In Advanced Dungeons and Dragons Unearthed Arcana, the low born paladin has to earn experience points as a 0 level Cavalier Horseman and Lancer, according to page 16. However, it doesn't explain how the differences in hit points and hit dice are resolved when they reach first level as a paladin. Presumably the paladin and cavalier have different hit dice (d10 vs. d12).

The first level Cavalier therefore has either 3d4+1 (4-13) or 1d10+3 (4-13) hit points at 1st level, then gains 1d12 each level after. The Paladin, on the other hand, has 1d10 (1-10). This makes the question of how many hit points are rolled for the squiring Paladin something of a mystery.

Paladins must initially be of the correct social station, or be sponsored by local nobility. In the latter case, the paladin must advance through Horseman and Lancer “0 levels” before gaining paladin abilities.

the goal is to find out what happens for calculating hit points for

  1. paladin 0th level horseman

  2. paladin 0th level lancer

  3. paladin 1st level after having gone through these other two phases


2 Answers 2


I believe that the caption for the hit point table is actually a typographical error that was never caught/rectified, with the following reasoning:

From the description of the Cavalier on page 14 of the Unearthed Arcana (Emphasis mine):

Such a character must be sponsored by a higher authority of greater status, and begins first as a 0-level Horseman (a retainer for a Knight), then a 0-level Lancer, and finally becomes a 1st-level Armiger of the cavalier class. The 0-level Horseman starts at -1500 experience points and has ld4 + 1 initial hit points. The Horseman becomes a Lancer at -500 experience points and gains another d4 roll for cumulative hit points. The Lancer becomes a 1st-level cavalier at 0 experience points, and gains another d4 in hit points. In contrast, a character whose social standing qualifies him or her for immediate entrance into the cavalier class begins as a 1st-level Armiger with 1d10 + 3 hit points.

Additionally, in the subtext under the hit point table for the Cavalier on page 15, appears this:

If qualification for 1st level required progression through the two 0-level grades, then hit dice for 1st level are 3d4 + 1, but in all other cases 1d10 + 3 applies.

Under the description for the Paladin, it states:

The powers, abilities, and level advancement of the paladin as described in the Players Handbook remain unchanged. In addition, the paladin gains the abilities and powers of the cavalier class, including weapons of choice, parrying ability, horsemanship, saving throw bonuses, and immunity to fear.

The only place that I can find the reference to a 12 sided die for HP is in the table heading, leading me to believe that it is an error that was never noticed or rectified at the time. Even leading forward into 2e, the Paladin remains at 10, and Cavalier has changed into a kit as a subclass of fighter, so uses a d10 for hit point determination.

Checked Dragon magazine #72, and in both places that it references hit dice, it refers to them as d10:

\begin{array}{c c l} \textbf{Class} &\textbf{HD Type} & \textbf {Maximum HD} & \textbf{Spell Ability} & \textbf{Level Limit} \\ \hline \text{Cavalier} & \text{d10} &\text{10}^1 &\text{no} &\text{none} \\ \end{array}\begin{array}{l} _{\text{— }^1 \text{Initial hit points for a 1st level cavalier range from 4-13 (generated either as d10+3 or 3d4+1), due to the }} \\ _\text{necessity of having to attain the social status necessary for 1st level.} \\ \end{array}

The HP chart also has a heading of 10 instead of 12 for the hit dice.

  • \$\begingroup\$ the dragon magazine entry for cavalier is slightly different from the UA entry. In any event, my question was about the 0 level hit points for the lower born paladin and how they transition to 1st level. Paladins don't normally get +3 hit points. \$\endgroup\$
    – Tristian
    Jun 11, 2019 at 5:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Tristian - I can't find evidence for it, but I expect that was a bit of a kludge when they made the paladin a subclass and gave the lowborn option, and solely done so that a lowborn wouldn't have a possible advantage on hp. \$\endgroup\$
    – JohnP
    Jun 11, 2019 at 15:32
  • \$\begingroup\$ actually i got the impression the revamped dice option at 0 level was a kick back to low born paladins for having to work so hard just to reach 1st level, i.e., 3d4+1 instead of 1d10+3, since statitically there's a 1 in 64 probability of 4 hp for the low born, but a 1 in 10 probability of 4 hp for the high born. \$\endgroup\$
    – Tristian
    Jun 14, 2019 at 17:47
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Tristian - That is also entirely possible. I just haven't found any supporting documentation either way. I still need to read fully through the dragon magazine intro article though, I just haven't had a chance. \$\endgroup\$
    – JohnP
    Jun 14, 2019 at 17:55
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ As supporting evidence for the typo theory, the Character Classes Table I (UA p. 12) shows a hit die type of d10 for Cavalier and Paladin. Interesting that paladins max out at one hit die less, a rare case where the paladin doesn't quite inherit all the benefits of the cavalier class. \$\endgroup\$
    – ucbpaladin
    Nov 16, 2019 at 4:57

Long time after these posts lol but had arguments as DM over 10 or 12 points per level. Through the points mentioned above, we worked it out. New edition of UA that came out has all the corrections. D10 it is. Someone at Wizards explained to me that the high-born cavalier should not lose hit points at 1st level in comparison to a low born, thus the d10+3.

  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ Hi, welcome to rpg.se! Take the tour and visit the help center for more information. This is a good first answer but could be improved by adding a direct reference to the new UA you mention. As well as potentially quoting the rules directly which help clarify it. You can improve your answer via an edit. Good luck and happy gaming! \$\endgroup\$
    – linksassin
    Jun 13, 2020 at 6:10

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