. Reaching the top of 20 makes those who deal little damage have some troubles but it does nothing for those who deal lots of damage because it scales poorly. But, regardless of whether it scales poorly or not (that's something that has to be solved through altering the entire DR system, not merely DR X/-), the fact that DR X/- will be stronger than most others if only because it can't be bypassed except for very specific weaponry (or magic) still holds value.
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    Default Re: The Retooled Marshal: a Few Good Men in Full-Metal Jackets bring Apocalypse Now

    Okay, I'll start off by addressing the suggested alteration. It seems that would work, though I'd still personally make it affect either hit OR damage. To address those things you highlighted:

    but I worked with mostly existing stat shifts:
    ATK & DMG: Str (base), Dex (Weapon Finesse + Shadow Blade), Int (Insightful Strike), Cha (Snowflake Wardance, Smite)
    AC: Dex (base), Int (not coming ATM), Con (Deepwarden)
    Weapon Finesse+Shadow Blade takes 2 feats (3 if you are not an initiator), and applies only to a very select few weapons.
    Insightful Strike is a 3rd level feature, and applies only to damage, Swashbucklers still split Int and Dex for hit/damage.
    Snowflake Wardance is limited to uses per day, requires at least level 3, and requires bard. On top of that, when it runs out (which can very well be mid combat at low levels) fatigues you.
    Smite is also uses/day, and even in your fix is uses/encounter, and only grants cha to hit, giving other bonuses to damage.

    On the contrary, your initial posting had both hit and damage, with no weapon restrictions, at level 1. This far outstrips any of the features that is remotely comparable to it, class feature or otherwise.


    Now, your new proposal, moving the bonus back to level 3, is a bit better, in that getting it requires a more significant investment, to the point where it's no longer wholly mandatory. I'd still feel much better about it if it were only hit OR damage, not both, with maybe the other coming later.


    Ideally (or at least, the vibe I get from them), all classes should have something resembling the 4e idea behind stats: one primary stat, two secondary stats.
    Personally, I think it should be 1 primary, 1 secondary, or two that are close in effectiveness. I think anyone able to get by with 1 stat is too much, 3 is doable, but 2 is ideal. You can go the 4e route and have an option between two secondary's, but I don't care about that so much as not being MAD but not having everything go to one stat.

    On the other hand, I do kind of feel that 4e went a bit too far with their conversion (as they did with most things), to the point where everything is pretty uniform for all classes (use your primary stat for hit and damage, secondary stat for other effects). In 3.5 things are a little messier, which I think is a part of the appeal... but the downside is this is one of the things that holds non-str archtypes back, so it really needs to be handled delicately.

    Oddly enough, the existing attempts (Favored Soul, Spirit Shaman) aren't much appreciated, something that's solid irony.
    Actually I love the Favored Soul, though I have no experience with the Spirit Shaman. But I know I'm in the minority. I think if favored soul had its wings and energy resist and weapon focus crap replaced with things clerics actually are expected to have like turning and domains, and knowledge (religion), (which suddenly opens them up to a bunch of prestige options they currently lack), they would have been better received. I think that sort of attribute splitting was a good idea, and likely should have been done to the primary casting classes.

    The problem with introducing split stat casting on a splat book class when there's no such restrictions on other classes which are strictly better even without it is that nobody will want to play the class, it doesn't mean the design decision wasn't sound, just that it does what is intended in lowering the power level, and nobody wants to play a deliberately weaker character.

    I'd love to work with ways on how to build Dex-based and Wis-based archetypes (nominally the Paratrooper Commander and the Warrior-Philosopher), but I'd probably make those feats, unless there's a solid argument over why those should be class features instead of feats. Probably that should help over the archetypes the class should cover.
    Personally I'd go for ACFs for that, rather than feats.

    A minor concern, though, is that you seem to focus quite a lot on providing utility to Strength. You might do good if you post a thread on how to make Strength a bit more valuable than just "attack, damage, special maneuvers, Str-based checks and weight limit" which is only close in utility to Charisma. But, that's just me.
    I dunno, I think you're reading too much into it. With your Paladin I suggested it because a strong paladin is iconic. Paladins are expected to have strength as one of their highest scores, and in your Paladin it just wasn't. In this case, my problem isn't so much the lack of utility for strength, as a class feature that replaces everything strength does in a 1 level dip. I guess part of that comes from concerns that strength is too weak of a stat, but the bigger concern in my eyes is that any character who wants to represent a different archtype is going to feel compelled to take levels in Marshall to pull it off.


