View Full Version : 3.5 Code of Conduct System (more carrot, softer stick)

Baron Faey
2018-09-22, 07:16 AM
Hello all,
I've been working on a replacement for the code of conduct system for paladins, knights, and monks. The idea is that when a character is put at a disadvantage or makes a sacrifice to follow their code, they should get a benefit. Here that benefit is Conviction Points (CP), which can be used for rerolls, or to power conviction feats (see below).
I've left it loosely defined on purpose, because how much benefit a character gets from this should depend on the game. In higher-op/tier games, paladins, knights, and monks will need a boost, and so should probably get more CP. In low-op/tier games, they might not need as much.
I made this system as a feat tree so other characters could benefit, filling a similar role to the Vow of X feats, but more flexible and less game-changing.
I'm looking for thoughts on this system, specifically: would you use it? Are there game-breaking ways to use this system? Could the feats be worth taking? and, Should there be a penalty on all for not following the tenets?

Code of Conduct [Conviction]
Prerequisite: Charisma 13
Benefit: You have a personal code you strive to follow. In doing so, gain conviction you can call on in times of need.
When you take this feat, choose up to three tenets from the list below, or create your own. These are subject to DM approval.
Gaining and Losing Conviction: If you follow your tenet even though doing so is difficult, dangerous, or otherwise challenging (DM's call), you gain a "conviction point" (CP). If you seriously break one of your tenets (or fail to follow one when doing so would be easy), you lose a CP. If a character breaks one tenet to uphold another, they neither lose nor gain CP. Extreme acts for or against your tenets may grant or cost additional CP at the DM's discretion. If your total CP drops below 0, you take a -2 morale penalty on all will saves and charisma-based skill checks until it is 0 or higher. An atonement spell restores your CP to 0. In addition, certain class features may be unavailable until your CP is at least 0. If you gain a CP when your CP above your maximum (see below), you instead gain a +2 morale bonus on all will saves and charisma-based skill checks for 24 hours (this does not stack with itself).
Maximum Conviction: Your maximum CP is equal to 3, or your charisma modifier, whichever is higher. If a creature's charisma is lowered in a way that reduced their max CP to lower than their current CP, they lose access to the CP above their limit, and do not count as having exceeded their limit. These CP return as their charisma does.
Example: If a paladin had the slaying (undead) and mercy tenets, they would not gain a CP every time the defeated a simple zombie or interacted with a non-undead creature without killing them, however, slaying a powerful undead, or capturing a necromancer instead of simply killing them would earn a CP. Giving mercy to an undead creature would not earn or cost any CP since it contradicts the slaying (undead) tenet but follows the mercy tenet. If that paladin slew a creature that had surrendered, or let an undead escape capture or destruction, they would lose a CP.
Using Conviction Points: If you have more than 0 CP, you may spend 1 CP to reroll one of the following rolls: attack roll, damage roll, skill check, or saving throw, or to force an enemy to reroll an attack roll against you. You may declare use of this ability after seeing the roll, but before hearing the result of the check. This does not require any action on your part, but can only be used once on a particular roll. In addition, conviction feats grant additional uses for conviction points (see below).
Monks: If you only have levels in monk (or prestige classes that allow you to continue gaining levels in monk) you may substitute your wisdom modifier in place of your charisma modifier for all conviction feats (in both benefits and prerequisites).
Tenets: Example tenets are listed below. When choosing a tenet, broader ones will come up more often, granting more opportunity for gaining conviction, but also may limit your options. Consider modifying these, such as adding limits (slaying, but only against undead, or protection, but only for citizens of Waterdeep) to limit their scope.

Example TenetDescriptionExamples that could earn CP
AbstinencePartake only of simple food, drink, clothes, and lodgingsOffend a host by not partaking of their hospitality, sleep in the stables so you're away from your party when trouble strikes
ChaosCause chaos and mischiefGet run out of town for causing trouble
CharityGive to the needyGive a significant portion (10%+) of wealth to those who need it, expend spells or magic to heal wounded NPCs
CourageNever give into fearTake on challenges when the change of winning is slight
DestructionCause destructionArson, smashing doors and windows
DominationBring creatures under your or your organization's ruleSubjugate a town, overthrow and replace a king
FairnessFight fairlyFight a dangerous opponent without attacking them while they are disarmed, flanked, flat-footed, helpless or prone, or otherwise at a significant disadvantage
HedonismExperience pleasureDrink heavily (and be hungover for the start of an adventure), spend a significant portion of wealth on clothes, food, and lodgings
JusticeBring creatures to justiceCapture a criminal, protect a legal institute, follow a law you don't agree with
LiberationEnd oppressionDisrupt legal systems, free prisoners or slaves, overthrow tyrants
LoyaltyObey your organization/patronFollow an order you don't agree with, protect your superior when evidence points to them being corrupt
ProtectionDefend creatures from harmGo out of your way to defend a town, take a significant hit in place of an ally
MercyRefrain from killingCapture, disable, or let flee foes who are no longer a threat but might pose one later
SilenceSpeak no, or very few wordsStay silent when unable to communicate something important
SlayingSlay creaturesSlaying powerful creatures
SufferingCause painTorture or maim creatures, aid in the spread of disease

Special: Knights, monks, and paladins gain this feat as a bonus feat at the 1st level even if they do not meet the prerequisite.

