This series focuses on introducing options for a new magic style in the spirit of Deep Magic, exploring the putrid potential of vermin and plague with pestilent magic. This entry presents the Oath of the Hospitaller for paladins in traditions similar to the Knights of St. Lazarus. Healers and protectors, afflicted by the diseases they treat, these knights espouse the virtues of fortitude and mercy, taking pestilence upon themselves, so they may unleash it against the wicked.
Oath of the Hospitaller
This oath is dedicated not to glory or epic quests but to humility and charity. Often the most forsaken people in communities are the sick and infirm, and those who take this oath swear to tend to them, even to their own detriment. Bearing affliction and injury with stoic fortitude, leper knights offer healing and relief to the most vulnerable while conserving their wrath only for the wicked who cause it.
Tenets of the Hospitaller
The tenets of the Oath of the Hospitaller prioritize mercy and fortitude, driven to drive out pestilence and preserve health and well-being. Being merciful takes priority, even if providing it would run counter to established laws. As such, leper knights are nearly all good-aligned but vary on the law vs. chaos spectrum. The principles of leper knights are somewhat gentler than crusading paladins, but their wrath is no less formidable against evil that would knowingly allow pestilence to flourish or to take advantage of its presence against the innocent.
Mercy.Protect and aid those who need it the most: the sick, the infirm, the destitute. Lighten the burdens of those who bear too much.
Fortitude.Bear hardship and affliction with stoicism and bravery, not with complaint or cowardice. Let your trials strengthen you and purify your spirit that you may bear the burdens of others.
Vigilance.Safeguard against pestilence in your communities, watching for infestations and contamination, keeping plagues from taking root before they start.
Purification.Eliminate pestilence where it is found, healing the sick and taking such pains on yourself to visit only upon the evil and faithless.
You gain oath spells at the paladin levels listed.
Oath of the Hospitaller Spells
|3rd||ray of sickness, sanctuary|
|5th||gentle repose, poisonous flesh (see Deep Magic)|
|9th||feign death, plague walk*|
|13th||blight, death toll*|
|17th||contagion, insect plague|
* This spell is contained in this blog series.
When you take this oath at 3rd level, you gain the following trait and two Channel Divinity options.
Leper Knight. As a leper knight, you suffer from a disease (chosen with GM approval or determined randomly using the chart earlier in this series) that bypasses your normal immunities and can only be cured if you abandon this oath. However, you only suffer from the visible symptoms of this disease. You are immune to any penalties, conditions, or damage caused by this disease, and you are not contagious. Willingly bearing afflictions is a testament to your devotion, and for every disease currently affecting you, you gain an additional use of Channel Divinity before needing a short or long rest.
Bear Affliction. You can take an action and use Channel Divinity to remove a disease from a target creature you touch. Magical diseases require two uses of Channel Divinity to cure. When you cure a disease in this way, you automatically gain the disease, bypassing your immunities and resistance, and cannot cure it unless you abandon your oath. You suffer no harmful effects or damage from your diseases nor can you spread them. However, you bear visible symptoms, including boils and scars, which worsen with every disease you gain. Every disease you contract (after the first you gain from Leper Knight) causes 1 point of Charisma damage. If your Charisma would be reduced below 1 by gaining another disease, you cannot use this Channel Divinity option.
Abjure Pestilence. As an action, you present your holy symbol and utter prayers of mercy and healing to keep agents of plague and pestilence at bay using your Channel Divinity. Hostile creatures that are diseased or transmit disease that can see or hear you within 30 feet must make a Wisdom saving throw. If the creature fails its saving throw, it cannot willingly move to a space within 30 feet of you for 1 minute.
As a bonus action, you may expunge one of your current diseases (restoring 1 point of Charisma damage) to point at a target affected by your Abjure Pestilence and rebuke their wickedness. The target must succeed a Charisma saving throw or be infected with a random disease and suffer immediate symptoms, bypassing any onset or incubation time. If the disease causes additional saving throws after onset, the target has disadvantage on them. If the target’s save is successful, the target takes necrotic damage equal to 3d6 + your paladin level. If you expunge your last disease (the one gained from Leper Knight), it returns at the next dawn.
Aura of Mercy
Starting at 7th level, living creatures within 10 feet of you are immune to disease and poison and gain advantage on death saves.
At 18th level, the range of this aura increases to 30 feet.
Beginning at 15th level, you are immune to any effects that would give you a condition as a result of being in pain or sickened, such as stinking cloud or symbol of pain. Additionally, for every disease affecting you, you gain a +1 bonus on your Constitution, Wisdom, and Charisma saving throws and +1 to your spell attack modifier and spell save DCs.
At 20th level, you gain the visage of pestilence and plague. Using your action, you undergo a disturbing transformation. For 1 hour, you gain the following benefits:
- Hostile creatures within 30 feet of you must succeed a Wisdom saving throw to move closer to you. Otherwise, they must move away or remain where they are.
- All friendly creatures within the radius are spiritually tethered to you. Once per turn, when a friendly creature within your radius would be hit by an attack or a targeted spell, you may choose to accept the results of that attack or spell on yourself (this decision must be made after the original target is already hit or has failed a save but before results are declared).
Once you use this ability, you can’t use it again until you finish a long rest.