Paladin

Paladins are holy warriors of their gods. They are the ones who are sent forth to smite the enemies of the church, recover artifacts of the faith, or lead the faithful on crusades. In the church hierarchy, they are considered equal to knights – above the rank and file clerics and worshippers, but slightly below the high priests.

Paladin is a generic title for the holy warrior; each religion has its own name for the champions of the faith – Paladin, Warden, Equalizer, Dawnbringer, Slayer, etc. - and each serves a specific role, depending on the god. All paladins seek to promote their faith as well as upholding the tenets of good or evil, law or chaos, or maintaining the balance between them all.

Paladins are as varied as their gods – a paladin of the god of the hunt might look like a normal ranger, while a paladin of the god of war would resemble a battle-hardened fighter. One thing they all bear in common, though, is their holy symbol – which is usually either worn prominently or blazoned on shield or armor – and a quiet, unshakeable aura of power and confidence.

Adventures: Paladins join adventuring groups to further the aims of their god and the church, seek out holy relics, and spread the word of their gods and churches. With so much of the planet unpopulated, the paladin is the perfect envoy to send out into the hostile wilderness to bring the word of their god to the uninitiated. Paladins also make good diplomats, as they receive diplomatic training.

Characteristics: Paladins are characterized by their faith, their armor, weapons, mounts and their prominent symbols of their faith upon their armor and shields.

Religion: Paladins are highly devoted to their god, but this does not necessarily make them fanatics – even the most dedicated paladin can be a quiet man who holds his peace unless asked about his faith or his god, and who upholds his god's tenets every day simply through his words and deeds.

Background: Paladins are not made – they're born. Often they don't know their destiny until they reach puberty and they receive dreams or visions from their god; some see signs when they are younger, or have something happen to them that convinces them (or their parents) that they are the god's chosen.

Not all heed the call, but those who do are taken to churches or monasteries to live and train with others of their kind, as well as priests. They learn religion, diplomacy, combat, and all the other skills a paladin of their type will need; when they are older, they serve as squires to actual paladins. When the prospective paladin is finally deemed worthy, he is given a weapon, a mount, and a simple set of armor, and sent out into the world to do his god's will.

Races: Humans and half-elves are the most common paladins. The occasional half-orc can become a paladin of the human or (more often) orcish gods. Dwarves sometimes become paladins – their dedication to family and clan is usually more powerful than their dedication to a god, however. Elves, though they have a large pantheon of gods, are rarely religious enough to become paladins; gnomish paladins are seldom seen for the same reason, and halflings never become paladins. Paladins can sometimes be found among monstrous humanoid tribes – these serve as holy warriors for their tribe or clan, second in power only to the shaman and chief himself.

Other Classes: Paladins tend to work best with those of similar ethics, but they can tolerate those of differing views, so long as those views are not too divergent from the paladin's own.

Role: In an adventuring party, the paladin is a combination healer, diplomat and front line warrior.

Game Rule Information

Abilities: Charisma is most important for a paladin, as it affects spellcasting and most of her class abilities; Strength and Constitution are not far behind, followed by Wisdom, Intelligence, and Dexterity in more or less equal measure.

Alignment: Paladins can be of any alignment, but it must be the same as their gods' - they are paragons of the faith and must hew to it even more closely than priests.

Hit Die: d10.

Class Skills

The paladin's class skills are Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Handle Animal (Cha), Heal (Wis), Intimidate (Cha), Jump (Str), Knowledge (religion)(Int), Ride (Dex), Spellcraft (Int).

Other class skills can be added according to the specific god. For instance, a paladin of the god of thieves would add Climb, Stealth, and Search to her class list. Up to 3 class skills can be added to the list in such a manner.

