Flanaess Prestige Class : Knight of the Chase
by Creighton Broadhurst, Dragon #297
The Greyhawk Wars raged across the Flanaess in the last decade, killing countless innocents and turning many tens of thousands into refugees. Those even less fortunate than the slain and the displaced were carried away in their thousands to unknowable fates by minions of Iuz, the Scarlet Brotherhood, or some other tyrant. Many of these unfortunates yet languish in dank dungeons undergoing indescribable tortures or are forced to perform backbreaking labor in horrendous conditions until they perish.
During this time, many groups of armed warriors rose to the challenge of vanquishing the evil stalking the post-wars Flanaess. The Knights of the Chase - a loosely organized fellowship of followers of Trithereon - rank among the most ardent of these organizations, swearing allegiance to the ideals of freedom, individuality, and revenge.
Active throughout the Flanaess battling oppression and tyranny, Knights of the Chase can be found throughout the old Great Kingdom (where they are often hanged as seditionists), Sunndi, Ratik, Old Almor, the Bandit Kingdoms, the Shield Lands, Keoland, and the Yeomanry. Many Knights of the Chase flock to free lands such as Furyondy, which offers a fairly stable base from which to attack the lands of Iuz. In ruined Tenh, members of the order war against both Stoneholders and the law-obsessed zealot armies of the Theocracy of the Pale.
Iuz and the Scarlet Brotherhood currently serve as the main foci of the order's wrath, though Knights of the Chase remain vigilant against the rise of smaller threats and petty despots. They also distrust many good- and neutral-aligned religions that espouse the tenets of law, order, and conformity over the expression of individual thought or vigilante justice.
Knight of the Chase
The Knights of the Chase are loosely organized into a knighthood made up exclusively of fanatical followers of Trithereon the Summoner, Oerth's god of individuality, liberty, retribution, and self-defense. Most knights come from the ranks of wronged clerics or fighters, although some rangers (and even a few rogues) have joined the fellowship. Members of other classes are welcome within the order, though rare. Due to the usually unhappy circumstances surrounding their birth, many half-orcs and half-elves find themselves attracted to the order.
Most knights work and travel alone, although on some occasions, small groups of Chasers have acted in concert to rid the Flanaess of would-be oppressors. Such groups rarely stay together long, as the highly individualistic, chaotic personalities of the members are seldom conducive to long-term teamwork.
As befits the chaotic nature of its members, the Order of the Chase was for many years an informal organization dedicated to following Trithereon's liberating doctrine. The order organized itself into its current incarnation during the series of conflicts that marked the eastward retreat of the Great Kingdom after the independence of Nyrond in the late 350S cv. Three knights of the order took the field in the legendary Battle of a Thousand Banners in 447 cv, and Chasers have stood watch along the eastern border of Almor since the foundation of that realm.
In the West, the order first gained popularity among those opposed to Keoish expansion. As the Throne of the Lion's interest in its neighbors waned, the resident Chasers (typical for Trithereonites) flocked to the southern borders to protect local folk from the depravities of the slave-taking Sea Princes.
Today, individual knights mete out justice and vengeance as they see fit. No official hierarchy exists within the order, though most members defer to the views of experienced Chasers. All recognize the authority of senior clerics of Trithereon, and the church's tacit support of what many consider a terrorist organization has led to a great deal of tension between Trithereonite superiors and the leaders of their resident communities. Though most temple clerics deny a strong correlation between their belief and the knighthood, membership in the Order of the Chase comes only through invitation by senior clerics of the Summoner, usually as recognition of the individual's dedication to liberty and vengeance.
Though the order's support structure remains a poorly guarded secret, the knights themselves seldom take precaution against detection. Most knights clad themselves in distinctive blue chainmail emblazoned with a metallic rune of pursuit (Trithereon's holy symbol) across the chest. Most Chasers choose a silver color for this device, but particularly devout or powerful knights often favor gold. Like their divine patron, most Knights of the Chase travel with one or more animal companions. Members of the order favor the longsword and shortspear, with many naming their favored weapons in homage to Trithereon.
Wanderers all, Knights of the Chase travel the Flanaess fighting oppression and freeing those who are enslaved or held for no just cause. As wanderers they own only what they carry, but many bear extra weapons to gift to those in need.
Many Chasers travel with sleek, swift dogs well trained in the arts of hunting and warfare. These hounds, known as Nemoud's Brethren, are specially selected and trained at centers of Trithereonite worship and share a special bond with proven members of the order. Particularly accomplished knights may call upon the services of intelligent hawks known collectively as Harrukin. No one outside the order knows how the Chasers come by these majestic beasts. Some suggest that the Summoner himself dispatches a Harrukin when one of his favored knights has earned its companionship through word and deed.
Knights of the Chase are highly individualistic, devoted folk used to acting on their own initiative to right the wrongs of the world. Merciless opponents, they relentlessly hunt those who have earned their ire. Chasers rarely turn over apprehended transgressors. Instead, each knight deals with his captives as he sees fit. Within the order's infrequent counsels, actions most definitely speak louder than words, and decisions are made swiftly and without mercy.
