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  1. - Top - End - #1
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    Default Project Heretica - not just a Paladin retooling

    Ladies and gentlemen, children of all ages! Outsiders and Eldritch Abominations are welcome too!

    Well, dreaded April 1st is now long past, and this was one concept I promised for long (hence, why I couldn't post it yesterday), but here it is.

    First, for those who guessed: YES, IT HAS TO DO WITH PALADINS. But not entirely with paladins, actually. Most explanation will be done on how the name emerged (it will be silly and you will unleash words of undiluted wrath upon me once you hear it), but it has evolved into a little thing on its own, because it managed to reveal a little thing I wasn't aware of in my own retoolings.

    So, without further ado, I introduce...Project Heretica

    1) Why "Project Heretica"? It sounds like a quirky name...

    And...well, yes, it is quirky.

    You see, most (if not all people; if not, you'll know here) of the people I know are aware that my favorite class...no, archetype in a fantasy setting is definitely the Paladin. In fact, whenever I play a game, usually the main character WILL resemble a Paladin in some way, unless the main character's progression is fixed. Whether it's a console game, an MMO (with some exceptions), or a tabletop game, the first archetype I seek is definitely Paladin.

    And, of course, there are LOTS of perceptions about Paladinhood, but there are some core concepts. First, they are GOOD. No, not merely Lawful Good, not merely Altruistic, but Good to the point of ridiculousness. That is balanced with a specific concept; they are GOOD, but they are also GRITTY. It's not easy being the good guy, much less the hero in a place full of corruption, where your higher-ups DEMAND you to be the beacon of light in the sea of darkness, much less when your companions won't stop until they corrupt you. Sometimes, harsh decisions have to be made, but the Paladin will be one of the few, if not the only one, who will ponder on what's beyond.

    Another is that they are warriors blessed. They are skilled in arms just as the swordmaster, or the huge guy wielding an axe, or the guy with flair and a thin needle in his arm, its handle covered by an impossibly nice-looking cup. However, because of their mission, they are also blessed with nice things. Blessed armor. Healing abilities. Ways to layeth the wrath of their gods upon the non-believers and the forces of darkest Evil.

    Another thing is that they are called. You can try your best to become a Paladin, but unless you've heard that call, it's hard, if not impossible, to stir the gods to give you that power. You've probably been screened from your birth, and you'll gonna be pestered about it until the day you die, and probably the gods will be FURIOUS because you decided to be a simple farmer instead of leading the glorious battle of Good against Evil. Or...maybe not, but not everyone can answer the call.

    And...well, they are meant to be tanks. In the defensive, surviving, sense of the word. Look at any game that has Paladins, and what you'll probably see is that they hit just as hard as the warrior wearing the same weapon would on a normal day (without the buffs that make that warrior hit harder), but when you take a hit, while the squishies would die, you just call it a flesh wound and then heal it up to non-existence. Huge explosions? Nah, you shrug it off and say "did it got hot in here"? Vile, poisonous wounds that could kill a man in seconds? "Aww, my clothes got stained... PREPARE TO FACE THE WRATH OF MY GOD!!" The Paladin is expected to be the first to enter, and the last to leave, IF he is to leave at all.

    So, after all of this, why the name "Project Heretica"? Well, you see, when reading the Tier system for classes, I was quite surprised that the Paladin was well below the expected power curve, only useful if you were mounted on a pony with a drill for a weapon, shouting the finest praises to your deity in hopes you could land a crit; else, other people might just leave you and your fanaticism on the nearest church...if not a sacrificial altar in hopes of gaining favor with who knows which deity. It was a bit hard to deal with, but apparently, Paladins are not as awesome as they should be. And...well, considering just how many rewrites, upgrades, and rebalancings of Paladins you see (not as many as Monks, of course), D&D apparently doesn't have the best of Paladins.

    So, as a dutiful Paladin fan, I decided to put the best of my abilities to place the Paladin on the pedestal it should be: right along the Grey Knights, the Diablo II Paladins...you know, the guys that dish holy justice and bite more that they can chew, swallow, digest and...erm, you get the idea. However, while there were less hassle with other classes, there's a fundamental problem with Paladins: if the class is supposed to be my favorite, why I am retooling it and not defending it until I am sorely beaten? That would be...heresy! Heresy of the worst sort!

    Hence, "Project Heretica". Which isn't just about Paladins; as you'll see later on, it covers more than just those warriors of absolute Good...

    2) Alright, I'm this close to ragequit reading this... Amuse me/prove this is worthy/REDEEM YOURSELF!!!

    Sure, sure, coming...

    You see, giving such a pretentious name for a Paladin rewrite is definitely a sign of either hubris or lack of taste. So, how could I redeem this? Making different alignment-based classes and call it a day? Yes, I did that, but that doesn't really sound like something you'd give a title of "Project". Retool Prestige Classes that have strong Paladin ties? That's a bit closer, but still not enough.

    So...how can I really redeem it? If I were to tell you that you've already SEEN Project Heretica in action, would you believe me? I guess not, you're already thinking "hey, it's a Paladin remake; how can we've already seen it?"

    Look no further: enter the Bez-Kismet. Yes, that class; the retooling of the Hexblade. Can't believe your eyes? Look at the Paladin retool later on, and see just how similar they are. Look at the Ranger, at least how the spells are dealt with? Similar with Bez-Kismet? Well, it'll also hold some similarities with the classes in Project Heretica.

    But...only similarities to classes? Is that it? Well, what if I tell you the Monk, the Ninja, the Samurai, the Healer AND the Warmage also hold roots to Project Heretica? Impossible? Well, not that much.

    You see, all of these classes have something in common, and will have something in common with other retools I've made. Notice, specifically, on how the class abilities are rigidly set, all in pretty close mathematical proportions (in case the abilities advance), the proliferation of bonus feats in some of them, how one class can adapt to the other with little effort. I've done mentions of something called the "chassis". In a car, the chassis is essentially its skeleton; it's the thing that holds the entire car together, so to speak. Well, if you notice carefully, you'll see the Monk, the Ninja and the Samurai all have a specific chassis; the Healer and the Warmage have another chassis, and the Bez-Kismet and the Paladin (and the other PrH classes) will have a similar chassis. When I realized that, I found that as the core of Project Heretica; explaining the very nature of how I do class retoolings, and specifically the concept of mechanical modularity (a term so fancy it requires a proper explanation to make it feasible, but in any case it refers to how I can take a skeleton, figure out which abilities are good to subtract from the original as-is, which to adapt to the chassis core abilities, and which to make new to upgrade the class) within classes.

    Thus, while the biggest part of Project Heretica is the Paladin (and "friends") retoolings, there is ONE thing I decided to work with in order to expand the project to something other than a package of classes. This isn't really a breakthrough concept in class systems, but at least what I follow when I do retoolings, and something that could hold a strong discussion (and if it inspires other people to adapt to their own homebrews, that would be fantastic!). Being part showcasing and part discussion, I expect the thread to be larger than the others, and thus worthy of a "project" title.

    --

    Table of Contents



    Addendums
    Last edited by T.G. Oskar; 2012-08-02 at 02:47 AM. Reason: Posting the appendix with patches and minor fixes

  2. - Top - End - #2
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    Default Project Heretica - the Retooled Paladin


    So epic, it doesn't need a quote...

    MAKING A PALADIN (or, what has and hasn't changed from the Paladin)
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    ABILITIES:Probably the biggest change in the class is the reduction in MADness. Charisma is still an important ability for spells, Lay on Hands and other abilities. Strength is needed for offensive abilities (Smites, Divine Punishment/Deterrence), while Constitution is needed for the Paladin's defensive abilities (Auras).
    RACES: Naturally, any class that favors Strength, Constitution or Charisma would be a plus, but unfortunately that isn't always the case. Humans, with their lack of penalties are a superb choice, specifically because of their choice of bonus feats. Aasimar are also strong choices, because of their innate Charisma bonus, and their natural ties to goodness. Dwarves and half-orcs may seem poor choices if only because their Charisma suffers, but both have specific benefits that counter the lack of such an important stat: Half-Orcs make phenomenal offensive Paladins while Dwarves make surprisingly good defensive Paladins.
    ALIGNMENT: Lawful good or neutral good. The restriction on Paladins has been relaxed, but only slightly: most paladin abilities have strong ties to law, but the class itself is focused towards good.
    STARTING GOLD: As PHB Paladin
    STARTING AGE: As PHB Paladin


    Class Skills
    The paladin class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Heal (Wis), Intimidate (Cha), Knowledge (history) (Int), Knowledge (nobility and royalty) (Int), Knowledge (religion) (Int), Perform (Cha), Profession (Wis), Ride (Dex) and Sense Motive (Wis)
    Skill Points at 1st Level: (4 + Int modifier) x4.
    Skill Points at Each Additional Level: 4 + Int modifier.

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    Similar to the original Paladin, but it gets Intimidate and Perform, while it misses Handle Animal. The former are because Paladins can give intimidating speeches and inspiring speeches, while the latter is due to the change to special mount. They get 4 skill points per level as I consider that to be the norm for classes with poor skill points and no Intelligence focus.


    Hit Die: d12

    THE PALADIN
    Level Base Attack Bonus Fort Save Ref Save Will Save Special 0 1st 2nd 3rd 4th
    1st +1
    +2
    0
    +2
    Aura of good, smite evil 1/encounter, merciful 2
    2nd +2
    +3
    0
    +3
    Bonus feat, Diehard, protector's might 2
    3rd +3
    +3
    +1
    +3
    Divine aura, divine courage 3 0
    4th +4
    +4
    +1
    +4
    Standing before adversity (Intimidate checks), turn Undead 3 0
    5th +5
    +4
    +1
    +4
    Smite evil 2/encounter, improved smite 3 1
    6th +6/+1
    +5
    +2
    +5
    Bonus Feat, divine punishment 3 1
    7th +7/+2
    +5
    +2
    +5
    Lay on hands 4 1 0
    8th +8/+3
    +6
    +2
    +6
    Mettle 4 2 0
    9th +9/+4
    +6
    +3
    +6
    Divine aura, standing before adversity (temporary hit points) 4 2 1
    10th +10/+5
    +7
    +3
    +7
    Bonus Feat, smite evil 3/encounter 4 2 1
    11th +11/+6/+1
    +7
    +3
    +7
    Divine grace 5 2 1 0
    12th +12/+7/+2
    +8
    +4
    +8
    Divine deterrence 5 3 2 1
    13th +13/+8/+3
    +8
    +4
    +8
    Improved mettle 5 3 2 1
    14th +14/+9/+4
    +9
    +4
    +9
    Bonus feat,standing before adversity (damage reduction) 5 3 2 2 0
    15th +15/+10/+5
    +9
    +5
    +9
    Divine aura, smite evil 4/encounter, devastating smite 5 3 3 2 1
    16th +16/+11/+6/+1
    +10
    +5
    +10
    Divine resistance 5 4 3 2 1
    17th +17/+12/+7/+2
    +10
    +5
    +10
    Unyielding resolve 5 4 3 3 2
    18th +18/+13/+8/+3
    +11
    +6
    +11
    Bonus Feat, divine health 5 4 4 3 2
    19th +19/+14/+9/+4
    +11
    +6
    +11
    Standing before adversity (last stand) 5 4 4 3 3
    20th +20/+15/+10/+5
    +12
    +6
    +12
    Hero of legend, smite evil 5/encounter 5 4 4 3 3

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    Smile, guys. The Paladin now has the rightful amount of hit points it should always had. A nifty 12-sided hit dice. With a decent Constitution score, that means an average of 6.5 HP per level, which means you ARE tough to beat. Furthermore, you have excellent Fortitude AND Will scores; your defenses should be off the roof with that. Add Divine Grace later on and you'll be pretty much immune to things that require saving throws just because of how high these will be.

    Still: 0-level spells? Does that progression implies full CL? Read on.


    Class Features
    All of the following are class features of the paladin.
    Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Paladins are proficient with all simple and martial weapons, with all kinds of armor (heavy, medium and light), and with all kinds of shields.

    Spoiler
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    Notice any difference? Well, the main difference is that...well, Paladins can now wear tower shields. Yes, "all types of shields" include Tower Shields.

    I'll be bolder. Recall those shields from Races of Stone, such as the shield gauntlet and extreme tower shield? Yep: add that to the list. I mean it. A paladin is no paladin without its shield, unless it uses its weapon as a shield, but if you're going with a shield, go with the most badass shield you can ever wield. Period.


    Aura of Good (Ex): The power of a paladin’s aura of good (see the detect good spell) is equal to her paladin level, just like the aura of a cleric of a good deity. Unlike the aura ability below, this aura is always active.

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    Legacy ability, but with a mild distinction to make it different from the Divine Auras


    Merciful (Ex): When making a melee attack, a paladin may choose to deal non-lethal damage instead of lethal damage, without taking a penalty on attack rolls. She may not use this ability to deal lethal damage with weapons that deal non-lethal damage, however.

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    A flavor ability, mostly. Paladins are the good guys; if they want to, they can deal nonlethal damage to their enemies to show their mercy. Sometimes you want to merely capture them, knock them off, but they need to feel a bit of pain. Now, you can do it with any weapon, whether it's a spiked gauntlet or your massive fullblade.


    Spells: A paladin casts divine spells, which are drawn from the cleric spell list plus a few spells added to the list below. A paladin can cast any spell she knows without preparing it ahead of time.

    To learn or cast a spell, a paladin must have a Charisma score equal to at least 10 + the spell level. The Difficulty Class for a saving throw against a paladin’s spell is 10 + twice the spell's level + the paladin’s Charisma modifier. Like other spellcasters, a paladin can cast only a certain number of spells of each spell level per day. Her base daily spell allotment is given on the table above. In addition, she receives bonus spells per day if she has a high Charisma score. When the above table indicates that the paladin gets 0 spells per day of a given spell level, she gains only the bonus spells she would be entitled to based on her Charisma score for that spell level.

    A paladin casts spells the same way a bard or sorcerer does, except her spells are divine in origin and thus she may cast them in any kind of armor. A paladin may learn and cast any spell on the cleric spell list (see Player’s Handbook), with the following restrictions: a paladin may not learn (or cast) a spell that has the chaotic, darkness or evil descriptor, nor she can learn any spell from the necromancy school or conjuration spells from the calling or summoning subschool (with a few exceptions). A paladin, however, may prepare and cast spells that are not available on the cleric spell list and that are unique to her. The spells that she may learn alongside those within the cleric spell list appear below.

    Upon reaching 8th level, once per week and at every three class levels she gains, a paladin can choose to learn a new spell in place of one she already knows. The new spell’s level must be the same as that of the spell being exchanged. A paladin may swap only a single spell at any given moment, and must choose whether or not to swap the spell at the same time that she gains new spells known for the specified level.

    Table: Paladin spells known
    Level 0 1st 2nd 3rd 4th
    1st 2
    2nd 2
    3rd 3 11
    4th 3 2
    5th 3 2
    6th 3 3
    7th 4 3 11
    8th 4 3 2
    9th 4 4 2
    10th 4 4 3
    11th 5 4 3 21
    12th 5 4 3 2
    13th 5 5 4 3
    14th 5 5 4 3 21
    15th 6 5 4 3 2
    16th 6 5 4 4 3
    17th 6 5 5 4 3
    18th 6 6 5 4 4
    19th 7 6 5 5 4
    20th 7 6 5 5 5
    1 Provided the paladin has sufficient Charisma to have a bonus spell of this level.

    As noted above, a paladin need not prepare her spells in advance. She can cast any spell she knows at any time, assuming she has not yet used up her allotment of spells per day for the spell’s level.

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    WHAT!? ARE YOU CRAZY!? SPONTANEOUS SPELLCASTING!?!?!?!??!

    Yes, spontaneous spellcasting. Don't you want Charisma to be even more important? Well, here's one reason.

    The easiest way to add power and flavor to Paladins is through spells. They get a unique bunch, and removing it removes all the good stuff they got through 3.x's run. However, it wasn't as good; therefore, spellcasting now got a huge boost by adding nearly all Cleric spells (two lists for the cost of one!). Furthermore, the saving throw for the spells is higher, to the extent that a 4th level spell is harder to resist than before.

    Still no 6th level spells, tho.


    Smite Evil (Su): Once per encounter as part of an attack action, a paladin may attempt to smite evil with one normal melee attack. The paladin adds her Charisma modifier to the attack roll, if successful, the paladin deals extra damage and causes a special effect. A paladin must choose her method of smiting evil; once she makes a choice, it is permanent. If the paladin makes a smite as part of a full attack, she may only use it once per round. A failed smite attempt does not get expended; it only gets expended if the attack hits (but see below).

    Unless stated otherwise, a paladin deals an amount of extra damage equal to 5 + her paladin level. As well, all saving throw DCs are equal to 10 + half the paladin’s class level + the paladin’s Strength modifier. If the paladin accidentally smites a creature that is not evil, smite evil has no effect but the ability is not used for the day.

    Blinding: the paladin’s smite manifests as a bright light. Evil creatures that have sensitivity to light or are vulnerable to any kind of light (such as drow, vampires and other creatures) take damage equal to twice the smite's damage. As well, if any creature (regardless of being light sensitive or not) fails a Will save, it is blinded for one round. A successful save causes the creature to be dazzled instead.

    Resounding: the paladin’s smite blasts enemies away. Evil creatures that fail their Reflex save are knocked down and pushed back 5 feet per each four class levels of the paladin (flying creatures are checked instead). A successful save merely pushes back the creature.

    Stunning: the paladin numbs the creature temporarily. If the creature fails a Fortitude save, it is treated as if stunned for 1 round.

    At 5th level, and every five levels thereafter, the paladin may smite evil one additional time per encounter. As well, she may choose another method of smiting; at higher levels, a paladin may choose to improve her smites instead.

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    Before continuing with Smite Evil, I have a bone to pick. It irks me, but I have to give credit to where its due.

    THE PATHFINDER PALADIN'S SMITE EVIL IS NO FRICKIN' SMITE!!!!!

    Ah, much relieved... Just in case: when I think of a Smite, I think of this:


    If you've read the PF Paladin, that's not the smite you get: instead, you get something akin to a mark, or a brand. It's effective for what it does, but it's just not a smite.

    So, what to do with this classic ability? Uses per encounter makes it much more...common, I'd say, but what you really want is that extra OOMPH! Thus, they now have rider effects, save-or-suck abilities which, in most of the occasions, make the target suck even if they succeed. Thus, if the smite lands, you'll be definitely sure to dent them.

    UPDATE: As Seerow suggested (not his exact words), variety is the spice of life. Thus, a paladin can now choose to improve her smites or gain access to a new smite. Thus, at level 5, she can take the improved version of her smite or gain access to a new one; in simpler terms, a level 5 Paladin can use a "tier 1" Blinding Smite and a "tier 1" Stunning Smite or a "tier 2" Stunning Smite but no Blinding Smite.

    Also, saving throws are based off Strength, not Charisma. You add your Charisma to attack rolls as usual, but if you want a good save DC, you need to use your brawn.

    UPDATE the 2nd: Adding only one point of damage to that smite may not be so good, so I added 5 points for free. Now, that IS quite strong at 1st level, but you can only do it once, while other characters can get a more substantial bonus. At latter levels, the damage is not really surprising. But, at mid levels it's a definite boon.

    UPDATE the 3rd: nerfing Stunning Smite a bit. Stun now applies for 1 round, and no daze on a failed saving throw. Also, undead remain immune. Blinding is now a Will save, Stunning is now a Fortitude save.


    Bonus Feat: At 2nd level, and every four levels after that, a paladin gains a bonus feat in addition to those she obtains by means of improving levels. These bonus feats must be drawn from the feats noted as fighter bonus feats, divine feats or domain feats. A paladin must still meet the prerequisites for a bonus feat, as usual. For purposes of fighter level prerequisites, a paladin is considered to have a fighter level equal to her paladin level -4.

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    Yup, bonus feats. A Paladin that fell from grace was considered a "Fighter without bonus feats", and that shows one of the things that the class lacked: feat support. Martial characters need a lot of feats to be effective, but only the Fighter had that...in exchange for class abilities. Feats are meant to be options, not class features, but one can add bonus feats AS class features to expand the set of options of the character itself.

    Of course, the range of feats a Paladin can choose has expanded. Not only can they choose amongst Fighter feats; they can choose amongst divine feats which they can power up pretty easily, or domain feats that open even more options. Of course, they are still limited to their usual restrictions (only two domain feats and they must be related; for example), but you get four more feats to play with.

    UPDATE: Now as a 2nd level feature as well. This should allow you to work your build properly from early levels.


    Diehard: At 2nd level, a paladin gains the Diehard feat as a bonus feat. She does not need to meet the prerequisites of this feat to acquire it.

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    The Diehard feat is a cool ability, but definitely one that isn't chosen. One reason is that it only extends your utility for about 10 extra HP, and the other is that it requires Endurance, which equals a feat tax. Thus, Diehard is gained right at the level in which it might be useful: 2nd level, meaning you get about 4-5 levels worth of utility from the feat before enemies take you out in one blow. Still, with a judicious use of AC, Damage Reduction and high HP, Diehard may retain utility. And, by the time you reach 17th level, the utility range of that ability extends a bit further. But, at the core, it represents a Paladin's determination; hence, they fight until their death, until they can't take one more hit.


    Protector's Might (Ex): A 2nd level paladin may add her Charisma modifier to all damage rolls when wielding a shield. If she wields a tower shield, she may add the modifier to her attack rolls as well.

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    The final result of this ability is meant to work up Seerow's suggestion in a customizable way. The idea is that adding Charisma (arguably their best stat) to Strength for purposes of damage when wielding a shield allows the Paladin to deal somewhat competitive damage against a two-hander; however, two-handers still have their proper benefits when wielding such weapons, as they have 1-1/2 their Strength and double Power Attack. Charisma is added to attack rolls only with Tower Shields to counteract the attack roll penalty when wielding one; thus, the wielder of a one-handed weapon and a tower shield can deal reasonable damage even if it doesn't have all the modifiers around.

    For example, with a Strength of 16 and a Charisma of 16, a Paladin would have as follows:
    One hand and shield: Attack bonus +3, Damage +6
    One hand and tower shield: Attack bonus +4 (includes -2 from Tower Shields), Damage +6
    Two-hand: Attack bonus +3, Damage +4

    Although the shield paladin will eventually deal more damage if the Strength and Charisma get higher, the two-hander will have Power Attack to counteract. Those that get Imp. Shield Bash will get some serious damage as well, adding a shield bonus with Str+Cha to damage, so the Paladin will do some decent damage nonetheless.


    Divine Aura (Su): Beginning at 3rd level, a paladin channels the power of her faith through her body. This manifests as an aura that originally affects only the paladin, but that slowly increases in size as the paladin progresses.

    Projecting an aura is a swift action, and the paladin can only project one aura at a time. An aura remains in effect until the paladin uses a free action to dismiss it or she activates another aura in its place. A paladin can have a divine aura active continually; thus, an aura can be in effect at the start of an encounter even before she takes her first turn.

    A paladin that acquires this ability must choose from one of the auras presented below. Unless otherwise noted, the range of the aura is of 30 feet. As a paladin progresses in levels, she learns to manifest more auras and the size of her auras increase; at 9th level, she gains the ability to manifest one more aura from the list and her aura increases to 45 feet; at 15th level, a paladin gains the ability to manifest another aura and her area of effect increases to 60 feet. Allies within the area of effect of the aura must have line of effect to the paladin in order to be affected by it. The paladin’s aura is dismissed if she becomes unconscious or slain, but otherwise it remains in effect even if she is incapable of acting.

    If the paladin wields a shield with an enhancement bonus of +1 or higher (but not shield special qualities that increases the shield's effective enhancement bonus; hence, a +1 shield of bashing would count as a +1 shield for purposes of this ability), she may modify the effect of these auras, adding a new effect or improving an existing one. To gain the benefit of this shield, the paladin must be wielding the shield (thus, the paladin doesn't gain the benefit of the improvement to auras if she uses an animated shield).

    Unless stated otherwise, the bonus granted by the paladin’s aura is equal to her Constitution modifier.

    Consecration: sacred bonus on turning checks and turning damage against undead, and on weapon damage rolls against undead and evil outsiders equal to the paladin's Constitution modifier. The effect also applies to effects that act as turning (but not divine feats), but against evil creatures only. If using a shield, add the shield's enhancement bonus as a sacred bonus to AC against attacks dealt by those creatures.

    Courage: morale bonus on saving throws vs. fear effects, morale bonus to attack rolls and damage rolls if ally is under a fear effect. If using a shield, grant a morale bonus to Armor Class to all allies under a fear effect equal to the shield's enhancement bonus.

