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Holy Knight (3.5e Prestige Class)

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Created By
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Date Created: 11/17/09
Status: Comments Requested
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Balance: Rogue

{{#set:Summary=Holy Knights have the most Devoted Spirits of all the champions of good and law, and have been granted a minute bit of divinity of their own. |Length=10 |Minimum Level=6 |Base Attack Bonus Progression=Good |Fortitude Save Progression=Good |Reflex Save Progression=Poor |Will Save Progression=Good |Class Ability=Martial Maneuvers |Class Ability=Invocations |Class Ability Progression=Other }} {{#set:Allowed Alignments=Lawful Good}}

Holy Knight
A Holy Knight has such a devoted spirit that her deity has granted a bit of his power.
DragoonWraithAdded by DragoonWraith

Holy Knight Edit

The forces of chaos are persistent; even the tracest amounts of demonic blood can corrupt entire family lines. Even though the fey are not evil, their blood, too, takes its hold and can make its presence known generations later.

Not so with goodness and law. Though Celestial blood is a boon to those blessed with it, the heaven-touched are far fewer in number than the tainted ones. Upholding just and good laws takes effort, takes constant reiteration of solemn vows and pacts to maintain what is good in the world.

Becoming a Holy Knight Edit

Those knights who pledge themselves to the good and to justice, may find their blessings given unto them in many forms. Some gods grant spells while others inspiration. Among a select few, however, their gods have given unto them a small portion of divine essence - similar to that which flows through the veins of the Aasimar, but infused more strongly to their soul than to their blood. Such ones have holiness incorporated into their bodies, and they can no more lose it than can an angel - even should one fall into the darkest depths of depravity, a small, shining light will nonetheless remain in their souls, fighting to stop their own evil.

Such pacts are traditionally answers to the fiend-touched, especially warlocks, whose risky if not evil pacts with chaotic or evil forces taint their very souls much in the same way the holy knight's pact blesses her own. The pacts are always specific in nature, but usually state less of a goal and more of a devotion to right a wrong, to bring vengeance against the wicked, and to defend all that is good and just against such evil.

These Holy Knights are some of the most practical and vigilant defenders of the faith. Their vows typically have them deep within unknown or hostile territory, and they know all too well that often the best they can do is only a small, token effort against the tides of chaos. Holy Knights are often found protecting small pockets of goodness - especially people they believe to be hope for salvation - amidst incredible evil and danger. While they believe that chaos inevitably leads to evil, even among good men, they also tend to recognize that the good is the ultimate goal, not law - and sometimes, achieving the good is all one can hope for.

Entry Requirements
Alignment: Lawful Good
Skills: Knowledge (Religion) 8 ranks
Feats Sacred Vow, must not have taken Vow of Nonviolence, Peace, or Purity
Class Features Smite, must not have any ability to channel Negative Energy, must not have any Eldritch Blast feature
Maneuvers One Devoted Spirit Maneuver and one Devoted Spirit Stance

Class Features Edit

All of the following are features of the Holy Knight.

Table: The Holy Knight

Hit Die: d10

Level Base
Attack Bonus
Saving Throws Special Martial Maneuvers Invocations
Fort Ref Will Known Readied Stances
1st +1 +2 +0 +2 Personal Oath, Smite, Turn Undead, Least Invocations, Weapon Magic +0 +0 +0 1
2nd +2 +3 +0 +3 Shield Magic x½ +0 +0 +0 1
3rd +3 +3 +1 +3 Steely Resolve +5, Furious Counterstrike +1 +0 +0 1
4th +4 +4 +1 +4 Lesser Invocations +0 +0 +0 2
5th +5 +4 +1 +4 Shield Magic x1 +0 +1 +0 2
6th +6 +5 +2 +5 Smite +1/day +1 +0 +0 2
7th +7 +5 +2 +5 Steely Resolve +10, Greater Invocations +0 +0 +0 3
8th +8 +6 +2 +6 Shield Magic x2 +0 +0 +1 3
9th +9 +6 +3 +6 Rightful Vengeance +1 +0 +0 3
10th +10 +7 +3 +7 Smite +1/day, Heavenly Invocations +0 +0 +0 4

