Tuesday, April 15, 2014

System Shock - The Vanguard

The vanguard class overview from
Mass Effect 2.
You may have noticed a subtle change to the Encounter Table this week. As a part of the ongoing improvement and development of this blog, the encounter table can now be found at encountertable.com instead of its old Blogger address. More changes to come!

Last week, as a part of our celebration of People of the Stars being announced, the Encounter Table detailed how to bring the asari race from the Mass Effect series into Pathfinder. This week the Encounter Table takes a look at one of the most iconic character archetypes from the Mass Effect series: the vanguard.

Presented below is the Encounter Table's take on a Pathfinder class built around the core concepts of the vanguard. It is a highly-mobile front-line class that delivers devastating charge attacks and channels kinetic energy to protect themselves and enhance their damage-dealing capabilities. Let us know what you think of the vanguard in the comments!




Vanguard


The vanguard is a special breed of soldier trained to harness basic cosmic forces to endow themselves with a superhuman ability to strike first, strike decisively, and strike with finality. The vanguard are taught to harness the kinetic energy around them through supernatural practices of meditation and mental focus to add extra force to their blows, deflect attacks, or propel themselves across the battlefield like living weapons. While they lack the expertise with weapons and armor of a fighter or the true spellcasting of a magus or paladin, a vanguard possesses a handful of supernatural abilities powered by their internal reserve of latent kinetic energy gathered each day and built up during the heat of battle.

Role: Vanguards lead from the front. They are first to enter battle and last to leave, throwing themselves into the fray heedless of their own safety. A vanguard's home is surrounded by enemy forces and demolishing their ranks. They use their great maneuverability to move speedily around the battlefield and lend support to their allies or target important opponents.

Alignment: Any.

Hit Die: d10.

Starting Wealth: 5d6 x 10 gp (average 175gp.) In addition, each character begins play with an outfit worth 10 gp or less.

Class Skills

The vanguard's class skills are Acrobatics (Dex), Climb (Str), Craft (Int), Intimidate (Cha), Knowledge (arcana) (Int), Profession (Wis), Survival (Wis), Sense Motive (Wis), and Swim (Str).

Skill Ranks Per Level: 2 + Int modifier.

Table: The Vanguard
Level
Base Attack Bonus
Fort Save
Ref Save
Will Save
Special
1st
+1
+2
+0
+2
Kinetic Charge +1d6, Kinesis
2nd
+2
+3
+0
+3
Charge Through, , Vanguard Talent
3rd
+3
+3
+1
+3
Kinetic  Charge +2d6, Linebreaker +1
4th
+4
+4
+1
+4
Vanguard Talent
5th
+5
+4
+1
+4
Kinetic  Charge +3d6
6th
+6/+1
+5
+2
+5
Vanguard Talent, Linebreaker +2
7th
+7/+2
+5
+2
+5
Kinetic  Charge +4d6
8th
+8/+3
+6
+2
+6
Vanguard Talent
9th
+9/+4
+6
+3
+6
Kinetic  Charge +5d6, Linebreaker +3
10th
+10/+5
+7
+3
+7
Advanced Talents, Vanguard Talent
11th
+11/+6/+1
+7
+3
+7
Kinetic  Charge +6d6
12th
+12/+7/+2
+8
+4
+8
Vanguard Talent, Linebreaker +4
13th
+13/+8/+3
+8
+4
+8
Kinetic  Charge +7d6
14th
+14/+9/+4
+9
+4
+9
Vanguard Talent
15th
+15/+10/+5
+9
+5
+9
Kinetic  Charge +8d6, Linebreaker +5
16th
+16/+11/+6/+1
+10
+5
+10
Vanguard Talent
17th
+17/+12/+7/+2
+10
+5
+10
Kinetic  Charge +9d6
18th
+18/+13/+8/+3
+11
+6
+11
Vanguard Talent, Linebreaker +6
19th
+19/+14/+9/+4
+11
+6
+11
Kinetic  Charge +10d6
20th
+20/+15/+10/+5
+12
+6
+12
Peerless Charge, Vanguard Talent

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: A vanguard is proficient with all simple and martial weapons and with all armor (heavy, light, and medium) and shields (except tower shields).

Kinetic Charge (Su) At 1st level as a full-round action a vanguard may expend 1 point of kinesis to move up to double his speed and make a single melee attack at his highest attack bonus, gaining a +2 bonus to the attack roll. The vanguard also suffers a -2 penalty to his AC for 1 round after making a kinetic charge. Movement from kinetic charge does not provoke attacks of opportunity. This attack deals additional damage depending on the vanguard's level and counts as a charge attack. Any feats or abilities the vanguard possesses that normally interact with a charge attack work with kinetic charge.

This extra damage is 1d6 at 1st level, and increases by 1d6 every two vanguard levels thereafter. Should the vanguard score a critical hit with a sneak attack, this extra damage is not multiplied. If the vanguard is able to make multiple attacks on a charge, such as from abilities like pounce, this additional damage applies only to the first attack in the charge.

