This week, I have been inking a lot about guidons and colors. This came up while I was at the Battalion change of command ceremony Saturday.
In US Military history, the colors are a powerful symbol of the unit. But in the world of Pathfinder, that symbol can convert to so much more– the colors can serve not just as a symbol of the unit’s prowess, but as an actual enhancement to it.
This led me to consider the kind of Soldier who would bear the colors in battle– a loyal companion and servant to the commander of his unit. This lead me further down the rabbit hole to considering how to put this into game terms. What I’ve settled on is an Archetype, one designed not for players characters, but for cohorts or followers– an archetype that bases its abilities on the standard, on the commander’s charisma as much as the standard bearer’s own attributes.
Standard Bearer (Fighter Archetype)
Some fighters were born to lead, while others serve their causes better as followers. Some of those exceptionally gifted at following and serving display talents that the more adventurous fighters might find inexplicable. For some, the camaraderie and esprit de corps of the unit and the will of the commander they serve matters as much as their own skill in battle. For these, the honor of bearing their Lord’s banner in combat is both a means and an end unto itself.
Call to Bravery (Ex): Beginning at 2nd level, as long as the Standard Bearer is holding the colors, guidon, or standard representing a military leader of at least 7th level they and all allies capable of seeing the standard gain a bonus to Will Saves versus fear equal to 1+the leader’s Charisma modifier. This ability increases by +1 for every four levels beyond second. This ability replaces (supersedes) bravery.
Standard (Su): Starting at 3rd level, the Standard bearer can meditate on the meaning of the standard for 10 minutes, imparting the standard itself with magic and guiding its strikes. The weapon the standard is attached to (usually a spear) becomes a +1 weapon for 24 hours. This bonus increases by +1 at every four levels thereafter (at 7th, 11th, and 15th). After the first +1, the Standard bearer may choose to give a special ability in place of any amount of this bonus. They may change how the bonus and special abilities are allocated each day when meditating on the meaning of the colors. This ability replaces Armor Training.
Fight with the Flag (Ex): At 5th level the standard bearer must choose the spears weapons group. This ability modifies Weapon Training.
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