Introduction to the Blackguard Prestige Class
The Blackguard is the antithesis of the Paladin, as was described in the ‘Creating a Fighter’ article, which gives some examples on possible fighting characters. Blackguards are evil in nature being the opposite of the good-willed Paladin, and revere an evil deity with the same dedication as the Paladin worships his Gods. These types of dark-knight characters have often made villains of great depth and honour in past D&D novels, such as the infamous Lord Soth in the Dragonlance campaign books. It is possible for a Blackguard to formerly belong to a good knightly order, then turning evil due to various reasons.
This type of prestige-class is mainly based around Strength attributes, so if you wish to take a level of Blackguard at some point it is advised that you concentrate primarily on a fighting character. One of the reasons which your character requires good strength is that you won’t be able to get the required Cleave feat in order to become a Blackguard.
Race, Skills and Feats requirements
You don’t need to be a particular race to become a Blackguard, although some prefer the Barbarian class as they have the ability to rage and their modifiers are a good addition for a dark knight. The main skills which concern this character are intimidation, craft armor, craft trap and the craft weapon skill, which allow you to survive without the aid of merchants or blacksmiths.
The minimum requirements, apart from an evil alignment, are:
- A Base Attack Bonus of +6.
- 5 points assigned to the Hide skill
- You must have the ‘Cleave’ feat in order to be accepted as a Blackguard. Cleave requires a Strength of 13 but it is also given to first-level Monk characters.
Some Feats acquired
The main feats which you will gradually get are:
Use Poison (Level 1) – Similar to the Assassin feat, the Blackguard also has the ability to spice-up his weapons with a desired toxic substance, be it snake-venom or unwashed socks.
Smite Good (Level 2) – An important feat for this character, since it allows you to banish good-aligned enemies or characters. This is exactly the opposite of the Smite Evil feat for the Paladin.
Inflict serious wounds (Level 6) – You cast this spell, which will cause great damage to your opponents on touch.
Sneak Attack, Blackguard (Level 4 and 10) – If your character is invisible, or if an opponent is caught flat-footed, you will cause more damage upon a hit. At the 4th Level the damage is a 1d6 roll increasing to a devastating roll of 3d6 at 10th level.