PDA

View Full Version : Kingsguard PrC PEACH



Adjudicator
2006-07-26, 05:04 PM
This is my first attempt at a PrC, so please, feel free to point out the obvious newbie mistakes.

Kingsguard

"My blood before his blood. My body before her body."

In every kingdom there exists the cadre of elite knights that are chosen to protect and defend the ruler of the realm. Sometimes these champions are picked by the King or Queen themselves, sometimes by the ruling council, sometimes by the Church, but they are always the fiercest of warriors and noblest of protectors. No matter who chooses them, these elite protectors are sworn to the throne, not the individuals who selected them and serve the good of the realm. Their lives are devoted wholly to the protection of their monarch from that moment on. Kingsguards have the most martial of skills, the elitest training, and the single-mindedness to devote their entire lives to the protection of a single individual. They can be solemn, gruff figures full of duty and honor, or they may be cheerful, bright and focused on seeing to more than just the physical well-being of their sovereign. But no matter their attitude or personality, they are always the first in battle when the king is threatened.

The Kingsguard lives to protect his or her sovereign, but that duty may actually involve leaving the sovereign's presence to protect their interests, or stop trouble before it can grow large enough to threaten the King. Kingsguards owe their allegiance to the throne, not to the individual sat upon the throne. They always remain aloof from politics, and the few that have tried to dabble have been punished severly by their brothers and sisters.


Becoming a Kingsguard
The abilities called upon to be a defender of a monarch are obviously combat focused. As such, Fighters, Paladins, and even Barbarians find this a noble calling and most will jump at the chance if offered the opportunity by a monarch they respect. Clerics are also known to be included, both for their formidable weapons mastery and their ability to provide healing on a moment's notice. Rangers and Druids have been know to be included, especially in non-city based kingdoms. Spellcasters, while useful, are unlikely to meet the requirements needed for combat in order to qualify, while Rogues view Kingsguards as more than a little insane. Monks usually are too detached from a realm to find the service appealing in any way.

Kingsguard members are almost always lawful, though a few are known to be neutral. No evil aligned character would willingly sacrifice his life for another, and thus cannot serve as Kingsguards.

Entry Requirements:
Alignment: Any non-evil
Skills: Intimidate 8 ranks, Knowledge (nobility) 5 ranks, Sense Motive 4 ranks, Spot 4 ranks
Feats: Endurance, Diehard
Base Attack Bonus: +7
Special: A character must be a member of the Sovereign's army, guard, or company before they may be raised to the Kingsguard. They usually must have also distinguished themself in some particular fashion, such as winning a major jousting tournament, or vanquishing a foe that threatened the entire kingdom.

The Kingsguard: * * * * * * * * * * * *Hit Die: d10
. . . . . Base
. . . . . Attack . . Fort . . Ref . . . Will . . . AC
Level . Bonus . . Save . .Save . . Save . .Bonus . . . .Special

1st . . . +1 . . . +2 . . . +0 . . .+2 . . .+1 . . Bonus feat: Exotic Weapon Proficiency, Stalwart Shield
2nd . . .+2 . . .+3 . . .+0 . . . +3 . . . +1 . . Discerning Nature
3rd . . . +3 . . .+3 . . .+1 . . . +3 . . . +1 . . Formidable Foe
4th . . . +4 . . .+4 . . .+1 . . . +4 . . . +2 . . Fearless Champion
5th . . . +5 . . .+4 . . .+1 . . . +4 . . . +2 . . Discerning Nature 2
6th . . . +6 . . .+5 . . .+2 . . . +5 . . . +2 . . Representative of the Crown, Formidable Foe 2
7th . . . +7 . . .+5 . . .+2 . . . +5 . . . +3 . . Blood for Blood
8th . . . +8 . . .+6 . . .+2 . . . +6 . . . +3 . . Discerning Nature 3
9th . . . +9 . . .+6 . . .+3 . . . +6 . . . +4 . . Court Intrigue, Formidable Foe 3
10th . +10 . . .+7 . . .+3 . . . +7 . . . +4 . . For the Kingdom!, Kingsguard Commander

Class skills:
The Kingsguard class skills are: Bluff, Concentration, Diplomacy, Handle Animal, Intimidate, Knowledge (nobility), Ride, Sense Motive, and Spot.

Skill points at each level: 2 + INT modifier.

Class features:
All the following are class features of the Kingsguard class.

AC Bonus (Ex): Members of the Kingsguard are trained and battlehardened over time to the point that they become naturally more resistent to damage. They gain a +1 bonus to natural AC at level 1 and eventually attain a +4 bonus to natural AC at level 10. This stacks with any pre-existing natural armor bonus they may already have.

Weapon and Armor proficiency: A Kingsguard is proficient with all simple and martial weapons, all types of armor, and all shields.

Exotic Weapon Proficiency: Upon being raised to the status of Kingsguard, the character is trained in the use of an exotic weapon of their choice. This weapon often is related to the ceremonial weapon of the kingdom or monarchy the Kingsguard is now protecting.

