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Paladins and alignments


Pathfinder RPG General Discussion


So my question is and has been for a long time. Why do paladins have to be lawful good? I know in 3.5 they had the reverse of paladins with all the evil trimmings, but what of the gods inbetween? Why can't they have champions of thier cause?

I mean a paladin much like a cleric should have his abilties based on his alignment:
Good have all the powers that are found in the core rulebook.
Neutral must select which way they want their power to fall.
Evil have the oposing powers of the thier good counterparts.
Now they should have a code of conduct that they follow maybe a list of them to pick from something which they strictly adhear to?


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Well, that's why they have an Anti-Paladin coming out in the Advanced Players Guide (CE I believe, maybe LE) and Templars to cover the other alignments...

I dropped Paladins in favor of my own versions of Templars when I switched to 3.0 (with the LG Templar being a Paladin in all but name). Variations in powers by alignment, etc. I'm curious to see how my versions compare to theirs. Should be interesting.

Anyway, pretty much a done deal.


My friend started playing a paladin but the DM allowed him to be NG.
The world did not end.


The ultimate answer to your question is that Paladins are NOT the Martial Arms of their Deity…that’s the Cleric (notice the armour proficiencies and high hit dice and good Fort and Will Saves). The Paladin is a “Warrior of Ideals” the believe in changing the World (perhaps ultimately the Planes themselves) towards a Utopia-like world in which no (meaning Zero) evil exists, where violence is never necessary for any argument or situation; a world where the ideals of Good are accepted by all things people, animals, and the elements.

Does this make them somewhat crazy dreamers, yes. Is it ever likely to occur…probably not (though I’m side more to Lawful Evil, so I may discriminate). Are they going to do their damned-best to try regardless…yup.

These guys aren’t based on the real-world usages of the word (those guys are a far-cry from Good; Lawful, but not Good); they are more akin to the Disney’s ‘Knight in shining armour’ or many of fantasy’s “White Knight” concept. They are the Unwavering Light in the World of Darkness; the First and Last Hope against Despair.

As for why ‘Lawful’?

It’s the source of their power, it comes directly from the Theological Force of Good; unlike Good-aligned clerics there is no Divine mediator to save or screw them over; just themselves. This force of Ultimate Good exists because of, and through, the ideals it represents…its knows no Evil (period) and will not humor its empowered-mortals by allowing them to commit acts against It’s Nature (it simply doesn’t have the ability to do so…at least not without destroying itself and causing Evil‘s Ultimate victory). So what that leaves is a very strict rules that the person must live by in inheritance of the power they have been given to make their world a better place.

After all it says (or at least used to say) that Paladins were mostly Born not Made, some people have what it takes, and some (even those of the Lawful Good alignment) do not. There is no shame in that.

Cheliax

Actually, I think its rather more of a balance thing than anything else. I think that Templars (when they come out) are going to be closer to Inquisitors with Full BAB and Paladin casting than they are like Paladins.

The Paladin is arguably the strongest Full BAB class. Some decent spells, smite, divine bond, good saves, and the best combat healing in existence Lay on Hands. The Way that it has been balanced is to make it difficult to play in that you can't just use your power willy nilly.


I never liked the concept of the anti-paladin when it was first introduced, and I like it even less now. I understand the death knight, he was a paladin, his powers got turned into a mockery of what they once were, and in the end he knows that there is no one to blame but himself. The abilities of a death knight, while powerful, (as well as being a hoot to toss at the PC's) are a punishment for their transgressions, not a reward. Having a class that treats those abilities as a reward takes something away from he whole story of both.

I also don't think there should be good aligned assassins either, no matter what the Book of Exalted Cheese, er Deeds says. Not every concept needs to have a mirror version in order to be complete.


The wise seek balance in all things. The foolish dismiss that which does not please them. Everything exist in the balance of duality, fishy and fish, hot and cold, the beginning and the end. Paladins needs a balancing force to oppose them. Anti-paladins aren't the only way.

There are, um...Mr. Fishy's got nothing.
The Anti paladin should be more a demon servitor gaining powers from a dark "MASTER". Evil should keep that leash tight. Just like a paladin you fail to obey or break faith, lose your powers and atone. Ask the nice demon to give you back your toy.

As for the concept of a holy warrior of the faithful, if the paladin stands for the rule of good and law. Then surely there are men and women who stand in defence of balance. Or the Infernal rule of Hell.
Like "Hell Knights" hmmm... some one should mention that to the Paizo Design Team. Hell Knights serving Hell. Asmodius the god of tyrants would be the perfect antipaladin god. Zon-kuthon or Rovagug could be the lords of a red handed rage driven blood drinking Death Bringer.
Mr. Fishy needs a smoke.

