Pathfinder Player Companion: Knights of the Inner Sea (PFRPG)

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Pathfinder Player Companion: Knights of the Inner Sea (PFRPG)
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Unleash righteous fury and vanquish those who oppose your noble call to arms! Join the forces of good or evil in your pursuit to spread the word of your liege, or dedicate yourself to a religious or personal code of knightly conduct. Whether you’re a muscle-bound weapon of faith bedecked in steel plate or a spellcaster devoted to the god of magic, this volume offers countless options to those who walk the elite path of knighthood.

Knights of the Inner Sea presents a player-focused, in-depth discussion of what it means to be a knight on the world of Golarion, where every day is a trial against forces that seek to enslave or obliterate humanity, and it’s up to a stalwart few to fight back against the elements of corruption for the betterment of all. Every Pathfinder Player Companion includes new options and tools for every Pathfinder RPG player.

    Inside this book, you’ll find:
  • An in-depth analysis of the various kinds of knights that roam the Inner Sea region, and roles that help define exactly what these diverse orders stand for.
  • New spells, magic items, character options, and traits to help knightly adventurers distinguish themselves as glorious champions of their causes.
  • A detailed dissection of a knight’s armaments and her horse’s barding, as well as an exploration of heraldry and its function throughout the Inner Sea.
  • New rules for mounts both monstrous and bestial, including descriptions and traits for some of the Inner Sea’s most prominent breeds.
  • Rules for acquiring a loyal squire to aid a knight in her noble endeavors, including new archetypes to further specialize these stalwart sidekicks.

This Pathfinder Player Companion is intended for use with the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, but can easily be incorporated into any fantasy world.

Written by Dylan Birtolo, Gareth Hanrahan, Steve Kenson, Patrick Renie, Tork Shaw, and Jerome Virnich.

Each monthly 32-page Pathfinder Player Companion contains several player-focused articles exploring the volume’s theme as well as short articles with innovative new rules for all types of characters, as well as traits to better anchor the player to the campaign.

Note: Dylan Birtolo's name was inadvertently left off the credits page. Sorry about that, Dylan!

ISBN-13: 978-1-60125-460-3

Other Resources: This product is also available on the following platforms:

Hero Lab Online
Archives of Nethys

Note: This product is part of the Pathfinder Player Companion Subscription.

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Some useful bits

3/5

There was some more interesting information, e.g. on heraldry, mounts and the names of equipment. There was also a roll call of the various groupings of knights in the campaign world. However, I never really got a sense of what made the Knights unique as a class, and they just seemed like fighters with a title. The art was gorgeous.


More crunch and stats needed

3/5

This book did a great job of getting me interested in the various Knight options, but left me frustrated and wanting more details about actually rolling up and playing some of the types presented in the book. It would have been perfect if all of the crunch, or class stats had been presented. If nothing else , an index listing each knight class / prestige class / archetype and the book and page number it could be found in would have been very helpful. Some of the class options do have the reference book listed, but this information is spread throughout the book and is very confusing or hard to find. This player companion would have been perfect if it had been expanded to include all of the stats and class information necesary to roll up a character or add a prestige class with this as the ultimate reference guide.


Worthy!

4/5

A fine little booklet. This one covers the primary Knightly orders of the Inner Sea, their organization, and motivations. Worth is alone for the wonderful 2 page art spread of the Cavalier iconic with a discection of all this gear and horse. Seriously, just a handy booklet. The info on the squire rules is great and the spells in the book are USEFUL! My only serious gripe is a lot of the Knightly orders this book covers are in the Inner Sea Guide and Paths of Prestige. Pick those up to get the full use out of this book.


Knights Galore!

5/5

When I first learned that Paizo was working on a book about knights in the Inner Sea region, I was thrilled beyond belief. As a fan of the Dragonlance setting, I've been using knights in my games pretty much since my first game as a GM and I still do, fascinated as I am by the notion of knightly orders and the wide variety of motivations that drive these knightly orders and the individual knights within them to excel.