    Random thoughts below that I'm not sure why I'm spoilering since they're probably more on topic than the rest of what I've posted. Oh well.
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    Anyway, reading what you're saying about the archtypes, I'm thinking the better solution may be to keep them distinct. Give them actual advantages and disadvantages over each other. Make it a set of ACFs, choose whichever Marshall you consider iconic as the default, with ACFs that trade out the others. The Str Marhsall might give increased aura benefits to directly adjacent allies, or benefits based on damage he deals (fitting your lead from the front concept). The cha Marshall might have a stronger rally ability. The Int Marshall might have more uses of the grant ____ action ability (either more per day based on int mod, or even convert to a use per encounter for him). In this way you can keep each of those archtypes distinct, and give them more actions they are able to use in combat, without needing to give cha/int to hit/damage (since the cha/int marshall's are more likely to be leading from the back and not attacking as often). Just a thought that I thought might peak your interest into going a slightly different route.


    There's none, but that's not because it's not meant to exist.

    Also, if you're adding the web enhancements to all choices, Fey may replace Dex with their Charisma to attack rolls with ranged weapons. Also, if you're stretching it a bit, Ranged Smite does exactly that. But those are isolated rulings, and the idea still stands; the 1st level ability as written is just too good. Still, while I suggested an idea on how to deal with it, I still haven't heard whether it eases your complaints or not other than explaining that I went a bit too far. That could help a lot, since I'm not so sure whether you want the ability tweaked or removed.
    Don't both of those apply only to attack rolls? I'm still not familiar with anything that lets you apply dexterity to damage, let alone int or cha to damage. Getting a stat added to ranged damage is a pretty big deal, and it's been made intentionally hard to do.

    As to whether I want it gone, or modified, it depends on the route you decide to go, honestly. I could see it working out either way. I wouldn't mind seeing it modified so that it applies to melee, and you get stat to hit at X, stat to damage at Y, where both X and Y are different and greater than 1. But I also wouldn't mind something like what I described in my spoiler above, where you get rid of the feature entirely, leaving hit/damage as strength based, and make bonuses based on the stat archtype as ACFs, so you have the str marshall up in front beating on stuff while the others are more likely to encourage allies to beat on stuff from the back.

    Regalia of the Hero, from Magic Item Compendium. The Helm of Tactics increases the effect of minor auras by 1 for one minute up to 3 times per day, while the Horn of Resilience increases the effect of major auras by 1 for 5 rounds. The Rearguard Cape also grants a +2 bonus to minor and major auras 1/day, but only if outnumbered. There's another item that works for marshals, but only to its grant move action ability.
    Still seems pretty undersupported compared to the Bard's inspire courage benefits, especially since none of them would boost greater auras (which don't exist in core). You may want to consider adding a section for marshal items/feats.



    On DR: Doing math once per session for xp is a pretty long ways from doing math on every attack for DR. I really think it would bog the game down significantly more than you seem to think it would, given it adds an extra 10-30 seconds onto every attack you make, that can increase a TWFer's full round attack by as much as 4 minutes. Over the course of a session that adds up. I think most people at that point would roll THFers or Mages just to speed the game up :p
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    Default Re: The Retooled Marshal: a Few Good Men in Full-Metal Jackets bring Apocalypse Now

    I see teh worry of large scale battles with marshals, but honestly, with a class like this, realistically, ther would be marshals on both sides, thereby cancelling this issue out to a degree. It's like talking about what a mage can do in large scale combat. It's dealt with by other mages.
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    Default Re: The Retooled Marshal: a Few Good Men in Full-Metal Jackets bring Apocalypse Now

    I have a question about the Aura's and the double Draconic Auro feat from Dragon Magic, would you be able to project 2 of each kind of aura?
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    Default Re: The Retooled Marshal: a Few Good Men in Full-Metal Jackets bring Apocalypse Now

    Excellent class - I shall have to use this at some point. I just started playing a leader-themed character in a campaign. Wish I'd had this Perhaps I shall ask to retrain.