Mr. Fishy likes the idea of variant "paladin" classes with their own goals and codes of conduct. Mirroring the paladin is a little lazy but when you're running or writing a whole game somethings get less attention than they could.

Mr. Fishy would like to see a Anti paladin that looks more like a rogue or assassin than a plate mail wearing unholy knight. Paladin make challenges and fight with honor. Antipaladins should sneak in kill/kidnap/steal whatever he there for and sneak back out. Then when he is clear sent a letter postage on deliver to the hero with a red herring clue (challenge). Then, laugh manically and milk the giant cow.

Mr. Fishy agrees with the OP the "Paladins" should be an open alignment class. Templar, would be a good name very alignment neutral sound to it.


Mr.Fishy wrote:

The wise seek balance in all things. The foolish dismiss that which does not please them. Everything exist in the balance of duality, fishy and fish, hot and cold, the beginning and the end. Paladins needs a balancing force to oppose them. Anti-paladins aren't the only way.

There are, um...Mr. Fishy's got nothing.
The Anti paladin should be more a demon servitor gaining powers from a dark "MASTER". Evil should keep that leash tight. Just like a paladin you fail to obey or break faith, lose your powers and atone. Ask the nice demon to give you back your toy.

As for the concept of a holy warrior of the faithful, if the paladin stands for the rule of good and law. Then surely there are men and women who stand in defence of balance. Or the Infernal rule of Hell.
Like "Hell Knights" hmmm... some one should mention that to the Paizo Design Team. Hell Knights serving Hell. Asmodius the god of tyrants would be the perfect antipaladin god. Zon-kuthon or Rovagug could be the lords of a red handed rage driven blood drinking Death Bringer.
Mr. Fishy needs a smoke.

Mr. Fishy likes the idea of variant "paladin" classes with their own goals and codes of conduct. Mirroring the paladin is a little lazy but when you're running or writing a whole game somethings get less attention than they could.

Mr. Fishy would like to see a Anti paladin that looks more like a rogue or assassin than a plate mail wearing unholy knight. Paladin make challenges and fight with honor. Antipaladins should sneak in kill/kidnap/steal whatever he there for and sneak back out. Then when he is clear sent a letter postage on deliver to the hero with a red herring clue (challenge). Then, laugh manically and milk the giant cow.

Mr. Fishy agrees with the OP the "Paladins" should be an open alignment class. Templar, would be a good name very alignment neutral sound to it.

So to recap, anti-paladin = assassin?


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Paladin= Assassin

Antipaladin= Honest about it

Andoran

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Mr.Fishy wrote:

Paladin= Assassin

Antipaladin= Honest about it

It scares me that I'm agreeing with you. :)


Embrace the truth my son and feel the freedom of tier fishy.


I am playing around with rebalancing paladins into a Lawful Champion class, rewriting some of the class features to work differently based on alignment, and giving different spells based on alignment. I am not going to be running another campaign for a few months though so I can't really say how well it works yet.


meatrace wrote:

My friend started playing a paladin but the DM allowed him to be NG.

The world did not end.

NG always made more sense to me as the paladin's alignment anyway.

Andoran

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Mr.Fishy wrote:
Embrace the truth my son and feel the freedom of tier fishy.

No thanks, I prefer Tier TOZ.


Travis Blueter wrote:
So my question is and has been for a long time. Why do paladins have to be lawful good?

Because WAY back in the day circa 1979 some guys wrote Advanced Dungeons and Dragons and had a concept of an specialy chosen, divinely touched, holy warrior, held to much higher high moral and religous standards than a normal fighter, champion or warrior.

One who represented all that was good, honorable, kind and just in what was supposed to be the best of 'Goods' defenders and crusaders. One who had a much higher moral and ethical standard to uphold but for that higher standard was blessed with great power to go forth and do good. To reflect that example, which was inspired by many good champions from history and literature but probably none more so than the idealised version of Lancelot (before his fall), the Paldadin class was written and publish in the first Players Handbook.

It was a knightly horseman chosen by the gods of good and justice to go forth and battle evil. To protect the weak and innocent, uphold law justice, inpsire the downtrodden by being a living paragon and example of the best in the tenets of good and to oppose evil at every turn to betterment of the races of Light. That because the origincal concpets of D&D were heavily entrenched in the european fantasy concept and chavalrous age.

THAT is why the original Paldin and those Paladin classes that have been derived from it in succesive versions of the game, is Lawful Good.

