Warriors have special connections with their armor, a relationship comparable to that they have with their fellow party members. Every nick and stain represents a story of triumph or a lesson learned, and to clean or buff out these imperfections would be to throw out a badge of honor. Some warriors take this relationship to a higher level, forging an arcane pact with their armor that renders man and metal inseparable. Such dedicated warriors are known as armor bonded.
At first the bond is simply a pact the warrior makes with his armor. Before long, the ritual is complete and the armor becomes the warrior’s skin. Armor bonded commonly wear loose clothing on top of their armor to avoid feeling naked. They give up part of their humanity to become men and women of living steel. At a distance, they can be mistaken for constructs, but up close their eyes display the thoughts of intelligent creatures.
Fighters, clerics of the Metal, Protection, Strength, or War domains, barbarians in medium armor, and most other warrior classes are the most common armor bonded, as they are all likely still alive thanks to their armor. Paladins rarely become armor bonded because the end result distances them from their humanity. Some multiclassing wizards or sorcerers enjoy the reduction in armor check penalty but have a hard time meeting the prerequisites. Few other classes wear heavy enough armor to qualify.
Role: As living suits of armor, armor bonded are prototypical warriors and well-suited for front-line melee combat or guarding spellcasters.
Alignment: There is no moral or ethical trend among armor bonded. Good armor bonded undergo the ritual as an altruistic gesture. Neutral armor bonded feel safe with thick metal skin. Evil armor bonded seek immortality.
Hit Die: d10.
To qualify to become an armor bonded, a character must fulfill all the following criteria.
Base Attack Bonus: +6.
Skills: Craft (Armorsmithing) 4 ranks.
Feats: Armor Proficiency (medium).
Special: The character must have worn the suit of masterwork medium or heavy armor they are bonding with for at least the last two levels of experience. The ritual to bond a character to her armor (which is performed at 1st level) takes 24 hours and costs 100 gp per armor bonus the suit provides.
The armor bonded’s class skills are Climb (Str), Craft (Int), Handle Animal (Cha), Intimidate (Cha), Knowledge (dungeoneering) (Int), Knowledge (engineering) (Int), Profession (Wis), Ride (Dex), Survival (Wis), and Swim (Str).
Skill Points at Each Level: 2 + Int modifier.
|Level||Base Attack Bonus||Fort Save||Ref Save||Will Save||Special|
|1st||+1||+1||+0||+0||Within the shell|
|2nd||+2||+1||+1||+1||One with the armor|
|5th||+5||+3||+2||+2||A second skin|
All of the following are class features of the armor bonded prestige class.
Weapon and Armor Proficiency
An armor bonded is proficient with all simple and martial weapons and with all armor (light, medium, and heavy) and shields (including tower shields).
Common activities are no longer uncomfortable for an armor bonded to perform while armored. When eating, his helm opens to grant access to his mouth. When sleeping, a cushion lines the armor’s interior. When performing delicate hand gestures, his gauntlets fit snugly. Armor check penalties are lessened by 2 for all skill checks, except Swim, to a minimum of 1. Arcane spell failure is lessened by 15%, to a minimum of 0%. So an armor bonded with masterwork breastplate incurs a -1 armor check penalty rather than the normal -3, and a 10% arcane spell failure rather than the normal 25%. Finally, an armor bonded is no longer fatigued after sleeping in medium or heavy armor. These benefits only apply when wearing the armor to which he is bonded.
At 2nd level, an armor bonded’s armor becomes form fitting to the point of being skin tight. His base land speed is no longer reduced while wearing bonded armor.
Beginning at 3rd level, an armor bonded adds his class level to his armor’s maximum Dexterity modifier.
At 4th level, the bonding has magical benefits. An armor bonded’s armor gains an armor special ability worth up to 4000 gp. This special ability only applies when the armor bonded wears the armor to which he is bonded.
