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PaizoCon 2014!

Death Warden (Paladin)


Round 2 - Top 32: Create an archetype

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32 aka Gamer Girrl

Death Warden (Paladin)
Seeing herself as the final defense against the undead and those who create them, the death warden has spent more of her time dealing with the dead than interacting with the living. This has caused her to be rather abrupt and taciturn in nature, making her much less diplomatic than her paladin counterpart. Completely devoted to the tenets of the Lady of Graves, the death warden is one alignment step further from her deity than a paladin normally allows. Yet, despite being a follower of the neutral Pharasma, she is as stringent in her code and concepts of honor as any.

Class Skills: Craft (Int), Handle Animal (Cha), Heal (Wis), Knowledge (history) (Int), Knowledge (local) (Int), Knowledge (religion) (Int), Profession (Wis), Ride (Dex), Sense Motive (Wis), and Spellcraft (Int).

Detect Undead (Sp): Replacing the Detect Evil ability, this functions in the same manner, but uses the detect undead spell instead.

Smite Undead (Su): This ability functions only against undead, but otherwise is the same as Smite Evil, which it replaces. Remember to add twice the death warden’s level to damage rolls made against the target.

Aura of Prophecy (Su): At 3rd level, the death warden can use the spell death ward once per week with a caster level equal to her class level. For every three levels attained, an additional use is gained per week (twice at 6th level, three at 9th, etc.).

Aura of Diligence (Su): This replaces the Aura of Justice ability, functioning in the same manner, but only in regards to undead.

Aura of Apotropaics (Su): Substituting undead for evil for the DR, this ability functions the same as the Aura of Righteousness, which it replaces.

Fate’s Guardian (Su): At 20th level, a death warden becomes suffused with the power of Pharasma. When using smite undead, a successful strike causes the target to be hit with disrupting weapon, using her level in place of caster level. If the undead is not immediately destroyed by the disrupting weapon, they still take the maximum damage possible for the blow. After the attack is resolved, the smite immediately ends. Additionally, the death warden’s DR increases to 10/undead. Whenever she must make any saving throw against a spell or effect caused by an undead, she may roll twice and use the better result. In addition, whenever she channels positive energy or uses lay on hands to heal a creature, she heals the maximum possible amount. This replaces the Holy Champion ability.

RPG Superstar 2009, Contributor

Interesting choice. Especially considering there's already an undead scourge archetype for the paladin class. I'm immediately wondering how this one will be different.

First, I think it's a misstep to associate this archetype only with Pharasma. Archetypes are generally more universal than that. Hence, the undead scourge, for instance, doesn't make reference to Pharasma...though, clearly, it's an archetype you could easily see her paladins favoring. If you were going to make this a Pharasma-only archetype, I'd suggest you place an alignment restriction (or allowance, really) of Lawful Neutral rather than the usual Lawful Good restriction paladins endure. You kind of hint at that in the descriptive section, but I think you should have called it out alongside the Class Skills section and everything else.

Next up, let's talk about stylistic/presentation stuff for a second. If you look back across all the existing archetypes, you'll notice that class abilities don't get capitalized when they're referenced to indicate they're replaced. So call outs to the "Detect Evil" ability and "Aura of Justice" and "Aura of Righteousness" should all be lowercase. You did a good job referencing your skill names and spell names, though. So, it's clear to me that you understand the importance of attention to detail. You probably just didn't realize the abilities should be lowercase. Still, you should always do your homework and look for examples in pre-existing stuff to know how you should present your work.

Now, taking a look at the actual abilities this archetype provides (and those it replaces), most of them seem thematically appropriate. And you're not just duplicating what an undead scourge can do. Obviously, you're doing a fair amount of limiting this type of paladin with the undead-only modifications to many of her existing powers. I really like the replacement of detect evil with detect undead. It definitely makes this more of a warden against such creatures. Also, modifying smite evil so that it only affects undead is a pretty potent nerf. Smiting all evil creatures is one of the things a paladin can hang their hat on. Taking that down to just undead starts to make this paladin archetype into a very specialized one-trick pony. And I guess that's my primary worry here.

Overall, I'd say I'm sort of on the fence with this one. It doesn't blow me away with amazing creativity or innovation. It worries me some with the exclusive tie-in to Pharasma the toning down of so many iconic paladin abilities with regards to all evil creatures as opposed to just undead. But I also like some of the undead-specific changes. So, I'm not going to put up a recommendation one way or the other on this one. I think it's really going to boil down to the voters and how much they like this archetype design as well as your wondrous item submission. Let's find out what they think...

