Malthus Tannhauser, the Planar Champion
"I'm nobody, madam. Merely a knight who's just too stubborn to lay down and die."
Revered hero, accomplished warrior, and figure of legend, Malthus Tannhauser is in many ways a shining example of the power of Good in the world. In the long years of his life, he had thwarted the schemes of countless would-be tyrants and extraplanar conquerors, but nowadays he prefers to work behind the scenes, letting the newer generation of heroes handle matters on-world while he focuses his attention on threats from other planes and realities. Of course, he lends his aid every once in a while, but always discretely, so as not to lessen the accomplishments of the young.
The paladin lord had put the final boon granted to him by the departing dragon deity Vorvoc well, and has worked tirelessly to keep the world safe for the folk of Celestin. He and his companions, the legendary adventuring company called the Balance, were instrumental in the defeat of the Lich King, vanquishing his undead armies and ending his depravations forever. He also had trained a succession of apprentices, all of whom would become great heroes and leaders in their own right.
Despite his reputation, Malthus remains humble, and unlike some of his other paladin brethren in the Multiverse he tends to keep an open mind about things, instead of rushing into conclusions and trusting first impressions. Though he prefers talking to resolve disputes, he isn't afraid to use his sword when the situation merits it. In the face of utter evil however, he becomes a formidable combatant.
Of late, Malthus has become swift to punish any evildoers he finds, and is slowly distancing himself from his peers, as if he was becoming paranoid and suspicious of the people around him. Not only that, he seems to be throwing himself into increasingly dangerous quests, which often pit him directly against the forces of Evil. This sudden turn of behavior has worried many of those close to him, including his newest apprentice Eleanore Forthsworth.
In fact, they have all the right to worry. Unknown to Malthus, the near-constant contact he had with the artifact weapon Angelis is prompting this gradual change of attitude. While the paladin lord is still dominant, Angelis is subtly nudging Malthus towards becoming what she thinks as the 'ideal' champion of law and goodness. The sword doesn't seem to be that much bothered that Malthus is putting himself into greater and greater danger--the more experience Malthus gets, the greater change that the dormant divine spark he carries within him might awaken...
If Malthus manages to ascend to deityhood in the process, then all the better.
Malthus still looks as robust as he was when he was of twenty-five winters, despite the fact that he is nearing four hundred years of age, though he is rarely seen these days without the metal visor that hides his eyes. He still prefers wearing his battleworn cobalt blue suit of full plate mail, but when he feels that he must be more discreet, he takes off his visor and armor, and puts on travelers' clothes instead.
Malthus Tannhauser, male human Fighter 4/Paladin of Light 8/Divine Champion 5**/Planar Champion 9: CR 26; Medium-sized Humanoid; HD 4d10+12 plus 8d10+24 plus 5d10+15 plus 9d10+27; hp 288; wp 16; Init +5; Spd 30 ft.; AC 37 (14 touch, flat-footed 36); Base Atk: +23; Grapple: +28; Atk +33 melee (1d8+11 plus 2d6 holy vs. evil plus 2d6 damage against magic-using creatures/17-20/x2, +4 holy magebane sure-striking adamantine longsword), or +28 ranged (1d8+4/x3, +4 distance seeking composite longbow); Full Atk +33/+28/+23/+18 melee (1d8+11 plus 2d6 holy vs. evil plus 2d6 damage against magic-using creatures/17-20/x2, +4 holy magebane sure-striking adamantine longsword), or +28/+23/+18/+13 ranged (1d8+4/x3, +4 distance seeking composite longbow); SA Attack ethereal, divine wrath, divine spell use, smite evil (2/day), smite infidel, turn undead (11/day); SQ Attunement, aura of courage, aura of good, damage reduction 10/magic (15/adamantine), detect evil aura, divine grace, divine health, empathic link with special mount, enhanced statistics (Charisma/Constitution/Strength), ethereal jaunt (3/day as 13th-level sorcerer), fast healing 3, favored plane (+2 Astral Plane, +1 Plane of Shadow), immortal, immune to critical hits, lay on hands (64 hp/day), lay on hands (40 hp/day), paladin progression, planar survival, remove disease (1/week), rip portal (1/day), sacred defense +2, see invisibility, share spells with special mount, summon special mount (none presently), sunder portal (1/day); SR 32; AL LG; SV Fort +33, Ref +24, Will +21; Str 21, Dex 13, Con 16, Int 17, Wis 17, Cha 26. Height 5 ft.11 in.
