Prestige Classes


"I almost felt pity for Urthrad's orcs as they charged our defensive line. Almost."

-Orros the Bloodyhanded, sentinel of the Northern Reach

The Stone Dragon discipline traces its roots back to an ancient order of dwarves that used the power of the earth to enhance their combat style. A deepstone sentinel immerses himself in these ancient teachings to link himself to the power of stone. Most deepstone sentinels use this power in the defense of their fellow dwarves, though some take a more active approach battling the enemies of their people. In combat, a deepstone sentinel is a living mountain, a stony redoubt that provides shelter to his allies while crashing like an avalanche upon his enemies. The ground shifts and churns under his feet. One moment he stands atop a small, earthen mound that blocks his enemies - the next he summons an earthquake to knock his foes to the ground.


Most dwarves who follow the tradition of the deepstone sentinel begin as crusaders or warblades. Fighters, paladins, and other martial-oriented characters might also find the class to their liking; typically, such characters multiclass (often as rogues or scouts) to meet the skill requirement. On rare occasions, dwarf monks take up the mantle of deepstone sentinel, often moving on to crusader, swordsage, or warblade upon completing progression in the class.


A deepstone sentinel embodies many classic dwarf traits. As a sentinel, you are quiet, slow to anger, taciturn, and blunt. You prefer to let your enemies come to you, rather than charge forward and expose your position. A steady, reliable advance works much better than a wild, risky gambit. Like the earth beneath your feet, you are reliable, steady, and enduring. Other warriors might rely on flashy gambits and fluid tactics, but you have little use for such stratagems. You are the rock that endures, the impenetrable wall of defense that withstands the enemy's assault. When it is time to attack, you unleash your fury in an avalanche of steel. Until then, you let your foes waste their efforts against your sturdy armor and thick shield.


A deepstone sentinel is, in essence, a mobile defensive position. Once you enter mountain fortress stance, you form a useful barrier against enemies who seek to skirt around you and attack your allies. Once you gain the indomitable redoubt ability, you can combine mountain fortress stance with a stance from the Stone Dragon discipline, such as roots of the mountain, making you nearly impossible to circumvent or overcome in battle.

Generally speaking, as a deepstone sentinel you should focus on staying in front of your companions. In most cases, slower monsters such as giants, and other melee combatants should have to fight through you before they can attack your allies. Your ability to stop a foe dead in his tracks with stone curse, particularly if you wield a reach weapon, makes any attempt to slip around you a risky gamble at best. You excel at controlling the battlefield. Look to create chokepoints that force an enemy to enter and remain in the area of your abilities.


Joining the deepstone sentinels is a difficult task, since a prospective candidate must not only display great skill at arms but also master difficult mystic secrets of the earth itself. The sentinels tend to resist training adventurers and other lone wolves. In battle, the sentinels are expected to form a mighty defensive bulwark against more numerous enemies of the dwarves, such as orcs, goblins, and ogres. A sentinel intent on learning the secrets of this order, then striking out on his own, is a poor investment in the order's eyes. An adventuring dwarf who becomes a sentinel must prove himself in battle, usually by rendering a great service to a dwarf clan home, or by showing that his adventures directly aid the dwarf people.

Once you become a sentinel, you can expect most dwarves to treat you with respect and admiration. Yet, these accolades come with expectations that you will always fight hard and true for the dwarf people. The sentinels have never broken and run from a battle until their allies have all safely withdrawn. Legend has it that the first sentinel to break this tradition will be struck dead by Moradin himself. Whether this tale is true or not, the implication is plain as day. A sentinel would die before abandoning his allies.

As you gain levels in this prestige class, look for feats and abilities that increase your reach, make it easier for you to handle crowds of opponents, and boost your AC. You can expect your enemies to target you for destruction quickly, since as long as you remain standing, you prevent them from harming your friends.


You can expect a place to sleep and more than enough food and drink from any dwarf clan home. The sentinels maintain outposts in most major dwarf cities and citadels built near orc, goblin, and giant hordes. As an adventurer, your fellow sentinels are likely eager for news of the outside world and of the rest of the order when you visit these bastions of dwarven strength. If the dwarves face a threat of any sort, you will be expected to contribute to a solution. Although this can be a burden, your position as a respected figure also makes it easy for you to sway dwarf leaders and organize your people in the face of a threat. If you advise the dwarf king to send a raiding party to slip into an orc stronghold and slay the red dragon that leads the tribes, you can expect smiths to forge sturdy armor and deadly weapons for the raiding party, while clerics of Moradin and dwarf mages craft scrolls and potions that the group might need.


"When the sentinels came through the east gate, we halted our efforts to reinforce the northern walls. Our fortifications had arrived."

-General Rurik Axethrower, IX Rockhome Legion

Deepstone sentinels tend to remain within the dwarf holds they have sworn to defend. Typically, only a great threat to the dwarf people, a quest important to their continuing prosperity, or a threat from a distant land can cause one to become an adventurer. A PC dwarf might strive to join the order to prove himself to his people, or the righteous nature of his quest might compel the sentinels to offer him training in their mystic fighting style.


