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Alignment restricted Classes; Are the Restrictions Necessary?


Pathfinder RPG General Discussion

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A lot of people on here argue about what is and what isn't an appropriate action for a paladin to take. I have many of my own views, and as paladin is actually my favorite class, for both RP and mechanic reasons, I am one of those people who is very opinionated about the topic.

However, lately, I've been wondering something; Is Paladin really such a strong class that it needs what literally seems like a built-in self-destruct button?

Originally, in the earlier versions of D&D a Paladin was an incredibly potent class. If I'm not mistaken, the stat requirements to be a paladin in AD&D 2nd ed. were so strict that meeting them through standard methods was next to impossible. The abilities they gained, however, were equally potent by contrast.

But now? Is the paladin class really so powerful in Pathfinder, as compared to every other class, that an alignment restriction is necessary? Would a CN paladin really be some kind of game-breaker, or is the alignment restriction simply a leftover from previous version of the game?

And what about other classes? Would a Monk be any more powerful if it wasn't restricted to lawful alignments? Or would the Barbarian class become more powerful if they could be lawful? How about druids and their neutral restriction?

Yes, the alignment restrictions make a certain sense from a role playing aspect, but are they necessary? Has anyone every tried running a non-alignment restricted campaign? If so, how did it go? If not, why?

I'm not leaning towards one side or the other on this one. From the role play perspective, the alignment restrictions make a lot of sense to me, and I'd prefer that they stay there. But, from a mechanical standpoint, I don't really see a necessity for them.

Grand Lodge

Well, the alignment restriction for the good alignment would be necessary at the very least for the benefit of smite evil, detect evil, and his aura of good and whatnot. Law, on the other hand...well, paladins are traditionally knights (being named for an order of knights in Charlemagne's court), which are usually considered Lawful. So, LG. Doesn't really make them more or less powerful, its just playing a cleric with a very specific alignment.

As for druids and whatnot, their alignment restrictions are entirely flavour-based. They wouldn't be stronger or weaker with the restrictions removed. For monks, its just for the purpose of logical consistency (the lawful alignment is best suited for the rigorous self-discipline needed to make your body into a weapon), for barbarians, I think its silly, but, what the hey. As for druids, being partly neutral never hurt anyone, so...why not?

But paladins do still have a reason to be LG, if anything, because of their class abilities. The rest is mostly tradition. Paladins are strong, but no more or less than other classes.


The Drunken Dragon wrote:

Well, the alignment restriction for the good alignment would be necessary at the very least for the benefit of smite evil, detect evil, and his aura of good and whatnot. Law, on the other hand...well, paladins are traditionally knights (being named for an order of knights in Charlemagne's court), which are usually considered Lawful. So, LG. Doesn't really make them more or less powerful, its just playing a cleric with a very specific alignment.

As for druids and whatnot, their alignment restrictions are entirely flavour-based. They wouldn't be stronger or weaker with the restrictions removed. For monks, its just for the purpose of logical consistency (the lawful alignment is best suited for the rigorous self-discipline needed to make your body into a weapon), for barbarians, I think its silly, but, what the hey. As for druids, being partly neutral never hurt anyone, so...why not?

But paladins do still have a reason to be LG, if anything, because of their class abilities. The rest is mostly tradition. Paladins are strong, but no more or less than other classes.

Okay, then why not make up a system similar to that of the Cleric? Quite a few of their class options depend on their alignment; what spells they can cast, what their channel ability does, what domains they can choose (indirect, because this is more based on deity than alignment, but alignment does come into play). So, why not do something similar for paladins? If they're LG, they can choose smite good or smite chaos. If they're just good, it's smite evil. If they're CG, smite law or smite evil, etc.

In that case, the only alignment restriction would be non-true neutral. Basically, you'd be saying that Paladin is a class of extremes, and that to be one you have to have some kind of clear focus for your paladin-hood, and by extension anyone of a pure-neutral alignment isn't focused enough on any one extreme to gain the benefits of being a paladin.

Grand Lodge

That'll work I suppose. You'd have to call it a Templar or something, since that's vastly different from being a paladin. Paladins were never about extremes, they were about epitomizing goodness. So, i guess the answer to your question is tradition, probably.


The Drunken Dragon wrote:
That'll work I suppose. You'd have to call it a Templar or something, since that's vastly different from being a paladin. Paladins were never about extremes, they were about epitomizing goodness. So, i guess the answer to your question is tradition, probably.

Wouldn't 'epitomizing' anything mean taking it to the extreme? That's what being a paladin was supposed to be about; taking good to the extreme. Just like being an anti-paladin meant taking evil to the extreme.

But, yea, a different name would probably be appropriate. The lay on hands ability would probably have to work like channel energy, and the rules for the divine bond already have the perfect system built in; your mount gains whatever template is appropriate, or your weapon can become whatever alignment is appropriate.


On a personal note, in my home games we have some houserules about that:
-Assassins just have to be non-good instead of specifically evil
-Paladins come in four different forms: The Paladin (LG) The Antipaladin (CE) The Liberator (CG) and the Dark Paladin or Blackguard (LE)
All their class abilities that are alignment-based are based around their specific alignment, and then other than that they work like normal paladins/antipaladins (For example: The Liberator can Detect Law or Evil, Smite Law or Evil, and has an aura of Chaotic Good, with the other abilities of a paladin... The Blackguard can Detect Chaos or Good, Smite Chaos or Good, and has an aura of Lawful Evil, with the other abilities of an antipaladin)
So rather than a very specific alignment restriction, it is instead a restriction to EXTREME alignments, like the opposite of a Druid.
It seems to work quite well, not overpowered at all.
We also let Urban Barbarians be Lawful.