Class Skills (Skill Points::4 + Int modifier per level.
The class skills (and key ability modifiers for each skill) of the Holy Knight are Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Gather Information (Cha), Handle Animal (Cha), Heal (Wis), Hide (Dex), Intimidate (Cha), Knowledge (History) (Int), Knowledge (Local) (Int), Knowledge (Nobility & Royalty) (Int), Knowledge (Religion) (Int), Martial Lore (Int) Profession (Wis), Ride (Dex), Search (Int), Sense Motive (Wis), Spellcraft (Int), Survival (Wis),

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Holy Knights gain proficiency in the Short Sword, Longsword, and Greatsword if they do not already have it. They also gain proficiency in Light and Medium Armors and Shields (but not Tower Shields) if they do not have those.

Personal Oath (Ex): A Holy Knight takes a very personal vow, a pact between she and her deity, or even between her and the very essences of good and law in the cosmos itself. In general, a Holy Knight is pledged to upholding good and law, but the divine power granted to Holy Knights is rarely offered just for that; simply granting spells or inspiration is the usual recourse for these things. A Holy Knight is extraordinary, and circumstances must be so dire as to require a Holy Knight's creation. The Holy Knight must pledge to protect someone or something that she (and her deity) considers crucial to the goals of goodness and law, or else to right some massive wrong that has been done. A Holy Knight is not restricted to only fulfilling this vow; indeed she does also vow to protect and further goodness and law in all her actions, but this is the reason why she requests such a blessing from her deity.

This pact requires 5,000 gp in relics, incense, prayerbooks, and the like, a week spent in prayer and meditation, and the expenditure of 200 XP. It further requires the deity's agreement with her plan and fulfillment of the divine blessing necessary for her powers as a Holy Knight. This requires a great deal of trust on the deity's part, because this power is given totally to the Holy Knight, and is not easily rescinded. A fallen Holy Knight is typically killed by one of the deity's champions, rather than any attempt to revoke her powers, because doing so is simply more difficult than it is worth. This ritual may be completed by any character who meets the Holy Knight's pre-requisites, and while a character may take levels of Holy Knight without completing the Oath, she cannot use any Invocations (including Weapon Magic and Shield Magic) until she does.

The Vow imbues the Holy Knight with the Divine Power necessary to use her Invocations. It also prevents the Holy Knight from ever channeling negative energy or using Warlock Invocations - the Warlock class may not be taken at all by a Holy Knight (or rather, anyone with Warlock blood could not have become a Holy Knight in the first place), and taking any class feature or feat which grants the ability to channel negative energy is simply ignored (but may be taken for whatever other features it has available if desired).

Smite (Su): A Holy Knight's class levels stack with any other character classes for the purposes of determining Smite damage.

At 5th and again at 10th, the Holy Knight gains an extra use of Smite per day.

Turn Undead (Su): A Holy Knight's class levels stack with any other character class for the purpose of turning the undead, if the Holy Knight already had this ability. If the Holy Knight did not have this ability, then she does not gain it.

Invocations (Sp): The Divine energy that Holy Knights have been granted allow them to cast certain Divine "invocations" at will. These are spell-like abilities, but unlike most spell-like abilities, they do require a very simple somatic component - swinging the Holy Knight's weapon. As such, they are not subject to Arcane Spell Failure, but nevertheless cannot be performed while bound or otherwise unable to make a swinging or stabbing motion with one's weapon. They all also require any weapon as a focus component (though a Monk or character with the Improved Unarmed Strike feat may treat their own fists as weapons for the purposes of this component). Despite the existence of free weapons, the Eschew Materials feat does not obviate the requirement for a weapon focus.

As spell-like abilities, most Invocations require a Standard Action to invoke, and provoke attacks of opportunity. They may be disrupted as spells, and the Holy Knight is entitled to a Concentration check to save the invocation. The Holy Knight may also use a Concentration check to avoid provoking an attack of opportunity, exactly as a spellcaster might.