Stalwart Shield: At level 1, a Kingsguard is trained in how to defend a specific individual from all attacks that would threaten them. At the beginning of their turn in combat, a Kingsguard may select one character within 20 feet as a free action. For the rest of the encounter, that character gains a bonus to their AC of one half (rounded down) of the Kingsguard's current level (minimum of 1). The Kingsguard may select another character as a free action during his turn, at which time the originally selected character immediately loses the bonus AC. The Kingsguard may name a protected character once per day per level. The Kingsguard need not have a shield to use this ability. The Kingsguard may not target herself with this ability.

Discerning Nature (Ex): At level 2, the Kingsguard gains the extraordinary ability to detect when another individual within a 60 ft radius intends harm to their sovereign. The Kingsguard uses her highly trained sense to detect this threat. Any sense abilities useable by the Kingsguard may act to reveal the threat (ie: A Kingsguard with darkvision can detect a threat in the dark, whereas a Kingsguard without it would not be able to do so). The detect acts as a detect alignment ability. At level 5, the detect range extends to 90 ft and at level 8 it extends to 120 ft. Kingsguard also gain the ability to sense the true intentions of individuals regarding their soveriegn. The Kingsguard gains a +1 bonus to Sense Motive checks related to the safety of their sovereign or the questioning of individuals directly related to a mission given them by their sovereign. This ability increases by +1 at levels 5 and 8.

Formidable Foe: At level 3, the Kingsguard gains a bonus exactly like the Ranger's Favored Enemy ability against a known enemy of the throne they serve. This bonus applies only when the Kingsguard knows he is fighting an individual allied with the throne's enemy. The Foe may be a race as defined in the Ranger's Favored Enemy ability, or it may be a political organization or private entity that is threatening the throne or kingdom. The DM has final say on the selection of the Kingsguard's Foe. At levels 6 and 9, the Kingsguard may increase the bonus against the already selected Foe or select a new Foe against whom they will receive the base +2 bonus.

Fearless Champion: The Kingsguard has become so well-trained at this point that he is immune to the fear status.

Blood for Blood (Sp): At seventh level, a Kingsguard has learned how to protect her charge so well that she may actually sacrifice some of her own health to mitigate damage done to her charge. The Kingsguard can cast Shield Other as a spellcaster of their Kingsguard level once per day as a Verbal spell (no somatic or focus components).

Representative of the Crown: The Kingsguard is a known and recognized representative of the ruling government. Upon identifying himself, he can command assistance from local authorities as if he had the Leadership feat when on business for the Kingdom he serves. Upon completing the task assigned, any cohorts and followers he has gathered are released from service. A Kingsguard may request the skills of a trained professional (such as a mapmaker or ancient language expert) when it is necessary for the completion of a mision given to him by the Crown. A Kingsguard may always demand and receive the fastest transportation available if he has been sent out or called back by the Crown. He is not charged for this transportation. The DM has final say on whether an NPC would know and assist the Kingsguard and what penalties would befall an NPC that refused to offer legitimately requested assistance.

Court Intrigue: The Kingsguard has witnessed much of the politics, deception and intrigue that goes on in a royal court. This experience has enabled him to improve his understanding of certain skills. He gains an immediate and permanent +2 bonus ranks to his Diplomacy and Sense Motive skills.

For the Kingdom!: The Kingsguard is so committed to his calling that he is willing to sacrifice his life for his duty. A Kingsguard may choose to surrender all of his hit points to a charge selected for the Blood for Blood ability. Alternatively, the Kingsguard may make a last, heroic attack against an enemy. This ability gives the Kingsguard a +10 bonus to attack rolls, +10 bonus to damage (from any weapon), an extra 4 hit points per level, +4 to all saves and immunity from critical failure rolls (1s and 2s are rerolled until they are non-critical failures). These bonuses last for a number of rounds equal to the Kingsguard's character levels. When the rounds are depleted or the encounter is ended, the Kingsguard is immediately dropped to -5 hit points and must make 2 successful fortitude saving throws to stabilize against a 25 DC. Any healing to the Kingsguard will only return him to mere unconsciousness (0 hp) and he must be returned to the place where he swore his vows as a Kingsguard knight in order to regain consciousness. Additionally, the Kingsguard has become such a valuable asset to the Kingdom that, should he die, the Kingdom will undertake every possible means to return him from death. This only applies if the body of the Kingsguard has been returned to the Kingdom and the Kingdom will only expend the resources necessary to resurrect the Kingsguard once.

Kingsguard Commander: At the DM's discretion (for player characters), a level 10 Kingsguard may choose to become the Commander of the Kingsguard. This type of promotion usually involves the Kingsguard having been involved in the direct saving of the sovereign's life and the recent retiring or death of the former Kingsguard Commander or the first formation of a Kingsguard company. If he does, he no longer leaves the capital of the Kingdom unless it is to travel with the monarch and is automatically granted the Leadership feat. If he already has the Leadership feat, his effective leadership rating is improved by +5. The Kingsguard Commander has complete authority over the defense of any city where the sovereign he serves is residing. If that city is outside the sovereign's rule (ie: the king is a guest in a foreign city), the city leaders will automatically include the Kingsguard Commander in any plans they make while under siege or attack.