Charge Through (Ex) At 2nd level when making a kinetic charge, a vanguard can attempt to overrun one creature in the path of the charge as a free action. If he successfully overruns that creature, he can complete the charge. If the overrun is unsuccessful, the charge ends in the space directly in front of that creature.

Kinesis (Su) The power of a vanguard is directly proportionate to their ability to deliver punishment. They thrive in no-win scenarios and when knee-deep in their fallen enemies. The drive and training of a vanguard pushes them to excel where all others fail and to push themselves far beyond their limits. Kinesis represents a vanguard's combat momentum, their ability to destroy opponents and throw themselves bodily into the breach. In game terms, kinesis is a fluctuating measure of a vanguard’s ability to perform amazing actions in combat. At the start of each day, a vanguard gains a number of kinesis points equal to half his character level, plus his Wisdom modifier (minimum 1). His kinesis goes up or down throughout the day, but usually cannot go higher than half his character level plus his Wisdom modifier (minimum 1), though some feats and magic items may affect this maximum. A vanguard spends kinesis to perform his kinetic charge ability and to perform some vanguard talents (see below), and regains kinesis in the following ways.

Critical Hit with Kinetic Charge: Each time the vanguard confirms a critical hit with a kinetic charge attack while in the heat of combat, he regains 1 kinesis point. Confirming a critical hit on a helpless or unaware creature or on a creature that has fewer Hit Dice than half the vanguard’s character level does not restore kinesis.

Killing Blow with Kinetic Charge: When the vanguard reduces a creature to 0 or fewer hit points with a kinetic charge while in the heat of combat, he regains 1 kinesis point. Destroying an unattended object, reducing a helpless or unaware creature to 0 or fewer hit points, or reducing a creature that has fewer Hit Dice than half the vanguard’s character level to 0 or fewer hit points does not restore any kinesis.

Flanked: When a vanguard begins his turn flanked by two or more opponents he gains 1 point of kinesis. A vanguard flanked by one or more creatures that have fewer Hit Dice than half the vanguard’s character level does not restore any kinesis.

Linebreaker (Ex) At 3rd level, a vanguard gains an enhanced ability to plow through enemies to get to his target, giving him a +1 bonus on Combat Maneuver checks made to overrun or bull rush opponents. These bonuses rise to +2 when the vanguard reaches 6th level, to +3 when he reaches 9th level, to +4 when he reaches 12th level, to +5 at 15th, and to +6 at 18th level.

Peerless Charge (Su) At 20th level kinetic charge no longer costs kinesis to use. Vanguard talents that add an additional cost to kinetic charge for extra effects must still be paid.

Vanguard Talent: As a vanguard gains experience, he learns a number of talents that aid him and disable his foes. Starting at 2nd level, a vanguard gains one vanguard talent. He gains an additional vanguard talent for every 2 levels of vanguard attained after 2nd level. A vanguard cannot select an individual talent more than once.

Talents marked with an asterisk add effects to a vanguard's kinetic charge. Only one of these talents can be applied to an individual kinetic charge and the decision must be made before the kinetic charge is made.

Unless otherwise noted, the save DCs for vanguard talents are 10 + 1/2 vanguard level + vanguard's Wisdom modifier.

Barrier (Su) As an immediate action the vanguard may spend 1 point of kinesis to gain 5 temporary hit points. He may spend a number of kinesis points at one time equal to half his vanguard level. These temporary hit points last until the beginning of his next turn.

Carnage* (Ex) When a vanguard makes a kinetic charge he may expend 2 additional points of kinesis to make an extra melee attack at his highest base attack against one additional opponent that is within reach at the end of his charge. The additional damage from kinetic charge applies to this attack.

Combat Training: A vanguard that selects this talent gains a bonus combat feat (see Feats).

Concussive Charge* (Ex) On a successful kinetic charge attack the vanguard may perform a free bull rush combat maneuver in addition to dealing damage. If successful he knocks his opponent back, but does not need to move with his opponent to move him more than 5 feet.

Deadfall (Su) As an immediate action a vanguard may negate some falling damage. For every point of kinesis spent, the vanguard ignores 10 feet of falling distance when determining damage taken from a fall.

Demolisher (Ex) When the vanguard deals damage to an unattended object (such as a door or wall) with a kinetic charge he doubles the bonus damage from kinetic charge.

Distracting Charge* (Ex) When the vanguard strikes an opponent with a kinetic charge attack, that opponent takes a –2 penalty on attack rolls against the vanguard's allies for 1d4 rounds.

Indomitable Charge (Ex) When a vanguard use kinetic charge he may ignore difficult terrain.

Iron Resolve (Ex) A vanguard with this talent has an unshakable resolve in combat. He gains a +1 bonus on all saves against fear effects as well as a +4 bonus on saves against all spells and effects that cause the vanguard to be staggered or stunned.

