The Crusader is the iconic Holy Warrior. Unlike the Priest, the Crusader expresses his devotion to his religion through martial skill. Of course, this being Fantasy Craft, the Crusader Class encompasses a huge amount of possible concepts. Anything from the iconic Paladin to a vicious zealot to witch-hunters all fall under the purview of the Crusader class for as long as we’re talking warriors with religious fervor.
The Crusader’s Core Ability is Purifier, which allows the character to spend 1 action die to boost an attack or opposed skill check targetting a character with a different Alignment. This pretty much is a microcosm of what the Crusader is all about, smiting heathens, which is a perfectly awesome thing to do.
A Crusader also starts off with Called to Arms, a chain of Class abilities that tie into the Subplot mechanic from the Fantasy Craft core rules. While pursuing this Subplot, the Reputation reward for the adventure increases, and completing it grants 1 rank of Renown in a track of their choice. The Crusader also gains their Alignment’s ritual weapon at no cost. I love this particular series of Class Abilities as it emulates the Questing nature of the Crusader. Whether it’s to liberate a holy land, cleanse witches or find a sacred artifact, it’s a neat way to fold in mechanics with a compelling story that further motivates the Crusader and makes him a force of change rather than just someone that is content to wait around a tavern until some mysterious stranger hands him a map.
Starting from the second level, the Crusader also gains access to Battle Chants, another chain of Class abilities that allow for them to grant beneficial effects to themselves. These range from bonuses to attacks, Defense or various resistances. As the Crusader gains further levels he can access more chants and grant their benefits to a comrade as well. It’s a great way to emulate the prayers before (or during a battle) that make playing such a character more flavorful and rewarding.
The Path of the Crusader chain represents how the Crusader moves along his Alignment’s Paths, gaining abilities relevant to the Path that the Crusader is pursuing.
The ever-popular Smite power is here, allowing the Crusader to lay down divine wrath upon their enemies. The Crusader chooses the type of opponents that suffer from his wrath. When the Crusader spends and rolls an action die to boost damage, they may replace the action die’s result with half their Career Level. This is a neat little safety built in so that there’s never a point where the action die is “wasted” by a bad roll.
Sword of Faith is another interesting power as it infuses sacred weapons with divine power. When wielding their ritual weapon, the Crusader can bestow an Essence (aka magical effect) upon it. The further abilities on this chain allow for additional effects to stack, creating truly fearsome (and customized) weapons.
Divine Virtue allows the Crusader to grant immunity to baffled, fixated or frightened conditions as long as your allies can see or hear you. Furthermore, all of them are considered to share your Alignment. Advanced applications of this power grant further immunity to shaken, sickened and slowed as well.
The game-breaker of the Crusader Class is the aptly named Wrath of God. Once per session, a Crusader can opt to use the ability upon hitting an opponent with an attack. If the target is a standard character, it dies. If the target is a special character, then they get to make a Will Save or die.
As a big Paladin fan, I find the Crusader to be downright awesome. It takes on the role of a divine warrior and plays it to the hilt. The high standard of quality when it comes to Fantasy Craft classes shines through in the Crusader, and as always it gives options without restricting player creativity.
The fact that it is actually possible to play a divine sniper of sorts as a Crusader, or to run around as a Solomon Kane-ish character with the Class is all the more reason to like it.