Shield Knight (3.5e Class)

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Shield Knight[edit]

(Work in progress - bear with me! We've got a lot of attempts at a shield fighter but nothing that's worked out, so I'm going to try one. I'll work on this throughout the week as I have time.)

The Shield Knight is designed to fight on the front lines. It is basically a variant on the fighter class with some sacrifices made to make the player better at using a shield. A shield knight can take a lot of damage and can control a battle by forcing opponents to deal with her.

Making a Shield Knight[edit]

A shield knight is very good at taking damage, and average at dishing it out. She is also capable of using her skills to be a strong leader in combat, using her confidence to bolster her allies or frighten her foes. Best when combined with a striker who can take position while the Shield Knight keeps the opponent busy.

Abilities: Strength is an obvious choice, but Dexterity and Constitution can be just as important, because the Shield Knight must be able to fight on the front lines, and the AC and Hit Point bonuses from those attributes might be more useful than Strength. Also, the Shield Knight can be an effective leader when a high Charisma score, as it will enable her to make good use of her bonuses to buff, intimidate, and diplomacy. Thus, a Shield Knight can be anything from a thoughtless brute to a stirring commander.

Races: Any. Anyone who can use with the shield is able to be a Shield Knight, but races with low constitution may lack the hit points for prolonged melee.

Alignment: Any.

Starting Gold: 5d6×10 gp (175 gp).

Starting Age: As fighter

Table: The Shield Knight

Hit Die: d10

Level Base
Attack Bonus
Saving Throws Special
Fort Ref Will
1st +1 +2 +0 +0 Bonus Feat, Shield Specialization, Weaken Opponent
2nd +2 +3 +0 +0 Intimidating Stance
3rd +3 +3 +1 +1 Improved Bull Rush
4th +4 +4 +1 +1 Confidence, Shield Maneuvering
5th +5 +4 +1 +1 Shield Charge,Resist Sunder
6th +6/+1 +5 +2 +2 Inspiring
7th +7/+2 +5 +2 +2 Commanding Presence
8th +8/+3 +6 +2 +2 Hard Shield
9th +9/+4 +6 +3 +3 Knockdown
10th +10/+5 +7 +3 +3 Shield Grip
11th +11/+6/+1 +7 +3 +3 Movement Defense
12th +12/+7/+2 +8 +4 +4 Bonus Feat
13th +13/+8/+3 +8 +4 +4 Impervious to Sunder
14th +14/+9/+4 +9 +4 +4 Bonus Feat
15th +15/+10/+5 +9 +5 +5
16th +16/+11/+6/+1 +10 +5 +5 Bonus Feat
17th +17/+12/+7/+2 +10 +5 +5
18th +18/+13/+8/+3 +11 +6 +6 Bonus Feat
19th +19/+14/+9/+4 +11 +6 +6
20th +20/+15/+10/+5 +12 +6 +6 Bonus Feat

Class Skills (2 + Int modifier per level, ×4 at 1st level)
Bluff (Cha), Climb (Str), Diplomacy (Cha), Intimidate (Cha), Jump (Str), Knowledge (Nobility and royalty, architecture and engineering) (Int), Ride (Dex), Swim (Str).

Class Features[edit]

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Shield Knights are proficient with simple and martial weapons, and with all armor and shields. (They may use Tower Shields, but since these shields do not allow shield bashing, they will limit some of the Shield Knight's abilities.)

Shield Specialization: The Shield Knight has trained exclusively to fight with a single-handed melee weapon and a shield, to the detriment of other fighting styles. When making a single melee attack with the shield, she retains the shield's AC bonus and the weapon is not considered to be off-hand, so she can attack with the shield just as if it were her main weapon. (This does not go into effect when attempting to dual-wield with the shield.) However, this specialization comes at a price; when using ranged weapons or two-handed weapons the Shield Knight suffers a -4 attack penalty.

Weaken Opponent: Upon making a successful attack with the shield, the Shield Knight can attempt to stun her opponent. The enemy must succeed in a fortitude save (DC 10 + 1/2 Shield Knight level + player's Strength Modifier) or they will suffer a -2 penalty to AC for one round (in addition to the damage already dealt by the attack).

Intimidating Stance: The Shield Knight has developed a very imposing personality after surviving battles on the front lines, giving them a permanent +2 to her intimidate skill.

Improved Bull Rush: The Shield Knight gains the Improved Bull Rush feat, even if she doesn't meet the prerequisites.

Shield Maneuvering: The Shield Knight has learned to use her shield to block grapple attempts, giving a +4 bonus avoid being grappled.

Confidence: Successful battles have given the player great confidence when staring opponents in the eye giving her a permanent +2 to her Bluff skill.

Inspiring: The sight of a Shield Knight now causes people to have faith in her, giving her a permanent +2 boost to her Diplomacy skill.

Shield Charge: When charging and using the shield to attack, the Shield Knight can attempt to knock a foe to the ground. The opponent must pass a Reflex save (DC 10 + 1/2 Shield Knight level + player's Strength Modifier) or be knocked prone.

Resist Sunder The Shield Knight has learned to keep their shield from being damaged in combat, as a result any shield the Shield Knight is using has twice the HP and hardness points for the purposes of sundering.

Commanding Presence: The Shield Knight's presence on the battlefield is enough to startle some opponents. At the start of an encounter, each foe who can see the Shield Knight must pass a Fortitude check (DC 10 + 1/2 Shield Knight level + player's Charisma modifier) or suffer a -2 penalty to their pending initiative roll. (Only effective when the Shield Knight has her shield equipped.)

Hard Shield: For the purposes of sundering, any shield the Shield Knight holds has 5 extra hit points while she has it equipped.

Knockdown: Upon making a successful attack with the shield, the Shield Knight can attempt to knock the opponent to the ground. The opponent must pass a fortitude check (DC 10 + 1/2 Shield Knight level + player's Strength Modifier) or be knocked prone.

Shield Grip: The Shield Knight does not drop his shield when stunned, or affected by any other effect that would normally cause her to drop all equipment. (Naturally, this does not work if the Shield Knight is unconscious or asleep.)

Movement Defense: The Shield Knight no longer provokes attacks of opportunity when moving past enemies who are on the same side of her body as her shield.

Impervious to Sunder: A shield being carried by the Shield Knight simply cannot be sundered, at all.

Campaign Information[edit]

Playing a Shield Knight[edit]

Religion: Any.

Other Classes: Synergizes well with players who attack from a distance or while hidden.

Combat: Front lines. A Shield Knight is bored when they are not fighting face-to-face.

Advancement: Multi-classing should be done with care, since the -4 penalty to ranged/two-handed weapons can be a problem.

Shield Knights in the World[edit]

"I'll take the big guy - let's do this"

Daily Life: Shield Knights like to apply their skills. Either by signing on as a body guard or a crusader, they will find some way to lead a battle, somewhere. This does not make them violent warmongers, necessarily, they just know their strengths and are confident in them.

Organizations: They can be found at the head of a party, or guarding important locations.

NPC Reactions: It's difficult not to be intimidated by the Shield Knight's confidence. This does not make them scary to be around, but they do inspire respect.

Shield Knight Lore[edit]

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

DC Result
5 Able to tell that the Shield Knight will probably lead the battle
10 Aware of the Shield Knights disabling attacks
15 Knows that the Shield Knight can intimidate and bluff well

Shield Knights in the Game[edit]

Adaptation: Shield Knights can be simple brute, or effective leaders, depending on their setup.

Sample Encounter: They are normally at the front of an assault.

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