Armigers are masters of defense, able to shrug off attacks that would destroy lesser combatants, and even increase the survivability of those around them. The armiger is built around maximizing the benefit of armor and shields. With large hit point totals, special defense-related talents, and an aptitude for unusual shields, armigers can carry the fight forward under the most difficult circumstances. The best armigers often find themselves the main thing standing between victory and a total party kill.
While armigers can fight with most martial weapons, typically they focus on pole arms with reach or crossbows, giving them the ability to strike at foes without having to be on the front line of a battle. This allows armigers to play strong supporting roles and still manage to inflict damage on the enemy. An armiger certainly can fight with other weapons, but just as monks are generally at their best using unarmed attacks, most armigers function better when using reach or simple ranged weapons. Of course they also wear the best armor they can afford, regularly spending much more on shields and plate mail than weapons or comfort items. Armor is the core of an armiger’s identity—an armiger treats his protective gear the way a cleric treats his holy symbol, or a samurai treats his katana.
Many armigers are famous heroes, well known for surviving horrific trials that crushed others before. An armiger may begin his career as a small town hero who, through sheer cussedness, outlasted a terrible troll on a battle over a local bridge. Or he may be a noble-born guardian of his people, trained from birth to wear the heavy armor only members of the upper class can afford. In some lands, entire brigades of armigers are legendary as specialty troops who provide an impenetrable blanket of protection—groups with names such as the Dwarven Ironhides or the Bullette Brigade.
Other armigers are the trusted aids of mighty knights, priests, and archmages—the right-hand men and most loyal supporters of important individuals. These armigers are often less well known than the great leaders and dignitaries they serve, but there presence is palpable and they are perceived as powers to be reckoned with. Killing an armiger’s charge is almost always a secondary concern, to be handled only after you’ve disposed of the armiger.
Role: Armigers are fair combatants, and can certainly survive the rigors of front-line fighting, but in most groups they serve more of a support role. An armiger can help protect allies just by standing near them and does so continuously until he is incapacitated—a fact that makes an armiger excellent partner in combat. Almost any adventurers are more likely to survive a fight if they are next to an armiger, regardless of their class or party role. Additionally, the very durability of an armiger often gives him options that would prove lethal to other characters. If someone has to jump into the blades of a trap, carry a burning relic, hold the doorway against a mob, or run through a gauntlet of readied foes, an armiger will usually be the obvious choice. When the main challenge is survivability, the armiger is in his element.
Hit Die: d12. An armiger that rolls lower than 6 on a hit die treats the result as a 6.
Starting Wealth: At 1st level, an armiger begins play with 5d6 x 10 gp or a suit of splint mail and 2d3 x 10 gp.
The armiger’s class skills are Appraise (Int), Bluff (Cha), Climb (Str), Craft (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Handle Animal (Cha), Heal (Wis), Intimidate (Cha), Knowledge (engineering) (Int), Knowledge (local) (Int), Knowledge (nobility) (Int), Perception (Wis), Profession (Wis), Ride (Dex), Sense Motive (Wis), and Survival (Wis).
Skill Ranks per Level: 4 + Int modifier.
Armiger Hit Points
While armigers receive a d12 for hit dice (plus their Constitution bonus), on average they will end up with more hit points than other classes with the same size hit die. This is because armigers treat a result of 1–5 as a 6, and thus they end up with a higher number of average hit points per level than other classes with the same hit die. Normally a class with a d12 hit die per level has (not counting Constitution modifiers) 6.5 hp a level. With their special rolling rule, armigers end up with an average of 7.75 hp/level.
Groups using a variant rule to determine hit points (such as a flat average of hit points per level, or allowing low die rolls to be rerolled) should modify such rules to ensure that armigers continue to have a higher than- average hit point total. A quick and easy rule is to give armigers one hit point per level more than is given to barbarians.
All of the following are class features of the class name.
Weapon and Armor Proficiency: An armiger is proficient with all simple weapons, martial melee weapons, heavy and light repeating crossbows, light, medium, and heavy armor, and all shields (including the tower shield and all exotic shields).
The armiger knows how to protect not just himself, but also how to help protect his allies. An armiger grants soft cover to any ally adjacent to him, even against attacks the armiger is not aware of and those that come from a direction that would not normally count the armiger as cover. The armiger does not count as cover for himself, though two armigers standing next to each other both do gain this benefit.
As an armiger gains experience, he learns a number of talents that aid him in defending himself and his allies. Starting at 2nd level, an armiger gains one armiger talent. He gains an additional armiger talent at 5th and 8th levels.
