Feudal Lords: Household Knight is a 14 page pdf product presenting a new core class for any campaign setting, although aimed at Alea Publishing's Feudal Lords Campaign Setting which is to be released at some stage in the future. The pdf comes with two files, a screen version and a print version. The latter is identical in layout to the screen version, but does not contain the borders or background detail of the screen version. Layout and presentation is good, although there were a number of small, yet minor editing errors that slipped through. The pdf contains a number of good images selected to accompany the material contained in the pdf.
The household knights are landless knights that reside with the lords they serve, the latter providing them with upkeep and any provisions that they might need. The pdf briefly details the nature and characteristics of these lawful knights before presenting the 20-level core class. Household knights are strong believers in law and tradition, fight ferociously on the battlefield and for the honor of their lord, and at the same time are well versed in all the etiquette of the courtly life that they can fit in well in those areas.
Mechanically the household knight is a strong mounted warrior with the ability to command and the very presence of leadership. The class is mechanically well executed, and captures the feel of the mounted warrior and leader of many in its concepts and ideas. The household knight is not ordinary knight, but rather one who takes charge of the battlefield both in commanding allies and in fighting from horseback. Household knights gain a number of unique abilities related to the class, including powerful charges, mounted combat feats, the ability to command allies to greater things, and the ability to strike fear into those that oppose them in battle.
The two more intriguing aspects of the class are the command ability and the knight's heraldry bonus that increases with level. Commands are essentially just that - commands that a knight gives his troops or those fighting along side him. Commanded allies can gain a number of benefits depending on the command issued (and a full list of commands and their effects is presented in the pdf), such as bonuses to hit while charging, bonuses to damage, bonuses to Strength checks and grapple checks, and bonuses against fear effects. The size of these bonuses depend on the heraldry bonus of the knight, something which probably brings about some balance issues given that the heraldry bonus increases steadily and more experienced knights can add their Charisma modifiers to it. Essentially this means that the household knight can easily grant large bonuses to his allies that even spellcasters can't match. Paladins that typically have large Charisma scores will be very powerful as household knights in the battlefield. An epic household knight is also included that progresses the class into epic levels.
Following the mechanical presentation of the class the pdf discusses heraldry and a number of aspects related to it. A household knight can, for example, request an audience with powerful nobles, or even request a fief complete with guardsmen and the accompanying land. Allegiances of knights are also discussed, as well as things like fame and infamy regarding knights. All this is well presented and written, and good examples are provided to explain the underlying mechanics of each situation.
The pdf concludes with a number of feats and a welcome addition in the form of a table that presents NPC household knight statistics up to 20th level. Household knight at 5th and 10th level come with more complete stat blocks, all looking correct on casual inspection.
LIKED: The pdf does an excellent job of taking the concept of the household knight and presenting a mechanical execution that captures the feel and flavor of the concept. The household knight class is good, offering lots of opportunities for both those that wish to roleplay an interesting class and those that wish a strong leader in battle. The idea behind commands is compelling. The additional information on heraldry and allegiances rounds of a solid pdf that makes a good start to the Feudal Lords Campaign Setting.
DISLIKED: There were a few minor editing errors in the pdf, and the household knight is probably a bit on the strong side, particularly when mounted and at higher levels when issuing commands.
QUALITY: Very Good
VALUE: Very Satisfied