Equipment:
Upon being raised to the Kingsguard, a character is automatically given a masterwork armor of their choice that is coated in gold, silver, mithril, or made from darkwood according to the custom of the kingdom they serve. In addition, this armor bears the crest or emblem of the kingdom displayed prominently on its surface and grants a +2 bonus to the character's CHA ability score when conversing with citizens of the realm. In addition to receiving the Exotic Weapon Proficiency feat, a Kingsguard is also granted a masterwork version of the weapon selected for that feat.

Roleplay:
A Kingsguard is completely and utterly devoted to serving their realm. Depending on the size, status, wealth and personality of the realm, there may be numerous Kingsguards or only a select few. A Kingsguard is not restricted to the realm's capital city or the physical location of the crown, but he will always be engaged in the realm's work. A Kingsguard does not go on random adventures. A Kingsguard does not take jokes made about his position, his sworn charges, or his kingdom lightly.

Ex-Kingsguards:
Kingsguards are sworn to serve for life. The only way a Kingsgaurd may legitimately leave the service of the Kingsguard is by special command from the Crown, usually for service well completed and because the Kingsguard in question is too old to maintain the protection needed for the Crown. Any Kingsguard that forsakes his vow and abandons his duty automatically loses the 'good' alignment if they had it, and if neutral they must make a will save (without their Kingsguard will save bonus) against a DC of 25 to avoid becoming Evil. An ex-Kingsguard is immediately stripped of their armor and weaponry, either by force or because it is too identifying. If caught in the kingdom they abandoned, an ex-Kingsguard will be treated as the most vile of criminals and will be subject to 1d4-1 bounty attacks for every week that they are in the country (at least one attack will occur during the first week they enter the country). An ex-Kingsguard may not use an atonement quest to regain their position. An ex-Kingsguard loses all Class features of the Kingsguard class except for the Fearless Champion ability. A Kingsguard that abandoned her position because the Realm's ruler was evil (DM's discretion) need not make a will save to prevent alignment change.

Edit 1: Fixed Stalwart Shield to be non-self-targeting.
Edit 2: Adjusted length of rounds that For the Kingdom! lasts.
Edit 3: Adjusted mimimum ranks in Spot required to make it more feasible for martial classes to meet entry requirements.
Edit 4: Adjusted phrasing of Discerning Nature and Sense Motive bonus in table.
Edit 5: Adjusted Stalwart Shield range, Discerning Nature progression, Fearless Champion benefit, Blood for Blood mechanic, and added Bluff as class skill, removing it from Court Intrigue

Oeryn
2006-07-26, 05:11 PM
Well, I'm no good with crunch, or balance issues, so I'll leave that to the more qualified.

I like the flavor you've got, but something's buggin' me about it. What if the King's not a "Good Guy"? What if he's a tyrant? Wouldn't that make the guard less popular in the realm?

Other than that, though, I like it. :)

Fax Celestis
2006-07-26, 05:12 PM
What's to stop the Kingsguard from choosing himself with Stalwart Shield?

Also, from For The Kingdom!:

These bonuses last for a number of rounds equal to the Kingsguard's levels in the prestige class (10) plus half of any levels he may have in other classes multiplied by 2

Um, .5(2x)=x, so you're being needlessly strange here. Just say equal to his levels in all classes.

Beyond that, it is rather nifty.

Cybren
2006-07-26, 05:14 PM
I think he means (K + .5C)2 which is really twice his kingsguard levels plus his other class levels?

Gyrfalcon
2006-07-26, 05:17 PM
Unless he means (10 + 1/2(10)) * 2... which would be an AC bonus of 30.

Ack... what Cybren already said.

So with that said, it's overpowered, since you can give someone an AC boost of 30 on top of their AC.

Adjudicator
2006-07-26, 05:17 PM
What's to stop the Kingsguard from choosing himself with Stalwart Shield?

Also, from For The Kingdom!:

Um, .5(2x)=x, so you're being needlessly strange here. Just say equal to his levels in all classes.

Beyond that, it is rather nifty.

Hmm, will have to edit the Stalwart shield ability to change that. thanks, hadn't thought of that.

For the other, it's supposed to be (PrC level +(other class level/2)) multipled by 2. But i'm not sure about the balance for the concept anyway. I want to make it last long enough to really put a dent in a high level BBEG, but not make it too long. Any suggestions on how to determing length? Is straight character level = rounds long enough?

Lord Iames Osari
2006-07-26, 05:18 PM
What's to stop the Kingsguard from choosing himself with Stalwart Shield?

Also, from For The Kingdom!:

Um, .5(2x)=x, so you're being needlessly strange here. Just say equal to his levels in all classes.

Beyond that, it is rather nifty.

Or equal to his character level.

