View Full Version : 3.5, setting up a Knight

2009-02-26, 12:33 PM
Okay, I checked the boards, but didn't find anything that fits what I'm looking for.

I'm going to be running a 4-person game in my homebrew setting (a sequestered plane), where the characters are good-aligned and preparing to depart on a heroic quest.

Basically, one of my players is a newer player that wants to play a sword and board knight. Now, I don't have a problem with this. I like the class, I hope he has fun, I want this to work. I'm trying to work out a way to outfit the character well. He'll start at level 7, and has his option of rolling his stats or taking the following array: 15, 14, 16, 16, 15, 11

Available sources are WotC books, though subject to review. I don't mind some fun stuff, but I do want to keep power from getting out of hand. I'd also like to keep this a simpler build.

Bear in mind, I'm probably also going to replace Mounted Combat and any mention of Weapon Focus: Lance will be available for Weapon Focus: Any. If it was just a mounted charger, this would be easy, but given that the group is going to be involved in some dungeon crawling, I'd prefer to give him something he'd get a chance to use.

Thanks in advance!

2009-02-26, 12:36 PM
This could be a good or a terrible idea depending of other party members but...

Why don't you replace mounted combat feats and the like with shield fighting feat from CW and PHII? It should fit with class features and you dungeon crawling purpose.

2009-02-26, 12:53 PM
Small characters can dungeoncrawl mounted, and some get nice benefits such as the Halfling Outrider PrC. Now, an unmounted Knight has a very different build. He wants to boost Saves, HP, the 3 types of AC, and Cha, and pull the traditional Tank role of drawing enemy fire. I recommend Combat Reflexes, Mithral Full-Plate, 2 levels of Paladin, and a Reach weapon with IUS.

2009-02-26, 01:13 PM
For a defender-type knight, I recommend the feat Goad. Yes, it's true, Test of Mettle is better in that it has range and is a swift (rather than a move) action to activate, but I find that when it fails (which it will eventually. Enemies WILL make their saves against you.), it's really good to have Goad to fall back on. Also, Goad doesn't have the CR limit that Test of Mettle does, for what that's worth. Some people call it redundancy; I call it insurance. If it's your job to tank, you'd better make damn sure that you get their attention by any means necessary.

Interestingly, the Gnome-only class Blade Bravo from Races of Stone gets Goad as a bonus feat, only they have a better DC for it than if you take it normally. Since gnomes can take advantage of mounted combat even in dungeon situations (and thus can take advantage of the Knight's mounted style... which I know you said you were going to change, but with this you wouldn't have to), either a one-level dip or a handful of levels in Blade Bravo might be up your alley. There's some passable CHA synergy there, too. (Straight-classed Knight is powerful, but it's worth mentioning.)

You also have to decide if you want to primarily defend or primarily harass... or in other words, if you want to be an AoO monkey or not. Since you can force people to attack you, Karmic Strike and (at higher levels) Robilar's Gambit are good choices for a knight, but that requires a good DEX to get the most out of Combat Reflexes, and if you go the traditional heaviest-armor-you-can-afford route, you won't get quite as much mileage out of your DEX as you would otherwise. (Naturally, you'll still get your DEX bonus to skills, initiative, Reflex saves, and all that, but some people resent losing any of their DEX bonus to AC thanks to their armor.) That route is also kind of feat-heavy, but it's quite effective if you do it right.

A kind of cheesy (not REALLY cheesy, but ever-so-slightly against RAI) thing is that a Knight of level 9 or higher can move freely in Mountain Plate (again, see Races of Stone... basically it's the heaviest armor ever, so heavy that the mithril version is STILL heavy, not medium). Mountain Plate says that even a dwarf takes a movement penalty in it, but says nothing about a Knight's ability to move easily in armor. Possibly not worth the investment, but an interesting thing to consider.

One last thing, don't neglect your saves. Since Knight's Challenge is based heavily on your Knight level, dipping and multiclassing can be detrimental, but a two-level splash of Paladin (a thematically appropriate mixture if ever there was one) will get you CHA to saves, and since your CHA is so high anyway, that might not be a bad idea.

2009-02-26, 01:33 PM
That route is also kind of feat-heavy, but it's quite effective if you do it right.

If you refer to karmic strike, a thing that could help. There is a book - a minor artifact in Dungeon Magazine 117 that brings the chance to learn Dodge for free.

Maybe could be a good side quest. Even at low levels, I don't feel it game breaking at all. If you DM allow it, and if you succeed the Wisdom Check require... well, this is another issue. :smallconfused:

2009-02-26, 01:38 PM
If you're looking for a viable sword and board defender type, the Crusader from Tome of Battle is worth considering. Maneuvers are a little less than simple though.

2009-02-26, 04:58 PM
Thanks for the feedback. I'm going to chew this over.

