And much more am I sorrier for my good knights' loss than for the loss of my fair queen;
for queens I might have enough, but such a fellowship of good knights shall never be together in no company.


-- Sir Thomas Malory

The knight-paladin is a fierce mounted warrior, a stalwart protector of the weak and a powerful champion for his god or his principles. In battle he functions as the party tank, provoking monsters into attacking him directly or mystically drawing the injuries of his allies into himself. He also heals and protects his companions with his spells and his auras.

The knight-paladin replaces both the knight and paladin classes, and is intended to provide an option for a melee-oriented defender that matches the power level of the crusader but stays more true to the flavor and crunch of the earlier defender classes. 

GAME RULE INFORMATION

Knight-paladins have the following game statistics.

Abilities: Charisma enhances a knight-paladin's challenge, self-protective capabilities, and undead turning ability. Strength is important for a knight-paladin because of its role in combat. Several knight-paladin skills are based on Wisdom, and a Wisdom score of 16 or higher is required to get access to the most powerful knight-paladin spells. A Wisdom score of 11 or higher is required to cast any Knight-paladin spells at all.

Alignment: Knight-paladins are always lawful. An evil knight-paladin can be made by switching any spells or class features from good to evil or evil to good (such as protection from evil). Use the Anti-Paladin spell list in place of the Paladin spell list. Some class features like the Auras can be adjusted too.

HIT DIE: d12

Level BAB Fort Ref Will Special 0 1 2 3 4 5 6
1st +1 +2 +0 +2 Code of honor, knight's challenge (test of mettle), smite 1/day 2 - - - - - -
2nd +2 +3 +0 +3 Divine grace, channel energy 3 0 - - - - -
3rd +3 +3 +1 +3 Aura of courage, bulwark of defense 3 1 - - - - -
4th +4 +4 +1 +4 Armor mastery (medium), knight's challenge (call to battle), smite 2/day 3 2 0 - - - -
5th +5 +4 +1 +4 Divine bond, spontaneous conversion (shield other) 3 3 1 - - - -
6th +6/+1 +5 +2 +5 Detect hostile intent, vigilant defender 3 3 2 - - - -
7th +7/+2 +5 +2 +5 Aura of menace, divine health 3 3 2 0 - - -
8th +8/+3 +6 +2 +6 Knight's challenge (daunting challenge), smite 3/day 3 3 3 1 - - -
9th +9/+4 +6 +3 +6 Armor mastery (heavy) 3 3 3 2 - - -
10th +10/+5 +7 +3 +7 Courtly knowledge 3 3 3 2 0 - -
11th +11/+6/+1 +7 +3 +7 Aura of protection 3 3 3 3 1 - -
12th +12/+7/+2 +8 +4 +8 Knight's challenge (bond of loyalty), smite 4/day 3 3 3 3 2 - -
13th +13/+8/+3 +8 +4 +8 Armor mastery (tower shield) 3 3 3 3 2 0 -
14th +14/+9/+4 +9 +4 +9 Spontaneous conversion (mass shield other) 4 3 3 3 3 1 -
15th +15/+10/+5 +9 +5 +9 Aura of warding 4 4 3 3 3 2 -
16th +16/+11/+6/+1 +10 +5 +10 Knight's challenge (turn the tide), smite 5/day 4 4 4 3 3 2 0
17th +17/+12/+7/+2 +10 +5 +10 Impetuous endurance 4 4 4 4 3 3 1
18th +18/+13/+8/+3 +11 +6 +11 Mighty aura 4 4 4 4 4 3 2
19th +19/+14/+9/+4 +11 +6 +11 Aura of retribution 4 4 4 4 4 4 3
20th +20/+15/+10/+5 +12 +6 +12 Knight's challenge (loyal beyond death), smite 6/day 4 4 4 4 4 4 4

CLASS SKILLS (4 + Int mod per level)
A knight-paladin's class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Acrobatics (Dex), Climb (Str), Craft (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Handle Animal (Cha), Heal (Wis), Knowledge (nobility and royalty) (Int), Knowledge (religion) (Int), Profession (Wis), Ride (Dex), Sense Motive (Wis), Swim (Str).

