Chivalric Knight (3.5e Class)
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Trained from birth in the ways of warfare and chivalry, the knight is the stuff of legends. Tales abound of virtuous knights conquering evil, slaying dragons, and rescuing damsels in distress.
Adventures: Knights usually adventure at the behest of their lord. They take their quests seriously, and view them as a personal challenge. Sometimes, usually in times of peace, a knight travels the land for years, righting wrongs and defending the innocent. Such knights are referred to as "knight errants." However, knight errants still retain their loyalty to their lord, and will rush to his side at the first sign of trouble.
Characteristics: Like the paladin, the knight follows a code of honor, known as chivalry. The knight, however, focuses less on the divine power of the paladin and more on the martial prowess of the fighter. With their heraldic armor and martial training, the knight is a powerful force on the battlefield.
Alignment: Adherance to the code of chivalry involves strict discipline and steadfast loyalty. Only lawful characters can be knights.
Religion: While the code of chivalry is usually religion enough to some knights, others tend to worship deities of honor and law, such as Heironeous or St. Cuthbert. Evil knights may worship Hextor.
Background: Knights are practically born with a sword in hand. From a very early age, an aspiring knight is apprenticed to an older knight. The youth, who is called a "squire," attends to the knight's every need, caring for his armor and weapons, tending his horses, cooking his meals, cleaning his home, and running errands. During this time, the knight teaches the squire the sword and the ways of chivalry. Upon reaching adulthood, if the squire has performed to the knight's satisfaction, he presents the squire to his lord, who then proclaims the squire to be a knight in a special ceremony.
Knights are almost exclusively drawn from the nobility, but sometimes a commoner who has performed a great service to their lord may be knighted for their valor.
Races: Humans are the most common race to become knights. Dwarves, with their strong clan loyalty and sense of justice, make great knights. Elves have a successful, though small, knight tradition, though their lawful beliefs mean they often feel out of place in their society. Half-elves do not often come from noble families, but one who has proved himself worthy may become a knight. Few of the other races ever follow the path of chivalry, and knights are practically nonexistant among the savage humanoids.
Other Classes: Knights are fiercely loyal to fellow knights in their lord's service, and have a healthy amount of respect for other knights, even those who serve a rival lord. The paladin's code of honor closely resembles the knight's code of chivalry, though knights may consider the paladin to be "too idealistic." Knights admire the monk's discipline, and many knights retire to a monastery when their service ends. Knights often see fighters as something of a "lesser breed," but they may develop a friendship with fighters whose moral code parallels their own. Knights respect clerics, especially those of lawful deities, who see their devotion to their deity as a mirror of their devotion to their lord. Barbarians, druids, and rangers are seen as "uncouth" and "uncivilized." Knights consider bards and rogues to be honorless vagabonds, but they may work with them if the need arises. Wizards and sorcerers can be viewed with suspicion, healthy respect, or they might just been seen as something of an oddity.
Role: The knight's place is on the front lines. Chivalry demands no less. With his heraldic armor and selection of bonus feats, the knight is a strong melee combatant.
Game Rule Information
Chivalric Knights have the following game statistics:
Abilities: Strength improves a knight's melee attack and damage roles. Constitution improves a knight's hit points, which increases his survivability. Dexterity, while not as helpful for improving armor class, improves a knight's ranged attack power and gives him access to Dexterity oriented feats.
Alignment: Any lawful.
Starting Age: Simple
Starting Gold: 2d4 x 10 gp.
|12th||+12/+7/+2||+8||+4||+4||Improved Heraldic Armor|
|18th||+18/+13/+8/+3||+11||+6||+6||Greater Heraldic Armor|
Class Skills (4 + Int modifier per level; ×4 at 1st level)
Weapon and Armor Proficiences: The knight is proficient with all simple and martial weapons, and with all types of armor and shields.
|Armor Bonus||Total XP||Min. Char. Lvl.|
| Note: armor may not have a bonus higher than +5. |
Use this table as a guideline for determining
the value of special abilities, such as fortification.
