General Prestige Class : Devoted Defender
The devoted defender is a professional guardian. She is an individual who is skilled at protecting a designated client from harm, often by taking her charge's place as the target of threats and attacks. In return for these services, the devoted defender usually receives compensation in the form of coin, room and board, and sometimes in resources such as access to magic healing, but the exact details of the agreement are between the individual devoted defender and her employer. It is not uncommon for a noble or other important personage to number at least one devoted defender among his personal retinue, and sometimes to make a devoted defender the chief of his security services.
Most devoted defenders are fighters, but any character who becomes a devoted defender benefits from the attack, save and Armor Class bonuses. Monks sometimes become devoted defenders, as do clerics, when they are assigned to protect important individuals within their order or clergy NPC devoted defenders are mostly fighters who either left military service and turned to security work to make a living.
To qualify to become a Devoted Defender, a character must fulfill all the following criteria:
- Skills: Search 4 ranks, Sense Motive 4 ranks, Spot 4 ranks.
- Feats: Weapon Focus (any melee weapon), Alertness.
- Base Attack Bonus: +5.
Skill Points at Each Level: 2 + Int modifier.
Weapon and Armor Proficiency: The devoted defender is proficient with all simple and martial weapons, all types of armor, and shields.
Armor Class Bonus: The devoted defender concentrates on defense, both for herself and her charge. She receives this dodge bonus to AC as a result of that focus.
Harm's Way: Beginning at 1st level, the devoted defender may elect to place herself in the path of danger in order to protect her single charge. Any time that you are within 5 feet of your charge, and your charge suffers an attack, you may switch places with your charge and receive the attack in his place. You must declare this before the attack roll is made. You select your charge when you roll initiative, and it is a free action to do so. You may not change your charge for the duration of that combat.
Defensive Strike: You can make an attack of opportunity against any adjacent opponent who attacks your charge in melee. You gain a +1 bonus to this attack for every two levels after 2nd.
Deflect Attack: Beginning at 3rd level, the devoted defender can attempt to parry a melee attack against her charge. She must be within 5 feet of her charge to attempt this and holding a melee weapon or shield to deflect the attack. Once per round when your charge would normally be hit with a melee weapon, you may make a Reflex saving throw against DC 20. (If the melee weapon has a magic bonus to attack, the DC increases by that amount.) You gain a competence bonus to your Reflex save as indicated on the chart. If you succeed, you deflect the blow as a free action. You must be aware of the attack beforehand and not flat-footed.
|Devoted Defender||Hit Die: d12|
|3rd||+3||+3||+3||+1||+2||Deflect attack +1|
|4th||+4||+4||+4||+1||+2||Defensive strike +1|
|5th||+5||+4||+4||+1||+3||Deflect attack +2|
|6th||+6||+5||+5||+2||+3||Defensive strike +2|
|7th||+7||+5||+5||+2||+4||Deflect attack +3|
|8th||+8||+6||+6||+2||+4||Defensive strike +3|
|9th||+9||+6||+6||+3||+5||Deflect attack +4|
|10th||+10||+7||+7||+3||+5||Defensive strike +4|
|AC Bonus: The defensive bonus to the character's Armor Class, added to the character's normal AC bonus. This bonus applies only when the devoted defender is actively engaged in protecting her client from an attack; other wise, use the character's normal AC bonus.|
Epic Devoted Defender
As far as pure defense goes, nobody can really hold a candle to the epic devoted defender. This character's charge might as well be protected by a foot of reinforced adamantine.
Your shtick is defense, so consider feats such as Armor Skin, Damage Reduction, and Energy Resistance. On the other hand, it has been said that the best defense is a good offense, and Epic Prowess and Epic Weapon Focus fit that bill nicely. Epic Skill Focus (Listen or Spot) helps you pick out the enemy before he makes his move. More than most other characters, your ability increases depend largely on your favored tactics -- if you prefer to go toe-to-toe against enemies, pick Strength or Constitution, but more defensive-minded individuals should select Dexterity. An occasional Wisdom boost helps some of your important bodyguard skills.
Other Options: If you have the Intelligence to qualify (or can spare the ability increases to get there), Epic Combat Expertise can make you extraordinarily hard to hit. Armed Deflection allows you to protect yourself from ranged attacks.
Hit Die: d12.
Skill Points at Each Additional Level: 2 + Int modifier.
Armor Class Bonus: The devoted defender's dodge bonus to AC improves by +1 every 2 levels above 9th (to +6 at 11th, +7 at 12th, and so on).
Defensive Strike (Ex): The bonus gained to attacks of opportunity against adjacent opponents who attack your charge in melee improves by +1 every 2 levels above 10th (+5 at 12th, +6 at 14th, and so on).
Deflect Attack (Ex): The bonus to Reflex saves to deflect melee attacks against your charge improves by +1 every 2 levels above 9th (+5 at 11th, +6 at 13th, and so on).
Bonus Feats: The epic devoted defender gains a bonus feat (selected from the list of epic devoted defender feats) every 4 levels after 10th.
Epic Devoted Defender Bonus Feat List: Armed Deflection (new feat; see below), Armor Skin, Blinding Speed, Damage Reduction, Energy Resistance, Epic Combat Expertise (new feat; see below), Epic Prowess, Epic Skill Focus (Listen), Epic Skill Focus (Spot), Epic Toughness, Epic Weapon Focus, Exceptional Deflection, Infinite Deflection, Perfect Health, Reflect Arrows.
|11||Dodge bonus +6, deflect attack +5|
|12||Defensive strike +5|
|13||Dodge bonus +7, deflect attack +6|
|14||Defensive strike +6, bonus feat|
|15||Dodge bonus +8, deflect attack +7|
|16||Defensive strike +7|
|17||Dodge bonus +9, deflect attack +8|
|18||Defensive strike +8, bonus feat|
|19||Dodge bonus +10, deflect attack +9|
|20||Defensive strike +9|
Source: Sword and Fist