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Seriously what's up with the Paladin alignment fixation?


Pathfinder RPG General Discussion

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I'm a bit annoyed, seriously like 50% of the Paizo forums concerning Paladins is "how can I make my friend's Paladin fall" or "Is this action gonna make my Paladin fall?". Cut Paladins some flak, its getting quite stale.Not all Paladins are lawful stupid!

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
Nemitri wrote:


I'm a bit annoyed, seriously like 50% of the Paizo forums concerning Paladins is "how can I make my friend's Paladin fall" or "Is this action gonna make my Paladin fall?". Cut Paladins some flak, its getting quite stale.Not all Paladins are lawful stupid!

Because there are a significant number of people on the board who are more interested in theorycrafting the destruction of Paladins then there are in playing them.


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People worry too much about what is essentially class flavor.


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I am confused do you want people to pepper paladins with antiaircraft fire? Or do you want people to keep criticizing paladins?

Flak
1.antiaircraft fire, especially as experienced by the crews of combat airplanes at which the fire is directed.
2.criticism; hostile reaction; abuse: Such an unpopular decision is bound to draw a lot of flak from the press.

If posters focus on Paladins bothers you then just start a Monk thread about flurry of blows or something.

Silver Crusade

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Nemitri wrote:


I'm a bit annoyed, seriously like 50% of the Paizo forums concerning Paladins is "how can I make my friend's Paladin fall" or "Is this action gonna make my Paladin fall?". Cut Paladins some flak, its getting quite stale.Not all Paladins are lawful stupid!

Then don't read them and it will save you the annoyance.


Ahorsewithnoname wrote:
If posters focus on Paladins bothers you then just start a Monk thread about flurry of blows or something.

Again?!! groans


6 people marked this as a favorite.

People are stupid. Being also bored, they have nothing better to do than to think of ways to ruin others' fun. Being also irresponsible and inconsiderate, they do not worry over the ramifications of being stupid, bored and interested in ruining the fun of others. That settles the issue as to why so many people come here looking for advice on how to destroy their friends' paladins.

Now, consider how stupid, bored, irresponsible and inconsiderate people are (see above). Imagine those same people deciding they now want to play a paladin. Lacking all of the qualifications for understanding what a paladin is, and the pitfalls of playing one (being themselves the antitheses of courtly courtesy and compassion), you can quickly understand why so many of them come here seeking advice on the most insignificant and trivial of moral quandaries, and why some are boggled by what to the rest of us appear to be clear and obvious moral choices.


I think it's the same gene that prohibits DMs from never letting arbitrary uses of the "wish" spell go through as intended.


Nemitri wrote:
Cut Paladins some flak,

Freudian slip of the keyboard? ;)

Kidding aside: the Paladin Code is a tricky beast, and people's opinion about it varies wildly. So it never hurts to ask for arguments pro and con a certain example before making your own mind up.


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Of the things 4E did good, removing the paladin's lawful good alignment restriction was one of them.


Pathfinder Modules Subscriber
chaoseffect wrote:
People worry too much about what is essentially class flavor.

It isn't flavor. It's crunch, just like Vow of Poverty.


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It's not just paladins. Someone will come in here and ask any alignment question and everyone chimes in with a different opinion, and no one ever concedes anything, nor is anyone's mind ever changed. Really, alignment threads should be banned.


Like most of morality, everyone has their own opinions on what makes moral and right behavior. What is immoral to the guy to the left of you wont be to the guy on the right. Unfortunately, LG is a supposed absolute that is viewed through nonabsolute glasses (our viewpoints). Each person will interpret the limitations of what makes Lawful Good on his or her own. And frankly, it doesn't matter. It is up to the player and GM to work it out. - Gauss

Star Voter 2013

You fall.


Maerimydra wrote:
Of the things 4E did good, removing the paladin's lawful good alignment restriction was one of them.

The Pathfinder Paladin would be WAY too strong without his drawbacks in the form of alignment restriction and code of conduct.

If you want a paladin who isnt LG just play a chavalier.


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Joyd wrote:
I think it's the same gene that prohibits DMs from never letting arbitrary uses of the "wish" spell go through as intended.

