“Does your stout armor give you peace of mind? Does your holy sword help you sleep at night? Mine do not.”
—Ambros Brasmere, gray guard
The typical image of a paladin is a proud knight of noble bearing, resplendent in armor bright as sunlight and bearing a sword shining with the purity of his cause. This archetype, upheld by both idealistic knights and their enemies, has killed countless honorable warriors. Taking
a cue from the enemies of their faith, many good-aligned religions have established secretive orders of the most dedicated and hardened soldiers. These gray guards are less restrained by their knightly vows, doing what must be done, no matter how unpleasant.
Hit Dice: d10
- Alignment: Lawful good.
- Skills: Knowledge (religion) 8 ranks, Sense Motive 4 ranks.
- Special: Lay on hands class feature.
- Special: Must adhere to a code of conduct that prevents the character from performing evil acts.
Class Skills: (2+Int modifier per level)
Bluff, Concentration, Disguise, Forgery, Handle Animal, Heal, Intimidate, Knowledge, Ride, Sense Motive.
|Level||BAB||Fort Save||Ref Save||Will Save||Special||Spellcasting|
|1st||+1||+2||+0||+2||Sacrament of trust, lay on hands||—|
|2nd||+2||+3||+0||+3||Debilitating touch||+1 level of existing divine spellcasting class|
|3rd||+3||+3||+1||+3||Smite evil 1/day||—|
|4th||+4||+4||+1||+4||Justice blade (chaos)||+1 level of existing divine spellcasting class|
|6th||+6||+5||+2||+5||—||+1 level of existing divine spellcasting class|
|8th||+8||+6||+2||+6||Smite evil 2/day||+1 level of existing divine spellcasting class|
|9th||+9||+6||+3||+6||Justice blade (all alignments)||—|
|10th||+10||+7||+3||+7||Sacrament of the true faith||+1 level of existing divine spellcasting class|
Spellcasting: At each even-numbered level, you gain new spells per day and an increase in caster level (and spells known, if applicable) as if you had also gained a level in a divine spellcasting class to which you belonged before adding the prestige class level. You do not, however, gain any other beneit a character of that class would have gained. If you had more than one divine spellcasting class before
becoming a gray guard, you must decide to which class to add each level for the purpose of determining spells per day, caster level, and spells known.
Sacrament of Trust: Upon entering this prestige class, you take a vow of allegiance to your faith beyond that of any ordinary paladin. This vow grants you a measure of freedom to act on your cause’s behalf without fear of retribution should your duties require you to break your code of conduct. Dishonorable acts still cause you to lose both gray guard and paladin class features until you atone, but this infraction is considered much less severe than it would be for a paladin.
Thus, whenever you seek to atone for deeds that you willingly commit in the name of your faith but that break your code of conduct, a cleric casting an atonement spell on your behalf does not expend 500 XP as is normally required. This reprieve applies only to acts intended to
further the cause of righteousness and the gray guard’s faith. No XP cost applies to a gray guard atoning after beating a confession from a heretic, for example, but the cost would have to be paid for one who started a bar room brawl.
Lay on Hands (Su): This ability is identical to the paladin class feature of the same name. Levels of gray guard stack with other class levels that grant lay on hands to determine the ability’s total healing capacity.
Debilitating Touch (Su): At 2nd level, you learn to channel your lay on hands ability into a painful touch attack. Many gray guards use debilitating touch during interrogation, since it reduces the target’s ability to successfully bluff or resist magical effects. Using debilitating touch does not provoke attacks of opportunity. An opponent hit by this attack is sickened for 5 rounds. Using this ability costs 5 points of your daily healing allotment. A successful Fortitude save (DC 10 + your gray guard level + your Cha modiier) negates the effect.
Smite Evil (Su): Beginning at 3rd level, you can smite evil once per day. See the paladin class feature. At 8th level, you can smite evil one additional time per day. Levels of other classes that grant the smite evil class feature stack for the purpose of determining the extra damage
dealt. For example, a 5th-level paladin/5th-level gray guard delivering a smite evil attack adds 10 points of damage to the attack.
Justice Blade (Su): By 4th level, you have learned that suffering and injustice are not the exclusive province of evil. You can use your smite evil ability to instead punish creatures of chaotic alignment. Using this ability expends one daily use of your smite evil class feature and works identically in all other ways, but its effect applies only to chaotic targets. Whenever you choose to smite an opponent, you must declare whether you are using this ability to smite evil or chaos. If you accidentally smite a creature of an alignment other than that declared, the smite has no effect but the ability is still used up.
Beginning at 9th level, you can use justice blade to smite creatures of any alignment. You need not declare an alignment before making the smite attack, although if the attack misses, that use of smite is still used up for the day.
Devastating Touch (Su): When you attain 5th level, your deity shows its approval of your grim work. From this point on, you can use your lay on hands ability to make a touch attack that harms your enemies. Using devastating touch does not provoke attacks of opportunity. You decide
how many points of your daily healing allotment to expend after successfully touching a creature: Each point expended deals 1 point of damage to the target. A non-evil creature is allowed a Will save (DC 10 + your gray guard level + your Cha modifier) to halve the amount of damage dealt.
Unbound Justice (Ex): At 7th level, unrestricted by your code of honor, you can employ unorthodox methods that are all the more effective because they’re unexpected. You add half your gray guard level (round down) as a competence bonus on Bluff, Disguise, and Intimidate skill checks.
Sacrament of the True Faith: At 10th level, you gain your order’s full conidence. You are granted the freedom to act on behalf of your faith as you deem necessary. Thus, you never risk losing your class abilities in the pursuit of a just cause and never need to atone for violating your code of conduct.
This trust does not grant you the freedom to act as violently or immorally as you wish, however. Release from your code of conduct depends on your acting as an exemplar of your order’s ideals. If you violate this trust by habitually acting in an immoral or corrupt manner, the leaders or deity of your faith might revoke their blessing and banish you from the ranks of the faithful (see Ex-Gray Guards, below).
Code of Conduct: As a gray guard, you are held to the same code of conduct as a paladin. You must be of lawful good alignment and must never willingly commit an evil act. You must also pledge to respect legitimate authority, act with honor (not lying, cheating, using poison, and the like), aid the needy, and punish those who harm the innocent. If you contravene your code of conduct, you must atone for the transgression or lose all class abilities from both gray guard and paladin levels. As you advance in the prestige class, this code becomes more lexible. However, its tenets still apply: You can never break your code without good reason.
Multiclassing: Gray guards can freely multiclass between paladin and gray guard.
As a gray guard, you are less at risk of permanently losing your abilities than a paladin is. You might lose them temporarily for committing dishonorable acts, but you are granted clemency for performing such deeds in the name of your faith and can atone more easily. Nevertheless, if you commit unforgivably evil acts (such as slaughtering innocents or despoiling a temple of your faith), take action that opposes your faith’s tenets, or habitually violate your code of conduct, you risk permanent expulsion from the holy order.
If at any time your deity or a jury of your faith’s leaders inds you guilty of grossly abusing the freedom of the order, you permanently lose both gray guard and paladin class abilities (including the service of your special mount, but not weapon, armor, and shield proiciencies) and can never again advance in either class. Even the atonement spell cannot restore a fallen gray guard’s abilities after he is exiled. Before a character enters this prestige class, his player and the DM should discuss and agree on what acts constitute gross abuse.
Levels of gray guard are treated as levels of paladin for the purpose of advancing in the blackguard prestige class.