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NeoSeraphi
2012-01-21, 03:12 AM
The Blackguard

http://i54.photobucket.com/albums/g95/redarmysoldier/anakin_skywalker_1024.jpg
"Don't lecture me, Obi-Wan. I see through the lies of the Jedi. I do not fear the Dark Side as you do. I have brought peace, freedom, justice, and security to my new Empire!" - Anakin Skywalker, a former paladin



Prerequisites:
Alignment: Lawful Evil
Base Attack Bonus: +5
Special: Must have had at least 5 levels in the paladin class, and then lost all your class features when you changed alignments. You may not enter this class if you have atoned and regained your paladin abilities, and atoning and regaining them while in the class immediately strips you of all class features, as if you were a paladin who violated his code of conduct

HD: d10
Class Skills: The blackguard's class skills (and the key abilities for each skill) are Bluff (Cha), Climb (Str), Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Handle Animal (Cha), Heal (Wis), Hide (Dex), Intimidate (Cha), Jump (Str), Knowledge (Nobility and Royalty), Knowledge (religion) (Int), Listen (Wis), Profession (Wis), Ride (Dex), Sense Motive (Wis), Spot (Wis) and Swim (Str).
Skill Points: 4+Int per level

{table=head]Level|Base Attack Bonus|Fort Save|Ref Save|Will Save|Special

1st|+1|+2|+0|+2|Favored Enemy (Paladins) +2, Smite 1/day, Detect Chaos, Aura of Evil

2nd|+2|+3|+0|+3|Dark Blessing, Evil Immunity

3rd|+3|+3|+1|+3|Aura of Despair, Favored Enemy (Paladins) +4

4th|+4|+4|+1|+4|Divine Reserves

5th|+5|+4|+1|+4|Smite 2/day, Favored Enemy (Paladins) +6

6th|+6|+5|+2|+5|The Truth, Unholy Sword

7th|+7|+5|+2|+5|Dark Dealings, Favored Enemy (Paladins) +8

8th|+8|+6|+2|+6|Empowering Hatred

9th|+9|+6|+3|+6|Favored Enemy (Paladins) +10, My Own Brand of Justice

10th|+10|+7|+3|+7|Smite 3/day, Too Far Gone
[/table]

Class Features: The following are the class features of the blackguard.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: A blackguard gains no additional proficiencies.

Favored Enemy (Paladins) (Ex): A blackguard may have fallen for any number of reasons, but one thing is for sure: there is nothing that paladins hate more than a blackguard, and a blackguard feels the same way. Against a paladin, a blackguard gains a +2 bonus on Bluff, Intimidate, Listen, Sense Motive, and Spot checks. He also receives a +2 bonus on all damage rolls made against a paladin. At each odd level, this bonus increases, to a maximum of +10 at 9th level. If the blackguard has other sources of Favored Enemy, such as the ranger class feature, those bonuses stack if the paladin also happens to be a creature type of one of his Favored Enemies.

Smite (Su): How long has it been? How long has it been, since the blackguard could look at a man and truly say if he was "evil" or not? What is evil, anyway? The blackguard knows that even good men do bad things, if tempted. He punishes any man, regardless of petty titles like "good" or "evil". Once per day, the blackguard may attempt to Smite a creature with a melee attack. He adds his Charisma bonus (if any) to the attack roll, and if he hits, he adds three times his character level to the damage roll. This attack ignores all forms of damage reduction and regeneration, and any threatened criticals are automatically confirmed. A missed attack consumes the daily use of Smite. A blackguard gains an additional use of this ability at 5th and 10th level.

Aura of Evil (Ex): Let them come. Let them all see what they have branded the blackguard as. Let them call him evil. He'll cut out their deceitful tongues when they do. A blackguard's aura of evil (see the detect evil spell) is equal to his character level. A blackguard's aura of evil is always treated as overwhelming to a paladin's detect evil ability, and any paladin who detects evil while the blackguard is in range must make a Will save (DC 10+1/2 the blackguard's character level+his Charisma modifier) or be nauseated for 1 round.

Detect Chaos (Sp): Good. Evil. It doesn't matter to the blackguard. The blackguard knows that as long as order is maintained, the world will have peace. Even if the people call that peace "oppressive" or "tyrannical". It will still be peace. Those who would rebel must be crushed without mercy. A blackguard may cast detect chaos as the spell, as a spell-like ability at will.

Dark Blessing (Su): This new path must be the blackguard's deity's will. If it wasn't, why would his powers be coming back? The other paladins are all fools, only the blackguard understands what his god truly wants. Starting at 2nd level, the blackguard adds his Charisma bonus (if positive) to all his saving throws.

