Marshal, 2nd Variant (3.5e Class)

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A charismatic leader who commands with an stern voice, strengths his allies with various auras, and demoralizes his enemies with intimidating prowess. Always leading the charge, he acts as his party's shield.

Making a Marshal[edit]

Great Tank and even better party face, the Marshal is a specializes front line combat. Along with his passive auras, he makes a a good AoE buffer too, and can weaken his enemies with targeted attacks that apply various conditions. But no matter how you want to specialize your character, Marshals are born for the front lines of combat.

Abilities: Charisma is paramount to a Marshal, as it affects almost all of his abilities. High Strength and Constitution help the Marshal contribute in melee combat, and high Intelligence helps the Marshal put more of his skills to use. Dexterity aids the Marshal in staying alive, and Wisdom affects a few of his skills and his Will save, but not much else, and Charisma will be used in your Will saves anyways at level 2.

Races: Since charismatic races are few and far in between, it's best to focus on races that boost your Str & Con ability scores, while not hurting your Cha score. Humans are a good neutral ground for the bonus feat, and extra skill points.

Alignment: Most Marshals are of some kind of Lawful bent, as they receive, hand out, and deliver orders, typically from lords to soldiers. However, even the most chaotic of armies has its commanders, who are most likely Marshals of some kind.

Starting Gold: 6d4 ×10 gp (Average Starting Gold: 150 gp).

Starting Age: Moderate, same as fighter.

Table: The Marshal

Hit Die: d10

Level Base
Attack Bonus
Saving Throws Special Aura
Fort Ref Will
1st +1 +2 +0 +2 Battle Command, Shield Combat I
2nd +2 +3 +0 +3 Unshakable Resolve, Combat Specialization I
3rd +3 +3 +1 +3 Stalwart Commander I, Vulgar Taunt, Shield Combat II
4th +4 +4 +1 +4 Shake It Off (1/day), Commander's Aura (+1|x1) +1 2 1
5th +5 +4 +1 +4 Moving Fortress, Crippling Blow I +1 2 1
6th +6/+1 +5 +2 +5 Protector's Aura I, Combat Specialization II +1 3 1
7th +7/+2 +5 +2 +5 Punishing Shield +1 3 1
8th +8/+3 +6 +2 +6 Double Time I, Commander's Aura (+2|x1) +2 4 1
9th +9/+4 +6 +3 +6 Ally Surge, Shake It Off (2/day) +2 4 1
10th +10/+5 +7 +3 +7 Crippling Blow II, Combat Specialization III +2 5 1
11th +11/+6/+1 +7 +3 +7 Daunting Presence, Stalwart Commander II +2 5 1
12th +12/+7/+2 +8 +4 +8 Commander's Aura (+3|x2) +3 6 2
13th +13/+8/+3 +8 +4 +8 Not On This Day +3 6 2
14th +14/+9/+4 +9 +4 +9 Protector's Aura II, Shake It Off (3/day) +3 7 2
15th +15/+10/+5 +9 +5 +9 Crippling Blow III +3 7 2
16th +16/+11/+6/+1 +10 +5 +10 Double Time II, Commander's Aura (+4|x2) +4 8 2
17th +17/+12/+7/+2 +10 +5 +10 Charging Fortress +4 8 2
18th +18/+13/+8/+3 +11 +6 +11 Greater Ally Surge +4 8 2
19th +19/+14/+9/+4 +11 +6 +11 +4 8 2
20th +20/+15/+10/+5 +12 +6 +12 Commander's Aura (+5|x3) +5 8 3

Class Skills (4 + Int modifier per level, ×4 at 1st level)
Balance (Dex), Bluff (Cha), Climb (Str), Craft (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Gather Information (Cha), Handle Animal (Cha), Intimidate (Cha), Jump (Str), Knowledge (Architecture and Engineering) (Int), Knowledge (History) (Int), Knowledge (Nobility and Royalty) (Int), Listen (Wis), Ride (Dex), Search (Int), Sense Motive (Wis), Speak Language (Int), and Spot (Wis).

