The Crusader

This is a Basic Class for a game that Sister Acacia is potentially going to run later. Like all Basic Classes, it is taken from levels 1 to 10, after which you have to take a Prestige Class.


In the world of Artimoi, Crusaders are known for their many acts of bravery and valour, protecting other people. Most Crusaders actually come from noble families, with a great deal of training going into becoming what they are, however some people do just find that it is their natural calling and go pick up some armour. Crusaders all have tough bodies and bones like adamantium, being remarkably resilient to harm, and have great mental fortitude and determination which makes them particularly loyal. People look up to Crusaders and trust their word, something that few Crusaders would think to abuse.

Table of Contents

Class Attributes

Hit Points: 6 + Con Bonus per level (x4 at first level)
Skill Points: 4 + Int Bonus per level (x4 at first level)
Class Skills: Acrobatics (Str), Appraise (Int), Craft (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Handle Animal (Cha), Intimidate (Cha), Lore (Int), Perception (Wis), Perform (Cha), Ride (Dex), Sense Motive (Wis), Use Rope (Dex)
Weapon and Armour Proficiencies: The Crusader is Proficient with all Armour and Shields, as well as all Simple and Martial Weapons

Playing a Crusader: as a close-combatant, the Crusader values Strength and Constitution quite a bit. Charisma is useful for various skills and some class features, but should not be seen as a dire necessity. Similarly, Wisdom is valued for a bunch of things, but not a necessity. Although your Designate Opponent damage is quite tasty, do not assume you will use it very often - the point of it is that enemies will go out of their way to avoid taking this damage, and thus you are doing your job by forcing them to adjust their tactics.

The Crusader

Level BAB Fort Ref Will Class Features
1 +1 +0 +0 +2 Code of Conduct, Mounted Combat, Designate Opponent
2 +2 +0 +0 +3 Damage Reduction
3 +3 +1 +1 +3 Energy Resistance, Speak to Animals
4 +4 +1 +1 +4 Immunity to Fear, Knightly Spirit
5 +5 +1 +1 +4 Voice of Command
6 +6 +2 +2 +5 Defend Others, Quick Recovery
7 +7 +2 +2 +5 Bastion of Defense, Draw Fire
8 +8 +2 +2 +6 Mettle, Spell Shield
9 +9 +3 +3 +6 Sacrifice
10 +10 +3 +3 +7 Landed Nobility, Knightly Order

In addition to this, the Crusader gains access to Crusader Talents when selecting their Bonus Talent each level.

Class Features

Code of Conduct

The Crusader has to fight with honour and dignity, even when her opponents do not. Indeed, even compared to other honourable people, the Crusader prescribes to a very strong standard. On the plus side, this means the Crusader gets to add her level as a Bonus to any check to convince people she is telling the truth, or other checks where her word should count for something, such as providing a character witness (or professing her own innocence). On the downside, she has certain restrictions, and failing to adhere to this code means she loses the ability to use any class feature that requires an action until she atones.

  • A Crusader must not accept undue assistance from allies even in combat - she must refuse bonuses from Aid Other actions, and cannot ask an ally to cast a spell to strengthen her (although healing is acceptable).
  • A Crusader must refrain from using poisons of any kind, even blade toxins, even non-lethal ones. She may still offer to share alcohol she is imbibing.
  • A Crusader may not voluntarily change shape, whether impersonating a specific creature or not. Note that a spell like Bull's Strength doesn't change her shape.
  • A Crusader may not be the first to surrender or withdraw from combat whilst allies are still on the field. She may only surrender or flee after others have, or if fighting alone.

Designate Opponent (Ex)

With a Swift Action, a Crusader may mark an opponent as her primary foe, calling them out. They must be within Medium Range and must be able to hear her challenge. If the foe can inflict any damage on the Crusader before her next turn, the designation has done its job and the foe is no longer marked - business resumes as normal. Otherwise, on the Crusader's next turn, her first attack that hits that foe deals an extra 1d6 damage per level. At level six, the first two attacks she makes that hit that foe in the turn each deal the extra damage. Enemies that know of Crusaders very rarely ignore them because they don't fancy taking all that extra damage.