Designer, RPG Superstar Judge

Applause for calling out the "I'm a paladin of a neutral deity" so people don't think you missed it. James Jacobs may freak out about it if this were an official Golarion archetype, but personally I like unique tweaks on flavor like this (though we've established Pharasma doesn't have paladins, I like this take on it, especially as Golarion paladins don't need a deity, and someone with this archetype could merely be a paladin with a strong alliance to the church of Pharasma.

I don't have a problem with deity-specific archetypes, and I think undead-fighting paladin archetypes of Iomedae, (unofficially) Pharasma, and Sarenrae would be very different.

Smite Undead: Okay, you're limiting this ability, probably to give a greater or additional ability later, you have my attention. Oh, there's no need to call out the "remember to..." part of this ability.

Aura of Prophecy: Hmm. I'm not sure why you're calling this an aura. Unless you intended it to affect everyone near the paladin, but the ability doesn't actually say that. We've also gone away from the X/week mechanic in PFRPG, as it just encourages players to say "we'll adventure on Sunday, then rest/recover/travel until next Sunday, when we'll adventure again," which makes the ability act much like it were an X/day ability. What I would have done here is give the paladin an X/day death ward ability, but have the duration be rounds instead of minutes. Or just wait until higher level to get it.

Aura of Apotropaics: Nice use of "apotropaic!" The writing of this ability is a bit awkward, because the first clause is talking about swapping stuff as if you knew what class ability it's talking about. Better to say "This functions as aura of righteousness, except...."
Are you saying that with this ability, the paladin gains DR/undead instead of DR/evil? If so, that means the paladin is just as vulnerable to undead as before (most undead are evil, so either way they're bypassing her DR), but she is more protected against everything else (DR/undead means a non-undead monster like an elemental, demon, or animal has to overcome her DR, when it wouldn't with the original DR). So this ability is weird because it doesn't really change things with respect to her most common foes, but makes her safer if she goes "off-topic" and fights stuff other than undead. Thematically, I think it's a mistake, as it encourages her to not fight undead.

Fate’s Guardian: One, this ability doesn't really have anything to do with guarding fate, other than "undead are dodging their true fate," so maybe this should be "fate's vengeance" or "fate's hammer" or something like that. Mechanically, it's fine, mainly a swap of the banishment for a disrupting effect. However, I don't think that's particularly exciting. The paladin already can use her divine bond to give her weapon the disruption ability, which does basically the same thing (given, at a lower DC), so this ability is something a weapon-bonded paladin already has access to at a much earlier level (again, weaker than the level 20 version). The standard pal20 ability is exciting because paladins don't normally have access to banishment... this one basically amounts to a DC increase to an ability you can get at 11th level. I'm not saying this isn't an awesome ability that would be badass to see in play, it's just not as cool as a new ability or spell the paladin couldn't normally use.

I'm on the fence for this archetype. I like the tweak to LG/Pharasma, but the mistake of naming a non-aura ability an aura and the "off-target" aspect of the DR/undead ability makes me hesitant. I'm going to revisit this one later, and I'll probably not recommend it.

CEO, Goblinworks

Total Points: 1.5 points
Recommendation: Not recommended for advancement

Comments In Detail

Name & Theme (0 points)
Does this archetype fight the forces of death, or try to stop death from happening, or enforce the dictum that everybody dies?

A "Warden" conjures up images of someone conserving and protecting something else. I don't think the name matches the theme well and it doesn't sound "Paladinish" to me.

Mechanics (0 points)
You've taken the basic Paladin, and changed several abilities to deal with undead instead of evil. All the game design was done for you. Not Superstar.

Awesomeness (0 point)
I didn't find this awesome at all. Most undead will be evil anyway so what's the point?

Template (1 point)
Followed the template well.

Context (.5 point)
I feel that you did the minimum here. This isn't very inspired but it's not broken either. The use of some Golarian IP isn't a bad idea but I don't know about using Pharasma as the linchpin. I'll acknowledge that some campaigns would benefit more from this than a basic Paladin (but not many).

Paizo Employee Developer

Variant paladins have always been popular and we still get a lot of requests for non-LG paladins, so I appreciate the focus on a paladin of a true neutral deity and I think you were wise to point it out specifically. The issue I have with it, though, is that you've tied this to a specific deity in the Pathfinder Campaign Setting, and that limits you. When writing something within established canon, you have to fact-check, and within official Golarion, Pharasma doesn't have paladins. I think this sort of undead-hunting paladin is certainly worth an archetype, be careful tying it too closely to something in-world that doesn't support your concept. Further, given that your wondrous item was Pharasma's death sacrament, I would expect you to have canon regarding her nailed down, as she appears to be a favorite.