Class Features[edit]

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Marshals are proficient with all simple and martial weapons, all armor and all shields.

Battle Command (Ex): All Marshals learn at 1st level how to extol their allies and bring out the best each is capable of. The Marshal may, as a swift action, select a single ally and grant that ally a morale bonus to his choice of the following: AC, attacks, or caster level for the purposes of overcoming Spell Resistance. This bonus is equal to, and lasts for a number of rounds equal to, the Marshal's Charisma modifier. An ally can only be under the effects of one Battle Command at a time.

Shield Combat (Ex): Every Marshal at level 1 knows how to fight with their shield, and gains Improved Shield Bash feat, and he may shield bash with a Tower Shield as a two-handed weapon (2d6 bludgeoning damage, & x3 crit|size scales the damage as if it was a Greatsword). Marshals also gain Shield Specialization feat at 3rd level.

Unshakable Resolve (Su): At 2nd level, the Marshal's will is harder to break than might be expected. With a steeled spirit, and a cooled head, a Marshal's mind is not so easily conquered. He gains a bonus to all Will saves equal to his Charisma modifier. This bonus does not stack with the paladin's divine grace ability, nor the crusader's indomitable spirit ability.

Combat Specialization (Ex): At 2nd level, a Marshal must choose a combat specialization: Sword and Shield Combat, Dual Shield Combat, or Tower Shield Fortress. This choice affects the character’s class features but does not restrict his selection of feats or special abilities in any way.

If a Marshal chooses Sword and Shield Combat, he is treated as if he has the Power Attack feat, and the Agile Shield Fighter feat at 6th level, while fighting with both a one handed weapon and shield. At 10th level the Marshal gains 4 additional damage per -1 penalty from Power Attack.

If a Marshal chooses Dual Shield Combat, he is treated as if he has the Two-Weapon Fighting feat, and the Two-Weapon Defense feat at 6th level, while fighting with two shields. At 10th level the Marshal's shield bash attacks deal damage as if they were a size larger, and each of their shields give an additional +1 to AC.

If a Marshal chooses Tower Shield Fortress, he is treated as if he has the Combat Expertise feat, and the Allied Defense feat at 6th level, while fighting with a tower shield. At 10th level the Marshal's shield gains additional AC equal to half his Marshal level, and allies within 5 ft of you gain a bonus to AC equal to half your total shield AC.

The benefits of the Marshal's chosen combat specialization only apply when he wears is wielding the respective weapons of the specialization. He loses all benefits of his combat mastery when he is not equipped with the respective weapons of the specialization.

Stalwart Commander (Ex): Marshals are not only great leaders, but brave warriors who are always the first to charge into battle. At 3rd level, a Martial adds their Charisma modifier to their Initiative, and if he charges a target that has yet to act, or a target that is flatfooted, they do not get the -2 AC penalty from charging. At 11th level, Marshals are always able to act during surprise rounds.

Vulgar Taunt (Ex): Starting at 3rd level, a Marshal can shout a vulgar taunt to all enemies, cursing out the foulest of insults to anger an enemy. Any target of this ability must have a language of some sort and an Intelligence score of 5 or higher. Creatures that do not meet these requirements are immune to this ability. The Marshal must have line of sight and line of effect to the targets of this ability.

As a swift action, a Marshal can cause all his enemies within 60 ft. to make Will saves (DC 10 + 1/2 the Marshal's class level + his Charisma modifier). Creatures that fail this save are forced to attack you with their ranged or melee attacks in preference over other available targets. If a foe attacks by casting a spell or using a supernatural ability, they must target the Marshal with the attack or include him in the effect's area.

An opponent compelled to act in this manner is, while angry due to the insult, not thrown into a mindless rage and does not have to move to attack you in melee if doing so would provoke attacks of opportunity against him. In such a case, he can use ranged attacks against you or attack any opponents he threatens as normal. If anyone other than you attacks the target, the effect of the Vulgar Taunt ends for that specific target.

