Posted by : David Guyll May 27, 2011

I'd apparently overlooked this installment of Character Themes, which gives us chevalier, guardian, hospitaler, and noble.

CHEVALIER
These guys get a chivalrous code sidebar, allowing you to add irritating classic paladin-like limitations to any character.

...

Yay...?

Actually the sidebar specifically mentions that the code varies from culture to culture, just that "most" would agree on the list as a good start, at least. I actually like this theme because it lets any character gain benefits with a mount beyond what you could get by picking up Mounted Combat. Really nice for characters that want to play a mounted fighter, paladin, ranger, cavalier with summon steed, or whatever and get a bit more out of it.

For starters you gain a power bonus to Athletics and Acrobatics checks while mounted to jump, swim, or "hop down". The bonus applies to you and your mount, and you can use whichever modifier is better, so that's cool. You can gain an encounter attack that lets you immobilize a creature that you hit with a charge attack. At 5th-level you get a power bonus to Diplomacy and Intimidate checks, and at 10th-level you gain a power bonus to all saving throws, though none of these abilities are contingent to you being mounted.

  • Battle riding: An encounter-immediate interrupt that halves the damage your mount takes from an attack, and lets it shift a square. You have to be mounted for this to work, however.
  • Indefatigable: A daily-minor action that lets you gain hit points equal to your surge value without having to spend a surge, and you gain make a save.
  • Loyal stand: An encounter-minor action that creates an aura 1 effect that grants you and all allies a bonus to AC, as well as reducing forced movement effects by 1.

GUARDIAN
This starting feature is great for defenders, or a character that wants to add a bit of defender to their character; if an ally within 2 squares is hit by an attack, you can shift next to your ally and swap positions as an interrupt, causing the attack to hit you instead. As an added bonus you get to make a basic attack against the attacker. At 5th-level you gain a power bonus to Insight and Perception, which is pretty nice. 10th-level lets you designate a character as your "bonded charge"; you can sense your charge so long as he/she is within danger and a mile, as well as the general direction and distance. Finally, if an enemy hits your charge, you gain an untyped attack bonus against it for a turn.

The feature does mention that your charge must be someone you are sworn to protect, and that you generally cannot designate someone who is better at combat than you are. Most of the time, I'm guessing that this means you can't use it on other party members, but I could see it working without balance issues.

  • Guardian's defense: An encounter-minor that grants you and one adjacent ally a power bonus to all defenses, as well as preventing anyone from gaining combat advantage against either of you.
  • Ready for anything: A daily-no action that "unsurprises" you if you start combat surprised.
  • Watch out!: An encounter-immediate interrupt that causes an attack against an adjacent ally to hit you instead, and you get to burn a healing surge if you want.


HOSPITALER
Your starting feature lets you heal a creature that takes damage as an immediate reaction, but since it is based on your Wisdom modifier it kind of limits which classes will get any mileage out of it. As an added benefit, you gain a power bonus to attack rolls against the enemy that triggered the power. At 5th-level you can freely requisition food and lodging from temples affiliated with you. Eh...not so hot, especially since most heroes could get that shit for the price of a favor quest (and all the XP and loot that that implies). At 10th-level you can use your starting feature twice.

  • Hospitaler's prayer: A daily-minor that allows one ally to make a saving throw, as well as granting a small power bonus to defenses for a turn. If the save fails, the bonus gets doubled.
  • Radiant stride: An encounter-move that lets you shift your Speed, assuming you can get to an unconscious or bloodied ally, granting you and everyone next to you partial concealment for a turn.
  • Fight on, friend: A daily-minor that lets a bloodied or unconscious ally regain hit points equal to two healing surges, and end one save-ends effect.


NOBLE
The starting feature is pretty nice: as a move action you cause one or two allies to shift 2 squares and grant them a defense bonus for a turn. At 5th-level you gain a level 6 armor, weapon, or neck item (you know, one of the essentials), and at 10th-level you get a power bonus to Diplomacy and Insight. Frankly, I'd rather have a stacking feature as opposed to a magic item, especially since it is just a common one.

  • Noble influence: As a free action you gain a power bonus to the next Intimidate check you make, and can also use Intimidate in place of Bluff or Diplomacy.
  • Inspiring recovery: As a free action you can allow one ally to make a save with a bonus after you succeed on a save.
  • Urge to action: Yet another free action encounter, this one allows you to boost an allies initiative result up to yours. Obviously, they have to have rolled lower than you.
Hospitaler seems the most "eh" to me, even in terms of concept. My favorites are a tie between gaurdian and noble. There are a lot of characters that could benefit from either set of mechanics.

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