Gate Knight (3.5e Class)
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It is said that everyone holds a terrible seed of darkness within their hearts. This darkness is a Gateway to another place, a place which no mortal can be sure what lies beyond. What can be certain is this seed, this hole within every human mind, hungers. It is said to drive desire and, ironically, bring forth action through need and want. It was discovered one could sacrifice life unto the darkness within, and in return this "Gate" would grant power to its owner. The life of a Gate Knight is a risky one, for he is always teetering on the edge of the hungry darkness waiting to consume him.
Making a Gate Knight
A Gate Knight is a melee class who gains power through self-inflicted pain. While this would seem counter-productive, the benefits can mean the difference between victory and death. Gate Knights who do not tread their path carefully do not last long.
Abilities: As a melee class Strength is always important, but Constitution may be the most important of all. The ability to survive both the enemy outside and within is a strong requirement. Wisdom is important as part of their skills, sacrifice saving throws, and to assist in their Will saves. Gate Knights who do not invest in heavy armor may also desire a good Dexterity score.
Races: Humans, Dwarves, and Half-Orcs are the most common Gate Knights, though the often-good dwarves tend to shy on the class for moral reasons. Halflings and gnomes do not often become attracted to brutal melee classes, and the weak-bodied elves would have trouble surviving.
Alignment: Any Nongood.
Starting Gold: 5d4×10 gp (125 gp).
|Saving Throws||Special||Sacrifices Known|
|1st||+1||+2||+0||+0||Dark Blow, Sacrifice (Least)||1|
|4th||+4||+4||+1||+1||Dark Burst 1/day, Sacrifice (Lesser)||3|
|5th||+5||+4||+1||+1||Death Sight, Diehard||3|
|6th||+6/+1||+5||+2||+2||Sacrifice (Least or Lesser)||4|
|8th||+8/+3||+6||+2||+2||Dark Burst 2/day, Sacrifice (Least or Lesser)||5|
|10th||+10/+5||+7||+3||+3||Sacrifice (Least or Lesser)||6|
|11th||+11/6/+1||+7||+3||+3||Gate of Darkness||6|
|12th||+12/7/+2||+8||+4||+4||Dark Burst 3/day, Sacrifice (Least or Lesser or Greater)||7|
|13th||+13/8/+3||+8||+4||+4||Dancing At The Edge of Death||7|
|14th||+14/9/+4||+9||+4||+4||Sacrifice (Least or Lesser or Greater)||8|
|16th||+16/11/6/+1||+10||+5||+5||Dark Burst 4/day, Sacrifice (Least or Lesser or Greater)||9|
|18th||+18/13/8/+3||+11||+6||+6||Sacrifice (Least or Lesser or Greater or Dark)||10|
|20th||+20/15/10/+5||+12||+6||+6||Dark Burst 5/day, One With Darkness, Sacrifice (Least or Lesser or Greater or Dark)||11|
Class Skills (2 + Int modifier per level, ×4 at 1st level)
All of the following are class features of the Gate Knight.
Weapon and Armor Proficiency: A Gate Knight is proficient with all simple and martial weapons and with all armor (heavy, medium, and light) and shields (including tower shields).
Dark Blow (Su): The Gate Knight knows that his life means power. By injuring himself, he gains strength. A Gate Knight can take lethal damage which bypasses all DR to himself (up to a number of hit points equal to his class level), and in turn gain a bonus equal to twice that amount on weapon damage rolls. For example, a level 15 Gate Knight can subtract 15 hp and deal +30 damage. He may perform this as part of an attack.
Sacrifice (Sp): The Gate Knight learns a number of spell-like rituals which he may employ at will. They function similar to warlock invocations (Complete Arcane) with a caster level equal to his gate knight level, except that they have no somatic components. Each sacrifice requires a sacrifice of his own hit points. The sacrifices come in two forms: sacrifices which deal their damage instantly, which can be healed later (such as a blast of dark energy that takes 4 hit points away from its user); and sacrifices which are constant, subtracting from the Gate Knight's maximum hit points until that particular ability is no longer in use.
A Gate Knight gains a sacrifice at 1st, another at 2nd, and an additional sacrifice at every even level. At first he may only select a least sacrifice. Beginning at level 6, he may select least or lesser sacrifices. At level 12, he may select least, lesser, or greater sacrifices, and finally at 18th level he may begin selecting dark sacrifices. When a sacrifice requires a saving throw, it is Wisdom-based.
