The knight is a noble warrior, set apart from other fighters by her breeding and training. Leaders on the battlefield, knights adhere to a code of behavior that garners respect from those around them. Knights are not limited to Western European-inspired settings. The samurai of Japan are certainly knights, as are the Hindu kshatriya. Any culture with an aristocracy will have knights, often as noble guardsmen and army officers.
Adventures: Knights often adventure for duty or glory. A knight may be commanded by her lord to protect a manor, clear a wood of humanoids, escort a noble, or rescue a hostage. A knight, especially a wandering knight, may also go on adventures to make a name for himself or to bring honor to his family.
Characteristics: Knights are bound by honor and, unlike paladins, their adherence to a moral code does not necessarily mean justice. Knights prefer order and will take command of an adventuring party if no one else will or the knight finds the current leadership lacking. They will not, however, command from behind, as their martial prowess ensures that they will always be on the front line with the other heavy hitters.
Alignment: With their dedication to honor and a moral code, knights are lawful by nature. They respect order and, in the absence of such, will work towards restoring it. Ethically, knights are more varied. There are good knights that believe in adhering to a code of chivalry to promote justice just as there are evil knights that enjoy the power that rank and privilege give them. Those in the middle, the neutral knights, are often more practical, enjoying the benefits of rank but not particularly charitable or harmful to others.
Background: The traditional knight is made, not born. Knighthoods are bestowed for service rendered, although children of knights or noble families are more often granted the privilege. Still, some knights were common folk that performed a great act and found themselves with a knighthood. There are often rivalries between those of an aristocratic background and those who were “uplifted” into knighthood. Not surprisingly, the population at large tend to support common-born knights more than aristocrats.
Races: Knights are a creation of a state and as such the race of a knight depends on the society that made her. Typically, knights are racially reflective of fighters or paladins in a particular society. Half-orcs generally aren’t knights, as they were either raised in chaotic bands or shunned in a “civilized” kingdom. Half-orcs that do become knights generally do so because their features favor their human side or they have done a great service for a particular lord.
Role: Knights are frontline combatants, especially while mounted on a battlefield. Within the adventuring party, the knight plays a front line role, although he is more likely to ensure that the weaker (martially-speaking) members of the party are protected.
Alignment: Any Lawful.
Hit Die: d12.
The knight’s class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Climb (Str), Diplomacy (Cha), Handle Animal (Cha), Intimidate (Cha), Knowledge (nobility) (Int), Ride (Dex), Sense Motive (Wis), and Swim (Str).
Skill Ranks per Level: 2 + Int modifier.
|Level||Base Attack Bonus||Fort Save||Ref Save||Will Save||Special|
|1||+1||+2||+0||+2||Code of chivalry, hospitality, knightly presence|
|4||+4||+4||+1||+4||Mounted combat +1|
|5||+5||+4||+1||+4||Rallying presence +1|
|8||+8/+3||+6||+2||+6||Mounted combat +2|
|11||+11/+6/+1||+7||+3||+7||Rallying presence +2|
|12||+12/+7/+2||+8||+4||+8||Mounted combat +3|
|15||+15/+10/+5||+9||+5||+9||Rallying presence +3|
|16||+16/+11/+6/+1||+10||+5||+10||Mounted combat +4|
|20||+20/+15/+10/+5||+12||+6||+12||Mounted combat +5|
All of the following are class features of the knight.
Weapon and Armor Proficiency: A knight is proficient with all simple and martial weapons, with all armor, and with shields (except tower shields).
A knight is expected to follow a moral code, even in combat. While the GM should feel free to create a code for roleplaying purposes, all knights should observe certain battlefield tactics. First, a knight will never attack a flat-footed or helpless foe. Second, a knight can never gain the benefit of flanking (although his position counts for an ally’s flanking bonus). Third, a knight will never attack a fleeing foe.
A knight is respected in civilized lands, even if the knight does not serve the lord or country in question. Once per day, a knight can call upon the hospitality of a household. All of his basic needs and that of his companions will be met for that evening. Hospitality cannot be invoked if the household is at war with the knight’s lord or if the knight’s ill reputation (or that of her companions) precedes her. In these cases it is the GM’s judgment call.
When wearing heavy armor, a knight gains a +4 on Intimidate checks against any opponent that can see him. In addition, when the knight uses her Intimidate check to demoralize an opponent, then the opponent is shaken for 1d4 rounds plus 1 round per point of the knight’s Charisma modifier.
At 2nd level and every four levels thereafter, the knight may take a bonus feat from the following list. The knight must meet any prerequisites when taking a feat.
Animal Affinity, Cleave, Combat Reflexes, Diehard, Endurance, Great Cleave, Greater Weapon Focus, Greater Weapon Specialization, Improved Critical, Improved Initiative, Improved Vital Strike, Intimidating Prowess, Leadership, Mounted combat, Power Attack, Ride-By Attack, Spirited Charge, Trample, Vital Strike, Weapon Focus, Weapon Specialization.
At 4th level and every four levels thereafter, the knight receives a bonus to his melee attack and armor class while mounted.. The amount of the bonus is indicated on the knight table.
At 5th level the knight can inspire her allies in combat. The knight and all allies within 10 ft per point of her Charisma bonus (minimum 10ft) gain a +1 morale bonus on saves against fear spells and effects. This bonus increases to +2 at 11th level and +3 at 15th level.
At 9th level the knight can use her prowess to protect an ally that is within one of her threatened squares. She may grant that ally half of her Armor Class bonus at the expense of her own (this effect lasts a round, unless the knight chooses to continue the protection).
At 13th level the knight can no longer be shaken.
A knight that violates the Code of Chivalry will have her reputation ruined. She may atone for her actions by performing a special service, but if she takes a level in another class she many never take another level of knight. A knight that has not atoned loses her Hospitality and Knightly Presence abilities.