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A defender focuses on both offense and defense, blending weapon and shield in perfect balance to impede his enemies while delivering deadly blows, and even turning the shield itself into a formidable weapon. These fighting school benefits apply when wielding a weapon and a shield simultaneously.

The defender is an archetype of the fighter class.

Armor Proficiency

A defender is proficient with tower shields.

Deflective Shield (Ex)

At 2nd level, a defender specializes in using his shield to deflect attacks. He gains a +1 bonus to his touch AC, and this bonus increases for every four levels beyond 2nd (to a maximum of +6 at 20th level); however, this bonus cannot exceed the sum of the armor and enhancement bonus to AC provided by the shield that the defender is currently carrying.

This ability replaces a fighter talent gained at 2nd level.

Active Defense (Ex)

At 3rd level, a defender gains a +1 dodge bonus to AC when wielding a shield and fighting defensively, using Combat Expertise, or using total defense. This bonus increases by +1 for every four levels beyond 3rd. As a swift action, he may share this bonus with one adjacent ally, or half of the bonus (minimum +0) with all adjacent allies, until the beginning of his next turn.

This ability replaces overhand chop.

Shield Fighter (Ex)

At 5th level, a defender gains a +1 bonus on attack and damage rolls when making a shield bash. These bonuses increase by +1 every four levels beyond 5th. With a full-attack action, a defender may alternate between using his weapon or his shield for each attack. This action does not grant additional attacks or incur penalties as two-weapon fighting does.

This ability replaces reliable strike.

Armored Defense (Ex)

At 7th level, a defender gains DR 1/— when wearing light armor, DR 2/— when wearing medium armor, and DR 3/— when wearing heavy armor. At 19th level, this damage reduction increases to DR 4/— when wearing light armor, DR 8/— when wearing medium armor, and DR 12/— when wearing heavy armor. This damage reduction stacks with that provided by adamantine armor, but not with other forms of damage reduction. This damage reduction does not apply if the defender is stunned, unconscious, or helpless.

This ability replaces backswing.

Shield Buffet (Ex)

At 9th level, as a move action, a defender may make a combat maneuver check to use his shield to impede an adjacent enemy. If successful, the target suffers a –2 penalty on its attack rolls against the defender and a –2 penalty to AC on attacks made by the defender until the beginning of his next turn. At 13th level, a defender may use this ability as a swift action.

This ability replaces rapid attack.

Fortification (Ex)

At 11th level, a defender can use his armor to shield critical areas from injury. He treats any armor he wears as if it had the light fortification special ability. At 15th level, his armor gains the moderate fortification special ability. This fortification does not stack in any way with armor that has these special abilities. In these cases the defender takes the better of the two fortifications.

This ability replaces retaliation.

Shield Guard (Ex)

At 17th level, as a swift action, a defender may designate one square adjacent to him. He may designate two squares if using a heavy shield or three squares if using a tower shield, but these squares must be contiguous. Enemies in these squares cannot flank the defender and do not count for flanking with other creatures. This effect lasts until he moves from his position or uses another swift action to change the affected squares.

This ability replaces devastating strike.

Indestructible (Ex)

At 20th level, a defender gains complete immunity to critical hits and sneak attacks while he is wearing armor. In addition, unless his armor has the fragile armor quality, it cannot be sundered while he is wearing it.

This ability replaces weapon mastery.