Over the years the Paladin has often been equated to (and rightly so in most cases) a holy champion of a deity. And as D&D has evolved and campaigns grew and were created over the course of 35+ years the concept and perception of what the Paladin class is and can be has changed and grown.

While D&D (and now Pathfinder) has kept pretty standard that Paladins are lawful good (to honor the origins of the class and it's inspiration IMO), they have produced many supplements over time that have had 'champions' of other faiths and alignments to represent those concepts. Even 'Paladins' of Tyrrany, Slaughter, Freedom; Blackguards and more.

There is absolutely nothing to say that you cannot make paladins of any god and alignment, after all this is RPing, creativity is one of the greatest boons we have. I agree personally though with the sentiment those others should be their own classes, custom made to that aligment and deity concept.

That leaves the 'Paladin' to be 'Paladin'. The divinely inspired, holy warrior, held to the absolute strictest of moral, ethical standards that the class was invented to represent. The protoypical 'incorruptable champion of good and light who's personal beliefs and honor cause him to forge ahead against evil to the betterment of the races of good and to ensure the defense of the weak and helpless and the promotion of true justice".

The 'others' should be what the 'others' are.

Hope that helps answer the orignal question. Obvioulsy no concept always survives 35+ years in it's original form or intent.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Gilfalas wrote:

Because WAY back in the day circa 1979 some guys wrote Advanced Dungeons and Dragons and had a concept of an specialy chosen, divinely touched, holy warrior, held to much higher high moral and religous standards than a normal fighter, champion or warrior.

More like way, way back with the Greyhawk supplement in 1975 when Law was equated with Good. AD&D built on that. Some people want to expand the concept. Shouldn't be a big deal. Paizo even chose another name for them, Templars.


R_Chance wrote:
More like way, way back with the Greyhawk supplement in 1975 when Law was equated with Good. AD&D built on that. Some people want to expand the concept. Shouldn't be a big deal. Paizo even chose another name for them, Templars.

Exactly. I first saw the actual 'Paladin' class in AD&D's Players handbook, which is why I cited that, but your 100% correct that it grew out of the foundations built before that in Chainmail, Blackmoor and Greyhawk.

And as I said, absolutely nothing stops anyone from making the 'Paladin' their own in their games to fit the concepts of their game worlds.

In the day I was a big fan of the Anti-Paladin after it was published in Dragon Magazine but when they came out with the Blackguard class as a Prestige class I thought that was an excellent handling that built on the new game system while still giving the nod to the concepts original roots.

I guess I am just an old grognard in my beliefs. The Paladin is a 'Paladin'. The 'evil' Paladin is the Blackgaurd. If their is a neutral Paladin equivalent then it should be class 'xxxxxxxxx' not simply a reflavored Paladin knockoff.

But I also like the statement someone else made in the thread that 'not every alignment has to have a Paladin analogy'. Part of the Paladins charm is it's unique concept and function.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Gilfalas wrote:

Exactly. I first saw the actual 'Paladin' class in AD&D's Players handbook, which is why I cited that, but your 100% correct that it grew out of the foundations built before that in Chainmail, Blackmoor and Greyhawk.

And as I said, absolutely nothing stops anyone from making the 'Paladin' their own in their games to fit the concepts of their game worlds.

I started in 1974. I loved the Greyhawk supplement in '75. Gave us the Thief and Paladin along with a number of rule improvements. Made the game much more playable.

Gilfalas wrote:


In the day I was a big fan of the Anti-Paladin after it was published in Dragon Magazine but when they came out with the Blackguard class as a Prestige class I thought that was an excellent handling that built on the new game system while still giving the nod to the concepts original roots.

I guess I am just an old grognard in my beliefs. The Paladin is a 'Paladin'. The 'evil' Paladin is the Blackgaurd. If their is a neutral Paladin equivalent then it should be class 'xxxxxxxxx' not simply a reflavored Paladin knockoff.

I wasn't that big on the anti-paladin. For me they made good, well not "good", NPCs :) Reminded me of Moorcock's Prince Gaynor the Damned. Good main villains, but pretty rare types all in all.

Gilfalas wrote:


But I also like the statement someone else made in the thread that 'not every alignment has to have a Paladin analogy'. Part of the Paladins charm is it's unique concept and function.

In my game not every alignment / religion does. I renamed the class Templars (as in Knights of the Temple) and reworked it for a number of my homebrew games religions. The classic Paladin is in there of course (LG as always). Paizo has gone with templar for their non LG variants I gather, and the anti-paladin / blackguard has gone back to being a 20 level base class. I'm looking forward to seeing what they've done with it.


