Excerpts Archive | 10/22/2010
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Essentials: Paladin
Heroes of the Forgotten Kingdoms Excerpts

Imagine a world of bold warriors, mighty wizards, and terrible monsters.

Imagine a world of ancient ruins, vast caverns, and great wild wastes where only the bravest heroes dare to tread.

Imagine a world of swords and magic, a world of elves and goblins, a world of giants and dragons.

This is the world of Dungeons & Dragons. You take on the role of a legendary hero—a vigilant druid, a resolute paladin, a versatile ranger, or a charismatic warlock. In today’s excerpt from the forthcoming Players Essentials book, Heroes of the Forgotten Kingdoms, we preview the paladin.


Divine Defender: You are a warrior of virtue, a champion of the righteous, and a defender of the weak. With your sword and your faith, you will shield the world from evil.

Why This Is the Class for You: You like playing a heroic paradigm of honor and justice.

Some warriors fight for gold. Others seek glory, power, or prestige. There are a few, however, who seek the warrior’s path for reasons that transcend the material and mundane. Called by divine powers to stand as champions of the light against the ever-encroaching darkness, paladins fight not because they choose to, but because, deep within their souls, they know they must. The paladin’s life is not a choice. It is a destiny.

Paladins are holy warriors, defenders of good and enemies of evil. Paladins are well trained with their weapons and armor, but they augment that skill with divine powers that allow them to shield their allies and smite their enemies. A single paladin can turn the tide of an entire war through a combination of skill at arms and inspiring leadership. As icons of virtue and heroism, paladins are a deadly threat to those who would rule through fear, intimidation, and violence.

Paladins typically wander the land either alone or in small groups. They seek out wrongs to right and villainy to defeat. Most paladins begin as squires to more experienced holy warriors. Through training and arduous tests, a squire’s bravery, battle skill, and ethics are all tested to see if the squire is worthy of becoming a paladin.


Key Abilities: Strength, Charisma

A cavalier is a paladin who has embraced one of the heroic virtues, such as compassion, justice, sacrifice, or valor. His or her belief in this virtue is so strong that it manifests as divine magic. Although many cavaliers pledge their faith to the gods, others follow no specific religion. Regardless of one’s divine affiliation (or lack thereof ), a cavalier’s virtue stands paramount. It guides his or her actions, pointing to the best way to protect the ever-flickering light of hope and civilization in the world.

Opposing the cavaliers and the virtues that they champion are the blackguards, who embody the dreaded vices that the cavaliers stand against. Where cavaliers embrace compassion, justice, sacrifice, and valor, blackguards epitomize fury, tyranny, greed, and terror. Since the earliest days of history, these two factions have fought each other. Both wander the land, gathering allies and working to further the cause of their virtues or vices.

At one time, cavaliers formed into chivalrous orders that were dedicated to the ideal of protecting the civilized realms. The forgotten kingdoms that ruled the land relied on cavaliers to help keep the peace. Those cavaliers maintained not only the military security of the land, but also its moral strength. A cavalier might drive off a marauding troll, but she could also mediate a dispute between two farmers, break the power of a corrupt noble, or free a wrongly accused prisoner.

As with many things from the time of the forgotten kingdoms, the cavaliers’ glory proved fleeting. The kingdoms of old grew weak, and some of their decline could be laid at the feet of cavaliers who strayed from the righteous path. All too often, cavaliers fell victim to the very evils they had sworn to combat. Power corrupts, and in many cases cavaliers served as perfect examples of how power can twist the most resolute heart.

The grand orders of cavaliers have long since faded, but their glory is not forgotten. Even as evil casts its shadow across the land, there are those who hear the call to the cavalier’s path. Many of the cavaliers of old strayed from their purpose, but that purpose and the power behind it remains strong for those who stay true to it.

Class Traits

Hit Points: You start with hit points equal to 15 + your Constitution score. You gain 6 hit points each time you gain a level.
Bonuses to Defenses: +1 to Fortitude, +1 to Reflex, +1 to Will
Healing Surges per Day: 10 + your Constitution modifier
Armor Proficiencies: Cloth, leather, hide, chainmail, scale, plate; light shield, heavy shield
Weapon Proficiencies: Simple melee, military melee; simple ranged, military ranged
Implement Proficiencies: Holy symbols
Class Skills: Athletics (Str), Diplomacy (Cha), Endurance (Con), Heal (Wis), History (Int), Insight (Wis), Intimidate (Cha), Religion (Int)
Trained Skills: Four from the list of class skills

Heroic Cavalier

In the heroic tier, you learn to combine fighting skill and divine magic into a potent combination.

Total XP Level Feats Known Class Features and Powers
0 1 1 Defender aura
Holy smite
Righteous radiance
Righteous shield
Spirit of Virtue
Valiant strike
Virtue at-will power
1,000 2 +1 Restore vitality
2,250 3 -- Extra Holy Smite
3,750 4 +1 Ability score increase
Pace of the Virtuous Charger
5,500 5 -- Daily power
7,500 6 +1 Utility Power
10,000 7 -- Improved Righteous Shield
13,000 8 +1 Ability score increase
Spirit of the virtuous charger
16,500 9 -- Daily Power
20,500 10 +1 Utility Power

Level 1: Defender Aura

You are a cavalier, a bulwark of protection for your allies.

