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How do you play your paladin?

Pathfinder RPG General Discussion

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber Subscriber

We've all seen the debates on here countless times, all the wrong ways to play a Paladin, all the wrong ways to DM a Paladin, the whole 'lawful stupid' thing and so forth. Honestly I think a lot of the Paladin hate (and in return a lot of the Paladin defensiveness) stems from the way many experienced them being played back in the day.

So... rather than debate who's doing what right or wrong, I thought it might simply be interesting to get a consensus take on how people are playing them now. I'm interested in hearing what your personal code is, how you define lawful good and how you apply it to your play. I think some might be surprised by the number of different ways such a character could be approached.

For instance, my Paladin took both the Oath of Vengeance and the Sacred Shield archetypes. his mantra is to be 'the shining shield for those who can not fend for themselves, and the sword of vengeance for innocents whom have unjustly fallen'. The idea is that he adheres to a very specific moral code, one that demand he defend the defenseless and avenge the innocent - that's his 'lawful' aspect. He tries to work within the laws of whatever community he is in certainly, but he doesn't feel beholden to them or feel that he is subject to laws of men that might keep him from his oath.

In some cultures slavery is perfectly legal, as is beating a woman for leaving her face uncovered or wearing your hair too long or too short. Upholding such laws is the province of those who passed them, who live by them, and not part of his divine calling. As for minor crimes like theft or lieing, while he would be unlikely and unwilling to betray show such low character, fighting against such pettiness would be viewed as a distraction from his greater mission. He might even engage in such behaviour if deemed necessary, but he'd be grimacing as he did it.

Lawful Good to him means a rigid personal code, one of self-sacrifice in the service of those who need him most, not preaching from on high nor righting every little wrong nor enforcing the law of whatever land he might currently be travelling through. The ideal is rigid, but the means to the end leaves room for interpretation. It really hasn't been difficult role-playing him through a variety of encounters and circumstances, not for me nor my group. Our rogue has in times past convinced me that sneaking in somewhere and stealing something is to the greater good, and I've convinced him that risking our lives for nothing more than the betterment of others is sometimes a worthy cause... which is exactly how a role-playing group should be in my opinion.

At the end of the day, I've found 'good' and 'evil' to be best described by selfishness and selflessness... those who are willing to sacrifice the good of others for their own good are by nature evil, while those who are willing to sacrifice their own good for that of others are by nature good. Its pretty amazing how well this blankets pretty much all circumstances. Another point is that the intention of doing good is what matters far more than where something technically rates on the good-o-meter - a fallen Paladin should be the result of a Paladin knowingly and deliberately turning his back on the core values he holds dearest, not the result of some 'I gotcha' technicality.

Anyway, end of rant - how do YOU play your Paladin?

Grand Lodge

I have, over several years, and several different rpg systems played three characters that I think relate to this topic.

My current PFS paladin character is focused on healing. He is a devotee of Sarenrae, and he goes adventuring because that's where people get hurt in the course of doing good deeds. He views standing on the front line, and getting between danger and his squishy friends, as preventative healing. He accepts that the Pathfinder Society attracts all manner of individuals and he doesn't expect them all to live up to his code. Because he believes that the Pathfinders as a whole are a force for good his default behavior is to be supportive of anyone he gets assigned to work with unless they are obviously acting out of line.

In personality, he is a bit of a proper British gentleman, polite to both friend and foe. He is often calling for enemies to give up their evil ways, and settle the business like reasonable folk, even while he is fighting them. He also doesn't refer to himself as a paladin, but rather as a doctor and healer who just happens to bring heavy armor and hammer sothat he'll have less healing to do later.

My paladin character in "that other game where paladins don't have to be LG any more" is a devotee of the goddess of beauty. He was a bit of a love 'em and leave 'em type in his youth, but now he is reformed, and a champion of lovers and artists. He's a big proponent of "beauty is how you act, not just what you look like." Like my PFS paladin, he thinks it's important to stand between trouble and his squishy friends but where the doctor/paladins more of a humble support character this guy is a bit more shiny armor, long flowing hair and perfect teeth. He wants to be seen, looking good and doing good.