Note: I got the 4 alignment version of Paladins originally from someone else posting on this site, but don't remember who it was .... but whoever it was, the credit goes to him/her :P


Well, Paladins are lawful, because among other things they're pretty strict about following a certain code.

You can't do that with a chaotic character. They're a lot more about doing what the heck they just feel like.
Mind you chaotic does not mean "has to do everything against the law" because that's just following a code too. A code that happens to be opposite of the other code, but still practically a code.

So a "CG Paladin" would promote goodness, but wouldn't really be bound by any specific code. They'd do the work of their god, but kinda decide themselves how they go about it.

The problem there is... the Inquisitor is pretty much that already too, just that he's also a bit more flexible on the good/evil axis.
Or a CG fighter or cavalier wouldn't be much different.

So sure you can go and call it an RP reason. Mechanically I see no reason for it, I agree with you there. But why is an RP reason bad?


Quatar wrote:

Well, Paladins are lawful, because among other things they're pretty strict about following a certain code.

You can't do that with a chaotic character. They're a lot more about doing what the heck they just feel like.
Mind you chaotic does not mean "has to do everything against the law" because that's just following a code too. A code that happens to be opposite of the other code, but still practically a code.

So a "CG Paladin" would promote goodness, but wouldn't really be bound by any specific code. They'd do the work of their god, but kinda decide themselves how they go about it.

The problem there is... the Inquisitor is pretty much that already too, just that he's also a bit more flexible on the good/evil axis.
Or a CG fighter or cavalier wouldn't be much different.

So sure you can go and call it an RP reason. Mechanically I see no reason for it, I agree with you there. But why is an RP reason bad?

I didn't say an RP reason is bad. Personally, I'm all for certain things being restricted in the game due solely to RP reasons. For me, it's just one of the ways the game makes you role play as opposed to being just table-top World of Warcraft.

But, there are some people that LIKE playing table-top World of Warcraft... and those kinds of people dislike being forced to play an alignment they don't like playing, simply because a class with mechanics they like requires it.


Am I the only one here to remember there was a time when the Ranger had an alignment restriction and needed to be Good?

They removed the alignment restriction and, now, it seems normal to everyone.
Paladin has to remain linked to a religion (or a purpose) but its alignment should not be limited (except maybe for pure Neutral).
You can keep the names paladin (LG, NG, CG, LN) and, anti-paladin (CE, NE, LE, CN).

As long as the fighter remains the best in pure combat there's no problem.


I'd actually remove the alignment restrictions on Barbarian and Monk after reading a good article about such.

Also I'd honestly place the Razmiran Priest Prestige Class down to "Lawful Evil, Lawful Neutral and Neutral Evil only".


Unearthed Arcana had a good splat for Paladins of non LG alignment, and it actually made good sense.

LG
CG - Paladin of Freedom
LE - Paladin of Tyranny
CE - Paladin of Destruction (different flavor from Anti-Paladin)


I thought for sure I read that anyone calling themselves a paladin and it was discovered that they were not a lawful good paladin provoked inbound smites of opportunity from everyone within reach...

Maybe thats wrong... Maybe that was just a wish spell someone made...

My mind isnt what it used to be.


tennengar wrote:

I thought for sure I read that anyone calling themselves a paladin and it was discovered that they were not a lawful good paladin provoked inbound smites of opportunity from everyone within reach...

Maybe thats wrong... Maybe that was just a wish spell someone made...

My mind isnt what it used to be.

That would be interesting and fun to watch take place.

Andoran

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Especially when the smites do nothing to the non-LG character. :)


Honestly, I don't like allignment. I'd love to see it completely removed from the game. And I don't like any restriction that is not there for game balance.

I don't think there should be race/region/allignment exclusive feats/spells or anything else. Fluff-based restrictions should be related to campaign settings/gaming group preference, not hardwired into the rules.

Paladins are a pretty cool class, and a very effective one, but they are nowhere as powerful as a Wizard or Druid, and yet, they are the only ones to have such a restrictive allignment prerequisite (and their auto-destruction button is commonly much more emphasized in most games. Falling is not the main point of Paladins, guys!)

If my group wants a CG, NG (or even LE) Paladin, let me have it. Don't lock it away. Sure, I can houserule it, but I'd rather have *more* choices in PFS, instead of less. Besides, if I use things like HeroLab to create characters, it helps a lot if the rules are less restrictive.

I'm a big fan of the idea of having as few restrictions as possible.


I support alignment restrictions on classes that get power fro conscious outside sources like clerics or paladins. Monks or barbarians , not so much. Discipline or rage transcend philosophies imo.

Variant paladins for diffferent faiths sound cool too. I'd expect the same code as the clerics get, maybe with a more martial bend.


I had a thread about this last week that covered some ideas for replacing those restriction with class-specific codes, right here.

The paladin does have to have SOME sort of moral limitation, and the monk requires discipline, otherwise the class loses it's flavor, but tying it to the very general, open-to-interpretation alignment can be either too limiting or not limiting enough depending on the GM's take.

Andoran

This is one of those moments where I find it most advantageous to follow the number one rule listed in most DM Sections; toss it if it gets in the way. I generally enforce such things in my games on the rare occasion I need to, but I primarily use the rule to keep troublemaking players in line... :)

-Vaz

Shadow Lodge

Geno wrote:
But now? Is the paladin class really so powerful in Pathfinder, as compared to every other class, that an alignment restriction is necessary? Would a CN paladin really be some kind of game-breaker, or is the alignment restriction simply a leftover from previous version of the game?
Sean K Reynolds wrote:
you shouldn't balance flavor with mechanics, or vice versa...

The paladin's alignment restriction is flavor, which defines the paladin as a defender of good and law. It should not be used to balance an overly powerful set of abilities.

