Eclipse Pathfinder – The Paladin

   Like the Pathfinder Monk, the Pathfinder Paladin has had so many powers altered that it’s easier to simply rebuild it from scratch than to alter the original build to match.

   Unfortunately, while Pathfinder has drastically upgraded the Paladin, it hasn’t done a thing about the basic problems with the concept.

  • The Paladin, as written, imposes on everyone else who’s playing the game. The player who makes one is demanding that everyone else make characters that suit him or her, only undertake missions that suit him or her, and limit their tactics and strategies. It doesn’t much matter whether that’s enforced by endless nagging, the more subtle implicit threat of the paladin leaving the party in the lurch (whether by refusing to contribute or by abrupt power loss), or by the old-fashioned expedient of assaulting party members whom the Paladin “cannot tolerate”. Perhaps sadly, for good or ill, most groups are reluctant to toss player characters out of the party even if that would be throughly “in character”.
  • Almost as importantly, the Paladin is the only base class that can suddenly – and often rather arbitrarily – lose most of their abilities. This, of course, disrupts the party, upsets the player, and can really mess up the game. It leaves the game master with a throughly unpleasant choice; he or she can either give the Paladin a bunch of bonuses in exchange for imposing on everyone else, he or she can periodically disrupt the game by stripping away the Paladin’s abilities, or he or she can sometimes tell the player “your Paladin won’t fit in on this mission; you’ll have to use another character”. While that last solution usually works best – if only because it only upsets the player who’s creating the problem – it’s still hardly ideal.

   Of course, in Eclipse, you’re free to remove those bothersome limitations and either add new ones or to strip out some powers to rebalance the character.

   As usual, duplicating the Pathfinder Paladin in Eclipse is more a matter of ignoring all the possible powers and abilities that you don’t want, and restricting the ones you do, until you’ve achieved a match. Since you’re also free to take things out of order, or to discard some abilities in favor of others, the breakdown here is done at 20’th level.

  • Hit Dice: 20d10 (120 CP).
  • Saves: +30 (90 CP).
  • BAB (Warcraft): +20 (120 CP).
  • Skills: 40 SP (40 CP).
  • Proficiencies: All Simple and Martial Weapons (9 CP), Light, Medium, and Heavy Armor (15 CP), and Shields (Corrupted, not with Tower Shields, 2 CP).
  • Magic Levels: 17 Base Caster Levels, Specialized and Corrupted/only for Paladin Spellcasting, only while the user remains true to the Paladin Code (34 CP). 18 levels of the Paladin Spellcasting Progression (trivial variant: drop the four level zero spells in favor of an additional second level spell) (36 CP). Sadly for the Paladin, divine spells are already subject to the “conduct” limitation, so they can’t be further restricted by the Paladin’s Code.

   Special Abilities

   All Specialized/only while the user remains true to the Paladin’s Code. This is usually, although not always, taken for half cost:

  • Damage Reduction 10/Evil. That’s Damage Reduction 5, Specialized in Physical Damage for double effect, Corrupted/not versus Evil, only while true to their duties and the Paladins’ Code (4 CP).
    • OK, that doesn’t make a lot of sense. A Pathfinder Paladin is protected from upset mother bears protecting their cubs, rockslides, and everything BUT their primary enemies. Wouldn’t damage reduction that only worked against evil creatures be a bit more sensible? Oh well. It’s also double-specialized, which requires the GM’s permission – but the conduct restriction and the physical damage only restriction don’t overlap at all, so it’s acceptable.
  • Fast Learner (+2 CP/Level), Corrupted/only for sacred powers (4 CP).
  • Immunity to Disease (Uncommon, Major, Major, 3 CP)
  • Improved Augmented Bonus: Three instances: the user adds their (Cha Mod) to all three saving throws, Corrupted/the user radiates a blatantly obvious aura of good (12 CP).
  • Occult Sense/Detect Evil (3 CP).
  • Presence, Specialized for Double Effect (produces a second level spell effect – Align Weapon (Good) – in a 10′ radius), Corrupted/the effect fades as soon as people leave the area affected (4 CP).
  • Presence (Divine Spirit, similar to Protection From Evil), Corrupted/only has full effect on the user. The user is immune to fear, charm, and compulsion effects. Allies within ten feet gain a +4 morale bonus on saves against such abilities (2 CP). 
  • Smite Evil actually includes several different sub-abilities – all of them subject to the restrictions that the user may only select (Level/3, rounded up) targets for these abilities each day and that – if the target selected is not evil – there is no effect and the “smite attempt” is wasted. Choosing a target for the day is a swift action.
    • Smite (Evil) with +6 Bonus Uses (5 CP). Adds +(Cha Mod) to attack checks and +(Level) to damage for an attack against a chosen target.
    • Immunity/The restriction that Smite only lasts for a single attack (Very Common, Major, Great, 10 CP).
    • Improved Augmented Bonus/adds (Cha Mod) to (Dex Mod) when calculating AC (4 CP).
    • Double damage on the Smite ability when targeting outsiders with the evil subtype, evil-aligned dragons, and undead (3 CP).
    • Immunity/Damage Reduction (Common, Major, Major, 3 CP).
    • Trick (Banishment): The user may attempt to Banish (as per Banishment) a targeted evil outsider on a hit. Successful or not, using this ability ends the Smite attempt after the effects of the blow are resolved. As a rule, the user’s sword and holy symbol count as objects that the subject hates for the purposes of Banishment (2 CP).
    • Blessing, Radius Effect, Allies Only, Corrupted/the Smite Evil package only, counts as two uses of the Smite Evil package, only lasts for one minute and only affects good-aligned allies in ten-foot radius (6 CP).
      • Well, that’s an expensive package – and includes two special-permission immunities (immunity to the normal game-rule restrictions of a power and immunity to other character’s defenses) as well as Advanced Blessing (also special permission). Of course it IS a Paladin’s signature power in many ways – but I’d still be inclined to keep an eye on it, and to occasionally throw in an evil creature who was beyond the ability of mere mortals to smite (Immunity/Smite Evil, Uncommon, Major, Major, 6 CP).
  • Channeling, (10+Cha Mod) uses, Corrupted/only for Conversion to Lay on Hands, Healing Burst and Disrupting Burst (7 CP).
  • +4 Bonus Uses of Channeling, Corrupted/only to convert into the Sanctify Weapon spell or Summon Sacred Mount spells (2 CP).
  • Conversion: A set of four spells of level three or less, Specialized for increased effect (level 6 or less) (9 CP).
    • Lay on Hands: Heals (Level/2) d6, either to another with a touch and a standard action or to the user as a swift action. As usual with positive energy, this can be used to harm undead. The user may select up to Level/3 (rounded down, six maximum) conditions which are healed (although not inflicted on undead) as well, although such selections are permanent once made and may not be held for later use. Unless the underlying cause of a condition is removed, it will come back after an hour. Options here include:
      • Caster Level 3+: Fatigued, Shaken, Sickened
      • Caster Level 6+: Dazed, Diseased, Staggered.
      • Caster Level 9+: Cursed, Exhausted, Frightened, Nauseated, Poisoned.
      • Caster Level 12+: Blinded, Deafened, Paralyzed, Stunned.
    • Healing Burst: Heals 1d6/2 Paladin Levels or part thereof to all living creatures within 30′ at a cost of two Channeling Attempts. There is no save.
    • Disrupting Burst: Inflicts 1d6/2 Paladin Levels or part thereof to all undead creatures within 30′ at a cost of two Channeling Attempts. There is no save.
      • Choice of:
    • Sanctify Weapon: Summons a celestial spirit into a specially-prepared weapon for one minute per level of the caster. Such a weapon glows like a torch and gains an enhancement bonus of +1/+2/+3/+4/+5/+6 at levels 5/8/11/14/17/20+. These bonuses can be added to the weapon, stacked with existing weapon bonuses up to a maximum of +5, or used to add weapon properties. Special weapon properties may be added to existing weapon properties, but duplicate abilities do not stack. The bonuses and properties added are chosen at the time of casting and will not aid anyone except the caster. Preparing a weapon for such use requires weeks, and only one such weapon may be prepared at a time by any given user.
      • Or
    • Summon Sacred Mount: Summons a particular mount. Build the mount as per a Pathfinder Animal Companion, but add +4 Intelligence at caster level 1+, the celestial template (and magical beast status) at caster level 11+, and spell resistance of (caster level +11) at caster level 15+. It will remain for up to one hour per level. Should a sacred mount die, it will be several weeks before another will answer the call.
  • Metamagic/Amplify and Streamline x3, Both Corrupted/only to maximize the effects of the Lay on Hands, Healing Burst and Disrupting Burst effects (6 CP).

