13th Age Class: Vanguard

by Christopher Allen

Christopher describes his vanguard character class as “a warrior-type designed to have more active in-combat choices and resource management than the Fighter – a complex Fighter, if you will — with a dash of healing capability.”

What do you think of the vanguard? Join the discussion on the Pelgrane Forums.

Vanguard

To be a vanguard is to live and breathe battle, to be a master of the art of war. Vanguards stand above other warriors and fighters through their skill at arms and their iron resolve. They are first to enter the fray and the last to leave. They are war-masters, commanders, inspirational heroes or terrifying foes.

Overview:
Playstyle: Unlike the fighter, the vanguard isn’t reliant on the dice roll result to trigger powers. Instead you choose which of your techniques you wish to use and expend your Resolve to fuel them. Knowing when to spend Resolve, and how much, is key to managing the class. The Vanguard is both a heavy melee combatant and a leader of warriors: you can aid your allies and pitch in where the fighting is at its thickest.

Ability Scores: Strength and Constitution are the most important abilities for the vanguard as the former lets you hit harder and the latter keeps you alive. Charisma is also significant for some of the techniques available.

Vanguards gain a +2 class bonus to Strength, Constitution or Charisma, as long as it isn’t the same ability you increased with your +2 racial bonus.

Races: Any species can produce the mixture of fighting prowess and authority that makes a great vanguard, but half-orcs, humans and dwarves are most suited to the role. Half-elves also make fine vanguards when they focus on commanding and aiding others.

Backgrounds:
Battle captain, assault trooper, first-into-the-breach, rebel leader, bodyguard, standard bearer, monster-hunter, noble warrior, battle chieftain, veteran soldier, merciless reaver, weapons-master.

Icons: Vanguards are most commonly associated with the Emperor, Crusader and Dwarf King; those of a particularly dark bent serve the Orc Lord or the Lich.

Vanguard Level Progression

Level

Total Hit Points

Total Feats

Techniques

Resolve

Max Resolve per turn

Level-up Ability Bonuses

Damage Bonus From Ability Score

1

(8 + Con Mod) x3

1 adventurer

3

4

2

Ability modifier

2

(8 + Con Mod) x4

2 adventurer

4

5

2

Ability modifier

3

(8 + Con Mod) x5

3 adventurer

5

5

3

Ability modifier

4

(8 + Con Mod) x6

4 adventurer

5

6

3

+1 to 3 abilities

Ability modifier

5

(8 + Con Mod) x8

4 adventurer

1 champion

6

6

4

2 x ability modifier

6

(8 + Con Mod) x10

4 adventurer

2 champion

7

7

4

2 x ability modifier

7

(8 + Con Mod) x12

4 adventurer

3 champion

8

7

5

+1 to 3 abilities

2 x ability modifier

8

(8 + Con Mod) x16

4 adventurer

3 champion

1 epic

8

8

5

3 x ability modifier

9

(8 + Con Mod) x20

4 adventurer

3 champion

2 epic

9

8

6

3 x ability modifier

10

(8 + Con Mod) x24

4 adventurer

3 champion

3 epic

10

9

6

+1 to 3 abilities

3 x ability modifier

Vanguard Stats

Ability Bonus                            +2 Strength, Constitution or Charisma
Initiative                                               Dex mod + Level
Armour Class (Heavy)                15 + middle mod of Con/Dex/Wis + Level
Armour Class (Heavy + Shield)   16 + middle mod of Con/Dex/Wis + Level
Base PD                                                10 + middle mod of Str/Con/Dex + Level
Base MD                                               10 + middle mod of Int/Wis/Cha + Level
Hit Points                                             (8 + Con Mod) x level modifier (see chart)
Recoveries                                             (probably) 8
Recovery Dice
                           (1d10 x level) + Con Mod
Backgrounds                                         8 points, max 5 in any one background
Icon Relationships                                 3
Talents                                     3
Feats                                                     1 per Level

Gear
At 1st level, vanguards start with one or two melee weapons of their choice, armour that’s either shining and clean or battered and well-worn, and any standard non-magical gear suggested by their backgrounds. A vanguard may, if they desire, also start with a ranged weapon of some sort.

A vanguard who has carefully prepared for war starts with 25gp; those who have recently seen victory or defeat can begin with 1d6 x 10gp instead.

Armour
Vanguards usually rely on heavy armour of some kind to see them through the rigours of battle. Steel scale or plate is most common, but some cultures produce vanguards with stranger protection – carefully treated carapace or colourful lacquered armour, for example.

