Courtly Love for Paladins

Here’s another notion I came up with for Blood & Treasure Second Edition that I decided not to use in the rules, as it seemed to be just one more thing to stack on top of paladins. Although the ability is designed for paladins, it could be extended to any Lawful Good character if a referee wished. It is probably most useful in a chivalric campaign.

The ability is, of course, inspired by Lancelot and Guinevere.

Courtly Love

Before reaching 5th level, a paladin may select a charming man or woman as their object of courtly love. The chosen must have a Charisma score of 13 or higher, and must be a member of the aristocracy, nobility or royalty. They may be married, and must not be Chaotic. The paladin holds them up as an ideal and does heroic deeds in their name and for their favor. The paladin may not deny them requests, so long as they do not violate his alignment and code of conduct, though in disobeying the object of courtly love becomes displeased, and the paladin suffers a -1 penalty to attack and to all saving throws until they are again pleased. The paladin remains true to their courtly love forever – they may not “break up” with them without losing their paladin status.

When the paladin performs a heroic deed for their courtly love, there is a chance in 20 equal to the paladin’s level that their love is pleased and grants them a token (a scarf, a pin, a lock of hair, etc.) While in possession of this love token, the paladin may invoke the the following effects three times: Add his love’s Charisma bonus to an attack roll, a damage roll or a saving throw.

When so pleased by their paladin, there is a percentage chance equal to the paladin’s Charisma score that the courtly love is overcome by emotion and attempts to seduce the paladin into a true romance. The paladin may not give in to this temptation without breaking his code and losing his paladin status. That being said, to refuse makes the courtly love displeased (see above). A Lawful love will not press the matter, but may suffer as per a geas if their love is not returned. A Neutral love will press the matter, forcing the paladin to pass a saving throw to resist the temptation. The TK may add the paladin’s Wisdom bonus to the saving throw, but must subtract his love’s Charisma bonus from the roll as well.

Uh oh – he better not try to turn undead any time soon …


Horses Are Sooooo 1978

Or whenever the paladin was first published. I wanted to be clever with the title, but not to the degree that I was going to do five seconds of research with Google.

Paladins, at 5th level, can undertake a quest to obtain a very intelligent mount. Depending on the edition you play, this mount either hangs out with you all the time and sorta requires you to hire a groom or page or whatever to look out for it when you’re in a dungeon, or it just pops into existence whenever it is convenient. You can probably guess which concept I like better.

But what if … what if there were more options than that super-clever wonder horse? Well, how about these …

(Use as inspiration, or roll randomly with a D12)

1. Mechanical Warhorse – requires a quest to settle a grudge for the Dwarf King, who forged the horse in his own workshop. Just combine an automaton and a heavy warhorse to get the stats. For anti-paladins, the mechanical warhorse is grey and spiky.

2. Putti – I think I did stats for these fellows once (you know, the chubby, winged babies people mistakenly call cherubs or cupids), if not, just make them Lawful (LG) imps. For anti-paladins, just use an imp.

3. Unicorn – but only if the paladin is female. For anti-paladins … not sure.

4. Aasimar Squire – 4 HD, of course. For anti-paladins, a tiefling picaroon.

5. Blink Dog – maybe the quest involves rescuing it from a giant’s kennels. For anti-paladins, a shadow mastiffs.

6. Halo – actually a lantern archon with 4 HD that oftens hangs out around the paladin’s noggin. For anti-paladins, just craft a red-hued evil version of the lantern archon.

7. Relic – the relic is the skull of a cleric which the paladin can communicate with telepathically, and which can cast spells as a 4th level cleric (though not touch spells, obviously).

8. Choir – a choir of four 1 HD lay priests who can chant (as the spell) and inspire (as bards). For anti-paladins, four 1 HD flaggelants with scourges who do the same.

9. Gold Wyrmling – precocious, of course. For anti-paladins, a red wyrmling.

10. Brownie Knight – gained by embarking on a quest for the Fairy Queen, a bit of a curmudgeon. For anti-paladins, a spriggan thug of the Unseelie Court.

11. Elven Sage – an old codger with silver hair who can cast spells as an adept (venerable master). For anti-paladins, a drow alchemist who may or may not be trying to poison their master.

