Battle Brother (3.5e Prestige Class)
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|“||If at all possible the official position of the monastery is non-interference, we do not dabble in worldly affairs of others as long as we are left alone. There are times when that is not possible or when something must be acquired to ensure our safety or avert disaster. This is the reason you all are called upon now to take new vows to ensure that no one will destroy all we hold sacred even unto our dying breath.||”|
|—Viamon Sivatho, Elven Battle Brother, Dedicant of the Flowing River|
Monks in various monasteries have different tasks but none are more specialized than the battle brother, a monk that possesses the sole purpose of offensively taking the fight outside the walls they live in into the world. When something needs to be taken in defense of the temple such as an artifact of great power that endangers their temples, when a group tries to start assembling to assault one of their strongholds or when certain items need to be acquired by the monks that is when the battle brothers are called upon. These monks dedicate themselves to physical perfection to ensure that any task laid before them can be completed with the least amount of damage to their organization.
The battle brothers are taken from the quickest and most determined monks and trained in every aspect to ensure success in their mission, even though their missions don't always end in bloodshed. A battle brother can acquire things they need through diplomacy, combat and even through more subtle means like poisons can be utilized in the defense of the temples objectives. The battle brother is taught that their primary concern is the defense of the temple, that the objectives they are given have purpose and they must bend themselves to make sure they complete their objectives. Many times individual battle brothers will be dispatched with an objective without all the necessary details of why they are tracking a specific piece, though they are explained everything once they return by the head masters of the order. The battle brothers accept this as a burden but understand it; if the battle brother should fall into enemy hands prior to the use of a device they are sent for (like an ancient artifact that can decimate the temple) they will not be able to divulge any information to their captors.
Becoming a Battle Brother
Battle brothers are chosen from the monk ranks to fulfill the needs of their organizations, and rarely is this opportunity given to anyone that seeks it. The battle brother training is presented to many initiates which are then weeded from the program to ensure only those with the proper mentality and ability reach the ranks of battle brother, since many would not understand exactly what they are called upon to do. The average advancement ratio to battle brother standing is less than one in thirty and this average holds true for most orders due to the rigorous training they receive. The physical portions are almost never the reason the students wash out of the program; most students are washed out during the scenerios that each student goes through.
There are multiple scenerios for each temple; they are by no means identical but they do convey one true meaning for the battle brothers as time goes on. This meaning is for them to win, whatever the cost and method, and to return with a completed objective. This is harrowing to many of the monks that receive the final training for advancement into the battle brother circle, and the final test is usually a live test to assure that the monk can carry out what he intellectually understands. Many monks fail the final test simply because they cannot accept the possibility that they may need to do terrible or ghastly things in defense of the monastery.
|Skill:||Tumble, Move Silently, or Diplomacy 8 ranks|
|Special:||Able to inflict at least d8 lethal damage with a hand-to-hand attack on the monk chart. Chosen by the battle brothers in their organization and pass all tests.|
|1st||+1||+2||+0||+2||Monk Abilities, Needs of the order|
|2nd||+2||+3||+0||+3||Evasion, Improved Natural Attack|
|9th||+9||+6||+3||+6||Two Weapon Combat|
Class Skills (4 + Int modifier per level)
Through all the unique and specialized training a battle brother receives he gains a number of abilities that will allow him to become a destructive force in service of his master. The battle brother is not considered a cross class for the monk or warrior monk and does not stop their ability to advance in those classes. All of the following are class features of the battle brother.
Monk Abilities (Ex): The battle brother continues to advance as a monk for purposes of determining AC, unarmed damage increases, flurry of blows advancement, fast movement and the Insightful Strike class feature if available. The battle brother does not gain any other class features of a monk that would be gained through normal advancement such as timeless body.
Needs of the Order (Ex): Due to his conditioning and training the battle brother is highly resistant to anything that tries to interfere with his task, which translates into a +4 bonus against any enchantment spell designed to gain control over the battle brother. Further if the save is failed and the battle brother is magically forced into compulsion he remains true to his training and organization; if they are commanded to act against their orders the command automatically fails and the enchantment is broken. In short the battle brother can never be used to work against his organizations goals, as long as he is aware of the goals that are in place. Direct actions against his group are straight out impossible and this ability can even override supernatural compulsion such as aboleth's mind enslavement.
