This character class has been culled from a back issue of Dragon(tm) Magazine and details a character classes for use in a 1st Edition AD&D game.
|Creating the NPC Anti-Paladin|
To determine the characteristics of an Anti-Paladin, refer to Table 1. A base number appears following each of the first five characteristics shown on that table. To this base number should be added the sum rolled on the appropriate die for each characteristic. If a result of 18 (base number plus die roll) is determined for strength, dexterity or constitution, there is a 25% chance (for each characteristic) that the Anti-Paladin has exceptional ability in that characteristic.
Should one or more exceptional abilities exist, percentile dice should be rolled to determine the exact level of the exceptional ability and the appropriate bonuses. These bonuses are as follows:
The experience level of the Anti-Paladin is based on the average experience level of the members of the party in the encounter. If this average is 10 or less, roll d10 for the AntiPaladin's experience level. If the average is 11 or higher, roll d20. In either case, apply bonuses - hit dice, to hit bonuses, additional attacks per round, etc. - to the NPC where applicable. Hit points, for example, are tabulated with one 10-sided die per level through ninth level, with three hit points per level awarded thereafter (123 hit points maximum for a 20th-level NPC Anti-Paladin, unless modified by constitution). Where the paladin is the champion of all that is good and lawful, the Anti-Paladin is the defender of the powers of chaos and evil. By nature, therefore, his alignment is always chaotic evil, without exception!
In addition to the bonuses conferred on him by his personal attributes, the NPC Anti-Paladin also enjoys several benefits for his class. These are:
Unlike an assassin, who only uses poison to get a job done, the Anti-Paladin considers poisoning to be both an esthetic pleasure and a means of artistic expression. Thus, the act itself must be artfully accomplished with finesse under the right conditions of mood, light and setting. This does not mean that your Anti-Paladin cannot be free in his choice of reasoning for using a poison, however. For example, he might poison an enemy to gain a desired end; or to test a new poison distilled for him by his resident alchemist; or to determine if his stock of vintage poisons is still potent; or simply to see if he can get away with it!
Since poisoning is such an important expression of the Anti-Paladin's artistic nature, he will prefer to use two-stage and three-stage poisons when - or if - they can be obtained. (A multi-stage poison is any toxic chemical compound whose individual components are, of themselves, harmless and non-toxic. However, when combined - in a victim's stomach, for example - they produce a potent, if not virulent, poison. Such multi-stage poisons are completely undetectable, since they are harmless until mixed.)
As a case in point, consider the use of a three-stage poison - with liquid, solid and gaseous components in this example - by an Anti-Paladin to remove an obstructive town official. Inviting the man to his keep, he wines and dines him sumptuously, meanwhile serving him a drink laced with the first ingredient and a main course liberally sprinkled with the second. Knowing that the first two ingredients are harmless without the third, the Anti-Paladin can safely eat and drink along with his intended victim, thereby putting the man's fears to rest. Later that night, however, he would complete his fiendish plan by introducing the gaseous component into his victim's bedchamber (a candle treated with the third component is one possible means). Thus, the chambermaid will find the man in the morning dead in his bed "of natural causes", with no blame attached to the Anti-Paladin.
So long as the Anti-Paladin himself does not breathe the third (gaseous) component, the other ingredients will eventually pass through his system safely and harmlessly. In fact, he would have ample time to take an antidote (and prepare an ironclad alibi!) before completing his diabolical scheme. Even without multi-stage poisons, the Anti-Paladin will always maintain a stock of standard poisons and their antidotes - the latter for his own personal use, of course!
The optional poisons suggested in the article Poisons from AA to XX in issue #32 of DRAGONTM Magazine are recommended. (Editor's note: See page 72 of this volume.) Table 2 (below) gives the chance by level for an Anti-Paladin to have a certain poison type in his "collection." Finally, the Anti-Paladin also receives certain benefits at certain experience levels: in addition to his class benefits. These are as follows:
|Experience Level||Poison Type|
As an NPC, the Anti-Paladin will come fully equipped with armor, shield, weaponsand horse. usually, his armorwill be full plate or plate mail; his metal shield, large and sturdy; his weapons capable of inflicting maximum damage per blow against even heavily armored opponents (even without the use of poison); and his steed a heavy warhorse.