Skill Points Per Level: 4 + Int modifier



Table 1: The Paladin
Spells Per Day
Level Base
Attack Bonus
Fort
Save
Ref
Save
Will
Save
Special 0 1 2 3 4
1st +1 +2 +0 +2 Aura of faith, detect alignment, god's
right hand, smite the unbelievers
2nd +2 +3 +0 +3 Lay on hands
3rd +3 +3 +1 +3 Turn undead 2 1
4th +4 +4 +1 +4 Frightul smite 2 1
5th +5 +4 +2 +4 Aura of power, divine touch (conditions) 2 1
6th +6/+1 +5 +2 +5 2 1
7th +7/+2 +5 +2 +5 Deafening smite 3 1 1
8th +8/+3 +6 +3 +6 Divine touch (disease) 3 2 1
9th +9/+4 +6 +3 +6 Aura of resolve 3 2 1
10th +10/+5 +7 +4 +7 Blinding smite 3 2 1
11th +11/+6/+1 +7 +4 +7 Divine touch (poison) 4 2 1
12th +12/+7/+2 +8 +4 +8 4 2 1 1
13th +13/+8/+3 +8 +5 +8 Aura of might, stunning smite 4 3 2 1
14th +14/+9/+4 +9 +5 +9 Divine touch (ability damage) 4 3 2 1
15th +15/+10/+5 +9 +6 +9 4 3 2 1
16th +16/+11/+6/+1 +10 +6 +10 Weakening smite 4 3 2 2 1
17th +17/+12/+7/+2 +10 +6 +10 Aura of protection, divine touch (energy drain) 4 4 3 2 1
18th +18/+13/+8/+3 +11 +7 +11 4 4 3 2 1
19th +19/+14/+9/+4 +11 +7 +11 Deadly smite 4 4 3 2 1
20th +20/+15/+10/+5 +12 +8 +12 Divine touch (any two) 4 4 3 2 2


Class Features
All of the following are class features of the paladin.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Paladins are proficient in all simple and martial weapons, and all types of armor and shields (except tower shields).

Aura of Faith (Ex): The power of a paladin's aura of alignment (see the detect aligment spell) is equal to his class level plus any cleric levels.

Detect Alignment (Sp): A paladin can detect good or detect evil, as appropriate, at will. Paladins of a Neutral god can use either. (Paladins of lawful or chaotic gods can instead detect chaos or detect law, respectively, but they get only one detect alignment ability.)

God's Right Hand (Ex): The paladin gains proficiency with her god's chosen weapon and has the Weapon Focus feat applied to it for free. She can use it without penalty even if it is an exotic weapon for which she doesn't fulfill the prerequisites.

Spells (Sp): A paladin can cast a small number of divine spells. To cast a spell, a paladin must have a Charisma score of at least 10 + spell level.

Paladin bonus spells are based on Charisma, and saving throws against these spells have a DC of 10 + 1/2 the paladin's caster level + spell level. When 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. The paladin's spell list appears below. A paladin has access to any spell on the list and can freely choose which to prepare, just as a cleric. A paladin prepares and casts spells just as a cleric does (though she cannot spontaneously cast cure or inflict spells).

Through 3rd level, a paladin has no caster level. At 4th level and above, her caster level is her class level -3.

Smite the Unbelievers (Su): 1 + Cha bonus times per day, a paladin can attempt to smite good or evil (depending on her alignment), or someone of an opposing faith (no matter the alignment) as a standard action with a melee attack. She adds her Charisma bonus (if any) to her attack roll and deals 2 extra points of damage per class level, plus her Charisma bonus. Any class-based abilities that would normally apply to a melee attack (sneak attack, e.g.) can be added to this roll also, if applicable. If the paladin accidentally smites a creature that is not of an opposing alignment of faith, the smite has no effect, but the ability is still used up for that day.

Paladins of a neutral deity can use this ability to smite those of extreme alignments only – LG, CG, LE, or CE - as well as those of opposing faiths. If the paladin attempts to smite a creature that has a neutral component in its alignment, the smite has no effect, but the ability is still used up for that day.

The paladin gains a new use of this ability at 4th level and every three levels thereafter. At the same levels, she gains access to extra effects that she add by expending an additional use of her smite power. If the smite misses, the extra uses are not expended, but if the smite is used against an invalid target, they are (and the target is not affected). The paladin can apply only one effect to a given smite attack. The save DC for all effects is 10 + the paladin's class level + her Cha modifier; the duration is 1 round per point of the paladin's Cha bonus unless otherwise noted.

Frightful Smite: A target hit by the paladin's smite attack must make a Will save or be struck with fear - it suffers a -2 penalty to all attacks, saves, and skill and ability checks, and is forced to flee from the paladin.

Deafening Smite: The target must make a Fort save or be deafened.

Blinding Smite: The target must make a Fort save or be blinded.

Stunning Smite: The target must make a Fort save or be stunned for 1 round.

Weakening Smite: The target must make a Fort save or take 2 points of Strength damage. This costs two uses of the smite power. The Strength damage remains until it heals naturally or is restored by magic. Additional uses of this ability are cumulative.

Deadly Smite: The target must make a Fort save or be slain. This costs three uses of the smite power.

Lay on Hands (Su): A paladin with a Charisma score of 12 or higher can heal or inflict wounds (her own or those of others) by touch. Each day she can heal or inflict a total number of hit points of damage equal to her class level times her Charisma bonus. A paladin can choose to divide this energy among multiple recipients, and she doesn't have to use it all at once. Using lay on hands is a standard action. Paladins of any alignment can use positive or negative energy, and they can use both in the same day, but the total number of points of healing and damage inflicted combined cannot exceed her maximum total.

