From Fax Encyclopedicus
By Proven Paradox at Divided by Zero.
So, the Marshal (Miniatures Handbook) is one of the most underwhelming classes put out for DnD 3.5 since the Soulknife. Thematically though, it represents a character concept that really should be viable, similar to Bard but more martially oriented. I've seen numerous characters where Marshal would make sense thematically, but taking the class for more than four levels is pretty much pointless. I've already redone the Soulknife for similar reasons, so now it's time to fix the Marshal.
Marshal's main problems:
- As he levels up, for the most part he only gains breadth. Knowing a dozen minor auras doesn't help much if you can only project one aura at a time. This is the major problem.
- Lots of dead levels. Dead levels are NEVER okay. In my opinion, learning a new aura does not make a level not dead.
- No features that encourage him to go into melee. His description says Marshals typically go into melee themselves, but I see absolutely no reason for him to do so.
- No real choices to make in character creation. Just which auras to learn in what order, and as already discussed that doesn't actually matter much.
So, with those issues in mind, let's figure out how to fix this class. For reference, the desired power level would be in line with the Martial Adepts in the Tome of Battle or an inspiration focused Bard.
Hit Dice: d8
Class Skills The Marshal's class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Bluff (Cha), Diplomacy (Cha), Decipher Script (Int), Handle Animal (Cha), Heal (Wis), Intimidate (Cha), Knowledge (all skills, taken individually) (Int), Listen (Wis), Perform (Cha), Ride (Dex), Sense Motive (Wis), Speak Language (n/a), Spot (Wis), Survival (Wis), and Swim (Str).
Skill Points at 1st Level: (4 + Int modifier)x4.
Skill Points at Each Additional Level: 4 + Int modifier.
Table: The Marshal
|Level||Base Attack Bonus||Fort Save||Ref Save||Will Save||Special||Minor Auras Known||Major Auras Known||Directives Known|
|1st||+0||+2||+0||+2||1 Minor Aura, Tactical Advantage +1, Bonus Feat||1||0||0|
|2nd||+1||+3||+0||+3||1 Major Aura, Major Aura +1||1||1||0|
|4th||+3||+4||+1||+4||Marshal's Directive 1/encounter||2||1||1|
|5th||+3||+4||+1||+4||Tactical Advantage +2||3||1||1|
|6th||+4||+5||+2||+5||Major Aura +2||3||2||1|
|7th||+5||+5||+2||+5||Bonus Feat, 2 Minor Auras||4||2||1|
|9th||+6/+1||+6||+3||+6||Tactical Advantage +3, Marshal's Directive 2/encounter||5||2||2|
|10th||+7/+2||+7||+3||+7||Moderate Tactics, Major Aura +3||5||3||2|
|11th||+8/+3||+7||+3||+7||2 Major Auras||6||3||2|
|12th||+9/+4||+8||+4||+8||3 Minor Auras||6||3||3|
|13th||+9/+4||+8||+4||+8||Tactical Advantage +4, Bonus Feat||7||3||3|
|14th||+10/+5||+9||+4||+9||Marshal's Directive 3/encounter, Major Aura +4||7||4||3|
|17th||+12/+7/+2||+10||+5||+10||Tactical Advantage +5||9||4||4|
|18th||+13/+8/+3||+11||+6||+11||Major Aura +5||9||5||4|
|19th||+14/+9/+4||+11||+6||+11||Bonus Feat, Marshal's Directive 4/encounter||10||5||4|
All of the following are class features of the marshal.
Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Marshals are proficient with all simple and martial weapons, with all types of armor (heavy, medium, and light), and with shields (except tower shields).
Auras (Ex): A Marshal's ability to motivate his allies manifests as an aura projected in an area around him. Activating an aura involves haranguing, ordering, directing, encouraging, cajoling, or calming allies. A marshal sizes up the enemy, allies, and the terrain, then gives allies the direction that they can use to do their best.
