Sworn to the defense of a temple site, the pious templar is a holy warrior blessed by her deity with combat prowess and great endurance. She bears her deity's favored weapon into battle and fights her deity's enemies without question or hesitation. In addition to defending the temple itself, a pious templar may be charged with additional duties, including a campaign to attack foes on their own home ground.
Faithful people of all professions can enter the ranks of the pious templars; clerics and paladins are especially likely to do so. Some temples (such as those of Boccob or Wee Jas) welcome wizards and sorcerers to become pious templars, valuing those characters' ability to use arcane magic combined with the martial training of the pious templar. Likewise, Olidammara's temples are often guarded by rogue/pious templars, who combine combat training with sneak attack tactics. Ranger/pious templars serve in temples of Ehlonna and Obad-Hai, while barbarian/pious templars are not unknown in temples of Kord or Erythnul. Only monks, with their own specialized combat training, are unlikely to adopt the pious templar class.
NPC pious templars usually live cloistered in temple buildings or attached quarters.
Adaptation: This prestige class functions best when tied to a specific deity. If you want to customize the pious templar further, you can modify the spell list to reflect the proclivities of specific gods or create an order within a religion that all pious templars are members of.
Hit Die: d10.
To qualify to become a pious templar, a character must fulfill all the following criteria.
Base Attack Bonus: +5.
Skill: Knowledge (religion) 4 ranks.
Feats: True Believer*, Weapon Focus (with her deity's favored weapon).
*New feat described below.
The pious templar's class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Climb (Str), Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Heal (Wis), Jump (Str), Knowledge (religion) (Int), Profession (Wis), and Swim (Str). See Chapter 4 of the Player's Handbook for skill descriptions.
Skill Points at Each Level: 2 + Int modifier.
All of the following are class features of the pious templar prestige class.
Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Pious templars gain no weapon or armor proficiencies.
Mettle (Su): A pious templar's special blessing allows her to shrug off magical effects that would otherwise harm her. If a pious templar makes a successful Will or Fortitude saving throw that would normally reduce the spell's effect, she suffers no effect from the spell at all. Only those spells with a Saving Throw entry of "Will partial," "Fortitude half," or similar entries can be negated through this ability.
Spells per Day: A pious templar has the ability to cast a small number of divine spells. To cast a spell, the pious templar must have a Wisdom score of at least 10 + the spell's level, so a pious templar with a Wisdom of 10 or lower cannot cast these spells. Pious templar bonus spells are based on Wisdom, and saving throws against these spells have a DC of 10 + spell level + the pious templar's Wisdom modifier. When the pious templar gets 0 spells of a given level, such as 0 1st-level spells at 1st level, she gets only bonus spells. (A pious templar without a bonus spell for that level cannot yet cast a spell of that level.) A pious templar has access to any spell on the list and can freely choose which to prepare, just like a cleric. A pious templar prepares and casts spells just as a cleric does (though the pious templar cannot spontaneously cast cure or inflict spells).
A good pious templar (or a neutral pious templar of a good deity) uses the paladin spell list. An evil pious templar (or a neutral pious templar of an evil deity) uses the blackguard spell list. A pious templar who is neither good nor evil and whose deity is neither good nor evil can chose to use the paladin or the blackguard spell list. Once the player makes this choice, it cannot be reversed.
Smite (Su): Once per day, a pious templar of 2nd level or higher may make a single melee attack with a +4 attack bonus and a damage bonus equal to her pious templar level (if she hits). The pious templar must declare the smite before making the attack. At 6th level, the pious templar can smite twice per day and at 10th level, three times per day.
If the pious templar has a smite evil or smite ability (for being a paladin or a cleric with the Destruction domain) already, she can use the ability one extra time per day (two extra times at 7th level). The attack bonus does not increase, but the damage bonus is based on the character's combined level (pious templar level plus cleric or paladin level).
Damage Reduction (Ex): Starting at 3rd level, pious templars have the ability to shrug off some amount of injury from each blow or attack. The pious templar gains DR 1/-- . At 7th level, this damage reduction rises to 2/--.
Weapon Specialization: A pious templar gains the Weapon Specialization feat with her deity's favored weapon at level 3.
Bonus Feat: At 4th level and again at 8th level, the pious templar gets a bonus feat. These bonus feats must be drawn from the feats noted as fighter bonus feats in the Player's Handbook and elsewhere.
If the pious templar selects a feat that requires her to apply its effects to a specific weapon (such as Improved Critical), she may apply that feat only to her deity's favored weapon.