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The Eldritch Knight

by Craig Antoun

This is the eldritch knight character class, which is a fighter sub-class similar to the paladin, druidic knight, and avenger classes.

Prime Requisite: Strength.
Other Requirements: Must have a 13 or greater in INT.
Experience Penalty: Takes a -20% XP Penalty. This is offset by any XP Bonus gained for high STR scores for being a Fighter.
Hit Dice: Starting with 10th level, +2 hit points per level, and Constitution adjustments no longer apply.
Saving Throws: As Fighter of equal level.
Maximum Level: 36th level. Continues to progress as a Fighter.
Alignment: Any.
Armor: Any, but Spell Failure increases with the heavier the armor. May use a shield.
Weapons: May use any weapons.
Special Abilities: Can cast Magic-User spells as a Magic-User 1/3 his actual Fighter experience level rounded down. Can use Magic-User scrolls. All special abilities of the Fighter class.
Weapon Mastery: Same as a Fighter.
Skills: None required.

A fighter of levels 9-12 who has a 13 or greater Intelligence score may choose to study spellcasting, and eventually become an eldritch knight.

A fighter who wishes to become an eldritch knight must study with a magic-user or elf of at least 10th level or greater for a period of no less than six months. At the end of the training period the fighter transitions into the eldritch knight character class (similar to the paladin, druidic knight, and avenger character classes).

If the fighter does not make the transition by 13th level, he can never do so as he has lingered to long in the ways of warfare to be able to learn the art of magic.

Spellcasting: An eldritch knight casts magic-user spells at 1/3 his fighter level rounded down. Eldritch knights have and use spellbooks, and must follow all the standard rules for spellcasting the same as the magic-user class. If he so chooses, an eldritch knight may wear armor, but it will cause some interference with his ability to correctly cast his spells. The wearing of any armor gives a percentage chance of failure for casting spells (see armor chart below).

Leather: 10% failure chance
Scale Mail: 25% failure chance
Chain Mail: 30% failure chance
Banded Mail: 35% failure chance
Plate Mail: 40% failure chance
Suit Armor: 50% failure chance
Shield: +10% failure chance

Ignore Spell Failure: As the eldritch knight rises in level, so does his chance to ignore spell failure due to wearing armor. This is due to his continuing training and learning to handle the burden of armor while mastering the ability to correctly cast spells.

14th level Ignores 10%
17th level Ignores 15%
20th level Ignores 20%
23rd level Ignores 25%
26th level Ignores 30%

Design Notes: While members of the forester class are trained from 1st level by elves to cast spells while wearing armor (just as elves can do), the eldritch knight has already spent 9-12 levels as a fighter, so learning to cast spells in armor is more difficult for them. Thus they have to work very hard at being able to overcome the limitations to their spellcasting while wearing any armor. I figured that by the time an eldritch knight has reached Master level (26th level) they would reach their maximum ability in ignoring spell failure. Thus a 26th level or greater eldritch knight can wear up to chain mail armor with no chance of spell failure. I feel this, along with the -20% XP Penalty, helps balance the class that has both the capability of a high level fighter and a third of the abilities of a magic-user. Also, I did not want this class to overshadow the Elf character class, so I was sure to limit its spell casting ability while wearing heavy armor.