Evil Immunity (Su): The blackguard's divine powers are fused with his evil heart, granting him protection against his former enemies that any paladin would kill for. Beginning at 2nd level, a blackguard is immune to the effects of any spell with the [Evil] descriptor that allows spell resistance, as if he had an insurmountable spell resistance against that spell.

Aura of Despair (Su): The blackguard doesn't miss the courage. Fear is good. Fear helps you remember what you have to lose. Fear keeps you on your toes. Fear leads to anger...Starting at 3rd level, a blackguard projects a debilitating aura that weakens his foes. All enemies within 10 feet of the blackguard take a -2 penalty on all saving throws. Additionally, if the blackguard successfully attacks and deals damage to a creature within his aura, he may attempt to demoralize that creature as a free action (even if the blackguard doesn't threaten the creature in melee). If he succeeds, the creature is shaken for the duration of the encounter, rather than 1 round.

Divine Reserves (Su): Negative energy. Positive energy. The blackguard sees no use in channeling that power anymore. Undead are the least of his concern now. At 4th level, the blackguard gains a number of daily uses of rebuke undead equal to 3+his Charisma modifier (minimum 3). He may not actually use these to rebuke undead, but he is treated as if he could rebuke undead for the purposes of all prerequisites, and may use his daily uses of rebuke undead to power Divine feats (including Divine feats the blackguard took as a paladin that he no longer qualified for after falling). As part of this class feature, the blackguard gains a single additional Divine feat as a bonus feat. He must meet all prerequisites for that feat.

The Truth (Ex): A blackguard understands the truth. He knows what must be done to make the world right, and nothing will stop him. Even magical attempts to get on his good side or force him to act a certain way just slide off him. As long as the blackguard clings to his truth, he can see the path ahead of him, and nothing but brute force will make him sway. Beginning at 6th level, a blackguard becomes immune to all (charm) and (compulsion) spells and effects cast by good creatures.

Unholy Sword (Su): A blackguard's powers are absolute. In his hands, any weapon becomes a force of destruction and carnage. From 6th level on, any weapon the blackguard holds is treated as a +5 unholy weapon, in addition to its other enchantments (if any). The enhancement bonuses to attack and damage rolls do not stack with the weapon's masterwork bonus or actual enhancement bonuses (if any). The unholy ability does stack with the actual unholy weapon enhancement, if the blackguard's weapon has that enchantment. As a swift action, the blackguard may change this bonus to a +5 axiomatic weapon, and the axiomatic ability stacks with the actual weapon enhancement if the weapon has it. If changed, the weapon stays a +5 axiomatic weapon until either the blackguard spends a swift action to change it back to +5 unholy, or until the blackguard lets go of the weapon, at which point it would become normal again until the blackguard picked it back up, making it a +5 unholy weapon again.

Dark Dealings (Su): It's refreshing for the blackguard to no longer see things in black and white. He is able to ally with and gain information from shadier characters that his old self would have dismissed as "evil". Starting at 7th level, a blackguard's Aura of Evil improves to grant him a particularly evil visage. He receives a profane bonus equal to his class level to Charisma checks and Charisma-based skill checks he makes against evil creatures who can see him. (The aura does not affect evil creatures who are blind, for instance)

Empowering Hatred (Su): Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering. Hate...hate...hate...the blackguard hates them all! Starting at 8th level, when the blackguard attacks a fearful creature that is within his Aura of Despair, his anger feeds on the creature's fear and he is able to deliver devastating blows against that creature.

The blackguard receives the following bonuses to attack and damage rolls made against a scared creature, based on the creature's level of fear. Additionally, when the blackguard strikes the creature, it must make a Will save (DC 10+1/2 the blackguard's character level+the blackguard's Charisma modifier) or suffer a debilitating effect, based on its level of fear.

{table] Level of Fear | Blackguard Bonus | Debilitation
Shaken | +2 | Blindness
Frightened | +4 | Stunned
Panicked | +6 | Affected by bestow curse, with a caster level equal to the blackguard's character level
[/table]

My Own Brand of Justice (Ex): The blackguard will make the world a better place, and punish everyone who's done wrong. This moral code fulfills his beliefs, and influences his every decision. Beginning at 9th level, a blackguard never threatens to lose his lawful alignment for a chaotic act if it is part of his pursuit of justice (such as executing a criminal rather than bringing him before a jury, or defying a guard's orders to stand down and let them stop a thief). Additionally, a blackguard may treat his alignment as neutral evil whenever it would be beneficial to him (like avoiding detection from the detect law spell, or being unhampered by a protection from law spell).