12. Reformed Prostitute – a prostitute who has seen the light and can cast spells as an adept (venerable master; note, the prostitute is not venerable in terms of age, but in terms of the blessings bestowed upon him or her). For anti-paladins, a fallen, alcoholic friar or nun.

The Chevalier

Whether knights in shining armor or blackguards, chevaliers are the mailed fist of the feudal order, serving their suzerain in war and peace. At the heart of a chevalier’s pride (or arrogance), is his coat of arms, a symbol of his puissance at arms and place in the great chain of being. From a chevalier’s armorial, he draws powers beyond the simple hack and slash of the average fighter.

The chevalier is a sub-class of fighter who gains special abilities from the invocation of his coat of arms, in particular from his the tincture of the field (or main tincture of the field, since some are divided) and from the charge.


Strength of 9 or higher and Charisma of 13 or higher. A character that does not have a Charisma of 13 or higher can still enter the chevalier class, but does so as a 0-level character called a squire (see below)

Armor Allowed

Any armor except padded, leather, studded, ring (i.e. scale or better), and bucklers and shields

Weapons Allowed

All weapons



XP Requirements

As fighter

Special Abilities

Before we cover the special abilities of a chevalier, we must address the concept of a 0-level chevalier, the squire. Some men are not born as wealthy or well-connected as others, yet they still have the drive to become knights. These poor souls (i.e. folks with low charisma) can still enter the service of a suzerain, holding the rank of “squire”.

A squire earns experience points just as any other character, but can only spend them to increase his or her charisma. One point of charisma can be purchased by the squire for 200 XP. When the squire achieves a charisma of 13, he or she becomes a 1st level chevalier and their experience points are reset to 0.

The first step to becoming a chevalier is to draw up a coat of arms. A perusal of the internet can assist in this, and your Treasure Keeper can make sure you haven’t copied the arms of an existing NPC or PC in the game world. The tincture and charge of a chevalier’s arms determine their special abilities, so read the entire description of the class before designing your arms.

A 1st level chevalier (armiger) can invoke their tincture once per day. The special ability associated with the tincture lasts for one hour. If a chevalier has more than one tincture on his arms (i.e. he has divisions), they must choose which tincture is their “main tincture” at 1st level. At 5th level, the chevalier can invoke their tincture three times per day.

Argent (Silver/White): The chevalier gains use of feat Fast.
Azure (Blue): The chevalier gains the use of the feat Expertise.
Ermine/Vair (Furs): The chevalier gains the use of the feat Alertness.
Gules (Red): The chevalier gains the use of the feat Power Attack.
Or (Gold/Yellow): The chevalier gains the use of the feat Iron Will.
Purpure (Purple): The chevalier gains the use of the feat Great Fortitude.
Sable (Black): The chevalier gains the Trickery skill.
Vert (Green): The chevalier gains the Tracking skill.

A 3rd level chevalier (cavalier) can invoke the charge on his coat of arms to gain a special attack or defense, most of them the equivalent of a spell. A 3rd level chevalier can invoke his charge once per day. A 10th level chevalier can invoke his charge three times per day.

Angel: Cure serious wounds (per the spell)
Arm: Strength (per the spell)
Bear: Chevalier can grapple (as though he has the Improved Grapple feat) for 1d8 points of damage
Bee: Chevalier can summon a giant bee (per summon monster IV)
Boar: Chevalier can continue to fight for 1d6 rounds after reaching 0 hit points, as a boar
Bull: Forceful hand (as the spell, though the attack bonus is only +8)
Castle: Stoneskin (per the spell)
Cross: Holy smite (per the spell)
Deer: Haste (per the spell)
Devil: Inflict serious wounds (per the spell)
Dolphin: Chevalier can swim at a speed of 80, as a dolphin, even when armored
Dragon: The dragon charge on his shield releases a breath weapon in a 15-ft. cone that deals 3d6 points of damage of an energy type associated with the color of the chevalier’s dragon charge
Eagle: Fly (per the spell)
Estoile/Mullet: Psionic blast (per the spell)
Fleur-de-lis: Magic vestment (per the spell)
Fox: Charm monster (per the spell)
Griffin: Magic circle against evil (per the spell)
Harp: Fascinate as a bard of the chevalier’s level
Harpy: Can captivate per the special attack of the harpy
Heart: Immune to fear
Leopard: Invisibility (per the spell)
Lion: Heroism (per the spell)
Mermaid: Water breathing (per the spell), and can swim without penalty in armor
Owl: Dispel magic (per the spell)
Phoenix: Continual flame (per the spell)
Raven: Deeper darkness (per the spell)
Rose: Suggestion (per the spell)
Salamander: Protection from energy (fire) (per the spell)
Serpent: Sticks to snakes (per the spell)
Sphinx: Confusion (per the spell)
Spur: Phantom steed (per the spell)
Sun: Searing light (per the spell)
Sword/Axe: Keen edge on a weapon of the same general type as the charge (per the spell)
Tree: Barkskin (per the spell)
Wolf: Chevalier can summon 1d4 wolves (per summon monster IV)
Wyvern: Poison (per the spell)

