- Defender’s Soul (Ex)
- Delayed Damage Pool (3) (Ex)
- Equipment: Armor Training (Ex)
- Equipment: Shield Expert (Ex)
- Equipment: Shield Training (Discipline) (Ex)
- Guardian Challenge (+1) (Ex)
- Guardian Sphere (Ex)
- Guardian: Challenge Package (Ex)
- Improved Shield Bash
- Martial Tradition: Armored Dreadnought
- Muscular Reflexes
- Sentinel’s Reserve (2/day) (Ex)
- Shield Sphere (Ex)
- Shield: Active Defense (Ex)
- Versatile Shield (Equipment) (Ex)
- Wise Reflexes (Ex)
- Build Rules
The Unbreakable is a first-level sample character for Spheres of Might, suitable for use as a PC or as an NPC. Information on its build rules, and how to adjust for different rules, is included below.
Speed 30 ft. (20 ft. in armor)
Melee heavy shield bash +3 (1d6+3 two-handed, or 1d6+2 one-handed)
Str 14, Dex 10, Con 18, Int 10, Wis 14, Cha 10
Base Atk +1; CMB +3; CMD 13
Feats Improved Shield Bash, Muscular Reflexes
Traits artisan, reactionary
Skills Acrobatics -6 (-10 to jump), Climb +0, Craft (armor) +8, Heal +6, Perception +6, Sense Motive +6
SQ defender’s soul, equipment: armor training, equipment: shield expert, equipment: shield training (discipline), guardian challenge (+1), guardian sphere, guardian: challenge package, martial tradition: armored dreadnought, sentinel’s reserve (2/day), shield sphere, versatile shield (equipment), wise reflexes
Other Gear scale mail, heavy spiked steel shield, masterwork armorsmithing tools, 40 gp
Defender’s Soul (Ex)
A sentinel gains the Guardian sphere as a bonus sphere, although she must select the challenge package. If she already possesses the Guardian sphere challenge package, she instead gains a Guardian talent for which she qualifies.
Delayed Damage Pool (3) (Ex)
You gain a delayed damage pool equal to your 3 x your base attack bonus. When you receive damage, as part of taking the damage you may redirect all or part of it to your delayed damage pool. Apply damage reduction and resistance before redirecting the damage. You may not redirect damage that would exceed the maximum capacity of the damage pool. Your delayed damage pool empties at the end of your turn each round, inflicting any damage stored in the pool on you, bypassing any damage reduction or resistance you possess and resetting to 0. Any additional effects of the attack, such as poison, are still incurred immediately even if the entire damage of the attack is redirected to the delayed damage pool. Any healing you receive in excess of your maximum hp automatically reduces the amount of damage in your delayed damage pool.
Equipment: Armor Training (Ex)
You gain proficiency with light armor and medium armor. If you are already proficient with light armor, you instead gain proficiency with medium armor and heavy armor. You may take this talent up to two times.
Equipment: Shield Expert (Ex)
You increase the shield bonus to AC of any shield you wield by +1. When your base attack bonus reaches +8 you lower the armor check penalty of any shield you wield by 1. For every 8 points of base attack bonus you gain thereafter, you reduce the armor check penalty of your wielded shields by a further 1 (this cannot reduce your armor check penalty below 0). Associated Feat: Shield Focus.
Equipment: Shield Training (Discipline) (Ex)
Guardian Challenge (+1) (Ex)
At 1st level, whenever a sentinel uses the challenge ability of the Guardian sphere, for the duration of the challenge she gains a +1 bonus to attack and damage rolls against a challenged creature. At 5th level and every four levels thereafter, these bonuses increase by +1, to a maximum of +5 at 17th level.
Guardian Sphere (Ex)
Guardians specialize in protecting their allies and drawing the ire of their enemies.