That part about the wish spell usually going wrong is written into the rules, actually. There is a specific list of exactly what a wish spell can do with little/no unintended consequences, and then the spell says:

Pathfinder SRD wrote:
You may try to use a wish to produce greater effects than these, but doing so is dangerous. (The wish may pervert your intent into a literal but undesirable fulfillment or only a partial fulfillment, at the GM's discretion.)

I always let minor wishes happen without drawbacks. But, by RAW and RAI, asking for too much is dangerous.

My last game, the 22 STR fighter wished to be "Twice as strong" as he currently was. I think turning him into a Baleen Whale from the 3.5 SRD with an advanced creature template was perfectly acceptable.

Paizo Employee Paizo Glitterati Robot

Removed a post. Please keep in mind what you're adding to the discussion before posting, thanks.


Sorry I meant slack, not flak ;p


I think the whole cafuffle over the paladin alignment comes down to a few things. One is that i think when players decide to play a paladin they very strongly focus on the code and its ideals. This in itself is fine however it can create problems when Alot of players play characters that on paper tha are good aligned but in reality probably are not.

It isnt really an issue of alignment but of players.

Star Voter 2013

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I see it as coming from two problems:

1) Conflicting play styles. Some people find it fun to play as anti-heroes like Dirty Harry or Jack Sparrow. Having paladins around makes them feel like they have to hide their illegal activities (and sometimes they do). On the other hand, some people want to play a true knight in shining armor. Forget that "shades of grey" crapola--they are the good guys and they will prevail over evil (period). Mix both play styles and sometimes the first needs to take out the 2nd before they feel free to act as they wish.

2) "Power gamers". Some people want all the awesome powers and prestige of the paladin, but still want to ride around looting and pillaging and to hell with a code of ethics. This annoys GMs and other players greatly and the faux paladin becomes a target of their ire.


Honestly, Just hit the Hide This Thread button before you see the thread. It removes it from your view and you won't have to worry about it again.


Seriously, what's up with adjudicating other people's conversations? If you don't want to read it or don't want to respond to it or whatever... then don't.

What's the big deal? I happen to find the couple of threads on the subject that I've been in, recently, a fascinating thing. And they're fascinating, not specifically because of the topic or subject [because, in most cases, I think they resolve rather simply], but because I find the way other people think about them to be surprising in several ways.

I don't see most people, in these threads, as wanting Paladins to fall, at all. In fact, all I see is people looking at moral dilemmas as interesting puzzles and trying to ascertain the "correct course of action". The only time things like these dilemmas are a problem is when the DM and player have trouble agreeing or when the DM hides his thinking from his player.


Pathfinder Modules Subscriber
Gauss wrote:
Like most of morality, everyone has their own opinions on what makes moral and right behavior. What is immoral to the guy to the left of you wont be to the guy on the right. Unfortunately, LG is a supposed absolute that is viewed through nonabsolute glasses (our viewpoints). Each person will interpret the limitations of what makes Lawful Good on his or her own. And frankly, it doesn't matter. It is up to the player and GM to work it out. - Gauss

It's more than that. A paladin isn't merely Lawful Good--she is a paragon of virtue. A regular fighter could fall short of that alignment in small ways all the time and never have to worry about alignment shift because when it really matters, the fighter fights for law and good. The paladin doesn't have that luxury. They are bound by their oaths, and anybody trying to squirm around such an oath has no business being a paladin. If such a restriction chafes you, I suggest being an inquisitor or a cavalier; they're a little more flexible.

This restriction does come with a small upside: You can always atone if you're genuinely repentant. If you were coerced into your actions, you don't even have to make offerings to your deity. In the old days, if you fell completely involuntarily, you had to go on an entire experience-less and treasure-less quest to get your powers back. If you fell voluntarily, even for a white lie, you lost your powers forever--no atonement, no nothing, you're a fighter now, have a nice life.

Shadow Lodge

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I have to tell people when they're wrong, of course.


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Umbranus wrote:
Maerimydra wrote:
Of the things 4E did good, removing the paladin's lawful good alignment restriction was one of them.