CLASS FEATURES
All of the following are class features of the knight-paladin.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: A knight-paladin is proficient with all simple and martial weapons, and with light, medium, and heavy armor and shields (except tower shields). As he advances in level, he gains proficiency with tower shields and is able to move more freely while wearing medium and heavy armor.

Spells: A knight-paladin gains the ability to cast a small number of divine spells, which are drawn from the knight-paladin spell list (see below). A knight-paladin must choose and prepare his spells in advance.

To prepare or cast a spell, a knight-paladin must have a Wisdom score of 10 + the spell's level. The Difficulty Class for a saving throw against a knight-paladin's spell is 10 + the spell's level + the knight-paladin's Wisdom modifier. Like other spellcasters, a knight-paladin can cast only a certain number of spells of each spell level per day. The base daily spell allotment is given in the table above. In addition, he receives bonus spells per day for a high Wisdom score. When the table above indicates that the knight-paladin gets 0 spells per day of a given spell level, he gains only the bonus spells he would be entitled to based on his Wisdom score for that spell level. A knight-paladin's caster level is equal to his knight-paladin level.


Code of Honor: The knight-paladin must have and adhere to a code of honor that defines his expected behavior both in and out of combat. The knight’s code does not restrict his behavior when fighting creatures that are immune to his knight’s challenge (e.g. animals, most magical beasts, vermin, mindless undead or constructs, etc.). The player and DM should work together to craft an appropriate code that fits the campaign setting, the party, and the expected playstyle of the group. Good starting points for developing such a code include the paladin’s code (PHB 44 or UA 53-55), the knight’s code (PH2 27), and the samurai’s code (OA 22 or CW 10), or the kensai’s oath (CW 50).

Knight's Challenge (Ex): As a swift action, a knight-paladin can issue a knight's challenge. Targets of this ability must have an Intelligence of 5 or higher and have a language of some sort. You must have line of sight and line of effect to targets of this ability. A knight-paladin gains a bonus on attack rolls and damage rolls against targets of this ability equal to +1, plus an additional +1 per six knight-paladin levels. The effect of a knight's challenge lasts until the end of the encounter. A knight-paladin gains one use of Knight's Challenge per day for each knight-paladin class level he has. A knight-paladin begins play knowing how to issue a test of mettle. At 4th level, and each additional four levels thereafter, he learns to issue a different type of challenge.
Test of Mettle: A knight-paladin can shout a challenge to all enemies within 100 feet, calling out for the mightiest among them to face him in combat. Opponents are forced to attack him with their ranged and melee attacks in preference to other opponents (save negates, Will DC 10 + ½ class level + Cha modifier). If the foe attacks by casting a spell or using a supernatural ability, he must target the knight-paladin or include him in the effect's area.
An opponent compelled to act in this manner is not thrown into a mindless rage and does not have to move to attack the knight-paladin in melee if doing so would provoke attacks of opportunity against him. In such a case, he can use ranged attacks against the knight-paladin or attack any opponents he threatens as normal. If anyone other than the knight-paladin attacks the target, the effect of the test of mettle ends for that target.
A creature can be targeted with Test of Mettle only once per day.
Call to Battle: A knight-paladin of 4th level or higher can shout a word of inspiration to a single target ally, granting the ally a second saving throw against any ongoing [fear] effects that allow a save. The ally gains a bonus on this second save equal to the knight-paladin's Charisma bonus.
Daunting Challenge: A knight-paladin of 8th level or higher can call out a challenge to all opponents within 100 feet, striking fear in their hearts. Opponents are shaken (save negates, Will DC 10 + ½ class level + Cha modifier).
A creature can be targeted with Daunting Challenge only once per day.
Bond of Loyalty: A knight-paladin of 12th level of higher can expend a use of knight's challenge as a swift action to grant an ally within 100 feet an additional saving throw against an ongoing [mind-affecting] effect.
Turn the Tide: A knight-paladin of 16th level or higher may shout a rallying cry to draw his team together just when all seems darkest. Each ally within 100 feet may choose to gain any one of the following benefits:

Loyal Beyond Death: A knight-paladin of 20th level or higher can expend a use of knight's challenge as an immediate action to remain alive, conscious, and unhindered by any effect that would kill him, including hit point damage, Constitution damage or drain, [death] effects, and other spells. He simply ignores the effects of hit point damage he has taken (although he still takes the damage), and other effects that would kill him are deferred until the duration of Loyal Beyond Death lapses. At the expiration of the effect, all such effects are applied to him immediately, and he is once again subject to death from hit point and ability damage.
Loyal Beyond Death lasts until the beginning of the knight-paladin's turn. However, when the effect would elapse, he may spend an additional use of knight's challenge as a swift action to extend the duration until the beginning of his next turn. He may do this for as many rounds as he wishes, so long as he has uses of knight's challenge remaining.