Mechanically, you can pretty easily make alternate alignment paladins by swapping out the "good" and "evil" alignment descriptors in the class with appropriate alignments. A TN paladin is a bit tricky, but they could in theory be dedicated to fight a particular enemy regardless of moral philosophy (for example, a dragonslayer who doesn't care what alignment the dragons are).

Quatar wrote:

Well, Paladins are lawful, because among other things they're pretty strict about following a certain code.

You can't do that with a chaotic character. They're a lot more about doing what the heck they just feel like.
Mind you chaotic does not mean "has to do everything against the law" because that's just following a code too. A code that happens to be opposite of the other code, but still practically a code.

So a "CG Paladin" would promote goodness, but wouldn't really be bound by any specific code. They'd do the work of their god, but kinda decide themselves how they go about it.

The idea is that a nonlawful paladin's code of conduct is based on the fact that by nature of being a paladin of a particular alignment they embody a particular set of values. Since those values, whatever they are, are the source of the paladin's strength, if they betray those values they lose their abilities.

A lawful paladin always keeps their promises because they think that personal honour is valuable. A chaotic paladin doesn't make promises because that implies that they should be expected to keep his word. A lawful paladin respects legitimate authority because they believe in the principle of ordered government. A chaotic paladin disrespects and undermines authority figures because they believe that one person should not have authority over another. I posted a draft of a CN code here to show it could be done. (Two posts later is an elaboration about "lawful acts" which explains how to play the code without playing a caricature).

Of course, this is all flavor and I'm in favor of granting paladins a little flexibility because any strict standard of behavior can get very problematic in most RPGs, and because the mechanics really shouldn't require that the paladin be kept on a tight leash in favor of mechanics.

Quatar wrote:

The problem there is... the Inquisitor is pretty much that already too, just that he's also a bit more flexible on the good/evil axis.

Or a CG fighter or cavalier wouldn't be much different.

That isn't a conflict. Flavor-wise, the Inquisitor works as a "guile paladin" regardless of conduct. And the fighter and cavalier make fine knights, but lack the "divine magical power" aspect.


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If my player can prove to me that they can play X alignment "paladin" well, I allow it. It makes little sense for only LG deities to have martial champions. Every deity should have them. With a little bit of reflavoring, almost any Paladin-type becomes entirely possible.

Note that CE, LE and CG Paladins work better than NE, NG, CN and LN Paladins because of the dual focus. TN Paladins...work...but they require a very experienced roleplayer, or else they become rather unfocused. Good/Evil defines the mission, Chaos/Law is the means that they use. For instance, a NG Paladin is devoted to good. How they go about being good is easier to determine if you stick a C or a L on it.

I use a few rules to determine Paladin abilities:

1. Good/Evil takes precedence over Chaos/Law. A CG Paladin has detect evil, not detect law, for instance. Likewise, a CE Paladin has smite good, not smite law.

2. State your deity. If the deity is NE, NG, CN or LN, I usually make them choose an alignment one step off. For instance, a paladin of Sarenrae would choose to be a LG Paladin or a CG Paladin.

3. Prove to me that you can roleplay this properly, and prove that it will not conflict with the group/campaign. No CN Paladin in a campaign where everyone else is a servant of the Axiomites, for instance.

4. Give me a code. It has to include at least 3 rules that govern your behavior and give you "things thou shalt not do," and must include rules for "falling" from grace. A CG Paladin code might look like this, for example:

"I shall free all slaves, do what is good no matter the rules that I break, and shall respect freedom and liberty above all else. I shall heal the sick, comfort the sorrowful, and bring light into the darkness. I shall never uphold slavery, nor shall I use vile implements, like torture or poison. If I ever act against freedom or good, I shall lose my power until I atone."

Paladins, like clerics, need a code/fall-condition. Otherwise, they could get away with anything and still have their deities' favor. However, in terms of power, Paladins are not OP, and the "fall from grace" is NOT a balancing tool. It is there for "roleplaying" reasons. DMs should not abuse it, nor should players violate it. Only make a Paladin fall if they absolutely, 100% deserved it.

Hope this helps. Sorry for the wall of text.


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I don't think paladin's alignment restriction has much to do with power balance, it's just because of theme. Paladin powers are about opposing evil (Smite), and not giving in to it (all kinds of defensive abilities), and doing so in an organized manner, leading others in the defense of good and justice (lay on hands, and other abilities to help others).

That's a very LG-themed set of powers. If you wanted to create a CG paladin, I'd say you need to work on quite differently flavored powers - not so many teamwork powers, but maybe ways to free yourself from restrictions/compulsions, and eventually liberate others to choose to do good, rather than guide them in the actual doing of it.

Evil paladins are even somewhat trickier, since it's difficult to present Evil as something desirable and worth actively promoting; that's borderline insane.

So obviously I'm not all that impressed with the Antipaladin; I think that to create a paladin of a different alignment, you really need to think up original powers, not just invert the LG paladin on every point.

---

Also, I don't hold clerics to any lower standard than I hold paladins to. Paladins are physical holy warriors, clerics are spiritual holy warriors. They both get power to further their god's agenda. If they deviate too much, they get slapped down.

The book goes into a lot of detail about paladins straying from the path, but I think that by now (it may have been different in earlier editions), that's opportunistic. It's easy to write about conduct of one classs with one alignment. Writing about the rules of conduct of clerics of alignment XY that's within one step of their god's alignment of PQ, leads to so many possible combinations, that you can't cover them all in detail.

I think it's really simple: if you use divine magic, someone else gave you that power, and if you disappoint them, they take the power away.

---

I don't think LG is a "weak" alignment; LG isn't any worse than say CG, so I have no objection to a CG holy warrior class. But I'd want abilities that are a real CG theme, not just a LG paladin with a few details swapped around.