A 4th level chevalier (knight errant) can inspire courage in his henchmen and retainers, giving them a +2 bonus to save vs. fear effects as long as they are within the sound of his voice.

An 8th level chevalier (worthy) earns the right to build a castle and either start an order of chivalry (becoming a “knight commander”) or swear fealty to a royal personage (becoming a “baronet”). A chevalier with a castle attracts 1d6 men-at-arms per level, 1d6 first level chevaliers who wish to train under him and one 3rd level chevalier to serve as his castellan. These chevaliers should be generated as characters under control of the player.

On Doughty Woodsmen and Knights in Shining Armor

This post continues the look at the hybrid character classes I used in my last campaign, featuring the ranger and paladin. What follows is open game content.

The Paladin Sub-Class
The paladin is a sub-class of fighting-man. Paladins are chivalrous champions of Law and Goodness. They might resemble the “knights in shining armor” of fairy tales or perhaps the rigid, honorable samurai of Japan. The point of paladins is purity. They do their best to remain mentally, spiritually and physically pure. From this dedication and the iron will required to maintain it, they derive a number of blessings to aid them in their struggle against Chaos and Evil.

  • Prime Attributes: Strength & Charisma, 13+ (+5% experience)
  • Hit Dice: 1d10/level (Gains 4 hp/level after 10th.)
  • Armor/Shield Permitted: Any.
  • Weapons Permitted: Any.

Paladins can detect evil (as the cleric spell) by concentrating. They emanate a permanent aura that protects them as per the spell protection from evil.

Paladins are immune to all diseases, including mummy rot and lycanthropy. Their touch can cure disease (as the cleric spell) once per week at level 1, twice per week at level 6 and three times per week at level 12.

A paladin can cure 2 hp per level by laying on of hands. This can be used on the paladin or on others, and the healing can be divided among recipients as the paladin chooses.

At level 3, a paladin gains the ability to banish undead as a cleric two levels lower.

At level 4, the paladin gains the service of a divine warhorse (or other mount) if he successfully completes a quest to locate the animal. The divine mount is unusually strong, loyal, and ready to serve the paladin in her crusade against evil. Should the paladin’s mount die, a year and a day must pass before another can be called. When riding their divine mount, a paladin gains the mounted combat ability (see Boons).

  • Divine Warhorse: HD 5; AC 6 [13]; Atk 1 bite (1d3), 2 hooves (1d4); Move 18; Save 12; Special: None.

Upon reaching level 6, a paladin becomes immune to fear, natural or supernatural. Allies within 10 feet of the paladin gain a +2 bonus on saving throws against fear effects.

Once per day, a paladin of level 9 or higher may attempt to smite evil with one normal melee attack. Smite evil gives the paladin a +2 bonus to hit, and a bonus to damage equal to the paladin’s level. This ability can only be used on supernatural creature of darkness an evil, such as anti-paladins, demons or the undead. The paladin can attempt to smite evil once per day.

At level 12, a paladin’s touch is capable of removing all ailments from a creature, including disease, poison, ability score damage, level drain, hit point damage, confusion, curses and insanity. The paladin can apply this healing touch but once per day.