Cybren
2006-07-26, 05:19 PM
At level 20, it'll be twenty rounds.
Most fights don't last twenty rounds.

martyboy74
2006-07-26, 05:19 PM
Yes, because by the time you get it, it's at least 10 rounds, and that's only against a CR 10.

Adjudicator
2006-07-26, 05:21 PM
Ok, so I'll adjust For the Kingdom! to be straight class levels.

Also, Gyrfalcon, there's no AC bonus to For the Kingdom!, so not sure where you got the 30 AC bonus?

Amiria
2006-07-26, 05:29 PM
The high Spot requirement means that you really have to multiclass into druid, monk, ranger or rogue.

Maybe better half it to +4, or make it only +2 and switch the Diehard feat to Alertness.

Adjudicator
2006-07-26, 05:53 PM
Hmm, good point. The RP is that I want them to be alert, watchful characters, but the nature of the martial classes makes this a difficult skill requirement to fill. Yeah, 4 ranks seems good.

Zincorium
2006-07-26, 06:05 PM
Actually, a better way of looking at it would be as a prestige class for monks, clerics, or rogues.

Yes, the knights in shining armor are going to stop the obvious threats, like riots, but for assasins you are definitely going to want an ace in the hole, someone in the position of vizier or whatever, very close by the nobility and likely to be underestimated in their ability to physically defend the monarch.

chaiyo
2006-07-26, 06:08 PM
Wow. This is an incredible first prestige class that I'm considering taking in a campaign setting where half the monarchs aren't corrupt. The campaign setting where they are corrupt happens to be my creation, but I'd be glad to use it. So long as the alignment requirement stays at non-evil instead of good, Kingsguards of corrupt officials will exist, and this may be an interesting plot point.

Only two things really bug me, and these relate to Discerning Nature. Firstly, I'm pretty sure you can just use 'Discerning Nature +Bonus' for the table, or maybe just for the second and third ones. Just something that bugged me.

Second, I think it would couse a good balance, or at least something that seems cool, if Formidable Foe mentioned Discerning Nature as a way to gain the bonus. Something that wouldn't allow metagaming, like, y'know...

"Oh noes! The blacksmith sold a rusty dagger to the bad guys' army! Lets go kill him!!!!1!"

And yes, I do realize that you can't say 'one' while talking unless either you mean to or you have an Int score of three with the Moron flaw. And don't tell me I'm exagerrating.

Adjudicator
2006-07-26, 06:32 PM
Ok, not exactly sure what you are getting at with Formidable Foe and Discerning Nature. Do you mean that a Formidable Foe can only be selected if the opponent has been identified by a Discerning Nature check?

The reason the FF is kind of vague is because it may not be as easily defined as the Rangers Favored Enemy classes. It may be a nationality, or house, or members of a political uprising. A Kingsguard may know that these are foes without having encountered them yet, and so could spend a FF slot on them even before she sees them in battle.

But any suggestions you might have are welcome, so explain what you are looking for a little more, if you had something more specific in mind, and I'll consider it.

Other stuff: Yeah, it was kept non-evil specifically to allow protection of evil monarchs. I figured that people would give up their lives for evil monarchs just like good ones, but evil PCs wouldn't be willing to undertake self-sacrifice necessary for it, though there are good arguments against that. That's just my opinion.

I'm planning to use it in an upcoming campaign of mine, so feel free to adopt it as well. I'd love to see how it functions, so if you do decide to use it, PM me a link to your thread, please.

Thanks for the suggestions, all. Half the fun of this for me is figuring out what I did wrong in order to make it better next time.

Fax Celestis
2006-07-26, 06:56 PM
Another thing: I'd suggest changing the alignment requirement to "Lawful and matching the alignment of their leader".

It sounds strange, but they're regimented soldiers with a strict code. However, they're only going to get elevated to positions of power for obeying the spirit of their ruler's law, which means that they'd better match alignment of the ruler (or else they will shortly).

chaiyo
2006-07-26, 07:30 PM
Yeah, just so that there is reduced ambiguity, Formidable Foe requires confirmation of hostilities to the throne through Discerning Nature or similar mechanics. Or common sense.

Also, in the discription of Becoming a Kingsguard, Adjuticator specifically says that Barbarians can become Kingsguards, though I would recommend adding a non-chaotic requirement. I feel the presence of the simu-ninjas.

Behold_the_Void
2006-07-26, 07:32 PM
What kind of specific bonus to Sense Motive does Discerning Nature grant?

Gyrfalcon
2006-07-26, 07:35 PM
Ok, so I'll adjust For the Kingdom! to be straight class levels.

Also, Gyrfalcon, there's no AC bonus to For the Kingdom!, so not sure where you got the 30 AC bonus?

Actually, I was responding to Stalwart Shield as it had been written. As it's written now, it's more balanced, since your max AC bonus is +10 to someone I believe.

Nerd-o-rama
2006-07-26, 07:53 PM
Did anyone else think this was going to be a PrC for the A Song of Ice and Fire RPG? Until they read the "Non-Evil" requirement, that is.