The Pathfinder Paladin would be WAY too strong without his drawbacks in the form of alignment restriction and code of conduct.

If you want a paladin who isnt LG just play a chavalier.

Since the Ranger is not, I disagree that the Paladin would be. Since I've played in games that ignore the Paladin's alignment restriction, with no adverse effects, I have actual play data that suggests otherwise as well (though it is anecdotal).

Also, maybe someone doesn't want to play a Cavalier. They are not Paladins without alignment. They are fighters without teeth.


I just want to read stories about epic paladins that bring down the law on everyone whilst keeping LG. Probably a Hell Knight/Paladin combo... Heck, I may just try playing one.


Ashiel wrote:
Umbranus wrote:
Maerimydra wrote:
Of the things 4E did good, removing the paladin's lawful good alignment restriction was one of them.

The Pathfinder Paladin would be WAY too strong without his drawbacks in the form of alignment restriction and code of conduct.

If you want a paladin who isnt LG just play a chavalier.

Since the Ranger is not, I disagree that the Paladin would be. Since I've played in games that ignore the Paladin's alignment restriction, with no adverse effects, I have actual play data that suggests otherwise as well (though it is anecdotal).

Also, maybe someone doesn't want to play a Cavalier. They are not Paladins without alignment. They are fighters without teeth.

Not only are they fighters without teeth, but they come with a lot of situational boni that are easy to forget (think dodge from 3rd E, but worse). As for the paladin, they could have made him into a more generic/customizable class: a champion of any god, with any alignment one step of his god. Thus, there would have been no need for an anti-paladin archetype, and evil paladins could have benefited from all the other archetypes. I don't see why only Lawful Good gods should have ''divine fighter'' amongst their followers. The paladin, the cavalier and the inquisitor, they could have been all one single class if done properly. But I guess the paladin was kept the way it is to please the grognards. And I will add this: trying to mitigate strong class abilities with only fluff is bad design.

Silver Crusade Star Voter 2014

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules Subscriber
Maerimydra wrote:
Ashiel wrote:
Umbranus wrote:
Maerimydra wrote:
Of the things 4E did good, removing the paladin's lawful good alignment restriction was one of them.

The Pathfinder Paladin would be WAY too strong without his drawbacks in the form of alignment restriction and code of conduct.

If you want a paladin who isnt LG just play a chavalier.

Since the Ranger is not, I disagree that the Paladin would be. Since I've played in games that ignore the Paladin's alignment restriction, with no adverse effects, I have actual play data that suggests otherwise as well (though it is anecdotal).

Also, maybe someone doesn't want to play a Cavalier. They are not Paladins without alignment. They are fighters without teeth.

Not only are they fighters without teeth, but they come with a lot of situational boni

boni

boni

I instinctively read this as the plural of "boner". >_>

The Exchange

Where is the Cavalier love?


Mikaze wrote:

boni

I instinctively read this as the plural of "boner". >_>

Boni is not the plural of bonus? Damn English, I hate you!


Maerimydra wrote:
Mikaze wrote:

boni

I instinctively read this as the plural of "boner". >_>
Boni is not the plural of bonus? Damn English, I hate you!

Fear not, it worked in Latin :)

(Just don't ask me about Bonissimus.)


Tirq wrote:
Where is the Cavalier love?

Not in my group. My entire group, including myself, don't see much use for cavaliers. Their order abilities are "meh", teamwork feats are "meh" and inquisitors do them better, most of their order abilities--especially their challenges--are "meh". They get a nice pony, but that's highly situational unless you're small sized, and Rangers and Paladins get mounts too (except Rangers and Paladins get theirs at 4th level, but prior to 4th, normal purchased mounts and/or animals you train are cheaper AND stronger).

They're a little better with skills than Fighters, but don't hold a candle to Rangers and Paladins in non-fighter stuff, and normal Fighters make their combat capabilities look like a sad, sad joke; and make for better mounted combatants as well (their weapon training and specialization mods get multiplied when using a lance from mount-back, have more feats, etc).

There's just not much about the cavalier that's actually interesting. Incidentally, the Cavalier paladin kit in Baldur's Gate II was pretty awesome; though that's irrelevant (I just like mentioning BG :P).