I think it would be interesting if there were paladin types opposed to the three most distant alignments.

LG vs NE, CE and CN. LE may be necessary evil and works alongside them, although they don't have to like each other.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I don't see any problem with removing the aligment restriction on Paladin, what I would do though:

- Any "Good" alignment get Smite Evil and Aura of Good
- Any "Evil" alignment get Smite Good and Aura of Evil
- Any "Neutral" alignment get to choose "Good" or "Evil" at character creation and get the associated Smite and Aura as above.
- A Paladin is vulnerable to Smite based on his Aura

This allow for any variant roleplay wise, and avoid that the neutral Paladin can smite without being able to be smitten themself.

Would basically works the same as when a neutral cleric select either Channel Positive or Channel Negative energy.

Of course as a DM I would make sure to have proper background justification for this from the player, both from their god and they way they will play their character.

Typically a Paladin of Abadar being "Lawful Neutral", but selecting "Good" for his Aura and Smite, would feel right as a kind of "Judge/Enforcer".


Geno wrote:
However, lately, I've been wondering something; Is Paladin really such a strong class that it needs what literally seems like a built-in self-destruct button?

No. It have been a "necessary" tradeoff back in AD&D, where it was supposedly a fighter plus, but not now. (And I'm not sure a tradeoff was needed; if a paladin couldn't specialize, then really all it got was Lay on Hands, immunity to disease and +2 to saving throws. Powerful, but not worth the code on top of the higher XP costs to gain levels. Also, a Charisma 17 requirement was a penalty; it didn't become a benefit until 3rd Edition.)

On a related note, I see clerics as getting more power from their deity than paladins, but they had fewer restrictions.

I also disagree that RP and balance have anything to do with each other. You can make a class with great RP and terrible gameplay, or one with great RP and great gameplay, or terrible RP and terrible gameplay, or terrible RP and great gameplay, just like you could have a player who is good or bad at RPing and good or bad at optimizing.

Quote:
But now? Is the paladin class really so powerful in Pathfinder, as compared to every other class, that an alignment restriction is necessary? Would a CN paladin really be some kind of game-breaker, or is the alignment restriction simply a leftover from previous version of the game?

No, it's not so powerful. Even if it's more powerful than the fighter, so are a lot of core classes. It's not going to kill the mage and take its stuff after a few levels.

The alignment restriction is just about flavor. Unfortunately, the class if ill-defined and the codes are worse. Codes that are so restrictive need playtesting, and the code has changed minimally since the first time I saw it (when playing AD&D). There's no excuse for no real changes in (for me) 19 years, and I'm sure it's been longer, possibly by quite a bit.

Quote:
And what about other classes? Would a Monk be any more powerful if it wasn't restricted to lawful alignments?

No. Someone will probably complain about a monk/barbarian combo, but I hardly see multiclassing them as being OP.

Quote:
Or would the Barbarian class become more powerful if they could be lawful?

No. Like the monk, it's flavor. Berserkers that are lawful don't really make sense, but that's nothing to do with game balance.

Quote:
How about druids and their neutral restriction?

No, I don't think this is necessary. Nature priests (since they're nothing like the mysterious real druids anymore) don't need any kind of alignment restriction. They just need to do the nature spirits' bidding if they don't want to lose their powers.

Quote:
Yes, the alignment restrictions make a certain sense from a role playing aspect, but are they necessary? Has anyone every tried running a non-alignment restricted campaign? If so, how did it go? If not, why?

My current campaign (I'm a player) has a "lawful good" paladin who isn't, and it has had no actual negative impact on either RP or game balance whatsoever. He uses Smite Evil a lot, so alignment still has a (minor) role in the rules.


Geno wrote:
How about druids and their neutral restriction?

I believe for the druids neutrality is a must considering all (as far as I know) nature deities have more of a neutral mentality due to their view of nature in balance. They usually don't take one side or the other on the issue as nature is both death and life in balance.

Just my 2 cents on it.

Shadow Lodge

Delthyn wrote:
Note that CE, LE and CG Paladins work better than NE, NG, CN and LN Paladins because of the dual focus. TN Paladins...work...but they require a very experienced roleplayer, or else they become rather unfocused. Good/Evil defines the mission, Chaos/Law is the means that they use. For instance, a NG Paladin is devoted to good. How they go about being good is easier to determine if you stick a C or a L on it.

Probably true, since the extreme alignments have two moral philosophies, and thus more material to draw on. I also agree with your other paladin policies. Special note to:

Delthyn wrote:
3. Prove to me that you can roleplay this properly, and prove that it will not conflict with the group/campaign. No CN Paladin in a campaign where everyone else is a servant of the Axiomites, for instance.

This is one major reason I think alternate alignment paladins (especially CG) are important. I'd be nervous about a LG paladin in a party full of chaotics, and I think a player in such a group who wants to play a paladin should have the option to play CG if they think it will make a more cohesive party.

Ascalaphus wrote:

I don't think paladin's alignment restriction has much to do with power balance, it's just because of theme. Paladin powers are about opposing evil (Smite), and not giving in to it (all kinds of defensive abilities), and doing so in an organized manner, leading others in the defense of good and justice (lay on hands, and other abilities to help others).

That's a very LG-themed set of powers. If you wanted to create a CG paladin, I'd say you need to work on quite differently flavored powers - not so many teamwork powers, but maybe ways to free yourself from restrictions/compulsions, and eventually liberate others to choose to do good, rather than guide them in the actual doing of it.

