Pyrrhan Marauder (working title)


I'd envisioned the Pyrrhae to encapsulate the feel of the horse-riding Greeks from their advanced era (Aetolians, Thessalians, Macedonians, all of whom were praised for their prowess in mounted combat) along with the mercenary feel of the nomadic horse-peoples who involved themselves with the later Byzantine and Roman empires (Cuman, Alan, and Turkic peoples). I wanted to come up with an Archetype for either the Fighter or the Cavalier that would more properly reflect how they would fight.

Obviously the Cavalier wouldn't fit. To begin with, that's the Moarvik (and now Ronan and Soran) tradition. Furthermore, it's not how the Pyrrhans themselves fight. They are raiders and skirmishers, first and foremost. They're all about encircling, flanking, and bleeding their opponents through missile weapons (bows, javelins, etc.), before closing in for the kill.

The Archetypes from the Ultimate Combat book offer some good ideas about where to go with this. I thought I would use them as a launching point for the desired Archetype, with the desired outcome being a horse-riding man-at-arms who focuses on a combination of missile and melee combat, as well as entrapments. One of the nice things about these Archetypes, is that each of the powers they use (those with single-level powers, that is… not Archetypes like the Musketeer, whose entire set of abilities is replaced by two powers) are balanced against the equivalent powers for the Cavalier. That made work easier… and then I changed the skills (to reflect their society) and also dropped the proficiency with Heavy Armor (since that's not a nomadic horse-raider thing).//

Imagery that I would associate with this:


(that last one with somewhat lighter armor, obviously)

Let me know what you think.

Pyrrhan Marauder (Cavalier Archetype)

During an age lost but to bloody legend, the Parthan people were sundered by civil war. Kraetis, the defiant son of Memnos, arose against his father in open rebellion. As the gods clashed, so did their worshippers on the mortal plane. Fighters sworn to the Brazen Rider stormed out of north-flung Pyrus led by warlords whose legacy resounds even to this day: Tenes, the Lion-Slayer; Goreon, who was said to have divine blood; and Leonnatus the Sunderer. They fought a war that bled their people dry: warriors who sought to keep alive an era defined by heroes and their deeds, though in truth even the best of them had devolved to petty dynasts and marauders; soldiers sworn to a new age of by order, discipline, and justice, but already marred by tyranny. The Parthans sworn to Kraetis lost. Their Great Citadel of Pyrus was razed, and its people forced to flee to the four winds with only what they and their animals could carry. They were called Pyrrhae forever after by the rest of the Parthans, both to identify them as the descendants of rebels and to mock them for their lost homeland. Though Pyrus itself would one day rise again, it was not by the scions of those who had given it its name that it was ruled.

And so the Pyrrhae became nomads: despised outcasts, forced to live off the land and never being allowed to tarry long by their hostile cousin-folk. Hardship eventually brought about desperation, though, and desperation gave birth to daring. The Pyrrhae took to raiding to survive, using guile and fleet horses to gain what the barren grasslands and hills couldn't provide. The divisiveness of the Great Citadels and their vassal domains only aided their cause. In time, plunder from within and without Parthus - for Kamora, Keir, and even the frontiers of far-off Gand and Moar felt their predations - supported them as much (if not more so) than their own herds. Now, minor lords paid ransom to see the fierce horse-warriors through their lands without incident… and greater lords still hired them to make war on their enemies for great amounts of coin.

It is this legacy that the Pyrrhan Marauder calls his own. His people long ago perfected the stratagems and gambits that can allow a smaller, mobile force of warriors to outmaneuver and defeat larger, cumbersome armies. The Pyrrhan Marauder (working title) is a warrior reared on that school of war. Though technically an Archetype of the Cavalier, the Pyrrhan Marauder is anything but the stereotypical knight. He is not sworn to a cause or a lord, nor does he charge in the thick of battle wielding a lance. Not for him is blind courage of the straight-forward assaults. The Pyrrhan Marauder relies on cunning as much as he does daring. He uses powerful, recurve bows and javelins to harass his foes and whittle down their numbers; he strategically retreats and maneuvers to force them into ambushes, encirclements, and other such traps.

Role: Pyrrhan Marauders are the core and elite of every proper Pyrrhan force. They use their prowess and mounted combat and challenges to control the flow of the fight. Outside of battle, they can be found advancing their own cause or that of their tribe's through chicanery, intimidation, and subterfuge. The Pyrrhan Marauder is no stranger to intrigue, though his encounters with it are found more in proximity with warlords, underworld figures, and potential employers - rather than a proper court.