Aging Bonuses and Penalties: Although he no longer ages, Malthus counts as a human of veritable age, gaining a +3 bonus to his Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma. He receives no penalties for his age.
Skills and Feats (with Synergy bonuses included): Climb +18, Concentration +13, Craft (Weaponsmithing) +10, Diplomacy +20, Handle Animal +15, Heal +6, Intimidate +10, Jump +21, Knowledge (Religion) +6, Knowledge (the Planes) +10, Listen +11, Ride +24, Search +11, Sense Motive +11, Speak Language (Celestial), Speak Language (Planar Trade), Speak Language (Sylvan), Spot +11, Survival +15 (+17 on other planes), Swim +18, Use Rope +5; Blind-Fight, Combat Expertise, Diehard, Divine Might (+8 damage for 8 rounds per turn attempt spent), Endurance, Improved Critical (longsword), Improved Initiative, Leadership, Mounted Combat, Quick Draw, Power Attack, Superior Expertise, Weapon Focus (longsword), Weapon Specialization (longsword).
Epic Feats: Epic Leadership.
Languages Spoken: Celestial, Common, Dwarven, Elven, Planar Trade, Sylvan.
Normally Prepared Spells per day (2/1; save DC = 13 + spell level): 1st - bless weapon, endure elements; 2nd - resist energy. Caster level 4th.
Standard Equipment: Malthus' Fang (+4 holy magebane sure-striking adamantine longsword; adds 2d6 holy damage against evil opponents, +2d6 damage and counts as a +6 weapon against magic-using monsters or spellcasters, penetrates alignment damage reduction), Kerith's Seeker (+4 distance sure-striking composite longbow), +1 keen dagger, Malthus' Refuge (+4 soulfire mithril sectioned armor; wearer is immune to all death spells, magical death effects, energy drain, and negative energy effects similar to those done by inflict spells or chill touch), Malthus' Bulwark (+4 heavy steel shield of arrow deflection), Albero's Gyre (counts as ring of minor universal energy resistance and ring of sustenance; wearer only needs to sleep 2 hours to get equivalent to 8 hours of rest, resistance 10 against acid/cold/electric/fire/sonic arracks), Azure Cloak of the Wary Conjurer (negates all Enchantment spells of 4th level or lower targetting wearer, +2 Luck bonus to saves vs. 5th level Enchantment spells and higher), Gauntlets of Weaponry Arcane (weapons wielded penetrates damage reduction as if they were magic and silver weapons), Ilmerith's Defiance (winged great helm that counts as a cowl of warding; continually protects wearer with mind blank, a constant effect simular to that of a ring of freedom of movement, and turns six spells per day as the spell turning spell), Ring of the Swordsaint (counts as ring of protection +3 and ring of rapid healing; provides a +3 Deflection bonus to AC, and fast healing 3), Malthus' Winged Boots (fly as the spell up to a total of 5 minutes per day), explorer's outfit (worn), Heward's handy haversack (contents detailed below), holy symbol of the Light (wood), masterwork potion belt (3 potions of cure serious wounds, 2 displacement, 1 haste, 2 heroism, 1 lesser restoration, 1 remove curse), Tasmia's Heart (as rod of invulnerability; +5 natural bonus to AC, +5 resistance bonus to saving throws, damage reduction 15/adamantine, immunity to critical hits, SR 32), Visor of Vision (provides true seeing at will and +1 Insight bonus to AC, counts as lenses).