He has decidedly declined playing a ToB character, and wants to be a human, so I'm working with those as well.

2009-02-27, 11:08 AM
Knight (http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/ex/20060501a&page=2) builds:

Basic Knight:

1st: Power Attack
2nd: Mounted Combat (bonus feat)
3rd: Improved Bull Rush (pre-req for Shock Trooper)
5th: Ride by Attack (bonus feat)
6th: Shock Trooper
9th: Leadership or Dragon Cohort (Draconomicon)
10th: Spirited Charge (bonus feat)

You still have your 12th, 15th, and 18th level feats open. You get another bonus feat at 15th level. You can also dump Leadership and just buy a special mount (Figurines of Wondrous Power are core, but there are many different options spread throughout the splat books).

Sir Didymus
Strongheart Halfling Knight 10

Con > Cha > Dex > Str > Int 13 > Wis (dump): You need a Dex of at least 14, because you're going to be taking a lot of AoO. It's ok to dump Wis, because you have a strong Will Save and can always buy a Cloak of Resistance.

Strongheart Halflings lose their Save bonus and gain a bonus feat instead. It's a Forgotten Realms Race.

Feats: Combat Expertise, Improved Trip (Halfling bonus feat), Mounted Combat (Knight bonus), Knock-Down, Ride By Attack (Knight bonus), Combat Reflexes, Power Attack, Spirited Charge (Knight bonus). If possible, also pick up Shock Trooper ASAP. Though its not pivotal for this build, it helps a lot on your Charge attacks. You can switch out Combat Expertise->Improved Trip->Knock-Down for Stand Still, which is more efficient for battlefield control but never deals damage.

Invest in Handle Animal. Buy a pack of dogs, trained for guard duty, attack, and riding. They're cheap, fast, and also useful for disarming traps in dungeons. (Fetch the bone Lassie!) Ride one into combat, and have the others guard the campsite and act as replacements in case your main mount gets killed. An even better combination is if you have a Druid or Ranger in the party with an animal companion. At higher levels, you can take Leadership or Dragon Cohort and get something more useful, preferably something with flight.

Your combo is simple. Use Test of Mettle to draw your enemies to you. Charge through and past them repeatedly, drawing them as far away as you can from the rest of your party. Divide and conquer. Have the rest of the party gang up on whoever passed their Test of Mettle Save, and once they're dead, have them kill whoever is following you around - one at a time - vastly increasing your party's effectiveness.

Use your lance and shield together for higher AC, or use your lance two handed for Power Attack and Spirited Charge for 3(1d6+magic+[Str*1.5]+[BAB*2]) damage. If possible, use an animated shield, so that you can gain you Knight bonus to it while maximizing your damage output.

If someone tries to attack you, you get a free hit on them (lance is a reach weapon) followed by a free Trip attempt (Knock-Down). Remember, no one can charge through an occupied square, so if the person isn't killed, they become defensive terrain for you. And with Vigilante Defender, Skill Monkeys and Monks will have a hard time bypassing your defenses.

Also, its important to note that if someone under the effect of your Test of Mettle is standing 0-10 feet away from you, your next action should usually be to Withdraw or Move away at your full speed, or if possible Charge through and past them or someone else on the battlefield, ending up 70ish feet away. Don't make a Full Attack. And don't take your To-Hit down so far with Power Attack that you risk missing. This is counter intuitive, but remember that your main goal on the battlefield is to control your enemies, not engage them. If they spend every round chasing you, that's another round they're not attacking your friends. This is your true goal. Occasional massive damage from a great charge attack is just a helpful side effect.

Keep in mind that using this combo is just begging your DM to throw incorporeal (immune to Trip) enemies and/or enemies with no Int score (immune to Test of Mettle) at you. So I suggest you buy two lances: One main +4 Adamantine Lance (maximizing your chance To-Hit) for regular combat, and a secondary +1 Cold Steel Ghost Touch Lance of Disruption for when its appropriate.

Your DM will probably also mix in a large number of ranged combatants, so be sure to have a friend cast Protection from Arrows on you.

Ping Pong Pete
Goliath Knight 12 (ECL 13)
Cha > Dex > Str > Con > Int 13 > Wis (dump): Like Sir Didymus, you need a Dex of at least 14, because you're going to be taking a lot of AoO. And it's ok to dump Wis, because you have a strong Will Save and can always buy a Cloak of Resistance. But thanks to the racial bonuses, Pete doesn't need to invest in Str and Con as highly as Sir Didymus.

Feats: Power Attack, Mounted Combat (bonus), Improved Bull Rush, Ride By Attack (bonus), Combat Reflexes, Knockback (Races of Stone), Spirited Charge (bonus), Shock Trooper.

