Thursday, June 28, 2018

"You seek the Holy Grail -- You know much that is hidden, oh Tim" - Paladin v.1

So far this blog has been awash with all manner sin and devilry, what with Skindancers, Hellborn and Warlocks all prancing about sacrificing babies and devouring souls. Well, enough of that. It's time for some good*, honest*, hardworking* and righteous* adventuring with this particular rendition of the Paladin.

We've had Paladins of the Wind and Paladins of the Word, but this is more of a generic spellcasting type, with a few unique* twists of my own. While a Fighter/Knight and Cleric multiclass would be a perfectly viable, there's always room for the questing crusader amongst the ranks of heroic figures exploring ancient ruins. Plus, you can grab golden artefacts, boldly state "This belongs in a museum an abbey!" and trade them in for new spells. 

These paladins haven't been playtested since the onset of my new(ish) hitpoint system**, so some teething issues are liable to show up. I predict them to sit on the low end of the power curve, and if that's the case I'll drop an extra +1 Attack in the first template to match the other martial classes. These Paladins cast spells using their own lifeforce, which is always a dangerous game to play. However, if they've taken damage that day already (see Conviction) they can tally up that damage to use for spellcasting.

A Paladin who has been knocked down to zero hitpoints can, in true dramatic fashion, open a can of spiritual whoop-ass at negligible cost. Without a store of Conviction to work with, Paladins get a tough choice each time they cast a spell: do I take damage right now, or burn HD and keep fighting at at full strength. A cadre of Clerics could totally lay down a continuous avalanche of healing on a Paladin, allowing them to continue spellcasting with little regard for mortal limitations. And that is awesome.

In my opinion... I'm really not sure about how it has turned out. I feel like there's a disconnect between the heroic, quest-going, defender-of-the-people and the mechanics I'm using. The previous version was pretty simple: burn maximum hitpoints to fuel spells. If you've taken damage, then the spells are "free", for now at least. Once again, the image of a low HP Paladin doing the full smiting on a Lich's face is really what I'm aiming for. I'll have to try this out at the table and see how well it works.


Starting equipment: Sword, chainmail, holy symbol, random spell, a quest

Skill (1d3) - Wandering Judge, Priest, Chosen One

A Doer of Deeds, Conviction, d10 HD

B Strength of Will, Detect Evil, +1 Save, d8 HD

C Stand Tall, By Our Powers Combined, +1 Attack, d8 HD

D Avatar, +1 Save, +1 Luck Point

Doer of Deeds

You learn a spell every time you return a holy/unholy/magical/valuable artifcat to their church. Instead of Magic Dice, you cast spells using your Paladin Hit Dice. When you cast a spell, for each die rolled choose between - taking that much damage, or burn that HD for the day. You recover burnt HD when you rest, but you don’t heal from them.


Whenever you take damage, add to your pool of Conviction. Whenever you take spell damage, including your own, you may choose to reduce Conviction first. Conviction resets to zero whenever you take a long rest.

Strength of Will

You can pray instead of eating a ration for lunch. You can spend two points of Conviction for +1 to saves vs. disease.

Detect Evil

You can smell it, “it” being demons, devils, cultists, heretics and the undead. Roll Wisdom for specifics.

Stand Tall

You can remain conscious even with Fatal Wounding. While you stand in defense of the truly deserving, you have CHA-in-6 of healing a Fatal Wound automatically, rather than 1-in-6.

By Our Powers Combined

By praying with them for 10 minutes you can grant one of your spells to an ally. Once they cast it (using their HD) it goes back to you, they can only receive a spell 1/day.


You gain three beneficial mutations that represents your calling. Wings, razor-halo, guardian spirits, sanctified liver, armored flesh, golden-flame-spitting eyes, you name it, it’s yours. You’ve earned it. Very large mutations may come with penalties, likely to Stealth or Intelligence.

Spell list

1. Shield of Faith

Gain [sum] temporary hitpoints against a single attack.

2. Blaze of Glory

Takes an action. Your weapon burns with holy fire for [sum] rounds. Sinners or undead must save or catch alight. Save at +4 if higher HD than your level.

3. Smite

Deal +[sum]+[dice] damage after hitting with a weapon.

Optional balance: Ranged attacks work with this spell, but the cost is still paid on a miss.

4. Sanctify

Bring the area around you into the domain of your god for [sum] days, its influence on things inside it is increased. 1HD enemies or less must save to enter.

5. Banishment

Single target must save or vanished for [sum]/2 rounds. Outsiders save again to avoid permanent dismissal. Enemies with higher HD than the caster automatically succeed on second save. Can target diseases, ghosts.

6. Lay on Hands

Heal [sum], or deal [sum]+[dice] damage to any disease or invasive spirit.

7. Sword of Damocles

Charge your weapon with [sum]. To make an attack at bow range, pay 1. To make an attack at anyone within line-of-sight, pay 2.

8. Last Stand

Take [sum] damage, ignoring any that put you into negatives. Immune to damage for [dice] rounds.

Optional balance: You must burn HD to cast this spell.

9. The Call

Pray for 1d4+[dice]-CHA rounds. A [dice]d4 HD angel will appear at the beginning of the next round, here for one task of noble bearing. It’ll probably be pissed afterwards. Low HD angels usually fluoresce rapidly at sea-level.

10. Circle Against Evil

Draw a line [sum] feet long. Undead, Ghosts, Demons of less HD than you cannot cross it until noon. With higher HD, must save with [dice]x2 penalty to cross or do anything on the other side.

11. Ceremony

[sum] targets can join your circle. If they are pious they can use your Save, or a similar boon against the darkness. Lasts until they commit a sin.

12. Crusader’s Mantle

Pray over a symbol of your god for one minute. Anyone who holds it or fights in its defense gains +1 to something of their choice for [sum] minutes.

*Hahahaha, except not necessarily at all.

**Rather than maximum HP, all characters have a collecting of Hit Dice (HD). These default to d6, but range from d4 (Wizards) to d10 (Barbarians). You can get a max of three. For your first adventure and any time you take a long rest in luxurious*** conditions, roll all of them twice and take the higher. Whenever you take a long rest during an adventure, roll all your HD. If the the new total is lower than your current HP, don't change anything, otherwise you heal up the that amount.

***And luxurious is different for each class. Thieves and Fighters will need a tavern and booze, Wizards will require a library and most likely a bath, while Barbarians definitely need a mead-soaked feast in a longhall. +1 XP to the first player to combine the last two effectively.

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