My third character is not a paladin at all, but a fighter who has a big flashy holy symbol. He doesn't go around saying he's a paladin but he doesn't go out of his way to convince people that he isn't. His backstory is actually that he got thrown out of paladin training because, while he was a great warrior and very excited about smiling evil, he was kind of lazy about all the other aspects of paladinhood. He didn't learn the prayers, he didn't practice charity, patience or any other good paladin virtues. So now he's just wandering the world, smiting evil in the name of his god in his own peculiar style. He means well, but he often strays into NG or CG behavior that would get a real paladin in trouble. I feel he's an interesting example of a paladin-like character without all of the behavior hang-ups of an actual paladin.

A fun role-playing moment occurred when the fake paladin's party went to the real paladins for help combatting a threat they had uncovered. The paladin commander asked why we couldn't handle the problem ourselves to which fake paladin replied "Well, sir, you did tell me that if I couldn't remember the difference between St. Thomas and St. Bartholomew I was a lazy ne'er do well who would likely end up in a shallow unmarked grave. I would think you'd be impressed I survived long enough to bring back a report."

My current Paladin (Human, Sarenrae, Level 11, Kingmaker campaign) started out as a noble's bastard son (his mother is a married noblewoman in Brevoy, but his blood father is a fey) out to prove his worth as a fighter. Because of his close affinity to the fey, he has a soft spot of non-evil fey beings and a particular dislike of evil fey.

He spends his free nights in town drinking and carousing, harmless ways to befriend the local people. Having sired a number of bastard children himself, he's very careful to make sure all of his children are well cared for.

Early in his career he relied heavily on Detect Evil to determine friend from foe. As he matured, he learned to forgive, Sarenrae being the goddess of forgiveness. More recently he's come to have a more subtle understanding of good vs. evil, and is trying to balance the idea of innate evil vs. free will.

I'm currently building a kitsune paladin.

Thus far she's kind-hearted, sociable wanderer. She's on a sort of continental patrol, passing from country to country seeking notable cases of evil and injustice. She stays in one place for a few weeks to a month at most, making friends and contacts before leaving to wander again. The opposite of a mysterious stranger, I guess.

She's absurdly outgoing and open most of the time, and makes a few off the cuff decisions despite being quite intelligent (INT 14). She gets incensed and quiet faced with injustice, and religiously devotes herself to resolving the situation, often going without sleep for short periods.

Silver Crusade

In PFS I play a Paladin 1 / Inquisitor 1. He is an aasimar so people tend to stare a lot but his calming personality puts people's concerns at ease. His goal is to purge evil from the land so he sometimes finds himself going a bit over the edge with that pursuit.

I think the important part is to establish what your code is up front(And I wish Paizo included that on the Paladin class section). I try to set up exactly what my character does and doesn't believe up front.

Many of the issues I have seen with Paladins are with people who don't establish their code and then engage in questionable activity.

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My PFS Paladin/Shadowdancer:

"I will go out of my way to avoid killing any mortal entity capable of intelligent free willed actions."

"I will defend myself."

"I will defend others who are being threatened."

"I will show no mercy towards evil outsiders or evil undead."

"I will not steal. I may lie to the benefit of the greater good. I am permitted to use tactical advantage, rather than be chained to an honor code."

"I will, in ambiguous situations, assume that people I am talking to are working in good faith. This does not mean I think they're telling the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, but that I will assume they're working in their interests, and may or may not change their behaviors upon hearing my interests."

"Obeying local laws is an extension of the prior - I assume that, until proven otherwise, that local laws are designed for local conditions, and meet that society's and culture's ideals for what is Good in society. Similarly, I will expect the rulers of a society to take the interests of their people to heart in making their decisions."

Her journal can be found here.

AdAstraGames wrote:

My PFS Paladin/Shadowdancer:

"I will go out of my way to avoid killing any mortal entity capable of intelligent free willed actions."

"I will defend myself."

"I will defend others who are being threatened."

"I will show no mercy towards evil outsiders or evil undead."

"I will not steal. I may lie to the benefit of the greater good. I am permitted to use tactical advantage, rather than be chained to an honor code."

"I will, in ambiguous situations, assume that people I am talking to are working in good faith. This does not mean I think they're telling the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, but that I will assume they're working in their interests, and may or may not change their behaviors upon hearing my interests."