Not really. If you change the smite to an alternate opposition alignment it fits just fine. The defensive abilities describe someone who refuses compromise their principles, whatever those principles may be, and does not let anything get in the way of their cause, whatever the cause. There isn't anything that suggests they must use organized methods - I'd consider teamwork feats organized - their ally-boosting abilities are more easily interpreted as inspirational, which is compatible with any alignment. And lay on hands is a variant on Channel Positive Energy, which is available to neutral clerics of nonevil deities. It might not really fit with evil, but it's certainly not LG-only (and nor is helping your friends in general).

I could see making some minor changes, like swapping the CG paladin's anti-compulsion aura with their anti-fear aura, but I don't think it needs any sort of significant overhaul.

Ascalaphus wrote:

Evil paladins are even somewhat trickier, since it's difficult to present Evil as something desirable and worth actively promoting; that's borderline insane.

So obviously I'm not all that impressed with the Antipaladin; I think that to create a paladin of a different alignment, you really need to think up original powers, not just invert the LG paladin on every point.

They might be an inversion, but the inversion makes sense. They don't convince people that evil is worth promoting - they destroy their enemies. And the kind of person who would be an antipaladin wants to destroy their enemies, especially those who try to stop the antipaladin from exploiting or destroying the innocent (ex: paladins).

Lauraliane wrote:

- Any "Good" alignment get Smite Evil and Aura of Good

- Any "Evil" alignment get Smite Good and Aura of Evil
- Any "Neutral" alignment get to choose "Good" or "Evil" at character creation and get the associated Smite and Aura as above.
- A Paladin is vulnerable to Smite based on his Aura

...Would basically works the same as when a neutral cleric select either Channel Positive or Channel Negative energy.

I use an antipaladin base for evil alignments - they get "destructive touch," cruelty, and the debuff auras.

Neutral alignments get to choose to use the paladin or antipaladin base for the lay on hands / destructive touch, mercy / cruelty, and buff auras / debuff auras, like Channel Energy for Neutral clerics. But LN and CN paladins smite Chaos and Law respectively and have auras of Law and Chaos. I don't think it makes sense for a LN paladin to smite either good or evil when the option to smite chaos exists. (Though you did remind me to provide some mechanism to smite the TN paladin type when I introduce them...)

A LG or LE paladin can also choose to smite chaos (and have a lawful alignment), and a CG or CE paladin can choose to smite law (and have a chaotic aura). These paladins essentially favor the Law-Chaos axis over the Good-Evil axis. This is something I'm introducing in my upcoming campaign, which places more emphasis on the Law-Chaos axis.

Tornok wrote:
I believe for the druids neutrality is a must considering all (as far as I know) nature deities have more of a neutral mentality due to their view of nature in balance. They usually don't take one side or the other on the issue as nature is both death and life in balance.

I could see this as a variation on the "within one step of deity" if you assume that a druid's "deity" is the TN force of nature. I think in general it allows more flexibility than the monk's "lawful only" or the paladin's "LG only" restrictions. However, not all nature-related deities are TN - we have LG Erastil (god of farming and the hunt) and CE Ghlaunder (demigod of parasites and disease).


i recommend removing alignment restrictions.

Detect Evil/Protection From Evil could be replaced with Detect Hostile Intent and Protection From Hostile Intent

and smite evil could be replaced with a mechanic akin to the cavalier's challenge without much issue.

it also removes the need to have a seperate paladin class for every alignment.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber

Actually the problem isn't alignment, but the Paladin class itself. It's got so many hot buttons wired into the class that makes it the 2nd most problematic class in the game. (following the Summoner)

It is by far the top class in production of unnecessary drama.


Geno wrote:

Is Paladin really such a strong class that it needs what literally seems like a built-in self-destruct button?

...
Would a Monk be any more powerful if it wasn't restricted to lawful alignments? Or would the Barbarian class become more powerful if they could be lawful?

In my opinion the paladin IS too strong to go without any drawback. But I'd like it better to have him a little less strong but with less restrictions as well.

The monk itself would not be any more potent without his restriction, nor would the barbarian. But those two classes combined are very strong and I think that is the reason for their alignment. So they are mutual exclusive.
The druid on the other hand is just neutral because he always was. But I think it isn't such a big deal because they can be 5/9 of all alignments and with the exception of the paladin can multiclass freely.

Why do I think the Paladin is too strong without drawback?
I like to compare every martial class to the fighter and if I do that wich the paladin my result is that in combat he is as strong as the fighter but with much greater versatility while being much stronger out of combat. There might be builds or situatiions where a fighter can shine in comparison to the pala there are more than enough situations where the opposite is true.

TL;DR:
Palas need some drawback to balance out their power. Druids should be neutral because it fits and the other two only have their restriction to keep them from multiclassing.


Lumiere Dawnbringer wrote:


Detect Evil/Protection From Evil could be replaced with Detect Hostile Intent and Protection From Hostile Intent

Protection from hostile intend? Sounds like a flat bonus in any fight. As if the paladin needed that.

Shadow Lodge

Yeah, Detect Hostile Intent might work, but the point of Protection from Alignment is that it doesn't work on every enemy you're fighting. (Note that Clerics, Oracles, Inquisitors, Sorcerers, Wizards, and Summoners would also benefit from a crazy-good Protection from Hostile Intent, as well as anyone in a party with them.)

Umbranus wrote:
The monk itself would not be any more potent without his restriction, nor would the barbarian. But those two classes combined are very strong and I think that is the reason for their alignment. So they are mutual exclusive.

What about a Barbarian/Martial Artist?

Andoran

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I've never seen alignments as a necessary part of the game. The PCs actions provoke consequences regardless of how they are aligned.


Umbranus wrote:
Geno wrote:

Is Paladin really such a strong class that it needs what literally seems like a built-in self-destruct button?

...
Would a Monk be any more powerful if it wasn't restricted to lawful alignments? Or would the Barbarian class become more powerful if they could be lawful?

