Seizing the right opportunity can be vital to success on the battlefield. There is no one better at seeing and exploiting such opportunities than a Myrmidon. These pragmatic fighters are masters of the battlefield, as at home among the mud, blood, and chaos of a skirmish as anywhere else. There is little elegant or refined about the way Myrmidons fight, but there is plenty that is effective. They rely not on skilful use of their armor or complex weapon techniques, but on dirty tricks and sheer ruthlessness.
There’s no particular style of combat associated with Myrmidons: they employ all kinds of tactics, depending on what they are best suited to and what has worked for them in the past. Some favor heavy weapons, particularly long spears and glaives, which let them strike at many opponents, while others select weapons that are light and easily concealed.
Myrmidons lead tough, physically demanding lifestyles and must be alert to the many dangers of the battlefield, where enemies can strike from any direction. They gain access to the Athletics and Perception skill groups and may purchase skills from other groups as normal.
Spot is a vital skill to a Myrmidon. It helps him keep track of threats around him, and also to see opportunities to give his enemies a nasty surprise. Many Myrmidons also become skilled at Intimidate or Bluff, finding both skills to be useful both on the battlefield and off.
Leveling the Class
Skill Points at 1st Level: (4 + Intelligence modifier) × 4
Skill Points at Each Additional Level: 4 + Intelligence modifier
Hit Die: 1d4+6 + Constitution
Many Myrmidons are or were professional soldiers, and they possess a wide range of skills and abilities depending on the training they received. A Myrmidon gains excellent access to Tactics feats. He also gains excellent access to one combat related mastery of his choice from the following list: Armor, Defense, Finesse, Power, or Projectile. Finally, he gains good access to any one other mastery of his choice.
The Myrmidon excels in the cut-and-thrust of small-unit skirmishes and tight-formation combats. He is an expert in taking advantage of the confusion inherent in such circumstances; he fights with wolf-like ferocity, striking at foes who are distracted or weakened and dragging them down before they can defend themselves. A Myrmidon is a master opportunist, whose shield or blade always seems to find just the right spot.
Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Myrmidons are proficient with all simple and martial weapons, all armor, and all shields, including tower shields. A Myrmidon has to be able to handle anything the battlefield throws at him, and grounding oneself in a broad range of weapons and armor is a vital first step toward survival.
Opportunism Pool: Myrmidons are quintessential soldiers, and the blood, mud, and sodden death of the battlefield are part and parcel of their lives. They are ruthless and deadly combatants who are used to doing everything it takes to survive. The way they fight might not be glamorous, but it’s effective.
As a Myrmidon, you gain access to an opportunism token pool. This pool represents your experience on the battlefield, knowledge of skirmishing tactics, and willingness to use whatever underhanded tactics are necessary to survive. You gain tokens by getting into a position where you can take advantage of any distraction your enemies may suffer.
At the end of your turn each round, you gain one opportunism token for every enemy you threaten who is also threatened by at least one of your allies.
You use opportunism tokens to power your opportunism abilities, as described below. If an opportunism ability has a target other than yourself, you may use your tokens against any opponent. At the end of the encounter, you lose any remaining tokens you have built up. Your pool of unspent opportunism tokens cannot exceed 10 + your Myrmidon level.
Opportunism Ability: Opportunism abilities are special combat options available only to Myrmidons, mainly because Myrmidons are the only ones crafty and shameless enough to use them. A Myrmidon may spend tokens on these abilities to activate them in battle.
Unless otherwise stated in an ability, you can only spend tokens on your opportunism abilities during your own turn. Spending the tokens is a free action. There is no limit to the number of opportunism abilities you can activate in a round, provided you have the tokens to do so.
Every time you gain an opportunism ability (at 1st, 4th, 7th, 10th, 13th, 16th, 19th, and 20th levels), select a new ability from among those listed below.
Cheap Shot: Myrmidons like nothing better than to sink a blade into an unsuspecting enemy. For every two opportunism tokens you spend, you add a bonus of +1d6 sneak attack damage to your next attack. You must announce how many tokens you are spending before you make your attack roll.
Confound Opponent: Your clever tactics often leave foes unsure of what to do. To use this ability, spend 2 or more tokens and make a base attack check as either a standard action or in place of an attack. If you make it in place of an attack, you suffer a –5 penalty to your check. Each token you spend in excess of 2 grants you a +1 bonus to your check. Your opponent opposes your check with her choice of either a base attack check or a Will save. If you win the opposed check, your target is so unsure of how to respond to your attacks that she becomes dazed until the beginning of your next action.
Cross Purposes: Myrmidons are used to dealing with multiple attackers. Any time you are threatened by two or more enemies, you may spend opportunism tokens as a reaction to lead your opponents to step into each other and get in the way of each other’s blows. You may spend a maximum of 1 token per enemy that threatens you. Each of these enemies suffers a penalty to any attack rolls against you equal to the total number of tokens you spend. This penalty lasts until the beginning of your next turn.