Projecting his auras requires a swift action, as does switching between different known auras. He may switch any number of auras with a single swift actions. Any number of auras can be dismissed as a free action. The auras remain in effect continuously for as long as the Marshal is conscious; thus, an aura can be in effect at the start of a combat encounter even before the marshal takes his first turn.
A Marshal's auras affect all allies within 60 feet (including himself) who can hear and understand him. Auras can only affect creatures with an intelligence score of at least three. A deafened ally (again, including himself) immediately loses all benefits of his auras. If the Marshal himself is deafened, there is a 20% chance his auras will not have any effect for one round, though he does not need to spend a swift action to resume them on the following round, presuming he is not prevented from projecting auras again due to deafness.
Auras cannot be used in conjunction with attempts at stealth. Enemies that can hear him within 60 feet automatically know the Marshal's location, even if he is invisible or otherwise hidden (though he still has the other benefits of concealment). He cannot project the same aura twice, and the effects of two different Marshals projecting the same aura do not stack.
An aura is a sonic, language dependent, mind affecting ability.
Minor Auras (Ex): Starting at level one, a Marshal knows one minor aura. He learns a new minor aura every odd level (levels 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, 13, 15, 17, and 19) and at level 20. Beginning at level one, he may project one minor aura. At levels 7 and 12, he may project an additional minor aura. Minor auras provide affected allies with a circumstance bonus equal to his charisma modifier (at least +1) on certain rolls.
- Art of War: Bonus on disarm, trip, bull rush, and sunder attempts.
- Brace for Impact: Bonus on Armor Class against charging enemies.
- Demand Fortitude: Bonus on Fortitude saves.
- Determined Caster: Bonus on rolls to overcome spell resistance.
- Force of Will: Bonus on Will saves.
- Master of Opportunity (Defensive): Bonus to Armor Class against attacks of opportunity.
- Master of Opportunity (Offensive): Bonus to Attack Rolls when making attacks of opportunity.
- Master of Tactics: Bonus on damage rolls when flanking.
- Motivate Charisma: Bonus on Charisma checks and Charisma-based skill checks.
- Motivate Constitution: Bonus on Constitution checks and Constitution-based skill checks.
- Motivate Dexterity: Bonus on Dexterity checks, Dexterity-based skill checks, and initiative checks.
- Motivate Intelligence: Bonus on Intelligence checks and Intelligence-based skill checks.
- Motivate Strength: Bonus on Strength checks and Strength-based skill checks.
- Motivate Wisdom: Bonus on Wisdom checks and Wisdom-based skill checks.
- Over the Top: Bonus on damage rolls when charging.
- Watchful Eye: Bonus on Reflex saves.
Tactical Advantage (Ex): A Marshal can gain a tactical advantage over one of his opponents. As a move action, he may designate a single target. He has a tactical advantage over this target, gaining a +1 insight bonus on melee attack rolls against this target. This bonus increases by one every four levels after (levels 5, 9, 13, and 17). After successfully striking this target once or after five rounds (whichever comes first), he loses his tactical advantage. He may only have a tactical advantage over one target at a time. In addition, he can apply a Tactics effect on this target if he has reached third level or higher (see below).
Starting at eighth level, the Marshal can gain a tactical advantage using a swift action instead of a move action.
Bonus Feat (Ex): At level one and every six levels thereafter (levels 7, 13, and 19), the Marshal gains one of the following as a bonus feat:
Adaptable Flanker (PHBII), Armor Specialization (PHBII), Battlefield Inspiration (MH), Combat Expertise, Combat Intuition (CAdv), Combat Reflexes, Daunting Presence (MH), Defensive Sweep (PHBII), Deft Opportunist (CAdv), Distracting Attack (MH), Greater Heavy Armor Optimization (RoS), Heavy Armor Optimization (RoS), Shield Specialization (PHBII), Shieldmate (MH), Shield Ward (PHBII), Skill Focus (any class skill), Tower Shield Proficiency, Vexing Flanker (PHB II)
He must still meet all prerequisites for these feats.