"Obeying local laws is an extension of the prior - I assume that, until proven otherwise, that local laws are designed for local conditions, and meet that society's and culture's ideals for what is Good in society. Similarly, I will expect the rulers of a society to take the interests of their people to heart in making their decisions."

Her journal can be found here.

I am surprised the lying part is allowed in PFS considering it violates the Paladin Code.

So is this more of a question how to play the whole "Good and Lawful" thing, or playing the character in terms of personality?

I'll be able to provide a more detailed answer once I get out of work. I've got three or so different Paladins that play differently to an extent.

So far, her only lies have been of omission, and both have been rectified in play over the course of the adventure. It is far more useful to be trusted than to lie for temporary advantage.

I've also seen Paladins take excuses to walk away from their comrades to avoid "seeing things they'd object to." I don't do this.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber

Jet Shepard, halfling paladin of Erastil.

Lawman upon his loyal sheepdog Ralph, rides the outskirts and brings law where there ain't none. He's patient with the foolish, but quick to draw down where needs be. Always offers a chance of surrender and don't break his word once given. Oh, and he's gay, but it don't matter much since Mr Right ain't moseyed in yet.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber, Campaign Setting, Companion Subscriber

Well that's easy, I just read all the Paladin alignment threads here. ;)

"What's a Paladin?" - The Avatar, Ultima IX

I'd say that sums up how those kind of threads usually go.

A paladin is a question: where can I do the most good?

It could be fighting the undead here. But I'd spend a week fighting through this mosh of undead to save one life while the orcish hordes rampaged destroying and slaughtering an entire village 15 miles to the west.

I could die for this cause foolishly and accomplish nothing. But thats actually an insult and a breach of honor because my skills could be used elsewhere for something where I could accomplish more good.

In short, its looking through all your choices and finding what amount of time and energy expended will result in the most good. Sometimes people will die and you can't help that. What you should consider is how can you minimize the amount of death and suffering on this entire earth possible, not just the here and now.

How do I play my Paly? Why that's easy and I can sum it up in three little words; Smite makes right!

AdAstraGames wrote:

I've also seen Paladins take excuses to walk away from their comrades to avoid "seeing things they'd object to." I don't do this.

I never liked this interpretation. Its honoring the letter of the law but not the spirit, which seems more fitting of a lawful evil or lawful neutral player than a lawful good. Lawful good people would honor the spirit of the law as well as the intent and a Paladin would go further than your average lawful good person.

However, that interpretation often isn't very fun for the paladin or the other players at the table, so I understand why people frequently bend the rule.

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber Subscriber
johnlocke90 wrote:

I think the important part is to establish what your code is up front(And I wish Paizo included that on the Paladin class section). I try to set up exactly what my character does and doesn't believe up front.

Many of the issues I have seen with Paladins are with people who don't establish their code and then engage in questionable activity.

And an important thing to remember is that in everyone's mind, they are the hero of their own particular story. We've seen countless examples in both literature and reality where single-minded self-righteousness has opened the doors to all sorts of behaviour. Think Dolores Umbridge of Harry Potter fame - in her mind, she was absolutely lawful good.

Shadow Lodge

I have two paladins that got any decent amount of play time - one on my Neverwinter Nights server, and one in my group's Age of Worms campaign.

The first was a classic example of a redeemed villain. Kestal Delssun was originally created as a Lawful Evil Human Blackguard of Tiamat. She was loyal, trustworthy, generally friendly, utterly dependable, all in all a welcomed and reliable adventuring companion to those she befriended and the guild she eventually joined. She was also merciless, mercenary, disdainful of charity and kindness, and distrustful of free will.

What ended up happening was that she started appreciating her friends and guildmates, rather than using them as tools to an end, and her loyalty wavered between her mortal friends and her goddess, resulting eventually in her Fall. With the encouragement of her guildmates and other allies, she chose to try to find a new path rather than seek reconciliation with Tiamat, and over the course of about a year of play time (so several years in-game) she eventually shifted from LE to LG, found a new patron to serve, and in the end even participated in Bahamut's Rite of Rebirth, leaving her humanity behind and severing her connection to her Tiamat-serving family. The character still exists and I play her on occasion, though not nearly as much as I used to, mostly due to me playing much less NWN these days and most of Kestal's friends having gone on over the years one way or another.

