Legendary Cavaliers PDF

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Master the Battlefield!

Legendary Cavaliers

is the latest volume in our new series of class-focused player supplements, this time focusing on the most noble of classes; the honor bound warriors known as cavaliers. These knights in shining armor astride their faithful mounts command their fellow adventurers as battlefield leaders, but this book helps cavaliers become so much more! There are class features, options, and rules compatible with the standard cavalier, but you'll also find a legendary cavalier class redesigned from the ground up to truly shine in more than just mounted combat. Your potent Commander's Aura grants greater benefits to your allies, while your Knight's Renown cements your ability to command respect from others. New archetypes grant exotic mounts like the Draconic Avenger and Pegasus Knight taking to the skies with an elegant fury, while the Dreadnaught casts aside a mount in order stand as a bulwark on the battlefield and the Hound Master unleashes the hounds with unquestioned loyalty and ferocity. Add the lethal Lancer prestige class along with new feats, magic items, and a sample legendary cavalier ready to use in your campaign and you have an indispensable reference for the most chivalrous of classes! Grab this amazing 42-page Pathfinder Roleplaying Game supplement today and Make Your Game Legendary!

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An Endzeitgeist.com review

5/5

This installment of Legendary Games‘ class rewrites clocks in at 42 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page inside of front cover, 1 page editorial, 2 pages of introduction, 1 page ToC, 2 pages of SRD, 1 page advertisement, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 32 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

We start this supplement with the break-down of the cavalier rewrite, and oh boy, does the class need one, so what does the Legendary Cavalier bring to the table? Well, chassis-wise, the class gets d10 HD, 4 + Int skills per modifier, proficiency with simple and martial weapons and all types or armor as well as shields, minus tower shields, and full BAB plus good Fort- and Will-saves. The class begins play with mount, which gets Light Armor Proficiency – but in an important caveat, it does treat Light Armor Proficiency as share spells, which will allow for plenty of companion modifications. It’s a small line, but an excellent one. Another small, but important caveat: The legendary cavalier’s mount, should the old one die, does gain the full ability array and is not basically nigh-useless until the next level attained, so yeah, the base mount ability has been improved. Additionally, the cavalier gets noble steed at first level, which translates to a +1 morale bonus on attack rolls with natural attacks at 1st level, which improves by another +1 at 5th level and every 4 levels thereafter. I like the higher level improvements, but I don’t think the 1st level bonus was required, considering how deadly the mount can already be at first level, but I digress. At 4th level, the mount may ignore difficult terrain while charging and being ridden and 10th level makes this always on while being ridden, not just when charging.

At 6th level, we get the means to treat the mount as smaller, making it more dungeon exploration-friendly (though ladders etc. still remain a problem). Still, kudos! 7th level nets DR 2/- to the mount while riding, which increases by 1 at 11th level and every 4 levels thereafter. Also at this level, we get a crucial ability: “Risky Lunge” – this allows for a move action to only be 5 ft. and count as a charge, but at -2 AC for cavalier and mount. This allows for some seriously wicked reach trickery and unlocks a whole new array of tactical builds that don’t require straight charging into the fray. 13th level makes the mount count as one size category larger for the purpose of natural weapon attacks, and this increase thankfully doesn’t scale with others. At 9th level, as long as the legendary cavalier is within 60 ft. of it and the mount is above 0 hit points, the cavalier gets Diehard and Deathless Initiate, regardless of prerequisites, which upgrades at 17th level to apply even if the cavalier would be dead! And yes, this allows for healing back up. Pretty awesome. Cavalier’s charge, mighty charge and supreme charge are retained, though the latter is moved down one level to 19th level.

12th level nets steed’s parry, which allows the cavalier to expend 2 rounds of commander’s aura as an immediate action to make a Ride check against the incoming attack roll, halving damage and applying it to the mount instead on a success. I usually cringe whenever I read “parry” in class abilities, as most mechanics are plain broken – this one works really well. What is the commander’s aura? I’m glad you asked!