In my opinion the paladin IS too strong to go without any drawback. But I'd like it better to have him a little less strong but with less restrictions as well.

The monk itself would not be any more potent without his restriction, nor would the barbarian. But those two classes combined are very strong and I think that is the reason for their alignment. So they are mutual exclusive.
The druid on the other hand is just neutral because he always was. But I think it isn't such a big deal because they can be 5/9 of all alignments and with the exception of the paladin can multiclass freely.

Why do I think the Paladin is too strong without drawback?
I like to compare every martial class to the fighter and if I do that wich the paladin my result is that in combat he is as strong as the fighter but with much greater versatility while being much stronger out of combat. There might be builds or situatiions where a fighter can shine in comparison to the pala there are more than enough situations where the opposite is true.

TL;DR:
Palas need some drawback to balance out their power. Druids should be neutral because it fits and the other two only have their restriction to keep them from multiclassing.

Monk and Barbarian are actually pretty weak together. First, the Barbarian doesn't benefit from Wisdom. Second, raging reduces your AC(negating a big monk advantage) And the barbarians ability to wear armor is negated by monk. Third, Barbarians don't care about flurry of blows. They want to add 1.5 times their strength to damage.


Umbranus wrote:
Lumiere Dawnbringer wrote:


Detect Evil/Protection From Evil could be replaced with Detect Hostile Intent and Protection From Hostile Intent
Protection from hostile intend? Sounds like a flat bonus in any fight. As if the paladin needed that.

then remove that spell in an alignment less game. anyone wearing a ring of protection or cloak of resistance (2 of the big 6) is reducing the amount of bonus they get from this spell anyway.

it's not about the +2s, it's really about the immunity to natural attacks used by summoned monsters. which already disregards alignment.


I think the bard, monk and barbarian alignment restrictions are rather shortsighted, yeah. If you remove them though, I think maybe you should put in a rule that certain monk abilities don't work while Raging. You can't maintain that zenlike calm while screaming and foaming at the mouth. Then you can make an archetype that (at a certain price) actually can, going for a more loose (Taoist?) sort of monk.


Ascalaphus wrote:
I think the bard, monk and barbarian alignment restrictions are rather shortsighted, yeah. If you remove them though, I think maybe you should put in a rule that certain monk abilities don't work while Raging. You can't maintain that zenlike calm while screaming and foaming at the mouth. Then you can make an archetype that (at a certain price) actually can, going for a more loose (Taoist?) sort of monk.

...Bard?

Silver Crusade

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So another thread about removing some kind of restriction.

Hmmm let's see what we have so far.

1: Trivialize death.
2: No sundering.
3: Allow twins and triplets.
4: Remove alignment restrictions on classes.
5: Allow player's to "win".
6: Don't count consumables as part of WBL.

So essentially some of you want a game that has nothing but advantages and no disadvantages what so ever.

Andoran

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I'm sure some people out there do.


As long as we have the current alignment >ahem< "system" in place, the class alignment restrictions ought to stand, imo.

Do I think we should keep alignment as it stands?

No, not really.

Not because it's unworkable in itself, but on account of all the arguments spawned by it. (My group hasn't ever had a problem with the alignment stuff... largely because we're all in agreement about 'what's evil,' 'what's lawful,' etc. Half of us are old grognards from back in the 1E day, so we disposed of the debate years ago.)

But, however ridiculous we may think the alignment system is, it's what we currently have.

There was another alignment thread a while back, in which I offered a solution of sorts. Replace the twin-axis system with simple descriptives:

*Heroic
*Anti-heroic
*Villainous
*Autarchic

-- Paladins, obviously, must be heroic. Everybody else grabs whatever stance and sticks to it. Druids tend towards autarchic... and a lot of Rogues.

Requires some spell re-work (the whole "Protection vs." line as well as Detect [x alignment]) but has the advantage of simplicity in determining where individuals fall on the ethical scale.

Eh.

I agree that getting nifty powers from your discipline and practice (like a Monk) ought to have a Lawful alignment requirement. All the Barbarian PLAYERS I know are chaotic, and I think it plays well to have the class reflect that.

I'd be tempted to make Druids Neutral, period; people seem to think that being Neutral on on axis precludes zealotry on the other, which is a false-to-facts assumption. Having only one non-neutral alignment value means you have NOTHING in between you and absolute dedication to THAT value (be it good, chaotic, evil, lawful). There's nothing balanced about a single-axis placement, inherently. And Druids (imo) ought to be about a balanced existence and perspective...

Anyway... alignment is not an indispensable part of the game; but it's HERE, at least until PF 2.0 (long may it be delayed). The only forum in which that MATTERS is Organized Play: all others may houserule it gone, or changed, or whatever.


Geno wrote:

Originally, in the earlier versions of D&D a Paladin was an incredibly potent class. If I'm not mistaken, the stat requirements to be a paladin in AD&D 2nd ed. were so strict that meeting them through standard methods was next to impossible. The abilities they gained, however, were equally potent by contrast.

But now? Is the paladin class really so powerful in Pathfinder, as compared to every other class, that an alignment restriction is necessary? Would a CN paladin really be some kind of game-breaker, or is the alignment restriction simply a leftover from previous version of the game?

And what about other classes? Would a Monk be any more powerful if it wasn't restricted to lawful alignments? Or would the Barbarian class become more powerful if they could be lawful? How about druids and their neutral restriction?