    Devotion: morale bonus to AC and Reflex saves on all allies of the paladin except herself. Also reduces hit point damage of any kind dealt to allies on area (except backlash damage or damage dealt to the ally by itself) by an amount equal to twice the paladin’s Constitution modifier (or equal to her Constitution modifier in the case of an area spell). Damage ignored is instead taken by the paladin; if several allies take damage from the attack, the paladin takes all the damage. The bonus of this aura stacks with the shield other spell and similar effects. If using a shield, the paladin may ignore an amount of damage from this ability equal to twice her shield's enhancement bonus.

    Retribution: whenever the paladin receives melee damage, she may return an amount of damage per round equal to the damage dealt or five times her Constitution modifier to the offending enemy, whichever is smaller. The damage returned per round is on a per-enemy basis. Damage is considered force damage for purposes of damage reduction and incorporeality. If using a shield, the maximum amount of damage reflected is instead equal to five times the paladin's Constitution modifier times the shield's enhancement bonus plus 1.

    Vigor: whenever an ally casts a spell or uses an ability that heals hit point damage within the area, the amount of healing increases by an amount equal to the paladin's class level plus her Constitution modifier. This benefit does not apply to fast healing or regeneration. If using a shield, add twice the shield's enhancement bonus as a bonus to the amount of healing offered by the spell.

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    So, you thought from all you've seen from the Paladin, that it would be a mere Fighter/Cleric, no? Nope, it's actually closer to Fighter/Marshal/Cleric, to a point in which you couldn't have the benefit of all three with multiclassing.

    Having said that, divine auras exist to expand the set of options for Paladins. While there are only five choices (of which you can take three), the combinations are definitely varied. Consecrate and Blinding leads to a sect of undead-hunting Paladins; equally, a Paladin that choses Retribution and Blinding might be a bit more focused on righteous wrath singled upon a single target, while Retribution and Resounding Smite might imply someone who unleashes holy fury upon a larger group.

    Each aura is meant to be roughly similar to the others, so that all are considered good choices; still, if one aura seems far too strong than the others, please tell. Balancing is crucial, and I prefer having this ability be overpowered and then work it out equally than underpowered and having to measure carefully how to take it down.

    UPDATE: the auras should now be slightly more balanced against each other; some will still be better than others, but now all should provide a good reason to be used. Also, all auras are now based off the Paladin's Constitution modifier instead.


    Divine Courage (Ex): At 3rd level, whenever a paladin is subject to a fear effect, she draws from her reserves of courage and faces it. A shaken paladin negates the penalties and actually gains a +2 bonus on attack rolls, saving throws, skill checks and ability checks against the source of fear; a frightened paladin furthermore ignores the compulsion to run away and ignores difficult terrain and other natural impediments when drawing near the enemy; a panicked paladin gains a +2 bonus to Armor Class and never cowers (thus, it may act even if there is no chance to escape, but may only target or act against the source of her fear). Penalties to attack rolls, saving throws, skill checks and ability checks still apply on the paladin for any creature of object that is not the source of fear (except for cowering). If the paladin manages to defeat or destroy the source of fear, she is healed from the condition.

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    Generally, at this level the Paladin gained immunity to fear. That's cool: a Paladin must be courageous. Still...there's one big problem with it. Namely, that fear isn't something bad; quite the contrary, it's a necessary reflex that all people must have. It also leads to something else: that is not true courage.

    Now, I don't like making famous quotes, but this one really reflects what I believe courage is. I've heard it from many people, but I recall one of the US Presidents spoke about the matter (can't really recall if it was President Kennedy or President F.D. Roosevelt):

    "Courage is mastery over fear, resistance to fear; not the absence of it"

    The original Aura of Courage really didn't represent what this quote meant; in fact, it represents what it refutes. So, Paladins can feel fear, and despair, and even worry; they simply get to muster their courage and face it. If you want to be immune to fear, do it through other means: however, this allows the Paladin to use the weapon of the fearmonger against themselves. Of course, they still feel fear, and that reflects; however, they also show true courage...at least in the sense of mechanics.


    Standing Before Adversity (Ex): At 4th level, a paladin's selfless determination allows her to fight where others would simply give up. Whenever she is bathed in her own blood trying to protect others, she gains a phenomenal resolve to remain fighting.

    At 4th level, whenever the paladin reaches less than half of her maximum hit points, her show of resolve shakes even the most gruesome of enemies. She adds half her class level as a bonus to all Intimidate checks and gains damage reduction equal to her class level + 1 until her amount of hit points exceeds half the maximum amount. At 9th level, the paladin gains temporary hit points equal to her class level plus her Constitution modifier whenever her hit points are less than half her maximum, but only once per encounter, and only lasting until the end of the encounter. At 14th level, the paladin does not automatically fail saving throws when a natural 1 is rolled.

    At 19th level, whenever the paladin suffers an effect that would make her die (such as an instant death effect, or losing too many hit points), she may ignore such effect once per encounter; in the case of losing too many hit points, she ignores this effect until she receives more damage, in which case she finally dies. This last ability does not require the paladin to be at less than half of her maximum hit point amount to activate.

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    [NEW]Apparently, for all the near-invincibility, the paladin wasn't gritty enough. Or maybe it was, but apparently the wings were too...I dunno. Well, political correctness be darned, I'll say "not-Paladin-ish". Divine Courage gave that idea of an unyielding soldier, and one of the pitched ideas was to work something based off Heroism.

    So, how to change the wings for something with even more Paladin feel, that was similar but not exactly the same as Heroism, but still awesome? Well, thinking about the name gave me the idea. Standing before adversity means that you'll be standing no matter what comes after you; fire, arrows, the claws of a dragon, foul magic, whatnot. Most of that is covered with the rest of the abilities, but these are a few that are suspiciously missing. As an appetizer, you get better Intimidate checks ("I'd like to see you try something stronger, foul cur!"). Then, temporary hit points. Afterwards, damage reduction. And finally, the main course; the ability to survive one more attack. It's perfect for accidents (failed Fort saves, Balor death throes, etc.) but seeing such endurance makes you a bigger target. But, isn't that what the Paladin is meant for?

    UPDATE: The DR now applies from 4th level and scales up. 14th level really kicks in on the "I'm invincible" thing, in exchange.


    Turn Undead (Su): At 4th level, a paladin gains the ability to turn undead. She may use this ability a number of times per day equal to her Charisma modifier. She turns undead as a cleric of her class level would (see Turn or Rebuke Undead, PHB 159)

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    UPDATE: The Paladin now turns just as good as a cleric would, but has less uses. But, because Charisma is an important stat, it gets several uses anyways.


    Improved Smite (Su): At 5th level, a paladin’s ability to smite improves. She may choose one of the smiting methods presented at 1st level, or improve her existing smiting method as presented below.
    Blinding: a paladin now deals twice her smite damage to any undead creatures as well, and triples the damage if the creature is both undead and light sensitive. If the creature fails the save, it is permanently blinded; otherwise, it is blinded for 1 round. Creatures immune to blindness or that have a special vision mode that does not rely on sight (for example blindsense, blindsight, tremorsense, but not scent) lose this ability for a number of rounds equal to half the paladin’s class level if they fail their Will save.

    Resounding: a paladin’s smite blasts nearby evil creatures. If the smite is successful, any evil creature within 30 feet of the smitten creature must also make a Reflex save or take half the damage dealt by the paladin and be blown away instead of being knocked back (but still end up prone, unless the creature is flying). A successful save negates the smite damage, but does not negate being blown away (which implies receiving nonlethal damage).

    Stunning: a paladin’s smite holds the opponent in place. On a failed save, the creature is paralyzed for 1 round. Undead creatures and constructs are treated as dazed for 1 round instead.

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    Remember I told that Paladins' smites would be better. Well, this is part of the initiative. Essentially, the smite starts to cover some of the weaknesses of the smites, by neglecting such immunities as blindsense or blindsight; alternatively, it becomes area-of-effect damage, or provides a much deadlier effect which cannot be resisted that easily. The reason why this appears at level five instead of level 10 is because by that moment you are already dealing with these kinds of things, plus level 10 already has a class ability. Still, if you consider the abilities far too powerful for that level, please say so and I'll consider it.

    UPDATE: Nerfed the improved version of Stunning Smite to last 1 round.


    Divine Punishment (Su): At 6th level whenever a paladin is using her divine aura, if an enemy creature makes a melee or ranged attack against an ally within the range of the aura, it takes damage equal to half the paladin’s class level plus her Strength modifier, and imposes a penalty to all further attacks done against all allies (except the paladin) equal to her Strength modifier until the beginning of the Paladin's next turn. The damage applies only once per round per enemy creature, as if the paladin was using an attack of opportunity (but does not consume the paladin’s attack of opportunity). This damage is of divine origin and cannot be diminished by damage reduction or energy resistance. If the enemy creature attacks only the paladin, the creature takes no damage nor penalty.

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    Credit to where it's due, once again. While I'm not really a fan of 4th Edition, this was a move I definitely had to include in my Paladin. Yes, in case you haven't already noticed: this is basically Divine Challenge but applied at all occasions.

    This is part of one focus I've rarely seen in D&D, or at least applied badly: damage redirection. This form of tanking relies on shifting damage to yourself, or back to the enemy, so that you become a larger menace in that so as long as you are there, your allies won't suffer much damage. Be it by focusing their attacks on your allies so that you get hit, or redirecting their attacks on you so that you're the only one that gets hit, you start to goad their actions into a more favorable outcome, since stuff like healing and buffing then redirects to the most effective way (buffing allies so that you're a tastier target, healing you over the rest so that you support the party). At first, 7 or so HP might not seem like enough deterrent, but when you reach later levels, having pretty much 18 hp per round makes you a larger threat, more if you actually blend it with actual damage.

    UPDATE: Divine Punishment now offers an attack roll debuff. That way, it'll make the Paladin a more palatable target.


    Lay on Hands (Su): At 7th level, a paladin with a Charisma score of 12 or higher can heal wounds (her own or those of others) by touch. Once per encounter, the Paladin may heal an amount of damage equal to 5 plus her class level times her Charisma modifier (minimum of 1). She can choose to divide her healing among multiple recipients, and she doesn’t have to use it all at once. Alternatively, she may use any or all of this ability to deal damage to undead creatures. Using this ability in this way requires a successful melee touch attack that does not provoke attacks of opportunity. The pool of healing energy recharges at the beginning of each combat encounter, but may be spread outside of battle.

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    Legacy ability. Now, I've seen other places where Lay on Hands is buffed to insane levels, healing twice the amount of the original or adding some traits such as allowing you to heal some conditions by spending effects. So, why I didn't go with that, you say?

    I find that, if I make Lay on Hands better than, say, Touch of Vitality, the latter ability will lose any utility. Personally, I find Touch of Vitality to be the purest form of Lay on Hands, and LoH itself as a watered-down version of it. And, oddly enough, I agree that it should remain...mostly similar. The idea is to boost LoH a bit, but not that it eclipses Touch of Vitality. In other words: much like Paladins get half-spellcasting, they also get half of Touch of Vitality: healing only HP, not conditions. Besides, there are already spells and items that provide the same benefits, so why replace what already works?

    UPDATE: So yeah, I decided to make Lay on Hands a per encounter burst heal ability. This should make the Paladin pretty powerful when healing, but given that it requires quite a lot to optimize Lay on Hands to make it a swift action reach burst healing that heals just as much as a Heal spell without all the nifty benefits... That also means the Retooled Monk and the Retooled Healer will receive a revision.


    Mettle (Ex): Beginning at 8th level, if a paladin makes a successful Will or Fortitude save that would normally reduce the save’s effect, she suffers no effect from the spell at all. Only those spells with a saving throw entry of “partial” or “half” are affected by this ability, and only for purposes of Will and/or Fortitude saves with these descriptors.

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    By now, you must be tired of seeing Mettle in my retoolings, but there's a peculiar reason why it's so popular. Basically, Mettle is sadly under-represented in the game, while Evasion is over-represented. Paladins have good Fort and Will saves, will have much better saves actually, AND there is a good deal of Fort partial and Will half spells, believe it or not. Thus, spells such as Disintegrate and Phantasmal Killer will definitely be resisted much more.

    If that worries you so, consider they later get Imp. Mettle.


    Divine Grace (Ex): At 11th level, a paladin gains a bonus equal to her Charisma bonus (if any) on all saving throws.

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    Why this legacy ability, the crown jewel of Paladin dipping, appears so late in game? The response is very simple: if you want pretty much the best defense Charisma can offer, you simply can't dip it. You need to take it.

    Also, Divine Grace is VERY powerful for a 3rd level ability. Divine Grace with Charisma 16-18 is the equivalent of a Cloak of Resistance +3 or +4, and the thing is that it stacks with those. You already get two good saving throws, so its immediate need is lessened. Divine Grace is less powerful at around 11th level, though still excellent Certainly, it's not very late, but it prevents people dipping for Charisma to saves unless they decide to do a serious dunking.


    Divine Deterrence (Su): At 12th level whenever the paladin is using her divine aura, she may deactivate the effect and gain the benefit of this ability instead. If an enemy spellcaster within the area of the paladin's divine aura (if it were active) attempts to cast a spell that affects an ally within the area, it must make a caster level check against a DC equal to 10 plus the paladin's class level plus the paladin's Strength and Charisma modifiers or fail to cast the spell and take damage equal to half the paladin's class level plus the paladin's Strength modifier. This also applies to spell-like abilities, psionic powers, psi-like abilities, invocations and mysteries (except if the mysteries are cast as supernatural abilities). This ability does not affect supernatural abilities. If the spellcaster affects only the paladin, the spellcaster takes no damage and the spell is not interrupted.

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    UPDATE: While a nice ability, trying to take a spellcaster down is HARD. Trying to make it a Constitution check is difficult because you can get the skill pretty high enough. Trying to attack Will saves is equally bad because you can rack up saves pretty high enough. And...well, caster levels can be increased high enough as well.

    But, when dealing with caster level, the increases are a bit more scarce. This makes aiming for caster level checks a bit more manageable, and makes Divine Deterrence a sort of buffed up spell resistance that punishes the offending spellcaster if it fails. That it uses both the paladin's Strength AND Charisma modifiers means the bar to aim at is pretty high (and if it forces the spellcaster to expend far more resources to keep up, then it's a winner). Because of the sheer amount of abilities it can interrupt (spells, SLA's, powers, PsiLA's, invocations and mysteries), without a real counteracting ability (it's not an AMF nor spell resistance), it makes shifting your aura to this a second nature, but mostly against some of the most dangerous enemies in the game.


    Improved Mettle (Ex): At 13th level, a paladin’s mettle ability improves. She still takes no effect on a successful Will or Fortitude save that has the “partial” or “half” descriptor, but henceforth she takes only the partial effect or half the damage on a failed save.

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    And yes, the improved version of Mettle is here. Even if they fail a saving throw, the Paladin endures. And we still haven't finished with the Paladin's endurance.


    Devastating Smite (Su): At 15th level, a paladin’s smite evil ability acquires a powerful set of new effects. The paladin may choose to gain a new method of smiting or improve existing smites to their next degree of power:
    Blinding: the paladin‘s shining smite sears the bodies of the unclean. Any undead creature must succeed on a Will saving throw or be instantly destroyed. A successful save against the disruption effect still causes the undead creature to be affected by the damage and must make a save for the blinding effect as usual.

    Resounding: the paladin’s smite damage cannot be evaded, and grows in potency. Creatures that fail their Reflex saves take the full original damage, and those who succeed on the save take half damage. A creature with Evasion still takes half damage if it succeeds on the saving throw, and a creature with Improved Evasion still takes half damage on a failed throw. Finally, all creatures within area that fail their saving throws become confused for a number of rounds equal to half the paladin’s class level.

    Stunning: the paladin’s stunning ability ignores magical resistances and immunities. Creatures with immunity to paralysis or under the benefits of a freedom of movement effect still become paralyzed if they fail their saves. If they succeed on the save, they are stunned for 1 round.

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    While Improved Smite might be a tad powerful for 5th level, this set of improvements are definitely set for 15th level. Blinding basically makes every smite you make a level-scaling disrupting weapon effect, Resounding adds a confusion effect and unavoidable damage, and Stunning makes paralysis inevitable. THIS is what I feel a Smite must be: something so astounding and inescapable that when it happens, you know that angry god is out to get you, and its finger is the blade of the Paladin. These are definite save-or-suck effects, that make the target suck whether they are affected or not (unless, of course, they evade the smite, but then again that smite doesn't get consumed...).

    UPDATE: Minor change to Stunning Smite, adding the suck effect. Also, switching Will for Blinding Smite


    Divine Resistance (Su): At 16th level, a paladin gains the ability to further resist the spells of evil creatures. She gains spell resistance equal to 15 + the paladin’s class level, but only against spells with the evil descriptor or any spell cast by characters of evil alignment, clerics of evil deities, undead creatures (but not deathless), or evil outsiders.

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    Just when you thought the Paladin couldn't be more resilient, here comes spell resistance to ruin the day. This isn't your mother's spell resistance: it's 15 plus the paladin's class level, so that means you need to have some serious bonuses to caster level (not to mention pretty much forcing you to use Assay Spell Resistance to aim at them) or have the spell fail harmlessly. What's better, allies don't get to roll for spell resistance; only evildoers have to do that.

    Now, count the ways Paladins are resilient: high AC, high saves, Improved Mettle, Diehard, insane HP and spell resistance. Just what else might the Paladin need?


    Unyielding Resolve (Ex): At 17th level, a paladin becomes capable of fighting even when her forces fail her, beyond where others could stand. A paladin is never considered disabled or staggered, even if she has less than 0 hit points or her nonlethal damage exceeds her current hit point total.

    Furthermore, she may continue to fight even if she has less than -10 hit points, but only to an amount of negative hit points equal to 10 plus half her character level plus her Constitution modifier. Instant death effects and attacks that destroy the body still affect the paladin if successful.

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    Ah, yes: extending the window of death. In case this isn't so clear: at 17th level, that means you die at -18...IF your Charisma modifier was 0. By now, that means you have a Charisma of 20-22, so that means you die at -23 or -24 HP. One more level, that's -24; two more points of Charisma on top of that, you get -25 as a threshold. And reaching that threshold is already troubling; imagine if it gets extended.

    UPDATE: Make that Constitution instead. By the gods, I like that stat!


    Divine Health (Ex): At 18th level, a paladin becomes attuned to positive energy. If a spell heals through means of positive energy (such as, for example, conjuration [healing] spells), and the paladin is fully healed of hit points, she may gain temporary hit points equal to the exceeding amount. She may benefit constantly from this ability, but only up to an amount of temporary hit points equal to her class level times her Constitution modifier. These temporary hit points last until dawn of the next day, in which they dissipate harmlessly. Furthermore, a paladin is immune to spells that deal damage with the [light] descriptor (such as searing light, sunbeam and sunburst), and she never needs to make a Fortitude saving throw if she remains in a major positive-dominant area.

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    Immunity to light spells? Hit points over the maximum amount? Really? REALLY!? (I tell this on my mind, and I can't help but hear this in the girly tone of a kobold worker on Crystal Cove.)

    The original Divine Health only made you immune to diseases, magical or otherwise. While it shows the concept of health and divine purity, with a high Fortitude save this was less important. However, by the time you get to 18th level you're probably already traveling through the planes, this means you need a different kind of purity. By the moment you reach that level, that probably means you breathe and eat purity and light through your body, so why not go with affinity to positive energy?

    Only one more...and that is...


    Hero of Legend: At 20th level, a paladin becomes an inspiring hero, and her place in legend allows her to transcend her mortal condition. She is forevermore treated as a native outsider (unless she is already treated as one), gains the good subtype, and gains damage reduction X/epic and evil, where X is equal to half her class level (this damage reduction stacks with the one provided by the standing before adversity class feature).

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    The paladin is a paragon of good and law. Period. So it makes more than enough sense to make it a REAL paragon of good and law. Or at least, a paragon of good; a paladin is GOOD before being Lawful, after all. The damage reduction is a nifty gift; not so big, but it eventually stacks well.


    So...quite the long exposition, right? There are a few things missing: see the next post for details.
    Last edited by T.G. Oskar; 2014-04-10 at 04:31 AM. Reason: Fixing the table

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    Default Re: Project Heretica - the Retooled Paladin

    Paladin Spells
    As mentioned before, a paladin may prepare and cast spells from the cleric’s spell list, with a few exceptions. However, a paladin’s spell list differs from that of a cleric by means of spells that a cleric cannot normally prepare. As well, a paladin may prepare spells from the cleric spell list with an effective spell level lower than the usual.

    The following spell list is a compilation of all the spells that paladins may cast alongside the cleric spell list, as well as spells that are reduced from level. All of these spells are on the Player’s Handbook paladin spell list. For other sources than the Player’s Handbook, a paladin may cast spells from the cleric spell list and the paladin spell list. If a spell is in both lists, the paladin prepares the spell at the lowest level by which the spell may be cast; for example, if a spell is 3rd level on the cleric spell list but 2nd level in the paladin’s spell list, the paladin prepares the spell as a 2nd level spell. Restrictions on spells are also extended to these spell lists; a paladin may not cast a spell with the chaotic, darkness or evil descriptor, nor it can cast spells of the necromancy school, nor conjuration spells of the calling or summoning subschool unless they are part of the paladin’s spell list.

    1st—aid-, bless weapon*, dispel magic-, lesser restoration-
    2nd—air walk-, gentle repose**, heroism**, mount**, prayer-, speak with dead**
    3rd— break enchantment-, discern lies, heal mount*, greater magic weapon-, good hope**, phantom steed**
    4th—death ward, dispel chaos-, dispel evil-, greater dispel magic**, greater heroism **, holy smite**, holy sword*, mark of justice-, righteous might**
    -: reduced from base cleric spell level
    *: exclusive Paladin spell
    **: added to Paladin spell list

    The following spells are Cleric spells inaccessible to the Paladin’s spell list, in addition to the restrictions in schools and spells that the paladin already has. The Dungeon Master may decide which spells from other sourcebooks may not apply, and may use this list as an aid to determine which spells are inaccessible.

    1st—bane, obscuring mist
    2nd—augury, enthrall
    3rd—glyph of warding, meld into stone, stone shape
    4th—giant vermin, imbue with spell ability

    When determining which spells to remove and which to apply from the cleric spell list, a DM is well advised to retain spells of the abjuration or transmutation schools, personal range spells that grant bonuses to the caster, and spells that resemble or behave as spells from the cleric spell list on the Player’s Handbook.

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    This is a much deeper explanation on Paladin spellcasting. Essentially, the Paladin gets access to the wealth of spells that Clerics get, exponentially increasing their spell potential although limiting them to, at most, 4th level spells. The DM has some control over which spells the Paladin gets, but that means they gain access to some attack spells, a few area of effect buffs, and buffs that the Paladin could take advantage of.

    While dealing with Player's Handbook spells is easy, dealing with spells on other spellbooks can be a headache. Spell Compendium has quite a lot of those spells grouped up, but it's not THE absolute compendium of spells, because it doesn't recollect any spell AFTER its publication. Thus, it's important to consider what to do if you desire to provide even more spells to the Paladin.

    For starters, consider 5th level Cleric spells. You can make them 4th level Paladin spells, but some might be a bit too powerful for that level. Some might not be fitting for the Paladin, either. If there's an abjuration spell that enhances the caster (say, Stalwart Pact, even if it's a touch spell), you might think about adding it to the 4th level Paladin spell list. However, a spell like, say, Earth Reaver isn't really a buffing spell, nor has a personal range; it is a transmutation spell, but it doesn't benefit you other than dealing damage, so it's not very fitting for a Paladin even if the Pally already has Holy Smite (but it doesn't has Flame Strike, now does it?). As a rule of thumb, 2nd level spells can be reduced as 1st level spells if not done already OR if the effect is better balanced for three levels before (for example, Ghost Touch Armor or Deific Vengeance, because by the time you reach level 7-8 it's already something that'll be common sight); 3rd level spells can fit as 2nd level spells, 4th level spells can fit as 3rd level spells, and 5th-6th level spells can fit as 4th level spells. If the spell has a save DC (but not for harmless spells), then its better to keep at the right level; if the spell provides a scaling benefit (such as Greater Magic Weapon, which increases in power as your CL increases), then it's better to keep in the right level. The best way to figure how that works is to see how the developers worked with the Bard spell list: some of the spells are at the right level, some are one level lower, but only VERY few are one level higher. Always rule for keeping the spell at the same level, but if you feel it would fit better one level lower, then let it fit ONE LEVEL LOWER. No less, no more (except for 6th level spells, of course).

    In fact: if you think that at spell level 4th the spell would be good for Paladins but FORMIDABLE for Archivists, keep it at the level it is; sme for the rest. You want to strengthen Paladins, not Archivists...

    UPDATE: Discussion on the wings issue caused me to remember which spells should get in the Paladin spell list. Thus, Air Walk is reduced in level (to counter for the lack of flying), Heroism and its higher level counterpart are also in, and Phantom Steed (for the mount lovers) is also in.


