Have you ever been playing a video game or watching a movie, only to find yourself thinking "I want to play a character like that in a Tabletop RPG"? Welcome to my new series, Pathfinding, where we show off the versatility of the Pathfinder RPG ruleset and recreate popular culture archetypes for your using pleasure.
I've had a little time to tinker around in Bioware's third installment in their epic space RPG, Mass Effect 3, and the selectable Vanguard class has me positively giggling every time I play as one. I got to thinking about how one would replicate the instant charge and crushing offense of the vanguard within the confines of the Pathfinder roleplaying system, and after a little bit of tinkering I was able to come up with a pretty decent replication. (continued after the jump)
Biotics within the Mass Effect universe are really nothing more than Psionics, and that was the route I chose to take to mimic the powerful abilities of the Vanguard. If you didn't already know, Dreamscarred Press published a Pathfinder update to the old Expanded Psionics Handbook from 3.5, by the name of Psionics Unleashed. (You can order it here from paizo, and the rules are available at the Pathfinder OGC). Additionally, a quick flip through Ultimate Combat yielded this little gem:
You have been trained to use magical movement as part of your combat tactics.
Prerequisites: Ability to use the abundant step class feature or cast dimension door, Dimensional Agility.
Benefit: As a full-round action, you use abundant step or cast dimension door as a special charge. Doing so allows you to teleport up to double your current speed (up to the maximum distance allowed by the spell or ability) and to make the attack normally allowed on a charge.
While the Psychic Warrior does not get Dimension Door, they do get a power called Fold Space that essentially works identically to Dimension Door, including the action penalty and movement distance. Therefore, it isn't a stretch to rule that the "Dimensional" feats can be applied to Fold Space as well. Combine the charge from the above feat with a Greater Psionic Weapon attack, and you have a teleporting mega slam. Combine with the Psychic Warrior's "Martial Power" ability (which essentially works as a Magus-like power delivery system) and you have the ability to deliver a power like Dissolving Weapon (+4d6 Acid Damage) as well as a Greater Psionic Weapon (+4d6 extra damage) for some truly massive blasts that you deliver at the end of the charge via Shield Slam.
Let's not forget Power Attack. Enjoy! (Note: This block was made with NPC gold, so feel free to use it as an enemy in your mid-to-high level game)
Male human psychic warrior 11
CG Medium humanoid (human)
Init +2; Senses Perception +2
AC 25, touch 11, flat-footed 24 (+1 Dex, +11 armor, +3 shield);
hp 83 (11d8+33)
Fort +10, Ref +5, Will +6
Speed 30 ft. in +1 Full Plate (40 ft. base)
Melee +1 Shield Spike Charge +14 [+17 with psionic focus] (1d6+5), or +1 Warhammer +13/+8 [+16/+11 with psionic focus] (1d8+5)
Full Attack +1 Warhammer +11/+6 [+14 and +9 with psionic focus] (1d8+5) and +1 Shield Spike +11 [+14 with psionic focus] (1d6+3)
Attack Options Power Attack
Special Attack Martial Power
Psychic Warrior Powers Known (ML 11th)
4th - Fold Space, Slip the Bonds
3rd - Empathetic Transfer (Hostile), Dimension Slide, Empathetic Feedback
2nd - Psionic Lion's Charge, Body Adjustment, Dissolving Weapon
1st - Biofeedback, Prescience (Offensive), Stomp, Hammer, Grip of Iron, Empty Mind
Str 18, Dex 15, Con 14, Int 9, Wis 14, Cha 08
Base Atk +8; CMB +13; CMD 25
Feats Toughness, Power Attack, Improved Bull Rush, Two Weapon Fighting, Psionic Meditation*, Psionic Weapon*, Improved Shield Bash, Shield Slam, Greater Psionic Weapon*, Dimensional Agility, Dimensional Assault
Skills Autohypnosis +18, Acrobatics +17, Knowledge (nobility) +13, Spellcraft +13
SQ weaponmaster path, brawling path,
Combat Gear +2 Full Plate, +1 Warhammer, +1 Heavy Shield with +1 Shield Spike; Other Gear +1 Cloak of Resistance, Shoes of Striding and Springing, Backpack, 1600 worth of additional equipment or gold
*See Psionics Unleashed for full description