UnrealTiger
2006-07-26, 07:57 PM
Yeah the Song of Ice and Fire series jumped to my mind straight away when I read the title of the topic and looking at it it's alot like what the Kingsguard are, the best of the best who are utterly dedicated to their Monarch.

I love that series yet I still haven't managed to read the newest book yet, I really have to borrow my friends library card and borrow it for awhile.

Adjudicator
2006-07-26, 08:11 PM
Martin's work was the inspiration for it, no doubt, but as I crafted it, I wanted it to be what the Kingsguard was supposed to be.

Some replies:

Zincorium: That's very true, but the BAB being so high would keep a lot of rogues out and I just don't see the monk RP as being conducive to this PrC. Monks adventure to gain skill, not to serve others. They are committed to their monestaries or disciplines of fighting, dying for someone else doesn't seem to fit, though obviously, anything is possible with the right RP. It's just that I have a sense that the lawful for monks isn't quite the same as this.

Fax: Good point, actually, I like the 'or else they will shortly' element. Any thought on building in some kind of alignment matching with the monarch, anyone? How would the mechanic for that work? And would it make a difference if the PC was engaged in missions away from the crown (the troubleshooting Kingsguard) rather than guarding the monarch every day? Also, what do you think about 'Any non-chaotic/non-evil' instead of just any non-evil? The more I think about it, a Chaotic neutral isn't going to fit this class, while a true neutral probably fits very well - objective, passionless, couldn't care less about the law, but her voluntary will chose to care about this, so that makes it a priority for the neutral character. And Lawful is obviously applicable.

Chaiyo: I thought that building in the DM say to the Formidable Foe would give him a chance to clarify if a race/nationality/etc was actually a threat to the throne, but this also creates the potential for the PC to choose a what he perceives as a threat to the thone and then have to deal with the consequences of choosing incorrectly. "Oops, the Simtorians (or whatever) didn't actually plot an assassination attempt and the forty that I killed to find this out were actually telling the truth. Now what?" Do folks think there should be an actual game mechanic to limit the choice of FF?

Behold the Void: Hmm, originally it was +2 to start and then increasing by +1 each time Discerning Nature increased. That seem ok or should it be greater or less?

Nerd-o-rama
2006-07-26, 08:18 PM
Ah, good to know I'm not just crazy.

The Glyphstone
2006-07-26, 08:43 PM
Blood for Blood, as is, really stood out to me as "too good". At ECL14, the earliest it'll be obtained, there's big-number damage being thrown around....

"RAR! Thog the Frenzied Berzerker Power Leap Attack Charges for 3d12+999,999,999 damage - plus critical hit!" >:(
"I, Sir Knightsguard, sacrifice 50 of my 100 HP to negate that damage!" :D

???

Perhaps, to keep the flavor, make it a more powerful version of Shield Other...maybe, say, while bonded to a charge, the Knightsguard can reduce damage dealt to the charge by half, and take half of the remaining damage (sorta like a friendly Retributive Amulet from BoED...100 damage would be dealth, charge takes 25, knightsguard takes 25, 50 fizzles)...not sure how to word that, though.

Raum
2006-07-26, 09:30 PM
I like the concept and the background. Reminds me of a book or two by Dave Duncan.

As for balance, lets break the class down to it's indvidual parts. d10 hit die
Full BAB
Two good saves
An untyped AC bonus (highly recommend typing it)
and one or more powers / abilities at every level
May be a bit strong, but lets look at the abilities.
Exotic Weapon Proficiency - I'd actually recommend making this a prerequisite. Or else make the training with the one 'signature' weapon used by the Kingsguard...whatever that may be. After all, they're supposed to be an elite already not in need of training.
Stalwart Shield - Need to specify that the bonus is 1/2 the levels in the Kingsguard PrC. While I'd normally balk at going over the +4 bonus for cover, a +5 at level 10 isn't going to be game breaking. I do question the range though, particularly since that could be a long way for some builds. I'd recommend a flat 20' range. If you do keep movement as the measure you'll need to specify single move, double move, run, etc...
Discerning Nature - First, is this Ex, Su, or Sp? It says not Supernatural, but doesn't specify Extraordinary or Spell Like. Given that the guard doesn't need to be aware of the threat I'm guessing Spel Like. Given that, how long does it last? How many times per day can it be activated? If you mean for it to be extraordinary it probably needs to be limited to sources the guard can sense.
Formidable Foe - At first glance I though ok...but then noticed the progression. A +6 is a bit much. Given the nebulous nature of the favored enemy, it's even worse. I can make an argument that anyone attacking whomever I'm protecting is an enemy, so I should get the bonus every fight. Leave it at +2, the class is powerful enough without more.
Fearless Champion - Immune to fear and a +2 Concentration. Why both in one ability?
Blood for Blood - I'd recommend just giving them the Shield Other (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/spells/shieldOther.htm) spell in some form.
Representative of the Crown - Potentially powerful, but mostly fluff and under the DM's control.
Court Intrigue - You'd be better off just making Bluff a class skill. By level 9 in the PrC and probably CL 16+, it's a bit late to pick up a new skill. Just leave it as a bonus to Diplomacy and Sense Motive.
For the Kingdom - So instead of sacrificing himself for his charge, the guard can use an ability better than a barbarian's rage? Given the flavor of the class he shouldn't even have the choice. And the power itself is way too much. Particularly when the negative isn't going to happen until after 99% of fights are over. Needs to be toned down severely or even removed entirely.
Kingsguard Commander - If this is "at the DM's discretion" it shouldn't be a PrC ability. The DM could as easily give the command slot to a level 1 commoner.
Equipment - Even if this is essentially just dress armor and uniform by the level it's granted it's a bit odd to be giving a character thousands of gold in equipment for just taking a class.