Yes, the alignment restrictions make a certain sense from a role playing aspect, but are they necessary? Has anyone every tried running a non-alignment restricted campaign? If so, how did it go? If not, why?

i love in AD&D the paladin was only for humans because they was the only who can live with

theres not one reason to let an elf be a paladin because they dont need them, dont understand non of the code and so...

i understand how are you feelling about the aligment, i feel the same with pal for all in 3.0

So, yes, the pal is a powerful class and the aligment restriction is necesary only for the flavor (wich is most important thing in that class for roleplaying with) without the aligment restriction, there will be no need for the pal in the whole game. there was an article in one magazine, where were a lot of alitgment variant for the pal; the anarquist, and other i cant remember...


Odraude wrote:
Ascalaphus wrote:
I think the bard, monk and barbarian alignment restrictions are rather shortsighted, yeah. If you remove them though, I think maybe you should put in a rule that certain monk abilities don't work while Raging. You can't maintain that zenlike calm while screaming and foaming at the mouth. Then you can make an archetype that (at a certain price) actually can, going for a more loose (Taoist?) sort of monk.
...Bard?

If I remember correctly in 3.5 Bards couldn't be lawful. I was wondering why no one was mentioning them, and then I double checked and Pathfinder removed that restriction.


I think either the restrictions or the classes should go. The CRB and Advanced and Ultimate lines are supposed to be setting agnostic, which means that if there's a conceivable application of a class it shouldn't be blocked by fluff dictated rules. It's less controversial to add fluff than to strip it out. And it works better with chargen software.

Divinely empowered knights oriented against chaos instead of evil? Isn't possible in Pathfinder without a setting specific PrC. Would be if the Paladin were multi-alignment.

Warrior monks who go into a combat trance? Best mechanical fit is barbarian, but barbarians can't be lawful or multiclass with monk.

Want a setting with a nature god that isn't true neutral? Sorry, druids don't follow cleric alignment rules.

Want to build Jackie Chan from Legend of the Drunken Master? Sorry, you can't mix the one non-lawful monk archetype with drunken monk.


The problem too me is that the alignment system is not in and of itself neutral.

"LAW" and "GOOD" are far too specific
"CHAOS" and "EVIL" are far too general

the paladin is supposed to represent and uphold a very specific ideal.

Lawful/good paladins fit into a pretty general nitch.

when you move into the other alignments things are not so clear.

for example...

a Lawful/good Paladin would risk his life to save the kids and follow the law even when it hurts (except when law and good are in direct opposition)

the Lawful/good paladin would never say... let the kids burn in order to "act" evil in support of a greater good.

on the other hand

the Chaotic/Evil paladin is supposed to do chaotic evil things when ever given the choice... but what exactly is that other than NOT lawful or good. it pretty much comes down to what ever the player says is the ultimate goal of chaos and evil. so a player may say I am an chaotic/evil antipaladin ACTING like a lawful/good person in order to get close to the king and kill him achieving an ultimately chaotic/evil goal.

in other words. the only time non-LG paladins should work is when playing in a story where every action the players take can support that specific goal and they may even find themselves in situations where they would WANT to do something against their alignment and are restricted from doing so.

if you are playing paladins without those restrictions its kind of broken.

like playing casters without spell restrictions or gunslingers without bothering to worry about reload timing.

Shadow Lodge

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blue_the_wolf wrote:

in other words. the only time non-LG paladins should work is when playing in a story where every action the players take can support that specific goal and they may even find themselves in situations where they would WANT to do something against their alignment and are restricted from doing so.

if you are playing paladins without those restrictions its kind of broken.

like playing casters without spell restrictions or gunslingers without bothering to worry about reload timing.

Those restrictions are mechanical. A caster may only use spells from their spell list, may only cast a certain number per day, often has opposed schools or opposed alignments, etc. A gunslinger must take an action to reload their weapon and must dedicate resources such as feats or magic items to reduce this time. Spell slots, spell lists, actions, feats, etc are mechanical. A paladin's alignment restriction is not mechanical, it's flavor. The only difference between a LG and a CG paladin is moral code, which has nothing to do with objective mechanical game resources.

Many GMs try to correct perceived imbalances in a paladin's power using this flavor, by putting them in positions where following their code is costly. This is balancing mechanics using flavor. Since flavour and alignment are very subjective (the code is invoked very differently across different tables, even tables following RAW) it's a bad idea. If a paladin isn't balanced unless the GM strictly enforces the code it isn't balanced. If a paladin is balanced without the alignment restriction it doesn't need the restriction. Simple as that.

Alignment conflicts are great for roleplaying, but they shouldn't be used as a way to keep the paladin from getting overpowered, especially since depending on the situation the rest of the party may also pay the cost enforced by the code (for example, being unable to achieve their goal by deception since the code prohibits lying).

Andoran

Weirdo wrote:

Those restrictions are mechanical. A caster may only use spells from their spell list, may only cast a certain number per day, often has opposed schools or opposed alignments, etc. A gunslinger must take an action to reload their weapon and must dedicate resources such as feats or magic items to reduce this time. Spell slots, spell lists, actions, feats, etc are mechanical. A paladin's alignment restriction is not mechanical, it's flavor. The only difference between a LG and a CG paladin is moral code, which has nothing to do with objective mechanical game resources.

Many GMs try to correct perceived imbalances in a paladin's power using this flavor, by putting them in positions where following their code is costly. This is balancing mechanics using flavor. Since flavour and alignment are very subjective (the code is invoked very differently across different tables, even tables following RAW) it's a bad idea. If a paladin isn't balanced unless the GM strictly enforces the code it isn't balanced. If a paladin is balanced without the alignment restriction it doesn't need the restriction. Simple as that.

Alignment conflicts are great for roleplaying, but they shouldn't be used as a way to keep the paladin from getting overpowered, especially since depending on the situation the rest of the party may also pay the cost enforced by the code (for example, being unable to achieve their goal by deception since the code prohibits lying).

Hear, hear!

