Shieldbearer (3.5e Prestige Class)

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As the name implies, the shieldbearer is a warrior who bears a shield in battle. They know well the virtues of a strong defense, and they are more than willing to put themselves in harm's way in order to protect those under their charge. Crusaders are the most attracted to the shieldbearer way of life, but many others have come from the ranks of swordsages and warblades as well.


Skills: Profession (Soldier) 8 ranks.

Feats: Dodge, Improved Shield Bash, and Toughness

Special: You must be proficient with shields. You must also be able to initiate at least three martial maneuvers or stances from the Devoted Spirit, Diamond Mind, Iron Heart, Stone Dragon, or White Raven disciplines.

Making a Shieldbearer[edit]

Table: The Shieldbearer

Hit Die: d8

Level BAB Saving Throws Maneuvers Class Features
Fort Ref Will Known Readied Stances
1st +0 +2 +2 +2 1 0 0 Extension of the Arm, Heavy Armor Training, Shield Training
2nd +1 +3 +3 +3 0 0 0 Bastion of Defense
3rd +2 +3 +3 +3 1 1 1 Mettle, True Grit

Class Skills (4 + Int modifier per level): Autohypnosis, Balance, Craft, Intimidate, Jump, Listen, Martial Lore, Profession, Ride, Sense Motive, Spot, Survival, Swim, and Tumble.

Class Features[edit]

Weapon and Armor Proficiencies: You are proficient with all simple and martial weapons, and with all types of armors and shields (including exotic varieties).

Maneuvers: At each odd-numbered level, you gain a new maneuver known from the Devoted Spirit, Diamond Mind, Iron Heart, Stone Dragon, or White Raven disciplines, and at 3rd level you gain a new stance from one of these disciplines. You must meet a maneuver’s prerequisite to learn it. You add your full shieldbearer levels to your initiator level to determine your total initiator level and your highest-level maneuvers known. At 3rd level, you also gain an additional maneuver readied per day.

Extension of the Arm (Ex): When bearing a shield in your off-hand, you are treated as if you had the Two-Weapon Fighting feat for all intents and purposes. This allows you to meet the prerequisites of other feats, classes, and similar abilities, but those abilities also become linked to the requirement of having to bear a shield unless you also possess the actual Two-Weapon Fighting feat.

Additionally, while wielding a shield, any weapon you use in your main hand is treated as if you were wielding it with both hands if doing so would be beneficial to you. This is useful for feats such as Power Attack and when defending against disarm attempts.

Finally, you may wield a single spear or trident of any type as if it were a one-handed weapon. You gain the aforementioned benefits while doing so, however, as long as you are also wielding a shield in your off-hand.

Heavy Armor Training (Ex): You have been trained to wear heavy armor and shields for prolonged periods of time. You never risk suffering fatigue simply from the act of wearing armor, such as when sleeping. Note that this doesn't apply to other similar situations in which you might suffer from fatigue, such as wearing metal armor in a desert environment; it only applies to acts in which you'd suffer a penalty for lengthy use of heavy armor.

Shield Training (Ex): You gain the following bonus feats even if you don't normally qualify for them: Shield Charge and Shield Slam.

Bastion of Defense (Ex): If you have your shield readied, you can no longer be flanked or caught flat-footed. You can even avoid magical and unusual attacks with great ease by quickly placing your shield between the attack and yourself. If you make a successful Reflex saving throw while you have your shield readied against an attack that deals half-damage on a successful save, you instead take no damage. Furthermore, if you do fail the saving throw, you take only half damage from the attack.

Mettle (Ex): You are incredibly resistant to effects that assault the body or mind. If you succeed on a Fortitude or Will save against an effect with a partial effect on a successful save, you instead suffer no effects from the attack, and if you do fail the save, you instead suffer the partial effect.

True Grit (Ex): You gain your Constitution modifier as a morale bonus to your saving throws, and in place of your Dexterity modifier for purposes of determining your bonus to AC. Unlike the Dexterity bonus, True Grit is not hampered by your armor's maximum Dexterity bonus. However, effects that would deny you access to your Dexterity bonus to AC affects the AC benefits of True Grit as well.

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