As she is now, Kestal is primarily a defender, commander, and tactician. She leads, without a doubt, but she leads from the front, giving instructions (or in the case of her less-lawful companions, "suggestions") then heading at the head of the fray. She's spent much of the last few years of her life trying to make amends for the crimes of her past, in whatever manner she can manage.

The other is Zhaorae, an Illumian Crusader from my old PnP group's Age of Worms game. Rae was always LG, but she lacked much of the "social graces" and "wise counsel" people tend to associate with paladins. Rather, she was curt, blunt, somewhat crude, and highly lacking in common sense (7 Wisdom + no ranks in any social skills but Intimidate). Rae didn't start as a paladin either, but she really wanted to be one. It wasn't until after she had gone out of her way to put a young boy's spirit to rest and make sure his bones were properly interred, at some great danger to herself in the process (freaking Grick! freaking Owlbear!), that Wee Jas saw fit to grant her desire.

Rae was, as her first class described, a crusader. She had little time for talking, leaving the niceties of diplomacy and social talk to the Rogue and Warlock (her brother and sister respectively) and the preaching to the Cleric. She was excellent at getting enemies to stand down, retreat, or surrender, and relentless in pursuit of criminal and villain alike, especially those who misused the dead. I really, really wish we could have gotten that campaign past the first tiny bit of Chapter Two.

My current paladin, a stonelord is strong an tough but that's it.
He isn't clever but to balance that out he's very naive.
After recognizing that his tiefling uncle, who adopted him after his dad disappeared, isn't the best teacher when it comes to morale he joined the stonelords.
And now, after his training was complete he set forth to find good deeds and glory to be found. So when he met this group of heroes he joined them and hopes that one of them has the brains to point them in the right direction.

Up until now his scrutiny alway was good enough to find the right companions. Let's hope it was good this time.

If his companions (especially the other dwarf in the team) seem to be up to something that he guesses he would not like he leaves the room. No need to look for strife within the adventuring party when there's so much evil out there, and the don't detect as evil, do they?

Would be nice if our dwarfen fighter-thief was a little more covert about his lack of honor and lawfulness. But he always likes to play PCs who play a little against the party. So I will just ignore it.

This is how I paladin

Heh, well I really REALLY like the fact that the "Faiths of" books have guidelines for Paladins of specific gods and I tend to adhere to those commandments as best I can within the boundries of NOT causing conflict with other party members. We have learned we are not a group that handles inter group conflict well. I tend to err on the side of good over law in most cases. I also generally play them a bit more light-hearted than other people I have seen, I do not like playing in a group with a law-above-all-else humorless brick wall of a man Paladin whose only purpose in life is to kill anything remotely evil and come off with a holier-than-thou attitude.

Mine is a Paladin of Irori. I thought it was a pretty cool concept. He's basically an exemplar and a proselytizer. I unknowingly modeled him after the Champion of Irori prestige class before that even came out. He shows people what they can aspire to while also attempting to bring some order and good to the world.

He is the son of one of the priests at the temple of Irori in Absalom. This doesn't really grant him a lot of privileges because the two never really saw eye-to-eye. His father is a traditional follower of Irori, but my paladin is very outgoing and doesn't mind the occasional drink or smoke. He has taken up drinking tea and playing chess with our Tian cleric on the long sailing voyages.

He is the party's rock. He's kind of the de facto party leader because the group knows he'll always try to do the right thing. Nobody in the group does anything outright evil, but he also doesn't preach to them. He explained up front that his code was his, not theirs.

Okay, so the main Paladin I had planned was a Tiefling (Demonspawn) of Iomedae, born near Mendev and almost killed due to being tainted. He was initially an evil jerk safeguarded by his mentor who was a fellow Paladin of Iomedae. Her good nature rubbed off on him, and when she died saving him from a demon, he decided to carry on her mission and become a Paladin himself. He's a stern and kind of aloof person, but he upholds every virtue of an Iomedaean Paladin as best he can, since he needs nothing else from his life.

The other would be a Paladin of Abadar, who's a well-educated descendant of a noble family and possibly a member of my homebrew race. She's basically a scholar and a warrior combined, studying laws and usually resorting to diplomacy before bringing out any weapons to a fight. To her, the biggest sin is a corruption of law, and Cheliax is indeed one of the best examples of a place she'd try to fix. She's polite, matter-of-fact and slightly strict. Due to Abadar believing in the power of work, she'd offer jobs to beggars instead of tossing coins to them, and would focus on merchant work along with crusades.