Upon reaching 6th level, and at every 6 gate knight levels after that (12th, 18th, and so on), a gate can choose to learn a new sacrifice in place of one he already knows. In effect, the gate knight "loses" the old sacrifice in exchange for the new one. The new sacrifice’s grade (least, lesser, greater, or dark) must be the same as that of the sacrifice being exchanged, and it must be at least one grade lower than the highest-level sacrifice the gate knight can cast. A gate knight may swap only a single sacrifice at any given level, and must choose whether or not to swap the sacrifice at the same time that he gains a new sacrifice known for the level. In epic play, at level 24 a gate knight may even swap out for dark sacrifices.
A gate knight's sacrifices and dark blow can be used to qualify for and can be advanced by prestige classes, using the same rules as are used for warlocks.
Dark Burst (Su): At 4th level a Gate Knight learns how to take the power of his dark blow and put it into an explosive burst of negative energy. Once per day, he may use a Dark Blow and cause the extra damage damage from Dark Blow to explode outward and deal damage to all creatures within 30 ft. of the gate knight as negative energy, in addition to dealing the normal damage to the target. All creatures caught in the area are entitled to a Will save for half damage, at a DC of 10 + 1/2 class level + Wis modifier. The Gate Knight is unaffected, but his target takes both the damage from dark blow and the damage from dark burst. If the Gate Knight misses with this attack, the dark burst still goes off as normal. Every 4 levels the Gate Knight may perform this an additional time per day.
Death Sight (Su): At 5th level the Gate Knight is so used to observing the flow of life and death within himself that he becomes aware of the lives of others. He gains the constant effects of a Deathwatch spell.
Durability (Ex): At 7th level a Gate Knight's self-injuries have granted him considerable durability against harm. He gains his class level as DR against nonlethal damage. For example, a 13th level Gate Knight has DR 13/lethal. In addition, when at negative hit points but not dead, a gate knight may take a full round worth of actions, as opposed to the single actions permitted by the Die Hard feat. Doing so reduces the gate knight by 2 hit points (such as if you performed two move actions). As normal for Die Hard, the gate knight dies when he reaches -10.
Mettle (Ex): At 9th level a Gate Knight's determination allows him to shrug off magical effects that would otherwise harm him. If a Gate Knight make a successfully Will or Fortitude save that would normally reduce the spell’s effect (such as a spell with entry Will partial or Fortitude half) he instead negates the effects.
Gate of Darkness (Su): At 11th level, the Gate Knight has been channeling the darkness for so long that his Gate is stained black. When injured by any piercing or slashing attack by a non-reach melee weapon, the Gate which sprays forth is baneful to the living, dealing 1d6 points of negative energy damage. A Gate Knight can toggle this ability on or off as a swift action, but cannot perform a dark burst or sacrifice ability while this ability is so suppressed.
Dancing At The Edge Of Death (Ex): At 13th level it has become apparent that the hole within is not unlike a channel to the power of death itself. As such when the Gate Knight actually perishes and is later resurrected, he does not lose a level when doing so as he is so accustomed to the experience.
Death Throes (Su): At 17th level, when a Gate Knight perishes, he can choose to go out in a blaze of negative energy. He explodes in a black pulse which destroys his body completely, and deals 2d6 points of negative energy damage per Hit Die to all creatures in a 30 ft. burst, with a Reflex save for half. The save DC is 10 + 1/2 class level + Con modifier. The Gate Knight's slayer, if within range, is not entitled to a save. If it is unclear which single creature is responsible for the gate knight's death, the designation is up to DM discreation.
Undying Rage (Ex): At 19th level the Gate Knight uses his connection to the darkness to continue his existence when he would have otherwise perished. When reduced to negative hit points, he may make a Fortitude save at a DC equal to 10 - his hit points. Success means that he may act normally. He still accrues damage from taking strenuous actions while at negative hit points, but he may continue to fight as long as he can continue to make the Fortitude save every round. It does not protect him from effects which destroy the body, such as Disintegrate or Vorpal, or instant death effects. In addition, when in an Undying Rage the Gate Knight gains a +8 bonus to Str.
One With Darkness: At 20th level the Gate Knight has an awakening and finally reaches out to his inner darkness. Upon realizing its true nature, the Gate Knight transforms and becomes an Outsider (Native). He may still be raised and resurrected, and counts as a member of his original race for all effects. He gains either damage reduction 10/silver or damage reduction 10/cold iron, chosen by the gate knight upon acquiring this ability. In addition he experiences a subtle physical change to his body which marks him as unnatural, such as blackened eyes or a visible aura.