Special: Malthus is the current wielder of the major artifact weapon Angelis, a +5 holy vorpal greatsword, whose traits are detailed below.
Adventuring Gear (inside Heward's handy haversack): Antitoxin (2 doses), backpack, bedroll, blanket (winter), candles (5), clothes (explorer's), flint and steel, healer's kits (2), holy water (3 flasks), ink vials (2, black ink), inkpen, iron pot, miner's pick, mirror (small steel), oil (3 pints), potions (7 cure serious wounds), quiver of 20 cold iron arrows, quiver of 20 normal arrows, quiver of 20 silvered arrows, rope (silk, 50 ft.), soap (1 bar), spade, trail rations for six days, waterskin (full, water), whetstone.
Total Resources: Approximately 2,500,000 gp (748,405 gold coins left, of which about half was used to indirectly fund various charitable institutions across Vorvoc, while a quarter is used to maintain Malthus' secluded estate, where he trains his apprentices). Equipment presented above reflect Malthus' gear as if he were still a PC. As a NPC, Malthus is alloted 390,000 gp worth of resources according to the Wealth Limit rules set down in the Version 3.5 Dungeon Master's Guide and Epic Level Handbook, so feel free replacing some of the equipment listed above with less costly items, but still retaining the following items: Malthus' Fang, Malthus' Guard, Malthus' Refuge, Visor of Vision, Heward's handy haversack and Malthus' Winged Boots (which are more or less within the price range of the 390,000 gp provided for NPCs).
Leadership, Influence, and Rank:
Malthus is a leader of great reknown and well-regarded for his fairness and generosity. His base Leadership score is 34. He has a reputation for fairness and generosity (+1) and great reknown (+2), as well as someone possessing several special powers (+1). And although he no longer nominally holds position in the current military hierarchy of the military of Vorvoc, the members of the Balance (of which Malthus is a member) are considered to be of the equivalent to the Chromium Blade in rank (or a Colonel, which gives a commander rating of 6). He has an effective Leadership score of 44.
Malthus could have a 24th-level cohort, but his actual cohort is Lady Vaelen Dawnshine (LG half-human half-celestial Paladin 14 of the Light). Though he doesn't have any other followers at this time (aside from his other apprentices and the staff at his lodge), when the need arises he can bring together a small army composed of 740 1st-level characters, 74 2nd-level characters, 37 3rd-level characters, 19 4th-level characters, 10 5th-level characters, 5 6th-level characters, 3 7th-level characters, 2 8th-level characters, and 1 9th-level character. Most of his low-level followers are liable to be humanoid warriors, experts, while the high-level followers will either be clerics, fighters, rangers, or paladins.
Given the number of followers he can attract (+1201), the level of his cohort (effective level +17), Malthus currently has a base Influence modifier of +1218, and an actual base Influence modifier of +6.
Class Abilities and Special Qualities:
Attack Ethereal (Su): Weapon acts as a force effect, and can now attack ethereal opponents. If weapon is magical, it also negates the penalties when attacking an incorporeal foe.
Attunement (Su): A manifestation of the boon granted by the dragon god Vorvoc, Malthus can invest a weapon, item, or suit of armor with increased power. Whenever he gains a level, he may choose one or more items to enhance with this ability. The items in question must be of masterwork quality, or must possess a magical enhancement bonus of at least +1. Malthus must then sacrifice 100 exp and spend 1 day in meditation for every enhancement bonus he wishes to imbue the item with, or 500 exp per spell level if an item that duplicates or gives the ability to cast certain spells is involved. During this period, he must spend at least 8 hours a day meditating, not stopping to eat or rest.
Aura of Courage (Su): Malthus is immune to fear, and grants +4 morale bonus to saving throws against fear effects to all allies within 10 feet.
Aura of Good (Ex): Malthus radiates an overwhelming aura of good.