The most obvious change of pace would be the commander’s aura, which may be maintained for 4 + Charisma modifier rounds per day, activated as a move action and maintained as a free action. Every level beyond 1st adds +2 rounds to the aura’s daily allotment. It has 9 different benefits, extends 60 feet (+20 feet at 5th level and every 4 levels thereafter) and is correctly codified regarding the types of effect it is treated as. The effects include scaling DR, fast healing, temporary hit points, AC and weapon damage boosts, energy resistance (sonic is an option!), CMB, movement and save bonuses. I LOVE this. Meaningful tactics and round-by-round agenda every single time. Plus, the cavalier is rewarded for not dumpstatting Charisma. (Oh and yeah, benefits may be switched as a swift action, starting at 7th as an immediate action.) This improvement alone makes the Legendary Cavalier already infinitely better than its regular iteration. This is further enhanced at 4th level, where the cavalier gets commander’s shout – this ability allows the cavalier to spend 4 rounds of the ability to grant an ally an additional move action on their turn, but an ally may only benefit from the like once per day, even from different legendary cavaliers (VERY important catch! Kudos!). 10th level nets the option to grant an additional standard action instead, though this can’t be used for spellcasting or SPs – until 16th level. 20th level nets a move and standard action that may be combined into a full-round action. Love it!

That’s not all! At 8th level, the cavalier gets chivalry’s call – a swift action shout that costs 3 rounds of the aura and affects a target in its range, allowing said target to reroll their Will-save, using the cavalier’s Will-save bonus if it’s higher. 10th level unlocks two of the aura benefits at once (no additional cost in rounds). 15th level allows the cavalier to select an ally to move up to their speed or make an attack when they reduce a target to 0 hp or below. And yes, this is bag of kittens proofed. At 18th level, the cavalier may spend 4 rounds of the aura while making an attack to prompt the target to require to save or be stunned for 1 round; additionally, thereafter, for Charisma modifier rounds, the target needs to save to continue attacking the cavalier.

Ähem, where was I? 1st level also nets order, but the engine has been revamped there as well – I’ll get to orders below. Banner is gained at 2nd level, and its improvements have been tweaked to apply on 10th and 18th level instead. Greater banner, at 14th level, has been tweaked – its primary save boost is retained, but instead of a reroll, we have Diehard for allies in range, which fits imho better. At 2nd level, the cavalier gets +1/2 class level to Diplomacy, and 5th level nets the skill unlock for Diplomacy. I know, right? It suddenly feels like you’re looking at a knight, not an armored and mounted murder-hobo! 3rd level nets renown, 8th level great renown and 14th level incredible renown. Minor nitpick – these are social talents, not vigilante talents. 5th level nets a social talent (erroneously called vigilante talent twice) from a list, and 11th and 17th level net another. The capstone, btw. – renown in massive, huge metropolis! (In addition to aforementioned abilities with a more combat-centric application.)

Pertaining orders: The pdf presents 11 orders, and they all have a signature skill. Every cavalier level, the cavalier gets a bonus skill rank and treat said skill as a class skill, with 8th level providing the skill unlock for the signature skill. Oh, and guess what? There is an option for being orderless! And another, important thing: Each order not only comes with a brief flavor text, it also provides a unique application of commander’s aura! The order of the beyond allows, for example, to treat all allied weapons as aligned! Ouch! Temporary skill grants, scaling DR-bypassing, quick and better Survival and Stealth, cavaliers taking ½ damage of allies, and what about allies preventing 5-foot steps and withdraw on a failed save? Better Stealth and demoralizing, etc. also can be found here. In short: The orders have been properly rewired to account for the vastly improved base class engine. Additionally, we get no less than 6 different favored class options for all races, allowing for +1 round, more mount hp, increased movement rate, darkvision, etc.. Liked these!