However, in order to present players with a formidable but not unbeatable foe, the DM may need to adjust the Anti-Paladin's equipment according to his experience level, the number of his retainers present, the experience levels/types present in the party encountering him, and the general situation at hand. For example, a 20th-level Anti-Paladin defending his castle with a full complement of human and non-human retainers about him might wear only chainmail, carry a small, wooden shield and wield a mace or longsword. The same Anti-Paladin, on the other hand, if encountered in the wilderness with only small party of retainers for protection, might wear banded o scale armor, carry a small, metal shield and use a morningsta or broadsword. Keep in mind that even when alone, the Anti-Paladin is am very tough customer at any level. Give him a few poisons, le him make one or two backstabbing attacks, throw in a specia warhorse, a body of human/unhuman troops and a castle, am you have an opponent which even the foolhardy will hesitate F attack. For this reason, the DM's discretion is strongly advised be fore assigning this NPC any magical items whatsoever. If players are sufficiently strong in experience levels, hi points, magic items and sheer numbers, and the DM feel he/she absolutely must provide the Anti-Paladin with suci items, the "Party Magic Items" section in Appendix C of th AD&D Dungeon Masters Guide is suggested as a source ...
Not recommended, for the reasons already stated.
Each item chosen from that table should be weighed care fully for the advantage given to the NPC. A 20th-level Anti Paladin wearing +4 plate, carrying a +3 shield and wielding a + Defender sword is just too deadly to consider!
The single exception to this rule is the Anti-Paladin's "Unhol Sword." (Table 3 outlines the percentage chance by experienc level that the Anti-Paladin has acquired such a sword in the course of his perfidious career). When this sword is unsheathed, it will project a 1" diameter Circle of Power around the Anti-Paladin. This allows the Anti-Paladin to dispel magic at a level of magic use equal to his own experience level.
|Experience level||Level title||Horse (a)||Unholy sword (b)||Human retainers (c)||Non-human retainers (c)||Freehold|
|9||Villain of the Deepest Dye||30||45||60||40||50 (Keep)|
|12||Anti-Paladin, 12th level||45||60||45||55||80|
|13||Anti-Paladin, 13th level||50||65||40||60||90|
|14||Anti-Paladin, 14th level||55||70||35||65||100 (Castle)|
|Notes:||(a) 25% chance horse is Nightmare.|
(b) 25% chance sword is Unholy Reaver
(c) See 3a/3b or 3c/3d for type.
|Table 3a||Die roll||Type||Number|
|00||Roll on Table 3b|
|Table 3b||Die roll||Type||Number|
|00||Roll twice on Table 3a|
|Note on Tables 3a/3b:||1* - If more than one retainer of this type is rolled, treat the additional ones as novices or apprentices of that class.|
|Die roll||Type||Number||Table 3c Non-human retainers|
|Die roll||Type||Number||Table 3d Non-human retainers (Special)*|
|01-95||Undead (any except lich or vampire)||Variable|
|98-99||Demon (Types -VI)||one only|
|00||Roll twice on Table 3c|
|* - The DM determines when and how these freehold guardians are activated. (Roll only if Anti-Paladin has a freehold.)|
|If he has acquired an Unholy Sword, there is an additional 25% chance that it is, in reality, a +5 Unholy Reaver. (Undoubtedly, the Anti-Paladin has obtained this sword by murdering its previous owner!)
