Defender (3.5e Class)

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A Defender specializes in defense with either mobility or impenetrability. Donning light armor and small shields or buckers, they tumble around the battlefield to defend able positions and strike quickly without weapons. Alternatively they can protect themselves with heavy armor and heavy or tower shields while steadily advance towards opponents, and crush them with overwhelming force.

Making a Defender[edit]

A Defender will focus on defense and deal damage steadily while taking next to none. However he lacks ranged attack options and will therefore benefit from allies like rangers, wizards, or rogues.

Abilities: Strength is not as important as it is in other fighting classes because damage is always second to defense for this class, Constitution is a must for heavy shields' men, and Dexterity for lighter combatants.

Races: Humans and Dwarfs are very likely to become Defenders due to there stubborn nature, Orc's and other savage races can't justify a class with such little capacity for wanton destruction, and elves see all the armor as "constricting to their spirit".

Alignment: Usually defenders are good due to there defensive and somewhat pacifistic nature but they can be anything.

Starting Gold: As fighter.

Starting Age: As fighter.

{{#anc:Table: The Defender

Hit Die: d12

Level Base
Attack Bonus
Saving Throws Special
Fort Ref Will
1st +1 +2 +0 +0 Improved Shield Bash
2nd +2 +3 +0 +0 Shield Style, Bonus Feat
3rd +3 +3 +1 +1 Nonviolent resistance
4th +4 +4 +1 +1 Twin Shield
5th +5 +4 +1 +1 Shield Block +1
6th +6/+1 +5 +2 +2 Shield Ward, Bonus Feat
7th +7/+2 +5 +2 +2 Improved Shield Style
8th +8/+3 +6 +2 +2 Blunt trauma
9th +9/+4 +6 +3 +3 Improved Twin Shield
10th +10/+5 +7 +3 +3 Shield Block +2
11th +11/+6/+1 +7 +3 +3 Bonus Feat
12th +12/+7/+2 +8 +4 +4 Greater Shield Style
13th +13/+8/+3 +8 +4 +4
14th +14/+9/+4 +9 +4 +4 Greater Twin Shield
15th +15/+10/+5 +9 +5 +5 Shield Block +3
16th +16/+11/+6/+1 +10 +5 +5 Bonus Feat
17th +17/+12/+7/+2 +10 +5 +5 Master Shield Style
18th +18/+13/+8/+3 +11 +6 +6
19th +19/+14/+9/+4 +11 +6 +6
20th +20/+15/+10/+5 +12 +6 +6 Shield Block +4

Class Skills (3 + Int modifier per level, ×4 at 1st level)
Climb (Str), Craft (Int), Diplomacy (Cha) Handle Animal (Cha), Heal (Wis), Intimidate (Cha), Jump (Str), Listen (Wis), Ride (Dex), Spot (Wis), Swim (Str), Tumble (Dex).

Class Features[edit]

All of the following are class features of the Defender.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: The Defender is proficient with all Shields (as weapons), all armor and all shields (including tower shields).

Improved Shield Bash: A defender gains Improved Shield Bash as a bonus feat at 1st level.

Shield Style (Ex): Beginning at 2nd level a Defender chooses a combat style either Juggernaut, or Untouchable. This choice affects the character’s class features but does not restrict his selection of feats or special abilities in any way.

If the Defender selects juggernaut he gains DR 1/- while wielding a heavy shield or tower shield. This bonus increaes to DR 2/- if he decides to wield a heavy or tower shield in each hand with the twin shield ability (see below). These benefits apply only when wearing medium or heavy armor. DR benefits from this stack with all other types of DR.

If the Defender selects Untouchable, he no longer takes armor check penalties for light shields or bucklers. These benefits apply only when wearing light or no armor.

Bonus Feat: At 2nd level, Defenders gain 1 bonus feat of choice.

Nonlethal Resistance: At 3rd level Defender may have his shield bash attacks deal nonlethal damage at no penalty (as long as it doesn't have spikes).

Twin shield: At 4th level a Defender gains the bonus feat Two-Weapon Defense when wielding a shield in each hand, even if he does not have the normal prerequisites for that feat.

Shield Block (Ex): at 5th level the Defender gains mastery over shields to the point where you can add 1 to your shield bonus (per shield) against one opponent. This bonus improves by 1 every 5 levels (10th, 15th, etc...)

Shield ward: At 6th level a defender gains the ability to block a number of ranged attacks per round equal to his Dex modifier. This ability cannot be used if the defender doesn't have a shield equipped or is flat footed, or when he is immobilized or helpless

Improved shield style (Ex): At 7th level, a defender’s aptitude in his chosen combat style (untouchable or juggernaut) improves.

If the Defender selected Untouchable at 2nd level, he is now able to use his shields to ward off attacks while rolling. While using the tumble skill a defender gains double bonus for any light shields or bucklers he has equipped.

If the Defender selected Juggernaut at 2nd level, he can now move unhindered, any speed penalties from heavy or medium armors are now negated and the speed with 2 tower shields is increased by 10.

Blunt trauma: At 8th level a Defenders shield bash attacks deal damage as if the shield were a size category larger as long as he is dealing nonlethal damage (increasing D4 to D6, D6 to D8, etc.)

Improved Twin shield: At 9th level a Defender gains the bonus feat Improved Two-Weapon Defense when wielding a shield in each hand, even if he does not have the normal prerequisites for that feat.

