Phalanx Specialist (3.5e Prestige Class)
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|“||The Spartans are the equal of any men when they fight as individuals; fighting together as a collective, they surpass all other men.||”|
|—Damaratus to Xerxes|
For many hundreds of years wars were fought by phalanxes of troops clashing while irregular infantry, cavalry and skirmishers fought on the periphery of the field and tried to pick at the flanks of the phalanxes. While more versatile troops now take center stage in most of the world the phalanx is still used by the elves of Estra, parts of Koorbrook and several of the Confederated States as well as numerous hobgoblin tribes and dwarf clans.
Becoming a Phalanx Specialist
Fighters are the most likely to take this prestige class, particularly if they hail from a region where the phalanx is still widely used in warfare. The occasional cleric has been known to dabble in the class if they spend significant time tending soldiers typically formed into a phalanx, and paladins who don't mind abandoning their mount find the class fantastic. It is incredibly unusual for other classes to take this prestige class. As a heavy infantryman only strength and constitution have any real value to the class.
|Base Attack Bonus:||+4|
|Feats:||Weapon Focus (longspear.)||Spear and Shield|
|1st||+1||+2||+0||+0||Negate Squeeze, Lunging Strike|
|4th||+4||+4||+1||+1||Shrug it Off 1/day, Rally|
|7th||+7||+5||+2||+2||Bonus Feat, Greater Aid Another|
|8th||+8||+6||+2||+2||Shrug it Off 3/day|
|10th||+10||+7||+3||+3||Unified Front, Cost of Greatness|
Class Skills (2 + Int modifier per level)
Lunging Strike (Ex): As a full attack action the Phalanx Specialist may make a single attack at his highest attack bonus. If the attack succeeds, the Phalanx Specialist adds his Phalanx Specialist class level to the damage dealt. The Phalanx Specialist may use this ability once per day at 1st level and an additional time per day for every 2 additional levels (twice at 3rd level, three times at 5th level, etc. to a total of 5 times per day at 9th level.)
Negate Squeeze (Ex): A phalanx of spearmen is far more effective when compressed with two soldiers sharing the same square and concentrating the number of spear points in a given area. All Phalanx Specialists thus receive advanced training fighting with limited room to move. The -4 penalty to attack and AC for squeezing (see PH pg148) is negated for the Phalanx Specialist.
(Ex): Once per round as a free action the Phalanx Specialist may designate one adjacent ally to receive a +4 dodge bonus to AC. This bonus lasts until the start of your next action so long as neither you nor the recipient moves before that time and only if the Phalanx Specialist is wielding both his longspear and shield.
Shrug it Off (Ex): Once per day when the Phalanx Specialist fails a saving throw he may immediately make a second check to try avoiding the effects. If this second check fails then the Phalanx Specialist is affected normally. At 8th level this increases to 3 times per day.
Rally (Ex): Troops who fight together form a close bond. Calling on that bond to persuade compatriots to fight on, a Phalanx Specialist who currently is not suffering from a fear effect can use this ability as a standard action. Allies within 60 feet who are suffering from any fear effect and who can hear the Phalanx Specialist are allowed another saving throw against the fear effect with a +1 morale bonus per Phalanx Specialist level. If the optional morale rules are being used then this ability also functions as a Rally Check per those rules with a bonus equal to half the Phalanx Specialist's class level.
Improved Cover (Ex): When opponents attempt to target the Phalanx Specialist with an attack while he is in formation (adjacent to at least 2 allies) the Phalanx Specialist gains +2 dodge bonus to his AC for each adjacent ally. This stems from the training Phalanx Specialists gain in using the shields and spears of their neighbors to confuse or distract the enemy.
Greater Aid Another (Ex): When using the Aid Another action you grant whomever you are aiding double the bonus you normally would (+4 bonus instead of a +2.) This ability stacks with the feat Improved Aid Another (to provide a +8 bonus.)
Unified Front (Ex): Once per day the Phalanx Specialist and any number of allies within 30', all of whom must be adjacent to at least one affected ally, gain the following benefits. Each member of the formation takes up half as much space as normal (see squeezing PH pg148) but without the -4 penalty to attacks or AC, can not be moved involuntarily, gains a +2 morale bonus to attack and +4 morale bonus to damage, +20 bonus hit points, and continues fighting without losing consciousness or suffering any effects of death until brought to -20hp at which point they immediately die. This ability ends if there is no longer a conscious Phalanx Specialist in the formation, when dismissed by the Phalanx Specialist or after 1 round per class level of the Phalanx Specialist.
