View Full Version : High Paladin (Or, Paladins can have nice things too)(3.5, PrC, PEACH)

2012-07-17, 12:11 AM
Yes, I realize this class is likely insane in all power levels. That is, partially, intended. The idea of this prestige class was for a special boon to paladins, something that makes playing within the strict confines of a lawful good church's ideals and the paladin oath, and something that didn't jump through hoops like prestige paladin and ur-priest to give a paladin the power they need to face evil for the will of their god. The High Paladin is likely not fit for every game, but the entry requirements are strictly DM'd controlled. The prestige class would be best used by the DM to offer to a paladin player who has undergone a difficult task in the service of his faith, or used for a powerful sect of High Paladins in his world either as allies of good aligned player characters, or stalwart enemies for evil aligned ones. That being said, any critique with this in mind would be appreciated.

High Paladin


“Upon the altar of Heironeous I pledge eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the lives of man.”

While Paladins and Clerics are often times a just god's eternal battle against evil, sometimes they are known to bless those with extraordinary courage and good hearts with powerful divine power to combat the most heinous champions of evil. These godly champions of faith are known as the High Paladins, a small order of paladins knighted to a greater cause after proving themselves stalwart against the lords of evil.

Becoming a High Paladin

A Paladin does not quest or search to become a High Paladin, although he may know of the order and try to gain their blessing – such acts are usually self defeating as the sacred order tends to pass them over for truly righteous and devout holy warriors. High Paladins are inducted either by an order of High Paladins who have taken notice of a Paladin after a truly heroic deed and, after conferring with their deity by prayers and meditation, seek him out to offer him a chance to join their order and fight against evil. Sometimes however a deity doesn't possess an order of High Paladins on the world, or is so far removed in his quest against evil that the deity interposes one of his or her agents to approach a paladin who performs a truly heroic deed and offer him this boon.

Ultimately, the decision for how a Paladin becomes a High Paladin lays in the hands of a DM. Only he has the right to determine who the Paladin's god favors, and if his deeds have earned him this reward from his church and faith.

Alignment: Lawful Good
Base Attack Bonus: +4
Skills: Knowledge: Religion 8 ranks.
Spellcasting: Must be able to cast Lesser Restoration as a 1st level divine spell.
Feats: Must possess the Sacred Vow and Iron Will feats.
Special: Must worship a Neutral or Lawful Good Deity, who's worshipers include a sect of paladins, or uphold the ideals of good and law.
Must be inducted into the High Paladin's by a high ranking member of the Paladin's church, or by a loyal outsider agent of a neutral good or lawful good deity (typically the paladin's).

Class Skills: The High Paladin's class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Handle Animal (Cha), Heal (Wis), Knowledge (nobility and royalty)(Int), Knowledge (religion)(Int), Knowledge (the planes)(Int), Profession (Wis), Ride (Dex), Sense Motive (Wisdom), and Spellcraft (Int).
Skill Points at Each Level: 2+ Intelligence modifier.

Hit Dice: d10

{table=head]Level|BAB|Fort Save|Ref Save|Will Save|Special|0|1st|2nd|3rd|4th|5th|6th|7th|8th|9th
1st|+1|+2|+0|+2|Paladin Advancement, Divine Oath|4|2|—|—|—|—|—|—|—|—
4th|+4|+4|+1|+4|Domain Access|6|3|2|1|0|—|—|—|—|—

Weapon Proficiency: A High Paladin gains his deity's favored weapon as a proficiency if he doesn't already possess it.

Spells Per Day: A High Paladin gains the ability to cast a number of divine spells. To cast a spell, a High Paladin must have a Charisma score of at least 10 + the spell's level, so a High Paladin with a Charisma of 10 or lower cannot cast these spells. High Paladin bonus spells are based on Charisma, and saving throws against these spells have a DC of 10 + spell level + Charisma modifier. When the table indicates that the High Paladin gets 0 spells per day of a given spell level, such as a 0 2nd level spells at 2nd level, the High Paladin gains only the bonus spells he would be entitled to based on his Charisma score for that spell level.
The High Paladin spell list possesses all spells on the cleric and paladin spell list; except for any spell with the Evil or Chaos descriptor. If a spell is on both list, use the lowest level version of the spell. He prepares spells as a cleric. A High Paladin casts spells as a cleric does, except that unlike a cleric, he does not have the ability to spontaneously cast cure or inflict spells, nor does he have domain spells or associated domain granted powers. To determine the caster level of a High Paladin, add the character's add the character's paladin levels to his High Paladin levels.