To me, lots of things have always sounded like flavor holding back mechanics before it is certain it is desired. The paladin code, the monk and barbarian alignment restrictions, the "no metal armor" restrictions of druid (but not "no metal weapons"!?), etc. Flavor was put first, then mechanics, but no-one went back through them to see if the two were *too* tightly coupled.

I'm a big fan of putting mechanics in bucket A and flavor in bucket B whenever possible, and possibly listing a suggested flavor.

Monk and Barbarian can do this easily enough by simply stripping off the alignment restriction. Paladin has to have a more generalized smite, like a "Smite Anathema" that functions either against a single opposed alignment or a single creature type. If a deity is granting the powers, make them match that alignment (similar to cleric).

In fact, Cleric is a perfect example of generalizing a class and allowing various interpretations to fill in the gap. They can follow a god *or* a philosophy, and the latter is disallowed in Golarion for flavor reasons. In other words, flavor led to mechanics, then some mechanical restrictions were toned back to be more setting agnostic while leaving the restrictions in the intended setting.

Taldor

If you want to play this game it's pretty necessary as it's part of what this game is.

If you want to play some other game then feel free to throw it away. Nothing is necessary unless you want it to actually be this game.

Andoran

Morgen wrote:

If you want to play this game it's pretty necessary as it's part of what this game is.

If you want to play some other game then feel free to throw it away. Nothing is necessary unless you want it to actually be this game.

I don't believe this is a fair statement at all. The core rulebook is supposed to be as setting agnostic as possible without being bland and without missing the minimum set of content necessary to play, allowing the setting to tack on various restrictions as necessary (sometimes going as far as to ban classes), along with adding classes or abilities that are simply too specific to be considered setting agnostic.

I feel that there are a couple of points that could have been made more setting agnostic without making it at all bland. The alignment restrictions of monk, barbarian, druid and paladin fall into that, as does the odd "no metal armor" shtick of druids. After all, these aspects are something one can easily see changing with little to no change in flavor (with existing paladin being a subset of possible interpretations of the more generic paladin).

If we ignore paladin for a moment and just modify the other three classes, the ruleset would be almost entirely unchanged except for a couple of minor flavor points, points that are often worked around (dragonhide, anyone?) or ignored in some fashion for the average home game anyway. They could have been notes in the setting, much like the the cleric's inability to merely follow a philosophy in Golarion (they must follow a god). The capability exists in core, and is restricted at the setting level instead. They should have followed this pattern better with the other classes as well.

I'm not saying that lacking this generalization makes it a bad system. On the contrary, it's a very good system. But it could have been even better! I also don't blame the team for not doing this, as they had a lot of conversion work to do already, and any changes such as this would have to make it past the crowd of rabid traditionalists. Not an easy prospect.

Taldor

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I disagree with you completely. Those limitations are an important part of what makes those classes interesting and and different.

If you don't keep at least some of the flaws and benefits of the older games then your not really working from them and just tossing everything out into the wild.

I don't see how druid being allowed to wear metal armour in any way makes the game better, only how it makes it a different game. Specifically more boring.

That's one of the reasons why after the Alpha and Beta play tests of the game they still exist.

Andoran

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Morgen wrote:

I disagree with you completely. Those limitations are an important part of what makes those classes interesting and and different.

If you don't keep at least some of the flaws and benefits of the older games then your not really working from them and just tossing everything out into the wild.

I don't see how druid being allowed to wear metal armour in any way makes the game better, only how it makes it a different game. Specifically more boring.

That's one of the reasons why after the Alpha and Beta play tests of the game they still exist.

This makes you one of the traditionalists I talked about.

You view those as necessary parts of their respective classes, without which the game would be mere shadow of its former self. I view them as unnecessary baggage that adds nothing of value. These are entirely subjective things, so I don't think either of us could change the other's mind easily (or even with effort).

Having the restrictions in core means the house-rule variants get no professional content and DMs must go out of their way to ensure players are aware they exist in their setting. Not having them in core means that you have to house-rule to get the traditional interpretations you're looking for, and do so in spite of players asking to play the newly possibly character types. Either way, someone's getting screwed.

Of course, most people don't care that much either way.

TL;DR - You're a traditionalist. I'm not. Paizo went with your point of view, so I get to be the one to employ extra house-rules. I'd care more if I cared to play PFS.


flavor is flavor and mechanics are mechanics.

but some time the flavor and the mechanics ARE somewhat connected.

I mean... ultimately its a game right... so you can mechanically disconnect anything and still play the game.

all Clerics should be able to cast Fireball, why not? its just an arbitrary restriction right?

I can understand people chafing at the alignment restrictions mostly because there are so many views on alignment. and to be perfectly honest I am not saying dumping alignment is bad. I am just saying if your goint to do it recognize what your doing and compensate for it.

the restrictions are a part of the class just like Red Dragons are basically evil and gold dragons basically good. you CAN break the rule, its not even going to imbalance the game in any way if you do... but there is a certain 'something' inherent to the concept.

Paladins have an alignment restriction because there is a certain 'something' inherent in the idea that paladins represent someone so absolutely driven to an ideal that their activities are restricted or forced by the precepts of that ideal regardless of logic or reason.

to that end if your going to take alignment out of the equation you should probably add some kind of rules (i.e. oaths, laws, precepts ETC) that the character must follow and as an extension of that they should be something that can at times be an obstacle to the player.

A C/G paladin for example may be so married to the idea of freedom that he/she cannot imprison nor forcefully interrogate anyone even in support of a greater goal as taking their freedom in such a way is directly opposed to their very nature, they would also likely never use spells like charm or hold.

of course some would say that this very idea is opposed to the idea of CHAOS. but one again... a paladin with no rules what so ever ... just isnt really a paladin.

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