Armor Training (Ex): Armigers often learn to be more maneuverable while wearing armor. An armiger with this talent improves the armor check penalty (to a maximum of 0) and maximum Dexterity bonus to AC by +1 for any armor he is wearing. This talent may be taken more than once. Its effects stack.
Citadel (Ex): This talent allows an armiger to count as hard cover for all adjacent allies, rather than only being soft cover (as described in the bulwark class ability). The armiger must be conscious and able to take actions to grant this benefit. In addition, as a move action, the armiger can grant an adjacent ally temporary hit points. The ally gains 1d8 temporary hit points + 1 per 2 class levels. The armiger must remain conscious, able to move, and adjacent to the ally or the temporary hit points end. An armiger may do this a number of times per day equal to 3 + his Wisdom modifier (minimum 3/day).
Crossbow Brace (Ex): This talent allows an armiger to brace a crossbow on an equipped shield. Even when the armiger is using a shield that prevents his hand from being free, that stability of his bracing allows him to use his shield-arm to hold, fire, and reload a crossbow with which he is proficient. It also gives the armiger a +1 bonus to attack rolls made with a crossbow with which he is proficient. He gains this bonus only while he has a shield equipped. This bonus increases to +2 at 6th level, +3 at 12th level, and +4 at 18th level.
Defensive Training: An armiger may take this talent to gain one of the following feats as a bonus feat: Alertness, Armored Hustle, Combat Expertise, Combat Reflexes, Defensive Combat Training, Diehard, Dodge, Endurance, Greater Shield Focus, Improved Shield Bash, Mobility, Shield Block, Shield Focus, and Stand Still. This talent may be taken more than once. Each time, a different feat much be selected.
Picket (Ex): An armiger with this talent gains a bonus to attack rolls and damage for attacks the armiger makes with a readied action. The attacks must be made with a weapon with the brace quality, and the target must be a charging foe. The bonus is equal to half the armiger’s class level.
Resist (Ex): An armiger can learn to maximize his armor’s effectiveness against unusual attack types. The armiger selects one of the following damage types: acid, cold, electricity, fire, or sonic. When wearing medium or heavy armor, the armiger gains resist 5 against the selected damage type. If the armiger is 10th level or higher, this resistance increases to 10. This talent may be taken up to five times. Its effects do not stack. Each time it is taken, a different damage type must be selected.
Shelter of Steel (Ex): This talent allows an armiger to use his armor to absorb some of the inevitable punishment of battle. As a move action, an armiger in medium or heavy armor can gain 1d8 temporary hit points +1 per 2 class levels. The armiger may do this a number of times per day equal to his Constitution bonus (minimum 1/day).
Slam (Ex): An armiger with this talent throws himself bodily into foes and barriers, trusting his armor to protect him. The armiger gains a bonus to all CMB checks made to bull rush or overrun foes, and to Strength checks made to break open doors and gates. This bonus is equal to his total armor bonus plus shield bonus, to a maximum of his class level.
Spear Brace (Ex): This armiger talent allows an armiger to brace a pole arm or spear on an equipped shield, to aid in handling and fighting with it. His increased stability gives the armiger a +1 bonus to attack rolls made with a pole arm or spear with which he is proficient. He gains this bonus only while he has a shield equipped. This bonus increases to +2 at 6th level, +3 at 12th level, and +4 at 18th level. Additionally, even when the armiger is using a shield that prevents his hand from being free, he can use his shield-arm to hold (and fight with) a pole arm or spear with which he is proficient.
Pole arms include the glaive, guisarme, halberd, ranseur, and any other weapon that falls in the pole arm weapon group for purposes of the fighter weapon training ability. Spears include the javelin, lance, longspear, shortspear, spear, trident, and any other weapon that falls in the spear weapon group for purposes of the fighter weapon training ability.
Uncanny Block (Ex): With uncanny block, an armiger can interpose a shield between himself and danger before his senses would normally allow him to do so. When the armiger has a shield equipped, he cannot be caught flat-footed even if the attacker is invisible. He still loses his Dexterity bonus to AC if immobilized or if a foe successfully makes a Bluff check to feint against him.
A 2nd level an armiger can maximize the protection his armor gives him to reduce the damage area attacks deal him. An armiger in heavy armor takes only half damage from any attack, spell, or ability that allows a Reflex saving throw. The armiger is still allowed a normal saving throw, he simply takes half of whatever damage he normally would based on the result of that saving throw. If the attack, spell, or ability has a non-damaging effect, the armiger suffers the appropriate effect based on his saving throw result.
At 3rd level, an armiger learns to get more out of his armor, increasing the armor bonus to AC he receives from medium or heavy armor by +1. This bonus increases to +2 at 9th level, and +3 at 15th level.