Paladin Advancement: A paladin who becomes a High Paladin does not forsake her duty or training as she ascends to a High Paladin. You add your High Paladin levels to your paladin levels for the purposes of the following paladin class features you possess; Aura of Good, Smite Evil (damage and number of uses per day), Lay On Hands, Turn Undead, and Special Mount. Additionally, a High Paladin may resume taking levels of paladin after taking her first level in High Paladin.

Divine Oath: In addition to the regular restrictions of a Paladin's oath, the High Paladin is further barred from utilizing any spellcasting other than that gained by his High Paladin levels. Any divine spellcasting ability the High Paladin possessed before taking his 1st level in this class are immediately stricken from him as a new, stronger connection to his deity is forged (this does not make the character unable to qualify for this class). If he has the capacity to prepare or cast arcane spells, he immediately loses all class features and spells gained by his High Paladin class levels if he ever willingly prepares or casts an arcane spell, or utilizes his capacity to cast arcane spells in any way (such as by activating a wand with an arcane spell stored, or by spending spell slots for the Arcane Strike feat). The High Paladin's god have given them a special, rare bond to draw divine energy from, and are quick to remove their blessings if they scorn such a powerful gift.
Additionally, a High Paladin must remain faithful and true to every tenet of his church, unless excused by his deity or outsider agent thereof.

Domain Access: At 4th level, a High Paladin gains access to a single domain granted by his god. He gains the domain power of the domain, but does not gain the extra domain spells per day. Instead, he can spontaneously cast the spells from his gained domain with his High Paladin spell slots, like how a cleric normally spontaneously casts cure or inflict spells from his prepared spell list.

Divinity: At 7th level, a High Paladin's connection to his deity becomes so strong that he ceases to be a normal creature of his type, and instead gains the Outsider (lawful, good, native) type. He gains all the traits of being an Outsider such as darkvision 60ft and proficiency with all simple and martial weapons.

Ascension: At tenth level, a High Paladin's connection to his deity grows even further, becoming a full fledged agent of his god. At tenth level, he gains the Archon subtype, and possesses all traits of an Archon, including;

Aura of Menace (Su): A righteous aura surrounds archons that fight or get angry. Any hostile creature within a 20-foot radius of an archon must succeed on a Will save of DC DC 15 + the High Paladin's charisma modifier or take a -2 penalty on attacks, AC, and saves for 24 hours or until they successfully hit the High Paladin. A creature that has resisted or broken the effect cannot be affected again by the High Paladin's aura for 24 hours.
Immunity to electricity and petrification.
+4 racial bonus on saves against poison.
Magic Circle Against Evil (Su): A Magic Circle against evil effect always surrounds the High Paladin with a caster level equal to the High Paladin's hit dice.
Teleport (Su): Archons can use greater teleport at will, as the spell (caster level 14th), except that the High Paladin can transport only himself and up to 50 pounds of objects.
Tongues (Su): All archons can speak with any creature that has a language, as though using the tongues spell (caster level 14th). This ability is always active.

Additionally, because a High Paladin still retains his native subtype, he can continue to be raised from the dead by normal methods, despite becoming an archon. Furthermore, upon the High Paladin's permanent death, he ascends into the heavens as a Sword Archon (Book of Exalted Deeds) to continue carrying out his deity's will.

2012-07-17, 07:58 AM
That's powerfull indeed: 9th level spells at level 13?

About the capstone, maybe give the saint template instead of making him an archon? That gives a large part of the abilities an archon get, with some more.

Then, why Iron Will? I now it'a a traditionnal prerequisites for a PrC, but a paladin will never take it: he already has Divine Grace... Sacred Vow isn't truly good, but could be the "prerequisite useless feat" or something like that.

About the part of worship, the paladin is traditionally worshipping Good itself, why asking him to worship a special god? Furthermore, why did you tide him to a church? technically, even a NG or LG church with paladins could have LN or TN high ranking clerics/priests, who could not have all the best in mind, and therefore, and that could be an awkward place for a paladin.