Digging into the mechanics themselves, I'm honestly a little disappointed. There's already the undead scourge archetype in the APG, so drawing comparisons between the two is, in my mind, inevitable.

Time and again within this design you have normal paladin powers replaced with more restrictive, limited versions of themselves. In almost every case undead are evil, so existing paladin abilities will already affect undead. All you're doing is removing their ability to do the standard paladin coolness to non-undead baddies as well. In return the hurt you dish out to undead needs to be amped, and I don't feel that here.

The closest you come to making up for it is the slew of alternate abilities thrown on as the capstone power. Most players never get to 20th level, and I would argue that a paladin with this archetype probably wouldn't either, as all her powers would have been nerfed for the 19 preceding levels. I think if these hyper-focused bonuses against undead were spread out across all the levels, probably with some scaling involved, it would offset a lot of the imbalance between a death warden and a normal paladin or—perhaps more appropriate a comparison—an undead scourge.

All things considered, I DO NOT RECOMMEND this archetype for advancement but wish you the best of luck in the vote.

Shadow Lodge

I dislike the Smite Undead ability, and it makes it sound like the creator isn't aware of the paladin's smite being errata'd to own the FIRST attack each round doing double damage. If it is supposed to be EVERY attack, it should be explicitly stated.

Star Voter 2014

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Sean K Reynolds wrote:
Are you saying that with this ability, the paladin gains DR/undead instead of DR/evil? If so, that means the paladin is just as vulnerable to undead as before (most undead are evil, so either way they're bypassing her DR), but she is more protected against everything else (DR/undead means a non-undead monster like an elemental, demon, or animal has to overcome her DR, when it wouldn't with the original DR). So this ability is weird because it doesn't really change things with respect to her most common foes, but makes her safer if she goes "off-topic" and fights stuff other than undead. Thematically, I think it's a mistake, as it encourages her to not fight undead.

I have to point out here that the same could be said of the paladin's normal DR (and my players have said it more than once). Essentially, the normal paladin gains damage reduction against everything except the evil she's supposed to be smiting.


I really like this concept for a paladin of a neutral god. Thematically it makes a great deal of sense to me. A Paladin who really has a burning desire for removing the undead off the face of Golarion could indeed be drawn to worship of Pharasma's anti-undead aspect. Granted, the way this archetype's powers seem to nerf the abilities of a paladin are troublesome, but that is fairly easily fixed in my own humble opinion.

Qadira RPG Superstar 2008 Top 6, Contributor , Dedicated Voter 2013

Shadar: but evil DR isn't negated against evil foes, just ones with the evil subtype. This is like a ranger with favored enemy (dragon) have DR 10/dragon. Doesn't work.

I like deity-specific archetypes, though I've steered clear of designing any. And I think your text gives a convincing case for their existence.

But: the abilities are a straight-forward substitution archetype. This is acceptable and common in an archetype section, but lacks the wow factor. Compounding this is the problem mentioned by other posters that this is basically a paladin that's weaker against evil, but not much better against undead. I want to see see some "gee whiz!" Pharasma smackdown that shows those corpses why they should have stayed underground!

I've got a lot of sympathy for you in this contest, because your work has good thinking and nice clean lines. It just lacks the "why didn't I think of that!" factor that the Boomers of the world have in spades. Reminds me of some of my own feedback from year one, probably the only year I could have made the contest in.

I'm on the fence on your vote as a consequence. I'd like to see you get a chance to wow us and the judges. And either way, good luck!


I'm a sucker for the undead-hunting paladin thing, so I really wanted to like this -- but I'm having a hard time getting past that there's already an undead-hunting paladin archetype among the only 6 paladin archetypes published so far.

The main thing this one has going for it in comparison is the Pharasma angle, but I don't think that's quite enough. I feel like there's too much to be done in the relatively untapped field of paladin archetypes to be doubling down on undead this soon.

I really liked your round 1 entry, and I think if you see round 3 it might be on the strength of that rather than the archetype. Good luck!

Star Voter 2014

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Russ Taylor wrote:

Shadar: but evil DR isn't negated against evil foes, just ones with the evil subtype. This is like a ranger with favored enemy (dragon) have DR 10/dragon. Doesn't work.

I'll certainly concede that the problem is less egregious in the base paladin than this archetype, but it still seems odd to me that paladins become more powerful offensively against creatures with the evil subtype, but weaker defensively.

I can't come up with a better vulnerability to replace it with, so paladins in my games continue to have DR/evil. Still, it always rubs me the wrong way.

Since I'm posting in this thread already, I suppose I ought to give my thoughts on the archetype (don't want to derail too far).

