Class Acts: Cavalier

Heroes of the Forgotten Kingdoms gets more momentum this month with Class Acts: Cavaliers, which provides an alternate level 4 class feature for the cavalier, a bunch of new feats that are more general use, and a magic item to top it off.

Now, I don't like paladins. Not because of years of ingrained stigma from players that didn't know how to play a Lawful Good character and not be an ass, or DMs who didn't know what Lawful Good meant and tried to simultaneously fuck over the paladin by threatening to strip away her class features unless she did something to irritate the party (like loudly proclaim to a warband of monsters that we were going to attack them while overwhelmingly outnumbered). No, it's just that the concept never got any traction with me, and I didn't like the idea of needing a high Strength, Constitution, Wisdom, and Charisma to get the most out of my class features.

That, and I don't get to actually play a lot, instead spending the lion's share of my game time "playing" characters vicariously through the rest of the group.

The alternate class feature--Summoned Steed--lets you use summon celestial steed to conjure up an angelic warhorse twice per day that anyone can ride. Its got half your hit points, uses your Defenses, a Speed of 8, grants riders a damage bonus when charging, uses your level to determine attack bonus and Charisma modifier for damage, can kick as a melee basic, and trample as an encounter. If it dies you lose a healing surge (or take damage), and you can't summon it again until you take a nap. Basically, its a throwback to what paladins did in earlier editions, except you don't need to invest a lot of skill points into Ride and constantly make checks.

Feats are divvied into two categories; Mounted Combat and Improved Mount, with four for each.

Mounted Combat feats are more general use, granting you the usage of encounter powers when you are riding a mount (and in some cases has the requisite attack power). In otherwords, its multiclassing for mounts. For example, battle trample requires trample, and grants it a one-turn aura effect that automatically deals damage and pushes enemies that end their turn adjacent to it. Riding attack is for you, allowing you to attack something that your mount doesn't, though its keyed to either Strength or Dexterity and only deals 1[W] damage.

The Improved Mount feats are straightforward and limited to the cavalier, allowing you to summon something besides (and superior to) a horse with summon celestial steed. These ones are restricted by tier, with battle tiger being Heroic, behemoth and pegasi Paragon, and silver dragon Epic. The dragon is fucking hardcore, being all but immune to cold, having a flight of 10, can heal itself and recharge its breath weapon with the same minor action, and granting you a constant power bonus to attack rolls. Which is only for starters.

(This is where I wanted to put a badass image that Wayne Reynolds drew of a character on an armored lion, but I couldn't find it. If you own Defenders of the Faith, check it out and pretend it's here.)

Finally, we wrap things up with the jade horse, a level 8 uncommon wondrous item with a daily power that lets you summon your very own horse (of course). It has half your hit points, your Defenses, resist all, doesn't provoke opportunity attacks when charging, and can kick and trample to boot. Nothing too fancy.

While the cavalier doesn't hold much interest for me, I think the next character I make will have a warhorse. Ultimately, I'd like to get a skeletal horse or nightmare. A man can dream...

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