Dangerous Move: You need only the slightest opening to make an attack. Normally, creatures do not provoke attacks of opportunity for making a move action that is not an attack. However, if a creature performs such an action while you threaten it, you may spend 3 tokens and make an attack of opportunity as if your opponent had performed a standard action rather than a move action. This is a normal attack of opportunity that counts against your limits for such attacks during the round. If you have the seize opportunity ability, you may use that ability on this attack if you wish.
Desperate Defense: Sometimes it’s better to give up an advantage in order to save your hide. Any time any enemy successfully uses an opposed check to make you lose your active bonus to Defense, you may spend 4 tokens to re- roll your check. You abandon your own plans to concentrate solely on staying alive. You may only make one re-roll for each opposed check.
Eye for Danger: A Myrmidon who can’t tell where the biggest threat is probably won’t live very long. If you spend 2 opportunism tokens and take a move action to scan the battlefield, you learn which enemy within 60 feet of your current position has the highest base attack bonus. This assessment includes only those enemies you can see.
False Start: Myrmidons excel at outwitting their opponents. If you see a creature within 60 feet of you ready an action, you may spend 1 or more opportunism tokens during your turn. If the trigger for the creature’s readied action was some action on your part (such as, “I wait for the Myrmidon to move or charge toward me, and attack when he comes in reach”), you may make a base attack check. You gain a +2 bonus on this check for every token spent beyond the first. Your target can oppose this check with either a Sense Motive check or a base attack check of its own. If you win the opposed check, the creature falsely believes you are about to commit the action for which it has readied, and takes its action. For instance, if it had readied to attack you, it would swing at thin air. If it had readied to move, it would take its move. Once the creature’s action has been resolved, you continue with your turn.
If the trigger for the creature’s readied action was not an action on your part, your spent tokens are lost without effect. This ability is best used in combination with Analyze Opponents feat mastery 3.
Mud in Your Eye: You cut a foe so blood drips in his eyes, or perhaps you scoop up dirt to throw in his face. To use this ability, spend 3 or more tokens and make a base attack check as a either a standard action or in place of an attack. If you make it in place of an attack, you suffer a –5 penalty to your check. Your opponent opposes your check with his choice of either a base attack check or a Reflex save. If you win the opposed check, your target is temporarily blinded for a duration dependent upon the number of tokens you spend:
|End of your current turn||3|
|Beginning of their next turn||5|
|Move Action to clean eyes||6|
Creatures that do not have eyes or that possess blindsight are immune to this ability.
Press the Advantage: A Myrmidon never lets up on an enemy once he has the advantage. Any time you make a successful attack against an enemy and inflict at least 1 point of damage, you may spend 5 tokens to immediately make an additional attack. The extra attack is with the same weapon and at the same bonus as the attack you just made, and must target the same creature. You can continue to press the advantage as long as you have sufficient tokens and you continue to hit and deal damage.
Rapid Riposte: There’s nothing better than spoiling someone else’s plans. When an enemy makes a failed attempt to deny you your active bonus to Defense, you may spend 2 tokens as a reaction to immediately make a single attack against that enemy. You make this attack at your highest attack bonus, and it “interrupts” the normal flow of combat and initiative. Resolve your attack immediately, then continue with your target’s turn (or the next character’s, if your attack’s target has now completed her turn).
Seize Opportunity: If an enemy you threaten performs an action that provokes an attack of opportunity from you, you may spend 1 token as a reaction. You may make an attack of opportunity against this enemy without it counting against your number of allowed attacks of opportunity for the round, nor against the maximum number of attacks of opportunity you can make against that opponent in a round. You may even make the attack if you have no remaining attacks of opportunity available this round. You cannot use this ability if you are flatfooted.
You may use this ability only to seize an opportunity against an enemy once per round. Your ability to make normal attacks of opportunity against that enemy is not affected by using this ability.
Spit and Polish: Many Myrmidons keep their armor and shield well-oiled and gleaming, and it’s not just because they last better that way. To use this ability, you must spend at least 1 token and make a base attack check in place of an attack. You may add your mastery rating in the Armor category to your check. You may also add
+1 to your check for every token you spend on this ability after the first.
Your target opposes your base attack check with her choice of a Fortitude saving throw or a base attack check of her own. If you win the opposed check, your opponent is dazzled until the beginning of your next turn.
The Direct Approach: Sometimes it’s better to dispense with all the clever tricks and just make a straightforward attack, which could be the last thing your opponent expects. Each opportunism token you spend grants you a +1 bonus to your attack roll for one attack. You must choose whether or not to spend these tokens before making the attack roll. Your attack bonus from this ability cannot exceed your Myrmidon class level.
