"Skin is soft. Weapons are sharp. This is bad. Armor is tough. This is good."
-Cedric P. Bunko on the Plated Guard lifestyle
Plated Guards are people who come to love their armor as a preacher loves his god. Their armor functions as a shrine to their beliefs.
Becoming a Plated Guard
It is a common path for clerics and paladins to follow, due to the fact that it advances divine casting as well as enhancing their ability to use heavy armors. They craft their own armor fitted for their specific bodies. The class abilities of a Plated Guard augment this custom suit.
Anyone who fufills the requirements may become a Plated Guard, advancing this class requires nothing more then the proper state of mind.
Concentration 6 ranks, Craft(armorsmithing) 6 ranks, Knowledge(religion) 4 ranks
Endurance (This feat is automatically extended to apply to heavy armor once a level in this class is taken)
Base Save Bonus:
Must be able to cast 1st-level divine spells.
Must have created heavy armor for personal use.
Non-divine casters are able to enter this class if they have a BAB of +5, as well as the feats power attack and heavy armor proficiency.
The Class Name's class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Concentration(Con), Craft(Int), Intimidate(Cha), Knowledge(religion)(Int), Search(Int), Ride(Dex)
Skills Points at Each Level:
4 + Int modifier
Weapon and Armor Proficiency:
|Level||Base Attack Bonus||Fort Save||Ref Save||Will Save||Special||Spellcasting|
|Off Your Chest, Armored Enhancement, Summon Mount||—|
|Advanced Armor Usage||+1 level of existing divine spellcasting class|
|Shrug It Off||+1 level of existing divine spellcasting class|
|Comfort From Without||+1 level of existing divine spellcasting class|
Plated Guards are proficient with all simple and martial weapons and with all armor and shields (including tower shields).
At every level except 1 and 5, the Plated Guard advances their casting as if he had gained a level in the class he used to satisfy the entry prerequisite. If she does not possess casting abilities, she may instead gain a bonus feat off the fighter's list.
Off Your Chest (Ex):
Plated Guards are adept at ignoring hits they should have rightly felt. They gain their constitution modifier to their reflex saves instead of their dexterity modifier.
Armored Enhancement (Su):
Plated Guards are able to enchant armor themselves regardless of whether they meet the prerequisites for doing so. They must still provide the material and experience costs for doing so. Additionally, a Plated Guard may move the enhancements of a piece of heavy armor to another that he will be using. This is an eight hour process that leaves the original piece of armor entirely empty of magic.
Summon Mount (Su):
Plated Guard levels stack with Paladin levels for the purpose of special mounts. If a Plated Guard does not possess a special mount prior to this, they may summon a mule to assist them in carrying them from place to place.
Advanced Armor Usage (Ex):
A Plated Guard gains an additional +1 enhancement bonus to her armor class which stacks with traditional bonuses equal to her class level. For example, a Paladin 5/ Plated Guard 2 wearing a set of +2 full plate would be wearing the equivilent of a set of +3 full plate. This does not allow a Plated Guard to add non-numerical bonuses (I.e. a Plated Guard could not add the fortification property to their armor with this ability.)
Shrug It Off (Ex):
When a Plated Guard makes a reflex save would allow them to take half damage from an attack (such as a fireball spell or a dragon's breath attack), they instead take no damage. This ability is functionally similar to evasion, but works in all armor.
Comfort From Without (Ex):
At this point, armor is more than just a tool to a Plated Guard. It is a home away from home, a security blanket, the embrace of a lover. They gain immunity to charms, compulsions, and fear effects. If the Plated Guard possesses any of these immunities already they gain a bonus feat in addition to this ability.
Second Skin (Ex):
At this point, a Plated Guard has nothing but love for his heavy armor, and for good reason. His training and strength now compensate for the armor's inabilities on a muscular level. She no longer suffers Armor Check Penalties while wearing heavy armor, moves at full movement speed in heavy armor, and the max dexterity bonus of all heavy armor increases by +2. Additionally, she may apply his armor bonus to touch attacks.
Playing a Plated Guard
A Plated Guard gets up close and personal with enemies. Due to their lack of movement speed at early levels, it is common for them to use their mount for transport. It is common for a Plated Guard to be part of some sort of religious order, often filling the role of enforcers.
Early in combat, a Plated Guard will commonly cast some buffing spells to enhance their abilities. After that they advance into the thick of it and go to town.
Plated Guards frequently devote a fairly large sum of money towards their heavy armor. They often work as enforcers, either for city guards or for more unscrupulous organizations.
All Plated Guards share a bond with their armor and all armor shares a small bond with each other. A Plated Guard automatically is friendly to another Plated Guard, and often offers some small tips or advice to another armor devotee.
Plated Guards In The World
I've seen Leonus charge headfirst through a trapped corridor into a dragon's blaze and come out completely unharmed. There's something amazing about that armor of his.
-Sara Maerer, Bone Knight in Leonus Thul's company
Generally people don't try to mess with the large suit of armor walking down the street. However, the obvious battle readiness of a Plated Guard make them frequently the target of recruitment drives.
Plated Guards sleep with their armor on, bath with their armor on, eat with their armor on, even have their pants down with their armor on. Beyond that, they live fairly standard lives for an adventurer.
There have been two signifigant figures in the history of Plated Guards. Leonus Thul and Claire Perla. Leonus was a planetouched paragon of law, strong and charismatic, he began his career as a cloistered cleric, before briefly serving as an inquisitor and then becoming a Plated Guard. He later became a Bone Knight and made his Bonecraft Armor into his second skin.
Claire Perla was a servant of Pelor, a wonder of healing, and bane to the undead. She led crusades against the undead blight head on, relying on her masterfully crafted armor to keep her alive against common skeleton and powerful liches alike.
Plated Guards possess no organization in and of themselves, simply deciding that they love the way that armor makes them feel. However, they commonly devote themselves to other causes, frequently serving more martial divine orders.
A golem. That's often the initial reaction of the common man at seeing a Plated Guard come into town. The increased bulk of their heavy armor and the advanced way they carry it makes them seem to be more akin to machine than man.
Plated Guards In The Game
Plated Guards have high AC and are a solid choice for Clericzillas instead of Ordained Champions. It's a needed buff to paladins in higher tier campaigns, but nothing game breaking. There's plenty of ways to optimize AC and this pretty much just gives them 5 or 6 more.
You could have Plated Guards be an exclusive group, closer to an organization than a loose collection. This was purposely vague so they fit well most anywhere.
Plated Guards will often end up leading assaults with other clerics and paladins in a religious order.
So, what do you guys think? Too strong, too weak? Don't like the caster levels lost? Any ideas for fluff?