S-Class Paladin

What Are S-Class Characters?

S-class characters are built using the summoner class, as originally presented, as the basis against which all other classes are balanced. The “S” in this case stands for both summoner and, as a more appropriate in-world reference, superior. If you have played—or GM’d for—a summoner and felt it was fine as is, you should have no problem running with an s-class character.

S-class paladins are the divine champions of their orders, always on the lookout for the evil that threatens everybody with its presence. When they have earned the right, each goes through a divine bonding process that further accentuates their lawful good alignment.

Note: The s-class paladin is an alternate, superior version of the paladin class. Her choice of order can change how an s-class paladin accesses her spells, which might prevent her from selecting some archetypes. To gain the best access to paladin archetypes, consider selecting the Order of Tradition’s Path.

Alignment: Lawful good.

Hit Die: d10.

Starting Wealth: 5d6 × 10 gp (average 175 gp.) In addition, each character begins play with an outfit worth 10 gp or less.

Class Skills

The s-class paladin’s class skills are Craft (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Handle Animal (Cha), Heal (Wis), Knowledge (nobility) (Int), Knowledge (religion) (Int), Profession (Wis), Ride (Dex), Sense Motive (Wis), and Spellcraft (Int).

Skill Ranks per Level: 2 + Int modifier.

Table: S-Class Paladin
Level Base Attack Bonus Fort Save Ref Save Will Save Special Spells per Day
1st 2nd 3rd 4th
1st +1 +2 +0 +2 Aura of good, detect evil, order, smite evil 1/day
2nd +2 +3 +0 +3 Divine grace, lay on hands, mercy
3rd +3 +3 +1 +3 Aura of courage, divine health, mercy
4th +4 +4 +1 +4 Channel positive energy, smite evil 2/day 0
5th +5 +4 +1 +4 Divine bond 1
6th +6/+1 +5 +2 +5 Mercy 1
7th +7/+2 +5 +2 +5 Smite evil 3/day 1 0
8th +8/+3 +6 +2 +6 Aura of resolve 1 1
9th +9/+4 +6 +3 +6 Mercy 2 1
10th +10/+5 +7 +3 +7 Smite evil 4/day 2 1 0
11th +11/+6/+1 +7 +3 +7 Aura of justice 2 1 1
12th +12/+7/+2 +8 +4 +8 Mercy 2 2 1
13th +13/+8/+3 +8 +4 +8 Smite evil 5/day 3 2 1 0
14th +14/+9/+4 +9 +4 +9 Aura of faith 3 2 1 1
15th +15/+10/+5 +9 +5 +9 Mercy 3 2 2 1
16th +16/+11/+6/+1 +10 +5 +10 Smite evil 6/day 3 3 2 1
17th +17/+12/+7/+2 +10 +5 +10 Aura of righteousness 4 3 2 1
18th +18/+13/+8/+3 +11 +6 +11 Mercy 4 3 2 2
19th +19/+14/+9/+4 +11 +6 +11 Smite evil 7/day 4 3 3 2
20th +20/+15/+10/+5 +12 +6 +12 Holy champion 4 4 3 3

Class Features

All of the following are class features of the s-class paladin.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency

S-class paladins are proficient with all simple and martial weapons, with all types of armor (heavy, medium, and light), and with shields (except tower shields).

Paladin Order

Every s-class paladin chooses an order into which they are inducted at 1st level. The three orders presented here are the Order of the Champion’s Way, the Order of the Divine Gift, and the Order of Tradition’s Path. More information on these orders can be found at the end of this section.

Auras (Su)

As they gain experience, s-class paladins are granted a number of immunities and resistances that they can extend to their allies. With the exception of their aura of good, these abilities function only while the paladin is conscious, not if she is unconscious or dead.

  • Aura of Good: The power of an s-class paladin’s aura of good (see the detect good spell) is equal to her paladin level.
  • Aura of Courage: At 3rd level, an s-class paladin is immune to fear (magical or otherwise). Each ally within 10 feet of her gains a +4 morale bonus on saving throws against fear effects. Aura of Resolve: At 8th level, an s-class paladin is immune to charm spells and spell-like abilities. Each ally within 10 feet of her gains a +4 morale bonus on saving throws against charm effects.
  • Aura of Justice: At 11th level, an s-class paladin can expend two uses of her smite evil ability to grant the ability to smite evil to all allies within 10 feet, using her bonuses. Allies must use this smite evil ability by the start of the paladin’s next turn and the bonuses last for 1 minute. Using this ability is a free action. Evil creatures gain no benefit from this ability.
  • Aura of Faith: At 14th level, an s-class paladin’s weapons are treated as good-aligned for the purposes of overcoming DR. Any attack made against an enemy within 10 feet of her is treated as good-aligned for the purposes of overcoming Damage Reduction.
  • Aura of Righteousness: At 17th level, an s-class paladin gains DR 5/evil and immunity to compulsion spells and spell-like abilities. Each ally within 10 feet of her gains a +4 morale bonus on saving throws against compulsion effects.

