Ascendant Knight (3.5e Prestige Class)
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|“||Can't touch this.||”|
The common picture of an Ascendant Knight is that of a holy crusader for justice, such as the paladin who has moved on to embrace an even greater destiny. But not every Ascendant Knight is good. Some of the worst of people find out how to protect themselves from the good-aligned gods who try to smite them. Those gods, being unable to kill the wrongdoers, do the only thing they can—they curse the evil ones with Ascendance. All of a sudden, whatever evil allies that person had, now turn on him. He becomes an outcast, and most Ascendant Knights either support the forces of good, or degrade into Chaotic Evil.
Becoming an Ascendant Knight
It's entirely possible for an adventurer to join the forces of celestial warriors in order to support the crusade for justice. However, some wrongdoers who are just too powerful for a good-aligned deity to kill easily are bestowed the curse of an existence in constant threat of their would-be allies. And there are a lot of evil creatures out there. Most become ascendant knights due to dedication to good, however if one is cursed for their evil deeds by a deity they can become a ascendant knight.
|Base Attack Bonus:||+5|
|Skills:||4 ranks in Knowledge (Religion).|
|Special:||Must have proficiency with all martial weapons.|
|Special:||Must have made non-violent contact with a [Good] Outsider.|
|1st||+1||+0||+2||+2||Target of Evil, Energy Blast 1 type|
|2nd||+2||+0||+3||+3||Fast Healing 1|
|3rd||+3||+1||+3||+3||Energy Blast 2 types|
|4th||+4||+1||+4||+4||Holy Armor,Sanctuary (1/day)|
|5th||+5||+1||+4||+4||Fast Healing 2|
|6th||+6||+2||+5||+5||Energy Blast d8|
|7th||+7||+2||+5||+5||Holy Word (1/day), Sanctuary (3/day)|
|8th||+8||+2||+6||+6||Fast Healing 3|
|9th||+9||+3||+6||+6||Energy Blast 3 types|
|10th||+10||+3||+7||+7||Holy Word (2/day), Sanctuary (5/day)|
Class Skills (4 + Int modifier per level)
The Ascendent Knight's class skills (and key ability for each skill) are Climb (Str), Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Disable Device (Int), Jump (Str), Heal (Wis), Intimidate (Cha), Knowledge (all skills individually) (Int), Listen (Wis), Spot (Wis), Swim (Str).
All of the following are class features of the Ascendant Knight.
Weapon and Armor Proficiencies: The Ascendant Knight gains no new proficiency with armor or weapons.
Target of Evil (Su): An Ascendent Knight constantly emanates an aura which encourages evil to attack him, disctracting them from other things. All evil-aligned creatures within 45 feet of the Ascendant Knight suffer a -2 to attack rolls, damage rolls, and skill checks when they are not attacking the Ascendant Knight or using their skills against him (e.g. using Bluff to feint againt the Ascendant Knight doesn't yield a -2 penalty, but using Hide in preparation for flanking him). Ascendant Knights are not affected by the auras of other Ascendant Knights.
Energy Blast (Su): At level 1, an Ascendent Knight picks 1 energy type (Acid, Cold, Electricity, Fire, or Sonic). Once per minute (10 rounds), an Ascendant Knight can fire a blast of that energy in a cone measuring 5 ft. + 5 ft. for every Ascendent Knight level (with a maximum of 45 ft.) as a standard action, dealing 1d4 damage per Ascendant Knight level (Reflex Save for half. DC 10+1/2 Ascendant Knight's HD+Dex modifier). At 3rd level and 9th level, an Ascendant Knight can choose another energy type. The Ascendant Knight can then use 1 Energy Blast of each type per minute. At 6th level, the damage for Energy Blast increases to d8.
Fast Healing (Ex): At 2nd level, an Ascendant Knight gains Fast Healing, and can heal 1 hit point per round. At 5th level this increases to 2, and at 8th level it increases to 3.
Holy Armor(Su): At 4th level, an Ascendant Knight's body becomes infused with holy power, the Ascendant Knight gains a +2 sacred bonus to AC and a +2 sacred bonus to saves against attacks or effects created by evil creatures.
Spell-like abilities (Sp): At 4th level, the Ascendant Knight can use Sanctuary as the spell once per day. At 7th level, the Ascendent Knight can use Sanctuary three times per day, and can use Holy Word once per day. At 10th level, he can use Sanctuary five times per day and can use Holy Word twice per day.
Paladins who multiclass as Ascendant Knights can still take class levels in Paladin
Role Playing an Ascendant Knight
If your Ascendent Knight is of a good alignment, they may have an obvious aversion to evil characters in your party, as evil characters will be drawn to attack them.
If your Ascendent Knight is of an evil alignment, they may be adventuring trying to escape the evils of their past, or they may be trying to find a cure or fix to the curse they carry.
Playing an Ascendant Knight
Combat: Ascendant Knights, when fighting against evil, are the ones who attract the attention of others. They are conditioned to be the target of an attack, and are usually backed by spell-casting or power-manifesting partners. When evil isn't around, Ascendant Knights have to take the fight to their enemies. They use their Energy Blast to take out fair portions of their opponent's health
Advancement: Ascendent Knights are recommended to keep up their high Base Attack Bonus progression; class recommendations being Paladin, Knight, or Barbarian. Evil Ascendant Knights may also become Death Knights or take Fiendish classes.
Ascendent Knights in the World
|“||You need a leader. A leader who can take charge in a battle. A leader who can take on an undefeatable opponent without hesitation or concern for loss of life. You need me.||”|
|—Barathus, Elven Ascendent Knight of Ehlonna|
Ascendent Knights always find a way to get fame. They make for impressive leaders, fearsome near-demonic recluses, and even legendary nomads. But most importantly, Ascendant Knights live to fight. Whether it's in the name of justice or not, nothing gives the same satisfactory feeling that comes from razing an entire building. Some Ascendant Knights will bond together, sometimes regardless of alignment, to form powerful shock troopers.
NPC Reactions: The primary reaction around Ascendants is awe. The aura that draws evil to the Ascendant Knight can also show itself to non-evil creatures as an attention-drawing beacon (which has no in-game effect, only in the roleplaying). If that doesn't give them enough attention, their pale skin and strange eyes and hair does. Some are drawn to their appearance, and others resent it. Demographics is ultimately the decided factor, at the DM's discretion.
Ascendant Knight Lore
Characters with ranks in Knowledge (Religion) can research Ascendant Knights to learn more about them. When a character makes a skill check, read or paraphrase the following, including information from lower DCs.
|11||Ascendant Knights are those given powers from deities to command energy. They are formidable opponents.|
|16||Ascendant Knights can use multiple types of energy and heal themselves in battle. They also give off an aura that causes evildoers to attack them.|
|21||Some Ascendant Knights are actually evildoers themselves, who have been bestowed Ascendancy in order to isolate them from their comrades.|
Ascendant Knights in the Game
In general, PC's who encounter good Ascendant Knights will find themselves conversing with leaders of good-aligned armies or nomadic seekers of justice who want to purge the planes of sin. Evil Ascendant Knights are usually Chaotic Evil recluses who have gone into hiding after being persecuted by good and constantly attacked by evil. PC's who play Ascendant Knights are usually good or neutral, because an evil team containing an Ascendant Knight would probably result in many distracting and unhelpful battles between the players.
Adaptation: The Ascendant Knight is not a common class, especially on the Inner Planes. Encounters with Ascendant Knights make for challenging battles, either because the Ascendant Knight has been reduced to pure ruthlessness in his existence, or because he has a small army backing him. Ascendant Knights might also serve as guards for powerful good-aligned beings or royalty.