EDIT: Also, some of us are pissed that they tried to nerf Handle Animal and Animals in general to make Cavaliers look prettier. The core rules said (and still partially do) that animals trained for combat got proficiency in barding. They tried to remove that during the Cavalier playtest because there was concerns as to whether it was okay for the mount to be able to get proficiency in armor without expending feats; so they removed the line in the Handle Animal skill; but were too sloppy to remember that proficiency with armor if trained for fighting is an actual feature of the Animal creature type. *facepalm*

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting Subscriber

Has a "what's up with paladin alignment threads" thread become a paladin alignment thread?

That's so convoluted I don't know where to begin...

Liberty's Edge Star Voter 2015

Ashiel wrote:
Since the Ranger is not, I disagree that the Paladin would be. Since I've played in games that ignore the Paladin's alignment restriction, with no adverse effects, I have actual play data that suggests otherwise as well (though it is anecdotal).

This I agree with. I like Paladin codes, but the Class in no way requires them to be balanced.

Ashiel wrote:
Also, maybe someone doesn't want to play a Cavalier. They are not Paladins without alignment. They are fighters without teeth.

I disagree with this completely. I can build a Cavalier who rips Fighters in half like a damn buzzsaw in a one-on-one fight.

Cavaliers are really pretty awesome.

The Exchange

Finally! Cavalier love!


Deadmanwalking wrote:
Ashiel wrote:
Since the Ranger is not, I disagree that the Paladin would be. Since I've played in games that ignore the Paladin's alignment restriction, with no adverse effects, I have actual play data that suggests otherwise as well (though it is anecdotal).

This I agree with. I like Paladin codes, but the Class in no way requires them to be balanced.

Ashiel wrote:
Also, maybe someone doesn't want to play a Cavalier. They are not Paladins without alignment. They are fighters without teeth.

I disagree with this completely. I can build a Cavalier who rips Fighters in half like a damn buzzsaw in a one-on-one fight.

Cavaliers are really pretty awesome.

Oh yeah? Educate me! :D

'Cause honestly, there's not much I'm seeing on their class that really screams out awesomeness. Take their horse and you take half their options away. Their challenges are weaksauce but are limited like smites. Most of the order abilities are mild to weak, etc. I'd really like to see what makes these guys appealing next to the core classes of Barbarian, Fighter, Ranger, and Paladin.


Deadmanwalking wrote:
Ashiel wrote:
Since the Ranger is not, I disagree that the Paladin would be. Since I've played in games that ignore the Paladin's alignment restriction, with no adverse effects, I have actual play data that suggests otherwise as well (though it is anecdotal).

This I agree with. I like Paladin codes, but the Class in no way requires them to be balanced.

Ashiel wrote:
Also, maybe someone doesn't want to play a Cavalier. They are not Paladins without alignment. They are fighters without teeth.

I disagree with this completely. I can build a Cavalier who rips Fighters in half like a damn buzzsaw in a one-on-one fight.

Cavaliers are really pretty awesome.

The game is not PvP so that does not matter. What matters is how well it can operate in most campaigns. The cavalier has the same issues as other mounted combatants. He has to hope for outdoors combat or go with a small race.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

My wife's cavalier did pretty well without her horse for the first few sessions, but then at level 1-2, anyone with a greatsword and Str bonus is viable.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting Subscriber

Depends on the campaign. In Kingmaker Cavaliers rule.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

We were stranded on a deserted island after our ship was destroyed by sea beasts. So she had to make do while her horse was still back at port.

Liberty's Edge Star Voter 2015

Ashiel wrote:

Oh yeah? Educate me! :D

'Cause honestly, there's not much I'm seeing on their class that really screams out awesomeness. Take their horse and you take half their options away. Their challenges are weaksauce but are limited like smites. Most of the order abilities are mild to weak, etc. I'd really like to see what makes these guys appealing next to the core classes of Barbarian, Fighter, Ranger, and Paladin.

Well, first, with the Beast Rider Archetype, it need not be a horse, it can be anything you can ride, and you can switch it at every level at no penalty. Tiger Mounts are go.

