I'm working on a build, and wondering if I can get early entry to Prestige Paladin via Ranger. One of the requirements is the ability to cast protection from evil, so I was wondering if there's a way to make that happen. I assume that would involve adding it to the ranger spell list via an ACF or something.
A couple of ways (without just taking a level in cleric): First take a kind of outsider as your favored enemy and then take the feat Edgewalker Sentinel from Secrets of Sarlona, that's eberron specific however, and requires you to be related to the Edgewalkers, check with your DM if he can find an equivalent organization in his setting to reflavor if needed.
Elsewise. Complete Divine says
If a noncleric enters a prestige class that allows access to a domain, the character still gains access to the domain. She can use the granted power bestowed by the domain normally. If she memorizes spells like a druid, paladin, or ranger, then she can simply choose to memorize one of that domain’s spells instead of one of her usual spells, but never more than one domain spell of each level
So you just need to gain the good domain options:
- permanent version of domain draught good (unlikely and expensive)
- 1 level in contemplative, requires 13 ranks of knowledge(religion) so that's lvl 9 and probably knowledge devotion or another feat/ alternate class feature
- worship heironious, quaff a domain draught(War), take a level in ordained champion (complete champion) that same day, and convince your DM that since you have the war domain, then you should be able to add good domain spells in, even though you aren't a cleric
- Take a level divine oracle (knowledge religion 8, skill focus knowledge religion) or seeker of the misty isle (elf/half elf, survival 8, religion 4, inducted by another seeker, ranger 8 for 2nd level spells) and then take the Heretic of Faith feat from power of Faerun to swap your new domain to good domain. The book is a forgotten realms book but nothing about the feat actually limits it to forgotten realms.
Last option: Extra spell from complete arcane. It's a grey area, wizards FAQ said it has to be in same class, but the end of the description says For classes such as wizard that have more options for learning spells, Extra Spell is generally used to learn a specific spell that the character lacks access to and would be unable to research. It's pretty common for people to ignore the FAQ and allow the extra spell to be any school.
Take the feat Touchstone then index some books
Acquire a touchstone key (250 gp; 0 lbs.) for a local touchstone site and a touchstone key for the planar touchstone site Catalogues of Enlightenment (Planar Handbook 166–7). Take the feat Touchstone (Sandstorm 53). Expend the key and a tiny amount of XP to link to the local touchstone site then break that link by expending the Catalogues key and a tiny amount of XP to link to the Catalogues, picking the domain Good (Player's Handbook 187). (See also here, here, and here.) Have a friendly cleric cast on you the 7th-level Clr spell greater plane shift [conj] (Spell Compendium 159) so as to send you directly to the Catalogues on Mechanus. Spend 1d4 weeks indexing books to gain the higher-order ability of the Catalogues. Find your way back to your home plane.
(The spell greater plane shift typically has a 910 gp price tag from a mercenary cleric plus 10% of whatever the tuning fork cost him. This player strongly recommends against doing this on the cheap with a regular ol' 5th-level Clr spell plane shift [conj] (PH 262) as you don't want to end up 5d% miles from the Catalogues on Mechanus when you're, like, at most a level 4 character! See also here.)
The higher-order ability of the Catalogues allows you once per day—but only thrice ever unless you again visit the Catalogues and index more books—to cast a spell of the picked domain as if you'd prepared it. Picking the domain Good means being able to cast the 1st-level Clr spell protection from evil [abjur] (PH 266). (See also here.)
While the feat Planar Touchstone (PlH 41–2) (free here) has as a prerequisite Knowledge (the planes) 8 ranks, the feat Touchstone (Sandstorm 53) has as its prerequisite either Knowledge (local) 8 ranks or possession of 250-gp touchstone key. To be clear, after first linking to a local touchstone site, that link can be broken, and the feat Touchstone can thereafter be used to link to a planar touchstone site in a fashion similar to the feat Planar Touchstone.
(So you know, the somewhat significant difference between the two feats—besides prerequisites and that the dude with the feat Touchstone needs to first attune first to a local touchstone site before he can attune to a planar one—is that the feat Planar Touchstone only requires visiting the site to first gain a site's higher-order abilities, but the feat Touchstone requires actually fulfilling the site's recharge requirement before the creature first gains the site's higher-order abilities.)
Obviously, it's far easier just to say your PC did this in his background than to accomplish such a feat during play. Really, a PC that enters play at even level 2 could possess such a sufficiently convoluted background.
Borrow a ring of spell storing then return it
This is more direct, but it requires meeting that prestige paladin requirement using a magic item in a way that the DM may not like and may not approve of. (See also here.) Further, it relies on the DM using the "first step" rule of meeting a prestige class's requirements as described in the Dungeon Master's Guide instead of going by the FAQ. (See also here.) In other words, ask the DM beforehand if this method is acceptable.
The process goes like this: When the PC is level 4 the PC borrows a minor ring of spell storing (Dungeon Master's Guide 233) (18,000 gp; 0 lbs.) that a friendly cleric then fills with protection from evil spells. Then, when the PC advances from level 4 to level 5 while wearing that ring, he meets the prestige paladin requirement Ability to cast protection from evil as a divine spell because the minor ring of spell storing says that it "contains up to three levels of spells that the wearer can cast."
Yeah, I know, right? Like, who's going to let you—some level 4 dude with only 5,400 gp to his name—borrow an 18,000-gp minor ring of spell storing? How about Valkus Dun (Complete Scoundrel 154) who is available as a contact? (Acquiring contacts is described on 152–3 and also Cityscape 57.) If Valkus is your contact, once—ever—ol' Valkus Dun-Dun-Dun'll let you borrow a minor magic item—y'know, like a minor ring of spell storing. Just promise to bring it back right after you level up. Similarly, a PC that possesses the feat Apprentice (Dungeon Master's Guide II 176) might be able to beg his mentor to lend him such a ring. You'll probably have to scrub his floors for a few weeks afterward, but humility is important for a paladin. Of course, this assumes that you must somehow mechanize the borrowing process. If during the campaign you can instead just befriend a guy who'll lend you a minor ring of spell storing, that's way easier.
Anyway, this does, to some degree, hinge on DM largess. This player suggests paying for pizza or bringing cookies.
Talk to the DM
This is the real way you should try to have your PC meet that onerous entry requirement: Ask the DM to waive it. Levels in prestige paladin are highly unlikely to break any DM's campaign. (The PC won't even be advancing—by only five caster levels over the course of ten class levels—his cleric casting with the class but his ranger casting!) This DM, for instance, reads that protection from evil spell requirement as demonstrable proof of a character's piety for most average characters that seek to enter the prestige paladin class, but in his campaign a PC would be able to prove his piety in a way that doesn't mandate casting the spell protection from evil. So ask your DM.
Note: No ranger variant or alternative class feature that I'm aware of adds the spell protection from evil to the ranger's spell list. Likewise, no feat that I'm aware of—even the many Initiate feats available to rangers—adds to the ranger spell list the protection from evil spell. I look forward to other answers that address this issue in less complicated ways than these!