Uncanny Strike: Myrmidons are experts at dodging enemy blows, and they know a few tricks for dealing them, as well. When you attack a foe who has improved uncanny dodge, you can spend opportunism tokens. Each token you spend allows you to treat your base attack bonus as 3 higher than it actually is for the purpose of determining whether or not you can flank that creature. This bonus lasts until the end of your current turn.
Unorthodox Technique: There are many styles of combat in the world, and you’ve seen most of them. You can do things with weapons that your opponents don’t expect. If you spend 2 tokens, you may treat your weapon as if it possesses one of the following descriptors, even if it normally would not: disarm, finesse, power, trip. Alternatively, you may treat your weapon as if it did not possess one of these descriptors, even though it does. For instance, you could treat a power weapon as if it were not a power weapon in order to use Combat Expertise with it.
You can add or remove only one descriptor at a time: you cannot use this ability twice to gain two descriptors, or to gain one and lose another. The benefits of this ability last until the start of your next turn.
Eye for Opportunity: Myrmidons quickly become more adept at spotting opportunities for dirty tricks and surprise tactics in combat. From 2nd level onward, you may make a Spot check as a free, move, standard, or full-round action. Your check gains modifiers based on how long you spend on it.
|Action Spent||Spot Check Modifier|
You gain a number of opportunism tokens based on the result of your Spot check, as shown on the table on the page above. As with opportunism tokens gained from other sources, you can spend tokens earned through this ability against any opponent.
|Check Result||Tokens Gained|
|Less than 10||0|
Bonus Feats: Myrmidons get lots of practical combat experience, and they pick up plenty of tricks along the way. At 9th and 18th levels, the Myrmidon gains a bonus feat. You can spend this selection on any feat of your choice, provided that you meet its mastery requirements. Bonus feats are in addition to the feat a character gets at every even level.
Uncanny Dodge: By 5th level, a Myrmidon’s senses are so attuned to danger that he can react to threats before he would normally be able to do so. You retain your active bonus to Defense even when you are caught flat-footed. If you already have uncanny dodge from a different class, you instead gain improved uncanny dodge (see below).
Improved Uncanny Dodge: Starting at 11th level, the Myrmidon cannot be flanked. This ability prevents the use of sneak attack and other precision-based attacks that require flanking, unless the attacker’s base attack bonus is 5 or more points higher than your base defense bonus.
Improved Opportunism Pool: Starting at 14th level, a Myrmidon can find opportunities even against foes who aren’t distracted. At the end of your turn each round, you gain 1 opportunism token for every enemy you threaten, regardless of whether or not they are threatened by your allies.
Improved Eye for Opportunity: Experience helps you spot opportunities more easily. From 15th level, you gain a +5 bonus to all Spot checks you make to gather opportunism tokens.
PLAYING A MYRMIDON
Any setting that features conflict is a setting which is ripe for Myrmidons. In particular, any culture with an organized army is likely to produce members of this class. Myrmidons don’t need full-scale wars to exist; they can learn their skills hunting bandits or fighting off marauding monsters if need be, but an organized militia is an excellent place to pick up familiarity with small unit tactics.
Due to the considerable degree of freedom they have in choosing their feats and class abilities, Myrmidons can easily be designed fit a wide range of different play styles. Think of just about any renowned fighting force in history, whether it be Greek hoplites, Roman legions, Mongol horse archers, or a host of other options, and you can design a Myrmidon to fit. Similarly, the class adapts well to just about every archetype of military film and fiction: the grizzled sergeant, the retired veteran, the new recruit with the gift for killing … all suit the class very well.
Although Myrmidons are usually ruthless people, they’re rarely loners. They work best in a group, especially at low levels, when allies are vital for generating opportunism tokens. Even at higher levels, Myrmidons favor working with a group. It’s always wise to have someone watching your back, and it’s easier to make sneak attacks when you have someone to flank with. Myrmidon abilities work best when there are large numbers of foes around, so be sure to seek out clumps of enemies on the battlefield (particularly if those enemies aren’t much of a threat individually). This can be an excellent way to build up opportunism tokens for when you attract the attention of a really dangerous enemy. Consider using a reach weapon to maximize your token-earning opportunities, but remember that such weapons generally lack the power or finesse descriptors, which does limit the feats that can be used with them.
Remember that as the number of enemies dwindles, the rate at which you will accumulate opportunism tokens dwindles as well. While you don’t want to be to miserly with your tokens, you don’t want to blow them all, either: try to gauge where the biggest threats on the battlefield are and save some tokens if it seems likely you’ll face them. The eye for danger ability is very useful for this purpose, or you can simply rely on your own observations at the game table.