Mounted Combat

At first level, the Crusader gains a number of Bonus Feats: Mounted Combat (PHB), Ride-By Attack (PHB), Trample (PHB), Spirited Charge (PHB)
Additionally, she may take a level-appropriate steed of some kind - a horse or pony at first level, but later on riding weird crap that won't just die in one hit.

Damage Reduction (Ex)

A Crusader trains to suffer the unbearable (or enjoy abuse) with chivalry and grace. At second level, she gains Damage Reduction X/-, where X is half her level (round down) plus any AC bonuses gained from Fighting Defensively, Combat Expertise, or a Full Defense. This Damage Reduction stacks with any other applicable DR, so if she has DR 2/- from this and is wearing armour that grants DR 5/magic, then against non-magic attacks she reduces damage by 7.

Energy Resistance (Ex)

A Crusader may protect herself from energy damage that she expects. With a Swift Action, a third-level Crusader may grant herself Energy Resistance against any one Energy Type of her choice, equal to her level plus her Shield Bonus (if any). This lasts until she spends a Swift Action to choose a new Energy Type, or until her Shield Bonus is reduced in any way. She can even choose uncommon energy types like Force, Light, Positive, Negative, Dehydration and so on.

Speak to Animals (Ex)

A Crusader can make herself understood by beasts. Her steed always seems to be able to catch the thrust of anything she says, and woodland creatures consider her a friend. A 3rd level Crusader gains a bonus to Ride and Handle Animal checks equal to half her level (round up), and can actually communicate with Animals as though they understood the Queen's English. In addition, there is no limit to how many tricks she can teach an Animal, and her Handle Animal checks are not penalised for attempting to get a creature to perform a Trick it does not know.

Immunity to Fear (Ex)

Starting at 4th level, the Crusader is immune to [Fear] effects of any kind, and cannot be Intimidated.

Knightly Spirit (Ex)

With a Move-Equivalent Action, a 4th-level Crusader can restore any amount of Ability Damage or Drain that she has suffered, even to multiple Ability Scores.

Voice of Command (Ex)

People tend to just do what a 5th-level Crusader tells them to do, almost by reflex. She may cast Command at will, affecting either a single target of any level or up to one first-level creature per level. The Save DC is 10 + half her level + her Charisma Bonus. She also gains a bunch of mildly useful Followers as though she had taken the Leadership Feat, but does not get a Cohort.

Defend Others (Ex)

A 6th-level Crusader may use her armoured body to more directly protect and defend others. Any ally adjacent to the Crusader gains Evasion, although she does not. They may also use her as a form of terrain behind which they can take Full Cover.

Quick Recovery (Ex)

If a 6th-level Crusader is Stunned or Dazed and it is her turn, then at the end of her turn the effect ends and she is fine again.

Bastion of Defense (Ex)

Starting at level seven, the Crusader can defend others with great facility. All adjacent allies (except the Crusader herself) gain a +2 Dodge Bonus to their Armour Class and Reflex Saves.

Draw Fire (Ex)

A seventh-level Crusader can exploit the weaknesses of unintelligent foes. With a Swift Action, she may pique the interest of any [Mindless] opponents or creatures of Animal intelligence (1-2) within Medium Range. Those creatures must make a Will Save (DC 10 + half her level + her Constituttion Bonus) or spend all of their actions moving towards or attacking the Crusader. This lasts for a number of rounds equal to her level.

Mettle (Ex)

An 8th level Crusader who succeeds at a Fortitude Partial or Willpower Partial saving throw takes no effect as though she had Immunity.

Spell Shield (Ex)

A Crusader gains Spell Resistance of 5 + her level, starting at level eight. If she has a Shield Bonus to Armour Class, this bonus is added to her Spell Resistance.

