Kirt writes "The arathalian are noble warriors that serve the scions of the elves with loyalty and grace.
The Arathalian (an elven character class)
By: Kirt (firstname.lastname@example.org)
(Used with Permission. Do not repost without obtaining prior permission from the author.)
When I started my Greyhawk Campaign, there were only 1st edition rules plus Unearthed Arcana. Demi-humans were severely limited in the levels they could attain in most classes. Whose idea was it that dwarves should be limited to a fairly low level as fighters, but unlimited as thieves? I rationalized this by saying that the classes as written were human classes, and that was what was limiting demi-human advancement. I then set about creating classes specific to each of the demi-human races, in which levels would be much less restrictive. The classes themselves I modeled after my conception of the race. For example, the elven classes were Arathalian (a cavalier-like noble warrior), Faroth (an archer with excellent woodcraft), Nolengol (a pure mage with the ability to sense and manipulate magic), and Warden (a druid/mage in tune with the needs of the land). Later on, with the appearance of 2nd edition, many of the special abilities I had given the classes were more or less described as NWP. My classes underwent a revision to reflect the new rules (and my maturing as a DM).
I am currently working on a number of articles dealing with the High Forest Branch of the Knights of the Hart. In my campaign, most of these Knights are arathalian. Knowledge of my homebrew classes will not be necessary to use the articles. However, I thought some of you might be interested, after reading the articles, in checking out the class that started me thinking about the Knights.
If you are interested in using arathalian in your campaign, I highly recommend placing them in the Knights of the Hart. Elven nobility and royalty (the Lord of the Elves, Queen Yolande, Duke Grenowin) should each be served by many arathalian. The Knights of Luna is more of a political organization than a military one. While it may have arathalian members, they will be few compared to the number of bards and fighter-mages, for example. The Fane of Lloth certainly has evil arathalian, with bonded phase spiders, waiting to challenge your players!
Race: Elf or Half-elf (if raised in elven culture)
Min. Scores: Str. 13 Chr. 13
Bonus: No bonus experience for high ability scores
Arathalian may progress to 21st level. They may not be multi-classed.
The elven Arathalian (“noble warriors”) are elite fighters, the elven equivalent of knights, cavaliers and paladins. They limit their study of traditional elven subjects like woodcraft and magic in favor of a single-minded devotion to fighting skills and service to a higher cause. They have full choices of weapons and armor, great riding skills, and a few magical abilities and spells, particularly at higher levels. While this article uses the male personal pronoun, arathalian may be of either sex.
Arathalian begin their careers in service to an elven noble house, or more rarely, a church or idealistic cause. The arathalian of the Knights of the Hart have pledged their loyalty to the Vesve and High Vale. In any case, this selfless devotion is rare among elves, and arathalian are in general not well understood by their peers. At higher levels, they are greatly respected and admired, but the majority of elves simply do not identify with them. Being an arathalian is a lonely path for those few elves who have lofty goals beyond themselves, and who care deeply about honor, loyalty, fidelity, and other such virtues. It should be noted that those arathalian who serve the clergy are not like priests or paladins, for they do not serve a deity directly. Rather, they serve the clergy of the deity, trusting in the virtue of the priestly intermediaries.
Arathalian may not be of any Chaotic alignment, but any other combination is acceptable. It should be noted that even Lawful arathalian apply their Lawfulness only to themselves. That is, they strictly adhere to a formal code of conduct, but do not attempt to extend that code to others. They do not believe that elven society would be better if it was more Lawful: rather they claim that certain institutions (like elven nobility and churches) are so important that they inspire Lawful devotion in some elves. An arathalian who becomes Chaotic (by choice or magic) will eventually abandon his or her service to noble or church. At that point all special arathalian abilities are lost, and the character becomes a normal (human class) fighter of equal level. Advancement is then possible as a fighter, provided the level maximum for elves (if any) has not been exceeded. No further spell progression is permitted.
Most arathalian eventually receive mage spells. Arathalian mage spells must be studied from books as normal for mages. In addition to the maximum number of spells limited by intelligence, arathalian have a maximum number of spells knowable based on their level. Whichever maximum is currently lower applies. The chance to learn a spell may be checked at each arathalian level. Arathalian have the same restrictions on casting spells in armor as do other elven mages: it is possible only in elven chain or elven leather. Thus, most arathalian attempt to find a set of magical elven chain by the time they are 4th level (and begin spell-casting). Some arathalian serve elven churches (principally those of Aerdrie, Corellon, and Solonor). In this case, and only if the arathalian has a Wisdom score equal to or greater than his or her Intelligence, he receives priest spells rather than mage spells. If an arathalian becomes Chaotic, all priest spell ability is lost.
