Sunday, March 5, 2017

The Knight-Errant

Another of my Birthright archetypes in development is the knight-errant. I wasn't too thrilled by the Purple Dragon Knight/Banneret introduced in the Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide, and wanted to try a more Cerilian-themed archetype. Playing to the systems I converted and/or created is another added bonus.

Of course, fighter archetypes tend to be pretty annoying to design. They usually end up shackled to the idea of superiority dice or act like a hybrid of other classes. I wanted something that felt like a traditional knight, even if it could also be one that isn't necessarily a landed lord. With a bit of surgery, I sliced and diced bits of the Witch Knight I made into this, reflavored accordingly.

Plus, a squire. Everybody likes squires!


The knight-errant encompasses any titled warrior with a knowledge of the upper echelons of society. As representatives of their respective regents (or themselves regents) they can take the role of questing knights, warrior-emissaries, or bodyguards to prominent nobles.

Right of Sanctuary

When this archetype is selected at 3rd level, you may request sanctuary for you and your allies when visiting the abodes of titled nobles or other influential entities. The right of sanctuary is a long-respected Cerilian tradition, though certain human cultures (particularly the Vos) do not necessarily pay it heed. Your hosts may request service of you in exchange for their hospitality, but to do so is often considered bad manners.

Sanctuary includes lodgings (though they need not be comfortable) and food (though it need not be palatable) for a period of 24 hours. While under sanctuary, you are expected to obey the rules of the host and not disrespect or dishonor them in any way. Your allies are also subject to this expectation. Breaking the right of sanctuary is a grave insult to the host and word of the knight-errant's iniquity will follow them for a period of no less than one month (unless such word is prevented), during which time no other hosts will provide sanctuary.


As a titled warrior, you gain the service of a squire. This individual accompanies you on your travels and is primarily suited to tending your gear and steed, as well as helping you into your armor each day.

Your squire is of a race and gender of your choice, and uses the ability scores and starting equipment of a Guard (do not modify ability scores for race). You replace their proficiency bonus with your own (affecting their attack rolls, skills, and saving throws accordingly), and apply your proficiency bonus to their AC and damage rolls. Their hit point maximum equals their normal maximum or four times your fighter level, whichever is higher. When you gain an ability score increase through level advancement, your squire also gains an ability score increase to be distributed to your liking. Your squire rolls for initiative like any other creature, but you determine its actions and behavior.

If your squire is slain in battle, they may be returned to life normally, or you may petition a regent for a new squire. After a period of one month traveling with you, this prospective squire gains all of the abilities granted through this feature.

Armor Specialization

At 7th level, choose one type of armor (light, medium, heavy) with which you are proficient. While wearing armor of this type, you gain a +1 bonus to AC.

Mandate of War

Upon reaching 10th level, the knight-errant can call for special dispensation to levy troops. When the knight-errant attempts to muster armies as part of a domain action (whether as the regent or as a lieutenant) they halve the Gold Bar cost for mustering non-mercenary units.

When attached to a unit as a commander, the knight-errant grants the unit an additional +1 bonus on battle resolution checks.

The knight-errant, and allies fighting alongside the knight-errant, gain advantage on initiative checks.

People's Champion

When the knight-errant reaches 15th level, they inspire those around them to greater heights by virtue of their deeds and skill. As a bonus action, the knight-errant may grant proficiency with any one skill in which they are trained to any ally who can see and hear them until the end of the knight-errant's next turn.

Furthermore, the knight-errant gains proficiency in any one saving throw of their choice.

Strength of Arms

An 18th level knight-errant lives and dies by the sword in the name of the quest. Whenever the knight-errant of this level successfully strikes an opponent in melee, they gain temporary hit points equal to the better of their Strength or Dexterity modifiers. If the attack is a critical hit, you gain temporary hit points equal to your fighter level.

Designer Notes

The Squire is the answer to who is taking care of the horses and helping the fighter into their full plate armor every day. You ever try to put that stuff on? You're not getting into it by yourself even if you are pretty well trained at wearing and maintaining it. Best I could ever do is a mail shirt without help, and that was back when I was ten years younger.

Don't look at me like that. I was a young nerd, you think I didn't try to put armor on whenever I got the chance at various festivals and fairs?

The Squire could be a bit of a hindrance/extra annoyance to track in combat, as it is a fairly weak combat pet. Of course, if it dies under focused assault, you probably won't be getting a new one any time soon unless your party is capable of raising the dead.

Right of Sanctuary might have some redundancy problems.

Armor Specialization seems boring and stacks with the Defense fighting style, so it may need rethinking. But then, having something not-complicated is kind of nice. I left it open in case there were Dexterity-based knight-errants that wore light or medium armor (as could be the case with Brecht or possibly Khinasi knight-errants). There's some redundant wording in there as well (of course the fighter is proficient with all armor), but it might be worth calling out in the case of multiclassed fighters.

Mandate of War is mostly there for mustering and battlefield boosts, but the initiative advantage is a solid party-wide boost. It might be too good and I might need to pare it down to just the knight-errant. In fact, I'm almost positive I will in version two.

People's Champion really only comes down to two choices: Dexterity or Wisdom. Until Wizards starts stuffing additional monsters with Intelligence and Charisma saving throw abilities, they will remain the most common saving throws (up there with Constitution, with which the fighter is already proficient).

Strength of Arms isn't as punchy as some of the other 18th level fighter archetype abilities, but by this point the knight-errant's squire is a pretty reliable damage boost on a given round, provided it's with the party.

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