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View Full Version : D&D 5e/Next Chevalier, Fighter subclass [PEACH]



AngryJesusMan
2018-10-07, 10:39 AM
I like the idea of a Knight that isn't a Paladin because I want it to be mostly martial (ie non-magical). I like sticking to the original Classes, so Fighter seemed to be the most appropriate. I took inspiration from several other Homebrew postings, but tried to make things my own rather than plagiarize what they have. Anyway, here's what I have. Let me know what you think. Thanks.


Fighter subclass, Chevalier

A chevalier is a martially trained individual that has taken up a code of honor that espouses, among other things, the idea that it is wrong to take advantage of oneís opponents. They take solace in their sense of fair play, using it to invigorate them in battle. Chevalier train extensively in techniques that enable them to be at the forefront of any combat protecting their allies. They are also known for their engagement in courtly affairs and acts of artistic expression. They arenít necessarily beholden to someone or something of higher station or power like a Paladin, but they certainly hold their skills and beliefs above those of other warriors.

Virtuous Challenge. When you join this martial archetype at 3rd level, you can challenge an opponent to a one-on-one duel. On your turn as a bonus action, you can cast compelled duel. Constitution is your spellcasting ability for this spell, and you have advantage on Constitution checks to maintain concentration on this spell. You have advantage against the target of your compelled duel spell. While you are concentrating on this spell, if you choose not to benefit from having advantage against any enemy, you gain a number of temporary hit points equal to your Constitution modifier. Starting at 18th level, the temporary hit points you gain when you use this feature are equal to twice your Constitution modifier.

You can cast this spell twice, and must complete a short or long rest before you can cast it again. Starting at 10th level, you can cast this spell three times before you must complete a short or long rest.

Courtly Training. You are versed in courtly intrigue. You gain proficiency in the Persuasion
skill. If you are already proficient in it, you gain proficiency in the History skill or an artisanís tool, your choice.

Additionally, when you are wearing fine clothes and no armor, you gain advantage on any ability check that uses the Persuasion skill.

Indignant Recovery. Beginning at 10th level, you are emboldened by enemies that refuse to offer you the fair play that you provide them. When an opponent other than the target of your compelled duel spell makes an attack against you, or a creature makes an attack against you with advantage, you can use your reaction to regain one use of your Second Wind or Indomitable features. You can use this feature twice. You regain all uses when you complete a long rest.

Staunch Defender. At 15th level, when a target within 5 feet of you makes an attack against a target other than you and that attack has advantage, you can use your reaction remove the advantage on that attack and activate your Honorable Combatant feature.

Lalliman
2018-10-07, 12:21 PM
Honorable Combatant is a very creative feature, and I commend you if you're the one who came up with it. But the specifics of it give me a lot of doubts. For one, it's very dissociated. Why does being honourable give you more attacks? You can come up with vague reasons, but it's not intuitive. Secondly, it is in practice just a different way of taking advantage of a vulnerable opponent, and encourages you to seek out those vulnerabilities. I think giving temporary hit points or another defensive benefit would make more sense thematically and fit in better with the protective nature of the other features.

Honorable Combatant also requires you to forgo only one advantage per round, even though you'll soon have two attacks per turn. If you've already nullified the disadvantage on an attack against you, you can make however many attacks at advantage as you want the next turn. It would be nice to have some kind of passive benefit that you lose when you make an attack with advantage, so that you don't only fight honourably when it serves you. Perhaps something like: "Your honour protects you against trickery. You have +2 to hit on attacks with disadvantage, and +2 AC against attacks with advantage. If you make an attack with advantage, you lose this feature until you finish a short rest." Essentially reducing your opponent's advantages as long as you don't take advantage of them. (I don't know if this particular suggestion works well with Honorable Combatant, it's just an example.)

The rest looks good. I too am quite dissatisfied with the existing knightly options, and your take on it is quite fun.

Yddisac
2018-10-08, 09:32 AM
For the record, I think there is a RAW way of playing a Knight sans homebrew:


Play a Fighter. Champions, Battlemasters, Cavaliers, Bannerets, and Samurai all work fine (remember that samurai are basically Japanese knights)
Knight background (it's a variant of Noble)
Profit

This model works well for historical knights, which is to say minor nobles that led battles as heavy cavalry. Mythological knights have more varied talents. I personally think Ywain is a Barbarian1, Tristan a Valour Bard2, Gawain a Paladin3, and Menw a Druid4, to cite the Manner of Britain; from the Matter of France, Turpin is obviously the archetypal Cleric, and the word "Paladin" comes from the Matter of France to begin with.

This subclass seems to fall somewhere in between. It's certainly not realistic, with its extreme emphasis on honour that springs much more from chivalric fiction than historical fact. But it's not fully embracing the heavy magical elements of chivalric fiction, either.

Mechanically speaking, I agree with Lalliman's assessment. Honourable Combatant is the big problem here. It doesn't accomplish its goal of basically being the Samurai's Rapid Strike ability, and its goal doesn't match the tanking role that most of the other subclass features aim for. (It also doesn't come with any way of imposing disadvantage on incoming attacks, or imposing advantage on the knight's attacks, as opposed to Rapid Strike, which can use advantage the Samurai generates with its own Fighting Spirit ability.
(Also, on a smaller note, Courtly Training seems to discourage playing a knight with the Knight background.)

So how do you proceed from here? It depends. If your goal is to play a knight as well as possible sans magic, I recommend following my three-step RAW historical knight guide and go from there. I really don't think you need homebrew to accomplish that goal.

