Excerpts 11/11/2005

Champions of Valor Excerpt
By Thomas M. Reid and Sean K. Reynolds

Expand the boundaries of your valiant character with the Forgotten RealmsChampions of Valor supplement. The counterpart to Champions of Ruin, Champions of Valor covers what it means to be valorous in the Realms. Not only can you find out more about several good-aligned guilds and organizations that characters can join, but you also can add the benefits for joining to your game. Additionally, the book provides you with an array of new spells, feats, and prestige classes appropriate for heroes of valor. The excerpts below include information on several character options, a prestige class, and some items. For text from the Introduction, check out the October 2005 Preview.

Substitution Levels

Substitution levels are levels of a given class that you take to gain certain benefits instead of the level benefits associated with the standard class. Selecting a substitution level is not the same as multiclassing; you remain in the class for which the substitution level was taken. The class features of the substitution level simply replace those of the normal level. To qualify for a substitution level, you must be of the proper class. For instance, a fighter can't take a substitution level for the rogue or monk class.

This book presents a wide range of substitution levels affiliated with particular religious orders or organizations dedicated to various causes of good (and detailed in Chapter 3). To take a substitution level for an organization presented in this book, you must fulfill the following criteria.

  • Membership in the organization.
  • Have 1 rank in Knowledge (religion)

Most classes have a number of substitution levels, each of which you can select at a specified class level. When you take a substitution level for your class at a given level, you give up the benefits gained at that level for the standard class, and you get the substitution level benefits instead. You can't go back and gain the benefits for that level you swapped out -- when you take your next level in the standard class, you gain the next higher level as if you had gained the previous level normally. For instance, if you are a 2nd-level monk and take the Broken One monk substitution level for 3rd level, you forever lose the benefits normally provided to a standard 3rd-level monk (you gained instead the substitution level benefit for a 3rd-level Broken One monk). When you gain another level in monk, you gain the 4th-level benefits of the standard monk class.

Unless otherwise noted in the description of a substitution level benefit, a character who takes a substitution level gains spellcasting ability (increases in spells per day and spells known, if applicable) as if he had taken this level in the standard class.

A character need not take all the substitution levels provided for a class. For instance, a female dwarf paladin can decide only to take the Berronar Valkyrie substitution level at 6th level, ignoring the previous substitution levels.

The description of each substitution level benefit explains what occurs to the standard class ability not gained, if that ability would normally increase at a specific rate (such as the barbarian's trap sense class feature).

Normally, if you join an organization after you've already passed one or more of the eligible levels for substitution (such as a character who joins the Darksong Knights at 3rd level), you can't ever gain access to previous substitution levels. At the DM's option, however, a character who joins an organization can be allowed to retroactively apply the effect of substitution levels for that organization. This is particularly appropriate for characters who already belonged to one of the organizations presented here (since the substitution levels were unavailable until now). The DM and player should work together to apply the changes.

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