The "Avenger" is intended to be a Sub-Class of the "Fighter" Class of character. It represents a fighter that is specialized in close combat and use of a shield both as defense and offense. As a matter of fact, you could say that the "Avenger's" shield is his or her primary tool. Yes, for those of you familiar with the Marvel Comic character "Captain America", this class is generally based on this character.
The Avengers as an Organization
The Avengers is a special group that is semi-secret in nature and is oriented toward fighting injustice. The group was originally formed thousands of years ago by a team of Fighters who joined together to use their special skills and abilities to combat Evil, injustice and to defend those who cannot defend themselves against tyrants and others like them.
New members of The Avengers are recruited as young people who show early signs of advanced athleticism, dexterity and strength. The group operates similarly to a religious order in that it trains, equips and provides for it's novitiates and members for as long as they are a member. In return, members give 75% of all the treasure and rewards they earn while out adventuring to the group similar to a tithe.
The Avengers group has a primary training and operational center called "The Halls of Thunder" where all novitiates live and are trained until they graduate and become full fledged members. In addition to this place, the Avengers have established several "extension" locations where members can find support, rest, medical care and training to improve their skills as they go. Avengers are only able to obtain their special shield at "The Halls of Thunder".
Each "extension" is actually established and operated by member Avengers who have reached the 9th level or higher. Much as 9th level Fighters are able to establish a freehold and gain men-at-arms, An Avenger at 9th level can settle somewhere and establish his or her own extension camp. Once they have established this extension, they will be able to recruit new novitiates, host adventuring members and draw lower level Avengers as men-at-arm as well as others to be their "base" of operations in that region. Avenger class fighters that are based in this extension will pay their 75% tithe to the establishing Avenger to assist in operating the facility and providing for members.
All Avenger class fighters must be "Good" aligned with only "Lawful-Good" aligned characters being able to establish an extension site of their own. Non "Lawful-Good" aligned Avengers can establish their own freehold as a fighter can but not affiliated as an official "Avengers" extension.
The Avenger as a Sub-Class of Fighter
For all intents and purposes, an Avenger shares the majority of Ranger class specifications. The Avenger might be seen as an "urban" ranger in fact. Unlike the Ranger, Avengers are not capable of casting spells and like a regular fighter, they can attract followers.
"The Avenger" is a highly trained fighter who has joined and been trained at the "Halls of Thunder" to fight for and defend the "Common Good". Avengers take an oath to always fight for and defend those who are subjected to tyrants, injustice and those unable to defend themselves. They belong to a special order called "Avengers" who are dedicated to righting wrongs in the world.
The "Avenger" is a very athletic type with high requirements of Strength and Dexterity. A "16" is required in each of those.
The Avenger uses the regular Fighter's table for leveling and experience. Unlike the Ranger and the Paladin, the Avenger as is the Fighter in general, never able to use magic outside of enchanted items.
During the Avenger's training, it is understood that they spend most of their time drilling on acrobatic/gymnastic maneuvers designed to prepare them for combat inside close quarters, breaking through enemy lines to attack from behind or within and using those weapons that are best used in such situations. The use of a shield as an offensive weapon is also a large part of their regular training. The shield is considered their principal weapon.
An Avenger is limited to using only one handed weapons.
The Avenger class fighter can wear padded armor, leather armor or elfin chain mail armor.
When "training" to level up" an Avenger can only be trained at an Avenger extension or at The Halls of Thunder. Travel to one of those locations should be between 5 and 500 miles distance. (I use percentile dice multiplied by 5 to randomly determine distance to training location with potential for random solo adventure taking place along the way.)
As the Avenger increases in experience levels, their ability to perform certain tasks using a shield is increased as well. Certain abilities are gained at higher levels and afterwards, a bonus is applied to those abilities as levels are ascended.
The ability to "hurl" or toss a specialized shield as a weapon is attained at level 4. There is a base 50% chance that a hurled shield will return to the Avenger who hurled it with an increase of 5% as each additional level is gained. This gain occurs until a maximum chance of 95% is reached. There is a always a small chance that an avengers shield may not return after being hurled.
At level six, shield use abilities gain a bonus of +1 to hit/to damage or gain 10% on rolls of percentile dice to be successful. This is using any shield as a "battering" weapon as well as hurling a shield at an opponent.
Additional bonuses are gained at level 9, level 12, and level 15 accumulating a total bonus of up to +4 by the time they reach level 15.
At level 3, an Avenger is able to use Thief skills as listed on the Thief Function Table including Pick Pockets, Open Locks, Find/Remove Traps, Move Silently, Hide in Shadows, Hear Noise, Climb Walls and Read Languages. The Avenger operates as a 1st level Thief while a 3rd level Avenger and improves abilities at 2 levels below their own from then on.
Because the Avenger begins with a Dex to AC bonus plus armor bonus, an avenger improves their AC with an experience bonus to AC gain of +1 every 4 levels. If an Avenger starts out with a Dex of 16, their base AC bonus will be at -2 thus giving them an initial base AC of 8. Add padded armor with an extra -2 and the modified AC is AC 6. Add a regular shield and that modified AC drops to AC 5. At level 4, the Avenger gains a bonus of -1 to base AC bringing them to AC 4. At level 4, the Avenger also gains his/her new +2 Shield, adding to their modified Ac down to AC2. With different armor and future experience bonuses to base AC, the Avenger can be quit be hard to hit by the time they reach higher levels.
An Avenger with a Dex of 18 would start at Base AC 6. Add elfin chain armor and that is down to AC 1. Add a Shield and it is AC 0. At level 4, they gain -1 for experience bonus and 2 for their special shield. So now you have an Avenger at level 4 with a modified AC of -3 and it only gets lower every 4 levels.
The "Special" Shield
Upon attaining the necessary experience points to attain level 4, the Avenger must journey to the "Halls of Thunder" (appropriately located somewhere within 5 days travel on horse) and pass a challenge to show they have earned the right to carry a special shield that is made of very tough material, Adamantium, and is very light at the same time. This special shield is made only in the "Halls of Thunder" for the Avenger class characters and is made by Elf and Dwarven smiths.
The test itself is to successfully complete a series of tasks that demonstrate the exceptional athleticism and devotion to the code of conduct that "Avengers" are held to.
There are usually 4 tests that must be successfully completed in order to earn this special shield. The shield is custom made for the Avenger in question once they have passed the tests. It takes days for a custom shield to be completed and the Avenger must stay there the whole time to assist in it's making as it is made to their unique physical structure.
The first test is to obtain a lump of Adamantium from a cavern known to the Avengers which is guarded by a bronze dragon.
The second test is to obtain a piece of pure silver from a Guardian Naga
The third test is to obtain a piece of the finest powdered iron from a group of Dwarves
The fourth test is to obtain a piece of a turtle shell from the lair of a Giant Sea Turtle
The "quick check" is to have the player roll on percentile dice a score of 50% (1 to 50) per each test, to pass each test. Only one attempt per new level gained may be tried. At each level above 4th, a gain of 5% is added to the probability of passing. ie, at 5th level, the PC has a 55% chance to pass each test. At 6th level, a 60% chance, and so on. Ideally, the goal is to have the Player play the process out. It is up to the DM as to whether a "quick check" will be allowed.
Should the Avenger's shield ever be lost or irreparably damaged, he or she cannot have another one made. for them. The only way to obtain another shield is to get one from another Avenger.
In addition to the shield's main benefits, it acts as a +2 shield from hand held weapons (swords, battle axes, spears, etc...), it has had Protection From Evil and Protection from Normal Missiles cast upon it to protect he bearer as well.