   Code of Conduct:

  • A paladin must be lawful good and loses all class features except proficiencies if he or she ever willingly commits an evil act.
  • A paladin must respect legitimate authorities, be honorable, (no lying, cheating, using poison, treachery, and so on), help those in need provided they do not use the help for evil or chaotic ends, and punish those who harm or threaten innocents.
  • A paladin may have good or neutral allies, but must avoids working with evil characters or with anyone who consistently offends their code (that would, presumably, eliminate anyone chaotic) unless they are doing so solely in order to defeat a greater evil. That alliance must be abandoned as soon as it no longer serves goods purposes and the paladin should seek atonement periodically both during and after the mission.
  • A paladin may only take on henchmen, followers, or cohorts who are lawful good.
  • A paladin who changes alignment, willingly commits an evil act, or violates the code of conduct, loses all paladin spells and class features listed with that limitation. Atonement is possible, but I, at least, suspect that an Atonement spell and its 2500 GP fine for naughtiness is not sufficient.

   That’s rather restrictive – to be classical, pretty much everything not forbidden is mandatory – and adds a Specialized Restriction: unlike other characters – a paladin (In Eclipse d20, that’s anyone who opts to take on this code) may NOT take a package deal. There just isn’t any room in that code of conduct for taking on a groups specialized goals or for other training; paladins already have their life’s work laid out for them. That’s worth (-10 CP) at level twenty.

   All in all, their abilities come out to a total of 555 Character Points. Fortunately, they also get (-40) from Fast Learner, and (-10) from that Restriction. That brings the total down to 505 CP – one point over what’s normally available at level twenty. To balance this precisely, you’d need to take either one skill point less or to take a few points worth of disadvantages. Either works.

   Personally, I’d turn the Paladin’s code into a set of Duties (worth -40 CP) and eliminate most of those Specializations; that would allow for more flexibility and a gradual decline in power rather than the abrupt all-or-nothing variant.  

   Well, that’s still working out surprisingly well considering that Pathfinder came out well after Eclipse.

   Eclipse: The Codex Persona is available in a Shareware PDF Version, in Print, and in a Paid PDF Version that includes Eclipse II (245 pages of Eclipse races, character and power builds, items, relics, martial arts, and other material) and the web expansion. It will be updated with Eclipse III when that’s done as well.

   Oh yes, here’s the OGL on the Pathfinder SRD site I referenced

2 Responses

  1. […] and the class breakdowns for the  Alchemist, Barbarian, Bard, Cleric, Druid, Fighter, Monk, Paladin, Ranger, Rogue, Sorcerer and Summoner. The sample characters are pretty much all compatible with […]

  2. […] Pathfinder Paladins channel positive energy to Heal, Disrupt Undead, Sanctify Weapons, and summon a celestial mount from the higher planes. That’s Vitality, Vitality/Purification, a minor Blessing, and a minor upper-plane Summoning. […]

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