The Guard is an elite, highly trained soldier, selected for her skills and efficacy in battle. Guards are elevated from the front lines where they have proven their mettle. Aristocratic birth is not required for most units, though it is for some. In all societies these positions are reserved for those who can earn them. The commander of the military order selects the new members from a list of hopeful applicants. Guards are professional soldiers who have honed their skills to the limit of human capabilities. They are focused, driven, elite warriors who earn their rank and live up to their ideals every day. All rulers have a cadre of elite warriors to protect them, their families, and their residences. These soldiers also serve as an elite unit in battle. Some of the more famous orders of guards include the Companions, Persian Immortals, Macedonian Silver Shields, Scandinavian Hirds, Sacred Band of thebes, Honor Guard of Sparta, Sacred Band of Carthage, and the Roman Equites.

Guards value discipline and good order. They use shields and strategies that protect themselves and their allies from harm as they mount counter attacks that rattle the mightiest of foes. For the Guard, denying the enemy is what they live for.

Bonus Proficiency

At 3rd level you add Athletics and Persuasion to your list of skill proficiencies. If you are already proficient in one or both of the skills, you gain expertise in them and add double your proficiency bonus to your checks.

Deny, Then Destroy

When you choose this archetype at 3rd level, you learn how to use your superior defense to open up your foe for a counter attack. When a creature targets you with an attack and misses, you can use a Reaction to attack that creature.

Protect and Serve

Starting at 7th level, you can taunt and distract your foes, attracting their attacks and saving others from them. When you hit a creature with a melee weapon attack, you can mark the creature until the end of your next turn. This effect ends early if you are incapacitated or you die, or if someone else marks the creature. While it is within 5 feet of you, a creature marked by you has disadvantage on any attack roll that doesn’t target you.

If you or a creature you can see within 5 feet of you is hit by an attack from a creature marked by you, you can roll 1d4 as a reaction if you’re wielding a melee weapon and shield. Roll the die, and add the number rolled to the target’s AC against that attack.

You can mark creatures with this feature a number of times per long rest equal to your Constitution modifier (a minimum of once).

Peerless Defense

At 10th level, you become a master of defending against enemies. Creatures provoke an opportunity attack from you when they move 5 feet or more while within your reach, and if you hit a creature with an opportunity attack, they have disadvantage targeting you until your next turn.

Offensive Wall

Starting at 15th level, you can use your shield as a powerful tool of combat. When you make a melee attack you may use your shield as part of that attack. If your attack hits, that target takes 1d4 additional bludgeoning damage and must succeed on a Strength saving throw (DC 8 + your proficiency bonus + your Strength modifier) or be either knocked prone or shoved a number of feet equal to your Strength modifier, your choice. You can use this feature only once on each of your turns. Additionally, you can use your shield as weapon with the ‘thrown’ property with a range of 10/20 and inflicting 1d4 bludgeoning damage on a hit.

Vigilant Guardian

Starting at 18th level, you are always vigilant when it comes to your comrades-at-arms. In combat, you get a special reaction that you can take once on every creature’s turn, except your turn. You can use this special reaction only to redirect any attacks targeting an ally that is within 10 feet from you and make it target you instead.

Section 15: Copyright Notice

Fighter Archetypes, Guard, Mercenary, Raider, Copyright 2021, Bloodstone Press

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