Second, nothing says you have to ride it. So it can be your flanking buddy, if you like. With Outflank and Precise Strike on both of you via Tactician (or just purchased for the Mount).

Third, re-read the Challenges. Dragon's, for example, is a flat bonus to hit for both you and everyone else (including your mount) attacking the target, and in all cases the damage boost is identical to a Paladin's on Smite Evil (which is nothing to sneeze at).

Some of the Order abilities are great. Look at the Order of the Cockatrice's Braggart (free Dazzling Display, and a +2 to hit it's victims), or the Order of the Shield's Stem the Tide (free Stand Still, only does damage as well as stopping movement).

Build a Fighter (or Ranger) and I'll show you how to be equally (or more) effective with a Cavalier. Well, barring a maneuver specialist or something designed to exclude the Cavalier, anyway.

Everyone gets all wrapped up in the mounted combat stuff and ignores everything else a Cavlier can do.

The Exchange

wraithstrike wrote:
The game is not PvP so that does not matter. What matters is how well it can operate in most campaigns. The cavalier has the same issues as other mounted combatants. He has to hope for outdoors combat or go with a small race.

But you are forgetting that the Mount is only a part of what makes the class great.

1) A charisma based Melee class like the Paladin, but with less restrictions for Code of Conduct. Add in to that the fact that they get face character skills and that they get a whole lot of bonuses.

2) Like other melee classes, 1d10 HD, full BaB, and all Martial weapons.

3) Animal Companion. A really good one at that. True, Rangers and Paladins can get one, but who would honestly pick one? Scrolls of Reduce Animal are pretty cheap and UMD is only a Trait away... Refer to 1 for reason why UMD is a great trait to spend on a Cavalier.

4) Look at the options for the Orders. Read really carefully. Dazzling Display for a Standard Action with no weapons. Half level for Cleric Channeling. Make-shift Bard abilities.

Edit: Ninja'd! I'll help with the Cavalier Love, since I love the class.


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Deadmanwalking wrote:
Build a Fighter (or Ranger) and I'll show you how to be equally (or more) effective with a Cavalier. Well, barring a maneuver specialist or something designed to exclude the Cavalier, anyway.

What do you mean, by designed to exclude the Cavalier, exactly? Because I imagine the wealth of awesomeness that Ranger and Paladin spells probably falls in that category? Since I figure that counts them out of the running, despite that both of those also get free mounts and stuff; which leaves the Fighter.

With the typical Fighter, I can spec spears prime, bows secondary, spec strength prime, dex secondary, sport quite a bit of raw killing power, melee combat presence, eventually eliminate any and all check penalties from my armor (though admittedly everyone can, but Fighters do it early), and I can rock in melee, ranged, mounted, and combat maneuvers all at once.

I'm not counting archtypes either. If I have to dip into an archtype from a book separate from the one the class I'm playing in, then I'd rather not even argue it. If most to all iterations of X sucked except X+Y archtype, then X still sucks; for example.

Before we go measuring digit sizes, however; what do you consider "effective"? This misunderstanding has caused a lot of grief in conversations before. I see cavaliers as not very effective because IMHO, they're not that great at dealing damage, are less versatile than Paladins and Rangers, and many of their class features are innately useless in common adventuring scenarios (mount issues); and they have virtually no fluff or special qualities that are unique to them that cannot be comparatively done with core classes.


Pathfinder Modules Subscriber

God, I love the Order of the Dragon. Stack that on a party with a bard, lots of cohorts, maybe a master summoner or two, make sure several of the party members have reach.... *_* It's like getting two turns for every one of their turns for your whole side (casties notwithstanding).

That order was made for warfare.

Edit: I should do a level 15 one shot where the whole party is Order of the Dragon cavaliers....

The Exchange

blahpers wrote:
I should do a level 15 one shot where the whole party is Order of the Dragon cavaliers....

Do it. Do it now.

Liberty's Edge Star Voter 2015

Ashiel wrote:


What do you mean, by designed to exclude the Cavalier, exactly? Because I imagine the wealth of awesomeness that Ranger and Paladin spells probably falls in that category? Since I figure that counts them out of the running, despite that both of those also get free mounts and stuff; which leaves the Fighter.