The class customization is not done! We can also choose two variant proficiency loadouts – one nets you, for example, tower shield proficiency in exchange for ranged martial proficiency, and another allows for exotic weapon use at 1st level. The dual aura ability may be exchanged with challenge if you really want that one back. Instead of the auras and dual aura, you can have weapon training – loss of these doesn’t render the ability useless, due to the follow up abilities. Reduced commander’s aura is also presented here (oddly, thrice – it’s literally the same text, three times. Weird cut copy paste glitch, but doesn’t hurt anyone.) Favored enemy is an option as well. Banner and greater banner may be exchanged for wild empathy, fast movement or fast rider. The renown/court angle may be exchanged for rogue talents, favored terrain or maneuver training; rider’s bond may be replaced with stalwart (not a fan) or uncanny dodge. The charge abilities (beyond the basics) may be exchanged for combat style or martial flexibility. So yeah, you can play brawling hedgeknight, criminal deserters, etc.

The pdf also comes with 11 archetypes: Draconic avenger nets you a drake companion mount (not to be used with Legendary Games’ Wyrmtouched without the feat-chain – kudos for accounting for that!), and the archetype loses the charge/risky lunge array. Dreadnaughts are pretty cool – the class loses the mount, but gets oversized weapons – two-handed weaponry one-handed at first level, intercepting movement, body checks and crashing into targets. This archetype makes you feel like a big, bad colossus dude – basically, the defensive tricks and the like of the mount are integrated into this guy. Really, really cool one, and a resounding success as far as I’m concerned. Firearm soldiers are a straight engine tweak – charges are replaced with a bit of firearm tricks. More interesting would be the houndsmaster, who gets a pair of dogs or wolfdogs that can share a space or “split”, basically tweaking the base companion engine to behave like a conglomerate “lite” version, a splittable entity. I love this. The hounds act as a mount stand-in and allow for some soft crowd control and tactics beyond the regular means that companions offer, and e.g. Combat Reflexes and similar tricks further emphasize this massive engine tweak in a compelling manner, which is particularly suited for darker fantasy games, as the hounds at higher levels can sever limbs when attacking in conjunction – and yep, we get a half-page table that notes the consequences. Minor nitpick: These rules should state loss of ring-benefits, for example, for arms lost, but that is evident from context.

The iron general would be a monk/brawler-like hybrid archetype for unarmed cavaliers. The jungle rider gets a modified proficiency list, can make crooked charges and delays the mount to 4th level, where he gets a more exotic array of creatures to choose from. Masked travelers are a tweak that emphasizes the vigilante-ish angle, losing banner etc. and locking the target into being order-less. Marrow lancers are basically the death knight angle – undead companion (more resilient, less agile), and a fully modified commander’s aura feature that focuses on debuffs, and a more nasty Intimidate focus make this one a great choice for anti-heroes and villains.

Mounted champions presented an interesting thing I seriously did not expect to see: Spheres of Might-synergy! Yep, Legendary Games and Drop Dead Studios synergy? Awesome! This fellow employs the Beastmastery and Warleader spheres, allowing for full Spheres of Might synergy. Nice! (Minor nitpick: The header for Mount (Ex) is not bolded.) The pegasus knight is straightforward, and nets you a neutral winged animal version of Pegasus. The steppe rider gets the chance to fire through wind walls, more mobile mounts (while in full movement), shots that hamper targets, Perception skill unlocks, severing arrows at higher levels – basically, think of these guys as the equivalent of the mighty Mongolian cavalry.

The pdf also includes a 6-level PrC, the lancer, who requires +5 BAB, Mounted Combat and Weapon Focus (lance), 2 skills at 5 ranks to take; the PrC gains ½ Fort-save progression, full BAB-progression, d10 HD, 2 + Int skills per level. Ultimately, this PrC represents a different take on the cavalier concept – namely that of the lance-wielding knight who gets elevated to his position. Renown and several cavalier-ish tricks are gained, emphasizing the journey to knighthood, if you will.

We also are introduced to 7 new feats: Aura Study nets you one additional aura you’d usually lose to reduced commander’s aura. Wait. What? Yep, this ties in, obviously, with the tripled reduced commander’s aura – it is evident that a variant that should provide less auras was intended to be one of the reduction options and got somewhat shafted by the glitch. If you really want a base order’s challenge, you can gain the like via a feat, and e.g. houndmaster can choose wolves. There also is a feat to gain an order’s aura, etc. The magic items section includes a banner enhancer, and weapon property that enhances the aura. Really cool: There is a gem that can be attuned to a companion allows you to bring an attuned companion back from the dead. A bridle that makes targets behave as combat trained can be found, and a saddle allows a critter to use the rider’s Will-save vs. mind-affecting effects. The shared pain saddle, finally, allows for 1/round transferral of pain to the mount, with HD as a cool scaling mechanism.

