Guardian (3.5e Prestige Class)

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The Guardian is a specialist warrior dedicated to endurance and durability. He hones mind and body to the point where he is capable of withstanding the mightiest of blows with little to no effect on his ability to keep fighting. At higher levels, he learns to extend his toughness to his allies, channeling ki energy to link his own life force to their bodies. He is the quintessential "tank", ready and able to absorb massive amounts of damage and survive against all odds.

The Guardian doesn't have nearly as much offensive power as a Fighter or Barbarian. In order to become the master of defense, he must be willing to sacrifice some of his offense.


  • Alignment: Any
  • Ability Scores: Constitution 14 or greater, Wisdom 14 or greater
  • Feats: All Armor Proficiencies, Shield Proficiency, Tower Shield Proficiency, Endurance, Diehard, Combat Reflexes
  • Special: Maximum Hit Points must be 40 or greater

Table: The Guardian
Hit Die: d12

Level Base
Attack Bonus
1st +0 +2 +0 +2 Hit Die Reroll, Damage Reduction 1/-, Tower Shield Mastery
2nd +1 +3 +0 +3 Ki Taunt 1/encounter
3rd +1 +3 +1 +3 Spirit Link 25%, Guardian Toughness trait
4th +2 +4 +1 +4
5th +2 +4 +1 +4 Spirit Link 50%, Damage Reduction 2/-, Nimble Armor
6th +3 +5 +2 +5 Ki Taunt 2/encounter, Guardian Toughness trait
7th +3 +5 +2 +5 Spirit Link 75%
8th +4 +6 +2 +6
9th +4 +6 +3 +6 Spirit Link 100%, Damage Reduction 3/-, Guardian Toughness trait
10th +5 +7 +3 +7 Last Breath, Ki Taunt Taunt 3/encounter
Class Skills (2 + Int modifier per level)
Balance (Dex), Concentration (Con), Escape Artist (Dex), Heal (Wis), Intimidate (Cha), Jump (Str), Listen (Wis), Spot (Wis), Survival (Wis), and Tumble (Dex)

Class Features[edit]

All the following are class features of the Guardian:

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: The Guardian gains no new proficiencies.

Hit Die Reroll: At each new level of Guardian, a character rolls his Hit Die twice, and takes the highest of the two results.

Damage Reduction: At 1st level and every four levels thereafter, a Guardian gains 1 point of damage reduction. A Guardian's damage reduction stacks with any other sources of damage reduction the character might receive.

Tower Shield Mastery: A Guardian does not incur an attack penalty when using a Tower shield.

Ki Taunt (Su): A Guardian channels ki energy into the mind of an opponent, filling that opponent with an overwhelming hatred of the Guardian. Once per encounter at 2nd level, a Guardian may use Ki Taunt as a swift action. He targets any opponent that has an Intelligence score of at least 3. The Guardian makes an Intimidate check opposed by the target's Will save. If the Guardian wins, the target is forced to attack the Guardian on its next turn if able. If the target has multiple attacks, it must use as many of them as possible against the Guardian. This ability cannot be used to drive the target to suicidal behavior (such as by jumping off a cliff).

Every 4 levels thereafter, the Guardian gains one more use of Ki Taunt per encounter. He also gains bonus uses of Ki Taunt per encounter equal to his Wisdom modifier.

Spirit Link (Su): At 3rd level, as a full-round action, the Guardian may form a Spirit Link with an ally that he touches. The effect lasts for 10 minutes. While a Spirit Link is in effect, 25% of any damage dealt to the target is reverted to the Guardian. For instance, Lancelot the 3rd-level Guardian forms a Spirit Link with Rogar the sorcerer. If Rogar is attacked for 16 damage, 4 of that damage is blocked and instead goes to Lancelot. This takes effect BEFORE the Guardian's damage reduction, so the end result is that Lancelot ends up taking only 2 damage, and Rogar only takes 12. Any fractions are rounded down, so if Rogar had been hit for 5 damage, only 1 point of damage would be redirected to Lancelot.

Every 2 levels after 3rd level, the amount of damage redirected increases by another 25%, until at level 9 the Guardian takes 100% of the damage that his Spirit Linked allies would otherwise take.

A Guardian may have Spirit Links with multiple people at a time. The maximum number of Spirit Links that a single Guardian can have active at any one time is equal to the Guardian's Wisdom modifier.

Spirit Link becomes useless if the Guardian is at -10 or fewer Hit Points, even if he has Last Breath (see below).

Guardian Toughness Trait: At 3rd level and every 3 levels thereafter, the Guardian gains a special trait chosen from the list below:

Energy Resistance +5: The Guardian has trained his body to resist certain natural energies by deliberately exposing himself to them in gradually larger doses. He gains 5 points of energy resistance from his choice of either acid, cold, electricity, fire, or sonic. He may choose to gain this trait multiple times. Each time he gains it, he can apply it to the same energy resistance as before (stacking with the previous bonus), or he can apply it to a different type of energy.

Mind of Steel: The Guardian has trained his mind to resist the mightiest shocks. The massive damage threshold for the Guardian increases by 25 points (to 75 under normal rules). So, the Guardian must be dealt 75 damage or more in a single attack before he must make a massive damage save. A Guardian may choose to gain this trait multiple times. Its effect stacks.

Superhuman Fortitude: The Guardian has trained his body to be able to take the worst and keep going. He gains +4 to all Fortitude saves. This trait may only be taken once.

Body of the Titans: The Guardian permanently increases his Constitution score by 1. This trait may only be taken once.

Mind over Matter: The Guardian has learned to meld mind and body to resist injury through sheer force of will. He adds half of his Wisdom modifier, rounded down, to his Guardian Damage Reduction ability. This trait may only be taken once.

Nimble Armor: At 5th level, a Guardian is less encumbered by armor. The Armor Check Penalty for all his armor is lessened by 1, the Maximum Dex Bonus is increased by 1, the Arcane Spell Failure chance is lessened by 5%, and the armor is reduced by one encumbrance category: Heavy armor now counts as Medium armor and Medium armor now counts as Light armor. Light armor counts as wearing no armor at all for the purposes of any special class abilities that are restricted by armor (such as the Monk's AC bonus). This stacks with the bonus for wearing mithral. So if the Guardian's armor is made of mithral, Heavy armor counts as Light and Medium armor counts as no armor.

Last Breath: Like an ant that keeps moving even after you smash its head, the Guardian just keeps going and going. At 10th level, the Guardian can continue to fight normally after being reduced to -10 or fewer Hit Points, for a number of rounds equal to his Constitution modifier. Combat works normally. Any damage he receives during this time simply pushes him deeper into the negatives (making it harder for him to be healed back to stable health). If he is healed above -10 before his time runs out, nothing happens. Otherwise, the Guardian collapses in a lifeless heap as soon as the timer on this ability runs out. The Last Breath ability does not activate when the Guardian is killed by an instant death effect such as Power Word Kill, or a vorpal weapon.

Last Breath does not allow the Guardian's Spirit Links to remain active beyond -10 HP.

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