Too Far Gone (Ex): If you're not with him, then you're his enemy. At 10th level, a blackguard's transformation is complete and irreversible. He is unable to atone for his actions and restore his paladin abilities, even if he should want to, and he becomes immune to all magical attempts to change his alignment away from Lawful Evil. (He may still receive the atonement spell if he violates his blackguard code and return to this class). Additionally, the blackguard's hatred has solidified around his heart, making him a lonely, cold beast. Any attempt to use the Diplomacy skill to improve the blackguard's attitude towards any creature automatically fails. His experiences, both falling, and rising anew, have given way to incredible toughness, and the blackguard gains DR 10/Chaotic or Good.


Ex-Blackguards: A blackguard must always be lawful evil, and if his alignment ever shifts away from lawful evil, he immediately loses all class features until his alignment returns to lawful evil and he receives an atonement spell from the cleric of an evil deity.

Deepbluediver
2012-01-21, 10:55 AM
Fun stuff.

I have one question though, something that's been bugging me for a while.

If you say something has DR 10/good (or evil, or chaos, or whatever) that means they have damage resistance against everything EXCEPT that kind of source, right? I just want to make sure I've been reading it right all these years.

Because assuming I'm not completely backwards, that doesn't really make much sense to me. Shouldn't a character be MORE resistant towards the kind of enemy that they are likely to facing most? For example, I would expect a Paladin to have damage resistance or energy resistance against evil sources, but not neccessarily anything else.

If I've got this completely wrong, please tell me so that I can stop feeling like an idiot.

Volthawk
2012-01-21, 11:09 AM
Fun stuff.

I have one question though, something that's been bugging me for a while.

If you say something has DR 10/good (or evil, or chaos, or whatever) that means they have damage resistance against everything EXCEPT that kind of source, right? I just want to make sure I've been reading it right all these years.

Because assuming I'm not completely backwards, that doesn't really make much sense to me. Shouldn't a character be MORE resistant towards the kind of enemy that they are likely to facing most? For example, I would expect a Paladin to have damage resistance or energy resistance against evil sources, but not neccessarily anything else.

If I've got this completely wrong, please tell me so that I can stop feeling like an idiot.

You have it right. Yeah, that pretty much applies to a lot of things in the good/evil thing - evil has DR/good (or Regen with the same counter), and vice versa for good.

Yeah, it is a bit weird, but I figure it's kinda like how good and evil are in opposition - good-aligned stuff bypasses evil-aligned defences because they're so different to each other.

NeoSeraphi
2012-01-21, 11:23 AM
Fun stuff.

I have one question though, something that's been bugging me for a while.

If you say something has DR 10/good (or evil, or chaos, or whatever) that means they have damage resistance against everything EXCEPT that kind of source, right? I just want to make sure I've been reading it right all these years.

Because assuming I'm not completely backwards, that doesn't really make much sense to me. Shouldn't a character be MORE resistant towards the kind of enemy that they are likely to facing most? For example, I would expect a Paladin to have damage resistance or energy resistance against evil sources, but not neccessarily anything else.

If I've got this completely wrong, please tell me so that I can stop feeling like an idiot.

You are correct. Don't think of it, however, as the thing they fight against most being able to hurt them. Think of it as them being so completely evil, they become almost immune to attacks made by evil creatures.

Steward
2012-01-21, 03:51 PM
This is much better than the SRD blackguard. I like how you made him both lawful and evil -- I always felt that the other blackguard was just an evil guy with faintly paladin-like powers rather than literally a paladin of evil.

(I like the class feature descriptions too, by the way! "Hate, hate, hate!")

Speaking of hate, does the 'bestow curse' class feature let the blackguard choose which curse to impose?

NeoSeraphi
2012-01-21, 03:58 PM
This is much better than the SRD blackguard. I like how you made him both lawful and evil -- I always felt that the other blackguard was just an evil guy with faintly paladin-like powers rather than literally a paladin of evil.

(I like the class feature descriptions too, by the way! "Hate, hate, hate!")

Speaking of hate, does the 'bestow curse' class feature let the blackguard choose which curse to impose?

Yes it does, and thank you for your critique.

Grod_The_Giant
2012-01-21, 03:59 PM
It all looks good. Except for...


Smite (Su): How long has it been? How long has it been, since the blackguard could look at a man and truly say if he was "evil" or not? What is evil, anyway? The blackguard knows that even good men do bad things, if tempted. He punishes any man, regardless of petty titles like "good" or "evil". Once per day, the blackguard may attempt to Smite a creature with a melee attack. He adds his Charisma bonus (if any) to the attack roll, and if he hits, he adds his character level to the damage roll. A missed attack consumes the daily use of Smite. A blackguard gains an additional use of this ability at 5th and 10th level.