Heraldic Armor: When a squire is officially knighted, his lord presents him with a set of masterwork full plate armor bearing the lord's coat of arms. This armor is his symbol of knighthood, and as such the knight has a special bond with it. As the knight gains in levels, he has the option to invest a portion of his soul (in the form of XP) into the armor to improve its abilities, making it stronger when used by the knight alone. In order to improve his armor, the knight retreats to a shrine, church, or sanctuary and meditates on the deeds he has performed and what chivalry means to him personally. He must spend one day in meditation per 20 XP spent in this manner. In each day, he must spend 8 hours in meditation, pausing neither to eat or rest. He may not remove his armor during this time. He may not spend XP if doing so would lower his character level beyond the minimum requirement, but he may choose not to advance in level for the purpose of improving his armor. Before he improves his armor, it is merely masterwork, not magical in any way. He may not improve any other armor in this way.
Any knight who has his armor lost or stolen must strive to retrieve it or face being dishonored by his lord. Any knight who sells his armor is stripped of his title and cast out of the knighthood. If a knight's armor is destroyed in battle, he suffers no dishonor, indeed, he may be looked upon with greater respect by his peers. If his armor is destroyed in battle, he may petition his lord (DC 20 Diplomacy check, -5 to the DC if the armor was destroyed in direct service to the lord, DM's discretion) to have it replaced. If successful, the armor is presented after the number of days it takes to forge a suit of masterwork full plate armor, plus one additional day for the engravings. If the check fails, the knight must wait a month to petition again. The knight may pay to replace the armor himself. The cost is for a normal suit of masterwork full plate, plus an additional 100 gp for the coat of arms. The knight may then spend XP to improve his new suit of armor.
Anyone who is not a knight caught wearing a suit of heraldic armor may find themselves fined, imprisoned, or even executed. Anyone who steals the armor of a fallen knight may find themselves the target of reprisals from the knight's comrades, seeking to avenge their fallen comrade and return the armor to the knight's family.
Bonus Feats: At 2nd level and every 3 levels thereafter, the knight gains a bonus feat. These feats are drawn from the fighter bonus feat list.
Battle Ready: At 4th level, a knight no longer suffers any penalties when sleeping in his heraldic armor.
Improved Heraldic Armor: At 12th level, the knight is so comfortable in his armor that it feels almost like a normal suit of clothing. When wearing his heraldic armor, his arcane spell failure chance is reduced by 10%, maximum Dex bonus is increased by 2, and armor check penalties are reduced by 3, as if the armor were made of mithral. It is now considered Medium armor for the purposes of movement and other limitations. The armor still has normal hardness and hit points for steel.
Greater Heraldic Armor: The knight has mastered the use of his armor to protect himself. At 18th level, he unconsciously maneuvers himself in combat so that strikes always fall on the strongest part of his armor, deflect off of ridges, or are angled in less advantageous ways. He gains damage reduction 3/- while wearing his heraldic armor, as if it were made of adamantium. The armor still has normal hardness and hit points for steel.
Code of Conduct: Upon becoming a knight, a squire swears to uphold the code of chivalry. While the exact nature of chivalry differs depending on the region, it is generally held that a knight is expected to uphold the law, serve his lord faithfully, protect the innocent, show courage in battle, be honest and faithful to their word, and be generous to those less fortunate.
Ex-Knights: A knight who violates the code of chivalry may not gain levels in knight until he has atoned and regained the favor of his lord. In addition, knights face a special restriction when multiclassing. The code of chivalry is not to be taken lightly, requiring lifelong dedication. Any knight who multiclasses into another class may never again take another level of knight. Exceptions do exist, in general, any prestige class that allows a paladin to continue their levels also allows the knight to continue his progression. The DM is the final judge on what prestige classes should be allowed.