Hellknight needs some love

If you compare what you’re getting on Regill with his Fighter levels vs his Hellknight levels it’s hard to justify the latter. That shouldn’t be the case with a Prestige Class, especially one so central to his character. The class itself needs to either continue the Weapon Training (with the Advanced Feats which are the strength of the class) or retain at least some of the bonus Combat Feats. Same with Student of War (and/or kick up the Know They Enemy bonus to +2 each).

The main problem is that Hellknights lawful weapons only ignore DR/Lawful but not DR/Good which ALL demons have and they dont receive Penetrating Strike either which causes them to be ineffective vs demons.

A Hell Knights lawful weapon is essentially useless. Which enemy types have DR/Lawful ?

In my opinion, demons should have DR/Lawful+Good which would solve most of that issue. Paladins should receive DR/Chaotic+Evil for that matter too.

Well, I’m no expert on them, but Hellknights always seemed too specific a class to be good outside of their specific comfort zone. WotR seemed the perfect setting for them to shine, but the class itself still seems quite weak to me, wether PnP or in-game. As Schutzengel said, one of their strong points (Lawbringer at 7th level) does not work on demons after all.
I never understood the hype about them (when it was the most asked-for class to be added in KM). And I agree that they hardly seem much stronger than Armigers.
They are more of a fluff class than anything, in my admittedly biased opinion. A class made for NPCs.

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Here is the FULL list of DR/Lawful enemies:
  • Aberration, Bedlam (CR 9)
  • Aberration, Dwiergeth (CR 13)
  • Aberration, Scylla (CR 16)
  • Demon, Katpaskir (CR 18)
  • Demon Lord, Nocticula (CR 30)
  • Dragon, Gorynych (CR 15)
  • Dragon, Woundwyrm (CR 15)
  • Great Old One, Bokrug (CR 27)
  • Great Old One, Hastur (CR 29)
  • Great Old One, Cthulhu (CR 30)
  • Humanoid, Abyss Gigas (CR 16)
  • Outsider, Ataxian (CR 4)
  • Outsider, Zentragt (CR 4)
  • Outsider, Dahzagan (CR 6)
  • Outsider, Dimensional Shambler (CR 8)
  • Outsider, Einherji (CR 10)
  • Outsider, Valkyrie (CR 12)
  • Outsider, Courage Heart (CR 15)
  • Outsider, Kelpie’s Wrath (CR 15)
  • Outsider, Thais (CR 15)
  • Outsider, The Menotherian (CR 15)
  • Outsider, Blood Queen (CR 23)
  • Protean, Naunet (CR 7)
  • Protean, Imentesh (CR 10)
  • Protean, Keketar (CR 17)
  • Qlippoth, Cythnigot (CR 2)
  • Qlippoth, Thognorok (CR 4)
  • Qlippoth, Shoggti (CR 7)
  • Qlippoth, Nyogoth (CR 10)
  • Qlippoth, Gongorinan (CR 11)
  • Qlippoth, Chernobue (CR 12)
  • Qlippoth, Augnagar (CR 14)
  • Qlippoth, Thulgant (CR 18)
  • Qlippoth, Iathavos (CR 20)
  • Qlippoth Lord, Yamasoth (CR 24)
  • Slaad Lord, of the Insane (CR 27)
  • Slaad Lord, of Entropy (CR 29)
  • Titan, Fomorian (CR 22)
  • Titan, Thanatotic (CR 22)
  • Titan Lord, Ifestus (CR 23)
  • Titan Lord, Hekatonkheires (CR 24)

( Source: https://docs.google.com/file/d/0BxwDI9kFz9SdZlVUR05Hb0MyWEk/view )

If even half of those are in its still utterly useless to have a lawful aligned weapon. Almost all Demons, meaning minus the 2 on the above list, have DR/Good and a Hellknight is 100% subject to their Damage Reduction.

So I agree with OP, the Hellknight gives up on that sweet Penetrating Strike Feat and doesnt get a viable substitute. He doesnt even get DR/Chaotic like a Paladin gets DR/Evil or DR5/- like a dedicated Fighter gets.

Smite Chaos byoass DR.

Bless Weapon + a million other ways to bypass DR + Fighters should be doing so much damage that DR isn’t that big of a deal anyway.