Vanguard Armour and AC

Armour Type Base AC Attack Penalty
None 10 -
Light 13 -
Heavy 15 -
Shield +1 -

Melee Weapons
Pretty much anything is lethal in the hands of a vanguard, but their chosen weapons are commonly possessed of particular significance or excellent craftsmanship. Most vanguards choose either the raw power of a hefty two-handed weapon such as a polearm or greatsword, or the defensive capacity of a single-hander and a shield; fighting with a weapon in each hand is generally eschewed for more practical options. Vanguards fight aggressively but with lethal efficiency.

Ranged Weapons
A vanguard is capable of using a myriad of ranged weapons to devastating effect, but they rarely focus on such armaments; only a few become master archers. A crossbow or bow is common enough for those situations that demand it, but plenty of vanguards prefer a heavy throwing axe or javelin that they can loose as they close on the foe.

Vanguard Melee Weapons

One-handed Two-Handed
Small
1d4 dagger 1d6 club
Light or Simple
1d6 hand-axe or short sword 1d8 spear
Heavy or Martial
1d8 broadsword or one-handed warspear 1d10 greatsword or greathammer

Vanguard Ranged Weapons

Thrown Crossbow Bow
Small
1d4 dagger 1d4 hand crossbow
Light or Simple
1d6 throwing axe, javelin 1d6 crossbow 1d6 shortbow
Heavy or Martial
1d8 heavy crossbow 1d8 longbow

Basic Attacks
Vanguards use basic attacks in battle, augmented with powerful Techniques that are fueled by their Resolve.

Melee Attack
At Will
Target: One Enemy
Attack: Strength + Level vs. AC
Hit: WEAPON + Strength damage
Miss: Damage equal to your level

Ranged Attack
At Will
Target: One Enemy
Attack: Dexterity + Level vs. AC
Hit: WEAPON + Dexterity damage
Miss:

Vanguard Class Features:
All vanguards have the Resolve, Technique and War-Tempered class features.

Resolve

Vanguards use Resolve to fuel their powerful combat techniques, representing the character’s determination, ability to resist fatigue and general will to fight. Through their iron willpower and inspiring presence, vanguards can shape the flow of battle.

Your Resolve is determined by your level, as is the amount of Resolve that you can spend each turn. Every time you use a technique, you expend a certain amount of Resolve. All expended Resolve is regained with a quick rest; you can also regain 1 Resolve through the following means:

  • By spending a standard action to regain your breath or assess the tide of battle
  • By rolling a natural 20 on an attack roll
  • The first time each battle that you become staggered

Additionally, whenever you expend Resolve on using one or more Techniques to augment an attack, 1 point of the expended Resolve is restored if the attack misses.

Adventurer Feat: You also regain 1 point of Resolve the first time you are reduced to 0 hit points or below in a battle.
Champion Feat: You may spend 1 point of Resolve as a Quick action to immediately end a Fear effect.
Epic Feat: Once per day as a Quick action, you may spend 1 Resolve point to immediately end any (save ends) Condition or ongoing damage that you are suffering.

Technique

You know a number of Techniques as defined by your level. Each Technique can be used in a specific way, usually a triggered counter-attack, quick action or attack augment. Techniques also cost Resolve to use.

Attack augments have to be declared and paid for with Resolve before you roll the dice for an attack. More than one attack augment can be applied to a single basic melee attack, and all the augments’ effects are applied on a hit.

Melee basic attacks generated by counter-attacks cannot have other attack augment Techniques used on them.

Adventurer Feat: You may now use attack augment Techniques on melee basic attacks generated by counter-attacks.
Champion Feat: Once per day, you may apply all of the non-damage effects of a Technique-augmented attack to a target even though you have missed.
Epic Feat: Once per day, when you make a melee basic attack in the same turn you’ve moved into engagement with an enemy, the entire Resolve cost for Techniques used on that attack is regained on a successful hit.

War-Tempered

Vanguards gain 2 bonus Background points, which must be spent on Backgrounds relating to war, battle, the military or combat training.

Adventurer Feat: Gain an additional 2 bonus Background points, which must be spent on Backgrounds relating to war, battle, the military or combat training.
Champion Feat: When attempting to draw on a relationship with an Icon in the context of military command, warfare or battle, you may roll 1 additional die.
Epic Feat: You are considered a master of warfare and battle; military followers flock to your side to form a warband. If you already have a warband, you gain an elite and loyal personal guard. Exactly how this works out is up to GM and player.

Talents

Choose three of the following class talents.

Break the Line
Once per turn, you may make a normal save to ignore an enemy who has intercepted you and continue on to your original target.
Adventurer Feat: Regardless of whether you make the save or not, you may make a basic melee attack as a free action against the enemy intercepting you.
Champion Feat: Break the Line can now be used any number of times per turn.
Epic Feat: Once per day, every enemy who you successfully Break the Line against in this turn suffers the Fear condition for 1 round.