Arathalian may use any weapons and any armor. Unlike human knights, arathalian show no inherent preference for armor type, but make decisions based on protective quality and functional considerations. Arathalian capable of spell-casting prefer elven chain, enchanted if possible, but will use heavier or lighter armor if the situation warrants it. Also unlike human knights, arathalian do not express disdain for the use of missile weapons. They consider them just as honorable as melee weapons, and often necessary for the task at hand. However, arathalian do pride themselves on their direct and selfless service. They avoid direct combat when prudent, but not from cowardice. Thus, an arathalian's proficiency in any missile weapon must be less than that of his best melee weapon. For example, if an arathalian is no more than proficient in all melee weapons, he must be non-proficient in missile weapons. An arathalian is allowed to become proficient in missile weapons only when he is specialized in at least one melee weapon.
Arathalian roll a d8 for hp until 12th level. They receive the full fighter bonus for high Constitution.
Arathalian start with 3 WP and a -3 non-proficiency penalty. They gain 1 WP per two levels. In all other aspects (to-hit rolls, saving throws, NWP, and multiple attacks (for proficiency, on creatures of <1 HD, and in heroic fray (Player’s Options), they advance as fighters, with the following exceptions:
(1) Weapon proficiency in all missile weapons must be kept lower than that of at least the single best melee weapon, as stated above.
(2) All arathalian begin with the Animal Handling, Riding (land-based) and Heraldry NWP at normal cost (3 slots total). The NWP of Riding (aerial) is optional, but if selected by the arathalian at any time, it costs only one slot. Both forms of Riding begin with only one type of creature mount trained for. For every level gained by the arathalian, he may add another type of mount to the proficiency, provided the mount has been trained with and ridden for at least a month prior to level advancement.
Arathalian have the following special abilities:
(1) Arathalian do not receive the standard elven racial +1 to-hit bonus with bows. However, they receive a +2 to-hit bonus with any type of sword, even if non-proficient (although the non-proficiency penalty also applies).
(2) Arathalian may attempt to identify any armor or weapon that they could use. This includes learning how to operate exotic weapons, knowing the “+ value” of a shield, identifying the special powers and command words of a sword, etc. One day must be spent practicing with and meditating on the item. At the end of the day, the arathalian has a 10% chance per level (maximum 95%) to know the most obvious power of the item. If the chance is successful, and the item has more powers, the arathalian will also automatically learn that another day spent in practice and meditation might yield more knowledge. This may continue until all the powers are known or a check is failed. Once a check is failed, the arathalian will believe that the item has no additional powers. The arathalian then cannot learn anything more about the item until he has gained a level, at which point the process may be reinitiated. If the arathalian attempts this ability on a cursed item and fails his check, he learns nothing, but is unharmed. If the check is made, the arathalian realizes that the item is cursed, but falls victim to the curse. Although the curse still takes effect, the arathalian will know the means to remove the curse and may actively seek to do so. For example, an arathalian who successfully identified a Cursed Berserking Sword would realize its nature, know that it could only be removed by wish or exorcism, and could actively seek out someone with those spells for the removal of the curse. However, if the arathalian entered combat before the removal of the curse, he would be forced to use the sword, with all its effects.
(3) Arathalian of any Good alignment may, at will and once per round, produce an Aura of Goodness. This aura extends to the size desired by the arathalian, up to a maximum of a 5’ radius per level. Every Evil creature of equal or less HD (individually) than the arathalian within the aura must save vs. Spells, with a -1 penalty per level difference between their HD and the arathalian level. Failure indicates that the creature will flee in panic for one turn and will refuse to face the arathalian in combat for the remainder of the day. This ability may even affect mindless undead, which are effectively Turned. A successful save by any creature results in its enragement; it will immediately enter combat with the arathalian for at least five rounds. The arathalian may produce the aura at will but it affects any given creature only once per day. Evil arathalian may produce an Aura of Evil that has the same effects on Good creatures. Lawful Neutral arathalian may produce an Aura of Law with the same effects on Chaotic beings. True Neutral arathalian do not have this ability.