Greater shield style (Ex): At 12th level, a defender’s aptitude in his chosen combat style (untouchable or juggernaut) improves significantly.

If the Defender selected Untouchable at 2nd level, he can now evade any non-magical attack with a quick back-step or side-step. When any attack that requires an attack roll (except touch spells, spell like abilities, and eldritch blasts) misses a defender he can attempt a tumble check of 10+(Base attack bonus of opponent who missed) to take a single 5 foot step in any direction. This ability can only be activated once per turn.

If you miss with the first hit of a full attack due to a defender moving out of your range with this ability, your full attack can be reduced to a single attack action.

If the Defender selected Juggernaut at 2nd level, he can now use tower shields as weapons bashing with them as if it were a two handed martial weapon. A tower shields weapon stats are as follows.

Damage no spikes (S) 1D6* (M) 1D8* ×2 Damage with spikes (S) 1D8 (M) 1D10 ×2

Damage values indicated are without increases given by the Blunt trauma Class feature, so in actuality the nonlethal damage for a small tower shield used by a defender of appropriate level will be 1D8, or 1D10 for medium characters.

Greater Twin shield: At 14th level a Defender gains the bonus feat Greater Two-Weapon Defense when wielding a shield in each hand, even if he does not have the normal prerequisites for that feat.

Master shield style (Ex): At 17th level, a defender’s aptitude in his chosen combat style (untouchable or juggernaut) reaches its peak.

If the Defender selected Untouchable at 2nd level, he gains an uncanny ability to resist effects that would render him immobile. He adds his shield bonus to saving throws against effects that would stun or paralyze (such as power word stun or the monks stunning fist), he can also resist being grappled in the same way and adds his shield bonus to grapple checks to resist and break out of a grapple.

If the Defender selected Juggernaut at 2nd level, he takes blows like an immovable object and returns them like an unstoppable force. Upon being hit by a full attack he can make one attack of opportunity against his attacker for each attack that missed. He adds his shield bonus to his attack and damage rolls

Epic Defender[edit]

Table: The Epic Defender

Hit Die: d12

Level Special
23rd Bonus Feat
24th Master Twin shield
25th Shield block +5
26th Bonus Feat
29th Bonus Feat
30th shield block +6

2 + Int modifier skill points per level.

Shield Block (Ex): at 25th level and every 5 levels thereafter the Defenders mastery over shields continues to improve.

Twin shield: At 24th level a Defender gains the bonus feat Perfect Two-Weapon Defense when wielding a shield in each hand, even if he does not have the normal prerequisites for that feat.

Bonus Feats: The epic Defender gains a bonus feat (selected from the list of epic Defender bonus feats) every levels after 20th.

Epic Defender Bonus Feat List: <-list of bonus epic feats->.

Gnome Defender Starting Package[edit]

Weapons: Heavy Shield.

Skill Selection: Pick a number of skills equal to 2 + Int modifier.

Skill Ranks Ability Armor
Craft 4 Int
Diplomacy 4 Cha
Intimidate 4 Cha

Feat: Toughness.

Bonus Feats: Improved Shield Bash.

Gear: Splint mail, bedroll, sack, flint and tinder.

Gold: 7 Gold

Campaign Information[edit]

Playing a Defender[edit]

Religion: The defender is likely to worship gods of strength and honor like Kord, however some worship deities of peace and neutrality and are more pacifistic than most martial classes. .

Other Classes: Defenders have a deep respect for paladins and (goodly) clerics because they represent protection and strength, they also generally they get along well with Fighters or Wizards because they dedicate there lives to training. They don't get along too well with barbarians because of there penchant for destruction.

Combat: Taking to the front-lines like bees to honey he keeps all aggression focused on him while letting his allies worry about offense.

Advancement: Many defenders take levels as paladin or cleric to increase there defensive abilities through magical means. Also Dwarven Defenders, often take the Dwarven defender prestige Class... despite the intense amounts of redundancy in the title "Dwarven Defender Dwarven Defender".

Defenders in the World[edit]

Can't touch this!
—Maric Cross "the Hammer", Gnome Defender

Daily Life: More often than not They spend their time doing physical conditioning to keep a sturdy or limber body..

Notables: Deimos Sierra a gnomish Master of tower shields that led nine men to safety while his city was being destroyed by an undead plague... None of them were touched by the fiendish horde and Deimos gave his life to protect them until they reached the next city and sent for backup..

Organizations: They have no real organization, but masters are occasionally found in military instutions and will never turn down a chance to teach new students.

NPC Reactions: Good Shield masters are very well received among both citizens and soldiers for there endurance and willingness to defend the defenseless. Evil ones (although extremely rare) however are feared for intense cruelty as they are notorious for bringing very long, painful, drawn out, deaths to there enemies.

Defender Lore[edit]

Characters with ranks in Knowledge (Military & Tactics) can research Defenders to learn more about them. When a character makes a skill check, read or paraphrase the following, including information from lower DCs.

Knowledge (Military & Tactics)
DC Result
5 A fighter with shields as weapons, not offensively powerful.
10 Unlike most martial classes the Defender does not jump into a chance to fight like its the only option.
15 Defenders can form a faultless defense to ward off but the most accurate of strikes.
20 The best Defenders don't use weapons but instead choose to wield twin shields and bash there opponents into submission.

Defenders in the Game[edit]

Adaptation: The Defender plays a role similar to that of a fighter, but makes decisions on a more diplomatic level, like that of a a Cleric or Paladin.

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