At 4th level an armiger can use his armor to absorb some of the damage he suffers from physical attacks, and can prevent attacks from striking weak points in his armor. The armiger gains DR 1/— when wearing medium or heavy armor. This DR also applies to the hardness of the armiger’s armor or shield if either suffers a direct attack. This DR increases to 2/— at 7th level, 3/— at 10th level, 4/— at 13th level, 5/— at 16th level, and 6/— at 19th level. Thus a 7th-level armiger, with armored DR 2/— , increases the hardness of any armor or shield he is wearing by +2.
An armiger in medium or heavy adamantine armor adds the value of his armored DR to the value of the armored DR total. For example, a 10th-level armiger (with armored DR 3/—) wearing an adamantine breastplate (with DR 2/—) combines the two values and has DR 5/—.
At 4th level, an armiger can don and remove his own armor more quickly and aid others to do the same. The armiger can strap on a shield as a swift action. The armiger can don or remove his own armor in 1/3 the normal time, and can don half-plate or full plate without having someone help. This time reduction also applies if the armiger opts to don hastily. Having an assistant does not help an armiger don armor any more quickly.
An armiger can also grant these time reductions for donning, hastily donning, and removing armor to up to two adjacent allies. The armiger must take full-round actions to assist these allies. Unlike most characters, an armiger can don his own armor at the same time he assists others in doing so.
At 6th level, an armiger’s defensive instincts become so great that he can intercept attacks aimed at his allies. Once a day, as an immediate action, the armiger can swap places with an adjacent ally who has been struck by an attack. The armiger can make this decision after seeing the damage dealt by the attack to his ally. This prevents the original target from suffering any damage or effect from the attack. The armiger instead becomes the target of the attack, and is automatically hit by it. This is true even if the original attack roll would not have hit the armiger—the act of intercepting the attack requires the armiger to lower his own defenses and leaves him vulnerable to the attack. The armiger does gain the benefit of his own saving throws, DR, and resistance against effects that allow such defenses. The armiger and the original target actually trade positions as a result of this power.
The armiger must be conscious and able to move, and cannot be flat footed, to use this ability. Only attacks and effects that require attack rolls can be intercepted with safeguard (an armiger can’t prevent an ally from being hit by magic missiles, for example). The armiger can use this ability on allies up to one size larger than himself, but it must be possible for the ally to stand in the space originally occupied by the armiger. (A human armiger can use this ability on a Large bear ally, for example, but only if there is a space the bear can stand in that includes the space originally occupied by the armiger).
The armiger gains an addition use of this ability per day at 9th level, and again at 12th, 15th, and 18th level.
Beginning at 11th level, an armiger’s selection of talents increases. Whenever an armiger gains an advanced armiger talent he may choose one of the following abilities or choose one of the armiger talents described earlier. He gains additional advanced armiger talents every three levels.
Aegis (Ex): This talent doubles an armiger’s DR against successful critical hits and sneak attacks. It also grants the armiger a bonus to AC against attack rolls made to confirm critical hits. This bonus is equal to 1/2 the armiger’s class level.
Elemental Shield (Su): Some armigers access mystic powers of protection as they become paragons of defensive techniques. With this talent, as a swift action an armiger with a shield equipped gains resistance 10 against acid, cold, electricity, fire, and sonic damage. This resistance lasts for one round per class level. The armiger may use this ability a number of times per day equal to his Constitution modifier (minimum 1/day). If the armiger also has the resist talent, that resistance stacks with the elemental shield.
Improved Uncanny Block (Ex): An armiger must have taken the uncanny block talent to take improved uncanny block. When the armiger has a shield equipped, he cannot be flanked. This defense denies a rogue the ability to sneak attack the armiger by flanking him, unless the attacker has at least four more rogue levels than the target has armiger levels.
Spellguard, lesser (Sp): A few armigers seek to master all arts of protection, including spells normally reserved for clerics and wizards. With this talent, the armiger selects three 1st-level spells and one 2nd-level spell. These must be abjuration spells from the cleric or sorcerer/wizard spell lists. The armiger can cast each of these spells once per day, using his armiger level as his caster level. The armiger focuses these spells through his armor. Thus they ignore any somatic requirements, but the armiger can only cast them when wearing medium or heavy armor.
Spellguard, greater (Sp): An armiger must take the lesser spellguard talent prior to taking this talent. The armiger selects one 2nd-level spell and one 3rd-level spell. These must be abjuration spells from the cleric or sorcerer/wizard spell lists. The armiger can cast each of these spells once per day, using his armiger level as his caster level. The armiger focuses these spells through his armor. Thus they ignore any somatic requirements, but the armiger can only cast them when wearing medium or heavy armor.
