The idea for this class came from years ago, still during D&D 4E, when everybody was debating how a martial controller would look like. For those of you that never played 4E, the game had different sources of power (Martial, Divine, Arcane, Primal etc.) and roles (Striker, Defender, Leader and Controller). While I was still reading 4E it seems that most or all combinations were accounted for (Martial Striker, Arcane Controller etc.) but we never saw a Martial Controller. That is when I started thinking on this class.
Now, the funny thing is that I never intended to use the 4E rules and the original design was for Pathfinder 1E. However, I never managed to do it (I created a Warlord class for Pathfinder though). Then 13th Age came along and I started thinkering again.
An important warning: this is my first 13th Age class and is probably grossly unbalanced/overpowered or even unplayable. The fact is that 13th Age is one of those RPGs where I’m sincerely intimidated/afraid of writing a class (I love to write races, powers, feats etc. but not classes). It took more than a year for me to finish this first draft. Now it is the time to test it. I still have one or two other classes that I want to create for 13th Age, but let's see how this one here fares.
The idea of the Guardian is, as I said, that of a Martial Controller. Unlike the Commander, which theoretically would be a Martial Leader, the Guardian seeks to control battlefield movement and excels against Minions (instead of directing his allies like the Commander). While everybody likes the Cleric, the party as a team should LOVE to have a Guardian around. Guardians should not inflict much damage (except against Mooks) but Conditions. They should change the tactics and dynamics of an encounter. I’m not sure that the tradeoff of “half damage” for Conditions is a good one, but I can’t think of anything else now.
On Guardians and RangersIn portuguese Aragorn and the Dúnedain aren’t called Rangers but Guardians (and for the record, in my opinion the best translation for “ranger” in Portuguese would would be “patrulheiro”, which was the actual name used by one of the first editions of a Lord of the Rings RPG in Brazil back in the 90s. Strictly speaking “patrulheiro” means patrolman, but it sounds right as a “ranger” equivalent).The flavor of the Guardian class is that of a dedicated warrior, an exotic duelist, a ritual fighter - maybe one who follows a martial school, tradition or a legacy, either by blood or heart. The names of the Stances, Strikes and Maneuvers are all “kind of” Eastern-style and suggest something different from a “common” Dragon Empire fighter. Inspiration came from a lot of unrelated sources, from Arcana Unearthed, to Exalted, Wheel of Time, KSBD and a lot of other mashup craziness. Guardians see more in common with Monks and behave usually in a more civilized or ritualistic way. And yes, Aragorn’s role in a battle - for me at least - is that of a Guardian. In fact, if I wanted to play Aragorn in 13th Age, I would build a Guardian with, perhaps, the Sacred Warrior talent to represent the royal Dúnedain bloodline.
|A Guardian facing a Fighter (or probably a Barbarian if you're really facing the Mountain That Rides)|