View Full Version : The Smiting Paladin Prestige Class (3.5, PEACH)

2013-10-29, 12:58 PM
Smiting Paladin Prestige Class

A variant prestige paladin. The inspiration for this is less 'mutant child of a fighter and a cleric - on horseback!', and more 'Arthurian legends,' with a little bit of WoW paladin for inspiration. Essentially, I've always had issues with paladin being a core class, but the UA prestige variant feels rather flat, and also a little weird with 15 levels. So I've compressed the whole thing down to ten levels, refocused the class, and adapted it to fit all four paladin variant alignments.

To be clear: I want to run this as a replacement for paladin as a base class in my campaign.

One thing I'm uncertain of with this is the removal of turn/rebuke undead. I don't view that as essential paladin, but it's a rather major class ability to lose. I'm wondering if including an ability that allows paladin levels to stack with others for turning/rebuking might be fitting. Alternatively, I could just make a feat that players could take to make the two stack and solve it that way - I'm more partial to that fix.

And yes, there is an Exalted Deeds feat as an ability. The book isn't allowed in my campaign, but the feat doesn't look too ridiculous, and frankly I look at it and want to see someone build a ranger-paladin, smiting from afar.

Alignment: Non-neutral
Base Attack Bonus: +4
Skills: Knowledge (religion) 7 ranks, Knowledge (nobility and royalty) 2 ranks
Feats: Mounted Combat
Spellcasting: Ability to cast 1st level divine spells.

Class Skills
Bluff (Cha), Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Handle Animal (Cha), Heal (Wis), Intimidate (Cha), Knowledge (nobility and royalty) (Int), Knowledge (religion) (Int), Profession (Wis), Ride (Dex), and Sense Motive (Wis).
Skill Points: 2 + Int modifier.

Hit Die: d10

{table=head] Level | BAB | Fort | Ref | Will | Special | Spells
1st | +1 | +2 | +0 | +0 | Cleric entrance, detect alignment, smite 1/day | -
2nd | +2 | +3 | +0 | +0 | Divine grace, grasp of the gods, special mount | +1 level of existing divine spellcasting class
3rd | +3 | +3 | +1 | +1 | Aura, divine health, smite 2/day | -
4th | +4 | +4 | +1 | +1 | Holy wrath | +1 level of existing divine spellcasting class
5th | +5 | +4 | +1 | +1 | Sacrosanct body, smite 3/day | -
6th | +6 | +5 | +2 | +2 | Holy wrath | +1 level of existing divine spellcasting class
7th | +7 | +5 | +2 | +2 | Smite 4/day | -
8th | +8 | +6 | +2 | +2 | Holy wrath | +1 level of existing divine spellcasting class
9th | +9 | +6 | +3 | +3 | Smite 5/day | -
10th | +10 | +7 | +3 | +3 | Holy wrath, manifest faith | +1 level of existing divine spellcasting class[/table]

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

Cleric Entrance: A cleric who takes the prestige paladin class may stack their paladin levels with their cleric levels when turning or rebuking undead.

Spells per Day: A prestige paladin's training focuses on divine spellcasting. At every even numbered level reached, the prestige paladin gains new spells per day as if they had also gained a level in whatever divine spellcasting class they belonged to before they added the prestige class.

Detect Alignment (Sp): At will, Paladins can detect their opposite alignment along the good-evil axis as per the spells detect evil and detect good. For example, a Lawful Evil paladin can detect good at will, but not detect evil.

Smite (Su): Once per day, good-aligned paladins may attempt to smite evil with one normal melee attack. They add their Charisma bonus (if any) to their attack roll and deal 2 extra points of damage per paladin level. If the paladin accidentally smites a creature that is not evil, the smite has no effect, but the ability is still used up for that day. Evil paladins may attempt to smite good, and if the creature is not good, the smite has no effect, and the ability is still used up for that day.
At 3rd level, and at every odd level thereafter, the paladin may smite good or evil one additional time per day, as indicated, to a maximum of five times per day at 9th level.

Divine Grace (Su): At 2nd level, a paladin gains a bonus equal to their Charisma bonus (if any) on all saving throws.

Grasp of the Gods (Su): Beginning at 2nd level, paladins with a Charisma score of 12 or higher gain the ability to deliver divine energy with a touch. The amount of energy they can deliver per day this way is equal to their paladin level x their Charisma bonus x 2.
A good paladin can use this divine energy to heal wounds (their own or those of others). They may choose to divide their healing among multiple recipients, and they donít have to use it all at once. Using this ability is a standard action.
Alternatively, a good paladin can use any or all of this power to deal damage to undead creatures. Using the ability in this way requires a successful melee touch attack and doesnít provoke an attack of opportunity. The paladin decides how many of their daily allotment of points to use as damage after successfully touching an undead creature.
An evil paladin can cause wounds with a successful touch attack. An opponent subjected to this attack can make a Will save (DC 10 + paladin level + paladin's Cha modifier) to halve the damage dealt.
Alternatively, an evil paladin can use any or all of this power to cure damage to undead creatures, just as an inflict wounds spell does.

