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Initiate of the Black Paladinhood

Initiate of the Black Paladinhood Initiates are the lowest of Black Paladinhood ranks. They are warriors who have sworn the Black Oath, proven themselves to have potential and who have been accepted by a Knight of the Black Order. They are devoted worshipers of Zhakrin, nothing less can be tolerated by those who lead the Black Paladinhood. Initiates have the same authority as a common city guard captain and they are recognized as leaders of the lowest rank, fit to lead a small squad of men on missions of some importance. An Initiate who has served well is often elevated to the rank of Knight.
    Initiates are the shock troops and immediate superiors to mundane troops. They are frequently sent abroad in the company of a Knight so that the church can keep a tight reign upon them. Initiates are familiar with Zhakrin's dogma, they are staunch believers too, but their duty is to battle, not conversion of the unindoctrinated.
    Fighters make the best Initiates. They are unburdened with strange powers and they possess the strength of body and fighting prowess ideal for a beginning Initiate. Paladins, typically called zhareneen (marked warriors), because of the blessings that Zhakrin has bestowed upon them, can advance quite highly among the ranks of the Black Paladinhood. Paladins who display a proclivity to Coven-like access to divine power are strongly encouraged to join the Order of the Black Paladinhood as an Initiate, where their powers are more socially acceptable. Paladins who fail to do so jeopardize their careers as members of the Black Order. (It is suggested that paladins who wish to wait until later levels before becoming an initiate examine the Paladins without Spellcasting variant presented in the Complete Warrior, page 13.) Occasionally a ranger or a cleric will be welcomed as an initiate. Rangers who join the Black Paladinhood face an uphill battle if they aspire to the ultimate rank of Black Paladin, but among the ranks of Initiates they are commonly employed in forward positions and given plenty of opportunity to prove their zeal and combat prowess. True clerics (Coven, not Grolems) who enter the Black Paladinhood should be wary of exposing their Coven powers too publicly, the Coven has far more use for hidden spies than public "ambassadors" who have left their brethren to take up the sword; either way, such men of the cloth had best well hide or leave behind their powers over magic.
    Hit Die: d10


To qualify to become a Initiate of the Black Paladinhood, a character must fulfill all the following criteria.
    Alignment: Lawful Evil or Lawful Neutral. Admittedly, Initiates who demonstrate a flexibility in morals that an Evil alignment affords will likely progress in power with slightly greater ease, but the Black Paladinhood prizes Lawfulness more than Evil and one who is Lawful Neutral can expect to be treated fairly.
    Base Attack Bonus: +5.
    Skills: Knowledge (religion) 4 ranks, Ride 5 ranks
    Feats: Toughness, Weapon Focus (any)
    Special: An Initiate vows upon their immortal soul to uphold the Black Oath and the Nine Holy Edicts.

Class Skills

An Initiate's class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Climb (Str), Diplomacy (Cha), Handle Animal (Cha), Heal (Wis), Intimidate (Cha), Jump (Str), Knowledge Religion (Int), Ride (Dex), Sense Motive (Wis), and Swim (Str). See Chapter 4 of the Player's Handbook for skill descriptions.
    Skill Points at Each Level: 2 + Int modifier.

Class Features

All of the following are class features of the Initiate of the Black Paladinhood prestige class.
    Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Initiates are proficient with all simple and martial weapons, with all types of armor (heavy, medium, and light), and with shields. Note that armor check penalties for armor heavier than leather apply to the skills Balance, Climb, Escape Artist, Hide, Jump, Move Silently, Slight of Hand, and Tumble. Also, Swim checks suffer a -1 penalty for every 5 pounds of armor and equipment used.
Lvl Base
1+1+2+0+0Sense Adversary, Sign of Zhakrin
2+2+3+0+0Divine Fortification
3+3+3+1+1Brotherly Zeal
4+4+4+1+1Hasten the Dead
5+5+4+1+1Dark Dictum

    Sense Adversary (Sp): At will, an Initiate can sense the presence of creatures which worship gods other than Zhakrin or devices which have been dedicated to the cause of other deities. This ability's function is similar to detect evil, but rather than evil.
    Sign of Zhakrin (Su): The power of Zhakrin is upon the Initiate and the power of their lawful aura (see detect law) is equal to their class level plus their paladin or cleric level, if any. Further, the Initiate receives a +2 bonus to Diplomacy, Bluff, and Intimidate skill checks when dealing with minions of death, such as undead, necromancers, other worshipers of Zhakrin. If the Initiate possesses the Leadership feat, they receive a +1 bonus to their leadership score with regards to such beings.
    The Sign of Zhakrin manifests as one of the signs of the Nine Holy Edicts, spontaneously imprinted by divine inspiration upon the flesh of the Initiate, like an indelible tattoo or birth mark. This mark is a sign of which of the nine grand legions which the Initiate is to serve in.
    Divine Fortification (Ex): At 2nd level an Initiate gains immunity to all diseases, including supernatural and magical diseases (such as mummy rot and lycanthropy). Characters who already possess this ability, as from another class's similar feature, gain a +1 profane bonus to their Fortitude saving throws.
    Brotherly Zeal (Ex): At 3rd level an Initiate who is fighting alongside another Initiate of 3rd level or greater gains a +2 circumstance bonus to either attack rolls or Armor Class, or a +1 circumstance bonus to both. Both Initiates coordinate their efforts to assist each other in a like manner, so both initiates must arrange this bonus the same way. In other words, if an Initiate chooses a +2 bonus to his attack rolls, then his Initiate companion must likewise do so, otherwise no benefit is realized. At 5th level this bonus increases to +3.
    Hasten the Dead (Ex): At 4th level an Initiate can execute a coup de grace attack as a standard action instead of as a full round action.
    Dark Dictum (Sp): At 5th level, once per day, an Initiate can give a single command to a single creature, which must be phrased in less than ten words. Creatures which resist, disobey, or otherwise do not immediately comply with the command must make a Fortitude save (negates, DC 10 + class level + Charisma bonus modifier) or suffer wracking pains which impose a -4 penalty on attack rolls, skill checks, and ability checks. The pain abates if the creature begins to obey the dictum, but immediately returns should they stray. Commands such as "go to the temple of Zhakrin and confess your sins", "do not attempt to fight me", or "tell me the names of your accomplices in this crime" are all suitable examples of simple commands. A divine will empowers these commands, as such, the spirit of the command should be adhered to, not merely its literal interpretation. The creature must be able to perform the command; for example, commanding a creature to go somewhere when they are chained to a wall automatically fails. Obviously suicidal commands bestow a +2 bonus to the Fortitude saving throw, though the creature is certainly not obligated to fulfill the command and may choose suffer in pain. These effects last for one hour after the command was given.
    This is a language dependant, mind affecting spell-like ability.