Marquis (3.5e Prestige Class)
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The Marquis is a shining beacon to her land. Whether facing hordes of undead or a simple bandit camp, she fights with remarkable courage, placing her honor at stake in her quest for victory.
Becoming a Marquis
The life of a Marquis is the life of a militant noble, taking to a higher purpose and enforcing vows on herself. As such, only a Knight or Paladin is typically suited to its call.
|Skills:||Intimidate or Diplomacy 10 ranks, Knowledge (nobility and royalty) 10 ranks.|
|Feats:||Weapon Focus (any martial weapon), Power Attack, Diehard, Endurance.|
|Special:||Must be a recognized member of nobility in a land, and possess a title. Must have and obey a code of conduct as a class feature.|
|1st||+1||+2||+0||+2||Aura of Good, Noble Challenge, Noble Skill|
|2nd||+2||+3||+0||+3||Aura of Courage, Smite 1/day|
|3rd||+3||+3||+1||+3||Noble Grace, Mettle|
|5th||+5||+4||+1||+4||Noble Health, Noble Uncanny Dodge|
|7th||+7||+5||+2||+5||Noble Expertise 1/day|
Class Skills (4 + Int modifier per level, ×4 at 1st level)
|13th||Noble Expertise 2/day|
|18th||Noble Expertise 3/day, Smite 9/day|
For a Marquis, victory comes from the strength of her will, her dedication to country and deity, and the honor of her noble heritage. All of the following are class features of the Marquis.
Weapon and Armor Proficiency: The Marquis gains no weapon or armor proficiencies that she did not already have.
Noble Challenge (Ex): The noble spirit of the Marquis allows her to taunt and challenge enemies in the heat of battle, placing her honor on the line and fighting with intense zeal. She may, as a swift action, issue a challenge against an opponent. The target of this ability must have an Intelligence of 5 or higher, have a language of some sort, and have a CR greater than or equal to her character level minus 2. If the target meets these conditions, she gains a +2 morale bonus on Will saves and a +2 morale bonus on both attack rolls and damage rolls against the target of this ability. The effects of this ability last for a number of rounds equal to 5 + her Charisma bonus (if any). If the chosen foe is defeated or flees the area, she may issue a new challenge to a new foe, but she cannot do this if her original target is still active. If her chosen foe reduces her to 0 hit points or below, she instead suffers a cumulative -1 morale penalty to attack rolls and saves for the rest of the day, having lost some confidence and ego in this defeat. The Marquis may use this ability a number of times per day equal to her class level + her Charisma bonus.
- If the Marquis has levels in a class that grants challenges of its own, such as a Knight, she instead gains additional uses of that ability.
Noble Skill (Ex): A Marquis trains constantly with her favorite weapon to improve her effectiveness. She selects one weapon she is proficient with, such as a falchion or a rapier. For this weapon, her Marquis class levels qualify for feats that usually require a minimum number of Fighter levels, such as Weapon Specialization. These levels stack with actual Fighter levels. This ability only applies with her chosen weapon.
Aura of Courage (Ex): Beginning at 2nd level, a Marquis is immune to fear (magical or otherwise). In addition, each ally within 10 feet of her gains a +4 morale bonus on saving throws against fear effects.
- If she already has this ability from another class, the morale bonus her allies are granted within 10 ft is instead +8, and she grants +4 to allies between 10 and 20 ft.
Smite (Su): Starting at second level, a Marquis gains an inner well of righteous fire which she may draw from. By harnessing this power with her pride and faith, a Marquis may attempt to smite her foe with one normal melee attack. She adds her Charisma bonus (if any) to her attack roll and deals 1 extra point of damage per Marquis level. A Marquis may use this ability once per day at second level, and an additional time every other level afterward.
- If the Marquis has levels in another class that grants a Smite ability, she may only use one of the two abilities in a given attack.
Mettle (Ex): The Marquis's faith in her country, herself, and her deity allows her to overcome powerful spells through sheer force of will. Beginning at 3rd level, if she succeeds on a Fortitude or Will save against an attack that would normally produce a lesser effect on a successful save (such as a spell with a saving throw entry of Will half or Fortitude partial, she instead negates the effect. She does not gain the benefit of Mettle when she is unconscious or sleeping.
Noble Uncanny Dodge (Ex): Starting at 5th level, a Marquis can react to danger before her senses would normally allow her to do so. She replaces her Dexterity bonus to AC with her Charisma bonus instead. Her Charisma bonus is not limited by the armor she wears. She retains this bonus (if any) even if she is caught flat-footed or struck by an invisible attacker. However, she still loses her Charisma bonus to AC if immobilized.