Lost Ohioian wrote:

So my question is and has been for a long time. Why do paladins have to be lawful good? I know in 3.5 they had the reverse of paladins with all the evil trimmings, but what of the gods inbetween? Why can't they have champions of thier cause?

I mean a paladin much like a cleric should have his abilties based on his alignment:
Good have all the powers that are found in the core rulebook.
Neutral must select which way they want their power to fall.
Evil have the oposing powers of the thier good counterparts.
Now they should have a code of conduct that they follow maybe a list of them to pick from something which they strictly adhear to?

In a game I was in recently my GM and i house ruled that a paladin must adhere only to his gods alignment and if neutral must pick paladin or anti paladin for his advancement. none of the auras deal with law/chaos only good/evil. it works and made the paladin much more fun to play.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Card Game, Companion Subscriber

Paladin Alignment Thread Necromancy? The best 'cromancy there is!


Seriously, we need some sticky megathreads about this, Monks and so on. It's getting ridiculous to have a new one every week.


People would not read them, saying they were too long. :)

I think we need to post both sides arguments similar to what the the one poster did for the Psionic Myths busted thread that has been copied on several boards online.


Fantastic Mythbusters - I like it!


I'd just like to see a Full Bab militant Cleric base class that people can play instead of asking that Paladins be wrecked.


Quantum Steve wrote:
I'd just like to see a Full Bab militant Cleric base class that people can play instead of asking that Paladins be wrecked.

I agree.

In the meantime, point them towards the Holy Vindicator which is basically just that.

Andoran

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

One of these days my dwarven fighter/cleric will get there.


Magus Black wrote:

The ultimate answer to your question is that Paladins are NOT the Martial Arms of their Deity…that’s the Cleric (notice the armour proficiencies and high hit dice and good Fort and Will Saves). The Paladin is a “Warrior of Ideals” the believe in changing the World (perhaps ultimately the Planes themselves) towards a Utopia-like world in which no (meaning Zero) evil exists, where violence is never necessary for any argument or situation; a world where the ideals of Good are accepted by all things people, animals, and the elements.

Does this make them somewhat crazy dreamers, yes. Is it ever likely to occur…probably not (though I’m side more to Lawful Evil, so I may discriminate). Are they going to do their damned-best to try regardless…yup.

These guys aren’t based on the real-world usages of the word (those guys are a far-cry from Good; Lawful, but not Good); they are more akin to the Disney’s ‘Knight in shining armour’ or many of fantasy’s “White Knight” concept. They are the Unwavering Light in the World of Darkness; the First and Last Hope against Despair.

As for why ‘Lawful’?

It’s the source of their power, it comes directly from the Theological Force of Good; unlike Good-aligned clerics there is no Divine mediator to save or screw them over; just themselves. This force of Ultimate Good exists because of, and through, the ideals it represents…its knows no Evil (period) and will not humor its empowered-mortals by allowing them to commit acts against It’s Nature (it simply doesn’t have the ability to do so…at least not without destroying itself and causing Evil‘s Ultimate victory). So what that leaves is a very strict rules that the person must live by in inheritance of the power they have been given to make their world a better place.

After all it says (or at least used to say) that Paladins were mostly Born not Made, some people have what it takes, and some (even those of the Lawful Good alignment) do not. There is no shame in that.

When I read this, you know what it makes me think of? The primary villian in the movie 'Serenity' by Josh Wheedon, based ont he popular television series 'Firefly'. He was extraordinarily diciplined, lawful to the extreme, and he fought for a greater world, a utopian dream, one so perfect and pure he knew - and accepted - that he himself could never be a part of it. He was a monster, he knew, and was willing to accept the eventual consequences of that if it meant he could usher in a new era of peace and prosperity... the ultimate sacrifice, to give your life in pursuit of a cause you know you will never be able to share in. That would make him Good as well as Lawful - except that he was an utterly ruthless sum'b%#%$.

I can appreciate your perspective - I've heard it before and I think it a fair argument and a perfectly acceptable way to run the Paladin in a campaign world... its just not how I interpret it.


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Been toying with "any good alignment" for Paladins. Seems unlikely to break the game, and will make it (imo) more reasonable.


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I've made a few preliminary scribbles myself, as to how I'd like to handle alternative codes. (I keep with the "holy warrior" concept rather than the "badly-defined idealism" one.) Feel free to steal anything you find useful.


