While many warriors strive to perfect their art, spending all of their time honing their skill at martial arms, others spend as much effort dedicating themselves to a cause. These warriors, known as cavaliers, swear themselves to a purpose, serving it above all else. Cavaliers are skilled at fighting from horseback, and are often found charging across a battlefield, with the symbol of their order trailing on a long, fluttering banner. The cavalier’s true power comes from the conviction of his ideals, the oaths that he swears, and the challenges he makes.
Role: Cavaliers tend to marshal forces on the battlefield, using their mounted talents and challenges to control the flow of the fight. Outside of battle, cavaliers can be found advancing their cause through diplomacy and, if needed, subterfuge. The cavalier is no stranger to courtly intrigue and can hold his own in even the most delicate of social situations.
Hit Dice: d10.
Starting Wealth: 5d6 × 10 gp (average 175gp.) In addition, each character begins play with an outfit worth 10 gp or less.
Skill Ranks per Level: 4 + Int modifier.
The following are the class features of the cavalier.
Once per day, a cavalier can challenge a foe to combat. As a swift action, the cavalier chooses one target within sight to challenge. The cavalier’s melee attacks deal extra damage whenever the attacks are made against the target of his challenge. This extra damage is equal to the cavalier’s level. The cavalier can use this ability once per day at 1st level, plus one additional time per day for every three levels beyond 1st, to a maximum of seven times per day at 19th level.
Challenging a foe requires much of the cavalier’s concentration. The cavalier takes a –2 penalty to his Armor Class, except against attacks made by the target of his challenge.
The challenge remains in effect until the target is dead or unconscious or until the combat ends. Each cavalier’s challenge also includes another effect which is listed in the section describing the cavalier’s order.
A cavalier gains the service of a loyal and trusty steed to carry him into battle. This mount functions as a druid’s animal companion, using the cavalier’s level as his effective druid level. The creature must be one that he is capable of riding and is suitable as a mount. A Medium cavalier can select a camel or a horse. A Small cavalier can select a pony or wolf, but can also select a boar or a dog if he is at least 4th level. The GM might approve other animals as suitable mounts.
A cavalier does not take an armor check penalty on Ride checks while riding his mount. The mount is always considered combat trained and begins play with Light Armor Proficiency as a bonus feat. A cavalier’s mount does not gain the share spells special ability.
A cavalier’s bond with his mount is strong, with the pair learning to anticipate each other’s moods and moves. Should a cavalier’s mount die, the cavalier may find another mount to serve him after 1 week of mourning. This new mount does not gain the link, evasion, devotion, or improved evasion special abilities until the next time the cavalier gains a level.
There are feats intended for Animals (such as mounts). Here are a few:
At 1st level, a cavalier must pledge himself to a specific order. The order grants the cavalier a number of bonuses, class skills, and special abilities. In addition, each order includes a number of edicts that the cavalier must follow. If he violates any of these edicts, he loses the benefits from his order’s challenge ability for 24 hours. The violation of an edict is subject to GM interpretation. A cavalier cannot change his order without undertaking a lengthy process to dedicate himself to a new cause. When this choice is made, he immediately loses all of the benefits from his old order. He must then follow the edicts of his new order for one entire level without gaining any benefits from that order. Once accomplished, he gains all of the bonuses from his new order. Note that the names of these orders might vary depending upon the campaign setting or GM’s preference.
The following orders can be chosen by both cavaliers and samurai.
Members of these orders are not necessarily bound together, but some organizations do exist that are comprised of cavaliers that all belong to one specific order.
At 1st level, a cavalier receives a teamwork feat as a bonus feat. He must meet the prerequisites for this feat. As a standard action, the cavalier can grant this feat to all allies within 30 feet who can see and hear him. Allies retain the use of this bonus feat for 3 rounds plus 1 round for every two levels the cavalier possesses. Allies do not need to meet the prerequisites of these bonus feats. The cavalier can use this ability once per day at 1st level, plus one additional time per day at 5th level and for every 5 levels thereafter.
Cavalier’s Charge (Ex)
At 3rd level, a cavalier learns to make more accurate charge attacks while mounted. The cavalier receives a +4 bonus on melee attack rolls on a charge while mounted (instead of the normal +2). In addition, the cavalier does not suffer any penalty to his AC after making a charge attack while mounted.
Expert Trainer (Ex)
At 4th level, a cavalier learns to train mounts with speed and unsurpassed expertise. The cavalier receives a bonus equal to 1/2 his cavalier level whenever he uses Handle Animal on an animal that serves as a mount. In addition, he can reduce the time needed to teach a mount a new trick or train a mount for a general purpose to 1 day per 1 week required by increasing the DC by +5. He can also train more than one mount at once, although each mount after the first adds +2 to the DC.
