Path of War NPCs: DMs want maneuvers too!

The Path of War classes are tons of fun, and they work fine for important NPCs. However if I want to create a bunch of mooks that can use maneuvers, I don’t want to keep track of ki pools, gambits or auras. So here is an NPC class that gives maneuvers and little else.

A note of challenge rating (CR): In the monster advancement rules in step 3, the rules say that when adding NPC classes to a monster the monster’s CR increases by 1 per 2 NPC levels. However, the gamemastering section (also step 3) tells us that NPC classes have a CR equal to their level -2. It seems to me that treating an NPC’s CR as being equal to half their level makes more sense and more correctly follows the monster creation chart. I will be using this assumption for my NPCs.

Man-at-ArmsAmaa

Class Skills

The warrior’s class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Climb (Str), Craft (Int), Handle Animal (Cha), Intimidate (Cha), Knowledge (martial) (Int), Profession (Wis), Ride (Dex), and Swim (Str).

The man-at-arms also gains the associated skills of the disciplines he knows as class skills.

Skill Ranks per Level: 2 + Int modifier.
Base Attack Bonus: 3/4
Hit die: d8
Good saves: Fortitude
Bad Saves: Will, Reflex

The man-at-arms is proficient with all martial weapons.

Maneuvers: The man-at-arms may choose 2 disciplines to learn maneuvers from. Though the man-at-arms learns maneuvers he only counts half his levels as initiator levels. See the following table for how many maneuvers he knows and can ready. At level 9 and every 4 levels thereafter the man-at-arms may learn a new maneuver in place of one he already knows.

The man-at-arms uses his wisdom as his initiating modifier.

The man-at-arms may recover maneuvers in one of two ways. He may recover 1 maneuver by spending a standard action. Once per encounter, when half of his allies are killed or knocked unconscious, the man-at-arms automatically recovers a number of maneuvers equal to his initiation modifier (minimum 2).

Level Initiator Level Maximum Maneuver Level Maneuvers Known Maneuvers Readied Stances Known
1 1 1 3 2 0
2 1 1 3 2 1
3 2 1 4 3 1
4 2 1 4 3 1
5 3 2 4 3 1
6 3 2 4 3 1
7 4 2 4 3 1
8 4 2 5 4 1
9 5 3 5 4 2
10 5 3 6 4 2
11 6 3 6 4 2
12 6 3 6 4 2
13 7 4 7 5 2
14 7 4 7 5 2
15 8 4 7 5 3
16 8 4 7 5 3
17 9 5 7 5 3
18 9 5 8 6 3
19 10 5 8 6 3
20 10 5 8 6 3

 

Sample Builds

Catfolk Outlaw CR 1/2

This catfolk is scarred and wields a longsword and a battered shield.

CE Medium Humanoid (catfolk)
Init +1; Senses low-light vision; Perception +2
Defense
AC 15, touch 12, flat-footed 14 (+2 shield, +2 armor, +1 dex)
hp 5 (1d8+1)
Fort +3, Ref +1, Will -1
Offense
Speed 30 ft. (+10 ft when using charge, run or withdraw)
Melee Longsword +2 (1d8+1) 19-20/x2
Ranged Longbow +1 (1d8) 20/x3
Statistics
Str 13, Dex 13, Con 12, Int 9, Wis 8, Cha 10
Base Atk +0; CMB +1; CMD 12
Feats Weapon focus (Longsword)
skills perception +2
Maneuvers known (2 readied)
Pride Movement, Encouraging Roar, Panther on the Hunt

Tactics

These catfolk outlaws hunt in groups and rely on their teamwork to bring down their enemies one at a time. Each member of the group will ready panther on the hunt and either pride movement or encouraging roar. The group will use pride movement to open up charge lanes and set up effective flanks, followed up with panther on the hunt to bring a devastating charge. the catfolk that have readied it will take turns using encouraging roar to boost their effectiveness.

On the first round, some of the catfolk can expect a flanking charge with encouraging roar for a +8 to hit and 1d8+5 damage.

Goblin Ambusher CR 1

All is quiet in the forest. Suddenly, arrows rain from the shadows before all is still again.

CE Medium Humanoid (goblin)
Init +3; Senses Darkvision 60ft; Perception +5
Defense
AC 15, touch 13, flat-footed 12 (+2 armor, +3 dex)
hp 11 (2d8+2)
Fort +4, Ref +2, Will +0
Offense
Speed 30 ft.
Melee Longsword +2 (1d6) 19-20/x2
Ranged Longbow +4 (1d6) 20/x3
Statistics
Str 9, Dex 17, Con 12, Int 9, Wis 10, Cha 6
Base Atk +1; CMB +1; CMD 12
Feats Stealth Synergy
skills perception +4, Stealth +15
Maneuvers known (2 readied)
Dimensional Strike, Sting of the Rattler, <1 more maneuver>
Stances knownBody of the Night

Tactics

These goblins will try to pick fights in areas with lots of cover such as forests and caves. They will prefer to put difficult terrain between themselves and their targets. With stealth synergy, and their absurd stealth modifier the goblins should pretty much be able to pick when and where they want to fight. Ideally they would engage from about 100 feet or so, or 40-60 ft at night.

In the opening round, their ranged attack will be made at +8 for 2d6 damage because of Body of the Night. In subsequent rounds, the goblins will attempt to snipe against their targets. Their hide modifier is -5 when sniping, but with distance modifiers and stealth synergy they have a decent chance of succeeding.

If they are detected, the goblins will use dimensional strike to attack against flat-footed AC, thus getting more use out of body of the night before moving into cover to attempt to gain stealth again. Once their maneuvers are exhausted, the goblins will try to scatter using their absurd stealth modifier. Eventually they will regroup at a predefined rally point and try to set up another ambush.

If the PCs hunker down and start trading ranged attacks, the goblins simply retreat and attack again later.

A note on sniping and the surprise round: In theory, you need a move action to snipe and thus can’t do it during the surprise round. This is a really wacky result and I think it is reasonable to rule that you can snipe during the surprise round without spending an action. Otherwise you get into the weird situation where you prefer to do nothing in the surprise round.

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