Dark Guardian

Dark Guardians serve as bodyguards, enforcers, and sometime hit men for various high-level members of the Guild of Shadows. They are often chosen from the ranks of those with little or no spellcasting ability, as becoming a Dark Guardian generally precludes any further advancement in the guild ranks (and usually ends up being a short career). Most high-ranking members of the guild have at least one Dark Guardian; The Darkness, leader of the guild, has an entire retinue that serves him.

In order to become a Dark Guardian, one must prove his worth through notable service in several missions, and must have done at least one great deed – saving the life of a senior member, killing a prominent enemy leader, etc. These people are always selected by someone of the third or fourth tier to become a Dark Guardian, and their names referred to the captain of the guard, who approves or denies them.

Once selected, the candidate is given a chance to refuse – the process is irreversible. If he accepts, he (or sometimes she – a few women have joined the ranks) undergoes a secret ritual in which he is infused with a small amount of shadow essence. His skin gains a dusky gray hue, his hair turns black (if it wasn't that color already) and his eyes turn gray. The new Dark Guardian is given new gear enchanted to a degree commensurate with his ability (i.e., based on his level), all dyed black – chainmail, leather (for missions requiring stealth), light shield (if he uses one), and a blackened weapon of the person's choice.

Dark Guardians are almost always fighters or rangers – barbarians are considered too crude and unsubtle, and rogues and monks generally choose the path of the Shadowdancer.

Hit Die: d10.

Requirements

To qualify to become a Dark Guardian (DGn), the character must fulfill all the following criteria.

Base Attack Bonus: +6

Feats: Blind-Fight

Special: Must have been selected and approved to become a Dark Guardian. Must undergo the ritual to become a Dark Guardian.

Class Skills

The Dark Guardian's class skills are Climb (Str), Craft (Int), Gather Information (Cha), Intimidate (Cha), Jump (Str), Perception (Wis), Ride (Dex), Stealth (Dex), and Swim (Str).

Skill Points Per Level: 4 + Int modifier



Table 1: The Dark Guardian
Level Base
Attack Bonus
Fort
Save
Ref
Save
Will
Save
Special
1st +1 +2 +0 +0 Darkvision, shadowshield
2nd +2 +3 +0 +0 Shadow blade
3rd +3 +3 +1 +1 Shadow armor
4th +4 +4 +1 +1 Dark strike
5th +5 +4 +2 +2 Shadowguard


Class Features

All of the following are class features of the Dark Guardian.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Dark Guardians are proficient in the use of all simple and martial weapons, light and medium armor, and all shields (but not tower shields).

Darkvision (Ex): As part of the transformation ritual, the Dark Guardian gains darkvision, if he didn't already have it.

Shadowshield (Su): Three times per day, as a standard action, the Dark Guardian can draw ambient shadows around him to protect himself. He gains a +2 resistance bonus to saves vs. light-based spells and positive energy, and a +4 bonus to Stealth checks to hide. This protection lasts for one minute per class level, until the Guardian releases the shadows, or he is exposed to sunlight (which immediately dissipates the shield).

Shadowblade (Su): At 2nd level, a Dark Guardian can create a blade of shadow, as the shadowblade spell. The blade can be that of any light bladed melee weapon the Guardian has seen or is proficient with – daggers, knives, etc. It can be thrown, but it immediately dissipates upon striking or missing; otherwise it lasts for 1 round per class level.

At 4th level, the weapon created can be any one-handed bladed weapon.

Shadow Armor (Su): While standing in areas of shadow or darkness (at least equal to torchlight), a Dark Guardian can take a standard action to gather shadows around himself to form dark armor. This armor has no weight or movement penalty, and provides a deflection bonus to AC equal to his class level. It can only be used once per day per class level, and lasts for one minute. Sunlight (normal or magical) automatically dispels the shadow armor, if the Guardian is exposed to it for a full round.

Dark Strike (Su): Three times per day, as a standard action, a Dark Guardian can infuse a melee weapon he holds with shadow energy. For 1 round per class level thereafter, the weapon deals 1 point of Strength damage on a successful hit.

Shadowguard (Su): If the Dark Guardian's ward (the person he is assigned to protect) stands in or on the Guardian's shadow, the Guardian can extend his protection to his ward. The other person receives a deflection bonus to his Armor Class equal to the Guardian's class level. If the Guardian uses the shadowshield ability, the save bonus extends to the ward also.

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