You gain a Delayed Damage Pool (see above). Should you lose access to the Guardian sphere, any damage (or other effects if you possess certain talents) is incurred at the end of your turn. In addition, choose one of the following packages: Challenge or Patrol. (A sentinel must choose Challenge.)
Guardian: Challenge Package (Ex)
As a move action, you may issue a challenge to a creature you can see. You may expend martial focus to reduce this to a swift action. A creature must be able to perceive your challenge to be affected by it. The creature takes a -2 penalty on attack rolls that do not include you as a target and a +2 bonus on attack rolls targeting only you. Creatures receiving this effect are aware of it, though do not gain insight to its duration. This penalty (but not bonus) increases by 1 for every 4 points of base attack bonus you possess. The challenge lasts for a number of rounds equal to 3 + 1/2 your base attack bonus. When you issue a new challenge, any previous challenge you have active ends. Multiple challenges do not stack; if a creature is affected by challenges from more than one creature, they suffer no penalty against the source of any challenge against them and likewise gain the bonus against the sources of all of the challenges. Creatures with no Intelligence score (Intelligence score of (-)) cannot be targeted by your challenge.
Improved Shield Bash
You still get your shield bonus while using Shield Bash.
Martial Tradition: Armored Dreadnought
Armored Dreadnoughts specialize in wielding massive shields and titanic suits of armor that would crush lesser men under their enormous weight.
Special: The Muscular Reflexes feat does not allow a rogue to use her opportunist ability more than once per round. The attacks of opportunity from this feat do not stack with those granted by Combat Reflexes or similar feats, but Muscular Reflexes counts as Combat Reflexes when meeting the prerequisites for feats.
Sentinel’s Reserve (2/day) (Ex)
Each day, a sentinel gains a number of reserve points equal to 1/2 her sentinel level + her Wisdom modifier (minimum 1). She can spend a reserve point as a swift action to gain an amount of temporary hit points equal to two times her base attack bonus + her Wisdom modifier; these temporary hit points last for 1 minute or until lost, whichever comes first. She regains reserve points after resting for 8 hours, although she may only regain reserve points once every 24 hours.
Shield Sphere (Ex)
Practitioners of the Shield sphere master shields, bucklers, and tower shields, leveraging more power and utility out of such equipment than most warriors ever dream of. All practitioners of the Shield sphere gain the following ability: Active Defense.
Shield: Active Defense (Ex)
If you are using a shield and you are attacked by a creature you are aware of while not flat-footed, you may spend an attack of opportunity to increase your shield bonus to AC against that attack by +2. This decision must be made before the roll is made. For every 4 points of base attack bonus you possess, the increase to your shield bonus provided by this talent increases by 1. Talents with the (deflect) tag grant additional effects to this ability. Each use of active defense may only benefit from one (deflect) talent. You may expend your martial focus to use active defense in place of spending an attack of opportunity.
Versatile Shield (Equipment) (Ex)
Wise Reflexes (Ex)
The Unbreakable is built with a 20-point buy and average (175) starting wealth. If using a lower point buy, lower Constitution first. If using a higher point buy (or rolling really well), raise Wisdom, then Strength.
Dexterity, Intelligence, and Charisma provide minimal benefits for your character, and can be safely dumped when rolling (or to get a few more points into the abilities you want). Wise Reflexes gives pretty much everything you’d want from Dexterity, and Charisma does pretty much nothing for you, so those are the easiest to dump. Intelligence still provides skill points, and you don’t have a lot of those, so it’s best to keep it at least 10 if you can.
Playing The Unbreakable
The Unbreakable is the start of a heavily defensive build focused on use of the Guardian and Shield spheres. You’ll want to pick up more talents from those spheres as soon as possible.
The most important ability at 1st level is the Challenge ability from the Guardian sphere. This reduces the enemy’s accuracy against others and raises it against you, encouraging them to attack you instead of going after your weaker friends. As a Sentinel, you also get a bonus to attack and damage against such foes (and you badly need that at first level). At 4th level, you’ll get Sentinel’s Imposition, which further improves your abilities if people don’t target you.