Fast forward a few months and I've finally had a chance to actually read Knights of the Inner Sea. I'm pleased with the result and I'll tell you why.

LAYOUT
The book follows the new format introduced in Varisia: Birthplace of Legends. 32 pages jam packed with information to help gamers bring the subjects contained in the book to the gaming table. Each topic in the book is given 1 page (For Your Character, Rules Index, Knights and Religion, Knights and Race) or 2 pages (Knights Overview, Eagle Knights, Hellknights, Knights of Ozem, Mendevian Crusaders, Other Knightly Orders, Anatomy of the Knight, Squires, Mounts, Cavalier Orders, Knightly Codes and Traits, The Spells of Serren, Magic Items), providing a fast and furious pace to the information given.

This, of course, requires that the text is clear and well written, and I feel that's the case in Knights of the Inner Sea. The text is easy to understand and written in a way that certainly inspired me. I also like that each turn of the page presents a new topic relevant to knighthoods in the Inner Sea. In a product as short as the books in the Player Companion line are, you can't afford to spend too much time dwelling on a single topic.

Every inch of the book has been utilized, including the inside covers. The front inside cover provides an overview of 4 knightly heritages, showcasing the differences within knightly heritages from various regions in the Inner Sea. This overview is just that. It's not a detailed essay on the history and personalities of each house, but rather a few short nuggets of information to inspire players and GMs alike to explore the notion of noble houses and knighthood in their own games. This, I think, is what Paizo does best. They provide us gamers with nuggets that allow us to add depth to our games. The back inside cover is all about mounts, focusing on the mundane sort such as horses and hounds. Once again, the information is precise, providing a brief description, a reference to a relevant stat block and book, and a game mechanic associated with the mount.

Following the trend started by Varisia: Birthplace of Legends, Knights of the Inner Sea is all about making things easy for the players. From the sidebar Questions to Ask Your GM through the Rules Index to the centerfold providing a visual breakdown of a knight's armor and equipment (as well as that of his mount), Knights of the Inner Sea does its utmost to ensure that any player contemplating playing a knight has as much information as he needs to get started. I really like that. As a veteran player, I like to think I know my way around the game, but even so, the book makes my life much easier when it comes to knightly characters. For instance, before Knights of the Inner Sea, I didn't know the name of every single component of a typical knight's arms and armor. I do now. The Questions to Ask Your GM segment is just common sense. Don't create a mounted knight if your GM intends to run an all-Darklands campaign for your group, for instance.

The greatest thing about the layout in the new format is that it no longer follows a set formular with specific sections that have to be in each book (such as Social, Faith, etc.). The content and the way it's laid out is adjusted to the needs of the subject matter. Of course you'll still see certain things in each installment going forward, such as the centerfold, but this seems far less forced than was the case with the old layout for the Pathfinder Player Companion Line.

FLUFF
If you're looking for obscure knightly orders or even detailed essays on the major knightly orders of the setting, this is not the book for you. There are two reasons for this. First, this book isn't big enough for that kind of thing, considering the large topic the book tries to cover. Second, Paizo's strength when it comes to fluff lies in whetting the appetite. In planting countless sparks with which to ignite the creative fire.

So what can you expect from the fluff in this book? Knights of the Inner Sea discusses what it means to be a knight in the Inner Sea region, covering such topics as types of knights, how religion affects a knight, and racial differences. In addition, seven specific knightly orders are presented. All of this with enough detail to help a player create a knightly character. So somewhat basic, well-written information. If you're a living Golarion encyclopedia the amount of new fluff is limited but, considering the purpose of the book, that's not a bad thing.

My personal favorite part of the fluff in the book is the centerfold. I've mentioned this before but it deserves a second mention. The Anatomy of the Knight section is brilliant and it's something I'll be referencing a lot both as a player and as a GM.