The Marshal may use this ability a number of times per day equal to half his level + his Charisma modifier. The effect of Vulgar Taunt lasts for a number of rounds equal to 5 + the Marshal's Charisma bonus (if any) + 1 for every 5 they failed the Will save by. Whether a creature fails or succeeds on its save against the Marshal's Vulgar Taunt, it can only be targeted by this effect once per day.

Shake It Off (Su): Combat magics and the like can be debilitating, turning friends to foes and disabling the mightiest warrior. At 4th level, a Marshal can allow an ally who has just failed a saving throw against an effect to make another saving throw with an additional morale bonus to the save equal to the Marshal's charisma modifier. Marshals do not count as their own ally for the purposes of this ability. This ability is an immediate action, and must be used immediately after a saving throw has been rolled, but before the result has been announced. The reroll must be taken even if it is worse than the original. Marshals can use this ability once a day, and he gains additional uses per day at 9th level, and 14th level.

Commander's Aura (Su): Beginning at 4th level, the Marshal begins exuding a powerful 30 ft aura. At 4th level, he may choose two auras to learn, and again every other level above that (6th, 8th, 10th, etc; knowing all eight auras by the 16th level), to use from one of the list below:

Resilient Troops: Allies gain a morale bonus to all saves equal to the Marshal's aura.

Improved Vigor: Allies gain Fast Healing equal to the Marshal's aura bonus (This Fast Healing is added on top of any already existing extraordinary or supernatural Fast Healing. For example this would stack with a Firblog's Fast Healing 3, but not one granted by a spell or spell-like ability like a Druid's Spontaneous Rejuvenation or items that provide Fast Healing).

Draconian Fortitude: Allies gain energy resistance for a element of the Marshal's choice equal to three times the Marshal's aura bonus. The Marshal must select between acid, cold, electric, and fire; this aura can stack up to three times at level 20, each stack being either being a different element, or the same one.

Adamantine Skin: Allies gain DR /- equal to the Marshal's aura bonus (This DR /- is added on top of any already existing extraordinary DR /-, such as the DR /- from a Barbarian).

Impenetrable Defense: Allies gain a bonus to their AC equal to the Marshal's aura bonus.

Deft Offense: Allies gain a morale bonus to hit, and to their damage, equal to the Marshal's aura bonus.

Art of War: Allies gain a morale bonus to all bull rush, disarm, feint, grapple, overrun, sunder, and trip checks equal to the Marshal's aura bonus.

Enduring March: Allies gain bonus base move speed equal to five times the Marshal's aura bonus, and a morale bonus on all Constitution checks equal to twice the Marshal's aura bonus for forced march checks, and for all environmental fortitude checks.

The Marshal's aura bonus starts at +1, and increases every four levels after, with it being +5 at 20th level. He also gain an extra active aura at 12th level, and again at 20th level; for a total of three active auras at 20th level.

Moving Fortress (Ex): The Marshal must be able to move about the battlefield quickly so they can protect their allies. At 5th level, he becomes less encumbered by their armor; his speed while wearing no armor changes to 45 ft., to 40 ft. in light armor, to 30 ft. in medium armor, and to 25 ft. in heavy armor.

Crippling Blow (Su): At 5th level, the Marshal knows that only through a diverse array of conditions will enemies be defeated; specialization is all well and good, but what if the enemy counters that in which you're specialized? Thus, the Marshal inflicts an array of conditions upon his enemies with his shield. This ability can be used once per round as a swift action, and applies to the next attack made by the Marshal. This attack gains a competence boost to attack equal to the Marshal's charisma modifier and only one condition which has been unlocked can be chosen.

5th Level Conditions: Flat-Footed, Entangled, Shaken, Sickened

10th Level Conditions: Blinded, Deafened, Silenced, Confused

15th Level Conditions: Frightened, Nauseated, Slowed, Stunned

Each condition lasts for one round and can be resisted with a Fortitude save whose DC equals 10 + 1/2 class level of the Marshal + the Marshal's charisma modifier. A Marshal can use this ability a limited number of times per day, equal to his level.

