The Dwarven Defender offers similarities to the Champion of Torm character class, in the sense that he is based on combat skills and abilities and acts as a protector of the people. However, this class isn’t necessarily good by nature, although they are always lawful, and they can side with evil sovereigns or leaders in order to act as their guards.
The name of the prestige-class already describes what the character will concentrate on: you will gain defensive abilities before gaining expertise in offensive hand-to-hand combat. As such, the Dwarven Defender is one of the toughest classes to hit, in terms of HP (Hit Points) and various bonuses attributed to the Dwarven race; he makes a formidable opponent in any situation or in party-based gaming.
Obviously only Dwarves can play this class, as it is considered one of the class requirements. As such it is perhaps one of the most limited prestige classes available with the add-ons, although they all have some limitations but rarely are confined to one single race.
Race, Skills and Feats requirements
Being a combat based character, most of the skills concentrate on crafting items, such as armor and weapons, which prove the most useful of the skills. You also have healing skills as a defender, and both the listen and spot skills can be built up to high levels. Since it’s a Dwarven class, you will get all the benefits and modifiers associated with this race, such as high fortitude, will saving throws and constitution bonus, which make the character tougher. The main requirements for this class are:
- A Base Attack bonus of +7
- You need to have chosen the Dodge and Toughness feats, as you level
- As explained you need to be a Dwarf of lawful alignment
Some Feats acquired
The main feats which you will acquire over time are all defense-based:
Defensive Stance (Level 1) – This feat will allow you to literally become a brick-wall, by modifying your existing attributes, such as strength and constitution, to make you hard to hit. The ability is usable once per day and increases as you gain levels (every 2 levels), but every time you use it you will be unable to move from the spot where you cast it. This means that you will be able to hit out-of-reach opponents for instance, but won’t be able to charge to any other foes. This feat increases the following: Strength +2, Constitution +4, +2 Saving Throws and a +4 AC bonus.
Defensive Awareness (Levels 2, 5, 10) – At its first level (Defensive Awareness I), you are able to retain your Armor-class’ dexterity bonus. This means that the damage won’t increase even if you are hit by stealthy creatures (i.e. invisible) or if you are caught flat-footed. At its second level you gain greater melee abilities and are able to hit multiple opponents, such as when you are flanked or ambushed for instance. Lastly, Defensive Awareness III combines all the above and also gives you bonuses on avoiding traps and improving your reflex saving throws.