Conceptually, I'm sold; I love the name (Warding death against the abominations that pervert it) and the connection to Pharasma. I can envision a whole order of Death Wardens hunting down necromancers, clearing out infestations of undead, or just blessing the dead to protect them from rising (perhaps handing out Death Sacrements). From a story perspective, I want to put them in my game.

Mechanically, I'm less impressed. This archetype feels too focused. If I'm playing a Death Warden and the current adventure doesn't involve killing undead, I'm going to feel pretty useless. Specialization is great, but when it gives you only one option for adventuring, it starts to feel more like an NPC class. The abilities you've given us don't really pop all that much; there's nothing there that makes me go "Ooooh, I want that!" I also don't like the DR/Undead, but as you can see I don't much like the normal paladin DR.

Despite my mechanical concerns, I think I've just talked myself into voting for you. I really like this concept, and I really liked your wondrous item (apparently I'm a sucker for Pharasma). If you make it into the next round, I hope you can bring some of the excitement from your flavor into your mechanics. Best of luck.

Osirion RPG Superstar 2009 Top 4 , Star Voter 2013 aka raidou

Sue, I thought your Death Sacrament was well received, and I found it to be a handy little item that could see lots of use in an undead-heavy game. This round, you stuck with the Pharasma theme and gave us a Paladin who defends against the undead. This is interesting to me, as we already have an Undead Scourge paladin archetype in the APG. Maybe this archetype is the defense to that archetype's offense? Let's see.

death warden wrote:
Detect Undead (Sp): Replacing the Detect Evil ability, this functions in the same manner, but uses the detect undead spell instead.

The first thing I notice is some odd phrasing. I feel like the structure doesn't match how the APG presents its abilities. A little jarring, but not my biggest concern. Detect Undead replaces Detect Evil. Fine, I understand how that would work and it seems an appropriate (if a little obvious) exchange.

death warden wrote:
Smite Undead (Su): This ability functions only against undead, but otherwise is the same as Smite Evil, which it replaces. Remember to add twice the death warden’s level to damage rolls made against the target.

The Unholy Scourge grants the ability to smite undead at a consistent 2 points per paladin level, but still allows smiting vs. other foes. This seems underpowered by comparison.

death warden wrote:
Aura of Prophecy (Su): At 3rd level, the death warden can use the spell death ward once per week with a caster level equal to her class level. For every three levels attained, an additional use is gained per week (twice at 6th level, three at 9th, etc.).

I don't immediately see the connection between prophecy and the death ward spell. Death ward is certainly something a defender against undead would be able to do, often, but doesn't match the ability description. And once per week abilities!?! Noooooo! You hit me in a sore spot here, as tracking stuff like this by week is just a bookkeeping headache. If this paladin's job is to ward off the undead, she better have this ability ready to go more regularly.

death warden wrote:
Aura of Diligence (Su): This replaces the Aura of Justice ability, functioning in the same manner, but only in regards to undead.

Another oddly worded ability. What does diligence have to do with undead?

death warden wrote:
Aura of Apotropaics (Su): Substituting undead for evil for the DR, this ability functions the same as the Aura of Righteousness, which it replaces.

Cool word... had to look this up. But again, it doesn't really turn away undead, or present to them objects of loathing. You're inventing a new kind of DR here, and that doesn't bode well. How do you adjudicate that? natural undead attacks? does it reduce damage done by weapons wielded by undead?

death warden wrote:
Fate’s Guardian (Su): At 20th level, a death warden becomes suffused with the power of Pharasma. When using smite undead, a successful strike causes the target to be hit with disrupting weapon...

And we've come to the end, and we get an attack power that hits undead REALLY hard. There are so many ways to hit undead really hard these days, I sort of long for d12 hit dice and DR 15/magic silver bludgeoning.

Sue, I am sorry to say that I am underwhelmed by this entry. There's already an undead-fightin' paladin archetype in the APG, and so I was hoping for a paladin that could defend against an undead uprising. Unfortunately this archetype does not deliver that, nor does it really hang on to a unifying theme. This archetype gives up a lot of versatility regarding smiting, but doesn't give us much back in return. As a result it feels underdeveloped.


I love stuff about the undead, but this does not seem to do a lot with the theme.

There is too much intoductory text.

I would like to have seen you create new abilities rather than simply modify the standard ones. A few of your modifications simply substitute undead for evil.