The book concludes with Arsa Verain, a CR 3 sample Legendary Cavalier, who comes with a detailed background story as well as his mount’s stats. His questing has a personal take – Arsa had feelings for a man called Jerome, who, alas, before Arsa could confess, was seemingly taken away by a mysterious woman – and so he looks for a lost love that may be not even reciprocal. He does come with full boon-notes. (I noticed a missing “l” at one point in the prose there.)

The conclusion to my review can be found here!


Scarab Sages Contributor, RPG Superstar 2008 Top 4, Legendary Games

CHAAAARGE... into your cart and buy this today! :)

Silver Crusade

Ah, time for the dev post about this project:

The beginning
So I'm actually starting slightly before the book because an interesting note here was that this was a book that I had a poll on deciding. I'd asked the community what class they most thought required a rebuild, and cavalier was the clear winner. Let it never be said that Legendary Games and I don't listen to what you want and work to create content that's in demand :D

Legendary Cavaliers basics
So in a lot of ways, the legendary cavalier is a large departure from the base class. In legendary class rebuilds, I generally attempt to keep a class close to its base form, accentuating the positive while filling in gaps to help create a more fulfilling experience. With Legendary Cavalier though...

...that wasn't how things played out. Cavalier has an identity crisis in that it's like the fighter that the fluff just does not match the reality of playing the class. It didn't do what it said it did, and the majority of the class features didn't even play into the idea of nobility, instead possessing mostly combat focused class features and some paltry social ones. So I decided to rebuild far more than others.

This is also the first project on which I've taken an apprentice writer to help me out, which was David Nelson. Their help was very much needed to fill in class gaps and give a better sense of what we both wanted to accomplish here.

Legendary Cavaliers specifics
As stated, there was a lot under the hood that was changed, and quite a bit of it had to do with making the mount more viable. Now there's class features which buff its attack roles, make it able to travel across far more terrain than before, and even squeeze into smaller spaces so that tight dungeon corridors are no longer the wall that they once were. Making a mount that felt vital was a large goal here, and one the team and I worked on a lot.

On the social side of things, cavaliers didn't have a lot going for themselves. That's where things like skilled diplomat, knight's renown, and courtly skill come into play. These new class features work towards not only making a Legendary Cavalier a beast on the field of battle, but also a powerful player in the games of courtly intrigue. Charisma is an important stat for the class, and we wanted to make things play out more fluidly for those who wanted to play a refined knight.

Speaking of fulfilling a leadership role, the Legendary Cavalier introduces powerful commander's auras which allow them to take on a far more dedicated leadership role in combat. Allowing for them to grant bonuses like additional damage, skills, movement speed, and other benefits, a Legendary Cavalier is going to feel like someone who is meant to be followed, to be respected, and to be feared.

The remaining class features are ones you would expect, including returning ways to make charging more powerful and everything else that you would expect from the class. Orders and banners make a return, but in a more background role considering everything else that's given.

Favored Class Bonuses
With a new class comes new favored class bonuses, and Legendary Cavalier has tons. Not only that, but none of them are race locked, presenting even more ways for players to customize their experience. The idea of racially gating off content was always something the team felt iffy on, so we just threw it out!

Alternative Class Features
Since some people wanted more customization in the class, the Legendary Cavalier also comes with an idea borrowed from Legendary Barbarians (spoiler alert), alternative class features. These are like smaller archetypes which allow single or related class features to be traded out for other listed class features, further allowing players to design the Legendary Cavalier in their own way. From swapping commander's aura for weapon training and even regaining the old cavalier's challenge mechanic, the Legendary Cavalier ends up being versatile in a way unique to the Legendary Classes line.