The paladin's smite isn't very useful, but it's still twice as good as the Blackguard's-- this maxes out a +10 damage. Three times a day. Since you have to be a paladin before taking this class, you have no other useful offensive abilities if you're not fighting paladins (and Empowering Hatred, I suppose). You don't even have spells anymore!

I would suggest boosting Smite to twice your blackguard level, and either per encounter or with a very short recharge time.

Volthawk
2012-01-21, 04:00 PM
It all looks good. Except for...



The paladin's smite isn't very useful, but it's still twice as good as the Blackguard's-- this maxes out a +10 damage. Three times a day. Since you have to be a paladin before taking this class, you have no other useful offensive abilities if you're not fighting paladins (and Empowering Hatred, I suppose). You don't even have spells anymore!

I would suggest boosting Smite to twice your blackguard level, and either per encounter or with a very short recharge time.

It says 'character level', not 'class level'. That means he adds his total level, so, say, a Paladin 5/Blackguard 5 would deal +10 damage, not +5.

NeoSeraphi
2012-01-21, 04:08 PM
Volt is correct. The damage is actually much higher than a paladin's, since it doesn't require the blackguard to even stay more than 1 level in the class to keep growing.

Wyntonian
2012-01-21, 04:24 PM
Question...

Would it be possible for a blackguard to atone/repent/return to being a paladin and convert their blackguard levels into paladin levels?

For someone who has seen and felt the power of darkness, and turned away, the light would shine only brighter. Or whatever.

NeoSeraphi
2012-01-21, 04:26 PM
Question...

Would it be possible for a blackguard to atone/repent/return to being a paladin and convert their blackguard levels into paladin levels?

For someone who has seen and felt the power of darkness, and turned away, the light would shine only brighter. Or whatever.

No. I don't do that stuff, it's idiotic. If you fall, you fall. It doesn't matter which way. Notice I didn't let the blackguard get extra levels of blackguard for being a paladin either.

Grod_The_Giant
2012-01-21, 05:24 PM
No. I don't do that stuff, it's idiotic. If you fall, you fall. It doesn't matter which way. Notice I didn't let the blackguard get extra levels of blackguard for being a paladin either.

In which case, it does even worse on the power scale, since you have five levels of near-useless sitting around there. Ten levels of Blackguard needs to give you 15 levels worth of abilities, to make up for the fact that those fallen paladin levels. I understand your complaint about falling, but... balance...


It says 'character level', not 'class level'. That means he adds his total level, so, say, a Paladin 5/Blackguard 5 would deal +10 damage, not +5.
Ok, so you can do +20 damage three times a day at level 20, and you're not locked into the blackguard. Fine. If you were a warblade, you could do +100 damage every other round, in theory.

Even taking a less extreme example, compare it to the barbarian's rage. Both are limited daily use features which are the cornerstone of the class's offensive ability. Rage lasts pretty much the entire encounter, and adds +2 attack and +2 damage (+3 with a two-handed weapon). If we assume that the barbarian makes five attacks in the fight, without power attacks or anything, using a one-handed weapon (unlikely), rage gave him a net +10 damage. +15 if he used the far more likely two-handed weapon, and +35 if he power attacks for 2 on each attack with a two-handed weapon (a common strategy, since it channels the full rage boost into damage). Did I mention that this is possible at level one? The paladin/blackguard, meanwhile, can't hit that kind of bonus damage until epic levels. Sure, it's damage at once verses damage over time, but...

If it's a daily ability, it has to knock your socks off. +1d6 per character level, perhaps. +5 times character level. And even then, it's only a mediocre ability, compared with (direct damage) spells and maneuvers.

legomaster00156
2012-01-21, 05:31 PM
The class is good, but I just have to comment on the chosen example of Anakin. He was never a Paladin. He was, at best, Neutral Good during his Padawan years, and it only got worse from there.

NeoSeraphi
2012-01-21, 05:43 PM
The class is good, but I just have to comment on the chosen example of Anakin. He was never a Paladin. He was, at best, Neutral Good during his Padawan years, and it only got worse from there.

Perhaps not, but it is definitely the best example of a fall that I have ever seen. Perhaps he was never a paladin, but he was the best blackguard in history. (Darth Vader is definitely Lawful Evil)


In which case, it does even worse on the power scale, since you have five levels of near-useless sitting around there. Ten levels of Blackguard needs to give you 15 levels worth of abilities, to make up for the fact that those fallen paladin levels. I understand your complaint about falling, but... balance...