No, no, I didn't mean leave out things Cavaliers don't have, I meant leave out specialties a Cavalier cannot compete in (like, a Cavalier cfan't manage to focus on combat maneuvers on par with a Fighter and can't ever be a focused Healer like a Hospitaler Paladin). Spells, in and of themselves, are fine.

Ashiel wrote:
With the typical Fighter, I can spec spears prime, bows secondary, spec strength prime, dex secondary, sport quite a bit of raw killing power, melee combat presence, eventually eliminate any and all check penalties from my armor (though admittedly everyone can, but Fighters do it early), and I can rock in melee, ranged, mounted, and combat maneuvers all at once.

A Cavalier (or, indeed, most Fighters) is gonna want to focus more than that, but could easily exceed the Fighter you list in his chosen specialty. Actually, he could probably exceed the Fighter in both melee and mounted combat (while being admittedly somewhat behind in ranged and combat maneuvers). That's two areas of superiority each.

Ashiel wrote:
I'm not counting archtypes either. If I have to dip into an archtype from a book separate from the one the class I'm playing in, then I'd rather not even argue it. If most to all iterations of X sucked except X+Y archtype, then X still sucks; for example.

Cavlier's still cool without, say, Beast Rider (the only Archetype I've mentioned)...but all Beast Rider really does is trade Heavy Armor Proficiency for a better choice of mounts (something a lot of GMs will allow even sans Archetype).

Ashiel wrote:
Before we go measuring digit sizes, however; what do you consider "effective"? This misunderstanding has caused a lot of grief in conversations before. I see cavaliers as not very effective because IMHO, they're not that great at dealing damage, are less versatile than Paladins and Rangers, and many of their class features are innately useless in common adventuring scenarios (mount issues); and they have virtually no fluff or special qualities that are unique to them that cannot be comparatively done with core classes.

They're potentially superb at burst damage vs. particular targets (much like Paladins, only they can pick their targets freely), and do the 'knight in armor' archetype with all it entails better than anyone except maybe a Paladin, and thus do the non-LG knight in armor better than anyone. They also do the mounted combatant of other cultures (mongols, plains indians, etc.) better than anybody, period. You want a guy from any group who are 'born in the saddle' Cavaliers are better at it than anybody. Especially if we're ignoring Archetypes.

Their skills make them significantly more versatile than Paladins out-of-combat, IMO (though admittedly, Paladins can heal and Detect Evil while they can't), and their abilities synergy is often superior to that of a Ranger (as is their ability to pick what their Challenge applies to...until a Ranger gets Instant Enemy, anyway).

Ands the mount is almost never useless if you actually follw the rules as opposed to saying things like 'The horse can't go down the stairs.' arbitrarily. It might be less useful in some scenarios, but it's rarely useless.


Hitdice wrote:
Maerimydra wrote:
Mikaze wrote:

boni

I instinctively read this as the plural of "boner". >_>
Boni is not the plural of bonus? Damn English, I hate you!

Fear not, it worked in Latin :)

Bonus/boni would be correct in german, too. But I don't think that will last long any more. Most of the kids already forgot it.


Deadmanwalking wrote:
Everyone gets all wrapped up in the mounted combat stuff and ignores everything else a Cavlier can do.

That said, if you want a mounted combat guy, why look elsewhere?


Deadmanwalking wrote:
No, no, I didn't mean leave out things Cavaliers don't have, I meant leave out specialties a Cavalier cannot compete in (like, a Cavalier cfan't manage to focus on combat maneuvers on par with a Fighter and can't ever be a focused Healer like a Hospitaler Paladin). Spells, in and of themselves, are fine.

Oh, okay. That seems more reasonable. In that case, I'd point out how Paladins are better to have in the party because they can fight as well as Cavaliers when they're not using their x/day challenges, but can also heal with their spells like lesser restoration and make better tanks due to their better saving throws.