The four types of invocation available to the Holy Knight are Least, Lesser, Greater, and Heavenly. In addition to the type of invocation, all invocations have a spell level equivalency for the purposes of determining Concentration check DCs and how the invocations interact with spell effects such as Globe of Invulnerability which function based on spell level.

A Holy Knight's caster level for her Invocations is equal to her Base Attack Bonus.

The Holy Knight learns one invocation at 1st level, and every three levels thereafter (4th, 7th, and 10th). At 1st level, only Least Invocations may be learned. At 4th and above, Least or Lesser Invocations may be learned. At 7th and above, Least, Lesser, and Greater Invocations may be learned. At 9th and above, Least, Lesser, Greater, and Heavenly Invocations may be learned.

Further, at 2nd, 5th, 8th, and 10th levels, a Holy Knight may choose to lose access to any single invocation and replace it with any invocation of the same level.

Weapon Magic (Sp): The most notable of the Invocations that a Holy Knight learns is traditionally known as "Sword Magic", though a sword isn't necessary at all, any weapon will work. As a Standard Action, a Holy Knight may attack a single target within 15 feet to deal her weapon's damage plus Charisma modifier, plus her Furious Counterstrike bonus damage, if she has any.

Her target is allowed a Reflex save against a DC equal to 10 + half her base attack bonus + her Charisma modifier to negate the damage. If a Holy Knight uses a daily use of Smite with the attack, however, a Reflex save only halves the damage, but when used this way the entire Weapon Magic will only function against targets susceptible to the Holy Knight's Smite ability.

This attack is always considered Good and Law aligned for the purposes of overcoming damage reduction.

Finally, some of her Invocations may be used to change her Weapon Magic attack.

Celestial Essence
Celestial Essences are special invocations that modify a Holy Knight's Weapon Magic by adding status effects. They also influence its range. Only one Celestial Essence may be applied to any Weapon Magic attack. Using Smite with the Weapon Magic improves the effect. Effects on a successful save only function if the target takes damage from the attack (and is so negated by Evasion or similar). The Weapon Magic invocation counts as a spell of the level of the of its Celestial Essence.

All Celestial Essence status effects require that the target take damage from the Weapon Magic (which means they either fail the Save or the Holy Knight uses a daily use of Smite), and then each status effect requires a second saving throw (though use of Smite also allows a weaker status effect to function even on a successful second save).

Martial Maneuvers: On every third level, a Holy Knight may learn a maneuver from the Devoted Spirit discipline.

A Holy Knight adds her class level to her initiator level to determine her total initiator level and the highest-level maneuver she may learn.

At 5th level, she also gains an extra maneuver readied (and granted, if appropriate)

At 8th level, she learns a stance from Devoted Spirit.

At 2nd, 5th, and 8th levels, a Holy Knight may choose to replace any maneuver she knows for a different maneuver from any of the disciplines from which she knows maneuvers. The new maneuver does not need to be the same level as the original. The Holy Knight may only replace one maneuver at each of these levels.

Shield Magic (Su): Another of the Holy Knight's signature invocations, a Holy Knight of at least 2nd level may spend a Move Action to activate her Shield Magic. For the rest of the round, the Holy Knight may take damage for her allies within 30 ft., up to half her Shield bonus to AC per ally. This damage may be directed to her delayed damage pool if she chooses and it has room, or otherwise dealt directly to her health. She is not required to take any damage from any attack unless she chooses to do so, and may even take some of the damage from an attack and allow the rest to damage her ally as normal.

Chaotic or Evil aligned attacks may ignore this defense and attack the intended target (attacker's choice).

At 5th level, she may absorb up to her entire Shield bonus to AC per ally. 8th level, she may absorb up to twice her Shield bonus to AC per ally.

Steely Resolve (Ex): At 3rd level, a Holy Knight's delayed damage pool's maximum size increases by +5. If the Holy Knight did not have the Steely Resolve feature already, she gains it, as a Crusader does.