Silver Crusade RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16

I play a halfling Paladin of Abadar in our Runelords game. As Abadar is a LN god, our DM caused my Paladin to be nudged in the direction of being more anti-chaos than anti-evil. In addition to that, realizing that every low level thug and crook in a town doesn't detect as evil, means Thistle (the Paladin in question) doesn't run around like robocop meting out capital punishment for j-walking.

Thistle has focused on the civilizing influence of trade aspects of Abadar's credo, and in several instances has made bargains and kept his word with inherently evil bad guy types.

I will admit that on a couple issues, Thistle can drop into his Judge Dredd mode, but since that usually corresponds with a situation where the whole party (all halflings, a family unit, plus a Dwarf cohort of Iomedae) is in danger of getting smoked, it doesn't cause Thistle to get either the Lawful Stupid or the "good at all costs" labels.

I've even considered asking the DM if I could swap Thistle's Detect and Smite abilities to make them both anti-chaos abilities, but as the big bad guy is often LE, I've not done that for basically meta and power gaming reasons. It turns out we still need to win fights.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

I played a half-elf paladin in a homebrew campaign where evil had won a generation or three before. I played my guy as a wannabe Captain America, dual-wielding a warhammer and shield. His feats were Skill Focus Intimidate, Enforcer, Bludgeoner, and Two-Weapon Fighting (5th level).

Personality wise, he tried to do good by working together, helping the group work well together. He had the Helpful and Bully traits. Helpful really fit his personality, Bully was just crunch for Enforcer and Skill Focus Intimidate synergy. He didn't actually bully PCs or NPCs. Helpful allows him to grant a +4 bonus when he uses the Aid Another action--which came in really useful a few times.

Mostly, I interpreted the Lawful aspect of his alignment as being community minded and working with the group, as well as being organized. He wasn't lawyerly or strict.

(It was in a game with 2 players playing 2 characters each. My other PC was a Conan-wannabe half-orc witch. He talked tough, but did magic. Kind of funny....mostly intentionally unintentional. The other PCs were a pair of tiefling brothers, one a Lore Warden fighter reach-weapon wielder, the other wannabe arcane trickster archer coward.)

The Paladin I'm playing in a game right now ended up as the monarch, basically the only follower of Iomedae in the region, and recently had all ties to Brevoy cut (short version- Half-orc bastards of mysteriously vanished kings shouldn't send wedding invitations to their replacements signed with their full names) so the typical Paladin's Dilemma of using your best judgement vs. respecting the chain of command. Instead it's more a matter of writing a set of laws in character ( wood ) that can be followed without hypocrisy, and trying to live by/enforce those, while being mindful not to become some sort of fascist bully imposing my will on everyone.

In practice, this boils down to a LOT of one-sided conversations with kobolds/lizardfolk/spiggans/centaurs/crazy hermits/etc. about where the line is on acceptable ways to act towards their neighbors, often leading into fights if we really can't see eye to eye, focusing very much on taking down only the bad apples in the group, and making it clear to the rest that we aren't there to kill everyone, just get back what/whoever their leaders had them steal/kidnap from someone else. If 3 out of the 30 goblins in this camp are willing to be reasonable people and agree not to eat our babies, those 3 goblins are A-OK in my book and deserve as much respect and protection as the people back home with the missing children.

One particularly interesting experience with this- Here's a city whose population is missing. Hostile folks of a monstery sort have taken it over, but clearly aren't responsible. My take on this situation was that hey. If we're trudging around in hostile territory, and we found a completely abandoned fort, we'd move in and be willing to defend it against people who clearly weren't the original owners too. So I talked the rest of the party out of attacking, shouted some warnings about local hazards, and we left... and later came back and ended up having to kill them for a totally unrelated reason, but you know, that happens.

So yeah. The less rambly version of how I play this paladin- No playing favorites based on race or affiliation. Side with whoever has the moral high ground, don't kill anyone/anything that isn't posing an active threat to people. Explain the situation to them.

When it does come to a fight though, it's absolutely no holds barred, eliminate the threat as quickly and soundly as possible.

