Thursday, October 2, 2008

Grognard's Grimoire: S&W Paladin

I've said before that the paladin is probably my favorite D&D class. I've played a lot of paladins over the years and I find it to be much fun despite -- or perhaps because of -- the restrictions placed on the class. I think that in campaigns heavily influenced by pulp fantasy, a paladin is going to have a rough time of it, which is as it should be. Paladins clearly run counter many of the currents of pulp fantasy, since they're not amoral bastards looking to make a quick gold piece at any cost. Like Holger Carlsen from Poul Anderson's Three Hearts and Three Lions (after whom the class is patterned), a paladin must walk a difficult path.

So, what I've set out to do here is create a paladin class for Swords & Wizardry. It's largely based on its original appearance in Supplement I: Greyhawk, but it's been modified somewhat, both to conform to the Open Game License and to the way S&W handles certain mechanical elements. Those unfamiliar with the OD&D paladin will note that the class lacks the ability to cast spells or turn undead. Likewise, some mechanical elements of the class are kept "loose" so as to allow individual referees to interpret them as they wish.

As a final note, I ditched the 17+ Charisma requirement from the paladin, because S&W, like OD&D before it, places much less emphasis on ability scores than do later editions of D&D. I think D&D largely went down the wrong path by making high ability scores so vital to play. Likewise, my feeling is that, while the referee should limit the number of paladins in his campaign, there's no need to make playing a paladin any more difficult than it already is by adding an onerous ability score requirement on top of its other drawbacks.

The material in the quote box below is hereby designated Open Game Content via the Open Game License.

The Paladin
Hit Die Type: 1d6+2 per level. After reaching 9 hit dice, the paladin gains only 3 hit points per level.
Armor/Shield Permitted: Any
Weapons Permitted: Any
Prime Attribute (5% xp bonus): Strength 13+, Wisdom 13+
Alignment: Lawful (Good)
Race: Human

Paladin Class Abilities and Restrictions

Associates: A paladin will never knowingly associate with Neutral or Chaotic characters, nor will he or she continue an association with someone who consistently offends his or her code of conduct (see below). A paladin may accept only henchmen or hirelings who are Lawful (Good).

Code of Conduct
: A paladin must be of Lawful (Good) alignment and loses all class abilities if he or she ever willingly commits a Chaotic (Evil) act. Additionally, a paladin’s code requires that he or she respect legitimate authority, act with honor (not lying, not cheating, not using poison, and so forth), help those in need (provided they do not use the help for evil or chaotic ends), and punish those who harm or threaten innocents.

Detect Evil: At will, a paladin can detect evil, as per the 2nd-level clerical spell of the same name.

Dispel Evil (8th):
At eighth level, a paladin may dispel evil once per day, as the 5th-level clerical spell of the same name.

Divine Health:
A paladin gains immunity to all diseases.

Establish Stronghold (9th):
At ninth level, a paladin may establish a modest stronghold and attract a small body of loyal men-at-arms who will swear fealty to him. Preferably, this stronghold will be within the domain of a Lawful (Good) ruler, but this is not a requirement.

Ex-Paladins: A paladin who ceases to be Lawful (Good), who willfully commits a Chaotic (Evil) act, or who grossly violates the code of conduct loses all paladin class abilities (including the service of the special mount), becoming forevermore a Fighter of a level equivalent to his or her current experience point total.

Lay on Hands:
Each day a paladin can heal a total number of hit points of damage equal to his or her paladin level x 2.

Remove Disease: Each day a paladin can cure one disease for every five levels he or she possesses.

Special Mount: A paladin may choose to gain the service of an unusually intelligent, strong, and loyal steed to serve him or her. This mount is usually a warhorse. Should the paladin’s mount die, he or she may not summon another mount for 10 years. Unlike normal warhorses, a paladin's special mount has AC 5 [14], 5 Hit Dice, and a higher than normal intelligence.

Wealth: A paladin may never possess more than five magical item, not counting a single suit of armor, a single shield, and up to five weapons. In addition, a paladin must donate all treasure they acquire, except that needed for personal upkeep and that of his or her henchmen, hirelings, men-at-arms, and stronghold (if any).


Paladin Advancement Table

Level

Experience Points Required

Hit Dice (d6+2)

Saving Throw

1

0

1

14

2

2,500

2

13

3

5,000

3

12

4

10,000

4

11

5

20,000

5

10

6

35,000

6

9

7

70,000

7

8

8

140,000

8

7

9

275,000

9

6

10

500,000

9+3 hp

5

11

600,000

9+3 hp

4

12

700,000

9+3 hp

4

13

800,000

9+3 hp

4

14

900,000

9+3 hp

4

15

1,00,000

9+3 hp

4

16

1,100,000

9+3 hp

4

17

1,200,000

9+3 hp

4

18

1,300,000

9+3 hp

4

19

1,400,000

9+3 hp

4

20

1,500,000 (100,000 per level beyond)

9+3 hp (+3 per level beyond)

4 (remains at 4)


7 comments:

  1. Er... Do special mounts age? If so, when they die of natural causes, does that still mean the paladin is on foot for 10 years?

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  2. Do special mounts age?

    I don't know. Do they?

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  3. Of course they do, but at the same rate as the paladin. They just get steadily more cantankerous and resemble their masters more and more. By the time you have to staple the hero to his horse in order to frighten the Moor, the horse is also just about capable of one last charge for show.

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  4. Good stuff. I have no real complaints, being something of a Paladin fan myself. Maybe the special quality of the mount shouldn't be so much something summoned or chosen, but a result of association and bond building between the Paladin and a warhorse (or whatever). Just a thought.

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  5. Matthew,

    That's an interesting idea and one that works well within the looser framework I want to establish for the S&W classes. Maybe I'll add it in a future revision.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Glad to be able to contribute.

    A further thought on the same subject, is that the paladin's warhorse should be treated more like the holy avenger, which is to say he's not guaranteed to get one, but it is more potent in his hands.

    ReplyDelete

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