Vanguards, also known as Shield Bearers, were a class of Humans set to be playable in Nosgoth wielding a tower shield and throwing axes. They were part of a faction known as drowning men chiefly made up of former prisoners and prison-keepers from the Isle of the Dead.
"Battalions of tough warriors founded by a mixture of convicts and overseers who together survived the Vampire assault on the Isle of the Dead. The Drowning Men now attract the lost, the damaged and the wicked from throughout the war-ravaged Human settlements of Nosgoth. Criminals, deserters, pirates, battle-scarred veterans, blood-soaked priests and haunted medics stand together as a bulwark against the Vampire hordes."