Finally, give him 4+int skill points ^^

2012-07-17, 08:11 AM
I partially thought of the two 'useless/low powered feats' as a bit more of a feat tax. Because yes, ninth level spells at 13th level (although 14th would be more optimal, giving the high paladin access to a special mount/charging smite which won't progress otherwise) is really, really powerful - even if it is a bit more restricted than the Ur-priest this was based on. However, the two feats do make some sense. Sacred Vow screams this class as its pledging yourself to a higher cause. Iron Will sort of makes sense since the perspective paladins are supposed to be the most steadfast and determined of the lot to stand against the darkness; Iron Will furthers that ideal.

And yes, those churches could have high ranking clerics in the same faith, but clerics and paladins aren't exactly the same thing. Sure, the Lawful Good High Paladins might cause some friction, but they could still get a long so long as each is faithful to their god. There's nothing preventing the two from working together, after all.

As for why tie him to a church... Mostly it was another attempt at a limiting factor. High Paladins are either high ranking (or soon to be high ranking) members of their faith, or directly appointed by divine intervention. I could make the prerequisites so that he doesn't have to be apart of a church, but merely inducted by one he's a member of or by a god/agent of a god(s).

I'll look over the saint template and see how it goes. I sort of like the fluff of High Paladins becoming outsider agents of their faith on the mortal plane, however. And Lawful Good Outsider screams Archon.

I'm also contemplating including two pregenerated NPC High Paladins. A Paladin of Pelor (domain access healing for spontaneous healing) focusing more on healing and redemption, and likely a dwarven High Paladin who's all about bringing the knightly hammer on evil doers.

2012-07-17, 09:33 AM
If you don't like the idea of 9th level spells at 13th level, then why not add skill prerequisites to the prestige class? Something like Knowledge(Religion) ranks makes a lot of sense, as would heal, ride, or sense motive ranks.

Also, I'm curious why the divine oath was necessary - it punishes the High Paladin (imo) unnecessarily for having powers like arcane spells or even cleric levels. I think I understand your purpose, as in you don't want the class used for mystic-theurge shenanigans, but I (personally) prefer enticing players into taking all the levels of a class, by giving nice class features that are worth giving up, say, dual-9's or whatever. You catch more flies with honey than vinegar, etc.

You can also make the prerequisites more strict, therefore making this PrC a larger investment for any character taking it. Making the class longer, perhaps 14 or so levels, would also combat the problem of easy mystic theurge shenanigans and delay the acquisition of 9th level spells a bit.

Overall, though, I do like the idea of this class.

2012-07-17, 05:44 PM
I like the class, but yeah, the early spell progression is too much. If you had it so that you got 9th level spells at 19th, the class would still be an excellent divine gish; pre-epic ninths, not a point of BAB lost, full paladin goodies (including access to Divine Metamagic), spontaneous domain casting, and the very nice archon abilities as a capstone. That is easily competitive with pretty much any cleric/prestige class combo I can think of, and I believe beats most gish builds.

But set up so they're getting Mass Heal, Implosion, and True Resurrection two levels after a cleric gets Heal, Slay Living, and Raise Dead? Or Miracle before the cleric can even cast all the spells Miracle can emulate? There's no comparison.

Still, it's a simple enough fix and that aside, the class looks great for a high-powered divine warrior.

2012-07-19, 11:30 AM
Hmmm, I can see it going either way (either extra levels to spread out the spellcasting progression, or setting it higher). I think at the very least, I'll throw in the knowledge: religion prerequisite to 8, as I was intending the class to be entered by 5th level paladins already (so they'd get their mounts/charging smite upgraded with the paladin advancement). This would, at least, make it at least on par with ur-priest (which is widely considered broken anyway, but was my bench mark for this).

Alternatively, how would reducing the spell list work? Right now it casts every cleric and paladin spell (minus those with the chaos or evil tag). Making it only work for 'paladin' like spells; healing and restoration spells, a few selective divine attack spells, and in general buff spells? A bit of flexibility would be added by its domain access, so juicy domains could expand their spell list.

The idea of the Divine Oath was a more restrictive paladin oath due to the greater power of the class compared to a standard paladin. And yes, it was also a measure against the fact that I've yet to see an ur-priest build that didn't jump ship at level 2. It does also make sense that the High Paladin's god might be a bit prissy if one of his chosen champions decided to use arcane magic rather than the great boon he'd be given, and I don't know of any lawful good (or neutral good) gods of magic. Still, since the build does require 4 levels of paladin for the spellcasting requirement, that alone would be a good prevention for mystic theurge... (You'd have to get a second fast spellcasting progression class to do it, and meet its prerequisites...)