    Paladin Spells and Mounts
    Some paladin spells affect mounts, as indicated on the effect or description. When a spell refers to “special mount”, you treat any mount summoned by means of a mount (or similar) spell as your special mount for purposes of the spell’s effect. The Dungeon Master is free to determine any other kind of mount as a special mount, such as a mount that belongs to the paladin, an exotic mount, or a mount acquired by a feat or prestige class.

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    Oh, yeah...you did notice the Paladin doesn't has a special mount, right?

    Why make steaks out of that sacred cow? For starters, the special mount is without a shadow of a doubt the most powerful of the Paladin's abilities, but it's only useful half of the times (more or less, depending on the height of the places you adventure at). Furthermore, having the mount forced you to invest in it, or else have a mount without a proper rider (meaning ranks in Ride, Mounted Combat, Ride By Attack AND probably gearing for Ubercharger). Then, most of your spells and abilities focused on keeping the mount alive, so in fact, you were playing a mount with a Paladin cohort. Really, no joke.

    Personally, I used the mount only once. It was nice, but I never felt like it contributed to my character. Couldn't summon it inside of a dungeon, forced me to charge, and required me to think about how to use it properly. On latter plays with vanilla Paladins, I decided to neglect getting the mount, favoring stuff like Divine Spirit (an awesome ability I have to revise at any moment).

    But, that meant something. Part of the spells the Paladin has require that innate connection with the special mount, because they don't work with other mounts. You get Call Mount, Heal Mount, the Complete Champion spells that combine to make your mount able to fly and stuff, and so on. To deal with this, I decided to place this little quirk: if the Paladin used the Mount spell, or brand yourself with a specific creature you use as a mount. That way, while the mount won't progress as before, you still gain the benefit of those spells and abilities that require a special mount. I mean, can you imagine if God decided to give Don Quixote his valiant steed, instead of him making the choice? And worse, if said steed could only be summoned for two hours until he gained more experience?

    Thus, much like the game decided to dispatch the Paladin's Holy Avenger as a magic item, I decide to place the special mount as a rule that enhances all paladins, rather than as a class ability that eclipses all others. So, if you still favor uberchargers, just recall that you get the feats and the traits, but the mount is weaker now.


    Multiclassing
    Unlike other classes, a paladin may not multiclass freely. A paladin is allowed to take a prestige class without any restrictions (other than meeting the prerequisites for the base class) and still be allowed to take paladin levels if she so desires, but if she takes a level in a base class, she may not gain any more levels in the paladin class.

    A paladin that multiclasses into a fighter, a martial adept, or a divine spellcaster gains special benefits, however. A paladin may multiclass freely into a fighter if it so desires; this is an exception to the aforementioned rule. Furthermore, she may treat her paladin level -4 as effective fighter levels for purposes of meeting prerequisites for fighter bonus feats. As well, she may treat her Paladin level (minus 4) as if they were levels in a single martial adept class (typically Crusader) to which she belongs to, but she faces her multiclass restriction as usual. If she multiclasses into a divine spellcaster, she may treat half her paladin levels as part of that specific divine spellcasting caster levels (but not actual class levels to, for example, gain higher level spells or spell slots), and may prepare spells exclusive to the Paladin spell list (but not reduced-level spells or spells that appear on other classes' spell lists); she faces her multiclass restriction as usual.

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    Wait, what!? Your retooled Monk doesn't have multiclassing issues, why does the Retooled Paladin has them!?

    Before you "knick your hoisters" (did I say that right?), there's one thing that I decided to keep that makes them restrictive. Essentially: they cannot multiclass freely and return to their original state. As the blurb in the PHB states: following the paladin's path requires remaining on that path; once you leave it, you can never return back...or well, unless you get an Atonement or something.

    Still: because of that, I decided to grant some benefits if you decided to multiclass eventually. IF you want to multiclass with a Fighter, you can add the levels in Paladin to the effective fighter level, and even return back to paladinhood (in honor of the mighty O-Chul, his Invincibility inspires this retooling!) While dipping won't generate much for a Paladin/divine spellcaster, if you decide to work this you get near-full CL AND an expanded spell list. Finally, if you multiclass into Crusader, for example, you'll get part of your Paladin class levels as initiator levels, so you won't be so weak).

    Now, I must admit something: between the first draft of the Paladin and this version, some things changed. Please consider this blurb about multiclassing carefully, because while it's meant to provide Paladins that abandon their path towards another path with some measure of skill, it might not be appropriately balanced. Please provide your comments or ideas on how to provide minor, yet noticeable, benefits if you DO decide to allow that degree of multiclassing; that might even inspire a new set of multiclassing rules!

    UPDATE: A bit of explanation regarding a change in the description above. For starters, she gains (for the moment; may change eventually) her class level -4 as effective Fighter levels for feats that require it (such as Weapon Focus and Weapon Specialization, in case you wish to take them). The point I need to explain is how Paladin levels stack with Crusader levels (or levels in one other martial adept class).

    A Paladin 4/Crusader X would have an initiator level of 2+X for Crusader, and 2+1/2 X on other martial adept classes. Thus, a Paladin 4/Crusader 10 would have IL 12th for Crusader maneuvers and IL 7th for non-Crusader maneuvers.

    A Paladin 7/Crusader X would have an initiator level of 5+X for Crusader, and 3+1/2 X on other martial adept classes. Thus, a Paladin 7/Crusader 13 would have IL 18th (and thus, access to 9th level maneuvers) for Crusader maneuvers and IL 10th for non-Crusader maneuvers. This is because the Paladin adds an effective IL of 5th (7-4 equals 3, the first four are treated as martial non-adept levels, so 3+2 equals 5). Thus, at most, a dip in Crusader could eventually net 9th level maneuvers if chosen carefully. Or Warblade levels, or Swordsage levels. Your choice, really, though I'd consider limiting it to Crusader levels because both classes have a strong thematic feel (so much, people consider replacing Paladins with Crusaders mechanically...)


    Chivalry
    A code of conduct and etiquette that most, if not all, paladins adhere to, the code of chivalry exists ever since trained men and women took the oath of knighthood and the investiture of faith that comprises paladinhood. The code of chivalry combines the proper behavior of nobility with the particular oaths that a paladin undertakes for her faith, such as the defense of the innocents; that said, not all nobles show impeccable behavior and an oath of faith is a daunting task for any paladin. A paladin is seen by the peasants as a hero, and the code of chivalry ascribes to such honorable means and ends, but the code is at times restrictive and denies a paladin possible courses of action that would result in following her call. A paladin’s call of benevolence, justice and honor sometimes becomes challenged by sagacious villains who, facing defeat, test her resolve and try to undermine her desire to do the right action by placing a moral quandary in which all actions end up failing her higher call. The true nature of the hero is tested in these challenges, but not everyone is built with the moral standing to do the right despite being faced with circumstances. While some may say that a paladin that refuses to follow a strict code are unfit to follow such a call, the forces of good do not seek fitness, but willingness to follow the path. Within that point of view, a paladin is not forced to follow a code if it sees it will undermine its willingness to follow the hard path of the warrior of light, but those who feel that the code of chivalry is a viable way of behaving may swear an oath to follow it and prove to the world the value of living a disciplined life.

    Chivalry is best represented as a code to assist roleplaying, and not a means towards which a paladin player character must adhere exclusively. Thus, the player of a paladin character (even that whom only takes a single level in paladin) that does not decide to follow chivalry must not be forced to do so. The code of chivalry has a rare inclination towards law, and lawful characters will not feel particularly threatened with concepts such as discipline and honor. Neutral good characters, however, may easily follow chivalry and not fall clear of their stated goals, means and ends.

    As such, following the code does not imply having any mechanical advantage or disadvantage. A Dungeon Master should not punish a paladin for violating the code if it has not decided to willingly follow it. However, if the player and the Dungeon Master agree, a paladin player character may gain specific and reasonable benefits from following the code, as well as penalties for not following the code. Both the Dungeon Master and the player MUST be willing to understand that such mechanical choice should not disrupt the game in a way that it becomes disruptive; if the player seeks to use the code merely for the mechanical benefits and not because it sees it as a roleplaying aid and reasonable quirk, this alternative is not meant for said player. As well, if the player disrupts the enjoyment of the rest of the gaming group, this makes gaining mechanical benefits from following chivalry equally undesirable. Finally, a player should remind the Dungeon Master to be fair if said mechanic is to be used, and a Dungeon Master should never punish a player for choosing the paladin class by forcing circumstances in which the paladin player character will undoubtedly violate the code.

    Following are some of the precepts of chivalry, and how they can be interpreted in terms of roleplaying. Bear to note that these are mere guidelines, and that the player and the Dungeon Master should discuss on how this will apply:

    Duties to the Country: this is the side of chivalry that deals with how the paladin should behave towards the world. A paladin, unlike a knight, is not tightly tied to a lord and to a country as they do to their god (if any) and her faith, or to the defense of Good. However, sometimes a paladin finds in a sovereign ruler, on a specific country, or on a theocratic nation a liege to follow, and thus it exercises some of the precepts held within these duties. Even if a paladin is tied to her country, it also pays to respect some of the precepts within these duties towards foreigners and towards foreign countries. Finally, the values of courage presented within the duties to country are universal, and admirable, to be common practice to a paladin.

    “Respect legitimate authority; servant-hood of the knight to the lord”
    : the tenet of this duty is to respect the authority bestowed upon an individual by means of birth, law or decree. A king and all of his vassals, given that they are properly bestowed their authority by means of the law, are given authority to rule over their lands and have their own responsibilities and duties to their servants, just as how a paladin has a duty to her faith and to the cause of Good. If a king is just but unlawful (as in not properly crowned or bestowed authority, not that the ruler does not enforce authority), or the ruler is a regent for a king that will bring despair, a paladin should balance both sides of the situation; thus, a fair king without the proper authority should be aided by a Paladin to receive the proper authority, and a regent should bow when his or her time comes up, but the Paladin has a duty to watch that the new king shows respect for his servants. If the king is evil and has the proper authority, and refuses to change his way of ruling, a paladin‘s duty changes; in these occasions, perpetuating the rule of this king because of his “legitimacy” directly contrasts with her duty towards Good. A paladin that faces an unjust or malevolent king may oppose and even defy the king’s authority if she has exhausted all of her resources in attempting to change the king’s way of being. In such a way, a paladin shows willingness to forgive but unwillingness to accept evil. This applies whether it is a foreign king, a foreign king’s vassal, or even the king or a vassal of the king of the paladin’s own country; this also applies to magistrates, judges, and people who are bestowed authority on behalf of a legitimate authority and abuse of their power. A paladin must respect the authority bestowed upon the individual, but those with bestowed authority are not above and beyond responsibility; abuse of their power undermines their legitimacy.
    “Protect the weak and the poor, aid those in need”: a paladin is a warrior above all, and a warrior blessed with a life of commodity more often than not. Some paladins have a background of poverty, or were abused by the powerful during their childhood. Now that the paladin is granted the power to defend righteousness, a paladin is well advised to show social responsibility and protect those who lack the providence that she was bestowed with. Whenever the poor is unfairly deprived of their few possessions, or the weak are unfairly punished because of their condition, a paladin must raise her sword and her shield, and challenge the perpetrators. At times, this may conflict with respecting legitimate authority (such as when the poor is being deprived of their possessions by tax collectors under authority of the local king); in this case, a paladin is advised to exert her best judgment over the situation. Other situations may also cause conflict; in the case of a weak criminal and an agent of law enforcement, the paladin may even refuse to provide aid, but remain vigilant in case of abuse. Providing chances for the paladin to protect the weak and the poor and then providing complicating situations in which a paladin may violate one of her duties is a challenge only few are capable of dealing, some even with surprising and admirable choices; however, a paladin player character should not be unfairly punished for making a choice in which two duties are in conflict, and the paladin makes a choice between one of her sides by use of her judgment by willingly violating a duty in the name of another. A paladin may be reprimanded or chastised by her actions through proper roleplaying, but even these cases should be minor, and through a way in which a Dungeon Master shows respect for the paladin’s judgment in a case where conflicting duties are present. A paladin should only be severely reprimanded if the choice of action is irrational (such as allowing the criminal to escape and slaying the law enforcement agent for no apparent reason), or when a duty may be satisfied regardless of the choice, and the paladin makes the choice that still violates another duty.
    “Act with honor”: honor is a very big word regarding the way it is defined. A paladin’s honor is often best represented as how her actions reflect her way of being; it also reflects how a paladin adheres to an admirable, if often unattainable, way of life. Honor for paladins usually deals with how a paladin is merciful, courageous and fair. A merciful paladin is a generous paladin, so it is well understood that mercy and generosity go hand-to-hand; thus, it is a duty of Good primarily, and a duty for the country as a secondary path. Courage is often misinterpreted, and more often than not it is treated as the absence of fear, when in fact it is facing and conquering fear. A paladin, perhaps more than anyone else, is strong within courage because of her immunity to many kinds of fear; however, a paladin is not immune to cowardice. Even when a paladin does not feel fear in her heart, she may feel cowardice; a trait that goes beyond fear. More often than not, a paladin will not run from a battle if there is still duty to follow within it; being the rear guard becomes a duty to protect weakened soldiers and companions, for example. A paladin is not less courageous if she runs away, but a paladin is less courageous when she runs away from her duty. The only moment in which a paladin shows no courage, even when standing, is when a paladin acts recklessly; remaining in one spot to defeat a strong enemy and refusing to rout in order to defend a more important stronghold or to provide support to a retreat is a reckless act, and it undermines the paladin’s courage. A Dungeon Master should never place a paladin on a situation where a paladin automatically violates her duties because of a lack of knowledge, or because of dubious signs that the paladin surely won’t interpret, nor a paladin should be punished because it fell victim to deceit and abandoned her post in pursuit of a more important duty that ended being fictional. Fairness is a double-edged sword; at most, it means to follow the established standards of behavior or action depending on the circumstance (an effect of being proper). This does not mean a paladin may not take advantage of an edge regarding a situation, but it will imply that a paladin will not cheat. Cheating is also a large word; the exact circumstances in which a person cheats are precise at times and arbitrary at others. A good rule of thumb is that a paladin should never be punished because it was unaware of the cheating action. However, and as an important point, showing fairness implies being showed fairness. If a paladin is forbidden to cheat, and someone else cheats, a paladin should not be punished for being withheld from cheating. If the act of cheating is not properly reprimanded, then the authorities have determined that it is a proper action to follow, and thus the paladin is free of such bound. To be fair, however, does not mean to be stupid; a paladin may choose to fight with a severe handicap, and said break of a handicap would involve cheating, but a paladin that is unfairly handicapped and recognizes it should not be punished for “cheating” when unfairness was shown to her. The standard of fairness should remain equal in both sides, and once one has bypassed that standard, the other is not bound to remain in said standard by obligation. In battle, specifically, a paladin should never consider severely handicapping herself or handicapping others in the pursuit of handicapping herself for the purpose of fairness; thus, a paladin may take such tactical actions as feinting, flanking, disarming and even immobilizing the stronger opponents and may not be punished for unfairness. In fact, if retreating is a tactical choice and will do better to the battle than remaining there, a paladin should not be punished for an apparent lack of fairness and courage. However, how that applies as a fair action may vary.
    “Sacrifice; willingness to provide one’s own life for the life of another, regardless of station”: sacrifice is perhaps the hardest of all tenets to follow. Sacrifice is an act that is more often than not a good act, and the exchange of one life for another is perhaps the greatest sacrifice of all. Sacrifice often binds with the tenet of courage, of fairness, and of mercy. A paladin is often requested to be the first to enter a battle and the last to leave, and must be willing to stay fighting even if it implies her own death. As well, a paladin should be willing to sacrifice her life for her country, for her faith and for her beliefs, if the only choice that will solve the situation is that. However, and this is mostly an advice for the Dungeon Master than for the player, is that every sacrifice must have value, and that sacrificing one’s own life has an invaluable exchange rate. Having a paladin die, when her life would have been far more useful, is undermining that sacrifice and unfairly punishing the character for no reasonable purposes. If a paladin finds a way to keep her life and solve the situation, a paladin should not be punished either; a willingness to sacrifice oneself is by no means a requirement to be stupid or senseless. Sacrifice is a final choice, and a circumstance that expects a just reward; if a paladin is forced to give up her life or else something evil yet mundane happens by the time she can face the forces of evil in their own home turf, that is simply being a jerk.

    Duties to Good and faith: this is the side of chivalry that deals with how the paladin should behave towards her beliefs. A paladin, above anything else, is a warrior of good, and more often than not will seek the guidance of faith to fulfill that goal. Be it because of devotion, because the goals of the deity or faith are very similar to those of the paladin, or because of the tactical relevance of having strength in numbers, a paladin will often have good deals with good deities.

    “Be faithful to one’s deity, to the faith one professes, but upon Good above all”: a paladin is, first and foremost, a paragon of good in a world threatened by malevolence. While a paladin may decide to neglect choosing a faith and follow her own path, a paladin usually follows a deity whose tenets are often akin to her own beliefs. Given that the chosen deity reflects a part of the paladin, it is imperative for her to follow the tenets of her faith and her deity to the letter. However, and this is something both the paladin and the deity recognize, the methods upon which the deity enforces his portfolio may go against the greater concept of Good. In that case, whenever the orders of a deity or a high priest deal with acts that may threaten the purity of the paladin, it is her decision to follow her orders without sacrificing her duty (as seen above, sacrifice is only important whenever there is something of value, but causing an event where a paladin must sacrifice her adherence to good to follow the tenets of her faith is something unacceptable as a DM), or oppose her orders. A paladin that questions her orders may be seen as subversive at times, especially when a deity is of a gray vision in terms of moral boundaries, but questioning one’s own faith whenever a tenet one holds dear is threatened is a greater act of faith. Whenever the paladin can prove herself, and the followers of the faith she professes, that the divine task of her deity does not have to conflict with her holy orders, a paladin’s apparent doubt turns into a testament of her unyielding faith. In fact, a deity only rarely should confront the paladin with an order that defies her beliefs, only when the deity’s vision truly exceeds that of the mortal’s resolve, or the deity wishes to test his or her followers.
    “Protect the innocent”: a tenet above all tenets, even the life of a paladin is nothing when the innocent are threatened or suffer at the hands of others. Protecting the innocent is a task so difficult, a paladin usually falls behind occasionally: a paladin cannot save all innocents, thus there is more than one paladin and more than one faithful given the same task. Equally, at times, the paladin is confronted with a decision that will threaten the life of an innocent, or its purity, regardless of the decision. A paladin, above all, is a mortal follower who has devoted her life to a task so difficult only a few are chosen to do so, but the forces of good and the deities of good do not punish a paladin who fails on her task with the clear and unrelenting intention of following her task. The death of an innocent because of a paladin’s failure, when the paladin has saved the lives of countless innocents the same day, should not be a cause of major punishment: the paladin followed her mission, and circumstances caused her to fail. Otherwise, if deities and the forces of Good forced the paladin to be perfect, they wouldn’t need a paladin: no mortal is perfect, and certainly they would do far better work. The fact that deities and good outsiders NEED paladins prove that the task is not one to be taken lightly.
    Yet, there is one moment when the paladin utterly fails to protect the innocent, and that is when she chooses her own well-being over the needs of an innocent; whenever she directly neglects to protect the innocent. Certainly, a paladin may doubt whether her mission may succeed, and those doubts directly confront her desire to protect the innocent; however, it is when the paladin thinks of herself above all innocent people, when she doesn’t even dare to try saving them, that she fails her mission. Protecting the innocent is such an important tenet, that it conforms one of the key precepts of paladinhood: to harm directly, or provide the means to indirectly harm an innocent without even attempting to protect them, is a path to evil and a despicable act.
    “Be the champion of Good against Evil”: the very existence of a paladin is her endless battle against Evil, in more than one front. Vanquishing fiends, defeating evil armies, and ending the threat of unlife is as equally important as battling poverty, injustice or temptation. The concepts of the code of Chivalry hinge on this very own concept, at least the major tenets of it. A paladin that fights evil will always be aware of evil, and will always seek the right tool to face evil. But, as usual, a paladin will be tempted in more ways than one to abandon her holy crusade: be it the temptation of betraying her duties to gain political or otherworldly power, the temptation of rest against the endless war, or even the false promise of peace if the paladin would only abandon her battle. Paladins are mortals, imperfect creatures that have taken a monumental task, and it will always be expected to fail on the pursuit of her duty; that is normal, because it is from those failures that a paladin gains the experience to steel herself on her daily, endless battle against evil. If a paladin were not to be tempted by evil, she would be weak when she was ready to face it. Thus, a paladin must learn the most important part in fighting evil; the greatest evil is the one that lurks within, the one the paladin herself can do. To truly be the champion of Good, the paladin must confront herself and her urges to fall upon temptation; only then, does she earn the tools to vanquish the evil outside her. A paladin that knows her own urges and fights those that lead her towards evil is the mightiest of the champions of Good, one that eventually will become a paragon of the celestial skies herself.
    “Be generous; give upon others what they need, but also what they deserve”: one of the ways Evil acts is when it deprives people of what they need to live, and then offers them in exchange of falling deeper into temptation. When a paladin gives freely to those in need, she breaks that cycle, and grants people the tools to break the cycle upon others. However, Evil is always aware of the generous nature of Good, and tricks good people into giving freely for nefarious means. Not all who are needy are truly deserving of help, just as not all those who are falsely needy are evil in their own regard. A paladin must also care to not give so much so as to be in need herself; while she may be willing and able to live a life of willing ascetism, it is well-recommended that she saves for her future, or when her skills falter due to the inevitable progress of age. Even a few coins saved for a meal are good enough, for one may never know when that money will be needed. Some save because people are in need everywhere, and giving generously on one side may eventually cause one to be deprived of gift on another. Money and food, of course, are not the only means to be generous; imparting knowledge and experience in the faith, in the art of war and the knowledge of tactics, or even sharing a talent with another are strong ways to be generous; the old adage is true when it says that “a man given food eats for a day; a man taught to gather food is never hungry” (though someone who learns how to grow crops, hunt wild beasts and draw from the bounty of the rivers and the seas is rewarded greater).
    However, there is one thing requested in being generous; give people what they deserve. The poor need money, food and a reason to live; providing only the former two while neglecting the latter is a great fault. As well, giving to those who don’t need what the paladin can give is not exactly generosity (though the paladin won’t falter by the act). Finally, perhaps a person needs something with greater importance than what the paladin is offering; the poor need a reason to live, and the paladin’s hope can drive them greater than food or coin. Even in the war against evil, a paladin is generous; indeed, for a paladin delivers what evil needs the most, be it a strong hand and blessed cold steel, or the genuine chance of redemption. Being generous does not necessarily imply giving people only what they deserve, but giving people what they deserve strengthens the act of generosity as they will be granted that which they seek the most to escape their current condition. Besides, giving people what they deserve is the antidote to the trickery of evil.
    “Obey the deity and the faith above the feudal lord; but obey Good before the deity, the faith and the lord”: a rare combination of a duty to the country and a duty to the faith, this tenet is the one that best exemplifies the duty of a paladin. A paladin, above all, is a champion of Good and justice. A deity may share enough traits with the paladin to earn her respect and thus her devotion, but the deity may not share all traits; a paladin may seek a different way to follow the narrow path of Good. Equally, the high priest of the faith, while a direct conduit to the deity’s blessing, is a mortal and thus a fallible creature, tempted such as the paladin is; perhaps what the high priest commands to the paladin is not what she desires, nor what the deity has ordered. And, while a paladin has a duty towards a country and its ruler, whenever the ruler strays from the narrow path of justice, it rests upon the paladin to right the wrong. However, and this is important: a paladin should never consider sacrificing Good over anything, when there is a clear decision of what is the right way to act. Not always will a paladin be aware of what is right and what is wrong, but the greatest failure of a paladin is to know the right way and abandon it for no particular reason.

    Spoiler
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    Yes, the Paladin doesn't have to follow a Code of Conduct. Why I decided no to the Code but yes to the multiclassing restrictions is definitely beyond your thought, but one thing is for certain: the Paladin, above everything, is fallible. The idea behind the Code is to provide for a strong roleplaying tool, but it becomes a way to allow DMs to grieve over worthy Paladin players. Nothing can be worse than to have an aweosme hero...but the DM simply wants, glees, revels on seeing him fall. Being overtly evil definitely has its issues: the forces of Good won't provide their boons to someone who uses their powers for Evil, but if there is no other choice, the forces of Good are tolerant. If they were perfect, they'd be doing that for themselves, no? Instead of, you know, requesting for aid to mortals? They aren't capricious; they are simply aware that the paragon of Good must strive for exactly that purpose, and that they must be firm in that goal.