Smite (Su): Once per day, a knight-paladin may attempt a smite with one normal melee attack. He adds his Charisma bonus to his attack roll and deals 1 extra point of damage per knight-paladin level. The paladin may smite anyone whom he regards as an opponent.

At 4th level, and every 4 levels thereafter, the knight-paladin may smite one additional time per day.

Divine Grace (Su): At 2nd level, a knight-paladin gains a bonus equal to his Charisma bonus on all saving throws.

Channel Energy (Su): When a knight-paladin reaches 2nd level, he gains the supernatural ability to channel energy as a cleric of his level. He may use this ability a number of times per day equal to 3 + his Charisma modifier.

Aura (Su): Starting at 3rd level, a knight-paladin is surrounded by an aura of divine power out to a range of 10 feet. When first acquired, this aura possesses the courage quality (described below). The knight-paladin gains the ability to infuse his aura with other attributes for every 4 additional levels he gains. Adding or removing an aura quality requires a swift action, and the aura can contain as many qualities as the knight-paladin is able to produce. The knight-paladin gains all the benefits of his own aura, except as noted below.

Courage: The knight-paladin becomes immune to fear, and allies within the knight-paladin's aura gain a +4 bonus on saving throws against fear.
Menace: Beginning at 7th level, foes within the knight-paladin's aura take a -2 penalty to attacks, AC, and saves for 24 hours or until they successfully hit the knight-paladin (save negates, Will DC 10 + ½ class level + Charisma modifier). A creature that has resisted or broken this effect cannot be affected by the same knight-paladin's aura of menace again for 24 hours.
Protection: Beginning at 11th level, allies within the knight-paladin's aura gain the benefit of a magic circle against evil.
Warding: Beginning at 15th level, allies within the knight-paladin's aura gain the benefit of a lesser globe of invulnerability.
Retribution: Beginning at 19th level, foes within the knight-paladin's aura deal only half damage when attacking the knight-paladin's allies who are also within the aura, and the attacker takes the remainder. The attacker can negate this reflected damage with a Fortitude save (DC 10 + ½ class level + Charisma modifier), but the damage he inflicts is still halved. A creature that has resisted this effect need not save again versus this knight-paladin's aura of retribution for 24 hours.

Bulwark of Defense (Ex): When the knight-paladin reaches 3rd level, an opponent that begins its turn in the knight-paladin's threatened area treats all squares that he threatens as difficult terrain. His strict vigilance and active defensive maneuvers force his opponents to move with care. Creatures must pay double movement cost to move through squares of difficult terrain, and cannot run, charge, or make 5-foot steps through difficult terrain.

Armor Mastery (Ex): Starting at 4th level, the knight-paladin is able to wear his armor as a second skin and ignores the standard speed reduction for wearing medium armor. Starting at 9th level, he ignores the speed reduction imposed by heavy armor as well. At 13th level, he gains proficiency with the tower shield if he did not already have it, and he may ignore the -2 penalty to attack rolls associated with using a tower shield.

Divine Bond (Su): Upon reaching 5th level, a paladin forms a divine bond with her god. This bond can take one of two forms. Once the form is chosen, it cannot be changed.

The first type of bond allows the paladin to enhance her weapon as a standard action by calling upon the aid of a celestial spirit for 1 minute per paladin level. When called, the spirit causes the weapon to shed light as a torch. At 5th level, this spirit grants the weapon a +1 enhancement bonus. For every three levels beyond 5th, the weapon gains another +1 enhancement bonus, to a maximum of +6 at 20th level. These bonuses can be added to the weapon, stacking with existing weapon bonuses to a maximum of +5, or they can be used to add any of the following weapon properties: axiomatic, brilliant energy, defending, disruption, flaming, flaming burst, holy, keen, merciful, and speed. Adding these properties consumes an amount of bonus equal to the property's cost. These bonuses are added to any properties the weapon already has, but duplicate abilities do not stack. If the weapon is not magical, at least a +1 enhancement bonus must be added before any other properties can be added. The bonus and properties granted by the spirit are determined when the spirit is called and cannot be changed until the spirit is called again. The celestial spirit imparts no bonuses if the weapon is held by anyone other than the paladin but resumes giving bonuses if returned to the paladin. These bonuses apply to only one end of a double weapon. A paladin can use this ability once per day at 5th level, and one additional time per day for every four levels beyond 5th, to a total of four times per day at 17th level.