Sacrifice (Ex)

It is a Crusader's duty to throw herself into harm's way, no matter how much she may dread (or enjoy) the rough treatment at the hands of her enemies. Starting at level nine, she may use an Immediate Action to make herself the target of an attack or targeted effect that targets another creature within her reach.

Landed Nobility

At level ten, if the Crusader has no base of operations, then at the earliest convenience she is awarded one, with some town or NPC just awarding her a furnished mansion or putting her in control of a previously abandoned keep.

Knightly Order

The tenth-level Crusader is truly an actual knight, recognised as such and drawing the admiration of others. Also, she has some form of descriptive adjective rather than just being some generic heavily-armoured warrior, and she gains a special ability based on the order she decides to join - which also determines the Prestige Class she takes next. If you have ideas for another Order (and thus, Prestige Class), go ahead and pitch it.

Blackguards of the Infernal Order

There is even a place for Evil Crusaders, those who fall in with the wrong crowd. They stand for running around burning the countryside with extreme burning, consorting with fiends, and raising the dead to do their bidding. A Blackguard is Immune to both Fire and Poison and does not have to breathe. Additionally, she can see in Darkness, even Magical Darkness, just like a Devil.

Dragon Lancers of the Platinum King

Crusaders will always be linked thematically with dragons in the eyes of many, and so it is that Dragon Lancers fight against evil (or just animalistic ones that cause problems) and ride atop other dragons in order to do more of the fighting thing. A Dragon Lancer's armour always shines like brilliant polished platinum and is never dirty, rusted or stained, and indeed her armour is immune to any kind of detrimental magical effect such as Disintegration or Disjoining. Furthermore, she never Provokes Attacks of Opportunity against creatures that are larger than she is, and against creatures of the Dragon type her melee attacks are resolved as Touch Attacks, finding the weak points to strike for massive damage.

Forge Knights of Mechanus

The clockwork plane of Law calls out to many, but only a few answer its call. Devoted to upholding the Innate Laws of the Universe, these knights clad themselves in giant armour that makes them resemble golems, and go around smashing people with steam-hammers, flamethrowers and drills. The Crusader gains a special suit of Heavy Armour that has a base Armour Bonus of +10 (but is a Magic Item, thus gets an Enhancement Bonus of +1 per 3 levels, round up), a Maximum Dexterity Bonus of +0, and a +6 Stability Bonus to avoid being Tripped and such. It also provides all traits of being a Construct, as well as Fast Healing equal to her level, and increases her Damage Reduction by 5 points.

Holy Champions of the Angelic Order of Justice

The Angelic Order is a transformative church-backed group that attempts to live by the precepts of Holy Domain, and tries to hand out love in justice in equal measures to those needing them. The Crusader grows feathered wings that allow her to fly at double her normal speed with Perfect manoeuvrability, and radiates a constant Protection From Evil, Lesser Globe of Invulnerability and Light effect.

Rune Knights of the Faerie Circle

The Faerie Circle trains special knights to wield magic almost as effectively as any sword or shield, and tasks them with protecting the world itself and conserving a balance of the natural and civilisation. The Crusader no longer ages or needs to drink (though may drink if she wants), can see in any or no light, and gains the ability to cast the following spells once each per day: Colour Spray, Shocking Grasp, Scorching Ray, Orb of Fire, Orb of Cold, Orb of Electricity, Orb of Sound, Orb of Force, Deep Slumber, Confusion, Hold Person.

Prestige Classes

Any Prestige Class a Crusader takes will be linked to her Order, and will grant abilities that naturally improve her ability to withstand damage for allies. They will all increase the Designate Opponent damage, too, thus ensuring that enemies want to target her. Some examples are below:


Evil Crusaders with powers over the Undead, they gain the ability to summon Fiends and draw upon evil spells. They have a variety of baleful auras, and typically ride around on giant undead or Nightmares.

