Kantian Paladin (3.5e Class)
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|“||Act only according to that maxim whereby you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law.||”|
A paladin believes in a set of duties based on a universal moral law. Whether paladins are right about this is a matter of dispute among philosophers to this day, but wise men don't raise the topic to a paladin's face. Despite this ideological inflexibility, most paladins are pretty nice people: they keep their promises, help the needy, and work to make the world a better place to live.
Making a Kantian Paladin
Playing a Paladin: Paladins excel at two things, slaying evil creatures and helping protect and heal their allies. While most new players can handle the former just fine, the latter benefits from a knowledge of monster attacks and appropriate defenses that new players won't have. Many of a paladin's abilities rely on appropriate use of their spells, adding to the class's complexity.
Alignment: Paladins must be Good: their powers come from their connection to the ideal of Good, and if they stray from that alignment, they lose most of their abilities. Many paladins are also Lawful because of the strictness of their philosophy, but there are Chaotic paladins who also uphold the code of conduct.
Starting Gold: 6d6×10 gp (210 gp).
|1st||+1||+2||+0||+2||Aura of Good, Code of Conduct, Mounted Combat, Spellcasting, Turn Undead|
|3rd||+3||+3||+1||+3||Aura of Courage, Divine Health, Divine Inspiration|
|4th||+4||+4||+1||+4||Smite Evil +1d6|
|5th||+5||+4||+1||+4||Aura of Defiance, Special Mount|
|7th||+7/+2||+5||+2||+5||Aura of Resolve|
|8th||+8/+3||+6||+2||+6||Mettle, Smite Evil +2d6|
|9th||+9/+4||+6||+3||+6||Aura of Health, Divine Inspiration, Fast Casting (0 and 1st)|
|11th||+11/+6/+1||+7||+3||+7||Aura of Life, Fast Casting (2nd)|
|12th||+12/+7/+2||+8||+4||+8||Divine Inspiration, Smite Evil +3d6|
|13th||+13/+8/+3||+8||+4||+8||Fast Casting (3rd)|
|14th||+14/+9/+4||+9||+4||+9||Aura of Freedom|
|15th||+15/+10/+5||+9||+5||+9||Divine Inspiration, Fast Casting (4th)|
|16th||+16/+11/+6/+1||+10||+5||+10||Smite Evil +4d6|
|17th||+17/+12/+7/+2||+10||+5||+10||Aura of Truth, fast casting (5th)|
|19th||+19/+14/+9/+4||+11||+6||+11||Aura of Forbiddance, Fast Casting (6th)|
|20th||+20/+15/+10/+5||+12||+6||+12||Miracle, Smite Evil +5d6|
Class Skills (4 + Int modifier per level, ×4 at 1st level)
Climb (Str), Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Handle Animal (Cha), Heal (Cha), Intimidate (Cha), Jump (Str), Knowledge (nobility and royalty) (Int), Knowledge (religion), Knowledge (the planes) (Int), Listen (Wis), Profession (Wis), Ride (Dex), Sense Motive (Wis), Spellcraft (Int), Spot (Wis), and Swim (Str).
All of the following are class features of the Kantian Paladin.
Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Paladins are proficient with all simple and martial weapons, with light, medium, and heavy armor, and with shields and tower (or great) shields.
Spellcasting: A Kantian Paladin casts divine spells which are drawn from the paladin spell list . She can cast any spell she knows without preparing it ahead of time. The Spells per Day num and caster level is same as paladin
To cast a Kantian Paladin spell, a Kantian Paladin must have a Wis score of 10 + the spell's level. The Difficulty Class of the saving throw against a Kantian Paladin's spells are 10 + the spell's level + her Cha modifier. She gains bonus spells for a high Wis.
A Kantian Paladin's caster level is equal to her class level.
Aura of Good (Ex): The power of a Kantian Paladin's aura of good is equal to her Kantian Paladin level.