    Hence, why this little part is mostly commentary instead of an actual rule. This is the Code of Chivalry, or at least part of it. This is what Knights in the Middle Ages were meant to follow; this is the very source of the code of conduct of each Paladin. It is strict, but not impossible; most of these goals are things that are not only laudable, but stuff that people can do regardless of creed, so as long as they are people inclined towards goodness and altruism. For a Paladin, this is definitely a high command, but evidently not one that is so restrictive that they are forced to live in fear their boon is removed. They act good not BECAUSE of their powers, but DESPITE their powers.

    Now, if you're not interested in the Retooled Paladin, at least read this part. It's one of many ways in which you can see the code of conduct of the Paladin and apply it so that you're heroic instead of a rules-lawyer. Even if you really want that stringent code to apply in your game when someone plays a Paladin, consider that the Paladin is most heroic when it has its failures and strives despite them, than when it has no flaws. Perhaps in one moment you'll see that they fail, but they won't fail again. They will learn from that, and perhaps on another occasion, they'll do something that will surprise the DM and the players. But they have such a wonderful amount of character development because of that, it makes their mistake pretty much worthwhile. Thus, while the Retooled Paladin has no Code to restrict their abilities, do consider what a Paladin represents in your worlds, and what they have to do to strive towards that ideal.


    So, comments, ideas? Do recall that this is but one of the many parts of the project; this project is not finished yet, but if you wish to establish discussion, you may do so as what helps the Paladin will definitely aid the rest of the classes, and the chassis itself. I'll post the Blackguard, the Justiciar and the Anarch later in the next week, probably with a spread of a few days between each other.
    Last edited by T.G. Oskar; 2011-08-19 at 01:07 AM. Reason: Adding a few kosher Necro spells that aren't spooky or icky.
    Now with a shiny new Homebrewer's Sig. See the magic! Use the retools in your campaign...today!
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    I'm not sure he's actually capable of making a post with fewer than 500 words. That's why we love him though.
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    Default Project Heretica - the Retooled Blackguard

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    To show a bit the idea behind chassis, I decided to make three different classes which are pretty much alignment-swapped versions of the Paladin, to show how the class can be modified while keeping similar traits. If you want, you can add the Blackguard abilities to the vanilla Paladin and just limit them by alignment, or if you want you can simply use the 2-alignment format presented in the Paladin to limit the class to specific alignments.


    BLACKGUARD
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    The Black Knight; artist unknown. Original can be seen here.


    "Evil? What of it? Evil is not a bad thing, as you think. Look at nature: tempests, calamities, beasts out for your blood...is nature evil? No, nature does what it has to do. Cities are but an extension of that nature; cruel, callous, unforgiving. Evil is not delving into lower impulses. It is merely standing ahead of the curve. And in my case, I have gone above and beyond that curve. So you have two options: be a slave, or be the master. And I for sure don't intend to be the slave." - Alphons von Kreutzpfeld, human blackguard, speaking to survivors of his latest attack.

    MAKING A BLACKGUARD
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    ABILITIES: Being a mirror image of the Paladin, the Blackguard uses Strength, Constitution and Charisma as his main stats. Charisma is just as important to the Blackguard as to the Paladin, while Strength is less necessary because the Blackguard has a focus towards dealing as much damage as possible through alternate means.
    For those that think Wisdom should be a bit more important, see the Serenity/Intuition Alternate Class Feature, which replaces Charisma-based abilities with Wisdom, later in the thread.
    RACES: Much like the Paladin, the Blackguard favors a race that works with Charisma or Strength. While the loss of Constitution and the level adjustment might seem a bit counter-intuitive, Drow make reasonably good Blackguards with a more lightly armored bent, and provide strong spell resistance that covers towards anything. Few other savage races might follow the path of the Blackguard unless they are half-fiends or tainted by evil, although strong races with a bent towards evil such as Hobgoblins might take the mantle.
    ALIGNMENT: Any evil. This is a take on the chassis while using three alignments, unlike the Paladin which takes two. A Blackguard tends to be mostly lawful, but Chaotic Evil Blackguards serve as powerful leaders of armies, using their innate abilities to whip soldiers into service.
    STARTING GOLD: As PHB Paladin
    STARTING AGE: As PHB Paladin


    Class Skills
    The blackguard class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Bluff (Cha), Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Intimidate (Cha), Knowledge (history) (Int), Knowledge (nobility and royalty) (Int), Knowledge (religion) (Int), Perform (Cha), Profession (Wis), Ride (Dex) and Sense Motive (Wis)
    Skill Points at 1st Level: (4 + Int modifier) x4.
    Skill Points at Each Additional Level: 4 + Int modifier.

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    Roughly the same amount of skills as the Retooled Paladin, but Bluff replaces Diplomacy in this case. A Blackguard will be expected to lie to his heart's content, although bluffing is usually considered a chaotic trait. Between Bluff and Intimidate, there is little (if no) need for Diplomacy.


    Hit Die: d12

    THE BLACKGUARD
    Level Base Attack Bonus Fort Save Ref Save Will Save Special 0 1st 2nd 3rd 4th
    1st +1
    +2
    0
    +2
    Aura of evil, smite good 1/encounter 2
    2nd +2
    +3
    0
    +3
    Bonus feat, Diehard, profane might 2
    3rd +3
    +3
    +1
    +3
    Fiendish aura, instill fear 3 0
    4th +4
    +4
    +1
    +4
    Rebuke undead, thrive within pain (Intimidate checks) 3 0
    5th +5
    +4
    +1
    +4
    Smite good 2/encounter, improved smite 3 1
    6th +6/+1
    +5
    +2
    +5
    Bonus Feat, necrotic punishment 3 1
    7th +7/+2
    +5
    +2
    +5
    Vampiric touch 4 1 0
    8th +8/+3
    +6
    +2
    +6
    Mettle 4 2 0
    9th +9/+4
    +6
    +3
    +6
    Fiendish aura, thrive within pain (damage rolls) 4 2 1
    10th +10/+5
    +7
    +3
    +7
    Bonus Feat, smite good 3/encounter 4 2 1
    11th +11/+6/+1
    +7
    +3
    +7
    Dark blessing 5 2 1 0
    12th +12/+7/+2
    +8
    +4
    +8
    Fiendish absorption 5 3 2 1
    13th +13/+8/+3
    +8
    +4
    +8
    Improved mettle 5 3 2 1
    14th +14/+9/+4
    +9
    +4
    +9
    Bonus feat, thrive within pain (saving throw DCs) 5 3 2 2 0
    15th +15/+10/+5
    +9
    +5
    +9
    Fiendish aura, smite good 4/encounter, devastating smite 5 3 3 2 1
    16th +16/+11/+6/+1
    +10
    +5
    +10
    Profane resistance 5 4 3 2 1
    17th +17/+12/+7/+2
    +10
    +5
    +10
    Undying 5 4 3 3 2
    18th +18/+13/+8/+3
    +11
    +6
    +11
    Bonus Feat, undeath's blessing 5 4 4 3 2
    19th +19/+14/+9/+4
    +11
    +6
    +11
    Thrive within pain (death throes) 5 4 4 3 3
    20th +20/+15/+10/+5
    +12
    +6
    +12
    Villain of legend, smite good 5/encounter 5 4 4 3 3

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    Again, a mirror image of the Paladin, with most of the "good" stuff having an evil counterpart. A few changes, though, exist: Blackguards don't heal themselves or deal static damage, but instead deal a form of dynamic damage with their touch. Some of the latter abilities also have a change.

    However, the focus is meant to be different. The Paladin and the Blackguard are both leaders, but while the Paladin is a protector and a team player, the Blackguard is slightly more individualistic, a solo warrior. It can definitely play in a party, but it will seek to always be number one.


    Class Features
    All of the following are class features of the blackguard.
    Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Blackguards are proficient with all simple and martial weapons, with all kinds of armor (heavy, medium and light), and with all kinds of shields.

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    There is little difference in this area, though blackguards could use some sort of aid. I'm thinking about granting them proficiency in an exotic weapon, since they might make better use of that trait. Besides, they lack the Paladin's Merciful ability, so...


    Aura of Good (Ex): The power of a blackguard’s aura of evil (see the detect evil spell) is equal to his blackguard level, just like the aura of a cleric of an evil deity. Unlike the aura ability below, this aura is always active.

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    No change. Except that instead of dazzling or dazing evil creatures, the Blackguard has an aura that makes heroes shudder.


    Spells: A blackguard casts divine spells, which are drawn from the cleric spell list plus a few spells added to the list below. A blackguard can cast any spell he knows without preparing it ahead of time.
    To learn or cast a spell, a blackguard must have a Charisma score equal to at least 10 + the spell level. The Difficulty Class for a saving throw against a blackguard’s spell is 10 + the spell level + the blackguard’s Charisma modifier. Like other spellcasters, a blackguard can cast only a certain number of spells of each spell level per day. His base daily spell allotment is given on Table: The Blackguard. In addition, he receives bonus spells per day if he has a high Charisma score. When Table: The Blackguard indicates that the blackguard gets 0 spells per day of a given spell level, he gains only the bonus spells he would be entitled to based on his Charisma score for that spell level. The blackguard does not have access to any domain spells or granted powers as a cleric does.
    A blackguard casts spells the same way a bard or sorcerer does, except his spells are divine in origin and thus he may cast them in any kind of armor. A blackguard may learn (and cast) any spell on the cleric spell list (see Player’s Handbook), with the following restrictions: a blackguard may not learn or cast a spell that has the good or light descriptor, nor he can cast spells that are opposed to his ethical alignment; lawful evil blackguards may not cast chaotic spells, and chaotic evil blackguards may not cast lawful spells. A blackguard, however, may learn and cast spells that are not available on the cleric spell list and that are unique to him. The spells that he may cast alongside those within the cleric spell list appear below.
    Upon reaching 8th level, once per week and at every three class levels he gains, a blackguard can choose to learn a new spell in place of one he already knows. The new spell’s level must be the same as that of the spell being exchanged. A blackguard may swap only a single spell at any given moment, and must choose whether or not to swap the spell at the same time that he gains new spells known for the specified level.

    Table: Blackguard spells known
    Level 0 1st 2nd 3rd 4th
    1st 2
    2nd 2
    3rd 3 11
    4th 3 2
    5th 3 2
    6th 3 3
    7th 4 3 11
    8th 4 3 2
    9th 4 4 2
    10th 4 4 3
    11th 5 4 3 21
    12th 5 4 3 2
    13th 5 5 4 3
    14th 5 5 4 3 21
    15th 6 5 4 3 2
    16th 6 5 4 4 3
    17th 6 5 5 4 3
    18th 6 6 5 4 4
    19th 7 6 5 5 4
    20th 7 6 5 5 5
    1 Provided the blackguard has sufficient Charisma to have a bonus spell of this level.

    As noted above, a blackguard need not prepare his spells in advance. He can cast any spell he knows at any time, assuming he has not yet used up his allotment of spells per day for the spell’s level.

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    Using the same format as the Paladin and the Bez-Kismet, except that they get all the evil spells. In fact, they get quite a lot of good spells out of the mix, if only because they get more spells than the Paladin does. They get Cure Wounds and Inflict Wounds spells, for example.

    The format also explains how could a Paladin expand their class list a bit, in case Chaotic Good Paladins come into existence; out with Law spells, add all Chaotic spells. Really, not that hard to work with.


    Smite Good (Su): A blackguard gains the ability to smite creatures with the good alignment. Treat as if the smite evil ability of the paladin, except the blackguard affects only good creatures and must choose from the following effects:
    Terrifying: the blackguard’s smite instills fear upon the creature. A creature that fails its Will save becomes panicked for a number of rounds equal to half the blackguard's class level; a successful save merely causes the creature to become shaken. If the creature is already shaken or frightened, the fear state worsens by one step (shaken creatures become frightened, frightened creatures become panicked) and the extra damage of the smite worsens (1.5 times the blackguard’s level if frightened, twice the blackguard’s level if panicked).
    Vicious: the blackguard deals brutal damage without regard to his own safety. The smite deals twice the amount of damage; however, the blackguard takes damage equal to his own level in exchange.
    Weakening: the blackguard’s smite weakens the vitality of creatures. Creatures struck by the smite must make a Fortitude save or take one point of Strength and Constitution damage (but take no hit point damage from the smite), otherwise, it takes negative energy damage equal to the blackguard’s class level. Regardless if the creature succeeds on the saving throw, the creature is left fatigued for a number of rounds equal to the blackguard’s class level afterwards. Fatigued creatures that are struck by this smite are exhausted instead.

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    While so far most of the stuff is similar to the Retooled Paladin, here's the first wild divergence. Most of the Paladin's debuffs are pretty soft in nature; the debuffs of the Blackguard are severe. Increased damage with a smite might not seem much but later on it becomes even better; fear is always a strong debuffer and having creatures panic with a failed Will save is just strong. Weakening, however, takes the cake; it requires a Fortitude save, but it deals both hit point damage, ability damage, AND fatigue or exhaustion. Each smite gets better as the levels progress, much like with Paladins.

    UPDATE: The Blackguard's smites are also based on Strength now, not Charisma. Also: you can choose higher level smites or gain another of these smites at higher levels.


    Bonus Feat: At 2nd level, and every four levels after that, a blackguard gains a bonus feat in addition to those he obtains by means of improving levels. These bonus feats must be drawn from the feats noted as fighter bonus feats, divine feats or domain feats. A blackguard must still meet the prerequisites for a bonus feat, as usual. For purposes of fighter level prerequisites, a blackguard is considered to have a fighter level equal to his blackguard level -4.

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    The blackguard could use more feats, so here they are. For the military expert or cultist enforcer or even paragon of the evil gods. Same as Paladin, they can get divine feats or domain feats, of course except for the Good Devotion feat.


    Diehard: At 2nd level, a blackguard gains the Diehard feat as a bonus feat. He does not need to meet the prerequisites of this feat to acquire it.

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    Same as Paladin. The harder it is to kill the Blackguard, the better.


    Profane Might (Ex): A 2nd level blackguard may add his Charisma modifier to all damage rolls when wielding a shield. If he wields a tower shield, he may add the modifier to her attack rolls as well.

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    Same as Paladin, in case the blackguard wants to properly use a shield. Still, the Blackguard gets a better benefit from being an offender, so...


    Instill Fear (Ex): At 2nd level, a blackguard that becomes struck with fear may reflect this effect towards another creature. The blackguard is still suffering from the fear effect, but he feigns courage as long as someone else fears him. A blackguard that suffers a fear effect may use the Intimidate skill on an opponent as a immediate action that does not provoke attacks of opportunity, regardless if he made the saving throw or not. Treat this as if using the demoralize effect of Intimidate, except that if the creature fails its level check, the creature suffers the fear effect as if it had failed the save (no saving throw allowed) and the blackguard suppresses the penalties provided by the fear effect while it remains in course. If the creature suffering the fear effect negates this condition (such as by receiving the effect of a remove fear spell), the blackguard immediately resumes his fear condition so as long as the effect is still active. If the blackguard receives the benefit of a spell or ability that negates this condition, the creature remains under the fear effect and the backlash effect is negated.

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    I feel particularly proud of this ability. Aura of Despair being no more, and Aura of Courage turned into a divine aura, I needed something to counter the Paladin's divine courage. I wanted something that was the antithesis of courage, and that is obviously fear. However, I wanted the Blackguard to show a false idea of courage, where he was evidently immune to fear but at the same time debuffing. And, oddly enough, making a counter out of fear was just icing on the cake.

    The idea is, if an enemy manages to make you scare your pants off (by means of Intimidate, frightful presence or fear spells/abilities/feats), the Blackguard can use it as a weapon. A Blackguard knows fear, and knows how dangerous can fear is; thus, he acts like the mother of all bullies by forcing a creature to take that fear. While the other guy is scared, he's not affected by that fear; however, if the other guy fights that fear, then things go real wrong. Particularly this clashes with the Paladin's divine courage, as perhaps the Blackguard may fight with a group and order his minions to attack the Paladin that's scared with fear, hoping that the Paladin doesn't overcome his fear and screws him up. It makes for a very tasty tension. Making it Intimidate-based is much nicer, because it gives a Blackguard a reason why to have Intimidate in full force.


    Fiendish Aura (Su): A blackguard channels the power of his fiendish patrons through his body. Treat as the paladin’s divine aura ability, except that the auras are replaced as follows (and thus, affect all enemies instead of the blackguard and his allies, unless otherwise noted) and use the blackguard's Strength modifier instead.
    Covetous: reduces healing in area by an amount equal to Strength modifier, and be healed of damage equal to amount stolen. Stolen healing energy applies to blackguard only. Fast healing and/or regenerate are not reduced. When wielding a two-handed weapon, reduce healing in area (and heal damage) by an amount equal to 1-1/2 times the Strength modifier plus the weapon's enhancement bonus.
    Cowardice: morale penalty on saving throws vs. fear; morale penalty on attack rolls and damage rolls if under a fear effect. If wielding a two-handed weapon, impose a penalty on Armor Class equal to the weapon's enhancement bonus.
    Cruelty: deals damage equal to the blackguard’s Strength modifier every round to all creatures (allies or enemies, except the blackguard) within area. If allies take damage from this ability, they gain a morale bonus on weapon damage rolls equal to the blackguard's Strength modifier. When wielding a two-handed weapon, the damage dealt is instead 1-1/2 times the Strength modifier plus the weapon's enhancement bonus.
    Desecration: profane bonus on rebuking checks against undead and affected HD equal to the blackguard’s Strength modifier. The effect also applies to effects that act as turning (but not divine feats), but against good-aligned creatures only. Profane bonus on attack rolls, damage rolls and saves against deathless and good outsiders equal to the blackguard's Strength modifier. If using a two-handed weapon, the damage bonus is instead equal to 1-1/2 times the blackguard's Strength modifier plus the weapon's enhancement bonus.
    Vengeance: returns damage from melee attack to enemy equal to damage or twice the Str modifier (whichever is lower); blackguard or ally is healed an amount equal to Strength modifier. When wielding a two-handed weapon, damage returned is equal to 1-1/2 times the Strength modifier plus the weapon's enhancement bonus.

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    This is what I mean when I speak of the Blackguard being an individualistic ally but still a decent team player. Cowardice is the antithesis of Courage, with applying further morale penalties to attack rolls, penalties to damage rolls, and saves against fear; it also works as a successor to Aura of Despair, whose effect was strong but not very potent. Covetous is a nice trick, which has the Blackguard stealing HP from healers, including stuff like Crusader's healing strikes or similar abilities, although not healing over time abilities. Cruelty is the rough equivalent of having Acid Arrow hitting you every round, and that damage accumulates real fast (specifically if you're dealing your Charisma modifier in damage EACH ROUND). Desecration is the antithesis of Consecration, but it also affects abilities based on rebuke undead against good creatures (such as, I dunno, say, divine feats that require increased turning checks...well, I don't seem to recall any, but i know they're there! Like...Blackwater Invocation, yeah!). Vengeance takes the cake once again, because it's Retribution's big brother; not only does it returns part of the damage, it also heals you or an ally (hey, that's real nice!) in exchange. So you can take damage and heal a minion, or reduce part of the damage yourself.

    UPDATE: Since the Fiendish auras are offensive in origin, they use the Strength modifier. This makes them different from Paladins who use Constitution. Applied bonus based on two-handed weapons.


    Rebuke Undead (Su): At 4th level, a blackguard gains the ability to rebuke undead. He may use this ability a number of times per day equal to 3 + his Charisma modifier. He rebukes undead as a cleric of three levels lower would (see Turn or Rebuke Undead, PHB 159)

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    Yup, rebuke. In case they wanna manipulate undead, along with Aura of Desecrate and whatnot. Or power divine feats, for example.


    Thrive within Pain (Ex/Su): At 4th level, a blackguard revels in the glory of battle. Some may delve into the macabre pleasure of pain, others may whip themselves into fury at the fear of death, and others simply enjoy the feeling of having opponents drive them to their limits. Whatever is the cause, a blackguard close to death is a fearsome opponent.

    At 4th level, if a blackguard is taken to less than half of his maximum Hit Points, it gains a bonus on Intimidate checks equal to half his class level. At 9th level, he adds his Charisma to his damage rolls while within the same condition. At 14th level, he adds his Charisma to the saving throw DCs of his smite abilities, and his Strength modifier to the saving throw DCs of all blackguard spells (but not spells from another class) or racial spell-like abilities while under half his maximum hit points.

    At 19th level, if a blackguard is slain, he explodes in a maelstrom of evil energy. All good creatures within the range of the blackguard's fiendish aura must make a Reflex saving throw or take an amount of damage equal to the blackguard's class level plus the blackguard's Strength modifier; if the blackguard chose the vicious smite good class feature, the damage is instead equal to the damage dealt by this ability. The saving throw for this ability is equal to 10 + half the blackguard's class level + the blackguard's Strength and Charisma modifiers (plus any abilities that modify smite; the Charisma bonus granted by this ability is already included). A successful save reduces the damage to half. Neutral creatures gain a +5 bonus on their saves against this ability but are otherwise affected as if good creatures. Upon doing so, the blackguard's body is turned to dust, and requires a true resurrection or miracle spell to return to life.

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    [NEW]Again, exchanging the blackguard's fearsome wings for something equally fearsome. Bloodying the blackguard seems like a horribly bad idea right about now. Of course, this is stand within adversity's evil twin, reinforcing the blackguard's offensive abilities when under low hit points.

    The main changes are the bonus to damage rolls (with that huge amount of Charisma, you'll deal quite a bit of damage with it), the increased saves (so you can save your spells until later on, and all of a sudden drop a DC 25 spell when nobody expects it), and the death throes.

    Yes, even in death, the blackguard is a bastard. Let's face it: what's the most dangerous thing about killing a balor? Well...actually killing it, because everything within 100 ft. gets vaporized. This is less dangerous, but makes vicious such a nice alternative because that's basically close to 100 points of damage. Reflex is the only way to get saved, or being evil, and of couse, when facing a blackguard, having evil minions who can finish the job for you is pretty easy to get. If not, well...just create a few!


    Improved Smite (Su): At 5th level, a blackguard’s ability to smite improves. A blackguard may choose another method of smiting from those presented at 1st level or improve his existing smite.
    Terrifying: the blackguard’s fear effect may not be resisted. A creature’s bonus to fear effects are negated for purposes of this smites secondary effect. Creatures immune to fear may be affected, but gain a bonus to fear saves equal to half their Hit Dice; this bonus is an exception to the negation ability of the smite.
    Vicious: the blackguard’s damage extends to other creatures. Any creature within 30 feet of the stricken ally (whether it is an ally or an enemy) must make a Reflex save or take damage as if it were stricken by the smite. The blackguard still takes damage equal to his blackguard class level.
    Weakening: the blackguard’s smite damage becomes irresistible, and the secondary effects worsen. A creature that fails his Fortitude save takes 1d3 points of Strength and Constitution damage, and immunity to ability damage does not reduce this damage. Regardless if the creature succeeds on the saving throw, the creature is exhausted.

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    Much like the Paladin gains gains a boost to their smites, the Blackguard also gains a benefit to their smites. Terrifying enables even creatures immune to fear (!!) to be affected by a fear effect; however, the ability needs more explanation. For example; assume the Paladin has Aura of Courage active, and thus provides all allies with a bonus against fear saves. Or the Bard is singing, inspiring courage with Song of the Heart, Words of Creation, Inspirational Boost and a base +2 to saves. When the Blackguard smites, that bonus against fear effects is gone. They are only protected by their Will save, and if they fail, they're panicked. Now, assume you're trying to fight a baelnorn (a good lich; unless you wanna fight a deathless?) and you need to paralyze him with fear; the baelnorn's undead traits make him immune to fear, but the blackguard's fear is easily understood; the baelnorn will have a solid resistance, but if he fails his Will save (and there's always a 5% that he'll fail), he'll be panicked. Meaning his spells, his traits and whatnot are halted, period. Of course, the stronger they are the higher their save; however, if the Blackguard stacks penalties to Will saves, he may make the bravest creature spoil their pants in fear. Except maybe Paladins; they don't get immunities, but they overcome that fear. See how courage really IS mastery of fear, not the absence of it?

    Vicious becomes even better; it becomes an area damage, where all enemies take damage equal to your smite damage (which means twice your level; higher if critical!). Also, it makes it the Reflex save smite, in case you didn't notice. Weakening is even MORE powerful, because bypassing immunity to ability damage AND becoming exhausted definitely puts a dent on ANY character. If it's good. Which...essentially means that unless you can convert your smite into good (and there ARE ways!), you'll be looking for other ways to overcome your enemy. Still; if you're fighting a good creature, it IS screwed.


    Bonus Feat: At 6th level, and every four levels after that, a blackguard gains a bonus feat in addition to those he obtains by means of improving levels. These bonus feats must be drawn from the feats noted as fighter bonus feats, divine feats or domain feats. A blackguard must still meet the prerequisites for a bonus feat, as usual. For purposes of fighter level prerequisites, a blackguard is considered to have a fighter level equal to his blackguard level -4.