The order's legendary disregard for the laws and customs of civilized lands often brings knights into conflict with local rulers eager to defend their authority. Since the knights represent a destabilizing influence upon the down-trodden and desperate, few in positions of authority appreciate the meddling of a Chaser in pursuit of his prey.
To qualify to become a Knight of the Chase, a character must fulfill all the following criteria:
- Alignment: Chaotic good
- Skills: Handle Animal: 4 ranks, Ride: 4 ranks.
- Feats: Weapon Focus (longsword).
- Base Attack Bonus: +6.
- Special: The character must be an ardent worshiper of Trithereon who has performed some great undertaking in the name of his deity.
Skill Points at Each Level: 2 + Int modifier.
All of the following are class features of the Knight of the Chase prestige class.
Weapon and Armor Proficiency: A knight is proficient in the use of all simple and martial weapons, all armors (heavy, medium, and light), and shields.
Spells per Day: A Knight of the Chase has the ability to cast a small number of divine spells from the cleric spell list. To cast a spell, the Knight of the Chase must have a Wisdom score of at least 10 + spell level, so a Knight of the Chase with a Wisdom of 10 or lower cannot cast these spells. Knight of the Chase bonus spells are based on Wisdom, and saving throws against those spells have a DC of 10 + spell level + the Chaser's Wisdom modifier. When the Knight of the Chase gets 0 spells of a given level, such as 0 1st-level spells at 2nd level, he gets only bonus spells. A Knight of the Chase prepares and casts spells as a cleric does (though he cannot spontaneously cast cure or inflict spells).
Special Hindrances: A knight must always follow the Code of the Chase (see below). Should a senior cleric of Trithereon determine that the knight has acted against the code, the character may not attain another level in this class until the senior cleric willingly casts atonement spell upon him. This usually involves a quest at the behest of the cleric's church, the difficulty of which greatly depends upon the seriousness of the Chaser's transgression.
Track: At 1st level, a knight gains Track as a bonus feat. If the knight already possesses the Track feat, he gains a +2 synergy bonus to associated skill checks instead.
Insight of Vengeance: When fighting with a longsword or shortspear, a knight gains a +1 insight bonus to attack rolls.
Nemoud's Brethren: At 3rd level, the knight gains the services of a specially selected hound. This hound is similar to a war dog, however it also gains abilities in a comparable fashion to a wizard's familiar (see below). Nemoud's Brethren, however, do not grant their master any special powers (such as the toad's +2 Constitution bonus) in the way that familiars do. If the dog is slain, the knight gains no replacement until he has gained an additional level as a knight.
Flight of Krelestro (Su): Once per day a knight can affect a shortspear as if a true strike spell has been cast upon it. If the spear has previously been blessed by a cleric of The Vengeful One, its range increment is tripled. The act of imbuing a shortspear with the Flight of Krelestro is a move-equivalent action that provokes an attack of opportunity. The effect lasts until the spear is used in combat or for a number of rounds equal to the knight's class level, whichever occurs first.
Harrukin: At 7th level, the knight gains the services of an intelligent hawk. This bird has the basic characteristics of a hawk, and in addition gains further abilities in a similar fashion to a wizard's familiar (see the Harrukin Special Abilities chart below. Harrukin, however, do not grant their master any special powers (such as the weasel's +2 bonus on Reflex saves) in the way that familiars do. If the hawk is slain, the knight gains no replacement until he has gained an additional level as a knight.
The Doom of Inescapable Retribution (Sp): Only the most powerful of knights can invoke this ability, the power for which is said to come directly from Trithereon himself. Because of this, they use it sparingly and only against those who are guilty of denying others their freedom. In the past it has been inflicted upon dictators, brutal military officers, slaveholders, and high priests of certain highly lawful religions.
A Knight of the Chase can use this spell-like ability once per day. To invoke this power the knight must make a successful touch attack against his opponent while declaring: "In the name of The Summoner, I mark you!" If the attack is successful, the target must succeed at a Will save (DC = 10 + 1/2 the knight's Hit Dice + the knight's Wisdom bonus).
The Doom of Inescapable Retribution has two main effects:
- The rune of pursuit is burnt into the forehead of the target. This process inflicts 2d8 points of fire damage upon the target. This effect occurs even if the subject made a successful saving throw.
- The target is subjected to a mark of justice spell as though cast by a cleric of the knight's character level.
The most common behavior proscribed by a knight is the keeping of slaves. If the target already has slaves, he must release his slaves immediately, renounce slavery, and never keep slaves again or suffer the curse of the mark of justice.
