Loras Tyrell, the Knight of the Flowers, is one of the most well-known tourney knights in Westeros. Though he fought in the battle for King's Landing, he is best known for his upsets in the joust (well, that, and for being Lord Renly's lover behind closed doors). For players who want to see how well Tyrell's sharpest thorn plays in the field, though, this character build for the Pathfinder RPG will provide the basic framework you'll need in order to recreate Loras in Golarion.
If Loras Tyrell isn't quite your cup of tea you might prefer my character build for Brienne of Tarth, or my character build for Gregor Clegane, The Mountain That Rides.
If you'd like character builds for the rest of the Game of Thrones cast, along with Gotham City's vigilantes and The Avengers, check out the Character Conversions page on Improved Initiative!
The Seed of The Knight of Flowers
Attributes and Traits
Loras Tyrell is young as knights go, but he is skilled and dangerous despite that. Comparable to the younger version of Jamie Lannister, Loras is strong and dexterous, two attributes that make for a deadly jouster, but he is also stunningly handsome. Having looks is one thing, but he also knows how to use them to woo a crowd or to offer the proper propriety at a state dinner. That makes his top three attributes Strength, Dexterity, and Charisma. While he isn't stupid, weak, or unwise, traits that are often corrected at a young age among the nobility, the particular order of his other three attributes can be left up to players depending on their interpretations of the character.
Regarding Ser Loras's traits there are some clear choices. Traits like Influence (+1 trait bonus to Diplomacy, Sense Motive, or Intimidate, and those are always class skills for you) or Charming (+1 trait bonus when you use charm or diplomacy on creatures who could be sexually attracted to you) are obvious fits for Loras's looks and social standing, while traits like Reactionary (+2 trait bonus to initiative checks) would be ideal for showing his fast reflexes in battle or on the tournament grounds.
Loras Tyrell is a man of renowned skill at arms. He's a consummate horseman, and to paraphrase the Queen of Thorns, "my grandson is quite good at knocking other men off of horses with a stick." Given that he's dedicated himself to the knightly arts the class choice is obvious; the Cavalier.
Not just any Cavalier, though. Ser Loras is a Gendarme (Ultimate Combat 37).
The fit is solid. Cavaliers are at home in the saddle, and they are the masters of the charge. Loras Tyrell is nearly impossible to defeat on horseback, which is one reason Brienne tackled him out of the saddle in Lord Renly Baratheon's tournament. Loras is rash and reckless, focused more on his own glory and his personal fights than on the battle as a whole, which makes a class that increases your combat prowess at the expense of your tactician ability an ideal fit.
And even though Ser Loras is a Tyrell, and not a Lannister, the Order of the Lion is ideal for someone who has taken the white cloak of the King's Guard. Ser Loras has rallied flagging troops in the past, and for the right king he will give everything he has.
Skills and Feats
Loras Tyrell comes from a noble house, but his training and aptitude has been quite tightly focused on his career as a knight. Obvious choices for him include Ride, as well as Knowledge (nobility) which he gains as part of the Order of the Lion. Other skills like Diplomacy, Sense Motive, and Intimidate will serve him well, particularly if he's spending more time in the field than he is at court. You may even want to take perform, for reasons listed below.
Moving on to feats. The Gendarme gains more feats than your typical cavalier, and you should take full advantage of that. The following feat list is presented in no particular order, but it provides some of the more common feats you're going to want to look at for Ser Loras.
- Mounted Combat (Core Rulebook 131): Once per round when your mount is hit by an attack you can make a Ride check as an immediate action to negate the hit.
- Power Attack (Core Rulebook 131): Sacrifice accuracy for power (and get a bigger increase for two-handed weapons like a lance).
- Furious Focus (Advanced Player's Guide 161): Ignore the negative from power attack for the first attack you make that round (ideal for those only making one attack, such as with a charge).
- Ride By Attack (Core Rulebook 132): During a charge you may move, strike, and keep moving along the line of your charge.
- Spirited Charge (Core Rulebook 134): When you make a charge attack you deal double damage with a melee weapon, and triple damage with a lance.
- Unseat (Core Rulebook 136): If you charge an opponent while mounted and wielding a lance you can make a free bull rush attempt to knock that opponent out of the saddle.
- Trick Riding (Advanced Player's Guide 173): Ignore some Ride checks, and you may use Mounted Combat twice a round instead of once.
These are your basic mounted combat feats, but they can be improved by adding Weapon Focus, Weapon Specialization, Improved Bull Rush, Improved Overrun, and Trample. In short, if you want to expand beyond a charge attack that no one else will be able to touch, pick one other trick (like bull rush) and focus on that. Your Gendarme only gets so many feats, and you need to focus on economy. Of course, if you have a really high charisma you may want to look into Noble Scion (The Inner Sea World Guide 288).
There is one other way you can make your Knight of the Flowers a touch more unique; performance combat feats. These feats are traditionally only used in combat sports like a joust or a field melee, but with the proper application you can make these feats useful on any battlefield, even if there is no crowd there to watch you.
- Dramatic Display (Ultimate Combat 98): Gain a +2 to your performance combat checks, and a +2 on all combat maneuvers and attacks until the end of your turn.
- Performing Combatant (Ultimate Combat 112): Pick a single performance combat feat you have. You make a perform check at a DC 20 as a swift action, and if you succeed you may use the full effect of that performance combat feat in any combat.
Equipment and Story
Magic is thin on the ground in Westeros, and like many other knights Ser Loras doesn't have any relic weapons or ancient artifacts at his disposal. What he does possess is some of the most finely crafted armor in Westeros, and the banner of Highgarden to fly in the face of his enemies. Castle-forged steel has traditionally been enough to see him through, no matter what enemies he's facing.
The last question, and perhaps the most important one, is whether or not your Ser Loras is going to be a carbon copy of the one in Game of Thrones, or his own character? Will your Knight of the Flowers be a favored son, or will he be a secret bastard child? Will his house be powerful, or will he be an upstart knight looking to make a name for himself by adventuring? Will his banner be the rose, or the thorn? There are all sorts of questions you have to answer, but sadly there are no page references for their answers.