Code of Conduct: Kantian Paladins follow a strict moral philosophy with two key features: only intentions, not consequences, matter; and any moral obligation applies to all rational creatures, at all times. Kantian Paladins derive their duties from considering if they would want everyone to act as they do all the time. If they would, that's a universal duty; if not, that action is forbidden. Kantian Paladins respect the autonomy and free wills of rational creatures, and treat all rational creatures, even evil ones, as ends in themselves, rather than as means to an end. Kantian Paladins imagine a hypothetical kingdom where all rational creatures both follow and create the laws, and choose laws based on what would make this kingdom a better place to live. Of course, since they believe that everyone else should act this way too, they aren't much fun at cocktail parties.
While adventuring, Kantian Paladins encounter a lot of creatures with alien mentalities and biologies. Most Kantian Paladins consider monsters with incomprehensible or inflexible viewpoints outside the community of rational creatures, even if they're otherwise intelligent, so feel no obligation to treat them any differently from animals. Similarly, most Kantian Paladins feel that creatures obligated to kill other rational creatures for sustenance, such as vampires and illithids, should voluntarily commit suicide, and that if they fail in this duty, other rational creatures may "assist" them in its performance.
The list that follows is some examples of how Kantian Paladins interpret their code in practice. However, it's not exhaustive.
- Kantian Paladins may not lie or deceive. If no one told the truth, language would be useless.
- Kantian Paladins must fulfill their promises. If everyone broke promises, there would be no point in making them.
- Kantian Paladins may not use mind-affecting effects. Mind-affecting abilities destroy the autonomy of rational creatures.
- Kantian Paladins must slay evil when possible. Remember that not only does an afterlife exist, but one can go there and visit it to watch Evil souls receive rewards from Evil deities. Since killing Evil people makes both them and everyone else better off (because they're no longer around in life to do Evil), it is in fact a moral duty to send successful Evil to the afterlife expediently.
- Kantian Paladins may not steal. If everyone stole, the concept of property would be meaningless. This doesn't, however, prevent Kantian Paladins from killing evil creatures, then taking their stuff.
- Kantian Paladins must offer reasonable aid to those needier than themselves. If no one gave appropriate charity, than they could not expect any assistance when they needed it.
- Kantian Paladins must seek to develop their talents; thus, most Kantian Paladins are adventurers. If no one cultivated their abilities, the world would be a poorer place.
- Kantian Paladins must not treat animals and similar creatures with cruelty. Deliberate cruelty deadens the feeling of compassion that promotes moral behavior towards rational creatures.
Mounted Combat: A Kantian Paladin gains Mounted Combat as a bonus feat at first level. If she already has Mounted Combat, she may gain any fighter (or Combat, for those using Races of War rules) feat she meets the prerequisites for instead.
Smite Evil (Su): Starting at 4th level, a Kantian Paladin deals 1d6 extra damage to any evil creatures she attacks in melee. These dice are not multiplied by damage multipliers, and are not applied to any bonus attacks beyond those granted by Base Attack Bonus. This damage increases by +1d6 every two levels thereafter.
Aura of Courage (Su): Beginning at 3rd level, a Kantian Paladin is immune to fear (magical or otherwise). Each ally within 60 feet of her gains a +4 morale bonus on saving throws against fear effects. This ability functions while the Kantian Paladin is conscious, but not if she is unconscious or dead.
Divine Inspiration: At 3rd level, a Kantian Paladin may add a single cleric spell from the abjuration, conjuration [healing], evocation, or transmutation schools, or a single spell with the [Good] descriptor, to her spell list. This spell must be of a level equal to or lower than the highest she can cast, and must not have the death, evil, or mind-affecting descriptors. She may add another spell to her spell list, subject to the same restrictions, at 6th, 9th, 12th, 15th, and 18th levels.
Aura of Defiance (Su): Beginning at 5th level, a Kantian Paladin gains a second aura, which grants her immunity to charm effects. Each ally within 60 feet of her gains a +4 morale bonus on saving throws against charm effects.