Protector's Aura (Su): Starting at 6th level, a Marshal learns how to utilize their aura to protect his allies. As a swift or immediate action a Marshal can opt to absorb part of the damage dealt to an ally that is within his aura. Each time this ally takes damage from a physical attack before the Marshal's next turn, the Marshal can take half this damage on himself. The target takes the other half as normal. Marshals can only absorb damage from physical melee attacks and ranged attacks, such as an incoming arrow or a blow from a sword, not from spells and other effects.

At 14th level, a Marshal can now opt to absorb the damage of multiple allies equal to his Charisma modifier, and may now absorb damage from spells as well. When he chooses only a single ally for this ability, the Marshal absorbs half the damage as normal, and target ally will instead only take half of the damage they otherwise would have taken (a quarter of the original damage value); the remaining damage is negated.

Punishing Shield (Ex): A Marshal knows how to punish their foes whenever they leave an opening. Beginning at 7th level, Marshals gain additional attacks of opportunity per round equal to their shield's highest bonus to AC. Any attacks of opportunity made through this ability must be a shield bash of some kind.

Double Time (Su): At 8th level, a Marshal gains the ability to instill great urgency and zeal, giving them improved prowess and speed. Each day, as a standard action, a Marshal can give a willing ally, other than himself, the effects of the haste spell a number of times equal to his Charisma modifier. This effect lasts a number of rounds equal to the Marshal's level. This ability is treated as a mind-affecting effect if it is used on an unwilling ally, and they must make a Will saving throw (DC: 10 + 1/2 the Marshal's level + the Marshal's Charisma modifier) to prevent it's effects. At 16th level, a Marshal can target multiple allies per use of Double Time, this amount is equal to his aura bonus.

Ally Surge (Su): At 9th level, Marshals can grant their fallen allies a second chance. As an immediate action, he can let an ally that just reached 0 or less HP act as if they have 1 HP left and let them take a free withdraw action, even if it's not their turn. The ally also gains a bonus to their AC and their next saving throw equal to his Charisma modifier. These effects only last for one round, and the Marshal becomes fatigued for 1d4 rounds (if they were at -4 HP or more), or twice the amount rolled (if -5 to -9 HP left). If he uses this ability again before the fatigue fades, then he rolls the 1d4 as normal and combines the result with what remains from the previous use, and become exhausted instead. Marshals can use this ability a number of times per day equal to his Charisma modifier, and he cannot use this ability while exhausted.

If the target ally has -10 HP or less HP, then they cannot be affected by this ability because they are already dead.

Daunting Presence (Su): At 11th level, a Marshal's aura begins to weigh down on his foes, making it harder his foes move the closer they get to him. Any foe that enters or begins their turn in the area of a Marshal's Commanding Aura must make a Will save (DC: 15 + 1/2 the Marshal's level + the Marshal's Charisma modifier - 2 per 5 ft. the enemy is from the Marshal, minimum DC of 10) or treat all spaces inside the Marshal's Commanding Aura as difficult terrain for a number of rounds equal to 2d4 + 1 per 5 they failed the save by (minimum of 2 rounds, maximum of 12). Likewise, if they pass the save, they are unaffected by this ability for a number of rounds equal to 2d6 + 1 for every 5 they exceeded the save by (minimum of 2 rounds, maximum of 16). Save or not, if the enemy is still inside the Marshal's Commanding Aura once either duration is over, they must make the save again from their current location.

If an enemy begins their turn adjacent to the Marshal, they automatically fail the save. They treat all space inside the aura as difficult terrain until they begin their turn in a location that's not adjacent to the Marshal, in which case they roll a save as normal if they are still within this ability's area of effect.

Not On This Day (Ex): Always on the watch for any danger that may befall their allies, Marshal's are ever vigilant to prevent the fall of an ally to the point they can foresee which blows would have fatal results. At 13th level, A Marshal can use their immediate action to deflect any attack that would bring an ally to or below 0 within their threat range. This is done after the enemy's attack roll has been confirmed as a hit, and damage has been rolled. To deflect the attack, you must make a shield bash attack at your highest base attack bonus, the result then becomes the ally's new AC. If the result is higher than the enemy's attack result, the attack is deflected, and the enemy then takes half of the damage they would have otherwise dealt. Marshals can do this a number of times per day equal to half their level.