Pete has two combo's. The first copies Sir Didymus. Get on a horse, use Test of Mettle, divide and conquer. Note that your damage output will definitely be higher, because you can use a large lance, use Shock Trooper to shift the To-Hit penalty to AC, and will generally have higher Str.

The second combo revolves around Knockback. It's a feat that's limited to Large and Powerful Build races which gives you a free Bull Rush whenever you hit an enemy, adding your Power Attack bonus to it. So instead of leaving your enemies Prone, you push them back. Shock Trooper allows you to move your enemies one square to the left or right for each square you push them back. And it gives you a free Trip attempt if you can steer a Bull Rushed enemy into another enemy's square. And hilariously, all your enemies can do is get up and head right back towards you.

This build is more powerful, but it suffers from two big weaknesses. First, since goliaths are a medium race, they can generally only be mounted while outdoors. Being a small race, Sir Didymus can pretty much go anywhere on his medium mount, maintaining his mobility under almost any conditions. If you just know that you're going to be spending a lot of time indoors, then drop the Ride By Attack and Spirited Charge and pick up Iron Will and Great Fortitude instead (sigh - I wish the Knight's bonus feat list was better), and pick up Leap Attack as soon as you can.

Second, Sir Didymus is playable at every level, but Pete desperately needs lots of feats for his key second combo to work. Flaws help. But if you can't use flaws and you're playing at mid levels you have to suck it up and take 2 levels of Fighter, and accept the fact that your Knight abilities will be somewhat sub-par.

Hentai, the Knight Protector
Whatever Knight X
Cha > Dex > Str (13+)> Con > Int (10+) > Wis (dump): Basically, this Knight has three goals:

1) Get access to Standstill (http://www.dandwiki.com/wiki/Stand_Still), Combat Reflexes, Mage Slayer (Complete Arcane), Supernatural Opportunist (Tome of Magic), and Frightful Presence (Draconomicon).

2) Getting ridiculous reach. This can be accomplished a number of ways:

Play a big race (try to avoid LA)
Reach Weapon: Doubles reach.
Polymorph: Ask a friend to turn you into something bigger.
Expansion (doesn't stack with Enlarge Person): +1 or +2 size.
Alter Self (doesn't stack with Enlarge Person or Expansion): +1 size.
Willing Deformity -> Deformity Tall (Heroes of Horror): +5 ft.
Aberration Blood -> Inhuman Reach (Lords of Madness): +5 ft.
Extended Reach (req tentacle like limbs, provided by Inhuman Reach): +5 ft.
3 levels of Warshaper (Comp Warrior): +5 ft, but only with natural weapons.

Some of these options aren't a good choice for this build, but I'd though I'd put them out there anyway. But it should be relatively easy for you to get 30+ feet of reach with a moderate investment. If a friend isn't willing to buff you, take the Arcane Schooling (Player’s Guide to Faerun pg 33) and now you can use wands without UMD.

3) Find a way to consistently deal 40ish damage per hit - not very hard with decent Str, a two handed weapon magic weapon, etc. This will make the Reflex Saves needed to accomplish any type of movement and the Concentration checks needed to cast ridiculously hard.

Put these together with your Knight class abilities (Bulwark of Defense, Vigilant Defender, Daunting Challenge, Test of Mettle) and basically everyone within your reach will be screwed one way or another. Stand near the party Wizard or whoever needs to be protected the most, and the enemies will come to you, even without Test of Mettle.

The down side of this build is that it really doesn't come together until at least ECL 12ish, if not much higher. It lacks any offensive combo besides Fear, though you could certainly add some at high levels. And your DM is definitely going to use lots of very long range enemies against you, so be prepared.

2009-02-27, 07:21 PM
Extended Reach (req tentacle like limbs, provided by Inhuman Reach)

From what source is Extended Reach? I can't seem to find it.

Nevermind, Savage Species. Thanks anyway, but it appears my Search skill needs a few more ranks.

Irreverent Fool
2009-02-27, 07:28 PM
He's declined playing a ToB character, but later on you may want to give him access to Insightful Strike. It's a very good way for a sword-and-board character to contribute meaningfully to damage. I believe there are items in the ToB that allow one access to maneuvers, so he wouldn't even have to build for it. Well... aside from an investiture in concentration.


2009-02-27, 07:48 PM
I offer this all the time, but I think this might be right up his alley. It's naturally got mounted flavor, but so far it's proven to be quite the monster on the ground as well.


Alignment: Any Lawful.

Hit Die: d10

Class Skills: The Cavalier's class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Concentration (Con), Handle Animal (Cha), Heal (Wis), Knowledge (religion) (Int) Profession (Wis), Ride (Dex).

