The Genius Guide to the Armiger introduces the armiger base class—a warrior who specializes in defensive techniques and the use of shields and heavy armor. As a great tactician once noted, the best way to win a fight is to be the last man standing. Or, put more colloquially, sometimes the best offense is a good defense!
Armigers are masters of defense, able to shrug of attacks that would destroy lesser combatants, and even increase the survivability of those around them. The armiger is built around maximizing the benefit of armor and shields. With large hit point totals, special defense-related talents, and an aptitude for unusual shields, armigers can carry the fight forward under the most difficult circumstances. The best armigers often find themselves the main thing standing between victory and a total party kill.
While armigers can fight with most martial weapons, typically they focus on pole arms with reach or crossbows, giving them the ability to strike at foes without having to be on the front line of a battle. This allows armigers to play strong supporting roles and still manage to inflict damage on the enemy. An armiger certainly can fight with other weapons, but just as monks are generally at their best using unarmed attacks, most armigers function better when using reach or simple ranged weapons. Of course they also wear the best armor they can afford, regularly spending much more on shields and plate mail than weapons or comfort items. Armor is the core of an armiger’s identity—an armiger treats his protective gear the way a cleric treats his holy symbol, or a samurai treats his katana.
Many armigers are famous heroes, well known for surviving horrific trials that crushed others before. An armiger may begin his career as a small town hero who, through sheer cussedness, outlasted a terrible troll on a battle over a local bridge. Or he may be a noble-born guardian of his people, trained from birth to wear the heavy armor only members of the upper class can afford. In some lands, entire brigades of armigers are legendary as specialty troops who provide an impenetrable blanket of protection—groups with names such as the Dwarven Ironhides or the Bullette Brigade.
Other armigers are the trusted aids of mighty knights, priests, and archmages—the right-hand men and most loyal supporters of important individuals. These armigers are often less well known than the great leaders and dignitaries they serve, but there presence is palpable and they are perceived as powers to be reckoned with. Killing an armiger’s charge is almost always a secondary concern, to be handled only after you’ve disposed of the armiger.
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