The mark of justice spell can be removed by the means outlined in the spell's description, but the rune of pursuit scar remains until the target is healed by a heal spell or atones for his misdeeds and receives the benefit of an atonement spell.
|Knight of the Chase||Hit Die: d8|
|CL||BAB||Fort||Ref||Will||Special||Spells per Day|
|1st||+1||+2||+0||+0||Special hindrances, Track||-||-||-||-|
|2nd||+2||+3||+0||+0||Insight of vengeance||0*||-||-||-|
|5th||+5||+4||+1||+1||Flight of Krelestro||2||1||-||-|
|10th||+10||+7||+3||+3||The doom of inescapable retribution||4||3||3||2|
|*Provided the knight has sufficient Wisdom to have a bonus spell of this level.|
The Code of the Chase
A knight of the chase never turns away from those in need of rescue or protection, as doing so is a mortal sin in the eyes of Trithereon. Knights live their lives by the following four principles:
Individuality - Live your life as you see fit as long as you act in the cause of good. Do not force your beliefs on others. Let your conscience guide you, but do not allow unbelievers to sway you. The end justifies the means.
Liberty - Freedom is an individual's greatest treasure, which should be safeguarded at all costs. Laws can be oppressive whether enacted for "good" or "evil." Those who oppress or enslave others should be persecuted without mercy. Unjust laws should be denounced and opposed wherever uncovered.
Retribution - Avenge yourself against those who have wronged you. Justice comes from the heart and can only be truly meted out by the persecuted. The law is often inadequate and should be ignored if it fails to dispense justice.
Self-Defense - All folk deserve the ability to defend themselves and their property. Those who cannot defend themselves should be protected so that they remain free. Killing another is justified if he wrongs you.
|War Dog Special Abilities|
|Knight Level||Natural AC||Int||Special|
|3||+1||6||Alertness, improved evasion, share spells, empathic link|
|5-6||+3||8||Speak with master|
|7-8||+4||9||Speak with animals of its type|
|Harrukin Special Abilities|
|Knight Level||Natural AC||Int||Special|
|7||+1||6||Alertness, improved evasion, share spells, empathic link|
|9||+3||8||Speak with master|
|10||+4||9||Speak with animals of its type|
Notable Knights of the Chase
Dallrend Grasinen (Clr8/Ftr3/Knight of the Chase 5)
(AL CG; Str 16, Dex 12, Con 14, Int 10, Wis 15, Cha 14)
Deeply tanned, with close-cropped black-hued hair and eyes the color of steel, Dallrend is of obvious Oeridian descent. Stocky and still fit despite his advancing years, he has, if anything, become more merciless and reckless in his pursuit of transgressors.
A native of Chathold in Almor, Dallrend has fought for almost two decades against the incursions of the Great Kingdom; the Aerdi remain for him the culprits for all misfortunes and calamities that befell his land. Now that Almor has passed into history and his family's fate remains a mystery, he spends his time searching for his family and punishing any who seek to persecute his shattered homeland. Many within Nyrond's occupying forces consider Dallrend a hothead, but they respect him because he rescued several of their countrymen from slavers raiding the coastal areas of Old Almor.
(Rog1/Ftr5/Rgr1/Knight of the Chase 4)
(AL CG; Str 13, Dex 17, Con 13, Int 13, Wis 13, Cha 5)
Surprisingly (for a follower of Trithereon), this soft-spoken half-elf warrior is not given to acting on impulse. The offspring of an unhappy union between an elven warrior and an Oeridian wizardess, Corquisavel was born during 531 cy in northern Veluna. Corquisavel's mother died, a victim of marauding orcs in the southern Yatils, while he was a young child. His mother's killers discovered and tortured the infant, and would have killed him if not for the timely arrival of his father's brethren. (To this day he bears horrific facial scars gained from that encounter and still harbors a deep fear of fire). Corquisavel dwelt amongst his father's people for the next three decades, learning the ways of the forest and of war.
He has spent much of the intervening years scouring the Vesve and the Yatils, hunting down and brutally slaying all evil savage humanoids he comes across. He also has a particular distaste for followers of Pholtus, and is known to have slain obstreperous clerics of the Blinding Light.
Short for one of mixed human/elven heritage Corquisavel stands only 4 ft. 7 in. tall, but moves with a fluidity few can match. He wears his dark brown hair long while his eyes, a legacy of his father, are deep green in hue and seem to be able to weigh a man's innocence or guilt in a second.
(Ftr7/Knight of the Chase 6)
(AL CG; Str 16, Dex 10, Con 15, Int 13, Wis 11, Cha 14)
Perhaps the best known of the knights currently battling the followers of the Scarlet Sign in the Headlands, Kelmur is thought to have personally slain two kesh and presided over the execution of a third. As a consequence he has been nicknamed by the rebels "The Scourge of the Scarlet Sign," and he is widely reviled by the occupying forces. Rumors suggest that Sister Kuranyie and Maranafel Toktot (the so-called "Butcher of Scant") have placed a substantial sum of gold on the head of this charismatic loner. Typical for a Chaser, Kelmur prefers to act alone and sometimes disappears into the Headlands for weeks at a time. Though the general populace loves him, some Onnwallish nobles (notably Baron Haishas Geldrenn) see the man as a dangerous rabble-rouser who gives the peasants ideas above their station.
A native of Nyrond, Kelmur sailed to Onnwal at the onset of the rebellion. A tall man, thought by many to be dashingly handsome, Kelmur has become a living symbol of resistance for many of the rebels who struggle against the Brotherhood.
Source: Oriental Adventures
Older Prestige class adapted to 3.5