Dragon Lancer

These are mounted warriors who have draconic steeds and are particularly good at fighting other dragons and large monsters in general. They are probably the most "natural" progression of the Crusader in simple terms, being more of what they were previously without a crazy change - other than the fact that they ride dragons and shield the party from the elements.

Forge Knight

Particularly well-armoured even for a Crusader, these ones have a variety of mechanical weapons and devices to help them, and are barely affected by even the most serious status effects like Death,

Holy Champion

These are particularly Good Crusaders who have various angelic powers and auras that help allies. They have to swap the auras around as they go, and have a number of useful Smite effects they can use against Evil, but they're largely "like a Paladin".

Rune Knight

These are the Crusaders who mix spell-casting in with their usual abilities, and are friends of nature and fey. They try to keep a good balance in the world and stop any one thing from getting out of control, and have offensive spells to channel through their blades, augmenting their martial defensive prowess.

Crusader Talents

The following Talents are only available to the Crusader (including Crusaders who have advanced beyond 10th level and entered a Prestige Class) and the Adventurer.

Aura of Fear (Su)

The Crusader radiates a 30' radius [Fear] effect. All creatures of a lower level than her must pass a Will Save (DC 10 + half her level + her Charisma Bonus) or become Frightened for one minute. A creature that passes its save becomes immune for the rest of the day. She can suppress or resume this ability with a Swift Action.

Bear Form (Su) [Minimum level 3]

3 times per day, the Crusader may spend a Standard Action to transform into a Bear. This lasts for one hour per level or until she spends a Standard Action to shift back.
At level 3 she can turn into a Black Bear. At level 4 she can turn into a Brown or Polar Bear. At level 7 she can turn into a Dire Bear.
When the Crusader transforms, she retains her memories and personality, but no abilities or equipment - effectively, other than the ability to change back, she is 100% the bear in the book.
At level 9, she retains any Immunities, Fast Healing, Regeneration, Damage Reduction, Energy Resistances or Bonuses to Armour Class from Class Features or Talents, along with the ability to use any of the following Talents she may have taken: Aura of Fear, Defensive Stance, Final Stand, Karmic Strike, Retributive Attack, Shield Other, Stand Tough, Withstand Assault

Blank Thoughts (Ex)

The Crusader is immune to Possession, and her thoughts cannot be read or divined in any way - the best someone can do is detect her presence.

Bond of Loyalty (Su)

Beyond being swayed by flattery or even mind control, the Crusader is immune to [Charm] and [Compulsion] effects.

Combat Tactician (Ex)

The Crusader may use an Immediate Action to Charge a foe who performs a Charge of their own, with a maximum movement of her standard Movement speed. This negates any benefits they normally get from Charging, but they keep the drawbacks. Doing this reduces her to only a Standard or Move Action on her next turn.
Additionally, if a foe begins their turn in a square the Crusader threatens and does not move at all, then at the end of their turn they provoke an Attack of Opportunity from her.
Finally, whenever the Crusader uses a Reach weapon, she may select at the start of her turn whether to treat it as a Reach or non-Reach weapon, though the decision stands until the start of her next turn.

Defensive Stance (Su) [Minimum Level 7]

The Crusader may use a Move-Equivalent Action to enter a Defensive Stance at will. This lasts for a number of rounds equal to her level plus three, or until she moves from her square - even a five foot step ends the effect. When this is in effect, she gains a +2 Bonus to Strength and Saving Throws, and a +4 Bonus to Constitution and Armour Class, and her adjacent allies also gain the Bonus to Armour Class. When activating this, the Crusader may elect to not gain the Bonus to Armour Class, and instead for adjacent allies to gain a +8 Bonus to Armour Class.

Elemental Immunity (Su) [Minimum Level 5]

Select one of the following damage types: Acid, Cold, Electricity, Fire, Sonic. The Crusader becomes completely Immune to that damage type.

