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Telonius
2018-03-29, 02:37 PM
One of the players in my group has been using a homebrewed Paladin variant I cooked up for her past few levels. The "playtest" has been going generally well, so I'm posting here in case anyone wants to have a look. We're still in mid-levels (9th), so it still remains to be seen if some of my initial concerns (numbers being too high) are going to pan out or not.

The general idea is to create a class that has the "Paladin" feel (smite evil, special mount), but can still be useful when their usual shtick is inappropriate. Also, to make the class more deity- and cause-based, and open it up to other alignments besides LG. I've tried to get at this by using abilities that scale with level, and using something a bit like Incarnum: Faith Points, and the Spirit of Faith.


Paladin of Faith

Alignment: The Paladin must take the alignment of her deity or cause. In the case of a cause, the Paladinís player should work with the Dungeon Master to determine the closest applicable alignment. Each Paladin is expected to serve as a shining example of the deity's or cause's teachings and goals.

Hit Die, Attack Bonus, Base Saves, Weapon and Armor Proficiencies: As the standard Paladin. If the Paladin's deity has an Exotic Weapon as a favored weapon, the Paladin gains proficiency in that weapon.

Skills: Skill points improve to 4+Int per level. Add Knowledge (the planes) and Perform to the list of class skills.

Spells: As the standard Paladin, except: add equivalent-alignment spells wherever applicable. (i.e. Protection from Law and Good). Paladins may not cast spells with alignments descriptors opposed to their own. True Neutral Paladins may cast any spell that does not have two alignments (i.e. [Law] and [Good], or [Chaos] and [Evil]).

Faith Points: A Paladin has access to a pool of Faith Points. Faith Points are used to activate or improve various class features of the Paladin. Each Faith Point may be used once per day. Unless otherwise noted, the Paladin can choose to apply any number of faith points to any feature as a free action during her turn. Unless otherwise noted, the effects last until the Paladin recharges Faith Points. The Paladinís total reserve of Faith Points can be recharged once a day by praying or meditating for 15 minutes.

The Paladinís pool of Faith Points for each day is set during the recharge, and is equal to the Paladin level plus the Charisma bonus (if positive). Only the Paladinís natural Charisma score counts towards the pool; bonuses due to spells, magic items, or other abilities do not count. (Bonuses due to level increase, age category, or inherent bonuses granted by the Wish spell or a Tome of Leadership and Influence, do apply). If the Paladinís Charisma score is later modified (through ability damage or other methods) the Faith Point pool for that day does not change.

Spirit of Faith: Beginning at first level, a Paladinís faith in her deity or cause begins to manifest itself as a Spirit of Faith. The spirit is insubstantial but visible. The Spirit of Faith displays itself differently according to level. The displays are cumulative. The Paladin may opt to suppress this effect as a free action. Once suppressed, it becomes invisible and cannot be detected by any means. The Paladin can reactivate the display as a Free Action.

1-5: The Spirit takes the form of a symbol of the Paladinís deity or cause. It appears somewhere on the Paladinís clothes or armor.
6-10: The Paladinís appearance is subtly changed. Her eyes gain a gleam of inner strength, and her face seems to give off a faint glow of divine fervor.
11-15: The Spirit manifests more clearly as a halo of energy above the Paladinís head. The exact appearance will vary by deity or cause. (For a Paladin of Hextor, it may appear as an iron crown; Paladins of Obad-Hai may seem to have a crown of holly leaves).
16-20: The Spirit manifests itself physically as a pair of wings. These wings grant the Paladin a Fly speed equal to her land speed with Good maneuverability. If the Paladin already has a Fly speed, use the better of the two speeds. The appearance of the wings will vary by the deity or cause. (Paladins of Good deities may appear as feathered angel wings; Paladins of nature deities may appear as bird wings; Paladins devoted to dragons may seem to have dragon wings, etc).

Aura of Faith: The Spirit of Faith gives the Paladinís alignment aura (on both the Law/Chaos axis as well as the Good/Evil axis) power equal to the Paladinís level.

Detect Heretic: The Spirit of Faith allows a Paladin to detect any creature with an alignment opposite to the Paladin. (In the case of a True Neutral Paladin, the Spirit detects any creature with two extremes: LG, LE, CG, and CE).

Smite Heretic: Starting at first level, the Spirit of Faith can give a Paladin great prowess when fighting foes opposed to her cause. Before attacking an opponent, a Paladin may spend a Faith Point to attempt to Smite the enemy. The attack roll gains an Insight bonus of +1 per three Paladin levels. (This bonus is also added to critical threat confirmation rolls, if applicable). If the strike succeeds, the Paladin deals an extra 1 point of damage per Paladin level. If the Paladin accidentally attempts to Smite an enemy that does not have an opposed alignment, the attack and damage bonuses do not apply, but the Faith Point is still spent.