Skill Points at 1st level: (2 + Int Modifier) x4
Skill Points at Each additional Level: 2 + Int Modifier

{table=head]Level|Base Attack Bonus|Fort Save|Ref Save|Will Save|Special
+0|Lay on Hands, Aura of Law 1/day
+0|Knightly Grace, Bonus Feat
+1|Smite Foe 1/day
+1|Improved Shield Bash
+1|Bonus Feat, Smite Foe 2/day
+2|Aura of Law 2/day
+2|Noble Mount 1st-Tier
+2|Smite Foe 3/day
+2|Bonus Feat
+3|Ride-by Attack
+3|Smite Foe 4/day
+3|Cleric Domain-1st, Lance Knight
+3|Bonus Feat, Noble Mount 2nd-Tier, Aura of Law 3/day
+4|Smite Foe 5/day
+4|Combat Reflexes
+4|Cleric Domain-2nd
+4|Bonus Feat, Smite Foe 6/day
+5|Cleric Domain-3rd
+5|Bonus Feat, Noble Mount 3rd-Tier[/table]

Class Features:
Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Cavaliers are proficient with all simple and martial weapons, with all types of armor (heavy, medium, and light), and with shields (except tower shields).

Lay on Hands: As per the Paladin ability.

Aura of Law: Aura of Law is a Cavalier's final defense. Used when foes close in around him the Cavalier summons his knowledge of right and law, and projects a feeling of defenslessness and clumsiness against neutral and chaotic foes. Neutral foes take a -1 penalty to AC and BAB, while Chaotic Foes take a -2 penalty to AC and BAB. This effect lasts for 1 round per Cavalier level. The aura can be resisted by a (DC10 + Cavalier level + Cavalier's CHA mod) Will save. A Cavalier may use Aura of Law once per day at first level, and gains additional uses every seven levels.

Mounted Combat: The Cavalier is treated as always having the mounted combat feat.

Smite Foe: As per the Smite Evil ability, but only against Chaotic or Neutral Foes. A Cavalier gains one use at third level, and an additional use every three levels there after.

Knightly Grace: At 2nd level, a Cavalier has been trained to fight on horseback, and when mounted on a horse or pony gains a +2 competence bonus when attempting to control an untrained animal. When mounted on a warhorse, or warpony, the Cavalier gains a +1 bonus to mounted melee attacks.

Bonus Feat: A Cavalier is granted bonus feat in addition to those she normally receives. Bonus feats may be selected from the fighter bonus feat list.

Improved Shield Bash: At 4th level Cavalier is treated as having the Improved Shield Bash feat while mounted, even if he or she does not meet the requirements.

Dodge: From 5th level on, when mounted a Cavalier is treated as having the dodge feat even if he or she does not meet the requirements for it.

Cleric Domain: A Cavalier, while not necessarily a religious warrior is looked upon with favor by his or her god. At 13th level, a Cavalier may choose one of his or her gods domain's, and use the first level domain power as a Cleric of one quarter the Cavalier's level. At 17th level, the Cavalier gains the second level domain power, as a cleric of one quarter Cavalier level, and at 1th, gains a third level domain power, as a cleric one-quarter of the Cavalier's level. Cavaliers cast based on CHA as Sorcerors, Bards, and Paladins.

Ride-by Attack: At 11th level, if not taken before the Cavalier gains Ride-by Attack while mounted, even he or she does not otherwise qualify.

Combat Reflexes: If he has not taken it at an earlier level, at 16th level, the Cavalier is treated as having Combat Reflexes.

Lance Knight: At 13th level, the Cavalier has become a master of mounted combat, and as such is able to deal double damage when charging mounted wielding with a Sword, or Axe and Shield. Charging with a lance deals triple damage instead. The Cavalier's BAB, and chance to hit rolls are unaffected. The Cavalier also is able to disregard the -2 AC penalty while charging mounted.

Noble Steed: At 8th Level, a Cavalier may spend 1d4 days familiarizing himself with a particular mount, and bind himself to it. In doing so, it becomes a first tier mount. At level 14, it becomes a second tier mount, and at level 20, it becomes a third tier mount. While mounted on his Noble Mount, the Cavalier gains a +1 to his Reflex and Will saves.

If the Cavalier's Noble Steed is killed, it takes a year and a day to become familiar enough with another mount to replace it. Upon the steeds death, the Cavalier loses 200xp per level, with a fort save for half. In addition, the Cavalier must make a fort save, or be treated as having one half his total ride skill until he gains another Steed. Making the fort save reduces the penalty to three-quarters his ride skill. If the Cavalier's Steed is resurrected, the penalty to his ride skill is negated.

Noble Steed
{table=head]Tier|HD|Natural Armor|Str. Adj.|Special
+1|Improved Mounted Combat, DR5/Silver
+2|Shield Mount
+4|Mounted Archery, DR10/Silver[/table]

Shield Mount:While mounted on his Noble Steed, the steed gains the Cavalier's Shield Bonus to it's AC against melee attacks.