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    The blackguard could use more feats, so here they are. For the military expert or cultist enforcer or even paragon of the evil gods. Same as Paladin, they can get divine feats or domain feats, of course except for the Good Devotion feat.


    Necrotic Punishment (Su): At 6th level whenever a blackguard is using his fiendish aura, if an enemy creature makes a melee or ranged attack against an ally within the range of the aura, it takes damage equal to half the blackguard’s class level. This damage applies only once per round per enemy creature, as if the blackguard was using an attack of opportunity (but does not consume the blackguard’s attack of opportunity; abilities such as Combat Reflexes do not increase the number of uses per round). This damage is negative energy damage; thus, it heals undead. If the enemy creature attacks only the blackguard, the creature takes no damage from this ability.

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    For all the nice stuff the blackguard gets, they need something to cancel it out. This is basically divine punishment, except that undead creatures can heal themselves by punching themselves out to submission. Bad idea when fighting undead, good idea when your minions are undead.


    Vampiric Touch (Sp): At 7th level, the blackguard gains the ability to drain the lifeforce of creatures he touches. Treat as if the vampiric touch spell, but the blackguard is healed of actual hit point damage equal to the amount of damage dealt (instead of gaining the damage as temporary hit points), and his caster level for this ability is equal to half his blackguard’s class level. He may use this ability a number of times per day equal to his Charisma modifier.

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    Pretty limited, but not that much. Basically, instead of giving a Lay on Harms, I decided to apply a necromantic spell and give it a different whirl; Vampiric Touch. Thus, while you do between 6 to 60 points of damage (an average of 3.5 to 35 based on your class level), you deal damage AND heal yourself for that amount. Since you can treat it as the Vampiric Touch spell, you can use a Bloodstone weapon with it, with a single difference; you heal yourself instead of gaining temporary hit points. Yes, HEAL. That means you can put one of your daily vampiric touches on a bloodstone weapon and make an attack that allows you to heal yourself as if using an empowered Vampiric Touch spell (wink, wink!)


    Mettle (Ex): Beginning at 8th level, if a blackguard makes a successful Will or Fortitude save that would normally reduce the save’s effect, he suffers no effect from the spell at all. Only those spells with a saving throw entry of “partial” or “half” are affected by this ability, and only for purposes of Will and/or Fortitude saves with these descriptors.

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    Same as Paladin, same as other tanks of mine. Mettle needs more love, you know...


    Dark Blessing (Ex): At 11th level, a blackguard gains a bonus equal to his Charisma bonus (if any) on all saving throws.

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    Evil Divine Grace. I know, bear with me on this one; it's not like the ORIGINAL Blackguard didn't have it.


    Fiendish Absorption (Su): At 12th level whenever a blackguard is using his fiendish aura, it may deactivate the effect and instead apply this ability. Any enemy spellcaster that casts a spell that targets any of the blackguard’s allies within the area of the blackguard’s fiendish aura must make a caster level check (equal to the 10 plus the blackguard's class level plus his Strength and Charisma modifier) or have the spell be absorbed by the blackguard. The blackguard may either use the energy to heal itself (curing an amount of hit points equal to twice the spell’s level), increase the effect of the next spell cast by him (adding the absorbed spell’s level to the caster level or Difficulty Class of the spell), or gain a bonus equal to the level of the spell absorbed in attack rolls and damage rolls until the end of his turn. Spells cast upon the blackguard are not absorbed. A blackguard may absorb a number of spell levels equal to half his class level, and may only absorb spells, powers, invocations or mysteries (if cast as spells)

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    If the Paladin and the Bez-Kismet have ways to annoy spellcasters, the Blackguard will make even the most vile of all liches hate his guts. It's already bad that the spell has no effect; to have the spell actually ENHANCE the Blackguard is just abusive. And, the only one that can really be affected is the Blackguard when casting a spell, so... The fact that psionic powers, invocations AND mysteries (but not all mysteries) can be absorbed simply makes the Blackguard ANNOYING after level 12th. The only benefit is that it deactivates the other auras, so you don't have a Blackguard who's pestering you with damage over time AND just happens to cancel your spell and turn it into lifeforce or bonuses to his attacks.


    Improved Mettle (Ex): At 13th level, a blackguard’s mettle ability improves. He still takes no effect on a successful Will or Fortitude save that has the “partial” or “half” descriptor, but henceforth he takes only the partial effect or half the damage on a failed save.

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    ...AAAAAAND Improved Mettle needs some love as well.


    Devastating Smite (Su): At 15th level, a blackguard’s smite good ability acquires a powerful new effect. As usual, a blackguard may choose a new method of smiting or improve existing smites to their next degree of power.
    Terrifying: the blackguard’s smite literally kills its target out of fear. If the smitten creature fails its Will save, it dies instantly. Creatures that succeed on the saving throw may not be affected by the death effect of this smite for the next 24 hours. Creatures immune to fear are immune to this ability (but not to the fear effect of the smite; see above). A creature takes a -2 penalty on this save if frightened, and a -4 penalty on this save if panicked; this penalty stacks with the penalty to saving throws of the shaken fear effect.
    Vicious: a blackguard may sacrifice hit points to intensify the damage dealt by his smite. By each hit point of damage he willingly takes, his smite deals two extra points of damage. So as long as one hit point is sacrificed, all creatures within 30 feet of the smitten creature take full damage on a failed Reflex save, and half damage on a successful save.
    Weakening: the damage dealt by the blackguard’s smite becomes potentially lethal. A creature that fails its Fortitude save takes 1d6 points of Strength and Constitution drain (but still take no hit point damage) which ignores immunity to ability drain; furthermore, the creature is nauseated for a number of rounds equal to half the blackguard’s class level. A failed save causes one point of Strength and Constitution damage (which can be resisted by immunity to ability damage) and the creature is exhausted regardless of the saving throw result.

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    Weakening is the king of all smites, accept it. Though Terrifying is pretty nice, and Vicious works very nice with a Bloodstone weapon, don't you think?

    Terrifying is basically Phantasmal Killer usable per encounter. It is a literal save or die, probably the ONLY save or die amongst the smites in the retoolings of Paladin and friends (and enemies). What's worse is the penalty on people that are already scared, which is potentially lethal. A panicked character is pretty much dead, so why not do it in style?

    Vicious allows you to sacrifice even MORE HP to deal increased damage, and also to all enemies around you. The backlash damage will be intense (though, to clarify: you take the original backlash damage, so you'd take between 2 to 40 points of damage PLUS the HP you sacrifice, not 100 points of damage because you sacrificed 20 and the attack dealt like 80 points of damage). However, when you can deal massive amounts of damage on all allies with only a moderate expenditure of lifeforce, you know you have a strong smite on your hands. Or so I hope.

    But Weakening...damn, that's brutal. 1d6 Str/Con drain? Immunity to ability drain? And NAUSEATED afterwards? If the guy isn't dead, he'll be soon, as taking an amount of point between one time and three times its HD can be pretty devastating, plus exhaustion and nausea will keep it locked real good.

    So yeah, this should be the idea of devastating. Now that I think of it, Paladins have it real easy...they need their smites buffed up a bit.


    Profane Resistance (Su): At 16th level, a blackguard gains the ability to further resist the spells of good creatures. He gains spell resistance equal to 15 + the blackguard’s class level, but only against spells with the good descriptor or any spell cast by characters of good alignment, clerics of good deities, deathless creatures (but not undead), or good outsiders.

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    Yup, Divine Resistance (aka spell resistance) but against good creatures. This can be a bit more harmful than it sounds, but Blackguards will rarely associate with good creatures, and there's always neutral clerics that will agree to assist.


    Undying (Ex): At 17th level, a blackguard becomes capable of fighting even when his forces fail him, beyond where others could stand. A blackguard is never considered disabled or staggered, even if he has less than 0 hit points or his nonlethal damage exceeds his current hit point total. Furthermore, he may continue to fight even if he has less than -10 hit points, but only to an amount of negative hit points equal to 10 plus half his character level plus his Constitution modifier. Instant death effects and attacks that destroy the body still affect the blackguard if successful.

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    And, much like Paladins, they are tough to beat. Fighting like nothing until, for example, -25 hit points and having ways to recover themselves makes for a tough cookie to beat. Paladins are nigh undefeatable, but blackguards really kick it up a notch.

    UPDATE: Probably one of the few things that Blackguards get that depends on Constitution. Really, they seem to depend more on Strength and Charisma than Constitution...


    Undeath’s Blessing (Su): At 18th level, a blackguard acquires a special attunement to negative energy. He is treated as an undead in terms of spells that deal negative energy damage or energy drain, but only takes half the benefits (thus, heals half the damage dealt with an inflict spell, for example, but takes no further damage).

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    Sorta like Divine Health, but geared towards negative energy. It's very late, but the ability to be treated as an undead makes it pretty strong. Still, a Necropolitan achieved this eons ago, so it's not THAT powerful, but coupled with the next ability, it just MIGHT.


    Villain of Legend: At 20th level, a blackguard becomes a fearsome villain, and his place in legend allows him to transcend his mortal condition. He is forevermore treated as a native outsider (unless he is already treated as one), gains the evil subtype, and gains damage reduction X/epic and good, where X is equal to half his class level.

    Spoiler
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    So, basically, you're an outsider with wings of darkness, but ALSO with undead traits. Again: outsider with undead traits. So they get a nice suite of immunities, even if late, but they STILL benefit from positive energy healing and buffing. So the Blackguard is just as hard to crack as the Paladin, but it's a much more formidable solo character because it has ways to drain energy, much more lethal smites and much larger suite of protections.


    Blackguard Spells

    The following spells are exclusive or enhanced to the blackguard:
    1st—cause fear**, corrupt weapon*, false life**, ray of enfeeblement**
    2nd—air walk-, crushing despair**, mount**, ray of exhaustion**, scare**
    3rd—enervation**, fear**, phantom steed**, poison-
    4th—dispel good-, eyebite**, righteous might**, unholy blight-, waves of fatigue**

    The following spells are denied to the blackguard:
    0—purify food and drink
    1st—bless, sanctuary
    2nd—calm emotions, gentle repose
    3rd—create food and water, glyph of warding, meld into stone, searing light, stone shape
    4th—giant vermin, imbue with spell ability

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    Much like what I did with the Paladin and the Bez-Kismet, the Blackguard has access to all spells of the Cleric, except for a small list. Refer to the Paladin spell list and its corresponding commentary for further explanation of the method.

    In this case, having a much larger list of spells they can choose (because of the fewer restrictions, such as necromancy spells and summoning spells), the spells that have to be removed must be some that would be commonly used for good OR peace. That's why Sanctuary and Call Emotions are gone. Stuff that provides bounty are also bad choices, so Purify/Create Food and Water are also gone. Bless is there since they get no bane, although they do get Aid and they get Prayer in any case (and eventually Mass Aid, if they want to). And Searing Light because they use darkness, not light, most of the times; oddly enough, the spell has no light descriptor, so it has to be added "manually".

    So, aside from that, they get a huge load of spells. Again, if there's a need to cut some more fat from their spell list, consider which spells the Blackguard already has, and whatever doesn't fit the list has to go. However, they have a bit more leverage on spells because some of the spells there are from the arcane necromancy school, which has a lot of nice spells to add.


    Again; this is a work in progress, but feel free to debate on the matter. I should cover Justiciar and Anarch later on, as well as attempt to do and post Liberator as an example of a one-alignment kind using the divine warrior chassis. You have two classes to compare, and the others are similar in most means but have abilities that work entirely different.
    Last edited by T.G. Oskar; 2014-04-11 at 07:31 PM. Reason: Fixing the tables
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    Default Re: Project Heretica - not just a Paladin retooling

    Can you spoiler the pictures?

    Also: I've been quietly waiting for stuff to comment on, and you've presented it. I'll read through this later. For now, know I've got you on watch so when you post a topic I get a nifty little PM.

    (The watch involves my little brother, but, yeah.)

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    Default Re: Project Heretica - not just a Paladin retooling

    Oskar, you've blown me away again. I loved the Warmage, Ranger, and Bez-Kismet, and now I love the Paladin/Blackguard. I have nothing to add to this magnificent piece of art; I wish only to let you know that you have a fan.
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    Default Re: Project Heretica - not just a Paladin retooling

    Ok wow. T.G., you keep smacking me in the gob with delicious victory like this. How do you do it, T.G.?

    Now I need to try this one out, keep testing your fine work out.

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    Default Re: Project Heretica - not just a Paladin retooling

    Best paladin redux I've ever seen. You have cool abilities, but retain Paladin flavor. You have auras, but don't make them complicated.
    And you smite system is powerful enough to make ninjas weep.

    For an example of something that was once a paladin's code . . a long time ago, in a naive and idealistic world, look here. Obviously, I didn't make it, but it's awesome in a different way.
    Your paladin smites evil, and moves on.
    His crusader disfigures it, and lets it sit in pain.
    Awesomely detailed avatar by Derjuin!

    Started paying attention to GitP again after 2+ years of not enough time. When I stopped I abandoned a PbP or two, I apologize.

    Old Homebrew that now slightly embarrasses me:
    Magician class (Bartimaeus).
    A WoW-ish/4e-ish revision of 3.5/PF races.

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    Default Re: Project Heretica - not just a Paladin retooling

    The problem I find with the "invincible" moto for a Paladin is that practically it doesn't give the right feeling to the player in most cases.

    Your thought is that the Paladin needs to survive because he will no retreat like a coward. He will face any evil enemy and risk his life to do his duty.
    But he can also act as any Good character with the addition of being invincible. He can risk a bit more since he knows he has very high defenses.

    It is as you said, if you don't feel fear you won't be courageous!
    This will certainly apply to the players that control the character. Kind of jeopardizing the whole idea.

    The solution is to force players to play a character as intended. Fluff-wise this can be done by forcing a strong "code of honor". This is nice, but you have to consider that you play as a party, not a solo character. Going into missions that noone else would go it not practical if your companions won't join you.

    Instead of that I prefer a more flexible code of honor but rely on good mechanics to make the player feel the essence of a Paladin. The method is to base the Paladin's power on his courage, the way he addresses his code of honor, his faith in his role etc.
    The can be done with Faith Points, with Moral Points or any other point system where you get points if you act accordingly.

    For example, consider giving him a less powerful but at-will Smite Evil. You make the player focus on Evil creatures. If they are 2 Evil creatures and 5 Neutral, if you have it per encounter, he will (yes) smite 1 Evil one, but after its dead, he can go to the next "strategical" target. Which might be Neutral. Where if it was continuous you kind of "push" the player to smite Evil and then focus on the consider the strategy of the battle...

    Now, consider gaining a Courage Point whenever you succeed on a save that could have killed you. Consider a Courageous point can be spend to re-roll a save with a bonus.
    Compare that of getting 25% increase on your save and some immunities against death.
    The first means that if you are facing near death experiences you are granted higher chances of surviving. If you not, then you are just a normal warrior.
    The second means that you are generally powerful regardless the situation.

    Consider giving him a bonus related on the CR being faced...

    All the above are just examples on how you can make a point system or abilities that are augmented when the challenge is augmented.

    In other words, unlike a Wizard which personally gains power and can use that power as she wishes, a Paladin gains power only to use it for a Higher Purpose. If she was to use it just to win a duel, that power won't be granted to her.

    Concluding: You award the courage of players, you buff their character against powerful enemies, you make them focus on their code because they will get awarded if they do so.
    Result: Players are more likely to play the way you describe a Paladin.

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    Default Re: Project Heretica - not just a Paladin retooling

    I have a major problem with these classes - namely, the non-optional wings.

    My favorite paladin of all time was an old curmudgeon, a retired warrior in his 70s that was stepping back onto the battlefield because the world needed heroes again. Had this paladin fix been the default version found in the books, imagining my wrinkled soldier prancing about with a pair of angelic wings to go with his walking stick would have tuned me off the concept completely.

    A lot of your base classes are built with a very specific character concept in mind, instead of remembering that heroes (and hell, even villains) come in all shapes and sizes.

    Necrotic Punishment also really bothers me. It just seems so utterly random and irrational - can you imagine a Blackguard leading an army of undead onto a city, with the instructions that 'if you get wounded, just come back here and punch me a few times?'

    Also note that your Blackguard's Fiendish Aura is listed as Aura of Good (Ex) in the descriptions below.

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    Default Re: Project Heretica - not just a Paladin retooling

    I love this. Very nice. I will be watching.

    @The concept above me
    What are you doing playing this class? Take a martial class instead. Soldier from playswithfire fits the old man warrior concept better.

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    Default Re: Project Heretica - not just a Paladin retooling

    Quote Originally Posted by Dust View Post
    I have a major problem with these classes - namely, the non-optional wings.

    My favorite paladin of all time was an old curmudgeon, a retired warrior in his 70s that was stepping back onto the battlefield because the world needed heroes again. Had this paladin fix been the default version found in the books, imagining my wrinkled soldier prancing about with a pair of angelic wings to go with his walking stick would have tuned me off the concept completely.
    I... I don't really know what to say, here. I'm just going to be honest; please be aware that I don't mean any offense by what I'm about to say. If the fluff behind a class would turn you off of the mechanics, that says more about you then it does the class. Having the wings manifest constantly is supposed to allow you to fly at will. If you don't like the idea of ethereal wings lifting your character to the heavens, refluff them. Maybe there are no wings whatsoever, and he just floats. Maybe the wings appear only when he needs them. It's probably not a big deal.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dust View Post
    A lot of your base classes are built with a very specific character concept in mind, instead of remembering that heroes (and hell, even villains) come in all shapes and sizes.
    I'll grant you that for the paladin/blackguard (although I would argue that the standard classes have the same issue). What else did you have in mind when making the above statement?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dust View Post
    Necrotic Punishment also really bothers me. It just seems so utterly random and irrational - can you imagine a Blackguard leading an army of undead onto a city, with the instructions that 'if you get wounded, just come back here and punch me a few times?'
    That wouldn't heal them. Necrotic Punishment only heals them if they hit each other, not if they hit the blackguard. I can easily imagine a blackguard instructing his minions to tear one another apart and devour their own ally's essence. Again, it's a fluff thing.
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    Default Re: Project Heretica - not just a Paladin retooling

    Maybe I'm just having a bad day, but something about the statement of "If you don't like one ability in a class, play a different class" rubs me the wrong way. While I understand you meant no offense, I do resent the implication that I'm not able to choose which class best represents my character concept, even if it might be a little flawed.

    So I disagree. It's a big deal to me.
    When we're discussing the pair of magical wings that sprout from the character's back, or however you want to re-imagine the at-will flight, we're not discussing fluff. That is a mechanical aspect of the character class, much like the mount that has been removed. It implies that every Paladin will be able to fly at high levels, that it is a core part of the class that helps define it, and I'm on the side of the fence that says this design decision is a mistake.

    If I was to, say, give all high-level rangers gills, or insist all sorcerers got dragonic wings due to their heritage, there would be people who complained about this. While I understand Paladins = Aion-esque Holy Avengers is a relatively commonly-enjoyed trope, the wings are a singular ability that jumps out at me to sum up everything that's wrong with this retooling: It only takes into account what the creator would like to play, and not caring about what other people would like to play.

    Before I get too far into this, let me point out that I like the Blackguard and have no arguments about it. I enjoyed the Healer, the Defender of Sealtiel, the Monk. But too much of the Paladin smacks of my biggest problem with Oskar's homebrews, which is, very simply, that he is all about aligning things to his singular archetype worldview by giving them more stuff. More firepower, more stealth, more awesome, more minmaxery, more levels, and so on. Trouble is, this doesn't always make for a better playing experience.

    When he talks about the paladin he even says, "Personally, I used the mount only once. It was nice, but I never felt like it contributed to my character. Couldn't summon it inside of a dungeon, forced me to charge, and required me to think about how to use it properly."
    To me, this is a problem, and I'm unsure how any homebrewer can make broad painted statements like "I didn't build my character a certain way, so I'm not bothering to include the option in my supposed fix."
    This is further set into stone with the line, "only useful if you were mounted on a pony with a drill for a weapon, shouting the finest praises to your deity in hopes you could land a crit."

    At the end of the day, Paladin is a pretty open-and-shut class, with a very slim set of class features that define it. I've enjoyed a lot of the homebrews that give paladins alternatives, and expand a little bit on what they already have. But this is one of Oskar's projects that ultimately reads to me as 'Give it more dakka, add wings and sparkles.'
    And that's just not an interpretation I like or agree with.

    That wouldn't heal them. Necrotic Punishment only heals them if they hit each other, not if they hit the blackguard.
    The blackguard doesn't count as an 'ally?' to its undead minion? Consider a situation where the Blackguard only uses one undead follower. In this case, either the ability is worthless or it requires the undead to strike it's master for health. Either way, I'd call it flawed.

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    Default Re: Project Heretica - not just a Paladin retooling

    Quote Originally Posted by Dust View Post
    Maybe I'm just having a bad day, but something about the statement of "If you don't like one ability in a class, play a different class" rubs me the wrong way.
    Did I give you that impression with my response? If so, then I think I owe you an apology.

    I think that if you don't like one ability in a class, then you should work with your DM to change. That will always be my first response, because that's the point of P&P RPGs, I think. It's grown-up make-believe, which means pretty much anything goes.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dust View Post
    While I understand you meant no offense, I do resent the implication that I'm not able to choose which class best represents my character concept, even if it might be a little flawed.
    Again, if you're getting that implication from me then I owe you an apology. I am apparently not being very clear in my messages.

    Is this part of your post in reference to Elfstone telling you to play a Fighter? If so, then I totally see where you're coming from. If not, then I'm deeply troubled that my posts could be so wildly misinterpreted.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dust View Post
    So I disagree. It's a big deal to me.
    When we're discussing the pair of magical wings that sprout from the character's back, or however you want to re-imagine the at-will flight, we're not discussing fluff. That is a mechanical aspect of the character class, much like the mount that has been removed. It implies that every Paladin will be able to fly at high levels, that it is a core part of the class that helps define it, and I'm on the side of the fence that says this design decision is a mistake.
    I suppose that I must be on the other side of that fence, then. I don't see where allowing a blessed, but "mundane" warrior to channel his divine might into the ability to strike down the scions of unholy terror from the very skies is a bad thing.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dust View Post
    If I was to, say, give all high-level rangers gills, or insist all sorcerers got dragonic wings due to their heritage, there would be people who complained about this.
    I would likely be one of them, too. This is because I disagree with the idea of permanent physical changes to character (in most cases, anyway). If you were to allow the ranger to breathe underwater without forcing him to grow freakish fish parts, I would be OK with that.

    As for the sorcerer... That one's a tricky subject with me anyway. In the PhB sorcerers are, indeed, draconic-descended people who rely on their heritage for power. As more and more books were published, however, they could draw their power from other sources, such as celestial, fey, and fiendish, (and I think even giants, once). Besides that, I never cared much for the fluffy aspects for pretty much anything, and never hesitate to adapt mechanics to fit my character, rather than adapt my character to fit fluff.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dust View Post
    While I understand Paladins = Aion-esque Holy Avengers is a relatively commonly-enjoyed trope, the wings are a singular ability that jumps out at me to sum up everything that's wrong with this retooling: It only takes into account what the creator would like to play, and not caring about what other people would like to play.
    There are so many things called Aion (and I'm so far removed from "common knowledge") that I'm not really sure what you're referencing with its usage. I can understand where you're coming from with the last bit, though, and to a certain degree I agree with you. This class is very obviously Oskar's Paladin and not Paladin, because he is biased and because (being based on his own imagination), anything he makes (and likes) will be suited more to his tastes than ours.

    However, a class with enough customization to please everyone would be just about impossible. Rather than argue about why Oskar is wrong to make what he wants to make, why don't you tell me/him what you would've done? What, to you, is a paladin? What separates him from a very religious Fighter, or an extremely martial Cleric?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dust View Post
    Before I get too far into this, let me point out that I like the Blackguard and have no arguments about it. I enjoyed the Healer, the Defender of Sealtiel, the Monk. But too much of the Paladin smacks of my biggest problem with Oskar's homebrews, which is, very simply, that he is all about aligning things to his singular archetype worldview by giving them more stuff. More firepower, more stealth, more awesome, more minmaxery, more levels, and so on. Trouble is, this doesn't always make for a better playing experience.
    I can completely respect this view. I can't really refute it, either. That's a very nice statement.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dust View Post
    When he talks about the paladin he even says, "Personally, I used the mount only once. It was nice, but I never felt like it contributed to my character. Couldn't summon it inside of a dungeon, forced me to charge, and required me to think about how to use it properly."
    To me, this is a problem, and I'm unsure how any homebrewer can make broad painted statements like "I didn't build my character a certain way, so I'm not bothering to include the option in my supposed fix."
    This is further set into stone with the line, "only useful if you were mounted on a pony with a drill for a weapon, shouting the finest praises to your deity in hopes you could land a crit."
    Not to nitpick, but this isn't a Fix, it's a Retooling. There's a difference, but the lines can blur sometimes and I know I sound like a jerk for pointing it out so I'll just stop talking about it.

