Knight of the Golden Orchard
Many a druid or fey creature has come to blows with the logger or farmer who wishes to clear the land. In such cases rivalries to outright war can wage between that of civilization and the wilderness. In such situations the Knights of the Golden Orchard are sent for, though most tend to have an uncanny knack for when such troubles are brewing. They settle disputes and forge treaties between the parties. Wood cutters and farmers are kept from clearing out too broad areas or chopping down dryad's trees, while overzealous naturalists or wild beasts are driven away from their harassment and provocation of harmless farmsteads and peaceable villages.
Knights of the Golden Orchard are named after the locale from which the organization was founded, a great, wild orchard planted hundreds of years before and left to grow wild. Here man and creatures of the wild lived together, man caring and harvesting their areas, while the beasts and sylvan creatures eating only what they needed within theirs. To protect one from the other, the Knights of the Golden Orchard were forged, living a nomadic life, traveling where they would and accepted by both as intermediaries.
The order spread across the land, always heading for where town and city encroached upon the woods and streams. Where they went new orchards were planted as neutral ground, and they give their services in exchange for food and lodging, favors and news. Those that take them for granted and repay them with nothing find their lands are no longer patrolled by the order and left to fend for themselves.
Though a Knight of the Golden Orchard is capable of wearing metallic armor, most tend to wear armor fashioned of natural materials such as leather, bone, or if possible, ironwood and leafweave.
Becoming A Knight of the Golden Orchard
Knights of the Golden Orchard are as one would suspect mostly of the Knight class, though many after they have sworn their oath follow more the ways of the Ranger, the combination the easiest way to enter into the Order. More rarely they multiclass and instead follow the path of the Druid.
To qualify to become a Knight of the Golden Orchard, a character must fulfill all the following criteria.
Knowledge (nature) 6 ranks, Ride 8 ranks, Survival 6 ranks
Must have been the vassal of and trained by a Knight of the Golden Orchard. Knight's Code class feature, Wild Empathy class feature
Level BAB Fort Ref Will Special
1st +1 +2 +0 +2 Bareback, Inured of Faerie, Knight's Challenge, Wild Empathy
2nd +2 +3 +0 +3 Agile Armor, Forest Shield
3rd +3 +3 +1 +3 Challenge the Beast, Out in the Open
4th +4 +4 +1 +4 Woodland Gallop
5th +5 +4 +1 +4 Bough Battle
6th +6 +5 +2 +5 Awake the Wood
7th +7 +5 +2 +5 Canopy Trail, Low-Light Vision
8th +8 +6 +2 +6 Leader of the Pack
9th +9 +6 +3 +6 Find the Path
10th +10 +7 +3 +7 Honored By the Land
The Knight of the Golden Orchardís class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Climb (Str), Diplomacy (Cha), Handle Animal (Cha), Hide (Dex), Intimidate (Cha), Jump (Str), Knowledge (geography/nature/nobility and royalty) (Int), Listen (Wis), Ride (Dex), Spot (Wis), Survival (Wis), Swim (Str).
Skill Points at Each Level:
(4 + Int modifier)
Knight of the Golden Orchard Code
(in addition to the traditional knight's code)
* A Knight of the Golden Orchard does not harm the land. He may clear an area for farm and home, drink of the streams, and make use of its wood but only takes as much as he needs, and only if it does not cause harm to the land as a whole.
* A Knight of the Golden Orchard does not manacle the beast. His pets and steeds must be allowed to roam as they will. He must never use barding or saddle upon another creature unless it gives express permission.
All of the following are Class Features of the knight of the golden orchard prestige class.
A knight of the golden orchard's levels stack with a knight's for the purpose of determining the number of times he may issue a challenge.
Out In the Open (Ex):
Starting at 3rd level you can shout out a challenge to shame unseen creatures out into the open. Any target of this ability must have a language of some sort and an intelligence score of 5 or higher. Creatures that do not meet this requirement are immune to Out in the Open (this requirement is potentially negated by the Challenge the Beast ability below). The creatures must be able to clearly hear your challenge.
As a swift action, you can spend one use of your knight's challenge ability to cause all creatures within 100 feet to make Will saves (DC 10 + half your Knight level (PrC and base class) + your Cha modifier. Creatures that fail this save come out of hiding, dismiss any kind of invisibility, camouflage, blur or dislocation ability, or in some way make their appearance obviously known to you if they are capable.
For the duration of your presence they do not attempt to reconceal themselves, nor attempt to sneak up upon you.
Fool's Chase (Ex):
Starting at 5th level you can shout out a challenge to a single opponent to give chase. Any target of this ability must have a language of some sort and an intelligence score of 5 or higher. Creatures that do not meet this requirement are immune to Fool's Chase (this requirement is potentially negated by the Challenge the Beast ability below). The creatures must be able to clearly hear your challenge.
As a swift action, you can spend one use of your knight's challenge ability to cause this opponent to make a Will save (DC 10 + half your Knight level (PrC and base class) + your Cha modifier. Creatures that fail this save become determined to catch you at any cost.
While in this chase the creature is so focused on you that they pay little heed to their surroundings. They may not use spot or listen checks unless it relates to pursuing the knight. This state lasts for as long as they can hear or see the knight and for 1d4 minutes afterward.