At 5th level, a cavalier’s banner becomes a symbol of inspiration to his allies and companions. As long as the cavalier’s banner is clearly visible, all allies within 60 feet receive a +2 morale bonus on saving throws against fear and a +1 morale bonus on attack rolls made as part of a charge. At 10th level, and every five levels thereafter, these bonuses increase by +1. The banner must be at least Small or larger and must be carried or displayed by the cavalier or his mount to function.
At 6th level, and at every six levels thereafter, a cavalier gains a bonus feat in addition to those gained from normal advancement. These bonus feats must be selected from those listed as combat feats. The cavalier must meet the prerequisites of these bonus feats.
Greater Tactician (Ex)
At 9th level, the cavalier receives an additional teamwork feat as a bonus feat. He must meet the prerequisites for this feat. The cavalier can grant this feat to his allies using the tactician ability. Using the tactician ability is a swift action.
Mighty Charge (Ex)
At 11th level, a cavalier learns to make devastating charge attacks while mounted. Double the threat range of any weapons wielded during a charge while mounted. This increase does not stack with other effects that increase the threat range of the weapon. In addition, the cavalier can make a free bull rush, disarm, sunder, or trip combat maneuver if his charge attack is successful. This free combat maneuver does not provoke an attack of opportunity.
Demanding Challenge (Ex)
At 12th level, whenever a cavalier declares a challenge, his target must pay attention to the threat he poses. As long as the target is within the threatened area of the cavalier, it takes a –2 penalty to its AC from attacks made by anyone other than the cavalier.
Greater Banner (Ex)
At 14th level, the cavalier’s banner becomes a rallying call to his allies. All allies within 60 feet receive a +2 morale bonus on saving throws against charm and compulsion spells and effects. In addition, while his banner is displayed, the cavalier can spend a standard action to wave the banner through the air, granting all allies within 60 feet an additional saving throw against any one spell or effect that is targeting them. This save is made at the original DC. Spells and effects that do not allow saving throws are unaffected by this ability. An ally cannot benefit from this ability more than once per day.
Master Tactician (Ex)
At 17th level, the cavalier receives an additional teamwork feat as a bonus feat. He must meet the prerequisites for this feat. The cavalier can grant this feat to his allies using the tactician ability. Whenever the cavalier uses the tactician ability, he grants any two teamwork feats that he knows. He can select from any of his teamwork feats, not just his bonus feats.
Supreme Charge (Ex)
At 20th level, whenever the cavalier makes a charge attack while mounted, he deals double the normal amount of damage (or triple if using a lance). In addition, if the cavalier confirms a critical hit on a charge attack while mounted, the target is stunned for 1d4 rounds. A Will save reduces this to staggered for 1d4 rounds. The DC is equal to 10 + the cavalier’s base attack bonus.
Instead of receiving an additional skill rank or hit point whenever they gain a level in a Favored Class, some races have the option of choosing from a number of other bonuses, depending upon their Favored Classes. The following options are available to the listed race who have cavaliers as their Favored Class, and unless otherwise stated, the bonus applies each time you select the listed Favored Class reward.
When a character selects a class, he must choose to use the standard class features found or those listed in one of the archetypes presented here. Each alternate class feature replaces a specific class feature from its parent class. For example, the elemental fist class feature of the monk of the four winds replaces the stunning fist class feature of the monk. When an archetype includes multiple class features, a character must take all of them—often blocking the character from ever gaining certain familiar class features, but replacing them with equally powerful options. All of the other class features found in the core class and not mentioned among the alternate class features remain unchanged and are acquired normally when the character reaches the appropriate level (unless noted otherwise). A character who takes an alternate class feature does not count as having the class feature that was replaced when meeting any requirements or prerequisites.
A character can take more than one archetype and garner additional alternate class features, but none of the alternate class features can replace or alter the same class feature from the core class as another alternate class feature. For example, a paladin could not be both a hospitaler and an undead scourge since they both modify the smite evil class feature and both replace the aura of justice class feature. A paladin could, however, be both an undead scourge and a warrior of the holy light, since none of their new class features replace the same core class feature.
Archetypes are a quick and easy way to specialize characters of a given class, adding fun and flavorful new abilities to already established adventurers. Characters may take more than one archetype if they meet the requirements.
The following are cavalier archetypes. Unless stated otherwise, cavaliers of any order can take these archetypes.