Grand Lodge Dedicated Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014

Name and concept: A champion of Pharasma would interest me, but I don't think that's really what this is: it layers on a veneer of Golarion ideas to what feels to me like a different preconceived concept. "Warden" doesn't seem quite right, either, or if it is, could have been better explained.
Archetype mechanics, expression of the concept: The alignment alteration is unambiguously a game mechanic change, so it must follow an appropriate class format. Paizo staff discussed on the forum how to do this very thing. I want to see a Code of Conduct entry as well - that's critical to any paladin and much too vaguely mentioned here.
Class Skills: I had to go line-by-line through the rules to vote on this, since it wasn't obvious to me whether it had changed. If anyone else was wondering, this seems to lose Diplomacy and Knowledge (nobility) and gains Knowledge (history) and (local). If the author was strapped for word count, it would have been better to cut this minor change rather than play fast and loose with the template.
Smite Undead: If it's otherwise the same as Smite Evil, does that mean it only works against evil undead? Ambiguous. Not good. Also, I wouldn't like to see the final sentence in published rules.
Aura of Prophecy gives me death ward? This needs either a better name or an explanation.
Aura of Diligence: I'm not familiar with the use of "diligence" to mean mass-smiting undead. It would have been better to paraphrase the effect of Aura of Justice rather than how it's done here, and to state at what level this substitution occurs.
Aura of Apotropaics: Nice! Seeing I had to use Wiktionary to vote on this entry, I might as well use it to quibble that apotropaic explicitly means warding off evil, which is what the archetype swaps out. Again, the rule should say directly what the ability does and should note the level the death warden receives it. This would have made it plain that attacks from undead bypass the death warden's DR. Very strange.
Fate's Guardian: Disrupting weapon - very appropriate. The APG undead scourge gets it at 11th level. DR/undead - doesn't really do what the designer seems to want.
Wider relationships: I'm not sure I know of an example of a "warden of the dead" warrior-type outside of role-playing games, though no doubt there have been some. It's a fill-in-the-grid sort of idea and, as such, I'm not surprised there is already an example in the APG, which is unfortunately simpler and stronger.
I wonder what this contestant's adventure proposal will be?

This uses a few terms semi-randomly and mechanically is pretty rough. Not voting for it.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Significantly weakened (narrowed focus) version of Paladin.
All important undead opponents are most likely evil. Smite already targets undead (and they don't need to be evil).
Detect Evil also works on undead (they are very likely to be evil, after all).

Verdict: NOT recommended.

Regards,
Ruemere

PS. Alignment restriction is a non-issue for me.


I think there is an unhealthy association with pharasma here. We already had a pharasma item win one year, and they let another one slip through this year. I think its a cheap trick on the authors part to try and.l get by on using pharasma that much.


Vistarius wrote:
I think there is an unhealthy association with pharasma here. We already had a pharasma item win one year, and they let another one slip through this year. I think its a cheap trick on the authors part to try and.l get by on using pharasma that much.

I know what these words mean, but these sentences just don't make sense.

At best, you're saying "People like Pharasma, so people make Pharasma stuff to win!" Well, giving people what they want is kind of the idea.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8 , Star Voter 2013

The Pharasma tie weakened it for me for two reasons.

1) Sue, your previous item was also Pharasma oriented. While this was a plus, along with the simplicity of design and effects, with this one, the concern I have is 'can she do anything else?' This class is also simple, functional and too the point. That's a plus, but by tying it too much to Pharasma, it worries me. I look for diversity in each round. Fairly or not, I find myself going "Is round three going to be a Hound Master of Pharasma?

2) When I read the title, Pharasma didn't jump out at me. Wee Jas did. We don't 'have' the Ruby Lady, but by tying the class to Pharasmam, it moved it from an 'Ultimate Divine' Archtype to a "Faiths and Powers of Golarion" book. It also cut off the image of a Death Warden of Shelyn huntign down Zon Kuthon spawned abominations or the obvious Sarnae connections.

I like the concept, clean and simple. but I'm afraid there were 8 others that caught my eye.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber

I like the overall idea of a Pharasman undeadhunter.

I think it would have been ok to give them a LN alignment restriction, bringing them closer to Pharasma and not straying too far from the regular paladins.

This arche type has as far as I can see been hit badly, very badly by the nerfing stick - which I do not like at all.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32 aka Gamer Girrl

I am reading everyone's comments, and will make notes for responses once the voting is over, since I can't comment myself yet ::and that is the HARDEST thing to do!::

There are reasons for some of my choices, and I do agree with some of the comments so far ... building archetypes is a new beast in the game, and quite tricky, I must say.

I hope that I have a chance to show my chops in the next round, but that is up to the voters. This is quite the wild ride, and I hope to stay on a bit longer :)


I like non LG paladin options, I like undead killers. This archetype is a little too weak, but i think it can really be improved with a few changes.
You have my vote, even not being the best archetype, you deserve the chance to go ahead for making one of my two favorite wondrous items.

