Rodorsceaft: Pillar of Heaven
A paladin is a being who lives in the Light. For reasons known or unknown, they have been blessed to be a beacon of the Light amongst the shadows of the world. Anybody can receive the calling to be a paladin, and there are many different ways to pursue the life.
Paladin is a pseudo-template that can be applied to any good-aligned creature.
Player paladins must start by taking the Touched By The Light feat. They may take this feat at any time they are eligible to gain a feat, including first level. The feat grants certain powers and abilities, as listed in the feat description.
Once this feat has been taken, the character is considered a “paladin” in game terms, and magical items that require paladinhood to function properly (e.g. a holy avenger weapon) will function for the character, even if he does not choose to increase his power as a paladin. The character does not change class and has not multiclassed, and is free to continue advancing in his original class or any other class.
If a player ever loses the benefit of the Touched by the Light feat, his paladinhood disappears and he loses all powers gained from the feat, advancement (see below) or any prestige classes that have Touched by the Light as a prerequisite.
Advancing as a Paladin
Once a character is Touched by the Light, he has the option of taking on more of the Paladin template. In order to do this, he must “exchange” character levels. This exchange can be done at any time the character is eligible to gain a level; instead of gaining a level, the character gains the next tier of powers. The character’s ECL increases by one, but his character level remains unchanged; the experience points are simply “lost” (but do not disappear).
(Note: ECL is used to determine encounter difficulty, XP rewarded and XP needed to gain a level. CL is used to calculate feat progression, ability score improvements, hit dice and all related functions, character wealth, maximum skill ranks and any level-related eligibility.)
The character may improve his connection to the Light three times. Each time, he gains more benefits, as follows:
- Aura of Courage: As long as the paladin’s aura of good is active, he is immune to magical fear. Each ally within 10 feet of the paladin gains a +4 morale bonus on saving throws against fear effects.
- Detect Evil: The paladin’s attunement to the Light allows him to sense its absence. He can use detect evil at will, as the spell.
- Holy Fortitude: The paladin gains the Improved Toughness feat for free, even if he does not meet the prerequisites.
- Also, the paladin gains one additional point in his pool of Divine Power.
- Grace: As long as the paladin’s aura of good is active, he gains a divine bonus on his saving throws equal to his Charisma modifier.
- Holy weapon: Any weapon the paladin wields is treated as good-aligned for purposes of overcoming damage reduction. In addition, he gains a +1 sacred bonus to attack and damage rolls against evil creatures. These bonuses stack with the paladin’s smite.
- Shield of Light: The paladin, through expending one use of his Divine Power, may place a shield of light around himself or another target. This shield persists for a number of rounds equal to the paladin’s Wisdom modifier, and absorbs an amount of damage equal to the paladin’s character level (treat this as granting temporary HP). This ability is an immediate action and has a Short range (25’ + 5’/2 CL).
- Also, the paladin gains two additional points in his pool of Divine Power.
- Incorruptible Body: The paladin becomes immune to all diseases and poisons, magical or mundane, so long as his aura of good is active.
- Cleanse: The paladin, through expending two uses of his Divine Power, can remove any poison or disease from any being, and may remove any curse or enchantment with a successful caster level check (as though casting dispel magic). This does not undo any ability damage or drain that might have already been caused.
- Gift of Service: The paladin may choose any Divine feat as a bonus feat. He must meet all prerequisites for the chosen feat.
- In addition, the paladin gains three additional uses of his Divine Power.
Once a character has fully embraced the mantle of the paladin, there are several options available to him. Some few prestige classes are focused on further developing a paladin’s prowess with the light, and in any case the character is free to continue taking feats and suchlike that improve his connection to the Light.