Faerûnian Prestige Class : Vengeance Knight
"You've crossed my employers, and I'm here to make you pay." - Kade Steele of Athkatla, a vengeance knight
Vengeance knights roam the Lands of Intrigue in search of those who have committed acts of treachery against their employers, the Knights of the Shield. As a vengeance knight, you are a master of steel, as comfortable in your heavy plate armor as others are in courtly vestments or adventuring clothes. The sword is your weapon of choice, and you use it well to intimidate and eliminate the enemies of the Knights. Vengeance knights often wear fearsome helmets or emblazon their armor with symbols that strike fear into the hearts of their enemies before steel is even drawn.
Vengeance knights are specially trained warriors who have pledged their service to the Knights of the Shield, a group of politicians and merchants with influence in governments from Athkatla to Calimport. They are a special breed of enforcers used by the organization to cow their enemies into compliance. Fighters most often become vengeance knights, but blackguards and former paladins also make good fits because of their heavy armor use, horsemanship, and martial prowess. Strength (for melee combat), Constitution (for staying power), and Charisma (for intimidation) are key abilities for a vengeance knight.
To qualify to become a Vengeance Knight, a character must fulfill all the following criteria:
- Alignment: Lawful evil, lawful neutral, or neutral evil.
- Skills: Intimidate 6 ranks, Ride 4 ranks, Sense Motive 2 ranks.
- Feats: Iron Will, Weapon Focus (any sword).
- Base Attack Bonus: +5.
- Special: Proficiency with heavy armor and heavy shields.
Skill Points at Each Level: 2 + Int modifier.
As they increase in level, vengeance knights become more and more effective in the use of their armor and in dealing damage to those who have hurt them.
Armor Training (Ex): As a vengeance knight, you always wear the heaviest armor available to you, and thus you learn to wear it more effectively through training. Your armor check penalty imposed by heavy armor and shields for all skills except Swim is reduced by 1, and you can don your armor as if you had help (although you still require a servant to help you don half-plate or full plate).
At 6th level, your armor check penalty for armor is reduced by 3, and you can make a DC 15 Constitution check to avoid being fatigued from sleeping in your armor. In addition, you take only half the normal movement penalty for wearing heavy armor.
At 10th level, you have truly mastered the art of wearing heavy armor. You can now sleep in your armor without penalty, and your armor check penalties for armor are reduced by 5. In addition, you can don half-plate or plate mail without assistance, although it takes twice the indicated time.
Bringer of Vengeance (Ex): As an agent for the Knights of the Shield, you are often called upon to avenge some slight or to send a message to an enemy of the organization. Whenever you have a specific target, you gain the indicated bonus on Intimidate, Search, Sense Motive, and Spot checks when using these skills against your target. In addition, you gain the indicated bonus on all attack rolls and damage rolls against the target.
Counterstrike (Ex): Vengeance knights visit pain upon those who would hurt them. As a result, you gain the indicated bonus on all melee attack rolls and damage rolls against any creature that damaged you in the previous round. This bonus stacks with that from your bringer of vengeance ability.
Improved Shield Bash: At 2nd level, you gain the Improved Shield Bash feat, even if you do not meet the prerequisites.
Bonus Feat: At 3rd and 9th levels, you can choose a bonus feat from the fighter's bonus feat list.
Arcane Backlash (Su): Any time you successfully save against any arcane spell when you are the spell's only target, the original caster takes the indicated amount of nonlethal damage as you lash the energies of his failed spell back at him.
|Vengeance Knight||Hit Die: d10|
|1st||+1||+2||+0||+0||Armor training, bringer of vengeance +1|
|2nd||+2||+3||+0||+0||Counterstrike +1, Improved Shield Bash|
|4th||+4||+4||+1||+1||Arcane backlash 1d6|
|5th||+5||+4||+1||+1||Bringer of vengeance +2|
|6th||+6||+5||+2||+2||Improved armor training|
|7th||+7||+5||+2||+2||Arcane backlash 2d6|
|9th||+9||+6||+3||+3||Bonus feat, bringer of vengeance +3|
|10th||+10||+7||+3||+3||Arcane backlash 3d6, superior armor training|
Vengeance Knights In The World
The vengeance knights are a prestigious arm of the Knights of the Shield, for whom each knight works solely. They are not so much a group as a conglomeration of individuals with similar training who perform missions for individual members of the larger organization. The Knights of the Shield are a clandestine group with mercantile and political interests all around the lands of Amn, Calimshan, and Tethyr. Individual members take "ownership" of a vengeance knight, whom they can then dispatch at their whim to cajole stubborn merchants or eliminate particularly troublesome enemies. While the Knights of the Shield are subtle in their machinations, their vengeance knights take great pride in being forthright and direct when carrying out their duties.