Final Stand (Su) [Minimum Level 5]

With a Standard Action, the Crusader may empower all allies within 10 feet (but not herself). For a number of rounds equal to her level plus Constitution Bonus, or until she falls in combat or flees, they gain 20 Temporary Hit Points and can fight even when they would be Incapacitated, Helpless or in fact Dead.

Full Mounted Attack (Ex)

When the Crusader is mounted, she can make a Full Attack regardless of how far your steed moves, providing it does not charge.

Hog-Tie (Ex)

As long as the Crusader is holding a rope, chain or similar, she may hog-tie an opponent if she successfully Lifts or Pins them in a Grapple. She makes one Use Rope check, and any of their future attempts to escape (using either Escape Artist or Grapple checks) are made against the result of that check. A bound opponent is considered Helpless - the only physical action they can take other than speaking is to attempt to escape.

Horde Breaker (Ex)

The number of Attacks of Opportunity the Crusader may make each round is equal to the number of attacks she gains from Base Attack Bonus plus her Dexterity Bonus (if positive).
Additionally, she gains the Cleave and Great Cleave feats, and the ability to make a 5' step once per round before making a Cleave attack, however each Cleave uses an Attack of Opportunity.

Inspire Frenzy (Ex) [Minimum Level 4]

A number of times per day equal to her Charisma Bonus (minimum 1), the Crusader may shout out to grant all allies within 10 feet a Rage effect: for a number of rounds equal to their Constitution Bonus plus five, they each gain a +2 Bonus on melee attack rolls and Grapple and Trip attempts, a +6 Bonus on melee damage rolls, 10 Temporary HP, a +2 Bonus on Fortitude Saves and Will Saves, and a -2 Penalty to Armour Class.

Karmic Strike (Ex) [Minimum Level 7]

At the end of the Crusader's turn, she may take a -4 Penalty to Armour Class as a Free Action, lasting until the start of her next turn. Until then, any time an enemy successfully hits her with a melee attack, they provoke an Attack of Opportunity from her.

Marshal's Aura (Su) [Minimum Level 3]

The Crusader gains two Minor Auras and one Major Aura as a Marshal. She can choose them as normal and swaps them in the normal way.
The Bonus of the Major Aura is that of a Marshal of equal level to her total level.
The Crusader may take this Talent multiple times, gaining new Auras each time.

Mighty Life Force (Ex)

Such is the Crusader's vigour and drive that she makes even more use of healing. Any time she regains Hit Points due to a Spell or Spell-Like Ability cast by someone other than herself, she gains twice as many Hit Points.

Mounted Archery (Ex)

The Crusader gains the following feats: Mounted Archery (PHB), Improved Mounted Archery (Complete Warrior), Rapid Shot (PHB)

Path of the Devoted Spirit (Su) [Minimum Level 5]

The Crusader gains access to the following Martial Stances: Martial Spirit, Thicket of Blades
She gains access to the following Martial Manoeuvres: Vanguard Strike, Shield Block, Defensive Rebuke, Entangling Blade
She may perform each of the Manoeuvres once before needing to rest for a minute and re-focus her mind. Her Initiator level equals her full level and any Save DC is 10 + half her level + her Wisdom Bonus.
At level 9, this Talent may be taken a second time, granting access to the following Manoeuvres: Daunting Strike, Rallying Strike, Shield Counter

Path of the Stone Dragon (Su) [Minimum Level 5]

The Crusader gains access to the following Martial Stances: Stonefoot Stance, Roots of the Mountain
She gains access to the following Martial Manoeuvres: Stone Bones, Stone Vice, Stone Dragon's Fury, Boulder Roll
She may perform each of the Manoeuvres once before needing to rest for a minute and re-focus her mind. Her Initiator level equals her full level and any Save DC is 10 + half her level + her Wisdom Bonus.
At level 9, this Talent may be taken a second time, granting access to the following Manoeuvres: Mountain Avalanche, Iron Bones, Colossus Strike

Path of the White Raven (Su) [Minimum Level 5]

The Crusader gain access to the following Martial Stances: Leading the Charge, Tactics of the Wolf
She gains access to the following Martial Manoeuvres: Douse the Flames, Tactical Strike, White Raven Tactics, White Raven Strike
She may perform each of the Manoeuvres once before needing to rest for a minute and re-focus her mind. Her Initiator level equals her full level and any Save DC is 10 + half her level + her Wisdom Bonus.
At level 9, this Talent may be taken a second time, granting access to the Press the Advantage Stance and the Order Forged From Chaos and Swarming Assault Manoeuvres.

