Faerûnian Prestige Class : Purple Dragon Highknight
By Ed Greenwood
A highknight of Cormyr is a recently created rank of service to the Crown. Trained in Court etiquette and realm law as well as in the use of weapons, highknights are regularly mind-read by War Wizards to guarantee their continued loyalty, as well as to guard against magical influences or impostors posing as real knights. Highknights usually draw difficult duties, such as investigating suspected traitors among the ranks of superior Purple Dragon officers or the nobility, or guarding royalty or unpopular visiting envoys.
In Cormyr, highknights speak with royal authority, and they can always gain audience to any royal or Court personage (though they'll face penalties for frivolous use of this privilege).
Most highknights are fighters, but Filfaeril and Vangerdahast (joint creators of this rank) desire the office to be open to bards, rangers, and other persons difficult to fit into the normal Court hierarchy. Rowen Cormaeril, for example, has been accorded the rank of highknight, as has his brother Beliard, bladebrother to Alusair and bastard son of Azoun IV. Both would otherwise share exile with the rest of their family. Highknights can be encountered anywhere in the Dragonreach and Dragon Coast, but they are most likely to be found in Cormyr proper.
To qualify to become a Purple Dragon Highknight, a character must fulfill all the following criteria:
Skill Points at Each Level: 2 + Int modifier.
Weapon and Armor Proficiency: The highknight is proficient with all simple and martial weapons, all types of armor, and shields. Note that armor check penalties for armor heavier than leather apply to the skills Balance, Climb, Escape Artist, Hide, Jump, Move Silently, Pick Pocket, and Tumble.
Dauntless Guard: Beginning at 1st level, when a highknight guards a known or familiar area in accordance with orders, such as a single room, doorway, or passage, he gains the following abilities while fighting in that area:
- +2 Strength
- +2 Constitution
- +2 resistance bonus on all saves
- +4 dodge bonus to AC
The increase in Constitution raises the highknight's hit points by 1 point per level, but these hit points go away the moment the highknight moves away from the area or ceases fighting or defying possible foes. This is an extraordinary ability.
Poison Resistance: At 5th level, a highknight gains a second chance on Fortitude saves vs. any poison once per day gases included); if the result of the first save is unfavorable, a second roll can be attempted. At 10th level, immunity to secondary damage becomes automatic. This is a supernatural ability.
Magic Resistance: At 3rd level, by exposure to spells (working with a War Wizard), the highknight gains resistance to a single chosen magical attack form, such as cold, electricity, fire, or acid. During each round of damage from that sort of magic, subtract 1 point from each die of damage suffered by the highknight. This immunity improves to 2 points per die at 6th level and 3 points per die at 9th level. This is a supernatural ability.
Natural Armor: The highknight's natural armor rating improves by +1 at 4th level, and an additional +1 at 8th level. This is an extraordinary ability.
Uncanny Dodge: At 2nd level, the highknight does not lose his Dexterity bonus to AC from being flat-footed. At 7th level, opponents do not gain any attack bonuses for flanking the highknight.
|The Highknight||Hit Dice: d10|
|2nd||+2||+3||+0||+0||Uncanny dodge (Dex bonus to AC)|
|3rd||+3||+3||+1||+1||Magic resistance 1|
|4th||+4||+4||+1||+1||Natural armor +1|
|6th||+6||+5||+2||+2||Magic resistance 2|
|7th||+7||+5||+2||+2||Uncanny dodge (can't be flanked)|
|8th||+8||+6||+2||+2||Natural armor +2|
|9th||+9||+6||+3||+3||Magic resistance 3|
|10th||+10||+7||+3||+3||Poison resistance (immunity to secondary damage)|