Divine Grace: As standard; this is a Spirit of Faith ability. A Paladin may spend one Faith Point as an immediate action to double the bonus on the next save only.

Shield of Faith: Starting at 2nd level, the Spirit of Faith takes physical manifestation as a though it were a shield. The shield can be a light or heavy shield at the Paladinís option. The Shield always attends the Paladin (as though it were an Animated Shield), and the Paladin does not need to carry it. The shield does not impose any armor check penalties. If the Paladin carries an actual shield, any magical bonuses overlap (do not stack). At 2nd level, the Shield grants a Shield bonus to AC equal to the Paladinís Charisma modifier (if positive). Starting at fourth level the Shield gains a magical enhancement bonus equal to the Paladin level divided by 4. Shield of Faith is a Force effect.

Lay On Hands: Beginning at 2nd level, the Spirit of Faith allows the Paladin to heal wounds (her own or those of others) by touch. Each day she can use this ability a number of times equal to 1/2 her paladin level plus her Charisma modifier. With one use of this ability, a paladin can heal 1d6 hit points of damage for every two paladin levels she possesses. Using this ability is a standard action, unless the paladin targets herself, in which case it is a swift action. Despite the name of this ability, a paladin only needs one free hand to use this ability.

By spending Faith Points, the Paladin can also remove various conditions that are present in the recipient. The conditions removed are cumulative. (If a Paladin spends 3 faith points, the target would be cured of fatigue and disease, as well as blindness or deafness).
Points Spent: Conditions cured.
1: Fatigued, Shaken, Sickened, Dazzled
2: Dazed, Diseased, Stunned, Frightened
3: Blinded, Deafened, Exhausted, Panicked
4. Nauseated, Confused, Paralyzed, Petrified

Alternately, a paladin can use this healing power channel energy to undead. If the Paladin has Good alignment, she channels positive energy and damages undead. If the Paladin is Evil, she channels negative energy and heals undead. If the Paladin is neutral, she must decide whether to channel positive or negative energy. When the Paladin channels energy, she deals damage to (or heals) damage to undead creatures, dealing (or healing) 1d6 points of damage for every two levels the paladin possesses. Using lay on hands in this way requires a successful melee touch attack and doesn't provoke an attack of opportunity. Undead do not receive a saving throw against this damage.

Aura of Courage: Beginning at 3rd level, the Spirit of Faith bolsters the Paladin and her allies against Fear effects. The paladin is immune to fear (magical or otherwise). Each ally within 10 feet of her gains a morale bonus (equal to the Paladin level divided by three) on saving throws against fear effects.

The Paladin may spend faith points to increase the area of the aura by +5 feet per faith point. Once selected, the bonus applies until the Paladin recharges her Faith Point pool.

Knight of Faith
Starting at fifth level, a Paladin can activate the Knight of Faith feature as a standard action. When activated, the Paladinís Spirit of Faith temporarily leaves her immediate presence and becomes a physical manifestation, as though it were a mount of an appropriate size to bear the Paladin. When the Paladin activates the ability, the mount immediately appears under the Paladin (no move action necessary to mount). While Knight of Faith is active, most of the usual bonuses granted by the Spirit of Faith are not active. Armor of Faith, Sword of Zeal, Shield of Faith, and the Spirit of Faith displays remain active.

The mount takes a visual form appropriate to the Paladinís belief system, but uses the statistics for a Heavy Warhorse (if the Paladin is medium) or a Riding Dog (if the Paladin is small). If the Paladin is riding a real mount when the ability is activated, the Spirit infuses the mount and grants the Paladin the bonuses as usual, with no change in statistics for the real mount. The Spirit can remain as a physical manifestation indefinitely. The Paladin can dismiss it as a standard action; the spirit then returns to the Paladin, who gains all the regular bonuses as normal. If the mount is ďslain,Ē the Spirit returns to the Paladin and becomes inactive for 24 hours. During that time, the Paladin gains no benefits from the spirit.

While Knight of Faith is active, the Paladin gains a bonus on the Ride skill equal to her Paladin level. For every Faith Point the Paladin spends, she is treated as having the following feats for one minute. (Feats are cumulative; an 11th-level Paladin who spends 1 Faith Point gains Mounted Combat, Ride-By Attack, and Spirited Charge for one minute). If the Paladin already has one of the feats listed, no additional bonus is gained.