    Anyhoo, to me it seems more like a clash of ideals than any wrong-doing on Oskar's part. When you hear "paladin" you don't see wings. When he hears "paladin" he doesn't see a mount. Just because the PhB did it/didn't do it that way doesn't mean it's any less of a valid class deserving the title of paladin.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dust View Post
    At the end of the day, Paladin is a pretty open-and-shut class, with a very slim set of class features that define it. I've enjoyed a lot of the homebrews that give paladins alternatives, and expand a little bit on what they already have. But this is one of Oskar's projects that ultimately reads to me as 'Give it more dakka, add wings and sparkles.'
    And that's just not an interpretation I like or agree with.
    I disagree with your oversimplification of the class, but I can't disagree with the message I feel you're trying to express with it. You seem to have a very valid point, there.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dust View Post
    The blackguard doesn't count as an 'ally?' to its undead minion? Consider a situation where the Blackguard only uses one undead follower. In this case, either the ability is worthless or it requires the undead to strike it's master for health. Either way, I'd call it flawed.
    When an ally is struck, the blackguard's class feature releases the negative energy. When the blackguard himself is struck it does not. If the blackguard and a single skeleton are in combat with some other group, any creature that attacks the skeleton gets it by the negative energy (provided its within 30ft).





    Not that I don't enjoy discussing this with you, but I think that I'm going to stop responding to posts similar to those we've been making, at least in this thread. I'd really, truly hate to see this thread get a warning/shutting just because you and I were debating the ethics of homebrewing in a third person's thread... That's not fair to Oskar.
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    Default Re: Project Heretica - not just a Paladin retooling

    Holy crap, Blackguard gestalted with a Necrolock would be... amazing...

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    Default Re: Project Heretica - not just a Paladin retooling

    For the purposes of keeping things brief - as you mentioned, to avoid the risk of this thread being locked or otherwise getting off-topic - I have to agree with most everything you said, Lyndworm. We're very much on the same page, I think.

    Oskar, I would recommend the following to alleviate the winged issue; perhaps they can gain/cause the effects of one of the following 3rd-level sor/wiz spells, flavored accordingly and chosen upon gaining the class feature; Fly (via wings), Phantom Steed (for the mount lovers), Protection From Energy (stroll into a burning orphanage and whatnot), Daylight, or Heroism. And at higher levels, this chosen effect could become permanent.

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    Default Re: Project Heretica - not just a Paladin retooling

    how would undying and undying resolve work with death house rules for example -Con score instead of -10?

    I like these, I would have personally gone in the wisdom direction for paladin but still good.
    Oh, and your Blackguard radiates good.
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    Default Re: Project Heretica - not just a Paladin retooling

    I would think that you just go:

    Furthermore, he may continue to fight even if he has less than -Con hit points, but only to an amount of negative hit points equal to Con plus half his character level plus his Charisma modifier. Instant death effects and attacks that destroy the body still affect the blackguard if successful.
    << Pretty simple, and it should be part of the house rules.

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    Default Re: Project Heretica - not just a Paladin retooling

    My point was simply this, you can't walk into someones project and say its wrong. It would be like me walking into wherever you work and pointing to a project you've been working on for a year and saying "Thats wrong, as I would have done it differently". I think this has been addressed, so ill drop the subject. My comment was only meant to be to you, what I felt yours was to Oskar.
    Quote Originally Posted by Dust View Post
    For the purposes of keeping things brief - as you mentioned, to avoid the risk of this thread being locked or otherwise getting off-topic - I have to agree with most everything you said, Lyndworm. We're very much on the same page, I think.

    Oskar, I would recommend the following to alleviate the winged issue; perhaps they can gain/cause the effects of one of the following 3rd-level sor/wiz spells, flavored accordingly and chosen upon gaining the class feature; Fly (via wings), Phantom Steed (for the mount lovers), Protection From Energy (stroll into a burning orphanage and whatnot), Daylight, or Heroism. And at higher levels, this chosen effect could become permanent.

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    Default Re: Project Heretica - not just a Paladin retooling

    Okay, I'm sorry if this was mentioned before, and I'm sorry if I sound like a grammar nazi here, but the term is smote. Smitten essentially means lovestruck.

    Otherwise, pretty good so far. Definitely on par with the rest of your work, Oskar.

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    Default Re: Project Heretica - not just a Paladin retooling

    Quote Originally Posted by Elfstone View Post
    My point was simply this, you can't walk into someones project and say its wrong.
    Yes, you can.
    Kind of a moot point though, as I didn't type that. I stated that I had a problem with the homebrew from a conceptual standpoint and proceeded to outline why this was, and proposed a fix after thinking about it for awhile.
    Quote Originally Posted by Elfstone View Post
    It would be like me walking into wherever you work and pointing to a project you've been working on for a year and saying "Thats wrong, as I would have done it differently".
    Which is also, quite honestly, fine. And kind of an odd example to use, since it happens in the real world a LOT. Just ask a graphic designer or anyone who works with a large customer base. Imagine if Oskar was helping alter an MMORPG class instead of a D&D class.

    This post wasn't labeled PEACH, so I do apologize for giving an honest criticism. That is, without question, my fault. However, I get the impression that Oskar is pretty professional when it comes to his 3.5 work, and a single voice of disagreement among his enormous amount of success wouldn't leave him a broken man. If anything, I feel he'd invite the one criticism for his pages upon pages of work here - something I guess we'll find out when he does eventually reply to this thread.

    But honestly, I feel that if someone can't be told 'I wouldn't play that. Here's why,' then they have no business homebrewing. I'm not attacking Oskar, only pointing out what I perceive to be a flaw in his work. And I feel that a third party jumping in to defend him is not only unconstructive, but downright insulting to both of us.
    Last edited by Dust; 2011-04-10 at 12:06 AM.

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    Default Re: Project Heretica - not just a Paladin retooling

    Okay, seriously, guys? Quit it. The argument is old, lets drop this issue and focus on the class.

    Anyone have specific points about various bits that are confusing or need work? >=\

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    Default Re: Project Heretica - not just a Paladin retooling

    I like the Paladin, a lot. I haven't looked at blackguard yet, but I assume it's more or less an evil copy of what you did with the Paladin. I'll give it a more thorough look over tomorrow to confirm/deny that.


    A couple of comments just at first glance:
    -Permanent flight seems to come a few levels too late. This may be offset by flight coming once per encounter at 14, but I see permanent flight as something more along the lines of a 15-16th level ability, not 19.

    -The first improved smite comes too early. It makes for a pretty jarring progression. You get smite, 4 levels later it improves, then it's another 10 levels before it improves again. The abilities are pretty strong for twice an encounter at level 5 besides. I'd say bump it back to 7 or 8, introducing 4th level spells to the picture makes it a bit more balanced, and it gives an overall smoother progression.

    -I do think it would be pretty cool to allow a little more customization on the smiting. Say instead of locking them into one type of smite for life, they can choose to pick up the first level of an old one, or improve one they already have. Even the low level effects aren't that terrible, and the extra versatility may be worth it to a given paladin, especially depending on the setting they're in.

    -I'm not sure that the concentration check is going to accomplish what you want it to. Skill checks are usually pretty easy to pass/cheese out, and monsters typically have a lot of hit dice that lets them get pretty inflated skill checks. While a concentration check is more internally rules consistent, a more reliable effect would be making it a will saving throw or lose the spell.

    -Speaking of Auras, retribution aura seems pretty strong, and particularly punishes opponents with a lot of attacks, as opposed to opponents that just hit really hard. Perhaps a cap of how much it can reflect to a given target per turn, rather than a cap per hit?

    -While I like what you're doing thematically with fear effects, I don't like that it makes it more beneficial to fail a saving throw vs fear than to pass it. Especially when you have such high saves. Similar issue with the courage aura, which grants a bonus to save vs fear, but then grants allies a bonus while under a fear effect.

    -Devotion Aura seems particularly strong, letting the paladin apply Charisma to AC and again to reflex saves (effectively allowing you to bring reflex up to a strong save as well), and also acting as a shield other spell. I see this being much stronger than say Vigor Aura, which would mostly only get used for out of combat healing, and why burn a class feature on what you can get for some cheap wands, without the half hp restriction?

    -I'd kind of like to see Lay On Hands become a bit more powerful, or at least have some minor recharge, becoming an in combat heal that you use mid encounter to save yourself or others, but I'm not sure how you could do that without breaking the healing economy. Even giving something like half the current amount as a heal per encounter allows players to sit around after the encounter healing up with it, unless you explicitly disallow it somehow.

    -Have you considered that with your changes, Charisma really has become the primary stat, and strength is really taking a back seat for the most part? I'm not saying this is a bad thing, I'm just pointing out, with a couple more tweaks, you could basically make the paladin Cha/Con focused, rather than Cha/Str, with Str instead showing up as that tertiary stat. If you intend for Str to still be a Paladin's highest stat though, it probably needs a bit more going for it than just the bonus to hit/damage, given that charisma affects basically everything else the Paladin wants to do, and a decent amount of the time the Paladin even gets charisma to hit.


    Now don't get me wrong on my nitpicks, by and large I like what you did. I agree with your vision of the Paladin as a tank, and it's good to see a 3.5 class that's actually capable of fulfilling the role.
    If my text is blue, I'm being sarcastic.But you already knew that, right?


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    Default Re: Project Heretica - not just a Paladin retooling

    Quote Originally Posted by Dust View Post
    Yes, you can.
    Kind of a moot point though, as I didn't type that. I stated that I had a problem with the homebrew from a conceptual standpoint and proceeded to outline why this was, and proposed a fix after thinking about it for awhile.

    Which is also, quite honestly, fine. And kind of an odd example to use, since it happens in the real world a LOT. Just ask a graphic designer or anyone who works with a large customer base. Imagine if Oskar was helping alter an MMORPG class instead of a D&D class.

    This post wasn't labeled PEACH, so I do apologize for giving an honest criticism. That is, without question, my fault. However, I get the impression that Oskar is pretty professional when it comes to his 3.5 work, and a single voice of disagreement among his enormous amount of success wouldn't leave him a broken man. If anything, I feel he'd invite the one criticism for his pages upon pages of work here - something I guess we'll find out when he does eventually reply to this thread.

    But honestly, I feel that if someone can't be told 'I wouldn't play that. Here's why,' then they have no business homebrewing. I'm not attacking Oskar, only pointing out what I perceive to be a flaw in his work. And I feel that a third party jumping in to defend him is not only unconstructive, but downright insulting to both of us.
    Wanna know something, Dusk? I agree with this point 100%, probably even higher. When I post a homebrew, I don't mind the praise, but I do look forward to the critique, and specifically to those who say "I don't like it", because it tells me that there's something I might need to change.

    Wings-wise, I was dealing with a problem related to movement, which is mentioned not just on the Paladin but on most martial characters. Ideally, the wizard will cast Mass Fly on the party and problem solved, but the general idea regarding Wizards is that they'd rather use that Mass Fly spell slot to cast Summon Monster V or Planar Binding which could replace in a way the lack of melee characters. Thus, as a way to assist the Paladin, I gave it self-propelled flight.

    On the topic of mounts, it's not that I don't like them, or that I don't feel they are part of the iconography of the Paladin. I don't like the mechanic behind it, but it's not as if I wouldn't provide that option as an ACF that probably sacrifices something else; certainly, it wouldn't be the wings (probably the aura, because it's a scaling ability). The mount still exists in one way or another, via the mount spell (which summons a warhorse without any benefits) or getting your own mount.

    Still, that doesn't mean they are the best ideas. Paladin and Blackguard both have flight capability; however, the fact I still haven't gone with Justiciar (which has a vanilla increase to movement speed) or the Anarch (which has a jaunting ability pretty much exactly like the Bez-Kismet and similar to the Abrupt Jaunt of the Wizard in a way) kinda limits that "expanded movement" option. But it can go further; perhaps having the idea of a forced method of movement might not be the best way to handle granting increased mobility to the Paladin, while something as iconic as the mount should have been there. In my opinion, while I do go with a method of class-based expansion to movement, it isn't the most elegant solution; however, the mount is not an elegant solution either. The Ranger has the Animal Companion, for example, which is an iconic ability, and the variety of companions it has works quite well for the idea of a "defender of nature"; however, since it also allows ACFs that remove it for increased magical power or a method to improve their skirmishing abilities: the fact the AC remains and scales properly with the Retooled Ranger makes it an ideal, and I would dare say elegant solution because not everybody will take that improved Animal Companion but it's still there for those who want them, it retains backwards-compatibility and it retains the flavor of the original.

    However, I would like to discuss the alternative:

    Quote Originally Posted by Dust View Post
    Oskar, I would recommend the following to alleviate the winged issue; perhaps they can gain/cause the effects of one of the following 3rd-level sor/wiz spells, flavored accordingly and chosen upon gaining the class feature; Fly (via wings), Phantom Steed (for the mount lovers), Protection From Energy (stroll into a burning orphanage and whatnot), Daylight, or Heroism. And at higher levels, this chosen effect could become permanent.
    The five presented abilities are wildly divergent in power. Fly is quite useful, Phantom Steed works as an improvement to Mount in that regard, Protection from Energy is already on the Paladin spell list alongside Daylight, and the only ability that might have a strong iconic feel would be Heroism. Daylight would be the weakest of the abilities presented, since it's already an improvement over Light; Protection from Energy would be phenomenal if permanent, but it progresses VERY slowly. Fly and Phantom Steed are useful at nearly every moment, and Phantom Steed progresses very elegantly. And Heroism rarely progresses at all and is eventually outclassed by better buffs, Greater Heroism and Good Hope being the specific upgrades. Whenever the player is presented with the idea of which abilities to get, Fly and/or Phantom Steed will dominate over the rest, with Fly more useful for the characters that prefer no mounts and Phantom Steed for those who do. Daylight, on the other hand, will be a trap option a la Monte Cook, which few people would actually use since they can get better light options. Thus, all abilities would have to be at an equal degree of power; Divine Aura works within that concept, offering five abilities that should be equal or at least mildly divergent in power (people may and probably WILL choose Devotion, Retribution and Vigor because they are the strongest of the bunch, while few people will choose Consecrate unless they are on an undead-heavy campaign or with two or more people that use divine feats. BTW, I could use some tweaking on that regard.

    However, a more elegant solution would be to add Fly, Phantom Steed and Heroism to the Paladin spell list, from which they could choose as part of their known spells, using the Paladin's CL and the Paladin's spell slots.

    It's not a bad idea; what you want is basically give them something that grants them increased options; however, I'd like to see this from a supernatural bent, and abilities that could increase on their own right without being collapsed by the addition of X or Y spell to the Paladin spell list. If the ability is refined (probably expanding the movement options and grant abilities to those who aren't interested in movement something that would be fitting), I might consider it. It's definitely not a bad idea (heck, I DO like the idea of something like Phantom Steed being part of the Paladin spell list or even part of the choices of a class ability), but I feel it could be refined to make it less a bunch of spell-like abilities that could be spells and more supernatural abilities that have a definite Paladin feel.

    Also, and to clear this out: when I made the retooling to the Paladin, the idea was to grant it new abilities and improved versions of their old ones (basically, the definition of "retooling" emerges from the idea of renewing the tools the original class has), but in a great deal was a way to make a class that I could feel satisfied playing. It's...part of the whole idea on touching what's my favorite class; if I'm not satisfied with my own changes but just about everyone else does, then I find it troubling because I wouldn't be able to play with my own creation. However, that doesn't mean that because I have to be satisfied with my own creation that I won't accept any ideas or changes behind it. Quite the contrary; that pitch of Phantom Steed, if refined as a way to create a different method of special mount, is not only elegant but also impressive. But, there might be some other stuff I don't want to change, and I'll defend that. I appreciate that most people look at it and say "wow, this is amazing!" but it's not the same until I get someone that says "there's something wrong with this", we deal with it, and the end result is even more surprising.

    So, to make this short: thanks for the support and the bashing, but there's no need to rush it out if there's something GOOD coming from that, which is the point of posting it here. The Retooled Monk, IMO, is FAR from over and constantly in a state of evolution, because while the stuff I add, remove or exchange please me, there's still something that says "this could be better". This would probably be one of the most ambitious projects I've made, if only because it deals with exactly what I would play with, but in a way that separates it from a mere "Fighter/Cleric" or a "Crusader with spells", which I find are two concepts that can coexist with a class called Paladin (the war-priest and the idealistic swordsmaster, respectively).

    Now, Dust, there's something that intrigues me, and I'd like to go bit by bit for it: the Paladin and the Blackguard are essentially mirror images of themselves, they use the same chassis and you could basically take the Blackguard's unique abilities, mix them with the paladin and make a much larger "holy warrior" class, so I find curious that the idea of the Blackguard is fine but the idea of the Paladin is skewed. As well, the fact that you seem to enjoy the Healer, the Defender of Sealtiel and the Monk imply that there is at least a 50% of stuff in the classes that was done well and elegantly enough to warrant your attention. Based on those classes, and as a way to see how not just the Paladin, but the entire "holy warrior" chassis could be improved, what do you see in those aforementioned classes that the Paladin could use, aside from depending less on "more dakka" (which isn't really so bad...if you have Orky mentality, that is :D)?

    Long story short: I appreciate honest (and let's face it, blunt critique) even if I don't just tell anybody to PEACH, so there's no need to defend it if I don't have the time to answer it. Still, I could use happy mediums in that.

    P.S. Paladin is hard to make customizable without considering that it's already a quite fluff-intensive archetype, so anything that makes it as customizable as possible while giving it a reason to exist is welcome.
    Now with a shiny new Homebrewer's Sig. See the magic! Use the retools in your campaign...today!
    Quote Originally Posted by Seerow View Post
    I'm not sure he's actually capable of making a post with fewer than 500 words. That's why we love him though.
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    Default Re: Project Heretica - not just a Paladin retooling

    I believe the Paladin class (haven't yet looked at Blackguard) is balanced.
    Powerful, but balanced. The PHB Paladin can actually get more powerful if built as a mounted warrior, so this version is more balanced.

    Saving throws:
    Compared to the PHB Paladin, he gets high Will and Improved Mettle.
    Improved Mettle is indeed a powerful ability, but considering that the "half" or "partial" shouldn't be that bad as a result of an attack and that the Paladin will have a high enough Fort most of the time, we can fairly say that the difference will be a high Will Save. Not that overpowered and obviously a Paladin should have had a high Will.

    Smite Evil:
    Obviously the original ability is too weak. And it is very limited. So this ability now is fixed. It is very powerful if you are fighting constantly Evil creatures, but is useless if you are not. So overall I will say it is balanced.

    Wings:
    A fair substitute for a mount. Personally I would prefer a flying semi-real Pegasus that just enables you to fly. This would keep the flavor of the mount, since a Paladin is a Knight and a Knight has usually is mounted.
    Of course, fluff is fluff.

    Rest of abilities:
    They are balanced abilities I believe. They fix all those dead levels of the Paladin, so they are perfectly OK.
    Last edited by Waargh!; 2011-04-10 at 02:02 AM.

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    Default Re: Project Heretica - not just a Paladin retooling

    It's 4:30am, so hopefully you'll forgive me if I end up being difficult to understand in places and this post gets riddled with typos. As an aside, cheers for the eloquent response, Oskar. I appreciate you taking the time to address me, especially given the fact that I'm being difficult in such an out-of-the-blue manner.

    Before I get too much into the conversation, I'd like to explain a little bit about where I'm coming from.
    My local group has long since come to the conclusion that 3.5 is chock-full of balance problems. We've dabbled with Pathfinder and are looking forward to the bigger releases like d20r, but for the most part, when we play 3.5, we each hop online, find a homebrew class/fix that we like, present them as a group, and, if all the other players approve, we get started with that.
    Paladin has long been one of my favorite classes, and I have yet to find a fix that the group unanimously approves. This is mostly because they all suffer from short attention spans, with most paladin reimaginings being long, drawn-out multi-page affairs.

    So you can imagine my glee when I saw this post. I had used your Healer class in a game not long ago and enjoyed myself immensely.

    Understand, ultimately, that I'm not criticizing the wings. I've played a half-celestial before and took great pride in being able to take flight. In fact, if you decide not to budge on the issue, I'll probably end up using this homebrew anyway and be totally A-OK soaring around gracefully in combat. I'm disagreeing with a fundamental design decision that surprised me, coming from you. In my eyes, your defining characteristic as a homebrewer is your first step, where you sit down and define what a class IS. I'm reminded of the Bez-Kizmet, where your opening paragraph talked about what the essence of the Hexblade class was all about and how you interpreted this.
    You constantly demonstrate you understand the importance of iconic abilities, so it's not something I have to harp on.
    And I'm right there with you - the way I see it, making anything a class feature means that, unlike skills, feats and spells which can be picked and chosen, you're making a generalization about a class that is set in stone. Pure barbarians are all illiterate. Level 20 monks are all outsiders. All druids are immune to venom.

    Which is why the single class ability surprised me, honestly.
    Every other class ability is not only effective and well-thought-out, but flows seamlessly together to create a class that has flavor and style without forcing suggesting a certain look, or style, that some players might reject. Much like a bard can be a goblin with a set of drums or a bare-chested rock star, every other aspect of this Paladin retooling works together elegantly. You'll never find a single person who disagrees that Unyielding Resolve, or Diehard, or Merciful, or even Hero of Legend works perfectly with the communal view we have of this class.

    Only Hero’s Wings/Fiendish Wings sit there, like a blemish, and I'm sure most agree that they're very cool. Honestly, so do I. My argument is that they're not fundamental to the class, and that's what makes all the difference. A barbarian who doesn't Rage will probably be the laughingstock of his tribe. But this dude....
    Spoiler
    Show

    ....is still a Blackguard, even despite the lack of glorious demon/bat wings.

    It just seems tacked-on and unfinished, and as such, I felt the need to point it out; especially because these are the first two classes to officially follow your 'chassis' design style, and are helping set all the important precedents.

    On to some specific stuff.

    Quote Originally Posted by T.G. Oskar View Post
    On the topic of mounts, it's not that I don't like them, or that I don't feel they are part of the iconography of the Paladin. I don't like the mechanic behind it....
    That's fair. Honestly, neither do I.

    Quote Originally Posted by T.G. Oskar View Post
    The five presented abilities are wildly divergent in power.

    Understand that I am downright terrible at 3.5 homebrew. Because we play exclusively with homebrewed classes, there's big swatches of the system I lack intricate knowledge on. And since spellcasters are the biggest offenders for gamebreaking, spellcasting is my weakest area of knowledge by far. Those 'five spells presented' were truly nothing more than me attempting to remember what other arcane/divine spells were obtained at the same level as the Fly spell, and could theoretically be applied to the Paladin as an alternative.

    In fact, the "What's in a Name" competition, as you'll see if you ever happen to glance at it, contains my first bit of 3.5 homebrew. Besides being inspired by your own works, my contribution there was greatly inspired by my realization that I DON'T know squat about the mechanical aspect of 3.5 and should probably get learning. I only know what I like and what I don't.

    Quote Originally Posted by T.G. Oskar View Post
    Wings-wise, I was dealing with a problem related to movement, which is mentioned not just on the Paladin but on most martial characters.
    This is one of the things that I've always wondered about; a commonly-accepted truth that I'm sort of out-of-the-loop on presumably due to the inexperiences noted above. In my admittedly-narrow experiences, permanently flying opponents, unless you're dealing with enemies with casting class levels, are few and far between. I can't count creatures who swoop down to attack, because readied actions therefore make for a far more interesting battle than ground-bound opponents.
    At least in my mind, mid-air opponents are the last resort for a GM who struggles to keep encounters challenging. To that end, picking up winged boots for 16,000gp seems like a minimal investment if you're facing a GM who likes the flight gimmick, of a Shield of Flying, or Celestial Armor, or any number of other things.
    I understand that all martial classes can be completely shot down by perpetually-airborne enemies late in the game, but it strikes me as odd that fighters and barbarians - who are the PURE melee fighters - are left searching for other solutions. In my mind, the Paladin who has the ability to 'tank' and cast supportive spells is the melee character best-suited to remain ground-bound if anyone is forced to.

    Quote Originally Posted by T.G. Oskar View Post
    However, a more elegant solution would be to add Fly, Phantom Steed and Heroism to the Paladin spell list, from which they could choose as part of their known spells, using the Paladin's CL and the Paladin's spell slots.

    It's not a bad idea; what you want is basically give them something that grants them increased options; however, I'd like to see this from a supernatural bent, and abilities that could increase on their own right without being collapsed by the addition of X or Y spell to the Paladin spell list.