Organization: Every vengeance knight is linked to a particular member of the Knights of the Shield, known as his patron. A patron has little authority over another member's vengeance knight, and cannot call him away from his duties, or even force him to obey commands. A patron might "loan" his vengeance knight to another patron for a short period of time in exchange for another favor. Vengeance knights are often played against one another as proxies in internal power plays within the Knights of the Shield. One might be manipulated into embarrassing his patron, a situation that often leads to the death of the vengeance knight in order for the patron to save face.
Patrons use their vengeance knights for a variety of purposes. The most common use is the shakedown of a politically trouble-some enemy, usually either a popular but unaffiliated candidate or an out-of-control ally. Merchants who do not play by the Knights' rules are also often targeted, although this turn of events can lead to larger issues if the Rundeen or Shadow Thieves have business with the individual. Sometimes a public assassination or severe beating can be an effective tool, even if the target has nothing to do with the issue at hand.
Although every vengeance knight serves a patron, he is not required to always be at his patron's beck and call. Most vengeance knights are released into an area that coincides with their patron's interests, and then left to their own devices until they are needed.
Vengeance knights are powerful enough that they often hire themselves out to other wealthy patrons, although their allegiance always lies first with the Knights of the Shield. Some find a group of allies with complementary skills to adventure with, taking treasure from humanoid strongholds or exploring ancient catacombs and abandoned ruins. Not all vengeance knights are active in this way, however. At least one is known to reside in a villa in Riatavin, where he indulges in a variety of pleasures in between assignments. He is a popular guest among the city's younger nobles, most of whom are far removed from the trade and politics that make up the knight's unpleasant business.
This vengeance knight, Korben Slade, is known as The Rigar, a nickname derived from a popular leisure game played in Amn, of which Korben is a master. The Rigar was already an experienced adventurer when he was offered a position within the Knights of the Shield. His past earnings were enough to set him up in relative luxury while he awaited assignments, and his stipend as a vengeance knight covers some of his more exotic expenses. His villa features all manner of exotic creatures from around Faerûn, as well as several monsters he collected during his adventuring days. He sometimes uses these monsters to intimidate those who have displeased his patron.
As stated, The Rigar prefers to spend his time among the young nobles of the city. The fact that his business sometimes puts him at odds with the area's older merchants and politicians makes him wary of forming friendships among that group. His parties are always well stocked with the finest food and drink, and he even invites an associate of his to bring the pleasures of Sharess to the gatherings.
The young nobles, in turn, look up to The Rigar and constantly question him about his adventures. He embellishes his tales enough to keep his audience interested, and never seems to run out of fodder for his stories. A quick tour of the more exotic monsters n his villa confirms his more outlandish yarns, and the monsters' keeper, a wily, one-eyed half-orc named Crill who used to travel with The Rigar, throws in his own reminiscences from time to time.
Korben Slade is a powerfully built man; his arms are as big as an ogre's, and he stands almost six and a half feet tall. He wears only half-plate armor when called to duty, a personal touch that adds to his mystique. His black-bladed longsword only leaves its sheath when blood is going to be spilled, a last resort in The Rigar's mind. He knows that his presence is tolerated in Riatavin partially because he keeps the young nobles out of trouble, so he prefers to conduct his business through intimidation rather than bloodshed.
Some of the other vengeance knights look upon The Rigar in disgust, believing him to be an indolent who sullies their ranks with his hedonistic lifestyle and aversion to bloodshed. None of the other knights have taken action against him - if for no other reason than that he is among the most powerful of them - but words have flown on more than one occasion, and Slade's patron has been questioned by other members of the Knights of the Shield from time to time. While no formal code binds the knights, The Rigar's death would provoke action by his patron, leading to the death of whoever perpetrated the act.
Vengeance Knight Lore
Characters with Knowledge (local Amn, Calimshan, or Tethyr) can research the vengeance knights or the Knights of the Shield.
An encounter with a vengeance knight is sure to make the characters curious, whether or not they arc his intended targets.
When a character makes a skill check, read or paraphrase the following, including the information from lower DCs.
- DC 10: "It is an unwise man who crosses the Knights of the Shield."
- DC 15: "The Knights of the Shield have specialized enforcers, called vengeance knights, who wreak havoc upon their foes."
- DC 20: "Each vengeance knight has a patron within the Knights of the Shield. The easiest way to get to a knight might be through his patron, and vice versa"
- DC 30: A character with this level of contacts can find a particular vengeance knight, and will also know the knight's patron within the larger organization.
Source: Champions of Ruin