The missing Feats + Weapon Training + Advanced Weapon Training are a much bigger issue.

Thats a limited # uses / day ability. Compared to what I loose over Fighter Class Features which are all permanent.

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Just stating that the L7 Hellknight ability is 100% useless. A Paladin also has such an ability but it allows him to permanently ignore demons DR, which the Hellknight cannot.

The Fighter can learn Penetrating Strike, Greater Penetrating Strike and Mythic Penetrating Strike which is enough to ignore the entirety of demons DR as well.

The Hellknight loses in this regard and yes, there are methods to be able to ignore said DR but Paladins / Fighters have them integrated into their Class by default AND have a better selection of other Class Features over a Hellknight.

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It’s mainly a fluff/RP prestige class (and a great one at that).

But in terms of raw power, it’s a bit lackluster. As others have noted, fighter receives more feats and some consistent, flat damage bonuses. While most builds don’t need that many feats, the main benefit of fighter’s feat concentration is that it allows for a player to very quickly acquire feats without losing BAB, which lends itself to more multi-classing possibilities.

While hellknight does have smite chaos, would you ever prefer smite chaos over smith evil? Obviously there are niche scenarios like…idk…kingmaker’s fae. But the primary benefit of smite evil isn’t the base ability; it’s the 11th level aura of justice which gives the party the benefit of smite evil. It can’t be used every combat and is useless on trash, but it’s an amazing power spike for the most difficult fights for the entire party. As just 1 example, a lvl 11 paladin using aura of justice will add +5 to hit (assuming 16 charisma and +4 enhancement bonus) and +11 to damage for all attacks (with +22 damage for the first attack) for all 6 party members for 10/rounds while also bypassing DR. If each party member lands only 1 attack per round, that’s ~130 DPR boost. And at that level, it’s likely more attacks per round landing, especially with the boost on to-hit.

In short, fighter levels will provide more consistent damage than hellknight; paladin’s will provide much better burst potential than hellknight for the toughest fights. Depending upon the preferred damage profile (i.e. higher, steady damage or better burst), there’s a better option.

But hey, you get to equip cool looking armor… And they’ve fairly accurately represented the class.

I found Mark of Justice win more and appreciated the Death Immunity of Hospitaler more. She still wrecked anything big and evil on her own (where you’d theoretically want Mark) while tanking surprise Demons and Spectres so you didn’t have to worry about getting randomly drained. Also has Aura of +4 saves vs death. In any case Smite Chaos is almost as good as Smite Evil in a game about battling Demons.

On the other hand unlike Undead Demons aren’t immune to Fear and the companion setups (including HK) are heavy on intimidation potential, which makes Shatter Defenses a good feat to work toward, especially for landing iteratives and secondary attax like Regill wants to and that costs feats.

My hope is that the game has enchanted Hellknight Plate that makes up for the loss over a Fighter or Paladin. Since only Hellknights and not even HK Signifers can wear it, Im sure there will be some very powerful ones with unique bonuses.

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I’m pretty sure it will. In the…museum in Kenabres, you find that gold hell knight item. I suspect it’s part of a set.

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To be honest, I think that 3.5 D&D and Pathfinder have always struggled to make Prestige Classes worthwhile. You always have to give something up from your original class when you start taking a Prestige Class, and since so many abilities are based on your level in a specific class, using multiple classes is often tricky. Prestige Classes then have to deal with the fact that since some players like to stick with one class that base class needs lots of abilities that give it a chance to be powerful, but Prestige Classes then have to be designed so that they are good but not required for your character to be powerful. Whenever I see builds from tabletop forums, they rarely advise players to take prestige classes, and Pathfinder just doesn’t have that many because they recognized that the Prestige Class system had limits so they focused on archetypes instead. I think that 2nd Edition Pathfinder is trying to fix this, but for this video game that so closely tries to follow tabletop rules, prestige classes are just never going to be clearly better than sticking with your normal class.

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The solution is to keep the snowballing abilities (like EK/AT keep spell progression) but replace the additional abilities (like Quarry and the like). So keep (Advanced) Weapon Trainings for Hellknight but trade in some Combat feats.

Domains should date back to when you chose your order (include Armiger levels).