I didn't get to play him much, as the campaign he was in collapsed when a few people left for some reason (although, on and off, I'm rebuilding him).

Rorekh is a Half-Orc and about as un-half-orc as you can get. He's calm, patient, reasonable, and can be the biggest softy when it comes to helping others, which he does. He's one-part a worshiper of Erastil and one-part a worshiper of Irori, believing in some key teachings of both that he spreads wherever he goes. He's a strong proponent of acting for and supporting the betterment of the community, the importance of families and caring for others, and teaching people to find strength within their own hands, perfecting the self through regular physical and mental exercise so one is always able to handle a situation, whatever the situation, with the right strength of body and clearness of mind.

He's not out to swing his weight around and show people "the error of their ways", but to show through his own actions what others can achieve if they strive for goodness and self discipline.

However, woe to the person that either just doesn't get it or the repentantly evil. It's one thing to be afraid of someone who screams and yells as he swings around a big axe; it's another thing to fear the person who will mercilessly beat you into submission without saying a word.

That's about all I have for him. If I ever get the chance to play him again, I will.

The last paladin I played didn't have a clue that he was a paladin. As far as he was concerned, he was just an old mercenary with his own moral compass and a tendency to rely upon intuition/superstition. He didn't notice anything supernatural about his ability to heal - just thought he was skilled at bandaging.

He took a fairly low key attitude with respect to crusading, as long as individuals didn't prove themselves to be complete monsters. He didn't care much for telling other people how to live their lives - just tried to set a good example and explain to people how he thought they were causing suffering when necessary.

Grand Lodge

I have two very different Paladins that I have on the back-burner at the moment:

The first is an Archer Paladin/Bard multiclass who was modeled after my drill instructors at boot camp. A devotee of our game's Erastil-esque god of battle and the hunt, he is what you might call a bit war like. A somewhat older gent, he's righteous and angry and does not suffer fools gladly. He is a perfectionist when it comes to himself and others and will not hesitate to swear and insult those who fall short. Nice he is not. A kind word is rarity and even so it tends to come in the form of a putdown. He's altruistic, but not fool hardy, hence the archery focus---so he will generally stay out of danger raining death from above while providing "encouragement" and instruction, but when a party member or innocent is in imminent danger he will put himself in harm's way to protect them. Thankfully this is a game of tremendously black and white morality, which lets this type work well since he's fighting against an army of gleefully and irredeemably EEEEVVVILLLL s.o.b.'s. (Slavers/mind-rapists from a parallel dimension.) While I understand the potential for the type to get obnoxious and Lawful Stupid, I try to keep the tone humorous and have so far only gotten positive feedback on it.

The second is a 6'6" 19-year-old farm boy with a scythe. In his back story he had initially been interested in becoming a cleric, but was unfortunately not the sharpest tool in the shed. He struggled remembering the prayers and incantations, and had very little hope of retaining and reciting any holy texts. He was given to the Paladin's order and found his size and natural inclination toward wielding a blade made him a natural fit. The scythe hence is a reference to farming. He only speaks when he feels it is something of the utmost importance, and then speaks slowly and carefully. (As you can imagine, playing the character is a lot of pantomime and description.) He is quite cheerful and, when not in battle, is usually smiling and quick to laugh. He focuses a lot more on redemption and setting an example than smiting evil.

There are three rules all of my Paladins have in common though:

1. They do not lie. Ever. This includes cheating, intentionally deceiving through a lie of omission, etc.
2. They do not kill anyone who has been rendered helpless, including extraplanar beings.
3. They don't gamble. I know, this is a silly one, but I've always felt that anybody dedicate to the service of others wouldn't partake in activities which could, through sheer luck, benefit them and potentially bankrupt another.

2 ideas for paladins now...
1/ A Qadiran nobleman and slaveowner. An honourable and chivalrous man, who purchases his slaves from a debtors prison and edumacates them via their service.
2/ Rorschach

Armand Joubert LeFerve, Paladin of the Two Suns, the Holiest of Unions, Pelor and Saranae.