Special Mount (Sp): Upon reaching 2nd level, a paladin gains the service of an unusually intelligent, strong, and loyal steed to serve them in their crusade. This mount is usually a heavy warhorse (for a Medium paladin), a warpony (for a Small paladin), or a rhino (for a Large paladin).
Once per day, as a full-round action, a paladin may magically call their mount from the other realm in which it resides. This ability is the equivalent of a spell of a level equal to one-third the paladinís level. The mount immediately appears adjacent to the paladin and remains for 3 hours per overall character level; it may be dismissed at any time as a free action. The mount is the same creature each time it is summoned, though the paladin may release a particular mount from service.
Each time the mount is called, it appears in full health, regardless of any damage it may have taken previously. The mount also appears wearing or carrying any gear it had when it was last dismissed. Calling a mount is a conjuration (calling) effect.
Should the paladinís mount die, it immediately disappears, leaving behind any equipment it was carrying. The paladin may not summon another mount for thirty days or until they gain a paladin level, whichever comes first, even if the mount is somehow returned from the dead. During this thirty-day period, the paladin takes a -1 penalty on attack and weapon damage rolls.

Aura (Su): Beginning at 3rd level, a paladin gains a specific aura depending on their alignment. This ability functions while the paladin is conscious, but not if they are unconscious or dead.
In addition, this aura grants them an aura according to their alignment as if they were a cleric. Treat their paladin levels as cleric levels to determine the aura's strength.

Lawful Good: The paladin gains an Aura of Courage, granting them immunity to fear (magical or otherwise). Each ally within 10 feet of them gains a +4 morale bonus on saving throws against fear effects.
Chaotic Good: The paladin gains an Aura of Resolve, granting them immunity to compulsion effects. Each ally within 10 feet of them gains a +4 morale bonus on saving throws against compulsion effects.
Lawful Evil: The paladin gains an Aura of Despair, causing enemies within 10 feet of them to take a -2 penalty on all saving throws.
Chaotic Evil: The paladin gains a Debilitating Aura causing enemies within 10 feet of them to take a -1 penalty to Armor Class.

Divine Health (Ex): At 3rd level, all paladins gain immunity to all diseases, including supernatural and magical diseases.

Holy Wrath (Su): At 4th level and every even numbered level after, a paladin learns more advanced methods of smiting. At 4th, 6th, 8th, and 10th, they may choose one of the following to permanently alter their smite ability:

Improved Smite: Whenever you make a smite attack, your attack overcomes damage reduction as if it had an alignment, and you deal an extra +1d6 points of damage to targets of a specific alignment. This alignment matches the alignment of your smite.
Extra Smiting: You gain an extra 2 smites per day, as the feat in Complete Warrior.
Empowered Smite: You may add your Charisma bonus to your damage when smiting, as well as your attack roll.
Shielding Smite: Gain a deflection bonus equal to your Charisma modifier when you smite. This bonus lasts until your next round. This bonus is superceded by the AC bonus granted by burning smites when using manifest faith.
Axis Smite: You can now smite your opposing alignment along the lawful-chaotic axis, as well as the good-evil axis. The damage does not stack, your possible targets are simply widened. For example, if a lawful good paladin with this ability smites someone who is chaotic good, their smite would not be wasted as it would otherwise. You do not have to declare what alignment you are smiting ahead of time, your smite is automatically aligned to affect all non-neutral opposing alignments. You must have at least 8 levels of paladin to select this ability.
Ranged Smite: Your smite can be channeled through a missile that you fire. You must have at least 8 levels of paladin to select this ability.
Encompassing Smite: When your smite hits an enemy, it explodes outwards, dealing the smite damage (2 points per paladin level, plus any bonuses to smite damage) to all elligible enemies within a 10 ft burst, centered on the original smite target. A successful Reflex save, DC 10 + the paladin's level + Charisma modifier, will halve this damage. You must have at least 8 levels of paladin to select this ability.

Sacrosanct Body (Ex): At fifth level, a paladin's faith helps protect their body from external influences. Whenever a paladin is the subject of an ability or energy drain attack, they immediately gain a Will save to counter the effects, even if no save is usually allowed. The DC for this save is 10 + the attacking creature's HD.
If the drain affect normally allows a save to avoid its affects, a paladin can make two rolls and use the higher result. The DC for these checks is the same as it would be normally.