Noble Expertise (Ex): At 7th level, a Marquis's experience with her chosen weapon begins to lend power to her attacks. Once a day, for a number of rounds equal to 1 + 1/4 her class level, she may maximize all damage dealt with her chosen weapon. In addition, she adds half her class level to this damage for the duration of this effect, in place of her Strength bonus. She gains an additional use of this ability at 13th level, then again at 18th level.
Noble Conviction (Ex): At 9th level, a Marquis's will becomes so forceful that her blows break through even the strongest of armor. She now adds a perfection bonus equal to her Charisma bonus on rolls made to confirm critical hits.
The epic Marquis gains a bonus feat (selected from the list of epic Marquis feats) at 11th level and every 4 levels after.
Epic Marquis Bonus Feat List: Armor Skin, Devastating Critical, Dire Charge, Epic Endurance, Epic Leadership, Epic Prowess, Epic Reputation, Epic Toughness, Epic Weapon Focus, Epic Weapon Specialization, Great Smiting, Improved Aura of Courage, Improved Combat Reflexes, Improved Manyshot, Instant Reload, Legendary Commander, Legendary Rider, Overwhelming Critical, Penetrate Damage Reduction, Perfect Health, Superior Initiative, Swarm of Arrows, Two-Weapon Rend, Uncanny Accuracy, Widen Aura of Courage. In addition to the feats on this list, the Marquis may treat any feat designated as a Fighter Bonus Feat, but not listed here, as being on his or her bonus feat list.
Multiclass Note: A Paladin who multiclasses into Marquis may continue to advance as a Paladin.
A character who severely violates the code of conduct of the class she had before taking levels in her Marquis class loses her Smite, her Noble Challenges, and her Noble Expertise, and cannot continue to advance as a Marquis until she successfully atones. A character who becomes non-lawful or non-good loses these abilities as well, and must first regain a lawful good alignment before atoning.
Playing a Marquis
The Marquis is a valuable asset to a good-aligned party. Her powers and skills allow her to reinforce her companions while she metes out justice to the wicked from up close.
Combat: The Marquis is a warrior of faith and honor. Her abilities naturally lend her to the front lines, though she may instead take up a longbow and support her friends from the back ranks.
Advancement: The Marquis life is well suited to the lives of those such as Paladins or Knights, meaning that she is likely to come from one of these classes, and later multiclass into the other.
Resources: As nobility, Marquises have connections to figures in government, and can get audiences with powerful figures. In some lands, however, their status might mean less, or soldiers of their homeland might be viewed with distrust.
Marquises in the World
The Marquis is a member of nobility. Thus, when not found on an adventure, she is typically at home or at war, in the service of her country.
NPC Reactions: Those of good conscience are always welcoming for a Marquis, and regard her either with camaraderie and respect, or with admiration and awe. The wicked and selfish, however, are extremely likely to resent her imposing morality, and either attack outright, or at least hinder her progress in an endeavor.
Marquises are powerful and valuable members of both good adventuring parties and good governments. They can always find a place in one, if not the other.
Characters with ranks in Knowledge (history) or Knowledge (nobility and royalty) can research Marquises to learn more about them. When a character makes a skill check, read or paraphrase the following, including information from lower DCs.
|11||The most pure and honorable members of nobility in lands with well-intentioned governments are known as Marquises. They are renowned across the lands as shining beacons of nobility and justice.|
|16||Only one of noble blood, title, and spirit can become a Marquis. To do so is to sacrifice the comforts of a sheltered life and become a military herald of both one's homeland and one's deity, either at home or abroad.|
|21||Marquises call upon the powers of their religious zeal, their trust in their rulers, and the honor of their own bloodlines to destroy the wicked. No evildoer can stand before one without feeling some measure of fear.|
|26||It is said that the first Marquis arose from the ashes of a destroyed kingdom overrun by undead. According to legend, he forged a prosperous new republic with the strength of his blade, his trust in his friends, and the blessing of his gods.|
Marquises in the Game
Anywhere the government can be said to be overwhelmingly good to its people instead of cruel, there can be room for a Marquis.
Adaptation: In the event that a setting lacks noble bloodlines, the class can be remade as a sort of honorable knight-errant, defender of the weak and imposer of justice on the cruel.