Variant Paladin Class - Ascendant
The Ascendant is a paladin that does not draw their power from a God, but instead acts as a direct embodiment of the force of good. While an Ascendant would show respect to good aligned deities, and might even work directly with a particular God’s followers, they themselves are not part of that faith. An Ascendant may if they so choose, take up worship of a deity, but they hold no more ties with them than any other person that chose a faith.
The moral code of an Ascendant is similar to that of a standard paladin, but even more so. Furthermore, if an Ascendant has chosen to worship a God, they must still adhere to the principles of goodness first above all, even if doing so might conflict with the views or needs of their deity. Paladin tithes are given to any works that help spread goodness, which may include temples to good deities, or simply people or places in need where the money will help the less fortunate.
In regards to skills, proficiencies, and abilities, the Ascendant directly matches the Paladin with the exceptions noted below:
1) The Ascendant is granted no ability to cast spells or utilize spell scrolls.
2) The Ascendant does not gain the ability to turn undead, but retains the ability to channel positive energy.
3) The Ascendant does not gain any special mount.
4) Instead of Lay on Hands the Ascendant is granted the ability Sacrifice for Others. This ability allows the Ascendant to transfer any number of his hit points to any being he touches, up to his normal (unbuffed) maximum or his current hit points, whichever is lesser. In effect, any wounds so healed will disappear from their previous target, and appear on the Ascendant instead. Sacrifice for Others cannot bestow more hit points than the being’s maximum hit point total, nor can it replace temporary hit points.
5) Warded from Evil. Upon reaching 5th level, the Ascendant gains a certain level of protection from negative energy attacks. All negative energy damage is reduced by 5 for every 5 levels of the paladin (-5 damage at levels 5-9, -10 damage at levels 10-14, etc).
6) Shield of the Defenseless. Upon reaching 7th level, the Ascendant may elect to use one of his energy channelings to protect another being near him. The one to be protected must be adjacent to the paladin and within five feet at all times during the shielding. The Ascendant may choose to sacrifice as many points of his own Armor Class to the one being shielded up to a maximum number equaling his CHA bonus. The paladin may only choose the amount of defense that is devoted at the beginning of activation but may end this ability voluntarily at any time (on their turn) during it’s duration. This power lasts up to a number of rounds equal to the CHA bonus of the paladin.
7) Good Shall Overcome. Upon reaching 9th level, the Ascendant grows further in the strength of good, gaining greater protection from negative energy attacks. Any negative energy effect or attack that would not normally allow a saving throw is allowed one to reduce the result by half.
8) Pillar of Goodness. Upon reaching 12th level, the Ascendant has become a bastion of goodness, such that all allies within 10’ of the paladin gain his negative energy damage reduction.
9) Heavenly Aura. Upon reaching 15th level, the Ascendant’s aura of goodness extends to 20’.
10) Heavenly King. Upon reaching 18th level, the Ascendant has become so filled with the power of good and positive energy that all allies within the radius of his aura are granted a saving throw against any negative energy effect even if one is not normally allowed.