If your goal is to make a fun Fighter subclass for the sake of making a fun Fighter subclass, why not try Lalliman's Honourable Combatant suggestion and remake the rest of the subclass based on that? That's probably a good place to start if you want to make a tanky Knight. Either that, or you could rearrange things so the Knight can generate advantage or disadvantage for itself to forego using Honourable Combatant (which would become a 10th or 15th level ability, probably). The latter would be a much more offensive combatant, since Honourable Combatant is an extremely offence-oriented ability.


Footnotes (I'm such a nerd why does this forum post have footnotes)


When he went into battle, he forgot he was married. Not sure anything short of a Barbarian rage can accomplish that.
He spends most of his time sneaking around Britain with disguises and guile, and he's got preternatural skills with a lute.
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight contains instances of both Divine Smite (an incredibly powerful swing severs the Green Knight's head) and Aura of Protection (Gawain's piety helps him make Wisdom saves against Lady Bertilak).
He wildshapes into a bird to scout ahead before Arthur hunts the Twrch Trwyth (which is a giant boar carrying a pair of scissors. Culhwch and Olwen is great).

Man_Over_Game
2018-10-10, 10:35 AM
This is actually quite flavorful, my biggest issue is that it has no means of granting advantage or disadvantage by itself, and the only ways of getting those things regularly is by multiclassing.

Honestly, I'd probably go Barbarian 2/Fighter X (into Knight) and just Reckless Attack for days. Doing that would be, pretty much hands-down, better than the Battlerager who gets temporary hitpoints when using Reckless Attack. I have virtually no reason not to do this.

Maybe instead go something along the lines of "When an enemy is within 30 feet of you and attacks someone who is not you, you can use your Reaction to Challenge them. A Challenged target has disadvantage to attack anyone but you, and you have advantage to attack them, until the end of your next turn. Any spells cast by the target that affects your allies must include you. An enemy is no longer Challenged if they are attacked by an ally or affected by a spell cast by an ally." -Followed by a bunch of cool advantage-loss abilities that allow you to prioritize defense. I'd use this as his level 3 feature, and just start building on top of it.

It'd make you a lot like the Ancestral Guardians Barbarian in terms of playstyle, with an emphasis on your own survival versus the survival of your allies, which is exactly the weakness of the Ancestral Guardian (they can't defend themselves).

A few ideas to tack on at later levels with this idea:

When you Challenge a creature, they may choose to spend their reaction to attack you with disadvantage. If they do not, they lose their reaction.
You may choose to use your bonus action to grant yourself disadvantage on your next attack against a Challenged enemy. If you hit the target, you regain the use of your Second Wind if it was already used.
When you have less than half of your hitpoints, you may choose to use your Action to take on a defiant stance, Challenging all creatures within 30 feet of you. In addition, attacks against you have Advantage until the start of your next turn, and attacks that hit you grant you temporary hitpoints equal to your Second Wind value (but before damage is dealt). You may only use this feature once per long rest.

AngryJesusMan
2018-10-11, 05:55 PM
Hi all,

Thank you so much for responding. To be honest, as your replies have rolled in, I've been agonizing over the minute details of how to make this work. (It's a personal thing I do. *shrug*) Of course Yddisac is right about this fitting neither the central romantic and fantastical nature of the fictional literary knight nor the maddeningly inconstant accounts of real-world chivalrous knights. I also wasn't thinking of the Knight background that was pointed out either. Honestly, the best option is the one that says "focus on the options that already exist." That doesn't make me happy about it, and I'll probably continue to design something that follows this general train of thought because, once I get on a roll, it's hard for me to leave it alone.

As far as design philosophy goes, it's been several months since I did much with it, and I had forgotten some of the principles involved. I had the rough idea that, rather than focusing on offense or defense, that the build might be able to accentuate a balance of options. That's probably not a good design. As I go forward, I'll probably take the suggestions offered here and focus on the defensive aspects of the archetype. Also, I was attempting to ignore the fact that Knights were classically on horseback because I don't think anyone needs a dearth of options for warriors on horseback - the couple that already exist should probably do.

Rather than maintaining the Knight aesthetic, I'll probably steer it toward Heavy Infantry. Thanks for the input, especially Yddisac. It helped me decouple from my tendency to obsess. Cheers!

AngryJesusMan
2018-10-14, 06:36 PM
Hello again,

In the pursuit of thoroughness, I went ahead and updated this. Here's a rundown of the changes and the thinking behind them.


I focused the subclass on defensive options. I know that some people enjoyed the offensive options from the original version, but the defensive aspect seems to fit the chivalric nature of knights more aptly than the offensive aspect.
I moved Compelled Duel to 3rd level so that it could be the framework on which I built most of the other aspects. A 1st level spell is certainly too weak for a higher level subclass option. Adding some extra mechanics, including Honorable Combat, makes up for the fact that you only get to use it a few times, whereas others that get the spell will have spell slots and other spells that they can cast to increase their utility. It increases at 18th level, so there's no need for a separate feature at 18th.
Changed Courtly Training to lessen its impact on the Knight background, and other backgrounds like it. I used the Samurai's Elegant Courtier feature as a template. I wanted to key in on the idea that, outside of combat, a Knight is supposed to be a romantic figure. Charismatic and charming, but a lot of it hinged on the fact that they were nobles, thus the fine clothes. Advantaft most of everything lge is a little better than expertise at early levels, but this feature is a little more situational than the Samurai's.
Indignant Recovery moved to level 10. That way its bonuses are staggered.


IIRC, everything else is the same. Of course I realize that constitutes about half of the subclass features, but that's just what was required to smooth out the edges.

Let me know if it's any better. Thanks.