If the pursuer does not know his way about the area, and cannot follow tracks or similar to find his way back, then he becomes hopelessly lost as soon as he is out of familiar territory.
Awake the Wood (Su)
: At 6th level a Knight of the Golden Orchard can expend one use of their knight's challenge ability as a swift action to call upon the forest itself to repay its debt for their protection and care. Those called forth remain in your service for 1 hour/Golden Knight level.
You may choose from the following for your call to bring forth.
Canopy Trail (Su):
- Elemental:You may awaken a bit of the forest itself, bringing forth a Medium elemental of the Air, Earth or Water type. These elementals lose the Extraplanar subtype and speak any one language that you know along with the elemental language according to their type. This elemental is friendly towards you. You have no special empathy or connection with the elemental, although it serves you in specific tasks or endeavors if you communicate your desires to it. Only one elemental may be summoned at the same time.
- Tree: You may awaken a tree warrior as the Liveoak spell, caster level equal to your PrC level.
At seventh level a Knight of the Golden Orchard can expend one use of their knight's challenge ability as a swift action to call the forest together. While in Medium to Dense forest his command causes branches to knit together, forming a path of branches to support he and his mount if he has one. This path can be reached from the ground by a ramp of boughs that disappears the following round after the Knight has ascended. The path lasts for one minute, plus a number of rounds equal to the Knight's charisma modifier, before safely depositing the knight upon the ground. The knight can continue to expend uses of his knight's challenge ability to continue the trail from minute to minute until they run out of uses.
While on this trail the Knight gains full concealment from all angles except from those on the trail with him.
Others may use this trail, but unless they succeed on a DC 15 climb check, fall to the ground and take subsequent damage as the branches untwine.
Wild Empathy (Ex):
A knight of the golden orchard adds their class level to their druid or ranger level when making a wild empathy check.
A knight of the golden orchard quickly bonds with any beast he mounts. He may ride any non-evil animal, magical beast or vermin without saddle or barding and takes no penalty from doing such.
Inured of Faerie (Ex):
A Knight of the Golden Orchard gains a +4 bonus on saving throws against the spell-like abilities of fey.
Agile Armor (Ex):
A Knight of the Golden Orchard does not take Armor Class Penalties to Balance or Climb checks when using these skills within forest growth, such as trees and vines.
Forest Shield (Ex):
A Knight of the Golden Orchard knows best to use the cover of the woods to their advantage. If the knight stands or is mounted in the same square as a tree he or his steed gains a +4 bonus to Armor Class and a +2 bonus on Reflex saves, instead of the normal +2 to AC and +1 to reflex. These bonuses don't stack with cover bonuses from other sources.
Challenge the Beast (Ex):
If you can make the proper knowledge check to identify a creature, you can call out to it in its primitive language or use body language to convey your challenge. You may thus issue a knight's challenge to any creature that has an intelligence score, even if it has no true language. The beast gains a +4 bonus to their saves against the challenge.
Woodland Gallop (Ex):
When you ride upon your mount you both gain the benefits of the Woodland Stride ability.
A knight of the golden orchard has learned numerous unique martial maneuvers by this time with the aid of his surroundings.
As a standard action a knight of the golden orchard may grab a branch in passing and pull it along, releasing it into their pursuer. This acts as a slash attack with a reach of 1d20+5 feet that deals 1d6 damage plus your strength bonus. Those successfully hit must succeed on a Ride check (DC 10 + Knight's Str mod) or be knocked off.
Swing Around (Ex):
As a full round action a knight of the golden orchard in pursuit by another mounted being may grab an overhanging branch, bar, or equivalent, if one is present, and swing off his mount and spin about to land on his opponent's mount if it is large enough to hold him. This acts as a melee slam attack with a reach of 10 feet that deals 1d4 damage plus your strength bonus. Those successfully hit must succeed on a Ride check (DC 15 + Knight's Str mod) or be knocked off.
Low-Light Vision (Ex):
At 7th level a Knight of the Golden Orchard has adjusted to the shadows and twilight within even the densest forests and gains low-light vision.
Leader of the Pack (Ex):
At eighth level a Knight of the Golden Orchard seems to radiate a primal magnificence that animals automatically sense and are cowed by. Unless supernaturally coerced, an animal will not attack a knight of the golden orchard. Those that come within 10 feet must succeed on a Will save (DC 10 + 1/2 knight's PrC level + Cha mod) or be affected as by the Charm Animal spell.
As well, he gains a +4 bonus on Charisma-based checks in regards to Fey and Magical Beasts.
Find the Path (Ex):
At ninth level a Knight of the Golden Orchard never gets lost, instinctively knowing the most direct path through natural, above-ground terrain as if having used the Find the Path spell.
Honored By the Land (Ex):
At tenth level a Knight of the Golden Orchard is honored by the land itself and becomes part of the natural order. He gains the Elemental type and all it's traits, except his soul and body retain its dual nature, for as long as he remains a knight.
As well, the Knight may use Speak With Animals, Speak With Plants, and Stone Tell at will, though the latter only works with natural, unworked stone.
Ex-knights lose the elemental type and its traits, as well as the ability to speak with the land.