CRUNCH
There are several interesting crunchy parts to this book. We get feats, traits, cavalier orders, spells, and magic items. But while these are, for the most part, cool and tailormade for knightly characters, I want to focus on roles, squires, and mounts.

Roles are a new feature that was premiered in Varisia: Birthplace of Legends. Some of you may not have access to that book so here's a brief description of what a role is. Basically, it's advice. Want to play a Gallowspire Warden (Knights of Ozem specializing in the patrolling of the Hungry Mountains and the prison of the Whispering Tyrant)? The Gallowspire Warden role lists options that help you build a fitting concept. Classes, archetypes, skill, feats, prestige classes, and equipment are suggested and the persona typical to Gallowspire Wardens is described.

Roles are clearly meant for new players and veteran players who don't have the time and/or the desire to go through the many books published for Pathfinder (the game AND the setting). As such, it's an invaluable resource, certainly for new players for whom the prospect of browsing through thousands of pages just to find the right game mechanics can be a daunting one.

The disadvantage, I think, that roles have is that, for a large portion of the player base, myself included, they fill a lot of real estate. Space that many will think could have been put to much better use either fleshing out some more fluff or presenting more new game mechanics. In the case of Knights of the Inner Sea, 4 pages have been dedicated to advice on how to build specific character concepts. I don't see myself using roles to create my characters and as such, I would have prefered something else. I realize, though, that I'm far from the only customer Paizo has to take into consideration, and roles serve their purpose quite well, I think.

Squires are handled via a feat. It's basically a minor version of the Leadership feat that allows you to gain a single cohort. When you reach seventh level, the Squire feat upgrades to Leadership. Pretty cool even if the prerequisite level seems a bit off. The really cool thing, though, is the addition of squire-specific archetypes that come along with the feat. While the archetypes can certainly be taken by any character of might qualify for them, they're intended to be taken by squires. The archetypes are Combat Healer Squire (paladin), Gunner Squire (gunslinger), Herald Squire (cavalier), and Weapon Bearer Squire (fighter). All in all a fun way of handling squires in the game.

Any self-respecting knight rides into battle on a war-trained steed and Knights of the Inner Sea has that aspect covered quite well, I think. The book divides mounts into two categories - Animal Mounts and Monstrous Mounts. We'll get to the animal mounts in a bit but first let's discuss the monstrous mounts. 13 monstrous mounts are featured in the book (blink dog, dragon horse, young dragon, dragonne, giant owl, griffon, hell hound, kirin, pegasus, shadow mastiff, sleipnir, unicorn, and worg). Although no new game mechanics dealing with monstrous mounts are introduced, the section does a nice job of describing how each monstrous mount might serve a knight. In addition, a page reference is given, allowing the reader to quickly look up the monster in the relevant book, and a Cohort Level is given. Very useful to any player contemplating getting a monstrous mount.

Animal mounts are featured on the inside back cover of the book. In all, 5 horses (chiadmar, Dort charger, fell pony, Lastwall jasper, and Taldor jennet) and 3 non-horse mounts (Chernasado riding elk, Erutaki husky, and Qadiran dromedary) are listed on the page. Each entry contains a short description, a page reference, and a trait. Not only do we get a bunch of Golarion-specific mounts to add some flavor to our knights (as opposed to the standard Core Rulebook heavy or light horse), but each mount comes with a trait. While this trait counts against a character's total traits, whenever you switch to a new type of mount (say, from Dort charger to Lastwall jasper), you also switch traits, losing the trait you with before and gaining the trait associated with the new type of mount. I absolutely love this, as it adds a nice bit of crunch to campaigns and adventures in which mounts make sense.

CONCLUSION
So how does this 32-page book on knights handle itself? Quite well as it turns out. The book's purpose is to provide players with enough material for them to be able to play knightly characters. It does that perfectly, I think. Knights of the Inner Sea provides details on some of the most popular knightly orders on Golarion, it contains rules for mounts and squires, it provides sample knightly heritages, it breaks down the importance of religion and how the different races approach the concept of knighthood, it visually describes a knight's arms and armor as well as that of his mount, it provides magic equipment and spells, it provides plenty of suggestions through roles, and overall it does so in a well-written and inspiring manner. If you expect the book to go deeper, providing material on more obscure knightly orders or game mechanics to really take your knight to the next level, you'll be disappointed. But if you expect this book to equip you with enough fluff and crunch to create that archetypical knight, this book has you covered.

