Labyrinths & Liontaurs



Drawn from the ranks of guards, knights, mercenaries, and even thugs, defenders are masters of claiming an area and refusing to relinquish it. This behavior is more than a tactical decision for these heroes; it's an obsessive, stubborn expression of the need to defend yourself, your allies, and the ground on which you all stand. In addition, defenders know that a strong defense is paramount both out of combat and in.

Anyone can be as stubborn as a rock and dedicated to holding one point no matter the cost, so defenders can be of any alignment. That said, dedication and practice push a defender toward law, and the desire to protect others certainly reflects a bent toward good. Paladins are natural defenders, but stalwart people of all classes have become defenders.

Role: Defenders are masters of combat, where they are towers of support in the pandemonium of battle. They are normally found on the front lines of a fight, holding a position to cover their allies, leaping into breaches of opposing formations and holding them open for others. They may have a secondary ranged weapon to use when foes try to avoid them. Beyond a fight, defenders often act as bodyguards, enforcers, champions, and leaders.

Requirements: The Universal System tends to offer the Defender prestige class to characters who have had remarkable experiences ...

If you have focused on one of these to the point of obsession, or if your experiences have touched on most or all of them, then the Universal System may offer you the use of this prestige class.

Base Attack Bonus: +0.75 / level.

Caster Level: Similar to +0.25 / level, see below.

Will Save: +0.50 / level.

Fort Save: +0.75 / level.

Reflex Save: +0.50 / level.

Hit Die: d12.

Table: Defender Advancement
LevelBase Attack BonusCaster LevelWill SaveFort SaveRefx SaveSpecial
1st+0.75+0.0+0.50+0.75+0.50Prestige Signature: Defender's Stand
2nd+1.50+1.0+1.00+1.50+1.00Intimidating Posture or Tenacious
3rd+2.25+1.0+1.50+2.25+1.50Lock Down or Lunge
4th+3.00+1.0+2.00+3.00+2.00Spot Malefactor or Eternal Watch
5th+3.75+1.0+2.50+3.75+2.50Prestige Tier Choice
6th+4.50+2.0+3.00+4.50+3.00Master Signature: Defense Master
7th+5.25+2.0+3.50+5.25+3.50Leader or Inspire Trust
8th+6.00+2.0+4.00+6.00+4.00Last Word or Shield Allies
9th+6.75+2.0+4.50+6.75+4.50Xyzzy or Bust Out
10th+7.50+2.5+5.00+7.50+5.00Master Tier Choice

Skill Proficiencies

The defender's proficient skills (and the ability scores used to boost each skill) are Break (Str), Climb (Str), Intimidate (Chr), Jump (Str), Search (Int), Sense Motive (Wis), Spot (Wis), Survival (Wis), Swim (Str), and Tactics (Int).

Skill Ranks per Level: 2 + Int modifier.

Weapon and Armor Proficiencies

You are proficient with all simple and martial weapons. You are proficient with all armor and shields, including tower shields.

Spells and Spell Casting

Prestige classes do not add the usual fractional increase to caster level each time you advance. Instead, at some levels you add a full caster level, and at other levels you add none. The spell level of defender spells varies from defender to defender -- see these rules on prestige class spell aquisition. When you cast spells gained through this prestige class, those spells are divine in nature, and they follow the rules for divine spells. The casting ability score for this prestige class is constitution, which is used to set defender spell DCs, and, if it is your highest casting ability score, to set concentration checks and bonus spells per day.

KNOWN SPELLS LIST: When you add a caster level, the spells you add to your known spells list are pre-selected:

Class Abilities


Level 1 Defender Prestige Tier Signature Ability: Defender's Stand (Su) Once you have rolled initiative and entered combat, you can take a stand in defense of a position. You gain combat bonuses the longer you stand in one place without moving. Standing in place for the first round offers no bonus. On the second round, you gain a +1 sacred bonus to attack, to armor class (but not CMD), to damage reduction, and to Will saving throws. On the third round, the bonuses rise to +2; on the fourth round, to +3, and finally, on the fifth round, to +4, that is, +4 to attacks, +4 AC, +4 Will saves, and 4/- damage reduction. If you voluntarily move, even a five-foot step, your bonus resets to +0.

Level 2 Defender Prestige Tier Interaction Ability (pick one):

Level 3 Defender Prestige Tier Combat Ability (pick one):

Level 4 Defender Prestige Tier Exploration Ability (pick one):

Level 5 Defender Prestige Tier Choice: Select a Defender Prestige Tier Interaction, Combat, or Exploration ability that you have not yet chosen, or choose a feat from the Defender or Hard-Ass Feat Trees for which you qualify, treating your own tier as if it were one step higher.


Level 6 Defender Master Tier Signature Ability: Defense Master (Su) You gain a +1 competence bonus to your Combat Maneuver Defefense (CMD); in addition, when you are using your defender's stand, that bonus to CMD increases to +2 on the second round, then +4, then +6, then +8. In addition, you may take a five foot step once per round while maintaining your defender's stand.

Level 7 Defender Master Tier Interaction Ability (pick one):

Level 8 Defender Master Tier Combat Ability (pick one):

Level 9 Defender Master Tier Exploration Ability (pick one):

Level 10 Defender Master Tier Choice: Select a defender Master or Prestige Tier Interaction, Combat, or Exploration ability that you have not yet chosen, or choose a feat from the Defender or Hard-Ass Feat Trees for which you qualify, treating your own tier as if it were one step higher.