Still, I find Stuart’s version of the paladin really inspiring. Surprisingly, the factor that was most intriguing to me was the limitation No Ranged Weapons. I say this because this limitation is a natural companion to the limitation I placed on my Holmesian version of the Ranger, which is limited to only ranged or thrown weapons.
Thus, I’ve been fiddling with an idea for a Holmesian version of the paladin. Since I am not much interested in doing the whole holy warrior thing, I am going to fall back on the word paladin itself, which means trusted military leader from the Late Latin for courtier or imperial official. Thus, a paladin is a fighter who foregoes training with/use of ranged and thrown weapons (because they are too lowly and/or they interfere with the ability to see the whole battlefield) in order to specialize in leadership skills — Leadership, Tactics and Defender:
- Leadership. Paladins have a floating +1 bonus that may be given once per combat round to one other PC as a bonus to hit, to damage, to AC or to a saving throw. The only time the paladin can use this floating bonus on themselves is in conjunction with the Defender skill (see below). If the paladin has a Charisma of 13+ the floating bonus is +2. This then may be split between two PCs if desired.
- Tactician. Once per combat round, a paladin can interrupt the normal initiative order. Before an action is taken by another PC or opponent, the paladin may switch places with them in the initiative order.
- Defender. By forgoing an attack during a combat round, the paladin may force an opponent to attack the paladin rather than another PC. While doing this, the paladin gains +2 AC and may use the floating bonus (if it hasn’t already been used that round) to add to this AC bonus.
Note that the Tactician skill assumes the initiative rules found in Holmes, which has a static initiative order based on Dex. Note also that there is no longer an alignment restriction (although these skills do make much more sense within the context of a Lawful alignment).