After a (very) long hiatus, the Class Act series for Crafty Games‘ awesome Fantasy Craft rpg is back, having been requested by reader Jay Vee. I’ll be putting up the rest of the Expert Classes available from the core book. I’ll need more time to evaluate the Call to Arms series as the PDFs themselves do a great job in describing the ins and outs of their respective classes, and I don’t want to end up repeating stuff that’s already on the pdfs.
Ultimately, the Paladin Expert Class is about conviction. Powered by a fervent, unrelenting faith in an ideal or a god, the Paladin serves as both a powerful combatant, as well as a support role, bolstering his allies when the fighting gets tough. Their devotion is a source of hope to their allies, and a source of despair to their foes.
Paladins differ from a pure support role in the sense that they’re right in the thick of things. Paladins are aware that their role is that of an example, so they cannot afford to hang back and spew platitudes and scripture. Their faith is writ large in deeds that celebrate their faith.
The Paladin’s core ability is Lay on Hands, which allows them to Mend the wounds of their allies an additional time per day, insuring that their allies will be fit to fight on in the next battle. I find this very fitting, as I can pretty much see the Paladin going about in camp, checking up on his allies, tending to their wounds while giving them words of encouragement to keep morale up and prepare for the next battle ahead. This becomes even more impressive if the people being healed are those of the Paladin’s alignment as he can mend 2 additional times per day.
But even as the Paladin works to insure the safety of his allies, he also lays claim to the ability to Smite the Indifferent, which allows him to insure that any damage roll against a target with lower Charisma that is boosted by an Action Die will do at least half the Paladin’s Career level.
His Stand in Judgement abilities can wither his opponents, the force of his conviction hammering into them and imposing penalties to their Fortitude, Reflex or Will save equal to the Paladin’s Strength Modifier as they realize that they stand against a better man. Later on, this same ability restores the Paladin’s Vitality for every judged adversary they kill or knock unconscious.
The Paladin’s devotion is rewarded in Miracles with the Path of the Crusader Abilities, which allow the Paladin to take steps along 1 of his Alignment’s Paths, and granting access to even more abilities based on his faith. Later on, his continued faith is rewarded as he gains the Heritage Revealed ability that grants him one Heritage Species Feat, as well as Gallantry, which further increases Strength and Charisma scores. The Paladin also attains a State of Grace, which grants him bonuses to his saves and damage reduction during Dramatic Scenes.
The Paladin’s abilities don’t end with faith, as he also becomes capable as both a combatant and a commander. Like the Captain, the Paladin also gains access to Battle Planning, that provides a +2 morale bonus to you and your allies on chosen rolls at the start of every battle. One of the most tangible effects of a Paladin’s faith to his allies is in his Take Heart ability, where a Paladin can give a rousing speech once per Dramatic Scene to allow himself and all his allies who can see and hear him to recover to half their maximum vitality, rounded up.
I’ve always been a fan of the Paladin, though looking over the abilities and the fact that it’s not anchored to a “Good” alignment means that this expert class could easily have been called “Champion.” The idea of having a Blackguard-style Paladin on the Path of Destruction or Evil is equally valid as those who may set themselves on the Path of Heroism or Good.
- A Man of the Cloth, or a Man for Others – Clearly the Priest and the Captain base classes work well for this Expert Class, but I’m certain other classes have a way in (though perhaps with more difficulty.)
- Choose your Paths Carefully – Paladins already have a nice menu of abilities with the Battle Planning ability, but the Paths make for a very interesting means to further customize your paladin.
- Pay attention to Charisma – While his powers might stem from divine will or his ability to lead, Charisma can also help out in social situations. Sometimes feats such as Comely, Extra Contact or even the Repartee chain can come in handy.
What counts, ultimately, is conviction and a willingness to convert that faith to action as opposed to just advice and guidance. Paladins are interesting characters that can run the gamut from religious zealots, to wandering men who just can’t abide the idea of allowing evil to run it’s course.