Benefit: You gain the defender aura power.

Defender Aura
Paladin Utility
You work to occupy nearby foes, using a combination of fighting skill and clever tactics to keep them distracted.
Minor Action Personal
Effect: You activate an aura 1 that lasts until you end it as a minor action or until you fall unconscious. While in the aura, any enemy takes a –2 penalty to attack rolls when it makes an attack that does not include among its targets either you or an ally of yours who has this aura active. Marked enemies are not subject to this aura.

Level 1: Spirit of Virtue

When you choose a virtue to embody, you not only pick a path that you swear to adhere to, but you also become a symbol of that virtue to all who come into contact with you. It isn’t an easy path, but the strength of your devotion gives you divine power to help on your journey.

Benefit: You gain a benefit associated with your virtue (sacrifice, page 140, or valor, page 143).

Virtue of Sacrifice

A cavalier of sacrifice must be ready to give up anything—money, status, power, or life itself—to defend those too weak to shield themselves from evil. Cavaliers of sacrifice are renowned because of the hardships they endure for the good of others. You sleep in a stable while your allies rest in an inn, to save a few coins for the poor. You wear little more than simple, peasant’s garb when not in armor and are an ascetic devoted to your cause, willing to endure any ill or pain to prevent others from suffering it.

Even though the virtue of sacrifice carries a heavy cost, you must temper your actions with humility. You give up so much, but that sacrifice does not make you more noble than others. Pride is your enemy, because it threatens to lead you to arrogance and ultimately disdain for those you protect. Cavaliers of sacrifice who fall to evil become even more villainous due to the great distance they tumble.

Alignment: A cavalier of sacrifice must be lawful good. The virtue of sacrifice demands much from its adherents. Only the most honorable cavaliers embrace it.

Level 1: Spirit of Sacrifice

When you draw on your inner reserves, you can call upon the divine power of your virtue to instead grant that strength to an injured ally.

Benefit: You gain an additional healing surge. In addition, you can use your second wind as a minor action to heal an ally of your choice within 5 squares of you. If you do so, you gain no benefit from using your second wind, but the ally regains hit points equal to his or her healing surge value.

Level 1: Virtue At-Will Power

In the hands of a cavalier of sacrifice, a weapon is more than a tool of destruction. It is a symbol of hope, because each strike you make against hope’s enemies shows your allies the path to victory.

Benefit: You gain the strike of hope power.

Strike of Hope
Paladin Attack 1
Your weapon flashes with divine light that sears your enemy and lifts your allies’ hearts with renewed vigor and purpose.
At-WillDivine, Radiant, Weapon
Standard Action Melee weapon
Target: One creature
Attack: Strength vs. AC
Hit: 1[W] + Strength modifier radiant damage. One ally within 5 squares of you gains temporary hit points equal to your Charisma modifier. If the ally is bloodied, the temporary hit points increase by 5.
Level 21: 2[W] + Strength modifier radiant damage.

Virtue of Valor

On the battlefield, you are the pinnacle of bravery. You stand resolute against any foe, from a seemingly endless wave of kobolds to a mountain-shaking titan. Without valor, the other virtues lose meaning and impact. To stand against a daunting foe or to hold tight to the exacting standards of the order of cavaliers—both of these tasks require faultless valor. You stand at the forefront of a battle, taking the vanguard position to both strike at your foes and shield your allies from your enemies’ most ferocious attacks. In this manner, your adherence to valor ensures that your bravery serves as a stirring example.

Valor must be tempered with wisdom. The valorous cavalier does not fight for the sake of fighting, but for the just cause. Valor turns to bloodlust when a cavalier fails to see that skill at arms is only one solution. Tales abound of valorous cavaliers who have fallen to evil. They didn’t abandon their virtue, but rather lost the wisdom needed to wield it for good.

Alignment: A cavalier of valor can be lawful good, good, or unaligned. While the ideal of valor demands bravery in combat, it asks only that its adherents refrain from attacking the weak or innocent.

Level 1: Virtue At-Will Power

You call upon the power of your virtue to hold your enemy accountable for the injuries it seeks to inflict on your allies. Your weapon shines with radiant energy, which flashes as you strike.

Benefit: You gain the vengeful strike power.

Vengeful Strike
Paladin Attack 1
You let divine fury wash over you as you strike with your glowing weapon. Your enemy recoils in pain as the searing wound weakens its defenses.
At-WillDivine, Radiant, Weapon
Standard Action Melee weapon
Target: One creature
Attack: Strength vs. AC
Hit: 1[W] + Strength modifier radiant damage. If at least one bloodied ally is within 5 squares of you, the target takes extra radiant damage equal to your Charisma modifier.
Level 21: 2[W] + Strength modifier radiant damage.
Miss: You gain a +2 power bonus to your next damage roll against the target.

Excerpt Schedule

Monday Friday

October 18

Druid: Sentinel

October 22

Paladin: Cavalier

October 25

Ranger: Scout

October 29

Warlock: Hexblade

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