The Unholy Reaver has several powers:
The Anti-Paladin may or may not have retainers (refer to Table 3 for the percentage chance by experience level that he hasacquired a body of human/non-human servitors). Note that human, demi-human and mixed human races are classified together under the heading of “human” retainers. Based on the type of encounter the DM foresees when designing an Anti-Paladin, he/she will have to determine the exact “mix” of races to be found amoung his human companions. Obviously, only beings of the most vicious and unsavory character will willingly serve an Anti-Paladin! Thus, half-orcs will commonly be found serving in the capacity of assassins, half-ogres - if that variant is employed - will perform as fighters (brigands), while an occaional renegade dwarf or depraved halfling might be numbered as thieves in the Anti-Paladin's service.
On the other hand, no self-respecting elf - not even a thief - would ever serve such an evil master (although, undercertain conditions as determined by the DM, a solitary Drow might be found acting in the role of “advisor”). Brigands, thieves and assassins are the Anti-Paladin's usual human companions. Occasionally, he might have on hand a defrocked cleric to act as his chaplain, an outlawed alchemist to brew up his poisons or a demented wizard to keep him well supplied with potions, scrolls and other magic items (see Table 3b for details on these "special" human servants). No sage, however, will ever be found serving an Anti-Paladin. As a class, sages are too wise to associate willingly with such an unprincipled and deceitful character.
An Anti-Paladin may not maintain more than 20 human servitors, decreasing that number by one for each additional experience level of the particular Anti-Paladin. Thus, a first-level might have up to 20 human retainers, while a 20th-level Anti-Paladin would have but one. It should also be obvious that, if the Anti-Paladin has established some type of freehold - whether manor house, keep or castle - he will have some kind of retainers (human and/or non-human) to both maintain and defend it. The experience level of an Anti-Paladin's human servant will always be at least one level lower than that of the master, if not more. The main reason for this is the Anti-Paladin's inborn distrust and suspicion of everyone, even his own bodyguards.
For not only does the Anti-Paladin enjoy lording his position and power over lesser men, but he simply will not tolerate anyone being his equal in anything - perhaps for good reason, since a cleric, magic-user or assassin of equal ability might be tempted to displace the Anti-Paladin by taking command! Thus, an 8th-level Anti-Paladin, for example, might have a single 7th-level type serving him in the capacity of lieutenant. However, he is much more likely to have a body of 1st through 4th-level types whom he can bully, mistreat and dominate through fear and his own iron will. The only exception to this general rule is the 1st-level Anti-Paladin. Since zero-level thieves, assassins, clerics, magic-users and alchemists do not exist, the only retainers he can have are fighter (brigand) types, which will always be zero-level fighting men (5-8 hit points each). Subject to the above, any method may be used to determine the experience levels of an Anti-Paladin's human retainers, from random die rolls to simply assigning levels to each NPC. The advantage of the latter method is that it allows the DM more control over the development of the encounter or scenario. Beginning with second level, an Anti-Paladin is likely to attract a large and varied body of non-human retainers (see Table 3). Note that the probability for non-human servitors increases with each additional experience level of the Anti-Paladin. There are several reasons for this:
To determine the actual type(s) of non-human servants me Anti-Paladin has acquired, consult Table 3c. Anti-Paladins of 2nd or 3rd level will roll once on that table. Those of 4th-9th level will roll twice, 10th-14th level thrice, and those of 15th level and greater will roll the maximum of four times. Thus, a 15th-level Anti-Paladin could have up to four different types of non-human servitors or a single, large troop of one type, depending on the die rolls. It is possible to have more types if “00” is rolled twice - first on Table 3c and again on Table 3d - but the probability is extremely low. As with magical items, an Anti-Paladin's "special" nonhuman retainers - demons, devils and the undead - should be handled with extreme caution. These special types will almost always be confined within the walls of an Anti-Paladin's freehold. (If it is determined - by rolling on Table 3 - that he has not acquired a freehold, treat a "00" result on Table 3c as "roll again.") In no case, however, will a lich or vampire be found residing in an Anti-Paladin's freehold - at least, not as long as the freehold is inhabited! No special non-human servants will ever be found accompanying an Anti-Paladin on patrol.