At 7th level, the bonus increases to +10.

Furious Counterstrike (Ex): If the Holy Knight does not have Furious Counterstrike (as the Crusader feature), she gains it at 3rd level.

Rightful Vengeance (Sp): At 9th level, a Holy Knight gains the ability to demand the chance to protect her wards - as a Standard Action, she may invoke Rightful Vengeance to force an opponent to attack her and only her. This ability counts as an Invocation, though does not require that she uses a Invocation Known on it.

Using this ability requires 3 daily uses of Smite. If the Holy Knight does not have enough uses of Smite (but at least 1 use), she uses all her remaining uses of Smite for the day, and loses daily uses of Smite the next day to make up the difference. This ability may not be used on any day in which any uses of Smite were spent paying for this ability.

This ability further may only be used against a direct threat against that which she has taken a Personal Oath to protect (see below), or is responsible for the wrongs she has sworn a Personal Oath to right.

Her target is allowed a Will save against 10 + half her BAB + her Charisma modifier to prevent the effect. If he fails, he is transported to a special demiplane set aside for this purpose by the Holy Knight's deity. This plane is coexistent with whatever plane the Holy Knight is currently in, and mimics the landscape of wherever the Holy Knight is. It only continues 250 feet from the Holy Knight, however, and leaving this boundary simply returns the target to the cooresponding location in the original plane.

The Holy Knight exists simultaneously in this demiplane and in the original plane. To her target, she is the only other creature; he may neither rely on allies nor attack the Holy Knight's allies.

This effect ends as soon as the enemy has left the plane, or either combatant has been defeated. If neither event occurs within 10 minutes, the effect ends and the enemy is returned to the original plane, in the location corresponding to his previous position on the demiplane. No effects may pass into or out of the demiplane, and no one can teleport into or out of it.

Changing, Ending, or Forsaking a Personal Oath Edit

A Holy Knight who has failed in her oath, or has discovered for whatever reason that there is either a more important cause to serve or that her original cause was not worthy, but remains true to the good and the law, may repeat the ritual at a cost of 1,000 gp and 40 XP, and another three days in prayer and meditation, in order to establish a new vow. Before a Holy Knight who has for whatever reason stopped following her oath does these things, however, she takes a -5 penalty on the save DCs of her Weapon Magic abilities, and can only absorb half as much damage per ally with Shield Magic as normal.

If a Holy Knight succeeds in her oath, she does not take any penalty. She may take a new oath by the same process, and gains a +2 bonus on the DCs of her Weapon Magic abilities for as long as she currently has an oath. She may not have more than one at a time. The normal penalties apply if she abandons this oath, but unlike a Holy Knight who has not already fulfilled an oath, she may repeat the ritual to simply end her current oath, losing the penalties but also not gaining back the bonus. She must, of course, have a good reason why she has quit her oath, but most deities look favorably upon Holy Knights who have already fulfilled an oath, provided there is not some absolutely crucial business that the Holy Knight is needed for.

A Holy Knight falls if she abandons her oath, and turns from goodness or law. However, a Holy Knight's Divine infusion is not simply revoked, and so she retains her powers, though she takes the usual penalties for abandoning her oath. A Holy Knight who has slipped from good, even just to neutrality, is typically viewed as among the greatest traitors in her deity's faith, and the deity may very likely feel personally betrayed by this turn of events, and attempt to have champions hunt down the traitor, or in extreme cases even take matters into his own hands. A non-lawful but good Holy Knight is typically viewed as more of a failure than a traitor, though particularly lawful deities may very well feel differently.

Special Thanks Edit

Heavily inspired by Final Fantasy Tactics, and the Holy Knight class in that game. Many thanks to prime32, as well as Fax Celestis and Shpadoinkle, for the idea.

Image Credit Edit

The Holy Knight image is adapted from the Agrias Oaks wallpaper by Pota. All credit goes to Pota for the image.

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