Canny Fighter
Once per battle, when you miss with an augmented attack, you regain all Resolve expended on the attack rather than just one.

Ebb and Flow of Battle
Once per day, you can pop free from one engaged enemy as a quick action.
Adventurer Feat: You may pop free from up to two engaged enemies with Ebb and Flow of Battle.
Champion Feat: You may use Ebb and Flow on a Nearby ally instead of yourself as a standard action.

Shielded Vanguard
As long as you are carrying a shield, you gain +1AC against ranged attacks.
Adventurer Feat: As long as you are carrying a shield, you also gain +1PD against ranged attacks.

Steelclad Vanguard
As long as you are wearing heavy armour, you gain +1AC against melee attacks.
Adventurer Feat: As long as you are wearing heavy armour, you also gain +1PD against melee attacks.

Stem the Tide
Enemies attempting to Disengage from you suffer a -5 penalty to the Disengage check.

Unshakeable Resolve
Whenever you are affected by the Weakness or Fear conditions, regain 1 expended Resolve.
Adventurer Feat: You also regain 1 expended Resolve when affected by the Hampered and Vulnerable conditions.

Voice of Authority
Choose a single Bardic Battle Cry as if you were a bard of equal level. You may now use this Battle Cry; remember that it is a flexible melee attack. Additionally, when you fail a Background roll relating to intimidating, giving orders or inspiring, and you roll an even number on the die, you may reroll it once.

Warmaster
Whenever you use the Stand Firm or Fight On Techniques, you may target two allies rather than one.
Adventurer Feat: Whenever you use Inspire, you also benefit from the attack bonus.
Champion Feat: Once per day, when you reduce an enemy to 0 hit points with a basic attack, one Nearby ally can spend a Recovery immediately.
Epic Feat: Once per day, one of your Techniques that targets allies also removes any Afraid and Weakened conditions from them.

Techniques
You may freely pick the Techniques that you know from the following list; they are not restricted by level. You can change the Techniques that you know every time you level up, or whenever you have an appropriate period of time for retraining or a chance for a montage.

Bash
1 Resolve
Counter-attack (you may use this when an enemy misses you with a melee attack)
You may make an immediate melee basic attack in retaliation; it deals no damage, but on a success the enemy is shoved back and forced to pop free, no longer engaging you. If you are wielding a shield, gain +1 on the attack roll.
Adventurer Feat: When you use Bash, you do not need to target the enemy who triggered the counter-attack.
Champion Feat: You deal half-damage on a hit, rather than no damage.
Epic Feat: Once per day, your Bash also stuns the enemy for 1 round on a hit.

Battle Order
1 Resolve
Standard Action
A single ally who can hear your command may immediately make a basic melee or ranged attack against a single enemy, gaining a bonus to the damage roll equal to your Charisma bonus.

Challenging Shout
1 Resolve
Quick Action
Choose one engaged enemy; if they attack one of your allies in the next round, you may make a basic melee attack as a free action against them. If you are no longer engaged with them when they do so, you may make a move first to try to reach them, requiring disengagement or suffering opportunity attacks as normal.
Adventurer Feat: You may add your Charisma to the attack roll on the basic melee attack.
Champion Feat: You may target nearby enemies with Challenging Shout.

Cleaving Blow
1 Resolve
Attack Augment
If you hit with your attack, deal half the damage inflicted to the target to another enemy who is engaged with you. The effects of additional Techniques applied to the attack are not carried over to the second enemy.
Adventurer Feat: If your attack reduces the first target to 0 hit points or below, you deal full rather than half damage to the additional target.
Champion Feat: You may deal half the damage inflicted to the target on two other engaged enemies rather than one.

Crippling Strike
1 Resolve
Attack Augment
If you hit with your attack, the enemy suffers weakness for one round.

Crushing Blow
2 Resolve
Attack Augment
You may only use Crushing Blow when the Escalation Die is an even number.  If you hit with your attack, you deal only half damage but the enemy is stunned for one round. If you are wielding a mace or hammer, gain +1 on the attack roll.
Adventurer Feat: You deal full damage with Crushing Blow.
Champion Feat: On an even attack roll that hits, the enemy is also vulnerable for one round.
Epic Feat: Any Resistance (Physical) the enemy may possess is reduced by 4 against Crushing Blow.

Defiance
1 Resolve
Move Action
This Technique may only be used a number of times per battle equal to your Constitution bonus (minimum 1).
You may immediately spend a Recovery.
Adventurer Feat: Gain +1 MD for a turn after using Defiance.

Defensive Stance
1 Resolve
Quick Action
You gain a +1 bonus to AC and PD for one round.
Adventurer Feat: While benefiting from Defensive Stance, any counter-attacks you make gain a +1 bonus to their attack roll.
Champion Feat: While benefiting from Defensive Stance, you may make a single counter-attack each turn for no cost in Resolve.