Grand Lodge Dedicated Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014

ruemere wrote:
Alignment restriction is a non-issue for me.

I don't have a problem with it as a change to the class either (though I'd prefer to see it changed to a different single alignment, most obviously LN). However, this round in part extends the idea of an archetype and explores how it can apply to different class features and design patterns than the APG writers considered.

She should have considered how such a rule change would fit into a published class description. The contest rules and earlier official posts emphasised correct archetype format, several times, as grounds for disqualification.

Grand Lodge Star Voter 2014

Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Sue.

You raise some interesting ideas in your submission. I have already incorporated your wonderous item in my campaign and I hope your second round entry will get you further...

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32 aka Lord Fyre

Sue Flaherty wrote:

I am reading everyone's comments, and will make notes for responses once the voting is over, since I can't comment myself yet ::and that is the HARDEST thing to do!::

There are reasons for some of my choices, and I do agree with some of the comments so far ... building archetypes is a new beast in the game, and quite tricky, I must say.

I hope that I have a chance to show my chops in the next round, but that is up to the voters. This is quite the wild ride, and I hope to stay on a bit longer :)

Believe me, it can be very hard at this point not to reply to comments on you submission. :)

Shadow Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

A word to the wise: step away from the submit button. Remember there are four alternates who all submitted valid entries for this round and are just waiting for you to disqualify yourself. 'Nuf said?

I don't know enough about PFRPG paladins to really judge this one. I have to go by the judges' comments. Going by the name, though, it makes me think of a particular video game turned RPG published by another company. I'm not sure if that was intentional or if I'm the only one picking up on that, but the association is pretty strong to my mind.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2014 Top 4, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32 , Dedicated Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014 aka Serpent

kwixson wrote:

A word to the wise: step away from the submit button. Remember there are four alternates who all submitted valid entries for this round and are just waiting for you to disqualify yourself. 'Nuf said?

+1. Some might say that agreeing with comments constitutes "expanding on your submission".

We, the alternates - much like Chuck Norris - don't sleep, we wait. But seeing that there were many weaker entries in round 2 than yours, I'd hate to see your paladin fall, pun intended. :-)

Dedicated Voter 2013

Reading through this for the third time, I can't help but feel that this is a theme-specific nerf of the paladin. While the theme is solid, this is not an archetype I would choose instead of simply customizing my paladin through feats and background.

Your flavor text got my hopes up that this would be the kind of grim I-do-what-is-necessary kind of paladin I have been waiting for in PF. Inquisitor inches in on this territory, but the flavor of a paladin who sees death as natural and necessary Kelemvor-style is still unique and cool to me.

The mechanics let me down quite a bit. Nevertheless, you have my vote for your round 1 item, and for your continued ability to give me cool ideas, something many of the more well-rounded archetypes here do not. Good luck!

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 16 , Star Voter 2013

This is tough, because I like the flavour and attention to religious detail here. I do however agree that you are seriously under powering the paladin vs. non-undead while not really giving his a significant bump against them. If a ranger could only take favoured enemy: undead but got nothing else for it everyone would cry foul. It's a good idea, but in trying to squeeze it in beside an existing undead bane paladin you lost sight of making it mechanically cool.


Sue Flaherty wrote:

Death Warden (Paladin)

Seeing herself as the final defense against the undead and those who create them, the death warden has spent more of her time dealing with the dead than interacting with the living. This has caused her to be rather abrupt and taciturn in nature, making her much less diplomatic than her paladin counterpart. Completely devoted to the tenets of the Lady of Graves, the death warden is one alignment step further from her deity than a paladin normally allows. Yet, despite being a follower of the neutral Pharasma, she is as stringent in her code and concepts of honor as any.

Disclaimer:

You should know the drill by now, but in case you missed it the first time round, Ask A RPGSupersuccubus is posting from the point of view of a CE aligned succubus:
Spoiler:
Fairness is an adjective applicable to hair coloration, balance is what a couple of mortals rapidly losing it on opposite ends of a plank pivoted on a rocky spire a couple of hundred feet above a slowly rising pool of molten basalt try to do, and logic is one of those things which you could swear is there when you rattle the piggybank but if anyone other than a demon opens it the contents turn out to be a couple of dead moths and a three week old shopping list.
;)

Would you want this person sitting next to you as a guest at a formal evening dress dinner party?
It's a paladin, but a paladin who dials back on the etiquette and courtly politeness. Having one sit next to me at a dinner party would still be fun, but not nearly so much as with a regular paladin. Then again, a Death Warden won't be using detect evil and judging me on that basis, which avoids some social awkwardness.