Draconic Avenger
Keeping with the spirit of alteration, the draconic avenger archetype allows a player to gain a drake companion, while also fixing many of the issues of the original drake. By 5th level it can be ridden by a medium sized character, possessing even more natural attacks, and other small tweaks, it's designed to play in a way that will make the thrill of riding a dragon easily reached even at early levels.

Firearm Soldier
If you know me, you know I love guns, and a firearm based cavalier was always going to happen. Replacing charge features for firearm proficiency and skill, the firearm soldier plays differently enough to make it a unique experience (and even more so if you use the firearm modifications from Legendary Gunslingers).

Houndmaster
An old favorite of mine, the houndmaster trades in a horse for a pair of loyal hunting hounds which share an attack and magic item slots. Increasing in level allows for cool team up attacks from them, eventually allowing the pair to literally rip a creature limb from limb (with associated rules for dismemberment).

Iron General
In the topic of things I like, punching is on them. If you're looking to play a General Armstrong style character, Iron General is the one. An archetype that focuses on hard punches, charges, dashes, and blowing things away with a single blow, this is definitely what you'd want.

Masked Traveler
A smaller archetype for those with a more dramatic flair, the masked traveler further embraces the vigilante feel of the class at the cost of charging based offense, allowing them to act in a daring fashion while still maintaining a courtly facade.

Mounted Champion
And this is a first for Legendary Games, as it is the first time that a Spheres of Might compatible archetype has been included. The Mounted Champion gives an adept's progression of sphere talents, integrating it into the normal progression at the cost of commander's aura. It's definitely an archetype which will help new players dip into this unique system, and give experienced players an entirely new resource to explore.

Pegasus Knight
So horses are boring, dragons are aggressive, but pegasi? Those are some regal creatures! An archetype intended to take to the sky, the Pegasus Knight gives unique rules for a non-magical pegasus which can be obtained at 1st level as well as giving all the tools needed for aerial combat to be a key point in their offensive routine.

New Feats
A few new feats are provided to help with archetypes which lost commander's aura and others which simply want a few new tricks.

New Magic Items
And of course, there's easier ways to ride your mount, bringing it back to life, and even sharing its damage. Obviously, there's lots of new magic stuff to bolt to your horse.

Sample Character
Asra Verain is our newest member to the cannon, a young hot shot with few friends but his horse and his unrequited love. Search the Free City of Goldhaven, he's easily a friend or foe, but probably insufferable regardless.

Final Thoughts
Legendary Cavaliers was not a project on which I thought I'd be working, and there were some rough spots in the middle (like moving during the playtest), but as a whole, I think it's a bold step in how class rebuilds could take shape in the future. With the recently announced new classes, I can tell you that at least one of them will also break the mold in this fashion. Thanks to everyone who assisted on this project, and hope everyone reading this enjoys it as much as I do.


Oh, hey, my very first dev post! N. Jolly was kind enough to invite me onto this project from the start, so I'll comment on what I had a hand in.

Legendary Cavalier Features
While cavalier had a large issue with its fantasy being fulfilled, it also had the problem of mounted combat being... difficult in a lot of environments. To that end, I wrote Measured Gait to allow the mount to cross difficult terrain more easily and Risky Lunge so a cavalier could charge in tight spaces. Added to that was a concept I used in a home campaign a while ago, Steed Parry. Now you can use your Ride skill to have the mount take the hit for you, avoiding the worst of the damage.

Additionally I threw in some unique uses for the Commander's Aura, like Chivalry's Call that can remind your barbarian friend to stop smashing using the sheer force of your honor.

Dreadnaught
Not gonna lie, this is my favorite piece that I did. The Dreadnaught is an armored titan of the battlefield, neglecting a mount all together. The hulking weight of their armor and massive weapons control space around them and they can interpose themselves between allies and enemies, like a living shield. The downside to making the base class more mount focused is you need to replace so much more for a mountless archetype!

Marrow Rider
I knew I was going to make this as soon as I saw Commander's Aura. This rider of an undead mount exudes a Thanatopic Aura, exchanging ally bonuses for penalties to foes. Ever wanted to emulate a death knight without actually needing to be undead or evil, just creepy? Wish granted.