5 Ė Mounted Combat
8 Ė Ride-By Attack
11 Ė Spirited Charge
14 Ė Powerful Charge
17 Ė Greater Powerful Charge
20 Ė Trample

Divine Intervention. Starting at seventh level, the Spirit of Faith can rescue the Paladin in dire emergencies. As an immediate action, the Paladin can spend two Faith Points to negate any attack (physical or magical) made against the Paladin. The Paladin must choose to use this ability after the attack succeeds (or after the saving throw fails), but before the damage is declared. If the attack is an Area Effect, the Paladin is unaffected, but others within the area of the spell are affected as normal.

The Paladin can also spend one Faith Point to end any of the following conditions active on the Paladin: Blinded, Confused, Dazed, Dazzled, Deafened, Exhausted, Fascinated, Fatigued, Nauseated, Paralyzed, Sickened, Stunned. The Paladin can spend two Faith Points to end the Petrified condition.

Test of Faith. Starting at eighth level, the Spirit of Faith can rock an enemyís beliefs to their very core, forcing them to confront the Paladin directly. To activate this ability, spend a number of Faith Points equal to the number of enemies targeted. The targeted enemies must be creatures with intelligence of at least 5, and must be able to see and hear (or otherwise sense) the Paladin. Each targeted enemy must make a Will save (DC 10 + Class Level + Charisma modifier). On a successful save, the effect is negated and the Paladin may not target that creature with another Test of Faith for 24 hours. On a failed save, the enemy considers the Paladin the most serious threat on the battlefield, and must attack her to the best of its ability, to the exclusion of all other targets, for the duration of the encounter. This does not render the opponent mindless; an enemy will not charge into an obviously open pit or draw attacks of opportunity unnecessarily in order to reach the Paladin. However, the enemy may not target anyone else with an attack, spell, or ability until the Paladin is killed or incapacitated. If itís completely impossible for the enemy to target the Paladin (for example, if the enemy is on the other side of a chasm and has no ranged attacks available), the enemy can continue attacking other enemies as usual, but will start shouting out insults to the Paladin. At 12th level, this ability affects up to two enemies per Faith Point spent.

Divine Insight. Starting at 10th level, the Spirit of Faith grants the Paladin an Insight bonus (equal to the Charisma modifier, if positive) to resisting the following special attacks: Bull Rush, Disarm, Grapple, Overrun, Sunder, and Trip.

Divine Foresight. Starting at 12th level, the Spirit grants the Paladin a bonus to Initiative equal to her Charisma modifier (if positive).

Divine Guidance. Starting at 14th level, the Spirit grants the Paladin the Improved Critical feat for her deityís Favored Weapon. If the Paladin threatens a critical hit, she may choose to spend Faith Points to grant her a bonus on the threat confirmation roll (+1 per Faith Point spent).

Faith Beyond Reproach. At 20th level, if a Paladin is reduced to 0 or fewer hit points by an effect that otherwise leaves her body intact, she can expend one Faith Point to remain conscious and continue to act for 1 more round before dying. She can use this ability even if her hit point total is Ė10 or lower. If the Paladinís body is somehow destroyed before her next action (such as by disintegrate), then she cannot act. She can continue to expend Faith Points to survive from round to round until she runs out of uses. If she receive healing that leaves her with more than Ė10 hit points, she survives (or falls unconscious, as appropriate to the new hit point total) when she stops using this ability. Otherwise, death overtakes her when she runs out of Faith Points.

Divine Health: As standard Paladin.

Turn Undead: As standard Paladin, except: The Paladin can turn or rebuke undead, depending on which choice she made when she gained Lay On Hands. The Paladin is treated as a Cleric of (Paladin level Ė 3).

As a Swift action, a Paladin may spend faith points to increase the effectiveness of her Undead Turning. For each Faith Point she spends, the effective turning level increases by one. The effective Turning levels granted in this manner cannot exceed three. (This bonus does not stack with any other effect increasing the Paladinís effective turning level). This bonus applies only to a single use of Turn Undead.

Armor of Faith: Starting at fourth level, the Paladin gains a Dodge bonus to Armor Class equal to her Charisma bonus.

The Paladin can also imbue her armor with magical Special Abilities by spending one faith point per effective enhancement bonus. Bonuses granted by Armor of Faith overlap with (do not stack with) any actual armor worn. The total bonus of a suit of armor cannot exceed 10. (Despite the name, Armor of Faithís bonuses function even if the Paladin is not actually wearing armor at the moment. If the Paladin is unarmored, the Spirit of Faith manifests as a faintly shimmering aura of light). Once selected, the bonus applies until the Paladin recharges her Faith Point pool.