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I've allowed "any good" paladins with modified versions of the Code of Conduct and Associates rules, allowing the paladin to choose a domain or ideal of their deity and having that be their "cause" instead of the restrictive dogma of lawful-good. For example, a paladin could choose truth as a cause and if the party breaks into someone's house and steals the magic dingus to save the world, the paladin is cool with it as long as nobody lies about it (overall good is served and truth is served, check and check). It requires some player-GM discussion to make sure the domain/cause makes sense, but it has worked out just fine. The best part is that there isn't an impossible moral conflict every time the party wants to do anything interesting.


I believe that a Paladin/Antipaladin should not be a base class. They are to specific to be the base class. I understand alignment requirements for classes (such as any Lawful, any non-Good, etc.), but having a very specific alignment requirement makes them sound like a Prestige Class to me.

I believe the base class should be something more like a templar (a Full BAB, Good Will Save, Crusader-like Class). A templar would not have casting, but they would have many unique combat abilities to make up for it (think Crusader's Steely Resolve).

They would then get the ability to gain a Prestige Class as a Paladin, Anti-Paladin, or Holy Vindicator, etc. This allows specific holy warriors for all the alignments. The entry would be easier then a normal prestige class (something like Level 5), and would be much like the Prestige Paladin from Unearthed Arcana.


Mercurial wrote:

When I read this, you know what it makes me think of? The primary villian in the movie 'Serenity' by Josh Wheedon, based ont he popular television series 'Firefly'. He was extraordinarily diciplined, lawful to the extreme, and he fought for a greater world, a utopian dream, one so perfect and pure he knew - and accepted - that he himself could never be a part of it. He was a monster, he knew, and was willing to accept the eventual consequences of that if it meant he could usher in a new era of peace and prosperity... the ultimate sacrifice, to give your life in pursuit of a cause you know you will never be able to share in. That would make him Good as well as Lawful - except that he was an utterly ruthless sum'b!++!.

I can appreciate your perspective - I've heard it before and I think it a fair argument and a perfectly acceptable way to run the Paladin in a campaign world... its just not how I interpret it.

The Operative from Serenity is actually a prime example of a Fallen Paladin.

In a nutshell, he had fallen victim to the idea that the ends justify the means. A Paladin would say he had lofty ideals, but utterly failed in their execution. The ends never justify the means. If anything, the means are the most important part. If you do evil to do good, well you've still done evil and that defeats the whole purpose. On the other hand, if you do only good, then only good can come of it. Even if the ends are unclear, you know they will ultimately be good.


FerinusCarnifexVox wrote:

I believe that a Paladin/Antipaladin should not be a base class. They are to specific to be the base class. I understand alignment requirements for classes (such as any Lawful, any non-Good, etc.), but having a very specific alignment requirement makes them sound like a Prestige Class to me.

I believe the base class should be something more like a templar (a Full BAB, Good Will Save, Crusader-like Class). A templar would not have casting, but they would have many unique combat abilities to make up for it (think Crusader's Steely Resolve).

They would then get the ability to gain a Prestige Class as a Paladin, Anti-Paladin, or Holy Vindicator, etc. This allows specific holy warriors for all the alignments. The entry would be easier then a normal prestige class (something like Level 5), and would be much like the Prestige Paladin from Unearthed Arcana.

I would be fine with this as long as the Paladin was mechanically different from these other classes and got to keep toys that no other class got.


Quantum Steve wrote:
FerinusCarnifexVox wrote:

I believe that a Paladin/Antipaladin should not be a base class. They are to specific to be the base class. I understand alignment requirements for classes (such as any Lawful, any non-Good, etc.), but having a very specific alignment requirement makes them sound like a Prestige Class to me.

I believe the base class should be something more like a templar (a Full BAB, Good Will Save, Crusader-like Class). A templar would not have casting, but they would have many unique combat abilities to make up for it (think Crusader's Steely Resolve).

They would then get the ability to gain a Prestige Class as a Paladin, Anti-Paladin, or Holy Vindicator, etc. This allows specific holy warriors for all the alignments. The entry would be easier then a normal prestige class (something like Level 5), and would be much like the Prestige Paladin from Unearthed Arcana.

I would be fine with this as long as the Paladin was mechanically different from these other classes and got to keep toys that no other class got.

That was actually my logic behind making them Prestige Classes. It would now justify having a rather specialized class about being Lawful and Good. I beleive base classes should have some breathing room so that many different types of personalities can flourish without being punished. A Prestige Class can be more strict as a character has chosen to go to the next level on their own accord.

The Antipaladin would most likely be similar to the Blackguard, but with some newer features.

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