(4) The effective charisma of an arathalian is adjusted upward by +1 for every two levels when dealing with elves, and every three levels with humans and halflings. Effective charisma of greater than 18 is possible through this adjustment. In that case, the modifications to reactions, loyalty and morale, and henchmen number are applicable, but the arathalian does not produce divine awe.
The arathalian has a number of special powers having to do with its mount:
Arathalian have the Animal Empathy Ability as described for Rangers (PHB2) when considering any creature (animal or monster) that they could possibly ride. Any creature that has “Friendly” reaction to the arathalian will consent to serve as his steed. If the mount is of the same alignment as the arathalian, it will serve until dismissed. If it is of a different alignment, it will serve for a period of (30 days / HD). Considerable latitude is allowed in the selection of a mount, from giant tics to walking trees to rocs, provided the arathalian can come up with appropriate harness and tack. If the mount is of the temporary kind, it will refuse to enter into battle with creatures of greater HD than itself. Only one creature at a time will serve. The arathalian may dismiss the creature from his service at any time. All of the above information assumes that the creature is wild and has been chanced upon. Some arathalian used domesticated mounts, in which case reaction checks and terms of service do not apply.
After one month of constant contact (no absence greater than 24 hours) with a mount (wild or domesticated), the arathalian may make a Wisdom check. If successful, the basic empathetic bond has deepened into a telepathic link such as a mage shares with its familiar. The arathalian automatically feels the thoughts and emotions of its mount, and vice versa. By concentration, the arathalian may “see through the eyes” of its mount, provided the two are not more than a hundred yards apart. This extends to all the senses. Wordless commands may be given. If the two are in physical contact, then they share one another’s defenses and movement ability. For example, an arathalian and his mount with a telepathic link would be surprised as whichever of them had less chance, would save as whichever had the better save, etc. This extends to magical protections, so that a spell cast at the mount would be affected by the arathalian's ring of spell turning. A unicorn could transport its rider via dimension door. Only purely defensive, protective, and movement powers are shared this way (and not bless, haste, etc.). If the Wisdom check to establish the link was not successful, the arathalian may try again after another month of constant contact. Once a telepathic link has been made, it is not lost unless the mount and arathalian have been separated (no physical contact) for more than three months.
If an arathalian begins a new level with a linked mount, never spends more than one day at a time away from the mount during level advancement, and finally gains a new level, the mount is entitled to advance as well. If the mount has fewer HD than the new total for the arathalian, the mount gains one HD from the training process. This bonus HD exists only when the two are in close proximity (100 yards), otherwise the mount temporarily reverts to its normal properties. The HD gained affects attacks, saving throws, and hp as normal. Wounds are taken off the bonus hp first. If a mount is with the arathalian for more than one level, it can gain multiple HD in this manner. A mount that has gained HD from its connection with the arathalian does not age when in close proximity to the arathalian (or at least, it ages at the rate at which the arathalian does; elven aging being nearly zero).
At higher levels, arathalian gain the following special abilities:
(1) At 4th level, arathalian gain the ability to cast spells.
(2) At 7th level, arathalian may use the fighter combat options of block (Player’s Options), disarm (Player’s Options) and smash (Cyclopedia) with weapons of proficiency.
(3) At 10th level, an arathalian makes all riding proficiency checks with a -4 bonus.
(4) At 13th level, a linked mount with 10HD or more suffers no movement penalty and no damage for adverse terrain conditions so long as the arathalian is within 100 yards.
(5) At 16th level, a linked mount with 12HD or more may move at full normal land speed on the surface of water or underwater so long as the arathalian is within 100 yards. Both mount and arathalian are protected from the effects of pressure and have the equivalent of a water breathing spell in full effect, so long as they stay within range of one another. Other creatures may be brought with the arathalian and mount, subject to the encumbrance limits of the mount, but they are not imparted with immunity to pressure or the ability to breathe. The effects are maintained even if one or both of the pair fall unconscious, but if one of them is killed, the effects slowly fade, ending completely in 1 hour. This is a spell-like effect, not a spell, and it cannot be dispelled.
