Martial Schools for 4e: Rowan Berserker 2

Way back in June, I worked out the first few powers for a Roux Swordsman character class and suggested additional attack descriptors that might lend more of a cut-and-thrust feel to 4e combat. Today, I’m working on the Rowan Berserker school, also taken from King’s Gate. They fight with shields made of rowan, and share in the tree’s incredible strength and toughness. The choice to make the berserker school shield-users is strange in the context of D&D, but in KG they had powers involving beating their weapons against their shields, and I certainly plan to retain that.

This class takes a certain amount of inspiration from the Warden, though I write it without the PH2 open in front of me. It is, at least, a defender in light armor who draws on the wisdom of nature, and I’ve carried over the Warden’s high hit point and healing surge values to support the Rowan Berserker’s approach to life. What I haven’t (quite) done is carry over the shapeshifting aspect of Warden daily powers, because it’s a little more mystical than I care to go with this class. I do, after all, still see them as a martial school, not a primal one.
If you’re wondering about the High, Middle, and Low descriptors, click on the Roux Swordsman link above, where I lay out several of the ideas behind these martial schools and cut-and-thrust combat.

Rowan Berserker

Role: Defender, Striker secondary

Power Source: Martial

Key Abilities: Strength, Constitution

Armor Proficiencies: Cloth, Leather, Hide, all Shields

Weapon Proficiencies: Simple Melee, Simple Ranged, Military Melee, Military Ranged

Bonus to Defense: +2 Fortitude

Hit Points at First Level:As per Warden

Hit Points per Level Gained:As per Warden

Healing Surges per Day: As per Warden

Trained Skills (Choose Four): Athletics, Endurance, Heal, History, Intimidate, Nature

Class Features: Heart of Rowan, Rager’s Yell

Heart of Rowan: Add either your Constitution bonus or your Dexterity bonus to your Armor Class when wearing light armor. Add your Constitution bonus to your damage when making an attack granted to you through a mark you placed.

Rager’s Yell – Rowan Berserker Attack 1

With a primal yell of challenge, you beat your weapon against your shield; your foes must face YOU before they can threaten your allies.

At-Will – Martial

Minor Action  Closeblast 3

Target: All enemies in area

Effect: Target is marked until the end of your next turn, and takes a -2 penalty to attacks that do not include you as a target. If the target makes an attack that does not include you as a target, you may make a melee basic attack as an immediate reaction against that target if you are within range.

Special: You may not use this attack more than once per round.

Skullsplitter – Rowan Berserker Attack 1

With a brutal overhand strike, you attempt to split your foe’s skull. Even if you miss, your opponent will be scrambling to recover.

At-Will – Martial, Weapon, High

Standard Action   Melee weapon

Target: One creature

Attack: Strength vs AC

Hit: [W] + Str damage

Miss: If your target is wielding a shield, you receive a +2 bonus to your next attack against that target before the end of your next turn. If your target is not wielding a shield, your target takes a -2 penalty to its next melee attack against you before the start of your next turn. (Editor’s Note: if Cleave can have a miss effect, so can Skullsplitter.)

Shield Bash – Rowan Berserker Attack 1

You throw your weight behind a strike with your shield, and your opponent staggers back.

At-Will – Martial, Shield, Middle

Standard Action  Melee1

Target: One creature

Attack: Strength vs Fortitude

Hit: 1d8 + Str + Con damage, and push the target 1 square.

Scars Make Me Stronger – Rowan Berserker Defense 1

Don’t you know that blood only makes a Rowan crazier?

Encounter – Martial, Shield, Middle

Immediate Reaction

Trigger: You take damage and are bloodied afterward (regardless of whether or not you were bloodied before)

Effect: Gain temporary hit points equal to 5 + Str, and add your Constitution bonus to all defenses until the end of your next turn.

Special: If the attack that triggered your use of this power was a critical hit, your next melee attack against that opponent is a critical hit on a roll of 18, 19, or 20.

Strong Arm – Rowan Berserker Attack 1

The force of your blow hurls your opponent to the ground. He don’t own you!

Encounter – Martial, Weapon, Middle

Standard Action   Meleeweapon

Target: One creature

Attack: Strength vs AC

Hit: [W] + Str damage, and make a secondary attack

Secondary Attack: Strength vs. Fortitude

Hit: Target is knocked prone, and choose one: deal your Str + Con in damage to that opponent, or you are grappling your opponent, or that opponent is marked (save ends; this is a fear effect) as if by your Rager’s Yell ability.

Rowan’s First Lesson – Rowan Berserker Attack 1

The first lesson of the rowan is defiance – of wind, of stone, and of black magic.

Daily – Martial, Weapon, Shield, High

Standard Action   Meleeweapon

Target: One creature

Attack: Str vs AC 

Hit: 2[W] + Str

Effect: You enter the stance of the Rowan of the Vale. You gain resist 5 arcane, divine, psionic, and necrotic, and you may resist up to two squares of any push, pull, or slide (this part of the effect is cumulative with other forms of resistance to forced movement, such as the dwarven racial ability). You may not run while in the stance of the Rowan of the Vale. 

Defy the Storm – Rowan Berserker Defense 2

Your arrows may blot out the sun, but my shield has the strength of the ages.

Encounter – Martial, Shield, High

Minor Action

Effect: Gain a +4 bonus to all defenses against attacks with the High descriptor, and resist 5 all against attacks with the High descriptor.

From the Roots – Rowan Berserker Defense 2

It’s important to have a quick hand with the shield, to defend against underhanded treachery. Those who strike at you from beneath will feel your hobnailed boot.

Encounter – Martial, Shield, Low

Minor Action

Effect: Gain a +2 bonus to AC and Reflex against attacks with the Low or Middle descriptors. The first time a melee attack with the Low descriptor misses you before the beginning of your next turn, you may make the following attack.

Target: One creature within 1 square of you

Attack: Str vs Reflex

Damage: 1d6 + Str, and the creature is slowed and marked until the end of your next turn.

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