Excerpts 07/06/2005

Five Nations Excerpt
By Bill Slavicsek, David Noonan, Christopher Perkins

Add to your Eberron campaign with the Five Nations campaign supplement. Five Nations offers players a rich source of information about playing and dealing with characters from the Five Nations of the Eberron world. As any play in the Eberron world is likely to involve the Five Nations or characters from them, the book is useful to anyone involved in an Eberron campaign. The individual nation chapters include information on culture, geography (including maps), guilds and factions and, new prestige classes, equipment, creatures, spells, magic items, and adventure sites. The excerpts below include introductory information, information on Aundair and some of its leaders, a prestige class, plus a creature.

Prestige Class: Knight Phantom

Knight Phantom

"When we reached the ridge, we could see that our soldiers were hardpressed by Karrnathi forces. There was nothing to do but dismiss our steeds, cast a few spells, then charge into the fray."

-- Knight phantom Athum, remembering the Battle of Starpeak Mile

During the Last War, the knight phantoms were specialized light cavalry that used phantom steeds to reach the critical point in a battle, then a combination of spellcasting and martial prowess to win the day.

Part of Aundair's famed Knights Arcane, the knight phantoms prided themselves on their ability to ride hard and reach strategic points in the battle before the enemy could -- or to rescue Aundairian units in danger of being overwhelmed by the enemy.

Like other members of the Knights Arcane, the knight phantoms remained in service to the Aundair crown after the end of the Last War. But their numbers are diminished, and many a knight phantom has retired -- or put her war-won talents to use as an adventurer.

Entry Requirements

Feats: Still Spell.
Skills: Ride 4 ranks.
Special: Proficiency in all martial weapons.
Special: Ability to cast phantom steed.
Special: Citizen of Aundair, member of the Order of the Knights Arcane.

Becoming a Knight Phantom

Becoming a knight phantom requires a great deal of arcane power, so the class is available only to 5th-level wizards, 6th-level sorcerers, and 7th-level bards. The latter two classes are relatively rare, because few characters expend a precious spells known slot on phantom steed -- the signature spell of the knight phantoms.

Class Features

The knight phantom prestige class takes capable wizards and gradually turns them into capable melee fighters, without slowing their spellcasting too much.

Phantom Steed (Sp): Once per knight phantom level per day, you can conjure a phantom steed to act as a mount for you or someone else you designate. It takes a standard action to will the steed into existence. Add your levels in knight phantom and your highest level arcane spellcasting class to determine the caster level of this effect -- particularly important because it sets the duration on your steeds and determines whether they can ride over difficult ground or even into the air.

Somatic Prowess (Ex): The Knights Arcane has taught you techniques for simplifying the gestures you use when you cast a spell. You can cast arcane spells while wearing light armor without incurring the normal arcane spell failure chance. However, like any other arcane spellcaster, you incur a chance of arcane spell failure if you cast a spell with a somatic component while wearing medium or heavy armor, or while using a shield.

Spellcasting: At each level except 1st, you gain new spells per day and an increase in caster level (and spells known, if applicable) as if you had also gained a level in an arcane spellcasting class to which you belonged before adding the prestige class level. You do not, however, gain any other benefit a character of that class would have gained. If you had more than one arcane spellcasting class before becoming a knight phantom, you must decide to which class to add each level for the purpose of determining spells per day, caster level, and spells known.

Aspect of the Phantom (Su): For a number of rounds per day equal to your knight phantom level, you take on the gray, semi-insubstantial appearance of your steed once you reach 4th level. You hover just above the ground and can ignore swampy ground, difficult terrain, and other impediments that don't extend more than a few inches above the ground. You can even walk across water or other liquids safely. You can activate or deactivate your aspect of the phantom ability as a free action, and you can divide up your available rounds as you wish.

Countenance of the Phantom (Su): For a number of rounds equal to your knight phantom level, you take on a ghostly pallor, and gray tendrils of mist cling to your form. Starting at 7th level, you gain the concealment of a blur spell (20% miss chance) as the misty tendrils envelop you in a protective cloak.

Your eyes glow a baleful red when you take on the countenance of the phantom. At the beginning of your turn, each creature within 10 feet of you must succeed on a Will save (DC 10 + your knight phantom level + your Cha modifier) or be shaken for 1 round. This ability does not stack with other fear effects, and it has no effect on a creature that is already shaken. This ability works only while your countenance of the phantom ability is in effect. You are immune to the fear effect of other knight phantoms.

