As the Introduction states, this product (like the others in the Advanced Feats line) is more than a collection of feats: it's an exploration of the potentials and ramifications of the Cavalier class as a whole. Of the classes offered in the Pathfinder Advanced Player's Guide, it's the only one not to make use of magic, but gives those players fond of both strategic combat and sheer role-playing bravado scope to shine. Two standout features of the class are the challenge ability and the mount. The mount is more than a mere nag, with its own feats, and a good understanding of mounted combat and the capabilities of the Ride skill will stand a cavalier character in good stead. The use of Orders primarily build in good role-playing opportunities, but each provides advantages and limitations as well. Good with both combat (especially in situations where you can mount up) and with social skills fit for the courts of princes, it makes for an intriguing class to play.
Throughout the work, the illustrations fit well, with a mix of mediaeval woodcut-style images of knights in combat and several painted heraldic shields, again reflecting the rather 'Arthurian' style of this class. As a herald painter, there's really only one questionable one, a gyronny of eight sable and vert in flagrant breach of the rule of tincture!
And so, on to the feats. Whilst aimed at Cavaliers, most can be taken by any character who meets the prerequisites. The majority serve to hone combat abilities, and to focus on particular areas or specific fighting styles. However, one gem is Moral Chameleon, which permits a Cavalier to switch Orders without losing all that he had gained from membership in an Order he's decided to leave. Several empower battlefield teamwork - Back to Back, Tag Team Fighting and Pack Attack stand out - while others are aimed at the Cavalier's mount rather than the rider. Near and Far enables you to use a 'reach' weapon such as a polearm in close quarters, certainly something real-world combatants can master with the correct training and useful when a melee moves unexpectedly or an opponent tries to rush you. An interesting feature is the 'commentary' given with many feats, presenting insights to the author's thought processes as the feat was designed.
Finally a selection of character builds - planned progressions to support a specific approach to the character as a whole - are presented. For the Cavalier, the options are the Green Knight, the Tawny Knight and the Black Knight. Lovers of the Arthurian type of knightly adventure will recognise the tendency of certain knights to be known by colour instead of their names. The Green Knight specialises in being a noble defender of other party members and of society as a whole. A bold style is proposed, where the Green Knight uses his challege ability beefed up with the Provoke feat to goad his chosen enemy into attacking him, a risky tactic that requires you to be secure in your combat abilities, and the build emphasises shield work and tactical teamwork to reflect this.
The Tawny Knight is focussed on the combination of rider and mount, and a Small race is chosen to maximise the opportunities of remaining mounted in situations where larger Cavaliers might be forced to get off due to space limitations. So the example is a gnome riding a timber wolf, with a wealth of mounted combat feats and leadership skills to make the most of their combat potential. Finally, the Black Knight is a combat monster, whose challenge ought to make his opponent ensure that his affairs are in order! Even his mount is given the Intimidating Prowess feat (and levels in the Intimidate skill), and is able to fight independently using teamwork with his rider, as well as when the Black Knight is mounted.
This is a considered and well-balanced (in game mechanic terms) look at the Cavalier class, and is recommended to anyone considering playing one.
Return to Advanced Feats: The Cavalier's Creed page.
Reviewed: 2 January 2011