Damage Reduction (Su): Malthus has damage reduction 10/magic from being a planar champion.
Detect Evil Aura (Sp): Malthus can detect evil as the spell at will.
Divine Grace (Su): Malthus applies his Charisma modifier to saving throws.
Divine Health (Su): Immune to all diseases, magical or otherwise.
Divine Wrath (Su): Malthus may add a +3 sacred bonus to all his attack rolls, damage rolls, saving throws, and damage reduction 5/- for a number of rounds equal to his Charisma bonus.
Enhanced Charisma: Malthus read a Tome of Leadership and Influence +5, increasing his Charisma score by 5.
Enhanced Constitution: Malthus read a Manual of Bodily Health +5, increasing his Constitution score by 5.
Enhanced Strength: Malthus read a Manual of Gainful Exercise +5, increasing his Strength score by 5.
Ethereal Jaunt (Sp): Malthus may step into the Ethereal Plane three times per day, functioning as if under an ethereal jaunt spell cast by a 13th-level sorcerer.
Immortal (Ex): Because of a boon granted by the dragon deity Vorvoc, Malthus will no longer die of old age or disease, and penalties connected to aging no longer accrue, while bonuses continue to accumulate. He cannot be magically aged either.
Favored Plane: Malthus gains a +2 bonus to Bluff, Listen, Sense Motive, Spot, and Survival, and a +2 to all damage rolls against natives of the Astral Plane. Malthus also gains a +2 bonus to Diplomacy and Gather Information checks when interacting with natives of his favored plane, and a +2 bonus to Survival checks while on the Astral Plane. The same applies to inhabitants of the Plane of Shadows, although he only gains a +1 bonus in that case.
Lay on Hands (Su): Malthus may heal a number of hit points equal to his Charisma bonus multiplied by his Paladin level, among allies, or deal up to the same amount in damage to undead opponents, per day.
Lay on Hands (Su): Malthus may heal a number of hit points per day equal to his Charisma bonus multiplied by his Divine Champion level to any Good-aligned person. Otherwise, this functions the same way as the Paladin ability.
Paladin Progression (Ex): Malthus can still continue to advance as a paladin, so long as the total of his paladin and divine champion levels are equal to or greater to all his other class levels combined.
Planar Survival (Ex): Malthus is attuned to the nature of the planes he visits, and is personally immune to their planar effects. Any effect that would be negated by the avoid planar effects spell is negated by this ability, such as follows:
· Provides protection from the 3d10 points of fire damage on a fire-dominant plane. This does not provide protection from any fire-based attack, or an attack made by an inhabitant of that plane, of course, but the heat of the plane itself.
· Is able to breathe water in a water-dominant plane.
· Is immune to suffocation on an earth-dominant plane.
· Cannot be blinded while on major positive-dominant planes, and temporary hit point gain stops when it reaches Malthus' normal total hit points.
· Cannot be harmed by damage dealt by negative-dominant planes, nor does he gain negative levels while there.
Remove Disease (Sp): Remove disease as spell once per week.
Rip Portal (Sp): Once per day, Malthus can rip a portal through the Astral Plane to another plane of existence. By tearing a hole in the fabric of the plane he's on, Malthus may open a portal onto the astral Plane, or any plane the Astral Plane touches that he has visited before. As per the plane shift spell, he has no control over the precise destination on whatever plane he rips a portal to. The portal, which looks like a ragged hole in space, closes after 1d4+1 rounds.
Sacred Defense: +2 to saves against divine spells, outsider supernatural and spell-like abilities.
See Invisibility (Su): Malthus can see invisibility at will as spell by 5th-level sorcerer.
Smite Evil (Su): Malthus may add his Charisma bonus to attack and his Paladin levels to damage vs. an evil opponent, two times per day.
Smite Infidel (Su): Malthus gains an additional use of his Smite Evil ability per day.