Overall I think the class has potential. It's just a bit overpowered at the moment.

Adjudicator
2006-07-27, 03:28 AM
I like the concept and the background. *Reminds me of a book or two by Dave Duncan.


Yeah, this is definitely the kind of input I'm looking for, thanks!
Ok, point by point:



Exotic Weapon Proficiency - I'd actually recommend making this a prerequisite. Or else make the training with the one 'signature' weapon used by the Kingsguard...whatever that may be. After all, they're supposed to be an elite already not in need of training.

Hmm, i take your point. But is adding an exotic weapon proficiency putting too much on the requirements list? That would be three feats I'd be requiring for entrance. For a fighter, most of them are doable, but for other classes, this could be pretty difficult to accomplish.



Stalwart Shield - Need to specify that the bonus is 1/2 the levels in the Kingsguard PrC. While I'd normally balk at going over the +4 bonus for cover, a +5 at level 10 isn't going to be game breaking. I do question the range though, particularly since that could be a long way for some builds. I'd recommend a flat 20' range. If you do keep movement as the measure you'll need to specify single move, double move, run, etc...

Actually, cover was exactly what I was thinking of when I designed this one, as I see the Kingsguard acting as living cover to a certain extent. Hence the final +5, since an intelligent being using their body for cover should be able to beat out a table if they know what they are doing. As for range, the flat 20' seems to work for me. That requires the Kingsguard to be within a reasonable distance of his charge in order to pull this off, and since the PC is probably a level 9 or so by the time they have this, they should be at greater than 20' for movement anyway, so that would give them, RP wise, a chance to move and set themselves up to grant cover.



Discerning Nature - First, is this Ex, Su, or Sp? It says not Supernatural, but doesn't specify Extraordinary or Spell Like. Given that the guard doesn't need to be aware of the threat I'm guessing Spell Like. Given that, how long does it last? How many times per day can it be activated? If you mean for it to be extraordinary it probably needs to be limited to sources the guard can sense.

Actually, RP wise, I was thinking of this as an extraordinary ability, finely honed senses and all that. I'm unfamiliar with spells to the degree that I'm not really confident to tinker with spell like abilities. I'd say extraordinary limited to sources the guard can discover using his senses. So if a character is only thinking harm to the sovereign, then unless the Kingsguard has a read mind ability, that wouldn't trigger the detect. But if two minions are whispering about a plot to overthrow the king, the Kingsguard would sense that. Hmm, in that case, should I shrink the distance of the detect? Maybe to a 30, 60, 90 increment?


Formidable Foe - At first glance I though ok...but then noticed the progression. A +6 is a bit much. Given the nebulous nature of the favored enemy, it's even worse. I can make an argument that anyone attacking whomever I'm protecting is an enemy, so I should get the bonus every fight. Leave it at +2, the class is powerful enough without more.
This one has generated quite a bit of comment. I still really like the idea. The Kingsguard is going to know that certain enemies are a greater threat to the crown. If the kingdom has been fighting Drow for three generations, she's going to be very well prepared to fight drow. A lot of this seems to revolve around how to pick the foe. Any suggestions on a better mechanic for limiting selection of the Foe that the Kingsguard can choose?


Fearless Champion - Immune to fear and a +2 Concentration. Why both in one ability?

This was actually done before I knew what Concentration was really about. It doesn't really fit, so yeah, Concentration bonus is gone.


Blood for Blood - I'd recommend just giving them the Shield Other (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/spells/shieldOther.htm) spell in some form.

Again, my lack of comfort with spells let me down. That's pretty much what I was looking for, but much better. So how about this: Blood for Blood: At seventh level, a Kingsguard has learned how to take her protection of her charge so well that she may actually sacrifice some of her own health to mitigate damage done to her charge. The Kingsguard can cast Shield Other just like the spell once per day as a Verbal spell (no somatic or focus components).


Representative of the Crown - Potentially powerful, but mostly fluff and under the DM's control.

This gives the class some outside RP for the rare PC that actually takes it.


Court Intrigue - You'd be better off just making Bluff a class skill. By level 9 in the PrC and probably CL 16+, it's a bit late to pick up a new skill. Just leave it as a bonus to Diplomacy and Sense Motive.