Major Auras (Ex): Starting at level two, a Marshal knows one major aura. He learns a new major aura every four levels thereafter (levels 6, 10, 14, and 18) and at level 20. Beginning at level two, he may project one major aura. He may project a second major aura starting at level 11. At second level, his major aura provides a +1 morale bonus on certain rolls. Every four levels thereafter (levels 6, 10, 14, and 18) this bonus increases by one.
- Hardy Soldiers: The marshal's allies gain damage reduction equal to the amount of bonus the aura provides. For example, if the marshal is 10th level, everyone affected gains DR 3/-. This stacks with other sources of damage reduction.
- Elemental Protection: Allies' gain energy resistance equal to 5 x the amount of bonus the aura provides. For example, the allies of a 9th level Marshal (+2 major aura) gain energy resistance 10 to the chosen type. The Marshal can can choose between fire, ice, electricity, and acid. He can switch between these by switching auras (a swift action). If multiple Elemental Protection auras are active in one area that provide protection against different elements, their effects stack. A Marshal that can project multiple major auras may choose to project this aura twice, choosing two different elements to protect against.
- Motivate Ardor: Bonus on damage rolls.
- Motivate Attack: Bonus on attack rolls.
- Motivate Care: Bonus to Armor Class.
- Motivate Urgency: Allies' base speed for all movement types is increased by a number of feet equal to 5 x the amount of bonus the aura provides. For example, the allies of a 10th level marshal (+3 major aura) add 15 feet to their speed of all types.
- Motivate Vigor: At the beginning of the Marshal's turn, all affected allies gain a number of temporary hit points equal to 5 x the amount of bonus the aura provides. For example, the allies of a 9th level Marshal (+2 major aura) gain 10 temporary HP at the beginning of his turn. These hit points overlap with temporary hit point granted by this ability in previous rounds (they do not stack) but not with temporary hit points gained from another source.
- Resilient Troops: Bonus on all saves.
Tactics (Ex): Starting at third level, a Marshal can hinder enemies against whom he has a tactical advantage. Any time he strikes an enemy he has a tactical advantage against, he can apply one of the following effects on the target. He can choose from Minor Tactics effects at level 3, Moderate Tactic effects at level 10, and Major Tactic effects at level 16.
- Dull the Blade: The target takes a penalty to attack rolls equal to the Marshal's Tactical Advantage bonus for one round.
- Expose a Vulnerability: The target takes a penalty to AC equal to the Marshal's Tactical Advantage bonus for one round.
- Suppressing Strike: The target cannot make attacks of opportunity for a number of rounds equal the Marshal's Tactical Advantage bonus.
- All Minor Tactics have their durations extended by one round.
- Cripple their Resistance: The target takes a penalty on one type of save equal to the Marshal's Tactical Advantage bonus for one round.
- Point out the Weakpoint: The target takes an additional Xd6 damage for one round any time it would take damage, where X is equal to the Marshal's Tactical Advantage bonus. The damage is the same type(s) as the original damage source.
- All Moderate Tactics have their durations extended by one round, while all Minor Tactics have their durations extended by three rounds.
- Block their Retreat: The target must make a fortitude save (DC = 10 + the Marshal's Tactical Advantage bonus + the Marshal's charisma modifier) or be unable to move for one round.
- Set up the Spellcaster: The target's spell resistance is lowered by double the Marshal's Tactical Advantage bonus for one round.
Marshal's Directive (Ex): Starting at level four, a Marshal's commands can give his allies short lived but important advantages in a pitched battle. He can give a directive once per encounter, and an additional time per encounter every five levels thereafter (levels 9, 14, and 19). These directives can have varying effects, listed below. At fourth level, he learns one of the following directives, and learns another every four levels thereafter (levels 8, 12, 16, and 20).