You can activate or deactivate your countenance of the phantom ability as a free action, and you can divide up your available rounds as you wish.

Blade of the Phantom (Su): At 10th level, you are able to extend your phantom powers into the weapon you carry. For a number of rounds equal to your knight phantom level, you can bestow upon a melee weapon you wield the brilliant energy quality. Your weapon turns gray and semi-insubstantial, however, rather than glowing brightly. But the effect is otherwise the same: You ignore armor bonuses to AC, although other bonuses due to Dexterity, deflection, dodge, natural armor, and so on still apply.

Undead, constructs, and objects are unharmed by your blade when it is in phantom form. Your weapon otherwise functions normally, including any magic enhancements bestowed upon it.

You can activate or deactivate your blade of the phantom ability as a free action, and you can divide up your available rounds as you wish.

The Knight Phantom Hit Die: d8

Level Base
Special Spellcasting
1st 1 2 0 0 Phantom steed, somatic prowess --
2nd 2 3 0 0 -- +1 level of existing arcane spellcasting class
3rd +3 +3 +1 +1 -- +1 level of existing arcane spellcasting class
4th +4 +4 +1 +1 Aspect of the phantom +1 level of existing arcane spellcasting class
5th +5 +4 +1 +1 -- +1 level of existing arcane spellcasting class
6th +6 +5 +2 +2 -- +1 level of existing arcane spellcasting class
7th +7 +5 +2 +2 Countenance of the phantom +1 level of existing arcane spellcasting class
8th +8 +6 +2 +2 -- +1 level of existing arcane spellcasting class
9th +9 +6 +3 +3 -- +1 level of existing arcane spellcasting class
10th +10 +7 +3 +3 Blade of the phantom +1 level of existing arcane spellcasting class

Class Skills (2 + Int modifier per level): Concentration, Craft, Intimidate, Knowledge (arcana), Knowledge (geography), Ride, Spellcraft, Spot.

Playing a Knight Phantom

As a knight phantom, you are among Aundair's most elite soldiers. You can get to places that traditional cavalry can't reach -- and you can get there before your enemy has a chance to react. And once you've arrived, you can outcast what you can't outfight and outfight what you can't outcast. That's the strategic maxim drilled into every knight phantom: Throw your strength against your enemy's weakness, and you'll carry the day for Aundair.

Now that the Last War is over, many knight phantoms are retired or on "detached duty," free to seek their fortunes across Khorvaire. Unless war breaks out again, you have a great deal of independence and need only check in with the Knights Arcane from time to time.

Combat: While most knight phantoms are accomplished equestrians, few fight from the backs of their phantom steeds. While faster than conventional horses, phantom steeds are too fragile to handle the rigors of a cavalry charge. You're likely to use your phantom steed to get to the battle, then dismount and use spells or swordplay to defeat the enemy (which is why you're called a knight).

Because you fight reasonably well in melee, you're more likely than most arcane spellcasters to cast protective and attack-enhancing spells on yourself before battle. If you can get a few rounds before a fight to cast spells such as bull's strength, haste, or stoneskin, you're a much more dangerous foe.

By 9th- or 10th-level, you're capable of casting Tenser's transformation -- and unlike many wizards, you've got the gear and training to make that spell pay off. Combined with your armor-defeating blade of the phantom ability, you're a terror on the battlefield.

Advancement: When you volunteered for knight phantom training, you made an unusual choice. You diverted a career in the arcane arts to learn the soldier's craft as well. Few arcanists have the physical attributes to make good soldiers, so you're already a breed apart. And when you consider the elite missions that the knight phantoms undertake, you've had plenty of chances to earn promotions and decorations in the Aundairian military. Even though peace prevails across Aundair at the moment, Aurala's realm still faces many dangers. If you opt for active duty, the Knights Arcane will definitely keep you and your fellow knight phantoms busy.

Resources: The Knights Arcane tend to issue equipment on a mission-by-mission basis, so you have whatever you own and whatever they've given you. Because the Knights Arcane has access to powerful spellcasters, you have access to all sorts of magic arms and armor. But you aren't the only soldier clamoring for better gear; access doesn't mean ownership.

Knight Phantoms in the World

"We had a whole battalion dug in the bridge, ready for the Aundairians. But somehow they used magic horses to ride across the river several miles downstream, so they captured our headquarters and supply train."