Steppe Rider
Given who I was working with, I knew the gun archetype would not be written by me, but there was room for a different type of ranged cavalier. The Steppe Rider gets a lot of mobility options, running circles around targets while pinning them with arrows. Eventually your pin cushion of an enemy can't move and you can even shoot their limbs off, Princess Mononoke style. I had started to move it in a more supernatural direction, but eased back on that. I'm glad I did.

Final Thoughts
All in all, this would not have been my first choice for classes to work on, but it was a great learning experience and I think it turned out great. The failings of the original cavalier have been corrected and the archetypes cover pretty much everything one can think of. My thanks again to N. Jolly for letting me assist, I'm glad I was able to contribute in a meaningful way.


Wasn't expecting this one to come out so fast!

Hey there folks, I am Hal aka Mairn, and I did a bunch of editing/balance/ideas work on this (as well as writing the Undead Companion archetype).

I had a bit of a hand in most things in the book, but I can't take full credit for any of them. I mostly did balance tweaks, or wrote/rewrote small parts of an ability for clarity or ease of use (as well as part of the more boring editing stuff). I also wrote a few small abilities that are spread throughout the book. Hopefully everything is super easy to understand and play with, since that was my major goal with most of my additions and edits.

As far as the book itself goes, I had the most fun helping create the Iron General. Getting a class to work using large single unarmed strikes was difficult, and hopefully we did a good enough job that it competes well alongside the other options in the book! I can't wait to play it myself whenever I get the chance.

I had a lot of fun working with the amazing team involved in this book, and can't wait to work with them on future projects as well.


Part II of my review:

Conclusion:
Editing and formatting are still very good as a whole; the book generally tackles complex concepts with pinpoint precision, avoiding the usual oversights we’ve come to dread. Anti-abuse caveats, smart notes on statting, ability classification – this gets almost all right…excluding the odd tripling glitch, which does negatively impact in a minor way one of the feats and some intended customization options. It’s not hard to salvage this, mind you, but it’s a bit of a downside. There are also slightly more typos/aesthetic formatting glitches here than usual for Legendary Games, though these still number less than in the vast majority of comparable publications. Layout adheres to the series’ two-column full-color standard, and the pdf features a variety of new and classic full-color artworks. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.

Sooo…the legendary cavalier’s base engine is a resounding frickin’ success of epic proportions. There. I said it. Sure, a couple of the archetypes are the obligatory engine tweaks, but we also get several intriguing and well-wrought complex options. The lancer realizes an alternate take on the concept, suitable for more historic/medieval-themed settings…but seriously, for me, the base class is the unmitigated star.

The vanilla cavalier had an identity crisis, was boring to play, did not have much customization options or agenda in combat. The Legendary cavalier is not the most customizable class ever – you can still hand this to a novice without much issue. However, the awesome aura-engine means that you have viable, interesting combat options. The departure from the challenge focus means that you don’t have to rest all the damn time for that one class feature…and I could go on. Is this formally perfect? Nope, and I do have to account for that.

More important, though: Does this finally do the cavalier justice? Make him a non-magic knight that is badass and cool to play? That does something else than charge every damn turn?
Heck yeah. N. Jolly, Dave Nelson, Jason Nelson, Hal Kenette and Blake Morton rocked this class hardcore. I don’t even have to think for a second – this guy replaces all cavaliers in my games, and should be considered to be an EZG Essential for all games that feature the cavalier class.
It’s a straight, vast improvement that finally makes the cavalier feel like it should be. My final verdict will clock in at 4.5 stars, rounded up to 5 (because the few glitches are excusable), and this gets my seal of approval. Make your cavaliers actually matter and be fun. Get this one!

Endzeitgeist out.

Reviewed first on endzeitgeist.com, then submitted to Nerdtrek and GMS magazine and posted here, on OBS, etc.

Scarab Sages Contributor, RPG Superstar 2008 Top 4, Legendary Games

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Thanks for the great review, Endy!

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