(My thoughts are at the end of this post)
"I'm here to fight."- The motto of the contender
Within every society there exist those that crave conflict. The contender is a type of warrior who can go toe to toe with any foe and come out on top. Cotender's practice a style of combat that focuses on mobility and the speed of their weapon. They even train in ways to block magical attacks.
Contenders adventure to test themselves against stronger foes. Though they may (and probably will) have other goals, their primary drive is almost always self improvement. Contenders look for the strongest thing they can find and challenge it to fight.
The way of the contender does not advocate proper planning or caution, they recklessly plow forward as a general rule. Therefore, most contenders are chaotic. There is no predilection between good and evil for contenders. A contender may be of any alignment.
Contenders are not subtle or graceful (usually). They are lightning bruisers with small weapons and big personalities.
Most contenders worship gods of battle. Kord is the most popular of the DnD gods. In my setting, most contenders worship Setoc or Aoxido (the gods of destruction and protection respectively).
Contenders usually grow up second best. This sort of powerful drive to succeed doesn't come from a person who was always first as a child. Most contenders know a person who grew up to become a hero/villain, and wish to top them.
Most contenders are human. Interestingly, halflings and gnomes often turn to the path of the contender as the fighting style is complemented by their small size (and as small races, they are usually forgotten about, which sometimes leads to a huge need to fight for attention). Elven contenders are few, but among the most powerful.
Contenders get along best with classes who excel at dishing out punishment, but can't take a hit. Rogues, casters, and rangers all benefit from having a contender to aggravate all of the enemies. For the most part, contenders don't care who they adventure with (though a healer is always welcome to patch them up after battle).
The contender is a nontraditional tank. They rely more on speed and their unique defenses to keep them from being harmed rather than hit points. Most of their class abilities are designed to make them look
like the biggest threat on the field. The most important ability scores for the contender are dex and cha.
The contender's class skills are Perception, Climb, Swim, Acrobatics, Intimidate, Knowledge (Arcana), Knowledge (Religion), and Knowledge (Local).
3+int per level
Weapon and Armor Proficiency:
|Level||Base Attack Bonus||Fort Save||Ref Save||Will Save||Special|
|1st||+1||+2||+0||+0||Combat Reflexes, Contention|
|2nd||+2||+3||+0||+0||Sidestep Charge, Strike to Kill|
|3rd||+3||+3||+1||+1||Strike Under Guard, Heart of Heroes|
|4th||+4||+4||+1||+1||Uncanny Dodge, Armor Training|
|8th||+8/+3||+6||+2||+2||Improved Uncanny Dodge, Laugh at Danger|
|9th||+9/+4||+6||+3||+3||Follow the Heart|
|10th||+10/+5||+7||+3||+3||Improved Contention, Die Hard|
|14th||+14/+9/+4||+9||+4||+4||Wide Stance, Tornado Dash|
|20th||+20/+15/+10/+5||+12||+6||+6||Master Contention, Until it's Over|
A contender is proficient with all simple and martial weapons, light and medium armor, and with shields (but not tower shields). In addition, the contender is proficient with all one-handed exotic weapons.
Combat Reflexes (Ex):
The contender gains combat reflexes as a bonus feat, even if he does not meet the prerequisites.
As combat continues, the contender becomes the primary focus. At the start of each of his turns the contender gains a contention point. He also earns a contention point whenever he scores a critical hit, hits with an attack of opportunity, completely blocks all damage with damage reduction, or stops a spell with his spell resistance. Each contention point grants the contender a +2 bonus to damage rolls and a +1 bonus to attack rolls. Contention bonuses are reset to 0 if the contender is knocked unconscious, stunned, panicked, paralyzed, petrified, nauseated, or similarly put out of action. The contender cannot benefit from contention if wearing heavy armor. When combat is over the contender's contention bonuses are set to 0.
When the contender earns Improved Contention at 10th level, this bonus increases to +4 to damage rolls.
When the contender earns Master Contention at 20th level, this bonus increases to +6 to damage rolls.
Sidestep Charge (Ex):
Starting at second level the contender no longer needs to charge in a straight line.
Strike to Kill (Ex):
At second level the contender learns how to best place his blows for maximum damage. The contender rolls two dice for his first attack roll each round and takes the highest.
Strike Under Guard (Ex):
At 3rd level a contender learns that the best time to strike a foe is when they let their guard down to attack. Once per round an opponent making a melee attack within the reach of a contender provokes an attack of opportunity from the contender.
Heart of Heroes (Su):
Starting at third level the contender believes so strongly in his own abilities that he gains a bonus to all of his saving throws equal to his charisma modifier.
Uncanny Dodge (Ex):
Starting at 4th level, a contender can react to danger before his senses would normally allow her to do so. He retains her Dexterity bonus to AC (if any) even if he is caught flat-footed or struck by an invisible attacker. However, he still loses her Dexterity bonus to AC if immobilized.
If a contender already has uncanny dodge from a different class she automatically gains improved uncanny dodge instead.
Armor Training (Ex):
At 4th level the contender gains a small amount of skill in the art of wearing armor. Medium armor no longer slows his movement speed. In addition, he increases the max dex bonus of all armor by 1.
Perfect Defense (Su):
At 5th level the contender learns the perfect defense style. As long as he has the ability to defend himself he gains spell resistance equal to 10+contender level. He also gains DR equal to his class level -5 (minimum 1/-). The contender loses his SR and DR whenever he loses his dex bonus to AC.