-- Hann Olbrecht, Karrnath Army

The knight phantom prestige class is a good choice for a character who wants to transition from an arcane spellcaster -- usually a wizard -- to a hybrid fighter/caster. It's similar to the eldritch knight in the Dungeon Master's Guide, but the knight phantom fights a little better at the expense of some spellcasting and more onerous entry requirements. As a DM, you can also use the knight phantoms as enemies who can be nearly anywhere at a moment's notice -- or as the proverbial cavalry that arrives in the nick of time to save the PCs' hides.

Daily Life: Now that the Last War is over, many knight phantoms sell their unique talents as mercenaries or freelance adventurers. Those that remain on active duty mostly patrol Aundair's borders, arriving at trouble spots before conventional troops can even get out of the barracks. They otherwise live typically austere military lives, stealing time with their spellbooks and to brush up on their arcane skills whenever they can.

Notables: The most famous former knight phantom is now one of Aundair's most influential men: Darro ir'Lain, Lord of the Knights Arcane. Lord Darro (LN male human, wizard 6/knight phantom 6) has a greater say in affairs of state than anyone other than Queen Aurala and First Warlord Adal. Lord Darro rarely rides with knight phantoms anymore, because he has the larger Knights Arcane organization to command. But he still wears the coat of the knight phantoms with pride whenever he's in uniform.

Organization: At the height of the Last War, the knight phantoms were able to field two heavy cavalry companies for the Knights Arcane -- nearly 400 knight phantoms in all. Now only a single company of 150 knight phantoms remains on active duty; the rest are dead, retired, or on long-term leave from the Knights Arcane.

Captain Mathus Brochand (LG male human fighter 1/wizard 5/knight phantom 5) now commands the knight phantoms, and his staff is responsible for keeping at least tenuous tabs on former members who are still in fighting shape. He's headquartered in Lathleer, although the knight phantoms have been spending more time in the vicinity of Windshire than anywhere else lately.

NPC Reactions

The knight phantoms are rare enough that most Aundairians tend to group them with the Knights Arcane in general. Everyone knows that the Knights Arcane combine spellcasting with traditional military techniques, and most think of the knight phantoms as just "Knights Arcane on horseback." While the details of the knight phantoms elude most Aundairians, they know that the Knights Arcane were a bulwark of Aundairian strength throughout the Last War -- and thus any Knight Arcane is assumed to be a war hero by default. The average Aundairian has an initial attitude of friendly toward anyone wearing the coat and leather of the knight phantoms.

Karrnathi and Thrane soldiers regard the knight phantoms less kindly, but an unfriendly attitude is limited by the fact that only elite enemy units and top commanders knew of the knight phantoms' existence. Unless they actually faced the phantoms in battle, former soldiers of Karrnath and Thrane have an attitude of indifferent toward a knight phantom.

Knight Phantom Lore

Characters with Knowledge (history) can research the knight phantoms to learn more about them.

DC 10: The knight phantoms are the light cavalry of Aundair's Knights Arcane.

DC 15: Only powerful wizards are considered for membership in the knight phantoms. They're called that because they ride phantom steeds twice as swift as even a magebred horse.

DC 20: The knight phantoms aren't truly cavalry -- they're more like horse-mobile, spellcasting infantry, which makes them a tough match for an enemy general.

DC 30: Lord Darro ir'Lain was once a knight phantom, and he still wears their insignia on his dress uniform.

Knight Phantoms in Your Game

It takes a successful balancing act to play a knight phantom effectively. You can cast spells and hold your own in melee, but you have to hoard your most critical resource: available actions. Every round you spend swinging your sword is a round you didn't cast a spell, and vice versa. You're also going to face tough equipment choices: magic sword or ring of wizardry? Better armor or new spells for the spellbook? That's the price you pay for having one of the most versatile classes in the game. And the knight phantom isn't without its less tangible benefits as well. You get to stride across the battlefield looking like a vengeful apparition, and low-level foes will flee in terror. Your fellow PCs will be grateful every time you summon enough phantom steeds for the whole party to travel overland at great speed.


As written, the knight phantoms are connected to the Knights Arcane, one of Aundair's strongest and most capable military units. But you can extract that bit of backstory if you like, making the knight phantoms elite soldier/spellcasters of any of the Five Nations -- or perhaps an order within House Deneith or the Valenar elves.

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