    Minor nitpick - Rewording the Rally ability slightly so that you mention the duration as being infinite [assuming it is] as long as the Marshal keeps it up. I was wondering what exactly the duration was until I got about half-way through the ability. Seems like the sort of thing that is usually written at the start of an ability, before the effects-by-level.


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    Default Re: The Retooled Marshal: a Few Good Men in Full-Metal Jackets bring Apocalypse Now

    I love playing buffers, so I will ask my DM if I can play this next time he runs a game...

    Or have this as a villain.

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    Default Re: The Retooled Marshal: a Few Good Men in Full-Metal Jackets bring Apocalypse Now

    Sorry to leave this thread on the air, but with the release of the Wyrmlord I found a few things I could change, plus revamp the organization of the abilities in a proper way.

    As you may have seen, Rally is now gained at 1st level, Grant Move Action at 2nd, and Commanding Talent at 3rd. The iffy dual bonus to attack and damage rolls was split, although this time the bonus to damage is an addition, not a replacement. Some other abilities were replaced in equal ways; the only abilities that remain the same are the bonus feats and Grant Full Round Action which was always meant to be the class capstone. This should make the Marshal a bit more useful from level 1, what with the Rally ability and the auras granting a bonus from the get-go, allowing him to wait until his class abilities allow him to apply his better bonuses.

    I also made a few clarifications with Resist Bluntness/Piercing/Slashing, so that it applies the right DR. This makes it slightly more powerful as levels pass, only limited by your ability scores.

    As for long-delayed answers:
    @Double Draconic Aura: yes, they'd stack. Though I'm planning to rework that feat to apply to auras of other classes: mainly, it should work on the Minor and Major Auras of the Marshal AND Wyrmlord, the Greater Auras of the Marshal, the Draconic Auras of the Wyrmlord, the Divine Auras of the Project Heretica Paladin (as well as the Blackguard's Fiendish Auras, the Justiciar's Verdicts and the Anarch's auras) and the auras of the Bez-Kismet. However, the feat would only apply to a single type of aura, with the ability to take the aura more than once.

    I'll also clear out a bit the vocabulary of Rally so that it works as long as the Marshal can keep commanding (move action at first, swift action after 10th level).
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    Default Re: The Retooled Marshal: a Few Good Men in Full-Metal Jackets bring Apocalypse Now

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    Default Re: The Retooled Marshal: a Few Good Men in Full-Metal Jackets bring Apocalypse Now

    This is a really powerful and impressive retool of the Marshal. I love how you integrate other sources from ToB to Dragon Magic; it just makes it feel like a class fits into the system (which is more than you can say for many official classes).

    My concern is that the marshal doesn't have anything to do. Let me explain.

    I confess I have a pet peeve when it comes to class design; I believe that PCs should not be have "no sell" abilities without significant costs. Fear immunity is one thing that bothered me even with the Paladin; I don't like the idea of every 2nd-level marshal being immune to n-th level fear spells. I am also concerned with Uncanny Dodge and Improved Uncanny Dodge given to all allies. This effectively means the party can never be surprised and enemies might as well not try flanking them ever. Other abilities have similar effects.

    Please understand, I'm not complaining that these are overpowered. There are way more overpowered abilities in D&D already. But constant or near-constant defensive abilities don't really make the character(s) any more powerful, they just take away options from the DM. They're passive abilities, so they aren't fun to use. Marshals are already prone to this; all they need to do is sit there and provide buffs and passive benefits. Your retool doesn't change this a lot. Auras affect everyone, Rally affects all allies or enemies, Grant Move Action affects all allies, etc. There are few parts of the class that require any decision-making. In practice, the Marshal just stands there using Rally until he gets bored and charges, and he can't do anything interesting in melee.

    As a suggestion, try "less is more". Give the marshal abilities that require tactical choices, constrained by action economy or uses/day.

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    Default Re: The Retooled Marshal: a Few Good Men in Full-Metal Jackets bring Apocalypse Now

    Rally becomes fun when you put him on the back of a cart or - to a lesser degree - on a mount.

    Beware of fighting large battles during large thunderstorms, near artillery (depending on setting), or just plain noisy arenas. Also, do not fail a save vs. Silence or most of your class features go *poof*.

    Lastly, are you going to alter this or the Wymlord to use the same progression for their auras. You mention that levels stack but as they sit right now (as I see them) they use opposite progressions for minor and major auras.

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