Special Mount (Sp): Once per day, as a full-round action, Malthus may magically summon a loyal mount from the celestial realms, the steed appearing immediately adjacent to his position and staying for 24 hours; it can be dismissed as a free action. If slain, another mount can be summoned again after 30 days or after Malthus advances a level, whichever comes first. Malthus has elected not to summon a mount at this time though.
Spell Use: Malthus can cast divine spells, though limited in scope when compared to a cleric's repertoire. However, due to his planar travels, he knows more spells than the average paladin. He has access to all the paladin spells listed in the Player's Handbook, as well as those in the Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting, the Book of Exalted Deeds, and Defenders of the Faith.
Sunder Portal (Sp): Malthus can, once per day, can attempt to seal a dimensional gate or portal by severing the connection to the destination. A successful level check (DC 5 + the caster level of the gate or portal). The gate spell is destroyed as if dispelled, while portals are suppressed for 1d6 days.
Turn Undead (Su): Malthus can turn undead a certain number of times per day equal to 3 + his Charisma bonus, as a 6th-level cleric.
Special Equipment Description:
Angelis, the Sword of Angels: The Sword of Angels is a powerful weapon for the forces of Good. When held by a good bearer, whether lawful, neutral or chaotic, the Sword of Angels is a +5 holy vorpal greatsword; it deals an additional 2d6 holy damage vs. evil creatures, and cuts off the head of a creature on a critical hit unless it succeeds a Reflex saving throw (Save DC = 10 + 1/2 wielder's level + wielder's Strength modifier). The sword is also good-aligned, so it penetrates the damage reduction of evil creatures with ease.
If bidden, the sword can radiate light similar to that of a light spell, but encompassing an area of 20 feet, centered on the wielder. The light can be discontinued by the wielder, but can be invoked again if needed.
The Sword of Angels is sentient, and is of lawful good alignment, with an Intelligence of 14, Wisdom of 14, and a Charisma of 16. The sword can communicate verbally and via telepathy, though it prefers the telepathic mode of communication. It has an effective Ego of 30, with a calculating and proud, if somewhat naïve personality, and comes off as rather bossy and superior in the extreme.
The sword has 10 ranks of Sense Motive, and gives free access to the Mobility feat, as well as the improved evasion ability of a 15th-level rogue. These abilities are constantly active as long as the sword is drawn.
In the hands of a non-outsider, the sword grants partial celestial qualities. As long as the sword is held or within 5 feet of the current owner, it grants fire resistance 10, and a +4 Circumstance bonus to saves against cold, acid, and petrification effects.
Clearly the greatest of the sword’s powers is its ability to call into service a celestial to fight for the wielder. This ability is invoked after a complex ritual that culminates in the wielder pledging to destroy the evil she faces. Treat the effect as as similar to summon monster IX cast by a 20th-level sorcerer, though it summons 2d6+2 celestials instead. This effect can be invoked only once every month.
To determine the celestial type summoned, roll on the following table:
d% Outsider type
01-25 Avoral Guardinal
26-40 Firre Eladrin
41-60 Leonal Guardinal
61-70 Ghaele Eladrin
71-80 Trumpet Archon
81-90 Astral Deva
**Slightly modified from the prestige class presented in the Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting (and the recent revision in the Player's Guide to Faerun), the Divine Champion prestige Malthus has doesn't require him to worship a specific deity, but it does require him to exemplify Goodness. In other words, in Vorvoc, as long as you fight for justice, spread acts of mercy, thwart the plans of Evildoers, or any number of Goodly pursuits, and exemplify what it means to be 'good', a character can qualify for the Divine Champion prestige class. Having a Lawful Good, Neutral Good, or Chaotic Good alignment doesn't hurt either.
Of course, due to the dualistic nature of the cosmonology of the campaign, evil people can become Divine Champions as well. They just have to be decidedly dastardly, selfish, vile, or any of the countless way Evil can be expressed. As of printing, however, no Neutral-aligned character has ever been made in the campaign that has even tried qualifying for the prestige class.