Treat women with utmost respect and kindness. They are our mothers, and our children's mothers. They deserve to be revered.
At minimum, all the people have the right to eat. This is not something to be taken away as punishment.
All creatures are born with the capacity to be Good. Give your enemies a chance at redemption.
I will never attack an unarmed foe. I will never execute a prisoner. I understand that the law says execution is the punishment for certain crimes, but I will not attack an unarmed opponent. Everyone deserves a chance.
I will not attack unless being attacked. If you want to talk, I will talk. Death should not be the first choice in anything. However, I will defend my friends and family if you choose to harm them.
The only thing I fear could cause me to need atonement is my wife. I have rescued her from the clutches of two dragons. I would stop at nothing to save her.

I'll come up with more later, these are what I've thought of so far.

My games tended to metagame alot, or rather, worked things out on the out-of-character level beforehand. In my best group, the Gm explained what the setting and what he hoped to see in terms of characters/recommendations on best fits. We still had room to come up with characters that could have tension between them, but not 'grind everything to a halt every fricking encounter because of alignment/philosophy/etc conflicts'.

If we're all playing a heroic set? Its common for the Paladin to be kinda like Captain America (616 version), truth, justice, ideals of the best of humanity, and will kick your ass all over the place.

Funky Badger wrote:

2 ideas for paladins now...

1/ A Qadiran nobleman and slaveowner. An honourable and chivalrous man, who purchases his slaves from a debtors prison and edumacates them via their service.
2/ Rorschach

1) I assume he worships Abadar?

2) Might be too anti-hero for the job.

Well my on and off pally over the years has is a aasimar anti palladin/bones oracle/Unholy Vindicator /w imperious eldritch heritage. He is LE, weilds a kopesh and tower sheild while in bone armor. He is from the Eberron lands where the human nation had to decide between destruction or accept the powers of undeath to survive. He is a necromancer or sorts.

He is grim, but even though LE he does what is needed to be done, he doesnt kill children or anything, and values friends just like anyone else, he especially respects when others have made a sacrifice/s, he actually respect pally's even if they dont return the favor due to his death motiff and of course the undead cadre around him at all times (leadership +necro spells).

He is a very honorable, he wont fight a helpless opponent, first he will give them a weapon (usually from one of his horde) to defend themselves with then we fight to the death. If they throw the weapon down then they have chosen to forfeit their life, so he ends them and their cowardice.

All in all i have gotten along well with the party in both campaigns, and even though they dont like my undead they have come to appreciate them when sleep time comes calling.

He will stand in front of the enemy to protect his party, he even welcomes the pain and bloodletting of life thru combat, his and his enemies. He does not fear death in any form.

He also loves the undead because they are disposable and re-useable, where as human life is not so easily replaced. We make resurrection extremely difficult.

I tend to be a pragmatic person in most ways, and that includes how I RPG.

I've only every played one paladin in my entire career. And I didn't really like it that much. Mostly for mechanical reasons.

My take on a paladin was to play him like a martial version of Atticus Finch from "To Kill a Mockingbird". Most paladins I've seen played seem to come across as arrogant, demanding, self-righteous and hidebound to their "code". In fact quite a few of them absolutely qualified for the mocking designation of "Lawful Stupid."

My paladin was more thoughtful and introspective. He tried to always take the bigger picture and find his place in the larger world. Upon encountering an evil presence, his initial reaction was not to confront it, but instead to watch it and learn from it to find out where it came from and what purpose it might have. As far as his own behavior was concerned he believed that his powers derived from his own purity and honor and so he did his best to live a clean and exemplary life.

This was a long time ago though. I haven't really even looked at the paladin description in Pathfinder. My approach to the class might not even be acceptable these days. Not that it matters, I have no intention of playing one again.

Judge, Jury, Executioner.....

My Paladin is a lay-worshipper (not an empowered communicant) of Pharasma. She works, between missions for the Pathfinder Society as a midwife.

She is also a Shadowdancer, and just gave birth to her shadow companion. In playing out a roughly seven session arc, concerned with what her adventures in the Plane of Shadow did to her unborn child, a prominent soul-swapping NPC, and a few other indicators...well, she was worried.

Creating undead is against her religion. So is aborting a pregnancy. Nice moral dilemma to play through...which in some ways she dealt with by taking stupid risks. If she got killed in the line of duty, then she doesn't have this ethical conundrum to deal with.

Now she's trying to get the child's father to not try to kill the girl on sight.

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