From AaronWiki

Making a Crusader

A crusader is primarily a front-line melee battler, much like the fi ghter or paladin. Her martial maneuvers give her more tactical fl exibility than the fi ghter and make her a dynamic and well-rounded combatant. Most crusaders also make good leaders, since they are both charismatic and dedicated.

Abilities: Strength and Constitution are vital to a crusader, since she is often in harm’s way. Intelligence is useful for gaining plenty of skill points, which a crusader needs to purchase the ranks in Diplomacy, Intimidate, and Balance, the key skills for her martial disciplines. Dexterity is useful for any character in combat, but a crusader’s ability to wear heavy armor means that she is not as dependent on a high Dexterity score as other characters.

Races: Most crusaders are humans, half-elves, or dwarves, because the ideals of dedication, service, zeal, and courage are important in both dwarf and human cultures. Elves, gnomes, and halfl ings generally lack the seriousness, single-minded devotion, and moderate fanaticism required to succeed as crusaders. Half-orcs rarely become crusaders, but those who do follow this path often excel at it. Many half-orcs spend their lives searching for an ideal to believe in or a community to which they can belong, and the way of the crusader appeals to such souls.

Alignment: A crusader can choose any alignment except neutral—she must stand for some ideal, whether chaos, good, evil, law, or a combination of principles. To be a crusader is to devote oneself wholeheartedly to a cause or deity, and this way of life leaves no room for indecision or unwillingness to commit. A crusader’s alignment reflects her chosen cause, and in some cases molds the maneuvers she can use. Good and lawful crusaders are more common than chaotic or evil ones, since obedience and service come more easily to characters of the former alignments. However, the rare evil crusader is a force to be reckoned with. She is a cruel and fearsome reaver—a scourge who preys on the weak and defenseless to honor her dark patrons.

Starting Gold: 6d4×10 gp (150 gp). Starting Age: As paladin (PH 109).

Table: The Crusader

Hit Die: d10

Level Base
Attack Bonus
Saving Throws Special Maneuvers Stances
Fort Ref Will Known Redied
1st +1 +2 +0 +0 Furious counterstrike, steely resolve 5 5 5 (2) 1
2nd +2 +3 +0 +0 Indomitable soul 5 5 (2) 2
3rd +3 +3 +1 +1 Zealous surge 6 5 (2) 2
4th +4 +4 +1 +1 Steely resolve 10 6 5 (2) 2
5th +5 +4 +1 +1 7 5 (2) 2
6th +6/+1 +5 +2 +2 Smite 1/day 7 5 (2) 2
7th +7/+2 +5 +2 +2 8 5 (2) 2
8th +8/+3 +6 +2 +2 Steely resolve 15 8 5 (2) 3
9th +9/+4 +6 +3 +3 9 5 (2) 3
10th +10/+5 +7 +3 +3 Die Hard 9 6 (3) 3
11th +11/+6/+1 +7 +3 +3 9 6 (3) 3
12th +12/+7/+2 +8 +4 +4 Steely resolve 20 10 6 (3) 3
13th +13/+8/+3 +8 +4 +4 Mettle 11 6 (3) 3
14th +14/+9/+4 +9 +4 +4 11 6 (3) 4
15th +15/+10/+5 +9 +5 +5 12 6 (3) 4
16th +16/+11/+6/+1 +10 +5 +5 Steely resolve 25 12 6 (3) 4
17th +17/+12/+7/+2 +10 +5 +5 13 6 (3) 4
18th +18/+13/+8/+3 +11 +6 +6 Smite 2/day 13 6 (3) 4
19th +19/+14/+9/+4 +11 +6 +6 14 6 (3) 4
20th +20/+15/+10/+5 +12 +6 +6 Steely resolve 30 14 7 (4) 4

Class Skills (4 + Int modifier per level, ×4 at 1st level)
Balance, Concentration, Craft, Diplomacy, Intimidate, Jump, Knowledge (history), Knowledge (religion), Martial Lore, Ride.

Class Features

All of the following are class features of the cleric.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: As a crusader, you are proficient with simple weapons, martial weapons, light, medium, and heavy armor, and all shields..