At 5th level, the bonding’s effect on the armor bonded is no longer superficial. Armor and armor bonded are now inseparable. It is to him a layer of skin, taking on his features and body type. There are spells and grafts that can imitate his former appearance, but that is no longer how he looks. An armor bonded adds the weight of his armor to his previous weight. His armor no longer counts when determining load. An armor bonded’s armor may still be enchanted normally. Although he may wear enchanted clothing on top of his armor, an armor bonded may not don another suit of armor.
Beginning at 6th level, an armor bonded’s relationship with his armor grants him abilities that are the envy of most warriors. His armor evolves thanks to magical grafts exclusively available to those who have finished the bonding ritual and grown accustomed to how it affects their lives. Any graft can be taken at any level between 6th and 10th, provided all prerequisites are met. Once a graft is taken, it cannot be changed except with a wish spell.
An armor bonded who selects this graft can, as an attack action, make a trip attack with a 10-foot reach. This graft is available only to those armor bonded who are bound to suits of chainmail.
An armor bonded who chooses this graft receives a +2 bonus on checks made to strangle a foe. This graft can be taken twice, for a total +4 bonus to strangle combat maneuvers. This graft is available only to those armor bonded who are bound to suits of chainmail.
The body of an armor bonded with this graft absorbs damage he suffers from a fall and releases it against those around him. An armor bonded gains DR 25 against damage from falling any height. In addition, the impact of the landing creates powerful tremors. Anyone within a 10-foot radius centered on the armor bonded takes 1d6 damage per 10 feet the armor bonded fell.
An armor bonded who selects this graft gains DR 5/-. This graft can be taken twice for a total of DR 10/-
Ideal for armored casters looking to enhance their magical output, whenever an armor bonded with the energy conductor graft casts a spell of a chosen energy type, he deals an additional 1d6 damage to each target of the spell, even if the spell does not normally deal damage. Activating energy conductor is a swift action that does not provoke attacks of opportunity. This graft can be taken twice, either to increase the damage of a single energy type to 2d6, or to choose a second energy type.
The metal skin of an armor bonded who chooses this graft protects him from a certain amount of damage from energy. He gains energy resistance 10 against a chosen energy type. This graft can be taken twice, either to increase the energy resistance of a single energy type to 20, or to choose a second energy type.
Prerequisite graft: Old Face.
Choosing this graft causes bull-like horns to grow out the sides of the armor bonded’s head. The horns deal an additional 1d6 damage on a successful charge.
Some armor bonded wish to be better able to dodge spell effects and keep their balance. Those selecting this graft gain a +1 bonus to Reflex saves. This graft can be taken twice for a total +2 bonus to Reflex saves.
This graft takes the bonding ritual a step further than most, and the armor bonded gives up his humanity entirely to become even more like a walking suit of armor. He gains the Construct type. Because he still has a fraction of his mortality, spells that restore hit points still affect him, but restore only half as many hit points.
An armor bonded who selects this graft can give his metallic face the color and apparent texture of his face from before he completed the bonding ritual. Old face is a standard action and requires concentration to maintain. An armor bonded suffers a -1 penalty to AC as long as he maintains his old face.
Forming a shield out of his plates, an armor bonded who selects this graft gains a +2 shield bonus to AC. This graft can be taken twice, for a total +4 shield bonus to AC. This graft is available only to those armor bonded who are bound to suits of half- or full-plate.
An armor bonded who selects this graft can launch up to three steel spikes per round as a full attack. Each spike launched deals one point of nonlethal damage to the armor bonded. Treat these spikes in every other way as darts. This graft is available only to those armor bonded who are bound to suits of armor to which spikes have been added.
Two bone-like metal shafts sprout from the back of an armor bonded who selects this graft. A mesh between then creates a bat-like wing, although not a very effective one. An armor bonded with this graft can feather fall as the spell at will.
The mesh fills out and can support a load. An armor bonded who selects this graft gains a fly speed of 40 feet with average maneuverability and adds Fly to his list of class skills.
Prerequisite graft: Wings, Lesser.
Strategists and Tacticians. Copyright 2010, 4 Winds Fantasy Gaming; Author Ryan Costello, Jr.