Evasion (Ex): At 2nd level or higher if a battle brother makes a successful Reflex saving throw against an attack that normally deals half damage on a successful save, she instead takes no damage. Evasion can be used only if a battle brother is wearing light armor or no armor. A helpless battle brother does not gain the benefit of evasion. If the battle brother already possesses the evasion ability it improves to Improved Evasion and the battle brother only takes half damage on a failed Reflex saving throw.
Improved Natural Attack (Ex): At 2nd level the battle brother gains the Improved Natural Attack feat. Unlike the normal gaining of this feat the battle brother applies this to every form of natural attack instead of just a single form of natural attack (it applies to arms, legs or any other part of the body the battle brother wishes to use in order to injure his opponents.)
- Base Attack Bonus +1 = When conducting a charge you may add an additional d6 to your damage rolls.
- Base Attack Bonus +6 = Full attack actions beyond the first suffer a -3 to hit instead of the normal -5.
- Base Attack Bonus +11 = During a full round attack the battle brother may trade base attack bonus for damage.
- Base Attack Bonus +16 = You may make a full round attack as a standard action.
Great Fortitude [Combat] Bonus Feat (Ex): This ability is similar to the Great Fortitude ability found in the Races of War Sourcebook. This feat gives the following bonuses based upon your base attack bonus.
- Base Attack Bonus +1 = +3 Bonus on Fortitude saving throw.
- Base Attack Bonus +6 = You die at -20 hit points and go unconscious at -5.
- Base Attack Bonus +11 = You gain 1 hit point per level.
- Base Attack Bonus +16 = You gain DR 3/-.
- Base Attack Bonus +1 = +2 Bonus on all attack rolls, this bonus is expertise based.
- Base Attack Bonus +6 = +3 to damage rolls with the selected weapon of choice (natural weapons for the battle brother.)
- Base Attack Bonus +11 = Your weapon of choice (natural) increases the critical multiplier by one step (x2 to x3)
- Base Attack Bonus +16 = You may take 10 on a single attack roll per round, and you may add 5 to one attack roll per round determined after the roll is made.
Two Weapon Combat [Combat] Bonus Feat (Ex):This ability is similar to the Two Weapon Fighting ability found in the Races of War Sourcebook. This feat gives the following bonuses based upon your base attack bonus.
- Base Attack Bonus +1 = You can make an additional attack for every base attack (i.e. non flurry of blows) you possess at your current level.
- Base Attack Bonus +6 = You recieve a shield bonus to AC that is equal to 1/4 of your character level.
- Base Attack Bonus +11 = You gain an additional attack of opportunity every round.
- Base Attack Bonus +16 = You gain the ability to rend your opponent for 2d6 + damage bonuses if you manage to strike with two separate weapons in the same combat round. This can only be done once a round regardless of how many paired strikes occur.
Atone (Sp): Due to their nature a battle brother can often find that they must do things contrary to their beliefs. When this occurs the battle brother is able to atone for his trespasses without the aid of a priest. This ability functions just like an Atonement spell and the only requirement is a pennance on the behalf of the temple in order to regain their former status. This allows the battle brother to accomplish anything in the service of the organization without punishing him for his success.
A battle brother who becomes non-lawful cannot gain new levels as a monk but retains all monk abilities.
Like a member of any other class, a battle brother may be a multiclass character, but multiclass battle brothers face a special restriction. A battle brother who gains a new class or (if already multiclass) raises another class by a level may never again raise his battle brother level, though he retains all his battle brother abilities. The exception to this rule is if a battle brother decides to advance in the monk class or any monk prestige class (monk prestige classes are defined as any class that advances monk abilities or advance on the monk hand-to-hand table.)
Epic Battle Brothers
|22nd||Superior Natural Attack, Bonus Feat|
|25th||Strength of the Order 1/day|
|28th||Perfect Natural Attack, Bonus Feat|
|30th||Bonus Feat, Strength of the Order 2/day|
Superior Natural Attack (Ex): The battle brothers combat abilities continue to grow as he learns new and more lethal ways to cause his opponents great pain and damage. The battle brothers hand to hand damage increases for all attacks by an additional rank and this ability stacks with the Improved Natural Attack that he gained at the 8th level of the battle brother class.