Maneuvers: You begin your career with knowledge of five martial maneuvers. The disciplines available to you are Devoted Spirit, Stone Dragon, and White Raven. Once you know a maneuver, you must ready it before you can use it (see Maneuvers Readied, below). A maneuver usable by crusaders is considered an extraordinary ability unless otherwise noted in its description. Your maneuvers are not affected by spell resistance, and you do not provoke attacks of opportunity when you initiate one. Once you know a maneuver, you must ready it before you can use it (see Maneuvers Readied, below). A maneuver usable by crusaders is considered an extraordinary ability unless otherwise noted in its description. Your maneuvers are not affected by spell resistance, and you do not provoke attacks of opportunity when you initiate one. You learn additional maneuvers at higher levels, as shown on Table 1–1. You must meet a maneuver’s prerequisite to learn it. See Table 3–1, page 39, to determine the highest-level maneuvers you can learn. Upon reaching 4th level, and at every even-numbered crusader level after that (6th, 8th, 10th, and so on), you can choose to learn a new maneuver in place of one you already know. In effect, you lose the old maneuver in exchange for the new one. You can choose a new maneuver of any level you like, as long as you observe your restriction on the highest-level maneuvers you know; you need not replace the old maneuver with a maneuver of the same level. For example, upon reaching 10th level, you could trade in a single 1st-, 2nd-, 3rd- or 4th-level maneuver for a maneuver of 5th level or lower, as long as you meet the prerequisite of the new maneuver. You can swap only a single maneuver at any given level.

Maneuvers Readied: You can ready all five maneuvers you know at 1st level, but as you advance in level and learn more maneuvers, you must choose which maneuvers to ready. You ready maneuvers by praying for 5 minutes. The maneuvers you choose remain readied until you decide to pray again and change them. You need not sleep or rest for any long period of time in order to ready your maneuvers; any time you spend 5 minutes in prayer, you can change your readied maneuvers. You begin an encounter with all your readied maneuvers unexpended, regardless of how many times you might have already used them since you chose them. When you initiate a maneuver, you expend it for the current encounter, so each of your readied maneuvers can be used once per encounter (unless you recover them, as described below). Crusaders are unique among martial adepts, relying on f lashes of divine inspiration to use their martial maneuvers. As such, you do not control access to your readied maneuvers. Before you take your first action in an encounter, two of your readied maneuvers (randomly determined) are granted to you. The rest of your readied maneuvers are withheld, currently inaccessible. At the end of each turn, one previously withheld maneuver (again, randomly determined) is granted to you, and thus becomes accessible for your next turn and subsequent turns. You can freely choose to initiate any maneuver that is currently granted when your turn begins, but you cannot initiate a withheld maneuver. If you choose not to employ a maneuver in a given round, your currently granted maneuvers remain available, and a previously withheld maneuver is granted, as described above. In other words, it doesn’t matter if you use your maneuvers or not—at the end of each of your turns, one withheld maneuver from your selection of readied maneuvers is granted to you. Over the course of a few rounds, all your maneuvers will eventually be granted. If, at the end of your turn, you cannot be granted a maneuver because you have no withheld maneuvers remaining, you recover all expended maneuvers, and a new pair of readied maneuvers is granted to you. Randomly determine which of your maneuvers are granted and which are withheld. At the end of your next turn, a withheld maneuver is granted to you, and the whole process of divine inspiration begins again. You begin an encounter with an additional granted maneuver at 10th level (bringing your total to three), and again at 20th level (bringing your total to four).

Stances Known: You begin play with knowledge of one 1st-level stance from the Devoted Spirit, Stone Dragon, or White Raven discipline. At 2nd, 8th, and 14th level, you can choose an additional stance. Unlike maneuvers, stances are not expended, and you do not have to ready them. All the stances you know are available to you at all times, and you can change the stance you currently use as a swift action. A stance is an extraordinary ability unless otherwise stated in the stance description. Unlike with maneuvers, you cannot learn a new stance at higher levels in place of one you already know.

Steely Resolve (Ex)

Your supreme dedication and intense focus allow you to temporarily set aside the pain and hindering effects of injuries. When an opponent strikes you, the injury does not immediately affect you.

You have a delayed damage pool that allows you to forestall the effects of many injuries. This pool begins at 0 with each encounter. When you are attacked, any hit point damage the blow deals is added to your delayed damage pool. At the end of your next turn, you take damage equal to the total stored in your delayed damage pool, which then resets to 0. Any healing you receive can either increase your current hit point total as normal or reduce the total damage in your delayed damage pool. When you receive healing, you choose whether it affects your damage pool, your hit points, or both (you can split the amount of healing as you wish). Most crusaders opt to keep as much damage in their delayed damage pool as possible to maximize the benefit of their furious counterstrike ability (see below).

Special effects tied to an attack, such as energy drain, stun, and so forth, still affect you as normal, and their effects are not delayed by this ability. For example, if you are bitten by a venomous spider, you must still attempt a Fortitude save against the poison immediately, even though the bite damage shifts into your delayed damage pool. By the same token, any other special attack that imposes a condition, such as a medusa’s petrifying gaze, takes immediate effect on you.

