This pdf of the Warrior Prestige Archetype-series clocks in at 8 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/introduction (explaining the base concept of the series), 1 page SRD, leaving us with 5 pages of content, so let’s take a look!
What are Prestige Archetypes? Well, I reviewed the whole first series, so here’s the tl;dr-version: They are prestige classes blended with one (or more) base-class(es) to result in a new, 20-level-class – much like you had modified the base class with an archetype. Get it? Yeah, not a hard concept to grasp, is it? Now personally, I use Prestige Classes with an emphasis on the PRESTIGE-component, archetypes more like a career path, but this differs wildly from how PrCs are handled in most cases. Hence, e.g. the PA: Assassin from the first subscription was pretty much a godsend for my party. But can this one stand up to or surpass its first series?
The Celestial Knight is based on the PrC of the same name with parent classes cavalier and ranger. The class receives full BAB-progression, good fort-saves , d10, 4+Int skills per level and the class must be within one step of the patron deity. The Celestial Knight receives full armor and weapon proficiency (light, medium, heavy armor + shields and simple and martial weapons). 1st level celestial knights receive favored enemy as well as tactician. 2nd level celestial knights may choose from a list of defensively-themed bonus feats and learn an additional feat every 4 levels thereafter. 2nd level celestial knights may also add half their favored enemy bonus to saves versus spells and effects of the favored enemy. 3rd level celestial knights receive +1/3 class level as bonus to AC and CMD versus undead and at 4th level and every 4 levels thereafter, we’re in for a bonus teamwork-feat. At 7th level, these guys treat AoOs versus undead and against spellcasters when casting necromancy/evil-spells not as counting against the limit per round. Powerful, but specific enough.
9th level celestial knights becomes even more adept at thwarting necromancy/death-spells andundead spellcasters expecially will be afraid of these guys – against them, the knights receive Disruptive and Spellbreaker. Yeah. Ouch. AT 13th level, these guys may dispel aforementioned spell effects as part of their melee attacks, with a caster level equal to total character level – interesting choice not to go for class level here, but in this case, I’m okay with it. 17th level celestial knights may force concentration rerolls and as a capstone, they may 1/day as a swift action for 1 minute go into super-form, receiving a blinding shield, a cloak of resistance+5 (in addition to other properties!) and turning the sword wielded as if subject to the holy sword spell. Interesting super-form capstone.
Alternate celestial knights may instead focus on aberrations, fey, outsiders etc., coming with their own associated spell schools. The pdf comes with solid FCOs for the core-races and the dhosari and we end the pdf with a sample NPC build for levels 1, 5, 10 and 15
Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no glitches. Layout adheres to Purple Duck Games’ printer-friendly two-column standard and the pdf comes fully bookmarked and sans art apart from the cover.
Carl Cramér’s Celestial Knight doesn’t have an easy heritage – I don’t particularly like anti-x-classes when they’re too geared towards stamping out a specific type of foe. That being said, mechanically, the celestial knight prestige archetype does a pretty good job at representing the hunter of necromancers/undead casters and tackling a lich or the like with one of these guys will be at least slightly less frightening. The defensive focus and teamwork/spell-sabotage combination of options renders the celestial knight a pretty solid anti-caster class, though definitely one that would have benefited from either a way to improve saves or for quicker movement – after all, what use is an anti-caster brute that can’t catch up to the caster? Now I am aware that this would have went beyond the design-intent of this installment, but I still feel it would have benefited the class. As written, this is a solid entry in the series and well worth a final verdict of 3.5 stars, rounded up to 4 for the solid craftsmanship and the relatively good conversion of an utterly bland base PrC. Kudos!