Twang! Thok! Thud! The king is dead, the nation thrown into chaos and thousands of people headed for years of suffering, all because of some assassin with a longbow and an axe to grind. If only the king had had someone to protect him, some kind of bodyguard…
Well, not just any bodyguard, actually: in order to truly be safe, one cannot simply employ someone to stand in front of arrows; what if would-be assassins come armed with lightning bolts? Just because the bodyguard makes it through 10d6 electricity damage doesn’t mean the king will be any less dead. What if the assassin comes prepared with an army of demons or tries to poison the king? Apart from employing an 11th-level wizard/9th-level barbarian with an exceptionally high initiative modifier and a ton of skill points, what’s a fantasy king to do in order to survive the hazards of a world populated by greedy and power-hungry villains, for whom a little regicide is easily accomplished? Well, he can turn to today’s new paladin archetype to protect him. Enter the empyreal guardian.
New Paladin Archetype
The Empyreal Guardian
Most paladins focus their energies on destroying or smiting the wicked, and look to improve the world by destroying all that is evil. Some, however, choose to focus instead on preserving what is good. If someone’s life absolutely must be safeguarded, there is no better protection than an empyreal guardian.
Detect Threats (Su): An empyreal guardian possesses the magical ability to see hostility and danger in others, and can sense the connections between people in order to determine potential threats. At 1st level, as a standard action, the empyreal guardian view the feelings of creatures in a 60-ft. cone. These feelings are represented visually as streams of colors, branching out from the creature that has the feelings towards the creature to whom the feeling applies. The empyreal guardian sees these colors as representative of the target’s attitude (as defined under the Diplomacy skill) towards that creature, and is intuitively aware of which stream extends from a certain creature to another, as well as the meaning of the streams. The empyreal guardian can continue to view these connections by concentrating as a standard action.
Projecting a field in this fashion is distracting to the empyreal guardian, however, and she suffers a -5 penalty on all Perception checks made to observe anything beyond the creatures observed within the cone. She may suppress or resume the cone as a swift action.
This ability replaces the detect evil class feature.
Guardian Angel (Su): An empyreal guardian is an exceptional bodyguard, noted not only for her bravery and martial skill but also for her ability to defend her charges against magical and supernatural threats. Beginning at 2nd level, as a standard action, the empyreal guardian can project an aura of heavenly grace around another character she wishes to keep safe, granting that character a sacred bonus to AC and all saving throws equal to her Charisma bonus for 1 round. She may not target herself with this ability.
This ability replaces the divine grace class feature.
Divine Defender (Ex): An empyreal guardian is adept at preventing foes from striking at nearby allies, and knows potent techniques to interfere with attacks. Beginning at 3rd level, the empyreal guardian grants cover against ranged attacks to all allies that are adjacent to her, even if her position would not normally cause her to do so. Additionally, whenever she uses the aid another action to improve an ally’s AC, she adds her Charisma bonus to the bonus AC granted by the aid another action.
This ability replaces the divine health class feature.
Intercession (Ex): The greatest weapon of an empyreal guardian is her preparedness and ability to execute smart decisions effectively under pressure. Beginning at 5th level, the empyreal guardian is better able to prepare herself to deal with danger. She can prepare a single swift or immediate action as a free action once each round.
At 8th level, she may prepare a single move action as a swift action once each round. At 11th level, she can prepare a single standard action as a move action once each round. At 14th level, she can prepare a single full-round action as a standard action once each round. At 17th level, she can prepare two separate standard actions as a single full-round action once each round. Finally, at 20th level, she can prepare a full round's worth of actions as a standard action once each round. She continues to be able to use the lower-level versions of this ability at higher levels, if desired, but she cannot prepare more than one set of actions in this way in any given round. Apart from the type of action or actions prepared and the type of action required to prepare it, using this ability otherwise follows the normal rules for preparing an action.
This ability replaces the divine bond class feature.
Proof Against Harm (Su): The greatest of empyreal guardians can make manifest around them a zone of perfect protection, where no creature can come to harm. Beginning at 20th level, as a swift action, the empyreal guardian can project a 30-ft,-radius aura centered on herself. All characters within the aura cannot suffer damage, ability score damage, or ability drain, and are immune to poison, disease, curses, mind-affecting effects, and death effects. She can do this for a number of rounds each day equal to her Charisma modifier.
This ability replaces the divine champion class feature.