Strength of the Order (Ex): The battle brother at level 25 is endowed through a special process to call upon the strength of their belief in the order. This transfers into a +10 divine bonus to all stats and allows him to regenerate all of his hit points once. This bonus exists for a number of rounds equal to the class level of the battle brother but comes at a terrible price; first the battle brother takes d4 temporary damage to all stats and is stunned for d10+ the number of rounds that the power was active, then he is dazed for the number of rounds equal to half his stunned rounds. For the following hour after the use of this ability the character is fatigued, making this ability a last resort option to ensure victory. At level 30 this ability can be used twice a day and the following changes to the drawbacks; the dazed condition only lasts for d4 rounds, the stunned effect lasts for half that duration and the recovery time is lessened to 10 minutes.
Perfect Natural Attack (Ex): The battle brothers combat abilities have reached the pinnacle of all hand-to-hand combat abilities. From this point forward the battle brother receives the following bonus to his damage modifier when figuring the hand-to-hand damage: the battle brother now advances his hand-to-hand damage by 1/4 of his wisdom modifier, rounding down (+8 wisdom modifier gives 2 damage advances.) This ability stacks with Improved Natural Attack but does not stack with the Superior Natural Attack as this ability overwrites the previous bonuses gained from the other class feature.
The epic battle brother gains a bonus feat selected from the Epic Battle Brother Bonus Feat list every two levels after 20th level.
Epic Battle Brother Bonus Feat List: Armor Skin, Blinding Speed, Damage Reduction, Energy Resistance, Epic Prowess, Epic Speed, Epic Toughness, Exceptional Deflection, Fast Healing, Improved Combat Reflexes, Improved Ki Strike, Improved Spell Resistance, Improved Stunning Fist, Keen Strike, Legendary Climber, Legendary Wrestler, Righteous Strike, Self-Concealment, Shattering Strike, Vorpal Strike.
Playing a Battle Brother
Combat: The battle brother is built for combat, designed to take on multiple attackers at once and potentially win. They are self sufficient, resourceful and above all extremely dangerous; the battle brother is not above slaughtering people from suprise, using poisons if required or even sacrificing others to ensure their goal is achieved. With their increased hand-to-hand damage the battle brother is an extremely dangerous adversary, and these abilities only increase with time. The key with battle brothers is that he will be quick to take any advantage available including targeting weaker individuals in hit and run attacks to make sure the odds are always in their favor.
Advancement: This character advances like most monk type classes. Other monk prestige classes or going back into base classes can both be excellent choices, as the different class features available can help forge him into a destructive weapon.
Resources: Battle brothers are expected to be sulf sufficient and to require very little resources to get their tasks complete. Since they are sent on missions considered to be vital to their organizations survival they are able to either borrow items that they believe are necessary or in some occasions are given them outright. However if a battle brother continuously asks for far more than what the organization should be providing or does not turn over everything upon completion of his duties he can quickly find himself stripped of his ranks. If the battle brother is thrown out of his organization this has a very real consequence; he may not advance in the class of the battle brother unless some sort of pennance is reached for his organization and they allow him to re-enter the ranks. This can range from anything between accomplishing the next three missions without any help from the organization to large sums of money needing to be donated to the temple.
Battle Brothers in the World
|“||Gentlemen, the device you are carrying is inherently evil and dangerous. My order would like to safe guard it and would be willing to trade you for it, name your price.||”|
The battle brother is a chief negotiator, thief, assassin and warrior for their organization, authorized to do whatever is necessary to accomplish whatever mission they are sent upon. The entire purpose of their training and positions of autonomy is to ensure that they can safeguard the temple against anything that might cause it great harm or destruction. Unlike regular monks battle brothers all possess a purpose; to allow the temple to flurish without having to worry about outside threats. In times of needs it isn't uncommon for a grandmaster to order the battle brothers to go out and earn money through mercenary work or as part of adventuring groups to strengthen the position of the order. A battle brother does not mind this task as it falls into the same realm as all their other tasks; the end result is important to the church, even if the battle brother does not understand it at the moment.
NPC Reactions: Unless the order requires it a battle brother is not differential from a monk (some orders require certain robe colors or tatoos on the battle brother as a means of identification but not all.) Since they are so hard to identify they are normally treated as a monk until their true nature and abilities are revealed. When a battle brother is revealed they normally are given a wide berth and people try to make sure that they don't get in there way. Most stories tell of ruthless monks that will destroy anything in their path until they accomplish their goal or die.