Alignment: Any, although Pyrrhae in general do not subscribe to Lawful alignments.
Hit Dice: d10.
Starting Wealth: 5d6 × 10 gp (average 175gp).
Class Skills: The Pyrrhan Marauder's class skills are Bluff (Cha), Climb (Str), Craft (Int), Handle Animal (Cha), Intimidate (Cha), Perception (Int), Ride (Dex), Sense Motive (Wis), Stealth (Dex), Survival (Wis), and Swim (Str).
Skill Ranks per Level: 4 + Int modifier.

Use Cavalier BaB and Saves; substitute Fortitude save with Reflex save.

1st Far challenge 1/day, mount, companionship, in and out of the saddle
2nd Companionship ability
3rd Careful Aim
4th Far challenge 2/day, expert trainer
5th Battlefield Agility
6th Bonus Feat
7th Far challenge 3/day
8th Companionship ability
9th Mounted Acrobatics
10th Far challenge 4/day
11th Infuriating aim
12th Bonus feat, versatile challenge
13th Far challenge 5/day
14th Mounted Dervish
15th Companionship ability
16th Far Challenge 6/day
17th None - removed for balance issues
18th Wrecker of Plans
19th Far challenge 7/day
20th Supreme Aim

Class Features
The following are the class features of the Pyrrhan Marauder:

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Pyrrhan Marauders are proficient with all simple and martial weapons, with light, and medium types of armor, and with shields (except tower shields).

Far Challenge (Ex)
Once per day, a Pyrrhan Marauder can use his far challenge ability as a swift action. When he does, the luring cavalier chooses one target within sight to challenge. The Pyrrhan Marauder’s ranged attacks deal extra damage whenever [they] are made against the target of his challenge. This extra damage is equal to his level. The Pyrrhan Marauder can use this ability once per day at 1st level, plus one additional time per day for every three levels beyond 1st, to a maximum of seven times per day at 19th level. Furthermore, once per day, the Pyrrhan Marauder may spend a use of his far challenge ability to double the potential extra damage of his ranged attack. Before making the attack roll, he can choose to spend a use of his challenge to deal twice his Marauder level in extra damage on a successful hit instead of just his Marauder level in extra damage. If the attack misses, the use of the challenge is wasted.

Challenging a foe requires subtle deceits and strategies. The Pyrrhan Marauder must make it look like he is a soft target. The subject of the far challenge gains a +4 bonus on attack rolls made against him. This challenge remains in effect until the target is dead or unconscious, until the target hits the Pyrrhan Marauder with a melee attack, or until the combat ends. If this challenge ends because the target hits the Pyrrhan Marauder with a melee attack, this challenge changes to the effects of the normal challenge (see Cavalier), and gains any order benefit the Pyrrhan Marauder has. See below for Pyrrhan Marauders and "Orders".

Far challenge replaces the challenge ability.

Mount (Ex)
Every Pyrrhan Marauder has been "raised on the saddle". In such a violent society, it might truly be said that the horses he has grown with have been his only true friends. He thus has a loyal and trusty steed to carry him into battle. This mount functions as a druid’s animal companion, using the Pyrrhan Marauder’s level as his effective druid level. The creature must be one that he is capable of riding and is suitable as a mount. A beginning Pyrrhan Marauder will always favor the finest of horses, but the GM might approve other animals as suitable mounts.

A Pyrrhan Marauder does not take an armor check penalty on Ride checks while riding his mount. The mount is always considered combat trained and begins play with Light Armor Proficiency as a bonus feat. A Pyrrhan Marauder’s mount does not gain the share spells special ability.

A Pyrrhan Marauder’s bond with his mount is strong, with the pair learning to anticipate each other’s moods and moves. Should [his] mount die, the Pyrrhan Marauder may find another mount to serve him after 1 week of mourning. This new mount does not gain the link, evasion, devotion, or improved evasion special abilities until the next time the Pyrrhan Marauder gains a level.

Companionship (Ex)
Pyrrhan Marauders do not join Orders. Rather, as elite warriors within their tribes, they congregate among their peers - whom they regard as "Companions". Doing so is automatic at 1st level. The companionship grants the Pyrrhan Marauder a number of bonuses, class skills, and special abilities. In addition, said companionship includes a number of "edicts" that the Pyrrhan Marauder must follow. If he violates any of these edicts, he loses the benefits from his order’s challenge ability for 24 hours. The violation of an edict is subject to GM interpretation. A Pyrrhan Marauder cannot change his companionship without undertaking a lengthy process to dedicate himself to a new cause. When this choice is made, he immediately loses all of the benefits from his old companionship. He must then follow the edicts of his new companionship for one entire level without gaining any benefits from [it]. Once accomplished, he gains all of the bonuses from his companionship.