Detect Evil (Sp)

At will, an s-class paladin can use detect evil, as the spell.

An s-class paladin can, as a move action, concentrate on a single item or individual within 60 feet and determine if it is evil, learning the strength of its aura as if having studied it for 3 rounds. While focusing on one individual or object, the paladin does not detect evil in any other object or individual within range.

Smite Evil (Su)

Once per day, an s-class paladin can call out to the powers of good to aid her in her struggle against evil. As a swift action, the paladin chooses one target within sight to smite. If this target is evil, the paladin adds her Cha bonus (if any) to her attack rolls and adds her paladin level to all damage rolls made against the target of her smite. If the target of smite evil is an outsider with the evil subtype, an evil-aligned dragon, or an undead creature, the bonus to damage on the first successful attack increases to 2 points of damage per level the paladin possesses. Regardless of the target, smite evil attacks automatically bypass any DR the creature might possess.

In addition, while smite evil is in effect, the paladin gains a deflection bonus equal to her Charisma modifier (if any) to her AC against attacks made by the target of the smite.

If the paladin targets a creature that is not evil, the smite is wasted with no effect.

The smite evil effect remains until the target of the smite is dead or the next time the paladin rests and regains her uses of this ability. At 4th level, and at every three levels thereafter, the paladin may smite evil one additional time per day, as indicated on Table: Paladin, to a maximum of seven times per day at 19th level.

Divine Grace (Su)

At 2nd level, an s-class paladin gains a bonus equal to her Charisma bonus (if any) on all Saving Throws.

Lay on Hands (Su)

Beginning at 2nd level, an s-class paladin can heal wounds (her own or those of others) by touch. Each day she can use this ability a number of times equal to 1/2 her paladin level plus her Charisma modifier. With one use of this ability, an s-class paladin can heal 1d6 hit points of damage for every two paladin levels she possesses. Using this ability is a standard action, unless the paladin targets herself, in which case it is a swift action. Despite the name of this ability, an s-class paladin only needs one free hand to use this ability.

Alternatively, an s-class paladin can use this healing power to deal damage to undead creatures, dealing 1d6 points of damage for every two levels the paladin possesses. Using lay on hands in this way requires a successful melee touch attack and doesn’t provoke an attack of opportunity. Undead do not receive a saving throw against this damage.

Mercy (Su)

At 2nd level, 3rd level, and every three levels thereafter, an s-class paladin can select one mercy. Each mercy adds an effect to the paladin’s lay on hands ability. Whenever the paladin uses lay on hands to heal damage to one target, the target also receives the additional effects from all of the mercies possessed by the paladin. A mercy can remove a condition caused by a curse, disease, or poison without curing the affliction. Such conditions return after 1 hour unless the mercy actually removes the affliction that causes the condition.

At 2nd level, the paladin can select from the following initial mercies.

  • Fatigued: The target is no longer fatigued.
  • Shaken: The target is no longer shaken.
  • Sickened: The target is no longer sickened.

At 6th level, an s-class paladin adds the following mercies to the list of those that can be selected.

At 9th level, an s-class paladin adds the following mercies to the list of those that can be selected.

At 12th level, an s-class paladin adds the following mercies to the list of those that can be selected.

  • Blinded: The target is no longer blinded.
  • Deafened: The target is no longer deafened.
  • Paralyzed: The target is no longer paralyzed.
  • Stunned: The target is no longer stunned.

These abilities are cumulative. For example, a 12th-level paladin’s lay on hands ability heals 6d6 points of damage and might also cure Fatigued and Exhausted conditions as well as removing diseases and neutralizing poisons. Once a condition or spell effect is chosen, it can’t be changed.

Divine Health (Ex)

At 3rd level, an s-class paladin is immune to all diseases, including supernatural and magical diseases, including mummy rot.

Channel Positive Energy (Su)

When an s-class paladin reaches 4th level, she gains the supernatural ability to channel positive energy like a cleric.

Using this ability consumes two uses of her lay on hands ability. An s-class paladin uses her level as her effective cleric level when channeling positive energy. This is a Charisma-based ability.


