Epic Prestige Class : Stalwart Warden
by Andy Collins, Dragon #297
The stalwart warden personifies the mettle and endurance of the dwarven race. Despite his short stature, this mighty dwarf stands tall in the defense of his charge, whether that be an individual, a town of innocents, or an entire race. More than one orc warlord has made the mistake of urging his troops on with the statement, "It's only a single dwarf, how can he hope to stop us?"
Fighters, paladins, monks, rangers, and even ex-barbarians all make fine stalwart wardens. Some clerics choose to follow this path, although this is rare since they must forsake improving their spellcasting abilities. Dwarven defenders most often become stalwart wardens and are readily prepared for this class since they've already pledged some level of service or loyalty to the dwarven people. Similarly, the devoted defender (from Sword and Fist) can aspire to become a stalwart warden. Arcane spellcasters have little to gain from this class.
A stalwart warden puts the needs of others before his own, although this can take many forms. Some live spartan lifestyles, preferring to avoid personal involvement. Others live as their fellows reveling in all that life has to offer. Regardless of personality, however, the stalwart warden remains ever vigilant for danger.
To qualify to become a Stalwart Warden, a character must fulfill all the following criteria:
- Race: Dwarf
- Alignment: Lawful good or lawful neutral
- Skills: Listen 10 ranks, Sense Motive 5 ranks, Spot 10 ranks.
- Feats: Alertness, Endurance, Iron Will, and Toughness.
Epic Feats: Epic Toughness.
- Base Attack Bonus: +21.
- Special: Must have damage reduction from a feat or class feature.
Skill Points at Each Level: 2 + Int modifier.
All the following are class features of the stalwart warden prestige class.
Weapon and Armor Proficiency: The stalwart warden gains proficiency with all simple and martial weapons, with light, medium, and heavy armor, and with shields.
Ceaseless Vigilance (Ex): Beginning at 1st level, the stalwart warden may add his class level as an insight bonus to Listen and Spot checks.
Dwarven Prowess (Ex): At 2nd level a stalwart warden receives additional training against the traditional foes of his people. His racial bonus to attack rolls against orcs and goblinoids increases to +2, and his dodge bonus against giants increases to +6. In addition, the stalwart warden may add his class level to damage rolls against any of these creatures.
Enduring Bravery (Ex): At 3rd level, the stalwart warden becomes immune to fear effects.
Bonus Feats: The stalwart warden gains a bonus feat at 4th level and every 4 levels thereafter (8th, 12th, and so on). These feats must be selected from the following list: Armor Skin, Damage Reduction, Devastating Critical, Energy Resistance, Epic Endurance, Epic Prowess, Epic Toughness, Epic Weapon Focus, Fast Healing, Improved Combat Reflexes, Improved Darkvision, Instant Reload, Overwhelming Critical, Perfect Health, and Spellcasting Harrier.
Distant Vision (Ex): At 5th level, the stalwart warden's darkvision improves from 30 feet to 60 feet, and increases by an additional 30 feet every 5 levels thereafter (10th, 15th, and so on).
Unshakable Loyalty (Ex): At 6th level, the stalwart warden becomes immune to charm effects.
Immovable Bulwark (Ex): At 7th-level, a stalwart warden may add his Constitution bonus to any check to avoid being bull rushed, grappled, or tripped (including by an overrun attempt). In addition, he is treated as if he is one size category larger than his normal size for the purposes of such checks, and when attempting to resist a bull rush or a trip, the stalwart warden is considered "exceptionally stable."
Unwavering Dedication (Ex): At 9th level, the stalwart warden becomes immune to compulsion effects.
Mighty Resistance (Ex): The stalwart warden's natural dwarven racial bonuses to saves against poison and spells improve from +2 to +4 at 10th level, and thereafter increase by 2 points for every io additional levels gained (20th, 30th, and so on).
|Stalwart Warden||Hit Die: d12|
|5th||Distant vision (60 ft.)|
|10th||Mighty resistance, distant vision (90 ft.)|
Source: Epic Level Handbook