Point well taken. I'll adopt that recommendation wholesale.


For the Kingdom - So instead of sacrificing himself for his charge, the guard can use an ability better than a barbarian's rage? Given the flavor of the class he shouldn't even have the choice. And the power itself is way too much. Particularly when the negative isn't going to happen until after 99% of fights are over. Needs to be toned down severely or even removed entirely.

Hmm, obviously the biggest sticking point. The goal was to give the Kingsguard an ability that would be useful if they were one of the 'troubleshooting' members that wasn't necessarily next to the king night and day. Otherwise, it feels kind of anticlimactic. The NPC maxed in Kingsguard engages the PCs trying to slay the evil ruler. He does so on the gates to the castle, rather than let them get to the throne room because he's not stupid. But he can't really do much special in combat against the PCs. The choice was to let him become a kind of kamikaze fighter that would throw his life away to stop a threat before it could reach his sovereign.

What if I lessened the round to 5 (half PrC levels) and dropped the extra HP and bonus to saves. That would be just a 10 attack and damage bonus, not much at ECL 18 or so, and the immunity to critical failures, which could be quite useful. The problem is, that feels like a lame kamikaze run. Any suggestions?


Kingsguard Commander - If this is "at the DM's discretion" it shouldn't be a PrC ability. The DM could as easily give the command slot to a level 1 commoner.

Yeah, this is the first time I really disagree with you, Raum. The lvl1 commoner thing is just assuming a really bad DM, which is a straw man argument. It's at the DM's discretion because if this is actually being used as a PC PrC, then the DM should have say over whether the kingdom would actually accept the PC in this role. Also, it ties the PC completely to the monarch, no biggie with the NPC Kingsguard commander, but it could very well kill a campaign with a PC commander. It's mainly included to let the DM know what having a Kingsguard commander entails for the campaign.


Equipment - Even if this is essentially just dress armor and uniform by the level it's granted it's a bit odd to be giving a character thousands of gold in equipment for just taking a class.

Hmm, i'm sticking by this one too. It's standard fantasy practice to award ceremonial garb on ceremonial positions. At the level they are playing, the equipment itself isn't that great. MW mithral plate, woohoo, but no magic bonus? To a level 8 player, that's barely sufficient. But it does let them build it up and if they decide to use the eq to benefit, they have to invest in it and deal with the RP elements that carrying the monarch's sigil around on their chest brings.

One point I guess I should have specified earlier. This is very much geared towards an NPC PrC. I included PC elements because I can see it being played in certain types of campaigns and the concept of the PrC in my head allows for the wandering Kingsguard, but the focus is by far on DMs using these guys to add flavor or challenge to a campaign.

Seriously though, thanks to all of you for your comments and suggestions. Tweaking this kind of stuff really helps in figuring out how to do it better next time!

Overall I think the class has potential. It's just a bit overpowered at the moment

Raum
2006-07-27, 09:10 AM
Yeah, this is definitely the kind of input I'm looking for, thanks! No problem!


Hmm, i take your point. But is adding an exotic weapon proficiency putting too much on the requirements list? That would be three feats I'd be requiring for entrance. For a fighter, most of them are doable, but for other classes, this could be pretty difficult to accomplish. Well I have a question for you, does the EWP add anything to the class flavor? It's also woth noting that most warrior types will have already chosen a favored weapon and have taken feat(s) for it by the time they qualify for the PrC.


Actually, cover was exactly what I was thinking of when I designed this one, as I see the Kingsguard acting as living cover to a certain extent. Hence the final +5, since an intelligent being using their body for cover should be able to beat out a table if they know what they are doing. As for range, the flat 20' seems to work for me. That requires the Kingsguard to be within a reasonable distance of his charge in order to pull this off, and since the PC is probably a level 9 or so by the time they have this, they should be at greater than 20' for movement anyway, so that would give them, RP wise, a chance to move and set themselves up to grant cover. Sounds good!


Actually, RP wise, I was thinking of this as an extraordinary ability, finely honed senses and all that. I'm unfamiliar with spells to the degree that I'm not really confident to tinker with spell like abilities. I'd say extraordinary limited to sources the guard can discover using his senses. So if a character is only thinking harm to the sovereign, then unless the Kingsguard has a read mind ability, that wouldn't trigger the detect. But if two minions are whispering about a plot to overthrow the king, the Kingsguard would sense that. Hmm, in that case, should I shrink the distance of the detect? Maybe to a 30, 60, 90 increment? Given the bonuses to Sense Motive, a chance (maybe an SM roll?) to detect the intent to harm isn't necessarily a bad thing, what I think you need to word carefully is that the guard needs to be able to see / hear / sense the 'enemy' in order to use this power or Sense Motive. In other words it won't work on the assassin hiding (unless the assassin is Spotted), the courtier in the next room, or an invisible observer / spy. As for range, I'd keep it fairly short...he's a bodyguard not a seer. :)


This one has generated quite a bit of comment. I still really like the idea. The Kingsguard is going to know that certain enemies are a greater threat to the crown. If the kingdom has been fighting Drow for three generations, she's going to be very well prepared to fight drow. A lot of this seems to revolve around how to pick the foe. Any suggestions on a better mechanic for limiting selection of the Foe that the Kingsguard can choose? The +6 is too much. It's even worse if you're keeping the +10 from the later ability. Remeber, the probably effect of bonues to hit is for the character to put an equivalent amount into Power Attack. So with a +16 AB you're giving them a free +32 damage with a two handed weapon. As for defining the enemies, the easiest method would probably be "enemies who have attacked the king in the past" or something similar. That way a PC is only likely to use the ability against a recurring villain.