When foes attack you, make sure to use your Active Defense ability to give yourself a boost to your AC. This negates the bonus they get from your Challenge. With the Muscular Reflexes feat, you gain two additional attacks of opportunity each round, which ought to be enough to protect you during the first few levels. Don’t forget that Muscular Reflexes also lets you make Attacks of Opportunity when you’re flat-footed – handy, given your low Initiative.
Your main attack is the Shield Bash from your heavy spiked steel shield, which you can two-hand for a small damage bonus. You’re not as accurate as many other attackers, so you’ll be taking several abilities to compensate for this. That said, as a Full BAB character, you will have a natural advantage on many attacks once your build really gets going. In the future, between the bonuses from Guardian Challenge and Versatile Shield, you’ll be much more accurate with your attacks than it looks like at this level.
If you’re willing to sacrifice a bit of damage, you can one-hand your shield and hold another useful item in your other hand. There are many helpful items you can hold, so it’s worth considering.
Don’t forget about your Delayed Damage Pool. You can suck up some damage into the pool, then cure it with your Sentinel’s Reserve or, later, your Second Wind. At first level, you can heal four HP with your two uses. This will get better over time, and improving Sentinel’s Reserve is one of the big reasons you want to raise Wisdom over Strength.
Versatile Shield is a sleeper ability gained as part of the Martial Tradition, and you can swap it out for something else from the Equipment sphere (or outside it, with GM permission) if you want to have something else at first level. Once you start being able to enchant your gear, that ability will let you raise both your offense and defense with the same boosts, and that will make a big difference, which is why you really should grab it when you can. (If you want to trade it out now, we recommend grabbing Redirecting Shield from the Shield sphere.) This talent gets significantly better if you have an ally who uses the Enhancement sphere and is willing to help you out – see if you can talk any spherecaster (especially an Incanter) into it.
As a Shield-focused character, you’re better with counters than you are with direct attacks, and Active Defense will quickly become your primary ability. You’ll want to pick up Redirecting Shield (possibly trading out the Versatile Shield power for it), as well as Greater Deflect, Shielded Focus, and Smashing Counter, all from the Shield sphere. This will let you redirect people’s attacks, then smash them in the face with your shield, essentially giving you two attacks against them every time they miss you. Shielded Focus will let you quickly regain your Martial Focus so you can do this each turn. Interposing Shield is handy, but can be left until later.
(You don’t have to pick whether or not you’re using Greater Deflect until you activate your Active Defense, so if Redirecting Shield isn’t likely to work, you can save your focus and just do Smashing Counter.)
If you face a lot of touch attacks from enemies, Deflecting Shield and Perfect Redirection will be handy. If you face Area of Effect attacks, Blockade is fantastic. These abilities are fairly game-dependent, though, so they’re not a priority (and may not need to be taken at all) unless those effects have a big presence in your game.
Guardian talents can be left until your basic defensive combo is complete. Once you can reliably deflect and punish, these talents can make you even harder to bring down. The exception to this is Mass Challenge, which will let you taunt multiple foes into coming after you (and that’s good).
Your turns will mostly be spent moving into position and recharging your martial focus so you can use your active defense more effectively – your real impact will come from using Active Defense during your enemies’ turns.
When your BAB hits +6, the Great Focus feat (on the Practitioner Feats page) can give you a second martial focus and make it easier to use a pair of (deflect) talents with your Active Defense, rather than just one.
You are proficient with all armor and should move up to heavy armor when you get the chance. You are proficient with tower shields, but cannot easily shield bash with them and don’t want the accuracy penalty, so stick with the heavy spiked steel shield.
Spheres of Might, © 2017, Drop Dead Studios LLC; Authors: Adam Meyers, Michael Sayre, Andrew Stoeckle, N. Jolly