Saturday Potpourri – The Princeps (Fighter Archetype)

The Princeps (Fighter Archetype)

The principes were the standard heavy infantry at the time of Julius Caesar. A princeps carried two heavy javelins called pila (singular pilum) and a short sword called a gladius.  He wore chainmail (lorica hamata), a helmet and a rectangular shield called a scutum.

The princeps is an archetype of the fighter class.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency

A princeps is proficient with all simple and martial weapons and with all light and medium armor and shields. This replaces the fighter’s normal weapon and armor proficiencies.

Bonus Feats

A princeps may choose to take combat or teamwork feats as bonus feats.

Marian Mule (Ex)

At 2nd level, a princeps adds a bonus equal to 1/2 his class level to his Strength score for the purpose of determining his carrying capacity.

This ability replaces bravery.

Scutum (Tower Shield) Training (Ex)

At 3rd level, a princeps gains armor training as normal, but while he employs a scutum (tower shield), the armor penalty is reduced by 3 and the maximum Dexterity bonus allowed by his armor increases by 2. The benefit increases every four levels thereafter as per standard armor training; if the princeps is not employing a tower shield, the benefits to armor training revert to the normal bonuses.

Gladius Mastery (Ex)

At 1st level, when wielding a gladius while using a scutum (tower shield), a priceps deals damage based upon his level and not the weapon type. The damage for Small, Medium, and Large princeps is given in the Table: Princeps Gladius Damage. This increase in damage does not affect any other aspect of the weapon and doesn’t apply to alchemical items, bombs, or other weapons that deal only energy damage.

This ability replaces armor training 1, ,2, 3, 4 and armor mastery.

Table: Princeps Gladius Damage

Level Damage (Small) Damage (Medium) Damage (Large)
1st-4th 1d6 1d8 1d10
5th-9th 1d8 1d10 2d6
10th-14th 1d10 2d6 2d8
15th-19th 2d6 2d8 3d6
20th 2d8 3d6 3d8

Pilum Expert (Ex)

At 5th level, a princeps gains a +1 bonus on attack and damage rolls with a pilum. This bonus increases by +1 per four levels after 5th.

This ability replaces weapon training 1.

Cohort Tactics (Ex)

At 9th level, all of the princeps’ allies are treated as if they possessed the same teamwork feats as the princeps for the purpose of determining whether the princeps receives a bonus from his teamwork feats. His allies do not receive any bonuses from these feats unless they actually possess the feats themselves. The allies’ positioning and actions must still meet the prerequisites listed in the teamwork feat for the princeps to receive the listed bonus.

This ability replaces weapon training 2.

Shield Ally (Ex)

At 13th level, when a priceps is using a scutum (tower shield), he can, as a move action, provide cover (+4 cover bonus to AC, +2 bonus on Reflex saves) to himself and all adjacent allies until the beginning of his next turn.

This ability replaces weapon training 3.

Withering Strike (Ex)

At 17th level, when a princeps confirms a critical hit with a gladius, he deals ability damage in addition to the normal bonus damage from the critical hit. The princeps chooses which ability is damaged, and deals an amount of damage equal to the critical multiplier of the gladius (normally 2).

This ability replaces weapon training 4.

Weapon Mastery (Ex)

A princeps must choose the gladius.



About mmiller

Mike Miller first discovered RPG’s in the days of TSR. The mention of a beholder or mind flayer still twists his guts with nervous dread, though now with a tinge of nostalgia. He had no publishing experience prior to writing for the OGN, (unless you consider one year as editor of a University Historical Review), but has long enjoyed creating histories and legends for his homebrewed worlds.

View all posts by mmiller →

Submit a Comment