Low-Magic Paladin (Variant Core Class)

This is an alternate version of the paladin for use in low-magic campaigns. Unlike the standard paladin, the low-magic paladin does not have the ability to turn undead, cast spells, or lay on hands. The low-magic paladin has a number of martial feats and abilities to compensate for the loss of magical abilities. Note that the paladin's mount is a natural animal, not a celestial creature summoned magically from another plane.

Hit Die: d10

Prerequisites:

Alignment: Lawful Good

Class Skills:

The 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, religion, the planes) (Int), Profession (Wis), Ride (Dex), and Sense Motive (Wis).

Skill Points at 1st Level: (2 + Int modifier) x 4.

Skill Points at Each Additional Level: 2 + Int modifier.

Level BaB Fort Save Ref

Save

Will Save Special
1 +1 +2 +0 +0 Aura of good, first impression, smite evil 1/day
2 +2 +3 +0 +0 Divine grace
3 +3 +3 +1 +1 Aura of courage, divine health
4 +4 +4 +1 +1 Bonus feat
5 +5 +4 +1 +1 Smite evil 2/day, favored enemies +2
6 +6/+1 +5 +2 +2 Special mount
7 +7/+2 +5 +2 +2 Holy strike (good)
8 +8/+3 +6 +2 +2 Bonus feat
9 +9/+4 +6 +3 +3 Atonement
10 +10/+5 +7 +3 +3 Smite evil 3/day, favored enemies +4
11 +11/+6/+1 +7 +3 +3
12 +12/+7/+2 +8 +4 +4 Bonus feat, precise attack
13 +13/+8/+3 +8 +4 +4
14 +14/+9/+4 +9 +4 +4 Holy strike (lawful)
15 +15/+10/+5 +9 +5 +5 Smite evil 4/day, favored enemies +6
16 +16/+11/+6/+1 +10 +5 +5 Bonus feat
17 +17/+12/+7/+2 +10 +5 +5
18 +18/+13/+8/+3 +11 +6 +6 Remove Curse
19 +10/+14/+9/+4 +11 +6 +6
20 +20/+15/+10/+5 +12 +6 +6 Smite evil 5/day, bonus feat, favored enemies +8

Class Features:

All of the following are class features of the paladin.

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

Aura of Good (Ex): The power of a paladin’s aura of good (see the detect good spell) is equal to her paladin level.

First Impression (Ex): A paladin is sensitive to a variety of hints and cues regarding the leanings of others. After meeting a person or creature, the DM makes a sense motive check vs a DC equal to 10 plus the CR of the creature. If successful, the paladin knows if her target is good or evil. If the check succeeds by ten or more, she also knows any tendency towards good or evil. If the target person or creature has an aligned aura, attempts to detect that aura are vs a flat DC10. A failure by more than 10 may give false information. This is a passive use of sense motive and thus must always be made by the DM. As a passive use, First Impression cannot be opposed by the target’s bluff skill, though any active use of sense motive by the paladin can be opposed normally.

For example, a paladin with a skill modifier of +3 has just met the local lord. The DM rolls a 14, giving a total of 17. If the lord is CR 7 or less, the paladin will know if he is good or evil. If the lord was CR8 or more, his alignment can only be guessed. If the lord were a blackguard (of any level) in disguise, the DM would have only needed to roll a 7 for the paladin to notice the evil aura.

Smite Evil (Su): Once per day, a paladin may attempt to smite evil with one normal melee attack. She adds her Charisma bonus (if any) to her attack roll and deals 1 extra point 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.

At 5th level, and at every five levels thereafter, the paladin may smite evil one additional time per day, as indicated on Table: The Paladin, to a maximum of five times per day at 20th level.

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

Aura of Courage (Su): Beginning at 3rd level, a paladin is immune to fear (magical or otherwise). Each ally within 10 feet of her gains a +4 morale bonus on saving throws against fear effects. This ability functions while the paladin is conscious, but not if she is unconscious or dead.