Added Evil Immunity at 2nd level and Unholy Sword at 6th. What do you think?

Grod_The_Giant
2012-01-21, 06:04 PM
Added Evil Immunity at 2nd level and Unholy Sword at 6th. What do you think?

Eh... they're both nicely flavored, but... Evil Immunity seems a little strong for 2nd level (ECL 7). Unholy Sword also doesn't sit right. It's offensive power, yeah, but the +5 enhancement bonus seems a bit much. I would reduce it to just making your weapon Unholy or Axiomatic (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/magicItems/magicWeapons.htm#axiomatic)(which I think is what you mean instead of Anarchic (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/magicItems/magicWeapons.htm#anarchic)), and switch it with Evil Immunity.

Neither ability makes Smite any better, though. It's still an extremely limited use ability that gives you a minor damage boost on a melee attack. I still recommend either upping the damage, upping the usage, or adding rider effects. Or a combination of the above (x/encounter, +2x character level wouldn't be terrible. Empowering Hatred already gives you debuffs).

NeoSeraphi
2012-01-21, 06:21 PM
Fixed the axiomatic ability, as for the others, I don't see why the ECL should be important. Remember, the first 5 levels of his character are absolutely empty. He lost the ability to cast spells, so when he gets Unholy Sword at ECL 11, it should be close to a 16th level ability, which it is (it's basically a Persisted greater magic weapon with alignment tacked on)

And I'll make the Smite ability better. Hold on...

There we go. 3x character level in damage (same as Charging Smite), and also ignores all forms of damage reduction and regeneration, and any threatened criticals are automatically confirmed.

Grod_The_Giant
2012-01-21, 06:55 PM
Fixed the axiomatic ability, as for the others, I don't see why the ECL should be important. Remember, the first 5 levels of his character are absolutely empty. He lost the ability to cast spells, so when he gets Unholy Sword at ECL 11, it should be close to a 16th level ability, which it is (it's basically a Persisted greater magic weapon with alignment tacked on)

And I'll make the Smite ability better. Hold on...

There we go. 3x character level in damage (same as Charging Smite), and also ignores all forms of damage reduction and regeneration, and any threatened criticals are automatically confirmed.

True. And yeah, now there's a smite worth using.

Jade Dragon
2012-01-21, 07:01 PM
No. I don't do that stuff, it's idiotic. If you fall, you fall. It doesn't matter which way. Notice I didn't let the blackguard get extra levels of blackguard for being a paladin either.

...You used Anakin Skywalker as an example and you really think that?

Sure, what made him save Luke was what made him fall in the first place, but I think that when he saved Luke, he realized that his ideals did not match his actions, and he would've truly changed back.

NeoSeraphi
2012-01-21, 07:14 PM
...You used Anakin Skywalker as an example and you really think that?

Sure, what made him save Luke was what made him fall in the first place, but I think that when he saved Luke, he realized that his ideals did not match his actions, and he would've truly changed back.

Sure, and if he changes back, then he's all good. Doesn't mean that his dark side would have stayed with him or empowered him in any way.

Deepbluediver
2012-01-21, 09:30 PM
Perhaps not, but it is definitely the best example of a fall that I have ever seen. Perhaps he was never a paladin, but he was the best blackguard in history. (Darth Vader is definitely Lawful Evil)


Must resist urge....to get into....Star Wars....debate....

Must....avoid....thread derailment.....

Yitzi
2012-01-21, 10:57 PM
Eh... they're both nicely flavored, but... Evil Immunity seems a little strong for 2nd level (ECL 7).

Not when it's only available to classes that get a lot of the advantage anyway.

After all, it's not like it's going to protect him from a Blasphemy spell; he gets that already just for being evil.

NeoSeraphi
2012-01-21, 11:38 PM
Must resist urge....to get into....Star Wars....debate....

Must....avoid....thread derailment.....

Sorry, I don't mean to provoke derails of opportunity here. It has admittedly been years since I saw The Empire Strikes Back or Return of the Jedi. The large majority of inspiration for both this class and using Anakin as my iconic blackguard stems from Revenge of the Sith.

Doorhandle
2012-01-21, 11:44 PM
You have it right. Yeah, that pretty much applies to a lot of things in the good/evil thing - evil has DR/good (or Regen with the same counter), and vice versa for good.

Yeah, it is a bit weird, but I figure it's kinda like how good and evil are in opposition - good-aligned stuff bypasses evil-aligned defences because they're so different to each other.


In the general scheme of D&D 'physics,' Good and evil are pretty much matter and antimatter, and simarlay volatile if brought into contact.