This was actually done before I knew what Concentration was really about. It doesn't really fit, so yeah, Concentration bonus is gone. Cool.


Again, my lack of comfort with spells let me down. That's pretty much what I was looking for, but much better. So how about this: Blood for Blood: At seventh level, a Kingsguard has learned how to take her protection of her charge so well that she may actually sacrifice some of her own health to mitigate damage done to her charge. The Kingsguard can cast Shield Other just like the spell once per day as a Verbal spell (no somatic or focus components). Sounds good to me.


This gives the class some outside RP for the rare PC that actually takes it. You shouldn't really need to give a class RP, that's generally up to the player.


Hmm, obviously the biggest sticking point. The goal was to give the Kingsguard an ability that would be useful if they were one of the 'troubleshooting' members that wasn't necessarily next to the king night and day. Otherwise, it feels kind of anticlimactic. The NPC maxed in Kingsguard engages the PCs trying to slay the evil ruler. He does so on the gates to the castle, rather than let them get to the throne room because he's not stupid. But he can't really do much special in combat against the PCs. The choice was to let him become a kind of kamikaze fighter that would throw his life away to stop a threat before it could reach his sovereign. My previous comments about additional AB and Power Attack apply here also...and what happens if a barbarian build takes the class, do they get For the Kingdom and Rage? Even For the Kingdom alone is overpowering. But almost as big a sticking point for me is the flavor, I don't see how a kamikaze attack fits. A dwarven defender type ability maybe so they can hold the enemies in a door or hall while their charge escapes. Overall this has the flavor at least of a defensive minded class, if you give it too many offensive capabilities you may want to rewrite that.


What if I lessened the round to 5 (half PrC levels) and dropped the extra HP and bonus to saves. That would be just a 10 attack and damage bonus, not much at ECL 18 or so, and the immunity to critical failures, which could be quite useful. The problem is, that feels like a lame kamikaze run. Any suggestions? The shorter time frame helps a bit, at least that way the down side may matter. But the +10 attack and damage is too much. With Power Attack that's +30 damage when using a two handed weapon.


Yeah, this is the first time I really disagree with you, Raum. The lvl1 commoner thing is just assuming a really bad DM, which is a straw man argument. It's at the DM's discretion because if this is actually being used as a PC PrC, then the DM should have say over whether the kingdom would actually accept the PC in this role. Also, it ties the PC completely to the monarch, no biggie with the NPC Kingsguard commander, but it could very well kill a campaign with a PC commander. It's mainly included to let the DM know what having a Kingsguard commander entails for the campaign. It's not a straw man argument at all, I was quite serious. Look at history for examples, you'll see unqualified nobles, courtiers, friends, or even rich merchants willing to bribe someone appointed to positions of power all the time. But the point is really that this isn't a class ability, it's a DM option.


Hmm, i'm sticking by this one too. It's standard fantasy practice to award ceremonial garb on ceremonial positions. At the level they are playing, the equipment itself isn't that great. MW mithral plate, woohoo, but no magic bonus? To a level 8 player, that's barely sufficient. But it does let them build it up and if they decide to use the eq to benefit, they have to invest in it and deal with the RP elements that carrying the monarch's sigil around on their chest brings. Great, no...but expensive. Whether the character sells this or sells his old stuff he's just become thousands of gold richer. This won't matter nearly as much for NPCs as it will PCs but with PCs it potentially throws off the wealth by level guidelines as well as giving one PC significantly more treasure than the others...all because he took a level in a class.


One point I guess I should have specified earlier. This is very much geared towards an NPC PrC. I included PC elements because I can see it being played in certain types of campaigns and the concept of the PrC in my head allows for the wandering Kingsguard, but the focus is by far on DMs using these guys to add flavor or challenge to a campaign. I understand that, but the NPC elements can easily be left as fluff text for the DM to build his organization around. That would leave you with a class that doesn't need DM intervention to be balanced.

Altair_the_Vexed
2006-07-27, 10:12 AM
Great class.

Sorry to bring it up again, but I don't think Stawart Shield should have a flat range of 20 feet - it ought to be "within reach" (depending on weapon or race) +5 feet (for the 5 foot step).
The Kingsguard needs to be able to instantly provide cover, without a move action. I think the 5 foot step and weapon reach combine to do that. With a whip or spiked chain it can be quite a good range, anyway.