    ....I feel it could be refined to make it less a bunch of spell-like abilities that could be spells and more supernatural abilities that have a definite Paladin feel.
    I agree with all of your above statements. I'd like to go into more detail and discuss this further, but I find myself hitting the point of exhaustion now and I'll have to talk about it more later.
    It's something I'll certainly ponder over the next few days, and get back to you if anything jumps to mind. I will, of course, be watching this thread.
    I remember a prior thread of yours, where you discussed how the four tiers of spells was effectively 'half casting,' whereas six levels was closer to being a 'two-thirds' caster, and that was something I wholeheartedly agreed with. I'm of the opinion as well that any changes made to this class feature should remain exactly that, supernatural abilities as opposed to spells, though Phantom Steed probably wouldn't go amiss by appearing on the spell list somewhere.

    Quote Originally Posted by T.G. Oskar View Post
    I find curious that the idea of the Blackguard is fine but the idea of the Paladin is skewed.
    Untrue. I disagree with wings being quintessential to the Blackguard as well, as pointed out earlier in this thread. As I didn't intend on using the blackguard in an actual game, I only skimmed it while my thoughts were still on the former class.

    Quote Originally Posted by T.G. Oskar View Post
    As well, the fact that you seem to enjoy the Healer, the Defender of Sealtiel and the Monk imply that there is at least a 50% of stuff in the classes that was done well and elegantly enough to warrant your attention. Based on those classes, and as a way to see how not just the Paladin, but the entire "holy warrior" chassis could be improved, what do you see in those aforementioned classes that the Paladin could use, aside from depending less on "more dakka" (which isn't really so bad...if you have Orky mentality, that is :D)?
    The Healer, as produced by WoTC, was interesting conceptually but fell flat in practice as you obviously know. My first character ever was a Healer, and I remember feeling utterly outclassed after a few deaths took place that I was unable to prevent, and a Radiant Servant of Pelor CODzilla stepped in to 'help.'
    That was a situation where adding more oomph was flat-out nessecary. Same with the retooled samurai, and of course, your Monk, which is now pretty standard fare in my group. The paladin, however, is not in the same tier as the laughable core monk and CW Samurai, and I'm not sure should be mentally grouped in with that unfortunate crowd. But I digress.
    You excel at taking a class, stripping it down to it's bare conceptual bones, and then rebuilding it up to fit this same structural intention, only reinforced with altered or additional features that support this role. In this situation, I feel as though the Paladin is unique enough that observing other classes for ideas won't quite work properly, and I suspect this is a situation you'll have to think outside of the box.
    I just now realized I'm not making any sense and better stop here while I'm ahead. I'll post again in this thread at a later time, when I'm coherent.


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    Default Re: Project Heretica - not just a Paladin retooling

    Sorry if I skipped both of you, but the conversation went real fast for one day! I slept a bit, saw Dust's issues and dealt with them (again; I'm still surprised why I didn't thought of adding Phantom Steed!), that it would have made for a large and confusing answer.

    Quote Originally Posted by Waargh! View Post
    The problem I find with the "invincible" moto for a Paladin is that practically it doesn't give the right feeling to the player in most cases.

    Your thought is that the Paladin needs to survive because he will no retreat like a coward. He will face any evil enemy and risk his life to do his duty.
    But he can also act as any Good character with the addition of being invincible. He can risk a bit more since he knows he has very high defenses.

    It is as you said, if you don't feel fear you won't be courageous!
    This will certainly apply to the players that control the character. Kind of jeopardizing the whole idea.

    The solution is to force players to play a character as intended. Fluff-wise this can be done by forcing a strong "code of honor". This is nice, but you have to consider that you play as a party, not a solo character. Going into missions that noone else would go it not practical if your companions won't join you.

    Instead of that I prefer a more flexible code of honor but rely on good mechanics to make the player feel the essence of a Paladin. The method is to base the Paladin's power on his courage, the way he addresses his code of honor, his faith in his role etc.
    The can be done with Faith Points, with Moral Points or any other point system where you get points if you act accordingly.

    For example, consider giving him a less powerful but at-will Smite Evil. You make the player focus on Evil creatures. If they are 2 Evil creatures and 5 Neutral, if you have it per encounter, he will (yes) smite 1 Evil one, but after its dead, he can go to the next "strategical" target. Which might be Neutral. Where if it was continuous you kind of "push" the player to smite Evil and then focus on the consider the strategy of the battle...

    Now, consider gaining a Courage Point whenever you succeed on a save that could have killed you. Consider a Courageous point can be spend to re-roll a save with a bonus.
    Compare that of getting 25% increase on your save and some immunities against death.
    The first means that if you are facing near death experiences you are granted higher chances of surviving. If you not, then you are just a normal warrior.
    The second means that you are generally powerful regardless the situation.

    Consider giving him a bonus related on the CR being faced...

    All the above are just examples on how you can make a point system or abilities that are augmented when the challenge is augmented.

    In other words, unlike a Wizard which personally gains power and can use that power as she wishes, a Paladin gains power only to use it for a Higher Purpose. If she was to use it just to win a duel, that power won't be granted to her.

    Concluding: You award the courage of players, you buff their character against powerful enemies, you make them focus on their code because they will get awarded if they do so.
    Result: Players are more likely to play the way you describe a Paladin.
    The thing is that I wanted to distance a bit from the idea of tying mechanics to something that should be roleplaying, but at a compulsory degree. Here's the main tidbit:

    Chivalry is best represented as a code to assist roleplaying, and not a means towards which a paladin player character must adhere exclusively. Thus, the player of a paladin character (even that whom only takes a single level in paladin) that does not decide to follow chivalry must not be forced to do so. The code of chivalry has a rare inclination towards law, and lawful characters will not feel particularly threatened with concepts such as discipline and honor. Neutral good characters, however, may easily follow chivalry and not fall clear of their stated goals, means and ends.

    As such, following the code does not imply having any mechanical advantage or disadvantage. A Dungeon Master should not punish a paladin for violating the code if it has not decided to willingly follow it. However, if the player and the Dungeon Master agree, a paladin player character may gain specific and reasonable benefits from following the code, as well as penalties for not following the code. Both the Dungeon Master and the player MUST be willing to understand that such mechanical choice should not disrupt the game in a way that it becomes disruptive; if the player seeks to use the code merely for the mechanical benefits and not because it sees it as a roleplaying aid and reasonable quirk, this alternative is not meant for said player. As well, if the player disrupts the enjoyment of the rest of the gaming group, this makes gaining mechanical benefits from following chivalry equally undesirable. Finally, a player should remind the Dungeon Master to be fair if said mechanic is to be used, and a Dungeon Master should never punish a player for choosing the paladin class by forcing circumstances in which the paladin player character will undoubtedly violate the code.
    First bolded section is really the idea behind it: one of the key problems with Paladins is that they are a huge target for DMs who are interested in seeing them fall. Most of the discussions regarding Paladins normally degenerate into a discussion of their code of conduct. Thus, instead of a vanilla code of conduct, I went for the code that was supposed to inspire knighthood; Chivalry. However, I decided that it would be optional, and mostly a roleplaying trait rather than a mechanical trait. The second bolded section stresses that point: if to play an awesome class you have to follow a straight and narrow code that has a multitude of positive and negative interpretations but such an amount that varies a lot with each DM, and the end result is punishing, you're limiting the class to people who are probably thespians or philosophers or highly experienced in roleplaying, instead of going for those who may want to use the class but are starting on RPing, or that probably don't care much about RPing at all (bizarre notion, I know, but bear with me on that one). The italic section ties to the bold sections above, but gives a strong exhortation; if the DM allows the Pally's player to follow a code, don't do it so that you punish him (or her).

    The last bold section, though, states that if you desire, you could tie this to a mechanical boon, which comes in the form of extra smites, Faith points and whatnot. I did something similar with the Retooled Samurai and Bushido, where you could ascribe a mechanic of extra ki if you followed particularly well the precepts of the Way of the Warrior. In that same regard, you could give a similar mechanic to the Paladin, probably tying up the Faith point system from Complete Divine on that regard, and expanding the use of such Faith points to power up class abilities. However, I would like this to remain optional, because thus far I intend to keep the Paladin on a "safe zone" where most of the stuff it has already has a 3.5 counterpart.

    Quote Originally Posted by Seerow View Post
    I like the Paladin, a lot. I haven't looked at blackguard yet, but I assume it's more or less an evil copy of what you did with the Paladin. I'll give it a more thorough look over tomorrow to confirm/deny that.
    It's actually an evil copy, but it has its few nice things. Once I post the Justiciar and the Anarch, I intend to post a chassis and explain how you can basically turn all 4 classes into a single, over-encompassing class or divide that in 8 different classes which are restricted to a single alignment, using a same chassis amongst them.

    A couple of comments just at first glance:
    -Permanent flight seems to come a few levels too late. This may be offset by flight coming once per encounter at 14, but I see permanent flight as something more along the lines of a 15-16th level ability, not 19.
    That's because of how the class progression works. Originally, levels 9, 14 and 19 were dead levels, which had no ability to progress. What I did was to give an ability that would enhance their movement, probably later that other classes but that still was useful enough. I had the idea to make flight permanent as the culmination of said ability, but at level 14 it would have made for a pretty powerful ability and it would have left level 19 orphaned in that sense. So, I made that compromise, with level 19 having an unique ability that was powerful enough so as to prevent making it a dead level. That most perma-flight classes grant such ability at those levels (except Warlock, which grants perma-flight at level 6; Favored Soul and Dragon Shaman grant it at around those levels tho) gave it a sort of precedent on that regard. Ideally, I could give them (if I were to keep the ability; if Dust answers back I might generate a better ability that justifies that bizarre progression) perma-flight at 14th level and improved flight at 19th level, but that would be going a bit too far. And again; not everybody seems to like an individual form of flight.

    -The first improved smite comes too early. It makes for a pretty jarring progression. You get smite, 4 levels later it improves, then it's another 10 levels before it improves again. The abilities are pretty strong for twice an encounter at level 5 besides. I'd say bump it back to 7 or 8, introducing 4th level spells to the picture makes it a bit more balanced, and it gives an overall smoother progression.
    Yeah, I find it jarring as well. I could shift Lay on Hands to level 5 and Improved Smite to level 7, which would seem a much more natural progression though. I'd have to consider whether that would work, given that the Improved Smite and Devastating Smite are thematically linked with the Bez-Kismet's Curse of the Fateless (which progressed every time you gained a new use of such ability, so you had normal at 1st, Improved at 5th, Greater at 10th, Dire at 15th and Hex of Ending Death at 20th); that progression inspired the eventual Bez-Kismet progression of abilities, after all.

    -I do think it would be pretty cool to allow a little more customization on the smiting. Say instead of locking them into one type of smite for life, they can choose to pick up the first level of an old one, or improve one they already have. Even the low level effects aren't that terrible, and the extra versatility may be worth it to a given paladin, especially depending on the setting they're in.
    Hmm...then again...

    The thing is, consider what you're asking right now with your earlier proposal. One seeks to place improved smiting after 5th level because it makes for a very strong ability, the other to allow more variety to smites. Both are good ideas, but they can be applied on a very different way.

    Consider that at 1st level, you choose one method of smiting. At 5th level, you choose a secondary method of smiting. At 10th level, you advance one of the two methods of smiting you have or acquire the third, and at 15th level you can advance the last form of smiting. While it stretches improved smiting to 10th level (which is only two-three levels after the first proposal), it leads to a more natural progression. Thing is, having only three smite methods makes smiting a bit more restricted. I could add Charging Smite at 1st level as a "common" Smite method amongst all four holy warrior classes (Paladin, Blackguard, Anarch, Justiciar; in fact, I was proposing that as an Alternate Class Feature to replace the fact that you no longer have a special mount), but that wouldn't be enough. I do intend, and would like to, have a common pool of smiting methods and an exclusive pool you can only get by entering a specific class (OR, in the case of collapsing all class abilities of the four classes into one super-class, limit them by alignment). That would make the above proposals a bit more justice without fully going into maneuver territory.

    -I'm not sure that the concentration check is going to accomplish what you want it to. Skill checks are usually pretty easy to pass/cheese out, and monsters typically have a lot of hit dice that lets them get pretty inflated skill checks. While a concentration check is more internally rules consistent, a more reliable effect would be making it a will saving throw or lose the spell.
    The ideal thing is that 13 + character level + modifier is consistent with a skill check (d20 + ranks + modifier), because with both modifiers equal and no further bonuses or penalties, you'd have to roll a 10 to succeed, which is the general idea. I do understand that there are ways to make Concentration checks higher (Skill Focus is one, Divine Insight IIRC is another, pumpin Constitution is a third, stacking bonuses is a fourth), but ideally there should also be ways to provide penalties to those skill checks as well.

    Still, not quite convinced with Will saves. Thing with spellcasters is that Will saves are expected to be just as high on spellcasters, so you're playing with the spellcaster's forte instead of something they can use against. I could place conditional penalties in order to soak the expected increase in Concentration checks against pure spellcasters. In the case of monsters that like to use spell-like abilities and have a degree of spellcasting, the case is further more difficult to deal with.

    The only way I could deal with it is make it a more physically-inclined effect and force a Fort save, which plays to one of the spellcaster's supposed weakness, but again that would do nothing to monsters. The most elegant way is keep it as either a Con check or a Will save but apply conditional penalties (say, you're an LG Paladin and you face an evil spellcaster, the character gains no penalty if also Lawful, -4 penalty if Neutral Evil, -8 penalty if Chaotic Evil) to the check or save in order to make it more threatening.

    -Speaking of Auras, retribution aura seems pretty strong, and particularly punishes opponents with a lot of attacks, as opposed to opponents that just hit really hard. Perhaps a cap of how much it can reflect to a given target per turn, rather than a cap per hit?

    -Devotion Aura seems particularly strong, letting the paladin apply Charisma to AC and again to reflex saves (effectively allowing you to bring reflex up to a strong save as well), and also acting as a shield other spell. I see this being much stronger than say Vigor Aura, which would mostly only get used for out of combat healing, and why burn a class feature on what you can get for some cheap wands, without the half hp restriction?
    In the case of Retribution, the idea IS to punish those with lots of attacks. Opponents that just hit hard are to be dealt in a different way (I'm into adding percentages, but that would be alien to D&D; still, I find making DR and probably Energy Resistance based on percentages rather than on integers makes for a much better case), but the idea is that if you hit a Paladin a lot and it hits, then the enemy gets countered a lot. The ability already has a cap, except that it applies per attack; if I were to make the damage dealt by one enemy to the Paladin cumulative per round, I'd have to increase the cap to make it fair. It still has the trouble of pounce-Shocktroopers, tho. If I were to increase the cap, what would be the proper cap tho? I find a cap sorta like Lay on Hands a bit too far, but I wish to keep the Charisma modifier as a multiplier to the cap, so that the higher the Charisma the higher the damage.

    In the case of Devotion, the addition of AC and Reflex is not part of the original version; it was something I added at the moment to improve Devotion and make it a sort of Mass Shield Other spell (or, as it's meant to be known, Glory of the Martyr). I could make it so that only the Paladin's allies take benefit and not the Paladin itself, because the Paladin isn't transferring his HP damage to his allies after all.

    Odd that you say that about Vigor, though; I thought it would be a strong, if not a latter, choice. Cheap wands are cheap, but there's a reason why people insist the Draconic Aura feat should grant Vigor (it IS more powerful than most of the other auras, and this one isn't based on a specific number but on Charisma). I find Vigor more powerful than Consecration, actually. But, the best way is to determine which of the auras reaches the closest to a balance point and THEN boost/lower other auras to that theoretical balance point.

    -While I like what you're doing thematically with fear effects, I don't like that it makes it more beneficial to fail a saving throw vs fear than to pass it. Especially when you have such high saves. Similar issue with the courage aura, which grants a bonus to save vs fear, but then grants allies a bonus while under a fear effect.
    There's a slight problem with that, because the idea of the ability is to provide a cushion to failed saves. Do recall that the benefit applies only to the source of the fear save, so it forces you to focus on the source of that fear instead of the rest of the people, of which you STILL hold the penalties.

    To explain further: assume you're at level 2, with a...let's say beguiler, warmage and swordsage (just for the heck of it) fighting a necromancer and enough skeletons to complete an EL of 2 (let's say 6 skellies, which would make the group a CR of 2). The necromancer starts by casting a cause fear spell, which the Paladin fails; the Paladin will have bonuses on attack rolls and saves vs. the Necromancer, but it will keep its penalties on the skeletons, which means the Paladin is effectively goaded to fight the Necromancer in order to remove the cause of its fear. While a warmage could deal very well with skeletons (Burning Hands, Magic Missile, probably Chill Touch as a debuff and Lesser Orbs), and the swordsage could as well, the beguiler is slightly screwed with the skeletons. On latter levels, with Aura of Courage enabled, the Paladin would still be goaded to face the source of its fear, but in a situation against undead the Beguiler would still be slightly screwed (unless it's UMDing the right spells), the warmage is losing steam, and the swordsage will be on double duty against potentially stronger undead creatures, and the group might be divided.

    Still, I was thinking that if a paladin is frightened or panicked, it cannot attack other enemies unless he succeeds on a Will save (as if all of his enemies had Sanctuary) except for the source of fear, which he (or she) may attack freely. That would make failing a fear save still dangerous, but less terrible than what would really happen and still thematically effective.

    -I'd kind of like to see Lay On Hands become a bit more powerful, or at least have some minor recharge, becoming an in combat heal that you use mid encounter to save yourself or others, but I'm not sure how you could do that without breaking the healing economy. Even giving something like half the current amount as a heal per encounter allows players to sit around after the encounter healing up with it, unless you explicitly disallow it somehow.
    (5 + class level) x Charisma modifier is pretty strong enough. I could go with (10 + class level) x Charisma modifier, which is what DDO uses, since with Charisma at 14 you'd heal about 34 points at level 7, which is enough to heal a 7th level martial character (d10) for about half HP which works real well.

    Thing is, Lay on Hands is really an emergency healing ability. DDO works oddly with the ability, since it forces you to spend all the points on a single blow, but grants more uses per day of the ability. 4E makes it healing-surge based, which works rather nicely (you could heal about 1/4th of an ally's HP per ally per encounter, or spend it all on the day on a full heal), but it would be rather difficult to tackle it. I dealt with Wholeness of Body by granting it a recharge mechanic, so I could allow a Paladin to expend a spell slot to recover LoH for a specific amount (based, of course, on the spell's level and probably the Charisma modifier) as a recharge method, but that would take Cure Wounds spells out of commission anyways. Got any ideas on how to tackle that (I know you might have some of them, actually)?

    -Have you considered that with your changes, Charisma really has become the primary stat, and strength is really taking a back seat for the most part? I'm not saying this is a bad thing, I'm just pointing out, with a couple more tweaks, you could basically make the paladin Cha/Con focused, rather than Cha/Str, with Str instead showing up as that tertiary stat. If you intend for Str to still be a Paladin's highest stat though, it probably needs a bit more going for it than just the bonus to hit/damage, given that charisma affects basically everything else the Paladin wants to do, and a decent amount of the time the Paladin even gets charisma to hit.
    Actually, that is not far from the truth. Paladin is a class that is really Charisma-intensive. The problem with Strength is that the rules really make it difficult to apply anything to Strength anyways. Adding Strength to, say, HP or something might be thematic but quite odd, and adding Strength to something like, say, spellcasting would be just plain hilarious. I really intended for the Paladin to have Charisma as it's highest stat, considering that Strength already has some solid support if you go two-hander, but if I reduce the Charisma dependency then I may end up with a stronger three-stat MAD instead of a favorable three-stat MAD (adding Strength and Charisma to a few abilities). Strength is hard to support other than dealing damage (and determining your encumbrance limit, ability to break open stuff and whatnot), so it's going to be a challenge to work with it.

    Now don't get me wrong on my nitpicks, by and large I like what you did. I agree with your vision of the Paladin as a tank, and it's good to see a 3.5 class that's actually capable of fulfilling the role.
    Well, considering how the concept of "tank" has changed, seeing that it fulfills the idea of tanking is pretty nice. Thanks for the deeper read, though I'd need some aid to properly tackle those issues. I do intend to work with the extended movement ability to make it a bit more flexible and try to balance out the auras with each other, though.
    Now with a shiny new Homebrewer's Sig. See the magic! Use the retools in your campaign...today!
    Quote Originally Posted by Seerow View Post
    I'm not sure he's actually capable of making a post with fewer than 500 words. That's why we love him though.
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  28. - Top - End - #28
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    Default Re: Project Heretica - not just a Paladin retooling

    Quote Originally Posted by T.G. Oskar
    That's because of how the class progression works. Originally, levels 9, 14 and 19 were dead levels, which had no ability to progress. What I did was to give an ability that would enhance their movement, probably later that other classes but that still was useful enough. I had the idea to make flight permanent as the culmination of said ability, but at level 14 it would have made for a pretty powerful ability and it would have left level 19 orphaned in that sense. So, I made that compromise, with level 19 having an unique ability that was powerful enough so as to prevent making it a dead level. That most perma-flight classes grant such ability at those levels (except Warlock, which grants perma-flight at level 6; Favored Soul and Dragon Shaman grant it at around those levels tho) gave it a sort of precedent on that regard. Ideally, I could give them (if I were to keep the ability; if Dust answers back I might generate a better ability that justifies that bizarre progression) perma-flight at 14th level and improved flight at 19th level, but that would be going a bit too far. And again; not everybody seems to like an individual form of flight.
    I can kind of agree with the wings not really fitting that generic thematic paladin appeal in the same way other features do, however I agree with you that the wings are the easiest and most universal way to get flight. Other options such as a mount aren't going to be always available.

    What if you made the fight into a feat that could only be taken with one of your Paladin bonus feats, but gave a smite option that can effectively ground an enemy (this works well if you go with what you were speculating on a bit later in your post where you get a different type of smite every so often as well as an increase effectiveness at a different level. If you don't go with that ignore this proposal). This way the Paladin can contribute in fights against flying opponents rather than by going to them, by bringing them down to him.

    Another possibility is rather than making it a class feature is just giving Air Walk as a Paladin spell a spell level or two earlier. If you make it a 3rd level spell, a Paladin could pick it up and be air walking at 11th level onward.


    Quote Originally Posted by T.G. Oskar
    Yeah, I find it jarring as well. I could shift Lay on Hands to level 5 and Improved Smite to level 7, which would seem a much more natural progression though. I'd have to consider whether that would work, given that the Improved Smite and Devastating Smite are thematically linked with the Bez-Kismet's Curse of the Fateless (which progressed every time you gained a new use of such ability, so you had normal at 1st, Improved at 5th, Greater at 10th, Dire at 15th and Hex of Ending Death at 20th); that progression inspired the eventual Bez-Kismet progression of abilities, after all.
    Quote Originally Posted by T.G. Oskar
    Hmm...then again...
    Okay, I haven't read your Bez-Kismet class, but you described it as progressing every 5 levels. What you're talking about here still cuts the Paladin off at 15, though it is still a cleaner progression.

    What if you had:
    1-First Smite
    5-Pick up second Smite
    10-Improved First or second Smite
    15-Pick up third smite, improve the smite you had before that wasn't already improved
    20-Improve one of the three smites


    Basically this gives a Paladin a 3rd, 2nd, and 1st level smite, or 3 2nd level smites.

    You'd have to introduce 2-3 more options to make sure they're varied, but between a Charging Smite and a Grounding Smite, you already have 2 options here, I'm sure we could brainstorm for more if needed.

    Quote Originally Posted by T.G. Oskar
    The ideal thing is that 13 + character level + modifier is consistent with a skill check (d20 + ranks + modifier), because with both modifiers equal and no further bonuses or penalties, you'd have to roll a 10 to succeed, which is the general idea. I do understand that there are ways to make Concentration checks higher (Skill Focus is one, Divine Insight IIRC is another, pumpin Constitution is a third, stacking bonuses is a fourth), but ideally there should also be ways to provide penalties to those skill checks as well...
    Well there's two big things that will throw this off:
    1) An item of +Concentration is relatively cheap and easy to get, and will take this from a 50% ability to a 0% ability.
    2) Monsters with high HD will laugh at you. When you're level 10 fighting the thing with 20 HD and it has 23+con as its base concentration check, it's really going to suck.

    I understand your problem with saving throws, but they're generally harder to cheese than a skill check. A straight up ability check would be good. Make them roll a con check against 10+charisma mod, and it should balance out all right, though it will be relatively harsh vs NPC casters compared to monster casters.