(6) At 19th level, a linked mount with 14HD or more may move at full normal land speed in the air as if flying so long as the arathalian is within 100 yards. Both mount and arathalian are protected from all adverse effects of wind, weather, and lack of oxygen so long as they stay within range. They take no damage, for example, from normal lightning and are not slowed by even gale-force winds. Other creatures may be brought with the arathalian and mount, subject to the encumbrance limits of the mount, but they are not imparted with immunity to weather or the ability to breathe. If either the mount or arathalian becomes unconscious, the pair settle slowly to the ground as if under a feather fall spell. If either the mount or arathalian is killed, the pair plummet to the ground. Damage upon impact is the standard 1d6 per 10’ fallen, to a maximum of 20d6. If at least one of the pair is conscious, damage is reduced by 1pt total per level or HD of the conscious party. This is a spell-like effect, not a spell, and it cannot be dispelled.
(7) At 21st level, a linked mount with 16HD or more and with the arathalian mounted may plane shift into the ethereal (border) or astral plane at will. Once there, movement and travel is as normal (moving to deep ethereal, passing through curtains and color pools, etc.). The pair is affected as normal by the ether cyclone and psychic wind. The two must both be living and in physical contact, though not necessarily conscious, to use the plane shift, for example, to later return to a prime plane, although other means of travel are still viable if only one of the pair is unconscious or dead or if they are separated. While the arathalian is mounted in the astral plane, the mount and arathalian may use their combined intelligence to set the rate for mental movement. No other living creatures may be brought with the pair when they plane shift. This is a spell-like effect, not a spell, and it cannot be dispelled.
Arathalian Level Progression
Level 1 HD 1 Title: Page XP 0
Level 2 HD 2 Title: Squire XP 3000
Level 3 HD 3 Title: Warrior XP 6000
Level 4 HD 4 Title: Noble Brother XP 12000
Level 5 HD 5 Title: Knight Bachelor XP 24000
Level 6 HD 6 Title: Knight Companion XP 48000
Level 7 HD 7 Title: Knight Banneret XP 96000
Level 8 HD 8 Title: Knight Commander XP 180,000
Level 9 HD 9 Title: Thalion XP 360,000
Level 10 HD 10 Title: Arathalian XP 480,000
Level 11 HD 11 XP 600,000
Level 12 HD 12 XP 850,000
Level 13 HD 12+2 XP 1,100,000
Level 14 HD 12+4 XP 1,350,000
Level 15 HD 12+6 XP 1,600,000
Level 16 HD 12+8 Title: Master Arathalian XP 1,850,000
Level 17 HD 12+10 XP 2,100,000
Level 18 HD 12+12 XP 2,350,000
Level 19 HD 12+14 XP 2,600,000
Level 20 HD 12+16 XP 2,850,000
Level 21 HD 12+18 Title: Supreme Arathalian XP 3,100,000
Arathalian Spell Progression
Level 4: 1 spell castable per day of 1 known (1st level), cast at 1st level ability
Level 5: 1 per day of 2 known (1st level), cast at 1st level
Level 6: 1 per day of 3 known (1st level), cast at 1st level
Level 7: 1 per day of 4 known (1st level), cast at 2nd level
Level 8: 2 per day of 4 known (1st level), cast at 2nd level
Level 9: 2 per day of 5 known (1st level), cast at 2nd level
Level 10: 2 per day of 6 known (1st level), cast at 3rd level
Level 11: 2/d of 6 kwn (1st), 1/d of 1 kwn (2nd), cast at 3nd
Level 12: 2/d of 6 kwn (1st), 1/d of 2 kwn (2nd), cast at 3nd
Level 13: 2/d of 6 kwn (1st), 1/d of 3 kwn (2nd), cast at 4th
Level 14: 2/d of 6 kwn (1st), 2/d of 3 kwn (2nd), cast at 4th
Level 15: 2/d of 6 kwn (1st), 2/d of 4 kwn (2nd), cast at 4th
Level 16: 2/d of 6 kwn (1st), 2/d of 5 kwn (2nd), cast at 5th
Level 17: 2/d of 6 kwn (1st), 2/d of 6 kwn (2nd), cast at 5th
Level 18: 3/d of 6 kwn (1st), 2/d of 6 kwn (2nd), cast at 5th
Level 19: 3/d of 7 kwn (1st), 2/d of 6 kwn (2nd), cast at 6th
Level 20: 3/d of 8 kwn (1st), 2/d of 6 kwn (2nd), cast at 6th
Level 21: 3/d of 9 kwn (1st), 2/d of 6 kwn (2nd), cast at 7th
Arathalian Training and Duties
Young and inexperienced arathalian are of low status within a noble house. They are not nobility themselves, and are treated as the rest of the normal staff of common warriors. The lucky ones serve as assistants to older arathalian, but most serve as normal guardsmen. Occasionally, exceptional ones are sent on minor missions, such as the delivery of important messages. The arathalian undertake these “quests” with great fervor, hoping to both gain experience and to prove themselves. Those with far-seeing or particularly indulgent patrons are allowed to go “adventuring” when not needed by the household. This does much to season the young warriors and often yields a return to the house’s treasury. Those arathalian who serve the clergy are typically assigned as messengers, temple guards, labor overseers, and bodyguards to traveling priests.