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

Bonus Feat: Starting at 4th level, and every 4th level thereafter (8th, 12th, 16th, 20th), a paladin gets a bonus feat taken from the list of fighter bonus feats.

Favored Enemies (Ex): The paladin’s familiarity with evil opponents grants her an edge in combating them. Upon reaching 5th level a paladin gains a +2 bonus on bluff, knowledge, listen, sense motive, spot, and survival checks when using these skills against evil undead and evil outsiders. Likewise, she gains a +2 bonus on weapon damage rolls against such creatures. This bonus increases by +2 for every additional five levels (+4 at 10th, +6 at 15th, +8 at 20th, etc).

Special Mount (Ex): Upon reaching 5th level, a paladin can acquire an unusually intelligent, strong, and loyal steed to serve her in her crusade against evil (see below). This mount is usually a heavy warhorse (for a medium-sized paladin) or a warpony (for a small-sized paladin) but can be any equivalent creature with the animal type. Should the paladin’s mount die, she may find another after a year and a day.

Holy Strike (Su): At 7th level, any unaligned weapon wielded by a paladin is treated as a good weapon for the purposed of overcoming damage resistance. At 14th level, such weapons are also treated as lawful for purposes of overcoming DR.

Atonement (Su): A 9th level paladin can perform an atonement once per week.

Precise Attack (Ex): Upon reaching 12th level, a paladin learns how to use her weapons to their most effect against her favored enemies. All weapon attacks against evil undead and evil outsiders have an improved chance of scoring a critical hit. Verses undead, this bypasses their normal immunity to critical hits. Verses outsiders, this duplicates the effect of the Improved Critical feat with any weapon used by the paladin. Regardless of the enemy, this ability does not stack with the Improved Critical feat or the keen weapon enhancement.

Remove Curse (Su): Upon reaching 18th level, a paladin can remove curses and compulsions. This includes the affects of afflicted lycanthropy, the curse, geas, and lesser geas spells, any negative effect of a cursed item or any similar affect or ability. This ability can be used once per week.

Code of Conduct: A paladin must be of lawful good alignment and loses all class abilities if she ever willingly commits an evil act. Additionally, a paladin’s code requires that she respect legitimate authority, act with honor (not lying, not cheating, not using poison, and so forth), help those in need (provided they do not use the help for evil or chaotic ends), and punish those who harm or threaten innocents. A paladin is aware of any action or item that could adversely affect his alignment and his standing with his deity, including magical effects. She acquires this information prior to performing such an action or becoming associated with such an item if she takes a standard action to contemplate the act. The paladin must be aware of the action, item or effect in order to note its potential effects. For example, if a paladin is unaware that a particular helm is cursed and makes no effort to discover the curse, she has no chance to know any compulsions that might affect alignment.

Associates: While she may adventure with characters of any good or neutral alignment, a paladin will never knowingly associate with evil characters, nor will she continue an association with someone who consistently offends her moral code. A paladin may accept only henchmen, followers, or cohorts who are lawful good.

Ex-Paladins

A paladin who ceases to be lawful good, who willfully commits an evil act, or who grossly violates the code of conduct loses all paladin abilities (including the service of the paladin’s mount, but not weapon, armor, and shield proficiencies). She may not progress any farther in levels as a paladin. She regains her abilities and advancement potential if she atones for her violations (see the atonement spell description), as appropriate.

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 her paladin level, though she retains all her paladin abilities.

The Paladin's Mount

The paladin’s mount is superior to a normal mount of its type in many ways. The standard mount for a medium-sized paladin is a heavy warhorse, and the standard mount for a small-sized paladin is a warpony. Another kind of mount, such as a riding dog (for a halfling paladin) or a large shark (for a paladin in an aquatic campaign) may be allowed as well. A paladin’s mount is treated as a magical beast, not an animal, for the purpose of all effects that depend on its type (though it retains an animal’s HD, base attack bonus, saves, skill points, and feats). If the paladin already has an appropriate mount, the improvements listed below happen as soon as she reaches 5th level. If acquired after she levels, the mount gains benefits at a rate of one level per week of constant contact through riding or training. For example, Bernard acquires a new mount as a level 11 paladin. After one week, the mount gains the benefits listed for having a 5th-7th level master. After two weeks, it gains the benefits for having an 8th-10th level master. After three weeks of constant contact, the mount gains the full benefits appropriate to Bernard’s level. Had Bernard risen to 15th level before the end of those three weeks, the final benefits would come at the end of a fourth week.