Manifest Faith (Su): Once per day a paladin may manifest their faith. This shows as glowing or black eyes, insubstanial wings, a halo, shadowy horns, hooves, or a forked tail, or other manifestations. A paladin gains a +4 to intimidate checks when manifesting their faith, and it lasts a number of rounds equal to their Charisma modifier.
When manifesting, a paladin's smite lasts for a full round instead of one attack. They may also spend or 'burn' a smite to regain a full use of their Grasp of the Gods ability. Lastly, they may burn any number of smites to give themselves a divine AC bonus equal to the Charisma modifier + the number of smites they burned. This AC bonus lasts until their manifest faith ends.

A paladin who ceases to follow their alignment, who willfully commits an act of an opposing alignment, or who grossly violates the code of conduct loses all paladin spells and abilities (including the service of the paladinís mount, but not weapon, armor, and shield proficiencies). They may not progress any farther in levels as a paladin. They regain their abilities and advancement potential if they atone for their violations (see the atonement spell description), as appropriate.
Alternatively, the paladin may chose to follow a different paladinic path that matches their new alignment and code of conduct. To do so, they must spend 60 days relearning their abilities and undergoing rigorous rituals of cleansing. Once a paladin has changed their path in this way, they may never return to their former path (save by use of a wish or miracle spell), and should they stray from their new paladinic path, they cannot assume another, even if they undergo the retraining and rituals again. They may, however, atone and return to their second chosen path.
Like a member of any other class, a paladin may be a multiclass character, but multiclass paladins face a special restriction. A paladin who gains a level in any class other than paladin may never again raise their paladin level, though they retain all their paladin abilities.

The Paladin's Mount
The paladin mount remains unchanged, with its abilities being gained at the following levels instead:

{table=head] Paladin Level | Bonus HD | Natural Armor Adj. | Str Adj. | Int | Special
2nd-3rd | 2 | 4 | 1 | 6 | Empathic link, improved evasion, share spells, share saving throws
4th-6th | 4 | 6 | 2 | 7 | Improved speed
7th-9th | 6 | 8 | 3 | 8 | Command creatures of its kind
10th | 8 | 10 | 4 | 9 | Spell resistance[/table]

2013-10-29, 03:19 PM
Endurance is a really flat feat, which makes the class sub-par already.

However, your worries for the loss of the Turn Undead feature gives me an idea, perhaps you should include a class feature that allows the Endurance feat to add some bonus against the body affecting attacks of the undead, like energy drain, paralysis, and whatever special abilities an undead might use to disable the Paladin. Why bother Turning them when you can just smite them?

2013-10-29, 03:49 PM
Honestly, Endurance was only added after my RL-reviewer said he felt like there should be another feat pre-req. I went for Endurance because it fit the Paladin archetype I was going for the most - IE, long knightly vigils, days riding around on horseback, etc. It would also help avoid the awkwardness of a paladin fighting a troll in his underwear (yes, it's happened, and yes, it ended badly).

It could easily be removed as a pre-req, though I like the idea of a paladin being able to rest in their armor...probably be a bit overpowered to give them that as an ability, though. (But that gives me an idea for an armor special ability...)

perhaps you should include a class feature that allows the Endurance feat to add some bonus against the body affecting attacks of the undead, like energy drain, paralysis, and whatever special abilities an undead might use to disable the Paladin.

Hmm, what about just flat-out giving paladins, say, a Will save to avoid any type of drain (ability or energy), DC 10 + attackers HD? I was looking for a moderately interesting level 5 ability, that might do it. No idea how balanced that would be, I haven't had a very strong undead presence in any of my campaigns as player or GM. Actually, my current group of players runs away screaming from any possible undead encounters...kinda silly when they had two paladins and a cleric until recently.

2013-10-29, 04:46 PM
I wouldn't worry about balance. Casting classes get that sort of protection by about the same time this PrC would give it.

2013-10-29, 11:53 PM
Added Sacrosanct Body at 5th level. Smoothed out the progression of Smite and Holy Wrath. Added cleric levels stacking with paladin for turning/rebuking.

Reduced the BAB needed to enter the prestige class, so as to allow more flexibility in how one enters it. Skills still place the minimum entrance level at 6, though.

Also changed the math for Grasp of the Gods to bring it in line with what the base paladin can do. The amount of energy they can deliver per day is now equal to their paladin level x their Charisma bonus x 2. This seems like clunky math, however, and I'm open to another method of determining this number.

Changed the levels at which a paladin mount gains new abilities - they should now be gained at approximately the same level as a core paladin, assuming entrance into the prestige class at level 6.