Alternately, a paladin can use any or all of this energy to heal or deal damage to undead creatures. Using lay on hands in this way requires a successful melee touch attack, if the target is unwilling, and doesn't provoke an attack of opportunity. The paladin decides how many of her daily allotment of points to use as damage after successfully touching an undead creature.

Aura of Power (Su): The paladin radiates an aura of power in a 10-foot radius. All those of similar alignment (good or evil) or of the same faith within 10 feet of her gain a +2 morale bonus to saves, and those of opposing alignment or faith suffer a -2 penalty to saves. Paladins of neutral gods must choose each day which side to emulate – good or evil. In either case, those of the same faith always gain the bonus.

Turn Undead (Su): The paladin can turn (good alignments) or command/rebuke (evil) undead 3 + Cha bonus times per day. Neutral paladins can choose to to turn or command/rebuke, but once the choice is made, it can't be changed for the rest of the day. The paladin turns undead as a cleric of 2 levels lower.

If the god is one that would not logically grants his paladins the ability to turn or command undead (a god of knowledge, e.g.), the DM can replace this ability with something more appropriate. Sample abilities include:

The paladin channels divine energy to gain an enhancement bonus to Strength equal to her Charisma bonus for 1 round/level;

The paladin channels divine energy to gain an insight bonus to a single skill (one related to her god's portfolios, like Survival for a forest deity) for 1 round/level;

The paladin can turn/rebuke creatures other than undead, like plants (for a nature god), elementals (any god of the elements, opposed type only), or lycanthropes (god of the moon or hunt).

Divine Touch (Su): 3 + Cha bonus times per day, a paladin can channel positive or negative energy through her touch to heal or inflict harm on herself or others. Paladins of any alignment can use positive or negative energy, but inflicting disease, poisoning, or level draining a target is considered to be torture and could have repercussions for good-aligned paladins. Using this ability is a standard action, and requires the paladin to touch her target; unwilling targets can make a Fort save (DC 10 + 1/2 paladin's level + Cha modifier) to resist the effect.

Conditions: The paladin can cure or inflict any one of the following: blinded, dazed, dazzled, deafened, fatigued, nauseated, or sickened. In the case of inflicting, the target is affected for 2d6 + Cha bonus rounds.

Disease: The paladin can cure or inflict disease (as cure disease or contagion) on a living being.

Poison: The paladin can neutralize poison on a living target, or poison it, as the spells.

Ability Damage: The paladin can heal 1 point of ability damage per point of her Charisma bonus, as if she were using the lesser restoration spell, or inflict the same.

Energy Drain: The paladin can restore a number of drained Hit Dice or ability points equal to her Charisma bonus, or 1 Hit Die permanently lost to energy drain, as if she were using the restoration spell. She can drain up to her Charisma bonus in Hit Dice, as the enervation spell; the target must make a second save 24 hours later to avoid losing the Hit Dice permanently.

Any Two: The paladin can choose any two of the above and cure or inflict them on a target simultaneously. This costs only one use of the divine touch.

Aura of Resolve (Su): The paladin's aura grants her a +6 bonus to saves vs. fear, charms, compulsions, and other mind-affecting effects. All others in the aura of similar alignment or the same faith gain a +2 bonus.

Aura of Might (Su): The paladin's aura grants her major spell resistance (+6 to saves). This increases to full spell resistance (+8 to saves) at 18th level. This bonus stacks with the one granted by the aura of resolve.

Aura of Protection (Su): The paladin's aura grants her and her allies a +2 deflection bonus to Armor Class, which increases to +4 against creatures of opposing alignment or faith (paladins of neutral gods apply this bonus against good or evil, as with their lay on hands). Those of the same faith as the paladin (as well as the paladin herself) also gain fast healing 2 as long as they remain in the aura.



Ex-Paladins

A paladin whose alignment shifts for whatever reason, who willfully commits act not in keeping with the precepts of her faith, or who grossly violates the tenets of her faith loses all spells and abilities and her bonded mount (but not weapon, armor, and shield proficiencies). If she has a bonded weapon, she can keep it, but it loses all abilities gained from paladin levels. She cannot progress any farther in levels as a paladin unless and until she atones for her violations (see the atonement spell description), as appropriate.

Lesser infractions (frivolous use of granted abilities, minor violations of the code of conduct, etc.) can be met with lesser short-term punishments – removal of spellcasting ability or granted abilities, a divine curse that lowers stats by 1-2 points, loss of the companion/weapon, etc. These should last no more than a week or until the paladin atones for her actions, whichever comes first.

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