Level Experience Hit Dice Attack Save Title
1 0 1 +0 18 Squire
2 2,700 2 +1 17 Scutifer
3 5,500 3 +2 16 Banneret
4 12,000 4 +3 15 Gallant
5 24,000 5 +4 14 Companion
6 48,000 6 +5 13 Knight
7 95,000 7 +6 12 Paragon
8 180,000 8 +7 11 Peer
9 360,000 9 +8 10 Paladin
10 700,000 10 +9 9 Paladin
11 1,000,000 +4 hp
+10 8 Paladin
12 1,300,000 +8 hp
+11 7 Paladin

S&W Format

Hit Dice: 1d6+2 per level, +3 hit points per level after level 9

The Ranger Sub-Class
The ranger is a sub-class of fighting-man. Rangers are warriors trained to operate in the wilderness. They are self-sufficient, cunning and well trained at fighting the barbarian tribes (human, humanoid and otherwise) that lurk on the fringes of civilization.

  • Prime Attributes: Strength & Wisdom, 13+ (+5% experience)
  • Hit Dice: 1d10/level (Gains 4 hp/level after 10th.)
  • Armor/Shield Permitted: Chainmail, leather, padded, ring and shield.
  • Weapons Permitted: Any.

Rangers have a +1 bonus to surprise (i.e. surprise on a roll of 1-2 on 1d6) and a +1 bonus to avoid being surprised (i.e. surprised on a roll of 1 on 1d8).

When fighting tribal humanoids (bugbears, gnolls, goblins, hobgoblins, kobolds, orcs, and the like) or giants (giants, ogres, and the like), a ranger inflicts extra damage equal to their level.

With a successful saving throw, a ranger can find and follow a creature’s trail for 5 hours. When tracking humanoids or giants, the ranger does so at a +2 bonus. The ranger can also determine the approximate number of creatures and their type. Rangers can also use this ability to hide tracks.

Rangers have a 2 in 6 chance to notice traps and concealed openings in a natural surrounding merely by passing within 30 feet of them. They are also capable of disarming and building simple snares and pit traps (1d4 damage).

A ranger’s training includes learning how to survive in the wild, climb cliffs and trees, conceal themselves in natural environments, move silently in natural environments and concoct and counteract natural poisons. When a ranger’s success with one of these skills is in doubt, the player should roll a saving throw to avoid failure.

At level 6, a ranger chooses one specific type of creature (i.e. goblin, gnoll, or hill giant) as his favored enemy. The ranger gets a +2 bonus to hit his favored enemy and a +2 AC when fighting his favored enemy. Further, when tracking his favored enemy, a ranger receives a +2 bonus to the tracking save. The ranger is always able to neutralize poisons of the favored enemy, whether manufactured or natural.

Level Experience Hit Dice Attack Save Title
1 0 1 +0 18 Woodsman
2 2,250 2 +1 17 Scout
3 4,500 3 +2 16 Guide
4 9,000 4 +3 15 Wanderer
5 18,000 5 +4 14 Voyager
6 40,000 6 +5 13 Pathfinder
7 75,000 7 +6 12 Warden
8 150,000 8 +7 11 Hawkeye
9 250,000 9 +8 10 Ranger
10 500,000 10 +9 9 Ranger
11 725,000 +4 hp
+10 8 Ranger
12 950,000 +8 hp
+11 7 Ranger

S&W Format

Hit Dice: 1d6+2 per level, +3 hit points per level after level 9
Armor Permitted: Chainmail, leather, ring and shield.
Spellcasting: If you do not use a druid class, replace druid spells with cleric spells.

Level Experience Hit Dice Attack Save Title
1 0 1 +0 16 Woodsman
2 2,500 2 +0 15 Scout
3 5,000 3 +1 14 Guide
4 10,000 4 +2 13 Wanderer
5 20,000 5 +2 12 Voyager
6 40,000 6 +3 11 Pathfinder
7 80,000 7 +4 10 Warden
8 160,000 8 +5 9 Hawkeye
9 320,000 9 +6 8 Ranger
10 440,000 +3 hp
+7 7 Ranger
11 560,000 +6 hp
+7 6 Ranger
12 680,000 +9 hp
+8 5 Ranger

Art by N. C. Wyeth via Golden Age Comic Book Stories