Sword of Zeal: Starting at fifth level, the Paladin adds her Charisma modifier (if positive) as a bonus on all attack rolls. Additionally, any weapon a Paladin wields counts as having the same alignment of the Paladin (for purposes of damage reduction). True Neutral Paladins may choose an alignment each day upon recharging the Faith Point pool. The alignment can only be one extreme of alignment. (For example, a True Neutral Paladin can choose to have a Chaotic weapon or a Good weapon, but not a Chaotic Good weapon).

aimlessPolymath
2018-03-29, 04:04 PM
I'm a little confused about the way multiple features are consolidated under Spirit of Faith. Is this a fluff thing? Are those features turned off when you


opt to suppress this effect as a free action. Once suppressed, it becomes invisible and cannot be detected by any means. The Paladin can reactivate the display as a Free Action.


Also, for clarity, what specific features are turned off when you use Knight of Faith?


While Knight of Faith is active, most of the usual bonuses granted by the Spirit of Faith are not active. Armor of Faith, Sword of Zeal, Shield of Faith, and the Spirit of Faith displays remain active.

Note that standard DC scaling for a base class is 10 + 1/2 level + stat- you should probably fix Test of Faith.

Numbers-wise, it looks like this is almost completely a SAD class- you add Charisma to attack rolls, saving throws, AC twice between the shield bonus and Dodge bonus, initiative, and CMD (for many cases). This outclasses almost every other class.

Divine Guidance doesn't give enough oomph per Faith Point spent- I can get a much higher bonus just through Smite.

Armor of Faith provides access to armor enchantments that would normally be unavailable at a given level- a +5 enhancement at level 5 or 6. While not as overpowered as it could be, upon reflection (most of the good enchantments are flat +gp costs), this does present a whole lot of versatility- especially with supplements like the Magic Item Compendium.

Telonius
2018-03-29, 09:18 PM
Thanks for the comments!

I'm a little confused about the way multiple features are consolidated under Spirit of Faith. Is this a fluff thing? Are those features turned off when you


The display is mainly a fluff thing, except for the wings. Turning off the display doesn't turn off the features; it just allows a Paladin to travel without flashing a big neon "I'M A PALADIN!" sign if they need to. (Particularly important if you're traveling through an area where an opposed church is in power).


Also, for clarity, what specific features are turned off when you use Knight of Faith?

Aura of Faith, Detect Heretic, Smite Heretic, Divine Grace, Lay On Hands, Divine Intervention, Aura of Courage, Test of Faith, Divine Insight, Divine Foresight, Divine Guidance, and Faith Beyond Reproach are turned off.


Note that standard DC scaling for a base class is 10 + 1/2 level + stat- you should probably fix Test of Faith.

That's a deliberate change. One of the problems with the Knight's Challenge abilities (on which it's based) is that it always seems like if it's something that will fail the save, it's something that you don't really need to draw its fire; if it's something that you need to draw its fire, it seems to always make the save. "Drawing Aggro" is something that really hasn't been a thing in D&D until the Knight class; the idea here is to make sure it works when you use it, while still giving the possibility of beating it for enemies that seriously outgun you or heavily invest in save-boosters.


Numbers-wise, it looks like this is almost completely a SAD class- you add Charisma to attack rolls, saving throws, AC twice between the shield bonus and Dodge bonus, initiative, and CMD (for many cases). This outclasses almost every other class.

Changing the Paladin into a SAD class was one of my secondary goals with this; the utter MAD-ness of the standard Paladin was a big part of why it ended up so generally weak. It will still benefit from a high strength, dex, or con; they're just not quite as required as they used to be.

The "high numbers" gets into one of my own concerns. So far the player using it hasn't been totally outclassing everything else (we have a Bard/Warblade who's doing a significant chunk of damage too), but it's still going to be a point of concern for me as we're going up in level.


Divine Guidance doesn't give enough oomph per Faith Point spent- I can get a much higher bonus just through Smite.

Thanks, hadn't caught that. I'll have to think on that one.


Armor of Faith provides access to armor enchantments that would normally be unavailable at a given level- a +5 enhancement at level 5 or 6. While not as overpowered as it could be, upon reflection (most of the good enchantments are flat +gp costs), this does present a whole lot of versatility- especially with supplements like the Magic Item Compendium.

Thanks! MiC is exactly what I had in mind. So many of those armors give really neat bonuses, but are so situational that people don't want to invest in them for a permanent item. This can let you tailor your defense to a particular enemy you're facing, or are pretty sure you'll face that day. Very nice if you're going to be drawing aggro,