Kinetic Leap (Su) The vanguard is always considered to have a running start when using Acrobatics to jump. Additionally, he may spend 1 point of kinesis to gain a +20 circumstance bonus on Acrobatics checks made to jump.

Pull (Su) As a standard action the vanguard may spend 2 points of kinesis to lift one opponent within 30 feet off of the ground as if using the spell //hostile levitation//. The target of pull may make a Will save to negate the effect. His caster level for this effect is equal to his vanguard level.

Flit (Su) The vanguard may spend 1 point of kinesis to teleport up to 10 feet as a swift action. He must have line of sight to his destination and the space must be unoccupied.

Powerful Kinesis* (Ex) Whenever a vanguard with this talent uses kinetic charge, he can elect to take a –2 penalty on all attack rolls until the start of his next turn. Any time he deals additional kinetic charge damage during this round, he treats all 1s on the bonus damage dice as 2s.

Rushing Vanguard: A vanguard that selects this talent gains Improved Bull Rush as a bonus feat.

Staggering Charge* (Su) A vanguard with this ability may spend 1 additional point of kinesis on a kinetic charge to attempt to stagger an opponent. A target that takes damage from kinetic chage enhanced with this talent must succeed on a Fortitude save or be staggered for 1 round.

Swift Charge (Ex) The vanguard may make a kinetic charge as a standard action instead of a full-round action.

Team Leader: A vanguard with this talent gains a team work feat as a bonus feat (see Feats).

Toppling Charge* (Su) When the vanguard performs a kinetic charge he may spend 1 additional point of kinesis to make it a toppling charge. An opponent struck by a vanguard's toppling charge must succeed on a Fortitude save or fall prone in addition to taking damage.
Advanced Vanguard Talents: At 10th level, and every two levels thereafter, a vanguard can choose one of the following advanced talents in place of a vanguard talent.

Abundant Step (Su) A vanguard may teleport vast distances as if using dimension door. Using this ability is a move action that consumes 2 points of kinesis. His caster level for this effect is equal to his vanguard level. He cannot take other creatures with him when he uses this ability.

Kinetic Lance* (Su) At the end of his kinetic charge, the vanguard may forego his normal melee attack to turn his additional kinetic charge damage into a 15-foot long line attack. The line must begin in a square adjacent to the vanguard, and all creatures within the line take damage equal to the vanguard's kinetic charge bonus damage. A successful Reflex save halves this damage. This is a force effect.

Kinetic Slash (Su) A vanguard may spend 2 points of kinesis to transform a melee attack into a ranged attack with a range of 30 feet, sending a rippling wave of kinetic force out from his weapon. If the vanguard spends 3 points of kinesis this attack ignores cover and concealment. This is a force effect.

Lash (Su) As a full-round action a vanguard may spend 2 points of kinesis to create a lash of kinetic energy in a free hand. This lash is wielded like a whip and has a 15 foot reach. The vanguard may make a single melee attack at one opponent within reach as a part of using this ability. This attack deals 1d3 points of damage plus the vanguard's Strength modifier and any bonus damage he would normally inflict with kinetic charge. If the attack hits the vanguard may automatically perform a drag combat maneuver with a +4 bonus. This ability counts as using kinetic charge for purposes of regaining kinesis. This is a force effect.

Mass Carnage* (Ex)
Prerequisite: Carnage vanguard talent
Benefit: When using kinetic charge, the vanguard may attack every opponent within reach at the end of his movement. The vanguard must spend 1 additional point of kinesis per opponent attacked beyond the first.

Mass Pull (Su)
Prerequisite: Pull vanguard talent
Benefit: When the vanguard uses his pull ability, he may spend 1 additional point of kinesis to target an additional opponent within range with the ability. The vanguard may spend a number of kinesis up to half his vanguard level at one time with this ability.

Meteoric Strike (Su)
Prerequisite: Deadfall vanguard talent
Benefit: For every 10 feet of falling damage negated by the deadfall vanguard talent, the vanguard inflicts 1d6 points of damage to all creatures and objects within 10 feet when he lands from a fall. A successful Reflex save halves this damage.

Nova (Su) As a full-round action the vanguard may discharge his kinesis in a 10-foot radius around himself. Any creature within this radius takes 1d6 points of damage per point of kinesis spent (up to a maximum of 1 point of kinesis per vanguard level). A successful Reflex save halves this damage. This is a force effect.

Ravaging Strike* (Su)
Prerequisite: Kinetic charge +6d6
Benefit: When the vanguard uses kinetic charge he may spent 1 additional point of kinesis to cause his kinetic charge to deal additional damage over time to an opponent struck. The vanguard subtracts 3d6 points of bonus damage from his kinetic charge and his opponent must succeed on a Fortitude save or take 3d6 points of damage per round for 1 round per point of the vanguard's Wisdom modifier. The target of ravaging strike may make a Fortitude save each round it is affected to negate the damage and end the effect.


Open Content: The game mechanics of this game product are Open Game Content, as defined in the Open Gaming License version 1.0a Section 1(d).

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