Kit: Hellknight

Class: Fighter and Paladin

Description: See Hellknights. Passion tempered by discipline, skill tirelessly honed, the dedication to do what must be done: these qualities define the path and purpose of the Hellknights, Golarion’s most unflinching and feared servants of law. Clad in armor designed to strike fear into the minds of any who would consider acts of injustice, the Hellknights embody the iron-shod fist of order. Devoid of all mercy and emotion, they care nothing for circumstance or accident. For them, righteousness is a clear, singular path, and in a world beset by all forms of corruption, there can be no pity for the weak or debased. By enduring the very flames of Hell, these dark knights drive weakness and fear from their beings, remaking themselves into terrible paragons of absolute law.

The discipline and devotion to order demanded by the Hellknights requires that all members be of lawful alignment. Questions of morality matter little to the black-armored warriors, but those who concern themselves overly much with matters of good and evil often find themselves at odds with the strictures of the knighthood and face potential expulsion. Characters who disapprove of the heavy-handed, merciless application of law rarely find themselves inclined toward the Hellknights, while those members who regularly deviate from the cold efficiency of their brethren’s doctrine find themselves irredeemably barred from the knighthood.

To be a hellknight, the character must have at least the following minimum ability scores: Strength 15, Dexterity 15, Constitution 15, Intelligence 10, Wisdom 10.

Fighters and Paladins may be hellknights; Rangers may not.

Role: Hellknights are champions of absolute, unquestionable, unflinching order. Whereas paladins zealously uphold the strictures of righteousness and decency, Hellknights walk a path devoid of ethical concerns. They care nothing for goodness or evil, only that their iron-shod vision of law is enforced. This they do out of a desire to see the expansion and growth of civilization and to free society from corruptive and parasitic elements. Their means all work toward this end, and should intimidation, mercilessness, and the fearful methods of Hell advance their crusade—even at the loss of the occasional innocent life—then so be it.

Weapon Proficiencies: The Hellknight may spend his Weapon Proficiency slots any way he chooses.

Nonweapon Proficiencies: Bonus Proficiencies: Ancient History (specifically Military History), Law (see Complete Paladin's Handbook). Recommended: (General) Animal Handling, Cooking, Heraldry, Riding (Land-based), Seamanship, Swimming, Weather Sense, (Priest, double slots unless Paladin) Reading/Writing, (Rogue, double slots) Disguise, (Warrior) Armorer, Blind-Fighting, Bowyer/Fletcher, Charioteering, Endurance, Navigation, Set Snares, Survival, Tracking, Weaponsmithing, (Wizard, double slots unless Ranger) Reading/Writing.

Equipment: The Hellknight must spend his starting gold on the heaviest type of armour he can afford and the favoured weapon of his order.

Special Benefits: The Hellknight has four advantages of note:

  • First, he gets a free Weapon Specialization. He must choose it based on the favoured weapon of his order:
    • Order of the Chain - Flail
    • Order of the Gate - Dagger
    • Order of the Godclaw - Morningstar
    • Order of the Nail - Lance or Halberd
    • Order of the Pyre - Glaive
    • Order of the Rack - Longsword or Whip
    • Order of the Scourge - Footman's Mace or Whip
  • Second, Hellknights gain a bonus nonweapon proficiency based on their order:
    • Order of the Chain - Tracking
    • Order of the Gate - Spellcraft
    • Order of the Godclaw - Religion
    • Order of the Nail - Law
    • Order of the Pyre - Spirit Lore (from Shaman)
    • Order of the Rack - Ancient History
    • Order of the Scourge - Endurance
  • Third, at 2nd level, Hellknights gain the ability to Detect Chaos that functions the same as a Paladin's detect evil ability.
  • Fourth, the Hellknight is part of one of the seven Hellknight Orders. He won't have to spend any money for room and board and is immune to prosecution by the civilian authorities (though he can certainly face a Reckoning if he knowingly goes against his order’s core philosophies, the Measure and the Chain).

Special Hinderances: The Hellknight is instantly recognizable by his armour, military demeanor, erect posture, disciplined mannerisms, etc. Because he is distinctive, the Hellknight is easily remembered and described by witnesses; this makes it easier for the enemy to identify him and follow his trail if he's trying to escape or travel through dangerous territory.

A second hindrance is his Order. Naturally, his Order makes many demands on the Hellknight. He's subject to the orders of his superiors.

All Hellknights adhere to a strict path of discipline, deviation from which is never taken lightly. Those who knowingly go against their order’s core philosophies, the Measure and the Chain are expected to undergo a reckoning. Reckonings are confessions wherein a Hellknight professes his crimes before a superior at his order’s citadel—or with another Hellknight or even alone if the citadel is unreachable. A reckoning is a half-hour-long ritual where the Hellknight exacts 1d6 points of damage upon himself for each infraction using the punishment favored by his order. The Hellknight cannot consciously accept magical healing until this damage heals naturally—accepting healing (willingly or not) counts as its own infraction.

What constitutes defiance of their code varies slightly from order to order, but at its core can be summarized as any act of lawlessness, defiance of a superior Hellknight, or aiding or ignoring the cause of chaos. The DM should inform a Hellknight player when his actions will result in an infraction, while the player should keep tally of such trespasses (rolling this number of d6s as damage at his next reckoning). Hellknights understand that situations exist where ignoring a crime might ultimately better aid the cause of law, yet are expected to punish themselves for such conscious oversights nonetheless.

Wealth Options: The Hellknight receives the standard 5d4x10 gp starting gold.

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