Double Slice (Ex):
At 6th level the contender learns how to do a double slice attack. Scoring a hit in melee grants him another attack with the same weapon and base attack bonus, but at a -5 penalty. If he hits with the second attack it deals damage normally, but also deals an additional +2d10 damage. Double Slice can only be used once per round, and only after the first hit. This ability can only be used if the contender is wielding a one-handed weapon in one hand.
Whirlwind Dash (Ex):
At 7th level the contender can move across a battlefield in the blink of an eye. As a swift action he may make a normal move. Whirlwind dash can be used a number of times per day equal to 1+cha modifier.
Improved Uncanny Dodge (Ex):
A contender of 8th level or higher can no longer be flanked.
This defense denies a rogue the ability to sneak attack the character by flanking him, unless the attacker has at least four more rogue levels than the target does.
If a character already has uncanny dodge from a second class, the character 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.
Laugh at Danger (Ex):
At 8th level the contender becomes immune to fear effects. If he is ever the target of a fear effect he gains a +2 morale bonus to attack rolls for one round.
Follow the Heart (Ex):
A 9th level contender lets his heart guide his weapon... into his target's heart. He adds his one to his weapon's threat range as long as he is wielding a one-handed weapon in one hand. This ability is not doubled by keen, imrpoved critical, or other effects that double crit range. It is instead added on after doubling. Example: A keen battleaxe has a crit range of 19-20, but when the contender is using it the crit range is expanded to 18-20.
At 10th level the contender gains Die Hard as a bonus feat, even if he does not meet the prerequisites.
Triple Slice (Ex):
At 11th level the contender learns how to make a fearsome triple slice combo. This works exactly like double slice, but if the second attack hits then the contender gains another attack at a -10 modifier. For every attack that hits after the first the contender deals an additional +2d10 damage.
Deadly Criticals (Ex):
At 12th level the contender increases the critical modifier for any one-handed weapon he wields by 1 (so a longsword would go from being a x2 weapon to being a x3 weapon).
Ray Reflection (Su):
At level 13 the contender learns one of the most feared techniques of his class: ray reflection. As long as he is wielding a one-handed weapon he can choose to deflect any ray based spell that targets him onto another target. If the ray hits the contender then the contender may choose to redirect it at another target in range (count the range between the caster and the contender, then the contender at the new target). The contender must succeed on a ranged touch attack to strike the new target. Treat the original caster as the caster for the reflected ray. This ability may be used a number of times per day equal to 1+cha modifier.
Wide Stance [Ex]:
At 14th level the contender takes up a stance that greatly promotes lunges and small jumps. His reach is doubled.
Tornado Dash [Su]:
At level 14 the contender's whirlwind dash improves and is replaced with tornado dash. As a swift action he may teleport his normal movement. He need not land on the ground. Whirlwind dash can be used a number of times per day equal to 1+cha modifier.
At 15th, 17th, and 19th levels the contender unlocks a legendary technique passed down from the heroes of legend. He may choose one of the following abilities:
Back for Round Two [Su]:
Once per day the contender can use a standard action to gain the effects of a heal spell. The caster level is equal to his class level.
Radical Assertion [Ex]:
You make an especially daring or threatening move. You may declare you are making a radical assertion attack 1+your charisma modifier times per day. If your next attack hits then your contention counter increases by four.
Counter Stun [Ex]:
When you make an attack of opportunity your opponent must make a fortitude save equal to 10 + half of your character level + your dexterity modifier or be stunned for 1 round.
Once per day the contender may use this ability to gain fast healing equal to one half his contention bonus. This ability stops working when the contender's contention bonus is zero.
Fighting Spirit [Ex]:
Damaging the contender doesn't slow him down, it only eggs him on. For every 10 points of damage the contender takes in a single attack his contention counter increases by one.
Ultimate Slice [Ex]:
At 16th level the contender perfects his combo striking technique. This works exactly like triple slice, but if the third attack hits then the contender gains another attack at a -15 modifier. For every attack that hits after the first the contender deals an additional +2d10 damage.
Arcane Vortex [Su]:
At 18th level the contender learns how to forcibly channel magical energy into himself. Any time a spell is cast on an ally or enemy within 15 feet of the contender, he may choose to make himself the target of that spell instead. Despite the name this ability also affects divine spells. This ability functions a number of times per day equal to the contender's charisma modifier.
Until It's Over [Ex]:
At 20th level the contender makes sure he is always the last to die. Until all of his allies in the combat are dead, unconscious, or similarly put out of action, the contender cannot
be killed. He stays fully functional and alive no matter how low his hit points are or how many death effects he is subject to. If his hit points are below -10 when his last ally falls then the contender dies immediately.
When the contender has negative hit points he gets a +2 morale bonus to saving throws, attack rolls, and armor class.
In addition, the contender is also immune to stunning, nausea, paralysis, fatigue, and petrification at all times.
This is my first base class! I actually finished it...
I didn't base this on anyone in particular (which is why theres no art, sadly). The basic goals of this class were to have a frontline warrior capable of battlefield mobility, to be able to go toe to toe with other warriors and even spellcasters, and to be a tank focused in cha and dex. Another goal was to be flexible in armor/weapon/shield choices, but I think every contender ever, everywhere, will be using an elven thinblade.
Restricting some of their abilities to only being used with one handed weapons is specifically because I'm sick of two handed weapons. Contenders are intended to use one weapon and a shield, two weapons, or just one weapon if they are feeling bold.
Well hopefully thats enough of my rambling and the class speaks for itself. Whats good, what sucks, whats stupid about it? Would you play one?