At 20th level, the armiger becomes a perfect paragon of defensive skill. The armiger is immune to all critical hits and sneak attacks. Once per round, if the armiger is subject to an effect (other than the consequences of standard damage) that would reduce his AC (including such effects as being stunned, falling asleep or unconscious, and even dying), the armiger is allowed a special Fortitude save to ignore the effect. The DC of this save is 10 + 1/2 the level or hit dice of the attacker, plus the attacker’s Con, Int, Wis, or Cha modifier (whichever modifier is highest). The armiger may use this ability a number of times per day equal to his Wisdom bonus (minimum 1/day).
Instead of receiving an additional skill rank or hit point whenever they gain a level in a Favored Class, some races have the option of choosing from a number of other bonuses, depending upon their Favored Classes. The following options are available to the listed race who have armigers as their Favored Class, and unless otherwise stated, the bonus applies each time you select the listed Favored Class reward.
When a character selects a class, he must choose to use the standard class features found or those listed in one of the archetypes presented here. Each alternate class feature replaces a specific class feature from its parent class. For example, the elemental fist class feature of the monk of the four winds replaces the stunning fist class feature of the monk. When an archetype includes multiple class features, a character must take all of them—often blocking the character from ever gaining certain familiar class features, but replacing them with equally powerful options. All of the other class features found in the core class and not mentioned among the alternate class features remain unchanged and are acquired normally when the character reaches the appropriate level (unless noted otherwise). A character who takes an alternate class feature does not count as having the class feature that was replaced when meeting any requirements or prerequisites.
A character can take more than one archetype and garner additional alternate class features, but none of the alternate class features can replace or alter the same class feature from the core class as another alternate class feature. For example, a paladin could not be both a hospitaler and an undead scourge since they both modify the smite evil class feature and both replace the aura of justice class feature. A paladin could, however, be both an undead scourge and a warrior of the holy light, since none of their new class features replace the same core class feature.
Archetypes are a quick and easy way to specialize characters of a given class, adding fun and flavorful new abilities to already established adventurers. Characters may take more than one archetype if they meet the requirements.
The armiger is an unusual class in many ways. It’s a combat-centered design that only has a second-rate base attack bonus progression, and a support character that can’t give many bonuses to his allies. As a result many players and GMs may not be sure where it fits in the standard complementof adventurers.
For GMs, an armiger can make a fantastic base-class NPC. First, armigers make terrific cohorts for games where someone has the Leadership feat. They are of real benefit to their allies, but are unlikely to strike down the major foe of a fight before the barbarian or sorcerer can do so. They are hard to kill, so the GM rarely has to worry about pulling punches around them. Armigers have few limited-use resources, making them easy for a GM (or another player) to keep track of in addition to running the monsters and other NPCs in an encounter. For similar reasons, armigers make great aids for evil warlords, foul necromancers, and tyrannical slave drivers. Adding an armiger to a major encounter can help prevent one-shot kills of major bad guys, without overwhelming players with another major damage-dealer.
For players considering how an armiger PC affects group balance, an armiger is a great support character. Such characters work best either as secondary front-line fighters or as guards for characters that want to stay away from the front line. For example, if a group includes a sorcerer who can do significant damage but is very fragile, an armiger can greatly boost the group’s effectiveness by staying next to the sorcerer. The armiger grants the sorcerer cover, and can engage any foes that try to rush the spellcaster.
Despite not being offensively oriented, an armiger can get into melee combat the same way rogues and fighters do. Rather than dealing very high damage under specific circumstances (rogue) or balancing offensive and defensive abilities (fighter), an armiger defeats more powerful targets simply by out-lasting them. Armigers are generally hard to hit, have lots of hit points, and include numerous abilities to make them tough to dispose of. Any player who wants to be the last man standing, the heroic rear guard, the champion’s trusted lieutenant, or the devoted bodyguard would be well advised to consider an armiger. Such roles are not everyone’s cup of tea, but they are common in both fantasy literature and many gaming groups.
Within the boundaries of a campaign setting, armigers can take a large number of roles. They may essentially be professional squires or bodyguards—trained and devoted to the task of aiding others. Alternatively, armigers may represent the typical fighting style of some specific culture or nation. It’s easy to envision dwarven armigers being more common than dwarven fighters or rangers, carrying to an exterme their skill at moving in heavy armor. Armigers might also be members of a specific group, ranging from a band of dedicated guards to an order of knights dedicated to protecting a site or population (for example, the Order of the Bulwark, the Defenders of the Temple, or the Praetorian Guard). They could even represent a specific style of gladiatorial fighter, trained to win fights while maximizing the duration of a live-blade bout, to get more entertainment per session for a paying audience.