It’s Friendship Week here at Necromancers of the Northwest. Friendship and monsters are something of an odd couple, but since we’ve been providing a variety of NPCs in this year’s Exotic Encounters, it seemed fairly clear that a steadfast ally would be an appropriate encounter for this particular theme week.
This bright young man has short blonde hair and crystal blue eyes. His good looks are slightly marred by a long, thin scar that runs diagonally across both of his lips, though it’s almost unnoticeable when he smiles, which he does often.
JANN SHIELDMATE, DEVOTED BODYGUARD CR 6
Male human paladin 2/warpriestACG 4
LG Medium humanoid (human)
Init +3; Senses Perception +10
AC 24, touch 9, flat-footed 24 (+10 armor, -1 Dex, +5 shield)
hp 55 (2d10+4d8+22)
Fort +11, Ref +2, Will +11
Defensive Abilities divine grace
Speed 20 ft.
Melee masterwork longsword +7 (1d8+2/19-20)
Ranged masterwork longbow +5 (1d8/x3)
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 2nd, concentration +4)
At Will—detect evil
Warpriest Spells Prepared (CL 4th, concentration +6)
2nd-level—bear’s endurance, bull’s strength
1st-level—command (DC 13), deathwatch, magic weapon, sanctuary (DC 13)
0-level—detect magic, detect poison, light, stabilize
Special Attacks channel positive energy (DC 14, 1d6), smite evil 1/day (+2 attack and AC, +2 damage)
Str 14, Dex 8, Con 14, Int 10, Wis 15, Cha 14
Base Atk +5; CMB +7; CMD 16
Feats Improved Initiative, Power Attack, Shield Focus, Skill Focus (Perception), Toughness, Weapon Focus (longsword)
Skills Perception +11, Sense Motive +11, Survival +11
SQ aura, blessings 4/day (healing, protection), code of conduct, fervor (1d6, 3/day), lay on hands (1d6, 3/day), on duty, sacred weapon (1d6, +1), take the hit, ward
Entourage solitary (plus his ward), pair (Jann and another bodyguard with the same statistics, plus their ward), or squad (Jann and three other bodyguards with the same statistics, plus their ward).
Gear +1 full plate, masterwork longsword, masterwork longbow, tower shield, potion of cure light wounds, purse containing 37 gp
Boon If Jann is not currently employed as a bodyguard, he can offer his services at a discount, requiring only 50 gp per day (in extreme cases, he might even offer his services for free for as long as a year, though he will expect room and board). If he is currently employed, he will not leave his employer, but may be able to put in a good word to whomever he works for, possibly allowing the PCs to get an audience they would otherwise have been unable to.
On Duty (Ex): As long as Jann Shieldmate is within 30 feet of a creature he has selected as his ward, whenever he rolls initiative, or makes a Perception or Sense Motive check, he rolls twice and takes the higher result.
Take the Hit (Ex): Once per day, when Jann’s ward is hit by a melee or ranged attack, or would be the target of a spell, spell-like ability, or supernatural ability, as an immediate action, if Jann is adjacent to his ward, he can choose to take the hit, suffering the effects of the attack, spell, spell-like ability, or supernatural ability. The attack, spell, or ability has its effect on Jann normally, and the ward is unaffected. Jann can wait to declare that he is using this ability until after an attack roll is made, or after his ward makes a saving throw to resist a spell or ability’s effects, but if he does, the attack automatically hits him, and he automatically fails any saving throws offered by the spell or ability. Alternatively, he can use this ability before the attack roll or saving throw is made, in which case the attack roll is made against his AC, or he can make a saving throw to resist the spell or ability, as appropriate.
Ward (Ex): As a full-round action, Jann Shieldmate can designate a single creature within 30 feet as his ward. As long as Jann is adjacent to his ward, the ward gains a +2 circumstance bonus to AC and Reflex saves. If Jann’s ward dies, or Jann chooses to stop treating that creature as his ward (a full-round action), he must wait 24 hours before selecting a new ward. Jann cannot have more than one ward at any given time.
Jann began life without a last name, as an orphan in the mean streets of a large and populous city. He struggled merely to get by and have something to eat, finding refuge with a group of similar orphan children, whom he came to regard as his brothers and sisters. As he grew older, he watched many of the older orphans leave the group (generally as they became old enough to find work), and at age 12, when he was the oldest boy in the group, and suddenly found himself responsible for their wellbeing, he vowed that he would not leave these orphans, like the others had done.
Unfortunately, he wasn’t given much of a choice. War broke out shortly thereafter, and he was conscripted as an “able-bodied man,” forced to leave his adopted family behind. Though he did not want to join the war, he proved quite good at it, fighting not for whatever cause the war was supposedly being fought for, but rather to protect the men and women fighting alongside him, whom he also came to regard as a sort of surrogate family. It was during this time that his compatriots gave him the nickname “shieldmate,” which stuck and became a sort of unofficial last name for him. By the end of the war, he had risen in rank and been given command of a group of 30 soldiers, a group which was known for having remarkably few casualties.
After the war was over, Jann returned to his home city, though he was unable to find any of his old gang. In need of work, Jann had few skills besides soldiering, something he didn’t want to continue doing any longer than necessary. He eventually settled for work as a bodyguard on a merchant caravan, taking pay far less than what he was actually worth. Jann found that he enjoyed serving as a bodyguard, and quickly gained a reputation for being devoted, loyal, and capable. Now, he serves as a personal guardian to VIPs, though he is known for only working for those he personally likes—stating that to do otherwise would be unfair to both him and the person he is protecting.
Despite his tragic past and his relatively serious profession, Jann is a friendly and optimistic person who always tries to look on the bright side of life. Even though his job requires him to be suspicious of everyone and everything, he makes a point to make it clear that he “has to do this for everyone” and that it’s “just a formality” as he checks guests for hidden weapons, and tastes food to ensure it’s not poisoned.