    Quote Originally Posted by T.G. Oskar
    In the case of Retribution, the idea IS to punish those with lots of attacks. Opponents that just hit hard are to be dealt in a different way (I'm into adding percentages, but that would be alien to D&D; still, I find making DR and probably Energy Resistance based on percentages rather than on integers makes for a much better case), but the idea is that if you hit a Paladin a lot and it hits, then the enemy gets countered a lot....
    I'm just thinking, multiattacking is already a pretty weak effect, and this discourages it further. It's also a pretty huge amount of damage you are dealing, off turn. I mean even on the low end you're looking at reflecting 20-25 damage per hit. By level 20 you're looking at 50 damage per hit. And this applies to the entire party, not just you. The closest effect to this I can think of only reflects half the damage done to a single person, and even that is pretty wicked.

    Reflective damage really doesn't need to be that high to be impressive. You could give this a flat cap of cha mod damage per hit, or cha mod x 5 per enemy per turn, and it would still be a good ability.

    Quote Originally Posted by T.G. Oskar
    In the case of Devotion, the addition of AC and Reflex is not part of the original version; it was something I added at the moment to improve Devotion and make it a sort of Mass Shield Other spell (or, as it's meant to be known, Glory of the Martyr). I could make it so that only the Paladin's allies take benefit and not the Paladin itself, because the Paladin isn't transferring his HP damage to his allies after all.
    That seems like a reasonable solution.

    Quote Originally Posted by T.G. Oskar
    Odd that you say that about Vigor, though; I thought it would be a strong, if not a latter, choice. Cheap wands are cheap, but there's a reason why people insist the Draconic Aura feat should grant Vigor (it IS more powerful than most of the other auras, and this one isn't based on a specific number but on Charisma). I find Vigor more powerful than Consecration, actually. But, the best way is to determine which of the auras reaches the closest to a balance point and THEN boost/lower other auras to that theoretical balance point.
    First, I will say I was considering from a higher level perspective than low level. At the earliest level you can get it, 3rd, Vigor is really strong. Fast healing 3-4 at that level is a really potent effect that will save lives, time, and money. The problem is Fast Healing 10 at level 20 is nowhere near as potent. At this level an in combat heal that isn't at least 150-200 hp is negligible, and the cleric should have mass vigor persisted on the party to take care of out of combat healing, or you should have enough wands of vigor to take care of all of the out of combat healing.

    Just as a concept vigor doesn't scale well with level. Maybe if you tacked on a rider effect, like all allies below 50% hp receive a percentage extra hp when healed. While you won't be healing a lot yourself, your Cleric will love you when he's tossing out those important heals and they're that much more effective. I'm thinking like a 33-50% bonus.

    As to Consecration being weaker... well it is situationally. At low levels yes it is weaker. The difference is since it provides a bonus to a class feature, it remains as relevant at high levels as at low levels, and its benefits against undead aren't terrible, just not really strong. It could probably do with being brought up a little more, either to be more generally useful, or to be stronger within its niche.


    Quote Originally Posted by T.G. Oskar
    (5 + class level) x Charisma modifier is pretty strong enough. I could go with (10 + class level) x Charisma modifier, which is what DDO uses, since with Charisma at 14 you'd heal about 34 points at level 7, which is enough to heal a 7th level martial character (d10) for about half HP which works real well.

    Thing is, Lay on Hands is really an emergency healing ability. DDO works oddly with the ability, since it forces you to spend all the points on a single blow, but grants more uses per day of the ability. 4E makes it healing-surge based, which works rather nicely (you could heal about 1/4th of an ally's HP per ally per encounter, or spend it all on the day on a full heal), but it would be rather difficult to tackle it. I dealt with Wholeness of Body by granting it a recharge mechanic, so I could allow a Paladin to expend a spell slot to recover LoH for a specific amount (based, of course, on the spell's level and probably the Charisma modifier) as a recharge method, but that would take Cure Wounds spells out of commission anyways. Got any ideas on how to tackle that (I know you might have some of them, actually)?
    LoH is another one of those abilities that just doesn't scale with level. I'm going to once again compare it to the spell heal. A single spell slot is getting you 110-200 HP from level 11 onwards.

    A Paladin with 30 Charisma at level 20 is healing 250 hit points per day with his lay on hands. So he can get slightly more out of it than your run of the mill 6th level spell slot, which is pretty pathetic for a class feature. On the other hand, back at level 7, where your 19 Charisma Paladin is healing 48 HP is looking pretty pro, because his competition there is a 4th level spell, Cure Critical Wounds, which will heal for on average 25. Sure the cleric will still heal more over the day, but when the Paladin drops his heal, he feels awesome even if he can't do it again.

    By the time you hit level 11, you've probably got a good 22 Charisma, and are healing 96 hit points per day with this. On the other hand, the Cleric now drops heal for 110 hit points. Lay on Hands from this point onwards no longer seems special.

    I'd give it a progression that comes around level 10-12 that lets it be recharged. Honestly, I'm a fan of it being a once per encounter heal, but if you prefer to have expenditure, letting the Paladin sacrifice spell slots to expand it is good. You say this could effectively remove healing spells off the Paladin's spell list, I say that this is probably a good thing, since the Paladin is now a spontaneous caster with a limited spells known list, it's probably best he doesn't have to waste known spells on healing spells.

    Quote Originally Posted by T.G. Oskar
    Actually, that is not far from the truth. Paladin is a class that is really Charisma-intensive. The problem with Strength is that the rules really make it difficult to apply anything to Strength anyways. Adding Strength to, say, HP or something might be thematic but quite odd, and adding Strength to something like, say, spellcasting would be just plain hilarious. I really intended for the Paladin to have Charisma as it's highest stat, considering that Strength already has some solid support if you go two-hander, but if I reduce the Charisma dependency then I may end up with a stronger three-stat MAD instead of a favorable three-stat MAD (adding Strength and Charisma to a few abilities). Strength is hard to support other than dealing damage (and determining your encumbrance limit, ability to break open stuff and whatnot), so it's going to be a challenge to work with it.
    Well like I said, there's two ways I see it going.
    1) Encouraging con further while discouraging strength. This comes by encouraging the use of the shield, and giving some way to apply Cha to hit all the time rather than just while smiting. This way strength still gives damage, but not as much, since you're encouraged to use a shield instead of a two hander, but that's it. So it becomes a tertiary stat.

    You can then bump up the value of con some by including it in a few places. For example, while str based spell casting is laughable, you could split the stat of your spellcasting (I know dirty words), and have Con give you more spells per day, while Cha gives you higher spell dcs, and maybe have con figure in a few other places (say you slow down smite progression slightly and give 1/2 con mod as a bonus to your number of smites, and key Undying Resolve off Con instead of Cha). This is much more thematic, and reinforces the idea of the Paladin as a tank. The downside is most peoples idea of a Paladin also includes a fair bit of strength. This could probably be solved with a prestige class, but maybe not.

    2) Encouraging Strength further. Have strength factor into smite damage/save DCs. Possibly have it factor into smites per encounter. Possibly give the Paladin the ability to treat a one hander as a two hander as long as he is attacking with only one weapon and holding a shield, allowing him to dish out more hurt while using sword and board
    If my text is blue, I'm being sarcastic.But you already knew that, right?


  29. - Top - End - #29
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    Default Re: Project Heretica - not just a Paladin retooling

    This is pretty cool.

    As for wings being a problem; you could give the Paladin an Alternate Class Feature where they trade out the Wings for a Mount, or even an Outsider companion. Honestly, I could totally see an angel/archon following the Paladin around to help it. It could be summoned in the same way as the Wings; you could summon the mount/outsider five times per day at ninth level, once per encounter at 14th level, and it is constantly summoned at nineteenth level.

    The mount would progress similarly to the way it does for regular paladins, but getting better abilities (maybe a list to choose from, like astral constructs?).

    The angel/archon would be one whose CR is the Paladin's level - 5, or something like that.

    The best part of this is, it also applies to Blackguards, Anarchs and Justiciars; the Anarchs gain outsiders from Limbo, and the Justiciars gain Inevitables. The Blackguard could get Demons or Devils.

    In addition, the Alternate Class feature would probably give the Paladin/Blackguard/Anarch/Justiciar Knowledge (the Planes) replacing another skill, or something like that.

    Thoughts?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lix Lorn View Post
    NOTHING is simple. NO EXCEPTIONS. No, not even that.

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    T.G. Oskar's Avatar

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    Default Re: Project Heretica - not just a Paladin retooling

    Quote Originally Posted by Seerow View Post
    I can kind of agree with the wings not really fitting that generic thematic paladin appeal in the same way other features do, however I agree with you that the wings are the easiest and most universal way to get flight. Other options such as a mount aren't going to be always available.

    What if you made the fight into a feat that could only be taken with one of your Paladin bonus feats, but gave a smite option that can effectively ground an enemy (this works well if you go with what you were speculating on a bit later in your post where you get a different type of smite every so often as well as an increase effectiveness at a different level. If you don't go with that ignore this proposal). This way the Paladin can contribute in fights against flying opponents rather than by going to them, by bringing them down to him.

    Another possibility is rather than making it a class feature is just giving Air Walk as a Paladin spell a spell level or two earlier. If you make it a 3rd level spell, a Paladin could pick it up and be air walking at 11th level onward.
    Torn between lowering Air Walk (which is a nice trick, because it allows for typical charging) or turning the 9th/14th/19th abilities into a set of supernatural abilities for extended movement.

    Air Walk as a 2nd level spell is nifty, and even as a 3rd level spell is still useful, but I find actual flight much more efficient in that purpose. On the other hand, giving actual flight as one of the established options for a 9/14/19 ability might work well.

    Though, I could simply combine both. Air Walk at 3rd level and a class ability at level 4 an extended movement class ability which could combine either flight, mount, or for those who don't want flight a lesser divine servant; that could also serve as the anchor for Divine Spirit ACF from Dungeonscape which is pretty awesome. I could add one or two more things to make it a "choose your own divine boon" class ability, which should provide more options, but keep it at a supernatural degree granting abilities that couldn't be easily replicated by magic.
    Okay, I haven't read your Bez-Kismet class, but you described it as progressing every 5 levels. What you're talking about here still cuts the Paladin off at 15, though it is still a cleaner progression.

    What if you had:
    1-First Smite
    5-Pick up second Smite
    10-Improved First or second Smite
    15-Pick up third smite, improve the smite you had before that wasn't already improved
    20-Improve one of the three smites


    Basically this gives a Paladin a 3rd, 2nd, and 1st level smite, or 3 2nd level smites.

    You'd have to introduce 2-3 more options to make sure they're varied, but between a Charging Smite and a Grounding Smite, you already have 2 options here, I'm sure we could brainstorm for more if needed.
    The Bez-Kismet is basically a Hexblade using the Paladin chassis, but instead of a smite it keeps the Hexblade's Curse, which is renamed "Curse of the Fateless". It's basically a class ability that works as a swift-action Bestow Curse, but that improves with level; at first it only provides penalties to attack rolls, saves, skill checks and ability checks, at level 5 it extends the level 1 trait and adds penalties to ability scores, at level 10 it extends the level 1 and 5 traits and adds the percentage chance of denying enemy actions, and at level 15 it upgrades into a swift action Greater Bestow Curse. Hex of Ending Death is basically a save-or-die activated by the character against a cursed target.

    In the case of the Paladin, Blackguard, Justiciar, Anarch and general "holy warrior" chassis, the idea should be to make three general abilities, and three alignment-exclusive abilities for a total of 15 different abilities, of which a character can only choose 6 in total. In order to make this easier to see, I'll make a table with all abilities, plus Charging and Grounding:

    {TABLE=header]|First Tier|Second Tier|Third Tier
    Blinding (Pal)|Fort save or blind (dazzle on success), 2x vs. light-sensitive creatures|Perma-blind on failed save (blind on success), 2x on undead, 3x vs light-sensitive creatures|Fort save or death (undead only)
    Resounding (Pal)|Ref save or knockdown and push 5 ft. per 4 class levels|Ref save or 1/2 smite damage and blown away to all enemies within 30 ft. (save negates smite damage)|Ref save or confuse, damage ignores Evasion
    Stunning (Pal)|Will save or stun (daze on success)|Will save or held (stun on success), apply to undead and constructs|Ignore resistance to stun
    Terrifying (Blk)|Will save or panicked (shaken on success), extra damage on frightened or panicked creatures|Ignore resistance to fear|Will save or die
    Vicious (Blk)|2x smite damage, take damage equal to class level|AoE smite damage (Ref negates)|+2 Smite damage per HP expended
    Weakening (Blk)|Fort save or 1 Str/Con damage (negative energy damage on save); fatigued|Fort save or 1d3 Str/Con damage, ignore resistance to ability damage; exhaustion|Fort save or 1d6 Str/Con drain and nausea (1 Str/Con dmg on success)
    Deterrent (Jus)|Will save or penalty to attack rolls, AC, saves, skill and ability checks|Will save or 50% chance to forfeit action (penalties on success)|Will save or retributive damage
    Incapacitating (Jus)|Fort save or stun (daze on success); ignore resistance to stun|Deny mental actions on stun|Fort save or 1d6 Dex damage and stun (entangle and daze on success)
    Retributive (Jus)|2x smite damage|AoE smite damage (Ref negates)|Damage ignores Evasion
    Confounding (Anh)|Will save or confuse (reduced to 1 round on success)|Will save or 1 Int/Wis/Cha damage|Will save or 1d3 Int/Wis/Cha damage; ignore immunities to confusion or mind-affecting
    Disruptive (Anh)|Fort save or sicken; penalty increases with class level, ignore resistance to sickness|Ignore DR and hardness|Fort save or 3x smite damage
    Entangling (Anh)|Ref damage or entangled; DoT damage while entangled|AoE entangle and DoT effect (Ref save negates)|AoE slow and DoT effect (entangled on success)
    Charging (Com)|Free bull rush?|2x smite damage?|Pounce?
    Grounding (Com)|?|Deny flight?|?
    ? (Com)|?|?|?[/TABLE]

    What I intend to do is make Charging Smite, "Grounding" Smite and whichever 3rd ability there is ACFs that replace smite progression at 1st level, where you can elect to choose the first tier of any one of these smites at any level, and enable Tier 2 and Tier 3 progress of each smite. If there was a super-chassis that reunited Paladin, Blackguard, Anarch and Justiciar, they would stop being ACFs and be part of the smite list.

    Hopefully that'll make it easier to understand what I'm looking at on all smites. Some are redundant in a way (Vicious and Retributive are pretty much similar except on the latter benefit; Incapacitating and Stunning are also very similar), but that's expected since they're meant for different classes. The Justiciar and the Anarch have unique forms of smite, actually (Justiciar can use their smite abilities as part of a melee attack or on their own; Anarch can actually randomize their smite and gain a better benefit).

    Well there's two big things that will throw this off:
    1) An item of +Concentration is relatively cheap and easy to get, and will take this from a 50% ability to a 0% ability.
    2) Monsters with high HD will laugh at you. When you're level 10 fighting the thing with 20 HD and it has 23+con as its base concentration check, it's really going to suck.

    I understand your problem with saving throws, but they're generally harder to cheese than a skill check. A straight up ability check would be good. Make them roll a con check against 10+charisma mod, and it should balance out all right, though it will be relatively harsh vs NPC casters compared to monster casters.
    That's why I was thinking about conditional penalties, to soften their checks up. Recall that this works on both skill checks and saves, so whichever ends up the winner can work this up. That would also alter the Bez-Kismet, since it has a pretty similar ability as the Paladin and Blackguard do.

    I'm just thinking, multiattacking is already a pretty weak effect, and this discourages it further. It's also a pretty huge amount of damage you are dealing, off turn. I mean even on the low end you're looking at reflecting 20-25 damage per hit. By level 20 you're looking at 50 damage per hit. And this applies to the entire party, not just you. The closest effect to this I can think of only reflects half the damage done to a single person, and even that is pretty wicked.

    Reflective damage really doesn't need to be that high to be impressive. You could give this a flat cap of cha mod damage per hit, or cha mod x 5 per enemy per turn, and it would still be a good ability.
    Most of these abilities usually work as an extension of a shield, so I might make Retributive Aura probably reflect Cha mod. damage per hit but add a bonus based on the worn shield (probably 2x with light shields, 3x with heavy shields, 4x on tower shields) for a single hit, AND deny this benefit to users of animated shields. That should make Retributive Aura weaker, but also benefit shield users who could use that buff (to make S&B more useful).
    First, I will say I was considering from a higher level perspective than low level. At the earliest level you can get it, 3rd, Vigor is really strong. Fast healing 3-4 at that level is a really potent effect that will save lives, time, and money. The problem is Fast Healing 10 at level 20 is nowhere near as potent. At this level an in combat heal that isn't at least 150-200 hp is negligible, and the cleric should have mass vigor persisted on the party to take care of out of combat healing, or you should have enough wands of vigor to take care of all of the out of combat healing.

    Just as a concept vigor doesn't scale well with level. Maybe if you tacked on a rider effect, like all allies below 50% hp receive a percentage extra hp when healed. While you won't be healing a lot yourself, your Cleric will love you when he's tossing out those important heals and they're that much more effective. I'm thinking like a 33-50% bonus.
    Hmm...maybe extend LoH's reach while under the Vigor aura, as well as Cure Wounds spells? With Battle Blessing feat, you could provide an ally with a Cure Serious Wounds as a swift action without the need to move.

    Though, I feel a larger rider effect is needed. Not on percentages, though; maybe add (class level + Cha mod) to all healing spells and effects (except fast healing and regeneration) while under the Vigor aura. It's not percentage based, but at 11th level with 20-22 Cha (roughly at the moment Cleric gets Heal) that's a +16-+17 to the added heal, and same for the Crusader's healing strikes (not to mention Vigor Aura + Martial Spirit will work nicely). Experimenting with percentages should come for later, though I'd go with (5 x Cha)% bonus.

    As to Consecration being weaker... well it is situationally. At low levels yes it is weaker. The difference is since it provides a bonus to a class feature, it remains as relevant at high levels as at low levels, and its benefits against undead aren't terrible, just not really strong. It could probably do with being brought up a little more, either to be more generally useful, or to be stronger within its niche.
    Hmm...maybe add Cha to damage against undead creatures? It boosts it up a little more, but it still remains on the niche. Add Charisma to damage against evil creatures expands its niche, but still not much. Perhaps add Cha to damage against evil creatures, 1/2 Cha on saving throw DCs against evil creatures and Cha to turning effects? That would make everyone benefit quite a lot, but I'm wary about going full Cha on saving throw DCs because that would make SoDs very powerful while a Paladin is there. I really have to consider what to upgrade in this case.

    LoH is another one of those abilities that just doesn't scale with level. I'm going to once again compare it to the spell heal. A single spell slot is getting you 110-200 HP from level 11 onwards.

    A Paladin with 30 Charisma at level 20 is healing 250 hit points per day with his lay on hands. So he can get slightly more out of it than your run of the mill 6th level spell slot, which is pretty pathetic for a class feature. On the other hand, back at level 7, where your 19 Charisma Paladin is healing 48 HP is looking pretty pro, because his competition there is a 4th level spell, Cure Critical Wounds, which will heal for on average 25. Sure the cleric will still heal more over the day, but when the Paladin drops his heal, he feels awesome even if he can't do it again.

    By the time you hit level 11, you've probably got a good 22 Charisma, and are healing 96 hit points per day with this. On the other hand, the Cleric now drops heal for 110 hit points. Lay on Hands from this point onwards no longer seems special.

    I'd give it a progression that comes around level 10-12 that lets it be recharged. Honestly, I'm a fan of it being a once per encounter heal, but if you prefer to have expenditure, letting the Paladin sacrifice spell slots to expand it is good. You say this could effectively remove healing spells off the Paladin's spell list, I say that this is probably a good thing, since the Paladin is now a spontaneous caster with a limited spells known list, it's probably best he doesn't have to waste known spells on healing spells.
    Hmm...1/encounter burst heal? Interesting: that would imply I'd have to improve the Monk's Wholeness of Body and the Hands of a Healer (from the Retooled Healer) to apply to this, tho. Remember that I want LoH to be similar to WoB, less than Touch of Vitality, and because Hands of a Healer is basically a just-as-strong ToV, I need to upgrade all of those in order to upgrade LoH without fear. Still, I could simply make LoH different, keep it (class level x Cha mod) and make it 1/encounter. It would break healing economy, though, if the amount of battles extend the number of dedicated spell slots a Cleric has for Heal (and will make Paladin LoH relevant up until 17th level when Mass Heal comes into play).

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    Well like I said, there's two ways I see it going.
    1) Encouraging con further while discouraging strength. This comes by encouraging the use of the shield, and giving some way to apply Cha to hit all the time rather than just while smiting. This way strength still gives damage, but not as much, since you're encouraged to use a shield instead of a two hander, but that's it. So it becomes a tertiary stat.

    You can then bump up the value of con some by including it in a few places. For example, while str based spell casting is laughable, you could split the stat of your spellcasting (I know dirty words), and have Con give you more spells per day, while Cha gives you higher spell dcs, and maybe have con figure in a few other places (say you slow down smite progression slightly and give 1/2 con mod as a bonus to your number of smites, and key Undying Resolve off Con instead of Cha). This is much more thematic, and reinforces the idea of the Paladin as a tank. The downside is most peoples idea of a Paladin also includes a fair bit of strength. This could probably be solved with a prestige class, but maybe not.

    2) Encouraging Strength further. Have strength factor into smite damage/save DCs. Possibly have it factor into smites per encounter. Possibly give the Paladin the ability to treat a one hander as a two hander as long as he is attacking with only one weapon and holding a shield, allowing him to dish out more hurt while using sword and board


    Strength factors into smite damage already (you still add your Strength to all attacks, and smite is an attack, hence you add Strength to your smites), and it'll be a bit hard to add that into save DCs. Treating a 1-hander as a 2-hander is something I'd rather deal on the actual rules instead of as part of a class, since I find S&B upgrading a factor of feats and changes to the rules; I can add specific stuff that could base off a shield, but it should be something you expect from a Paladin.

    Con, on the other hand...I wanna keep Cha as a primary stat and Con/Str as a choice you could get. I was actually thinking, since Dex is meant to be a dump stat, to make Con add to AC instead of Dex, which already has precedent; that should make Con a bit more important. I could decide, if I wanted, to make that ability "add your Strength or Constitution to AC, whichever is highest, instead of your Dexterity modifier" ability, maybe make it an early-level class ability (though it adds to the dip-tastiness). Unyielding Resolve/Undying could also be 10 + 1/2 character level + Cha mod + highest of Con or Str modifier. That allows application of Constitution and/or Strength into more stuff, making those who wish to get more Con or more Str think of it as their secondary or tertiary options, while keeping Dex, Int and Wis as dump stats (or making Wis/Con/Str as their main stats with Serenity/Intuition). It's pretty small but should lead into improvements upon the class.

    Quote Originally Posted by unosarta View Post
    This is pretty cool.

    As for wings being a problem; you could give the Paladin an Alternate Class Feature where they trade out the Wings for a Mount, or even an Outsider companion. Honestly, I could totally see an angel/archon following the Paladin around to help it. It could be summoned in the same way as the Wings; you could summon the mount/outsider five times per day at ninth level, once per encounter at 14th level, and it is constantly summoned at nineteenth level.

    The mount would progress similarly to the way it does for regular paladins, but getting better abilities (maybe a list to choose from, like astral constructs?).

    The angel/archon would be one whose CR is the Paladin's level - 5, or something like that.

    The best part of this is, it also applies to Blackguards, Anarchs and Justiciars; the Anarchs gain outsiders from Limbo, and the Justiciars gain Inevitables. The Blackguard could get Demons or Devils.

    In addition, the Alternate Class feature would probably give the Paladin/Blackguard/Anarch/Justiciar Knowledge (the Planes) replacing another skill, or something like that.

    Thoughts?
    I mentioned it above, and it really seems that the Hero's/Fiendish Wings ability should become something along these lines. Wings, Mount or Servant, probably with a fourth ability for those who don't want any of the three AND key off Divine Spirit as an ACF for all four classes from this ability, so you get 5 options). I'm still with the idea of a Phantom Steed-esque special mount, which progresses differently, sorta like the idea with Astral Constructs so that you get an aquatic mount, a flying mount and even a burrowing mount which resemble animals you'd expect. So, you'd get Wings, Astral Mount, Lesser Servant, Divine Spirit and a fifth ability that could cover 4th, 9th, 14th and 19th level, and which would apply in their own way upon the four classes.

    Though, it may conflict with the amount of space I have for all classes. Paladin has little problem, since I could just shift the latter class abilities into the second page and extend the ability a bit more, but if I were to make it specific for each class, Blackguard has only one page (50,000 characters) worth of info so I have to format the ability to be concise for that class, and also Anarch and Justiciar.

    Wow, all these changes, and I still haven't posted Anarch, Justiciar OR the improved PrCs...
    Now with a shiny new Homebrewer's Sig. See the magic! Use the retools in your campaign...today!
    Quote Originally Posted by Seerow View Post
    I'm not sure he's actually capable of making a post with fewer than 500 words. That's why we love him though.
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