My only two sour grapes are roles and some of the artwork. While roles work very well for what they're supposed to do, for me personally and the kind of gamer I am, its usefulness will be limited and it'll take up a lot of real estate that I might have wanted spent differently. Again, if you're new to Pathfinder or you're one of the MANY gamers who don't think it's particularly fun to browse through book after book after book to find the fitting game mechanics, roles will be a boon. As such, it's not something that'll detract from my overall impression of the book. Roles may not be useful to me personally but for a lot of gamers, they certainly will, and they work well.

The majority of the artwork in this book is quite decent. However, there are three pieces that did not sit well with me, specifically the artwork for the Hellknight, the Knight of Ozem, and the Mendevian Crusader. Artwork is a very subjective part of any roleplaying supplement, and for me those pieces did not do a good job at all visually describing typical representatives of the three orders. Other than those three pieces, the artwork in the book worked well enough, particularly the centerfold and the three panoramic pieces.

All in all, a very useful book that should help a lot of players realize their knightly character concepts. It's certainly inspired me.


Packed with Knightly Virtue

5/5

Honestly the layout of the book took me back in time, I felt I was reading a Dragon Magazine all over again. I actually had to get used to the layout, I'm so used to being assulted by lengthy blocks of text.
So 5 out of 5 there.
My group enjoys playing knightly roles so this will be a big hit with them, I know it was for me.
Sure I would have loved further listings of noble houses and less on some of the revised material, like cut the Eagle Knight & revise the Lion Blade etc. But outside of that it offered a lot of fun info to play a knightly character, and sadly the Cavalier never gets the attention it's due. One of my favorite classes if you couldn't tell.
So all you hard working fellows & ladies at Paizo, keep up the great work!


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Merkatz wrote:

Since this is a Player Companion, I was really looking forward to this as a player. However, as a player I feel like that this book is just full of super specific options that I'm probably never going to use. So much of this books is spent on roles and traits for organizations that I just don't ever see PCs joining. There is just so much trouble involved with a PC joining one of these orders. That's why the knights that I have seen played are usually the knight-errant type with simple ties to certain areas, religions, or ideals.

But am I the only one he sees it that way? Unless you are playing in a really specific campaign, isn't it really disruptive when one player decides to become a Hellknight for instance? What does the rest of the party do while that person is training to become a Hellnight, is taking his Test, and then getting orders to carry out from his superiors. Do they just go along with the Hellnight? Or does the Hellnight order let its new initiates go "adventuring" with random people all the time?

And that brings up another point. Do you let 1st level characters call themselves Hellknights? Even though it says that they must face a life-or-death challenge vs a devil to become one? If not, then the only way to take any of those traits is via the Extra Traits feat, which pushes these traits even further away from ever being used.

I had other problems with this book as well. I mean, there is an entire page dedicated to saying that dwarven knights don't use mounts, wear heavy armor, and wield two handed weapons, while elves use light armor, bows, and majestic beasts. Nothing even remotely new there. And Squire grants you a cohort 2 levels earlier than leadership, but because he is 1st level he is in constant danger of being knocked out (or even outright killed) by a single CR appropriate AoE attack.

The only things I may use from this book are the Carry Companion spell, which is awesome; the Cavalier Orders, which are okay; and the Knightly Code Traits, which are finally Traits...

Honestly quite a lot of options are that way from most of the books IF you are running a AP. Now if you are running a homebrew game while just using Golarion as the setting that will open up a lot of the options.

Liberty's Edge

You can usually determine the gender for the art by which pronouns they are using in the text.


