Expand the boundaries of your valiant character with the Forgotten RealmsChampions of Valor supplement. The counterpart to Champions of Ruin, Champions of Valor covers what it means to be valorous in the Realms. Not only can you find out more about several good-aligned guilds and organizations that characters can join, but you also can add the benefits for joining to your game. Additionally, the book provides you with an array of new spells, feats, and prestige classes appropriate for heroes of valor. The excerpts below include information on several character options, a prestige class, and some items. For text from the Introduction, check out the October 2005 Preview.
Knight of the Flying Hunt
"Yes, the glass armor and the pegasus are impressive; but it's what I do with them that keeps Nimbral safe from the likes of you."
-- Baltir Merivolst, Knight Commander
Fireside tales of noble knights astride graceful winged horses, wearing armor of glass, have enchanted listeners across Faerūn for years. All who hear of such breathtaking imagery are fascinated with thoughts of donning their own suit of magic armor, climbing atop a snowy white pegasus, and taking to the skies in defense of goodness. The stories are a pale imitation of the true glory of the Knights of the Flying Hunt. Defenders of Nimbral, protectors of the island realm's quiet, simple folk, noble soldiers answering to the powerful but mysterious Nimbral Lords -- the Knights of the Flying Hunt epitomize valor and grace in word, deed, and bearing.
Becoming a Knight of the Flying Hunt
Most characters become a Knight of the Flying Hunt after taking at least seven levels in fighter or ranger. A few clerics or paladins manage to master the prerequisites necessary to join the ranks, but they are rare because of their religious affiliations, something that the folk of Nimbral frown upon. Few other core classes obtain the military training necessary to qualify.
Race: Human or half-moon elf.
As a Knight of the Flying Hunt, you become an expert at mounted combat, utilizing a host of skills and maneuvers to defeat your enemies, while at the same time gaining more powerful enhancements to your special glass armor.
Armor Proficiency: You gain proficiency in light, medium, and heavy armor.
Flying Hunt Armor: At 1st level, you are considered a novice, and you receive a suit of flying hunt armor (see page 65) from the Nimbral Lords. This armor is attuned to you and can never be used by another. If this suit of armor is lost or destroyed, the Nimbral Lords will replace it, though you must pay the gp cost normally required to create the armor.
Pegasus Mount: At 1st level, you receive a trained pegasus to serve you in your defense of Nimbral. The mount remains with you until it is slain or dismissed. It requires food and rest, and you are responsible for tending to its needs. When riding this mount, you gain a competence bonus on Ride checks equal to your class level.
If the mount dies, you can have it raised from the dead (at the normal cost) or obtain another mount. You can only obtain a replacement after living and meditating among the trained pegasi of the Knights for one week.
Armored Ease (Ex): You learn to adapt your movements to the restrictive nature of armor. Beginning at 2nd level, you can lessen the armor check penalty of any armor with which you are proficient by 2 (minimum 0). At 7th level, this reduction improves to 4 (minimum 0).
Bonus Feat: At 4th level, and again at 8th level, you gain a bonus feat, which must be selected from the following list: Animal Affinity, Greater Weapon Focus (lance), Greater Weapon Specialization (lance), Ride-By Attack, Skill Focus (Ride), Spirited Charge, Trample, Weapon Specialization (lance). You must meet the normal prerequisites in order to select any of these feats.
Storm Armor: At 5th level, you are considered a full Knight and your flying hunt armor is further enhanced by the Nimbral Lords to become storm armor (see page 69). This armor is attuned to you and can never be used by another. If this suit of armor is lost or destroyed, the Nimbral Lords will replace it, though you must pay the gp cost normally required to create the armor.
Greater Storm Armor: At 10th level, you are recognized by the Knights as an excellent and experienced leader. For your loyal service and outstanding performance, the Nimbral Lords bestow another enhancement upon your storm armor, making it greater storm armor. You can choose any one of the following effects and add it to your armor at no charge: arrow deflection (as the shield special ability); fortification (light); magic missile (3/day, CL 7th); mirror image (1/day; CL 10th); spell resistance 13; or water walk (as a ring of water walking).
