Heavily armored combatants who are designed to take damage, they go toe-to-toe with the biggest, meanest, and most fearsome of enemies. Courageous, self-assured, and insane are just a few ways to describe them, but when push comes to shove, someone has to be willing to stand at the front and hold their ground. This role represents the central point in combat around which allies gather to make their attacks. Characters position themselves to setup flanking positions and stand between enemies and ranged allies. At their core, the goal of these armored combatants is to stand their ground and draw attacks away from those who are less able to endure damage.

Build Notes

The specialties and skill choices have been selected specifically to get started in this niche role, focusing on combat. By selecting only one combat specialty and utilizing the proficiencies, the character is able to begin with a large number of starting skills. Because damage mitigation is one of the primary aspects of the Tanker, defend skills are a focus of this build.


With the Defender role, some of the optional Background Packages work better than others, to get started, six  recommendations are listed below:

  • Adventurer
  • Barbarian
  • Enforcer
  • Hero/Heroine
  • Mercenary
  • Militant

Skill Trees

Martial Combat
(20 + 10 skills = 30 points)
• Armor Proficiency
• Block
• Charge
• Deflect
• Evade
• Militant Stance
• Parry
• Shield Bash
• Swing
• Weapon Proficiency

(4 skills = 4 points)
• Climbing
• Intimidate
• Jumping
• Punch

(3 skills = 3 points)
• Goad
• Lore
• Observation

(3 skills = 3 points)
• Care
• Dodge
• Search

Starting Gear

All Defenders begin play with a suit of armor, shield, and melee weapon at minimum, the quality of which is based on the starting wealth class. Because these characters carry a shield, those who begin with an Explorer Pack may substitute a Haversack for the Backpack or spread the gear across other containers. These packs do not have a specific monetary value, rather they are designed to ensure that starting characters have the basic gear they need to begin play. Substitutes for items of a roughly equal value may be made with GM approval.

These characters are scraping by, living in communal areas when they can and sleeping on the ground when they can’t, with just enough money to manage a decent meal…on most days. Their meager possessions amount to:

  • Hide Armor (Poor)
  • Battle Shield (Poor)
  • Simple Melee Weapon (Poor)
  • 3 local coins

Although hardworking, these characters have little to show for it, living in a semi-private communal area. Their careworn possessions include:

  • Splintmail or Bandedmail (Poor)
  • Light Helm (Poor)
  • Battle Shield (Poor)
  • Martial Melee Weapon (Poor)
  • Explorers Pack (Poor)
  • 25 local coins

Coming from a family of skilled tradespeople, low level civil servants, or lifelong military service, these characters have decent lodgings and a comfortable lifestyle. Their gear is fairly new and includes:

  • Splintmail or Bandedmail (Standard) or
  • Platemail (poor)
  • Light Helm (Standard)
  • Any Shield (Standard)
  • Martial Melee Weapon (Standard)
  • Explorers Pack (Standard)
  • 100 local coins

Coming from a family of landowners, business people, or mid level civil servants, wealth and power has long been a part of how they define themselves among their peers. This attitude shows in their gear which includes:

  • Any Heavy Armor (Standard)
  • Any Shield (Standard)
  • Any Helm (Standard)
  • Martial Melee Weapon (Masterwork)
  • Explorers Pack (Standard)
  • 250 local coins

Coming from a lifestyle of luxury beyond anything that most people can imagine, the very best is the only quality they will accept, which includes:

  • Any Heavy Armor (Masterwork)
  • Any Shield (Masterwork)
  • Any Helm (Masterwork)
  • Martial Melee Weapon (Masterwork)
  • Explorers Pack (Masterwork)
  • 750 local coins
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