Wolfsnap wrote:
bigkilla wrote:
Patrick Renie wrote:


Ah, good catch! The prerequisite character level for this feat should actually be 3rd, not 4th.
This.
Actually, I don't think that can be right. The rules for the squire feat say that the squire needs to be at least three levels lower than the PC, which is impossible before 4th level (unless the squire is 0-level?

Indeed. It still doesn't make any sense.

What happened to the squire?

Paizo Employee Developer

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Arnwyn wrote:
Wolfsnap wrote:
bigkilla wrote:
Patrick Renie wrote:


Ah, good catch! The prerequisite character level for this feat should actually be 3rd, not 4th.
This.
Actually, I don't think that can be right. The rules for the squire feat say that the squire needs to be at least three levels lower than the PC, which is impossible before 4th level (unless the squire is 0-level?

Indeed. It still doesn't make any sense.

What happened to the squire?

Ah, sorry I missed this!

This feat should be available to 3rd-level characters. If I were to house-rule the discrepancies caused by making this change, I would say that the squire needs to be at least 2 levels lower than the PC if the PC gained the feat at 3rd level, then 3 levels lower when the PC reaches 4th level and thereafter.


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Patrick Renie wrote:
Arnwyn wrote:
Wolfsnap wrote:
bigkilla wrote:
Patrick Renie wrote:


Ah, good catch! The prerequisite character level for this feat should actually be 3rd, not 4th.
This.
Actually, I don't think that can be right. The rules for the squire feat say that the squire needs to be at least three levels lower than the PC, which is impossible before 4th level (unless the squire is 0-level?

Indeed. It still doesn't make any sense.

What happened to the squire?

Ah, sorry I missed this!

This feat should be available to 3rd-level characters. If I were to house-rule the discrepancies caused by making this change, I would say that the squire needs to be at least 2 levels lower than the PC if the PC gained the feat at 3rd level, then 3 levels lower when the PC reaches 4th level and thereafter.

Another workaround to this, which doesn't make it full leadership for 3rd level, is to build the squire as a 1st level NPC class aristocrat or warrior, who then is rebuilt as a heroic class when the PC is 4th level.

Since NPC classes count at one power level less than PC classes(CR), that sorts out the math, and the transformation after getting some experience with the PC supports the concept of the squire being a knight in training.


Mathwei ap Niall wrote:
Actually it's a printing error, my hard copy doesn't have target line but my PDF copy does. Take a look at Serren's Swift Girding and remove the target line and you'll see why I was so amazed it made it through editing.

I've done a backtrack of what occurred with the creation of this PDF and am thoroughly stumped. Would you mind sending in a screenshot? We do not create PDFs until after editing is completed.

Liberty's Edge

Chris Lambertz wrote:
Mathwei ap Niall wrote:
Actually it's a printing error, my hard copy doesn't have target line but my PDF copy does. Take a look at Serren's Swift Girding and remove the target line and you'll see why I was so amazed it made it through editing.
I've done a backtrack of what occurred with the creation of this PDF and am thoroughly stumped. Would you mind sending in a screenshot? We do not create PDFs until after editing is completed.

I believe he is saying that his print copy is missing the line and that his PDF copy if fine.

I double checked my physical copy of the book and my copy is fine.


I have a question regarding Serren's Swift Girding. The spell's Components line is as follows:

Quote:
Components V, S, M (the armor to be worn)

Note: I added the italics myself.

My question is: Shouldn't that have been Focus instead of Material? Spells consume material components when the spells are cast, but that is not what happens here. Serren's Swift Girding doesn't consume the armor, it simply teleports it. And the same armor could be used as the focus for multiple castings of the spell, assuming the armor was empty at the time of each casting. That sounds a bit more like a spell focus rather than a material component.

Paizo Employee Developer

bishop083 wrote:
I have a question regarding Serren's Swift Girding. The spell's Components line is as follows:
Quote:
Components V, S, M (the armor to be worn)

Note: I added the italics myself.