Battle Brother Lore
Characters with ranks in Knowledge (religion) can research battle brothers to learn more about them. When a character makes a skill check, read or paraphrase the following, including information from lower DCs.
|15||Battle brothers are elite hand-to-hand fighters serving their order.|
|20||The battle brothers receive unique training and will violate other vows to ensure success of a mission.|
|25||Battle brothers will not always attack an opponent if other means avail themselves. However when they do attack their strikes are lethal and the most experienced battle brothers can call upon a power that strengthens them considerably.|
Battle Brothers in the Game
In the realm of player characters the battle brother is uncommon but not rare. Normally the temple will select the recruits based upon contributions to the temple (i.e. does the monk actually donate to the organization), their willingness to be tasked by the temple and their ability to remove obstacles (not necessarily combat, diplomacy is also looked upon with favor.) If the player character is asked to be chosen for a position among the brothers he must pass a series of tests (recommended no less than 3 no more than 7) that show he has the right attitude and conviction to serve the temple. If he passes all of his tests for acceptance he can either be sent on quests (with the player group if they are willing) or be instructed to continue working with the group to acquire items for the church. If he is selected to maintain his relations with the current group the contributions from the battle brother should be between 10-20% of the individuals share.
As for NPCs the battle brothers can be introduced in a number of ways depending on the campaigns approach. Maybe the PCs stumbled across an ancient artifact that seems very useful but the destructive powers force an order to get it from the players. In such cases the NPC should always attempt negotiation first (remember they don't want to kill everything, they are just very good at being lethal) and should that fail they will resort to violence or theft to ensure it does not remain in their hands. Another good way to introduce them into the campaign is to have them fighting a group of bandits threatening the abbey.
Adaptation: If a PC is interested in this class they will need to bring it to the attention of the DM, as this is a selection based system not a random set of numbers. If you fail the tests you are barred from this class; this isn't suited for everyone and it certainly isn't a class you get into if you decide you like it. The whole purpose of this individuals is to strengthen the position of the temple and eliminate threats in any way possible. Even if the individuals actions force an alignment shift the individual will receive atonement rather than scorn as long as it was in the interests of the temple. If the individual passes his tests his eyes will be opened to the realities of the temples positions which might not be as comforting as one would think.
Sample Encounter: At the monastery of the Eight fold path the grandmaster has learned of rumors that a highly evil artifact the Necromus has appeared. Sparing no time the grandmaster has selected the battle brother Kauld Mordakai to travel into the vicinity and investigate these rumors; if they appear to be true he is to retrieve the artifact and if not he shall return to the temple. Kauld has managed to narrow his investigation to an old temple to a forgotten god that enjoyed human sacrifice for his worship and is certain that the artifact is inside.
|LN Medium humanoid (human)|
|Init/Senses||+5/Listen +, Spot +|
|AC||27, touch 25, flat-footed 27 (wisdom 11, Dex 2, Armor 4)|
|hp||112 (16d8 HD)|
|Speed||60 ft. (12 squares)|
|Melee||Flurry of Blows +23/+23/+23/+23/+20/+17 (2d8+17/19–20 x3)|
|Atk Options||Ki Strike (Magic)|
|Combat Gear||Bracers of Armor +4|
|Abilities||Str 14 (18), Dex 12 (14), Con 14, Int 10, Wis 18 (22), Cha 8|
|SQ||Improved Evasion, Insightful Strike, Purity of Body, Needs of the order,|
|Feats||Improved Unarmed Strike, Stunning Fist, Dodge, Combat Reflexes, Weapon Mastery, Insightful Strike, Blind Fight, Improved Grapple, Stunning Fist, Blitz, Great Fortitude, Improved Initiative|
|Skills||Balance +8, Climb +11, Diplomacy +11 Hide +13, Listen +13, Move Silently +13, Spot +13, Tumble +13|
|Possessions||combat gear plus Gloves of Dexterity +2, Periapt of Wisdom +4,Belt of Giant Strength +4, Ring of Sustenance|
Elite array for NPC stats
There are several options for Kauld in this scenerio; if the PCs are on their way he could have just finished retrieving the artifact, he could be just entering the cave to try to find it or he could lay in wait and let the PCs do the work for him. He will attempt to barter for the artifact first (he will trade anything he owns and up to 25,000 gp payable upon reaching the temple) and if successful will happily take it off the PCs hands. If barter fails he will attack ruthlessly attempting to eliminate casters first and flee if the need arises using tumble to get away without provoking further attacks. The only person who could hope to catch him would be a monk, and after securing healing he will immediately return to attempt to take the artifact again either through theft or force.