At 1st level, your delayed damage pool can hold up to 5 points of damage. Any damage beyond that comes off your hit points as normal. The maximum damage your pool holds increases by 5 at 4th, 8th, 12th, 16th, and 20th level.

Furious Counterstrike (Ex)

You can channel the pain of your injuries into a boiling rage that lets you lash out at your enemies with renewed vigor and power. Each attack that strikes you only pushes you onward to greater glory.

During your turn, you gain a bonus on attack rolls and damage rolls equal to the current value of your delayed damage pool (see steely resolve, above) divided by 5, and rounding down (minimum +1). You can only gain a maximum bonus on attack rolls and damage rolls of +6 from furious counterstrike. Use the table below to quickly determine the attack bonus and damage bonus from furious counterstrike, based on the amount of damage in your delayed damage pool. This ability’s benefits last until the end of your turn.

Indomitable Soul (Ex)

Beginning at 2nd level, you draw upon the power of your unwavering faith to steel yourself against the enemies you face. Your personality, energy, and dedication to your faith make it possible for you to shrug off attacks that target your willpower. You add your Charisma bonus (if any) as a bonus on Will saves. This bonus does not stack with that from a paladin’s divine grace ability.

Zealous Surge (Ex)

Your boundless energy and dedication to your cause allow you to throw off the effect of a special attack, spell, or other attack that would otherwise hinder or harm you. Once per day, from 3rd level on, you can opt to reroll a single saving throw. You must abide by the result of the new, second saving throw, even if it is lower than the fi rst. This ability does not require an action. You simply decide to use it after seeing the result of your saving throw roll but before the DM tells you if it fails or succeeds.

Smite (Ex)

Driven by the courage of your convictions and the ironclad strength of your beliefs, you can strike back at those who dare stand against your cause. Starting at 6th level, once per day, you can concentrate all your anger, hatred, and determination into a single attack. On the next melee attack you make, you gain a bonus on your attack roll equal to your Charisma bonus (if any) and a bonus on damage equal to your crusader level.

At 18th level, you gain an additional use of smite per day.

Die Hard (Ex)

At 10th level, you gain Die Hard as a bonus feat.

Mettle (Ex)

You can resist magical attacks with greater effectiveness than other warriors. Beginning at 13th level, by drawing on your boundless energy and dedication to your cause, you can shrug off effects that would hinder even the toughest warrior. If you succeed on a Fortitude or Will save against an attack that would normally produce a lesser effect on a successful save (such as a spell with a saving throw entry of Will half or Fortitude partial), you instead negate the effect. You do not gain the benefi t of mettle when you are unconscious or sleeping.

Epic Crusader

Table: The Epic Crusader

Hit Die: d8

Level Special
21st Furious counterstrike
23rd Bonus feat
24th Steely resolve 35
26th Bonus feat
28th Steely resolve 40
29th Bonus feat
30th Smite 3/day

Maneuvers: The crusader's initiator level is equal to his or her class level. The crusader's maneuvers readied and granted does not increase after 20th level. The crusader does not learn additional maneuvers unless he or she selects the Martial Knowledge feat.

Furious Counterstrike (Ex): Your furious counterstrike continues to advance as your crusader levels do. When your Steely Resolve pool increases to 35 your furious counterstrike bonus increases to +7, plus an additional +1 for every five your Steely Resolve pool increases by.

Steely Resolve (Ex): Your ability to soak damage improves more and more as you progress into epic levels. At every four levels(24th, 28th, 32nd etc.) above 20th, your steely resolve pool increases by 5.

Smite (Ex): Your smiting power increases into epic levels. At every 10th level beyond 20th, you are capable of using it your smite class feature one more time per day.

Bonus Feats: The epic crusader gains a bonus feat(selected from the list of epic crusader feats) every three levels higher than 20th.

Epic Crusader Bonus Feat List: Armor Skin, Devastating Critical, Devoted Knight of the God-King, Duel Stance Mastery, Empower Maneuver, Epic Blade Mediation, Epic Devotion, Epic Leadership, Epic Reputation, Epic Toughness, Fast Healing, Great Smiting, Ivory Raven Warmaster, Legendary Commander, Martial Knowledge, Maximize Maneuver, Overwhelming Critical, Penetrate Damage Reduction, Signature Move, Strike of the Duel Adept, Strike of the Triadic Master, Unbreakable Stone Maw.