My question is: Shouldn't that have been Focus instead of Material? Spells consume material components when the spells are cast, but that is not what happens here. Serren's Swift Girding doesn't consume the armor, it simply teleports it. And the same armor could be used as the focus for multiple castings of the spell, assuming the armor was empty at the time of each casting. That sounds a bit more like a spell focus rather than a material component.

Yep, that's correct. This line of the spell stat block should have been "Components V, S, F (the armor to be worn)".


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens Subscriber

I loved the heraldic devices on the front cover. And I liked the fluff parts -- the anatomy of a knight, heraldry, religion tie-ins and orders. Great stuff for someone wanting to immerse his/her PC in knightly flavor.

Nothing wrong with the Squire archetypes and the roles; I like the idea of "those in this role often use X" for those who want to model their PCs like that.

However, my disappointment came from the 'meh' Cavalier orders and the significant lack of inclusion of something for mount/companion classes — in particular, for Cavaliers. With the title of the book being "Knights of the Inner Sea," I anticipated something like that and did not receive it.

Honestly, had I paged through this in the store rather than ordered it online, I don't think I'd've decided to purchase it. It marks the first time in memory I've been legitimately unhappy with a Paizo book.

That said, I've enjoyed the other two books I purchased at the same time as this one, so I'm hopeful this was an isolated incident for me.


Since the Squire seems to be generating a lot of questions...If an archetype grants proficiency with all martial weapons, can a squire take levels in that? Lets say if a cleric got all martial weapon proficiency somehow. Or rather, what are these significant restrictions in place, to easier judge what the intent is given future archetypes?

Paizo Employee Developer

Cheapy wrote:
Since the Squire seems to be generating a lot of questions...If an archetype grants proficiency with all martial weapons, can a squire take levels in that? Lets say if a cleric got all martial weapon proficiency somehow. Or rather, what are these significant restrictions in place, to easier judge what the intent is given future archetypes?

Yes. As long as the squire's class (including any archetypes) grants her proficiency with all martial weapons at 1st level, she can become a squire.

This restriction is meant to ensure that a character's squire can adequately aid the knight in combat, since most knights make use of a variety of weapons, many of which are martial. An appropriate analogy can be found in golf: after all, a caddy who lacks proficiency with all golf clubs is hardly of use to a golfer.

While the argument might be made that not all knights use martial weapons (such as spellcasting knights) and thus a squire needn't necessarily have such proficiency, this feat is designed for knights of a more traditional mien. Individual GMs may likely allow exceptions to this rule for character concepts that warrant such deviation, of course.


Excellent, thanks. I thought the restrictions may have been put in place to prevent things like full-spellcasters, but I guess not.

Any chance of the Dungeoneer's Handbook having a similar feat, but say for trap-finders?


Does an Order of the Land cavalier qualify for the Nature Warden PrC?

Paizo Employee Developer

Bardess wrote:
Does an Order of the Land cavalier qualify for the Nature Warden PrC?

Since the nature warden PrC calls for the wild empathy class feature, an Order of the Land cavalier couldn't become a nature warden without multiclassing. Additionally, although the Order of the Land cavalier's terrain training ability is similar to the favored terrain ability, they have different names; so RAW, that ability doesn't qualify for the prerequisite of the nature warden, though I think most GMs would find it reasonable to allow an exception in this case.


Question: Why does "Order of the Penitent" say that it adds Sense Motive to the cavalier's class skills? It is already a skill for the cavalier.

Paizo Employee Developer

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Raymond Cundliffe wrote:
Question: Why does "Order of the Penitent" say that it adds Sense Motive to the cavalier's class skills? It is already a skill for the cavalier.

Whoops! That's an error. Replace "Sense Motive" with "Sleight of Hand." Sorry about the confusion!


Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

The spell keep watch on page 28 is listed simply as "School enchantment". This is at least missing the mind-affecting descriptor, and quite possibly it should have a subschool – I think it should be a compulsion.

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