Typically, the undead will be found acting as guardians or sentinels, usually in the Anti-Paladin's dungeon. As shown on Table 3d, both the type and number of undead servitors is variable, depending on the number of levels and extent of the Anti-Paladin's dungeon complex, the size and experience levels of the party in the adventure and other factors as determined by the DM. An Anti-Paladin, for example, might have zombie footmen, valets and butlers as body-servants, performing these functions in their usual mechanical fashion (thus, a direct order from the Anti-Paladin would make them attack).
|Table 4||Experience level||Clerical spell level|
|Spells usable by class and level||1||2||3||4|
|- maximum spell capability|
Demons and/or devils may be found acting in any one of three roles: (1) as guardians of the Anti-Paladin's treasure(s); (2) as emissaries of the gods of chaos and evil, or (3) as special “advisors” to the Anti-Paladin. Within the walls of his freehold, therefore, they will usually be found either in the Anti-Paladin's dungeon, his freehold chapel or in a special room or library devoted to the study of diabolism and demonology.
The Dungeon Master must determine beforehand under exactly what conditions a demon or devil will appear, move or attack. For example, a demon/devil might appear if the party of adventurers performs (or fails to perform!) some action in a certain room or area of the Anti-Paladin's freehold. Likewise, a demon/devil should be limited in its ability to move and attack by confining it/them to a specific room and/or the corridor immediately adjacent. With these limitations, you will prevent the adventure from becoming a slaughter of other characters. Unlike player characters, the NPC Anti-Paladin may have an established freehold at any experience level, even 1st (consult Table 3 for the percent chance of this occurring). He will usually acquire this freehold in one of the three ways:
Whichever method he employs, his freehold will always be situated in a strong, easily defended location affording him the maximum opportunity for profit, mischief and mayhem. He will be found, for example, along a well traveled caravan route at the only oasis in a parched and barren desert; or atop a commanding mountain position overlooking a strategic pass between two nations; or entrenched at a bridge or river crossing along some major trade route. Obviously, the specific location, individual defenses and floor plans of an Anti-Paladin's freehold will depend on the type of scenario the DM is designing.
Provision should be made for at least one, if not more, secret escape passages, hidden rooms or bolt holes for the Anti-Paladin's use in case of emergency. All Anti-Paladins are great believers in the “live to fight another day” philosophy, especially when their own precious skins are endangered.
Finally, freeholds will have one or more dungeon levels - depending on their size - for the Anti-Paladin's amusement. As a rule of thumb, a manorhouse should have 1-2 dungeon levels, a keep 3-4 and a castle 5-6. More dungeon levels may be added, especially if the DM plans to use the scenario for a series of extended adventures. The personality of an Anti-Paladin is a complete catalog of all the varied sins and crimes of humanity. He is treacherous, sly, underhanded, cruel, lecherous, sadistic, arrogant, greedy, vicious, egotistical, amoral, domineering, unprincipled, brutal, self-centered, diabolic, mean, petty, and vindictive.
Unlike most evil types, the Anti-Paladin disdains "hack-and-slash" as a primary means of obtaining his goals, preferring the more subtle and devious approach of a Fu Manchu. As a case in point, consider the kidnapping of a local princess on the eve of her wedding to a foreign prince. Naturally, our Anti-Paladin will demand a large, but not excessive ransom from her father for her safe return. However, when the emissaries arrive with the gold, they are ambushed by the Anti-Paladin's retainers (in disguise) and slaughtered to a man...save one. That one would be spared to carry the grim news back to the girl's father. At that point, the Anti-Paladin would send his regrets over the "loss" of the ransom money and the destruction of the caravan (undoubtedly by "bandits" or marauding orcs!), while renewing his original demand. Once this second ransom is paid, he would soon tire of the girl, selling her into slavery afterwards. Thus, he would gain two ransoms and the price of a highborn slave girl at virtually no risk to himself. Of course, daddy might show up on the Anti-Paladin's doorstep with an army and/or siege train in tow, but that's an occupational hazard.