Beginning at 4th level, an s-class paladin gains the ability to cast a small number of divine spells which are drawn from the paladin spell list. An s-class paladin must choose and prepare her spells in advance.

To prepare or cast a spell, an s-class paladin must have a Charisma score equal to at least 10 + the spell level.

The Difficulty Class for a saving throw against an s-class paladin’s spell is 10 + the spell level + the paladin’s Charisma modifier.

Like other spellcasters, an s-class paladin can cast only a certain number of spells of each spell level per day. Her base daily spell allotment is given on Table: Paladin. In addition, she receives bonus spells per day if she has a high Charisma score (see Table: Ability Modifiers and Bonus Spells). When Table: Paladin indicates that the paladin gets 0 spells per day of a given spell level, she gains only the bonus spells she would be entitled to based on her Charisma score for that spell level.

An s-class paladin must spend 1 hour each day in quiet prayer and meditation to regain her daily allotment of spells.

An s-class paladin may prepare and cast any spell on the paladin spell list, provided that she can cast spells of that level, but she must choose which spells to prepare during her daily meditation.

Through 3rd level, an s-class paladin has no caster level.

At 4th level and higher, her caster level is equal to her paladin level – 3.

Divine Bond (Sp)

At 5th level, s-class paladins are transformed by a divine bond that acts as a physical expression of their adherence to their faith. This bond can take one of three forms: an animal companion, bonded armor, or a bonded weapon.

Example 5th-Level Animal Companion:

Heavy Horse

N Large animal
Init +4; Senses low-light vision, scent; Perception +8


AC 17, touch 11, flat-footed 15 (+2 Dex, –1 size, +6 natural)
hp 42 (5d8+20)
Fort +7, Ref +6, Will +2; evasion


Speed 50 ft.
Melee bite +5 (1d4+9), 2 hooves +5 (1d8+9)
Space 10 ft.; Reach 5 ft.


Str 20, Dex 14, Con 17, Int 6, Wis 12, Cha 6
Base Atk +3; CMB +9; CMD 21 (25 vs. trip)
Feats Endurance, Improved Natural Attack (hooves), Power Attack (applied), RunB, Toughness
Skills Perception +9
SQ combat trained

Bonded Armor

The paladin’s bond is to a spirit that resides within her armor. When called as a standard action, the spirit causes the armor to shed light like a torch and grants it a +1 enhancement bonus. The bonus increases by +1 for every three paladin levels obtained beyond 5th.

These bonuses can be added to the armor, stacking with existing armor bonuses to a maximum of +3, or they can be used to add any of the following armor properties at the listed cost:

+1—champion, light fortification; +2spell resistance (13); +3energy resistance, ghost touch, invulnerability, moderate fortification, spell resistance (15); +4—righteous, spell resistance (17); +5—heavy fortification, improved energy resistance, spell resistance (19)

These bonuses are added to any properties the armor already has, but duplicate abilities do not stack. If the armor is not magical, at least a +1 enhancement bonus must be added before any other properties can be added. The bonus and properties granted by the spirit are determined when the spirit is called and cannot be changed until the spirit is called again. The celestial spirit imparts no bonuses if the armor is worn by anyone other than the paladin, but it resumes giving bonuses if the paladin dons the armor again.

A paladin can use this ability once per day at 5th level, and one additional time per day for every four levels beyond 5th, to a total of four times per day at 17th level.

If a suit of armor with a celestial spirit is destroyed, the paladin loses the use of this ability for 30 days, or until she gains a level, whichever comes first. During this 30-day period, the paladin takes a –1 penalty on attack and weapon damage rolls.

Bonded Weapon: The paladin’s bond is to a spirit that resides within her weapon. This functions just like bonded armor, except the abilities the paladin can add to her weapon are as follows.

+1defending, flaming, keen, merciful; +2axiomatic, disruption, flaming burst, holy; +3speed; +4brilliant energy

Holy Champion (Su)

At 20th level, an s-class paladin becomes a conduit for the power of her god. Her DR increases to 10/evil.

Whenever she uses smite evil and successfully strikes an evil outsider, the outsider is also subject to a banishment, using her paladin level as the caster level (her weapon and holy symbol automatically count as objects that the subject hates). After the banishment effect and the damage from the attack is resolved, the smite immediately ends. In addition, whenever she channels positive energy or uses lay on hands to heal a creature, she heals the maximum possible amount.

Section 15: Copyright Notice

S-Class Characters: The Paladin. Copyright 2022, Samurai Sheepdog. Author: Kevin Glusing

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