Paladin Level HD Nat Armor Str/Con Adj Int DR Special
5th-7th
+2

+4

+1

6

1
Empathic link, improved evasion, share saving throws, damage resistance
8th-10th
+4
+6
+2
7
2
Improved Speed
11th-13th
+6
+8
+3
8
3
Shared Holy Strike
14th-16th
+8
+10
+4
9
4
Command creatures of its kind
17th-20th
+10
+12
+5
10
5
Extended lifespan

Paladin’s Mount Basics: Use the base statistics for a creature of the mount’s kind, but make changes to take into account the attributes and characteristics summarized on the table and described below.

Bonus HD: Extra eight-sided (d8) Hit Dice, each of which gains a Constitution modifier as normal. Extra Hit Dice improve the mount’s base attack and base save bonuses. A special mount’s base attack bonus is equal to that of a cleric of a level equal to the mount’s HD. A mount has good Fortitude and Reflex saves (treat it as a character whose level equals the animal’s HD). The mount gains additional skill points or feats for bonus HD as normal for advancing a monster’s Hit Dice.

Natural Armor Adj.: The number on the table is an improvement to the mount’s existing natural armor bonus.

Str/Con Adj.: Add this figure to the mount’s Strength and Constitution scores.

Int: The mount’s Intelligence score.

Damage Resistance (Ex): As the mount’s loyalty increases, it is able to ignore lesser wounds while in the service of its master. This DR is untyped and thus affects all attacks, similar to the DR gained by a barbarian.

Empathic Link (Su): The paladin has an empathic link with her mount out to a distance of up to 1 mile. The paladin cannot see through the mount’s eyes, but they can communicate empathically. Note that even intelligent mounts see the world differently from humans, so misunderstandings are always possible.

Because of this empathic link, the paladin has the same connection to an item or place that her mount does, just as with a master and his familiar (see familiars).

Improved Evasion (Ex): When subjected to an attack that normally allows a Reflex saving throw for half damage, a mount takes no damage if it makes a successful saving throw and half damage if the saving throw fails.

Share Saving Throws: For each of its saving throws, the mount uses its own base save bonus or the paladin’s, whichever is higher. The mount applies its own ability modifiers to saves, and it doesn’t share any other bonuses on saves that the master might have.

Improved Speed (Ex): The mount’s speed increases by 10 feet.

Shared Holy Strike (Su): The mount’s natural attacks gain the benefit of its master’s Holy Strike ability.

Command (Su): Once per day per two paladin levels of its master, a mount can use this ability to command other any normal animal of approximately the same kind as itself (for warhorses and warponies, this category includes donkeys, mules, and ponies), as long as the target creature has fewer Hit Dice than the mount. This ability functions as diplomacy check using the mount’s HD and Cha as bonuses (d20 + mount’s HD + mount’s Cha mod). The mount is effectively trying to become the “alpha” creature over the target animals. If an alpha animal already exists, the initial attitude is always unfriendly. At the DM’s discretion, the mount may need to succeed in a ritual or challenge to defeat the existing alpha animal.

Extended Lifespan: The mount lives longer than normal for it’s kind. From this point forward, the mount does not age so long as its master lives. If the paladin is killed, the mount stands vigil for one month near the remains of the paladin, or the paladin's last known location. During this time, the warhorse remains immune to the effects of aging. After one month, the mount's age catches up with it, inflicting all the normal effects of aging, including the potential death of the mount.

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