Drive Back
1 Resolve
Attack Augment
If your attack hits, the targeted enemy is forced to pop free and is no longer engaging you or any other ally that they were engaging. If you are wielding a reach weapon, gain +1 on the attack roll.
Adventurer Feat: If the enemy does not then move away from you in their following turn, you may make a basic melee attack as a free action against them at the end of their turn.

Fight On
2 Resolve
Standard Action
This Technique may only be used a number of times per battle equal to your Charisma bonus (minimum 1)
With inspiring words, commanding authority or scolding anger, you target one nearby ally who is on 0 hit points or below. They may immediately spend a Recovery and regain consciousness.
Adventurer Feat: The targeted ally also gains a bonus to their AC equal to your Charisma modifier for one round.
Champion Feat: The targeted ally may make an immediate saving throw against a single ongoing condition still affecting them.

Heroic Effort
2 Resolve
Special
This Technique may only be used a number of times per battle equal to your Constitution bonus (minimum 1)
You can only use Heroic Effort when you are on 0 hit points or below at the beginning of your turn. You may immediately spend a Recovery and regain consciousness.

Heroic Strike
1 Resolve
Attack Augment
Against a foe that is Large or Huge, your critical range is extended by 2.

Inspire
1 Resolve
Quick Action
A number of nearby allies equal to your Charisma bonus gain a +1 to attack rolls for one round.

Parry
1 Resolve
Counter-attack (you may use this when an enemy misses you with a melee attack)
Your parry throws the enemy off-balance; the next attack against them within 1 round benefits from a +2 bonus. You also gain a +5 bonus to Disengage that enemy during your next turn.
Adventurer Feat: When you use Parry, you do not need to target the enemy who triggered the counter-attack.
Champion Feat: Once per round, if neither you nor the enemy are Engaged with any other characters, then when you Parry you may also make yourself and your enemy to make a single move in the direction of your choice.
Epic Feat: Once per round, an enemy who you Parry also gains the Vulnerable Condition until the end of their next turn.

Pierce
1 Resolve
Attack Augment
Your attack targets PD rather than AC. If you are wielding a single-handed axe or sword, gain +1 on the attack roll.
Adventurer Feat: If you critically hit while using Pierce, the enemy is also hampered for one round.

Pin the Foe
1 Resolve
Attack Augment
If your attack hits, the target becomes stuck for 1 round. If you are wielding a reach weapon, gain +1 on the attack roll.

Riposte
1 Resolve
Counter-attack (you may use this when an enemy misses you with a melee attack)
You counter with a riposte; you may make a basic melee attack against your attacker, dealing half damage on a hit.
Adventurer Feat: Your riposte deals full damage on a hit and half damage on a miss.
Champion Feat: On an even attack roll that hits, your riposte also weakens the enemy for one round.
Epic Feat: You may use Riposte even if the enemy hits you with a melee attack.

Stand Firm
1 Resolve
Move Action
This Technique may only be used a number of times per battle equal to your Charisma bonus (minimum 1).
Your commanding shout inspires a single nearby ally on 1 or more hit points to stand firm against the foe. They may immediately spend a Recovery.

Sundering Blow
2 Resolve
Attack Augment
You may only use Sundering Blow when the Escalation Die is an even number. Choose a weapon or shield that the enemy is currently wielding. If your attack successfully hits, it deals only half damage but shatters or sunders the weapon or shield, rendering it useless. Magic weapons and shields can make a normal save to avoid being sundered, and are easily repaired with a quick rest; mundane armaments that are sundered require an appropriate background check or the use of a minor mending incantation to fix. If you are wielding a great-weapon, gain +1 on the attack roll.
Adventurer Feat: Instead of sundering a weapon or shield, you may choose to disarm your foe by knocking the item out of their grasp. This does not damage the item, but also places it at most a move away from the enemy, where it can be retrieved and picked up again (magic items still get a normal save). Disarming offers a +1 to hit with any single-handed weapon rather than a great-weapon.
Champion Feat: Sundering Strike deals full damage on a hit.
Epic Feat: The save for magic items to resist being sundered becomes hard.

Toppling Strike
1 Resolve
Attack Augment
Whether with a hooking swing or a strike of overwhelming force, if you hit your target they are knocked down. A knocked down enemy must spend a move action standing up before they can undertake any other kind of movement. Being knocked down may cause other difficulties as well. If you are wielding a polearm, gain +1 on the attack roll.

Vanguard Assault
1 Resolve
Special
This Technique can only be used at the very beginning of a battle. The Vanguard is moved to the top of the Initiative chain, reaching an Initiative score equal to the highest rolled +1.

 

 


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