The one really fatal flaw in the Anti-Paladin is his lack of courage. Despite his fearsome strength and formidable appearance, he is in reality a sniveling coward at heart! So long as he is surrounded by his retainers while ambushing an inferior and outnumbered opponent, the Anti-Paladin's morale cannot be seriously questioned. However, when faced by his nemesis, the paladin; or a lawful good cleric; or any character of good alignment, there is an excellent chance that the Anti-Paladin's true nature will reveal itself.
Provided that these opponents equal or surpass him in experience, the Anti-Paladin must check his morale immediately upon facing any one of these types in single combat. He never need check initial morale against an inferior opponent or a foe not included in one of the categories mentioned above. If the Anti-Paladin saves, he need not check morale again until he loses half his total hit points - or more - in the course of that particular melee (there are exceptitons, see below). Note that this "morale check due to damage" is required, whether the Anti-Paladin is battling a single lawful good cleric or a party of neutral fighters.
Should the Anti-Paladin fail his morale check, however, he will immediately utter his famous battlecry: "Curses, foiled again!" and flee the field (if flight is possible) or surrender, if it is not. In any case, he will abandon both his human and his inhuman servitors to their richly deserved fate! The base chance that the Anti-Paladin will act in such a cowardly fashion is 50% when facing a paladin, 25% against all others. This "rout factor" decreases by 5% for each retainer within 60 feet (2" outdoors, 6" dungeon) of the Anti-Paladin.
The Anti-Paladin will react differently to each one of these three major types of opponent, as follows:
It should be obvious from the above that all Anti-Paladins will react in certain predetermined ways under combat conditions. First, they will avoid personal combat - especially against those characters which are their extreme antithesis - unless or until it becomes absolutely necessary (leading from the rear has always been one of the Anti-Paladin's strongest points!). Second, they will always use their retainers to bear the brunt of fighting and shield the Anti-Paladin from direct attack. Even above mundane profit, each Anti-Paladin's primary concern is his own precious skin. If personally forced into action, the Anti-Paladin will go into battle with by as many retainers as possible. Not only does this bolster his own morale and distract his opponent(s); it also lets him slip away in the confusion if the fighting goes against him!
As can be seen, the personality of an Anti-Paladin is both complex and varied. While cowardice and greed, treachery and violence are frequently combined in the character of this most ignoble NPC, sometimes the innovative genius of VIad the Impaler, the artistic sensitivity of Attila the Hun or the charm and hospitality of Lucretia Borgia is also displayed. No matter what his personality traits, however, the Anti-Paladin will always seek maximum profit with minimum of effort.
To a large extent, the answers to these questions will determine the Anti-Paladin's reaction to the party. Knowing the answers in advance can ensure a well-run encounter. In some adventures, players may attempt to recruit the Anti-Paladin as a member of their group. This is not beyond the bounds of reason, but the DM must remember the Anti-Paladin is - above all else! - chaotic and evil. For the Anti-Paladin to even consider an offer, the goals and purpose of the group must serve chaos and evil. Due to his chaotic nature, he will serve such a party for the duration of one adventure only. Under no circumstances will an Anti-Paladin join - or even consider joining - a party containing lawful or good-aligned characters. At any rate, the Anti-Paladin will demand an ungodly share of any treasure found (at least 50%), as well as first choice on all magical items, in payment for his services. In return, he will attempt to lead the party himself or, failing that, he will preach rebellion against the chosen leader. When combat is offered, he will immediately retreat to the rear for safety, yet will claim a hero's reward for his "courage and daring" afterwards!
If it is profitable enough, the Anti-Paladin may even consider betraying the party for his own personal advantage. Finally, if this still doesn't deter players from wanting him around, the Anti-Paladin's loud, arrogant manner, self-centered egoism and cruel, sadistic humor should. A single experience with this NPC, therefore, should teach an immediate and invaluable lesson in caution to any players!
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This page and its contents are presented solely for the purpose of the RPG game events conducted by a private group. Any references to people or places is explicitly within the context of these RPG games and has no connection to any other similarly named source.Bob Senkewicz / Howell, New Jersey / firstname.lastname@example.org