Rallying Cry (Ex)

At will, the Crusader may shout out with a Move-Equivalent Action, dispelling any [Fear] effects in all allies who can hear her. They also gain a +4 Bonus on Will Saves against [Fear] effects for a number of rounds equal to her Charisma Bonus (minimum 1).

Retributive Attack (Ex) [Minimum Level 3]

If an enemy is in a square the Crusader threatens and renders one of her allies Helpless, the foe provokes an Attack of Opportunity from her.
She may add her Charisma Bonus (if positive) to the Attack and Damage roll for this Retributive Attack.

Sacrificial Style (Ex)

With a Swift Action at will, the Crusader may place herself in harm's way, granting adjacent allies a +2 Dodge Bonus to Armour Class against the attacks of a single adjacent foe. This lasts until her next turn. Additionally, once a foe is declared as the target of this, once per round she may spend an Attack of Opportunity to redirect an attack from that foe if it was aimed at an adjacent ally, instead becoming the target. If she is hit and damaged, this provokes an Attack of Opportunity from all of her allies.

Shield Mastery (Ex)

When Fighting Defensively and using a Shield, the Crusader does not take the -4 Penalty to attack rolls for Attacks of Opportunity.
When taking a Full Defense action and using a Shield, she still threatens squares and can make Attacks of Opportunity, albeit at a -4 Penalty.
She may make a Charge attack with an equipped shield (performing a Shield Bash) instead of a weapon, in which case she may make a free Trip attempt if she hits.

Shield Other (Su)

The protection offered up by great warriors can even be magical in nature. The Crusader may create a Shield Other effect at will, though only protecting one person at a time. Her Damage Reduction and Energy Resistances apply normally to her portion of the damage.

Smackdown (Ex)

When the Crusader hits a foe with a melee weapon and deals at least 10 points of damage (after any Damage Reduction), she may elect to make a free Trip attempt against them. This does not provoke an Attack of Opportunity. This does not function against foes who are already Prone.

Stand Tough (Ex) [Minimum Level 5]

The Crusader can take a firm stance and make foes back down. Once per fight, when suffering damage from something that isn't [Mindless], she may make an Intimidate check with a DC equal to the damage dealt (after Damage Reduction and similar). If successful, she reduces the damage to half, and it is only taken as non-lethal damage.

Stonelord (Ex)

Crusaders are blessed with rocklike imperviousness, and many go so far as to become in-tune with elemental earth. The Crusader gains Tremorsense out to 100 feet, and has the Stone Telling feature of a Dwarf. Furthermore, she can throw rocks as though she were a Hill Giant. At level 10, she can throw rocks as though she were a Stone Giant.

Tactical Soldier (Ex)

If the Crusader and an ally are both adjacent to the same enemy, they are treated as Flanking them even if they are not actually doing so.
Any time she Fights Defensively or takes a Full Defence, adjacent allies gain the same AC Bonus that she does.
Finally, the Crusader may use a Standard Action to attack an enemy and, if the attack hits, they are unbalanced to the point that they provoke an Attack of Opportunity from all of her allies (but not from her).

Withstand Assault (Ex)

In the face of the Crusader's defiance, even explosions are nothing, unable to break her composure. Any time the Crusader is allowed or required to make a Reflex Save, she may instead make an Intimidate check. This skill check is simply made to achieve whatever the Saving Throw would achieve (typically, reducing damage), it is not also a Demoralise attempt or anything.

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