An arathalian who has achieved 4th level is generally regarded as having proven both his ability and loyalty. Sometime after reaching 4th level, arathalian are generally adopted as junior members of the house they are serving. At this point arathalian begin the study of magic. Hereafter, they are seen as much more useful to the house, and they also have a voice in house affairs. They are now respected members of the family, and serve the more important family members as personal guards, assistants, and weapons instructors. Often such duty is remarkably without challenge, and the long period of time spent at this level severely tests the loyalty of the arathalian. For those serving the clergy, the arathalian often take on lay clergy positions, such as Deacon or Sacristan, in addition to their guard duties.
After attaining 5th level, the arathalian is knighted. At this point, his noble house or church typically gives him gifts (such as fine armor or weapons), for he brings honor and prestige upon them. In return, the knight pledges renewed dedication to the honor and cause of the house. The title Knight Bachelor refers to the learning period of the new knight in this lowest stage of knighthood. The Bachelor joins the service of a higher level knight. Through adventures and day-to-day conduct the Bachelor learns the ropes of knighthood. If possible, this mentor is the highest-level arathalian in the house. When there is not a knight of sufficient rank within the house, Bachelors are sent off to serve a great knight in the service of an elven King or Queen. In this case, the arathalian is often away from his house for quite extended periods of time at this level, but is required to uphold their honor and interests wherever his training takes him. Arathalian who serve the elven clergy are at 5th level sent to train with the highest-level arathalian in the service of their faith, wherever in the world he might be.
At 6th level the arathalian attains Knight Companion status, and is considered a mature knight, no longer in training. At this point most arathalian settle in to a lifetime of service to their house or church, in whatever capacity they are called upon. Only in troubled times is there enough challenge to advance beyond this point.
Occasionally an arathalian of great merit or whose house requires constant dangerous service will achieve 7th level. At this point the arathalian is made a Knight Banneret. The Banneret refers to the fact that the Knight may now fly a banner from his lance, for he is awarded his own coat of arms and is considered a noble in his own right. At this point, the Knight becomes one of the leaders in his house, not its servant. He is entitled to hold property or collect dues of his own (for example, he might be given the tithe from every third elf in a specific village). He is now allowed to marry and to pass on property to his heirs. He is treated with the same courtesy and privilege shown to those who were born into the house. Those arathalian who serve the clergy often leave their specific church at this point. They either go questing or wander amongst all the churches of their faith, aiding each in turn. This behavior continues at higher levels.
An arathalian who reaches 8th level is a Knight Commander, the head of all troops in the household, including lesser knights. He is the direct subordinate of the house leader, and often serves as major domo or seneschal.
If the Knight reaches Thalion level (9th) he is a person of great power and importance and often holds lands and estates equal to anyone else in the house. He may be the de facto head of the house when the nominal head is young, old, infirm, or away. When the leader of a house dies or goes seeking Sehanine, and the house has a Thalion, the Thalion often assumes the official title of house leader. This may be temporary (as the Ward of a young heir) or permanent (as the spouse of an older heir, the Regent if there are multiple claimants, or simply as the chosen leader). If a Thalion does not eventually achieve this leadership position and continues to gain levels, he may become quite independent. In this case, he may “check in on” the house from time to time, but for the most part he has outgrown it and assumed a private adventuring life. Such arathalian become great traveling heroes, usually questing on behalf of the elven gods.
Note: drow, olve"