How effective a flower-picker does this person seem likely to be?
Sadly a knight like this who's already reining in on charming words is probably not going to be very interested in picking flowers unless there are lives at stake and/or undead to be smote. Ahhh well - there are enough haunted ruins around with rare flowers growing amidst the tumbled stones...

Could you hire one person like this to do a better job than one other trained mercenary and/or to do the jobs of two (or more) other trained mercenaries?
If it involves reducing undead to cold bone cubes and ash, or slicing spectres to ethereal rags this is your man (or woman). Plus the lack of detect evil makes him or her much less challenging to convince to carry out an errand which makes for faster (but much less fun) hiring.

Other comments?
Yes, he or she is more effective against undead, but I look at a Death Warden, and find it difficult not to see him or her as a tragically watered-down paladin. Granted though that still makes him or her a lot more desirable than most other mortals...

Desirability:
Bodyguard, although alas unlikely to be available for duty unless one's life is threatened by undead.

Further Disclaimer:
Ask A RPGSupersuccubus (with half an eye on Lord Orcus) would like to clarify that mortal voters should probably rely on more than just her own (impeccable) assessments in making up their minds on how to vote. Thank You.

Osirion RPG Superstar 2008 Top 4; Contributor; Publisher, Legendary Games

This archetype is... just okay. You've basically reskinned the abilities to be undead rather than "all evil," which is a substantial downgrade in raw power that you never make up with extra anything. Also, the abilities don't do anything particularly interesting; most are just more limited versions of what any paladin can already do, including the disrupting capstone power (which is arguably WORSE than just using divine bond to slap the disruption power on a weapon - yes, the DC is higher, but using it ENDS THE SMITE, so you forfeit that juicy +CHA to hit and AC, ignore all DR, and +20 damage on every hit vs. that foe; you just get one shot with a higher DC instead of getting a lower DC and all the rest of the smitey goodness on every hit).

I like the thematic approach of an undead-focused paladin, but this one is, alas, pretty ordinary in its approach.

Congrats on making round 2, and best of luck!

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 8 , Marathon Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014 aka Demiurge 1138

I don't have a problem with the focused Pharasma-ness. She's a weird deity and I can see her having some paladins on the payroll. What I do have a problem with is that this paladin is much, much weaker than the standard pally. They lose a lot of versatility for not much oomph. In addition, the wording of various abilities is really strange, the smite undead seems to indicate that the author hasn't kept up with errata (an important aside when dealing with a rules-heavy contest) and the DR seems as if the author isn't sure how DR works. It's a fairly common mistake, that.

I'm afraid I will not be voting for this entry.

Star Voter 2013

Well, I like your writing on the boards and your first item, so you might end up getting a vote because I've yet to find more than 1-2 concepts I'm excited by. Basically, take note of everything here: the reskinning but depowering approach is bad, but the pre-existing Undead Scourge is even worse because it suggests that you're not as creative as you need to be to succeed here. I know that's not the case. Be more fun next round.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 , Dedicated Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014

The names of your abilities are bit on the edge. Like others, I’m feeling that this ground has been covered before. Basically a Death Warden is a paladin that only works against undead and you get death ward (level/3) times per week to compensate for it. A static 4th level spell X times per week is uber at 3rd level and nothing much at 15th. The 20th level power is super good, a capstone ability should be super good, but I’m more worried about the other 19 levels. My Advice: if you do make it through to the next round, do not make a Pharasma villain. I am interested to see what you can do next round. Good luck.


Sue Flaherty wrote:

Death Warden (Paladin)

Disclaimer: My ranking scheme for this round consists of given marks form 0 to 4 in the following three categories:

1.Is the Archetype conceptually interesting?
2.Are the mechanics of the Archetype interesting?
3.Are the mechanics of the Archetype balanced and well executed?
But rather than simply adding up the marks for a final score I'm gonna interpret them as a point in 3-dimensional space and the final mark of your submission will be the length of the vector between the origin and this point.
Note that my ranking doesn't need to directly correspond with my votes, as other factors like: Strength of your item submission, mood, my horrorscope and other random stuff still factor in. Also note that this scheme is highly subjective and only mirrors my perception and opinion about your archetype submission.

Conceptual Mojo (CM): 2, Anti undead paladin is a sound concept, but there is already an archetype for this and the pharasma tack on doesn't redeem this

Mechanical Mojo (MM): 1, This just limits about all the paladins abilities to undead, since about all undead creatures are also evil that is a huge power down. I would have liked to see something like an undead-pulverizing lay on hands, complete with specific mercies.