I'd argue that Rangers fight about as well as them, except they have more skills, are more versatile in their fighting capability (being able to be excellent melee, mounted, and ranged all at once), and have access to useful spells such as entangle, delay poison, and even freedom of movement eventually. Rangers are also very comfortable at being Stealthy, and can eventually wear +5 full plate as light or medium armor thanks to Celestial Plate mail.

Both can function as party healer in a group lacking a dedicated healer with only a wand of cure light wounds, which is ideal for a martial heavy party, such as Ranger, Paladin, Magus, Bard (what a fun party that would be). Both likewise can take item creation feats with little trouble, without falling into the trap that is Master Craftsman.

Both have better saves than the Cavalier. The Paladin exceptionally so. The Paladin also sports lots of cute immunities to things like diseases, fear, compulsions, and so on. The Paladin has more resources than the Cavalier. While having a similar amount of Smites vs Challenges, the Paladin also has quite a few Lay on Hands, which allows him to remove debilitating effects from himself or others; potentially as a swift-action when using them on himself.

Quote:
A Cavalier (or, indeed, most Fighters) is gonna want to focus more than that, but could easily exceed the Fighter you list in his chosen specialty. Actually, he could probably exceed the Fighter in both melee and mounted combat (while being admittedly somewhat behind in ranged and combat maneuvers). That's two areas of superiority each.

I've never been a huge proponent of fighters. They're usually too specialized, but I do know that it's not difficult at all for them to spec all three of those things with strong capability. By 10th level, a fighter with some gloves of dueling has a +4 to hit and damage with all spears and lances, and a +3 with all bow weapons, from weapon training. All he needs from there is Power Attack (maybe with Furious Focus), Mounted Combat, and Spirited Charges. Deadly Aim brings archery into focus. He also rocks off the horse because he can carry a longspear and get +4 to hit and damage with it, or go +1 hit and +13 damage.

The above doesn't require him to take a penalty to his AC vs other opponents, and isn't limited to a single target. Likewise, unlike the Paladin, the cavalier's challenge doesn't provide bonuses to hit on its own. The dragon order only adds a +1 to hit.

The above doesn't include the possibility for specialization as well. The Fighter can get an additional +2 to hit and +4 to damage with his favorite weapons if desired.

Meanwhile, he's been able to comfortably support having a mount since 1st level. In fact, since he has Handle Animal as a class skill, he may have began the game with a war-trained ox, which the ox only costs 15 gp, and he can train it himself. Since oxes share the stats with aurochs, that means his pet from 1st level makes the cavalier's pet look like a wuss. At higher levels, a magic item allowing him to use mount or phantom steed gives him access to a stylish and quickly regenerating and dismissible mount, should anything bad happen to his pet or he find himself in a place where his pet cannot be effectively used.

Such as in a dungeon, where your pet will have to squeeze (-4 to hit and AC) to enter, or may not be able to enter at all (anywhere a medium creature may need to squeeze to get into. Any way you slice it, at least 5 of the Cavalier's abilities count for nothing without his mount, whereas virtually all of a Fighter's abilities are merely improved by a mount.

Worst yet, many of the cavalier's charging abilities are easily rendered useless. Charging is a fickle mistress. There are countless things that ruin it. Caltrops can screw up your charging days, being fatigued screws up charging, difficult terrain screws up charging, requiring a crooked path screws up charging, having any creature in the way (friend or foe) screws up charging. Being in the dark screws up charging (by in the dark, I mean human in pitch blackness type dark, or anything that makes you blind). I'd recommend investment in horseshoes of the zypher as well, since then airborn targets make your day suck too.

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They're potentially superb at burst damage vs. particular targets (much like Paladins, only they can pick their targets freely), and do the 'knight in armor' archetype with all it entails better than anyone except maybe a Paladin, and thus do the non-LG knight in armor better than anyone. They also do the mounted combatant of other cultures (mongols, plains indians, etc.) better than anybody, period. You want a guy from any group who are 'born in the saddle' Cavaliers are better at it than anybody. Especially if we're ignoring Archetypes.

I'm not actually convinced they do the Knight in Armor archtype better, actually. The only thing they have over anyone else is a horse. As for burst damage, they're not bad at single target burst damage, but they suffer at continual damage severely.

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