A Gate Knight who becomes good cannot in good faith give away their life force to the darkness within, and as such loses their abilities to use Gate for power, losing their class abilities except for feats, durability, mettle, and one with darkness abilities. Once they regain a non-good alignment, the Gate Knight's abilities return without issue.
Epic Gate Knight
|23rd||Sacrifice (Least or Lesser or Greater or Dark)|
|25th||Dark Burst 6/day|
|26th||Sacrifice (Least or Lesser or Greater or Dark)|
|29th||Sacrifice (Least or Lesser or Greater or Dark)|
|30th||Dark Burst 7/day|
2 + Int modifier skill points per level.
Dark Burst: Every 5 levels the Gate Knight gains an additional use of their Dark Burst.
Sacrifice: Every 3 levels the Gate Knight gains an additional sacrifice ability.
Bonus Feats: The epic Gate Knight gains a bonus feat (selected from the list of epic Gate Knight bonus feats) every 4 levels after 20th.
Epic Gate Knight Bonus Feat List: <-list of bonus epic feats->.
Human Gate Knight Starting Package
Skill Selection: Pick a number of skills equal to 2 + Int modifier.
Feat: Improved Toughness.
Bonus Feats: Power Attack.
Gear: Chain Shirt.
Playing a Gate Knight
Religion: Gate Knights, if they are involved with religion, are often involved with gods of either knowledge as they seek to unlock the mysteries of the darkness within, or evil gods who revel in trading energy for power. In the latter case, they are easy to mistake for evil paladins, with a unique, vile form of Smite.
Other Classes: The Gate Knight is a melee class in league with fighters, paladins, and barbarians. However, he keeps his art secret often, few are comforted to hear that the Gate Knight draws his power from forces ill understood and apparently hungry for life energy. As such there is no middle ground... a Gate Knight either fights with his power in secret, or revels in it and flaunts his dark power.
Combat: A Gate Knight works right on the front lines, smiting the enemy with surges of dark power. He is capable of going toe to toe with spellcasters with the various sacrifice powers, provided he is willing to lose health over it.
Advancement: The Gate Knight synergies well with both barbarian and paladin, the former having constitution and strength boosting powers and large hp, the latter being flavorful for evil Gate Knights, and whose wisdom can become synergistic with the Serenity feat from Dragon Magazine. Melee classes add to the power of the Gate Knight.
Gate Knights in the World
|“||I've seen what's on the other side of the Gate of death, let me show you the darkness...||”|
|—Cecil, Human Gate Knight|
Gate Knights may be employ as top of the line Knights for certain evil nations, acting as paladins, without having to gain the blessing of the gods. They could also act the role of the "evil paladin" if your campaign lacks the paladin variants.
Daily Life: The Gate Knight is a contemplative person, meditating often in a search to understand this feeling, this hole within him. It is a grim and often sorrowful meditation, but the Gate Knight hopes that by understanding this hole he can use it, accept it, or even fill it and find peace.
Notables: Cecil was a Gate Knight in employ to the Red Baron Knights, feared for his power, respected by his men. He had went missing after an incident in a burning town however...
Organizations: Gate Knights may organize in a campaign, similar people who seek to understand, or even teach others of the terrible, powerful thing within them all.
NPC Reactions: Due to the dark nature of the Gate Knight's power, he is best with still tongue, lest the common folk find him something baneful, worthy of rejection. This rejection often fuels Gate Knights to abandon the world, and eventually their own humanity.
Gate Knight Lore
Characters with ranks in Knowledge Religion can research Gate Knights to learn more about them. When a character makes a skill check, read or paraphrase the following, including information from lower DCs.
|10||Gate Knights sacrifice their own life energy to strike with great power and might.|
|15||A Gate Knight's sacrifices to a hungry force from beyond grants him almost magical powers... at a price.|
|20||Gate Knights are hard to kill, sometimes defying death when others should have perished long ago.|
|30||Those who reach this level of success can gain information about a specific Gate Knight, their name and whereabouts, and/or lore surrounding them.|
Gate Knights in the Game
Gate Knights are contemplative warriors who use their inner darkness as a weapon.
Adaptation: The "hole within oneself" can be more than a metaphysical concept, it could be a fiendish presence, or an extraplanar, Far Realm being who contacts special individuals and exchanges power for life for some greater plot. Additionally, one could have a "Stigmata Knight" whose self sacrifice grants power. In this case change the alignment requirements or remove them.
Sample Encounter: The elite guard of the evil king is a fanatical Gate Knight, he fights to the death, for he does not fear it.
EL whatever: 15.