Mechanical Execution (ME): 1, The only thing that is stronger as the original paladin is the added death ward ( usable a few times per week!), and the DR/undead, which is something without precedent and a can of worms. When does a weapon count as undead? What enhancement bonus do you need to pierce it regardless? (+4 as with alignments, or +3 as with materials? )

Final note: This has been done before and better, I wonder if the only thing you can come up with is pharasma themed stuff, and the only pharasma archetype you got was this so you went with it nonetheless. Otherwise you didn't familiarize yourself with the existing archetypes enough.
Some problems with rules knowledge too: odd things like DR/undead and the missed errata for smite evil, redoing an existing archetype...

Total Score: 2.449

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32 , Star Voter 2013

Hrm. No, I'm sorry. The undead scourge paladin has already been done and this doesn't bring much new to the table.

Star Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014

Nice Sue, Simple and to the point. I think enough others have already stated the undercutting as not exciting. I think you have shown that archetyping does not have to be complicated to work. Focus on your wow for next round.

Osirion RPG Superstar 2013 , Dedicated Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014 aka Steven T. Helt

SOme troubling errors here. Why not play a core paladin and retains the ability to smite anything evil? The party will want to know why I chose a character that can't deal double damage to the vrocks during their dance of death. What am I getting for it? Same thing for detecting evil. I can detect any evil, which is more insidious than undead. Evil doesn't smell like rot as often. Evil doesn't always attack from the shadows or underground or in graveyards. But undead are mostly evil, so giving up the abiltity to detect the larger number of threats nees to come with a new advantage, which I don't really see.

Writing is clunky and very short, and presentation doesn't really stick to the style for archetypes presented in the APG. How many abilities in the APG start off by naming the ability they are replacing?

The death ward ability is not an aura, and doesn't replace anything. Is death ward a couple of times a week supposed to replace all the paladni's lost efficiency v other forms of evil?

If the adventure has big bads in it that aren't undead, this guy is a fighter with no feats. And the worst part is, as Mr. Bailey says, that undead already have it harder in Pathfinder than they ever have. The rogue can crit me, the smite lasts the whole round, and would last longer if it didn't kill me. I got d8s for hit dice and there's more magic devoted to inconveneincing me and making you immune to my stuff hat I can hardly cause any temporary trouble, let alone a permanent negative level. You'll maybe note from my avatar this is a sore spot with me. : b

But in seriousness, you have duplicated an existing archetype and not done it very well. In so doing you have neutered the class for the vast majority of conflicts and not presented any new mechanics.


Sue Flaherty wrote:
Death Warden (Paladin)

While this is a good concept, it's an old one. I know that we probably need a Paladin focused on fighting undead, but that's almost a gimme in later books. I thought your ability choices were very obvious, and there was little done creatively here.

Just my thoughts,
Ken


Disclaimer:
Ask A RPGSupersuccubus is posting from the point of view of a CE aligned succubus; and in the language of the Abyss ‘sorry’ is what you make others after you’ve had a bad day, ‘commiserations’ is the concept whereby if you’ve had a miserable day you go out and make others at least as unhappy as you are, and ‘sympathy’ is military jargon for a popular model of half a mile high siege-tower with spiked wheels, ballistae and fireball hurling catapults. (By way of explanation for the latter it’s a demonic joke: ‘See, we have sympathy for your situation’.)

Obligatory End of Round 2 Results Post:

Spoiler:
In the ever-shifting chaos of Abyssal hierarchies and social-networks, Good Manners are naturally essential. One never knows when a powerful demon whom one once jostled at a dinner party and whom one never actually made sufficient reparations to for the inconvenience is going to be the new landlady of your own part of the Abyss and looking for some demons to make Very Sorry having just had a bad day herself.
Consequently a multitude of books of etiquette are in circulation with examples of ‘appropriate’ phrases to use in various situations. I shall take the liberty of quoting a few:
“Abyssal etiquette, Demon Lords” wrote:
…Greetings, your most puissant highness…
“Abyssal etiquette, Apparent Mortal Who Is Prospective Dinner” wrote:
…Why sirrah, it is a pleasure to meet you. May one inquire, is that an enchanted cold-iron dagger of demon-slaying in your pocket, or are you just pleased to see me?...
“Abyssal etiquette, Guests Whom There Is No Longer Any Room To Accommodate And Who Are About To Depart Through A Trapdoor Into A (Possibly) Snake Filled Pit” wrote:
…Goodbye Mr. Bond…

(The author of the work from which I derive the latter quote is incidentally a fiend with a curious affectation for monocles and white cats who happens to be a servant of Andirifkhu.)

See you around another year, perhaps. Or maybe sooner if you feel like sticking around to post for the duration of this year’s contest... ;)

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