Table: Conviction Feats
Code of ConductCha 13Gain a code of conduct you can follow to gain conviction
Bound by ConvictionWis 13, Code of ConductSpend CP to reroll against enchantment effect
Casting ConvictionAbility to cast spells, Code of ConductUse CP to cast spells without losing spell slots
Challenging ConvictionKnight's Challenge, Code of ConductSpend CP to regain 3 uses of knights challenge
Conviction CarriesCode of ConductSpend CP to move your speed
Defense of ConvictionDex 13, Code of ConductSpend CP to add Cha to AC for 1 round
Enduring ConvictionCon 13, Code of ConductSpend CP to gain 2xLV tHP
Undying ConvictionCon 17, Cha 17, Enduring ConvictionUse CP to take actions upon being slain
Great ConvictionCha 15 [see text], Code of ConductMaximum CP increased by 2
Healing ConvictionLay on Hands or wholeness of body class feature, Code of ConductUse CP to regain lay on hands or wholeness of body points
Strength of ConvictionStr 13, Code of ConductUse CP to add Cha to Str-based skills, and melee attack and damage rolls
Smite of ConvictionCha 15, Code of Conduct, paladin's smiteUse CP to regain smite ability

Conviction Feat Description
Conviction feats are described below.

Bound by Conviction [Conviction]
Prerequisite: Wis 13, Code of Conduct
Benefit: As a swift action, you may spend a CP in order to reroll your save against an enchantment effect you previously failed your save against. If you succeed, the effects of the enchantment on you end. In addition, you gain a +4 on will saves to resist effects that would compel you to act against your tenets.

Casting Conviction [Conviction]
Prerequisite: Ability to cast spells, Code of Conduct
Benefit: You can spend your CP to power spells. You may spend a number of CP equal to 1/2 the spell's level (round up) in order to cast a spell without using up a spell slot. This must be a spell you know (if spontaneous) or have prepared (if prepared). If you are a prepared caster, you can use this to cast a prepared spell even if you already cast that spell. In all other ways, this is like casting the spell.

Challenging Conviction [Conviction]
Prerequisite: Knight's Challenge class feature, Code of Conduct
Benefit: You can expend a CP to regain 3 daily uses of your knight's challenge ability.

Conviction Carries [Conviction]
Prerequisite: Code of Conduct
Benefit: You may spend a CP while taking either a move or full-round action to move, to move an additional distance equal to your speed. For example, with a normal move action you could move twice your speed, three times your speed on a charge, or four times if you are running in heavy armor.

Defense of Conviction [Conviction]
Prerequisite: Dex 13, Code of Conduct
Benefit: As a swift action, you may spend 1 CP to add your charisma as a morale bonus to your AC until the start of your next turn.

Enduring Conviction [Conviction]
Prerequisite: Con 13, Code of Conduct
Benefit: As a swift action, you can spend 1 CP to gain a number of temporary HP equal to twice your level. These last a number of rounds equal to your charisma modifier, and do not stack.

Great Conviction [Conviction]
Prerequisite: Cha 15 [see text], Code of Conduct
Benefit: Your maximum CP limit is increased by 2.
Special: This feat can be taken multiple times. Each time, the prerequisite charisma increases by 2.

Healing Conviction [Conviction]
Prerequisite: Lay on Hands or wholeness of body class feature, Code of Conduct
Benefit: You may expend a CP to regain a number of points for your lay on hands or wholeness of body pool equal to twice your level.

Strength of Conviction [Conviction]
Prerequisite: Str 13, Code of Conduct
Benefit: As a swift action, you may spend 1 CP to add your charisma as a morale bonus on all melee attack and damage rolls, and all strength and strength-based skill checks until the start of your next turn.

Smite of Conviction [Conviction, Smiting]
Prerequisite: Cha 15, Code of Conduct, paladin's smite.
Benefit: You may expend a CP to regain all daily uses of your paladin's smite ability.

Undying Conviction [Conviction]
Prerequisite: Con 17, Cha 17, Enduring Conviction
Benefit: When you are slain, you may expend CP to take action immediately before your death. If you expend 1 CP, you may take a single standard action on your turn. If you expend 3 CP, you may take a full-round action. No amount of healing will stop the death from occurring at the end of your actions. These actions occur immediately following the end of the turn of the creature who slayed you. This does not allow you to ignore any other conditions that resulted from effect that killed you, such as loss of limbs or disintegration.

2018-09-22, 01:35 PM
I wonder if this might make paladins (even more) uptight haha, now that they have a mechanical benefit for being honourable. Very nice work, though - certainly better than the existing code!