Charging Fortress (Ex): At 17th level, a Marshal becomes even more mobile across the battlefield. He can now run normally in heavy armor, and whenever the Marshal uses the charge, bull rush, or overrun maneuvers, he is treated as if he was one size category larger when wearing medium armor, or as if he was two size categories larger in heavy armor. When the Marshal attempts to overrun a target, they cannot chose to avoid the attack, as if he had the improved overrun feat.

Greater Ally Surge (Su): At 18th level, a Marshal can sacrifice their own vitality to save their fallen allies. Marshals can now use Ally Surge on allies who have -10 or less Hp and died, taking 1 point of Constitution damage for each round the target was dead for; with the max time limit being 10 rounds (1 minute). Once the effect ends the allied target then becomes unconscious at -9 HP. A Marshal cannot use the effects of Greater Ally Surge until this Constitution damage is healed; either through magical means or a long rest.

Campaign Information[edit]

Playing a Marshal[edit]

Religion: Marshals typically worship some Lawful entity of combat or war, though some chaotic Marshals will worship gods of the slaughter.

Other Classes: Good & Neutral Marshals tend to be respected members of the community, typically seen either serving in the nation's army, city guard, or as an wondering adventurer; meanwhile Chaotic Marshals tends to be viewed as muscle-brained battle junkies that dance the fine line between help and nuisance. Evil Marshals are feared for where they go, disaster floods in with them.

Combat: A Marshal's role is foremost that of a tank/front-liner. They take the hits so you don't have to. Any buffs or debuffs they dish out are just a bonus.

Advancement: Typically you want to stick with Marshal for at a minimum of 10 levels, as that's when you have a majority of what you need from the class, but multiclassing into any other tanky/front-line classes is good. Your going to want to avoid taking levels into paladin and crusader since their level 2 abilities (Divine Grace & Indomitable Soul) don't stack with the Marshal's Unshakable Resolve; though Crusader makes a good 1 level dip at & beyond 5th level, since it can give you a lot of martial maneuvers that can boost your sustainability in combat.

Marshals in the World[edit]

{{quote|Take heart, soldiers! Upon this very stretch of land we'll make our final stand, and break our foe upon our unwavering valor! We will fight for what we know is right, and we will make it known that they will never bend our proud nation's knee.|orig=Falothar the Virtuous, Grand Marshal of the King's Court of Darralon}

Daily Life: Many Marshals find themselves thrust into the role of leaders or mediators where they use their skills to convince others to act one way or another. Their knowledge of tactics also sometimes places them in the role of an adviser, where they give sound advice on how to act in the coming battles ahead.

Organizations: Marshals can be found in almost any organization where martially-oriented characters group. In wars they can be found leading squads, in churches they can be found leading prayer services, and in times of peace they can be found training militia. Governments, churches, and other organizations that seek to pacify others through the use of martial power love to recruit Marshals for their cause.

NPC Reactions: Marshals, with their charismatic ways and knowledge of interaction are often welcomed by most people. However, there are some people who see them as a force which fuels the war machine, and amongst pacifists they are often shunned if they display their true abilities.

Marshal Lore[edit]

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

Knowledge (Local)
DC Result
5 Marshals are often leaders of various groups for some reason, though no one is really sure why.
10 The companies which contain Marshals often have fewer deaths in them, almost as though something keeps the Marshal's companions alive despite the fact that Marshals have no real healing abilities.
15 Marshals are brave warriors who charge into the forefront of battle. They're able to toughen their allies, boost their attacks, and are a boon in most groups. Just be sure to follow their orders and you should do fine.
20 Often the key to winning battles, Marshals can push both themselves and other people past their own limitations. As a Marshal grows in power, they can revive their allies from near-death, unleash devastating attacks & counter-attacks, and some even manage fight off hordes of enemies single handily.

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