The deepstone sentinels practice their fighting art in vaults hidden far beneath dwarfstrongholds. Beneath the deepest mines, below the winding passages that lead to distant strongholds and subterranean caverns, the sentinels have small, austere academies where they train the next generation of sentinels, practice their fighting styles, and bury their dead. Tradition holds that many of a citadel's most important treasures are stored here, both to keep them hidden from the outside world and to place them under the trustworthy protection of the sentinels.

A deepstone sentinel is a member of an elite fighting unit, one that serves as both the first and last line of defense for the dwarves. In battle, they are the dauntless core that the dwarves rally around. When orcs and giants threaten a dwarf stronghold, the sentinels must stand resolute to protect key passages, tunnels, and other entrances. If the sentinels fall, the stronghold is often lost.

NPC Reactions

Dwarves have a natural inclination to respect and admire deepstone sentinels, since they are seen as embodiments of three dwarven virtues - courage, loyalty, and wisdom in the lore of earth and stone. Nondwarves tend to know little of the sentinels, because they rarely trumpet their talents or show off their abilities outside combat. Orcs and giants hate sentinels, but they are forced to respect a sentinel's fighting ability.


Characters with ranks in Knowledge (history) can research deepstone sentinels to learn more about them. When a character makes a skill check, read or paraphrase the following, including the information from lower DCs.

DC 10: Deepstone sentinels are dwarf warriors who are renowned for breaking enemy charges and forming a dauntless line in battle.

DC 15: The sentinels have the ability to control the earth. At their command, they cause the ground to become broken and sloped, making a charge against them almost impossible.

DC 20: Sentinels practice a strange form of martial magic by tapping into the power of the earth. They cause the ground to shake and disruptive terrain to form. When you fight a sentinel, you fight the earth itself.

Any PC who has friendly relations with a local dwarf stronghold can likely gain an audience with a sentinel's commander. Sentinels tend to avoid contact with outsiders, for fear of mingling with spies and others who seek to learn their weaknesses or plot against them.


Deepstone sentinels are relatively easy to add into the game world, given that they are secretive, few in number, and confined to dwarf strongholds. A dwarf PC might never have heard of this order simply because the citadel where he grew up lacked such an elite fighting unit. The sentinels could also be a relatively new development in your world, particularly if the abilities outlined in this book are a new form of martial art. Dwarf characters who rely on heavy armor are a good match for this class. The armor helps turn a dwarf into a tremendous obstacle for enemies without penalizing his speed.


The key concept of the deepstone sentinel is manipulation of the terrain on which the character is fighting. This class provides the mechanics for an interesting opponent, since it gives melee-oriented characters access to abilities that would normally be reserved for spellcasters. An order of evil stone giants or fire giants with access to these abilities would make a daunting opponent. You could also change this class into a druidic warrior or wild elf forest sentinel who creates an entangle effect when he enters the basic stance of the class in an area of natural vegetation, and redesign the remaining class abilities in accordance with this new concept.

Sample Encounter

The PCs are likely to meet deepstone sentinels as allies, particularly if they fight against giants and orcs. Should the PCs undertake a quest for the dwarves, a sentinel might accompany them to aid them in their task. In any major battle involving dwarves, a unit of sentinels could be present.

EL 13: Karthak the Indomitable (LN male dwarf fighter 10/deepstone sentinel 3) is a rare deepstone sentinel who wanders the land as an adventurer. His home was destroyed by a rampaging dragon that now lairs within the halls of his former home. A sentinel's training hall, located far beneath the dwarf citadel, contains a number of powerful magic items that the dragon seeks. Karthak needs adventurers willing to help him venture into the ruins to slay the dragon, along with its demonic and draconic allies, and recover the artifacts before the dragon gets its claws on them.

Hit Die: d10.


To qualify to become a deepstone sentinel, a character must fulfill all of the following criteria.

Race: Dwarf.

Base Attack Bonus: +10.

Skills: Balance 13 ranks.

Feats: Power Attack or Stone Power.

Martial Maneuvers: Must know at least two Stone Dragon maneuvers and one Stone Dragon stance.

Class Skills

The deepstone sentinel's class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Balance (Dex), Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Intimidate (Cha), Knowledge (dungeoneering) (Int), Listen (Wis), Martial Lore (Int), and Spot (Wis).

Skill Points at Each Level: 2 + Int modifier.

Table: The Deepstone Sentinel

Level Base
1st +0 +2 +0 +0 1 0 Mountain fortress stance, passwall
2nd +1 +3 +0 +0 0 0 Crashing mountain juggernaut
3rd +2 +3 +1 +1 1 1 Indomitable redoubt
4th +3 +4 +1 +1 0 0 Stone curse, dragon's tooth
5th +3 +4 +1 +1 1 0 Awaken the stone dragon
Class Features

The class allows you to continue to learn new maneuvers, likely from the Stone Dragon discipline. It also grants special combat prowess when utilizing Stone Dragon maneuvers.

All of the following are class features of the deepstone sentinel prestige class.