At 1st level, the default companionship correlates with the Order of the Cockatrice. The Pyrrhae value personal martial glory above all other things, and their Marauders are no different. They come together when the call is sent out to ride to war, but even then, their main motivation is to surpass their peers in amassing personal glory, renown, and spoils-of-war. Such companionships rarely have names, titles, or emblems. They are a default, at best: the massing of a tribe's finest warriors.

A few Pyrrhan Marauders, though, belong to the equivalent of the Order of the Lion: they are warriors pledged to the tribe's lord or another powerful personage. Pyrrhan Marauders of this sort of companionship are stalwart and dedicated to their master, willing to go any length to ensure the safety of their lord and his domain… unless ambition or personal grievance leads them to become usurper. Such companionships sometimes carry their own title or emblems - both of which are typically tied to their master's own colors.

In or Out of the Saddle (Ex)
Per the Emissary Cavalier Archetype.
At 1st level, an emissary gains Mounted Combat as a bonus feat. In addition, he can move at normal speed when wearing medium armor.
This ability replaces tactician.

Careful Aim (Ex)
At 3rd level, when a Pyrrhan Marauder makes a ranged attack with his highest base attack bonus, he can ignore the penalties for firing up to three range increments away. This effect stacks with effects that allow the Pyrrhan Marauder to make ranged attacks farther without penalty.
This ability replaces cavalier’s charge.

Expert Trainer (Ex)[no change]
Per the Cavalier.
Expert Trainer (Ex): At 4th level, a cavalier learns to train mounts with speed and unsurpassed expertise. The cavalier receives a bonus equal to 1/2 his cavalier level whenever he uses Handle Animal on an animal that serves as a mount. In addition, he can reduce the time needed to teach a mount a new trick or train a mount for a general purpose to 1 day per 1 week required by increasing the DC by +5. He can also train more than one mount at once, although each mount after the first adds +2 to the DC.

Battlefield Agility (Ex)
Per the Emissary Cavalier Archetype.
At 5th level, an emissary learns to be more aware of the threats that surround him in combat, and shares this awareness with his loyal steed. Both the emissary and his mount gain Mobility as a bonus feat. 
This ability replaces banner.

Bonus Feat
At levels 6, 12, and 17, a Pyrrhan Marauder gains a bonus feat in addition to those gained from normal advancement. These bonus feats must be selected from those listed as combat feats. The Pyrrhan Marauder must meet the prerequisites of these bonus feats.

Mounted Acrobatics (Ex)
Per the Emissary Cavalier Archetype.
At 9th level, an emissary is even more adept at hopping on and off his steed, and even dropping alongside its flanks mid-gallop. He gains Trick Riding as a bonus feat, even if he does not meet the prerequisites. The emissary can employ this feat even when wearing medium armor.
This ability replaces greater tactician.

Infuriating Aim (Ex)
At 11th level, when a Pyrrhan Marauder confirms a critical hit with a ranged attack made at his highest base attack bonus against the target of a far challenge, the target becomes infuriated for 1 round. While infuriated, the target must spend its turn moving closer to the cavalier, making move, run, or charge actions only (challenged creature’s choice). This is a mind-affecting effect.
This ability replaces mighty charge.

Versatile Challenge (Ex)
At 12th level, a Pyrrhan Marauder can expend a use of his challenge to gain the benefit of far challenge or the normal cavalier challenge. He can even change the type of challenge an opponent is under the effects of as a swift action, as long as the target of the challenge is within line of sight.
This ability replaces demanding charge.

Mounted Dervish (Ex)
Per the Emissary Cavalier Archetype.
At 14th level, an emissary becomes a fearsome, mobile foe on the battlefield. He gains Mounted Skirmisher as a bonus feat, even if he does not meet the prerequisites. In addition, whenever the emissary is mounted and takes the charge action, he adds 10 feet to his mount's speed.
This ability replaces greater banner.

Wrecker of Plans (Ex)
At 18th level, by dint of his harassing tactics, the Pyrrhan Marauder gains the ability to disrupt the teamwork of his enemies. The Pyrrhan Marauder can choose to cancel out the effects of one teamwork feat employed by any of his opponents within 30 feet.
This ability replaces the cavalier's 18th-level bonus feat.

Supreme Aim (Ex)
At 20th level, the Pyrrhan Marauder gains the careful aim bonus and the effect of infuriating aim on all ranged attacks.
This ability replaces supreme charge.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 License