While her Aura of Good is always active, she may only have one other aura active at any time. She may change which aura she has active as a Swift Action. All auras (except her Aura of Good) function only when she is conscious.
Special Mount: Starting at 5th level, a Kantian Paladin gains the services of a level-appropriate cohort whom she rides into battle. This cohort does not gain XP and always has a CR at least two levels lower than the Kantian Paladin's character level. Typical choices include good-aligned dragons and magical beasts or quadruped outsiders with the [Good] subtype, but almost anything works so long as it's rational and willing to follow the Kantian Paladin's code, and she can ride it.
The Kantian Paladin and her mount share an empathic link out to a distance of up to 1 mile. Because of this empathic link, the Kantian Paladin has the same connection to an item or place that her mount does, just as with a master and his familiar.
At the Kantian Paladin's option, she may have any spell (but not any spell-like ability) she casts on herself also affect her mount. The mount must be within 5 feet at the time of casting to receive the benefit. If the spell or effect has a duration other than instantaneous, it stops affecting the mount if it moves farther than 5 feet away and will not affect the mount again even if it returns to the Kantian Paladin before the duration expires. Additionally, the Kantian Paladin may cast a spell with a target of "You" on her mount (as a touch range spell) instead of on herself.
Aura of Resolve (Su): Beginning at 7th level, a Kantian Paladin gains the aura of resolve, which grants her immunity to compulsion effects. Each ally within 60 feet of her gains a +4 morale bonus on saving throws against compulsion effects.
Mettle (Ex): Starting at 8th level, a Kantian Paladin who succeeds on a Fortitude partial or Will partial save takes no effect as if she had immunity.
Aura of Health (Su): Beginning at 9th level, a Kantian Paladin gains the Aura of Health, which grants her immunity to all poisons. Each ally within 60 feet of her gains a +4 morale bonus on saving throws against poison.
Fast Casting: Starting at 9th level, a Kantian Paladin can cast any Kantian Paladin orison or 1st-level Kantian Paladin spell as a swift action, as if she had applied the Quicken Spell metamagic feat to the spell; if she wishes to add additional metamagic, it doesn't increase the casting time beyond a swift action. Every two levels thereafter, the level of spells she can cast as a swift action increases by one.
Aura of Life (Su): Beginning at 11th level, a Kantian Paladin gains the Aura of Life, which grants her immunity to death effects and negative energy. Each ally within 60 feet of her gains a +4 morale bonus on saving throws against death effects and negative energy effects.
Aura of Freedom (Su): Starting at 14th level, a Kantian Paladin gains the Aura of Freedom, which grants her the effects of freedom of movement continuously. Each ally within 60 feet of her gains a +4 morale bonus on saving throws against effects that freedom of movement would prevent.
Aura of Truth (Su): Beginning at 17th level, a Kantian Paladin gains the Aura of Truth, which grants her the effects of true seeing continuously. Each ally within 60 feet of her gains a +4 morale bonus on saving throws against illusions.
Aura of Forbiddance (Su): Starting at 19th level, a Kantian Paladin gains the Aura of Forbiddance, which allows her to prevent any planar travel effect within 60 feet of her from occurring, at her option. No save is offered against this effect.
A Kantian Paladin who ceases to be good, who willfully commits an evil act, or who grossly violates the code of conduct loses all Kantian Paladin spells and abilities (including the service of the Kantian Paladin's mount, but not weapon, armor, and shield proficiencies). She may not progress any farther in levels as a Kantian Paladin. She regains her abilities and advancement potential if she atones for her violations (see the atonement spell description), as appropriate.
This is my attempt at writing a paladin that's competitive with the core casting classes. I'm taking my theme from Kant's theory of ethics, since it's a coherent ethical philosophy that has at least some resemblances to the paladin's code of conduct. However, it isn't that serious, mostly because I'm too lazy to try to make something consistent out of D&D's mishmash of ethical philosophies.