How to build a knight commander?


I would like to build a character for D&D 3 ed (3.5 acceptable too). My intention is to build a heavy-armored melee combatant who would be able to withstand some punishment, deal some damage and support other characters by inspiring them. That sounds like a perfect job for a Paladin, but I don’t really enjoy playing a (limited, but still) spellcaster and their specialisation with fighting (turning, smiting etc.) undead and other evil creatures is not necessarily what I’m looking for.

I was considering going for a cleric or a bard, but spellcasting is not to my liking. I thought of simple fighter, but there is little I can do in the whole “inspiring” business. Cavalier seems great, but his reliance on mounted combat is a no-no in dungeon environment. Paladin would be OK (I could ditch the class when I move on to a prestige one), but it’s alignment restricts me. I would prefer the character to be Lawful Neutral, but it seems nigh impossible to find a good combination of classes for this alignment – most knights require you to be Good, while bards and the like require non-lawfulness.

I found Purple Dragon Knight and Warchanter prestige classes, but I would be open to similar ones as well. I don’t know how to start – what base class to begin with?

My requirements, in descending order of importance:

  • heavy-armored melee combatant
  • capable of inspiring the whole party (with a bardic song, blessing, commanding shouts etc.)
  • capable without a mount
  • non-spellcaster
  • Lawful Neutral
  • relying of Strength, Constitution, Charisma
  • bonus points if a character can be built as a half-orc and have a Leadership feat