Alternatively, you can choose a different armor special ability (with a price of up to 30,000 gp or a base price modifier of up to +3 bonus) and add it to your armor at only 75% of the normal market price.
Either way, this addition requires the normal amount of time required to improve the item, which likely means that you must turn over your storm armor to the Nimbral Lords for a number of days or weeks. If this suit of armor is lost or destroyed, the Lords will replace it, though you must pay the gp cost normally required to create the armor.
Playing a Knight of the Flying Hunt
You're all about honor and duty to the people of Nimbral, and you have dedicated your life to defending them from the dangers of the wider world. You are noble and perhaps a bit arrogant, but that's all right; you're a member of one of the most elite organizations in all of Faerūn. Your fellow knights are like brothers to you, and you'd give your life to save one, but then you could say the same about a Nimbrese citizen, too.
You serve the Nimbral Lords and respect their commands because you've seen the wisdom in their actions time and time again. You support the Nimbral Heralds by enforcing their laws and edicts, and you respect the opinions of those Knights who have been serving for longer than you. They all speak from experience, and you value that experience and in turn pass it on to the newer members.
TABLE 4-1: THE KNIGHT OF THE FLYING HUNT HIT DIE: D10
Class Skills (2 + Int modifier per level): Diplomacy, Handle Animal, Intimidate, Jump, Ride, Search, Spot, Swim.
Your armor and your mount are as much a part of you as your arms and legs. Without them, you feel naked, incomplete. With them, you feel like you own the skies over Nimbral, and that nothing can stop you from defending its forests from monstrous beasts or evil antagonists. With the special talents that come from being a member of this class, you take the fight straight to your enemies, relying on your superior riding ability and skill at arms to overwhelm your opponents.
If you face a foe that seems more than a match for you individually, you call in the reinforcements to help you out. With your companions joining in the fight, the group will take full advantage of a combination of flanking attacks and flyby charges to deal serious pain to enemies. When necessary, you can dismount to engage in hand-to-hand combat with foes, but you prefer the advantages you gain from fighting in the saddle.
Many want to become Knights of the Flying Hunt, but few are permitted the honor. In addition to necessarily being a citizen of Nimbral, you must exhibit a keen sense of military cunning, demonstrating skill at arms as well as battlefield tactics. While not strictly required, you are more likely to be chosen to join if you have traveled away from Nimbral for a time, seeing the wider world and learning a bit of its ways. Through this travel, you not only learn what dangers lurk on distant shores that might arrive on your own, but you also determine how you measure up in combat.
You spend your days serving in the Knights, taking your turn at watch and keeping an eye on the entire island realm along with your companions. When you first start out, you learn to trust the guidance and wisdom of the older, more experienced Knights, and your service might be limited to smaller dangers such as eliminating a wild beast that has wandered too far out of the forest. After you get some seasoning of your own, you instinctively know how formidable your enemies can be and are not hesitant to call in reinforcements. You train with your brothers in arms in the skies above your lands, swooping through the mountain peaks and high valleys as you master maneuvers unique to aerial combat. When you are at rest, you enjoy spending time in your own home, which can start out as merely a humble house but should grow in time into a great castle with beholden farms surrounding it.
As you continue to serve with the Knights, your deeds and brave exploits are likely to catch the eyes of the Nimbral Lords, who will eventually grant your armor and weapons extra powers. This is always considered a great honor in addition to a boon to combat, and Knights who have been in service for many years sometimes wear armor with powerful and varied enchantments. You know that if you serve long and faithfully, the Nimbral Lords will see fit to grant you similar benefits.
In addition to the obvious equipment you receive upon joining the group -- your special armor and your loyal steed -- you'll definitely be able to acquire other items as a member of the Knights. An exotic military saddle is not only necessary, but worthwhile. Beyond your gear, being a member of the Knights of the Flying Hunt means you have the support and assistance of all the rest of the members in your endeavors. And, if you are wounded or suffer other mysterious or magical maladies in defense of Nimbral and its folk, healing and restorative magic are available to you at any time without cost.
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