Maneuvers: At each odd-numbered level, you gain a new maneuver known from the Stone Dragon discipline. You must meet a maneuver's prerequisite to learn it. You add your full deepstone sentinel levels to your initiator level to determine your total initiator level and your highest-level maneuvers known.

At 3rd level, you gain an additional maneuver readied per day.

Mountain Fortress Stance (Su): As a novice deepstone sentinel, you learn to make yourself as impenetrable as a mountain fortress. This ability is a key component of this prestige class's combat abilities. While you are in a Stone Dragon stance, you can forgo its normal benefit as a swift action to gain the effect of mountain fortress stance. This ability lasts as long as you would maintain the Stone Dragon stance, or as described below. You can also stop using mountain fortress stance and resume gaining the normal benefit of the stance as a swift action.

When you use this ability, you can choose to create a fortress of earth or rock, provided you are standing on earth, stone, rock, or a worked surface such as a cobblestone street or a flagstone floor (as long as natural earth or rock is no more than 1 foot below you). The square (or squares) that you occupy forms a pillar of earth or rock 5 feet tall, with you on top. Each square adjacent to you is buckled and steeply sloped, becoming difficult terrain. Any creature that attempts to enter or leave one of these squares must make a DC 10 Balance check or fall prone in the last square of the area it occupied. Creatures that ignore difficult terrain automatically succeed on this check, and flying creatures are unaffected. Creatures with four or more legs or the stability racial trait gain a +4 bonus on this Balance check.

You retain the benefit of mountain fortress stance until you end your Stone Dragon stance or move more than 5 feet in a round. You are unaffected by the difficult terrain you create with this ability. If you move only 5 feet in a round, the pillar of earth you have created moves with you, creating new squares of difficult terrain in every square adjacent to your new position. If creatures occupy those newly adjacent squares, they do not need to immediately make Balance checks as described above. However, if on their turn they attempt to leave the area of difficult terrain, they are affected by mountain fortress stance as normal, and squares that are no longer adjacent to you return to their natural state. If you move more than 5 feet in a round while using mountain fortress stance, the effect ends, and the ground immediately returns to normal.

Passwall (Sp): You can use passwall once per day per class level as a spell-like ability. Your caster level is equal to your deepstone sentinel class level.

Crashing Mountain Juggernaut (Su): Beginning at 2nd level, if you start your turn with mountain fortress stance active, as a full-round action you can end the Stone Dragon stance you initiated to gain the benefit of this ability. When you do so, the hill you created with mountain fortress stance suddenly sinks, sending any foes standing in squares adjacent to you crashing to the ground. In addition, you tumble down the crumbling hill like a living avalanche.

When you use this ability, all creatures within the area of difficult terrain created by your mountain fortress stance must make DC 15 Balance checks or fall prone. The bonus for stability or having extra legs does not apply. In addition, you can use a charge to attack an enemy as part of this ability's activation. If your attack is successful, it deals an extra 2d6 points of damage owing to the momentum you gain as you hurtle down your temporary hill and slam into your opponent.

You cannot activate mountain fortress stance on the same turn in which you use this ability.

Indomitable Redoubt (Ex): Once you attain 3rd level, while you are in mountain fortress stance, you can also initiate and gain the benefit of one additional Stone Dragon stance. This can be the stance you entered to initially activate mountain fortress stance, or another Stone Dragon stance you know. You must otherwise follow all the normal rules for entering and maintaining a stance.

Stone Curse (Su): From 4th level on, you can strike an opponent and channel the leaden weight of the earth into its arms and legs. For a brief moment, it labors in vain, unable to move under the crushing burden you impose.

As an immediate action, you can force an opponent you hit with a melee attack to make a successful Will save (DC 10 + 1/2 your character level + your Str modifier) or become unable to move for 1 round. The creature's speed for all movement modes except flight drops to 0 feet. A creature's fly speed remains unchanged. You must choose to use this ability after successfully attacking an opponent but before rolling damage.

Dragon's Tooth (Su): From 4th level on, as a standard action, you can cause a pillar of stone to erupt from the earth within 60 feet of you. The pillar occupies one square and is 5 or 10 feet tall (your choice). You can call forth a stone pillar only from natural, unworked earth or stone. A creature standing in the square must succeed on a Reflex save (DC 10 + 1/2 your character level + your Str modifier) or be knocked prone. You can dismiss a pillar you created as a standard action, but otherwise the pillar remains where you called it forth.

Awaken the Stone Dragon (Su): At 5th level, you can cause a localized earthquake to rumble through the ground around you. Through your study of Stone Dragon techniques and your strong connection to elemental earth, you can awaken the slumbering wrath of stone to send your enemies tumbling to the ground. The earth churns, rocks explode into cutting shards, and the ground rebels against your foes.

Once per encounter as a swift action, you cause the ground around you to shudder and churn as if rocked by an earthquake. All enemies within a 60-foot radius must make successful Reflex saves (DC 10 + 1/2 your character level + your Str modifier) or take 12d6 points of damage and fall prone. A successful save allows an opponent to take half damage and remain standing. Improved stability (such as a dwarf's racial ability) does not help a creature avoid being knocked prone by this ability.