If a weapon bonded with a celestial spirit is destroyed, the paladin loses the use of this ability for 30 days, or until she gains a level, whichever comes first. During this 30-day period, the paladin takes a –1 penalty on attack and weapon damage rolls.

The second type of bond allows a paladin to gain the service of an unusually strong and loyal steed to serve her in her crusade against evil. This mount functions as a druid's animal companion, using their knight-paladin level as their effective druid level. The creature must be one that he is capable of riding and is suitable as a mount. A Medium knight-paladin can select a camel or a horse. A Small knight-paladin can select a pony or wolf, but can also select a boar or a dog if he is at least 7th level. The GM might approve other animals as suitable mounts. Once per day, as a full-round action, a paladin may magically call her mount to her side. The mount immediately appears adjacent to the paladin. When summoned, the mount remains for two hours per knight-paladin level or until dismissed as a standard action. The mount is the same creature each time it is summoned, though the knight-paladin may release a particular mount from service (if it has grown too old to join his crusade, for instance). Each time the mount is called, it appears in full health, regardless of any damage it may have taken previously. The mount always appears wearing or carrying any gear it had when it was last dismissed (including barding, saddle, saddlebags, and the like). Calling a mount is a conjuration (calling) effect.

A paladin can use this ability once per day at 5th level, and one additional time per day for every 4 levels thereafter, for a total of four times per day at 17th level. At 11th level, the mount gains the celestial creature simple template and becomes a magical beast for the purposes of determining which spells affect it. At 15th level, a paladin's mount gains spell resistance equal to the paladin's level + 11. Should the paladin's mount die, the paladin may not summon another mount for 30 days or until she gains a paladin level, whichever comes first.

Spontaneous Conversion (Su): The knight-paladin is first and foremost a defender of his allies, and relies upon shield other and mass shield other to defend his allies against harm from threats he cannot block with his skill at arms. A knight-paladin of 5th level or higher can spontaneously convert a prepared knight-paladin spell of 2nd level or higher to cast shield other instead. This works just like a cleric or druid's ability to spontaneously convert spells. At 14th level, the knight-paladin can spontaneously convert a prepared knight-paladin spell of 5th level or higher to cast mass shield other instead, which functions like shield other but targets one creature per level.

Detect Hostile Intent (Sp): A knight-paladin of 6th level or higher can use detect hostile intent at will, as the psionic power.

Vigilant Defender (Ex): Starting at 6th level, a knight-paladin stands his ground against all enemies, warding the spot where he makes his stand to prevent foes from slipping past and attacking those he protects. If an opponent attempts to use the Acrobatics skill to move through his threatened area or his space without provoking attacks of opportunity, the Acrobatics check DC to avoid his attacks of opportunity increases by an amount equal to 1/2 his class level.

Divine Health (Su): At 7th level, a knight-paladin gains immunity to all diseases (including supernatural and magical diseases).

Courtly Knowledge (Ex): At 10th level, the knight-paladin has either become a mighty lord in his own right, or has devoted himself to the study of the politics and rulers to better serve his own lord. Either way, he develops a well-deserved reputation as an honorable mediator and keen adviser. He gains a competence bonus on all Diplomacy, Knowledge (nobility and royalty) and Sense Motive checks equal to half his class level.

Impetuous Endurance (Ex): At 17th level, the knight-paladin's fighting spirit enables him to push his body beyond the normal limits of endurance. He no longer automatically fails saving throws on a roll of 1. He might still fail the save if his result fails to equal or beat the saving throw DC.

Mighty Aura (Su): At 18th level, the radius of the knight-paladin's divine aura doubles to 20 feet, and the bonuses provided by his aura of courage and aura of protection double.