Cost of Greatness (Ex): Once per day the Phalanx Specialist may make a ferocious series of attacks at the cost of his own health. He gains an extra standard action each round, a +10 morale bonus to strength, and a +5 morale bonus to all saves. As muscles tear, tendons pop and ribs crack under pressures they were never meant to endure, the Phalanx Specialist will begin coughing blood, crying out and moving jerkily as he takes 2 points of constitution damage per round until losing consciousness (rather than dying) at 0 Con, at which time this ability ends and the Phalanx Specialist's constitution rises to 1. This ability can be ended prematurely with a will save DC25. This halts constitution loss but still results in unconsciousness. In either case the Phalanx Specialist may be awakened by normal means but is fatigued for 2d4 rounds.
Bonus Feats: Back To Back, Combat Rotation, Greater Weapon Focus (Longspear,) Greater Weapon Specialization (Longspear,) Hold the Line, Improved Critical (Longspear,) Improved Shield Mate, Missile Proof, Near And Far, Rank Fighting, Shield Defender, Shield Mate, Shield Wall, Up And Down, Weapon Specialization (Longspear)
Ex- Phalanx Specialists
There is no penalty for abandoning this class. Nor any restrictions to continuing advancement at a later time.
Playing a Phalanx Specialist
Combat: The Phalanx Specialist excels when in tight formation with other melee classes. More allies mean larger bonuses for Improved Cover, more options to target with Share Cover and Greater Aid Another, and more allies affected by Rally and Unified Front. The ideal partner is an offensive melee type who probably had to sacrifice armor and shield for more powerful weapons who will benefit from both offensive and defensive abilities shared by the Phalanx Specialist.
Advancement: Usually Phalanx Specialists are content to return to Fighter levels when they reach 10 levels of this class, sometimes alternating levels between the two classes.
Resources: A handful of war colleges and mercenary groups particularly respect the Phalanx Specialist. Additionally, soldiers who have been the beneficiaries of the Phalanx Specialist's abilities are often quite vocal when extolling the virtues of their saviors. As such, the Phalanx Specialists are usually seen in a favorable light by those familiar with them. On the other hand, some feel that the phalanx is an out dated mode of warfare and see the Phalanx Specialists as old-fashioned and archaic.
Phalanx Specialists in the World
|“||Cavalry? This is going to be fun!||”|
|—Polifesius, hoplite at the battle of Darkwood -783|
NPC Reactions: To most NPCs the Phalanx Specialist is just another professional soldier. For other hoplites though he is a hero, a champion who will not only overcome any enemy but bring his companions through the fray as well.
Phalanx Specialist Lore
Characters with ranks in Knowledge (history) can research Phalanx Specialists to learn more about them. When a character makes a skill check, read or paraphrase the following, including information from lower DCs.
|11||Hoplites who always win are called Phalanx Specialists.|
|16||Phalanx Specialists use spear and shield to augment one another in combat.|
|21||The battle rage that powerful Phalanx Specialists undergo actually destroys their body.|
|26||In ancient times all wars were fought by phalanx. Phalanx Specialists were the elite hoplites who led these formations and occasionally fought as champions.|
Phalanx Specialists in the Game
Phalanx Specialists are professional soldiers. Some attend or instruct at the war colleges, others command units in the field. As professionals they have a reasonable degree of respect for other professional soldiers and the chain of command. It is not uncommon for Phalanx Specialists to be in command of non-phalanx troops or serving as staff officers.
Adaptation: Replace the kingdoms or races in the descriptions above with those appropriate to your campaign.
|Male human fighter/phalanx specialist 4/6|
|Neutral Good Medium Humanoid (Human)|
|Init/Senses||+1/Listen +0, Spot +0|
|AC||26, touch 11, flat-footed 25|
|hp||86 (10 HD)|
|Melee||longspear +14 (1d8+4;19-20x3)|
|Ranged||javelin +12 (1d6+2;x3)|
|Abilities||Str 14, Dex 13, Con 17, Int 12, Wis 10, Cha 8|
|SQ||Lunging Strike, Negate Squeeze, Share Cover, Shrug it Off, Improved Cover|
|Feats||Improved Shield Bash, Weapon Focus (longspear), Shield Mate, Near and Far, Weapon Specialization (longspear), Spear and Shield, Improved Shield Mate, Shield Defender, Improved Critical (longspear), Rank Fighting|
|Skills||Diplomacy +8, Handle Animal +10, Profession (soldier) +9, Ride +11|
|Possessions||full plate +2, tower shield +1, +1 longspear, masterwork longsword, masterwork javelin x3, potion of cure moderate wounds, potion of endurance, cloak of resistance +1, 75gp|
Polifesius is a professional soldier from a long line of military men and he conducts himself as such. As a Phalanx Specialist he has the advanced training to expect to be treated with respect by all but the highest ranking officials and doing otherwise is a good way to earn his lasting enmity.