The target of a directive must be within 30 feet of the Marshal and be able to hear and understand the Marshal. He cannot use a directive on himself. He can use at most one directive per round, even if he has enough actions to use more. Directives are sonic, language dependent, mind affecting abilities.
- “Don't you die on me!”: As an immediate action, the Marshal may heal a target that has just taken enough damage to put it below 1 HP. The amount healed is equal to the half the Marshal's class level x his charisma modifier, but cannot heal the target above 1 HP. This healing occurs before otherwise fatal damage would kill the target.
Example: Fred the Fighter has 24 HP. He suffers a critical hit that deals 39 damage, which would reduce him to -15 HP, killing him outright. However, Max, a 4th level Marshal with 16 charisma (+3 mod) uses “Don't you die on me!” This heals Fred for 6 HP, putting him at -9 HP. Instead of dying, he is left unconscious and stable. If Fred had taken 26 damage instead (originally reducing him to -2 HP), “Don't you die on me!” would heal him up to 1 HP, leaving him conscious.
- “He's wide open!”: As an immediate action, the Marshal may grant an ally an additional attack of opportunity for the round. This allows allies without the Combat Reflexes feat to make more than one AoO in a round, or an ally with the Combat Reflexes feat to make one more AoO than he or she otherwise could.
- “Hit 'em where it counts!”: As an immediate action, the Marshal may cause an ally who has just rolled a critical threat to automatically confirm the critical hit.
- “Move it!”: As a swift action, the Marshal may allow a target to move up to their speed.
- “On your feet!”: As an immediate action, the Marshal cause a prone target may get to their feet without provoking attacks of opportunity. This directive can affect a sleeping ally, in which case they are immediately awake and alert. This does not work on magically induced sleep.
- “Snap out of it!”: As an immediate action, the Marshal can let a target re-roll a saving throw. The target must take the result of the re-roll, even if it is worse.
- “Stay on target!”: As an immediate action, the Marshal can let a target may re-roll an attack roll. The target must take the result of the re-roll, even if it is worse.
- “Wait for it... NOW!”: As an immediate action, the Marshal can direct allies to act in tandem. After an ally attacks a flanked foe, one other ally involved in flanking that foe may make a free attack against that foe. This is not an attack of opportunity.
Universal Authority (Su): Starting at level fifteen, the Marshal's ability to lead others begins to transcend the limitations of language and sound. His allies no longer need to be able to understand him to benefit from his auras and directives, which can extend to animal intelligence or even mindless creatures. In addition, in zones of magical silence, the Marshal can make a will save, DC equal to the spell that produces the silence effect. If he succeeds, his auras are unaffected by the silence. If he leaves and then re-enters the radius of the silence effect, he must attempt the save again.
Ideal Leadership (Su): At twentieth level, the Marshal's ability to lead others into battle has been perfected. The radius of his auras is extended by thirty feet. In addition, each of his directives are enhanced.
- “Don't you die on me!”: The healing is no longer limited to a maximum of 1 HP.
- “He's wide open!”: This directive affects all allies in range and gives two bonus attacks of opportunity.
- “Hit 'em where it counts!”: In addition to automatically confirming, the critical hit's multiplier is increased by one.
- “Move it!”: This directive becomes a free action that can be used on the Marshal's turn.
- “On your feet!”: This directive affects all allies in range and dispels magical sleep, paralysis, and fear effects.
- “Snap out of it!”: The target gains a bonus on the re-roll equal to the Marshal's charisma modifier. This bonus stacks with any bonuses provided by his auras.
- “Stay on target!”: The target gains a bonus on the re-roll equal to the Marshal's charisma modifier. This bonus stacks with any bonuses provided by his auras.
- “Wait for it... NOW!”: All allies who can reach the struck foe may make the free attack. This includes the one whose attack originally enabled this directive.